BOYARSKY

On January 4, 2017, Sylvia Boyarsky (nee Sulver); loving wife of the late Theodore Boyarsky; cherished mother of Florence (late Martin) Vogel, Arlene (late Bernard) Boyarsky and Ted (Junko) Boyarsky; adored grandmother of Dawn Smith and Kimberly Schwartzbeck; cherished great-grandmother of five. Funeral services and interment will be held at Mount Judah Cemetery Ridgewood, NY on Thursday, January 5, at 1 p.m. Please omit flowers.

KAUFMAN

On August 31, 2016, Libby P. Kaufman (nee Postoff), devoted wife of Robert Thomas Kaufman; beloved mother of Caryn (Michael) Lasser and Joel (Nancy) Kaufman; cherished sister of Sharon (Marvin) Smelkinson; adored grandmother of Jeffrey, Phillip and Ricky Lasser, and Steven, Stacey and Scott Kaufman; dear daughter of the late Rebecca and Joseph Postoff. Funeral services will be held at Riderwood Village Chapel, 3110 Gracefield Road, Silver Spring, MD 20904 on Monday, September 5, at 1 p.m. Interment at King David Memorial Gardens, Falls Church VA. Please omit flowers. Contributions in her memory may be sent to Jewish National Fund, 2 Reservoir Circle, Suite 203, Baltimore, MD 21208 or Alzheimer’s Association, 1850 York Road, Suite D, Timonium, MD 21093. In mourning at 3124 Gracefield Road Apartment KC-216 (Riderwood Village Montgomery Station), Silver Spring, MD 20904, on Monday, then continuing Tuesday and Wednesday at 6504 Drifting Cloud Mews, Clarksville, MD 21029 with services at 7:30 p.m. on Monday and 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

An Open Letter in Memory of Elie Wiesel

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Elie Wiesel

Eli, I know we have never met before and I am not sure why this is bothering me so much. But for some reason, I feel compelled to share these words about you. You know, it’s funny because I never really had a clearly defined role model in my life before. However, looking back at your life, I have a pretty good idea as to who it might be. Your impact on me has been simply transcending to say the least.

The amount of respect I have for you is truly beyond measure. It’s not because you won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Or even the fact that you received the highly coveted Presidential Medal of Freedom. I have deemed you my role model,  because the thought of keeping your faith after losing your mother and sister in Auschwitz and hearing your father being beaten and eventually killed in Buchenwald in such a dehumanizing way to me, is inconceivable.

Not too many people know this, but at one point in time, I too was angry at G-d. So much so that I threw the whole entire way of life out the window. I couldn’t fathom how he could let so much evil into the lives of so many innocent people. Tragedy after tragedy, my despair got worse and worse. I will never forget the days before Rosh Hoshanah of 2014. I was sitting with my Rebbe in the Bais Medrash as he was trying to instill some type of inspiration for me to change my mindset right before the high holidays. He showed me your New York Times article “A Prayer for the Days of Awe” that was published exactly 17 years ago to the day.

I was instantly riveted after reading your first few sentences: “Master of the Universe, let us make up. It is time. How long can we go on being angry?” After reading the rest of the piece, I was almost brought to tears. Here is a man that after 50 years of having to think about those daunting memories and going through hell and back, still cannot handle the unbearable pain and incompleteness that comes with not having a connection with you.

It was from that moment on that I realized the true meaning of Emunah and the relationship our souls have with our creator. Since then, I have come back stronger than ever. Making sure nothing stops me from ever losing my connection ever again. As I sit here today, mourning this devastating loss, I realized that I owe you a sincere and heartfelt  thank you. Not just for saving my life, but for all the generations that would have been lost had you not have done what you did.

As I close this soliloquy, I bid you a final farewell. It comforts me to know that a man whos life was never peaceful, will finally be resting peacefully in the garden of Eden. May your spirit bask in the everlasting presence of God’s glory. I thank you for everything you have done for me as well as for this world. You will never be forgotten.

Your biggest fan,

Menachem Mendel Davis

OBSTLER

On June 19, 2016, Edward E. Obstler; beloved husband of Sonia Obstler (nee Gelblum); loving father of David (Thea) Obstler, Linda (Marshall) Rimerman, Steven Obstler and Nancy Obstler (Jenn Tapp); devoted son of the late Sarah and Joseph Obstler; loving grandfather of Brandon, Eric and Eliana Samuels, Alison and Andrew Obstler and Mallory Tapp Obstler. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane on Tuesday, June 21, at 11 a.m. Interment Beth El Memorial Park, Randallstown. Please omit flowers. Contributions in his memory may be sent to Beth El Congregation, 8101 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore, MD 21208. In mourning at 3401 Woodvalley Drive, Pikesville, MD 21208, through Friday morning. Services will be held Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., and Friday at 9 a.m.

Anniversary, Birthday, Jubilee Parshat Behar

112114_jewishview-Rabbi-WeinrebMy father worked for many years in the garment industry. I remember how happy we were as children when he found secure employment in a company that manufactured ladies’ apparel, known as the Jubilee Blouse Company.

All that was a long time ago and I have since come across the word “Jubilee” countless times. But I remained a bit confused about the real meaning of the word until I read a penetrating address given not long before the Holocaust by one of its most distinguished victims — a Romanian rabbi, Yehudah Laib Tsirelson.

Several of these addresses carried titles such as “Upon the Jubilee of the Local Hospital,” “The Jubilee of the Free Loan Society” or “Upon the Jubilee of the Yeshiva of Kishinev.”

Rabbi Tsirelson begins this latter speech by insisting that such gatherings may have been appropriate for the hospital or free loan society celebrations, but are they appropriate for the yeshiva? He argued thus:

“Why do we celebrate anniversaries? We do so when, some years in the past, a group of people undertook an endeavor that entailed great risks and for which ultimate success was dubious. For example, we started a hospital but were never quite sure that it would be viable. Or we started a free loan society but we were never certain that we could raise the requisite funds to meet the needs of all the poor in our community. If after 10 years, these institutions still function — and function well — that’s cause for celebration. Hence, a Jubilee celebration.

But when one inaugurates a Torah institution, a yeshiva, there can be no doubt that it will succeed. We have God’s own promise that the Torah is eternal. Why then a celebration?

The answer is that, whereas in the case of the hospital or the free loan society, we were celebrating the fact that those institutions persisted and  endured. In the case of the 75th anniversary of our yeshiva, we are not celebrating that the Torah persisted and endured. It will always endure. Rather, we are celebrating a  Jubilee in the true meaning of the term. We are celebrating the freedom and liberty that Torah brings to the Jewish people, and to mankind.”

As I read Parshat Behar, the warm memories that I associate with the Jubilee Blouse Company will surely still be there. But after a moment’s  reflection, I will also recall the powerful message of a great rabbi who, despite his 81 years, died before his time.

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb is executive vice president emeritus of the  Orthodox Union.

GOKHVAT

On April 28, 2016, Petr Gokhvat; beloved husband of Yevgeniya Gitis; cherished father of Iosef Gokhvat (Rita Kikman) and Michael Gokhvat (Yelena Sokolov); devoted brother of the late Inna and Simeon Gokhvat; dear son of the late Pinchas and Rahel Gokhvat; loving grandfather of Yul (Craig) Taylor, Peter Gokhvat, Liza Gokhvat and Eugene Gokhvat (Melissa Seman). Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane on Wednesday, May 4, at 11 a.m. Interment Druid Ridge Cemetery, Pikesville, MD.

A Jew’s Obligation

In a JT April 1 editorial, “More Than a Women’s Issue,” you don’t defend Jewish law and you always find fault with the Rabbinate.

First, Hashem recognized that marriages could be dissolved in a divorce. The Torah stipulates that a husband writes a bill of divorce, known as a get, which means that he frees his wife from the marriage and permits her to marry another.  It also allows him to remarry in the eyes of Hashem.

Some Christian religions, on the other hand, never recognize and forbid the granting of a divorce. Today, couples are forced to seek relief from secular authorities, often ending in bitterness. The get process is not meant to be adversarial. Since the marriage was sanctioned by the laws of the Torah, a divorce can only be granted by the laws of the Torah.

A husband who so blatantly refuses to grant a get not only has contempt for his wife, but also dishonors Hashem’s name under the chuppah. Therefore, he should be regarded and  labeled as a scoundrel.

The woman, when she sees her attorney should insist  that a get clause be stipulated unconditionally in the decree before the final settlement.  If the attorney doesn’t consider it serious enough or feels it is unnecessary; she should find another lawyer. Some rabbis warn that if this is not done, it would be harder to obtain a get after the fact.

It is most unfortunate that our society discontinued the use of the stock and pillory.  A recalcitrant husband deserves to be placed there until he grants a get.  What the JT should do is publish the names of those who refuse to grant a get.

The obligation of the Jew is to always defend and not to ridicule or slander the laws of Hashem’s Torah and the land of Israel.

Bill Clinton stumps at Leisure World

Former President Bill Clinton was in his element Wednesday, shaking hands with more than 300 residents at the Leisure World retirement community in Silver Spring and urging them to vote for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“You live in the highest voting precinct in the entire state of Maryland,” he said. “The first thing I want to ask you to do is not to break your record down but break it up.”

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With the Maryland primary two weeks away, former president Bill Clinton touts the former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, as best qualified to be president to a crowd at Leisure World. Photo by Daniel Schere.

During his 35-minute speech, Clinton spoke about his wife’s work in politics and in other capacities, such as her work with the Children’s Defense Fund in the 1970s. He called her “the best change maker I’ve ever known.”

Clinton also praised his wife for bringing the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngster (HIPPY) literacy program to Arkansas, where he was governor, and ultimately to 26 states in the 1980s.

“She said, ‘I’ve heard about this program in Israel for immigrants whose parents don’t speak Hebrew or English, who can’t read, write or count, and they teach the parents right with the kids… And the kids are doing great, they caught up almost overnight,’” he recounted.

“I said, ‘That’s great. How are we going to build on it, that’s Israel?’ She said, ‘Oh I did it. I called the woman who founded the program in Israel. She’ll be here in 10 days. The next thing I knew, I was being dragged around to all these little preschool graduations.”

Clinton said HIPPY has helped “thousands” of people become literate since its implementation 30 years ago.

Clinton’s appearance came two weeks before Maryland’s April 26 Democratic primary and after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won the last seven Democratic primaries.

On Wednesday, Clinton did not mention any candidates by name, but took a shot at Sanders’ proposal of implementing a single-payer healthcare system. The former president acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act “isn’t perfect,” but that it would be a mistake to “go from zero to 100 with a single-payer system, rather than to go from 90 to 100 with the law we’ve got.”

Clinton said among the elements of the ACA his wife hopes to improve is the high cost of insurance for small businesses and the lack of regulation of drug prices.

He also indirectly criticized businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s suggestion of temporarily barring Muslims from immigrating to the United States. Clinton noted that the perpetrators of the San Bernardino shooting last year became radicalized online while living in the United States.

“We can put up all the walls you want. You can put up great sea walls on both oceans. You could stop letting planes land here, [but] you couldn’t keep out the social media,” he said.

Throughout the speech, Clinton emphasized that his wife’s experience — she is a former U.S. secretary of state and senator — makes her the best qualified person to be president, and someone who can unite the two parties.

“We need a president who understands that the only economy that works in a free society is one where there is shared prosperity. Where there is a shared sense of community. Where we share political responsibilities instead of fighting with each other all the time.”

dschere@midatlanticmedia.com