This year once again on Monday evening of Labor Day September 2,  at 7 p.m., we have the opportunity to show our support to an amazing chesed organization, Avigdor’s Helping Hand. This unique organization brings succor to families who have lost a breadwinner and also helps orphans to make a wedding. Avigdor’s Helping Hand helps people in our community and all over the United States. If a family loses the father or mother, aside from the tremendous emotional pain, there are often financial difficulties. Even when there is life insurance it may not kick in until 6 months to a year later due to red tape. Avigdor’s Helping Hand steps in and helps the family with their financial obligations during that first year for the first six months. We read in the Haftorah on Shabbos Chazon, “Learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” This is what Avigdor’s Helping Hand accomplishes and we have the opportunity to partner with them. 

Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society is a lifeline for 25,000 patients around the world with a full staff around the clock, guiding patients every step of the way. They help patients with insurance advocacy, referrals, patient support, and medical direction, follow-up appointments, grants for second opinions (which in many cases is life-saving), transferring medical records, and staying on top of the situation. On Tuesday evening, August 6, local rabbanim, local politicians, and community members gathered at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills to show support to RCCS.

Why is the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza located in Maseches Gittin? Rabbi Moshe Schwerd, well-known maggid shiur and speaker, spoke to a packed audience on Tish’ah B’Av at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel. He shared many interesting ideas about the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza, and he offered practical take-away lessons. The Churban is like a divorce, so this story is placed in Maseches Gittin. However, it’s not found in the perek with divorce issues, but it is in a perek that tells about how to make restitution for damages. This teaches that the Churban is only a damage. Ultimately, Hashem will make restitution and we will be able to rebuild the Beis HaMikdash, so that is why the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza is in this section of the Gemara.

Sadly, again this year, Mashiach did not come in time for us to celebrate Tish’ah B’Av as it should be: a joyful holiday. Instead, we had to sit on the floor; but the community is blessed with the incredible dedication and work of Chazaq, Beth Gavriel, and TorahAnytime, so the day was not just a day to get through, but, as Chazaq put it, a day to grow through. Chazaq featured a “Tish’ah B’Av Marathon” with speakers from 10:30 a.m. until 6:45 p.m. at Beth Gavriel, and TorahAnytime live-streamed a record 16 live events that were going on all around the world with locations in Queens, Brooklyn, Monsey, Israel, England, and more – so that the day was turned into a very meaningful day of Torah and growth.

Rabbi Yossi Bensoussan spoke at Beth Gavriel on Tuesday evening, July 23. He shared a strong motivational speech on discovering your inner power. “Fear is the number one reason for every negative action we do,” he taught. Jealousy stems from fear. “If we cannot conquer fear, we cannot conquer anything.”