July 31, 2012
GNS MEN’S CLUB PRESENTS
Lt. Col. Stephen Labate (R)
You came to hear Congressman Steve Israel
Now come and hear his opponent
On Wednesday, August 8, at 8:00 pm
The Great Neck Synagogue Men’s Club
is pleased to host Lt. Col. Stephen Labate (R), the candidate
opposing Congressman Steve Israel in the 3rd district (which
includes Great Neck) on August 8, at 8 pm. He will speak on
Israel, the Mid‐East and foreign/defense policy.
Stephen Labate attended St. John’s University where he received his
B.A. in Political Science and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant
in the U.S. Army. Stephen is currently an active member of the
Army Reserve. Having accomplished his mission as an officer in the
United States Army and Army Reserve, Stephen has now set his
sights on serving his country as a member of Congress, representing
New York’s Third Congressional District.
Stephen served as a Force Protection Officer in one of the most
heavily attacked installations in Northern Iraq. In support of
Operation Noble Eagle II, Stephen had the distinct honor to
command the soldiers of the 306th Military Police Battalion for a
As a member of the Army Reserve, Stephen has been called to
Active Duty three times since the attacks of 9‐11. His most recent
service was twelve months at the Pentagon as a member of the
Army’s Crisis Action Team, regularly participating in the creation of
high‐level briefings to the Secretary of the Army and the Vice Chief
of Staff of the Army.
Stephen’s civilian experience is in the financial services sector where
he holds a Certified Retirement Counselor designation from the
International Foundation of Retirement Education. Stephen and his
wife, Leticia, reside in Suffolk County with their young twins.
Refreshments will be served.
July 31, 2012
Mazal Tov to Shulamit & Moussa Soleimani on the upcoming marriage of their son Jacob to Jacklyn Saxe,daughter of Gila & Keith Saxe.
Mazal Tov to Henry & Rochelle Dicker on the upcoming marriage of their grandson Asaf Feldman son of Adina & Yorai Feldman of Israel.
Mazal Tov to Ralene & Andrew Adler on the birth of a grandson born to their children Erica & Randall Katz in Atlanta.
July 31, 2012
Kiddush is sponsored by Great Neck Synagogue.
Bima Flowers are sponsored by Shulamit & Moussa Soleimani in honor of the marriage of their son Jacob to Jacklyn Saxe.
July 31, 2012
Parshas Vo’Eschanan is the second of eleven parshios in Sefer Devorim. The parsha contains 118 verses, including eight positive mitzvos and four prohibitions. Chapter 7, verses 3 and 4, present the prohibition of marrying a non-Jew (translation adapted from R. Chaim Miller who bases it on Rashi):
|ג וְלֹא תִתְחַתֵּן בָּם; בִּתְּךָ לֹא-תִתֵּן לִבְנוֹ, וּבִתּוֹ לֹא-תִקַּח לִבְנֶךָ.||3 You must not intermarry with them. You must not give your daughter to their son, and you must not take their daughter for your son.|
|ד כִּי-יָסִיר אֶת-בִּנְךָ מֵאַחֲרַי, וְעָבְדוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים; וְחָרָה אַף- יְקוָק בָּכֶם, וְהִשְׁמִידְךָ מַהֵר.||4 For (one of their sons) will turn away your (grand)son from following Me, and they will worship other gods. Then G-d’s anger will be kindled against you, and He will quickly destroy you.|
Rashi (1040-1105) focuses on the Torah’s warning that one of their sons will subvert your grandson, while it does not warn that one of their daughters will do the same. The son of your daughter is a Jew called “your grandson,” while the son of a non-Jew’s daughter is not a Jew and not called “your grandson.” The religion of the mother determines the religion of the child.
Rambam (1135-1204): The penalty for intermarriage with any non-Jewish person, from any nation, is flogging. Even though this violation does not receive the death penalty, you should not take it lightly, because it has severe consequences for the children of the marriage, weakens our nation, and harms our relationship with HaShem.
Rabbeinu Bachya (1255-1340) says that marriage in the legal sense does not exist between a Jew and a non-Jew (Kiddushin 68b), so these verses are not needed to tell us that we may not marry a non-Jewish Canaanite. Rather, they teach us that we may not even marry a Canaanite who has converted to Judaism. The Canaanites were guilty of more sins than any other nation, so the Torah is stricter with them than with proselytes of other nations (Yevamos 78b).
The Netziv (1816-1893) understands the Torah to command us to remain separate from other nations, based on Sanhedrin 104a. We are to live a badad/solitary existence. Of course, we must cordially engage with non-Jews in many areas of mutual benefit and welfare, and contribute to the world. But we must maintain a social distance, particularly in avoiding intermarriage. If we are the ones who keep ourselves badad, then the Torah promises us peace and prosperity, in Devorim 33:28, “Yisroel will live safely alone (betach badad), as Ya’akov blessed them, in a land of grain and wine with skies that drip dew.” If we do not keep a healthy distance from the other nations, and we intermarry with them, then the other nations themselves will violently push us away, as it says in the first verse of Megillas Eichoh, “How the city sits alone/badad that was full of people….”
R. Zalman Sorotzkin (1881-1966) sees another cautionary note in our verses. Some of us may have thought we could expand our population and gain national strength through conversion and intermarriage. The Torah tells us: “not because of a large population did HaShem choose you, for you are the fewest of all the peoples, but because of HaShem’s love for you….”
R. Elie Munk (1900-1981) Jewish law requires that marriage not only perpetuates the nation in numbers, but optimizes the quality of child-raising. That is why mixed marriages are severely prohibited and conversion requires extreme prudence and proper motivation.
R. Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986) was asked by a rabbi whether the son of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father could be called to the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah. He answered that private dealings with this family had to be different from public dealings. In private, we acknowledge that the boy is completely Jewish and try to strengthen his Yiddishkeit. He should have a good Jewish education. But, if the mother persists in living an entirely non-Jewish lifestyle, and the Bar Mitzvah is a pro forma, largely secular celebration, with no intention of future adherence to Torah and mitzvos, then we should not provide the public recognition of an aliyoh, so as not to suggest that we condone the intermarriage.
R. Nissan Dovid Dubov, director of Chabad in Wimbledon, U.K.: … To be born a Jew today is not an accident of birth but the sum total of over 3,300 years of ancestral self-sacrifice, of heroes who at times gave their very lives for their beliefs. Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Nazis and Communists all tried to obliterate Jewish practice and faith, but failed. The indomitable Jewish spirit survived and clung to its traditions despite all odds. And now, the very latest link of that glorious tradition has the option of severing the chain in one fell swoop - or not! … One may ask, however, why must I continue this chain, to pass on the traditions and to carry the baton just because my mazal was that I was born Jewish? There are plenty of others who will carry on the traditions. What difference does it make if I sidetrack a little and shunt myself into a dead-end? … Every Jew is compared to a letter in a Torah scroll. Even if only one letter is missing the entire scroll is incomplete and invalid. Every Jew is an ambassador of his people in his echelon in society. That is his G-d given responsibility and privilege. To shirk this responsibility is to deny oneself the ultimate privilege. … A Jewish woman who has already married out and borne children should be encouraged to give them a full Jewish education. There are today thousands of practicing Jews who only have a Jewish mother. However, to a couple contemplating intermarriage, the facts speak for themselves. Except in a small number of cases in which the mother is very determined and gives the child a very positive, strong Jewish education, in many cases the child grows up with a mixed and confused identity; in simple English, half-Jewish. Technically, there is no such thing - one is either 100% Jewish or not. However, in terms of identity, the child feels only half-Jewish. Even if the mother is a proud Jew, the father, whether atheist, agnostic, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, etc., does not share the same beliefs and values. Even if he is sympathetic, or even agrees to the child being brought up Jewish, there are bound to be differences. Does one celebrate Chanukah or Xmas, both or neither? Whichever one chooses is confusing or even contradictory. Many intermarried couples today celebrate both - but what sort of message does this give the child? Is the child Jewish, thus rejecting the notions of Christianity, or is the child a Christian with Jewish roots? It causes great confusion for the child and in many cases the child sees both faiths only on a superficial level, distanced by his parents from true belief. The child is also given the test of mixed allegiances. All passages of life create a problem. Should the child be circumcised, christened, both or neither? Should the child have a Bar Mitzvah or be confirmed, marry in a synagogue or a church, be buried in a Jewish cemetery or be cremated? … Wherever a Jew goes he will have an international support group that extends hospitality and help, if needed. By having a non-Jewish child one has extricated the child from that community and bequeathed alienation to him. Everybody wants to belong - it is a basic human need. Intermarriage causes great confusion to children with regard to where they actually belong. (He adds here that people change as they age, and much of the change is genetic. The person whom one marries in youth may evolve in time into quite a different person, more like his/her ancestors.) … On the other hand, a Jewish partner means a shared history and a shared destiny. … Statistics show that the percentage of separations and divorces among intermarried couples is greater than among marriages within the faith. … One would not wish to drag another party into an alliance which is likely to be troubled. If there is true love between the two parties, one would certainly not wish to cause the other this pain, and would readily forgo the prospect of immediate and short-lived pleasure in order to spare the other the probable result. Otherwise the professed love is tinged by selfishness.
A father once came to a rabbi with his daughter and asked the rabbi to persuade her not to marry out. The rabbi asked the daughter why she didn’t want to marry a Jew. She replied that her father never took her to synagogue, never ate kosher, never kept Shabbat or the festivals - in short, lived exactly like their non-Jewish neighbors, so why now the hypocrisy in demanding that she marry a Jew! The rabbi turned to the father and said that he agreed with her. The father was dumbstruck and then said that he had brought her to the rabbi to convince her not to marry out, and not to agree with her. The rabbi responded that, in order for her not to marry out, the father had to start living as a Jew. He suggested that the father should lay Tefillin daily and that his wife should start lighting the Shabbat candles. After a lot of persuasion the daughter eventually married a Jew.
July 31, 2012
July 26, 2012
Appropriate Laws for Tisha B’Av this year:
1) On this Shabbat - Shabbat Chazon - one is permitted to eat meat and drink wine at all of the meals, including seudah shlishit.
2) Seudah shlishit must be finished by 8:15 pm.
3) Preparations for the fast may not be made on Shabbat. Non-leather shoes or Kinot/Eichah books may not be brought to Shul on Shabbat afternoon. One should bring them to shul either on Friday evening before sunset or on Saturday night after Shabbat (9:00 PM).
4) Atta Chonantanu is recited during the Shmonah Esrei of Maariv, however, Havdalah is not recited after Maariv, nor is the blessing over spices. Havdalah is delayed until Sunday night before eating.
5) The blessing Borei Meorei HaEish (blessing over fire) is recited after Shabbat, preferably after Maariv and before Eichah, however one may recite this blessing upon returning home after services or anytime during the night.
6) Someone who needs to eat on Tisha B’Av for health reasons should first recite the Havdalah (over soda or juice), omitting the blessing over spices.
7) Upon rising in the morning of Tisha B’Av you may wash your fingers as far as the upper knuckles and wipe your eyes with damp fingers.
Tallit and Teffilin are not worn at Shacharit but they are worn during Mincha.
9) One may learn: Lamentations with its midrash and commentaries, portions of the Prophets that deal with tragedy or destruction, the third chapter of Moed Katan (which deals with mourning), the story of the destruction (in Gittin 56b-58a, Sanhedrin 104, and in Josephus), and the halachot of Tisha B’Av and mourning
10) The fast ends at 8:52 and following Maariv, Havdalah is recited over wine.
11) Since this Sunday is the 10th of Av (the 9th is Shabbat and the observance of Tisha B’Av is postponed to Sunday the 10th), haircuts, laundering and bathing are permitted Sunday night, the 11th of Av.
However, meat and wine (other than for Havdalah) are prohibited until Monday morning.
July 25, 2012
How to speak in public. Among many different things this week’s Parasha teaches us, is how to speak in public. Just by looking at the way Moshe Rabbenu addresses Bnei Israel in this week’s Parasha - versus how he addressed them 38 years ago at Mount Sinai. The greatest similarity in this week’s speech is again the negating of the possibility to enter the promised land anytime soon. Nachmanides analyzes it as follows; When Moshe came down from Sinai, he digressed from his original intended speech. He wished to indicate that the children of Israel had been given the order to go up and conquer the promised land immediately after receiving the Torah, but that their sins had brought on them various setbacks. After this digression, Moshe returns to his originally intended speech with the words: “Hear O Israel, the statutes…” and continues with expounding the law, the ten commandments and the unity of G’d. This kind of twist is often called in the business and political world as ‘managing expectations’. Coming down from Mount Sinai, Moshe understood fully well that this first generation had sinned and wasn’t ready to live by the new Torah let alone be worthy to enter the promised land. The best thing to do in such a case is to change the opening of your intended speech a bit by getting the bad news out of the way first, after which, the rest of the intended speech may follow. Now, in this week’s Parasha, 38 years later, Moshe finds himself standing in front of the first and second generation and has to deliver the same grave news. Abarvanel wonders why Moshe confines his words of reproof of Bnei Israel’s unworthiness to enter the promised land, to the story of the spies only. Moshe could have easily referred to the golden calf - the major sin of their parents, and then to the story of the spies, the new sin of the children. The answer comes from Rabbi David Hoffman who points out that Moshe wanted to point out the parallels of the situation. For his address this week, Moshe can point to history instead of just law. He can draw the similarities between the sinning and therefore unworthiness of the parents and the unworthiness of their children. Any modern speech writer will let you know that an ‘I-told-you-so-moment’ does not make for a compelling argument. Blame is not an argument. Blame is not even a lesson. In this week’s address, Moshe points out to facts, to the historic proof of a mistake being made twice. This new generation has only to learn the lesson of history. Had Moshe relied on a tirade of blame, he could have used the sin of the golden calf - a sin that directly opposes the lessons of the Torah and the Ten Commandments. But Moshe is the ultimate speechwriter. He knows quite well that a 38-year old example, or mistake by their parents wouldn’t resonate here. All he has to do is to use the present day sin: the story of the spies. There are are two expressions that Rashi compares as a difference in behavior between the first and second generation. Rashi points out that by comparing the words ‘ Ye came near every one of you’ - as is written of how the spies approached Moshe before going out to the land, is an unruly way of behavior. It meant that there was no order in coming together and that people pushed themselves to be near to Moshe. At the revelation of the Torah however, the phrase: “Ye came near to me, even all the heads of your tribes and your elders.” - refers to an orderly behavior. Here, the children let their parents go first, and the elders let the heads of the Tribes go first. An experienced speech-giver like Moshe knew that this audience is a different audience compared to 38 years ago. It’s an unruly group of people. Moshe knows how “to read the room”, something a good public speaker needs to know. That alone may be the reason why his address is different from his address 38 years ago. And that’s how this Parsha, among other things, became a lesson in how to speak in public.
July 23, 2012
Mazal Tov to Harriet & David Schimel on the engagement of their daughter Tamar to Shirel Safra, son of Bracha & Yehuda Safra of Jerusalem.
Mazal Tov to Ellen & Mitchell Siegel on the engagement of their daughter Jill to Avi Wilensky, son of Rosie & Aryeh Wilensky of Livingston, NJ.
July 23, 2012
Kiddush is sponsored by Great Neck Synagogue
Kiddush is sponsored by Sonia Movsas in memory of her husband, Samuel Movsas, z”l and in honor of the members of the Hashkama Minyan.
July 23, 2012