From Tzahal To Har Torah
The children at Yeshiva Har Torah not only learn about chesed, they put their learning into practice! Throughout the year, there are many opportunities for the children to experience giving to others.
Last week, a young soldier who made aliyah visited Har Torah’s kindergarten class. The children have “adopted” him and will be in touch during this school year. He is the brother of one of Har Torah’s first-grade teachers, Mrs. Lowy. David was in America on leave and took time to come to visit the children. They proudly stood when he arrived and sang Hatikvah. They welcomed him warmly and offered him food and drinks, just as Avraham Avinu did when he greeted the malachim. The children baked and decorated a special cake in David’s honor.
The children had the opportunity to learn about what David does in the army, how he protects the people of Israel, where he sleeps, what he eats, and what his training is like. They asked excellent questions and listened intently to David’s answers.
The children promised to write to David this year and will use some of their tzedakah money to send all the soldiers in David’s unit toothbrushes, soap, socks, etc. We are always happy to learn and always happy to fulfill the mitzvot of hachnasat orchim and tzedakah. We are always learning and growing! v
Help Save A Life
An Open Letter
My story is not tear-jerking or extra-sad; it’s “typical” in almost every sense of the word. I am a typical yeshiva yungerman learning in Beth Medrash Govoha, living the typical kollel life. I have a wife and kids and got onto “Jersey Care” thinking I would never need “real” insurance coverage. The typical colds, strep throats, and similar ailments were all we ever used it for, anyhow.
Until that day when my doctor said these words to me: YOU HAVE CANCER.
It seemed as if it came out of nowhere and suddenly my life was not typical anymore. I was diagnosed with a non-seminoma germ cell tumor.
My life changed in an instant; I had cancer, and all the anxiety that comes along with it. And all I had was “Jersey Care,” which couldn’t take me very far in regard to adequate medical care.
I needed to upgrade my insurance, but how? I couldn’t afford better insurance, and I had no idea even how to begin the process.
So I decided to call the Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society. That was the best call I ever made in my life.
RCCS immediately, and warmly, went into action, as if I was the only case on their minds! They swiftly got me through the application process, and put me in touch with an insurance broker who immediately got me onto a solid Oxford insurance plan which came with a hefty monthly premium. But that wasn’t my headache; RCCS paid for it! Month after month!
After I changed to Oxford, I went to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and arranged for surgery to have the tumor removed. I had a vascular invasion and, after they removed the tumor, they wanted to do a second surgery. I went to Indianapolis for a second opinion and then, after consulting with Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, I was advised to do surveillance for the next five years. This entails going to Memorial Hospital every month for blood work and x-rays, and every three months for CT scans.
Believe it or not, after about two months on the insurance I was further diagnosed with skin cancer—which was missed by my NJ doctor and was only discovered due to my having the opportunity to be seen by specialists in Memorial Sloan Kettering. Baruch Hashem, I was able to go, immediately, to top doctors to deal with this new cancer.
Let me tell you, when a person has cancer, whatever type it may be, it brings much stress and turmoil into his life. The challenges are tremendous. To continue being a good father, husband, and friend is a constant battle.
Why should the lack of money stop a parent from being there for a child or a child from enjoying life with their parent?! But so often it all does boil down to money!
Could you imagine if on top of it all, I had to also deal with the stress of going into debt to pay my monthly premiums?! It would make the strongest of patients collapse and diminish their chance of recovery, dramatically.
There are no adequate words to express my appreciation for what RCCS has done for me and my family over the past 10 months.
By RCCS taking the load of finances off our heads, it allows us patients to take advantage of good insurance and good doctors, and ultimately improves our chances of a good outcome.
When you, dear supporters of RCCS, open your hearts and support RCCS, you’re not just giving tzedakah to a chashuvah organization. You’re giving life to me and to people like me, your neighbors, friends, and relatives . . . because RCCS can’t do it without you.
So I plead with you to do whatever possible to give life, and may Hashem repay all donors a thousandfold, with a good healthy, illness-free life! v
RSA–Chofetz Chaim’s 80th-Anniversary Dinner, November 24
On Sunday, November 24, Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim of Queens will iy’H hold its 80th-Anniversary Dinner at Terrace on the Park. The dinner will offer a panoramic glimpse of the yeshiva’s national impact, while celebrating 22 new musmachim—a new generation of leadership in harbatzas haTorah.
“Ambassadors” from eight cities with Chofetz Chaim affiliates will represent their communities; these leaders, in turn, will be recognized for their pivotal roles in sustaining these mekomos haTorah.
Mr. and Mrs. Irving Langer will represent Brooklyn, home of Yeshiva Tiferes Yisroel, which the Langers helped build from its earliest beginnings. Today, Tiferes Yisroel comprises nearly 800 talmidim in its various divisions. According to rosh yeshiva Rabbi Zvi Turk, “Irving Langer has taken philanthropy to a totally different level . . . [He] has emerged as a pacesetter, leading and inspiring others to follow.”
Other ambassadors include Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Bock and the Ghermezian family, representing Las Vegas, NV; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Menlo, representing Los Angeles, CA; Mr. and Mrs. Barry Ray, representing Milwaukee, WI; Dr. and Mrs. Allan Jacob, representing Miami, FL; Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Madeb, representing Rochester, NY; Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Deutsch, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Glassman, and Dr. and Dr. Craig Reiss, representing St. Louis, MO; and Dr. and Mrs. David Freedman and Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Silber, representing Vancouver, BC.
Tribute: Rabbi Mordecai Tropper, zt’l. The beloved mashgiach of the yeshiva passed away five months ago. A lifelong talmid of Rav Henoch Leibowitz, zt’l, Rabbi Tropper worked hand in hand with him for four decades, playing a pivotal role in the yeshiva’s development. His devotion to the welfare of thousands of individuals remains an eternal monument to his legacy. Rabbi Tropper’s name will forever be associated with the yeshiva and its identity.
Young Leadership Award: Mr. and Mrs. Boruch Delman. This award recognizes Boruch’s dynamic role as a proactive leader in the yeshiva’s network of young alumni. In the workplace, Boruch embodies the yeshiva’s message of impeccable integrity and kiddush Hashem, while he and his wife Chanie build a home where chesed is practiced quietly and without fanfare.
Dr. Raymond Feinberg, z’l, Chesed Award: Dr. and Mrs. Herbert Blustein. Vital members of the Forest Hills Jewish community for over half a century, the Blusteins pool their collective energies for the greater good, serving as role models of a beautiful marriage and a successful partnership.
Parents of the Year: Mr. and Mrs. Reuvane Rhodes. A proud and loyal alumnus of the yeshiva who enjoyed a personal relationship with Rav Henoch Leibowitz, z’l, Reuvane, together with his wife Basi, has raised a beautiful family in a home permeated with Torah, avodah, hachnosas orchim, and Kiddush Hashem.
At Chofetz Chaim’s Kew Gardens Hills campus, nearly 400 talmidim, including more than 200 Kollel yungeleit, maintain a rigorous program designed to nurture talmidei chachamim and ba’alei mussar in the great tradition of Pre-War Europe.
Eighty years ago, Rav Dovid Leibowitz, zt’l, founded Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, convinced that America could sustain iyun haTorah at its highest levels and Slabodka Mussar in all its glory. Rav Dovid passed away at the age of fifty-two; his son and successor, Rav Henoch, was only 24. For over 66 years Rav Henach led the yeshiva, persevering in the face of hardship and uncertainty, never wavering from his mission. Before his passing, Rav Henoch, zt’l, designated two talmidim muvhakim, Rav Dovid Harris, shlita, and Rav Akiva Grunblatt, shlita, as his successors. Under their leadership, the yeshiva continues to grow in size while increasing the number of communities in the scope of its outreach. As they look towards the future, the roshei yeshiva draw strength from the strong foundations of the past.
The yeshiva encourages alumni to build Torah institutions from the ground up. Alumni currently serve more than 100 communities internationally; they have founded 10 elementary schools; 20 high schools; 12 beis midrash programs; and 40 kiruv centers, kollelim, and shuls. The yeshiva devotes a great deal of resources to encourage and support alumni in the field.
Dinner Chairman Rabbi Aryeh Zev Ginzberg, mara d’asra of the Chofetz Chaim Torah Center in Cedarhurst, notes the significance of this milestone anniversary: “Eighty is not only a time to recognize past gevurah, it is a time of renewed commitment to face new challenges in new generations.” v
At Agudah Keynote Session, Focus On Eretz Yisrael
The difficult situation facing the Chareidi community in Eretz Yisroel will be the focus of the Motzaei Shabbos keynote session at the upcoming 91st National Convention of Agudath Israel of America.
The topic will be addressed by Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, Mir rosh hayeshiva, son of the previous rosh hayeshiva, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt’l, and Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman, rosh yeshiva of Meor Yitzchok. Rabbi Finkel and Rabbi Wachsman will address the theme “The Unprecedented Assault on the Chareidi Community in Eretz Yisrael,” and give insight as to how we can help impact the situation in a positive way. In addition to the speakers, a special audiovisual presentation, “Slashing the Social Safety Net: the Human Face of Poverty in the Holy Land,” will poignantly highlight the situation in Eretz Yisrael.
The legendary leader of the Sephardic community, Rav Ovadia Yosef, zt’l, will be remembered at the keynote session by Rav Yosef Harari Raful, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ateret Torah and member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah. He will speak about the legacy of Rav Yosef and the growth of Sephardic Torah communities around the world.
The evening will also feature an address by Agudath Israel Executive Vice President, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel; and an audiovisual presentation “Getting Involved: Energizing the Next Generation” which will feature the involvement of young people in the diverse and multifaceted activities of Agudath Israel of America.
Mr. Hashi Herzka, convention chairman and member of the Board of Trustees of Agudath Israel of America, will chair the session.
“The Motzaei Shabbos keynote session of the Agudas Yisroel convention has always made a deep impression on all those who are privileged to be in attendance. Indeed many vividly remember keynote sessions of the past. The messages that are delivered stay with us throughout our lives,” said Shlomo Werdiger, chairman of the board of trustees.
Rabbi Eliyahu Simcha Bamberger, of the Torah Projects staff of Agudath Israel, noted that because of the crowd expected at the convention, those who wish to participate in the Motzaei Shabbos keynote session are encouraged to attend broadcast locations throughout the metropolitan area and around the country.
For more information regarding satellite locations, please e-mail Torahprojects@agudathisrael.org.
The convention will take place at Hilton Woodcliff Lake in Montvale, New Jersey, Thursday, November 14 to Sunday, November 17, Shabbos Parashas Vayishlach. v
Zaka Ushers In New Era With Chairman Gurvitz
A room full of dignitaries, political and religious leaders, and activists watched last Sunday as renowned investor and philanthropist Meir Gurvitz was inaugurated as the chairman of Zaka International with a brief, symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony organized by the Friedlander Group.
While Zaka was founded 24 years ago to deal with the grim realities of terror attacks, it has grown to encompass several divisions—including mortuary, medical, missing persons, and canine units—and over 2,800 volunteers in 15 countries.
Zaka was being acknowledged by the United Nations in 2005 as an international humanitarian volunteer organization. Since then, Zaka has been called in during many times of crisis, including the Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts, the terror attack in Mumbai, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
“The New York office, created this past summer, will be the primary coordination office, both financially and operationally, for all of Zaka’s various components worldwide,” said Zvi Gluck, director of operations for Zaka International, as he opened the program. He introduced Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis, who thanked Zaka “for doing what you do. Because if you wouldn’t do it, who would?”
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, pointed out that the work of Zaka “is really the highest mitzvah.”
Yotam Goren, Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN, also wished Meir Gurvitz well, saying, “As an Israeli, I know all too well the important work that Zaka does.”
James Woolsey, a former CIA director, described Zaka as “a remarkable institution that embodies the Jewish community’s sense of service to the rest of the world and does so in a beautiful, self-sacrificing and noble way.”
Rabbi Elie Abadie, spiritual leader of Congregation Edmond J. Safra in New York City, called Zaka International’s work a true “m’lechet hakodesh—holy work.” He added “May they not be needed. But if needed, may they be there.”
In his response to the warm greetings, Gurvitz recounted the dramatic tale of his first encounter with rescue and recovery work. “I was an 18-year-old yeshiva student during the Yom Kippur War,” he said, “and I decided to volunteer with the chevrah kadishah.” Gurvitz was assigned to the Sinai desert, where he helped retrieve the remains of Israeli soldiers from their smoldering tanks. The experience made a tremendous impression on him.
Shortly after the ribbon cutting, Zvi Gluck discussed the organization’s ambitious plans for the future. “Our dream,” he said, “is to create a real coalition of community leaders, religious leaders, activists, medical personnel, former military personnel, young leadership, and people who will support us so we can continue our vital mission to assist all of humanity around the world.” v