By Chanita Teitz

We received a phone call early last Friday morning from a neighbor telling my husband that there was a fire on the corner opposite our shul, Adereth Eliyahu. That shul is Akiva’s pride and joy, so he ran out the door and dashed across the street. Without thinking he ran right into the cloud of thick smoke. He wasn’t thinking of himself, just that everything should be okay with the shul, but he suffered the effects of the smoke inhalation throughout Shabbos.

Once he got there, he saw that the fire wasn’t in the shul but was on the street in a Con Ed manhole and was caused by an electric outage in a Con Ed plant in Astoria the night before. Thursday night our lights blinked for a minute, our alarm went off, and our cable shut off. Some people saw out their windows that the sky was lit up in a bright blue.

All day Friday the NYFD and Con Ed worked on our street and on 73rd Ave. to put out the fires and restore the gas and electricity. Throughout the day, streets were closed to traffic from Main St. to 150th on 72nd Dr. and 73rd Ave.

At home we had electricity but my Wi-Fi and landline didn’t work. I got a text that FiOS was experiencing a problem. Apparently, I was able to receive messages, but I couldn’t send them. I’m not sure if this was also related to the fires.

Our shul had no electricity Friday night. But men came to shul and davened in the dark. Akiva told me when he came home that he spoke to the Con Ed crew and one of the men expressed surprise that the men prayed in the dark. It impressed him that prayer was so important to them no matter what. Coming to shul under the circumstances made a Kiddush Hashem!

All day Shabbos the crews continued working. The fires were out, but all the electrical wiring was burned and had to be replaced. By Minchah time the gas and electricity were finally restored in the shuls.

On Sunday night at Minchah, Akiva noticed that the heat was not working in shul. Con Edison came back to fix it. Thank you to all the Con Ed and fire department personnel who worked so long to keep us all safe and to repair and restore power.

Bais Yaakov Early Childhood Children Learning About Berachos

The Bais Yaakov of Queens Early Childhood children are learning all about berachos in a wonderful, meaningful, hands-on way. The Pre-K classes are focusing on the berachah of hamotzi. They made bread, French toast, sandwiches, and their own pizza! Reading recipes, measuring out ingredients, and seeing the transformation of ingredients into food, all involve a good deal of learning in many important curriculum areas including language arts, math, and science. Each child is also creating a berachos book by drawing foods related to each week’s berachah.

The children in Pre 1-A are also immersed in learning about berachos. This week they are working on borei pri ha’eitz and borei pri ha’adamah. The best and most memorable way to learn berachos is with real foods, so the girls made fruit skewers and platters. It was very exciting to crack open a coconut and sample the exotic fruit. The children also created beautiful vegetable platters, cooked butternut squash, and enjoyed a variety of melons. The unit expanded many of their palates with new tastes and ways to eat healthfully. Best of all were the smiles throughout the learning process!

Upcoming Events

KGH Jewish Library hours for the coming weeks are as follows:

Sunday, January 6 from 11:30 a.m. till 1 p.m. After next Sunday there will be a break for a few weeks and the next library day after that will be Sunday, January 27, from 11:30 a.m. till 1 p.m.

That means that books taken out from this point on will not be due back until January 27. Stock up now through January 6 and take enough to keep your family’s readers busy until reopening.

The library is located at 71-14 136 Street, Kew Gardens Hills, and can be reached at 917-497-7584. To borrow books, come by and leave some contact information and help yourself. No fees, no limit on number of selections. Books generally go out for two weeks (or longer over breaks) and can be renewed. Outside of library hours, books can also be returned through the mail slot next to the front door. (But please ring first, because if someone is home, it’s better for the books to be given by hand).

Speaking of books, could it be that you’ve got some to return? It’s always a good time to bring them back (no matter how late, no questions asked). The library does not charge fees but donations are always appreciated.

The library also welcomes donations of Torah-type books, especially children’s books; novels; short stories; biographies; etc. (no sefarim please). Monetary donations toward the purchase of books are appreciated, as are suggestions of what to buy.

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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