YCQ’s 73rd Dinner Honorees
Over 500 parents, alumni and friends attended the 73rd Anniversary Scholarship Dinner of Yeshiva of Central Queens at the Sands on Sunday, March 30.
Honored with the Leadership In Education Award was Mr. Lawrence Cohen, Assistant Principal of General Studies in the elementary school, who, after a successful career as a principal in the NYC public schools system, spent the last eleven years at YCQ where he earned the respect, esteem and admiration of parents, teachers and students. In presenting the award, Rabbi Mark Landsman, YCQ Principal, lauded Mr. Cohen for “having been an inspiring and dedicated administrator and mentor and for encouraging his students and faculty to achieve a high level of excellence in their pursuits.”
Receiving the Parents of the Year Award were Ilana and Eli Gutenmacher, who have earned the unique distinction of being highly devoted to their family, shul, and YCQ. In addition to having held numerous leadership positions at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Mrs. Gutenmacher has been active on numerous YCQ Parents’ Association committees and is currently serving as a P.A. representative to the YCQ Board of Trustees. Eli has served many years as gabbai at the Young Israel and is a regular participant in YCQ’s Sunday-morning learning program as well as being a YCQ hockey booster. In presenting the award to the Gutenmachers, Dr. Joel Cohen, YCQ president, stated that “the remarkable devotion of the Gutenmachers to their family, our Yeshiva and the community have made them exceptional role models for which they merit our warmest esteem and appreciation.” v
Carmel Winery Introduces Selected Wines In U.S.
Award-winning Carmel Winery is excited to announce the launch of its newest line in the U.S. market. Carmel Selected is Israel’s biggest-selling brand, with its fruity and fresh flavored style available for every drinking occasion and to suit every pocketbook, with an average price of $9.99–$10.99. Selected comes in three varietals, all mevushal: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Emerald Riesling/Chenin Blanc Blend.
Carmel Winery is the historic winery of Israel. It was founded in 1882 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, owner of Chateau Lafite in Bordeaux. Carmel owns the two largest wineries in Israel, at Rishon Le Zion, south of Tel Aviv and at Zichron Yaacov, south of Haifa. Each has deep underground cellars built by Rothschild in the 19th century.
Carmel also has two small, state-of-the-art wineries close to key vineyards, to allow production of small quantities of handcrafted wines. These are Kayoumi Winery, situated in the Upper Galilee, and Yatir Winery, in the northeastern Negev.
According to Dalia Sonnenfeld-Mandelman, managing director of Carmel Winery, awareness of Israeli wines is continuing to grow at a fast past in the US: “In the last ten years, Israeli wines have really developed. As Israel’s largest winery, we are proud to have been able to play a significant role in this transition. The story of Carmel represents the story of Israel, and the recent developments of Carmel’s wines symbolizes the revolution of Israeli wine in recent years.”
Jay Buchsbaum, VP of wine education from Royal Wine commented, “We are very excited to introduce the Carmel Selected line to the U.S. market. The addition of a price-conscious mevushal wine fills a void in the Carmel portfolio, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to offer these delicious wines.”
Lior Lacser, the company’s winemaker, says that Carmel Winery has vineyards in all the leading wine regions in Israel: “We focus on making wines which reflect the Mediterranean terroir and respect the fruit we harvest. The wines are made in a state-of-the-art facility, which enables us to control each and every aspect of the winemaking process, and to make wines which are well balanced and elegant.” v
For more information on the Selected line or any Carmel wines, visit royalwine.com.
6-Year-Old Aleh Runner Wins Medal At 5-K Race
On Sunday, April 6, hundreds of participants gathered at the historic Prospect Park in Brooklyn, for a 5K Walk/Run Race for the purpose of raising awareness and funds for several worthy organizations. The atmosphere was high-spirited when walkers, runners and rollers started to arrive at 7:00 a.m. on that crisp morning! A professional chip timed the course and top finisher awards were prepared for the competitive runners. There was a live DJ, professional pre-race warm-up & stretch with Brooklynettes, a professional announcer; Charity customized Generosity T-Shirts and finisher medals.
Aleh Foundation’s enthusiastic supporters from different parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan as well as New Jersey joined the race. Five of Aleh Foundation’s participants received Medals! Aleh Foundation received the most awards at this 5K RACE!
It was an amazing atmosphere where 11 different charities spend time enjoying including NYC friends of the Firefighters, RWB and North Shore Animal League of America, who brought along their dogs to join the race. This made it a very colorful event!
Aleh Foundation Award Recipients were: Rick Bowen, formerly of US Homeland Security; Faigy Erps; Zissy Feferkorn captain of Team Red; Chany Klar, most exciting was when 6-year old Ben Matsas, the youngest participant at the race received his trophy.
Last year little Ben accepted an award in public from the Aleh Foundation when his parents Steven & Randi Matsas were honored at the 2013 annual Awards Gala in the presence of 400 participants!
Aleh Foundation does magnificent work to improve the lives of Israel’s most needy and has become one of the world’s leading institutions for the care and treatment of severely developmentally disabled children. We help provide treatment, medical care and special education classes and living quarters to more than 700 children ranging from infants to adults, transforming their life to be accessible to therapies such as, physical therapy, art and music. The Core of our success is the warm, personal relationship that develops between their caregivers and the children. The Aleh Foundation was incorporated in the United States in 1984, and developed a network of more than 30,000 friends throughout the USA who became staunch supporters. Aleh Foundation USA is located at 5317 13th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11219. Aleh Foundation’s upcoming Annual Awards Dinner will be celebrated on May 21, 2014 in the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Prominent Leaders and celebrities from the USA and Israel join their elite circle of friends in a state-of-the-art fund-raising project. To make reservations please visit the Aleh Foundation website at www.alehfoundationusa.org or call 800-317-ALEH. v
JEM Trip Inspires Students And Businessmen
This past week, ten businessmen from the New York area put aside their work and personal lives to come and give Chizuk to the staff and students at JEM (Jewish Experience of Madison) based at University of Wisconsin. By all accounts, it was a truly memorable trip packed with inspiration, not only for the Mikarivim on campus but for the gentleman who made the trip as well.
The University of Wisconsin has a huge student body numbering approximately 45,000 students. What is less known, it is also home to approximately 4000 Jewish college students with extremely limited knowledge to Yiddishkeit. Jewish Experience of Madison (JEM), was founded in 2005 by Yerachmiel Anton and Avi Zaitschek to directly address the opportunity to reach these Jewish students. By all accounts, they are literally saving Jewish Neshomos.
After landing in Milwaukee, the group visited the home of the Milwaukee Rebbe, Rav Michel Twerski Shlita which in itself was worth the trip. The world renowned Rebbe spoke about the secular shift in the lives of the average Jewish family today as opposed to years ago when there was more of an interest in exploring their Jewish identity. He explained how on college campuses there is still a listening audience and the potential to impact students is great. The group was mesmerized by the timely words of chizuk and direction from the Rebbe and took them to heart as they began the hour long drive to Madison, Wisconsin to continue the frenetic 24 hour visit.
During a walking tour of the campus, the visitors observed random students easily identify Rabbi Chesky Tarlow, JEM’s program director, with a wave and a hug for “Rabbi T.” The visitors were then brought to the new building JEM recently purchased in the heart of the campus (on fraternity row.) They toured the building and were shown the ambitious staff and student housing renovations project soon to get under way. Finally settling in, the visitors than had a chance to meet with many of the students that JEM is reaching.
An interactive conversation began between the group and the students, inquiring from the students what magic pull does JEM offer that attracts them to learn more about their Jewish identity and heritage. The students unanimously conveyed their feelings of belonging and personal growth as a result of their involvement with JEM. The guests were than able to observe the highly effective Maimonides leadership program which is a semester long lecture series attended by the University students. Over the years hundreds of students have pointed to this program as their first step towards a more meaningful Jewish affiliation. Two separate lectures were presented by well known personalities, Mr. Ali Scharf and Mr. Chaskel Bennett. Other participants making the trip included Jake Blatter, Avi Englard, Nesanel Gold, Chaim Ishakis, Adam Kay, Yanky Miller, Shlomo Reich, and Shea Rubinstein. The night was capped off by a BBQ and stirring Kumzits by famous Jewish entertainer Eitan Katz assisted by Shlomo Reich. At this event the visitors got to meet over 50 of JEM’s students. As the music got more Lebedik, dancing broke out amongst the men and brought to life the amazing feeling of Kol Yisroel Areivim Zeh Lozeh.
JEM Director of development Rabbi Avi Zaitschek remarked,” what started out as a dream transformed the JEM staff and students. We look forward to hosting many more trips and sharing the beauty of JEM with others.” Visiting guests like Ali Scharf, Chaskel Bennett and Adam Kay were so inspired by what they saw that they have begun discussing a larger shabbaton in the coming months for them and others to experience.
Annually, JEM interacts with 650 students on the University of Wisconsin Madison campus. This year, 2014, JEM has an unprecedented number of 140 students learning Torah weekly. v
LCM Annual Alumni Shabbaton
More than 100 former students braved the snow and returned to their alma mater for the fifth annual Lander College for Men (LCM) Alumni Shabbaton: Scattered Across the Nation.
As the name implies, alumni came from all over, including Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Memphis, Miami, and Toronto, in addition to those living in the tri-state area. One graduate, Dovid Yudkowitz, a former dormitory supervisor, came all the way from Ramat Beit Shemesh in Israel. Including faculty, spouses, and children, close to 300 people were in attendance. Several families stayed in the dorms while others were put up with friends living in the Kew Gardens Hills community.
Following Kabbalas Shabbos, Dr. Moshe Sokol, dean of the LCM, gave a dvar Torah (sponsored by David Hirsch, class of 2012) and welcomed the many returning students and their families. “It is a real thrill to see so many alumni with their wives and children, flourishing in their careers, building homes, and taking leadership positions in their communities,” he said.
Besides the opportunity to catch up with old friends, alumni were treated to beautiful davening, an abundance of food and a variety of shiurim and divrei Torah over the course of Shabbos. A tea room, fully stocked with snacks, fruit, drinks, hot apple cider, and even chulent, was open throughout Shabbos and Meir Milgraum, ’08, sponsored a Viennese desert table. Babysitting and camp services were provided free of charge throughout the weekend.
Just in case anyone was still hungry, N’Shei Lander, the wives of LCM Kollel and college students, baked and arranged a gala homemade kiddush for Shabbos morning.
There were numerous learning opportunities throughout Shabbos. Mashgiach Rabbi Moshe Bamberger gave a daf yomi shiur, sponsored by Avrumi Vais, ’06. Menahel Rabbi Yehuda Shmulewitz delivered the Shabbos morning derashah on Asei Lecha Rav, sponsored by Rivki and Azi Steiner, ’08. Rabbi Eliyahu Soloveichik held a question and answer session, sponsored by Jaclyn and Dani Sova, ’08. Rebbetzin Chana Tanenbaum spoke on the anatomy of a marriage at a shiur for women, sponsored anonymously. Rabbi Shmulewitz gave a Sichos Mussar shiur on the topic of Ma’aseh Egel, adapted from the sefer of the same name written by his uncle, Rav Chaim Shmulewitz, zt’l, rosh yeshiva of the Mirrer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim. It was sponsored by Dr. Chani and Rabbi Shraga Moshe Milstein, ’09. Before Minchah, Rabbi Yitzchak Genack discussed, “Is Cheating on Your Taxes Ever Okay?” from a halachic perspective, sponsored by Kayli and Rabbi Aryeh Young, ’08, semichah ’10. Rabbi Bamberger’s shalosh seudos shiur was called, “Made in the Shade,” sponsored by Evan Honigsfeld, ’06.
After Shabbos the National Comedy Theatre, an acclaimed family-oriented improv group, performed at a catered melaveh malkah, while Uncle Moishy character Nachum the Clown entertained the children in a separate room.
The Lander College for Men is an undergraduate division of Touro College, in service to the Jewish community. v
Osem USA Launches $2,500 Grand Prize Sweepstakes Through Social Media
Osem USA, America’s leading brand of Israeli-made products, has launched a series of social media promotions and contests for the Passover holiday season, including a grand prize sweepstakes with a cash prize of $2,500. The campaign extends through Passover.
The promotions will be hosted on the company’s Facebook page, Facebook.com/OsemUSAinc. Each entry into one of three separate contests will receive a chance at winning the grand prize sweepstakes. Individual contest prizes include cash totaling $1,000, multiple sample packs of Osem’s Passover product line, and unique gifts from the land of Israel. Those who complete an online survey also will receive an entry into the grand prize sweepstakes.
The three contests are:
• Passover Maven Recipe Contest: Participants will upload Passover recipes that use Osem products
• iExperience Israel Image Contest: Participants will upload images describing in any way that is personally meaningful to them their experience of Israel
• Matzah Gram Mania Contest: Participants will use a specially designed Facebook App to send creative messages on a matzah image
Contest winners will be announced prior to Passover, and the grand prize sweepstakes winner will be announced at the end of Passover.
In addition to these contests, users can share their pictures, recipes, and stories with Osem on Twitter @Osem_USA and on Pinterest at pinterest.com/OsemUSA using hashtag #OsemPassover. v
Bnos Malka To Honor
R’ Michael Weichselbaum
Bnos Malka Academy will be celebrating its 18th Annual Dinner on May 20, at the White Shul in Far Rockaway. The Guest of Honor for this milestone year will be their menahel, Rabbi Michael Weichselbaum. Now in his 15th year as principal, Rabbi Weichselbaum has guided the school from its infancy to that of a premier school serving the Queens community.
Mr. David Berger, the school president, explained, “It was an obvious choice to pay tribute to Rabbi Weichselbaum as we mark this milestone for Bnos Malka. When we hired him in 1999, we were a small school with 60 girls in five classes. Under his guidance and vision we have grown to 344 girls and multiple classes through 8th grade.”
Rabbi Weichselbaum had previously been a rebbe for eight years, spending four years each at Yeshiva Har Torah and the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach. When he was offered the position as menahel, HALB Executive Director Mr. Richard Hagler remarked, “Rabbi Weichselbaum was a star rebbe. In his four years here he had distinguished himself and built very close ties to his talmidim. It was only a matter of time for him to advance into an administrative position.”
Rabbi Weichselbaum is a product of Kew Gardens Hills and was a natural fit for the new school, according to Mr. Berger. “We were obviously very impressed with his body of work at Har Torah and HALB. However, as a lifelong resident of the neighborhood, whose family was, and remains, so active in the Young Israel of Queens Valley, it was clear he was the ideal candidate.”
Bnos Malka Academy opened very modestly in 1996 with a pre-1A class of 10 girls. Each year, the school added a grade. As enrollment grew, the school opened additional classes and needed to relocate a number of times to increasingly larger facilities. Often, changing locations can be interpreted as a lack of stability. In the case of Bnos Malka, it was a testament to their success. Since 2006, Bnos Malka has called the Dov Revel Building their home. Ironically, the building which served the Jewish community for nearly 50 years was the elementary school for both Rabbi Weichselbaum and Mr. Berger. Their return has reenergized the Forest Hills community.
After graduating from Dov Revel, Rabbi Weichselbaum learned in Chofetz Chaim and in Ner Yisroel. He continued his learning in Eretz Yisrael, in Netivot, before graduating Adelphi University with a degree in education. He returned to Eretz Yisrael and spent over 5 years learning at Yeshiva Torah Ohr in Yerushalayim, where he received semichah in 1990 from Rav Shia Chaitvosky, shlita.
Rabbi Weichselbaum has continued to advance his education, earning his master’s degrees in ESL and educational leadership. In 2009, Rabbi Weichselbaum was introduced to the educational philosophy of “Understanding by Design” by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins. The program is designed to empower the students to delve deeper into their understanding of the material taught in class and seek practical applications in real life. The girls develop skills to question and analyze and not merely learn by rote. Empowerment is not left just for the students, but for the administration and teachers as well. While always under the watchful eye of the menahel, the assistant principals and teachers are given the latitude to use their experience and skills to manage the classroom and the curriculum. Rabbi Weichselbaum explained, “Our assistant principals are immensely talented. If I were to micromanage and dictate every detail, I would not benefit from their vast talents and I would stymie their creativity.”
Mr. Berger, excited about the upcoming dinner, concluded by saying, “The hallmark of Bnos Malka has always been, providing excellence in education, in a warm and caring environment. That emanates directly from Rabbi Weichselbaum. He is the role model to which all of our staff, teachers, and students look.” Clearly, the admiration for Rabbi Weichselbaum goes far beyond the school walls. In addition to the calls from alumni and parents of alumni, many rabbanim and members from the community have already made plans to participate in the dinner and journal. They are all eager to show their support for this extraordinary school and its beloved menahel. v