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When One of America’s Leading Non-Hasidic Rabbis Praised the Lubavitcher Rebbe Mosaic – Mosaic

Posted By on July 30, 2021

In 1942, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchikwho a year before had succeeded his father as one of the chief Talmud instructors at Yeshiva Universitydelivered a speech at a large communal dinner celebrating the educational institutions of the Lubavitch asidim. The speech, delivered in Yiddish to an audience made up primarily of Lubavitchers, was an encomium to their leader, Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneersohn. Besides their first name, the two sages shared much else: both were born in the Russian empire (in what is now Belarus) to distinguished rabbinic dynasties, both became revered figures in American Orthodoxy, and both spent much of their lives trying to root the religious traditions they had inherited on new soilaiming to adapt to modernity without sacrificing the integrity of Judaism as they understood it. At the same time, they represented opposite poles: Soloveitchik was an exemplar of study-focused, cerebral, non-asidic Lithuanian Judaism, while Schneersohn led one of the worlds largest asidic movements.

Read more at Torah Musings

More about: American Jewry, Chabad, Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Orthodoxy, Talmud, Yeshiva University

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When One of America's Leading Non-Hasidic Rabbis Praised the Lubavitcher Rebbe Mosaic - Mosaic

Alta Fixsler, 2-year-old on life support, has a visa to come to US for treatment. Will UK court let her go? – Religion News Service

Posted By on July 30, 2021

(RNS) A 2-year-old girl has been sentenced to death by a British court.

Alta Fixsler was not condemned for any crime she committed, but because British doctors and jurists feel that her best interests will be served by not allowing her to live.

Alta was born prematurely in 2018 and initially showed no signs of life. Doctors, however, resuscitated her and placed her on a ventilator. But Alta had been deprived of oxygen for too long and suffered serious brain and nerve damage. Physicians said the little girl had no hope of leading a normal life.

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Royal Manchester Childrens Hospital, where Alta is currently being cared for, told Altas parents that their daughter should be taken off life support and allowed to die. Doctors, they were told, had decided that Alta, tethered to a ventilator and requiring a feeding tube, was experiencing pain and had no quality of life.

Although a number of pediatric neurologists disagreed with Royal Manchesters contention that Alta was in pain, the hospital physicians petitioned the British High Court for permission to remove her life support.

In June, the court acceded to the hospitals request. Justice Alistair MacDonald ruled that, even though Israel was prepared to accept Alta, taking her abroad would expose her to further discomfort for no medical benefit, and that moving the child would expose Alta to further pain and discomfort.

It cannot be said to be in Altas best interests, the justice explained, to be transferred to Israel for life sustaining treatment to continue.

Altas parents are Hasidic Jews and Israeli citizens. (Her father holds American citizenship as well.) They and their son moved to England five years ago to be near the boys grandparents. Their Jewish beliefs charge them with maintaining their daughters life, no matter its quality.

The Fixslers contend that they have been encouraged by doctors abroad, who said there may be treatment options elsewhere that are not available in Englands socialized health care system. Hospitals not only in Israel but in the U.S. have offered to take Alta into their care; and a medical charity, United Hatzalah Air, has offered to fly her to any destination. Sparing Altas life would not cost the U.K.s National Health Service a farthing.

And so the Fixslers appealed the court decision. But on July 9, the U.K.s Court of Appeal affirmed the earlier courts ruling, asserting that the decision to remove Alta from life support was in the girls best interests.

In effect, doctor-assisted suicide had evolved into doctor-assisted homicide, as taking Alta off life support comes against a patients familys wishes and religious beliefs.

Those beliefs stand in stark contrast with some secular contemporary ones. Princeton Professor Peter Singer has famously advocated the active killing of severely disabled babies, and similarly dispatching unconscious and incapacitated elderly people. He has put his beliefs in blunt terms, contending, in his book Practical Ethics, that The life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee.

That approach to life is diametric to what Judaism teaches, that all human life is invaluable and that newborns, including severely compromised children like Alta and the incapacitated and unresponsive elderly, are no less worthy of life and care than any healthy and active person.

Pleas to not disconnect Alta from her respirator have come in from countless citizens in the U.K., the U.S. and Israel. Israels former president, Reuven Rivlin, has personally lobbied Prince Charles to intervene in the case.

Here in the U.S., New York Sen. Chuck Schumer secured a visa for Alta and sent a letter to Britains ambassador to the U.S., Karen Pierce, demanding that no health decisions be taken against the familys wishes and that the family be allowed to travel to the U.S.

New Jersey Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez followed up with a letter of their own to Pierce, saying their states Phoenix Center for Rehabilitation and Pediatrics was ready and willing to take Alta in.

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Ten Republican senators also joined the effort, asking President Joe Biden to try to save Altas life. We are profoundly troubled, they wrote, that the child of an American citizen is being treated this way, in a country with whom we have a deep alliance and special relationship. We urge you to advocate to Prime Minister Johnson on behalf of the Fixsler family.

The Fixslers are currently awaiting a hearing to determine if Englands highest court, its Supreme Court, will hear their case. No date for the hearing has been set.

The case, reduced to its essence, pits religious beliefs against current medical opinion. Such conflicts have occurred many times on these shores, when parents, citing religious beliefs, have refused to allow their children to receive medical treatment. American law does not allow parents to prevent lifesaving treatment of their children.

In those cases, though, the parents are endangering a childs life.

In the Fixsler case, they are trying to save it.

(Rabbi Avi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox Jewish organization. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)

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Alta Fixsler, 2-year-old on life support, has a visa to come to US for treatment. Will UK court let her go? - Religion News Service

Using my Judaism in stand-up comedy | The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle –

Posted By on July 30, 2021

Ive been a stand-up comedian for almost 19 years. And every single time Ive been on stage, whether the crowd likes it or not, Ive also been a Jewish stand-up comedian.

Humor and Judaism go together like latkes and sour cream. And like latkes and apple sauce. Humor, like a latke, is subjective. But a good joke, like a good latke, is part of being Jewish.

Some of my early memories of synagogue revolve around Purim, where part of the ridiculous celebration is getting drunk enough to mistake the hero of the story for the villain. As kids, we didnt drink. But wed howl to see gags like our rabbi taking the bimah in several pairs of pants, always pretending that each one he removed was the last one.

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One of my favorite stories is about the Baal Shem Tov, an 18th-century Polish rabbi and the founder of Hasidic Judaism. While some people might assume the founder of Hasidic Judaism would be a person who took himself seriously, laughter was extremely important to the rabbi. The story I love (and relate to) is the one where the Baal Shem Tov said he felt the most spiritual when he saw people laugh.

My theory is that humor is intertwined with Judaism because a sense of humor is born from oppression, as it is a defense mechanism. Jewish people have turned to humor over the years to cope. And, like comedians, Jewish people identify with the underdog.

Jewish culture also makes it easy to go into stand-up comedy. When my parents told their friends I was a comedian, the common response was like Henny Youngman! and then theyd wax poetic about seeing shows in the Catskills. But many of my non-Jewish friends didnt even tell their parents about their career choice. And when they finally did, their parents certainly didnt tell their friends.

There are many Jewish comedians who play todays non-Catskills circuit: synagogue fundraisers, on-campus events for Hillel and Chabad, and parents weekends at summer camps. Most of these comics have entire acts based on their Jewish identity. Their jokes are about subjects like cleaning the house for Passover, feeling different from your non-Jewish friends on Hanukkah, and separate seating on Shabbos (if the show is at an Orthodox shul).

However, most of my act is not about being Jewish. Ive done jokes about it over the years, sure. One of my first bits talked about stereotypes we deal with, and one of my favorite stories was explaining to a crowd that my grandfather used to take off from school for Erev Yom Revii (i.e. Tuesday).

Ive done entire albums where I dont mention being Jewish at all. But whether or not my heritage is in my material, being Jewish has always informed my perspective.

The early joke I did about stereotypes relied on Jewish people being told they are cheap. After a show, a woman approached me with a thick drawl, and asked me why thats true.

I wanted to explain to her that the joke was mocking stereotypes, and stereotypes are a form of prejudice. I wanted to blame the woman for her reaction. Her reaction was my fault; I wrote and said the words she was reacting to. An artist is never responsible for how someone reacts to their art. But an artist is always responsible for how they react to that reaction.It was a tough realization, and I never told that joke again.

I still address stereotypes; Im 64 with red hair so I dont look like an extra from Fiddler. In my current hour, I talk about some non-Jewish peoples surprise when they find out Im Jewish, and also some Jewish peoples surprise when they find out Im Jewish. The joke still discusses stereotypes, but its clear where I stand on the matter. I learned from my mistake, and I am more careful with my words now than I was when I started.

My Jewish upbringing informs my perspective of being an underdog and provides me with a propensity toward gallows humor. But it also taught me to be a respectable part of community. From the mistake I made early on, I learned that the most important thing I can do with my comedy is not teach non-Jews what we traditionally eat each Hanukkah (though I do have a joke about it). The most important thing I can do with my comedy is set a good example.

I have received hundreds of messages over the years from people who had simply never interacted with a Jewish person before. Whether they grew up in towns without Jewish people or they were purposefully raised to avoid us, I was the first Jewish person they ever listened to. They let me know that by listening to me, they learned that stereotypes are a form of prejudice. Not because I told them that, but because I showed them their preconceived notions of who and what a Jewish person should be were false.

I am prouder of those messages than any joke Ive written and any career goal Ive accomplished. Those messages demonstrate that my approach to using Judaism in my comedy doesnt just work for a show at a Hillel. It works to reach people who would never attend one.

Ive been a stand-up comedian for almost 19 years. And every single time Im on stage, whether the crowd likes it or not, I am mindful that I am a Jewish stand-up comedian.PJC

Steve Hofstetter lives in Stanton Heights, where he operates the Steel City Arts Foundation. For more information, or to see his show Steve Hofstetter and Friends at the Thunderbird Music Hall in Lawrenceville, visit

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Using my Judaism in stand-up comedy | The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle -

My Unorthodox Life series review: Fanaticism, fashion, frillin that order! – WION

Posted By on July 30, 2021

When strong, powerful women sashay along in Dior dresses, with hopelessly expensive wine in hand while between frank conversations about their sexually liberated selvesPack my vibrator!you are subconsciously trained to think: Keeping Up With The Kardashians! But the CEO of Elite World Group, Julia Haart, one of the biggest model management companies around, is no former-socialite-turned-reality television star and didnt know the Hiltons of Hollywood, either. In her own words, an education-less Haart was married into a fundamentalist Jewish family at a tender age, to a husband she didnt love, and with four kids, she eventually leaves behind her then family home to make something of herself: at 43!

Eight years later, Julia Haart becomes the CEO of a multi-subsidiary million-dollar brand. My Unorthodox Life is a dive deep into Haarts life circa 2020-21, with occasional rewind backs to how she shunned her past rigged with too many rules and the journey she wishes to take with her new partner Silvio Scaglia.Batshevathe eldest of fourhas one foot in her orthodox community and the other, in the modern chasm her mother introduces her to. One sequence in particular encapsulates the 27 YOs dilemma: a very well-groomed Batsheva can be seen arguing with her stringent yet affable husband Ben to let her wear pants, forbidden in their religion. The stark contrast between Haart Sr.s world and that of Bens is palpable. Her mother urges her to be bold and shatter the self-imposed boundaries of her older selfand even leave her husbandBat (as she is lovingly called) refuses both. The dust from the past is yet to settle in here, we reckon.

Perhaps the most out there character is the Standford-tutee Miriam Haart. In My Unorthodox Life, Miriam, 20, and the second youngest in the family, is bi-sexual, a first for many around her, and has no qualms about displaying her most intimate moments on camera, with a crew inside. She has been away from Monsey, New Yorka safe haven for fundamentalist Jews, they claimfar too long to care, her mother reasons or justifies? Juggling Stanford homework and a plethora of romantic interests (and Mommas yes maam duties) unabashedly is Miriams forte. Sass sans drama seems to be this Gen Zs aesthetic.

The grips of cultural conditioning seem to be the tightest around Haart boys (also, Hendler from their fathers side) Shlomo and Aron. At 24, Shlomo is still immune to the appeals of female touch. Oh! We were just thinking about you, his sister Bat exclaims. Why? Were you watching The 40-Year-Old Virgin? he jokes. The tug of war between the two boysin all fairness, Shlomo slightly more contemporary than his 14 YO brother Aronand the rest of the family to drag them out of their supposed misery is part heartbreaking and part funny. Yet, the collective love these men have for what their mother stands up forboth good and the crassis what makes them real (by reality TV standards).

Robert Brothertons the Chief Operating Officer of Elite and Julias best friend of five years. If Julia and the other women shepherd in the spices in right amount for the reality show to be a hit on Netflix (its already at Number 2 in Lebanon we hear), then Roberts raunchy jokes and chirpy demeanor gives it a smooth landing. Touch!

The fundamentalist Judaism that Julia goes gung-ho about is deprived of a fair, eagle view in My Unorthodox Life. We do not question the why; just demand a how.

A while back, a similar-titled-but-not-similar-fashioned miniseries Unorthodox had popped up on Netflix where a Hasidic Jewish woman in Brooklyn, Esther (played by a fantastic Shira Haas), brought forward the sense (and level) of patriarchal mindset this community exhibits. The in-depth researchadapted from a book, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Rootsaround the central theme and its various facetsthe clothes, Yiddish language, the whole charadetook that series notches higher by sheer means of its crisp, matter-of-factly content. This series is more noise and less smell.

Julia Haarts hedonistic persona, coupled with her very luxurious lifestyle and a penchant for grandiosity, makes My Unorthodox Life an entertaining extravaganza. But, given the fact that she has turned her life had a superhero-esque U turn and rmoved herself from a setting that is plagued with oppression, it is criminal that Julia Haart didnt harp on that.

Could the personable Haarts be the new queens of reality TVnow that the Kardashians have officially retiredno! Is the intent there? Hell, yes! Julia Haart may be the matriarch of a Rabbi-free household now, sitting pretty in her throne trying to fight nepotism debates around her: ahem! But no one can discredit her struggles and the subsequent riseto the very top! And, to that, we say, shalom shalom!

'MyUnorthodox Life' is streaming on Netflix.

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My Unorthodox Life series review: Fanaticism, fashion, frillin that order! - WION

‘My Unorthodox Life’: Meet the Cast Members of the New Netflix Series – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Posted By on July 30, 2021

Over the past several years, shows portraying ultra-Orthodox Jewish life and some peoples desire to flee it have become increasingly popular. Following the success of one such show, Unorthodox,Netflix has recently released a new reality docuseries,My Unorthodox Life.

The show follows the adventures of its formerly Orthodox protagonist, Julia Haart, along with those of her children and new husband. As Julias nearly total reinvention of herself shows, if you find yourself on a path thats not taking you where you want to go, its never too late to forge a new one.

My Unorthodox Lifebears some striking resemblances to another recent popular Netflix show, Unorthodox,which was based on a memoir by Deborah Feldman. A formerly Hasidic Jew, Feldman fled her religious community and family in Brooklyn in 2006 and never went back.

In the case of My Unorthodox Life,the star of the show is Julia Haart, who also left her first husband and the strictness of her old way of life in 2013, eventually building a new life as the chief executive of modeling conglomerate Elite World Group.

A significant difference between Unorthodox and My Unorthodox Life is that the latter is primarily a reality series. Its star, Haart, makes for a typical protagonist of such a show. As Time notes:

Now a remarkably young 50, Julia is doing everything she didnt get to do in her 20s: wearing leather catsuits, talking constantly and graphically about sex, radiating big girlboss energy.

And shes doing much of this alongside the other important cast members of the show, her second husband, Italian businessman Silvio Scaglia Haart, and her four children.

What makes the dynamics onMy Unorthodox Lifeparticularly interesting are the different approaches that Haarts four children demonstrate toward both life and religion. Haarts oldest daughter, Batsheva, was raised entirely in Haarts former Orthodox enclave in Monsey. Now married, shes pursuing a more modern way of life as a TikTok influencer and struggling with her husband Ben over when to start a family.

Batshevas next-oldest sibling is her brother Shlomo. Shlomo recently graduated from Columbia and is shown dipping a toe in the dating world while hoping eventually to pursue a law degree. As Bustle reports, hes been trying to balance his Orthodox religion with other aspects of modern life. For example, while he still observes Shabbat, he recently stopped wearing the traditional Jewish yarmulke.

Miriam Haart is Julias other daughter and the most irreverent of the kids. Womens Health recently caught up with Miriam at Stanford, where shes now a student who is fundraising for her first marathon, in the hopes of raising money for the group Girl Up. An avid feminist, Miriam is also proudly bisexual, andMy Unorthodox Lifetakes viewers along as her dating life unfolds.

Finally, Haarts youngest child is Aron Hendler, a teen who lives with his father back in the community that Haart fled. Aron is by far the most Orthodox of the bunch, which at times creates tension with his mother on the show.

Certainly the most well-known of Haarts other family members is her current husband, Silvio Scaglia Haart, an Italian business mogul who built his fortune as the founder of the technology company FastWeb. Womens Health explains that the two met when Julia was working as creative director at the Italian lingerie company La Perla, where Scaglia was CEO. Though the two butted heads at first, a romance eventually bloomed, and they married in 2019.

Rounding out the list of Haarts family members on the show is Benn Weinstein, Batshevas husband. A New York real estate broker, Weinstein has slowly been distancing himself from his formerly ultra-Orthodox lifestyle while focusing on building his business success.

Finally, though not a family member, a fan favorite on the show is Robert Brotherton, COO of Elite World Group and Haarts right-hand man. As Esquire explains, one of the more touching subplots onMy Imperfect Lifeinvolves Brothertons quest to find his birth mother and concern about possibly disappointing his adoptive family. Suffice it to say that My Imperfect Lifegets the audience thinking about all sorts of family dynamics, not just those of the ultra-rich.

RELATED: The Stars of Netflixs Unorthodox Had the Cutest Reaction to the Shows Emmy Nomination

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'My Unorthodox Life': Meet the Cast Members of the New Netflix Series - Showbiz Cheat Sheet

The subtle traumas of Jewish immigration to Israel don’t disappear – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on July 30, 2021

Forty-two years ago this month, I started learning Hebrew.

Forty-two years later, I finally have a hang of the language (Im a slow learner).

If only my ulpan teacher, and those other scoffers and mockers in my class, could see me now. And this is precisely why I get so aggravated when Im in a store, on the phone with the bank, or ordering in a restaurant, and the salesperson, clerk or waitress speaks to me in English.

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I get it, Ive got an accent. Sue me. But I would rather the salesperson, clerk or waitress have to suffer through my accented Hebrew than me having to suffer through their accented English.

Incredibly, this same twisted dynamic has also penetrated the walls of my home, my castle, my fortress. My youngest son, the one for whom my accent has always been the heaviest burden, now prefers to speak to me in English.

Once, when he was at his high school boarding school, he was in the dining room with the radio on and someone was being interviewed with a heavy American accent.

Jeez, I thought, he tells the tale. Who is that speaking and sounding as if he is speaking English, only with Hebrew words coming out? When he realized it was his dear old dad, he nearly choked on his mashed potatoes, and pleaded with me never to be interviewed on the radio again.

Now that same son with whom we battled constantly to work on his English when he was but a young lad prefers speaking to me in my mother tongue. He likes to say to aggravate me that he just cant take my heavy accent in Hebrew anymore. But thats not the real reason. The real reason is now he wants to improve his English before entering university.

So instead of him having to hear my accented Hebrew, I have to listen to his accented English. Actually, his accent isnt that painful, its just that his pace can kill you. In Hebrew he speaks a mile a minute; in English, about a mile an hour. It takes him two minutes to say in Hebrew what it takes him 10 minutes to spit out in English. Im a busy guy with little patience. Slow talkers get me nervous. We talk much less now than we used to.

I GET how annoying accents can be I really do. But what annoys me even more than an Israeli with eh-eh punctuated English responding to my uh-uh punctuated Hebrew, is when someone in a store or on the street will speak to me in English before I even open my mouth, or a waitress at a restaurant offers me an English menu.

I mean, Cmon! Ive been in this country some 38 years, have native-born children and grandchildren, did the army and reserves, pay my taxes, wear a hat with Hebrew writing on it, devour schug, can name each of the countrys past presidents what is it that makes people look at me and take me for a tourist?

Do I look American? I asked The Wife after a clerk in a Tel Aviv convenience store asked in English for my credit card . Im bald, have a beard and glasses. Half the country is bald with a beard and glasses. That makes me look Jewish, not American.

What annoys me even more, is that this annoys me.

Why should I care if some waitress younger than my youngest child thinks I dont know the language? What does it matter? Why does it get to me? Why do I respond by lowering my voice and answering in the most authentic Israeli accent I can muster? Why ask for the Hebrew menu in an Asian restaurant when an available English menu would be so much easier to navigate, and even then I wouldnt really know what I ordered?

Ive never felt more stupid in my life than when I first came to Israel and couldnt communicate. I felt like a child, and felt constantly as if I was being spoken to and treated like a child. It made me feel small, inferior. Israelis answering me in English triggers those memories.

This annoyance also stems from wanting to fit in, be like everyone else, feel an integral part of the society. In my first few years here I felt that I was being looked down upon and not taken seriously because I stumbled over rudimentary Hebrew. I thought my stature in the eyes of my interlocutors would rise once I learned to communicate better. Now that I can communicate better, I get insulted when people respond to me in English it makes me feel inadequate, as if my integration was incomplete.

And then, of course, there is not wanting to let on that you are born elsewhere out of a fear that if that knowledge seeps out, youll constantly be taken for a ride.

Speak to me in Hebrew, I tell The Wife in stores. That way we wont get ripped off.

To this day if The Wife or my children call when I am in a taxi, I make it a point of answering only with Hebrew monosyllables so the driver wont think Im American. My daughter could call with news that she just won the lottery, and my response would be, Tov [good]. Bye.

Why? Because of a deeply ingrained feeling that if the cabbie whiffs an accent, hell think Im wealthy or clueless, and in either case overcharge.

Relax, The Wife said, noticing my temperature rising when the Tel Aviv grocery store check-out lady spoke to us in English. This isnt about you. Like your son, she probably just wants to practice her English for school, or maybe she is just trying to be nice.

Wow, I said. Those possibilities never even crossed my mind.

To which she replied: That negative way of thinking is what you should really be working on.

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The subtle traumas of Jewish immigration to Israel don't disappear - The Jerusalem Post

Hebrew SeniorLife to require all employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 – The Boston Globe

Posted By on July 30, 2021

New Englands largest senior health care provider said Monday that it will require all employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 1, even if the federal government has not fully approved the available vaccines by that date.

Hebrew SeniorLife, a nonprofit Harvard Medical School affiliate with roughly 2,600 employees, also began on Monday to require all new hires to be vaccinated before they begin working, the organization said.

Lou Woolf, chief executive of Hebrew SeniorLife said he was immensely proud of our employees who have stayed strong and courageous in the face of risk to themselves and their families, true to our values, and committed through this pandemic, no matter how challenging.

Now that weve seen the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, we feel its our moral obligation to deploy them to their full extent, like we do all other tools at our disposal, to keep our patients, residents, and employees as safe as we possibly can, Woolf said in a statement.

The failure of many nursing home staff members to get vaccinated has emerged as one of the most serious gaps in the nations defenses against the coronavirus. But many providers are reluctant to require vaccinations in advance of full approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. The three vaccines available in the United States have so far been granted only emergency use authorizations.

Hebrew SeniorLife has a vaccination rate much higher than that of most nursing homes nationwide, according to the statement. Nearly 100 percent of patients and 84 percent of the organizations employees are vaccinated, compared to 81.3 percent of residents and 58.4 percent of nursing home workers nationally, according to the most recent data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Kay Lazar of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.

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Hebrew SeniorLife to require all employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 - The Boston Globe

Young historian to give talk on Hebrew cemetery – Rutland Herald

Posted By on July 30, 2021

GRANVILLE, N.Y. Born in Israel, raised in both Philadelphia and Vermont, young Netanel Crispe is steeped in history.

While he wont start college until the fall, Crispe, of Danby, is director of the East Poultney Jewish Cemetery Restoration Project, an effort that saw a neglected, nearly forgotten Hebrew cemetery in Poultney restored in early June.

Hell be giving a talk on the project, as well as his other historical endeavors, at the Slate Valley Museum in Granville, New York, on Sunday at 1 p.m.

People can attend in person or watch online.

Those watching online, and museum members, can see it for free. Non-members have to pay a $10 fee. Folks who are coming in person should pre-register by calling 518-642-1417 or emailing

Those attending in person should bring masks, owing to the ongoing pandemic. Those who want to watch online can find links to the livestream on the museums website,, or its social media pages.

Crispe said he wants people his age to better understand the importance of not only learning their history, but of uncovering and preserving it. He believes knowing ones history can establish their identity and allow them to craft a brighter future by learning what worked and what didnt.

The Hebrew cemetery in Poultney is the oldest of its kind in Vermont. Crispe said it contains about 80 headstones, though there may be more people buried there. It had become overgrown and many of the stones were broken.

His effort, aided by the town, the Poultney Historical Society, and hundreds of people worldwide, raised $19,000 to see it restored. He said 26 people came together in early June to clear the vegetation and repair many of the headstones. The cemetery has a state historical marker and leftover funds will be used by the town to keep it maintained.

The cemetery was established in the 1870s, according to Crispe, but the congregation in charge of it had disbanded by the turn of the century, its members moving to other areas.

Crispe said he plans to study history at Yale in the fall. He has spent the past seven years of his life with a metal detector looking for artifacts and relics and donating them to museums and historical societies. Some of his more interesting finds include pins that celebrate the inauguration of President George Washington.

Netanels work is tied in many ways to our mission here at the Museum, stated Slate Valley Museum Executive Director, Sarah Kijowski. We explore the lives and experiences of people who worked in and around the industry, including local Jewish communities, and much of what we do focuses on sharing and preserving their past.

In a release, she stated that Crispes zeal and tenacity impressed her.

What hes done is a real testament to whats possible when we believe in our work and have the drive, courage, and the will to forge ahead. It doesnt matter how old you are, how underserved or under recognized the area is that you live in, or how long the odds seem. We are certain that our audience will appreciate Netanels energy and find relevance and purpose in his work, maybe even feel compelled to help preserve pieces of history and share the stories that they hold in their own communities. Thats at the heart of what we do, she stated.


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Young historian to give talk on Hebrew cemetery - Rutland Herald

Something For Brides & Grooms! Ric Hassani Features in This Classic H.A.T Collection by Hebrew & Toys – BellaNaija

Posted By on July 30, 2021

When it comes to weddings, there are many highlights on that beautiful day. However, two people carry the bulk of it. Of course, were talking about none other than the couples! The two lovebirds are the reason theres a wedding in the first place, so its a given that the spotlight rests on them. Now, with the spotlight on them, it is only natural that they want to own it to the best of their ability.

Ace Nigerian fashion brands, Christiana Hebrews and Femy Toys clearly understand how important it is for couples to appear their utmost best and so they came through with this collaborative collection, H.A.T weddings. With exquisite and elegant outfits for both bride and groom, the collection is a handy go-to for couples who truly want to dazzle as they walk down that forever path. Uber talented Musician Ric Hassani models the collection with so much suaveness, showing us that music is certainly not the only thing hes amazing at! You definitely want to go through this lookbook if your wedding is on the way.

Heres how the brand designs describe the collection:

From deep down our HEARTS; we bring forth masterpieces of ART called HAT. Ladies and gentlemen; we present you HEBREWS AND TOYS. A bridal; sartorial and traditional collaborative showoff. In this display of cosmic visualization of the dressmakers soul, my mind is screaming to be worn; an attempt to clothe the timeless man with my imagination. I tapped into another realm of creativity to birth smart, functional, and culture-inclined pieces made of plain/floral jacquard fabrics, cashmere, velvet and aso-oke. This ceremonial showoff of spousal aesthetics is a call to the modern bride with a flair for the extravagant. One whos bold to serve ravishing pieces representing both immense power and beauty. With this presentation, we explore the magnificence of details and measured opulence. Our all-around seasonal collection ( HAT WEDDINGS) by CHRISTIANA HEBREWS & FEMY TOYS is aimed at promoting collaborations amongst fashion creatives and projecting an array of clothing ideas for the potential bride and groom.

Check out the entire collection lookbook below and be inspired!


Female designer: @christiana.hebrews.bridalMale designer: @femytoysPhotography: @spotlightpiFemale model 1: @amanda_daraFemale model 2: @kbsmodels (Victory)Male model: @richassaniShoes: @martinsjohnsonofficialMakeup: @bukekayoo | @tyfablooksmakeoverHairstylist: @hairbyseraphic_Gele: @adufegeleBouquet: @allbellazTrad jewellery: @_luideo_Hair accessories: @HallesbridalPR: @moafricapr

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Something For Brides & Grooms! Ric Hassani Features in This Classic H.A.T Collection by Hebrew & Toys - BellaNaija

Guest Op-Ed: A Return to Normal for Jews of Northern Greater Boston? – East Boston Times-Free Press

Posted By on July 30, 2021

By Burton Figler

Halfway through the year 2021, the Coronavirus pandemic is finally winding down and the communities just north of Boston are returning to normal. For Jews living in the cities and towns of northern Greater Boston Chelsea, East Boston, Everett, Revere and Winthrop the meaning of normal, like elsewhere, is unclear. For many years prior to the pandemic, these Boston Suburbs had very large Jewish communities that included dozens of synagogues, temples and Hebrew Schools. Now, nearly all are gone. So, the questions arise: Where do the Jews of northern Greater Boston go for religious services? Where do they send their children for an education in Judaism? Where can Jewish families and individuals socialize and also obtain information on Judaism, Israel, Zionism and religion?

Sadly, only one temple remains in Chelsea and it only holds infrequent services. One early 20th century synagogue is left in Chelsea as a national historic site. There are no Jewish institutions remaining in East Boston. In Everett, one synagogue remains and it holds services only one Friday night a month. Just prior to the pandemic, the last synagogue in Revere ceased operation.

In all the northern suburbs of Greater Boston, the one remaining organization that offers Jewish religious services on a weekly basis, on Jewish holidays and which also provides a Hebrew education for Jewish children is Temple Tifereth Israel of Winthrop. The Temple began its existence in September of 1912 under the name Tifereth Israel Congregation of Winthrop. In 1915, the corner stone of a new synagogue was laid and a year later, 1916, the first services were held in a new synagogue.

Some 50 years later, it was clear that a new and larger facility was needed and in a 1966, a bigger and modern temple with offices, library, Hebrew School classrooms and other facilities was dedicated as Temple Tifereth Israel of Winthrop.

Then, another 50 years later, it was realized that an update was needed. This modernization was completed in 2013, a century after the original creation of Tifereth Israel Congregation of Winthrop

As with most other religious institutions, the Coronavirus pandemic necessitated a drastic change in day-to-day operation. For many months, Temple Tifereth Israel was closed. The Hebrew School ceased to hold classes. Instead of on-site services, online services were conducted via Zoom. This continued through the Spring of 2021 when the pandemic began to ease. Slowly, the temple began its return to normal, first with limited on-site services. Then the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted and now, Temple Tifereth Israel has returned to full operation. The Temple is now preparing for the Jewish New Year which begins on the evening of Labor Day in September.

With so many of the Jewish institutions of northern Great Boston having closed, Temple Tifereth Israel of Winthrop is committed to picking up the slack and providing a comprehensive Jewish resource, not just for Winthrop, but also for Winthrops surrounding communities of Chelsea, East Boston, Everett, and Revere. The Temple is planning an open house for those interested to meet with temple members and staff, tour the facilities (93 Veterans Road, Winthrop) and learn about activities and programs. Information will be available at: 617-846-1390 (phone), (web site), [emailprotected] (email), and (facebook).

Burton Figler is from Temple Tifereth Israel.

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Guest Op-Ed: A Return to Normal for Jews of Northern Greater Boston? - East Boston Times-Free Press

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