By Chanita Teitz

 

Hate speech is growing all over the world — in Europe, in the Middle East, and in the U.S. We see it at demonstrations and on college campuses, and it is not all antisemitic. Much of it is political — against Trump, against capitalism, and against our democratic government.

Even before Trump won the 2016 election, people were cursing him and planned to impeach him if he won. They decided to impeach and now they are searching for a crime. Anyone who disagrees with leftist political views is called a racist or a white supremacist.

In Israel, the last two elections produced so much hate speech among the parties. Where did it lead them? They can’t form a coalition because they hate each other so much they refuse to sit together as a unified government if certain parties are included.

Last Thursday at the Anti-Defamation League’s summit on antisemitism and hate in New York, Sacha Baron Cohen said that Facebook as well as other social media groups are “the greatest propaganda machine in history” and they are responsible for “murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities.” He said Facebook in particular will print any political ad a person wants to run.

Sarah Idan, Miss Iraq, made a statement that condemned the UN for their antisemitism and hatred of Israel. Most of what they say about Israel is not true, is one-sided, and never states any of the terrorist acts and murders committed by the Arabs against Israelis.

On the London subway, a Jewish man was called part of the “Church of Satan.” It was a Muslim woman who confronted the attacker.

At an event at York University in Toronto, there was a violent protest by BDS supporters. This was supposed to be an IDF event and the protesters had posters stating, “We do not let Zionists on the York University campus.” Protesters shouted, “Go back to the ovens; you belong in Europe!”

Another hate crime occurred on a bus in London by a man who screamed “Jews don’t belong here!”

A 76-year-old man was beaten in Berlin, people have been assaulted in Brooklyn, and we know of the synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway.

All this hate is the opposite of what the Founding Fathers of the United States had in mind. They championed “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Hate speech and hate crimes targeting people you don’t agree with or against an entire ethnic group diminish the freedom that this country and all democracies stand for. All people should be able to live a quiet and peaceful existence without fear of being attacked with hate speeches. The real supremacists are the ones spewing the hate.

YCQ’s Annual Intergenerational Third-Grade Melaveh Malkah

By Eliana Gomberg

Third-graders, parents, and grandparents enjoyed a melaveh malkah at the Yeshiva of Central QueensThis past motzaei Shabbat, November 16, the Yeshiva of Central Queens third-grade students had their annual melaveh malkah. The students worked for weeks with their morot and their music teacher, Morah Tali Spector. The students then performed the songs they learned in front of their parents, grandparents, and teachers. The songs were meaningful, especially since the students worked so hard learning and practicing their songs.

“The melaveh malkah was fun. I liked singing ‘Eliyahu HaNavi’ the best,” said Shimon Borukhov, grade 3. The production put smiles on everyone’s faces. The students sang about Shabbat and had a great time performing. Ava Sternfield, grade 3, said, “The melaveh malkah was awesome because I got to perform in front of my family with all of my friends.”

After the performance they had an exciting party in the gym. Student volunteers worked to help set up the gym on Friday prior to the melaveh malkah, and several sixth-grade girls volunteered to work with Mrs. Carrie Beylus, the event organizer and alumna parent, as servers. Rabbi Yoel Hecht entertained the students with an amazing magic show and games with prizes. The students and their siblings loved it! The night ended with raffles, music, and many happy faces.

What made this intergenerational melaveh malkah stand out is that many grandparents got the opportunity to see their grandchildren in their school environment and hear about all they are learning in Judaic studies. Sophie Sisser said, “I enjoyed the song ‘David HaMelech’ best, and learning and doing the hand motions was so much fun. I especially loved that my grandparents came and were here to with me.”

Learning Can Be Delicious Too at BYQ

Bais Yaakov of Queens learned about pumpkinsBYQ’s first-graders discovered how delicious learning can be. The girls are learning about the life cycles of different plants. The year’s study began with the apple’s cycle for Rosh Hashanah. For the fall, they focused on pumpkins. The teachers read a book about pumpkins to introduce the life cycle of pumpkins. The first-grade classes began with two essential learning questions. First, what is a pumpkin? Their next question was: What is inside of a pumpkin?” Many girls predicted pumpkins would have one big pit like an avocado. Surprise! Pumpkins actually have many seeds! Once the teachers opened up the pumpkin, the girls had a third question: How many seeds are inside?

The girls got a chance to feel the flesh of the pumpkin and experience some hands-on learning! After, the classes made Venn diagrams to compare and contrast pumpkins and apples.

Following this informative and exciting lesson, the girls enjoyed snacking on roasted pumpkin seeds. The first-graders got to have their pumpkin lesson and eat it, too!

Chazaq’s Bar Mitzvah Celebration

Chazaq Sunday School ProgramThirteen years ago, Yaniv Meirov was in his early teenage years learning in Mesivta Yesodei Yeshurun in Kew Gardens Hills. As part of the greater Queens community, which has Jews of all backgrounds and of all levels of religious observance, he realized there were several pressing needs for the community as a whole.

“Queens is a beautiful community with so many great things happening but for some reason it seemed like we were not “on the map” when it came to certain matters. If you wanted to get inspired, you had to go to Brooklyn for inspiration. And so the Chazaq organization was founded with the intention of offering constant inspiration in Queens, targeting all segments of the population.”

Chazaq Teen Division learning

Thirteen years later, the Chazaq organization he founded as a young teen with the intention of inspiring Queens has grown well beyond its expectations, having touched the lives of tens of thousands of people throughout the tri-state area. “Our first-ever event baruch Hashem had over 500 people and we made sure to have one every week. Now we try to have one nearly every day of the week with some nights having four or five lectures throughout the New York area.”

“But,” Yaniv adds, “while these lectures and events are what the broader public knows us for, our main focus and purpose was and continues to be to inspire and educate the thousands of Jewish students who attend public school in our community.”

Indeed, for the last 13 years, Chazaq has organized afterschool programs for public-school students with an extra emphasis on teens, where an overwhelming amount of crime and drug abuse has plagued so many youth, especially those from families who emigrated from the former Soviet Union. “Communist Russia looked to destroy our connection to our cherished past and while they caused a big dent, they baruch Hashem didn’t succeed. Today the challenge is the beautiful freedom that we have been given. Unfortunately, so many of our youth are misusing that freedom and we are trying our best to prevent this trend from continuing.”

In August 2016, Chazaq expanded their work with public-school students by opening a yeshiva placement division known as PSTY (Public School to Yeshiva Division). “We realized that with all the afterschool programs that are building foundations in these youth, we needed to find a way to reach out to the parents and show them the importance of a yeshiva education. So we started a division where we have a dedicated team that works exclusively in explaining and guiding parents to take the step from public school to yeshiva.”

“People must realize that cases can take months upon months to process, as many parents have valid questions and a lot of misconceptions about yeshiva education. And after you convince one parent you need to convince the other. Then you need to convince the student to make the switch, especially if they are older. If you succeed with that, then you need to find the right yeshiva, and many times when the yeshiva says no to the child, the process starts all over again. It is tedious work but it’s worth it because the results have baruch Hashem been truly amazing.”

Since starting the “no child left behind initiative” three years ago with the opening of the yeshiva placement division, Chazaq has baruch Hashem helped over 800 students receive a yeshiva education, revolutionizing the concept of yeshiva placement. “Of the approximately 3,300 public-school students we have encountered during this time, we have baruch Hashem converted nearly 25% into yeshiva students … Every soul is precious. We are impacting generations upon generations to come.”

On December 4, Chazaq will be celebrating their bar mitzvah celebration with a Gala Dinner featuring great inspiration and wonderful entertainment. “We will be celebrating the past and looking to build even a greater future,” says Yaniv with a big smile. “We have a lot of work to do. And together we will do it, b’ezrat Hashem.”

For more information or to reserve seats for the Chazaq 13-year anniversary dinner, please visit ChazaqDinner.com.

Upcoming Events

Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller will be speaking for women, motzaei Shabbos, November 30, 8:30 p.m. at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, 147-02 73rd Avenue in Flushing. Topic: “Chanukah: How to light up our lives and the lives of others.” To cosponsor the shiur, contact LindaFrankel6@gmail.com.

Yeshiva Kesser Torah’s Annual Journal Melavah Malkah, Saturday evening, December 7, 8:15 p.m. (10:15 p.m. Birkat HaMazon) at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, 70-11 150th Street, Kew Gardens Hills. Honoring the memory of Rav Elyakim G. Rosenblatt, rosh ha’yeshiva, z’tl, and all who have participated and supported our community makom Torah. An unforgettable and inspiring evening of “Torah and Neginah.” Divrei berachah: Rav Henach Savitsky, shlita. Guest speakers: Rabbi Shimon Yisroel Siegel and Robby Neuman. Zemiros from the Yeshiva’s musical albums “Shaar HaNeginah” Volumes I, II, and III accompanied with live music by Michael Septimus and Michael Poulad. Your generous contribution is greatly appreciated. To RSVP, call 718-793-2890 or email yeshivakessertorah@gmail.com. To donate, visit yeshivakessertorah.org/donations/.

The Queens Jewish Center’s 5th Annual Yahrzeit Lecture in Memory of Rav Joseph Grunblatt, zt’l, Sunday, December 15, 9:00 a.m. at 66-05 108th St., Forest Hills. An elaborate breakfast will be served. The speaker is Rabbi Mark Wildes, founder and director of Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE), a highly successful Jewish outreach and educational program that engages and reconnects unaffiliated Jewish men and women in their 20s and 30s with Judaism and the Jewish community.

Topic: “The Fading American Jew and the Torah Imperative of Kiruv.” Reservations: $25 for members / $30 for not-yet-members. Sponsorships: $50 (includes one reservation) and $100 (includes two reservations). RSVP deadline: Wednesday, December 4; telephone: 718-459-8432, email: office@myqjc.org, online myqjc.org/event/Grunblatt-2019.

Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim Annual Dinner and Chag HaSemichah, Sunday, December 15, reception at 5:00 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m., at Terrace on the Park. To make reservations or place an ad, call 718-268-4700 or email Info@rsadinner.com.

Kehillas Torah Temimah Community-Wide Chanukah Boutique, Saturday night, December 21, 7:30–10:30 at 70-10 150th St. Treat yourself and your family this Chanukah! Featuring local and Insta-famous vendors!

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 chanita@astorbrokerage.com.

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