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Page 38 THE JEWISH PRESS  Friday, March 8, 2013

Community Currents In early February the Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center hosted an evening for leaders and members of the Bukharian community.

Two hundred wrestlers from 14 yeshiva high schools across the country descended on YU’s Wilf Campus for the 18th Annual Henry Wittenberg Wrestling Invitational from February 15-18. The Torah Academy of Bergen County (Teaneck, NJ) wrestling team took first place at the tournament, The Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center’s recent “Cartoonists Against the Holocaust: Art in the Service of Humanity” exhibit at the Museum of Arts & Culture at New Rochelle High School attracted hundreds of students, teachers, and other visitors. The exhibit, developed by the David S. Wyman Institute of Holocaust Studies, features the work of leading editorial cartoonists who tried to alert the American public to the plight of European Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.

A group of children learning about the upcoming week’s parshah from Reb Nosson Garfunkel – a weekly Motzei Shabbos occurence at Congregation Bnei Brith Jacob of Savannah, Georgia. The Associate Talmud Torahs of Chicago held its Annual Teachers’ Educational Conference on Monday, February 18, at the ATT. The conference featured workshops for close to 500 ATT day school and high school teachers.

At the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony for Maimonides Medical Center’s new lobby.

(L-R) Julia Scallero, HHREC co-director of education; Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the Wyman Institute; Steve Goldberg, HHREC co-director of education; and Susan Weisman of the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence.

More than 1,000 people attended Ohel’s 43rd Annual Gala at the New York Hilton on Sunday, February 10.


Friday, March 8, 2013 THE JEWISH PRESS  Page 39

Community Currents The Center for Jewish Life in Marlboro, NJ, led by Rabbi Yossi Kanelsky, hosted a “Purim in Hawaii” event on February 24 with over 350 people in attendance.

Smiling teen girls and ladies, with their devoted staff, enjoyed the annual Women’s League Community Residences Purim Party held at the Young Israel of Midwood on Feb. 19.

Shushan Purim tisch with the Toldos Tzvi Spinka Rebbe.

(Photo credit: JDN)

Barkai Yeshivah celebrated Adar with various themes including pajama and sunglasses day. The grand finale was a school-wide Purim Carnival with costumes, festive activities, and sing-alongs.


Page 50 THE JEWISH PRESS  Friday, March 8, 2013

Community Currents Upcoming events… On Sunday, March 10, at 10 a.m., Great Neck Synagogue, 26 Old Mill Road in Great Neck, will feature Marc Tracy, who will discuss his new book Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame. A book signing will follow Tracy’s presentation. A light breakfast will be served. For more information, visit gns.org. *** The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National NY Gala Dinner will be held on Tuesday, March 12, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The gala, FIDF’s largest fundraising event, will bring together more than 1,200 prominent leaders from across the country to stand in solidarity and support the soldiers of Israel. Special guests will include senior IDF officials; notable dignitaries from Israel and Washington; and more than 30 soldiers and officers from various IDF units as well as soldiers from the United States Armed Forces. *** This year’s OU kosher pre-Pesach webcast will take place on Tuesday, March 12, at 2:30 p.m. and will feature Rabbi Yisroel Belsky and Rabbi Hershel Schachter. This year, the OU poskim will focus on questions and answers relating to “Preparing the Home, Pre-

paring the Head.” They will respond to questions about house cleaning, kitchen preparation, and the seder, and will also discuss the message and values of Pesach. Those who wish to view the webcast should log on 15 minutes prior to the starting time at oukosher.org/prepesach. Prior to the program, questions can be e-mailed to Rabbi Safran at safrane@ou.org, and during the webcast Rabbi Eliyahu W. Ferrell will be able to access e-mails at ferrelle@ou.org. *** The 20th Annual Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off will honor the Dallas Jewish Historical Society, Moishe House – Dallas Branch, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association Dallas Metro ALS Division on March 10 at Congregation Tiferet Israel. The Dallas Jewish Historical Society will be on site to record oral histories during the cook-off. Contact the society for details and to make interview reservations.

plied Studies (NYSCAS) following extensive renovations. The site, located between Brighton Beach and Coney Island, sustained substantial flood damage during Hurricane Sandy and was closed for repairs from late October 2012 through January 2013. Renovations included wall and carpet replacements and mold inspections. Immediately after power was restored to the Brighton area, Touro staff mobilized to relocate 71 classes and over 300 students to nearby Touro College NYSCAS sites for the duration of the fall 2012 semester. NYSCAS waived tuition fees for students who were forced to drop courses because of damage to personal property or other hurricane-related difficulties.

Ohel, 35 Years Later… Ohel Bais Ezra’s recently celebrated a chanukas habayis following the complete renovation of its 12th Avenue Brooklyn residence – Ohel’s inaugural residence – for 10 women with developmental disabilities. Aryeh Jacobson, son of former Ohel Bais Ezra President David Jacobson, paid a moving tribute to the history of Ohel Bais Ezra’s first ever group home. The birth of Ohel Bais Ezra’s first residence was not smooth. Following the national exposé and closure of The Willowbrook State School for those with disabilities, where over a third of residents were Jewish, Rabbi Philip Goldberg single handedly undertook the daunting task of providing for these individuals. Rabbi Goldberg approached many Jewish agencies at the time but, as they were already severely strained financially, could not offer any help. Rabbi Goldberg then approached Lester Kaufman, Ohel’s executive director at the time, who said Ohel would be willing to help secure such housing for adults with developmental disabilities. Rabbi Goldberg confronted many obstacles – from banks that declined to grant mortgages, to many Community Boards that refused to consent to the purchase of such a home, fearing the impact on their neighborhood. In 1978, after many more Jewish patients left Willowbrook, a Community Board in Boro Park agreed to approve the purchase of Ohel Bais Ezar’s first ever group home. With still no financing available, Rabbi and Mrs. Goldberg decided to personally fund the down payment of the purchase. Today, with over 100 Ohel Bais Ezra residences and apartments, one easily forgets the dearth of housing and the herculean efforts of the few dedicated individuals who helped overcome both the financial hurdles and stigma in the community. Ohel Bais Ezra’s recent chanukas habayis provided that perspective.

In recent news…

Damaged Touro Location Reopens In Brooklyn Classes have resumed for the spring 2013 semester at the 532 Neptune Avenue location of the Touro College New York School of Career and Ap-

Groups Lobby for Alternative to Problematic Vegetables By Judith Dinowitz Two prominent Jewish school advocacy organizations have been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in search of an accommodation that will allow Jewish schools to continue to participate in the federal school lunch program while observing the strictest standards of kosher. At a meeting with USDA officials in Washington and in subsequent communications, representatives of Agudath Israel of America and the Jewish Education Project (formerly the Board of Jewish Education of Greater NY) have pointed out that The Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010 – which is intended to ensure that American students have healthy food choices in child nutrition programs – poses religious challenges to Jewish schools. The law requires that schools serve several different subgroups of vegetables weekly, including dark green vegetables. This type of vegetable – which includes broccoli, collard greens, dark leafy lettuce, kale, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, turnip greens and watercress – is infested with insects, which are prohibited by Jewish law.

“The problem of insect infestation has been confirmed by numerous rabbinical authorities and kosher certification agencies, and many schools have raised this problem,” said Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s vice president for federal government affairs and Washington director. In theory, schools can buy pre-checked packages, but that option is prohibitively expensive. Another option is to hire extra personnel to painstakingly check each leaf for tiny insects, but that is both expensive and logistically untenable. Agudath Israel and Jewish Education Project therefore have endeavored to find solutions that would allow Jewish schools to benefit from the federal law. They have pointed to a provision in the regulations that allows schools to introduce variations or substitutions in the meal pattern to address ethnic and religious requirements provided they are “consistent with the food and nutrition requirements specified under this section.” Accordingly, the groups have consulted with nutritionists and presented an alternative vegetable menu to the USDA that they say would meet the objectives of all parties.

New Exhibition on Civil War A new rich and comprehensive exhibition on the Civil War will open on March 3. “Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War” demonstrates that the Civil War was a crucible for American Jews, laying the groundwork for their integration and Americanization on a large scale. It enabled the full participation of Jews in American life – militarily, politically, economically and socially – and set the stage for massive Jewish immigration decades later. Co-presented by the American Jewish Historical Society and Yeshiva University Museum, “Passages through the Fire” brings to life the active role Jews played in all aspects of the war, and also provides an unvarnished look at Jewish involvement in slavery – the era’s key issue. As original documents and artifacts make clear, Jews shared attitudes about slavery with most of their compatriots. Many Jews, despite their own history, considered

slavery justified. This groundbreaking exhibition, curated by Ken Yellis, includes the largest and most comprehensive collection of materials relating to Jews and the Civil War assembled in the last 50 years. The core of the exhibition is the collection of Robert D. Marcus of Fairfax, VA, generally regarded as the world’s most significant collection of Civil War Judaica. While portions of the Marcus collection have appeared in previous exhibitions, the collection has never been exhibited on this scale. “Passages through the Fire” also showcases dozens of documents and artifacts from museums, libraries, and private collections across the U.S, including: the Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to Sergeant Leopold Karpeles, a flagbearer in the Union army – and one of six Jewish Medal of Honor recipients; religious and ceremonial artifacts (haggadas, mezuzahs, dreidels) used by Jewish soldiers during the

war; and an incompletely printed Confederate $500 note on whose blank side the Jewish Major Sidney Alroy Jonas handwrote the poem that became the basis for the Southern myth of the “Lost Cause.” With Abraham Lincoln himself as a major character, the exhibition also spotlights little-known episodes that shook American history. As “Passages through the Fire” illustrates, President Lincoln reversed an order by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant expelling Jews “as a class” from the massive Tennessee Territory after accusations of disloyalty. Another part of the exhibition reveals how the role of military chaplains had been reserved for Christians only until President Lincoln engineered the law’s reversal during the Civil War – a landmark moment. Through handwritten letters, photos, and little-seen documents, visitors to the exhibit will also meet larger-than-life historical characters including the brilliant Jewish Confeder


Friday, March 8, 2013 THE JEWISH PRESS  Page 51

Community Currents

Members of the Canarsie Jewish community gather for a megillah reading and Purim feast arranged by Rabbi Levi Tzfasman.

Purim in Boro Park.

Purim in Bnei Brak.

(Photo credit: JDN)

(Photo credit: JDN)

Purim in Yerushalayim.

(Photo credit: JDN)

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