z5By Chanita Teitz

I’ve had a touch of the flu since last week, or maybe it was another virus. Instead of writing, I’ve been resting a lot, coughing, medicating, and drinking a lot of tea. But whenever a little energy hits, I check my e-mails and, with lots of exciting events happening in the neighborhood, I have decided to let the writers speak for themselves. I’m posting several press releases that I’ve received in the past week.

Hopefully by next week I’ll be back to my usual opinionated self.

Self-Defense Instructor At New York Self-Defense Academy

By Riki Quinn

“Don’t Get Knocked Out” was the title of a free seminar presented by Sensei Avi Avramcheyiv from the New York Self-Defense Academy in Queens Sunday, December 15. The goal of the seminar: to teach people how to combat the so-called “knockout game” that has caused several injuries and at least two deaths around the country.

Sensei Avi, a local Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) and martial-arts instructor, was deeply disturbed by this senseless brutality that had hit close to home a few weeks prior, in Kew Gardens Hills. As a former special-ops soldier in the Israeli army and black-belt, Sensei Avi knows exactly what to do against these kind of thugs. He was also unhappy with some improper techniques being shown on TV that, he believed, were misleading and endangering people. He therefore set out to impart his knowledge to others, free of charge, with a two-hour seminar. A group of about 50 men and women of all ages gathered at the Young Israel of Queens Valley to learn how to “not get knocked out.”

Sensei Avi emphasized the importance of removing the element of surprise by developing awareness of the situation, and adopting preventive behavior and risk reduction. The awareness level of all the participants was heightened by the graphic illustrations from ABC News showing video surveillance of young men knocking out unsuspecting people.

Avi then explained how one would adopt preventive behavior which would reduce the risk of becoming a victim. He said to pay attention when outside. “Do not text and walk! Use mirrors of cars and reflections from windows to see everything around you. If you see a group of teenagers, keep eye contact, free up your hands, and prepare to attack. If you can go into a store or change your route, do it. Just do not turn your back to them. If you do, then they can attack from behind as was the case in one of the attacks on a young woman in London who saw the danger but turned away. The perpetrators are looking for an easy target to knock out with one punch; do not become easy targets.”

Avi went on to demonstrate a simple technique from Active Krav Maga to perform if you are attacked which utilizes natural reflexes. These moves can be easily mastered by anyone in as little as one session. There is no need for fancy flying kicks or flips like in a Jackie Chan movie. Krav Maga is about dealing with real life situations. Simple, reflexive moves targeting vulnerable points in the body like the throat and groin are what will save you on the street. Avi demonstrated some of these real-life situations, like chokes and defense against a knife, gun, and stick. Avi believes that “muscle memory” is of the utmost importance in being able to defend yourself. Therefore, all the participants had the chance to practice the techniques on each other.

Tyra Boid, one of the participants and a strong advocate for women’s empowerment through awareness and self-defense, said about the seminar, “It’s a much needed form of defense and I admire that he and his team took time out of their schedule to inform their community of what’s going on in the streets nowadays. He informed, demonstrated, instructed, engaged, and he brought his community together to get involved…We are our first line of defense and once it’s been breached, well . . . hindsight is 20/20. Instead of saying what I could’ve or should’ve done–it will now be what I did do.”

In response to many requests, another free seminar has been scheduled for Sunday, December 29 at “TOV,” 68-58 147th Street, in Kew Gardens Hills at 7:00 p.m.

Bnos Malka Academy Parent Appreciation Melaveh Malkah

Bnos Malka parents were not deterred by inclement weather from supporting their beloved school. With snow falling throughout Shabbos and weather forecasts predicting further accumulation, there was ample reason to forgo this year’s event. However, over 300 parents and teachers came to the annual Parent Appreciation Melaveh Malkah. Michael Salzbank, the school’s executive director, was the emcee for the evening. “It was a remarkable night. On what was intended to be an evening of us showing our appreciation for the parent body, we were overwhelmed by their unwavering support of the school.”

Rabbi Weichselbaum, Bnos Malka’s menahel, eloquently expressed his abundant gratitude to the parent body and how he has developed a deeper appreciation of them. “Just as a gem is best appreciated when it is seen from differing angles, allowing the light and shadows to create a unique brilliance with every subtle move, so too, the true radiance of each individual is best seen when they are viewed under differing circumstances and challenges.” After his heartfelt words he received a standing ovation which clearly set the tone for the evening.

Mrs. Blimie Berkowitz, the new director at Camp Keshet, then gave a brief presentation for the new summer camp. “We have planned an exceptional program for this summer. Girls from the entire neighborhood are going to love our innovative ideas.” In addition to the regular activities such as professional swim instruction and major trips, Camp Keshet will offer a drama arts program culminating in a major production.

Mr. Salzbank, who has been with the school for just two months, shared his feelings: “The school, which began 17 years ago, joined the family of schools serving the community. We were the baby sister. As in most families, there comes a time when the younger sibling matures and develops her own identity and personality. She can stand in the light of her own accomplishments. Bnos Malka, with 334 girls and alumni on the verge of starting their own families, is at that point now, able to stand in the light of her own accomplishments in producing true bnos Torah and academic excellence.”

The featured speaker, Mr. Charlie Harary, added his unique message of inspiration to an already magical night by reminding everyone that sometimes the greatest obstacles to achievement are our own self-imposed limitations and boundaries. The adage goes, “seeing is believing.” Mr. Harary explained that through believing we can change our reality and exceed all expectations in ourselves, in our spouses, and in our children.

It is no surprise that parents found no better place to be on a frigid night than in the warmth and company of the Bnos Malka family.

Powerful Chazaq Event With Rav Shmuel Dishon

This past Sunday night, December 22, Chazaq hosted renowned lecturer Rav Shmuel Dishon live at the Beth Gavriel Community Center in Forest Hills. The rabbi spoke to the many men and women in the crowd about “Believing in Yourself.” For a full listing of upcoming Chazaq events and programs contact us at 718-285-9132, e-mail Info@Chazaq.org, or visit www.Chazaq.org (Save the date: Sunday night, January 5, for a special Chazaq event with Charlie Harary. Full details coming soon.)

Bais Yaakov Of Queens Students, A Link In The Chain

Each year, BYQ’s seventh-graders immerse themselves in a three-week project called “I am a Link in the Chain.” The limudei kodesh project this year focuses on “Aishes Chayil Mi Yimtza?” and, this past Wednesday, the seventh-graders were introduced to the theme of their research project and performance. The morning began with Morah Shifra Hanson’s presentation of a depiction of the topic, without mentioning its overarching theme. The girls had to guess the theme from the presentation, and one student, Tehilla Ginian, was the first to guess accurately.

As the girls readied themselves for an adventure, the dean, Rabbi Mordechai Gewirtz, described the gadlus of Reb Moshe Feinstein. As the girls stepped onto the buses, they discovered Morah Chaviva Pfeiffer’s plan: they were on their way to Brooklyn to meet an outstanding Aishes Chayil, Rebbetzin Sheila Feinstein, wife of Reb Reuven Feinstein and a daughter-in-law of Reb Moshe Feinstein, zt’l. Mrs. Zehava Somerstein, limudei kodesh principal, expressed the importance behind the experience of meeting the rebbetzin.

Rebbetzin Feinstein’s talk was powerful and inspiring. The Rebbetzin discussed the meaning of an Aishes Chayil, the way she conducts herself, and her role to pass on the mesorah. She spoke about role models–the Imahos, the girls’ own mothers and grandmothers–and had the girls look towards their own futures, and what they will be in their own homes.

Her engaging stories about Reb Moshe’s rebbetzin included how she dug ditches for her shtetl so her husband could learn. Her greatness, coupled with her down-to-earth style and dynamic personality, was moving and refreshing. Afterward, many girls had a chance to ask questions and speak with her personally. On their way back to school, many girls commented how the rebbetzin reminded them of their own principal, Mrs. Sarah Bergman. The BYQ girls are looking forward to their research project and upcoming performance when they can share an evening with their Aishes Chayil.

Upcoming Events

A free lecture series is open to all women and is held at Congregation Etz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills, 147-19 73rd Avenue. Expected future dates are 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, January 29, February 26, (Tuesday) March 25, April 30, May 28, and June 25. For more information, call 718-575-0594. L’zechus refuah shleima l’Zelda Brocha bas Chava Leah Rochel.

Please join us for an evening of power and strength, of inspiration through Tehillim and song. Come hear Hadassah Davids, composer and singer, as she reveals the incredible story of her life from being born the daughter of a Christian minister, to becoming a frum Jew. Monday, December 30, 8:30 p.m. at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, 150-05 70th Road. Voluntary donations will be collected towards tuition to a special education cheder for both of Hadassah’s sons.

From Foster Child to Pastry Chef: A Journey of a Lifetime. Vicki Davis of Vicki’s Delights will share her inspiring story and baking demonstration. Monday, January 6, 7:30 p.m. at Ruchy Elbogen’s home, 73-74 136th Street. RSVP by contacting BatSheva Haber: e-mail BatshevaH@aol.com, text 917-754-8518. Proceeds to benefit Jinspire Queens (a grassroots kiruv organization). Gold: $72 Silver: $54 Bronze: $36. This event is being sponsored in memory of Chaya Bracha bas Chaim Yaakov.

KGH Civic Assn. invites the community to an electronic waste (e-waste) recycling event at Queens Botanical Garden on Sunday, January 12, 10:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m. All are invited to bring unwanted or broken electronics–such as old phones, chargers, handheld toys, TVs, cameras, tangles of holiday lights, and more–and we will dispose of them free of charge. E-waste contains many toxins that are hazardous to human health and to the environment. Recycling events such as this one keep these materials out of the waste stream and allow them to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way.

Family Caregiver Breakfast Plan for Now & the Future. Sunday, January 12, 10:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m. Young Israel of Queens Valley, 141-55 77th Avenue. RSVP by contacting Raizy Mushell, LMSW, at 718-225-6750, ext. 212 or rmushell@sfy.org. The panel and topics include: “How To Talk To Your Family About Planning For The Future,” Jane C. Bardavid, LCSW, director of the CAPE mental health clinic at the Samuel Field Y; “Understanding The Legal Aspect Of A Caregiver,” Ronald A. Fatoullah, Esq., attorney of Ronald Fatoullah & Associates; “Planning For The Future For Individuals With Dementia,” Martha Wolf, director of community dementia care at Parker Jewish Institution; “Maintaining A Safe Home As You Age,” Dr. Rosario Accardi, of Action Motion Physical Therapy; and “Don’t Forget About You, a Tribute and Appreciation To Caregivers,” Megan Isenberg, LMSW, director of caregiver program at SNAP. Space is limited. Advance registration required. v

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 e-mail chanita@astorbrokerage.com.

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