COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTS

FDNY Headquarters
Pre-Passover Meeting

On March 14th, the New York City Fire Department hosted a pre-Passovermeeting with leaders and activists representing Jewish communities all over the city. David Heskiel, special liaison to councilman Chaim Deutsch and NYPD clergy liaison, represented the Sephardic community.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss fire-safety issues related to the holiday, and how to mitigate the dangers associated with cooking, cleaning, koshering, searching for hametzby candlelight, and burning the hametz.

Yeshivat Keter Torah Holds Holocaust Remembrance Event

On February 21st, the 6thof Adar, Yeshivat Keter Torah had a special event called “Holocaust Remembrance Evening.” The evening marked the culmination of many weeks of hard work. To introduce this unit, the Yeshiva invited Rabbi Romi Cohn, author of The Youngest Partisanto speak to the boys about his experiences during the war. Next, many topics concerning the Holocaust were taught to the Middle School boys. Topics included The Yellow Star, Sugiahara, The Warsaw Uprising, Va’ad Hatzalah, Hidden Children, The Kindertransport, Raoul Wallenberg, The Jewish Partisans, The Lodz Ghetto, and The Mir Yeshiva Escape. After all the topics were studied, the boys were instructed to choose one topic that “spoke” to them. They were given a binder with research material in it. The boys then summarized the material and wrote a report on the topic.

The next step was to design a 3D project on their topic. As parents walked through the Bet Medrashthey saw the boys’ talent and hard work displayed. Many different modalities were used to depict the “scene” that each boy chose.

The boys were encouraged to do their best work and to display a project that they would be proud of.

The mural in the front lobby represented the evening’s theme, “Hema Karoo V’Nafaloo V’Anachnu Kamnu Va’Nisodad,” The German nation was so powerful, and today we see the fall of their power and the strength and growth of the Jewish nation. The collages on each side of the mural represented Am Yisroeltoday – the growth of Torah institutions and how we, as a nation, have flourished. Am Yisroel Chai!

Deutsch, Treyger, Hikind, Cymbrowitz, and Felder Call on the MTA and DOT to Put Kings Highway Changes on Hold

Brooklyn elected officials are uniting to express reservations about the current plan to institute a “bus-only” lane on the Kings Highway commercial strip. Express, reliable mass transit is certainly needed in the neighborhood, but collaboration and input from the community are key factors in any major change. Kings Highway is already heavily congested and installing a bus-only lane while removing more than 100 parking spots could have a significant and negative impact on small businesses. Area officials are calling on the MTA and DOT to halt the implementation of the project until community concerns are addressed.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch said, “The state-run MTA and the Department of Transportation have decided to move forward with a plan to install a dedicated SBS bus lane for the B82 line on Kings Highway. I’m immensely frustrated that our district is being forced to endure a project that we believe will have negative effects on the small businesses and residents that are struggling to survive in our community. This plan will remove over 100 parking spots during peak hours – and local stores will be the ones that suffer, as customers choose to shop elsewhere. The Kings Highway Business District is already badly congested, and parking is extremely limited.

“I thank my colleagues Councilman Mark Treyger, Assembly members Dov Hikind and Steve Cymbrowitz, and State Senator Simcha Felder, for joining me in standing up against the MTA and the DOT. The people who live, work, and represent this community deserve to have a say in what happens here.”

“DOT is well aware of the high congestion and limited parking along Kings Highway. I again call on Commissioner Trottenberg to exclude the area between McDonald and Ocean Avenues from this shortsighted proposal. The hardship this crushing plan will impose on residents and local businesses is outrageous and unacceptable, and their answer to us is a resounding – we don’t care!” said State Senator Felder.

To have your voice heard by the MTA and the DOT, email:

MTA:http://mta-nyc.custhelp.com/app/ask

Commissioner PollyTrottenberg: ptrottenberg@dot.nyc.gov

SBS comments: Brt@dot.nyc.gov

Magen David Yeshiva
НS Varsity Basketball
Team Captures
League Championship

Congratulations to the players and coaches of the Magen David Yeshiva High School Varsity Basketball Team on winning the Varsity Basketball Championship and going undefeated! The MDY Warriors completed theirperfect 17-0 season with a come-from-behind overtime win against second-seeded Frisch by a score of 48-38. Michael Natkin was named the Finals MVP.

Flatbush Shomrim Activities

Feb. 20, 12:00 am– FSSP received a hotline call for a suspicious male in the area of Ave. N East 4.
Responding units observed said male breaking
into two vehicles. The perpetrator was subsequently arrested by the 66 Pct.

March 1, (Purim) 10:00 pm – 3:00 am–FSSP members were deployed throughout Flatbush in an effort to prevent underage drinking, drinking (open bottles) on the street, and crowd control.

March 1, 12:15 pm– FSSP responded to CIA between S-T regarding an individual who blocked a driveway. Uponbeing confronted by the homeowner and her son, the individual became belligerent and ended up assaulting them and hurling racial epithets at them. He was arrested by the 61 Pct.

March 2, 3:00 pm– FSSP members responded to CIA and first court regarding amissing seven-year-old child. After a frantic thirty-minute search, the child was located and returned safely to his parents.

March 5, 7:30 am – A person broke into a car on East 22 K-L stole a tallet and tefillinkorachaand fled. Two hours later, an “eagle eyed” member, based on a clear description from video footage retrieved earlier, spotted the individual on East 23 and Quentin Road. After a brief chase together with the 63 Pct., he was apprehended and arrested. The contents of the korachawere unfortunately discarded by the suspect as he was using the bag to store items stolen from other vehicles. Disappointed by not recovering the tallet and tefillin, we immediately proceeded to post on social media, requesting assistance from the community. Time was of the essence as it was garbage pickup day and we were concerned that they would be lost forever. B”H, an alert neighbor responded and the religious articles were returned to the extremely grateful owner.

Dear community members – when reporting a crime, or domestic issue to Flatbush Shomrim, pleasedo not reach out to individual members that you may be acquainted with. Alwayscall our emergency hotline # 718 338 9797. By calling direct to members, you may be wasting valuable time, which may result in a perpetrator getting away or a domestic case getting violent. Not all our members are trained as dispatchers! Let our professional dispatchers do their job! Thank you!

Agudath Israel Commends House Passage of Anti-School Violence Legislation, Including Both Public and Private Schools

Agudath Israel of America is applauding House passage of the STOP School Violence Act of 2018. The legislation, is a response to the recent school shootings in Parkland, Florida, and authorizes grants to improve school security through technology and other safety measures. The House measure benefits both public and private schools.

Over the decades, school security has been a priority issue for Agudath Israel, which has consistently argued to Administration officials and congressional leaders, past and present, that safety initiatives must encompass allschools and allschoolchildren. In the aftermath of Parkland, and in the subsequent legislative effort, Agudath Israel renewed its call to the White House and Capitol Hill for equity between public and private schools in both new and existing programs. One of the changes Agudath Israel and other private school representatives have advocated for is incorporated in today’s House legislation.

“We are deeplygratified that the House has taken this step to better ensure the safety, through tangible means, of America’s schoolchildren,” noted Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Vice President for Federal Affairs and Washington Director. “It also makes an important statement that all children – regardless of the school they attend – are precious and deserve a learning environment that enjoys the utmost protection of both mind and body.”

Agudath Israel is urging swift Senate passage.

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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.

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