By Chanita Teitz

Monday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and about 50 Knesset Members went to Poland, to Auschwitz. Seeing pictures of them walking through the gates of death was so meaningful. They are alive! We, Jews, are alive! Just over 70 years ago, Jews walked through these same gates to their deaths or to a living hell. Hitler, the Germans, and all the anti-Semites thought we would vanish from the earth. But we march today as a proud people. Hashem should continue to protect us so each generation can continue to thrive and grow. Am Yisrael Chai!

But what is Jewish pride if it is only a manifestation of nationalism? Jewish pride should include acting like a Jew, keeping the Torah, or, at least, marrying Jewish. But what can you expect from secular, assimilated people? They may feel national pride in Israel, but if they marry out, the next generation may not be Jewish. That is why it bothered me to read that Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son, is dating a non-Jewish girl who is studying in Israel.

Israel is more than just a country; Jews are more than just a nationality. We are a nation through the Torah and through our connection to Hashem. And as much as the secularists want to have a country like all other countries, we can’t. We are a fusion of religion and nationality. An Israeli who isn’t a practicing Jew is missing the point.

What do we do about this obvious divide between religious Jews and secular Jews who want to be like everyone else? In my opinion, it starts with education, from the youngest children, throughout the school years, college years and beyond. It’s never too late to reach adults too.

The kiruv movement keeps growing and thriving and doing great things, but it is still lacking. Too many young people have no connection to Judaism or to Israel. Kids who have never been to a shul, said a prayer, or even know the Shema are groomed for assimilation. It’s one thing to assimilate in the Diaspora; it’s another to do so in Israel, the homeland for Jews. How can we claim a Jewish homeland, a Jewish presence, a Jewish culture if we water down our own Jewishness?

Upcoming Events

Chazaq presents R’ Igal Haimoff. Sunday night, February 2. Sushi 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 in Forest Hills. For more information, call or text 917-617-3636 or e-mail

Queensborough Community College Student Association. Know any Jews on campus? Send them to the QCC Hillel Club, the Jewish club on campus! QCC Hillel meets every Wednesday, 12:00—1:30 p.m. sharp, in room S223. QCC Hillel presents Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, EMET with Chef Moshe, and awesome and outstanding food from Kosher Chef Productions. Lots of free delicious food, BBQs, trips, weekends, and events. Awesome people and guests! Named the best club on campus many, many, many times . . . and QCC Hillel has the best food! Look for QCC Hillel on Facebook for future updates and events.

Camp Keshet Open House. Motzaei Shabbos February 15. Come get a taste of the Keshet experience as you create your own sundae, participate in an amazing theater improv workshop, learn some of the latest dances, and play some amazing games with warm and talented staff members! At Camp Keshet, they strive to help the campers utilize their creative energy to allow each girl to express herself and have a blast while doing it! The ruach at Camp Keshet lasts all throughout the year. Come join a fun-filled evening and get a sense of what Camp Keshet is all about.

K’hal Toras Emes new weekly shiur. 78-15 Parsons Boulevard. Every Sunday evening, Delivered by R’ Chanan Hansen. Shiur at 8:40, Ma’ariv at 9:15. Refreshments will be served.

Mazal Tov . . .

To Graziella Levi on the marriage of her son Tal to Michelle Navon, and to Dr. and Mrs. Navon and to all the family and friends who attended this beautiful wedding. At the chuppah I had a feeling that Hashem looks down and has nachas seeing another couple starting out their new life together. Another link in a 3,000-year-old chain. This wedding was particularly special because of the many diverse guests in attendance. Litvish and Chassidish, Sephardi and Ashkenazi, different accents, different pronunciations, different minhagim, all together under the chuppah. My friend Shuli captured it in two words–kibbutz galuyot. 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


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