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Memorable Headlines of 2015

Looking back over our top stories, the Jewish Link staff remembers some major news highlights (and lowlights) of this past year.

• 7th – Two masked gunmen storm the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical publication in Paris, killing 12 people. The magazine was known for publishing cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammed, most religions and the Pope.

• 9th – Four Jewish hostages killed by terrorists at the Hyper Cacher kosher food market in Paris.

• 11th – About 1.5 million people, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, march to call for an end to violent extremism.

• 19th – Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman is found dead at his Buenos Aires home with a handgun nearby. He had been the chief investigator of the worst terrorist attack in Argentina’s history, the 1994 car bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and injured hundreds.

• 21st – U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) invites Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress without consulting the Obama Administration. The appearance was scheduled for March 2015.


• 14th – Two killed in Denmark when a gunman fired into a café where Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks is speaking. Vilks, who has drawn Prophet Muhammad caricatures, is unharmed.

• 19th – JKHA/RKYHS announces that, together with local synagogues, it will be offering financial incentives to attract new families to the school and community.

• 26th – In Teaneck, Rabbi Larry Rothwachs donates a kidney to Donny Hain.


• Yeshiva University, the educational flagship for Orthodox Judaism, faced a nearly $600 million debt that threatened its existence. The faculty adopted a no-confidence vote reflecting dissatisfaction with President Richard Joel’s leadership, but the university board of trustees voted to support him. The faculty of the all-male YU was merged with the faculty of the university’s all-female Stern College.

• 1st – Bris Avrohom in Hillside dedicates mikvah in memory of the daughter of Rabbi Mordechai and Mrs. Shterney Kanelsky.

• 3rd – PM Netanyahu addresses U.S. Congress. He calls the negotiations to get Iran to freeze its nuclear program “a bad deal.” He adds that the deal “could well threaten the survival of my country.”

• 4th – U.S. Justice Dept. releases report that Ferguson, MO, police have discriminated against the city’s African-American residents. From 2012-14, 93 percent of the city’s arrests were of black citizens.

• 10th – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers charges that she used her private email account for official business while serving as Secretary of State.

• 17th – PM Netanyahu’s Likud Party wins national elections in Israel, winning 30 of 120 seats.

• 19th – PM Netanyahu backtracks from statements he made prior to the election against a Palestinian state. He said after the election that he wants a “sustainable two-state solution, but for that circumstances have to change.”


• 2nd – Iran agrees with P5+1 nations on a detailed, comprehensive framework for the future of Iran’s nuclear program.

• 9th – U.S. and Cuba have highest-level meeting in decades.

• 12th – Hillary Clinton announces candidacy for president.

• 15th – Ben Porat Yosef completes purchase of permanent home in Paramus.

• 20th World renowned Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein passes away in Israel.

• 25th – Riots erupt in Baltimore after cellphone video captures Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American resident, being dragged into a police van. It was later reported that Gray died of a severed spine.

• 28th – National Guard arrives in Baltimore as a curfew is put in place.


• 15th – Boston Marathon bombing jury sentences Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death.

• 16th – Rabbi Barry Freundel sentenced to 6-1/2 years in prison for voyeurism in the shower room of the mikvah adjacent to Kesher Israel Synagogue in Washington, D.C. Freundel secretly videotaped dozens of women.

• 21st – Linden dedicates first community mikvah.

• 26th – Vermont Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders announces presidential candidacy.

• 26th – TABC varsity soccer team completes a perfect season.

• 28th – Kushner Cobras win yeshiva high school World Series in Columbus, Ohio.

• 31st – Celebrate Israel Parade draws thousands from local communities and schools.

• 31st – Rochelle Shoretz, the founder of Sharsheret, succumbs to breast cancer at 42.


• BDS movement intensifies as the General Synod of the United Church of Christ approved a resolution calling for the denomination to divest and boycott certain companies doing business with Israel.

• 6th – American Pharoah, owned by Ahmed Zayat, an Orthodox Jew from Teaneck, wins the Triple Crown.

• 11th – Spain welcomes back Sephardic Jews to receive full citizenship.

• 17th – A white male opens fire during a prayer service at a historically significant black church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine.

• 25th – Maayanot Rapids win yeshiva softball championship.

• 26th – Supreme Court rules for same-sex marriage.


• “Response to Rav Schachter’s Criticism of the International Beit Din on TorahWeb.org,” September 3, 2015.

• “Supporters Rally Around Riverdale’s Rabbi Rosenblatt,” June 4, 2015.

• “New Circumstances Demand New Halachic Views: A Response to Rabbi Mordechai Willig,” August 20, 2015.

• “The Rabbinical Council of America and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah: A Response to Rabbis Avi Weiss and Asher Lopatin,” July 9, 2015.

• “Joanne Zayat’s View From the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle,” May 14, 2015

• “The Modern Orthodox Jew and Gay Marriage,” June 29, 2015.

• “In Memory of Aleza Baltuch Winslow Z”L,” March 19, 2015.

• “Setting the Example: Rabbi Larry Rothwachs Donates Kidney to Donny Hain,” February 26, 2015.

• “How Kosher Is the Kosher Switch?,” April 18, 2015.

• “Fair Lawn to Honor 26 Hometown-Raised Rabbis,” April 30, 2015.


• 1st – Cuba, U.S. agree to open embassies.

• 2nd – Congregation B’nai Yeshurun hosts 2nd Annual Teaneck Community Education Conference. 600 attend.

• 9th – The Herzfeld family of Teaneck gets a specially equipped van to transport their four children who have a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

• 10th – South Carolina removes Confederate flag.

• 14th – Iran and the group of six nations reach agreement to limit Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

• 30th – Stop Iran rally draws thousands to Times Square.


• The. U.N. High Commission for Refugees projects 3,000 people a day will attempt to cross the Balkans to reach Western Europe. Germany estimates that 800,000 migrants from Iraq and Syria will seek asylum there by the end of 2015.

• 6th – GOP holds first presidential debate. Donald Trump makes waves through the night. The issue of Israel’s security a top focus of debate.

• 9th —Coby Burstein, a Frisch School 2007 graduate and IDF soldier, is killed in a traffic accident in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

• 17th – Riverdale Jewish Center’s Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt will maintain his pulpit. His frequent chats with young men in the sauna made headlines in the New York Times as well as area Jewish and secular publications.

• 29th – U.S. Takes Cuba off state-sponsored terrorism list.


• The Immigration Crisis Continues: The immigration crisis in Europe intensifies throughout September. Migrants continue to flee war and conflict in Afghanistan, Syria and regions of northern Africa, pouring into the Balkans at a rate of about 3,000 a day. They hope to end up in Western Europe, but many of those nations only offer refuge to a small number of migrants.

• 10th – Vote against Iran nuclear deal is blocked in U.S. Senate by Democrats. President Barack Obama scores a major victory. Senate Republicans do not have enough votes to end a Democratic filibuster on the resolution of disapproval.

• 10th – Yeshiva University president Richard Joel announces he will step down from his position when his contract runs out.

• 14th – European Union officials meet to decide on how to respond to the crisis. However, no agreement is made. Officials cannot agree on a proposal by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a plan that would give an additional 120,000 refugees asylum within the European Union countries. Officials will meet again in October to discuss the crisis.

• 17th – Paula and Jerry Gottesman announce funding to allow four Jewish day schools in Greater MetroWest to cap their tuition at 18 percent or less of a family’s Adjusted Gross Income for qualified middle income families.

• 22nd – Pope Francis arrives in Washington, D.C., to begin his first visit to the U.S. While in New York, he will meet with leading rabbis.

• 24th – The Jewish Link of New Jersey celebrates its 100th issue.


• 1st – Terrorists kills Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in front of their children in Israel.

• 13th – Democrat presidential candidates hold first debate in Las Vegas.

• 15th – Palestinians escalate tensions in Israel with so-called “lone wolf” attacks, attacking Israelis with knives, guns and even vehicles. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to meet and agree on a plan to stop violence.

• 30th – U.S. sends troops to fight ISIS in Syria, deployed on the ground to assist rebel forces.


• 6th – JKHA/RKYHS hosts “Quest for Teaching Excellence” Conference for community teachers as students participate in the first “Day School Day On,” organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest.

• 13th – Three coordinated attacks by ISIS kill 129 and wound hundreds in Paris. Eighty-nine die in an assault at the Bataclan Concert Hall. Dozens of others killed in attacks on restaurants and at a soccer stadium.

• 17th – Russia acknowledges that a terrorist bomb brought down a Russian passenger plane on Oct. 31.

• 19th – Yeshiva student Ezra Schwartz, 18, is murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in the Etzion area of Israel after delivering food to IDF soldiers as part of an act of chesed. Large numbers of people mourned with his parents in Sharon, Mass.

• 20th – Islamic extremists attack Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako in Mali. At least 27 killed. Al Qaeda claims responsibility for attack.

• 26th – Sarah Techiya Litman marries Ariel Beigel in Jerusalem less than two weeks after her father Yaakov and brother Netanel were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. The bride opened her wedding to the world.


• 2nd – Fourteen people are killed and more than 20 wounded when two people open fire at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center, a service facility for people with disabilities and special needs in San Bernardino, California. The suspects, husband and wife Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, are killed in a shootout with police after the rampage. ISIS claims credit for “radicalizing” Malik.

• 3rd – Republican presidential candidates seek endorsements and financial backing at Republican Jewish Coalition Conference in Washington, D.C.

• 10th – Camp Mesorah completes $10 million renovation in preparation for summer 2016.

• 17th – Teaneck Council votes to rezone World of Wings property for multi-family housing.

• 18th – This date marks the one-year anniversary of the Jewish Link’s name change from Jewish Link of Bergen County to Jewish Link of New Jersey.

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