By Chanita Teitz
Note: Last week’s column was inadvertently omitted last week. Here it is now.
The highlight of Parashas Noach was the Shabbos Project/Shabbos of Unity and its success in so many communities. It was quite an undertaking, but as the news comes in, it was worth it. So much inspiration! I received e-mails and videos of the challah baking from as far as Bet Shemesh, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and right here in Queens. Yaakov Serle of the Queens Jewish Link forwarded the following letter to me from the Queens Shabbos Project executive committee, Rabbi Moshe Turk, Ephraim Berger, and Yaacov Granek:
“As the last strains of the Havdalah concert fade away, and we think about the tremendous Kiddush Hashem that we experienced over this past Shabbos, we reflect on how fortunate we are to be part of such an amazing community full of incredibly warm and devoted people.” The letter continues to thank the Queens Shabbos Project committee members, the volunteers, the hosts, the “almost hosts” (whose potential guests refused or canceled their visits), the sponsors and donors, host venues the Yeshiva of Central Queens and the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills and their rabbis and administrators, the Queens Jewish Link for promotion, and the entire community.”
The letter concludes, “As we have come to expect from Kew Gardens Hills, we really put our best foot forward. The guests were welcomed and greeted throughout Shabbos, and made to feel right at home; we are certain that they will carry tales of our hospitality back to their home communities. Many thanks to all who joined the Havdalah concert and rekidah; it was really meaningful and lebedig. . . . We take justifiable pride in belonging to a community that is so actively involved in chesed activities, joining a million of our fellow Jews around the world in celebrating the Shabbos Project in such a beautiful way.”
My granddaughters went with friends to the Havdalah concert on motzaei Shabbos and they were impressed, seeing how inspired people were and how some people expressed the hope to continue keeping Shabbos. And the dancing was great, too!
This special Shabbos was the brightest part of an otherwise gloomy week which included the attack in Yerushalayim at the Ammunition Hill station of the light rail that took the lives of 3-month-old Chaya Zisel Braun and Karen Yemima Mosquera, a 22-year-old woman from Ecuador who was studying for conversion.
And my son-in-law sent me an e-mail of an article published in Haaretz by Gideon Levy explaining why the Palestinians are justified in their uprising, rioting, attacking, and murder of innocent Israeli civilians, soldiers, and police. Go online and read it. It is a disgusting and disheartening viewpoint that makes the victims, the Israelis, into criminals and murderers, and the Arabs into the victims. This is a complete twisting of the truth, and coming from a Jew it is all the more harmful to Israel.
We must continue to speak out about the truth even though it seems that no one is listening. The media and the anti-Semites keep calling Israel an apartheid state. Well, if apartheid is what they think, maybe that is what we should give them. No more Arabs being treated in Israeli hospitals—certainly not the family of Ismail Haniyeh, the senior political leader of Hamas in Gaza. No more Arabs buying apartments in Jewish neighborhoods like French Hill in Yerushalayim. I just read that the defense minister does not want to allow Arabs to ride Israeli buses traveling in Yehuda and Shomron. This is being contested by the attorney general, so I don’t know yet how it will end up, but I think they shouldn’t be allowed on any Israeli bus, anywhere.
I have walked past Arabs shopping in the Rova HaYehudi in the Old City. They were totally unafraid to be walking through a Jewish neighborhood. But Jews walking or driving through Arab neighborhoods are stoned. I have walked past Arabs as we walk to the Kotel and they are leaving the Old City on their way to their homes in Silwan. The Jews living in Silwan are being attacked. But Arabs are free to walk our streets and free to work in our neighborhoods.
During the summer, my son in Bayit v’Gan passed construction workers renovating the house next door and brought them a pitcher of cold water every day. They smiled at him and thanked him. He thinks he’s making a kiddush Hashem, but I warn him. Don’t get too friendly, and stay on guard. They are not your friends. In my mind they are guilty until proven innocent. Even Israeli Arabs living with so much freedom are rioting.
It’s sad how SodaStream, which employs both Jews and Arabs with equal pay and benefits, is the prototype company that the world is boycotting. It should be the prototype for coexistence instead.
Let’s hope that in the zechus of the meaningful Shabbos of Unity and in the zechus of our continued unity, Hashem should put an end to the rioting and the “silent intifada.”
Yeshiva Tiferes Moshe participates in “During Yizkor” initiative. Yom Kippur generally is regarded as a day of teshuvah and tefillah, but Yeshiva Tiferes Moshe seventh- and eighth-graders discovered how it can be a day of Torah, too.
The Mishnah in Pirkei Avos describes two people sitting together without learning Torah as a “moshav leitzim,” a gathering of mockers. The meforshim explain by way of a mashal: Reuvein has a stack of hundred-dollar bills and offers to give to his friend Shimon whatever portion of the stack Shimon manages to count. If Shimon completely neglects to count, he manifests a total lack of regard for money; after all, it was not even worth the minimal effort to take a single bill from the stack.
Torah learning is no different. Two people who sit together but fail to exchange even a single Torah thought show that they do not value Torah. They are, in essence, leaving “money” on the table.
As part of a new initiative called “During Yizkor,” the boys learned that those who are able to leave shul during Yizkor are fortunate, and using that time constructively is a great zechus. Each boy was assigned three mishnayos to learn during Yizkor, which, in the aggregate, totaled four masechtas: Megillah, Yoma, Sukkah, and Rosh Hashanah. Not only was this an exceptional accomplishment, but it demonstrated how much can be accomplished by working together and using time wisely.
The boys enjoyed a special potato kugel, doughnut, and ices siyum in recognition of this wonderful achievement. Yasher kochachem!
Breaking News! . . . At Shevach High School. Shevach’s Current Events Society is back for its second year, and it is ready to educate fellow students about significant national and international developments. The society is directed by Mrs. Nechama Mirsky, associate principal of general studies, and Ms. Sara Nasirov, teacher of history and government. The society is headed by Leah Jaroslawicz, junior class member, with the following students as society members: Miriam Aminov, Meira Fendrich, Raizel Jaroslawicz, Chaya Keller, Rivka Kikov, Aliza Rodkin, Esther Schonfeld, Devorah Simon, Shani Sommers, and Chaya Zeitlin.
On Wednesday, October 1, the Shevach student body gathered for the first current-events assembly of the year. Using their own research, the society members presented articulate and compelling presentations on the protests in Hong Kong, the spread of the Ebola virus, a review of Operation Protective Edge in Israel, and the rise of global terrorism, including ISIS.
As we send forth our daily tefillos, we affirm our belief that world events are intrinsically linked to our thoughts and actions. We hope that the news we discuss this year be stories of shalom and geulah for all Klal Yisrael.
Chazaq Brings Extra Simchat Torah. In classic Chazaq style, on Saturday night, October 18, the Chazaq post-Simchat Torah celebration was an incredible event from beginning to end. The celebration took place at Young Israel of Forest Hills, with every detail taken care of, from valet parking to goodie bags for the kids. People may think that after a three-day yom tov, no one would want to venture out at night once it was over, but every seat in the room was taken and people continued to stream into the hall throughout the night; over 500 people came together to celebrate.
Those attending were able to sit down to a delicious, hot, catered meal, with everything from soup to nuts. A sefer Torah was brought out, and hakafot were held. Joyous music was played, and the crowd stood up to join in. The dancing and singing that took place shook the room and was an incredible inspiration to watch. People from all different backgrounds came to continue the celebration of the Torah together, and it was a beautiful sight to see. The unity in the room was an incredible way to give nachat to Hashem while we celebrate His holy Torah. The many children in attendance were given flags to wave and goodie bags filled with candy, and the smiles on their faces were enough to show how much they were enjoying themselves.
Through this momentous event, Chazaq is continuing is its vital work of inspiring the community and bringing people closer to Yiddishkeit. Whether through Chazaq’s numerous programs and high school clubs or through community events that bring about love of Torah and achdut, Chazaq continues to help build a stronger future.
For more information on Chazaq, please call 718-285-9132 or e-mail Info@Chazaq.org.
BYQ gets involved in the Shabbos Project. On Thursday of Parashas Noach, various grades at Bais Yaakov assembled welcome packages for the guests expected in honor of the Shabbos Project. The sixth-graders wrote personal welcome cards expressing their favorite part of Shabbos. The fourth-graders packaged nosh in bags for Shabbos party treats. Other classes put together glass tea-light holders with tea lights in pretty boxes and packaged the items in welcome bags. The Bais Yaakov community is proud to have been a part of the Shabbos Project and happy that students can feel they are contributing in a meaningful way to this momentous Shabbos experience.
Shevach Open House. Sunday, November 16, 10:00 a.m. Eighth-grade students and their parents are welcome.
The Erna Lindenfeld Hachnasas Kallah Tea. Monday, November 10, 7:30 p.m. in the Electchester Electrical Building on the corner of Jewel and Parsons Boulevard, across from Electchester shopping center. As always, come to be entertained by an original musical comedy, “He Said, She Said.” This year’s tea is dedicated in memory of Sara Zissel Berger, a’h.
KGH Jewish Library. The library has reopened. The usual hours are Tuesdays, 6:00–7:30 p.m. and Sundays, 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. The library is located at 71-14 136th Street and can be contacted at email@example.com or 917-497-7584. The library welcomes donations of Torah books, especially children’s books and novels (but please, no sefarim or secular books).
To Mrs. Dina Silver and family on the petirah of her husband, Mr. Alvin Silver.
To Mr. Michael Salzbank and family on the petirah of his father, Mr. Julius Salzbank.
HaMakom yenachem eschem b’soch sh’ar aveilei Tzion v’Yerushalayim.
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.