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Around the Community

Chanukah House Features Lighting by Chaverim, Hatzalah and Shomrim

BaltimoreJewishHome THE

‫ טז’ טבת‬- ‫כו’ כסלו‬



Shoresh Fidler Teen Trip to New York PAGE 6

Harav Zvi Dov Slanger Celebrates Seventy Years of Freedom and Harbatzas Hatorah PAGE 8




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DECEMBER 25, 2014

COMMUNITY Around the Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

JEWISH THOUGHT A Parsha Thought. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 From the files of Beis Din. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Parenting Today. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Notable Quotes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Rhyme Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

COVER STORY The Lauder Foundation: 25 Years of Revitalizing Polish Jewry. . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Friends Again: Cuba and the U.S. Shake Hands after a Five Decades-Long Embargo . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

LIFESTYLES In the Kitchen: Cholent Victor Style. . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 5 Hidden Costs of Buying a Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 In the Kitchen: Butternut Squash Cabbage Soup.40 My Israel Home. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Health and Fitness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 In the Kitchen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

ISRAEL Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Dear Readers, I met Yaakov Wasilewicz a while back at a pizza store in New York. After reading about his life it was amazing to see him living as a regular Jewish life in America. Many of our readers, particularly his old classmates from the Talmudical Academy here in Baltimore, were fascinated to read Yaakov’s story a few months ago—to learn about a Jewish boy living in Poland who only found out at eight-years-old that he was Jewish. Even though he finally knew that he was Jewish, he was still not able to feel comfortable with his Jewishness. When his classmates found out about Yaakov’s religion, he was ridiculed and called a “dirty Jew.” But things were different in the Lauder Camp, where Yaakov would attend winter and summer camp. There he was finally able to feel comfortable, singing Jewish songs and learning more about Yiddishkeit. Just a few weeks ago, the Lauder Foundation celebrated 25 years since its founding. Ronald S. Lauder has made it his life’s mission to breathe life back into the Jews of Poland. When he founded his organization, so many of those who were still living there didn’t even know that they were Jewish, and even those who knew about their roots were unaware of what Judaism really means. But the Lauder Foundation changed all that. I was inspired by Yaakov’s article on Ronald Lauder and his foundation. It highlights the power of one individual whose vision turned on the lights for hundreds of Jews. Over the past week there were thousands of candles flickering in the windows of homes in Warsaw, Krakow and Lodz, illuminating the souls of hundreds of families. The Lauder Foundation and many other determined individuals are the force behind those tiny sparks that were fanned and grew into flames of love for Torah and Yiddishkeit. As always, we love hearing from our readers. Please feel free to reach out to me at I look forward to hearing from you!


The Baltimore Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not neces­sarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Baltimore Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The BJH contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly.



Around the


DECEMBER 25, 2014



Shoresh Fidler Teen Trip to New York For over 20 years, the teens from Shoresh have taken amazing trips. The trips work on a three year cycle. On the first year of the cycle, they go to New York. The second year, they go to California or Florida, and the third year, Israel. This way, the teenagers can go to Israel at least once during their high school years. In order to attend this highly subsidized trip, the teens must come to our classes “Brew Crews, come to our events, and big brother and big sister the younger children in their communities. In November, the Shoresh Fidler Teens went to New York on a fun and meaningful three day trip. They spent Shabbos in the 5 Towns, and Sunday in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Friends of Rabbi David Finkelstein, the Director of Shoresh and Arielle Wolfson, a wonderful friend of Shoresh, procured housing the entire group. The White Shul and Rabbi Eytan Feiner were so welcoming to the group. The kids could not have felt more at home and Rabbi Feiner tailored his remarks to make sure that our teens were able to appreciate and internalize his wonderful message. (Rebbetzin Aviva Feiner was a former Shoresh star counselor.) On Friday night, Ephraim and Rena Kutner hosted an Oneg at their beautiful home and Rabbi David Greenblatt and Rabbi Eli Kutner were the guest speakers. They had wonderful messages for the teens and in turn, they were dually impressed by the insightful Divrei Torah given by Shoresh teens Brielle Kaplan and Ethan Smith. Moshe and Arielle Wolfson sponsored a beautiful lunch at Rabbi Brown’s shul and the group was joined by longtime friends and supporters Dovid and Joy Devor and family and Dovid and Seema Schwob. The Devors, have been the chairmen of the Shoresh BBQ that is held annually in the 5 Towns. They have

worked with tremendous love and dedication to help the Shoresh Scholarship Fund. It was wonderful to see the pride that they felt to have the Shoresh teens come to their neighborhood and meet their friends who have supported Shoresh for over two decades (this year’s Shoresh New York BBQ is on May 31). Seudah Shlishis was held at the home of former Shoresh counselor Chaya Gibber. She and her husband Aryeh and their family have been part of Shoresh since its inception. The kids ended Shabbos with a beautiful kumzitz. On Motzei Shabbos, the group headed to Manhattan and went ice skating in Central Park. On Sunday, they had a wonderful time touring Times Square and then headed to Brooklyn. They loved going to sefarim stores and the bakeries. They couldn’t believe how much candy was actually kosher! “It felt like we were in Israel as we shopped along Avenue J and saw so many Jewish people,” said Gaithersburg Teen Josh Reyer. 12th grader Ben Kron from Frederick loved the shul on Coney Island Avenue. He couldn’t believe that there was a massive shul inside what looked like a small building. The teens were so impressed by the hachnassas orchim and chessed of the 5 Towns Jewish community. Michael Morberto from Leesburg, Virginia commented, “This was the nicest Shabbos that I have ever experienced. Everyone was so warm and friendly.”

Sarah Tsimmerman from Olney, MD and Keren Binyamin from Columbia, MD loved the singing and spirit at the White Shul. Natalie Buckwold from Mount Airy, MD and Zach Weiss-

man from Potomac, MD were thrilled “to see so many Jews walking on Shabbos in Far Rockaway and Lawrence. We don’t get to experience that at home and it was very special to us.” Emily Scheiner from Gaithersburg, MD recently joined the group and this was her first Shabbaton. “I had such a wonderful time spending Shabbos with all of my new friends at Shoresh. I definitely want to come back and I will tell all of my friends about this awesome organization.” Brian Cohen, who graduated from the University of Maryland, is from Frederick and has recently move to New York. He is working as an engineer. At Shoresh- you never graduate. You are always involved with the organization “from baby to Bubby”. Brian joined us for the weekend and stayed at former Shoresh camper Yitzy Rosenbloom and his wife Emmie. “Thank you for allowing me to join the group for Shabbos last week. I was craving some soulful Jewish experiences, and that was exactly what I needed. Thank you again!” expressed Brian. I know the Rosenblooms and Kutners have already extended invitations to Brian and he is heading back to their house in the next few weeks for Shabbos. Speaking of coming backRabbi David Greenblatt, our guest speak Friday night, invited the teens back to the area. “There are over 600 families who are ready to welcome all of you whenever you want to come back. I hope you will take us up on this offer.” Shoresh definitely will be back!

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packages 4. iPad air 2 64gb with Smart Case Donated by Mr. & Mrs. Yanky Katz 5. Shabbos Package #1 golden weave fine china for 12 Donated by Closeout Connections Crystal glasses for 12 Donated by Anonymous Stainless flatware for 12 Donated by Gifts by Gilda Serving bowl Donated by ZYZYX royal Scroll tablecloth Donated by A to Z 6. Jewelry: Choice of diamond earrings or bracelet Donated by Weinreb and Friedman Diamonds 7. baby Package: uppababy Vista stroller Donated by Dr. & Mrs. Joel Pleeter, with appr. to graco carseat & adapter Donated by Mr. & Mrs. Shlomo Spetner $50 gift certificate to dazzle your Legs Donated by Dazzle Your Legs $36 gift certificate to belle bambini Donated by Belle Bambini


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$100 gift certificate to the Shoe house Donated by The Shoe House 10. Keurig 2.0 K550 Cup/Carafe Coffee brewing System Donated by Arnold & Leila Abelow 11. iPod touch 16gb Donated by Mr. & Mrs. Chaim Bisker 12. digital Camera Canon elph 320 -wifi capable & Leather Canon Case

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14. novelty appliances: Panini maker, Sodastream, ice cream maker, Popcorn popper, immersion blender & Sandwich maker Donated by Mr. & Mrs. Dovid Charnowitz & Mr. & Mrs. Ben Ram, with appreciation to DB Electronics, Lakewood 15. Linens: Majestic wave/bliss luxury twin linen set, 2 twin comforters & 2 luxury pillows Donated by Rabbi & Mrs. Shmuel Rochkind, with appreciation to The Hive

16. Shabbos #2: 2 Kosher Lamps 6 month subscription to Mishpacha Magazine LeChef urn, 6 qt crockpot & $100 Knish Shop gift card

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packages 19. american girl 18” isabelle doll and book Donated by Mr. & Mrs. Mayer Kohen

20. toy Package incl. Magnatiles & more Donated by Mr. & Mrs. Barry Ray in honor of their grandsons, with appr. to Toys for Thought, Lakewood

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Harav Zvi Dov Slanger Celebrates Seventy Years of Freedom and Harbatzas Hatorah Photo credit Israel Orange Baruch she’chiyanu v’kimanu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh!” These were the words of Harav Zvi Dov Slanger, as he addressed the crowd of close to 800 people from across the country that gathered at the Gala of Gratitude on Sunday evening, December 14. The event was magnificent display of hakaras hatov to the Ribbono shel Olam for saving the Rosh Yeshivah from the Nazis, ymsh, a celebration of the harbatzas haTorah, and tribute to the accomplishments of the Beis

from Bergen-Belsen. Mr. Cardin also took the opportunity to thank the Swiss government for all they have done and continue to do for the promotion of human rights. Mr. David Best, Consular to the Swiss Embassy in Washington, D. C. was presented with a beautiful plaque on behalf of Harav Slanger. Following this powerful tribute, Harav Slanger delivered a charged address, expressing thanks to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for all he has done for him.

rah ‘V’achalta v’sava’ta, U’verachta’ -- when you have eaten and you are satisfied, you should bless Hashem, but B’nei Yisroel recites Birkas Hamazon when they have eaten a very small amount while they are still hungry.” We gain a special understanding of this G’mara when we reflect upon the horrors of the concentration camps. Yidden who have been famished for months and years, still gave thanks to the Ribbono Shel Olam for the smallest amount of bread they consumed,

tion to Gedolei Hador. I was zocheh to take an active part in perpetuating the great legacy of Torah by establishing this yeshivah, which has earned a stellar reputation and is as a producing talmidei chachamim who are l’shem u’ltiferes. Baruch she’chiyanu v’kimanu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh!” A surprise presentation was made by Mr. George Strum and Mr. Mark Miller to Harav Slanger, presenting him with a stunning painting, depicting the great rebbeim who have

Hamedrash and Mesivta of Baltimore over the past eighteen years. The date marked seventy years since the Rosh Yeshivah arrived in Switzerland, following his imprisonment by the Nazis. The program was co-chaired by Dr. Michael Elman and Mr. Howard Tzvi Friedman. Senator Ben Cardin presented a tribute to the Swiss government for granting refuge to Harav Slanger and the other passengers on the Kasztner Train, after their release

He began by recounting the G’mara in Maseches Brachos which describes a communication between the Ribbono Shel Olam and the Malachim. The Malachim questioned why Hashem favors B’nei Yisroel “Yisa Hashem Panav Eilecha”. It seems contrary to the proclamation in the Torah of “Lo Yisa Panim” – The Almighty does not show favoritism. HaKadosh Baruch Hu replied, saying, “How can I not favor B’nei Yisroel? I wrote in the To-

being grateful for the very breath of life. Such a nation deserves special favor in this world and in the world to Harav Slanger continued saying: How much more so when one experiences Nissim G’luyim – wondrous miracles – I emerged alive from the sealed gas chambers and then released from the concentration camp in the middle of the war. Arriving at a safe haven in Switzerland and then Eretz Yisrael, I developed a close connec-

shaped his life – including the Chazon Ish, Harav Elya Lopian, the Steipler Gaon, the Brisker Rav, and Harav Shach, zichronam livrachah. A delicious dinner was accompanied by the live, heartfelt zemiros of Rabbi Abish Brodt and sons. The next highlight of the evening was a monumental documentary, depicting Harav Slanger’s childhood in Budapest, his escape on the Kasztner train, his trip to the gas chambers and subsequent im-

Around the


DECEMBER 25, 2014

pre-Chanukah Kumzitz at the home of Eli & Rikki Klein on behalf of A Hope to Heal.


ing saved.” The climax of the evening was the final announcement by Dr. Elman. “We all witnessed the extraordinary will and determination of the Rosh Yeshivah...It is therefore with enormous pride and gratitude that we announce that plans are now underway to break ground for the construction of a new beis medrash building...” Then, accompanied by more spirited singing from Rabbi Abish Brodt, the attendees broke into spontaneous dancing, celebrating a true victory over all those who try to destroy us, signifying the true triumph for Torah.

prisonment in Bergen Belsen, and finally, his arrival in Switzerland and then Eretz Yisrael, where he was zocheh to learn from the great Gedolim of that time. After coming to the United States, Harav Slanger was marbitz Torah in Yeshivas Ner Yisroel for many years, until finally establishing the Beis Hamedrash and Mesivta of Baltimore. The video included testimonials from several individuals, including Harav Slanger’s brothers in Eretz Yisrael, and Harav Meir Tzvi Bergman, shlita. Harav Elyasef Slanger, Menahel of Beis Hamedrash and Mesivta of Baltimore testified, “Not a day goes by that my father does not mention his rebbeim. It is not a part of his history, it is a part of his life. The hakaras hatov is there constantly – he always feels he is be-

On Monday evening December 15th, Eitan Katz brought his musical talents to Baltimore and led a



DECEMBER 25, 2014


Around the


TA-PTA Barnes & Noble Bookfair! On Sunday, December 7, our PTA celebrated literacy at our Yeshiva’s second Barnes & Noble Bookfair. Families and friends of the Yeshiva were invited to the Pikesville Barnes & Noble to hear guest readers, mingle with teachers, and shop for books. The event also featured craft tables and a special appearance by “The Man with the Yellow Hat”, Curious George’s teacher and mentor. The attendees enjoyed Story Time with Lower School teachers Mrs. Te-

ichman, Morah Caryn Altman, Mr. Rudy Stoler, and Mrs. Carol Sommer, and with Mrs. Nechama First, our Lower School Librarian who also compiled our book wish lists. Rabbi Zev “The Man with the Yellow Hat” Silver, our Lower School General Studies Principal, dazzled kids of all ages with his Curious George story times. Barnes & Noble contributes a percentage of all sales to our school, and all proceeds will be used to purchase


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books for our school and classroom libraries. Last year, the TA-PTA was able to purchase more than $1,100 worth of books for the school. All TA Pre-School and Elementary boys who attended received a reward pass, and were entered into a raffle. Avraham Azman in Morah Maggie Silver’s Pre1A class won a puppet-making kit and Meshulem Goldfeder in Rabbi Hoenlein’s 3rd grade won a Barnes and Noble gift card.

We would like to thank our hanhala and faculty for so generously contributing their time and talents to making the Bookfair such a success; Barnes & Noble for sponsoring the event; and, last but not least, all those who came to enjoy this wonderful event and support our Yeshiva. A special thank you goes to the TA-PTA, under the leadership of Mrs. Andrea Schulman and Mrs. Goldie Gross, for putting together this wonderful program.

The NCSY New York Experience: Underclassman Edition Teens from around the region from 9th and 10th grade joined us in our Underclassman New York Experience. After visiting the Museum of Tolerance in New York we made

our way to the heart of Flatbush for an amazing Shabbos. Saturday night we returned to the City in fashion, Stretch Limos for a limo rally!!!



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DECEMBER 25, 2014


Around the


Chanukah House Features Lighting by Chaverim, Hatzalah and Shomrim Cohn

Thursday evening, the 3rd night of Chanukah, brought a sizeable and diverse crowd to the famous Baltimore Chanukah House on Greenspring Ave. Groups honored with lighting included Chaverim, Hatzalah, and Shomrim. More deco-

rations have been added to the beautiful display enhancing the Pirsumei Nissa (publicizing of the miracle) and Yitzy Fleishman and family extended an invitation to everyone to include a visit to the Chanukah house over Chanukah.

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All-New Program Honoring Deserving Youth & Adults THE BALTIMORE JEWISH HOME


Project Ezra of Greater Baltimore, Inc. & the Chesed Fund Limited Present


DECEMBER 25, 2014

Community SAFETY The Maryland Jewish Community Award for Exceptional Service in Safety & Security

Sunday, April 26, 2015 • 7:00pm On the heels of the great success

security of our community. Submit

of our Youth Award, Project Ezra

your nominees and join us for a

& the Chesed Fund are announcing

special awards ceremony, held in

our Community Safety Award,

conjunction with the Youth Award

giving recognition to adults who

ceremony, to honor those who

have gone above and beyond

have contributed outstandingly to

to help ensure the safety and

making our community safer.

1. Submit your nominations to the Chesed Fund by email ( or by fax (410-358-7373)

2. Include an explanation of why your nominee should be awarded. 3. Provide your full contact infor­ mation as well as your nominee’s

Final decisions will be made at the discretion of Project Ezra and the Chesed Fund. Dedicated in memory of Philip Kauffman, vwwg, affectionately known as Pop-Pop, who was a proud Jewish World War II veteran. A family man par excellence, he was truly devoted to his dear family and wife of over 70 years. Also dedicated in memory of Paul Naden, who was the embodiment of kindness. ▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼

The Chesed Fund Limited is dedicated in memory of Mordechai & Rebecca Kapiloff vwwg, Dr. Bernard Kapiloff vwwg and Rabbi Norman & Louise Gerstenfeld vwwg

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The "Keep Your School Safe" Initiative Presents

STAY safe in israel

an indespensible guide for your children in Israel or for anyone planning a visit Stay Safe in Israel is dedicated in memory of Aharon Sofer A"H and Ariel Newman A"H The Chesed Fund Limited is dedicated in memory of Mordechai & Rebecca Kapiloff vwwg, Dr. Bernard Kapiloff vwwg and Rabbi Norman & Louise Gerstenfeld vwwg

inaugural edition May 2015

preview edition january 2015


DECEMBER 25, 2014




An Urgent Message from Hatzalah for Medical Professionals

If you are a medical professional or have any medical training or skills, and you are willing to lend a hand in the event of a community emergency, we urge you to register today. This list will be used exclusively by Hatzalah in urgent situations. Project Ezra

Sign up today at:

& Of Baltimore

This project is in the zechus of a Refuah Shleima for those injured in the Har Nof tragedy, including Shmuel Yerucham ben Baila Goldstein The Chesed Fund Limited is dedicated in memory of Mordechai & Rebecca Kapiloff vwwg, Dr. Bernard Kapiloff vwwg and Rabbi Norman & Louise Gerstenfeld vwwg

Project Ezra

A Joint Project of

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Or call 443-471-6273


DECEMBER 25, 2014


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Chanukah Menorah Parade Larger Than Ever Cohn

Chabad Lubavitch Centers in Greater Baltimore celebrated the first night of Chanukah on Tuesday, Dec. 16, by lighting a public 30-foot menorah at the Inner Harbor’s McKeldin Square (Corner Light & Pratt St.). The ceremony launched a community-wide celebration featuring Maryland Governor-Elect Larry Hogan,

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, Fire Chief Niles Ford, local philanthropist/developer Howard Brown, and many other dignitaries and community leaders. Festivities began with a Car Menorah Parade, organized by Chabad

Photo credit Israel Orange

of Park Heights, from Northwest Baltimore to the Inner Harbor, and culminated in the Grand Menorah Lighting and Chanukah Celebration. Following the menorah lighting ceremony, hundreds danced, sang, and skated the night away at the nearby Waterfront Partnership’s Inner Harbor Ice Rink.

The Baltimore Jewish community wishes to specifically thank the Baltimore Police Department for efficiently handling the myriad logistics enabling the parade to run extremely smoothly.

Olive Press Visit and Menorah Making in TA Last week, the Preschool was treated to an exciting visit by Rabbi Hillel Baron, who demonstrated the process of olive oil making. Each boy got to drop two olives into the olive press. Rabbi Baron also taught the boys about the Chanukah

story through a reenactment by our very own preschoolers! The Nursery boys are looking forward to using their very own menorahs that they made with Rabbi Baron. The Pre1a boys enjoyed decorating their menorahs with their morahs.

Voice Lessons

with Cantor Allan Berman

All Baalei Tefiloh, Singers, Teachers, Rebbeim... Trouble with high notes? Hoarse?

Graphics by Leah Mostofsky

Learn to speak, sing , and daven correctly and with the correct Nusach and melodies! Call: 410-733-0996 or 410-486-0491 Email:

This past Tuesday night, Greater Washington Latte welcomed the famous Rabbi D to share some beautiful words about Chanukah and not letting society define your potential. Thanks to all the teens that came out in the cold and in the rain, we appreciate your dedication!

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The Baltimore Jewish Councils Holocaust Remembrance Commission is very excited to inform the community of a new and important endeavor under the auspices of the Baltimore Jewish Councils Holocaust Remembrance Commission. We are forming a group of Baltimore Holocaust Survivors and Descendants. As we well know and heard many

times, the survivor community is quickly disappearing and with it we are losing the witnesses to the event that eliminated two thirds of world Jewry. The purpose of this group is to connect survivors and descendants to freely share individual experiences, past and present, in an atmosphere of friendship, support, and comfort, to listen and to learn.

We want to teach the lessons of the Holocaust to the younger generations and to our community and to spread the knowledge of the rich Jewish culture that was destroyed. We hope that our work will educate people of the consequences of bigotry and hatred so that never again will anyone suffer those atrocities, injustices and agonies that our families and friends had to endure.

If you know other survivors or descendants who may like to attend, please spread the word. Our first meeting will take place on Sunday, January 11, 2015 from 2:00 -4:00 p.m. at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC, 5700 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215 Please RSVP to Phyllis Gwynn at 410-5420-4850 or by January 5th

DECEMBER 25, 2014

OCA Visit the Science Center Last week, the 3rd and 4-5 grade classes went to the Maryland Science Center. As OCA scientists, they were able to see, touch, hear, and even smell science! From lying on a bed of nails, to using air pressure to shoot a tennis ball fifty feet into the air, to seeing their hearts beating on a huge screen, the whole day was filled with amazing experiences. They spent the day as they spend every science class; discovering new things. It was wonderful to have such a hands-on opportunity for them. They were also able to integrate

what they are learning in their Judaic Studies on this trip. They have been

learning about Hashem’s wondrous creations during bayur tefillah. It was


Important New Group is being formed in Baltimore


exciting to see the Imax movie about the forces of nature.

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DECEMBER 25, 2014



From the Desk of Keep Your School Safe Innovative initiatives for student and school safety in Israel By Margie Pensak

While Frank Storch, Baltimore askan, was at Tel Aviv’s International Conference on Homeland Security (HLS 2014) in November, he seized the opportunity to speak with roshei yeshiva and seminary principals about how to apply ideas from the Keep Your School Safe guide in Israel. Additionally, they discussed Stay Safe in Israel, a personal safety guide he recently created specifically for American students in Israel. Like Keep Your School Safe, which he presented both to the conference and school leaders, Stay Safe in Israel is a hands-on, easy to use guide to security in a school setting. A preview edition of this new free guide will be available in January at Keep Your School Safe and Stay Safe in Israel are results of Mr. Storch’s school safety initiative, based

tributed for free to Jewish schools in North America, and is also available as a free download at The guide is comprised of suggested security protocols and measures and has been endorsed by the Secure Community Network, Agudath Israel of America, Torah Umesorah, Young Israel, and the Orthodox Union (OU). At the HLS 2014 conference, Mr. Storch met with Israeli Minister Naftali Bennett and discussed the importance of keeping schools safe in Israel and all over the world. He handed out copies of Keep Your School Safe, and it was warmly received by government representatives and delegates from over 40 countries. Mr. Storch also visited schools in Israel and saw firsthand the need for improved security. He has since provided several schools with a four page analysis detailing upgrades

Frank Storch in front of an Iron Dome battery

on more than 40 years of experience in security and safety. In 2013, following the Sandy Hook tragedy, he created the Keep Your School Safe guide with the assistance of The Chesed Fund Limited and Project Ezra of Greater Baltimore. The 40 page guide was dis-

in security protocols, guards, equipment, communication, training, lockdown drills, and tiyulim etc. After his trip, and after the Har Nof shul massacre, Mr. Storch met with parents in Baltimore to guide them in asking their children’s schools

in Israel about their school safety. Mr. Storch said, “These questions empowered parents to effectively assess the levels of security, beyond the pat answers of ‘everything is fine’ and ‘we have lockdown procedures in place.’” “As part of the Keep Your School Safe Initiative, Baltimore security expert Tzviel ‘B.K.’ Blankchtein will be traveling to Israel next week to review security procedures at seminaries and yeshivas,” announced Mr. Storch. Mr. Blankchtein served as an infantry reconnaissance team member in the IDF. He has also served as the Lead Defensive Tactics Instructor for the Maryland Police and Corrections Training Commission. His company, Masada Tactical, is a leading organization in security consulting for governmental agencies and Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Blankchtein is donating his time and expertise to benefit the klal as he

advice for before, during, and after their time in Israel and should be read by all students traveling to Israel. Tips include tiyul, dirah/dorm, money, and street and health safety. Since students are easy targets, the handbook advises street smart tips such as, “Create a buddy system with your friends. Always inform each other where you are traveling to and when you will be back” and “Always be familiar with your surroundings so that you can plan how to act defensively in a hostile situation. Think strategically and use whatever is easily accessible to protect yourself, i.e. fire extinguisher, tables, chairs, etc.” The Stay Safe in Israel handbook and the four page report recently provided to seminaries and yeshivas are dedicated in memory of Aharon Sofer and Ariel Newman, who both died heartbreakingly in Israel this past

Frank Storch meeting Naftali Bennett

has in the past. The soon to be printed Stay Safe in Israel is a free guide to help seminary and yeshiva students take charge of their personal safety during their year of independence in Israel. This important handbook provides critical

summer. The soon-to-be-released Stay Safe in Israel is not even Mr. Storch’s latest project. Keep an eye out for his next guide, Keep Your Shul & Organization Safe, to be completed early spring.




DECEMBER 25, 2014


The Week Global France Rocked by Terrorist Acts

itary’s participation in U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq. Some extremists have specifically suggested that anyone angry at the French government could use weapons easily at hand — such as cars or knives — to stage “lone wolf” attacks.

17,500 Protest Islamization in Germany On Sunday, a driver shouting, “Allahu Akbar,” plowed his car into a crowd in the eastern French city of Dijon. Thirteen people were injured when the Islamic man rammed his car into the mass of people; two people were listed in critical condition. Some news outlets reported that witnesses also heard the driver shouting that he was acting on behalf of “the children of Palestine” during the rampage, which lasted approximately 30 minutes and took place in four separate locations within the city. “The man, born in 1974, is apparently imbalanced and had been in a psychiatric hospital,” the source told AFP. His name has not been released yet but the 40-year-old was taken to a psychiatric hospital. Authorities were still searching for two other people believed to be in the car during the incident. The attack came the day after a French convert to Islam was shot dead after attacking three police officers with a knife while also reportedly crying “Allahu Akbar” in the central town of Joue-les-Tours. Just one day after Sunday’s attack, a second attack involving a car hit pedestrians late Monday, injuring 10 people. The act of terrorism took place in the western town of Nantes, crashing into a market crowded with people prior to the holidays. After the intentional crash, the 37-year-old driver stabbed himself several times and was then sent to the hospital. The Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations have repeatedly called for attacks against France, possibly because of the French mil-

On Monday night, 17,500 people joined in the latest demonstration against Islam in Dresden, Germany, celebrating the rise of the Pegida movement, a far-right populist movement in the country. The protest was organized by Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West – a group that has grown rapidly since its first protest in October. Many have been stunned by its meteoric rise. About 4,500 counter-demonstrators marched through the city under the slogan “Dresden Nazi-free,” warning that there was no space for racism and xenophobia in the country that perpetrated the Holocaust. But most Pegida followers insist they are not Nazis but patriots who worry about the “watering down” of their Christian-rooted culture and traditions. They often accuse mainstream political parties of betraying them and the media of lying. Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, of the center-left Social Democrats, called for concerned citizens to launch a “rebellion of the decent” against the anti-foreigner movement, saying “that’s the kind of public reaction we need now.”

In News Pegida, born in a city that was part of Communist East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago, has spawned copycat groups in western areas which have failed so far to attract similar crowds. Smaller clone groups rallied Monday in the western cities of Bonn, Kassel and Wuerzburg, but they only drew up to 200 followers each and were all vastly outnumbered by counter-demonstrations that drew 20,000 nationwide. In Munich, the biggest anti-Pegida march was held with at least 12,000 rallying under the banner “Make space – refugees are welcome.” “We have space for people of different skin color, ethnic origin and mother tongue,” city mayor Dieter Reiter told the crowd. “We have space for all religions and believers: for those who go to the mosque on Fridays, who go to the synagogue on Saturdays, or to church on Sundays, but also for those who prefer to just stay home.” The movement has emerged at a time when Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has become the continent’s top destination for asylum seekers, and the world’s number two destination for migrants after the United States. The influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and several African and Balkan countries has strained local governments, which have scrambled to house the newcomers in old schools, office blocks and army barracks. Chancellor Angela Merkel has cautioned Germans against falling prey to any form of xenophobic “rabble-rousing,” while other lawmakers have deplored the new “pin-striped Nazis.”

Russia’s Financial Forecast Looks Gloomy Russia’s government has pushed the country into an economic crisis by not tackling its financial problems fast enough, former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said this week, warning the full effects would be felt next year. Kudrin, who is a favorite of in-

vestors, is credited with building Russia’s $170 billion worth of sovereign wealth funds. He added that sanctions over Ukraine were primarily behind the collapse of the ruble and warned that Russia risked seeing its debt downgraded to junk status in 2015.

“Today, I can say that we have entered or are entering a real, fullfledged economic crisis. Next year we will feel it clearly,” Kudrin said at a news conference. “The government has not been quick enough to address the situation ... I am yet to hear ... its clear assessment of the current situation.” Kudrin, one of few to criticize President Vladimir Putin, quit in 2011 in protest at proposals to increase defense spending. He has since criticized Putin’s response to Western sanctions imposed following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its subsequent support for loyalist fighters. But the two men are still believed to be close. Russia has been hit by what Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev calls a “perfect storm” of plummeting oil prices, sanctions and a flight of investors’ capital. Government officials have tried to minimize the impact of sanctions on the ruble, which plunged last week despite a hike in interest rates to 17 percent. Putin claims “external factors” like oil were the key culprit behind the country’s “tough times.”

Iran Unveils Monument to Jewish Martyrs At a public ceremony last week, Iran unveiled a monument dedicat-

The Week Pictures. The response came along with a threat of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and “the whole U.S. mainland—that cesspool of terrorism.” Such rhetoric is routine from North Korea’s massive propaganda machine during times of high tension with Washington. But a long statement released by the powerful National Defense Commission also underscores Pyongyang’s sensitivity to a film pro-

duced by Sony whose plot focuses on the assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un. The U.S. blames North Korea for the cyber-attack that escalated to threats of terror attacks against U.S. movie theaters and caused Sony to cancel The Interview’s release. Obama, who promised to respond “proportionately” to the attack, told reporters that Washington is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism. The

National Defense Commission, led by Kim, warned that its 1.2 million-member army is ready to use all types of warfare against the U.S. “Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the ‘symmetric counteraction’ declared by Obama,” said the commission’s Policy Department in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News


ed to Jewish soldiers killed in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. This tribute came as a shock in a country with a notorious antagonistic stance towards the Jewish people and state. Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, posted photos of last Monday’s ceremony with the headline, “Monument to Jewish Martyrs Unveiled in Tehran.” The photo was captioned, “Iran on Monday unveiled a monument to the Jewish citizens who lost their lives in the 8-year Iraqi imposed war on Iran.”

In News


DECEMBER 25, 2014

The monument, a large gold slab, contains inscriptions in Farsi as well as a plaque featuring an artistic representation of the Hebrew phrase, “Shalom olam.” It was placed in a Jewish cemetery in Tehran. Another slab has a tiled illustration of a gold menorah set against a royal blue background.  Officials spoke at a dais flanked by the Iranian flag and a large seven-stemmed menorah. Banners show images of fallen Jewish soldiers, who were hailed as “martyrs” in both Farsi and Hebrew. Photos of the event also depict a large group of Jews praying and visiting tombstones in the ceremony. At the time of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, there were approximately 140,000-150,000 Jews living in Iran; According to the most recent Iranian census, the current Jewish population of Iran is 8,756.  

North Korea Denies Terror Claims North Korea said that President Barack Obama is “recklessly” spreading rumors of a recent Pyongyang-orchestrated cyber-attack against Sony


DECEMBER 25, 2014


The Week Agency. North Korea has said it knows how to prove it had nothing to do with the hacking and proposed a joint investigation with the U.S. North Korea and the U.S., which fought each other in the 1950-53 Korean War, remain technically in a state of war because the conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea to deter aggression from North Korea. The rivals are locked in an international standoff over the North’s nuclear and missile programs and its alleged human rights abuses. In the spring of last year, tension dramatically rose after North Korea issued a string of fiery threats to launch nuclear strikes against Washington and Seoul.  

Israel Dreidel Record Topped

Almost 800 people took a world record for a spin this week with a huge simultaneous dreidel spin. Participants in the Tel Aviv event included Member of Knesset Tzipi Livni and other local and national leaders. With Guinness World Record officials monitoring the 200-meter-long table, 754 adults and children successfully spun dreidels for 10 seconds in a row at the city’s Sarona shopping compound. The previous record held was for 377 dreidels. “We came here today to break a positive record,” Livni said. “It’s upon all of us to continue to create a better, more optimistic reality for our children and for all of Israel.” Draydel House, a store known for creating luxury ceramic dreidels,

provided all of the spinning tops. Interestingly, the store also holds the record of having made one of the largest dreidels in the world.

Mossad Spy Infiltrated Top Hezbollah Ranks

In News has vowed to take revenge. M. Sh. also reportedly exposed other Hezbollah agents, including Mohammed Amadar, arrested in Peru in late October with TNT and detonators following a Mossad tip-off; Hossam Yaacoub, convicted in Cyprus for planning attacks against Israeli tourists in March 2013; and Daoud Farhat and Youssef Ayad, arrested in April 2014 in Bangkok for planning terror attacks against Israeli tourists in Thailand.      

More High-Tech Defenses on the Way In a new and far-reaching development, the David’s Sling defense system will now be able to intercept projectiles beyond Israel’s borders, according to a senior official from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

Syria: Israeli Drone Shot Down

A recent Lebanese news report said that Hezbollah recently exposed a senior spy working for the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency within its foreign operations branch. According to the report, the Mossad agent had been responsible for the personal security of the head of the terror group. In the past few days, several high-ranking members of the terror organization have been dismissed since the traitor had been exposed. According to a Kuwaiti newspaper, the double agent, a southern Lebanon businessman known only by the acronym M. Sh., guarded Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in the past. Nasrallah is thought to be a top target for Israel and rarely makes public appearances for fear of assassination. The Kuwaiti report said the spy played a role in the 2008 assassination of senior Hezbollah member Imad Mughniyeh. The spy worked as a traveling businessman and was recruited by the Mossad in a “western Asian country.” The collaborator had been working for Israel for years and succeeded in thwarting a number of Hezbollah operations planned to avenge the assassination of Mughniyeh in February 2008, ostensibly by Israel. Mughniyeh’s assassination was considered a major blow to the terror group. Israel has never claimed responsibility, but Hezbollah has blamed Jerusalem for the attack and

Syrian authorities have claimed that they shot down an Israeli drone in the province of Kuneitra near the Golan Heights. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), quoting a military source, reported that the Skylark 1 drone was flying above the village of Hadar when it was shot down. SANA posted photos of a UAV featuring labels in Hebrew.  An IDF spokesperson denied the report, saying that it had no information about a UAV being present in the area at the time of the reported incident. Israel has struck Syria several times since the start of the latter’s nearly four-year civil war, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for their long-time foe Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon. Kuneitra has seen heavy fighting between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels including al Qaeda-linked fighters. Syria said last week that Israeli jets had bombed areas near Damascus international airport and in the town of Dimas, near the border with Lebanon.

“David’s Sling has an interception range which ensures intercept before a threat enters Israeli territory. David’s Sling can intercept any rocket or missiles inside the atmosphere, and over enemy areas,” Ari Sacher of Rafael’s Air Superiority Systems Division said. The system can shoot down incoming warheads regardless of whether they are conventional or carrying an unconventional warhead, Sacher added. “Two David’s Sling batteries will cover the whole of Israel,” he said. “It protects Israel against strategic threats, and has the range, the speed and the maneuverability to do so.” It can intercept medium-range rockets and missiles, including many of Hezbollah’s projectiles, as well as hostile aircraft, missiles with longer ranges and cruise missiles.  Unlike the Iron Dome, which was developed exclusively by Rafael, the Israeli defense giant is developing David’s Sling jointly with the U.S. defense firm Raytheon. The system is entering the production stage and will have initial operational capability in 2016. The company has been extremely busy. Rafael is also waiting for the Defense Ministry to respond to its offer to equip the army’s light tactical vehicles, such as jeeps and the Wolf Armored Vehicle, with its active defense system, known as Trophy LV. Merkava MK 4 tanks are already fitted with Trophy HV, which intercepted

The Week

Bank Leumi to Pay US $400M

A new smartphone app has being developed to help those with disabilities easily perform everyday activities. Wheelchair-bound for nine years, quadriplegic electrical power engineer Giora Livne is hoping his new application will change the world for those with disabilities. Determined to use a smartphone, Livne joined forces with app developer Oded Ben Dov to create a device that responds to head movements. And the result is an astonishingly smart phone called the Sesame Phone. The Sesame Phone is customized to the user’s face and allows them to select applications and move the cursor. “I can do everything with the phone. I can call, I can receive calls, I can use SMS, WhatsApp, I can play games and in the very, very near future, I will be able to operate a lot of

After admitting to helping U.S. taxpayer hide assets, Israel’s Bank Leumi Group will pay a total of some $400 million to U.S. and New York authorities to settle a criminal probe, the Department of Justice announced Monday. Some senior staff will be terminated as well. Bank Leumi agreed to pay $270 million to the U.S. Department of Justice, $156 million of which is a fine for U.S. taxpayer accounts held at the bank’s Swiss subsidiary, and $130 million to New York’s Department of Financial Services. From at least 2000 until early 2011,

Bank Leumi sent private bankers from Israel and elsewhere to meet with U.S. taxpayers and help them conceal assets at Leumi locations in Israel, Switzerland and Luxembourg, documents revealed. According to prosecutors, Leumi, a unit of Bank Leumi le-Israel, also helped U.S. taxpayers prepare and present false tax returns. As part of a deferred prosecution agreement, Leumi agreed to supply information on more than 1,500 US account holders. The Justice Department said the case marks the first time an Israeli bank has admitted to such criminal conduct. According to a report in Forbes magazine, the statement of facts in the case included the following main accusations: “surreptitiously sending private bankers from Israel and elsewhere around the world to the United States to meet secretly with U.S. clients at hotels, parks and coffee shops to discuss their offshore account activity; assisting U.S. clients in using nominee corporate entities created in Belize and other foreign jurisdictions to hide their undeclared accounts by concealing the U.S. client as the true beneficial owner of the account; using the Bank Leumi le-Israel Trust Company as a nominee account holder for U.S. clients with accounts in Israel to conceal the U.S. client as the true beneficial owner of the account; maintaining U.S. clients’ undeclared offshore accounts under assumed names or numbered accounts to conceal the U.S. client as the true beneficial owner of the account.” The report also said the bank was guilty of “providing hold mail services so that correspondence and other account information would not go directly to the U.S. client to make it more difficult to connect the client to the secret offshore account; extending loans to U.S. clients from Bank Leumi USA that were collateralized by the assets in those clients’ offshore accounts, so that the clients could leverage their offshore assets to obtain and use capital in the United States while keeping their foreign accounts secret and undetected from the U.S. government; and after the department’s investigation into UBS and other Swiss banks’ criminal conduct in aiding U.S.

taxpayers to evade their taxes became public, the Bank Leumi Group opened and maintained accounts for U.S. taxpayers who left UBS and other Swiss banks due to the investigation in an effort to continue to avoid detection by the U.S. government.”

Average Israeli Living in Debt

A new report by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies has found that the average Israeli household spends hundreds of shekels more than its monthly income. The difference seems to be primarily due to high housing costs, which have climbed by 53 percent between April 2007 and July 2013. The report was met with fierce condemnation against the government by prime minister hopeful Isaac Herzog, who said it demonstrated that it was time to oust Benjamin Netanyahu, “who placed the entire country in overdraft.” “The average Israeli family cannot make ends meet; across all population groups in Israel, expenditures exceed income,” a statement from the Taub Center said. “High housing prices are the primary reason for this phenomenon, and for [non-ultra-Orthodox] Jews, the purchase of an apartment is the factor that shifts them from a positive to a negative monthly balance.” “The average household cannot purchase an apartment without assistance, which usually comes from their parents’ gradually decreasing savings,” it added.

DECEMBER 25, 2014

Israeli App Gives New Life to the Disabled

things at home,” Livne said. Livne has even more ambitious plans for his next project. “The next step will be driving the car with the iPhone, or with the telephone, and of course, my aim is to get to the moon with the phone.” Sesame has tested the phone on 10 different users with different forms of paralysis. Chani Shalevet, a quadriplegic, was one of the testers. “From my personal account, I still don’t have communication with the outside world, in terms of technology, and the progressive world, and with this application, an opportunity has opened up and gives me and many people an equal chance to be like everyone,” Shalevet raved.   While the phone has been designed for the mobility-impaired, Ben Dov believes it may have wider appeal. “You can imagine using it in the kitchen while you’re cooking and your hands are messy, while driving perhaps, any task that revolves [involves] your hands and you need to do something on top of that.”

In News


antitank missile and rocket-propelled grenade attacks in the Gaza Strip on many occasions during last summer’s war with Hamas. The IDF has begun fitting the Namer armored personnel carrier with Trophy HV as well. Trophy LV provides 360-degree defense against RPG threats. Its radar detects and tracks incoming RPGs and activates an electro-optic system that fires an interceptor from the vehicle’s roof downward to neutralize the threat. Yiftah Kleinman, marking and business development manager at Rafael’s Advanced Armored Systems Directorate, said the system allows lighter vehicles to move through builtup areas teeming with terrorists armed with RPGs and enables significantly safer border patrols.  



DECEMBER 25, 2014


The Week Among all populations except for the ultra-Orthodox and Arabs, the average household spends NIS 864 ($220) more than its monthly income. Among Arab households, the gap stands at NIS 1,919 ($488), and the ultra-Orthodox exceed their income by NIS 3,209 ($817). With regard to the housing crisis, the Taub Center researchers found that overall more people owned homes in 2012 (73.5%) than in 2006 (72.3%). The higher prices took its toll on younger buyers, however, as among younger households, between the ages 25-34, the number of non-homeowners rose from 43% in 2003 to 54% in 2012. The cost of food products also saw a significant increase since 2005, the report said. “In 2005, most food products in Israel were cheaper, but within six years alone, all food categories (aside from vegetables and fruit) have surpassed international averages,” it said. “Dairy products in Israel were only 6% more expensive than the average in 2005, but were 51% more expensive in 2011; fish products were 30% cheaper in 2005, but were 25% more expensive than the OECD average in 2011.” A separate report released by the National Insurance Institute showed that 1.6 million Israelis — among them 756,900 children — continue to live under the poverty line.  

EU Removes Hamas from ‘Blacklist’

According to the European Union’s top Israel emissary, the EU court’s decision to remove Hamas from its blacklist will have absolutely no practical implications. To be clear,

he reiterated, the European Union still considers Hamas a terrorist organization. Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen said he understood why Israeli officials are worried about the court ruling, since Hamas is “deliberately mischaracterizing” it, but added that he believes that he was able to alleviate their worries. “It’s a technical, procedural decision that the court has reached. It doesn’t change the political position of the EU vis-à-vis Hamas, which is still that it’s a terror organization,” Faaborg-Andersen said. “It’s important to point out that this has no immediate effect in terms of unfreezing the sanctions that we have against Hamas. We have an asset freeze against Hamas and Hamas members and that will stay in place.” The EU will continue to adhere to the so-called “Quartet principles,” Faaborg-Andersen said, implying the Union would refrain from interacting with Hamas as long as the group doesn’t renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist. All EU sanctions against Hamas — mostly the freezing of funds — will stay in place for three months. The EU plans to appeal the court’s decision, Faaborg-Andersen said, noting that sanctions against Hamas would remain in place for the duration of the entire appeal process. The verdict’s impact “on the ground is null; it doesn’t have any practical effect,” he restated. Despite the assurances, “we are not satisfied with the European Union’s explanation that the removal of Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations is a ‘technical matter,’” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The burden of proof is on the European Union and we expect it to put Hamas back on the list forthwith, given that it is understood by all that Hamas — a murderous terrorist organization, the covenant of which specifies the destruction of Israel as its goal — is an inseparable part of this list.” Commenting on the court decision as well as on the current wave of European parliaments calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state, Netanyahu said it seems “that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing.”  

In News Clinton: Reflections on Rabin This week, in celebration of Yedioth Ahronoth’s special 75th anniversary issue, former President Bill Clinton sat down with the paper to answer questions regarding his involvement in the peace process and his relationship with late Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin. Clinton revealed what moment moved him the most in his involvement in the peace process. “The last time Rabin came to Washington, we had a signing ceremony in the White House for the first big handover of land in the West Bank from Israel to the Palestinian Authority,” Clinton related. “…Rabin and Arafat met in the Cabinet Room to initial the annex to the agreement, which included several different maps, each reflecting the results of difficult negotiations on control of a multitude of roads, crossings, settlements, and holy sites. About midway through the process, I needed to step out to take a call. A few minutes later, Rabin came out and said, ‘We have a problem.’ On one of the maps, Arafat had noticed a crossroads that he was convinced the parties had agreed to turn over to the Palestinians, but was marked as remaining under Israeli control. Rabin and Arafat wanted me to help resolve the dispute. I took them into my small private dining room off of the Oval Office, but then I left them there, alone together for the first time, to come to a decision without any intermediaries.” But then, the problem was resolved. “Within a few minutes, they came out of the room and Rabin said, ‘He’s right. It’s his.’ In other words, the map was wrong. … Rabin said he would hand over control of the crossroad immediately. When I reminded Arafat that by signing the maps the way they were, he was technically signing away his legal rights, he looked at Rabin and replied, ‘His word is worth more than any written contract.’ The level of trust Rabin inspired even in his long-time adversary was an amazing testament to his values, his character, and his understanding that trust is always more precious

than words.” Clinton related that one of the special moments he shared with Rabin involved a tie. “About ten days before his death, Rabin and I attended a black-tie dinner together at the State Department, where he presented me with the United Jewish Appeal’s Isaiah Award. As everyone knows, Rabin had been a soldier most of his life, and so he was never comfortable wearing fancy clothes. In fact, I had read that when David Ben-Gurion sent him on his first-ever diplomatic mission in 1949, he didn’t even own a tie. Somebody had to give him one, tie it, and then loosen it, so he would never have to learn how to tie one himself. “In 1995, just before our black-tie dinner, he discovered that he’d only brought a straight tie, not a bow tie as the occasion warranted. We borrowed a bow tie from one of my staff, and my last memory of our time together was me straightening his bow tie, with him good-naturedly kvetching the whole time about having to wear it. The moment will always remind me that while Yitzhak Rabin was a great man, he was also an ordinary yet interesting man. He was also a joy to be with and to work with, and he made you feel better just being around him.” 

Clinton also spoke about the day that Rabin was assassinated. “I’d been enjoying a rare, relaxed day in the White House residence when my National Security Advisor, Anthony Lake, called to tell me that Rabin had been shot while leaving a huge peace rally in Tel Aviv. … I called Hillary, who was upstairs working on her book, and told her what had happened. She came down to comfort me. About twenty-five minutes after his first call, Tony called again to say that Rabin’s condition was grave, but he knew nothing else. I left the residence and

The Week In News

NYPD Loses Two Heroes It was a tearful week for New York City as two policemen were callously murdered while serving our city. A gunman fatally shot two officers in their squad car on Saturday at 2:47pm in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Ismaaiyl Brinsley fled into a nearby subway station where he then turned the gun on himself. It was revealed that the shooter had a long criminal history and open hatred for police and the government. Authorities said that Ismaaiyl Brinsley also had a history of mental instability including a suicide attempt last year.

Reportedly, in the moments leading him to his brutal ambush, Brinsley approached people on the street and asked them to follow him on Instagram. He then told them, “Watch what I’m going to do,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. On his social media account, Brinsley posted a photo of his handgun and boasted of his plans to retaliate for the death of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Brinsley was black; the slain officers were of Asian and Hispanic descent. Brinsley, 28, had at least 19 arrests


By Yehudis Katz (Pasternak)

DECEMBER 25, 2014


in Georgia and Ohio, spent two years in prison for gun possession and had a troubled childhood so violent that his mother was afraid of him, police claim. He ranted online about police and the government and expressed “self-despair and anger at himself and where his life was,” Boyce said. While police continue to determine if Brinsley actually had a mental illness, Brinsley’s mother said she believed he had undiagnosed mental problems and may have been on medication at some point. Hours prior to the assassinations, Brinsley shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore. He then traveled to New York and carried out the homicides. He had often traveled between the South and New York; he has a child in Brooklyn, and had been in the city earlier in the week. Baltimore-area police warned the New York Police Department that Brinsley was in the city and determined to be violent. But the NYPD was still in the process of spreading the word to all cops city-wide when Brinsely ambushed the squad car. The two policemen killed in cold blood, Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were laid to rest this week. Ramos, 40, left behind two sons and a wife. Liu, 37, got married two months ago. Liu was in the department for seven years. Ramos, who was a two-year veteran of the force, was executed just one hour away from graduating from a volunteer chaplain program. He had spent ten weeks studying to become a certified chaplain with the New York State Chaplain Task Force. Following the incident, a union-generated message warned police officers that they should respond to every radio call with two cars — “no matter what the opinion of the patrol supervisor” — and not make arrests “unless absolutely necessary.” The president of the detectives union told members in a letter to work in threes when out on the street, wear bulletproof vests and keep aware of their surroundings. “Cowards such as yesterday’s killer strike when you are distracted and vulnerable,” the letter read. Another directive warned officers in Newark, New Jersey, not to patrol


went to the Oval Office, but I couldn’t concentrate and I wanted to be alone. I grabbed a putter and a couple of golf balls and headed for the putting green on the White House South Lawn, where I prayed to G-d to spare Yitzhak’s life, hit the ball aimlessly, and waited. About fifteen minutes later I looked up to see Anthony Lake walking down the stone path that led from the Oval Office, and from the look on his face, I knew that my friend was gone.”








DECEMBER 25, 2014


The Week alone and to avoid people looking for confrontations. At the same time, a memo from an NYPD chief asked officers to avoid fanning rage by limiting comments “via all venues, including social media, to expressions of sorrow and condolence.” New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio attended Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Cardinal Timothy Dolan called for calm. Bratton later visited the families of both officers and laid flowers at a makeshift memorial at the site of the slayings. “It’s a reflection that the community cares about the cops,” said Bratton, adding that the memorial was “very appropriate.” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams also visited the memorial, calling on protest organizers to “hold off on any type of protest until these officers are laid to rest in a peaceful manner.” The family of slain Officer Rafael Ramos also appealed for peace in the days ahead. In a stark contrast to the relatives of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Ronnie Gonzalez, a cousin of Officer Ramos, said the family has already forgiven the gunman. “He’s in the hands of G-d now,” he said. “We don’t believe in vengeance; we just forgive.”

The Cowboys are the second most valuable sports team in the world, tied with FC Barcelona. The most valuable team globally is Real Madrid with a net worth of $3.4 billion. The Cowboys are not the only NFL team whose value increased significantly and surpassed the Yankees; the New England Patriots are up to $2.6 billion, according to the report. Despite the coveted standing, although the Cowboys are tied with the 49ers for the second-most Super Bowl victories, the last time they actually won the Super Bowl was in 1995. However, they do hold the record, along with Pittsburgh, for the most Super Bowl games played—eight.

N. Korea Linked to Sony Hacking

Dallas Cowboys Number 1 Move over Yankee fans—you’re no longer number one. The Dallas Cowboys now occupy the spot of most valuable sports franchise in the U.S., according to the latest Forbes valuations and a comparison done by Business Insider. In 2013, both teams had an estimated worth of around $2.3 billion but the Cowboy’s value has increased significantly in value since that ranking. The Yankees’ value jumped as well, to $2.5 billion, but that doesn’t come close to the Cowboy’s estimated worth of $3.2 billion. Jerry Jones purchases the Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million. Excellent investment, Mr. Jones!

Whoever thought that Kim JongUn is North Korea’s problem, think again… It seems that controlling his own people is not enough for the dictator; he also feels compelled to control what the greater world thinks. Jong Un is so preoccupied with his image that he has resorted to what some are calling terrorism to protect it. Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked last week, several days before the release of the movie, The Interview, in which two men set out to assassinate the North Korean leaders. Emails were exposed, revealing many pieces of confidential information and throwing some of the top employees at

In News Sony into the spotlight for controversial comments made in their personal emails. 32,000 emails were released On Tuesday, the hacking group threatened violence at theaters that planned to show The Interview. The Department of Homeland Security said there was “no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters,” but added it was still analyzing messages from the group. The warning prompted beefed up security at theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Eventually, Sony cancelled the showing of the film. The hackers, who have referred to themselves as the Guardians of Peace, have been threatening and intimidating companies and individuals involved in the movie for weeks. A U.S. official confirmed on Wednesday that federal investigators have established a connection between the Sony hacking to North Korea. This attack went to the heart and core of Sony’s business — and succeeded,” said Avivah Litan, a cybersecurity analyst at research firm Gartner. “We haven’t seen any attack like this in the annals of U.S. breach history.” With a modest budget of roughly $40 million, The Interview was predicted to earn around $30 million in its opening weekend. If the film does not get released in theaters at all, Sony would also lose tens of millions in marketing costs already incurred. Doug Stone, president of film industry newsletter Box Office Analyst, had predicted that  The Interview could have made $75 million to $100 million. With Sony taking about 55 percent of domestic revenues, that could mean a $41 million to $55 million revenue loss, according to Stone. Although Sony has not released any details regarding their plans for the movie, Bock believes a video-on-demand release might be the best option. “This is the right time to do that,” he said. “People want to see this film.” As expected, there was a mixed reaction across the nation to the cancelling of the film. While some understood the company’s decision was for security purposes, others felt that by cancelling the opening Sony allowed itself to be bullied by a dictator nation which sets a precedent for future situations. President Obama criticized Sony’s

actions. In an interview with CNN, the leader of the free world said, “We believe in free speech. We believe in the right of artistic expression and satire and things that powers that be might not like. And if we set a precedent in which a dictator in another country can disrupt through cyber a company’s distribution chain or its products and, as a consequence, we start censoring ourselves, that’s a problem.” Sony has since said that they are looking for a way to release the film, possibly through Crackle, Netflix or Youtube.

Wealth Gap Widens in the U.S.

The rich keep getting richer in the United States, widening the gap between the middle and upper-income households to the highest level on record. The Pew Research Center used the latest Federal Reserve data to analyze the data. On Wednesday, they announced that the average capital for high-income families was $639,400 last year, a 7 percent increase from three years earlier on an inflation-adjusted basis. For middle-income families, the median wealth was $96,500 last year, the same as in 2010. As such, upper-income households were nearly seven times that of middle-class ones in 2013, which is the biggest gap in 30 years according to Pew’s calculations. “The latest data reinforces the larger story of America’s middle-class household wealth stagnation over the past three decades,” Pew pointed out. “The Great Recession destroyed a significant amount of middle-income and lower-income families’ wealth, and the economic ‘recovery’ has yet to be felt for them.”






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DECEMBER 25, 2014


The Week Last year, 46 percent of American households were classified as middle income, one-third were considered lower income, and 21% upper income. Incomes represent wages and other earnings such as interest and profits, whereas wealth is the value of stocks and other assets such as homes and cars, minus debts.

Wall Street’s Bronze Bull Celebrates 25th Birthday

to work. The night watchman had just completed his patrol of 11 Wall St., and, having cased the block for several nights, Di Modica and his team were well aware that they had just four and a half minutes until he returned. They mustered up all their strength and lowered all 3.5 tons of a bronze bull beneath the holiday tree on Broad Street. Then the truck quickly disappeared into the night, but Di Modica lingered at the corner, watching and waiting for morning. December 15 marked the 25th anniversary of that night when Wall Street’s favorite mascot arrived downtown.

Over two decades ago on a cold winter night in December, a pickup truck lurched around the corner onto Wall Street and stopped short in front of the New York Stock Exchange. The coast was clear, so Arturo Di Modica and his group of co-conspirators hopped out of the flatbed and got right




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Di Modica, an Italian artist, spent $350,000 of his own personal money to cast “Charging Bull” as a gift for the city. He has said that he savored the reactions of New Yorkers — traders, tourists, cab drivers and hot dog vendors. Unlike in Pamplona, New Yorkers were running toward the bull, he said. Di Modica was known for his habit of plopping art onto the city streets when the rest of the world slept. “It was love right away,” Di Modica, now 73, told MarketWatch. “They wanted to touch it, embrace it — it was beautiful. I stood there watching until about noon, when I took a break and went to lunch.” Of course, the executives at the New York Stock Exchange were not nearly as amused. Authorities were alerted but they were unable to remove the 18-foot-long bull from its spot, so a private contractor was hired and the beast was hauled off to Queens. “Bah, humbug!” proclaimed the front page of the next morning’s New York Post, above a photo of the bull being carted away. “N.Y. Stock Exchange grinches can’t bear … gift bull.” The artist explained the that sculpture is a symbol of New York’s drive,

In News optimism and willingness to barrel ahead against the odds and in spite of what had come before. Supposedly, NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso offered to allow the bull to be returned on the condition that Di Modica create a bear in addition to the bronze bull, but the artist refused. And then Di Modica along with community activists paid to bail out the bull and relocate him to the exchange in Bowling Green, just a few blocks away from its original location, where it has remained for the past 25 years. Art experts believe that Di Modica most likely regained the expense of building the original bull several times since, having cast sibling bulls for cities around the world, and having sold many smaller versions to collectors. He has said that when the market is down, people stop to ask him why the bull isn’t doing its job; he quips, “He’s resting, he’s tired, but he’ll get back to it soon.” Every couple of weeks the artist himself pays a visit to his most famous creation, watching the tourists pose with it the way they first did 25 years before, his ultimate satisfaction.

Protesters Swarm Mall of America The Mall of America had quite a crowd on Saturday and it wasn’t just holiday shoppers. Thousands of demonstrators gathered chanting, “Black lives matter” caused part of the mall to shut down during the busiest time of the year. The protest was organized by a group called Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and more than 3,000 people confirmed on Facebook that they would attend. Official crowd estimates weren’t immediately available but photos showed the rotunda of the mall very full. During the rally, protesters shouted, “While you’re on your shopping spree, black people cannot breathe” — a reference to the chokehold police placed on New Yorker Eric Garner. As the crowd dispersed, they walked

down the hall with their arms raised, shouting, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” That saying has been used in Ferguson, Missouri, in protests against the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, and in demonstrations elsewhere. Mall representatives had warned protesters in advance that they could be removed, arrested and banned. The mall’s management issued a statement on Saturday saying it was “extremely disappointed” that protest organizers ignored the policy banning political protests. Bloomington police said 25 people were arrested, mainly for trespassing. Commander Mark Stehlik said he was not aware of any injuries or property damage.

“It’s clear from their actions that these political activists were more concerned about making a political statement and creating a media event than they were about the safety of others, who came to Mall of America for an afternoon of shopping and family entertainment,” the statement said. Within 30 minutes of the beginning of the planned protest, the protestors were given a final warning to disband, and police in riot gear began clearing the rotunda. The majority of protesters began exiting the mall, but others migrated to a shopping area and occupied two levels. A small “die-in” was staged in front of several stores. About an hour later, organizers sent out a group text message advising those who were still inside to exit. The mall increased security, and parts of America’s largest mall were closed for a while. Some entrances to

The Week

According to AP’s annual poll of U.S. editors and new directors, killings by police and subsequent protests were the top stories for 2014. The loud chanting and crazed behavior in protest of the killings overshadowed tragic world events. The devastating outbreak of Ebola in West Africa came in at just the number two story in 2014. It was followed by the conflict in Iraq and Syria fueled by the brutal actions of Islamic State fighters. From the 85 people who voted on this year’s top stories, Ferguson received 22 first-place votes; Ebola received 11 and Islamic State tensions and brutality received 12. In 2013, the first story was the botched rollout of Obamacare, followed by the Boston Marathon bombing. Obamacare still has not gone away; it came in as the fifth top story of 2014. The other top stories of 2014 in-

CIA Travel Secrets Revealed

Wondering how not to get caught when using false documents to cross international borders? That information is just one click away on On Sunday, the whistleblowing website released two classified CIA documents that offered effective and valuable tips on maintaining cover when using false documents to travel as a spy. The documents outline a number of strategies for agents to avoid secondary screening at airports and borders. The two documents, dating from 2011 and 2012, are marked classified and “NOFORN,” which means they were not meant to be shared with allied intelligence agencies, WikiLeaks said. Some of the suggestions given to CIA agents are rather obvious: don’t purchase a one-way ticket with cash the day before flying. Others, though, seem more ambiguous: don’t look scruffy while traveling on a diplomatic passport. “In one incident during transit of a European airport in the early morning, security officials selected a CIA officer for secondary screening,” one of the documents reads. “Although the officials gave no reason, overly casual dress inconsistent with being a diplomatic-passport holder may have prompted the referral.” The CIA agent involved went on to

have his bag swabbed for explosives and it tested positive. Despite extensive questioning, he stuck to his cover story that he had been involved in counterterrorism training in the United States and eventually was allowed to continue his journey. “Consistent, well-rehearsed, and plausible cover is important for avoiding secondary selection and critical for surviving it,” the CIA noted. In a statement, WikiLeaks said this example “begs the question: if the training that supposedly explained the explosives was only a cover story, what was a CIA officer really doing passing through [a European Union] airport with traces of explosives on him, and why was he allowed to continue?”

In one document, named “Schengen Overview,” it is revealed that the CIA is alarmed about EU nations introducing biometric security measures for people traveling on U.S. passports. The new systems could pose an increased “identity threat,” which would make it more difficult for agents to travel on false documents. Ben Gurion Airport in Israel was singled out for being more thorough than other airports around the globe. “With the exception of Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport and a few others, immigration inspectors conducting primary screenings generally lack the time and tools to conduct in-depth examination of travelers,” the 15-page document says. Specifically, the manual guides

DECEMBER 25, 2014

2014: The Year of Protests

cluded the U.S. elections (number four), Malaysia Airlines tragedy (number six), immigration (number seven), turmoil in Ukraine (number eight), and the VA scandal (number ten).


the mall had signs advising shoppers that the east side of the mall was on lockdown. All stores had reopened by Saturday evening. “While we respect the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, those rights do not trump our right as private property owners to prohibit that behavior on our property,” the mall said Saturday. Organizer Mica Grimm told the AP that the planners feel the protest was a success. “Our goal is to bring more attention to these issues — and what just happened, nobody can ignore,” she said.

In News



DECEMBER 25, 2014


The Week agents how to circumvent “secondary screening”—which it called “a potentially lengthy and detailed look by airport officials at passengers not passing initial scrutiny”—at Ben-Gurion. “At Ben-Gurion airport in Israel, the secondary screening room contains trace-detection equipment for explosive residue; tools for dismantling passengers’ personal items for inspection, particularly items unfamiliar to security officers; and a disrobing area, divided by privacy curtains, to conduct strip searches of individuals, if necessary.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the documents show the CIA is intent on carrying out spying in Europe. “The CIA has carried out kidnappings from European Union states, including Italy and Sweden, during the Bush administration,” Assange said in a statement. “These manuals show that under the Obama administration the CIA is still intent on infiltrating European Union borders and conducting clandestine operations in EU member states.”

Arizona Dreamers Can Apply for Driver’s Licenses

They are protected from deportation despite immigrating illegally and now they are demanding their driver’s licenses as well. Thousands of young immigrants will began lining up for Arizona driver’s licenses on Monday after a federal judge removed the last hurdle stopping them from applying for their licenses. The group, dubbed “Dreamers,” who have been protected from deportation since 2012 under the Obama

administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, are authorized to stay and work in the country legally. But in Arizona and Nebraska, they have not been able to obtain driver’s licenses. But a preliminary ruling issued on Thursday by U.S. District Judge David Campbell prohibits the state from enforcing Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s directive to deny driver’s licenses to more than 20,000 immigrants. This ruling came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to reject an emergency appeal from Brewer, who wanted to block an order from an appellate court that also found the state had no grounds to deny license applications to the Dreamers. Brewer, though, still isn’t ready to give up. On Friday, she greeted Campbell’s injunction with a statement of her own in which she vowed to carry the fight back to the Supreme Court. “It is important to remember that courts have yet to consider the full merits of the case, and I believe that Arizona will ultimately prevail,” Brewer said. “Consequently, I have instructed my legal team to move forward in pursuing a full review of this matter before the United States Supreme Court as soon as possible.” Brewer has said that rules governing who is eligible for driver’s licenses is a state issue and not one that should be decided by the federal government. “It is outrageous that Arizona is being forced to ignore long-standing state law and comply with a flawed federal court mandate that requires the state, at least temporarily, to issue driver’s licenses to individuals whose presence is in violation of federal law, as established by the United States Congress,” she said. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t accept that argument nor Brewer’s lawyers’ other claim that the governor is simply trying to reduce the risk that licenses could potentially be used to improperly gain access to public benefits. Instead, the court said there was no legitimate state interest in treating the Dreamers differently from other noncitizens, such as greencard holders, who can drive legally in Arizona. The court said Brewer’s actions were intended to show subtle unfriendliness to the immigrants and

In News toward U.S. government policy protecting them.

That’s Odd

the reddest beets in aisle 11 in the next few weeks.

$184K Bird Stolen

Makeup in Russia Can’t be “Beet”

How do you say lipstick in Russian? Beets. Yes, you got that right; Russian women are turning to the red vegetable to put some color on their lips as the economy continues to plummet. The first thing that will undoubtedly be slashed from Russian household budgets will be makeup for the average homemaker. According to the Daily Mail, Siberian senator Igor Chernishev took to a Russian website to explain how women should alter their beauty routine. “Women can live without imported lipstick…,” he wrote. “And if they really must use makeup on the lips – there’s no problem, they can use beetroot. It’s natural and chemicals don’t enter the body.” Beetroots, or beets as they’re known here in the U.S., are the reddish-purple hued bulb of the vegetable that stains people’s hands as they prepare them for salads, pickled vegetables or in borscht. Sometimes, its strong pigment is used for food coloring. Interestingly, economists have found that sales of lipstick have typically soared during a recession, a phenomenon known as the “lipstick index.” It’s a quick, inexpensive way for women to feel beautiful—without breaking the bank. Watch out grocers, there may be a stampede of women clamoring for

As you walk along Central Avenue, keep your eyes on the sky. Police in Germany are looking for a missing pigeon—but this is no ordinary bird. The finder of the feathered friend could net a 10,000 euro reward. On Tuesday, Duesseldorf police said that the 6-year-old male homing pigeon, named AS 969, was stolen at some point on Saturday night from a locked aviary in the city’s suburbs. The light gray bird is valued by its owner at 150,000 euros ($184,000) and police suspect the thief or thieves were “connoisseurs” as it was the most valuable in an aviary full of other homing pigeons. Follow that bird!

90 Balloons, 8,000 Feet in the Air

Remember the Curious George book with George flying over the city

The Week

The Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA) argued the ape had sufficient cognitive functions and should not be treated as an object. The court ultimately agreed that Sandra, who was born into captivity in Germany before being transferred to Argentina two decades ago, deserved the basic rights of a “non-human person.”

“This opens the way not only for other Great Apes, but also for other sentient beings which are unfairly and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in zoos, circuses, water parks and scientific laboratories,” the daily La Nacion newspaper quoted AFADA lawyer Paul Buompadre as saying. Interestingly, orangutan is a word from the Malay and Indonesian lan-

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If you’re heading to a zoo in Argentina, you may find all the cages empty. On Sunday, an Argentine court recognized that an orangutan held in a zoo should be freed and transferred to a sanctuary after recognizing that the ape was a “non-human person” and unlawfully deprived of its freedom.

Despite being a “non-human person” the ape could not file a petition for its freedom on its own. Animal rights campaigners filed a habeas corpus petition – a document more typically used to challenge the legality of a person’s detention or imprisonment – in November on behalf of Sandra, a 29-year-old Sumatran orangutan at the Buenos Aires zoo.

DECEMBER 25, 2014

It’s a Monkey’s World

In News


with a bunch of balloons in hand? Eric Roner decided to rule the sky with just 90 balloons lifting him above the world. “Who hasn’t thought about being lifted up by balloons into the sky?” he asks. The avid skier and BASE jumper from Northern California attached 90 large, colorful balloons to a rickety lawn chair. The balloons were pumped full of helium and Roner took to the skies with a parachute to soften his inevitable fall. When Roner reached the optimum height, he shot the balloons and then softly bailed back to Earth. At he gained altitude, Roner expressed his disbelief of actually getting off the ground. At 292 feet, he exclaimed, “I’m doing it. This is crazy!” “You’ve got to be kidding me. This is ridiculous,” he said at 1,630 feet. At 1,975 feet, he said, “It’s nice up here.” At 2,600 feet, Roner almost makes us jealous: “Wow, it really doesn’t get much more peaceful than this.” When he reached 3,300 feet, some balloons started to pop “That’s a popped balloon. They told me that it would be scary, and yes it is,” he says at 4,300 feet. Finally, at 8,000 feet, a safe height to start parachuting, Roner shoots the remaining balloons and then releases himself from the chair to skydive back to Earth. “That was epic,” he laughed as he came back down.



DECEMBER 25, 2014


The Week guages that means “forest man.” This is not the first time animal activists tried to free animals from captivity, although the court’s decision will undoubtedly lead to many more cases being brought. A U.S. court recently tossed out a similar bid for the freedom of Tommy the chimpanzee, privately owned in New York State, ruling the chimp was not a “person” entitled to the rights and protections afforded by habeas corpus. In 2011, the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit against marine park operator SeaWorld, alleging five wild-captured orca whales were treated like slaves. A San Diego court dismissed the case. A spokesman for the zoo declined to comment to Reuters. The zoo’s head of biology, Adrian Sestelo, told La Nacion that orangutans were by nature calm, solitary animals which come together only to mate and care for their young. “When you don’t know the biology of a species, to unjustifiably claim it suffers abuse, is stressed or depressed, is to make one of man’s most common mistakes, which is to humanize animal behavior,” Sestelo told the daily. The Buenos Aires zoo has 10 working days to seek an appeal. If these animal rights activists had their way, animals would rule the world and what a world it would be!

43 Years of Comfort

Since 1971, Scott Stewart cherished a small statue of an owl protect-

ing its babies. He said that the sculpture gave him peace during tough times over the years as it symbolized his mother’s love for him and his brother. But now, 43 years later, the 52-year-old man has finally returned the statue to its proper owner—the Rochester Central Library. As a 9-year-old, Stewart was able to bring art pieces home from the library. This one in particular provided him with succor and comfort. When he returned the piece on Sunday, Stewart wasn’t fined. A library official said the institution understood that Stewart needed a symbol of comfort—and he found it at the local library.

Coca Cola: Don’t Leave a Message

Want to leave a message at Coca Cola’s Atlanta headquarters? Too bad—better send a text instead. In a world flooded with technology, the globe’s largest soft-drink maker has decided to “simplify the way we work and increase productivity” by closing down its office voice mail system. The change went into effect this month; callers are told to try again later or use “an alternative method” for contacting the person they called. The November 6 memo announcing the change at Coca-Cola created a stir among some employees, who assumed it was part of a program to cut $3 billion in annual expenses by 2019. That plan, which was announced in October in response to a global sales slump, has caused growing unease inside the company over the possibility

In News of firings. But the savings from eliminating voice mail will be less than $100,000 a year, said Amanda Rosseter, a Coke spokeswoman. The decision had more to do with simplifying work than trimming costs, she said. Techies have predicted the death of voice mail for years as smartphones co-opt much of the office work once performed by telephones and desktop computers. Younger employees who came of age texting while largely ignoring voice mail are bringing that habit into the workforce. “People north of 40 are schizophrenic about voice mail,” said Michael Schrage, a research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management’s Center for Digital Business. “People under 35 scarcely ever use it.” Workers at Coca Cola were able to keep the voice mail if they claimed a “business critical need.” About 6 percent of workers opted to keep voice mail. “Many people in many corporations simply don’t have the time or desire to spend 25 minutes plowing through a stack of 15 to 25 voice mails at the end or beginning of the day,” said Schrage, who wrote in a September 2013 Harvard Business Review article that it was “time to hang up on voice mail.” How about hanging up on courtesy as well?

Ms. Right Has Been Found

Last month, a Toronto man made

headlines when he offered a free round-the-world ticket to someone— as long as they had the same name as his former girlfriend. Finally, Jordan Axani has found Ms. Right—and it won’t be hard to remember her name, fellow Canadian Elizabeth Gallagher. The 28-year-old revealed that he received thousands of emails—including 18 from actual Elizabeth Gallaghers from Canada. So how did he make the decision? Elizabeth Quinn Gallagher, 23, a part-time student and part-time office administrator, spoke with Axani over the phone. “It definitely did seem a little bit creepy at the beginning but now that I talked to him it’s less creepy and more awesome,” she said. “This is totally sort of like as friends,” she added. “It’s going to be great,” Axani effused. Axani, who works for an international real estate development and advisory firm, said the tickets were purchased for a couple of thousand dollars, but their cash value today is around Canadian $5,000-$7,000 (that’s $4,400-$6,200 in American dollars). The trip was scheduled to start December 21 in New York City and continue on to Milan, Prague, Paris, Bangkok and New Delhi before ending in Toronto on January 12. Since the story became public, Marriott International offered to put him and the new Elizabeth Gallagher up during their trip. Axani said the trip will be documented and shared online. He said that he was so moved by some of the emails — including one from an 8-year-old boy who said he was going blind and wanted to see the world before that happens — that he and his brother created an organization called A Ticket Forward to help people who desire to see the world but lack the finances to do so. Do they all have to have the name Elizabeth Gallagher?



In The Kitchen

Cholent Victor Style ccording to the great Claudia Rodin (author of The Book of Jewish Food, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, among many others) the origins of the classic French Cassoulet and

the traditional Jewish cholent are intermingled, and my version is a this, even those who “don’t like cholent.” I make this cholent in a huge (and very heavy) cast iron Dutch oven (8 quart), which fits nicely into our 90 cm (36 in) oven, but the recipe can easily be split into two smaller more manageable casseroles, as long as you can fit them into your oven, or halved. The marrow bones of the osso buco add richness, as does the fat from the goose breast, which is a nod to my father’s Hungarian origins. I don’t like the “gooey” effect of too much pearl barley, but a little adds nice texture. The beef stock adds to the overall very rich umami experience. I like large white beans, reminiscent of cassoulet, as they hold their shape and become luscious with long cooking. Another nod to cassoulet is the addition of sausage. Wine Recommendation: the bright Yarden Sauvignon Blanc or rich Yarden Chardonnay could offer a nice contrast, but I generally go for a lighter red such as Yarden Pinot Noir. Yarden Syrah also makes a good pair as the natural smoky element of the wine connects to the subtle smokiness of the cholent that comes from the goose breast and paprika. We like to have a mixed green salad along with the cholent. This recipes serves over eight guests.

Preparation Brown the slices of goose in a large, heavy bottomed skillet (you can do this directly in the Dutch oven, but I find it easier this way). You need no oil, as the goose fat quickly renders itself. Set aside. Brown the osso buco in the goose fat. Set aside. Brown the sausage in the same pan, set aside. Add the onions and shallots and sauté in the remaining fat, until lightly browned. Add a bit of olive oil if necessary. Set aside. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, then transfer liquid to Dutch oven. Make a thin layer at the bottom of the Dutch oven with a third of the beans and onion and barley, with a sprinkling of the spices. Add a layer of half of the osso buco, sausage, eggs and potatoes. Add another layer of the beans, etc. Add another layer of the meat, etc. Finish with the remaining beans, etc. Depending on the size of the osso buco slices, eggs and potatoes, it could be a challenge to fit everything in. Have an additional casserole on hand for the overflow, if any. Fill with liquid until there’s about 1 inch of liquid covering the ingredients. If you have enough beef stock, use that. If the beef stock is concentrated, use to taste and then use water to come to desired level. If you do not have stock, use water. Bring to a boil and remove scum. Cover with lid. If the lid does not fit tightly, there is a danger of the cholent drying out and burning overnight. You can add a doubled strip of aluminum foil between the Dutch oven and lid to help seal. Put overnight in a 230°F oven. Serve to the guests, and hear “oohs” and “ahhs.” Enjoy. Take a nap. Victor Schoenfeld is the head winemaker at Yarden-Golan Heights Winery.

DECEMBER 25, 2014

combination of the two. I have yet to meet someone who did not like

Ingredients 2.4 lbs osso bucco cut into 0.7 inches thick slices 2 smoked one half goose breasts/duck (about 600 g), cut crosswise into ½ inch slices 2.2 lbs sausage (I use beef/lamb/pistachio sausage, locally produced), cut into 4 inches lengths 1.1 lbs large dry white beans, soaked for about 12 hours in water 1 whole head of garlic, separated into whole peeled cloves 3.3 lbs new red potatoes, washed Eggs (as many as you can fit in, try one per person) 4 onions, chopped 2 shallots, thinly sliced 1 cup pickled pearl onions, whole, drained 3 ½ ounces pearl barley ¼ cup decent red wine for deglazing Beef stock Salt, pepper and smoked paprika to taste



Victor Schoenfeld


A Parsha Thought


DECEMBER 25, 2014

Vayigash: Learning to Let Go Rabbi Shmuel Silber

The mounting tension reached a pinnacle with Yosef’s revelation of his true identity to his brothers. The much anticipated reunion finally occurs. The emotional dam breaks and a deluge of tears envelop the sons of Yaakov. Tears representing the pain of the past intermingled with tears of joy for what all hope will be a peaceful and

loving future. The brothers are speechless. They have no words for the brother they maintained was dead. They have no response to the simple statement, “I am Joseph.” They are overwhelmed, ashamed and profoundly broken. Yosef sensing his brothers anxiety makes an amazing statement, “And now, you did not send me here, but God, and He made me a father to Pharaoh, a lord over all his household, and a ruler over the entire land of Egypt (Bereishis 45:8).” It wasn’t you my dear brothers who sent me to this place, it was God! This was all part of the plan. But how can Yosef say this? Is it his right to purge his brothers of their iniquitous sin? Did Yosef really believe that his brothers were blameless simply because everything worked out in the end? How can Yosef is say, LO ATEM SHE’LACHTEM OSI - it wasn’t you who sent me here! Was it not

these very brothers who stripped him of his clothing and dignity, threw him in a pit to die and afterwards decided to spare him by selling him to a group of Ishmaelites? And now - it wasn’t them! Furthermore, Yosef seems to convey a very different message just a few verses earlier, “But now do not be sad, and let it not trouble you that you sold me here, for it was to preserve life that God sent me before you (Bereishis 45:5).” In this verse Yosef clearly states that it was the brothers who sold him. True, God had a plan, but the brothers still bear the responsibility of having sold Yosef. Which one is it? Is Yosef absolving his brothers of all responsibility since it was all part of the Divine plan or are the brothers responsible for their brutal behavior despite the fact that all worked out? The Midrash (Tanchuma Vayigash Siman 5) sheds light on this dynamic. Immediately prior to Yosef’s revelation, the exchange between Yosef and his brothers becomes heated and was dangerously close to turning violent. Yosef understood that he must reveal his identity. “Yosef said to his brothers, “Did you not tell me that your brother died? In fact I purchased him and I will bring him out to you.” At this point Yosef called out, “Joseph son of Jacob come to me, Joseph son of Jacob come to me and speak with your brothers who sold you.” The brothers began scanning all corners of the room to catch a glimpse of their long lost brother. Yosef turned and said to them, “Why do you look here and there - I am Yosef your brother.” In that moment their souls left their bodies and they were unable to answer him.” Yosef was conflicted; on one hand he was overjoyed to see his brothers and feel a sense of belonging and familial security. On the other hand, Yosef realized that these were the very men who turned an indifferent ear to his cries; these were the men who were supposed to be his beloved protectors but instead became ragefilled antagonists. These were the men who were ready to kill their own flesh and blood. Perhaps, I cannot have a relationship with them. Perhaps, it is better to remain distant and repay them in kind so they can suffer as I did. And so Yosef calls out, “Yosef the son of Yaakov come to me, Yosef the son of Yaakov come to me” - he is looking for his self, for his identity. Who should I be? What should I do? Should I seek revenge or reconciliation?

Yosef finds resolution with one simple phrase - I am Yosef your brother. I choose to be your brother and not an indifferent, vengeful tyrant. I make this choice not because you have earned it – I make this choice because it is best for me. Yosef understood that if he were to hold on to the rage and animosity it would consume him from within. In order to continue to lead a healthy and productive life – he had to let go of his pain. We now understand the apparent contradiction in Yosef’s approach. When Yosef first reveals himself to his brothers he puts the responsibility for his circumstances on their shoulders. As the conversation continues Yosef says, “Despite your responsibility and culpability, I choose not to focus on what you did to me rather, I will focus on the Divine Providence in this entire episode.” “It wasn’t you who sold me” is not a statement of fact, but a statement of emotional resolve and strength. I choose not to focus on the hurt and pain you have visited upon me. I choose to focus on the positive results of this tumultuous episode. This emotional strength is the foundation of Yosef’s identity. “And Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, for “God has caused me to forget all my toil and all my father’s house (Bereishis 41:51).” I have to learn to “forget” and let go in order to build a future. The Torah continues, “And the second one he named Ephraim, for “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction (Bereishis 41:51).” No matter how much success he encountered - Egypt was a land of suffering and affliction for Yosef. Yet, he became “fruitful” - how? Because he was able to let go, he was able to “forget,” he was able to release the anger, animosity and hurt that was rightfully his. It was this forgetfulness that allowed Yosef to grow, thrive and build a successful life. We each have certain things that keep us tethered to our past and present while preventing us from building a future. It may be residual anger from a failed relationship, a long standing character flaw or some unresolved life issue that has been too difficult to address. Yosef teaches us to be brave enough to identify the factors that are holding us back and strong enough to let them go.


In Halacha *Story is fictitious, to illustrate the Halacha. In an actual case a Halachic authority should be consulted. A project of the Choshen Mishpat Chabura of Kollel Avodas Levi Reviewed by ‫הרב מרדכי שוחטוביץ ראש בית דין דבאלטימאר‬ When he calls his buyers to tell them that he is no longer selling his home or furniture, they each tell him that it is too late since the sales have been completed. And so the following Thursday, Mr. Cohen arrives at the ‫ בית דין‬together with the other three parties. The ‫ בית דין‬begins with the case of the house. Since Mr. Cohen is the ‫טוען‬, the claimant, he is asked to present his claim first. The ‫ בית דין‬then asks the buyer, Mr. Weingot, for his defense. After hearing both parties’ positions the ‫ דיינים‬adjourn to discuss the case. When the ‫ דיינים‬reach a decision, the two parties are called back and the ‫אב בית‬ ‫ דין‬delivers the ruling. He explains that normally a formal ‫תנאי‬, condition, is necessary to make a sale conditional. Even though there was no conditional clause written into the contract, Mr. Cohen had definitely made it clear at the time of the sale that the only reason he was selling was in order to move to ‫ארץ ישראל‬. In this case, since all circumstances indicate the conditional nature of this sale, and Mr. Cohen clearly stated that at the time of the sale as well, it would be very clear to everyone that he only meant to sell if he was moving. The Halacha would rule that such a sale is conditional1 and should be therefore void. However, since the standard property sale contract2 which they signed states that the contract contains the final agree‫ מהגמרא קידושין‬.‫סימן רז סעיף ג‬ 1 ‫ ומבואר שם בתוס' וברא"ש שיש שלשה‬:‫דף מט‬ ‫ היכא דיש אומדנא דמוכח אז נחשב‬.‫מדרגות א‬ ‫ אבל ברוב מקרים לא‬.‫לתנאי גם בלי שיגלה דעתו‬ ‫ היכא שיש אומדנא אבל‬.‫הוי אומדנא דמוכח ב‬ .‫לא מוכח לא מהני ועדיין נחשב לדברים שבלב‬ ‫אבל אם גם גילה דעתו שמחמת אותו דבר הוא‬ ‫ שאר‬.‫ ג‬.‫מוכר הוי אומדנא דמוכח ומתבטל המקח‬ ‫מקרים אף אם יש קצת אומדנא אפילו גילוי דעת‬ ‫ ובנידון דידן מתבאר‬.‫ וצריך תנאי גמור‬.‫לא מהני‬ ‫ דהוי אומדנא דמוכח‬,‫שם דנחשב למדרגא שנית‬ ‫אם גילה דעתו בשעת המכר דמוכר מחמת שרוצה‬ .‫לעלות לארץ ישראל‬ ‫עוד נתבאר שם דכדי שיתבטל המקח בעי שלא‬ ‫ אבל אם רק שינה דעתו לא נת־‬.‫היה יכול לעלות‬ ‫ דהרי גילה דעתו שמוכר כדי לעלות‬.‫בטל המקח‬ ‫ ובמחבר שם פסק דאם‬.‫ואין מעכב בעדו מלעלות‬ ‫לא נסתייע לו לעלות מהני לבטל המקח ובגר"א‬ ‫שם ס"ק ח' פירש שבא לפסוק כלישנא בתרא‬ ‫דרב אשי דסובר דהיכא שיש שום עיכוב שנתחדש‬ ‫אחר המכירה אף שיכול למיטרח ולעלות יכול‬ ‫ ולכן‬.‫ ולא צרכינן אונס גמור המעכבו ללכת‬.‫לחזור‬ ‫בנידון זה דאבד את מקום פרנסתו שהיה סמוך‬ ‫עליה לעלות היה צריך לטרוח כדי למצוא מקום‬ .‫לכן יכול לחזור בו‬, ‫אחר לפרנסתו‬ 2

ENTIRE AGREEMENT: this contract and any addenda thereto contain the final and entire agreement between the parties’ and neither they nor their agents shall be bound by any terms, conditions, statements, warranties or representations, oral or written, not herein contained. The parties agree etc.

ment, and the parties shall not be bound by any terms or conditions which are not contained in the agreement, the sale is indeed unconditional3 and the property belongs to Mr. Weingot. Being a G-D fearing man, Mr. Cohen accepts the ruling of the ‫ בית דין‬as the word of Torah. At this point, Mr. Gold, having heard the first ruling, approaches Mr. Cohen and tells him that they may as well go home. Since there was no contract used in the sale of the furniture, he assumes that the ruling in their case will be that the sale of the furniture was conditional. Mr. Cohen insists that they get an official ruling to make sure that there will be complete ‫שלום‬ between them. The ‫ בית דין‬now calls upon Mr. Cohen to present his claim against Mr. Gold regarding the furniture. The ‫ בית דין‬concludes that all property should stay with the one who has it. Therefore, the table and chairs belong to Mr. Gold, but the sofas, that were not picked up yet, remain the property of Mr. Cohen. The ‫אב בית דין‬ explains that this case is different from the case of the house since it involves movable property. A person will much more readily sell his movable property than his land. That being the case, it is not as evident from the circumstance that there was no other motivation in the sale of Mr. Cohen’s furniture. In this case it is not sufficient to merely mention that the sale is due to moving, but a formal condition would have had to be made. However, this distinction between movable property and immovable property is not clear enough to the Poskim to be used to take property away from someone. The Halacha therefore is, that the property is awarded to the one who currently has possession over it4 5. ‫עיין ברמ"א סימן רז' סעיף א שכותב‬ 3 ‫דהיכא שהתנו תנאי ואחר כך כתבו שטר סתם‬ ‫(שלא כתבו התנאי בתוך השטר) ודאי כוונתם היה‬ ‫ משמע‬.‫שמה שבשטר יהיה על תנאי שהתנו כבר‬ ‫דדוקא אם כתבו השטר סתם אבל אם כתבו‬ ‫מפורש שכל תנאי שהיה ביניהם יהיה בטל ודאי‬ .‫הולכים לפי מה שכתבו לבסוף בשטר‬ ‫ דדוקא במוכר קרקע‬.‫שם ברמ"א‬ 4 ‫גילוי דעת מהני להחשיבו אומדנא דמוכח אבל לא‬ ‫ אמנם בב"ח מביא שהמרדכי‬.‫במכירת מטלטלין‬ ‫וההגהות אשרי סוברים דספק הוא אי מכירת‬, ‫ ולכן הדין‬.‫מטלטלין נחשב אודמנא דמוכח או לא‬ ‫ וכן מבאר הב"ח‬.‫המוציא מחבירו אליו הראיה‬ ‫ וכן מביא הפתחי‬.‫שיטת הר"ח שהביא הטור‬ .‫ ומהחתם סופר‬,‫תשובה ס"ק ה' מהפרי תבואה‬ ‫ועיין שם שהחתם סופר סובר ששיטת המחבר‬ ‫ ואף שבנחלת‬.‫שאין חילוק בין קרקע למטלטלין‬ ‫צבי חלק על החתם סופר בשיטת המחבר אבל‬ ‫לדינא הסכים עמו דמטלטלין הוא ספיקא דדינא‬ .‫ולא מוציאין מהמוחזק‬ ‫אם הלוקח הוציא הוצאות מחמת‬ 5 ‫המקח כגון לשכור סבלים או לשכור רכב יש לדון‬ ‫ מצינו‬.‫אם המוכר חייב לשלם לו מדינא דגרמי‬

At this point Mr. Cohen assumes that he has the answer to his last claim as well. The bedroom set must belong to Mr. Sachs since it is in his possession and it is movable property. Much to his surprise the ‫ בית דין‬rules in favor of Mr. Cohen. Once again the ‫ אב בית דין‬explains the ruling. The previous two cases dealt with sales. This case however, involves a present. When it comes to a sale, since the seller is compensated for his item, he more readily makes up his mind to transfer ownership to the buyer. When it comes to a present however, there is much more reluctance to hand over ownership, and so the circumstances surrounding the present are taken into account. In this case, Mr. Cohen did not even mention at the time of the giving of the present that he was moving. However, Mr. Sachs had told ‫ בית דין‬that he was aware of this from previous conversations. It is therefore evident that Mr. Cohen only intends to give the present on condition that he is able to move6. All four people leave ‫ בית דין‬as friends with the understanding that they are fulfilling the will of Hashem. Mr. Cohen and Mr. Weingot are chatting, when Mr. Weingot has a sudden inspiration. He whips out his cell phone and places a call. After a brief conversation with a contact in ‫ארץ‬ ‫ישראל‬, he tells Mr. Cohen that he thinks he may have a replacement job for him! A few days later Mr. Cohen has a new job offer. Now he is truly on his way to ‫ארץ‬ ‫ישראל‬. Mr. Weingot has a new house and Mr. Gold and Mr. Sachs now have new furniture. ‫!מי כעמך ישראל‬

‫חיוב כזאת בכמה מקומות כגון בסימן שלג' אם‬ ‫אמר לאומן לעשות לו כלי ועשהו ואחר כך חזר‬ ‫ מאידך מצינו בסימן רלב' סעיף כ' ובסמ"ע שם‬.‫בו‬ ‫ס"ק מו' שהמוכר זרעיני גינה ולא צמחו אין חייב‬ ‫ והרע"א סימן‬.‫לשלם לו הוצאותיו רק דמי הזרעונים‬ ‫קלד' מחלק בן היכא שאמר לו לעשות ובן היכא‬ ‫ ועיין גם מהרש"ם חלק ו‬.‫שעשה מעצמו עיין שם‬ ‫סימן רכה' שנשאל על הוצאות של הלוקח ומביא‬ ‫ כי‬.‫ וכאן אין מקום להאריך‬.‫הרע"א הנ"ל להלכה‬ .‫צריך מכתב מיוחד לזה‬ ‫שם סעיף ד ברמ"א דיש אומרים‬ 6 ‫ ובדרכי משה‬.‫דבמתנה דברים שבלב הויין דברים‬ ‫ס"ק ד מביא זה מהשילטי גיבורים שלמד כן‬ ‫ ועיין שם שמביא‬.'‫מהאור זרוע ב"ב פ"ט ס' קפ‬ ‫כמה דינים שגבם אמרינן דהיכא דגילה דעתו דלא‬ ‫רוצה במתנה דלא הוי מתנה אף אם היה דברים‬ ‫ חד מהם הוא מתנה טמירתא – אם אחד‬.‫שבלב‬ .‫נתן מתנה בסתר לא הוי מתנה ס' רמב' סעיף ג‬ ‫דאמרינן דמדנתן בסתר ולא בפרהסיא גלי דעתיה‬ ‫ והפוסקים בשולחן‬.‫דלא רוצה באמת לתת המתנה‬ ‫ וכן נראה‬.‫ערוך לא מביאים שיטה שחולקת על זה‬ ‫ ועיין שם שכותב‬.'‫דפוסק הערוך השולחן ס"ק יב‬ ‫ ובנדון זה נראה לכאורה‬.‫שתלוי בראות עיני הדיין‬ ‫ברור שרצה לתת המתנה רק משום דדעתו היה‬ .‫לעלות לארץ ישראל‬

DECEMBER 25, 2014

Mr. Cohen lives in Baltimore where he has worked in electrical engineering for the past 20 years. One day he receives a phone call from an old friend who is living in ‫ארץ ישראל‬. After exchanging pleasantries, his friend gets right to the point. His company is expanding and he is seeking to fill a critical position in electrical engineering ASAP. He is offering an incredible package, but insists that Mr. Cohen must arrive within four weeks or he cannot hold the job for him. After much thought Mr. Cohen decides that he is ready to make the big move. Mr. Cohen goes into high gear to sell his property. He puts his house and his furniture up for quick sale with an asking price that is well below market value. It doesn’t take long before he has committed buyers. Mr. Weingot will purchase the house and Mr. Gold will buy some of the furniture. The following week he meets with Mr. Weingot to complete the sale of his home. Before signing the documents, Mr. Cohen mentions that he is selling his home because he will be moving to ‫ ארץ ישראל‬in two weeks. Mr. Weingot responds, “Yes, yes. You told me that the first time we spoke and it was in the ad you posted on the shul bulletin board.” Mr. Weingot then completes the necessary paperwork and gives Mr. Cohen the payment. Soon after, Mr. Gold arrives to pick up his dining room table, chairs, and sofas. Mr. Weingot mentions that he is giving such a bargain because he is to moving to ‫ ארץ ישראל‬on very short notice. Mr. Gold hands over the cash and begins to load the table and chairs onto his rented truck. He soon realizes that he misjudged the amount of room needed and asks if he can come back another day for the rest. Mr. Cohen agrees. Mr. Cohen offers his bedroom furniture as a present to his neighbor, Mr. Sachs, whom he knows would greatly benefit from it. Mr. Sachs gratefully accepts, coming the next day pick it up. Everything is proceeding quickly but smoothly. And then the phone call comes. It is his friend from ‫ ארץ ישראל‬on the line. “I don’t know how to tell you this,” he begins, “there was a fire in my company’s building and a lot of damage was done. I’m really sorry, but I just can’t afford to go ahead with the expansion I was planning. I can no longer offer you the job.” Mr. Cohen expresses his condolences and hangs up the phone. His head is swirling.


From the files of Beis Din

DECEMBER 18, 2014




DECEMBER 25, 2014


Parenting Today

Rabbi Chaim Morgenstern

Chinuch Workshops: Practical Torah Guidelines and Strategies for Achieving Successful Chinuch The following series of articles will conclude with a project for parents to focus on each week to improve their parenting skills.

Workshop 2

Role Modeling Enthusiasm for Torah Values


ne of the most important areas of chinuch that parents invest in their child- raising efforts is to teach their children the four prime objectives of our lives: 1. The study of Torah 2. Properly observing the mitzvos 3. Having good middos 4. Doing maasim tovim The impact of role modeling these Torah values depends on the amount of enthusiasm that parents show when they fulfill their own obligations in these areas, as illustrated by the following story: On Erev Shabbos, the Chofetz Chaim asked Reb Yehuda Habalan (caretaker of the bathhouse) if the water had been heated for his weekly tevila in the mikvah. Reb Yehuda replied, “Certainly!” However, when the Chofetz Chaim was about to enter the mikvah, he discovered that the water was only warm. He then asked Reb Yehuda, “How is it possible for the water to be warm if you just heated it?” The balan replied, “Rebbi, I don’t know what happened. I

is only hot, then when you pour it out, it will turn warm in the mikvah.” (Chofetz Chaim Al HaTorah parshas Vayeira, footnote no. 5). The same principle applies to child-raising. If parents want their children to be enthusiastic in their Torah learning and fulfillment of mitzvos, they have to be burning with enthusiasm in these areas. However, if parents only appear warm in the way they relate to Torah learning and mitzvah observance, or worse yet, they show no enthusiasm at all and appear to fulfill mitzvos by rote, then their children will be cold in their commitment to Torah and mitzvos. Moreover, if parents show more enthusiasm about materialistic gains than about fulfilling mitzvos, their children’s priorities in life will be diverted toward materialism.

Some examples: • When do parents show more joy and excitement? When they do mitzvos, give tzedaka or do a chessed, or when they save money on a bargain sale, airline ticket or receive a salary raise? • Does the child hear his parents constantly speak enthusiastically Showing enthusiasm for Torah about materialism, such as their neighbor’s new car, and mitzvos is for everyone. fancy home, hi-tech cellphone, or digital camera, while hardly mentioning or showing enthusiasm poured over a half a tank of hot water over hearing a good shiur, an into the tub and I can’t understand why inspiring Rosh Hashana davening, it suddenly cooled off.” an opportunity to give tzedaka or The Chofetz Chaim then placed his to do an act of chessed? hand into the heated tank and discovShowing enthusiasm for Torah and ered that it was only warm. He turned to mitzvos is for everyone. A father can Reb Yehuda and said, “If you want the transmit these ideals by never missing water in the mikvah to be hot, then you his daily shiur, chavrusa or minyan and have to heat the tank until it boils over constantly speaking about them with so that when you pour it out, it will still joy and excitement. be hot. However, if the water in the tank The Shabbos table also provides an

excellent opportunity for parents to role model their enthusiasm for ruchniyus − spiritual matters − by how they react toward their children’s divrei Torah on the parsha and by singing heartfelt zemiros.

However, parents can lose this golden opportunity by having the focal point of their Shabbos seuda conversation centered on news, politics, business, sales and other topics.

Main point to work and focus on for the next week: > Parents should show tremendous enthusiasm on spiritual accomplishments, such as: 1. Enthusiastically returning home from a shiur, minyan or from doing a chessed. 2. 3. Showing joy after doing a mitzvah, especially if it entailed an extra effort or a money expense such as purchasing special hand-baked matzos for the Pesach seder, the four minim for Sukkos, a new mezuza, erecting a sukkah, giving tzedaka, helping to prepare sheva brachos or doing any other act of chessed. It’s important not to show any regret at the extra expense or effort involved in doing them.

Rabbi Morgenstern does family counseling and lectures extensively in Israel and abroad on shalom bayis, chinuch habanim, family communication, shidduchim, dating and personal growth, and has produced a popular CD series on these topics. His articles on these topics and Jewish hashkafa have appeared internationally in Jewish newspapers and magazines. For more information or to schedule a lecture, contact Rabbi Morgenstern in Israel at 952236-4197 or at You can also request to receive his weekly Parsha Pearls and chinuch articles by e-mail. Please include your name in the request. Articles are dedicated to the memory of his parents, Reb Yerachmiel Yisroel Nesanel z”l and Leah Gittel a”h. T.N.T.B.H




  


Real Estate Submitted by: Ben Schwartz | Founder the seller to perform the repairs. Definitely show up to the inspection and ask away! Having the pro point out the details of any issue to you in person is also beneficial so you can explain it when the time comes to fix it. For any repairs needed, call up a licensed contractor, and have them come over and give a bid on how much it will cost to repair it. The next important step is to get that quote in writing so that you can negotiate it off the price of the home. If you don’t have a quote on hand, the seller may lowball your discount (because they think it should cost less to fix) or try do it themselves, but not according to code. If a discount selling price is agreed upon, then you should inform your lender to be sure your loan takes that change into account. Hidden Cost #2 - Property Tax No matter what type of mortgage you have, you’ll most likely have to pay property taxes. Your property taxes could either be calculated as a percentage of the purchase price or the estimated value of the home. The best way to get a grip on this charge and stay ahead of the game even before you put in an offer on a new home or begin a refinance, is to speak with a title or escrow representative. They can give you an accurate breakdown of what to expect to pay, because these fees change all the time. One other piece of advice; you can get certain property tax breaks as a homebuyer that you might not have prior knowledge of. If the property is classified as a historical property, in many states, there is a giant tax break to take advantage of. Other tax exemptions that could save you thousands are available for things like installing solar panels on your new property. The bottom line is to take the time to research and see what tax breaks may be available to you in your area. Hidden Cost #3- Home Association Fees If you buy a home within a homeowner’s association, often you’ll be required to pay a monthly or quarterly fee, known as a homeowner’s association fee (HOA), that covers things like maintenance of your neighborhood’s shared spaces, gatherings, and other miscellaneous expenses. Generally, the more expensive and frequent the services the neighborhood board provides, the higher the HOA will be. When looking for a new home, the listing should state

if there is a homeowner’s association or not in the neighborhood. If so, there will be an HOA fee for you to pay. Once your offer is accepted, there should also be an addendum you sign to acknowledge the HOA fee. However, some fees that might be a surprise at closing might be HOA transfer fees and other processing fees. The title company usually orders a HOA buyer package for the transfer and can give a more accurate picture of the fees before the buyer goes to the closing table. Best to hone in on this number before you close so you’re not blindsided by it, and be on alert for rises over the duration of your homeownership, as fees can rise or be amended as needed for communal repairs or new provisions. Unfortunately, short of moving, you have no choice but to pay your HOA. There are no negotiation here, and no real restrictions on increases. Your best recourse is educating yourself so you can add this payment into your bottom line and budget for it. Hidden Cost #4 - Lender’s Fees Getting a mortgage can be a complicated and nuanced process. It’s important to remember that a lender is performing a service for you by guiding you through the mortgage application process and approving your loan. And for that guidance and work, lenders charge a fee which can be quite pricey. The lender has underwriting fees, possibly processing fees, and maybe some additional costs. Depending on the lender, costs can vary. As a result, it is recommended to get at least two estimates from different lenders to compare interest rates, fees, and closing costs. Depending on the loan program and interest rates, some lenders can even offer a credit towards closing costs so be sure to inquire about that as well. However, while shopping around is a great, cautions should be taken against picking a lender solely on costs. Service, reputation, and recommendations always should be taken into consideration. A final way to reduce fees, he says, is by being a repeat customer, either by refinancing on your current home with your original lender (if your interest rate was negotiated when rates were sky high before) or by working with your previous mortgage lender when buying a new home. Hidden Cost #5 - Private Mortgage Insurance

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is an insurance policy paid by the borrower (you) for the lender’s protection in the event that the borrower defaults on the loan. Depending on the type of loan you’re using to purchase your home and the amount of cash you have for your down payment, you may or may not need PMI. A well-educated and honest lender can give you an accurate PMI estimate based on your loan program, credit score, and down payment. FHA loans have different PMI rates versus that of a conventional loan. Depending on what program you go with, your PMI amount can vary. For FHA loans, PMI is required on loans no matter what down payment you put. For conventional loans, PMI is required for any loan with less than a 20 percent down payment. If you are putting down 20 percent on a conventional loan, you would not have PMI. Looking at the above criteria, if you now know that you will have to pay PMI, you’re probably wondering how much PMI will cost. Rates for conventional loans have actually come down in recent years. If you have fairly good credit, the rates are not that high. It is based on the payment you will be putting down, your credit score (the lower your score, the higher your PMI), and the length of the loan. Another silver lining is that one day; you can get rid of your PMI payment entirely if you have a convention loan. Once the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is at or below 80 percent, PMI is no longer required because you are no longer considered a risk of defaulting on your loan. If your home increases in value, that could help you get to the magic LTV number faster as well. is a Baltimore based tenant placement company that specializes in finding quality tenants for residential property owners and managers, QUICKLY, with their simple and effective tenant placement systems. Founded by Ben Schwartz in January of 2014 in response to the needs of property owners/managers who lack the proper time and resources to find tenants for their vacancies by themselves, has already assisted in the signing of over 65 leases! For more information, please visit: www.

DECEMBER 25, 2014

So you found your dream home in a neighborhood you love, it’s in your price range, and you’re ready to get the keys and move in ASAP. Everything is perfect - that is, until you realize that there are additional fees that could put a damper on your home-buying experience. Knowing about these hidden costs can help you know exactly how much of a loan you’ll need to cover all your bases. Read on for five things you should add into the bottom line of your home purchase to avoid any surprises. Hidden Cost #1- Home Inspection Fees Before you put in an offer on a house; you should always schedule a home inspection, where a professional walks through your space looking for structural issues and potential housing problems. Typically, you’ll have to front this cost out of pocket, but it’s worth every penny. Even if an inspection is not required, it’s worth paying a professional to evaluate the house so you can avoid spending hundreds of thousands on a train wreck disguised as a house. But how much will it add to the upfront cost of your home? Home inspections can run anywhere from $100 to close to $1,000 depending on the city, square footage, number of structures on the property, and property type. Pools, spas, and guest houses will also drive up the cost of your inspection, as will the need for any type of roofing, radon, or pest control inspection hired out to an additional company. While most professionals will give you a ballpark inspection cost estimate, here are a few tips for potentially lowering the fee for this service. A great way to cut costs on a home inspection is to put an ad in a free local classified section offering a gig to a local inspector, and put the price you are willing to pay. Then let the ‘applicants’ come to you! Inspectors occasionally may offer half off specials when their business is slowing down, so why not beat them to the punch. Having to pay this one-time inspection fee may be a bummer, but it does have its benefits. There are simply things that you might not think to check, such as if every light switch works, if there is moisture under the sinks or hidden pipes, or if there is any sign of water damage under the house. If anything like this is found, you can use the report to get up to thousands of dollars knocked off your sale price or to get


5 Hidden Costs of Buying a Home



DECEMBER 25, 2014


In The Kitchen

Chef Shaul Silverstein

Butternut Squash Cabbage Soup When the cold winter months are here, everyone loves a cozy, hot bowl of soup. Butternut squash soup definitely fills that void. As much as I like the flavors of the soup, I would always like something a bit different for texture, so I decided to try a bit of sautéed cabbage and julienned warmed zucchini. This recipe is what I came up with.

Talmudical academy of BalTimore

Agudah Scrip Program

Give tzedakah to individuals and mosdos and benefit our yeshiva simultaneously Purchase scrip (vouchers) in the amount of your choice to distribute to meshulachim. A percentage of the purchase price (approximately 20%) will benefit Talmudical Academy. Scrip is available in the following amounts: $ .75, $1.25, $3.00, $5.00, $10.00, $18.00 and $25.00

fre deliv e ery for or over $ ders 100

AdvAnTAgeS of uSing TA AgudAh ScriP:

• document your maaser New IRS law states that all donations made by cash or check (even less than $250) must be documented to be claimed as a charitable donation on your tax return

• Simplify your tzedakah record keeping and distribution • Keep some of your tzedakah local crediT cards accepTed for orders of $250 or more make tax-deductible checks payable to Agudath israel charity fund The vaad haraBonim of BalTimore has endorsed This proGram and encouraGes communiTy parTicipaTion

Ingredients 1 medium butternut squash 1 large Spanish onion, cubed 2 medium carrots, sliced at a half inch 3 stalks of celery, sliced into 1 inch slices 1 medium Macintosh apple, cored, peeled and quartered 2 cups cole slaw mix or shredded cabbage 1 small zucchini, julienned (1/3 cup) Sour cream for garnish 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional) Kosher salt and white pepper to taste Preparation Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice butternut squash lengthwise. Place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper for one hour until soft. When cool enough, remove skin and seeds. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil; lower to a simmer. Cube butternut squash. Place squash, apple, onion, carrot and celery slices into water. Add pumpkin pie spice and 1 teaspoon vanilla, if using. Add more water, if necessary. There should be at least two inches of water on top of the vegetables. When carrots are tender, transfer vegetables to a food processor or blender and puree. Sprinkle cabbage lightly with salt and sauté until translucent. (Try not to brown the cabbage.) Return puréed mixture to pot. Add cabbage and zucchini while extremely hot and then add salt and pepper to taste Note: Optionally, you can use chicken stock instead of water. The stock will add additional flavor to the soup. Shaul, a veteran chef, runs the koshermet blog on Facebook ( and at For inquiries, Shaul can be reached at

GeT a $25 KniSh ShoP cerTificATe wIth $500 ScRIp puRchaSe

To PlAce An order or for more informATion:

410-602-9942 •


he has closed 60 million in loans since entering the Baltimore market and was named #4 loan officer in the country according to Scotsman’s Guide. See for yourself why so many people choose Shimmy for their mortgage needs. Call today for a low rate mortgage–

Shimmy Braun

Vice President of Mortgage Lending


NMLS (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System) ID 2611 • IL - Residential Mortgage Licensee - IDFPR, 122 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1900, Chicago, Illinois, 60603, 312-793-3000, 3940 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60613 #MB.0005932 - NMLS: 112849 - IL - 031.0000741, MD - 112849 - 13181, NJ - Licensed - Licensed

DECEMBER 25, 2014

Shimmy Braun has built his business by providing the best service possible for your home loan. That’s why


Great Service is Good Business



DECEMBER 25, 2014


Notable Notable Quotes


Compiled by Nate NateDavis Davis Compiled by

“Say“Say What?” What?” KFC in Japan will continue its tradition of offering customers a [holiday dinner], which includes chicken, wine, cake, and champagne. For no extra charge, you can tell the cashier how you didn’t see your life ending up like this. – Jimmy Fallon

In an interview, President Obama said he recently deejayed a small dance party at the White House. Obama has a lot in common with deejays. He takes requests and then completely ignores them. - Jimmy Fallon

There’s blood on many hands tonight. That blood starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor. – PBA President Pat Lynch after two NYC police officers were killed last weekend

Who hasn’t thought about being lifted up by balloons in the sky?

We’re all in this together. - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to a group of police officers after the slaying No we’re not! - One of the officer’s reply to the mayor

The White House announced plans to begin normalizing relations with Cuba — this as we’re awkwardizing relations with Russia. – Craig Ferguson

- Eric Roner of Northern California who used homemade devices and 90 large helium balloons to lift himself 8,000 feet into the air Jeb Bush announced today on the Internet that he may run for president. What is Jeb Bush’s full name? Jebediah? Jebaroni? – Craig Ferguson Jeb Bush announced on the Internet that he is exploring a 2016 bid for president. And to increase his chances, he’s going to run as just “Jeb.” He said, “My last name? It’s not important.” - Seth Myers

I went to Target. I thought I was undercover. I have to tell you something about this trip, though. No one knew that was me because a woman actually walked up to me, right, I was in the detergent aisle and she said — I kid you not — she said, “Excuse me, I just have to ask you something.” And I thought, cover’s blown. She said, “Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the detergent?” I kid you not! And the only thing she said — I reached up because she was short — and I reached up and pulled it down and she said, “Well, you didn’t have to make it look so easy.” That was the interaction. I felt so good. She had no idea who I was. – Michelle Obama in 2013 telling David Letterman about her incognito trip to Target I tell this story – I mean, even as the First Lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn’t see me as the First Lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new. - Michelle Obama in a recent interview with People magazine discussing an instance of subtle racism which took place when she took her incognito trip to Target

Today President Obama announced that the U.S. is working to improve its relationship with Cuba in an effort to normalize full diplomatic relations. For instance, today they released one of our prisoners and in return we sent back one of their shortstops. - Jimmy Fallon

You probably heard about the big prisoner swap with Cuba. A man who has been incarcerated in Havana for five years is back home in the United States. And we sent them some prisoners. The deal still has to be approved by President Obama and Bud Selig. – David Letterman

A new report says ISIS is trying to recruit professionals like doctors, engineers, and accountants. Sorry, kids, even ISIS says they’re not hiring liberal arts majors. - Conan O’Brien

President Obama recently said that his day is all about politics, so in the mornings he likes to watch ESPN. So if you get the feeling he’s repeating himself every half hour, that’s where he learned it from. – Jimmy Fallon


Be very careful if you’re out shopping because of the sidewalk vendors. They’re selling inexpensive items — counterfeit watches, counterfeit handbags, actual Knicks tickets. – David Letterman

Russia has named Vladimir Putin its man of the year for the 15th year in a row. Putin got 143 million votes and the guy he was up against got killed in a mysterious boating accident. The boat was in a warehouse. – Conan O’Brien

This shows we can resolve our differences without renouncing a single one of our principles. - Cuban President Raul Castro after President Obama agreed to normalize relations with Cuba A Salvation Army bell ringer in Virginia was injured when an 87-year-old man accidentally ran him over. He was taken to the hospital once the applause died down. - Seth Myers

Allahu Akbar! -A Muslim terrorist screaming as he plowed his car into pedestrians on a crowded street in France This is absolutely not an act of terrorism. - A French official after the attack, making the claim that the attacker was mentally deranged and was not acting in the name of radical Islam

The U.S. is re-establishing relations with Cuba. But before President Obama can lift the embargo, he will need approval from the Republicancontrolled Congress — or as Republicans who called Obama said, “Close, but no cigar.” - Jimmy Fallon

The DPRK has already launched the toughest counteraction. Nothing is more serious miscalculation than guessing that just a single movie production company is the target of this counteraction. Our target is all the citadels of the U.S. imperialists who earned the bitterest grudge of all Koreans. Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism. - A statement by the North Korean state-run newspaper after President Obama accused North Korea of hacking into Sony

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference today that it was too early to decide if he will run for re-election in 2018. But he says it’s not too early to decide how much he wins by.

President Obama announced yesterday that he’s pardoning 12 convicted felons. Political experts say the move could have huge implications for your fantasy football teams.

– Seth Myers

Oh, nice! - President Obama when someone handed him a Cuban cigar at the White House’s Chanukah party

The White House will ease diplomatic relations with Cuba. When asked how he’ll celebrate, Obama said, “Smoke a Cuban cigar, no I mean smoke a regular cigarette — oh, I’ll just have some water, I guess, I don’t know.” - Jimmy Fallon

- Seth Myers The Dalai Lama said there should be no more Dalai Lamas after his death. That’s particularly bad news for his son, Steve Lama. - Conan O’Brien

Graceland is going to auction off Elvis Presley’s first-ever recordings from 1953 — or as people now coming to America from Cuba put it, “Whoa! What’s that hot new sound?” - Jimmy Fallon


DECEMBER 25, 2014

A new poll about the 2016 election shows that just 27 percent of voters would be likely to support Chris Christie. And only 4 percent of chairs. - Seth Myers

Everyone’s weighing in on Sony’s cancellation of “The Interview.” Mitt Romney suggested the film should be released online for free. Donald Trump said the studio has no courage or guts. Chris Christie said, “Either way, I’m having a large bucket of popcorn.” – Jimmy Fallon


About ten days before his death, Rabin and I attended a black-tie dinner together at the State Department, where he presented me with the United Jewish Appeal’s Isaiah Award. As everyone knows, Rabin had been a soldier most of his life, and so he was never comfortable wearing fancy clothes. In fact, I had read that when David Ben-Gurion sent him on his first-ever diplomatic mission in 1949, he didn’t even own a tie. Somebody had to give him one, tie it, and then loosen it, so he would never have to learn how to tie one himself. In 1995, just before our black-tie dinner, he discovered that he’d only brought a straight tie, not a bow tie as the occasion warranted. We borrowed a bow tie from one of my staff, and my last memory of our time together was me straightening his bow tie, with him good-naturedly kvetching the whole time about having to wear it. – Bill Clinton in a recent interview with Yediot Achronot about Yitzchak Rabin

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DECEMBER 4, 2014

The Lauder Foundation



DECEMBER 25, 2014


25 Years of Revitalizing Polish Jewry BY YAAKOV WASILEWICZ

“If I would realize all the difficulties that I would have, I may have not done it. But I was naïve and I believed, and this belief came true.” – Ronald S. laudeR, pReSident of the

WoRld JeWiSh CongReSS, duRing

hiS SpeeCh in

WaRSaW, poland, on

novembeR 2, 2014, at the gala dinneR WhiCh maRked

25 yeaRS of the laudeR

foundation in poland


onald Steven Lauder grew up in a five-story townhouse on Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side. He attended the prestigious Bronx High School of Science and also studied in Europe, where as a teenager he began buying German and Austrian paintings. After he graduated from Penn’s Wharton School in 1965, Lauder followed in the footsteps of his brother, Leonard, and dutifully went into the family cosmetics business founded by his mother, Estée, and his late father, Joseph. But after 17 years, he began to feel that there was more to life than selling lipstick. “I’ve always admired my mother,” says Lauder, “but I wanted to make my own mark, to make a name for myself as distinct from hers. Everywhere I went, I was always identified as Estée Lauder’s son. I had been brought up by my parents to believe that I could achieve anything I wanted in the world. And I decided that what I wanted was to make a contribution in the public arena.” Lauder says he first thought of a government career with the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. “Those first two days, I realized the war could go either way and there was nothing that I, as a private citizen, could do to help. In the future, I wanted to be in a position to affect something I really believed in.” Lauder entered the world of politics in the late ‘70s when he became a major fundraiser for the Republican Party in New York. In the mid-‘80s, he was appointed finance chairman. In 1983, he quit his job as chairman of Estee Lauder International to work at the Pentagon. His departure from the family business was not easy for anyone. “My parents had built the company to pass onto Leonard and me,” says Lauder. “My father died right before I moved to Washington and my mother was devastated by both events. It was a tumultuous time.” For the next three years, Lauder traveled back and forth to Europe as deputy assistant secretary of defense for NATO and European affairs, coordinating relations

with NATO countries and attending defense planning meetings. “I had decided that if I were to become an effective politician, I would have to understand what defense was all about,” he explains. In 1986 he was appointed by Ronald Reagan to be the U.S. ambassador to Austria.


he first time Lauder came to Poland was in 1987. He came to one synagogue that was there and walked in. The average age of the people there was around 75. He asked them, “Where is the Jewish community?” They replied, “We are the Jewish community.” “Do you have any children?” They answered, “Yes, they are in Israel.” “Do you know any young people?” They answered, “You don’t consider us young?” Lauder walked away very depressed from this exchange because after being in Vienna and Prague, he knew that there must be a Jewish community in Poland. About six months later, R’ Chaskel Besser, the venerable Chassidic religious leader of Manhattan’s Congregation Bnai Israel Chaim, appeared in his office. “Rabbi Besser heard there was a new Jewish ambassador and he was looking for kosher food to send to Poland,” relates Lauder. When he came to his office, they spoke about the Jewish community. “The rabbi told me that there is a Jewish community in Poland, but you just have to know where to look. And so I said: ‘Let’s find it!’ This began a 25 year relationship with the most wonderful person I ever met. He was more than a rabbi. I liked him immediately because he had great warmth along with a rich sense of humor. He wanted my help, but he soon helped me – he became my mentor, my instructor, and eventually, my partner. He taught me about being Jewish, but most important – he believed so much in the life in Poland that during the beginning of

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He asked the people there, “Where is the Jewish community?” They replied, “We are the Jewish community.” one was interested in educating Jewish children before Ronald.” Rabbi Besser told Lauder about hidden children,

children who were brought up not by their parents who were killed in the Holocaust, but by Catholic families or by Catholic institutions that hid them during the war. “We know that during the 2nd World War—between January of 1939 and January of 1943—around 70,000 of Jewish children were given away to the Catholic families for safekeeping,” Lauder related recently. “We know that 20,000 were found, mainly boys between 1 month and 15 years old, and were killed. We know that about 20,000 came out and many of them left Poland in 1950s. We also know that there were between 20,000 and 30,000 Jewish children who were raised by the Catholic families and who were still living in Poland, in many cities Continued on page 80



























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DECEMBER 25, 2014


auder began traveling more often to Poland with Rabbi Besser. Rabbi Besser once said: “No one cared about the spirit or the soul of the

Jews in Poland. The JDC (Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) tried to help old Jews materially, but no

Yaakov with Rabbi Shlomo Besser, son of Rabbi Chaskel Besser zt”l, in the Nozyk Synagogue in Warsaw, Poland, on November 2 at the event celebrating 25 years of the Lauder Foundation

DECEMBER 4, 2014

the process of the foundation about 30% of the money that was spent was spent for Poland.” After Lauder resigned as ambassador, he returned to the family business part-time as chairman of Clinique, one of Estée Lauder’s most successful lines of cosmetics. With the memory of those destroyed by Nazi sympathizers in a Vienna synagogue on Kristallnacht fresh in his mind, he decided to “do something Jewish.” In 1988, he organized an American interdenominational commemoration of Kristallnacht.

Children in the Lauder Camp in Rychwald, Poland, in 1996. Yaakov is standing in the middle



Rabbi Chaskel Besser, zt”l



DECEMBER 25, 2014

46 80 102

L-R: Rabbi Shlomo Besser, Yaakov Wasilewicz, Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, former director of the Lauder Foundation in Poland, and Rabbi Chaskel Besser in his house in NYC in 2004

Yaakov with Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, during the event celebrating 25 years of the Lauder Foundation

throughout Poland. Rabbi Chaskel Besser offered to go to many of those cities, town by town, putting ads in newspapers, saying: ‘If you found out that you are Jewish, come to such and such hotel…’ “We found people all over. In Katowice, 157 people showed up. And by the time we finished, by the 1990s, we had almost 3,000 of these no longer children but people who found out that they were Jewish.” In 1989, Lauder and Rabbi Besser hosted a dinner for 100 of those young adults in the hotel Victoria, a place where Mr. Lauder would often stay. “I cannot say that I remember that hotel in fine memories,” he said. “But one evening we invited those 100 people who found out that they were Jewish. Their ages were somewhere between 40 and 50. I remember all of them coming in and being very shy. I remember very much that nobody wanted to speak, that they were all very shy and instead of talking, they just whispered. And then, 2 hours later, I took Rabbi Besser aside and I said to him, ‘This is not working.’ “Then I asked him, ‘What would a Jewish mother have sang to those children as infants?’ And he said to me: ‘Raisins and Almonds,’ a Yiddish song. So we did a quick rehearsal and then we came out and Rabbi Besser said in Polish, ‘The Ambassador Lauder and I will now sing a song, which many of you may have heard as children. Anyone who remembers the words please join in.’ “And we started to sing. First 10, then 20, then 40, and 60, and finally we got to the “Shloff Yiddele, shloff,” 80 out of 100 of people there were singing the song that their mother that they never knew sang to them when they were infants. It was in their subconscious. And they were singing that song that brought back all the memories,” Lauder remembers. “We then sat from 9:30pm until almost 1:30 in the morning. Everybody would get up and say over their story. There was a change, a change that changed things dramatically. It’s something that I will never forget. And there we started very much the idea of what we should have. “They said to me: ‘We want foundation, we want a Jewish life. If we are going to be Jews, we want to be Jews in the Poland that we can live in and our children can live in.’ And the result was that on that evening, the Foundation was born. It was a little over 25 years ago. We started very small; we started off with a kindergarten, and we started off with a few

people, a few teachers, and the kindergarten grew. From an apartment to a house, and from a house to another school, finally to a school where it’s at. And every time I come here I get very emotional to see what has happened.”


uring the recent event celebrating 25 years of the Lauder Foundation in Poland, Rabbi Besser’s son, Rabbi Shlomo Besser, and daughter, Mrs. Aliza Grund, were present. Rabbi Shlomo Besser spoke about Mr. Lauder, saying, “As much as can be said about you, doesn’t match to the deeds that you’ve done in the past, that you are do-

80 out of 100 of people there were singing the song that their mother that they never knew sang to them when they were infants.

ing in the present, and that you will be doing in the future. As we read in the yesterday’s parshas hashavuah, the Jewish nation is compared to the stars.” Rabbi Shlomo Besser continued, “And my father, Rabbi Besser, would point out that the stars are visible only at night. It is in the dark times that we see the stars the best. It is our prayer, Mr. Lauder, that you continue helping the stars shine, but more than that – bring us to the point that there will be no night, only day and light. And in the name of my mother and my siblings we thank you for what you have done, for what you are doing and for what you will be doing.” Mrs. Aliza Grund related, “Our father, Rabbi Besser, was very interested in the education. Where we grew up – in Manhattan – there were not many choices in education. But our parents made sure that we went to a day school that had some religious studies and a lot of secular studies. And the school that we attended had a very big mix of children. “But no matter what we did later in life, what high school we attended, no matter what college we

L-R: Rabbi Besser zt”l, Ronald S. Lauder, Kostek Gebert, Dasha Rittenberg, Ela Trepka with her daughter, Judyta Nekanda-Trepka, and Rabbi Hershel Lieber

attended,” she continued, “our foundation was our elementary school. And the love of learning, what you will achieve in life starts here. And we were fortunate to be included to come on this trip and to see what you’ve gotten, and what you will be getting, and let it carry you through and remember and be strong in your Jewish identity. It should carry you through for the future—to make a very big difference in am Yisrael,” she encouraged.


n Judaism we have a very important concept called hakaras hatov, appreciating and showing gratitude. Wherever we are, we must always be aware of things being done for us, and we must always show our gratitude both to G-d and to people for all that is done for us. Even if it is just a small thing that was performed on our behalf, it is our obligation to recognize the goodness and our duty to appreciate it. What the Lauder Foundation did for us – Polish Jewry – was not a small thing. The Lauder Foundation established a Jewish school in Poland and created summer and winter camps. Thanks to the Foundation, youth clubs started to operate in many cities throughout the whole Poland. It supported the Polish Jewish intellectual monthly Midrasz, translated many great books into Polish, and helped repair historic synagogues throughout the country. The Foundation launched an important program called the Genealogy Project at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, which until today is assisting many people who come to Poland looking for their family’s roots. But Lauder’s involvement in Poland is even more far-reaching. He has been deeply committed to preserving the concentration camps, Auschwitz and Birkenau, to memorialize the atrocities committed against our nation. I owe a special debt of gratitude to the Lauder Foundation in Poland, which helped to rebuild Jewish life in Poland throughout these 25 years and greatly contributed to my connection to Judaism. Thanks to Ronald Lauder, Rabbi Besser, Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, and many other wonderful people, the Jews of Poland have been revitalized and energized. Yaakov welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at



My Israel Home

Gedaliah Borvick


Tzur Hadassah

An Alternative for Young Jerusalemites


zur Hadassah is one of Jerusalem’s suburbs and is undergoing a major expansion. Nestled in the Judean Hills within Israel’s “green line,” the community is just a short drive to Hadassah’s Ein Kerem medical center and eight miles from Jerusalem’s

city limits. Interestingly, it is gaining the attention of many young Jerusalemites looking to raise their families in more pastoral settings. Tzur Hadassah is 750 meters above sea level and is surrounded by half a dozen nature reserves, which helps the

town maintain a decidedly rural feel. It also offers panoramic views and a relatively cool and crisp climate, similar to Jerusalem. Established in 1960 and named in honor of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, the community has grown to 8,000 residents. Tzur Hadassah is currently comprised of three neighborhoods, and two new neighborhoods are in the midst of being built which will add 2,500 apartments and double the population. Tzur Hadassah has historically been a secular community and is home to one of the largest Reform temples in the country. Over the past decade, the town has become more heterogeneous, and today the Dati Leumi (national religious) community has grown to about 30% of the population. The town is very child-centric, which manifests itself in a number of ways: There’s a wide spectrum of schools and youth movements plus there’s a relatively large variety of communal facilities for extracurricular activities. In addition, the community is always looking for creative ideas to foster a love of education, and the following illustration is a great example: each bus stop has shelves of books appropriate for children and teenagers. Surprisingly, after almost a year, the books haven’t been stolen or vandalized. What an inspired idea to literally bring the lending library to the community! Many of the buyers of homes in the new neighborhoods under construction are families from Jerusalem. They are making the move for different reasons. Some families want to trade in their urban lifestyles for a rural setting that

offers a serene atmosphere and a more intimate sense of neighborhood. Other expanding families would have preferred to upgrade and stay in Jerusalem but have been priced out of the market. Tzur Hadassah is within a half hour or so of central Jerusalem but the housing prices are half – and in many cases, a third – the price of Jerusalem real estate. For example, 75 sqm two-bedroom units start at under $300,000, 100 sqm three-bedroom apartments start at around $350,000, and 120 sqm 4-bedroom units start at $400,000. There are also a number of newly built 190 sqm semi-detached homes built on small lots for sale at around $500,000. Tzur Hadassah is equidistant between Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem and has frequent buses running to both cities. However, the community lacks a strong public transportation system, and most commuters need cars to either drive to work or to public transportation. I expect that as the community expands, the public transportation options will increase accordingly. Currently, less than 10% of Tzur Hadassah’s citizens are English speakers. Nevertheless, with the expected influx of Jerusalemites, I expect this number to increase significantly. I am keeping my eye on this community, as I believe it has potential to become a destination for a portion of my English-speaking clientele. Gedaliah Borvick is the founder of My Israel Home (, a real estate agency focused on helping people from abroad buy and sell homes in Israel. To sign up for his monthly market updates, contact him at

DECEMBER 25, 2014

Snowy day in Begin Park near Tzur Hadassah


DECEMBER 25, 2014


By: Stew the Jew (AKA.Stuart Goldberg)

What do you call (it) when.... 1. You’re noshing in a Jewish-type restaurant? You’re F_____________’ in a D________________ 2. Kids that fall down exhausted after a hard day? T________ that P_______

7. Someone’ was fretting over Israel’s first Prime Minister? S/He was W_____________’ about B_______ G_________ 8. Someone gives up to a famous maker of bagels? S/He S__________ to L__________ 9. The first man introduced himself to the first woman? He said, “M___________, I’m A________.” 10. It could be dangerous to eat non-kosher food? It’s not S___________ to eat T__________

3. The author of Portnoy’s Complaint did away with a clothes eating insect? Phillip R__________ killed a 11. This Jewish comedian adores barrel cured cucumbers? M__________ Don R___________ loves P_____________________ 4. This Jewish person who has interviewed dozens of 12. The violinist on the top of the house gave the wrong famous people makes a mistake? Barbara W__________ answer? The Fiddler on the R____________ made a F____________ G_____________ 5. A person ate treyf in America’s largest city? .. S/He ate P___________ in N________ 6. There’s dirt in a communal settlement? There’s Sh____________ in a K_____________

(ɟooƃ ɐ ǝpɐɯ ɟooɹ ǝɥʇ uo ɹǝ‫ן‬ppıɟ) ˙21 (sǝ‫ן‬ʞɔıd sǝʌo‫ ן‬sǝ‫ן‬ʞɔıɹ) ˙11 (ɟʎǝɹʇ ʇɐǝ oʇ ǝɟɐs) ˙01 (”˙ɯɐpɐ ɯ’ı ‘ɯɐpɐɯ“) ˙9 (s’ɹǝpuǝ‫ ן‬oʇ sɹǝpuǝɹɹns) ˙8 (uoıɹnƃ uǝq ʇnoqɐ ’uıʎɹɹoʍ) ˙7 (zʇnqqıʞ ɐ uı zʇnɯɥs) ˙6 (ʞɹoʎ ʍǝu uı ʞɹod) ˙5 (sɹǝʇ‫ן‬ɐɟ sɹǝʇ ‫ן‬ɐʍ) ˙4 (ɥʇoɯ ɐ pǝ‫ןן‬ıʞ ɥʇoɹ) ˙3 (zʇo‫ן‬d ʇɐɥʇ sʇoʇ) ˙2 (uǝssǝʇɐɔı‫ן‬ǝp ɐ uı ’uıssǝɹɟ) ˙1

Health & Fitness

71 David Elazar Simai, MD


How to Keep Your Baby’s Skin Smooth This Winter because the heat in your house has removed much of the humidity from the air. The warm, dry air will also cause your skin to feel dry and irritated. Food Allergies and Eczema – Here is a sensitive and controversial point. Many times skin or blood tests may show that a baby has a food allergy. However, the tests alone are not reliable, and may entirely miss the point when it comes to eczema. If you feel that your child’s skin has dramatically dried after eating a certain food, despite taking all the measures that I will mention below, then discuss this with your pediatrician. The best food allergy test for eczema is what reaction you see at home. (Do not test your

Hand and body soaps will also remove the protective layer of oil that our bodies produce, leaving our skin more dry, cracked and itchy. layer of skin known as the epidermis. Patients with eczema have extra sensitive nerves that make them feel much more itchy than regular people. Causes of Dry Skin and Eczema Genetics – Eczema has a very strong genetic component. Parents who have a history of eczema should be extra-careful with their children. Soaps – We use soaps to remove grease from our dishes. Hand and body soaps will also remove the protective layer of oil that our bodies produce, leaving our skin more dry, cracked and itchy. Perfumes – Most perfumes are made of alcohol derivatives. Alcohol is one of the most drying and irritating agents available. Perfumes are found in many household products (i.e. detergents, creams, soaps). Dry air – As you may have noticed, your throat may have been extra dry when you woke up this week. This is

kids’ allergies at home if they have severe allergies to milk, peanuts or other foods.) Over-Bathing – The warm water we bathe in dries our skin. This is especially true in the winter, because when we exit the shower, our warm and wet skin dries ever so quickly. In warmer, more humid climates, people shower up to three times daily (try the Caribbean islands for example). My “Ounce of Prevention” Here are some tips I like to share with parents. I will mention specific brands of household products, so I would like disclose to you that I have no association with any of these companies whatsoever. Moisturizers – Try and moisturize your baby twice daily. You don’t have to be too generous with the moisturizer, just make sure that you thoroughly rub it into the skin. Don’t leave a layer on top of the skin – it serves no pur-

pose other than greasing your clothes. Pay close attention to the cheeks, elbows, and the area behind the knees as these areas tend to be more prone to dryness. Moisturizer Brands I Recommend: • Vaseline – Original only. The best bang for your buck. • Aquaphor – A more expensive version of Vaseline. • Eucerin – Original is the thickest and best. *Please avoid all good smelling moisturizers; their perfume will dry and irritate the skin. Bathing – Lower the temperature of your baby’s bath. Give your children shorter baths. Pat dry (don’t rub dry) their skin right after leaving the bath. Studies show that children with eczema may benefit from bathing but only if the parents moisturize the skin right after the bath. Hair & Body Washes I Recommend • Eucerin Hair & Body Wash • Cetaphil Hair & Body Wash • Arbonne Hair & Body Wash Humidity Control – To avoid over-drying at home: • Set your home thermostat not higher than 70°F. • Leave the window in your room slightly open (this may prevent the croupy cough as well). Clothing – Make sure that your child’s sensitive skin does not come into contact with wool or polyester fabrics. Try and dress your child in 100% cotton clothing. To stop your child from scratching, you may try to cover their hands with cotton mittens or socks. (I am sure you have seen infants wearing their socks on their hands.) Early Treatment – I often mention the notorious vicious cycle that afflicts eczema patients: the dry and irritated skin makes the child feel itchy. The child scratches the skin, causing further damage. The damaged, excori-

ated skin loses its natural barrier to infection and loses its ability to lock in moisture. This brings on further irritation and more itchy sensations. Therefore, if you take the above mentioned precautions and you find your baby is still dry and itchy, see your pediatrician and get a prescription-strength cream that will stop the vicious cycle and alleviate the situation before it’s too late. Your doctor could use much milder creams if you present the rash early on. Once your child has started to scratch, the skin may require more potent medicine. Hope you find these tips useful for you and your children! Wishing you the best of health, David Elazar Simai, M.D.

Dr. David Simai is a Board Certified Pediatrician from the Five Towns. He is a full time attending in his own private practice since 2007 in Cedarhurst, New York. In addition, he is an Attending Physician at LIJCohen Children’s Hospital, North-Shore Manhasset University Hospital and South Nassau Communities Hospital. He can be contacted for consultation at 516 374-2228 or via email at NOTE: name, gender, geographical area and other identifying information were deliberately altered in this article in order to protect the patient’s privacy. This article is not intended to help diagnose or treat any specific disease. Always consult your personal physician before diagnosing or treating yourself or your child for any of the above mentioned illnesses.

DECEMBER 25, 2014

Dear Parents, As many of our readers have noticed, their baby’s soft, cute and chubby cheeks have roughened a bit. It is not a coincidence that the change has appeared in the past month as the temperature has gotten much colder. Amazingly, the largest organ in our body is not the heart, kidneys or brain. It is our skin. I have been reminding many parents over the fall months that this change is imminent and have given them some useful tips to prevent and deal with the harsher weather. If ignored or mishandled, the dry skin can turn into eczema. For readers unfamiliar with this condition, eczema is a form of inflammation of the outer




DECEMBER 25, 2014


You Gotta be



A truck driver is going opposite traffic on a oneway street. A police officer sees him but doesn’t stop him. Why doesn’t the police officer stop him?

Answer on next page

On a recent visit to Cuba, Vladimir Putin found that most Cubans’ shoes have holes in them, and so he asks Fidel Castro, “Oye chico, how is this possible after 40 years of ‘progress’?” Annoyed, Fidel Castro answers, “And what about Russia? Have you done any better?” Putin says, “Ombe, when you want, I’ll invite you to Russia and if you find a single person with ripped-up shoes, you have permission to kill him. No problem.” They got on Putin’s plane and went to Russia. As soon as Fidel got off the plane, the first thing he saw was someone whose shoes were all ripped up, and so he grabbed his pistol, killing the man. The following day, Russian newspapers carried this banner headline: “Old Bearded Man Kills Cuban Ambassador in Moscow Airport.”

CUBA TRIVIA 1. How long was Fidel Castro’s longest speech? a. 1 hour and 47 minutes b. 2 hours and 23 minutes c. 3 hours and 48 minutes d. 7 hours and 10 minutes 2. What is the official language of Cuba? a. Spanish b. Cuban c. English d. Russian 3. How many U.S. presidents did Fidel Castro outlast? a. 6 b. 8 c. 10 d. 11 4. According to Cuban security officials, how many assassination attempts did Fidel Castro survive? a. 73 b. 134 c. 212 d. 638 5. In 1961, the United States backed an invasion by Cuban exiles, which failed. What was the invasion called? a. Operation Cuban Freedom b. Operation Defeat Communism c. Bay of Pigs d. Operation Havana Lights

6. How many people live in Cuba? a. 6 million b. 11 million c. 64 million d. 82 million 7. In 1962 why did President Kennedy delay signing the embargo against Cuba for several hours? a. There were last minute negotiations with Fidel Castro. b. He wanted to give a televised broadcast to explain his actions but had to wait until after the Super Bowl to do so. c. He wanted to make sure that he had enough Cuban cigars for himself in the White House first. d. He was watching his wife play in an amateur tennis tournament. ANSWERS 1) D-Castro holds the Guinness Book of Records title for the longest speech ever delivered at the United Nations: 4 hours and 29 minutes on September 29, 1960. His longest speech on record in Cuba was 7 hours and 10 minutes in 1986 at the III Communist Party Congress in Havana. 2) A 3) C 4) D-The assassination attempts include poison pills, a toxic cigar, a chemically tainted diving suit, and powder to make his beard fall out so as to undermine his popularity. Castro is quoted as saying, “If surviving assassination attempts

were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal.” 5) C-In 1961, the CIA launched what its leaders believed would be the definitive strike: a full-scale invasion of Cuba by 1,400 Americantrained Cubans who had fled their homes when Castro took over. However, the invasion did not go well; the invaders were badly outnumbered by Castro’s troops, and they surrendered after less than 24 hours of fighting. 6) C 7) C-According to JFK’s then-spokesman Pierre Salinger, the president ordered him to buy him as many of his favorite Cuban cigars as he could lay his hands on – and held off signing the Cuban trade embargo until his precious stogies were safely inside the White House. Kennedy asked to find at least 1,000 H.Upmann petit coronas, and gave him just a half a day to accomplish the task before they would become contraband. When Salinger handed him 1,200 Cuban cigars, President Kennedy pronounced, “Fantastic!” and then promptly signed the embargo. Wisdom key 5-7 correct: You earned a Cuban cigar, just remember what el presidente Fidel said after he quit smoking cigars in 1985: “I give people cigars and tell them it is poison. I say: ‘Smoke them if you like, but the best thing you can do with that box of cigars is give it to your enemy.’” 2-4 correct: You know a little about Cuba but not enough. Come to think of it, Mr. Obama, is that why you just handed a victory to Castro? 0-1 correct: You are a winner! You won an all-expenses paid trip to a tropical Cuban island: Guantanamo Bay.


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“Is it really bad luck to jum


p in and collect the pennies

“I hack Sony!”

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e again.”

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ANSWER TO RIDDLE: Because he was walking!

s is not an easy task”

“Picking out matching sock

“Custard for me! Custard for

DECEMBER 25, 2014

“We were eventually able to solve the math problem we were working on: two plus two is four!”



In retaliation for North Korea’s actions last week, the TJH Centerfold Commissioner successfully “gained access” to Kim Jong Un ’s private photo journal. We present portions of the never-before-seen journal to our dear readers.


In The Kitchen

THET JEWISH 2014 H E J E W I SHOME H H O M E nDECEMBER M AY 2 4 ,11, 2012


DECEMBER 25, 2014

76 52 106 82

In the Kitchen

Naomi Nachman

The Hawaiian Poke


Naomi Nachman

recently was lucky enough to vacation in Hawaii. It’s a beautiful part of the such as soy sauce, onions, tomatoes, and chilies. Poke is so common in the Haworld and we really enjoyed ourselves. Any time I travel, I love to explore waiian culture that you can stop at a local grocery store and choose from several and research the local cuisine. Even though Hawaii has no kosher restaurants freshly made varieties. Poke is considered a local food or “local grind” – comfort food to the Hawai(yes, I had to schlep all my own food!), I took the time to go to the local supermarkets and small grocery stores as well as the local farmers’ markets. We found ians. Normally, local food is not the cuisine that is served in upscale hotels and a quaint, yet bustling farmers’ market on the island of Kaua’I, where we were able restaurants of Hawaii, but poke has crossed such boundaries. It was not until the 1970s that the recipes for poke started appearing in cookbooks. to sample many exotic indigenous fruits (the shehechiyanus were flying!). I noticed at all these food markets and stores they sold something called poke (which is a dish made from tuna). As tuna is a kosher fish, I was excited that I could try to make my own version of this when I returned home. I researched the recipes, and I also interviewed a number of Hawaiian chefs on how tuna poke is There is nothing like the magic of hot soup to warm your soul and fill your belly. I have always loved soup. made and the history of the dish. Below are some facts that I learned: These easy-to-make, hearty soups will keep you warm and satisfied any night of the year. Ingredients I try Hawaiian to make aPoke lot ofHistory different soups on one day so I have2 ready to go meals in the freezer on those chilly days. lbs. fresh or sashimi-grade tuna steaks, into home from school. Adapted from My kids love having a bowl of soup waiting for Ahi them when theycutcome bite-size pieces* Poke (pronounced POH-kay) is served in most Hawaiian homes and restaurants as a side dish, and no gathering in Hawaii would be complete without a few ½ cup soy sauce bowls of Poke. In Hawaiian, poke means “cut piece” or “small piece.” Poke is ¾ cup chopped green onions (tops included) bite-size pieces of raw fish doused in seasonings. Poke is actually the Hawaiian version of the elegant Japanese sashimi (a combination of the Hawaiian and Japa- 2 tablespoons sesame oil 1 tablespoon grated fresh 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice nese taste for raw fish). This soup is great for a Thanksgiving ginger For centuries, Hawaiian fishermen cut their catch of raw fish into cubes and dinner and is perfect for fall with all the 1 TBS lemon juice 1 to 2 chile peppers cored, 1 bunch baby spinach seasoned it with whatever ingredients they had available. Modern versions seasonalmake root vegetables. seeded, and finely mincedPinch cayenne pepper use of seasonings brought by the many different cultures of the Hawaiian Islands, Coarse salt to taste Ingredients 1 tablespoon toasted sesamePreparation 1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed seeds** Add lentils, water and bay leaf to a 4 cups water 1 tablespoon finely-choppedmedium saucepan. Cover and boil on a Bay leaf toasted macadamia simmer for 20 minutes until lentils are Salt nuts*** tender. Add 1 tablespoon salt and remove 2 TBS olive oil leaves leaf; puree lentils in a blender. 2 onions, diced Bok choy or romaine lettucebay

Soup-er Soups to warm your family on cool fall nights Ahi Tuna Poke

Red Lentil Vegetable Soup

Add onions to a skillet and sauté until 4 cloves garlic, minced Preparation onions are soft. Add garlic, ginger, cumin, 2-inch piece ginger, minced In a large bowl, combinecurry, tuna, soy greenand onions, andsauce, coriander sautésesame for a oil, fewginger, chile 2 tsp cumin peppers, salt, sesame seeds, and macadamia nuts; mix lightly. Cover and refrigerate more minutes. Add butternut squash, pars1 tsp curry at least 2 hours before serving. nip, carrots, zucchini, salt, and 1 ½ cups 2 tsp dried coriander To serve, tear intosimmer pieces that are minutes large enough you to hold as water for 10 until for veg2 cups butternut squash, cut into ½ lettuce inch leaves you eat and spoon approximately 3 tablespoons of poke onto each piece. Either eat etables are soft. dice with your fingers or use a fork or chopsticks. Stir lemon juice and spinach into pu1 cup zucchini, peeled and cut into ½ * If you cannot buy freshly fresh sashimi reedcaught lentils,fish, thenpurchase add the only vegetables and or sushiinch dice grade fish. Look for tuna fillets that are bright in color, not dull or or dry stir to combine. The heat will wilt darkened the 1 medium parsnip, looking. Buydice loins or thick fillets (at Add least pepper one-inch thick). spinach. and salt if necessary. peeled and cut into ½ inch ** To toast sesame seeds: Place sesame seeds in a small dry saucepan over medium heat; stir occasionally and toast 3 minutes or until golden brown (watch closely as seeds burn easily). *** To toast whole macadamia nuts: spread whole nuts on a baking or cookie sheet and toast in a preheated 300° F oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned (watch closely as nuts burn easily). Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Naomi Nachman, the owner of The Aussie Gourmet, caters weekly and Shabbat/ Yom Tov Naomi Nachman, the owner of The Aussie Gourmet, caters weekly and Shabbat/ meals Yom Tov forand families and individuals The Five Towns and neighfor meals families individuals within The within Five Towns and neighboring communities, with boring communities, with a specialty in Pesach catering. Naomi is a contributinga editor to this paper and also produces hosts her own weekly radio show specialty in Pesach catering. Naomi isand a contributing editor to this paper and also proon the Nachum Segal Network stream called “A Table for Two with Naomi Nachman.” Naomi gives cooking presentations for organizations and private groups duces and hosts her own weekly radio show on the Nachum Segal Network stream called “A the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area. In addition, Naomi has been guest the QVC TV network andgives has been featured in cookbooks, Fruit Plattersthroughout • Fresh Fruit Sorbet • Wholesome Soups • Cut Produce Containers Tableafor Twohost withonNaomi Nachman.” Naomi cooking presentations for organizations well as otherDips media covering related to cuisine preparation and and private personalgroups chefs. throughout To obtain additional recipes, join The Metropolitan Aussie Gourmet on In addition, Vegetablemagazines Crudités •asHome-made and Saladstopics • Fruit & Vegetable Bowls the New York/New Jersey area. Facebook or visit Naomi’s blog. Naomi can be reached through her website, at (516) Naomi has been a guestorhost on the295-9669. QVC TV network and has been featured in cookbooks,

Eliahu & Chaia Frishman Call or text 718.406.4310

magazines as well as other media covering topics related to cuisine preparation and personal chefs. To obtain additional recipes, join The Aussie Gourmet on Facebook or visit Naomi’s blog. Naomi can be reached through her website, or at (516) 295-9669.

Cuba and the U.S. Shake Hands after a Five Decades-Long Embargo BY TAMAR SULLIVAN


Friends Again



DECEMBER 25, 2014


Wednesday, President Obama announced dramatic changes in U.S.-Cuba relations with the hope of warming the icy decades-long stalemate between the two neighboring countries. The surprising news came after 18 months of secret deliberations in Canada and Vatican City, encouraged by Pope Francis and concluding with a phone call between the U.S. president and Cuban President Raul Castro. The first layer of thawing hostilities was an immediate prisoner swap. Cuba sent home two jailed Americans: U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who had been imprisoned since 2009, and an unnamed intelligence agent who had been held for more than 20 years. In return, the U.S. sent home three Cubans convicted of espionage in 2001. President Obama also announced a meaningful ease on travel and economic restrictions that have been in place for years. Finally, both countries are re-opening embassies in each other’s capitals, effectively re-establishing U.S.-Cuban relations for the first time in half a century.


the twentieth century, Cuba was technically in Spanish hands, but by the late 1870s, the U.S. was responsible for the vast majority of Cuba’s exports and therefore had the strongest leverage on its economy. North Americans moved to the island in increasing numbers and acquired large amounts of land – both for commercial and personal use. As Cuba’s reliance on mother Spain eased, rebel resistance to Spanish rule and a movement for independence grew. U.S. officials quietly discussed plans to acquire Cuba; it only seemed natural given Cuba’s economic dependence on and physical proximity to the U.S. But resistance

leaders had other plans. As Cubans struggled for independence, American journalists exaggerated Spanish oppression of Cuban natives. Their yellow journalism tactics and an explosion on USS Maine that killed over 250 crewmembers and sank the ship incensed the American public and pushed a reluctant President William McKinley to intervene in the struggle against the Spanish in April 1898. What followed was known as the Spanish-American War but is referred to by Cubans as U.S. intervention in Cuba’s War of Independence. In December of that year, Spain and the U.S. signed the Treaty of Paris, which recognized Cuba’s official independence, though at the exclusion of input by Cuban independence fighters who were not invited to discuss the length of U.S. occupation or the terms of the treaty. In 1901, the Platt Amendment outlined U.S. policy in Cuba and established precedent that the U.S. could intervene in Cuban affairs as well as buy or lease Cuban land for naval needs. The Amendment effectively placed the U.S. in a position of power over Cuba, despite military withdrawal in 1902. In the two decades that followed the Platt Amendment, U.S.-Cuban relations were unstable, with the U.S. intervening to quell protests and establish temporary military rule whenever it was thought necessary. In 1933, after a military coup of the Cuban government, the de facto leader, General Fulgencio Batista, heralded an era of acquiescence to the U.S. During this time, U.S. economic interest in Cuba exploded amidst widespread corruption. However, the fragile peace did not last and the rumblings of a revolution were growing louder each year. Eventually, during Batista’s second term, rebels led by Fidel Castro succeeded in overthrowing Batista in the Cuban Revolution of 1959.


DECEMBER 25, 2014



immediately, relations between the The U.S. placed its defensive interceptors and offensive bombers on two countries began to fall apart as high alert and positioned its nuclear bombers in striking distance to the Castro ordered the nationalization Soviet Union. When Kennedy received word that the nuclear missile of U.S.-owned business and a staunch commitment to socialism. In re- development in Cuba was continuing unabated, he loaded nuclear weapsponse to his anti-American policies and his foreboding friendship with onry onto aircraft and readied for a full-scale invasion. the Soviet Union, the U.S. began imposing Tense deliberations between the Soviets trade restrictions on the island. As Castro and the Americans spanned the course of a annexed more and more private businesses few long days. Finally, a deal was brokered as a part of his government’s socialist agenbetween the two nations in which Krushda, the U.S. intensified trade restrictions chev agreed to remove nuclear missiles from even further. Tensions escalated when the Cuba and the U.S. agreed to remove its misCuban freighter La Coubre exploded off siles from Turkey and pledge not to interits coast; when no one took responsibility, vene in Cuba’s affairs. Castro was resentful Castro blamed the United States. A quick that he was not part of the negotiations, but, spiral of hostility finally led to the cessation with the exception of Guantanamo Bay, he of all diplomatic relations and U.S. exports was rewarded with complete sovereignty. to Cuba. The U.S. closed its embassy in Havana in 1961. However, the U.S. was not quite willnext few decades saw Cars from the 1960s still line the streets in Cuba due to the embargo ing to give up its relationship with the small strained but relatively island nation so easily. In a secret operapeaceful relations betion, which later became known as the Bay tween the two nations. In the 1960s, under of Pigs Invasion, U.S. forces trained 1,500 President Lyndon B. Johnson, those who Cuban refugees to invade and overthrow fled Cuba and arrived in the U.S. were welCastro’s government in 1961, but they come to apply for citizenship. As Cuba’s were defeated handily by Cuban forces. economy deteriorated in the 1970s, Castro The Cuban victory established Castro as a agreed to allow 125,000 Cubans to seek formidable socialist leader on the Western refuge in the U.S., but sent many convicts hemisphere and sealed his alliance with the among them. After two U.S. aircrafts were Soviet Union. President John F. Kennedy shot down by Cuba in 1996, President Bill secretly gave the CIA the go-ahead to draw Clinton signed the Helms-Burton Act, makup plans to destabilize Castro’s government, ing the economic embargo against Cuba take down key political figures, and even aspermanent until certain conditions were sassinate Castro himself. met, including Castro’s removal and a comCuban leader Fidel Castro embracing Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev Tensions escalated rapidly, and with mitment to free elections and free press. In American ballistic missiles in Europe with1999, emotions ran high as six-year-old Cuin range of Moscow, Soviet leader Nikita ban Elian Gonzalez was found off the coast Krushchev agreed to equip Cuba with nuof Florida, the only survivor of his family’s clear missiles within range of the U.S. Doattempt to reach the U.S. A contentious leing so would help Cuba’s interests against gal battle followed until the U.S. Supreme an imminent U.S. invasion and would also Court ruled in favor of returning Elian to his give Krushchev new poise in the ever-escafather in Cuba. lating Cold War and a new bargaining chip In 2008, due to failing health, Fidel Casin the struggle over West Berlin. The nucletro handed over the presidency to his brothar arming of Cuba began in utmost secrecy; er, Raul. When Barack Obama took office very few knew the true nature of the clasin 2009, he lifted travel restrictions to Cuba sified operations. Top U.S. officials were and permitted Cuban-Americans to send unsuspicious, but by September 1962, missiles limited funds to Cuba. A store with nearly empty shelves had already arrived in Cuba. Reactions to Obama’s most recent efDue to national security concerns and forts to re-establish U.S.-Cuban relations inclement weather, it was not until midare mixed, emotional, and fervent. NatuOctober that an American reconnaissance rally, Cubans in Cuba are rejoicing, for an plane confirmed the presence of missile end to the economic embargo brings refacilities in Cuba, which prompted the 13newed hope for their futures. But Cubans day nerve-wracking Cuban Missile Criin the U.S. are split in their support for the sis, which brought the U.S. and the Soviet president’s attempts to restore U.S.-Cuban Union to the brink of nuclear war. relations. It seems that the younger generaTop U.S. officials were divided about tions of Cubans find the president’s efforts how to respond to the confirmed nuclear forward-thinking and optimistic; the older threat. Many wanted a full-scale invasion, generations of Cubans who came to the but President Kennedy hesitated. With the U.S. decades ago feel betrayed and angered involvement of the Soviets, this was no lonby the thought of their president negotiatger just a U.S.-Cuba squabble; any action ing with a deceitful socialist terrorist under President Kennedy addressing the nation would have international ramifications. Adwhom they and their loved ones suffered so during the Cuba Missile Crisis in 1962 dressing the nation on October 22, Kennedy much. Politicians’ reactions are also mixed. announced a strict quarantine on all offenThose in favor hope that the coming years sive military equipment en route to Cuba. Cuba continued to insist that will bring new freedoms to the Cubans, despite Raul Castro’s affirmation all of its operations were defensive, while Krushchev threatened Ken- of Cuba’s Communist values; those who oppose it doubt that the Cuban nedy that a continued blockade would be viewed by the Soviets as an act people will see any new tangible freedoms as a result of this policy shift. of war. Only time will tell. 



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