By Chanita Teitz
Tonight is the yahrzeit of my father, R’ Shlomo Yitzchok ben R’ Zev Ashkanazy. I often wonder what he and my mother would say about the situation in our world. I wonder if they would be frightened, sad, or militant. I am sure they wouldn’t be complacent.
My parents made aliyah after the establishment of the State of Israel, but before that, during the years of fighting the British, my father made appeals for the war efforts and also helped smuggle arms to the Jewish fighters.
Even prior to this, during World War II, my father enlisted in the United States Army once he knew that Jews were being slaughtered in Europe. How could he just sit back and not do something to save Jews?
I asked my brothers how they thought he would react to our times and they e-mailed back lots of insightful thoughts. They all said that he would encourage aliyah, but at the very least he would expect us, galus Jews, to support Israel, not just financially or theoretically, but to open our mouths in support of truth. He was an ish emes, a man of truth, and would encourage us to speak out to influence people and enlighten those who only hear the lies of the Palestinians. He would expect our leaders not to stay silent but to lead in the struggle for Israel’s right to survive.
He was strong in his condemnation of anti-Semitism, calling the Nazis barbarians—I am sure he would say that the Islamic terrorists are the barbarians of today. He wouldn’t be surprised that anti-Semitism still exists, but the reaction of world leaders would surprise and terrify him. He would be frightened by world leaders who condemn terrorism but do little to stop it, and it would worry him that another Holocaust is possible.
My father was a man of enormous faith. My brother reminded me that on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur my father would put his tallis over his head and go into a corner of the shul to say UnesanehTokef. He was alone with Hashem in his heartfelt tefillah, davening for himself, his family, and Klal Yisrael.
My father would be frustrated not only by lies and falsehood, but also by divisiveness. He would want to see an end to the divisions among us. He loved all Jews and was active in kiruv before it became organized. Many ba’alei teshuvah found their way to Yiddishkeit at our Shabbos table.
My father was a proud Jew, and 2,000 years of persecution did not diminish his faith or the faith of the Jewish nation. We have survived this long and we will continue to survive despite the odds and despite the daily threats to annihilate us. Yehizichrobaruch.
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Neither rain nor snow will prevent the Shevach Girls from learning. The snowstorm that hit us on Monday and Tuesday last week paralyzed the metropolitan area. Public schools were closed on Tuesday, as were the private schools.
But that did not stop the Shevach High School students from learning! A conference-call shiur was set for Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., in which a huge percentage of the Shevach student body voluntarily participated. The call was initiated by Mrs. Miriam Krohn, associate principal for limudeikodesh at Shevach High School. She prevailed on her husband, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, to join in as well.
Rabbi Krohn gave the girls an insight into Tu B’Shevat. He likened a person to a tree, as it says in Devarim, “Ki ha-adam eitz ha’sadeh.” Just as a tree has roots and branches, so a person has a history and a future. Just as a tree needs nurturing and care, a child needs to be guided and provided for in order to grow as she is supposed to.
Mrs. Krohn then spoke of the ParashasHaMon which appears in the parashah of Beshallach. The mon had the berachah of sustaining life even though it was not created in the first week of creation, as the fruits and vegetables were. It was a symbol of the miraculous nature of the existence of the Jewish people in the desert. In commemoration of that, we have the two challahs on our Shabbos table, with a “cover” underneath it and on top of it, just as the mon was covered under and over it by dew in the desert.
Mrs. Krohn was overwhelmed by the number of young ladies who called in. “That so many of our Shevach students would spend part of a snow day learning is a testament to their commitment to Torah and the Shevach values.”
Special seudah shlishis:Revealing health issues in shidduchim. Men and women are cordially invited on Shabbos, February 7 (ParashasYisro) following 4:30 p.m. Minchah in the auditorium at the Queens Jewish Center, 66-05 108th Street in Forest Hills. The scheduled speaker is Rabbi Yaakov Weiner, dean of the Jerusalem Center for Research: Medicine and Halacha. Rabbi Weiner received his rabbinical training at three distinguished educational institutions: Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin in New York, the Chevron Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and Mosad HaRav Kook in Jerusalem, where he was granted rabbinical authority by HaRav Bezalel Zolty, z’l, former chief rabbi of Jerusalem, to judge all halachic matters.
He divides his time between actively pursuing the Center’s goals in Israel and lecturing around the world on a wide variety of topics in science, technology, and Jewish bioethics. He authored Ye Shall Surely Heal: Medical Ethics from a Halachic Perspective.
Young Israel of KGH to host Religious Zionist Slate scholar-in-residence Rabbi Dr. Aaron Adler, Shabbat ParashatYitro (February 6–7). Over the course of the weekend, Rabbi Adler will address the community three times, sharing Torat Eretz Yisrael and explaining the importance of voting for the Religious Zionist Slate (www.VoteTorah.org) in the World Zionist Congress elections.
Rabbi Dr. Aaron Adler is the rabbi of Ohel Nechama Community Synagogue, Jerusalem, president of Yeshivat Bnei Akiva Ner Tamid, and the chairman of the World Council of Mizrachi Rabbis. He is also a lecturer at Herzog College and the OU Israel Center.
A graduate of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Adler received his rabbinic ordination from YU’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and holds a Ph.D. in Talmud from Bar Ilan University.
He made aliyah with his family in 1979 and has held several positions at Israeli educational institutions, including a stint as president and campus rabbi at Emunah College for Arts and Technology in Jerusalem.
Currently, North American Jews have the opportunity to seat the 37th World Zionist Congress, an entity that decides on the policies of and funding for Zionist organizations in Israel and around the world. By voting in the elections, individuals over the age of 18 will have a voice in deciding Israel’s future as well as the future of Jewish life globally.
Running under the banner “Vote Torah,” the Religious Zionist Slate is a party in the World Zionist Congress composed of delegates from America’s foundational religious Zionist organizations; they provide a religious voice for world Jewry by championing programming and policies that promote Jewish unity and continuity as well as the preservation and enrichment of Torah values and Jewish life in Israel and around the world.
Rabbi Adler will first address the community at an oneg on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. in the Nat and Mary Saperstein Simcha Room. He will also deliver a derashah on Shabbat morning in the main shul.
Finally, Rabbi Adler will be the guest of honor at a melavehmalkah at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night in the Nat and Mary Saperstein Simcha Room. Volunteers from the community and the “Vote Torah” campaign will be on hand with tablet computers to walk participants through the process of voting in the World Zionist Congress elections.
This is a free event. There is a nominal registration fee to vote.
Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.