Celebrate Israel Parade Welcomes 12 New Groups

Twelve new groups from across North America will join the Celebrate Israel Parade–which is marking its 50th anniversary this year. More than 200 groups are registered at present for the march up New York’s Fifth Avenue on June 1, with the new participants hailing from all areas of North America, including the United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto, the Palm Beach Synagogue, and the Hampton Synagogue.

The full list of new groups includes: American Friends of Ariel University, New York; Center for Jewish Life, Marlboro, NJ; Coordinating Council for the Jewish Homeland, Far Rockaway; The Hampton Synagogue, Westhampton Beach, NY; The Hebron Fund, Brooklyn; Monmouth Torah Links, Morganville, NJ; One Israel Fund, Cedarhurst; Palm Beach Synagogue, Palm Beach, FL; Shalom Heritage Center, East Windsor, NJ; Shalom Torah Academy of East Windsor, East Windsor; Shalom Torah Academy of Western Monmouth County, Morganville; and United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto, Toronto.

“We are delighted to welcome so many new groups to the parade this year,” said Jewish Community Relations Council of New York president Ron Weiner. “The new groups are a great addition to the 35,000 marchers already participating in the parade.”

“The diverse participation from across the United States and Canada is really thrilling as we look ahead to honoring the parade’s 50th anniversary milestone. It’s wonderful to see the increased awareness and appreciation for the State of Israel this year,” added parade co-chair Judy Kaufthal.

Also new to the parade this year, the JCRC-NY has released a series of short interview vignettes with a number of community members discussing their fondest memories of the Celebrate Israel Parade as well as the magnitude of the parade in New York City and the city’s Jewish community. The videos are being released via social media and will be available on the Celebrate Israel Parade YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/celebrateisraelny. More videos will be released in the coming weeks.

For more information and to sign up for the parade, please visit http://celebrate50.org. Follow the parade on Twitter @celebrateisrael or visit their Facebook page, Celebrate Israel Parade, for the latest updates. v

5YU And Koren Launch Educational Siddur Series

Yeshiva University and Koren Publishers Jerusalem have released the first two volumes in the Koren Magerman Educational Siddur Series, a new approach to tefillah education in the school, home, and synagogue. The first volume, the Koren Children’s Siddur, is an innovative, illustrated prayer book intended for early elementary grades (ages 5—7), while the second, the Koren Ani Tefilla Weekday Siddur, was developed for the inquiring high-school student and thoughtful adult.

Published in February 2014, the siddurim were first offered to educators at the iJED 2014 Jewish day-school conference by series editor and Jewish educator Daniel Rose, Ph.D. Following a short trial period, during which YU and Koren received rave reviews from Jewish educators around the globe, the siddurim are now available for purchase by the public.

In the introduction to the Koren Children’s Siddur, Koren publisher Matthew Miller explains that each volume of the educational siddur series was designed as both an educational resource for teachers and parents for each developmental stage of the day-school journey as well as a conventional siddur.

“Each page is replete with teaching opportunities to bring the tefillot contained in the siddur alive cognitively and emotionally for our children, advancing the overall goal of developing a spiritual connection to prayer and to God,” continues Miller.

The Koren Children’s Siddur was designed to encourage and facilitate children’s engagement in the prayer experience. The siddur features visual cues on every page to guide teachers, parents, and students to a deeper understanding of the prayers; thought-provoking questions for educators and individual users; navigational icons to help familiarize students with the structure and choreography of the prayers; and a page-by-page educator’s companion that includes creative tips for use, in-depth explanations, and classroom worksheets.

The Koren Ani Tefilla Weekday Siddur stimulates an intellectual, visual, and emotional connection to prayer through an elegant translation of the prayers by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and a fascinating multitier commentary by esteemed educator Rabbi Dr. Jay Goldmintz. Additional features include three different layouts for the Amidah–full commentary, no commentary, and blank space to direct one’s own thoughts, and continuous text–that allow users to maximize their concentration; narratives, quotes, and stories that spark personal reflection; and a collection of “Frequently Asked Questions” on prayer from adults and students.

“Each of us comes to tefillah with different experiences and backgrounds, at different stages of our lives and our development, at different times of the day with different needs, moods, and desires. The prayer does not change, but the pray-er does,” says Rabbi Dr. Jay Goldmintz in the introduction to the Koren Ani Tefillah Weekday Siddur.

“And so this commentary and guide has been designed to help you create your own meaning. The prayer book has a particular path that leads to a personal and communal encounter with Hashem. Each one of the legs of the journey has its own function and style, its own theme and rhythm. But how we experience it along the way, what meaning we take from it or bring to it, is up to each and every one of us.”

When completed, the series will consist of four developmentally appropriate siddurim shepherding students throughout their school education and beyond. Siddurim for grades 3—5 and 6—8 are forthcoming. v

Areivim: Breaking The Cycle

Rivka saw so much of herself in 15-year-old Chaya, her oldest child. She is sweet and talented. She also suffers from insecurity and doesn’t allow herself to feel loved. Chaya experienced more trauma and abuse than anyone should, something Rivka was very familiar with. Rivka shook her head, thinking, “So much talent, so confused, so sad. I can’t bear to go through this again.”

Again? Yes, it was her own childhood playing out before her eyes. As a young girl she felt unloved and only realized in hindsight that her parents truly loved her. She felt worthless even though she was liked and gifted. She started spiraling downward by acting out–coming home late at night, meeting unhealthy people, and exhibiting self-destructive behavior. Her parents were too busy with their own lives to react. Looking back, she acknowledges that they did react, but it was she who couldn’t respond.

Finally, she left home. She wandered from family to family and from job to job, sometimes even sleeping on the street. Rivka was becoming the failure she so feared to be.

With siyatta d’Shmaya, Divine intervention, Rivka found someone who cared about her and made her part of the family. They made her realize that she was a “good person” in a way her own parents couldn’t. Twenty years later, with siyatta d’Shmaya, Rivka, as a wife and mother, believes in herself and deserves much of the credit for her wonderful home and children. She acquired the tools for a healthy and productive life.

Rivka wasn’t going to leave her daughter Chaya’s success to chance. Through extensive research, Rivka found an organization in Monsey, Aishel Sarah, which takes troubled young girls into homes. They accommodate young women from across the United States and abroad, helping them complete their high-school education and find jobs. Aishel Sarah creates healthy environments for girls, encouraging them to become motivated and grow at their own pace.

Rivka saw a solution to this painful journey that her daughter was traveling. Rivka was going to break the destructive cycle that she herself created when she was a teenager. Chaya became a part of Aishel Sarah, blossoming and becoming a wonderful and healthy asset to her family and community.

Aishel Sarah provides an atmosphere in which no one is embarrassed to be herself. Aishel Sarah facilitates development and recovery through therapy, education, and personal growth and gives hope to each individual. The staff, themselves alumni of Aishel Sarah, also grappled with personal issues. Life experience makes them respected and loved mentors. As they walk in the halls of Aishel Sarah, the residents see that failure is a part of life and not a “jail sentence.” They come to understand that with hard work and self-introspection the goal of self-esteem and love of self is achievable.

The mood is filled with high expectations and faith in each other; “failure” is nothing more than a learning tool for real life. Patience and time leads to success.

Aishel Sarah has already been a lifesaver to hundreds of girls across all spectrums of religious backgrounds. Each story is different, but their needs are the same. They want to feel like they “belong.” They also want to feel they can make a difference in the lives of others. Chaya stayed with Aishel Sarah as a resident for over two years. A number of years later she came back, mentoring dozens of other girls. Today, she is happily married with a wonderful home and children and is a role model to others.

For more information please contact Areivim at 845-371-2760 or at info@areivim.com. v

‘60 Days Of NCSY’ Website For NCSY 60th Anniversary

NCSY, the Orthodox Union’s consortium of trailblazing Jewish leadership and identity-building programs for high-school youth, announced today that it has launched “60 Days of NCSY,” a website featuring special NCSY content developed to mark the organization’s milestone 60th anniversary.

The website, which will roll out new content daily throughout the months of May and June, includes historical, inspirational, nostalgic, and humorous articles about the NCSY experience; profiles of 60 extraordinary individuals who impacted the lives of NCSYers across the country and around the world (chosen by the NCSY alumni and NCSYers they inspired); and an online photo gallery with the largest collection of NCSY photos ever compiled.

“For 60 years, NCSY has comprehensively addressed the unparalleled spiritual challenges facing our people, reaching thousands of unaffiliated and under-affiliated Jewish kids across America with innovative Torah-learning programs and offering a wide range of summertime opportunities that appeal to teens at every level of observance,” said Rabbi Micah Greenland, International Director of NCSY. “As we celebrate this special anniversary, we wanted to give current NCSYers, NCSY alumni, and those who are unfamiliar with the organization an opportunity to view NCSY from every dimension and learn about the impact we have made on Orthodox Jewish life over the last six decades.”

The content featured on the “60 Days of NCSY” website was developed by current NCSYers, NCSY alumni, staff, and supporters. Visitors to the site are encouraged to submit additional articles and upload pictures to the online photo gallery.

NCSY kicked off its 60th-anniversary campaign in January with the release of “Sixty Years of NCSY Havdalah,” a video about the pivotal role that Havdalah has played in the NCSY experience over the years that has already garnered over 5,000 views. The organization hopes to mark this monumental milestone in numerous other ways over the coming months, including an enhanced presence at the Israel Day Parade, “Advisor Appreciation Night” events, NCSY alumni reunions, a marathon-style Learn-a-thon, and the printing of a special edition of the iconic NCSY Bencher.

Visit the “60 Days of NCSY” website at http://60.ncsy.org. v

2014 Katz Award Recipients Announced

Four leading Jewish figures–Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Zvi (Hershel) Schachter, Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg, and Rabbi Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuwirth, zt’l–are being recognized for their contribution to the application of halachah in modern life.

The Katz Award, established in 1975 by Marcos and Adina Katz in memory of Golda Katz, is bestowed upon individuals and enterprises engaged in the application of halachah in modern life, both in written work and practical endeavors. Previous recipients include Rabbi S.Y. Zevin, zt’l, Rabbi Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik, zt’l, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, zt’l, Professor Menachem Elon, Professor Nahum Rakover, Professor Yehuda Felix, Professor Nachum Lamm, Professor Rabbi Avraham Steinberg, and Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Bar Ilan. This year’s four recipients were selected by a committee chaired by former chief rabbi of Israel Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and including Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz and Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson.

The honorees are to be presented their awards at a ceremony in Jerusalem on May 27.

Rabbi Sacks is the former chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth and is one of the world’s foremost religious thinkers. He is a Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University, Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University, and a Professor of Law, Ethics, and the Bible at King’s College London. Rabbi Sacks has authored over 25 titles, with many focusing on the role of religion and faith in the modern world.

Rabbi Zvi (Hershel) Schachter is a YU rosh yeshiva and the Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Rabbinical Theological Seminary. He is the author of an expansive collection of books and articles including Eretz HaTzvi, Nefesh HaRav, and Divrei HaRav. Rabbi Schachter is a noted Talmudic scholar and a prominent posek, serving as a halachic advisor to the Orthodox Union Kashrut Division.

Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg is rosh yeshiva at the Yeshiva of Sadigura and the Jerusalem College of Technology and coauthor of the Rabbinical Council of America’s prenuptial agreement. He is the Chief Justice of the Rabbinical High Court in Jerusalem and has made important rulings on issues ranging from kesubos to the mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael.

Rabbi Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuwirth, zt’l, was a rabbinic scholar who authored Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchatah, the authoritative work on the laws of Shabbat and yom tov. He was rosh yeshiva of the Pnei Shmuel yeshiva ketana and Chochmas Shlomo yeshiva gedolah in Jerusalem. Rabbi Neuwirth’s opinions were frequently cited on issues such as genetic screening, brain death, and euthanasia. As a consultant for the Zomet Institute, he provided the halachic authorization for innovations such as the Shabbat lamp and electric wheelchairs on Shabbat. His widow will receive the award in his honor. v

Yom HaAtzmaut: Why Should Israeli Soldiers Miss Out?

Yom HaAtzmaut is celebrated in Israel as a national holiday. It has become an annual ritual to leave one’s house and find a spot in a national park, beach, or empty lot, set up a barbecue lunch, and eat as much meat as possible. One sees every color and stripe of Israeli citizen outdoors, young and old, new immigrant and veteran Israeli.

Ironically, the only people not partaking in this annual ritual are the epitome of what the day represents–the on-duty soldiers of Tzahal. The Israeli army is one of the only national institutions that does not and cannot close on Yom HaAtzmaut. For these soldiers, Yom HaAtzmaut becomes a difficult day as they are aware that their families, friends, and neighbors are out celebrating without them.

This year, as in past years, the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM)—Israel Region decided to try to bring some extra joy into the Yom HaAtzmaut of some of these soldiers. With funds collected from members and friends worldwide, IYIM organized a Yom HaAtzmaut barbecue for the soldiers of a unit of the Nahal brigade.

Together with an elementary school group from Cleveland, the bus traveled to a base on a highway near Rosh Ha’ayin. These combat soldiers protect local communities as well as carry out patrols to ensure safety on the roads.

The group was treated to a display of the unit’s firearms and capabilities while the barbecue was cooking. Soldiers from the base addressed the participants and explained about life as a combat soldier in the IDF. The soldiers and “civilians” entered the dining room where they were addressed by the Base Commander. Then the eating began, amongst in-depth discussions between the soldiers, students, and other participants.

One of the highlights, which has become a phenomenon, is meeting the Lone Soldiers, those who made aliyah from their home countries, leaving family and friends behind to serve in the IDF. They are found in nearly every unit and base.

As the last hamburger, kebab, and hot dog were eaten, it was time to say farewell. The soldiers thanked the group for coming and helping make their Yom HaAtzamut so joyful, and the group thanked them for all their amazing efforts as they serve proudly in the IDF. v


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