The Weekly Igud

News, divrei Torah, invitations and more…

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BS”D
January 14, ’21

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, in which we share news for and about members, including communal news, announcements, publications, Divrei Torah, press releases and media mentions.

In this newsletter:
• Chaplaincy Commission Update
• Rosh Chodesh Shevat Conference
• The Rabbinical Alliance of America Statement on Comparing Covid and Other Issues to the Holocaust
• The Rabbinical Alliance of America Calls for A National Return to Civility, Dialogue and Respect
• Retirement Plan: Now Open – More Information
• Divrei Torah: Va’eira
• New Publication: Halachic Discussions vol 1 issue 2
• Upcoming Yahrtzeits 3 Shevat-10 Shevat
• NY Post: Anti-Anti-Circumcision

Please let us know about your family simchos and l”a aveilus, book publications and career changes or milestones, so we can share as chaveirim our life events. Send updates to rabbi.

TONIGHT: Rosh Chodesh Shevat Conference 5781

Wednesday, January 13, 2021, Teives 29, 5781, 7:00 PM EST via Zoom

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Dear Rabbis:

Please mark your calendars for the Rabbinical Alliance of America’s Rosh Chodesh Shevat Video Conference which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, Teives 29, 5781, 7:00 PM EST via Zoom. Due to the current global health crisis, this conference will be streamed online and recorded at Zoom.us Meeting ID (273 226 8374) Password (igud2021)

The Rosh Chodesh Shevat Conference features a special halacha component and a special guest chomer lidrush speaker. Rabbi Ya’akov Shulman, Menahel of Igud’s Bais Din, will offer a presentation on Business Ethics, specifically the mitzvah to pay workers on time. Rabbi Simcha Hopkovitz, Rav of the Young Israel of Hewlett, will speak about Bikur Cholim. Rabbi Gil Student, Director of Igud’s Halacha Commission, will conduct a special interview with Rabbi Benzion Sommerfeld, the new editor of the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society.

Additionally, we are pleased to host Rabbi Eli Mansour, Rav of the Edmund J. Safra Synagogue and famous speaker, who will offer chomer lidrush. Rabbi Mansour will be speaking in memory of Rabbi Abraham B. Hecht, RAA President 1972-2013 and Rabbi of Shaarei Zion in Brooklyn.

Our President, Rabbi Ya’akov Klass, will offer his presidential report.

Please make every effort to join this important Rosh Chodesh Shevat Igud/RAA Conference, as is our custom important topics will be discussed.

Please remember to complete the Gemara you have chosen to learn for our Chai Ellul Annual Siyum HaShas.

On behalf of the Igud/RAA Presidium and of the Beth Din, I extend greetings of Torah.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik
Executive Vice-President, Rabbinical Alliance of America

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The Weekly Igud

News, divrei Torah, invitations and more…

View this email in your browser
BS”D
January 7, ’21

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, in which we share news for and about members, including communal news, announcements, publications, Divrei Torah, press releases and media mentions.

In this newsletter:
• INVITATION: Rosh Chodesh Shevat Conference 5781
• Chaplaincy Commission Update
• Divrei Torah: Shmos
• Upcoming Yahrtzeits 25 Teives-3 Shevat
• Jewish Voice: Anti-Jewish Fliers

Please let us know about your family simchos and l”a aveilus, book publications and career changes or milestones, so we can share as chaveirim our life events. Send updates to rabbi.

The Weekly Igud

News, divrei Torah, invitations and more…

View this email in your browser
BS”D
December 31, ’20

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, in which we share news for and about members, including communal news, announcements, publications, Divrei Torah, press releases and media mentions.

In this newsletter:
• Mazel Tov
• Chaplaincy Commission Update
• Invitation: The COVID-19 Vaccine & Women’s Health
• Divrei Torah: Vayechi
• Upcoming Yahrtzeits 18 Teives-25 Teives

Please let us know about your family simchos and l”a aveilus, book publications and career changes or milestones, so we can share as chaveirim our life events. Send updates to rabbi.

TIME-SENSITIVE: TEAM Shabbos webinars starting Motzei Shabbos!

NASCK TEAM Shabbos new programs

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Dear TEAM Rabbi,

Thank you for being part of this year’s TEAM Shabbos program.

While we still encourage you to create derashos and shiurim as always, we have created a webinar series that will enable important conversations for congregants who are not in shul.

We have attached a file describing these webinars.
Please distribute it as widely as possible, including:
* Putting it on your shul’s website
* Sending it via email to your kehillah
* Printing it for placement in shul
We have attached both color and black and white copies of the flyer for your convenience.

Please encourage your members to register for the webinars, especially for topics you deem most important for your community.
* If your kehillah contains young families, please especially encourage them to view the webinar on life insurance with Rabbi Paysach Krohn.
* If they have not yet enacted halachic living wills, this is an excellent time to do so. We have scheduled a step-by-step halachic living will sign-up webinar at five different times, in order to maximize the convenience of executing this crucial document.

We will be sending you our color brochure in a pdf rather than print format this year.
It has been expanded to include lessons learned from Covid, and we believe it will make for interesting reading, lively dialogue, and, be”H, the taking of appropriate and responsible action.
Please look for it in your inbox next week.

Thank you, as always for your partnership.

Wishing you a Gut Shabbos,
Rabbi Elchonon Zohn

PS Please forward this email to other shuls, rabbanim, Chabad shluchim and kiruv organizations so that they may also register for TEAM Shabbos, and bring its benefits to their community.
Click below to download PDF versions of the fliers:

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Asara b’Teves in the Time of Corona Virus

By Rabbi Yaakov Shulman, Menahel, Igud Harabbanim Beis Din

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Asara b’Teves in the Time of Corona Virus

By Rabbi Yaakov Shulman
Menahel, Igud Harabbanim Beis Din

We are confronted this year with two highly unusual circumstances: A once-in-a-century pandemic and a once-in-about-20-years occurrence of the Tenth of Teves falling out on Friday. The first, the Corona pandemic, has lasted now for about ten months and seems to be continuing into an indeterminate future; the second, Asara b’Teves, will be lasting one day, from dawn Friday morning until full darkness Friday night.

The fast of Asara b’Teves commemorates the start of Nevuchadnezzer’s siege of Yerushalaim. This lasted two and a half years, leading ultimately to the breaching of the city’s walls and the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash itself. Because we consider the start of a tragedy to be worst of all (אתחלתא דפורענותא עדיפא – “the start of a calamity is worse” – Talmud, Taanis 29a), the placement of the siege carries a heavy burden of commemoration. Namely, to the extent that the Avudraham (Spain, 1400’s) writes that even if Asara b’Teves were to occur on Shabbos, we would still fast, because of the severity of the tragedy. This surpasses even Tish’a b’Av, which when occurring on Shabbos is postponed until the next day.

The Avudraham’s opinion is contested by many Poskim and commentators, including Rashi (Talmud, Megillah 5a), and in point of fact, under our Hebrew calendar system, Asara b’Teves can never fall out on Shabbos, so the point remains moot. Even so, a touch of his opinion does remain in our practice, i.e., with regard to fasting into Friday night: Asara b’Teves, coincides very occasionally with Erev Shabbos, as it does this year. We would think that it ends at sundown, when Shabbos begins; however, this is not the case. The fast continues until צאת הכוכבים – the appearance of three stars, which for end-of-fast purposes we define as 45 minutes after sunset.

Thus, we cannot make an “early Shabbos” this week, nor make Kiddush until 5:19 pm (New York time). When coming home from shul, you can sing Sholom Aleichem and prepare for the Seudah prior to that time, but cannot start the Kiddush until the end-of-fast time of 5:19.

Asara b’Teves: Schedule of the Day (NYC times)
Fast begins 6:06 am
Earliest Tefilin 6:06
Bracha on Tefilin 6:22

Mincha 4:00 pm
Shabbos Licht 4:16
Shki’ah 4:34
Fast ends 5:19 pm

We have scheduled Mincha much earlier than on a regular Erev Shabbos because we need time for leining ויחל and reading the Haftorah. We will be inserting עננו into the Shemoneh Esrei, both in the individual Amidah and in the Chazan’s repetition. אבינו מלכנו is not recited at Mincha, nor תחנון, since it is Erev Shabbos; the timing should allow us to begin קבלת שבת prior to Shki’ah.

Fasting

The Halachos regarding fasting take into account this year the possible presence of the Corona virus and its weakening effect on the body.

  1. Thus:
    1. Anyone who is symptomatic should not fast, even if not confirmed to be infected.
    2. Anyone who tested positive on the viral test (showing current infection) should not fast, even if not symptomatic.
    3. Anyone with fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit should not fast.
    4. People in quarantine should fast, unless they suspect that they are symptomatic.
  2. Any Choleh – sick person – who feels very weak should not fast.
  3. Anyone experiencing signs of dehydration, including nausea, dizziness, or extreme dryness of mouth, should drink immediately and not fast.

Siege and Redemption

During this year of the Corona pandemic, we have experienced a kind of siege, perhaps somewhat akin to the siege of Yerushalaim. We have remained isolated and confined, surrounded by walls of restrictions – don’t travel, don’t congregate, don’t even leave your home. We have experienced some of the anxiety felt by Yerushalaim’s citizens at the time of their siege: A dangerous enemy lurking outside the walls, perilous, lethal, and threatening.

Perhaps the analogy holds in an additional way as well, in the path toward redemption. As the Jews of the Babylonian exile returned to the land of Israel, they inquired of the prophet Zecharia, “Shall I cry and fast [on the commemorative fast days] as I have done these [seventy] years?” (Zech. 7:3) He answered them:

So says Hashem, “I will return unto Zion, and I will dwell within Yerushalaim; and Yerushalaim shall be called the City of Truth” (8:3) … So says Hashem, “Once again will elderly men and elderly women sit in the streets of Yerushalaim, each one holding his cane in his hand from advanced age. And the streets of the city shall fill with young boys and young girls, playing in its streets (8:4-5) … So says Hashem, “The fast of the fourth [month], and the fast of the fifth [month], and the fast of the seventh [month], and the fast of the tenth [month] will become for the house of Yehudah a rejoicing and a happiness and [turn into] festivals; [provided that] they love truth and peace.” (8:19)

Zecharia, when prophesying redemption, pointed to the path the people must take before they stop their fasting and weeping: Love truth and peace! If you behave peacefully and with equanimity toward your fellow Jew, and if you love truth and abhor falsehood in all its forms, then you will merit redemption.

Rabosai, we too are locked within the siege of the Corona virus. We, too, have experienced the “tenth month” of our confinement, from late February through late December. Like the residents of the great city of Yerushalaim, we too ask – how will this end? And the prophet’s response is relevant to us: האמת והשלום אהבו – Your task is to love peace with one another, to help each other through this crisis, and to love Truth.

We live in an era where Truth has disappeared from the public sphere, where falsehood, deception and outright fabrication dominates public discourse, whether in politics, media, even medicine and science. It thus falls upon us, Am Yisrael, to uphold Truth, to insist on speaking truthfully, to keep our word, to deal financially with integrity, to run far away from any “shtick” in business matters. Zecharia placed the redemption from exile squarely in the hands of the Jewish people; their actions would determine it. We, as well, in the time of Corona, have the capacity to redeem ourselves and convert the “tenth month” into a time of rejoicing and happiness.

We pray that we all remain healthy, and that we merit to see the redemption of Tzion and the consoling of Yerushalaim, amein.

With best wishes for an easy fast, and for a good Shabbos,

Rabbi Yaakov Shulman

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The Weekly Igud

News, divrei Torah, invitations and more…

View this email in your browser
BS”D
December 24, ’20

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of Igud HaRabbonim, the Rabbinical Alliance of America, in which we share news for and about members, including communal news, announcements, publications, Divrei Torah, press releases and media mentions.

In this newsletter:
• Mazel Tov
• Chaplaincy Commission Update
• Divrei Torah: Vayigash
• Covid Update: Motzei Shabbos Dec 26
• The Rabbinical Alliance of America Condemns the Brutal Murder of Esther Horgan
• Upcoming Yahrtzeits 11 Teives-18 Teives
• Shehecheyanu on Corona Vaccine?
• Rabbi Frager Remembers Rabbi Schonfeld

Please let us know about your family simchos and l”a aveilus, book publications and career changes or milestones, so we can share as chaveirim our life events. Send updates to rabbi.

Register: Active Shooter Response

Training program offered December 22. Register in advance

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Register in advance for this informative program that will take place on December 22. If you have already registered, you should have received a confirmation email.

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Active Shooter Responses

Tuesday, December 22, 2020 | 7 PM-9 PM

The CSI joins with DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Region II to present a two-hour security webinar to enhance awareness of and response to an active shooter event. During the webinar, participants receive information about how to identify behavioral indicators, the importance of risk assessments, and the implementation of threat management concepts to prevent active shooter incidents. CSI’s Westchester Security Manager, William J. Hayes, will join DHS presenters to provide participants with best practices associated with preparing for and responding to an active shooter. Click here to register.

If you have questions, email security.requests.

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