A Tribute to Mrs. Miriam Rosen: A Life of Emunah and Courage


Mrs. Miriam Rosen (nee Kaufman) lived in Baltimore and Washington area for over 68 years and touched the lives of so many people. She lived a beautiful and meaningful life as a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and teacher. She was full of love and smiles for all who knew her, to the point where you’d never know what she’d lived through during the Holocaust.

Mrs. Rosen’s early childhood years in the shtetl left her with lasting traditions, a delicious Yiddish wit, and an emunah peshutah, simple faith. A few stories of her life follow.

Mrs. Rosen was born in 1924 in a small shtetl called Sarnik, near Pinsk, in what was then Poland, to Reb Herschel and Mrs. Bayla Kaufman. She was the youngest of seven children. When she was a young teen, her mother passed away, and she was raised in what she recalled as a warm, loving home by her father and older siblings.


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Life with a Disability


wheel chair

February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. In recognition of this special month, I spoke to several members of our community who have Down syndrome or who are the parents of children with Down syndrome. We discussed how they or their children are included in the community at home, at work, and at school, gaining greater perspective on the lives they live.

Elisheva Katz

Elisheva Katz is 25 years old. She attended Bais Yaakov starting from elementary school until she completed high school when she was 21. Now she works at Levindale and at the JCC preschool. I spoke to Elisheva to find out what it’s like to be a person with a disability.


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Ezer Mizion: Support in Times of Need


child crying

There are many aspects of life in Eretz Yisrael that I love, but I do miss being near my family. Sometimes we are so busy with our everyday life that it is a back-burner issue. Other times it comes more to the forefront, like the Friday afternoon hustle and bustle on our block as numerous families pack up children and strollers to travel to Bubby Bnei Brak or Savta Yerushalayim for Shabbos. Yamim Tovim are a flurry of families coming and going, and Chanukah means eight days of family parties all over the country. Not for us! We can commiserate with our children who feel so left out, but we can’t make it up to them.


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Yachad’s Take on Inclusion


yachad

Inclusion. It’s the “in” thing to do. It’s politically correct and it teaches “important life lessons.” But what is inclusion? Who are we including? Where? And how?

When you hear the word disability, what comes to mind? Different? Physical challenges? Intellectual disabilities? What about more hidden conditions like social difficulties, behavioral challenges, or mental illness?

Actor Edward Barbanell, an actor with Down Syndrome, said, “Don’t call us people with disabilities. We have DIFF-abilities.”


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Dreams Come True Journey to Kiryat Moshe The Aliyah of Rabbi and Mrs. Shimon Apisdorf


kiryat moshe

As I exit the bus, I notice the prominent white Gesher Hameitarim, Jerusalem’s Chords Bridge looming ahead. The bridge’s structure was designed to resemble a harp, its inspiration taken from the pasuk in Tehilim, “Praise Him with harp and lyre.” A light rail train passes swiftly across the bridge and over Sderot Herzl toward the hustle-and-bustle of the central bus station at the City’s entrance. I am greeted at the station by Baltimoreans Rabbi Shimon and Miriam Apisdorf. They lead me along a narrow path, the back route to their cozy apartment on a quiet, tree-lined street of Kiryat Moshe.

One of a few garden neighborhoods established in the 1920s, Kiryat Moshe’s residents today are mainly Israeli with a small number of American and French families. It has a large dati leumi community, a small chareidi community, and a “secular” population as well – although the Apisdorfs will tell you that what is called secular in Israel has a totally different meaning than it does in the States.


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Filing the FAFSA Form for College Financial Aid: A Guide


financial aid

It is no secret that college costs money – lots of it. However, many students are able to go because they receive financial aid from both the federal and state government. The starting point for all these sources of aid is a form called FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  Bear in mind that many yeshivas and seminaries are legal colleges, so their students qualify.

Some parents think the FAFSA does not apply to them, because they believe their income is too high. This is a mistake, because, even if you do not qualify for government aid, you might be eligible for aid from the college itself, and they use the FAFSA when granting it. Furthermore, according to a recent article by Wall Street Journal, even wealthy students should file the FAFSA. They offered several reasons. First, you might sometimes get aid even if you think you earn too much. Second, by filing the form and getting turned down, the college realizes that you can afford full tuition. Since they need some students who can pay, that might give you an edge on admission!


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Hardening the Soft Targets


gun

Do we now live in a high-crime area? This is the perception many people are getting after a string of daytime and nighttime burglaries and hold-ups have plagued our neighborhoods. Not only were valuable possessions lost, all of us, and in particular the victims of the break-ins and muggings, are left feeling vulnerable and violated.

*  *  *

Michelle and Alan* are still traumatized after what they found following their return home from a mini-vacation. Their door had been kicked in and was ajar. “I was in total shock, and we are still pretty traumatized by it,” Michelle said. They found the door kicked in and the house ransacked, with many things taken. There had been no cars in their driveway for 24 hours, but they usually have their house alarm on. On that day, it seems the babysitter may not have set the alarm correctly when leaving to take the kids to school. Their home was one of several in their neighborhood that have been broken into within a few short weeks.


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Inside the “Spin Room” Analyzing the First Republican Presidential Debate of 2016


republican

The fireworks were on display in full force at the first Republican debate of the 2016 primary season in Charleston, South Carolina, on January 14. I was privileged to be in the debate hall and later in the “spin room.” After going through airport-style security directed by the secret service, I, along with crowds of other people with tickets in hand, entered the North Charleston Coliseum Performing Arts Center and excitedly awaited the start of the debate. At around 8:50 p.m., RNC Chairman Reince Preibus took to the stage and poured enthusiasm into the packed house. Before announcing the moderators, he passionately proclaimed, “We are the party that is diverse. The other side is boring, old, and stale.” He then assured the audience that the RNC is committed to whoever is the Republican nominee, putting to rest any speculation that the RNC would not back Donald Trump should he become the nominee of the party.


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Crime Reduction in Baltimore


gun

The start of 2016 is a good opportunity to speculate about where our city is heading, particularly by evaluating the past calendar year.  Too little attention has been given to Baltimore’s ranking: in August, it was announced that we went from fifth murder capital of the U.S. to second place.

This ranking should be of concern to entire fifth district, despite generally not seeing homicides in its neighborhoods. It means police and law enforcement are so tied up with murders elsewhere in the city that they cannot pay proper attention to the break-ins, car thefts, muggings, and other lower level criminal activity in our neighborhoods. And crime usually spills over, so the violence doesn’t remain contained in any specific areas, as we saw with the recent murder of a young adult on Pinkney Road.


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New Middos-Transformation Chabura Forming


kindness

The Baltimore community is fortunate to have benefited from Mrs. Esther Badian’s Torah wisdom for decades, through her teaching in Bais Yaakov High School, in Maalot, and in Women’s Institute of Torah (WIT). Now our community can learn how to practically transform Torah principles into perfected middos (character traits), as she utilizes her teaching and pastoral counseling skills to facilitate her middos-transformation chaburas (groups).

As Rebbetzin Lea Feldman told WWW, “Esther Badian is a thinking person who is very much aware of the neshama of a human being and what we were created for – to improve ourselves. There is no human being who doesn’t have to perfect his middos – no matter how good you are, no matter how wonderful your middos are, there is always something that one can work on and improve on. Mrs. Badian has a feel for this. She can size up people and help people... I recommend her very highly.”


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