Last week, my son Rabbi Dov Teitz, who is a rebbe at Yeshiva Mercaz HaTorah in Yerushalayim, told us a good vort on Parashas Bo. He saw it in a sefer, but is not sure of the original source. When Hashem tells Moshe that he is going to send the plague of darkness, the Torah uses the words “vayimeish choshech,” meaning that the Egyptians felt the darkness. If you take the Hebrew letters of “vayimeish” and compare each letter to the letter before it in the aleph bet, you have a code. The letter before vav is hei, the letter before yud is tes, the letter before mem is lamed, and the letter before shin is reish. Hei, tes, lamed, reish — “HTLR.” Even without vowels, you can see that it spells Hitler. One of the talmidim also noticed that the letters yud, mem, shin could stand for yemach sh’mo.
The Torah’s codes are fascinating; everything is there, and we just have to find it. The darkness of the Holocaust was felt in our days, as choshech was felt in Mitzrayim. I pray that the Holocaust was the only “darkness” that we will experience before Mashiach.
Last week, Akiva and I attended a meeting organized by Congresswoman Grace Meng regarding FEMA grants for public buildings, such as schools and houses of worship, to help pay for added security. These grants are not available yet, but organizations can start the process of registering and applying for them. They are not meant as a first line of security since you must wait to be approved and won’t get the funds for months, but it is for second-tier, heightened measures of security like replacing glass doors with solid steel doors or getting shatterproof glass windows.
Most importantly, as I’ve said before, we all need to be vigilant and “if you see something, say something.”
YCQ Annual Yachad Shabbaton
YCQ 8th- graders and Yachad members at the ShabbatonYeshiva of Central Queens hosted its annual Yachad Shabbaton January 31–February 1, Shabbat Parashas Bo. Students, staff, and alumni from the yeshiva gathered to share in a Shabbat filled with learning, ruach, and making new friends. Community members opened their homes to house Yachad members and staff, making it possible for them to participate in this amazing Shabbbaton.
Yachad, the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities, teamed up with YCQ to allow for the children in Yachad to have the opportunity to feel included in Shabbat, as well as teach the students of YCQ tolerance, acceptance, and compassion.
The yearly program affords the opportunity for eighth graders to get to know Yachad members and enjoy a spiritual Shabbat with them during meals, learning, and socializing through davening together and participating in a variety of activities and songs run by the Yachad staff.
Divrei Torah were given following each meal by YCQ students and Yachad members and Shabbat ended with a beautiful Havdallah and melaveh malkah with dancing. Participation by students is voluntary. As the grade 8 students start to plan for high school, the next step in their education, a program like this gives them the tools needed for them to be well-rounded students. It teaches acceptance and understanding, and creates a quality within each student where they accept and believe that everyone belongs. These qualities will instill in them what it takes to be leaders and community advocates for Klal Yisrael, as they continue their journey towards the future.
Bnos Malka / Touro College Collaboration
On Sunday, February 2, the Bnos Malka staff gathered together to hear from Dr. Jefferey Lichtman. Dr. Lichtman is the director emeritus of Yachad and current professor and Lucille Weidman chair of the newly-established graduate program in Jewish general and special education at Touro College. Drawing from his great knowledge and expertise in the field of education, Dr. Lichtman shared techniques and strategies to help engage, motivate, and inspire every student. Teachers walked away invigorated for the second half of the year, empowered with additional tools to reach every child, a mission at Bnos Malka Academy.
BYQ 8th Grade STEM Engineers
Bais Yaakov 8th-graders applied their structural engineering skills by building bridgesThe BYQ eighth grade STEM class unit on structural engineering culminated in students designing and building their own bridges. They were given specifications, including that the bridge must span 14 inches and support at least 10 pounds. In addition, in the spirit of real engineers, they were given a budget of 200 Popsicle sticks and a bottle of wood glue. The girls were excited to begin their task and each group submitted at least two design ideas for consideration before settling on the best plan. As construction began, they began to realize that bringing their ideas to actuality may be more difficult than they had thought. Each group tackled their unexpected snags through brainstorming and cooperation, even changing their original designs as needed.
The students agreed that this activity allowed them to learn lessons well beyond engineering skills.
Bukharian Leaders Meet With Councilman Donovan Richards
Rachel Shaool speaking on Happiness and Harmony upon Your Marriage, motzaei Shabbos, February 8 at Beth Gavriel Bukharian Jewish Center, 66-35 108th St., Forest Hills. Presented by Chazaq and Beth Gavriel. For women only. Free admission. RSVP to 646-577-6054 or 917-207-9668.
Tu B’Shevat Party, Sunday, February 9 at 6:00 p.m. at Havurat Yisrael, 106-20 70th Ave., Forest Hills, a synagogue known for making many successful matches. Dvar Torah by Rabbi Algaze, music with Sandy Shmuely, shadchanit Sarah Newcomb, sushi and fruits. Cost: $25. For more information, call 718-261-5500.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.