Safeguarding Jews From Genetic Disease: DOR YESHORIM EXPANDS TO THE SEPHARDIC COMMUNITY

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Four  Magen David Yeshivah Students Receive the Aram
Soba Hesed Award
in Memory of
Haim Dweck, A”H

On June 21st, Magen David Yeshivah Elementary School awarded four inspirational seventh graders with the Aram Soba Hesed Award. Given out every year in memory of Haim Dweck, the award provides $16,000 in scholarship money, to students who have notably sought to implement unique and innovative hesedprojects within the community.

“Avraham Avinu hunted forhesed,” said Rabbi Sultan at the awards ceremony. “That’s our source.” Rabbi Shelby spoke next, bringing down the perspective that doing hesedis a way of bribing Hashem to look positively upon our actions. Hymie Dweck, grandchild of Haim Dweck, A”H, encouraged those in attendance to “start young, live right and jump high.” In general, Hymie said, cause and effect is unpredictable. Often, the results of our actions remain unknown – but odds are, when they are well intentioned and meet an earnest need, we can assume that we have done some good.

Indeed, these four incoming 8thgraders – first place prize winner Evelyn Tawil, second place winner Diane Azrak, Sol Kurtz in third place, and Renee Orfali in fourth – thought of ideas that truly made an impact.

Evelyn’s project, “Let’s Celebrate,” was founded in memory of her grandmother, who felt that life was at its zenith when something was being celebrated. Evelyn sought to bring that joyousness to those less fortunate. So far, birthday parties have been thrown for children of Imagine Academy and Reach for the Stars.

Diane Azrak thought up “Sincerely Yours,” a pen pal letter writing exchange with the residents of the Ben Alezraki Children’s Home in Israel. Participating students create lasting epistolary friendships with their pen pals abroad. The anticipation of receiving mail has infused formerly bereft children with a magical spark.

Sol Kurtz was deeply concerned by the lead poisoning the water of Flint, Michigan. He raised $500 to put towards the effort of improving the city’s water.

Renee Orfali collected monetary donations and school supplies for kids who could not afford them. She raised $2,000 and gathered scores of supplies, simply by going to local stores, explaining her program and asking for contributions.

Next year, each of these programs will unfold on a grand
scale – both within Magen David Elementary and outside of it. These admirable students will serve as hesed captains, seeing their projects to fruition.

Lottie’s Kitchen Volunteers
Sustain Families

Nine hours! Can you imagine spending nine hours with five rambunctious children in a hospital? That is precisely the situation one young mother found herself in. Worried about her unwell son, she ran out with the whole family to the hospital emergency room. She completely forgot to pack food.

So, there she was, enduring endless waiting with her restless children. As test after test was performed on her son, lunchtime passed. Supper time, too. Hungry children do not behave well and soon she was receiving embarrassing looks from others. But there was nothing this mother could do. She herself had had nothing to eat since breakfast, eons ago. She was worn out, frazzled and worried about her sick child, who still had no diagnosis. And then she appeared: A Lottie’s Kitchen volunteer.

Equipped with an attractively packaged meal for everyone, the volunteer completely changed the dynamic. The children became calm and Mommy felt able to handle things once again. “Those Lottie’s Kitchen volunteers are angels,” smiled the onlookers now.

*****

Each Lottie’s Kitchen volunteer rarely understands the full impact she makes on a family undergoing a crisis. Unless,of course, she herself is the recipient.

 “I’m sorry. I have to cancel,” a volunteer named Mindy* once told the coordinator. “My husband is hospitalized.” Unbeknownst to her, Mindy was put on the Lottie’s Kitchen daily roster. That afternoon, she was visited by a fellow volunteer bearing a hot, nourishing meal and some encouraging words. At the sight of her, Mindy burst into tears. “You don’t understand – I never understood – what it means to sit here, hour after hour, so worn out and exhausted,” she said.
“I haven’t had a normal meal in days.”

For one month, Mindy spent almost all day with her husband. Each day, as her strength ebbed and her spirits fell, she’d anticipate the arrival of a Lottie’s Kitchen volunteer. She could hardly wait to rejoin the volunteer force with a heightened concept of what she is giving to others.

Lottie’s Kitchen volunteers are everywhere - in each hospital, in emergency rooms and in all the wards. How? It’s all because of you.

Lottie’s Kitchen thanks Joey and Frieda Franco, who graciously allowed their magnificent home to be used for this year’s event.

For further info contact: 718 853 8400, 5225 New Utrecht Ave,
Bk NY 11219 / www.ezermizion.org.

*Names have been changed.

Rabbi David Ozeri Sparks Initiative to
Raise Salaries
of Rebbeim

A pioneering initiative that would dramatically raise the salaries of approximately three thousand rebbeimin the United States took a major step forward last month with the deposit of the first $7M into a fund that will subsidize the increases.

The fund is projected to eventually reach its goal of
$66 million. Fifteen yeshivothave already signed up for
“The Rebbi Initiative,” which aims to give rebbisin the
United States a raise of $15,000 per year in a staggered program over six or seven years.

Its declared goal is also to raise the stature of the rebbi,both through this extra income and through a massive campaign planned for the near future. “The profession of a rebbi will become both more respected and more financially secure,” a letter to yeshivot that went out last week declared, “which will retain and encourage talent into the field.”

The seeds of the initiative began in November of last year, when Rabbi David Ozeri passionately pointed out at an Agudah convention that rebbeimare not paid or respected enough.

In a widely publicized speech, Rabbi David Ozeri praised the community for thehesedfor which it is known. “However,” he charged, “There is one area where we, as aklal, are lacking in our obligation of dei machsero asher yechsar lo – providing a person that which he lacks. What is it? Our melamdim,” he declared. “Your children’s rebbi,your grandchild’s rebbi.Are we providing for what they are lacking? Your child’s rebbiis a gifted tzaddikwho has forfeited most pleasures of this world to teach your child Torah. A brilliant mind sacrificing to live on a minimal salary. He is working in the loftiest field which the universe has to offer.”

The speech made an impact on tens of thousands of people. At the leadership halls of Torah Umesorah, Rabbi Ozeri
was asked to flesh out his proposals at their Presidents Conference in January. A group of baalei batimmet after the conference. Linking up with Agudah, the meeting yielded pledges for the $66 million they estimated was needed to get the project off the ground.

At an event in Lakewood last month, the first 15 yeshivotfrom a cross-section of the Torah world signed on to the plan.

New Youth Minyan at West Long Branch Synagogue a Big Hit!

Last month, Congregation Magen Avraham, also known as The West Long Branch Synagogue, introduced a new and exciting Youth minyan led by Mr. Morris Mizrahi.

Boys and girls of all ages are welcome to join. The minyan is held Shabbat mornings at 9:00AM followed by a delicious spread of breakfast and snacks.

All community children (and fathers) are encouraged take part in the minyan, by being hazzanimand reading the Torah. Participants receive amazing toys, prizes, and gift cards. Children also receive tickets to win prizes. Even if they do not win, they can save tickets to put towards prizes at a later date. Plus, the delicious candy is an anticipated bonus!

In addition to morning tefilah, the new youth minyanoffers Shabbat afternoon Parashaclasses and keriahclasses led by Rabbi Victor Gindi.

With all of the fun, candy, and prizes as incentive, the Youth minyan’smain goal is to make every child feel comfortable as he enjoys the Shabbat services.

Please contact Morris Mizrahi at 732-275-5088 for more information.

Written by H.S.

Massive Gatherings in Eretz Yisrael and Argentina Wrap Up Dirshu’s Month-Long Worldwide Siyumim

The completion of a month-long Yom Tovmarking the accomplishments of lomdeiDirshu transpired at the most recent Dirshu Siyum on Seder Nashimin Buenos Aires, Argentina. More than 1,000 people celebrated with an outpouring of simha, love, and emotion for what Dirshu has done for their lives and for the community.

The siyumin Argentina was preceded by the largest of the siyumim held in Eretz Yisrael and attended by Rav Chaim Kanivesky. At his home, Rav Chaim gave a heartfelt berachato Dirshu, its hanhala, and maggidei shiur.“Seeing the face of Rav Chaim Kanievsky wreathed in smiles as he looked at the more than fifty Daf Yomi Maggidei Shiurmake a siyumon Seder Nashimwas just so special!” exclaimed Rabbi Avigdor Bernstein, a prominent member of Dirshu’s hanhala. The Skulener Rebbe, Rav Yaakov Hillel, and Rav Yitzchak Ezrachi were some of the other Gedolimwho graced the Siyumim.