Welcome to the weekly newsletter of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, in which we share news for and about members, including communal news, announcements, publications, Divrei Torah, press releases and media mentions.
In this newsletter:
• Mayor Eric Adams Greetings at Chai Elul 5782
• Eretz HaKodesh Brochure
• Convocation Resolutions
• Hamodia: Igud Honors Mayor’s Orthodox Staffers
• Monsey Mevaser: In Defense of Yeshivas
• Jewish Voice: In Defense of Yeshivas
• Divrei Torah: Ki Savo
• Moments of Inspiration by Rabbi Blank
• JCRC-NY: Chai Elul Greetings
• Upcoming Yahrtzeits 21 Elul-28 Elul
• Rabbinical Alliance of America Expresses Outrage Over the New Educational Guidelines Issued by the New York State Education Department
• Jewish Voice: Queen Elizabeth
• The Rabbinical Alliance of America Mourns the Passing of Queen Elizabeth II
Please let us know about your family simchos and l"a aveilus, book publications and career changes or milestones, so we can share as chaveirim our life events. Send updates to firstname.lastname@example.org.
#1) MANDATE A MOMENT OF SILENCE IN ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The RAA reiterates its call to the Federal Government in Washington D.C. and the Department of Education, to support a nationwide directive for a Moment of Silence at the commencement of each new school day — facilitating teachers and students, to silently reflect on the Creator and faith in a Higher Being.
This will assist all citizens to lead a more exemplary life, resulting in respect and caring for others; knowing that there is an “Eye that Sees and an Ear that Hears” all our deeds and words.
As Rabbis and spiritual leaders of communities throughout the USA, we call for the Moment of Silence to be held at all public educational institutions beginning with elementary through university and college level, assuring the wellbeing of our children and adults.
#2) A CALL TO JEWISH FEDERATIONS & PHILANTHROPHIC FOUNDATIONS TO INCREASE FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF JEWISH DAY SCHOOLS & HIGH SCHOOL INSTITUTIONS
As in the past two convocations the Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud Harabonim – calls on JEWISH FEDERATIONS across the country to immediately increase their budgetary support of YESHIVA DAY SCHOOLS institutions by a minimum of 50% for fiscal year 2022/23.
At last review, the UJA of Greater New York, the largest Jewish Federation in the USA, with hundreds of millions available in budgetary and philanthropic disbursements, has lagged significantly in providing funds in support of the Yeshivah Day School in the NY metro area.
#3) IN SUPPORT OF THE CHIEF RABBININATE OF ISRAEL
The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud Harabonim reiterates their wide-ranging support of the institution and office of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel headed by the venerable Chief Rabbi HaGaon Rav Dovid Lau and the venerable Chief Rabbi HaGaon Chacham Yitzchak Yosef; may they continue to lead Israel and the Jewish people in good health and success.
It is of necessity that the Chief Rabbinate remain the exclusive authority of all matters pertaining to GIYUR (conversion) and matters pertaining to religious identity and personal status, MARRIAGE & DIVORCE as well as all matters of KASHRUTH as indicated and codified in the Code of Jewish Law – Halacha.
The time hallowed and established heritage and customs of our people (Halacha) serves to unite and preserve the unity and integrity of the Jewish people of all backgrounds and levels of observance. In fact, these standards continue to unite the world Jewish community and keep at bay assimilation and intermarriage.
#4) THE LEGITIMATE VOICE OF AMERICAN JEWRY
The Rabbinical Alliance of America founded in 1942 recognizes a vibrant Jewish present, past and future. With misgivings, we must state that the current panoply of communal organizations, who claim their legitimacy from days past, do not reflect the Jewish concerns at present, nor do they represent authentic Jewish values. Their leadership are misinformed, misdirected and alarmingly also a liability for the Jewish people here in America and Israel. Support of American values – spiritual values – particularly family values, is essential.
The RAA is an authentic and responsible voice of the American Rabbinate addressing the Jewish community’s concerns. Matters that touch upon the SEVEN UNIVERSAL LAWS OF NOAH as they pertain to the social issues affecting society, are the guiding principles for the issuing of public statements. The opinions we espouse are those based exclusively upon Torah and Mitzvah loyalty.
#5) RECOGNITION OF THE ERETZ HAKODESH WORK in ISRAEL & DIASPORA
As the Rabbinical Alliance of America, marks its eightieth anniversary since its founding in 1942 -5702, we express thanks to the Creator for all His kindnesses.
We are especially thankful for our esteemed member Rabbi Pesach Lerner, a well-known and steadfast leader within the Jewish community. We are honored to recognize him for his yeoman contributions to American and Israeli Jewry, through his work within the ERETZ HAKODESH SECTOR of the Jewish Agency. We who are cognizant of his achievements for KLAL YISROEL, mostly behind the scenes, and of his wise and steady leadership, wish him many more healthy years so that the authentic Jewish voice continue to be heard, without rancor nor timidity.
With blessings and prayers for a good and sweet New Year and a year of redemption with Moshiach, Amen
Backlash is Swift After NYT “Hit Job” on Yeshiva Educational Standards By: Ilana Siyance & Fern Sidman A critical vote took place on Tuesday by the New York State Board of Regents to establish new regulations for holding private and parochial schools to substantially equivalent academic standards. The vote comes on the heels of The…
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim 917-446-2126 email@example.com Thursday, September 15,2022, 19 Elul, 5782 <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><<><><>
Happiness Caring for Others
H gave us the ability to see and understand.
Appreciating what we have.
Special interview by the Boro Park 24 on their website highlighting the Bar Mitzva of my dear grandson Moishe from the perspective of his devoted parents. Also included were the wonderful chasadim of the Tantzers who made the simcha so special.
When the family returned home after the simcha, my son asked Moishe if he would like to have the dancing and music again- he responded with a beautiful smile !
With tremendous appreciation to the Ribono shel Olam, Moishe parents enthusiastically gave permission for the Boro Park 24 interview and for my articles to be printed. They want to give chizuk to others about how to find goodness, kindness, the gift of understanding and the cup over flowing, not just full in all situations. Also, how a husband and wife can bring shalom and simchas hachaim with a bayis ne eman b’Yisrael into their home with two special needs children. May their daughter Chaya Rivka bas Alter Tziva and Moishe ben Alter Tzivia have a refuah sheleima. Their other two children are given tremendous warmth and encouragement, and though they are young, are like their parents with sweetness and care for each other and their siblings. In my mechutin Rav Yisrael Kleinman’s Devar Torah which I included in my article last week about the greatness of Mi Keamecha Yisrael and how various organizations, professionals and other’s bring care to Moishe and Chaya Rivka. If you found my article last week meaningful, you will find this weeks with the interview from Boro Park 24 and videos tremendously inspiring.
You will also read below how much one can find appreciation in life as Helen Keller did, finding happiness in giving and doing for others, and the power of understanding.
From Pashas Ki Savo Chumash Devarim The Stone Edition, Artscroll Series Mesorah Publications Ltd.
“Vesamachtah- You shall be glad. The celebration should include activities that make people joyous, such as shared song, for whenever people come together to celebrate a happy event, it is natural for them to sing (HaKsav V’HaKabbalah). This is just like the Tantzers who bring song, dance, happiness and tremendous simcha to others.
From Kol Dodi On the Torah by Rav Dovid Feinstein zt”l Artscroll Series Mesorah Publishing Ltd. Parshas Ki Savoh Page 285 “ And H did not give you a heart to know and eyes to see and ears to hear until today (29:3)” “ Moshe is consoling the Jews: “ Until now, H did not give you the ability to see and understand His great kindness to you. It is not your fault that you did not appreciate them because in the past you were not capable of it. Now, however, that He has given you these powers, you will be held responsible for your actions.” And now that they were capable of doing so, Moshe was able to charge them with the responsibilities he speaks of in Parshas Nitzavim.”
From Motivated by the Maggid by Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn Artscroll Series Mesorah Publishing Ltd Pages 84-85 “The Seeing See Little” “ Helen Keller, the woman who became blind, deaf, and mute before that age of 2, developed into a noted writer, speaker and activist, She passed away in 1967, at the age of 87. In her essay, “Three Days to See,” Helen Keller wrote, “ I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make him more appreciative of sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound.”
She once asked a friend, who had just returned from a long walk in the woods, what she had observed there, and the friend replied, “Nothing in particular.” Miss Keller became convinces that the seeing see little. “I who cannot see find hundreds of things to interest me though mere touch.”
If she had sight for just three days, Helen Keller wrote, she would like to see the special people in her life, the furnishings of her home, her books, the woods, the sunrise, museums, businesses.
When you say “Pokeiach Ivrim”, Who gives sight to the blind,” shut your eyes and try to imagine life if chas v’ shalom you couldn’t see. Open your eyes and say thank you. Look around you. Look at your grandchildren. Who can see a grandchild and not be happy they were zoche to that? Look at flowers. If you are near tulips, show your children how they open in the morning and close at night. Look at bridges; I find them inspirational.”
If any of my readers has or knows of a family with a special needs child or children and would benefit from phenomenal chizuk and how to advocate for their child(ren) from Aryeh and Tzivia Blank, contact Aryeh via his email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
One last comment from me, don’t fret about wishing a parent to have nachas from a special needs child. There is always’ something to be proud of. Not only that, but giving a bracha with sincerity is itself tremendous chizuk. It is not for us to try to understand why a person of any age has a specific challenge, but that person is just as special in the eyes of H and the love, care is appreciated in ways we may not ever know how and why. Our love must be always’ be sincere. Goodness and kindness should always come from your heart. Thank you. Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank
The following is the interview from Boro Park 24 followed by the link to some of the remarkable video’s with the Tantzers including two world renown Chasidic singers Beri Weber and Yossie Lebowitz. Beri Weber is holding Mosihe’s hand in one of the videos. Of course there was also dancing and singing with all the other mishpacha and guests.
Beri Weber, Yossi Lebowitz, and 25 Tantzers Celebrate with Boro Park Bar Mitzvah Boy
By Yehudit Garmaise
What touched Mrs. Tzivia Blank the most about the bar mitzvah celebration Tantzers helped to make for her son Moishe, who has a rare diagnosis, was how the guest interacted with the bar mitzvah boy.
“Yes, this is a child who breathes on a ventilator and sits in a wheelchair, but he is a person, and this was his simcha, and all the guests looked at Moishe, who knows what is going on, as a person with dignity,” said Mrs. Blank with gratitude. “That was the most beautiful part because they were not celebrating with him like he doesn’t know what is going on.
“Moishe is not able to walk or talk, but he communicates with his eyes, smiles, and his facial expressions. No one looked at him like he is not ‘there,’ and all that.
“Our guests all wanted to be there, and they know that Moishe comprehends everything.
“That was the most beautiful part of it. The love in the air was tremendous.”
When Tzivia and Aryeh Blank were first planning a bar mitzvah celebration for Moishe, they thought they would make a small party with family, friends, and some music.
Little did they know that they would end up making a simcha at which 200 guests, including 25 Tantzers’ volunteers, would be dancing for an hour and a half straight with their son, as none other than Beri Weber and Yossi Lebowitz sang their hearts out at Sisu v’Simchu Hall on 18th Avenue on Monday night.
The Blanks’ good friend Reb Sholi Rosenblum, who partners with the Tantzer’s founder Zelig Freidman, said he wanted to help make Moshe’s simcha extra special.
Rosenblum’s brother, Alexander Zisha Rosenblum originally founded Tantzers with Freidman.
After Alexander Zisha, however, was seriously injured in a terrible car accident, Sholi stepped in and partnered with Friedman to carry out the Tantzers’ holy work.
As additional zchusim for the speedy and complete recovery of his brother, who remains in a coma after the crash that occurred while he was traveling home after dancing with the Tantzers at an event in Monsey, Sholi also founded additional chessed initiatives like Tenchiuch and Lehasigneg.
Referring to Rosenblum as “Reb Sholi,” and calling him a tzaddik, Mr. Blank recounted how the Tantzers added immeasurable joy to the simcha of his son’s bar mitzvah party last Monday.
Without the ability to speak, Moishe could not make brachos on the Torah layning, so instead, Mr. Blank positioned his son at the aron kodesh, so that he could do poseicha.
Instead of handshakes for each zayde, uncle, and cousin who received aliyos, Moishe smiled his “yasher koach” to communicate with each relative who was honored.
After davening, many Boro Park community members helped out by bringing herring, hot kugel, and many other treats to make a beautiful kiddush attended by up to 70 friends.
Dozens of volunteer singers over the years, such as Matt Levin, however, have come over to the Blanks’ home to sing for Moishe, whose eyes light up and who smiles when he hears Yiddishe music.
In fact, Moishe’s favorite toy is a karaoke machine that comes complete with flashing lights and a disco ball, which inspired Friedman to replicate that experience at the simcha.
“Friedman brought three different major disco lights, blinking lights, and everything was, ‘Wow!’” Mr. Blank recalled, noting that Sruli Glassman also brought many fun balloons.
While Freidman said that he cannot recall ever seeing such a high level of simcha and inspiration at an event, the person who most appreciated the Tantzers’ efforts was Moishe.
“When he is stimulated, he really flourishes,” said Mrs. Blank, who shared her husband’s sentiment that her son serves as a chizzuk to others, rather than be a source of rachamanis.
Among the guests who were thrilled to celebrate with Moishe were his many friends from Camp Migdal and elsewhere, and 20 seminary girls who, over the years, have volunteered b’simcha to help the Blank family and befriend Moishe.
“Everyone wanted to share in the simcha,” said Mrs. Blank, who explained that she and her husband see their son as a normal boy.
“Just like somebody might need glasses, Moishe has different physical problems than everybody else,” said Mrs. Blank, who said she, her husband, and all of their guests are still “on a high” from Moishe’s bar mitzvah.
Although the bar mitzvah was amazing, the Blanks wanted to reiterate that they never will give up on their children.
They even take comfort that Moshe’s diagnosis is rare because the lack of research on the condition gives them more hope for the future.
“We want to encourage anyone facing challenges to stay hopeful, and we also want to m’chazzik anyone who wants to can get involved in chesed of any kind.
“Anyone can do anything that he or she wants to do.”
The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis— expresses shock and outrage over the new educational guidelines approved today by New York State Education Department’s Board of Regents.
On September 13, 2022, New York State’s Board of Regents approved new guidelines about nonpublic schools – including day schools, yeshivas, and Bais Yaakov schools, which currently educate over 100,000 students – redefining the requirement to provide an education that is “substantially equivalent” to that of the public schools. Going forward, Jewish schools must meet onerous government standards about what they teach and for how long they teach it, subject to watchful government inspection. Private schools, including Jewish yeshivas, that fail to meet the state’s minimum academic standards will be expected to start upgrading their instruction before Dec. 1, 2022.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America asserts that these new guidelines represent an unacceptable governmental encroachment on and intrusion in the autonomy of our religious schools. Each school’s board and educational committee should be entrusted to determine the course of education for its students, according to the traditions and philosophy of its community and parent body.
RAA Presidium Chairman, Rabbi Yaakov Klass, stated that “perhaps the single most important issue currently facing the Jewish community of New York City is the freedom to educate our children in a proper yeshiva environment that trains them to be good Americans and at the same time teaches them to remain true to our faith and traditions. The Yeshiva educational system has produced generations of productive, loyal, resourceful, and respectful New Yorkers who have contributed greatly to the growth of the city’s economic, civic, and cultural greatness. The vast and diverse Yeshiva system in New York City is currently thriving as it offers parents a spectrum of schools to fit each child’s unique needs. Never in history has a Jewish parent had so many school choices as in New York City today.”
RAA Executive Vice President, Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, noted that “the important wall of separation between state and religion is being breached in a most egregious manner, as evident by the draconian guidelines issued by the New York State Education Department.”
This country was settled due, in part, to the desire to live and raise one’s children according to one’s religion. The constitution protects the right of a citizen to parent and educate one’s child in the religious manner one sees fit.
Jewish schools have done an outstanding job in educating the community’s children. In addition to extensive Judaic content and core secular studies, these schools teach critical thinking, logic, textual skills, and traditional values – skills that are crucial to becoming productive, law-abiding citizens. The numerous graduates of the Jewish educational system and their manifold accomplishments, throughout the USA and abroad, attest to the high quality of Jewish education.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America fully and unequivocally supports all the actions being taken by community leaders supporting religious liberty and Jewish education in combating the edicts of the New York State Education Department encroaching upon the separation of religion and government.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America calls upon the New York State Education Department to abolish these draconian regulations that are, in our considered opinion, both unconstitutional and an infringement on religious freedom, the promise this great country offers all its inhabitants.
Taking a Deeper Look at Queen Elizabeth II’s Connection to the Jewish Community & Israel Edited by: Fern Sidman King Charles III vowed in his first speech as monarch Friday to carry on Queen Elizabeth II’s “lifelong service,” as Britain entered a new age under a new sovereign. Charles, who spent much of his 73…
The Rabbinical Alliance of America—Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis—joins the people of the United Kingdom and the entire world in mourning the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. As the United Kingdom’s longest-lived and longest-reigning head of state, Queen Elizabeth II was widely admired and respected for her grace and dignity. Queen Elizabeth II was a leader who guided England through decades of great change. Her presence was an anchor of hope and optimism for a time of great social and political upheaval, helping the United Kingdom and the western world ease into transition as the globe changed after World War II. Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch; her grace under pressure and impeccably respectful manners defined dignity in an era of collapsing social rules.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “the greatest contribution of Queen Elizabeth II was serving as a model for proper behavior, for modesty and humility among wealth and fame. The world can learn many lessons from her refined behavior, her devotion to her family and her nation, her work ethic and her respect for all people with whom she interacted. As social etiquette collapsed, Queen Elizabeth II served as a beacon for dignity and respect.”
The Rabbinical Alliance blesses the memory of Queen Elizabeth II and offers blessings to King Charles III. May Charles III continue serving as a messenger of peace, dignity and traditional values with great success for many years to come.