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Message From the Publisher Hi Everybody, Obviously, we all have many things to be thankful for, but musically speaking, at the top of the list must be Eli Gerstner’s newest production, YBC6 - Modeh Ani! Just released on Lag B’Omer, this epic album not only carries on Eli’s tradition of excellence but once again raises the bar on production, arrangement and composition! Loaded with spirit-lifting, handclapping, dance-inducing toe-tappers, this album pulls you into the center of the dance circle and doesn’t let go. Surprising then, that Eli chose to call this CD “Modeh Ani - Thank You,” A tenderly moving ballad that builds in intensity until it virtually explodes in a fireball of praise to Hashem! This is the first time Eli has titled an album with an English song and I am proud and honored to have been asked to write the lyrics to this magnificent masterpiece. I hope I did it justice! Get a copy today and decide for yourself. Read our exclusive interview with Eli on pages 32-33. With summer finally about to begin, R’ Berel Wein opines about “Changeable Weather” and Israel, while Charles Krauthammer calls President Obama’s foreign policy “self-delusion!” Our Sound Off section features a scathing “Dear John” letter to our esteemed secretary of defense John Kerry.

We also present a fascinating special report on the origins of Jewish surnames. Even Kayla Kuchleffel and Kalman Klonymous Killerbendel may be amazed and amused! Our People section this issue focuses on Simon Deng, a former Sudanese slave whose powerful speech when he addressed the Durban Conference in NY recently has gone viral and ruffled so many powerful feathers! With Yom Ha’Atzmaut recently celebrated, we offer some probing insights and historical anecdotes that underscore the miraculous nature of recent Jewish history. Read “Future Tense” by Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and J. Rosenberg in “The State of Israel is Born” in our Israel section. Controversy abounds in our YWN Coffee Room as we spill the coffee beans on Mother’s Day! We also excerpt an intriguing new book by Dr. Meir Wikler titled “180 Rechov Yaffo,” break your heart with an amazing true story of “A Miracle in Auschwitz,” and highly recommend a much needed vacation to China or South Africa with Legacy Tours (see back cover) to clear your head. Wishing you all a chag sameach, Your friend,

Country Yossi

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“New York’s Premier Jewish Magazine”


“Never hire an electrician with no eyebrows!” – CY May 2014 / s"ga, iuhx

Table of Contents

Volume 27 Number 2

LET’S SHMOOZE ...................................................................................................................................................................................23 COVER STORY • YBC 6: Modeh Ani - Thank You! by Chaya Sara Schlussel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 SPOTLIGHT • When Zaidy Was Young Tale 3, by Chaya Sara Schlussel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 • Kivi and Tuki by Chaya Sara Schlussel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 INSPIRATION.........................................................................................................................................................................................42 OPINION • Changeable Weather, by Rabbi Berel Wein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 • Seeing Israel, by Rabbi Berel Wein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47


• Obama’s Self-Delusion, by Charles Krauthammer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 SOUND OFF • An Open Letter to John Kerry, by Daniel Greenfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 TORAH • Some Sefira Lessons, by Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 TIMELINE ................................................................................................................................................................................................58 REAL LIFE • Miracle in Auschwitz, by Joe O’Connor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 • Professor Flunks the Entire Class, by Wayne Dupree . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 HEALTH AND ADVICE • Dr. D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68


• Dear Bubby . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 SPECIAL REPORT • Origins of Popular Jewish Surnames, by Bennett Muraskin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 PEOPLE • A Remarkable Speech - Smon Deng . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 ISRAEL • Future Tense, by Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 • Accepting the Torah as ‘One Man with One Heart,’ by Dov Shurin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 • State of Israel is Born, by J. Rosenberg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 CONTROVERSY


• YWN Coffee Room: Why We Need Mother’s Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 JEWISH BOOKS • Top 10 in Jewish Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 • Book Excerpt: 180 Rechov Yaffo, by Dr. Meir Wikler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 JEWISH MUSIC • Top 3 in Jewish Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 • CY Songbook: Fargin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 HUMOR • The Final Exam, by Chaptzem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 • Can’t You Just Plotz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 • Black is Beautiful? by Kayla Kuchleffel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105


COUNTRY YOSSI FAMILY MAGAZINE • 1310 48th Street, Suite 304 • Brooklyn, New York 11219 Telephone: (718) 851-2010 • Email Address: COPYRIGHT © 2014 - Country Yossi Family Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. Country Yossi Family Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited submissions. Unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, and other submitted materials must be accompanied by a stamped self-addressed envelope. We reserve the right to print all letters in part or in full unless specifically requested otherwise. No articles, photographs, artwork or other material in this magazine may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever, without prior written permission of the publisher. Country Yossi Family Magazine will not be responsible for typographical errors or advertisers’ claims.

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Interior Layout: H. Walfish





YOM KIPPUR Dear Country Yossi, The following conversation was overheard in the Oval Office. “Hi. This is the President. Is Senator Lieberman in?” “Not today, Sir. This is Yom Kippur.” “Well, hello, Yom. Can I leave a message?” J.V. Boro Park

A: Babylon. Q: What does the Rabbi do during some sermons? A: Filet Minyan. Q: What do you call steaks ordered by 10 Jews?

THE ULTIMATE PESACH CLEANING TIP Dear Country Yossi, We just got over the Pesach cleaning madness, and this technique really helped me to cope. 1. Open a new file in your PC. 2. Name it “Chometz.” 3. Send it to the RECYCLE BIN. 4. Empty the RECYCLE BIN. 5. Your PC will ask you, “Are you sure you want to delete Chometz permanently?” 6. Calmly answer “Yes,” and press the mouse button firmly. 7. Feel better? Works every time! G.C. Flatbush

JEWISH JEOPARDY Dear Country Yossi, I’ll give the answers, you ask the questions! A: Sofer. Q: On what do Jews recline on Passover?

A: Kishka, sukkah, and circumcision. Q: What are a gut, a hut, and a cut? And speaking of circumcisions: An enterprising Rabbi is offering circumcisions via the Internet. The service is to be called”EMOIL!” Wishing you and all your readers a happy and healthy Yom Tov Shavuos, filled with the blessings of good health and happiness! M.S. Boro Park

LOVE YOUR STUFF Dear Country Yossi, I have been playing a lot of Kivi and Tuki on the air. The song “There is a Bracha” is really hot! I have also been replaying the two Pesach songs over and over - it’s great stuff! That was a great show with the star-K Ruv and Larry B. I remember Larry and Ronnie from Flatbush Park; they are incredible people. In any event, have a wonderful Shabbos and a great Tom Tov! Gotta run - I have the shecups and need another coffee. Leibedike Al Gordon Consulting Online PD/MD WZPH Zephryhills, FL Owner/GM/PD/MD Jewish Highland Park Edison Radio 1640 AM WJPR On Shoutcast Radio by searching for “WJPR” The More Music Morning Show 6-10AM Weekdays Gordon Broadcast Consultants, LLC Edison, NJ (732) 763-0828

GETTING INFORMATION Dear Country Yossi, A 75-year-old lady rings her local hospital and this conversation follows: “Hello, I’d like some information on a patient, Mrs. Goldberg. She was admitted last week with chest pains and I just want to


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know if her condition has deteriorated, stabilized or improved?” “Do you know which ward she is in?” “Yes, ward P, room 2B.” “I’ll just put you through to the nurse station.” “Hello, ward P, how can I help?” “I would just like some information on a patient, Mrs Goldberg, I was wondering if her condition had deteriorated, stabilized or improved?” “I’ll just check her notes. I’m pleased to say that Mrs. Goldberg’s condition has improved. She has regained her appetite, her temperature has steadied and after some routine checks tonight, she should be well enough to go home tomorrow.” “Oh, that’s wonderful news. I’m so happy, thank you ever so much!” “You seem very relieved. Are you a close friend or relative?” “No, I’m Mrs. Goldberg in room 2B. Nobody tells you gornisht in here!” C.H. Williamsburg

KOSHER INTERNET CAFE Dear Country Yossi, How are you? I understand what a busy schedule you have, so I will try to get right to the point. I appreciate your time. We all know how destructive the internet has been to our community, and I am proud to say that I am actually trying to do something about it. If you would be so kind as to print the following in the “Letters to the Editor” it would be a big mitzvah, and it would be greatly appreciated on a personal level. Right now it has not been printed elsewhere, but if it ever is please don’t hold back my submissions. This is an urgent matter for the community, “Umi yodea im l’eis kazos…” A proposed solution to the “Internet Issue” Dear Editor, I would like to inform everyone and specifically the Flatbush community of a new initiative I have undertaken. I have opened a place where people can come and access the internet, with a strong yet very usable filter. For those of you that do not yet have

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internet, please do NOT succumb, and please make use of our location. For those of us that need emails and some sites on a very consistent basis - why is that a reason for a dangerous and risky blacklist? I myself have a whitelist with just the sites I need, and I go to my location if I ever need a site that’s not on my whitelist. Get a list with your email, bank account, etc., and for the occasions that you need to do a Google search, welcome! I have been open for around 4 months now, and the response has been very slow. I need the help of the community to stay open. Please make use of our location and tizku l’mitzvos. The rates are extremely low, $5 an hour, $4 for 45 min, $3 for 30, $2 for 15 and $1 for 5. You can buy an hour and use it many times until it runs out. The place is located inside Mailbox Plus, at 1375 Coney Island Avenue, between J&K. I am accepting donations which will go straight to the [B”H low] rent. For that and any other questions please email Thank you for your support, Y. Y. H. Dear Y.Y.H., That’s a great idea, I hope you have hatzlacha! CY

A ROSE FOR MOTHER Dear Country Yossi, A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away. As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb, sobbing. He asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother and I don’t have enough money.” The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I’ll buy you a rose.” He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother’s flowers. As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home. She said, “Yes, please! You can take me to my mother.” She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave. The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother’s house. N.S. Flatbush Dear N.S., Great story! CY

GROWING A GARDEN Dear Country Yossi, When I was a boy growing up upstate we had several gardens around our old house. The largest one of all was used just for growing potatoes.

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I can still remember those potato planting days. The whole family helped. After my Dad had tilled the soil, my Mom, brothers, and I went to work. It was my job to drop the little seed potatoes in the rows while my Mom dropped handfuls of fertilizer beside them. My brothers then covered them all with the freshly turned earth. For months afterward I would glance over at the garden while I played outside and wonder what was going on underneath the ground. When the harvest time came I was amazed at the huge size of the potatoes my Dad pulled out of the soil. Those little seedlings had grown into bushels and bushels of sweet sustenance. They would be turned into meal after meal of baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, and my personal favorite: potatoes slow-cooked in spaghetti sauce. They would keep the entire family well fed throughout the whole year. It truly was a miracle to behold. Thinking back on those special times makes me wonder how many other seeds I have planted in this life that have grown unseen in the hearts and minds of others. How many times has Hashem used some little thing that I said or did to grow something beautiful? How many times has Hashem used these little seedlings to provide another’s soul with sweet sustenance? Every single day of our lives we step out into the garden of this world. Every single day we plant seeds that can grow into something wonderful. We may never see the growth that comes from the kind words or loving acts we share, but Hashem does. I hope then that you always tend the garden around you with care. I hope that you plant only goodness, peace, and compassion in the lives of everyone you meet. I hope that every day you help miracles to grow. Received via email Dear emailer, Beautiful! Thanks for sharing ! CY

A MEMORABLE SEDER Dear Country Yossi, Thought you might find this interesting.

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A Memorable Seder with Marlon Brando By Louie Kemp You might remember him as Don Vito Corleone, Stanley Kowalski or the eerie Col. Walter E. Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now,” but I remember Marlon Brando as a mentsch and a personal friend of the Jewish people when they needed it most. I got to know Marlon about 30 years ago through a mutual friend. His son, Christian, came to work for me in fisheries I owned in Alaska and Minnesota. Marlon impressed me as a dedicated parent. He would often call me up to check on his boy with all the tenacity and loving concern of a Jewish mother: Was he eating enough? Did he get to work on time? Was he hanging out with the right people? Christian was a great kid. He worked hard, had a good attitude and earned the respect of all his co-workers. In the mid-1970s, when I would visit Los Angeles from my home in Minnesota, Marlon and I would get together. I was starting to become increasingly involved in my religion and he would tell me with great pride and satisfaction about his support for Israel even before it became a state. Marlon explained that in 1946, two years before Israel achieved statehood, he desperately believed that the survivors of the Holocaust deserved to have their own land where they could live free from oppression and the anti-Semitic tyranny of the outside world. True to form, Marlon put his money where his mouth was and donated all of his proceeds from the play “A Flag Is Born,” to the Irgun, a Zionist political group dedicated to rescuing European Jewry and the establishment of Israel as an independent sovereign nation. He continued his donations and charitable work over the entire twoyear run of the play as it went from Broadway to touring destinations around the United States. “A people that have fought so hard to survive need and deserve their own land,” he told me. “I did all that I could and actively supported Israel’s statehood any way I was able.” Marlon also told me with great emotion that his success in theater and

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movies was largely due to the Jewish people in New York who befriended and taught him. He warmly mentioned Stella Adler, the legendary acting coach who both taught Marlon his craft and housed him with her family while he was getting on his feet as an actor. He was also especially proud of the fact that he could converse in Yiddish, having learned it while living with her family. One of my visits to Los Angeles coincided with Passover. I was not yet Orthodox and made plans to attend a

Seder at a local synagogue with my sister. Marlon called me that very day and invited me out to dinner. I graciously declined, explaining that it was Passover and I was going to a Seder. Marlon became audibly excited over the phone and said, “Passover - I’ve always wanted to attend a Seder. Can I come with you?” He had made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I told him it could be arranged and called the synagogue adding one more to our list. A short time later, Marlon called me back and asked if he could bring a

friend. I said, yes, by all means, never thinking to ask his friend’s name. I called the shul again. They were a little less patient this time and begrudgingly told me that they could squeeze one more person in, but this was absolutely the last one as they were now officially sold out. Still later that day, I received a phone call from a childhood friend of mine who had become a well-known singer/songwriter. Being Jewish himself, and hearing I was going to a Seder, he asked if he and his wife could go along. The shul was unhappy to receive my most recent request, but somehow I softened the heart of the receptionist and she agreed to let my people go - to the Seder. I will never forget the sight of our table in the synagogue. Marlon Brando was to my left and sitting next to him was his guest. This was during the height of Marlon’s involvement with Native American causes and he had brought with him noted Indian activist Dennis Banks of Wounded Knee fame. Banks was dressed in full Indian regalia: buckskin tassels on his clothes and long braids hanging down from a headband, which sported a feather. My childhood friend Bob Dylan sat to my right joined by his wife, my sister Sharon and other friends. At first the Seder progressed normally without anyone in the temple noticing anything out of the ordinary. After about 45 minutes, the Rabbi figured out that ours was not your average Seder table. “Mr. Brando, would you please do us the honor of reading the next passage from the Haggadah,” he said. Marlon said, “It would be my pleasure.” He smiled broadly, stood up and delivered the passage from the Haggadah as if he were reading Shakespeare on Broadway. Mouths fell open and eyes focused on the speaker with an intensity any Rabbi would covet. When he was done I think people actually paused, wondering if they should applaud. Somewhat later the Rabbi approached another member of our table. “Mr. Dylan, would you do us the honor of singing us a song?” The Rabbi pulled out an acoustic guitar. I thought he would politely decline. Much to my surprise Bob said yes and performed

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an impromptu rendition of “Blowin’ in the Wind” to the stunned shul of about 300 Seder guests. The incongruity of a Seder, with Marlon Brando reading the Haggadah followed by a Bob Dylan serenade, would have made for a good Fellini movie. Needless to say, everyone was both shocked and thrilled by this unusual Hollywood-style Passover miracle. The entire shul came by to shake both Marlon and Bob’s hands and they actually paused and spent time with everyone. Just a couple of years ago, Marlon called me up in Minnesota, out of the blue. We had kept in touch through the trials and tribulations he was going through with his family. “Louie Kemp,” he said, “I’ve been thinking about you. Twenty years ago you took me to a Seder. I want you to know that I still think about it to this very day. In fact, I was thinking about it today and that’s why I called you.” He continued to thank me and tell me of the special spiritual impact it had on him and how much he identified with a people freeing themselves from bondage and uniting to celebrate and remember that freedom. He told me he was sending his three youngest children to a Jewish day school in Los Angeles. When I asked him why, he said, “Louie, don’t you know that the Jewish schools are the best?” I could almost hear him smiling over the phone. L.B. Flatbush

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When Zaidy Was Young - Tale 3 One Final STOrY bY rabbi Shmuel Kunda ZT’l bY ChaYa Sara SChluSSel


here are many children’s tapes on the market these days to suit every taste, fit every age, and teach kids the fundamentals of middos, mitzvos and maasim tovim. There are story tapes, song CDs and lyrical parodies to capture every kid’s imagination and leave the little tykes completely enthralled. But what separates an ordinary tale from an extraordinary classic? What makes each of Rabbi Shmuel Kunda’s visionary masterpieces live on in our collective memories as a dear and enduring childhood treasure? From ‘The Talking Coin’ to ‘The Longest Pesach;’ from ‘Boruch Learns His Brochos’ to ‘Boruch Learns about Shabbos;’ from ‘Papa and the Prince’ to ‘The Royal Rescue’ and ‘The Magic Yarmulke;’ so many of his timeless productions render the scope of Rabbi Kunda’s creative genius virtually immeasurable. With superlative talent and inspiration, he wove sensational plots, wrote suspenseful scripts, and brought each of his exceptional characters to vivid audial life. He took us listeners along for the ride as we sat rapt with wide-eyed wonder to hear his fabulous accounts that seamlessly blended historical fact with fun-filled fiction. Undoubtedly, Rabbi Kunda’s most beloved series of all is his ‘Zaidy’ sequence, starring those quaint and quirky Lower East Side residents - the Himmelstein Family. Who hasn’t thrilled to the adventures of ‘When Zeidy Was Young 1 and 2,’ along with ‘Where’s Zaidy?’ ‘There’s Zaidy!’ and ‘Zaidy’s Great Idea?’ Those trolley-riding, seltzer-squirting, fish-bathing heroes of the 1930’s have entertained us for hours, with rib-tickling quips, witty

insights and a deep understanding of the various sights and sounds of that era. Remember these hysterical dialogues: “How many times a night can a two year old get thirsty?” “Uh… Eleventy six?!” or “I don’t think Wednesday night is a good night for a bath, Uncle Isadore!” Rabbi Kunda’s puns and one-liners are still quoted by kids and adults today, and pre-WWII America is wonderfully encapsulated through his knack for exceptional storytelling. Rabbi Shmuel Kunda zt’l released the two acclaimed cassettes ‘When Zaidy Was Young 1 and 2’ and he wrote the third script in the trilogy as well. Sadly though, Rabbi Kunda became unwell and never had the chance to see his final brilliant work come to fruition. This legendary mechanech was niftar in October of 2012, and with that we thought ‘Zaidy’ was gone. But wanting to bring his father’s last great masterpiece to the eager public, his son R’ Aaron Kunda just produced the third installment in its entirety. ‘When Zaidy Was Young volume 3’ hit the shelves right before Pesach, and it was quickly snatched up by a discerning audience that had long come to value and appreciate the inimitable caliber of a Kunda classic. While the first two are stories of the Himmelstein kids growing up in the immigrant-haven of New York City, the latest CD features their lovable cousins, who live in pogrom-prone Russia. When they overhear the local peasants planning to attack the Jews in a new wave of murderous hatred, they

decide to flee to the land where streets are paved with gold. An invitation from America spurs them to the shores of Ellis Island, where numerous mishaps and escapades await. Young and old alike will be riveted by Cousin Zundel’s Russian exodus, as he and his family of innocent wanderers encounter everything from thick forests to stormy seas to lost immigration papers! It’s a saga whose message is clearly one of bitachon in the Ribono shel Olam, and fans will hang on to the edge of their ship-deck seats throughout every Himmelstein challenge. Enjoy Rabbi Kunda’s brand new and unforgettable album, created from the mind and pen of the master raconteur of our generation. Developed by a team of skilled professionals, supervised by Aaron Kunda and produced by Shimmy Shtauber (producer of The Story Experience), this project is everything you have come to expect from an unparalleled Kunda production. It has a spellbinding story, memorable voices, phenomenal acting, matchless humor, realistic sound effects, original songs and incredible music, all in keeping with the unique style and venerated artistry of the legendary Rabbi Shmuel himself. You’ll be proud to add this volume to your personal collection of timeless Kunda classics!

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sage presented a prince with a set of three small dolls. The prince was not amused. “Am I a girl that you give me dolls?” he asked. “This is a gift for a future king,” said the sage. “If you look carefully, you’ll see a hole in the ear of each doll.” The sage handed him a piece of string. “Pass it through each doll,” he said. Intrigued, the prince picked up the first doll and put the string into the ear. It came out from the other ear. “This is

one type of person,” said the sage. “Whatever you tell him comes out from the other ear. He doesn’t retain anything.” The prince put the string into the second doll. It came out from the mouth. “This is the second type of person,” said the sage. “Whatever you tell him, he tells everybody else.” The prince picked up the third doll and repeated the process. The string did not come out. “This is the third type of person,” said the sage. “Whatever you tell him is locked up within him. It never comes out.” “What is the best type of person?”

asked the prince. The sage handed him a fourth doll, in answer. When the prince put the string into the doll, it came out from the other ear. “Do it again,” said the sage. The prince repeated the process. This time the string came out from the mouth. When he put the string in a third time, it did not come out at all. “This is the best type of person,” said the sage. “To be trustworthy, a man must know when not to listen, when to remain silent and when to speak out.”



n a room there were four candles burning. The ambiance was so soft you could hear them talking. The first one said, “I am PEACE, however nobody can keep me lit. I believe I will soon go out.” Its flame rapidly diminished and went out completely. The second one said, “I am FAITH. Most of all I am no longer indispensable, so it does not make any sense that I stay lit any longer.”

When it finished talking a breeze softly blew on it, putting it out. Sadly, the third candle spoke in its turn. “I am LOVE. I have not the strength to stay lit. People put me aside and don’t understand my importance. They even forget to love those who are nearest to them.” And waiting no longer, it went out. Suddenly a child entered the room and saw three candles, none of which were burning. “Why are you not burning? You are supposed to stay

lit until the end.” Saying this, the child began to cry. Then the fourth candle said, “Don’t be afraid. While I am still burning, we can relight the other candles. I am HOPE.” With shining eyes, the child took the candle of Hope and lit the other candles. The flame of Hope should never go out of our lives. That way, each of us can maintain HOPE, FAITH, PEACE and LOVE.



The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s enjoying the wind and the fresh air - until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore. “My goodness,

this is terrible!” the wave says. “Look what’s going to happen to me!” Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave looking grim, and it says to him: “Why do you look so sad?”

The first wave says: “You don’t understand! We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?” The second wave says: “No, you don’t understand. You’re not just a wave- you’re part of the ocean.”

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he month of April has always been conspicuous for the uncertainty of its weather. But now that we are safely ensconced in the month of May, the regularity of warmth for the next many months has been established. In spite of all of the hype concerning global warming (now currently called climate change since there is no data confirming that we are actually warmer than we were decades ago) weather overall is pretty predictable. Summers are hot and winters are cold. Of course the degree of hot and cold varies slightly from day to day, but overall there is not that much deviation. The Torah in its description of nature states that winter and summer, cold and heat are constants that are not subject to major variation and change. There is a reason why in Israel one can safely book an outdoor venue for a wedding or other celebration in the summer months and not be overly concerned about clouds or rain. The prophet Shmuel invoked rain in Israel during the summer months as being a miraculous sign from Heaven. Nevertheless, in spite of all of the above truisms, we are all aware that on a daily basis there are possible changes in weather that can and do always occur. In the certainty of the overall consistency of weather and nature, there always is a tinge of uncertainty about the immediate tomorrow. It never rains in the summer in the Middle East except that somehow and sometimes it may just do so. Welcome to the vagaries of our existence in this world!

Life is a challenge of balancing the uncertainties of the immediate tomorrow with the predicted consistencies of human and natural events. The return of the Jewish people to national sovereignty in its ancient homeland in the Land of Israel was a predicted and believed certainty in Jewish life, even during the long millennia of the Jewish exile and dispersion. The immediate tomorrow was unknown and even filled with dread and apprehension. But the greater tomorrow of Jewish rebirth and revival was always certain. It was the fulfillment of the norain summer in the Land of Israel, even if somehow we were experiencing drenching showers. The ability to see past the immediate, changeable and always challenging tomorrow, to view the overall, longrange prediction of the Divinely promised future, was the greatest source of Jewish resilience and national strength. It is no exaggeration to state that it was and is the key to Jewish survival over all of the many past centuries. The weather we are currently experiencing may indeed be changeable, foreboding, perilous and uncertain in nature but there was and is no doubt that summer brings forth sunshine and warmth. In the words of the prophets of Israel, this metaphor of light and warmth, sunshine and brightness, is repeated over and over again in describing the redemption of Israel from exile, and physical and spiritual ruin. Tomorrow may be dark and wet but blue skies are always on the way.

One of the strangest of all diplomatic phenomena in modern events is the fact that over decades, successive governments of the State of Israel - Left, Center and Right, it makes no difference - have valiantly and consistently striven to give away large sections of the Land of Israel to those who vow our destruction and somehow have been unable to do so. Apparently there is no one around that wants to take us up on our offer, no matter how wildly magnanimous that offer may be. The immediate forecast for tomorrow is an unwavering no to any offer proposed. This may be because this offer is completely inconsistent with the overall weather forecast for a bright and warm summer for the Jewish people and its land. Anything short of our own dismantling of our state and community and moving out of the Middle East - and I am certain that there will be those types of naysayers amongst us that would actually consider such a policy wise and in our best interests - will be met with obfuscation, sham negotiations and ultimate refusal. Apparently Heaven does not want to see such a solution to our contest implemented. It is therefore our task to deal with this reality of an immediately cloudy tomorrow followed by a sun-drenched bright overall future. Perhaps we can be fitted with mental and emotional spectacles that will enable us to see near and far at the same time. If so, we certainly will be better equipped than ever to deal with the weather ahead of us.

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ince I have spent the past two weeks outside of Israel I have come to the conclusion that the only way to truly see and appreciate Israel is by stepping away from it a little bit, so to speak - to see it from afar. Those of us who are blessed to live in Israel, many times on a regular daily basis gain a very myopic view of the country, its struggles and accomplishments. The rabbis in their usual incisive and pithy way phrased it as follows: “Those to whom miracles occur are unable to recognize the miracles that befall them.” The nature of human beings is to concentrate on the details and not see the larger picture in historical or societal perspective. Midrash points out to us that one of the great facets of the personality of our father Abraham was that “he saw the place from afar.” Up close, Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount, is not too impressive. It certainly is not the Matterhorn or Mount Everest. Yet, like its sister mountain, Sinai, it is the mountain as far as civilization and human progress is concerned. From afar and in historical perspective it towers over all other hills and peaks. Well, it is not only Mount Moriah that must be seen in perspective but it is the land and state of Israel also that must be seen in perspective. Up close it is a country surrounded by hostility and sometimes violence, with serious economic, social, religious and diplomatic problems and shortcomings. But viewed overall, from a dis-

tance and with perspective, it is the miracle of the ages shining before our befuddled eyes. The struggle of the Jewish communities in the Jewish diaspora to somehow survive and remain Jewish is a monumental one. Even in the safe and secure strongholds of Torah life, in Orthodox neighborhoods, this struggle is omnipresent and challenging. In spite of all of the noise, furor and turmoil surrounding the social issues - and they are social issues, not religious ones - of religious Jewry in Israel, the difficulties and challenges to a religious lifestyle in Israel are infinitely less than they are anywhere else on earth. Except, that when one is living in Israel and engaged in the daily unceasing problems of life generally and Jewish life particularly one has no basis of comparison nor any true sense of proportion and perspective. There is a lot of extreme rhetoric scattered about on all sides and emanating from all of the different groupings that constitute the diversity of Israeli society. Since our memory of the past has been distorted, if not even erased by the Holocaust and by the uprooting of Sephardic Jewry, we have no true basis for comparing what Jewish life really was like a century ago and what it is like today. We cannot see ourselves from afar and thus “the holy cloud over the mountain” is not visible to us. The prophet therefore describes us as “a people walking in darkness.” One of the current crazes engendered by our far-too-smart-

phones is taking a photograph of one’s self at some type of event - a “selfie.” What we need today is a good “selfie” of all of us Jews regarding the land and state of Israel. When one visits an art museum - and there are some amongst us that actually do such a thing one should not view the masterpieces from too close a distance. If one stands too near to the work of art, only scattered gobs of paint smeared on cloth canvas will be visible. By stepping back a little and then viewing the painting, only then is the genius of the artist’s talent and inspiration revealed before our eyes. Though the artist painted the picture from up close, that artist intended his or her work to be viewed and appreciated from afar. The Talmud boldly states that “there is no artist as is our G-d.” He also apparently wants us to view His works from afar, from a perspective, with historical accuracy, wonder and appreciation. I think that is certainly the case and crux of the matter regarding the land and state of Israel and its reestablishment as the Jewish nation-state and homeland. A greater emphasis on perspective, historical and religious, is certainly one area of our educational systems that can and should be improved upon. Honest analysis, accurate facts, less fantasy and fictitious storytelling and a greater concentration on the whole rather than the disparate parts of Jewish and Israeli society would help calm the stormy waters of controversy in the Jewish world.

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arack Obama’s 949-word response Monday to a question about foreign policy weakness showed the president at his worst: defensive, irritable, contradictory and at times detached from reality. It began with a complaint about negative coverage on Fox News, when, in fact, it was the New York Times’ front page that featured Obama’s foreign policy failures, most recently the inability to conclude a trade agreement with Japan and the collapse of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Middle East negotiations. Add to this the collapse of not one but two Geneva conferences on Syria, American helplessness in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine and the Saudi king’s humiliating dismissal of Obama within two hours of talks - no dinner - after Obama made a special 2,300-mile diversion from Europe to see him, and you have an impressive litany of serial embarrassments. Obama’s first rhetorical defense, as usual, was to attack a straw man: “Why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force?” Everybody? Wasn’t it you, Mr. President, who decided to attack Libya under the grand Obama doctrine of “responsibility to protect” helpless civilians - every syllable of which you totally contradicted as 150,000 were being slaughtered in Syria? And wasn’t attacking Syria for having crossed your own chemicalweapons “red line” also your idea? Before, of course, you retreated abjectly, thereby marginalizing yourself and ex-

posing the United States to general ridicule. Everybody eager to use military force? Name a single Republican (or Democratic) leader who has called for sending troops into Ukraine. The critique by John McCain and others is that when the Ukrainians last month came asking for weapons to defend themselves, Obama turned them down. The Pentagon offered instead MREs, ready-to-eat burgers to defend against 40,000 well-armed Russians. Obama even denied Ukraine such defensive gear as night-vision goggles and body armor. Obama retorted testily: Does anyone think Ukrainian weaponry would deter Russia, as opposed to Obama’s diplomatic and economic pressure? Why, averred Obama, “in Ukraine, what we’ve done is mobilize the international community. Russia is having to engage in activities that have been rejected uniformly around the world.” That’s a deterrent? Fear of criticism? Empty words? To think this will stop Putin, liberator of Crimea, champion of “New Russia,” is delusional. In fact, Putin’s popularity at home has spiked 10 points since the start of his war on Ukraine. It’s now double Obama’s. As for the allegedly mobilized international community, it has done nothing. Demonstrably nothing to deter Putin from swallowing Crimea. Demonstrably nothing to deter his systematic campaign of destabilization, anonymous seizures and selective violence in the proxy-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, where

Putin’s “maskirovka” (disguised warfare) has turned Eastern Ukraine into a no-man’s land where Kiev hardly dares tread. As for Obama’s vaunted economic sanctions, when he finally got around to applying Round 2 on Monday, the markets were so impressed by their weakness that the ruble rose 1 percent and the Moscow stock exchange 2 percent. Behind all this U.S. action, explained the New York Times in a recent leak calculated to counteract the impression of a foreign policy of clueless ad hocism, is a major strategic idea: containment. A rather odd claim when a brazenly uncontained Russia swallows a major neighbor one piece at a time as America stands by. After all, how did real containment begin? In March 1947, with Greece in danger of collapse from a Soviet-backed insurgency and Turkey under direct Russian pressure, President Truman went to Congress for major and immediate economic and military aid to both countries. That means weaponry, Mr. President. It was the beginning of the Truman Doctrine. No one is claiming that arming Ukraine would have definitively deterred Putin’s current actions. But the possibility of a bloody and prolonged Ukrainian resistance to infiltration or invasion would surely alter Putin’s calculus more than Obama’s toothless sanctions or empty diplomatic gestures, like the preposterous Geneva agreement that wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Or does Obama really believe that Putin’s thinking would be altered less by antitank and antiaircraft weapons in Ukrainian hands than by the State Department’s comical #UnitedforUkraine Twitter campaign? Obama appears to think so. Which is the source of so much allied anxiety: Obama really seems to believe that his foreign policy is succeeding. Ukraine has already been written off. But Eastern Europe need not worry. Obama understands containment. He recently dispatched 150 American ground troops to Poland and each of the Baltic states. You read correctly: 150. Each.

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JOHN KERRY BY DANIEL GREENFIELD Dear John, Every few years a messiah arrives in Jerusalem, shakes hands, makes demands and promises to make peace in our time. Then when the whole thing blows up in his face, he throws up his hands and flies back blaming the ungrateful Jews for not embracing his vision. So many false messiahs have come before you, squinting against the bright sunshine, pounding the table at meetings, downing martinis and fantasizing about the Nobel Peace Prize that they were sure was waiting for them at the end. And they left with nothing except sunburn and simmering rage. Did you really think you would be any different? Were you so delusional that you imagined you could succeed where career diplomats with a lifetime of experience in the region had failed? It’s not as if you had a good track record negotiating anything. Do you remember meeting Madame Binh in Paris? What about carrying Daniel Ortega’s peace offer after assuring everyone that he wasn’t a Communist? Right before he flew to Moscow. And let’s not gloss over your visit to Assad. Was that peace in the air or was it just the nerve gas? I know you don’t have time to remember all your diplomatic triumphs. Or like Hillary, any of them. You went to Paris to aid the Viet Cong. You went to Nicaragua to aid the FSLN terrorists. You went to Israel to aid the PLO. The USSR fell, but your old nostalgia for Communist guerrillas

and killers hasn’t deserted you. It’s why you failed. And it’s why you’ll fail over and over again. No matter what the PLO did, you blamed Israel. Just as no matter what the Viet Cong or the Sandinistas did, you blamed America. The PLO can call for Israel’s destruction, champion terrorism and ally with Hamas, but your minions will still provide anonymous quotes saying that the PLO can’t be expected to negotiate while Israel possibly considers building houses in Jerusalem. What’s a little thing like genocide compared to a house? Israel is expected to free terrorists who murder elderly Holocaust survivors, but the delicate sensibilities of PLO terrorists are outraged whenever a Jewish family that they haven’t managed to murder yet moves into a home in Jerusalem. Good negotiators can put their sympathies aside to achieve their goals. But no matter how many press releases you put out touting your special relationship with Israel, you spoil it by threatening another intifada or calling Israel an Apartheid state. You lack the basic criteria of a diplomat. You’re a bad liar. You show up to provide moral support to the murderers and go home as their useful idiot. That was the pitiful function you served in Paris, in Nicaragua and in Israel. The only thing you ever did with your unsolicited interventions was make things worse. Your anti-war activism helped polarize a nation. Your Ortega intervention emboldened a terrorist group. And your

peace initiative led to a unity agreement with Hamas. After almost half a century, the only thing you ever do is make things worse. Any man with a scrap of decency looking back on a lifetime of diplomatic wreckage would have retired. Instead you finagled your way into becoming Secretary of State so you could fail on a grander scale. The secret to your success as a lifelong failure is refusing to accept responsibility. You just throw someone else’s medals over the fence and blame someone else for your latest fiasco. This time it’s Israel. You told the Senate that the negotiations between Israel and the PLO broke down because the Jewish State didn’t release the latest set of murderers on time. There was no acknowledgement that Israel should not have been expected to release the murderers of civilians, including an elderly Holocaust survivor. After releasing three sets of murderers, in exchange for nothing except the PLO showing up and continuing to make more demands, you decided that Israel was to blame because the fourth set of murderers wasn’t released on time. And let’s not forget the popular “settlements” excuse. The settlement in question is Jerusalem; one of the oldest cities in the world. A city whose unity as the capital of Israel you endorsed on numerous occasions. You cosponsored the Jerusalem Embassy Act which stated that the policy of the United States is that, “Jerusalem should remain an undivided city” and “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.” You cosponsored Senate Consecutive Resolution 113 stating that “Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected as they have been by Israel during the past twenty-five years.” Is this ringing any bells? How about Resolution 106 or Resolution 21 which “Calls upon the President and the Secretary of State to publicly affirm as a matter of U.S. policy that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of Israel.” Or 1323 and 1322?

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You co-sponsored all of them. Were you obstructing peace all these decades? Or are you obstructing peace now by turning your back on them? You also co-sponsored Resolution 46 stating that the modern State of Israel is “the outgrowth of the existence of the historic Kingdom of Israel established three thousand years ago in the city of Jerusalem and in the land of Israel.” You co-sponsored Resolution 522 with the same text in 2008. But that was a long 6 years ago. During your presidential campaign, you released a paper in which you called Jerusalem, “Israel’s indisputable capital.” Now you’re disputing it. Apparently you were for a united Jerusalem… before you were against it. “As President, John Kerry will never force Israel to make concessions that compromise its security,” the paper said. “As President, John Kerry would not expect Israel to negotiate without a credible Palestinian partner for peace - something that unfortunately does not exist today.” But you’re not President so you can’t be blamed for completely reversing those positions and insisting that Israel make concessions that compromise its security and negotiate with terrorists who sabotage every one of your futile attempts at peace negotiations. And then you stop by the Trilateral Commission and suggest, off the record, that Israel is becoming an Apartheid state. Now you’re off sulking and plotting to unveil your peace plan which will gut Israel, carve up Jerusalem and give the PLO everything without obligating it to anything. But the terrorists you’re helping will sabotage it just like they sabotaged your peace negotiations, just like Daniel Ortega sabotaged your peace offer and just like the Viet Cong destroyed the credibility of their useful idiots. Your Senate career is over; you hooked your dying star to a falling president and put your legacy in the hands of greasy killers who would sell their sister for a monopoly on American cigarettes. You would have been better off turning over Teresa’s money

to Bernie Madoff and going to Afghanistan to negotiate in person with the Taliban. Even while you’re warning Israel that it will be destroyed if it doesn’t listen to you, you have destroyed yourself. Had you retired from the Senate, you might have left with some dignity. Instead you will be a failed footnote in a failed administration. It’s a fitting fate for a man who worked to see his country fail to end his time as a miserable failure. Whether it’s Ukraine, Syria or Is-

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rael, you have failed. And Japan and Korea are still coming up. Have another drink. Fly to another conference. Closet yourself with your advisers and rant about Israel. And when you do leave, you will blame those ungrateful Jews who wouldn’t do what you told them to. But John, we weren’t the ones who did this to you. You did it to yourself. You can blame Israel all you like, but it’s not us. It’s you. Sincerely, The Jewish People

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Some Sefira Lessons by Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss


s we engage in the seasonal mitzvah of counting the sefira, and observe the national period of mourning for the tragic deaths of the 24,000 disciples of Rabbi Akiva, we should take the time to reflect upon what these experiences are supposed to teach us. Firstly, the Gemara informs us that Rabbi Akiva’s disciples died from the horrible disease of askara, a type of lethal diphtheria or croup. The Maharsha informs us that this is a punishment for the sin of loshon hora, evil gossip. This should jolt us with the realization that even rarefied b’nei yeshiva, lofty Torah scholars, can sucumb to this deadly sin if caught unaware! Thus, at this time of the year, we should be stimulated by our abstention from music etc., to pick up the Chofetz Chaim’s laws on loshon hora and become more aware of the many intricacies of the directive to guard our tongues! Without the proper perusal of these laws, it is all too possible that we might engage in this ugly sin, chas v’shalom, without realizing our transgressions. Take for example the Chofetz Chaim’s comments in Klal Yud #12, where he informs us that if someone fails to do you a favor, which is not something terribly bad, and you reveal this to others, it is absolutely considered loshon hora! In the same vein, if you went to a town and you weren’t greeted warmly, and subsequently relate this to your townspeople, you are guilty of defaming a whole town. (This mandates we must be very concerned about making offhand remarks like, “The people in that Shul aren’t friendly.”) In Klal 9 #5, the Chofetz Chaim

charges us not to hesitate to berate our young children if we hear them talking badly about people. He elaborates that the neglect of this sort of chinuch is a primary reason for the proliferation of this sin in adults. Obviously, if children grow up saying whatever they want, even upon maturity, when they later realize they are engaging in the heinous crime of loshon hora, it is very hard for them to change. It is therefore incumbent upon us as parents to cultivate in our children a natural inhibition to speak badly about others, just like we condition them from a very young age to watch that they don’t put forbidden food into their mouths! Regarding the Mitzvah of sefiras ha’omer, the Chinuch explains that we are making a statement, on a national level, that the one commodity Jews counts towards, as one counts excitedly to a vacation or wedding day, is the day of Mattan Torah (Shavuos). This is our public declaration that our number one national treasure and identity is the Torah! However, as in all areas, Hashem doesn’t want mere lip service from us. Thus, the true spirit of Sefira is to examine our daily schedules and see if we give enough time to our Torah studies. The Gemara informs us, “Tchilas dino shel adam ayno ela b’divrei Torah - Man’s final judgment will begin with none other than a grilling about his time spent on Torah study.” In Masechtas Shabbos [31a], the Gemara elaborates that we will be asked by the heavenly tribunal, “K’vata ittim LaTorah Did you fix times for Torah study?!” The Shulchan Oruch (Orach Chaim 155:1) defines this responsibility as putting aside a specific time of the day for learning and to ensure that you will

not violate this set time even if it means losing substantial profit. The Mishna Brura (ibid #4) adds if one must miss his appointed time, he should ‘pay it back’ by learning double the next day! The Biur Halacha (ibid) informs us that in Yoreh Daiah (246:1), we are further instructed that one should have a fixed period during both the daytime and nighttime. He suggests therefore having a study period right after the morning prayers and again in the gap between mincha and maariv. Of course this prescription will not fit for everyone, as some people must rush out immediately after shacharis to catch a bus. Perhaps they might make their set time before shacharis, while other people who daven maariv right after mincha might establish their nightly schedule right after maariv. Whatever our lifestyles, we should carve out two fixed times for Torah study from our daily life, even if it’s initially only five minutes each, so that we can be certain to be able to answer the question that will determine our eternal fate (after 120 years of good life) with a resounding affirmative! The Mishna Brura offers us the following guidance as to what we should learn. He explains that one who only has a limited amount of time for Torah study should learn practical halochos in order to know how to live like a proper Jew. Additionally, we are guaranteed that one who studies halochos every day (ibid. Shaarei Teshuvah, who states a minimum of two) can be assured of a place in the Afterlife! One should also include in his budgeted time a review of the weekly Torah portion. This not only promotes

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one’s emuna, as assured by the Chofetz Chaim in his letters, but also increases one’s longevity, as stated in the Gemara in Masechtos Brachos. An inclusion of a learning seder in Mishnayos is helpful in protecting one from the fires of Gehennom (stated in the preface to Medrash Talpios.) Finally, one should include a regimen of Mussar study (Torah ethics and lessons of self-analysis and improvement). First, this will assist us in acquiring the fear of Heaven which is our primary purpose in life. Secondly, as the Baalai Mussar tell us, by including Mussar in our learning, we will make sure that we will find even more time to learn! When planning this most important of scheduling, I recommend strongly that one should sit down with one’s wife and have her input in the chosen times. This will give her a great cheilik (portion) in the mitzvah and will insure that you don’t fix a time that you’ll have to habitually break (e.g. before candle lighting on Shabbos or carpool time.) Finally, the Mishna Brura cautions that we should not consider our “fixed” times as the only times we have available to study Torah. A Jew must study Torah at all available times! Rather, these fixed times are the ones that are sacred and not to be trespassed upon except in cases of extreme urgency. In the merit of having a regular daily diet of Torah study, may we all merit the blessing of, “Orech yomim b’yamina b’smola osher v’kavod Long life to the Torah’s right and wealth and honor to Her left!” Sheldon Zeitlin transcribes R’ Weiss’ articles. To receive a weekly cassette tape or CD directly from Rabbi Weiss, please write to Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, P.O. Box 140726, Staten Island, NY 10314 or contact him at Now available in a pocket-sized edition, order Rabbi Weiss’ sefer, Power Bentching, by calling at 718-916-3100. Attend Rabbi Weiss’ weekly shiur at the Landau Shul, Avenue L and East 9th in Flatbush, Tuesday nights at 9:30 p.m. Rabbi Weiss’ Daf Yomi and Mishna Yomis shiurim can be heard LIVE on Kol Haloshon at (718) 906-6400. Write to for details.

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to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can’t wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you’re holding a gadget instead of a book.



TEN THINGS THAT WILL DISAPPEAR IN OUR LIFETIME This is USA oriented, but Canada and the rest of the world will not be far behind. Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come. 1. The Post Office Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills. 2. The Check Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transac-

tions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business. 3. The Newspaper The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has

caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services. 4. The Book You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home

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5. The Land Line Telephone Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes. 6. Music This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is “catalogue items,” meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with, by older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, “Appetite for Self-Destruction”

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by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, “Before the Music Dies.” 7. Television Revenues The networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It’s time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix. 8. The “Things” That You Own Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in “the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive and you


store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always reinstall it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest “cloud services.” That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

s the weather turns warmer, ir is only natural that one should begin to think about relaxing a bit; maybe enjoying the outdoors. But how is it possible to relax when everywhere you look you see the world collapsing around you? If one were to take a globe and randomly point to any spot on it, the odds are he will find a state of, if not outright turmoil and chaos, deep dissatisfaction and unrest. Accordingly, how disconcerting is it that the leadership of this country, until recently the world’s only legitimate superpower, is so utterly and completely inept! As they stumble from one crisis and scandal to the next, their responses become more and more disjointed and feeble, and yet a compliant, conspiratorial press continues to prop them up and give them the aura of respectabiility and competence they certainly no longer deserve - if indeed they ever did! This begs the question: Do the people see what’s going on? Are they aware of the devastation being visited upon this country both on the domestic and the foreign fronts? Or have they grown so addicted to the simplistic and dangerous idea that the government knows best and that the government will provide, that they’re no longer ca-

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9. Joined Handwriting (Cursive Writing) This is already gone in some schools that no longer teach “joined handwriting” because nearly everything is done now on computers or keyboards of some type. (pun not intended) 10. Privacy If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, “They” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. “They” will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again and again and again... All we will have left that can’t be changed are our “Memories.”

pable of rational thought and mature, intelligent decisions? From the debacle that is Obamacare, to the outright usurpation of the educational establishment through the imposition of the pernicious Common Core curriculum, the signs of decay in our governmental structure become more obvious and ominous with each passing day. But the thing, perhaps, that scares me the most, is the revelation that agency after agency in the federal government is aggregating to itself police powers. Why does the EPA need a swat team? Of what use to the Department of Education is one million rounds of ammunition? Are they afraid of a revolt by the lunchroom ladies? Yet in the midst of all this preparation for Armaggedon, the battle to disarm the average American rages in full force. All of these hypocritical officials - Senators, Congressman, appointees - march themselves around with round-theclock, armed protection, but you want to carry a gun to protect yourself?! Off with your head! The simple truth is these people make me sick. But not as sick as the people who continue to vote them into power. Wake up! You are voting away your future! Educate yourself! Never again is only a slogan if you have no way to back it up!


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iriam Rosenthal was four months pregnant, starving, bone-tired, cold, filthy and afraid when an SS officer in big black boots and a crisp uniform appeared before the barracks in Auschwitz with a loudspeaker in hand. “All pregnant women line up,” he barked. “Line up, line up - your food portions are being doubled.” “Can you imagine?” Miriam asks. “Even women who were not pregnant stepped forward. I was standing with my younger cousin, but I wouldn’t go. She said, ‘Miriam, what are you doing?’” “Something was holding me back. Someone was watching over me. I feel maybe my mother, maybe G-d. Two hundred women stepped forward and 200 women went to the gas chamber. And I don’t know why I didn’t step forward.” “My parents were such good people, generous, kind. And maybe for their sake, maybe that’s why I didn’t step forward. I have asked myself this question so many times as I lay in bed upstairs.” We are sitting in the dining room of a tidy home in north Toronto. Tears are welling in Miriam Rosenthal’s eyes. Talking about those long ago days “rips at her guts.” She remembers everything. “Every step.” Every horror. Her body might be shot through with arthritis, her legs barely work, her neck aches and she is turning 90 on Sunday, but Miriam remembers. “I don’t have dementia yet,” she says, smiling. Not stepping forward at Auschwitz was a beginning, not an end. There were other mysteries of fate that, in the dying months of the Second World War in the deadened landscape of Nazi Germany, brought seven pregnant Jewish women together in Kaufering I, a sub-camp of Dachau, where seven Jewish babies would be born. The Germans murdered over a million Jewish children. Like the sick and the old, they were viewed as useless mouths to feed and often among the first killed. Some were

used in medical experiments, but newborns were typically murdered at birth. Almost seven decades after the war, the seven Jewish babies of Kaufering - three boys, four girls - are still alive, scattered about the globe, the youngest living survivors of the Holocaust. “Here is my miracle baby now,” Miriam says, pausing mid-sentence, grinning at the appearance of her 67-year-old “baby,” Leslie. “And here is my miracle mother,” Leslie Rosenthal chimes back. Miriam Rosenthal was born Miriam Schwarcz in Komarno, Czechoslovakia, on Aug. 26, 1922, the youngest of 13 children. Jacob, her father, was a gentleman farmer. “I was spoiled,” she says. “I had a beautiful life. I was always asking my mother when it would be my turn to get married.” A matchmaker from Miskolc, Hungary, met with Miriam and her mother, Laura. Flipping through the woman’s book of eligible bachelors, Miriam spotted her “Clark Gable,” a movie-star-handsome cattle broker’s son named Bela Rosenthal. They were married in Budapest on April 5, 1944. Miriam pinned a red rose on her lapel to cover the yellow Star of David. The honeymoon was brief. Within a few short months, Bela was sent to a slave labor camp, Miriam to Auschwitz. She was later transferred to Augsberg, Germany, to work in a Messerschmitt factory. All the while, her belly grew. Two men from the SS appeared at the factory one day, with snarling German shepherds, demanding to know who the pregnant women were. They asked a second time. “I had to raise my hand,” Miriam says. “I was showing, and if I didn’t put up my hand all those other women would be killed. How could I not put up my hand? The girls wept for me. The SS took me and put me on a passenger train, which was very unusual. There was a woman, a civilian, and she said: ‘Frau, what is with you? You don’t have hair. The clothes you are wearing. What are you, from a mental hospital?’ “She didn’t have a clue, this German woman, of all the horrible things the Germans were doing. I told her I am not from a mental hospital, I am going to Auschwitz - I am going to the gas. She looked at me like I was crazy, opened her purse and gave me some bread. I ate it so fast. I was so hungry.” The SS guards had been out smoking and returned, telling Miriam she was one “lucky Jew,” that the crematoriums at Auschwitz were “kaput.” Instead, she was taken to Kaufering I, a satellite camp near Dachau, hand delivered to the gates and identified by a number tattooed on her left forearm, still visible today. “They said, ‘Adieu Frau, good luck to you.’ Can you imagine?” Miriam says. “I went into this camp and I was led to a basement and guess who was there?” Six other pregnant women: crying, laughing, holding one another, chattering in Hungarian, bundling themselves in the hope that they might actually survive. One by one the babies came, delivered by another inmate, a Hungarian gynecologist whose only instrument was a pail of hot water.

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Miriam then... and now

da in 1947. Bela found work in a mattress factory, but his real gift was talking. He was a man of words, and faith. The Rosenthals left the big city for Timmins and Sudbury, where Bela served as rabbi before their return to Toronto in 1956. They ran Miriam’s Fine Judaica, a gift shop, on Bathurst Street, for over four decades and raised three children, had grandchildren - and great-grandchildren. Bela died a few years back. He was 97. Life in Canada wasn’t always easy, Miriam says. There were ups and

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downs and there was always the past, painful memories haunting the periphery, dark shadows amid the light. Miriam has a recurring nightmare where the SS come and take Leslie away. But when she looks over at him now, sitting beside her on a warm August afternoon, her face brightens, because she knows how her war story ends. “He is such a good boy,” Miriam says. “He visits me every single day. He knows what his mother went through.”

A “Capo,” a Jewish woman charged with overseeing the women, smuggled a stove into the room, keeping the expecting mothers warm during the freezing winter months of 1945. The Germans discovered the stove and beat the Capo bloody, ripping into her flesh with their truncheons. “I have looked for this woman since,” Miriam says. “After the beating she told us, ‘Don’t you worry, girls, the stove will be back tomorrow.’” It was. Leslie Rosenthal was the last of the Kaufering babies, born Feb. 28, 1945. “He was beautiful, blond hair, blue eyes,” Miriam says. “An SS came in and was surprised and said he looks Aryan and he asked me if the father was an SS man. “I told him no, the father was my husband.” American troops wept when they liberated Dachau in late April and discovered the babies - new life in a graveyard of bones. Miriam said goodbye to her “camp sisters” and headed home to Czechoslovakia. Bela had also survived and returned to Komarno, broken sandals on his feet, held there by a string. “I could see him coming, running from afar, and I shouted, ‘Bela, Bela.’ I wasn’t sure it was him, and he was running and calling my name,” Miriam says. “I can’t describe that feeling of when he saw our baby, when he saw Leslie for the first time. We cried and cried and cried.” Bela said he is “so beautiful.” Miriam said he has “your ears.” The young family moved to Cana-

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ince posting this story in 2013, the left simply won’t leave it alone. Something about it strikes a chord and they have to lash out at it, even though it’s a story. An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan.” All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all). After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too, so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them


that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that. These are possibly the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read on this experiment: 1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the

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wealthy out of prosperity. 2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. 3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. 4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it! 5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation. What I am reading now is liberals, progressives or those that dismiss the STORY because it’s a scenario and not real. They can’t cope with the real truth that you can’t move poor people into prosperity by legislation from Washington, DC. Government doesn’t have the authority to take from Citizen A and give to Citizen B to make things even.

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Dear Dr. D, I have been thinking about getting cosmetic work done for my smile. I am unhappy with the size, shape and color of my teeth and I also have a small gap between my front teeth. I was told that veneers are my best option. Does this work for my gap in my front teeth and will it hide the yellow discoloration of my old fillings? Looking for a great smile Dear Looking for a great smile, If you’re looking to enhance and beautify your smile, veneers could be the answer. Veneers are tooth-colored porcelain fronting made to cover your natural teeth and produce a bright, beautiful smile. Veneers can correct a multitude of cosmetic defects, from discolored teeth to slightly crooked teeth to gaps in your smile. The translucent quality of today’s veneers gives a more natural look that perfects your smile without looking fake or obvious. Dental veneers are very thin shells made from tooth-like material designed to cover the front surface of teeth. Veneers are made of porcelain ceramic. Porcelain is an ideal material as it resists stains and has a light-reflecting quality similar to that of natural teeth. The veneers are placed on the front of the teeth, concealing imperfections and sometimes changing the size, shape, and length of teeth. Veneers are not appropriate for teeth that have been weakened by decay, fractures, or large fillings. You may need full porcelain crowns instead if your teeth are significantly weakened. Additionally, one’s gum health needs to be adequate to be a candidate for veneer treatment. Veneers usually require three dental visits. At the first visit, your dentist will discuss whether this cosmetic dentistry procedure will work for you. Radiographs, photos and mold of one’s teeth are taken and a treatment plan is estab-

lished. On the second visit, your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel (the outer coating of your teeth) to make room for the veneer. As little as one-half a millimeter is removed to allow for a proper non-bulky fit of the veneer. This visit may or may not require local anesthesia. The color shade of veneers can be selected from many whiteness shades. Choosing the shade of the veneers is an exciting step for most people. The final shade is determined by your request for a certain result, along with the dentist’s recommendations. Customized to your skin tone and overall desire for whiter teeth, your dentist will recommend a shade that he feels will best appear as natural as possible, while still giving you the look of attractive, flawless teeth. Depending on how many teeth are having veneers being placed, it may be necessary for you to visit the dental ceramicist to do a very customized shade analysis. This task is especially important to ensure the natural look of the veneer remains consistent with teeth that are not being covered by veneers. A conventional or digital impression is then taken of your teeth and is sent along with an exact prescription of your treatment plan to a dental ceramicist where the veneers are custom made. The patient leaves the office with a plastic temporary veneer covering the teeth. At the third visit, your dentist will permanently bond the porcelain veneers to your teeth with special adhesive material. Because veneers are made of material that mimics natural teeth and are individually shaped for each patient, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between veneers and natural teeth. Unlike other cosmetic options (like your old stained “fillings”) porcelain veneers won’t be stained by things like coffee, tea, and red wine. With proper care, veneers can last indefinitely. But because veneers are so thin, they can break or even fall off if abused. To minimize the chance of this happening, avoid biting your nails and chewing on pencils, ice, and other hard objects. In addition, it’s important to practice good dental hygiene because teeth with veneers can still become decayed, possibly making it necessary to totally cover the tooth with a crown. Frequent brushing and flossing and regular dental checkups will help ensure that your veneers stay strong and flawless looking. It sounds like veneers may be a perfect option for you. And with proper care of your veneers and good oral hygiene habits, you can enjoy a superstar smile for many years to come. Sincerely, Dr. Steven Davidowitz


MAY 2014

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Dear Bubby If you would like advice from Bubby send your letters to: Bubby, c/o Country Yossi Family Magazine, 1310 48th Street, Suite 304, Brooklyn, New York 11219 or Fax to (718) 851-2510 or email

WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIPS Dear Bubby, I recently graduated college and have entered into the working world. For the first time in my life I am associating and working with non-Jewish people. I really don’t mean to sound naive, but in all honesty I have never been around or even said a word to a goy. The reality is that I attended yeshiva and then seminary and then straight to Touro College. The only exposure I’ve ever had with a gentile is saying please and thank you at a store or in a public arena. So here I am now working in a small space all day with many different gentiles. I am so surprised (pleasantly) at how friendly, down to earth and wonderful they are. As I am the new kid in the office and they are all experienced, I have really come to count on their helpfulness and friendship. Recently, as the weather’s gotten nice, many of the girls started going out for lunch and inviting me to join. They know I am strictly kosher and they are willing to eat in a kosher place; however, I have thus far made excuses not to join. I guess I feel awkward and uncomfortable being in a public and social setting with them. One girl in particular, who I am friendly with in the office, has also invited me to her baby shower and another woman sent me an invite to her engagement party. I am really unsure how to respond. I don’t want to insult anyone or put a rift in our relationship but I also don’t know if it’s okay to take these working relationships to the next level. How friendly and social can I be, and where do I draw the line? More im-

portantly, how can I do so without seeming rude? Yours truly, Rina Boro Park Dearest Rina, Each individual must confer with his/her family and Rav in order to determine what is appropriate and acceptable in their specific situation. The advice I’m giving is given with the desire to make a Kiddush Hashem and still maintain all laws of tzniut and Halacha! Your question is such a relevant and important one, as so many women today find themselves with careers and in the work place. It is very difficult to suddenly be forming friendships with people whom we never associated with before, people who live completely different lifestyles from ours and are part of a world that we separate ourselves from. Once we begin working with people and seeing them on a daily basis they become an integral part of our life. We tend to share ups and downs together and often the relationship turns from coworkers to friends. These friendships need to be treated with kindness and respect. There isn’t necessarily one concrete rule for all situations; rather each invitation is unique. In determining when to accept an invitation, consider the location of the outing and your level of comfort in that particular setting. There is never a need to put yourself in an awkward or unsettling atmosphere. For example, if your friends are inviting you out to lunch and are willing to go somewhere in which you trust

the kashrus, there is no reason to hesitate. At the same time, if the experience is less than desirable there is no need to repeat it. Just as you use your discretion when deciding which of your Jewish friends you wish to spend time with, so too, use your own judgment to make these decisions as well. When invited to any sort of occasion the same rules apply. If you feel the atmosphere may be inappropriate in any way you can simply purchase a thoughtful gift and politely decline. If you feel especially close to someone you may choose to show up for a quick “congratulations” and then be on your way. Sentiment and care can be shown through a thoughtful gift and card. Another option when facing indecision can be to alter the plan to your liking. For instance, if you are being asked to go out for lunch, suggest ordering in; or if you are uncomfortable attending a bridal shower, throw a mini one in the office if possible. Our goal as the “chosen people” is to separate ourselves in the ways of the Torah and simultaneously coexist with the other members of this planet. The mission is to keep true to our lineage and destiny, while still managing to relate and befriend those individuals that enter our lives, albeit their religious differences. A fundamental part of our belief as Jews is to treat others the way we wish to be treated. This holds true for all people. In our effort to represent ourselves as mentchlich people, we must be sure to show kindness and acceptable social skills to one and all. Hatzlacha, Bubby

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shkenazic Jews were among the last Europeans to take family names. Some Germanspeaking Jews took last names as early as the 17th century, but the overwhelming majority of Jews lived in Eastern Europe and did not take last names until compelled to do so. The process began in the AustroHungarian Empire in 1787 and ended in Czarist Russia in 1844. In attempting to build modern nation-states, the authorities insisted that Jews take last names so that they could be taxed, drafted, and educated (in that order of importance). For centuries, Jewish communal leaders were responsible for collecting taxes from the Jewish population on behalf of the government, and in some cases were responsible for filling draft quotas. Education was traditionally an internal Jewish affair. Until this period, Jewish names generally changed with every generation. For example, if Moses son of Mendel (Moyshe ben Mendel) married Sarah daughter of Rebecca (Sara bas Rivka), and they had a boy and named it Samuel (Shmuel), the child would be called Shmuel ben Moyshe. If they had a girl and named her Feygele, she would be called Feygele bas Sara. Jews distrusted the authorities and resisted the new requirement. Although they were forced to take last names, at first they were used only for official purposes. Among themselves, they kept their traditional names. Over time, Jews accepted the new last names, which were essential as Jews sought to advance within the broader society and as the shtetles were transformed or Jews left them for big cities.

The easiest way for Jews to assume an official last name was to adapt the name they already had, making it permanent. This explains the use of “patronymics” and “matronymics.”

PATRONYMICS (SON OF ...) In Yiddish or German, “son” would be denoted by “son” or “sohn” or “er.” In most Slavic languages, like Polish or Russian, it would be “wich” or “witz.” For example: The son of Mendel took the last name Mendelsohn; the son of Abraham became Abramson or Avromovitch; the son of Menashe became Manishewitz; the son of Itzhak became Itskowitz; the son of Berl took the name Berliner; the son of Kesl took the name Kessler, etc.

MATRONYMICS (DAUGHTER OF ...) Reflecting the prominence of Jewish women in business, some families made last names out of women’s first names: Chaiken - son of Chaikeh; Edelman - husband of Edel; Gittelman - husband of Gitl; Glick or Gluck may derive from Glickl, a popular woman’s name as in the famous “Glickl of Hameln,” whose memoirs, written around 1690, are an early example of Yiddish literature. Gold/Goldman/Gulden may be derived from Golda; Malkov from Malke; Perlman - husband of Perl; Rivken - may derive from Rivke; Soronsohn - son of Sarah.

PLACE NAMES The next most common source of

Jewish last names is probably places. Jews used the town or region where they lived, or where their families came from, as their last name. As a result, the Germanic origins of most Eastern European Jews is reflected in their names. For example, Asch is an acronym for the towns of Aisenshtadt or Altshul or Amshterdam. Other placebased Jewish names include: Auerbach/Orbach; Bacharach; Berger (generic for townsman); Berg(man), meaning from a hilly place; Bayer from Bavaria; Bamberger; Berliner, Berlinsky - from Berlin; Bloch (foreigner); Brandeis; Breslau; Brodsky; Brody; Danziger; Deutch/Deutscher German; Dorf(man), meaning villager; Eisenberg; Epstein; Florsheim; Frankel - from the Franconia region of Germany; Frankfurter; Ginsberg; Gordon - from Grodno, Lithuania or from the Russian word gorodin, for townsman; Greenberg; Halperin from Helbronn, Germany; Hammerstein; Heller - from Halle, Germany; Hollander - not from Holland, but from a town in Lithuania settled by the Dutch; Horowitz, Hurwich, Gurevitch - from Horovice in Bohemia; Koenigsberg; Krakauer - from Cracow, Poland; Landau; Lipsky - from Leipzig, Germany; Litwak - from Lithuania; Minsky - from Minsk, Belarus; Mintz - from Mainz, Germany; Oppenheimer; Ostreicher - from Austria; Pinsky - from Pinsk, Belarus; Posner - from Posen, Germany; Prager - from Prague; Rappoport from Porto, Italy; Rothenberg - from the town of the red fortress in Germany; Shapiro - from Speyer, Germany; Schlesinger - from Silesia, Germany; Steinberg; Unger - from

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Hungary; Vilner - from Vilna, Poland/Lithuania; Wallach - from Bloch, derived from the Polish word for foreigner; Warshauer/Warshavsky - from Warsaw; Wiener - from Vienna; Weinberg.

OCCUPATIONAL NAMES Craftsmen/Workers Ackerman plowman; Baker/Boker - baker; Blecher - tinsmith; Fleisher/Fleishman/Katzoff/ Metger - butcher; Cooperman - coppersmith; Drucker - printer; Einstein mason; Farber - painter/dyer; Feinstein - jeweler; Fisher - fisherman; Forman driver/teamster; Garber/Gerber - tanner; Glazer/Glass/Sklar - glazier; Goldstein - goldsmith; Graber - engraver; Kastner - cabinetmaker; Kunstler - artist; Kramer - storekeeper; Miller - miller; Nagler - nailmaker; Plotnick - carpenter; Sandler/Shuster shoemaker; Schmidt/Kovalsky - blacksmith; Shnitzer - carver; Silverstein jeweler; Spielman - player (musician?); Stein/Steiner/Stone - jeweler; Wasserman - water carrier.

ner - distiller; Braverman/Meltzer brewer; Kabakoff/Krieger/Vigoda tavern keeper; Geffen - wine merchant; Wine/Weinglass - wine merchant; Weiner - wine maker. Religious/Communal Altshul/Althshuler - associated with the old synagogue in Prague; Cantor/Kazan/Singer/Spivack - cantor or song leader in shul; Feder/Federman/Schreiber - scribe; Haver - from haver (court official); Klausner - rabbi for small congregation; Klopman -

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calls people to morning prayers by knocking on their window shutters; Lehrer/Malamud/Malmud - teacher; Rabin - rabbi (Rabinowitz - son of rabbi); London - scholar, from the Hebrew lamden (misunderstood by immigration inspectors); Reznick - ritual slaughterer; Richter - judge; Sandek godfather; Schechter/Schachter/ Shuchter etc. - ritual slaughterer from Hebrew schochet; Shofer/Sofer/Schaeffer - scribe; Shulman/Skolnick - sexton; Spector - inspector or supervisor of schools.

Merchants Garfinkel/Garfunkel - diamond dealer; Holzman/Holtz/Waldman timber dealer; Kaufman - merchant; Rokeach - spice merchant; Salzman salt merchant; Seid/Seidman-silk merchant; Tabachnik - snuff seller; Tuchman - cloth merchant; Wachsman wax dealer; Wechsler/Halphan - money changer; Wollman - wool merchant; Zucker/Zuckerman - sugar merchant. Related to tailoring Kravitz/Portnoy/Schneider/Snyder - tailor; Nadelman/Nudelman - also tailor, but from “needle”; Sher/Sherman - also tailor, but from “scissors” or “shears”; Presser/Pressman - clothing presser; Futterman/Kirshner/Kushner/Peltz - furrier; Weber weaver. Medical Aptheker - druggist; Feldsher surgeon; Bader/Teller - barber. Related to liquor trade Bronfman/Brand/Brandler/Bren-

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Personal Traits Alter/Alterman - old; Dreyfus three legged, perhaps referring to someone who walked with a cane; Erlich - honest; Frum - devout; Gottleib - God lover, perhaps referring to someone very devout; Geller/Gelber yellow, perhaps referring to someone with blond hair; Gross/Grossman big; Gruber - coarse or vulgar; Feifer/Pfeifer - whistler; Fried/Friedman - happy; Hoch/Hochman/Langer/ Langerman - tall; Klein/Kleinman small; Koenig - king, perhaps some-

one who was chosen as a “Purim King,” in reality a poor wretch; Krauss - curly, as in curly hair; Kurtz/Kurtzman - short; Reich/Reichman - rich; Reisser - giant; Roth/ Rothman - red head; Roth/Rothbard red beard; Shein/Schoen/ Schoenman - pretty, handsome; Schwartz/ Shwartzman/Charney - black hair or dark complexion; Scharf/Scharfman sharp, i.e intelligent; Stark - strong, from the Yiddish shtark; Springer lively person, from the Yiddish springen for jump.

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Insulting Names These were sometimes foisted on Jews who discarded them as soon as possible, but a few may remain: Billig - cheap; Gans - goose; Indyk - goose; Grob - rough/crude; Kalb - cow. Animal Names It is common among all peoples to take last names from the animal kingdom. Baer/Berman/Beerman/Berkowitz/Beronson - bear; Adler - eagle (may derive from reference to an eagle in Psalm 103:5); Einhorn - unicorn; Falk/Sokol/Sokolovksy - falcon; Fink finch; Fuchs/Liss - fox; Gelfand/ Helfand - camel (technically means elephant but was used for camel too); Hecht - pike; Hirschhorn - deer antlers; Karp - carp; Loeb - lion; Ochs- ox; Strauss - ostrich (or bouquet of flowers); Wachtel - quail. Hebrew Names Some Jews either held on to or adopted traditional Jewish names from the Bible and Talmud. The big two are Cohen (Cohn, Kohn, Kahan, Kahn, Kaplan) and Levi (Levy, Levine, Levinsky, Levitan, Levenson, Levitt, Lewin, Lewinsky, Lewinson). Others include: Aaron - Aronson, Aronoff; Asher; Benjamin; David - Davis, Davies; Ephraim - Fishl; Emanuel Mendel; Isaac - Isaacs, Isaacson/Eisner; Jacob - Jacobs, Jacobson, Jacoby; Judah - Idelsohn, Udell, Yudelson; Mayer/Meyer; Menachem - Mann, Mendel; Reuben - Rubin; Samuel Samuels, Zangwill; Simon - Schimmel; Solomon - Zalman. Hebrew Acronyms Names based on Hebrew acronyms include: Baron - bar aron (son of Aaron); Beck - bene kedoshim (descendant of martyrs); Getz - gabbai tsedek (righteous synagogue official); Katz - kohen tsedek (righteous priest); Metz - moreh tsedek (teacher of righteousness); Sachs, Saks - zera kodesh shemo (his name descends from martyrs); Segal - se gan levia (second-rank Levite). Other Hebrew-Derived and YiddishDerived Names Lieb means “lion” in Yiddish. It is

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the root of many Ashkenazic last names, including Liebowitz, Lefkowitz, Lebush, and Leon. It is the Yiddish translation of the Hebrew word for lion - aryeh. The lion was the symbol of the tribe of Judah. Hirsch means “deer” or “stag” in Yiddish. It is the root of many Ashkenazic last names, including Hirschfeld, Hirschbein/Hershkowitz (son of Hirsch), Hertz/Herzl, Cerf, Hart, and Hartman. It is the Yiddish translation of the Hebrew word for gazelle: tsvi. The gazelle was the symbol of the tribe of Naphtali. Taub means “dove” in Yiddish. It is the root of the Ashkenazic last name Tauber. The symbol of the dove is associated with the prophet Yonah. Wolf is the root of the Ashkenazic last names Wolfson, Wouk, and Volkovich. The wolf was the symbol of the tribe of Benjamin. Eckstein - Yiddish for cornerstone, derived from Psalm 118:22. Good(man) - Yiddish translation of the Hebrew word for “good”: tuviah. Margolin - Hebrew for “pearl.”

Invented ‘Fancy Shmancy’ Names When Jews in the Austro-Hungarian Empire were required to assume last names, some chose the nicest ones they could think of and may have been charged a registration fee by the authorities. According to the YIVO Encyclopedia, “The resulting names often are associated with nature and beauty. It is very plausible that the choices were influenced by the general romantic tendencies of German culture at that time.” These names include: Applebaum - apple tree; Birnbaum - pear tree; Buchsbaum - box tree; Kestenbaum - chestnut tree; Kirshenbaum - cherry tree; Mandelbaum almond tree; Nussbaum - nut tree; Tannenbaum - fir tree; Teitelbaum - palm tree. Other names, chosen or purchased, were combinations with these roots: Blumen (flower), Fein (fine), Gold, Green, Lowen (lion), Rosen (rose), Schoen/Schein (pretty) - combined with berg (hill or mountain), thal (valley), bloom (flower), zweig (wreath), blatt (leaf), vald or wald (woods), feld (field).

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Miscellaneous other names included Diamond; Glick/Gluck - luck; Hoffman - hopeful; Fried/Friedman happiness; Lieber/Lieberman - lover. Jewish family names from nonJewish languages included: Sender/Saunders - from Alexander; Kagan - descended from the Khazars, a Turkish-speaking people from Central Asia; Kelman/Kalman - from the Greek name Kalonymous, the Greek translation of the Hebrew shem tov (good name), popular among Jews in medieval France and Italy; Marcus/Marx - from Latin, referring to the pagan god Mars. Finally, there were Jewish names changed or shortened by immigration inspectors or by immigrants themselves (or their descendants) to sound more American, which is why “Sean Ferguson” was a Jew. Let us close with a ditty: And this is good old Boston; The home of the bean and the cod. Where the Lowells speak only to the Cabots; And the Cabots speak Yiddish, by G-d!

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want to thank the organizers of this conference, The Perils of Global Intolerance. It is a great honor for me and it is a privilege really to be among today’s distinguished speakers. I came here as a friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I came to protest this Durban Conference which is based on a set of lies. It is organized by nations who are themselves guilty of the worst kind of oppression. It will not help the victims of racism. It will only isolate and target the Jewish state. It is a tool of the enemies of Israel. The UN has itself become a tool against Israel. For over 50 years, 82 percent of the UN General Assembly emergency meetings have been about condemning one state - Israel. Hitler couldn’t have been made happier! The Durban Conference is an outrage. All decent people will know that. But friends, I come here today with a radical idea. I come to tell you that there are peoples who suffer from the UN’s anti-Israelism even more than the Israelis. I belong to one of those people. Please hear me out. By exaggerating Palestinian suffering, and by blaming the Jews for it, the UN has muffled the cries of those who suffer on a far larger scale. For over fifty years the indigenous black population of Sudan - Christians and Muslims alike - has been the victim of the brutal, racist Arab Muslim regimes in Khartoum. In South Sudan, my homeland, about 4 million innocent men, women and children were slaughtered from 1955 to 2005. Seven million were ethnically cleansed and they became the largest refugee group since World War II. The UN is concerned about the socalled Palestinian refugees. They dedi-



cated a separate agency for them, and they are treated with a special privilege. Meanwhile, my people, ethnically cleansed, murdered and enslaved, are relatively ignored. The UN refuses to tell the world the truth about the real causes of Sudan’s conflicts. Who knows really what is happening in Darfur? It is not a “tribal conflict.” It is a conflict rooted in Arab colonialism, well known in north Africa. In Darfur, a region in the Western Sudan, everybody is Muslim. Everybody is Muslim because the Arabs invaded the North of Africa and converted the indigenous people to Islam. In the eyes of the Islamists in Khartoum, the Darfuris are not Muslim enough. And the Darfuris do not want to be Arabized. They love their own African languages and dress and customs. The Arab response is genocide! But nobody at the UN tells the truth about Darfur. In the Nuba Mountains, another region of Sudan, genocide is taking place as I speak. The Islamist regime in Khartoum is targeting the black Africans Muslims and Christians. Nobody at the UN has told the truth about the Nuba Mountains. Do you hear the UN condemn Arab racism against blacks? What you find on the pages of the New York Times, or in the record of the UN condemnations, is “Israeli crimes” and Palestinian suffering. My people have been driven off the front pages because of the exaggerations about Palestinian suffering. What Israel does is portrayed as a Western sin. But the truth is that the real sin happens when the West abandons us: the victims of Arab/Islamic apartheid. Chattel slavery was practiced for centuries in Sudan. It was revived as a tool of war in the early 90s. Khartoum declared jihad against my

people and this legitimized taking slaves as war booty. Arab militias were sent to destroy Southern villages and were encouraged to take African women and children as slaves. We believe that up to 200,000 were kidnapped, brought to the North and sold into slavery. I am a living proof of this crime against humanity! I don’t like talking about my experience as a slave, but I do it because it is important for the world to know that slavery exists even today. I was only nine years old when an Arab neighbor named Abdullahi tricked me into following him to a boat. The boat wound up in Northern Sudan where he gave me as a gift to his family. For three and a half years I was their slave, going through something that no child should ever go through: brutal beatings and humiliations; working around the clock; sleeping on the ground with animals; eating the family’s leftovers. During those three years I was unable to say the word “no.” All I could say was “yes,” “yes,” “yes.” The United Nations knew about the

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enslavement of South Sudanese by the Arabs. Their own staff reported it. It took UNICEF - under pressure from the Jewish-led American Anti-Slavery Group sixteen years to acknowledge what was happening. I want to publicly thank my friend Dr. Charles Jacobs for leading the anti-slavery fight. But the Sudanese government and the Arab League pressured UNICEF, and UNICEF backtracked, and started to criticize those who worked to liberate Sudanese slaves. In 1998, Dr. Gaspar Biro, the courageous UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan who reported on slavery, resigned in protest of the UN’s actions. My friends, today, tens of thousands of black South Sudanese still serve their masters in the North and the UN is silent about that. It would offend the OIC and the Arab League. As a former slave and a victim of the worst sort of racism, allow me to explain why I think calling Israel a racist state is absolutely absurd and immoral. I have been to Israel five times visiting the Sudanese refugees. Let me tell you how they ended up there. These are Sudanese who fled Arab racism, hoping to find shelter in Egypt. They were wrong. When Egyptian security forces slaughtered twenty six black refugees in Cairo who were protesting Egyptian racism, the Sudanese realized that the Arab racism is the same in Khartoum or Cairo. They needed shelter and they found it in Israel. Dodging the bullets of the Egyptian border patrols and walking for very long dis-

tances, the refugees’ only hope was to reach Israel’s side of the fence, where they knew they would be safe. Black Muslims from Darfur chose Israel above all the other Arab-Muslim states of the area. Do you know what this means!? And the Arabs say Israel is racist!? In Israel, black Sudanese, Christian and Muslim were welcomed and treated like human beings. Just go and ask them, like I have done. They told me that compared to the situation in Egypt, Israel is “heaven.” Is Israel a racist state? To my people, the people who know racism - the answer is absolutely “not.” Israel is a state of people who are the colors of the rainbow. Jews themselves come in all colors, even black. I met with Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Beautiful black Jews. So, yes? I came here today to tell you that the people who suffer most from the UN anti-Israel policy are not the Israelis but all those people who the UN ignores in order to tell its big lie against Israel: We, the victims of Arab/Muslim abuse; women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, in the Arab/Muslim world. These are the biggest victims of UN Israel hatred. Look at the situation of the Copts in Egypt, the Christians in Iraq, and Nigeria, and Iran, the Hindus and Bahais who suffer from Islamic oppression. The Sikhs. We - a rainbow coalition of victims and targets of Jihadis - all suffer. We are ignored, we are abandoned. So that the big lie against the Jews can go forward.

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In 2005, I visited one of the refugee camps in South Sudan. I met a twelve year old girl who told me about her dream. In a dream she wanted to go to school to become a doctor. And then, she wanted to visit Israel. I was shocked. How could this refugee girl who spent most of her life in the North know about Israel? When I asked why she wanted to visit Israel, she said: “This is our people.” I was never able to find an answer to my question. On January 9 of 2011 South Sudan became an independent state. For South Sudanese, that means continuation of oppression, brutalization, demonization, Islamization, Arabization and enslavement. In a similar manner, the Arabs continue denying Jews their right for sovereignty in their homeland and the Durban III conference continues denying Israel’s legitimacy. As a friend of Israel, I bring you the news that my President, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir publicly stated that the South Sudan Embassy in Israel will be built - not in Tel Aviv, but in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people. I also want to assure you that my own new nation, and all of its peoples, will oppose racist forums like the Durban III. We will oppose it by simply continuing to tell the truth! Our truth! My Jewish friends taught me something that I now want to say with you. AM YISROEL CHAI! The people of Israel live! Thank you.

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y great-grandfather Rabbi Arye Leib Frumkin went to Israel in 1871; his father had settled there twenty years earlier. His first act was to begin writing his History of the Sages in Jerusalem, chronicling the Jewish presence there since Nachmanides arrived in 1265. In 1881 pogroms broke out in more than a hundred towns in Russia. That was when he realized that aliyah was no longer a pilgrimage of the few but an urgent necessity for the many. He became a pioneer, moving to one of the first agricultural settlements in the new yishuv. The early settlers had caught malaria and left. Rabbi Frumkin led the return and built the first house there. The name they gave the town epitomizes their dreams. Using a phrase from the book of Hosea, they called it Petach Tikva, ‘the Gateway of Hope.’ Today it is the sixth largest city in Israel. The Jewish connection with Israel did not begin with Zionism, a word coined in the 1890s. It goes back four thousand years to the first recorded syllables of Jewish time, G-d’s command to Abraham: ‘Leave your land, your birthplace and your father’s house and go to the land that I will show you’ (Ex. 12: 1). Seven times G-d promised Abraham the land, and repeated that promise to Isaac and Jacob. If any nation on earth has a right to any land - a right based on history, attachment, long association - then the Jewish people has a right to Israel. Judaism - twice as old as Christianity, three times as old as Islam -

was the call to Abraham’s descendants to create a society of freedom, justice and compassion under the sovereignty of G-d. A society involves a land, a home, somewhere where the ‘children of Israel’ form the majority, and can thus create a culture, an economy and a political system in accordance with their values. That land was and is Israel. Jews never left Israel voluntarily. They never relinquished their rights. They returned whenever they could: in the days of Moses, then again after the Babylonian exile, then again in generation after generation. Judah Halevi went there in the twelfth century. So did Maimonides and his family, though they found it impossible to stay. Nachmanides went after being exiled from Spain. There was a large community there in the sixteenth century. There are places, especially in Galilee, where they never left at all. Those with a sense of history long ago recognized the injustice of denying Jews their ancestral home. In 1799, Napoleon at the start of his Middle East campaign called on Jews to return (the campaign failed before there was a chance to act on this proposal). So did many British thinkers in the nineteenth century, among them Lord Palmerston, Lord Shaftsbury, and the writer George Eliot in her novel, Daniel Deronda. The Balfour Declaration in 1917, ratified in 1922 by the League of Nations, was an attempt to rectify the single most sustained crime against humanity: the denial of Jewry’s right to its land and its subsequent unparalleled history of suffering. Winston Churchill never wa-

vered from this view. There were Arab leaders who understood this too. In 1919, King Faisal wrote to the American-Jewish judge Felix Frankfurter: ‘We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. The Jewish movement is national and not imperialist. Our movement [Arab nationalism] is national and not imperialist. Indeed I think that neither can be a real success without the other.’ The idea that Jews came to Israel as outsiders or imperialists is among the most perverse of modern myths. They were the land’s original inhabitants: they have the same relationship to the land as native Americans to America, aborigines to Australia, and Maoris to New Zealand. They were ousted by imperialists. They are the only rulers of the land in the past three thousand years who neither sought nor created an empire. In fact, no other people, no other power, has ever created an independent state there. When it was not a Jewish state, Israel was merely an administrative unit of empires: the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Umayyads, Fatimids, Abbasids, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottomans. The existence of Israel, in ancient times and today, is a sustained protest against empires and imperialism: against Mesopotamia of Abraham’s day and the Egyptians of the exodus. Do we really need a Jewish state? Yes. There must be some place on earth where Jews can defend themselves, where they have a home in the sense given by the poet Robert

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Frost as ‘the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.’ Every nation has the right to rule itself and create a society and culture in accordance with its own values. That right, to national selfdetermination, is among the most basic in politics. Today there are 82 Christian nations and 56 Muslim ones, but only one Jewish one: in a country smaller than the Kruger National Park, one quarter of one percent of the land mass of the Arab world. Long ago Jews recognized the right of the Arab population of the land to a place of their own. There were various plans for the partition of the land into two states, one Jewish, one Arab, in the 1920s and 1930s. Jews accepted them; the Arabs rejected them. In 1947, the United Nations voted for partition. Again, Jews accepted, the Arabs refused. David Ben Gurion reiterated the call for peace as a central part of Israel’s Declaration of Independence in May 1948. Israel’s neighbors Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq - responded by attacking it on all fronts. The offer was renewed in 1967 after the Six Day War. The response of the Arab League, meeting in Khartoum in September 1967, was the famous ‘Three Nos’: no to peace, no to negotiations, no to the recognition of the State of Israel. The call was repeated many times by Golda Meir, and always decisively rejected. The boldest offer was made by Ehud Barak at Taba, 2001. It offered the Palestinians a state in the whole of Gaza and 97 percent of the West Bank, with border compensations for the other 3 percent, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The story is told in detail in Dennis Ross’s ‘The Missing Peace’ (Ross was the chief negotiator). Many members of the Palestinian team wanted to accept. The Saudi ambassador at the time, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, said, ‘If Arafat does not accept what is available now, it won’t be a tragedy, it will be a crime.’ Tragically the Palestinians have been betrayed by those who claimed

to be their supporters. They were betrayed in 1948 by the Arab states who promised them that if they left now they would return soon, all Jews having been expelled. They were betrayed by the Arab nations to which they fled, who refused to grant them citizenship, in marked contrast to Israel and its treatment of Jewish refugees from Arab (and other) lands. They were betrayed by countries that encouraged them to pursue violence instead of peace, bringing

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poverty to an entire population which, under Israeli rule from 1967 to 1987, had achieved unprecedented levels of affluence and economic growth. They are betrayed today by those who encourage impossible expectations - Palestinian rule over the whole of Israel - thus condemning yet another generation to violence, poverty and despair. The Egyptians, who ruled Gaza between 1949 and 1967, could have created a Palestinian state, but did not. The Jordanians,

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who ruled the West Bank during the same years, could have created a Palestinian state, but did not. Instead, Egypt persecuted its Islamist intellectuals, sentencing many to death. The Jordanians expelled the Palestinians in 1971, after killing almost ten thousand of them in 1970 in the massacre known as ‘Black September.’ The only country that has ever offered the Palestinians a state is Israel. What has systematically derailed Israel’s efforts for peace is the fact that every concession it has made, every withdrawal it has undertaken, has been interpreted by its enemies as a sign of weakness, and has led to more violence, not less. The Oslo process led to suicide bombings. Ehud Barak’s offer led to the socalled El Aqsa Intifada. The withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza led directly to the onslaught of Katyushas and Kassams. How does any nation make peace under these conditions? Hamas and Hizbollah have made it clear that they do not seek peace. They seek Israel’s destruction.

Under constant threat of violence or war, Israel’s achievements have nonetheless been immense. It has taken a desolate landscape and turned it into a place of farms, forests and fields. It has taken immigrants from more than a hundred countries, speaking more than eighty languages and turned them into a nation. It has created a modern economy with almost no resources other than the creative gifts of its people. It has sustained democracy in a part of the world that had never known it before. It has taken Hebrew, the language of the Bible, and made it speak again. It has taken a people devastated by the Holocaust and made it live again. Israel remains a Petach Tikva, a gateway of hope. Is criticism of Israel anti-Semitism? No. Criticism is a legitimate part of democratic politics and free speech. Many of Israel’s most acute critics are Israelis. No nation is perfect; no nation can be perfect; a good society is one that makes space for, and listens to, constructive criticism.

That is something with which we must live. The Hebrew Bible is the most self-critical document in religious or national history. What we must challenge are the blatant falsehoods: that Israel is the aggressor, that it has not sought peace; above all the idea that it has no right to exist. Equally we much challenge the false paradigm that the Israel-Palestinian relationship is a zero-sum game in which one side loses and the other wins. It is not. From peace, both sides gain. From war, violence and terror, both sides lose. The call on both sides must be for peace: peace for Israel, peace for the Palestinians. You cannot have one without the other. The choice is not between supporting Israel or supporting the Palestinians, but between peace or violence. Peace is sacred, violence a desecration. Too many lives have been lost, too much blood has been shed. Eventually both sides must recognize the other’s right to be - and if not now, when?

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Accepting the Torah as ‘One Man with One Heart’ By Dov Shurin


was zocheh once again to be in Meron on Lag B’Omer this year, as I am every year. I got there on Thursday, well before the police started closing the roads to private vehicles. And the moment I arrived I got a gift from Hashem, in the zchus of the holy Tana, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. It’s a unique way of understanding the Chazal which Rashi brings. Upon our nation’s arrival to the Mount Sinai area for the giving of the Torah, the verse is reported in the SINGULAR form, “And Israel encamped.” Our sages say that we were ‘like one man with one heart.’ Every time I come across this verse, I think, “Wow, what a great level we reached before the giving of the holy Torah!” Are we supposed to prepare for our rededication to Kabalas HaTorah each year by AGAIN reaching this level of being, ‘as one person with one heart?’ When I gave this k’ish echod some sober thought for the first time, I realized that even the book of Tehillim points out, at the end of the first chapter of Kabalas Shabbos, “For forty years I was angry with the generation (that left Egypt) and I concluded that they are ‘toe’ay levov,’ their hearts constantly drew mistaken conclusions!” Doesn’t that conflict with our presumption that the Yidden became like ‘one man with one heart,’ which was something so wonderful, and brought us to chanting in unison: “Everything that Hashem commands we will do!?” But 40 days later they were already making the Golden Calf… I opened a Gutnick Chumash during these Sefira days, and sure enough, in the perush Toras Menachem, they bring the holy words of the Rebbe, who by a farbrengen asked the same thing. He mentioned those people that wanted to turn

Moshe into a liar by sprinkling manna around on Shabbos, when it truly didn’t fall that day. So, he asked, were these the people that suddenly joined together with the righteous to become ‘one man with one heart?’ The Rebbe gives a beautiful answer. They were k’ish echod b’lev echod in one positive aspect; that of Jewish destiny, in the areivus zeh la’zeh, in accepting the yoke of Jewish destiny. I kind of see this in the fact that the cattle car which brought Jews to be slaughtered during the Holocaust had chassidim, misnagdim, tziyonim, chilonim, and even Jews that didn’t know they were Jewish, until Hitler, YM’Shmo, codified his racial laws! Anyway, the Rebbe’s answer was great, but I was still questioning the concept of a nation being ‘Like ONE MAN with ONE heart. Let’s go to the generation of the flood: they ALL drowned to death! Were they not ‘one man with one heart’ as they drowned together?? How about the generation of the dor haflaga, in which “ALL people spoke one language.” This unity brought them to attempt to build that mammoth tower and fight Hashem! Weren’t they then ‘one man with one heart?’ What about the people of Sodom? They were like one person with one heart, totally united in their wickedness. There were not even ten righteous among them, to the dismay of father Avraham, who tried to stop the inevitable destruction. And let us NOT forget the brothers of Yoseph, that k’ish echod b’lev echod, brought Yoseph’s garment, dripping with goat’s blood, to Yaakov Avinu. And like one man with one heart, they said: “Do you recognize this, father?”

So in my head, as I drove into Meron, I questioned this posuk and the concept, which many people think is so wonderful, just as I have thought. And suddenly I got an awesome chiddush, the moment I parked my car in Meron. Suddenly I thought - The Jews encamped as ‘one man with one heart’is referring Moshe Rabbenu - a unique man with a unique heart. The Jews realized that they had a great Rebbe with perfect faith! In fact, by the sea, the Torah testifies that the entire nation had FAITH in Hashem and in His Servant Moshe. So the Jews now encamped: ‘k’ish’ like their Rebbe, who was a unique man with a unique heart. The source for this chiddush is from Avimelech, king of the Plishtim, who said to Yitzchak Avinu, ‘Echod ha’am’ nearly sinned. Onkelos translates ‘Echod’ as ‘miyuchad’ - that the king was referring to himself as ‘echod,’ for he was their King and he stood apart from the people! So too here, in our posuk, Israel was single-minded in their decision that anything their great Rebbe Moshe would ask of them, they were ready to do. But who were they, in actuality? 40 days later, nebach, Moshe was late in coming down from the mountain, and their faith diminished so strongly that they made the Golden Calf. We can also apply this pshat to what we say in the Mincha of Shmone Esrei on Shabbos: “Who is like Your nation Israel, ONE GOY IN THE LAND. From here we can see that ONE means special and unique, because there are many nations in the land. I am writing this article on a flight to New York. I left Meron at 3am to catch a plane. I am having a 31-hour Lag B’Omer because the clock is going backwards as our plane goes forwards. I’m going to New York this time for one reason; to be menachem avel the family of my sponsor of 33 years; Zvi (Heshy Frank) zt’l. I can say that I must have gotten my chiddush in his z’chus, because Heshy was mamash an ‘ish echad b’lev echad,’ a UNIQUE man with a UNIQUE heart. May he inspire all of us to be mekabel the Torah in a special way this Shavuos. May his family never know any more tza’ar and perpetuate his uniqueness. Ah Gutten Yom Tov.

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arrived in Israel last night to celebrate the 66th anniversary of the rebirth of the State of Israel. This is my first time to be here for Independence Day and it is very special. Today, many take the existence of the modern nation of Israel for granted. But it is actually a stunning miracle and the fulfillment of ancient Bible prophecies. Indeed, few Americans know how close the U.S. government came to refusing to support the establishment of the State of Israel in May of 1948. Few realize that most of President Truman’s advisors were dead set against the Jewish state, despite the horrors of the Holocaust, and that even many American Jews didn’t support the re-creation of Israel. But G-d had His purposes. He had His plan. And He made sure His plan came to pass, and remarkably, the U.S. played an interesting role in those prophetic developments. It is a fascinating story, and one I shared in some detail in my non-fiction book in 2012, ‘Implosion.’ Here are some excerpts you might find interesting:

“THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE REBIRTH OF ISRAEL” Over the past six decades, the United States has been Israel’s best friend and chief ally. That warm and strategic relationship began with President Harry Truman’s official and highly public decision to be the first world leader to recognize and support the newly declared State of Israel on May 14, 1948. Yet few Americans realize the tectonic struggle that took place at the highest levels of the U.S. government and almost prevented

Truman from making or implementing that decision. Until recently, despite decades of studying Jewish history, traveling to Israel, and working with various Israeli leaders, I had no idea just how close the Jewish state came to being denied early and critical recognition by the American government. Not long ago, however, an Israeli friend recommended that I read Counsel to the President, a book that takes readers inside the Oval Office and describes the political infighting against Israel in vivid detail. What I found absolutely fascinated me. The book is the memoir of Clark Clifford, a highly respected Democrat who served as senior advisor for and special counsel to President Truman. Later, Clifford served as chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board for President John F. Kennedy, as secretary of defense under President Lyndon Johnson, and as an informal but highly trusted advisor to President Jimmy Carter before retiring from government and later passing away in 1998 at the age of 91. Clifford’s memoir explains his upclose-and-personal role in some of the most dramatic moments of American history in the post-World War II years, from advising Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, to helping Johnson seek an exit strategy from the Vietnam War, to counseling Carter during the darkest days of his presidency, to playing poker with Winston Churchill on a train bound for Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill was set to deliver his “Iron Curtain” speech. Yet Clifford didn’t begin his 709page tome with a description of any of these events. His first chapter, titled “Showdown in the Oval Office,” begins like this:

May 12, 1948 - Of all the meetings I ever had with presidents, this one remains the most vivid. Not only did it pit me against a legendary war hero whom President Truman revered, but it did so over an issue of fundamental and enduring national security importance - Israel and the Mideast. Clifford noted that Truman regarded then-secretary of state (and decorated Army general) George C. Marshall as “the greatest living American,” yet Truman and Marshall were on “a collision course” over Israel that “threatened to split and wreck the administration.” Simply put, “Marshall firmly opposed American recognition of the new Jewish state,” opposition that was “shared by almost every member of the brilliant and now-legendary group of men, later referred to as ‘the Wise Men,’ who were then in the process of creating a postwar foreign policy that would endure for more than forty years.” President Truman, in contrast, was a strong supporter of Israel, in large part because of his belief in the Bible.... Interestingly, Clifford noted that Ben-Gurion and his advisors had not yet decided on a name for the Jewish state. “The name ‘Israel’ was as yet unknown,” Clifford wrote, “and most of us assumed the new nation would be called ‘Judaea.’” Also interesting is the fact that Truman’s support of the creation of the Jewish state was opposed by many American Jews, a fact unknown or forgotten by many friends of Israel. “A significant number of Jewish Americans opposed Zionism,” Clifford wrote in his memoir. “Some feared that the effort to create a Jewish state was so controversial that the plan would fail. In 1942 a number of prominent Reform rabbis had founded the American Council for Judaism to oppose the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. It grew into an organization of over fourteen thousand members, which collaborated closely with State Department officials.” Clifford also noted that Arthur H. Sulzberger, the Jewish publisher of the New York Times, and Eugene Meyer, the Jewish pub-

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lisher of the Washington Post, “opposed Zionism” as well. Nevertheless, Truman had spoken favorably of the creation of a Jewish national homeland since not long after taking office. In 1947, for example, Truman had publicly made it the policy of the United States government to back passage of the United Nations Partition Plan, creating the legal framework for the rebirth of the State of Israel as well as an adjoining state for the Palestinian Arabs. To succeed, the Partition Plan needed a two-thirds majority vote of the U.N. General Assembly. With just days to go before that historic vote on November 29, 1947, however, supporters of the plan were still three votes short. Some have suggested that President Truman personally called leaders of other nations to encourage them to support the American position. Others say he didn’t but that staff in his administration did; the record is not clear. Either way, most historians - including David McCullough, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his extraordinary biography ‘Truman’ - acknowledge that Truman wanted the plan to pass and played a role behind the scenes. In the end, Truman got his way. The Partition Plan dramatically passed at the last moment, thirty-three to thirteen, with ten abstentions. Given Truman’s backing of the Partition Plan, it would seem in retrospect that his decision to formally support the new state of Israel was a fait accompli. But the political crisis inside the White House and State Department was real and festering for the next two days. Tensions mounted, and time was running out. Reporters were asking what the president would do on the issue, and the advisors closest to the president had no clue. President Truman kept his cards close to his vest. Clifford later wrote that he thought “the chances for salvaging the situation were very small - but not quite zero.” By May 14, neither the secretary of state nor the secretary of defense nor any of the Cabinet or senior advisors knew which side the president would come down on. Then, a few hours before Ben-Gurion’s scheduled

announcement, an aide to Secretary of State George Marshall called Clifford at the White House to say that Marshall still did not support the creation of Israel but would not oppose the president publicly if he declared in favor. This was a significant breakthrough. With less than an hour to go, the State Department aide called back to suggest again that Secretary Marshall hoped the president would delay making any decision for more internal discussions, presumably over the next few days.

“Only thirty minutes before the announcement would be made in Tel Aviv,” Clifford recalled, “the American segment of the drama was now coming to a climax.” Clifford told the aide he would check with President Truman and get back to the secretary. He waited three minutes, then called the aide back, saying delay was out of the question. Finally, at six o’clock, the president formally announced his final decision to Clifford. The United States would recognize and support the State of Israel. Truman handed his statement to Clifford, who immediately took it to the president’s press secretary, Charlie Ross. At 6:11 p.m., Ross read the statement to the press, and thus to the world: Statement by the president. This government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine. The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel. History had been made. Bible prophecy had just been fulfilled. After a long and painful labor, the State of Israel had miraculously been born in a day. “Who has heard such a thing?”

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the prophet Isaiah wrote. “Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children” (Isaiah). What’s more, the first world leader officially to recognize Israel’s legitimacy was a Christian who had been raised reading the Bible and believed it was true. Most of his senior advisors had vehemently opposed the creation of Israel. Much of the American Jewish community opposed it too. The Arab world would soon turn against the United States and move increasingly into the orbit of the Soviet Union. Yet Truman backed Israel anyway because he believed it was the right thing to do, the biblical thing to do. “The fundamental basis of this nation’s ideals was given to Moses on Mount Sinai,” Truman once told an audience. “The fundamental basis of the Bill of Rights of our Constitution comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus, Isaiah, and others. That is not to say that Truman made all his decisions based on Scripture. Truman was an intensely private man when it came to spiritual and religious matters, and he did not often discuss what he believed about the Bible and how he connected those beliefs to public policy. The 1940s were a different age. Presidents rarely discussed such matters with the public. Truman even felt reticent about discussing his beliefs with Billy Graham, as Graham described in his autobiography. However, it is not conjecture to say that Bible prophecy was a critical element in Truman’s decision-making process. Clifford confirmed it in his memoir. “[Truman] was a student and believer in the Bible since his youth. From his reading of the Old Testament he felt the Jews derived a legitimate historical right to Palestine, and he sometimes cited such biblical lines as Deuteronomy 1:8, ‘Behold, I have given up the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which G-d hath sworn unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’”

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TODAY’S TOPIC: Why We Need Mother’s Day The Goq: Ok I know that some people will say this was a holiday invented by florists and the greeting card industry, but this is a beautiful holiday that is centered on one thing: Hakaros Hatov, taking the time once a year to show our appreciation to our mothers. There is no way we can pay back our parents for all they have done for us, so let us take this opportunity to show our love and give our mothers the thanks they deserve.

Oomis: Thanks, Goq. Even though halacha mandates that every day is mother’s (and father’s) day, it’s nice that kids are actually “forced” to stop what they are doing and THINK about what that concept means, at least once a year. And yeah, it was invented by the florists and greeting card industry. Very smart of them, no?

Joseph: My teacher always taught that by Yidden every day is father’s and mother’s day. We don’t need one day only. The goyim don’t have much respect for them all year and thus established one day for them.

Charliehall: “This was a holiday invented by florists and the greeting card industry.” This is incorrect. The idea came from Ann Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe, I think independently, shortly after the Civil War. Howe is better known as the author of the lyrics of the famous Civil War song, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” They were both social activists who hoped that a holiday would help improve the status of women. Both Jarvis and Howe were deceased by the time the official Mother’s Day proclamation was issued by Woodrow Wilson, but Jarvis’s daughter Anna Jarvis, who had campaigned for the holiday, spent the rest of her life campaigning against the commercialization of the holiday by the greeting card industry.

Ursula momish: “M” is for the Many things you gave me, “O” is for the Other things you gave me, “T” is for the Things you gave me, “H” is for the Hundreds of things you gave me, “E” is for Everything you gave me, “R” is for the Rest of the things you gave me, Put them all together and they spell, ‘Mother,” whom I call every Mother’s Day and tell her that I love her too much to sing this to her. Aries2756: Mother’s Day is special because WE are honored for being mothers. And we are joined together with our daughters, daughters-in-law, mothers, mothers-in-law and all other mothers in a unique understanding that anyone who is NOT a mother does not understand. TikkunHatzot: “The goyim don’t have much respect for them all year and thus established one day for them.” Did your rabbi actually include this part or were you just adding it? I thought Chazal always used stories of goyim and their parents to show how a person should respect their parents. Joseph: Why in secular culture is Mother’s Day such a big deal, but Father’s Day is not nearly as big a deal? Tzvideer: And I thought that Mother’s Day was invented by R’ Yom Tov Ehrlich when he sang his song about Matan Torah. Then it was reinforced by Avraham Fried when he sang the song again. I am sooooo surprised to hear that this Yom Tov was around before Yom Tov Ehrlich. Maybe someone here is making a mistake?! BTW, when is Mother’s Day??

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Jewish unity: Joseph - the answer to your question comes from Chazal. When talking about kibbud av v’em it mentions the father first and when talking about morah av v’em it mentions the mother first. Why? Because a person’s natural inclination is to fear your father more and respect/honor your mother more. So the Torah mentioned the opposite one first to teach us to work harder on it since it’s not natural. And that’s the reason the goyim celebrate Mother’s Day more than Father’s Day. We naturally honor our mothers more (and who celebrates a day honoring someone they’re scared of?). Little Froggie: Hope “Mommy” (the famous) isn’t looking… But if she does... I don’t need any secular occasion or holiday to thank her. And I don’t think I can adequately thank her or show my appreciation to her in a mere pithy post. I (like everyone born of woman) actually owe my very being, existence to her. She nurtured, cared, soothed, fed (hard job) and cleaned little me. She taught (yes, she was my 1st grade teacher too), disciplined, guided and directed me in the right path of life, of morals, proper values and conduct. She exhibited a great measure of patience and inner strength in my upbringing, my chinuch. I wasn’t the regular run-of-the-mill child. Taming me was not an easy feat (some here would say I’m still not). So no, there are no words to say I THANK YOU!! Oomis: I only wish with all my heart that my mom AND my dad aleihem hashalom, were still here with me. I could never adequately express to my parents how much I love, value, and appreciate them, especially now that I have been a Bubby for several years. I have developed a whole new respect for how absolutely amazing they were. My mother was a generous, selfless, loving mom, daughter, sister, aunt, and bubby extraordinaire! She had a simchas hachayim that continued through some of her darkest and saddest days. And she taught me everything that is good in me, and is not responsible for anything that might not be, chalilah. I am profoundly grateful to Hashem for the brocha of the parents that He gave me for 42 years. I can only try to emulate them. They are a tough act to follow. Happy Mother’s Day to my fellow Moms. While it is true that Yidden have an obligation for every day to be parents’ day, it’s still nice to be extra pampered, so soon after Pesach!! SayIDidIt: The Goq and Oomis, your posts almost made me cry. I really must appreciate my mother (and father) while I still can. Thanks for the mussar shmooze! Oomis: SIDI, I didn’t mean to give mussar, but if you took something good out of it, then I’m glad. Have some Kleenex. On me. Little Froggie: SiDi: I’ve heard of a special time to daven for the longevity of parents - when one goes outside during Yizkor. Instead of wasting time in shmoozing and frivolity, use the time wisely, thank Hashem for the fact that you’re outside! And be mispallel for the future, so that it should continue that way!

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MEETING REB NOCHUM “Your friend has a friend; and your friend’s friend also has a friend.” (Bava Basra 28b; Kesuvos 109b)


ccording to the rabbis of the Talmud, certain significant pieces of information, such as someone’s ox having gored something or the ownership of someone’s field being contested, will eventually reach the ears of the people involved. This assumption is based on the principle, articulated above, that people have been connected to each other through overlapping social networks long before the invention of telephone lines. In a similar vein, our initial encounters with significant people in our lives are often arranged by longstandReprinted and excerpted with permission of Menucha Publishers © 2014.

ing friends. My first meeting with Reb Nochum, almost thirty years ago, was one such rendezvous. “I met someone today in yeshivah,” my good buddy, Yaakov Salomon, began over the phone one night in late winter 1985. “And I have a feeling that you would like meeting him, too.” Yaakov had just rearranged his daily schedule to fit in the full first seder of learning with the kollel of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in Flatbush. “Uh, oh. Here it comes,” I teased. “Here comes what?” Yaakov asked, playing the straight man. “Here comes the pitch for me to join you at the kollel. You can’t fool me. I can see right through your fa´ cade. You’re going to try to make me feel jealous. Here you are in yeshivah, meeting all of these fascinating people every day while I’m missing out on all the excitement, right? Isn’t that where you’re headed with this?” “I guess they don’t call you Wily Wikler for nothing. I really should have known better than to try to lure you into the kollel. You’re much too smart to fall for my tricks.” “That’s what I keep telling you, Yaakov. You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to put one over… …On Wily Wikler,” Yaakov interrupted, finishing my sentence. “In this particular case, however, you just happen to be mistaken. Now, don’t get me wrong. I would love to have you join me in the kollel, and it would be my dream to have you for a chavrusa, but that was not what I was leading up to.” “Does this mean you won’t call me Wily Wikler anymore?”

“Well, maybe, but only if you beg me. Anyway, what I was trying to tell you - before you falsely accused me of trying to entice you to join the kollel was that I heard someone speak in the yeshivah today. His name is Rabbi Nochum Cohen. He is from Yerushalayim and he delivered a riveting derashah in the beis midrash.” “Okay, you’ve piqued my interest. Tell me more.” “He is not a rosh yeshivah or a rebbe. He is a young man, maybe only ten years older than us. He looks Chassidish, but I’m not really sure about his affiliation. He spoke about the parashah. But it wasn’t what he said that impressed me. It was more the way he spoke. There is something very charismatic about him. I cannot really describe it any better than that. “Anyway, I just felt drawn to him and approached him after his derashah. I introduced myself and said I would like to speak with him further. To tell you the truth, Meir, I do not know what I wanted to speak with him about. But, I just felt that he is someone I would like to get to know better.” “Yaakov, I have to run out to my shiur in a minute. What’s the punch line of this story?” “Well, I’m getting to that. Rabbi Cohen was on his way out of yeshivah and seemed to be in a rush. But he said he’d like to schmooze with me, too. So he invited me to join him for breakfast tomorrow, and he gave me the address where he is staying. “Now it just so happens that he is staying right around the corner from your house! So I thought if you are available tomorrow morning, I would pick you up on my way and we could both have a schmooze with him. “To tell you the truth, Meir, I know this all sounds a bit odd. But there is something very magnetic about his personality. And I just got the feeling that he is someone you would enjoy meeting. And since he is staying around the corner from you, I thought you might want to come along.” “Okay. I’m sold. And it just so happens that I am available tomorrow morning. Regardless of how it turns

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out with Rabbi Cohen, I always enjoy your company anyway. So, what time will you pick me up?” The next morning, Yaakov and I arrived at the address shortly before Reb Nochum returned from Shacharis. We were escorted into the living room by Reb Nochum’s host. A few minutes later, Reb Nochum walked in and gave Yaakov the warm and hearty greeting one would expect only from an old friend. While pumping Yaakov’s hand and smiling broadly, Reb Nochum spoke in Yiddish. “Oh, I was hoping you would come! I wasn’t sure you took my invitation seriously. I was afraid you might have thought I was simply trying to brush you off yesterday. Please come join me for breakfast.” “Thank you,” Yaakov replied, politely. “And I hope it is all right that I brought a friend along with me.” “Why not? If he is a friend of yours, I’m happy to meet him, too.” Then, noticing me for the first time, Reb Nochum greeted me and asked my name.” “Meir Wikler.” “You are Meir Wikler?” “Yes,” I replied, a bit embarrassed that Reb Nochum was making such a fuss over meeting me. “Are you Meir Wikler, the marriage counselor?” “Uh, yes, I am,” I said hesitantly, wondering what was in store for ‘Meir Wikler the marriage counselor.’ “What hashgachah pratis this is! I wanted to speak with you and I did not know how to get in touch with you. This is unbelievable.” Reb Nochum then turned to Yaakov and said, “I hope you do not mind if I speak with him privately. Is that okay with you?” “Sure. Go right ahead,” Yaakov consented, as he shot me a wink and a smile as if to say, “See what I was talking about last night?” There I was coming in to meet Reb Nochum on Yaakov’s coattails. And before we even got started, Reb Nochum wanted to speak with me alone, without Yaakov. When we reminisced about this episode years later, Yaakov assured me that it had not bothered him at all.

But since it would have made me uncomfortable if our roles had been reversed, I therefore felt ill at ease, in addition to being surprised and very curious about what Reb Nochum had to say. Reb Nochum took me into the next room, closed the door and asked me to sit down. He then explained that part of his purpose in coming to New York was to speak about and strengthen shalom bayis. Earlier that week he was speaking to a large audience in Williamsburg about it and a Mrs. Weiss* approached

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him after his derashah. She poured out her heart to him about her extremely strained and difficult marriage. Then she begged Reb Nochum to try to speak with her husband. In the course of gathering some background information from Mrs. Weiss, Reb Nochum learned that Mr. and Mrs. Weiss had recently consulted privately with a professional marriage counselor named Meir Wikler. “So I was very eager to speak with you and find out your assessment of this couple. What I really want to

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know is whether or not you feel that Mr. Weiss* is as stubborn as his wife claims he is. I need to know that before I try to get involved in this case.” Now I understood why Reb Nochum had to speak to me privately. I felt even more awkward than before, however, because I expected that Reb Nochum would not be happy with my reply. “Uh, let me see how to put this. You see, I am really not permitted to speak to anyone about someone I may have seen professionally without that person’s prior consent. It would simply be against the law.” Reb Nochum was more tolerant of my withholding comment than I had anticipated. “Of course,” he said. “I understand fully. I would not want you to violate any professional ethics. I will first ask them to give you permission to speak with me. And then we can discuss this case once you are free to discuss them. In the meantime, I am glad to have this opportunity to meet you in person. We can always speak later, over the phone.” Reb Nochum returned to the living room and apologized to Yaakov for keeping him waiting. Then he invited both of us to join him for breakfast. Reb Nochum asked us each about our families, our professional practices, and our Torah learning schedules. He was lively, warm, and thoroughly engaging. It was easy to understand why Yaakov had described Reb Nochum as charismatic. Reb Nochum regaled us with Torah insights and personal anecdotes, none of which I can remember today. I had a difficult time keeping focused on the conversation because my mind kept returning to the irony of my coming to meet a new Rav who had been trying to contact me. And I still felt somewhat uncomfortable about Reb Nochum having given me more attention than Yaakov, who had initiated this whole encounter. If I felt discomfort during our half-hour visit with Reb Nochum, I felt even more self-conscious when we finally took leave. Reb Nochum got up and walked us to the door, thanking us profusely for coming to see him that morning. He asked whether we ever traveled to

Eretz Yisrael. When we said that we did, he told us he was returning to there in a few days. And he extended an open invitation to us to come to his home with our families for a Shabbos meal on our next trip. He insisted that we write down his phone number so we could contact him to let him know “when we are coming.” Then he shook hands with Yaakov, warmly blessing him with success in his private psychotherapy practice, and good health for him and his family. Yaakov stepped outside onto the front landing and waited for me to join him. Reb Nochum took my hand and gave me a similar blessing. I turned to leave, but stopped because he was still holding onto my hand, signaling me that there was more he wanted to say. “I have this strange feeling,” Reb Nochum said in a reflective tone. “I cannot explain it and it is difficult to describe. But, I feel as if I have known you for a long time. Even though we have only just met now, I feel as if there is a prior connection between our neshamos. “I know what I just said must have sounded strange to you, but I do feel a strong bond between us now. So let me just add that I really do hope you will take me up on my open invitation the next time you are in Yerushalayim. And I hope we will meet again soonvery soon. Le’hitraot.” I felt almost dizzy as I stepped out onto the front landing. I immediately shared with Yaakov what Reb Nochum had just told me. “Do you think he says that to everyone?” I asked, as we got into Yaakov’s car. “He obviously doesn’t,” Yaakov pointed out, “because he didn’t say it to me. He was certainly very warm and friendly to both of us. But, apparently, he felt something special towards you. So you might as well admit it now that I was right last night when I told you that you would enjoy meeting him.” Since our initial meeting with him, almost thirty years ago, both Yaakov Salomon and I have met with Reb Nochum many times, both together and separately. We have attended his public lectures, his more private by-in-

vitation-only talks, and even his family simchahs. We have met him at his home and bumped into him on the street. We have consulted with him over the phone and in person. And we each have developed priceless personal relationships with this most inspirational Torah personality. Over the years, however, it has become clear that I have had many more opportunities to meet and speak with Reb Nochum than my dear friend, Yaakov. Whether this was the result of Reb Nochum’s prophetic words uttered at our initial encounter, or the fact that I have visited Eretz Yisrael more often than Yaakov, or more like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I will let the reader decide. In the final analysis, however, no more evidence is needed than this book itself to document that I have, indeed, been privileged to cultivate a very special relationship with Reb Nochum. And what happened with the Weisses? I was no more successful in getting through to Mr. Weiss than his wife was. In fact, after meeting with me once or twice, he saw no reason to continue. After all, he explained to me over the phone, it was his wife who needed to be fixed, not him. Mrs. Weiss did continue to meet with me for a few months, seeking guidance on how to deal with her belligerent, critical, and unreasonable husband. Ever since she attended Reb Nochum’s public derashah in Williamsburg, Mrs. Weiss was in touch with him, as well, over the phone, and she often shared with me how supportive he had been of her even from so far away. When Mrs. Weiss reported to me during one session that her husband had blown up and launched into a tirade of verbal abuse at her for having cooked her Shabbos gefilte fish with too many onions, I realized that this marriage could not last much longer. Mrs. Weiss eventually reached the same conclusion herself. Shortly before she became convinced that it was time to seek a divorce, an incident took place which revealed two dazzling facets of Reb Nochum’s unique personality: his completely selfless desire

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to help others and his outrageously unconventional and spontaneous approaches to dealing with people. Mr. Weiss had erupted into one of his all too frequent outbursts of uncontrolled rage. What had triggered this particular episode was his hearing the news from Mrs. Weiss that their second son, Leizer,* was sent to the principal’s office for the third time that month because of misbehavior. At first, Mr. Weiss vented his angry feelings towards Leizer for his repeated failure to improve his classroom conduct. Mr. Weiss then targeted Mrs. Weiss, accusing her of being too lenient in dealing with Leizer’s disobedience at home, which, Mr. Weiss believed, was the underlying cause of Leizer’s behavioral problems in yeshivah. Finally, Mr. Weiss held both Leizer and Mrs. Weiss responsible for creating so much stress for him that he felt his health was being jeopardized. That episode of Mr. Weiss’s violent temper lasted for two full days. He was only calmed down when Mrs. Weiss called Reb Nochum. Reb Nochum asked to speak with Mr. Weiss and said, “I do not blame you for being upset about the phone call your wife received from Leizer’s principal. Why should you have to live with so much constant tension at home? Your health is too important to be put at risk by Leizer’s chronic misbehavior. Therefore, I propose that my rebbetzin and I adopt your Leizer. Have your lawyer send us the necessary papers and we will sign them.” Reb Nochum never did adopt Leizer. Mr. Weiss was shamed by Reb Nochum’s offer and quieted down as soon as he got off the phone. While that particular fire was extinguished, even Reb Nochum could not save this marriage. Nevertheless, his extraordinary proposal illustrates the incredible lengths to which he would go to help a couple achieve shalom bayis. In the stories which follow, the reader will be able to sample firsthand accounts of interactions, episodes, and, at times, even miraculous events involving Reb Nochum which may help to explain why so many people from so many diverse walks of life were magnetically drawn to meet him.

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1. A Capella Soul 2 - Ari Goldwag - Aderet 2. Ich Hub Lib Der Yom Tov Shavuos - Yoeli Klein - Nigun 3. A.K.A. Pella Top 20 - Sameach

1. YBC 6 - Eli Gerstner - Sameach 2. Pischu Li - Simcha Leiner - Aderet 3. Ich Hub Lib Der Yom Tov Shavuos - Yoeli Klein - Nigun

1. When Zaidy was Young, Tale 3 - R- Shmuel Kunda zt’l 2. One Day More - Maccabeats - Sameach 3. Kolot - Yakov Shwekey - Yochi Briskman

MAY 2014 1. Ich Hub Lib Der Yom Tov Shavuos - Yoeli Klein - Nigun 2. Meshorerim 4 - Chaim Blumenfeld 3. Mesiras Nefesh - Berel Sofer - L-Chaim

IMPORTANT NOTE These ratings are supplied by the 7 major Jewish music outlets listed here, based on their actual sales over the last thirty days in the Greater New York area. The list does not reflect total sales of any CD. It does not include sales in other stores, cities or countries (Israel!). The list is designed to be an indication of what’s currently popular in New York. Although every effort has been made to ensure fairness and accuracy, this list is published for entertainment purposes only and Country Yossi Family Magazine is not responsible for any inaccuracies or misrepresentations. 94

1. Vocal Collection - M.R.M 2. YBC 6 - Eli Gerstner - Sameach 3. My Father's Zemiros - Avraham Fried - Sameach

1. Hooleh - 8th Day - Aderet 2. When Zaidy was Young, Tale 3 - R- Shmuel Kunda zt’l 3. My Father's Zemiros - Avraham Fried - Sameach

1. YBC 6 - Eli Gerstner - Sameach 2. One Day More - Maccabeats - Sameach 3. A.K.A. Pella Top 20 - Sameach

1. That's My Nanny - Rachel's Place - Aderet 2. Bechatzros Kodsheinu - Aderet 3. Twins in Trouble - Aderet

1. That's My Nanny - Rachel's Place - Aderet 2. Fit Yid - Aderet 3. The Multimasker - Leah Forster - Aderet

1. That's My Nanny - Rachel's Place - Aderet 2. Megillas Lester - Emes Productions 3. Twins in Trouble - Aderet

MAY 2014 1. That's My Nanny - Rachel's Place - Aderet 2. Twins in Trouble - Aderet 3. Beim Shvel - Chazak

IMPORTANT NOTE 1. Bella Bracha Goes to a Wedding - Aderet 2. The Wonders of Hashem - Aderet 3. Megillas Lester - Emes Productions

1. That's My Nanny - Rachel's Place - Aderet 2. Fit Yid - Aderet 3. The Wonders of Hashem - Aderet

1. That's My Nanny - Rachel's Place - Aderet 2. Shape Fitness - Aderet 3. Bella Bracha Goes to a Wedding - Aderet

These ratings are supplied by the 7 major Jewish music outlets listed here, based on their actual sales over the last thirty days in the Greater New York area. The list does not reflect total sales of any DVD. It does not include sales in other stores, cities or countries (Israel!). The list is designed to be an indication of what’s currently popular in New York. Although every effort has been made to ensure fairness and accuracy, this list is published for entertainment purposes only and Country Yossi Family Magazine is not responsible for any inaccuracies or misrepresentations. 95




MAY 2014

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The Final exam


s the weather turns warmer and the school year rapidly moves to a close there’s only one thing on everybody’s mind. Almost every person - child and parent alike - can’t help but keep their focus on one big hurdle to maneuver. Everyone’s attention seems to be directed towards that one topic. Almost like an obsession, this takes up many hours of everyone’s life and saps them of any strength that may be left in their body. This is the design of the final exam. It seems like almost yesterday when everyone was only struggling with their mid-terms. Now, before you can even bat an eye the finals are in full force upon us, strangling every remaining breath from us. They latch on and quickly squeeze out the life of each individual, ounce by ounce. While it may seem that the finals are for school-age children only, this is completely and utterly false. Everyone suffers from the finals. Nobody is free and nobody is safe. Although children are the primary target of the final exams - namely the intended victims - there is much collateral damage along the way. Adults of all sizes, shapes and ages have been known to become the victims of this phenomenon. There are many ways that experiencing the horrors of the final exam have come to play. For many people this may be a direct, first-hand experience and for others it may be something they experience more vicariously. Weeping at three am. Hand-wringing, bawling uncontrollably, staring at practice sheets for hours. These are only a couple of the things that parents end up doing when their children are stressing them over taking their finals.

Many adults try to avoid the entire pressure of these exams altogether. As soon as Pesach is over these parents start working long hours. They find meetings to go to. They start new shiurim and even hide out at Chinese auctions and various fundraisers. They will do this every night of the week, just to avoid having to face the reality of the final exam. People that go to these extremes and lengths to upend their lives rather than just deal with the reality are usually the worst off. This is usually due to chronic trauma they endured in their own youth by many a final exam, which is now exasperated by having to relive the same experience with their children. There are some remedies for this condition, but many are as painful as the condition itself. Also, some people actually are not as much looking to get rid of it, as they are looking for a good excuse to get out of the house five nights a week - even if it ends up costing them in donations. Hey, those Chinese auctions don’t come cheap. The most effective treatment for exam trauma is exposure therapy. This means having to force yourself to pointlessly take many more useless and meaningless exams to overcome the trauma and form a corrective experience. However, many run the risk of retraumatizing themselves in the interim. This can lead to a much stronger and deeper trauma and an even worse aversion to tests and exams. This will again need deeper and more thorough exposure therapy, which may lead to even deeper and more damaging trauma. So on and so forth the cycle continues. Another treatment option for such chronic trauma is hypnosis. Hypnosis comes with many risks of its own, however. Many a traumatized person has al-

lowed himself to be hypnotized only to awake to a whole new set of problems. For instance, one traumatized mother that sought help via hypnosis awoke from her trance only to find that she had a strange craving for bananas and was swinging from the chandelier for no apparent reason. Another poor traumatized mother marched around the dining room table playing an imaginary flute every time the doorbell rang. The use of hypnosis to treat chronic trauma also has many professional detractors, and for good reason. While the effects of hypnosis on the subject have already been discussed here, what is rarely mentioned is the toll that such treatment takes on the practitioner. Sometimes the trauma can be transferred to the person administering the hypnosis. This is usually the case when the treatment is done in a room with a full-length mirror in close proximity to the subject. Therefore, it is no wonder why at this time of year children, parents, grandparents and even great-parents are knocking down the doors of Rebbes and Rebbetzins, trying to get a bracha to help them make it through the final exam season. We will therefore conclude with a prayer on the subject. May the A-mighty save and protect us from the final exam, may He find virtue in us to pass the exams and may He allow us to keep our sanity and make it through June with our faculties intact - Amen. Chaptzem is a heimishe blogger that authors the Chaptzem Blog, the most popular heimishe web-site. The Chaptzem Blog has been quoted many times in the mainstream media and is viewed by thousands daily.

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MAY 2014

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H U M O R Post Office Payout

Just Fine

There was a man who The sheriff pulled up worked for the post office next to a guy who was whose job was to process all unloading garbage out the mail that had illegible of his pick-up truck. addresses. One day, a letter The sheriff asked, came addressed in a “Why are you dumping shaky handwriting, to garbage here? Don’t G-d, with no actual adyou see that sign right dress. He thought he over your head?” should open it to see “That’s why I’m what it was about. dumping it here,” he The letter read: replied, “‘cause it Dear G-d, says: ‘Fine For DumpI am an 83 year old ing Garbage.’” widow, living on a very small penT.L. sion. Yesterday someone stole my Boro Park purse. It had $100 in it, which was all the money I had until my next Back Seat Cook pension payment. Next Sunday is Purim, and I had invited two The other day I was of my friends over for dinner. making a breakfast of Without that money, I have fried eggs for my husnothing to buy food with, have band. no family to turn to, and you are Suddenly, he burst inmy only hope. Can you please to the kitchen. “Careful,” help me? he said, “CAREFUL! Put Sincerely, in some more butter! Oy I urgently needed a few days off work, but I Shprintzy vey! You’re cooking too knew the boss would not allow me to take leave. The postal worker was many at once. TOO I thought that maybe if I acted ‘crazy’ then he touched. He showed the letter MANY! Turn them! would tell me to take a few days off. to all the other workers. Each TURN THEM! We need So I hung upside down on the ceiling and one dug into his or her wallet more butter. Oy! They’re made funny noises. My co-worker asked me and came up with a few dollars. going to STICK! Careful. what I was doing. I told her that I was pretendBy the time he made the CAREFUL! You NEVER ing to be a light bulb, so that the boss would rounds, he had collected $96, listen to me when you’re think I was crazy and give me a few days off. which they put into an envelope cooking! Don’t forget to A few minutes later the boss came into the and sent to the woman. The rest salt them. You know you office and asked, ‘What are you doing?’ I told of the day, all the workers felt a always forget to salt them. him I was a light bulb. He said, ‘You are clearly warm glow thinking of ShprintUSE THE SALT!” stressed out. Go home and recuperate for a couzy and the dinner she would be “What in the world is ple of days.’ able to share with her friends. wrong with you?” I asked. I jumped down and walked out of the office. Purim came and went. A “You think I don’t know When my co-worker followed me, the boss few days later, another letter how to fry eggs?” asked her, ‘And where do you think you’re gocame from the same old lady to My husband calmly ing?’ G-d. All the workers gathered replied, “I just wanted to She said, ‘I’m going home too. I can’t work around while the letter was show you what it feels in the dark!’ opened. like when I’m driving.” It read: D.M. your wonderful gift. Dear G-d, Flatbush Send your true anecdotes, embarrassing moments, bright sayBy the way, there was $4 missing. How can I ever thank you enough ings, real life experiences, or any interesting incident relating to I think it might have been those mofor what you did for me? Because of Jewish life in America to: COUNTRY YOSSI MAGAZINE, 1310 48th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11219. All printed submissions rons at the post office. your gift of love, I was able to fix a will receive free tapes or another valuable prize. Winners should Sincerely, glorious dinner for my friends. We had bring legal I.D. PRIZES WILL NOT BE MAILED Shprintzy a very nice day and I told my friends of e-mail:

Sick Leave

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knew I was ‘officially’ a kallah maidel the Sunday my mother bought me a ‘black’ coat. Up until then, the only black thing I owned was a magic marker. If you opened my closet door, you’d see clothes of various colors. But black was never among them. Black was reserved for the more mature women. Well, it seems time has now made me that more mature woman and lo and behold, black is not only the very ‘in’ color to wear these days, but everything from baby stretchies to custom kitchens are made in black. Why is black so popular? I don’t know!! But I do know that at twenty or so simchas I attended this past year, everyone was wearing black. Men, women, children, in all shapes and sizes. It looked like a convention for morticians! And to make matters worse, the tablecloths were black, the dishes were black, the napkins were black even the olives were black. One rolled off my plate. That was it! I never found it. And did you ever eat chicken soup from a black bowl? You think you’re eating dirty dishwater! Despite this, I recently invested in a set of black china for Shabbos. Not because I like it, but because it’s very practical - I don’t have to wash it - I can’t tell if it’s dirty. I serve the cholent, scrape off the leftovers and put the dishes back in the cabinet - a mechaya! And the baby’s black crib sheet. It’s the greatest! I haven’t changed it in weeks! I used to change it twice a day! Maybe they’ll come out with black diapers!! I’m even thinking of painting the whole interior of my house black! I won’t have to worry about fingerprints on the wall anymore. But all kidding aside, there are so many gorgeous colors in the world, why pick black? Especially when choosing a dress for a simcha. Then someone enlightened me. Black makes you look thinner! Now between me and you, if you’re a size twenty-four dress, how much thinner

can a black dress make you look? Like a size eight you certainly won’t look! So what are we talking here? A size twenty? And even that’s pushing it! So what is this mishigas all about? The bottom line is - heavy people look heavy no matter what color they wear. And another thing, the black dresses that heavy people wear, are usually loose fitting, with no waist. They do what they’re supposed to do hide the rolls, spare tires, bulges or whatever you refer to them as. ANOTHER KAYL A CL ASSIC

K ay l a Kuchle f fe l BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL?

On the other hand, thin people who wear black, wear waisted or tight belted dresses. They takeh look thinner because they ARE thinner! I was horrified to see a woman wearing a stunning gold chain belt around her waist that I tried on as a choker (and it was too tight!) So now with June approaching, and no doubt, with it, many wedding invitations, I decided to go buy a new dress other than black. This proved to be quite an experience. To begin with, I was in every basement in Brooklyn. Some I entered through the side, some through the back and some through the front; one through the window, one through a man-hole and one through the chimney. The places were packed with people and everyone was waiting for the same one dressing room (if you could call it that). One was a tiny closet with a shmatte hanging for a curtain. More of me was out than in. In one place, they

sent me into the boiler room - I got so hot, my mascara started to run. Another sent me into the bathroom with wet pantyhose hanging from the pipes on the ceiling, dripping down my back. Another sent me into her laundry room, although it smelled more like a locker room! And forget about a normal mirror. You have to rely on the say so of the sales woman or by the looks the other customers give you as you walk out. If they all crack up or look at their friend and roll their eyes, you know you look awful. If on the other hand you come out and everyone asks you where you found that, you know you have a winner on your hands! Now what I would like to know is - who trains these sales people? The school for the blind? Or do they have to pass a lie detector test while lying? The real pro, no matter how awful something might look, convinces you that the dress was “made for you.” The trainee admits it doesn’t look that great, but if you shorten the sleeve and move over this and cut off that - it’ll look great. Give me a break! I have two left hands. That means I’ll have to bring the dress into a dressmaker for another twenty-five dollars. I came home tired and disgusted, sat down with a bowl of ice-cream and decided my black loose fitting dress isn’t that bad after all. As I sat there sulking, it suddenly dawned on me that Shavuos is less than three weeks away. I quickly ran to the florist to order a silk flower arrangement for my parents. My mouth fell open when I noticed that there were actually flower arrangements with black flowers in them! If Hashem in His infinite wisdom didn’t see fit to create black flowers - who are we to do otherwise? Aren’t flowers supposed to cheer you up? Could you imagine receiving thirty black flower arrangements at your daughter’s congratulations? I think it’s time to give up this narishkeit and go back to basics - otherwise I can just see it now - comes Shavuos, add a little food coloring and we’ll serve black cheese cake!

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MAY 2014

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MAY 2014

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MAY 2014

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CY Family Mag #192  

Country Yossi Family Magazine Issue #192 / May 2014 Vol 27 No 2 Shavous Issue Eli Gerstner's long awaited YBC6 explodes onto the Jewish Mu...

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