YCQ students and parents enjoyed their annual challah bake.

By Chanita Teitz

Something strange and disturbing happened to me last week. I received a message on our Astor Brokerage Real Estate page on Facebook from someone I do not know. He wrote that he was sending me a box and an envelope. He took a picture of the box, which was gift-wrapped, and the envelope, which was oversized and addressed in black marker in large bold letters.

I decided to report this to the police. I know that the 107th Precinct is well-attuned to the needs of our neighborhood, but when I got there, I wasn’t taken seriously. I hadn’t yet blocked the person on Facebook because I wanted to be able to show the message to the police officer, but when I did, the officer basically said it’s probably just a quack and not to make a big deal out of it.

He did tell me to call 911 if I received anything in the mail. A few days later the box and the letter arrived. I called 911, and the officer who came to the office told us to return it to the post office. The post office was crowded, and I couldn’t wait, so I went back to the precinct.

It seemed that no one took this seriously, and the policeman said that he’s not going to call the bomb squad because of a gift. It may have been wrapped like a gift, but I wasn’t going to open it to see what was inside. In the end, I threw it away.

This was probably just a hoax, but in today’s times we must be vigilant about everything.

It reminds me of another time years ago when someone noticed a suitcase sitting on the corner of Jewel and Main. The bomb squad came, and we were told to stay upstairs in our office. Main Street was roped off until the bomb squad took away the suitcase and determined that it wasn’t a bomb.

Unfortunately, these are the times we live in. Better to err on the side of caution than to do nothing. Watch out for each other, keep an eye on our community, and take care of yourselves.

YCQ-PTO Annual Challah Bake With Mrs. Kosher Guru

Thursday evening, February 6, the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at the Yeshiva of Central Queens organized their annual Challah Bake, bringing members of the yeshiva and community together to perform the mitzvah of hafrashat challah.

Hafrashat challah is removing a portion of the dough, known as challah, and setting it aside to remind us that whatever we are given is not for our use alone. Whether it is money, wisdom, or good health, we need to remember that it came from Hashem and we should not take it for granted. This mitzvah applies to every Jew. Some believe that it is a segulah to bake challah with 40 women as a z’chus for refuah sheleimah for someone who is ill. This spiritual component is the impetus for YCQ’s challah bake and others around the world.

YCQ students and parents enjoyed their annual challah bake

At the PTO event, a crowd of over 100 women, men, and children gathered together to partake in this meaningful mitzvah. For many it was the first time they would be baking challah and for others the first time they would be making the hafrashat challah blessing.

Rebeka Boxer, Mrs. Kosher Guru, gave the participants guidance and chizuk through her inspirational story of faith and miracles and of how this mitzvah has brought her closer to Hashem. She discussed the connection between performing the mitzvah of hafrashat challah and the miracle of facing difficult obstacles in life by connecting to one’s Yiddishkeit and to Hashem.

When the challah dough was complete, in a meaningful moment, the entire room in unison made the hafrashat challah berachah, bringing a spiritual feeling of achdut and understanding. Those in attendance at the YCQ-PTO event, through this mitzvah, received inspiration and a connectedness to Hashem, their yeshiva, and Klal Yisrael.

Hours of work and organization put in by the PTO committee—Julie Faska, Rachel Stern, Aliza Peled, Valerie Olsen, Melissa Stock, and those who stayed for hours after to help clean up—went into making this event an experience to remember and to encourage others to continue baking challah and davening to Hashem with kavanah,

BYQ Third-Grade Authors Celebrate Their “Published” Books

The third-graders at Bais Yaakov of Queens filed into the multi-purpose room of the school for a gallery walk celebration of their original how-to books. Students walked around reading their friends’ books and wrote compliments. This writing celebration was a culmination of a six-week unit of study in writer’s workshop under the direction of Mrs. Susie Garber, BYQ’s writing consultant. The students and teachers were enthusiastic about this unit of study.

Students chose their own topics, which was something they knew how to do well and could explain in steps to readers. The wide range of topics reflected the students’ personalities and preferences. They included: how to make sushi, hot cocoa, and pancakes, how to draw people, how to swim, how to make friends, how to put a baby to sleep, how to do origami, how to bake cookies or brownies, how to sing, write a book, paint a picture, be fashionable, snowboard, draw seahorses, make a diorama, how to do a backbend, clean your room, tie your shoes, jump rope, play basketball, set a table, make your own song, catch a frog, and many more topics.

A unique feature of this writing experience is that it combined creativity while also covering the standards for third-grade writing. It is aligned beautifully with the reading program, so it reinforced and expanded on what students learned during reading workshop time. One third-grade teacher commented, “I like how it was very organized for the students in steps. They learned a lot. They learned how to write a letter of introduction and to think about their readers, and break something into sequential steps using transition words.” Another third-grade teacher noted, “The students felt good about writing. They loved publishing. They were able to connect creative writing with core standards to create their own masterpieces.”

Students who were reluctant writers in the beginning of the year blossomed. One of these students proudly shared her book with the principal and asked if she could read it to students in other classes. She was so excited that she had created her own book.

Some of the third-graders’ comments about this writing workshop unit of study were: “I learned how to write better.”

“I like knowing what other people make.”

“I’m happy I’m able to make a book. I love drawing the pictures.”

Bnos Malka Annual Rashi Breakfast

Bnos Malka Rashi Breakfast 2020The third-grade talmidos of Bnos Malka Academy held their annual Rashi Breakfast. After the students completed learning Rashi script they celebrated the momentous occasion with a special breakfast. The students were privileged to hear Rabbi Weichselbaum, the menahel, speak about his experiences walking in Rashi’s footsteps, literally. He described how special his visit to the city of Worms, Germany, was.

After dining on a delicious breakfast, the students went on a scavenger hunt searching for Rashi letters, which they then had to transform into a phrase they had already learned from Chumash or Yedios Klalios. Next, each student decorated a beautiful picture frame displaying each girl’s name written in Rashi letters. It is amazing how creative our students are! The handmade keepsakes are sure to be treasured for years to come.

At the conclusion of the exciting morning, the students were reminded that now the real work begins. Mrs. Babad, assistant principal of the lower grades, explained, “Baruch Hashem, our students are well on their way to learning to extrapolate Rashi’s question and delving into the answer as well. We congratulate them on reaching this important milestone in their learning and wish them many years of inspiration and growth from learning the words of Rashi.”

Upcoming Events

Shiur HaChodesh for Women by Women, Wednesday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Etz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills, 147-19 73rd Ave. The speaker will be Dr. Yael Ziegler, lecturer of Tanach at Michlelet Herzog and Matan, who will give a shiur: “Face to Face with G-d: An Extraordinary Relationship.” Suggested donation: $6.

Upcoming Events at Young Israel of Jamaica Estates

Mitzvah Morning, Sunday, February 23 at 9:45 a.m. Pack mishloach manot for Chai Lifeline.

Winter Lecture Series with Rabbi Dov Lerner, Tuesday, February 25 at 8:15 p.m. “When Halachah and Harmony Collide 2 — Remedies for the Toxicity of Conflict.”

Adult Education Committee presents Rabbi Ari Zahtz, scholar-in-residence, Shabbos Terumah, February 29.

41st Annual Dinner, motzaei Shabbos, March 7 at 8:30 p.m. at Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation. Guests of Honor: Jay and Gita Lisker and Gerry and Chanie Zahtz. The Meir Mishkoff Community Service Awardee is Mark Bienstock. Please RSVP: YIJE.org. n

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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