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Bookworm: The Rav on Joseph Page 5 Who’s in the kitchen dishes on Chanukah and Latkes Page 7 A Chanukah story from the Labovitz collection Page 13 Disaster Recovery Center at YIW Page 18

THE JEWISH

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VOL 11, NO 47 ■ DECEMBER 7, 2012 / 23 KISLEV 5773

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First Shalhevet alumni reunion in Israel By Malka Eisenberg In another first, Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Zev and Mrs. Renee Friedman met this week in

Jerusalem with the girls of the first alumni class of Shalhevet High School for Girls. “We went to visit the students learning in Israel to keep the kesher (connection),”

Photo courtesy of Shalhevet

Rabbi and Mrs. Zev Friedman with Shalhevet alumni at their reunion in Israel.

NCSY strives for record By Malka Eisenberg NCSY, the International Youth Movement of the Orthodox Union, is planning a recordbreaking menorah lighting for this weekend on the first night of Chanukah in Connecticut. Over 1,000 menorahs, or chanukiyot, will be set up, lit and blessings said, in a huge ballroom in the Stamford Hilton Hotel at 7 p.m. on Saturday night, December 8th as part of an “inspiring and motivating” Shabbaton, explained Hanna Schlager, NY NCSY’s director of development. The goal is to break the Guinness World Record for the most menorahs lit simultaneously in honor of Chanukah. NCSY purchased all the menorahs and candles for the event thanks to a generous sponsorship and all of the participants may keep their menorahs to use for the rest of the holiday. For many, this will be the first time they have lit a menorah and said the brachot, blessings, on the candle lighting, pointed out Schlager. The blessings will be projected and

transliterated to facilitate the process. NY NCSY and Atlantic Seaboard NCSY have joined together for their annual Winter Regional Shabbaton, from Friday, December 7th through Sunday, December 9th. More than 500 teenagers from both public schools and Yeshiva day schools will be there, as well as adults, advisors and staff. The youth and adults hail from Long Island, Westchester, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Rochester. The extreme monorah lighting event is the idea of the Regional Director of NY NCSY, Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, noted Schlager. Lightstone felt that teens celebrating their first Chanukah would be even more inspired through the Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name) of participating in their first lighting and beating the Guinness World Record. Schlager pointed out that the previous record was 782 menorahs lit, set last year by the Merrick Jewish Center. She noted Continued on page 3

Rabbi Friedman wrote in an email. “Also (we went) during this time to show solidarity with the people of Israel.” The Friedmans visited with the students a few days after the cease-fire brought a halt to the incessant barrage of rockets fired at Israel from Gaza. Rabbi Friedman noted that all of the graduates studying in Israel came except for two who were on a trip with their school. The students met with the Friedmans in Jerusalem and ate pizza, chummos, and cookies baked by one of the students, Gavriella Pearl. “The purpose of the trip was to visit them and see how they were doing,” explained Rabbi Friedman. “All of them were learning well and growing.” He said that all of the girls are doing well. “Being that we came during and in the aftermath of the crisis in Gaza,” he added, “everyone we met was appreciative of the support of the American Jewish community.

It is a small gesture…let’s think of the sacrifices our brothers and sisters are making for World Jewry on an ongoing basis.” Midreshet Shalhevet expects that at least 90% of their second graduating class of 20 students will study in Israel next year. The students will be attending MMY, Shaalvim, Migdal Oz, Harova, Tiferet and Nishmat. Rabbi Friedman plans to maintain a connection with the Shalhevet alumni when they return to the States next year by inviting them and setting up “learning time with them,” he said. He noted that as Rosh Mesivta at Rambam he also spent time with the Rambam students in Israel, as well. He visited 12 yeshivot and gave shiurim to American students in some of them. The Rambam graduates learning in Israel join Rabbi Friedman for an annual Shabbaton as well.

A time to weep, a time to laugh By Malka Eisenberg A program that included a Siyum HaShas, videos, Torah insights and speeches, commemorated and memorialized a brief life whose influence continues to bring joy and inspiration to children and adults in the Five Towns-Far Rockaway community and worldwide. Billed as an evening of remembrance, reflection and inspiration, a standing room only audience filled the men’s and women’s sections of the main sanctuary of the Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst on Tuesday night, to commemorate what would have been Levi Yitzchak Wolowik’s 13th birthday, his bar mitzvah. He passed away when he was nine. A cross section of the community Photo courtesy of Wolowikfamily

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Continued from page 1 his bar mitzvah. He passed away when he was nine. A cross section of the community attended, men wearing knitted, suede, cloth, black kipot and black hats, women with wigs and hats, filling the seats and crowding the aisles, riveted by the presentation, occasionally broken by muffled sobs. The first speaker quoted Ecclesiastes, about the different times in life and how rarely do two of these come together, but this would have been a time of joy but is also now a time of great pain and tears. Levi’s brothers and his father learned mishnayos together for the siyum, noting that the letters of the word neshoma (soul) are the same letters as in the word mishna. One brother read the final mishna in Masechet Makot in Seder Nezikin. Another brother expressed the hope that they would “very soon be together with Levi Yitzchak with the coming of Mashiach.” The friends of another brother, Dovid, presented a gift of the Tanya for Levi Yitzchak, a”h, on the occasion of his birthday. A film was shown of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, z”l, making a siyum on his birthday in 1988 and thanking some of his chassidim, followers, for printing a Tanya in commemoration of his birthday. One woman in the audience noted that Levi Yitzchak was born on the evening of the anniversary that the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), the founder of Chabad, the Baal HaTanya, the author of the Tanya, was released from prison in Russia. Rabbi Zalman Wolowik, Levi’s father, noted that Hashem creates the world and people’s good deeds live on. He thanked his many study partners and said that in the last three and a half years since Levi’s passing he was comforted by family and friends, but “without enjoying the pleasures of Torah (learning) I would have been lost in my pain.” He thanked everyone, but felt the two words of thank you were insufficient. He then read the Hadran, (we will return) a prayer of gratitude and thankfulness recited upon completing the study of a designated part of

Photo by Malka Eisenberg

One of Levi Yitzchak Wolowik’s brothers speaking at the commemoration of Levi’s 13th birthday and Siyum HaShas. the Mishna or Talmud, and recited the Kaddish for that occasion, pausing, his voice at times hoarse with emotion, the audience responding with “amen” “yehei shmei…” Another brother of Levi recalled a discussion the brothers had on the occasion of Levi’s tenth birthday after his passing as to how old he was then. They concluded that although his body was nine, his neshomo, his soul, continued to grow and was ten years old. Levi’s grandfather recalled holding Levi at his bris, and quoted the Lubavitcher Rebbe that “from adversity you draw strength,” and the need to be a servant to G-d, as our forefather Jacob was, but in every generation. He also cited the story of Joseph searching for his brothers, and that that was the first division in the Jewish people, with discord of brother against brother, and that the goal since then has been the unity of the Jewish people. Another film showed videos and photos of Levi Yitzchak, a”h, and another video, as well as speakers, stressed the importance of the Levi Yitzchak library, the joy it brings to par-

ents and children from all over and the need to maintain it and keep it growing in Levi Yitzchak’s name. One speaker noted that the children of shluchim, the Chabad emissaries, worldwide, receive loans of six books every month from the library. The speaker quoted from Talmud Ketubot 50 that “one who writes books and loans them to someone else, his righteousness shall remain forever.” For more information and donations go to www.lylibrary.org.

Photo courtesy of the Wolowik family

Levi Yitzchak Wolowik, a”h

NCSY to break record Continued from page 1 that there are “tons of rules and regulations, every exit and engrance has to filled, with 20 stewards to guard the doors and filming of the event from beginning to end with a camera at every entrance”. NCSY is providing candles and tin menorahs, she said, but “those who want to light their own can bring their own and oil and light. We are hoping for more than 1000.” Some of the menorahs will be lit without a blessing. She said that they are reaching out to those who “don’t celebrate at home and don’t say the brachot” hoping that this will “light a fire under the person” who would then say “’wow, let’s do it and I’ll invite my friends” to “motivate the person” to “want to be a party of it.” Rabbi Lightstone explained, “The teens who will be participating in this event have experienced tremendously challenging times in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and for that reason our NCSY team has launched this record-setting project called, “Turning the Lights Back On.” We hope to demonstrate the potential power that each individual candle possesses as it attempts to extinguish its share of darkness in the world.” “I’m really excited,” said Schlager. “It’s

the first night of Chanukah, everyone will be lighting, it will be really special, with singing and dancing and lots of jelly donuts.” Schlager noted that “NCSY’s greater mission is to connect, inspire and empower Jewish teens and encourage passionate Judaism through Torah and Tradition. NCSY connects with Jewish teens through innovative, cutting-edge social and recreational programs to develop a positive Jewish identity and inspires Jewish teens through informal Jewish education, retreats and summer programs. NCSY empowers teens through leadership development and guidance to become passionately committed leaders of the Jewish community and instruments for positive change and renewal. NCSY is committed to provide a safe space where teens can celebrate their Jewish heritage; embrace Torah and Tradition; develop a positive Jewish identity; acquire invaluable leadership skills; connect with dedicated Jewish role models; and learn to live passionately Jewish lives.” NCSY said that this is open to the community and is welcoming guests to stop by the Stamford Hilton Hotel to join them in making history at this “tremendously moving Chanukah event.”

Photo courtesy of American Friends of Bet El

BACHMANN DELIVERS FOR BET EL By Karen C. Green

Over 1,000 supporters were in attendance at the American Friends of Bet El 30th Annual Dinner held on Sunday, December 2 at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan. The evening’s awardees included Rabbi Pesach Lerner, recipient of the Rabbinic Leadership award, Guests of Honor Shelley and Ronnie Summers, Shomer Bet El recipient Brian Decker and Shomer Yisroel recipient Mark Langfan. Honorary Chairman Eugene Gluck introduced the Congresswoman and recent Republican Presidential primary candidate as the evening’s keynote speaker. Bachman wowed the crowd and several times during her speech got the audience on their feet cheering her remarks. “Although a ceasefire is under way, make no mistake what this empty promise is about. It’s buying time for Hamas to regroup and reload. Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. Political correctness must never impede to call it exactly what it is.”

THE JEWISH STAR December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773

Remembering Levi Yitzchak on his bar mitzvah

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December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773 THE JEWISH STAR

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Opinion We are a stiff-necked people Yasser would have been so proud! Last Thursday the United Nations completed the journey it began in November 1974 when it invited a mass-murderer born and raised in Egypt to speak to its General Assembly. At the time, Yasser Arafat said he brought with him an olive branch of peace, and a gun. To the day he died, Arafat turned down every opportunity to use the olive branch, but never skipped a chance to use the gun. It didn’t matter, because by the time his hate-ravaged body gave out, the terrorist organization he led-- the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had already taught the POLITICO world Arafat’s lesson-TO GO which was, “terrorism works, it is a legitimate form of political expression.” Suckled at the teat of Western world appeasement and Arab petrodollars, the PLO begot many children including the radical Muslims who attacked us on 9/11, who today are still trying to destroy our way of life. Jeff Dunetz With its vote to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, the UN created something out of nothing just as the Roman’s did two thousand years ago when they changed the name of the Jewish State from Judea to Palaestina. The Romans did it as a slap in the face to those stiffnecked “Jews” who revolted against their rule too many times. They renamed the Jewish homeland giving it the name of an ancient Israelite Aegean enemy, the Philistines, who disappeared from the region over five centuries before. The Romans renamed the land to ensure that this sacred place lost its Jewish identity. It never did lose its identity, because we Jews are a stiff-necked people who have clung to our faith, our Torah, and our G-d ever since a man named Abram left his father’s house in Ur, traveled to the land he was shown and changed his name to Abraham. We left the land because of famine and stayed away to work construction in Egypt, but the Children of Israel lived in that particular piece of G-d-given land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea continuously since a disciple of Moses named Joshua led us back home three and a half

millennia ago. For most of the two thousand years since Rome, no one had tried to deny its connection to the Jews. Things might not have been peaceful, and we were forced to submit to the rule of foreign kings, but Jews lived in the land. Only in the past century and a half, since the ingathering of the Jewish exiles began, was the attempt to separate that hallowed ground from its history and heritage reignited. Last week, the UN intensified its attempt to strip the heritage of Jacob from the holy land by taking a group of refugees who were forced to live in squalor by the King of Jordan and the President of Egypt until they were radicalized, ceding them a piece of the Jewish birthright and telling us we could no longer live there. Make no mistake about it, the UN created something out of what has never been. There was never a country of Palestine, only a territory controlled by Rome, the Ottomans and the British. Yasser Arafat was its first official leader; it has no borders, and claims the city, where we were told to build a Temple to G-d, as its capital. Its “ancient history” was as the Israelite land of Judea and Samaria. There was never even a call for a Palestinian State in the years Egypt controlled Gaza, and Jordan controlled Judea and Samaria. Neither Fatah, the terrorist organization controlling Judea and Samaria, nor Hamas, recognize the Jewish people’s right to their historic homeland. The supposedly moderate Fatah controlled by PA President Abbas still operates from its constitution calling for: “Opposing any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine” (Article 22) and insists that “Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated” (Article 19). While they refuse to recognize our history, the UN gave them a state with no history. It doesn’t even matter to the UN that this “state out of nothing” does not qualify for statehood under international law. According to article 4 of the United Nations charter, membership is reserved for states (and “peace loving” states at that). Palestine does not even meet the minimum qualifications of a state under international law. Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States provides the

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

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internationally recognized criteria of statehood: The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a) a permanent population; b) a defined territory; c) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states. This Palestinian entity, called a state by the UN, has none of the above. It is simply a band of terrorist thugs, born out of Egyptian and Jordanian hatred of Jews, forced to live in camps, left to fester by Egypt and Jordan, who would not allow them to become citizens of the countries which controlled the land they lived in, and finally, they were unleashed on the world to commit violence against innocents. This Palestinian entity claims the Jewish People never lived in the land; that the Temples in Jerusalem that were recognized by Mohammed and worshiped at by Jesus-never existed. Despite a continual Jewish presence in the land since before the beginning of Christianity and Islam, they claim the nation of Israel was only formed because of the Holocaust. Last week, the followers of the Muslim Prophet and the Christian Messiah banded together to give those claims credence. Every time the nation of Israel attempts to defend itself against the terrorist mission to destroy her, anti-Semitism intensifies in the Muslim world, the “Third world,” Europe, and even here in the United States. Last week’s UN action will contribute to the

worldwide plague of hatred. Last week, the United Nations recognized Palestine, a state created out of nothing--given a name created by Rome to destroy the heritage of the Jews. The name is appropriate because they gave the state to a people ruled by leaders with the same goal as Rome, to destroy the heritage of the Jews. In doing so, this world body continued with what they started in 1974, when they invited a massmurderer to the General Assembly with the purpose of nursing terrorism and promoting hatred of the Jews. What the UN doesn’t understand is that in the end it won’t matter. One important thing never changed throughout our history. It was the way we were described in the Torah and it never changed whether Gentiles called us Hebrews, Children of Israel, Judeans or Jews. We remain a stiff-necked people who cling to our G-d and the land he gave us as a birthright. No decision by a terrorist appeasing world body can ever change that. No change in semantics or recognition of a gang that practices, what was called in the Tanach, “hamas,” (violence and terror) will separate this stiffnecked people from the land. Not world body, nor the western world, or even the President of the United States can determine who owns this holy piece of earth. It was endowed to a stiff-necked people by their Creator and with His help no Earthly being can ever take it away. Jeff Dunetz is the Editor/Publisher of the political blog “The Lid” (www.jeffdunetz.com).

Letters to the editor rial I included were verifiable and accurate, Kudos to Bookworm so that he can have confidence in their acTo the editor, I was very happy to see Alan Gerber’s review of my just released book, Inside Chanukah, in this past weeks issue. It was truly a great piece, and I am very appreciative. Can you please assist me in expressing my appreciation to Mr. Gerber personally, by forwading the below email to him. Dear Mr. Gerber, Shalom Aleychem, I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to express my appreciation for a most magnificent review you wrote for my book, which appeared in this past weekend’s Jewish Star. My wife said it most succinctly--that more than just hitting on some of the book’s highlights, you recognized and highlighted exactly those foundational ‘ma’aylas’ of the book, that I sought for the book and its readers in writing it. Specifically, I wanted the book to be different than all the other English books on Chanukah out there. There is so much information on Chanukah, and it can sometimes be so complicated, that the average person can get lost in the confusion. So I strove to bring all the technical detail to the readers’ fingertips on a ‘silver platter’- in an easily accessible format and style, that was easy and a pleasure to read, easy to digest and that would be inspiring. In addition, I sought to mention all the sources of the material I included (and exact citations to them), to give credit to the sources, and so that the reader can quote the source of a dvar Torah if he is saying it over to someone, or if he wants to look it up and see it inside the original himself. Moreover, I wanted to make sure that the reader knew that the sources of the mate-

curacy. And finally, I worked really hard to write the book for a wide audience, so that everyone can enjoy and gain from it. These are the goals I wanted to accomplish, and I am very excited, and at the same time humbled, by the really beautiful review you wrote, not only because of the really great publicity it gave to my book, but because of the fact that you recognized the exact essential unique elements that I worked so hard to inculcate in the book. In doing so, not only did you so eloquently point them out to the public, but you confirmed for me that I did in fact succeeded in inculcating them in the book effectively. Your comments that the book was written in “plain and clear English, absent the technical jargon so common in other works,” and that “The intellectual integrity that is at the foundation of this work, makes it one of the best Chanukah books every authored in English for the Jewish layperson,” was humbling, and just right! And that last line was especially so eloquent and powerful! Thank you so much! May you and your family have a truly freilachen and lichtig Chanukah! With much gratitude and birchas kol tuv, Aryeh Pinchas Strickoff P.S. I also do not know if I ever thanked you for the wonderful review you wrote for my previous book “Inside Purim” in the February 27, 2009 issue of the Jewish Star, which was equally as well written and eloquent. I so much appreciated that. Thank you.


Joseph on Joseph: The Rav’s take on the Tzaddik the ultimate destiny of the Jewish people. In the Rav’s essay, “Joseph The Dreamer” he observes: “As Jews, we have a living memory which spans centuries and millennia. We also have an awareness of a common destiny. The past is real to us; the future is also real – as real as the past. Basically, this memory of the past, together with anticipation of the future, are two experiences of brothers. And since Jews are brothers, that is what unites us: the common past and the common future.” This common bond, when joined with trust, has forged for Jews, throughout history, the binding force that assured for us that collective strength that has guaranteed our existence through the ages. The relationship between Joseph and Pharaoh was predicated upon the wise advice that Joseph gave the monarch that led to the continued economic integrity of the Egyptian governance. Consider the following interpretation of Joseph’s words by the Rav:“However, there is a way to avoid the distress and disaster which will be caused by the seven cows, and that is the intelligent handling of human success. Of course, you can, if you decide to ignore my interpretation, enjoy the seven years of abundance with a careless attitude-not anticipating trouble and not preparing yourself for disaster. Pharaoh and the aristocracy would be provided with nourishment, but the crowd may be nonchalantly left to starve. If this is the way you are planning to meet the future, then you may expect the worst – destruction and revolution. However,

if you decide to meet the famine intelligently and feed the people, if you accumulate lots of food for people to survive times of need and distress but without profiteering or speculation, then the damage which the seven cows inflict will be very limited. On the contrary, the onslaught of the satanic forces upon civilization will, instead of annihilating, strengthen the constructive elements in our civilization. Whether the hostile demon abiding in our midst will succeed in destroying Egypt depends upon our action.” How contemporary does this all sound--for here we have a situation that parallels all the talk of a fiscal cliff in ancient garb as foreseen by Joseph and as so accurately interpreted by Rav Soloveitchik. The Rav concludes this segment: “Pharaoh apparently understood Joseph. He said to his servants, ‘Is there another one like this, a man in whom the spirit of G-d dwells?’ He then puts Joseph’s plan into effect.” In another essay entitled “Joseph the Ruler,” the Rav continues his observations concerning Pharaoh’s rule under the threat of potentially dire circumstances. “Pharaoh had a great understanding of spirituality. We know that Joseph’s presence had an enormous impact upon him.” Now read further on this from the Rav: “Joseph humanized and sensitized him. He succeeded in making Egypt the provider of food for the Mideast without discriminating between Egyptians and foreigners. There was a humanitarian aspect to the distribution

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he subject of the life’s journey of Joseph, Yosef Hatzaddik, is the subject of weekly Torah readings till the end of December, which includes the festival of Chanukah. This week’s essay focuses on the work “Vision and Leadership: Reflections on Joseph and Moses” [Ktav Publishing House, 2013] by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, edited by Rabbi Reuven Ziegler, Dr. David Shatz, and Dr. Joel Wolowelsky for the Toras HaRav Foundation. T h i s review deals with the Rav’s take on Joseph. According to Rabbi Reuven Ziegler, the Rav identified with Joseph, not just because they both had the same name and because Joseph was misunderstood by his siblings. Alan Jay Gerber Rabbi Soloveitchik identified with Joseph mainly because he was a dreamer and Joseph demonstrated, throughout his life’s experience in Egypt, that one can remain a loyal Jew even while living in the most advanced society of that era. Further, both were to spend their life’s work interacting within their respective societies at the highest levels. Much in this work points to the Rav’s highlighting Joseph’s activities as parallel to

5 THE JEWISH STAR December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773

The Kosher Bookworm

system introduced by Joseph. The peasants retained 80% of the harvest for themselves; only 20% was given to the treasury – a pretty decent agreement for antiquity! Joseph convinced Pharaoh that justice and charity must prevail, that a civilized country cannot exist on technology alone. A moral system is indispensable.” These lessons of the Rav reflect the inspiring teachings of a religiously inspired leader, skilled in the art of bringing the word and belief in G-d as the very essence of what our religion is truly all about. This theological link by the Rav to the life’s work of Joseph is further commented upon by Rabbi Reuven Ziegler in his monumental work, “Majesty and Humility: The Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik” [OU Press, Maimonides School, Urim Publications, 2013] wherein he states the following theologically based observation: “Rabbi Soloveitchik saw himself in light of the biblical Joseph. The latter’s constant preoccupation was to safeguard the continuity of Abraham’s tradition when relocated into a different civilization. In the Rav’s reading, Canaan and Egypt are not just locations, but cultures – the simple and old vs. the sophisticated and new. In our day, the Rav felt, the tasks of perpetuating and applying the Torah within new environments would inevitably need to be pursued in both Israel and the Diaspora. He devoted his untiring efforts and creative energies to pursuing these tasks in the leading country of the West, America. At the same time, he involved himself and expended great concern in ensuring the Torah’s continuity in Israel and in shaping the character and future of the young state.” Such are the eternal legacies of the two Josephs of our people.


December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773 THE JEWISH STAR

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Courtesy of Chai Lifeline

Mariam and Menachem Lieber accept the Chai Heritage Award at the 2012 Annual Gala. Pictured left to right are Rick and Robin Schottenfeld, Gala chairs, Mariam and Menachem Lieber, Chani and Aroni Parnes, Gala chairs, Levi Katlowitz, Chai Lifeline director of community development, and Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president.

Chai Lifeline’s 2012 annual gala “celebrating hope” Chai Lifeline’s Annual Gala held at the Marriott Marquis on Tuesday was attended by over 1200 people to came out to honor those recognized by the organization; Chai Heritage Award recipients, Menachem and Mariam Lieber, Celebrating the dedication of i-SHINE Teaneck Ilana Michal Schwartz

A;H, i-SHINE founders awardees Deena Intrator, Annette Kaufman, Stacey Zrihen, Maimonides Legacy Award recipient Arthur A. Klein, MD, Camp Simcha Appreciation Award recipients Moshe and Tova Bollag. Rabbi Simcha Scholar addressed packed group at the gala with the theme “Celebrat-

ing Hope” “Even though we are not parents of a sick child or medical staff we are family. Helping, volunteering, giving, Chesed – giving is a declaration of Ahavas Yisroel. When we are helping our fellow human beings we are saying we are family. Social, emotional, practi-

cal needs. 4,300 client families worldwide. Socially, emotionally, professionally. We need to hold their hand when they are going through the storm. Life is not all about when the storm is over. Life is about dancing in the rain.”

The three founders of i-Shine accept the i-Shine Founders Award at the 2012 Annual Gala. Pictured left to right are Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Chai Lifeline executive vice president, Alan Peyser, journal co-chair, Andy Lauber, LMSW, director, i-Shine, Deena Intrator, Stacey Zrihen, Annette Kaufman. Moshe and Tova Bollag accept the Camp Simcha Appreciation Award at the 2012 Annual Gala. Pictured left to right are Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Chai Lifeline executive vice president, Nachman Goodman, journal co-chair, Moshe and Tova Bollag, and Rabbi Avrohom Cohen, Chai Lifeline executive director. i-Shine Teaneck in memory of Ilana Michal Schwartz, a’h, was dedicated at Chai Lifeline’s 2012 Annual Gala. The program is modeled on the successful Five Towns/ Far Rockaway afterschool program of the same name.

Bestowing the award on Dr. Klein are Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president, Sol Mayer, a member of Chai Lifeline’s presidium, and Rubin S. Cooper, MD, chairman of the Medical Tribute Committee.


Latkes and loot

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hanukah, the time of year when it’s actually acceptable to eat foods prepared in oil, gamble and expect gifts every night for eight nights. Let’s be honest, how many of us really take the time to learn about the history, interesting and unknown facts and folklore of Chanukah. Sure, we’re all busy frying up latkes and sufganiot (jelly donuts), we’re inviting our families and friends (or are being invited) to parties. We’re polishing the chanukiot, deciding between ready to use oil filled glass cups or just glass cups, a bottle of oil and wicks. We’re running around (or busy on the internet) buying many gifts for each kid. Hey, we don’t rely on a guy in a red suit to do our shopping for us, but I admit, most of us do shop wholesale. While researching information for this Judy Joszef article, I discovered some interesting facts aside from the usual-we were persecuted, we fought back, we won, let’s eat-story. Sure everyone knows about that, and the miracle of the oil lasting eight days. Below are some other things you might not have heard about. For those kids with little patience for all the details, just tell them it was an awesome miracle, equivalent to a cell phone battery with enough charge for only one day but actually lasted eight. Chanukah means “rededication” and is

a holiday that honors and celebrates one of the first recorded fights for religious freedom and the success of this fight. The Maccabees weren’t warriors by training. They were spiritual academics propelled to fight to maintain their religious freedom. On a lighter note, it’s believed the custom of playing dreidel dates back well before the BCE/CE changeover. The original game of dreidel was used as a means of subterfuge by students illegally studying Torah. When the oppressive ruling soldiers would raid a study group, the students would gather around a spinning top, acting as if they were engaged in gambling. It was also the first war fought on the roads and not on organized battlefields. The Maccabees introduced the innovation of stealth warfare, attacking the enemy legions from caves and hilltops on the side of the road. It’s believed those same areas were used when we prevailed against the British occupation and during the 1948 war. Although the truth of the story is impossible to prove, there is an account about George Washington and the meaning of Hanukkah that has become part of American lore: For centuries, the lights of the Hanukkah menorah have inspired hope and courage. They may have also been responsible for inspiring then-General George Washington to forge on when everything looked bleak when his cold and hungry Continental Army camped at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777/8. The story is told that Washington was walking among his troops when he saw one soldier sitting apart from the oth-

ers, huddled over what looked like two tiny flames. Washington approached the soldier and asked him what he was doing. The soldier explained that he was a Jew and he had lit the candles to celebrate Hanukkah, the festival commemorating the miraculous victory of his people so many centuries ago over the tyranny of a much better equipped and more powerful enemy who had sought to deny them their freedom. The soldier then expressed his confidence that just as, with the help of G-d, the Jews of ancient times were ultimately victorious, so, too, would they would be victorious in their just cause for freedom. Washington thanked the soldier and walked back to where the rest of the troops camped, warmed by the inspiration of those little flames and the knowledge that miracles are possible. Rambam, in presenting the laws of Hanukkah, surprisingly provides the historical background of the Maccabees and informs us that “Jewish sovereignty was restored for more than two hundred years.” I was puzzled that he focused on the importance of sovereignty. One night, my mother-in-law, a Holocaust survivor, told us that the most important thing to happen to the Jewish people during her lifetime was the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. One of the reasons for this, she proudly said, was that now antiSemites cannot persecute Jews anywhere around the world with impunity, as now the State of Israel will defend and protect us. I now understood why sovereignty was so important to my mother-in-law. Judah the Maccabee had done exactly what my motherin-law hoped that a sovereign Jewish State would do on behalf of Jews living in the Diaspora. He had led an army of Jewish soldiers to save a besieged Jewish community and rallied his fellow Jewish soldiers shouting: “Whoever is for G-d join with me!” He then engaged in the first “operation walking car-

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pet” and with Hashem’s help saved the entire Jewish community in our homeland. Now, if only we could miraculously fry dozens of latkes in a tiny amount of oil……… Hand Grated Crispy Potato Latkes Ingredients; ■ 5 lbs Idaho potatoes, peeled and washed ■ 6 extra large eggs, beaten ■ Salt and pepper to taste ■ 1 large onion, peeled ■ 2 onions, chopped, fried till golden brown and strained ■ Canola oil for frying Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. Grate potatoes and 2 onions on a hand grater (the secret to great latkes). Add salt, pepper, eggs and strained fried onions. Heat ¼ inch oil in a skillet. Spoon half cup of mixture per latke into hot oil. Work in batches, making sure not to crowd the skillet, so that each latke will be able to be turned over easily and not stick to each other. Fry on both sides until golden brown and crispy, 4-6 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet to drain. If not served immediately they can be reheated in the oven. Judy Joszef can be reached at judy.soiree@ gmail.com

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THE JEWISH STAR December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773

Who’s in the kitchen


Making music with what you have left I recently received this story via e-mail:

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n Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Lincoln Center in New York City. Anyone who has ever been to a Perlman concert, knows that getting on stage is no small achievement for him, having been stricken with polio as a child, with braces on both FROM THE HEART legs and walking with OF JERUSALEM the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, is a moving sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Rabbi Binny Then he bends down Freedman and picks up his violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play. By now the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs, waiting until he is ready to play. But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap – it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what he had to do. People who were there that night assumed that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off the stage - to either find another violin or else find another string for this one. Or wait for someone to bring him another. But he didn’t. Instead he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity, as they had never heard before. Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, you know that. But that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing and recomposing the piece in his head. At one point it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before. When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. Everyone was on his or her feet, clapping and cheering; doing everything they could to show how much they appreciated what he had done. He smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, raised his bow to quiet the audience, and said, not boastfully, but in a quiet reverent tone: “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.” What a powerful line that is. There is an awesome power behind those words; and one wonders where some people find the strength to continue making music with whatever they have left. Crippled and aging, with all the challenges that entails, most people would fold up and let go at the pros-

pect of one more obstacle. You need to have a lot of faith in yourself, as well as the belief that there is a purpose far beyond yourself, to continue finding music with whatever is left. And this is the story of Joseph, which begins in earnest in this week’s portion, Vayeshev. If ever there was a character who had the right to give up on himself, and certainly on G-d, it was Joseph. Sold into slavery (and nearly killed) by his brothers, abandoned by his family, falsely accused and imprisoned by the master to whom he had shown unconditional loyalty, and forgotten even by the fellow inmates he helped in prison, one would have expected Joseph to forget about G-d, much as G-d seemed to have forgotten about him. And one would certainly have expected, after twelve years wallowing in the prison-pits of ancient Egypt, that Joseph would give up on himself. Yet neither seems to be the case. Deep in the dungeons of despair, imprisoned by his former master, Potiphar, who believes the false accusations of his deceptive wife, Joseph has finally hit rock bottom. The days turn into months and soon become years. There is no word from his family, and the dream that his father may be looking for him seems to have long faded. Recall that when his brothers sold him into slavery, he had no way of knowing that they later dipped his special striped coat in sheep blood, convincing their father Yaakov that he was dead. He must wonder why Yaakov does not come looking for him, and one wonders what his conclusion must be. After all, his grandfather Abraham had two sons, Yitzchak and Yishmael, yet one of those sons is sent away, and is not chosen to carry on the great mission and build the Jewish people. Later, Yitzchak, too, has two sons, but only one, Yaakov, is chosen to carry on the dream; the other, Esav, leaves the fold. Perhaps (as Rav Yoel Bin Nun suggests) Joseph thought he was the son chosen to be sent away, and maybe that would explain why his beloved father who was so close to him, was not even looking for him. After all, how difficult could it be for a man of Yaakov’s stature to find a Hebrew slave in Egypt? And now, after nearly ten years in the pit, an insignificant slave whose grandiose dreams of the sun, the moon and the stars must seem far, far away, is all alone. How could one not conclude that G-d is dead? One would have thought this to be the logical choice for Joseph. If I am all alone in this pit, then where is G-d? Maybe G-d is dead? Maybe Abraham’s nonsensical idea of a hidden, unseen G-d is really all just a great big mistake? Yet, in offering to interpret the dreams of his fellow prisoners (the butler and the baker) Joseph’s choice of language is nothing short of incredible: “Va’Yomer Aleihem Yosef: Ha’Lo L’Elokim Pitronim; Sipru’ Na Li.” “…And Joseph said to them: any interpretations (solutions) belong to G-d, but feel free to share your dreams with me.” (Bereishit 40:8) Notice that Joseph does not suggest that it is G-d who helps him to interpret dreams. Rather, it is all G-d. And he, Joseph, has absolutely nothing to do with it. In next week’s portion, Miketz, Pharaoh has a dream that no one else seems able to interpret. Finally, the butler, helped by Joseph in prison years before, remembers him, and Joseph is soon called before the great Pharaoh himself. “And Pharaoh said to Yosef: I have dreamed a dream, and no-one can solve it, and I have heard of you, saying: you will hear

a dream and interpret it.” (41:15) Joseph is in an extraordinary position here. A Hebrew slave, given the attention of the ruler of the known world, it would have been a normal human reaction for Joseph to respond by saying that indeed, he has been granted this gift: the ability to interpret dreams. But Joseph’s reaction is one of complete self-effacement: “…Bila’dai! Elokim Ya’aneh Et She’lom Pharaoh.” “Without me! G-d will answer the wellbeing of Pharaoh!” (41:16) In other words, Joseph wants it to be clear that he has nothing to do with it at all; everything is, ultimately, in the hands of G-d. Such total self-effacement and willingness to accept G-d as the source of everything, requires tremendous work and character development. And in order to reach this level of acceptance of G-d as the source of all things, a person might lose their own sense of self. After all, if it is really G-d who does everything, then who am I? Such a person might inevitably remain forever in the background of human events, never assuming any leadership role or accepting any responsibility, because after all, if everything is in the hands of G-d, who am I? Yet, regarding Joseph, nothing could be further from the truth. From where does this lowly slave, abandoned by his family and loved ones, betrayed by his sponsors, and left to rot in the filth and despair of ancient Egypt’s penal system, acquire the self confidence and self-image necessary to stand so tall, under such challenging circumstances as to be placed in charge

no need to go anywhere else!

of all Egypt? Somehow, G-d is everything, and he, Joseph, and the brothers and everyone else, are merely puppets in the play. And yet, Joseph still stands before an entire Empire, second in command only to Pharaoh himself, and demands respect. How does one achieve this balance? Perhaps Joseph finds the balance between recognizing that G-d is everything, and he is nothing, and the recognition that if he is created by G-d, then he must really be something. If G-d created me, perceives Yosef, and the entire world along with me, then this is the world G-d created for me, and somehow, in this world is my purpose. Joseph does not spend a lot of time wishing he were in a different world. It is precisely because this is the world G-d has placed him in now, that he is determined to make it the world he is meant to be in. We often spend a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to get to where we think we have to go. We want a life that is different, often, from the one we have. And so, we work hard to make a living and have a better life. The message of Joseph, is to spend less time making a living, and more time making a life. This is the world I am given, and it is in this world that I can achieve what I was meant to accomplish in this world. That is why G-d put me here. May we all be blessed to achieve the inner peace that comes from recognizing that everything is from G-d, as well as being blessed to achieve great things by embracing what we are meant to do with all that G-d gives us. Shabbat Shalom, Binny Freedman

V

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December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773 THE JEWISH STAR

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THE JEWISH STAR December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773

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12 December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773 THE JEWISH STAR

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From left, Jeffery Leb, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, Rabbi Yissachar Blinder, of Congregation Ahavas Yisroel of Cedarhurst, recipients of the sefer Torah, Rabbi Tzvi Weinreb, Rabbi Shmuly Yankelowitz, of Kehilath Israel Synagogue, Overland Park, Kansas City, Kansas donators of the sefer Torah, at the dedication at Ahavas Yisrael, Tuesday night. Rabbi Yankelowitz noted that a main principle of Judaism is Ahavat (love) Yisrael as the basis of chesed, and the event celebrates the power of Torah.

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Areleh Roth’s family and disciples were concerned about him. One disciple asked, “Rebbe, could I possibly do anything to make you more comfortable?” Rebbe Areleh answered, “Please, just lift my head a little from this pillow.” It seemed that Rebbe Areleh became a bit stronger after his disciple had fulfilled his request, so another disciple was encouraged to ask, “What more can I do for you, Rebbe?” “Please, help me sit up,” requested Rebbe Areleh. Soon, Rebbe Areleh was sitting, then his feet hung over the edge of the bed, then he motioned to two disciples to help him stand. Gradually he inched along, faltering, but each step he took made him stronger because he

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wanted desperately to light the Chanukah menorah one more time before he died. Finally he reached the table in front of the window where the Chanukah menorah was prepared and he stood up, ready to fulfill the mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah candles. Rebbe Areleh hummed a soft melody, preparing to kindle the lights. He paused and whispered, “Maybe I won’t even be able to finish reciting the first word of the blessing.” A disciple struck a match to the shamash. Rebbe Areleh began, weakly, “Baruchl” He felt a little stronger. “Maybe, I can manage the second word,” he uttered. “Atah.” With each word, Rebbe Arelcb felt a little bit stronger. He whispered the third word, “Ado---, “ and

Serving the Five Towns and surrounding areas since 1988

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A Chanukah selection from the book “Time for My Soul” from the story collection of Rabbi Eugene Labovitz, z”l, and Dr. Annette Labovitz Rebbe Areleh Roth was the son of a poor tailor who grew up in chasidic circles, in Satmar, Hungary, around the turn of the last century. He realized that the chasidtm with whom he studied and prayed were not the kinds of chasidim whom the Baal Shem Tov envisioned when he founded the chasidic movement. The Baal Shem Tov taught, “When joy reigns within the body of an individual, it also brings joy to the soul, for sadness is the greatest impediment to one’s service of His Creator.” (Moray Hadoros. Last Testament of the Besht) In the shtibels (small, simple small town synagogues) where Areleh prayed, the service was decorous, but it did not fulfill his dreams or the visions of the Baal Shem Tov, so he decided to form his own shtibel, his own minyan (group of ten men praying together). The service was prayed intently, with complete attention to the nuances of every word, and with joy. Sometimes, the Shabbos morning service lasted until four o’clock in the afternoon. It was an “experience” to pray with Rebbe Areleh Roth and his chasidim. He made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) in 1939 and settled in the Meah She’arim section of Jerusalem. There he taught his philosophy of Judaism, “Blessed be He and Praised be He for crowning the Jewish people with mitzvos,” for twenty years, until he was seventy-five years old. As he aged, his strength ebbed. He grew weaker and weaker until finally he was confined to his bed. His family and disciples thought he was dying, so they gathered at his bedside and remained with him continuously. It was the first night of Chanukah. Rebbe

…  Shanah Tovah Umetukah

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GREATEST MITZVAH! Help every Jew receive a dignified, traditional Jewish funeral and burial.

Happy Chanukah to All! CONGREGATION B’NAI DAVID CONGREGATION B’NAISHOLOM-BETH SHOLOM-BETH DAVID     594618

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Daniel Mendelson, Cantor       Richard Perlbinder, Ritual Director Don Schiller, Executive Director

13 THE JEWISH STAR December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773

A mitzvah gives life

he grew stronger and stronger with the recitation of each word of the blessing. “Elokaynu. melech ha’olam:’ echoed in the silent room “Asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvosav v’tzevanu” resounded joyfully. Then Rebbe Areleh shouted, “L’hadlik ner shel Chanukah.” With each word of the blessing Rebbe Areleh felt stronger and stronger. The Chanukah lights restored his soul. He felt so strong that he began to dance around the Chanukah menorah. After the first hour, Rebbe Areleh paused and said, “Everything 1have ever taught you about Chanukah and the kindling of the lights is true, namely, that the lighting of the menorah Is not just to commemorate the Maccabean victory. The commandment rekindles the light in the soul of each Jew and literally restores life.” Rebbe Areleh danced that first night of Chanukah for eight hours. He was blessed to live another ten years.


On being the chosen people Rabbi David Etengoff Dedicated to the sacred memories of my mother, Miriam Tovah bat Aharon Hakohen, father-in-law, Levi ben Yitzhak, sister-in-law, Ruchama Rivka Sondra, sister, Shulamit bat Menachem, Shifra bat Chaim Alter, and Yehonatan Binyamin ben Mordechai Meir Halevi, and the refuah shlaimah of Yosef Shmuel ben Miriam and Moshe Reuven ben Chaya. The concept of our being G-d’s Am Hanivchar (Chosen People) is the essence of Chanukah. On the surface, however, this may not appear to be the case. After all, one could easily view the story of the Maccabees and their incredible victory over the SyrianGreek regime of Antiochus and his hordes of soldiers and elephants in purely naturalistic terms. When seen in this light, it is an amazing military victory of a small band of Jewish men and women, who, against all odds, defeated the powerful Syrian-Greek army. The essential and, paradoxically, most overlooked aspect of the Maccabean victory, however, was the civil war they waged against the Hellenizing assimilationists among our own people. To illustrate the significance of this idea, our Sages formulated the Al Hanissim (On Behalf of the Miracles) prayer recited on Chanukah in the following manner: You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah. You made a great and holy name for

Yourself in Your world, and effected a great deliverance and redemption for Your people Israel to this very day. (http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/597182/jewish/ValHanissim.htm - underlining my own) Hashem’s deliverance of “the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah” denotes an entirely different and parallel battle than that which was fought between the Maccabees and the Syrian-Greek army. It refers, instead, to the internecine struggle, the civil war, between the Torah loyalists (Maccabees) and the mityavnim (the Hellenists, radical assimilationists) among our own people. Rabbi Yechiel Michal ben Aharon Halevi Epstein (1829-1908), popularly known as the Aruch Hashulchan after the title of his halachic magnum opus, depicts the crushing defeat of the mityavnim in the following manner: “Hashem, the One who desires [the future] of His people Israel, handed over… those Jews who rejected G-d’s dominion [and repudiated the Torah] and had joined Antiochus’ [cultural revolution] … to those who followed the Torah way of life (oskei hatorah).” The Aruch Hashulchan leaves us little doubt as to the everlasting contribution of Chanukah within the spiritual history of our people. In his view, we are Jews today because of the sacrifices made by the Maccabees, and Hashem’s guiding hand in ensuring their victory. In sum, the sacrosanct nature and primacy of the Torah was upheld against overwhelming military and cultural odds.

What was the point of contention between the Maccabees and the Hellenists? Why was the civil war fought? My rebbi and mentor, Rabbi Soloveitchik zatzal (1903-1993) answered this question by suggesting: The main conflict between the Hellenists and the Jews centered around the concept of bechirat Yisrael [the Election of Israel]. The Hellenists wanted the Jews to abandon their awareness of bechirat Yisrael. The Hellenists, and later the Romans, hated the Jews, because the Jews believed in bechirat Yisrael. Thus, the function of ner Chanukah [the Chanukah candles] is to remind us of the hashraat Hashechinah [the unique and immanent presence of G-d in our lives]. This is particularly true according to the Ramban [1194-1270] (Parashat Behaalotecha), who maintains that the ner Chanukah represents the Menorah of the Mikdash [Holy Temple], and, nowadays, that the Mikdash does not exist, the ner Chanukah serves as its substitute. This is the reason for the Mitzvah of pirsumai nissa [publicizing the miracle] by ner Chanukah. Not only does the ner Chanukah remind us of the miracle itself, but, the ner Chanukah serves as the testimony of gilui Shechinah [the Revelation of G-d’s immanent presence]. One who lights the ner Chanukah testifies that the Schechinah resides only among the Jews. (Norot HaRav volume II, Two Public Lectures in Matters Pertaining to Chanukah by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, B. David Schreiber, editor, pages 4-5 underlining my own) Chanukah, therefore, is not only the “Festival of Lights,” it is the “Festival of Hashraat Hashechinah.” Consequently, it bears power-

ful testimony to the unique relationship we share with G-d. He chose us, just as we chose Him. We are unabashedly His Am Hanivchar, just as He is our G-d: “My strength and song is G-d, and this is my deliverance; This is my G-d, I will enshrine Him, my father’s G-d, I will exalt Him.” (Sefer Shemot 15:2, translation, Rav Aryeh Kaplan, The Living Torah) May we be zocheh (merit) to appreciate this lesson as we celebrate Chanukah, and bear testimony to this relationship through the manner in which we live each day of our lives. V’chane yihi ratzon. Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach! Past drashot may be found at my blog-website: http://reparashathashavuah.org The email list, b’chasdei Hashem, has expanded to hundreds of people. I am always happy to add more members to the list. If you have family or friends you would like to have added, please do not hesitate to contact me via email rdbe718@gmail.com. *** My new audio shiurim for Women on Tefilah: Haskafah and Analysis may be found at: http://tinyurl.com/8hsdpyd *** I have posted 164 of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s English language audio shiurim (MP3 format) spanning the years 1958-1984. They are available here: http://tinyurl.com/82pgvfn. **Follow new postings on my Twitter accounts: @theRavZatzal and @Torahtech613. *** Interested in 21st Century Jewish Education? See my new blog: http://21stcenturyje wisheducation.org

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Jewish soul survival C

hanukah is very unlike Purim, the other major Rabbinic holiday. Purim has an entire tractate of the Talmud (Megillah) dedicated to it. An entire book of the Bible (Esther) tells the story behind the holiday. And it has four different commandments which nowadays take up a significant percentage of a person’s one-day Purim experience. Chanukah has a few pages dedicated to it within Tractate Shabbos, with several brief references to it in other tractates. There are “hints” to the holiday in the Bible (see Chagai 2:18-23), but the canon of the Bible was sealed close to 300 years before the Chanukah story. Chanukah has one commandment, which is repeated for eight Rabbi Avi Billet nights, which takes up very little of one’s Chanukah time – and one may not derive any benefit from its fulfillment! Other than the number of days of celebration being greater on Chanukah, the other factors would seem to indicate greater coverage in the Shulchan Arukh going to Purim. But Purim only has 12 Simanim (sections) compared to Chanukah’s 16. If we don’t count the sections in both holidays that refer to customs of eulogizing and

fasting, as well as the order of the davening, we are left with eleven Simanim dedicated to Chanukah’s lights versus nine Simanim dedicated to Purim’s mitzvos. Strangely, the final Siman in “The Laws of Chanukah” has more to do with Purim than Chanukah, as it describes the four Parshas that surround Purim in the month of Adar - yet it’s included in “Chanukah’s Laws.” The numbers still don’t compare in a way that makes sense. Why is so much more attention given to Chanukah’s lights than to all of the mitzvos of Purim combined? While both holidays contain a strong element of what we call “Pirsumei Nisa” – publicizing the miracle – the difference between the methods is that Purim has an internal “Pirsum” through reading the Megillah in the synagogue, while Chanukah’s “pirsum” is public – not just for “insiders.” Most people put their candles in a place where they can be seen by passers-by, who have eight nights to notice the candles as they increase by one each night. Unlike in the shul, where only those who attend hear the Megillah, anyone - Jew or non-Jew - can see the Chanukah lights. Let the irony not be lost upon us. The miracle of the Purim story was the overcoming of the external plot to physically annihilate the Jewish people. We call the miracle a “nes nistar” – a hidden miracle that guided the “natural” chain of events that put Esther in a position of influence to save her people. Our “internal” publicizing of the miracle seems to reflect the hidden miracle of Esther’s rise to

prominence more than it reflects the public nature of the threat to our people. The Chanukah threat was more of a hidden threat. The Greeks had successfully assimilated many cultures into their own, and, according to our tradition, had been wildly successful doing the same with many Jews. The threat was to the souls of the Jewish people, to rid Judaism from the Jewish people. The miracle of the military victory, which is the primary focus of “Al Hanissim,” was a public one – as the “many” fell to the might of the “few.” As Purim’s “publicizing of the miracle” takes its tone from the nature of the miracles (in that case internal), on Chanukah the method of “publicizing” seems to reflect the nature of Chanukah’s miracle – the very out-in-the-open military victory. And yet, we can still debate which was a more important achievement – being saved from genocide or from spiritual annihilation. It’s not my line, and I will surely not be the last to point out, that the number of Jewish souls that have been lost since World War II has surpassed the number murdered by the Nazi Genocide Machine. I don’t want to be misunderstood. Both numbers are devastating. Yet, while the comparison seems almost heretical, I tend to wonder which will be viewed as more of a loss one hundred years from now. Many who look back at the Holocaust say “we need to replace as many as Hitler took.” How many look at the last sixty-five years saying “We need to replace those who were lost to assimilation, whose children or grandchildren

don’t know they are Jewish, who support anti-Jewish and anti-Israel notions in the media, on college campuses and on the street”? Preventing genocide or spiritual deaths are both worthy of celebration. But survivors can rebuild after even the most devastating war. When your Jewish soul is dead, on the other hand, there’s no survivor left who knows how to rebuild, or that something even needs rebuilding. From this perspective, Chanukah needs a lot more time (eight days instead of one), and a lot more coverage in the Shulchan Arukh than Purim needs. As we publicize the miracle of the preservation of the Yiddishe neshamas – correctly, following the minutest details of the Shulchan Arukh – through lighting candles for all to see, we pray that the souls who are lost or wandering can touch the spark that will bring them back to our people. Only then we will be able to proclaim in our own times, “A great miracle happened here.”

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Parshat Chanukah’s Miracle


Finding treasures in people, not just the objects Russia and Germany – the centers of Jewish life for centuries prior to his own birth. Greenstein adheres to Orthodox tradition and relishes his Shabbats as a break from his constantly moving schedule, but he is a street kid at heart and his sharp language, unabashed frankness and creative spirit set him apart; making him an unorthodox, yet very religious Jew. When he founded J. Greenstein & Co – the only auction house in the world solely dedicated to the sale of Jewish Ritual objects – he brought his love, knowledge and his own collection to market and for public view. For the past 15 years, Greenstein has worked with many of the most prominent, wealthy businessmen and Jewish leaders around the world helping them find rare, valuable, and significant treasures for their own personal collections and museum displays. He is so well regarded within this world, many know Greenstein as a modern-day guardian of antique Judaica — scouring the globe, recovering as many artifacts as he possibly can find that were lost, stolen, or hidden away during the Holocaust. To him, antique Judaica is not “just artwork,” but a “window into our people’s past,” he says. “Finding these objects, many which were used for ritualistic purposes, such as Kiddush cups, silver Torah Scroll crowns and breast plates, and menorahs, can teach us who our people were.” Every piece tells a story, he says. “Jews were not predominantly wealthy, but these pieces were made with precious metals and were intricate and personal. It took a lot of effort, love and attention to pay for and create these; they tell us about the values and

lives our ancestors held by and lived.” Taking his love of Judaism further, Greenstein became a connoisseur of Jewish music, too. Greenstein founded a successful medical supplies company, Mercy Home Care and Medical Supplies, which he operates on McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn, only a few blocks from where he grew up. It is from this that he gained the confidence to manage big projects, and that has lead to him taking on the management roles of a handful of Jewish musical acts and artists with whom he has become attached. Acts such as Pey Dalid, and out of his affinity for the music and teachings of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, Greenstein began managing the preeminent Carlebach cover artist, Yehuda Green, a regular at the Carlebach Shul on New York’s Upper West Side and Greenstein’s shul in Woodmere, N.Y., as well as concert halls and downtown clubs, near where Carlebach used to play. Greenstein works with these just as hard as he does his primary medical supplies business, but this is part of his charity. The music does not pay the artists enough yet, let alone leave much for Greenstein’s efforts. It is through the music that he became friendly with Carlebach’s songstress daughter Neshama Carlebach. In addition to helping her voice find broader audiences, he brought his music interest together with his expertise in Jewish art and is co-designing the Shlomo Carlebach Kiddush cup to commemorate the 18th anniversary of Carlebach’s passing. The cup will be made in limited quantities and will be available for auction early next year. Greenstein’s own collection now contains several dozen Chanukah menorahs, known as

chanukiot, all created between 1730 through 1960. Each menorah has a unique history telling the stories of the Jewish people from all over the world celebrating the holiday. The chanukiot include one that was used in the IDF trenches made out of bullet castings, also an art deco chanukiah, and ones fashioned after the top art stylings of 19th and early 20th centuries Europe. Each item brought to Greenstein has an emotional connection to the history of the Jewish people and is a testament to their faith and heritage. The challenge, however, does not only lie in locating these religious artifacts, but in verifying their authenticity, as well. “Of all reported artifacts available in the marketplace today, approximately 70 percent are fake. I work very closely not only with my own clients, but with countless dealers around the world and with such leading auction houses as Sotheby’s to authenticate a variety of items,” notes Greenstein. Unfortunately, an unsuspecting eye often cannot detect fake Judaica, and at a time when fake antiques are saturating the market, Greenstein’s skills are more critical than ever. Now, living in the Five Towns with his wife Sima and their five children, Jonathan exemplifies his unconventionality when he is seen heading to and from work every day, not in the modern comforts of a new luxury car, but driving a 1962 Blue Dodge Comet that he picked up for $400, or his most recent acquisition, a 1976 Ford LTD that resembles the first car he ever bought on his own. He cannot leave antiques alone no matter what he does. It makes him feel good as he reflects on where his life has taken him; miles away, but not so far at all.

Best Wishes For a Happy & Healthy Chanukah!

Best Wishes for a Happy Chanukah from the Administration and Staff of

Senator

593656

By: Robert Ford Jonathan Greenstein is an enigma. He is an Orthodox Jew who is anything but orthodox, he is 100% self made and gives more than that back to his community, to his religion and to the causes closest to him. He makes his living selling healthcare supplies that aid the elderly and the infirm, but spends much of his time pursuing what he loves most, Jewish antiquities and helping others find success in their passions. Harvey MacKay once said, “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” For Greenstein, that message has never been clearer. He has focused his life on pursuing the hobbies he loves and has turned it into his second career. As a youngster, he was always interested in the eclectic, and sometimes even the eccentric, and today that’s just what pays the bills. As a 14 year old, Greenstein worked at an antique shop after school and became fascinated by the pursuit of older treasures. Rather than following sports or doing what most teenagers did in his Kings Highway neighborhood in Brooklyn, he spent his free time searching through local flea markets, learning everything he could about antiques, and understanding how to identify stylistic art forms from various parts of the world. These interests eventually grew into his needed skill of appraising. With the money he saved from being a waiter at wedding and bar mitzvah parties, and summers working deli counters in the Catskills, he began making small investments in antiques. Finding his love for traditional Judaism as he left his teens, his focus on antiquities centered on Jewish relics from Eastern Europe,

Dean Skelos

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16


17

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

Dec 8

Dec 16

6th Annual Great Menorah Car Parade

Chabad Chanukah Telethon

Chabad of Merrick, Bellmore, Wantagh Led by 2 limousines with rooftop Menorahs, leading to the lighting of the Merrick Chamber’s 12 FT Menorah! Participants will spread the light of Chanukah as they travel in convoy from the Merrick Golf Course Parking Lot to the Merrick LIRR (on Sunrise Highway & Merrick Ave.) culminating in the kindling of the 12 foot Menorah. Dignitaries and community leaders will give their greetings at this special lighting ceremony. There will be music, hot latkes, and dancing! There is no cost for this event, and sponsorships are available. For more information or to RSVP, contact Chana at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life, (516) 833-3057 or log on to: www. ChabadJewishLife.org or e-mail programs@ chabadjewishlife.org

7 p.m. – 11 p.m. TV Channel 10/55

On Going Support group

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.

Dec 9

Chabad of Merrick, Bellmore, Wantagh Chabad’s 6th Annual Chanukah Wonderland

All are invited to help fill the world’s largest Coin-Orah – that is, a Menorah filled to the brim with coins and bills. Proceeds to benefit Circle of Hope (a new center for Merrick-Bellmore-Wantagh which provides support for breast cancer patients, their families, and the community) 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. At the “Clubhouse at the Merrick Park Golf Course” at 2550 Clubhouse Rd, Merrick, young and old will have a blast filling the world’s largest Coin-Orah with coins and watching a Latka Making Demo too! They will also experience Chanukah through hands-on Chanukah arts & crafts, donut decorating, face painting, photo-op with the Coin-Orah and more. Suggested donation is $7 per child or $18 per family, and sponsorships are available. For more information or to RSVP, contact Chana at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life, (516) 833-3057 or log on to: www.ChabadJewishLife.org or e-mail programs@chabadjewishlife.org

Dec 12

Movement class for special needs

Photo by Penny Frondelli

Merrick), Jewish women & girls will enjoy an evening of Dreidels, Latkes & Chanukah fun, while also thinking of others - by helping to wrap “We Care” blankets for pediatric cancer patients. Suggested donation is $10 per person. For more information or to RSVP, contact Chana at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life, (516) 833-3057 or log on to: www.ChabadJewishLife.org or e-mail programs@chabadjewishlife.org

Dec 8-15

Cedarhurst Grand Menorah Lighting

Community leaders and dignitaries light the largest Menorah in town. There will be music, hot latkes and gifts for children Andrew J. Parise Park Nightly at 6:00 pm; Friday at 3:00 pm 516-295-2478 or www.chabad5towns.com

Chabad of Merrick, Bellmore, Wantagh An Evening of Dreidels Cedarhurst and Kindness, for women The Chanukah Experience Come to the Chanukah Experience where & girls you will have the opportunity to make Cha-

Dec 9-14

At the ground floor of the Clubhouse at the Merrick Golf Course (2550 Clubhouse Rd,

nukah crafts, play games, fry Latkes, and

decorate cookies and much more. Participate in the first 6 foot Friendship Menorah. Fun for the whole family $5 per person for a 1½ hour time slot To Be Announced Sunday-Tuesday 12/9-12/11 opening at 10 am closing at 8 pm Wednesday 12/12 opening at 10 am closing at 4:45 pm Thursday 12/13 opening at 10 am closing at 8 pm Friday 12/14 opening at 10 am closing at 1:15 pm 516-295-2478 or www.chabad5towns.com

Dec 9-14

THE JCC OF THE GREATER FIVE TOWNS offers “Movement with Mary Moshos,” a class for children with special needs ages 5 and up, designed to enhance interaction with the environment through work with music, bubbles, and various textures. Wednesdays, 5:30-6:30pm at the JCC, 207 Grove Avenue, Cedarhurst. 12 sessions/$240. Please call Sharona Arbeit at 516569-6733 x218 for more information.

Parkinson’s Support Group

THE JCC OF THE GREATER FIVE TOWNS, located at 207 Grove Avenue in Cedarhurst, hosts every Tuesday a Parkinson’s Support Group from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The purpose of this group is to bring together Parkinsonians, spouses and their families in order to help them better understand the nature of the condition, gain confidence and join in community activities. For further information, please contact Cathy Byrne at 516-569-6733 x220.

Membership Drive Cedarhurst THE SUBURBAN PARK JEWISH CENTER, located at Friendship Circle Holiday 400 Old Westbury in East Meadow, is conducting a membership drive. The Jewish Center has Program the lowest membership dues in the area and

A Chanukah program for children with special needs. Come to the Chanukah Experience where you will have the opportunity to make Chanukah crafts, play games, fry Latkes, and decorate cookies and much more. The Chanukah Experience 5:15-6:30 pm Call Batsheva at 516 295-2478*13 or email her at batsheva@chabadfivetowns.com

membership includes free Hebrew School tuition and free High Holy Days tickets. There is no building fund and special discounts are offered to new members. For more information, call the synagogue at 516-796-8833.

THE JEWISH STAR December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773

ON THE


18 December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773 THE JEWISH STAR

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19 THE JEWISH STAR December 7, 2012 • 23 KISLEV 5773

Hebrew only please!

Many of us actually do get along During the recent action in Gaza, a settler from Tekoa received a phone call from an Arab friend asking him for guidance during a missile attack. We have relationships with Arabs from neighboring villages. At a time that Israel is being attacked for its policies, it is noteworthy to realize that many Jewish and Arab individuals get along very nicely ...

594955

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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