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October 9, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 9, 2009

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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 9, 2009 ,S S By Debra Rubin New Jersey Jewish News Little more than a week after an Edison, N.J., yeshiva student was jumped in a Rosh Hashana attack, a township synagoguewas plasteredwith swastikas just hours after the end of Yom Kippur. The three swastikas were spray-painted in blue on Congregation Beth-E1. The three-foot by three-foot Nazi insignias went across two glass front doors and nearby masonry. The Conservative syna- gogue is headed by Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg, who had contacted the New Jersey Jewish News and other media to make the attack on the 19-year-old yeshiva student public. "I am a target because I speak out," said Rosenberg. "I'm very happy with the Edison Police Department, but I think the Jewish com- munity has been asleep at the switch. There have been other incidents, and my message to the community is 'wake up.' This incident is not isolated." Rosenberg, the son of Holocaust survivors, said he has contacted federal and state officials about getting Homeland Security money to protect his synagogue. Five years ago, he and his wife were attacked by teens throwing eggs as they walked both to and from Shabbat services. A 17-year-old male, whose name is being withheld be- cause of his age, was arrested Sept. 29 and charged with juvenile delinquency in the harassment of three Highland Park residents as they walked home from synagogue on Yom Kippur evening. The teenager, a Somerset County resident, leaned out of a sports utility vehicle while stopped for a red light on Raritan Avenue and Fourth Street at 8:45 p.m., gave the Nazi salute, and yelled "Heil Hitler," according to an inves- tigation by Det. Nicole Young of the Highland Park Police Department. The swastikas were dis- covered by staff at Yeshivat Netivot Montessori, a kinder- garten-fourth grade Orthodox day school that uses Beth-El's building, when they arrived to open the synagogue. The swastikas were covered by paper around the starting time of class to shield the stu- dents. Rosenbergsaid on Sept. 29 that the paper would be removed later that day before the start of the synagogue's religious school. "One of my teachers found it early this morning," said Netivot head of school Rivky Ross, as she fielded telephone calls from concerned parents. "It's just terribly, terribly sad and upsetting to see that in this age people can still feel that kind of hatred." The Anti-Defamation League offered a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. "The Anti-Defamation League shares Congregation Beth-El's shock and indigna- tion over this despicable act, which occurred only hours following Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar," said Etzion Neuer, director of the New Jersey ADL office. "We know that the Edison Police Department and Mid- dlesex County Prosecutor's Office will conduct a thorough bias crime investigation, and we urge anyone with infor- mation relevant to the case to contact the Edison Police Department." In the first incident, a 19-year-old student at Rabbi Jacob Joseph Yeshiva sus- tained a concussion and a gash above his eye after alleg- edly being taunted with anti- Semitic slurs and jumped by a group of teens on the evening of Sept. 19 as he walked along Woodbridge Avenue. The incident has been referred to the state Attorney General's office for inves- tigation as a bias incident. Arrested was a 16-year-old Edison juvenile who has been Taxes and laws are ever-changing. 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Asset Management Partners is an affiliate of NFP Securities, Inc., and a subsidiary of National Financial Partners, Corp., the parent company of NFP Securities, Inc. *NFP Securities, Inc. and Asset Management Partners do not provide legal or tax advice. Yeshivat Netivot Montessori Swastikas were spray-painted on Congregation Beth-E1 in Edison, N.J.,just hours after the end of Yom Kippur. charged with aggravated as- sault, according to Lt. Joseph Shannon. The suspect's name is not being released because of his age. Shannon said the Beth-E! incident occurred between 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 and 7:30 a.m. on the 29th. Po- lice responded immediately and began canvassing the neighborhood door-to-door for possible witnesses. The incident has been ruled a bias crime, which has brought the prosecutor's office into the investigation. Shannon said it has been the department's policy to increase patrols around Jewish institu- tions during the holiday season. However, in light of the two incidents, those patrols would be increased for the foreseeable future. In addition to Beth-El and the yeshiva, the township is home to three other syna- gogues, the Jewish Community Center of Middlesex County, and RabbiPesach RaymonYeshiva, a modem Orthodoxdayschool for kindergarten through eighth- grade students. "We want everyone to know the police department is tak- ing this very seriously," said Shannon. "We want all our residents to feel safe when they attend religious services or go to school." Debra Rubin is the Middle- sex, N.J., bureau chief of the New Jersey Jewish News, from which this article was reprinted by permission. Rabbi Daniel Kohn By Stacey Palevsky j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California From 1995 to 2003, Rabbi Daniel Kohn received approxi- mately 1,300 questions about Judaism as a member of AOL's "Ask a Rabbi" team. The questions came from Jews and non-Jews alike. Some wrote in asking about the best way to blow a shofar. Others wanted to know how to talk to a teenage son who, after years of Hebrew school, declared there was no God. Kohn answered every single one of them. Now, nearly 300 of his fa- vorite questions and answers are included in his recently published book titled "Jew- ish FAQs: An Internet Rabbi's Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Judaism." The 474-page book grew out of Kohn's participation in"Ask a Rabbi," an early Internet joint venture between AOL and the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California (now j.). Kohn has gone on to be- come the rabbi-in-residence at Contra Costa Jewish Day School, a post he has held for the past five years. He is also a guest rabbi at Congregation Gan HaLev in San Geronimo, and previously worked at Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon. But he has never forgotten about his "Ask a Rabbi" days. "The process became my ongoing professional Jewish experience," said Kohn, who'll be talking about his new book and his "Ask the Rabbi" days in three upcoming local ap- pearances. "I learned so much in the process of receiving questions and endeavoring to answer them." Kohn heard about AOL's "Ask a Rabbi" in 1995, when he was living in New York and teaching at a Jewish high school. The coordinators of the project needed rabbis from all different denominations to volunteer to answer any and all questions. In exchange, rabbis would get a free ac- count from the 1990s Internet giant once known as America Online. Kohn, a Conservative rabbi, was forwarded questions from all sorts of curious people, and his answers were posted to the "Ask a Rabbi" forum for AOL members. Often, Kohn posted a re- sponse to a question im- mediately. But sometimes questions were more complex, and he needed to sift through his Jewish bookcase. He always crafted an an- swer within 48 hours, usu- ally quicker--even when the questions were a bit strange. Rabbi Mark Diamond, who was the coordinator of the "Ask a Rabbi" team, remem- bers being asked, "I am a Wiccan marrying a Jew. How can you advise me in terms of wedding customs?" "Nothing in my rabbinical education prepared me for that," said Diamond, then rabbi at Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland. Diamond del- egated the questions to Kohn and 19 other volunteer rabbis from all streams of Judaism. "I am very proud of the transdenominational nature of 'Ask a Rabbi,' " Diamond said. "I don't see much of that on the Web anymore." In "Jewish FAQs," Kohn revises and rewrites many of his responses, elaborating on the core Jewish issue at hand. Kohn hopes his book will be used as a go-to reference guide for all things Jewish. He includes an index of questions for easy reference, a general index, and a glossary of He- brew, Yiddish and Aramaic terms. There are also two never- before-published essays about kashrut and Passover (the two topics about which Kohn received the most questions). Kohn, who lives in Mill Valley with his wife, Deborah, and their three children, has written several books on Jew- ish topics. He said his hope for "Jew- ish FAQs" is that the book FAQ on page 23A