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™ ™

summer 2003
gave us TWO covers to choose
YOUTH OF THE ORTHODOX UNION from! We went with the group

11 Broadway New York, NY 10004 shot in large part because of the
Hebrew sign with “NCSY” on it.
But the “up close and personal”

Published twice annually for $2.00 per year, ISSN 00-229644. cover was so nice, we wanted
you to see that one, too. Never-


theless, we think we made the
right choice. (Or did we?)
NCSY | Keeping Posted | 11 Broadway | New York, NY 10004

Jack Abramowitz Editor >>> LONG-TIME READERS will probably

Pamela Weiman Graphic Designer notice that Keeping Posted has undergone a
change in direction over the past few issues. We
THE OFFICIAL VIEW OF NCSY, THE OU OR THE EDITORS. are striving to make Keeping Posted less of an
NCSY “NCSY magazine” and more of a “magazine for
Shira Reifman Director of Operations Jewish teens.” Accordingly, cover stories have
Rabbi Glenn Black Director of Regional Programming not been so much “NCSY Summer Programs”
Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch Educational Director and “Yarchei Kallah” as they have been
Rabbi Jack Abramowitz Director of Regional Programs “Missionaries Want You” and this issue’s
Rabbi Lenny Bessler Administrative Director
“Getting to Know Jews of Color.”
Katie Brinn National President
So why Jews of Color? Honestly, the idea
came about because of last Summer’s “The
NCSY Year in Pictures.” Months after it came
Harvey Blitz President, Orthodox Union
out, somebody was flipping through it and
Moshe Bane Chairman, Youth Commission
commented, “I bet this is the first issue of Keep-
Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb Executive Vice President
ing Posted that has pictures of two black Jews in
David Olivestone Director of Communications and Marketing it.” Our initial reaction was “Hmmm…you’re
probably right.” Our next reaction was “Why

should that be noteworthy?”
keeping posted
People don’t like to be objectified. Nobody
i n t h i s i s s u e should be defined by the color of his or her
skin. So we asked some NCSYers and advisors
7 NCSY Online Haiku Contest (who also happen to be people of color) to share
their thoughts and experiences. We hope that
8 From the Director of Operations this will help our readers to look at their fellow
Jews as people, not as colors. Hopefully, next
and the National President
year, we will all be able to look at old issues of
Keeping Posted and commenting on the number
Getting to Know Jews of Color
of Jews of Color will be no more knee-jerk a
reaction than counting the number of people
wearing glasses or neckties.
16 Performing Web Searches As part of our new focus, we have been invit-
ing guest authorities to contribute their com-
18 Hagbah ments on our themes. This issue we welcome
Yavilah McCoy. Mrs. McCoy is a professional
20 Book Reviews diversity consultant and the founder of Ayecha,
a resource center for Jews of Color and individ-
22 Letters/Mendy and the Golem uals interested in learning about Jews of Color.
More information about Ayecha can be found

23 Images of Yarchei Kallah following Mrs. McCoy’s article on page 15.

As always, we welcome your thoughts at (Unless otherwise noted, all cor-
respondence to Keeping Posted is considered
intended for publication.) kp
news ncsy

>>> Droppin’ in on the Island

L ONG ISLAND NCSY is pleased to announce that their Paul J. Ebin Great
Neck Towne Centre has relocated to a new site, three times the size of the
original. NCSYers on the north shore of Long Island convene on Saturday
>>> Rabbi
nights to watch HDTV, surf the web, enjoy a Judaica lending library or just hang
out with one another and cool advisors. On Sundays, the Centre hosts the Teen
Torah Center free Hebrew high. For more details, call 516.466.4682 or email
Schonbuch kp Speaks!
>>> Loungin’ around North of the Border Educational Director, National

V ANCOUVER NCSY is proud to announce the opening of its second NCSY, has delivered his inspiring
youth lounge, in Richmond, BC. Every Thursday night, Vancouverians lecture “The Seven Principles of
gather to play PlayStation 2, shoot pool, watch DVDs, eat, and enjoy the Jewish Leadership” at high schools
camaraderie of other Jewish teens. Of course, Vancouverites can still enjoy the across the country. Among the
original lounge on Wednesday nights. But what are they going to do on Mon- schools that have invited Rabbi
days? That’s Latte and Learning at Starbucks. To learn Schonbuch to deliver this presenta-
more, contact Rabbi Avi Berman, Director of Vancou- tion are HANC, Maimonides, New
ver NCSY, at 604.323.6308 or
Jewish High School, Rav Teitz
Mesivta Academy, Nefesh Acad-
West Coast has just announced the opening of a Teen Center in
emy and Bais Rivka (New Haven).
Phoenix, AZ. With Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, and Rich- He also delivered the address at the
mond that makes five Teen Centers that West Coast has 2002 NCSY National Conclave.

opened in three years. Yasher koach! kp The crux of the presentation is
proactive Jewish leadership. In the

talk, Jewish students are encour-
aged to take responsibility for
themselves, for their schools, for
their communities, for Israel and
Morrie and Carrie Klians of Toronto, Canada, both former Regional Presidents of
for the world. “One committed
Eastern Canada Region, on the birth of a granddaughter, Adira Eliora, in Ramat
Beit Shemesh, Israel. Mazel tov to the parents, Sharona & Nachman Rosen- individual can make a difference,”
berg. said Rabbi Schonbuch. But he
Kenny and Jenny Landsman on the birth of a son, Dov Baruch Simcha, stressed self-motivation, saying
8 lbs 9 oz and 19 inches long. Kenny is the Regional Technical Director of “growth has to come from within.”
Greater Midwest NCSY. While the target audience has
Moshe and Joanne Bane on the bar mitzvah of their son, Avraham Naftali. been primarily teens, Rabbi Schon-
Mr. Bane is the Chairman of the Orthodox Union Youth Commission. buch has developed a version of the
Rabbi Jack and Alana Abramowitz on the bar mitzvah of their son, talk for families, ideal for presenta-
Yitzchak Aryeh. Rabbi Abramowitz is Director of National Programs. tion in local synagogues.
Shira and Rabbi Daniel Reifman on the birth of a daughter, Hadara Sima, When he presents the talk,
their second, on March 25. Mrs. Reifman is Regional Director of Upper Rabbi Schonbuch also makes him-
New York NCSY and Interim Director of Operations, National NCSY. self available to speak about NCSY
Rivka and Michael Zauderer on their marriage. Mrs. Zauderer (née Gershon) Summer Programs. If you are inter-
is the OU Webmaster, as well as a former New Jersey Regional Board mem- ested in having Rabbi Schonbuch
ber and advisor. Mr. Zauderer is a former Atlantic Seaboard advisor.
speak in your school or community,
Brett and Esther Bekritsky on the birth of a daughter. Brett is an alumnus contact Esther Zlochower at
of and was a Regional administrator for Long Island NCSY.
212.613.8324 or kp
Rabbi Shimmy and Stacey Trencher on the birth of a son. Rabbi Trencher
news And

>>> Sizing up the Competition

T h e re N EW YORK NCSY has released the first edition of its new publication,
iNCSYder (pronounced “insider” – we’re suckers for a punny name).
The first edition of this newsletter contains stories on New York
Region’s Vermont Shabbaton, their 3-on-3 basketball tournament, the “Party

we re Cruise” melave malka, the “Crazy Quest” limo rally and more.
Keeping Posted congratulates New York Region on this exciting publication.
We’re keeping our eye on you! kp
of NCSY’s
Kibud Av V’Eim
brochure, NCSY >>> We ARE the Competition!
has released the
second in what
is now called the
NCSY Torah on
One Foot Series,
F OR THE FIRST TIME in many years (since Fall 1999’s Keeping Posted,
Jr., to be exact), there is a National Jr. NCSY publication. The Junior
NCSWire (love those punny names!) is the brainchild of National Jr.
NCSY Coordinator Kiva Rabinsky and National VP for Communications Jef-
frey Beitsch. Virtually the entire National Board of NCSY contributed, with
Lashon Hara. divrei Torah and articles on Summer Programs, Social Actions and Yachad.
Compiled by Also contributing were Regional VPJs and–yup–the Jr. NCSYers themselves!
Director of National You can read The Junior NCSWire online at
Programs Rabbi Jack iors/ jrncswire.pdf kp
Abramowitz, this
item, already in its BARUCH DAYAN HA’EMES
second printing, is available NCSY is saddened to note the passing of:
free, one per person, Rabbi Joshua Epstein, former rabbi of Congregation Ahavat Achim in
while supplies last. Fairfield, CT, one of the pioneer communities of NCSY in New England.
Zelda Lowy (Rus Zelda bas Masha) mother of Rabbi Yehuda Lowy.
Rabbi Lowy is Director of NCSY’s JOLT Summer Program.
NCSY’s Aaron Segal, father Rabbi Binyomin Segal. Rabbi Segal is an
Lashon Hara
summer 2003

advisor in Greater Midwest NCSY.

brochure may Dr. Michael Weiss, father of New England Region NCSYers
be requested Ayelet and Avi Weiss.
by writing Mrs. Regina Hurwitz, mother of Dr. David Hurwitz. Dr. Hurwitz
to is a former NCSY National President and a member of the OU
Youth Commission.
It is also available
as a PDF at May Hashem comfort the Epstein, Lowy, Segal, Weiss and Hurwitz
families among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
4 |
news ncsy

>>> Yes, For Women Only

Wsome dis-
cussion a
while back about
the review we ran
E HAD that’s not going to be an issue at all with Let Me be Me,
the new CD by Long Island NCSY (and Caravan) advi-
sor Randi Sinnreich; her CD is clearly labeled “for women
only.” So, guys, go read something else.
We gave Alana Abramowitz a copy of the CD to
of Barbara and review and she said that it transported her back to the six-
Cathy Heller’s CD ties (which she is too young to remember) and she likened
and the fact that it Randi to a modern-day Joni Mitchell (a reference that is
did not address probably lost on anyone under thirty, so go look it up on
whether there is an the Internet). Mrs. A continues:
issue of kol isha in “Randi’s music is perfect to listen to when you’re doing
regards to recorded homework, driving, or just want to de-stress from a hard
singing. We figured day…her mellow tunes and lovely vocals are a must-have
that those who were lenient wouldn’t refrain from listen- in any woman’s CD library.”
ing if we said not to and those who were stringent would- For more information on Let Me be Me, write to
n’t buy it if we said it was okay, so why take sides? Well, kp

NCSY and the Regions support Eretz Yisroel now more than ever.
>>> Regional Directors’ Mission to Israel

West Side or in a Newark Airport

hotel, the Regional Directors gath-
ered in Yerushalayim, Ir HaKodesh
( Jerusalem, the Holy City).
As many Regional Directors go to
Israel in order to meet with NCSY
alumni who are learning in yeshiva, it
made a lot of sense to schedule the
meeting around a common trip and
make a mission out of it.
Rabbis Black, Burg and Green-

land, Regional Directors of Canada,
West Coast and Greater Midwest,
keeping posted

respectively, were interviewed on

Arutz Sheva, Israel National News
Pictured: Regional Directors Rabbis Burg, Nathan, Greenberg, Tropp, Solomont, Greenland and Freedman at the radio, regarding the mission.
Kotel during the Regional Directors’ Mission to Israel. (Rabbi Burg doesn’t have tefillin on because West Coast The message behind the mission
is three hours behind.)
is clear: NCSY and the Regions sup-
port Eretz Yisroel now more than ever. We continue to


their winter meeting in a different location than
usual. Rather than convening on New York’s Upper
visit and to show our support by encouraging young peo-
ple to go to Israel for a summer or to learn there for a year
or more after high school. kp
| 5

>>> “It Could Have Been Me”

Goes to Washington Pictured: Charlotte, Monique, Tobey, Senator Sarbanes, Yitz and Andy


NCSYers launched a grassroots effort in support
of Israel called “It Could Have Been Me.” Instead
of just another letter-writing campaign, NCSYers across
the US would write to Congress opposing terror attacks
NCSY contingent was comprised of National Vice Presi-
dent for Social Actions Monique Grunberger, Long
Island’s Charlotte Levy, Atlantic Seaboard’s Andrew Van
Houter and West Coast Regional President Yitz Novak.
The NCSY team met with and delivered letters to
in Israel and would enclose their photos. Each letter Senators Paul Sarbanes (MD), Chuck Schumer (NY ),
would start with the line “It could have been me.” Gordon Smith (OR), Arlen Specter (PA), Ron Wyden
750 letters were delivered to Capitol Hill when (OR), Lindsey Graham (SC), and Orrin Hatch (UT). kp
NCSYers joined the OU Mission to Washington. Led by
Tobey Herzog, OU Israel Task Force Coordinator, the

>>> Lieberman Scholar Advocates for Israel


organized an impressive program with Senator Eric
Fingerhut (OH) at Beachwood High School. Stu-
summer 2003

dents from Beachwood, Shaker High School, Hathaway

Brown and Fuchs Beit Sefer Mizrachi came together to
hear Mr. Fingerhut speak about advocacy, especially for
Israel. The Senator’s message was clear: as was evident in
his campaign on behalf of Cleveland Mayor Michael R.
White, a small group of people can make a huge differ-
ence. As Hillary did with this event. kp

Pictured: Hillary Altman and the other

6 |

Lieberman Scholars at the JCPA Plenum

You Ku, I Ku,
We all Ku for Haiku
NCSY Online recently hosted a haiku contest. What’s a haiku? Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry consisting of 17 syllables,
17 5
divided into three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables each. For the contest, haiku had to be on the theme of NCSY. Having received an
unanticipated 97 entries, we have decided to divide the haiku into four categories: haiku about one’s chapter or Region; haiku
about NCSY Summer Programs; haiku about NCSY in general; and, while there were many tongue-in-cheek haiku, a special
category for the funniest haiku. We have also included runners up in each category, plus three Honorable Mentions.

✎ CHAPTER/REGION seg is really cool. Sundays are so sad

First Place: learning and shteiging all day at Shabbatons because I
With a Southern drawl everyone should come! will miss all my friends.
Kentucky youth would call out - Anonymous, Long Island - Anonymous Girl #1, Central East
“Chesed Torah Chai!”
- Randy Farb, Alumna, Central East No showers for weeks ✎ FUNNIEST HAIKU
A band of smelly students At last Shabbaton
Runners Up: Outward Bound-good fun! there was a skiing option.
Mom, I won’t be home - Ian Kessler, West Coast I went to the mall.
‘cuz there’s an NCSY
- Anonymous Girl #1, Central East
shabbaton in Maine
- Hannah Pasternak, New Jersey ✎ NCSY IN GENERAL ✎ HONORABLE MENTIONS
First Place:
Rabbi Solomont Etana Zack of Central East
A crowded hallway submitted two haiku, which,
The best New England has seen So many friendly faces aside from fitting the 5/7/5
Will surely be missed My first Shabbaton s y l l a b l e r u l e, a l s o r h y m e d .
- Anonymous, Alumnus, New England - Naomi Feigenbaum, Central East That’s totally unnecessary
in a haiku, but it yields
Yeshiva By Phone Runners Up: an interesting result:
Learn Halachos of Shabbos Crazy dancing. Fun! Torat Emet chap.
Learn from Rav Crystal Why can’t my shul dance like that is new on the C.E. map
- Joshua Balderman, Upper New York on Simchas Torah? let’s all cheer and clap!
- Anonymous Girl #1, Central East
The Midwest Region, New Jersey’s Allison Katz
the best region of them all! Be quiet, cell phone! also submitted two haiku.
Come see for yourself. NCSYers, call me Allison decided that she was
- Eva Greenspan, Greater Midwest after 9 PM. going to get her message
across and syllable count be
- Miriam Baron, Upper New York hanged! The following haiku
Maalot is here!
Nationals feels our presence has a rhythm of 17/20/22.
Ten hours of homework. That’s definitely an interest-
MAALOT TAKE OVER!! ing result for a haiku!
I still have enough time to
- Tiff Sameyah, Long Island
come to Shabbatons!
✎ SUMMER PROGRAMS - Anonymous Girl #1, Central East I think Etz Chaim NCSY IS THE BEST
ETZ CHAIM NCSY has the best
First Place: advisors, administrators, and kids
the singing revives
JOLT, indelible We have achdus and work hard on
a feeling inside, i miss
impressions with the children the behalf of am yisrael and eretz
yarchei kallah times

my own soul as well yisrael

- Anonymous Girl #2, Central East
- Jeremy Lorber, West Coast
keeping posted

Runners Up: A great place to be F i n a l l y, a n N C S Y a l u m f r o m

Camp Guila is great We s t C o a s t s u b m i t t e d t h e
NCSY is for you! following, the day after
Last summer was so awesome Anyone can come! the deadline:
I am going back ;-) - Max Rogers-Marcovitz,
- Anonymous, Canada Greater Midwest Just like all others,
this haiku is past deadline.
The best summer is Achdut fills the air What a big surprise!
Michlelet NCSY Shabbaton’s about to start
For the girls only counting down till then More NCSY haiku can be
- Aliza B., Advisor, West Coast
| 7

- Ronit Horwitz, Central East found at!

>Shira Reifman

A S I WRITE THIS LETTER, we find ourselves in

the 49-day period between Passover and Shavuot
known as the Omer. Unlike any other time of year,
during the Omer Jews are commanded to count each day
by verbally stating the number of days and weeks that have
“bondage” of a structured school day to the freedom of
summer vacation. As you do, remember the message of the
Omer! Each day matters! It is up to you to decide whether
you will spend the next three months sleeping in and then
staring at the TV or actively bringing positive energy into
passed since the second night of Passover. What is the the world. Choose wisely – today will never come again.
deeper message inherent in this mitzvah? Rav Soloveitchik Before I close, I would like to thank Katie Brinn and the
explains that the Omer period commemorates the transi- entire National Board for all of the enthusiasm and special
tion from slavery in Egypt to freedom at Sinai. The differ- projects that they have brought to NCSY this year. I would
ence between a slave and a free person is the relationship also like to thank the entire National office staff, the
that each has with time. A slave is not in control of his or Regional Directors, and the army of outstanding advisors
her own time whereas a free person may choose how to who make NCSY the special place that it is. Congratula-
spend his or her days, whether to live a life of leisure or a tions to all of the graduating seniors. Always cherish what
life of activity and purpose. Therefore, says the Rav, as we you have gained from NCSY and come back to visit us
Jews develop into people who have control over our own often. Finally, I would like to wish a mazel tov and
time it is appropriate to count and measure each day to tzeitchem l’shalom (congratulations and farewell) to Rabbi
remind us of the value of time and the potential that each Ari and Sarah Beth Solomont from the New England
individual day holds. Region who are making aliyah this summer. They are an
Many of you are about to make the transition from the inspiration to us all. Have a wonderful summer. kp

>Katie Brinn

A FEW DAYS AGO, along with

Jews all over the world, we cele-
brated a very special holiday. It is
not a Yom Tov or even a fast day. This
holiday is one that comes at the beginning of each Jew-
The moon that reappears every month on Rosh Chodesh
can be compared to the Jewish nation. Just when the moon
seems to disappear, it comes back even stronger. The Jewish
nation has suffered many hardships during its three-thousand
years of existence. Each time it seems as if we are just about to
ish month. It is called Rosh Chodesh, the head of the fade away and be lost forever, we come back stronger than
month. Rosh Chodesh is celebrated by reciting Hallel before. Just like the moon will keep coming back each month,
after the morning Amidah. It is a special holiday the Jewish people will always come back. No matter what
because it celebrates the beginning of the new month. hardship, Klal Yisroel, the nation of Israel, will always have that
Much like Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Chodesh signifies spark that keeps us alive. The Romans, Spanish monarchy, and
a new beginning. I know for me this Rosh Chodesh Nazi Germany all tried to destroy us as a people. They are
was especially important as everyone in my grade gone, but the Jewish nation survives and flourishes. As the
begins to end one part of their life and start the next. new moon comes out on Rosh Chodesh, we have a chance
summer 2003

The halls are buzzing with “Where are you going to for a clean slate. We are given the chance to have a new
college?” or “What are you doing this summer?” This is month, which will surely be better than the last, for with each
a new beginning, a clean slate. We are capable of any- passing month we are growing older and wiser. We must
thing we put our minds to. Just as the moon is about to learn from our mistakes and learn to fix them as each
enter a new cycle on Rosh Chodesh, we are entering a month passes. We must strive for greatness and always
new stage in our lives, a stage where we are preparing remember to keep ourselves in perspective. As the moon
to be in the real world and to make our own decisions. recycles again we are given another chance to analyze,
The choices we make in the next part of our lives will reflect and change the way we feel about ourselves and the
have a profound impact on the rest of our lives. way we act toward others. kp
8 |
T here you are, sitting
in shul, when a
stranger walks in. He
article, Jews of Color share their
experiences so that other Jews may
become sensitive to the issues facing
behavior. Because her family had
moved several times, she ended up
attending a number of different
these members of our community. schools. In sixth grade, she found
looks awfully familiar. herself back in a yeshiva after many
He looks a lot like, you Being a Person years in public schools.
know, that guy in that movie. “In American History, when we
What’s his name again? of Color in the got to the slavery part, they would
Jewish Community say all of these bad things without
Oh, yeah! He resembles AKEMEE CAPERS is an taking into account that I was sit-
Eddie Murphy. NCSYer from Har ting there – about lack of education
But wait a second! Isn’t Eddie Sinai Region who and being on welfare. I said that
Murphy a black guy? This guy is has had some awk- there are white people on welfare,
wearing a tallis and a yarmulke and ward experiences too, but the arguments just esca-
that’s kind of Jewish. How can he as a Jew of Color. lated.” This was just one incident of
be both black and Jewish? “When I was many that contributed toward
“He must be a convert,” you about ten, my Naomi eventually leaving that
reason. “Or maybe he was adopted. family moved too school. “We thought the yeshiva
No - I bet he’s an Ethiopian immi- far from my old shul. would be more accepting and we
grant.” When I first came to the new shul, got the opposite reaction. It was
The preceding thought process some people assumed I must have very frustrating.”
might seem perfectly natural to been a babysitter.” But Akemee At only 16 years of age, Naomi
you, but would you voice it aloud? quickly fixed that. “They were has some hard-earned words of
Probably not. Why not? Because of shocked when they saw I knew the wisdom for other Jews of Color.
fear of offending. If it’s potentially prayers,” she recounts. “It’s important to understand that
offensive, maybe we should train That was far from her most what people say doesn’t impact on
ourselves not even to think along uncomfortable moment. Before your future. If you can get past it, it
those lines. joining NCSY, Akemee belonged can actually help. (Things people
You don’t look at the redheaded to a different youth group. “The have said) may have hurt at the
guy in shul and think “he must be rabbi that was leading the group time, but without (that experience)
an Irish convert.” The rabbi’s a didn’t believe that I was born Jewish I would be naïve and oblivious. I
blonde and you don’t assume he was and that my family was Jewish. He needed it to be where I am now. It

a Scandinavian baby adopted by called my rabbi to check up on my made me a stronger person.”

Jews. Don’t presume that Avraham, background. I didn’t like being sin- One yeshiva student in his twen-
keeping posted

Yitzchak and Yaakov must have gled out like that.” But once again, ties who chooses to
looked just like you; Jews come in Akemee had the last laugh. “He remain anonymous
all shapes, sizes and colors. would quiz me on Jewish history has encountered
In addition to the usual chal- and he was surprised how much I some incredi-
lenges that come with being Jewish, knew.” ble insensitiv-
Jews of Color must also live with Greater Midwest NCSYer ity as a Jew of
the assumptions and misconcep- NAOMI FULCHER has also Color – from
tions of their coreligionists. In this encountered this kind of tactless his friends.
| 9
Because I’m black, people think
I have to be from Ethiopia when,
really, I came from Brooklyn
“The hardest things are dating Despite this unintentionally pre- Similarly, Phillip has found black
and chavrusas (learning partners),” he sumptuous insensitivity, Naomi has non-Jews to be “very respectful”
says. This is despite the fact that he’s found the environment in NCSY to about his being Jewish. “They’re
friendly socially with his peers in be very welcoming. “They curious about what it’s like in Israel,
other capacities. “Nobody gives a looked past physical about Jewish weddings. It’s not
clear reason what the problem is, appearances and saw intimidating. There’s no feeling of
I’m just the last person to get a me as a person.” superiority. It’s just who you are.
chavrusa.” Long Island advi- They’re very accepting.”
As wrong as that may seem, it sor PHILLIP VEDOL To what can we attribute the fact
pales before the insensitivity he works with Jr. NCSY that the black community is more
has encountered in dating. He in his Region. He said accepting of Jews of Colors’ religion
spoke with one of his Roshei Yeshiva, that since this population is than the Jewish community is of
a respected rabbi with whom he has more impressionable, they may be their race? Perhaps it is the fact that
a good relationship, for advice. “He better able to develop appropriate ethnicity does not presuppose a par-
told me to go to Israel and find an sensitivities than adults or older ticular religion. There are black
Ethiopian family. I asked if he could teens. “The fact that they’re just Catholics, black Protestants, black
help me find a nice girl at Stern starting to develop a sense of com- Moslems – why shouldn’t there be
(College) and he said, ‘It’s not going munity at that age is a big help for black Jews? The problem, then, is
to work. We’re not sophisticated them.” that we must eradicate the assump-
enough for interracial marriages.’ I tion that religion presupposes race.
said, ‘So it doesn’t matter how much
Being Jewish in the There are black Jews, white Jews,
learning I do?’ and he said, ‘You’d be Black Community yellow Jews and red Jews. The
a great catch for an Ethiopian girl.’ While some people have encoun- greater Jewish community just needs
But I’m American!” tered occasional incredulity from to learn this.
non-Jews about their being Jewish,
Jews of Color in NCSY most Jews of Color have found that Lessons
Thankfully, despite her experi- the black community takes it more in What’s the most important thing
ences in her previous youth group, stride than the Jewish community. for Jews in the white majority to
Akemee’s experiences in NCSY have One Jew of Color related that her remember when interacting with
essentially been positive. non-Jewish, African-American Jews of other ethnicities? According
“Most people think (being friends found it odd that she did not to Phillip, it is “to treat the person as
black and Jewish) is attend the same church. “They said I a person, not as an object. Remember
pretty cool. They accept had to be mistaken that I was Jew- that they aspire to the same Jewish
me without questions ish,” she relates. That kind of attitude values as other Jews in the commu-
or doubts.” appears to be the exception rather nity.”
Naomi’s brother, than the rule. “It’s also important (for Jews of
RAPHAEL FULCHER, Akemee says that her friends at Color) to be integrated in every way.
agrees that the environ- school “just wonder why I don’t eat It’s not enough just that they count
ment in NCSY is generally a pork. I tell them that I am Jewish in the minyan. Their kids have to
positive one for Jews of Color. and they’re like, ‘Oh. OK.’ and that’s play with the other kids, other fami-
“NCSY is very good with diversity it.” lies have to host them – they have to
because a lot of different types of Speaking of her elementary participate in the community just
people go (to NCSY ).” school days, Naomi relates, “In pub- like everyone else.”
summer 2003

That’s not to say that it is without lic school I was around other black “Awareness of the issue is impor-
challenges. Naomi said that “coming people and as far as being Jewish, tant,” Phillip concludes, “otherwise
into NCSY, a lot of people asked if I everyone thought that was fascinat- how do you know where you stand?
was Ethiopian. I was uneasy because ing.” The family even took the Knowing that there even is an issue
they don’t ask other people if they’re opportunity to provide education. leads to having an opinion. Hope-
from Europe. But because I’m black, “My mother would do presentations fully it will be a correct one – one
I have to be from Ethiopia when, on the holidays; for Chanukah she that leads to treating Jews of Color –
really, I came from Brooklyn.” would bring a menorah to class…” all Jews – the same.” kp
10 |


community of black Jews
come to exist in Ethiopia?
The first modern contact with the
Ethiopian Jewish community came
in 1769, when they were encoun-
tered by Scottish explorer James
are unfamiliar with either the Baby-
lonian or Palestinian Talmud. Their
Bible and prayers are written in
Gecez, an ancient Semitic dialect.
The story one frequently hears is that Bruce. In 1868, Joseph Halevy of the The Beta Israel retained animal
the Ethiopian Jewish community is French Alliance Israelite Universelle sacrifice and celebrate Biblical holi-
descended from Shlomo HaMelech visited the Beta Israel to combat mis- days, as well as their own post-Bibli-
(King Solomon) and the Queen of sionary efforts, but they refused to cal festivals. They observe bris milah,
Sheba. (See Melachim Alef / I Kings accept that he was a white Jew. He family purity, Shabbos and kashrus,
chapter 10.) According to the (non- wrote that they exclaimed, “You - a but they do not have the Rabbinical
Jewish) legend found in the Kebra Falasha? A white Falasha? You are enactments that occurred following
Nagast, the book of the Rastafarian laughing at us! Are there any white their split from the rest of Israel.
religion, Shlomo and the Queen had Falashas?” The Beta Israel have been consid-
a son, Menelik. Curious about his (The word “Falasha” means ered outsiders in Ethiopia since the
father, young Menelik traveled to “stranger” or “exile” in Amharic. fourth century when King Ezana
Israel for a visit. Upon leaving, he
stole the Ark of the Covenant and
brought it back with him to Axum,
Israelis risked their lives to take the
making it the new Jewish capital. black Jews – but not to make them slaves
Torah scholars have generally
accepted that the Ethiopian Jewish While once a common name for the declared Christianity the official
community descends from the tribe Ethiopian Jewish community, it is state religion. Most European Jews
of Dan. In 883, Eldad HaDani vis- now considered derogatory. They did not pay much attention to the
ited Jews in Iraq, Tunisia and Spain. refer to themselves as the Beta situation of the Beta Israel because
He wrote that his people had a tradi- Israel– the House of Israel.) they did not believe that the Beta
tion that when the kingdom of Israel The religion of the Beta Israel is a Israel were, in fact, Jews. Many
divided, members of the tribe of Dan form of Judaism generally unaffected viewed the Beta Israel as a curiosity,
defected to Ethiopia rather than by post-Biblical developments; they much like the Samaritans and the
fight against their brethren.
In the fifteenth century, Rabbi
Ovadiah of Bertinoro, celebrated
commentator on the Mishna,
accepted the Ethiopian community
as full-fledged Jews. Rabbi David
ben Solomon ibn Avi Zimra (the

Radbaz) did likewise in the sixteenth

century. In 1973, Rav Ovadia Yosef,
keeping posted

the Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel,

recognized the Ethiopian Jews as
belonging to the tribe of Dan and
ruled that they “must be saved from
absorption and assimilation. We are
obliged to speed up their immigra-
tion to Israel and educate them in
the spirit of the holy Torah…” Yom Ha’Atzmaut in Israel with Ethiopian immigrants.
Photo by and © Judah S. Harris, used with permission.
| 11
Karaites, due to the fact that the Beta Over 8,000 Beta Israel Joshua in a fraction of the
Israel had many customs that dif- came to Israel between time.
fered from mainstream Judaism. 1977 and 1984. Operation We spoke with singer
The state of Israel did not accept Moses, which ran for six Karmella Casay, who lives
the Beta Israel as Jews and therefore weeks starting in November in Ramat Gan but was born
did not extend citizenship to them of 1984, rescued another in Sudan, as her parents were
under the 1950 Law of Return, 8,000 Ethiopian Jews and making their way from Ethiopia
Israel’s immigration law, which guar- brought to them Israel. In 1985, to Israel. Her own experiences in
antees citizenship to any verifiable Operation Joshua brought an addi- Israel have been very positive, but
Jew. This policy was changed in tional 800 Beta Israel to Israel. After she attributes that in large part to the
1975, helped in large part by Rav that, rescue operations were stymied. fact that she has lived there practi-
Ovadiah Yosef ’s 1973 declaration. Then in 1991, for 36 non-stop cally her entire life.
In the 1980s, Ethiopia forbade hours, 34 jumbo jets with seats “There were not too many
the practice of Judaism and the removed to accommodate the maxi- Ethiopians in Israel after Operation
teaching of Hebrew. Many Beta mum number of passengers began Moses. Most Israelis had never seen
Israel were imprisoned on charges of Operation Solomon. A total of black people, so I was special. Oper-
being Zionist spies and religious 14,324 Ethiopian Jews were rescued ation Shlomo brought a lot of immi-
leaders were harassed and monitored and resettled in Israel, twice the grants. Israel was not ready for so
by the government. number of Operations Moses and many,” she said.

“So, where are you from…

originally?” Special to Keeping Posted by Tobey Herzog
I was born in Korea. The most frequently asked question I receive from Jews who see me in the com-
munity is, “So, where are you from?” I usually answer, “Baltimore,” but I know what they usually
mean… “Where were you born and how did you end up here?” Depending on who’s asking, I some-
times say Switzerland… I sometimes say I’m part Moslem, and I’m here to check out the competition.
There’s nothing wrong with being curious. Just wait to start shooting the not-so-sly “So, where are you from?”
questions until after you’ve at least bothered to get to know the person a little, as a regular person. I, personally,
do not see myself as Asian. For someone to walk up to me and make that the focus of how they regard me is miss-
ing something… like the fact that I don’t speak Korean, that I lived in Korea for only a few months as an infant,
and that I know nothing of Korean culture and a lot about being Jewish.
Get to know the person just a little for who they really are before you relieve your curiosity and ask how they
came to be a part of the community. If you wouldn’t ask someone you didn’t know to share their lunch with you, I
don’t think you should ask someone to share a piece of their life story with you without getting to know one another
just a little. Honestly, when I see another Asian Jew, the same questions run through my head. But I don’t go over
and say, “Hey… wanna swap stories?” But definitely, once you’ve met, ask if you are curious. Trust me, it is so obvi-
ous when someone is beating around the bush, dropping clues that they want to hear your story. Just say that you’re
summer 2003

dying to ask and ask whether they mind telling you.

I guess the point is, for whomever you are meeting, Jew, non-Jew, white, black, or chartreuse, when you react
to the people around you, try to get to know them for who they really are before you sum them up by what they
look like. And while in the process of trying to get to know them… be a mentsch first, then be yourself. (Hopefully,
they’re one and the same!)

Tobey Herzog is the OU Israel Task Force Coordinator and the Founder of the Jewish Dream Network. She will
be leading NCSY’s Outward Bound Summer Program and is coordinating the Prayer for Peace Photomosaic Project.
For more information, see
12 |
ETHIOPIA continued

“There is racism in Israel, based “Color” in the

on a mixture of immigrant status and
race,” Karmella reports. “Most Jewish Community:
immigrants are poor and unedu-
cated. The children have to support A Matter of Perspective
their parents and they don’t get edu-
Special to Keeping Posted by Yavilah McCoy,
Because she was both an early Executive Director, Ayecha Resource Organization
immigrant and in Israel from a very
young age, Karmella managed to
escape many of the culture shocks
endured by later or older Ethiopian
arrivals. “I’m very Israeli,” she said.” I
don’t (even) have an accent.”

Organization, I have had

tor of the Ayecha Resource

both the pleasure and opportunity of

gathering networks of support for
not the exterior that makes the Jew,
but the internal spirit, and the con-
tent of the Jewish character.
Over the course of the last three
years, since Ayecha’s formation, our
A professional singer, Jews of Color while providing educa- members have discussed this topic
Karmella’s trio reflects tional resources to the greater Jewish and many others that relate to the
the immigrant community on appreciating differ- understanding of “Color” in the Jew-
nature of Israel; her ence and building sensitivity and tol- ish community. In contrast to Jews of
partners are from erance. Through our Rabbinical Color who avoid identifying by the
Morocco and Advisory Council, Training and racial aspect of their physicality,
Yemen, respec- Curriculum, Relief Fund and Annual there have been others who have
tively. Shabbaton, Ayecha has brought peo- voiced feelings to the contrary. For
Yossi Vassa is an ple of various backgrounds and affil- these Jews, even though “Color” is
Ethiopian immigrant who iations together to consider what not their primary identity, they
makes his living as a comedian. He binds Jews to each other despite dif- would still like to create some posi-
recently returned to Israel following ference, and to examine the misun- tive identification with this aspect of
a US tour including many campus derstandings around difference that their physical package to counteract
Hillels. He said that his stay in the can, unfortunately, keep people the negative stereotypes and misin-
US fills him with hope for race rela- apart. formation that exist around color in
tions in Israel. What is most interesting, to me, American society and, at times,
At a show in North Carolina, about working with Jews of Color, is inform social interactions between
Yossi saw blacks on one side of the that for many Jews of darker skin Jews of different racial backgrounds
room and whites on the other. It was tone, differences in “Color” are not in the Jewish community.
the first time he had seen that kind an issue. Through participant discus- Unfortunately, it is often the mis-
of segregation. “I thought it was an sions at our various workshops and information that exists around
accident; people just sat with their correspondence, I have found many “color” in the Jewish community that
friends,” he reported. “Now I see it’s Jews of Color who refuse to identify presents the strongest need for an
a way of life in the US. It’s no acci- themselves around the color of their organization like Ayecha. Mistaken
dent.” skin due to a feeling that doing so assumptions around Jews having a
“In Israel there is racism, too. would represent a misplaced notion monolithic racial identity, that is

Whites feel superior to blacks all among Jewry. I have met many Jews chiefly “White” and European, can
over the world, but in Israel they talk of Color who feel strongly that skin lead to situations where Jews with
keeping posted

to one another. They want to be sure color should not be used as a means dark skin tone, including those from
that they hear you curse them,” he of defining their primary identity the Middle East and North Africa,
said in his professional comedian because it describes their physicality are considered to be other than “nor-
fashion. “Sure, there are arguments, and not their spiritual affinity, which mal” or “standard” Jews. Mistaken
but it’s communication.” is what makes them Jews. In fact, assumptions around Jewish identity
There is tension, to be sure, but many have posited that one role that can also lead to situations where Jews
it’s different than in the US. Many Jews of dark skin tone can play in the with dark skin are blanketly assumed
Israelis “risked their lives by going to Jewish community is to remind the to be converts and where instead of
Sudan and taking the black Jews – Jewish people, as a whole, that it is being celebrated as an aspect of
| 13

but not to make them slaves.” kp

mainstream Jewishness, they become countless ways that bring people experiences with “color” and explore
exotified, strange, curiosities that together around food, prayer, obser- what has worked well in the past and
remain outside of definitions for nor- vance of holidays, and the celebra- what needs to be fixed for the future.
malized Judaism. tion of Jewish life. When we buy into Individuals who join our organiza-
Stereotypes and prejudices that prejudices, it plants hurtful separa- tion, regardless of color, can both
exist within the United States, tions in the places where our religion contribute to and learn from discus-
regarding various racial, ethnic and naturally provides us with commu- sions, programs and activities that
cultural groups, have been damaging nity and contributes to a deep level of stand to move us forward in our
to American society as a whole, but isolation that is akin to being sepa- communal acceptance of difference.
are particularly virulent when rated from one’s family. The entire Ayecha is an organization that poses
brought into the communal interac- community is robbed when we allow a question: “Where do you stand?”
tions of the Jewish community. Jews the supposed boundaries of “color” to Our commentaries teach us that G-d
rely on each other for community in keep us from making deep and asked this question of Adam, after

When we buy into prejudices, it plants hurtful separations in the

places where our religion naturally provides us with community
meaningful relationships with each the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, not
other. to find his physical location but to
For Further Insight Even though Ayecha has had the inspire his introspection on where he
pleasure of celebrating the warmth stood within his purpose for being
 Bamboo Cradle: and welcome that many Jews of created. As Jews, we are a people
A Jewish Father’s Story, Color have found in a variety of Jew- with tremendous potential to give
Abraham Schwartzbaum ish communities, both in Israel and praise to our Creator through our

 Black Boy, the United States, each shared

instance of difficulty presents us with
harmonious representation of the
diversity of our world. I have often
Richard Wright the challenge of making welcome, asked participants in our workshops
 Black Like Me, integration and retention in the Jew-
ish community a reality for all of us.
to imagine for a moment the look,
feel and sound of a moment when all
John Howard Griffin
As an organization, Ayecha hopes to the Jews who currently exist in the
 Black, White and Jewish: improve our community by offering
Jews a safe “space” to talk about their
world are gathered together in one
location. With all the different lan-
Autobiography of a Shifting
Self, Rebecca Walker

 The Hairstons: An American

Family in Black and White,
Henry Wiencek
summer 2003

 Nigger: The Strange Career

of a Troublesome Word,
Randall Kennedy

(Some people were uncomfortatble

with us including that last book,
because of the title. It is a critically
acclaimed work by a black Harvard
Law professor about the power of
words. If the title makes you feel A member of Ayecha (the father of NCSY alumni from Central East)
14 |

uneasy, good. It should.) speaks to Rabbi Avraham Twerski at a recent Ayecha Conference.
Learn to 10 Tips Toward
value the
“inner” Jew Sensitivity in the
in yourself Jewish Community:
By Yavilah McCoy
so that you
can better  Reach out to other Jews across difference because you
appreciate will find our commonalities exceed our differences by far.

 Do not assume that Jewish history and the current Jewish

it in others. population is comprised most significantly of Jews of
European cultural ancestry.
guages and customs, there would
still be one word for G-d and one
 Consider that within the customs and traditions of the
Jewish people there are a great diversity of language,
word for our people, “Yisrael.” For
culture, custom and color. Be willing to reach for and
those who are already standing in
stay connected to the diversity of the Jewish people.
the Garden of Eden, the question
“Ayecha” is moot. But for those who  Do not assume that because a person has dark skin that
have the courage to look out into an they must be a convert. This is not necessarily true.
imperfect world and see where their
hands and perspectives can make a  Learn to value the “inner” Jew in yourself so that you
difference, the question becomes a can better appreciate it in others.
call to action. kp  Get to know the customs and traditions of Jews from the
Middle East and North Africa and welcome this knowl-
Yavilah McCoy is a teacher, writer, editor edge as a necessary component of your Jewish Education.

 If you find a person’s journey around difference to be

and diversity consultant. She was raised in
the Flatbush and Crown Heights areas of
Brooklyn, New York, where she attended inspiring, be it their color, background, abilities, culture,
Bais Rivkah Elementary and Yeshiva Univer- traditions, etc., try not to limit your praise of them to
sity High School. Mrs. McCoy has studied
their being “inspiring.” Tell them what about them
Hebrew and Judaic Studies at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem and the Neve inspires you specifically.
Yerushalayim Zaidner Institute for Women.
She holds a degree in English Education
 Remember that it’s OK to be curious, but to become fas-
and Judaic Studies from the University at cinated with a person because of an aspect of their phys-
Albany and has taught Judaic Studies, icality alone, is to turn that person into an object in your
Hebrew Language and English Literature on regard. Make efforts to make your relationships with
elementary and secondary levels. She is cur- people who are different from you more than skin deep.
rently the originator and director of a
national, not-for-profit, resource organiza-
tion, “Ayecha,” whose mission is to pro-
 Keep in mind that Jews of Color have a lot to offer the
Jewish community both in experience and perspective

mote tolerance and sensitivity in the Jew-

ish and world community. Yavilah McCoy is
and should be welcomed to participate in all levels of
keeping posted

married to Dr. Pinchas McCoy and resides in Jewish social interaction, including leadership.
St. Louis, Missouri with her husband and
three children, Atarah Yocheved, Yair  Remember that denial is not just a river in Egypt
Moshe, and Yonatan Nechemya. (smile), it can also be an obstacle toward finding lasting
solutions. When we sit with the things inside us that
Ayecha Resource Organization
7811 Blackberry Avenue
make us the most uncomfortable, we often find deeper
St. Louis, MO 63130 truth and growth on the other side.
Tel: 314.725.5814
| 15
[f Technology Corner


Most of these “advanced” functions can be accomplished by the
user by utilizing either Boolean logic or mathematical symbols

going online to find information about


installing new windows in your home and


OR The Boolean OR command means “match any.”

It is used to allow any of the specified search terms in
results. Dole OR Clinton would yield pages containing
finding page after page about Windows 95, Win- either of those namss.
dows XP and Windows 3.1. Typing just “windows” into
Google yields 134 million search results, and the majority AND/+ The Boolean AND is used means “match all.” All
are about operating systems. But excluding the terms of the specified terms must be present in results.
“Microsoft” and “computers” narrows the results to a mere + performs pretty much the same function. Dole AND
4,120,000 pages with Andersen Windows, Marvin Win- Clinton would yield pages contain both of those names.
dows and Doors, and Pella Windows in the third through +Dole +Clinton is the same thing.
fifth positions.The secret is in knowing how to “search
smart”. Some search engines perform an AND search by default,
There are several ways to narrow your search options. others perform an OR.
The first is by using the “Advanced Search” option avail-
able on many search engines. Depending on the engine, NOT/- The Boolean NOT command requires that a par-
this could be a window that offers options such as ticular term not be among the results. – performs essentially
“Include,” “Exclude,” “Exact Phrase” and “Proximity,” or the same thing. Searching for Dole NOT pineapple would
simply an option to run another search within the results make it easier to find pages about the senator rather than
of the first search. the fruit. Dole –pineapple is the same.
Most of these “advanced” functions can be accom-
plished by the user by utilizing either Boolean logic or ( ) Nesting in parentheses allows you to be more complex
mathematical symbols, although not every search engine in your requests. NCSY AND (Freedman OR Tropp)
accepts both. Experiment on your favorite engine to see should get you pages about either Regional Director.
what yields you the best results. (Boolean commands are
properly written in all caps; lower case letters may not A phrase search requires the specified terms to appear
work.) in a specific order. “NCSY Summer Programs” would
require that specific phrase to be on resulting pages, while

Searching for Hebrew Words?

summer 2003

* Don’t forget to try variations (Shabbos, Shabbat), as well as English equivalents (Sabbath).
* Try using wildcards (? or *) in these cases. ? replaces a single character, so that
searching for Shabba?on should return both information about a Shabbaton and the song
Yom Shabbason. *could be zero or more characters, so Avra*m should return both
Avram and Avraham.
* Not every search engine (including our favorite, Google) uses wildcards!
16 |
or ()
+NCSY +Summer +Programs might return pages that
have those words in other contexts.
Get fancy and combine terms. Want information on
NCSY Summer Programs, but not JOLT? Search
“NCSY Summer Programs” –JOLT. Want to know
about Rabbis who were doctors, but not the Rambam?
Search +doctor +rabbi –Rambam –Maimonides. Experi-
ment on your favorite search engines and see what gives
you the best results.
We searched ten engines for NCSY, NCSY Summer
For our money, Google is still the one to beat.
AllTheWeb had more results for NCSY, but we were put
off by the fact that national NCSY’s own page wasn’t first.
The same is true for HotBot and Lycos (plus Lycos had
pop-up ads, which we hate.) Ask Jeeves isn’t a search
engine per se, hence the poor results; Teoma is Ask Jeeves’
search engine and performed more to expectations.
Every user’s needs and preferences are different. Try
Boolean and mathematical searches on different engines.
Find the one that speaks your language! kp
Programs and “Kiva Rabinsky”. The results are below:


AltaVista 6,105 #1 729 3
AOL 4,840 #1 260 0

Ask Jeeves 200 #3 200 10


Google 11,100 #1 1,300 4

HotBot 26,751 #4 826 9
Lycos 26,751 #4 780 9

MSN 3,623 #1 396 3

Teoma 5,920 #2 821 2
Yahoo 9,890 #1 365 6

The accompanying Venn diagram
represents three sets: NCSY, NER,

and Events. “NCSY” could include
all Regions, Summer Programs,
the web site and this magazine.
WHAT IS THIS BOOLEAN LOGIC, “NER” could include New England
ANYWAY? George Boole (1815-1864) NCSY, Ner L’Elef and candles.

and John Venn (1834-1923) were 19th “Events” could include Shabbatonim,
the Oscars and the Super Bowl.
keeping posted

century mathematicians. Boole developed

what became known as Boolean algebra or The overlap of NER AND NCSY yields
Boolean logic, which you may have encoun- the segment “NER NCSY.” The overlap of
tered if you ever studied set theory. His work NCSY AND Events yields “NCSY Events.” NER
became especially important when it was applied AND NCSY AND Events gets us the center seg-
to electronic logic circuits in the 1930s. Venn developed ment, “NER NCSY Events.”
Boole’s logic into symbols. He is best known for the cir- Conversely, NCSY NOT NER would yield the entire NCSY
cle diagrams representing the relationships between circle except for the part that overlaps NER.
sets, which bear his name. Get it?
| 17

(Actually, that should more properly be
“hagba’ah,” but since we all say “hagbah,”
let’s write it that way.)

> By Rabbi Yaakov (Jack) Abramowitz

T H E T O R A H ’ S Q U I C K P I C K - M E - U P

After the completion of the Torah reading,

two people are chosen for the honors of
hagbah (lifting up the Torah) and gelilah
(rolling and dressing the Torah). The Tal-
mud (Megillah 32a) tells us that hagbah
carries a reward equal to that of all the
aliyot combined. (It says “the one who
rolls the Torah,” but in the time of the Tal-
mud, hagbah and gelilah were performed
by the same person. The Mishna Brurah
makes it clear that this refers to what we
call hagbah.)


one who does not hold up the words of this

if one
does a poor job. The Torah says, “Cursed be the

Torah.” (Devarim 27:26). The Ramban says that, homilet-

ically, this refers to hagbah. He cites the “minor tractate”
The Torah must be raised so that it can be viewed by
the entire congregation. The Torah should be rotated to
face both the right and the left side of the shul. If the con-
gregation surrounds the bimah from all four sides, then
the Torah should be rotated in a complete circle. One who
Sofrim that the Torah must be spread and held aloft so raises the Torah but does not display it to the entire shul
that people on all sides can view the script. actually commits a sin according to the Ramban.
What is it about hagbah that’s so important that it mer- Even though receiving hagbah is a great honor, if some-
its such a great reward (and, alternatively, the threat of a one feels that he does not have the strength to do it prop-
curse)? erly, he should decline the honor.
The public reading of the Torah is a reenactment of the The Torah should be unrolled so that at least three
Revelation at Sinai. When the Torah is lifted up, the con- columns are showing when it is raised. (The Magen Avra-
gregants declare their acceptance of Hashem’s Torah and ham feels that this may mean exactly three, but the opin-
reaffirm their commitment. When Moshe returned from ion of the Mishna Brura is that a stronger person should
Mt. Sinai and saw the Jews worshipping the golden calf, unroll the Torah as wide as possible.) A seam should also
he threw down the luchos (Tablets). When we turn our be showing, but that is for a practical purpose. If the
backs on Hashem we are, in effect, casting the Torah Torah should, G-d forbid, tear as a result of the lifting or
down. By holding the Torah aloft and proclaiming that rolling, this ensures that it will tear on the easily repaired
this is the Torah that Hashem gave to us through Moshe, seam rather than down a column of text.
summer 2003

we are rededicating ourselves to His service. As the Torah is lifted, all the men and women in shul
Hagbah, therefore, can be a tremendous and inspiring should direct their gaze toward the text of the Torah. It is
kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name). Unfortu- desirable to be close enough to make out the actual letters.
nately, every kiddush Hashem has the potential to be a Although not recorded in any of the classical sources, it is
chilul Hashem (desecration of G-d’s name), therefore the customary to point at the Torah, usually with the pinky,
great reward (and potential curse) that comes with the during hagbah. (The Meam Loez, parshas Ki savo, may be
responsibility. the earliest record of this custom.) As they point to the
18 |
Torah, the congregation recites “vezos haTorah
asher sam Moshe lifnei B’nei Yisrael al pi Hashem
b’yad Moshe.” (“This is the Torah that Moshe
placed before the Children of Israel, by the word of
G-d, through the hand of Moshe.”) This “verse” is d
actually an amalgam of Devarim 4:44 in its entirety and
the last few words of Bemidbar 9:23. (Because it is not an
actual verse, some authorities object to reciting that text as
written. Nevertheless, that is the commonly accepted ver-
sion.) One who is not facing the Torah may not recite
Care should be taken that the parch-
ment is not touched with bare hands while
rolling the Torah. If the parchment needs
adjustment, it should be handled through a
tallis. The Torah is then covered with its man-
tel (mantle – aren’t these translations really helpful?) and
any decorations such as breastplates or crowns, or its yad

The haftarah should not begin until after gollel has fin-
ished wrapping the Torah, so that he may also follow the
vezos haTorah. reading. The same is true for readings from a second sefer
The magbia (lifter) then sits down and the Torah is Torah while the first is still being dressed. However, on
rolled up by a second person, called the gollel. It is accept- Mondays and Thursdays, the yehi ratzons after the Torah
able to give this honor to a minor as this is considered readings may be recited before the gollel has finished.
chinuch (education). Most of the opinions in this article follow the Mishna
The Torah should be rolled so that the side with Brurah but, as with most things, there is some difference
Bereishis is above the side with Devarim. The Torah is in practice. In Sephardi congregations, for example, hag-
bound with its gartel (sash) around its upper third. (Peo- bah takes place before the Torah reading, rather than after.
ple commonly tie it around the middle, but it really What is consistent, despite any small variations in
should be in the upper third, like a mezuzah is in the upper practice, is that hagbah is an opportunity to publicly pro-
third of a doorpost.) The knot should be tied on the side claim that this is the Torah that Hashem gave us and that
of the Torah that faces up when it is read. This is so that it we forever dedicate ourselves to upholding it, both liter-
will be immediately ready for use when taken out again. ally and figuratively. kp

Tzeischem L’Shalom
to Rabbi Ari and Sarah Beth
Solomont and family as they
depart to make aliyah.
Rabbi Solomont has served with distinction as
All of NCSY joins with New England in wishing the
Solomonts hatzlacha (success) in Eretz Yisroel. We look
forward to joining them there soon! kp

Regional Director of New England NCSY for the past

ten years.
Both Rabbi and Mrs. Solomont are alumni of NCSY
and members of NCSY’s Ben Zakkai Honor Society.
Rabbi Ari served on the National Board and Sarah Beth
was Regional President of Atlantic Seaboard NCSY. In
2000, the Solomonts were honored with the Ezra Ben-
Zion Lightman Memorial Award at the annual Ben
Zakkai Honor Society Dinner.
The Solomonts were presented with a token of
National NCSY’s esteem and gratitude at the recent New
England Regional Banquet. Additionally, they are being
honored at New England Region’s annual Ner Tamid
Awards Banquet.

9:00PM-10:00PM • SEPTEMBER 15, 2003
What they don’t want
One Hundred Brachos Starving to Live
Rabbi Moshe Goldberger you to know about Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser
The Judaica Press, Inc. television and videos Judaica Press
Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen
You may be aware “I tried on the shirt.
that there is a It was tight, way too
practice that we You might be aware tight. The skirt fit a
are all supposed that many religious little better. But it
to say 100 bra- people do not have was the look that
chos (blessings) TV in their homes. bothered me.
each day, but But that’s just an I hate my body.”
how much do you example of right- -14 years old
actually know wing fanaticism, When speaking of eating disor-
about it? Do you know what those right? It’s not for ders, what could be more powerful
hundred brachos are or how the prac- “moderns” like us! than an anorexic’s own words? While
tice evolved? (Would it surprise you Well, maybe it’s not so simple. Starving to Live contains plenty of
to learn that it was instituted by This special “student edition” is Torah thoughts (from the nazir bring-
Dovid HaMelech?) A staggering num- abridged from the “Television” chap- ing a sacrifice to atone for self-depri-
ber of people do not even know what ter of Rabbi Kelemen’s To Kindle a vation to the Rambam’s rules for
one is supposed to have in mind Soul and contains about two-thirds healthy eating to Rav Nachman of
when saying these brachos. of the material found in that chap- Breslov writing that partaking of
Do you know during which bracha ter. Readers familiar with Rabbi Kele- life’s blessings does more for one
it is appropriate to thank Hashem for men’s books such as Permission to spiritually than abstention), the
the gift of belts? Shoes? Indoor Believe and Permission to Receive most moving and absorbing part is
plumbing? How about Vitamin D? Do know how scholarly and well- the diary of a teen anorexic.
you know why the bracha of go’eil researched they are. This is no In addition to the diary and Torah
Yisroel (that Hashem redeems Israel) exception. thoughts from the Chumash and Tal-
is the seventh bracha of Shemoneh The volume is not so much about mud through the responsa of Rav
Esrei or why rofei cholei amo Yisroel the content of television program- Moshe Feinstein ztz”l, you will find
(that Hashem heals the sick) is the ming as it is about the medium of TV. practical advice for identifying and
eighth? And what’s so special about It explains that television exists not coping with anorexic and bulimic
modim that we bow? to entertain, but to sell. In a sense, individuals. (Do you know the symp-
If you want to know more about all TV is educational. The question is, toms of anorexia? They include a pre-
these and the other brachos which we what is it teaching? occupation with calories and nutri-
say each day, then this is the book We have all heard (and perhaps tion, obsessive exercise and distorted
for you. Especially appreciated is a dismissed) that studies have linked body image.) There is also a list of
line-by-line analysis of the brachos of television to violent behavior in chil- “dos” and “don’ts.” For example,
summer 2003

bentching, explaining those blessings dren. But were you aware that TV never say, even jokingly, “I wish I
in great detail. viewing habits have also been linked had that problem!”
While it is not particularly heavy to obesity, attention deficit, hyperac- Eating disorders are greatly mis-
reading, this book is not intended to tivity and other behaviors? understood. These disorders are not
be devoured in large portions. The Read What they don’t want you to about looks, they are about control.
author suggests that it be ingested know… Maybe you’ll be persuaded to Anorexics can control their own
gradually, at the rate of one bracha go cold turkey on the boob tube. weight; they then disguise how much
per day over 100 days, the better to Maybe you’ll shrug it off. But one weight they’ve lost (which is some-
savor and appreciate the meaning of way or the other, it’ll give you some- thing they wouldn’t do if it was
each day’s bracha. thing to think about. about looks).
20 |
This book is not meant to make gets here. In the meantime, Rabbi So this is a dangerous book. Not
you an armchair therapist – in fact Brand codifies what we do know in a for the reader, but for me. If I recom-
that’s one of the don’ts. But hope- clear, concise fashion. mend you read this book, I’m going
fully a greater understanding of to have to write a new chug for
these disorders can help us detect [ fFOR THOSE WHO WANT Yarchei Kallah because I have almost
the early warning signs and get peo- TO REMOVE ALL DOUBT nothing to say that Rabbi Waldman
ple the help they need. Beyond a hasn’t already said better and fuller.
I’m willing to take that risk. Read it.
Reasonable Doubt
Rabbi Shmuel Waldman
Feldheim Publishers
On Eagles’ Wings The Torah Lifestyle
Herschel Brand Keeping Posted
Rabbi B. Shafier
Targum/Feldheim reviews are usually
Frederick Fell Publishers, Inc.
done in the anony-
Subtitled “Moshiach, mous editorial Disguised as a
Redemption, and the voice, but for this series of dialogues
World to Come,” On one, Rabbi Jack has between a Rabbi
Eagles’ Wings lays out to step out and and an engaged
the lowdown on Moshi- speak as himself: young man, The
ach in black and Four out of the Torah Lifestyle
white. NCSYers (and last five Yarchei Kallahs, I delivered a addresses some
others) have gleaned chug (workshop) entitled “Why We profound ques-
much information about what we Believe What We Believe.” When tions in an easily-
expect the time of Moshiach to be somebody compared it to a certain digestible format. Happiness, con-
like, but unless they have perused book, I intentionally refrained from science, identity and self, our animal
the Rambam, they have probably reading that book so that I could sides vs. our spiritual sides, and
never seen many of the sources up honestly state that my presentation other topics are all clearly discussed
close and personal. was not influenced by it. I later read and thoroughly analyzed.
The book is constructed as a that book and found the area of over- Let us demonstrate the clarity
weekly series of sessions between lap was about 5%. with which Rabbi Shafier addresses
“Daniel” and “Rabbi Cohen.” Each Having read Beyond a Reasonable his topics by sharing one of his
week Daniel and Rabbi Cohen discuss Doubt, I will probably not be able to examples, which he calls “The Pants
another aspect of the coming of the make that claim any longer. Rabbi Too Short Syndrome.” Imagine a boy
Moshiach: How will we know the Waldman covers virtually every- trying on his bar mitzvah suit a year
Moshiach? What will the world be thing I do in my chug, plus lots of or two later. He will find the arms
like after Moshiach comes? Why don’t other things. and legs are too short. There’s noth-
we believe other religions that claim In my talk, I focus on the Divine ing wrong with the suit, it just no
that he has already come? What is origin of the Torah, touching on how longer fits him.
the war of Gog and Magog? there has to be a Creator and the mir- Similarly, a person who attends
The text is cleverly structured to acle of Jewish history. What are tan- Hebrew school through fifth grade
accommodate a number of educa- gents to me are fully developed by might grow up thinking that Judaism
tional backgrounds. For a basic Rabbi Waldman. He also goes into is all cutesy stories. But that person
understanding of the issues, one can topics I don’t even begin to discuss: is now 20 and is trying on a “suit of

just read the dialogues. For interme- The soul and the afterlife, Hashgacha education” that is meant for a ten year
diate readers, the sources cited by pratis (Divine providence), Prophe- old. There’s nothing wrong with the
keeping posted

Rabbi Cohen are inset in the text. For cies fulfilled, and much more. suit, it’s just too small for him now.
the more advanced, Rabbi Cohen’s Rabbi Waldman makes everything We use that example here because
“notes” are appended. (If you’re crystal clear. After reading this, it is it is easy to summarize in our limited
really advanced, there’s an exhaus- so obvious that there’s a G-d and space. Rabbi Shafier addresses far
tive source index, so you can look that He made the world and gave more complex topics in equally clear
them up in the originals yourself.) the Torah. Of course, Hashem always terms.
A lot of what we know about leaves people the free will to dis- And how many books have cover
Moshiach is shrouded in mystery and miss the evidence, but the evidence quotes from both Rabbi Baruch Davi-
the details will be revealed when he is there. dowitz and Dr. Laura Schlesinger? kp
| 21
L E T T E R S expand the DC/Marvel list much He had a lot of practice saying it
more than you did. while in The Vault for killing his dad,
We had a very exciting issue, with a Nachum Lamm I suppose.

Loved the FF Interview, but

scathing exposé on Missionary tactics, Also, the new Gotham Central
and all anybody wants to talk about is the book features a Jewish detective who
sidebar on Jewish comic book characters! your sidebar neglected to mention wears a black yarmulke. And, since

Checking out Jewhoo’s cartoon

one Jewish Marvel hero: he was hefting a box of them, we now
Justice. Unlike Kitty Pryde, we’ve know that Gotham Donuts are in
section, they mentioned that Captain at least seen him in a synagogue (a fact kosher! And yes, I need a life.
Marvel is one-sixth Jewish- after all, mixed seating one, but one nonethe- Mordechai Luchins
the “S” in “Shazam” is for “Solomon,” less). Plus, who can forget that mem-
after all. orable moment when he used kad- So all anybody wants to talk about is
dish to stop a brainwashed Sabra Jewish comic book characters? That’s

OK, it’s a bit of a stretch. They don’t from assassinating the Israeli PM. fine by us. Try this on for size:

The Return of
Mendy and the Golem ™


book published by
Mendy Enterprises in the
1980s. Dubbed “The World’s
was a comic
important for Jewish children
to have positive role models
to identify with. I think
they can find that with
Mendy and Rivkie.”
Only Kosher Comic Book,” each “I don’t believe the story is
issue focused on a different mitz- exclusive to Jewish children,”
vah such as lashon hara (guarding Brandstein continued. “My pri-
one’s speech) or hachnosas orchim (receiv- mary focus is to tell an entertaining
© TH
ing guests). E GO sion story. Because I’m Jewish and extremely
LEM used with permis

You may have seen Mendy in your local Jewish news- proud of that fact, I want to service that community first
paper. At one point the Mendy comic strip was carried in and foremost, but not to exclude anyone else.”
as many as forty papers. The comic also benefits from the contributions of
Well, Mendy and the Golem are back in comic book prominent artists. The first issue was drawn by Archie
format, but everything has changed. Comics artist Stan Goldberg; the second was by Ernie
No longer is Mendy and the Golem an “educational” Colón, known for his work on comics such as Richie Rich
comic – at least not in the same way as it once was. and Casper.
Tani Pinson is the creative force behind the current Mendy and the Golem has received attention from both
incarnation of the Golem. (His father was the creator of the Jewish and trade press, including the Intermountain,
the original.) The new Mendy is very much an adventure Cleveland and Detroit Jewish News, as well as the Comics
comic; the protagonists just happen to be Orthodox Jews. Buyer’s Guide. Special attention was paid to the series by the
The power of young Jews is central to the storyline. Connecticut Jewish Ledger. Why? Because the series is set in
While the Golem is a being of immense power, he (it?) New Haven, CT. (New England NCSYers take note!)
summer 2003

needs the direction Mendy and Rivkie Klein. Their Jew- Why New Haven? For starters, Mr. Pinson was raised
ish lifestyle is not the focus of the story, but neither is it there. Aside from that, “it’s just your typical American city,”
apologized for or concealed. says Pinson. “It really is a great place. It’s got all the ameni-
The series is written by Matt Brandstein who comes ties of any American town, with a substantial Jewish pres-
with a wealth of experiences, including creating music ence.” Look for some real life sites in the Mendy comic.
videos with Sting and Mariah Carey. The first two issues are on the stands as of this writing,
The goal of the comic, Brandstein says, is to entertain with the third on the way. In future issues expect to see
Jewish youth from a wide variety of backgrounds. What Mendy wear his yarmulke more and his baseball cap less.
they’ve done is put the Klein family in a world which they That’s just a part of who he is.
hope will appeal to a wide variety of people. “It’s really For more information, visit kp
22 |
NCSY would like to thank
the following for their
generous donation of
prizes towards the game
show at Yarchei Kallah
(in alphabetical order):
The Berkshire Bank
5 Broadway
New York, NY 10004
Chameleon Comics
and Cards
3 Maiden Lane
New York, NY 10038
Five Towns Gifts
and Crafts
482 Central Ave.
Cedarhurst, NY 11516
60 Broad St.
New York, NY 10004
Goldstein Associates
Gifts, Incentives
and Promotions
Judaica Plus
530 Central Ave.
Cedarhurst, NY 11516
1847 Mott Avenue
Far Rockaway, NY
Kosher Delight
1223 Avenue J
Brooklyn, NY 11230
NCSY Summer
11 Broadway
New York, NY 10004
OU/NCSY Publications
11 Broadway
New York, NY 10004
Record Explosion
176 Broadway
New York, NY 10038
Roger’s Time Machine
207 West 14th Street
New York, NY 10011
Shlock Rock
Yarchei Kallah 5763 received rave reviews from all involved. Among the high points: An Israel/Social Actions Starbucks
424 Central Avenue
Multi-Media Presentation prepared by National VPSA Monique Grunberger and National Educational Director Cedarhurst, NY
Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch; a game show hosted by Director of National Programs Rabbi Jack Abramowitz, assisted 11516
Touro College
by Aliza Libman; a concert by Shlock Rock founder Lenny Solomon; and guest shiurim including Rabbi Herschel 1602 Avenue J
Schachter, Rabbi Zev Leff, Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz and Scholar in Residence Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen. Brooklyn, NY 11230

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