Camp HASC is a place where remarkable milestones are achieved each summer.
You probably assume that ‘milestones achieved’ in Camp HASC refers to the incredible progress many of our campers make each year. Last summer alone, many of our campers accomplished great tasks and learned important skills that will permanently enrich their lives and have made their parents and families very proud.
One camper learned to use a fork and spoon independently, thanks to intensive feeding therapy he received during meals in the dining room, forever reducing his dependence on others to feed him during meals. Another camper took his very first steps, thanks to hours of dedicated work by therapists, teachers, and counselors during therapy/academics hours and in the therapy building, his bunkhouse, and all around camp. Yet another camper had his bar mitzvah in camp, and to the great surprise of his parents and family, showed that he was capable of learning birchas haTorah (the blessings on the Torah), wearing tefillin, and doing pesichah (opening the Ark) in shul; all of which his counselors decided to teach him before his special day.
These are but a few of many ‘milestones achieved’ by the special campers in Camp HASC this past summer, and all of their achievements are an endless source of pride to our campers, their parents, families, communities, and camp staff members.
But there are so many other milestones achieved in Camp HASC each summer.
Each summer in Camp HASC, hundreds of camper parents find almost two months to dedicate to their other children, to their spouses, and to their own growth, some for the very first time. Raising a child or caring for a sibling with severe intellectual and physical disabilities is a responsibility that takes remarkable dedication and intense commitment, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Knowing that their child or sibling is in caring hands for seven full weeks allows parents and families to take a much-needed vacation, to relax, to turn their attention to each other, or to focus on recharging, in a way that often simply isn’t possible during the year.
Each summer in Camp HASC, hundreds of campers, no matter how severe their challenges are, get to go away for a full summer in camp, just like their brothers and sisters and peers. Their intellectual and physical disabilities become irrelevant in a camp program designed just for them, where they are the stars of the show and the center of attention—where they can swim, ride bikes, cook, create art, play and enjoy music, care for animals, learn Torah, daven, bake challah and enjoy their summer—just like any other typical child, teen, or adult.
And each summer in Camp HASC, over 350 young adults from Jewish communities around the world dedicate their full summer to learn how to care sensitively for others, to empathize sincerely, to put others’ needs before their own, to focus on people’s strengths and not their weaknesses, and to see beyond labels and community divisions. Thousands of Camp HASC young adult staff members have emerged with these crucial lessons and become inspired mothers and fathers, rabbis, professionals, business and community leaders and continue to make positive change in the world around them. Many have encouraged their own children, students, and congregants to work in Camp HASC, as another generation of Camp HASC young adults is trained to engage the world with the positive ‘person first’ approach that their parents, teachers, and rabbis once learned. In fact, this summer, we will proudly welcome more “second generation” staff members than ever before!
Indeed, many milestones are achieved each summer in Camp HASC . . . v
Ohel Launches Dynamic Parenting Workshop
Why do good parents increasingly face so many challenges? It almost feels as though the environment that children grow up in today is from another galaxy. We love our children dearly, but we find it daunting that many of the communication tools and techniques that we saw used when we were younger are just not working with our own children.
To help bridge a gap between the communication methods of parents and their children, Ohel has created a three-part series that addresses different aspects of parent-child relationships, and how the parents and children can best communicate with each other. Topics covered throughout the three-part series are how to achieve successful communication, resolving conflicts effectively, and instilling self-esteem and confidence in children.
In the first session, taking place this Wednesday, May 7, in Teaneck, NJ, parents will be empowered through learning the theory and skills of active listening, which is the foundation of the additional two sessions. By properly decoding messages received, parents will ensure that the conversations with their children are based on a proper understanding of one another. Additionally, parents will learn how to realistically and effectively structure daily periods in which to talk with their children, and how to give them their full attention.
For more information or to register for the workshop series, please visit www.ohelfamily.org/njworkshop or contact 201-692-3972 or firstname.lastname@example.org. v
Calvary Presents Mentors Through Mourning Program
Calvary Hospital invites mental health professionals and those in education who work with children and teens to its “Mentors Through Mourning” Program. Now in its 12th year, this training course is offered in Calvary’s Bronx and Brooklyn facilities. The fee is $50 per session for mental-health clinicians or funeral directors. For graduate students or school professionals who are interested in serving as resources and guides for grieving children and teens within the school setting, this program is offered free of charge as a community service.
In downtown Brooklyn, this four-week program will meet Mondays, 4:30–6:00 p.m. May 5 “Special needs of bereaved children and adolescents”; May 12 “Trauma in today’s society”; May 19 “Reintegrating children with a life-threatening illness into the classroom”; and June 2 “Can we take the bus to Heaven?” The sessions take place at St. Joseph High School at 80 Willoughby Street in Brooklyn.
For questions or to register, e-mail Sschachter@calvaryhospital.org or call either Lynne Marie at 718-518-2173 or Dr. Sherry Schachter at 718-518-2125. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, but walk-ins will be welcome. CEUs pending from NYS Department of Health, Bureau of Funeral Directors.
Calvary Hospital is the nation’s only fully accredited acute-care specialty hospital devoted exclusively to providing palliative care to adult advanced cancer patients. A 225-bed facility with locations in the Bronx and Brooklyn, Calvary has been the model for the relief of cancer pain and symptoms for more than a century. More than 6,000 patients are cared for annually by Calvary’s inpatient, outpatient, home, hospice, nursing-home hospice, and wound-care services. To learn more or sign up for the e-newsletter, “Calvary Life,” visit www.calvaryhospital.org. v
Sefirah Yom Iyun With Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller, May 4
The Flatbush/Kensington community is honored to welcome Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller, senior lecturer at Neve Yerushalayim and Naaleh.com and beloved noted author of popular titles, including Battle Plans, Here You Are, and Balancing Act. Rebbetzin Heller has unique insight into human behavior and relationships. Combined with her scholarly mastery of chassidus, mussar, Tanach, and halachah, her shiurim are a treat. Her unique ability to bring lofty concepts into practicality, all wrapped neatly together with true life stories and an excellent sense of humor, leaves her audiences with practical means to enhance their relationships with Hashem, others, and most importantly, themselves.
Rebbetzin Heller travels to the United States twice annually to share her Torah with women and seminary girls of all backgrounds. One of the highlights of her upcoming trip is a half-day of learning in Flatbush, where the rebbetzin will give three shiurim and inspire and encourage us to utilize the 49 days of the Omer as stepping stones toward Har Sinai to be mekabel the Torah.
The Day of Learning will take place iy’H on Sunday, May 4, at the ballroom at Congregation Agudath Sholom, located at 3714-22 18th Avenue, between Coney Island Avenue and East 9th Street in Brooklyn.
Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., followed by the first shiur, “Facing Anti-Semitism from Within and from Without” at 11:00 a.m. With Shavuos commemorating the yahrzeit for much of Hungarian Jewry destroyed during the Holocaust, this shiur will address today’s issues impacting the Yidden, including making sense of the Israeli army draft and the Ukraine crises. The next shiur, “Off the Derech,” at 12:00 p.m. will address why we are leaving and what we can do to prevent it. The final shiur, “Mashiach Now?” at 1:00 p.m., will explore the roots of Mashiach, beginning with Rus, what Mashiach means, and if we are really ready.
The event is being dedicated l’iluy nishmas Rebbetzin Heller’s husband, HaRav Avraham Dovid Ben Ze’ev Heller, zt’l, who was summoned to the Yeshiva shel Ma’alah shortly after Sukkos.
The cost for the full day of learning is $45, payable at the door. The cost per shiur is $15. Walk-ins are welcome and pre-registration is not required.
For more information please call evenings: Chaya Surie at 718-810-2845 or Yehudith at 718-637-6001. Or e-mail email@example.com.
CDs and tapes of the event will be available for sale during and after the event by calling 718-252-5274. v
Kevan Abrahams Rolls Out His Position On Israel
Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), the Democratic Leader of the Nassau County Legislature, is the first candidate to publicize his position on Israel in the race to represent New York’s 4th Congressional District.
“As a member of the Nassau County Legislature, I had the distinct privilege of participating in a JCRC sponsored trip to Israel in 2009. During my ten-day mission, I visited hospitals and schools and heard the stories of the rockets that have landed on these structures. That level of fear should never be tolerated and it’s imperative we support Israel and push for a resolution with the peace process,” said Abrahams.
As of press time, Kevan’s opponent—Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice—has not yet publicly unveiled her position in Israel or any other substantive federal policy issue.
A brief summary of the positions that Kevan Abrahams has taken with Israel include that he:
• Will vehemently defend Israel’s right to take appropriate action to blunt anti-Israel sentiment and actions emanating from these countries.
• Will support any sanctions necessary to ensure that a nuclear Iran never becomes a reality.
• Strongly supports the passage of the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act that has been introduced in the House of Representatives and passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
• Strongly supports Congressional and executive action that limits Iran’s ability to act as a supplier of petroleum products as a way to ensure that it curtails nuclear development.
• Believes that Iran’s relationship with Lebanon should also be strictly monitored, as its supply of weaponry to the Hezbollah-controlled government should be of serious concern.
• Will join his Congressional colleagues in decrying the horrific actions of the Assad government when in office.
• Will never support any Congressional decrease in foreign aid to Israel.
• Believes that our military and intelligence operations should work in lockstep with Israel’s equivalent outfits whenever practicable.
• Will be a strong voice of support for continuing to honor the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding that pledged $30 billion in U.S. security aid to Israel over a 10-year period.
• Strongly believes that Israel is a “major strategic partner” of the United States.
• Strongly believes in unilateral religious tolerance for all people.
• Believes that it is in the world’s best interest that America continue to show full-throated support for Israel’s right to defend herself, increase our commitment to building a stronger relationship, and provide the foreign aid necessary to keep Israel strong.
“I implore District Attorney Rice to make her positions known on Israel—the lone stable democracy in the Middle East,” said Abrahams. “I believe that the next representative from this district much be a staunch supporter of Israel, and voters deserve to know where she stands.”
If elected, Abrahams will be the first African-American elected to represent a district wholly located on Long Island. Abrahams, 39, was first elected to the County Legislature in 2002, and has served as Democratic Leader since 2012. He lives in Freeport with his wife, Stephanie, and his children, Kennedy and Carter. v
Pesach 5774 At Beth Shifra
By Rabbi A. Ben-Emet
Some people do Pesach big. Some people do Pesach very big. And then there is Beth Shifra. From the organization’s new Passover headquarters in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, Beth Shifra—led by Rabbi Chaim Prussman for the past half-century—served in excess of 2,435 meals during the eight-day festival. The matzah alone had a retail value of $2,500, including $500 of hand-made shemurah matzah, and there were 1,296 bottles of wine. Beth Shifra also gave away approximately 3,100 pieces of gefilte fish; 40,000 pounds of potatoes and 8,000 pounds of carrots were housed in the main site. In addition to the meals served at the 23rd Avenue location, Beth Shifra distributed more than 11,600 meals through 13 centers across the five boroughs.
Rabbi Prussman stated to this reporter, “At Beth Shifra, we are both reactive and proactive. We respond to the horrendously dangerous and frightening rise in anti-Semitic violence, such as seen this week in Kansas, with Jewish militancy. We deal with the economic downturn by giving out a lot more food and a great deal more financial aid, not less.”
Beth Shifra also ran more than 40 shiurim this Pesach and 7 discussion groups with as wide-ranging topics as “P’sak: Causative, Descriptive, or Legal Fiction?” and “Midos and Honesty: Where We Haredim Have Fallen Short of Glory.” Also held was the Seventh Annual Kathy Donnelly Symposium on Halacha and the Handicapped, the proceedings of which will be published as a sefer next year.
Participating in the educational programs were Ohr Sameach, Aish HaTorah, Mir-East, Gateways, Arachim, Igud HaRabbanim, and Ohel Chaya. The classes were all organized and coordinated by Rav Alexander Z. Guth (the only Orthodox luthier outside of Israel trained in the Kabbalistic secrets of music) and Rav Shmuel Eliezer (Steve) Gershbein (noted activist for the handicapped and Brooklyn-based civil-rights attorney).
Rabbi Gershbein said, “Honesty has great value in Judaism. The Seal of the Creator is Truth. We need to examine where we, the authentic Torah community, are strong as well as where we are not fulfilling His Will. We worked very, very hard to analyze what we Orthodox are doing right and confront those areas in which we do so much wrong. We must aim to do teshuvah and correct our mistakes in order to minimize chillul Hashem (desecration of the Divine Name).”
There were also programs for children and two singles events for frum singles.
Rabbi Prussman thanks Rabbi Goldstein, the host rabbi, and Frank Vasile of Brooklyn’s Best for supervising security. Mr. Vasile and his staff supervised the physical plant management of an area exceeding 21,000 square feet. Rav Levi Hettelman, of daf yomi fame, supervised kashrus in order to guarantee a mehadrin min ha’mehadrin kitchen.
Post-Pesach activities include classes in Pirkei Avos and a siyum immediately following Shavuos. Those wishing to participate should call Beth Shifra at 718-449-1397. v