By Chanita Teitz
Last week, my column was missing my usual opinionated introduction about something that is currently going on somewhere in the world. What happened? It wasn’t writer’s block, per se, as I am an opinionated person and can always find something to write about. But as I mentioned in a past column, I am tired of the weighty, frightening problems of the world that are the news that we are subjected to every day. I am not using the words “bad news,” but you know what I mean.
Whether it’s about Israel surrounded by the turmoil in the Middle East, or the threat from Iran, or the slanderous world opinion about Israel being spoken day after day, I am tired. And if it’s not outside turmoil, what about the inner rumblings in Israel, politically and religiously? Moderate voices, religious boys who serve or wish to serve in the army, and men who work along with learning are seen as pariahs in Israeli chareidi society. I am tired.
And what about right here? We are bombarded with scandals and other issues. I am tired.
This morning I read that Hillary Clinton is praising Al Jazeera for its “real news” reporting. What is wrong with this woman?
In my search for some good news, something enlightening and inspirational, I found this in my inbox this morning from Janglo, an Israeli-American website with lots of information about Israel for both olim and tourists (the website was started and is written and managed by Zev Stub, my friend’s son):
“As the final weeks of 5773 tick away, it’s worth thinking about how we did over the past 12 months. If you just look at Israel’s biggest stories of the year—including Operation Pillar of Defense, elections, civil wars all around us, fighting among Jews—you may not see a lot of light. But life in Israel got a whole lot better in the past year, as economic standards and quality-of-life factors continued improving. At year’s end, Israel’s international standing is higher than it’s been in years, there’s thriving culture everywhere, and the high-tech community is giddy with success. Perhaps in a year of so much global uncertainty, what didn’t happen is the biggest story of the year. Despite the threats we’ve been panicking about, Israel is stronger than ever. Let’s pray that 5774 has even more good news.”
This is the kind of positive news I’m looking for, and to top it off my husband and I attended the Chazaq dinner last night at Leonard’s. Congratulations to all the worthy honorees of this worthy organization.
Chazaq began under the leadership of Rabbi Ilan Meirov and his brother Yaniv to educate the Bukharian community about their rich Jewish heritage and to bring them closer to religious observance. They have succeeded beyond expectations. The community has seen a whole generation of Bukharian youth attending yeshivos and creating their own frum homes.
We attended the pre-reception press conference with the honorees and dignitaries and heard some opening remarks by Michael Reagan (son of President Ronald Reagan), the dinner’s featured guest speaker.
Rabbi Meirov introduced Dr. Joseph Frager, who then acted as master of ceremonies, introducing the government officials who were there, including Michael Simanowitz, Rory Lancman, David Weprin, and Nily Rozic. (If I have inadvertently missed anyone, please forgive me for the oversight.) Mr. Eugen Gluck was pointed out as a big supporter of Chazaq.
In his remarks, Michael Reagan spoke about the importance of “maintaining strength to maintain peace.” He believes that Israelis should be able to live wherever they want in their own country and that Judea and Samaria should not be differentiated from the rest of Israel. It is part of Israel and “all of Israel should be called by one name.”
Talking about what is going on in Egypt and Syria, he said that there is no leadership today in the world except in Israel, and Israel is alone in the world, fighting for its existence. He commented that on talk radio “we don’t hear enough Jews defending Israel. It is wonderful for others to speak up for Israel, but we need more Jews to improve the PR for Israel, defending our case more loudly.”
The other politicians, including David Weprin, Rory Lancman, and Nily Rozic, said a few words in praise of Chazaq and they all said that they were there in support of Chazaq’s work in the community. Rory Lancman pointed out the diversity of people involved in Chazaq but that we all believe in certain universal values, including the obligation to support Israel and maintain a strong U.S.–Israel relationship.
Michael Simanowitz, who was also one of the honorees, spoke of Israel’s great tolerance for all people—and what do they get for it but demands to release terrorists and give up parts of Yehuda and Shomron! While the Egyptian rebels have been parading the Coptic Christians, burning their churches and killing them, the world is silent. But whatever Israel does and even doesn’t do, they get blamed. He said emphatically for the world, “Israel is not your whipping child.”
The dinner was a huge success and I wish everyone involved continued success in this important community endeavor.
As I go off to spend Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in Israel, I wish all my readers a kesivah v’chasimah tovah! Davening there in the Holy Land and in the holy city of Yerushalayim is the perfect start to a year of berachah for all.
Rabbi Meir Goldvicht, world-renowned speaker and YU rebbe, will give a pre-Rosh Hashanah shiur in English, to take place in the Young Israel of Hillcrest, 169-07 Jewel Avenue, Flushing, NY 11365 on Thursday evening, August 29, 8:00 p.m. He will discuss the secret and uniqueness of the last days of the year and how your conduct during these days affects Hashem’s judgment for the coming year. Men and women are encouraged to attend.
Congregation Ohr Moshe, in conjunction with Mezuzah Doctor Reb Moshe Gantz, presents a tefillin and mezuzah checking campaign on Sunday, September 1, starting at 9:00 a.m. at Congregation Ohr Moshe, 170-16 73rd Avenue, Hillcrest. The team of sofrim, all certified by Vaad Mishmeres Stam, will be examining and repairing (if necessary) tefillin and mezuzos the entire day. The shul will also provide new pre-checked tefillin and mezuzos, all with the hashgachah of Vaad Mishmeres Stam, and related items available for sale. You are encouraged to make a reservation for your tefillin and mezuzos. For more information, and to make your reservation, contact Rabbi Asher Schechter at AsherSchechter@msn.com or 718-591-4888.
A series of shiurim on tefillah with Mrs. Esther Wein is beginning on Tuesday, September 3 at Midreshet Adina, 136-05 72nd Road in KGH. Fee is $10 per class or $90 for 10 classes. Babysitting is available for a small additional fee. You must call beforehand to arrange. For more information, call 718-544-9218.
A new elementary-school basketball league is starting after Sukkos. There will be a fifth-and-sixth-grade league along with a seventh-and-eighth-grade league. Games will be played on motzaei Shabbos. You should respond and reserve a spot for your son as soon as possible. For more information, call 314-323-5944 or e-mail theQJBL@gmail.com.
Inspiring High Holy Day services for beginners. Meaningful, inspiring, and relevant. Join us for this warm and open forum, where you cannot only pray, but also discover the meaning and relevance of the High Holy Day prayers. Join us for a dynamic experience of spirituality and growth. Rosh Hashanah service includes traditional blowing of the shofar on both days. Yom Kippur services includes Yizkor (Memorial Service). Rosh Hashanah: Thursday, September 5, 9:30–11:30 a.m.; Friday, September 6, 9:30–11:30 a.m.; Yom Kippur: Saturday, September 14, 9:30–11:30 a.m. There is no charge for the services, held upstairs at the Queens Center, 68-29 Main Street. Call 1-888-4-JUDAISM (888-458-3247) or 718-268-2448 for more information.
Just as we make our Tishah B’Av fast more meaningful with inspirational shiurim, a special program for Tzom Gedaliah is being planned for the Sunday morning between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, September 8 at 10:00 a.m. for both men and women of the community. (You may also invite not-yet-frum guests.)
Come hear two of the most dynamic speakers in the frum community explain the compelling rational evidence of the Divine authorship of the Torah. Rabbi Yaakov Salamon and Rabbi Daniel Mechanic will present an unforgettable program that will inspire you to want to share the beauty and truth of Torah with those who don’t yet have familiarity with Torah values and may well impact your own Yom Kippur davening.
The program is free and sponsored by Project Inspire together with CHAZAQ.
Homeowners must reregister for STAR exemption. New legislation now requires all homeowners receiving a Basic STAR exemption to register with the New York State Tax Department in order to receive the exemption in 2014 and subsequent years. Homeowners will not have to register in order to receive their 2013 STAR exemptions and will not have to reregister every year. Based on the information provided in the registration process, the tax department will monitor homeowners’ eligibility in future years. Registration started on August 19 and will continue through December 31.
Mazal Tov . . .
To Josh and Shiffy Glikman on the marriage of their son Avi to Ariella Levitin.
To Eddie and Sara Sherman on the marriage of their daughter Ariella to Ari Deutsch. v
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.