COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTS

David Heskiel Discusses Neighborhood Security Issues with NYPD Deputy Commissioner Bob Ganey

David Heskiel, NYPD Clergy Liaison and Special Liaison to New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, is continuing his longstanding commitment to keep our community safe. Last month Mr. Heskiel met with NYPD Deputy Commissioner BobGanley at police headquarters to discuss neighborhood needs and security issues at length. Commissioner Ganley has a longhistory of being responsive to
community concerns in his capacity at the NYPD. Mr. Heskielnoted that he remains available to area residents to help address police and security matters as they arise.

CHAZAQ’S 17th of Tammuz
Program Unites the Community

The three weeks between the seventeenth of Tammuz and Tisha b’Av are days where Jews worldwide observe a mourning period over the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. This solemn time in the Jewish calendar begins and ends with communal fasts.

Many of our great sages have warned that people should not allow the fasts to go by with simply not eating and drinking. Rather, one must spend time doing some introspection to see how he or she can improve their character traits, relationships, and connection to Hashem.

As such, for years CHAZAQ has been at the forefront of uniting all segments of the community for all day lectures on Tisha b’Av at the Beth Gavriel Center in Queens. This year, with the fast of 17 Tammuz falling on a Sunday, CHAZAQ organized an all-day lecture series at the Agudah of KGH (located in YCQ) attracting men and women of all ages and backgrounds throughout the day along with many more viewing LIVE on Torahanytime.

“The purpose of this event was to promote unity,” said Yaniv Meirov, operations manager of CHAZAQ. “Instead of wasting their time on this day of mourning, we had people of all backgrounds joining together to hear rabbonimfrom various communities speak about loving one another, preventing lashon hara, and bringing the Geula– truly, the greatest way to spend the fast.”

For more information about Chazaq’s fabulous work please visit chazaq.org.

Hachnasat Kallah Fund

Baruch Hashem, we have many brides getting married in our community, and unfortunately, some are in the need of assistance. Please take this wonderful opportunity to be part of the important mitzvah of Hachnasat Kallah, and help newly married couples from the community with the basic necessities required for setting up a new home. This is a mitzvah that one enjoys dividends of in this world, and more so in the next world.
If you are interested in participating, please make out your
tax-deductible donation to Ohel Simha Synagogue (Rabbi Choueka of Park Avenue shul). Please write on the bottom of the check “For Brides – Tax ID# 22-234-3984.” The Hachnasat KallahFund also accepts credit cards. For further information, please contact Alice at 732-546-6417.

Met Council Hires Food Czar to Fight
for More Food for Jewish Poor

Met Council already runs the largest kosher food distribution in the world and spends nearly $10 million on free kosher food distribution each year. Now, as part of their ongoing effort to provide even more and better food to the over 180,000 people every year they serve, CEO David
G. Greenfield announced the creation of a new role – Food Czar – to fight for more food for the Jewish poor. “As the voice of Jewish poverty, it is our job to fight for the neediest New Yorkers. That’s why I decided to create a new position to be laser-focused on what the neediest New Yorkers need – more food.”

After an extensive search, Met Council announced that Jessica Chait, formerly Chief of Staff to UJA-Federation’s CEO Eric Goldstein, has joined Met Council as their Managing Director of Food. As Food Czar, Jessica will be a leading spokesperson for Jewish hunger and an advocate for more funding and resources for Met Council’s network of 35 kosher food pantries and Rosh Hashanah and Pesach food distributions throughout New York. This new position will also support Met Council’s exclusive American Expressfood card program, which distributes over $1 million a year in emergency foodcards that are coded to only work in supermarkets.

“I am deeply committed to improving access to quality, nutritious food for low-income New Yorkers and to work on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of low-income Jews across this city,” said Jessica Chait.

Bay Democrats Endorse Ross Barkan for State Senate

Bay Democrats and District Leaders Ari Kagan and Margarita Kagan endorsed Ross Barkan for State Senate last month, providing crucial backing as the campaign season heats up. Ari and Margarita,
co-leaders of the 45th Assembly District in Brooklyn and founders of Bay Democrats, are widely-respected community leaders, sought after for guidance and support by numerous elected officials across the city.

Bay Democrats serves important neighborhoods in the
22nd Senate District such as Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend,and Manhattan Beach. Formed four years ago, the club is already a force to be reckoned with throughout Southern Brooklyn and is expected to play a key role in fueling the Barkan campaign’s victory.

“Ross Barkan is a dynamic, talented, hard-working person who cares deeply about our community and brings people together,” said District Leader Ari Kagan. “His innovative approach, determination to reform government, and ability to find creative ways to solve difficult problems are impressive. Ross Barkan represents a change, a breath of a fresh air, and I am very glad to endorse his candidacy for State Senate.”

Agudath Israel Welcomes U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Protecting Religious Health Facilities

In a victory for religious freedom, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that a California law is unconstitutional. The law required all health care facilities to prominently advertise that abortions are available to those who seek them, and present information on where to obtain them.

Agudath Israel of America had joined a number of other groups in submitting an amicus curiae(friend of the court) brief in the case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, arguing that the law violates the free speech rights of religious health care facilities. The Supreme Court has now validated this position.

The Supreme Court’s decision does, however, leave open the possibility that the law could be reworded in such a way as to be constitutional. Agudath Israel takes the position that religious entities opposed to abortion should not be forced to advertise where abortions are available and will monitor further developments in this area.

Councilman Kalman Yeger Unveils Latest Park Renovations at Kensington’s Digilio Playground

Last month New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger presented another beautifully renovated playground to our community at DiGilio Playground, located at McDonald Avenue and Avenue F, on the border of Borough Park and Kensington. The ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the park’s newly-completed renovations, which include the removal of a rarely-used hockey rink, restoration of the playground, and an added six-foot fence around the park’s perimeter for security. The $2.8 million renovation was made possible through funding in the city’s budget secured by former Councilman David Greenfield.

“Our parks are our community’s treasures,” said Councilman Yeger. “I’m proud to be part of opening my second rehabilitated park since I joined the Council, but none of this could have been possible without the incredible commitment of former Councilman David Greenfield. DiGilio is yet another success story.”

Councilman Yeger was joined by former Councilman David Greenfield, New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, the City Council’s Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee, Councilman Barry Grodenchik, community leaders, and children from Mevakshei Hashem Day Camp.

“DiGilio Playground is a place to walk, run and play in the heat of our congested community,” said former Councilman Greenfield. I am proud to have funded its renovation and the renovation of all the parks in the district. This $2.8 million improvement will allow children and adults to enjoy the park for years to come. Councilman Kalman Yeger has worked tirelessly to ensure the swift and timely completion of the park. Together, we literally gutted and rebuilt the entire park and quadrupled the play area, including two state-of-the-art play areas for children, new adult exercise equipment, and improved lighting and security to improve safety. Thank you, Councilman Yeger for working hard to keep improving our neighborhoods.”

“The renovation of DiGilio Playground with reconstructed facilities for both children and adults will provide Brooklyn residents with a great place for sports, exercise, and relaxation,” said Councilman Barry Grodenchik, Chair of the City Council’s Parks Committee. “I congratulate Council Member Kalman Yeger, and former Council Member David G. Greenfield for their investment in this wonderful neighborhood park.”

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Tuition-Crisis

Yeshivat Or Hatorah
Mid-Winter Vacation

A number of years ago the Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshivat Or Hatorah, Rabbi Yaakov Marcus, shlit”a, was very concerned about the extended “mid-winter break” given by many of the community schools. He met with Hacham Ovadia Yosef, zt”l, and discussed it in detail with him. Hacham Ovadia emphatically stated in no uncertain terms that boys who are learning Torah on the level of Yeshivat Or Hatorah students should absolutely nottake a long break from Yeshiva just for a “vacation.”

Does that mean that Yeshivat Or Hatorah boys don’t have mid-winter vacation? Absolutely Not! They should just “do it right!”

After a four day mid-winter break (Friday through Tuesday) which included a raging snowstorm, the talmidimreturned to yeshiva on Wednesday morning. The sixth, seventh, and eighth graders traveled to Bet Medrash Govoha in Lakewood. The boys and their rebbeimwere treated to a guided tour of some of the buildings, with stops at some of the batei medrashwhere hundreds of young men were learning. They also got to meet one of the chefs, and to see the BMG kitchen, which produces almost 4,000 meals three times a day. The highlight of the visit though, was meeting the Rosh HaYeshiva, HaGaon HaRav David Shustal, shlit”a. Rav Shustal spoke for a few moments, and then each boy had the opportunity to greet the rav and to get a berachafrom him.

Then it was back on the bus, and the entourage headed to Sky Zone Trampoline Park. On the way, with the help of the bus driver, a surprise color war broke out!

On Thursday, the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders traveled to Pacplex where they enjoyed swimming and fun indoor activities.

The younger division as the middle school division, led by Rabbi Yehoshia Alfih, participated as well in many creative activities surrounded by learning Torah. Many lessons were learned from the divreiTorah, Torah bowl, and grand bechinapreparation. But more importantly, the young men of Yeshivat Or Hatorah learned how to “do mid-winter vacation right!” and enjoyed a fun packed break that did not hurt their level of kedushathat they strive to attain every day by learning Torah. How fortunate are the students of Or Hatorah to have such dedicated rabbis, principals who are so concerned for the spirituality of their students and merit to follow the directive of Maran Hacham Ovadia, zt”l.

Ma’or Yeshiva
High School
Basketball Team Pulls Off Major Upset in Play-offs

Ma’or Yeshiva’s basketball team has managed to pull off a rare feat. In their first year under the direction of new coach Al Roma, the Ma’or Mavericks went 5-5 during the regular season, just barely earning them the 6th seed in the first round of the MYHSAL (Metropolitan Yeshiva High School Athletic League) playoffs. Many of those losses came as a result of working out the bugs in a new system. Ma’or was better than their .500 record, and  in the first round they proved it. In a league where a 6th seed upset of a 3 seed is rare at best, Ma’or did just that.

JEC (Jewish Educational Center – Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy in Elizabeth, NJ) brought a 7-3 record onto their home court, confident they could take a Ma’or squad that they had already beaten once this season.

Ma’or Yeshiva showed up en masse to support their team. The overwhelming majority of students and faculty were there to cheer them on. Many alumni and friends came too.It was hard to tell who was home and who was away!

In the end, tenacious defense and clutch shooting helped Ma’or take down JEC 55-45. Ma’or is looking forward to another upset as they take on 10-0 DRS (David Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School for Boys – Hebrew Academy of Long Beach) in the next round.

(R-L) Yitzhak Katach, Rahamim Ballas, Haim Basso, Aharon Chalouh, Shimon Chalouh, Rabbi Marcus, Yehuda Chkalo, David Saadia,
Ariel Kohenteb,
and Yitzhak Fallas.

Rabbi Yaakov Marcus,
Rosh Yeshiva Yeshivat Or Hatorah, Visits his Students in Israel

Every winter Rabbi Yaakov Marcus hops on a plane to Eretz Yisraelto visit his graduates who are learning there after high school.

The boys can’t wait for him to come (not just for the care packages that he brings them from home),  and they talk about his visit for days after. In the 5-6 days that he spends there not a moment is wasted. He visits all the yeshivot that his boys are in, speaks to their rabbis to get first hand reports, takes all the boys out to eat, andspeaks to them one on one, giving them guidance.

This trip he spent Shabbat in Ramat Shlomo and was the guest rabbi for Mikdash Melech Jerusalem where nine Or Hatorah alumni are learning. He ate seudat shlishitwith the yeshiva, sitting together with “his boys” in the dining room. He delivered divrei Torahto the entire student body.

We wish the rabbi continued hatzlahawith his prestigious Community Yeshiva Elementary and High School, and continued nahatfrom all his students.

Hineni Dinner to Celebrate 50 Years of Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis’ Pioneering Work in the World of Kiruv

On Tuesday evening, March 15, 2016, hundreds will gather at the Annual Hineni Dinner to pay tribute to Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.

The Rebbitzen has been a true visionary in the realm of kiruvfor more than half a century, and has touched the hearts and lives of thousands of people worldwide. Many of these people and so many others will come to celebrate the Rebbetzin’s recovery, her tremendous accomplishments, and the powerful experiences through which she touched their lives.

Hardly a Jew in America, let alone the world, was not somehow been touched by the Rebbetzin. Her sincere love and dedication for each and every member of Klal Yisrael, both affiliated and
non-affiliatedalike, has enabled her to have such a strong impact.

The Rebbetzin’s inaugural mass Hineni event was at Madison Square Garden on November 8, 1973. More than 18,000 people attended the event, which marked the beginning of a legacy. Since then, Hineni and the Rebbetzin have been at the forefront of the Jewish community, providing transformational Torah classes and helping people make life-changing spiritual discoveries. Over the years, Hineni’s programs and activities have vastly expanded, thanks to the Rebbetzin’s children joining forces with her. Together with the Rebbetzin, they work tirelessly to change lives, inspire hearts, and bring people closer to Judaism.

On March 15, people from all over the world will gather at Hineni’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee Dinner. The event will take place at Guastavino’s, a landmark venue in New York City.

At the dinner the Rebbetzin and Hineni will introduce an exciting new initiative. Shemais the prayer that throughout the ages, through all that we have endured, has served as an eternal reminder of the continuity of the Jewish people. The Rebbetzin will be announcing the launch of a worldwide campaign to keep the flame of Shema Yisraelalive.

Be a part of history. Join the Hineni family in paying tribute to
50 years of the Rebbetzin’s pioneering work on behalf of .

For more information,orto place a journal ad andmake dinnerreservations,please visit www.hinenindinner.org, or contact HINENI at 1.212.496.1660.

Hanachat Even Hapinah for Yeshivas Acheinu Graced by Gedolim

Mid-February’s hanachat even hapinahfor a new building to serve as home for Yeshivas Acheinu L’Tzeirim in Kiryat Sefer was a deeply inspiring maamadof Torah and tefillahthat will not be easily forgotten. The yeshiva, which was established ten years ago at the behest of HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlit”a, has inculcated the foundations of Torah learning and Torah living into an entire generation of talmidim.

Due to the yeshiva’s success and growth, the need for a new state-of-the art building became an imperative. The hanachat even hapinahwas held in the presence of numerous gedolei Yisrael and talmidimof the yeshiva both past and present.

The feelings of emotion at the hachnasat even pina were overwhelming. HaGaon HaRav Shimon Baadani, shlit”a, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah V’Chaim of Bnei Brak and a member of the Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah, was one of the gedolimwho poured the cement into the foundation of the new Yeshivas Acheinu L’Tze’eirim in Modiin Illit.

Rav Baadani was flanked by other gedolimas well as Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi of Dirshu. After pouring the cement, Rav Baadani spoke from the heart, exclaiming, “I have a special, abiding love for Acheinu! Why? Because Yeshivas Acheinu is unique. Many other yeshivos seek only metzuyanim, outstanding bachurimwho will reflect well on the yeshiva. Acheinu just wants to work with bachurim and bring out the best in them!”

Museum Showcases
Jewish Syrian Art

Before the January blizzard set in, the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklynhosted “Jewish-Syrian Metal Works: The Lost Art of Damascus,” an art showcase featuring the metal and inlaid copper-work of Syrian artist, Maurice Nseiri. Nseiri was also awarded the International Arts Award at the museum’s annual benefit dinner of 2015.

The event was facilitated and sponsored by Joseph and Marshall Aronow, renowned philanthropists in the Syrian Jewish community and relatives of the artist. The Aronow’s helped transform the Brooklyn Museum to a haven of Syrian culture. Sheer gold curtainsgraced the walls, colorful metal lamps decked the floors, and a long table offered trays of Syrian
nut-filled desserts, including marzipan, pistachio ghraybe, maamoul, and atayef.

Nseiri’s style was learned from his father, whereby metal and copper are forced into beautiful and intricate designs. “The Syrian Jewish story is one that must be told,” said Joseph Aronow. “This artwork tells the story of the historically renowned Syrian Jewish community. Persecuted and harassed, they remained staunch defenders of tradition, publicly proud of their Jewishness, until they were able or forced to leave.” Nseiri himself was imprisoned more than fifteen times for exporting his artwork.

The Nseiri display enabled people of many backgrounds to enjoy a taste of the modern Syrian Jewish story, and its place in history.

Bet Yaakov of the Jersey Shore Introduces an Innovative Solution to End the Tuition Crisis

Nestled in the idyllic town of West Long Branch is a school where every student feels at home. Walking through the vibrant hallways of Bet Yaakov of the Jersey Shore, you see happy students who feel challenged and inspired daily. BYJS is led by the very devoted Rabbi Shmuel Choueka, along with his amazing staff of highly trained professionals. BYJS combines loving, traditional hinuchwith an up-to-date, hands-on creative teaching approach. BYJS hosts an array of programs geared to the enrichment and wellbeing of each student. Fun and exciting programs include Middat Hashana, Parasha Chidon, Berachot Bee, HesedPrograms, and more.

The preschool, well-known for its multi-sensory teaching approach, is in the midst of a super-sized thematic learning experience called Project Shabbat. Peeking into the classrooms, you can see full scale models of a beit knesset, sifrei Torah,an aron kodesh, a decorated Shabbat table and more – created by the students themselves. You may also spot the preschoolers, clipboards in hand, around town on field trips to local shuls, bakeries, and stores, interviewing the proprietors about their Shabbat related businesses.

The Bet Yaakov spirit and achdutcan be felt most strongly in the hallways of the high school. BYJS High School is the choice for girls looking for a traditional Bet Yaakov education in a warm, accepting atmosphere. There the girls prepare for life after graduation, as they garner the tools needed to create a thriving Torah home and to become successful in the workplace. Girls also develop a commitment to giving back to our community. At BYJS High School lasting friendships develop between students and teachers. BYJS also boasts a high acceptance rate to top seminaries here and in Israel.

There is yet another reason that Bet Yaakov is the choice for community families – there is no tuition crisis! In an effort to ease the burden of the high cost of tuition, BYJS is introducing a new innovative solution for the coming year. All families will be charged a flat tuition, but on a new, more reasonable scale. The preschool tuition will be $4,000/year and grades K-4 will be $5,000/year. In the future, with Gd’s help, tuition will be lowered for students in fifth grade and above as well.

Step into Bet Yaakov and find out why the school is the hidden jewel of the Jersey Shore. For more info contact Richie Shalom at 732-241-1212.

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