Kaplun Essay Contest 2015

The Kaplun Essay Contest offers students in grades 7 through 12 a chance to display their writing talent and win cash prizes. In each of the two levels – grades 7-9 and grades 10-12 – first prize winners receive $1,800, and the five finalists are awarded $750 each. Entrance prizes of $18 will be awarded to the first
50 essays received in each level.

Level 1 participants are to write
about why it is important to maintain a Jewish identity in a
non-Jewish world. Level 2 students are asked to address the question, “In view of the fact that there is growing anti-Semitism and intolerance on so many college campuses today, what steps will you take [when you get there] to combat it?”

Entries must be received by March 4, 2016 and mailed to The Morris J. and Betty Kaplun Foundation Inc. Essay Contest Committee PO Box 234428 Great Neck, NY 11023. International entries may be emailed to essays@kaplunfoundation.org.

Chai4ever Helps Families
with an Ill Parent During the Holidays

When children are facing parental illness, a little rain is not much of
an obstacle.

Inclement weather could not stop the more than 750 children and their parents from having the time of their lives when Chai4ever took them to Hershey Park on October 1 for a Hol Hamoed Sukkot outing.

Families from Jewish communities throughout the mid-Atlantic area (Baltimore, Lakewood, Monsey, Five Towns, Passaic and Brooklyn), and even one visiting family from Israel, enjoyed the rides, games, activities, and, of course, chocolate at Hershey Park, and shared support and camaraderie at the group lunch. The exciting,
fun-filled day was capped by a festive Simhat Bet Hashoeva celebration that featured a concert by rising Jewish music stars Mendy J and Yossi Indig.

“The park closed at 7 and our concert was still going on at 7:45,” said Sam Zaks, executive vice president and founder of Chai4ever. “Mendy J didn’t want to leave the stage and the boys didn’t want to stop dancing, even in the middle of the rain.”

Chai4ever has become the premier address for families undergoing the crisis of a parent with such catastrophic illnesses as cancer, heart and lung disease, and stroke. With the goal of mitigating the long-term damage to the family, Chai4ever’s comprehensive,
year-round services include housekeeping aid, homework help, crisis and bereavement counseling, transportation, big brothers/big sisters, meal preparation and delivery, insurance advocacy and navigation, family retreats and recreational events, holiday assistance andcollaboration with schools.

For more information about Chai4ever, please visit www.chai4ever.org, e-mail info@chai4ever.org or call (646) 519-2190.

Reach for the Stars Focuses on Hesed

“The world is built on Hesed”.(Tehillim 89:3)

Reach for the Stars is a school in our community devoted to the education of children with autism. It provides these children with a quality education using professional methods with the goal of reversing the disabling effects of autism and, hopefully, returning these youngchildren to mainstream education. The school depends on charitable donations for meeting its budget.

Last month, a small group of young girls in our community came together to help Reach for the Stars continue its vital work, by running a carnival on HolHamoed Sukkot. The number of people who eagerly took part in this undertaking was truly amazing.

Carnival day brought with it drenching rain, but the rain suddenly stopped and the clouds dispersed right when the carnival was about to start – perhaps an answer to the young volunteers’ heartfelt prayers. The carnival was a remarkable success with a wonderful turnout, as nearly 1,000 visitors came out to enjoy this amazing day.

The event would not have been possible without the excitement and energy of the 50+ fantastic volunteers hailing from our very own community schools, including Yeshivat Shaare Torah, Magen David Yeshiva, Yeshiva of Flatbush, Barkai Yeshiva, Ilan High School, and more. The participants enjoyed pony rides, bouncy houses, train rides,photo booths, a huge climbing wall, popcorn, cotton candy and much, much more! They were also treated to a delicious barbeque, thanks to Jerusalem Glatt, and had access to a sukkahthanks to the generosity of the Maleh and Rosenblatt families. Every aspect of the carnival was perfectly planned, down to the very last detail.

All the young students of Reach for the Stars participated in the carnival’s activities. It was heartwarming to see them enjoying themselves in this fun event together with everyone else, and it was inspiring to see our community come together to keep such an important organization running.

The organizers express their heartfelt gratitude to the NYPD for providing security and for blocking off the entire street for the entire day, giving the organizers and the participants the peace of mind of knowing that the event was safe and secure. Most importantly, the organizers and Reach the Stars express their profound appreciation to the generous sponsors, who allowed this exciting even to happen.

For more information about Reach for the Stars, please call
718 677 0797.

NYC ID Coming to Boro Park

As part of its ongoing efforts to serve the community, the Boro Park Jewish Community Council (BPJCC) has been selected as a pop-up
enrollment site to apply for the new IDNYC identity card.

Specialized enrollers will be at the Boro Park JCC offices located at 4912 14th Avenue beginning Wednesday October 21, through Thursday November 12, Sunday to Thursday 9am to 5pm.

IDNYC is the new free identification card for all New York City residents. As a government-issued photo identification card, IDNYC grants access to city services requiring recognized identification. IDNYC benefits every city resident, including youngsters, the elderly, undocumented immigrants, and others who may have difficulty obtaining other government-issued ID.

IDNYC cardholders can access services and programs offered by the city as well as by businesses. IDNYC helps enhance public safety, by serving as a recognized ID for interacting with NYPD, and also helps New Yorkers gain access to all city buildings that provide services to the public. Additionally, IDNYC provides a wide range of benefits to cardholders, including a free one-year membership at many of the city’s leading museums, zoos, concert halls, and botanical gardens.

For more information, or to make an appointment, please call
311 or the JCC at 718-972-6600, or visit www.nyc.gov/idnyc.

Dirshu Receives Guidance
from Leading Torah Sages

The Dirshu organization, which offers a wide array of incentive programs to encourage advanced Torah study, has always followed the policy of seeking guidance from our leading Torah sages, regarding both existing programs as well as new programs being planned. This policy is grounded in the Talmud’s timeless teaching, “Anyone who takes advice and guidance from the elders will not stumble.”

And so on Sunday October 11, senior members of Dirshu’s administration visited the homes of several senior Torah sages to receive their blessings andencouragement as the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program embarks on the daily study of the laws of prayer and of forbidden speech.

HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlit”a, told the Dirshu leaders, “Learning the concepts of shmirat halashon [guarding one’s tongue] carries within it the power of hatzalat nefashot [saving lives].” The senior Rosh Yeshiva added that learning the laws of prayer in a comprehensive manner with excitement and fervor has the power to transform a person’s prayers, which has the effect ofsaving a person from trouble.

HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a, who is generally very sparing with his words, said, “It is obvious that hizuk [reinforcement] in the learning of daily halachah with a program such as Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, coupled with the words and ideals of mussar from the Hafetz Haim, can serve as a shield and a source of salvation during this difficult period [that Am Yisrael is experiencing.]”

Benefits of Group Therapy

After World War I, social workers placed veterans suffering from emotional and physical wartime traumas into separate recovery groups. There was a group for those blinded in battle, another for those who lost body parts, and so on. The therapists then walked around the camps to see that these gatherings were operating smoothly. To their surprise, instead of hearing somber sounds and soulful cries, they heard waves of laughter coming from each of these tents. It was clear that by sharing their most horrific experiences and seeing how others like them survived – by experiencing commonality and hope – these wounded warriors were able to recover emotionally.

In terms of addiction, group meetings have been proven to aid healing when coupled with an ongoing one-on-one recovery program. Roy V. Tellis, CASAC-G, CTC, RC Program Director of The SAFE Foundation, says, “Group therapy is the first step toward ending the isolation and aloneness that one battling addiction typically experiences. Peers going through similar challenges dispel the feeling that no one can ever understand what the addict is going through.”

Roy asserts, “History, statistics, and SAFE’s experiences have shown that people involved in groups have a higher percentage of reaching an acceptable resolution to their problems.”

Benefits of Self-Help Groups

Creates a supportive community atmosphere.

Introduces accountability to others.

Helps one remain on track toward defined goals.

Encourages growth.

Offers perspective about personal history.

Introduces one to the stories of others who have gone through similar situations.

Allows one to gather insight from others who are further along on their journey.

Most recovery groups follow a 12-step process.

These Steps Involve:

Admitting that one is powerless to control his addiction
or compulsion.

Recognizing a higher power “as one understands it” that can
give strength.

Reviewing the mistakes one has made in the past, with the help of his sponsor.

Making amends for past mistakes and wrongs.

Learning how to live a new life, free from old unhealthy habits and ways of behaving.

Helping fellow addicts recover.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call our confidential, toll-free hotline, 24/7 at 866-569-SAFE (7233).
Have a question? E-mail: ask@thesafefoundation.org or visit