Mishmeres Hasholom Event, May 12
What would you say if someone offered you an overflowing kli shel berachah, showering blessing upon you every moment of every day? A pipe dream? In a few days, you will have the invaluable opportunity to bring that berachah into your life. The upcoming Mishmeres Hasholom event at Ateres Chynka on Monday, May 12, featuring Yemimah Mizrachi, one of Israel’s most popular speakers, and the founder, Rebbetzin Wertzberger, will transform your mindset and give you and those around you a lasting gift of shalom, a kli machzik berachah.
Mishmeres Hasholom is an international grassroots movement that strives to promote unity and peace among Jews by promoting daily study of hilchos shemiras ha’lashon, growth in middos, and ahavas Yisrael. The goal is to create lashon-ha’ra-free vicinities, neighborhoods, schools, and kollelim, changing the world one word at a time—and that goal is fast being accomplished.
What started 12 years ago as a tiny seed, working out of a bedroom with a telefax, has blossomed into the biggest shemiras ha’lashon organization in the world, boasting over 110,000 members in a wide variety of programs. Today, there are 70,000 women participating in the women’s programs, 15,000 children in school programs, and 15,000 men in 650 kollelim breathing the refreshing air of a lashon-ha’ra-free environment. Over 100,000 pamphlets in four languages are distributed each month, and books for children and adults have been published in Hebrew, English, and Yiddish. Close to 5,000 apartment buildings are covered by Mishmeres Hasholom, and many of them hold monthly “k’echad” meetings where neighbors join for interesting middos-building programs that enhance their unity.
Children who grow up with shemiras ha’lashon and ahavas Yisrael receive a gift for life. One of Mishmeres Hasholom’s first projects was the mother and children’s program, encouraging mothers to learn halachos with their children daily, with prizes as incentive. The chol ha’moed children’s rallies are an annual highlight that children don’t pass up! This year, the seven Pesach kinusim—three in Jerusalem, two in Bet Shemesh, and one in Bnei Brak and Beitar, in loving memory of Rochel Leah bas Chaim Tzvi, a’h—drew a record-breaking 6,000 children. The opportunity to see gedolei ha’dor, the spirited songs, and the entertaining video presentations leave an everlasting imprint on their hearts.
Mishmeres Hasholom’s Beis Hora’ah Hotline answers hundreds of shemiras ha’lashon-related questions a month. Thousands receive a regular e-mail message with the two daily halachos of shemiras ha’lashon. A staggering 60,000 people a month call to hear a shiur by distinguished speakers or the monthly skit conveying important halachos in an entertaining style.
Last Purim, in an international campaign to promote peace and unity, Mishmeres Hasholom suggested that people send their first mishloach manos to someone they resent or who is not on good terms with them. HaGaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, was so touched by the idea, he called it “a great and exalted mitzvah” and promised to daven on Purim for all the brave souls who undertook to promote shalom and achdus by participating in the project. Thousands of people rose to the challenge, repairing rifts of many years.
Pages could be filled with the yeshuos that have been seen by people who learn the halachos regularly and support Mishmeres Hasholom projects—like the two women who became building representatives and, within a year, their married children who had been childless each had a baby; the older single who pledged $1,000 to Mishmeres Hasholom and found her chasan within a month; and the woman who suffered terribly from sores in her mouth, which mysteriously disappeared when she began learning the halachos regularly. But the greatest yeshuah of all is the feeling of achdus and simcha, of peace and tranquillity that envelops all those who become a part of Mishmeres Hasholom.
This Monday, May 12, the door to a new future opens for you at Ateres Chynka. All you have to do is step in, stretch out your hands, and catch the flowing berachah. Don’t miss the opportunity! v
Amit Leaders, Principals Share Education Innovation At The White House
AMIT leaders from New York and New Jersey, along with nine outstanding principals from AMIT schools in Israel, were invited to be at the White House on April 8 to explore innovative educational models that are being implemented in the United States. These meetings were part of a weeklong tour of exemplary U.S. schools by the visiting principals. Each member of the delegation has successfully implemented innovative educational models in their school.
AMIT leadership met with high-level educational policymakers, including Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education on the White House Domestic Policy Council, and Danielle Carnival, Senior Policy Advisor for STEM (Office of Science and Technology). Matt Nosanchuk, Director for Outreach on the National Security Council, welcomed the delegation and mediated the discussions.
Debbie Isaac, National President of AMIT, said that introducing our leadership and the principals to innovative educational methods in the U.S. is essential to advancing education in Israel. “You cannot teach a child who has a smartphone in his pocket in the same manner as you taught children 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. The educational system must reinvent itself in order to reach students and connect them to the future,” she said. “Both the U.S. Department of Education and AMIT shared many common goals of working to advance and innovate education for the future in the U.S. and in Israel,” Isaac indicated.
The officials examined the goals of the new U.S. education policy, which includes raising the levels of reading and math throughout the country, narrowing the gap between high-performing and low-performing schools, identifying, training, and retaining outstanding teachers, and developing a better protocol for gathering and assessing data. The group learned about the administration’s “Race to the Top” initiative as well as how the administration is developing the STEM initiative—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Dr. Amnon Eldar, Director General of AMIT in Israel, said the challenges facing the education system in the U.S. are very similar to those in Israel, as they are both “progressive modern countries.”
“We believe the most substantial challenge today is leading the innovation field in education. This tour is one step in a long path that our outstanding educators have taken in order to make Israeli education more relevant and meaningful,” he said.
AMIT principals brought to light some of the innovative tactics that they have already implemented, such as incorporating technology through the use of smartphones as study aids and using cycling trips to enhance leadership skills and promote self-control and self-confidence. Outreach programs are also an essential aspect of this educational model, as they instill a sense of commitment to the community.
Dr. Francine Stein, AMIT’s previous National President and a delegate to Washington, indicated, “AMIT has always been in the forefront of educational innovation. In the 90 years since AMIT was founded as an educational network in Israel, AMIT has been successful in adapting curricula and educational focus to the needs of the day. What began as vocational training institutes has grown into one of the most successful and technologically advanced school systems in the country, educating tomorrow’s scientists, doctors, lawyers, political leaders, and Nobel Prize winners.”
A true indicator of AMIT’s overwhelming success is that 70% of the students live in development towns or other peripheral areas, and yet 80% of graduates achieve full bagrut matriculation as compared with the national average of only 62%.
AMIT Executive Vice President Andrew Goldsmith remarked that “building relationships with White House policymakers for education is not just important for AMIT, but crucial to Israel’s future as a leader in innovative technologies.” Debbie Moed, AMIT Vice President of Financial Resource Development, who was proud to join the Washington, DC delegation, said, “Advancing AMIT’s relationship with the administration in Washington will enhance our access to effective programming and tools which our principals can then implement in our schools in Israel.”
With Israel’s security and the safety of the children it educates always of chief concern, the White House meetings concluded with a discussion with Nitin Chadda, Director for Iran on the National Security Council. Mr. Chadda described the levels of financial sanctions imposed upon Iran by the U.S. government and assured us that the administration’s foremost goal is ensuring that Iran does not attain nuclear weaponry. v
President Invites Local Leaders To Mark Health-Care Signups
By Jasmine Calderon
To mark and celebrate the statistic of 8 million Americans having signed up for private health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama invited key healthcare executives along with community leaders from across the United States to the White House on May 1.
Executives from the healthcare community who played a key role in the development of this landmark legislation, as well as communal leaders from across the spectrum, were invited to meet with White House officials in an effort to garner input and enhance and engage the community on how the Affordable Care Act can help uninsured Americans sign up for coverage.
Among the top leaders of the industry who were in the White House was Joseph B. Stamm, CEO of MedReview, an independent review organization that is now celebrating its 40th anniversary of service. MedReview improves the world of healthcare through medical reviews, quality audits, and health services management.
Mr. Stamm had the opportunity to speak with the President on issues related to healthcare from his perspective as a CEO with many decades of experience, and he shared several points that piqued the President’s interest.
Ezra Friedlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, a leading public-relations company, was also among the invitees. Mr. Friedlander worked together with Matt Nosanchuk, advisor to the President on Jewish affairs, and assisted the White House on outreach to the Orthodox Jewish community pertaining to the Affordable Care Act.
One of the key factors of the Affordable Care Act that appeal to the Orthodox Jewish community is that if your plan covers children, you can now add or keep your children on your health-insurance policy until they turn 26 years old.
Before the healthcare law, insurance companies could remove enrolled children, usually at age 19, sometimes older for full-time students. Now, most health plans that cover children must make coverage available to children up to age 26, even if they’re married. Having the ability to put your child on your health plan has alleviated a major concern that many Orthodox Jewish families faced immediately after their marriage.
Mr. Friedlander and Mr. Stamm utilized the opportunity to engage top White House officials, including Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Senior Advisor Valarie Jarrett, regarding pertinent issues of the day.
UJO of Williamsburg represented at White House Meeting. Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn (UJO), was among the select group of stakeholders at the White House meeting. Rabbi Niederman greeted the President and the First Lady and told them how beneficial the Affordable Care Act was for the Williamsburg community, thanking them for their leadership.
The UJO provides a full array of social services to the community, including assistance in enrolling and navigating the various subsidized health insurance plans available. The organization was in the forefront in helping the community use the new options available under the Affordable Care Act, working with the federal government and New York State’s Health Plan Marketplace to successfully enroll individuals and families in public and private plans on the Marketplace. In a conversation with Hamodia in February, the White House Jewish Liaison Matt Nosanchuk—who was later appointed to the National Security Council—singled out the UJO as an Orthodox organization that worked to assist the community with the new health plans.
According to Politico, attendees at the star-studded event were privileged to spend time with the first couple in a “loose and informal” setting. The President spoke off the cuff, and was visibly emotional listening to his wife laud his steadfastness in passing healthcare reform, according to attendees. Before personally greeting and shaking hands, though, the President regained his humor. “Just need to let you know before I come and shake hands: We don’t have time for ‘selfies’ with everyone,” he quipped.
Also in attendance were Vice President Joe Biden, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and others in the President’s inner circle.
A White House official described the invitees to this event as a “broad and diverse group of stakeholders who helped to enroll Americans in quality affordable health plans and get information out about their healthcare options, including consumer groups, techies, pharmacies, hospitals, athletes, celebrities, mayors, and other local elected officials and community leaders.”
“It was an honor to join the President and the First Lady celebrating the Affordable Care Act. The President’s heartfelt remarks showed how personal they felt about making sure health coverage and access to quality healthcare is attainable to all,” said Rabbi Niederman.
“I’m proud that the UJO is a part of that, enabling so many in the community, on a daily basis, to enroll in plans on the exchange. I especially want to thank Mr. Matt Nosanchuk—who may have undertaken a new assignment, but is still there for the Jewish community as much as before—who worked with us to make the ACA a success in the community. In addition, I want to express my appreciation to the NYS Marketplace Exchange—one of the best ACA systems in the nation, created by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration—that assisted us in getting health coverage to those who need it most,” Rabbi Niederman concluded. v
Rav Moshe Yosef, son of Hacham Ovadia, zt’l, and head of Kashrut Beit Yosef, was invited to visit Kedem Winery in preparation for Passover.
Rav Moshe Yosef made a special visit to America to visit the winery in Marlboro, NY and the processing plant in Bayonne, NJ. Prior to his visit, Rav Yosef had a long discussion with his brother, the Rishon l’Tziyon, HaRav Yitzchak Yosef, about the halachah of the winemaking process according to the standards of the Beit Yosef. The Rishon l’Tziyon praised Kedem and Herzog wineries, saying they are the only wines produced in America known to be 100% kosher according to the opinion of the Beit Yosef and Rambam.
Eighth-generation winemaker Eli Herzog and Rav Shulem Shisha from Eidah Hachareidis of Jerusalem gave Rav Yosef a tour of the Kedem facilities. Rav Yosef was excited to see with his own eyes that Kedem’s wine and grape juice are made according to the stringencies of the Beit Yosef and Rambam. He was impressed with the winery and the winemaking process. As he was leaving the bottling facility, Rav Yosef said, “Not only is the wine and grape juice delicious, but it is 100% kosher according to the highest standards of kashrut and the opinion of the Beit Yosef.” v
Dr. Michael Oren To Receive Honorary Degree At Touro College Commencement, May 26
Michael Oren, Ph.D., Israel’s ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013, will receive an honorary degree at the 40th annual commencement exercises at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center on May 26.
“Touro College is incredibly honored and privileged to pay tribute to Dr. Michael Oren,” said Touro College President and CEO Dr. Alan Kadish. “An esteemed and highly admired Jewish leader, Dr. Oren was instrumental in securing U.S. support for Israel’s defense and upholding Israel’s right to security and peace during his tenure. He set an example for Jews throughout the Diaspora by making aliyah in 1979. In the academic sphere, Dr. Oren is an accomplished historian and award-winning author and a true inspiration and role model for our graduating class. And we’re proud to say that in 1999 he was an adjunct professor at Touro, as well.”
Born in the U.S., Dr. Oren earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown, and was a Distinguished Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. He has received fellowships from the British and Canadian governments, as well as a Moshe Dayan Fellowship from Tel Aviv University and the Lady Davis Fellowship at the Hebrew University. His last two books, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East from 1776 to the Present, and Six Days of War, were both New York Times bestsellers. He has won the Los Angeles Times History Book of the Year Award and the National Jewish Book Award.
Dr. Oren served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces in the paratrooper unit during the Lebanon War, as a liaison with the U.S. Sixth Fleet during the Gulf War, and as an IDF spokesperson during the Second Lebanon War and the Gaza operation in January 2009. He acted as an emissary to Jewish refuseniks in the Former Soviet Union, as an advisor to Israel’s delegation to the United Nations, and as the government’s director of Inter-Religious Affairs. He was also a gold medal athlete in the Maccabiah Games.
Dr. Oren is now the Abba Eban Chair of International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy. He has also joined CNN as a Middle East contributor.
At commencement, approximately 700 baccalaureate and associate degree candidates from eight of Touro’s schools dedicated to enhancing Jewish heritage will be presented: Lander College of Arts and Sciences–Flatbush; Lander College for men in Queens; Lander College for Women–The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School in Manhattan; the School for Lifelong Education in Brooklyn; Machon L’Parnasa–Institute for Professional Studies, also in Brooklyn; Touro College Los Angeles; and Touro College South in Miami.
At the conclusion of the 2014 commencement season, the Touro College and University System is expected to have awarded approximately 6,000 doctor of philosophy, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of pharmacy, juris doctor, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate’s degrees to students from 32 schools and colleges located in the U.S. and around the world. v
In just two years, the Sibshop program at Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services has grown in leaps and bounds throughout the New York area. This groundbreaking program empowers and enables children and teens with siblings who have a developmental disability to share their concerns and feelings amongst their peers, develop wonderful friendships, and just have fun!
On Sunday, April 27, Ohel held an exciting Sibshops carnival, in honor of their annual Sib Day Celebration. Over 100 people came to celebrate, including children with disabilities, their siblings, friends, family, and incredible volunteers.
Each person was “clowned-out,” receiving a fun red clown nose and creating their own paper clown mouth to wear. Once dressed up, they got to take their pictures in a fun photo booth! “Giggles the Clown” brought smiles to everyone’s faces with her balloon creations and good humor. In addition, all enjoyed delicious cookies, nosh, and fruit generously donated by Pomegranate Supermarket.
In order for the parents to be able to relax and enjoy themselves, Ohel ensured that there were designated counselors for the individuals with special needs.
Allyn Goowin put on a fabulous interactive balloon show and ensured everyone received an elaborate balloon creation of their choice. There were also delightful performances of classic stories like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, put on by volunteer performers—the Sibshop members!
After the carnival, all the children were treated to fabulous prizes from the prize booth. After the event, one mom conveyed in a text, “A super great time was had by all! They really enjoyed! Thanks so much!” Another said, “We can’t wait until the next Sibshops event!”
Ohel Bais Ezra’s Sibshop events are not just for teens. Ohel Bais Ezra runs monthly separate boys and girls groups for ages 6-11 as well, in Brooklyn and Far Rockaway. For more information, contact Chayale Greenwald at 718-686-3491 or firstname.lastname@example.org. v
Immediate Business Indicator Draws Recognition As Breakthrough Business Tool
By Shimmy Blum
For all the traffic and buzz at the 2014 Parnassah Expo, one corner of the vast expo floor seemed to be getting a disproportionate amount of action throughout the two days the doors were open. Strategically located at the corner of the expo floor, near the entrance to the business conference center, was a sleek looking orange-and-white booth that immediately caught your eye. Immediate Marketing and Business Consulting’s enclosed glass consultation booth and the array of electronic tablets around it were always in use, oftentimes with lines of people waiting to get in on the action.
Immediate Marketing and Business Consulting is based in Brooklyn and was founded by Joel Klein, CPBC, who is among the only members of the Orthodox community to be certified with that prestigious business consulting degree. For years, Joel has earned the admiration of both a cross section of ambitious business owners in the Orthodox community and some of the secular world’s most elite business minds for his unique business development and improvement advice. He has now devised a first-of-its-kind computerized “Immediate Business Indicator” to help business owners do a comprehensive and honest self-assessment of their venture and the road ahead. The Indicator debuted at the expo, and Joel delivered a heavily attended business seminar there as well.
“What I saw from the overwhelming response at the expo is just how strong business owners’ thirst for guidance is,” says Mr. Klein. “There never was a tool like the Indicator for them; I hope it will help as many people as it can.”
Developed with the input of 100 of the greatest professionals in the field, and with the most sophisticated and easy-to-use Web-based technology, Immediate Business Indicator allows the owner of any business to answer a series of simple questions in under 25 minutes and receive a comprehensive 20-page report. The report sheds light on all angles of the business—its strengths and weaknesses—and what needs to be done. A subsequent brief consultation with Joel to discuss the results is included in the package.
“What is going on here?” was the most common question of those passing by the action at the Immediate booth. Visitors were able to avail themselves of a free mini-trial of the Indicator on the tablets at the booth and see a sample report. It didn’t take long until visitors were fascinated. From savvy veterans like defense attorney Ben Brafman, venture capitalist and speaker Charlie Harary, and renowned business executive Chesky Kauftheil, to small and midsize business owners, the Indicator was seen as a breakthrough tool. “I plan to take the Indicator myself, though I won’t tell anyone the results,” Mr. Kauftheil quipped. “What I see here is a tremendous amount of professionalism and knowledge.”
One veteran major importer commented that he was convinced that his business was running flawlessly, until he took the Indicator and was enlightened about the areas in which he can do better. Many hundreds of expo attendees already signed up for the Indicator and/or private consultation sessions with Joel Klein on the spot. “I have referred many clients to Immediate Marketing and Business Consulting,” attests Mrs. Chaya Fishman, founder and president of the Jewish Woman Entrepreneur (JWE). “They have a firm understanding about what it takes to run a successful business, and an extreme level of commitment to clients.”
Shortly before the Immediate booth was dismantled and carefully packaged for the ride back home, Parnassah Expo organizers presented the company with its exclusive “Most Innovative Exhibitor and Product” award. “The Parnassah Expo’s goal is to cater to businesspeople at any stage and empower them to be even more successful,” explains founder and director Reb Duvi Honig. “Immediate Marketing and Business Consulting, and the ‘Indicator,’ have proven to be trailblazers in the same mission.”
For more information, please visit www.immediatemarketing.com or call 718-855-5850. v
YHT Honors Yom HaZikaron
On Monday, May 5, the middle school students at Yeshiva Har Torah attended an assembly to mourn the more than 23,000 lives that have been lost in Israel through wars and terrorism. The program began with the menahel, Rabbi Menchel, addressing the students and discussing the importance of acknowledging the sacrifice of our people in protecting Eretz Yisrael. Rabbi Menchel asked the students to rise and take a moment of silence, mourning, and remembrance for all those who have fallen in wars and through terrorism. Afterwards, Mr. Avner Hazan, a YHT parent, addressed the students, sharing his experiences during the Lebanon War. Mr. Hazan was an officer in the paratroopers and had many moving and vivid stories of his time spent in Lebanon. Mr. Hazan spoke of the sacrifice his friends made in protecting Eretz Yisrael, as well as his numerous encounters with life and death, each of them ending with a miraculous event. Mr. Hazan stressed the importance of recognizing G‑d’s hand in saving him and his soldiers many times. YHT was privileged to have such an amazing hero address the school. v