Blizzard is dumping more then 2 feet of snow

27 12 2010

Passaic N.J- While crews have been fighting this blizzard all night. At times even getting stuck themselves or swiping other vehicles, much still needs to be done. The storm is expected to tapper off at about noon today. More then 2 feet of snow will have been dumped on Passaic County with estimates as high as 30 inches. The State Of Emergency stays in effect through out the morning rush hour. If you don’t need to go outside in this blizzard please stay off the roads.


Rabbi says donating kidney was a spiritual obligation

13 10 2009

rabbiTeaneck, N.J. —Even before Rabbi Ephraim Simon of Teaneck, N.J., gave one of his kidneys to a total stranger from Brooklyn, N.Y., he felt they would be a good match.

“This was a father of 10, I’m a father of nine — we matched already,” Simon said.

Both men are also Hasidic Jews, though of different sects: Simon is Chabad and his kidney recipient is Satmar.

The surgery last month at Cornell Medical Center was successful. Simon, 41, says he and the 51-year-old organ recipient, who declined to be interviewed, are both doing well.

Simon was moved to donate a vital organ last year when he heard about the plight of a desperately ill 12-year-old girl. He learned about the child from Chaya Lipschutz, a kidney donor from Brooklyn who has become something of a kidney matchmaker through her e-mail posts about people in need.

“I have a 12-year-old girl. If it was my daughter, I’d call someone to step up,” Simon said. “I couldn’t let a 12-year-old suffer and die without giving everything I had to save her. So I called Chaya and said ‘I’ll do it.’ ”

The girl found another donor and is reportedly doing well. But Simon stayed on Lipschutz’s list. In the following months, he volunteered to donate a kidney to a woman with two children and to an Israeli man — but blood and tissue tests showed he was incompatible for both.

In March, Simon learned of the Brooklyn Hasid who was facing dialysis unless he found a kidney donor. The two men met briefly in a hospital hallway before being tested.

“Are you the donor?” the man asked Simon.

“I said, ‘God willing,’ ” Simon recalled. “‘It’s all in the hands of God. Hopefully, we’ll match, and if we match, you have my word, I’ll be there.'”

Donating a kidney filled a broader spiritual need for Simon.

“It’s an obligation of love and helping your fellow man,” he explained recently during an interview at his Teaneck home. “I certainly felt the incredible awesomeness of saving or improving a life.”

The transplant took about 3 1/2 hours. The procedure involved an incision through Simon’s navel to allow surgeons to insert laparoscopic instruments, cover one of his kidneys in a slippery sack and remove it through the small opening. “Modern medicine is just phenomenal,” he enthused. “It’s an amazing procedure.”

Some potential donors are put off by fear of pain or of living life without a spare kidney in case the other goes bad, Simon said. But pain can be controlled by medication, Simon said. The risks of losing a remaining kidney are “extremely negligible,” and donors “move to the top of the (recipients) list,” if they need a transplant, he said.

A little more than a third of the 14,000 kidney transplants performed each year in the United States are from live donors, according to federal health data. A live donor is a better source for a kidney than a cadaver. “There is always some injury (to the organ) involving a deceased donor,” said Stuart Greenstein, a kidney transplant surgeon at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.

For Jewish donors, giving a kidney is not only a mitzvah — a good deed performed out of religious duty — but also “an act of kindness and goodness, like charity giving,” Greenstein said.

For Simon and the man who now has one of his kidneys, it was an act of kindness worthy of coverage by the Jewish newspapers worldwide. The two sects, among the largest and most prominent ultra-Orthodox groups.

“It’s incredibly unfortunate that somebody would utilize somebody else’s pain and suffering for their own financial gain,” Simon said.

As part of donor screening, a psychiatrist asked Simon about his motivation. Simon took out a photo of his family.

“I had two motivations,” he said. “One is to save a life, if I can give a father of 10 back to his children, and a husband back to his wife. And, as a rabbi and a father, I wanted to teach children how to sacrifice for others. God didn’t put us here for ourselves, but to make the world a better place and to help other people.”

Simon’s wife, Nechamy, was relieved when the little girl found another donor. But she realized she had to accept that he still wanted to save a life. “I had to catch up with him,” she said.

“My wife is the real hero,” Simon said. “It was our kidney we were giving away that, God forbid, if one of my children needed, someone else would have to step up.”

Donating a kidney was as awesome as the birth of his nine children, Simon said. In a sense, the donated organ was like a 10th child.

“It’s doing its job, filtering impurities and toxins,” he said. “I’m so proud of my kidney. I did such a good job of raising it. Now I sent it off to live in another home.”

New Jersey Gearing Up

18 12 2008

TRENTON, N.J. – Road crews around the state are gearing up Thursday for a winter storm expected to drop as much as 10 inches of snow in northern New Jersey on Friday.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for Warren, Sussex, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties for Friday morning through late Friday night.

Forecasters expect the storm won’t hit until morning rush hour, with the worst weather coming late Friday afternoon.

“It looks like northern Jersey is definitely going to be hardest hit with the snow,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Wanton. He said the southern half of the state would mostly see sleet and freezing rain.

State road crews said they were prepared to handle whatever the storm brings.

“We’re in a pretty good situation,” said Joseph Orlando, a spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which also operates the Parkway.

“All of our equipment is ready to go; it’s not all worn and torn from an entire season of snow,” he said. “We’re pretty much just under full capacity for our salt.”

Alan Hicks, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said Newark Liberty International Airport was prepared with 500 tons each of salt and sand, as well as thousands of gallons of deicing fluids and snow removal equipment.

Experts speculate gas may drop below $1 a gallon

15 12 2008

A worker lowers the price of regular unleaded gasoline in Independence, Mo. in November
How low can the price of gas fall? With drivers paying the cheapest price to fill their tanks in nearly four years, it is a question many consumers are pondering, with some experts speculating it is possible prices could even drop below $1 per gallon.
Prices already have decreased to below $1.25 per gallon in some parts of the Midwest. With the economy in a freefall, analysts do not rule out crude oil, which traded Friday in the mid-$40 range, sinking to $20 per barrel, a price that could translate to gas at $1 per gallon.

“Right now, you look at the way demand is retreating, it tends to predict lower prices,” said John Kingston, global director of oil for Platt’s, a provider of energy information. “A drop to $20 per barrel is not out of the question.”

In New Jersey, the price of unleaded regular fell to $1.60 Friday, the lowest it has been since March 2004, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for Oil Price Information Services in Wall Township. In July, the state recorded its highest ever average price for unleaded at $3.99.

“I’m not in the camp where we’ll see prices fall to $1 per gallon or less,” said Kloza, who thinks crude could dip below $40 per barrel, but if so, only briefly. “Here, (in New Jersey), we will see some numbers below $1.50 per gallon.” Read the rest of this entry »

NY/NJ Port Authority workers get free E-ZPass

12 08 2008

TRENTON, N.J. -New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s office on Monday repeated calls for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to discontinue giving free E-ZPass tags to employees and retirees.

“The governor thinks this is an inappropriate practice, that E-ZPass should be used for business purposes. This is something that should be corrected,” said Corzine spokesman Jim Gardner.
Nearly 7,600 Port Authority employees and retirees have free E-ZPass tags for all trips across Hudson River and Staten Island crossings operated by the agency.
The perk was disclosed in The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark, which reported that the benefit cost the Port Authority roughly $1 million over the last year.

U.S. scientist in anthrax case reportedly kills himself

1 08 2008


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior U.S. government scientist who helped investigate a series of deadly anthrax attacks in 2001 has died from an apparent suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to charge him with carrying out the attacks, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday. The newspaper identified the man as Bruce Ivins, 62, and said he had worked for the last 18 years at government biodefence research laboratories in Maryland. It quoted people familiar with Ivins, his suspicious death and the FBI investigation.

 It said Ivins had been informed of his impending prosecution shortly before his death on Tuesday after swallowing a massive dose of pain killers.

The anthrax was sent through the mail to media organizations and politicians shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The attacks killed five people, crippled national mail service, shut down a Senate office building and spread fear of further terrorism.Viewed as a skilled microbiologist, Ivins helped the FBI analyze materials recovered from one of the anthrax-tainted envelopes sent to a U.S. senator’s office in Washington, the newspaper said.

New York – Israeli IDF Vets Train NY Jewish Paramilitaries In Catskills

27 07 2008

New York – Yonatan Stern, the “Sgan Mefaked Hakita” (deputy squad commander) of Kitat Konenut New York, insists his “paramilitary emergency armed response team” is no “group of vigilantes or a JDL “The goal of the organization is to have a competent and professional group of armed volunteers ready to respond to a threat at a moment’s notice in any area where Jews reside,” explains the Israeli combat veteran.“We do not carry out demonstrations or political activity of any kind as we have no political agenda. Our agenda is to protect Jews wherever and whenever necessary and by any means needed.”

On Friday, the third session of the group’s training camp will begin in the Catskills woodlands of upstate New York, on land belonging to a Jewish supporter of the organization. With tuition at $400, the group expects 15 participants and five instructors for the 10 days of training. Participation has doubled since the group began three years ago.

Kitat Konenut New York is modeled on the rapid response teams in the West Bank settlements that are often the first to act when terrorist attacks or other emergencies take place. The group bills itself as religious-Zionist but nonpolitical.

American Jews have “felt a false sense of security in the United States,” Stern believes, “because historically there has been less anti-Semitism than in other countries. But there have been incidents – neo-Nazi terrorist attacks, Arab terrorist attacks. Jews have to be vigilant.”

“The threat is not from the American people or government,” he adds, but from “terrorist sleeper cells that want to target Jews. These people are very dangerous and the FBI issues warnings against them very often,” he said, citing the FBI’s warning, after the killing of Hizbullah operations chief Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in February, that the Lebanese group might carry out terror attacks on Jewish communities.

“The average American is friendly to Jews, but we’re worried about those individuals on the periphery of society,” Stern says.


The group was founded in the summer of 2006 in response to the shooting attack at the Jewish federation of Seattle premises by local Muslim Naveed Haq.


“We realized there is a need for this kind of organization, and as Israeli combat veterans living in the US, we have the skills and ability to respond to this,” Stern says.

The group’s MySpace page details the camp’s regimen, which includes training in the IDF’s Krav Maga martial art, use of non-lethal weapons and identification of suspicious objects, but also sharpshooter and assault rifle training, infantry exercises and endurance marches. Explanatory literature lists a large number of weapons with which participants can expect to train.

“We believe all Jews in the US must be legally armed and trained,” Stern says, “and towards this goal we hold paramilitary training camps to train and equip Jewish American youth.”

The group’s literature notes emphatically that all firearms used in training “are 100% legal and in compliance with all federal, state and local laws.”

“We strongly believe in the constitutional right to bear arms and we express this right to its fullest,” it adds.

The group claims to be “well-connected with the New York police and fire departments” and it invites “all members of the law enforcement community to join in our life-saving activities.”

Stern says, “We are all legally armed and carry radios and cellphones” during all hours of the day, and even on Shabbat, “as we need to be constantly ready to respond to any incident.”

The camp literature also promises discussions on Torah and Halacha, understanding and confronting terrorism, fighting anti-Semitism, the history of the Zionist movement in the Land of Israel, and encouraging participants to “know your rights and learn how every American can and must be legally armed and how to express the Second Amendment” – the right to bear arms.

 Funded by tuition money and a handful of private donors, the group does not exclude secular Jews, Stern says, but asks that they respect the Orthodox nature of the camp by observing Shabbat in public and refraining from bringing non-kosher food.

“We wouldn’t have a problem with non-Jews coming either,” says Stern, “but no non-Jew has applied thus far.