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The Week In News

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home


MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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The Week In News

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

CONTENTS

Dear readers, What does it mean to be joyous? Does it mean to always have a smile on your

COMMUNITY Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

face? To be chirpy? How about serious—can one be serious and happy? Even

JEWISH THOUGHT

seriously happy?

Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

makes me happy. Being happy makes me sad. Which makes me happy. Which

FEATURE A Timeless Message. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

makes me sad. Which…” In Yiddishkeit, we fast the day before Purim. On the holiday itself, we allow

LIFESTYLE

Book Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Tribe Tech Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Emotional Health. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

NEWS

Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

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children to bring loads of chametz into the house right before we begin getting rid of every crumb. We go free by eating only very specific types and amounts of items on Pesach. And then, just as we finish celebrating redemption, we turn off music in mourning. In this week’s parshah, we read how Aharon HaKohen’s two sons brought a sacrifice without being asked to. On a pshat level, this wrong, and they were punished. Yet Rashi says that Moshe Rabbeinu told Aharon that they were kedoshim for being chosen to have this happen to happen them. This was supposed to happen at the inauguration of the mishkan. Later generations should learn not to try what they did, but they did the right thing at the right time. Esther is a great example of doing the right thing at the right time. What she did doesn’t seem right or holy. But it was. Even as we focus on behaving in a certain specific set of ways, we need to remember that the world around us isn’t a rigid black and white, and we’ll only see the full picture once Mashiach comes. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,

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


TheHappenings Week In News

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Female Hackers Take Over Touro’s Lander College for Women at Fourth Annual Hackathon Fueled by pretzels, pizza, and determination, 120 female hackers filled the gymnasium at Touro’s Lander College for Women, The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School, in New York City earlier this month for its fourth annual student-run hackathon, HackItTogether. Hackathons are events where computer programmers collaborate intensively on software projects. Many are multi-day affairs, and most are predominantly attended by men. HackItTogether was started with the support and guidance of Dr. Marian Stoltz-Loike, dean of Touro’s Lander College for Women, to create a space for women who share a passion for creating technology to work together in a warm, collaborative environment. “I have worked closely with our outstanding student leaders who run the hackathon for each of the last four years,” said Dean Stoltz-Loike. “And every year it is exciting to walk into our gym and see women working together to create innovative, creative, and strategic technology solutions.” “Our mission is to bring together women studying computer science and provide them with an opportunity to expand their technological horizons,” said Touro junior and co-organizer of HackItTogether, Esther Gassner. “All too often women miss out on these incredibly valuable learning experiences, and recruiters miss out on reaching talented women in computer sciences, because of the ‘bro’ culture that often permeates hackathons,” she continued. Esther, along with two other Touro students, Sarah Bracha Schuraytz and Sarah Cohen, organized HackItTogether as

an antidote to this problem. They worked together to recruit attendees, solicit sponsors, and ensure a smooth day of hacking for participants. The 12-hour day had teams working on hacks that would solve a problem or address a need related to entertainment and travel. Sponsors AMC Networks and JetBlue Airways also offered a company-sponsored challenge that participants could choose to do. Hackers had to write all their own code but could ask questions of mentors who circulated the room throughout the day. Representatives from nearly 40 universities and high schools such as Barnard, Princeton, UPenn, and Bruriah High School for Girls were in attendance, as well as members of organizations like Women Who Code and Girls Develop It. Veronica Forer, a computer science major from Touro’s Lander College for Women has participated in many hackathons in the past. “In a room of 300 hackers, usually 290 of the attendees are men” she noted. “I feel supported at HackItTogether. Even if we don’t win, I had a good time, got to speak with great mentors, and enjoyed being with all these other women interested in tech,” Veronica said. She is set to graduate in 2020 and hopes to secure a position that involves both healthcare and computer science. She and her partner worked on the JetBlue challenge and built an app that recommends movies to watch based on flight duration. Many other groups also completed the JetBlue challenge, which was to create a product that demonstrates how it is the most caring airline in the world. The win-

ning team was a group from the Flatiron School who created a project called All You Can Give Back. The idea behind this project is to pair volunteering opportunities with travel planning, allowing customers to find volunteer experiences at their destination and gain bonus miles from Jet Blue. Team members received round trip JetBlue airline tickets to any destination in the U.S. for winning the challenge. Silvia Pan, an engineer from sponsor AMC, was there as a mentor and judge for AMC’s challenge project. “I am very often the only woman in the room, so I am excited to be here to encourage more women to go into tech,” she said. “I look forward to seeing the new and fresh ideas these students come up with.” For the AMC challenge, one student group pitched AMC a social viewing platform for their website to boost user engagement. Users would be able to review shows in real time, write recommendations, and even invite friends to watch upcoming shows together. After the presentation, Silvia’s colleague, Yetkin Yuce, invited the students to AMC Headquarters to present their idea to AMC executives and explore internship opportunities within the company.

The day ended with each team presenting a three-minute demo of its hack. Judging was based on factors such as innovation, usability, problem solving, and technical achievement. The first-place prize was for a project called Boundless, by Esther Sheina Agishtein, Michal Berger, and Lillian Liebman, of Lander College for Women and their teammate, Talya Erblich, of Rutgers University. They created a website that provides an in-flight virtual reality tourism experience for passengers. Using the Boundless website and a Google Cardboard, passengers can enter their flight number and then will be able to select and explore locations in virtual reality as they fly over them. Dr. Alan Kadish, President of Touro College, who served as one of the judges, along with Dean Stoltz-Loike, noted, “The Hackathon has become an important event at Touro. It was inspiring to listen to the presentations of each group and see how they manipulated technology to create a new way to build community, do business, or enhance travel! Touro College is committed to providing outstanding opportunities for women and helping them achieve their dreams through education.”

Honoring the Men Behind the Mask at Spivak Ed. Center Gala 2019 Spivak Educational Center hosted its third annual gala event on March 14, 2019, honoring four men who contribute to the school from “behind the scenes.” The Purim themed event was held at The Mark on Pico Boulevard, featuring costume masks and purple hues. Cecelie Wizenfeld, Director of School, and Rabbi Gabriel Elias, Head of School, presented the awards to the honorees. Phillip Seelig was honored with the Recognition Award for his service as the President of the School Board for the past eight years. Isaac Wizenfeld and Robert Blitzstein received the Hakarat Hatov Awards for their service to the school. Mr. Wizenfeld has been acting bookkeeper for the past three years. Mr. Blitzstein has been the accountant and active board member of the school. Ramiro Saucedo received the Staff Award for serving as the lead custodial staff since the inception of the school ten years ago. In an emotional presentation, Ramiro

received his award. Last year Ramiro received a life-threatening incident that kept him from his work at the school. Immediately, Spivak Ed. Center went to work to create a fund to help cover the medical expenses for their beloved staff member. Ramiro returned to work with lots of love from the community that cares greatly for him. It was an act of Chesed and Tzedakah that exemplified the very essence of what Spivak Educational Center stands for and teaches daily in davening, Tefilah, and Torah learning. Entertainment included the performance by the Spivak Elementary Choir, featuring the 1st – 5th grade classes. The choir was accompanied by Rabbi Amitai Steindler, teacher at Spivak Ed. Center, and conducted by Kayla Linson, Director of Operations. Eli Lebowicz, Stand Up Comedian, hosted the event and brought a large dose of kosher comedy! Spivak Educational Center offers a pre-school and Elementary school, 1st

– 5th grade. The school follows the principle written in Sefer Mishlei, “Chanoch Hana’ar Al Pi Darko,” which means each child is educated according to their needs and strengths. Spivak Ed. Center emphasizes the developmental and whole-child approach to education. The school believes in the great importance of recog-

nizing each child and student as an individual, while providing a strong and competitive academic curriculum for both Secular and Judaic studies. With the wonderful success of their third annual Gala, Spivak Educational Center continues to grow and thrive each year in the West LA Jewish community!

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TheHappenings Week In News

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Surprise Purim Guest: A Hero is Welcomed Home at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy Hillel students experience a live “Homecoming.”  Two weeks ago, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy’s fourth- through eighthgrade students and faculty all gathered for what they thought was a Purim Chagigah.  The assembly began as usual with hadlakat nerot and kiddush. After that, Rabbi Sufrin began his usual Shabbat story with the words: “Many many years ago...” His story brought the participants to Shushan and framed Mordechai and Esther as the featured heroes. Then he announced

mid-story, “Our school has its own Mordechai hero who went to fight for good versus evil.” At that point, Major Moshe Scheinfeld walked in, much to the surprise of his three children! He had just returned that morning from a nine-month tour of duty in Afghanistan serving with the U.S. Army. There was not a dry eye in the room as the family hugged and welcomed Dad/Major Scheinfeld.

In his remarks after the welcome, Major Scheinfeld advised the students that his pillar of strength during his time of service was when he would sit down after an 18-hour day of duty and learn Pirkei Avot and Tehillim. He gave special thanks and recognition to Rabbi Sufrin, the Hillel families, and staff who gave him and his family strength and support while he served. Major Scheinfeld honored the school

by gifting a special flag hoisted in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in honor of the strength of the American people in the rebuilding of Afghanistan and in denying a safe haven for terrorists. The flag was hoisted on Chanukah, December 5, 2018, and gifted to the students of Hillel on the eighth of Adar bet as they prepared for Purim.

Yavneh Hebrew Academy Participates in Areivut Program One Los Angeles Jewish day school traveled around the world, from the leisure of their classrooms and dinner table. Over the last seven weeks at Yavneh Hebrew Academy, students participated in the Areivut program which exhibited Jewish communities across seven continents. School leadership set out to show their students the concept that all members of Bnei Yisrael are mutually responsible for each other, “’Kol Yisroel areivim zeh la zeh,’ and they feel the importance of Klal Yisrael and their society,” said JJ Duchman, Yavneh’s Program Director. We are told (In Tanna DeBei Eliyahu

Rabbah, Chapter 11) that the Jewish people are similar to a ship. If there is a hole in the lower hold, one does not say, “Only the lower hold has a hole in it.” Rather they immediately recognize that the ship is liable to sink and that they must repair the hole down below. Whether here in Los Angeles, in Eretz Yisrael, or worldwide, being able to look out for a fellow, through any situation, has been a continuous factor to Jewish survival and maintenance throughout history. “What we do for others is the definition of who we are, and who we will become,” said Yavneh’s rav and dean, Rabbi Einhorn.

Each week, students were challenged with a mission. The missions were filled with inspiring stories and lessons to be read at the dinner table, telling the tales of gedolim, shluchim, and the simple folk who made sure to look out for their fellow Jew. Each week brought a special mission to accomplish, relating to the continent of the week. Each Friday, students were visited from a special guest, representing another continent: Frumie from Europe, the Kohen Gadol from Asia, Simcha from South America, David from Africa, Leah from Australia, and Moshe from Antartica! Such

diversity—the languages, the food, the school systems—yet guess what? WE ARE ALL THE SAME! The students now know that distance does not and cannot hinder the connection Jewish souls have with each other. They understand that they are the many different limbs making ONE body, the Jewish people, who are preparing the world for Mashiach to come, together.

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TheHappenings Week In News

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Experiencing the Mitzvot of Purim We just completed the holiday of Purim, which recounts the heroic acts of Mordechai and Esther in saving the Jewish people of Shushan. The traditional teaching method in Jewish day school is to learn the facts about the story, try and make it impactful on the students, and relate it to modern times.

Minda Mafouda, head of Spivak Educational Center Elementary Hebrew Department, wanted to relate the mitzvos of mishloach manot, giving of gift baskets, and matanot la’evyonim, to provide a meal or financial assistance to a person in need, in a more concrete and impactful way. Under Mrs. Mafouda’s leadership, the students began a project to create and deliver mishloach manot to Tomchei Shabbos of Los Angeles. Tova Klein, the Job Link director of Tomchei Shabbos, stated, “Tomchei Shabbos gives to approximately 150-200 families.” Mrs. Mafounda, along with the rest of the school, was motivated to raise money for Tomchei Shabbos. Cecelie Wizenfeld, director of Spivak Educational Center, founded the school on the principle of affordable Jewish education in the Los Angeles community. “The school’s backbone is in tzedakah and serving the needs of our children and community. We want our students to understand the depth of the community need to support each other,” said Mrs. Wizenfeld. The students motivated by the school’s founding philosophy, immediately began a school wide fundraising drive, raising enough to purchase the food items necessary to create the gift baskets. They gave the additional funds as a donation to the Tomchei Shabbos organization.

The students decorated the boxes used to pack the food items in. Additionally, they crafted individual personalized notes on star-shaped paper, to children that may receive the packages, including messages as, “Happy Purim! Have a great day!” and, “Enjoy the treats!” Writing the notes and packing the boxes themselves allowed the mitzvot of mishloach manot and tzedakah,

to become more relevant and personal acts for the students. The students packed the individual boxes and prepared them to be delivered to Tomchei Shabbos before the Purim holiday. The students felt special that these packages would be delivered to children like themselves, that otherwise would not have them. They truly experienced the

mitzvot of mishloach manot and tzedakah first hand, bringing their learning to life and giving it a higher meaning beyond the classroom. Experiencing the mitzvah will become part of who they are and may hopefully spark future mitzvot in community giving and Torah learning.

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Torah Musings The Week In News

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

What Do I Want to Win? Sarah Pachter

Recently, my family was playing a ring toss game at an amusement park. Over 100 glass bottles were clustered together in the center of the stall, and the players aimed their rings to land around a bottle’s neck. Our family was given a huge bucket of 30 rings. We divided up the rings and started tossing. The kids were anxious to win, and I understood because I remembered as a kid winning the ring toss at summer camp one year. The huge plush Taz character I won sat on my bed the rest of the summer, taking up more than half its surface. Fast-forward many years later to the present scene. There I was, hoping to win again—for nostalgia’s sake, of course. I glanced up and saw a look of determination on my husband’s face, as well.

With each ring that bounced off and fell right through, I became more determined to succeed. But then I looked up at the huge prize hanging from the ceiling and thought, What am I doing? I don’t even want the prize! You could not pay me enough money to take home an oversized stuffed animal that takes up more than half of a twin-size bed. In fact, if my kids did win, I would be spending half the ride home trying to figure out how I could get rid of it without them getting upset (trinkets disappear after a few days in my house). Honestly, I would even pay someone to take that prize out of the house. I needed to stop myself and ask, Do I even want what I’m playing for? So too with life. We get on the “rat race” treadmill, and we never stop to ask ourselves if that’s what we want. If we paused to think, we might even realize we’re going in the wrong direction! Two Questions to Uncover Your

Life’s Purpose How do you figure out what you want in life? Ask yourself two very specific questions: What makes me jealous? What makes me angry? Yes, these things may be uncomfortable to think about. It may even make your skin crawl to admit them out loud. But everyone has feelings of jealousy, and everyone gets angry. In Pirkei Avot (5:10), the mishnah states: “There are four types of temperaments. One who is easily angered and easily appeased—his virtue cancels his flaw. One whom it is difficult to anger and difficult to appease—his flaw cancels his virtue. One whom it is difficult to anger and is easily appeased is a chassid. One who is easily angered and is difficult to appease is wicked.” Guess what the text doesn’t mention: A person who doesn’t get angry. The phrase is written this way purposefully, because everyone gets angry, and everyone gets jealous. It’s part of being human. No one wants to admit to owning either of these feelings, but they are important tools. If we can channel these energies and laser focus them to reach our potential, then we are ultimately fulfilling our purpose here on earth. Let us delve into these two questions to understand how anger and jealousy can actually help us. What Makes Me Jealous? Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project, described a point in her life (before Facebook exploded) when she received alumni emails from her alma mater. These emails extolled the accomplishments of her peers in the same graduating class. When she read that someone became a billionaire, an actor, real estate mogul, or started a thriving business, she was genuinely happy for that person, and felt not a pang of jealousy. If, however, someone became a bestselling author, or wrote a highly successful movie script, she felt one emotion very strongly—jealousy. This awareness helped her realize she was meant to be a writer. It also motivated her to write more and to refine her writing as she did. Ask yourself, What makes me jealous? Perhaps that is an indication of what you want to accomplish, or how you want to

live your life. Jealousy can be a tremendous motivator. In Hebrew, healthy jealousy is called kinat sofer—spiritual jealousy. When we look at others’ accomplishments, it can motivate us to action. However, the key word is spiritual. Looking towards others’ material belongings can paralyze us into inaction. Jealousy can tell us who we want to be, if we allow it to. What Makes Me Angry? Anger is our inner teacher. It’s analogous to a timer on an oven, indicating when the food is cooked. It also tells you what’s important to you. What we are willing to get angry about indicates what our values are, and what is of utmost important in our lives. The movie Inside Out is an animated depiction of a young girl faced with four incarnate emotions: Happiness, Sadness, Anger, and Fear. When Anger comes into the picture, he is introduced as follows: “This is Anger—he likes it when things are fair.” Our own inner voice of anger shouts, This isn’t fair! Many parts of life are unfair; the aspects that concern us and generate anger within us indicate who we really are. I once saw a Lululemon bag that had various quotes written on it. One quote said, “Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.” I would extend that by asserting that both jealousy and anger hurt the person feeling it most. Both are two emotions that may have tremendous potential for destruction but can also be tools of growth. Anger and jealousy can help us find our purpose in the world by understanding what makes us tick, and who we want to be. Anger and jealousy are teachers, but if not channeled properly, they can utterly destroy—and usually they will destroy the person with the feelings, not the focus of the emotion. Ultimately, it’s not a plush toy at the amusement park that we want, but something deeper. When we ask ourselves what makes us angry and what makes us jealous, we gain clarity regarding what we really want out of life. Rather than getting caught up in the superficial, we must dig deeper to uncover our true purpose in life. That choice to aim higher is ours, and the first step is figuring out what it is we really want to win.


MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Solid

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

There are many dozens of explanations of the teaching of Chazal that the Yom Tov of Purim is similar to Yom Kippur, though that is not the point of this column. However, I do wonder how we are supposed to be when Purim is done. Since Purim is similar to Yom Kippur, it stands to reason that they are meant to accomplish a similar goal. What is it? After engaging in the days of Elul and the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, when Yom Kippur arrives we are prepared for tasks of the holy day and spend 24 hours perfecting ourselves. If we had conducted ourselves according to the halachos of the day, as Yom Kippur ends we should be cleansed of our sins and prepared to lead better lives. By the end of the day, we have a clear understanding of our obligations and where we stand in relationship to our tasks in this world. We arrive at the conclusion of Purim very differently. We begin increasing our joy as the month of Adar begins. In order to be happier despite the many challenges life presents, we need to grow in emunah and bitachon. The greater and more real our faith in Hashem is, the easier it is for us to relate to our personal hills and valleys, for we recognize that everything that happens is by design and nothing is by chance. There is a reason we struggle. There is a reason we work hard. There is a reason our kids get sick and there is a reason we get sick. There is a reason our neighbor has an expensive car and we have a cheap one. Everything in life is for a reason. Knowing that life is not a haphazard collection of minutes, days, months and years helps us get through the drag and drudgery that often accompany our sojourn through life. So to make ourselves increasingly happier each day of Adar, we study and work on chovos halevavos, our duties of faith, and when Purim arrives and we thoroughly become familiar with its story and many lessons, we are strengthened in our beliefs that all that transpires in this world is orchestrated by Hashem, who seeks the best

for us. Then, by performing the mitzvos of Purim, we gain further clarity of our obligations to ourselves and to each other. Topping everything off with the drinking of wine at the mishteh hayayin, we gain clarity with respect to our sense of purpose and obligation. Wine removes the dirt from our lenses and helps us see things in a way we usually don’t. At the conclusion of Purim, we should experience the same type of clarity regarding our obligations in the world as we would after Yom Kippur. What we reach

omin, he was also untouched by Eisov and Amaleik and was able to stand up to Haman and remove Amaleik’s hold. With strength inherited from his forefather, Binyomin, who did not bow to Eisov and remained untainted by him, “lo yichra velo yishtachaveh,” Mordechai did not bow to the Amaleik of his day. Putting his life in jeopardy to reject the power of Amaleik, Mordechai was able to defeat him. Binyomin and his offspring are blessed with an additional source of strength to withstand the forces of evil. The Medrash in Esther Rabbah (7:7) lists several

The believer possesses a calm assurance that engenders the joy of faith. on Yom Kippur through seriousness, we accomplish on Purim through joy. After the avodah of Purim, we should feel so spiritually high that we can to seek to draw that joy into our souls and have reserves of simcha available at all times. The Shela explains that Binyomin was the only one of the shevotim who did not bow to Eisov. When a person bows, he accepts some degree of the power possessed by the person or object he is bowing to. All of the shevotim, except Binyomin, bowed to Eisov, and thus, to a certain degree, Eisov was able to harm them, and maintain a hold on them, with his powers of tumah. Shmuel Hanovi anointed Shaul Hamelech king, because, as a descendant of Binyomin, he was confident that Shaul would be able to remove the effect of Amaleik, the descendant of Eisov, from Am Yisroel. However, Shaul sinned and failed in his mission. Mordechai Hatzaddik took over where Shaul left off (see Medrash, Esther Rabbah 10:14). As a descendant of Biny-

similarities in pesukim pertaining to Yosef and those talking about Mordechai. This strength came from Rochel Imeinu, mother of Yosef and ancestor of Mordechai, says Rav Gamliel Rabinovich. She was moser nefesh to preserve the pride of her sister Leah and implanted this ability, a burning ga’avah d’kedusha, in her children. Mordechai fused the pride and strength of Rochel with Binyomin’s purity and was thus able to withstand Haman’s threats. He rallied Am Yisroel around him and, b’achdus, together, they dislodged Amaleik’s grip over them.  Hence the new light of Purim, laYehudim hoysah orah, for their light had been dimmed by Amaleik and their Torah wasn’t complete as long as the shadow of Amaleik hovered over them. Purim marks the day when all the Jews were freed from the veil of darkness. Purim serves as a beacon to us to withstand temptation and threats of evil. On Purim, we are pumped and realize our true

strength. We realize that we really do have what it takes to be good, to do good, to withstand life’s challenges and to not grow morbid. We are all strong enough to stand up to our enemies. Not only shevet Binyomin, but all of Klal Yisroel. Not only the children of Rochel, but all of us. Our first encounter with Eisov’s grandson, Amaleik, comes in Shemos (17:8), where the posuk states, “Vayavo Amaleik vayilocheim im Yisroel b’Refidim.” Amaleik came and battled Klal Yisroel in Refidim. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 101a) explains that the posuk states that the battle took place in Refidim to tell us that Amaleik was able to fight Klal Yisroel because the nation became weak - rofu yedeihem in their study and observance of Torah. In order to beat Amaleik and his descendants, we have to be dedicated to the Torah. Amaleik is the descendant of Eisov and inherited his abilities. Yitzchok promised Eisov that when Yaakov is weak, he shall rise over him. So much about what goes on around us is fallacious that it becomes harder to recognize the truth. Politicians think that we are all fools, and the ability to lie and obfuscate seems to have become the strength du jour. There has been a non-stop bashing of Donald Trump by Democrats and a nice number of Republicans that he had worked with Russians to manipulate the election so that he would win. Dossiers were written, leaked and published by Trump’s political enemies to prove how depraved the man is and the levels to which he sank to steal an election. The heads of the FBI, CIA and National Intelligence colluded with leaders of the Justice Department, the national media and politicians to seek to unseat a duly elected president through a series of investigations and concerted public lampooning. It was for naught, however, because the lengthy investigation upon which the opposition based its hopes for the overthrow failed to turn up anything that could be used to unseat the president or portray him as corrupt or complicit in any of the alleged crimes. National leaders swore, testified, wrote books and staked their reputations on claims that turned out to be lies, yet they escape scrutiny and carry on with new allegations and investigations and ways to impede the work of the administration. Similarly, as the election campaign continues in Israel, candidates continue to portray themselves as things they are not. Everyone becomes an expert, lobbying


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MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

shells at each other and at entire segments of the country in a bid to be viewed as an effective leader. For example, General Benny Gantz, who formed a party together with our old friend, Yair Lapid, spoke at Aipac this week. He knows a lot about religion and is an expert on the Kosel. This is what he said: “In Bergen-Belsen, no one asked who is Reform and who is Conservative, who is Orthodox and who is secular. Before going into battle, I never checked to see who had a kippah under their helmets. …As a proud owner of a red beret, worn by this liberator of the Kotel, I can tell you with confidence that the Western Wall is long enough to accommodate everyone. Everyone!” Of course, the secular crowd went nuts, roaring its approval for the man who wants to topple the best prime minister Israel has ever been blessed with in a time of war. Another genius who addressed Aipac sought to portray the Democrat Party as pro-Israel, when everyone knows that it has taken a frightening shift leftward and away from the Zionist state. Rep. Steny Hoyer, majority leader in Congress, said, “There are 62 freshman Democrats. You hear me? Sixty-two — not three.” He was trying to fool the gathered Jews into thinking that the three prominent freshmen Democrats who are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel have a minor role in the party. Another politician, another liar. These examples are emblematic of the sheker of this world. We can’t let ourselves be subsumed by it or think that we have to resort to using the implements of Eisov to defeat him. If we want to be able to combat the various evils prevalent in the world, we have to embody the powers of good, the koach hatov. We cannot overcome our enemies if we become as vacuous as they are. Darkness is beaten by light. If we aren’t drawn to the light, we won’t be able to stand up to the forces of darkness. On Purim, we relearn how to grab on to the faith of Mordechai as we do on Yom Kippur. We recognize that our personal and national strength emanates from Torah, and we do not bow or capitulate to anyone, nor do we compromise with people who seek our destruction. We proclaim our loyalty to the truth and strengthen its tributaries. And most of all, on Purim we solidify that which we have learned since the beginning of Adar, bringing ourselves simcha and yishuv hadaas, which come not from what we see, but from what we believe. The believer possesses a calm assurance that engenders the joy of faith. Those attributes enable us to happily and successfully conquer life. In this week’s parsha, we learn how

Aharon Hakohein reacted with silence to the terrible pain of losing two sons. Aharon’s reward for his acceptance of Hashem’s will was that the Ribbono Shel Olam taught Klal Yisroel a new parsha, a  halacha transmitted through Aharon alone (Vayikra Rabbah 12:2). The law that a kohein may not perform the avodah while intoxicated was said by Hashem directly to Aharon.

Because Aharon reacted calmly to a difficult blow, he was rewarded by Hashem teaching through him the halacha that avodah can only be performed by a person who is in a calm state and not intoxicated. Through internalizing the lessons of Purim, we increase our happiness and calmness as we confront daily challeng file:///C:/Users/beris/Downloads/Jew-

ish%20home%20junior.pdf es. We don’t leave behind Purim and its unique mix of utopian joy when we remove the masks and unwrap the mishloach manos packages. The efforts we expended to fashion for ourselves and our families the Purim experience should yield not only good pictures and memories, but also a joyous spirit to carry us through the coming weeks.

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Book Review

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Operation Inspiration: Finding Meaning in the Mundane by Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz (Feldheim 2018) Reviewed by Devorah Talia Gordon

Rabbi Jonathan Gewirtz’s new book, Operation Inspiration: Finding Meaning in the Mundane, is jam-packed with nuggets of inspiration; a compilation of short essays, many of which were published in his regular column, “The Observant Jew” (also the name of his first book), which appears in print worldwide. The articles contain rich lessons drawn from everyday occurrences. Matters that we assume are trivialities, such as charging a cell phone or playing Jewish geography, take on significance as one hears about it from Gewirtz’s perspective. It’s a refreshing perspective—optimistic, filled with wit and wonder at life—but book’s power is Gewirtz’s ability to encourage the reader to take that second look at what they assumed was ordinary. Looking at the ordinary in such a way requires the reader’s deeper thinking, but Gewirtz makes it fun. Take, for example, the idea of making a kiddush Hashem. It’s easy to think of the mitzvah as lofty, something done when one (as it so happened) finds close to $100,000 in an old desk drawer and returns the money. However, making a kiddush Hashem needn’t be newsworthy. Gewirtz demonstrates how it happens in small things—writing about the time he and his daughters weren’t charged for a small purchase and he went out of his way later to pay the few dollars. The cashier was impressed with Gewirtz’s honesty, which made the Jewish people, and Hashem, look good as well. Reading such things is important so we have the idea in our psyche. On another occasion, Rabbi Gewirtz sheds light on being “bageled.” If you are unfamiliar with the term, as was I, bageling occurs when someone who is not immediately recognizable as a Jew approaches a more obvious Jew to make a comment only a Jew would understand. The psychology of this, explains Gewirtz, is that the person is proud of their heritage and wants you to know he is also Jewish. “This is their way of tugging on the chain of Yiddishkeit to make sure they are still connected,” writes Gewirtz.

Soon after reading this, I was “bageled” at a local kosher restaurant (which caters to all), by a man who didn’t appear Jewish. With this new understanding on my radar, I made it a point to be friendly and acknowledge our connection. The book is packed with important lessons, such as listening to others, making an impact in the world, utilizing each moment, parenting, giving the benefit of the doubt, and using our eyes in the proper way. Each chapter is short, usually with a clever title, which makes it fun to guess what the article is about before reading. Often, however, my initial guess about where Rabbi Gewirtz was going was incorrect; he has a unique take on things which is surprising and educational. Indeed, one learns a lot about Judaism while enjoying the book. Operation Inspiration has wide appeal—an observant Jew would appreciate it, as would those who are less observant or not-yet frum. Gewirtz offers insights to the reader in a conversational tone, without sounding didactic. On the contrary, he sounds like the neighbor who always strikes up a conversation and offers to take in your mail when you go out of town. As many of the pieces were published for certain times of the Jewish year, it would be helpful to have that time of year indicated as part of the subtitle of each chapter, then if one opens the book during the Three Weeks, for example, he knows where to find inspiration. As each chapter is independent, this editorial modification would help the reader navigate the book. Jewishwhich caters to Jewish and non-Jewish customers. As we ordered for our party of ten, the line grew. The man next in line had a small smile on his lips. I apologized that it was taking so long, as there was a lot of us. “Yeah, just like a Seder,” he said. Well, aside from the fact that Seders often have a lot of people, it wasn’t like a seder at all. (In fact, we were getting grille in pita and laffa bread!)


MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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Feature The Week In News 70

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

A Timeless Message

A Timeless Message

Rabbi Hanoch Teller Talks about Reb Elimelech M’Lizensk’s Embodiment of Ahavas Yisroel Susan Schwamm

Rabbi Teller, what made you decide to I noticed my son reading your Storylines produce the film, “Reb Elimelech”? book. I opened up the book and saw an This Thursday, March 28, the 21st of inscription you wrote to my sister and I Adar, is the yahrtzeit of Reb Elimelech after my father – years ago – went to a M’Lizensk. Reb Elimelech is very wellbook signing of yours. So in a way your known – well, at least his name is wellbooks are timeless and are perfect for evknown, but many people don’t know pracery generation. tically the first thing about him. The film I wrote about this in one of my introtalks about the founding of the Chassidic ductions. Rabbi Mieri, one of the last Rismovement – which was founded by the honim, once said something like this: I’d Baal Shem Tov. Reb Elimelech is, so to trade 100 readers today for one reader in a speak, a third generation because we first hundred years from now. I think my books have the Baal Shem Tov and then the Magare the number one book for someone if gid of Mezerich and then Reb Elimelech they’re sick. If I can make the cholim hapin Galicia and the Alter Rebbe in White py, I’m happy about that. Russia. Out of all the 28 books that you wrote, Rabbi Hanoch Teller Talks about Reb Elimelech M’Lizensk’s My motivation in producing the film which one brought the most nachas? was that I wanted to focus on ahavas YisThat’s a great question. You know, it’s Embodiment of Ahavas Yisroel roel. When we talk about ahavas Yisroel, different nachases. I have a book called it’s somewhat esoteric. But Reb ElimelCourtrooms of the Mind. It’s one of my ech, in a way, is a good “hook” for that bestsellers. It’s about judging people faBy Susan Schwamm topic. I’m embarrassed to tell you that vorably, and as a consequence of that the film came out so much better than we book, a day school was established. could have imagined. The dictum that Reb I was in New Orleans and I was speakIn –2012, Rabbi Teller wrote, produced and directed a film, “Reb Elimelech M’Lizensk andand theI ChasElimelech preached that there’s no Hanoch dising there was sitting next to a feltinction between any Jew,Legacy not between me low who was aatjudge sidic of Brotherhood.” The movie, which is around an hour long, was previously only shown pri-who was married or you or the other person or a stranger – to a non-Jewish woman. vate screenings. On Sunday morning, March 31, Rabbi Teller will be at the White Shul in Far Rockaway, NY, The community is so strong and compelling and so many wanted to open a day school there. The to introduce the movie, which is now available on DVD. Along with the introduction of theway DVD, a short film people took the message to heart. to stop the opening of the day school message of ahavas Yisroel? Our son? He’s OK. Oh, they must be depicting making of the original movie will be shown. The bonus film features Rav Moshe Weinberger You know, there are so manythe platitudes was through zoning. of Some Jews in the There’s a story in the original film that talking about the boy Eliezer from down town – believe it or not – brought a suit when it comes to Aish ahavasKodesh, Yisroel. It’s nice Joey Newcomb, and Mosey Kaplan, all members of the Five Towns-Far Rockaway community. to talk about it but we need to do some- I think drives the point home for many the road,” his wife said. “He’s very sick.” against opening the day school. The judge people. Reb Elimelechto and his brother At thatbook, point, Reb sighed and Rabbi Tellerthe also wrote the introduction a newly published TheElimelech Holy Brothers, by Simcha Raz, which thing with it. I wanted to harness powI was sitting next to was going to be the went on self-imposed galus. Along the said, “What have I done? I put my own presiding judge over the case. He was iner of the film, which is a very powerful relates the stories of Reb Elimelech and his brother, Reb Zusha of Anipoli. In that introduction, Rabbi Teller way, they chastised people in the most child in front of someone else’s child?!” clined not to be in favor of the day school. film, with a strongwrites medium.that We’re talking the storiesloving of the brothers transport to He theturned magical yore, to the peaks wayholy and got people to“will change their Heus wasback so upset. around,places left his ofSomehow, history, we’re talking about the founding since G-d runs the world, the being awaydepths for three house, and wentTeller’s back intofilm his galus, of the Galician and to the ofyears, our hearts.” Rabbi also saytransports the viewer of the Chassidic movement, but thenCarpathians, we lives. After book, Courtrooms of to the Mind, happened Reb Elimelech finally returned home. As ing he didn’t learn anything in those three a time of oldYisroel. and to a place of yesterday but brings with it a message essential for the present. bring in the message of ahavas to land up on his desk the night before. He We bring the viewer to contemplate aha- he was returning home, someone men- years he was away from home. was intrigued by the title, and he stayed up his son, Eliezer, was the very film, sick. his dozens You’ve written 28 books. was atallYad This week, with that Rabbi Teller about of books, and What his work Vashem. vas Yisroel in different venues we that spoke span tioned night reading the book. The next day, So he dashed home and ran in and asked the year you published your first book? klal Yisroel from Camp Simcha to Camp he breezed the court case right through, It’s pretty amazing because I’m 27, but and the day school was able to be opened. HASC to Chaverim, Hatzalah, Zaka, out- his wife, “What’s with Eliezer?” She said, “Oh, he’s fine. He’s in cheder.” He asked it came out in 1984. reach…all those venues are involved in I have another story, a story about a her again, “Are you sure he’s OK?” And Did you always consider yourself a book that actually saved a life, but that’s the film as well. power of the film, which is a you thatprior the film outthis so much Reb Elimelech is, so to speak, a third Rabbi Teller, what made you she said, “Yes, he’s fine.” writer to came writing firstbetbook?ness thefor The film’s decide message powerful. another time. very powerful film, with a strong mediter than we could have imagined. The because we first have the tosounds produce the film, “Reb“Butgeneration someone told me that he was Mamash not. It all started – this is a You’re known Elimelech”? for your stories. Is there a My best nachas, though, is my latum. We’re talking history, talking dictum that Reb Elimelech preached – Baal Shem Tov and then the Maggid sick,” Reb Elimelech told her. “Eliezer? long story – but I witnessed an event and est book. It’s we’re st particular story you feel brings home this called Heroic Children. about the founding of the Chassidic of Mezerich and then Reb Elimelech in that there’s no distinction between any This Thursday, March 28, the 21 I firmly believe that if something lands in It’s about children who survived the Homovement, but then we bring in the Jew, not between me or you or the other Galicia and the Alter Rebbe in White of Adar, is the yahrtzeit of Reb Elimelyour lap, there’s a reason for it. I witnessed I consider it the final frontier of of ahavas Yisroel. We bring person or a stranger – is so strong and messagelocaust. Russia. ech M’Lizensk. Reb Elimelech is very something which was really appalling, and Holocaust literature because when the war the viewer to contemplate ahavas Yiscompelling and so many people took My motivation in producing the well-known – well, at least his name I had to make people aware of it. Androel the in different venues thatnaturally span klal wanted to tell the message to heart. film was that I wanted to focus on ahais well-known, but many people don’t was over, people only way to do that was to write about it. from Yisroel Campstories Simcha to Camp You know, there are so many platiknow practically the first thing about vas Yisroel. When we talk about ahavas over their about how they survived So I did. which wasHASC si- toand Chaverim, Zaka,it’s too late, we tudes whenI itwrote comesantoarticle, ahavas Yisroel. Yisroel, it’s somewhat esoteric. But Reb him. The film talks about the founding suffered.Hatzalah, Now, before multaneously published outreach…all are involved It’s nice to talk about it butin wetwo needmagazines to Elimelech, in a way, is a good “hook” of the Chassidic movement – which wentthose on avenues mission around the world to in two different versions. And in the film as well. do something with it. I wanted topeople har- said, was founded by the Baal Shem Tov. for that topic. I’m embarrassed to tell keep their stories alive. Every gamut of the “Wow, that was so great. Why don’t you Holocaust kingdom – boy, girl, religious, write another one?” So I did. I wrote an- nonreligious – is represented in this book. other one. And they said again, “Why This is my biggest nachas. I was zocheh to don’t you write another one?” So I did, be the voice of those muffled voices. and I started writing. And then I noticed That must have been very emotional that my style was more story-like, so that’s book to write. how it all started, from those two articles. Absolutely, and it was much more What was the name of the first book? work than anything I ever put together. Once Upon a Soul. It took 14 years of work and then the I remember that book. Just recently, book was released. It was meticulously


Feature The Week In News

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

researched – I’m a senior docent in Yad Vashem – but I neglected to cite my sources so the scholarly community did not accept my book so I went back and spent two years making explanatory footnotes. It was rereleased this year with all the footnotes. It’s a very serious book now with 50 pages just dedicated to the endnotes. I think it’s the best way to learn about the Holocaust. The stories are very riveting. They’re about children – some who had to grow up overnight… Who do you recommend reads the book? I can’t say it’s for all ages because it’s a Holocaust book. Some of my books are for any clever reader, at any age. But in this book, there are stories that are dealing with death camps…. I don’t think it’s for anyone younger than the age of 12. When you were writing books you were always on the lookout for stories for your books. Do you still get people coming to you with stories that they think you should include in your books? That happens to me all the time. People are always trying to tell me stories, and they want me to write down their stories. You know, I never once looked for a story. I don’t solicit stories. A lot of the stories I know, min Hashamayim, is because I happened to be involved in those stories. What happens now with those stories if you’re not writing books?

I’m really not looking to write another book but I do speak a lot, so who knows? If I don’t write them, at least I’m telling them. My book Too Beautiful – which is an ultimate book, which came out before He roic Children – I hadn’t written a book for nine years when I wrote that book. I didn’t really want to write stories anymore but I had some stories which I really felt needed to be told, so I wrote the book. I couldn’t have these stories in my head and just quash them. They’re so beautiful. And so I wrote the book. You’re a senior docent in Yad Vash-

em. Tell us about that. They actually came to me. We call it the new Yad Vashem – it opened in 1995. I used to guide people at the “old” Yad Vashem. When they were opening up the new Yad Vashem, they wanted to do things on a really high, sophisticated level, very professional. They asked if they could train me. It was very nice. They paid for my education. They saw I was bringing a certain segment of the population to Yad Vashem that otherwise wouldn’t be going there, so they wanted to train me. There’s a department in Yad Vashem

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that is religious. There are many religious people who work there and volunteer there and are tour guides there. I’m more or less a volunteer there. And I can’t keep up with the requests I get, to give tours. I’m overseas a lot, but when I’m in Israel I give at least two tours a week there. When I was in Israel – you’re 27 and I’m only 24 – but when I was in Israel years ago, I remember you taught in many seminaries and yeshivos. When you were 24, I was teaching in 17 seminaries. Now, I’ve cut back. I’m down to four seminaries and one yeshiva. That still keeps you busy, I’m sure. Back to the film, what’s a practical lesson or way we can practically bring the lessons of Reb Elimelech into our lives? The film deals with many aspects of Elimelech and it delves into ahavas Yisroel and is very detailed. Reb Elimelech was the epitome of supreme holiness. He did enormous things. And in his own eyes he thought very low of himself. He once said, I don’t know if I’ll make it to the World to Come because if they ask me did you ever learn, I’ll tell them no. I’ll tell them I never davened. But maybe they’ll let me in because they’ll see that I’m telling the truth. That’s what he felt about himself. And that’s what he was and that’s why he was embraced by everyone.

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The Tribe Week Tech In News

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Tribe Tech: A “Wyzer” Camera Tribe Tech Review

In my previous column, we looked at the Wyze Cam smart camera which retails for $19.99 at www.wyzecam.com. We discussed the camera’s robust functionality, attractive price point, and (unlike higher priced cameras) its free 14-day cloud storage. In part, Wyze achieves this price point by only storing video in the cloud in 12-second clips after the camera detects motion. We raised the issue of motion detection sensors that trigger events in your home on Shabbat and promised to provide a solution. In this article, we’ll explore a solution that may be a foundation for many smart home applications. I mentioned in the last column that while the Wyze Cam app does allow for turning off the motion detection at certain

times during the day, it does not allow you to choose the day of the week on which it does this or to choose times based on sunset for Shabbat. Plugging the camera into a smart switch that turns the entire camera off for Shabbat is a solution, but one that leaves you without recording activity, negating the primary purpose of a security camera. Addressing the 24/7 recording requirement turns out to be easy. The Wyze Cam offers an option to install a micro SD card and set the camera to record continuously. This changes the camera’s reliance on just motion; instead it records 24/7. The size of your SD card will dictate the length of playback available as the camera will overwrite older recordings as it needs space. A 32 GB SD Card will give you a few days

of continuous recording. If you simply turn off the motion detection and choose continuous recordings, most halachic authorities would agree that this is permissible on Shabbat. The motion detection, however, is a key feature that you would only want to turn off on Shabbat and yom

tov but the app itself will not allow this. I placed a development request to the company to at least allow day of the week scheduling and sunrise and sunset times for motion detection, but at this time the app still does not offer this. Additionally, this would only address Shabbat but not yom tov, which, of course, occurs on weekdays as well. Recently, the Wyze Cam enabled IFTTT connectivity which I believe can resolve all the camera’s Shabbat and yom tov issues concerning motion detection. IFTTT stands for If-This-ThenThat  and it allows many devices to integrate with other services. In our case, the “If” will be if it is Shabbat or yom tov and the “Then That” will be to turn off the Wyze Cam motion sensing. We can also create the reverse which is to turn the motion sensor back on Motzaei Shabbat. IFTTT is a free app that can be loaded onto any Apple or Android device. Once you sign in, there are a growing number of services and devices you can integrate. In our case, we will be integrating a Google Calendar pre-loaded with candle lighting and havdalah times for both Shabbat and yom tov. I created a series of public Google calendars pre-loaded with all candle lighting and havdalah dates and times for several years. These calendars and IFTTT can be

integrated to address Shabbat and yom tov issues with the Wyze Cam and potentially many other devices. There are no other events on these calendars besides Shabbat and yom tov. It will not tell you when Tisha B’Av is or when Chanukah falls out, as we only want notifications for days when melachah is prohibited. I created a calendar for several time zones. There is one for New York Metro, Chicago, L.A., etc. and, of course, one for Jerusalem. If you need another time zone, send me an email (tribetechreview@gmail.com), and I will be happy to add it. To add the appropriate Tribe Tech Review Public Google Calendar to your personal calendar, please see detailed instructions and links on my blog at tribetechreview.wordpress.com I created two Applet on IFTTT as TribeTechReview. One to link the Google Calendar and turn off the Wyze Cam motion detection for Shabbat and yom tov and then another Applet to turn them back on after havdalah. You can search for the TribeTechreview Applets by searching for the keywords “Shabbat” or “Yom Tov.” To integrate IFTTT with both the Google Calendar and Wyze Cam you will need to login to both services on the IFTTT Platform. The App will prompt you for the appropriate login when required. I setup the default candle lighting Applet to trigger 15 minutes before the listed Candle Lighting time to provide a buffer so that small execution delays or minor time zone differences should not be an issue. I tested both the Candle Lighting and havdalah Applets over several weeks, and it worked flawlessly and ran within a few minutes of the scheduled time. This solution will work even if your phone is powered off. The IFTTT  integration is truly a potential breakthrough for shomer Shabbat consumers of smart home technology. I would like to see even more hardware companies integrate it as it can be the basis of solving the many Shabbat issues that seem to be emerging in home automation. With the Wyze Cam’s IFTTT integration, I can give the camera a high Tribe Tech Level 4 of 5 Rating for being Shabbat and yom tov compliant with third-party integration. In fact, good things do come in small packages. Shabbat shalom!


The Week In News

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

May Loses Control

Late on Monday, the UK Parliament seized control of the Brexit process from Prime Minister Theresa May and will now seek to decide how Britain exits the European Union. In a vote this week, the House of Commons split 329 to 302 to schedule votes on a series of alternative strategies, potentially including a second referendum, keeping the UK in the bloc’s customs union, leaving without a deal, and even canceling

Brexit altogether. The pound rose immediately after the result, before paring gains. Early Tuesday, it was trading down 0.1 percent. Three ministers resigned to back the plan, which sets up the possibility that MPs could force the beleaguered premier to abandon her deal with Brussels and implement their choice. One of them, Steve Brine, said that the pro-Brexit faction in his Conservative Party should see the result as an indication Parliament will push to keep closer ties to the European Union. “Maybe what last night will do is focus some minds for those on my side who don’t like the deal,” Brine told BBC Radio. “Maybe they will realize that the House of Commons is prepared to act and anything from here gets softer in terms of Brexit.” In a sign of how far May has lost the trust of MPs, even on her own side, the defeat came despite last-minute promises from her government that it would implement the plan itself if lawmakers voted against it. Meanwhile, the clock is continuing to tick down. The EU has ruled that if Parliament doesn’t approve May’s deal by Friday, the UK has until April 12 to come up with a case for a much longer delay to Brexit or leave the bloc immediately with no agreement.

In the House of Commons, May set out the choices as she saw them. “Unless this House agrees to it, no-deal will not happen,” she said. “No Brexit must not happen; and a slow Brexit that extends Article 50 beyond May 22, forces the British people to take part in European elections, and gives up control of any of our borders, laws, money or trade, is not a Brexit that will bring the British people together.” Later, in answer to questions, she raised two more options: “Either a second referendum or an election.” Having voted to take control, Parliament now has to decide what to do with it.

New Zealand to Ban Assault Rifles

mosques earlier this month, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the country would ban assault rifles entirely. “On 15 March our history changed forever,” she said. “Now our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place.” She added that the ban would be all-inclusive and that the new law would be “drafted and introduced in urgency,” hopefully by April 11. The country’s cabinet has already agreed to ban both semi-automatics and assault rifles. There are currently an estimated 1.21.5 million firearms circulating in New Zealand. The planned buy-back scheme is expected to cost approximately NZ$200 million.

Russia Aligned with Venezuela Following a horrific massacre, in which 50 people were slaughtered in two

Two Russian Air Force planes landed on Saturday in Venezuela’s main airport, carrying approximately 100 troops, as

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The Week In News well as a Russian defense minister. One of the planes was an Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and the other was an Antonov AN-124 cargo plane. Both flew from Moscow via Syria. Military equipment and personnel were also brought, in fulfillment of military contracts. The move comes as part of a growing cooperation between the two countries – one which the U.S. does not see in a positive light. On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the U.S. “will not stand idly by” and watch Russia continue to entrench itself in Venezuela, and called on Russia to “cease its unconstructive behavior.” Russian officials say that the military equipment that was delivered was part of military contracts that the countries had implemented previously. In Venezuela, Jorge Rodriguez, the nation’s minister of communication, spoke on national television Saturday to accuse opposition leaders, including National Assembly President Juan Guaido, of plotting “terrorist acts” in the country. Rodriguez said some of the evidence was collected from the personal phone of Roberto Marrero, Guaido’s chief of staff, who was detained in Caracas on Thursday and later accused of being involved in an alleged “terrorist cell” planning attacks against high-level political figures. According to Rodriguez, Marrero coordinated the arrival of “hitmen” from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to “kill members of the Venezuelan governments.” He said that about 60 “hitmen groups” were prepared and “trained in Colombia,” but that given the closure of the Colombian-Venezuelan border, only “30

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

groups entered Venezuela.” Marrero’s lawyers have denied the claims and accused Maduro’s regime of planting evidence. Guaido, recognized as interim president of Venezuela by more than 50 countries, took to the streets of Barcelona, Venezuela, this weekend with a clear message for Maduro: “You will not intimidate me, you will not intimidate us.” “You never planted our fields, but now you plant evidence a lot,” Guaido said on Saturday. “[Maduro’s regime] fabricates evidence to persecute leaders, the people,” he added. China does not recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s new leader. The Inter-American Development Bank, the largest source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, called off its annual meeting in China next week after Beijing refused to grant an official visa to Ricardo Hausmann, Venezuela’s representative designated by opposition leader Guaido. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence noted on Friday in an article in the Miami Herald, “The Chinese are undermining the hemisphere’s progress towards democracy by refusing to grant an official visa to Ricardo Hausmann, the lawful representative of Venezuela – the first time in the bank’s history that a host nation has refused to seat a member.” In a statement cited by Reuters, Geng Shuang, China’s foreign minister, said Saturday that his country “had difficulties allowing” Guaido’s representative and “regretted” the Inter-American Development Bank’s decision to cancel the international gathering.

Fatal Chemical Plant Explosion in China

The death toll from an explosion in a pesticide plant in Yancheng in China’s eastern Jiangsu province rose on Monday to 78, with an additional 500 people still hospitalized. Of those injured, 13 are in critical condition and 66 are in serious condition. Fifty-six of the 78 victims who died have been identified. The explosion, which occurred last Thursday and registered as an earthquake, is one of China’s worst industrial accidents. The South China Morning Post noted that the plant itself was destroyed and that 16 nearby factories were damaged. Three rivers running through the industrial compound have been dammed to prevent polluted water from spreading, and workers are attempting to measure the amount of pollution in the groundwater and prevent additional pollution to the area’s soil. Authorities are investigating the cause of the explosion. An unknown number of suspects have been taken into custody.

Nazi Guilt Propels Family to Donate $11M to Charity

The Reimann family, one of Germany’s wealthiest families, has promised to donate 10 million euros ($11.3 million) to charity, Bild reported this week. The announcement comes after the family discovered that its ancestors were enthusiastic supporters of the Nazis and used Russian civilians and French prisoners of war as forced, unpaid laborers. Family spokesman Peter Harf told  Bild, “We were all ashamed and turned as white as the wall. There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting.” He emphasized: “The whole truth must be put on the table.” Harf also noted that the family does not mention the Nazi era but that both Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr. “belonged in jail.” “Reinmann Sr. and Reimann Jr. were guilty,” Harf asserted, noting that though both have passed away, “they belonged actually in prison.” The family will release the historians’ report when it is completed.

Emotional Health

Are You Free? Rabbi Dov Heller, LMFT Most of us believe we are free. We live in a free country and generally feel free. But are we truly free? Consider this rabbinic saying from the times of the Talmud: “The only person who is truly free is the one who is seriously involved in the study of Torah.” This is a startling statement, because if it is true, then the vast majority of human beings are not free. The ultimate purpose of Torah study is to guide and empower us become more expansive and greater human beings. Each law or story in the Torah is an instruction of how to become a more evolved and refined human being; in short, how to become more G-d-like. From this perspective, we are free only when we are actively and consciously exercising our (free) will to grow beyond our limitations and expand our boundaries. Although many of us feel we are growing through life experiences, we only grow

from an experience when there is a conscious response to the experience. We must process the experience in order to grow from it. Whether life events motivate us to grow or we motivate ourselves to grow, we are only free when we are exercising our will to grow. Passover is the holiday of freedom. In Egypt, the Jewish people’s will to grow was imprisoned in material and spiritual darkness; forced to work without end, we lost the possibility to think about what was happening to us or to grow proactively. The Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, means “the narrow place.” Today, we too are imprisoned and enslaved by our own narrow routines—work, relax, eat, sleep, survive day after day. Like the Jews in Egypt, we too have little or no time to contemplate the meaning of our lives, let alone create a vision and a plan for achieving greatness. Additionally, most of us lack a clear

picture of what human potential looks like because our society provides only a very limited vision of it. Any suggestion that human potential means achieving material success and comfort, with a smattering of good manners and decency when necessary, is a distorted one. On the other hand, the Torah and other Jewish texts, such as Pirkei Avos, provide us with a clear and very sophisticated picture of human potential. This is most practically expressed in detailing specific character traits that a person needs to acquire in order to realize his or her true potential. How do we know for sure if we’re really choosing to grow? The great sage of Vilna commented in the 18th century that someone who is not consciously working to improve a specific aspect of their character every day is dead. We are only alive when we are choosing to refine a specific aspect of our character. What character trait are you working on today? Here is a

list of some good options to consider: kindness self-respect listening joy gratitude awe patience reliability clarity of life purpose modesty passion self-discipline ownership simplicity love positive speech. Freedom is in the air. It’s time to leave Egypt and expand our boundaries. May we all taste the sweetness of freedom!


The Week In News

MARCH 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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