Colors: Blue Color

When a death is announced, there is mourning. Hidden from the public view are the preparations involving the deceased’s last wishes, the burial plot, and ensuring that the transition from life to death is conducted according to halachah. “These are topics that most people may not care about,” said Rabbi Elchonon Zohn, founder of the National Association of Chevra Kadisha (NASCK) at a presentation last Sunday at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. “Most people do not join this chevrah,” referring to the volunteer Jewish burial societies.

Our community is fortunate to have a place for nursing care and rehabilitation that caters to the Orthodox community. The local rabbanim visit, and many have sent relatives to the facility. There is an Orthodox rabbi on the premises, the food is under the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and there are Shabbos and holiday programs as well as daily minyanim. In addition, Rabbi Haim Alcabes recently began a weekly learning program of M’silas Y’sharim followed by a Gemara shiur. There is a regular group of participants, which includes community members who come on Friday for the class together with residents at Margaret Tietz. The shiur originally took place at Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, and when Rabbi Alcabes’ father came to Margaret Tietz, the idea to move the shiur to Margaret Tietz was met with a lot of enthusiasm. It is a special opportunity for the community and for residents at Margaret Tietz. The shiur takes place at 9:30 a.m. on Friday in the small shul on the first floor of the nursing home. The shiur on Shushan Purim focused on some review of concepts taught previously, as well as some new material from M’silas Y’sharim. The give-and-take and lively discussion showed how engaging and well-received this shiur is for the participants.

New York State lawmakers completed voting on the 2019 budget early Monday morning, which includes both victories and disappointments for the Orthodox Jewish community. There were headline developments of general interest: agreement to an MTA overhaul; the introduction of congestion pricing in Manhattan, the first in the nation; and a 2020 plastic bag ban.

HAFTR High School students and their chaperones, Rabbi Yonoson Hirtz and Mrs. Goldy Walfish, had the privilege of attending the AIPAC 2019 policy conference in Washington DC, which culminated with a lobbying session where students went to Capitol Hill to meet with our Rep. Kathleen Rice. Students also had the unique opportunity to meet and speak with former HAFTR parent, Ambassador David Friedman, US Ambassador to Israel. Love of the Jewish state and promotion of a strong US-Israel relationship is central to HAFTR’s mission.