Monday, November 28, 2011

Two Miami area residents named as semi-finalists in Jewish Community Heroes Awards - Orthodox Miami -

Two Miami area residents named as semi-finalists in Jewish Community Heroes Awards - Orthodox Miami -

Orthodox Miami

It has been announced that Rabbi Josh Broide of Boca Raton and Marly Silverman of Coral Gables have both been named as part of the top 20 semi-finalists of The Jewish Federations of North America’s third annual Jewish Community Heroes Awards: a national online contest that recognizes and promotes selfless acts of volunteerism in the North American Jewish community.
Over 239,000 votes were cast for the 300+ individuals who have been nominated by their peers. On December 7, a panel of judges will announce four finalists and a winner. The winner will receive $25,000 to support his/her generous role within the Jewish community.
20-million Americans suffer with Neuro-Endocrine Immune diseases. For at least 25% of these patients, a diagnosis means permanent disability and little hope. Marly Silverman, creator of PANDORA has been determined to change all that.
Marly began Pandora in 2002, but has worked for those impacted by NEIDs since 1999. In that time, Marly has constantly and consistently addressed the issues that affect the life of persons diagnosed with NEIDs. Through Pandora, Marly is working to create some of the first treatment centers for NEIDs. In addition, Marly created the Walk In My Shoes Campaign to raise awareness and garner much needed funding for research and a cure.
Josh Broide is the creator of the Boca Raton Jewish Experience (BRJE) offers free classes to Jews about their history and heritage. Josh Broide also runs a daily radio show called Jewish Pride Radio along with many other events and programs.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

An amazing letter from an Israeli Soldier

The letter below was sent to us by our son Aron who is doing IDF reserve duty on the Egyptian border. I would humbly comment that it would be a Kiddush Hashem for the world to see this. Please feel free to pass it on to whomever you please, including to the editors of newspapers. Thank you,

Marilyn & Josh Adler

My name is Aron Adler. I am 25 years old, was born in Brooklyn NY, and raised in Efrat Israel. Though very busy, I don’t view my life as unusual. Most of the time, I am just another Israeli citizen. During the day I work as a paramedic in Magen David Adom, Israel’s national EMS service. At night, I’m in my first year of law school. I got married this October and am starting a new chapter of life together with my wonderful wife Shulamit. 15-20 days out of every year, I'm called up to the Israeli army to do my reserve duty. I serve as a paramedic in an IDF paratrooper unit. My squad is made up of others like me; people living normal lives who step up to serve whenever responsibility calls. The oldest in my squad is 58, a father of four girls and grandfather of two; there are two bankers, one engineer, a holistic healer, and my 24 year old commander who is still trying to figure out what to do with his life.

Most of the year we are just normal people living our lives, but for 15-20 days each year we are soldiers on the front lines preparing for a war that we hope we never have to fight. This year, our reserve unit was stationed on the border between Israel, Egypt and the Gaza Strip in an area called “Kerem Shalom.” Above and beyond the “typical” things for which we train – war, terrorism, border infiltration, etc., - this year we were confronted by a new challenge.

Several years ago, a trend started of African refugees crossing the Egyptian border from Sinai into Israel to seek asylum from the atrocities in Darfur. What started out as a small number of men, women and children fleeing from the machetes of the Janjaweed and violent fundamentalists to seek a better life elsewhere, turned into an organized industry of human trafficking. In return for huge sums of money, sometimes entire life savings paid to Bedouin “guides,” these refugees are promised to be transported from Sudan, Eritrea, and other African countries through Egypt and the Sinai desert, into the safe haven of Israel.

We increasingly hear horror stories of the atrocities these refugees suffer on their way to freedom. They are subject to, and victims of extortion, rape, murder, and even organ theft, their bodies left to rot in the desert. Then, if lucky, after surviving this gruesome experience whose prize is freedom, when only a barbed wire fence separates them from Israel and their goal, they must go through the final death run and try to evade the bullets of the Egyptian soldiers stationed along the border. Egypt’s soldiers are ordered to shoot to kill anyone trying to cross the border OUT of Egypt and into Israel. It’s an almost nightly event. For those who finally get across the border, the first people they encounter are Israeli soldiers, people like me and those in my unit, who are tasked with a primary mission of defending the lives of the Israeli people. On one side of the border soldiers shoot to kill. On the other side, they know they will be treated with more respect than in any of the countries they crossed to get to this point.

The region where it all happens is highly sensitive and risky from a security point of view, an area stricken with terror at every turn. It’s just a few miles south of the place where Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. And yet the Israeli soldiers who are confronted with these refugees do it not with rifles aimed at them, but with a helping hand and an open heart. The refugees are taken to a nearby IDF base, given clean clothes, a hot drink, food and medical attention. They are finally safe. Even though I live Israel and am aware through media reports of the events that take place on the Egyptian border, I never understood the intensity and complexity of the scenario until I experienced it myself. In the course of the past few nights, I have witnessed much.

At 9:00 PM last night, the first reports came in of gunfire heard from the Egyptian border. Minutes later, IDF scouts spotted small groups of people trying to get across the fence. In the period of about one hour, we picked up 13 men - cold, barefoot, dehydrated - some wearing nothing except underpants. Their bodies were covered with lacerations and other wounds. We gathered them in a room, gave them blankets, tea and treated their wounds. I don’t speak a word of their language, but the look on their faces said it all and reminded me once again why I am so proud to be a Jew and an Israeli. Sadly, it was later determined that the gunshots we heard were deadly, killing three others fleeing for their lives.

During the 350 days a year when I am not on active duty, when I am just another man trying to get by, the people tasked with doing this amazing job, this amazing deed, the people witnessing these events, are mostly young Israeli soldiers just out of high school, serving their compulsory time in the IDF, some only 18 years old. The refugees flooding into Israel are a heavy burden on our small country. More than 100,000 refugees have fled this way, and hundreds more cross the border every month. The social, economic, and humanitarian issues created by this influx of refugees are immense. There are serious security consequences for Israel as well. This influx of African refugees poses a crisis for Israel. Israel has yet to come up with the solutions required to deal with this crisis effectively, balancing its’ sensitive social, economic, and security issues, at the same time striving to care for the refugees.

I don’t have the answers to these complex problems which desperately need to be resolved. I’m not writing these words with the intention of taking a political position or a tactical stand on the issue. I am writing to tell you and the entire world what’s really happening down here on the Egyptian/Israeli border. And to tell you that despite all the serious problems created by this national crisis, these refugees have no reason to fear us. Because they know, as the entire world needs to know, that Israel has not shut its eyes to their suffering and pain. Israel has not looked the other way. The State of Israel has put politics aside to take the ethical and humane path as it has so often done before, in every instance of human suffering and natural disasters around the globe. We Jews know only too well about suffering and pain. The Jewish people have been there. We have been the refugees and the persecuted so many times, over thousands of years, all over the world. Today, when African refugees flood our borders in search of freedom and better lives, and some for fear of their lives, it is particularly noteworthy how Israel deals with them, despite the enormous strain it puts on our country on so many levels. Our young and thriving Jewish people and country, built from the ashes of the Holocaust, do not turn their backs on humanity. Though I already knew that, this week I once again experienced it firsthand. I am overwhelmed with emotion and immensely proud to be a member of this nation.

With love of Israel,

Aron Adler writing from the Israel/Gaza/Egyptian border.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Israel Inside Trailer

ISRAEL INSIDE (A New Documentary on WPBT2) Premiering on Tuesday, November 29 at 8 pm. Make sure to tune in!

This feature-length documentary explores the secrets of Israeli success from a humanistic and psychological perspective. The film sidesteps the usual conversation of politics, conflict and violence and focuses on Israel’s human side and its global contributions. Featuring former Harvard lecturer Dr. Tal Ben Shahar, who gave up a prominent position at Harvard as the school’s most popular teacher, to live in Israel, we discover that deep-seated values such as freedom, education, family, and responsibility (tikkun olam) directly contribute to Israel’s accomplishments in both the economic, technological, and humanitarian spheres.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

March of the Living 2011

A look back at another incredible experience on the March of the Living. Looking forward to MOTL 2012 with the Southern Region!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Israeli Prime Minister is experienced and qualified

When it comes to achievements in life, not to many Presidents in this country, not to mention others, reach the sole of Netanyahu, and just for that he deserves a lot of respect as opposed to Hussein Obama or Monsieur Sarkozy.

So this is the Israeli Prime Minister who the eminently experienced and qualified Barack Hussein Obama trash-talked about to the French (the French!):

1949: Born – ONLY Israeli Prime Minister born in State of Israel
1967: Graduated High School: Cheltenham (Pennsylvania)
1967-1972: ENLISTED in Israel Defense Forces
Served in elite commando special forces unit, SAYERET MATKAL, specializing in operations behind enemy lines
War of Attrition 1970
Hostage rescue of Sabena Flight 571 in 1972
1972-1976: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, B.S. Architecture
1973: Returns to Israel as IDF Captain in Yom Kippur War
1977: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, M.S. Business Management
1976: Discontinues PhD in Political Science at MIT and Harvard when his brother, Yoni—the Commander of the Raid on Entebbe, is killed in the raid
1977-1982: Boston Consulting Group/Rim Industries Ltd.
1978: Forms Yoni Netanyahu Anti-Terror Institute
1980: Author- International Terrorism: Challenge and Response
1982-1984: Deputy Chief of Mission, Israeli Embassy, Washington, D.C.
1984-1988: Israeli U.N. Ambassador
1986: Author- Terrorism: How the West Can Win
1988-1993: Member of Knesset
Deputy Minister, Foreign Affairs
Chief Liaison to U.S. in 1991 Gulf War
1992: Author- A Durable Peace: Israel and Its Place Among Nations
1993-1996: Likud Party Chairman
1996: Author- Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorism
1996-1999: Prime Minister
September 24, 2001: First Anti-Terror Expert called before Congress
2002-2003: Foreign Minister
2003-2005: Finance Minister
2004: Israel’s 3-year recession turns around to 4.2% expansion
2006-2009: Member of Knesset
2009 - : Prime Minister
Commonly estimated I.Q.: 180

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shabbos Dinner for Skinheads

Rabbi Michael Shudrich, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, told Rabbi Packouz the following story: Two young anti-Semitic skinheads got married after high school. Two years later the wife's grandmother dies. On her deathbed the grandmother tells her, "I am Jewish, your mother is Jewish, you are Jewish." The young lady tells her husband that she heard of a Friday night meal that Jews celebrate and that she would like to honor her grandmother's memory each week with a Shabbat dinner. The husband had no objection, after all, one has to eat anyway.
However, the husband's parents were vehemently against it. "You can't do this! This Jewish stuff is not good. It's dangerous. You don't know what can happen if you do it!" The more they protested, the more the husband stood up for his wife and supported her Friday night efforts.

Over time his parents saw how much their son and daughter-in-law were enjoying Shabbat and how serious they were about Judaism. The young man approached his father that he was considering converting to Judaism. With perhaps a bit of chagrin the father tells his son, "You do not need to convert; you, too, are Jewish."

This is the power of Shabbat! It touches the soul. It gently fans the spark in the soul that yearns for a connection to the Almighty. For one who has not experienced Shabbat it is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine the experience. Pearl Benisch conveys the beauty, the tranquillity, the transcendence of Shabbat in her inspiring holocaust memoir To Vanquish the Dragon:

"How I used to love Shabbos at home, with its tranquil joy. There, too, I had counted the days until at long last it was Friday. From the early morning on we would be busily at work, preparing meals and scrubbing the house for the holy day. Then, dressed in our holiday finest and trembling with excitement, we would wait for the moment when in her full glory the Shabbat Queen would enter our home and our hearts.

"Mother would greet the Queen by kindling the Sabbath candles, moving her long, regal hands over and around the little flames and then resting them over her lovely, troubled face. How I had yearned to hear the blessing she whispered in those precious moments when, oblivious to the world, she conversed with God.

"Whispered though it was, I knew the contents of that prayer: you were praying, Mother, for the light to enter our hearts and fill them with love and understanding, for us to be better Jews, kinder people. I knew you were pleading with God to ease the burden of His people, to bring salvation to this tormented nation. And I knew you were praying for the same light to spread over the world and enter every human heart, illuminating the darkness of our existence.

"When she would lift her hands, the features I saw were no long the troubled weekday ones; they radiated strength and peace. In one moment, as if by the touch of a magic wand, the house was transformed into a sanctuary filled with light, love and tranquillity. The Shabbos table beckoned, with its spirited zemiros (Shabbos songs), Torah discussions, and peaceful aura."

Someone once said, "More than the Jewish people has preserved the Shabbat, the Shabbat has preserved the Jewish people." To enhance your Jewish family life and to strengthen the connection of your children with our heritage ... try Shabbat! If you would like to experience Shabbat, ask a friend who keeps Shabbat for an invitation. If you keep Shabbat, invite someone who might enjoy it.

There is a practical guide to experiencing a traditional Shabbat: Friday Night and Beyond: The Shabbat Experience Step-by-Step by Lori Palatnik (available at your local Jewish bookstore, at or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242). It is well worth buying! Michael Medved, the noted talk show host relates to it as "a warm and wonderful book that describes some of the most life-enhancing aspects of Jewish tradition in inviting, accessible terms. Reading Friday Night and Beyond is like joining an especially joyous and informative family table as an honored Shabbat guest."

Friday, November 11, 2011

A letter from Rabbi Billet of the Young Israel of Woodmere

It's nice to see a Rabbi stand up for what he believes!!


Dear Congregants,As the crescendo of protest rises on my gmail address, my telephone, and in person, I feel the need to explain my position on the invitation I extended to Father Patrick Desbois to speak in the Young Israel this coming Shabbos morning. I want to be clear from the outset that I neither have regrets nor will I rescind the invitation nor the venue of his talk. The plan is for Father Desbois to to talk in the JKMMS after services and following a Dvar Torah by the Rabbi who will first (briefly) address a Bar Mitzvah in Shul. Immediately after services the men will be asked to remove their Talaisim (I suspect that "talaisim" is grammatically incorrect). That will symbolically end our religious service. I will then address the Bar Mitzvah and then introduce Father Desbois.

From my perspective Father Desbois is a human being who happens to be a priest. He is one of the Righteous Amongst the Nations (I hope that my share in the world to come is qualitatively on his level). He will not be wearing any religious icon on his chest. He is not a 'meshumad'. He comes from a family of Christians who sheltered Jews during the Holocaust. He comes from a family that was active in the French Resistance against the Nazis. His grandfather was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp in Rava Ruski, Ukraine. Everyone heard of Babi Yar. But most people do not realize that there are tens of Babi Yars unknown to the world and the Jewish people where 1.5 million Jews of all genders and all ages were brutally massacred by the German Einzatsgruppen and their allies from the local population. Father Desbois has made it his life's work to uncover these mass unmarked graves in order to give respect to our people (the Jews), these forgotten victims of the Shoah. On Saturday night at 6.30 PM you will have the chance to see a riveting video of his work, if you are able and choose to attend.

I think that it is important for us to learn about this. It is important to thank this kind righteous human being who happens to be a priest for his efforts on our behalf. And it is important to give him money to continue his work. He is doing what we should be doing but what we cannot do. That is because the last remaining living Christian witnesses will not speak to us. But they will speak to a human being who happens to be a priest. That makes Father Patrick Desbois our agent ('shaliach'). Do we have hakarat hatov? Usually the answer in YIW is a resounding YES!

Over the last few days, I have been the beneficiary of linguistic lessons, history lessons, and lessons in comparative religion. I will add that all of those who spoke to me were respectful. I do not mean to boast when I say that I was already familiar with the word 'galach' (technically I am a 'galach' as well). I also am well aware of the history of Christian anti semitism and its strong link with Nazi racial anti semitism. Regarding the Roman Catholic Church, I am not naive at all (I studied with the Rov and have absorbed his thinking on the subject). And I am very familiar with the axioms of Christianity.

Father Desbois will not be leading a mass in the YIW this Shabbos. He will not be preaching! He will be lecturing and sharing his experiences as our agent in giving respect to Jewish dead and revealing to the world more of the evil of our enemies. Could we have had this event in the SKSH? No, for two reasons. First, it is not practical to move such a huge crowd effectively on Shabbos morning. Secondly, the SKSH is booked for a simcha. But even more important from my point of view, I believe that it is most appropriate for this event to take place in our main sanctuary. The sanctuary is the place where we try to sanctify HASHEM's name each day. We have the opportunity to do that in receiving Father Desbois this week with respect. If someone is uncomfortable, he/she can leave quietly. I think that perhaps we should ask ourselves, "am I mature enough to receive a righteous non Jewish human being who happens to be a priest in our sanctuary?"


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lessons from a recovered alcoholic

Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski

I once asked a recovered alcoholic with many years of sobriety to share his experiences with a newcomer who was unable to understand how, after so many years of dependence on alcohol, someone under stress could avoid recourse to drink.
"It's simple," the veteran said. "Every morning when I get up, I ask God to help me stay sober one more day. Every night when I retire, I thank Him for having given me another day of sobriety, and hope that He will do the same for me tomorrow."
The novice listened in partial disbelief. "How do you know it was God that gave you the day of sobriety?" he asked.
The old-timer responded, "How stupid can you get? I hadn't asked anyone else!"
It is amazing how we sometimes complicate things that are quite simple.
Each night we entrust our weary soul to God, and each morning He not only returns it to us, but gives it to us in a refreshed state. Indeed, if we ask Him sincerely to cleanse it for us by removing the sins that stained it during the day, we can be assured that this request too will be granted, as long as it is sincere - because an honest request constitutes teshuvah, and the combination of repentance and faith is certain to earn us forgiveness.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Share One Shabbos (SOS) is Back!!

More than 30 new families moved into our community over the summer so I realized that there are some people that have never heard of our most successful outreach program in BRS history “Share One Shabbos (SOS)”. And for other in our community “Share One Shabbos” happened so long ago that they forgot how easy it was to participate. Ladies and gentleman, there is no easier outreach program in the world than SOS. On November 18th after you return home from shul, you will sit down with your friends and family like you do every Shabbat. All we are asking of you is to set an extra place for someone else who has not been to a traditional Shabbat dinner. We are not asking you to come up with new recipes or even a special program, just make your regular dinner and watch as your new guests are blown away by the Shabbat experience. I still remember some of you inviting a dozen people to your table!
 The best part that I recall was everyone who participated had an amazing experience. So now that you’ve been reminded and would like to participate, you are probably wondering how you can sign up. Well with our new website, we’ve streamlined the process and you can sign up right on our homepage in the top box that says “Happening Now at Boca Raton Synagogue”. Once you register for SOS II you will be added to the list that will be published next week, so everyone will know that you made the commitment. Please don’t wait any longer and make the commitment to invite someone for SOS II on November 18th.

Inspire yourself to inspire others…


Rabbi Josh Broide

Veshinantam Season 12 is back in just 29 Days!!!!


Look what they are saying….

Hi Rabbi Broide,

Just wanted to thank you for today’s park and learn class, I really enjoyed it!!! Looking forward to next week’s class!!




Hi Rabbi, (still hard for me to say Josh, but I'll get used to it)

Thanks for taking the time to have coffee with me yesterday and listening to our story. I appreciate how you explained BRS, its mission, and its community. Thanks also for all the help you offered in making my wife Rina and I comfortable in that setting. I am hopeful in the near future we will be able to take you up on your offer.

Thanks again and Shabbat Shalom,



Dear Rabbi Broide,

It was so nice meeting you at the Federations “After Hours” event at Wendy Pressner’s. It was an amazingly electric evening – in large part because of the spark you ignited! How beautifully you spoke and it really resonated with the women. Thanks.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Science vs. Religion: Mayim Bialik and the OTHER Big Bang Theory"

And they are BOTH coming to the Boca Raton Jewish Experience and the Boca Raton Synagogue in January!!