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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 4, 2006 / 4 Teves, 5766

Most dangerous Jew in New York?

By Jon Kalish

Steve Isaak at work
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Meet the kosher karate king


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | He may be the most dangerous Jew in New York.


Steve Isaak, a New York City probation officer who teaches a unique style of jujitsu, has developed a following among the city's observant Jews. Many find his art of self-defense so effective that they train with him for years after they've mastered the basics.


"I've been studying with him for four years, and my family keeps asking, 'When does this end? When do you graduate?' I tell them, 'Never,'" said Goldie, a 25-year-old Orthodox Jew who didn't want her last name used.


The 5-foot graduate student is part of a group of observant women who study with Isaak once a week in a Brooklyn synagogue. Goldie and the other women say they want to be able to defend themselves and their families in what they see as an increasingly dangerous world. They feel that Isaak's classes are conducted in a way that is respectful of Orthodox values.


(The women often wear pants under their skirts if particular techniques are likely to put them in a compromising position.) Although the male teacher physically touches his female students during class, such contact is minimal. For teacher and students, the Halachic (religious) dictates of saving one's own life and the lives of others outweighs the rules against the mixing of the sexes.


In choosing to study with Isaak, the women have essentially said that in their eyes he has the status of a rabbi or doctor.


Isaak calls his art shima jujitsu and insists that it enables even the unathletic to cope with physical confrontations.


"The art is based on efficiency," he explained.


Newcomers often assume that shima jujitsu is based on distraction, but according to Isaak, what it does, rather, is take advantage of the time a mind takes to process thoughts. During that time the practitioner initiates moves that defuse an attack and bring the assailant under control.


Shima is the Japanese word for "little island" and Isaak is fond of pointing out that it is close to the Hebrew word shema and to his own Hebrew name, Simcha. The majority of Isaak's students are Orthodox Jews but the 57-year-old sensei, or master, is not observant. He does have a strong Jewish identity and a fervent belief in self-defense. Not surprising, given that his grandparents perished in Auschwitz and his father survived Dachau.


"I think he feels much more rested at the end of the day, knowing that he helped another Jew learn how to defend himself," said Jimmy Schinazi, a beefy 21-year-old nursing student who has studied with Isaak for several years.


Schinazi occasionally regales his jujitsu class with accounts of physical confrontations or near confrontations at work or in social settings.


"I'm often at the wrong place at the wrong time," he said with a shrug.


The same could be said for Steve Isaak when he was 12 years old. After two older kids beat him on a Manhattan subway platform, Isaak started studying martial arts. By the time he was in college he was teaching self-defense. Eventually he ran his own school on Long Island. At the request of one of his students, Isaak started working as a bouncer. He developed the ability to walk unruly patrons off the premises, often with original jujitsu techniques he developed.


As Isaak approached middle age, he went to work for the New York City Department of Probation, serving for close to 10 years in its Field Services Unit, an armed squad that arrests probation violators.


He's now a member of the department's Special Offender Unit, which supervises pedophiles, gang members and other serious offenders.


Over the years Isaak developed a following among cops, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement types on Long Island. Ralph Zanchelli, who spent 18 years as an undercover detective in Suffolk County, studied jujitsu for five years with Isaak.


"I used it throughout my career," the now retired detective said.


Zanchelli arranged for a shima jujitsu demonstration at the Suffolk County Police Academy, in which Isaak reportedly took an unloaded pistol out of the hand of an officer before the cop could pull the trigger. Several of the police bigwigs present were said to be flabbergasted. Among them was Richard Dormer, a deputy police inspector at the time. In an internal police memo, Dormer described Isaak's techniques as "absolutely controlling." He's now the police commissioner of Suffolk County. Dormer said that Isaak's self-defense techniques are "a terrific asset for law enforcement.


I think he has something very important to offer police officers on the street."


Suffolk County legislator Allan Binder, who studied with Isaak as a teenager, is another believer.


"What he teaches can save lives," the Sabbath-observant lawmaker said


. "There's no question in my mind."


At Binder's urging, Isaak recently demonstrated his techniques for Long Island Congressman Steve Israel. Binder also tried to bring Isaak to the attention of someone he describes as "pretty high up" at the Washington's Transportation Security Administration, but he couldn't get "to first base."


"I think Steve's art would be perfect for flight attendants," Binder said.


An earlier effort to have Isaak share his skills with the Secret Service was similarly frustrated. A Secret Service agent who trained with Isaak had made arrangements for him to appear at the training academy in Beltsville, Md, where agents train, but the invitation was later rescinded.


A dozen or so of Isaak's students have either served in the Israel Defense Forces or are currently doing so. Among them is 34-year-old Avi Elias, who studied with Isaak for 10 years in New York before making aliya. He now teaches shima jujitsu in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem to college students, women, IDF reservists and soldiers in a "unique combat unit" with which he volunteers. Elias arranged for Isaak to do a demonstration for security personnel at El-Al in 2002 and is hoping to get the IDF interested in him.


Before he can retire, Isaak has to put in five more years with the probation department. He'd then like to continue teaching shima jujitsu to Jews and people in law enforcement.


"G-d gave me this talent," Isaak said. "I want to share it with others, because this is something I believe in."

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JWR contributor Jon Kalish is a Manhattan-based newspaper/radio reporter. To comment, please click here.







© 2006, Jon Kalish