Excerpt from Kosher Movies

June 15, 2015

HOOSIERS (1986) directed by David Anspaughkosher movies web2

 I first met Demetry, a twelve-year-old Russian émigré, when he enrolled as a student at Denver Academy of Torah, a Jewish elementary day school of which I was the principal. He encountered formidable educational challenges because of his lack of English language skills, and teachers were worried that he would not survive in a dual-curriculum Jewish day school. And then something extraordinary happened. We instituted a “Shakespeare Festival” for the seventh and eighth grade students in which they would perform an abbreviated version of one of the great bard’s plays. Demetry was given a speaking part, and he surprised us all. He read his lines with the proper pronunciation and with a clear understanding of the power and meaning of Shakespeare’s words.

Watching him underscored the maxim in the Ethics of the Fathers that “one should never disparage any man, for every man has his hour.” Too often we quickly stereotype people when we first meet them and that first impression becomes our only impression of that individual. Demetry’s blossoming at the school play reminded me to withhold judgment when meeting people, for we do not know who they really are after only one or two superficial encounters. Demetry astonished us all; and from that moment on, teachers and fellow students viewed him differently. Read the rest of this entry »


The Kiddush Hashem at Har Nof in Jerusalem

January 1, 2015

By Alana Jay Gerberliving on pic

Shock and tragedy. Those are the first two of so many words that follow when looking back at the murder of four rabbis on the 25th day of Cheshvan 5775: Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, Rabbi Kalman Ze’ev Levine, Rabbi Moshe Twersky, all of blessed memory and H”yd.

This past week my dear friend and neighbor Kenny Fliegelman and Leiby Zupnik of Judaic Plus in Cedarhurst brought to my attention a recently composed anthology and tribute to these four men by their neighbor Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis, entitled “Living On: Messages, Memories and Miracles from the Har Nof Massacre” [Feldheim Publishers]. This week’s essay consists of several quotes from this heartfelt tribute.

From the introduction, written by some of the most prominent rabbis of our time who were familiar with the martyrs:

“On the 25th of Cheshvan 5775, four kedoshim were killed, wearing tallis and tefillin, in Beis Hakenesses Kwhilat Bnei Torah in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood. All Klal Yisrael mourned the untimely passing of these four tzaddikim and strengthened themselves in chessed, unity, Torah, prayer, and many other areas. It is important that we do all we can to preserve the momentum that this tragic incident has generated.

“Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis, Rosh Kollel of one of the kedoshim, and a friend and neighbor of all of them, has taken upon himself the task of maintaining the momentum spurred by this event. Following a tragedy of this magnitude, many people are seeking direction and meaning in what took place. Read the rest of this entry »