A Historical Look at LIFE in ALEPPO

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Bnot Rachel High School’s HesedProgram theme this year is “Run to Do Hesed” and on Monday September 23rdthat is exactly what the girls did!

The entire high school arrived at Marine Park to run a marathon to raise money for Chai Lifeline. Each girl collected tzedaka pledges, and a significant amount of money was raised. The girls not only had a great time and enjoyed the beautiful weather, but felt good about being able to contribute to such a worthy cause.

In their own words:

“It was such a nice day! It felt great to be out of the building and to spend time out of class with our teachers.”

“Chai Lifeline does so much for sick kids, I felt so good that I was able to help in some way with their amazing work.”

“Our school always comes up with new, fun ways for us do hesed.”

In the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah when the focus is on Teshuva, Tefilah, and Tzedakathis event was especially meaningful!

Senator Simcha Felder Is Here to Help

Below is Senator Simcha Felder’s Free Events Calendar. For additional information or assistance, please call 718-253-2015. He will be happy to hear from you!

MDY High School Students Explores Our Roots

Last month, the Magen David Yeshivah freshman scholars class received a lesson at the Magen David of 67thStreet Synagogue. The class learned about the synagogue’s rich history and significance to our community from
Dr. Eddie Ashkenazi, Class of '08, who holds a PhD in JewishHistory. Ashkenazi spoke of the importance of keeping the synagogue in use and how we have ensured its upkeep, importance, and place in our growing community by holding funerals there. He then sent the students on a scavenger hunt around the synagogue, looking for names of important contributors and for artifacts.

Next, the group headed to the Lower East Side, to go even further back in time. They visited the Tenement Museum, to get a small glimpse into what life was like for our ancestors when they came to this country. The lessons of the day tied into their theme of the year, which is “Identity.” The aim is for students to learn who they are and what their place is within our community.

Over 132,000 Sephardic Jews Apply for Spanish Citizenship

Over 500 years after their descendants were expelled from Spain in 1492, more than 132,000 Sephardic Jews have applied for Spanish nationality under a limited-term offer, officials said last month.

Passed by the Spanish parliament in October 2015, the law sought to try and address a "historic mistake" by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella who in 1492 ordered Spain's Jewish community to either convert to Catholicism or be burned at the stake.

The only other option was exile.

Though estimates vary, historians believe there were at least 200,000 Jews living in Spain at the time, who today are known as Sephardim - the Hebrew term for Jews of Spanish origin.

Under the legislation, those able to prove their Jewish heritage and their "special connection" to Spain, were able to apply for citizenship. The Justice Ministry reported that it received 132,226 applications.

More than half of them were filed in the past month when the ministry received some 72,000 applications.

The vast majority came from Latin American countries, with around 20,000 from Mexico, followed by another 15,000 from Venezuela and 14,000 from Colombia, the ministry said, without giving exact figures.

More than 4,000 applications came from Argentine Jews and around 3,000 from those living in Israel.

So far, only 6,000 people have been granted citizenship, due to the long and complex process involved.

To apply, an applicant first had to prove their Sephardic origin through either genealogical documents or through confirmation by rabbis where they live. Then they had to deliver the paperwork to Spain and have it approved by a local notary.

Those applying did not have to be practicing Jews. They did need to be able to prove a "special connection" to Spain.

They were also required to pass a Spanish language test as well as answer questions on Spain's culture and society.

The law, which allows applicants to hold dual citizenship, was to have expired in October, 2017 but was extended by a year.

Many of those who were exiled in 1492 fled to the Ottoman Empire, the Balkans, North Africa and Latin America.

Today, the number of Sephardic Jews is believed to be 3.5 million, with the community scattered across the world.

Siyum Hashas Committee Meets with Bukharian and Persian Delegation

A very special asifafor some of the Bukharian and Persian rabbanimin Queens was held at Congregation Od Yosef Chai last month. Over forty rabbanimcame to hear presentations about the 13thGlobal Siyum Hashas of Daf Yomi to take place January 1, 2020 /4 Tevet 5780 at MetLife Stadium.

The program was chaired by Rabbi Ilan Meirov, Director of the Chazaq organization, which inspires hundreds of public school students throughout the immigrant community. He welcomed the local rabbanimand the special delegation that had come from the Siyum Hashas Committee of Agudas Yisroel of America: Rabbi Labish Becker, Agudah’s Executive Director, Rabbi Avrohom Nisan Perl, Director, Torah Projects Committee, and Rabbi Eliyahu Simcha Bamberger, Director, Daf Yomi Commission.

The gathering was addressed by Rabbi Aharon Walkin, Rosh Yeshiva, Chazaq Beis Medrash, Beth Noson Meir, Rabbi Yitzchak Yisraeli, Chief Rabbi of the Bukharian Community in the USA and Canada, and Rabbi Noach Isaac Oelbaum, Rav, Khal Nachlas Yitzchok. They all spoke about the importance of limud haTorah and how it has transformative powers, and how it can change the world.

A special video presentation was shown highlighting the last Siyum Hashas and the different Chavrei and Masmidei Hashas Siyum programs. Rabbi Becker and Rabbi Perl spoke of their experiences working on the Siyum and invited all the rabbanim, their shuls, and the community as a large to participate. There was a palpable feeling of excitement, with the participants looking forward to an outstanding event. The meeting was organized by Rabbi Yaniv Meirov, Executive Director, Chazaq.

“We were moved by the warm and enthusiastic reception that the rabbanimgave us,” said Rabbi Becker, “It is incredible to see the inspirational koachof the Siyum, and its ability to galvanize Klal Yisroelwith a feeling of achdutand enthusiasm. We very much look forward to working with the Bucharian and Persian communities both in the months leading up to the Siyum and in helping the community to grow exponentially. We look forward to completing the Shas and celebrating the 14thSiyum.”