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FEATURES

April 6 , 2012

Next Advertising Deadline April 27, 2012 Circulation May 4, 2012 Media Kit & Pricing 323.965.1544 Email info@communitylinks.info News & Press Releases press@communitylinks.info Virtual Subscription

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Finding Calm & Passing It On To Our Children

Our reactions to life’s ups and downs are observed, absorbed, and internalized.

subscribe@communitylinks.info

Rabbi Dr. Jerry Lob

Spiritual Parasites

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What chutzpah does the evil inclination have to try and snare us into such traps - moments after we had resolved to be better? Rabbi Reuvain Wolf

THE COMMUNITY LINKS is published biweekly and is distributed free to the Jewish Community of Southern California. THE COMMUNITY LINKS accepts no responsibility for typographical errors or reliability of Kashrus of any advertisers. All submissions become the property of THE COMMUNITY LINKS and may be shortened and/or edited for length and clarity. Articles published in THE COMMUNITY LINKS express the views of the individual writers and may not necessarily represent the views of THE COMMUNITY LINKS. No artwork or any part of the magazine may be reprinted or otherwise duplicated without the written permission of the publisher.

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Kohen...Kohen... Gone!

A physician or medical expert does not evaluate him. In fact, the entire ordeal is evaluated, reevaluated, determined, and executed by non-other than the Kohen. Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzkey

Forty Nine Days

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The irrevocability of the past, the uncompromising temporality of the present, the impregnable fog of the futureman still seems very much a creature subject to time, rather than the other way around. Rabbi Yanki Tauber

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Finding Calm and Passing It On to Our Children

By Rabbi Dr. Jerry Lob

W

e live in stressful times. There are the big stresses and the little ones. Stress with an upper case “S” and stress with a lower case “s”. Included in the first category might be: Loss of a loved one, an illness in the family, whether it’s a physical or mental illness, job loss, economic issues, marital discord, divorce, infertility, challenges with children, to name just a few. The second group involves our everyday lives, the nuts and bolts of living a busy life. The details of an active family, balancing all the different parts, such as carpool, homework, meals, family time, making and enforcing rules, quality marriage time, and on and on, can all add up to parents who are feeling overwhelmed, on edge, and irritable. The more stress/worry, the greater the tension in the air. And of course, children react to the tension, often, in ways that increase the stress, making it even more challenging for parents to create the kind of home atmosphere that they know is so important for the healthy development of their family, a sense of calm, security, stability, and happiness. Children learn about calm where they learn everything else, from watching their parents. How does Mommy act when the car breaks down, or when my room is a mess? 10

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What does Daddy do when I’m moving too slowly, or when he hears upsetting news? Our reactions to life’s ups and downs are observed, absorbed, and internalized. Many years ago a young couple came to see me to discuss the behavior of their six year old son whom they reported as having an out of control anger problem. They illustrated this by describing an incident that took place the previous week in a local kosher restaurant. Mother and son were eating there together, and when the meal was over and she expressed her desire to leave and go home, he refused. And then he stood up on the table and said “I’m not going anywhere with you, you…,” using a very inappropriate word. When the parents finished telling me their story and paused to get my reaction, I responded by commenting that six year olds don’t know that word, and they certainly don’t know how to use it in the way that he did, to so clearly articulate exactly, what he wanted to say. And then I was quiet, waiting. Finally, the father said, somewhat embarrassed, that he and his wife often argue and it’s possible that his son may have heard that expression during one of the arguments. That child’s problem was his role models. He was a good boy, learning well from his parents. Parents can teach children to respond to life with calm. It is important to ask oneself: “How do I react to disappointments, how am I when I’m driving and someone cuts me off, or if there’s bad traffic and I’m running late? What do I do with the everyday annoyances and aggravations, when things don’t go my way? And what if, G-d forbid, I am going through something from the first category, that is so painful, so scary, so anxiety provoking? Do I model self-soothing, to calm my own fears? Do I bring G-d into the equation? Do I remember what our tradition teaches us, that I must do my part but to remember that Hashem runs the world and every detail in it? And that I need to trust Him, and that I can trust him, to throw my burdens, and worries, onto Him, to feel the calm that comes from feeling Hashem’s love, the love He has for me, that He has for each of us. To remember the way I talk to my young child when he’s crying, “Shh, it’ll be OK, you’re OK, it’s going to be alright, I’m here.” And to do the same when I talk to myself, to quiet myself, to look inside, deep inside, and say, “Shh, it’s OK, I can handle this, it’ll be alright, I’m not alone,” and to hear Hashem say, “I’m here, I love you.” There’s an expression that is used by twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, that is very comforting, “Let go, let G-d.” Letting go of my fears, letting go of my anger, my disappointments, and my pain. And letting G-d in, comforting me, soothing me, holding me, and filling me with inner quiet and inner calm.

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by Rabbi Reuvain Wolf

Often after we experience spiritual growth – whether it’s a day, hour or even a single moment of feeling connected with Hashem in a powerful way – we find ourselves struggling. Perhaps, after a trip to Israel, an inspiring Yom Tov, a moving tefilla, or an exciting class, one’s spirits were lifted and the soul was stirred. Suddenly, we experienced a strong and profound Teshuva and a renewed connection with G-d. Unfortunately, most of us know what comes in the aftermath. Very quickly, we find ourselves spiritually challenged in new and previously unimaginable ways.

Spiritual Parasites PARSHAS SHEMINI What happened? Why does the next moment find us in such a predicament? What chutzpah does the evil inclination have to try and snare us into such traps - moments after we had resolved to be better? Our feelings of Teshuva were real. We were truly inspired, and we committed with firm resolve to be better, and prevail over our shortcomings. That wasn’t an illusion. What is this strong Yetzer Hara that comes upon us, precisely after these inspired moments? Why is he fighting so hard to take our victory away? To understand this dilemma, we must better understand the dynamics of good and evil in the world. G-d is, of course, the source of all existence. He continuously creates and sustains everything in both realms: that of the good and holy as well as those of negativity and unholiness. G-d derives great pleasure and harbors a desire only for goodness. Evil exists only because He wants to provide humanity with free will. So, G-d created the realm of the unholy as an enticement. He, however, has no vested interest in it, and provides it with minimal energy, enough to exist only on a basic level, unlike holiness - to which G-d provides an abundance of life. Thus, the only way for negativity to thrive is by “stealing” energy from holiness. The Kabbalists compare the satanic and demonic forces to parasites. Just as an earthly parasite attaches itself to another creature and leeches life from its 16

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host, so too, the forces of darkness latch on to forces of goodness to leech life for themselves. When a person sins, G-d forbid, it creates a spiritual “wound” on the soul. Just as a physical wound is prone to infection, a spiritual wound is also susceptible. The unholy forces aim to make us stumble so that if we “wound” our souls through sin, they can derive benefit from the holy. It is then quite understandable that the greater and holier something is, the more attractive it becomes to the forces of evil. The Talmud states this quite succinctly: “The greater the person, the bigger his evil inclination.” (Sukkah 52a) This quote from the Talmud explains our quandary. Just as the Yetzer Hara is stronger on the greater person when comparing two people, the Yetzer Hara is also stronger on the same person after achieving spiritual growth. One’s newfound spiritual success makes a delicious target for the forces of negativity, and so, they redouble their efforts. How can we sustain a war against such determined, hungry, foes? Among many other things, Parshas Shemini deals with the laws of purity.

Upon simple analysis, these laws don’t seem relevant to us today. We, unfortunately, don’t yet live with the Temple in Jerusalem, and most of the laws of purity are not applicable to us on a daily basis. Yet, if we examine these laws from a more mystical perspective, they provide us with deep and valuable insight into this exact problem: How to deal with our spiritual foes. In regards to the laws of purity mentioned in Parshas Shemini, particularly the purity of foods, there are several aspects that are considered: (1) To be susceptible to impurity, the food must be fit for human beings. (2) To be susceptible to impurity, the food must have been moist, or wet. (3) Foods which are still attached to the ground (even by a single tiny root) are not susceptible to impurity. It is quite amazing to discover that these three factors in regards to our physical food, reflect three aspects of our spiritual sustenance, and can help prevent us from falling into the hands of the impure forces. When the Torah defines food as that which is fit for human consumption, it uses a particular name for mankind: Adam. We find different names used throughout the Torah, each reflecting

a different aspect of man, however, Adam is the highest level. The name Adam comes conveys that man is Adame L’Elyon/Compared to G-d, a spiritual being. Machal Adam/Man’s Food also refers to our spiritual food, Torah and Mitzvos. Halacha tells us that only “man’s food” is susceptible to impurity – the impure forces want to get a piece of the Torah and Mitzvos for themselves. We can be involved in mundane activities all day, but those things are of little interest to them. When a person is inspired, does a mitzvah, or learns Torah, a bright, divine energy elevates the soul. This is what the spiritual terrorists are after, and they start their attacks. We must be prepared for battle. Secondly, the rule is that food can only become contaminated once it has become wet. Water constantly flows downward, bringing life, great strength and power along with it. Furthermore, water connects things together. One can experience a “dry” spiritual movement, something that is academic and mechanical; it remains cold and lacks energy or potency. We strive for a “wet” Judaism, where our Torah and Mitzvos are fresh and powerful to us; where our actions are filled with

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warmth and eagerness. This type of Judaism flows like water, it connects to others, inspiring vibrant Jewish life and pleasing G-d, filling the world with great flows of Divinity. The “wetter” the Torah and Mitzvos of the Jew, the holier and greater these actions are. As a result, the evil inclination spots a prime target. So, how can we withstand such impossible pressure? We live in a world where the unholy lurks around every corner. The spiritual parasites are hungry, and ready to pounce on us from every angle. It seems that even as we strive to make progress, the challenges only become greater! The evil inclination constantly hovers around us, barraging us with temptations, waiting to have his fill. It feels hopeless. The third precondition to impurity provides us with the solution. Attached foods can never become impure. The halacha is quite clear that even if every root was severed except one tiny whisker, the impurity cannot take hold. Every Jew has a spiritual root, the soul’s source. Sometimes called the Pintele Yid, this is our being’s core essence, literally a piece of G-d. No matter how far we stray or where we find ourselves – physically or spiritually, this connection cannot be contaminated or severed, only covered. Sometimes, it manifests itself in times of great duress, as we have seen with many Jews, even if irreligious or apathetic to spirituality, who refused to part with their Judaism – even giving their lives because of it. In this place, at the core of the soul, G-d’s reality is so true, spirituality shines so brightly, that there is no room for anything else besides Him. The forces of evil can only exist in a place where there is concealment of G-d. Where G-d is evident, evil is completely vanquished and destroyed. Evil is a façade, and has no truth or genuine existence, it simply melts away. Within the inner core of our being, we each have a place

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where G-d is openly manifest. It is through this power that we can overcome all obstacles. When we awake each morning, Halacha prohibits us from touching anything, learning any Torah, or saying any prayers until we wash our hands. The sages teach that sleep is one sixtieth of death, as the soul is elevated into heaven during this time. Thus, our bodies are weakened, and the forces of unholiness try to usurp holy energy from our bodies into themselves. We wash to remove the impurity that comes through sleep. The only prayer we are allowed (and supposed) to say before washing is Modeh Ani. Here, we acknowledge G-d as the source of our existence immediately as the soul slips back into the body. Through the Modeh Ani, we declare that we have no other purpose than to serve G-d. These words emanate from the core of our being, a pure place, where only G-d resides. Thus, these words are immune to impurity and we say them before washing. Ultimately, all of our mitzvos come from this place, but we aren’t always conscious of this fact. By being mindful of our total dedication to G-d, knowing that we would do no less than any of the myriads of Jews who gave their lives up for Hashem, we evoke our essence. We expose our roots, and provide no opportunity for negative energies to approach. We become immune to the weapons of impurity. We should all make an exerted effort to be conscious of our roots, to water and strengthen them, especially thorough the study of Chassidus, which reveals and connects us to the inner dimensions of the Torah, and therefore, the inner soul. Through this, we merit to ingest a very powerful and potent spiritual “food” that strengthens us to withstand the many challenges of our world. May G-d protect us all and bring the redemption very quickly!

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Kohen … Kohen … GONE! Tazria-Metzorah

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky Parshas Tazria deals primarily with the physio-spirtual plague that affects gossips and rumor mongers with the plague of tzora'as. Tzora'as appears as a white lesion on various parts of the body, and the status of the afflicted depends on its shade of white, its size, and its development. The afflicted does not go to a medical clinic nor does he enter a hospital. If afflicted he is quarantined and then reevaluated; if condemned he is sent out of the Jewish camp until he heals, a sign that he has repented his slanderous ways. A physician or medical expert does not evaluate him. In fact, the entire ordeal is evaluated, reevaluated, determined, and executed by non-other than the Kohen. Moreover, the Torah does not keep that detail a secret. In the 47 verses that discuss bodily affliction of tzora'as, the Kohen is mentioned no less than 45 times! "He shall be brought to the Kohen," "The Kohen shall look", "The Kohen shall declare him contaminated," "The Kohen shall quarantine him," "The Kohen shall declare him pure" (Leviticus 13:1-47). Why must the Torah include the Kohen's involvement in every aspect of the process? More so, why does the Torah mention the Kohen's involvement in almost every verse? Would it not been well enough to have one encompassing edict: "The entire process is supervised and executed according to the advice of the Kohen." The parents of a retarded child entered the study of Rabbi 22

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Shlomo Auerbach. They decided to place their child in a special school in which he would live; the question was which one. "Have you asked the boy where he would like to go?" asked the sage. The parents were dumbfounded. "Our child cannot be involved in the process! He hasn't the capacity to understand," explained the father. Reb Shlomo Zalman was not moved. "You are sinning against your child. You are removing him from his home, placing him in a foreign environment, and you don't even consult with the child? He will feel helpless and betrayed - I'd like to talk to him." The couple quickly went home and brought the boy to the Torah sage. "My name is Shlomo Zalman," smiled the venerable scholar. "What's yours?" "Akiva." "Akiva," exclaimed Rabbi Auerbach, "I am one of the leading Torah sages in the world and many people discuss their problems with me. Now, I need your help. "You are about to enter a special school, and I need a representative to look after all the religious matters in the school. I would like to give you semicha, making you my official Rabbinical representative. You can freely discuss any issue with me whenever you want." Reb Shlomo Zalman gave the boy a warm handshake and hug. The boy entered the school and flourished. In fact, with the great feeling of responsibility, he rarely wanted to leave the school, even for a weekend; after all, who would take care of any questions that would arise? Part of the metzorah's (leper's) healing process is dismissal from the Jewish camp. However, it is a delicate ordeal, one wrought with trauma, pain, and emotional distress. The Kohen, a man of peace, love, and compassion must be there for every part of the process. He must be there to guide him through the tense incubation period as well as his dismissal. Moreover, he is there again to ease him back into society.

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It's Alcohol Awareness Month!!! Within the Jewish Community, there are many holidays and celebrations where youth may be exposed to alcohol, such as Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Shabbat and Yom Tov Meals, Purim and Simchat Torah to name just a few. Children form their impression of alcohol from a young age. Some see it as an adult rite of passage but others see it as a free flowing source of social connection. In both cases, adults have to make it crystal clear to children, preteens and teenagers that alcohol use is not acceptable for underage youth. Many families have the custom to use grape juice for their children's Kiddush so that children feel they have an appropriate alternative to the alcohol being served to adults. It is imperative that at home, all alcoholic beverages be locked up or stored out of reach and at celebratory events, that parents monitor their children and make sure the kids have no access to alcohol. More and more of the youth within our community are abusing alcohol and many go on to other harmful substances that they are exposed to at schools and at social settings outside of the home. Addiction is becoming more commonplace even in the Jewish community. It is very important for every parent to develop a set of talking points to have a two-way conversation with their children, pre-teens and teenagers: 1. Seize the moment: Take advantage of any opportunity to talk with your kids. Maybe your child will share a story about someone who was caught drinking or involved with other drugs. 2. Listen more than speaking: Encourage your kids to be open with you by listening to them and without overreacting when they do so. You may be surprised to find out how much your child already knows about drugs and alcohol. 3. Set limits: Explain to your child that there are behaviors that are not appropriate for them and that they should see themselves as "above the influence." 4. Give your child the words to use with their friends and/or if anyone asks them to use alcohol or engage in substance abuse. It will be easier for your child to respond if they have a few planned phrases and a strategy for leaving the situation. For further information on how to discuss this sensitive subject with your children, or to volunteer with our organization, please contact - Susan Blauner, Director of Operations (323) 702-3166. Saving Lives San Fernando Valley Drug and Alcohol Coalition. Check out our website. (http://www.savinglivescoalition.org)

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Forty Nine Days

We are accustomed to thinking of time as a fixed yardstick against which our lives are measured. We “pass through” time (or time passes us by) at an unalterable pace. Time deeply affects everything about us and everything we do, but we have no effect upon it. Physical science has since refuted this cursory perception of time, demonstrating how time, like any other physical phenomenon, is in fact quite malleable. It can be concentrated, stretched, speeded up, slowed down, or stopped altogether. This, of course, is achieved mostly on paper or by computer simulation. In practice, time’s dictatorial rule of our lives seems absolute. The irrevocability of the past, the uncompromising temporality of the present, the impregnable fog of the future—man still seems very much a creature subject to time, rather than the other way around. The Torah, however, insists that man can master time, transcend it, and redefine it. One example of man’s triumph over time is teshuvah (“return”)—the power to reach back in time and transform the significance of one’s past deeds. And time itself, according to Torah, is a resource to be molded and developed by man, as man is charged to mold and develop all resources of G-d’s creation. Time can be sanctified—made

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more porous and absorbent of the all-pervading reality of its Creator—as it is when it is utilized toward good and G-dly ends. Time can be imbued with joy, freedom, love, awe, wisdom and a host of other spiritual characteristics—as we do when we set the calendar and thereby determine the dates of the festivals. And time can be accumulated.

From Passover to Shavuot, we conduct a daily count of the days and weeks in reenactment of the forty-nine-day process of self-refinement which our ancestors underwent from their exodus from Egypt on the first day of Passover to the revelation at Sinai on Shavuot. “Today is one day of the Omer,” we pronounce on the second evening of Passover; “Today are two days...,” we say on the following evening; “Today are three days...” on the next, and so on. Seven weeks later we conclude the count and climb to Sinai with the statement, “Today are forty-nine days, which are seven weeks of the Omer.” Two questions come to mind concerning the manner of the count. If we are counting the days to Sinai, why don’t we state how many remain until Shavuot, instead of the number that have passed since Passover? Also, “Today are two days” seems awkward if not inaccurate; would it not be more correct to say, “Today is the second day,” “Today is the third day,” and so on? But we do not merely pass through the days between Passover and Shavuot—we accumulate them. Each of these forty-nine days embodies another spiritual achievement—the refinement of another aspect of our personality and character. Each of these days becomes a component of our reborn selves, as we internalize the freedom obtained at the Exodus as the essence of our commitment to G-d as His chosen people. On the second day of the count, we possess two days of the Omer process; by its final day, we shall have amassed forty-nine units of time, and the specific qualities they embody, with which to approach this year’s experience of Sinai. Adapted from the teachings of the Rebbe by Yanki Tauber

April 20, 2012 • 323-965-1544 • info@communitylinks.info


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What is Livescan Fingerprinting? Livescan is an inkless fingerprinting process where fingerprints are electronically transmitted to the Department of Justice for background screening. Ink fingerprinting is still required in many states. However, as a result of legislation passed in 1997, the California Department of Justice (CA-DOJ) has developed the automated background check process, which requires Livescan fingerprints for criminal history background checks that may be required as a condition of employment. Livescan technology replaces the ink process of recording fingerprint images. The CA-DOJ may also forward Livescan fingerprints to the FBI if required.

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`téxÄ gÉä4 Send us your mazel tovs to info@communitylinks.info

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Preheat oven to 3500 F. Mix the chocolate wafer cookie crumbs with 2 tablespoons of the white sugar, and the melted butter. Press firmly into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 3500 F for about 8 minutes. To Make Cookie Dough: In a bowl beat 1/4 cup butter or margarine with the brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the white sugar. Stir in the water and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Beat in the flour and the semisweet chocolate chips. Stir until combined. To Make Cheesecake: In a food processor or with a mixer beat 1 cup of the white sugar, and all the cream cheese. Add 1 cup of the sour cream, the eggs, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Mix well and pour into prepared crust. Drop cookie dough in 2 tablespoon portions evenly over the top of the cake, pushing dough beneath the surface. Bake at 3500 F for about 40 minutes. Cake will jiggle slightly in center. Spread topping over hot cake. Let cake cool than chill in a refrigerator until cold, at least 4 hours. To Make Topping: Mix the remaining 1 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and the 2 teaspoons white sugar until smooth. Spread over hot cake.

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April 20, 2012 • 323-965-1544 • info@communitylinks.info

1. A extra Lego block. 2. A man’s Yarlmukah has change colors. 3. The letter D was changed to A in Legoland. 4. The trader Joe’s logo is missing from the shopping bag. 5. A sign is missing. 6. The security camera pole is missing. 7. There is an extra “Lego Man”. 8. The letter U is missing from the man’s shirt. 9. A little girls skit has been lengthened. 10. Extra Lego logo.

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Please email us your event pictures to Info@communitylinks.info

OVER 1,300 PEOPLE ENJOYED A FUN FILLED DAY Y AT LEGOLAND ON CHOL HAMOED PESACH ARRANGED BY YOUNG CHEVRAH

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What do I do when my child (fill in your least acceptable behavior)? Take the best parenting class in town to learn how to deal with misbehavior, discouragement and poor school performance. In addition, acquire all the skills necessary to raise confident, independent, and responsible children. Appropriate for ages 0-5, 6-11, and teens. Individual or group sessions. Affordable. Call Irine Schweitzer, LCSW for more information, www.parentingbyirine.com

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SOUTHERN & CENTRAL CALIFORNIA JEWISH Tehachapi Torah Center/Kern Kehilla. Suited for Families, Individuals, and existing Torah Organizations. Healthy, Serene, Affordable, Child Friendly.'Twice the Home for Half the Money'. Priced from: $75,000 for a 3 bed 2 bath starter home. 125k-475k for very nice, larger, & high end homes. Lease: House $900, Shares $450. Apartments $650. 'Learn More' http://pearlmancta.com/kerncountykehilla.htm or contact: Roger M. at rmp@pearlmancta.com Phone: 310-948-5137

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Baby nurse (newborn care specialist)Postpartum,Doul a,and Night Nanny. Great experience, awesome fees starting @$20. Certification, insurance ,trust line, TB. Please call 310-985-4151 or email gigimybabynurse @gmail.com. or visit website www.babee.com. Shalom GIGI.Roni Babysitting available for babies up to 1 yr old by experienced baby nurse, night nurses also available for newborns. Please call (323) 851-9207 worked for many years with families in the community references available upon request BABYSITTER AVAILABLE

Babysitting available for babies up to 1 yr old by experienced baby nurse . Night nurses also available for newborns please call (323) 851-9207. Worked for many years with families in the community. References available upon request.

Orthodox woman available to watch your children full time or part-time hours, at your location. Excellent references. 323-651-9389 #1750

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April 20, 2012 • 323-965-1544 • info@communitylinks.info


April 20, 2012 • 323-965-1544 • info@communitylinks.info

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