Friday, January 24, 2014 THE JEWISH PRESS Page 37
Community Currents Upcoming events… On Saturday night, February 8, Ohel Bais Ezra will be hosting an evening of trivia, fun, and friendships for adult siblings of individuals with developmental disabilities. For more information about the event, contact Azriel Steiner, at 718-686-3492, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In recent news…
New Kashrus Standards Set In California Leading national kashrus officials are praising the Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) for implementing tough kashrus standards following last year’s kashrus breach at a local meat market. In a letter, Rabbi Yaakov Luban, executive rabbinic coordinator for the Orthodox Union, writes, “[T]he high level of transparency and review (by the RCC) is unparalleled by any other supervisor agency that I am familiar with.” Rabbi Luban, under the direc-
tion and guidance of Rabbi Moshe Elefant, CCO of the Kashrus Division of the OU, conducted an independent audit of kashrus systems in RCC establishments following a request by the local kashrus agency. In reaction to the kashrus breach, the Kashrut Vaad of LA (KVLA) was created. KVLA is a nonpartisan oversight committee of local rabbonim and bnei Torah which inspects local facilities on a regular basis to insure that kashrus standards are appropriately maintained. The OU has also instructed a number of its local mashgichim to perform ongoing inspections of RCC establishments and to file reports on their findings. Among some of the new procedures implemented are higher levels of supervision by in-store mashgichim, written protocols with precise instructions in each establishment, enhanced on-going training of in-store mashgichim, and increased inspections.
New York Extends Funding To Private Schools Last week, the New York State Education Depart-
ment announced that $4.5 million allocated for security funding for non-public schools in last year’s budget is now available. The deadline to receive funding is March 31. This security funding was not originally available to private schools. When Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature passed the SAFE Act last year, the legislation granted security funding for public schools only. But OU Advocacy, together with its coalition of Jewish day schools and advocacy partners in Albany, convinced the leadership that security funding should be made available for every child – regardless of the type of school he/she attends. “This security funding will allow Jewish day schools to be reimbursed for any safety equipment they purchased between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. Each school will receive approximately $9.70 per child attending the school, which translates to several thousands of dollars, depending on a school’s enrollment,” said Jeff Leb, New York director of political affairs for OU Advocacy. “We urge every Jewish day school to apply for this funding as soon as possible because of the quickly-approaching deadline.”
New Law Protects Religious Employees Last week, the New York State Assembly passed Assembly Bill A864-A, legislation sponsored by Assemblyman David I. Weprin, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace against people who wear religious attire. The bill amends the civil-rights law, the executive law and the labor law in relation to prohibiting discrimination against religious attire, including facial
hair. This legislation protects the rights of both uniformed employees and all New Yorkers from discrimination by allowing them to dress according to their religious customs. It will also protect workers against discrimination for wearing any sort of religiously motivated or mandated garb or appurtenances, including beards, as long as such garb or appearance does not pose a hazard to that person or to the public.
Rabbi Israel Rubin, regional director of Chabad of the Capital District stated, “We enthusiastically support the Religious Garb bill calling for equal employment opportunities for all New Yorkers regardless of religious attire and facial grooming. This religious observance issue confronts many Orthodox Jewish New Yorkers, who ought to be protected against discrimination at their worksites.”
Niklesburg Rebbe Launches Emergency Building Campaign By Dov Levy Chesed all year round. That is the hallmark of Rabbi Mordechai Jungreis, Niklesburg Rebbe of Boro Park. Whether in his position as Pre-1A rebbe in Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin or his work with individuals from all walks of life in the “Jungreis Chesed Center” at 16th Avenue and 49th Street, the Rebbe gives it his all. In 2010, the Rebbe reopened the historic Woodbourne Shul. Standing in front of the shul with a cardboard sign that read “Minyanim Going On Now!” and greeting passing motorists, the Rebbe ignored the incredulous stares. To those who mocked his efforts he calmly replied, “You can laugh, I’m going on.” That first season saw 20,000 people stop by the
shul to daven and enjoy the refreshments, free of charge. Since then the numbers have steadily gone up. During the past summer season a staggering 80,000 people passed through the shul, and 30 to 40 chiyuvim relied on finding the amud daily at the Woodbourne Shul. The Rebbe recognized that the shul is not just a place to daven. It is a central gathering place for people to take a break while traveling, find a rest room and refresh themselves. It is a place people turn to for chizuk. By providing for their physical needs the Rebbe ensured that everyone who passed through the Woodbourne Shul would leave spiritually refreshed as well.
But there is a price for all this work. The shul is 96 years old and is showing signs of aging. In addition, the building was never designed for the absurd volume of traffic it now sees. This past summer the ﬂoors began to sink and eight beams gave way. Urgent repair work is needed to make sure that the shul will be fit to serve the public again this coming summer. The ﬂoor must be replaced and the restrooms refurbished to accommodate the long lines of travelers who rely on them. Estimates for the cost of this pressing work run upwards of $50,000. The Rebbe repeatedly reminds visitors to the Woodbourne Shul that this is not his shul. The building does not bear the name “Niklesburg.” It is Klal Yisrael’s Shul, as evidenced by the proud name it inherited, Khal Bnai Yisroel. Whether you are one of the tens of thousands who enjoyed the shul’s services during recent summers or not, it is our collective responsibility to preserve this shul for the benefit of all. There has never been a dinner or melava malka held to defray the high costs of these chesed programs. Instead, we have relied solely on the generous donations of understanding individuals who wish to have a share in the Rebbe’s remarkable work. Now, with large sums desperately needed immediately to cover the repairs, it is up to us to step forward. Dedication opportunities are available for the kitchen, the restrooms and more. Checks can be made out to Cong Niklesburg and mailed to: Rabbi Jungreis, 1607 49th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11204. The phone number is 646-256-4049.
Page 38 THE JEWISH PRESS Friday, January 24, 2014
Community Currents Yeshiva Torah Vodaath held its Avos U’Banim melava malkah earlier this month. (Photo credit: JDN)
The organization Tov V’Chesed in Yerushalayim acquired a new warehouse last month and many great rabbis were honored with kevias mezuzah.
The Queens Jewish Community Council’s (QJCC) held its legislative breakfast earlier this month at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. Among the attendees were Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Queens), State Senator Toby A. Stavisky (D-Flushing), Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside), Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Kew Garden Hills), New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
The fifth and sixth grade PTACH classes at Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin Elementary school began learning Gemara earlier this month. Each boy received the sefer Mesillas Yesharim from the rosh yeshiva, Rav Aharon Schechter.
CHAZAQ held its first annual melave malka earlier this month. Attendees heard divrei chizuk from Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Klein and enjoyed a performace by Kol Acheinu, a group of Gerrer Chassidim from Boro Park.
New Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D) was sworn in by Mayor Bill DeBlassio and Congressman Joseph Crowley.
Friday, January 24, 2014 THE JEWISH PRESS Page 39
Community Currents Tu B’Shevat Celebrations
Rabbi Yisroel Rubin, Chabad of the Capital District, joined Speaker Silver and Assemblyman Weprin to celebrate Tu B’Shevat.
Shomrei Emunim Rebbe
The new City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Councilmembers Brad Lander, David Greenfield and Chaim Deutsch, State Assemblyman David Weprin, and a representative of Mayor Bill DeBlasio at the home of Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group.
In Khal Veretzky.
With the Spinka Rebbe.
Shomer Shabbos shul in Boro Park.
Rav Yisroel Hager, Viznitzer Rebbe, Bnei Brak.
(Photo credits: JDN, Yehoshua Fruchter)