By Chanita Teitz
This was another week of strife and protest in Israel including Women of the Wall, Women for the Wall, and men protesting the Women of the Wall.
Right here in New York there was also a rally to protest the drafting of yeshiva bachurim into the army. The rally was organized by the Satmar community, and most of the audience were Chassidim, so one could say that this is just a limited group voicing their opinion. But why do it in a public venue? Why should the goyim see our differences, our anger at one another? Why should our enemies see our disunity? What is all the hullabaloo about yeshiva bachurim joining a Jewish army to help defend our people?
The numbers of yeshiva bachurim learning in Israel has swelled beyond imagination since the founding of the state. Ironically it is this secular medinah that enables all this Torah learning to flourish. If only as hakaras hatov alone that we are free in our land to learn, boys should be encouraged to join the society in practical endeavors like army service and employment.
Everyone agrees that a welfare state cannot continue to exist. The well will eventually run dry. Also the resentment in the secular sector runs high, as through the years soldiers die. Their parents are asking why only secular families are asked to give their sons as korbanos.
We can counter that the yeshiva bachurim are giving the ultimate protection through their Torah learning, but what about those who are seen on a leisurely afternoon while others are working, walking in the streets, or eating in restaurants? Not everyone can sit and learn all day, but they can work and free up government money for those who really need it. Resentment keeps growing, and it is pitting brother against brother.
The army is offering the chareidim the opportunity to join the army while staying in yeshiva. Part of the time they’ll be learning and part of the time they will go to their army base for basic training. And they aren’t being trained only for combat duty. There are other jobs needed by the army. They want to train these exceptionally smart and intelligent young men in technology, giving the army the manpower needed in this area and at the same time giving these boys a marketable skill.
As I see it there are also misconceptions and fabrications and exaggerations. I don’t believe that the secular Israelis are trying to destroy Judaism in Israel. They only want everyone to join together in an interdependent society which is necessary for everyone’s benefit.
We are like a feuding family which has forgotten what the original issue was. I believe this goes way back to fear of the Haskalah—fear of the Enlightenment and the original secular Zionist movement. But all this is irrelevant today. We may have escaped the persecution of Europe, the pogroms and the gas chambers, but our enemies still surround us. We need learners but we also need fighters. We need more religious soldiers who bring Torah values to the army. When a terrorist walks into a yeshiva beis medrash and starts shooting our boys, we need someone who can shoot back. Kiruv in the army is such an opportunity to unite Klal Yisrael instead of destroying us. What do you think?
Clean Bill Of Health
On Main Street
New York City Health Ratings for Restaurants was posted on Facebook this week and I was happy to see that most of our local Main Street restaurants scored A’s and B’s.
Masbia Breakfast at the home of Aaron and Tzipora Laub. On Sunday, June 9, the Laub family, longtime supporters of Masbia, opened up their home to friends, neighbors, Masbia supporters, rabbis, community leaders, elected officials, and candidates for elected office, to raise money for the soup kitchen network. Roughly 100 people came in and out Sunday morning, to eat, hang out, and offer their financial support to Masbia. Among the guests were Congresswoman Grace Meng, State Senator Joseph Abado, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, Barbara Baruch from the office of Comptroller John Liu, and two candidates for elected office Melinda Katz who is running for Borough President and Rory Lancman who is running for City Council. All the rooms of the Laub house, including a deck and backyard, were open to the guests, who were offered a lavish assortment of kosher breakfast foods.
“Since we opened in Queens, the Laub family has had a strong commitment to Masbia,” said Alexander Rapaport, executive director of Masbia. “They opened up their home for Masbia functions, and have rushed to our aid in times of financial crises when we were struggling to keep up with the demand for food. But the Laubs not only offer Masbia their own support, but bring together all their friends and neighbors to get involved as well. We feel so grateful to the entire Laub family for their support.”
Bais Yaakov pen pals. The second grade invited their pen pals from TAG to visit BYQ. The girls had the opportunity to personally meet those girls with whom they have been communicating by mail for so long! As a surprise, the BYQ students shared their published work, including memoirs, chapter books, and biography books. They also have a special project planned, creating picture frames together. They photographed each pair of pen pals and insert their pictures into the frames. Everyone has a treasured memento of the fantastic day they shared.
Yeshiva Ketana of Queens Pre-1A graduation and Chumash party. The Pre-1A classes at Yeshiva Ketana of Queens had their Chumash party on Sunday. Approximately 58 boys in two classes graduated and performed beautifully. They answered their rebbes’ questions and sang and made all the parents, grandparents, and other family members proud! Special yashar koach to Rabbi Kessler, the menahel, and to the rebbes, Rabbi Fogel, Rabbi Frommel, and remedial rebbe, Rabbi Yungreis. According to the boys, “Yeshiva Ketana is the best yeshiva!”
The Ohr Natan Synagogue in Forest Hills, which is strongly involved in local kiruv, is raising money to have Rabbi Daniel Mechanic speak for the community. All monies raised will go towards Rabbi Mechanic’s tzedakah organization, Project Chazon. For more information on how to donate or to attend classes, contact Dina at 347-981-1802.
Congregation Ohr Moshe of Hillcrest is celebrating its 26th anniversary on Shabbos Parashas Pinchas, June 29, at a special Seudas Shabbos banquet honoring Gil and Shani Winokur and Bezalel Kosofsky.
Singles4Singles is coming to Kew Gardens Hills on Sunday night, June 30, 6:30–9:30 p.m. For more information, contact Singles4Singles@gmail.com, call 347-674-3833, or visit Singles4Singles.net. v
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.