Colors: Blue Color

Hundreds of strangers instantly became brothers and sisters to Marianny and Julio last Thursday in the Young Israel of Forest Hills. After two years of learning and preparing, Julio Salazar (now Yaakov), and Marianny Loveras (now Leah), completed their conversion process to Judaism, and celebrated their wedding together on Thursday, June 20, in the Young Israel of Forest Hills.

How do you honor and pay tribute to true pillars of a community? To properly thank leaders who have dedicated the past 30 years to an extended family of over a thousand? To capture the heartfelt emotion and feelings of generations of families? The Young Israel of Jamaica Estates decided to plan a Shabbos filled with programming and events designed to express the community’s love and appreciation to the Hochbergs. The name “YIJE Family Reunion Shabbat” was chosen to depict the sentiment of the weekend.

Kedem Provides $200,000 Grant to Launch New Program

The Orthodox Union (OU) – the nation’s oldest and largest umbrella organization for the North American Orthodox Jewish community – has established Kosher Food Lifeline (KFL), a new division created to help existing food pantries, Tomchei Shabbos programs, and related social service agencies throughout the United States to provide nutritious kosher food to Jews in need. The new division offers need-based food programs assistance with procurement, kosher food distributor relationships, government grants, and other logistical support that will improve their ability to meet the needs of their constituents.

Remembering the Holocaust takes on critical importance as the years pass and survivors are no longer with us to share their first-hand accounts. At Emet Outreach, Holocaust education is an essential part of ensuring Jewish continuity. Thirty-seven Emet students joined Rabbi Mordechai Kraft, Dr Peryl Agishtein, and Ms. Chaya Rosenbaum on a life-changing trip to historical Jewish sites in Poland and Prague. The itinerary included emotional and thought-provoking visits to concentration camps, mass graves, synagogues, and yeshivos. This trip, Emet’s first of two for this summer, is a culmination of a year of learning about Judaism and spending Shabbos with Emet.

Thirty years ago, I handed the Rabbi the keys to the shul and his office, not knowing then how the Rabbi and Karen would impact the lives of the people in the community. Over the years, his guidance and spiritual leadership has raised the k’dushah of everyone that he and Karen touched. Thirty years ago, barely knowing my father, he would visit him in the hospital after he had an operation, and the bond between my parents and the Rabbi grew closer, and my father had said to me, “Always turn to Rabbi Hochberg for guidance and always follow his words.” This past year, we honored the Rabbi and Karen at the shul dinner for their 30 years of selfless devotion to the community, but my dear Rabbi and Karen, it is you who have honored us with your leadership and devotion and, most of all, your presence in our lives. We will love you always. – Hilton Blachman

Is it possible to be worse off because of an increase in the minimum wage? In some cases, the answer is yes. Shira* is a home healthcare aide. She’s a divorced mother with three children. Her wages went up from $13.65 an hour to $15 an hour this past January, due to the increase in the minimum wage in New York City. That should have been good news. As a result of the minimum wage increase, she’s making $235 more per month. The problem is that while New York adjusted the minimum wage, it did not adjust the maximum earnings. So Shira lost $505 in SNAP (food stamps) benefits – meaning that her overall income went down $270 per month. “The minimum wage was meant to help low-income New Yorkers. However, in some cases, it’s actually costing them money. That is the “benefits cliff,” and Met Council, as the largest Jewish charity serving the poor, is committed to fighting it on behalf of these low-income New Yorkers,” explained David G. Greenfield, CEO of Met Council on Jewish Poverty.