Estee Ackerman, 14, of Long Island, N.Y., competed earlier this month in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Table Tennis, which were held in Greensboro, N.C. She is currently ranked 14th in the nation.
She's only 14, but earlier this month, Estee Ackerman became a member of a very exclusive club when the Shabbat-observant teen participated in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Her sport? Table tennis, in which she is ranked No. 14 in the country.
What is perhaps even more impressive is that the teenager, who lost her first two chances to make the team in competitions on Thursday, Feb. 4, and Friday, Feb. 5, forfeited a final chance the following day because it fell on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest.
"I was disappointed; I love playing on such a big stage and the beautiful crowds that come to watch," she said days later from her home in Long Island, N.Y. "But as much as I love table tennis ... not playing on Shabbos is a greater reward.
"When I decided I wasn't going to play on Saturday, I said I do have two tries. I feel I made the right decision," affirmed Estee, a ninth-grader at Yeshiva University High School for Girls. "And it was a great feeling when I came back home to New York, and had my whole community supporting me and my decision."
The teenager had three chances to make the Olympic team.
The U.S. Olympic Trials in Table Tennis were held in Greensboro, N.C., where Rabbi Yosef and Hindy Plotkin serve as co-directors of the Chabad-Lubavitch center there. The couple provided Estee and her father, Glenn Ackerman, with kosher food during their stay, in addition to home hospitality on Shabbat. Estee's mother and older brother, Chanie Ackerman and Akiva Ackerman, did not accompany them on this trip.
"It was so nice to stay there," said Estee. "When we go and travel, we really stick with Chabad. As always, whatever state we are in, we have somewhere to go."
The Plotkins were equally as charmed by the high-schooler. "I thought she was incredible," said Hindy Plotkin. "That she forfeited her third chance to try out for the Olympics, it's pretty amazing."
The Plotkins, who have four children between the ages of 1 and 7, even went to cheer Estee on during her competition. They also asked her to speak to students at the American Hebrew Academy, a Jewish boarding school in Greensboro, and to the local community while she was there.
"I was very honored," said Estee. "I told people my story of why I was there and how I don't compete on Shabbos. I hope they enjoyed it."
She needn't have worried; her message seemed to resonate soundly with those who heard it, including some who are not Shabbat-observant themselves. As Hindy Plotkin related, "a lot of people emailed me after Shabbat, telling me they were touched and impressed with her determination at a young age. That she's 14 and has such strong values, for them, coming from a different place [religiously], that's really quite amazing."
Estee lost the first two matches on a Thursday and Friday, and decided not to compete in the third one on Saturday. "I was disappointed," she acknowledged. "But as much as I love table tennis, not playing on Shabbos is a greater reward."
'It's Been a Journey'
This was the second time in her young career that Estee has forfeited her chance at improving her standing to observe Shabbat. The first time was in 2012, when she was participating in U.S. National Table Tennis Championships and one of her matches was scheduled on a Friday night.
While she will play leisurely with friends on a Shabbat afternoon, competing in a tournament with a uniform, scoring and all that goes with it just isn't the same thing, she said: "What it came down to for me was that it wasn't in the spirit of Shabbat."
Parshat Mishpatim- Why the chosen material for the Tablets of the Ten Commandments was Sapphire- The 5th Dimension.
The Almighty chose to inscribe His holy words; the Ten Commandments on a Sapphire stone. This was no ordinary Sapphire stone, for it came from His heavenly throne. We see this in Ex. 24:10, concerning the vision that Moses,Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel saw, as it is written: "They saw the G-d of Israel, and under His feet was the likeness of a brickwork of Sapphire, and it was like the essence of the heaven in purity." This is indeed a very cryptic verse. In order to grasp even some concept of the meaning, the Torah describes in human terms, using words that we can at least understand on the surface level.
To begin to understand this verse and why G-d chose sapphire, we must read the beginning of the book of SeferYitzira – The Book of Formation. There it is written in the beginning verse, " In 32 mystical paths of Wisdom, G-d Engraved (various epithets are used to describe G-d in the next few sentences), and He created His world with 3 books- with text, number, and communication."
The Hebrew word for Sapphire is ספיר . The Hebrew word for book is ספר. This same word with different vowel pronunciations also means text, number, and communication. Now the mystery begins to unfold!
G-d uses 10 divine emanations to filter down his Glorious Light to create this world, and fill this world (I will not explain all of them here, only speak about certain ones that are needed to understand the coloration to the subject here). In Hebrew the word for emanation is ספירה .This beginning verse speaks about mystical paths of Wisdom. Wisdom is a code name for the second highest emanation called Wisdom (in Hebrew חכמה, pronounced Chochma). The Emanation above this is called Crown – in Hebrew this is כתר pronouncedKeter. It is this Supernal high and lofty emanation that in our verse in the Torah is referred to as, "the God of Israel." The next part of the verse, " His feet", refers to the lowest emanation within this highest one of Keter, called Kingdom – in Hebrew מלכות pronounced Malchut. This verse is therefore explaining to us the nature and level where this Sapphire emanates from, that of Chochma. The word in Hebrew to describe the Sapphire, brickwork, is לבנת pronouncedLivnat. This word can be broken down as follows לב-נת to give a hint to what is written in the beginning verse of SeferYitzira. The first part has the numerical value of 32. This alludes to the amount of 32 mystical paths. The second part of the word – נת allude to the mystical paths themselves, being the first, second and last letter of the Hebrew word נתיבות which means paths. It has been taught by our sages and revealed, that the number of paths being 32, can also be understood as (2) to the 5th power. The 5th power is a hint to the 5 dimensions that are later explicitly mentioned in the SeferYitzira in verse 1:5.The main number 2, is a reference to two different end points, one entry and one exit point.
To summarize this, G-d originally created this world to be lived in 5 dimensions. These are: the 3 dimensional space of the physical world, plus the 4th which is the time continuum, and the 5th which is the dimension of Soul or Spirit.
Come now and understand further! After the primordial sin of Man, humankind lost this ability and knowledge. It was not returned until G-d spoke, and gave HisTen Commandments to the Children of Israel.The substance of the stone was a gift, most holy that contained all aspects of the unity of all 5 dimensions. It was the catalyst that was the vehicle to enable the people to connect with G-d on this earth and walk in His heavenly plain too. Originally, Man was not supposed to die. Humankind was meant to walk this earth and the heavenly abode too while living. This is how it will be when the Holy redeemer comes toward the end of days.
Now come and understand! This is the secret to practical Kabalah! In order to transform matter, or create change in structure, one has to utilize in unity all five dimensions. This is why the Torah itself is broken down in to five books, and why we also have five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot. It is through the means and action of five, that we are meant to live our lives. When a person is able to do this, there is no greater joy that the person will be able to experience! The hint to this is that the numerical value of the Hebrew word הספיר – the Sapphire = 355, is equivalent to the word "in happiness" – בשמחה, in Hebrew. A further hint to all of this is that the numerical value also is equal to the Hebrew word – בחמשה, meaning "in five." This is a further hint to the five dimensions as mentioned above.
Now understand that it is impossible for a person to have access to the fifth dimension, being "Spirit", unless he is a truly holy and spiritually pure person. The fourth dimension being of the aspect of time, is impossible to achieve, unless one knows how to understand the 22 Hebrew letters, their 10 vowel points, and the 10 emanations or in Hebrew, the 10 Sefirot; for these are the keys to the 4th dimension of time. The keys to unlock this great understanding and mystery is through the understanding of the MaasaHaMerkava- The workings of the chariot as written in the Prophet Yechezkal. It is written 5 times the word Noga – נוגה, - Brightness, each one of these is a channel and an instruction, how to power and enter into each of these 5 dimensions. The spiritual science, level and understanding is so precise that it can only be taught by a master Kabalist to his student, one on one. It can notbr taught to more than one student at a time. When one harnesses and understands this most profound knowledge, it will lead to the greatest joy! This is also why the Numerical value of the Hebrew word HaSapir = the same as the Hebrew word בשמחה- In Happiness. When the Tablets were broken, The Happiness was removed, and the rectification became The most holiest day of the year, יום הכפרים, where the Hebrew word – הכפרים, is the same numerical value as the Hebrew word הספיר- the Sapphire.
Fort Lauderdale Mansion With Personal Synagogue for $7.5 Million
A massive Fort Lauderdale mansion with 12 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms and an interesting addition: its own synagogue, as part of the house, just hit the market for $7.5 million.
3600 Estate Oak Cir, via Elliman, located in the heart of Hollywood Oaks. It has fully wired 18,000-square-foot smart-home also has centralized climate control computer systems, a state-of-the-art home theater. The house features custom doors, ceilings, Italian marble floors, and world-class finishes throughout. Exquisite enclave boasts the finest finishes, details, and furnishing.
The outdoor includes kitchen, wet bar, and sprawling salt water pool.
They current owners had purchased two lots for $2.4 million, combined them, and built the current home in 2009.