By Chanita Teitz

We are in the weeks of Sefirah, counting the days until Shavuos. I asked a question over Shabbos. Why is it that in all our tefillos, we make the reference of “zecher l’yetzias Mitzrayim” but never “zecher l’matan Torah.” Isn’t receiving the Torah an equally important watershed event in Jewish history that made us the people we are?

The answer I received is that without leaving Mitzrayim, we would never have been able to get the Torah or observe it. Getting the Torah was the icing on the cake; it was the completion of the redemption. But the redemption itself was life-changing.

We are in the days of Sefirah and also Yom HaShoah. “Zecher l’yetzias Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, and all the other concentration camps.” Clinging to our emunah in the face of darkness and torture brought us to where we are today, alive, thriving, and able to stand tall in memory of those of our families and our people who did not survive. We bear witness for them.

We are commanded to feel “k’ilu, as if” we came out of Mitzrayim. We pass that down to our children at the Seder every year. We must also teach our children and grandchildren to feel as if we were saved from the Holocaust, the modern-day Mitzrayim, where hard labor was mixed with beatings, whipping, torture, and death.

We must never forget. As the years pass, we must not let the Holocaust become a faded memory. We must teach our children and grandchildren and make sure that each subsequent generation feels the loss, pain, and the brutality that oppressed our nation. We must not let the deniers succeed. We cannot be complacent.

We must remember all of the pivotal events of our history. Just a week after Yom HaShoah, we will commemorate Yom  HaZikaron, the day before Yom  HaAtzma’ut. On that day, we remember all the soldiers who fell in all of Israel’s wars, and the victims of terror, murdered in bus bombings, car rammings, kidnappings, missiles, and shooting sprees in malls, hotels, and too many other locations. A month of remembering.

The icing on the cake, the completion of our exile and wandering, will be the coming of Mashiach and the building of the third Beis HaMikdash. May it be soon, in our days.

School News

Rabbi Bentzion Klatzko Addresses Shevach’s Leil Iyun. As the students of Shevach High School walked into school on what they thought was a typical Monday morning, they were in for a pleasant surprise. Instead of the usual walls they were accustomed to seeing, they were greeted by a beautifully decorated lobby, which had been transformed into a “street” with “storefronts.” Emblazoned upon the wall was the theme of the day; “Care-Connect-Communicate.” The objective was “Acquire for yourself a friend.” Each of the storefronts, with canopies and all, artistically depicted different methods of communication. This set the tone for later in the evening, when the girls eagerly headed down to the multipurpose room for Shevach’s first-ever Mishmeres leil iyun. This memorable event was headed by devoted Mishmeres heads Baila Neuman, Hindy Seigel, and Perel Schwartz under the guidance and input of Shevach staff member Ms. Elka Feder.

At the end of the school day, the Shevach students were treated to a satisfying supper, after which they settled down to hear a brief introduction from one of Shevach’s beloved halachah teachers, Rabbi Aryeh Sokoloff, rav of the Kew Gardens Synagogue. Rabbi Sokoloff clearly instilled in the girls the concept that although at times it may seem difficult to communicate, it is essential in fostering and maintaining relationships. He highlighted this point by contrasting it to individuals who unfortunately have special needs and are unable to communicate properly.

In the next portion of the program, the girls enjoyed a beautiful choir, composed and headed by Shevach students Shani Sommers and Chavi Ribowsky, which clearly portrayed the importance of real friendships. This was followed by a video which dramatically demonstrated how technology often prevents us from communicating properly. The students then went upstairs to participate in interesting and engaging workshops on this topic, headed by Shevach alumnae, and enjoyed and appreciated by all present.

Following some light refreshments, for the grand finale of the evening, the Shevach girls were addressed by world-renowned speaker Rabbi Bentzion Klatzko. Rabbi Klatzko powerfully demonstrated the significance of relationships, and the effect technology can have on communication. He held the girls spellbound as he recounted amazing personal stories that clearly demonstrated the concept of true friendship. His idea of using FODWA, fear of dying without accomplishing, to replace FOMO, fear of missing out, powerfully brought the message home to the girls to recognize what is truly important in life–the types of relationships we have. The girls left the evening with the clarity that yes, technology is here to stay, but it is crucial not to forget the importance of a “real” friend, and that nothing can replace human face-to-face interaction.

Upcoming Events

Two-Part Lecture Series in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of Yom Yerushalayim. Utopia Jewish Center and the Young Israel Of Hillcrest proudly present renowned rabbi, author, and lecturer Rabbi Berel Wein at the Young Israel Of Hillcrest, 169-07 Jewel Avenue in Flushing. Call 718-969-2990 for information. Thursday, April 27, 8:15 p.m. “50 Years of a United Jerusalem–Before,” and Wednesday, May 3, 8:15 p.m. “50 Years of a United Jerusalem—After” This lecture series is generously cosponsored by Mrs. Joyce Golin and family in memory of the upcoming yahrzeit of Mr. Fred Golin.

Rabbi Berel Wein is the founder and director of the Destiny Foundation, which has popularized Jewish history for over 20 years via worldwide lectures, seminars, tours, and numerous audio and visual media. Rabbi Wein graduated from Roosevelt College, Hebrew Theological College in Chicago, and received his juris doctor degree from De Paul University Law School, and a doctor of Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Theological College. After practicing law for several years, Rabbi Wein served first as the rabbi of Beth Israel Congregation in Miami Beach, Florida, and then as rabbi of Congregation Bais Torah in Suffern, NY. Subsequently, Rabbi Wein served as the executive vice-president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. Rabbi Wein founded Yeshiva Shaarei Torah in Suffern and served as rosh ha’yeshiva for 20 years. Rabbi Wein is known worldwide for his prolific authorship in Jewish history, halachah, and Talmud. Among his many publications, Triumph of Survival: The Story of the Jews in the Modern Era and Heralds of Destiny: The Medieval Era are two of his highly acclaimed works. He has received several awards recognizing his major contributions to teaching Torah and Judaism. Rabbi Wein presently lives and teaches in Jerusalem, and serves as the rabbi of Ha’Nassi Synagogue in Rechavia. All men and women are invited to attend.

Annual Holocaust Remembrance. The Young Israel of Queens Valley invites the entire community to the seudah shlishis program, Shabbos Parashas Tazria-Metzora, 3 Iyar/April 29. Minchah at 6:00 p.m., followed by program: Mr. Ernest Rubinstein, child survivor of Bergen-Belsen; representing the second generation, Meyer Jeger, Esq.; representing the third generation, Orie Shapiro, Esq; and HaRav Shmuel Marcus, mara d’asra. The program is dedicated l’iluy nishmas Aharon Dov ben Ephraim, in memory of Mr. Martin Dov Berger, z’l.

As in the past, we are soliciting sponsors for the event. The funds will be used to defray the costs of the program and the seudah shlishis. Any excess funds will help victims of terror in Israel. Sponsorship begins at $25 per family. Reserved seating for sponsors. Family names will be listed in the program for the event. To sponsor, fill in the online form and mail your check to the shul:

Taking Time To Focus: Tools to help with Kavana. Tuesday, May 2, 8:00 p.m. Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller will present at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, 147-02 73rd Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills.

Rabbi Meir Goldwicht Weekly Parashas HaShavuah Shiur. The world-renowned YU maggid shiur and rebbe presents in easy-to-understand Hebrew at Young Israel of Hillcrest, 169-07 Jewel Ave. on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Shiur HaChodesh for Women by Women. Rabbi Israel D. Rosenberg Educational Institute of Congregation Etz Chaim presents a monthly program of advanced shiurim. Wednesday, May 3, 7:45 p.m. Congregation Etz Chaim, 147-19 73 Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills. Prof. Elisheva Carlebach speaking on “Meyaldot Ivriyot: Delivering Life in Early Modern Communities.” Suggested donation: $5. Some of the refreshments will be dairy. For further information, please contact Hadassah Waxman,, 718-261-0766.

5th Annual Big Chazaq Event. Monday, May 8 at Elite Palace, 69-02 Garfield Avenue in Woodside. Featuring R’ Yitzchak Dovid Grossman, Charlie Harary, R’ Eli Mansour, and R’ Zecharia Wallerstein. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and program begins at 8:00 p.m. promptly. Ticket prices are $18, $36, $50, and VIP. For information and tickets call 718-285-9132 or 917-617-3636, e-mail, or visit

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 e-mail


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