By Chanita Teitz
I attended two community events this past week and I was going to write about them, but I will save that for next week and instead write about the acute crisis facing us regarding the three kidnapped Israeli boys from the Gush Etzion area. I hope that by the time you read this they will be home.
I first saw the news of their abduction Friday morning on Arutz Sheva and I felt like crying. These boys are teenagers and they could be our own sons—yours, mine, your neighbors’, your friends’. We are one—one nation, one people, areivim zeh la’zeh.
Dennis Prager was asked a question last week whether Judaism is a religion or a race. He basically answered that Jews aren’t a race, but they are a people, practicing a religion as written in the Torah. These boys belong to us, to all of us. I want them to come home safely just like any mother wants her children safe in their beds at night.
“Bring Back Our Boys” is the rallying cry posted all over the internet for the safe return of these boys, Naftali Frankel, Eyal Yifrach, and Gilad Shaar. Just before Mother’s Day, Michelle Obama tweeted a picture of herself holding a sign saying “Bring Back Our Girls, referring to the 300 Nigerian girls who were kidnapped. Where is she now? Why isn’t she showing as much solidarity with the families of these boys as she did with the Nigerian girls? And even more, I ask, where is the president? Why hasn’t he made a statement condemning this brazen act of terrorism? Maybe his silence is a statement.
In the Jewish community there is solidarity. All over the world there have been condemnations of this kidnapping. There have been prayer vigils at the Kotel and at the Israeli embassy in New York as well as in shuls in every community. All the major Jewish organizations have asked people to continue davening, giving tzedakah, and doing ma’asim tovim, good deeds.
In a very moving video, MK Gilad Erdan of Likud/Beitaynu went to Yeshiva Makor Chaim where the three boys learned and joined with the students in tefillah and song to give chizuk and to pray for their safe return. Music has a connection to the soul and Tehillim is music to our emotions.
Last Friday night when I lit the Shabbos candles, I read their names and, just as I pray for my family every week at candle-lighting, I prayed for Naftali, Eyal, and Gilad and for their safe return home. We must all continue to daven for our boys.
Shevach High School Hosts Soiree Honoring Graduates. On Monday evening, June 9, Shevach High School held a Mother–Daughter Soiree in honor of the graduating class of 5774/2014. Rebbetzin Hirtz, school principal, spoke of the importance of proper recognition of the students’ accomplishments. She highlighted the unique talents of each student, both in the academic sphere and in interactions bein adam l’chaveiro. Every young lady was given an award with a short description of her special achievement. Among the categories recognized were the Sara Schenirer Award, the Middos Tovos award, awards for academic excellence, school leadership, chessed, and community service.
The evening was exceptionally well attended by the graduates, their mothers, and members of the faculty. Mrs. Eliza Noy, the mother of senior class member Rivka Sara, recalled her formative years in Iran. She expressed her gratitude to Shevach High School for providing its students with a superior education in Torah, avodah, and gemilus chasadim, in contrast to her own experience.
The feelings of nachas, pride, and hakaras ha’tov were sentiments shared by all during the emotionally charged evening. It was particularly poignant for the teachers and administration to see their students begin to forge their own paths in life. The graduates of 2014 were given heartfelt wishes for their continued hatzlachah.
Chazaq Event with Rabbi Fischel Schachter. This past Sunday night, June 15, the Chazaq organization hosted renowned lecturer Rabbi Fischel Schachter live at Cong. Nachalas Yitzchok (Rabbi Oelbaum’s Shul) in Kew Gardens Hills. The rabbi spoke to the many men and women in the crowd about “We are here with a mission.” The event was dedicated for the safe return of the three missing yeshiva boys in Eretz Yisrael. For a full listing of upcoming Chazaq events and programs, contact 718-285-9132, e-mail Info@Chazaq.org, or visit www.CHAZAQ.org.
Yeshiva Kesser Torah Nusach Carlebach Davening. This Friday evening (Shabbos Mevorchim), Parashas Korach, June 20 (and every Friday evening of Shabbos Mevorchim). Minchah will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will conclude about 8:15 p.m. Men and women are welcome!
Young Israel of KGH Summer Shabbos Afternoon Lecture Series. Organized by the shul’s Women’s League and Education Committee. Both lectures will be in the Beis Medrash at 6:15 p.m.
June 21. Orie Shapiro, Esq., on the topic “Tale of a Head: The Conflicting Medrashim about the killing of Eisav studied through traditional sources and contemporary eyes.”
June 28. Hershy and Linda Friedman, “Are Jews Funny? Humor in the Tanach and the Talmud.”
Book Signing and Presentation By Linda Naomi Katz. The author of Surviving Mental Illness, My Story will appear on Tuesday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. at 147-38 72nd Ave., Kew Gardens Hills. She will discuss her memoir of how she struggled with bipolar disorder, dealt with stigma, and reached recovery. You can purchase the book at the event. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to Linda at 718-261-3772 or e-mail email@example.com.
Mazal Tov . . .
To our dear granddaughter Shani Herskowitz on her graduation from Bais Yaakov of Queens. Hatzlachah in high school! Mazal tov to all the graduates! 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.