Page 1



– See pages 5, 52, 53 & 87 –

Around the Community



Shalom, Shalom, V’Ein Shalom

Long Beach Community Remembers the Six Million Kedoshim PAGE 39

Mideast Peace Talks Fall Through Once Again

Page 74

Rambam Rallies against Anti-Semitism in the Ukrainian Jewish Community PAGE 56

Survivor Mr. Karl Schapiro Talks about his Story of Survival and Determination PAGE 56

An Inside Look at the Heroes of Hatzalah of the Rockaways and Nassau County

Page 62

– See page 37 –

– See page 73 –

– See page 65 –

Bobker on Sefira And the Count Begins… By Mr. Joe Bobker Page 78





M AY 1 , 2014






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M AY 1 , 2014


CONTENTS >>Letters to the Editor >>Community

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Readers’ Poll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Community Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

>> News Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 National . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Odd-but-True Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

>> Israel Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Cover Story: Shalom, Shalom, V’Ein Shalom: Mideast Peace Talks Fall Through Once Again. . . . . . . . . 74

>> People Cover Story: An Inside Look at the Heroes of Hatzalah of the Rockaways and Nassau County. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 General Jack Jacob: Singlehandedly Defeats a Whole Army. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69


Dear Readers, Pesach is always a wonderful time for family, sharing memories and good times together over the yom tov. This Pesach, our family celebrated in an extra special way as we added to the simcha of the yom tov with the birth of our daughter, Shira Rachel, on the second seder night. The seder was enjoyed in a different way in the hospital with the excitement of her birth. Because our little Shira was born on the second night of Pesach, it’s easy to remember how old (or young) she is as we count sefira. Her age follows the nightly counting of sefiras ha’omer and gave me something to think about. When a child is born, we count their age not in years but in days. Every day is precious and special as we lovingly tell people that our newborn is 8 or 12 or 15 days old. Every day counts because each day heralds a new milestone for the little one as he or she becomes bigger and stronger with the rising and setting of the sun. When we count sefira, we are told to make our days count. Sefira is a time of improvement; a time we are reminded to work on our middos and develop our character. It is a time when we count up to Matan Torah and work on perfecting ourselves in anticipation of receiving the Torah. Each day we become stronger and better as we make the bracha and count the days. And we don’t count down, we count up. We want to show how much we’ve grown and how much we’ve accomplished. This week, Mr. Joe Bobker writes about the significance of counting sefira and the history of what it meant to Klal Yisroel. He provides wonderful insight into this time of year. I hope that we can utilize this time to its fullest during the upcoming weeks. As always, we look forward to hearing from our readers. Please feel free to reach out to me at Wishing you a wonderful week, Shoshana

The Shmuz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

Yitzy Halpern

>> Jewish Thought Planting a Seed, by Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz . . . . . . . . . 67


Rabbi’s Musing and Amusings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68


Bobker on Sefira: And The Count Begins. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78

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Friday, May 2 Parshas Emor Candle Lighting: 7:33 Shabbos Ends: 8:38 Rabbeinu Tam: 9:05

Laundry, by Deb Hirschhorn, PhD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 From Slavery to Weight Loss, by Aliza Beer, MS RD. . . . . 82

>> Food & Leisure Recipes: Aussie Gourmet: Super Summer Salads . . . . . . 86 Fun for the Day: Travel with Kosherology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90

>> Lifestyles Ask the Attorney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Your Money . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Forecast: Neurotic, by Rivki Rosenwald . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91


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>> Humor Centerfold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

>> Art From My Private Art Collection: The Art of Teaching Art— Part I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

>> Political Crossfire


Notable Quotes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70


>> Classifieds

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

Dear Editor, I am writing in response to your recent discussion in your Parenting Today column regarding extracurricular activities. The reader posed a very pertinent question, asking whether the cost of extracurricular activities should be a consideration for participation for those who receive a tuition scholarship. All three of those interviewed stated unequivocally that the finances should not be a factor, since these extracurriculars often breathe life into those children who struggle academically and boost their self-esteem. Kudos to you for pointing out what should be the purpose in these pursuits, as opposed to what often takes place— competition, elitism, and a complete disregard to the feelings of said children

all in the name of “doing our best.” This holds true for dramatic productions and sports leagues where often winning and “shining” become the ultimate goal of the adult in charge. Perhaps we should clarify the purpose in these pursuits. Is it for the sake of the children to give all participating children a chance to gain skills while building their sense of selfworth? Or have extracurriculars become another venue for the stars to shine leaving everyone else feeling defeated, forgotten and inferior? Let’s work together to support those outlets that give even the smaller stars a place to shine. Sincerely, Aviva Stern Dear Editor, Writing a letter to the editor is not something we could have imagined doing. Writing a letter to the editor of a Five Towns-based paper seems even more farfetched, considering the fact that we are a family from Boro Park. We have the privilege of visiting this community every few weeks or so, as our father, Rav Boruch Itzkowitz, serves as one of rabbonim at “Rabbi Katz’s Shteeble” in Far Rockaway. It was Erev Yom Tov, the first days of Pesach and like many other Jewish families we ran into the fiasco that became known as Rockaway Turnpike. An electric pole fell down, a car goes on fire, emergency vehicles racing, lanes closing, bein hashmashos approaching and we were STUCK. A car full of screaming kids didn’t help matters and we were totally and completely at a standstill except for a few inches of movement every few minutes. Driving to Far Rockaway and reaching our destination in time was certainly not going to happen and we didn’t know what to do. After a few phone calls to some family members already in Far Rockaway for Yom Tov, we were put in

Readers Poll Do you suffer from allergies in the spring? Yes 18% No 82%

touch with Achiezer and Rabbi Boruch Ber Bender, who aside from nearly a dozen other families who called for help, was able to come up with a solution when there were no other options in sight. The calm and reassuring dialogue during the ensuing phone calls was refreshing and calming and gave us hope in our desperate situation. We were instructed to pull over and just wait for our help. And wait we did…until suddenly out of nowhere, a Shabbos goy from Achiezer pulled up with a minivan and with the psak of our rav, drove us to our destination after the zman had passed. Following all halachic guidelines to a tee, Manuel was a shliach to be our savior. What stands out to us and I guess the point of writing this letter is that this community is so fortunate to have an organization like Achiezer to help and guide people through their most tense and trying times while doing so with class, dignity and mencthlechkeit. We are thankful and privileged to consider ourselves members of this special community and only wish that other communities would follow the lead of an Achiezer and be there to help when nobody else can… The Itzkowitz Family from Boro Park

When Allergy Relief Can't Wait... We're Open Late!

Dear Editor, Thank you Hatzalah! We have called you numerous times since we have moved to this community 12 years ago. You drove us to the hospital when my daughter couldn’t breathe properly and she needed to be transported with oxygen. When another daughter swallowed something and we were unable to get it out, we called you. When my son fell and split his lip we called you.  You give us peace of mind knowing that you are there in a heartbeat. There are times you have shown up to our home after a call in less than 60 seconds! We are always amazed at how you put everything on hold in a split second to help another in need. Our most memorable Hatzalah visit was the time we called because I refused to get into the car to go to the hospital to have a baby. Envisioning giving birth in the car, I refused to get into the car. “Please call Hatzalah – I’m just nervous,” I asked my husband. They took the call seriously and came right away. Baruch Hashem, because our daughter was born a minute or so after the first responder arrived! Our family is so grateful to all of your volunteers. Thank you! A very grateful Cedarhurst family

M AY 1 , 2014

Dear Editor, Today is Yom HaShoah and I am reminded of the article you printed last week by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks regarding history and memory. Rabbi Sacks writes that it is imperative that we actually relive the events of yetzias Mitzrayim on seder night in order to turn our history into memories and never forget all that occurred thousands of years ago. The Holocaust took place only years ago and sadly we are slowly losing our memory of that gruesome time. But it important that we remember what happened and we can only do that by “reliving” what took place. Spend time with survivors and hear their stories. Read personal accounts of the atrocities and the history of what took place. Children should learn about the Holocaust not just one day a year; they should know what their grandparents and great-grandparents went through just years ago and should give thanks for all the miracles of our nation’s survival. Irma Goodwin

the Editor


Letters to


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M AY 1 , 2014


The Week Global 17 Russian Companies Sanctioned

Citing what it calls are failures on Russia’s part to live up to their part of the agreement aimed at solving the dispute in Crimea, the United States has put sanctions on seventeen large Russian companies and seventeen government officials. These companies are run by close allies to Vladimir Putin’s government. While many in Moscow feared

In News

that this latest round of sanctions would be much harsher than they turned out (the Russian markets jumped one percent following the US’s announcement), President Obama said the sanctions were so that Putin should “change his calculus with respect to how the current actions that he’s engaging in could have an adverse impact on the Russian economy over the long haul.” An important omission on the list of sanctioned companies was banks and public companies, again a relief for Moscow. Said Obama, “We don’t yet know if it’s going to work.” Most of the companies that were sanctioned are owned by three people: Gennady Timchenko and brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg. They were all individually sanctioned in March. Timchenko owns Stroytransgaz, which has made millions of dollars from pipeline construction contracts from state-owned Transneft. Another Putin crony who was sanctioned is Igor Sechin, president of the state-controlled oil company, Rosneft. Rosneft shares business partnerships with ExxonMobil. Sechin was behind Putin’s scheme against the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovskyt to wrest his

company, Yukos, away in 2003. Also on the list is Sergei Chemezov, a friend of Putin who shared an apartment with him in East Germany in the 1980s. The EU also sanctioned individuals, freezing assets and denying visas.

682 Brotherhood Supporters Sentenced to Death

As it has become the norm in Egypt, the Egyptian government sentenced Muhamad Basie, the general guide to the Muslim Brotherhood, to death along with 682 Brotherhood supporters. Ever

since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhamad Mursi from the Egyptian presidency, the new government, led by Abdel Fatah al Sisi, has ruthlessly killed hundreds of Brotherhood and secular government supporters. “This is a corrupt government. This is a failed regime. We have no real police. We have no real state,” said Sabah Hassan, whose son was sentenced to death. Al Sisi’s government has become known for its mass trials of accused dissenters. “The decisions are possibly the largest possible death sentences in recent world history. While they’re exceptional in scale, they’re certainly not exceptional in kind,” said a Human Rights Watch official. The US expressed alarm over the recent events. The White House released a statement, “Today’s verdict defies even the most basic standards of international justice.”

S. Korean Ferry Sinks on Live TV The entire country of South Korea was left traumatized and devastated

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after watching on live television the sinking of a ferry full of high school students. When the news of the sinking ship came in, cameramen rushed to the scene, and the horrified public watched the tragedy unfold. Students were seen flailing in the cold water, and then the boat slowly turned upside down and eventually slipped beneath the surface.

In News text messages claiming to be from students trapped in air pockets complaining that they were cold, but still alive. Yellow ribbons in memory of victims envelop Korea’s landscape. Korean social media and the rest of the country have held countless candlelight vigils as they mourn the loss of many young lives. As hope of survivors dwindles, the country continues to mourn.



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The Sewol Ferry was a nearly 7,000ton ship with a capacity of 921 passengers. There are more than 300 people missing or dead. “It’s not only the victims and their families, but a majority of the general public is suffering from mental shock, sadness, rage, and feeling of helplessness,” wrote an editorial from Seoul Newspaper. “In short, it’s not an exaggeration to say that this entire nation is going through post-traumatic stress disorder.” “Koreans are very nationalistic and they take pride in the rapid development of their country. When there’s some problem or anything that reflects poorly on the collective, on the nation or Koreans on the whole, people will get upset about it,” Daniel Pinkson, head of International Crisis Group in Seoul, pointed out. The trauma was magnified by embarrassment over charges of criminal negligence by much of the ship’s crew, inappropriate reactions by government officials, and cruel pranks following the sinking. Eleven members of the ferry’s crew, including the captain, have been taken into custody on suspicions of negligence and abandoning people in need. The South Korean president called them “murderous.” Colleagues of the captain, Lee Joonseok, who has more than 40 years’ experience at sea, called him the nicest person on the ship, but he is now being strongly condemned for delaying the evacuation and apparently abandoning the ferry. A video of Lee being treated on shore after landing on one of the first rescue boats sparked outrage. Tragically, in the days after the ferry sank, families were tormented with hoax

Last week, Simon Ostrovsky, a US-Israel reporter with Vice, was held captive for three days by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. He was captured when he stopped at a checkpoint after a pro-Russian paramilitary saw his Russian passport which indicated that he was, in fact, not a Ukrainian citizen. “I was held for three nights and three days,” Ostrovsky related. “They blindfolded me, tied my hands behind my back, took me down into the cellar, threw me on the floor,” Ostrovsky continued. “Two or three guys, I think, were beating me.” Despite the trauma, Ostrovsky revealed that he was comforted by the fact that they focused their blows on his midsection and were consciously avoiding his face. “I don’t think they want to kill me, I think they just want to put a scare into me,” he said. Throughout his ordeal, Ostrovsky said he didn’t know if anyone in the West knew he was taken captive. But people did know about his capture, and the world implored his kidnappers to release him. Ostrovsky is known as a brave and adventurous reporter. The situation in Ukraine now is precarious and those who ask questions are in danger. Despite the danger, Ostrovsky vows he will return to the region. “I think the reason they took me is because they wanted to









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The Week stop me from reporting. So, I’d really like to go back to Ukraine and continue sending stories from there, because that’s what it’s all about.”

Nigeria’s $510B Economy

Revised data recently revealed that Nigeria has an economy worth $510 billion. The West African nation is the largest economy in Africa. Yet, 70% of its citizens live in poverty. The new value of Nigeria’s GDP adds previously excluded industries like telecommunications, information tech-

nology, music, airlines, burgeoning online retail outlets, and Nollywood film productions that didn’t exist when the last GDP count was computed in 1990. Then, there were 300,000 landlines. Today, Nigeria has 100 million cell phone users. Growth in agriculture and tourism since democracy was restored in 1999 also explains the increased figures. Until now, South Africa was regarded as the biggest economy with a GDP of $353 billion. “Nigeria’s success is a reminder that Africa is moving ahead despite its current challenges,” said investment manager Kevin Daly of UK-based Aberdeen Asset Management, which invests in Africa. He pointed out that billionaire Aliko Dangote is a Nigeriean who is building Africa’s largest privately-owned oil refinery. Finance Minister Ngozi Ikonjo-Iweala recently said that the new data makes Nigeria the 26th largest economy in the world and raises its per capita income to $2,688, making it number 121 in the world, up from number 135.

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In News Ukrainian Mayor Shot

The mayor of Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, was shot in the back by Russian-armed insurgents this week on his morning jog. Gennady Kernes, the city’s mayor, was originally against the demonstrators that toppled Russian-supported Victor Yanukovych but had since changed his mind and openly opposed Vladimir Putin’s offensive in Ukraine. His city has largely been unaffected by Russian militants, who have seized government buildings in neighboring towns. The mayor was flown to Israel for treatment of serious injuries. Authorities believe that doctors in Israel have more experience treating those types of wounds than those in Ukraine. Kernes is Jewish and that may have been a factor in him being transferred to Israel as well.

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Talks for Bergdahl Release Continue



ing to a defense official and a military officer, who both spoke to the Associated Press only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly. “Elements in all echelons — from the top of the Taliban down to the folks holding Bergdahl — are reaching out to make a deal,” the defense official said. However, both sides have distrust issues with each other. Although Bergdahl’s abductors have indicated to the U.S. government that they want to deal, the U.S. government has not formally responded to that outreach, the military officer said. Bergdahl, 28, from Idaho, was last seen in a “proof of life” video released in December. It is believed that he is held by members of the Haqqani network, which operates in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. The Haqqani network was designated as a foreign terrorist organization in 2012 by the State Department.

American Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was kidnapped almost five years ago in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. Recently, his captors have indicated a willingness to release him. It still remains unclear which U.S. government officials have the authority to strike a deal for his release. About two dozen officials at the State and Defense departments, the military’s U.S. Central Command, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Special Operations Command, the CIA, and the FBI are working the case. It seems that Bergdahl’s Taliban captors are anxious to release him, accord-

Kim Jong-Un apparently feels that whatever he has to say should be officially documented 24 hours a day. In a recent series of photos, note-taking officials and generals are depicted surrounding the North Korean dictator and recording his every move and word as he visits a unit of female soldiers, a fishery station, a pilot, and a renovated youth camp. Korea expert Professor James Grayson of the University of Sheffield remarked that the photos are “part of the image of the great leader offering benevolent guidance,” a propaganda practice instituted by Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, in the 1950s. “It’s about presenting him as having broad knowledge – however, it’s ridiculous. He can’t possibly know about all of these different things. It’s important, however, that the apparatchiks [loyal Communist subordinates] that surround him are seen to be hanging on his every word,”

Island Nation Sues Nuclear Powers

It takes a lot of gall to take on the nine nuclear armed nations of the world. It takes even more of it if you are the tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands. An unprecedented lawsuit has been filed in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, demanding the United States and eight other countries to meet their obligations toward disarmament and accusing them of “flagrant violations” of international law. The island group was used for dozens of U.S. nuclear tests after World War II. It filed a federal lawsuit against the United States in San Francisco, nam-

ing President Barack Obama, the Departments and Secretaries of Defense and Energy, and the National Nuclear Security Administration. The Marshall Islands claims the nine countries are modernizing their nuclear arsenals instead of negotiating disarmament, and it estimates that they will spend $1 trillion on those arsenals over the next decade. The countries listed in the suit include Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. The last four are not parties in the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but the lawsuits argue that they are bound by its provisions under “customary international law.” The Nonproliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament efforts, requires good faith disarmament negotiations between countries. The Marshall Islands were the site of 67 nuclear tests by the United States over a 12-year period, with lasting health and environmental impacts. “Our people have suffered the catastrophic and irreparable damage of these weapons, and we vow to fight, so that no one else on Earth will ever again experience these atrocities,” the country’s foreign minister, Tony de Brum, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. The country is seeking action, not compensation. It wants the courts to require the nine nuclear-armed states to meet their obligations. “There hasn’t been a case where individual governments are saying to the nuclear states, ‘You are not complying with your disarmament obligations,’” John Burroughs, executive director of the New Yorkbased Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, part of the international pro-bono legal team, said. “This is a contentious case that could result in a binding judgment.”

Royal Brotherin-Law Dies

Mark Shand, brother-in-law of Prince Charles, died suddenly at the age of 62 following a head injury. Continued on page 18



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remarked Grayson. Those taking the notes will be exerting extreme caution, according to Professor Steve Tsang of the University of Nottingham. “They wouldn’t want to write down anything that was, say, politically inaccurate, or it might come back to bite them.” Tsang noted that anything that might be used from the notes would first pass through the propaganda department and might wind up considerably altered from its original version. Curious what might be written in the final draft of some of the “Dear Leader” comments? A look at the publication of Kim Il-Sung’s visit of a fishery in 1976 may be a good preview. The note reads, “Watching a truck at work, the president said that its bucket seemed to be small in comparison with its horsepower. He said the problem of carriage would be solved if the bucket was enlarged. Afterwards, the truck’s bucket capacity increased to two tons from 800 kg. As a result, 20 trucks were capable of carrying the load to be done by 50 trucks.” Kim Jong-Un’s propaganda machine and his control of the masses were put on display in March, when reports leaked that he had enacted a new order requiring all North Korean men to have his “Dear Leader” haircut.

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The Week “It is with deep sadness that we have to confirm that the Duchess of Cornwall’s brother, Mark Shand, has today passed away in New York. Mr. Shand died in hospital as a result of a serious head injury which he sustained during a fall last night,” Clarence House said in a statement. “The Duchess, the Prince of

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Wales, and all her family members are utterly devastated by this sudden and tragic loss. Mark Shand was a man of extraordinary vitality, a tireless campaigner and conservationist whose incredible work through the Elephant Family and beyond remained his focus right up until his death.”

Shand, a one-time famous thrill-seeker, became a conservationist whose mission was to save the Asian elephant from extinction. After riding his elephant, Tara, across India, he set up a charity, Elephant Family. He had attended a fundraising event for the charity before he fell and was taken to

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the hospital. Prince Charles married Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, on April 9, 2005 in a small civil ceremony at Windsor Castle. Shand was her younger brother.

Bill Gates to China’s Elite: Invest in the Poor

Bill Gates’ new crusade is to harvest a culture of giving in China. The average per capita income in the Communist country is just $6,091 and rural Chinese may make less than $1,000 annually, while many of the ruling party elite are supremely wealthy. Just days after the founders of Chinese search engine company Ali Baba announced the formation of a $3 billion charitable trust, Gates took out an editorial in the state-run Communist newspaper, The People’s Daily. The newspaper is required reading for all government officials. “China has many successful entrepreneurs and business people. I hope that more people of insight will put their talents to work to improve the lives of poor people in China and around the world, and seek solutions for them,” Gates wrote in the editorial. “Investing for the poor requires participation from the entire community.” Many of the Chinese wealthy, however, are reluctant to donate out of fear that it would bring unwanted attention onto them and their fortune.

Israel Gaza’s Ark “Protest Ship” Sunk On Tuesday, a mysterious explosion sunk Gaza’s Ark, a “protest” boat that was preparing to breach Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza. The blast occurred in Gaza City’s port, and was preceded by an anony-




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The Week mous telephone call warning the guard of the ship that it was about to be blown up, organizers of the “protest” project told AFP. The ship, a large fishing vessel which was being readied to challenge Israeli naval authority in June, sustained major damage and sunk in the shallow waters of the port, leaving three-quar-

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ters of it submerged. “An anonymous caller phoned the guard and told him to leave because they were planning to destroy the boat. He was very afraid and ran away,” said project  manager Mahfouz Kabariti, adding that the guard was unharmed. “We blame Israel because we have had very bad experiences with them in

the past when they destroyed several solidarity boats,” continued Kabariti, referring to the mysterious damaging of two boats in Greece in 2011, which similarly were planning to challenge the blockade. Kabariti added, “We are convinced Israel did it because we were preparing for a test run next week, with the main voyage planned for June 15.”

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“Gaza’s Ark” was intended to challenged restrictions not allowing ships from Gaza to go beyond six nautical miles from shore. Workers have been working for over a year to outfit the boat to carry goods and more than a 100 passengers. “Gaza’s Ark and all our partners in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition are considering our next move in response to this cowardly act of terrorism,” said anti-Israel activist David Heap. “But our position remains clear – neither this nor any other attack will stop our efforts to challenge the blockade of Gaza until it ends,” added Heap. Fellow activist Ehab Lotayef joined in, saying, “Freedom Flotilla boats have been sabotaged before... You can sink a boat but you can’t sink a movement.” Back in October it was reported that members of Canada’s extreme left were behind a large part of the financial backing of “Gaza’s Ark.”

Kerry: Israel Can Become an Apartheid State

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It seems hard enough to get John Kerry to keep his mouth shut in public. Now, Israel is fuming over some incendiary and small-minded comments that Kerry made behind closed doors. According to the Daily Beast, Kerry threatened Israel with more Palestinian violence if they don’t make peace. He also said that Israel would become an apartheid state. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleisher blasted out this tweet in response: “Disgusting. Pres O must repudiate Kerry. Kerry Warns Israel Could Become ‘An Apartheid State.’” Tweeted Monica Crowley of Fox News, “Appalling…” State Department official Jen Psaki tweeted in defense of Kerry: “@ JohnKerry does not think and has never said Israel is an apartheid state. 2 nations, 2 peoples living peacefully needs 2 state solution.” But the author of the report was quick to rebut: “Right he said


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The Week it could become one.” Sounds like they need some serious fire engines in Washington.

Abbas: Israel is Committing “Ethnic Cleansing”

On Monday, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas attacked Israel for not recognizing eastern Jerusalem as “occupied territory,” accusing Israel of “war crimes” and “ethnic cleansing” by allowing movement in its capital city.

“Up till now, Israel hasn’t recognized that East Jerusalem is occupied land,” stated Abbas, according to the Arab news agency Wafa. Abbas referred to the UN recognition of “Palestine” as a non-member observer state in 2012, claiming it gave the PA rights along the 1949 Armistice lines and Jerusalem as its capital, and further claiming that Israeli activity in the city is a “war crime” under the Geneva Conventions. “The goal of Israel is to conduct an ethnic purification against the Palestinian residents of the city,” charged Abbas. “Israel is conducting crimes by moving citizens living under occupation to other areas, and in parallel by moving citizens from its territory to occupied territory.” Abbas declared a need for developing a fund to manage the eastern part of Jerusalem. Speaking before a crowd in Ramallah consisting mainly of Arab businessmen, he declared that he had contributed one million dollars from his “presidential institute” budget, asking for contributions from PA residents, and notably the businessmen in the crowd, to donate to the fund.

In News “We have to defend the city before we lose it, and then crying about it won’t help,” Abbas said regarding the fund. “There’s no doubt that Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state, and we don’t want to raise a wall that will separate between the East and the West, rather to leave it open to all religions, Christians, Muslims and Jews, to pray at the Kotel,” claimed Abbas. Just a month ago, the PA Minister of Religious Affairs claimed that the Kotel is part of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and therefore off limits to Jews. Even with these divisive remarks, Abbas took the opportunity also to state his demands for the continuation of the peace talks, which reached their April 29 deadline on Tuesday. Those conditions included the release of the fourth and final batch of terrorists offered as a “gesture” by Israel, as well as an Israeli building freeze in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. An additional condition placed by Abbas was the definition of Israel’s borders, saying, “We have a serious problem in the borders; Israel is the only country that doesn’t have borders.” “The Israelis have to stop saying that

their borders are wherever their soldiers arrive at,” charged Abbas. Is this the person we are expected to “make peace” with?

Starbucks’ Rumored Investment

There was some big news this week for home-soda company, SodaStream International.  Stocks of the Ma’ale Adumim-based company took their biggest leap in two years after daily newspaper Globes reported that Starbucks Corporation is negotiating a 10 percent stake in the company. Shares of SodaStream soared 14 percent to $46 in New York, a rally that cut SodaStream’s loss this year to 7.6 percent.

National A Chinese Big Apple? Ever wondered where all those Chinese people prancing down Fifth Avenue came from? Well, these days they may not just be tourists; according to the top five real estate brokerages in the city, the Chinese are now the number one foreign buyers of luxury real estate in New York.

After the sanctions imposed on Russians from unrest in Ukraine, Russian oligarchs and millionaires have slowed down snapping up hot properties in the Big Apple, leaving room for wealthy Chinese buyers to move in. According to Pamela Liebman, CEO of the Corocoran Group, “In sheer numbers, the Chinese outspend the Russians in every segment of the market.” According to some, these new Chinese buyers are just exploiting the relatively favorable valuations of real estate in Manhattan; in Hong Kong, apartments can go for up to $5,000 a square foot, while in New York they’re anywhere between $2,100 to $2,500. The Chinese are also attracted to New York for its renowned educational institutions. Says broker Shawn Elliot, who ferries clients around in a Rolls Royce, “They’re looking for trophy

properties. They’re looking for their children to be comfortable, and to be near Columbia or New York University.” Elsewhere in the world, the Chinese are also taking over the market, becoming top buyers in Sydney, Melbourne and London.

More Than a Cup of Joe

With endless combinations and concoctions available, Starbucks presents a whole lotta choices for your latte. But have you ever wondered what is exactly the most popular drink ordered at Starbucks nationwide? Well, according to an online survey by the company Quartz, Starbucks costumers aren’t as adventurous as you might have thought; by far the most popular drink is coffee with the “plain ole latte” coming in second. But, there do remain certain drinks that are extremely popular in specific cities: in Seattle, Starbucks’s hometown, residents prefer coffee with an added espresso shot (helps keep you awake during all those dreary, rainy days). All the wannabe movie stars in LA love their two-pump, no whip mocha lattes. In San Diego, everyone’s ordering green tea frappuccinos (hey— that’s not even coffee!). And San Franciscans are way too vegan—they shun milk and prefer soy lattes. As for New York City, you know, the place with two Starbuckses on every street: we like good old Pike Roast coffee. A venti white chocolate skinny machiatto with espresso? Fughedaboutit!

Death of a Hurricane

name/And give him back the time he’s done/Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been/The champion of the world.” Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the man who became a legend after Bob Dylan iconized his fate in a song, died last week at the age of 76 due to prostate cancer. In 1966, Carter, an elite black boxer with an impressive 27-12-1 record with 19 knockouts, was framed by the police in the murder of three white thugs in Paterson, NJ, and was sent to prison by an all-white jury. His racially incited fate became known to the world in 1975, when Bob Dylan released his world-famous song, “Hurricane,” which lamented Carter’s tragedy. Muhammad Ali also appealed on his behalf. He was granted a new trial and freed in 1976. “I wouldn’t give up,” Carter said in an interview on PBS in 2011. “No matter that they sentenced me to three life terms in prison. I wouldn’t give up. Just because a jury of 12 misinformed people … found me guilty did not make me guilty. And because I was not guilty, I refused to act like a guilty person.” After leaving prison, Carter moved

Anti-Semitic “Prank” at NYU Jewish students were targeted by a pro-Palestinian group this week when a threatening “eviction” notice was slipped under doorways of Jewish students in NYU dorm rooms. “If you do not vacate the premise by midnight on 25 April, 2014 we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings. We cannot be held responsible for property or persons remaining inside the premises,” read the notices, which were de-

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“That’s the story of the Hurricane/ But it won’t be over till they clear his

to Toronto. He served as the executive director of the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted from 1993 to 2005. In 1999, director Norman Jewison made Carter’s story into a movie starring Denzel Washington. Washington was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the film. At the Golden Globes that year, Washington said of Carter, “This man right here is love. He’s all love. He lost about 7,300 days of his life, and he’s love. He’s all love.”


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Starbucks, the world’s biggest coffee chain, is expected to acquire the stake at a company value of $1.1 billion, although officials have declined to comment on the rumors. In February, Coca-Cola Company agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., which is developing a make-your-own single-serve product similar to SodaStream’s, for approximately $1.25 billion. “The announcement helped validate the do-it-yourself beverage market and fueled speculation that PepsiCo Inc., the world’s second-largest soft-drink maker after Coca-Cola, will make a bid for SodaStream,” wrote Bloomberg at the time.

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The Week livered by members of the Students for Justice in Palestine. NYU sophomore Hunter Goet, whose room got one of the threatening notices, said, “A lot of people felt transgressed upon because they felt threatened by it. They felt like their housing was being threatened. It was a massive source of panic.”

The activist student group targeted Palladium Hall on East 14th Street because it is widely believed to house the most Jewish residents, and it even has a Shabbos elevator. The warnings con-

cluded, “THIS IS NOT A REAL EVICTION NOTICE.” The group said they were replicas of notices routinely left at the homes of Palestinians by the Israeli government. NYU spokesman John Beckman said that while the school encourages open discussion, the prank crossed the line. “It is disappointingly inconsistent with standards we expect to prevail in a scholarly community,” Beckman said. “Our Residence Life and Housing Office will be communicating with the students in the dorm, looking into the matter, and following up appropriately.” NYU officials didn’t understand why Palladium was targeted. “However, were it to be the case that the fliering was done there because it was perceived to be a dorm with a higher proportion of Jewish students, that would be troubling, dismaying, and a matter of deep concern for our community,” Beckman said. Similar hate pranks have been pulled at other universities in recent months, including Rutgers, Michigan, and Northeastern. No one from the group could be reached for comment.

In News Al Qaeda Leader Calls for Americans’ Capture Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has a new plan to arrange for the release of his kidnapped comrades. According to al Qaeda media arm As-Sahab, the head terrorist has called for militants to kidnap Westerners, especially Americans, to exchange them for jihadist captives.

Zawahiri succeeded the late Osama bin Laden as leader of the global terror network in 2011. In the first part of the interview, the al Qaeda chief called for unity amid widening divisions with a rival jihadist organization. In the second part the interview, which was posted on Twitter, Zawahiri was asked what Muslims should do to free militant prisoners. “I advise them to capture Westerners and especially the Americans as much as they can, to exchange them for their captives,” he replied.

Obama and the Robot

Ever thought President Obama looks a little stiff during speeches? Well, this week the president got his first athletic interaction with a real robot at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, Japan. Obama was introduced to ASIMO, a robot who “was about the size of a 10-year-old child and was dressed in an astronaut suit,” according to a White House pool report. ASIMO then walked

up to a soccer ball and said, “I can kick a soccer ball, too.” He then sailed one towards Obama, who blocked it with his foot. Said Obama, “How about that! That was pretty impressive!” “I have to say,” the president later said, “that the robots were a little scary, they were too lifelike. They were amazing.” I heard the White House is now thinking of replacing its teleprompter with a robot.

Too Many Parents on Too Many Smartphones

Many parents complain that their children spend too much time with a screen in front of them. But a new study shows that it’s the parents who are attached to their phones in an unhealthy way. Researchers at the Boston Medical Center observed 55 different groups of parents and young children eating at fast-food restaurants. The study found that the majority pulled out their mobile devices right away, and, in turn, their kids tended to act up more in the eatery. “It’s just normal childhood behavior,” said parenting coach Toni Schutta. “If I can’t get your attention in a positive way, I’m going seek it in a negative way.” Schutta says parents spend, on average, 11 hours a day using electronic devices. All that time takes away from face-to-face communication that helps kids learn behavior. “Kids in preschool and kindergarten are no longer as able to read social cues from other human beings,” Schutta said. “That’s in part because of their own media use and it’s in part because of their parents’ media use; they’re just not getting that training.” Too much time with technology can also leave an emotional impact on your child if you’re missing life moments for email. “We get such a limited amount of time with our kids in the day, we need meaningful conversations,” Schutta pointed out. Suzanne Ferguson of Minneapolis said she and her husband used




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The Week things, but I don’t like to express that too much.” At least some of those points of agreement are apparent in a letter Clevenger wrote to the Aurora Advertiser several years ago, in which he introduced himself as “a friend of Frazier Miller, helping to spread his warnings.”

to be smartphone addicts, checking their emails around their kids. “We were the couple that would go out to eat at dinner and both be on our own phones,” she said. “We’re very much attached to our phones.” Once her daughter starting talking, however, it was the push she needed to kick her phone habit. “Dinner is a good time to have family time, so try to keep the phone as much as possible away,” she said. A novel idea…

Dan Clevenger has resigned from his position of mayor of Marionville, Missouri. The reason that town may sound familiar to you is because it is the hometown of Kansas City killer Frazier Glenn Miller, the anti-Semitic gunman and former KKK leader who killed three people earlier this month at Jewish centers in Kansas City. Clevenger was forced to resign over comments in which he said that he “kind of agreed with him [Miller] on some

“The Jew-run medical industry has succeeded in destroying the United States workforce,” the former mayor wrote, and went on to attack “the Jewrun government-backed banking industry” which he said “turned the United States into the world’s largest debtor nation.” The town’s aldermen had voted 4-1 to start impeachment proceedings,

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and residents attending a special meeting demanded his resignation. Frazier Glenn Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, is facing the death penalty over a shooting-spree at two Kansas City Jewish institutions which left three people dead.  

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Iranian Building in NYC to be Sold for Victims of Terror

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, head of the Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, expressed satisfaction over the New York court ruling. Darshan-Leitner said that the families of the victims of the 1997 Jerusalem bombing will receive a hefty sum from the proceeds of the sale even after sharing with other victims. “The building is valued at half a billion dollars. We did have the first right to it but many joined the lawsuit, and the U.S. government decided that the property will be divided among all the victims,” she said. According to Darshan-Leitner, despite the victory, there is still a long way to go until the victims and their families receive the compensation. “The Iranian organization that owns the building will probably appeal the ruling and it could take another two years. But we believe that in the end, we will win, and Iran will pay,” she said.  

NYPD Twitter Snafu

A Manhattan building linked to Iran has been seized by the U.S. government. The ruling, handed down last week, said that the Iranian companies that own 650 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan must forfeit the building to the victims of terrorism. The skyscraper, worth $500 million, was majority-owned by the Alavi Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes Islamic culture and the Persian language. The 36-story, 382,500 square-foot building stands at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 52nd Street, near the Rockefeller Center and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. In a 2009 lawsuit, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office claimed that the Alavi Foundation was controlled by Iran. It also said that two minority owners, Assa Corp. and Assa Co. Ltd., were shell companies backed by Iran’s Bank Melli. Among the plaintiffs are five Israeli families who were victims of a double suicide attack in Jerusalem in 1997. In 2002, a U.S. Federal Court awarded them compensation of $272 million. Under last week’s settlement, however, the families will have to share the proceeds from the sale of the building with hundreds of American terror victims, including victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Last year, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in the Manhattan Federal Court ruled that the owners were deliberately “shielding and concealing Iranian assets” in violation of U.S. law and that the skyscraper was subject to government forfeiture.

Whoops. The New York Police Department did not exactly get the results they were looking for after asking people to post images of themselves and NYPD officers on Twitter. “Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook,” the Department posted on its NYPD News Twitter feed, hoping to fuel a feel-good, low-cost public relations campaign. The result was many pictures of alleged police brutality. Images and tweets of arrests of demonstrators went viral, including an officer pulling the hair of a handcuffed young black woman and another of the bloodied face of an 84-year-old stopped for jaywalking. One image depicting police after striking a protestor prompted the following comment: “Here the #NYPD engages with its community members, changing hearts and minds one baton at a time.” Also largely criticized was the unpopular “stop and frisk” policy, which many argue unfairly targets minority youth.

So far, the NYPD has yet to post any happy shots on its Facebook page from its request for public submissions.

US high schools have reached a milestone: they finally graduate eighty percent of students. Although the ultimate goal of a ninety percent graduation rate may seem far off—experts say 2020 at the earliest—the eighty percent success rate has been the product of an aggressive program targeting high school dropout rates for the last decade, including schools’ use of one-on-one intervention specialists. Also, increases in the African-American and Hispanic graduation rates helped boost the overall number. Fifteen percent more Hispanics and nine percent more blacks graduate now than in 2006. Iowa, Vermont, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Texas were the states with the highest success rates: 88 to 89 percent. At the bottom of this list are high schools in Alaska, Georgia, New Mexico, Oregon and Nevada, which only graduate approximately seventy percent of students. “At a moment when everything seems so broken and seems so unfixable ... this story tells you something completely different,” said John Gomperts, president of America’s Promise Alliance, the organization that helped produce the report.

Report: Too Many Wrongly Sent to Die According to a new study, as many as 300 people who were sentenced to death in the U.S. over a three-decade period were likely innocent. Dozens of defendants sentenced to death in recent years have been exonerated before their sentences could be carried out, but many more were proba-

you can’t mess with Texas and it’s the best state in the US, but fewer Texans think it’s one of the best compared to Montana and Alaska folk.)

government, and less resentment toward the amount they pay in state taxes.” Still, that may not always be the case; West Virginians, who rank pretty low on the US economic scale and have high stress levels, are still in the middle of the list of satisfied state residents. Go figure.

Obama: I Regret Not Spending Time with My Mother

In their research, Gross and his colleagues examined the 7,482 U.S. death sentence convictions between 1973 and 2004. Of those, 117 had been exonerated in recent years, thanks to the efforts of numerous groups and a tide of public attention to issues surrounding the death penalty. Gross and his co-authors estimated that about 4 percent of those sentenced to death were actually innocent, nearly three times the number exonerated during that period. For their conclusion, the research group used a mathematical formula that included the number of inmates whose sentences were commuted to life imprisonment, the length of time it took for a convicted inmate on death row to be set free, and the number of inmates who were exonerated. Interestingly, the research indicates that once inmates’ sentences are commuted to life imprisonment, they are far less likely to be exonerated, mostly because there are fewer legal resources allocated to their cases. “If you were never sentenced to death, you never had the benefit – if you call it a benefit – of that process,” Gross said. Although the study focuses on a period ending 10 years ago, the percentage of false death sentence convictions likely holds true today.

Lovin’ the Livin’ What do farmers and Eskimos have in common? Not only are they used to freezing weather, they both love where they live. A recent Gallup poll shows that Montanans and Alaskans are both the happiest about the state they live in, saying it was one of the best places for them to live. (More Texans think that

Who can’t stand their state? Well, more than a quarter of Illinois residents think it’s the worst place to live. That should make sense, judging by the fact that they also mistrust their corrupt state government most and are very resentful about its taxes. And take that Joisey—only twenty eight percent of its residents think it’s a good place to live. (And I heard they’re all on Chris Christie’s payroll.) What makes happy residents? According to Gallup, it takes “greater standard of living, higher trust in state

You may not agree with some of his politics, but you can’t argue with Continued on page 30

M AY 1 , 2014

Con-Grads! 80% of High School Students Receive Diploma

bly falsely convicted, said University of Michigan professor Samuel Gross, the study’s lead author. “Our research adds the disturbing news that most innocent defendants who have been sentenced to death have not been exonerated,” Gross wrote in the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In News


The Week



M AY 1 , 2014


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The Week his values. While on a tour of Asia, President Obama took out an hour for an open question and answer session with high school students. He candidly spoke about his regrets about not spending more time with his mother who died in 1995, at the age of 52. “There was a stretch of time from when I was, let’s say, 20 until I was 30, where I was so

busy with my own life that I didn’t always reach out and communicate with her and ask her how she was doing and tell her about things,” Obama said. “I was nice and I’d call and write once in a while. But this goes to what I was saying earlier about what you remember in the end, I think, is the people you love. I realized that I didn’t – every single

In News day, or at least more often – just spend time with her and find out what she was thinking and what she was doing, because she had been such an important part of my life.” On that vein, Obama asserted that family is central to his having a happy life and also “feeling as if I’ve been true to my beliefs and that I’ve lived with

some integrity.” As for what he would like his legacy to be, Obama said that fathering his daughters Malia and Sasha and being a good husband are his priorities, “because if you don’t do those things well, then everything else you’re gonna have problems with.”

That’s Odd Hair Today, Not Gone Tomorrow

Women in China’s Long-horn Miao minority have an interesting tradition. They create elaborate headdresses out of the hair of their dead ancestors and wear them at special occasions. Some of the hair they use dates back to hundreds of years ago. The women save the strands of their hair that shed when they brush. The hair is then carefully woven around hornshaped headdresses fitted to the heads of the young women and girls. Every wig, made of hair, yarn, and twine, is passed down from mother to daughter. They are dyed and carefully maintained to preserve a shiny and healthy look. Although there are now less than 5,000 members in the Miao minority, the strong tradition carries on. Shu Tu, 27, a Chinese expert in minority cultures, said, “The wigs are worn on all sorts of big occasions, from weddings…to feast days, and traditionally they also used to be worn by the men. But it seems as if it was, at the end of the day, too much effort for the menfolk, and they gradually dropped the tradition. But it continued among the women, and the hairdos that they have now include hair not only from the mother and grandmother but probably even the great-grandmother and even older… It’s regarded as a living way for them to honor their ancestors. Every time a woman combs her hair, she collects it, and she hands it to her daughter when her daughter marries.”


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M AY 1 , 2014

The Week She added, “For some people, their history is in books. However, for the Miao, their history is on their heads.” I wonder if those wigs are more affordable than ours…

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Can Reading Our Minds Become a Reality?

“Honey, what are you thinking about?” It’s the dream of every wife: to be able to read her husband’s (usually blank) mind. And it may not be too far off in the future. Scientists at prominent universities are making promising leads into the world of mind reading. Marcel Just, head of Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, has predictions for a future where government officials can read our thoughts, but, “I don’t think we have to worry about this in the next 5-10 years, but it’s interesting to think about. What if all of our thoughts were public?” Just is working on allowing our brains to dial phone contacts or direct a cursor by just thinking. ( And you thought Google glass was too geeky?) Recently, researchers at Yale were able to scan subjects’ brains and identify who the person was looking at just from reading the brain scan. The researchers first copied scans with their complementary faces onto a computer and then trained the computer to interpret new scans into faces. It was correct almost seventy percent of the time! Says Marvin Chun, author of the Yale study, “This really is bringing science fiction closer to reality.” So, what do you think of this story? Never mind, I know just what you’re thinking.

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Many young adults wait tables in order to earn extra cash while they figure out their lives. Melissa Mainier from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, used to serve

In News patrons at Peachtree Restaurant and Lounge. One afternoon in 2010, Benjamin Olewine, a local philanthropist, dined in the restaurant. During his brief conversation with Mainier, the waitress mentioned that she was in college and attempting to slowly pay off her massive student loans. To her surprise, Olewine offered his financial support. “He said, ‘I’d love to help you.’ I was like, help me? What is he talking about?” Mainier recalls. “He elaborated, and he said if I needed help financially, he would be happy to help.” At first, Mainier was reluctant to accept such a tremendous favor, but eventually she agreed. She is currently a nurse at Pinnacle Health’s General Osteopathic Hospital and is working toward a bachelor’s degree from Drexel University. Olewine is paying every single expense related to her studies, from tuition to books.

“[My parents] were both so shocked when I told them; they couldn’t believe it,” says Mainier, who adds that her father passed away two years ago. “My dad was so happy for me. Both my parents were just so happy for me. I’m sure they would [have wanted] to help me if they could.” Olewine, who made his money in the food industry and has a charitable track record, hopes she continues her education and earns a master’s degree,. Of course, he is willing and glad to cover her expenses. “I’m going to continue to pay it forward,” Mainier vowed, “for the rest of my life.”

Is This Letter Better Late than Never? Susan Heifetz got a whole lot of mail last week, except the letters from her family arrived to her former address 45 years too late. Heifetz grew up in an apartment building in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.


Over three decades of Torah Literacy

New from

Isn’t it time you really understood the mitzvos? sc∑ottenstein e∂ition

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includes the mitzvos of r e Sefiras Ha’Oms! o and Shavu


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day, from the day — from the morrow of the rest You shall count for yourselves they shall be complete. the Waving — seven weeks, when you bring the Omer of and you shall week you shall count, fifty days; Until the morrow of the seventh HASHEM (Leviticus 23:15-16). offer a new meal-offering to see Mitzthe Omer offering is brought; the second day of Pesach (when from ha’omer) days (sefiras forty-nine Omer are the There of counting Festival of Shavuos. The mitzvah night of vah 302) until the eve of the forty-nine nights from the second each one of these days on the obligates one to verbally count [1] count forty-nine days from Pesach until Shavuos. ִ ֹ ְ ִ — We are commanded to ְ ָ ְ ְ ָ ִ the sixis ִ which ֲ — ָ ֶ ֶֹ ָ ָ ְִ ָ ָ ָ ִ the Omer offering, ֱ ֶ ֶ ְ ְ ֶ ָ ֶ ִ ָ ֳ the day of the bringing of ָ ִ ֶ ֶ ֲ ִ ֲ ֶֹ Nissan, of the teenth day of the month of yourselves — from the morrow for count [2] shall You 23:15): shall be complete. ָ ְ — as it is stated (Leviticus Waving — seven weeks, they you bring the Omer of the ֵ ָ ְ — and it is ְ ִ [3] rest day, from the day when ִָ obligatory, ay period, forty-nine-d ֶ ָ ְ ִ ְ — This counting is this ָ throughout the days each and every day is both the days and the weeks incumbent upon us to count count [4] to t requiremen ֵ ְ — as well as the weeks. This ָ ָ ֶ — for Scripture states (ibid. ָ ְ ְ ִ ִ ִ ֲ ָ ְ — and it also states explicitly expressed in the Torah, ֵ ָ ְ ִ ”ְ ָ ָ ְ ִ ֹ ֻ ָ days, v. 16): you shall count, fifty NOTES

weeks. Although the verse 1. As the verse states, seven common in such situations also states fifty days, it is the next highest number; for the Torah to round off to 25:3 (Rosh, Pesachim see Genesis 46:27, Deuteronomy ). 65b 10:40; cf. Tosafos, Menachos in the verse is the first day 2. The “rest day” referred to of the rest day” — the of Pesach, and thus, the “morrow was brought — refers day on which the Omer offering which is the 16th of Nissan to the second day of Pesach, is the day on which That 6). note with 302 (see Mitzvah the seven-week count commences. on the Oral Tradition, 3. That is, our Sages, based shall count” in the above explain that the phrase “you to verbally count these verse is a literal requirement is in contrast to a numdays (see Menachos 65b). This where the term “count” ber of other places in the Torah



ָ ֲ ֳ ָ ִ ִָ

the Omer The Obligation of Counting

THE JAN CZUKER FAMILY ELUCIDATION OF THE TORAH’S COMMANDMENTS 4Newly vowelized full Hebrew text. 4Every word and phrase is translated and explained, following the pattern of the ArtScroll Schottenstein Talmud.


ְָ ִ

M AY 1 , 2014

dedicated by Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein

œ 322


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to mean “calculate” or appears, and is understood ְ, Leviticus 15:13 — “make a reckoning” [e.g., ְ ְ and ibid. v. 28 — and he shall count for himself, herself]. In these latter , and she shall count for a requirement that one eninstances, there is merely of days have elapsed, sure that the sufficient number Rif, to counted (Ran but not that the days be verbally ; Ramban, Leviticus 23:15; Pesachim fol. 27b ). For discussion, see cf. Tosafos, Kesubos 72a Mitzvah 330. we count only the day 4. That is, for the first six days Omer,” “Today is two days (e.g., “Today is one day of the reach the seventh day. On of the Omer,” etc.) until we seven days, which are one day seven we say, “Today is In this manner we count week of the Omer,” and so on. both the days and the weeks.


Volume 1: Mitzvos 1-65

4Notes explain the background and concepts. 4“Insights” reveal broad dimensions of the mitzvos.

dedicated by Yaakov and Chaya Willinger

Volume 2: Mitzvos 66-130

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Volume 4: Mitzvos 184-262

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The Week Recently, the current tenant at that apartment received two letters for Heifetz. The Good Samaritan tracked her down regarding the mail that was postdated June 27, 1969.

“I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh,’” Heifetz recalled. “He said, ‘I have a letter for you and the only reason I’m trying to find you is because it’s postmarked 1969.” “I said, ‘Tell me what else is on the envelope. He said to me, ‘On the back is a lipstick mark,’ and at that point I started to cry. This was my mother’s thing at the time — to always seal it with a kiss.” The letter was a birthday card from her parents for her 19th birthday. “Dear Susan,” the card began. “Mazel Tov.” It was signed, “Love and kiss-

es, Mamma Molly and Daddy Sam,” sealed with her mother’s still-pristine pink lipstick kiss. This card has tremendous sentimental value to Heifetz since her parents passed away over a decade ago. “I always knew that my parents watched over the family,” Heifetz related. “It’s something else to get something like this. It validates everything.” Strangely, three days later, another letter arrived dated back to 1969! This letter was from an old friend. At this point Heifetz contacted the post office. Officials were unable to explain the delays, but they did discover a third piece of mail – a 1969 birthday card from her brother. I guess I’ll stick with my eCards.

Message in a Bottle Found…A Century Later It was a normal day at work for Konrad Fischer, a fisherman fishing off the coast of Germany, until he discovered a message in a bottle, literally. Last month, Fischer found the postcard that was mostly illegible aside

In News from the name of the sender, Richard Platz, inside an old bottle. In the note, Platz requests that the message be forwarded back to him. However, it may be hard to track him down. The letter is dated from the year 1913. Platz’s postcard is thought to be the oldest message in a bottle in the world right now. Despite its age, Fischer wanted to return the postcard to Platz and tracked down Angela Erdmann, 62, the sender’s granddaughter.

just 20 years old. Sadly, Erdmann never knew Platz, who died at age 54. “I knew very little about my grandfather, but I found out that he was a writer who was very open-minded [and] believed in freedom and that everyone should respect each other,” she said. “He did a lot for the young and later traveled with his wife and two daughters.” She was grateful to have a tangible connection to her roots. The postcard will go on display in a German museum. Come to think of it, postcards themselves belong in museums.

Fastest Ride to the Top

“It was very surprising,” said Erdmann. “A man stood in front of my door and told me he had post from my grandfather. He then told me that a message in a bottle was found and that the name that was on the card was that of my grandfather.” Platz wrote the note when he was

Hitachi has announced that its new high-speed elevator for the Guangzhou CTF Financial Centre in China will travel at 45mph (1,200 meters per minute). Hold on to your hats. This speed will allow the elevator to reach the 95th floor in just 43 seconds. The elevator will carry economists, officials, and guests up and down the approximately 1,700-foot skyscraper. There will also be a double decker elevator to utilize all vertical space. The company told reporters that they will employ the latest technologies to ensure a smooth ride and to prevent vibrations and noise. Of course, safety is on everyone’s mind as they’re plunging vertically. But the company says that safety is guaranteed with state-of-the-art brakes that can sustain temperatures of over 300 degrees Celsius and still operate.

Until now, the record-holder for the world’s fastest elevator was held by the elevator in the Tapei 101 building in Taiwan, which travels at 37.7 mph and reaches its top floor in just 30 seconds. I wonder if they give out motion sickness meds on your dizzying flight to the top.

at a


of Joy

“Everyone in the operating room was like, ‘Oh my G-d!’” Ruscak remembers. “All that matters is that she’s healthy,” says the new mother. I wonder how many bottles she drinks a day.

1,000 Days of Summer

Many people considered Tomislav Perko lucky when he got a high-paying job as a stockbroker at the age of 23 in his native city of Zagreb in Croatia back in 2007. Aside from earning $10K a month, he also loved the thrill of chasing the market. “I had my own apartment. I bought

everything I wanted, went to all the parties, all the restaurants,” Perko boasts. “I was always thinking money is what makes you successful. I thought that was what I was supposed to do my entire life.”

In News

Of course, his quick success fed his ego, and he convinced a few family members and close friends to invest $30,000 of their life savings in the market with him. “I told them they could not lose,” Perko recalls. “In those days,


Dreamy you couldn’t lose.” But then came the financial crisis of 2008. Although the recession began in the U.S., its effects extended overseas, and all of Perko’s clients’ portfolios disappeared, along with his friends’ and

M AY 1 , 2014

On April 22, there was huge news in the nursery of Massachusetts General Hospital. Doctors there delivered the biggest baby born in the hospital in over a decade. Baby Carissa was born in the late afternoon and weighed 14 pounds, 5 ounces. During her pregnancy, mom Caroline Ruscak said strangers often asked her if she was expecting twins. But big babies run in the family. Both parents were born weighing approximately 10 pounds. Mom is 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and Dad is 6 feet, 6 inches tall. Their first child was born weighing 10 pounds, 5 ounces.

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M AY 1 , 2014


The Week family’s savings. “I couldn’t really stay there and look at red screens every day with nervous clients calling me non-stop,” Perko said. So he decided to quit in early 2009 with zero savings and over $30,000 of debt. At that time, youth unemployment rates in Croatia reached nearly 50%. Perko was considered one of the lucky ones when he was hired to work at a juice bar and wait tables. “It was completely a change of my lifestyle,” says Perko, now 29. “That was my new beginning.” His change of fortune radically changed his life. One day, Perko randomly met a man from France who was traveling through Europe using a website called The site is a global social networking platform that connects travelers with people in countries all over the world who are willing to open their doors to them free of charge. Perko offered him a place to crash, and in less than a year, he went on to host more than 150 other couch surfers from around the world. “By listening to their stories and realizing that it is possible to travel with almost no money, I decided to try it out,” Perko relates. “I went on a 4-day

trip to Bulgaria. There was no going back after that.” Perko had studied tourism in college and enthusiastically began planning an around-the-world trip that would take 1,000 days. He selected locations with warm climates like the Middle East, Asia, Australia, Africa, and Latin America, so he wouldn’t need heavy gear and layers of clothing. Perko expected to travel frugally. He had about $1,300 for his excursion and decided on a budget of $10 a day. He planned to try to find work on the road and write a travel blog in the hopes of earning some cash along the way to fund the rest of his trip. But it seems that people really liked hearing about his excursions. Perko’s blog caught local media attention, which lead to MasterCard to offer Perko $1,000 a month to wear their logo abroad and occasionally advertise for them on his blog and Facebook page, which eventually attracted more than 25,000 fans. The intrepid traveler named his trip “1,000 Days of Summer” and officially set out in September 2011. It took him about two weeks to hitchhike his way east to his first destination, Turkey, where he began an eight-month jour-

In News ney through Asia and the Middle East, including stops in Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq. From the Middle East, he ventured on to India, Nepal, Malaysia, and Thailand. “I realized I could travel and it was cheaper than living at home in Croatia,” he says. After Asia, he planned to go to Australia, the most expensive leg of his trip. Eventually, he found an airfare deal for a $120 one-way ticket to Brisbane on Air Asia. After Australia, his next destination was Africa, but he had to figure out a way to cross the Indian Ocean. Perko searched for a job on, a site where boat captains can find crews to help out on trips in exchange for free passage. He had zero experience on the open seas, but luckily, Perko managed to talk his way into the three-person crew of a 45-foot yacht. Throughout his journey, he found places to stay for free, worked in exchange for rent, or set up camp by bus stops. As one could imagine, after over a year, he was exhausted. Although he was only halfway into his 1,000 day goal, he decided to return home for a break. Travelling had taken a toll on him both physically and mentally. “In the end, I realized that this freedom I

was striving for is the freedom to choose what you want to do in that moment,” he says. “If that is to go back home and cut the trip short, you do that.” Due to the popularity of his blog and Facebook page, Perko had become quite the celebrity in Zagreb and Croatia by the time he returned. After two months, he set out for the final leg of his journey to South America. Perko details his experiences in his book, 1,000 Days of Spring, which he is still hoping to self-publish. Living on $10 a day has just been added to my bucket list.

Together Until the Very End

“Till death do us part.” At least one couple took that quite literally. Helen, 92, and Kenneth, 91, Felumlee died within fifteen hours of each other after being married for seventy years. The couple met as teenagers and was married in 1944, raising eight children over the years. Helen was a homemaker and Kenneth a mail carrier until his retirement a number of years ago. After retiring, the couple travelled to all fifty states by bus together. They did not sleep apart from each other until three years ago, when he had his leg amputated, and ate breakfast every day while holding each other’s hand. “We knew when one went, the other was going to go,” daughter Linda Cody told the Zanesville Times Recorder. “We wanted them to go together, and they did. She was staying strong for Dad and he was staying strong for her, that’s what kept them going.” They had 23 grandchildren and 43 great grandchildren.




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Art from the Heart of Lev Chana At HALB Lev Chana Early Childhood Center, our four-year-old nursery and kindergarten children enjoy and benefit from a unique art program specifically designed for them. Conceived and developed by Morah Karen Fromowitz, the children are introduced throughout the school year to the work and techniques of many modern artists such as Matisse, Warhol, Mondrian, Carle and Van Gogh. They learn about the creative process utilized to create these pieces of art, the terms and techniques. The children are exposed to and use many mediums including pastels, textured paper and materials, acrylic paint and recyclables. At this time of the year, however, with Yom Ha’atzmaut fast approach-

ing, we shift our focus from the modern artists to the Jewish artists. The children are exploring the Jerusalem scenic paintings of Amram Ebgi and the intricately detailed water colors of Adam

Rhine. They are learning about kinetic art by creating three dimensional drawings based on Yaakov Agam’s moving art. They are also discovering the wonders of micrography, the Jewish form of calligrams, a Hebrew poem, phrase or word in which the minute typeface, calligraphy or handwriting is arranged in a way that creates a visual image. When the children grasped the idea that artists were able to embed an entire book of Shemot in a picture depicting Kriat Yam Suf, they excitedly tried to emulate the artist by writing their own names in Hebrew over and over filling shapes that they had previously drawn. Our children love the Lev Chana art program. It enables them the opportunity to think creatively; to learn to observe, describe, and analyze; it empowers them with opportunities to express feelings, with or without words; it assists them in practicing problem-solving and critical thinking; it facilitates their understanding that there is more than one right answer; it supports collaboration with other children; and it builds confidence as the child blossoms as they create original artistic creations.


Community The Nature Company Comes to Bnot Yaakov of Long Island

The Nature Company visited Bnot Yaakov’s Pre-1A recently to present an array of animals including a super-soft chinchilla, a scaly bearded dragon lizard, and even a snake! Mr. Anthony, the animal guide who introduced and taught us all about each animal, told the girls a little story about each one and explained its habitat and behaviors. We all got to meet and pet each animal – except the “walking stick” bug because that was far too delicate for our little hands! Some of us were a bit squeamish when the snake came around but everyone loved stroking the chinchilla’s soft, velvety fur. Morah Ilana and Morah Maral, our Pre-1A morahs, had introduced the animals to us in our science lessons where we learned about various ani-

mals, the food they ate and their natural habitats. Although our morahs showed us many pictures of the animals beforehand, nothing beat seeing them up close and getting a chance really touch them. We loved “meeting” the animals in “person” and learning about them!

Trees of Life

On Monday, April 28th, first graders in Morah Katz’s class at HANC’s Samuel & Elizabeth Bass Golding Elementary School took their siddurim on a walk to a blossoming blueberry bush so that they could perform the mitzvah of “Blessing the Trees” which is done during the month of Nisan, when fruit trees begin to bloom. Before the children left on their walk, Mrs. Katz told the students about the midrash in Masechet Ta’anit that tells the story of traveler who was sits

under a shady fruit tree and then wants to bless the tree for giving him shade and fruit to eat. The traveler debates how to bless the tree for he already has shade, he is already surrounded by water and he already has fruit. In the end t, he traveler blesses the tree that all of its saplings should also provide shade and sweet fruit. Morah Katz explained to the students that it is always important to thank Hashem for everything that He has created for us.



Yom Hashoah Commemoration in Long Beach Haggadah. The Haggadah speaks about the four sons which relate to the different attitudes we find with regard to the Holocaust in today’s society. There is the Sheno Yodeyah Lishol who is simply too young and because of the chronological/ generational divide has no familiarity with the events of the Holocaust. Then there is the Tam who has an awareness but chooses to be oblivious and totally disinterested in this horrific period of our history. The Rasha is the classical Holocaust denier who within only the relatively short period of time since the Shoah has the audacity to negate the most egregious crimes against humanity known to mankind. Finally, Rabbi Wakslak told the assemblage that those in attendance were the Chachomim who are charged with telling the story from beginning to end so that it will never happen Shmuely Schafler lights a candle in memory of the kedoshim again and so that the Beach Synagogue. Simcha Weber sang inspiration of those who gave their lives a heartfelt rendition of Machnitzei Ra- al Kiddush Hashem will be ever-present chamim. for all future generations. Rabbi Dr. Chaim Wakslak, Morah David Samuels, a classical flutist, D’osra of the YILB, delivered introduc- played Ani Maamin prior to the introductory remark. Noting the close proximity tion of Rabbi Joseph Polak, the featured of Yom HaShoah to the Yom Tov of Pe- speaker for the evening. sach he articulated a message from the Rabbi Polak is a child survivor of

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This past Sunday evening, April 27th coinciding with the 27th of Nissan, the community of Long Beach honored the memory of the six million kedoshim. The overflowing assemblage gathered in the main sanctuary of the Young Israel of Long Beach. The evening commenced with the recitation of Tehilim by Rabbi Chaim Axelrod, assistant rabbi of Young Israel, and Rabbi Rapperport, rabbi of the Lido

L-R: Rabbi Chaim Axelrod, Rabbi Polak, Rabbi Chaim Wakslak, Nelson Spiess

the Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps; he lost his father and thirty members of his immediate family in the Holocaust. His writings have appeared in such distinguished magazines and newspapers as Commentary, Midstream, Tradition, and the Boston Globe, as well as in many books and scholarly journals both in Hebrew and English. He is the Av Bet Din of the Bet Din of Massachusetts. A memoir of the first ten years of his life, “After the Holocaust the Bells Still Ring,” is forthcoming from Urim Publishers this summer. Rabbi Polak presented his memoir as a fascinating portrait of mother and child who miraculously survive two concentration camps, then, after the war, battle demons of the past, societal rejection, disbelief, and invalidation as they struggle to reenter the world of the living. It is the tale of how one newly takes on the world, having lived in the midst

of corpses strewn about in the scores of thousands, and how one can possibly resume life in the aftermath of such experiences. It is his story of a child who decides, upon growing up, that the only career that makes sense for him in light of these years of horror is to become someone sensitive to the deepest flaws of humanity, a teacher of G-d’s role in history amidst the traditions that attempt to understand it—and to become a rabbi. All those in attendance were deeply affected from this searing presentation. The program concluded with the lighting of the six memorial candles by Holocaust survivors, second generation children of survivors and one candle in memory of the 1 ½ million children who perished. The program concluded with the Kel Moleh Rachamim and the singing of Ani Maamin followed by Maariv and sefirah.

Silence Can be Golden Pirkei Avos is read Shabbos afternoon during the weeks between Pesach and Shavous. (There are some communities that continue the reading of  Pirkei Avos throughout the summer.) Our Sages explain that just as the Jewish nation when they left Egypt worked on purifying themselves during this time period, similarly we should work on improving our behavior during this time period by learning Pirkei Avos  which teaches us ethical behavior. (Book of Our Heritage, Nissan) Next week we will read the third chapter of Pirkei Avos. It says there, “Rabbi Akiva omer…siyag l’chachmah shisikah”  (3:17), Rabbi Akiva says…a protective fence for wisdom is silence.

The commentators on this Mishnah discuss at length the importance of silence, when it is appropriate, and the benefits it accrues. One of the foundations of a good marriage is communication between couples. As taught in Pirkei Avos, a very major part of communication is silence. When a person practices silence while in conversation with his partner, he is training himself to listen; to really hear what the other person is saying, focus on it and process it.  This silence enables him to respond with much greater clarity and thought than if he was interjecting and offering a response before hearing out the speaker in her entirety. A common exercise practiced in couple therapy is “reflective listening.”


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This exercise is often used to “discuss” a particularly heated topic. During this exercise one partner gets to speak for a set amount of time while the other partner practices silence and good listening skills (eye contact, body language, etc..), and does not interrupt. Then partner B reflects what partner A said, summarizing briefly what were the key points that were expressed. The exercise continues with the partners switching places. This is often a very effective behavior because by “forcing” the silence of partner B it enables partner B to really listen and partner A to feel like he is able to express herself fully without the usual fears of being “cut off” or “problem solved” or misunderstood. During these weeks be-

fore Shavous let us make an extra effort to work on our behavior and make positive changes.  This week, set aside a block of time to “discuss” one topic with our spouse using “the silence technique.” May we merit to see increased communication between us as a result of practicing silence. Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 10:00-11:00 p.m. For the hotline or more information, call 516-430-5280 or email dsgarry@


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Save the Date! SUNDAY EVENING June 8th, 2014 6:00 pm Lawrence Yacht & Country Club


Sponsored by

Herzog Wineries


Mr. & Mrs. Sruli Herzog Mr. & Mrs. Adam Kay Dr. & Mrs. Noam Spinowitz Corporate Journal Chairman



DINNER COMMITTEE Shlomo Hackel Shalom Yona Weis

(646) 374.9912

Ahron Lieberman Tzadok Weinberg Yehuda Gutkind




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The 8th Annual NY NCSY Community-Wide Basketball Tournament NY NCSY, a branch of the Orthodox Union’s international youth movement, will hold its 8th Annual Commu-

nity-Wide Basketball Tournament on Sunday, May 4th. Tournament games for 5 on 5 and 3 on 3 teams begin

at 9 am at local gyms around the Five Towns. After the morning qualifying games conclude, all the participating

players will come together at Lawrence High School at noon for a pizza lunch hosted by Shula’s Pizza followed by the Sweet Sixteen games. The purpose of the tournament is to build awareness, community support and raise funds to support NCSY community programming and provide scholarships to Jewish teens that wish to study in Israel post high-high school and attend NCSY Summer Programs. This year’s tournament promises to be highly competitive, attracting top basketball players from across New York and New Jersey. From  1:30-3:30 pm, children of all ages will be treated to entertainment featuring a petting zoo and moon bounce. There will be food and snacks available for purchase. Prior to the Championship game, a winner will be chosen from the Raffle Campaign. The Grand Prize is 2 round trip tickets to Israel. The tournament is an enjoyable Sunday event for the community, but more importantly, to raise much needed scholarship dollars for our precious Jewish teens. For more information, please visit or contact Judah Rhine, Director, NCSY Basketball Tournament, at 516-569-6279. We look forward to seeing you at this year’s tournament!

Shape up this spring!

Check out Aliza Beer's helpful tips on page 82




Pikuach Nefeshos ~

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There are currently thousands of Jewish teens that are attending public school across the New York area and have very little affiliation to yiddishkite. Through a lot of hard work and mesiras nefesh many of these teens have grown tremendously in Torah and Mitzvos. They are bringing their new commitment and passion to Yiddishkite into their lives and homes. I have been approached by many of these teens for the opportunity to attend Yeshiva High Schools and attend yeshivas/seminaries in Eretz Yisroel the funds to cover the expense stops them from going. $2000 will help cover the cost (after scholarships) for a $3000

public school teen to attend a Yeshiva High School. will cover the cost (after all scholarships) for a Public school teen to attend a Yeshiva/Seminary for a year.

Please give generously and with an open heart so that these teens can continue their upward climb and G-d willing raise Torah based homes for future generations

Any donation amount will be greatly appreciated May the Zechus of this great Mitzvah stand by you and your family and may we only share simchas with our own children. Rabbi Avrohom Walkin Please make checks payable to Congregation Merkaz Hatorah and mail them to:

Avrohom Walkin 226 Beach 9thst. Far rockaway NY 11691 For more Information I may be reached at 347 524 3864 or through email at:

Please join emUnah of america at our

“Empowering Women” spring luncheon Guest of Honor

Dr. ruTH GruBer

Honoring Dr. SuSAn M. CHAMBré Dr. ronA noviCk GAiL iTzkowiTz SHAPiro reBeCCA GrAzi Siev roMinA weiSS

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 Boutiques at 11:00 AM

Luncheon at 12:15 PM

the prince george ballroom 15 east 27th street | nYc register online: or call 212.564.9045 x 306

sheryl schainker & melodie scharf luncheon chairmen

miriam ellenberg, ronnie faber, careena Parker, rena steigman, mindy stein, committee robyn Gelberg, Tamar moche, carol Pinewski, susan sklarin, Boutiques committee fran hirmes, national President

Around the Community Yom HaShoah at HAFTR Lower School


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Fourth and fifth grade students in HAFTR Lower School gathered for a heartwarming assembly to commemorate Yom HaShoah. Ms. Joy Hammer, principal, inspired students with her experience visiting concentration camps and her reaction when she encountered Holocaust deniers. Under the guidance of teachers Mrs. Lisa Rosenberg and Mrs. Janet Goldman, fifth grade students performed Patricia Polacco’s The Butterfly magnificently. HAFTR parent Mrs. Tahra Mastour told the story of her grandmother who is a Holocaust survivor and

resides in Florida. She spoke about how her grandmother survived the war as a governess for a Nazi family. She also impressed upon her young audience the mitzvah of zachor in the Torah as an active, not passive one, and one which children can accomplish. We were honored to have three generations, Mrs. Mastour, Mr. and Mrs. Kerman, parents of Mrs. Mastour and the Mastour children, light candles in memory of the six million kedoshim. Everyone recited Tehillim, fourth grade students sang “Vehi She-amdah,” and the audience ended with the Hatikva and Ani Maamin.

OHEL Launches Dynamic and Free Parenting Workshop Why do good parents with everyday children face so many increasing challenges? It almost feels like the environment that children grow up in today is from another galaxy. We love our children dearly, but what we find daunting is that many of the communication tools and techniques that we saw utilized when we were younger are just not working with our own children. To help bridge a gap between the communication of parents and their children, OHEL has created a three part series which addresses different aspects of parent-child relationships, and how they can best communicate with each other. Topics covered throughout the three part series include how to achieve successful communication, resolving conflicts effectively, and instilling self-esteem and confidence in children.

In the first session, taking place this Wednesday, May 7, parents will be empowered through learning the theory and skills of active listening, which is the foundation of the additional two sessions. By properly “decoding” messages received, parents will ensure that the conversations with their children are based on a proper understanding of one another. Additionally, parents will learn how to realistically and effectively structure daily time periods to talk with their children, and giving them their full attention. For more information or to register for the workshop series, please visit or contact 201-692-3972 or


We stand in awe of this pillar of Chesed and are eternally grateful for their acts of kindness.

334 Central Avenue • Lawrence, NY 11559 144 Beach 9th Street • Far Rockaway, NY 11691 • 516-791-4444

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to GOURMET GLATT for their continued generosity, enabling countless families in our community to enjoy a meaningful, uplifting and dignified Yom Tov.


Thank You!


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Acheinu Kiruv Conference Inspires Mesikus Hatorah By Chaim Gold “Mesikus haTorah cannot be trans- vating that sweetness. Aside from Rav mitted without importance of Torah. Hirsch’s inspiring keynote session, the One develops a taste for the Torah’s conference was addressed by HaGaon sweetness when he understands its im- HaRav Shalom Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Porat portance,” said HaGaon Yosef and Nasi of Shas’s HaRav Moshe Hillel Moetzet Chachmei HaHirsch, shlita, Rosh Torah, as well as the Yeshiva of Yeshivat Nasi of Dirshu and Slabodka, a promifounder of Acheinu, nent talmid of HaGaon Rav Dovid Hofstedter, HaRav Aharon Kotler, shlita. addressing the Acheinu Kiruv Conference in “His Eyes Lit Up at Yerushalayim. “The the Word Torah!” primary vehicle for this Rav Hirsch quotis personal example. ed HaGaon HaRav Seeing how important Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, Rosh Yeshiva of Slabodka Yeshiva, speaking Yitzchok Hutner, who Torah is to one’s rebbe, once said that whenevthe talmid recognizes its er he spoke with Rav Aharon Kotler, sweetness.” Hundreds of roshei yeshiva, rab- he would steer the conversation so that banim, and kiruv activists participat- Rav Aharon would say the word “Toed in the conference focusing on kiruv rah.” “His eyes would light up! It was rechokim and kiruv kerovim and culti- clear he was talking about the greatest

treasure! I would feel my love of Torah enthusiasm and advice. HaGaon HaRav increase and my chashivus for Torah Shteinman said, “The more one learns transformed. Rav Aharon’s own chashi- Torah, the sweeter it becomes. Those vus for Torah transmitted the Torah’s involved in kiruv should teach as much sweetness”. Torah as possible.” Targeted Roundtable HaGaon HaRav Chaim Discussions Chaired Kanievsky, smilingly, by Expert Rabbanim seemed to almost not An important innounderstand the quesvation at the Acheinu tion! “All you must do Kiruv Conference was is open a sefer and learn the thirty concurrent to see how sweet it is!” roundtable discussions Senior Ponovezh Rosh on issues mechanchim Yeshiva HaGaon HaRand mekarvim face toav Gershon Edelstein day, consisting of rabadded the importance of binic authorities and davening with fervor in Rav Dovid Hofstedter, founder of Acheinu kiruv professionals. birchas haTorah when Roundtables dealt with saying: “Please sweeten bochurim who have been orphaned of a the words of Torah in our mouths and parent, or transition from a baal teshu- our children’s mouths.” vah yeshiva to a mainstream yeshiva, or yeshiva ketana to yeshiva gedolah. The Critical Ingredient: Among the mechanchim and rabbinic Loving a Talmid Like a Son leaders were HaGeonim Rav ChizkiyaA Conference highlight was the keyhu Yosef Mishkofsky, shlita, of Yeshiva note session presence at the of the senior Orchos Torah, talmid muvhak of Rav Sephardic gadol, HaGaon HaRav ShaAharon Leib Shteinman, shlita; Rav lom Cohen, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Binyamin Finkel, shlita, Mashgiach in Porat Yosef, newly appointed successor Mir Yerushalayim; Rav Yisroel Gans, to HaGaon HaRav Ovadiah Yosef, zt”l, senior R’M at Yeshiva Kol Torah and as Shas’s Nasi of the Moetzet Chachmei posek of the Mattersdorf neighborhood HaTorah. Rav Cohen, who has exof Yerushalayim; and many others. pressed his admiration for Acheinu’s activities in the Sephardic and AshkePre-Conference Guidance nazi communities, spoke about the imfrom Gedolei Hador perative of a rebbi and mentor creating Before the conference, Rav Dovid a bond with each talmid. “A talmid who Hofstedter and senior Acheinu mem- feels his rebbi or mentor loves him like bers visited gedolei hador who offered a father will accept guidance. That is

Partial view of the interactive discussions at the Kiruv Conference

“The Rebbi Himself Must Possess Mesikus HaTorah and Ahavas HaTorah” Acheinu’s founder, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, noted that the sweetness of Torah comes after investing great effort into learning. “Without ameilus, it is virtually impossible to achieve mesikus haTorah. To inculcate mesikus haTorah one must himself toil in Torah. One must himself possess mesikus HaTorah and Ahavas HaTorah to impart these.” A Dream Come True A moving siyum haShas by alumni to mark Acheinu’s 20th anniversary was a dream come true for Rav Hofstedter.

The greatest nachas, he often remarks, is to see alumni so attached to Torah to complete entire masechtot and take Dirshu tests! Acheinu’s Executive Director, Rabbi Shlomo Fisherowitz, remarked, “It was moving to see multitude of tables with rebbeim and avreichem representing the cross-section of Jewry, joining to bring today’s youth closer to Hashem. It is a zechut to be part of a movement whose transforming kiruv produces bnei Torah!”


el, addressed them, “The true bond between father and son is forged through learning Torah together.” Fathers learning with their sons gained a newfound appreciation for the

teshuvah with no learning background recently completed—the entire Masechet Bava Metzia! The Gaon, HaRav Asher Arielli, senior R”M at Yeshivat Mir, came to test them and impart appreciation of their accomplishment’s magnitude. “Talmidim who began learning a year or two ago speak in learning as those who learned all their lives. One sees how happy they are, how much they love Torah and Acheinu’s Yeshiva Hashem!” L’Tze’irim “Yom Rabbi Ariel ElRishon L’Tzion, HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Amar, at Acheinu ‘Yom Shekulo Torah’ Event Shekulo Torah” baz, a R”M at the for Parents and Students budding talmidei chachamim. Rav Zev yeshiva, said, “We stay with each baAcheinu’s Yeshiva L’Tze’irim in Hofstedter, Rosh HaYeshiva, said, “Par- chur, tapping into his strengths. That is Modiin Illit has put countless young ents were amazed to see their sons prog- how, with great siyatta d’Shmaya, they men on the path to greatness. Its recent ress in middos and Torah.” completed the entire masechta!” “Yom Shekulo Torah” where parents learn with their sons opened with a si- HaGaon HaRav Asher Arielli, Shlita yum on Masechet Megilah by the talmiTests Acheinu Yeshiva Talmidim dim. HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Amar, Students of the Acheinu Yeshiva former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Isra- Hakedosha in Yerushalayim for baalei

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how Torah and yiras Shamayim is transmitted.” “The gemara says the world exists in the merit of the Torah of children. We must ensure that the world continues to exist because of our children’s Torah. The only way they will learn properly is if they feel their rebbi truly cares about them. Everyone who teaches Torah must do so in a way that his talmidim can learn from example, thereby sustaining the world.”



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ArtScroll Yerushalmi Ready for New Learning Cycle Recently, a gentleman told Rabbi Nosson Scherman of ArtScroll/Mesorah, “My son has gone through two cycles of Daf Yomi, and now thanks to ArtScroll, he’s learning Yerushalmi.” Rabbi Scherman smiled and said, “That’s great, but what about you?” The man laughed and said, “I’ve been through three cycles and now I’m learning Yerushalmi, too.” It was at the Sixth Knessiah Gedolah of Agudas Yisrael, in Jerusalem, that a historic proclamation was made. The day was 18 Teves, 5740/1980. The speaker was the Lev Simcha, the Gerrer Rebbe. The proclamation was that it was time for the Torah world to begin a new Daf Yomi program, the daily study of Talmud Yerushalmi. The Yerushalmi Daf Yomi program takes 4.5 years and it is now celebrating its eighth siyum. The Schottenstein Editions of the Talmud Bavli in Hebrew and English – and in French, as well – have contributed tremendously to the spread of Daf Yomi study. It has been estimated that of the 90,000 participants at the MetLife Stadium celebration of the last siyum, more than half were there thanks the ArtScroll’s authoritative editions. Now the same is happening regarding the Yerushalmi. New Era of Yerushalmi Study In recent years, the Yerushalmi Daf Yomi program has gained growing impetus thanks to ArtScroll/Mesorah’s Schottenstein Edition in both Hebrew and English. Historically, study of Yerushalmi was extremely limited and

difficult. Roman hatred and persecution of the Jewish yishuv in Eretz Yisrael remained intense after the destruction of the Second Bais Hamikdash and the failed Bar Kochba rebellion. In approximately 400 C.E, Rome’s relentless pressure forced an end to the development of the Yerushalmi, before it could be completely organized and edited. The style of the Yerushalmi is terse and difficult, and its Aramaic dialect is different from that of the Talmud Bavli. Thanks to Roman cruelty, there were very few hand-written manuscripts and they were not available for centuries; according to many authorities, Rashi never saw the Yerushalmi. The Rishonim write that when texts were found, they were filled with errors. The result was that Yerushalmi was neglected for centuries and could be understood only by the greatest scholars. And – there was no Rashi! The Necessity to Study Yerushalmi Such historic luminaries as Arizal and the Vilna Gaon advocated study of Yerushalmi. Rambam frequently rules like the Yerushalmi over the Bavli. Rav Chaim Kanievsky urges that Yerushalmi be studied in conjunction with the Bavli, and his regular shiurim on Yerushalmi are transcribed and published. Especially in our time when millions of our brethren live in Eretz Yisrael, study of Yerushalmi is essential because only the Yerushalmi – not the Bavli – has Gemara on Seder Zeraim, which makes it the primary source

for the day-to-day agricultural laws of Israel. Since next year is the Shemittah year, study of the Yerushalmi is becoming more popular. Incidentally, this is also true of ArtScroll’s Mishnah Shevi’is, both the Hebrew Ryzman Edition and the English Yad Avraham Edition. But the lack of commentaries and the difficulty of the text make Yerushalmi study almost impossible for ordinary scholar, much less the layman. The ArtScroll/Mesorah Edition Now, thanks to ArtScroll/Mesorah, that has changed. In the words of Rabbi Yehezkel Danziger, editorial director of the project, “The Schottenstein Edition provides a thorough explanation of the text and makes the Yerushalmi accessible to everyone, in both English and Hebrew.” It includes a corrected text of the Gemara. At the urging of Harav Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a, ArtScroll has added commentaries not readily available, including that of Rav Shlomo of  Sirilio, which Rav Chaim  recommends most highly. The ArtScroll elucidation is based not only on the commentaries printed in the familiar Vilna Edition, but also on other excellent works. In addition, where necessary, the editors include an elucidation of other versions of the Talmud text, such as that of the Vilna Gaon This edition also discusses cases where the Yerushalmi diverges from the Bavli. Encouragement of Gedolim The work was begun with the en-

couragement of Harav Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv zt”l and other gedolei Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael shlit”a along with the major American gedolei roshei hayeshivah shlit”a. The senior American roshei hayeshivah and rabbonim graciously sent warm letters of approbation: Harav Zelik Epstein and Harav Henoch Leibowitz zt”l; and Harav David Feinstein, Harav Aharon Schechter, Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Harav Yaakov Perlow, Harav Avrohom Chaim Levin, Harav David Cohen, Harav Hillel David, Harav Feivel Cohen, and Harav Eliezer Ginsburg shlit”a. After examining the new edition, Harav Aharon Leib Shteinman shlit”a was so impressed that he adopted it as the text for his weekly shiur in Yerushalmi, and graciously sent a letter of commendation. To date, the ArtScroll/Mesorah edition comprises all of Seder Zeraim in Hebrew and English and much of Seder Moed. Of the projected 44 volumes in the entire set, 25 are currently available in English and 14 in Hebrew. The elucidation is already acknowledged as a classic. Large teams of talmidei chachamim in America and Eretz Yisrael are hard at work producing further volumes. In the words of Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz, the dynamic president of ArtScroll/ Mesorah, “This may well be the most important project we have ever undertaken, because Yerushalmi was like a treasure locked in a vault without keys for more than 16 centuries. Baruch Hashem that is no longer the case.”

Supporting Kallahs in our Community Did you know that Bridal Secrets, located on Central Avenue in Cedarhust, donates its profits to the local Be’er Miriam Tziporah Hachnasas Kallah Fund? How perfectly fitting (no pun intended!) that Bridal Secrets rents and sells bridal gowns, head pieces, veils, and more, and turns over its gain for the benefit of those struggling to make weddings. Are you aware that a former TAG student who was inspired by her experience with the Be’er Miriam Tziporah Chinese Auction during high school founded Badek’d, a Wood-

mere-based tzedakah subsidizing jewelry for purchase by chossanim when they cannot afford to extend this kavod to their kallahs? And how about the former TAG student who quietly distributes beautiful gift cards to kallahs through Be’er Miriam Tziporah, inviting the recipient to choose something special for her wedding day? “Kol Yisroel areivem zeh ba zeh”— every Jew is responsible each for the other. These individuals have taken their responsibility to heart. We call on you to take your responsibility to heart.

Be’er Miriam Tziporah, now in its 16th year, has cumulatively dispensed more than $500,000 dollars, predominantly in our own community. However, the need for assistance has continued to grow, accelerating since the deep economic downturn in 2008. Unfortunately, the organization has had to cut back on its individual grants to spread a limited pool of funds over a growing population of beneficiaries. Fulfill your obligation to your community in the crucial mitzvah of hachnasas kallah by participating gen-

erously in the Be’er Miriam Tziporah Hachnasas Kallah Fund’s Chinese Auction on May 18th, Lag Ba’omer, at TAG Elementary School. Come out for the Chinese Auction and enjoy, while showing your support for this noble cause and the hard-working TAG girls who make it happen. Respond now by calling in your order for Auction tickets. Or mail or fax in your order forms from the Chinese Auction booklet you have received.

Holocaust Remembrance Day at Young Israel of Forest Hills



Yom HaShoah Commemorated at HANC High School By: Ninth Grader Rachel Canter


Around the


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L-R: Mrs. Carole Tabin, associate principal; Alan and Judy Eisenman; scholarship recipient Leora Schwadron; Rabbi Shlomo Adelman, principal; Ms. Tziporah Zucker, assistant principal

L-R: Philip Belkin, Chairman of the program; Eli Chomsky, President of YI of Forest Hills; Aaron Kaplowitz, keynote speaker; Rabbi Yehuda Oppenheimer of YI of Forest Hills; Senior Rabbi Manfred Gans of Machane Chodosh; and Rabbi Simcha Hopkovitz of Queens Jewish Center. (Not pictured are Rabbi David Algaze of Havurat Yisrael and Rabbi Yossi Mendelson of Machane Chodosh)

“As we lose survivors and their testimony, the question is not what will be remembered about the Holocaust, the question is who be doing the remembering,” said Aaron Kaplowitz, Director of Communications for six years at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, and the keynote speaker at Holocaust Remembrance Day held at the Young Israel of Forest Hills.    Kaplowitz urged people to go on the

March of the Living, for descendants to document survivor’s stories, and to be vigilant against anti-Semitism. “Goodness alone will not defeat evil.  Good that is galvanized to defeat evil will.” Along with speeches, kinot and Kayl molay rachamim were said as well as the songs Gam Ki Elech and Ani Maamin.   Survivors and descendants of survivors lit eternal memorial candles inside the shul.

Bais Yaakov of Queens Fourth Grade Celebrates Published Authors

Miss Schapiro’s fourth grade class celebrated the completion of their books. The students created stories, wrote, and illustrated whole books. The stories were wonderful. Thanks to our writing mentor, Susie Garber, and teacher, Tobi Shapiro, the process was

a smooth one. The girls were so excited to share, they invited guests to read their work. Mrs. Bergman and Mrs. Reisbaum visited, read and congratulated the girls. The other fourth grades to the celebration, read the books, and even commented on them.

The Hebrew Academy of Nassau County High School commemorated Yom HaShoah this past Monday, April 28. All students participated in a meaningful program at which they remembered and reflect upon the Holocaust. The program featured a film of interviews created by students in the Holocaust Studies class, an essay reading presentation by the recipient of the Moshe Flescher Holocaust Memorial Scholarship, Leora Schwadron, and the presence of one of the survivors in the video, Mrs. Helen Rosenstark. In addition, there was a candle lighting ceremony by grandchildren of survivors in memory of the six million Jews who perished, as well as a presentation of an inspirational piece of artwork created by freshman Jonah Maryles followed by a heart-warming performance of Ani Maamin and Hatikvah by members of the HANC boys’ chorus. This fall, HANC participated in the innovative Adopt a Survivor Program, which provides students with the valuable opportunity to interview Holocaust survivors and hear their stories. Today, 70 years later, there are many people who deny that the Holocaust ever happened. In twenty years, those numbers are only certain to increase. Therefore, the goal of the Adopt a Survivor program is for people to take on the stories of individual survivors and relay them to as many people as possible. The HANC High School students who participated in this program created a film, not only about the survivors’ stories, but also about the students’ own journeys in learning the stories and preserving them. The students, along with their instructor, Rabbi Aaron Friedler, took several trips to the Holocaust Resource Center in Manhasset and met with Mr. Irving

Roth, Holocaust survivor, Director of the Center, and founder of the Adopt a Survivor Program. Students learned that if the children of their generation do not take on the responsibility of remembering the Holocaust, there will soon be no one to tell the story. It is, therefore, our duty to learn and pass on these stories to ensure they are never forgotten. During the program, Mr. Alan and Judi Eisenman, parents of three HANC graduates, presented Leora Schwadron with a tuition scholarship award. This annual scholarship is sponsored for ninth grade students in memory of Mrs. Judi Eisenman’s father a”h, Mr. Moshe Flescher, who was born in Poland in 1921. As the youngest of seven children, he survived the tumultuous period by hiding in the forest with five siblings. Mrs. Eisenman explained that the purpose of this scholarship was to publicize the atrocities that were committed against our people through education. Students left the program feeling inspired and encouraged to remember the Holocaust and committed to telling survivors’ stories to everyone they can.

Love ice cream? Read about the scoop on the Ben and Jerry's Factory tour with Alex Idov on page 90



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Morning of Learning • Experienced Caring Rabbeim • Special Erev Shabbos Program • Free Hot Lunches & Daily Snacks • Transportation Available


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M AY 1 , 2014


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Thank You!

to SEASONS for their assistance in providing a plentiful supply of food to numerous patients and their families who were hospitalized over Yom Tov.

We stand in awe of this pillar of Chesed and are eternally grateful for their acts of kindness.

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Yom Hashoah Commemorated at HAFTR High School by Dena Gershkovich, Renee Frenkel, Jamie Klahr, and Daniella Seelenfreund

It was a dark and somber environment as Hebrew Academy of Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) High School students commemorated Yom Hashoah on April 28. Rabbi Oppen opened the assembly, attended by faculty members and students in grade nine through twelve, by introducing the purpose of the assembly and talking about his recent trip to Poland with a select group of seniors along with faculty members Rabbi Hubner and Ms. Shira Oppen. The seniors who attended the Poland trip were Max Borgen, Sara Cherson, Corey Friedman, Sarah Fuchs, Joseph Greenstein, Riana Harari, Amanda Kanefsky, Jenna Kaufman, Eli Kleinworm, Daniel Margareten, Jesse Margareten, Stacie Michael, Lauren Pianko, Gabriella Shimon, and Jaimee Schwartz.  HAFTR High School’s first annual Abraham Scharf z”l HAFTR Poland Mission took place in late March, and the trip was sponsored by the Scharf family. The students attending the assembly were mesmerized as some of the seniors and Rabbi Oppen related their personal accounts of their experiences during this momentous trip.  Rabbi Oppen spoke about a memorial depicting trees whose branches were cut off, symbolizing the lives of the six million Jews were cut short.  Some of the seniors gave a PowerPoint presentation showing poignant photos from the trip.  They also related examples of anti-Semitism they experienced or heard about that are still occurring today in Poland.   “Listening to our fellow students talk about their experi-

ences was more meaningful than hearing facts stated about the Holocaust,” said junior Daniella Seelenfreund. “We also heard about current Jewish life in Poland and how it is growing, which is encouraging.”  Dena Gershkovich said, “It was nice to hear from the seniors who were there only a few weeks ago and their personal accounts were inspiring.”  Renee Frenkel and Jamie Klahr thought, “This Yom Hashoah presentation was more relatable because the HAFTR delegation actually went there and talked about seeing concentration camps and other sights with their own eyes and from their hearts.”  We heard individual stories that were truly meaningful, especially one about a man who left his tefillin on a cattle car, escaped, went back for his tefillin, and then he was killed.  He could have been saved, but it was so important for him to retrieve his tefillin that he sacrificed his life; years later, his family donated a set of tefillin in his memory.  Seniors talked about their unforgettable experiences and lit candles in memory of resistance fighters. The last generation of Holocaust survivors is aging, and it is a legacy to our young people that we all understand and remember the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust.  The mission to Poland was a life-changing experience for each and every person who attended, and to share it with the entire student body was a deeply personal and meaningful way to commemorate Yom Hashaoah.

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Yom HaShoah: A Day to Speak Out Against Anti-Semitism Students from the Rambam Mesivta organized a rally outside the offices of the Ukrainian Mission to the United Nations on the eve of Yom HaShoah. They were calling attention to the recent overt, anti-Semitic attacks that have been directed against the Ukrainian Jewish community.  Over the past few months, synagogues have been firebombed, Jews have been attacked in the streets, and tombstones have been desecrated. During the Passover holiday, Molotov cocktails were hurled at the main synagogue in Nikolayev. A rabbi, on his way to visit the sick, was stabbed simply because he was Jewish.  The rally began with students expressing their thanks and appreciation to New York’s finest, the NYPD, for facilitating their right to assemble and protest. The stark contrast between the silence of the world during the Holocaust and the protest against the current situation in Ukraine was obvious to all. Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman, Rambam’s Rosh

Mesivta, spoke about the responsibility all Jews and freedom-loving Americans have to learn from the past and do whatever is in their power to prevent anti-Semitism and other forms of injustice. His speech was permeated with chants of “We will not forget!” He pointed out that Ukraine has a long-standing history of anti-Semitism and drew attention to the massacres of 1648-1649, perpetrated by Bogdan Chmelnitski, in which tens of thousands of Jews were massacred.  Students chanted “Your land is drenched in blood!” Shockingly, Chmelnitski is a Ukrainian national hero with his monument being prominently portrayed in the center of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. Ukrainian participation in the Holocaust is another indictment of the attitude of the populace towards their Jewish citizenry. Babi Yar, a ravine just outside Kiev, was the site of one of the largest massacres during the Holocaust. It was there that 100,000 innocent men women and children were shot and

thrown into the ravine. Chants of “Remember Babi Yar!” and “Never again!” were directed at the offices of Ukrainian government across the street. Turning to the current situation, Rabbi Friedman spoke about the synagogues which were defaced and set on fire, the Jews who were beaten, and the cemeteries which were defiled in the general intimidation of the Jewish community. He demanded that as an immediate measure, the Ukrainians condemn all forms of anti-Semitism, and safeguard the Jewish community by providing police protection of all synagogues and Jewish schools. In addition, he stated, “If they truly are remorseful about their anti-Semitic history, they should express shame for their complicity and finally put the remaining Ukrainian Nazi war criminals on trial and call for an immediate cessation of the virulent anti-Semitic attacks.”  Mr. Hillel Goldman, Rambam’s assistant principal, then led the student

activists in chanting “Stop the violence! Stop the hate!” He exclaimed to Ukrainians everywhere “that the waters of hate are once again rising in your country…we demand you rise to the challenge and beat back the wave of anti-Semitism drowning your land and condemn these acts!”  He then concluded his speech with a chant of “Ukraine, you are to blame!” and “Do not be silent!”  The rally concluded with the boys singing in unison the age-old prayer for Jewish unity and survival, “Acheinu Kol Bais Yisrael,” led by Rambam rebbe, Rabbi Ari Boiangiu.  The presence of the media ensured that the Ukrainian government will hear the message of the protesters, and the students at Rambam Mesivta will have commemorated Yom HaShoah in a manner that remembers…and hopefully prevents atrocities of their brethren.

A Story of Survival and Determination The Bnos Malka middle school commemorated Yom Hashoah this week by hearing from Holocaust survivor, Mr. Karl Schapiro. Mr. Schapiro was born in Poland and was 7-years-old when he and his parents were forced to go into hiding. He explained that through his father’s contacts, the family found a Polish couple who owned a farm and were willing to help Jews. So he, along with his parents and 15 other Jews, hid underground in the farm for 18 months. Mr. Schapiro explained to the girls what life was like before the start of the war and how drastically it changed. He described what the underground con-

ditions were, how little food they had, and the constant fear of being discovered. Mr. Shapiro had a clearly labeled diagram that helped the girls understand where he was hidden and how he and his family got simple things like food and air. He also shared his memories of being liberated by the Russian army and how he and his family then came to the United States. The girls listened with rapt attention throughout the speech and connected with Mr. Schapiro as he talked about the importance of education and the impact the decisions we make have on our lives. He stressed that working hard, being determined, and showing

perseverance pays off. In his conclusion, he explained that he decided to start speaking about his experiences after meeting a Holocaust denier in the college where he taught. The program concluded with a question and answer session to help the girls internalize his story and relate to his experience.  Mr. Schapiro and other Holocaust survivors are firsthand witnesses to this horrible time in Jewish history, and we have an obligation to

make sure that their stories are never forgotten. The students of Bnos Malka gained a tremendous understanding from hearing directly from this survivor.



Camp HASC: A Camp of Milestones

campers make each year. Last summer alone, many of our campers accomplished great tasks and learned important skills which will permanently enrich their lives and have made their parents and families very proud. One camper learned to independently use a fork and spoon, thanks to intensive feeding therapy he received during meals in the dining room, forever reducing his dependence on others to feed him during meals. Another camper took his very

first steps, thanks to hours of dedicated work by therapists, teachers and counselors, during therapy/academics hours and afterwards, in the therapy building, in his bunkhouse and all around camp. Yet another camper had his Bar Mitzvah in camp, and to the great surprise of his parents and family, showed that he was capable of learning Birchos HaTorah (the blessings on the Torah), wearing tefillin as well as doing pesicha (opening the Ark) in Shul; all of which his counselors decided to teach him before his special day. These are but a few of many “milestones achieved” by the special campers in Camp HASC this past summer, and all of their achievements are an endless source of pride to our campers themselves, their parents, families, communities and camp staff members. But there are so many other milestones achieved in Camp HASC each summer. Each summer in Camp HASC, hundreds of camper parents find almost two months to dedicate to other children, to their spouses and to their own growth, some for the very first time. Raising a child or caring for a sibling with severe

SKA 11th Grader Sarah Herman Attends Michlala Ulpaniada 5774

intellectual and physical disabilities is a responsibility which takes remarkable dedication and intense commitment, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Knowing that their child or sibling is in caring hands for seven full weeks allows parents and families to take a much needed vacation, to relax, to turn their attention to each other, or to focus on recharging, in a way that often simply isn’t possible during the year. Each summer in Camp HASC, hundreds of campers, no matter how severe their challenges are, get to go away for a full summer in camp, just like their brothers and sisters and peers. Their intellectual and physical disabilities be-

come irrelevant in a camp program designed just for them, where they are the stars of the show and the center of attention…where they can swim, ride bikes, cook, create art, play and enjoy music, care for animals, learn Torah, daven, bake challah and enjoy their summer… just like any other typical child, teen or adult. And each summer in Camp HASC,

M AY 1 , 2014

Camp HASC is a place where remarkable milestones are achieved each summer. You probably assume that “milestones achieved” in Camp HASC refers to the incredible progress many of our

over 350 young adults from Jewish communities around the world dedicate their full summer to learn how to care sensitively for others, to empathize sincerely, to put others’ needs before their own, to focus on people’s strengths and not their weaknesses, and to see beyond labels and community divisions. Thousands of Camp HASC “young adults” staff members have emerged with these crucial lessons and become inspired mothers and fathers, rabbis, professionals, business and community leaders and continue to make positive change in the world around them. Many have encouraged their own children, students and congregants to work in Camp HASC, as another generation of Camp HASC “young adults” is trained to engage the world with the positive, “person first” approach that their parents, teachers and rabbis once learned. In fact, this summer, we will proudly welcome more “second generation” staff members than ever before! Indeed, many milestones are achieved each summer in Camp HASC…

The “Marriage Seminar West” Comes to LA

Congratulations to Sarah Herman, a junior at the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls, for qualifying for the final round of Michlala Jerusalem College’s Math Ulpaniada. After coming home from SKA’s Berlin kiruv trip on Tuesday, March 18, Sarah traveled to Israel on Motzei Shabbat, March 22, to participate in the final stage of Michlala’s Math Ulpaniada, a competition for Orthodox Jewish girls

based on mathematical skills and logical reasoning. Sarah stayed on the campus of Michlala with twelve other girls from outside of Israel and competed with 60 students – out of 8,000 original applicants! The Ulpaniada was held on Tuesday, March 25, and the other days were spent touring the country, courtesy of Michlala. “It was an incredible experience,” Sarah says, “and a lot of fun!”

On May 8th-18th, the L.A. community will have the privilege once again to host Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier and “The Shmuz” as the next stop of his ongoing “Marriage Seminar Tour.” The Marriage Seminar is Rabbi Shafier’s response to the reality of the unfortunate spread of divorce and troubled marriages in our communities. The seminar seeks to address two pivotal questions: what is causing this sudden epidemic, and more significantly, what can be done about it? In other words, how can we ensure that our marriages are as good as they can be? Regrettably, there isn’t one “cause” for the break-


Around the


down in relationships, and many of the reasons are deeply rooted and not easily changed. Traits such as self-centeredness, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of maturity and self-control aren’t things that are quickly changed. Nevertheless, attitudes can be altered, and with focused work many challenging marriages can be greatly improved. The Marriage Seminar was produced by Rabbi Shafier to address these realities and remedy the issues that they sprout. Some of the hosts of The Shmuz include Shaarey Zedek, Anshe Emes, Bait Aaron Outreach Centere and the Yachad Kollel.


n g i S l i a m E r u o Y What u o Y t u o b A s y a S Off Thx = I am hip (or too lazy to write the whole word…and some of the letters on my keyboard seem to be missing)

Take it easy = You’ll never see me again

Thanks = You are generically important to me

Enjoy the rest of your day= Hopefully it’s going better than mine

Thanks! = I hope the exclamation point means as much to you as it does to me

Have a blessed day = I am so spiritual

Many thanks = Zero thanks

Adios = I know one word of Spanish, but I hope you think I am bilingual

Thank you = I am furious with you

TTYL= OMG, we have to go for lattes some time soon

Regards = I really couldn’t care less

Respectfully = Please don’t ever ask me if I really respect you

Kind regards = I really couldn’t care less, but this is my way of appearing like I could

Enjoy your weekend = Please don’t reply to this email today; I want to get out of the office already

KR = I couldn’t even be bothered to write the full words, that’s how kind my regards are

Let me know how you want me to proceed = The last time we got into this mess you were supposed to communicate with me and you didn’t

Sincerely = Insincerely

Please confirm receipt of this email= I have zero trust in you

Cheers = Look how normal I am

:) = Please realize that I am a lovable little fuzz-ball

Bye = Go jump in a lake

;) = Please realize that I am a lovable little fuzz-ball (but not a perfectionist)

Best wishes for continued success = I would rather be writing Hallmark cards Thank you for your time = You really think you are the busiest person in the world, but please read this email

Later = I am really not formal, so let’s deal with this “coolly” Peace – In my next lifetime I want to come back as a 1960s hippie

Looking forward to hearing from you = REPLY IMMEDIATELY

Riddle! A Texas rancher hitched up his horse and traveled to Mexico. When he was there he visited his cousins and two friends. The whole round trip took four days. But he went on Wednesday and came back on Wednesday. How could this be? Answer below

Answer to riddle: His horse’s name was Wednesday.

58 78

79 59 2014 T H E J E W I S H H O M E n MM AYAY2 41,, 2012

Cinco De Mayo Trivia 1. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of which national heritage? a. Spanish b. Brazilian c. Mexican d. Venezuelan 2. What is Cinco de Mayo meant to commemorate? a. A tragic event in which 15 tons of Mexican-bound mayonnaise sunk at sea b. A historic battle c. The founding of Mexico d. A national hero 3. What does the term “Cinco de Mayo” mean in English? a. Mayan Day b. Celebration of May c. The fifth of May d. May Day 4. What is the official name of Mexico? a. United Mexican States

b. Mexico Istacoville c. Mexican Federation d. Mexico 5. Which one of the following U.S. states was never part of Mexico? a. California b. Nevada c. Utah d. Arizona e. Oregon f. New Mexico g. Colorado h. Wyoming 6. Mexico’s population is: a. 17 million b. 35 million c. 72 million d. 120 million 7. What is Mexico’s national drink, tequila, made of? a. Coconut juice

b. Agave c. Hops d. Corn ANSWERS: 1. C 2. B 3. C 4. A (Mexico has 31 states) 5. E 6. D 7. B WISDOM KEY 6-7 correct: Great job! You deserve a nonalcoholic tequila! 3-5 correct: You are so-so—and you thought that eating burritos made you an expert on Mexico 0-2 correct: You cracked on this one like a stale taco

You Gotta be


Two Americans, Bob and Jeff, decide to go bungee jumping in a small village in Mexico. They carefully set up their equipment and are all ready for their adventure. Bob jumps, bounces at the end of the cord and flies back up by the platform. Jeff isn’t able to catch his friend, but he notices that Bob has a few cuts and scratches. Bob falls again, bounces, and comes back up. This time, he is bruised and bleeding. Again, Jeff misses pulling Bob up. The third time it happens, Bob comes back pretty messed up; he’s got a couple of broken bones and is almost unconscious. Luckily, Jeff finally catches him and says, “Holy cow, what happened? Was the cord too long?” “No,” says Bob. “The cord was fine, but the birthday party down there thinks I’m a piñata!”


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t a h w This is



Cover Story


at the Heroes

of Hatzalah of the Rockaways and Nassau County By Tamar Sullivan


n a quiet afternoon last year, I heard a shrill scream coming from upstairs. I ran up to find that my toddler daughter had slipped on a wet spot on the bathroom floor. She looked fine, and her screams seemed exaggerated – until I picked her up and noticed a stream of blood trickling from the back of her head. I ran to the phone, called Hatzalah, and had two EMTs at my door in under a minute and a half. I could describe what happened next, but I don’t need to. Everyone knows that those EMTs checked and treated my daughter thoroughly and sensitively. Everyone knows that I was informed and involved every step of the way. Everyone knows that the EMTs collaborated with my expert pediatrician before making any serious decisions. Everyone knows that those Hatzalah volunteers did not leave us until I was breathing normally, my daughter was recovering calmly, and my four-year-old son was lauded for being the best helper Hatzalah ever had.

How It All Began

In the late 1960s, Rabbi Hershel Weber of Williamsburg witnessed a man die before him simply because NYC EMS did not arrive in time. He pledged that he would do what he could to never let such a tragedy happen again. It was at that moment that the Williamsburg Hatzalah was conceived, and since then, most major Jewish communities have

created independent Hatzalah organizations to be the life preservers for their own families, friends, and neighbors. Incredibly, Hatzalah is now the largest volunteer ambulance service in the world. When Far Rockaway began developing into the major Jewish community it is today, Rabbi Yaakov Bender and Shaya Eluzer Wolcowitz, together with about 14 other willing volunteers, saw the need to form a Far Rockaway branch of Hatzalah. Fast forward more than three decades, and today, our beloved Hatzalah of the Rockaways and Nassau County (Hatzalah RL) is made up of nearly 150 EMTs, paramedics, and doctors, all volunteers who have made a deliberate decision to be our life preservers. Hatzalah RL services Far Rockaway, the Five Towns, Belle Harbor, North Woodmere, East Rockaway, Atlantic Beach, Long Beach, and most recently, West Hempstead. These men may be our brothers, fathers, neighbors, and friends, but more importantly, they have undoubtedly become our heroes. We rely on Hatzalah at every moment whether we realize it or not. In our most vulnerable moments, we turn first and foremost to them.

Our Heroes

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word “hero” is defined as a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities. Semantically speaking, then, a person is not a hero until another realizes his greatness. As far as the volunteers of Hatzalah RL go, let us count the ways.

63 85

The heroes of Hatzalah drop everything in order to respond to a call in record time

For one, if you read a Hatzalah member’s job description to an outsider, you would have yourself a shocking list of exceptionally selfless duties that most ordinary people would dismiss as unrealistic, exhausting, or both. Other than obvious incredible responsibilities, such as being regularly available at a moment’s notice, volunteers have to commit to intense initial training as well as monthly instruction, coaching, examinations, and certifications. The training is ongoing and rigid. Of course, there is no compensation. Two. Hatzalah volunteers will come to your aid anytime – day or night. They were there for you when your son had an asthma attack at 2 a.m. They were there for you when you got into a car accident at dawn. They were there for you in the middle of the night when your guest tripped down the stairs. There is no emergency too small or too inconvenient. In fact, every call to Hatzalah is treated as a Code 1 emergency until a volunteer arrives at the scene and declares otherwise. Three. The copious number of hours these volunteers’ sacrifice is astounding. Our Hatzalah branch receives more than 6,000 calls per year. Most calls require a transport to the hospital and easily take two hours or more. The minimum number of volunteers who respond to a call is three, or if advanced life support is needed, five. Selflessly, these volunteers give up the guarantee that they can be wholly available to their own families at any given moment. They literally donate hundreds of hours of personal time to you and me, without asking for anything in return. Four. With volunteers who give so selflessly, it is no surprise that their compassion often knows no bounds. Their treatment of the medical issue at hand is first, but their empathy, kindness, and concern for patients’ emotional well-being do not fall far behind. From bravery prizes for kids to finding hospital companions for the elderly, our Hatzalah volunteers go the extra mile to calm and reassure their patients. Five. Hatzalah volunteers do not look for recognition or honor. It was long after Hurricane Sandy that we discovered that Hatzalah volunteers had carried elderly individuals down 19 and 20 flights of stairs, only to turn around and do it again and again. You probably also did not hear about your neighbor’s baby who was delivered in her home by a Hatzalah volunteer or about your elderly neighbor who was having chest pains and did not know she was having a heart attack until Hatzalah volunteers arrived at her home and immediately began life-saving interventions and treatments. You likely did not realize that three years ago your daughter’s best friend choked on her food, and Hatzalah volunteers saved her life. And just last summer your friend’s father suffered third degree burns, and Hatzalah volunteers went far out of their way to bring him to a specialty burn center for the best care possible. There is no glamour on this job, and yet, stories of heroism abound.

Why Our Hatzalah RL Division is Unique

Chances are that you have never heard of a Life Pack 15 Cardiac Monitor, but it might interest you to know that it costs $30,000, and Hatzalah has one for every paramedic and doctor on staff. Such machinery can be credited with saving multiple lives this year alone. In

At the call center

fact, while you sit at home and read this paper, there is likely an automated external defibrillator (AED) and a trained Hatzalah member within two minutes of you. Hatzalah RL is fortunate enough to count the current coordinators, Mark Gross, Rabbi Elozer Kanner, Shaya Eluzer Wolcowitz, as well as longtime volunteer Shlomo Katz, among its ranks, who tirelessly advocate to have the most up-to-date equipment on hand at all times. Hatzalah RL possesses multiple machines that no other agency has because they believe with every fiber of their beings that there can be no price tag on a life; they do not rest until every dollar is raised to equip ambulances and paramedics with the most modern medical devices. Even if only one of these advanced devices saves only one life, is there any cause more worthy? The people we see most often are the ones we hold most dear but also the ones we take for granted. Whenever Hatzalah sirens pass, I try to send up a short tefillah for the sake of whoever called them. Now, after reflecting long and hard about the matchless dedication of our Hatzalah volunteers, I spend a second or two in awe of the fact that the ambulance driver and accompanying EMTs just dropped whatever they were doing to rush to the aid of a person in need for no reason other than that. Heroes. Yesterday afternoon, I heard my children playing the proverbial game of “house.” When my daughter used a doll to reenact her own fall and head trauma from a year ago, my son pretended to call Hatzalah. Then, they fought over who got to be the Hatzalah hero who saved the day. I laughed as I watched them play, but I stopped short when I saw my daughter lean over to her doll and whisper the same words the Hatzalah volunteer said to her the day she fell: “Don’t worry. We’re just going to look at your boo-boo and decide what to do about it. I have a prize for girls like you who are being so brave. How do you know how to be so brave?” The Hatzalah volunteers who had come to my home that day had the compassion and sensitivity to explain to my daughter what was happening to her. They instantly became heroes in my household. Consider paying tribute to our devoted Hatzalah volunteers at this Sunday’s BBQ dinner, thanking them for their heroism, and thereby crowning them heroes in every sense of the word. Make your reservation and place an ad in the Commemorative Virtual Journal by logging on to

Their treatment of the medical issue at hand is first, but their empathy, kindness, and concern for patients’ emotional well-being do not fall far behind.


It’s not just medical know-how that makes them our heroes, it’s their compassion and kindness that set them apart

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T H E J E W I S H H O M E n M AY 1 , 2014


The Shmuz

R’ Ben Tzion Shafier

Parshas Emor

The Torah’s System of Self Perfection “A cow or a sheep, it and its child, do not slaughter on one day.” Vayikrah 22:28 In one of the many mitzvos that teaches us how to deal with animals, the Torah commands us not to kill a mother and its offspring on one day. The Sefer HaChinuch explains that one of the rationales behind the mitzvah is “to train ourselves in the trait of mercy, and to distance ourselves from the trait of cruelty. Even though we are permitted to slaughter animals to eat, we must do so in a merciful manner. Killing both the mother and the child in the same day is merciless and will train us in brutality. Therefore, the Torah forbids it.” This Sefer Ha’Chinuch is difficult to understand. If the Torah is concerned about the good of the animal and its suffering, then the logical thing to do would be to forbid slaughtering it. If, on the other hand, the Torah is concerned about man and the damage such actions will have on him, then slaughtering another living creature to consume its flesh is about as barbaric an act as one could imagine. Surely the act of killing the animal should be forbidden altogether. Yet the Torah allows you to kill animals for any productive reason: whether for their hides, their meat, or any other use. Not only that, you may slaughter as many of them as you like. You may butcher a thousand cows in one day to make shoes to bring to the market – this won’t lead you to cruelty – but make sure that none of these animals are related. If two of those cows are mother and child, it is barbaric. Don’t do it! This mitzvah seems very difficult to understand. The answer to this question is based on understanding how our middos are shaped. In many places the Sefer HaChinuch stresses that a person’s actions molds his very personality. If he acts with kindness and compassion, these traits become part of his inner nature. He will then feel other people’s pain, and it will become difficult for him to ignore their pleas for help. He will become a kind, compassionate per-

son. The opposite is true as well. If a person acts with cruelty, this trait will become part of him. It will be more difficult for him to care about another person’s plight. He will have a difficult time being sensitive to the suffering of others. He will have adopted callousness into his inner essence.

Perfecting One’s Middos The Orchas Tzadikim in his introduction explains that perfecting one’s middos is comparable to a chef preparing a meal. The right ingredients, in the right proportions, prepared in the right manner, will yield a delicious dish. However, all three have to be


According to this logic, it would follow that Dovid Ha’Melech should have been one of the cruelest men in history. He was known as a mighty, merciless warrior. He killed a mountain lion with his bare hands. He won the rights to marry Shaul’s daughter by killing and disfiguring 200 Pilish-

correct. If, for example, instead of sautéing the onions for 10 minutes, you leave them on the flame for an hour, or if instead of a teaspoon of salt you add a cup, the food will be inedible. It is the quality of the ingredients, in the proper amounts, prepared correctly, that determines the final product.

tim and bringing back their body parts to the king. When Avshalom waged war against him, Chushi advised, “Do not think of ambushing him [Dovid] at night, for everyone knows that he fights like a bear.” And Dovid said about himself, “I will seek out my enemy and have no mercy upon them.” Yet we know that Dovid was one of the kindest, most compassionate men who ever lived. Tehillim is not the expression of a cruel man. It is a manifestation of his pure devotion to Hashem, the outpourings of a heart that is pure, kindly and full of compassion. How is it possible that going to war didn’t ruin him?

So too, he explains, when working on one’s character traits. It is the right amount of the right middah in the right time that is the key to perfection. Each middah has its place, time, and correct measure. This seems to be the answer to Dovid Ha’Melech. When he went to war, it was in the manner that Hashem directed him. Hashem designed the human and understands the delicate balance within him: what affects him and how. Hashem commanded us to make use of certain behaviors, in certain measures, and at certain times. The same act when done for the wrong reason will be disastrous to the person.

However, when it’s done for the right reasons, in the right measure, it will not harm him. Dovid remained pure and unsullied because he followed the Torah’s system of self-perfection, designed by the only One who truly understands the nature of the human. A Perfect System This seems to be the answer to the Sefer Ha’Chinuch as well. The Torah isn’t concerned about the pain of the animal; it is concerned about man. Man is the reason for creation. Everything in existence was formed to serve him. However, man was fashioned in a delicate balance. If he uses this world for its intended purpose, in the right way, in the right time, then he grows and perfects himself. However, if he uses the world incorrectly, in the wrong manner, or to the wrong extent, he is damaged by that process. The act of killing a mother and child is akin to wiping out generations; it is pitiless and cruel. Hashem, Who understands the balance and nature of man, has told us that killing an animal for good use will not lead you to a hardened nature, provided you do so within the given boundaries. Remain within the system and you are safe. Leave these guidelines and you are in grave danger. This concept is very applicable as it helps us appreciate the wisdom of the Torah’s system for growth. There is much that modern man understands about the inner workings of the human, and there is at least as much, if not more, that he doesn’t understand. Hashem has designed us and has given us the guidebook for perfection. It is our job to follow the Torah’s directives in the right balance, in the right time, in the right manner, thereby actualizing our potential as the reason for all of creation.

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The Observant Jew


Planting a Seed


rowing up, I wasn’t always called Jonathan. I mean, my parents called me that, but when I was thirteen something unusual happened – I got a nickname. My camp counselor, Aharon Basch, wanted a “cool” name for me to go with the activity of the day. He called me Jonny, and the name stuck. For the rest of camp, people called me Jonny, and when I went to Yeshiva, the name followed me. There were times I tried to change it and go by my Hebrew name of Yehonason, but it failed. Once I answered the payphone (yes, back in the days before cellphones when long-distance calls cost more money and people used phone booths), and the man on the line wanted to know to whom he was speaking. I said, “Yehonason Gewirtz.” “Who?” came the confused reply. “Ye-

honason Gewirtz,” I repeated. Still, he didn’t recognize the name. “Who?” he asked again. “Jonny,” I said. “Oohhh!” he exclaimed as he recognized me. “OK. Hi Jonny, it’s Moish B…can you call my son to the phone?” Even R’ Gifter z”l, upon coming to a Melave Malka I was running greeted me with a big, “A guteh voch, Jonny!” (I think after that the Rebbetzin told him she felt it inappropriate to call me by that name.) Either way, I was saddled with the name I sometimes loathed and other times enjoyed for the unique identity it provided me. In my younger years, though, I had my share of annoyances,

such as classmates “innocently” counting on their fingers, “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, WHOOPS! Johnny, WHOOPS, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny…” you get the picture.

lay dormant for years and then someday take root in their souls and make an impact on them. That’s where the seeds come in. As I spoke, I didn’t know if people were in-


Some tauntingly called me Johnny Appleseed. There was a candy called Johnny Appletreats (the name has since been changed to Appleheads, I believe) and some people called me that. That teasing stopped years ago but recently I recalled the Johnny Appleseed moniker with a sense of nostalgia, imagining it apropos at this point in my life. Johnny Appleseed, if you will recall, was a nineteenth-century traveler (real name John Chapman) famed for walking across the Midwest, especially Pennsylvania and Ohio, scattering apple seeds as he went along. He figured that at least some would grow into trees, and indeed, Ohio is a key apple-growing state. His nickname reflected the mission he undertook while trying to be of service to others. The truth is that he didn’t scatter the seeds randomly, but would develop nurseries, and leave them in the care of a neighbor who would tend to them and sell shares to others. In this way, he ensured their growth and continuity. Now, I’m not big on walking cross-country, and I don’t wear a tin pan on my head as Johnny was supposed to have done. I do, however, feel it is my life’s mission to scatter seeds. While visiting a community over Pesach, I spoke after davening most days. It was what we referred to as a “Burst of Torah,” a thought, message, or idea that could be conveyed in three minutes or less and would hopefully give people something to think about, discuss with their families, or perhaps,

terested or merely being polite by staying to listen. I didn’t think I was earning myself any great honor or accolades as the small group of twenty to thirty men were not going to sing my praises, and most of them probably didn’t even know my name. What really gave me the impetus to continue, as well as the desire to reach out and share these thoughts, was the immeasurable response. It was the thought that I was planting seeds that just might sprout and make a difference in someone’s life. Perhaps a thought, approach, or insight would resonate with someone and guide some choice in the future. Maybe an explanation of part of davening, of a posuk, or of a custom would make someone, even a young child, look at it differently the next time they experienced it. That was an exciting thought, and as I looked around, I imagined the seeds I might be sowing, hoping that they would bear fruit. The article you are reading has

seeds, as I hope to implant in your mind the concept that you, too, can plant and develop nurseries and orchards in others by the way you interact with them. It has been said that anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but it takes a wise person to count the apples in a seed. When we interact with people, we are planting seeds. Sometimes they are seeds that will bear good fruit, like when we speak nicely or offer a kind word. Sometimes the seeds will breed weeds and thorns, like when we are callous or arrogant. If we bear this in mind as we go through our days, realizing that other people’s minds and hearts are fertile ground for what we cast into them, we can go down in history as people, like Johnny Appleseed, who were not interested in fame or fortune, but in the world being as productive as possible.

Jonathan Gewirtz is a prolific inspirational writer whose work has appeared in publications around the world. He also operates, where you can order a custom-made speech for your next special occasion. For more information, or to sign up for or sponsor the Migdal Ohr, his weekly PDF Dvar Torah in English, e-mail and put Subscribe or Sponsor in the subject. © 2014 by Jonathan Gewirtz. All rights reserved.

T H E J E W I S H H O M E n M AY 1 , 2014

Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz

T H E J E W I S H H O M E n M AY 1 , 2014


Rabbi's Musings [& Amusings] Rabbi Dani Staum

A Pleasant Marriage and a Pleasant Spouse


hen I was in Eretz Yisroel a few years ago, I spent an entire Erev Shabbos in the bustling neighborhoods of Meah Shearim and Geulah. I love walking through those areas, shopping the many sefarim and Judaica stores, and watching the impatient crowds. But nothing compares to Erev Shabbos when the masses come to do their Shabbos shopping. For lunch my brother Yaakov and I met up with a few friends from camp in a pizza shop. Our lunch mates were all yeshiva bochurim, learning in local yeshivas. With my white shirt and black pants I blended in with them. While we were eating, a tzedakah collector made his way through the little restaurant. When I handed him a dollar, his eyes lit up and he blessed me, “Yizkeh l’zivug hagun,”– that I should merit finding a good marriage partner. I replied that I didn’t think my wife would be very happy with that blessing and I had to discuss it with her and my chil-

dren. He laughed and tapped my arm lightly and exclaimed, “Yizkeh l’chol tuv – May you merit all good things.” It was a cute story and it reminded me of a lesson that I learned when I was first married. One must merit finding a good marriage partner throughout his married life. In other words, one must pray that his marriage be elevated and peaceful and that (s)he find favor in the eyes of his (her) spouse throughout their lives. In the Grace after Meals we ask G-d that we merit to “find favor and good understanding in the eyes of G-d and man.” Being able to find favor in the eyes of others (not to mention G-d) is

one of the greatest blessings. Sometimes a person can do everything right but for some inexplicable reason is unable to win the grace of others, including an employer or spouse. Therefore we pray that we indeed find favor in the hearts of others. My rebbe, Rabbi Mordechai Finkleman, related in the name of his rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Wolfson, that it is of special significance to recite Psalm 121 just before one recites the verse “Yehyi l’ratzon” and takes three steps back to conclude his personal Shemoneh Esrei prayers. The Psalm begins with the words, “I lift my eyes to the mountains; whence will come ezri? Ezri comes from G-d,

the Maker of heaven and earth.” [Although the word ‘ezri’ literally means “My help” it can also refer to “my helpmate,” i.e. one’s spouse. See Bereishis 2:18 where Chava is referred to as the ‘ezer’ of Adam.] It is worthy of the extra minute to recite that psalm, bearing in mind that one is praying for a wonderful marriage of mutual friendship, respect, and love. So no matter how many years G-d has blessed a person to be married, (s) he always needs the continual blessing that (s)he merit a good marriage partner. And, of course, the first step in finding a good marriage partner is trying to be one yourself. Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW, is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead, and Guidance Counselor/Rebbe at Yeshiva Bais Hachinuch & Ashar in Monsey, NY. He is the author of Stam Torah and can be reached at His website is www.

Avi Heiligman

General Jack Jacob

Singlehandedly Defeats a Whole Army


eroes in the military are usually and in 1963 was promoted to brigadier the ones fighting the enemy in general. Two year later Jacob comclose range combat. Very rarely manded a division during one of the do commanders meet the enemy face many wars between India and Pakistan. to face. During the Bangladeshi War of In 1969 he was a major general and was 1971, a commander went to the enemy appointed chief of staff of the Eastern and forced an entire army to surrender. Command. His job was put down insurThis incredible feat is gencies in these areas and more impressive when to keep tabs on neighboryou know that he had ing Pakistan. very few soldiers in his In 1971 the eastern command and was bluffsection of Pakistan had ing. Lieutenant General an uprising and wanted Jack Jacob of the Indian to start their own country Army was the man who called Bangladesh. The singlehandedly defeated Pakistani government an entire army. was ruthless in their retalJacob Farj Rafael Jaiation and killed upwards cob was born in 1923 in of half a million civilians. Calcutta which was then Millions more fled to Inpart of British India. His dia who then declared family was Baghdadi war on Pakistan. GenerSephardic Jews that had al Jacob was tasked with General Jack Jacob moved there in the 1700s. drafting a war plan and They were described as deeply religious came up with the idea of drawing the in an area with few Jews. During WWII, Pakistanis into swampy lands in EastJack heard of the plight of his brethren ern Pakistan. After tiring out the enemy, in Europe and decided to join the Brit- they then would capture the capital, ish Army to fight the Nazis. Dhaka. Jacob’s superior, Lieutenant After graduating from officer school General Sam Manekshaw, agreed to the in 1942, he was given his first assign- plan except for the capture of Dhaka. ment. Ironically, it was with the Arab Jacob realized that the capture of Legion in the British Army posted in Dhaka was more strategic than the Northern Iraq in case the Germans got small towns fortified by the Pakistani that far. Soon it became apparent that Army. The Indian Army therefore bythe main battle was in Egypt and North passed many of these defenses and Africa so Jacob was reassigned to an severed communications. Control of artillery unit to fight the Afrika Korps. East Pakistan was coming under Indian However, they arrived after the battle Army control in two weeks of war but and were sent to Burma to fight the in- Dhaka still remained to be captured. A vading imperialist Japanese Empire. He drawn out war could spell disaster for saw action there in some of the toughest the small Indian Army so Jacob came terrain fighting of the war. up with a daring plan. He went to the While in Burma (today the country heart of the enemy and gave them an is called Myanmar), Jacob met the ec- ultimatum. centric British General Orde Wingate. Pakistani Lieutenant General Wingate was not Jewish but morally A.A.K. Niazi invited Jacob to discuss was a Zionist and had trained Jewish a ceasefire on December 16. Instead of settlers in Palestine in clandestine war- a ceasefire, Jacob wrote a declaration fare. This was Jacob’s first time meeting of surrender for the Pakistani general a Zionist and it rubbed off on him and to sign. Unarmed and accompanied by later had an effect on India’s positive only one staff officer, he flew to Dhaka. reception towards Israel. Jacob told Niazi that he had a half an After the war, Jacob attended mil- hour to decide or the Indians would be itary schools in the U.S. and England coming to Dhaka to destroy the enemy. and joined the Indian Army when they Indian planes would bomb the 26,000 gained independence from Britain in or so Pakistani soldiers in Dhaka and an 1947. He had risen through the ranks untold number of civilians would be in

ficer of the state he stayed in politics for harm’s way. While Niazi was contemplating the over 30 years. In the 1990s, Jacob was surrender, Jacob went outside and said a big advocate for an advanced India-IsShema Yisrael. The truth was that Jacob rael relationship. He visited Israel many had but 3,000 men some 30 miles away times and was a personal guest of forand they were up against 93,000 Paki- mer Prime Minister Rabin. Several of stani troops. He was hoping that Niazi Jacob’s personal effects were donated would focus on the previous two weeks to Israel, and his uniform hangs in the of Indian victories and didn’t want to Israeli military museum in Latrun. Although there are some reports see any more bloodshed. The United Nations was also pushing for a ceasefire that Jack Jacob passed away last year and this would be the only chance that the many sources still maintain that he is Indians could capture Dhaka. Against alive at the age of 90 living in Delhi, India. Years ago, all odds, the he said about bluff worked. his time in the All of the PaIndian Army, kistani soldiers “Although I was in the area surone of only a rendered, and few Jews in the Jacob became army, I never the hero of the came across any war. It was the anti-Semitism, largest surrenonly enthusider of soldiers asm and accepsince WWII, tance.” Howevand when Niazi er, he won’t talk returned to PaGeneral Jacob is on the far right about his time in kistan he was stripped of his rank. The war was over, the British army. General Jack Jacob will be rememand Bangladesh became an independent bered as the man who convinced an ennation. After 38 years in the army, Jacob tire army to surrender under incredible retired in 1978 and went into business odds thereby saving countless lives. and became the governor of Goa. He cracked down on criminals and saved Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to areas from destruction. When he left The Jewish Home. He welcomes your comoffice someone scrawled graffiti on the ments and suggestions.for future columns walls that said, “Without Jacob who and can be reached at aviheiligman@ will feed the poor?” A truly beloved of- 



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

T H E J E W I S H H O M E n M AY 1 , 2014

Forgotten Heroes



70 90



Compiled by Nate Davis

“Say What?” When I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close. – Michael Bloomberg while talking to the New York Times about his efforts to eliminate smoking, obesity and gun violence In honor of Earth Day, Apple announced that it will recycle all of its used products for free. That’s right, they’re recycling Apple products. And then Samsung said, “Beat you to it.” - Jimmy Fallon Here’s the attitude: “Ohhhh, don’t make me do this. Ohhhh, this is too hard.” - Speaker of the House John Boehner talking about his fellow Republicans attitude on immigration reform It wasn’t mocking, listen, you all know me. You tease the ones you love. - Ibid., after facing a backlash from Republicans

Dutch designers have created a baby’s onesie that comes with built-in Wi-Fi. That way, your child can search the web for better parents. - Seth Myers

A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state. – Secretary of State Kerry to a group of senior foreign policy officials

I have had the privilege of meeting literally every major world leader in the last five years. - Vice President Joe Biden

I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one. Second, I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution. - Ibid., after facing a fierce backlash

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is running for re-election, and he’s got a catchy campaign slogan: “Forget my first term. I was on crack.”

A zoo in China has a depressed panda so they just installed a TV in its cage to cheer it up. Then the panda said, “Or, you could just let me out of animal jail.” - Jimmy Fallon

- David Letterman Domino’s debuted a new pizza where instead of dough, they’re using fried chicken. It’s called “Domino’s deep dish you’re all going to die. - Conan O’Brien

Next week Google will give the public the chance to buy its $1,500 Google Glass, finally ending the stereotype that people who wear glasses are smart. - Jimmy Fallon

I am a bully! - The sign an Ohio judge made a 62-year-old man hold for five hours on the a street corner after he was convicted of harassing a neighbor’s disabled children

I never know what to get the Earth for Earth Day. So I just bought it an iTunes gift card and buried it. – Jimmy Kimmel

It’s nice to meet you. – What a robot said to President Obama when he visited the Miraikan museum, which showcases Japanese emerging science and innovation. I can kick a soccer ball, too. - Ibid. OK, come on. - President Obama in response, before playing soccer with the robot

If you look at the results of what we’ve done over the last five years, it is fair to say that our alliances are stronger. - President Obama discussing his foreign policy with Ed Henry of Fox News

Basement now! Basement now! Let’s go, now! - A Mississippi meteorologist during a live TV broadcast when a tornado touched down abruptly

Yesterday, North Korea held its annual marathon. Congratulations to first, second and third place winner, Kim Jong Un. - Conan O’Brien The happy song makes me HAPPY. - A Facebook message that a 32-year-old North Carolina woman posted while she was driving. (Less than a minute later she was killed in a fatal accident) A pharmaceutical company in Canada is offering $47 billion to buy the company that makes Botox. People at Botox were pretty excited — I mean, you should’ve seen the look that wasn’t on their faces. – Jimmy Fallon

A Kansas man on trial for first-degree murder wants to remove a tattoo across his neck reading “murder” because he’s worried it might prejudice the jury. Though he might be able to create reasonable doubt by just adding a question mark. – Seth Myers

To a certain extent, trust has been lost. But we do not think we are to blame. The United States can act in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, but Russia is not allowed to defend its interests. – Vladimir Putin He’s a decent and brave man, he would do it. - Ibid., when asked by a six-year-old girl during a TV appearance if the US president would come to his rescue if he were drowning I absolutely would save Mr. Putin if he were drowning. If anybody is out there drowning, I would save them. I used to be a pretty good swimmer, I grew up in Hawaii. – President Obama, at a press conference in South Korea

Yesterday Hillary Clinton admitted she is thinking about running for president. Though it would be more shocking if she admitted to ever thinking about anything else. – Seth Myers

Joe Biden said the U.S. will help Ukraine with financial aid as long as the leaders tackle corruption. Because if anything stops corruption, it’s bribing someone to stop corruption. – Jimmy Fallon

A Southwest Airlines pilot who famously landed at the wrong airport has retired. He tried to retire to Florida but ended up in Alabama. - Conan O’Brien

I’m beginning to think there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States.

We don’t carry that kind of stuff, so I sent out people to CVS to buy it. – The owner of a high-end Manhattan restaurant explaining what he did when Warren Buffett was dining there last week and asked for a Cherry Coke and Dairy Queen

Hillary Clinton is going to be a grandmother. She’s very excited about it. She’s home right now knitting a tiny pantsuit. - David Letterman

- Mike Huckabee at the New Hampshire Freedom Summit I think the pact with Hamas kills peace. If it moves forward it means that peace moves backward. As the State Department said yesterday, the ball is in the Palestinian court. I hope they dribble it in the right direction. Right now they are kicking it backward. - Prime Minister Netanyahu during an MSNBC interview, after the Palestinian Authority entered a unity government with Hamas

I have issues - Words printed on the T-shirt of a Hayward, California, man, as he robbed a bank last week Mr. Snowden, you are a former agent, a spy; I used to be working for an intelligence service, so we are going to talk one professional language. We don’t have a mass system of such interception, and according to our law, it cannot exist. But we do not have a mass scale uncontrollable efforts like that, I hope we won’t do that and we don’t have as much money as they have in the States, and we don’t have these technical devices that they have in the States. Our special services, thank G-d, are strictly controlled by the society and by the law and regulated by the law. - Vladimir Putin at a public question-and-answer session when asked by Edward Snowden (via video) whether Russia had similar surveillance programs as the United States

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, in the coming months I will be passing the baton to my friend and colleague, Sylvia Burrell. - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (who oversaw the glitch-plagued rollout of the Obamacare website) in an email to the entire HHS Department, announcing that she is leaving her post. Her successor’s last name is actually Burwell Unfortunately, a page is missing. - Ibid., the following day during her farewell speech at the White House, when she noticed that she was missing a portion of her speech

71 91 T HT HE EJ JE EWWI SI SHHHHOOMME E nn M AY 12 ,4 ,2014 2012

Is that somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque de Soleil? My goodness, I didn’t know that solid waste management was so controversial. - Hillary Clinton, when someone threw a shoe at her during her address at the Scrap Recycling Industries meeting in Las Vegas

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74 94

Cover Story Nachum Soroka


Mideast Peace Talks Fall Through Once Again


ith last week’s unequivocal declaration by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu that the current peace talks with Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian government are, for the time being, over after Abbas formed a unified government with the terrorist group Hamas questions abound. The two sides have been negotiating since 1993.Was there any hope that these negotiations would lead to anything more than we have seen in close to ten years? Were these talks ever any more than another overreaching attempt by the hyper-ambitious US Secretary of State John Kerry to shape foreign policy? Is Mahmoud Abbas another Yasser Arafat who has no intention of having an Arab-sanctioned Jewish State part of his legacy or is he just a fearful follower of Hamas? One may argue that this round of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians was doomed from the start. For one, Kerry, the statesman who urged the sides to meet close to nine months ago, has been of the less amenable characters to Israeli interests, especially in recent months. Just two weeks ago he made headlines for dramatically testifying to the US Senate that the Israelis were derailing the peace talks with a big “poof”. That was only weeks after he warned the Israelis with threats of inter-

national boycott and a third intifada. As time goes on, it is becoming increasingly clear that Kerry’s intentions, perhaps not unlike most of his kind, but definitely more transparent than his predecessors’, are not about solving the issues, but of finally creating a legacy for his career in politics. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has quipped, “The only thing that can ‘save’ us is that John Kerry will get a Nobel Peace Prize and leave us alone.” Unfortunately, Kerry’s tact may be his worst enemy.

in the event of an impasse. Additionally, Mahmoud Abbas himself has proven to be someone who is unwilling to be the Anwar Sadat of his day. Already, in 2008, he walked away from then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer of close to six percent of Israeli territory and large amounts of refugee absorption. The offer even included international control of the Temple Mount, with three of the five nations in charge of the area Arabs. Olmert said of Abbas: “From that time, I

One may argue that this round of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians was doomed from the start. Kerry’s decision to hold the talks in absolute confidentiality, with only American mediator Martin Indyk and his American counterparts privy to the details and progress, has also proven to be a grave mistake that did not allow the possibility of outside, foreign help

am still waiting for his telephone call.” Moreover, Abbas’ Fatah government has never been in control of significant Palestinian territories, such as Gaza. At 79, and with rival, more Islamist factions to contend with, Abbas is a very weak leader who is in a position where

it takes incredible amounts of courage and strength to reach a handshake with the Israelis. Indeed, last week’s pact formed with Hamas is testimony to Abbas’ standing in the Palestinian territories. Nine months ago, at the beginning of negotiations, however, prospects of reaching a solution were somewhat promising. The Israelis promised to release over one hundred prisoners— many of them murderers—in exchange for the promise that the Palestinians would not petition members of the UN for state status. (In March, though, the Palestinian Authority reneged and signed fifteen UN conventions.) Then, on the second day of negotiations, July 29, never one to hold his cards close to his chest, Abbas boldly declared, “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.” Kerry’s stated purpose in arranging the talks was to put an end to the conflict for good. On the table and up for the discussion was the full range of issues that have concerned both sides since the beginning of the conflict: Jerusalem, borders, refugees, security, settlements, division of resources, and international status. The Israelis insisted on a completely demilitarized Palestinian state with complete Israeli control of

new housing in parts of the West Bank. The talks were allotted nine months, and ended on April 29. Whatever progress was being made up until last week came to a crashing halt when Mahmoud Abbas announced a new unified government between his Fatah party and the openly hostile Hamas. Following the announcement, Netanyahu’s government released a statement that it “decided unanimously that it will not negotiate with a Palestinian government that incorporates Hamas, a terrorist organization that seeks the destruction of Israel.” Netanyahu also introduced new sanctions against the PA government after their announcement. Abbas, however, claims that his new government will still recognize Israel, be committed to nonviolence, and is dedicated to continuing peace talks. Yet Israel’s reaction is understandable. Avigdor Liberman, Israel’s foreign minister, said he “will not As usual, Israeli and Palestinian demands accept a [Palseem to be too far apart for reconciliation estinian] govthat refugee status for Palestinians can ernment that openly receives its authorbe inherited from generation to genera- ity from Hamas, an organization that tion while the standard refugee status clearly speaks about violence, terror that applies in other parts of the world is and doesn’t recognize our right to exnot inheritable. Abbas has recently cre- ist and doesn’t recognize our previous ated a new demand with regard to these agreements.” The US agrees. Jen Psaki, refugees, called the “individual right.” a State Department official, said last That is, the Palestinians want the right week, “It’s hard to see how Israel can be of entry into Israel to be decided by expected to sit down and negotiate with each individual it applies to. This would a group that denies its right to exist.” create a mess for Israel if it would have Does all this necessarily mean that to contend with each and every person peace for Israel will not be attained this who claims to be a refugee individually. time around? With only two and a half All this is aside from the overriding Is- years remaining for President Obama’s raeli concern that a complete absorption last term in office, it seems highly unof refugees would bear a weight on the likely that his government would atcountry and its economy that may be too much. Perhaps the most difficult issue for the two sides to reconcile regards land swaps and potential new settlements for a Palestinian state. Martin Indyk, the mediator from the US, claimed that the negotiations were leading to an agreement that would allow over eighty percent of the contested land that is populated to When Hamas and Fatah laugh together it isn’t funny for Israel be officially recognized as Israeli while Israel would swap some tempt another round of negotiations afunpopulated land to the Palestinian ter the last grueling nine months failed state. Israel was also ready to allow the so abruptly. But, Israeli officials have Palestinians to begin construction on been quick to point out that their offi-

cial statement last week that ended the talks was carefully worded so as not to rule out the possibility of restarting dialogue even past the April 29 deadline in the event that Abbas’ new unified government is not able to form. Hamas and Fatah have given themselves only a few weeks to reach an agreement regarding the exact composition of their unified government, and if one is unable to be reached, it is very likely that there will end up being no combined government in the PA. To be clear, however, both Fatah, which has never been too powerful in the Palestinian territories, and Hamas, which has been severely weakened with the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt this year, have plenty of incentives to reach a compromise with each other in the coming weeks. It should be noted, though, that both in 2011 and 2012, reconciliations between Fatah and Hamas proved fruitless. Whatever clarity can be gained from the past nine months, which have been loaded with uncertainty, is small. Abbas seems to be in a difficult position from where, having already walked away from a deal from Olmert which offered much more than anything a Netanyahu government will ever offer, it is almost

impossible for him to reach any agreement with Israel without becoming known as a weak and compromising leader in the Arab world. It is much eas-

Did Kerry push too hard for peace?

ier for him to reconcile with the hardline Islamist factions that control over a third of Palestinian territories and turn his focus to governing within, while paying lip service to international demands to recognize Israel and condemn terror. Even so, last week, John Kerry said, “We will never give up our hope or our commitment for the possibilities of peace. We believe it is the only way to go, but right now obviously it’s at a very difficult point, and the leaders themselves have to make decisions.” Clearly, even Kerry himself has come around to realize that this battle is harder than he once thought.

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airspace and radio waves. The Israelis were also to retain the right to deploy military resources into Palestinian territory and would keep forces in parts of the Shomron to protect planes from rocket attacks by Arab terrorist groups. The reason for Israel’s rigidity should be clear: with whatever military capabilities the Palestinians have been given in the past, they have used them for terror and offensive attacks on innocent Israeli civilians. The issue with refugees and their “right of return” has always been a thorny one for Israel. The UN definition of refugee with regard to Palestinians is different than the regular definition used for other peoples. The UN holds

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Sefira Bobker on Sefira

And the Count Begins… By Mr. Joe Bobker


uring the long centuries when Jews were scattered from the Holy Land, they still related, like absentee landlords and homesick relatives, to the seasons in Israel rather than to the seasons in the countries in which they lived. How did this longing gain such a powerful pull? Because our Sages infused the three main seasons with Jewish holidays: Pesach with spring, Shavuos with summer, Succos with autumn. This consolidated both the mystic (“the air of Eretz Yisrael makes wise”) and the historic (“let My people go!”) links between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel, so poignantly described by Holocaust survivor and author Yaffa Eliach: “The first day of spring in Palestine was when the almond trees were beginning to blossom, yet in [my Polish shtetl of] Eishyshok it was the very heart of winter. Nonetheless, the shtetl managed to believe in the reality of the Jewish calendar, not the reality before their eyes. During one Tu B’Shvat,

when a snowstorm was raging outside, the boys in cheder celebrated springtime. For the moment, they were living in a different climate zone from the one outside the cheder windows, a land of figs, dates, and carob, not that wintry landscape where large, swaddled creatures struggled against snow and ice and blustering winds” This potent tool of memory recognizes Judaism as a religion of “sacred times,” one that infuses into the Jewish calendar not just festival days off work but opportunities to honor Time itself within the context of “spiritual” harvests. Thus even before we settle into the pleasures of Pesach, we are directed, in a brief and enigmatic Torah command (“Seven weeks shall you count…and you shall keep the Feast of Weeks”) to start “counting” (in a language which is understood) towards the next festival: Shavuos. This “countup” is sanctified with a nightly blessing said immediately after ma’ariv, starting from the second night of Pesach (or first night if in Israel), and continuing for seven weeks.

This period, which coincides with Israel’s first spring wheat-growing season when the cold, torrential rainy season ends and the more temperate, growing season begins, is known as s’firas ha’omer, literally “counting the omer,” a reference to the omer haTenufah, “a new meal offering,” which each Jew was obligated to bring to the Temple in Jerusalem. The term is derived from us’far’tem lachem, “you shall count for yourselves.” Immediately after the first day of Pesach, the Beis Din Gadol would go out into a pre-Pesach prepared field and watch three sickle-wielding men cut three “measures” of barley (se’ahs) which were then brought to the Temple where only one tenth (an “omer”) was needed for the offering. It was then “waved” in a ceremony (kemitzah) and burned, with the remainder going to the kohen. It was important to harvest these fresh crops in fields as close as possible to Jerusalem for two reasons: a Torah concept known as ain ma’avirin al ha’mitzvos, wherein a mitzvah should be done sooner rather than later (thus the distances were kept short); and,

79 99 you know that today is the x day of the Omer?” because that is an inadvertent fulfillment of the mitzvah without the accompanying bracha. How then should one advise another what omer day it is? By responding that “yesterday was day x of the

and knew my father would be upset. So when I went to visit some friends in Crown Heights the next day I asked Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I wasn’t nervous because I had an opening. The Rebbe asked me to de-

Omer,” on the assumption that anybody can add a one to “yesterday.” So important is this daily count, that to miss a day deprived Jews of blessings equal to the balance of days. What if one loses or gains a day by flying across international datelines? I remember the first time I flew from Israel to Sydney, Australia, with a Pesach stopover in New York which meant a full day was lost. My father, z”tl, was concerned. Since I was paying a visit to Rabbi David Twersky, the Skverer

liver a small vial of Pesach wine to the shochet in Sydney. And where else to ask about a seven-times-seven formula but at 770? The Admor of Chabad was strict. He told me I had to change my bookings and fly to Australia in the opposite direction, via Europe and Asia. But I had no choice. I already had my return ticket and, being so broke that I couldn’t even pay attention, I flew straight home (Shavuos is kept together with the community one finds one-

Pilgrims, accompanied by flute musicians, arrived at the gates of Jerusalem with oxen whose horns were covered with gold and olive leaf wreaths.

Rebbe in Rockland County, for family reasons, my father told me to ask the Rebbe what I should do about counting s’fira. I confess, I didn’t ask. I was a bochur, and too nervous. I felt guilty

self in regardless of whether the s’fira count was done accurately or not). The obvious paradox is this. Why is it a “count down?” Shouldn’t it be a count up?

The count is a very carefully worded one: instead of saying this is the eighth day, we say, “Today is one week and one day of the omer,” a methodology that the Rambam calls a mitzvas atseh, one that creates a greater anticipation and motivates us to not just count the omer but to make the omer count. But what are we actually counting? Days, weeks? Both, as per R’ Abaye: “It is a mitzvah to count days and it is a mitzvah to count weeks.” Nevertheless, why do we start counting from one to forty-nine and not from fortynine down to zero? I’m not sure. Perhaps by ticking off the days that have passed, we accustom ourselves to appreciate each passing day? Counting is not so easy. It can get confusing. Remember: We do not count (lispor) the “omer” itself but keep track of the days (49) and weeks (7) between two “waves,” the start and completion of the harvest crop. And why does the spiritual spotlight shine on the number “49” when the rabbis of the Talmud had already chosen “48” as the number of ways Torah is acquired? Jewish mystics saw this extra 24 hours akin to the “two steps forward, one step back” philosophy in that one needs an extra day of overall review, a retrospective look-back at a journey of self-improvement. Judaic numerology then “proved” that this countdown was essential for Jewish unity because the number of Hebrew letters in the names of the twelve tribes is…forty nine! And the fiftieth day, Shavuos? This was the day that tied it all together. The number “50” has many mystical overtones: the width of Noah’s boat was 50 cubits; 50 was the number Abraham started with in seeking the “righteous” of Sodom; there were 50 judicial arbiters chosen by Moses; the Tabernacle had 50 hooks, 50 planks of gold, 50 cubits; the Levite service stopped at the fiftieth year; 50 shekels was the value of a 20-60 year old male; and every fiftieth year was the year of Yovel, whose countdown to freedom from slavery and embracing Torah during hak’hel, a “gathering,” expresses the same idea as that of sefiras ha’omer. Here’s a klotz kasher. Why count at all? Isn’t Mother Nature a chronological certainty? Doesn’t a spring harvest always follow a summer one!? I’m not sure. The Torah never explicitly explains why we must count nor the importance of the number “49” but we do know that whenever the Torah uses the term lochem (or lecho) it is always in the context of our own good and benefit: in this case, u’sefartem lochem,


more pragmatically, the Jews were not allowed to eat from their new spring grain nor from a fruit picked from less than three-year-old trees, known as orlah, which means “closed, sealed,” until the Temple priesthood received their portion. And so there was a desire (of hunger) to “rush” this mitzvah, in that the quicker the pilgrim-journey was made, the quicker their harvests would be “released” back to their families. That is why, of the three “pilgrimage” festivals (aliyah le-regel), Shavuos was the most popular. Since Jewish law allowed this trek (aliya) to Jerusalem, or Shilo before the construction of the Temple in the time of the Judges, to be taken anytime between Shavuos (the beginning of summer) and Sukkos (summer’s end), the anxious Jews chose the earliest allowable date (Shavuos) to finalize their omer obligations. They were well aware of the Talmudic truism, when food is lacking in the pantry, quarrel knocks on the door; put more bluntly by R’ Nahman ben Jacob: “Miracles are one thing – but they rarely provide food!” This explains the incredible gaiety surrounding this mitzvah; pilgrims, accompanied by flute musicians, arrived at the gates of Jerusalem with oxen whose horns were covered with gold and olive leaf wreaths. They were met by appreciative kohanim and singing Levites who guided them to the Temple where, with further fanfare, they placed their baskets of choice fruits at the foot of the altar and recited a double thanksgiving prayer to God: for Israel’s redemption from slavery and for the bounty of the promised land. (Remember: s’firas ha’omer has not always been a semi-melancholy, low-key mourning period. Although prevalent today, this is nowhere to be found in the Torah. The mourning wardrobe made its debut sometime in the eighth century, and even then it was so below-the-halachik-radar that when the prolific Rambam codified Jewish law some several hundred years later, he makes not a single reference to any omer lamentations.) Meanwhile, the rabbinate forbade the residents in Jerusalem to charge the pilgrims rent during their stopover. Why? Because the City of Jerusalem was considered a community possession. Are there “laws” of counting? Yes. And they can have their complicated moments. Since the very counting is the essence of the mitzvah, one is not allowed to say to a fellow Jew, “Hey, did


80 100 “count for your own sakes.” What we do know is that these seven weeks must have great significance, otherwise G-d would not have made them the most primary seasonal festival in the Jewish calendar. Some see a psychological reason: after the Pesach pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the Jews had to come back for Shavuos which was not that far away, perhaps tempting them not to make the effort a second time, especially at a busy period of the agricultural year; thus “counting” made them feel less complacent. Meanwhile Torah linguists point out that the word sapar (to count) is similar to si-payr (to tell a tale); in other words, to count is to also recount by way of telling a story. Which was? That physical freedom (Pesach) is incomplete without spiritual direction (Shavuos, the giving of the Torah), which is why such halachists as German-Spanish R’ Jacob ben Asher (Baal Haturim) and R’ Joseph Karo (Shulchan Aruch) “attach” the laws of sefira to the laws of the Pesach seder. The Baal Haturim also presented a pragmatic reason: Jewish farmers were so busy harvesting the fields away from home that they were concerned they would miss the beis din’s Rosh Chodesh announcements; thus in order to insure that they kept Shavuos timely they “counted” the days themselves. This opinion, that there is no intrinsic significance to omer counting other than to know when Shavuos falls, is contested by Italian Rabbi Ovadia Sforno who argues that counting is a form of ongoing tefilla in and of itself for a successful harvest, separate and apart from Shavuos. R’ Yeruham of Provence hedges his bets: he argues that there are two separate mitzvos; one still binding, one not: the former being the 50-day count in order to get to Shavuos, the latter being the seven week count from the offering of the omer. Meanwhile the anonymous 13th-century Spanish author of Sefer Hachinuch, which lists and elaborates on the 613 mitzvos, disagrees with them all: rejecting the pragmatic and agricultural linkage he claims that the psychology behind counting towards Shavuos was simply a reinforcement of a “desire to reach that time [of receiving the Torah]”. But why do we still “count” today in the 21st century? Especially when there are no longer offerings, no Temple, nor any needy kohanim to support? This is not a new question. R’ Amemar, the prominent scholar from

Babylon and the dayan of Mahuza, insisted on counting days but not weeks, and argued zecher l’Mikdash hu, that the mitzvah to count was no longer

satisfied, bless your G-d for the good land He has given you.”) Remarkably, nothing has changed since then. Even in today’s techno-

obligatory, only commemorative, on the basis of a Talmudic adage known as noheg b’zman haBayit, “operative only in the time of the Mikdash.” But this position fell by the wayside the moment the Rambam declared sefira counting a valid obligation “in full d’Orayta.” R’ Mordechai Rosen, a Modzhitzer chossid, uses a classic example of discovering “hidden” messages by rearranging the three Hebrew letters that immediately precede and follow the word omer to get kales (“praise”) and nefesh (“soul”). This, he suggests,

world of supermarkets, frozen foods, and microwave ovens, at a time when it is hard for us to visualize that our ancestors spent a thousand years focused on farming, Jews still start (washing hands) and end (benching) each meal with similar Thanksgiving blessings and customs. Consider: at the start of the wheat crop there must have been an understandable trepidation amongst our farming ancestors who faced the trauma of starvation as their families ricocheted between feast and famine. The omer period overlapped with this

Even in today’s techno-world of supermarkets, frozen foods, and microwave ovens, Jews still start (washing hands) and end (bensching) each meal with similar Thanksgiving blessings and customs. makes the nature of the sefira bridge one of internal praise for all that the Heavens provided, which is why the “count” is done together as a group, in conscious unison as a nation. This brings us back to the rabbinic determination to maintain a powerful bond of memory to the ancestral soul and soil of Israel. And so the count continued. As does the thanksgiving; a count-me-in campaign akin to a national “Thank You” card to the Heavens. (“When you have eaten and are

agricultural uncertainty; the tension of sudden changes of weather reflected in the Hebrew word chamsin, which describes a hot dry wind but is derived from the Arabic meaning of ‘fifty,’ indicative of how often the dryness burnt the farmer’s stalks of ripening wheat, thus threatening the entire Jewish community’s sustenance. “All hope is lost if you are afraid,” cautioned the Torah, so perhaps counting was a way of harnessing their fears?

The Jews punctuated each day and each week with a blessing that kept one eye on a count that got higher and higher until all Jewish anxieties melted, tensions were relieved, and the ordeal of waiting for the first sight of grain, olives or grapes (the three staple crops recorded in the Torah) was over, leading to the post-offering pungent smells of burnt bread wafting in the early summer air of Jerusalem. Which reminds me of a Yiddish saying: The Heavens rejoice when the Jews rejoice. In this case the Jews rejoiced when the wheat and fruit summer crop of the land fed them. No wonder G-d directed that this anticipatory joy climax with the simcha of Shavuos, a rapturous yom tov replete with costumes, parades, and decorations in both the Temple, where the kohen was obviously happy with his new gifted food baskets, and at home, where the wife and children were obviously happy to see the fruits of their farmer-husband-father finally on the dining room table. And so, on the first Shabbat of the omer, when the dates of the new month of Iyar are announced, it is a minhag to bake the challah in the shape of a house key and sprinkle sesame seeds on it; the “key” is for good luck (sustenance, parnassa, etc.) and the seeds are a reminder that the first signs of life-preservation (manna) occurred in the month of Iyar. Writing about food has made me hungry. And reminds me of the gemara’s common-sense declaration, Im ein kemach, ein Torah, “If there is no flour then there is no Torah.” This helps explain why each simcha seems to be obsessed with…food! Consider: The completion of Torah study is followed by a seudas mitzvah, a “happy meal.” The very first Torah blessing is on food (manna). The only explicit blessing in the entire Torah is related to, yes, food (Birkas HaMazon). Meanwhile R’ Huna, rosh yeshiva of Sura in Babylon, advises aspiring Torah scholars not to live in a town “where you cannot get vegetables!” Joe Bobker, alumnus of Yeshivas HaRav Kook in Jerusalem, is the former publisher and editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Jewish Times, author of the popular Torah With a Twist of Humor series and the 12-volume Historiography of Orthodox Jews and the Holocaust to be published next summer by Gefen Press, Jerusalem. He can be reached at

Deb Hirschhorn, Ph.D.

TJH Staff

How to Get Kids to Listen, Eat What you Serve, and Do Laundry


n Thursday nights I go into the City for a class, and invariably, I miss my return train to the Five Towns and have to hang around for almost another hour. So, one Thursday, with nothing to do but wait at the railroad station, I decided instead to window-shop in the 34th Street stores which, incredibly, were still open after 9 PM. I was just coming up the escalator at one store when these two little girls, maybe 6 and 4, dressed identically in adorable outfits, ran past me giggling. The older one tripped over the younger and they both came tumbling down, still giggling. The mother, not far behind, looked around quickly, probably embarrassed at the scene, and in a flash, grabbed the older girl and smacked her hard. What would you do? You have several choices: Most people would walk away quickly, worrying that getting “involved” would lead to more unpleasantness and not help the children anyway. Certainly, chewing out the mother would be duplicating the mistake the mother herself was making. I had a split second to make a decision. I gave the mother a broad grin, put one hand close to my mouth as if shielding my words from the children, and said in a stage whisper, “But they’re so cute!” I could see the mother let out her breath, and with it, calm down a bit. She smiled back at me and in that 30-second interlude, she lost the taste for a war with her children. B”H. How many of us make the same mistake that mother made: We want our children to “behave” and when we’re overtired, overwhelmed, or just plain “had it,” we decide to “make” them behave. In the long term, it doesn’t work and may eventually cost the relationship with our children. Some of us know that and take the opposite approach: We love our children so much, we let them get away with anything and everything. That includes hitting mommy as well as other children, disregarding our requests, and complete chutzpah. But that’s not love any more than smacking a child “for his own good” is love. There are two qualities that are absolutely necessary in equal amounts

for good parenting: love and discipline. How to execute these is tricky and often requires walking a fine and careful line. Too much “love,” as in the case of the chutzpahdik child, fails to teach a child to be respectful, considerate, kind, and sensitive to others. It doesn’t prepare a child for future relationships in the real world. Too much “discipline,” as in the

ies. On the other hand, the second midah, givurah, also called din, keeps a strict boundary: right is right and wrong is wrong. There are no fuzzy lines. Each of these midos is essential; yet, if taken to an extreme, they can be destructive. The parent who lets his child abuse him is misusing chessed. The mother in the store was misusing givurah. How do we know how to use these

THERE ARE TWO QUALITIES THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY IN EQUAL AMOUNTS FOR GOOD PARENTING: LOVE AND DISCIPLINE. example in the store, becomes abuse. Ironically, all that external “discipline” deprives the child of the life skill of learning self-discipline: The more you do it, the less the child is motivated to do it himself. There couldn’t be a better time to learn the proper way of balancing these two critical qualities of raising chil-

two midos properly? Week three has the solution. As you read this, we are in week three which is tiferes. It is literally translated as beauty but it really represents truth. The person who understands tiferes knows when chessed is called for and when givurah is called for. The ability to use each midah at the

dren—love and discipline—than during the s’firah period. During s’firos haomer we delve into the first seven s’firos and the sub-s’firos—one for each day of the week. We don’t merely count off the days. We learn the character traits that we need to develop so as to be ready to receive the Torah on Shavuos. Week one of the s’firah period is chessed, kindness, and week two is givurah, strength (also translated as discipline or justice). These two are polar opposites. Rabbi Shmuel Kimche explains why. Chessed is doing extra. It is to go above and beyond the requirements. That’s what kindness really is. So chessed is breaking out of boundar-

right time is, indeed, beautiful. But how do we do it? Truth is neutral; it simply is. And, according to Rabbi Shimon Jacobson on, we can arrive at truth in any situation when we put aside our egos. You see, our egos distort reality; they are a filter for what we want. When we can push aside that filter so as to honestly and truly understand when we need chessed and givurah, we not only get truth, but we get beauty. Sometimes, like the lady in the store, we want to look good whether we are right or wrong. I knew it was important to her to look good, not only because she punished the children for how they

behaved in front of others but because of the painstaking care with which she had dressed them. So her “discipline” came out of that ego distortion. Sometimes, like the over-indulgent parents described above, we can’t see ourselves as disciplinarians; that would run contrary to our self-image as “kind.” That is an ego distortion, too. There’s a paradox. If we are out of touch with truth, how do we honestly examine our egos to get them out of the way? We need truth for that and that is exactly what we are supposed to be adding to our repertoire. The answer is that these midos are already within all of us. During the s’firah period, our job is to focus inward so as to refine them. How is it that these midos are already there, inside us? Because, as one lamdan said, the soul that Hashem gave us is pure; it can’t be tarnished. It can be covered over, though, and our job is to sweep away the dust. We started that job when we did our Pesach cleaning, but getting rid of sin (chometz) is not enough to make us worthy to receive the Torah. That’s a baseline; we must become greater than that. I didn’t get to the specifics of the kids and eating and the laundry, did I? What I’ve said here is the basis for the answer to that and you can come to hear my talk on this very subject at Food For Thought on May 7 at 10 AM at Cravingz. I also will have my own radio show on Chazaq Radio called Kids and Parents with Dr. Deb. It will be every Thursday from 3-4 starting May 8. You can call in with questions to 718285-9132. To tune in on your android, download Jstream. On your iPhone, download Jewish Radio. Or just go to and click the radio icon. Talk to you Wednesday or Thursday! Dr. Deb Hirschhorn, a Marriage & Family Therapist and best-selling author of The Healing Is Mutual--Marriage Empowerment Tools to Rebuild Trust and Respect--Together, is proud to announce that readers of The Jewish Home will receive a $50 discount on every visit to her Woodmere office. For more information, call 646-54-DRDEB or check out her website at

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T H E J E W I S H H O M E n M AY 1 , 2014


Health & Fitness Aliza Beer, MS, RD

From Slavery to Weight Loss


esach is over and it’s time for summer! The warm weather is almost here, so it’s the perfect time to come out of our winter and holiday hibernation and greet the warm season with slim, healthy bodies. Pesach was a major challenge regarding dieting. The plethora of food and meals combined with an overall lack of exercise posed many problems for those concerned with their weight. A diligent diet and exercise program is necessary to lose those unwanted pounds. 1. Avoid White Flour: Choose multi-grain or whole grain breads, brown rice, and sweet potatoes over their white counterparts. Fiber will make you feel full, keep your GI track run smoothly, and help you lose those pounds. Quinoa is another great carb that contains some protein in it. 2. Eat Protein: Try to eat lean proteins at every meal, like egg whites, fish, chicken and turkey. Fish will help you lose weight and also will give your body oil to maintain good skin. Just a salad without a protein at lunch is not enough to satiate you for the day and can lead to snacking on undesirable foods for a quick fix. 3. Drink Water: Try to drink at least 8 cups of water a day. Drink 1 – 2 cups of water before each meal and you will find that you will eat less. Alcohol consumption is harmful to your diet since it metabolizes as fat. 4. Snack on Fruit and Veggies: Avoid snacking on cookies, cake, chips, and pretzels. Eat raw, not dried, fruits and veggies to fill you up with good nutrition.

5. Eat Dinner Before 7:00 pm: Whatever you eat from dinner and on will be converted and stored as fat, so the earlier you eat, the better. Avoid late night meals! 6. Exercise: The weather is getting warmer (finally!); go for long walks, bike, or swim. The more you move, the more you’ll burn. Running or jogging at a pace of over 8 mph will allow you to burn at least 1,000 calories per hour. Also, swimming is amazing for your body and helps you burn calories faster, without stressing inflamed joints. 7. Be Prepared: Never leave the house for the day without a plan. You should either bring your meals/ snacks with you, or have a plan as to where/what you will be picking up your food. Now is the perfect time to get a jumpstart on your diet! The challenges of the holidays and bitter cold are in the past, leaving us at the right moment to look at our current eating lifestyles. Summer is the perfect time to make your change to a healthier life. It will be invigorating to lose all those unwanted extra pounds accumulated over the past few months. Like every challenge, a plan is needed to be successful. We all must be tenacious about our eating habits. A gezunten summer! Aliza Beer is a registered dietician with a Master’s degree in nutrition. She has a private practice in Cedarhurst, NY. Patients’ success has been featured on the Dr. Oz Show. Aliza’s new line of prepared, healthy meals-togo are available at Gourmet Glatt. Aliza can be reached at

Stephen H. Weiner, Esq.

Estate Planning

for a Parent Who Does Not Want to Treat the Adult Children Equally Most parents who consult me about an estate plan want to treat their adult children equally. Under certain circumstances this is not the case. Q. I have two adult children, one whom I am close to and another who was broken ties with me. What happens if I die without a will? A. It depends if there is an “estate.” An estate means money or property that is not automatically, by its terms, the child’s property upon death of the parent, for example an account that is joint property with a child, or payable on death. In New York any property in the estate is divided equally between the two children. The procedure for doing this is known as “administration” of an estate and requires a person (usually one of the children) to file a petition in Court.


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(or her) spouse being fair to the grandchildren if my child dies. What can I do? A. The will can provide specifically for the grandchildren by means of a trust for their benefit.

Q. If I have two adult children, one of whom has a disability from a handicap. Should I leave all the money to the child who is well with the understanding that he or she will take care of the handicapped sibling? A. Even assuming total trust in that Q. If I make a will instead may I inheriting child, if that child predeceastreat the children differently? es the handicapped child, the underB. Yes, unstanding will der New York not survive. law. (I assume A better soluI WOULD RECOMMEND the readers of tion is using a this column testamentary THAT EVEN A DISTANT supplemenknow that a CHILD NOT BE LEFT OUT tal needs trust, rabbi ought to also known as be consulted OF THE WILL ALTOGETHER. an Escher trust, concerning any that will protect halakhic issues the disabled that this raises.) child’s inheritance from either preventQ. I want to leave that child out of ing government assistance or being taken by the state to reimburse for assisthe will altogether, is that permitted? A. Yes. However, if the opportunity tance already provided. These examples illustrate the need is presented to me to make a recommendation, I would recommend that even a to consult with an experienced attorney distant child not be left out of the will about special circumstances involving altogether. A small amount could be left the children’s inheritance. No column is a substitute for compeas a “bequest” or “legacy” for the child. In addition, a special clause be insert- tent legal advice. Any additional or difed stating that if the child challenges ferent facts could change or affect any the will in court and the challenge fails, legal analysis. Please consult with your then the child forfeits any inheritance. legal professional of choice regarding This is also known as an “in terrorum any legal question you may have. clause.” This approach has the benefit of discouraging the disfavored child from bringing a meritless claim against Stephen H. Weiner has practiced law for twenty-eight years. His office is at 750 the will. Q. I don’t want to leave the child out of the will, but I am concerned about his

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In the Kitchen Naomi Nachman

Super Summer Salads


uring the long summer Shabbat afternoons, we have a chance to enjoy a great sleep, read a book, and play with our children or grandchildren – all in one day! But once all have rested and played, the family all want to eat seuda shlishet. People are always asking me what I serve Shabbat afternoon. Adults don’t want a yogurt, bowl of cereal, or tuna or egg salad on a challah roll. We like to eat something a little healthier and more sophisticated. My husband and I love Greek salad. The salad described below is based on a Greek salad with a twist of the addition of the smoked salmon (lox). When making the dressing, add fresh lemon juice as it will elevate the taste to another level. If you prefer fresh salmon, you can season 1 pound of fresh salmon with salt, pepper, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and two cloves of crushed garlic and bake it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 20 minutes at 350°. You can store the piece in the fridge until seuda shlishet and crumble it in the salad too. I always double my dressings so I have them for during the week. They store well in a quart container in the refrigerator.

Naomi Nachman, the owner of The Aussie Gourmet, caters weekly and Shabbat/ Yom Tov meals for families and individuals within The Five Towns and neighboring communities, with a specialty in Pesach catering. Naomi is a contributing editor to this paper and also produces and hosts her own weekly radio show on the Nachum Segal Network stream called “A Table for Two with Naomi Nachman.” Naomi gives cooking presentations for organizations and private groups throughout the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area. In addition, Naomi has been a guest host on the QVC TV network and has been featured in cookbooks, magazines as well as other media covering topics related to cuisine preparation and personal chefs. To obtain additional recipes, join The Aussie Gourmet on Facebook or visit Naomi’s blog. Naomi can be reached through her website,www.theaussiegourmet. com or at (516) 295-9669.

Smoked Salmon and Avocado Salad To make this salad parve and use it as an appetizer, just leave out the cheese. Ingredients 6 cups mesclun greens or 2 to 3 heads of romaine lettuce ½ pound smoked salmon, sliced thinly 2 medium avocados, chopped coarsely 1 medium red onion, sliced thinly ½ block of feta cheese, crumbled 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved Handful of sliced black olives slices (optional) Dressing 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons honey 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon white vinegar 1 tablespoon olive oil Preparation Combine greens, salmon, avocado, onion, tomato and feta in large bowl. Whisk remaining ingredients in small bowl then pour over salad; toss gently.

Grilled Salmon with Spinach and Hearts of Palm Salad Ingredients 4 6 oz. slices of salmon 1 bag baby spinach 1 15 oz. can hearts of palm, sliced 1 pint cherry tomatoes 1 avocado, cubed 1 container mushrooms, sliced ½ cup pine nuts Dressing ½ cup sugar 1 tsp salt ½ tsp mustard powder ½ tsp paprika ¾ cup canola oil

½ cup balsamic vinegar ½ cup ketchup 2 cloves garlic Preparation Using a grill pan brushed with olive oil on the stovetop, grill four 6oz. slices of salmon seasoned with salt and pepper for 20 minutes. Toss vegetables in a bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in a cruet or jar and shake well. Pour dressing over salad. Place tossed, dressed vegetables on individual plates and the place a slice of salmon on top.

Mediterranean Eggplant Salad Ingredients 1 large eggplant Kosher salt Canola oil 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved ½ red onion, sliced into half-moon rings Juice of a fresh lemon 2 cloves fresh crushed garlic ½ teaspoon cumin Olive oil Preparation Slice the eggplant lengthwise into four spears, and then cut each spear across into 1 inch chunks. Arrange in a single layer on the counter and sprinkle with kosher salt. Let the eggplant rest in the salt for half hour. (The salt will help get

rid of some of its bitterness.)Wash under running water and dry with paper towels. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add about 2 inches of oil. When the oil is hot (350° with an oil theremometer), fry the eggplant in batches until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant slices. After the eggplant has drained, combine it with tomatoes, onion, lemon, garlic and cumin in a small bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and add some salt if desired.

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Alex Idov

Fun for the Day Travel with Kosherology

Stone Barnes Center for Agriculture On a recent trip to the Monsey/Monroe area of New York, my father and I decided to venture off to Pocantico Hills (Westchester county), home of the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. Located less than an hour away from Monsey in the beautiful Hudson River Valley, the Stone Barns Center is a must-see tourist attraction for any hardcore foodie. Figuring that I would soon be attending college with a major in culinary sustainability, we made visiting the center a high priority trip, as it paints a vivid picture of the “farm-to-table” culinary world. The Stone Barns Center is a non-profit farm that acts as an educational center which promotes the knowledge of sustainable agriculture and local farming. The beautiful farm sits on 80 acres of colorful pastures which were once home to a Rockefeller estate (I guess that explains why it’s the most beautiful barn I’ve ever seen—commissioned by John D. Rockefeller, himself). While there you can get up close and take a good look at all of the livestock including sheep, cattle, chickens, turkeys, and pigs. The premises also contain vegetable gardens (greenhouses) and outdoor fields, which are used to grow over 200 varieties of produce year round. Here they grow an array of vegetables, many of which are

rare varieties, by only natural means (no pesticides, etc.). The only downside about visiting Stone Barns Center is that the restaurant on the premises, which serves food that was raised and grown on their farm, is unfortunately not kosher. But don’t let that deter you from going to visit this beautiful and educational farm with the family. I’m still trying to get over the fact that this place and its surrounding towns and villages are located only 27 miles from the bustling streets of Manhattan. True it is a little cold outside, but the warm spring weather is just around the corner! Visitors can get more information about the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture at Located at 630 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills (Tarrytown) NY, 10591; (914) 366-6200.

Ben & Jerry’s Factory Summer is just around the corner....the days are growing longer and the weather is starting to get warm (hopefully!), and when the weather is warm, it’s time to break out that favorite summer treat: ice cream! Or better to the source of one of the world’s favorite ice cream factories: Ben & Jerry’s. The Ben & Jerry’s Factory is located in the beautiful countryside of Waterbury, Vermont, (5 ½ hours from the NY metro area) and is “must-do” summer activity for every ice cream enthusiast. The Ben & Jerry’s Factory tour is a fun and educational 30 minute guided tour around the real factory...think “Willy Wonka,” only minus the Oompa Loompas and crazy tour guide. The price for admission is $4 for an adult, $3 for senior citizens, and kids 12 and under are free...which is pretty awesome considering that the tour includes a free scoop of the day (and a scoop of ice cream alone at a B & J shop costs around the same price). After purchasing your tickets, the tour begins with meeting your tour guide who proceeds to take you to the “Cow over the Moon” theater where you are shown a short film on what makes Ben & Jerry’s, well, Ben & Jerry’s. From there you go to a glass-enclosed mezzanine where you look down into the actual factory where all of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the U.S. is made (no pictures allowed from hereon in). Thankfully, I was at the factory on a day that there was ice cream production scheduled, so I actually got to see them packaging the ice cream, as they had already finished mixing the batch that day. Any part of the production process is cool to watch. Of course, the most exciting part of the tour is the final visit of the guided portion of the

tour: the flavo-room. In the flavoroom, you get to sample a fresh batch of ice cream (the flavor of the day when I went was mint chocolate chip), and if you don’t care for the featured flavor, they always have a backup option for you to sample. In the flavoroom, you also get to see a real Ben & Jerry’s food scientist and culinary artist developing new flavors for Ben & Jerry’s (talk about a cool job—literally!). The guided portion of the tour ends there, and then you are free to explore the B & J’s awesome gift shop and their famed flavor graveyard, where you can pay your respects to retired flavors (they have tombstones and all…). Ben & Jerry’s is under the hashgacha (kosher supervision) of the Chof-K. The factory is located at 1281 Waterbury-Stowe Rd, Waterbury, VT 05676

Alex Idov is a kosher food blogger who runs the award-winning site ‘Kosherology’ and a regular contributing food columnist to The Jewish Home magazine. He is currently studying for his bachelor’s degree in Culinary Sustainability & Hospitality. Visit ‘Kosherology’ at and like ‘Kosherology’ on Facebook.

Your Money Allan J. Rolnick, CPA

The New Known Unknown


you to know that I have absolutely no onald Rumsfeld may be one of idea whether our tax returns and our the most tax payments are controaccurate. I say versial figures that despite the of our time, but fact that I am a you have to recollege graduate spect his resume. and I tried hard He won a seat in to make sure our Congress at an tax returns are age (30) when accurate.” some of today’s Four paracollege gradgraphs later, you uates are still have to wonder living in their parents’ basements. He if he’s being snide or sad about the served as the youngest Secretary of De- whole exercise: fense in American history (under Pres“I do hope that at some point in my ident Ford) and the oldest Secretary of lifetime, and I am now in my 80s, so Defense in American history (under there are not many years left, the U.S. Bush #43). Between those positions, government will simplify the U.S. tax he headed G.D. Searle, General Instru- code so that those citizens who sincerement Corporation, and Gilead Scienc- ly want to pay what they should, are es, Inc. Those corporate posts helped able to do it right, and know that they make Rumsfeld the second-richest have done it right.” member of Bush’s cabinet, with a net At this point, a cynic might reply worth north of $62 that Rumsfeld can million. find “tax simplification” hiding in Rumsfeld RUMSFELD IS ALSO the same place as is also known for his unique, Saddam’s weapKNOWN FOR HIS sometimes blunt ons of mass deand sometimes struction. But UNIQUE, SOMETIMES cynicism aside, if slippery, speaking BLUNT AND style. Who Rumsfeld really wants to see tax can forget this SOMETIMES SLIPPERY, simplification, he response he gave SPEAKING STYLE a reporter who should write to asked him about his former colthe lack of evileagues in Condence tying Saddgress. They’re the am Hussein’s Iraqi government to ones who wrote the 2,600-page monweapons of mass destruction? strosity known as “the tax code” that “[A]s we know, there are known gives him such fits. And one remedy he knowns; there are things that we know could pursue in the meantime is to sit that we know. We also know there are down for a plan. We would be happy known unknowns; that is to say we to show him how he can pay less on know there are some things we do not his income from speaking fees, memknow. But there are also unknown un- oirs, and investments. Of course, if knowns, the ones we don’t know we Rumsfeld doesn’t come knocking, that don’t know.” means more time for you. So call us Rumsfeld’s quote has been roundly about your “unknown unknowns,” if mocked, and even has its own Wikipe- you think you paid too much on April dia page. But now he’s weighed in on a 15! new “known unknown” that we all can support. We’re referring, of course, to the letter he sent on April 15, addressed Allan J Rolnick is a CPA who has been in practice for over 30 years in Queens, to “Sir or Madame” at the IRS: “I have sent in our federal income NY. He welcomes your comments and can tax and our gift tax returns for 2013. be reached at 718-896-8715 or at allan As in previous years, it is important for

Rivki D. Rosenwald Esq., CLC, SDS


Forecast: Neurotic

n a day and age of multiple diagnoses—and I don’t say that to make light of it or be disrespectful—the weather has definitely jumped onboard! It completely has A.D.D. It cannot stay focused on one weather direction, for even a day. I wish it would develop a little dose of O.C.D. and stay completely focused on one temperature for a while—preferably warm! The temperature keeps getting depressed—suddenly back down to the 40’s or even 30’s. And though I don’t think I’ve developed multiple personality disorder, I do believe multiple wardrobe disorder is on the rise. On with the boots, off with the boots; on with the gloves, off with the gloves; on with the ski gear…! What happened to Passover coming in the spring?! Though “hail” could be deemed somewhat Passover appropriate. The weather seems on its way from erratic to psychotic! Maybe we can throw some Xanax into the ocean and calm it all down! We are all ready for the BBQs, the picnics, the outings. We are chomping at the bit, so to speak, ready to get out there and start enjoying the nice weather. Not that it doesn’t come without its costs. So there you are going into your garage. Brave of you! Climbing over rusty carriages, broken scooters, stored boxes of stuff—that  you definitely do, maybe don’t, or do, or don’t—need.  Then you’re circumventing plenty of unidentifiable items strewn all over the floor, trying to get to the front of your garage and access your bicycles. And then are they ready to be ridden?  You tell me! Mine are as flat as your hair on a bad hair day, of course. Does some little rodent sneak in and suck the air out of every bike tire all winter? ‘Cause I certainly left mine as full and functional as possible, just four months ago. And, of course, half your kids have grown a size. So unless you want them dislocating their two front teeth with their knees, you’re off to the bike shop for a new, bigger bike.  Then how can you walk out without a new helmet? Their old one has pieces of Styrofoam flaking down like dandruff. And can anyone tell me how to adjust those helmet straps? Have you ever adjust-

ed the tension on the straps correctly? You need a physics degree to figure out what to pull and push to get them evenly around your neck and ears – otherwise you find that “safety”   helmet falling backward, off your head, and basically choking the poor user! Hey, you could always update your kids’ rollerblades, too, while you are searching in there. Unless you got those great ones that grow with the kid. But does anyone trust the sup-

port of a pair of skates that splits right through the center?! On top of that, can you get your kids to put on all that paraphernalia that’s required for their safety? Knee guards, elbow guards, wrist guards! Honestly, I empathize with what a pain it is to put on all this equipment, but one thing’s for sure: I wouldn’t enter my garage without donning all that protection. As the weather gets nicer some people need to be opening up their pools—no cheap proposition there. Some are buying new backyard furniture or new swing sets. It certainly is not always a free ride getting ready to enjoy the warm outdoors! But hey, guess what? You can also just buy a new ball or if you want, spring for a new pair of sneakers and  take a nice long walk in the beautiful sunshine… and that alone feels great! Now we just need the weather to cooperate! In the meantime, anyone got a spare umbrella?! Otherwise a tranquilizer?! My best advice: Be smart—enjoy every day; each brings its own gifts! Rivki Rosenwald is a certified relationship counselor, and career and life coach. She can be contacted at 917-705-2004 or

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Life Coach

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From My Private Art Collection Rebbetzin Naomi N. Herzberg

The Art of Teaching Art Part One


here are many baby steps involved when trying to teach art and pass on your experience and knowledge to a student. The first question one should ask themselves is what is it that you are looking to share at that particular moment. Some questions that you might ask yourself while preparing the upcoming lessons are: What type of art do you enjoy doing? What is your particular style all about? What type

of themes do you prefer or want to share at the moment? Which medium do you want to begin with? I cannot stress enough how important it is to focus on one medium at a time. Once that medium has been mastered we can move onto another skill, but first examine your work and your students’ from many different angles, as this helps develop the understanding of how mediums and techniques overlap.

Try to teach one complete skill at a time, to perfection. Keep in mind the timeframe which you will have to perfect each particular skill. The amount of space which is available will help in determining the particular project and size that it can be created as. Do you want to connect the artwork to some other subject matter being discussed or taught in a school setting? Integration of art in to the core curriculum is a wonderful way to teach a subject and offer a visual to be used in conjunction with the teaching. Share your idea and the medium which you plan on using with other teachers. Also, share the concepts and techniques which you will teaching and collaborate with them as to what they will be teaching. This is especially valuable in elementary school education. Through collaboration, children will be able to observe their artwork from different perspectives and gain a better understanding of what they are learning. This can be applied to all subjects. It is important to designate a particular space for students to be able to work out of. This is true at home as well, if at all possible. In order to be creative and allow for creative juic-

es to flow there needs to be a certain amount of space where one does not feel confined. Do you keep in mind the age of your students when teaching a lesson? This is a very important point! Fine motor control needs to be applied while working with certain art tools. Keep in mind these educational and technical points while designing a lesson. Are you sensitive to your students’ ability to grasp or not grasp of

certain concepts? At different stages of development your students may be able to understand a concept better then at a younger age. Make this an important focus. We want to turn on people on to art and not frustrate them to a point where they will become afraid to try again in the future. At the same time, don’t get so involved with the actual work that they create. Remember, they are producing what they see and what they are capable of. With time they will develop their skills. We

Integration of art in to the core curriculum is a wonderful way to teach a subject and offer a visual to be used in conjunction with the teaching. need to encourage and not discourage creativity. Encourage your students to create their own unique style. This goes for students of all ages. I always tell my students that I love art because there is no competition in art. We can learn from everyone and everyone can learn from us. We know that we have accomplished when someone mentions to us that they recognized a piece of artwork as our particular style! Enjoy the process as it can be invigorating and inspiring. To be continued…

Rebbetzin Naomi N. Herzberg is a professional art educator, artist and designer. Among her known artwork is a floral sculpture presented to Tipper Gore, Blair House, Washington, D.C. Presently she is the Director of Operations at Shulamith School for Girls. Please feel free to email with questions and suggestions for future columns.

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