Bookworm: Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto Page 5 ‘Pop’ stars: a palate pleaser Page 7 JJ Goldstein: On the mark and ready to go! Page 10 Jonathan Greenstein: Antique Judaica Page 11
VOL 11, NO 1 ■ JANUARY 6, 2012 /11 TEVET 5772
‘They have turned away from what I commanded them’ By Juda Engelmayer When Moses came down from Mount Sinai he saw a people decadent and corrupt who had forgone the Judaism which G-d had given them. Prior to his descent, G-d saw this happening and told Moses, “Saru Ma’Hair, Min HaDerech Asher Tzvitem – they have turned away quickly from the way that I commanded them,” as he directed Moses to go down and set the people straight. As the Jews worshiped the golden calf, they proclaimed that it was the G-d who brought them out of Egypt. How soon they forget! It did not take too long for the experience of the Exodus to leave the people and for their faith to be challenged to the point of creating a G-d whom they thought spoke to them at that moment. They could have just abandoned religion and worship, but they still sought a higher power, and created it in the manner that they thought best. That seems to have happened again. Too bad there isn’t a Moses today! Not idolatry, but if we looked around at our Jewish communities today we could see clear signs of misdirected faith that causes people to act in ways that are not characteristic of a Jewish people who believe in “V’ahavta L’raiacha kamocha,” to love others as we wish to be loved ourselves – a rule that Jews sing about, quoting Rabbi Akiva, “This is a great principle of the Torah”. When we see what is happening in Bet Shemesh these days, it becomes all too clear that Jews have lost their
Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla)
Marco Rubio (R-Fla)
Woodmere resident forces McCarthy hand on U.S. backed anti-Israel UN funding By Malka Eisenberg A Woodmere resident will be delivering a petition he initiated to the Garden City office of U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy on January 5 in a bid to force McCarthy to take a stand on withholding United States support of anti-Israel activity at the United Nations. Dr. Martin Elsant began collecting signatures electronically in support of a bill sponsored in August by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana RosLehtinen (R-Fla.), entitled the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act (H.R. 2829). The goal is to
change the way the United States pays the U.N. “The U.S. currently gives one chunk of money to the U.N. once a year and says, ‘See you next year,’” Elsant explained. The goal, he added, is to “divide up the money. If part of the U.N. starts bashing Israel, the U.S. can withhold money to that part. There is no reason to fund it, and this legislation facilitates the U.S. to do that. If there is any anti-Israel activity, the money will be withdrawn. Any elevation of the Palestinian mission to the U.N., the funding ends.” He delineated the challenge to McCarthy: “Does she want the U.S. to fund antiIsrael activity in the U.N.? Why won’t she
Continued on page 2
be on board with this legislation?” “We need a U.N. which will advance the noble goals for which it was founded,” RosLehtinen said. She seeks to target funding for the most worthy U.N. causes and works rather than allowing U.S. money to support efforts that are opposed to American values, like the anti-Israel Durban Conference or the Goldstone Report. The legislation would also curtail financial support for any part of the U.N. that raises the status of the Palestinian mission to the U.N. “The Palestinian leadership’s current scheme to attain recognition of a Palestinian state at the U.N. without even recognizing Israel’s right to exist has been tried beContinued on page 3
Shabbat Candlelighting: 4:24 p.m. Shabbat ends 5:28 p.m. 72 minute zman 5:55 p.m. Torah Reading Parshat Vayechi
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‘They have turned away from what I commanded them’ Continued from page 1 way, and on their new paths, developed rules that have redefined the essence of modern Judaism. Rightfully, those within Orthodox communities are upset at any challenge to their ways and practices. A person or community should be able to practice faith in any manner he sees fit, as long as it violates no laws of the land, nor harms or impedes on the rights of any other. On the one hand, Jews sometimes demean those among them who practice differently. It cuts both ways too; less orthodox or religious sometimes look and even act at those more fervent with contempt, while those whose spirituality calls for restrictive dress codes, public disengagement or more provincial community living, can also tend to be contemptuous of those they see as the Erev Rav (mixed multitude – seen as people without faith) and those who interfere with their community’s way of life. It is, however, with the latter, where we see trouble brewing in places like Bet Shemesh and other ultra Orthodox communities in Israel. No matter what version or level of observance within these Orthodox worlds, we expect a higher level of appreciation for the Torah, and therefore, there should not be such revisionist traditions in play as to cause followers to disregard the basic principle of humanity found in Rabbi Akiva’s notion of a most important principle of Judaism. Spitting on women, blocking them from voting, preventing non gender segregated busses from moving by using a living baby as a roadblock, I venture, were not part of the code G-d passed to the those who agreed to accept the Torah. Disparaging a female soldier who fights and defends the Land of Israel is particularly upsetting, as it is she who fights for her attackers’ right and ability to live in, on and in many cases, off the land. There needs to be harmony among Jews, and not the extreme divide among us that makes one stream of Judaism appear alien to another. What we see here is in many ways a sinat chinam, a baseless hatred, toward those who are different from us. Those who harbor it may claim it is not, in fact, baseless, but merited. Still, it is within our very souls to be there for one another, as we proclaim in the song, “Kol Yisrael arevim zeh la-zeh” – every Jew is responsible for one another. Our Torah, our prayers, our songs, our traditions and our parables all proclaim love and unity. From the time Abraham tended to the travelers as if they were his family, to the Ushpizin we invite in our Sukkot, and the Gemilut Chasadim we foster through our institutions, we always see a common theme. It was never meant to refer solely to the strangers or guests who look like us. We pray for everyone’s forgiveness and for god’s mercy each Yom Kippur with repentance and charity, and pound our chests reciting dozens of passages of apology over the way we treated others around us. In practice, we are our own worst enemies who cannot truly reflect on those doctrines we hold so dear. Yet, in times of crisis Jews have always come together in the streets to tend to their fellow without asking what level of faith one has. Why then should it matter in times of relative calm? If terror or tragedy is what unifies us, what will peace one day do for us? Are we ready as a people for the coming of Moshiach? We sing for Israel “Od Avinu Chai,” (our forefathers live) while those forefathers look down at us and wonder who we even are? firstname.lastname@example.org www.judaengelmayer.wordpress.com
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January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772 THE JEWISH STAR
By Sergey Kadinsky Within the “yeshiva world” of the most visible Orthodox communities, unity is bolstered through appearance, and an education system that often looks down on secular subjects and entertainment. For a student expressing interest in life beyond Borough Park, the consequences are social. “It’s isolating to be told that there are questions that they cannot ask,” said Footsteps Executive Director Lani Santo. “These individuals live alone.” Founded in 2003 to assist individuals who have left the haredi community, Footsteps provides members with GED courses, resume writing workshops, and social events. “The strength of a community is support and there is little support for those who leave,” Santo said. Shmuly Horowitz, 21, always felt different growing up in Borough Park’s Bobov Hasidic community. “I went through the system and was becoming aware of the larger world, meeting certain people like my barber, who is Jewish but not Hasidic,” Horowitz said. “Talking to them made me think of how small my world was. It was an intense curiosity.” When Horowitz heard about Footsteps, he was impressed with its non-judgmental approach, where the clients choose how they relate to observance and which career path to take. “Footsteps kept asking me what I wanted, and I kept asking them what they had for me,” he said. After the initial impasse, Horowitz understood that the least he could receive from the organization is computer skills, a GED course to prepare him for college. “They made me believe that I can actually do it and become who I want,” Horowitz said. He also credited his family, which continues to embrace him, despite their differences in religious outlook. For other self-described Footsteppers, the transition into secular life was as physical as mental. Adina, 35, a lawyer living in Westchester, described her experience as a “coming out,” shattering her parents’ expectations, which was followed by her relocation from Baltimore to New York. “It was a very yeshivish community. Questioning things at a young
age, I knew that I would be leaving,” Adina said. While satisfied with her graduate degree, dating, and independence, she missed her family and the sense of kinship that defines Orthodox communities. Adina met Footsteps founder Malki Schwartz eight years ago, discovering a circle of individuals with similar experiences. Raised in Crown Heights, Schwartz enrolled in Hunter College in 2001, finding classmates with similar experiences, born frum, but interested in the secular world. Through the informal social network, Footsteps was born. With support from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and an anonymous donor, Footsteps got off the ground. “The conversation is happening where there was wasn’t any,” Adina said. “The rebels are becoming organized,” she quipped. With the growth of Footsteps, advocates within the haredi community are taking notice. Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, a child abuse victims advocate living in Williamsburg, recently attended a Footsteps lecture. “I wanted to know what it was about, and for the most part, it was about education,” Rabbi Rosenberg said. “There is a serious brain drain as those deprived of education are leaving the community. Top bochurim are leaving Borough Park because they want an education.” In contrast to Bramson ORT’s recent partnership with Chabad, and Touro College’s Machon L’Parnasa, Footsteps connects its clients with secular colleges, in an environment outside the Orthodox neighborhood. But in its work, it has created an open community of its own. “On their camping trip, everyone was doing his own thing,” Horowitz said, describing some who were leading Shabbat service while others socialized. Alongside the focus on education, many parents of Footsteps members are no longer ashamed of having a child who left the fold, welcoming them home when they visit their old neighborhoods. “I have long jeans and everyone stares,” Horowitz said. “But I give credit to my parents. Boruch Hashem, they are smart and they value family.”
Shmuly Horowitz left the Bobov community to take up secular studies, but remains close to his family and childhood friends.
Woodmere resident presents petition Peninsula Public Library Continued from page 1 fore, and it was stopped only when the U.S. made clear that it wouldn’t fund a U.N. entity that went along with it,” noted Ros-Lehtinen. “My bill similarly seeks to stop this dangerous scheme in its tracks.” There are currently 141 cosponsors of the bill, Elsant noted, and so far they are all Republican. His goal is to persuade McCarthy, a Democrat, to be the 142nd. Steve Savitsky, chairman of the board of the Orthodox Union, plans to join Elsant when he delivers the petition to McCarthy’s office. “This bill is not controversial,” Elsant stressed. “It is as simple as coming out against sin, and that is why the OU endorsed it. If we can’t get McCarthy to change her mind and cosponsor this elementary legislation protecting Israeli interests, there is no chance she would ever be there for us if the situation were more complex or risky. And if she is not going to be there for us supporters of Israel when a ‘crunch time’ comes, we, her constituents, should know about it before she runs for re-election again.” At the time The Jewish Star went to press on Wednesday, January 4, no response was received from Rep. McCarthy following calls to her office. Elsant pointed out that Jan. 5 was the 10th of Tevet, a fast day commemorating the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem 2,700 years ago, which cut the city off from assistance and supplies. He noted its significance in an email to signers of the petition, which read, “although the State of Israel is besieged by the hostility of so many nations at the U.N., our support for Israel will not falter. And that, davka, on that day we will petition our government to deprive Israel’s enemies of their resources by ending their U.S. funding.” Elsant was drawn to this cause a few months ago, he said. When the House Foreign Relations Committee prevented the transfer of $200 million from the U.S. government to the Palestinian Authority because of its reneging on agreements and its anti-Israel propaganda, “and President Obama was very upset,” Elsant explained, “I called the office of Representative Ros-Lehtinen to commend
her for doing a wonderful thing and urging her to resist pressure from the White House to let the money go.” A spokesman from Ros-Lehtinen’s office reassured him that she would not give in to pressure. However, the spokesman added, “They can’t hold on to the money forever. It’s a gentlemen’s agreement; they can hold up the funds for a while, but eventually they have to let it go. Those are the rules of the game, the way it’s played.” He suggested that if Elsant wanted to help Ros-Lehtinen’s program, he could solicit support on a grass-roots level. Elsant then called the O.U., and its director of political affairs, Maury Litwack, suggested a petition. “The OU is pleased to support the efforts by Mr. Elsant and others in the local Long Island Orthodox Jewish community to advocate to their member of Congress,” Nathan Diament, the organization’s executive director for public policy, wrote in an email to the Jewish Star. “The OU works to be the Orthodox community’s political advocacy arm, but the OU also urges and supports political activism by local leaders and individuals to advance issues we all care about. Clearly, in this case, the anti-Israel animus of the United Nations is an ongoing problem for those who care about Israel and we thus support the efforts to have Congress deliver appropriate pressure, or penalties, upon the U.N. for its biased activities.” Elsant said he hopes that if this bid is successful, other communities will try to get their representatives to cosponsor the bill. His petition now has close to 200 signers, but he said that making McCarthy aware of the legislation is more important than the number of names. “I think it is so obviously appropriate that she will support it,” Elsant said. “I think her attention just hasn’t been drawn to it yet.” He also pointed out that the bill has to pass the House and Senate as well as a conference committee, and the president has to sign it into law. When he was informed that the Senate has a related bill, S. 1848, sponsored by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, with only three cosponsors signed on to date, Elsant gamely stated that he was just “given my next assignment.”
introduces its new mobile-phone text messaging renewal service The Peninsula Public Library is proud to introduce its new SMS Text-Messaging information line. This service makes keeping on top of a patron’s library account very easy and convenient. When a patron’s library book is due, they will receive a text message to their mobile phone informing them of the title of the book and the due date. If the patron would like to renew the book, all they have to do is reply “RENEW” to the text message. They will then get another text message confirming the renewal of the book(s) or if the book cannot be renewed, it will inform the patron of that. Items that are not eligible for renewal include overdue items, items with holds waiting, or items already renewed. Patrons who owe fines for previously returned materials may not be able to renew materials using this feature. Arleen Reo, Director of the Peninsula Public Library said “This service makes it very easy for any of our 16,000 patrons to get immediate information re-
garding their items on loan and gives them the option to renew items from their phone. We are proud to offer this service to our patrons.” Jeffrey Leb, a Trustee of the Peninsula Public Library commented “This is yet another great use of technology by the Peninsula Public Library. This fantastic service maximizes the convenience to the borrower and can save them the time and inconvenience of accruing late fees by renewing via text. I applaud Ms. Reo and the devoted staff of the Peninsula Public Library for their devotion and dedication to the patrons of the PPL by always using technology as a way to improve the quality of service.” To register for the text messaging service the patron must “opt-in” by going to the Library’s log-in page at http:// www.alisweb.org/patroninfo and logging in to their account. They can also call the Peninsula Public Library at 516-239-3262 or email at email@example.com with any questions.
THE JEWISH STAR January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772
For those who leave, a network of support
January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772 THE JEWISH STAR
Opinion Why is this political night different from all other nights? The Iowa caucus
here are political campaigns and there is Iowa. For the past six plus months the state of Iowa has been inundated with political operatives, political ads, and candidate robo-calls all leading up to tonight’s caucus vote. People in Iowa did not go into voting booths to cast their ballots. In each Iowa voting precinct registered Republicans gathered in local schools, churches and community centers hear a representative from each candidate make a little speech. That is followed by discussion, arguments, cajoling (kind of like my house during Thanksgiving dinner. They are electing delegates to their county conventions, and each of the 99 POLITICO county conventions will select TO GO delegates for both Iowa’s Congressional District Convention and the State Convention, which eventually choose the delegates for the National Convention in August. By time the state convention happens in mid-June the nominee is usually selected so the delegates usually rally behind the winner. In other words the Iowa caucus means very little. So why have the candidates spent so much time in Iowa? There is an old political saying Jeff Dunetz “there are only three tickets out of Iowa” In other words, usually after Iowa all but three candidates drop out. That will not happen this year. Usually after Iowa the focus is on New Hampshire as the first “real” primary, don’t look for that to happen. Mitt Romney has a huge lead in New Hampshire and the other candidates (except for Jon Huntsman) will give only cursory attention to the Granite state. This year it is more likely that the South Carolina primary will whittle the field down. The expectation going into tonight was a three-way split between Romney, Paul and Santorum and the vote went almost as planned, a Romney/Santorum tie with Ron Paul coming in third. The race came down to this, traditional conservatives leaned toward former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Tea Party Republicans were split between Santorum and Ron Paul (the man who put they “Aryan” in Libertarian) and people whose first issue was electability favored Romney. In Iowa voters are allowed to declare their party affiliation the day of the caucus those voters went for Ron Paul. According to exit polls he only got 14% of the votes of people who were Republicans before tonight. Most of the next big state primaries are “closed” meaning they do not allow for last minute party switching—another reason why Paul will not be as successful in future states. Romney got about a quarter of the vote in 2008 and about the same this time. On one hand it is a success for
Romney because he barely spent any time in Iowa, only beginning to seriously campaign in the state two weeks ago, but on other hand it could also be seen as a failure as he wasn’t able to grow his percentage from 2008. Paul’s strong showing does not translate to other states; Iowa is all about retail politics and organizations the Texas congressman excels at that, but in other states where the voting takes the more traditional form Ron Paul will not be able to be successful. Ron Paul spent millions of dollars in this state but was not able to expand his base especially amongst traditional Republicans another indication of his lack of appeal. Of course that will not deter Ron Paul, he will continue all the way to the convention which in the end will help Mitt Romney. With Paul and Santorum both going after the “not-Mitt Romney vote it allows Romney to slip through and win more primaries. Santorum was able to accomplish what he set out to do, not having anywhere near the money of the other candidates he waged a grass roots campaign hoping to be the “last not-Romney” standing, generating the momentum to take him into future states. As the old saying goes “be careful what you wish for..,” now that he has officially moved into the top tier his record will be placed under a microscope. When it comes to foreign policy, many of the former Senator’s positions seems to be a clumsy “shoot first ask questions later,” not very popular but not very well known as of now. What’s next? Even though she claims she is staying in the race, I cannot see Michele Bachmann staying in the race. She is out of money and her weak showing will not allow her to raise more. Newt Gingrich will stay in at least through South Carolina, not because he thinks he will win, but because of revenge. It was the barrage of negative ads by the Romney super-PAC that drove Gingrich down from the top tier. In old-school politics as Joe Kennedy once said, “You don’t get mad—you get even.” And the former speaker is a big believer in old-school politics. For those who thought Iowa was nasty...fasten your seat-belts. its going to get worse. Despite his fifth place finish Governor Perry will stay in at least through South Carolina testing his southern charm in the first major southern state primary. When all is said and done the big winner in the Iowa caucus is Rick Santorum, coming out of nowhere over the last two weeks to come out basically tied for the lead. The question will be can he translate this win into momentum. The big loser is Ron Paul he had to win Iowa big to be seen as a legitimate candidate, third place doesn’t cut the mustard. The prediction here is after South Carolina the Texas Congressman will be back in his rightful place as a fringe candidate. Jeff Dunetz is the Editor/Publisher of the political blog “The Lid” (www.jeffdunetz.com). Jeff contributes to some of the largest political sites on the internet including American Thinker, Big Government, Big Journalism, NewsReal and Pajama’s Media, and has been a guest on national radio shows including G. Gordon Liddy, Tammy Bruce and Glenn Beck. Jeff lives in Long Island.
Independent and original reporting from the Orthodox communities of Long Island and New York City All opinions expressed are solely those of The Jewish Star’s editorial staff or contributing writers Publisher and Editor Intern Account Executive Contributors
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Karen C. Green Dana Grob Helene Parsons Miriam Bradman Abrahams Rabbi Avi Billet Jeff Dunetz Juda Engelmayer Rabbi Binny Freedman Rabbi Noam Himelstein Alan Jay Gerber Zechariah Mehler Aviva Rizel Ariel Rosenbloom Alyson Goodman Christina Daly
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Letters to the editor self-propelled in its decision-making, Miriam’s Musings in 2008 properly giving 78 percent endorsement to the Obama-Biden delights reader ticket, most proudly including two of To the Editor: Congratulations to Karen Green. Moreover, double kodus for adding Miriam Bradman Abrahams to your staff. Her opinion column is just what I need now when I reach for “comfort words for the soul” . Miriams sharing insights is a perfect Shabbos dessert I will look for every week. May our readership grow to share and be inspired to care ... Morah Mira Sennett Atlantic Beach
Star column distorts President’s message To the Editor: While I have grown used to the frequently anti-Obama cast of your editorial pages, the December 30th edition was particularly virulent as well as inaccurate. Juda Engelmayer’s piece, “Obama -- Good for Israel” title notwithstanding, was yet another effort to (falsely) suggest that the Obama Administration’s policy toward Israel is different from (and worse than) that of previous administrations. George W. Bush, for example, called for a return to the 1949 armistice borders with adjustments in a 2008 speech in Jerusalem itself. Jeff Dunetz, meanwhile, makes easily disproven claims about Richard Foster’s and Secretary Sebelius’ statements on the Affordable Care Act and climate research among others, and states President Obama failed to call on Hamas to recognize Israel in a May 2011 speech when he in fact specifically did so. Opinion pieces may not be considered journalism, but they should still be based upon fact rather than falsehoods. The Jewish community rightly castigated The New York Times for publishing Mahmoud Abbas’ outrageous lies about Israel in his May 2011 op-ed. Our own newspapers should do better. Jonathan I. Ezor West Hempstead
Dunetz tilts too far to GOP candidates To the Editor: [Re: Politico to go: Gingrich’s Palestinian comment is true. But is he just pandering? Dec. 15] Jeff Dunetz threatens to become a dunce with his groundless claim that recent Presidential candidates --- Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and most egregiously Barack H. Obama --- feign friendship for Israel, with Jews voting for the present occupant of the White House on the assurances given by former NYC Mayor Ed Koch and ADL’s Abe Foxman. Of course, the sophisticated voting bloc of Jews is
the Five Towns, Hewlett and Inwood! It is glorious to reflect on the progress of our nation, since the contentious confirmation of the first Jewish Justice, Louis Brandeis, under President Woodrow Wilson; he was joined by Benjamin Cardozo, a Sephardic Jew, and succeeded by such luminaries as Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, and Abe Fortas (the last had his nomination for Chief Justice withdrawn by LBJ). This record will only be enhanced in future years, for Jews in America are accorded not only recognition, but admiration, and even affection, as we sometimes justifiably, anxiously, note increasing assimilation and intermarriage. Were any President, including the current, to waver on Israel, the existential threats it confronts from Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism, as well as a potential, perhaps imminent, nuclear Iran, he will face the solid, universal opposition of Jews, including this writer blowing the shofar of acute danger. This eventuality is neither present, certainly not contemplated! Thus, Jeff Dunetz weaves a tale, based on The Jewish Channel’s Steven I. Weiss interview of Newt Gingrich, where the candidate for the GOP presidential nomination made his senseless remark on Palestinian identity, denigrating our President, painting him with a broad brush with a fictitious “anti-Israel policy.” Let Jeff, and other propagandistic polemicists simply access Shalom TV’s Charlie Rose interview with the other Barak, Israel’s Defense Minister, who grippingly and movingly described how his country’s Embassy personnel in Cairo, besieged by a murderous mob and calling home their desperate messages to their loved ones, were saved by the unequivocal intercession of our President directing his Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, to remind and warn his Egyptian counterpart how the sizable American military and economic aid may be in jeopardy. As to the seven remaining Republican candidates, their bona fides on a host of issues are wanting, none can measure to the caliber, intellect, articulation and fluency of English with President Obama, even with warts. He has disappointed for not daring enough, staying his visionary course enunciated so grandiosely in his historic first run; his reelection, given the present field of opponents, is assured, by default. He deserves a credible rival, and a proposed Colin Powell with either Michael Bloomberg or Chuck Hegel his teammate, either as a Republican or third Party alternative will galvanize the electorate, drawing Democrats and independents, the latter a must constituency for any successful campaign, for neither major political alignment commands a majority of voters. Prof. Asher J. Matathias Woodmere
Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto Teachings : “The Great Unification: Balance of Genders” He was one of the all time greats in Jewish thought and theology. Although a mystic he was venerated by non-mystics. According to Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, one of the first to translate his teachings, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto [Ramchal] “was one of the most brilliant thinkers of the past several centuries…his depth of thought and systematic mind are evident in all his works. Furthermore, Rabbi Kaplan makes note of the following: “Over two hundred years ago, the famed Vilna Gaon declared that the Ramchal had the most profound understanding of Judaism that any mortal human Alan Jay Gerber could attain. He furthermore stated that if Luzzatto were alive in his generation, he would go by foot from Vilna to Italy to sit at his feet and learn from him.” The Ramchal was the author of numerous books, all classics in Jewish thought, detailing his take on Jewish mystical , theological, and ethical teachings. Recently Feldheim Publishers, the main publisher of Luzzatto’s work in English reis-
sued a revised edition of one of Luzzatto’s least known works, “Secrets of the Redemption: Ma’amar HaGeulah” with a translation and detailed commentary by Rabbi Mordechai Nissim. This work of close to three hundred pages goes into great detail on the Ramchal’s teaching on the Redemption and all that goes with our anticipation of the “end of days”, the geulah and the coming of Mashiach, the messiah. Much of what the Ramchal teaches in this work is a distillation of classic Jewish thought on this subject presented in concise language that is further explicated by Rabbi Nissim with the appropriate footnoting as well as scriptural citations to help the reader better understand some of the most complicated concepts. In a book full of exciting teachings that, given the events of our day speak to us directly with breathtaking relevance, there was one section, Discourse Two: Eretz Yisrael, that for this writer proved to be the most fascinating teaching in this whole book of fascinating teachings. In part three of this Discourse, entitled, “The Great Unification: Balance of Genders”
BEAUTY IN MOTION.
Rabbi Nissim , in his commentary states the following teaching and observation that deserves your attention : “Within Jewish law, women are treated as equal to men, yet different. Each has his / her unique role to play. Halachah has always related to the potential vulnerability and abuse of women, both within the marital relationship and within society as a whole, and many laws were enacted by our Sages to safeguard the status of women in both domains. The marriage kesuvah is reflective of this, as is man’s responsibilities within the marital relationship, as specified in the Torah and in the Shulchan Aruch. Furthermore, man’s misuse of his overriding position is one of the many causes mentioned for the Divine Presence remaining in exile. Within this context, the holy Zohar [2:147b] explains that women, who are represented by the moon, have been subjected to the power of men, who are represented by the sun. For this reason, men have until now been dominant. However, in the future, this situation will change; as the prophet says [Yeshayahu 30:26], ‘The light of the moon will be like the
light of the sun.’ Part of the perfection and tikun of the world will entail the renewal of the relationship between man and woman, as it existed before Adam sinned, and then the gender issue will no longer be an issue anywhere within society. This will be rectified in the same manner as ‘ the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun,’ and this will happen when the Shechinah reveals itself in its full glory, when kedushah once again becomes all pervasive throughout the world, and the will og G-d will be clearly understood by all.” [pages 218 – 219 in the 2012 edition] Thus we see from this that the Ramchal explains here, according to Rabbi Nissim, “ how in the future, when humanity unites, there will be equity of the sexes. We can already see this occurring in our times.” [page 120 in the 2004 edition] Please keep in mind that the above is an interpretation of a Ramchal teaching. It merits your close reading. However, a full reading of this work, as well as other works by Luzzatto would be a worthwhile experience. This new edition points to the growing popularity of the works of Luzzatto, first started by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, of blessed memory. Feldheim Publishers are to be commended for bringing these teachings to the English reading public in so attractive a format.
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THE JEWISH STAR January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772
The Kosher Bookworm
January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772 THE JEWISH STAR
A towering impact
cried at the 9/11 Memorial when I visited. I brought my two grown boys with me for emotional support. The last time I was in the World Trade Center was a couple of weeks before 9/11 when I took my sons to the observation deck to show them where I had worked for 3 years. This is not a piece about the horrific attacks, politics, terrorism, religion, nor is it about the victims. That will continue to be discussed in millions of words by both lay people and experts all across the media. Countless novels and films feature the iconic towers; my favorite is Man on Wire about Philippe Petit’s famous high-wire dance across the sky. Recent fictional accounts of 9/11 include Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Amy Waldman’s Submission. This is simply my own personal connection to the towers. My earliest memory of the World Trade Center was checking out the brand new buildings with my dad and uncle around the time the towers officially opened in 1973. We walked around the lobby and went up to a higher floor for the view. MIRIAM’S MUSINGS Ever since that visit, the towers served as a beacon for me. Whenever we spied them as we drove along the highways and crossed the bridges connecting the boroughs, I’d yell to my family “Look, there are the towers!” Sticking out of the Manhattan skyline, they were a monolithic structure that served as a geographical pointer to my beloved city. Miriam Bradman In my senior year of Abrahams Brooklyn College I began an easy job application process, especially compared to what my kids endure today. Students majoring in computer science in 1981 were in high demand. PL/1, Cobol, Fortran and Assembly were the languages of choice. I was interviewed and recruited for programming positions in the career guidance office in school. I traveled for second interviews to the Wall Street area, midtown and New Jersey. Since I wanted nothing to do with a long commute from Brooklyn to Piscataway, I accepted a position with The Port Authority of NY & NJ. They offered a training program for incoming programmers which included visits to all of their sites. A cubicle on the 71st floor of 1 World Trade Center, an excellent starting salary, potential to grow, and revolutionary flextime sounded amazing! I began my way to work by riding the D train, switching to the R train to Cortland Street station each morning and finally coming right into the World Trade Center Concourse. Who wouldn’t be excited and proud to work in one of the tallest buildings in the world? On a typical weekday, 50,000 people worked in the towers and triple that amount visited. The towers were each 110 floors high, with an antenna atop Tower 1 and the observation deck on the 107th and 110th floors of Tower 2, offering a 50 mile vista on a clear day. Though called ugly by some, they were incredibly impressive, filled with tenants like the Port Authority and other State government offices, shipping companies, financial institutions and more. The complex was so huge it had its own zip code. Five smaller buildings surrounded the towers including the Vista Hotel at 3 WTC. The concourse was a crazy hive of activity. People entered from the subway stations and surrounding streets, then raced past the shops and restaurants to get to the banks of shiny elevators. I quickly learned how to zoom in the empty spaces between them. I rode the express elevator up to the 44th floor and switched to the local to get to the 71st. The actual computers, IBM 370, were on the 70th floor along with the techs. Programmers and supervisors resided on
the 71st floor. Supervisors had window cubicles and programmers didn’t. I was fortunate (or not) to have a cubicle directly facing my boss, and enjoyed a great view through his section of the floor to ceiling window. The outside walls of the towers were all windows that brought in an abundance of natural light and breathtaking views on sunny days. Bad weather totally obscured the view. Clouds made us feel as though we were floating in the mist and wind caused our tower to sway. We nervously reminded each other that we were supposed to feel that, since the buildings were made to last this way. Great excitement to break up the monotony of work was had when the window washing robot inched its way up or down a particular window. No human was suspended from ropes to clean these glass panes. My work mates and I fully enjoyed all that the towers offered. We rode down to the concourse for celebratory drinks. We took morning breaks at the 44rd floor Sky Lounge, breakfast at the cafeteria on the 43rd floor, and took turns playing the arcade games PacMan, Centipede and Asteroids. We spent sunny lunch breaks sitting on the edge of the rotating metal sphere sculpture which included a cooling fountain. On rainy days we shopped right in the concourse. We walked across West Street to the landfill by the Hudson to watch the construction of the quickly rising World Financial Center. I showed off my skyscraper by taking friends and family to see the view from Windows on the World at the top of Tower 1. We had occasional fire drills. This meant walking down the stairways in a calm and collected manner to a previously assigned floor. Some of my coworkers decided to go the entire way down to the lobby. We wanted to test how long it would take and whether we could do it, but also probably to take a longer break from work. We took this exercise semi-seriously, never really thinking we’d have an emergency. My only fear working in the towers was of the elevators. The express elevators were super fast and made my ears pop and my stomach drop. We were told that the elevator cars each had a side panel that could open up so you can cross into a neighboring elevator if yours was stuck. Although it was a reassuring option, it introduced the fear of being trapped and having to step across a void to safety. My years at the World Trade Center were enlightening and exhilarating. It was my first post college job and I was exposed to diverse types of people. I was in the big city with easy access to after work activities and culture. I left that job with unpaid leave only to try out working and living in Israel. In those days I never imagined the towers as a target. They were a center for business, government, transportation and tourism. The horrific attacks of 9/11 destroyed manmade structures and human lives. After ten long years, the 9/11 Memorial is finally open to the public and is worthwhile seeing. The underground museum isn’t ready yet, but walking around the two pools situated in the footprints of the towers is a powerful and meaningful experience, no matter what your connection is to the victims, the place or our great city. For now there are online free ticket reservations and an airport-like security process before you visit. They say it will eventually be an open plaza with free access from all sides. More information about visiting this special place can be found at www.911memorial.org. Remember to bring some tissues. Miriam Bradman Abrahams is Cuban born, Brooklyn bred and lives in Woodmere. She organizes author events for Hadassah, reviews books for Jewish Book World and is very slowly writing her father’s immigration story. She is teaching yoga at Peaceful Presence Yoga Studio. email@example.com
When feelings fester Dear Aviva, I have both a friend and a relative with the same issue. If they have a problem with something that I’ve said or done, they will not call me out on it immediately and appropriately, instead they let it fester and brew and not mention anything about it. They may avoid me until one day, weeks later, something may trigger it and they blow. Both these people have had hard lives, and I feel like they take things harder when someone wrongs them. When they finally come out and say why they are upset, they end up standing there blubbering and crying and I feel absolutely no rachmanos for them. They should have said something before! How can I avoid this or handle it better in the future? -Irritated Irritant
Dear Irritated Irritant, It seems to me like you’re pretty healthy if you are able to realize that letting things fester isn’t cool. But I hope you aren’t the type to let people know that you are upset without giving it enough thought. The sort of thoughts you should be having when someone wrongs you is, “Why does this bother me? What does it represent to me? What does it remind me of?” Then you should think about if it’s worth it to share it with the person, or let it go. If you decide to share, you then have to think about how you’ll tell the person in a way that they can hear it. So, there is a bit of a time-delay that needs to occur in order to properly express hurt to another. This time-delay could be anywhere from within 24 hours, to a week, or maybe two. It sounds like what you’ve described is not what I’ve described. The time delay that you are experiencing is greater, and it seems like the person is not bringing up the isolated incident, rather they are triggered by something else and then they throw this at you. This happens after they avoid you for some time, making you have to guess and prod if something is wrong. It’s possible that when you upset them, they decided to let it go, but then couldn’t come to terms with it so it inadvertently
comes out when they are upset about something else. But the more I think about it, if they are avoiding you during the in-between time, they are probably just festering as you suspect. I have an inclination that these people are projecting onto you more than what they are crying about. Usually when someone has a strong reaction to something, there is more there. “Blubbering and crying” sounds pretty strong, as long as we are not referring to a deeply disappointed spouse or my 4 year old when you tell her that we’re out of button candy. I think that these people put a lot onto your relationship if you can make them blubber and cry. You are important to them. I also think they may be carrying around a victim backpack with them. You mentioned that they have had hard lives. When a person goes through a trauma, any event afterwards that makes them feel vulnerable can suddenly rip off their flimsy, protective shell and make them ooze pain. This is old pain that feels fresh. Time may help this person separate past trauma from current hurt. A nice reframe can also help—going from “victim” to “survivor” is very empowering. So, this is all nice and good, but it doesn’t really help you practically, because you are not responsible for healing them. However, it would not be a bad thing to say during a time of non-conflict, “You know, I know there are times when I may hurt you. I want you to know that I really care about you and I don’t mean to hurt you. If I ever do hurt you, please let me know right away so that I can fix it.” For some, this may not be good enough because they may feel like, “I shouldn’t have to tell you that you messed up. You should figure it out on your own.” Well, I just hope those sort of people graduate from high school before they reach the point when they are getting their dentures fitted. -Aviva Aviva Rizel is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Lawrence. She can be reached at 347-2928482 or AvivaRizel.MFT@gmail.com.
he first of the twelve steps is admitting you have an addiction and I am man enough to admit that I have a terrible addiction to soda. I started young when I was in my early teens with gateway sodas like Sprite and Sunkist Orange and eventually it turned into a full-blown Coke habit. By the time I was in college, I was experimenting will all sorts of exotic drinks like Tahitian Treat, Surge, and even Pepsi Blue. Today, with THE KOSHER shame, I admit that CRITIC if you had gone into my dorm at YU and checked my mini fridge you would have found no less than three different flavors of Mountain Dew at any given time. Eventually my youthful metabolism could take no more and my love of fizzy drinks caught up with me. I began gaining Zechariah Mehler weight and feeling lousy and so I switched to diet soda. I know that everyone says that diet soda just takes time to get used to but, frankly, I don’t get that at all. After months of trying, I still felt that diet soda was just a pale shade of the actual stuff. And so, rather than tease myself with cheap imitations, I simply quit soda entirely. Years passed and I no longer craved soda the way I used to. And then one day, as it so often happens, I was at a party where someone was passing out glasses of cold fizzy Mountain Dew and
I accepted one. Lucky for me, during my soft drink hiatus my taste buds had matured. As I took a sip of the neon green liquid I wondered how I ever really chugged the stuff the way I had done when I was nineteen. Unfortunately the experience reawakened my craving somewhat, though, this time, my craving demanded a more refined beverage. So, as a result of my renewed craving, I went on an adult soda hunt at my local Whole Foods
Market and found several different options that satisfy the childish desire to drink soda and the adult need to imbibe more than just syrup and fizzy water. They are as follows. GuS Grown-Up Soda: The name says it all. It’s a soda for adults. Sweetened with cane sugar GuS’s sodas come in a really eclectic variety of flavors. My favorite flavors are Dry Cranberry Lime and Extra Dry Ginger ale that has a seriously spicy kick. These sodas
are not only great to drink straight but also make excellent mixers for more adult cocktails. Rieme Sparkling Limonade: Made in France, Rieme comes up with a series of very tasty naturally flavored sparkling lemonades. These lemonades are sold in 25oz glass bottles and come in wonderful flavors such as Pomegranate and Pink Grapefruit. Not all of Rieme’s flavors are kosher so make sure when purchasing to check for the OU. San Pellegrino: Recently San Pellegrino has released a line of Italian style sodas that are made from 16% fruit juice and sparkling water. Flavors include Limonata (lemon), Aranciata (orange), Aranciata Rossa (blood orange) and my personal favorite Pompelmo (grapefruit). These sodas are light, refreshing and out of this world flavorful. In the end, I don’t think I have fully kicked my soft drink habit. After all, even though the above beverages are more “grown up” then the average soda, they still contain equally as many calories and a healthy dose of sugar. The difference is that I find myself drinking less of these sodas then I ever used to of conventional brands. Maybe that has something to do with the price point or maybe I have simply found a way to better manage my addiction. Either way, with options like these I have no moral qualms about my can a day habit. Zechariah Mehler is a widely published food writer and expert in social marketing. Follow him on Twitter @thekoshercritic
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THE JEWISH STAR January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772
‘Pop’ stars: a palate pleaser
January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772 THE JEWISH STAR
THE JEWISH STAR January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772
January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772 THE JEWISH STAR
JJ Goldstein, on his mark, set and ready to go! By Karen C. Green Just mention the name JJ Goldstein to anyone of any age at Young Israel of Woodmere, and immediately the utterance of his name will evoke a smile. Whether you’re talking about his participation in sports leagues, or chesed activities, such as Tomchei Shabbos, for which he was honored by the shul, JJ is involved with boundless energy and enthusiasm. Most notable is JJ’s participation in Young Israel of Woodmere’s weekly Shabbos maariv minyan where JJ helps conduct the Havdalah service. A 16 year old who attends Kulanu Torah Academy and takes classes at HAFTR, JJ is a member of the Yachad senior division. In just a few weeks, on January 29th, JJ will be participating in the ING Miami marathon to benefit Yachad. Yachad/NJCD, an agency of the Orthodox Union, is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the life opportunities of individuals with disabilities, ensuring their participation in the full spectrum of Jewish life. Yachad/NJCD promotes Inclusion for these individuals through various integrated activities, such as regularly scheduled weekend getaways and Shabbatons, national chapters, and summer programs. So far 135 runners, ages 13 – 60, each committed to a mission of raising $3,000 for the organization, are registered to participate in the Miami event. JJ has the distinction, as listed on the Yachad’s website, of having raised the most, $15,000, through his letter writing campaign that commenced this past September. Yachad, a cause that is so important to JJ and his family, has inspired them to participate as well. JJ’s father Stan, and sister, Nicole , are geared up for the big day and will be running along side him at the marathon. Nicole, 20, who is also JJ’s mentor and serves as an excellent role model for her commitment to Chesed, expressed in a call from Israel (where she is coordinating several Gift of Life events,) how important both the day and cause are to her. “I’m so excited to run with him. Yachad has been a very big part of my life. This is my way to give back to Yachad.” About her brother, she sums it up with, “He’s awesome!” JJ has been training three times a week in preparation for the marathon. Under the direction of Gregg Dunn, his personal fitness trainer at New York Sports Club in
Courtesy Goldstein family
JJ, age 11, at a family simcha. Woodmere, JJ has been steadily increasing his endurance through a program of weight training and a thirty-minute combination of the use of treadmill, elliptical, stairmaster, and stationary bicycle. “He’s doing a great job, his endurance is up to par, and he has tremendous drive and motivation. He’ll do great at the marathon.” JJ has a busier schedule than most 16 years olds. When JJ is not training he is participating in a host of other activities including basketball, karate, bowling, and swimming. He swims every Wednesday night at the Friedberg JCC in Oceanside and is a member of their team. This past May, JJ competed in the Special Olympics with his team and won two silver medals. An ac-
Photos by Karen C. Green
JJ is committed to weight training in preparation for the ING Miami Marathon. tive member of Young Israel of Woodmere’s boyscout troop 613, JJ attended their Jamboree along with his father. Every Thursday evening, JJ devotes time to participating in DRS’ mishmar program and Tomchei Shabbos. On Friday mornings, JJ works at Trader Joes in Hewlett. He will soon begin assisting at the JCC nursery program. Anticipating the summer, he’s looking forward to going on the Yad B’Yad program in Israel, sponsored
by Yachad. On the musical side, he enjoys playing the drums and accompanied Rebbe Ruach’s band at the Young Israel of Woodmere’s Lag B’Omer Hillulah this past May. He also plays drums with the Rambam High School band and recently played at the Kulanu/Rambam Melava Malka. Looking ahead to the upcoming marathon on January 29, JJ is clearly on his mark, he’s set, and he’s ready to go!
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Greenstein Gallery owner opines about treasures By Jonathan Greenstein
t 14 years old, while most boys were into sports, I was working at a part time job at an antique store on Kings Highway in Brooklyn. It was 1980 and silver prices were insanely high. Every little old Jewish lady was bringing in their familyâ€™s antique Kiddush cup, menorah, spice box, etc to sell for the melt value of silver. The owner of the antique store was not Jewish, but understood that the melting down of these historic treasures was just plain wrong. He allowed me to â€œpurchaseâ€? these Judaic items at their melt value. I was grateful. That was 30 odd years ago, and it was my start at collecting Judaica. Over the next 20 years, I would run around to antique shows, flea markets, auctions and other venues to look for Jewish treasures that have been sold by their previous owners so I could add them to my collection, sell them or trade them to other collectors. As the years progressed, I had a metamorphosis from collector to dealer, to auctioneer and consultant. Over the years, I came to be known as the antique Judaica expert, a title that has lasted to this day. While I am no longer actively collecting for myself, I have conducted 19 bi-annual auctions since 2003, and now have a gallery on Central avenue in Cedarhurst from which we buy, sell, trade and auction several hundred pieces of antique Judaica and Jewish art yearly. I have written several articles about antique Judaica, been interviewed on CNN, Fox news, CBS with Chuck Scarborough and dozens of other forms of media, however one of my most rewarding endeavors is my column in Reform Judaism magazine. In my column I field questions from many of the over 1 million readers who email me photographs of pieces of Judaica that have descended in their families. Following my evaluation I tell them what itâ€™s worth as well as the pieceâ€™s general history. I have flown all over the Americaâ€™s giving the Jewish version of the Antique Road show. I have discovered that most of the Judaica that has not been destroyed by the
Nazis is not in a museum in New York, but in private homes, in the closets, bookshelves, basements and other spots of Jewish homes. In response to The Jewish Starâ€™s offer to have me write such a column, I am available to the general public to offer my expertise, and evaluation of their Judaica. Please feel free to email me your photos at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will identify them and explain the history behind the pieces and
their current market value. Above, a photo of a silver Etrog case that a reader sent in. A SILVER ETROG CONTAINER. Germany, c. 1860. Chased in the realistic form of an Etrog on a leafy stem. 6â€? wide. Silver Etrog containers were mainly silver sugar containers that were reborn for Judaic purposes. This style of Etrog container was the first ones created for the specific use of holding an Etrog. Value $2,000 â€“ 3,000
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THE JEWISH STAR January 6, 2012 â€˘ 11 TEVET, 5772
Antique Judaica Collectorâ€™s Corner
January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772 THE JEWISH STAR
A miracle of perspective
his week’s article is dedicated in honor of the marriage of Carly Rothenberg to Marc Friedman: May they always be blessed, and may they always appreciate all their blessings…. Some time ago I had the privilege of meeting a World War II veteran with a fascinating story to share: Born in Germany he was lucky enough to be born of parents who saw the writing on the wall, and he was sent away for High School to boarding school in England. Eventually, his family succeeded in getting out, and he wound up a young Jewish immigrant with a German accent in America. Victor (not his real name) succeeded in enrolling in a prestigious Ivy-League University and was eventually drafted into the U.S. Army, but as a College student assumed he would never see the front lines at least. And then D-Day and the beaches of Normandy changed all of that; with over a hundred thousand dead on the beaches, the army desperately needed to send fresh troops into the field to keep the war machine moving towards Berlin, and Victor was sent to the U.S. Army infantry. A couple of months later, after training stateside, he found FROM THE HEART himself in December of 1944, manOF JERUSALEM ning a foxhole in an infantry battalion along the front lines in Belgium. As it happened, he had very large feet, and when he arrived at the Belgian front, supplies being what they were in the army in 1944,the only pair of size-twelve army boots available had been given to a battalion commander, and he was forced to shove his feet into boots that were two sizes too small and leave them unlaced. It didn’t take long for him to develop first blisters from the Rabbi Binny boots, and then frostbite on his feet Freedman from wearing open boots in the bitter cold Belgian winter. Every so often he would manage to get to see the company medic who would give him more salve for his feet. It happened that his company’s particular area along the front lines in Belgium was a very quiet area with very little going on, which may have been why the company commander agreed one evening to let Victor leave the foxhole and ride back to company headquarters with him to have his feet examined. Back at Company headquarters, the medic took one look at Victor’s feet and decided he had frostbite that needed treatment and marked him down for transfer to the battalion infirmary. A couple of hours later, he joined a truckload of soldiers, mostly wounded on the front, being sent down to the battalion infirmary. Once there he was ‘tagged’ as having frostbite, and told to await the arrival of the battalion doctor who could only look at his feet when there was a break in the more seriously wounded men from the front lines. At this point, army bureaucracy took over; in an army of millions of men, at a certain point you are no longer a person with an injury; you become a classification and are thrown into the system. That night, for whatever the reason, frostbite victims were being sent to the Brigade infirmary, further back from the front lines, and he was sent onto another truck and transported to Brigade headquarters. There, he was given a bed, and again tagged as a frostbite victim; whereupon it was soon decided he was to be transported further to the rear, to the field hospital at division headquarters. By this time, Victor realized he had been swallowed up by ‘the system’, and tried desperately to get released back to his unit, but no one was listening. It is no small thing to be stationed with men with whom you have trained, and buddies who can listen and keep your mood up, and Victor started wondering whether he would ever succeed in getting back to his unit. With the front in constant flux as the American army pushed towards Berlin, he was afraid that by the time his feet got better, he would be sent elsewhere and would lose touch with his buddies for the duration of the war. But in an army of over four million men, sometimes you get lost, and eventually, having been categorized as a frostbite case, Victor finally found himself on a troop transport train which took him all the way back to the hospital in… Paris! Frustrated at having been separated from his unit, and depressed over his injuries, Victor lay in a hospital bed in Paris the next day all alone, and wondering what on earth
he was doing so far away, with what seemed to him a few blisters on his feet, and all because of one less pair of size twelve army boots. It would take a few days for him to discover that the same night he had gotten into the jeep to pop in to the company infirmary for an hour, was a night that would be engraved into the history books forever. December 16, 1944, turned out to be the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes offensive, which lasted until January 28, 1945, and very nearly changed the outcome of World War II. On that night, the Germans launched a surprise offensive, which would become the largest land battle of World War II in which the United States participated. More than a million men fought in this battle including some 600,000 Germans, 500,000 Americans, and 55,000 British. Nearly 20,000 American soldiers would die, with over 80,000 casualties. And the narrow three mile wide strip of land over which the entire German offensive poured into the Ardennes, ran right across young Victor’s foxhole. Victor’s unit was completely wiped out and all of the men were killed, taken capture, or disappeared on that fateful night. Indeed, Victor himself did not find out what had transpired that fateful night until a few days later in Paris. He spent years trying to find out what had happened to his comrades but to no avail, and finally gave up, assuming they had all eventually been killed. Only thirty years later, upon reading an article in a local paper about attempts to posthumously grant one of these men the Congressional Medal of Honor, was he finally reunited with the survivors. Amidst a tearful reunion, it transpired that the commander who had sent him back for treatment in the jeep had himself been killed, so none of them realized he had not been there that night; all of his friends had assumed he was killed in battle. Only after the war did young Victor realize what his fate would have been were it not for a missing pair of size twelve boots. A young circumcised Jewish soldier, in an American Army uniform would most probably have been killed by the Germans upon capture or at least sent to the camps. And if he had somehow evaded the Germans and made it back to US lines, one wonders how long a boy in uniform with a strong German accent and almost no knowledge of normal Americana like baseball would have survived when challenged by any American troops he came across…. There were special Nazi units disguised as Americans, in stolen uniforms, wreaking havoc behind the lines, as a result of which American units spotting a lone soldier in the field would often quiz him at gunpoint about obscure facts like the lineup of the New York Yankees; young Victor, having only spent a few years in the States had very little knowledge of baseball and apple pie…. Sometimes the missing pair of boots you wish someone could give you are actually the miracle you have already been given. Indeed, so much of life is about perspective…. This week’s portion, Vayechi allows us a good example of this idea. At the beginning of the portion Yaakov takes ill and realizes his death is near. It is interesting to note that this is the first instance in the Torah of a person actually becoming ill; until this point in history the Midrash (Jewish rabbinic legend), suggests, people just reached the end of their days, and simply died. One might have expected Ya’acov to be upset, even struggle with why G-d is causing him to suffer. Yet, Yaakov seems to understand that he is being given an opportunity to say goodbye. And in the time he has left the almost exclusive activity which preoccupies him on his final day, is to bless all of his children. In a situation where a person might feel cursed, Ya’acov chooses to fill his final hours with blessing; he blesses all of his children, one by one. As we begin a new secular year, perhaps we might take note of what size twelve boots we think we are missing in our lives, and what blessings might lie hidden in what we seem to have been given in their place. Shabbat Shalom, because in the end, we are given the life that we have ; our only choice is our perspective on the life we have. Rav Binny Freedman, Rosh Yeshivat Orayta in Jerusalem’s Old City is a Company Commander in the IDF reserves, and lives in Efrat with his wife Doreet and their four children. His weekly Internet ‘Parsha Bytes’ can be found at www.orayta.org
The Sword and Bow I
n the last verse in Chapter 48, Yaakov promises Yosef the city of Shechem, “…which I took from the Emorite with my sword and bow.” Up until now the only thing we know about any “taking of the city of Shechem” is that Shimon and Levi took up arms and massacred the males of the city in retaliation for the treatment accorded to their sister Dinah. Yaakov’s reaction to their armed encounter was anything but positive and supportive. Some say this is what Yaakov is referring to. But this seems hardly likely. What could Yaakov be referring to? The Yalkut Shimoni (towards the end of 133) quotes “our rabbis” who described a tremendous battle which took place – not in the immediate aftermath of the Shechem massacre, but seven years later when the Emorites all gathered against Yaakov’s family to avenge the fall of their brethren in Shechem. The passage is quite long, and the details are fascinating. Targum Yonatan also makes reference to this military encounter, as does Rashi in the first opinion he records. Whether the events as described took place is surely debatable, but from one perspective, Yaakov could be referring to his conquerings in this war with the Emorites. Ramban, however, looks at a model forged by Elisha in the book of Kings II 13, in which he instructed King Yoash to shoot arrows in the direction of Aram to symbolize the victory that was to come over their land. Ramban suggests that Yaakov similarly asserted his power through the same symbolic action. Some suggest the “taking” refers to the Rabbi Avi Billet purchase he made in 33:19 “He bought the piece of open land upon which he set up his tent for 100 kesitahs from the sons of Chamor…” But how do we then explain the “sword and bow?” The Targum Yerushalmi introduces an idea others expand upon – that the “sword and bow” are not meant to be taken literally, but refer instead to merits that allowed Yaakov to “take” the land. Rashi, for example, explains the metaphor as his “wisdom and prayers.” Rabbi Chaim Paltiel even backs up this assertion explaining Onkelos’ interpretation of the phrase “b’charbi u’vkashti” (with my sword and my bow) as to be read [with a ‘heh’ in place of the ‘chet’] “b’harbi u[b]vakashati” – meaning with my prayers and my requests. Another similar interpretations is offered by the Seforno who says “my sword and bow” refers to “my knowledge and understanding” which are the weapons of the righteous (based on Tehillim 45:4) (see also Shabbat 63a). Rashbam and Radak surmise that Yaakov is making reference to a future war that Yehoshua will wage when they conquer the land, a fact Chizkuni claims refers to all the battles that will be waged in the conquering of the land. The Emorites are given the credit of ownership, Ibn Ezra explains, simply because they were considered the strongest of the nations. And Radak clarifies that since Yehoshua 24:12 says “sword and bow” were not yielded in order to win, they refer to “the help of God” which act as a sword and bow. Even if the “sword and bow” refer to the wars of the future in their totality, this does not explain why Yaakov, who is about to die and will certainly not be present for those future wars, attributes the weapons! Rabbenu Bachaye suggests he does so because it will be his merits which will be leading the battles and bringing about success on the battlefield (see Tehillim 44:4 which alludes to the merits of the fathers which deliver military success). Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch sees this verse as the paradigm of Yaakov’s proudest moments which he is bequeathing to his children. “That my children, though they were living among the Emorites, did not become Emorites themselves – such that they gather around me and I call them all ‘Israel’ – these represent my conquests, my victories, which I wrested from the Emorites.” While I don’t think any of these are foolproof interpretations, I do believe that Yaakov’s comment contains much depth. Whether referring to actual battles of the past or future, or of the battlefield of the mind or spirit in which Yaakov and his family overcame great odds and obstacles to take a stand for what they believed in and to maintain their identities and their way of life, Yaakov does express pride in the journey he and his family have taken to get to where they are. We too ought to know what we stand for and make great strides to achieve our goals. It is the truly blessed who can confidently bless one’s children at one’s death bed saying, “I look back on my life and bequeath to you my greatest successes and proudest moments, which have defined my life, and the lives you continue to live in fulfillment of the legacy I set out to create when I began both my life as an adult and the family that I leave behind.”
Rabbi Doctor Aaron Glatt gives an important community-wide shiur CHOFETZ CHAIM TORAH CENTER, located at 7 Derby Avenue in Cedarhurst, and under the leadership of Rav Aryeh Z. Ginzberg, is proud to invite the Men and Women in the Five Towns Community to a special and important shiur entitled “Death with Halachic Dignity”. Rabbi Dr. Glatt, Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Center will address the recent laws passed in New York State concerning end of life issues and explain how they affect us as Torah Jews. The shiur will be given on at 4:35 pm ( mincha at 4:20 p.m.)
Panim El Panim
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Jan. 15 Panim El Panim
JEWISH EDUCATION PROGRAM (JEP) of Long Island Camp Nagila is holding a dinner Melave Malka at 8:30 pm in the Lawrence Country Club. The event is being held in tribute of 25 years of the Suri Schwartz Jewish Individualized Learning (JIL) Institute. The dinner is $200 per person. For more information, call 516-374-1528 or visit jepli.org
Jan. 8 Breakfast Reception YESHIVAS NEFESH DOVID, The International Yeshiva High School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is holding a breakfast reception with Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Kakon. The breakfast will be held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Yoni Kutner at 9 Harborview West in Lawrence. The reception begins at 10:00 a.m. and will feature guest speaker Rabbi Eli Mansour. For more information call 416-630-6220, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nefeshdovid.com
The HANC JUMP Team The Jewish Unity Mentoring Program Devorah Schwartzman, Rebecca Grossman, Jordana Moldovan, Daniel Albert, Joyce Lieberman (advisor), Max Kahn, Zoe Stern, Reut Baer, Tamar Ossip, Sydney Daitch (Not shown: Michelle Teitelbaum)
YESHIVA DARCHEI TORAH is holding its 39th annual dinner at Terrace on the Park. The dinner is honoring Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Brecher, Mr. and Mrs. Aron Solomon, Rabbi and Mrs. Shlomo Pfeiffer, Rabbi and Mrs. Shloime Eisen, Mr. and Mrs. Yosef Goldberg, and Mr. and Mrs. Franklyn Snitow. For more information, call 718-868-2300 ext. 237 or email email@example.com
Jan. 11 The Great Neck Synagogue THE GREAT NECK SYNAGOGUE SISTERHOOD AND MEN’S CLUB present “A Conversation with Lorraine Abramson.” Ms. Abramson will discuss her memoir “My Race: A Jewish Girl Growing Up Under Apartheid in South Africa,” which was nominated for the 2010 Jewish Book of the Year Award. Following the program, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Lorraine will be available to autograph
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Jan 14. Yeshiva of Rochester Annual Dinner THE YESHIVA OF ROCHESTER is holding its Annual dinner at The White Shul in Far Rockaway. The dinner will be honoring Rabbi and Mrs. Adam Kanefsky and Rabbi Ephraim Birnbaum and there will be a special guest appearance by Yaakov Shwekey.
The Young Israel of West Hempstead THE YOUNG ISRAEL OF WEST HEMPSTEAD’S SISTERHOOD is hosting Not Your Grandparents... Bingo Night on January 14th at 8pm at the Young Israel of West Hempstead located at 630 Hempstead Avenue. Cover is $18.00 a person for members and non-members alike. Buffet dinner
PANIM EL PANIM is hosting their organizational breakfast at Knesseth Israel (The White Shul), located at 728 Empire Avenue in Far Rockaway. The two hour program which starts at 9:15 a.m., will feature IDF reserve Colonel Geva Rapp who will be highlighting Panim El Panim’s success in bringing Jewish heritage and identity to secular Israelis in the IDF, secular high schools, and kibbutzim. An inspiring video, which will be shown, aptly captures the work of this dynamic group. For more information please contact Dov Goldman at DGoldman@panimelpanim.org or call (646) 450-5991.
Jan. 16 Beit Orot Annual Dinner BEIT OROT is having its annual dinner at 6:00 p.m at The Crowne Plaza Times Square at Broadway and 49th street in NYC. The dinner will be honoring Cheryl & Dr. Mendy Markowitz, Melanie & Tov Marmer and Leigh & Daniel Waxman. For more information call 201-530-0210 or visit www. beitorot.org
Ongoing Recession impact group JCC OF THE GREATER FIVE TOWNS is sponsoring a support group for those affected by the recession. The group meets on Thursday mornings at 10:15 a.m. at Temple Israel, located at 140 Central Avenue in Lawrence. This group is part of the UJA-Federation’s Connect to Care initiative. For more information call Talia Rapps at 516-5696733 x213.
Dr. Sadowsky is pleased to announce that Sunday hours are now available. Please call for an appointment/consultation.
Dr. Golda Sadowsky, Psy.D. LICENSED PSYCHOLOGIST INDIVIDUAL & FAMILY THERAPIST 527570
Dinner Melave Malka
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JEWISH MUSIC AT THE PLAYHOUSE is holding a concert featuring the band 8th day at 8:00 p.m. There will be a special guest performance by Eli Marcus. Tickets are being sold at www. Jewishtickets.com for $25, $45, $74 or $180 VIP package, which includes meeting the artists. The event will take place at the Hofstra Playhouse and at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse at 118 Hofstra University in Hempstead. All proceeds go to charity to benefit the Friendship Circle of West Hempstead.
IDF RESERVE COLONEL GEVA RAPP, who leads the Israeli educational organization will be speaking at Rabbi Oppen’s minyan at Congregation Beth Sholom of Lawrence located at 390 Broadway in Lawrence. Additionally he will be speaking during Seudat Shelishit at the Young Israel of Lawrence – Cedarhurst located at 8 Spruce St. in Cedarhurst For more information please contact Dov Goldman at DGoldman@panimelpanim.org or call (646) 450-5991.
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13 THE JEWISH STAR January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772
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January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772 THE JEWISH STAR
Rambam Reflections By Gary Feder As a senior in Rambam Mesivta, there are unfortunately only a few more months left to savor before I continue on life’s journey, wherever that may take me. B’ezrat Hashem, next year, and perhaps the year after next, I will be in Israel “The Holy Land,” studying in Yeshiva before I continue on to college. Although there is much I can write about Yeshiva in Israel and College, what I would like to reflect on is my High School experience, specifically, certain decisions I made as a high school student that have had long-lasting implications on my life. Almost three and a half years ago, upon entering Rambam Mesivta, I was unsure of who I was, something many people struggle with at the young age of fourteen. Now, as I reflect upon this struggle, I can say that without a doubt, it let me realize my biggest regret during my time in high school. In my freshman year, I did not fully take advantage of all the numerous enjoyable events the school offered, events that I now wish I had participated in. On the seventh day of Chanukah, Rambam had their annual “Chanukah Chaggiga,” which involved Ruach, singing and dancing, a Chinese Auction for many amazing prizes which raised over $1,000, and a comedic video, made by students from the Stand-up Comedy Club. As I fervently danced in the middle of a circle with my fellow students, truly savoring my last Rambam Chanukah Chaggiga, I thought about my first Chaggiga three years ago and realized how strong of an individual I’ve become. I noted that I have transformed from someone who simply took part in the dancing to someone who now leads the dancing. As a senior with only months left before I depart from Rambam as a proud graduate, I am
trying as hard as I can not only to enjoy the rest of the school year, but also to help the younger students, both freshmen and sophomores, avoid making the same mistakes I made when I was in their position. Instead of waiting for the younger students to seek me out for advice, I seek them out and try to encourage them to partake in fun activities. I attempt to help them realize that they have an opportunity to make sure that they have an awesome and life altering high school experience. Part of what makes Rambam so great is that the whole school knows one another because the upperclassmen befriend the younger students. This year I ran for and was elected as the president of the Rambam Senior Council. I took on this position not only to raise money for our senior trip and yearbook, but also to be a student leader and role model. I realized the opportunity in front of me and I seized it. A few years ago I would have floundered with such an opportunity, but this year I embraced it with open arms. I could never have been one of the leaders of Rambam until I realized the greatness I was missing out on. My message to all fellow high school students is simple: I would encourage older students in every school to lend a hand to younger students and help ease their transition into high school. People need to feel comfortable to be themselves. At Rambam, whether it was our recent Foosball Tournament, Jungle Speed Tournament of Heroes, Toy Drive, Soccer Tournament, or Light From Darkness Charity Drive, the success of these endeavors is only as strong as the atmosphere that creates it; an atmosphere that allows students to discover their individuality. I am proud to say that I have not only benefited from this atmosphere at Rambam over the last four years but am now actively involved in its continuity.
Mensch on the street
The Iranian Dilemma By Matthew Maron Ever since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, relations between Iran and the West have increasingly deteriorated. From the US embassy hostage crisis to the recent reports of Iranian forces shooting down US UAVS (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) allegedly crossing into Iran over its shared border with Afghanistan, relations between Iran, the West, and allies of the West have come to a breaking point. Notably, recent threats made by the Iranian government threatening to shower Tel Aviv in a hail of missiles as well as threatening to station its naval forces near the United States exemplify the audacity of the Iranian government to “flex its muscles” and display its strength to the international community. Furthermore, recent Israeli Navy raids on ships attempting to enter the Gaza strip have revealed hidden shipments intended for Hamas militants laden with weapons manufactured in Iran. Among the weapons found were 122mm Grad rockets, the same rockets that were recently fired toward Israeli cities, namely Ashdod, in late October 2011. Iranian weapons were also found in the possession of Iraqi insurgents during the initial US lead invasion of Iraq as well as invasions by coalition forces in the years that followed. So the question is, what do we do? Given the new information coming out of the Middle East regarding Iran and its steadfast progress in obtaining a nuclear weapon, it’s only a matter of time before it’s too late. Israel continually lobbies awareness of the Iranian dilemma in the international forum, but reactions from other countries have been mixed at best. Some countries, including Russia and China, remain ambivalent, likely due to the fact that they are the main weapons suppliers to the Iranian government according to classified US intelligence
documents leaked on the Internet by websites including Wiki Leaks. Sanctions enacted by the UN are meaningless due to Iran’s vast resources created by its immense oil industry. Speculation that Israel will carry out a strike on Iranian nuclear sites fills the Internet as well as TV political talk shows but the viability of such a strike is questionable. The Iranian government has placed most of its nuclear sites deep inside the mountains that define its unique topography, making a successful military strike carried out solely by Israeli forces increasingly unfeasible. In time, the ultimate neutralization of Iranian nuclear capabilities will take the combined action of the entire international community as a whole to prevent religious fanatics from possibly starting the first global nuclear conflict in history. As the saying goes, “Never mistake action for motion,” and the same holds true here. The international community can enact all the sanctions it wants, condemn the provocative actions of the Iranian government, or maybe delay the Iranians in their pursuit of their own nuclear weapon by two months at the most. Ultimately, it will come down to the resolve of those willing to do what must be done for the betterment of society as a whole, to prevent the world from becoming enveloped in the same dark clouds that covered the world during the dark days of WWII. There are risks and costs to action but they are far less than the costs of no action at all. Matthew Maron is a senior and the editor-inchief of The Tattler, the official student newspaper of HAFTR High school. He has been involved in a number of extracurricular activities, including college bowl, debate, model congress, model UN, Torah bowl as well as HAFTR’s hockey and soccer teams.
By Ariel Rosenbloom
What are your thoughts on the recent unrest in Beit Shemesh? “It’s ridiculous. Having seen videos in the news, it’s horrible what they’re doing to these women who have done nothing wrong. The Israeli government should put soldiers on the streets where it is happening because there is no excuse for this.” DAVID ARBELLI Senior, HAFTR High School, North Woodmere
“It’s absolutely disgusting, but it’s not a chilul hashem because they don’t represent G-d.”
“It’s not okay that people can just act however they want without there being consequences. They can’t just do what they are doing simply because not everyone is not as religious as them. The zionists are the ones against everything that is going on.” AHUVA TSADOK Owner Ahuva’s Grill, Hewlett
“It’s shameful. I don’t know how Jews can do this to other Jewish people. Jews should treat everyone with respect and derech eretz.”
SHLOMO RUSSELL Assistant manager Gotta Getta Bagel Woodmere
AVI PINTO Life insurance salesman Woodmere
“I think it’s disgraceful. You only hurt the Jewish people when you do that. We should be focusing on our similarities, not our differences.”
STACEY TELLER Physical therapist Woodmere “When it comes to someone being assaulted, these people should be charged with assault. I also think that the rebbeim should also take appropriate action and say that any member of their shul who participates in assaulting other Jews shouldn’t be given any kibbudim.” JARED KATZ Teacher, Woodmere
port group for unemployed, tells of the Five Towns family of five with two autistic children where the parents, both professionals with college degrees, found themselves unemployed. They turned to Connect to Care for help and although one of the spouses is now working, they are not making nearly what they had been earning previously. Connect to Care has helped them find the resources to help manage their reduced income and find assistance to help put food on their table. Counselors also assist Connect to Care clients with applying for Medicare or food stamps and with applications for the Heat Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). Social workers provide counseling to those who are unemployed as well as other family members who may need it. The JCC recently sponsored “Look Good, Feel Good, Dress for Success” a program to help women in the Connect to Care program build their confidence and look their best at a job interview. The event was part of UJAFederation of NY’s Jewish Social Action month and also provided gently used, professional clothing donated by the community. “Today’s challenging economic times can take a toll on a family and nobody should feel isolated or alone,” said Rina Shkolnik, Executive Director of the JCC. “Connect to Care offers help and hope for people and families in crisis.” For more information on Connect to Care, call the JCC of the Greater Five Towns at 516569-6733 or visit www.fivetownsjcc.org.
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THE JEWISH STAR January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772
JCC and UJA-Federation of NY provide assistance for residents
Jewish heritage night lights up coliseum By Yaakov Hawk On Thursday, December 29, thousands of fans poured into Nassau Coliseum, to celebrate the Fourth Annual Jewish Heritage night sponsored by the Islanders and Chabad of West Hempstead. Thursday night’s thrilling Islanders victory over the Calgary Flames was certainly impressive, but not as exciting as the Chanukah and Jewish festivities of the night. This event, so perfectly organized by Rabbi Lieberman of Chabad of West Hempstead, not only brought Jews to the game but provided them with comfort and free kosher food from the I and D Kosher Stand, in an event described by Rabbi Lieberman as “A positive experience of joining with other Jews, eating kosher food and hearing words of Torah”. Fans shared this view, 10 year old Islanders fan Adam Lindenblatt exclaimed “It’s such a great thing to see all of the Jews come together at the game”. Jewish Heritage night, was surely a night to remember. A little more than a minute into the game, the Calgary Flames, scored a goal, leading many fans to believe tonight would be little more than an extension to Islanders 4 game losing streak at home. When the period finally came to a close with a brawl, Rabbi Lieberman stepped onto the ice to deliver a Dvar Torah and words of inspiration, to over 14,000 of fans, coaches and players. Which were well received and the reinvigorated crowd, the fans went on to cheer their team to scoring a goal and tying the game 3 minutes into the second period. Following the goal an announcement was made in the arena declaring Jewish Heritage night, and one lucky fan was chosen for
Photos by Susan Grieco
Attendees of Jewish Heritage night, skating at Nassau Coliseum following an Islanders win over the Calgary Flames. a Chanukah Trivia Challenge to win a great Islanders prize. At the conclusion of the second period, there was a Ma’ariv minyan for the fans in attendance. The prayers seemed to have been answered, when the Islanders proceeded to score another goal making it a 2-1 game, and then sealing up the win with an empty netter to win 3-1. As the game came to a close, the festivities of Jewish Heritage night began, with fans flocking to their cars to grab their skates and heading to the Coliseum’s Expo Center. In the Expo Center, attendee’s were greeted with Jewish music, games and Islanders giveaways. The games included an obstacle course and the Sparky’s Shot shooting challenge and kids were awarded prizes upon completion. After the festivities in the Expo Center, children and adults alike, laced up their skates, and had the opportunity to step onto the same ice, that the Islanders had
Rabbi Lieberman delivering a Dvar Torah in front of thousands of fans at Jewish Heritage night. just made an impressive win on. At the end of the night, Islanders insider Daniel Friedman, who attended the game with his family said “It was a real success the Isles put on a good show and skating on the ice after the
game made the night even better”. This event was a tremendous show of support for the Jewish community and as Rabbi Lieberman proclaimed “This is the 4th annual event and every year it just gets better and better”
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January 6, 2012 • 11 TEVET, 5772 THE JEWISH STAR
Published on Jan 5, 2012