Sara Katsoff teaches Israeli victims of terror how to decorate cakes.

Cuppa J’s New Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa Mix: Redefining Exotic Chocolate

Hot chocolate has always seemed to fall into the category of “if it’s not dairy, it’s not worth it.” Changing that notion is Cuppa J, a new premium brand of hot chocolate mix with a twist–it’s completely dairy-free. Cuppa J is available in three unique flavors: Double Dark, Mayan Spice, and Mystic Mint. This product is truly one you need to taste to believe. Just one sip of exotic Mayan Spice or rich Double Dark will convince you that you don’t need milk to make a premium, delicious hot cocoa. In addition to being dairy-free, Cuppa J mixes are made with all-natural ingredients, with no expense spared to create the highest-quality, best-tasting cocoa.

Jay Hill, owner and creator of Cuppa J, has spent the last 40 years developing recipes. “I always wanted an alternative to my morning cuppa joe,” says Mr. Hill. “And as a chocolate lover, I wanted to create a hot chocolate that I can enjoy morning, afternoon, and evening after dinner.” Unlike some lower-quality brands, Cuppa J’s mixes are all about the flavor–not just sweetness. Each mix has complex tastes blended together to create the perfect cup of cocoa. Cuppa J is certified OU Kosher, pareve, and gluten-free.

For more information, visit or e-mail Retailers, please contact Quality Frozen Foods at 718-256-9100. v

Special Dementia Symposium For Providers And Caregivers,

January 22

Margaret Tietz Center in conjunction with Samuel Field Y and the Queensboro Council for Social Welfare is pleased to present “Dementia: Research, Treatment, and Caregiver Support,” a vital symposium for providers and caregivers of individuals dealing with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. This event will take place on Wednesday, January 22, at Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 164-11 Chapin Parkway, Jamaica Hills, NY. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. with registration and breakfast. Keynote speakers are scheduled from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

With a growing population of seniors dealing with the onset of dementia and all its ensuing challenges, it is crucial for caregivers to be as educated as possible in order to provide their loved ones with the support and care they desperately need. An estimated 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease, and 80% of their care is provided by unpaid caregivers, usually family members. The emotional and physical toll of caregiving is very high, and caregivers need to learn what resources are available to them so that they receive the necessary stress relief and time out.

The symposium will feature a distinguished roster of presenters including Jed A. Levine, M.A., executive vice president and director of programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association, NYC Chapter; Jane C. Bardavid, LCSW, director of the Community Advisory Program for Elderly (CAPE) at Samuel Field YM & YWHA; and Joan Serrano Laufer, LMSW, executive director of the Queensboro Council on Social Welfare.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to Linda Spiegel at 718-298-7838. For your convenience, valet parking will be available. v

Shalom Task Force Educates Rabbis In Domestic-Abuse Issues

Forty recently ordained rabbis and six rebbetzins attended an educational forum, “Domestic Abuse: Identifying Telltale Signs and Responding Effectively,” cosponsored by Shalom Task Force and the Young Israel Council of Rabbis. The program, which was introduced by Shalom Task Force executive director Dr. Alan Singer, took place at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills and featured presentations by therapist Mrs. Lisa Twerski and Rabbi Kenneth Auman, of the Young Israel of Flatbush.

The session on domestic abuse is one of 15 evenings that the Young Israel Rabbinic Training Program features on topics such as halacha and infertility and contemporary halachic issues. The program is coordinated by Rabbi Binyamin Hammer and Rabbi Perry Tirschwell, executive director of the National Council of Young Israel.

At the conclusion of the informative program and lively discussion, Rabbi Tirschwell commented to Dr. Singer, “Without a doubt, Shalom Task Force saved some lives tonight by educating these bright young rabbis.”

To learn more, visit v

Rabbi Gottlieb Of RBS Development Coming To NY

Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb, founder of Ganei Ha’Ela (, the newest planned neighborhood in Ramat Beit Shemesh, will be speaking to the New York and New Jersey communities in January about the vision behind the new development. The dynamic and well respected rabbi, who served Baltimore’s Congregation Shomrei Emunah before moving to Israel with his family in 2010, will be speaking in Woodmere at the Schiowitz home, 959 Allen Lane, on January 13; in Kew Gardens Hills at the Sasson home, 144-19 73rd Avenue, on January 14; and in Teaneck at the Rothberg home, 350 Warwick Avenue, on January 15.

“We are filling a need for a warm community where families value the central role that a shul can provide,” said Rabbi Gottlieb. “We believe that this communal structure is important, especially for olim who are familiar with this focus from their home communities and who will face common challenges in a new country and culture. Combine that with the quality of the homes and the ideal location–we believe that this community will be truly special.”

The project sits just minutes away from top-quality schools, transportation, supermarkets, and shopping centers. “Greater Bet Shemesh is already one of Israel’s top communities for young American and Anglo families,” said Shelly Levine, whose Tivuch Shelly, Ltd. has been a long-term marketer of the area. “I am certain that Ganei Ha’Ela will take Bet Shemesh to the next level of most desired neighborhoods in Israel.”

Homes range in size from 237 square meters (2,536 square feet) to 345 square meters (3,688 square feet) and are in seven different model designs. Apartments range from 117 square meters (1,252 square feet) to 151 square meters (1,616 square feet). The first families to join are largely professionals, including doctors, accountants, educators, and financial analysts. The project expects that fifty families will be joining the group in the next few months as development and construction work begins.

Levine added that a variety of spacious housing options are being offered, from apartments to single-family houses, all within a meticulously cultivated community. “Needless to say, the prices will never be lower than they are today to acquire a home in Ganei Ha’Ela.”

For more information about the community and the events, please e-mail v

Our Place To Hold Ultimate VIP Reception, January 8

A unique event to benefit Our Place, which provides services–including counseling, rehabilitation, and guidance–to troubled teens, will combine sophistication and elegance with an opportunity to share in its work. Taking place at the Manhattan Motorcars Grand Showroom, the gala reception will feature exotic cars, live music, a five-star catered dinner, and blackjack and Texas hold ’em charity tournaments.

While Our Place may be based in Brooklyn, the ever-growing problem of at-risk youth is, unfortunately, readily apparent throughout the New York City area. It affects teens from all socioeconomic backgrounds across the religious spectrum.

“I am elated to have an event that will expose Our Place and its incredible work to Jewish communities outside of Brooklyn,” said Benjy Berger, chairman of the event. “From Westchester to Long Island to Manhattan to Queens and beyond, this is an issue that touches us all and, with its monumental lifesaving efforts, Our Place has made a difference in the lives of thousands.”

Participants in the VIP event will have the opportunity to enjoy the opulent interiors of super-luxury vehicles by renowned automakers Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Lotus, and Porsche. The gala will feature an array of exclusive prizes including a dream getaway to Miami, a luxury car for a day, an evening of sports in New York City including tickets to a Knicks versus Heat game, and dinner for two at Manhattan’s famed Prime Grill.

The event is sponsored by Quinn Emanuel Trial Lawyers, with additional sponsors including Manhattan Motorcars, Arca Funding, Goldmont Realty, Central Park South Dental, FPS Contracting, Eden Wok, and Salvatore Campisi and Sons. It is chaired by Benjy Berger, aided by co-chairs Chaim Abramson, Brendan Berger, Josh Berkowits, Ben Diamond, Zvi Gluck, Ari Kahn, and Jac Jeter.

With close to 1,000 teens taking advantage of Our Place’s services annually from all over the metropolitan New York City area, the need for Our Place continues to escalate.

“As the ‘In Risk’ adolescent problem continues to grow in record numbers in towns such as Lakewood, Brooklyn, Monsey, and the Five Towns, Our Place and its family of locations and programs are more and more important than ever,” said Eli Verschleiser, cofounder and president of Our Place.

Our Place offers its clients a safe haven as well as a host of services including freshly cooked meals; a 24-hour hotline; a variety of trips; recreational resources including a gym, a pool, ping-pong tables, an entertainment center, and a music room; counseling and placement in yeshivas; vocational programs; and jobs.

The VIP event will take place at 6:30 p.m. on January 8, at 270 11th Avenue in Manhattan. Advance online registration and a minimum $250 donation are required. For more information, visit or contact Our Place at 212-248-4141. v

Inspired To Inspire: Project Inspire’s Fifth Annual Convention

By Gavriel Horan

This February, over 1,000 frum Jews from across North America–from all throughout the tri-state area, the United States, and even around the world–will join together for Project Inspire’s Fifth Annual Convention. Project Inspire’s Annual Convention has often been referred to as the “most inspiring weekend of a lifetime!”

It’s not just the all-star lineup of gedolei Torah and world-renowned inspirational speakers, the luxury accommodations and gourmet food, or the spiritually uplifting tefillos. What brings hundreds of frum families to the convention year after year is that it’s more than just an inspirational retreat; it’s a mission. “I came for myself,” one former participant recalled. “But what I got was for Klal Yisrael!”

Project Inspire, a project of Aish International, was founded to fulfill the dream of Rav Noach Weinberg, zt’l, of inspiring frum Jews across North America to share the beauty of Judaism with their less-affiliated neighbors, family members, and coworkers. Their mission statement: You don’t need to be a “kiruv professional” to reach out to non-frum Yidden–you just have to care.

Project Inspire’s goal is to create a grassroots movement within the frum community to reach out and ultimately change the Jewish world. In just a few short years, Project Inspire has inspired thousands of frum Jews to impact the lives of countless others, and through simple acts, kind words, and Shabbos invitations, thousands of people have been brought closer to Yiddishkeit.

Last year’s convention was the biggest yet and was fully sold out three weeks in advance. Despite the fact that it was held during one of the worst blizzards in decades, there were only six last-minute cancelations due to the weather. “It was the ultimate getaway for both body and soul,” one participant recalled. “We not only felt inspired about Yiddishkeit but wanted to share it with everyone!” The achdus that came from almost 1,000 frum Yidden from across the Orthodox spectrum uniting for a Shabbos with the common goal of impacting Klal Yisrael was unparalleled. Throughout the convention, people kept looking at each other and saying, “Maybe this is what it will be like when Moshiach comes.”

This year’s convention is expected to be even bigger and will feature inspirational world-renowned rabbanim, mechanchim, and lecturers such as Rav Yitzchok Dovid Grossman, known as the “Disco Rabbi” and the “Father of Kiruv” in Israel; Rav Noach Isaac Oelbaum, mara d’asra of Kahal Nachlas Yitzchok in Queens; Rabbi Eytan Feiner, mara d’asra of the White Shul of Far Rockaway; Rav Hillel Weinberg, the rosh hayeshiva of Aish HaTorah Yerushalayim; Charlie Harary; Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi; and many others. It will also feature the heartfelt and uplifting davening of the Traveling Chassidim, as well as a unique melaveh malkah concert with special guests Abie Rotenberg and Baruch Levine.

Hosted at the luxurious Stamford Plaza Hotel in Connecticut, the Fifth Annual Project Inspire Convention will take place February 28-March 2, and will be a delight for both body and soul! Register now at to reserve your place while space remains! v

YU Coach Jonathan Halpert To Publish Memoir About 41-Year Career

Jonathan Halpert, the longest-tenured men’s basketball coach in New York City history, will be self-publishing a memoir about his storied 41-year career at Yeshiva University. The aptly titled Are You Still Coaching? is scheduled for release by AuthorHouse on January 2, 2014.

In the book’s preface, Rabbi Simcha Krauss, rabbi emeritus of Young Israel of Hillcrest and a longtime friend of Coach Halpert, explains that the volume really tells the story of the first “Torah-sponsored basketball team of an Orthodox school of higher learning.”

Rabbi Krauss continues: “When Dr. Halpert scours the globe for good player-athletes who will lead the team to victory, he looks for athletic promise. But in searching for the best, he is cognizant that, in the final analysis, his team will be the YU team. He knows that the players must be the best but also informed by values–Jewish values, universal values, and values touched by the breath of Torah.”

Coach Halpert, who took over the Yeshiva University Maccabees roster in 1972, was named coach of the year in the NCAA’s Skyline Conference twice, and at one point compiled a streak of 15 winning seasons. Most importantly, Coach Halpert has served as a role model for core Jewish values to three generations of Yeshiva University students.

“I chose Are You Still Coaching? as my title because it is the comment I hear most often from former players and fans. As one year has turned into forty-one, I have come to understand that coaching not only allows me to pursue my own personal dreams, but more importantly, it enables me to give young men the same opportunity,” said Coach Halpert.

“At some moment and at some place, a player’s dream is realized. But the time and place are irrelevant. All that matters is that I have enabled another young man to believe that everything is possible. Everyone needs and deserves one of those moments.”

In 2012, Yeshiva University’s alumni office honored Coach Halpert by adding his signature to the men’s basketball court at the Max Stern Athletic Center at YU’s Wilf Campus in Manhattan and by launching the Coach Jonathan Halpert Scholarship Fund, an endowment that is awarded annually to children of YU alumni living in Israel wishing to study at the university.

Following its January 2 launch, Are You Still Coaching? will be available for purchase in hardcover or e-book format via,,, or Coach Halpert’s official website, v

Sara Katsoff teaches Israeli victims of terror how to decorate cakes.
Sara Katsoff teaches Israeli victims of terror how to decorate cakes.

New York Girl Teaches Israeli Victims Of Terror The Art Of Cake Decorating

By Anav Silverman

Sara Katsoff is not the typical seminary girl spending her gap year studying in Jerusalem. Back in New York, the 18-year-old from Monsey owns Sara’s Sweets, a custom cake and design business, where she sells specialty cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. The talented teen decided to bring her cake-baking talents to Israel as well, but she is putting them to use in a different way here.

Katsoff got in touch with OneFamily Fund, Israel’s only national organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of victims of terror attacks and their families. Together, OneFamily and Sarah decided to coordinate a cake-decorating class for 25 Israeli victims of terror and bereaved mothers, who lost children in terror attacks.

Over the course of three hours, Sarah taught the group the basics of working with fondant, and assisted them in creating individual cake masterpieces.

“It was my first time teaching a cake-decorating class,” Katsoff said. “When the moms saw me–this 18-year-old girl ready to teach–they didn’t know what to expect and were kind of surprised.”

“Before I opened my cake business in New York, I spent several years teaching myself how to professionally decorate cakes,” explains Katsoff. “It was a special and important experience for me to teach what I know to people who have gone through such tragic experiences.”

Katsoff says that the smiles at the end of the cake-decorating session were worth the experience. “At the end, everyone was happy with the cakes they created,” she said.

According to OneFamily, the victims of terror and bereaved mothers had an empowering experience, where they enjoyed creating items that impressed their friends and family. The participants took the cakes home in time for Chanukah.

Katsoff is committed to returning to OneFamily for additional classes. “I can’t wait to do this again,” she says. (Tazpit News Agency) v

The Diet Fantasy: Healthy Meals Right At Your Front Door

Weight loss is ranked the #1 New Year’s resolution in America, with an estimated 40% of our nation’s adults vowing to drop the pounds and hit the gym each January. Not surprisingly, it’s also the least-kept resolution in the country as well. Most people truly do want to lose the weight, but they simply don’t have the time it takes to prepare food that keeps them full, satisfies their cravings, and isn’t loaded with junk. Sound familiar?

The Diet Fantasy has the answers you seek to your weight-loss conundrum. And this solution makes getting fit and staying healthy easy and delicious.

The concept is simple: once every day, the company will deliver breakfast, lunch, dinner, two snacks, and a soup straight to your door–just heat and eat. All menus are custom-created to your food preferences. Imagine enjoying a roasted red pepper, basil, and feta soufflé, a grilled chicken pesto wrap, and Chilean sea bass with roasted tomato Vinaigrette, all while shedding pounds and keeping your body healthy.

The Diet Fantasy is the brainchild of Orit Fried, a certified nutritional consultant, who has been helping people lose weight and get fit. “I see weight loss as the path towards a healthier mind and body, not just a way to fit into a smaller size,” says Orit. “When beginning a plan with someone new to the Diet Fantasy, we work together to create a personalized menu that fits with their lifestyle and will keep them full and satisfied.”

Diet Fantasy is so sure you will love the program, the first day is on them! Call or click now to qualify for a free full day of delicious meals. You have nothing to lose–except the weight.

The Diet Fantasy is certified kosher under the strict supervision of Rav Zishe Blech. For more information, visit or call 1-855-995-DIET(3438). v

14th Annual Agudah Yarchei Kallah In Yerushalayim

For four unforgettable days, some 250 bnei Torah will escape the shackles of cell phones, e-mails, and day-to-day work and enter the avirah of Toras Eretz Yisrael at this year’s Agudas Yisroel of America’s Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah, to be held at the Ramada Hotel commencing Monday, 19 Shevat (January 20). The yarchei kallah will effectively transform the main ballroom at the hotel into a full-fledged yeshiva gedolah from early morning until late at night, as participants delve into the sugya of birchos nehenin.

“It’s striking, sometimes,” comments a past participant, “when in the middle of explaining something to your chavrusa, you look up and see, to your surprise, that the people around you generating this loud and leibedik learning atmosphere aren’t current yeshiva bachurim but men who for the most part are well beyond their yeshiva years.”

“When you close your eyes,” adds his chavrusa, “you really feel as though you were sitting in the beis medrash of a world-renowned yeshiva.”

Indeed gedolei Yisrael have highly recommended that dedicated ba’alei batim make every effort to join this weeklong expression of where their hearts truly lie–in the dalet amos of halacha.

The registration for this year’s yarchei kallah has reached record levels, with participants joining from communities across the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Eretz Yisrael. Many newcomers to the program are especially excited with the revival of an English track, which will parallel the Yiddish program.

As always, shiurim will be delivered by the foremost roshei yeshiva and poskim of our generation. Rabbi Avrohom Nisan Perl, director of Torah Projects for Agudas Yisroel of America, notes that shiurim at past Agudas Yisroel yarchei kallah have been lively and animated, with participants eagerly getting involved into the very depths of the sugya: “Baruch Hashem, word has spread far and wide about the uniqueness of this special ma’amad.”

To register, call 212-797-7380 or e-mail Those interested in receiving more information on this year’s Yerushalayim yarchei kallah program can contact Agudas Yisroel of America’s Torah Projects Division at 212-797-9000, ext. 267 or e-mail

At a previous year’s Yerushalayim yarchei kallah, Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt’l, noted how the world is experiencing extraordinary trials and difficulties, and he praised the ba’alei batim for meriting to be marbeh shalom in the world through their limud HaTorah. That observation, says Rabbi Perl, is even more appropriate today. v

x6HASC Sunday Program For Autistic Children: A Parent’s Dream

Parents of children with autism have various options during the course of their weekdays. They send their children to school, to other specialized programs, or to therapies, or they receive in-home rehabilitation services from a counselor that comes to their home. Weekends, however, are the most difficult time, especially for parents of younger children, as there are few opportunities available that can engage their children in a safe and therapeutically sound manner. After a long Shabbos, these children are generally in need of some stimulation and a venue that will allow them to release some of their excess pent-up energies.

It was to this end that HASC Center established a Sunday program at its East 14th Street facility in Brooklyn for children ages 5—10 with a primary diagnosis of autism. Parents have described this service as a lifesaver. The program provides transportation, lunch, snacks, one-to-one supervision, and a host of activities especially designed to meet the unique needs of this population.

What do you do with a bunch of kids with special needs on a cold Sunday winter day? Stay indoors? No, not for this group! Sunday of last week represented just one example of a Sunday-morning activity. With a snack to warm their insides and coats to warm their outsides, the group took off for Kids-N-Action. Arriving out of the bitter cold, the group had their spirits warmed by the accommodating owners. The owners’ first reaction was to say, “I would never refuse anyone from HASC! What they do for children in our community is so extremely special!” He then warmed the administrator’s heart by charging the group rate of $8 per child instead of the regular Sunday rate of $15.

The place was still relatively empty and the kids had the place pretty much to themselves. They really enjoyed feeling the freedom. As they warmed to the new environment, they began to feel more comfortable. Those who were reluctant to go on the rides when they arrived were veteran riders by the time they left. Between the roller coaster, the train, and the ball pits, every child found something that he could enjoy. The counselors jumped in as well, with some generously sponsored tokens for the kids. Watching the children’s excited reaction to the lights and spinning wheels was amazing.

The children benefited tremendously from the open-air space that featured many childproof activities. Although all the children were supervised at all times by their counselors, they didn’t feel restricted in any way in this child-friendly environment. They remained entertained throughout the day, with so many stimulating options in which they could participate. Don’t get the idea that this was a place just for special-needs kids. Not at all! The HASC kids had a chance to interact and play with non-disabled youngsters.

So, on a cold winter day, HASC found a way to give everyone, including the counselors, a day full of fun and laughter. They discovered warmth from each other, from the owner of Kids-N-Action, from other participants, and from just being involved in the many activities. v


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