News From The Hills

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By Chanita Teitz

Did you hug your children today? Give them an extra hug tonight.

Twenty innocent children, so pure, like little buds just beginning to blossom, got up in the morning and went to school like every other day. We want our children to love going to school and to love learning. School is supposed to be a safe place where children can thrive. But our innocence and theirs is shattered every time we realize that we live in a violent world where terror doesn’t live only in the minds of hateful Arabs, but terror lives also in the minds of crazed, sick, depressed people.

Where can we feel safe? Will we have to live in a state of constant lock-down? That’s not possible. Wherever we go, we are in the public domain. And terror can strike suddenly, storming into our world and blasting it away.

This type of terror, random mass shootings, is a product of our own society. Something in the way we live and act creates the mental illnesses that bring an individual to the point of exploding. Some psychologists are saying that violent movies and especially violent video games foster desensitization to killing, allowing the sick individual to carry out his crime.

Some are saying we need to put G‑d back into our lives, our society, and our schools. Children and adults need to know that there is something greater than themselves, something that we are accountable to, something that we can pray to and turn to.

But some of the world’s worst murderers were supposedly G‑d-fearing, church-going people. So, can we ever figure out the cause for such violent acts and how to prevent them?

I have so many questions and thoughts going through my mind that I am writing this at 2 a.m. because I can’t sleep. The horror doesn’t leave me; I can’t relax and drift off with pleasant dreams.

Let us find peace of mind in our tefillos, and may Hashem have rachamim on our world.

Upcoming Events

Asara B’Teves Program 5773, Yom Hakaddish Haklalli, For tefillos and Kaddish in memory of the victims of the Shoah whose dates of kiddush Hashem are unknown. Motzaei Shabbos, December 22, Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills 150th Street and 70th Road, 8:00 p.m. Parking available at Yeshiva of Central Queens

Welcome by Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, mara d’asra, Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. Introductory remarks by Mr. Ephraim Berger, lecturer for Project Inspire and representing the Second Generation. Guest Speaker, Rabbi Hanoch Teller, world-renowned author, educator, and lecturer. Sponsored by Leah and Moshe Katz and Blimie and Sruli Spiro in memory of R’ Shmuel ben Yechezkel Shraga; and Irene and Sam Russo in memory of R’ Shlomo Zalman and Mirel Fastman and R’ Shmuel and Ita Potashnik and their families who were killed al kiddush Hashem.

With the participation of: Amit/Margolit Chapter; Beth Medrash of KGH; Congregation Ahavas Yisroel; Congregation Degel Israel; Congregation Etz Chaim; Congregation Ohel Yitzchok; Congregation Toras Emes; Jewish Heritage Center; K’hal Nachlas Yitzchok; Kehilas Ishei Yisrael; Queens Jewish Community Council; Yeshiva Kesser Torah; Yeshiva Madreigas HaAdam; Young Israel of Hillcrest; Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills; Young Israel of Queens Valley; Vaad Harabonim of Queens.

Singles4Singles is pleased to announce “My First Singles4Singles Event” on Sunday night, December 23 (after the Asara B’Teves Fast) in Kew Gardens Hills, from 7:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m. (approximately). No charge if registered before 11 p.m. Wednesday, December 19. $11 late registration fee (includes PayPal fee), space permitting, thereafter. Exact address to be provided to registered participants the Wednesday before the event.

Overwhelmed by crowds? Don’t feel you get to meet everyone at singles’ events? Then this event is for you. We will limit this event to approximately 20 attendees while providing a structure designed to meet everyone. This event is for those who have never registered for an S4S event, and for eligible prior attendees that recruit first time attendees. Light refreshments will be provided.

Other qualifications besides good middos and other “givens”: College-educated gentlemen (29–39) who are koveia ittim laTorah and daven 3 times a day (preferably with a minyan) and college-educated women (26–39) who wear skirts only and plan to cover their hair after marriage.

Registration required by e-mail to, with the date of the event you are registering for in the subject line; give your name, age, brief hashkafic description, where you are from, who referred you, and a phone number to reach you in the body of the e-mail. In addition, we recommend that people add their name to our mailing list via a yahoo group by sending an e-mail to Contact or (347) 674-3833.

Special Event by Chazaq: Sunday night, December 23, in conjunction with Beth Gavriel, renowned lecturer R’ Label Lam: “How to become a Leader.” Refreshments at 8:00 p.m. Lecture scheduled for 8:30. Free admission. All are encouraged to come and bring friends. Beth Gavriel Community Center, 66-35 108th St. Forest Hills.

Chachmat Nashim Women’s group and the Chazaq Women’s Division present a special lecture for women only by Jackie Bitton, “Achieving The Impossible” on Tuesday night, December 25 at 7:30 p.m. Location: Yeshiva Ohel Simcha (downstairs), 141-41 72nd Ave., Flushing. In the merit of a refuah sheleima for R’ Yigal ben Yael. Sushi and refreshments will be served.

For more info call Sarah Yagudaev at 347-809-0102.

Lecture in Hebrew, Wednesday night, December 26, Chazaq and Hidabroot present renowned lecturer R’ Zamir Cohen, “Future Prophecies from the Torah.” Also special appearance by Shimon Peretz. Program scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Men and women are welcome! Admission is free. Location: Yeshiva Ohel Simcha 141-41 72nd Ave, Flushing. For more info call 917-617-3636 or e-mail, visit

Midreshet Adina is proud to present Rabbi Jeremy Kagan, Tuesday, December 25 at 10:30 a.m. Fee: $10. “The Critique of Pure Treason: Understanding the Sin of Understanding.” When Adam and Eve were forbidden from eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil it was not to keep them from understanding in general—without understanding there cannot be any meaningful relationship between man and G‑d. Rather, it was to keep them from a particular kind of understanding. What exactly was denied them and why? Through understanding the root prohibition we can understand both the nature of spirituality and why it is so difficult to truly experience it in our times.

Rabbi Kagan, principal of the seminary Midreshet Tehillah, was born in Boston and raised in Hawaii. Rabbi Kagan attended Yale University and graduated with a BA in philosophy. He began studying Torah at Ohr Sameach while traveling in Israel during his college years. Following the completion of his degree at Yale, Rabbi Kagan returned to Israel to pursue Torah in earnest, eventually becoming a student at Heichal HaTorah and the Mirrer Yeshiva. He received rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg and has regularly attended the classes of Rabbi Moshe Shapiro. In 1998, Rabbi Kagan published The Jewish Self: Recovering Spirituality in the Modern World. He recently published The Choice to Be: A Jewish Path to Self and Spirituality, which was awarded the 2011 National Jewish Book Award for Modern Jewish Thought.

Bais Yaakov of Queens and ‘Kids to Kids Connects’ through tefillah. Bais Yaakov of Queens joined with the Shmira Project, making a commitment to daven for someone specific in Eretz Yisrael with a person-to-person match. Mrs. Reisbaum, the general studies assistant principal, made the connection during the recent strife in Eretz Yisrael. The project originated with Rav Simcha HaCohen Kook, Chief Rabbi of Rechovot and The Hurva, with the Bostoner Rebbe, zt’l in 2009 during the Gaza Operation Cast Lead. The program pairs residents of Israel who are in danger with Jews around the world who do acts of kindness, tefillah, or learning Torah.

Rabbi Gewirtz, dean of Bais Yaakov of Queens, enthusiastically encouraged the implementation of the program saying, “An opportunity to daven for someone living in danger is one we should not overlook!” His ‘haskamah’ was all that Mrs. Somerstein, the Limudei Kodesh principal, needed for the next step, as she said, “Having the girls include these names in their davening will be a most meaningful way for Bais Yaakov talmidos to make a spiritual connection.”

With the technological assistance of Mrs. Shapiro, the school was assigned more than forty names of residents in danger. These names were divided up, and every class received two names. Students and teachers discussed why these names were added to their Tehillim list, making the experience and davening more meaningful.

Mrs. Bergman, the general studies principal, said, “At Bais Yaakov we learn and apply the learning to life situations.” Rabbi Gewirtz concluded, “We know from Chazal that the power of children’s tefillos is special, and we are confident that their davening for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael will indeed bring the yeshuos and nechamos for which we so fervently hope.”


To Mrs. Barbara Kaminetzky and family on the petirah of their husband, father, and grandfather, Mr. Chaim Kaminetzky. Hamakom yinachem eschem b’soch shaar aveilei Tziyon v’Yerushalayim.

Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage, with offices in Kew Gardens Hills and Fresh Meadows. For all your real-estate needs in Queens, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail

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