The Lag B’Omer bonfire in Kew Gardens Hills
The Lag B’Omer bonfire in Kew Gardens Hills
The Lag B’Omer bonfire in Kew Gardens Hills

By Chanita Teitz

I met this week with Eli Glaser, who filled me in about two recent events of the Kew Gardens Hills community. First we spoke about the hadlakah (bonfire) this past motzaei Shabbos for Lag B’Omer on 141st Street and 72nd Road in front of Rabbi Friedman’s shul. Eli told me that about 12 years ago he was in Meron for Lag B’Omer and was so inspired there that he decided to organize the hadlakah in Kew Gardens Hills. He does this so we and our children should feel the joy of Lag B’Omer like they do in Eretz Yisrael. (I know from my grandson how he and his friends in Bayit V’gan collect branches, twigs, and wood for weeks in preparation for the bonfires. Because of Eli and others, we get a taste of this here.)

Eli emphasized that this project is done in a systematic and orderly fashion, with the participation of the local police department and fire department for the safety of the entire community. The area of the bonfire is cordoned off and the street is closed. Meshulam Lisker is in charge of running the fire, setting up, keeping it safe, and cleaning up afterwards. Sam Goldberger of Towne Variety donates the wood. The Cohen family of Queens Pita donated cookies; bows and arrows for the kids were donated by Boruch and Sruly Mandelbaum and families; and Mizamrim Singers of Williamsburg entertained the large crowd. Photos were taken by Gary Koenig.

We weren’t able to estimate the crowd, but it included the participation of many local rabbanim and politicians Michael Simanowitz and Barry Grodenshik, and Arutz Sheva came to Kew Gardens Hills to film the bonfire for their website and interviewed Eli Glaser. The participation of so many community residents in such an orderly fashion was truly a kiddush Hashem!

Next, Eli told me about the trip to Italy led by Rabbi Noach Isaac Oelbaum of Kew Gardens Hills the week before Lag B’Omer, which Eli helped organize together with my son-in-law David Weiss.

The participants visited the cities of Venice, Florence, Bologna, and Rome and were inspired with the vast knowledge of the Jewish history by Rabbi Oelbaum. Before visiting the kevarim of Rishonim and Acharonim who lived there over 500 years ago, Rav Oelbaum discussed the tzaddik and his life, philosophy, and writings. His enormous research brought these gedolim to life. The group also met up with Jews for Rome, a group that also leads tours and brings to light the vast history and antiquities that are in Rome. Jews already lived in Rome over 2,000 years ago, even before the Churban Beis HaMikdash.

The group visited several shuls, including the Great Synagogue of Rome, which davens in Nusach Italki, a unique mix of Sephardic and Ashkenazic nusach. Where in the world will they be going next?

Upcoming Events

This Friday evening, Parashas Behar-Bechukkosai, May 3 (and every Friday evening of Shabbos mevorchim) there will be a Nusach Carlebach davening at Yeshiva Kesser Torah. Davening will begin with Minchah at 7:00 p.m. and will conclude about 8:15 p.m. Men and women are welcome.

On Sunday night, May 5, Chazaq and Emet, in conjunction with Beth Gavriel, present renowned lecturer R’ Yitzchok Fingerer, live! Refreshments will be served at 8:00 p.m., lecture scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Men and women are welcome; admission is free. Location: Beth Gavriel Community Center, 66-35 108th Street, Forest Hills NY 11375. For more information, call 718-285-9132 or email

Mrs. Shira Smiles, international speaker and author, on a special visit from Israel–“Kavod Habriyot: Inner and outer dignity,” Tuesday, May 7, 8:00 p.m. at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, 147-02 73rd Avenue, Kew Gardens Hills. Free admission. Donations to Chickens for Shabbos are welcome.

Free lecture for men and women by Ken Spiro in support of Jinspire in conjunction with the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. Rabbi Spiro will be speaking on “Driven: The Enigma of the Jewish Soul,” on Wednesday, May 8, Yom Yerushalayim, at the YIKGH, 150-05 70th Road. Doors open at 8:00 p.m., program starting promptly at 8:15 p.m. Maariv to follow. Free parking at the YCQ parking lot.

Job fair, May 8 at Central Queens Y, 67-09 108th Street, Forest Hills NY 11375. 10:00 a.m.—11:00 a.m.–Panel discussion. Join the panel of experts and get tips on how to maximize the job fair experience. 11:00 a.m.—2:00 p.m.–Job fair. Meet a variety of employers and staffing companies. Please bring multiple copies of your résumé, and dress for success. To register or for more information: Phone: 718-224-0566.

DineNMeet in Kew Gardens Hills will be held on Shabbos, May 11. Exclusive Shabbos lunch meal connecting compatible singles yeshivish and yeshivish-modern, ages 26—36. Eight guests at each host’s meal, joint dessert oneg, and organized follow-up matchmaking. Sign up at Contact with any questions. Registration closes Monday, May 6, at 12:00 p.m. Co-sponsored by JS Matchpoint and SawYouatSinai. Proceeds go to Queens Hatzolah. Minimum $18 donation to charity.

The annual pre-Shavuos bake sale for the benefit of Avigdor’s Helping Hand will take place on Sunday, May 12, 7:00—10:00 p.m. at the home of Dr. Ari and Mrs. Alyson Walfish, 138-14 78th Drive in Kew Gardens Hills. On Monday, May 13, another bake sale will take place in the Five Towns, at the home of Menashe and Mimi Oratz, 412 Adelberg Lane, Cedarhurst, 9:00 a.m.—6:00 p.m. Come and pick up some delicious treats for Shavuos, have a chance to win some great raffles, and Orchids and Flowers will be there, too. Come to support this wonderful, all-volunteer tzedakah. Avigdor’s Helping Hand helps yesomim and their families all over the country in every community. For more information, call 718-568-9720 or email Glaserjudy@gmailcom.

Mazal Tov . . .

To Millie Abrahmov, of Astor Brokerage, on the birth of a grandson to her children David and Tova Abrahmov.

To Elisha and Devorah Hisiger on the bar mitzvah of their son Mordechai. Mazal tov to the Hisiger and Zand families. v

Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage, with offices in Kew Gardens Hills and Fresh Meadows. For all your real-estate needs in Queens, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail


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