‘Music for Autism’ Concert. Music for Autism and the JCC of the Greater Five Towns proudly present “Music for Autism,” an interactive concert for individuals with autism and their families. The event is scheduled for Sunday, April 27, at 11:00 a.m. at the JCC Early Childhood Center, Temple Israel, 140 Central Avenue, Lawrence, NY 11559 (entrance on Winchester Avenue). Admission is free, but attendees must register (see below).

The theme is a Passover musical celebration! A festive mix of klezmer, Yiddish, Hebrew, and Broadway standards and comedy, with something to please every taste. The Dmitri and Doug Klezmer duo features Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch (clarinet, saxophone, piano, and more) and Doug Leblang (piano, accordion, keyboard, and more).

This concert is part of the Linda Rodgers Emory Concert Series generously underwritten by the Richard and Dorothy Rodgers Fund of UJA-Federation.

Music for Autism is enriching lives and raising public awareness through autism-friendly interactive concerts developed specifically for individuals with autism and their families. The concerts, held in the United States and the United Kingdom, feature professional musicians, including Tony Award winners and Grammy-nominated classical artists.

Music for Autism concerts are fully subsidized and free for individuals with autism and their family members, but RSVPs are essential. Please RSVP under the “Concert Calendar” on www.musicforautism.org (preferred) or by calling 877-863-7473.

Help Me Get Through My Day! Being a kid can be stressful. Being a kid with an autism spectrum disorder can be very stressful. Being the parent of a kid with an autism spectrum disorder can be very, very stressful! Help Me Get Through My Day! is an interactive workshop where we practice simple, fun relaxation techniques to relieve stress and empower ourselves, and learn how to teach our kids to find a sense of calm among all the chaos. Please wear comfortable clothing; bring a mat, towel, or small blanket, and be prepared to take two hours for yourself.

With over 90 years of experience in direct service and training programs, Ramapo for Children (www.ramapoforchildren.org) has developed a unique ability to create inclusive environments that promote positive behavioral change, foster skill development, and help support learning and personal growth. At the heart of the Ramapo Approach is the ability to equip educators and other caregivers with the skills they need to build trusting relationships, serve as effective role models, and handle challenging behaviors constructively.

This event, which is free to attend, is scheduled for Wednesday, May 7, 7:00—9:00 p.m., at JCC of the Greater Five Towns, 207 Grove Avenue, Cedarhurst, NY 11516. If you are interested in attending, please contact Gayle Fremed at 516-569-6733, ext. 211, or e-mail gayle.fremed@fivetownsjcc.org.

This workshop is made possible through the generous support of the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. v

z7MVP’s All-Stars

On Sunday, April 6, MVP Basketball hosted its 6th Annual Boys’ All-Star Day. The daylong program featured five games with all-star players from 27 yeshivas throughout the NY/NJ metro area, as selected by their coaches. This year, two new grades were added to the fun-filled day, as 6th and 7th grades were added to 8th-grade, high school, JV, and varsity games. Each of the participants received MVP All-Star Day T-Shirts.

The players represented Yeshiva Har Torah, HALB, MDY, HAFTR, HANC, North Shore, YCQ, Flatbush, Derech Hatorah, YNJ, Moriah, Ramaz, Brandeis, RPRY, Yavneh, Westchester Day School, Barkai, DRS, Rambam, Shaare Torah, JEC, MTA, TABC, Heschel, Frisch, Kushner, and SAR, and the teams were coached by coaches from the Yeshiva Leagues.

The games were extremely competitive and some came down to the last possession. At halftime of each game, the MVP 3-Point Shootout featured “specialists” as selected by their coaches. Each 3-point champion received an MVP Shootout trophy. Two MVPs from each all-star game–one from the winning team and one from the losing team–were awarded MVP trophies as well. The 3-Point champions were 6th grade: Oren Betesh, YCQ; 7th grade: Jack Guindi, MDY; 8th grade: Michael Tsor, Brandeis; JV: David Lowinger, Kushner; Varsity: Justin Hod, Frisch. The game MVPs were 6th grade: Matthew Jedwab, HAFTR and Shmuli Coates, YNJ; 7th grade: Moshe Lati and Barkai and Jack Rosow, Flatbush; 8th grade: Yosef Kaminetsky, HALB, and Nathaniel Rabanipour, North Shore; JV: Abie Perlow, DRS, and Mayer Scharlat, Frisch; Varsity: Cody Cohen, North Shore, and Mordechai Weiss, Kushner. The games were attended by many spectators including family, friends, and teammates.

This event is the kickoff for MVP Basketball Camp 2014. Now entering its 6th successful year, MVP Basketball is the premier Jewish basketball camp, taking place in the magnificent setting of Camp Seneca Lake at the end of August (8/24—8/28) and–new for 2014–the MVP father/son camp, 8/28—8/31. For more information and to be part of MVP, please contact Judah Rhine (516-707-2638, gefen18@aol.com) or Irv Bader (718-261-2267, info@senecalake.com) or visit www.senecalake.com and click on the MVP link.

MVP Basketball: All Ball, All the Time–where every player can be an MVP. v

From top, L—R: Benny Einhorn, Eli Koenigsburg, Yisroel Munk, Avi Fuchs, Avraham Goodfreund, Elisha Leibhart, Moshe Klein, Yoel Wagschal, Aronie Slansky, Jack “Lobo,” Chaim “Lobo” Silber, Yaakov Gross, and mascot Tzachie Slansky
From top, L—R: Benny Einhorn, Eli Koenigsburg, Yisroel Munk, Avi Fuchs, Avraham Goodfreund, Elisha Leibhart, Moshe Klein, Yoel Wagschal, Aronie Slansky, Jack “Lobo,” Chaim “Lobo” Silber, Yaakov Gross, and mascot Tzachie Slansky

YFL Championship Results

It took nearly two hours to determine the winner in the Yeshiva Football League championship game on motzaei Shabbos, April 5. This match lived up to the hype of the weeks preceding it. Chaim Silber’s Lobos ultimately came out on top, 25—18 over the Crimson Tide, in a whopping four overtimes, which featured three ties along the way. Led by a stifling defense and a steady offense, in addition to an over-energetic crowd, the Lobos won in dramatic fashion and added to their legacy and tradition of winning, putting yet another trophy on “Mr. Lobos’” shelf.

The game started with a standstill. Each team’s defense showcased their skills in many areas. For the Lobos, it was defensive lineman Moshe Klein who got to the Tide’s QB, Elimelech Sperling, with a combination of strength, speed, and agility. Moshe’s pass-rushing ability was complemented by the stout play of cornerbacks Aronie Slansky and Eli Koenigsburg, as well as Avrohom “Goody” Goodfreund, who shut down the Tide’s top threats in Schwartzbaum and Rekant. The same could be said for the Tide defensive line that got to QB Yaakov Gross early in the game. Thanks to the Lobos’ defense, the Tide still couldn’t punch their ticket into the end zone, and it remained a scoreless ballgame at half.

In the second half, things started out more or less the same, as neither team had the ability to advance the ball down the field. While Lobos’ linemen Moshe Klein, Avi Fuchs, Benny Einhorn, and Yisroel Munk had their way at the line, sacking Sperling on numerous occasions and disrupting the pocket to make him scramble, QB Yaakov Gross was getting attacked on the line as well, resorting to many designed short-run plays for the Lobos. With just a couple of minutes to play in the second half, Yaakov aired the ball out downfield, and Lobos’ speedy wideout Yoel Wagschal came down with the rock on the Crimson Tide’s 20-yard line. After that huge gain, Gross tossed a quick out to Goody to put the Lobos on the board 6—0 with just 23 seconds left on the clock. The Lobos did not convert on the extra point, and just when the game was about to end, Sperling took the snap and sprinted down the field, evading Lobos’ defenders, and miraculously ran it into the end zone to tie the score at six. Lobos fans were stunned, but breathed a sigh of relief when the Tide extra-point attempt was stopped as time expired.

In overtime, both teams traded unsuccessful first drives. On their second drive, the Lobos faced a critical third-and-short in which Yaakov tossed a TD to Goody on a quick slant to put the Lobos up 12—6. Many spectators were heading for the exits when the Tide faced fourth down against the stifling Lobos’ defense that was invincible all game. Tide’s receiver Moshe Azencot leaped in the back of the end zone for the tying touchdown, which sent everyone, players and fans alike, into shock. But that shock was only momentary, as the Lobos came roaring back with another touchdown, this one a 15-yard slant to Goody to punch it in. Once again, the Lobos failed to convert on the extra point and the Tide answered with another touchdown to tie the ballgame at 18. Tide’s receiver Schwartzbaum caught the ball on the extra-point attempt and barreled his way into the end zone, when the unthinkable happened. Just as he was about to cross the plane for the win, Goodfreund snatched his flag and made the “clutchest” play of the game for the Lobos. That gave the Lobos’ fans life, and Tzachie Slansky, helped by Ariel Samuels, led the chants and pumped up the crowd and the team.

Under Elisha Leibhart’s fierce leadership, the Lobos began to breathe a new sign of life. With the crowd roaring their support, the Lobos’ offense quickly scored a TD with a Yaakov run, and then converted the extra point on a fade to Elisha Leibhart in the back of the end zone. The Lobos’ defense finally clamped down on the Tide’s offense and secured the hard-earned win. Sperling congratulated the Lobos for a hard-fought game, while it was clear everyone was completely gassed out. Meanwhile, Chaim “Lobo” Silber, along with grandson Jack, celebrated yet another championship and was thoroughly impressed with the team. It was said to Mr. Lobo before the season, “We will win, no matter what it takes.” And that, folks, is just what happened.

The YFL is a flag football league currently about to start its third successful season, under Commissioner Gary Blatter. For more information please visit yflinfo.com or follow them on Twitter @YFL6. v

Eliezer Cohen and his grandson  Shmuel Yaakov Cohen entering  Penn Station after the siyum
Eliezer Cohen and his grandson
Shmuel Yaakov Cohen entering
Penn Station after the siyum

Rolling On To The Next Chapter

By Eliezer Cohen

A cloudy sky and rain met commuters as they made their way to work on March 31. But this was not a typical day for the 7:49 train from Far Rockaway and the contingent that was planning to attend a special event on the commute to Penn Station. The conductor was amazed as the train pulled into Inwood and was met by an unusually large crowd of people of all ages. This scene was repeated at the various stations along the Five Towns route, where anashim, nashim, v’taf–men, women, and children of all ages–packed the platforms as they gathered for this historic ride into NYC.

It is not often that one gets to celebrate a siyum haShas. This siyum was an exemplification of “u’v’lechticha baderech.” There are many people who learn or recite Tehillim on their daily commute. But there are not many daf yomi shiurim given in this type of venue. The first rule for this shiur is “you must be on time.” Due to the train schedule, participants and the maggid shiur do not have the luxury of coming a few minutes late.

The event was organized through the efforts of Yossie Klein, Sholom Fried, and Eliezer Cohen, the current maggidei shiur. They had no idea how many people would elect to participate. Much to their surprise, the train quickly filled at Inwood and Lawrence stations. By the time the train reached Cedarhurst, where the refreshments generously provided by Gourmet Glatt were waiting, the train was standing-room-only. Along with the maggid shiur of the next train, Menachem Adler, and the members of his LIRR shiur, former maggidei shiur Rabbi Pesach Lerner and Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, founder Aryeh Markovich, and original members Elliot Krischer and Mendy Weissman also joined the celebration. The siyum was dedicated in memory of Elliot’s parents who were both niftar in the last two years.

As hashgacha pratis would have it, original members of the shiur just happened to be in town and were on the train. Rabbi Pesach Lerner, the original maggid shiur, thanked the LIRR for their years of support and made a presentation to them as a token of gratitude for hosting the shiur for the past 23 years. After Sholom Fried finished the masechta, Rabbi Adler said the hadran, and Elliot Krischer said Kaddish, the car erupted in singing as shouts of mazal tov were exchanged. Having attended several siyumim in Madison Square Garden, as well as the siyum at MetLife stadium, I must say that the “amein yehei shemei rabba” response during the Kaddish was earth-shattering. The feelings of emotion, joy, and gratitude to the Ribbono shel Olam that ran through the participants was like a jolt of electricity. As my 12-year-old grandson Shmuel Yaakov Cohen said, the echo of those words were so loud it was like a Yom Kippur davening.

The presence of the wide spectrum of Klal Yisrael shows how important limud haTorah is in our community. People changed their schedules, took children to the city, and incurred the expense of riding the LIRR simply to be enveloped in the aura of kavod haTorah. They were not disappointed. When the goal is to honor Torah and learners of Torah for no reason other than the accomplishment of setting aside time to learn, you have demonstrated to yourself and the next generation what is the ikar, primary pursuit, of a Jew and what is the tafel, secondary. As Jews we must always make Torah the ikar, especially when we are traveling to work where we certainly need siyatta d’Shmaya to succeed. If you don’t look for providence, hashgacha pratis, you will not see it. But if you look, you will see it everywhere. Many in the Far Rockaway—Five Towns community must travel to the city for work. Most use the LIRR. So if there is a shiur available that enables you to start your day with a seder or an extra limud, why not make the most of what is available? There are two shiurim daily in the last car of the 7:49 and 8:10 trains. Hope to see you.

It should be noted that the daily daf shiur has given birth to many examples of hashgacha since its inception in 1991. There have been kiruv opportunities, shidduchim, families making aliyah or people becoming chozrim b’teshuvah due to the exposure to the daf. We have had many rabbanim join for the ride. The shiur, which is one of the most famous in the world, has been featured on the BBC, on French and Italian TV, and in documentaries and print media across the globe. One participant that we have longed to greet but have not yet had the z’chus is Jonathan Pollard. Our learning continues on his behalf and we hope that one day, very soon, Rabbi Lerner will be able to bring him as he makes his way to Eretz Yisrael. v

Rambam Mesivta To Protest At Ukrainian Consulate

In observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day, hundreds of students, parents, and teachers from the Rambam Mesivta High School will be holding a rally outside the Ukrainian Consulate at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday, April 27, to protest the recent outburst of anti-Semitism in Ukraine. In the past few weeks, synagogues have been defaced with swastikas and torched with firebombs. Just last week, during the Passover holiday, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the main synagogue in the Ukrainian city of Nikolayev. A rabbi walking to the synagogue was recently stabbed.

Anti-Semitic vandals also defaced tombstones in the Jewish cemetery. According to rally organizer Rabbi Zev Friedman, “anti-Semitism has a history of fertile grounds in the Ukraine. It is a well-known fact that Babi Yar, which is right outside of Kiev, was the site of the brutal massacre of close to 35,000 Jews in a one-week period in September 1941. Ukraine needs to aggressively condemn all acts of anti-Semitism taking place in the country and issue a public statement of their resolve to protect the Jewish community.”

Just last week three masked men of either Ukrainian or Russian descent stood outside a synagogue in Donetsk handing out leaflets which demanded that the Jewish community register and declare their property. “This heinous act, which was designed to intimidate the Jewish community, is reminiscent of what the Nazis did during the Holocaust and needs to be firmly condemned, as Vice-President Biden did. We are holding this rally at the time of Holocaust Remembrance Day to protest and prevent further attacks on the Jewish community which have once again reared their head in the Ukraine,” said Friedman.

The Ukrainian Consulate is located at 240 East 49th Street, New York, NY 10017. For more information about the rally, call Rabbi Zev Friedman at 516-592-1176. v


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