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Who’s in the kitchen dishes falafel Page 5 Labovitz on Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Page 6 Kosher Bookworm on Hoover and the Jews Page 7 The covenant of circumcision Page 11



VOL 11, NO 41 ■ OCTOBER 26, 2012 / 10 CHESVAN 5773


Election day jitters By Malka Eisenberg

B. Soloveitchik and my maternal grandmother,” said Riskin. “My first Rebbe was my grandmother. I watched my grandmother daven; she spoke to G-d like he was her friend. I learned Gemara with my grandmother. My model of a grandmother was someone who can teach Chumash and Gemara,” added Riskin. “I learned from her that Judaism is a religion that had to encompass everything.” Ohr Torah Stone, under Rabbi Riskin’s direction, has literally lived up to its name, “Torah is light,” as its work has illuminated and enlightened the world through its commitment and dedication to tikkun olam. Riskin has charted new educational, legal and social paths to ground-breaking change in the realms of women’s rights within Judaism. Specifically, Rabbi Riskin challenged Israel’s High Court on the laws which prevented women from serving as Toanot - advocates in the Rabbinic Courts. Riskin won the case and established the first program for the training of women advocates in the religious courts. Graduates of the program now defend the rights of Agunot in the re-

Sweaty palms and a racing heart may be part of the voting process on Election Day. A recent study found measurable increases in the levels of a stress-related hormone in people who were tested immediately before voting. In a study of voters on the way to the polling station published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, those tested had almost three times the level of cortisol, also known as the “fight or flight” hormone, than the level of cortisol in a control group. The test was done on Israel’s Election Day in 2009. Subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire describing their emotional state and give a sample of their saliva at a stand thirty feet from the polling station. The control group was drawn from people from the same area who were tested on post-election day, and also asked for a saliva sample and to fill out the same questionnaire. The study was led by Professor Hagit Cohen from the Anxiety and Stress Research Unit at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Faculty of Health Sciences. The research indicated that people’s

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Photo by Karen C. Green

(From left), Helene and Robbie Rothenberg , Rabbi Shlomo and Vicky Riskin, Michelle, Rebecca, and Jeff Klahr.

Woodmere welcomes Rabbi Riskin By Karen C. Green Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, founding chief rabbi of the Israeli city of Efrat, and founding rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, spent last Shabbos in Woodmere where he spoke at both Irving Place Minyan and Young Israel of Woodmere. Rabbi Riskin is also Chancellor of Ohr Torah Stone institutions, a network of high schools, colleges, and graduate programs in Israel. Hosted by Helene and Robbie Rothenberg of Woodmere, Rabbi Riskin spoke Motzei Shabbos at a Melave Malka at the home of Michelle and Jeff Klahr. Klahr’s eldest daughter Rebecca spent a post high school year at Riskin’s Midreshet Lindenbaum, one of the most prominent colleges for Orthodox Women. “Rabbi Riskin represents Achdut of Israel and Achdut of the world,” noted Robbie Rothenberg in his introductory remarks to those in attendance. “I had two Rebbes in my life that I learned from, Rabbi Joseph

Students meet Gilad Shalit and his unit By Malka Eisenberg After years of praying and hoping, letter writing and vigils, students from DRS, SKA and Rambam Mesivta were able to meet with Gilad Shalit and members of his army unit over the course of a ten-day visit to the United States. A year after his release from captivity in Gaza in exchange for 1,027 Arab prison-

ers, Shalit, 13 members of his platoon, his commanding officer, Captain Yoav Belkes, and three psychologists, came to the United States on a therapeutic mission: to heal and find closure for the severe and personal attack on their unit perpetrated on June 25, 2006. Early that morning, Hamas and Popular Resistance Committee terrorists infiltrated into Israel through a tunnel from Rafah and attacked Israeli forces with mortar and

anti-tank fire, killing an Israeli officer and a soldier, wounding four others and kidnapping Shalit. Gilad remained captive in Gaza by Hamas for over five years and was freed and returned to Israel on October 18, 2011. During that time, Dr. Chagit Hadar, chairman of the Hebrew Department at Magen David’s Celia Esses Yeshiva High School in

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Sh’or Yoshuv officially certified as college in New York State In a last minute scramble, Sh’or Yoshuv managed to confirm its status as a college in New York State, to retain state funding for their students. An application for TAP was accidentally filed with the name Sh’or Yoshuv Institute rather than the acceptable name of Sh’or Yoshuv Rabbinical College, noted Mrs. Sharon Jacobowitz, the registrar there. She noted that the school goes by both names legally, and with the designation of “college” is eligible for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), New York State funding for post secondary schools. “They refused to give us aid unless we formally call it the Sh’or Yoshuv Rabbinical College,” explained Jacobowitz. “We didn’t have documentation (for New York State), and had to do a name change, file the legal name as Sh’or Yoshuv Rabbinical College (SYRC), to get an official certificate of assumed name. We had to go through the process; it is very time consuming.” She noted that the “bureaucratic procedure” did not take that long in the Department of State but was taking a longer time in the processing through the Board of Education. “It’s a very lengthy procedure,” she said. The problem was that “TAP gave us a deadline for when we need the assumed name and if we didn’t hit that deadline we wouldn’t be eligible for TAP. There was no way that would happen that quickly, it was not going to be done in time,” she said. “That’s when we turned to Assemblyman (Harvey) Weisenberg’s office. I spoke to Marie; she was very nice, extremely professional and very helpful.” “She pushed it through,” continued Jacobowitz, “but when she saw that it wasn’t going to happen in the time frame, she asked Weisenberg to call and within days we had the certificate of assumed name. Without that we wouldn’t have gotten TAP.” She said this happened during July and August. She noted that students graduate from Sh’or Yoshuv with a

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first Talmudic Degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree, and use that degree for law school or business. “We have a boy who went to Harvard Law School after that degree,” she said. Sh’or Yoshuv’s story was highlighted by Rebbitzen Rivka Wakslak, of the Young Israel of Long Beach. She noted that Assemblyman Weisenberg also facilitated a grant of $4.9 million from HEAL-NY, the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law, signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of last year’s budget. Rabbi Dr. Chaim Wakslak, Rav of the Young Israel of Long Beach and Clinical Director of the Hebrew Academy of Children (HASC) in Brooklyn, pointed out his personal experience with Weisenberg, indicating that “Weisenberg has been a strong advocate for the developmentally disabled for many years. He has helped shape the programs and policies of the state of New York so that today, New York offers the best programs and services to that population of any state that I am aware of. New York has the highest level of funding and the most comprehensive programs and the most protective legislation – all directed at helping this population achieve the highest possible quality of life.” “We help a lot of people,” noted Weisenberg (A.D. 20 and deputy speaker pro tem in the State Assembly). “The sad truth is that nobody understands that the job involves working day and night. It’s public service, trying to help people, with quality of life and dignity.” He stressed that he was a special education teacher and principal for 20 years in East Meadow and that he spoke in Washington about his bill to put defibrillators in schools. Weisenberg explained that he called to help Sh’or Yoshuv because he is “proud of the people who graduate from this facility; they make it a better world. It is my privilege to help. I love the Rabbi there; you can feel the climate of love between the faculty, staff, parents and students. They bring that dedication to society and make the world a better place.”

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Continued from page 1 stress increased immediately prior to voting. “Emotional changes are related and affect various physiological processes, but we were surprised that voting in national democratic elections causes emotional reactions accompanied by such physical and psychological stress that can easily influence our decisionmaking,” said Cohen. Stress triggers the adrenal glands near the kidneys to release the steroid hormone cortisol to direct the different body functions to assist the brain in dealing with the source of this stress, be it physical or psychological. It is also key in the regulation of many bodily systems including carbohydrate metabolism, immunity, the cardiovascular system and blood pressure. In an email interview, Cohen cited the motivation for the study. “It is well known that situations involving decision-making tasks and emotions can cause an increase in cortisol levels,” she noted. “Emotions have been found to play a major role during elections. Israeli elections are always emotional ordeals. However, this election was particularly emotional, coming on the heels of two wars in less than three years.” She pointed out that the election was a “struggle” between Kadima and Labor on one side and Likud and Israel Beiteinu on the other. “Given that emotions are a key element in many decision-making situations in which

much is at stake, and choosing one alternative over the other involves risk and uncertainty, there is reason to believe that voters will feel anxious and exhibit higher than normal cortisol levels,” she emphasized. The study was conducted in Omer, a small southern town near Be’er Sheva, 70 miles from Tel Aviv, said Cohen. The first group in the study was tested before voting and the second group was tested at the same time of day but on their day off from work and not in connection to voting. “Our voters exhibited extremely high levels of cortisol, more than

five times higher than expected from healthy individuals on a regular day (matching each voter to an expected normal cortisol value on a regular day) and almost two times higher than these same individuals on a regular day. To capture the mood of voters prior to casting their ballot, we also used a questionnaire (the Positive Affect Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS).” “Our data demonstrate that elections are exciting yet stressful events, and it is this stress, among other factors, that elevates the cortisol levels of voters,” she concluded.

“Since elevated cortisol has been found to affect memory consolidation, impair memory retrieval and lead to risk-seeking behavior, these outcomes of elevated cortisol levels may affect voting in general and the field of electoral studies in particular. Only additional research will determine if that stress is capable of altering voting decisions.” Dr. Michael J. Salamon, Senior Psychologist and Director, ADC Psychological Services in Hewlett, commented on the study. “While cortisol is considered a stress hormone, it is more accurately labeled an emotional arousal hormone,” he pointed out. “It is a bit of a leap to say that all emotional arousal is stressful. I am not surprised that a study of elections in Israel may be seen as extremely stressful because it is a matter of life and death. In other countries the rhetoric of voting can certainly increase emotional arousal, but would not be necessarily called stressful from a psychological or biological perspective.” Cohen cited a 2010 study that reported varied cortisol levels in subjects on Election night in 2008 in the United States. She said that that seems to indicate that “stress and hormonal levels (other than testosterone) may be related to political decisions.” She said that she thought that American voters will exhibit higher stress levels throughout the campaign and election.

Local students meet Gilad Shalit and his unit Continued from page 1 Brooklyn, took a personal interest in Gilad Shalit. “Gilad’s father is from France and my father is from France,” Hadar pointed out. ”We knew each other but not personally.” She contacted the Shalits and offered to help them use the “power and connections” of the Jewish communities in America to raise awareness of Gilad’s plight. Over that time, Gilad’s father Noam came to America through Hadar to work for his son’s release. Hadar has been instrumental in bringing Shalit’s unit as guests of the Syrian Jewish Community in Brooklyn and Magen David Yeshiva. The goal, she said was to “close the whole circle. Two were killed, one was injured and Gilad was kidnapped. The whole unit was in trauma. They had meetings in Israel and the IDF decided to have treatment, intervention, outside of the country, to disconnect from the country, news, pressure and family and concentrate on closure.” The community here financed the trip; the IDF could not fund a visit for ten days for the group. Hadar said that they had a session every day for four to six hours a day, where they talked about the “captivity, loss of friends, guilt, ‘how come nothing happened to me,’ to deal with the situation as a group and as individuals. They didn’t come for pr for the IDF, just therapy. They also wanted to give back to the community, that’s why they held panels in different communities.” Shalit and his unit visited a number of schools, including Yeshiva University, Magen David and DRS. “The IDF allowed the unit to do therapy outside of Israel,” said Ms. Elyse Nadjar, director of chesed activities at Magen David. “The focus is on therapy. The IDF can’t pay to go overseas. The community supported it and so they paid to have it here.” Magen David High School invited 15 schools

from New York and New Jersey, said Nadjar, each school sending a group of six students and one chaperone to a panel session to meet Gilad and his unit on October 12th. There were also representatives from Brooklyn College, Baruch College and Columbia University. Both Magen David’s elementary and high schools, about 2,000 students, held welcome meetings with the group. “It was a positive, moving, incredible opportunity to recognize the Israeli army, what they do in Israel and the Diaspora and to show the love and support we have for them,” explained Nadjar. In Israel, the soldiers see that the army is “part of everyday life,” she added. “Here they see that it is part of the Jewish world. It strengthens their resolve and commitment to serving.” At all the schools that the soldiers met with the community, they were praised as soldiers and representatives of Am Yisrael by the rabbis and administrators. At the panel session in Magen David, students in the audience were able to ask the soldiers questions and they responded. One soldier recounted how they withheld fire from a terrorist target to prevent injuring some children who were nearby. Another discussed their motivation for fighting for Israel, some for Zionism, some for their country, some for their friends. They also pointed out that the IDF has taught them not to leave Jews behind, that they would risk their lives to save others and noted that the release of 1000 terrorists for one person shows the world the value of each individual, of each Jew. Students noticed the special bond between the men in this unit. When Gilad was asked about his captivity, he responded “softly and slowly,” wrote Avi Gross, a student at Rambam Mesivta, in a report of the event. “He described how he had a blindfold on for weeks, not knowing where

Gilad Shalit and members of his unit receive a standing ovation at Yeshiva University he was or who was around him. Contact between himself and his captors was limited to a few curses or a jeering remark. After a while, his blindfold was removed, but he then spent months in isolation without any lasting or meaningful human contact. After what seemed like an eternity, his guards felt comfortable enough to talk with him about sports. He was careful never to discuss politics. His news of the outside world was restricted to teams and games. Months later, he earned enough trust to receive a radio. At this, he stopped… and slumped back down in his chair….” Rabbi Elly Storch, Assistant Principal of Judaic Studies at DRS, noted that Gilad

made three three-point shots in the gym before the program. “They have been through a lot,” said Storch of the soldiers, “and to give them chizuk, strength, was special. The boys really appreciated it and learned of the self sacrifice that they do on behalf of Israel.” He pointed out that Miriam Peretz the mother of two soldiers who were killed in separate battles, and the mother of a currently serving soldier, came to give chizuk, strength to Gilad as well. Storch also said that he received a message from Shalit after the program: “I so appreciate the warmth you and Jews all over have shown me. I don’t take it for granted.”

THE JEWISH STAR October 26, 2012 • 10 CHESVAN 5773

Election Day jitters or fear and loathing at the polling booth

October 26, 2012 • 10 CHESVAN 5773 THE JEWISH STAR


Opinion Debate #3: The Battle In Boca


he thirtieth debate of this presidential season (including all the GOP primary debates) took place in our ancestral homeland—not Israel, the other one, Boca Raton. And while many of the town’s residents may have been asleep when the debate began, this third and last contest between the two presidential candidates may have been the most interesting from a strategic standpoint. Going into tonight’s third debate, Mitt Romney’s task was to “pass the commanderin-chief test,” to look POLITICO presidential. His basic TO GO task was to seem like a reasonable alternative to President Obama. As a bonus, anytime he could bring the discussion back to the economy was a plus, as the economic situation is the number one issue in this campaign. President Obama’s task was turning the momentum around; Jeff Dunetz make the challenger look like a warmonger on the level of Attila the Hun. If you were in suspended animation for a decade and woke up just in time to watch the debate, you might have thought Romney was the president and Obama was the challenger. Obama seemed desperately trying to lure Romney into the same kind of “battle” they had at Hofstra, but the GOP candidate wasn’t biting. At times, Obama seemed petty. For example, when the question was about tightening sanctions on Iran, his answer was: And the fact is, while we were coordinating an international coalition to make sure these sanctions were effective, you were still invested in a Chinese state oil company that was doing business with the Iranian oil sector. One may have expected Obama to add “nah-nah.”

When Romney spoke about the need to modernize and add ships to our Navy the president’s answer was a condescending: But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. In a debate where he could have won by acting presidential, the President lost points by acting nasty. Romney tried to score points also, but they were based on Obama’s actions as president: he brought up the abandonment of the “star wars” missile defense system without discussing it with Poland, Obama’s comment to Russia’s Medvedev that he would have more flexibility in a second term, and how Obama has shown weakness to our enemies: I think from the very beginning, one of the challenges we’ve had with Iran is that they have looked at this administration, and felt that the administration was not as strong as it needed to be. I think they saw weakness where they had expected to find American strength. And I say that because from the very beginning, the president in his campaign four years ago said he would meet with all the world’s worst actors in his first year, he’d sit down with Chavez and Kim Jong-il, with Castro and President Ahmadinejad of Iran. And I think they looked and thought, well, that’s an unusual honor to receive from the President of the United States. And then the president began what I have called an apology tour, of going to various nations in the Middle East and criticizing America. I think they looked at that and saw weakness. Then when there were dissidents in the streets of Tehran, a Green Revolution, holding signs saying, is America with us, the president

was silent. I think they noticed that as well. And I think that when the president said he was going to create daylight between ourselves and Israel, that they noticed that as well. Romney’s money comment came on his next answer when Obama denied the apology tour: Number two, Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And by the way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations. And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. And then in those nations, and on Arabic TV, you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators. Through it all President Obama looked small, making petty comments, interrupting Romney over thirty times. Romney: I want a great relationship with China. China can be our partner, but — but that doesn’t mean they can just roll all over us and steal our jobs on an unfair basis. Obama: Well, Governor Romney’s right, you are familiar with jobs being shipped overseas because you invested in companies that were shipping jobs overseas. Romney kept bringing the discussion back to the economy and the importance of a strong economy to our national security. But in order to be able to fulfill our role in the world, America must be strong. America must lead. And for that to happen, we have to strengthen our economy here at home. You can’t have 23 million people struggling to get a job. You can’t have an economy that over the last three years keeps slowing down its growth rate. You can’t have kids coming out of college; half of them can’t find a job today, or a job that’s commensurate with their college degree. We have to get our economy going.

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Editorial Designers Photo Editor

Karen C. Green Malka Eisenberg Helene Parsons Charles Slamowitz Miriam Bradman Abrahams Rabbi Avi Billet Jeff Dunetz Juda Engelmayer Rabbi Binny Freedman Alan Jay Gerber Rabbi Noam Himelstein Judy Joszef Kristen Edelman Alyson Goodman Christina Daly

Phone call to the editor “Hi, good morning, I just wanted to note the Oct 12th paper ‘The crouching sin,’ by Rabbi Avi Billet was outstanding, outstanding, loved it and spent the whole week talking about it, debating it, he’s wonderful,

loved it, thank you. That’s it.” Editor’s note: It was delightful to have received this voice message, but the caller didn’t leave her name or her phone number. Please be back in touch.


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 Assistant Editor Account Executives

Just before the first GOP primary debate in May 2011, I commented that debates never change people’s minds. This has been an unusual political season; most of the twentysix debates during the primary season were effective in changing people’s minds perhaps to excess. But surely, I believed these presidential debates wouldn’t matter; that belief was incorrect. The three Presidential debates changed the entire structure of the campaign. Before the first debate, Obama was winning by a slight margin and clearly had the momentum. By showing he was not the evil monster portrayed in Obama’s commercials, Governor Romney won the first debate and made a significant turnaround. It was the Romney camp that became energized, as he became the slight leader with the momentum. The second debate was seen by most as an Obama victory, but those same polls showed Romney the victor on most key issues: the economy, jobs, and leadership. To change the structure in the final debate, President Obama needed to score a decisive victory. That did not happen. No one’s mind was changed tonight, but some who were leaning towards Romney may have firmed up their support. Last night was “the final argument” of these two candidates. Sure, there will be campaigning and commercials, especially in the battleground states, but the real task ahead, especially in an election this close, will be for both sides to get out the vote. And in the end, that get out the vote effort may determine which of these two become our next president. 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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Times they are a changinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; all going to be driven home.â&#x20AC;? Fay, a bit confused said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Um, no we went bowling......but something tells me you probably shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t discuss this with Mrs. Feig any further.â&#x20AC;? I did fess up a few years later and we all had a good laugh. So if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re too old to go â&#x20AC;&#x153;clubbing,â&#x20AC;? not in the mood for designer coffee and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to drag into the city, try these falafel balls and invite some friends over on a Saturday night. Might just make you think of the good oleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; days.

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s clichĂŠ as this sounds...boy have times changed since I was a teenager in the 70s. In those days most of us babysat on Saturday nights. You know, to make money to buy those â&#x20AC;&#x153;frivolousâ&#x20AC;? things that our moms said wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t necessary to buy, and if we wanted it, we could pay for it with our own money....I actually find myself saying the same thing to my daughter, but usually end up buying it for her. We didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take trains into the city to eat Thai, sushi or drink $5 lattes, we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even know what lattes were, come to think of it. We didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take the LIRR to meet up with friends from all the other boroughs and we certainly didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t manage to get hold of fake IDs, that looked nothing like ourselves Judy Joszef and were of people about seven years older than us. The guys checking out the IDs these days seem to have the same vision issues as the umps in the post season. When I was a teenager, every now and then we went out for pizza or went to a friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house. One Saturday after Shabbat, my friends decided they all wanted to go bowling. That was not going to fly with my mom. She was always nervous to let me out at night and stayed up till I returned home. But the whole â&#x20AC;&#x153;chevraâ&#x20AC;? was going, including boys she knew and liked. I was just going to make my pitch and hoped it worked. As soon as I opened my mouth to speak though, I changed my mind. How bad could a little white lie be? It was, after all for their sake, wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t it? Why should they worry when I was gone? I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want them to worry, so, I told my parents it was my friend Fayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s birthday and we were going to make a surprise party for her at my friend Lynnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house. She only lived two blocks away so that would not be a problem. To make it sound realistic, I asked my dad how much lox I needed per person as we were going to stop off at Millerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s appetizing to buy the food. To this day, I question myself as to why in the world I would have asked about lox; we were 15 years old for heavenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sake. I still remember his response, 1/4 lb per person when ordering lox. Anyway, it worked and we all had a blast. It was a warm night and the walk to Maple Lanes and back was uneventful. We bowled, laughed had a great time and then went to Amnonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on 13th Avenue for pizza and falafel (aside from the best pizza they had the most awesome falafel balls.) When I returned home, my mom stuck her head outside her bedroom door to say good night. Hmm, that wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t that bad. I had fun, and my parents werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t nervous, a win-win situation. Unlike today, when the kids can text each other at all hours of the night, I had to wait till the morning to hear the conversation Fay had with her mom. When she got home, her mom was up and excitedly asked her how it went. Fay responded, â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was fine, the usual, we bowled two games then went out for pizza. It was fun.â&#x20AC;? Her mom said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;No, really how was it? Were you really surprised?â&#x20AC;? Fay said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mom, what are you talking about?â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ok, you can tell me all about it,â&#x20AC;? her mom said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Judyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mom filled me in on the party when I called to see if she was home yet, as it was getting late. Her mom told me to relax and not to worry as you were all at Lynnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s house for your surprise party, and you were

Ingredients â&#x20AC;˘24 ounces chickpeas (canned) â&#x20AC;˘1 1/2 large onions, chopped â&#x20AC;˘4 cloves of garlic, chopped or 2 cubes frozen garlic cubes â&#x20AC;˘4 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped â&#x20AC;˘1 1/2 teaspoon coriander â&#x20AC;˘1 1/2 teaspoon cumin â&#x20AC;˘3 tablespoons flour â&#x20AC;˘Salt â&#x20AC;˘Pepper â&#x20AC;˘Oil for frying

gether. If you like you can also mix ingredients in a food processor. End result should be a thick paste. â&#x20AC;˘Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a walnut. â&#x20AC;˘Place in a pot of oil, enough to cover the falafel balls, and fry for about 7-8 minutes. Check one to make sure they are done. Now youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re set to make your falafel. You can buy a variety of pitas from local stores. I like to chop up fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and sour pickles and toss the salad together with the falafel balls inside the pita and top with techina and a touch of sour kraut.

5 THE JEWISH STAR October 26, 2012 â&#x20AC;˘ 10 CHESVAN 5773



quietly walked to the door, bent over and peered through the keyhole. Stepping away, he whispered, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The rebbe seems to be deep in thought. His face is ďŹ ery red, his eyes are staring into the distance, and he is breathing heavily. We will just have to wait.â&#x20AC;? Instead of the shufďŹ&#x201A;ing movement that pervaded the room previously, the restlessness reverted into hushed silence. A little past noon, the rebbe emerged. The Chassidim rushed to greet him, relieved that he appeared to be in good health. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Quick! Bring the newborn to me! It is time to perform the mitzvah of brit melah.â&#x20AC;? The rebbe performed the mitzvah, and intoned: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our G-dâ&#x20AC;Śpreserve this child for his father and mother, and may his name be called in Israel Moshe Yehudah Leib, the son of Yosef Bunim.â&#x20AC;? It happened so quickly that the father realized that his newborn son had been named without him having been consulted. He was understandably upset. He did not know the origin of the name; no one in his family or his wifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s family had carried that name. Rebbe Levi Yitzchak whispered, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I know you have a lot of questions. I will explain everything. Very early this morning, I received a message that Rebbe Moshe Yehudah Leib of Sassov, of blessed memory, one of our contemporary leaders, had passed away. I sat down to contemplate this sad news. I visioned that his soul was not di-

Reproduced from â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Legendary Maggidim: Stories of Soul and Spirit,â&#x20AC;? Rebbe Levi Yitzchak, the Berditchever Rebbe (1740 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1809), was a truly powerful personality. Under his leadership, the Jews of Berditchev were so imbued with eagerness to do mitzvoth, that they rose earlier than usual on the day a newborn was to be circumcised. They wanted to perform the mitzvah even before davening. Yet, on one occasion, the bris milah of the rebbeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own grandson was delayed until late afternoon. Why? The beis midrash was ďŹ lled with the rebbeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chassidim, having traveled from near and far to experience the holiness of the moment when the rebbeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new grandson would enter into the covenant of our father Avraham. They waited patiently for the rebbe to arrive. They sang a niggun. They studied, they recited tehillim, but the rebbe was nowhere to be found. Reb Yosef Bunim, the father of the newborn, was admittedly impatient. He walked toward the rebbeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s private room, and upon reaching it, rapped loudly on the door, but there was no response from inside. The morning hours melded into early afternoon, and still the rebbe made no appearance. Finally the shamash decided to investigate. He

Continued on page 14



SUPREME COURT â&#x20AC;˘ Elected to Supreme Court in 1999 â&#x20AC;˘ Senior Justice, Appellate Division, 1st Dept. The only Long Island Judge on the court. Judge Catterson has a distinguished career in public service

Nov. 6th

â&#x20AC;˘ Keynote speaker on the abuse of Eminent Domain at Fordham Univ. School of Law â&#x20AC;˘ Adjunct Professor of Law, Touro College, Jacob Fuchsberg Law Center

â&#x20AC;˘ Deputy Suffolk County Attorney

â&#x20AC;˘ Adjunct Professor at Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School

â&#x20AC;˘ Chief, Asset Forfeiture Unit, U.S. Attorneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

â&#x20AC;˘ Instructor, United States Dept. of Justice, Advocacy Institute

â&#x20AC;˘ Assistant United State Attorney

â&#x20AC;˘ Lecturer, Practicing Law Institute

â&#x20AC;˘ Assistant Suffolk County Attorney, Federal Litigation Bureau

â&#x20AC;˘ Lecturer, American Law Institute of the American Bar Association.

Judge Catterson has been recognized for signiďŹ cant judicial and academic scholarship.

A life-long resident of Long Island Jim Catterson is a graduate of St. Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Law School and Colgate University. He and his wife Jennifer reside with their two children, Sarah and James, in Mt. Sinai. Paid For By The Committee to Elect Judge James Catterson




â&#x20AC;˘ Presently presides over more than 1,000 DWI cases in Nassau County. â&#x20AC;˘ Trial and Appellate Attorney for 25 years. â&#x20AC;˘ Jewish Lawyers Association Board Member. â&#x20AC;˘ Dean, Nassau Academy of Law 2010-2011. â&#x20AC;˘ President, Nassau County District Court Judgesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Association 2011-2012. â&#x20AC;˘ Found â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Highly QualiďŹ edâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; by NYS Independent Judicial Election QualiďŹ cations Commission




â&#x20AC;˘ Found â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well QualiďŹ edâ&#x20AC;? (highest rating) Nassau County Bar Association.




Paid By The Committee to Re-Elect Judge Andrew M. Engel


By Rabbi Eugene Labovitz, zâ&#x20AC;?l, and Dr. Annette Labovitz



The soul that would not enter Gan Eden

Vote to


October 26, 2012 â&#x20AC;˘ 10 CHESVAN 5773 THE JEWISH STAR



The Literature of Politics As detailed in an excellent chronology of the 1944 race, â&#x20AC;&#x153;FDR, Dewey and the Election of 1944â&#x20AC;? by historian David M. Jordan [Indiana University Press, 2011] the following then happened: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Several days later, President Roosevelt sent a message to the convention of the Zionist Organization of America pledging his aid in finding â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;appropriate ways and means of effectuating establishment of Palestine as a free and democratic Jewish commonwealth.â&#x20AC;? Ironically, this was the only time a Jewish issue was ever personally articulated by FDR that year. Please keep in mind that at this very time, the Jews of Hungary were facing their fate in the Holocaust with nary a word of sympathy and concern coming from FDR during his campaigning in New York City that October. Despite this, by Election Day, 1944, the Jewish vote still went for FDR by more than 90%. However, the GOP plank that year set in motion a growing relationship between Republican leaders and certain elements in the Jewish community that was to grow in the many years to come. The 1944 elections were the first time that both parties competed for the Jewish vote; this, according to Medoff, represented the birth of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jewish voteâ&#x20AC;? in American politics. What occurred in 1944 was to play a significant role in 1948, with President Trumanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recognition of Israel, in open defiance of his own secretary of state. Unfortunately, absolutely nothing that year, politically, served to help save the lives of those Jews who were to be doomed to the gas chambers of Europe.

A CONCLUDING IRONY However, the current and disturbing shifting political climate insofar as our nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s foreign policies in the Middle East are concerned, potentially can have a telling affect upon the behavior of the normally Democratic leaning Jewish vote this year. In an interesting work, titled, â&#x20AC;&#x153;License To Murderâ&#x20AC;? by Dr. Alex Grobman, executive director of the American â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Israel Friendship League, the following ideological observation was made: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The emergence of the antiglobalist Left that is viscerally obsessed with anti-capitalism and anti-Americanism is increasingly hostile to Israel and the Jewish people. Among those who have benefited the least from globalization are the Arabs and Muslims, who blame the Jews and America under Jewish domination for conspiring to control the world, rather than taking responsibility for their own shortcomings.â&#x20AC;? Further on, Grobman notes the following historic irony that is starting to make its ideological impact upon the American political scene: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sol Stern, a contributing editor to City Journal, and once a prominent leader of the American left, explains that historically, the European left opposed right-wing anti-Semitism and oppression of the Jews, because the Jews were at the forefront of socialist and progressive movements. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The left loved Jews when they could be portrayed as victims of monopoly capitalism and its alleged progeny, fascism.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;? However, today, we Jews are attacked for just the opposite reasoning and the antiSemitism that is of liberal/leftist origin is beginning to have the same scent and sense of the Nazi and fascist past. This development is of immediate concern to all committed Jews and is finding its electoral response among many American Jews this fall.

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ell, it is almost here, Election Day, that is. In just two weeks the nation goes to the polls to elect the next president and the excitement can be felt in just about every social venue, with this column being no exception. This week, I hope to briefly cover several works that, through the prism of history, will serve to convey the role that our religious community played in previous crucial elections. Personalities count, and we begin with that of Herbert Hoover, whose little known profile is given front row treatment by one of our communityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premier historians, Dr. Rafael Medoff and Dr. Sonja Schoepf Wentling. Titled, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Herbert Hoover and the Jews,â&#x20AC;? this book goes into great detail in describing the involvement of the future president in the safety and welfare of East European Jewry after World War I, spanning the years, 1919 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1922. Till now, little was known of his Alan Jay Gerber efforts that saved thousands of Jews from both starvation and murder at the hands of pogromists both left and right. This is followed by a detailed description of his involvement with the yishuv and the Arab riots in 1929. Some of the most riveting sections in this work deal with Hooverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long unknown activities during this era, and the follow up in the Holocaust years. Hoover was the first president to be confronted, according to Medoff, with the Arab-Jewish conflict. As a committed Christian Zionist, Hoover resisted much pressure from the State Department to side with the Arabs. This book is the first major literary work to acknowledge Hooverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s historic role in Jewish history. Also, most relevant to us today, are the chapters dealing with the role of the Jewish vote and its role in the modern day political scene, starting with the political career of Hoover and the Republican Party of his day. During the Roosevelt years, Hoover and his fellow Republicans consistently challenged FDR and his underlings on such matters as immigration policies for Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution, especially after Kristallnacht. Truth be told, it was Prof. Ben Zion Netanyahu who persuaded Hoover and the Republican Party to include an unprecedented plank in their 1944 platform calling for the creation of a Jewish state. This event was to have far reaching implications in the years to come on both the domestic political front and in the conduct of foreign affairs as they concern the Middle East. By 1944, FDR was most concerned that the Jews in New York State would bolt the Democratic Party and vote for their popular Republican governor, Thomas Dewey for president. After passage of the pro-statehood plank in the GOP platform, Dewy met with Zionist leader Dr. Abba Hillel Silver on October 12th. As a result of their discussions, Dewey issued a statement affirming his support for a free Jewish state in accordance with the Balfour Declaration of 1917. He further insisted on an unlimited immigration policy, as well as land ownership by Jews in the Holy Land, thus becoming the first presidential candidate in history to ever articulate such a direct policy.


THE JEWISH STAR October 26, 2012 â&#x20AC;˘ 10 CHESVAN 5773

The Kosher Bookworm

October 26, 2012 • 10 CHESVAN 5773 THE JEWISH STAR


THE JEWISH STAR October 26, 2012 • 10 CHESVAN 5773


Hebrew only please!

Yitzchak Rabin: Dedicated to his People On this Sunday, the 12th of Cheshvan, we will mark Yitzchak Rabin’s yahrtzeit. Many (myself included) disagreed with his political views. However, that should not diminish our appreciation for all he did for the Jewish people. From his days in the Palmach, through his leadership of Tzahal leading up to the Six Day War; from Ambassador to the United States to Prime Minister (twice) of Israel, during which the Entebbe operation took place, and through the signing of a peace treaty with Jordan, he always acted as he felt was correct for Israel.

Luxury at Every Turn

By Rabbi Noam Himelstein

You only go around once in life. You have to enjoy the ride. Lisa LaGinestra, Business Owner + Co-owns the Animal Hospital of Roslyn, NY, with her veterinarian husband Victor. + Traveled to the Amalfi Coast with the family for a trip of a lifetime. + Went the extra distance to Mercedes-Benz of Rockville Centre because their professionals go the extra mile.

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Hempstead, NY 11550


October 26, 2012 • 10 CHESVAN 5773 THE JEWISH STAR




PHOTOS ARE FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY. *Excludes taxes and registration fees. Total payments ML350 4MATIC = $23,264. Mileage: 10K/year with 25¢/mile additional. Lessee responsible for excess wear and maintenance. Subject to approval by primary lender. In-stock vehicles only. ©2012 Mercedes-Benz of Rockville Centre. All rights reserved. Dealer #1300376. Offer ends October 31, 2012.


The covenant of circumcision


ver the last seven months, circumcision has appeared as a regular conversation topic in media outlets. Between metzitzah discussions, European nations becoming enlightened about circumcision and banning it (historians note that all that has changed in Europe, is that European anti-Semitism now comes in the guise of liberalism â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to save the babies!), and the pro vs anti circumcision debate which continues to rage on in the blogosphere, there is no shortage of topics to Rabbi Avi Billet be covered. Reading Parshat Lech Lecha this week, the parsha in which the Covenant of Circumcision is first presented in the Torah, it is a good time to reflect on what Bris Milah is and why we are so attached to it. Dr. Jon Levenson, professor of Jewish studies at Harvard University, noted a (not) surprising phenomenon in his article, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The New Enemies of Circumcision,â&#x20AC;? in Commentary Magazine, March 2000. â&#x20AC;&#x153;â&#x20AC;Ścircumcision, itself a divine commandment (mitzvah), is emblematic of the Jewsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fidelity to the G-d who formed them as a people and gave them the Torah. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is hardly surprising, therefore, that even in modern times, Jews across the denominational spectrum have continued to

have the procedure performed on their sons on the eighth day of life, just as the Torah prescribes. What may be more surprising is the durability of circumcision among those Jews for whom traditional theology is unacceptable. All sorts of other practices bearing the warrant of tradition--Sabbath, dietary laws, daily prayer--have fallen by the wayside, but circumcision, ( britmilah), endures.â&#x20AC;? Levinson went on to discuss different opinions as to the prophylactic effects of circumcision, noting that they are irrelevant to the Jew who will be circumcising regardless of medical opinion. This notion was ad-

equately noted by Herman Wouk in his â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is My G-dâ&#x20AC;? where he wrote, â&#x20AC;&#x153;[F]or Jews circumcision â&#x20AC;Ś is not a detail of hygiene, [but] the seal of the pledge between Abraham and his Creatorâ&#x20AC;Ś The Jews have followed the Mosaic law with a confidence which modern medicine progressively ratifies. The medical endorsement is not, however, the glory of Judaism. It is a footnote.â&#x20AC;? In many Jewish circles, the question of circumcision is not a Hamletian question of â&#x20AC;&#x153;to circ or not to circ,â&#x20AC;? but is merely a question of when and where. This is something the non-Jewish or the non-circumcising world,

who view circumcision as barbaric, will never understand. Circumcision is a practice that has defined our people for thousands of years. We have done it openly, in secret, enjoying the support of local government or in defiance of laws against it. The practice has survived hatred, bigotry, persecution, and genocide for many reasons including those discussed in Talmud Nedarim 32a-b. It is the fulfillment of our side of the agreement of Bereshit 17, in hopes of the continued fulfillment of the promises G-d made to Avraham. Continued on page 15

SENATOR DEAN SKELOS A Record of Leadership A Plan for Our Future LOWER TAXES FOR MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES Passed into law a reduction in personal income tax rates for working families, bringing most rates to their lowest levels in over ďŹ fty years. RESPONSIBLE BUDGETS Worked with Governor Cuomo to deliver two consecutive on-time state budgets that closed approximately $13 billion in budget deďŹ cits without raising taxes or fees. PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS Repealed the MTA Payroll tax on thousands of small businesses and delivered a budget that does not include any new or increased taxes or fees on New York businesses.




Sunday, October 28 9:00 am to 12:00 pm 60 East 78th Street Between Madison and Park Avenues

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THE JEWISH STAR October 26, 2012 â&#x20AC;˘ 10 CHESVAN 5773

Parshat Lech Lecha

October 26, 2012 • 10 CHESVAN 5773 THE JEWISH STAR


Oct 27 Shabbat Guest Speaker

Tzipi Hotovely Knesset member & rising star of the Likud party, Ms. Hotovely is a religious Zionist, graduate of Bar Ilan’s Law School & doctoral student at Tel Aviv’s Law School. She serves as the head of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women. Congregation Beth Sholom 390 Broadway, Lawrence, NY 11559 516-569-3600 Fax 516-569-3105 Eruv 516-295-4212


Calendar Submit your shul or organization’s events or shiurim to Deadline is Wednesday of the week prior to publication.

Oct 30 Breast Cancer Screenings

From the NUMC Mammography Van 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon East Rockaway Recreation Center/John Street Complex 17 John Street, East Rockaway For additional information, or to make an appointment, please call Legislator Howard Kopel’s office at (516) 571-6207 Appts are scheduled on a first come, first served basis

Oct 28 Hachnasas Sefer Torah

The Esformes Sefer Torah In memory of Harav Shlomo Freifeld, zt’l Dedicated by Rabbi Morris and Delecia Esformes 9 a.m. Shiur by Rav Naftali Jaeger 12 noon K’sivas Osios 1:30 p.m. Torah Procession accompanied by Live Music Starting at the corner of Nassau Expressway and Cedar Lawn Avenue 2:30 p.m. Seudas Mitzvah For opportunities and information, please call Rabbi Moshe Rubin 516-239-9002 ext 124


Renowned Lecturer R’ Zecharia Wallerstein Refreshments will be served at 8:00 PM Lecture Scheduled for 8:30 PM Men & Women are Welcome! Admission is Free! Beth Gavriel Community Center 66-35 108th St. Forest Hills NY 11375 For More Info Call or Text 917-617-3636 or Email: Visit

For Women Only Information Session

Nov 11

The Impact of Breast and Ovarian Cancer on the Jewish Community Young Israel of West Hempstead,located at 630 Hempstead Avenue, in conjunction with Sharsheret is sponsoring a free informative session. Shera Dubitsky, Sharsheret’s Clinical Director will be speaking. Handouts of prevention/signs/symptoms, etc. Discussion and question and answer period will follow. Refreshments will be served. Sponsorships in honor of a survivor or in memory of a loved one. Reservations preferred, but all are welcome at the door. For more information, please contact Betty Aboff at 516-996-6309 or email mbnra@aol. com.

Young Israel of North Woodmere

29th Annual Dinner honoring Zipora and Aron Neuman and Joyce and Dr. Phil Levine at Congregation Ohr Torah Cocktails 5:30 p.m. Dinner 7:00 p.m. To place an ad or to make your dinner reservations, please contact Shapsie Markus or Glernn Skolnick at


Hachnassat Sefer Torah

Dedication of a Torah in Memory of Rabbi Dr. Noah and Pearl Rosenbloom the Parents of Michaelle Gorman & Leah Bulka Procession 12:30 PM from Central Avenue & Prospect Avenue to the Woodmere Rehabilitation and Health Care Center Refreshments Will Be Served

Calling all Senior Song Birds THE JCC OF THE GREATER FIVE TOWNS, located at 270 Grove Avenue in Cedarhurst, hosts a choir for seniors every Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. for a joyful hour of singing with choir master Zvi Klein. We sing songs in all languages and we perform for local venues. There is a $5.00 optional contribution requested per session. For information please call Sheryl at 516-569-6733 x222.

Gala Classical Concert

Pianists, Arbie Orenstein and Audrey Schneider as well as distinguished guest artist, flutist Keith Underwood will perform. The program will consist of piano compositions by Chopin, Schubert, Debussy and Ravel, as well as flute works by Barber, Rachmaninov, Bloch and Schulhoff. There will be a collation following the concert and all concert ticket holders are invited. Tickets are for the concert are $20 each and $15 for students. If you would like to be a patron, for $100 you will get 4 tickets for reserved seating and also have your name in the program. For additional information and/or to purchase tickets, call Fran Welner at 516-485-

1682 or the Jewish Community Center of West Hempstead office at 516-481-7448. The Jewish Community Center of West Hempstead is located at 711 Dogwood Ave, West Hempstead.

Support group

Participants in the Masbia Bike Tour include Eitan Blumstein, organizer Yaakov Hawk, Aaron Neufeld, and Elie Hawk. The bike tour raised over $6,000 for the cause

THE JCC OF THE GREATER FIVE TOWNS will sponsor a new support group for the economically challenged as a result of the economic downturn. Key themes will include unemployment, financial issues, empowerment and support. Please join us on Thursday mornings at 10:15 a.m. at Temple Israel, 140 Central Ave, Lawrence until January 20th. This group is part of Connect to Care, an initiative funded by UJAFederation of NY. For further information and to pre-register, please contact Talia Rapps, L.M.S.W. at 516-569-6733 x213.

13 THE JEWISH STAR October 26, 2012 • 10 CHESVAN 5773

Dr. Neil Berman & the Team at Smiles 4 A Lifetime Proudly Welcome

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(Back row) Barbara Nordlicht, Hope Berger Nathan, Nancy Karp, Front Row: Faye Krawitz, Sheri Feldman, Elisheva Stein collectively represent the outstanding honorees that were recognized at the Amit Greater Long Island Gala. Supporters came out Tuesday evening for a fun evening to support the cause that enables Israel’s youth to realize their potential.

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Gan Eden...

Rabbi Riskin in Woodmere Continued from page 1 ligious courts, helping them to secure a Get. Rabbi Riskin’s outstanding contributions to Israel and to world Jewry over the course of his career have made him one of the leading voices of today’s Modern Orthodox world. Rabbi Riskin is especially renowned for his innovative educational and social action programs, which are based upon his unique vision of an authentic Judaism sensitive to every human being and responsive to all universal concerns. “I’m a halachic existentialist. Halacha and the details when understood properly deal with the most existential problems of humanity, “ stressed Rabbi Riskin. “Ohr Torah Stone begins with Efrat. I believe in halachic Judaism that expresses human sensitivity. I needed a community to be a backdrop for the institution.”

Rabbi Riskin’s visit to the Woodmere and Great Neck communities are a prelude to Ohr Torah Stone’s annual dinner on December 4, 2012 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Guests of honor are Helene and Robbie Rothenberg, Rain and Stanley Silverstein, along with their grandchildren Mindy and Michael Leventhal. Distinguished educator awardees are Rav Tuvia Kaplan and Mrs. Tova Rhein. Midor L’dor awardees are Dr. Michelle Friedman and Mr. Benjamin Belfer and their three daughters, Midreshet Lindenbaum alumni, Emily (’06), Sarah, (’08) and Rachel(’11) The dinner will feature a panel discussion on women as spiritual leaders with Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Dr. Michelle Sarna, and Mrs. Shani Taragin, moderated by Dr. Michelle Friedman. For more information please contact Ohr Torah Stone at (212) 935-8672.




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thy to ascend with him to Gan Eden. I sat here, as if in a trance, watching Rebbe Moshe Yehudah Leib Sassov ransom all those souls that he deemed worthy to ascend with him to Heaven. I knew that you, and the entire community were waiting for me, but I was transfixed by the image. I could not move until the tzaddik had completely ascended to his deserved place in Gan Eden, the World to Come. And now you understand,” the rebbe concluded, “why your newborn son was destined to bear the name of that holy tzaddik, may he be for a blessing.”


Continued from page 6 rectly on the way to the next world. I imagined that as his soul ascended, he stopped to gather those souls that were in limbo, that were not completely righteous, and not completely wicked. The Heavenly Court watched and was stymied; never had a worthy soul delayed entrance into Gan Eden because it was busy searching for those who were not completely righteous, not completely wicked. In my vision, I heard him talking to the Heavenly Court and demanding time to round up all those souls that were even partially wor-


October 26, 2012 • 10 CHESVAN 5773 THE JEWISH STAR




Continued from page 11 Many people who are anti-circumcision like to quote a passage of Maimonides from â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Guide to the Perplexedâ&#x20AC;? [3.49 (118a), 609] in which Maimonides expressed how circumcision decreases physical sensitivity. But their quotation of Maimonides is always incomplete, and therefore intellectually dishonest. In the part they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quote, Maimonides outlines why we circumcise. Avraham was the ďŹ rst to recognize the power of the male â&#x20AC;&#x153;driveâ&#x20AC;? and the need to have other pursuits in life [see Hilchot Deâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ot 3:2]. More importantly, in his day (certainly before any notion of routine circumcision that exists in the United States today), circumcision gave our people a common physical sign of our peoplehood, along with the faith that this is what G-d has asked of us. (Levenson addresses the fact that women do not bear a sign of the covenant.) The covenant forged with Avraham, in which G-d agreed â&#x20AC;&#x153;to be a G-d for you and for your children after youâ&#x20AC;? [as described in Bereshit 17] is the source for declaring G-dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oneness. Maimonides states unequivocally that the Torah cannot be properly fulďŹ lled without circumcision. He shares three points of

THE JEWISH STAR October 26, 2012 â&#x20AC;˘ 10 CHESVAN 5773

The covenant of circumcision wisdom in the process of circumcising at this age: 1. Were we to leave it for the child to do when he grows older, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great chance that he wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it. 2. The long-term pain experienced by an older person, who will add emotional stress to the ordeal, does not compare to the when-itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s-over-itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s-done experience of a newborn. 3. Submitting a newborn to circumcision is much easier than an older child, for whom our love only grows over time, who experiences pain differently and who might remember it. These days, even many Muslims have switched from the older practice of circumcising at 13 or a younger age of childhood, opting for the newborn period, which is far less traumatic and entirely forgettable. Small groups of Jews claim, â&#x20AC;&#x153;choosing not to circ is the more Jewish thing to do.â&#x20AC;? Discounting the Torah is hardly â&#x20AC;&#x153;more Jewish,â&#x20AC;? but those who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t â&#x20AC;&#x153;get itâ&#x20AC;? will try to use any argument they can to pursue their agenda. For us, our covenant with G-d is what will keep this mitzvah alive. May we merit to bring many more babies into the Covenant (though only boys bear the physical mark) as the Jewish people continue to grow in anticipation of the ďŹ nal Redemption.

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October 26, 2012  
October 26, 2012  

The Jewish Star