Friday, December 30, 2011

"32%"

There is great joy at living in the Land. As you know from reading our posts, we are eternally grateful that we are allowed to be part of this marvelous life here. Even though we try to keep our posts about the positive side, there are of course negatives. One of these is the fact that there are abused children. One would hope that in the "Holy Land' all would be 'holy'. But it is not.

Because of what has come to our attention about the children, we cannot sit idly by and pretend that bad situations do not exist. We also know that we cannot 'do' nothing.   Our commission from Torah is to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves~ especially the fatherless and the widows.There are many children in need throughout Israel, but we have chosen the boys of Re'ut Boy's Home.

Tomorrow night at midnight, our fund-raising campaign will end. We will continue to help the boys in practical matters, but the raising of funds for the new kitchen will be over. We so very much appreciate those who have donated and brought us to 32% of our goal.

We are touched, as we look at the people who gave, how many are on a fixed lower incomes. It stirs our hearts to see how those 'in need' have given to those who also are 'in need'. We cannot help but think that there is a special blessing for this type of selfless giving. We know you did not give in order to get, but we do know that G-d, according to His Torah, is pleased.

Have a marvelous Shabbat.

For those of you who would still like to join in~ please go to this link to make your donation.
Re'ut Boy's Home

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Support Israel in 2012

This year, 2012, will be the most important year in Israel's history.
The world will never be the same again. With revolutions erupting
across the Middle East, elections in the United States of America and
the European economy in turmoil, NOW IS THE TIME to stand with Israel.
Make a resolution to support The Land of Israel and join us in
spreading the truth and beauty of Israel with the world. The world
needs to know the truth now more than ever before.

"The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning
of the year, until the year's end." Deuteronomy 11:12. The eyes of
the world are focused on Israel - as what will happen in Jerusalem, will
ultimately happen to the rest of the world.


Original Source Click Here

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Dark Side of the Land of Milk and Honey

As the end of December is upon us, we are finishing up our campaign for the Re'ut Boy's Home Kitchen. Today we received a generous donation which brings us up to 27% of our goal.

The 2 Spies chose to raise funds for a new kitchen for a very practical reason. In Israel, institutions usually have 2 kitchens~ one meat and one dairy. Re'ut has one kitchen~ dairy. It is in a series of small units built hodge-podge style as the needs grew~ all built 'temporarily' with the hopes of one day building a larger permanent structure that would house both dairy and meat kitchens. We feel that it is important for this to happen. Not only so the building would be permanent but especially so these young growing boys would also have meat meals. They do get meat on occasion~ cooked on the grill as a picnic.

Whether you are celebrating Chanukah or Christmas, we hope that you would take this joyous time of year to remember others who are not in a good situation~ especially these orphans~ who are so near and dear to G-d's own heart. Below is an article about Re'ut we want to share with you to give you a better picture of the situation.
Please, don't miss out on the opportunity to receive one more blessing by helping the Re'ut Boy's Home.
Click Here to Donate
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The Dark Side of the Land of Milk & Honey
 
Nine-year-old Ezra giggles bashfully as he ponders what he likes about his children's home in Jerusalem. The food, he replies. That is not surprising. The food at the Reut home for boys, an intensive therapeutic center for boys with major emotional and behavioral problems, arrives three times a day. Ezra, an active, muscular child, was found by police scavenging desperately for scraps from the bins in Tel Aviv. Home was a pavement slab near the bus station. His mother, a refugee, was too traumatized to be able to care for herself, let alone her child. When Ezra arrived at the home, he had no idea how to socialize, could barely string a sentence together and was feral and mistrustful.

His friend Ariel, watching TV listlessly in the next room, also mistrusts adults. Roni Siboni, the director of the home, sits with a paternal, protective arm around him. Ariel is painfully thin. He has cherubic features, but his right eye tics nervously. He arrived at the home after it emerged that the reason he behaved like a one -year-old in school, crawling around on all fours and refusing to speak, was because he was abused by family members and boys in the neighborhood. He thinks hard before replying as to what he likes about the home. "Everything," he says finally.
"We call this the dark side of the land of milk and honey," says Debbie Faier, the Southport-born deputy director of the development department and community outreach for Orr Shalom, the charity that runs the home and is responsible for children in care in central Israel. "People are often shocked that this happens in Israel but I have worked for Orr Shalom for 10 years and the problem has got worse."
Often the children come to the attention of the authorities because of their destructive, angry behavior at school or at play...
The Reut home for boys in Jerusalem, where traumatised, neglected and abused children are given a second chance.

In Israel, children "at risk" from all denominations, orthodox, secular, Arab and Jew, are taken into care by the Welfare Ministry and then handed over to charities such as Orr Shalom. In 2009, there were over 44,000 reports to the Welfare Ministry of child neglect or abuse with 97 per cent substantiated. Of those, around 10,000 a year are taken into long-term care, although, like Britain, the country has a policy of trying to keep families together, only using care as a last resort. If a child is judged to be up to it, attempts are made to place them in a long term foster home. 

Some children are too damaged to be considered for any type of foster care. These children end up in last chance saloon - the Reut home for boys age seven to 14. At Reut, the 24 boys are cared for by a dedicated staff with two children per adult. "What these children need most is consistency of care," says Siboni. "Our first job is to get them to trust us and we do that by making sure they always have the same routine." 

The furniture in Reut is basic and for good reason. In every room we go, there are marks on the walls and rips down the sofa. Once the children start to comprehend what has happened to them, they become angry and that anger turns against what is nearest - the wardrobe, the sofa, the social worker. 

The Israeli government pays a stipend for each child, but it rarely covers the basics, let alone intensive therapy and new furniture. Faier has an additional headache. The home at Reut is becoming dilapidated and the Ministry of Welfare is threatening to close it down and disperse the boys to psychiatric hospitals, unless £300,000 can be raised for renovations. 

But the success stories keep her motivated. Take eight-year-old Yoni, foster mother Miriam and foster father Alon. Yoni came into care when his mother, who has severe bi-polar disorder, disappeared, leaving him entirely alone. Yoni's behavior was atrocious. He spat, he hit his foster parents and fought with other children. Miriam was at her wits end. "It was falling apart. My children wanted me to send him back."

But with the support of Grosz, things improved. Eventually, Yoni stopped pushing against the boundaries. "Things are better for me here because there are rules. When I follow them, I make more friends and school educates me better. " he explains disarmingly. Miriam agrees. "Now the whole family love him," she says. "There are still bad days, but there are many more good days."

For Sidoni, it is such successes that keep him going. "The other day I was at the pool. And the lifeguard yells, 'Hey Roni, remember me?' And I see it is one of my boys from years ago. He was skinny then but now he is well fed and handsome. He tells me he enjoys the job, he is happy. And I look at the boys I care for now and I think that maybe these boys will become a man like that.
"That is what makes it worthwhile."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chanukah Mitzvah!

Friends outside Israel! 
Your local mall probably has at least one kiosk with Israelis working it. How about  taking them some sufganiyot to celebrate Chanukah! They will LOVE it! (You can buy the jelly filled doughnut holes from Dunkin Doughnuts!)

Chanukah From Around the World!

Shavei Israel works with Lost Tribes and Hidden Jewish communities around the world. Join us now as Jews from Spain, Portugal, Russia, Poland, China and India all celebrate Chanukah together. Many faces, one song!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lighting the Menorah~ Countdown to Chanukah!


Tomorrow night is the first night of Chanukah. The joy of participating in remembering the mighty miracles of our G-d is manifested in our lighting the Hanukiah. Here are the blessings and a video. The 2 Spies wish you a Chanukah Sameach! See you after the Hag!


Click here for the Menorah Lighting Guide Video

 
Recited only on the first night (or the first time lighting this Chanukah):

1. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech ha-olam a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-tav ve-tzi-va-nu le-had-lik ner Cha-nu-kah.
2. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-a-sa ni-sim la-avo-te-nu ba-ya-mim ha-hem bi-zman ha-zeh.
3. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-heche-ya-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-zeh.
Translation:
1. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
2. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
3. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Holocaust Miracle~ Countdown to Chanukah

 In remembering the miracles of old and G-d's intervention, we build our faith for today and strengthen ourselves for tomorrow. Looking back to a very dark time in our history~ the Holocaust~ we can be encouraged that no matter what, G-d is always with us, helping us in ways that we cannot even imagine. Today's story is a Chanukah miracle from Germany in 1938. Get your tissues ready.

December 25, 1938 was a day for celebration around the world. For many it was Christmas, for some it was Chanukah – and for the Geier family it was the day they would escape the murderous clutches of the Germans. Shortly after Kristallnacht,the Geier's had received their passports and visas to leave Germany for the United States.

It was a sunny but cold day as their train bound for Holland pulled out of the Berlin station. The Geier's shared their second-class compartment with two very stern-looking Germans. Arnold Geier, age 12, and his sister, 15, sat quietly with their parents. In a whisper, Arnold overheard his mother reassure his father that God would forgive him for not lighting his menorah that night. Mr. Geier was a cantor and a devout Jew and had packed a small menorah and some candles in his briefcase.

"Not long after darkness," recalls Arnold, "the train slowed and puffed its way into a special railway station at the German-Dutch border. We braced ourselves for our final encounter with the German police, Nazis and Gestapo. Just a few more miles and our old lives would be behind us.


The train sat in the station and the Geier's watched as the Border Police and the Gestapo carefully compared lists and prepared to check everyone's passports and papers.

"Finally, small groups of officers boarded the train for their inspection. Papa looked tense and broke out in a sweat. I was afraid. Suddenly, without any warning, all the lights in the station and on the train went out. A number of people lit matches for light and the glow on their faces was an eerie sight. I felt like screaming.
In the confusion, Mr. Geier stood up, managed to find his overcoat, and pulled eight small candles out of his coat pocket. He struck a match and lit one candle. Using that candle he warmed the bottoms of the other candles and lined up all eight candles on the window sill of our compartment. He quietly recited the Chanukah blessings, and lit the candles.

"For the first time in a long time, I saw a smile appear on Papa's face. Then someone shouted, 'There's light over there!' The Border Police and the Gestapo men soon came to our compartment and used the light of the candles to conduct their checking of the passports and papers. One of the officers commended Papa on his resourcefulness for thinking ahead and packing 'travel candles.'

"About a half hour passed and then, as suddenly as they had gone off, the lights flickered on again. The officers thanked Papa and left our compartment to finish their work throughout the train.

"Remember this moment," Papa said to me, "like in the time of the Maccabees, a great miracle happened here."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rabbi Pozner~ A Man of Vision

 Today's story is of a Rabbi in 1930s Germany who was able to correctly read the times and warn the people ~ Jew and Gentile~ of what was coming. May we all have this gift from G-d and the willingness to follow through. 

From Nazi Germany to Beit Shemesh: The Mansbach Hanukiyah
 by David Lev

Each year before Hanukkah, the Mansbach family drops by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum to pick up the family Hanukiyah (Hanukkah Menorah) – an item rich with history, symbolism, and sentimental value. Because, family member Yehuda Mansbach told Israel National News in an interview, “This Hanukiyah is the only remaining memory of the congregation my Grandfather, Rabbi Dr. Akiva Baruch Pozner, led before escaping Germany.”
View from Rabbi Pozner's window.

The photo attached tells much of that history, says Mansbach, a resident of Beit Shemesh. “In this photo you see the Hanukiyah stationed at a window, with a Nazi flag across the street.” The photo was taken in 1931, says Mansbach, long before the Nazis came to power. But, as it happened, the house of Rabbi Posner, who led the community of Kiel in Germany, was right across the street from the local headquarters of the Nazi Party.

“It was on a Friday afternoon right before Shabbat that this photo was taken,” says Mansbach. “My grandmother realized that this was a historic photo, and she wrote on the back of the photo : ‘Their flag wishes to see the death of Judah, but Judah will always survive, and our light will outlast their flag.'”
As Rabbi of the Kiel community, Rabbi Posner did everything he could to encourage Jews to escape Germany. 

“Already in 1933, he was making many speeches, both to Jews and Germans. To the Germans he warned that the road they were embarking on was not good for Jews or Germans, and to the Jews he warned that something terrible was brewing, and they would do well to leave Germany.” Indeed, Mansbach says, many did leave, and by the time the Nazis came to power, some half of the congregation had already emigrated, mostly to the U.S. and the Land of Israel.

The Hanukiyah made it to Israel as well, and ended up in Yad Vashem. But each year they make sure to “borrow” if for their family Chanukah celebration. “My grandparents understood what was going to happen, and this Hanukiyah is a message to us – and to Jews in the Diaspora today – as well. It tells them to come to the Land of Israel now, before it's too late. No one knows what will be tomorrow.”
(IsraelNationalNews.com)  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/140986

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Those Were the Nights~ Countdown to Chanukah

*A beginning note: We notice that we have a reader from Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Mom of one of the Spies was born in Council Bluffs almost 90 years ago.... Just sharing it :-) Now on with today's posting
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"The 2 Spies" LOVE the Yeshiva Boys Choir!  Such talent and excitement ~ Have to share this one with you today~  Hope you smile as big as we did watching it~
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(From Israel National News)
A new Chanukah song-video production comes with a holiday twist -- performed by The Yeshiva Boys Choir and marketed through a division of Universal Music, a non-Jewish label.

The song “Those Were the Nights" features 50 boys and was filmed in a Boro Park home with Chanukah decor lining the walls, Chanukah “soofganiyot” (doughnuts) on the table and a Menorah in the window.

The lively, rambunctious group of about 50 boys, ranging in age from 7-14, excitedly prepared for the film shoot in a local synagogue, getting dressed up in costumes and singing in little groups as they waited for the filming to begin.

Jewish music producer Eli Gerstner landed a unique partnership with a Universal Music record label.
The 11-song holiday CD was primarily composed, arranged and directed by Gerstner, with the rhythm recorded in Israel, vocals recorded in New York and strings and brass recorded in New Jersey.

"This deal for us is not about the money," says Gerstner. "We would have to sell thousands of CD's to make a penny back from the money we invested. For us it's about reaching unaffiliated Jews who are searching for something Jewish."

Using the choir of day-to-day yeshiva students instead of employing professional helps “break the stereotypes of what the 'outside' world thinks of Orthodox Jewish kids," according to Gerstner.
Original Source

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chanukah Food Traditions


A typical Chanukah menu sounds as though it were planned by the under twelve crowd— potato pancakes, fried, of course, in lots of oil. Sweet cream cheese rugelach. Strawberry-jam-filled doughnuts (sufganiyot), covered in powdered sugar. Fried apple fritters. Cheese-filled doughnuts fried in oil and dipped in honey. Cheese blintzes. Is it all just a ploy to keep kids lingering around the candles and enjoying a family meal?

Not at all! Chanukah food traditions have their origins in the first years that the holiday was celebrated, and are meant to remind us of certain miracles associated with the events of Chanukah itself. And of course, remembering the miracles and the freedom that we're all celebrating adds a special flavor to everything we serve…


Why do Jews eat fried foods during Chanukah?
Most of us are familiar with the miracle of the oil— that one day's supply of oil lasted for eight days. And we know this is the origin of the mitzvah to light the menorah for eight days. It is also the reason why we have the custom of eating foods cooked in oil.

There are deeper connections between olive oil and Chanukah.
Mystically, both the menorah and the oil used to light it are associated with Chochmah, wisdom. The war between the Greeks and the Jews was also a war over whose wisdom would endure. The Greeks wanted everyone under their rule to think and study exactly as they did. They were violently opposed to the idea of G‑dly wisdom, and so forbade the study of Torah.
Also, the word shemen, Hebrew for oil, contains the same letters as shemoneh, eight, the number of days that the miracle of the oil lasted.


What is the connection between dairy foods and Chanukah?
Yehudis was a young woman who lived in Bethulia, in the land of Judea, at the time of the war against the Greeks. She caused a Greek general to fall asleep by feeding him salty cheeses so that he would become extremely thirsty and then giving him wine to drink. Once he was asleep, she killed him. Upon finding that their general had been killed, the Greek army fell into disarray and fled. In memory of Yehudis's bravery, we eat dairy products as well.

Nothing happens by chance—so it is really no surprise that two miraculous events of Chanukah came about through two foods whose rich symbolism recall many of the things we were fighting for as well.


So now I get the basic connection between fried and dairy foods, and Chanukah. But where did all the different traditional Chanukah foods come from?
Over the centuries, different Jewish communities throughout the world have found a variety of ways to incorporate both oil and dairy into their Chanukah meals.

One of the most famous, Israeli sufganiyot, may actually derive from a yeast dough pastry mentioned in the Talmud. These pastries were cooked in oil and called sufganin (absorbent) because they absorbed a lot of oil in cooking. They did not contain milk, but were sweetened and perhaps even filled with honey and the fact that they were cooked in oil led to the pastries becoming a Chanukah staple early on.

In Spain, Jews added cheese to these pastries—and from this twist on an old tradition evolved the many cheese doughnuts, fritters, and other fried cheese pastries popular among Sephardim. They may have influenced the cheese pastries popular in some Central European communities as well. A jelly-filled version evolved among German Jews, who brought it with them to the Land of Israel in the 1930's.
In India, the sweet yeast dough remained primarily a flour and honey or sugar combination, but milk and butter were added as well, making the Indian version of sufganiyot also a dairy treat.
In more Northern communities, where olive oil was scarce and expensive, goose or chicken fat often had to be used for frying. Potato latkes, apple fritters, and other non-dairy fried foods became the norm, although today when olive (or other pareve) oil is affordable and commonly used in preparing latkes, etc., dairy is often added—usually in the form of a dollop of sour cream on top of a latke.
Original Source

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hanerot Halalu~ Countdown to Chanukah!

Hanerot Halalu, an ancient chant mentioned in the Talmud (Soferim 20:6), reminds us of the sacred nature of the Hanukkah lights that are lit to commemorate and publicize the Chanukah miracles. The song states that our sole intent in kindling Hanukkah lights is to publicize the miracle. Do you have your Hanukiah cleaned and ready to go?  Bought your candles yet? Getting ready is half the celebration!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Assimilation

Judah Maccabee and his Army
Preparing our hearts and our homes for the Festival of Lights. In Israel it is not as difficult to keep perspective. We are not surrounded with the rushing tides of the Christmas holiday. Our celebration is not in counter-balance but is the central focus.

It is difficult in the diaspora at times to hold our own and not let other customs and purposes filter in and color our observance. Being in the galut (exile), it is all too easy to compromise. This is actually one of the main themes of Chanukah~ assimilation, wanting to be like those around us.  It is what got us in trouble in the first place~ wanting to be like the Greeks~ even to the point of removing the marks of circumcision (OUCH!)

Bless G-d that there were righteous men and women who stood up and said 'ENOUGH!' and were willing to give their lives to restore purity to the Temple and to the Nation.

We would like to encourage you to examine your thoughts about Chanukah and your observance. How assimilated have you become? It's an important question and this is the time of year to ask~ and answer it. It is our opportunity to remove the 'idols' from the 'Temple' of our thinking and practice and to seek a miracle of Light to shine once again in our hearts.

Friday, December 9, 2011

These Candles

 (חנוכה). Chanukah is the best known of the Jewish holidays, at least in the US, it is therefore assumed to be the most important. It is not. Its prominence in the US is due solely to its proximity to Christmas. In fact, Chanukah is one of the least important Jewish holidays. It is not one of the seven holidays of the Torah, it's a far younger holiday, added in historic times, to celebrate the victory of the Jews over the Seleucid Greeks, and the rebirth of the Jewish state in 165 BCE.

Chanukah in Israel is fun precisely because it's not so serious. If you don't have children, you probably won't feel it much at all. But children love it. In most families, every member of the household lights a hanukiya (חנוכיה) - the special candelabra made for celebrating the holiday. A hanukiya has eight candlesticks in a row, a the same level. A ninth candlestick must be either not at the same level, or not in line with the others - this candle is called the shamash (שמש). The Chanukah candles are specifically the eight candles in a row - the shamash is emphatically not a Chanukah candle, which is why it must be distinguished from the others. Its presence is required because of a singular restriction on the use of Chanukah candles, namely that you can't. It is forbidden to use the Chanukah candles for light alone, it is permitted only to enjoy them~ to allow the light to remind us of the miracles.The following prayer is recited as we light our candles:



הנרות הללו אנו מדליקים, על הניסים, ועל הנפלאות
  ועל התשועות, ועל המלחמות שעשית לאבותינו
 בימים ההם בזמן הזה, על ידי כוהניך הקדושים
וכל שמונת ימי חנוכה, הנרות הללו קודש הם
ואין לנו רשות להשתמש בהם
אלא לראותם בלבד
כדי להודות ולהלל לשמך הגדול
על ניסיך, ועל נפלאותיך, ועל ישועותיך


These candles we are lighting, for the miracles, and for the wonders
And for the victories, and for the battles that you made for our forefathers
In those days at this time, by means of your holy priests
And all of the eight days of Hanuka, these candles are holy
And we don't have permission to use them
But only to look at them
In order to thank and praise your great name
For your miracles, and for your wonders, and for your victory

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Holiday Card


It was our first big celebration as a family since our son's bris, eight years earlier. Our daughter Aliza was becoming a Bat Mitzvah. We had a fun idea for how to celebrate it: We had been married years earlier on a boat in Manhattan, and since Aliza was born on our first anniversary, we thought we would do it again.
So we hired a boat and invited a small group of mostly relatives and classmates. In planning the food and the flowers and the music, there seemed to be something missing. We had the “bar,” but where was the “mitzvah”? Aside from my daughter's Dvar Torah (“the speech”), what could we do to elevate this gathering from being just another birthday party?

Providentially, there was a request in our synagogue to pray for a local soldier who was being deployed to Iraq. The idea was born; let's have all the kids at our simcha (celebration) make Chanukah cards to send to Jewish soldiers overseas. Nothing earth-shattering, just a way to inject some meaning into the festivities.
The date arrived and our ship sailed. God granted us a picture perfect September day and when Aliza's carefully prepared speech blew overboard, she adlibbed admirably. The Chanukah cards were written and colored and decorated. A lovely time was had by all. And the next day, the cards were mailed out with heartfelt wishes and love to our Jewish brothers and sisters. End of story.
Or so we thought.

Six months later, when the bat mitzvah was a fond, distant memory, there was a knock on my door in the middle of the day. Bravely, I unlocked the door, even though I didn't recognize the voice on the other side. A pleasant twenty-something man greeted me:

"I'm Lt. Steinberg, and your daughter sent me a Chanukah card when I was in Iraq."
Well, you could've blown me over with a feather.
But wait -- it gets better.

Apparently our few dozen cards had been thrown in with the hundreds and thousands of cards sent to celebrate that other December holiday. The chaplain showed up one day at the army base with an enormous sack, filled to the brim with cards and letters. As he passed out handfuls of cards to the grateful troops, Lt. Steinberg was hanging back, feeling pretty left out and lonely.

Suddenly amidst the celebratory crowd, the company captain noticed our soldier. "Steinberg, why are you so quiet? How come you’re not opening any cards?"

Oh brother, Steinberg thought, don't they get it? "Captain, I'm Jewish, remember?"
"C'mon, Steinberg, don't be a spoilsport. Take a card."

Steinberg tried to shrink himself into invisibility. But the captain wasn't having it. "Let's go, Steinberg. These people were nice enough to write to us. NOW TAKE A CARD!"

By now the captain had everyone's attention and Steinberg was getting pretty uncomfortable in the spotlight. Quick, he told himself, just grab a Christmas card and you’ll stop being the center of attention.
Steinberg reached deep into the sack, pulled out a card and looked at it. To his complete and utter shock the return address said Wesley Hills, New York. Steinberg is from Wesley Hills.

Hands shaking, he tore it open and found a beautiful hand-made Chanukah card, signed by my daughter Aliza, the Bat Mitzvah girl herself. Steinberg was dumbfounded by the providence of it all. He broke out in a huge grin and proudly showed the card to the captain and the entire platoon. Everyone understood the small miracle they had just witnessed.

Standing there in my Wesley Hills home, with my mouth gaping open and tears in my eyes, I begged Steinberg to come back and retell the story when my children were home. Indeed, he returned the following week with a friend and a camera. For our family, it was an incredible inspiration to see so clearly the power of our "little" mitzvah.

But that’s not the end of the story. Just this past September one of the chaplains I had contacted about sending those cards asked if I could help arrange kosher meals and snacks for troops in Afghanistan for the High Holidays and Sukkot. I organized some people in my community and we sent 144 kosher meals to Afghanistan. Aish HaTorah’s Project Inspire got involved and sent dozens of personal cards and honey sticks for Rosh Hashanah and then chocolates for Chanukah to troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Italy and Kuwait.
The story of Lt. Steinberg continues to bear more and more fruit. May all my daughter’s mitzvot enjoy such success!
(The story is true; Lt. Steinberg’s name has been changed.)