GOOD STORIES 
   



 SELECT A TOPIC



SHALOM! WELCOME! (HOME)


SPONSOR A KEHILLAH AD!


OUR MISSION - OUR PLAN


NON-DENOMINATIONAL?


THE DEVALUATION OF JUDAISM


SHOP KEHILLAH! BOUTIQUE


 WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT BEING JEWISH?



18 REASONS WHY IT'S GREAT TO BE JEWISH


18 WAYS TO DEEPEN YOUR JUDAISM


THE ONE JEWISH RITUAL FOR YOUR FAMILY...


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SHABBAT?


ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - FRIDAY NIGHT


ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - SATURDAY


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SYNAGOGUE?


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT READING HEBREW?


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT KEEPING KOSHER?


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT JEWISH PRAYER?


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ISRAEL?


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT MARRYING JEWISH?


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ORGANIZED RELIGION?


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT "ANCIENT"...


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT PRESERVING JUDAISM?


 JUDAISM AND YOU



NOT A BELIEVER?


THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING JEWISH


YOUR OBJECTIONS - THINGS YOU HATE!


ARE YOU A SINGLE PARENT?


ARE YOU CREATIVE?


ARE YOU "MIXED?"


SMALL PLEASURES...


GOOD STORIES


THE "WOMAN" ISSUE


 ADVERTISE JUDAISM?!



OUR BOLD RADICAL PROPOSAL...


ADVERTISE TO EDUCATE!


OUR PRO-JUDAISM AD CAMPAIGN


KEHILLAH RADIO & TV


THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR JUDAISM...


 OTHER TOPICS OF INTEREST



JEW VS. JEW


PASSOVER - ONE THING YOU CAN DO...


Shrek on Judaism!


Mel Brooks - On Being a Jew


Kirk Douglas: Why Be Jewish?


Rabbi Harold Kushner


Joe McCain on The Jews & Israel


American Presidents and The Jews


KEHILLAH is dedicated to...


LINKS TO Jewish Organizations, Charities & Websites


CONVERSION TO JUDAISM


GILLIE'S RECIPES


JEWISH HUMOR


NY TIMES: BRING BACK SHABBAT! PERSONAL STORY...


DO YOU HAVE INSOMNIA?


Contact Information


YOUR FEEDBACK PLEASE!


 SUPPORT KEHILLAH



TO HELP SUPPORT KEHILLAH

Gillie Rose  
KEHILLAH   
Jewish Outreach Media Campaign  
P.O. Box 111  
Town of Lumberland, NY 12770  

Kehillah@Earthlink.Net  








A COLLECTION OF STORIES THAT HAVE SOMETHING GOOD TO SAY. 

(YOU ARE WELCOME TO E-MAIL US YOURS.) 

Barnes& Noble.com

1.  This story came to me in an e-mail, as is. 

"Do you know what a Protestant B is? I know what a Protestant is, and I know what a Catholic is, and I know what a Jew is . . . but until recently, I had never heard of a Protestant B. I learned what a Protestant B is from an essay by Debra Darvick, that appeared in an issue of Hadassah Magazine. It is a chapter from a book she is working on about the American Jewish experience. And this essay is about the experience of Retired Army Major Mike Englander, who now lives in Newport News, Virginia, and who is now a Judaic silversmith. This is his story:

"Dog tags. When you get right down to it, the military's dog tag Classification forced me to reclaim my Judaism. In the fall of l990, things were heating up in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. I had been an Army Captain and a helicopter maintenance test pilot for a decade and received notice that I would be transferred to the First Cavalry Division which was on alert for the Persian Gulf War.

Consequently, I also got wind of the Department of Defense "dog tag dilemma" vis--vis Jewish personnel. Then, as now, Saudi law forbade Jews to enter the country. But our Secretary of Defense flat out told the King of Saudi Arabia, "We have Jews in our military. They've trained with their units and they're going. Blink and look the other way." 

With Kuwait occupied and the Iraqis at his border, King Faud did the practical thing. We shipped out, but there was still the issue of classification. Normally the dog tags of Jewish servicemen are imprinted with the word "Jewish." But Defense, fearing that this would put Jewish soldiers at further risk should they be captured on Iraqi soil, substituted the classification, "Protestant B," on the tags. I didn't like the whole idea of classifying Jews as Protestant anything and so I decided to leave my dog tag alone. I figured if I were captured, it was in God's hands. Changing my tags was tantamount to denying my religion and I couldn't swallow that. In September, l990 I went off to defend a country that I was prohibited from entering. The "Jewish" on my dog tag remained as clear and unmistakable as the American star on the hood of every Army truck.

A few days after my arrival, the Baptist chaplain approached me. "I just got a secret message through channels," he said. There's going to be a Jewish gathering. A holiday? Simkatoro or something like that. You want to go? It's at l800 hours at Dhahran Airbase."  Simkatoro turned out to be Simchas Torah, a holiday that hadn't registered on my religious radar in eons. Services were held in absolute secrecy in a windowless room in a cinder block building. The chaplain led a swift and simple service. We couldn't risk singing or dancing, but Rabbi Ben Romer had managed to smuggle in a bottle of Manischewitz. Normally, I can't stand the stuff, but that night, the wine tasted of Shabbat and family and Seders of long ago. My soul was warmed by the forbidden alcohol and by the memories swirling around me and my fellow soldiers. We were strangers to one another in a land stranger than any of us had ever experienced, but for that brief hour, we were home.

Only Americans would have had the chutzpah to celebrate Simchas Torah under the noses of the Saudis. Irony and pride twisted together inside me like barbed wire. Celebrating my Judaism that evening made me even prouder to be an American, thankful once more for the freedoms we have. I had only been in Saudi Arabia a week, but I already had a keen understanding of how restrictive its society was. Soon after, things began coming to a head.

The next time I was able to do anything remotely Jewish was Chanukah.  Maybe it was coincidence, or maybe it was God's hand that placed a Jewish Colonel in charge of our unit. Colonel Lawrence Schneider relayed messages of Jewish gatherings to us immediately. Had a non-Jew been in that position, the information would likely have taken a back seat to a more pressing issue. Like war. But it didn't. When notice of the Chanukah party was decoded, we knew about it at once. The first thing we saw when we entered the tent was food, tons of it. Care packages from the states -- cookies, latkes, sour cream and applesauce and cans and cans of gefilte fish. The wind was blowing dry across the tent, but inside there was an incredible feeling of celebration. As Rabbi Romer talked about the theme of Chanukah and the ragtag bunch of Maccabee soldiers fighting Jewry's oppressors thousands of years ago, it wasn't hard to make the connection to what lay ahead of us. There in the middle of the desert, inside an olive green tent, we felt like we were the Maccabees. If we had to go down, we were going to go down fighting, as they did.

We blessed the candles, acknowledging the King of the Universe who commanded us to kindle the Chanukah lights. We said the second prayer, praising God for the miracles he performed, bayamim hahem bazman hazeh, in those days and now. And we sang the third blessing, the Sheheyanu thanking God for keeping us in life and for enabling us to reach this season.

We knew war was imminent. All week, we had received reports of mass destruction, projections of the chemical weapons that were likely to be unleashed. Intelligence estimates put the first rounds of casualties at 12,500 soldiers. I heard those numbers and thought, "That's my whole division!" I sat back in my chair, my gefilte fish cans at my feet. There we were in the desert, about to go to war, singing songs of praise to God who had saved our ancestors in battle once before.

The feeling of unity was as pervasive as our apprehension, as real as the sand that found its way into everything from our socks to our toothbrushes. I felt more Jewish there on that lonely Saudi plain, our tanks and guns at the ready, than I had ever felt back home in shul. That Chanukah in the desert solidified or me the urge to reconnect with my Judaism. I felt religion welling up inside me. Any soldier will tell you that there are no atheists in foxholes and I know that part of it. 

My feelings were tied to the looming war and my desire to get with God before the unknown descended in the clouds of battle. It sounds corny, but as we downed the latkes and cookies and wiped the last of the apple sauce from our plates, everyone grew quiet, keenly aware of the link with history, thinking of what we were about to do and what had been done by soldiers like us so long ago. The trooper beside me stared ahead at nothing in particular, absent-mindedly fingering his dog tag. "How'd you classify?" I asked, nodding to my tag. Silently, he withdrew the metal rectangle and its beaded chain from beneath his shirt and held it out for me to read. Like mine, his read, "Jewish."

Somewhere in a military depot someplace, I am sure that there must be boxes and boxes of dog tags, still in their wrappers, all marked "Protestant B."

2.  A TRUE STORY - This also came to me in an e-mail....

The South Bronx in 1950 was the home of a large and thriving community, predominantly Jewish. In the 1950s the Bronx offered synagogues, mikvas, kosher bakeries, and kosher butchers - all the comforts one would expect from an observant Orthodox Jewish community.

The baby boom of the postwar years happily resulted in many new young parents. As a matter of course, the South Bronx had its own baby equipment store.

Sickser's was located on the corner of Westchester and Fox, and specialized in "everything for the baby" as its slogan ran. The inventory began with cribs, baby carriages, playpens, high chairs, changing tables, and toys.  It went way beyond these to everything a baby could want or need.

Mr. Sickser, assisted by his son-in-law Lou Kirshner, ran a profitable business out of the needs of the rapidly expanding child population.
The language of the store was primarily Yiddish, but Sickser's was a place where not only Jewish families but also many non-Jewish ones could acquire the necessary for their newly arrived bundles of joy.

Business was particularly busy one spring day, so much so that Mr. Sickser and his son-in-law could not handle the unexpected throng of customers. Desperate for help, Mr. Sickser ran out of the store and stopped the first youth he spotted on the street.

"Young man," he panted, "how would you like to make a little extra money?  I need some help in the store. You want to work a little?" The tall, lanky black boy flashed a toothy smile back. "Yes, sir, I'd like some work."

"Well then, let's get started."

The boy followed his new employer into the store. Mr. Sickser was immediately impressed with the boy's good manners and demeanor. As the days went by and he came again and again to lend his help, Mr. Sickser and Lou both became increasingly impressed with the youth's diligence, punctuality and readiness to learn.

Eventually Mr. Sickser made him a regular employee at the store. It was gratifying to find an employee with an almost soldier-like willingness to perform even the most menial of tasks, and to perform them well.

From the age of thirteen until his sophomore year in college, the young man put in from twelve to fifteen hours a week, at 50 to 75 cents an hour.  Mostly, he performed general labor: assembling merchandise, unloading trucks and preparing items for shipments. He seemed, in his quiet way, to appreciate not only the steady employment but also the friendly atmosphere Mr. Sickser's store offered. Mr. Sickser and Lou learned in time about their helper's Jamaican origins, and he in turn picked up a good deal of Yiddish. 

In time the young man was able to converse fairly well with his employers, and more importantly, with a number of the Jewish customers whose English was not fluent. At the age of seventeen, the young man, while still working part-time at Sickser's, began his first semester at City College of New York. He fit in just fine with his, for the most part, Jewish classmates, hardly surprising, considering that he already knew their ways and their language. But the heavy studying in the engineering and later geology courses he chose proved quite challenging. The young man would later recall that Sickser's offered the one stable point in his life those days.

In 1993, in his position as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - two years after he guided the American victory over Iraq in the Gulf War - General Colin Powell visited the Holy Land. Upon meeting Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in Jerusalem, he greeted the Israeli with the words "Men kent reden Yiddish" (We can speak Yiddish). As Shamir, stunned, tried to pull himself together, the current Secretary of State continued chatting in his second-favorite language.

Colin Powell never forgot his early days working at Sickser's.

(Honestly - I LOVE that story!...)
 
3.  May 4th, 2003 - This just in to KEHILLAH - as follows: 
 
A little late for Passover (2003/5763), but never too late to share.  This is wonderful - enjoy.  (Roy)

Major Jonas Vogelhut, one of America's Best and Bravest, was kind enough to send the following report and photograph of a Passover Seder that he
attended near Baghdad. I believe that you will find Jonas' thoughtful remarks to be a religious experience as well as a significant record of
the quality and character of our warriors. [Farrel]

From: Jonas Vogelhut < jonas-vogelhut@us.army.mil
To: Supporting our familes of active military < THEBRAVE@USCJ.ORG
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 16:19:50 -0400

Dear family and friends,

This morning started with a cold rain. This was a blessing, as it padded the loose sand and made for a clear, crisp day. For me and two other Jewish soldiers, the wonderful duo of Chaplain Yacovac, 3rd Infantry Division and Chaplain Waynick, 24th Support Command, gathered the necessary six security personnel and four vehicles to convoy us the 40
minutes from our classified base at Logistics Support Area Dogwood to Objective Grady for a Passover seder in the desert.

As we arrived, we were warmly greeted by ten other Jewish soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division and Chaplain (Rabbi) Carlos Huerta.  Together, we made a motley group of infantrymen, pilots, medics, and
truck drivers into a minyan. Into a family. Our table was meager but festive. Dispel all rumors of Army soldiers having seder in palaces.  That was not us. Our tent was small and non descript from the outside.  We used mess hall provided paper plates, flatware, and cups. No meat or main course. The simple Passover supplies of Matzah, gefilte fish and
grape juice from the Aleph Institute and the Jewish Welfare Board, combined with generous packages of cookies, dried fruit, and candy mailed by Lynne from Arizona and my cousin Stephen Hirsch of Long
Island, NY constituted a table fit for a meal. We even used Army issued Louisiana hot sauce for the bitter herbs.

Rabbi Huerta motivated us all to a higher plane. Despite our soldierly harsh living conditions sleeping outside on the ground, without showers or toilets, there are always people who have it harsher. We the Jewish people were slaves once. On a similar idea, the Iraqi people were oppressed for over a generation by Saddam Hussein. And now we are both free.

The 10 plagues the Lord cast upon Pharaoh were cast upon Saddam Hussein with embargos, restrictions, war, and perhaps death. Now, like the Jews who crossed the red sea, the Iraqi people must rebuild their lives and teach their children about freedom.

During the meal, soldiers talked about missing family and friends. Back in Pasadena California, Pittsburgh PA, Phoenix Arizona, Brooklyn, New York, Orlando Florida, and other home towns across the USA.  Each participant was glad to get a few moments away from their military post and remember previous seders with wives, children, parents, and friends.
1LT Abraham Falkowitz remarked "I was surprised to see this much Judaism in the middle of a war zone." Others agreed. We laughed, cried, and had fun.

The service concluded with songs and psalms, like this quote Rabbi Huerta read from Psalm 118, "The Lord is on my side, I have no fear."

Together, our unit made that tent a house. And that house a home.  A piece of Judaism. A piece of America.

Chag Sameach.
Jonas
Objective Grady, Central Iraq
MAJ Jonas Vogelhut

Please feel free to share this with others or use for publication.  Support my fellow soldiers. [photo of Seder attached]  (We're working on getting the photo onto our website....)
 
4...  (Send us your Good Stories and we will add them here...) 
 

We are very interested in your feedback! 
Please do e-mail us your thoughts about
our website and program.
Kehillah@Earthlink.Net
Or - fill out our
Quick & Short Feedback Survey.
(Reasonably quick & short...)
Thanks....

 Time for a cookie! - All Kosher - (OU/D) - Yum!... 

468x60

Don't forget to check out our
SHOP KEHILLAH BOUTIQUE!
for all kinds of goodies
that help support KEHILLAH...
 

 






SHALOM! WELCOME! (HOME)  |  SPONSOR A KEHILLAH AD!  |  OUR MISSION - OUR PLAN  |  NON-DENOMINATIONAL?  |  THE DEVALUATION OF JUDAISM  |  SHOP KEHILLAH! BOUTIQUE  |  18 REASONS WHY IT'S GREAT TO BE JEWISH  |  18 WAYS TO DEEPEN YOUR JUDAISM  |  THE ONE JEWISH RITUAL FOR YOUR FAMILY...  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SHABBAT?  |  ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - FRIDAY NIGHT  |  ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - SATURDAY  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SYNAGOGUE?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT READING HEBREW?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT KEEPING KOSHER?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT JEWISH PRAYER?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ISRAEL?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT MARRYING JEWISH?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ORGANIZED RELIGION?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT "ANCIENT"...  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT PRESERVING JUDAISM?  |  NOT A BELIEVER?  |  THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING JEWISH  |  YOUR OBJECTIONS - THINGS YOU HATE!  |  ARE YOU A SINGLE PARENT?  |  ARE YOU CREATIVE?  |  ARE YOU "MIXED?"  |  SMALL PLEASURES...  |  GOOD STORIES  |  THE "WOMAN" ISSUE  |  OUR BOLD RADICAL PROPOSAL...  |  ADVERTISE TO EDUCATE!  |  OUR PRO-JUDAISM AD CAMPAIGN  |  KEHILLAH RADIO & TV  |  THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR JUDAISM...  |  JEW VS. JEW  |  PASSOVER - ONE THING YOU CAN DO...  |  Shrek on Judaism!  |  Mel Brooks - On Being a Jew  |  Kirk Douglas: Why Be Jewish?  |  Rabbi Harold Kushner  |  Joe McCain on The Jews & Israel  |  American Presidents and The Jews  |  KEHILLAH is dedicated to...  |  LINKS TO Jewish Organizations, Charities & Websites  |  CONVERSION TO JUDAISM  |  GILLIE'S RECIPES  |  JEWISH HUMOR  |  NY TIMES: BRING BACK SHABBAT! PERSONAL STORY...  |  DO YOU HAVE INSOMNIA?  |  Contact Information  |  YOUR FEEDBACK PLEASE!  |  TO HELP SUPPORT KEHILLAH

KEHILLAH
Jewish Outreach Media Campaign
WE'RE INTERESTED IN YOUR FEEDBACK!
Kehillah@Earthlink.Net

Sign In