Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Statement of Agudath Israel of America on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court

Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox Jewish organization, welcomes President Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy.  Judge Kavanaugh possesses the qualities necessary to assume a seat on the nation's highest court.

He is a man of great intellect and intelligence, and he has exhibited the temperament that results in judicious and well-reasoned rulings. His scholarship and extensive public service on the U.S. Court of Appeals have provided him expertise in a wide array of legal  areas.

We will review Judge Kavanaugh's opinions over the next few weeks and will follow the Senate proceedings closely. As Americans of faith, we will be especially focused on his views on religious liberty and we are, at our initial reading, gratified to  see that Judge Kavanaugh has given due deference to the protection of free exercise, and has advocated for partnership between government and religious institutions in addressing society's needs. We are particularly pleased by Judge Kavanaugh's sensitivity when, in private practice, he represented a Jewish congregation pro bono in a zoning dispute, as such ordinances are increasingly becoming an area of conflict for Jews in many localities.

Agudath Israel has every reason to believe that, in this and other areas of jurisprudence, this distinguished nominee has fairly and accurately interpreted the law.

The Senate should extend Judge Kavanaugh every courtesy and consideration, even as it explores his rulings and constitutional philosophy.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Russians Are Crossing The Dardanelles Straits

It is said over in the name of Rav Chaim Volozhiner he had a kabbala, from the villna Gaon when the Russians will cross the Dardanelles river it will be the start of events before mashiach comes men ken shoin untun shbosdike Kleider. Today news reports of Russian Warships laden with tanks, military trucks and armoured patrol boats sail towards the Middle East. Russian battleships passed through the Dardanelles en route to the Mediterranean, heading to the Russian naval base at Tartus on the north Syrian coast.

The Dardanelles straits connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara.

A Russian Navy ship crosses through the Dardanelles strait  today in Turkey en route to the Mediterranean Sea (AP)
Rav Moshe Shternbuch shlita a great Grandson of the Vilna Gaon  received a closely guarded secret that came to him from Rabbi Yitzchak Chever zatza”l, who received it from Rabbi Chaim of Volozhyn zatza”l, who received it from the Gaon of Vilna himself, who revealed it shortly before his death:  “When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, you should know that the times of the Messiah have started, that his steps are being heard. And when you hear that the Russians have reached the city of Constantinople (today’s Istanbul), you should put on your Shabbat clothes and don’t take them off, because it means that the Mashiach is about to come any minute.”

Friday, February 23, 2018

NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire has launched a line of kosher-for-Passover Israeli wines.

Photo: Courtesy of Jewish national Fund
NEW YORK (JTA) — Six-time NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire has launched a line of kosher-for-Passover Israeli wines. The 6-foot-10 former player, who returned earlier this month from a trip to the Jewish state, spoke glowingly about the wines and his connection to Israel at a news conference here Tuesday. “It’s a blessing for me and my family to be able to produce such great wines from a land like the land of Israel, so we’re constantly counting our blessings for that,” Stoudemire told reporters at the Jewish National Fund House on the Upper East Side. Stoudemire, 35, said he had been in talks with the Israel Wine Producers Association for three years about making an Israeli wine and realized the opportunity when he relocated to the country in 2016 to play for the Israeli team Hapoel Jerusalem. He retired from basketball last year after helping lead Hapoel Jerusalem to the Israeli Basketball League Cup. “Once I moved to Israel, it was the perfect connection to meet with the vineyards and go to the tastings and figure out the different blends for each bottle,” said Stoudemire,

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

President Donald J. Trump commuted the prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin


                              ברוך מתיר אסורים
A Chanuka Miracle The Frum world were shocked and elated with the wonderful news as Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin was freed from Jail after President Trump commuted his sentence.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday commuted the prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, the Iowa kosher slaughterhouse executive who was sentenced to 27 years in prison for fraud and money laundering. 
The decision was “encouraged by bipartisan leaders from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi to Orrin Hatch,” said a statement from the White House.

Rubashkin is a 57-year-old father of 10 children. He previously ran the Iowa headquarters of a family business that was the country’s largest kosher meat-processing company. In 2009, he was convicted of bank fraud and later sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Rubashkin has now served more than eight years of that sentence, which many have called excessive in light of its disparity with sentences imposed for similar crimes, the White House said.

“This action is not a Presidential pardon. It does not vacate Mr. Rubashkin’s conviction, and it leaves in place a term of supervised release and a substantial restitution obligation, which were also part of Mr. Rubashkin’s sentence,” the statement stressed.

“The President’s review of Mr. Rubashkin’s case and commutation decision were based on expressions of support from Members of Congress and a broad cross-section of the legal community,” it continued.

“A bipartisan group of more than 100 former high-ranking and distinguished Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, prosecutors, judges, and legal scholars have expressed concerns about the evidentiary proceedings in Mr. Rubashkin’s case and the severity of his sentence. Additionally, more than 30 current Members of Congress have written letters expressing support for review of Mr. Rubashkin’s case.”

In a recording circulated on the web, Rubashkin’s son said following the news, “I can’t even breathe. I can’t even try. I can’t even talk. My father is coming home. Baruch Hashem. G-d bless.”

Last year, more than 100 former judges, attorneys general and prominent politicians signed a letter supporting Rubashkin.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik lights the Menorah at Whitehouse Chanuka Party with President Trump

NYT Photo
The Republic WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday celebrated an “especially special” Hanukkah at the White House, a day after declaring Jerusalem Israel’s capital and setting off criticism and clashes.

“Right now I’m thinking about what’s going on and the love that’s all over Israel and all about Jerusalem,” Trump said in the White House East Room. The president was flanked by his daughter Ivanka, who converted to Judaism when she married her husband, Jared Kushner, and their three children.

The president broke with decades of U.S. policy with the Jerusalem announcement, putting the United States at odds with most other countries. The European Union, Germany, Britain, France, the Pope and key Arab allies have denounced the move. But inside the White House Thursday, Trump got only applause, cheers and thanks from the crowd, which included Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Holocaust survivor Louise Lawrence-Israels and Orthodox Rabbi Meir Soloveichik.

Israels spoke of standing up to hate. And Soloveichik recited a traditional prayer that he said has additional meaning this year.

“For the first time since the founding of the state of Israel, an American president has courageously declared what we have always proclaimed, which is that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” Soloveichik said.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Rabbi Eytan Feiner Call On The OU to Break From Open Orthodoxy

Crosss post from Matzav.com -This past Shabbos, Parshas Vayishlach, Rav Eytan Feiner, rov of Cong. Knesseth Israel, the White Shul, in Far Rockaway, spoke about the Orthodox Union’s non-response to Open Orthodoxy and the havoc that Open Orthodoxy is wreaking on Yiddishkeit.

Rav Feiner said that he is willing to break the White Shul’s OU affiliation if the OU continues to be non-responsive on this important matter. The OU has continued allowing Open Orthodoxy synagogues to remain as members of its umbrella organization. Rav Feiner spoke out strongly about Open Orthodoxy’s apikorsus.

His comments come on the heels of two Open Orthodox shuls wishing mazel tov to people who underwent unconventional marriage ceremonies. Congregation B’nai David-Judea of Los Angeles is led by a male Open Orthodox rabbi, Yosef Kanefesky, and a female “rabbanit,” Alissa Thomas-Newborn, the latter of whom was given semicha at Avi Weiss’ Yeshivat Maharat. B’nai David-Judea’s weekly bulletin for Shabbos Parshas Vayeira, 2017, wished mazel tov upon the birth of a baby to a couple who have an unconventional marriage.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Giyus: Bnei Torah in the I.D.F.'s Crosshairs

Re: Against the Backdrop of the Supreme Court's Decision:
Giyus: Bnei Torah in the I.D.F.'s Crosshairs

                                                By: Beinish Dorit

Am Yisrael, Listen Up!
Giyus, the army draft is here in real time. The Israeli government is proactive to fill the I.D.F. with yeshiva-oriented recruits. Things aren't the way they used to be.
Since the inception of the State, an agreement was in place, that allowed b'nei Yeshiva a 'pitur,' or deferment from military service. Years ago, the Bayit Yehudi party revised the 'chok' with Shivyon Benetal – everyone must contribute and share the burden of the country's defense. Still, whether you embrace Bnei Brak's philosophy, or in contrast, are of "Peleg" orientation, all will acknowledge that the government's on-line ad tells a different story.

Witness its text: "Rotzim l'shanot, rotzim l'hishtalev." Literally: 'They want change [for themselves] and opt to blend in with society.
A prominent Israeli attorney brings us up to speed. He employs similar verbiage to explain the Memshala's intentions:
לא ניתן להתעלם מכך שרשויות המדינה גמרו אומר לשלב את החרדים במוסדותיה ובאורח חייה החילוני, והדרך להשגת שילוב זה מתחילה [ונגמרת] בצבא. הצבא הוא הכלי לשילוב ולשנוי, שמבקשות הרשויות לחולל בחברה החרדית. עיקרון זב שזור כחוט השני לאורך התיקונים המחמירים בחוק, ומהווה את הבסיס להם.
One cannot ignore the fact that the authorities have decided to incorporate the Haredi people into its institutions and secular way of living. The means to achieve these goals begins – and ends, with the army. "Tzavah" is a tool being used to incorporate and alter the Haredi community to its liking. 
In short, Yahadut's shortfall is the army's livelihood ר"ל.
––––

Rav Elyashiv – Psak and Hashkafa
An acquaintance recounts how, during his tenure of study in Israel, he sat by Rav Elyashiv zt'l, as a 'chayal' from a hesder yeshiva, walked in and inquired as to the Kashrus of a Mezuzah at his military base.
Here's the conversation: 'L'mah ata mitkavain' – what do you mean to infer, queried the Rav. 'She'zeh dira ba'al korcho' – that a domain in which an individual is coerced to abide in, is not a normative dwelling place, and is therefore absolved of Mitzvas Mezuzah? [See Tractate Yoma 10b]
"Zeh lo ba'al corchi, ani merutza la'asot tzavah!" – it's not against my will, countered the soldier, I'm agreeable to army service!
"Zeh tzorich li'yot ba'al corchacha" – it should be against your will, said Rav Elyashiv.
Then he asked the zkan Haposkim the $64,000 question: "Lamah lo osim bnei yeshiva tzavah?" – and quoted the Rambam that it's a mitzvah to defend the Yishuv in Eretz Yisrael against an enemy.
Rav Elyashiv answered: Yeshivaleit are not obligated to train, they're only 'mechuyav' to fight – and then Tzavah won't take them. Then he continued: And even if they are enjoined to train, you're not mechuyav to put your life in the hands of Arik Sharon [Sar Bitachon at the time]. The Posek Hador provides clarity and perspective for this crucial issue.
––––
The Giyus issue is larger than life – who is Am Yisrael? Who's in charge of the Jewish People?
The 'Memshala' wants a piece of everything you do and think. But what of history? Our inexplicable survival upends Tzavah ideology.
3,000 years of experience has embedded in the Jewish human condition, that a Supreme entity micromanages the course of human events, even as we speak.
Jewish Home Party has partnered with others to write an alternate narrative, a fictional novel of 'Im tirtzu, ain zu agada' – we can determine our own fate.
The Settler movement have their fingers in this pie, too – as enablers, they catapulted 'Bayit Yehudi' into power. In Bayit Yehudi's parallel world, a ben yeshiva's ruchniyut is worth expunging, just so that Chibat Eretz Yisrael reigns supreme.
Their rendition of the Passover Hagada reads, 'Ilu natan lanu Eretz Yisrael, v'lo natan lanu et haTorah, Dayeinu!' Had You given us the Land and not the Torah, t'would have been enough. So they crafted a chok with two periods of "Histalgut," – adaptation timelines, till the entire olam hayeshivos enters the army's enclaves ר"ל.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Argentine Jewish businessman, among dead in NYC terrorist truck ramming

JTA- Five of the fatalities in the terrorist truck-ramming attack in New York City on Tuesday afternoon were Argentine tourists celebrating the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation, including one Jewish businessman.

At least eight people were killed and about a dozen injured when a truck rammed into a crowd on a bike path in downtown Manhattan in what Mayor Bill de Blasio called “an act of terror.”

According to Argentina’s Foreign Ministry, the victims are Diego Enrique Angelini, Ariel Erlij, Hernán Diego Mendoza, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco and Hernán Ferruchi.

Erlij, 48, is a Jewish steel mill owner from the city of Rosario in central Argentina. He reportedly paid for two of his high school friends to go on the trip so they could all be together for the anniversary. They graduated in 1987 from the Polytechnic School in Rosario.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hamodia Reacts to ‘Interference’ With Its Free Speech Rights

BROOKLYN - In response to a letter sent to NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill by Councilman Daniel Dromm urging the Police Department to investigate an op-ed that appeared in Hamodia’s Sukkos edition, Ronald Coleman, an attorney representing the newspaper, observed that the “letter is in and of itself an unlawful interference, made under color of state law, with Hamodia’s free speech rights.”

Mr. Coleman, a partner with the Archer law firm, known for his recent success in protecting the First Amendment in the United States Supreme Court, urged the Police Commissioner to recognize that Mr. Dromm’s letter “violates the United States Constitution, federal civil rights law, the constitution and law of the State of New York and the Human Rights Law of the City of New York.”

At the heart of the matter is a story about the Chofetz Chaim told in a recently published opinion piece titled “Not When it Comes to Our Children!”

In his letter to the Commissioner, Councilman Dromm stated that the head of a controversial group seeking to make changes to the yeshivah system had “explained” to him that “the term rodef/rodfim connotes ‘pursuer’ and is well known for its use by the assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.”

“Within this cultural context it should be considered a death threat,” Mr. Dromm claimed, adding that “I appreciate you taking this matter very seriously.”

Responding to this distortion, Mr. Coleman first noted in his response to the Commissioner that the opinion column didn’t even mention the name of the organization, its head, nor any of its members, and for this reason alone could hardly be understood as a threat. Mr. Coleman also observed that Mr. Dromm’s interpretation of the meaning of “rodef” in this context is given the lie by the article itself.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Halachos laws and minhagim for Erev Rosh Hashana 5778

Remember to make a Eruv Tavshilin this year
1. Following selichos we say hataras nedorim on erev Rosh Hashana

2. Some have a minhag to purchase a new knife on Erev Rosh hashana as a segulah for parnassah.

3. The minhag is for men to fast on erev Rosh Hashana up to chatzos.

4. Some go to visit kivrei tzadikim on erev Rosh Hashana

5. Minhag is to go to the mikva on erev yom tov.

6. The beracha on candle lighting for Rosh Hashana is lihadlik ner shol yom tov, without mention of Yom Hazikaron

7. We do not blow the shofar after shachris on Erev Rosh Hashana.

For general halachos of Rosh hashana, regarding the simanim, shofar, davening etc.. click HERE


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hamodia: Spirit of Helping Others Alive and Well in Houston

Hamodia: Mrs. Masha Toybina, who immigrated to the U.S. and has been living in Houston for about 30 years, told Hamodia:

“Thank G-d, many organizations and individuals have jumped to our aid, working very hard to help people who are suffering due to the floods. They are doing truly amazing work. It seems that anyone who can is out there volunteering. People are coming here from Louisiana; Hatzalah people came from New York and Los Angeles. It’s heartwarming to see how many people are rushing to Houston to help us out.

“An emergency soup kitchen was set up at Aishel House [normally serving Texas Medical Center patients and their families] and the Chabad House also made an emergency soup kitchen which provides kosher food. Many volunteers are running to stores to do errands for people who cannot. Massive evacuation efforts are taking place, and many people whose homes are untouched have opened their homes to those who have lost their homes or had to evacuate.

“There are whatsapp groups and spreadsheets where you can sign in and say what you can do and what you can give. All kinds of supplies are needed — everything from food to diapers to towels to clothing to telephone use. People need to make calls. There’s a real need for hot cooked food, so people are cooking and baking at the Chabad House and other places. The cooking is going on nonstop around the clock. Others are out delivering, also nonstop.

“Others are busy trying to find out who needs help, who is stranded somewhere, and to bring food to them. There are two young men on a military truck who are rescuing people. The wife of one of them is fielding calls and connecting people needing rescue with the men on the truck. Almost 100 people were rescued by this one truck so far. They take them to shelters, to hotels, or to private people’s houses. It is uplifting to see all this.”

Peretz Golding, a chemist in Houston, told Hamodia:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Agudath Israel Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund

STATEMENT FROM AGUDATH ISRAEL OF AMERICA

Disaster Relief Fund
Agudath Israel of America’s hopes and prayers are with the residents of Houston and other Galveston Bay cities, who are struggling with the ongoing rain and terrible flooding brought by Hurricane Harvey.

Our sympathies go out to all Texans who have suffered loss of life, and to those who have tragically lost their homes and possessions. And we have only admiration for all the emergency workers, both local and from other parts of the country, who are working around the clock to rescue those in danger.

Although the storm is still ongoing and the full extent of its toll on Houston’s Jewish community still unknown, some of its families have already been hit hard by flooding

As we have done over the years when disaster strikes, Agudath Israel of America is serving as a conduit for sending humanitarian assistance like food, clothing and, in this case, Yomtov needs, to Jewish families and institutions in need.

Donations for that purpose can be sent to Agudath Israel’s offices at 42 Broadway, 14 th Floor, New York, NY 10004 (checks should be made out to Agudath Israel but marked “Disaster Relief Fund”).  Electronic donations can be made at agudathisrael.org – with “Disaster Relief Fund” typed into in the “comments”

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Why use a Picture of Animal Rights Activists When talking About Kashrus of Chicken

Ami Magazine this week ran a story  "Battle of the Birds"covering the latest controversy over the Braekel chicken.In the magazine edition and online they used a accompanying photo of a animal rights activist who advocates against the Kapparot ritual.  The Photo is found on his website. Its most probably a oversight by an editor but it makes an interesting observation.




Friday, August 18, 2017

Jewish Groups Express Concern Over Fallout of Charlottesville Violence

Hamodia NEW YORK - Jewish groups expressed concern over the potential effects of statements made by President Donald Trump regarding the violence in Charlottesville, which have been interpreted by many as creating a “moral equivalency” between white supremacist groups and the counter-protesters with whom they violently clashed over the past weekend.

After the president faced wide criticism for failing to condemn the extremist groups who organized the protest, he then issued a strong statement calling out white supremacists. But a day later at an impromptu press conference, he said that fault lay on “both sides.”
Moreover, the size and attention that the event, which put Nazi symbols and ideology on display, drew and especially its violent ending, was seen as a cause for alarm by leaders of several Jewish organizations.

“We seem to be at a very fragile moment, “Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, told Hamodia. “On a certain level there was violence that was instigated on both sides, but even if that’s the case, this was a rally organized by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups to promote racist and anti-Semitic philosophies, which is dismaying and frightening…For the Jewish community this is a wake-up call that there is a tremendous amount of hatred and danger for the Jewish People.”

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Five years since 12th Siyum Hashas , Next Siyum in 2 1/2 years

Its been Five years since the 12th Siyum Hashas and start of 13th machzor of Daf Yomi at Metlife stadium. This Shabbos, Shabbos Veschanan Nachamu, 12Av 5777 August 5, 2017 will  mark the 5th year anniversary. The 13th Siyum Hashas is only 2 and a half years away!!!!
since the 12th Siyum Hashas of Daf  Hayomi at Metlife stadium.It was exactly five years ago in 2012 were many celebrated the Siyum and 5 years since lots of people have joined the machzor for the first time. Its hard to believe that 5 years flew by, but for those learning the Daf, they are about to complete seder nezikin finishing the three Bavos. The words of Rabbi Frand echo in our ears "Whats beyond your reach is within your grasp". Hopefully all those who started Brachos are still going strong. We can still join in the cycle. Here is the full video for those who want to relive the siyum experience.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Agudath Israel Of America Speaks Out Against Move To Block Eruvs In New Jersey Towns

In letters to the mayors of two New Jersey towns, Agudath Israel Executive Vice President Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel expressed “deep concern” about the order to remove an “eruv” that had been constructed (with permission) on telephone and utility line poles to enable observant Jewish residents to carry objects outside of their homes on the Jewish Sabbath. The towns have argued that the plastic strips on utility poles are “signs” and violate the local zoning ordinances, but Rabbi Zwiebel asserted that “what opponents of the eruv are troubled by is not the presence of unobtrusive plastic strips on utility poles, but by the continued growth of the Orthodox Jewish community. The fact that so many of those opponents make no effort to hide their hatred is shocking and should not be tolerated.”

Yehudah Buchweitz, an attorney at Weil Gotshal & Manges, included several of the many disturbing online comments in a letter he sent to the mayors of the townships on behalf of the organization promoting the eruv.

They are clearly trying to annex land like they’ve been doing in Occupied Palestine. Look up the satanic verses of the Talmud and tell me what you see.”
“I don’t want my town to be gross and infested with these nasty people.”
“I do not want these things coming into my town and ruining it.”