Mishenichnas Adar marbim b’simcha! Two beautiful acts of chesed added to my simcha last week. First, someone passed away in the neighborhood unaffiliated with Yiddishkeit or with the local shuls, but one of our shuls was ready to take upon themselves to say Kaddish for this woman. As it turns out, her son is saying Kaddish.
The other thing seems to have happened a few years ago, but I just saw it on Facebook. A little two-year-old girl who is deaf likes to communicate with anyone who knows sign language and she seems to be very outgoing. People in the community love her. But not all of them know sign language. So, the whole town hired a teacher and they learned sign language in order to talk to her.
Both things were so heartwarming. Sure beats listening to the news. One abomination after another. Dr. Seuss’ books are now considered racist. Congress is working on a condemnation of antisemitism, but probably will not mention anyone by name, such as Ilhan Omar.
Some Republican members of Congress are planning to vote with Democrats against the “emergency” at the southern border. Senator Rand Paul said that when the president doesn’t get what he wants from Congress it is not an emergency. I would like to tell Senator Paul and others that the emergency is not about getting his funding. It is the crisis of people crossing our border illegally, trafficking in women, children, and drugs. The numbers keep swelling. Families are suffering and children are suffering all because we are not enforcing immigration laws.
Years ago, people came here legally and were proud to become Americans and treasured their citizenship. Today’s American-born kids don’t appreciate what they have here. The media and universities are pressing a left-leaning liberalism. Don’t be fooled. The Nancy Pelosis and Bernie Sanderses of the world will not be giving 70 percent of their assets or income to fund welfare programs, college for all, or healthcare for all. Remember Leona Helmsley who said “only the little people” pay taxes. In any kind of socialist government, the masses pay while the leaders live well.
Let’s get back to doing chesed, helping others. Everyone has the opportunity to develop their skills and strengths. And then use your G-d-given talents to live your dream.
Dr. David Pelcovitz Speaks At Shevach High School’s Parent Technology Evening
On Thursday, February 21, Shevach High School hosted over 150 parents, mechanchim, and mechanchos who gathered to hear noted psychologist and public speaker, Dr. David Pelcovitz, address the issue of technology use and abuse. The evening was coordinated by Tzivia Meth, the tenth-grade mechaneches at Shevach. It was apparent that Mrs. Meth had invested untold hours in organizing the event and in putting together a practical and informative folder for parents to take home, read, and implement.
After greetings from Rebbetzin Rochelle Hirtz, Shevach’s principal, Dr. Pelcovitz began his presentation with a powerful story about a man and his daughter. The daughter, his oldest, wanted to steal the afikomen at the Seder. The father felt that she was too old for it and should leave it for her younger siblings. The daughter persisted and ultimately stole the afikomen. When asked what she wanted, her reply was an evening with her father, without his cellphone.
Dr. Pelcovitz shared how it is well-known that many Silicon Valley executives do not allow their children to have smartphones, iPads, etc. because they understand how the various forms of technology hijack people’s brains and values and make thought processes more shallow. To further demonstrate the impact of technology on people’s emotions, Dr. Pelcovitz cited that during WWII it was difficult to get our soldiers to kill the enemy. However, due to the widespread exposure to violence on TV and in the movies, by the time we were fighting the Vietnam War, soldiers had no such inhibitions.
This led to an explanation on what the access to technology does to our children’s brains and values. As proven, violent video games lead to a loss of compassion. Dr. Pelcovitz then went on to focus in on the impact upon girls by using powerful, true stories to impart the gravity of the issue. The anonymity of texting and social media leads to ona’as devarim, cruelty and anxiety. There is an “online disinhibition effect,” because when one cannot see the hurt look on the victim’s face, nothing stops the perpetrator. Social media has led to negative self-image; increased screen activity leads to increased unhappiness and even depression. The feeling of “being left out” or being “targeted” can have significant consequences on a child’s development. In general, due to online/texting bullying, there has been a rise in anxiety and teen suicides.
Dr. Pelcovitz then offered practical advice. Children want rules. When asked how they envision their own future parenting, many children said they would be stricter than their parents. Parents should make sure their child has the three F’s: family, friends, and faith. Love should be balanced with limits, and parents should recognize that in determining technological rules and limits, parents should consider the highly individual personalities and needs of each child. The potential for serious and long-lasting harm threatens even the youngest of adolescents. It is therefore important for children to feel that they can talk with their parents, especially about ethical dilemmas, and receive empathic and focused attention. Engaging children in a non-confrontational way about their use of technology is essential, and turning off parental cell phones when around one’s children is a strongly recommended practice. Slowing down and being empathic are the keys to holding onto the precious moments parents have with their children.
Various communities have discussed ways to address the issues of technology. Dr. Pelcovitz shared some examples of positive changes that have been made. While every community, and each school community, approaches this topic in its own way under the hadrachah of its own leaders, the “bottom line” is that the home is the integral ingredient in the development of the klal. Just as a home has walls, windows, and doors, parents must know when to open and close them. While technology can be used for incredible achievement in the worlds of chesed and Torah learning, the effects of the darker sides of technology can and should be effectively mitigated.
Even though this event was held on a busy Thursday evening, the fact that so many parents and teachers came out to hear Dr. Pelcovitz is a tribute to them and to the esteemed Dr. Pelcovitz. The audience was inspired and truly appreciative of Dr. Pelcovitz’s professional and heartfelt insights and advice. It is hoped that with siyata d’shmaya these dedicated parents and teachers will continue to succeed in their endeavors to raise and educate our bnos Yisrael.
YCQ Girls’ Torah Bowl Meet
By Sarah Owadeyah and Miriam Siegman, grade 6
Members of YCQ girls’ Torah Bowl teamTorah Bowl is an extracurricular activity in which a group of middle school students work hard learning extra Torah. Yeshiva of Central Queens competes against several different yeshivot including Yeshiva of Flatbush, Manhattan Day School, and Ramaz. We won three out of four competitions, losing the last one by only one point.
On February 7 we had our third Torah Bowl meet of the year. For this meet we learned parashiot Mishpatim, Terumah, and Tetzaveh. In parashat Mishpatim we learned a lot of Jewish laws. In Terumah we learned about the Mishkan and the vessels of the Mishkan. In Tetzaveh we learned about the Kohen Gadol’s clothing and how they were made.
The playoffs are in a few weeks and we are tied for first place with the Yeshivah of Flatbush. We are very excited that we are in first place and we are very proud of what we’ve accomplished this year. Our team’s goal is to work hard, win the playoffs, and get into the championship. Esther Nazarov said, “I love being on Torah Bowl. The happiness inside of me is unexplainable for how far we’ve come.” The team’s hard work and determination under our coaches has paid off.
Dentist Visits BYQ
With February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, Bais Yaakov of Queens first-graders concluded their science unit with a visit from a neighborhood dentist. Dr. Avraham Rambod, both a local dentist and BYQ parent, came to visit the first-graders to demonstrate the proper way to brush and floss teeth.
After answering the inquisitive students’ questions, Dr. Rambod distributed a “goody bag” filled with products to each eager girl. The kit was filled with all the necessities to help keep their teeth clean and healthy.
BYQ Early Childhood Center Visits An Optometrist
The Pre 1-A classes in the Bais Yaakov of Queens Early Childhood Center continue to explore their community. Pre 1-A-W showed a good deal of interest in eyeglasses and the human eye, and were therefore thrilled to be invited to the office of Dr. Batsheva Summers, optometrist. After an exciting bus ride to Jackson Heights, the children were given a full tour of the well-equipped office.
Clipboards in hand, the young researchers asked the doctor their many questions, ranging from “Why do we need to check our eyes?” to “Why do we have to get eye drops?” The children were then given the opportunity to check each other’s eyes and to sketch things of interest in the office. They left with a gift bag full of treats from their new friend the eye doctor. Thank you Dr. Summers for helping students to expand their knowledge and learn more about our amazing eyes!
Shiur Ha’Chodesh For Women By Women, Tuesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Etz Chaim, 147-19 73rd Avenue, Kew Gardens Hills. Rabbi Israel D. Rosenberg Educational Institute of Congregation Etz Chaim presents Michal Horowitz, speaking on Reflecting Mirrors and the Season of Geula: An Exploration of the Righteous Women who Facilitated Redemption. Suggested Donation: $6. For further information, please contact Hadassah Waxman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-261-0766.
Pre-Purim shiur, Sunday March 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Kehilas Torah Temima, 70-10 150th St. Enter through YCQ parking lot on 150th St. Featuring the rabbanim of Hashiveynu, YIKGH Young Marrieds Minyan, and Beis Medrash Zichron Shalom (DRS). Speakers will be Rabbi Elan Segelman, Rabbi Ari Lipsky, Rabbi Yussie Zakutinsky, and Rabbi Etan Tanenbaum. Come hear about the 4 mitzvot hayom of Purim while enjoying food from Carlos and Gabby’s! Suggested donation $10.
Young Israel of Jamaica Estates Mitzvah Morning, Sunday, March 24. Kids and adults create pre-Pesach gift boxes for the residents of the Boulevard Alp Assisted Living in Kew Gardens Hills at 9:30–10:45 a.m. at the YIJE. Presenting the boxes from 11–11:30 a.m. at the Boulevard Alp. Call 718-479-7500 for more information.
Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or email email@example.com.