Torah To Honor Holtzbergs

21 10 2009

At the Kinus Hashluchim, to take place November 11-16, participants will be able to write a letter in the Torah in memory of the Holtzbergs HY”D. It will be completed Thursday night, November 12, and will be led to 770 with dancing, Hakafos and a special Farbrengen. Both their fathers, R’ Nachman Holtzberg and R’ Shimon Rosenberg will be present and will address the crowd. The Sefer Torah will be used in a rotation by the fifteen chabad houses in India.
(News Source:


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.”

Dozens Of Sukkahs collapsing!!!!!!!!!!!!

7 10 2009

Dozens of Sukkahs collapsing through out the tri state area please use extreme caution when going into the Sukkah. A warning for strong winds is in effect until Thursday morning.

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 »

FBI (New York) #1 most wanted female in the world in custody

13 08 2008

NEW YORK– Michael J. Garcia, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mark J. Mershon, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, announced today the arrest of Aafia Siddiqui on charges related to her attempted murder and assault of United States officers and employees in Afghanistan. Siddiqui arrived in New York this evening and will be presented tomorrow before a United States Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court:

On July 17, 2008, officers of the Ghazni Province Afghanistan National Police (“ANP”) observed Siddiqui outside the Ghazni governor’s compound. ANP officers questioned Siddiqui, regarded her as suspicious, and searched her handbag. In it, they found numerous documents describing the creation of explosives, as well as excerpts from the Anarchist’s Arsenal. Siddiqui’s papers included descriptions of various landmarks in the United States, including in New York City. Siddiqui was also in possession of substances that were sealed in bottles and glass jars.

On July 18, 2008, a party of United States personnel, including two FBI special agents, a United States Army Warrant Officer, a United States Army Captain, and United States military interpreters, arrived at the Afghan facility where Siddiqui was being held. The personnel entered a second floor meeting room — unaware that Siddiqui was being held there, unsecured, behind a curtain.

The Warrant Officer took a seat and placed his United States Army M-4 rifle on the floor next to the curtain. Shortly after the meeting began, the Captain heard a woman yell from the curtain and, when he turned, saw Siddiqui holding the Warrant Officer’s rifle and pointing it directly at the Captain. Siddiqui said, “May the blood of [unintelligible] be directly on your [unintelligible, possibly head or hands].” The interpreter seated closest to Siddiqui lunged at her and pushed the rifle away as Siddiqui pulled the trigger. Siddiqui fired at least two shots but no one was hit. The Warrant Officer returned fire with a 9 mm service pistol and fired approximately two rounds at Siddiqui’s torso, hitting her at least once.

Despite being shot, Siddiqui struggled with the officers when they tried to subdue her; she struck and kicked them while shouting in English that she wanted to kill Americans. After being subdued, Siddiqui temporarily lost consciousness. The agents and officers then rendered medical aid to Siddiqui.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

As many as 700 arrested in Iowa illegal immigration raid at the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant

12 05 2008
POSTVILLE, Iowa — A raid by federal immigration officials at the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant may have resulted in as many as 700 arrests, immigration officials said Monday

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement entered the Agriprocessors Inc. complex in northeast Iowa Monday morning to execute a criminal search warrant for evidence relating to aggravated identity theft, fraudulent use of Social Security numbers and other crimes, said Tim Counts, a Midwest ICE spokesman.

Agents are also executing a civil search warrant for people illegally in the United States, he said.

Immigration officials told aides to Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, that they expect 600 to 700 arrests. About 1,000 to 1,050 people work at the plant, according to Iowa Workforce Development, the state’s employment services agency.

Chuck Larson, a truck driver for Agriprocessing, was in the plant when the agents arrived. “There has to be 100 of them,” he said of the agents.

Larson said the agents told workers to stay in place then separated them by asking those with identification to stand to the right and those with other papers, to stand to the left.

“There was plenty of hollering,” Larson said. “You couldn’t go anywhere.”

When asked who was separated, Larson said those standing in the group with other papers were all Hispanic

ICE spokesman Harold Ort in Postville did not confirm or deny that anyone had been detained, but went on to say that the children of those detained would be cared for and that “their caregiver situation will be addressed.”

“They were asked multiple times if they have any sole-caregiver issues or any childcare issues,” Ort said.

Aides to Braley said they have been told that “hundreds” of arrests are expected because the action is more of an “investigation” than an immigration raid, and specific individuals are being targeted for arrest as part of the investigation.

Counts described the events in Postville as a “single site operation.” He said he was not aware of any other immigration raids being conducted elsewhere Monday.

Postville Police Chief Michael Halse said he did not know anything about the raid until Monday morning.

Postville is a community of more than 2,500 people that includes natives of German and Norwegian heritage and newcomers who include Hasidic Jews from New York, plus immigrants from Mexico, Russian, Ukraine and many other countries.

The Agriprocessors plant, known as the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse, is northeast Iowa’s largest employer.

About 200 Hasidic Jews arrived in Postville in 1987, when butcher Aaron Rubashkin of Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood reopened a defunct meat-packing plant with his two sons, Sholom and Heshy, just outside the city limits. Business boomed at the plant, reviving the depressed economy while pitting the newcomers against the predominantly Lutheran community.

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack said that the Postville immigration investigations were warranted despite concerns that federal official violated the constitutional rights of people in past raids.

“Remember our concern has not been about whether or not there should be raids,” Vilsack said. “It’s the way the raids have been conducted and the way in which American citizens’ rights have been violated by virtue of sort of a roundup process that’s used and what we think are inappropriate and unconstitutional actions on the part of immigration officials.”

Vilsack and others have alleged that immigration officials used humiliation, opposite-sex searches and long periods of secrecy in the Dec. 12, 2006, raids at Swift & Co. in Marshalltown, Iowa, where 90 people were arrested on immigration charges.