Court hearing on Peninsula Library Page 2 Touro visits Croatian Jews Page 3 David’s Harp: Remembering Av Page 4 A delicious nine days menu Page 10
VOL 10, NO 30 ■ AUGUST 5, 2011 / 5 AV, 5771
Al Jazeera comes to your home Page 3 Shabbat Candlelighting: 7:47 p.m. Shabbat ends 8:50 p.m. 72 minute zman 9:16 p.m. Torah Reading Parshat Devarim This Tuesday is Tisha B’Av
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Peninsula Library building overdue By Sergey Kadinsky Temple Israel’s long-delayed plan to sell a portion of its property to the Peninsula Public Library could be reaching its conclusion, as the Lawrence synagogue has a Nassau County Supreme Court hearing on its subdivision application scheduled Aug. 9. “We have excess space, this space should be used to benefit the community,” said James Rotenberg, Temple Israel’s president. Although the Reform temple has seen a slight uptick in membership in the past two years, long-term demographic trends predict a decline, since the surrounding Jewish community is mostly Orthodox. Occupying a sizable property on Central Avenue, between Winchester Place and Fulton Street, Temple Israel’s first likely buyer was the JCC of the Five Towns, which sought to build a community center on the front lawn, with parking on the site of the nearby Fulton Street home belonging to the temple. “The village of Lawrence was quite resistant to this,” Rotenberg said. “The JCC needed variances, and they did not wish to fight.” Soon afterward, the temple approached the library to see if it was interested in acquiring the lawn. Last December, three months after Temple Israel and the library signed a letter of intent regarding the transaction, the temple submitted a subdivision plan to the Village of Lawrence. The library hopes to builds a three-story, 30,000-square-foot building on the site, which is just over half an acre and has been appraised at more than $2.5 million. A new library would replace the current 50-yearold, 13,000-square-foot facility at 280 Central Ave. in Lawrence. The Fulton Street house would be demolished, and the building would have 60 parking spaces. The century-old temple expected its subdivision request to be denied by the village because it needs a variance, which would require the involvement of the Nassau County Board of Zoning Appeals. But the denial letter never came. “We submitted the plans in April and awaited a denial letter,” said Garret Gray, the temple’s attorney. “They’re basically in the goal of delaying the application. It was ridiculous, and we filed a writ of mandamus to seek the denial letter.” Tuesday’s hearing will determine whether the denial letter will be issued and whether the subdivision request will move on to the county BZA. Lawrence Mayor Martin Oliner defended the village’s handling of the application, arguing that the temple did not supply the information needed to process the denial request. The library’s trustees have held off on a letter of intent on the temple property pending the hearing. According to the library’s president, Joel Shiff, the disagreement over the Temple Israel site is rooted in its size and the potential impact on traffic. “The property is overbuilt as it is under current standards,” Oliner said. “Just because you have a front yard doesn’t mean that it is suitable for building.” Rotenberg acknowledged that even if the BZA grants the waiver, it would be a “long haul” before the first shovel hits the ground on the temple’s lawn. “The voters must approve the financing, and I have great faith in the voters,” he said. “Certainly this community deserves a library that is appropriate.”
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August 5, 2011 • 5 AV, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR
By Anna Hardcastle Just weeks before we memorialize the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera, a news network known for its anti-Israel and anti-American slant, will be coming to Long Island on local cable networks. In contrast to efforts made by former president George W. Bush to postpone the airing of Al Jazeera English in the United States, current President Barack Obama strongly encourages its arrival on local television channels. In light of its “Arab Spring” coverage, President Obama believes that Al Jazeera has shifted its reporting from anti-American towards pro-democracy. “Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it’s real news,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a speech to the Senate in March. “You may not agree with it, but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials.” The independently operated company was initially launched as an Arabic news channel in November 1996. Since then, Al Jazeera has widely expanded into a network with several media outlets, including online and specialty television channels in English and Russian among other languages. The original mission of Al Jazeera, to broadcast diverse views through call-in channels, was controversial in the Arab world. After the 9/11 attacks, the station gained worldwide attention for being the only one to broadcast
the war in Afghanistan live from its bureau there, and for its broadcasting speeches by Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Al Jazeera English was first launched in 2006, with initial staff members experienced in reporting for top news organizations. The network appeared to advance an extremist Islamic ideology, while openly expressing antagonism toward Jews and the Jewish state. Examples of its extensive antiIsrael reporting include the birthday party thrown by Al Jazeera Arabic for Samir Kuntar, a murderer of three members of a Jewish Israeli family, after he was released by Israel in July 2008. Some local supporters of Israel have witnessed firsthand the subjective reporting of Al Jazeera. During last year’s confrontation between David F. Nesenoff and longtime White House reporter Helen Thomas, “There were a number of strong errors in their reporting. They said there was an anti-Israel protest that day when there was not,” Nesenoff said. “I’ve noticed that they constantly want to show an impression that there are always protests against Israel at the White House.” In addition to appearing as antiIsrael, Al Jazeera also seems to take an antiAmerican slant. “There’s no question that the editorial views on it are more critical of U.S. policy, but I wouldn’t say that it’s antiAmerican,” said Harvard communications professor Matthew Baum. “It’s simply reflecting who their customers are, the perspective
of the region.” The broadcaster’s opinion columnists are sated with subjective Israel bashers who freely use the “apartheid state” label when speaking of Israel. Even recently claiming Zionism is to be blamed for the Norway killings. While Al Jazeera has a reputation for critically reporting on America and Israel, Baum believes that few Americans have actually seen an Al Jazeera English broadcast. “It’s mainly for immigrant communities. But if it’s in every household, that could change public opinion.” Baum said that with the perception that Al Jazeera is anti-American, watching the network may feel “politically incorrect” and it will take time for the network to establish a wider audience. Al Jazeera English is doubling up its efforts to persuade cable companies around the nation to carry its news channel. Earlier this year Al Jazeera English launched the “Demand Al Jazeera” online campaign to press its case, urging supporters to lobby their local cable companies, many of which turned down the requests due to the network’s reported anti-American and anti-Semitic bias. In May, Comcast denied Al Jazeera’s many efforts to appear on their network. However, the company recently began leasing space from WRNN, a private broadcast network that provides news for its own channel as well as Verizon FiOS. On August 1, Time Warner Cable began broadcasting Al Jazeera and it will soon be available on Verizon FiOS. The deal will bring the channel to over two
million homes across the New York Metropolitan area. “The Al Jazeera Network will be broadcasted on multi-cast through the WRNN station in Westchester which has a few channels on the Verizon network,” said John Bonomo, Verizon FiOS director of media relations. “The agreement was made between Al Jazeera and WRNN. Verizon just broadcasts what the Westchester network elects to put on.” Al Anstey, the managing director of Al Jazeera English, informs the press that there has been a high demand for the channel in New York. He adds that 40 percent of the network’s online traffic comes from the United States. Furthermore, Al Jazeera already attracts 500,000 online readers from New York, according to Anstey. The network is in for a cold response from Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, who argues that the network views the U.S. as “Neocons and violent invaders and murderers of civilians.” But even he admits that its English tone would be tamer. “I have seen the change in tone over the last several years. They often use American terms such as ‘neocons’ to win over the anti-war faction of the American population,” O’Reilly said on his show in February. While the channel brings with it mixed feelings, there is no denying that it is available here on Long Island, and its viablilty and popularity will remain to be seen.
Touro’s Lander women teach in Croatia By Sergey Kadinsky On the itineraries of Jewish travelers, Croatia lacks the depth of Jewish experiences found in Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, but in early June, four students from Touro’s Lander College for Women traveled to the 20-year-old Balkan country to visit its Jewish community, which numbers approximately 2,500, mostly in the capital city of Zagreb. “From the moment we landed we were involved in a flurry of activities,” Alon said. “Unlike life in major Jewish metropolises, many amenities are either scarce or non-existent. The population is eager to learn more about their Jewish heritage, to learn more Torah, exchange thoughts and ideas, and to connect with their American sisters and brothers.” The students engaged with their Croatian counterparts in Torah learning, English lessons, and distributing kosher food. “Our mission was to inspire the Jewish community, give classes and lectures to young and old alike, to offer them chizuk and to create a bond with our far-away brethren,” said Cochava Alon. “This was a truly unique experience for us, but its impact was even more remarkable.” The trip was led by Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, a renowned speaker and author, who also teaches Jewish studies at LCW. Rabbi Goldwasser is no stranger to the region, having previously led chizuk missions to neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. “This is a great opportunity and I’ve always wanted to practice kiruv,” said Miriam Kahn, a sophomore majoring in biology. “It’s mainly a secular community but they cherish traditions and want their children to understand Jewish values.” Under the Bet Israel organization, the local Jewish community enjoys a new synagogue and the Lauder Hugo Kon School, which offers an elementary education alongside
Photo courtesy of Lander College for Women
Students from Touro’s Lander College for Women visit the Lauder Hugo Kon School in Croatia. cultural programs. Located at the crossroads of central, eastern and southern Europe, the Jewish presence in Croatia dates to the Roman period, augmented by an influx of Sephardim fleeing the Spanish inquisition. The relative tolerance of the Habsburgs allowed great synagogues and scholars to flourish in Croatia. The Nazi invasion in 1941 installed a collaborationist regime that nearly exterminated the community in Croatianoperated concentration camps, including Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska. 516 of the 18,830 Jewish women and children are buried in the Djakovo Cemetery in eastern Croatia. On June 5, the students attended a memorial ceremony at the site. While Croatia’s wartime role continues to cast a shadow, much of the community’s focus is on the future, in expanding Jewish educational programs. “It was inspiring to learn with them. They were looking at our books with awe,” said Kayla Carmen, a senior majoring in graphic design. A native of Detroit, Carmen’s only previous foreign experiences were Canada and Israel. “I never know
when I would have such an opportunity again.” Touro’s visit to Croatia provided such an inspiration that it was documented by a local news station and a special song composed in their honor by a local choir. “Their young voices rang out with gusto as they sang a special song,” Alon said. The highlight of the weeklong trip was a communal Shabbat meal and lecture by Rabbi Goldwasser titled, “Faith During These Challenging Times.” Prayers were led by the country’s Chief Rabbi Kotel Dadon. “Everyone felt uplifted and inspired by the entire Shabbos experience,” Alon said. As the young owmen learned, their teachers approached Rabbi Goldwasser about American Jewish day schools. Rabbi Goldwasser offered insights on how to implement American innovations in Croatian schools. “We had developed a special respect for the members of the Zagreb community who cling to their Jewish religion with mesiras nefesh and genuinely thirst for more Torah knowledge and a stronger connection to Hashem, Alon said.
THE JEWISH STAR August 5, 2011 • 5 AV, 5771
Al Jazeera English set for local cable
August 5, 2011 • 5 AV, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR
Opinion Kamtzas and other parties
n a few days we observe the fast of Tisha B’Av, mourning the loss of the two Jerusalem Temples. The Talmud tells us the cause of the Second Temple’s destruction was senseless hatred and political insults. A man threw a party and intended to invite his good friend Kamtza. His servant erred, mistakenly invited the host’s enemy, Bar Kamtza. This led to the insulting of Bar Kamtza, his slandering of the Jewish people to Caesar, and Bar Kamtza’s wounding of an animal Caesar sent to the Temple as a peace offering. The sacrifice was rejected as unfit, which Caesar took as a political insult and rebellious move so he invaded, resulting in the destruction of the holy Temple. The story of the Kamtzas POLITICO is apropos for Tisha B’Av but TO GO should also be a warning for America following two months of a debt ceiling debate riddled with personal insult and hateful rhetoric. Despite the insults, the compromise deal gives a political victory for some and more importantly has the potential to result in victory for America, provided that our leadership consider this a starting point. The big winner in the debate is the tea party movement. Jeff Dunetz As recently as June 22nd the Democratic Party was talking about a new stimulus package, that conversation is long gone. The tea party movement switched the debate from “spending vs. cutting,” to “how much should be cut and/or from where.” Major tea party demands going into the talks were achieved. Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell were also winners. They held to the no new taxes pledge despite rumors they had folded. Boehner gets more credit as he was the face of the opposition, took all the heat, and showed himself willing to compromise not only with Democrats but with his own coalition, to make a deal happen. All polls reflected a public demand for the two sides to play nice, but the progressive strategy ignored the public will. They tried to falsely brand the tea party movement as evil, stubborn terrorists whose only desire was to push granny off a cliff and ride their private jets to the yacht club. President Obama was the big loser. When the United States needed a leader he was a fear-monger. There was never a chance of the country defaulting on its debts, but his rhetoric about defaulting rattled an already shaky investment community. He demonized GOP Congressmen who were part of the tea par-
ty movement who were simply trying to keep their campaign promises. Obama’s demand that any agreement go past the 2012 election, extended the crises an additional week, giving political fodder for his eventual opponent who can rightfully say Obama chose politics over the needs of the country. The President’s relationship with Democrats in Congress was severely damaged by this debate. Senior Party members felt Obama’s reluctance to commit on a plan of his own, demonstrated a lack of leadership leaving them to twist in the wind. Party leaders didn’t want speeches, they wanted Obama to roll up his sleeves and come up with his own deal. Looking to the future, this compromise achieved little. Before the ultimate outcome, it was projected that the National Debt will grow from the present $14.5 trillion to $26 trillion in ten years. With this deal the projection drops to a bit over $24 trillion, still an unsustainable burden on the economy. It is urgent that our leaders keep spending under control and it has to start with entitlement reform. Last year entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare accounted 56% of the total U.S. Budget, and with the onset of real Obamacare spending in 2014 entitlement costs will grow dramatically. The debt deal, especially the second half in 2013, will potentially take a major chunk out of our national defense. In this era of global terrorism, our leaders must immediately explore ways to cut spending without damaging security. I would suggest they begin with the recent Government Accounting Office report, showing by eliminating in the Defense Department, the government could save a minimum of $100 billion in operating costs and the potential of much more. This compromise was a small victory in the battle to keep the United States away from the abyss of over-indebtedness. As pressure-filled as it was, future ones will be worse as they will have to deal with the more emotional issues of entitlements. In order for our country to survive, our leaders will have to cut our spending without falling into insults, ego and vitriolic rhetoric. As we learned in the story of the Kamtzas, hateful words were enough to destroy the holiest place on earth, imagine what it could do to a place like Washington. 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.
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David F. Nesenoff Sergey Kadinsky Helene Parsons Hy Spitz Sandi Stanger Rabbi Avi Billet Jeff Dunetz Rabbi Binny Freedman Brigitte Fixler Rabbi Noam Himelstein Alan Jay Gerber Zechariah Mehler Aviva Rizel Ariel Rosenbloom Anna Hardcastle Alyson Goodman Christina Daly
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orman stood in front of his home as he did for over 40 years. This time something was different. He looked at the house and a feeling came over him. It was incomplete. After almost a half century of raising four children, paying taxes, and helping his community, he felt his residence needed an accessory. “Norman, after all these years what’s got into you?” His wife questioned in confusion. Norman wasn’t so handy with the toolbox, nor did he even know if he had the proper tools, and frankly he wasn’t quite sure where the toolbox was. He asked a neighbor for the drill and the bits and the hardware and the ladder and the extension cord and then off he went to the store to buy an American flag. Some neighbors over the years would display their Old Glory during national holidays but Norman’s Jewish home along with others never got around to it. So Norman enlisted his very kind Italian friend next DAVID’S HARP door for the paraphernalia to accomplish all that it takes to secure a bracket into the brick of the upper part of the house above the garage door. Of course all the while Norman’s wife would inquire as to why, for G-d’s sake, after a lifetime of years do you need to put a flag on our house? How many decades of July Fourths and Memorial Days and President’s Days had come and gone without a whimper or a breath or even a slight reflection for the need to hang a flag? And even most of those who had the metal accoutrements affixed to their homes did not have the pennant and pole in place that day or that week or that time of year. Two neighbors, two Americans, of different ethnicity and religion helped one another with the mechanics, logistics and physics that go into the joining of screws David F. Nesenoff and bricks and mortar. The fresh red, white and blue fabric was placed. After all these years it was now Norman’s home that singularly waved the star spangled banner in the quiet flagless neighborhood in the heated dog days of summer. Shortly after his raising of the flag, my father, Norman Nesenoff passed from this world after a heroic eight-year battle with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He died on Tisha B’Av, the Ninth of Av, 10 years ago. He was magical, brilliant, funny, generous, creative, and youthful. He was kind and he was a kibitzer. One month after his soul left his material being, the World Trade Center tumbled to the ground. A part of me has always been secretly thankful that he did not live long enough to witness such hate on the shores of the country where his parents found refuge, where he so flourished and endeared himself. He didn’t have to see the towers fall or reside in a world of 9-11. As all the streets, blocks, cities and hamlets throughout the United States put out American Flags in September of 2001, my father’s home was prepared and already displaying the patriotic cloth that he so desperately needed to place, one month earlier.
Yankie & Luzer It’s time to daven Mincha
I know. I’m texting it in.
Making our mark By Evan W. Klesztick More than pleasure, fame, or fortune, man wants to leave his “mark” on the world. In fact if you Google this term, you will find hundreds if not thousands of self help books and articles on how to achieve self worth LAWYER’S BRIEF and how to leave your “mark.” Even New York law understands and recognizes this innate desire as intellectual property rights of inventors, authors and businessmen are protected by patents, copyrights, and trademarks. While this area of the law is very technical and highly comEvan W. Klesztick plicated, there is one guiding principle. In fact, if I were writing a book entitled Intellectual Property Law for Dummies, my book would be short and sweet. “Ideas” I would explain, are not protected under the law, only how you use your ideas. In other words, ideas by themselves are worthless, until you make “something with them” that is both “yours” and “unique.” That my friend is about six months of intel-
lectual property law in two sentences. So what does Judaism say about this issue? A lot, and its message is both inspiring and timely, and continues to resonate as a powerful motivational tool. The Talmud mentions four people that are considered dead even while they are alive, two of which are noteworthy. A “poor man” is considered dead, and “a blind man” is considered dead, see Nedarim 64(b) At first glance both statements appear unfair, un-Jewish, and worst of all, untrue. Abraham Lincoln was born extremely poor, and yet he rose to become the 16th president. He doesn’t sound like a dead man to me. Or, how about Helen Keller? She was born both blind and deaf. Yet she became a great leader, advocate, and inspiration. Both are examples of success under adversity. How can we reconcile these, as well as other such examples, with the Talmud? The Talmud’s message describes philosophical limitations rather than physical. One who is philosophically “poor” i.e. who either cannot or will not use the skills of his hands, will never get off the ground in this world. Moreover, even one who uses his hands, but is philosophically blind i.e. “lacks vision,” he may get off the ground, but where is he going? Therefore, the Talmud refers to both such individuals as being already dead. And so while Abraham Lincoln and Helen Keller Continued on page 12
Celebrating Our 24th Year
By Sergey Kadinsky The struggle to maintain one of the world’s holiest Jewish sites remains an uphill battle of enforcement and political will. On June 14, visitors to Har Hazeitim, the Jewish cemetery atop the Mount of Olives in eastern Jerusalem, found a massive desecration of monuments in the Kolel Polin section, where the stones were broken to a degree that made the identification of a dozen deceased nearly impossible. Avrohom Lubinsky, chairman of the International Committee on Har Hazeitim called this “the most grotesque and vicious destruction of tombstones to date.” He noted that the deceased Polish-born Gerer hasidim in the Kolel Polin section were American and British citizens, hinting at the United States’ neglect on this topic. Security sources told Lubinsky that while 62 cameras keep watch on the cemetery, the Kolel Polin section is in a valley and often hard to detect. Eventually, 142 cameras will be on the mountain. But even with surveillance and photographic proof of vandalism, there is little done by the police, as Arab minors are usually released after a relatively lenient penalty. To deter future acts of vandalism, MK Yoel Hasson of Kadima is proposing a bill providing mandatory three-year jail sentences, even for minors, as well as holding their parents responsible. Located opposite the Temple Mount, Har
Photo by courtesy of Avrohom Lubinsky
Vandals sought to prevent identiﬁcation of the deceased at the historic cemetery Hazeitim served as a base for Jewish priests in ancient times, where they prepared the parah adumah for sacrifice. The cemetery atop the mountain is the oldest Jewish graveyard in the world, and contains numerous rabbinic remains, such as the Ramban, and political luminaries including Menachem Begin and other fellow Irgun veterans. In September, Lubinsky will return to Israel to propose that the government appoint a top-ranking watchdog official responsible for Har Hazeitim.
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Brooklyn activist fights for Mt. of Olives
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August 5, 2011 • 5 AV, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR
Hebrew only please!
Contrite vs. Attrite T
he first Tisha B’Av memory is the incident of the spies, which set in stone the concept of a “b’khiya l’dorot” – a date on which all future generations will have reason to cry. (Taanit 29a) In the immediate aftermath of the spies debacle, a group of people realized the folly of their complaints and tried to save face through mounting an offensive which was thrown back by Emorites. When our parsha recalls that incident (Devarim 1:45), it is Moshe who recounts it to the people saying, “You returned [from the defeat at the hands of the Emorites] and wept before G-d; and He did not listen your voice, and did not give an ear to you.” In his commentary, Rabbi J.H. Hertz provides the most profound and poignant message. G-d did not listen “because their weeping was not the outcome of sorrow over sin; but of sorrow over the consequences of sin. This, feeling, the old theologians named ‘attrition’; in contrast with the sincere penitence – the sorrow over sin itself – which they called contrition. There is all the difference in the world Rabbi Avi Billet between a man who is contrite and one who is merely ‘attrite.’” Have you ever seen a defendant in court (even on TV) who is obviously guilty? Sometimes the defense lawyer can get the person off on a technicality. Some truly feel badly, but can justify their actions with ‘self-defense’ (which is generally a valid argument when true). Others have no remorse, but know the prosecution has no real case. Through the trial and ordeal, they remain stone-faced, showing no emotion. Now the verdict comes in. “Innocent” – defendant is all smiles. “Guilty” – only now, when the realization that “I am going to pay dearly for my actions” sets in, does a person break down and cry. The latter case is ‘attrition’ – when the “consequences” of my actions cause my feelings of regret and remorse, whilst my actions don’t move my stone-cold heart. “Contrition” is the realization I come to on my own, irrespective of others, that the sin is a bad one, and that there is much work to be done to achieve any semblance of atonement. We live in a time where “attrition” gener-
ally carries the day. I am always right. You are always wrong. There is nothing you can say to get me to change. I am the greatest gift to mankind, and if something comes along and proves I am wrong, that fact or person is lying. It is only when someone kicks me in the pants real hard that I realize that I have fallen into the mud and that there’s a lot of cleaning up that needs to take place before I can get back on my feet. And I only feel this way because I am dirty right now, and I need to look presentable right away. Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik said, “Prayer is an art. We have totally forgotten this art. Today it is no more than a mechanical performance. True prayer is more than this. It is an attitude, a state of mind, creating a mood and temperament for the worshiper. It is an exciting experience and an adventure.” (Rakeffet, “The Rav, Volume I”, KTAV Publishers, p. 146) In my experience, I have seen very few people who experience true prayer the way Rabbi Soloveitchik described it. I’ve come to a point that I no longer look at those who cry on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av and think “What’s wrong with that guy?” Now I say, “What’s wrong with me? How come I can’t feel it? How come I can’t connect to what I’m doing in such a manner? How come I can’t speak to G-d with heartfelt sincerity? How come I am incapable of letting go, letting everything all out on the table, to ask G-d to help me, to forgive me, to guide me to the truth and His light?” Truth be told, this is a lifelong struggle. Some spend a lifetime climbing to a goal, some never quite make it, and some give up along the way. The question becomes one of attitude and focus. Will we be those who cry from attrition – no apologies, just distaste from the consequences of our actions? Or will we be the ones who are truly penitent, who can admit our mistakes and learn from them after we realize we’ve committed them? This is a great act of contrition. As the years continue to bring us further and further from the destroyed Temples, we begin by taking the time to figure out why we are still mourning on Tisha B’Av. If we can pray sincerely, and cry on account of the moving Kinot, our contrition-inspired prayers will help us move mountains in our lifelong quest of getting closer to G-d.
We welcome our new intern Anna The Jewish Star staff welcomes Anna Hardcastle as our intern. Anna was born in London, grew up in Valley Stream and is a sophomore at North Shore Hebrew Academy, where she edits the North Shore Notes newsletter. When Anna is not practicing journalism, she reads up on horror novels and seeks to become a teen horror ﬁction author. We are looking forward to her reporting and editing on our pages.
A Jewish newspaper should have a Hebrew column. So here it is. We will try to maintain a level of vocabulary so that it will be easy enough for students to read and interesting enough for those more fluent to enjoy.
We CAN all get along!
By Rabbi Noam Himelstein
Rabbi Noam Himelstein studied in Yeshivat Har Etzion and served in the Tanks Corps of the IDF. He has taught in yeshiva high schools, post-high school women’s seminaries, and headed the Torah MiTzion Kollel in Melbourne, Australia. He currently teaches at Yeshivat Orayta in Jerusalem, and lives with his wife and six children in Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion.
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7 THE JEWISH STAR August 5, 2011 • 5 AV, 5771
Photo of the Week
Of lasting speeches and everlasting impressions of the book of Tehillim from his pocket. He told me since that moment, whenever he had found himself a little down or challenged by the events surrounding him in the army, he would recall my little speech and pull out his little Tehillim book…. Last speeches before one heads out are certainly important and they can make an everlasting impression. This Shabbat, we will read the portion of Devarim, which always falls on the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av. It begins the final book of the Torah which is set against the backdrop of Moshe’s farewell soliloquy to the Jewish people, on the banks of the Jordan river. So what do you say when this is the last opportunity to teach the second generation of Jews who were embarking on the remainder of their journey? Moshe in fact actually uses his last speech to give the people Tochacha, words of chastisement, in other words, he is telling the Jewish people off! Why? Maimonides makes a fascinating point: “If one sees his friend erring (transgressing) or pursuing a path which is not good, it is a mitzvah to return him to goodness and to let him know (Le’Hodioh’)that he is transgressing against himself with his wicked ways…”(Maimonides De’ot 6:7) Incredibly, the motivation for telling someone else off is love. If it is all about me, and what he has done to me, then there really is no point to it all. The question here really is, do I care so much about my fellow human being that I can’t bear to see them doing something that will result in them hurting themselves. If I am a guest at a dinner party, and some stranger is behaving rudely, say, speaking with his mouth open, I can’t imagine I would say anything. But if that were one of my children, I would absolutely tell them, and would view it as part of my responsibility to share with them what was missing or lacking in their behavior. And this is precisely because I love them so much, and want them to grow to be all that they can be. Moshe is expressing to the next generation how much he really cares about them. And maybe this is why we read this portion just prior to the fast of Tisha’ B’Av, when the Talmud tells us the Temple was destroyed due to baseless hatred. Maimonides points out that not giving Tochachah can actually lead to hatred, and sometimes telling a person off for what he has done wrong clears the air and allows for rebuilding. May we really care about each other, so that soon, instead of mourning what was lost, we may rejoice in what has been rebuilt. Wishing you all comfort on Tisha Be’Av, and Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem. 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
YIW buys fire truck for Gush On his trip to Israel last month, Rabbi Heshie Billet and his wife Rookie attended a ceremony in Gush Etzion, dedicating a new ﬁre station and ﬁre truck, donated by Young Israel of Woodmere through the Jewish National Fund and Friends of Israel Fire Fighters. “I felt like I was dreaming,” said ﬁre chief Ronnie Yackov. “This is the ﬁrst time in the history of Gush Etzion that we have a brand new, state-of-the-art ﬁre truck.” If you have a photograph with a description, from local or afar, please submit to: email@example.com
ne of the most important moments before a mission, in which the right commander can make all the difference actually has very little to do with the actual mission. After all the training is done, and all the preparations are in order, the unit is ready to go, and the waiting game begins. And there is a moment, a last opportunity, for the commander to inspire his men. I remember one winter morning in Lebanon, standing at the main gate of the base about to head out for yet another patrol. It was freezing out, and there was a light rain making everything wet and muddy. The cold seemed to penetrate everything getting under the layers into your bones. Some of the guys in this unit were supFROM THE HEART posed to have gotOF JERUSALEM ten a week’s pass, but leaves had been cancelled for some logistical or security reason, which left the guys even more depressed than usual. The area we were stationed in was a hot zone, with Israeli army vehicular traffic forbidden at night, and we were setting out on what is Rabbi Binny known as a petichat Freedman tzir, with the goal of checking out the stretch of road under our command for any booby traps or ambushes that might have been laid in the night, before allowing any normal army traffic out on the highway. Dawn had not yet broken, and we were standing in the dark about to head out, and I could tell the guys who were all exhausted were more depressed from having to get out of bed in the rain than anything else, and I realized I had to say something. I was actually in the middle of a book by Yigal Yadin on the story of the archeological dig which rediscovered Masada, and had been reading the night before of a small piece of parchment which was discovered one morning on the eastern escarpment. It was a single psalm from Tehillim, the book of Psalms, and the general opinion was that the site of it’s discovery had been a rebel guard post, so most probably this was a page of the psalms a Jewish sentry had read for inspiration and prayer. Two thousand years ago, a Jewish soldier had prayed with Tehillim, while looking down on the might of the Roman legions, and here we were, some of us as it turned out, with the same book of Tehillim in our breast pocket in a modern State of Israel. I told the men to think about that and we headed out on patrol. To be honest, I had forgotten all about that little episode, until I ran into one of those soldiers at a bus station in Israel a few years ago. I didn’t even remember his name, but he remembered me, and reminded me of that moment. He was in uniform, in the middle of a stint of reserve duty, and with a smile pulled out a worn little copy
The Kosher Bookworm
Nine days and beyond This Shabbat we begin the last phase of the Torah reading cycle with the Book of Deuteronomy, Sefer Devarim, and timed to this is the recent publication of a new collection of Devarim sichos, informal talks from Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, zt”l, dealing with some of the deepest mystical aspects in chassidic thought translated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger. In essence this is an anthology representing but a fraction of the totality of the late Rebbe’s works on the Torah. However, this particular work is special inasmuch as it is written in a clear, concise and articulate manner, absent the rhetorical flourish and bombast that we have come to expect from others on this and cognate works on chassidus. Rabbi Touger has indeed brought forth Alan Jay Gerber in this work a sophisticated presentation of some of the most complicated beliefs in chassidus, thus making available to the average Jewish laymen a valued resource to help enhance them to appreciate both the content and deeper meanings behind the Torah text. This week’s parsha, the opening chapters of Devarim is represented with 21 pages of commentary by the late Rebbe. In his introduction, Rabbi Touger ex-
plains the nature of the late Rebbe’s teaching and rhetorical sichos methodology that places this entire work into its proper perspective. He states as follows, “The Rebbe… primarily taught through sichos, informal, accessible talks, relating to his listeners on their terms, speaking in their language… in a straightforward manner that his listeners could comfortably understand, identify with, and apply in their everyday lives. Similarly, spreading ‘the wellsprings of Chassidus,’ in a form comprehensible to the mindset of Jews living in today’s world empowers us to navigate the transition into the era when, led by Mashiach, we will enter the age when --- ‘the occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d.’” As the Book of Devarim is read, this work makes for an excellent supplement in helping explain the text. Another work recently published dealing with the weekly haftarah readings is, “Truths Desired by G-d” [Gefen Publishing House 2011] by Dr. Meir Tamari, senior lecturer in economics at Bar Ilan University. Of special and timely note I direct your attention to his commentaries on those Haftarot in the Book of Devarim drawn from the Book of Isaiah, as well as the Haftarah for Tisha b’Av morning and for public fasts. Rabbi Jonathan Shooter’s “The Haftara Handbook” published last year by Devora Publishing and distributed by Urim Publications. In this work each commentary is divided into brief explanations as to what the haftara text is about, its connection to the parsha as well as to its thematic purpose.
This work is very well written and deserves attention, especially at this time of year
when the haftarot we will be reading take on added meaning to all Klal Yisrael.
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August 5, 2011 • 5 AV, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR
By Ariel Rosenbloom
What do you enjoy about The Jewish Star? “I love your column, the questions that you ask people on the street.”
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THE JEWISH STAR August 5, 2011 • 5 AV, 5771
Mensch on the street
My nine days menu R
are is the week where I don’t get a call or email from a reader asking me, “What is the best kosher restaurant in New York?” or “Where should I go if I want a good ...insert food item here.” My service was needed last week by an old friend and I immediately began going through restaurants in my head. “Zee, I need a good place to take a date that has a decent nine days THE KOSHER menu.” I thought about CRITIC it for a minute and realized that though I had seen a number of kosher eateries promoting their nine days menus, most of those restaurants were simply showcasing food that they already had on their menus, often overshadowed by their year-round fleishig counterparts. I gave my friend some recomZechariah Mehler mendations based on the best experiences that I have had with non-meat cuisine. So here are my suggestions for where to go out to eat in Manhattan over the nine days and what to order. Colbeh Manhattan 32 West 39th Street: I have always really loved Colbeh because of its unique cuisine and congenial staff. Usually when I go there I get one of their various meat kabobs and that is a routine I had stuck to for years. Then while I was there with my wife, she ordered the Chilean Sea Bass Kebab
which is served in a light lemon and saffron vinaigrette. Simply put, this is probably the best fish preparation I have ever had. The Sea Bass is light and flaky while still being juicy and just mildly toothsome. It has a wonderfully clean flavor that is enhanced by the smokiness of the grill mixed with the earthy notes in the saffron and the sour tartness of the lemon. Even when it is not the nine days I recommend trying this wonderful entree. Adding to its fish menu, Colbeh is also serving various Salmon and Tilapia options, which given Colbeh’s ability to expertly cook a fish like Sea Bass, leaves me confident that they will do an equally superb job with its other offerings. Wolf and Lamb 10 East 48th Street: As a date location I am a big fan of Wolf and Lamb. They have a wonderfully comfortable atmosphere and are always striving to provide new and interesting menu options. I love their Pan Seared Red Snapper, which is served with a white wine sauce and baby heirloom tomatoes. The Red Snapper is meaty and wonderfully flavorful. Add to that, the delicate wine sauce and the sweet heirloom tomatoes, it makes for a world-class meal. One of the other things I truly love about Wolf and Lamb is their playful sense of humor when it comes to their menu items. In the past this manifested itself with offerings like Southern Fried Pickles (a must try) and currently with the addition of Fish and Chips made from a lightly battered cod with waffle cut fries and a lemon tarter sauce. So regardless of whether or not you’re in the mood for a serious meal or a light entree, you can get both at Wolf and Lamb.
Photo by Zechariah Mehler
Colbeh’s nine days menu includes a deliciously smokey Sea Bass dish in a light lemon and saffron vinaigrette. La Carne Grill 340 Lexington Ave: Once you get past the cantankerous managerial staff whose attitude hovers somewhere between affably rude and outright infuriating, you find yourself seated at a very pleasantly adorned French restaurant. Despite the staff’s indifference to your patronage it is hard to debate the skill inherent with which their food is prepared. La Carne makes an out of this world Ceviche that contains both salmon and tuna dressed with citrus and cilantro. Both tasty and refreshing, the Ceviche makes an excellent starter on a hot day. La Carne also offers a wonderful Sesame Seed Yellowfin Tuna with sauteed asparagus, bell
peppers and mushrooms served in a delicate but spicy Asian ginger sauce. I highly recommend trying La Carne Grill because of their cuisine. Just make sure to gird yourself for a side order of condescension with your food. To my readers, I hope that you have an easy time getting through the next week without the ability to eat anything that once mooed, baahed or clucked. In some small way I hope that these recommendations will help to ensure that though you can’t eat meat, you will still be able to eat well. Zechariah Mehler is a widely published food writer and expert in social marketing. Follow him on Twitter @thekoshercritic
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August 5, 2011 • 5 AV, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR
11 THE JEWISH STAR August 5, 2011 â€˘ 5 AV, 5771 489973
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Advertise in The Jewish Star BACK TO SCHOOL special issues August 19th & August 26th. We can help with the creativity and with great pricing. Call 516-622-7461 ext. 4 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Reserve quarter page and larger ads in both issues by August 16th and receive full color absolutely FREE
Colel Chabad breakfast COLEL CHABAD, the social welfare arm of Chabad in Israel is holding its 27th annual benefit breakfast at the home of Adam & Arielle Parkoff, located at 985 Browers Point Branch in Hewlett Neck. The event is chaired by Lawrence resident Dr. Richard Berry. The guest speaker will be Ambassador Ron Prosor, who represents Israel at the United Nations. The event begins at 9 a.m. For more information, contact 800-531-8001 or visit www.colelchabad.org
Calendar Submit your shul or organization’s events or shiurim to email@example.com. Deadline is Wednesday of the week prior to publication.
FIDF Speaker FRIENDS OF THE ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES is holding a public fundraiser speaker at 12 Waverly Place in Lawrence. The event is hosted by Jay & Malky Spector, and Steven & Marilyn Garber. Lt. Col. Chezy Deutsch, the IDF Military Attache to Washington, will speak on the topic of the shifting Middle East and its impact on Israel. The event begins at 8 p.m. For more information, contact Jay Spector at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holocaust center preview Elected officials unite for autism awareness AGUDAS YISROEL ZICHRON MOSHE, located at 1561 50 Street in Borough Park, is offering a preview of its Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center, a first of its kind center that will focus on the impact of the holocaust on the Orthodox community. Its first public event is a conversation with local survivors, which begins at 2 p.m. The center is expected to be complete in spring 2012. For more information, contact 718-854-0001,
Aug. 9 Yizkereim Screening RABBI LEIB GELIEBTER MEMORIAL FOUNDATION is presenting Yizkereim, a documentary on famed holocaust rescuers Rabbi Michoel Ber Weissmandl and Rabbi Shlomo Schonfeld. The free screening will be presented at Congregation Kneseth Israel, at 728 Empire Avenue in Far Rockaway at 2:30 p.m.; Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, at 150-05 150 Street in Kew Gardens Hills at 6:30 p.m.; and at Plainview Synagogue, at 255 Manetto Hill Road in Plainview at 5:30 p.m. For more information on this film, contact info@ yizkereim.com
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On Aug. 2, dozens of political candidates and elected ofﬁcials shared breakfast to beneﬁt Shema Kolainu, the Brooklyn-based autism education nonproﬁt. Councilman David Greenﬁeld, public relations executive Ezra Friedlander, Far Rockaway’s State Assembly candidate Phil Goldfeder, and Brooklyn’s State Assemblyman Dov Hikind shared their meal while discussing legislation mandating insurance coverage for autism screenings. ing a video lecture featuring renowned leading Rabbis Yissocher Frand, Aron Leib Shteinman, and Shmuel Kamenetzky, among others, speaking on the topic of “mending our relationships, building our world.” Great Neck Synagogue, at 26 Old Mill Road in Great Neck, will show it at 6 p.m. Young Israel of West Hempstead, at 630 Hempstead Avenue in West Hempstead, will show it at 2:30 p.m. For more local screening locations, visit http://cchfusa.org
Tisha B’Av film program MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE, a product of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, located at 226 E. 42 Street in Manhattan, is holding a day of Tisha B’Av film screenings, starting with a free tour of the museum at 10 a.m. Screenings during the day include Against the Tide, I have not Forgotten You, and the film Genocide by Orson Welles. For screening times, visit www.museumoftolerancenewyork.com. Reservations are required, and can be obtained by contacting Julie Silver at 212-6971180 ext 109 or email@example.com
Aug. 11 Kulanu Benefit Night KULANU is holding its annual Night on the Bay, an evening of jazz music and fine dairy dining to benefit its programs serving local families with special needs children. The event will be at Bridgeview Yacht Club, at 80 Waterfront Blvd. in Island Park. The event costs $70 per person and $136 per couple. Those who respond by July 31 can enter for a raffle that includes baseball tickets and jewelry. For more information, contact 516-569-3083 ext. 102 or visit www.kulanukids.org
Aug. 13 Nachamu Kumsitz & Chizuk
Continued from page 5 may have been physically constrained, they were both philosophically very much alive. It is not a coincidence that of all the hundreds of distinct organs, systems, and parts, the two which stand out identifying our unique persona are the fingerprint and retina. The rest of our body parts appear like stock items. It is almost as if G-d is saying to us, “here is how you can make your mark on the world.” It is interesting to note that on the Tisha B’Av fast, the Talmud promises that any “work” that we perform, i.e. the use of our hands will not yield any success. Moreover, learning and even “thinking” in learning is prohibited as well. The day we mourn the many significant calamities that befell our nation is not a day to make our mark on the world, with our hands, or even with our minds. Going forward, there are many challenges facing the Jewish People today from the shidduch scene to kids at risk; from shalom bayis to putting food on the table, and all the myriad of issues and concerns in between. While we can’t all be doctors, lawyers, or Indian chiefs, and very few of us will be in leadership positions, each of us can make a mark on the world. For some it requires applying one’s unique talent of the hand, but for others it requires being brave enough to have vision, and the willingness to dream. And dreams are our greatest intellectual property. Evan W. Klestzick, Esq. is a senior partner at McDonnell & Adels, PLLC, specializing in insurance law. He has been a guest lecturer at Manhattan College as well as CLE podcast courses on the topic of insurance fraud. He is a resident of Far Rockaway.
Yeshiva Madreigas HaAdam of Hillcrest, a popular local Torah institution. The event will feature a performance by Nochum Stark, comedian Marc Weiner, with a barbecue and beverages served. The event costs $20 and begins at 10:30 p.m. For more information, contact 718-539-6653.
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Dear Woeful Widow, I am very sorry for your loss. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot—any degenerative illness results in a strange phenomenon of a perpetual grieving of sorts while the illness slowly takes over. Each day or week can result in another loss—a loss of motor function, a loss of memory, a loss of expressive function. For you to have been a bystander to this type of illness means that you have been processing grief while preparing yourself for ultimate grieving for quite some time. I’ve noticed that people who have just come out of a life event which required them to shift into overdrive, end up needing a major lull of quiet immediately following in order to process it. This applies to spouses coming out of heavily abusive marriages, refugees, car accident survivors, a patient, or the family of a patient to name a few. Imagine there’s a fire in a home. The firefighters arrive. Our hero dashes in, not even feeling the heft of his helmet, oxygen tank and safety gear. He breaks through glass. Races through the house. Gets his hand punctured by a nail. Searches. Beads up in sweat. Keeps going. Finds the homeowner. Carries her out. Jumps back into the fire. Keeps going. His adrenaline makes him impervious to any personal needs. He forgets that he hasn’t eaten since breakfast. Barely feels the new laceration on his left hand. He just keeps going. The fire is out. He takes a deep breath
-Aviva Aviva Rizel is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice who can be reached at AvivaRizel.MFT@gmail.com.
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I recently lost my husband after a long battle with a degenerative illness. I’m relieved that he is out of pain now, but I am having a very hard time coping now. I thought the hard part was supposed to be over, but now it seems even more difficult. I’m just so alone now. I don’t have motivation to do much of anything. My kids and grandkids are really trying to tend to me, but it’s not helping. They keep telling me that I need to see someone to speak to. I’m really not interested in going for therapy because I don’t see how talking about the past can help me right now.
and collapses on the sidewalk. Suddenly, he doesn’t have any strength. And he is keenly aware of the piercing pain, pulsing from his palm. He is out of the fire, safe and limp on the sidewalk. He is no longer “hero”. He is simply, “human”. This is you right now. You are catching your breath. Your brain is processing. Sleep helps you process, overstimulation doesn’t. It is very good to take things slow now. Going grocery shopping or cooking a light meal can seem like overly ambitious acts. I do think that therapy would be good for you. (Well, what else could you expect when asking a therapist?) I don’t think that it’s necessary for you to talk about the past unless you feel like you are thinking a lot about the past. A benefit of therapy would be to monitor the process of your processing. Meaning, you are grieving. You are supposed to be down. Really, really down. But there may be a point that is dangerously down. Being in therapy can help you make sense of it. It can help you make sense of everything, and help make sure that you are not too downtrodden to function. What it will not do is force you to talk about things that you think are irrelevant. It will not force you to get-up-and-go either. Ask your kids to do a little research for you to find a proper grief counselor if you are too apathetic to dive in. Another option would be to find a support group for the bereaved. While everyone’s story is different, you may be able to see yourself in someone else’s grief. It is extremely comforting, and frankly, empowering to be able to have someone else in your boat. In fact, a recent study has shown that people judged an actual mountain to be smaller when standing next to someone than when standing at its foot alone. You don’t have to climb your mountain now. But you shouldn’t be paralyzed by it either.
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THE JEWISH STAR August 5, 2011 • 5 AV, 5771
August 5, 2011 • 5 AV, 5771 THE JEWISH STAR