By Chanita Teitz

Who can forget those first unreal moments when we heard that Har HaBayis is in Israeli hands? The words of General Motta Gur, “Har HaBayit b’yadeinu” still ring in my ears, and I see the iconic picture of the three soldiers looking with awe at the Kotel while non-religious and religious soldiers were crying as Rav Goren said Shehecheyanu and blew the shofar. Finally, after 2,000 years, we had sovereignty over the Old City and Har HaBayis. (Unfortunately, Moshe Dayan gave the keys to Har HaBayis back to the Arab mufti of Yerushalayim. Being the nice guy and trying to appease the Arabs has backfired to this day.)

Today, we take so much for granted. Travel to Israel is still exciting, but not like years ago when the whole family would come to see you off. It used to be the trip of a lifetime, while today it is commonplace.

Our children and grandchildren study in Israel and they go to the Kotel without realizing that between 1948 and 1967 Jews were not allowed to go to the Kotel. They were kicked out of the Old City in 1948 by the Jordanians. My husband remembers his first trip to Israel, climbing up to Har Tzion to look down and get a glimpse of Har HaBayis.

Right after Shavuos, I will be going to Israel with my husband for the yahrzeits of both our mothers. If you have any announcements or press releases, you can send them directly to 5tjtstories@gmail.com. I wish all of you a wonderful, meaningful, and inspiring Shavuos. L’shana ha’ba’ah b’Yerushalayim!

YCQ Mix It Up Club Receives Recognition

By Leah Kalantarov and staff, grade 7

YCQ’s anti-bullying club, Mix It Up, was honored by the Anti-Defamation LeagueThe YCQ anti-bullying club, Mix It Up, held a “Be Kind Online” lunch run by adviser Mrs. Melissa Maisel, grade 7 language arts teacher. Before JHS students walked into the lunchroom they were given a sticker and each had different online apps; they then sat at the table that was labeled with their online app. A film made by the Mix It Up Club was then shown. When students returned to class they wrote how they pledge to be kind online. Maayan Itzhaky, a 7th-grader said, “I learned more about cyberbullying and the effects.” The Mix It Up Club would not have been able to put this day together if not for Mrs. Melissa Maisel, who said, “I am so proud of all the members of the Mix It Up Club. They are dedicated to keeping YCQ the safe place it is.” Cyberbullying is a big problem, especially in middle school. YCQ has taken the challenge to end it!

Last week, the club was invited to a special recognition ceremony in Manhattan sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League. Yeshiva of Central Queens is one of 153 schools named as a No Place for Hate School for the third year in a row. We are the only Jewish Day School given this award. We also received an extra star on our banner for all the amazing work we did this year. Our “Be Kind Online” program, Mix It Up lunches, and teaching lessons to the elementary-school classes about bullying are just a few of the activities we have done this year. Thanks to Orli Betesh, Esti Ruben, Talya Gazal, Yael Itzhakov, Noa Itzaky, Shira Rosoff, David Azulay, Yonatan Dahan, Raymond Tawil, Daniel Gol, Avi Haimpour, and Eldad Besalel for joining club adviser Mrs. Maisel on this special day. Thanks to all the Mix It Up members for another great year!

BYQ Eighth-Graders Explore Coding

BYQ eighth-graders learn the basics of computer coding

BYQ’s eighth grade was introduced to the basics of computer coding when they began learning programming language, an educational language based on Java. Initially, students were skeptical of their abilities to write meaningful code, but by the end of the first lesson, most of them had picked up enough of the computer language and syntax to produce color and shapes. The girls learned how computers recognize commands exactly as written, in the order it is written. They incorporated variables and loops into their program to allow shapes to move across the screen. By the end of the unit, all students were able to complete their own unique design. Many advanced further, programming the mouse, allowing it to control movements on the screen. This enabled girls’ abilities to code their own moving spider webs, as well as a simple Pac Man game, complete with scorekeeper!

Mrs. Jackie Bitton Inspires Shevach Mothers and Daughters

On Sunday, June 3, Shevach High School’s eagerly anticipated annual Mother–Daughter Breakfast took place at the Young Israel of Hillcrest. A full house turned out to enjoy a spiritually uplifting morning, as well as a scrumptious spread.

The audience was completely attuned to Mrs. Jackie Bitton, who regaled them with her heartfelt words on the topic of hakaras ha’tov, gratitude. This was a fitting culmination of the yearlong theme of hakaras ha’tov that Shevach introduced with its Yom Iyun and Shabbaton.

Mrs. Bitton explained that the feeling of gratitude and its verbal expression is not a natural emotion. We need to recognize the good that others do for us and train ourselves to express our appreciation. She noted that although gratitude may not be an automatic response, we are called Yehudim, from the root hoda’ah, which means gratitude. We can and must be a grateful people. In order to accomplish this, we have to put gratitude into our consciousness.

Mrs. Bitton then gave practical advice on how to achieve this. First, give others (and especially your children!) partial credit. Even if the end result is not as you would want it to be, focusing on the positive, even a small positive, encourages the child to pursue more positive actions. Second, focus on what you do have, and not on what is missing. The ability to shine the spotlight on the good will help the negative recede into the background. And finally, strive to go higher without putting others down. Since every one of us is a bas melech, a true princess, we should recognize and appreciate others’ strengths as well as our own.

Mrs. Bitton spoke emotionally about her close friend, Mrs. Gail Sasoon, who although having gone through a personal holocaust with the loss of seven children in a house fire, maintains a tremendous simchas ha’chaim and feelings of gratitude to Hashem for all the berachos in her life. Her vivid personification of Mrs. Sasoon’s attitude was a source of inspiration to all.

Upcoming Events

Shiur HaChodesh For Women By Women, Wednesday, June 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Etz Chaim, 147-19 73 Avenue, Kew Gardens Hills. Presented by the Rabbi Israel D. Rosenberg Educational Institute of Congregation Etz Chaim. Prof. Elisheva Carlebach: “Loving the Stranger? Membership and Alienation in Early Modern Jewish Communities. Suggested donation: $6. For further information please contact Hadassah Waxman at hwaxman@earthlink.net or 718-261-0766.

Teenage Culinary Camp at Bnos Malka, June 24–27, with Restaurant Night on June 27. For the fourth summer, Bnos Malka will be hosting the Culinary Camp for Teenage Girls. The four-day, hands-on experience is an intensive program from Claire’s Kosher Kitchen. The topics covered include knife skills and food safety; stocks, soups, and sauces; and braising, roasting, and pan searing of beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables. The girls will make artisan breads and fresh pasta and will learn the secrets of making a French omelet. The climax of the program has been the impressive Restaurant Night, where the “aspiring chefs” prepare a six-course meal for invited guests. Each girl, with her partner, is responsible for creating, plating, and serving one of the courses. One parent from last year remarked, “I was blown away by the complexity of the meal the girls prepared, how organized they were to serve each course to 35 people all at once, and how much my daughter learned in four days. My daughter was beaming with pride and so were we.”

The camp is limited to 16 girls and is scheduled each year between the end of the school term and the start of the official summer camp season. For more information, contact Claire’s Kosher Kitchen at 347-470-6860.

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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