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The Week In News

‫ונשמרתם מאד‬ .‫לנפשתיכם‬

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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The Week In News

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Jewish Home is distributed bi-weekly to: ANAHEIM AGOURA HILLS BEVERLY HILLS BURBANK CALABASAS CAMARILLO COSTA MESA ENCINO GLENDALE HUNTINGON BEACH IRVINE LONG BEACH LOS ANGELES -BEVERLY HILLS

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Dear readers, Why is it that we have this almost hypnotic urge to look at the news? Bad news, terrible news, kvetchy news and even fake news. Almost anything becomes interesting as long as it’s not part of our lives. We can be blessed with health, a kind heart, good friends, a spouse, children, yet we don’t have the same natural thrill reflecting on these like when we read about someone else. We can probably blame it on that age-old adversary, the yetzer hara. This yetzer hara is a genius in knowing exactly where to put up a fight. He knows full well that each one of us knows what’s right and what’s wrong in our lives, what needs improvement and what’s needs strengthening. So, he came up with a simple solution: get us to focus on everyone else’s lives. Chaim should be learning more, Velvel should be more of a mentch, and Bracha should stop being late! The reality is the opposite. The only thing that matters is what’s happening in our lives. And in our lives, everything matters. If we shared a kind word with someone. If we didn’t have the last word in a disagreement. If we understood what we learned a bit better. Each and every thought, speech, or deed means everything to our Father in heaven and indeed changes the world for good. This is easier said than felt, but the joy of Sukkos allows us to rise above some of the nitty-gritty and leap into a world of clarity, truth and eternal messages. May the joy of Sukkos carry us until the truest joy mankind has known; when our Creator will remove His mask, revealing the strings behind the puppets, bringing all existence into harmony. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos and a most joyful z’man simchaseinu!

Shalom

T H E P R E M I E R J E W I S H N E W S PA P E R H I G H L I G H T I N G L A’ S O R T H O D OX C O M M U N I T Y The Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not neces­sarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The Jewish Home contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly. FOR HOME DELIVERY, OR TO HAVE THE LATEST ISSUE EMAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, SEND A MESSAGE TO EDITOR@JEWISHHOMELA.COM


OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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The Week In News Communicated

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

This Yom Tov, You Can Choose to Lose... and Gain at the Same Time Sounds impossible? It’s not. Sukkos is a beautiful yom tov, filled with lots of family time and a lot of delicious food. But it can be a challenge to stay healthy over yom tov. With United Refuah’s help,

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ganization, has always had one goal: to improve the health and wellbeing of klal Yisrael. How? By offering Jewish families the opportunity to share the burden of each other’s healthcare and medical costs. As healthcare costs continue to rise and traditional options are becoming increasingly unfeasible, United Refuah is offering the American Jewish community the chance to share in each other’s medical costs for as low as $219 a month. United Refuah is truly a nationwide healthshare community, with members from 34 states across the U.S. But the rapidly growing organization is not just about savings. It’s about a community of people united toward greater health. As the only Jewish healthsharing organization, United Refuah has created a community that is dedicated to the health and the well-being of its members, all based on Torah values and principals. So that’s how you can lose AND gain at the same time—by joining United Refuah HealthShare. This offer is for a limited time only, so sign up today to receive your glider! To take advantage of this incredible opportunity, contact us at info@unitedrefuahhs.org. or call us at (440) 7720700. You can also sign up by visiting our website, unitedrefuahhs.org. Be sure to mention ‘elliptical’ to take advantage of the offer! United Refuah HealthShare is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance. It is a thriving community of like-minded people who share medical expenses with one another, all based on Torah-true principles and values, with thousands of active members across the U.S.


OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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The Week In News

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OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Turning Educators into Leaders N. Aaron Troodler Along with imparting knowledge to children and adults, educators function  as role models for their students. While they train people, young and old, to become leaders in their own right, educators serve as leaders themselves. The challenge is how to make that leap from “educator” to “leader.” Fortunately, there is a fully developed program whose sole purpose is to teach leadership skills and facilitate leadership opportunities for individuals in the Orthodox community. Rabbi Pesach Lerner, D.Adm., founded the YIEP (Yeshiva Initiatives Educational Programs—www.theyiep.com) in 2004, and worked to create a rubric that would offer quality graduate programs to Orthodox students. The dream became a reality through a partnership with Bellevue University,  which is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the YIEP Master of Arts in Educational Leadership was created. The MA in Ed Leadership cohort program empowers students to use critical thinking skills to incorporate their everyday experiences with their academic coursework and train themselves for leadership positions in their communities. Students study leadership theories, current educational leadership issues, historical and modern-day leaders, organizational behavior, team and group dynamics, strategic leadership, and cognitive psychology applied to learning. The required courses for the MA in Ed Leadership, which are studied online and accessible anywhere, take approximately a year-and-a-half to complete. The next cohort, which will be the 15th MA in Ed Leadership group, begins in November 2019. Rabbi Lerner noted that  yeshiva and seminary degrees are accepted as fulfillment of the undergraduate degree requirement. Tuition is lower than New York area programs because it is based on Nebraska rates, since Nebraska is home to Bellevue University. “The program objective is to provide graduate educational opportunities for students who work in Jewish educational institutions and other organizations and are interested in obtaining a quality degree for career advancement purposes,” said Dr. Stephen Linenberger, Director and Instructor of the MA in Ed Leadership program. “It enables teachers, professionals and rabbis to increase their professional development in various ways, and is perfect for people who want to take the next step into an administrative role, as well as individuals who want to enhance their leadership skills both inside and outside of the classroom or in other work settings. We are proud to be able to help our students embrace their critical leadership roles.” “Our program is extremely unique because we allow students to contextualize material in their own worldview and in

their own environment,” added Dr. Linenberger, who pulls in culturally relevant lessons and encourages students to bring teaching from Judaism into the classroom. “Much of what we teach has its roots in the Judaic teachings of leadership. Learning from leaders in Jewish history how to improve one’s self through self-development is a big piece of what we do.” Through the MA in Ed Leadership program, students can get involved in various professional networks and are exposed to different opportunities that enable them to take that next professional step. YIEP students have gone on to pursue additional degrees in Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. “Our students who ultimately go on to other programs feel that they have a leg up after completing our program,” Dr. Linenberger said. Students take courses such as “Leadership Theories and Practices,” which explores the subject of leadership within diverse organizational and situational contexts, “Team and Group Dynamics,” which examines the need for leaders to understand group functions, and “Strategic Leadership,” which studies how leaders strategically create and affect organizational missions and goals. There is also a “Leadership Project,” which is an experience designed by the student and approved by a professor which provides the student with opportunities to develop an applied leadership development plan or generate a thesis or case study. “The MA in Ed Leadership offered me a graduate-level education about topics such as leadership, education, non-profits, psychology, and group dynamics, subject matters that I deal with in my current career on an almost daily basis,” said  Doni Silverstein, who  earned his MAEL from Bellevue University in 2006 and then earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University in 2014. “I really enjoyed the content and subject matter of each course, and it afforded me an interesting and fun learning experience.” “The doors and opportunities that this program opened for me are vast,” said Elad Barmatz, a former student. “Almost every aspect of this program is tailored for success, from the program itself, its environment, and the amazing individuals who run it. From its incredible teaching methodology, deadline flexibility, superb communication flow with the professors, and a schedule that is truly suitable for observant individuals, this program is invaluable.” Rabbi Lerner noted that the YIEP attracts all types of Orthodox Jews, including Yeshivish, Chassidish and Modern Orthodox, and that classes are for both males and females, but is sensitive to the guidelines of tznius and halachah. For more information about the program, contact Rabbi Lerner at  THEYIEP@gmail.com.


The Week In News

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home The Week InFire News From the

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

From the Fire

Simchas Torah Keeping the Connection By Rav Moshe Weinberger Adapted for publication by Binyomin Wolf

T

he Ponovezher Rav related that one Simchas Torah he was in Novardok. In the midst of the joyful dancing, the Alter of Novardok whispered to him that when a bachur, a student, comes to yeshiva he hopes that the atmosphere of Elul will turn him into a true ben aliyah, a growing person, who will shteig, grow, in learning and yiras Shamayim. If I see that he has not turned around during the month of Elul, I hope that the awesomeness of Rosh Hashana, the Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment, will turn him around. If that does not have an impact, I hope that the ten days of teshuva and Yom Kippur will create a revolution inside of him. But if even that does not work, then it could be that he is one of those people who are not necessary affected by the Yomim Noraim, the Days of Awe. Such people can still be brought around by the simcha, the joy, of Sukkos. But if even that does not work, then my last hope is Simchas Torah, which has tremendous power to affect people in a way that no other time of the year can. In order to understand Simchas Torah’s remarkable ability to affect us like nothing else, we will explore three questions. The first question is on the Midrash Tanchuma (29, Remez 782 - Parshas Pinchas), which offers the well-known parable of a king who takes care of his guests

during a seven day feast, but at the conclusion of the seven days, he says to his beloved son, “Now you and I will rejoice together for one day...” In order to explain the meaning of the parable, the Midrash explains that the guests correspond to the nations of the world for whom we offer seventy bulls in the Beis Hamikdash during Sukkos, but that after Sukkos, Hashem wants to spend some “quiet time” with His beloved child, the Jewish people. He therefore instituted the yom tov of Shmini Atzeres. The Midrash continues its wondrous explanation of the parable as follows: The Holy One says to the Jewish people, “Now you and I will rejoice together....” Once the Jewish people heard this, they began to praise Hashem by saying (Tehilim 118:24) “This is the day that Hashem has made, we will rejoice and be glad [“bo,” which could mean ‘in it’ or ‘in Him’].” Rav Avin says, “We do not know in what to rejoice; in the day or in the Holy one. Shlomo Hamelech (Shir Hashirim 1:4) therefore comes and explains, ‘We will rejoice and be glad in you [feminine],’ in you, [meaning] in Your Torah [the word ‘Torah’ is feminine].” Rav Avin’s question and answer is perplexing. He is not sure whether bo means “in it,” the day, or “in Him,” in Hashem. His an-

swer, however, based on the pasuk in Shir Hashirim, was that it means “in you,” in your Torah. This is difficult to understand because the Torah was not even one of the possible meanings of the word bo in the pasuk, “This is the day that Hashem has made, we will rejoice and be glad.” The second question relates to Rashi’s explanation of the essence of Shmini Atzeres (Vayikra 23:36) where he explains that before we return home from our visit to the Beis Hamikdash in Yerushalyim after Sukkos, Hashem says, “My children, please remain with me one more day; it is difficult for Me to part with you.” How does remaining one more day make saying goodbye any easier? It merely puts off the inevitable and makes saying goodbye even more difficult. In our home, when our older daughters first went to seminary for the year, we made a big journey to the airport together to say goodbye. All of the other parents went to say goodbye to their little girls going away for the first time for the year as well. There were many tears, and the extended goodbye in the airport just made the separation even more difficult. With our younger daughters, when it was time for them to depart for their year, we did not stage the extended goodbye in the airport because that just made the departure even more painful. So how does the

extended goodbye of Shmini Atzeres make saying “goodbye” to that additional level of closeness with Hashem on Sukkos any easier? In his earlier years, the Beis Halevi went to learn by Rav Shlomo Kluger in Brody for three months. At the end of the three months, it was time for the Beis Halevi to return to his family, so he went to see Rav Kluger to say goodbye and said the following: “Rebbe, when I came here, I had many kashas [questions]. And the rebbe has answered all of them. But I have one kasha that I know that the rebbe will not be able to answer.” Rav Kluger answered, “And how can you be so sure?” The Beis Halevi responded “Because I know that the rebbe has the very same kasha and that this kasha is bothering the rebbe even more than it is bothering me.” “Nu,” asked Rav Kluger, “what is the kasha?” The Beis Halevi answered, “The kasha is ‘kasha alai preidaschem,’ ‘it is difficult [kasha] for Me to part with you.” The Beis Halevi, Hashem, and the Jewish people share the same kasha. It is difficult to say goodbye. But how does delaying our separation by one day make our “separation” any easier? The third question is why Chazal, the sages, established Simchas Torah on Shmini Atzeres. The Torah established Shimin Atzeres as a day of togetherness for Hashem and the


OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Jewish people. What is the connection between this and the completion of the cycle of reading the Torah on Simchas Torah? There is one simple, yet deep answer to all three questions. Every Jew who takes Yiddishkeit seriously has one burning question this time of the year: how do we maintain the connection we feel with Hashem during the time of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkos and make it last throughout the rest of the year? Hashem established Shmini Atzeres to demonstrate His desire to keep His connection with us. But how do we go about maintaining that connection?

and bless you.’” When a Jew learns Torah, it reveals the great oneness between himself, Hashem and the Torah, as the Zohar says (73a), “The Holy One, the Jewish people, and the Torah are one.” Learning Torah is how we rejoice with Hashem. “Nagila v’nismicha bach, We will rejoice and be glad in you,” the Torah. The word bach, “in you,” has the numerical value of twenty-two, as if to say that we will rejoice in the twenty-two letters of the Aleph Beis that make up the Torah. Each one of us should make a commitment to learn a little more

TheFrom Weekthe InFire News

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

not have such a strong connection to the Torah the prior year but wants to start at Bereishis, at the beginning of the new cycle of the reading of the Torah. Every Jew has a connection to starting to learn more Torah in the coming year and becoming a Chasan Bereishis. We can all establish a specific plan to learn a bit more this year than we did last year. Through that, we have a relationship with the Torah and Hashem that will stay with us throughout the cold upcoming months without any Yomim Tovim.” I will conclude with the story

Connecting Throughout the Year The answer to this question is Simchas Torah. Indeed, delaying our “separation” from Hashem one extra day does make saying goodbye even harder. That extra day reminds us how precious our personal relationship with Hashem is to Him. As we encounter Simchas Torah as we leave this period of special closeness with Hashem, we realize that the only way to keep up the connection is through learning Torah. Those who have studied the fourth Sha’ar of Nefesh Hachaim or the seventh chapter of Tanya understand the unique connection to Hashem that we achieve through learning Torah. That is the key to maintaining a connection to Hashem throughout the year. That is why Rav Avin resolved the ambiguity of whether we should rejoice in the day of Shmini Atzeres or in Hashem by explaining that we should rejoice in the Torah. We realize on Shmini Atzeres that learning Torah is the key to continuing to rejoice in Hashem throughout the year. Shmini Atzeres shows us how precious we are to Hashem and motivates us to maintain our intimacy with Him by clinging to the Torah after yom tov is over. This is also apparent in the Gemara in Brachos 6a, which says, “How do we know that even if [just] one person sits and learns Torah that the Divine Presence is with him? As it says (Shmos 20:20), ‘Wherever I allow My name to be mentioned, I will come to you

“Every Jew has a connection to starting to learn more Torah in the coming year and becoming a Chasan Bereishis.”

than we did last year. That extra commitment to the Torah will help maintain our connection to Hashem from the Yomim Tovim into the year. A story is told about one of the members of the old Yerushalmi family, the Cheshins. Reb Yehoshua Cheshin was about to walk into his Beis Medrash during the dancing on Simchas Torah when he saw two very modern looking Jews standing at the door, somewhat timid about entering. He approached them and invited them to come in and join the dancing. One of them said, “To tell you the truth, rabbi, we have hardly studied any Torah this past year so we do not feel such a connection to the celebration of the completion of the Torah.” To this Reb Yehoshua explained to them, “We have two chassanim (grooms) on Simchas Torah. We have the Chasan Torah and the Chasan Bereishis. The Chasan Torah is the Jew who studied a lot of Torah the previous year, and he celebrates that connection. But the Chasan Bereishis is the Jew who did

told by Reb Isaac’l Kalover that I tell over every year before we begin Simchas Torah. The Kalover recounted that there was once a Jew who came to the big trade show in Leipzig to sell his merchandise. He planned to make a lot of money so he stayed at the nicest hotel he could find. While things did not work out as he planned in terms of selling his merchandise, he had a great time at the hotel. He ate the nicest meals than he had ever eaten in his life, and the bed and room were more comfortable than anything he had ever experienced in his little town. After a few days, management began to get a bit worried. They noticed that he wore the same clothes every day and seemed to be enjoying the food a little bit too much. One day after this Jew enjoyed a big meal the manager came over to him and asked him about his stay and the food. He assured the manager that he had never experienced such nice accommodations or such delicious food and that he was very satisfied. Still concerned, the manager showed him the bill and asked

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whether he thought there would be a problem paying it. Finally, the man admitted that while he had intended to make a lot of money at the big trade show, things had not worked out and he had no money to pay the bill. Infuriated, the manager grabbed the man and was about to take him to the police who were likely to beat him up and kill him. Protesting, the man said, “Wait! You won’t get any of your money back by handing me over to the police. But I will make an arrangement with you. I am a very talented dancer. Let me dance outside the restaurant and you will see that my performance will attract a crowd and you will make a lot of money through the additional business brought into your restaurant.” In fact, the Jew danced up such a storm that a large crowd gathered, and ultimately, the business brought in by his dancing far outweighed the cost of his own hotel stay and use of the restaurant. Reb Isaac’l concluded that during the previous year and even Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we have enjoyed the beautiful accommodations of this world, but that we do not have the Torah and mitzvos to “pay” for our stay here. But as the days of judgment come to an end on Hoshana Raba, we say to Hashem that He should not take us away from the world. The dead cannot serve Hashem. Rather, we promise that we will dance in honor of Hashem and the Torah on Simchas Torah and that our dancing will bring so much kavod Shamayim that it will more than “pay” for our stay in this world. May we dance our hearts out and bring much honor to Hashem and His Torah through our dancing, and may we increase our connection to Torah this year, thus bringing our connection with Hashem from the Yomim Tovim into the rest of the year, and may Hashem send us the complete redemption, may it come soon in our days. Rav Moshe Weinberger, shlita, is the founding Morah d’Asrah of Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, NY, and serves as leader of the new mechina Emek HaMelech.


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Torah Musings The Week In News

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Breaking Your Fall Sarah Pachter

While speaking to a friend on the phone, she asked me, “Sarah, do you ever experience a low? I know I do, but I’m wondering if that ever happens to you. You seem so confident and put together. Do you ever feel like things are falling apart for you, or that you are in a rut?” “Oh, you mean like last night?” I replied. “Of course, I experience lows!” (Pregnancy nausea, anyone?) “Of course, I fail! Of course, I have nights that I want to curl up with a pint of ice cream, finish it off, and then still long for more…” We’ve all heard the concept of “Tzaddik yipol sheva pa’amim.—A righteous

person falls seven times.” Everyone falls. And, of course, we know that getting back up is an essential characteristic of righteousness. But could it be that falling is what makes a person greater? Perhaps the down is more essential than we realize. Rabbi Aryeh Suffrin, Head of School for YULA Boys, expressed in a recent panel that he wishes people would come forward and speak about their mistakes. If someone would speak truthfully about failure, then explain how they moved forward, the students would gain so much. Niels Bohr famously stated, “An ex-

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pert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” Righteousness too requires failure. Despite this, it is disheartening to experience a low. Rosh Hashanah comes around, and after examining last year’s resolutions, we may shudder. Externally, we seem exactly the same and may be left to wonder, Will I ever change? Studies show that 80% of people break their New Year’s resolutions within ten days. That means the majority of us have failed by the time Yom Kippur arrives. How, then, are we meant to recoup? One glorious afternoon, I realized the answer. I was biking with my sister and our children. We rode all the way to Venice Beach, where they have half-pipe skateboarding. Locals and tourists from around the world can watch as the skateboarders fly up and then down. I quickly realized that if you don’t go down then you can’t fly back up! Embracing the down, knowing that there will be an up, is the key to success. The down actually gives us the adrenaline and momentum to rise back up. This explains that the down is important, but not how essential the down is for change. While playing yo-yo with my daughter one evening, the yo-yo hit her bed mid-fall. This prevented it from rising up again, for the yo-yo must reach the lowest point it can go in order to thrust itself back up. In both the skateboarding and yo-yo analogies, our lowest point is our turning point. It needs to precede the rise. Similarly, my third child, Emmy, was playing a game she calls “Balloonie.” If you have ever attempted to keep a balloon in the air after the helium started leaking out, you might have found that it’s rather difficult to do. Initially, Emmy would declare, “I’m just gonna hold on to the string to keep it from falling!” This worked well, until she realized that although holding on to the string prevented the balloon from dropping, it also prevented the balloon from rising. Eventually, Emmy learned to keep the balloon from touching the floor by continuously tapping it upwards. (This entertains her

for quite some time on Shabbos.) Perhaps this is an illustration of the concept that the greater the tzaddik, the greater the evil inclination. A person who cannot fall cannot rise, either. A deeper lesson, however, is revealed when examining a freshly filled helium balloon. A new balloon must immediately be held down with a weight or tied to something in order to prevent it from flying away. Although it is hard to keep a deflated balloon up, it is actually much harder to keep a newly inflated balloon down! This serves as a comparison to the neshamah. The neshamah of a Jew is a “pintele yid,” as Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis was famous for saying. It’s difficult to keep the pintele yid down; the inner neshamah wants to rise, and can rise, if you just take off the layers that are holding that balloon down. It’s like the flame of a candle that always points upward, no matter what direction you try to hold it. Falling happens to everyone, but it is important to remember that rising is natural, as well. This is how Hashem designed the human spirit! One evening, while tucking my son into bed, I briefly gazed at the artwork above his dresser. It is a modern piece with a simple swipe of black paint across the canvas, similar to a Nike swoosh, or the halfpipe of a skatepark. “Hey Josh, look! That painting looks like the mouth of a smile, no?” “Yeah, that’s true...” he responded sleepily. We all, at some point in our lives, will experience failure. It’s part of being human. But when it feels like you have lost your inner helium, keep in mind that being down is part of the process. You can rise again by remembering that the breath of air that Hashem infuses within you never dissipates. Sometimes, you are just in the low point of a cycle, like the yo-yo or skater in the half-pipe, gaining enough momentum to sail high again. It is because of, not in spite of, the falling that we can rise anew.


OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

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OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

A SUKKOS STORY

By Rabbi Shlomo Zevin

I

t was only a short time before Sukkos and in all of Berdichev there could not be found a single esrog. The tzaddik, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, and the entire kehilla were concerned about how they would be able to fulfill the mitzvah of lulav and esrog this year. They waited and waited, but no esrog arrived in town. Finally, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak told his followers to go to the closest highway – perhaps they would find a Jew who had an esrog. Eventually, they came upon a Jew, on his way home after a long journey, who had in his possession a beautiful esrog. But he didn’t live in Berdichev. He lived in another city, far away. He was only passing through on his way home. The people persuaded the traveling Jew to meet with the great tzaddik Rabbi Levi Yitzchak. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak tried to convince the Jew to spend Sukkos in Berdichev. This way, many Jews would benefit from performing the mitzvah of lulav and esrog over Sukkos, and Rabbi Levi Yitzchak would also have the zechus of the mitzvah over Sukkos. But the Jew wouldn’t agree. His missed his family. He had been away from home for a long time. How could he deprive them and himself of the simcha of yom tov together? Rabbi Levi Yitzchak tried to con-

vince him. He promised the Jew great wealth and nachas from his children. The Jew replied that, thank G-d, he had wealth and wonderful children and wasn’t in need of anything more. Finally, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak told the Jew that if he would stay in Berdichev and share his lulav and esrog with the townspeople he would spend eternity, after 120 years on this earth, with Rabbi Levi Yitzchak in the same daled amos in the World to Come. When the Jew heard this incredible offer, he knew it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. He immediately acceded to the tzaddik’s request and agreed to remain in Berdichev for the yom tov of Sukkos. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and the whole community were ecstatic, and the man with the esrog was delighted with the offer, too. But, unbeknownst to the traveler, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak had issued a command to the townspeople of Berdichev that under no circumstances should they allow this Jew to enter any of their sukkahs over the yom tov of Sukkos. No one could understand why the tzaddik issued this edict, but it was his decree and they listened to him wholeheartedly. On the first night of Sukkos, after davening, the traveling Jew returned from shul to the inn where he was staying. He found in his room wine,

candles, challah, and a table covered with food. But the guest was confused. Didn’t the innkeeper know that you need to eat in a sukkah over Sukkos? He went into the yard, and, sure enough, there was a sukkah there. The innkeeper and his family sat around the beautifully set table, basking in the simcha of yom tov. But when he tried to enter, they wouldn’t let him in. Why? the Jew wondered. There was no answer from the innkeeper or his family. So he left and went to the neighbors across the street, each one in their own sukkah. And every time he asked permission to enter someone’s sukkah, he found himself being barred from entry. He begged them – please, just for a moment – to enter their sukkah. But each person silently wouldn’t allow him in. Finally, he heard that Rabbi Levi Yitzchak had issued a decree that he should not be allowed into a sukkah in Berdichev this yom tov. In a panic, he ran to the tzaddik’s home. “What is this? What did I do wrong?” he begged Rabbi Levi Yitzchak. The tzaddik answered, “If you will nullify our agreement that we made in which I promised to allow you to sit near me in the World to Come in

exchange for your esrog, I will immediately instruct my followers to permit you into their sukkahs.” The Jew was astonished. “What can I do?” he thought to himself. “It’s not an insignificant thing to sit near the holy tzaddik Rabbi Levi Yitzchak in the World to Come. But, on the other hand, I have never missed the mitzvah of sitting in a sukkah. How can I miss out now, on the first night of yom tov, and not fulfill this mitzvah?” Finally, he came to a conclusion. Is it possible that all of Israel will sit in a sukkah tonight and I will eat outside like a non-Jew? Chas v’shalom! He publicly renounced the agreement that he had made with the tzaddik and then sat down in the sukkah. When yom tov was over, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak summoned the Jew to his home. “Now,” said the tzaddik, “I am returning my promise to you. You see, I did this to teach you that I didn’t want you to earn the merit of the World to Come for no reason – like it’s another business deal or bargain. I wanted you to earn a place in the World to Come because of your deeds and so caused you to be tested in the mitzvah of sukkah. “Now that you have passed the test, and have shown a true devotion to the sukkah, you truly are deserving to be my partner in the World to Come.”


OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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Torah scholars, book collectors, and all bibliophiles will welcome a new tool with which to enrich the Torah bookshelf: Sifrei Yesod. Sifrei Yesod is a guide to Hebrew classics compiled by brothers Reb Chaim and Reb Betzalel Stefansky with the assistance of Rav Isamar Metzger. Sifrei Yesod is a list of the most fundamental, influential sefarim in the Jewish library: Tanach, Mishnah, Gemara & commentaries, halachah and rulings, kabbalah, chassidus, medrashim, mussar, hashkafah, as well as siddurim, machzorim, and haggados. By definition, this is not a comprehensive list of all books ever printed in the above areas of Torah; rather, it includes those works that have withstood the test of time, proven to have had the greatest impact on world Jewry to this day. Sifrei Yesod is a must for collectors and anyone interested in determining which sefarim are considered all-time Jewish classics, when they were first published, and most importantly, which edition is the most complete and accurate. One of the most challenging aspects in creating Sifrei Yesod was not in collecting the titles, but in choosing which to include and which to leave out. To this end, the Stefansky brothers spared no effort and pored over numerous lists and consulted with talmidei chachamim and academics with the goal of arriving at the most correct decision. A question that comes up often is how to classify a sefer that most people don’t know about today, but which, in previous generations, was studied universally. A prime example is Bechinas Olam, a sefer on mussar and emunah by the Rishon Yedaya Hapenini, printed at the dawn of Jewish printing. Its overwhelming popularity is underscored by the fact that the greatest gedolei Torah, such as the Tosafos Yom Tov, wrote commentaries on it, and that it was reprinted over one hundred times. Moreover, it had a major impact on many later mussar sefarim; yet today, only a handful of scholars are familiar with it.

By contrast, many fundamental Rishonim, such as the Ritva and the Meiri, the “bread and butter” in almost every yeshiva, were not available to most Acharonim! Other questions involve works that were widely influential in one part of the world, but not in others, such as the works of the Maharal—accepted in Ashkenazic communities across Europe but virtually unknown in the Sephardic world—or, alternately, sefarim by Rav Chaim Abulafia and Rav Chaim Falaji, basic texts among Sephardim, but with which Ashkenazim had minimal familiarity. The Stefanskys stress that there was no intention whatsoever to belittle any sefer, chas v’shalom; rather, the aim was to be judicious and include only those sefarim recognized by the majority of Jewish communities worldwide as having the greatest relevance to the Torah library. That said, they are the first to admit the possibility of having erred in their judgment and open the discussion to the public. Sifrei Yesod is organized according to subject, with each title numbered, and easily found in the clearly annotated index at the front. Entries include the name of the sefer, the author, the date and venue of publication, and the general contents as well as a photo of the first-edition title page. Those who lack experience with book collecting may not realize that procuring these photos was the most time-consuming, challenging part of compiling Sifrei Yesod. “We traveled all over the world, to private collectors and libraries,” says Reb Chaim Stefansky. The significance of being able to see the title page cannot be overestimated, as they facilitate identification of the book in question, especially when there are multiple editions, or different works with the same title. Much thought was devoted to the order of the listings, and which almost always appear in the order of their writing as opposed to order of printing. The order of the chapters was likewise established with the intent to enable the reader to progress from chapter to chapter in a logical, sequential manner. Sifrei Yesod is the culmination of hundreds of hours of painstaking research and fact-checking via private sefarim collections in various points across the globe, university libraries, as well as bibliographies and catalogues. Available at all leading sefarim stores in the U.S. and Canada, Sifrei Yesod is sure to serve as an effective, reliable tool for anyone seeking definitive information on classic Jewish texts.

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OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Yiddishe Kop Behind A Yiddishe Kop TJH Speaks with Artist and Author Gadi Pollack

F

ischel, the naive schlemiel with an untucked shirt, is easy bait for the sly antics of fraudsters. Fischel and other colorful characters appear in many of Gadi Pollack’s 45 published books that teach timely Torah messages to young and old. Gadi’s most recent publication, Part III of his Yiddishe Kop series of illustrations aimed to sharpen one’s mind, is enjoyed by adults, as well by children. “My art teacher influenced me,” Gadi says. “The main message that he told us is that an object that is so complete is a blank sheet of paper. It has the potential to contain everything. Everything in humanity has its own blank sheet of paper. But you need to get it dirty. Therefore, do the best you can.” In the living room of Gadi Pollack’s Kiryat Sefer home hang portraits from his book, The Desert Diary. Gadi, dressed in a white shirt and a groomed beard, appears as a typical yungerman in Kiryat Sefer. But his Russian past of numerous spiritual hurdles is anything but typical for his Israeli neighbors. Indeed, one of Gadi’s first spiritual encounters was with a Christian minister.

G

adi’s great-grandfather, Rav Yosef Shimon Pollack, a resident of Austria-Hungary, was a talmid of the Chasam Sofer. He authored Sefer Rashei Besamim. Rav Yosef Shimon’s son, Rav Moshe Yehuda Pollack, was the sonin-law of the Rav of Sarata, then part of Romania.

But spiritual life changed for the worse when Russia conquered the region as part of the Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement with Nazi Germany. The Jews were the targets of rampant anti-Semitism. Nevertheless, Rav Moshe Yehuda remained with his kehillah. Unfortunately, he was murdered by Ukrainian peasants. His wife succumbed to typhus as she attempted to escape to Russia. The Russian government sent Gadi’s father, Yona, and his siblings to an orphanage in Kirgizia, away from the warfront. In the orphanage, Gadi’s father was educated the Russian way, bereft of Yiddishkeit. When Yona reached 18, he enlisted in the Russian army as a musician. He was reunited with his sister, who lived in Odessa. Eventually, Yona married. Gadi was born in Odessa, then a port city in the Soviet Union that is currently part of Ukraine. As an officer, Gadi’s father was on the move, from Taskent to Kharkov, and later to northern Russia. Eventually, the family resettled in Moscow. Gadi grew up in a musical home. Despite attempts to learn piano, Gadi discovered that he could most successfully express his creative talents in art. At age

17, Gadi enrolled in the Academy of Arts in Kishinev. Since Gadi’s father grew up in an orphanage, he knew very little about his Jewish heritage. However, Gadi’s maternal aunt “observed everything – in secret.” The reason for this covert observance was that it was a considered a criminal offense to transmit Jewish laws and customs to the next generation. Despite the rest of the family’s ignorance of Jewish laws, they knew that they were Jewish. Gadi’s maternal grandparents even spoke Yiddish to each other. The underlying feeling, though, was that it’s not good to be Jewish; one should be ashamed of their Jewish heritage and their race. Gadi received his fair share of beatings in school for being a member of the Jewish People. After being beaten, Gadi asked his father in jest whether he could get rid of his Jewish identity. Half seriously, Yona responded, “We don’t have enough money to change our identification documents.” Some Russian Jews were able to remove any trace of their Jewish status from legal documents – by paying a hefty bribe to a government official. (Descendants of Russian Jews who got rid of their kesubah and


OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

other proofs of their Jewish identity currently have a difficult time proving their Jewish halachic status.) Did Gadi observe anything? “We ate matzos on Pesach – in addition to bread,” he recalled. “But we didn’t know anything about Yom Kippur.” It was dangerous to openly practice Judaism in the Soviet Union – even the small amount of traditions that the Pollacks knew. As an officer in the Russian army, Gadi’s father was afraid to openly

convinced of the existence of Hashem in the world, the Israelis challenged him, “And what if we’re right that Hashem exists, and He has commanded us to keep the Torah?” So Gadi decided to begin mitzvah observance. “What should I begin observing?” Gadi asked his mentors. “Recite Shema every morning and evening,” they implored him. So Gadi began with this mitzvah.

“HaKadosh Baruch Hu has unlimited ways to provide inspiration.”

eat matzah on Pesach in front of his comrades. Seventy years of Communism were almost 100 percent successful in removing all vestiges of Yiddishkeit from Russian Jewry. Under Soviet rule, the common tale of a lack of observance and widespread ignorance of basic Judaism was rampant. The Communists would have succeeded if not for the clandestine operation of individual Jews from outside the Soviet Union who illegally taught Torah to their brethren living behind the Iron Curtain. Gadi’s first introduction to Yiddishkeit was from a Christian minister. The minister commissioned Gadi to illustrate stories from the Bible. In order to accurately portray the verses from the Bible, Gadi began reading the Bible for the first time. He was intrigued to find that the Old Testament refers to the Jewish People and the Land of Israel, without any references to Christianity. When Gadi asked theological questions to the minister about Christianity, the minister shrugged him off, saying that the contradictions were a matter of faith. Another time, in Kishinev, Gadi met a group of Jewish youth sporting yarmulkes. He spoke to them in English, identifying himself as Jewish. They told him that they were Israeli madrichim working for the Jewish Agency for a youth camp program for Russian-speaking Jews. They offered Gadi a job as an English-Russian translator in exchange for free room and board in the program. During his encounter with the religious Israelis, Gadi began questioning belief in Hashem. Gadi was shocked by their rational answers about Hashem and the Torah. It was such a breath of fresh air from the Christian minister, who dodged difficult theological questions. Although Gadi wasn’t yet fully

Soon after, Gadi’s parents, who had left Soviet Russia for Switzerland, were planning to visit Gadi at his small Kishinev apartment. Instead of looking forward to the reunion, Gadi was most concerned how he would reveal his decision to embrace Yiddishkeit. The studio apartment was too small to find a corner to hide. Gadi’s parents arrived. How would Gadi pray in front of them? In the Soviet Union, citizens were educated with the Marxist doctrine that “religion is the opiate of the people.” The Soviets allowed the older gen-

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eration to practice religion. But they persecuted and arrested anyone who “dared” to practice organized religion. He was sure that mentioning to them his decision to say Shema would be not welcomed, as they would think that he had lost his mind. Hoping to evade his parents’ eyes, Gadi decided to wake up early in the morning to clandestinely recite Shema. Upon awaking, Gadi was surprised to see a light lit in the living room, as he thought that he had turned off the light before going to bed. As he approached the living room, Gadi was surprised to notice his father wrapped in a tallis and donning tefillin. It turned out that Gadi’s parents were introduced to Yiddishkeit by their religiously observant cousins living in Switzerland. Ironically, just as Gadi was afraid to reveal to his parents that he was starting on the path toward mitzvah observance, his parents were also afraid to tell him of their tentative steps towards Yiddishkeit. Gadi was encouraged by his relatives from Switzerland to make aliyah. Upon arriving in Israel, he was reunited with his father’s aunt’s family, who lived in Bnei Brak. His uncle encouraged him to join a Bnei Brak yeshiva, where he flourished in Torah learning. Eventually, Gadi was able to combine his talents of art with his Torah knowledge by illustrating books on Torah topics.

T

o an illustrator, a blank sheet is a means of expressing one’s inner thoughts. “There’s always fear from a blank sheet. Whatever you perceive in

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

your mind, when drawing, you see that it’s not necessarily what you had in mind. If I change what I originally intended – well, that’s a compromise,” Gadi explains. “There are many blank pages,” he adds. “So don’t fear about starting again – you’ll have another chance. “This is like what happens in life. HaKadosh Baruch Hu draws us; we don’t have so many ‘pages’ – maybe 70, 80, or 90. So we need to draw well with the limit-

ed supply of blank pages that Hashem has provided.” When asked what gives Gadi inspiration for his drawings and his works, he replies, “Many people ask me that question. But I don’t really know how to answer. There are all sorts of things in my surroundings. Hakadosh Baruch Hu gives me an idea, and I start the process.” He adds, “HaKadosh Baruch Hu has unlimited ways to provide inspiration.”

The inspiration for his Yiddishe Kop series, for instance, came from his childhood. Gadi remembers enjoying a Russian comic series during his youth that was replete with logic and riddles. Using that premise, he came up with three books (so far) for frum children (and adults) that feature his intricate drawings that provide subtle hints to the backgrounds and goings-ons of the characters in the book. Indeed, one needs a “Yiddishe kop” to figure out the answers to Gadi’s questions on the pages. Inspiration is key to completing a project. In fact, if Gadi doesn’t see that a project will flow smoothly, he won’t begin to take on that project. “Even if someone would offer me a large amount of money for a project that doesn’t interest me, I won’t take it,” he says. If there’s no inspiration, he knows that project won’t succeed. Even so, “despite my being already 20 years in the marketplace, it’s hard to know which projects will sell. There are projects that I was confident that would become bestsellers that didn’t break even. On the other hand, I didn’t think that my A Yiddishe Kop series would be so popular, and the series has become a bestseller. So it’s hard to know. Therefore, I take on projects that interest me.” Gadi admits that he has produced works that have not been successful despite the efforts that he expended to complete them. He recalls, “Of the 45 books that have been published, 42 of them were successful. Without going into specifics, three projects were unsuccessful; within those three, two of them I was certain they would change the world. What was the difference between my successes and failures? There were disputes! Two of the disputes were settled in beis din. At the end, the beis din agreed with my side. But even when I was right – when there were disputes, I didn’t succeed in book sales.”


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OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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Russian Journalist Held in Iran for Spying

A Russian journalist is facing 10 years in an Iranian prison after being arrested for spying for Israel. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) detained Yulia Yuzik, a journalist who had previously worked in Iran, in her Tehran hotel room last week. Authorities have accused her of working for Israeli intelligence and have kept her behind bars ever since.

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Her plight was first publicized by her ex-husband, Boris Voytsekhovsky, who wrote on Facebook that his former wife had been invited to visit Iran by a former colleague of hers during her time working there. Upon arrival, her passport was taken by Iranian immigration authorities who told her that she would get it back upon departure. Yet, days later, security agents arrested Yuzik in her hotel room and charged with her espionage. “The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps broke into her hotel room yesterday and accused her of cooperating with Israeli security services,” said Voytsekhovskiy. While the charges were not specified, Yuzik has visited IDF bases in the past as part of her job. “She was in Israel 10-12 years ago for work when she was a correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda,” Voytsekhovsky noted. “She was working on an article about what it’s like to serve for a few days in the Israeli military. Naturally, in order to write the article, she got in touch with some Israeli officers to receive permission.” Russia’s Embassy in Tehran refused to shed any light on the affair, saying only that it was “sorting out the situation.” However, signs emerged on Sunday suggesting that the journalist will be released soon, with the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswom-

an saying that Iran’s ambassador was summoned “to quickly clarify the circumstances” of her arrest.

Turkey Launches Offensive in Syria

On Sunday, the White House announced that it would step back and allow Turkey to advance a planned Turkish military offensive in northern Syria. The move marks a major shift in U.S. foreign policy and effectively gives Turkey the green light to attack U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. The group, long considered as among Washington’s most reliable partners in Syria, has played a key strategic role in the campaign against ISIS in the region. “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” a statement said follow-

ing a phone call between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area.” The White House added that Turkey would now be responsible for all captured ISIS fighters who are currently being held by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria. As of last month, the US said about 1,000 US troops were operating in northeastern Syria. Erdogan confirmed on Monday that U.S. troops had begun withdrawing from northeast Syria. He announced on Saturday that Turkey had “completed our preparations and action plan” and was ready to launch a “ground and air operation” east of the Euphrates river, with the goal of establishing “peace” by clearing the region of “terrorists.” Turkey’s operation is aimed at clearing the U.S.-backed Kurdish militia – the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – away from Turkey’s border. Ankara regards the YPG as a terrorist group affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought the Turkish state for more than three decades. But the U.S. backs the YPG and credits the Kurds for helping defeat ISIS in Syria.


The Week In News

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The U.S. and Turkey have been working to establish the buffer zone, which the U.S. calls a “security mechanism,” in northeast Syria as part of a bid to prevent a military incursion into the area that would target Syrian Kurdish groups. Trump’s decision to allow Erdogan to move forward with the operation and to move U.S. forces out of the area goes against efforts by US officials to dissuade Turkey from carrying out a military intervention. “Any uncoordinated military operation by Turkey would be of grave concern as it would undermine our shared interest of a secure northeast Syria and the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Pentagon spokesman Sean Robertson said recently. He added that the U.S. was committed to implementing the security mechanism, or safe zone, and contrary to Erdogan’s comments, said it was “on time, or ahead of schedule, in many areas.” Turkey plans to resettle two million Syrians in a 30-kilometer-wide (18.6 miles) safe zone to be set up in Syria, stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij.

4 Killed in Paris Stabbing Attack

Four people were killed on Thursday after an Islamic terrorist went on a stabbing spree outside Paris police headquarters. Mickael Harpon, a civilian employee working for a police intelligence unit, began his rampage on Thursday evening. Within minutes, three men and a woman, all colleagues of his, were dead. The murderous spree only ended after Harpon was shot dead by a police officer just a few minutes later. In the hours after the stabbing, President Emmanuel Macron visited the police headquarters in support of the officers. “Paris weeps for its own this afternoon after this terrifying attack in the police headquarters. The toll is heavy, several officers lost their lives,” tweeted Mayor Anne Hidalgo. Following the attack, Paris district attorney Jean-Francois Ricard told reporters that police believed Harpon had acted out of his newfound beliefs in radical Islam. Francois-Picard said that the 45-year-old Harpon, a police expert in monitoring jihadi terror cells, had, in fact, been in contact with members of the “Salafist Islamist movement” and had been plotting an attack for months. Harpon had begun to wear tradition-

al Islamic garb in recent months and refused to have “have certain kinds of contact with women.” He also “agreed with certain atrocities committed in the name of that religion” such as the 2015 attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris. According to Le Parisien, Harpon screamed out in joy at his job after learning about the attack that killed 12 people at the newspaper’s headquarters. Later that year, Harpon shared an article on Facebook which claimed that “France is ranked at the top of the most Islamophobic countries in Europe.”

The Most TravelFriendly Passports of 2019 Looking to travel the world? Make sure to pack your passport – your Japanese and Singaporean passports, that is. Japan’s and Singapore’s passports are the world’s most travel-friendly passports this year, according to the Henley Passport Index. The index measures the access afforded by each country’s travel documents. The two Asian countries’ passports each allow holders to enter 190 countries. In second place are Finland, Germany, and South Korea, with each of those country’s passports allowing their citizens access to 188 countries without visas. Following the five, in third place, are Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg, each allowing access to 187 countries. France, Spain, and Sweden tie for fourth place, with their passports providing access to 186 countries each. Meanwhile, both the U.S. and UK have dropped from first place in 2014, to sixth place this year – their lowest rankings since 2010, CNN noted. Bringing up the bottom of the list are Afghanistan’s passports, which offer access to just 25 countries without prior visas; Iraq, offering access to 27 countries; and Syria, offering visa-free access to 29 countries. Somalia and Pakistan each offer access to 31 countries, while Yemenites can travel freely to 31 countries.

N. Korea: Talks with U.S. Have Failed North Korea warned this week that the U.S. must adopt a new negotiating stance by the end of the year or relations between the countries “may immediately come to an end,” state media reported on Sunday. “We have no intention to hold such sickening negotiations as what happened this time before the U.S. takes a substantial step,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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State media also said the U.S. report of another meeting in two weeks is a “completely ungrounded story.”

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

its nuclear weapons and program before any sanctions are eased against the Hermit Kingdom.

Haitians Protest, Demand President Step Down

The report comes just one day after U.S. and North Korean negotiating teams met in Stockholm for an eight-hour meeting, in the first negotiations session since February. Though the U.S. State Department reported positively about the meeting, North Korean chief negotiator Kim Myong Gil told reporters that it “failed” to live up to expectations and “broke down.” The meeting was “no better than an empty hope,” the Sunday report said. The U.S. has insisted that North Korea freeze its nuclear efforts and eliminate

Haitians called for a massive protest on Friday, demanding President Jovenel Moïse step down due to corruption allegations and rising inflation, among other things, CNN reported. The protests, which have involved thousands and occurred intermittently since February, include burning car tires and clashes with the Port-au-Prince police. Seventeen people have been killed in the past few months in the protests.

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Protesters called on other countries to withdraw support for Moïse, blaming him for Haiti’s economic and social problems. “If they love Jovenel that much, then send him somewhere else,” said Assad Volcy, who launched a political party two years ago but is joining forces with opposition leaders from other parties trying to oust Moïse. “We’re going to keep protesting until he resigns or goes to jail.” Last Monday, a Haitian senator appeared to open fire during chaos outside the Parliament building. On Wednesday, the United Nations said the protests have impacted its humanitarian efforts, causing fuel shortages, a lack of safe water, and limiting access to medical care. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General, said schools have been closed for two weeks, leaving Haiti’s 2 million children “without any access to education.” He added that the UN has requested that “all parties” refrain from use of violence. In a video last week, Moïse refused to resign. It was reported that Moïse’s administration distributed food and school supplies at a Thursday event. An additional round of protests is expected to take place on Friday, and locals are stocking up on supplies and cash before the protest breaks out.

Nobel Prize for Medicine

William Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter Ratcliffe, and Gregg Semenza are being awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their pioneering research into how human cells respond to changing oxygen levels. Announcing the prize at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm on Monday, the Nobel committee said that the trio’s discoveries have paved the way for “promising new strategies to fight anaemia, cancer and many other diseases.” The importance of oxygen has long been established, the committee explained, but how cells adapt to changes in its levels remained unknown. “This is something basic biology students will be learning about when they study, at aged 12 or 13, or younger, biology and learn the fundamental ways cells work,” Randall Johnson, prize committee member said. “This is a basic aspect of how a cell works and, from that standpoint alone, it’s a very exciting thing.” All three scientists worked independently over a period of more than two decades to establish how cells can sense

and adapt to changing oxygen availability. The 2019 prize laureates identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying oxygen levels. Johnson added that the laureates had “greatly expanded our knowledge of how physiological response makes life possible” and were “necessary actors in figuring out how this whole thing works.” Explaining why the scientists were being recognized now, Johnson said their discoveries were now a “complete and clear story.” “It’s very clear that we now understand this fundamental biological switch that really impacts all our lives as living creatures here on earth breathing oxygen.” New York-born Kaelin began his own research laboratory at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and became a full professor at Harvard Medical School in 2002. Semenza, also born in New York, became a full-time professor at Johns Hopkins University in 1999 and since 2003 has been the Director of the Vascular Research Program at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering. Ratcliffe, who was born in Lancashire, England, studied medicine at Cambridge University and established an independent research group at Oxford University, becoming a full professor in 1996. The three laureates will share the 9m Swedish kronor ($907,000) equally.

Outrage after Jewish Child Forced to Kiss Feet of Muslim Classmate

The now-viral photograph of a 12-year-old Jewish child being forced to kiss the shoes of a Muslim classmate in Australia shines a spotlight on the country’s rising anti-Semitism problem. In the picture, Taylor (a pseudonym) is seen bending over to kiss his classmate’s shoes. The 12-year-old Taylor had been lured to the park by the promise of a pick-up soccer game, only to find that it was a pretense designed to further bully him. Taylor was then threatened with gang violence if he did not comply with their demands. After adhering, his classmates shared the picture all over social media. Following the incident, the boy’s mother attempted to get Cheltenham Secondary


The Week In News

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Baghdad and in several provinces across Iraq on Tuesday and Wednesday. Security forces responded with bullets to rock-throwing protesters, with the most violent protests reported in Nasiriya and Baghdad. At least 93 people were killed and 3,978 injured in the violent protests across Iraq, Ali Akram al-Bayati, a member of the Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq, told CNN. Of those killed, 38 are protesters and three are security officers. According to al-Bayati, 363 Iraqi security personnel and 1,261 demonstrators are among the injured. Iraqi security forces have detained at least 454 people since the protests erupted. Among those detained, 287 have been released. The recent protests are the first since the current government came to power. On Thursday, Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi promised his citizens that the government has begun implementing “big reforms to provide jobs and to end poverty.” In a Friday letter read aloud by an assistant, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani wrote: “It is sorrowful that there have been so many deaths, casualties and destruction. The government and political sides have not answered the demands of the people to fight corruption or achieved anything on the ground.” He also urged both sides to step back “before it is too late.” Mahdi, for his part, invited political representatives of several parties to a meeting and said, “Today we are pulled between two options: having a state or having no state.”

Hong Kong Imposes Emergency Powers

Iraqis Take to the Streets Iraqis in the country’s capital and six southern provinces took to the streets last week in anti-government protests. The protests began last Tuesday. Long power outages, rising unemployment, and rampant government corruption have led to growing discontent in recent years. Many in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water, and the unemployment level is around 10%.

Demonstrations erupted in the capital

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College officials involved, only to be told that they could do nothing as the incident did not happen on school grounds. “I took such offense with the Education Department, because there was nothing they did to protect my son at all, at any point in time – that’s what’s cut me up,” she said. The school also denied that the humiliating picture was connected to anti-Semitism in any way. “It’s not anti-Semitism, it’s just bullying,” the principal said according to Taylor’s mom. “I don’t want to make other students feel uncomfortable.” After the photo went viral, Australia’s Anti-Defamation Commission warned that anti-Semitism in Australia is “rapidly spreading.” Speaking with the Daily Mail Australia, Commission Chairman Dr. Dvir Abramovich noted that Australia has seen a consistent rise in anti-Jewish attacks. “This is a stain on Victoria’s education system that will long endure,” said Abramovich. “Bullying and harassment of Jewish students at public schools is a deeply embedded virus that is reaching pitch-fever and should alarm us all. We are gradually reaching a point of no return.” The incident was not the first time Taylor has experienced abuse at school for the sole crime of being Jewish. Upon joining Cheltham earlier this year, he was welcomed by his classmates who were impressed by his soccer skills. “But as soon as they identified that Taylor played for [Jewish soccer team] AJAX, they identified him as Jewish, and that’s where it all started,” his mother said. Since then, the boy has experienced constant bullying and is often chased home from school by a pack of boys yelling anti-Semitic taunts.

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Hong Kong police shot and wounded a teenage boy on Friday during violent protests across the city. For almost four months, Hong Kong citizens have held anti-government protests, in the region’s largest political crisis since it gained autonomy from Britain in 1997. At a news conference, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said face masks would be banned on Saturday under emergency laws enacted “in the public interest.” But in response to the face mask ban, protesters set fire, threw firebombs at police, and burned the Chinese flag. Protesters also shouted, “Hong

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Kongers, revolt!” and “You burn with us.” One officer in Hong Kong’s Yuen Long district fired in self-defense after a protester threw a firebomb at him, setting him aflame. The 14-year-old who was shot was reported to be in serious condition, local media reported. Police working to disperse protesters in the Causeway Bay, Sha Tin, and Wong Tai Sin areas sprayed tear gas at protesters. One university student, Samuel Yeung, said that the anti-mask law “has become a tool of tyranny.” “They can make use of the emergency law to enact any policies or laws that the government wants. There’s no rule of law anymore. We can only be united and protest,” he said. But Lam said that “almost all” protesters wear masks and “that’s why they have become more unbridled.” “We can’t keep the existing regulations idle and let violence escalate and the situation continue to deteriorate,” she explained.

PA Agrees to Accept Tax Money from Israel In a sudden about-face, the Palestinian Authority has agreed to accept tax money collected from Israel despite money being deducted due to its support for terrorism. The first transfer of 600 million shekels ($170 million) went through on Friday after months of PA stonewalling. The decision ended a stalemate that lasted months and saved the PA from financial collapse. Mahmoud Abbas advisor Hussein al-

OCTOBER 10, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Sheikh wrote on Twitter that the PA decided to take the money after working out “all outstanding issues” with Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. “The agreement was also on transferring a payment from the #PA’s financial dues,” he wrote. “The dispute (remains) over the salaries of the families of #prisoners and #martyrs. We are determined to pay their dues at all costs.”

Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel collects tax money for products produced by Palestinian Arabs. The arrangement took a hit after Israel passed a law last year mandating Jerusalem to deduct from the tax money sums that the PA pays terrorists. The PA commonly pays monthly salaries to terrorists imprisoned for murdered Jews or their families in the case that the terrorist was killed in the attack. The policy has long raised hackles among Israelis across the political spectrum, who decry the “pay to slay” practice as rewarding acts of terrorism. Since the law was passed, the PA has refused to accept the tax money in protest, raising fears in Israel that the refusal would cause the bankruptcy of the body. As the biggest employer in the West Bank, bankruptcy by the PA would lead to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to lose their jobs, something that can result in increased instability and terrorism in the area. In recent months, Israel has made various attempts to alternatively coax or force the PA to accept the funds, including a failed attempt to wire it hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Will a Fungus Destroy Israel’s Bananas?

Israeli researchers are in a race against time to develop a cure for “Panama disease” which has been destroying banana plants globally as well as locally. In the summer of 2016, a banana plantation near Zichron Yaakov was found to be infected with Tropical Race 4 (TR4), a strain of Fusarium oxysporum, which is a particularly aggressive fungus that spreads the notorious Panama disease among banana plants. Scientists worldwide have been searching for a way to fight the strain, as it is resistant to fungicides. Of Israel’s plantation-based crops, bananas are the most profitable sector, with approximately 4,000 people relying on the industry for their livelihood. Panama disease is not dangerous to people who consume bananas, only to the crops themselves. The pathogen attacks the roots of the plant, which responds in kind by producing a thick, gel-like substance which clogs the root’s inner veins. This ultimately leads to the plant drying up, wilting, and dying. No one knows exactly how TR4 arrived in the Middle East or how it made its way into Israel. “In 2015 we toured Jordan as part of a research program we were working on and we could see the fungus was already spreading there. We knew it had already been discovered in Lebanon as well, and we realized we were surrounded,” said Dr. Stanley Freeman of the Department of Plant Pathology at the Volcani Center, Israel’s top agricultural research institute. So far, the fungus has claimed six banana plantations in Israel.

Bibi Lobbying for Massive Missile Defense System Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is lobbying the government to approve the construction of an extensive new missile defense system to defend against Iranian cruise missiles. The prime minister first brought up the subject during a cabinet meeting on Sunday evening dedicated to the emerging threat from Iran. If adopted, the plan would cost more than a NIS 1 billion and would likely require budget cuts in other

areas in order to pay for it. However, the decision to implement such an expensive and far-reaching move can only be made by the next Israeli government. The Defense Ministry has been working with the Treasury in recent weeks in an attempt to find funding for the program without raising taxes or cutting spending elsewhere but have not made any headway. While Israel currently has a multi-layered air defense framework comprised of Iron Dome, David’s Sling for medium range missiles, and the Arrow system, it does not have the capability to shoot down cruise missiles. Tehran’s recent successful attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities last month has alarmed Israel, which fears that it is vulnerable to a similar style attack from either Iran or its affiliated militias. During the attack, cruise missiles and suicide drones launched from over 500 miles away hit two Saudi oil refineries, causing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage and taking 50% of the kingdom’s oil production offline.

While Iran denies culpability, both the United States and Israel say they have evidence that the Islamic Republic is behind the attack. Ever since the successful assault, Israel has been scrambling to find an answer to Iranian cruise missiles, which could easily hit sensitive sites within Israel proper if fired from Syria or Iraq. The cruise missiles notably were able to bypass the American-made Patriot missile batteries Saudi Arabia’s military uses, which are used by Israel as well. As a result, the IDF has been experimenting with different ways it might attempt to shoot down Iranian cruise missiles fired into Israel should the need arise. “Today we are facing a huge security challenge, which has been growing from week to week and has intensified over the last two months, especially in recent weeks,” said Netanyahu during the cabinet meeting. “It’s not spin, it’s not a whim, it’s not ‘Netanyahu is trying to scare us,’” added the prime minister. “You know the details of how true these things are. Anyone with his eyes can see that Iran is getting stronger, Iran is getting stronger, its boldness, its audacity, are increasing. It is attacking the international sailing routes, it is attacking the Arabian Peninsula, it is attacking everywhere.”


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