News From the Hills by Chanita Teitz

 

The left is still protesting and the protests are spreading to Europe, but the mantra has changed. In France, they are blaming the Jews, saying, “Jews get out. France is not yours.” Here in the U.S., someone posted that the problem is not Black Lives Matter; the problem is power, and Jews have all the power. And this morning I saw a video clip of a woman distraught over MAGA hats. She compared Trump telling people to get a MAGA hat to Hitler forcing the Jews to wear yellow stars. Seichel, common sense, has disappeared.

The illogical reasoning of some of the protesters and the politicians is mind-boggling. I heard that “setting fires is the way for new growth to happen.” Does erasing history by destroying statues and historical sites have any merit? What about teaching history? It’s shameful how poorly educated our high-school and college students are. When I was in school we had to pass a civics test to graduate eighth grade. We knew geography and history. Today’s kids are ignorant of so much, which is how the left can brainwash them. Students don’t know what socialism is or what a dictatorship is. They just like the free stuff, not realizing that government control increases when they give you things. The government will make decisions about schooling, healthcare, housing, food distribution, and much more. And the bureaucrats will live well, while everyone else will see the economy decrease.

We need new leadership in the halls of Congress and in our cities and states. Vote the Democrats, particularly the progressive left, out of office.

Switching gears, I want to talk about posts that made me happy. In all situations we have to see the good, and I was inspired by a video of employees of B&H Electronics in Manhattan who brought gifts to the nurses and staff of Lennox Hill Hospital to thank them for all they did for COVID-19 patients. Someone was playing “Hava Nagila” and the non-Jewish hospital staff were singing and dancing along. No racism, just thankfulness, gratefulness, and friendship.

There have also been acknowledgements to teachers who have been teaching their classes on Zoom. I see firsthand in my family how hard they work in preparing the material and in giving it over to their students. It is hard on both the teachers and the students to learn solely by computer. There isn’t the same feedback that you get in person, and sometimes there are computer glitches that interfere.

My grandchildren are using Zoom for their classes, and my son-in-law is teaching his accounting students on Zoom. When he is teaching, there can’t be any background noise in the house. My son in Israel gives his bachurim their Gemara shiur on Zoom at 11 p.m. his time and 4 p.m. in NY. The boys are all in the States since coronavirus began and the yeshiva closed. Even the littlest preschoolers have Zoom classes.

Graduations have been creative, including Yeshivat Noam of Paramus having a parade float stop at every graduate’s home. Other schools had Zoom graduations and Central had their drive-in graduation at Adventureland. Kudos and yashar koach to all teachers and morahs, rebbes, and principals for keeping our kids learning during this difficult time. Mazal tov to all the graduates!

This Week at YCQ

YCQ second-graders learned about shapes through building using spaghetti and marshmallows.

As JHS classes came to an end and we head into the final week of the Yeshiva of Central Queens (YCQ) digital learning environment, the students and staff begin to prepare for graduation and ending what was a “unique” and “interesting” school year. As parents begin their frantic search to make summer plans in a world very different than what we are used to, teachers and morot at YCQ have been spending the time personally delivering packages to their students, bringing smiles and a sense of normalcy to the end of the year. Virtual classes and activities have continued with a Healthy and Wise scavenger hunt; Class 2-207 learning shapes through building, using spaghetti and marshmallows; a banana bread baking competition in 2-205 and 2-206; and some first-graders even received a special letter from their teachers in the mail.

In the elementary grades, the students participated in their annual literary festival, and class 3-211 and 3-212 wrote and presented their own poetry and participated in their first-ever poetry slam. Even quarantine could not hold these students back from learning and engaging in this annual event.

Teachers and morot personally delivered packages to their students.

Each year, the sixth-graders learn research methods in science class and spend time creating a project for the annual STEM fair. Though students could not be together and show their projects and research in person, they all participated in an amazing virtual science fair put together by their teacher Ms. Picciano. Each student individually or with their partner shared their research and their projects in a virtual science fair. Every student worked hard and should be proud of this amazing accomplishment. The following students won awards in different categories: Ephraim Greenfield: Now You C It, Now You Don’t; Jake Schikman: Which Sunscreen Protects Our Skin Better from UV Rays? Yehoshua Gherman: Traffic Nightmare; Max Askari and Ariel Mastour: What Has More Radiation?; Max Chubak: Kinetic and Potential Energy; David Borukhov: Which Water is the Cleanest?; Yishai Ashvil: Bacteria & Toothpaste; Yaakov Gruza, Doran Sparber, and Alan Linker: Stop the Sound; Ozzy Dreyfuss and Eyal Traeger: The Efficiency of the Solar Panel; Sarah Leah Sullivan and Rebecca Sisser: When Life Gives Your Allergies, Make Lemonade; Abigail Badalov: Is Our Weather As Healthy As We Think?; Shira Canter: Fighting Plastic Pollution One Spoon at a Time; Becky Feygin: Freeze Tag; Dina Milchman: Stain Wars; Esther Horn: What Makes Rainbow Fireworks?; Eliana Orlanski and Eliana Gomberg: Are You Lying? Rachel Yusupov and Leah Pleshty: Thieves vs Clorox; and Tziporra Gold: Can My Chinchilla Tell Time?

Throughout the year, the YCQ Torah Bowl teams have been studying and competing against several yeshivot around New York and New Jersey. Though it was a tough year, the YCQ girls’ team, under the leadership of coach, Shoshana Rosenblum, won the championship at the virtual Torah Bowl Finals, with the boys’ team placing not far behind. All the students and their coaches put in tremendous effort and hard work, and in the end it showed, bringing nachat and pride to their yeshiva, families, and friends.

Rabbis Hirtz, Marcus Address Shevach HS

One of the highlights of Shevach High School is the weekly address on Friday morning from local rabbanim to the Shevach student body. On erev Shabbos, the 28th of Iyar, the Shevach students were privileged to be addressed by Rabbi Yonoson Hirtz, noted rav, mechanach, and historian, on the topic of Yom Yerushalayim. Rabbi Hirtz began by quoting Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt’l, who explains that the Mishkan was the unifying factor for Bnei Yisrael in the Midbar, which is why only after the Mishkan was dedicated was there a mitzvah to create the flags for each shevet, as the flags symbolized individuality and uniqueness. Without the Mishkan as the center of the nation to solidify everyone, their distinctiveness would ultimately be a detriment to the unity of Am Yisrael. Rabbi Hirtz pointed out that just as the Mishkan was the unifying factor in the Midbar, so too, Yerushalayim was not divided amongst the shevatim and was the place that unified Klal Yisrael.

Rabbi Hirtz then proceeded to describe the nevuah of Zechariah HaNavi, who prophesied that there will be a day in the future when the elderly and the young will once again return and populate the streets of Yerushalayim — a prophesy that we are living witnesses to. The events of the last 50+ years have brought the words of the navi alive.

Rabbi Hirtz described the pre-1967 borders and the events that led up to the war in May and June 1967. He related how the Old City was once again returned to Jewish sovereignty, and described the euphoria felt by Klal Yisrael around the world when the Kosel was once again accessible to the Jewish people. Rabbi Hirtz concluded with the berachah that we are grateful to HaKadosh Baruch Hu for the unmistakable miracles of 53 years ago, but we still yearn for the ultimate geulah where we will all be in Yerushalyim ha’benuyah!

Shevach culminated its Friday-morning speakers program on the 13th of Sivan with an address delivered by Rabbi Shmuel Marcus, rav of the Young Israel of Queens Valley. He spoke passionately about the need to change the ordinary to the extraordinary. We all have that capacity, said Rabbi Marcus. As the intensity of the past three months now eases somewhat, our charge is to resume what we were familiar with, but on a higher level.

Rabbi Marcus stressed the need to appreciate those things that were denied to us during the last few months. The transformation of our perspective should be with one eye towards the past and one eye towards the future. This transition allows us to grow from the past and segue with enthusiasm to the summer ahead and beyond.

This special Friday-morning program has given the Shevach students much to think about and take to heart. The lessons and hashkafas ha’chaim they derived throughout the year from their distinguished guest speakers have made a strong impact on them and will guide them throughout their lives.

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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