Celebrating SUKKOT 5780

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Magen David Yeshivah High School PaysTribute to Eli Chalouh, a”h, on 9/11

To commemorate the 18thanniversary of the tragic events that occurred on September 11th, Magen David Yeshivah High School students watched videos and heard stories from theirteachers before discussing what it means to memorialize and the different ways to do so. They also made their own memorials of 9/11 out of clay and displayed them in the atrium. 

That same afternoon, Magen David High School students paid tribute to one of their own, alumnus Eli Chalouh, a”h, Class of '96, who perished in the attacks. Below are some of the hesedevents that were held in Eli Chalouh’s honor.

Raquel Haber, Jamie Waingort, and Marcy Franco led a group of students in cooking for the SBH Food Pantry. Albert Salama introduced them to Bonei Olam, where they committed to do a mitzvah and write notes to families struggling with infertility. Albert Nigri and Alan Nasar helped students make care packages to be distributed to Hatzalah volunteers. Morris Cattan helped students design sweatshirts for the orphans of Bet Elazraki in Israel, which he will deliver personally in the spring. Richie Chalme demonstrated the important role music plays in the process of healing, and Sally Smouha and Sally Franco led a few games of SBH's Bingo with the Seniors.

Americans Against Anti-Semitism Launches “Synagogue Security Initiative”

“In times like these, with violent anti-Semitism on the rise, we can’t rely on others to secure our places of worship, so it’s imperative that we shore up our defenses,” said Dov Hikind.

As everyone knows, violent anti-Semitic hate crimes have been skyrocketing across the United States. We’ve had two synagogue shootings this year, and as we approach the High Holidays, when synagogues are traditionally packed with more congregants, it’s all the more important to ensure that members are security-aware. No congregation should wait for tragedy to strike to take their own security seriously.

Therefore, Americans Against Anti-Semitism has partnered with two security training organizations, SecurityIntel and Sons of Liberty, to offer totally FREE training to synagogues that includes security awareness, facility walk-through assessments that expose weaknesses and blindspots, active-shooter scenario response, and tactical/safety training.

Several synagogues have already signed-up ahead of the holidays as there’s no time to lose. If your synagogue would like to schedule a free training, contact info@AmericansAA.org to set it up today.

Chayim Aruchim and the Brooklyn Community Welcome Dr. Yashar Hirshaut to Maimonides Hospital

A large prestigious group gathered at the Boro Park Center to honor
Dr. Yashar Hirshaut, upon theopening of his new office, affiliated with Maimonides Medical Center. Members of Chayim Aruchim, a Project of Agudath Israel of America, and local health care leaders were on hand for the luncheon, which focused on challenges facing providers and patients in the world of modern medicine, especially when the patient is seriously ill.

Chayim Aruchim President Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz opened the gathering, welcoming participants, and acknowledging Chayim Aruchim board member Rivie Schwebel. Rabbi Lefkowitz stressed the importance of addressing the issues in medical care in a culturally sensitive manner. He described Dr. Hirshaut as an outstanding expert and a brilliant oncologist, with unparalleled devotion and concern for each and every patient. Rabbi Lefkowitz also thanked Dr. Hirshaut for his guidance, for serving on the Chayim Aruchim Medical Advisory Board since its inception, and for always being available to the rabbanim.

Rabbi Lefkowitz then introduced Machon Chayim Aruchim’s coordinator, Rabbi Benzion Leser, who also serves as Maimonides Medical Center’s Director of Pastoral Care. In his remarks, Rabbi Leser thanked the administration of Maimonides Medical Center for doing everything in their power to respect the cultural sensitivity of our community, the elderly, and infirm, which is a rare commodity in today's medical climate. Because of that, he felt that Dr. Hirshaut’s relationship with Maimonides is “a match made in heaven.”

The entire event was coordinated by Chayim Aruchim’s tireless patient coordinator, Mrs. Leah Horowitz, Rabbi Berish Fried, Chayim Aruchim NYS Project Director, in conjunction with Boro Park Center’s David Greenberg, Nachman Feig, and Chaim Brull.

Yeshiva-Educated Education Professionals Reject Proposed
NYSED Regulations 

“As yeshiva graduates with advanced training in diverse areas of educational theory and practice, we can state with confidence that yeshivas provide students across all levels of ability with enriching educational experiences that stimulate their cognitive, intellectual, practical, social, and moral development.” This sentence, included in a letter sent last month to the New York State Board of Regents, belies the notion that yeshiva education requires government intrusion and control. 

Signed by nearly 600 education professionals, all yeshiva graduates, whose qualifications include master’s and doctoral degrees in education or related fields from accredited colleges and universities, and state teacher’s licenses or comparable credentials. The letter urged the Board of Regents to reject the proposed regulations, arguing that they do not suitably address the needs of yeshivas that need improvement, or measure the success of those that do not.  

From both a personal and a professional level, the educators reject the “trope of yeshivas’ educational inferiority,” which is contradicted by their own achievements, and conclude by saying, “In its refusal to employ objective assessment of actual student achievement and its insistence on dictating the design of instruction, the present proposal is both deeply flawed on its own terms and antagonistic to traditional Jewish schools in particular.” 

If you have not yet submitted your comment, please do so today at YeshivosByChoice.org or via text 646.766.1110.

Dov Hikind Joins forces with Jewish Groups to March Against Anti-Semitism in NYC

With the dramatic rise in violent
anti-Semitic hate crimes across the United States, but particularly in New York City (where it has almost doubled since last year), and the lack of adequate response from leaders across the political spectrum, Dov Hikind decided to join the March Against Anti-Semitism in NYC. 

Together with Women Fighting Anti-Semitism, Combat
Anti-Semitism, Yad Yamin-NY, Campaign 4Truth, and Eye on
Anti-Semitism (who will be organizing a solidarity march in
London), Hikind gathered at the mayor’s office at City Hall to send a loud and clear message that Jews are sick of being targeted and left to fend for ourselves by our missingleadership.          

New York City Will Stop Issuing Violations to Homeowners for Damage Caused by Street Trees

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Carl Heastie announced last month that the City will no longer issue violations to homeowners for sidewalk damage causedby City trees. The City will also ramp up sidewalk repairs under the Trees & Sidewalks program to address 5,500 priority sites over the next three years.

“We’re not just fixing broken sidewalks – we’re fixing a broken system,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We tripled funding for tree related sidewalk repair, but homeowners were still on the hook for problems they didn’t create. As a homeowner, I know how frustrating that is. Now, if a street tree causes damage, we’re taking care of it.”

“This has been a huge quality of life concern for my constituents who have invested their savings in purchasing a home, only to be hit with this liability through no fault of their own. The problems associated with these trees became very apparent as I have been knocking on doorsand visiting with constituents,” said Carl E. Heastie, Speaker of the New York State Assembly. “I am glad that the Mayor de Blasio has recognized this issue and together we have developed a solution to take the burden off these homeowners.”

The City willstop imposing liens on one, two, and three family properties that have sidewalk damage caused solely by City trees. DOT and the Parks Department will still inspect for dangerous sidewalk conditions, but the City, not the homeowner, will be responsible forfixing them if they are exclusively tree related.

DOT will review the 50,000 existing notices of violation to determine which were caused exclusively by street trees and cancel the lien for any that meets the criteria. If the homeowner of the qualifying property is selling or refinancing their home, the City will expedite this re- evaluation.

“DOT works with property owners to make our sidewalks safe, but when City-owned tree roots are the culprit, homeowners should not be liable,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We will review our records for violations and liens that can be cancelled as we work closely with Parks on this common sense initiative.”