Another family-packed Chanukah comes to a close. Can we let some of the light, excitement, and joy last the rest of the year? Outside the world is scary. At home with my smiling grandchildren, all is bright and happy. I don’t want to leave the cocoon of Chanukah. The week flew by with so many parties: a fiftieth anniversary for my machatanim, a Chanukah party at the 5TJT, a Persian wedding, a family bris, and of course Shabbos Chanukah and Sunday with my kids and grandkids. Chanukah and post-Chanukah birthdays, too.
The big debate is whether Jews must arm themselves and whether every shul, school, yeshiva, etc. needs an armed guard. Where are we living, the Wild West?
Historically, Jews had no means of getting guns to protect themselves and their families. Today, we can. And we live in a country that will protect us. But we can’t rely totally on government. We must help ourselves too.
Where is this hate coming from? Why such outward antisemitism? I just read an article online that the police must start treating the antisemitic acts as terrorist acts and find the terrorist cell that is behind them. More than random acts of hate, some of these attacks are planned and political.
By the time you read this, the Siyum Hashas will be over. I hope that along with the celebration, they address this nightmare we live with daily all around the Jewish world. And let’s keep remembering the nes of Chanukah. They can’t extinguish the flame of Torah; they can’t extinguish the flame of Yiddishkeit. Let the light of the menorah burn brightly from this Chanukah to the next and may Hashem continue to protect us with miracles in our days as He has throughout our history.
BYQ: General Studies and Chanukah-Themed Learning
Integrating Chanukah throughout general studies learning added “an extra spin” all week at BYQ! Although every grade celebrated with Chanukah activities, here are some highlights. The first graders thoroughly enjoyed their special Chanukah-themed activities!
The girls spun dreidels and created graphs to show their results. What a fun way to explore graphs. They practiced writing adjectives to describe delicious Chanukah foods and beautiful Chanukah pictures of doughnuts, menorahs, and latkes. Reading practice turned into a Chanukah activity when the girls spun a dreidel that had a consonant blend on each side. They wrote words beginning with those blends on their own paper dreidels. The girls matched flames and candle numerals to their number words and glued them on to a menorah.
Older grades had Chanukah in the air, as well! The fourth graders practiced their multiplication by multiplying two-digit “latkes” and finding the products. They “lit the menorah” and multiplied the numbers on the candles. Writing their own Chanukah word problems was fun problem-solving practice, especially when the problems featured Mrs. Bergman buying doughnuts and Mrs. Reisbaum buying dreidels. The girls also designed “division menorah” showing a different way to find the quotient on each candle, including repeated subtraction and dividing with place value pieces.
The sixth graders drew menorahs on number lines, practicing their negative and positive numbers while following directions about where to draw each part. They also enjoyed Dreidel Olympics, playing dreidel in groups and then cheering on the winners as they played against winners from other groups until one class winner was declared. The Chanukah spirit was definitely in the air at Bais Yaakov of Queens!
40 Talmidim Participate in Yeshivas HaMasmidim Chagigah
By Shabsie Saphirstein
Yeshivas HaMasmidim of Queens, a project of the Agudath Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, celebrated Chanukah with a lively chagigah this past Thursday evening. Over 40 boys, all from local yeshivos in grades 3–6, spend an hour on Monday evenings furthering their Torah learning in a beautiful display of a kiddush Hashem.
Rabbi Elliot Hecht, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County Middle School principal and proud father of a masmid, was invited as a guest lecturer to share a powerful story. At the Kosel HaMa’aravi a man named Dovid, who was dressed in a religious manner, encountered Shlomo, an individual who appeared non-religious, crying relentlessly at the holy wall to his Creator. Dovid lent an ear for Shlomo to share his struggles and soon they parted ways.
For Dovid, the story faded with the passing of time as he had no way to contact Shlomo. Two years later, Dovid once again visited the Kosel and noticed an individual dressed in a white shirt and black hat continuously staring in his direction. Hesitantly, the man called out, “It is me: Shlomo!” Dovid was simply astonished at this transformation. Shlomo revealed that the night they originally met he was supposed to return to America and went to the Kosel filled with intense pain unsure where his life would lead. “When I saw how a religious man like you cared so much to spend time with a non-religious boy like me, I wanted to emulate your ways,” divulged Shlomo.
Rabbi Hecht elucidated the tale. If we encounter someone who seems to be in a bad mood, we should not turn our backs on them, rather ask if we can talk despite how weird it may feel. The Torah tells us that the butcher did not remember Yosef and Yosef in turn forgot the butcher. The question is asked why both statements are required. It is explained that Yosef had intentions to put his faith in the butcher, but when Yosef realized the butcher would not be of help, he placed all his emunah in his Creator. Always remember to have full belief that Hashem will guide your path.
Rabbi Aliezer Shedrowitzky, rav emeritus of the Agudath Israel of KGH joined the festivities alongside Rav Moshe Sokoloff, the shul’s mara d’asra and Nochum Shmuel Hartman, its president.
Various prizes were awarded to raffle winners, highlighted by third grader Moshe Sarles who won a new Shas.
Shiur HaChodesh for Women by Women Wednesday, January 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Etz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills, 147-19 73rd Avenue. The speaker will be Reb. Abby Lerner, national director of conversion services, RCA who will give a shiur: “Women’s Exemption from Time-Bound Mitzvot: Where We Are Today.” Suggested donation: $6.
Hillcrest Shuls Choir. Boys in grades 1 through 7 who enjoy singing and live in Kew Gardens Hills, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, and neighboring communities are welcome to apply. The group will perform at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Queens (and Long Island), bringing simcha of song to the residents and families. The performances will be, iy’h, on chol ha’moed Pesach and Sukkot and on Chanukah and Purim (possibly more), with a weekly practice, which will take place at Torah Center of Hillcrest. The participation requires only commitment and there are no tryouts or fees. Contact Yehiel Levy, choir master at 201-421-8422 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Yerachmiel Bochner, musical director at 347-556-6485 or email@example.com.
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.