By Chanita Teitz
On Sunday, a friend of mine posted on Facebook a strikingly beautiful picture of flowers. This friend often posts stunning pictures of nature, and these exquisite, vibrant purple flowers made my day. It gave me hope that the ice and snow will melt and spring will come.
Winter is not my season and walking on the ice is scary. Ever since I broke my leg, I am scared of falling. And I didn’t even fall on ice—I tripped over my own suitcase. I’m sure you know the feeling when you do something klutzy and you wish you could undo it.
I am lucky that my husband doesn’t lose patience with me; he drives me to work so I don’t have to climb over the mountains of snow the plows have left all along the curbs. Remember when we enjoyed slipping and sliding on the ice just like our grandchildren do now? My granddaughter Tova and the girls at Shevach High School enjoyed a two-day outing frolicking in the snow at Rocking Horse Ranch. Even the teachers got into the fun!
My grandchildren in Israel are looking forward to a second snowstorm this year. Isn’t that unusual for Israel? The kids love it like all kids do. But in South Africa we have a niece who is in the middle of her summer vacation. Sounds good to me, and Florida is a lot closer. (Akiva, are you reading this?)
On a more serious note, there is a lot going on. Will Bibi speak to Congress in March and how many Democrats will not attend? Why did President Obama invite Muslim clerics to the White House to assure them that Americans are not Islamophobic? Is Jordan forming an international coalition to seriously fight ISIS?
President Obama stated that the victims of the attack in the kosher supermarket in Paris were “random victims.” He won’t admit that they were targeted because they were Jews. And he called the terrorist a zealot, not a terrorist.
The latest hostage captured by ISIS has been killed. Kayla Jean Mueller was captured by ISIS as she was leaving a hospital in Turkey assisting Syrian refugees. According to ISIS reports, she was killed in an airstrike by Jordan, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
As we go about our daily lives, it is easy to ignore the fact that the world is at war. On Main Street, it’s business as usual. But the daily news reports confirm that there’s danger out there, and it’s not just the freezing temperatures that are giving me the chills.
Snow Day Shiurim at Yeshiva Tiferes Moshe. As New York City was shutting down for what was expected to be a blizzard, it was obvious that the talmidim of Yeshiva Tiferes Moshe would have a day off from school. Rabbi May reminded the boys that although school would be closed, the mitzvah to learn Torah continues. Thanks to the quick thinking of some of the yeshiva’s dedicated rebbeim, who offered special shuirim on the snow day, it did!
Rabbi Aryeh Estersohn’s second-grade class went home with worksheets that they would have done in class on the snow day. Nearly the entire class completed their worksheets on Tuesday morning and then called in to the class hotline to listen to their rebbi teach that day’s Chumash lesson. Later in the day, the boys were able to listen to a recording of the parashah lesson as well.
Rabbi Yaakov Levine’s fifth-graders were invited to walk to their rebbi’s home and participate in a special shiur on the halachos of snow. Rabbi Levine set up a special conference call for those boys who were unable to come. Everyone who came was treated to hot cocoa and freshly baked cookies. Over half of Rabbi Levine’s boys participated.
The yeshiva is proud of all of the talmidim who made sure to devote time on the snow day to learn and thanks the dedicated rebbeim for continuously helping the talmidim grow into bneiTorah.
BYQ Celebrates Gift of Shabbos. The Gift of Shabbos two-week program at BYQ was a smashing success! The girls have been internalizing their beautiful Shabbos lessons, and their eyes and hearts have been opened to the spiritual gift of Shabbos. The school building has been decorated magnificently under the talented direction of Morah Yocheved Jurkowitz. The program began last Monday with a realistic and humorous teachers’ play written by Mrs. Esther Rockove. Both Rabbi Gewirtz and Mrs. Jurkowitz addressed the girls on this topic. The eighth-graders then presented the program theme song, which was taught to all the girls. The song was played over the school intercom twice daily, greatly enhancing the program. Each student received a gift bag with special items to be used on Shabbos, including jewelry and Shabbos nosh. The zemiros raffle cart collected zemiros raffle tickets each day. The familiar zemiros heard as the cart came around added to the real Shabbos ambiance.
Last Thursday, grades 1-4 were treated to a lively Shabbos Music and Song Festival. The third and fourth grades presented Shabbos choirs, which were followed by a music video and dancing. Mrs. Karen Daitchman enhanced the program with her live musical accompaniment. Throughout the two weeks, grades 5-8 have watched the dramatic Torah Umesorah video titled, “To Leave and Believe.” The video parallels the mesirasnefesh of a Shemittah farmer with that of a Jewish girl in the early 1900s trying to keep Shabbos. The viewings were followed by grade-wide discussions on the topic.
Each day the teachers imparted beautiful and uplifting Shabbos lessons. Topics included onegShabbos, uplifting the physical, Me’ein Olam Haba, “Os Hi L’Olam—the eternal sign,” and thinking about Shabbos all week long.
Last Thursday, grades 1-8 attended a special Shabbos assembly featuring an inspiring video created by Miss Bracha Harris. Following the video, Mrs. Taub picked winners from each class from the zemiros raffle cart. The eighth grade once again presented the program theme song and it was powerful to hear the entire school singing it together. At lunchtime on Thursday the girls were treated to a “taste of Shabbos” with piping hot and delicious potato kugel made by the yeshiva’s own kitchen staff under the direction of Rabbi Noble. To celebrate the culmination of the program on Friday, the girls were allowed to wear Shabbos tops to school instead of their uniform shirts. Mrs. Taub came around one last time with the zemiros cart and the school-wide raffle winner was later announced. Each girl also received a pink ShabbosKodesh card with 20 ideas of how to enhance their Shabbos each week.
BYQ is sad to end the Gift of Shabbos program but will continue to emphasize Shabbos topics. Hopefully the girls have learned how to experience a more meaningful Shabbos.
Ruchniyus at Rocking Horse Ranch. On Wednesday, February 4, the Shevach High School students were treated to an overnight trip to the Catskills. The event was organized by Mrs. Devora Kovitz, educational administrator at Shevach, and held at the Rocking Horse Ranch. The students and staff alike were energized by the skiing, snow tubing, and the indoor water fun. However, all agreed that the highlight of the trip was being addressed by Rabbi Gavriel Sanders. Rabbi Sanders, a chemist by profession, is a ger tzedek who has been working for many years editing ArtScroll/Mesorah publications. His mastery of Judaica is quite impressive.
Rabbi Sanders described his journey, and the reasons for his journey, from a Catholic, to a charismatic evangelical minister, and to an Orthodox Jew. With a balance of humor and depth, he related his discovery of the emes in Judaism, which was so lacking in his previous “life.” The students were riveted by his presentation and many stayed long after to talk to him and ask questions. The girls came away with an enhanced appreciation of their own mesorah.
The admiration was mutual. “These students are on a very high level in their identification with their heritage,” Rabbi Sanders said. “I speak in so many venues, and I am truly impressed by the caliber of the young ladies at Shevach High School.”
The trip greatly invigorated the students, both physically and spiritually.
Lecture, Brunch, and Book-Signing with Shmuel Shields, Ph.D. at the Queens Jewish Center. Sunday, February 15, Presidents Day Weekend, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at 66-05 108th Street, Forest Hills, NY 11375.
Shmuel Shields, Ph.D., is a certified nutritionist with 25 years of clinical experience. He developed VitaShield, an advanced multivitamin-mineral formula with extra vitamin D. He is also the author of L’Chaim: 18 Chapters to Live By.
Enjoy a healthy brunch and informative talk as nutritionist Shmuel Shields speaks to Torah sources for healthy eating, dangers of overeating and unhealthy foods, planning healthier simchas, making better food choices at a kiddush or simcha meal, preparing nutritious Shabbos and yom tov meals, and healthier snacks for Shabbos and holidays (such as mishloach manos baskets) Admission: $10 per person. For more information, visit www.myqjc.org/event/nutritionist-dr.-shmuel-shields.html.
Class on Derech Hashem by the Ramchal. Sunday, February 15, promptly at 9:45 a.m. for the first class in the series given by Rabbi Yochanan Bechhofer at 137-14 71 Avenue in KGH at the Bleiberg home. The fee is $15/class or $100 for the series. Checks should be made out to R’ Bechhofer. (If a tax deduction is needed, they may be made out to Rav Chessed.) Please bring your own copy of the sefer Derech Hashem by R’ Moshe Chaim Luzatto (and notebook!) Coffee will be available, but the program must start on time. Call 718-544-7327 for questions.
Rebbetzin Adina Ribacoff on “How to Thrive as a Wife and Mother Through the Eyes of the Eishet Chayil.” The women’s series will continue on the following Monday nights: February 16, 23, and March 2 at 8:30 p.m. at Beth Gavriel, 66-35 108th Street in Forest Hills. For more information, call 718-285-9132 or e-mail womensdivisionatchazaq.org.
Understanding ADHD In Children And Adults: Strategies That Turn Struggles Into Strengths. Lectures given by Barry Holzer, M.D., and Yitzchak Goldberg, Ph.D.Tuesday, February 25, at 8:00 p.m. at the Young Israel Of Kew Gardens Hills. Sponsored by the Task Force on Children and Families At Risk and Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services.
Queens Jewish Center Scholar-In-Residence, Rabbi Paysach Krohn. Shabbos, March 6-7, Ki Sisa, 66-05 108th Street, Forest Hills, N.Y. 11375. Rabbi Krohn will speak at a Friday night dinner, the Shabbos morning derashah in the main shul followed by a hot Kiddush, and a special seudahshlishis following 5:05 p.m. Minchah.
The scholar-in-residence program is sponsored by Mrs. Gloria Grossman in loving memory of her husband, Morris Grossman, a’h, and by the Grossman family in memory of their beloved father.
Rabbi Krohn is one of the most dynamic and sought-after speakers in the Jewish world. He has delivered his inspirational lectures all around the world. He is the author of the popular Maggid Series. Rabbi Krohn is a fifth-generation mohel, affiliated with numerous hospitals. He has written Bris Milah, a widely acclaimed compendium of laws and customs from birth to bris.
Dinner with Rabbi Krohn, Friday, March 6. Cost: $30 per adult and $15 per child (to age 12). Reservations by phone 718-459-8432 or online. Event webpage for more information: www.myqjc.org/event/rabbi-paysach-krohn—scholar-in-residence.html
YESS!–Yeshiva Education for Special Students! 5K Run/Walk Sunday, March 29 in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Start time 9:00 a.m. YESS is located at 147-37 70th Road, Flushing, NY 11367. Call 718-268-5976.
Community pays last respects for Mr. Aharon Meirov (1960-2015)
By Yehuda Levy
On motzaeiShabbos, January 31, hundreds of community members flooded the Young Israel of Forest Hills and its surrounding areas to pay their last respects for Mr. Aharon Meirov, a man who was an integral part of many important projects throughout the Queens community.
Eulogies at the funeral and during the shivah were delivered in English, Hebrew, and Russian, bringing men and women to tears and repentance. Rabbi Ilan Meirov, director of Chazaq outreach and a nephew of the niftar, spoke of Aharon’s tireless dedication for all Torah causes and urged others to follow in his path.
He related, “When a friend comes to visit one’s home, he knocks on the front door and is welcomed in. But when a robber seeks entry into a home, he comes against one’s wishes and normally breaks in through a window. It was upon this that the prophet Yirmiyah stated ‘Alah mavet mechaloneinu’ (death came up from our windows), because like a robber, death can just come up through the window. It can chasv’shalom happen unexpectedly and against our wishes.
“Aharon had just come home from the final shevaberachot for his niece at which he was singing beautifully in his loud thunderous voice and recitng divreiTorah. Little did we know that an hour or two later he would suffer a massive heart attack that eventually took his life.”
Rabbi Meirov encouraged everyone to cherish every moment of life and to show appreciation to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for all the great things He provides us with, and to never take things for granted.
The niftar leaves behind his wife, a daughter that he married off several weeks ago, and a son, along with thousands of grieving friends around the world. Yehi Zichro Baruch.
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.