Home July 2024 Jlife Extra July 1, 2024

Jlife Extra July 1, 2024

Judith Raanan, who was taken hostage by Hamas and freed in a prisoner exchange, will share her story of captivity and survival during a July 12 Shabbat program at Chabad of the Shore in Long Branch with services beginning at 7 p.m. followed by dinner at 7:45 p.m.

Raanan and her 18-year-old daughter, Natalie, had traveled from their Evanston, IL, home to celebrate the 85th birthday of Judith’s mother and celebrate the Jewish holidays with relatives in Nahal Oz, a kibbutz near the Gaza border that was among the sites attacked by terrorists on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 civilians and kidnapping more than 200.  Other relatives were killed or are still being held hostage. The pair has said they survived by keeping each other safe and that there was cheering by staff when they were brought to a hospital where they were kept as prisoners.

Cost to attend is $85 for adults and $40 for children. RSVP required at chabadshore.com or (732) 229-2424.

A golf outing will be held Monday, July 15 at the Battleground Country Club in Manalapan to support Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva in Edison, which has been educating students in central New Jersey for more than 75 years.  The day will start with a boxed brunch at 10 a.m. with a shotgun 18-hole start at 11 a.m. and a 9-hole start at 12:30 p.m. There are also one-hour slots for tennis between 12:30-3:30 p.m. and a beginner golf clinic and play at 12:30 p.m. Cocktails and dinner to follow at 4 p.m. The event will feature contests and prizes, including closest to the pin, closest to the line, longest drive, hole-in- one and putting.

For information or to register contact Orit Goldstein at (973) 977-5689 or ogoldstein@rpry.orgor go to https://rpry.org/golf-outing.  There are a number pricing levels and corporate sponsorship opportunities available and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a Raritan Valley charitable/environmental cause.

A pro-Israel billboard on Route 9 North in Old Bridge is being kept up through a GoFundMe campaign organized by the local community. The billboard is located by the park and ride bus stop for New York commuters and displays American flag and Israeli flags and proudly proclaims, “We Stand with Israel.”

Its initial funding came from local members of the Marlboro Israel group and was organized through the efforts of three of its members, Dr. Rimma Chertog, Moshe Grant and Craig Marshall, in reaction to two area pro-Palestinian billboards they considered antisemitic. Grant, an Israeli native, said one of thr billboards depicted Jews as “genocidal.”  Since its erection of the pro-Israel billboard he said many people have been celebrating it online. Chertog said although the group had some difficulty finding a sign company, the site on the heavily trafficked highway has been a great location because it is the last local stop on the route for commuters from Howell, Freehold, Manalapan and Marlboro. Additionally, because there is adjacent parking people can stop and take a photo.

The initial cost to erect the billboard at the beginning of last month was $7,000, which covered the first month’s rent and the creation of the sign, and was raised in three days. Continued funding costs about $4,700 a cycle and it will stay up as long as funding is available. To contribute go to:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-our-billboards-extended-stay.

When a photo of the Muslim Student Association was swapped in for a photo of the Jewish Student Union in the East Brunswick High School (EBHS) yearbook it brought unwanted national media attention to the school. However, an outside investigation concluded it was the result of “a highly unfortunate error” by the “lead” yearbook advisor.

The incident, which was initially labeled antisemitic, generated online threats against the Muslim students in the photo, an hours-long public session at a board of education meeting and charges by numerous Jewish students of longstanding antisemitism in the school, which has increased since Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas. Jewish students reported having  antisemitic slurs and pennies hurled at them.

A statement from Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey Executive Director Susan Antman and President Murray Katz after the release of the 14-page investigative reported conducted by outside attorney Yaacov Brisman noted,” the yearbook incident has brought the larger issue of systemic antisemitism at this and other area schools into the clear light of day, a sad but important turning point that needed to happen and now has. We can view that as a positive.”

They said federation is now working more directly at the local and state levels to ensure schools combat hate and said Schools Superintendent Dr. Victor Valeski has promised to begin working with federation over the summer to address bias at the school. Even before issuance of the report, federation had arranged for students who had experienced antisemitism at EBHS and Marlboro Middle School in Monmouth County  to meet on June 20 with Sen. Vin Gopal, (D-Dist.11), chair of the state Senate’s Education Committee. (For more details please visit our July 2024 cover story in the digital issue).

Brisman had concluded the advisor was “at best careless” but could also be considered “negligent,” adding, “I have no basis to find that she acted out of any animus, racial, religious, or political, towards Jewish or Muslim students.”

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