Category: Current News

Fires Raging in Israel

Jewish Federations are collecting funds to help address the impact of an unprecedented 480 fires that raged across Israel, displacing nearly 100,000 people and ravaging thousands of acres of land. 
The impact of the devastation on Israelis will be long-lasting. People must now return to their damaged homes, schools and neighborhoods. Thousands have no homes to return to at all. Many community institutions that provide vital programs and services-including those of our partners-have been hit hard. They will be struggling to rebuild just when they are needed most. 
And in towns and cities across the country, people will need to join together and help one another overcome the traumatic impact of these unsettling times.
The Government of Israel is supporting those impacted by the fires primarily through local municipalities. Jewish Federations are working with our local partners and the National Emergency Authority to assess urgent and emerging needs.
One hundred percent of your donation will go to the Israel Fire Emergency Fund.
CLICK ON THIS LINK TO MAKE YOUR DONATION THROUGH THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF OCEAN COUNTY : OCJF Fires in Israel Donation Make sure to use the pull down tab to specify your gift is for the Fire Fund. 
Rabbi Jay has made our first donation through the JCC Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund.  Please follow his lead with your gift to help our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.

Torah Project

torah 8aa

It was decided to undertake two major projects with regard to the JCC Torahs in 2014 and 2015. The first was to clean and repair the three existing Torahs. With the financial support of the Shapiro and Levine Families, Scribe Neil Yerman was engaged for this work. At the completion of this process each Torah now had a new identification ring atop the Torah, one each in memory of Jennie and Morris Shapiro and one for the Levine family. The Mantels for these Torahs had been previously dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Jack Friedman (Z”L).

Subsequently, we learned that a synagogue in Latrobe, Pa. would be closing it’s doors soon. The president of that schul, Mickey Radman, is a good friend of JCC President Don Pripstein. A delegation consisting of Don, Torah reader Howard Hait and Harold Farin (chair) visited Latrobe and selected two of their Torahs to be “rescued” by the JCC, along with their silver adornments. In the Summer, Mickey delivered the Torahs to the JCC and a grand celebration ensued.

After the joy of bringing the Latrobe Torahs to the JCC they were put to good use during the High Holidays. The smaller Torah (named for sponsors- Hait) was carried by several women in the course of the holidays, a new “Mitzvah” for some who would have had difficulty with a heavier Torah.

New Mantels have been ordered for these Torahs. A design depicting Jerusalem has been selected, with a “gold” color scheme for the Hait Torah, and “silver” colors for the Herman Torah (named for the sponsors-the Herman family), both on blue background to match the Torahs in the Holy Ark. Since these particular Mantels are made in Israel, it will take a while for them to be delivered. The embroidery on the Mantels was chosen to honor the donors, the Herman family and the Haits.

High Holiday Mantels will also be ordered for the new Torahs. They will be designed to match the current High Holiday Torah Mantels which were made by Judith Pripstein. We are fortunate that Judith has volunteered to decorate the new Mantels as well.

Scribe Neil Yerman examined the Latrobe Torahs after the High Holidays as we had planned. The Hait Torah has been turned over to him for minor repair and cleaning. The Herman Torah, owing to its age and delicate condition, will be used as is without subjecting it to that process.

We expect to hold a dedication ceremony when the Scribe has completed his work and when the new Mantels are available.

Current News





“January 2015 marks seventy years since the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest camp established by the Germans. A complex of camps, Auschwitz included a concentration camp, killing center, and forced-labor camps. It was located 37 miles west of Krakow (Cracow), near the prewar German-Polish border.

In mid-January 1945, as Soviet forces approached the Auschwitz camp complex, the SS began evacuating Auschwitz and its satellite camps. Nearly 60,000 prisoners were forced to march west from the Auschwitz camp system. Thousands had been killed in the camps in the days before these death marches began. Tens of thousands of prisoners, mostly Jews, were forced to march to the city of Wodzislaw in the western part of Upper Silesia. SS guards shot anyone who fell behind or could not continue. Prisoners also suffered from the cold weather, starvation, and exposure on these marches. More than 15,000 died during the death marches from Auschwitz. On January 27, 1945, the Soviet army entered Auschwitz and liberated more than 7,000 remaining prisoners, who were mostly ill and dying. It is estimated that at minimum 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945; of these, at least 1.1 million were murdered.”

Taken from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum web site:



By Charles Krauthammer

Washington Post, January 30, 2014 Opinion


Amid the ritual expressions of regret and the pledges of “never again” on Tuesday’s 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a bitter irony was noted: Anti-Semitism has returned to Europe. With a vengeance.


It has become routine. If the kosher-grocery massacre in Paris hadn’t happened in conjunction with Charlie Hebdo, how much worldwide notice would it have received? As little as did the murder of a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse. As little as did the terror attack that killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.


The rise of European anti-Semitism is, in reality, just a return to the norm. For a millennium, virulent Jew-hatred – persecution, expulsions, massacres – was the norm in Europe until the shame of the Holocaust created a temporary anomaly wherein anti-Semitism became socially unacceptable.

The hiatus is over. Jew-hatred is back, recapitulating the past with impressive zeal. Italians protesting Gaza handed out leaflets calling for a boycott of Jewish merchants. As in the 1930s. A widely popular French comedian has introduced a variant of the Nazi salute. In Berlin, Gaza brought out a mob chanting, “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone!” Berlin, mind you.


European anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, however. It’s a European problem, a stain, a disease of which Europe is congenitally unable to rid itself.


From the Jewish point of view, European anti-Semitism is a sideshow. The story of European Jewry is over. It died at Auschwitz. Europe’s place as the center and fulcrum of the Jewish world has been inherited by Israel. Not only is it the first independent Jewish commonwealth in 2,000 years. It is, also for the first time in 2,000 years, the largest Jewish community on the planet.


The threat to the Jewish future lies not in Europe but in the Muslim Middle East, today the heart of global anti-Semitism, a veritable factory of anti-Jewish literature, films, blood libels and calls for violence, indeed for another genocide.


The founding charter of Hamas calls not just for the eradication of Israel but for the killing of Jews everywhere. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah welcomes Jewish emigration to Israel – because it makes the killing easier: “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” And, of course, Iran openly declares as its sacred mission the annihilation of Israel.


For America, Europe and the moderate Arabs, there are powerful reasons having nothing to do with Israel for trying to prevent an apocalyptic, fanatically anti-Western clerical regime in Tehran from getting the bomb: Iranian hegemony, nuclear proliferation (including to terror groups) and elemental national security.


For Israel, however, the threat is of a different order. Direct, immediate and mortal.

The sophisticates cozily assure us not to worry. Deterrence will work. Didn’t it work against the Soviets? Well, just 17 years into the atomic age, we came harrowingly close to deterrence failure and all-out nuclear war. Moreover, godless communists anticipate no reward in heaven. Atheists calculate differently from jihadists with their cult of death. Name one Soviet suicide bomber.

Former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, known as a moderate, once characterized tiny Israel as a one-bomb country. He acknowledged Israel’s deterrent capacity but noted the asymmetry: “Application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.” Result? Israel eradicated, Islam vindicated. So much for deterrence.

And even if deterrence worked with Tehran, that’s not where the story ends. Iran’s very acquisition of nukes would set off a nuclear arms race with half a dozen Muslim countries from Turkey to Egypt to the Gulf states – in the most unstable part of the world. A place where you wake up in the morning to find a pro-American Yemeni government overthrown by rebels whose slogan is “God is Great. Death to America. Death to Israel. Damn the Jews. Power to Islam.”

The idea that some kind of six-sided deterrence would work in this roiling cauldron of instability the way it did in the frozen bipolarity of the Cold War is simply ridiculous.

The Iranian bomb is a national security issue, an alliance issue and a regional Middle East issue. But it is also a uniquely Jewish issue because of Israel’s situation as the only state on earth overtly threatened with extinction, facing a potential nuclear power overtly threatening that extinction.

On the 70th anniversary of Auschwitz, mourning dead Jews is easy. And, forgive me, cheap. Want to truly honor the dead? Show solidarity with the living – Israel and its 6 million Jews. Make “never again” more than an empty phrase. It took Nazi Germany seven years to kill 6 million Jews. It would take a nuclear Iran one day.



January 29, 2015


The US Senate Committee on Banking voted 18 to 4 in favor of a bill that would further sanction Iran, if the country fails to reach an agreement on a nuclear deal with the P5 +1 (5 permanent Security Council members plus Germany) by a July 2015 deadline.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, also known as the “the Kirk-Menendez bill”, aims to impose “crippling economic pressure on Iran” if the country does not yield a final nuclear deal by June 30, 2015 deadline.