The Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim addressed alienation in the Jewish community and how to prevent it at its Rosh Chodesh Teves Conference, held this month at the King David Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, located in Brooklyn’s Bensonhurst section.

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance, remarked that in the week’s Torah reading (Vayigash), Yosef reveals himself to Yehuda after a heated confrontation by saying, “I am Yosef, is my father still alive?” Why would Yosef ask this question? Yosef knew from their discussion that his father Yaakov was still alive. One possible answer is that Yosef was saying, “Of course Yaakov our father is still alive, but is he still my (Yosef’s) father? Does he still consider me his son, does he feel for me, care for me and love me as his son or am I forgotten? Am I still part of the family or a long-forgotten person who is out of sight and out of mind?” To this strong question, Yehuda and the brothers answered, “Yes,” that Yosef was still beloved to Yaakov as his son and to them as their long-lost brother.

This very telling story has deep meaning. It reveals to us that even after becoming the viceroy of the great Egyptian superpower of his day, Yosef was still concerned with finding acceptance and love. Accordingly, Rabbi Mirocznik concluded, “in our day and age we must be so mindful of preserving the young and the old. Outreach is not limited to the not-yet observant Jew. It applies to everyone who needs acceptance as part of a family and part of the community.

“Too often today, we fail to prevent the erosion of the bonds that keep our community and our families together. Let us resolve to leave our comfort zones and to reach out to our brothers and sisters and make certain that they are not hurting and feeling alienated. We must ensure that they receive the care they need, both spiritually and physically. Through the patient sharing of love and acceptance, we will bring our people together in a harmonious fashion. This is the challenge we are facing today.”

Rabbi Mirocznik concluded by thanking the host, the King David Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, as a good example for caring for elderly who are among the most vulnerable in society. The elderly often suffer not only physical limitations but also feelings of being ignored, alienated, and neglected. The staff of the King David Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation answers the call of Yosef in making certain that their residents enjoy their golden years in respect and dignity.

At the conclusion of the conference, the rabbis in attendance were offered a tour of the state of this fully renovated state-of-the-art skilled nursing and rehab facility. The guests were impressed by the Aqua Therapy and Robotics Therapy that King David offers. King David has a special rehabilitation pool designed by engineers and clinicians for better recovery outcomes with less pain. It features a moveable floor, underwater treadmill, resistance jet technology, camera systems and automated water temperature capabilities. The facility also boasts exoskeleton machines such as Lokomat, H200 and L300 GO that apply electrical stimulation to activate the muscles and promote mobility. This kind of revolutionary care is instrumental in cardiac, neurological, and orthopedic rehabilitation. This state-of-the-art therapy restores health and self-respect, and gives the recipient hope of feeling less isolated and more included in the community of Klal Yisrael.

Also participating in the Rosh Chodesh Teves conference were Presidium Members Rabbi Yehoshua Hecht and Rabbi Hanania Elbaz; Rabbi Moish Schmerler, Executive Director/Menahel; Rabbi Gil Student, Director, Halacha Commission; and Rabbi Yehuda Blank, Vice-President, Professional development, and External Affairs


1. Rabbi Yair Fine

2. Rabbi Hananiah Elbaz

3. Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht

Names in Pictures

Picture (1) A group picture of some of the Rabbis in attendance at the Rabbinical Alliance of America’s Rosh Chodesh Teves Conference

Picture (2) Rabbi Hanania Elbaz; Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik and Rabbi Yair Fine

Picture (3) Rabbi Hanania Elbaz; and Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik

Picture (4) Rabbi Hanania Elbaz; and Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik

Picture (5) Rabbi Hanania Elbaz; Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik; Rabbi Yair Fine; and Rabbi Yehoshua Hecht

Picture (6) Rabbi Hanania Elbaz; Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik; Rabbi Yair Fine; and Rabbi Yehoshua Hecht