5K & Family Day returns. On Sunday, May 29, members of the Rambam Mesivta family came out to run for a good cause in the school’s third 5K and Family Day. After Rabbi Friedman sounded the shofar, students, alumni, parents, teachers, and little children in strollers were off on a scenic run of the Five Towns. It took junior Avi Orlow just 19 minutes and 25 seconds to reach the finish line, followed 17 seconds later by his dad, Adam Orlow, and then at twenty minutes and five seconds, sophomore Akiva Schuck crossed the finish line to round out the top three. “Best Mom Runner” went to Rivky Orlow and “Best Child Runner” went to Abby Deutsch. Other notable runners included Sam Sicklick (20:19), Noah Schwartz (20:24), Natan Appel (20:25), Ethan Selevan (20:26), Daniel Moskovic (21: 40), and Benny Csillag (22:05).
While the race was in progress, the younger children who stayed behind were entertained by a Rambam Entertainment Squad of Yoni Auerbach and Zev Granik. Yoni juggled everything he could get his hands on, from basketballs to rings, while Zev mesmerized them with his magic, changing his shirt colors and making objects appear and disappear at will. The kids were then treated to fresh cotton candy and ices and enjoyed a giant bouncy house. As the runners returned, they had a delicious Cravingz brunch of tuna and egg-salad wraps, and parents, children, students, and teachers had a meaningful time reflecting on the race and the school year.
This event, which raised thousands of dollars for scholarships, could not have been successful without the hard work of the Women’s League. Special thanks to Mrs. Tamar Sicklick, Mrs. Batsheva Aaron, Mrs. Carolyn Deutsch, Mrs. Miriam Srulovich, and Mrs. Miriam Kessler. Kudos to the Village of Lawrence and the Nassau County Police Department and auxiliary police for ensuring it was a safe and secure run and to Aaron Friedman and Hillel Goldman for all their hard work. And a last thank-you to all the Rambam boys who helped coordinate the race, and manned the food stations, and schlepped chairs and tables. It was a wonderful day that brought the whole Rambam mishpachah closer together. Here’s looking forward to next year!
Rambam joins internationally acclaimed author in highlighting plight of Sephardic Jewry. In 1941, as the Nazi rampage was murdering Jews in Eastern Europe, over 2,000 miles away in Iraq, a reign of terror was unleashed on the Jewish community of Baghdad.
This Shavuos marks the 75th anniversary of the pogrom in Baghdad called “The Farhud.” The Farhud is the Arabic term which means “violent dispossession,” something the Arab community undertook with glee on the fateful days of June 1–2, 1941. During these two days, as the Jewish community observed the holiday of Shavuos, a fury was cast upon them by their Arab neighbors. The Jews were stripped of their belongings as they were beaten in the streets. Their homes were destroyed and their shops were ransacked and looted. Worse yet, close to 200 Jewish community members were murdered. Hundreds more were injured. Similar attacks took place on Jewish communities residing in other Arab lands.
The Sephardic community, which had lived in relative peace with their Arab neighbors for 2,700 years, found itself the victim of vile and blatant hatred and anti-Semitism.
With the founding of Israel in 1948, approximately 850,000 Sephardic Jews faced expulsion from the Arab lands. They were forced to leave virtually penniless, leaving behind homes, businesses, and possessions. Twenty-seven centuries of continuous Iraqi Jewish life were suddenly and abruptly terminated.
Author and speaker Edwin Black, internationally acclaimed for his work exposing corporate and governmental anti-Semitism, best known for his book, IBM and the Holocaust, organized Farhud Day to call attention to the relatively unknown plight of Sephardic Jews who were forced to flee their country of birth. The event was held at the Safra synagogue in Manhattan, and was cosponsored by many national and international Jewish organizations.
Mr. Black made it a point to invite students from Rambam Mesivta and highlighted them during the event as foremost activists among high-schoolers and people their age in taking up Jewish causes. “They are an amazing group of students who are both knowledgeable and dedicated to the cause of fighting anti-Semitism. They are articulate pro-Israel advocates.”
In order to make a poignant point, 27 candles were lit. Each one signified 100 years of flourishing Jewish existence in Iraq and other Arab countries. Mr. Black called on the Rambam students to help light the candles. After a moment of reflection, he asked the students to extinguish the candles one by one, each representing a century of Jewish life that had been extinguished. It was a moving ceremony for all who were present.
The event was a somber one but an important reminder of this little-known piece of Jewish history that affected so many. Aside from the historical importance of the day, there are political ramifications as well. Arab countries will undoubtedly seek “restitution” for the Arabs who left Israel in 1948. The commemoration of the Farhud sets the stage for a much larger counterclaim for the descendants of the 850,000 Jews who were expelled from Arab lands. This was a primary reason that Rambam Mesivta felt it was important to send a delegation of students to commemorate and show support for this most important cause.