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PASSOVER 2014 RESORT/HOTELDIRECTORY INSIDE

FLATBUSH & FIVE TOWNS

Bi -Weekly Magazine Volume 1, Issue 14

Bringing you the Buzz on Savings & Events

February 9 2014


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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Hi Everybody, In this issue of The Buzz, Brooklyn’s only frum publication delivered door to door, we’ve shoveled up enough heartwarming reading material to get you through the next blizzard! Our Cholent

Publisher & CEO:

Yossi Friedman

Editor-in-Chief:

Sarah Gold

of our most challenging letters to the editor. In “The Potatoes,� one reader gives an absorbing explanation of clinical depression, while

Art Director: Photography:

Pot features beautiful responses from our readers, in answer to some

Efraim Schnall

Istock, Shutter Stock,

“The Kishkeâ€? focuses on the unparalleled chesed of Klal Yisroel. Be sure to sink your teeth into all this food for thought‌ In the article “Chuck It in the Dustbin,â€? we question the value of

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throwing away plates, plastics, and‌ people?! Our humor column Rabbinic Advisor:

R. Lazer Zuckerman

Advertising Executive

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Mindy Weiss

in “A Dollar and a Dream.� You’ll also choke back tears of laughter

Brocha Klein

when you read the antics of our latest couple that was never meant to be in “Mismatched.� These pages are replete with inspirational Torah thoughts and insights from “People of Holiness� to “Revere

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our Rabbanim.â€? The delightful story “A Parrot in Kiruvâ€? will make you chirp and chortle in appreciation. We address the amazing and very likely possibility of driverless cars in Tech Time, and of course, our News and Recipes will keep both your mind and your WXPP\ZHOOIHG$OOLQDOOQRPDWWHUKRZLF\\RXUĂ€QJHUVEHFRPH

Sarah Gold

WKLVZLQWHUPDNHVXUHWKH\NHHSĂ LSSLQJWKURXJKWKHSDJHVRI7KH nybuzzmagazine@gmail.com

Buzz!

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2014 NY Buzz Magazine. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior written permission of the Buzz Magazine. All readers are invited to send their opinions by letter to the editor. The advertiser agrees to hold harmless the publisher for publication of submitted copy. Buzz Magazine will not be responsible for typographical errors. We reserve the right to refuse advertising or editorial copy that we feel does not ďŹ t our policy. Advertising claims or kashrus of any product or establishment are not the responsibility of the Buzz Magazine. The opinions of each writer do not reect those of the publisher. The Buzz Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited submissions.

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the

cholent pot!

The Spilled Beans Dear Editor, Are these letters for real? In regard to last issue’s Spilled Beans: This lady is marrying off her son and her biggest concern is that the gowns should be matching colors? How about the young daughter-in-law with a new 3-week-old baby who is nebach a size 4 currently and is trying to get back to her normal size DQGKDVQRWKLQJWKDWÀWVDQGQRWLPHWRUXQDURXQG shopping so close to the wedding? Give me a break. In regard to last issues Potatoes: Yeshivas are supposed to teach all their students according to their abilities, not just the bright ones. Everyone would be better served if the Rosh Yeshiva taught by example. Rebbes should put more emphasis on how the Living Torah they learn is applied to today’s everyday living, even if it means learning a blatt less. Show respect and demand respect. In regard to last issue’s Kishke: ,RIWHQZRQGHUHGZKLFKFRPHVÀUVWWKHFKLFNHQ or the egg. Everything in our community has to be an extravaganza. Do the merchants bring in newer and more expensive merchandise to increase their SURÀWVRUGRWKHFOLHQWVGHPDQGWKH´ODWHVW¾VW\OHV constantly? It’s time to reevaluate our value system. In regard to last issue’s Flanken: The’ Shidduch Crisis’ is our own making. There are too many requirements, resumes that mean nothing, and too many rules. Let’s go back to the old system where the couple can meet more naturally and get to know one another’s true character by talking instead of coming to the date with preconceived ideas about each other.

The way I see it, our community needs to set its priorities straight and practice what we are supposed to stand for. A great-grandmother with life experience.

The Potatoes Dear Editor, I’m writing to address the letter several weeks ago, from a person who expressed concern about a relative. She wrote that this young lady is so depressed that she has little appetite. She doesn’t believe that her family loves her, expresses constant negativity, and even seems to feel that religion is not important. All these descriptions sound typical for a person with clinical depression. As shocking and frightening as that must be to her family, I must stress that religion is not the most important thing to someone who suffers from true, clinical depression. Yes, frumkeit is the most important thing to us who believe in it. But a person cannot feel the importance of Judaism if they can barely feel anything but sad. Try to understand it this way: If someone experienced the death of a loved one, immediately after the loss they may have felt despair and other negative emotions. They were INTENSELY sad. But in the back of the person’s mind, they may still be able to feel that the immediacy of the horror and sadness would eventually fade, even though the loved one would always be missed. It is not that way for someone with true depression. She may have felt this horrible sadness for all or most of her life, and is only learning now how to express it verbally. She may believe that she will

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ALWAYS feel this sad, and she is right. Untreated depression does NOT go away by itself. Like it or not, it is a real impairment to a person’s ability to function. Of course she can’t eat properly if she sees life through a constant veil of sadness. Of course she doesn’t feel her family’s love. No matter how much love you lavish on a person, if they are unable to feel it, it just won’t JHW WKURXJK 7KH VDPH ZD\ RXU Ă€QJHUWLSV KDYH ´SDLQ receptors,â€? our minds (or hearts if you prefer) have receptors for emotions. If a person’s emotion receptors DUH VR Ă RRGHG ZLWK GHSUHVVLRQ WKHUH LV OHVV DELOLW\ for happiness to get through and be perceived by the emotion receptors. If she is depressed because of something that’s happening in her life, dealing with that situation will alleviate her depression, but her emotional experience still must be addressed. If she is depressed because of what may be a chemical imbalance (which I think is possible) then perhaps she can be assessed by a professional psychiatrist, for possible treatment with both counseling and medications. Not helping her get treatment may mean that she will live in sadness for many years, until she seeks help on her own. I know that people are afraid to seek treatment for their shidduch-age children. Be aware that a young man on a date is much less attracted to an unhappy girl. Also, she will probably have as little appetite for dating as she has for food. We get married because we believe it will bring us happiness. If she doesn’t believe she can ever be happy, why would she get married? If she only goes along with it because she feels her family won’t give her a choice, that may lead to another person’s life being terribly affected. If a parent in their middle age cannot deal with the daughter’s depression, how can a 23-year-old new husband handle it? With proper treatment, there is a good chance WKDWVKHFDQĂ€QGUHOLHIDQGOHDUQWRSHUFHLYHWKHORYH of those who care most about her. I wish her and her family only brachos. C.W. The Kishke Dear Editor, In the December 29th issue, Rabbi Moshe Shmiel Rottenberg wrote an insightful article, “Are We Being Baalei Chesed?â€? regarding the beauty of the Jewish nation and the chesed that we do, which “exists in no other nation on earth.â€? I applaud him for his words, as there is no other

nation committed to helping its fellow brethren like the Jews. What with the countless organizations and tzedakah being giving on a daily basis, as well as the hundreds of volunteer hours being spent by people every week to assist in any way they can, we don’t have a shortage of chesed opportunities. We should EHSURXGRIZKRZHDUHDQGWKHJHQHURVLW\WKDWĂ RZV through our veins. I do, however, respectfully disagree with his view on why we aren’t as excited to attend the simchos, as we are to attend the tzaros. Yes, I agree that in today’s technology-based world, which is supposed to make our OLYHVHDVLHU $IWHUĂ€QLVKLQJ5DEEL5RWWHQEHUJVDUWLFOH I am simply typing this email on my smartphone...no need to even go to my computer!) we often see the opposite effect, with people feeling that their lives are more harried than ever before! Still, the reasons that we are not as excited to attend the simchos has nothing to do with our lack of “kavana and chesed.â€? Rabbi Rottenberg, is it possible that in today’s day and age we have way too many simchos? Is it possible that the simchos of today extend way longer than ever before? Is it possible that the Bal Simcha has so many guests to acknowledge that he/she barely conjures up a distracted hello? Now don’t get me wrong. I am thrilled that we have so many simchos and the ability to celebrate them freely. However, the expectations have become too great at a cost that not many of us can afford. It used to be that when your son turned bar mitzvah age you FHOHEUDWHG ZLWK NLFKHO DQG EURPĂ€Q LQ VKXO ZLWK WKH other mispallalim, and as you lived miles away from the next shtetl, your guest list was minuscule. There was no such thing as a Shabbos kiddush and a separate party during the week. And who ever heard of an entire weekend affair with celebrations at every meal including Motzei Shabbos?! A girl’s Bas Mitzvah?!? Who knew of a lavish party celebration going late into the night?!? And a wedding? That was celebrated on a Friday and done in quick fashion so Shabbos preparations would not be affected. Even 30 years back when I was a teen, the idea of excessive parties was not the norm. For my Bas Mitzvah, ZHFHOHEUDWHGLQP\IDPLO\¡VWKLUGĂ RRUDSDUWPHQW DOO of 2 bedrooms) and my grandmother cooked all the food. We played a few games and unwrapped gifts. The only guests were my classmates and a few close relatives. Even weddings were about inviting family and a few close friends... all individuals you thought CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

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LETS DISCUSS IT

Disposable Dishes

T

he story goes that many years ago, people used to eat every day out of plates that were not thrown away after one use! They used to put them into basins or maybe into the sink, and then wash them in hot soapy water with the aid of a dishcloth. Then they used to dry them with a tea towel and replace them into the cupboard. They did the same to cups and glasses. And they washed tablecloths and sometimes even ironed linen serviettes that went with them! Nowadays, we have one large drawer in which we keep all the everyday disposable tableware, and that’s that. We still need quite an amount of space to house the pots and pans, but this problem is rapidly being solved by the use of disposable tinfoil dishes and containers for the microwave. Do you remember such things as enamel saucepans and iron baking tins? It may not be wise to admit this; it might give away your age. Storage boxes were also made of some heavy cumbersome material before they discovered cheap plastic. The innovation of using and discarding an article was begun by a fellow by the name of Gillette, who invented the disposable razor blade about 100 years ago. Till then, men who wanted a shave (not Jews, of course, who are forbidden to use a

razor) had to visit the barber on a daily basis. The world began to develop a mindset in which something could

The world began to develop a mindset in which something could be manufactured with the express purpose of surviving not more than a few uses. be manufactured with the express purpose of surviving not more than a few uses. Let us take the handkerchief.

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Ladies used to take out meticulously ironed, scented white lace bordered hankies, with their initials handembroidered in one corner, from smart crocodile leather handbags. Children from good homes used to bring starched ironed napkins to school to put under their packed lunches. They had to bring a clean, ironed handkerchief, often pinned into a pocket, to nursery or school each day. After that, before the advent of the packets of tissues, teacher kept a toilet roll on their desks. Plastic cutlery came into existence with the arrival of fast food stores and takeaways, about sixty years ago -- in America, of course. These plastic and paper goods abolished the need to employ waiters to clear tables of heavy dishes and having to wash them up. They also facilitated the setting up of takeaways at any street corner. The greatest boon of all seems to be the disposable diapers, or nappies, as the British still call them. When our mothers talk about the olden days, they always bring up the nappies: grandmothers tell how they scrubbed them and boiled them, while mothers relate how they washed them in the washing machines, hung them up to dry and then folded them just so, according to the size of the child.

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LETS DISCUSS IT The more well-to-do used a nappy service, putting out bags of used, smelly nappies, and receiving a bag of clean folded nappies in return. All this is a thing of the past (as is the livelihood of the nappy service personnel). There are not many women who persist in using the cloth diapers on a daily basis, in spite of the not inconsiderable addition to the weekly budget incurred by using pampers. Since then, the mindset of the world has changed. Machines are made with built-in obsolescence, and engineers are not prepared to repair them after a certain age. Smaller electrical appliances are not repairable at all. It is cheaper to buy a new iron, electric kettle or tape recorder than to try and JHWRQHÀ[HG*RQHDUHWKHGD\VRI the solid wooden furniture which lasted through generations, and now fetches astronomical prices in the antique market. Everything is now made of chipboard with a thin veneer of substitute formica, which does not last longer than a few years at most. If one moves house, this furniture will barely survive the move. Years ago, a sewing machine was almost a must for every young bride, even if she was not an experienced seamstress. Who turns sheets nowadays? Who patches clothes (or mends socks) apart from the fashion houses which charge enormous sums for new, patched designer- name jeans? Watches, pens, cameras -they are all cheap and disposable. Knife grinders, cobblers and watchmakers are few and far between. Not just everything but everyone has become replaceable in this day and age. Older people DUH ÀUHG IURP WKHLU MREV DV VRRQ as the employers feel they are not

as useful as they used to be. Young married couples split up, often not for very good reason, as marriages, too, are disposable. It is not presumptuous to say that our way of thinking has been changed. Values have changed. We are not taught to treasure or appreciate the preciousness of things. In the same way as one can dispose of paper ware, ideas, ideals, morals, truth and people

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have all been banished to the rubbish heap. They have lost their worth. There still are, thank G-d, many people who value the elegance of real dishes, who use real handkerchiefs, and even linen tablecloths. Certainly, in the Torah world, values do matter and youngsters are educated to realize that morals and ideals are of great value – and that people are not disposable.

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the

cholent pot! CONTINUED FROM CHOLENT POT PAGE 6

ÀYHWLPHVEHIRUH\RXLQFOXGHG6RDWPRVWDSHUVRQ had maybe a simcha or two every other week. If they were extremely popular, they had one every week. It is nothing like what we are experiencing today, b’H, where every night there is something! And let’s not forget all the tzedakah functions, school events, and shiurim we are expected to DWWHQG,FDQFRXQWRQP\ÀQJHUVKRZPDQ\QLJKWV during the last few months I have been free to do nothing but relax at home, spending time with my kids and husband. Oh, did I forget to mention that with all the new parenting and shalom bayis classes we are also told that we must have a date night once a week and spend at least 10 minutes a night with each of our children, giving them personal time? And that does not include being home when they return from school, helping with homework, giving them a wholesome dinner, and tucking them in. So Rabbi Rottenberg, if it seems that’s the enthusiasm for attending yet another simcha has gone the way of Mitzrayim, it’s not because the level of chesed has diminished but because the frequency of simchos has increased! With all the added events, functions and responsibilities parents have today, I’m surprised they even attend the number of simchos that they do! Yes, running in for a few minutes, making sure the Bal Simcha sees you, and then bolting out, may seem unkind. However, unless \RX VSHFLÀFDOO\ ZURWH RQ WKH UHWXUQ FDUG WKDW \RX planned to stay for the meal, and by leaving have thereby caused the Bal Simcha a loss, I see no issue with it. The fact that you took time to get dressed and drive out to wherever the affair may be just to show the Bal Simcha that you care enough to say Mazal Tov, is what I call chesed! How many times have I gotten invitations to two or three events all on the same night and had to make my rounds between them all? How many times have my husband and I driven miles away just to share a quick dance or a KHDUWIHOW 7HÀOODKGXULQJ WKH FKXSSDKRQO\ WR KDYH to leave in order to make the next affair? Rabbi Rottenberg, do not think badly of those you see running in and out. Try to see where they are

FRPLQJIURPĂ€UVW As for why we hang around by levayas and wait patiently even when every person who knew the niftar comes up to speak... well, levayas are our last opportunity to show true chesed and kavod to an individual who played a role in our lives. We will never be able “to chat (or text) on the phoneâ€? or anything else for that matter. We cherish every minute we are afforded to be in the presence of the Neshama that we are told is present during the levaya. On a deeper sense, a levaya is also a wakeup call to each and every one of us that life is short, so every minute needs to be wisely allocated and appreciated. So this week, instead of attending the 3 simchos, 2 events and 1 school function I have on my calendar, I will sit for an hour with each of my children, instead of 10 minutes, and go out with my husband on two date nights instead of one. Oh, and I will go visit my parents and actually enjoy my time with them without feeling rushed. And I hope that the Bal Simcha will forgive me for not attending and instead use his/her special night to really enjoy undivided time with loved ones. My warm wishes and Mazal Tov is present in thought! Respectfully yours, Mrs. Sarit Rubenstein A Jew trying to allocate the time she was given on this earth wisely. The Kishke Dear Editor, I just wanted to commend the Buzz Magazine for being one of the only frum publications that made no mention of the Super Bowl! While Super Bowl ads and articles were prominent in many of the magazines, I saw nothing at all about it in your SDJHV , Ă€QG WKH OHYHO RI LQYROYHPHQW WKDW VR PDQ\ in our frum community show during football season WR EH WUXO\ KRUULĂ€F .XGRV WR \RX IRU D 7RUDKWUXH publication that sticks to issues that are relevant and important only to Klal Yisroel! Y.P.

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INSPIRATION

The Unlikeliest Mincha Of All A Super Bowl Special By Lonnie Ostrow

T

he Super Bowl. The Ultimate sporting event in North America. A virtual national holiday, no matter which team you happen to root for. A day for parties, big-screen TVs, serious calorie consumption, and those spectacular, high-priced commercials. With Super Bowl XLVIII (thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 48 for those of us Roman numerally challenged), having just been played here in the 1HZ <RUN DUHD IRU WKH Ă&#x20AC;UVW WLPH LW VHHPVRQO\Ă&#x20AC;WWLQJWRVKDUHRQHRIWKH ultimate Jewish experiences of my life. A Mincha service for the ages at Super Bowl XXXII. The date was January 25, 1998. The place: Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego California. An epic matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos. More than 68,000 spectators in attendance, with another 90 million watching at home on television. Among those seated behind the goalpost at the north end of the stadium were myself, and a young colleague of mine by the name of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yankel.â&#x20AC;? Just the story of how we ended up attending this spectacle is rather remarkable. Back in 1998, I was working as the Director of PR and Marketing for an international postal agency. Yankel â&#x20AC;&#x201C; only a teenager at the time â&#x20AC;&#x201C; had recently been hired to help out in the stockroom. My love for sports, and pro football in particular, was well known

around my old workplace. Every Monday morning during football VHDVRQP\FRUQHURIĂ&#x20AC;FHZRXOGĂ&#x20AC;OOZLWK a half-dozen, or so, NFL enthusiasts to recap the weekendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s games. At 18 years of age, Yankelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s passion for the sport, and his knowledge of the game made him a valuable contributor to our Monday morning wrap-ups. Yankel was a rather unique young PDQ+HRQFH FRQĂ&#x20AC;GHG LQPHWKDWKH had been raised by an Aunt and Uncle due to â&#x20AC;&#x153;complicated issuesâ&#x20AC;? relating to his biological parents. I also noticed that he would regularly recite Kaddish GXULQJ0LQFKDLQRXURIĂ&#x20AC;FHFRQIHUHQFH room each weekday afternoon. When I quietly asked him who he was saying it for, he told me matter-of-factly that his â&#x20AC;&#x153;actual fatherâ&#x20AC;? had recently passed awayâ&#x20AC;Ś a man he barely knew. He had been advised by a rabbi that he was not obligated to observe all aspects of mourning due to these circumstances. Still, he felt the need to say Kaddish whenever a Minyan was available. It was an overcast January Monday morning when Yankel skipped into P\ RIĂ&#x20AC;FH ZLWK D JULQ IURP HDUWR HDU ,¡G Ă&#x20AC;JXUHG WKDW P\ \RXQJ IULHQG had come in to talk about Sunday playoff games from the just-completed weekend. Instead, Yankel closed the door to my room, sat down in the lone chair facing my desk and leaned in to share his big news. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hey, Lonnie, what if I told you that I could get us tickets to the Super

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Bowl?â&#x20AC;? I should qualify here that up to this point in my life, I had never attended an NFL game. Tickets to the NY Giants were pretty much locked down by a group of some 70,000 season-ticket holders for decades. The Jets were of no interest to me, even if plenty of good seats were often available. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d watched hundreds of games on television, but never had I witnessed one in person. Now, here was this young man that I worked with, offering me a ticket to attend the Super Bowl! I nearly fell backward off my chair. It turned out that Yankelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s uncle worked for an apparel company in Brooklyn. As an NFL licensee, he received a pair of tickets to the big game each year. Only this time, urgent business prevented him from traveling. Instead, he offered them to his football-obsessed nephew, SURYLGHG WKDW <DQNHO FRXOG Ă&#x20AC;QG D responsible adult to accompany him to San Diego. That â&#x20AC;&#x153;responsible adultâ&#x20AC;? turned out to be me! I immediately began checking for Ă LJKWVWR6DQ'LHJR7KHUHZHUHQRQH to be had. No hotel rooms either for Super Bowl weekend. A complete sellout. Plan B was to inquire on Ă LJKWVWR/RV$QJHOHV$IHZVFDWWHUHG seats remained open. Next, I called up a friend out in Agoura Hills to determine if he and his wife could host Yankel and me for Shabbos, then drive us to the Amtrak station early on

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INSPIRATION Sunday morning. Thankfully, the answer was yes on both counts. On the morning of Super Bowl Sunday, Yankel and I boarded an Amtrak down the California coast to San Diego. The scenery was picturesque, but only a momentary distraction from our Super Bowl excitement. Fans of the Denver Broncos DQG *UHHQ %D\ SDFNHUV Ă&#x20AC;OHG LQWR Qualcomm stadium in droves. Large clusters of seats were occupied by the orange and blue of Denver, or the green and yellow of Green Bay. Kick-off occurred around 3:30pm local time (6:30pm on the East Coast). It was a picture-perfect warm and sunny afternoon. Yankel and I watched with excitement as Denver jumped out to a 17 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 14 halftime lead. A thoroughly entertaining back-andforth affair. As stages were being rolled into SODFH RQ WKH Ă&#x20AC;HOG EHORZ IRU WKH halftime show, my friend Yankel suddenly became panicked by a singular detail that w â&#x20AC;&#x153;The sun is already starting to set. By the time the game is over, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be too late to daven Mincha. Where DP , JRLQJ WR Ă&#x20AC;QG D PLQ\DQ WR VD\ Kaddish?â&#x20AC;? My initial instinct was to dismiss the idea of a minyan; for us to simply recite Mincha on our own in one of the stadium corridors. Yankel was not sold. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got to be ten Jewish men around here in this stadium. Probably PRUH WKDQ WKDW %XW KRZ GR ZH Ă&#x20AC;QG them and get them into one place? Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got to be a way.â&#x20AC;? We hurried from our seats to the main concourse, seeking men with yarmulkes. I located one emerging from a menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s room. Yankel couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t locate any. He was particularly frustrated by all the baseball caps, and those triangular caps worn by the Green Bay contingent called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cheese-

heads.â&#x20AC;? His pale, youthful face was turning a deeper shade of red with each passing minute. I felt compelled to come up with a solution. We strolled the crowded hallways

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One man removed his Cheese-head cap, revealing a knitted yarmulke with the Green Bay Packers logo stitched in. He pointed the way east and led the davening. in search of eight additional eligible participants. We passed concession stands, souvenir carts, even a babychanging station. No luck. And to PDNH PDWWHUV PRUH GLIĂ&#x20AC;FXOW WKH halftime show was about to begin according to the announcements over the public address system. We were nearly prepared to call it quits on our longshot minyan idea, when it hit me. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lost and Found.â&#x20AC;? Yankel and I had passed this area only moments before. Now, suddenly, it was our last hope. A stanchion with red rope led us to a pair of wooden desks, situated in front of a small glass window that resembled a bank-teller station. A pair of stadium security guards sat at each of the desks with arms folded. Only

one woman waited ahead of us in line. I turned back to Yankel and urged him to follow my lead. Moments later, one of the uniformed men called out: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Gentlemen, how can I help you?â&#x20AC;? I switched on my most panicked disposition. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sir, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s our younger brother. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only twelve. He wandered off to the bathroom just EHIRUH KDOIWLPH :H FDQ¡W Ă&#x20AC;QG KLP anywhere.â&#x20AC;? The security guard pulled out a FOLSERDUG Ă&#x20AC;UHG RII D IHZ TXHVWLRQV about the characteristics of our â&#x20AC;&#x153;missing brother,â&#x20AC;? and scribbled a few notes. Finally he asked: â&#x20AC;&#x153;And by the way, whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s his name?â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mincha,â&#x20AC;? I responded. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mincha Service.â&#x20AC;?

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Meen-cha Service?â&#x20AC;? The man looked up at us with a puzzled expression, then repeated the name to make sure he had the correct pronunciation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Okay, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to

27


INSPIRATION have them announce something. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hope he hears it and turns up.â&#x20AC;? The guard slid a paper to a woman behind the glass window and carefully repeated the name we had provided. Within moments, an announcement rang out throughout the stadium. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ladies and Gentleman, may I have your attention please. Would MeenCha Service please report to the lost and found, located in on the plaza level between gates F and G. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Meen-Cha Service.â&#x20AC;? To this day, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m still not sure which aspect of this story surprises me more: The fact that the stadium security actually made the announcement at the Super Bowl. Or, the incredible, immediate response to our unusual minyan call. No matter, within 90 seconds of the announcement, we had 14 men just outside the Lost and Found ready to begin Ashrei. Yankel and I hurried to join them. One man removed his Cheese-head cap,

revealing a knitted yarmulke with the Green Bay Packers logo stitched in. He pointed the way east and led the davening. Soon, some 27 men were shuckling back and forth, reciting the Shemoneh Esrei. My friend Yankel had more than twice the requisite number of men to answer amen to his Kaddish. :H UHFLWHG $OHQX DV WKH PXIĂ HG strains from the halftime concert commenced. It was at that moment that our friendly security guard stepped out from behind his post and came to locate me out in the corridor. ´6LU GLG \RX Ă&#x20AC;QG \RXU OLWWOH brother?â&#x20AC;? A look of concern remained etched on his face. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Several of them,â&#x20AC;? Yankel shouted behind the manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s back, generating laughter from a few of our minyaneers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yes, thank you,â&#x20AC;? I replied, then Ă DVKHG D JUDWHIXO VPLOH ´:H QHYHU would have found him if you hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t made that announcement. Thanks for being so helpful. You really saved the

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day.â&#x20AC;? In todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more advanced world of smartphones, text-messaging and social media, I suspect that there are easier ways to organize a minyan in a large public venue. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve witnessed pre-organized minyanim for both Mincha and Maariv at the kosher concession stands at Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen impromptu minyanim on airplanes, in restaurants, and even one in a waiting area in Penn Station. However, given the improvised nature of our Super Bowl Mincha, and the magnitude of the event, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll ever be a part of a more improbable, or memorable Mincha service. 7KH Ă&#x20AC;QDO VFRUH WKDW GD\ ZDV Denver 31 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Green Bay 24. But to my friend Yankel, the 27 men who gathered outside the Lost and Found in Qualcomm Stadium was the most VLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQWQXPEHURIDOO

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In-Reach 30 Bringing you the Buzz on Savings & Events I To advertise, call 718-513-9885

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Rabbi Dovid Lichtman, a Senior lecturer of Aish HaTorah , rises to meet the unique multi-faceted challenges of todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jewish world with his innovative, 15-part, In-Reach Jewish Foundation series, Project Aneini.

Tell us about yourself.

His goal: to reach in, into the lives of our Yeshiva Bochurim, Balabutim, and college students.

What is your experience when encountering the yeshiva students?

,DPRULJLQDOO\D1HZ<RUNHU:HVSHQWĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUV as Rabbi in Calgary, Canada, nestled in the Rocky PRXQWDLQV:HPRYHGWR,VUDHO\HDUVDJR +RZGLG\RXDUULYHDWWKLVLQQRYDWLYHSURJUDP\RX created to reach in to our own boys, our own balabatim? I started to work for Aish Hatorah 18 years ago when Aish was looking for ways to impact the Israeli community, both religious and non- religious. $PRQJWKH,VUDHOL<HVKLYDVWXGHQWVWKHPVHOYHVWKHUH was a growing need for enrichment in the foundations RI<LGGLVKNHLW,QDQVZHUWRWKLVQHHG,GHYHORSHGD FODVVVHULHVEDVHGRQWKHLQVSLUDWLRQDOWHDFKLQJVRI5DY 1RDFK:HLQEHUJ]ÂľODQGRWKHUVWRJLYH<HVKLYDVWXGHQWV a challenging and empowering forum that they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t JHWLQWKHVWDQGDUG<HVKLYDFXUULFXOXPWRHQULFKWKHLU Yiddishkeit.

To start with, we are facing fascinating challenges WRGD\LQWKH-HZLVKZRUOG7KHFRQWHPSRUDU\<HVKLYD %RFKXULVĂ&#x20AC;QGLQJKLPVHOIVWUDGGOHGEHWZHHQWZRZRUOGV WKDWRIWKH<HVKLYDDQGWKDWRIWKHKLJKWHFKZRUOG WKDWZDLWVIRUKLPRXWVLGHWKHGRRUVRIWKH<HVKLYD ,QWKH<HVKLYDKHLVLPPHUVHGLQ7RUDK+LV ODQJXDJHLVWKDWRIWKH<HVKLYD Outside, in the streets, his language changes to high WHFKVDYY\7KLVFUHDWHVDVRUWRIVFKLVPZKLFKLVYHU\ KDUGIRUWKHER\VWROLYHLQIRUDQ\RQHWROLYHLQIRUWKDW matter. And they start to question,â&#x20AC;? what does the outside ZRUOGKDYHWRRIIHU Maybe really is something out there there. Often the tension created by the schism is not addressed because, to some extent, there exists a denial of this reality.

My interest is piqued now. It is exciting to hear about a project that enhances our yeshiva boysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ability to face the world as proud frum Jews. What makes you think there is denial to this situation? I spoke to one mashgiach in Jerusalem who said, ´1RQHRIRXUER\VKDYHFRPSXWHUVÂľ I know his boys, and a large percentage of them DUHFRPSXWHUVDYY\DQGDUHGHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\H[SHULHQFLQJWKH tension . I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think that PRVW\HVKLYRVDUHLQGHQLDO EXWWKH\QHHGKHOSDVWKH\GRQ¡WKDYHWKHH[SHULHQFHRU expertise in this area. As a matter of fact, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to stress that many FRQFHUQHGURVKHL\HVKLYRVDQGPDVKJLFKLPPHHWUHJXODUO\ to brainstorm for strategies that will help strengthen and

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rtify their students to meet the current hallenges they face. This is where Project Aneini steps in. We go around to different yeshivos and mpower the bachurim. Many boys know how to learn, but they need more than that today: they need to

The bottom line that people re asking these uestions and eligious people re often at a loss o respond.

know, to reinforce exactly why they are learning.

Where have you instituted this program? Over the years we have operated in several Yeshivos including Chevron Yeshiva for example, Imrei Zvi, and Kol Torah among others.

What is the forum? We form groups of 20 to 25 bachurim between the ages of 20 to 22 years old. We keep it to this size so that we have a greater ability to deal with issues students want and need to raise. This way we can go deeper.

Do you speak with large groups as well? We do large groups, but in terms of the 15- part series it requires a smaller group.

How many years have you been doing this?

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been doing this for over 5 years, and we have over 1400 graduates! Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wonderful to see what happens to the boys afterwards. Actually many boys repeat the cycle. Almost every wedding invitation I receive from boys in the groups includes a handwritten note expressing how much they personally grew from the series. Many are continuing to spread the material we covered in the series. Recently, I was at a chasunah of a boy who graduated and a lot of the students were there. Many are continuing to spread the material we covered in the series. One boy told me how after his wedding he moved to Haifa and started a night kollel that combines regular Gemara study with study of our material one night of the week. This illustrates the magnitude of the effect this material is having on people.

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This is one level of our program.

What is the next level? Recently we have taken the program to another level entirely. There is a fascinating and challenging convergence of needs right now in Israel because the religious community â&#x20AC;&#x201C; especially the religious working society Ă&#x20AC;QGWKHPVHOYHVZRUNLQJVLGHE\VLGH with non-religious co-workers who are really asking deep and pointed questions, sometimes out of pure curiosity and sometimes from a place of mockery or criticism. What happens is religious Jews at work Ă&#x20AC;QGWKHPVHOYHVDWDORVVWRSURYLGHEDVLF answers and this can actually pose a threat to an observant Jewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s belief system. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve created a project where we take the 15 classes and adapt them for the Balabatim crowd. It began over a year ago with a call from a group of 20 religious couples from Haifa who had formed themselves into a group discussing their challenges in the nonreligious Hi-Tech work force. 7KHĂ&#x20AC;UVWQLJKWZHPHWLWZDVOLNHJURXS therapy. We sat around the room and each one described whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going on at work. One said he gets attacked at work. ´:KDWEHQHĂ&#x20AC;WLVWKHUHWRZHDULQJFRZKLGH on your arms?â&#x20AC;? The same question sometimes comes out of curiosity, but the bottom line is that people are asking these questions and religious people are often at a loss to respond. These people began to realize that the questions that were being posed to them at work were actually the issues they grapple with in their own lives every day. They would think to themselves, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Right, why do we do that?â&#x20AC;? This is how and upon what the series is built. Groups form in different places all around the country. One couple hosts a group in their home. In attendance are professors, lawyers, a former chief Rabbi of the Israeli army, CEOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of companies. They

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are all there because they face these issues at work.

What are some of the most commonly asked questions or topics? The status of women and feminism issues, evolution, the chosen people doctrine, Jews and gentiles, purpose of the mitzvos - the whole gamut The long range goal is to help them become better ambassadors of Torah while at the same time providing them the FRQWH[WWRÀOOLQWKHJDSVWKH\GLGQ·WJHWLQ %DLV<D·DNRYDQG<HVKLYD Due to their unique situations in the workplace, the teaching of Pirkei Avos to ¶NQRZKRZWRDQVZHU«· The young Israelis are not anti! They are really struggling and very open to spirituality. 7KH\DUHVD\LQJ²,·PVHHNLQJ

spirituality – what does Torah have to offer? Last night I was at the Technion which happens to be a very interesting place. The VWXGHQWVDUHYHU\HDJHU ,ÀQGWKLVDOORYHU the country). They are fascinated to learn that the Torah contains very deep and practical ways to guide their lives. They never expected to gain anything practical from Torah! Typically, at the conclusion of a lecture, ,·OOKDYHÀYHWRWHQVWXGHQWVZDLWLQJLQOLQH to ask questions or discuss an issue. The students are eager, open and very inquisitive. A lot of them begin developing in Yiddishkeit from saying brachos to keeping Shabbos. What Nefesh Yehudi is doing is very, very exciting. Being in regular close contact with secular Israelis through Nefesh <HKXGLKHOSVPHUHÀQHP\DSSURDFKLQ

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my work with project Aneini.

Do you speak anywhere else in the world? I do make periodic trips to the States.

How can people contact you? My email address is: Dlichtman@aish. com

What message would you like to impart to our readers? Kiruv is not relegated to outreach professionals. Project Aneini seeks to empower and ignite all religious Jews. Every one of us has the potential to be a walking Kiddush Hashem in our GDLO\OLYHV:KHQZHIHHOFRQÀGHQWDQG inspired in our own yiddishkeit we can then break through barriers and inspire others as well.

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4

SHIDDUCHIM

Mismatched! True stories of disaster dates, submitted by our readers! BY Anonoymous Reader

T

he worst date I ever had happened because of a pepper ball. It happened nearly two years ago, but I can clearly remember every detail of that dreadful night. I took a great girl, from a great family, out to a world-class restaurant. It ZDVWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPHZHPHW(YHU\WKLQJ proceeded smoothly, conversation Ă RZHG ZHOO DQG ZH ZHUH JHWWLQJ DORQJ Ă&#x20AC;QH XQWLO GLQQHU ZDV VHUYHG I had ordered Salisbury steak with a side of mashed potatoes. The whitegloved waiter arrived at our table bearing a luscious-looking platter. He put it down in front of us, and handed us each our plates. Then he took out a hand grinder, and slowly ground some black pepper over my steak. He WXUQHG WKH KDQGOH DERXW Ă&#x20AC;YH WLPHV and small sprinkles of spice landed on my piece of meat. It looked delicious. We thanked him for his attentive service, and started to eat. The grinder must have been broken or something, because after taking one bite of my steak, I swallowed a pretty large pepper ball, and started to cough convulsively. I coughed. And coughed. And coughed. I hacked and heaved and humphed and hiccupped like a deranged person. My lungs felt like they were burning up, and the pepper ball seemed permanently lodged in my throat. My date just stared at me warily throughout the entire episode, as though she were watching some tragic scene in a dreadful

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play. She kept asking, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Are you okay?â&#x20AC;? But I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t answer her, because the ball seemed to be blocking my windpipe. I gasped for air, and my eyes watered. They watered and welled up so much, that one of my contact lenses popped out and dropped onto the Ă RRU 0\ GDWH ORRNHG RQ KRUULĂ&#x20AC;HG

my date and my steak both started to blur before me as I wiped my eyes DQGĂ&#x20AC;QDOO\Ă&#x20AC;QLVKHGFRXJKLQJ,VLJKHG deeply, glad to be free of that offensive ball. By that time, neither one of us had much of an appetite anymore. %HVLGHV,FRXOGEDUHO\Ă&#x20AC;QGP\SODWH let alone cut my meal into bite-sized pieces with a fork and knife. After I paid the bill, I hesitantly informed the frazzled-looking girl that since I was now sightless, I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t drive her home. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d need to call a cab. She nodded, exasperated, and agreed. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure she just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. We sat IRU DQ KRXULQ WUDIĂ&#x20AC;F RQ WKH KLJKZD\ home, with nothing much to say to one another. I squirmed in my seat, searching futilely for something clever to say that would make the whole date seem less ridiculous, less insufferable, to her. I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come up with anything at all. Maybe the pepper ball had lodged inside my brain, inside of digesting inside my stomach. Who as I got down on hands and knees knows? In any case, even the cabdriver DQGWULHGEOLQGO\WRĂ&#x20AC;QGLW,JURSHG must surely have realized that this around randomly, running my hands was a date gone awfully wrong. He RYHU WKH Ă RRU EHQHDWK RXU WDEOH , looked at me and said not a word, but checked the tablecloth, and my seat his expression said it all. One little cushion too. To no avail. Eventually, pepper ball had taken the spice right I just took out the other contact lens, out of my evening. right there in front of her, wrapped it in a napkin, and stuffed it in my If you went through (or heard about) pocket. a funny shidduch mishap and want to let us Without my contacts, I am almost know about it, please send your stories in to: legally blind. I literally canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see two nybuzzmagazine@gmail.com feet in front of me. Which is why

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

If she balked at using the subway, she was probably too high-maintenance for me anyway, and the shidduch would never work.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

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LETS DISCUSS IT

People of

P

Holiness

arshas Mishpatim entails laws that deal with various torts and property damages. It discusses laws of damages, of servitude, of lenders and borrowers, employers and laborers, laws of lost items and WKH UHVSRQVLELOLWLHV RI WKH Ă&#x20AC;QGHU Many of these mitzvos are discussed in the section of Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat. But there are quite a few mitzvos mentioned that engage the purely spiritual quality of the Jew. Some of them deal with kosher restrictions, others with our relationship with the Almighty. One verse that deals with the requirement of shechita (ritual slaughter) begins with a prelude regarding holiness. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People of holiness shall you be to Me; you shall not eat Ă HVK RI DQ DQLPDO WKDW ZDV WRUQ LQ WKH Ă&#x20AC;HOG WR WKH GRJ VKDOO \RX WKURZ itâ&#x20AC;? (Exodus 22:30). The question is simple. There are many esoteric PLW]YRVZKRVHRQO\MXVWLĂ&#x20AC;DEOHUHDVRQ is spiritual. Why does the Torah connect the fact that Jews should be holy with their prohibition of eating meat that was torn as opposed to ritually slaughtered? There are a myriad of mitzvos that require selfcontrol and abstention. Why meat in particular? Dovid, a serious yeshiva student, ERDUGHG WKH ODVW Ă LJKW RXW RI /RV Angeles on his way back to his Yeshiva in New York. He was glad that they were going to serve food as he had left

his home in a rush and did not get a chance to eat supper. Sitting next to him on the airplane, was a southern fellow who knew little about Judaism, and considered Dovid a curiosity. As WKH SODQH Ă HZ HDVWZDUG KH EDQWHUHG with Dovid about Jews, religion and the Bible, in a poor attempt to display his little bits of knowledge. Hungry and tired Dovid humored him with pleasantries and not much talking.

as the non-kosher deli sandwich the airline had served him. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hey,â&#x20AC;? he drawled, â&#x20AC;&#x153;your kosher stuff doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t look too bad after all!â&#x20AC;? Dovid smiled and was about to take KLVĂ&#x20AC;UVWELWHLQWRWKHVDQGZLFKZKHQ he realized that he had to wash his hands for the bread. He walked to WKHEDFNRIWKHSODQHWRĂ&#x20AC;QGDVLQN,W took a little while to wash his hands properly, but soon enough he returned to his seat. His sandwich was still on his tray, nestled in its ripped-open wrapping, unscathed. And then it dawned upon him. There is a rabbinic ordinance that if unmarked or unsealed meat is left unattended in a gentile environment, it is prohibited to be eaten by a Jew. The Rabbis were worried that someone may have switched the kosher meat for non-kosher. Dovid felt that in the enclosed atmosphere of an airplane cabin, nothing could have happened. After DOO QR RQH LV VHOOLQJ PHDW Ă&#x20AC;YH PLOHV above earth, and would have reason to switch the meat, but a halacha is a halacha, the rule is a rule, and Dovid He was pleased when his kosher did not want to take the authority to PHDO ZDV Ă&#x20AC;QDOO\ VHUYHG 7KH NRVKHU overrule the age-old Halacha. deli sandwich came wrapped in a Pensively he sat down, made a plastic tray, and was sealed with a blessing on the bread and careful not multiple array of stickers and labels to eat the meat, he took a small bite of testifying to its kosher integrity. His the bread. Then he put the sandwich newfound neighbor was amused as down and let his hunger wrestle with Dovid struggled to break the myriad his conscience. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hey pardner,â&#x20AC;? cried seals and reveal the sandwich, which his neighbor, â&#x20AC;&#x153;whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wrong with the unbelievably looked just as appetizing sandwich?â&#x20AC;?

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hey pardner,â&#x20AC;? cried his neighbor, â&#x20AC;&#x153;whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wrong with the sandwich?â&#x20AC;?

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

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LETS DISCUSS IT 'RYLGZDVHPEDUUDVVHGEXWÀJXUHGLIKHFRXOGQ·WHDW he would talk. He explained the Rabbinic law prohibiting unattended meat and then added with a self-effacing laugh, “and though I’m sure no one touched my food, in my religion, rules are rules.” His neighbor turned white. “Praise the L-rd, the Rabbis, and all of you Jewish folk!” Dovid looked at him quizzically. “When you were back there doin’ your thing, I says to myself, ‘I never had any kosher deli meat in my life. I thought I’d try to see if it was as good as my New York friends say it is! Well, I snuck a piece of pastrami. But when I saw how skimpy I left your sandwich, I replaced your meat with a piece of mine! Someone up there is watching a holy fellow such as yourself!’ 7KH 3DUGHV <RVHI H[SODLQV WKH FRUUHODWLRQ RI WKH ÀUVW half of the verse to the second with a quote from mesechta Yevamos. The Torah is telling us more than an ordinance. It is relating a fact. “If you will act as a people of holiness WKHQ\RXVKDOOQRWHDWÁHVKRIDQDQLPDOWKDWZDVWRUQLQ WKHÀHOGWRWKHGRJVKDOO\RXWKURZLW7KHSXULW\RIDFWLRQ prevents the mishaps of transgressions. Simple as that. Keep holy and you will be watched to ensure your purity. Sealed and delivered.

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TORAH

Happy Birthday?

N

No Thanks

ext week is my birthday, but I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be celebrating. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not sentimental. And itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s GHĂ&#x20AC;QLWHO\ QRW EHFDXVH , GRQ¡W OLNH parties. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s because a few years ago I noticed something remarkable in the Torah that made me rethink the whole LGHD RI JLYLQJ VSHFLDO VLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQFH WR the day I was born. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only one time in the entire Chumash that we read about a birthday party. The guest of honor, who in all probability planned it for himself? Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, whose birthday bash we read about in sefer Bereishes. Aside from this non-Jewish leader, whose lifestyle certainly doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t deserve to be emulated by us, there isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a single mention of a birthday celebration by any one of our people. Why the strange neglect of what we ZRXOGWKLQNLVDVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQWGD\ZRUWK\ of celebrating and rejoicing? Another occasion that Jews do celebrate yields an answer. On the anniversary of the day of death of a loved one, the yahrzeit, it is our custom to share food and drink with others. It is then, with the SDVVDJH RI WLPH WKDW ZH FDQ UHĂ HFW upon all that was accomplished by our departed as well as the legacy of their achievements. We have a right â&#x20AC;&#x201C; as well as an obligation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to celebrate a life that we can now in retrospect acknowledge as having been well lived.

But birthdays link us only to the day of birth. When we are born, we have as yet accomplished nothing. We have no more than potential, alive to face the challenges that will confront us but with no assurance that we will overcome them successfully. Birthdays

of this insight. The Talmud teaches that truly holy people die on their birthday. The rationale given for this seemingly harsh linkage is in fact to acknowledge a Divinely decreed blessing. Righteous people are granted the gift of complete years. Whatever their lifespan, they live it out to the very last day. It is a beautiful thought but the Chatam Sofer wonders how such a tradition could be maintained in the face of the knowledge that many VDLQWO\ Ă&#x20AC;JXUHV RI WKH SDVW GLG LQ IDFW not die on their birthday. Would that disqualify them from consideration as truly righteous in our eyes? Of course not, says the Chasam Sofer. Many pious people did in fact die on their birthday â&#x20AC;&#x201C; weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re just mislabeling what day is in fact their birthday. The righteous will die on the very day that they became ULJKWHRXV²WKHGD\LQZKLFKWKH\Ă&#x20AC;UVW demonstrated their holiness, the day LQ ZKLFK WKH\ FRQĂ&#x20AC;UPHG WKH NLQG RI saintly behavior that elevated them above others. That is the day in which they were truly born. And that is the day on which in fact they would pass donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really deserve applause because on to the next world to be rewarded they commemorate nothing more than for their greatness. RXU Ă&#x20AC;UVW DSSHDUDQFH RQ WKH VWDJH RI Every one of us has more than one life. How we play our role is the great ELUWKGD\7KHĂ&#x20AC;UVWLVRIFRXUVHSXUHO\ test of our character. biological. That moment gave joy to The 18th century Torah giant, Rav our parents, but we really have no Moshe Sofer, known by the name of right to make any personal claims on his major work as the Chasam Sofer, LWVVLJQLĂ&#x20AC;FDQFH:HZHUHERUQ²EXWLW resolved a fascinating question by way remains for us to prove by the way we

Righteous people are granted the gift of complete years. Whatever their lifespan, they live it out to the very last day.

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subsequently live our lives that that deserves rejoicing. It is the other â&#x20AC;&#x153;birthdaysâ&#x20AC;? we have that deserves recognition. 7KH GD\ , Ă&#x20AC;UVW OHDUQHG WR UHDG WKH $OHI%HLV DV P\ father wrote the Hebrew letters on a slate in honey, taught me how to pronounce them, and then allowed me to lick the sweetness of their forms and to absorb Hashemâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s script into my neshama â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that was the day I was born into Jewish consciousness. The day I received my rabbinic ordination, my Smichah, was the day I was born to begin my life in the service of +DVKHPDQGWRGHYRWHDOOP\HQHUJLHVWRWKHEHQHĂ&#x20AC;WRIRXU people. The day I married was the day that, in the eyes of Jewish tradition, I became a complete person â&#x20AC;&#x201C; until then being XQIXOĂ&#x20AC;OOHGZLWKRXWP\GLYLQHO\GHVLJQDWHGKHOSPDWH The four days on which I was blessed with the arrival of each one of my children allowed me the joy of knowing that I would be able to pass on the legacy of our ancestors to a new generation I had a role in creating â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and nine grandchildren that followed were a beautiful frosting on the cake Hashem was kind enough to bless me with. So why celebrate my own birthday â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a day I had nothing to do with personally â&#x20AC;&#x201C; when I have so many other major moments in life that far more deserve to be celebrated? Save those birthday candles for a different time.

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Some of the nation’s leading auto makers - Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors – are based in Detroit, Michigan.

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Humor

s e s i o N in

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Head Werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the good old days a lot simpler? ROCHEL BURSTYN

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otary phones were the greatest. They rang, and we knew where they were: plugged into the walls. Simple. Now, they are wherever we or our family members have left them. In other words, they could be in any number of weird and wonderful places. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be looking for it frantically, twisting, turning, throwing cushions off the couch, opening the fridge (you NEVER know) as it rings and then suddenly, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hey, who put the phone in the tool-box?â&#x20AC;? Usually itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best not to ask too many questions for the sake of shalom bayis. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ironic how the development of modern technology has aided and abetted us in any number of ways. Now we can throw our clothes into a machine instead of standing by the river all day. Throw dishes into a machine instead of standing by the sink and getting soapy hands. We can talk on the phone in the park, in stores, on busesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;no need to make small talk with passing acquaintances or old teachers because now you can be on the phone with \RXUROGHVWFKLOGDVKHEDE\VLWVIRUWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPHZKLOH\RX¡UHRXW,W¡VORYHO\UHDOO\ But with all this â&#x20AC;&#x153;lessâ&#x20AC;? technologyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;handless, wireless, cordlessâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;also comes other â&#x20AC;&#x153;lessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;sâ&#x20AC;?â&#x20AC;&#x201D;less polite, less friendly, less approachable.

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But back to the house phone. In the house, it’s considered okay (polite to ignore the gifts Hashem has showered us with) to speak on the phone all day if your kids don’t mind. And of course, they don’t mind—it’s just that they need you as soon as the phone rings. When it gets lost, you end up looking like a maniac. Running from room to room, cocking your ear, exclaiming, “I think I hear it in the other room!” and dashing back and forth. In the olden days, it was never good when you heard a distant ringing, even worse if you couldn’t ÀQGWKHVRXUFH But most people have a resourceful solution. They’re called three-year-olds. 0XFKEHWWHUDWÀQGLQJSKRQHVWKDQ adults are. Maybe it’s because they’re closer to the ground. At least that’s what I tell my kids. They even think it makes sense. Note to self: Anything makes sense to little kids if you say it with a straight face. So there I was hearing my phone ring all day and walking in circular routes

around my home, throwing blankets off beds to look underneath but to no avail, waiting for my three-year-old to come KRPHIURPVFKRROVRKHFRXOGÀQGWKH phone for me. Of course the moment he came home, my phone was silent. But I knew it was charged. (That’s really the worst that can happen. I have a cousin who lost a phone that wasn’t charged, so it didn’t ring at all. And we all know what that serious condition means: L.T.P. [Lost Till Pesachcleaning]. They had to go out and buy another one for the remaining ten months of the year.) So I was able to do what brilliant, resourceful people do in this scenario: call my house line with my cell phone. This one time, I sat on the couch while my three-year-old looked all over for the phone. He was in the other room when I ÀQDOO\KHDUGKLVVZHHWOLWWOHYRLFHRQWKH other end of the line: “Hello?” What was the quickest way to get him to give me the phone? “Hi, Avi, is your mommy there?”

I heard footsteps approach. Avi was smiling and talking into the phone. “Yes, who is this?” By this time, he was standing in front of me, but he still hadn’t realized it was me (and I wasn’t even putting on voices!), WKRXJKKHZDVÁDEEHUJDVWHGZKHQKH noticed that the lady on the other end of the phone was saying the exact same thing as his mommy in front of him. Finally, laughing, I explained to him that I had called the phone and he was speaking to me. Now whenever the phone rings, he thinks it’s me. He’ll answer the phone with “Hi, Mommy!” which always gives me a bit of explaining to do when I take the phone from him! But I do have to say this, telemarketers appreciate it. They’re confused, but appreciative. When my husband calls the house and my son answers, “Hi, Mommy,” my husband assumes it’s a sign of how much I’m actually on the phone. I told him, believe me, I’m not on the phone as much I’d like to be. If only I knew where it was half the time!

It’s just that they need you as soon as the phone rings.

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RECIPES

Hawaiian Chicken

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Preparation Time: 10 minutes

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RECIPES

Balsamic Glazed Carrots â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a GHFHSWLYHO\ VLPSOHVLGH GLVKÂľ

FXSVEDE\FDUURWV WDEOHVSRRQROLYHRLO

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WDEOHVSRRQVEDOVDPLFYLQHJDU WDEOHVSRRQEURZQVXJDU

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 min

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RECIPES

Sesame Pasta Chicken Salad ´$UHIUHVKLQJOLJKWSDVWD

FXSVHVDPHVHHGV  RXQFH SDFNDJHERZWLHSDVWD FXSYHJHWDEOHRLO FXSOLJKWVR\VDXFH FXSULFHYLQHJDU WHDVSRRQVHVDPHRLO WDEOHVSRRQVZKLWHVXJDU

WHDVSRRQJURXQGJLQJHU WHDVSRRQJURXQGEODFNSHSSHU FXSVVKUHGGHGFRRNHGFKLFNHQ breast meat FXSFKRSSHGIUHVKFLODQWUR FXSFKRSSHGJUHHQRQLRQ

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Original recipe makes 10

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

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46 49

50

55

51 56

59

60

61

62

63

64

65

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39. White-handed gibbon 40. Suffuse 41. Cheiloschisis 43. One who makes occur 44. Bottom line? 45. Skip preceder 46. Meets 47. Medical suffix 49. Astronaut outfits 51. Deli loaf 54. Dentist souvenirs 57. Committee head 60. One of the hipbones 61. Windshield feature 62. Veil fabric 63. Quitter's word 64. Prefix with room 65. Begin 66. Joint with a cap 67. Crowd noise

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HUMOR

A Dollar and a Dream.

O

y, did we stink! What do you expect? The only shower we could take was when it rained. My best friend Meir and I were year’s long street shnorers. To us, it was a profession. It was hard work, but, boy, were we good. We knew the city like nobody else and our knowledge of which streets paid out the most and which were simply a waste of time, was worth millions to our competitors. Don’t make with the face. You think it is easy, you try it. You have to know how to walk, what to wear, what to say, how to stand, where to look, when to smile, when to frown, when to persist and when to be silent. The down side (and there are many) to this trade is the rejections (and there are many) as well as the inability to be the “giver” rather than the “taker”. Seforim say that the poor person is doing the “giving” by allowing the giver to receive mitzvos, but try convincing the rich man. Not easy. Many times people would be careful not to insult Meir of myself, but we could always tell when they were afraid to touch our hands, get too close, or look us in the eyes. “Being poor is not a disease,” I wanted to scream, but I didn’t want to offend them either. Make no mistake. When we collected, we ate. When we didn’t, we didn’t. We had nothing. No fresh

clothing to change into, no shoes without holes, no warm coats, no shelter and no family. We simply had no place to live. We have spent many nights sleeping in hallways and alleys. Sometimes we would sneak away in a

We usually lucked out and found a Kiddush after davening, where we would sit like a guest and feel like we “belonged.” shul and afford ourselves the comfort of a hard bench. It was better that a cold sidewalk. There were very cold nights that we stayed with the goyim in a city shelter – always sleeping with one eye open. Meals were always scarce and uninviting: Beans, bread, a

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pickle, an egg, a cookie, maybe a few slices of bologna. Brisket… Steak? Forget about it. We would dream about hamburger. But we loved chicken. There was a takeout store that gave us a barbecued chicken every erev Shabbos. What Tzaddikim! We saved most of what we collected for our Shabbos meals. We always bought a challah, grape juice and cholent. What Jew doesn’t eat cholent on Shabbos? We were no different. We usually lucked out and found a Kiddush after davening, where we would sit like a guest and feel like we “belonged.” Meir and I never really belonged. We were Hashem’s servants, doing His bidding, making sure that Klal Yisroel gave tzidakka. So many people gave with a smile and a bracha, and many gave with a frown. Now let me get to the “meat and potatoes” of this story (how we longed for meat and potatoes). There was this one pure neshama who Meir approached for tzedaka. He was a frowner, but only because he didn’t have what to give. He reached into his pocket and out came lint. “I am so sorry. I wish I could give you and your friend a thousand dollars, but I just don’t have. I myself have bills I can’t pay. But wait….” He reached into his shirt pocket and took out a wrinkled lottery ticket. “Here. Take this lotto ticket. I spend $1 every week and I never win. Maybe your mazel will be better than mine.” So Meir shrugged and started to walk

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HUMOR away. But I took it and thanked him. I also gave him a bracha that he should have parnasa to give to those who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have â&#x20AC;&#x201C; like Meir and myself. Now, Meir and I know that to win in lotto, our chances were better that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d bump into a multi-millionaire who would leave us his complete fortune in his will. But, like a Ă \LQ\RXUVRXS\RXKDYHWREHLQLWWRZLQLW$QGZHZHUH now in it. Meir and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a TV (Boruch Hashem) and we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a subscription to a newspaper (also, Boruch Hashem), so we went into a store to check our numbers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;No collecting in the store,â&#x20AC;? the man behind the counter yelled at us. Meir looked at me and motioned that we leave, but I walked up to the counter and handed the man our ticket. He rolled his eyes and put the ticket into the machine. Meir started to walk out but I decided to wait for the words, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You won nothing. Now get out.â&#x20AC;? But the words didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come. The man behind the counter looked confused. He looked at me and could not speak. He looked again at his machine and then at me and then at his machine. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Meir, I think you should maybe come back inside,â&#x20AC;? I said without taking my eyes off of the man. ´<RX KDYH  RXW RI  QXPEHUVÂľ WKH PDQ Ă&#x20AC;QDOO\ whispered. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I told you it was a waste of time,â&#x20AC;? Meir said as he started to walk out again. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Noâ&#x20AC;Ś.wait,â&#x20AC;? said the man again. You wonâ&#x20AC;Ś.you won a ORW<RXKDYHWRJRWRWKH/RWWRRIĂ&#x20AC;FHWRJHW\RXUPRQH\ÂŤ EXWWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWKLQJ\RXPXVWGRLVVLJQWKLVWLFNHWDQGNHHS it safe. Meir and I looked at each other. Now we were the ones who couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t talk. I signed the ticket and put it in my pocket (I never owned a wallet). This was a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mega Millions ticket, explained the nice PDQDWWKH1</RWWHU\RIĂ&#x20AC;FH7KHMDFNSRWZDVPLOOLRQ and since we had 5 of the numbers, Meir and I won $613 thousand dollars after taxes. Good number, right? Well, Meir and I decided to quit our jobs. We no longer work for Hashem on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;takingâ&#x20AC;? end. We now work on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;givingâ&#x20AC;? end. We give to all who ask. Meir has since married (funny how money brings out the shadchanim) and I am still looking for my bashert. But we both have enough food and shelter â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and access to a regular shower, even when it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t rain. Ohâ&#x20AC;Ś..and the yid who gave us the lotto ticket? We took care of him. He has enough to pay his bills and much more. Hashem runs the world, so the next time someone asks for tzedaka â&#x20AC;&#x201C; give with a smile. P.S. I am having steak for dinner tonight.

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TORAH

Revere our

T

he story takes place in the early 1900’s, as the family of Yitzchak, an outstanding young boy of eleven, waited in anticipation for the new dress the father had ordered for the mother. ,W ZRXOG EH WKH ÀUVW QHZ GUHVV she would have in years. Pesach was coming soon, and what better time than Yom Tov to banei, put RQ WKH QHZ GUHVV IRU WKH ÀUVW WLPH The entire family waited eagerly in anticipation of the arrival of the new dress. Finally, news came that it was ready, but the mother was not going to put it on until Yom Tov. It was just not right. Yitzchak was an exceptional student who was very adept at his Torah studies. Although young in age, he had skipped a few classes and was already studying with boys much older than himself. He came home a few days before Pesach and matter-of-factly told his mother that he had just completed Meseches Bava Kamma. His mother kvelled, beamed, with pride. Yitzchak made nothing of the accomplishment, but his mother was thrilled. The next evening, Yitzchak came home from the yeshivah to be greeted by an astonishing sight. The table, covered with Shabbos linen, was set ZLWK WKHLU ÀQHVW FKLQD WKH FDQGOHV were lit; and – his mother was wearing her brand new dress that she had been saving for Yom Tov! Understandably, Yitzchak was

shocked. After taking a few moments to compose himself, he blurted out, “What is all of this? It is not Shabbos! It is not Yom Tov! Yet, you are wearing the dress that you were saving for Pesach. What is the happy occasion?”

“There is nothing more special to me than my son’s Torah learning. If you are making a siyum, completing a Mesechta, then I want to celebrate with you.” His mother looked glowingly at Yitzchak, smiled and said, “You are correct. I was saving the dress for Yom Tov. What greater Yom Tov is there, however, than when my son completes a Mesechta, tractate in the Talmud? There is nothing more special to me than my son’s Torah learning. If you are making a siyum, completing a Mesechta, then I want to celebrate with you.” Yitzchak never forgot this incident. He knew how proud his mother

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was of his achievements, and he was now acutely aware of the value she placed upon them. As he continued to complete one Mesechta after another, his mother’s message reverberated within him. As Yitzchak grew into the venerable Horav Yitzchak Hutner, zl, Rosh Yeshivah of Mesivta Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin, he imparted this lesson to his thousands of students. ************* Horav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Shlita, relates a poignant story that illustrates the value of a tear: It was time to elect a Chief Rabbi for Yerushalayim. The people were encouraged to vote for Horav Chaim Yaakov Levine, a very suitable candidate for the position. When Horav Levine heard this he made it a point to see who else had been nominated for the position. He noticed that Horav Betzalel Zolty, zl, was also a candidate for the position. He immediately said that under no circumstances would he run for the position. Even after a number of great rabbonim attempted to dissuade him, he remained adamant - he would not compete with Horav Zolty for the position of Chief Rabbi. After awhile, he explained the reason for his refusal to his close friends. Apparently, his father, the venerable Horav Aryeh Levine, zl, once related that he was walking through the alleyways of Yerushalayim at night

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TORAH when he came upon a woman who was mending socks by the light of a small torch. Perhaps today we cannot relate to this profession, but seventy years ago, when one’s socks had a hole in them, they were repaired. Usually, it was some poor woman who darned these socks for the meager pay it generated. “Why are you doing this?” asked Rav Aryeh of the woman, “and especially with so little light.” “I am a poor widow. With the few coins I make, I am able to pay the rebbe that learns Torah with my orphaned son.” The woman kept on sewing, as her tears trickled down on the socks that she was repairing. “Do you know who this widow was?” Rav Chaim Yaakov asked. “She was Rav Betzalel Zolty’s mother! Is it possible to estimate the value and effect of her tears? Rav Zolty should become the Rav of Yerushalayim. His spiritual growth ZDV FDWDO\]HG RQ D ÀHOG LUULJDWHG E\ WKH WHDUV RI a widow!”

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TECH TIME

Driverless Cars Fantasy or Feasible?

A

utomakers and intrepid inventors have been experimenting with autonomous vehicles â&#x20AC;&#x201D; aka driverless cars â&#x20AC;&#x201D; for nearly 100 years. So far, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve only materialized in celluloid. But what was once Hollywood fantasy is now an imminent reality. In recent years, major carmakers â&#x20AC;&#x201D; BMW to Volvo to Toyota â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and technology monoliths like Google have ramped up their driverless car research. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re advancing driverless technology at least in part via new legislation allowing the testing of autonomous cars on public roads. The new driverless technology â&#x20AC;&#x201D; H[HPSOLĂ&#x20AC;HG LQ SURWRW\SHV E\ $XGL and BMW at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) â&#x20AC;&#x201D; is more streamlined. Sensors and computers that used to occupy the entire trunk are now appreciably more compact. Google lobbied hard for legislation to permit the testing of autonomous cars. In 2012, the company achieved its goal. Nevada, Florida and California passed laws allowing the testing of driverless vehicles. Michigan

%\-DPHV5DLD followed suit last December. Like its counterparts, Michiganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new law requires a human in the driverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seat while the vehicle is in operation. Driverless transportation for the general public is likely still years away â&#x20AC;&#x201D; seven to 10, according to some advocates. But government agencies and transportation experts are already FRQVLGHULQJWKHUDPLĂ&#x20AC;FDWLRQV â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re encouraged by the new automated vehicle technologies being developed and implemented today, but want to ensure that motor vehicle safety is considered in the development of these advances,â&#x20AC;? said David 6WULFNODQG WKH WRS VDIHW\ RIĂ&#x20AC;FLDO DW the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). â&#x20AC;&#x153;As additional states consider similar legislation, our recommendations provide lawmakers with the tools they need to encourage the safe development and implementation of automated vehicle technology.â&#x20AC;? ,Q DGGLWLRQ WR GHĂ&#x20AC;QLQJ FDWHJRULHV of autonomous vehicles, the NHTSA KDV LGHQWLĂ&#x20AC;HG WKH SRWHQWLDO EHQHĂ&#x20AC;WV and hazards of driverless cars. Potential advantages include

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IHZHU WUDIĂ&#x20AC;F FROOLVLRQV LQFUHDVHG URDG FDSDFLW\ UHGXFHG WUDIĂ&#x20AC;F congestion, less road signage and greater opportunity for drivers with handicaps. Cybersecurity, software reliability, liability responsibilities, loss of driversâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; jobs in various sectors, increased government regulations and OHJDOUDPLĂ&#x20AC;FDWLRQVDUHDPRQJSRWHQWLDO SLWIDOOVLGHQWLĂ&#x20AC;HGE\WKH1+76$ Obstacles aside, these developments appeal to a collective LPDJLQDWLRQVKDSHGE\VFLHQFHĂ&#x20AC;FWLRQ DQG -DPHV %RQG Ă&#x20AC;OPV ([FLWHPHQW LV D QDWXUDO UHVSRQVH %XW RIĂ&#x20AC;FLDOV XUJH consumers to remember the most important feature of any vehicle: safety. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our research covers all levels of automation, including advances like automatic braking that may save lives in the near term,â&#x20AC;? said Ray LaHood, the former NHTSA secretary. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whether weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re talking about automated features in cars today or fully automated vehicles of the future, our top priority is to ensure these vehicles â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and their occupants â&#x20AC;&#x201D; are safe.â&#x20AC;?

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81


MIRACLES

A Parrot in Kiruv

D

aniel Avir lives on the outskirts of Bnei Brak. His apartment building faces the crowded city, but behind the building is a huge, RSHQ Ă&#x20AC;HOG 'DQLHO OLNHV WKH ORFDWLRQ of his home because it affords him the dual advantages of living in a large Orthodox community and still having wide-open places nearby. One of the reasons Daniel prefers those wide-open spaces is that he and his pet are more comfortable that way. Daniel does not have a dog or a cat; he has a large, green, talkative parrot! Now, pets in general are not that common in Orthodox households, but Daniel loves birds of all kinds. And living in a building on the edge of town means that fewer people can be disturbed by the occasional loud outbursts of squawking. :KHQ 'DQLHO Ă&#x20AC;UVW ERXJKW KLV SDUURW he decided that he would teach it to say only words or phrases that would be appreciated by his Orthodox neighbors. Eventually, with patient training, the parrot learned to say Gut Shabbos and Shema Yisrael and when asked, â&#x20AC;&#x153;How are you?â&#x20AC;? to respond with â&#x20AC;&#x153;Baruch Hashem!â&#x20AC;? One day Daniel went up to the roof to check his solar water heater. The water was not coming out with the proper force and Daniel wanted WR VDYH WKH UHSDLU ELOO E\ Ă&#x20AC;[LQJ LW himself. Daniel stood on the roof with his parrot perched on his shoulder as usual. As the parrot squawked â&#x20AC;&#x153;Baruch Hashem! Gut Shabbos! Shema Yisrael!â&#x20AC;? Daniel got to work on his doit-yourself project. As he was tinkering with the pipes,

suddenly a gush of scalding water made him jump back. He was fast enough to avoid being burned but the parrot was slightly scalded. Badly IULJKWHQHG LW Ă HZ DZD\ ,W ODQGHG almost a mile away in an empty soccer Ă&#x20AC;HOGGD]HG Netanel Elchonen was walking by WKH VRFFHU Ă&#x20AC;HOG ZKHQ WKH EULJKW green plumage caught his eye. When he walked over to investigate, he was amazed to discover the live, but

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do you realize that I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even say the Shema â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and here is an animal, a bird, saying Shema Yisrael every day!â&#x20AC;?

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

greatly weakened, parrot. A gentle, nature-loving man, Netanel thought immediately of nursing the parrot back to health. His next thought was the delight he knew it would bring to his young children at home. Without hesitation, Netanel scooped up the limp parrot and took it home.

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After a few days of tender loving care from the Elchonen family, the parrot began to regain its strength. By the end of the week, it was beginning to squawk with some of its former FRQĂ&#x20AC;GHQFH DQG DIWHU WZR ZHHNV LW began to talk again. On the morning that it shouted, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Shema Yisrael!â&#x20AC;? Netanel couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t believe his ears. He stopped short. Did this bird just say Shema? he asked himself. A few minutes later Netanelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s question was answered when the parrot repeated himself. There was no mistake! The bird had said Shema Yisrael. After three days of this, Netanel was overwhelmed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Elisheva,â&#x20AC;? he said to his wife, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do you realize that I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even say the Shema â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and here is an animal, a bird, saying Shema Yisrael every day!â&#x20AC;? Netanel just couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get over it. Although he was not at all religious and had never been religious, the thought of a bird saying these words when he did not, bothered him more and more. Finally, he told Elisheva that he was thinking of attending morning services at the local synagogue, to say the Shema during the morning prayers. To Netanelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surprise, Elisheva was not only accepting; she was positively encouraging. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Of course you should go!â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The parrot can say the Shema at home, but only a person can go to the synagogue!â&#x20AC;? Netanel did go to the synagogue, and he felt so comfortable there that he decided to go back. Before long, he was a regular at the morning minyan. Eventually, Netanel began to feel

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MIRACLES embarrassed when he removed his yarmulke outside. One day he left it on, and again, to his surprise, Elisheva expressed her approval. Gradually, Netanel and Elisheva decided to have a Friday night Shabbos meal with the family, complete with candles and Kiddush. This led to a desire to keep Shabbos more fully, and eventually, to learn even more about Judaism. Their thirst for knowledge led the Elchonens to an Arachim seminar for young Israeli couples. These seminars are designed to introduce interested non-religious families to Orthodox Judaism. For the Elchonens, the seminar only strengthened the commitment they had in fact already made. The seminar included lectures by some of the Arachim instructors as well as workshops led by local volunteers. One of the volunteers was Daniel Avir. During the refreshment break, Daniel

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mingled with the participants and socialized. As he introduced himself to each new person, if he learned that the person was from the area, he brought up the subject of his missing parrot. “Would you by any chance have seen a green parrot? I lost one a few months ago…” When Netanel overheard Daniel asking people about the parrot, he realized immediately that this must be “his” new parrot. He didn’t say anything to Daniel because he didn’t want to return it, but nevertheless he asked around and got Daniel’s name and address. The next day, Netanel spoke to the Rabbi of his synagogue. “Do I have to return the parrot, Rabbi? We are all so fond of it, and my wife and I feel a special attachment to it because it is through this bird that we found our way back to Jewish tradition.” Netanel’s Rabbi sat down and

patiently explained that to return a lost object to its owner is a mitzvah from the Torah (Devarim 22:1-3). Since Netanel was learning and keeping more and more mitzvos, the Rabbi pointed out, this was a wonderful RSSRUWXQLW\ WR IXOÀOO D QHZ PLW]YDK “And besides,” added the Rabbi, “this bird was responsible for your entire family’s return to Judaism: Isn’t it only right that you should practice what Judaism teaches by returning it to its rightful owner?” Netanel agreed. The next day, he brought the parrot to Daniel, and explained what had happened. Daniel was delighted to be reunited with his parrot, but he was even more pleased to learn how much his parrot had accomplished in its absence. “I knew it was a good idea to teach my parrot the Shema,” he told Netanel proudly, “but I never dreamed it would go into kiruv!”

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Your Neighborhood

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Flatbush & Five Towns Buzz february 9 2014