By Chanita Teitz
This has been a month of horror. First, the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, uniting us as it tore at our hearts. We mourned together with their families. Then some Jews took revenge and killed an Arab teen, and while we were ashamed and contrite, Hamas went ballistic and increased the shooting of missiles into Israeli cities. Israelis in the cities closest to Gaza have lived with missiles since the disengagement from Gush Katif in 2005, but now the rockets have increased at a fast clip into Israel, to Yerushalayim, Tel Aviv, and beyond. Just this week, a missile hit a house in a community just about a mile from Ben-Gurion airport causing the FAA to cancel all American flights to and from Israel. As far as I know at this time, El Al is still flying.
Israel’s air force has responded to the missiles with targeted bombings of Hamas launchers, headquarters, and leadership. Innocent civilians have been used as human shields and have been killed, although Israel takes major steps to prevent killing civilians as much as possible. Still they are condemned for using disproportionate strength. The PA and Hamas count the death toll of Arabs and compare it to the number of dead Israelis. The disproportionate numbers are seen as unfair and claims are being made that Israel is the aggressor and is more brutal than Hamas. Hamas “sympathizes” with the children that they use as human shields and uses the sympathy of the world to their advantage.
World leaders talk of Israel’s right to self-defense but also demand restraint. What is Israel supposed to do? On the one hand, Israel holds back when they see children in the midst of terrorists and their missile launchers. But this restraint only endangers Israeli soldiers and hinders the whole operation of eliminating the enemy and ultimately demilitarizing Gaza. That is the only way to permanently end the missile attacks. Should Israel go in for a blitz of bombing without regard to civilians caught in the middle, this will unleash anger and condemnation from the political world leaders as well as from the Arabs themselves. There have already been a number of anti-Israel demonstrations and threats against Israel and against Jews worldwide.
Our job is to be strong, stand united, and daven for our soldiers and for Jews in Israel and around the world.
Communitywide Press Conference for Israel. The Queens Jewish Community Council held a press conference and rally on July 17 on the steps of Queens Borough hall. The event was peaceful and was attended by about 75 people.
“We at the Queens Jewish Community Council stand unified with the State of Israel in these trying times, as they fight for their very existence in the face of continuous Hamas terrorism,” said Cynthia Zalisky, executive director of the QJCC.
The speakers included Israeli Consul General Salomon Kofman, who thanked the crowd for their support of Israel. Borough President Melinda Katz welcomed the crowd and also gave her support to the state of Israel. Rabbi Michael Miller, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council, stated that it is important that we give our full support to Israel especially at this difficult time.
Rabbi David Keehn, vice president of the Queens Jewish Community Council, quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Israel uses missiles to protect our citizens; Hamas uses citizens to protect their missiles.”
Other clergy who spoke included Rabbi Yossi Mendelson, Rabbi Aryeh Sokoloff, and Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, who just returned from Israel two hours prior to the rally. He spoke about his experience of being on a bus and having to take cover when the sirens went off.
City Council members Peter Koo, Mark Weprin, Rory Lancman, and Karen Koslowitz; State Assembly members David Weprin, Nily Rozic, Michael Simanowitz, and Edward Braunstein; and State Senate member Toby Stavisky all stated their unwavering support of Israel.
QJCC is lead agency of 146 faith-based organizations in Queens that serves as a nonprofit organization that provides social, cultural, and educational services. Its mission is to alleviate poverty in Queens, and it works to strengthen empowerment of the immigrant, senior, and low-income population of Queens. QJCC serves more than 14,000 people each year.
QJCC has a high profile borough-wide community presence. It provides a wide range of social services, recreational, and educational programs in collaboration with civic leaders, elected officials, and social service and community organizations.
QJCC is located at 119-45 Union Turnpike in Forest Hills. For further information, please call Cynthia Zalisky at 718-544-9033 or e-mail email@example.com.
Tehillim Gathering. On Saturday night, July 19, the Queens community gathered once again to recite Tehillim on behalf of Israel at Congregation Nachlas Yitzchok (Rabbi Noach Isaac Oelbaum’s shul). The event was cosponsored by the Chazaq organization and Chickens for Shabbos. The event included words of inspiration from Rabbi Herschel Welcher, rabbi of Congregation Ahavas Yisroel. Rabbi Welcher quoted from the haftarah of this week’s portion where G‑d states, “I remember how you followed me with emunah (faith) in the desert. Adversaries will destroy the Temple but G‑d has not rejected Israel. I will not forgive those enemies.”
Rabbi Welcher taught that “G‑d loves us even when we are unworthy. He will redeem us from all our sins.” Rabbi Welcher declared no one in the world is concerned that millions of Jews are under threat of thousands of missiles. We stand only with G‑d, not with the world. G‑d says, “Don’t be afraid.” G‑d stands ready to accept our prayers and unity.
Robbie Newman of Chickens for Shabbos spoke next. He urged everyone to be careful with shemiras ha’lashon (speech). He reminded everyone of the monthly plan to gather for Tehillim gatherings erev rosh chodesh and he declared that each Tehillim gathering will be dedicated to a different Torah institution in our community. The evening’s gathering was dedicated to Yeshiva Tifereth Moshe and everyone was asked to contribute. He stated, “Let G‑d see we love our Torah institutions. Without them we are powerless.”
Chazaq Lecture with Rabbi Yitzchak Young on Dating and Marriage. This past Sunday night, July 20, Chazaq hosted Rabbi Yitzchak Young at the Beth Gavriel Community Center in Forest Hills. The rabbi spoke to the many men and women in the crowd about dating and marriage. For a full listing of upcoming Chazaq events and programs, call 718-285-9132, e-mail Info@Chazaq.org, or visit www.CHAZAQ.org. (Save the Date: Monday night, September 15 for the Second Annual CHAZAQ Dinner. Full details coming soon.)
Anna Aronovitch and Susie Garber’s Unique Singles Event. Sunday, July 27, 12:30–3:00 p.m. Ages: mid-twenties to early thirties; 3:15–5:30 p.m. Ages: mid-thirties to mid-forties. RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org, 917-696-2433. You will receive a confirmation with the address for the event. Small donation for Israel at your discretion.
YESS!—Yeshivah Education for Special Students Shiur by Rabbi Akiva Grunblatt. The rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim will speak about “The Traditional Three Weeks in Light of the Recent Three Weeks,” Monday evening, July 28, 8:00 p.m. Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, 147-02 73rd Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills. For more information, please call YESS! at 718-268-5976. Light refreshments will be served. Support our yeshiva children with special learning needs during this compelling time of year. Event sponsorships are available at the levels of $54, $72, and $180. Sponsors will have preferred seating at the event. For sponsorship information, contact email@example.com.
Shiur by Mrs. Chana Silver. Thursday, July 31, 8:00 p.m. Location: 72-23 139th St, KGH, side entrance. $5 donation suggested.
To Leibish and Avi Herskowitz and families on the petirah of their mother in Israel.
HaMakom yinachem eschem b’soch sha’ar aveilei Tzion v’Yerushalayim. ϖ
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.