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December 1, 2016

Distributed weekly in the Five Towns, Long Island, Queens & Brooklyn

Pages 9, 10, 11 & 21

Around the



Fathers and Sons Learning Together


Thanking Oceanside’s Firefighters

Your Favorite Five Towns Family Newspaper

FIDEL CASTRO The End of a Despot and His Reign of Terror


88 & 93


Rebbetzin Gita Cohen a”h pg

Making Connections


Hundreds of Smiles at Gesher’s Open House

– See page 3


330 Central Avenue, Lawrence, NY 11559

Page 113





DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home


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The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

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Gedolei Vetzaddikei Hador, Shlit”a

Mekomos Kedoshim

Will Daven On Behalf of Contributors to In countries Kupat Ha’ir In addition, will The messengers of Kupateach Ha’irname will mention each name individually, along with its Across the world be prayed for individually InThey will pray fervently accompanying request, every day. for Hashem’s salvation.

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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers,


and the codes he conceives to obscure the documents’ discovery. And it’s all because he needs money. It got me thinking. I wonder if, on a much lesser level, we ever do something that goes against our principles in our endeavor to complete a goal that we’re so desperate to accomplish. It could be on a really simple scale: rushing to get to the bus stop on time for our children so we push past the people around us in the supermarket. Or maybe we block someone’s driveway because we just need to drop something small off at someone’s house or maybe catch a quick Mincha. It’s not stealing trade secrets, but it’s abandoning certain standards and ideals that we should be valuing. As Jewish people, we are always held to a higher standard. As such, it’s imperative that we hold onto our ideals and standards tightly; our actions are always scrutinized and are representative of our nation’s actions as a whole. Last week, a story circulated about Sol Werdiger and the South Korean ambassador to the UN. It was said that because of the impressive actions of Werdiger’s company, the UN ambassador – whose daughter interned at the company – abstained from voting against Israel in the UN. We are all ambassadors of the Jewish nation. We need to hold fast to our principles, values and ideals.

’m reading a book about a spy who worked for the American government and attempted to sell secrets to Libya and other countries. I don’t usually read non-fiction books; I read enough newspapers and magazines to get my “real-life” knowledge. Books, for me, are more for relaxation. But this book caught my eye: The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell. With a title like that, who could resist? The book is interesting and reads like a long newspaper article, although the author works hard to make sure the reader isn’t bored. What’s most notable about the main character of the book, Brian Regan, is that he, like other spies, has a reason for turning traitor. And his reason is not ideological. He simply needs money. Working for the government, on a government salary, cannot keep up with the demands of a growing family. Instead of curtailing his spending or asking his wife to help out with the finances, he decides to sell American secrets. Because his impetus for turning on his nation does not stem from a fiery philosophy against the United States, there are red lines that he doesn’t cross. Some American secrets he understands are too valuable to give over to the enemy. He sifts through information and attempts to turn over thousands of documents, but none of those documents are too damaging, he thinks. The book details the hoops he jumps through to obtain the traitorous information: the trips to the woods he makes to hide the documents, the way he smuggles them out of the office, the lies he has to tell, the flights he goes on overseas,

Wishing you a wonderful week, Shoshana

Yitzy Halpern PUBLISHER


Shoshana Soroka EDITOR

Nate Davis Editorial Assistant Nechama Wein Copy Editor Rachel Bergida Berish Edelman Mati Jacobovits Design & Production Gabe Solomon Distribution & Logistics P.O. BOX 266 Lawrence, NY 11559 Phone | 516-734-0858 Fax | 516-734-0857 Classifieds: Deadline Mondays 5PM text 443-929-4003 The Jewish Home is an independent weekly magazine. Opinions expressed by writers are not neces­ sarily 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.

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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home



COMMUNITY Readers’ Poll


Community Happenings


NEWS Global




Odd-but-True Stories


Fidel Castro: The End of a Dictator


Fidel’s Reign of Terror


ISRAEL Israel News


Hello, Kitties by Elana Dure




Remembering Rebbetzin Cohen z”l 72 Reuven Shiloah and the Birth of the Mossad by Avi Heiligman



Rabbi Wein


JEWISH THOUGHT Making Connections by Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz


Failure is the Only Option by Eytan Kobre


HEALTH & FITNESS The Best Defense by Dr. Deb Hirschhorn 100


Starting Solids – And It’s Not What You Think by Dr. Hylton I Lightman 102

Dear Editor, I am generally a supporter of the police. Especially nowadays, when they are under constant attack for just doing their job. But I really have a problem with the one sneaky officer who hides out on Seagirt Boulevard and tickets people all day for speeding. Many drivers come from the 878 where the speed limit is 45MPH and then right when they get on to Seagirt the speed limit drops dramatically to 25MPH, which is ridiculously low. And this sneaky cop jumps on them and tickets them for going almost double the speed limit. It ends up being like 6 points on their licenses. This has to stop. Yes, traffic safety is important and police ticketing keeps drivers safe, but this guy isn’t trying to keep anyone safe, he just found a sweet spot to nail people, fill his quotas, make NYC lots of money and cause good people a ton of heartache. This really needs to stop! So, firstly, be careful when driving on Seagirt. Secondly, perhaps, if anyone out there has a relationship with anyone in the 101 Precinct, talk to them to try to get this sneaky cop to stop causing people tremendous grief and money. After all, as taxpayers, we are paying his salary. Thirdly, if

we all reach out to our local politicians, maybe they can put pressure on the police department and urge them to put officers where it really counts. Sincerely, A safe driver who was NOT ticketed by this officer but knows many people who were! Dear Editor, This is in response to a letter writer who wrote about how our children are being brought up to never admit defeat – and are learning the biggest lesson from our politicians! There are a lot of things that our children should be not learning from our politicians. In fact, this lesson cannot be felt more strongly than in today’s times, when everything is filmed and documented and told for the world to see. Years ago, politicians were able to keep up appearances and portray to the nation that they were among an elite few. But they were just as petty and had just as many foibles as politicians of this generation – we just never heard about it. Did you know that Americans during FDR’s time didn’t even know Continued on page 12

Stop the Winter Weight Gain by Aliza Beer, MS, RD 104

FOOD & LEISURE The Aussie Gourmet: Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner


LIFESTYLES Dating Dialogue, Moderated by Jennifer Mann, LCSW


The PSAT: Understanding and Utilizing Your Child’s Score by Chaim Homnick


What’s in Your Resume? by Rabbi Mordechai Kruger


Pecan Pie by Rivki D. Rosenwald Esq., CLC, SDS


HUMOR Centerfold


Uncle Moishy Fun Page


Rocky’s Rant




For Democrats, the Road Back by Charles Krauthammer




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The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Dear Editor, I enjoyed reading your article about “carb swapping” and how about we can substitute healthy foods for those that are more carb-laden. I want to add that I thoroughly enjoy eating spaghetti squash. It’s quite filling and delicious. For a dairy dish, I add cheese, marinara sauce and a pinch of pepper. For a side dish, it does well with a topping of sautéed mushrooms. Even my kids have sampled and enjoyed it. Chaya Wolff

Dear Editor, The strength of the Jewish People is inspiring. When tragedy strikes a family, they know that the whole nation of Israel – around the globe – is hurting along with them. And then, with that knowledge, they gather strength and come to encourage others. It’s like a small flame, feeding another, and then another, gathering strength and intensity. Together, when we join together, we can forever endure. May Hashem bring a true nechama to all of klal Yisroel, to those who have suffered and were killed in the name of terror, and specifically to the Ariel family. Am Yisroel chai. Yoam N.

Views expressed on the Letters to the Editor page do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Home.

Continued from 8

that he was confined to a wheelchair? There was a certain code among journalists not to take photos of the president until he was seated in his regular chair. Imagine if he was alive today. He wouldn’t get the nomination, let alone be elected for

city council! And our country would be worse for wear. In general, we would be better off knowing less about certain things in life. Our country would fare better if politicians spoke and tweeted less, showed more respect, and let us know less about their social life

and views than necessary. It would also be prudent for anyone to follow these principles. After all, who truly needs to know what you ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and in between? Sincerely, Sheryl Klein

Please send all correspondence to: editor @fivetowns

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

The Week In News

Castro’s End

There have been a lot of mixed emotions since the passing of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The controversial leader died at the age of 90 last week. He ruled the island nation of Cuba for 49 years. Throughout the country, flags are at half mast, and a 9 day mourning period has been announced. “I say to the people of Cuba, with profound pain I come here to inform our people, our friends of America and the world, that today, 25 November, 2016, at 10:29 pm, died the chief commander of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz,” his brother, Raul Castro, said in a televised address to the nation. Castro took over control of Cuba in 1959. After seizing power, he killed and persecuted his many dissenters and isolated Cuba from much of the world. Never one to back down, Castro butted heads with ten American presidents and nearly set off a nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Flags in Cuba are lowered and clubs are silent. The nation is mourning. Just 90 miles away, in Florida, though, there is celebration. Revelers spilled into the streets of Miami. They popped champagne, clanged pots, cheered and waved the Cuban flag in jubilation. They stood outside a popular restaurant in Little Havana with signs reading, “Satan, Fidel is now yours.” “It means a lot for us Cubans,” a celebrant explained. “It’s a moment that we’ve been waiting for 55 years. We’re free at last. The man that caused so much suffering, so much people to be sad in my country ... has passed away.” What is next for Cuba is very

uncertain. What is definitely true is that Castro’s death marks the end of an era. For almost half a century, the dictator ruled almost every aspect of Cuban life. Due to his illness, Fidel transferred his powers to his younger brother Raul in 2006. Since the transfer of power, Cuba has re-established many of its relationships with other countries, including the United States. In 2009, President Obama re-established diplomatic ties with Cuba and the travel ban was eased as well. In fact, the first flights from New York to Cuba took place this week. Castro’s body was cremated and this week his ashes were taken along the reverse route he took across the island after seizing power in 1959.

Soccer Team Dream Ends in Horror


The Yeshiva University Student Medical Ethics Society and Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future present the

10th Annual Fuld Family Medical Ethics Society Conference

Humanity's Oldest Rival Infectious Diseases: Then, Now, & Beyond

Medical History • Epidemics: Ebola and Zika Hospital Infection and Superbugs

Sunday, December 4, 2016 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus On Monday evening, tragedy struck when a chartered plane carrying a Brazilian first division soccer team crashed in Colombia while on its way to the finals of a South American championship, killing 71 people. Six people are said to have survived the crash. The plane declared an emergency and lost radar contact on Monday night because of an electrical failure. The aircraft was bringing the Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil for Wednesday’s first leg of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin. “What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy,” Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez said from the search and rescue command center. Expressions of grief poured in from all over the soccer world. South America’s federation canceled all scheduled matches in a show of solidarity, Real Madrid’s squad interrupted its training for a minute of silence and Argentine legend Diego Maradona sent his condolences to

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Speakers include: Rabbi Dr. Edward Reichman, MD Conference Chairman

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Dr. Neil Vora, MD

New York Department of Health; Epidemics Intelligence Officer, Center for Disease Control

Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt, MD

Infectious Disease Specialist; Assistant Rabbi, Young Israel of Woodmere

Dr. Priya Nori, MD

Medical Director, Antibiotic Stewardship Program and Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Rabbi Mordechai Willig

Rosh Yeshiva, RIETS; Rabbi, Young Israel of Riverdale

Pre-register online at:

Breakfast and light refreshments to be served •Parking will be provided

General Admission: $20 • YU Alumni: $15 Student: $10 • YU Student: $5 Contact for more information

with additional support from: TAC, SOY, SCWSC, YSU, and YCSA

DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

the victims’ families over Facebook. Rescuers working through the night were initially heartened after pulling three passengers alive from the wreckage. But as the hours passed, heavy rainfall and low visibility grounded helicopters and slowed efforts to reach the crash site. At daybreak it was clear that too many perished in the crash. Chapecoense defender Alan Ruschel, who doctors said suffered spinal injuries, is one of the survivors. Jackson Follmann, a goalkeeper, as well as a journalist traveling with the team and a Bolivian flight attendant, were found alive in the wreckage. Helio Zampier is said to have survived as well. Bolivia’s civil aviation agency said the aircraft picked up the Brazilian team in Santa Cruz, where players had arrived earlier in the day on a commercial flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Spokesman Cesar Torrico said that the plane underwent an inspection before departing for Colombia and reported no problems. The team, from the small city of Chapeco, was in the middle of a fairy tale season. It joined Brazil’s first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it last week to

the Copa Sudamericana finals — the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament — after defeating two of Argentina’s fiercest squads, San Lorenzo and Independiente, as well as Colombia’s Junior. “This morning I said goodbye to them and they told me they were going after the dream, turning that dream into reality,” a Chapecoense board member told TV Globo. “The dream was over early this morning.”

Painting Returns Home

For more than half a century, this painting was rootless, waiting to return home. This week, “Portrait of a Man,” attributed to Dutch artist Joos

van Cleve or his son, finally came home. In 1912, Martin Bromberg purchased the 16th century painting at a Berlin auction. But when Hitler ym”sh and his evil minions came to town, Henry, Martin’s son, and his wife, Hertha, sold the painting in 1938 and fled Nazi Germany. The painting then was sold to the German government in 1941 and was ultimately recovered by Allied forces in 1945. Since the war has ended, the piece has been considered “orphaned,” much like 2,000 other pieces of art, with its original owners unknown. Henrietta Schubert, the Brombergs’ granddaughter, thought she was being scammed when she was initially contacted about the painting. She lives in Vienna. “The painting doesn’t even have to have any monetary value,” Schubert’s cousin, Christopher Bromberg, said. “It’s about connecting us to our past and the story of our family that was lost.” On Monday, France officially returned the lost painting to the Bromberg heirs, Christopher and Henrietta, in a ceremony. Since 1951, only 107 “orphaned”

paintings have been returned to their rightful owners. 27 more have been identified and are waiting to be returned.

74 Die in Chinese Scaffold Collapse

So far, 74 people have died in a scaffolding collapse in Fengcheng, China. The work platform surrounding a power plant cooling tower gave way last Thursday morning, sending steel bars and wooden planks raining down on the workers below. The collapse is the country’s worst work safety accident in the past two years.


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The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Yang was fired. China is notorious for its work-related deaths. Earlier this month, 33 miners were killed in a coal mine gas explosion. In 2014, a dust explosion killed 146 people in a metal production workshop. Poor decisions by a cruise ship captain and crew were blamed for the death of 442 people when a ship capsized on the Yangtze River in June 2015.



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It has taken 500 rescue workers to find the bodies that have turned up so far. Chinese President Xi Jinping has already sworn to hold those responsible for the collapse accountable. China’s Cabinet, known as the State Council, is looking into the inspection process of work sites

around the country. On Monday, nine people were arrested in relation to the tragedy. There have been many work-related accidents in the nation in recent years. It is generally thought to be due to China’s weak regulatory oversight and systemic corruption.

On the same day as the scaffold collapse, Yang Dongliang, a former head of the State Administration of Work Safety, was on trial for allegedly accepting $4.3 million in bribes over the past decade. After a massive explosion at an illegal chemical warehouse killed 173 people in 2015,

A dark chapter in Russia’s history has come to light. A Russian human rights group known as Memorial has published a database containing the personal information of nearly 40,000 members of the NKVD (Stalin’s security forces) on their website. Those listed carried out 700,000 executions between the years 1936 and 1939, years known as “The Great Terror.” The events of The Great Terror have been whitewashed in Russia. The details of the so-called “purges” in which Communist Party leaders and regular citizens were “tried” and convicted, usually on trumpedup charges, cannot be found in any of Russia’s school textbooks. There was widespread police surveillance, pervasive suspicion of “saboteurs,” imprisonment and arbitrary executions. Those on trial were forced to make “confessions.” Western observers may have thought that the confessions were genuine; little did they know that they were given after intense torture and that prisoners were told their families would be spared if they confessed. Of course, their relatives were usually not spared. “Until now, if anyone mentions the victims, it’s as though they were killed by a natural disaster like an earthquake or a tidal wave,” Yan Rachinsky of Memorial told a reporter. “They were victims of crimes and those crimes were committed by people.”

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Rachinsky hopes that the published data will send a message to Russia’s leaders. “Our government doesn’t like to acknowledge that the Soviet Union was a criminal state,” he said. “The criminals’ names are known; let the ones who carry out orders now know that their names, too, will be known.”

Fires Rage across the Holy Land

Controversial Holocaust Dance

An extremely controversial and bizarre performance was put on television this week by a pair of Russian figure skaters. The two dressed up in Jewish prisoners’ uniforms from a Holocaust concentration camp. Their outfit included a yellow star and a number sewn onto the clothes. Olympic ice dancing champion Tatiana Navka performed with actor Andrey Burkovsky on the Russian television show Ice Age. Navka is the wife of Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. The show has ice skaters compete each week in front of a panel of judges and a live audience. Many were very offended by the outfits and the storyline, which was accompanied by Israeli singer Achinoam Nini’s song “Beautiful that Way.” In their performance, Navka and Burkovsky smiled and pantomimed shooting at each other in front of an imaginary child, before Burkovsky exited to the sound of machine gunfire. Many viewers took to social media to call the performance “outrageous,” “shocking” and “offensive.” The skaters told Russian reporters that their dance was an homage to the victims of the Holocaust. Navka said online that her intention was to promote the song “Beautiful that Way” so that children can learn about the Holocaust as well. Jewish Olympic silver medalist Ilya Averbukh choreographed the dance.

At least 133 people have been injured, hundreds of homes have been left in ashes, and tens of thousands of dunam have been consumed in the wildfires that raged across Israel this past week. Of those injured, one has been seriously hurt and another three have been classified as “moderately injured” by Magen David Adom. The worst-hit city was Haifa, where 527 homes have been completely leveled by the flames. Early estimates show that at least 1,700 Haifa residents have been rendered homeless. 60,000 citizens of Haifa were evacuated in the largest ever mass evacuation in the history of Israel. Though investigations are still under way, it appears that at least some of the fires were set deliberately. The dry weather and strong winds made for the perfect environment for the flames to spread. For these reasons, the firefight was one of the toughest in Israeli history. Over 2,000 firefighters fought the blaze, many of them working in 24 hour shifts. They were accompanied by 450 soldiers from the Home Front Command and 69 Cypriot firefighters. Israel’s firefighting squadron used all 14 of its planes to douse the flames. They were joined by 15 additional planes from ten other nations. Over 1.5 million tons of fire retardant materials were used to help control the fire. More than 35 people have been arrested under suspicion of arson or

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encouraging others to commit arson. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said that most of the suspected arsonists are Palestinian residents of the West Bank. A “small minority” of the suspects are Arab Israelis, he added. Erdan urged Israel to react to any proven arsonist in the same manner as it would any other terrorist. That may include counter-terror measures, such as destroying the arsonist’s home. If law enforcement “can destroy the homes of terrorists who have shot or stabbed [Israelis], then we can demolish the homes of those who committed arson for nationalistic motives; there is no difference,” he asserted. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon approved a stipend of 2,500 shekels per person for those who were displaced by the raging fires.  “We will stand by our residents even after the smoke clears,” Kahlon said, adding that he gave instructions to officials to “be clear, be generous, and don’t let them [those affected] drown in paperwork or be passed around from [government] representative to representative.” “It’s not an easy task to assess the damage but it is our duty to help residents rebuild their lives,” he said.

Israel’s Millionaires

Credit Suisse has published a report with a breakdown of the earnings in Israel. According to the report, 2% of Israelis have holdings – including cash, property, and investments – of over $1 million. 32% of Israelis hold between $100,000-$1,000,000. 42.5% fall between $10,000 and $100,000, and the remaining 23.5% own less under $10,000 in assets. The report reveals that there are over 105,000 people in Israel who are worth more than $1 million. Of those, 18 are worth over a billion dollars. Since 2015, the number of millionaires has gone up by 17,000, which is an increase of 19%. The re-

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port also looked at historical data. In the past 16 years, the average Israeli’s wealth has increased from $92,589 to $176,263. Most of the wealth held (about 70%) is composed of financial instruments such as cash and other securities, while the other 30% is made up of real estate and other properties. While the report shows that the country’s wealthiest citizens have done very well, it also shows that income inequality in Israel is a very real issue. The Gini Index, which measures income inequality in a country on a scale from 0-100, rated Israel at a 77.2%. That sounds like a good number until you consider that the best score is 0%, which represents perfect equality.

Hebrew U Grads Among Most Employable Hebrew University is putting out graduates that are more employable than half of the world’s university graduates. Recently, Times Higher Educa-

tion ran an analysis of the world’s schools to determine their graduates’ employability. 2,500 recruiters from large companies in 20 countries, along with 3,500 international managers, were interviewed to make up their list. Looking for a job? Perhaps you should head to the Holy Land. They found that Hebrew University of Jerusalem ranked 67 out of 150 universities.

Hebrew U grads are the most employable graduates in the country. Still, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology came in at 122 on the list, and Tel Aviv University made the count at 139. Really need a job after you graduate? The top three on the list of most employable university graduates hail from California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University.

Rabbi A. Pollak, Rosh Mesivta Rabbi E Zoldan, Menahel Rabbi N Dinowitz, Principal Rabbi Y Stern, Asst. Principal

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Rounding out the top five are Cambridge University in England and Stanford University. Many notable U.S. universities scored lower than Hebrew University, including Georgetown University at 94, University of Pennsylvania at 98 and Northwestern University at 100.

Yo-Yo Diets – and Why We Always Try Them

If Laura the nutritionist is putting you on a bi-weekly cleanse, this story may give you some hope. Many people who have tried diets on and off over the years are familiar with the “yo-yo effect.” Essentially, the “yo-yo” represents the post-diet weight gain after which the dieter is heavier than before they started the diet. With each additional weight gain, body fat levels rise and individuals are at a higher risk of contracting fat-related illnesses such as fatty liver disease and Type 2 diabetes. Weizmann Institute researchers have analyzed the “yo-yo effect” and found that it is significantly influenced by stomach flora – that is the bacteria that live in our stomachs. Dr. Eran Elinav of the Immunology dept. and Prof. Eran Segal of the Computers and Applied Math Dept. at the Weizmann Institute think they may be able to influence the “yo-yo effect” by manipulating the microflora of the stomach. Dr. Elinav explains that “the research conducted on mice demonstrated that their stomach flora ‘remembered’ the previous weight and this precipitated weight gain as they ate high caloric foods or larger quantities of regular foods. By analyzing the various functions of the stomach flora, we were able to understand the contribution of these flora to weight gain and to develop diagnostic methods to treat the phenomenon.” Basically, the bacteria of the stomach stick around for a full six

months after the diet change. Therefore, one still has their “fat” bacteria, even when they are dieting. When researchers used antibiotics to remove the stomach bacteria in mice that had shown the “yo-yo effect,” the weight gain was prevented. When these same “fat” bacteria were injected into other mice, the mice gained more weight than they had previously. The researchers have high hopes for the results of their study. Professor Elinav explained in his paper that “obesity characterizes half of the world’s population and its complications cause death and diseases like diabetes, fatty liver and heart disease. If the results of our research on mice apply to humans we can possibly use them to treat the problems of human obesity.” Weight Watchers should watch out.

prosecutor spoke about the hatred the attacker has for Jews. “During the wave of terror stabbing attacks in the latter half of 2015, the indicted individual carried out a stabbing attack in Petah Tikva out of a desire to harm Jews because they are Jews.” He continued, saying that the terrorist used “a weapon motivated by nationalism and racism. Only because of the fight put up by the victim and the actions of those passing by did the attack not result in death.”

Grabbing at Straws in a Recount

Sentencing for Stabbers Two life sentences and another 20 years in jail were handed down to the terrorist who stabbed two Israelis last November. A second terrorist who stabbed a man in the Ofer shopping mall in Petach Tikva was sentenced to 16.5 years by the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court. 36-year-old Read Khalil, a Palestinian from Dura village in the West Bank, stabbed and killed Aharon Yisayev, 32, and Reuven Aviram, 51, Hy”d, at the Panorama building. They both were killed while davening Mincha. Reuven’s brother spoke publicly after the sentence was delivered. “We have waited for this moment for a year and in my opinion, the judges gave him what he deserved. The murderer, according to the requests made by the family, should not leave prison or see the light of day or his family,” he said. “It is my understanding that according to new laws he will not be released. He killed Jews and his place is in prison for his entire life.” The other terrorist sentenced this week was 25-years-old. The court ordered him to also pay 100,000 shekels in compensation to the victim. The terrorist had previously admitted his guilt as part of the plea bargain in exchange for a reduced sentence and having to pay the financial compensation. After the sentencing, the state

On November 9 Hillary Clinton stood in front of the cameras and acknowledged that Donald Trump garnered the necessary electoral votes to win the presidency. But we all knew she wouldn’t back down so easily, right? Her supporters, too, refuse to admit defeat. Now Green Party candidate Jill Stein is coming to Hillary’s aid (is it on her own volition?) and has raised $6.5 million for a recount in three battleground states: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. On her website, a recent posting read: “First recount funded. Two more to go! Congratulations on meeting the recount costs for Wisconsin [$3.5 million]. Raising money to pay for the first round so quickly is a miraculous feat and a tribute to the power of grassroots organizing. Now that we have nearly completed funding Wisconsin’s recount (which is due on Friday), we can begin to tackle the funding for Michigan’s recount (due Monday) and Pennsylvania’s recount (due Wednesday).” The goal of the campaign is “more than the results of this one election.” It is about “protecting our

democracy and ensuring” voters can have “confidence in reported results,” Stein said. Stein received 1 percent of the votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. She received a little over 1 million votes, which is 1% of the national vote. Because of her recent call for a recount, she has received ten times the amount of coverage on national media than during her whole election campaign. On Monday, the Wisconsin Commission agreed to begin a recount of the presidential election but was sued by Stein after the agency declined to require county officials to recount the votes by hand. Unless Stein wins her lawsuit, officials in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties would decide on their own whether to do their recounts of the 2.98 million statewide votes by machine or by hand, with dozens of counties expected to hand-count the paper ballots. Trump won the Wisconsin vote by more than 20,000 votes. In order to topple his Electoral College lead, Hillary would have to flip the totals in all three states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Let’s give her an E for effort.

Worst Drivers in the U.S.

Each year on Thanksgiving weekend, millions of travelers hit the road. Drivers needed to prepare for long lines at rest stops, traffic jams, and some very bad drivers. Think the man in the lane next to you is the worst driver ever as he conducts a conference call, jots down notes on a pad of paper, chomps on a sloppy joe sandwich, and tailgates the car in front of him? Hmmm, it seems there are many drivers vying for that prize. According to a study from a car insurance company, the worst drivers in the U.S. originate from Texas and Louisiana. The study by, a site that

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allows people to compare insurance companies, looked at data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). It analyzed  crashes in five categories: fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, failure to obey traffic signals or wear seat belts, drunken driving, speeding and careless driving. These states are home to the worst drivers in the United States. Perhaps you should vacation elsewhere: 1. Texas (tied) 2. Louisiana (tied) 3. South Carolina 4. North Dakota 5. Delaware 6. New Mexico 7. Nevada 8. Alabama 9. Arizona 10. Montana Texas was the only state to rank among the top 15 in each of the five categories analyzed in the study. Texas drivers rank third in drunken driving and ninth for fatalities per miles driven and speeding, the study found. On November 4, Texas transportation officials noted that at least one person had died on a state road every day for 16 years. Officials

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urged drivers to break that streak that totals 55,578 deaths. “These deadly crashes are a sobering reminder that we must do everything in our power to stay focused and safe while driving,” James Bass, executive director of the state Transportation Department, said in a statement. “Let’s end the streak,” he urged. Louisiana drivers are bad at obeying signals and fifth worst for fatalities per miles driven and careless driving, according to the study.  “Texas and Louisiana have been notorious for bad driving for four or five years of this study,” said Josh Barnes, a spokesman for  “It shows you the human-error factor is really there.” Sadly, traffic-related fatalities are increasing recently after years of declining. In 2015, 35,092 people died in traffic accidents, a 7.2% increase from a year earlier.  Traffic deaths haven’t climbed that steeply since  1966. Perhaps this is related to drivers talking and texting while driving. Some analysts are suggesting that lower gas prices put more people on the road which may also be responsible for the rising fatali-

ties. In 2015, the number of vehicle miles traveled grew 3.5% over 2014, the largest increase in nearly 25 years. “We want to first and foremost tell people that you need to be careful when you’re on the road,” Barnes warned. “Things can happen in the blink of an eye.”

Detroit is Still in Trouble

In its heyday, Detroit, Michigan, was a proud industrial city and a cultural center. But things spiraled out of control and in late 2014 the municipal finally declared bankruptcy. The town was riddled with riots, failing schools, soaring crime, and slumping real estate. Now the city is slowly repairing itself as it bounces back from a financial, economic and social

abyss. Dan Gilbert, the billionaire founder of Quicken Loans, spearheaded the revamping of Motor City. He acquired leases on 60-plus properties in the downtown area, including the iconic Hudson’s department store. Now many of his acquisitions have been converted into offices, businesses and trendy restaurants. Gilbert also underwrote Rocket Fiber, the high-speed Internet service launched in January that analysts and business experts say could help downtown businesses compete on a national level for customers and employees. Detroit now has an active nightlife and cultural scene. It is in the process of installing a light rail line, a new hockey stadium, and a basketball arena to complement the Ford Field and Comerica Park football and baseball stadiums. However, researchers at Michigan State University in Lansing have  released a report tarnishing this pretty picture. The study claims that it is just an illusion and in reality the city is still suffering from poverty and misery. Laura Reese, a  professor of political science and director of MSU’s Continued on page 26


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Global Urban Studies Program, said that there is still a high level of unemployment – many lack jobs – and the quality of education is still poor. Reese’s study, which was published online in the journal Cities, has a catchy title: “‘It’s safe to come, we’ve got lattes’: Development disparities in Detroit.” The report documents that the trendy scene is limited to a seven-mile square area of downtown and Midtown Detroit and that the remaining 95% of the city is still suffering tremendously. She writes that in the rest of the city “decay continues to dominate the post-apocalyptic neighborhood landscape.” Sadly there is still about 300,000 of 677,000 Detroit residents who are living in poverty, the highest level of the 25 largest cities in the nation. In 2014, the poverty rate was 33%. The unemployment rate rose from 25% in 2010 to 27% in 2013 before gradually falling to 11.1 percent in September, which is still more than double the 4.9 % national average.

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Research has established that too much TV watching is bad for children. It stifles creativity, gives them unrealistic ideas about the world, and promotes lazy behavior. New research suggests that children who watch TV often tend to participate in mindless snacking. There are strong recommendations from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding screen time. They recommend no screen time at all for children under 18 months and no more than an hour for kids aged 2 to 5. This is to promote language development, support healthy sleep habits, and limit sedentary activity. The study analyzed 60 children between the ages of 2 and 5. Researchers focused on the effect of advertising on what’s known as eating in the absence of hunger.

All the children were given a healthy snack like banana, sliced cheese and crackers prior to the study to ensure that they were not hungry. Then they sat down to watch TV. One group was shown ads for Bugles corn chips and the other was showed an ad for a department store. Both groups had a bowl of Bugles corn chips and one other snack in front of them while they watched the show. On average the children who viewed ads for the corn chips ate 127 calories, while the kids who weren’t shown the snack ad consumed just 97 calories. “This is the first study to show that exposure to food ads cues immediate eating among younger children – even after they had a filling snack,” said lead study author Jennifer Emond of Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. “Young children average up to three hours of TV viewing a day,” Emond added. “If kids are exposed to food ads during that time, they may unconsciously overconsume snacks which can lead to extra weight gain.” This may explain why more than one third of American children suffer from being overweight or obese. Researchers weren’t able to draw any correlation between how much kids ate during the program and their age, or weight. Researchers were also looking to determine whether parental involvement in eating influenced children. They did not find any association between how much kids ate and parental feeding restrictions like pressuring kids to eat or prohibiting certain foods. The experimenters did note that there is margin of error since young children can sometimes say they are full even if they aren’t. It is possible some children who claimed they had enough to eat before watching TV were actually hungry, causing them to consume more calories. As the cold sets in, it’s time to get creative with indoor activities. Twister, anyone?

World’s Tallest Water Slide to be Torn Down In August, the world was stunned by a horrific tragedy at a Kansas water park. Caleb Schwab, 10, son of Kansas State Rep. Scoot Schwab, died after being thrown off a water


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slide in Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

The amusement park company announced last week that the ride, Verrückt, will be torn down and replaced. In German the word verrückt means “insane” or “crazy.” The ride was the world’s tallest in the world – and made it to the Guinness World Records. It was the park’s main attraction. The ride’s slogan read, “R U Insane?” “All of us at Schlitterbahn have been heartbroken over the tragedy that occurred on Verrückt,” Pam Renteria, a spokeswoman for the park’s parent company, Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, said. “Once the investigation is concluded and we are given permission by the court, Verrückt will be decommissioned, closed permanently, and the slide removed from the tower,” Renteria said. “In our opinion, it is the only proper course of action following this tragedy.” Renteria said a replacement attraction would be announced “at some point in the future.” Michael C. Rader, a lawyer representing Caleb’s family, warned against removing the ride before all investigations are complete. According to a medical examiner’s report, the ten-year-old died of neck injuries. Although there is still a criminal investigation open, authorities told the media that it is unlikely that any charges will be filed.

We Have a Lot to Learn In a world that’s interconnected, our country may be severely ham-

pering the next generation when it comes to education. In a study of test results released on Tuesday, it was revealed that American students continue to lag behind East Asian countries, Russia and Kazakhstan when it comes to science and math.

There were some bright spots in the study. Eighth graders in the United States improved their scores in math over the last four years on the global exam. Scores for science, however, were flat. In fourth grade, scores were unchanged in the math and science tests. “The results do suggest a leveling out in the most recent cycle,” said Ina Mullis, an executive director of the TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center at Boston College, where researchers helped coordinate staff to administer the assessments. “One always prefers to see improvement, but holding ones’ own is preferable to declining.” Singapore topped the rankings, taking first place in both grades for math and science on the tests, known as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS. The United States placed 10th in fourth grade science and in eighth grade math. In eighth grade science, the U.S. was in 11th place. It ranked 14th for fourth grade math, just behind Portugal and Kazakhstan. Globally, results from the 2015 exams showed achievement trends were up — with more countries registering increases than decreases in math and science for both grades. Gender gaps were another highlight. They have narrowed over the last 20 years, especially in science at the eighth grade level. “A lot of countries have been working hard to close that achievement gap, and have promoted girls’ interest and participation in science,” points out Michael Martin, who runs the International Study Center with Mullis.





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While the short-term trend for American students overall wasn’t glowing, scores over the last 20 years have improved considerably. Math and science scores for eighth graders had sharp gains, as did scores for fourth grade math. Science scores for fourth graders

showed more modest gains over the last two decades. The TIMSS exams are administered every four years in dozens of countries worldwide. More than 600,000 students in 39 countries around the world took part in the 2015 exams. Israel, this time

around, slid drastically in the rankings. In 2015, the average Israeli score in math put them in the 16th spot – down from seventh place in 2011. In science, Israeli students were ranked 19th overall, down from a ranking of 13.

Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a student at Ohio State University, violently tried to kill his schoolmates this past Monday by running them over with his car and then trying to stab them with a butcher knife. Eleven people were hospitalized after the attack. Before he carried out the attack, the Muslim student posted on Facebook that was “sick and tired” of seeing his fellow Muslims “killed and tortured.” Law enforcement officials are still determining whether the attack will be categorized as a terror attack. The Somali immigrant’s Facebook post continued that America must “stop interfering with other countries, especially the Muslim Ummah,” a term for Muslim people at large. “By Allah, we will not let you sleep unless you give peace to the Muslims. You will not celebrate or enjoy any holiday,” the terrorist declared. The attacker was shot and killed by Ohio State Police Officer Alan Horujko after he disobeyed orders to stop and put down his knife. Students described to reporters that there were so many passing people Artan was thankfully not able to focus on any one target in particular. The attack lasted only two minutes because of the officer’s quick response: Artan drove his car onto a crowded curb at 9:52 A.M. and was shot three times by 9:53. Monica Mall, director of Ohio State public safety, said of Officer Horujko, “We owe him a debt of gratitude. He did a fabulous job today.” Gov. John Kasich praised the response, saying it showed “how much practice, how much training, how much expertise, how much coordination” there is within the local law enforcement agencies. Artan came to America legally via Pakistan in 2014. He had been profiled in the school’s newspaper three months ago and said that he had transferred from Columbus State af-

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ter he felt he could not pray publicly anywhere on that campus. “I wanted to pray in the open, but I was scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen,” he said then. Ohio State University is one of the largest schools in the country with 59,482 registered students.

Want to be a One Percenter?

The average American family earns $45,567 a year, which is a far cry from the top 1% of Americans who earn on average $1,153,293 a year. Of all income in the nation, 20.1 percent is reserved for the top 1% of earners.

These numbers are based on a report from Income Inequality in the U.S. by State, Metropolitan Area, and County by the Economic Policy Institute. EPI, a neutral think tank, examined state-level tax data from 1917 through 2013 (the latest year available) to report the gap, the earnings and the trends in every state. Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center and study co-author, pointed out, “Although we observe different levels of inequality across the states, over time we observe that inequality has gotten much greater across all states since 1979. So while inequality may be worse in New York than in parts of the South, inequality is up in the South as well, and that is largely because an increasing amount of income is flowing to the top 1 percent of families in every part of the country.” In order to be included in the nation’s top one percent of earners, you have to earn at least $389,436 nationally. But because every state is different, if you want to call yourself a “one percenter,” head to a state with a lower average income and you can become the “one percent” in that state. In West Virginia, for example, one percenters in that state earned less than $489,000 a year, on average. Because

it’s an average, even those earning $245K can start calling themselves one percenters in West Virginia. Connecticut’s top 1% make the most in the nation when it comes to looking at things on a state-basis, with an average of $2,402,339 per year. The wealthiest 1% earns 42.6 times what the rest of the state makes on average, which is $56,445 yearly. In New York the top one percent earns $2,006,632 a year on average, while the average New Yorker earns $44,163 a year, one forty-fifth of the richest. In New Jersey the top guns earn $1,453,741 per year while the average Jerseyan earns $57,447 a year. The top earners in California earn $1,411,375 a year, although the entry-level for top 1 percent is $453,772.

Healthiest Cities in the U.S. With the growing epidemic of obesity being brought to light, there has been a general push for wellness in the U.S. Many cities are promoting fitness and healthy eating. The creation of running paths, bike-sharing programs, and public parks encour-

ages residents to get moving. Gallup and Healthways studied 48 U.S. metropolitan areas’ efforts toward well-being and compiled a list of cities that are really gaining the benefits of new programs.

In some of these cities you can find a free yoga class at the park, bridges made for walking, and former army bases converted into a hiking trail. Perhaps next time you visit one of these cities you can forgo the Uber and be inspired to walk it, run it, or bike it. 1. Boston. What better place to run than along the Charles River? Head through the Esplanade and over one of the city’s bridges. Spin studios are also one of the city’s favorite activities. 2. San Francisco. Better lace up those sneakers if you’re heading here. With its hilly landscape and

Providing the perfect balance of professionalism and class, along with the highest level of sincere, leibedig, and PURE Jewish music




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twisty roads, San Fran will definitely get your heart pumping. Loop through the Presidio and then up the Lyon Street Steps. The Golden Gate Bridge will be the backdrop of all your photos. 3. Chicago. When in the Windy City, it’s time for a jog. The Lakefront Trail is lined with mile-markers, restrooms, and the most spectacular view of Lake Michigan. 4. New York City. Start spreading the news – New Yorkers like to be out and about. Just running for that train will raise your heartrate. There are myriad classes offered (boxing, spin, yoga) and for those who like to do things a bit different, how about running up and down, and up and down, and up and down the steps of the Met? Walking the Brooklyn Bridge will be fun and also practical – you’ll save yourself the cab fare. 5. Washington, D.C. Rowing the Potomac is not just something you see in movies. Try it the next time you head to the nation’s capital. Aside from the classic sightseeing musts, jog up the Watergate Steps behind the Lincoln Memorial. Or take a hike in Rock Creek Park, a great place to take in nature.

War Hero Honored

An American POW who protected 200 Jewish American POWs during World War II will be posthumously awarded by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. The group is giving the award to Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds who refused to reveal to a German commandant which troops under his command were Jewish while being held at the Stalag IXA POW camp. Now the foundation will bestow its Yehi Ohr Award upon Edmonds. His son, Pastor Chris Edmonds, will accept the award.

On December 19, 1944, Edmonds was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. Being the highest ranking officer, he was solely responsible for the camp’s 1,292 American POWs. In an attempt to separate the Jewish soldiers the commandant pressured Edmonds to identify them but he refused, essentially saving their lives. The vicious German officer placed his pistol against Edmonds’ head but Edmonds declared, “We are all Jews here.” After the war and 100 days of captivity, Edmonds finally returned home but never revealed his heroic actions. He died in 1985. “Over the years we have worked with and honored many Holocaust survivors and their rescuers, but the story of Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds saving 200 Jewish American soldiers truly distinguishes the man and leader he was. Though unfortunately we were not privileged enough to honor him during his lifetime, we hope that this year’s Yehi Ohr Award will show the gratitude and appreciation that our nation has on behalf of his heroic actions that day,” said chairman Harvey Schulweis, the foundation creator. The Jewish Foundation for the


Righteous provides monthly financial assistance to more than 425 elderly and needy Righteous Gentiles living in 20 countries and sponsors a Holocaust teacher education program.

The Jacket from Dachau

Cozy coupes and antique lamps are generally the merchandise at local yard sales which is why Jillian Eisman was shocked to discover a blue and gray striped prisoner’s outfit from the Holocaust at a Long Island yard sale. Eisman says she was sifting through a jammed closet when she spotted the garb that immediately registered with her. “I knew exactly


DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home



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what it was, even before I saw the numbers [84679 on the front],” she said. Eisman purchased the jacket for $2 at the sale last year and graciously donated it to the Kupferberg Holocaust Center  in New York City. Curators were able to track down the

story behind the jacket and discovered that it was worn by a teenager named Benzion Perescki who was forced to make munitions for the German war effort. The boy spent four years at a displaced persons camp and then immigrated to America. He never told his children about

his experiences at Dachau but he did keep the jacket. Cary Lane, curator of the exhibit, revealed Peresecki’s (who later became Ben Peres) extraordinary story that was preserved according to his serial number. He was spared after the evil Nazis invaded his Lith-

uanian homeland because he was 15; all Jews 16 and older, including his father and 17-year-old brother, were executed. His daughter did not know about his story until long after her father’s passing. “It was known to us that my father and grandmother had both been in the Holocaust,” said Lorrie Zullo, who was 13 when her father died of a stroke in 1978. “We knew he had a brother who had been killed. But he did not talk about it much.” Her brother, Michael Peres, who was 15 when their father died, said: “He wanted to protect us as kids. He saw people die every day.” Historians say that these uniforms are extremely rare since most of the clothing worn by prisoners was burned after the war because of lice and other potential diseases. Also, it was typical for a liberated prisoner to attempt to erase all reminders of their misery. “When Ben was liberated, I think there was a conscious effort on his part to document and hold onto things, which not only proved his suffering, but also symbolically for himself, were evidence of his own survival,” Lane said. Peres was reunited with his beloved mother in the DP camps and went on to earn a high school equivalency diploma. Upon arrival in the U.S., he lived in several New York City locations with his mother and his wife. He received a degree from Cooper Union in Manhattan and worked as a mechanical engineer. He raised his family on Long Island. “He was affectionate, loving,” his daughter said. “He was kind of the glue of the family.” Zullo said she was “flabbergasted” when she heard that the jacket had been found hidden in a closet in the house where she was raised. “I didn’t even look through it before the sale,” she said. “What are the odds of someone finding it and recognizing it for what it is and then actually donating it to where it should have gone?” Eisman, whose 24-year-old brother, Joshua Birnbaum, was killed in the September 11 attacks, said she feels “everything happens for a reason. There is a reason why I was supposed to be in that house… There is a reason why I was friends with someone who worked at a Holocaust museum. What are the chances of that?”

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Sleep Tight Tea

“We received critical voices saying it is not good to use creatures as a toy, and that it is bad to let food go to waste,” a spokesman said. Now, the amusement area will be holding a memorial service for the fish. “We are planning to hold a memorial service for the fish inviting a Shinto priest, which we’d planned before getting criticized.” Well, they’re not the only fish in the sea.

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Namaste. Or maybe we should say Na-meow-ste. It seems that people can’t do yoga on their own anymore. Now, many are doing the relaxing poses with a feline at their side. Classes have been popping up in New York, San Francisco, Des Moines and Mobile, Alabama. Disparate locations, but all with one theme: a furry friend who purrs and slinks around your poses.



The Yoga Cats

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and our ice skates. What better way to spend your Sunday than skating on smooth ice and then heading out for hot chocolate? Recently, though, ice skating turned into discord when a Japanese ice skating rink added a unique touch to their ice skating rink: frozen fish. The fish, which were dead, were

placed on the rink before the ice was frozen. Once frozen, skaters were able to skate on top of the frozen aquarium. Perhaps it was like an indoor pond, except fish are alive in a pond; in Space World in Japan, the fish were quite dead. Many considered the 5,000 dead decorations to be in poor taste, forc-

In a suburb in Atlanta, yoga goers don’t bring their cats to class. Instead, they haul their yoga mats to a cat shelter in which kittens lounge while they do their poses. The class sells out almost immediately after times are announced. Such is the love of people for cats while they’re doing the downward dog. One of the regular yoga-cat-goers is Katie Misencik, who says that working out with cats makes it more fun. “It’s all about fun and is a little more relaxing,” she said. “There’s not as much pressure to make my form perfect.” Studies show that yoga can im-

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


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prove your balance, your breathing, your sense of self and your overall health. It can reduce anxiety and fight off depression. It strengthens your core and can help ease chronic pain. Although there’s no proven benefit to yoga with cats, enthusiasts say that it’s just good for the “soul.” Meow.

In G-d We Trust?

He certainly doesn’t seem to suffer from poor self-esteem. He may, though, have a slightly bloated sense of self. A man in Kentucky is suing state officials because his personalized “IM GOD” license plate has been denied. Bennie L. Hart is an atheist and has been using the self-aggrandizing license plate for 12 years in Ohio. Kentucky, though, has called it “vulgar and offensive.”

Hart is not alone is his suit. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky and Freedom From Religion Foundation have joined Hart to assist him in his lawsuit against Kentucky transportation secretary Greg Thomas, stating government officials should not have the ability to deny personalized plates based on religious or political preferences. “I simply want the same opportunity to select a personal message for my license plate just as any other driver,” Hart asserts. Why does Hart feel that he is a deity? “Well, there are six definitions of G-d in the American Heritage Dictionary,” he explains. “Number five is a very handsome man and my wife says I’m a very handsome man, and nobody argues with my wife.” Wonder what type of car this “g-d” is driving.

Ice Cream for Breakfast What did you have for breakfast this morning? Was it rocky road, chocolate chip, Cherry Garcia, or Phish Food? If you had a bowl of Chee-

rios and milk, you may not be as smart as your officemate who just downed a pint of Chunky Monkey. In a recent discovery that goes against all that mothers around the world have been professing for years, a Japanese scientist claims that consuming ice cream for breakfast improves a person’s alertness and mental performance.

Yoshihiko Koga, a professor at Tokyo’s Kyorin University, had subjects eat ice cream upon awaking and then had them perform mental exercises on a computer. Compared to a group that had not eaten ice cream, Koga’s subjects exhibited faster reaction times and better information-processing capabilities. They also were shown to be more alert. Koga also had subjects drink cold water instead of the ice cream to determine if it’s just the temperature of food that helps people’s mental health. Although subjects were more alert when they drank cold water than those who didn’t, they weren’t as alert as those who ate the cold ice cream. The findings elicited gasps, fright and horror from nutritionists. “A possible explanation [for increased alertness]... is the simple presence of consuming breakfast vs. not consuming breakfast,” pointed out Katie Barfoot, a Nutritional Psychology Doctoral Researcher at Reading University. “Our brain needs glucose to function, and a high glucose meal will aid mental capacity considerably compared to a fasted brain.” She added, “This, however, does not condone eating dessert for breakfast. A study which explores the interaction between consumption of low and high GI foods, whilst including a fasted group, would establish a better understanding of this increased mental capacity.” But Koga may be onto something. In 2005, neuroscientists at the Institute of Psychiatry in London scanned the brains of test subjects as they ate vanilla ice cream and saw immediate results. Eating ice cream activates the same “pleasure spots” of the brain as are lit up by winning money or listening to a favorite piece of music. This study really takes the cake – I mean, the ice cream cone.

Car of Kindness

“It was a miracle come true,” she said. Last week, Jim Ford, who owns a repo company, was told to take possession of the Kippings’ 1998 Buick. They had previously been keeping up with the payments, but with increases in their medical bills, the $95 a month was too much for the elderly couple. Although Ford has a job taking people’s important possessions from them, he has not lost his compassion. In fact, when repossessing vehicles, he knocks on people’s doors to allow them to take their personal items from their cars. Ford met with Stanford, who is 82, and his wife, Patty, who is 70. He tried to work with the bank to allow them to keep their car, but was unsuccessful. “When I got home that night, I said to myself, ‘They are a real nice elderly couple. I gotta do something. I can’t just take their car,’” Ford said. Ford took action. Using GoFundMe, he raised more than $3,500 in one night. He paid off the car from the bank and tucked $1,000 into an envelope. A co-worker bought the couple a frozen turkey, which Ford put into his truck. Ford also fixed the Buick’s lights and topped off the car’s fluids. Stanford and Patty were waiting for Ford when he showed up. They already heard the thrilling news that their car was paid off. But they were unprepared for the surplus kindness that came with it. “It was a miracle come true. We didn’t know what we were going to do,” said Patty Kipping, as a small group of neighbors gathered around and cheered Ford. “I got up this morning and I looked up at the sun and I said, ‘I hope we get our car back.’ It’s just unbelievable,” Stanford said. Ford stood by beaming through the exchange. It was just another kindness – all in the day of a repo man.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Around the

Community CAHAL Brings the Parsha and Chessed to Life


arshas Chayei Sara is all about chessed. When second and third grade students in the CAHAL class at Bais Yaakov Ateres Miriam learned about the kindness that Rivka performed for Eliezer, they were inspired to practice some kindness themselves. Who better to collaborate with on their chessed initiative than Achiezer? The girls decided to make a further connection to the parsha by initiating their own chessed project.  The girls had learned that three miracles constantly took place in Sarah’s tent but they ceased when she was nifteres. When Rivka Imeinu entered Sarah’s tent, these miracles returned. One of the three miracles

was that the challah on her table was always fresh, and this represented Hashem’s bracha in their home. Thus, for their chessed project, the girls decided to bake challah to share with others. The second and third grade girls rolled up their sleeves and started baking. Before the teacher made the bracha on hafrashas challah, she explained that there are two different ways to do chessed, a physical way and a spiritual way. In addition to just physically giving our challah rolls to sick patients, we can daven for the patients to have a complete and speedy recovery. Following their heartfelt tefillos, the girls meticulously formed beautiful challah rolls for

sick patients to enjoy in the hospital over Shabbos. CAHAL is grateful to Achiezer for enabling their students

to partake in these special chessed opportunities and to actualize the lessons they learn in class.

Sixth graders in Stars of Israel celebrate beginning Mishnayos. Seen with their rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel Mor. Most of these boys were in public school last year.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


CHINUCH IN ACTION. Teaching each child individually produces successful individuals.

At Yeshiva Darchei Torah, when a rebbi or teacher enters their classroom, they do not see a crowd, but individuals. They focus on each child’s unique needs, strengths and abilities. The results speak for themselves.

save the date th


Anniversary Dinner



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Around the Community

YOSS Motzei Shabbos Learning Program Thanks Gourmet Glatt

R’ Yoeli Steinberg, V.P. Operations for Gourmet Glatt, being presented with an award of hakaras hatov from the Motzei Shabbos Learning Program at Yeshiva of South Shore.  For years, Gourmet Glatt has been providing snacks and refreshments to the hundreds of participants from almost every yeshiva in the neighborhood who come to learn Motzei Shabbos at Yeshiva of South Shore in a spirit of community achdus.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


Around the Community

A Celebration and Appreciation of Rabbi Raphael Pelcovitz’s 65 Years as a Community Rabbi


his Shabbos, Parshas Toldos, will be a very special one for the White Shul and for the general Far Rockaway/Five Towns community. The White Shul will be celebrating Rabbi Raphael Pelcovitz’s 65th Anniversary as a Rav with the Shul.  Rabbi Pelcovitz came to the White Shul and Far Rockaway in 1951.  After having received smicha from the Rosh

Yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, Rav Shlomo Heiman, zt”l, and guidance from the legendary Menahel, Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz zt”l, Rabbi Pelcovitz served as a Rav in Saratoga Springs, New York, and in Akron, Ohio. Rabbi Pelcovitz arrived in our community to become the Rav of Congregation Knesseth Israel, the White

Shul, which was indeed White and was located on the corner of Nameoke and Dinsmore in Far Rockaway. Over the next 65 years Rabbi Pelcovitz became a key leader who was instrumental in developing Yiddishkeit in all areas of the Far Rockaway/Five Towns community, including education, tzedakah projects, the chevrah kadishah, mikveh and kashrus.  He continues to play an active role as a Rabbi Emeritus and as a marbitz Torah, continuing to give weekly shiurim and contributing to ongoing publications. To help celebrate this special upcoming Shabbos, Professor Shnayer Leiman will serve as a Scholar in Residence. Professor Leiman will be speaking before Mussaf on Shabbos morning on the topic, “The Wisdom of Reb Chaim of Volozhin.”  He will also give a special shiur for men and women at 3:00 PM on the topic, “he Rabbi’s Daughter: New Evidence of Jewish Spiritual Resistance in the Holocaust.”

Following Mincha there will be a Seuda Shlishis at which Professor Leiman will give a third and final shiur, “Reb Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky Leaves  his Imprint on the American Rabbi.”  To end the celebration, there will be a Melavah Malkah on Motzei Shabbos at 8:00 PM.  At this event, which there will be a couvert of $100 per couple, Rabbi Pelcovitz will iy”H address the gathering.  Everyone is invited to join this community-wide Simcha, pay tribute to Rabbi Pelcovitz and to be makir tov to him for his efforts over the years in bringing about the beautiful and special community that we all benefit from today.

This Week

Hosted by Rabbi Dovid Grosssman of the Halacha center in Lakewood Avoiding Mekach Ta’os, Geneivas Da’as, and Ona’ah in today’s competitive retail environment Presented by a Bais HaVaad panel of dayanim

Harav Chaim Weg

Harav Dovid Grossman

Harav Yosef Greenwald

Rosh Kollel of Bais Havaad Kollel for Dayanus

Rosh Bais HaVaad

Dayan, Bais HaVaad


DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Around the Community

MAY Dor L’Dor Thanksgiving Day Breakfast


ast Thursday, Ateres Yaakov held their annual Thanksgiving Day Dor L’Dor Breakfast. Once again, fathers joined their sons at the Yeshiva for a morning of ruchniyus and gashmiyus. The morning began with a warm, yeshiva Shacharis followed by a lavish, catered breakfast. Menahel Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe opened the program addressing the over 400 fathers and sons in attendance. Adir Farbman, a talmid in the Yeshiva Gedolah, then spoke about overcoming nisyonos, both small and large, and making optimal use of every moment we have. Senior Shmuel Muchnik, representing the Mesivta student body, delivered divrei Torah, described his personal growth throughout his high school career, and thanked the rabbeim of the Mesivta for their warmth and guidance. The event also featured the Mesivta’s annual Fall Essay Contest winners, with excerpts being read from the four 1st place essays. Awards and prize money were distributed by Rabbi Sam Rudansky, General Studies Principal, and Rabbi Yossi Bennett, Assistant Menahel/Assistant Principal. The highlight of the breakfast was a return visit from Rabbi Eytan Feiner, shlit”a, Mora d’Asra of Knesseth Israel (“The White Shul”) who spoke about the essence of hakaras hatov.

Rabbi Eytan Feiner enthusiastically addressing the overflow crowd

Rabbi Feiner enthralled the audience as he blended Torah thoughts, entertaining anecdotes, and his unique

Davening together

style of delivery into a masterful presentation. The program concluded with the

Student Government raffle of numerous prizes. A wonderful well-spent morning for all.

Yeshiva Gedolah talmid, Adir Farbman, giving divrei Torah

Fathers and sons enjoying the gourmet breakfast

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Around the Community

Shulamith High School for Girls Shabbaton


he Shulamith High School for Girls students and faculty spent the week gearing up for the school’s second annual Shabbaton centered around the theme of “Me, You, and Us.” From the moment the buses pulled up to Monster Mini-

Golf, it was a fun-filled, inspirational, and thought-provoking weekend. The Shabbaton at the Sheraton in Edison, New Jersey, was an opportunity for students to spend time with each other, the faculty, and their families in an informal setting. The

sessions focused on different levels of happiness (Me), becoming our best, confident selves when interacting with others (You), and trust and teamwork (Us). Ultimately, the students explored how You + Me can be so much more than Us.

The weekend was peppered with seudot Shabbat, zemirot, divrei Torah by both students and teachers, and a moving kumzitz. Friendships were strengthened, girls were inspired and memories were formed to last a lifetime.

Despite the cold weather and strong winds, to see the young kindergarten students dancing with sixth graders, and teachers dancing with students, was truly an inspiring celebration. Thank you to Rabbi Michael Mer-

rill, Director of Student Activities, for planning this event and for enabling the entire school to come together to thank Hashem in such a profound and joyous manner.

Balloons of Gratitude


he students at HANC’s Samuel and Elizabeth Bass Golding Elementary School in West Hempstead have been focusing on gratitude. Each class had a discussion about what they would like to thank Hashem for giving them. In

the course of their conversations in class, the children composed a profound list of elements of their lives that come from Hashem. Their list included: the world, family, friends, Torah, air we breathe, food and water, teachers, books, our school, pets, and of course, their toys. As a culminating activity, each student and staff member received a green balloon that said “Todah” on it. The entire school went outside, thought about all that they are grateful for, and then released hun-

dreds of balloons up to Hashem. Following the release of the balloons, our illustrious music teacher, Rabbi Mordechai Shapiro, led the entire school in song, and the children and teachers danced together in celebration.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Around the Community

Bnos Bais Yaakov’s Father Daughter Brunch

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Clothing & Shoes, in ANY condition!


n a brisk Sunday morning, about 120 Totties and their sweet daughters filed in to the Ateres Nechama Leba Simcha Hall. They were gathered there for “together time” at BBY’s Father/ Daughter event – a couple of hours during which siblings could not demand equal attention and business pressures could not interfere. The tables were laid out with the supplies necessary for the 2 projects: a picture frame and a beautiful paper bird. Fathers gamely attempted to manipulate glue and sequins while their 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old daughters basked in this special time with their Totties. Coffee and cupcakes were available to fortify the fathers, and


the girls enjoyed nosh and Laffy Taffy “pocketbooks.” The highlight of the event was an exciting bird show. Beautiful birds raced against each other, flew across the room, and alit on the shoulders of intrepid pre-schoolers and fathers. We knew that the little pre-schoolers would have a great time at the father/daughter pre-school event – but the interesting thing is just how much the Totties enjoyed it as well! The event, run by Mrs. Adina Edelstein, Yehudis’s mother, and Mrs. Rivky Hirschfeld, Rochella’s mother, was a huge success. Success was measured in smiles – and we broke the bank with those!

Aliza’s Top Tips to Prevent Winter Weight Gain Page 104

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

Around the Community

C is for cholent (never leave home without it) and the color for this week’s Learn & Live program was pink! The boys at L&L saw how R’ Yehuda Deutsch brought the melacha of m’labain to life with plenty of humor and lots of props. This Sunday at Learn & Live, “We R Combing Through.” For more information about L&L, email

Young Israel of North Bellmore’s 50th Anniversary Dinner

L-R: Rabbi Chaim Bogopulsky, Rabbi Morris S. Gorelik, and Rabbi Dov E. Schreier


he Young Israel of North Bellmore celebrated its 50th anniversary at a gala dinner held at Congregation Ohr Torah in Valley Stream on Sunday, November 13. The congregation honored the three rabbis who have served there during its 50 years-- Rabbi Morris S. Gorelik, Rabbi Dov E. Schreier, and the synagogue’s current spiritual leader, Rabbi Chaim Bogopulsky.   The dinner was attended by members, former members, alumni children of the congregation, as well as

all the honored rabbis and rebbitzens and their families. The forward-looking founders of the synagogue in 1966 were honored with a plaque to be displayed in the synagogue building in appreciation of their dedication. Several of them attended the dinner. A video montage of people and events in the congregation during the past 50 years was prepared by Gabriel Duci and was enjoyed by all. The 50th anniversary committee worked tirelessly to plan the evening, which was an unforgettable success.



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Around the Community

Over 300 Attend Gesher Carnival Open House


his past Sunday morning Gesher was host to a huge crowd at its carnival open

house. Beginning at 10AM, a steady flow of grandparents, parents, and children streamed in to enjoy the event. Gesher’s expansive facility provided ample space for all the participants. Carnival games were available in the social hall. Each child received a set of free game tickets, and everyone was a winner. A huge bounce house was stationed in the multi-purpose room. The different venues ensured a smooth flow of traffic and consistent fun with no lines. During the carnival, craft sessions were being led by Gesher staff in the classrooms. Dozens of children enjoyed decorating picture frames, pencil cases, and folders. The highlight of the day was the Bubblemania Jr. Show. This interactive and fascinating program is geared for younger children and was a big hit. The massive crowd sat mesmerized in a huge semi-circle that stretched back several rows. After the show, fresh cotton candy and hot pretzel nuggets were available for all. The stream of happy faces exiting attested to a successful day. The carnival was the brainchild of the parent committee, in support of Gesher’s mission to provide an educational model that provides support and transition services. One of the greatest challenges is community awareness and recognition. The administration explains, “Gesher is a typical early childhood yeshiva program. The individualized supports are woven into the classroom environment.” Gesher parents were easily identified by their t-shirts, as were the Gesher staff. Guests were encouraged to familiarize themselves with the facility, the parent body, and the faculty. Gesher is very happy to have had the opportunity to offer this fun entertainment for the community. The team of current and former parents who worked to make the event a success did so in appreciation of the amazing experience that Gesh-

er has provided their children. One parent commented, “I cannot thank Gesher enough for what they have done for my daughter. She is a different child because of Gesher.” Many parents have expressed how thankful they are that a friend, neighbor, family member, or educator recommended Gesher as they had not been aware that Gesher was an option for their child. Having greater community awareness and understanding affords Gesher the opportunity to support more students.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Around the Community

A Night of Unity in Support of the Ohr Natan Briarwood Mikvah


aturday night, November 19, was a truly unforgettable night as more than 550 women gathered in Ohr Natan shul to support a mikvah building initiative. The evening was organized and run by a group of women, members of Ohr Natan, with the goal of spreading awareness and raising funds towards the construction of a mikvah in the Briarwood section of Queens. Briarwood is home to thousands of Jewish residents, yet the neighborhood lacks a mikvah. There is at least a 45 minute

walk to a mikvah from the area. Ohr Natan, which owns a shul in Briarwood and in Rego Park, took the initiative to construct the mikvah at its Briarwood location. Ohr Natan is a non-profit kiruv organization established over 20 years ago, which runs programs for children and adults such as ESL classes, Sunday Program for children, food distribution to needy families, Oneg Shabbat for kids, Shabbat program for ladies, and more. The Ladies Event on Saturday night included prominent speakers

such as Rebbetzin Iris Odeni-Elyashiv, Rebbetzin Leah Davidov, Emunah Coach Rachel Shaul, and the renowned Rabbanit Sara Yosef, daughter-in-law of Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l and author of It’s All In Your Mind, a bestseller in the Jewish world. There was food from various cuisines, Japanese, Chinese, Israeli and Bukharian, as well as music and dancing. Hundreds of pledges were made towards the construction of the new mikvah. It was heartwarming to see the shul filled to capacity with women from both the

Sefardi and Ashkenazi crowd, frum and not frum. It was truly a night of unity and friendship. To make a donation towards the construction of the mikvah: https:// or ht t p s://th e c h e s e df un d.c om/ cause/help-us-build-a-mikvah-inbriarwood For more information about the mikvah initiative, contact

Nassau County’s New Auxiliary Officers


ictured is the new graduating class of the Fourth Precinct Auxiliary officers at their graduation on November 1. Auxiliary Police officers must attend and complete a 150 hour / 40 session police training course which is taught by state certified instructors at the Nassau County Police Academy. Auxiliary officers help prevent & deter criminal activity by routine patrols in marked police vehicles; ensure the safety of our fellow residents during various community events; manage traffic at parades and special events such as the LI Marathon, fireworks displays, holiday ceremonies, presidential debates  as well as other community events & festivities; and provide assistance and support services during disasters and other emergencies.   We are always looking for new volunteers from the community. The next police academy class will begin in February.   If you are interested please call 516-573-8830 or email

L-R: Assistant Chief of Patrol Kenneth Lack, Chief of Detectives Kevin Smith, Chief of Patrol Frank Kirby, Aux. Police Officer Jon Posner, Aux. Police Officer Stephen Jean, Commanding Officer Fourth Precinct Aux.- Deputy Inspector Danny Gluck, Aux. Police Officer Matthew Majid, Aux. Police Officer Patrick Ruland, Deputy Commanding Officer Fourth Precinct - Captain Kenneth Catalani. Not pictured are new Aux. POs Jacob Kleinberg, Neil Berman, Eric Brown, and Stan Novoseletskiy

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The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


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HANC Middle School Torah Bowl By Tiferet Weissman


he middle school boys’ Torah Bowl season began with an exciting start.  The boys defeated North Shore and played very close and heart pounding games against HALB and SHAGN.  The Torah Bowl team

was led by a stellar group of 8th graders, including Yoni Schneider, Gaby Lovy, Ezra Klein, and Moshe Wieder. The boys will look to build on the momentum that they have created in the next set of matches in December. The HANC girls’ Torah Bowl team strikes fear on the opposing teams af-

ter winning game after game, enhancing a reputation not only for themselves, but also for their entire school. They arrived at the meet, and after defeating 2 other teams, they took a nice break and prepared, over pizza, to win the remainder of the meet. They even came close to beating the un-

defeated team! They beat four out of the five teams in intense matches that they prepared so much for, thanks to Morah Klein. The Torah Bowl team knows that next time they will beat all the teams, and create a new record in HANC. We really will make Torah Bowl great again.

Mesivta Yam Hatorah, The Menahel’s Point of View By Rabbi Eli Zoldan


uring our recent parent teacher conference, I was approached by a ninth grade parent who said to me, “What did you do to my son?” The parent continued, “I have never seen him this happy or this devoted to school. He is doing shnaim mikrah every Shabbos as well as reviewing Gemara nightly. He loves school.” We tend to believe that a student needs to love school to succeed. Throughout my years in chinuch, I have discovered that the opposite is true. A student needs to succeed in order to love school. In the same vein, a student needs to feel successful in Gemara in order to love learning Gemara. Our  limudei kodesh  department is designed to facilitate this love of learning. First and foremost, the students are taught by warm and caring rabbeim, who live by the principle that students need to know that you care in order for them to care to know what you are teaching. In our mussar and hashkafa shiurim, students are taught about middos through the viewpoint that each of us is created in the image of Hashem. Our “G-dliness” requires a higher ethical standard and moral behavior. They are taught how to have

Rabbi Zoldan and his class

a relationship with Hashem, through the understanding of the power of bitachon and hashgocha pratis. In Iyun shiur,  the rabbeim encourage the students to participate and offer their own unique understanding. Students are constantly shown how their thoughts and analysis are discussed by the Rishonim and Achronim. Seeing this results in a deeper love and appreciation for Gemara. The Bekius shiurim place a

strong emphasis on students learning how to make a leining of the Gemara on their own. The goal is that every boy should leave the mesivta able to open any Gemara and be able to read Gemara, Rashi and Tosfos on their own. This is ensured through a daily chavrusa program that has the students honing their reading skills daily. So when a parent asks me, “What did you do to my son?” The answer is

simple: We gave him an opportunity to see his own strengths. We gave him an environment where he feels valued. And we showed him that  he can be a leader in Klal Yisroel. For more information join us at our Open House on Sunday, December 4th at 2:00 p.m. at 2716 Healy Avenue, Far Rockaway, NY 11691 or contact us at 718-471-7471 or by email

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

Around the Community

A Survivor’s Story of Inspiration

Mrs. Annie Bleiberg speaking to students. A picture of her dream is on the shtender


rs. Annie Sonenson Bleiberg, a 96-years young Holocaust survivor, visited Yeshiva Ketana of Queens recently to commemorate Kristallnacht and to enrich the sixth grade’s Holocaust curriculum with her primary source account. Mrs. Bleiberg hailed from the Galicia section of Poland. She recounted how early in the war Poland was divided up by Russia and Germany and the border was near her city. Many Jews on the Russian side were shipped off to Siberia, and the Sonensons thought they were lucky. Little did they realize the extent of the Germans’ barbarity at that time in 1939. When Germany began the Aktions, Annie was caught and was sent along with some members of her family on a train to Belzec. Her father had the foresight to smuggle some tools onto the train and was able to pry a window open. Annie says she still feels her mother’s hand on her back as she was boosted out the window before

Don’t be a Failing Failure Page 84

she jumped. This was only the first of the many dramatic and often horrific experiences she underwent in her attempt to hide and in her being sent to Birkenau and labor camps all over Eastern Europe. By the end of the war, Annie and her father were the only survivors of her immediate family. Ironically, the cousins who had been sent to Siberia had had a much easier time during the war and, for the most part, Jews survived Siberia much more easily than the camps. The audience was astounded at Annie’s physical strength as well as her strength of character. Though she was offered a chair several times to sit on as she spoke, Annie insisted on standing for an hour and a half as she told us her story in a clear powerful voice, a story filled with beautiful writing and delivered with exceptional passion. YKQ’s sixth and seventh graders were completely captivated. The students were even receptive to Annie when she managed to interject an exhortation to the students to get a great education. Most intriguing of Annie’s speech to many of us was when Annie told us of her experience where she saw her great-grandfather in a dream. In the dream, Annie attempted to follow her great-grandfather, but he shooed her away from him. Annie took the dream to be a prophecy that she would live, and indeed she has. May she continue to have strength to share a story that we all need to hear.



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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Touro’s Lander College for Men Alumni Introduce Students to Careers


reeting old friends and former professors with smiles, dozens of alumni of Touro’s Lander College for Men returned to the college recently to share their professional experiences with current students. Lander College for Men hosted a three-day series with 14 career panels as part of its career services programming. “Successful Lander College for Men alumni have an invaluable perspective, since they know from their own personal experience what they would like to have known while they were students. Students say this is one of the most helpful programs we offer,” said Dr. Moshe Sokol, Dean of Lander College For Men. Established in 2000, Lander College for Men is both a rigorous academic institution and a tight-knit community. The campus in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, offers a dual curriculum of intensive Torah study and

a wide range of academic programs. Students major in professionally oriented disciplines. For alumni, the panels are a way to contribute to the school and to maintain their connections. “I like to give back to Lander because I had a great experience here,” said Jordan Kaplan, a credit ratings analyst at Standard and Poor’s who is president of the Lander College Alumni Council. “That dozens of alumni take time from their very busy personal and professional lives to come back to campus demonstrates just how committed out alumni are,” said Rabbi Aryeh Young, Lander’s Director of Alumni Affairs, who organized the program. Over subs, hot dogs and soft drinks, students peppered alumni with questions about their career paths, their college and graduate school experiences, and the lessons they learned on the job. After informal networking, the discipline-specif-

Jordan Kaplan, a credit ratings analyst at Standard and Poor’s and president of the Lander College Alumni Council, talks with Ron Ansel, Lander College for Men Director of Career Services

ic panels began. At the finance panel, Kaplan advised students to focus on gaining meaningful experiences when they are starting out. “The salary is important, but experience matters most in your first job,” he said. The panelists also discussed how to use your network to build your career, what to highlight on a resume, and how Lander prepared them for their careers. Moshe Bedziner, a senior from North Miami Beach, waited for the medical panel to start. “I always wanted to be a doctor. I want to be able to help people,” he said. He volunteers in the emergency room at Jamaica Hospital. Doctors in a range of specialties from pediatric neurology to emergency medicine shared their perspectives. Students learned that an entire semester of college is covered in just two weeks in medical school, and that their Lander education would leave them well prepared for this. “Lander’s dual curriculum built the habits that enabled me to be successful. I had classmates from Yale and Harvard who were overwhelmed by the work,” said Dr. Yitzchak Goldstein, a pathologist who graduated from Lander in 2006, went to medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and is now a physician at Montefiore Medical Center. Ari Glatt, an attorney at Nixon Peabody in Manhattan, attended the University of Chicago Law School

after graduating from Lander. “I love being an attorney, but the reality is that you have to go to a top law school or be at the top of your class if you want to work for one of the big firms,” said Glatt, who lives in Woodmere, Long Island. He discussed the different types of careers that lawyers pursue and fielded questions about LSATs and GPAs. Lander prides itself on combining scholarship, career readiness and a commitment to Torah and mitzvos in a warm and supportive community. That’s what brought Ari Glatt back to campus last week. “I loved my time at Lander,” he said. The Lander College for Men is an undergraduate division of Touro College, in service to the Jewish community. Established in the fall of 2000 and located in Queens, N.Y., the Lander College for Men is grounded in a dual curriculum of intensive Torah study and a wide range of academic programs, and students major in professionally oriented disciplines. Lander College for Men provides students with an environment that produces ethical, mature, and well-rounded professionals committed to scholarship and career growth. Dedicated to Touro’s mission of perpetuating the Jewish heritage, Lander College for Men prepares students to uphold the ideals of Torah and pursue positions of professional and communal leadership.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016




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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Around the Community

Book signing and shiur with Mrs. Sara Yocheved Rigler at Sh’eefa this past Sunday. The shiur was entitled, “Forging a Relationship with Hashem – as Seen through the Life of Rebbetzin Henny Machlis a”h”

A Different Kind of Holocaust Education


t Central, the “Names, Not Numbers©” Holocaust documentary film project takes Holocaust education out of the traditional classroom setting and transforms it into a dramatic interactive experience. “Names, Not Numbers” offers an integrated, multidisciplinary curriculum, in which trained professionals – journalists, filmmakers, and historians – mentor students in the realms of interviewing techniques, documentary filmmaking and editing skills, and web research. Participating seniors interview and film Holocaust survivors, military veterans and liberators, and members of the “second generation.” They then create a documentary film about the lives and experiences of these individuals, gaining firsthand knowledge of the

tragic period of our history. Each year, the films have the unique distinction of being accepted into the archives of the Jewish National and University Library of Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They are also archived at the Gottesman Library at Yeshiva University. In preparation for this week’s interviews, the participating members of the Class of 2017 have been carefully crafting their interview questions, ensuring that they are thorough, carefully considered, and sensitive to Holocaust survivors. Filming has just begun and already our seniors are reporting edifying, emotional, and life-changing encounters. “Names, Not Numbers” engages our students with the past so that they may inform the present and enhance the future.

Documenting our Past


AFTR’s fourth grade artists and historians visited the Eldridge Street Synagogue and toured the Lower East Side. Students are learning about immigration in their social studies curriculum. Touring the Lower East Side gave them an opportunity to see how a neighborhood and community transforms over time. Students marveled at the architecture and design of the shul and were enamored by its story. In groups, students explored a theme to study, such as people, building

facades, windows, doors and signs. Using iPads, each group captured the essence of their theme by photographing the synagogue and other landmarks that included the Forward Building, Reb Moshe Feinstein’s yeshiva, the Nickelodeon Theater and the Jarmulowsky Bank.  Lunch was at the first playground in New York City, Seward Park. A stop at The Pickle Guys was a highlight of the day. Photographs will be on display at the Fourth Grade Evening Celebration of the Arts in March. 

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Thanksgiving Comes to Life in the CAHAL HANC Kindergarten


hat better way is there to appreciate what we have in our lives today than to learn about the past, when the advantages and benefits we take so for granted did not even exist? In lessons about the holiday of Thanksgiving, the children in the CAHAL kindergarten class at HANC have come to understand and value the people and everyday things in their lives so much more, and to thank Hashem Who has granted them all the goodness that they know. Through group lessons filled with pictures, stories and artifacts, the children learned about the Pilgrims from England and the Native Americans of four hundred years ago. The children compared and contrasted the Pilgrim and Native American homes, clothing, and ways of life; videos on their SmartBoard truly brought these stories “alive” as they watched how the people of the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, a living museum today, recreate daily life in the settlements that they built and modeled after the Pilgrim and Wampanoag villages of long ago. The all-encompassing purpose and message behind the Thanksgiving lessons, in addition to their historical and cultural value, were to demonstrate that one group of

people gave much needed help to another group of people who then showed their gratitude in return. Doing chessed and showing hakarat hatov are both such important middot that we try to instill in the children through every lesson and activity in class. To follow the Pilgrims’ and Native American Indians’ model of long ago, the children were most excited to recreate the Thanksgiving feast. Choosing to thank their therapists, who are an integral part of the CAHAL program and help them in their skills development every day, the children feverishly got to work to prepare. As in the days of old, each child made his or her own clothing (costumes for both Pilgrims and Native Americans to switch off wearing during the feast), and they made pumpkin muffins from scratch. Each child brought a food contribution to the feast and helped to set a beautiful table for the guests. The children learned the important social skills of how to greet and entertain guests as well as escort them when it is time to leave. Later in the day, the class walked around the HANC building giving out pumpkin muffins and thanks to the nurse, custodians, and many others who help us in our school every day. So many valuable and practical skills were learned and

practiced, and so many happy and grateful people enjoyed a beautiful experience together. CAHAL, the local yeshiva-based and sponsored community program for children with learning challenges, now in its 24th year, provides smaller, more individualized classes in the local yeshivas. CAHAL students attend mainstream activities daily. When ready, children attend mainstream academic classes as

well, with support from CAHAL to ensure success. The experienced and caring CAHAL teachers make it all happen.

Committee, led by committee president, junior Dubi Fishman, quickly reacted to the news of wildfires sparking throughout Israel, causing

tremendous damage to the homes of our brothers and sisters. Already, hundreds of dollars have been raised through a new tzedaka initiative di-

rected towards raising funds for those affected by the fires. To donate to this cause, you can send a check to DRS made payable to DRS Charity Fund.

CAHAL is accepting applications for September 2017. For more information about the CAHAL program and to donate to this great community organization, contact CAHAL at or call (516) 295-3666.

Chessed at DRS


RS is extremely proud of the various chessed initiatives that are completely thought of, planned, organized, and developed by the students themselves. This week, a number of chessed opportunities were introduced, and all of them have had wildly successful results. Last week, two DRS seniors, Yonah Lebowitz and Moshe Simon, launched a coat drive to collect coats for those unfortunate to obtain the means to purchase proper outerwear for the coming winter months. Nearly 200 coats were collected by our students and parent body. On Monday, a number of our seniors, led by Zev Lowy, put together DRS’s annual blood drive. From setting up the gym, to recruiting donors, the students’ hard work paid off – 110 pints of blood was collected! DRS’s Israel Action

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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The Gift of Computer Literacy


and a toddler a tablet, or a cellphone, and watch how he or she quickly, instinctively, swipes one way and the other, examines this new “toy” with curiosity, and in no time at all is playing a game. Children aren’t intimidated by the technology – for them it’s literally “child’s play.” Not so the grownups. The same woman who can whip up a kokosh cake and the fanciest dinner with style hands her phone or any other device to the nearest child – her own, her grandchild – and leaves it to them to make it work. Sounds familiar? So why bother? The answer is simple: Computers are all around us; very little is done today without the use of a computer. We use them at work, we use them to shop, we use them to communicate, we use them to organize our lives. And when they work well, they are a great tool. The problem is that for many women, computers are intimidating. The good news is that computers are actually designed to be user-friendly. That means that you don’t have to be particularly technologically gifted to learn how to make those computers work for you. Think about it. You have all those photos that your children or grandchildren share with you. You would love to organize them, now you can. You have all those documents that are important, now you can save them. You have those bills you need to keep copies of, all doable, and without the clutter. Maybe you would like to get a job, maybe you already have one, but everyone expects you to be comfortable with the computer, to be able to communicate easily, and well, to be able to work efficiently. There is no question that computer skills are essential in today’s world.

So can you, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, actually do it? Can you acquire these skills? Not only can you do it, but you can have fun doing it. The New Seminary and DAAT recently offered an EXCEL class – beginners and advanced. The women who took the class practically danced out of there. They were full of confidence, excited at the ease with which they mastered one of the more sophisticated programs of Microsoft Office. And they were proud that they earned Certificates of Proficiency in EXCEL. Other women are now coming to join the world of today by taking a quick class in Computer Literacy. And others are lining up to learn Microsoft Word – from beginners to advanced. All the classes are designed to provide a first-rate learning experience, to make sure that all the students leave knowing that they can really do it. The students, women who are capable in every other area of their lives, now know that computers are no longer a mystery to them. Classes are deliberately kept small – this allows every student to learn and every student to succeed. Chanukah is the perfect time to give that woman in your family, or a friend, the gift of a class in Computer Literacy, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or other areas of computers. Call to reserve your seat. Take the first step and you will see how easy it is to succeed. Before you know it, your kids and your grandchildren will be surprised at how much you can do completely on your own. You might even be able to teach them a thing or two. For more information see ad on page 14, or to book a class, email or call 718769-8160.

SKA Holocaust Journal Wins Award

SKA Holocaust journal editors Talia Wein, Esther Dyckman, Mimi Leifer, Ilana Katz, Nicole Abitan, Aliza Mandelbaum and Zisi Grossman


esilience,” the Holocaust journal published by the ninth grade of the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls, has been selected to receive this year’s Gold Medalist Award by the Colombia Scholastic Press Association. Dedicated to the strength of women who demonstrated resilience while preserving the Jewish spirit during the war, the journal’s prose, poetry and artwork is done by SKA’s entire freshman grade and art academy. Winning awards in previous years also, this year’s Holocaust journal is the 24th publication of its kind since the founding of the school. In their summary, the judges noted that “your magazine is a gift to us

and to the generations to come. The theme of the women’s role during the Holocaust is one that we don’t hear of very often. The stories about death, punishment, survival, love, anguish and life are powerful and touch the reader in a unique way; these are stories written by teenagers about their grandparents and great grandparents.” Congratulations to editors Nicole Abitan, Esther Dykman, Zisi Grossman, Ilana Katz, Mimi Leifer , Aliza Mandelbaum and Talia Wein! Our appreciation goes to Faculty Advisor Mrs. Sheila Leibtag, Literary Advisors Mrs. Shira Manne and Ms. Elyssa Quinn, and Art Advisors Mrs. Suzy Libin and Mrs. Meredith Pyle.

Rambam Wins at Annual Poetry Slam


fter helping to create the Yeshiva Poetry Society League (YPSL) seven years ago, with just four schools and about 20 students participating, Rambam recently hosted its 7th Annual Poetry Slam that featured eight schools and 60 poets. The topic of the day was “The Poetry of Prayer” and the poets were asked to present two poems.  One was a free verse on how their prayers would be different  20 years from now and the other had to be a form poem (i.e. a sonnet, villanelle, haiku, etc.) on the subject of davening.  Poets from Central, Frisch, HANC, Ma’aynot, SAR, Shalhevet, SKA, and Rambam presented diverse and unique perspectives on the topics.  The judges of the day were

Co-Founder of YPSL, Aaron Roller, who helped establish the league with Rambam’s Assistant Principal Mr. Hillel Goldman, and SAR English teacher Mr. Hillel Broder, and Tamar Rydzinski, Vice President and director of subrights at the Laura Dail Literary Agency. She represents bestsellers like Danielle L. Jensen and Sarah J. Maas as well as award winners like Laura Andersen and Bryan Denson. The day was incredibly meaningful and showed the awesome talent of the Yeshiva students. Rambam junior Mordechai Gerstley made it to the final round and was awarded “Best Free Verse Poem” by the judges.  Everyone is already looking forward to the next Slam scheduled for December 22 at Kushner.   

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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HANC High School Participates in Chessed Shel Emet


n Wednesday, November 23, a group of eight boys from HANC High School were privileged to partake in a unique experience. Accompanied by mechanech Rabbi Nafi Orlofsky, the boys participated in the mitzvah of chessed shel emet, assisting in the funeral of a Jew who needed a minyan for proper burial. Freshman Nissim Pinto, who attended the funeral thought, “It was a great experience to bury a fellow Jew who needed a proper burial.” Additionally freshman Daniel

Khaimov thought, “It was the best feeling at the end of the day to go to sleep feeling and knowing that I did a mitzvah that can never be returned to me and that one more fellow Jew is properly buried.” During the funeral the boys heard eulogies that spoke to the character of the deceased and the loss that would be felt to the greater Jewish community. The HANC students returned to school feeling a sense of accomplishment and were proud of their participation.

Ezra Academy Kollel Shabbaton


zra Academy recently had their first Kollel Shabbaton of the year. The Kollel is a special program begun by Rabbi Eli Geller and a handful of Ezra Academy students a few years ago. They arranged to come to school a half hour early twice a week to learn a Gemara unrelated to any of their classes. Slowly but surely some of the other boys began to realize that they were missing out on something special and they wanted to join. Needless to say the Kollel welcomed them with open arms. The Kollel is now learning their fourth Gemara and includes upward of forty five students in attendance. As the Kollel grew, so did the program. The first addition was the weekly erev Shabbos chulent. The boys look forward to their special breakfast which sets the tone for Shabbos as they listen to beautiful divrei Torah and taste the flavor of Shabbos. The other bonus feature of the Kollel is their Shabbatons, the first of which just took place in Monsey. The Kollel was graciously hosted by Rabbi Royde and the Traveling Chassidim. The relationship between Ezra Academy and the Traveling Chassidim has been ongoing for seven years. Running it this way ensured that everybody was more than comfortable with each other and helped give Shabbos more of a feel of family than anything else. A select twenty five boys were chosen to participate on this particular Shabbaton. They were accompanied by Rabbi Freileich, the Founder and Dean of Ezra, Rabbi Geller and

some Ezra (and Kollel) alumni to ensure the proper feeling of Shabbos was felt by all. After a powerful davening and an amazing seuda, the boys enjoyed an oneg Shabbos. The oneg went on for hours, well into the night with inspirational niggunim and thought-provoking divrei Torah. The advisors, Yitzchak Aminov, Moshe Yakubov and Danny Levato all spoke beautifully about how Torah guides our lives and specifically the change it

had on their individual lives. While Shabbos night was so strong, Shabbos day proved that it hadn’t reached its high point just yet. In addition for the regular Shabbos activities, which the students enjoyed, they were looking forward to the special shiur by Rabbi Geller on Shabbos afternoon. This was followed by Mincha and seuda shelishit, followed by Maariv and concluded with an unbelievable havdala which

turned into a kumzitz with singing and dancing that lasted for two hours, after which the boys were treated to pizza for melava malka. The Kollel and all its beauty is just one of the many outstanding things about Ezra Academy. The tireless effort of the faculty and the eagerness of the students can be seen on a daily basis. Feel free to come see what Ezra is all about firsthand as Ezra will be hosting an open house December 4.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Around the Community

On Thursday, November 17, a group of six teachers from Yeshiva of South Shore, together with their principal, Rabbi Avraham Fridman, visited the Lawrence Elementary School. Mrs. Rina Beach, principal LES, together with her assistant principal and social worker, introduced them to mindfulness. Mindfulness is the term used for a movement within the business and educational world to help participants focus one’s awareness to the current moment, helping them perform better. Research has already indicated its effectiveness in the classroom. Having begun the practice in some of the classrooms, the teachers are reporting a positive effect on the students.

Young Israel of Oceanside Gives Thanks to Local Fire Department


he Young Israel of Oceanside really got into the Thanksgiving spirit this year. In an effort spearheaded by Rabbi Jonathan Muskat, Naomi Weintraub and Chaim Davis, the children of Young Israel and their parents volunteered to cook a Thanksgiving feast for The Oceanside Fire Department as a way of saying thank you for everything that they do for the Oceanside community. On Thanksgiving morning, many of the community members delivered a full Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings to the firehouse on Foxhurst Road. The children also brought handmade cards and pictures that they prepared for the firefighters. After setting all of the food on the table, the children gathered around, and Rabbi Muskat explained to them and to the firefighters that there is a Jewish idea of hakarat hatov, gratitude, that should be shown to G-d and also of course to the people in our lives who do things for us. This Thanksgiving feast was just a small token of the Young Israel’s overwhelming gratitude to the men and women of the fire department who volunteer their time and put their lives on the line to keep the community safe.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


Around the Community

The Great Gan Chamesh Challah Bake


he young students of Gan Chamesh, Chabad’s Early Childhood Center, took inspiration from the Shabbos Project and joined thousands around the world by participating in a great challah bake. The children have been learning about Sara Imeinu and her challah in the weekly parshiyos. It was incredibly special for them to join together as one to emulate Sarah by baking challah.

The challah bake was a magnificent event, set up with customized aprons, beautifully set tables, and premeasured, labeled ingredients. The children worked together, pouring, mixing and kneading all the ingredients. The highlight of the event occurred when hafrashas challah was done, and the children and teachers responded to the bracha with a resounding “Amen.” The students used this special opportunity to daven

for refuah shleimahs for sick people as well as other yeshuos. We know that the tefillos of pure children are so precious to Hashem and we hope that by doing this special mitzvah, all their tefillos will be heard and answered. We hope and pray that as our children grow, they reach out to others through their love of Shabbos. We are certain that they will come to appreciate the precious weekly gift of Shabbos that Hashem has given us,

which is one of the goals of the Shabbos Project. It is hands-on experiences like the challah bake that build a strong love of Torah and mitzvos, which is an essential component of the education at Gan Chamesh. If you would like any information on Gan Chamesh, Chabad’s Early Childhood Center, please contact Susy Adler or Suzanne Wallin, the program directors, at 516-295-2479.

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Around the Community

Shalom Task Force Brunch


lease join us on Sunday, December 4, at the Shalom Task Force Annual Brunch at the Sephardic Temple, 775 Branch Blvd, Cedarhurst, NY, when we will pay tribute to our esteemed honorees: Shalom Task Force Legacy Award in memory of Gustave Jacobs, z”l Community Leadership Award Rabbi Aryeh & Mrs. Elana Lebowitz Legal Services Award Lois Raff Bieler Mental Health Services Award Tina Machnikoff Dedicated Service Award Sharon Fogel In 1992, responding to the shocking revelation that there were women in the Orthodox community being victimized in their own homes, Nechama Wolfson, along with a group of women, created the Shalom Task Force Hotline. This was a revolutionary and monumental feat at a time when the problem of domestic abuse was not acknowledged. The groundbreaking confidential hotline was the very first hotline dedicated to Orthodox victims of abuse. Since then, more than 19,000 callers have benefited from the advice and support of the highly trained advocates. As Rav Pam zt”l said at the inaugural Rabbinical Conference, “… previously, these women had no address. They now have a place to turn.” It became clear that if Shalom Task Force was to affect a change in the community, the focus must be on prevention. With widespread rabbinic support, The Bertha Kaufmann Preventive Education Workshops for Young Men and Women were developed. Educators trained by Shalom Task Force present programs in yeshiva high schools, seminaries and

universities. They conduct interactive workshops that teach young men and women about forging healthy relationships and avoiding abusive ones. The program reaches over 3,500 students annually in the U.S. and Israel. The goals of Shalom Task Force are further achieved through community outreach and education for rabbonim, lay leaders, professionals and parents. Recognizing the cultural diversity among our communities, Shalom Task Force established Beit Shalom to serve the Bukharian community and Ohel Shalom to serve the Persian community. The Shalom Workshop program was developed to assist engaged and newly married couples in forming and maintaining healthy relationships. Fulfilling another critical need, Sarah’s Voice was created to provide free legal services to victims of domestic abuse. Since 2010 Sarah’s Voice has provided more than 700 survivors with free comprehensive legal services, including assistance with orders of protection, divorce proceedings and custody negotiations. Please join Shalom Task Force as we pay tribute to Mr. Gustave Jacobs z”l with the Shalom Task Force Legacy Award. Mr. Gustave Jacobs, who was born in Germany, helped his family escape from occupied France to Switzerland during World War II. He immigrated to New York in 1946, where he established a business and raised a family, all the while remaining passionate about the needs of the greater Jewish community. Mr. Jacobs devoted countless hours to organizations dedicated to strengthening Jewish life everywhere. He served on the Board of the Orthodox Union for over 40 years. After his retirement, he returned to school and earned his MA in Jewish History. Mr. Jacobs

Making Connections by Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz Page 82

took great pride in the achievements of his two daughters and large extended family. When Mr. Jacobs, through one of his daughters, learned of the groundbreaking achievements of Shalom Task Force he became a proud supporter of the organization’s goals. This year, we honor Mr. Jacob’s legacy by dedicating this Brunch to his memory. Rabbi Aryeh & Rebbetzin Elana Lebowitz will receive the Shalom Task Force Community Leadership Award. Rabbi and Mrs. Lebowitz are the proud parents of five children. They have served as Rabbi and Rebbetzin of the Beis Haknesses of North Woodmere since its inception in 2004. Rabbi Lebowitz is a Magid Shiur at Beis Medrash L’Talmud/Lander College for Men, teaches at DRS Yeshiva High School and is affiliated with Lev Shlomo Beis Medrash. Rebbetzin Elana Lebowitz is the heart and soul of the Beis Haknesses of North Woodmere and much of the North Woodmere community, while maintaining a professional career as an accountant. The growth of the North Woodmere community over the past twelve years is due to their dedication, love and kindness. Their ability to connect with people of all backgrounds and personalities is known throughout the Five Towns and beyond. Lois Raff Bieler will receive the Shalom Task Force Legal Services Award After receiving her law degree from Yale Law School, Ms. Raff worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Brooklyn DA’s office. She was subsequently named Special Assistant for Legislation and Policy. In 1991, she joined the Queens County District Attorney’s Office under District Attorney Richard A. Brown, where she served as Director of Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations. She was appointed Counsel to the District Attorney in 1993 until her retirement in October 2016. Ms. Raff also served as her office’s liaison to the Queens Jewish community and coordinated a Jewish Advisory Council which fosters education, dialogue, outreach and cooperation between her office and the members of the community. Ms. Raff also coordinated the office’s Business Advisory Council which performs a similar

function for the business community in Queens. Lois is the proud mother of three children, grandmother of four and is looking forward to spending time with her family. As an attorney, she is all too familiar with the need for Shalom Task Force within the Orthodox community, and has been a strong advocate for the organization since its inception. Tina Machnikoff will receive the Shalom Task Force Mental Health Services Award. Tina grew up in Queens. She began her career as a history teacher. Her passion for helping others led her to a new field. Tina received her MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work. While working at Pride of Judea / Jewish Board of Family and Children Services in Douglaston, Tina created the Ezrat Chayim program to help Orthodox families. Tina is the mother of three daughters. Currently, she maintains a private practice in Great Neck. Today we recognize the passionate devotion Tina has brought to Shalom Task Force. Sharon Fogel will receive the Shalom Task Force Dedicated Service Award. Sharon Fogel has always been an involved and active member of her community. While raising her three children, Sharon served as Sisterhood President of her shul, President of the Mikveh and Vice President of the local Jewish day school. After Sharon and her family moved from Albany to Woodmere, she focused her energies on her shul, the Annual Yom Hashoah Program in Beth Shalom, Shalom Task Force, Chesed 24/7, and The Marion and Aaron Gural Jewish Community Center in the Five Towns. We are truly grateful for Sharon’s commitment and dedication to Shalom Task Force. It is an honor to know her and to present her with the Shalom Task Force Dedicated Service Award. This formidable organization is the only one of its kind in the Orthodox community. Abuse thrives in silence. Please join us and our honorees on December 4, 2016 at 9:30 at the Sephardic Temple in Cedarhurst and help us break the silence. For reservations, or to make a donation, please visit

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

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Rebbetzin Gita Cohen a”h

The Rebbetzin’s sons davening Mincha on Har HaZeisim following the burial in view of the kodesh hakodoshim


ebbetzin Cohen was born in Yerushalayim in the year 1945 to her father, the great gaon of his generation, Rav Eliezer Platzinsky zt”l, grandson of the Alter of Slabodka, and her mother Rebbetzin Etil, yblch”t, daughter of the famed tzaddik of Yerushalayim Reb Aryeh Levin zt”l. Her parents lived in a two room apartment: one room in which lived Reb Aryeh with his Rebbetzin Tziporah Chanah, and in the other her parents and siblings. Living with her grandparents, Rebbetzin Cohen imbibed their legendary devoutness, humility and kindness. From her youth, her brilliance was apparent. Rebbetzin Cohen already spoke fluently in her first year and is referred to in a letter from Reb Aryeh Levin as “Gita HaChachamah [the wise one].” During the War of Independence, when she was threeyears-old, she was severely burned when a bomb fell on her house. Miraculously, her mother, who was unaware that young Gita had been at home, stumbled over her body in the darkness, saving her life. Once, while taking a walk with the Brisker Rav, her father passed by her kindergarten and pointed her out to the Rav whereupon the Rav stated decidedly, “She will one day marry a

great talmid chacham.” In the year 1974, Rebbetzin Cohen married her father’s close talmid, Hagaon R’ Shaya Cohen, shlit”a. They moved to the San Fernando Valley, a spiritual desert. It was said at the time that one who found New York of the ‘50s too religious moved out to California, and those who found even California too religious moved to the Valley. With mesirus nefesh and herculean effort Rebbetzin Gita and Rav Shaya established Torah institutions for boys as well as girls from high school through yeshiva gedolah in which, over the years, thousands were taught and were brought to a true life of Torah and yiras shamayim. For decades the Rebbetzin taught Jewish studies with her original insights, and with the fire of Torah that burned within her she ignited the hearts of others towards a life of Torah and yiras shamayim. The Rebbetzin was a stalwart partner in all her husband’s endeavors in the establishment of yeshivos in the West and East Coasts of the U.S. and in Eretz Yisroel, as well as the establishment of many ba’al teshuva institutions throughout the United States. After settling in the Valley, tragedy struck with the passing of their

5-year-old son, Aryeh. The Rebbetzin heroically accepted upon herself Hashem’s judgment unquestionably and for the forty years after never mentioned a word of complaint or her pain. With singular devotion the Rebbetzin instilled within her children the great fire of Torah that burned within her from her father’s house. Baruch Hashem she merited to see the fruits of her labor; her sons and sons-in-law are roshei yeshiva and disseminators of Torah. The Rebbetzin was admired by all for her exceptional character as well as her love and concern for each and every person. She was well-attuned to the subtleties of people’s problems and feelings. With her deep understanding of the way people work, she was a priceless source of guidance and advise to many. In the past few months the Rebbetzin was ill but in the last week of her life she still merited to participate in the wedding of her first granddaughter. On motzei Shabbos, to the shock of her family, she returned her holy neshama to her Creator. The levayah took place in New York in Yeshivas Zichron Aryeh. She was eulogized by Rav Yechiel Perr; Rav Aryeh Ginzburg; her brother,

Rav Shlomeh Platzinsky, Rosh Yeshiva’s Beis Aryeh; her brother-inlaw Rav Leib Lisker, Av Beis Din in Boro Park; and her sons-in-law Rav Avrom Pollack, Rosh Mesivta Yam HaTorah; and Rav Yochanan Weiner, Rosh Yeshivas Ner Aryeh, Los Angeles, California. Her husband, the Rosh Yeshiva of Zichron Aryeh, Hagaon Rav Shaya, lamented the great loss of a great woman, saying, “All that I have is hers. The love of Hashem and His Torah of which I spoke elegantly about she lived in reality 24/7.” Her sons, Rav Yehuda, Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshiva Zichron Aryeh; Rav Yechezkel, Rosh Yeshivas Ner Aryeh, Los Angeles, California; Rav Dovid; Rav Yisroel Meir, Rosh Yeshivas Ohr HaTzafon, Yerushalayim; and Yossi all spoke in tears of the great love of Torah that was her life, how her only desire was to see their growth in Torah, how she would always want to hear from them their chiddushei Torah and was their guiding light. The aron was flown to Yerushalayim where she was eulogized by her son Rav Eliyahu, Rosh Yeshivas Ohr HaTzafun, Yerushalayim, in the presence of many hundreds, including gedolei Yisroel. She was buried on Har HaZeisim near her father. Yehi zichrah baruch.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016 The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

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The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

TJH You gotta be

Centerfold Riddle me this?


Fidel Castro dies and goes to heaven. Before he is judged he meets with a much needed defense lawyer who will represent him in front of the heavenly court. As the two sit down to go over some things before the meeting, the lawyer turns to him and says, “Why don’t you start at the beginning?” “Okay,” says Fidel, “in the beginning I created heaven and the earth...”

If your mother is from Iceland and your father is from Cuba, what are you? See answer on next page

Wanna Work For The Cia?

For many years, the CIA engaged in numerous plots to kill Fidel Castro. Many of these plots were uncovered in numerous government documents released over the years. Most of them did not get past the planning stage, but some did. All of the following were CIA plans to kill Castro except for one. Can you figure out which one was not one of the plans to kill the despot? 1. POISONOUS CIGARS: In 1960 the CIA tried to have cigars delivered to Castro which were contaminated with a botulinum toxin so potent that a person would die immediately after putting one in his mouth. 2. EXPLODING SEASHELLS: In 1963, the CIA considered whether an exotic seashell, rigged to explode, could be deposited in an area where Castro commonly went skin diving. 3. POISON PEN: In the early 1960s, the CIA attempted to have one of Castro’s close officials prick him with a ballpoint pen rigged with a poisonous hypodermic needle “so fine that the victim would not notice its insertion.” 4. PSYCHODELIC LEADER: According to the 1967 Report of the CIA’s Inspector General, officials discussed a scheme to spray Castro’s broadcasting studio with a chemical which produced effects similar to LSD, which would attempt to make Castro “freak out” and look foolish during a live

television appearance, thus undermining his popularity. 5. POISONOUS ICE CREAM: In 1961 a restaurant worker was supposed to slip a vial of poison into Fidel’s milkshake. Cuban officials found the potion before the plot was carried out. 6. BEARD-OFF: According to a 1975 Senate Intelligence Committee report, the U.S. believed that messing with Castro’s beard would cause him to lose his grip on power because it would show Cubans that Castro was weak and fallible. A scheme was hatched to put thallium salt in his shoes or cigars which Castro would absorb and would cause his hair to fall out. 7.

GWB TRAFFIC: A plan was hatched to cause a traffic buildup on the George Washington Bridge when Castro was in town for the UN General Assembly. The hope was that Castro would be so fed up that he would jump off the bridge. See answer on next page

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016 The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

Fidel Castro Trivia 1. Which board game did Castro order to be destroyed when he took over power in Cuba? a. Guess Who b. Chess c. Monopoly d. Stratego 2. How many streets in Cuba are named after Fidel Castro? a. 0 b. 170 c. 980 d. 2,473 3. Fidel Castro holds the record for longest speech ever in front of the U.N. How long was it? a. 1 hour and 36 minutes b. 2 hours and 19 minutes c. 3 hours and 17 minutes d. 4 hours and 29 minutes 4. How many U.S. Presidents did Castro outlast? a. 5 b. 9 c. 11 d. 12 5. In what year did Castro stop smoking Cuban cigars? a. 1985

b. 1992 c. 1999 d. 2010 6. Castro claims he survived how many assassination attempts? a. 117 b. 242 c. 370 d. 634 7. In 2006, Forbes magazine estimated Fidel Castro’s net worth at $900 million. Castro denied this and claimed that his monthly salary was: a. $36 b. $1,246 c. $3,900 d. $14,000 Answers: 1. C 2. A – Castro claims that he never wanted to create a cult of personality, therefore no streets, buildings, institutions or localities are named for him. 3. D – Castro’s longest speech on record was in Cuba and lasted 7 hours and 10 minutes in 1986 at the Communist Party Congress in Havana.

4. B 5. A – Castro gave up cigars in 1985. Years later he summed up the harm of smoking tobacco by saying: “The best thing you can do with this box of cigars is to give them to your enemy.” 6. D – Castro claims he survived 634 attempts on his life, mainly masterminded by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. They involved poison pills, a toxic cigar, exploding mollusks, a chemically tainted diving suit and powder to make his beard fall out so as to undermine his popularity. 7. A – In response to Forbes’ claim, Castro declared: “If they can prove that I have a bank account abroad, with $900 million, with $1 million, $500,000, $100,000 or $1 in it, I will resign,” he declared in a television appearance. Wisdom Key: 5-7 correct: You must be a big fan of the despot…Viva Fidel! 3-4 correct: You earned a knockoff Cuban cigar! 0-2 correct: Perhaps you should read the article in this magazine about Castro…you have some catching up to do.

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Answer to CIA plot: The only plot never considered was to kill him with GWB traffic. But maybe we could use it for other heads of state that we don’t like. Now that’s a good position for Christie in Trump’s White House: head of the “GWB Traffic Study Assassination Department.” Answer to Riddle: An ice cube


DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home


The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

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Torah Thought

Parshas Toldos By Rabbi Berel Wein


he lives of our ancestors Yitzchak and Rivkah, the educational direction that they gave to their sons and their differing views of their household are the subjects of biblical commentary throughout the ages. In our time a more intense psychological examination has dominated modern commentary, even traditional rabbinic commentary. The reason for this is the perplexing dichotomy of life and behavior represented by their twin sons, Yaakov and Eisav. There always exists a tendency to somehow visit the faults of the parents on the bad behavior of their progeny. This attitude has been reinforced by theories of psychiatry and psychology proposed over the last century. Because of this, there exists a somewhat distorted picture of the narrative that is recorded for us in this week’s Torah reading. Over the ages, the lives, attitudes and words of Yitzchak and Rivkah have been thoroughly dissected and analyzed. But as is so often in life, the microcosm does

not always reflect the macrocosm. And looking for the answer as to what made Eisav, Eisav and Yaakov, Yaakov need not necessarily be

birth. The natural tendency of Eisav was to become a man of the field, a hunter, and a person given to

It was not his parents’ will that enabled him but rather him himself, who was fully responsible for his choices and his behavior.

found in the educational and family techniques of their parents. Individuals are individuals and are given free will. We are all born with certain natural tendencies and the task of our life is to exploit them if they are positive and to control them if they are otherwise. Just as the twins were born with different physical characteristics, their natural tendencies in life also differ from the moment of their very

physical strength and necessary violence. This natural tendency of virility, activity driven behavior and a narcissistic view combined to make Eisav the person that he was. He had many choices to control and direct his personality and activities into productive channels that would have benefited him and his society. Here is where freedom of choice and free will enters the picture and takes center stage.

The world needs people of the field. Not everyone can or should be an exclusive tent dweller. However, being such a person of the field requires the ability to abstain from violence and not to injure others. It was in this respect that Eisav failed. It was not his parents’ will that enabled him but rather him himself, who was fully responsible for his choices and his behavior. King David was also a man of the field, a hunter and champion of wild animals and enemies, but his physical strength and active nature were entirely controlled by his moral powers and his search for spirituality and eternity. It could be that one’s personal nature, which is implanted within us from the moment of birth, is difficult if not impossible to change. However every person’s nature can be controlled and directed towards positive goals. In that path lies the great difference between the twins who dominate the narrative of this week’s Torah reading. Shabbat shalom.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Observant Jew

Making Connections By Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz


he Chofetz Chaim said we can learn a lot from technology. One thing he said we can learn from a train is that in a moment you can miss everything. Anyone who’s arrived at the gate after the airplane’s doors have closed can appreciate that idea. Sometimes, though, you simply have to stop and marvel at the precise nature of things. Remember the old math questions like, “If an eastbound train is leaving Chicago at 8am, going 75 miles an hour, and another train leaves New York at 10am heading west at 80 miles an hour, what color is the bear?” OK, maybe that’s a poor example, but sometimes you need to take into account all the variables before you figure out just where the lines will intersect. One evening, I was traveling and had to stay overnight at a hotel. Though it was a relatively remote location, there was a small synagogue with a daily minyan in that town so I chose a hotel just a few minutes away from it. Alone in this strange city, I needed some medicine. After trying to rest to see if I felt better, I made the decision about an hour later to go out to a store. What I en-

countered was chilling. As I strolled down the aisle toward the pharmacy area, I spotted a rather tough-looking fellow with a plaid work shirt, a ponytail, and a scraggly face that wasn’t quite bearded but definitely wasn’t recently shaved. He gave me a look but I focused straight ahead and kept walking. Then I heard him on his phone. “Mike,” he said, as he looked meaningfully my way and starting closing in, “I’m gonna have to call you back.” I was a bit unnerved but figured I was in the middle of a brightly-lit store. He wouldn’t make a move on me… And then he stepped in front of me. “Shalom aleichem,” he said. “Do you guys have a shul around here?” I caught my breath and felt a wave of relief wash over me, followed by extreme curiosity. I explained that I wasn’t from there, but was only in town for the night. There was a shul, though, I told him. We spoke a few minutes and I heard his story. He’d studied in a yeshiva in his youth, then at 21 he left for a part of the country that had few Jews but lots of financial opportunity. He lived in some rough-and-tumble areas over the past dozen or so

years, but when the industry he’d been working in tanked, he headed east and had only arrived the day before to take a construction job in the city where I met him. He explained that he was a welding inspector and my hashkafa alarm went off. Welding is about making sure connections are solid and here I was helping to reconnect someone with his Yiddishkeit. Not only that, but he was helping me reflect on my connection with Hashem, asking myself if I’d run off after some other benefit, forgetting about Hashem sometimes. I got his number and we parted ways. Later, I texted him the address of the shul, the time davening started, and I offered to lend him my tefillin if he needed. He thanked me and that was that. The next morning, a few moments before Borchu, in walked my new acquaintance, carrying his tefillin and a well-worn siddur. Glad to see him, I noticed he had no yarmulka. I didn’t know whether the shul had any extras, but I knew where one was. You see, only a week or so before, I’d heard a shiur from R’ Moshe Meir Weiss, shlita, Rav of the Agudah of Staten Island, NY.

Speaking about taking prayer seriously, he suggested doing something to show you value tefilla. “Get a special davening yarmulka and keep it in your talis bag,” he suggested. “When you put it on your davening will be different.” I’m not sure why this resonated with me, but I did it and I’d bought one. So, when this fellow walked in sans-kippa, I ran over and gave him mine. He met some of the people in shul and hopefully has been making connections in his new community. As for me, the gravity of the fact that I was in a city hundreds of miles from home and went to the right store at the right moment to meet him and make the connection was humbling. We intersect with many people in our lives and have many coincidences. But deep down, we know they’re not coincidences at all. They are the product of being exactly where Hashem wants us at any moment. It’s not even a coincidence that the fellow’s livelihood is inspecting connections to make sure they’re strong. It inspired me to write this article, and I hope it will inspire you to marvel at the precision of Hashem’s orchestration of

the universe – and be grateful to play your part. Jonathan Gewirtz is an inspirational writer and speaker whose work has appeared in publications around the world. You can find him at www.facebook. com/RabbiGewirtz, and follow him on Instagram @ RabbiGewirtz or Twitter @ RabbiJGewirtz. He also operates JewishSpeechWriter. com, where you can order a custom-made speech for your next special occasion. Sign up for the Migdal Ohr, his weekly PDF Dvar Torah in English. E-mail info@ and put Subscribe in the subject.

Jonathan Gewirtz is an inspirational writer and speaker whose work has appeared in publications around the world. You can find him at www. and follow him on Twitter @ RabbiJGewirtz. He also operates, where you can order a custom-made speech for your next special occasion. Sign up for the Migdal Ohr, his weekly PDF Dvar Torah in English. E-mail and put Subscribe in the subject.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Between the Lines

Failure is the Only Option By Eytan Kobre

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run. - Babe Ruth


homas Edison invented the microphone, the phonograph, the incandescent light, talking movies, and like a thousand other things. But in December 1914, after ten long and costly years spent developing the storage battery, a spontaneous combustion erupted in his film room. Within minutes all the packing compounds, celluloid for records and film, and other flammable goods were engulfed in flames, and the fire companies that arrived from nearby towns were of no use. The fire destroyed several buildings of Edison’s plant, along with years and tens of millions of dollars of hard work and ingenuity. The next morning, Edison surveyed the ruins. “There is great value in disaster,” he declared defiantly. “All our mistakes

are burned up. Now we can start anew.” Three weeks later, Edison invented the telescribe, a device that could record both parties to a telephone conversation. Given Edison’s indomitable attitude in the face of about failure, it is no wonder that, after finally achieving success after 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the lightbulb, Edison remarked, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The lightbulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” An entire Torah section is dedicated to recounting Yitzchak’s well-digging misfortunes (Bereishis 26:13-22). First, the Plishtim stuffed his wells with dirt. Then he was banished from Gerar. When he dug new wells, the local shepherds seized them. When he again dug new wells, the shepherds again laid claim to them. It was only after several failed attempts that Yitzchak finally succeeded in digging wells he could call his own. Of course, symbolism is at play here (Ramban and Kli Yakar, Bereishis 26:19),

but there is also a more practical message: the road to success is paved with failure (Chofetz Chaim, Bereishis 26:22). Yitzchak endured repeated failure in establishing his wells, but he learned from those failures and used them to succeed (Gur Aryeh, Bereishis 26:20). Perhaps he named his early, failed wells because he understood that there was meaning to those failures – it was only through those failures that he ultimately succeeded. We stumble. We fall. But we get up. We dust ourselves off. And we move forward. We succeed not in spite of our failures, but because of them. That’s what author John Maxwell and speaker/ preacher Eric Thomas term “failing forward.” Failing forward affords us the opportunity to learn from mistakes. It encourages us to take risks. It makes us resilient. It encourages us to challenge assumptions and the status quo. It deflates complacency and overconfidence. It makes us more determined to succeed. Before creating the world, G-d created seven

prior worlds but destroyed each of them (Bereishis Rabba 3:7). In so doing, R’ Tzadok HaKohen explains, G-d wove into the very fabric of the universe the notion that failure is not only inevitable, but essential. And it was only after creating the concept of repentance – which allows mankind to correct their failures – that the world could exist in its permanent state (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, Chapter 3). Failure is the project of life. We are cautioned against “falling and not rising up again” (Yirmiyahu 8:4). We must instead have the attitude that “because I have fallen, I will arise; because I sit in the darkness, G-d is my light” (Micha 7:8 and Malbim ad loc.). That is, “Had I not fallen, I would not have arisen; and had I not sat in the darkness, G-d would not have been my light” (Yalkut Tehillim 628). We don’t rise despite our failures; we rise because of them. Successful people understand that. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor

for lack of imagination and ideas. Fred Astaire’s first screen test had one executive assessing, “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.” Colonel Harland David Sanders was fired from dozens of jobs before founding Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 65. Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 different publishers. Brian Acton was turned down for a job at Facebook, whereupon he created Whatsapp, which he later sold to Facebook for $19 billion. Steven Spielberg was twice denied admission by the University of Southern California School of Cinema Arts. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job because she was deemed “unfit for TV.” And, drawing upon their own failures, successful people will not hesitate to extol the virtues of failure. Abraham Lincoln’s tumultuous path to the White House was paved with failure. He failed in business (1831); was defeated for Legislature (1832); failed in business – again (1833); suffered a nervous break-

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

down (1836); was defeated for Speaker (1838); was defeated for Elector (1840); was defeated for Congress (1843); was defeated for Congress again (1848); was defeated for Senate (1855); was defeated for Vice President (1856); was defeated for Senate again (1858); and was finally elected President (1860). Abraham Lincoln said, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” Turned down for a job at Toyota, Soichiro Honda built scooters in his garage to eke out a living, which led to the creation of Honda Motors. He later observed, “Success is 99 percent failure.” Cut from his high school basketball team, Michael

Jordan later revealed in a famous Nike advertisement, I missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take

to understand it” (Gittin 43a). And we are not to believe the boasts of one who claims, I did not toil, and I succeeded; we are to believe only one who acknowledges the struggles that precede

and those who fail; it is made up of those who fail and give up, and those who fail and get up. And that makes all the difference. “The righteous fall seven times and rise;

Edison remarked, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The lightbulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. The spiritual realm is no different. Because success depends upon failure, “the Torah cannot be understood unless one first fails

success (Megilla 6b). Everyone fails. But not everyone fails forward. It’s all about what you do with failure. As Samuel Beckett counseled, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” The world is not made up of those who succeed

the wicked stumble with evil” (Mishlei 24:16). Writing to a dispirited student who bemoaned his own failures, R’ Yitzchak Hutner explained that the righteous don’t rise in spite of their failures; the righteous rise because of their failures (Pachad Yitzchak, Let-


ter No. 128). They see failure as an opportunity, the vehicle by which to learn and develop and refine and revitalize and return stronger than ever. So the next time you fail or suffer some setback, take heart. Failure is inevitable. It is necessary. It will find you. And when it does, embrace it. Learn from it. Use it to build towards success. Fail forward. Because the more you do, the more you come to realize that there really is no failure – sometimes there are just more steps to success.

Eytan Kobre is a writer, speaker, mediator, and attorney living in Kew Gardens Hills. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? E-mail eakobre@


DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

On the Streets of


Hello, Kitties By Elana Dure


city with possessiveness and lurk around each corner bend with a sort of territorial aura. They’ve been here longer than I have, and as such, often guide me through the streets of my new home city. As a conditioned dog lover, the immense number of stray cats initially disturbed me. I felt as if I was constantly being watched by a pair of glowing feline eyes. But in truth, Israeli cats are not that invasive. They simply wander the streets of their cities in search of food, water and shelter.

y flatmate Rachel loves admiring cats. She also enjoys curing olives, befriending strangers and attending random Israeli house parties. But adoring the cats of Petach Tikva was her first and favorite hobby (so much so that she wants to either print a Cats of Petach Tikva calendar or save a stray from the streets and adopt it as our apartment mascot). Feral cats are unavoidable in Israel. They strut the streets of every





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Think of them as the squirrels of the Holy Land. The question is, where did they come from? Legend has it that the British are to blame for this feline overpopulation crisis. During the days of the British Mandate, the imperialists sent boatloads of cats to Palestine in order to cure a national rat problem. While the targeted population diminished, the feline one grew. Others say feral cats are the offspring of tame cats whose owners abandoned them and failed to spay or neuter them. Whatever their origin, these cats and their kittens almost never have contact with humans, making them elusive and distrusting of people. Despite their evasive nature, however, they are still domestic animals and therefore have a hard time fending for themselves, according to the the organization Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI). Some cats have diseases such as rabies, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia (FeLV), and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Others suffer from dehydration, urinary tract infections, scrapes, broken bones and internal bleeding caused by car accidents or fights with other animals. Last year, Israel’s Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel proposed a solution to the cat population problem: deport all male or all female cats from the country. The suggestion,

however, was met with scrutiny since Ariel did not explain how the cats would be transported or list which countries would be willing to take them. In the past, the Agriculture Ministry has worked with local municipalities to spay and neuter cats, funding the costs of sterilization, hospitalization and habitation of the animals. Despite these efforts, the cat population continues to grow. As such, the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection set guidelines for how residents should interact with their local strays. City goers may only feed cats with quality dry food, at fixed times, in areas that do not put the cats in danger and do not bother the neighbors. Feeders should pick up the leftover food at the end of each meal and provide clean drinking water for the street cats. And under no circumstance may any person take a stray cat out of its natural environment. Cats are not to be adopted by admiring passersby. I guess that leaves Rachel with only one choice: to nix the idea of bringing a cat home and start collecting photos for her calendar instead.

Elana Dure is a resident of Woodmere and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. She is currently teaching English in Petach Tikva through Masa’s Israel Teaching Fellows program.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home OCTOBER 29, 29, 2015 2015 || The The Jewish Jewish Home Home OCTOBER

Fidel Castro The End of a Dictator BY KEVIN SULLIVAN


he son of a prosperous sugar planter, Fidel Castro took power in Cuba on New Year’s Day 1959, promising to share his nation’s wealth with its poorest citizens, who had suffered under the corrupt quarter-century dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Castro, a romantic figure in olive-drab fatigues and combat boots, chomping monstrous cigars through a bushy black beard, became a spiritual beacon for the world’s political far left. In his homeland, Castro was as loathed as he was beloved. He was among the world’s most repressive leaders, a self-appointed president-for-life who banned free speech, freedom of as-

sembly, and a free press and executed or jailed thousands of political opponents. While he dispatched Cuban-educated doctors and Cuban-developed vaccines to the poorest corners of Latin America, Cubans in central Havana found pharmacy shelves empty of medicine, and many lived in apartments in which they used buckets in their kitchens as toilets. With almost theatrical relish, Castro taunted 10 successive U.S. presidents, who viewed the Cuban leader variously as a potential courier of Armageddon, a blowhard nuisance, a dangerous dictator, a fomenter of revolution around Latin America, a serial human

rights abuser, or an irrelevant sideshow who somehow hung on after the collapse of communism almost everywhere else. Castro’s long reign began to unravel on July 31, 2006, when he temporarily transferred power to his 75-yearold brother, Raúl, after undergoing what he described as intestinal surgery. (The precise nature of Castro’s health problems was an official state secret.) The transfer of power came weeks before Castro’s 80th birthday on Aug. 13, and Castro was not seen in public again for nearly four years. He formally resigned on Feb. 19, 2008, in a statement read on national television by a spokesman, ending his

49-year reign and giving George W. Bush the distinction of being the first U.S. president to outlast Castro in power. The National Assembly officially – and unanimously – named Raúl Castro, the longtime head of the Cuban armed forces, as the country’s new president. The move was seen as deeply anticlimactic, because Castro had stage-managed the shift to his brother for the better part of two years. Beginning in the 1960s, the United States maintained a strict trade and diplomatic embargo against Cuba, hoping to drive Castro from power. In 2014, President Obama – the first U.S. pres-

ident elected in the post-Fidel era – announced plans to restore full diplomatic relations with Havana. During a visit to Cuba in March 2016, Obama met Raúl Castro but made no effort to meet his brother. Fidel Castro later delivered a speech, dismissing Obama’s overtures and denouncing the idea of cooperation with the United States. Fidel was a particular thorn to President John F. Kennedy, who approved the clumsy Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961 by a ragtag group of CIA-trained fighters, which became a humiliating low point of his presidency. To his benefactors in the Kremlin during the height of

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016 The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

Fidel and his revolutionaries holding up their rifles after Batista’s overthrow

the Cold War, Castro was the useful commander of a communist citadel on the doorstep of the United States. That point was drawn in terrifyingly stark terms during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when Castro allowed the Soviets to base on his soil missiles that could carry nuclear warheads to Washington or New York in minutes. The resulting showdown between Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was the closest the world has come to nuclear war. Fidel erected billboards carrying patriotic slogans of the revolution, such as “We will overcome!,” “Toward victory, always!” and “Motherland or death!” Under his reign, Havana eventually became something of a Marxist Disneyland – a shiny, happy veneer over something much uglier. Castro personally ordered the restoration of Old Havana, an architectural gem where tourists can savor $300 boxes of Cuban cigars, some of the world’s best music and sweet Havana Club rum – the proceeds of which went to Castro’s revolution. But just a block behind the restored facades, impoverished Cubans lived in crumbling homes on rationed food. In his later years, Castro enjoyed a resurgence in popularity across much of Latin

Playing baseball in 1964, a favorite national pastime

America, fueled in part by the election of several leaders inspired by his staunch anti-Americanism. In particular, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela viewed Castro as a political beacon and father figure to the Latin American left. Sweetheart oil deals from Chávez, until his death in March 2013,

simple as passing out books on democracy. Many Cubans would not offer criticism of their leader for fear of being overheard by government informants, who lived on practically every block. To indicate Castro, they would tug on an imaginary beard. Other residents accepted him as a simple fact

Fidel with a few of his compatriots in the Cuban jungle, 1957

Biran in eastern Cuba’s Oriente province. His father, Ángel Casftro, was born in Spain and went to Cuba as a soldier in the Spanish army. He became a laborer on a railway owned by the United Fruit Co. Soon he was clearing land for himself in the wilds of Oriente and growing sug-

Other residents accepted him as a simple fact of life, like the tropical humidity – what good would it do to complain? were crucial to Cuba’s ability to survive as its state-dominated economy sputtered. While many Cubans expressed genuine and deep loyalty to Fidel – he was never called “Castro” in his homeland – others clearly feared a leader who imprisoned tens of thousands of his enemies over the years, often on little more than a whim. As he aged, Castro acted more like a man intent on purifying his legacy, returning his revolution to its ideological core, reversing economic openings and stepping up attacks on political dissent. He imprisoned Cubans whose crimes were as

of life, like the tropical humidity – what good would it do to complain? The most pointed condemnations came from Cubans who fled Castro’s rule by the thousands every year. Those with enough money paid for speedboat trips across the Florida Straits, while the poorest attempted the dangerous trip in rickety boats. Some would-be émigrés refitted Cuba’s aging American-made cars and trucks, transforming them into unlikely boats. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born Aug. 13, 1926, at Las Manacas, his family’s plantation in the village of

89 55

ar cane, which he sold to the fruit company. In time, Las Manacas comprised 26,000 acres, of which almost 2,000 were owned by the elder Castro. As a child, Fidel Castro was well off but nowhere near as wealthy as some of the boys at the schools to which he was sent, including the prestigious Colegio de Belen, a Jesuit school in Havana. Behind his back, he was sometimes called guajiro, or peasant. In his authoritative 1986 biography of Castro, author Tad Szulc quoted this assessment from Enrique Ovares, an old friend of Fidel’s: “I think that the

worst damage Fidel’s parents did him was to put him in a school of wealthy boys without Fidel being really rich...and more than that without having a social position...I think that this influenced him and he had hatred against society people and moneyed people.” Castro entered the University of Havana in 1945. Perhaps applying his firsthand experience of social and economic inequality, he immersed himself in the legacy of Cuba’s bygone revolutionaries. Since 1898, when the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor sparked the Spanish-American War, the country had often had tumultuous relations with the United States. Castro concluded that casting off U.S. hegemony was more important to Cuba than mere prosperity. He joined the Insurrectional Revolutionary Union, began to carry a pistol and became involved in revolutionary causes in the Dominican Republic and Colombia. Castro received his law degree at the University of Havana in 1950 and set up a practice in the capital city. Two years later, he ran for a seat in the Cuban congress on the ticket of the Ortodoxo Party, a reform group. His campaign was cut short on March 10, 1952, when Batis-

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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Saddam Hussein with Fidel and Raul Castro during a visit to Cuba in January 1979

ta staged a coup and retook the presidency he first held in the 1940s. Even as a young man, Castro showed a remarkable ability to persuade people to join him in seemingly impossible tasks – such as his wild scheme to take over the army’s Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Castro’s plan was to distribute arms from the barracks to his supporters and overthrow Batista. Castro was not deterred by the fact that the garrison numbered more than 1,000 soldiers and that he fielded only about 120 followers. The July 26, 1953 assault went off with almost comic mismanagement. Without firing a single shot himself, Castro called a retreat. He and most of the others were captured. Through the intercession of a bishop who was a friend of his father, Castro was spared immediate execution and was instead put on trial. Although the court proceeding was held in secret, it gave Castro, who acted as his own attorney, the chance to make what became the most famous speech of his life. It concluded with the

words that became known to generations of Cuban schoolchildren: “Condemn me, it does not matter. History will absolve me.” Castro was sentenced to 15 years but was released after less than two under an amnesty declared by Batista. He then moved to Mexico City, where he continued his work with a group calling itself the 26th of July Movement, commemorating the date of the Moncada assault, which became known as the opening salvo of the Cuban revolution. On Dec. 2, 1956, Castro and 81 followers returned to Cuba from Mexico aboard a secondhand yacht called “Granma,” whose name was later adopted by the Communist Party newspaper in Cuba. All but 12 in the landing party were killed or captured almost immediately. Castro, his brother Raúl and an Argentine physician, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, escaped into the mountains and began organizing a guerrilla army. In the summer of 1958, Batista launched a major offensive against Castro’s ragtag group. When it failed, it

was clear that Batista’s days in power were numbered. He announced to a few close colleagues at a New Year’s Eve party in 1958 that he was leaving the country, and Castro and his followers triumphantly drove into Havana to take control of the country on Jan. 1, 1959. When Castro took power, he preached democracy and reform. He sought to assuage his critics, insisting that he was not a communist. A wary United States cautiously offered economic aid, which Castro refused. Economic and political relations grew increasingly more difficult, particularly when it became known that the new regime imprisoned thousands of political opponents and executed many others. Within two years, Castro had expropriated $1.8 billion in U.S. property without compensation and turned Cuba into a bastion of Marxism-Leninism. In May 1960, Cuba established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, which was soon supplying most of the island’s petroleum needs, as well as a constant flow of

weapons and other military hardware. The government nationalized U.S. and British oil refineries and U.S.owned banks. In October 1960, the U.S. government imposed an embargo on all trade with the island except for food and medicine. On Jan. 3, 1961, diplomatic relations with the United States were broken. This set the stage for one of Castro’s greatest triumphs: the defeat of the CIA-organized invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs, which U.S. intelligence officials thought would set off a popular revolt against Castro. The invasion by about 1,350 CIA-trained fighters was put down by Cuban military forces, and about 1,200 of the invaders were captured, a huge embarrassment for U.S. President John F. Kennedy. The following year, Castro abetted the nuclear confrontation between Washington and Moscow, which ended when Khrushchev agreed to withdraw Soviet-made missiles and promised not to use Cuba as a base for offensive weapons. In return, the United States

pledged not to invade Cuba after what is called the Cuban Missile Crisis and to remove missiles it had stationed in Turkey. For years he lived under the threat of various CIA assassination plots – according to Cuban estimates, he was targeted at least 634 times. He cited U.S. threats to justify a large-scale military buildup, and he tried to export a Cuban-style revolution to countries across Latin America, including Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia. (Guevara was killed leading an uprising in Bolivia in 1967.) One of Castro’s first economic acts in 1959 was to start an industrialization program. By producing their own steel and other products, Cubans could end their longtime economic dependence on sugar and tobacco. He promised that the standard of living would rise faster than anywhere else in the world. The plans failed, and food rationing began in 1961. In 1968, Castro ordered

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Raising arms with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev during a four week visit to Moscow

a “revolutionary offensive” in which 50,000 small businesses were nationalized, causing the economy to grind to a virtual halt. Cuba began to enjoy better times in the 1980s, thanks to huge subsidies from Moscow, which sent cars, food, fuel and fertilizer to keep the island’s economy afloat. But the Soviet Union’s eventual collapse meant calamity for Cuba. In 1990, Castro called for austerity measures. Rationing was increased, and industrial enterprises were cut back or shut down as Cuban workers were shifted to agriculture. At the same time, Castro began to open the door to some elements of private enterprise, legalizing the use of U.S. dollars in Cuba. Small businesses flourished on the streets of Havana, with merchants selling car parts, cigars and more. While technically illegal, private businesses gave unemployed Cubans a bit of income. But years later, he rolled back these policies. The government began to arrest people who used their cars or bicycles as taxis and even shut down small eateries in private homes known as paladares, which had begun in the early 1990s with the government’s approval. Among Castro’s more successful efforts were uni-

Rationing in Cuba

versal health care and the near-eradication of illiteracy throughout Cuba. But Castro’s Cuba remained a place of repression and fear. AIDS patients were confined to sanitariums. Artists and writers were forced to join an official union and told that their work must support the revolution.

April 1980, he opened the port of Mariel to any Cuban wishing to leave. More than 125,000 people – branded as “worms” and “scum” by Castro’s government – took advantage of the highly publicized “boatlift” before it was closed in October of that year. By 1994, economic con-

Welcoming Putin to Cuba in 2000

with other countries seemed to improve. When the United Nations convened for its 50th anniversary in 1995, the Cuban leader delivered a much-anticipated address to the U.N. General Assembly. Without mentioning the United States, he called for “a world without ruthless blockades that cause the

It concluded with the words that became known to generations of Cuban schoolchildren: “Condemn me, it does not matter. History will absolve me.” The government conducted surveillance on anyone suspected of dissent. In 1965, Castro admitted to holding 20,000 political prisoners. Some foreign observers thought the number might be twice as high. Numerous historians and human rights groups concluded that Castro’s government carried out thousands of political executions. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans simply left, most of them for the United States. At first, travel was legal, but Castro soon imposed restrictions. In

ditions in Cuba were so bad that riots in Havana were followed by another exodus. Thousands fled from the country’s beaches on makeshift rafts; many were intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard, and others perished at sea. In February 1996, the Cuban air force shot down two light planes belonging to an exile group in Miami that Havana claimed violated Cuban airspace. President Bill Clinton retaliated by signing the Helms-Burton Act, which further tightened the decades-old embargo. But Castro’s relations

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death of men, women and children, youths and elders, like noiseless atom bombs.” After the September 11th attacks, the U.S. government housed suspected terrorists at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which had been in U.S. hands since 1903. The American government pays Cuba $4,085 a year in rent for the 45-square mile naval base. Castro, who had long demanded that the base be returned to Cuban possession, refused to cash the checks the U.S. government sent each month as rent for

Guantanamo. With the advancing years, Castro grew more beleaguered. In 2003, he ordered the arrests of 75 human rights activists, journalists and dissidents who were later convicted on charges of collaborating with the United States to subvert the government. Sentenced to terms of six to 28 years in prison, the dissidents were freed in 2010 and 2011 through the intervention of the Catholic Church. “This is a war against peace and against pacifists,” Oswaldo Payá, a leading dissident, told The Post in 2003. Payá, who said the Cuban government was using Soviet KGB-like tactics to silence dissents, was killed in a July 2012 car crash that his family and human rights groups allege was caused by Cuban government agents. Even as his country crumbled around him, and communist regimes toppled across the globe, Castro remained a true believer in the revolution he had wrought. To the end, and for better or worse, he held true to the maxim he often espoused: “Socialism or death.”

This article was excerpted from a piece from The Washington Post. (c) 2016, The Washington Post


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Fidel’s Reign of Terror By Susan Schwamm


t’s hard to pinpoint exactly how many Cubans lost their lives under Fidel Castro. The dictator ruled the Republic of Cuba for 47 years, first as prime minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as president from 1976 officially until 2006. Upon his death, he was the third longest-serving head of state behind England’s Queen Elizabeth II, who has been ruling for 64 years, and Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej who ruled for 70 years before dying earlier this year. It’s evident that Castro was a master of propaganda, so much so that world leaders this week didn’t denigrate the despot in his passing; he was hailed as a world leader when he died at the age of 90 by many Western heads of state. Those who have fled the regime, though, are well-aware and have spoken of the horrors, paranoia, lack of freedoms, and poverty that pervade the nation.


t was New Year’s Day in 1959, when Castro, his brother Raúl, Che Guevara, and their guerilla compadres triumphed in their revolution which they

waged against dictator Fulgencio Batista for over five years. Cubans hailed the group at the Hotel Nacional in Havana, hoping for a better, more democratic future. How ironic. The dreams that the gang promised quickly were shattered as they haunted the country with a one-party dictatorship

and became an outspoken opponent of her father. “When people tell me he’s a dictator, I tell them that’s not the right word,” she told the Miami Herald. “Strictly speaking, Fidel is a tyrant.” With the rule of the Castros, Cuba quickly spiraled into poverty. As the National Review wrote after Fidel’s

citizens from dying in mass starvation. North Korea, take note. Poverty was a way of life in Cuba. Tourists, though, may not have noticed the intense suffering of the Cuban people. Hotels built for visitors were gleaming structures. Stores offered shelves bulging with wares. But

“When people tell me he’s a dictator, I tell them that’s not the right word,” she told the Miami Herald. “Strictly speaking, Fidel is a tyrant.” equipped with a gulag and killing team. In desperation, people streamed out of the country – but it wasn’t easy. Indeed, Raul and Fidel’s sister, Juanita, was one of the defectors. She had fought alongside the Castro boys but was quickly disenchanted: “I could not remain indifferent to what is happening in my country. My brothers Fidel and Raúl have made it an enormous prison surrounded by water,” she explained. One of Fidel’s daughters, Alina Fernández Revuelta, also defected to the United States

demise, “There is an old joke about socialism: If the Eskimos adopted it, they would soon have to import ice. Well, Cuba, for a while, had to import sugar.” The country had the luck of the Soviets’ assistance for a while. When the Soviet Union collapsed, they were stranded until Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela came to their aid and funneled oil wealth to the island. If Communism was never able to provide any economic stability to the nation, it is clear that having the right friends could help

make a few wrong turns, and you’ll enter the slums, where hundreds don’t have toilets, bodegas are empty save a few cans, and where serpentine lines are formed each morning for a loaf of bread. Slept late? Your stomach will be rumbling tonight.


n the free world, some acknowledged that Cubans suffered from poverty. But, they said, at least Fidel gave them healthcare. Recently, U.S. President Barack Obama lauded the nation. “The United

States recognizes progress that Cuba has made as a nation, its enormous achievements in education and in healthcare.” It’s hard to consider strides in healthcare if patients are forced to bring their own pillows, sheets, lightbulbs and medicine to the hospital upon admittance. Before Fidel took over, Cuba led virtually all countries in Latin America in life expectancy. Today, Chileans and Costa Ricans live longer than Cubans, and Mexicans are quickly catching up. In deference to Obama and others, it is easy to think that Cuba has a superior healthcare system because it is subject to the same ingenious marketing campaign as other parts of the nation’s systems. Cuba has two levels of healthcare: that which it shows the world and that which is for regular Cubans. Castro and his cronies were also able to receive the higher caliber medical assistance as foreigners. That meant beautiful hospitals and top-ofthe-line care. Even so, when Castro needed surgery a few years ago – surprise! surprise! – the regime brought in doctors from outside of


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Cuba. For the “have-nots” in Cuba, being sick isn’t fun, especially in a nation in which it’s sometimes hard to find a Band-Aid. Cuba has also been lauded for its education. Obama called it “extraordinary” in that it “values every boy and every girl.” True, the literacy rate in Cuba is close to 100 percent. But before Castro came to power, it had a literacy rate of 80 percent. On the other hand, nations in Latin America that had a dismal literacy rate in 1950, such as Peru, Brazil, El Salvador and the Domincan Republic, are largely literate today – closing the gap immensely. Peru and Brazil had less than a 50 percent literacy rate in 1950; today, Peru boasts a 94.5 percent literacy rate. Brazil lays claim to 92.6 percent of its citizens being literate. After Castro came to power, attending school became compulsory for those between the ages of 6-16. It is completely state subsidized; Cuba allocates the highest share of its national budget – 13% – to education as compared to other nations. Healthcare and education aside, living in Cuba, even if you finally found some aspirin and learned about how it worked in school that day, was no picnic. Castro ruled by fear. Because there was always a listening ear, Cubans never referred to Castro by name, tugging on an imaginary beard instead. The tyrant was known for his bushy black beard, which in old age eventually turned gray and thin.


uring the Castro regime, 1 million Cubans fled the island. Fi-

del didn’t make it easy and many were killed in their attempts to find a better life. On one day alone – July 13, 1994 – Castro’s minions slaughtered 37 Cubans attempting to escape, many of them mothers and children. The executions were called the Tugboat Massacre. Accounts of the horror from surviving witnesses are chilling. When they begged to be saved by the boats sent to drown them, they were laughed at. Eventually, the surviving passengers were told to swim to shore when a Greek ship passed by. They were then sent to detention, interviewed by psychologists to ensure that they had the right story to tell of their escape, and given psychotropic drugs. In 1971, when the Lazo family attempted to escape, a Cuban navy vessel rammed their boat; three children drowned and their mother was eaten by sharks. Four children – ages three to 17 – drowned in the infamous Canimar River Massacre along with 52 others when the Cuban navy and a Cuban air force plane attacked a hijacked excursion boat headed for Florida in 1980.


o how many were killed during Fidel’s reign? It’s impossible to know, although it definitely numbers at least in the tens of thousands. Certainly, this is not information that Fidel would publish in his propagandist papers. Despite the West’s confidence in its own brilliance, it seems that many of us were swayed into thinking that Fidel just wasn’t so bad. Pierre Trudeau, former prime minister of Canada, asked Fidel to be an honorary pallbearer

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at his funeral. He also asked former President Jimmy Carter. Both Fidel and Carter met at Trudeau’s funeral in 2000 and struck up a relationship. Carter, who is known for his love of the Palestinian cause, lamented Fidel’s death: “Rosalynn and I share our sympathies with the Castro family and the Cuban people on the death of Fidel Castro. We remember fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country.” Trudeau’s son, Justin, is the current prime minister of our neighbor to the north. Indeed, the apple does not fall far from the tree. In remarks after Fidel’s demise, the Canadian leader said, “Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation. While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’” Amid a flurry of horror from those who suffered from Fidel’s “improvements,” Trudeau ended up apologizing for his public ardor for the Cuban dictator. Think about Fidel’s Communist counterparts: Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. Stalin has been painted by the world – and rightfully so – as a coldblooded murderer who cruelly splashed the streets of the Soviet Union red with blood. Mao shared some of the same reputation. But Fidel? He was looked at as a slight madman, wearing

Fidel Castro questioning a Cuban farmer, who is later executed, during revolutionary days

Crowds cheer on Fidel in his victorious march into Havana in 1959

Che Guevara and Fidel Castro

Surrounded by supporters Fidel gave an all-night speech the night of his victory



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The crumbling slums of Cuba

olive green army fatigues, a cap, and chomping on a never-ending stubby cigar. He liked to talk and ranted on and on about the evils of capitalism. In fact, he gave the longest speech ever delivered at the UN on September 19, 1960, which lasted approximately 4 hours and 29 minutes. His speeches in Cuba were even longer. How bad could he be? But if you listen closely, and you really hear the accounts of those who left Cuba, you’ll hear the stories of horror that make up his legacy.

A With former prime minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau

The longest speech in UN history

Fidel with friend Jimmy Carter listening to the U.S. national anthem after Carter visited Havana in 2002

ccording to the InterA mer ic an Human Rights Commission on April 7, 1967, “On May 27, [1966,] 166 Cubans – civilians and members of the military – were executed and submitted to medical procedures of blood extraction of an average of seven pints per person. This blood is sold to Communist Vietnam at a rate of $50 per pint with the dual purpose of obtaining hard currency and contributing to the Vietcong Communist aggression. “A pint of blood is equivalent to half a liter. Extracting this amount of blood from a person sentenced to death produces cerebral anemia and a state of unconsciousness and paralysis. Once the blood is extracted, the person is taken by two militiamen on a stretcher to the location where the execution takes place.” According to Mary Anastasia O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal in 2005, the Cuba Archive Project was able to verify the names of 9,240 victims of the Castro regime from 1952 until 2005. Verifying the victims

was undoubtedly complicated as researchers insisted on confirming the stories on the official murders from two independent sources, no small feat in a country when government spies lurk in every alleyway. According to O’Grady, “Cuba Archive President Maria Werlau says the total number of victims could be higher by a factor of 10. Project Vice President Armando Lago, a Harvard-trained economist, has spent years studying the cost of the revolution and he estimates that almost 78,000 innocents may have died trying to flee the dictatorship. Another 5,300 are known to have lost their lives fighting communism in the Escambray Mountains (mostly peasant farmers and their children) and at the Bay of Pigs. An estimated 14,000 Cubans were killed in Fidel’s revolutionary adventures abroad, most notably his dispatch of 50,000 soldiers to Angola in the 1980s to help the Soviet-backed regime fight off the Unita insurgency.” She compared his purges to those found years back in Poland and East Germany, less potent than Stalin’s widespread executions, but equally as effective at squashing any oppositions. O’Grady documented, “Cuba Archive finds that some 5,600 Cubans have died in front of firing squads and another 1,200 in ‘extrajudicial assassinations.’ Che Guevara was a gleeful executioner at the infamous La Cabana Fortress in 1959 where, under his orders, at least 151 Cubans were lined up and shot. Children have not been spared. Of the 94 minors whose deaths have been documented by Cuba Archive,


22 died by firing squad and 32 in extrajudicial assassinations.” Many prison deaths during Fidel’s reign were classified as “heart attacks,” although witnesses have a far more horrific account to tell. At least 2,199 documented prison deaths were verified as of 2005.


n November 25, when Fidel died peacefully in his sleep, he was given a death denied to the thousands of his victims. He died proclaiming his confidence in the ideas of Communism, a philosophy that has been spectacularly proven flawed many times over. “I’ll be 90 years old soon,” Castro said at an April 2016 communist party congress where he made his most extensive public appearance in years. “Soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof that on this planet, if one works with fervor and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need and that need to be fought for without ever giving up.” In his zealous quest for a Communist utopia, the 11 million citizens of Cuba suffered. They were killed, punished, and impoverished. The scars of the nation are deep and twisted; it’s a country where hundreds openly mourned and wept for their fallen leader. In their homes, though, I am sure many a quiet celebration was held. Their relatives 90 miles away, who are able to savor the delectable flavors of freedom, exulted for them and hoped for a brighter future.

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Dating Dialogue

What Would You Do If… Moderated by Jennifer Mann, LCSW of The Navidaters

Dear Navidaters,

I’m wondering how important the panel feels intelligence is in a relationship. Since you don’t know who I am, I don’t have to be modest. I happen to be pretty smart, always done well in school, very knowledgeable on many subject matters – the type of guy who does great in the game of Trivial Pursuit.

Recently I was set up with Reva. I was immediately smitten by her sweetness, her beauty, her “chein,” her middos – really everything about her is amazing. The only problem is that she’s not very bright. Often, I’ll make a joke or just make some comment and realize that she’s not “getting it.” She’ll look at me with her beautiful eyes, but they seem to gloss right over. I might mention something about politics or basic science and she’ll giggle in her adorable way, but tell me she’s not really all that familiar with what I’m talking about. Even worse, when I try to explain it to her, she doesn’t follow. Frankly, she probably doesn’t have a particularly high I.Q. On the other hand, I feel so good around her. Just sitting together, not even having to talk, feels right. She’s comfortable to be around, not demanding or challenging in any way. I never expected to marry a career woman, so that’s not a problem, since she doesn’t have a career. And I do like the idea of being married to a stay-at-home mom. So again, no problem there. So many of the women I’ve gone out with are so ambitious that I was turned off to that. I would never have to worry about Reva being too ambitious but frankly, she’s not ambitious at all. I would propose in a minute. I feel like I love her. My parents are telling me they are worried that I need someone closer to my level of intellect. I want to believe that I could fulfill my need for intellectual conversation with other people in my life. Do you think I’m deluding myself or should this be a serious red flag?

Disclaimer: This column is not intended to diagnose or otherwise conclude resolutions to any questions. Our intention is not to offer any definitive conclusions to any particular question, rather offer areas of exploration for the author and reader. Due to the nature of the column receiving only a short snapshot of an issue, without the benefit of an actual discussion, the panel’s role is to offer a range of possibilities. We hope to open up meaningful dialogue and individual exploration

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2015 2016 OCTOBER 29, The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

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The Panel The Rebbetzin Faigie Horowitz, M.S.


agree with your parents. Lack of intellectual compatibility and Reva’s lack of understanding what you are talking about after an explanation are serious matters. Obviously, the “chein” will not hold your interest long enough. A couple needs to share interests and have what to talk about that will engage both of them. It is not always intellectual; sometimes a shared sense of values, personality and mission in some combination works too. But if you see from the get-go that she is rather dim and is going to be a hausfrau with a small range, it is going to be a problem. The giggles indicate lack of maturity, as well. There is a third red flag here. You are smitten by her charm and warmth after a short time and feel like you can propose to her. You feel very comfortable and you “feel like I love her.” It seems that you are enjoying being admired and looking into her beautiful eyes. She has charm and will always look up to you for your brains and accomplishments, which she will never have. Ask yourself: how much worship do you need? Why is it important that you be admired? Have you been put down in your life? Do you need to be number one? Learn to listen to the other person. Have you ever worked closely with someone else? Do you accomplish things only by yourself? Do you always need to control? Sort this out with a professional before you continue to date other young women. You need to learn about yourself and about opening up to a partnership in marriage. This will take time.

The Mother Sarah Schwartz Schreiber, P.A.


here’s an apocryphal story that took place between George Ber-

nard Shaw and a beautiful actress. It goes roughly like this: She: “I think we should marry. With your brains and my beauty, we should produce the most amazing children.” He: “And what if the children are born with my looks and your brains? Disaster!” While staring across a restaurant table at the doe-eyed Reva or taking a leisurely walk with her, IQ may not be uppermost on your mind. Fast forward to married life. Reva, even as a stay-at-home mom, will have to manage the day-to-day intricacies of a household and make intelligent financial and logistical decisions (food, furnishings, clothing budgets). Most importantly, she will be the mother of your children – a most demanding role that challenges the most savvy, efficient, mature women among us. Not to mention, if the kids are as smart as Mom, you may have to do more than your share of homework duty. Have you even tried teaching Common Core math to a first grader? So, to address your question, “How important is intelligence in a relationship,” I defer to the words of Shlomo HaMelech, the most intelligent man ever born, and his liturgical Eishes Chayil: “Sheker hachaein, v’hevel hayofi…” You know the rest.

The Dating Mentor Rochel Chafetz, Educator/Mentor


o you have always done well in school. You are very knowledgeable and you are great at Trivial Pursuit. After that description, I would probably warn Reva that she should not continue dating you. You say that she is not bright but she is sweet. She seems to have beautiful middos but I don’t think you will be able to focus on those things after a few months of marriage. I think you will probably continue to focus on your opinion that she is not too bright – whatever that means. And you will continually try

She needs someone who will love, love, love and cherish her, and you need someone who plays a great game of Trivial Pursuit.

to change her, correct her and get annoyed with her and at her. That would be devastating for the relationship. You will not be able to respect her or love her for who she is. You will not be able to see the chein shining through and that’s not fair. Obviously, you and your family feel that you

are a highly intellectual young man and you need someone on your level. Well, that’s a clear sign that Reva should break things off with you. You shouldn’t go into a marriage focusing on someone’s faults while comparing them to your pluses. You can’t go into a marriage with the notion that you will change her. Please do yourself a favor and end it now. She needs someone who will love, love, love and cherish her and you need someone who plays a great game of Trivial Pursuit. Good luck.

The Single Tova Wein


here is an expression that goes “Beauty fades but brains are

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forever.” Or something like that. Somehow, this line popped into my head when I read your question. Obviously, you are smitten by Reva’s beauty and to be fair, by her sweetness and I’m imagining innocence or naiveté. Those are lovely qualities. But in my experience, they are not qualities that sustain a meaningful relationship for very long. Yes, I know many

men love having a beautiful, dutiful wife at their side. It probably makes them feel better about themselves. But as you go through life, and challenges arise, you want a partner rather than a beauty queen to share your ups and downs with, someone whose opinion you can respect and someone you can feel confident turning to for advice and insight.

You also want a best friend. It’s hard to be best friends with someone who just doesn’t “get it.” It’s frustrating, annoying and makes for impossible dialogue at times. I’m sure Reva is a beautiful individual – both inside and out. But if you pride yourself on your smarts and your family also seems to place intelligence as an important trait and you go forward with this relationship, I believe you will one day – sooner rather

“And what if the children are born with my looks and your brains? Disaster!”

than later – regret the moment you fell under the spell of her beautiful eyes!

Pulling It All Together The Navidaters Dating and Relationship Coaches and Therapists


ntelligence is very important in a relationship…when it is very important to someone in the relationship. I understand that you feel warm and wonderful around the beautiful Reva. And this is no small potatoes. You look forward to seeing her, enjoy the time you spend together, and think you may be falling in love with her. I can completely understand the attraction. She’s gorgeous, she’s warm, she has “chein,” she makes you feel good, she’s giggly… I don’t think these are trivial qualities. She is going to make a man very happy. The question is, can that man be you? People often think of chemistry and attraction as being purely physical. The truth is that two people may have an intellectual or a spiritual chemistry (or attraction) as well. I believe your feelings for Reva extend beyond a physical attraction but your lack of intellectual compatibility may be of concern. The following is a list of qualities I believe are necessary ingredients

to a great marriage. The first is respect. Mutual respect. Will you be able to respect Reva? That includes respecting her decisions, respecting her though she cannot play Trivial Pursuit with you, or partake in intellectual conversations. The second is acceptance. Mutual acceptance. Will you be able to fully accept Reva’s level of intelligence as it is? You will not be able to change her once you are married, and if you move forward with her, it wouldn’t be fair to do that to her. That means no “Oh, come on honey, can you just read this book for me?” and certainly no “You can’t even play a normal game of Trivial Pursuit with me? Are you kidding me?” The third is embracing the other. Mutually embracing each other. Not only do you accept her as she is and she you (which doesn’t seem to be a problem), you embrace her. You tell her how wonderful she is and that you wouldn’t change her for the world. Not only

do you tell her this, but you actually feel it. Deep down in your bones. You may want to consider whether you will eventually feel lonely or isolated with Reva. If the charm of her giggles, beauty and “chein” were to wear off, as charming qualities in a spouse of many years tend to do, when the bills are piled high, a baby or two are crying, or the next presidential election is as absurd as the last, or you read the most interesting article about the Iran Deal…who will you talk to? A marriage is a relationship of lifelong companionship. Make sure you can respect, accept and embrace Reva as your lifelong companion before moving forward. Sincerely, Jennifer P.S. One final thought: some people have a snarky attitude about their intelligence and no one is ever smart enough. I am not saying that you are snarky or that I detected

snarkiness in your e-mail. However, if you have a history of rejecting women for not being smart enough or good enough, then you may want to look into that. Some people (not you) ride their intelligence high horse, never making room on the saddle for anyone else.

Esther Mann, LCSW and Jennifer Mann, LCSW are licensed, clinical psychotherapists and dating and relationship coaches working with individuals, couples and families in private practice in Hewlett, NY. To set up an appointment, please call 516.224.7779. Press 1 for Esther, 2 for Jennifer. The Navidaters offer Date Debriefing, Dater’s Tool Kit, Engagement Coaching, and of course Dating Coaching. Visit www.thenavidaters. com for more information. If you would like to submit a dating or relationship question to the panel anonymously, please email thenavidaters@gmail. com. You can follow The Navidaters on FB and Instagram for dating and relationship advice.

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Dr. Deb

The Best Defense By Deb Hirschhorn, Ph.D.


he best defense is no defense. We hide so much behind our defenses that the people in our lives don’t know who we are. And we often don’t, either. See, our defenses have been with us a long, long time. And when we built them up, we weren’t exactly saying to ourselves, “Oh, this is a good idea. I’ll learn to tune out my parents when they’re attacking me and each other.” Rather, we just did it. These things came automatically to us as ways of protecting ourselves and required no conscious thought. In fact, neuroscience researchers have studied pre-verbal infants and learned that they have an incredibly complete knowledge of social mores even though they can’t yet speak. They pick up body language which includes tone of voice, pitch, eye contact, and facial expression as well as more gross movements of the body and limbs. So the infants form visual and auditory impressions

in their minds as to how the world works without the use of words. Later, as the child gets older, he could never explain what he knew or why he chose what he did – because it all happened before he could put his impressions into words. This gives his “knowledge” of how the world works a great deal of power: He feels quite certain that this is the way to be because it has been part of him for so long.

COMMON DEFENSES • One of the most common defenses is to disconnect one’s emotions. Men do this wonderfully, but don’t kid yourself: Women do it, too. So when we don’t want to realize we are in pain, we simply “forget” the painful thing going on. If you think that’s ridiculous, let me share with you some research. In a 2002 study, neuroscientists rigged up their equipment to measure the responses of the anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain that regis-

ters pain. The patients in the study had pain in their backs and when a spouse was present in the room and being “solicitous” while researchers presented shocks to their pain area, the pain increased three-fold. When the same shocks were applied after the spouse had left the room, the pain went back to previous levels. On the other hand, there were some wise spouses who distracted the patient and for those patients, the neural responses were not elevated. This is really nothing new; every parents knows that “kissing the booboo” makes it “go away.” The child is distracted by the kiss. The following year, other researchers pinned down this identical area of the brain as the seat of emotional pain. We learn at an early age to do what the solicitous spouses did in the first study – focus our attention on things other than our emotional pain – and the activity level of the anterior cingulate cortex literally goes down. • Another way to distract

from emotional pain is to get angry. On the one hand, you might think that anger is painful and in a way it is. We don’t necessarily like ourselves when we are angry. On the other hand, anger solves the problem of feeling rejected or belittled. Often, a puzzled partner will wonder why the anger occurred at all since she or he was not being rejecting or belittling at that moment. The answer is that the mood of the moment triggered non-verbal (and probably subconscious) memories of similar times when the person was being rejected or belittled. • Another common defense mechanism is to feel sad, like a victim. The reason this has worked in the past is that when we feel down, we can then lick our “wounds.” It is self-soothing, like putting the proverbial thumb in the mouth and holding the security blanket. It is so soothing, in fact, that victim players tend to see injuries which were never meant. So we see that some people want to feel pain because

they can soothe themselves, while others learn tricks to run away from their pain. There are many other defense mechanisms, too many to list here, but these are biggies.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH DEFENSE MECHANISMS? I was just rereading a fascinating book that was saying that it is not correct to picture emotions as only arising in the limbic system of the brain. On the contrary, emotions play a role in nearly all parts of mental functioning, “from physiological regulation to abstract reasoning (Siegel, Daniel, 1999). So does it seem useful to block out an important source of information and action? I think not. Once, someone came to me whose son had died. She wanted to be out of pain and I told her that the degree of pain she felt – bad as it was – was an indication of the degree of connection she had to the memories of her son.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

The more the pain recedes, the more the memories will fade. That means the sense of connection and closeness will fade, too. One goes with the other. Pain is also useful because if we are aware of what hurts us, we can tell the other person not to continue doing that particular thing. But if we were unaware of our pain – disconnected – we can’t do that; we can’t take ameliorative action. Similarly, any defense mechanism which clouds the here and now so that our vision is blocked is not going to help us. Then, in turn, our reactions won’t be based on what is really going on so it will certainly interfere with how we communicate to others: They will get a muddled message.

HOW TO GET OUT OF THIS MESS As an adult in therapy, that person may want to rid himself of his (or her) habitual ways of protecting himself from pain by using defense mechanisms. As we

The solution to this is to treat these patterns like any other bad habit, in the class of nail biting, cigarette smoking, or overeating. Awareness is the first and most important step in overcoming the tendency to use unhelpful defense mech-

er to tune in is great. In the olden days, I’d tell people to post yellow sticky notes all over the house. Nowadays, people have the option to set alerts on their phone. One person had the idea of putting a rubber band on her wrist and snap-

Our habits are automatic, but once someone draws them to our attention, the next step is to be on the lookout for them.

see, they aren’t too helpful in adult relationships. But try as he might, he will slip back into these patterns of thinking and behaving automatically.

anisms. Our habits are automatic, but once someone draws them to our attention, the next step is to be on the lookout for them. Anything that will serve as a remind-

ping it from time to time as a reminder. Someone else had a charm put on his key ring which reminded him of his bad habit. Every time he reached into his pocket,


which was often, he would feel the key ring and this charm. The second step is practicing new, better approaches to dealing with problems and the third is noticing how the world responds to the changes you’ve made. This is the key step in knowing whether what you are doing is working. You can even solicit feedback from those close to you. Without defense mechanisms, you are the genuine you to the world. You will like you better and I think the world will too.

Dr. Deb Hirschhorn is a Marriage and Family Therapist. She can be reached at 646-54-DRDEB or by writing


DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Health & F tness

Starting Solids And It’s Not What You Think By Hylton I. Lightman, MD, DCH (SA), FAAP


rotein? Please help me to understand, Dr. Lightman. I heard you say to start feeding my 4-month-old pureed chicken from the chicken soup. But my mother told me that rice cereal was the first solid food she gave me. What’s changed?” What’s changed, moms and dads, is that I was not trained like American pediatricians. In South Africa, we were taught to think outside the Gerber demarcated “box.” There’s a world of tastes and nutrients available to our infants. All those years ago in that country on the other side of the world, our professors taught us that the earlier babies start eating healthy meals that are not from a box or jar, the better they will eat as toddlers. Rice cereal has been the first solid of choice – or perhaps, default – for generations of American babies. It’s easy to understand why. It’s readily available. It’s easy to prepare and feed. It’s fortified with iron and other nu-

trients. It’s a habit that only recently is being questioned – and with good reason. Why? Babies who first eat rice cereal are geared up to crave only carbohydrate-laced foods. Furthermore, some rice is contaminated with arsenic.

their mouths. They will develop oral muscle strength and enjoy the beginnings pf the broadest palate range possible. Further, feeding time is not clean time. Encourage your infant to mush up the food. He’s exploring his world and that’s a fun, safe

infants and children will always tend to prefer sweeter-tasting food items. Such is life. Think Bamba. For babies in homes without significant food allergies, introduce Bamba when your baby is 9-months-old. This peanut food will introduce your baby

We want our patients to embrace different foods so that our bundles of joy play with different textures in their mouths.

Interestingly, recent studies demonstrate that children who first eat the pureed chicken from the chicken soup which has been moistened with cooled soup liquid tend to have fewer weight issues as children, adolescents and adults. We want our patients to embrace different foods so that our bundles of joy play with different textures in

thing to do. The benefits for intellectual and psychosocial development are untold. The creativity we can employ with a food mill or mini food processor can embrace the colors of the rainbow. Melons, berries, and avocadoes can all be pureed. Start with the pureed chicken. Then add the vegetables. Only afterwards, add fruit. No matter what,

and his digestive system to peanuts. If you wait too long to introduce peanuts, your child may develop a peanut allergy. Bamba is less sticky than peanut butter and can improve hand-mouth coordination. People of all ages like to put food in their mouths. Please never introduce raw honey to a baby under 12 months of age. Honey may contain harmful botulism

spores that could make your child very ill. Don’t panic if your baby makes faces when new foods are introduced. Remember, he’s learning and exploring. He will respond to your facial gestures and encouragement. If your baby senses you’re agitated, then he will respond in kind exponentially and the newly classified disorder of ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) may prevail. Let’s not go near there. A fun, positive experience with eating as an infant will only prime the child for healthier eating patterns in toddlerhood and childhood. No doubt, there will be long term benefits for the entire family. Enjoy and explore. Dr. Hylton Lightman is a pediatrician and Medical Director of Total Family Care of the 5 Towns and Rockaway PC. He can be reached at www.totalfamily, on Instagram at #lightmanpeds or visit him on Facebook.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Health & F tness

Stop the Winter Weight Gain By Aliza Beer MS, RD


hile the temperature outside may be steadily dropping, the number on the scale may be doing just the opposite. As the winter months creep up on us, we seem to naturally want to fill our bellies with warm “comfort foods.” The problem is that these foods can often be high in fat and sugar and may contribute to the added weight. The winter may cause our eating and exercise patterns to veer towards dangerous habits, leading to a winter weight gain. During the winter our bodies tend to crave warm foods that are comforting and filling; making a green, leafy salad seem much less appealing than a large plate of hot lasagna. But instead of letting macaroni and cheese with a side of hot cocoa covered in whipped cream become a winter staple meal, give your body the warm feeling it is craving from healthier foods instead. One main way to keep the weight gain away is to make sure to have vegetables in addition to hot soups, butternut squash fries, or mashed sweet potatoes. Additionally, making your own soups may be even more advantageous, such as pumpkin soup, cauliflower soup, cabbage soup, or zucchini soup, as you can make sure that you are getting healthy recipes that are chockful of nutrients. Often when buying pre-made soups, they may be filled with calorie-laden additives, such as heavy cream, full-sodium broths, flour, or even sugar. A tip to get that creamy texture without all the calories is to use a hand blender to

blend the vegetables, or to add caramelized onions before blending. Another important winter staple is eggs. Eggs are a fast, nutritious, easy, and warm dish to make. Fill up an omelet with all kinds of veggies, and you have an excellent breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. Also, stick to warm, steel

for different flavors of tea as a toasty beverage, and if you feel a craving for a hot cocoa coming on, make it yourself with dark chocolate and fat free milk. Try getting a latte made with almond milk, not skim milk. You will be consuming significantly less calories and sugar. Hot water with lemon is an old

Try swapping these sweetened drinks for different flavors of tea as a toasty beverage, and if you feel a craving for a hot cocoa coming on, make it yourself with dark chocolate and fat free milk.

cut oatmeal topped with fruit as a delicious breakfast option. Whole grains will fill you up, and when eaten hot, they quickly heat up your body. Swap out the chocolate chip cookies hanging around the kitchen and instead try baked apples topped with cinnamon as a delicious snack. Another area that adds unnecessary calories are the specialty beverages that are unique to winter. Pumpkin spice lattes filled with sugar, fattening hot cocoas, and sugary apple ciders are just some of the drinks that mark the winter season. While these beverages may keep us warm, they also add to our daily calorie intake. Try swapping these sweetened drinks

diet staple, but it is a very good one. Hot beverages make you feel fuller than cold ones, and lemon will help satiate your appetite. The winter weight gain does not just come from the foods we eat. As the day gets shorter and it gets darker earlier and earlier, we seem to want nothing more than to stay inside under a cozy blanket watching a movie or reading a book. This time of year is the easiest to skip a workout, stay in bed longer, and avoid going out in the cold. But maintaining an exercise regimen is important in maintaining a healthy weight and keeping a healthy lifestyle. Finding a workout buddy can be a great way to stay motivated during

the cold season. Making a goal for the springtime, setting an alarm to workout, or scheduling a workout into your calendar can also be encouraging. Sometimes just dressing in workout clothing and stepping outside can be enough of a push to get a good workout in. Setting yourself up to stick to a good exercise routine is key to maintaining your weight during the winter so bundle up, stay warm, and head out for a good workout. Doing our best to stay warm and stay fit during the cold winter months can seem impossible. As the temperature outside gets lower and lower it seems the number on the scale gets higher and higher. However, the winter weight gain is not inevitable and sticking to healthier foods and drinks that keep you toasty while keeping the scale in check is the key to getting through this season without the excess pounds. Adhering to a regular fitness routine is just as important and making good habits to stay active despite the cold weather will keep you feeling and looking great too. By planning appropriately, choosing the right foods, and adhering to a healthy exercise routine, we can keep the winter weight gain away and enter the spring healthier than ever.

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 can be reached at alizabeer@

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


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In The K


Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner By Naomi Nachman

Here are some of our family’s favorite chicken recipes. It’s always hard to please everyone in the family but these are our family’s winning dishes.

Orange Salsa Chicken This new chicken recipe is so perfect to feed the family. It’s super quick to make and freezes really well. You can also try it with fish for a parve alternative.

Ingredients 2 whole chickens, cut into quarters 1 cup salsa 1 cup orange jam Zest of an orange (a little less than a tablespoon) 1 (11 oz.) can sliced mandarin oranges

Coke Chicken Teriyaki Chicken I always make a double batch of this and put half of it uncooked in the freezer. When I’m ready to bake it I defrost it in the fridge overnight then bake it up fresh.

Ingredients 3 large onions, sliced 16 pieces chicken (8 tops and 8 bottoms) 4 teaspoons garlic powder 2 cups coke 2 cups ketchup 2 cups apricot jam Salt and pepper

Preparation Preparation Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place chicken pieces in a large baking pan and season with salt and pepper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the salsa, orange jam, orange zest and mandarin oranges. Pour over chicken. Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Place the sliced onions in the bottom of a large pan. Lay the chicken on top of the onions and season with salt and pepper. Mix the sauce ingredients together and pour over the chicken. Let it marinade for an hour. Then bake at 375°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes, uncovered.

Ingredients ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce 2 tablespoon silan (date honey) 2 cloves garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon crushed black pepper 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts or pargiyot

Preparation Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with marinade. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until done, depending on thickness.

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.

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Notable Quotes “Say What?!”

Yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted that millions of people voted illegally on Election Day. Then someone told Trump it’s not illegal for women to vote. - Conan O’Brien

This weekend, the snowflake liberals took a break from whining about their lost election; they took a break from fearmongering over Donald Trump’s presidency; they took a breather from their typical poor-me, victim mentality to cry over the death of brutal dictator Fidel Castro. – Tomi Lahren, The Blaze

Right now, the focus is on who Trump will appoint to his cabinet. In fact, C-SPAN aired a live feed of the elevators at Trump Tower that captured potential cabinet members going up to meet him. It even caught the moment when Ted Cruz was approaching the elevator and everyone inside frantically hit the “door close” button.

What a pack of sore losers. After asking Mr. Trump and his team a million times on the trail, “Will he accept the election results?” it turns out Team Hillary and their new BFF Jill Stein can’t accept reality.

– Jimmy Fallon

- Kellyanne Conway to Bloomberg, regarding Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein requesting recounts in three crucial battleground states that Trump won

Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, House Democrats squandered their majority by forcing through unpopular legislation like Obamacare, of which Pelosi famously told us, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it…” No single person deserves more credit for House Republicans’ historic majority than Nancy Pelosi…. Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, House Democrats have become completely irrelevant, and there is no better way to ensure that remains the case than by keeping her as Minority Leader. The NRCC offers its full support to Nancy Pelosi as she attempts to fend off this challenge to her failed leadership from within the ranks of her own party.

The Secret Service protecting Donald Trump might have to rent two floors of Trump Tower, forcing taxpayers to pay $3 million in rent back to Trump’s company. Trump said that is absolutely not true and the rent is $4 million. – Jimmy Fallon

- Trolling endorsement by the National Republican Congressional Committee for Nancy Pelosi to be kept on as leader of the Congressional Democrats



The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


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The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015


Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was being interviewed yesterday and said she’s “very confident” that Trump isn’t breaking any laws during his transition. Then Americans were like, “Uh . . . we weren’t even suspicious until you said that.” - Jimmy Fallon

You need to concede. - President Obama to Hillary Clinton at approximately 1:30AM on Election Day, according to Clinton advisors, as disclosed in a soon-to-be released book about the 2016 election by The Hill’s senior White House correspondents Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen

A new report finds that protecting Donald Trump and his family is costing New York City taxpayers over a $1 million a day. Then Trump was like, “Thank G-d I’m not a taxpayer!” – Jimmy Fallon

I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t. She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways. – Trump explaining to the New York Times editorial board why his justice department likely won’t pursue prosecution of Hillary

Presidential Tweets In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally. Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail! I thought that @CNN would get better after they failed so badly in their support of Hillary Clinton however, since election, they are worse!

That’s horrifying! That’s not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections and we’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election. And let’s be clear about what he’s saying and what he means. He’s denigrating – he’s talking down – our democracy. I, for one, am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our major two parties would take that kind of position. – Hillary Clinton’s blistering response at the third presidential debate when Trump refused to say whether he would challenge the election results. (She is now requesting a recount in three key battleground states)

Well, there are six definitions of G-d in the American Heritage Dictionary. Number five is a very handsome man and my wife says I’m a very handsome man, and nobody argues with my wife. - Bennie L. Hart, who is suing Kentucky state officials after his personalized “I’M G-D” license plate was denied

It’s clear that Washington Republicans are plotting a war on seniors next year. Every senior, every American, should hear this loudly and clearly. - Newly anointed Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer… off and running with the scare tactics

Donald Trump said he will not try and send Hillary Clinton to jail. After hearing this, Bill Clinton said, “Hey, you promised.” – Conan O’Brien


The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Trump went on Twitter yesterday to claim that he actually won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of illegal voters and that any recount will change nothing. Speaking of nothing changing, Trump won and still says the election was rigged. – Jimmy Fallon

To me it is deeply troubling that the person who is going to become the most powerful government official in the United States doesn’t understand the first thing about the First Amendment. - David D. Cole, The New York Times, commenting on Trump’s suggestion to make flag burning illegal

Any person who shall intentionally threaten or intimidate any person or group of persons by burning, or causing to be burned, a flag of the United States shall be fined not more than $100,000, imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both.

Apple just released a new app that lets you read books with your kids on your TV. Or as dads put it, “Yeah, this ‘book’ is about the Patriots-Seahawks game, and it’s a thriller.” MORE QUOTES

– Jimmy Fallon

- From a 2005 Senate bill, co-sponsored by then-Sen. Hillary Clinton


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The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015


It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving president. Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation. While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante.” – From a statement by former ballet dancer and current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, about Fidel Castro, whose great accomplishments include pioneering the filming of harsh executions in order to intimidate his detractors

Deeply saddened by the senseless act of gun violence at Ohio State this morning. Praying for the injured and the entire Buckeye community. - Kneejerk tweet by Sen. Tim Kaine (Hillary Clinton’s former running mate) after a Somali immigrant, inspired by ISIS, rammed his car into a group of students at Ohio State University and then jumped out and started stabbing them with a knife

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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Political Crossfire

For Democrats, the Road Back By Charles Krauthammer


ne of the more salutary outcomes of the recent election is that Democrats are finally beginning to question the wisdom of basing their fortunes on identity politics. Having counted on the allegiance of African-Americans, Hispanics, … unmarried women and the young – and winning the popular vote all but once since 1992 – they were seduced into believing that they could ride this “coalition of the ascendant” into permanent command of the presidency. They’re reconsidering now not because identity politics balkanizes society, creates state-chosen favored groups and fosters communal strife. They’re reconsidering because it’s not working. Democrats read the 2008 and 2012 election results as a harbinger of the future. Then came 2016. They now realize that the huge turnout of their constituencies was attributable to Barack Obama, a uniquely gifted campaigner whose aura is not transferable. And why assume that identity politics creates permanent allegiances? Take the Hispanic vote. Both Mitt Romney and Donald Trump won less than 30 percent, but in 2004 George W. Bush won 44 percent. Why assume that the GOP cannot be competitive again? As these groups evolve socioeconomically, their political allegiances can easily change. This is particularly true for the phenomenally successful Asian-American community.

There is no reason the more entrepreneurial party, the GOP, should continue to lose this vote by more than 2-to-1. Moreover, the legitimation of identity politics by the Democrats has finally come back to bite them. Trump managed to read, then mobilize, the white working class, and

his valedictory tour abroad just nine weeks later, he lectures anyone who will listen on the sins of parochialism. His urgent message for the nations of the world, including his own, is to eschew “tribalism” in the name of a common universalism. This doctrine of global consciousness found its photographic expres-

But the Hillary Clinton campaign was its reductio ad absurdum: all segmented group appeal, no message.

to endow it with political self-consciousness. What he voiced on their behalf was the unspoken complaint of decades: Why not us? All these other groups, up to and including the relatively tiny population of transgender people, receive benefits, special attention and cultural approbation, yet we are left out in the cold, neglected and condescended to as both our social status and economic conditions decline. For all the embrace of identity politics at home, abroad Obama has preached the opposite. Here is a man telling a black audience in September that he would “consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy” if they don’t turn out for the Democratic candidate in November. Yet on

sion just two weeks ago. There was parka-bundled John Kerry on a visit to the Antarctic, to which he had dropped in to make a point about global warming. Three days later, Vladimir Putin, thinking tribally, renewed the savage bombing of Aleppo and then moved nuclear-capable missiles into Kaliningrad to remind Europeans of the perils of defying the regional strongman. Putin is quite prepared to leave the Antarctic ice sheets to Kerry while he sets his sights on Eastern Europe and the Levant. Our allies, meanwhile, remain amazed that Obama still believes the kinds of things he said in his maiden U.N. address about the obsolescence of power politics and national domination

– and acts accordingly as if his brave new world of shared universal values had already arrived. Seven months ago, Obama went to Britain to urge them – with characteristic unsuccess – to remain in Europe. Now he returns to Europe to urge everyone to resist the siren song of “a crude sort of nationalism, or ethnic identity, or tribalism.” This is rather ironic, given that what was meant as a swipe at both European and Trumpian ethno-nationalism is a fairly good description of the Democratic Party’s domestic strategy of identity politics. To be sure, ethnic appeal has been part of American politics forever. But the Hillary Clinton campaign was its reductio ad absurdum: all segmented group appeal, no message. Even Bernie Sanders is urging that “we go beyond identity politics” if Democrats are ever to appeal again to the working class. As for foreign policy, there has always been and always should be an element of transcendent mission to American actions. But its reductio ad absurdum was the Obama doctrine of self-sacrificial subordination of U.S. interests to universal values. That doctrine is finished. The results, from Ukraine to Aleppo to the South China Sea, are simply too stark. For the Democrats, the road back – from tribalism at home and universalism abroad – beckons. (c) 2016, The Washington Post Writers Group

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Forgotten Her es

Reuven Shiloah and the Birth of the Mossad By Avi Heiligman


merican military brass learned the hard way at the beginning of WWII that the policy of “gentlemen don’t read other gentlemen’s mail” was foolhardy and costs lives. A spy organization was formed and with it came all of the growing pains of not having a proper situation set up. Eventually this organization, called the OSS, morphed into the CIA in 1947. Right from the outset of the creation of the State of Israel Prime Minister David Ben Gurion realized the necessity of avoiding these growing pains. In fact, some Israelis had connections within the CIA and one obtained vital intelligence that saved many lives. That man was Reuven Shiloah, and he had the plans for the Arab invasion. Born with the name Reuven Zaslanski in 1909, he was given the code name Shiloah while working for the underground. His home city was Yerushalayim and along with the rest of pre-Israel Palestine was under the Ottoman Empire. After the

fall of the empire in years following WWI, the British took control of the area. During the interwar years Shiloah moved to Baghdad as a schoolteacher. In reality he was an agent for the Jewish Agency and made contacts with the Kurds in Northern Iraq. The Jewish Agency was created in 1909 and is known for their efforts in bringing Jews to Eretz Yisrael. It was recognized by the British, and when Shiloah returned to Yerushalayim in 1934 he was posted as a liaison between the organization and the Brits. In addition to these responsibilities the Haganah asked him to form an intelligence organization called Shai. Shiloah was kept busy during WWII as he was helping form the Jewish Brigade that fought as a unit of the British Army. He also sent Jewish agents who looked like they could be Aryan into Nazi territory to help their stricken brethren as much as possible. Twenty six paratroopers trained by Shiloah were dropped into the Balkans and sadly a few

were caught and executed by the Nazis as spies. The rest went back to Eretz Yisrael and took the vital lessons learned during WWII into the new Israeli spy organization. Shiloah himself made contacts within the OSS and British intelligence. He was in San Francisco as an observer of the Jewish Agency where the U.N. had their founding conference in 1945. Using his contacts within the Arab League Shiloah managed to get a copy of the Arab’s plans to invade Israel. David Ben-Gurion had served as the head of the Jewish Agency and was very familiar with Shiloah’s work and dedication to the land. It took until December 19, 1949 for the Shai to be disbanded and the Mossad to be officially formed under the leadership of Shiloah. Calling intelligence a “most essential political tool,” he focused on several areas including using technology on clandestine missions to gain information. A rift between agencies in the Israeli government was an issue that took a

long time to resolve. Even though the Mossad was founded in 1949, due to interdepartmental discord it wasn’t until April 1951 that it became operational. An Egyptian mole was suspecting of having a high Israeli government position and it was up to Shiloah to weed him out. It was discovered that on a political department assignment to Egypt, David Magen contacted enemy intelligence officials. The newly formed Mossad, the “Central Institute for Coordination,” had him arrested for they did not believe his side of the story. He was thought to have passed secrets to the Egyptians and sentenced to fifteen years. The political department was up in arms about the arrest of one of their men and Magen was released in 1959. One of the responsibilities that Shiloah took upon himself to perform personally was to meet with Transjordan’s King Abdullah. A relationship was formed in secret between the two countries because Abdullah

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

did not want other Arab countries, in particular Egypt, to know that he did not wish to have Israel destroyed. A peace treaty was forming but that all stopped when King Abdullah was assassinated in 1951. Syria was another country that was on the verge of making peace with Israel in 1949 but fell through. The dictum of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” played a major part in Middle East politics (it still does). Anyone opposing radical Islam was a potential peace target for the Mossad, and Shiloah en-

couraged his agents to try any facet to gain intelligence. Under the direction of Shiloah, Aliyah B was abolished and the responsibility of transporting Jews around the world to Israel went to the Mossad. The political department was also dissolved by Shiloah. In September 1952, after suffering injuries in a car accident, Shiloah resigned as director of the Mossad and handed the reins over to Isser Harel. Under Harel, until 1963, the Mossad grew into a powerful organization

with exploits that are legendary even today. Choosing to remain in the government, Shiloah served as a delegate to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. Later he served as a political advisor to the foreign minister. He passed away on May 10, 1959. Reuven Shiloah was remembered a quiet, patient and brilliant man. Abba Eben, the first Israeli ambassador to the U.N., summed it up, “I have no words to express my grief and shock at the sudden death of Reuven


Shiloah. He was amongst my dearest friends and my constant partner in so many enterprises. He made priceless contributions to Israel’s international progress, not least in the field of American-Israel relations. His wise counsel and passionate industry will be sorely missed.” Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to The Jewish Home. He welcomes your comments and suggestions for future columns and can be reached at avi


DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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Studying Sm


The PSAT Understanding and Utilizing Your Child’s Score By Chaim Homnick


he PSAT results are received by the schools on December 5. Students and their parents receive the results by December 12. The PSAT exam, taken back in October by most 10th and 11th graders, is intended to provide a useful assessment of your child’s skill level on the most important test they will take in high school: the SAT. However, many students don’t take it seriously or don’t understand how to analyze those scores. Here then is an explanation of what the PSAT is and how to utilize your results:

TAKING THE PSAT The PSAT examination is created and provided by the College Board, the company behind the SAT. Students take the PSAT in 10th and/or 11th grade as a practice of sorts for the SAT as well as a preliminary assessment of SAT-related skills. It helps the students see how prepared they are for the exam and what areas they need to improve upon. The PSAT is almost exactly identical to the SAT but is a few questions shorter in the Reading and Math sections. Many schools don’t work on PSAT material in the classroom so numerous students enter the test with zero familiarity with the material. That is a shame and wastes a valuable opportunity. The ideal scenario is for the student to have at least a basic understanding of what the test is comprised of before taking it so that the score provides a reasonable assessment of their skill level. If the school spends class time prepping for the PSAT, great; if not, it is worthwhile for students to become familiar with the outline of the test and do some practice sections before taking it in 10th and 11th grade.

USING YOUR SCORE Inexplicably, the PSAT is now graded out of 1520 (in contrast to the new SAT which is out of 1600). Technically, this is likely because the PSAT is a few questions shorter in order to shorten the length of the test. However, it makes comparisons to the SAT annoying. In order to translate a student’s PSAT score to the SAT, it makes sense to just add a full 80 points to the student’s PSAT score as most students would naturally do a bit better by the time they take the SAT, even without factoring in studying and tutoring. By doing that, parents, teachers and students can better understand and compare those scores and then strategize and set goals for the SAT. The chart below shows what different PSAT scores translate to in terms of percentiles in comparison to a student’s peers. By adding the 80 points, we see that the average 11th grader scores around the SAT equivalent of a 1060 (980 + 80). That means the upper half of students are already naturally in the range of the minimum targets for admission to many colleges: an 1100. Students who score in higher percentiles can (and should) set higher targets that would open more doors to scholarships and honors programs. Either way, the PSAT raw score and percentile helps a student set goals and improve areas of weakness. A student receives a score and percentile for Reading, Writing and Math, which therefore provides a complete picture of

their strengths and weaknesses.

PSAT SCORES AND PERCENTILES Note: Scores are out of 1520 50th percentile

75th percentile

90th percentile

10th Grade PSAT




11th Grade PSAT




NATIONAL MERIT The National Merit Scholarship Program is really only relevant for the top 2-3% of test takers and only 11th graders are eligible. So for students whose skill level, practice scores and 10th grade PSAT score suggest that a score in the 1300 or higher range is possible, extra studying is vital in order to have a shot at being a National Merit finalist or semi-finalist. There isn’t actually that much scholarship money given out (and not many general winners unless your parents’ employer is one of the large corporations that offer corporate scholarships to finalists), but the accolades help with applications as does replicating that top performance on the actual SAT. The PSAT acts as a helpful pre-SAT as it provides the first real inkling for how a particular student’s academic skillset translates to the SAT. The SAT is difficult due to both the content and the timing of the test. Students who take the PSAT once or twice and familiarize themselves with the material and the timing are ahead of the game and can make informed decisions about their future options based upon their scores. The SAT is ideally taken for the first time in March or May of 11th grade and it helps knowing where you stand in December. Ultimately, the college application system has caused the SAT to become the most important test a student takes in high school. The PSAT provides a student with their first encounter with the material and the PSAT score provides them with their first assessment. The students who take these steps seriously and apply themselves now are the ones who have the easiest time when they have to apply to schools later. Chaim Homnick is the College Advisor at Mesivta Ateres Yaakov of Lawrence and also teaches 5 periods of Honors/AP English Literature. Chaim is the owner of Five Towns Tutoring,, and has new SAT groups forming now for 11th and 12th graders. He scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and the LSAT and tutors both extensively. He has a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration as well as an MBA. Chaim lives in Inwood, New York. For questions, comments, previous articles or tutoring, he can be reached directly at or at 305-321-3342.


The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home



What’s in Your Resume? By Rabbi Mordechai Kruger


ould you take a look at my resume?” Yes, that would have to be the winner in the “Awkward Questions Most Frequently Asked” contest. The conversation usually goes something like, “Well, Rabbi Kruger, what do you do?” I teach people how to choose the right career and find the best possible job. “Really, oh, great! Could you…?” You’ve heard this before. So, why is this an awkward question? After all, a well-constructed resume is valuable in job hunting, and everyone could use a little help so their resume will stand out in the crowd. I do put a lot of effort into writing resumes, so if that’s what the client wants, well, why not? Because there’s a good reason why not. Imagine meeting a skilled baker, whose cakes are both beautiful and delicious. If you ask him to teach you how to make chocolate frosting, he may answer, “Sure, after I teach you how to bake a cake.” You see, great frosting doesn’t function by itself (except when you’re licking the beaters). It has to be part of a great cake. In job hunting, a resume can’t do anything on its own. It has to be part of the message that goes out to each potential employer, saying, in as few words

as possible, “I understand your job, and I am the best possible person to do it.” (Pay careful attention to the two halves of that sentence, they’ll be important soon.) That message has to be the focus of a 20 second “elevator pitch,” of a 90 second “sales pitch,” of a cover letter, and of a resume. All of them have to reach the same point, clearly and succinctly. So before I can evaluate a resume, I have to ask, what is the message you want your resume to deliver? At the bottom line, why are you the best person for the job? When I pose that question to my job-hunting clients, the most common response is an uncomfortable silence, followed by some really clichéd baloney about self-starting team player, blah, blah…which goes on until they realize that they’re wallowing so deep in the mustard that they may never get out. So to help them out, I suggest playing a game. I ask them to imagine that they are the hiring manager on the other side of the desk, interviewing people for the job in question. So if they were, what are the three most important things they would be looking for? Many years ago I learned a saying that quarterbacks think about during football games. It says that anytime you throw the football, three

things can happen, and two of them are bad. Anyone who needs an explanation of this can ask the nearest male. In this resume game also, three things can happen, and two of them are bad. The job-seeker may not be able to identify three key points about the job they want, which means they fail on the “I understand your job” part of the message, or they may know the points but have nothing in their background which can demonstrate that they are prepared to deliver on these points. That fails the “I am the best person to do the job” part of the message. Bonus pitfall: the job-seeker may know the points and have the background, but totally fail to articulate any of this in the resume. Some people aren’t sure they want their resume to say that they are the best person for the job. Maybe because we teach our children to be modest and humble, they don’t feel comfortable talking about their strengths, afraid of being a show-off. But I believe that anyone whose goal is to attract attention by displaying their superior skills is a show off. Someone who wants to show empathy for the potential employer, assuring him that his problems are understood, and showing how those problems will be

solved in a professional way, is about to become an employee. Read that last sentence carefully. Not “saying” you can solve the problems, but “showing.” An example will clarify the difference. If a bookkeeper’s resume says “Responsible for accounts payable,” that is saying, “I can handle your accounts payable.” But if it says, “Used QuickBooks to handle all accounts payable for a retailer with 5 locations in the New York Area, 125 employees and annual revenues of $100 million,” that is showing it. Which bookkeeper would you want to hire? So let’s take this a step at a time. Step one in resume writing is to write down three clear, succinct things that the hiring manager will definitely be looking for. Step two is identifying the things you did during your education and previous life/ work experience that show that you have the skills and talents needed. Once you have done that, you can start thinking about the exact words to use in your elevator pitch, your cover letter, and your resume. Isn’t there something missing in that last paragraph? Almost everyone writes a resume as if it is some kind of autobiography, except with bullet points and lots of clean, white space

on the page. If the whole resume is focused on the hiring manager’s thoughts and matching them to past accomplishments, where does the attendance prize in high school and the crafts counselor in summer camp job fit in? Where in my resume do I talk about ME? The answer, of course, is that if you explain how your attendance prize and your crafts counseling shows that you have a skill that is relevant to the job, then it belongs on the resume. But if you can’t show that relevance, then these points do not belong on the resume. Because your resume is not about you. It is about you being the best person for this job. So your resume has to say a lot in a few short clear phrases. Phrases that can be read in about 10 seconds or less. Phrases that can be expanded upon and discussed in a cover letter, an elevator pitch, and later in an interview. Start thinking about what your resume needs to say. And look for the next column to learn more.

Rabbi Mordechai Kruger’s Job Search for Champions has helped clients of all kinds find the jobs they really want. He can be reached at jobsearch

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



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The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


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The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


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The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016


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DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home



Once Upon a Time in Ustatia By Rocky Zweig


nce upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was a beautiful kingdom called Ustatia. Ustatia was a marvelous, happy place. It had vast expanses of gorgeous verdant valleys, magnificent, dense forests which were home to fantastic, exotic beasts, and skies the color of fresh lavender with pink cotton candy clouds. All the people of Ustatia were joyful and serene; even the peasants were content, leading the same simple existence as their fathers and their father’s fathers before them. Because of its lush, vibrant vegetation, Ustatian farmers were able to raise the healthiest, most productive livestock imaginable. The chickens laid large, delectable eggs and robust chicks. The sheep had luxuriously thick fleece, enough to warm all the realm throughout the cold winters. And oh, the cows! The dairy cows produced milk so sweet and rich, it spawned the kingdom’s number one industry and export: Ustatian Cheese! Yes, Ustatian Cheese was known around the globe as the finest cheese ever made, especially for grating. Connoisseurs around the world used the cheese on virtually everything: they grated it onto crack-

ers, bread, and baked potatoes. They grated it into soups, salad and ratatouille. Ustatians loved their cheese so much, they sometimes even grated it onto some truly outlandish foods, like watermelon and bananas! Even the far-off lands of Switzerland, Denmark, and Wisconsin all reluctantly ceded their reputations as purveyors of fine cheese and declared, “All hail Ustatia! All hail their cheese!” The founders of Ustatia were wise old sages. They held that the kingship should not be passed down from generation to generation simply by dint of birthright. So they did something completely radical and revolutionary: they decided that Ustatian kings shall serve for a specific term, and then the common folk would cast ballots to decide whether to allow him to stay on as their ruler or be replaced by another. And so it became the law of the land, and each and every time the king was compelled to adhere to this age-old mandate, lest he face the wrath of his subjects and the very real possibility of becoming intimately acquainted with the razor-sharp guillotine in the town square. Then one day the Ustatian citi-

zens elected a king named Bilagar. King Bilagar was charming, charismatic, and beloved, although it was soon discovered that he was evil through and through, a man of loose morals and questionable scruples. But because of his overwhelming allure, his subjects forgave even his most blatant indiscretions. The one thing that really irked the people, however, was his deplorable spouse: Queen Hilgamor was the most mendacious person ever to blight the throne with her mere presence. She was totally obnoxious, disingenuous, and downright mean. The king and queen were so utterly conniving that they actually plotted to steal the royal furniture and silver when they eventually vacated their posts! After King Bilagar and Queen Hilgamor, the people chose the utterly likeable but hopelessly dimwitted King Jorvak II. His father, the beneficent King Jorvak I, had had a relatively uneventful reign many years before, and the populace longed for some peace and tranquility after the turmoil caused by the evil Bilagar and Hilgamor. And then something unprecedented occurred: The citizens of Ustatia chose as their king a moor,

a brilliant young man of Berber and Arab extraction whose ancestors hailed from exotic, faraway lands from the deepest, darkest parts of the mysterious continent of Blorodia. His name was Barko. King Barko was young and handsome, suave and silver-tongued. And the people congratulated themselves for their wisdom in flying in the face of hundreds of years of tradition and choosing an outsider of such peregrine heritage as their leader. But soon it became apparent that they had made a terrible mistake: King Barko was a fiasco! He used his reign to fundamentally transform Ustatia from the glorious and prosperous place it had been into a veritable wasteland, his contemptible policies destroying the livelihoods of peasants and landowners alike, while turning Ustatia into a laughingstock amongst its neighboring lands. And he held his subjects in such disdain, he even appointment the evil Queen Hilgamor as one of his highest ministers! But the worst thing King Barko did was introduce a levy on the production of cheese! One of the most self-centered men on earth, he was lactose intolerant and couldn’t care

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016

less about dairy products. Furthermore, according to his warped worldview, the cheesemakers were too successful, and so needed to share their wealth with those less fortunate. And when not enough funds were flowing into the Royal Treasury to provide for those in Usatatia who were either too sick or simply too lazy to work, the wicked king raised the taxes even higher, until the once dynamic and profitable Ustatian cheese industry was taxed into oblivion and ceased to exist. Some of the Ustatian cheesemakers moved their facilities to neighboring lands, but the climate, soil, and water were nowhere near the caliber of Ustatia’s natural resources. And so their new product did not even come close to approximating the cheese of old and was roundly rejected by one and all, while they pined for The Real Thing. Then along came Sir Mittelrom, as fine a man as there ever was in all of Ustatia. Sir Mittelrom promised to return the country to its great and glorious stature of yore, before it was nearly destroyed by the malevolent King Barko. But alas! King Barko sent his henchmen throughout the land, spreading vicious rumors about poor Sir Mittlerom. He suggested that Sir Mittlerom had not contributed to the Royal Treasury as was required by law, had treated several wenches in a loathsome manner, and had once even beaten a small, defenseless dog! Of course none of these horrific allegations were true of the noble Sir Mittlerom, but once again the citizens were blinded by King Barko’s glamour and magnetism. Even though they knew things had gotten much, much worse during his reign, he somehow managed to convince them that it was their own fault! So believe it or not, they allowed King Barko to extend his reign, until, by the time he was done, the formerly wondrous land of Ustatia was virtually unrecognizable, a shell of its former self, about to be relegated to the ash heap of history. The masses were reeling. They needed a champion, someone who could lift them from their doldrums and remind them of the grandeur that was Ustatia before the scourge

of King Barko. And one day, a wannabe champion arrived in the person of a wild-eyed, unkempt, disheveled, white-haired septuagenarian escapee from the Royal Asylum named Sir Berlap. Sir Berlap made deranged, irresponsible promises: he was going to provide Royal Education for all, Royal Housing for all, pretty much Royal Everything for all, all gratis, while forcing the top 1% of noblemen to foot the bill. He also proposed a dissolution of all Ustatian borders so that the country in all its newfound glory could be shared by one and all. Many of the younger Ustatians,

some new blood!” But alas, their voices were all but drowned out by those still in Barko’s thrall, still collecting their monthly stipend, blissfully unaware that the state was on the verge of collapse. So when the evil Queen Hilgamor smiled beatifically, they became transfixed and declared, “We’re with her!” Then came a booming voice from the east. At first the people knew not from whence it came, but soon it was heard throughout the land: “I hear you,” it said, “I shall save you and restore Ustatia to its grandeur of yore!”

And one day, a wannabe champion arrived in the person of a wild-eyed, unkempt, disheveled, white-haired septuagenarian escapee from the Royal Asylum named Sir Berlap.

unfamiliar with history and full of naiveté due to the pap they had been fed in all the new-fangled, Barkonian universities, believed in Sir Berlap and flocked to him like disoriented pelicans. Like small, brainless lemmings, they were ready to follow Sir Berlap to the nearest financial cliff and tumble over into the abyss of economic catastrophe. “No!” roared King Barko. “This doddering, decrepit imbecile shall not be allowed to tarnish my legacy! We must set out to find a standard bearer who will continue my grand work of fundamentally transforming Ustatia! Yes, we have made wonderful progress, but there are still vestiges of the freedoms and liberties once enjoyed by all Ustatians. We cannot allow that to stand! Whom shall we offer up to all my feebleminded constituents as my rightful successor?” And so it came to pass that King Barko, in a horrifically disdainful act of arrogance, presented the evil Queen Hilgamor as his chosen replacement! And some Ustatians cried, “No! We’ve had enough of King Barko and his ilk! We need

Soon the people were able to identify The Voice: it belonged to Dondelle, a lowly court jester! The people laughed. They snickered, chuckled, giggled and finally guffawed. But Dondelle did not stop talking. He said he would reduce all levies, fix the economy, heal the sick, and restore Ustatia’s standing among both its allies and its enemies. At first, no one paid attention to the hapless court jester Dondelle. But he kept talking and talking and talking. He was brash and bold, and often obnoxious and profane. Eventually, some people started paying attention. Finally, he was able to captivate the commoners with his enticing promises. Almost miraculously, Dondelle began to have a following. While just a handful came to hear Queen Hilgamor speak when she visited a small town or hamlet, Dondelle’s gatherings drew thousands. Hilgamor, you see, was promising more of the same; Dondelle represented the hopes and dreams of the Forgotten Man, someone who would turn the status quo on its proverbial head.


And so, dear readers, we near the conclusion of our tale. Perhaps you can guess the happy ending: The people rose up and turned out in droves, the evil Queen Hilgamor was trounced, King Barko was finally vanquished, and his legacy of doom destroyed. And Dondelle the humble court jester (okay, maybe no so humble) was crowned King Dondelle. He assembled the finest minds in all the land and together they began the arduous journey toward achieving his ultimate goal of fulfilling the main promise of his campaign: “I’LL MAKE USTATIA GRATE AGAIN!”

Rocky Zweig has been writing since he was sixteen and was the Editor-in-Chief of the late and decidedly unlamented Modieinu, the mimeographed (remember mimeographs?) newspaper of the Tenth Avenue Pirchei of Boro Park, where he wrote everything from stories to news articles to hashkafa articles to... yes (now it can be told!)...letters to the editor. Rocky was sixteen a very long time ago. He is the proud father of three marginally neurotic children. He has been married three — count ‘em — three times and has finally determined that he’s probably not very good at matrimonial bliss. He lives in his Fortress of Solitude in Flatbush with a small menagerie: Clarice, a European Starling; Rabbi Horatio LeZard, a Bearded Dragon; an aquarium filled with Lake Malawi African Cichlids; and a ten gallon tank that functions as a Home for Unwanted Goldfish, or H.U.G., collected over the years by his grandkids and great nieces and nephews at myriad street fairs and carnivals (rather than face the unpleasant task of flushing these unfortunate piscine creatures when they are eventually, inevitably ignored by their own obnoxious progeny, the parents simply call Uncle Rocky who then feeds them and cares for them until their ultimate natural demise three or four or even ten years down the pike). So apparently Rocky seems to get along better with animals than with his fellow homo sapiens. Or sapienses. Or whatever. Rocky’s column will be appearing every other week in The Jewish Home. Rocky can be reached at


DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Life C ach

Pecan Pie By Rivki D. Rosenwald Esq., CLC, SDS


o what makes it a holiday? Every single week you’re cooking a chicken. So now you’re cooking a bigger chicken?! Maybe it seems different because

you leave out the kugel and replace it with a pumpkin pie? Or maybe it’s just nice to be together with family during the week in a nice formal way? Maybe what’s nice about it is that

there is nothing complicated here. No major demands, unless of course you feel compelled to go the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Otherwise the holiday just says what it is. In these times, when things are always more complex than we’d like them to be, it’s nice to confront straightforwardness. Things have become detailed, intricate, complicated. People don’t just walk around saying I have a cold or headache. Everyone is walking around with a code you have to decipher like ADD, or OCD, or an IEP. People can’t be open on dates anymore. They have to get back to a middleman, who has to figure out what you are really saying, in order to get back to the other person, and then figure out what that person is really saying, in order to get back to you! When it comes to communication we have to do a lot of it before we can actually do it. You have to ask: Do you email, or text, or Facetime or Snapchat or WhatsApp or Instagram, or…or…or? What happened to a simple, “Can I call you?” Do you spin or cycle or do yoga or do Pilates or weight lift or hang from the ceiling, or…or…or? What happened to “Do you exercise?” You can’t say how about something to eat without prefacing it with: Are you vegan or vegetarian or lactose- or gluten-free, or…or…or?

A latte, a cappuccino, macchiato, Frappuccino, SCHMAPACHINO. You can’t just ask, “How about a cup of coffee?” So you see what I mean. We’ve gotten more intense. More detailed. More specific! And sometimes it takes a lot longer to get to the point. I’m not making a judgement that these changes are necessarily good or bad. I’m just saying it’s nice when something can still be simple. Thanksgiving. There, that’s it, it says it all in two words. Like it or not, celebrate it or not, it’s just a day with no hidden agenda. Just a little wake up call. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” says the prolific English writer William Shakespeare. That’s true if the object has an essence of its own. But here the name gives it the essence. It’s all in the name. Without the name it would just be like any regular day of the week. Unless – and here’s the rub – you realize that any day, even without calling it Thanksgiving, can be as sweet. I’m simply adding, with no long winded details, that it’s up to you – any day can be worthy of thanksgiving!

Rivki Rosenwald is a certified relationship counselor, and career and life coach. She can be contacted at 917-705-2004 or

The Jewish Home | DECEMBER 1, 2016



DECEMBER 1, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Five Towns Jewish Home - 12-1-16  

Five Towns Jewish Home - 12-1-16

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