Newsletter Issue # 58 – November 28, 2012

New York yeshiva students received $9 million in state grants during the first half of 2012, thanks to a change in state law that made them eligible for the first time for a state-funded financial aid program. The students previously barred from receiving funds offered by New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program, also claimed $17.2 million dollars in federal Pell grants.

A truck arrived at a leafy construction site in, Airmont, NY bearing an entire classroom wrapped in Tyvek. Seven weeks later, and more trucks rolled in carrying similar loads, a two story, 24,000 square foot school building had completely risen from its concrete foundation. The new school is the new home of Cheder Chabad of Monsey.

The Conejo Valley, California Friendship Circle celebrated its 10th anniversary with the theme The Power of Love at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza hotel Monday night and paid tribute with Pioneer Leadership Awards to 19 volunteers. The nonprofit Friendship Circle most popular program is Friends at Home, which teenagers visit a child with special needs weekly, share quality time and foster a relationship.

The Anti-Defamation League posthumously honored Dr. Feng Shan Ho, a Chinese diplomat who issued thousands of visas to Jewish refugees during World War II. The ADL Jan Karski Courage to Care Award, was established to honor rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust era. The award was accepted by his daughter, Manli Ho, who conducted research and documentation on her father’s story.

You will not enjoy reading Mourning Under Glass, which is exactly why you should read it. It is not meant to be enjoyed, but you will be dragged to where you really do not want to go. You will feel pain, moved to tears, and have to think the what if it would have happened to me questions that we all suppress, lest we descend into madness.

To judge a shuls friendliness factor purely based on the amount of meal invites a person receives during davening. We used to come on in take a seat and literally wait for people to come up to say good shabbos and throw some free food our  way. But recently many shuls advertise shabbos hospitality and will even brag about their kindness to guests, but what we really wondering is if shuls have an obligation to be friendly and welcoming places.

Just before the holiday last week, we sat down with the prolific food-blogger-turned-cookbook-author Deb Perelman. The founder of the Smitten Kitchen was given a spot on the Forward 50 and is currently touring the U.S. to promote her new book, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook.

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