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Tuesday, January 12, 2016


 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.”— Isaiah


A EDITORIAL BY  Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
New York - Last Sunday night in Englewood, I attended the funeral of a good and charitable man. The father of a large family, he truly was one of those rare few about whom people have only positive things to say. The question that was on my mind throughout the eulogies was the one question that was not addressed: How could such a good, religious man die so young?
I believe that as Jews we are obligated to challenge God in the face of seeming divine miscarriages of justice. Let Muslims bow in submission. Let Christians take their leap of faith. We Jews are a feisty bunch, charged by God to be Israelites — “he who wrestles with God and is ultimately victorious.” Victory will not come until God stops allowing righteous individuals to suffer and die. That’s why the Lubavitcher Rebbe was adamant about demanding of God a messianic world where no woman is ever widowed and no child is ever orphaned
Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, a Jewish outreach .“expert,” said at an Englewood bar mitzvah that I attended that Jewish women who were being lined up to be gassed did not care about their modesty as the Nazis stripped them of their clothing. I had never heard anything so disgusting in my life. He said it as a way of explaining that the martyrs of the Holocaust were not so righteous as we otherwise might suppose. A modern Orthodox crowd sat there listening and barely flinched. We all should have been ashamed of ourselves.
Now Mizrachi is in the news yet again for outdoing even these loathsome ideas, this time actually denying that six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
In 1984, Mahmoud Abbas wrote a study based on his doctoral dissertation where he attempted to prove that the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust “might be much smaller — even less than one million.” Abbas, who has the blood of countless Jews on his hands, is not alone in these vile claims. But I was pretty shocked to read that Mizrachi joined him by posting a YouTube video recently that said, “In every place, we have become used to hearing that six million Jews were murdered… But the truth, I am telling you, is that not even one million Jews were murdered.
“Not that this is an insignificant number, chalilah. It is a tremendous number. But there is a difference between six million and one million.”
Scholars immediately spoke out to refute this ignorant hate speech, and Mizrachi was forced to apologize last week. But what was going through his mind when he thought it okay to dishonor the memory of the six million innocent human beings murdered by the Germans? Did he consider that Holocaust deniers will forever quote with glee that even an Orthodox rabbi believes that many fewer than six million Jews died?
But Mizrachi’s despicable statements about Holocaust victims are par for the course. He describes the Holocaust as “five years of punishment to many wicked people [from God].” He also says that the reason why it happened to the Jews in Europe was because many of them became less religious and stopped keeping kosher and keeping the Sabbath over the years.
Mizrachi’s reasoning, of course, is easily refuted garbage.
In 1933, there were approximately 522,000 Jews living under the Reich. Beginning in January of that year, the Jews experienced public beatings and humiliations. Businesses were boycotted and synagogues desecrated. In 1935, the Nuremberg race laws were enacted, followed by the 1938 horrors of Kristallnacht. During this entire time, the Jews of Germany tried to get out. They could see with their own eyes that if they didn’t leave, they would be doomed. At the start of the Second World War, 304,000 of them had emigrated. And though most nations of the world refused to accept them, a majority finally were able to escape.
The Jews who did not escape Hitler’s ovens were, among so many other millions, the chasidim and ultra-religious Jews of Poland. They had no idea about Hitler’s plan to invade via blitzkrieg on September 1, 1939.
Are we to believe that these devout and pious Jews, who observed the smallest details of Jewish law in keeping the Sabbath and keeping kosher and who prayed three times a day, were punished with death? And if so, then why did a majority of their German Jewish brothers and sisters, whom Mizrachi sees as far more “sinful,” survive?
Mizrachi also states with confidence that the reason Sephardic Jewry was spared the Holocaust is due to their continued observance of Jewish ritual, just as the Ashkenazi Jews historically had been accustomed to do until the years leading up to the Second World War.
Rabbi Mizrachi, what about the 1190 Massacre of the Jews in York, the Rindfleisch massacres of 1298, the Chimielnicki massacres of 1648-1657, and the countless other pogroms and murders of Jews across Europe and Russia? And let’s also remember the more than 40 major massacres against the “religiously protected” Sephardic Jews living in Muslim lands over the last 1,300 years.
Rabbi Yosef MizrachiRabbi Yosef Mizrachi
Mizrachi has said in the past that children with “Down Syndrome, autistic, and any other problem is a punishment as a result of a previous life…That’s pure punishment, those kind of people don’t have a test anymore, it’s punishment 100%.”
Mizrachi also claims to know why children are born blind. “A person is born blind, poor kid, was born blind, why? God? What do you know? Did you know how many dirty movies he was watching in his previous life? Now he’s blind.”
He claims to know why people get cancer and why accidents happen. “Mixed parties bring tragedies to our children. There’s more accidents, there’s more cancer, every minute there’s a new Jew who gets cancer in the world, every minute, and that’s because of the way the women dress, and that’s because of the sins that guys and girls make together. That’s because of all the dirty phone calls, that’s because of the Facebook connections, and all the drugs and the alcohol and all the problems around, that brings all these tragedies to us.”
Call me a cynic, but I’m always just a little suspicious of religious leaders who obsess over other people’s sexual sins.
Mizrachi also has divined that intermingling of the sexes at weddings is the culprit for the rise in the divorce rate. “All the blessing is gone. Don’t be surprised why 70% of these mixed weddings ended up with divorce within four years. Why, because there’s a curse there.”
Mizrachi and rabbis like him are a menace. Just think about how many people who might otherwise embrace Jewish tradition are absolutely revolted by this cruel twaddle that is fraudulently passed as authentic Judaism.
I ask Rabbi Mizrachi to take heed of the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who said of the Holocaust, “To say that those very people were deserving of what transpired, that it was a punishment for their sins, heaven forbid, is unthinkable. There is absolutely no explanation or understanding for the Holocaust.”
As for those rabbis who say that the Holocaust was a punishment, the Rebbe said accurately, “No scales of judgment could ever condemn a people to such horrors.”
When viewing human suffering, we must look to Moses’ actions toward the enslaved Israelites in Egypt, as we read in last week’s Torah portion. Moses did not return to God with his head bowed low, accepting the brutality inflicted on his people as the Divine will. “Why have you acted so wickedly to this people?” he asks the Creator of the Universe. “From the time you have sent me you have done nothing to save this nation.”
Jews are now being murdered in Israel almost every day. Diaspora communities should be shaking the foundations of the heavens, demanding from God that they be protected, demanding of our State Department that it stop the balderdash of “both sides” needing to de-escalate, and demanding of rabbis that they lead the charge in defending Jewish life.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is an American Orthodox Rabbi, author, TV host and public speaker.

Monday, August 10, 2015


Dear Senator Schumer,
Every once in a while, there comes a time when a person’s entire life, his entire destiny becomes crystal clear      

This was the case Winston Churchill his destiny becomes crystal clear Hashem had placed him as the man to rally his nation to fight against Hitler. Hashem had ensconced him as leader of
 Great Britain in order to rally the free world against this raving madman.
Sir Winston Churchill had the choice as to whether to meekly oppose the forces of tyranny and evil or to rally against it with all that he had.
My dear Senator, you too have this choice.

During these three weeks since this Iran deal has been announced you have carefully studied it and you have concluded that you will individually oppose it. You can do this, and thus passively allow the president to veto Congress’s rejection.
Or you can choose to fulfill your obvious destiny, a destiny you say that your own mother had foretold.
At this past Agudah dinner held in May, that you had attended and addressed, you and the Novaminsker Rebbe shared the same message. In the two hundred dinners that I have attended, never in my life have I heard the same message from both a Gadol haDor and a politician.
Senator Schumer, you say your name is Schumer because you are the “Shomer Yisroel.”
- s Schumer because you are the “Shomer Yisroel.”
Your task, your life mission is clear. It is not the politics that politicians play, but it has got to be real and genuine.
You must rally and lead. You must call every single democratic senator to override the president’s future veto. You must work the phones, day and night. You must not rest until you have lobbied, convinced, and cajoled every democratic senator on your speed dial.
Blast them with emails. Text them. Call them. Use every means at your disposal for this is your true mission.
Don’t have the staff? We will help you. Every single one of your Jewish constituents and our readership will volunteer in this task.
Donald Trump is in the headlines every day saying some message. Where are you Where is the Shomer Yisroel that you spoke about at the Agudah Dinner?
If your name truly comes from “Shomer – Guardian” then I direct you to a prayer that we recite daily. The prayer has been modified, but if there is any sincerity in what 
 stand for, you must follow it.
Schumer, Schumer, Yisroel, Shmor sheris yisroel. V’al yovad, v’al yovad yisroel, haOmrim Shma Yisroel.
Schumer, Schumer, guard the remnant of Israel. And let them not be destroyed, Let Israel not be destroyed – those who recite the Hear O’ Israel.
This deal, by the standards that you yourself have proclaimed at that May Agudah dinner, is a tragc failure.
You spoke about inspections, “any where and any time.. unannounced. You said it should be even at new and previously unknown places..
Where is your voice? Your voice, once so eloquent and so proud?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Center In Midwood To Promote Diversity
Jewish Week Correspondent
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Event honorees Ezra Friedlander, far left, and Ed Powell, right, flank Bridge founder Mark Meyer Appel. Photos by NikWes C reati
Event honorees Ezra Friedlander, far left, and Ed Powell, right, flank Bridge founder Mark Meyer Appel. Photos by NikWes C reati
More than one person attending the recent open house at The Bridge, a new center in Midwood, Brooklyn, devoted to promoting diversity, marveled at what they saw that night.
Members of the borough’s Orthodox-Jewish, black and Muslim communities cross paths every day, but rarely do they come together to celebrate what they have in common, as about 300 did Oct. 19 for the opening of The Bridge.
The gathering included elected officials, political activists and religious leaders from all three communities, some of whom spoke at the event and two of whom were honored. And toward the end of the evening, a good number of guests danced the hora, as the Caribbean band hired for the event teamed with an Orthodox singer and played “Hava Nagila.”
The center, the full name of which is The Bridge Multicultural and Advocacy Project, is the vision of Mark Meyer Appel, a social activist who owns the building, along with neighboring properties on Flatbush Avenue. His idea for the center, he told the gathering, is to bring together diverse elements of the community through art shows, music and dance concerts, and advocacy efforts around issues affecting Brooklyn.
But Appel is doing so at what seems like an especially tense time, marked by a rash of violent incidents. The incidents have included so-called “knockout” attacks by gangs of black teens who, according to reports, have targeted Jews in Crown Heights, reminding some residents of the riots 23 years ago. The latest such attack took place Oct. 12, when teens rushed into a kosher deli, ransacked the store and shouted anti-Semitic slogans as one of them punched the owner in the jaw, newspaper accounts said.
Only days earlier, pro-Palestinian protesters allegedly attacked Leonard Petlakh, executive director of the Kings Bay Y, following an exhibition basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and Maccabi Tel Aviv at the Barclays Center. Police have arrested a suspect in that incident, but say they won’t charge him with a hate crime because they don’t believe bias was involved.
Some of the speakers at The Bridge, including Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, alluded to those incidents, promising that any hate crimes would be investigated and vigorously prosecuted. But the speeches also emphasized the positive, focusing on the value of efforts like The Bridge.
“There’s no greater cause than allowing people to gather together under one roof and share our similarities,” said Ezra Friedlander, a political consultant active in the chasidic community and Democratic politics. Friedlander was honored at the event, along with Ed Powell, a local political leader and an assistant imam at one of Brooklyn’s largest mosques.
Other speakers included New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Assemblywoman Rhoda S. Jacobs, Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind and City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams, all Democrats. Religious leaders addressing the event include Rabbi Joseph Potasknik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis, who said that, ultimately, the center is about “making a better life for all of us.”
In interviews before and after the speeches, various leaders of the Jewish community described their admiration for The Bridge’s founder, who is in the process of moving back to Brooklyn after several years in Florida. Rabbi Postasnik called Appel a “bridge builder,” one of the things that attracted him to the event, he said. Similarly, Bob Kaplan, director of intergroup relations and community concerns at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, said Appel “has always been there” whenever tensions in the city have escalated.
“He’s always been someone who believes that diversity is a value, not just something to be managed,” Kaplan added.
If the presence of Kathyann Clarke was any indication, The Bridge is already benefiting Midwood residents. Clarke, an accountant, said she learned of the event only a day earlier, when she rented out space at the two-story center for her daughter’s fifth birthday party. She had never heard of The Bridge before, but she spoke briefly with Appel and believes that “what he’s trying to do is important.”
Appel, who grew up in Crown Heights and Boro Park, has ambitious plans for The Bridge, where he hopes to build a computer lab, gallery space and a TV studio. The studio may be used to livestream cultural events and discussions on the Internet. In addition, he said, local charities and arts groups will be able to use space in the 6,000-square-foot center free of charge for their own events.
Appel told The Jewish Week that he first learned about diversity while hearing of his mother’s rescue at Auschwitz, where the soldiers who helped her survive included black and Asian Americans.
Appel worked for many years for nonprofit organizations, but made most of his money from real-estate investments, he said. He’s also played an active role in advocacy efforts, especially those geared to helping abused children and developmentally disabled children. That background earned him appointments during the Giuliani administration to the advisory board of the city’s Department of Mental Health and, later, to the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation.
The Bridge now has a staff of one, Dorinda Angelucci, who previously worked as a camerawoman for WABC-TV’s “Eyewitness News.”
Although the project is new  for now, Appel said he hopes to form a task force that would represent all of Midwood’s major racial, religious and ethnic communities. But the one area in which he may have trouble achieving consensus is over the positions he takes on various political issues, including his opposition to “stop and frisk” police tactics and his support of vouchers to attend private and parochial schools — both heated issues in the community.
One elected leader who spoke at the open house, but wished to remain anonymous while talking about the subject to The Jewish Week, said most of the kids in his district attend public schools and, for that reason, would oppose anything that might siphon money away from public education.
David Pollock, associate executive director of the JCRC, said his own organization, representing a cross-section of the Jewish community, takes no stand on tuition tax credits because there’s no consensus on the issue among Jewish groups.
Meanwhile, Appel and Angelucci hope to partner with other organizations, including the JCRC, that already work in the area of intergroup relations.
The JCRC, for instance, is behind the We Are All Brooklyn Coalition, which sponsors a leadership-training fellowship for teens and organizes training forums on issues of concern to the community, Kaplan said. He added that the fellowship program now has more than 200 alumni, including some in influential positions, and they represent a “great resource” for efforts like The Bridge. 


New community center in Midwood seeks to connect different racial groups


Mark Meyer Appel raised $300,000 in private funds to repair the 6,000 square-foot brick building he has long owned on 1894 Flatbush Ave. Its renovated first floor open studio space, which can fit up to 300 people, will be lent out free of charge to nonprofits and art groups to host events.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS                                                                 

Monday, October 13, 2014, 8:29 PM

City Councilman Mathieu Eugene, left, Mark Meyer Appel, center, and Rev. Anthony Meyers.Courtesy of the Bridge ProjectCity Councilman Mathieu Eugene, left, Mark Meyer Appel, center, and Rev. Anthony Meyers.
This Brooklyn Bridge is a different type of connector.
A top advocate for Jewish victims of childhood sexual abuse is set to open The Bridge Project, a multicultural community center designed to host empowering talks about social justice issues. If we work together, we can do better and have a stronger voice,”said MARK MEYER APPEL, who raised $300,000 in private funds to convert and repair the 6,000-square-foot brick building he has long owned in Midwood.
The new interactive facility on Flatbush Ave., set to open Sunday, will also house local meetings and events meant to unify the neighborhood.
And its location is symbolic. It borders large, separate Hasidic and Haitian neighborhoods.
Appel hopes the center will unite the two racial groups and many others in the borough, including Muslims.

Bridge Project headquartersCourtesy of the Bridge Project Bridge Project headquarters
“We, as advocates, have been able to effectively send a message and begin major changes in the way the government deals with child abuse, special education and health initiatives for the community,” he said.
“The way these things were accomplished was by bringing diverse communities together.”
The building’s renovated first floor of open studio space, which can fit up to 300 people, will be lent out for free to nonprofits and art groups to host events.
Discussion topics to take place at the site include stop-and frisk, special education problems and rising poverty levels.


December 3, 2014
The recent verdicts of the  Ferguson and Garner jury have bought turmoil to our great nation,While we must respect the law and the findings of the grand  juries  one thing is clear. Policing in the United States needs a major overhaul. Young men of color as well young people of all races face  danger when confronted by police officers while driving, walking  or just hanging out.,  Urgent reforms are needed now to ensure the process  of fair justice and to protect the lives of innocent  persons, and to ensure that police officers deal with fairness in their actions
Need For Reforms
We need changes that  provide on going anti bias and increase funding which will provide  for continued training on a continued basis and on a annual basis , at the same time.. Texas has used such a system over the past decade to develop personnel expertise while satisfying the interests of specialized interest groups and legislated training mandates. Chiefs, academy directors, and POST commissions can and should provide recommendations regarding line personnel training issues as well as a supervisory curriculum that reflects a step-by-step, progressive education program. There has been considerable discussion in several states regarding “cafeteria”-style training programs. Such programs offer both mandated training topics as well as discretionary training preferences within defined timelines. Both limit impact on staffing and agency training costs. Such a system could provide the framework in which special interest, legislated, and profession-preferred training programs would be limited without adversely affecting basic training academy timelines.

Restoring Confidence
The police and all officers of the justice system must continue rebuilding the trust in our communities thru more outreach and community partnerships  which are the key to rebuilding that trust.Issues of proper policing is not a minority problem it is a problem for all of all our diverse communities.

let  us begin the process of healing by ensuring that our  police and our communities continue to work together to make our city a better and safer place for all of us