MONSEY STABBING: VICTIM'S DAUGHTER CALLS FOR END TO HATE
The daughter of Jewish man stabbed at a rabbi's house says she hopes he wakes to a "changed world".
But Nicky Cohen told reporters "doctors do not have high hopes for him" as she listed the serious injuries that her 72-year-old father sustained in the attack in Monsey, New York.
Federal prosecutors have filed hate crime charges against Grafton Thomas over the attack. The filing said his journals included references to Jews and anti-Semitism and his internet search history also included questions such as "why did Hitler hate the Jews". --BBCi
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS CELEBRATE 13TH SIYUM HASHAS
The 13th Global Siyum HaShas of Daf Yomi was held on recently with hundreds of thousands of people participating. The Siyum HaShas -- literally “the completion of the Six Orders [of the Talmud]" - is the celebration of the completion of the Daf Yomi program, a seven-and-a-half-year cycle of learning one folio page of the Talmud daily, with 2,711 pages of the Babylonian Talmud being covered in sequence.
The idea of Jews all across the world studying the same page of Talmud each day, with the goal of completing the entire Talmud, was presented at the First World Congress of Agudath Israel in Vienna on August 16, 1923 by Rabbi Meir Shapiro. His idea was greeted enthusiastically, including by many Jewish leaders in Europe and America, and the first cycle of Daf Yomi began on the first day of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah that year, September 11, 1923.
Ever since then, Jews participating in the program cover one page a day, studying the text by themselves, with a group, or by listening to a lecture. A typical daily Daf Yomi lecture takes one hour. Daf Yomi unifies the Jewish people, allowing Jews across the world and from any background to study the very same text each day, providing a commonality of purpose and injecting Jewish pride in its adherents.
The Talmud is written largely in Aramaic, and thus a translation of the Talmud, specifically the popular ArtScroll Schottenstein Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, an English-language and Hebrew-language translation and elucidation, has been credited with significantly increasing the number of participants in the Daf Yomi program. That translation, and many other resources for the Daf Yomi participant, has made “learning the Daf” an accessible avenue for Talmud study for any Jew who would like to participate in this unifying program.
With 2,711 pages in the Talmud, one Daf Yomi cycle takes about 7 years and 5 months. The completion of each tractate is typically celebrated with a small siyum, or celebration, and the completion of the entire cycle is celebrated at an event known as the Siyum HaShas.
The Siyum HaShas marks both the end of the previous cycle and the beginning of the next, and is characterized by inspiring speeches and lively singing and dancing.
Since 1990, attendance at the main Siyum HaShas in America, organized by Agudath Israel of America, has increased dramatically, necessitating the booking of larger arenas and stadiums. The 12th Siyum HaShas, on August 1, 2012, took place at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey with a sellout crowd of over 90,000. Other celebrations took place across the United States, Israel, Canada, Europe, and Australia, attracting hundreds of thousands.
The 13th Global Siyum HaShas, organized by Agudath Israel of America, was held at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and Barclays Center in New York, with the two venues being connected via live video. Hundreds of thousands more participated in remote locations, watching via video hookup, while others viewed the proceedings via livestream online.
Stories abound about the commitment Jews have shown to Talmud study in general and the Daf Yomi study program in particular.
Jay Schechter is one example. It was at the Eleventh Siyum Hashas of Daf Yomi in 2005, when Schechter, then principal and CEO of Rambam Yeshiva in Brooklyn, was in Madison Square Garden with his students. That event -- especially the dancing – made a powerful impression. The very next day, Schechter established a successful Daf Yomi study group, including several students in the Rambam-affiliated Zvi Dov Roth Academy. “The Daf” became an integral part of Schechter’s DNA.
Over the subsequent years, Jay suffered four heart attacks and underwent four surgeries and hospitalizations. Despite the pain and physical weaknesses involved during the procedures and recovery, Schechter consistently learned The Daf. Doctors and nurses watched in awe as their patient clutched his volume of Talmud while connected to an array of monitors and machines, toiling over each holy word.
25,000 MARCH IN “NO HATE. NO FEAR.” SOLIDARITY ACROSS THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE
No Hate. No Fear. Solidarity March took place on
last Sunday in New York
NEW YORK CITY -- Dozens of elected officials from the Greater New York region joined more than 25,000 New Yorkers at “No Hate. No Fear.,” a solidarity march with New York’s Jewish community, across the Brooklyn Bridge. The march was organized by UJA-Federation of New York (UJA) and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY), as well as ADL-NY, AJC-NY, and the New York Board of Rabbis following the violent, anti-Semitic attacks in Monsey, Brooklyn, and Jersey City.
“Today we do not simply walk over a bridge, we begin building better bridges between all denominations of Jews, and between Jews and non-Jews,” CEO of UJA-Federation of New York Eric S. Goldstein said. “Building bridges means putting aside our differences, religious and political, and calling out anti-Semitism and all forms of hate wherever we see it. The purpose of today’s march is to loudly and publicly proclaim that an attack on a visibly Orthodox Jew is an attack on every Jew, an attack on every New Yorker, and an attack on every person of good will.”
"The showing today of over 25,000 people representing the full spectrum of the Jewish community of New York, and many from the non-Jewish community, is a reflection of the seriousness of the plague of anti-Semitism affecting New York," said Michael Miller, executive vice president and CEO of JCRC-NY. "We will continue to work with our political leadership locally, statewide, and nationally to address this scourge to ensure the safety and security of the Jewish community and all communities in New York."
Following the march, New Yorkers of all backgrounds gathered in Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza where a number of community leaders and heads of faith-based organizations including Cardinal Timothy Dolan spoke about the recent attacks, the rise of anti-Semitism, and the need for people of all faiths to fight injustice. Additional speakers and performers during the program included Eric Goldstein, Michael Miller, Maccabeats, Devorah Halberstam, Jonathan Greenblatt, Gil Monrose, David Harris, Mehnaz Afridi, Janice Shorenstein, Frankie Miranda, Joe Potasnik, Bishop Anthony DiMarzio, Blake Flayton, Matisyahu, Eric Ward, Chaskel Bennet, Rabbi Avraham Gopin, Shulem, MaNishtana, Lawrence Aker, Rev. Que English, Eli Cohen, Amy Bressman, Bari Weiss, and Isaiah Rothstein, as well as a video message from Rabbi David Niederman.
Following a number of recent violent, anti-Semitic attacks on Jews in the New York region, including those in Monsey, Brooklyn, and Jersey City, the solidarity march sought to bring together public figures, civic and nonprofit leaders, as well as a number of faith-based organizations and New Yorkers to stand united in the belief that hatred of any kind will not be tolerated in New York City.
For 100 years, UJA-Federation has inspired New Yorkers to act on their values and invest in our community for the biggest impact. Through UJA-Federation, more than 50,000 donors address issues that matter most to them, pooling their resources to care for Jews everywhere and New Yorkers of all backgrounds, respond to crises close to home and far away, and shape our Jewish future. Working with nearly 100 nonprofit partners, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, UJA-Federation is the world’s leading local philanthropy; our reach extends from New York to Israel to nearly 70 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year.
AGUDATH ISRAEL COMMENDS SEN. SCHUMER FOR PROPOSAL TO SIGNIFICANTLY BOOST FEDERAL SECURITY FUNDING
Sen. Chuck Schumer adn NY Government Relations Rabbi Yeruchim Silber
Agudath Israel of America commended Sen. Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for his call to significantly boost security funding in the federal budget. At a recent press conference at his New York office, which was attended by Agudath Israel’s Director of New York Government Relations Rabbi Yeruchim Silber along with other organizational and faith leaders, Sen. Schumer called for a quadrupling of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) from its current level of $90 to $360 million.
The federal NSGP grants are available to houses of worship, schools, community centers and other not-for-profit institutions at risk of being targeted for terrorist attack. The funds can be used for hardening these targets with security enhancements, equipment and personnel.
Sen. Schumer’s proposal comes in the wake of increasing violent attacks on religious institutions and members of religious groups, many of them directed toward the Orthodox Jewish community. Most recently, the community has been shocked by the brutal murder of four victims in Jersey City and the horrific Chanukah attack in Monsey, among other anti-Semitic incidents.
Agudath Israel, through its Washington Office, under the direction of Rabbi Abba Cohen, has long championed the issue of security assistance for nonprofits and, along with its coalition partners, were among the leading advocates successfully calling for the creation of NSGP grants. Every year since, the organization has sought to strengthen the program, including the most recent increase from $60 to $90 million
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ASSEMBLYMAN SIMCHA EICHENSTEIN INTRODUCES BILL TO ENSURE HATE CRIME PERPETRATORS ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE
Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein announced new legislation recently that would include hate crimes as qualifying offenses of which a judge will have discretion setting bail, on the grounds that those who commit hate crimes are individuals who harbor irrational and harmful hate and are more likely to be repeat offenders.
“I fear that the trend of criminals who commit heinous, violent crimes being released onto the streets without bail could become the new normal in New York unless we rectify the law to consider perpetrators of hate crimes in a separate category, to be arraigned under the previous system of pretrial monetary bail or pending a judge’s discretion,” said Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein. “Recent events have proven that those who commit hate crimes constitute a category of their own. Their crimes are fueled by an inner hateful passion that is often irrational, uncompromising, and unstoppable.”
In March of 2019, New York passed wide-ranging bail reform legislation that strictly curtails the use of cash bail and pre-trial detention for many offenders. That legislation went into effect on January 1, 2020 and has already been implemented in many cases. The bill was passed by lawmakers in an effort to update and reform bail laws that have been in effect since 1971 and is meant to improve a system of criminal justice that is considered unfair to offenders accused of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Many of these offenders did not have the means to post bail and were destined to sit in prison while awaiting their trial.
“It’s been a difficult few weeks for many of us in New York, and our elected officials, by and large, have effectively called out the hate and expressed solidarity. Now it’s time for us to put words into action and ensure individuals fueled by hate are not granted an immediate opportunity to strike again. For the sake of the victims and for all New Yorkers, let’s safeguard all our communities by including hate crimes in the list of offenses of which a judge has the discretion setting bail,” Eichenstein said.
Federal hate crime data released last month by the FBI indicates that once again in 2018, the Jewish community was more likely to be the target of hate crimes than any other religious group. Of crime motivated by religious bias, most of the incidents, 57.8%, were anti-Jewish, according to the FBI. —Courtesy BoroPark 24
FIDF DELIVERS THOUSANDS OF HANUKKAH DOUGHNUTS TO ISRAELI SOLDIERS
JERUSALEM -- Hundreds of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers enjoyed Hanukkah celebrations on their bases across Israel, thanks to support from Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF).
At the end of December, FIDF’s team in Israel brought messages of hope and light -- and 17,000 jelly-filled doughnuts traditionally eaten on Hanukkah, called sufganyot in Hebrew -- to various IDF units throughout the country, including the Kedem Search and Rescue Battalion; Nachal Brigade Headquarters; and Combat Intelligence Collection 636 Battalion; which the FIDF Baltimore Chapter, FIDF Virginia Chapter, and FIDF Southeast Region, respectively, adopted as part of the FIDF Adopt-A-Battalion Program.
FIDF’s unique Adopt-A-Battalion Program allows supporters to go beyond their donations and get more involved by providing financial assistance to soldiers in need, caring for Lone Soldiers with no immediate family in Israel, and funding rest and recuperation breaks for combat units. Program supporters can visit the soldiers in their adopted units on IDF bases and communicate with unit commanders. In 2018, FIDF supporters formed unbreakable bonds with the soldiers of 10 brigades and 70 battalions, squadrons, and flotillas.
FIDF also offers IDF units Hanukkah menorahs and candles as part of the FIDF Identity and Purpose Program, which provides spiritual items and activities focused on Jewish identity, traditions, and holidays.
FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit organization with the mission of offering educational, cultural, recreational, and social programs and facilities that provide hope, purpose, and life-changing support for the soldiers who protect Israel and Jews worldwide. Today, FIDF has more than 150,000 loyal supporters, and 24 chapters throughout the United States and Panama. FIDF proudly supports IDF soldiers, families of fallen soldiers, and wounded veterans through a variety of innovative programs that reinforce the vital bond between the communities in the United States, the soldiers of the IDF, and the state of Israel.
Photos courtesy of FIDF