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October 10, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 16 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS OCTOBER s in By Uriel Heilman NEW YORK (JTA)--"Who- ever did not see the joy at the Simchat Belt Hashoeva cel- ebrations has not seen true joy in his days." Thus wrote the talmudist of the nightly Simchat Belt Hashoeva cel- ebrations that used to take place in Jerusalem and else- where during the intermedi- ary days of Sukkot. Literally the Celebration of the Water Drawing, Simchat Beit Hoshoeva festivities origi- HANDYMAN SERVICE Handy man and General Maintenance Air Conditioning Electrical Plumbing Carpentry Formerly handled maintenance at JCC References available STEVE'S SERVICES Call Steve Doyle at (386) 668-8960 nally marked a ceremony that involved anointing with water and that took place in the Temple in Jerusalem on the second night of the holiday. The Talmud writes that righteous men used to dance for assembled crowds that juggled flaming torches, sang, made merry and praised God all night long. The nights of Sukkot are still filled with the sounds of Simchat Belt Hashoeva festivi- ties in Jewish neighborhoods around the world. In Brooklyn, one can hardly pass through the borough's Chasidic neighborhoods with- out hearing the nightly par- ties. In Borough Park, on 14th Avenue and 47th Street, there is so much pushing to get into the sukkah of the charismatic Munkatcher rebbe, Moshe DON'T REPLACE THAT BROKEN APPLIANCE WHEN YOU CAN REPAIR IT FOR A FRACTION OF THE COST Repairs on All Makes and Models 25 Years of Experience Serving Central Florida Since 1986 Over 35,000 Satisfied Customers Member of BBB 1 Year Guarantees Family Owned & Operated Licensed & Insured Refrigerators Washers Freezers Dryers Ice Makers Dishwashers Ranges Disposals Ovens Water Heaters Microwaves No Service Charge with Repair FREE SERVICE CALL WHEN YOU MENTION THIS AD Yehuda Leib Rabinowitz, that young children risk getting crushed in the crowd. Thousands of Chasidic Jews with long black coats, dark mink hats, long beards and sidecurls fill the bleachers in what is one of the biggest sukkahs in the world. Makeshift bleachers rock with young Chasidim swaying back and forth, singing pae- ans to God and to their rebbe, to whom they look with perfervid intensity and un- abashed affection. Several tables line the floor in front of the rebbe's. When the rebbe takes a bite offish or kugel, food from his plate is then passed around the sukkah for tasting by devoted Chasidim who believe that it's good luck to eat offthe rebbe's plate. A few dip their pinky fingers in mashed sweet potato pie, passing it around so hundreds of others can get a taste and a share of good luck. Behind the rebbe and out of sight, a young man plays the keyboard while two others sing Chasidic melodies into micro- phones, electrifying the crowd. Somewhere behind a dark one- way mirror at the rear of the sukkah, Chasidicwomen crane their necks to watch the fes- tivities and catch a glimpse of the rebbe, dressed in a special white robe for the occasion. All over the neighborhood, sukkahs of Chasidic rebbes are filled to capacity with merrymakers singing, eating and dancing so feverishly that the floors shake. Multipiece bands play live music, and at one location a conga-style line of thousands of Chasidic men snakes around a yeshiva study hall. A few blocks away, the sukkah of the Bobover rebbe, Naphtali Halberstam, is deco- rated with dioramas depicting biblical scenes, the Jewish holidays and the story of the rebbe's life in pre-World War II Europe and his arrival in America. Three years ago, U.S. Sen- ate candidate Rick Lazio showed up here to campaign for the Senate seat being va- cated by the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Lazio's holiday ap- pearance befuddled young Chasidic men in the crowd who were trying to figure out if the youngish-looking man up front--who was wearing a big, black velvet yarmulke and taking a swig of vodka from a shot-glass--was J ewish or not. After a brief introduction in which a Chasid compared the four-term congressman to Moses, Lazio took to the po- dium to urge the assembled to vote. Lazio asked for the rebbe's blessing. It was not given, and Laziowent on to lose that elec- tion to Hillary Clinton. In Brooklyn at midnight, the crowds in the sukkahs show no signs of thinning. Outdoors, enterprising young men sell fresh aravot-- willow braches--for $3 a pair. Willows are one of the four species used for ritual pur- poses during Sukkot, along with the lemon-like etrog, the lulav palm stalk and myrtle- tree branches, called hadasim. Nearby, a take-out place does swift business selling myriad fresh and meats, chicken dishes, of every kind and rugeloch pastries. The the sidewalk. Young men toting volumet of Talmud against cars and trees ging on their cool night air. At the study hall Stolin Chasidim, dancers he~ up the crowded room ing and over again a set to upbeat music. men laugh as they rush and forth across t in hand, snaking through o~ stantly~ movin the room. At the sukkah rebbe, what more subdued. A single table Chasidic men it takes up and the men pause songs to listen to Torah and stories from the rebbe, who his tales in Yiddish, the franca of Borough Park. The night's festivities e~ in the wee hours of the mogr ing. Some revelers sleep i~ their own sukkahs, built.:,i~ backyards, on porches ~.a~i driveways around the nell" borhood. The party goes on all until Sukkot turns Shemini Torah. Then the sukkah come down, the willow palm branches find their onto garbage heaps, ough Park l well, Borough Park. offers II This Special Issue is full of features relating to financial issues affecting you and Central Florida. Your ad in this Special Section will reach an audience of heads of households who are qualified business and professional people who have the income necessary to live well today and invest wisely tomorrow. Publication Date: October 31, 2003 Deadline: October 22, 2003 For information m Call 407-834-8787 By Richard Allen Greene LONDON (JTA)--A British vegetarian group is planning to launch a new campaign against kosher slaughter, known as shechita, on Yore Kippur. Emboldened by this summer's recommendation by the British Farm Animal Welfare Council that all ani- mals in the country be stunned before being slaugh- tered, Vegetarians Interna- tional Voice for Animals is relaunching an anti-shechita effort begun several years ago. "We want to raise the pub- lic profile of the issue, to say this is a thing we should be talking about," said the head of the campaign, Alistair Currie. The group's campaign will include dissemination of a leaflet, the results of a public opinion survey and the Wel- fare Council's semiofficial re- port on Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter. Britain's government has not yet responded to the Wel- fare Council report, accord- ing to Currie. Stunning an animal before its throat is cut is forbidden according to Jewish law. Mus- lims also forbid stunning an animal before slaughter. Currie said Vegetarians In- ternational is aware that de- fenders of shechita consider it a humane method of killing animals, but said that nowa- days there are more humane ways of doing things. "Our understanding of shechita is that it was an ani- mal welfare issue, and we cel- ebrate that. But times have moved on," he said. Before the Welfare Council's report was released, Britain's representative Jew- ish group, the Board of Depu- ties, issued a statement on behalf of the National Coun- cil of Shechita Boards and three British Orthodox groups defending ritual slaughter. "Many scientific experts have confirmed that the Jew- ish method of religious slaughter is at least as hu- mane as any other method Of slaughter," the statement said. "The right to practice shechita is fundamental to religious observance and en- tirely consistent with the re- quirements of humaneness." Currie said his group did not intend to offend Jews by launching its campaign on Yore Kippur. "As we understand it, it's a day of compassion. Our aim is not to alienate Jewish people," Currie said. But Jewish community leaders called the selection of the date cynical. "They know the Jewish community can't respond" on Yore Kippur, said Michael Kester, executive director of the National Council of Shechita Boards. He said Vegetarians Inter- national had not responded to a written offer to discuss kosher slaughter. "They've taken the view that 'We've made up our minds, don't confuse me with facts,'" Kester said. Currie said Vegetarians In- ternational received no offer in the past year from tl~e schechita group for talkS. The executive Britain's Board of Neville Nagler, that the anti-shechita paignwillbe Kippur. "It's a day when slaughter will take place no one will eat he said. LabOOr The director of the ~ Friends of Israel iobbYt1~~. group said Britain's go Vff.~. ing party is committed to ~r ing kosher slaughter lega~a "The prime minister I~a~,t commitment before tla . election that there woula no change to shechita," Davto Mencer said. Currie argues law is " slaughter. The law that all animals be ish or Muslil "We are a secular The exception for slaughter is not J we believe that out stunning is it is not justit cumstances," Jewish autho ruledu ning an renders its meat said Rabbi JeremY the head sion of the London or rabbinic cou~ "The animal tirely shechita," h "From itisabsolutely ning is damage.