By Chanita Teitz

I am finally getting a quiet moment to write. It’s Tuesday and I’m waiting to see what the election results are in Israel. I read on Arutz Sheva this morning that there was a high voter turnout, with 55.5% of voters having voted by 6:00 p.m. A high turnout in the leftist neighborhoods isn’t a good sign for the Likud and smaller right-wing parties.

I just finished speaking with my son Dov in Israel, who is disillusioned with Israeli politics. The petty infighting between the various religious groups is a detriment to their winning any sizable and influential number of Knesset seats. “Achdus,” he says, “must start within our own ranks and then must also branch out to include and accept the non-religious, too.” Can’t we agree to disagree, but still maintain a mutual respect for one another?

I have the yahrzeit for my father this week, and I often wonder what he would say about Israeli society, elections, and the world situation. My parents went on aliyah during the early years of the state, and even though we returned to Chicago, my brothers and I grew up in a home of committed Hapoel Hamizrachi Religious Zionists.

The world had just come out of “the war,” as we called the Holocaust then. So many of my friend’s parents were Holocaust survivors struggling to make a living with no time to dwell on differences. There was less pigeonholing and polarization in the religious society then. Let’s hope that whoever wins, Israel will be able to stand united against her enemies.

At the oneg a few weeks ago at my daughter’s house, I spoke to Robbie Neuman, who told me that he was involved in producing a special DVD. The Kriah Coach is a project that he is very passionate about.

According to Robbie, “There is nothing more important than a child feeling successful in school, and reading really is fundamental.” Robbie spoke to Rabbi Nosson Neuman, who told him that pre‑1A and first grade are critical. Children must come out of those grades knowing how to read.

Robbie gave me a little background to this project. About four years ago he met Rabbi Potash at a wedding and told him his idea of creating a DVD to teach children how to read in a fun way. Rabbi Potash liked the idea and put Robbie in touch with his daughter, Faigie Twersky of Lakewood, who is a morah and who orchestrated the entire project.

Robbie’s main concern is children who have a harder time catching on to reading, and The Kriah Coach addresses that. Through amazing animation, visualization, and interaction, the child learns to read. For children who are struggling to learn to read in the classroom, this is like a private tutor for less than the cost of one session. As they master reading at their own pace, their self-esteem soars and they feel success.

Robbie was adamant that we “owe every child the best chance to succeed and their neshamos should have high self-esteem.” He added that there is a “direct connection with success in yeshiva and kids who end up at risk.”

In creating this DVD, Robbie wanted to share in the nachas that every parent wants from their child. He is donating all the profits to Chickens for Shabbos, an organization here and in Eretz Yisrael that provides food and clothing to needy families.

Through this project, two mitzvos are taking place–teaching children to read and strengthening their self-esteem and donating to Chickens for Shabbos and helping the less fortunate among us. Tizku l’mitzvos. This is a great Chanukah, birthday, afikoman, or anytime present for your children or grandchildren and is available in all the Jewish bookstores or from Israel Book Shop, the distributors.

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