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The Week In News

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

The Torah says in In Parsas Yisro:

‫שמִי‬ ׁ ְ ‫כּיר אֶת־‬ ִ ְ ‫אז‬ ַ ‫שׁר‬ ֶ ‫א‬ ֲ ‫מּקוֹם‬ ָ ַ‫בכָל־ה‬ ְּ ָ‫תֽיך‬ ִּ ‫כ‬ ְ ‫ר‬ ַ ֽ‫ב‬ ֵ ‫אלֶיךָ וּ‬ ֵ ‫אָבוֹא‬ In every place where I will mention My name, I shall come to you and bless you The Baal Haturim writes ָ is 10. that the Gematria of ‫אב֥וֹא‬ This teaches us that anytime we have a minyan of 10 by davening, Hashem comes down and gives us blessings...

Hashem is present during our tefillos in Shul, and is there to give us brochos!! How can we talk with others during this time?


The Week In News

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

‫הדרן עלך‬ ‫ששה‬ ‫סדרי‬ ‫משנה‬

celebrates the completion of the

BOARD OF TRUSTEES RABBI DAVID FEINSTEIN Rosh HaYeshivah, Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem

JOEL L. FLEISHMAN,*

Chairman Director, Sam & Ronnie Heyman Center on Ethics, Public Policy, and the Professions, Duke University

HOWARD TZVI FRIEDMAN

Founding Partner, Lanx Management, LLC

RABBI NOSSON SCHERMAN General Editor, ArtScroll Series

JUDAH I. SEPTIMUS*

Pres., Atlantic Land Title & Abstract, Ltd.

JOSEPH C. SHENKER*

Chairman, Sullivan & Cromwell

JAMES S. TISCH*

President, Loews Corp.

RABBI GEDALIAH ZLOTOWITZ President

RABBI MEIR ZLOTOWITZ

‫ז״ל‬

Founder

AUDIT COMMITTEE

‫ ביאור נרחב והערות‬,‫עם ביאור קצר‬ With the release of Zeraim Volume 5

‫ ביכורים‬,‫ ערלה‬,‫ חלה‬,‫מעשר שני‬

SAMUEL ASTROF

CFO/COO (Ret.) The Jewish Federations of North America; Partner (Ret.) Ernst & Young, LLP * The indicated Trustees also serve on the Audit Committee

INTERNATIONAL BOARD OF GOVERNORS JAY SCHOTTENSTEIN Chairman

STEVEN ADELSBERG HOWARD BALTER MOSHE BEINHORN RABBI RAPHAEL B. BUTLER EDWARD MENDEL CZUKER REUVEN D. DESSLER BENJAMIN C. FISHOFF YITZCHOK GANGER JACOB M.M. GRAFF HASHI HERZKA JACOB HERZOG AMIR JAFFA ELAN JAFFA JACK JAFFA LLOYD F. KEILSON LESTER KLAUS MOTTY KLEIN ELLY KLEINMAN EZRA MARCOS Tel Aviv

RABBI MEYER H. MAY ASHER D. MILSTEIN ANDREW J. NEFF AARON J. ORLOFSKY BARRY M. RAY GEOFFREY ROCHWARGER

The Ryzman Hebrew Edıtıon of Mıshnayos 4Now — learn Mishnayos in Hebrew as never before. 4 A multi level Hebrew elucidation of Mishnayos for the layman and talmid chacham alike. 4 Now, learn Mishnayos at the level of your choice — quickly or in depth. 4 Review the halachos of the Mishnah as they appear in Shulchan Aruch. 4 All-in-one volume specially designed for ease and clarity.

Beit Shemesh / Teaneck

ZVI RYZMAN A. GEORGE SAKS JOSEPH A. SCHOTTENSTEIN JONATHAN R. SCHOTTENSTEIN JEFFREY A. SCHOTTENSTEIN HERBERT E. SEIF NATHAN B. SILBERMAN ADAM M. SOKOL A. JOSEPH STERN JACQUES STERN Sao Paulo

ELLIOT TANNENBAUM THOMAS J. TISCH GARY TORGOW STANLEY WASSERMAN JOSEPH H. WEISS STEVEN (CHANOCH) WEISZ SHLOMO WERDIGER

•• PROJECT DEDICATOR

Zvi and Betty Ryzman Los Angeles, CA

In addition, we pay tribute to the individual Patrons who helped make this work possible.

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The Week In News

MARCH 5, 2020 | 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

LOS ANGELESFAIRFAX LOS ANGELESLA BREA LOS ANGELESS. MONIA LOS ANGELES-PICO LOS ANGELES -WESTWOOD MALIBU MANHATTAN BEACH MARINA DEL REY MISSION VIEJO MOORPARK NEWBURY PARK

NORTH HOLLYWOOD PALM SPRINGS PACIFIC PALASADES PASADENA REDONDO BEACH SHERMAN OAKS SIMI VALLEY STUDIO CITY TEMECULA THOUSAND OAKS TORRANCE VALENCIA VAN NUYS WOODLAND HILLS

Dear readers, Imagine what it would be like if by the click of a button you could spring into someone else and see things from their perspective: their upbringing, their reality, their disappointments, their successes. I imagine the world would be a lot more of a peaceful place where benefit of the doubt reigned and judging others would be scarce. Indeed, the Baal HaTanya explains that the reason Moshe Rabbeinu, the greatest navi of all time, was also the humblest person is because of his greatness. He simply felt that if someone else were to have his qualities, they would do a better job. Even though we can’t actually enter other people’s realities, we can and must contemplate them. One of the classes I listened to before getting married was about how we need to turn our experiences and feelings into a tool of understanding how others feel—do a complete 180 with our otherwise raw, natural and self centered emotions. One thing anti-Semites unintentionally got right is that all Jews are Jews. Whether we express it all day, some of the day, only in shul, or only at work, a Jew is a Jew is a Jew. Strip away the outside, and inside we will always find a pumping Yiddishe hartz full of faith and positivity. In the story of Purim, the Yidden could have converted throughout the year and they would be spared the looming war on Yud Gimmel Adar, but not one did so. It was therefore a complete miracle, for the entire Jewish nation. May the unity and joy of Adar & Purim bring abundant brachos for all those in need, and may we very soon celebrate with the entire Jewish people, indeed the entire world, with the coming of Mashiach! Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos and most freilichen Purim,

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


MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

Happenings

Los Angeles Delegates Urge Everyone to Vote in the WZO Elections Yehudis Litvak

The World Zionist Organization’s Congress elections are now in full swing, and the Los Angeles Jewish community is making an impact. Local rabbis and community activists are involved in several of the slates. The World Zionist Organization (WZO) was established over a century ago and has been supporting Israeli causes within the State of Israel, as well as Israel education in the diaspora. Every five years, WZO holds elections to its congress, and this year is the 38th such elections. The elected delegates meet in Israel in October and decide how to allocate the funds, up to $1 billion annually, that are distributed by four major non-profits: World Zionist Organization, the Keren Kayemet L’Israel (KKL) /JNF, the Jewish Agency, and Keren Hayesod. The elections are held all over the world, and 500 delegates are elected from many different countries. 152 of the delegates will come from the United States. It is up to the American Jewish community to determine how many delegates will go from each slate. There are 15 slates total, and they represent the spectrum of American Jewry—Ashkenazi and Sephardi, religious and secular, Orthodox and Reform. As the slates differ greatly in their preferences for fund allocation, it is imperative for all Jews who believe in the importance of the State of Israel to participate in the elections and express their support for the causes that are important to them. While some Chareidi rabbis object to participating in a Zionist endeavor, most American Orthodox rabbis urge their congregants to vote. One of the slates with a Los Angeles representation is Slate #4: Orthodox Israel Coalition – Mizrachi, with the motto Vote Torah. The coalition unites the major Religious Zionist and Modern Orthodox organizations, such as Religious Zionists of America – Mizrachi, AMIT, Orthodox Union, Yeshiva University, Touro College, Rabbinical Council of America, National Council of Young Israel, Torah MiTzion, Bnei Akiva, Poalei Agudas Yisroel, and other affiliated institutions. The Los Angeles contingent of Slate #4 is led by Rabbi Elazar Muskin, Senior Rabbi of Young Israel of Century City and honorary president of the Rabbinical Council of America, and Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and CEO of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Other Slate #4 delegates from Los Angeles include Dr. Ernest Agatstein, co-President of the Religious Zionists of America, Rabbi Kalman Topp of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, Cheryl Nagel, Dr. Jordana Topp, Dr. Ron Nagel, Walter Feinblum, Steven Feder, Rabbi Arye Sufrin, Rabbi Ari Segal, and Avi Matanky. The slate is headed by the New York-based Rabbi Herschel Schachter, Rosh Kollel at the RIETS’ Marcos and Adina Katz Kollel and world-renown Talmudic scholar and posek. Rabbi Muskin explains that members of the Orthodox Israel Coalition have participated in the World Zionist Congress from the very beginning. “Overwhelmingly, Slate #4 is the united voice of American Orthodoxy who care about Israel,” he says. While the organizations which comprise this coalition might

have their differences, they “all united as partners in the slate,” hoping to make the greatest impact. The Orthodox Israel Coalition’s voice is strong, but it still needs to be strengthened, says Rabbi Muskin. Five years ago, during the previous WZO elections, the Orthodox voter turnout was relatively low, and many Orthodox programs lost funding as a result. The delegates are hoping for a better turnout this year. In addition to greater funding for Orthodox programs, an increased number of Orthodox voters would also serve to counteract causes promoted by some of the other slates, which are contrary to Orthodox values and to the State of Israel’s continued security and Jewish character. For example, the Orthodox Israel Coalition would like to direct the funds to fight BDS while some other slates intend to support BDS. Another issue of contention is building and development in Israeli communities located past the green line. Outside of Israel, the funds can be used to increase security funding in small Jewish communities. In the past five years, the need for such security funding has unfortunately become more urgent. The outcome of the election will also affect the local community. Rabbi Muskin brings two examples of beneficiaries of the fund allocation that would have a local impact: Bnei Akiva and MASA. Bnei Akiva is a Religious Zionist youth organization which currently has no shelichim in Los Angeles. Rabbi Muskin is hoping that with a favorable outcome of the elections, the Los Angeles Jewish community would be able to use the allocated funds to sponsor Bnei Akiva shelichim. MASA Israel Journey provides scholarships for post-high school students who spend their gap year in Israel. Over the last 3-4 election cycles, due to poor voter turnout from the Orthodox community, the MASA funds were decreased 90% from $2000 to $200 per student. The local delegates hope to push to allocate more funding towards the scholarships so that local students and their families can take advantage of it. Rabbi Muskin feels strongly that every member of the Los Angeles Jewish community should vote in the elections and make their preferences known. “Each one of us has the power to really impact this election,” he says. “Each person has a say, and they shouldn’t throw this opportunity away. How often does one have the ability to affect fund allocation? Each vote really matters.” “I am a life-long believer in Religious Zionism,” says Rabbi Muskin. “The miracle of the State of Israel is a gift from the A-lmighty, and we can’t take it for granted. We have to strengthen our bonds to the State of Israel. It’s a halachah on so many levels. I can go on and on about how many mitzvot one can fulfill by doing something for the State of Israel. Voting in the WZO election is simply doing the right thing. Anyone not voting will have to answer for it.” For more information and to vote in the WZO elections, please visit www.zionistelection.org.

! N O I L L I B 5 $ E V SA THIS FUNDING

D YOUR N A U O Y , L E A PS ISR

HEL

FAMILY

Your Vote Will Save: Masa Scholarships

Education Programs

Hundreds of Shlichim

Funding for Youth & Campus Leaders

Programs Designed to Combat BDS & Anti-Semitism

V TE

SLATE #4

Time to vote is running out! VISIT

zionistelection.org A N D V O T E T O D AY !

Slate #4 in the current WZO election is the Orthodox Israel Coalition, representing these organizations RABBINICAL COUNCIL OF AMERICA

‫הסתדרות הרבנים דאמריקה‬

JANUARY 21 ‒ MARCH 11, 2020

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TheHappenings Week In News

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

NCSY West Coast Celebrates 50 Year Anniversary LOS ANGELES – More than 225 people attended NCSY West Coast’s 50th anniversary celebration on Wednesday evening, February 26 at THE MARK for EVENTS in Los Angeles. The evening centered around “Saluting the Past, Supporting the Future” and focused on the organization’s work over the last five decades inspiring Jewish teens on the West Coast.

The evening paid tribute to Steve and Eytan Darrison of the LA Valley and Daphne & Jesse Orenshein of Los Angeles, two parent and child pairs who are involved in various aspects of NCSY and continue to care greatly about impacting the Jewish communities around them. Famed comedian and actor Elon Gold hosted an NCSY family gameshow during the festivities.

Rabbi Micah Greenland, Steve Darrison, Eytan Darrison, Sue Darrison, Chava Darrison, Allen Fagin, Jonathan Orenshein, Daphne Orenshein, Eliza Orenshein, Jesse Orenshein, Frank, Dr. Moshe Benarroch, Rabbi Derek Gormin

Stephen Darrison became involved

Song

A SHABBAT OF

March 14, 2020

FEATURING

FEATURING

Chazzan Benzion Miller Chazzan Nati Baram

with the Rinat Shlomo Choir and Yavneh Boys Choir conducted by Professor Mark Kligman Generous sponsorship of Attorney Andrew and Chanie Friedman Ira and Cochava Frankel Paid for by Andrew Friedman | (323) 931-2476

with NCSY while growing up in San Jose, CA. He first connected with NCSY as a teenager growing up in a public-school environment. He moved to Los Angeles to finish high school, eventually attending Valley Torah High School, Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva in Israel and later on, Yeshiva University in NY. At one point, he started a Sephardic chapter of NCSY in the Valley. His son Eytan follows closely in his father’s footsteps and has served as a West Coast NCSY advisor for Shabbatonim and regional events. As a teen, Daphne Orenshein was introduced to all kinds of Jews through NCSY programs and Shabbatons, laying the foundation for her open and giving home. Her son Jesse follows closely in his mother’s footsteps and has been involved with NCSY in a variety of capacities, including: president of the West Coast NCSY’s City chapter and as a participant of BILT Summer Program. As a recent contestant on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, Jesse furthered this inspiration worldwide. The West Coast is the largest NCSY region in the United States and is the founding chapter of the first Jewish Student Union Club (JSU) for Jewish teens on public school campuses. Since its successful launch on the West Coast, NCSY has launched 200 clubs on public high school campuses around the country. “NCSY’s West Coast region has been a leader in educating Jewish teens and enhancing the spirituality and growth of thousands of our young people through innovative programs and services. We are so proud of their efforts as we celebrate this important milestone,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane. “NCSY West Coast has reached and enriched the lives of tens of thousands of teens over the last five decades. This is a tremendous accomplishment that has had an enormous impact on our community,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin. “Thousands of students now have a deeper sense of Jewish connection, pride and education, all served on the bedrock of an authentic commitment to living an inspired Jewish life,” said NCSY West Coast Regional Director Rabbi Derek Gormin. “We are looking forward to continuing the legacy of NCSY and building upon this strong foundation for our future.”


MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

Happenings

Nefesh West Coast Brings Together Local Orthodox Mental Health Professionals Yehudis Litvak

Nefesh West Coast, a local branch of Nefesh—the International Network of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals—conducted its inaugural educational and networking event at the Chabad Outpatient Treatment Center. The event was chaired by Dr. Lizzy Weisinger, PsyD; Dr. Rebecca Wurzberger, PsyD; and Miriam Turk, LCSW, Executive Director of Nefesh International, along with a committee of mental health professionals. Dr. Weisinger welcomed the attendees and expressed her hope that this would be the first of many events to come. Dr. Weisinger spoke about Nefesh International’s opportunities for networking, continuing education, and rabbinical advice, and her goal of bringing some of these opportunities to the West Coast. Currently, there are 184 Orthodox mental health professionals in the Greater Los Angeles area, and the local branch of Nefesh would like to bring them together to facilitate collaboration and referrals and enable them to gain from each other’s experience. The guest speaker, Rabbi Dr. Zev Weiner, a psychiatrist at UCLA and in private practice, gave a lecture entitled Torah and Medical Perspectives on the Use of Psychiatric Medication. Rabbi Dr. Weiner began with expressing his appreciation to the “really excellent therapists in our community.” He acknowledged the unique challenges of Orthodox psychotherapists and said, “We are blessed with a tremendous arsenal of people to fulfill the work we were sent here to do. We can learn a lot from each other.” He encouraged collaboration between therapists and psychiatrists. Rabbi Dr. Weiner presented the Torah perspective on medicine—the license given to the physician to heal and the permission for patients to seek professional help. He then spoke about antidepressants, discussing the various perspectives on what they do and how they work. While some see antidepressants as a panacea and others claim they don’t work at all, “the truth lies somewhere in between, as in many things in life,” said Rabbi Dr. Weiner. “Hashem gave us these tools, gifts that potentially, if used in the right way, can bring relief.” While antidepressants are overprescribed, sometimes without much thought, Rabbi Dr. Weiner said that he has seen antidepressants work for many people, bringing significant positive changes. “Mental health professionals have a bad habit of lumping everything together into depression,” he said. “There is a big difference between someone lacking fulfillment in life and severe clinical depression.” He distinguished between depression patients who look like “walking dead” vs. an overwhelmed CEO who is functioning completely but could use a change in lifestyle. “The more severe the depression, the more

likely it is to respond to medication,” he said. Rabbi Dr. Weiner spoke about combining medication with therapy, which was shown most effective. He explained that while doctors don’t know exactly how antidepressants work, the medications seem to relax the patient, “reduce the amplitude of many emotions,” and thus enable them to participate in therapy more effectively and make long-lasting changes in their outlooks and lifestyles. Some patients may be able to get off antidepressants completely once they make these changes. Others might need to stay on them for extended periods of time. Rabbi Dr. Weiner also discussed the side effects and long-term effects of antidepressants, as well as the psychological effect of medicating difficult emotions. “We are subtly conveying to our patients that [their negative emotions] are something bad that we need to blot out,” he said. While it may be necessary to treat debilitating emotions, often negative emotions “can be a very good teacher in life,” said Rabbi Dr. Weiner. “Depression and anxiety could be telling you that there is something wrong with your lifestyle. They can promote important changes.” He also cautioned against medicating people who lack meaning and deep relationships and connections in life. “Medicating that is missing a tremendous opportunity,” he said. These people need to be working on the underlying issues instead of suppressing their emotions. Rabbi Dr. Wiener recalled a patient who expressed resentment for being medicated previously while he was sitting shiva. Many years later, he felt that he was robbed of the opportunity to fully experience his grief. The real goal of medications, he said, is to be used as an adjunct to treatment, while at the same time getting to the root of the issues. In conclusion, Rabbi Dr. Wiener said that in Yiddishkeit, sadness and joy are two sides of the same coin. “Yiddishkeit requires the full spectrum of emotions. There is a time for everything, and sadness has its place in the right time.” While severe depression has to be treated clinically, everyday sadness can be a catalyst for personal growth. Rabbi Dr. Wiener’s talk was followed by an animated question and answer session which engaged many of the attendees. Then, during the structured networking sessions, attendees had a chance to meet each other and share their specialties, populations they work with, and the type of mental health work they do. Attendees exchanged their information with one another with the hopes of being able to facilitate future referrals, as well as collaborate with other professionals locally. The feedback from the event has been tremendously positive, and attendees have shared that they really look forward to future Nefesh events.

The Week In News

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The Week In News Press Release

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

Yeshiva University Announces YU-MVP, A Dynamic Alumni/ Student Partnership The Career Center, in partnership with the Office of Alumni Affairs, is thrilled to announce the launch of its new Yeshiva University Mentoring Volunteer Program, or YU-MVP. This algorithm-based “matching for mentoring” platform will pull from over 25,000 alumni around the globe to create a network of volunteer mentors dedicated to offering undergraduate students professional career guidance. YU News sat down with Susan Bauer, executive director of YU’s Career Center and principal designer of the program, to discuss this new initiative. How can alumni and others get involved? The program is open to our alumni and all professionals who want to mentor our students. Interested mentors can join by visiting yu.edu/mvp and sign up using their email address or LinkedIn profile. Can a non-YU alum join the YUMVP program? Absolutely. Parents, relatives and all those willing to give back to the next generation of Jewish leaders are welcome to

become part of the network. It is a multidisciplinary platform, so professionals of all backgrounds are encouraged to mentor. We strongly encourage those living outside the New York City area to join as well as any students seeking mentorship from those they do not already know in their communities. How will the matching process work? YU-MVP works by matching preferences. Volunteer mentors select their geographic area, industry expertise and areas in which they can provide assistance. Students are then recommended to connect with mentors whose preferences most closely align with their own. After the matches are made, the students are then expected to reach out to their recommended mentors who will, in turn, then select the students with whom they wish to work. Can a mentor work with more than one student? Yes, each mentor sets his/her own personal parameters based on their availability. Are there any industries that you would like to recruit mentors from?

It is a multidisciplinary platform open to all students, so professionals from all backgrounds are encouraged to join. We have a greater number of students within certain disciplines than others, so a mentor should not get discouraged if a request for mentorship is not made immediately. Is this program for graduate students as well? Currently, it is being rolled out as a platform for undergraduate students. It will expand to the graduate student population in the future. What would a mentor partnership look like? The mentor-student partnership can take many forms. Depending upon geographical location, it may be an in-person arrangement or a virtual connection in

which résumés are reviewed using FaceTime or informational interviews are conducted via phone or email. The mentor and student can customize the experience that works best for them. For example, during the pilot phase of the program, many mentors opened their offices to students to discuss topics such as Shabbat and Yom Tov work challenges and “Day in The Life” experiences. What cities will you have mentors in? The goal is for YU-MVP to have a global presence. We have many international students studying at Yeshiva University and many students interested in relocating after graduation, whether that means making aliyah or moving to another city, state or country. Anything else you would like to add? Everyone is welcome to give back to our students, and we appreciate all who get involved. This experience can be life-altering for both mentors and students. Our community is global, connected, generous and mission-driven. I encourage everyone to participate in this exciting initiative. If you are an alumnus/na and have questions, please contact Dina Burcat at burcat@yu.edu If you are a friend of Yeshiva University and not an alumnus/na, and have questions, please contact Matthew Garcia at matthew. garcia@yu.edu

Partners in Torah Aiming to Spread the Light of Torah, One Phone Call at a Time Sandy Eller It has been more than 25 years since Partners in Torah was officially founded, and since that time the one-on-one study program has crisscrossed the globe, with more 76,000 mentors and students learning together on the phone or via Skype, cultivating lasting relationships and expanding their religious horizons. With chavrusos located in 2337 cities in 39 different countries, Rabbi Eli Gewirtz is the first to admit that Partners and Torah has gone far beyond anything he could have ever imagined. Rabbi Gewirtz was already involved in outreach when he received a phone call from the brother of someone who was participating in his adult education program in New Jersey. Partners in Torah was already pairing up students and mentors at 40 locations within New Jersey, but this caller who wanted to learn more about his Yiddishkeit posed particular logistical difficulties, living as he did in Ketchikan, Alaska. It was clear that arranging a face to face partnership was impossible, so Rabbi Gewirtz came up with a Plan B, setting the stage for Partners in Torah as we know it today. “I matched the caller up with Yosef, a psychologist from Brooklyn, someone who I thought would be a good fit and instead of learning together in person, they did it over the telephone,” recalled Rabbi

Gewirtz. The concept of telephone learning was clearly a workable and in time, the Partners in Torah model shifted entirely in that direction, the arrangement and its inherent flexibility working well for both mentors and students. The approach is simple: using enjoyable conversations to build proud lifelong connections to Judaism, giving students the freedom to explore religious observance at their own pace. “This isn’t about telling people how to live their lives,” explained Rabbi Gewirtz. “People who come to us are looking for a connection to their Judaism, and our goal is for them to feel that they belong in the Jewish community, because right now, the overwhelming majority does not.” Los Angeles resident Shelly Schechter is one of the many people whose lives were forever altered by Partners in Torah. An Orlando college student who grew up in a traditional home, Shelly found herself yearning for more after taking an Israel Free Spirit Birthright Trip, and she signed up with Partners in Torah over three years ago. Her weekly phone calls with Chaya Rosen inspired her so much that Partners in Torah arranged for Shelly to visit Chaya’s Monsey home for Purim, a weeklong trip that had Shelly quitting her job in the music business, breaking up with her non-Jewish boyfriend and returning

to Israel where she registered as a student at Neve Yerushalayim. Shelly spent more than a year at Neve, keeping up with Chaya the entire time; today Shelly and her husband Adam live in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. Shelly still spends time learning on the phone, enjoying her two weekly conversations with Chaya and a third call that she makes in her role as a mentor to her own Partners in Torah student. Actress Mayim Bialik’s relationship with Partners in Torah dates back to a time more than ten years when she was looking to fill an intellectual void in her life. Paired with Allison Josephs who went on to create Jew in the City, a website dedicated to reversing negative stereotypes about Orthodox Jews, Mayim grew in her religious observance, publicly refusing to work on Jewish holidays and inspiring others to do the same. The need for additional mentors to learn with the many Shellys and Mayims who reach out to Partners in Torah continues to grow and chairman Steve Savitsky is hoping that a new digital platform with an even wider array of resources will draw thousands of new volunteers. Savitsky noted that mentors need not be seasoned educators and that virtually everyone with a Torah background has what it takes to teach, spreading the glow of Yiddishkeit

by learning from a sefer with their student, explaining why they keep kosher or discussing the beauty of Shabbos. “We are so blessed to be living lives that are defined by Torah and mitzvot,” said Savitsky. “It is truly incredible to be able to share what we know with others.” Those thoughts were echoed by Partners in Torah COO Moe Mernick. “Any person who has had the benefit of a Jewish education can change the life of another Jew in just a few minutes every week,” said Mernick. “Imagine the impact we could have if each of us shared the beauty, depth, and relevance of Torah with another Jew. Not only could we light up the world, we could literally change the course of Jewish history.” Learn with a fellow Jew for 30 minutes a week and help shape the Jewish future. Sign up at www.partnersintorah.org/mentor.


MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

‫ויתן לך‬

The Week In News

9

THE ‫ טור‬WRITES:

,‫ ונהגין לומר פסוקים של ברכה‬:‫כתב הטור‬ ,‫כגון ׳יפתח ד׳ לך את אוצרו הטוב׳‬ ‫כדי שיתברכו במעשי ידיהם‬ THE MINHAG OF KLAL YISROEL TO SAY ‫ויתן לך‬ IS IN ORDER TO BRING BRACHA TO ALL OF YOUR ENDEAVORS If your shul would like to be listed on the directory of shuls that say Vyiten Lecha after davening, please email us at

VYITENLECHA@GMAIL.COM The following shuls have a minyan available:

BROOKLYN, NY Agudah Of Avenue L 2913 Avenue L BJX Beis Medrash 2915 Avenue K Cong. Bais Moshe Shmiel Kozova 1782 East 28th street

Cong. Shlomo Zalman V’Chaim 1252 East 23rd street Cong. Talmud Torah of Flatbush 1305 Coney Island Ave. Congregation Pozna 2422 Avenue I

Khal Ahavas Chaim 549 East 2nd street Khal Bnei Avrohom Yaakov 2701 Avenue N K’hal Shaar Tosfos Yom Tov 2115 Avenue J

Khal Bnei Torah 3514 Flatlands Avenue Knesses Bais Avigdor 1720 Avenue J Young Israel of Avenue K 2818 Avenue K

NEW YORK, NY Machzike Torah 851 West 181st Street The Beis 451 West End Ave #4E Bialystoker Shul 7-11 Willet Street Young Israel 519 Grand Street

MONSEY, NY Cong. Bais Yosef Meier 37 Olympia Lane

BALTIMORE, MD Congregation Shomrei Emunah 6221 Greenspring Avenue

SPRING VALLEY, NY Kehillat New Hempstead 720 Union Road

SILVER SPRING, MD Woodside Synagogue Ahavas Torah 9001 Georgia Avenue

LOS ANGELES, CA Congregation Tifereth Zvi 7561 Beverly Blvd Young Israel Of Hancock Park 225 S. La Brea Ave

HILLSIDE, NJ Yeshiva Eitz Chaim D’Hillside 1531 Maple Avenue

BROOKLINE, MA Young Israel of Brookline 62 Green St.

LAKEWOOD, NJ Beis Medrash Lutzk 570 New Egypt Road

SOUTHFIELD, MI Cong. Yagdil 17100 W. 10 Mile Rd.

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The Week In News

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home


MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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The Week In News Living with the Times

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

Happier

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman It was during that last Purim hour, during the moments when day slowly turns to night and the sky begins to darken. Inside the crowded room, a rebbi and talmidim sat around a table, their songs, Torah and quips joining into a burst of sound, as the holy noise of Purim rose heavenward. At one end of the long table, its surface covered with a wine-stained cloth and festively-arranged bottles, a talmid raised a question. He quoted the Gemara, referred to extensively in halachic discussion of the obligations of the Purim seudah, which recounts how Rabbah rose and slaughtered Rav Zeira (Megillah 7b). Rav Zeira had accepted Rabbah’s invitation to join him for the seudas Purim. Rabbah fulfilled the dictum of Chazal to drink, and he became inebriated to the point that he actually slaughtered his guest. When he realized what transpired, he begged for Divine mercy and Rav Zeira was revived. For centuries since, scholars have utilized p’shat, remez, drush and sod to explain the Gemara. But the talmid had a basic question. Once Rav Zeira’s soul had left him, what was Rabbah thinking when he rose to daven? Can a person request techiyas hameisim? Can a person ask that the order of creation be reversed? The rebbi smiled, enjoying the question, and the talmidei chachomim present offered various interpretations. Then the rebbi spoke. “It was Purim,” he said, “and in the season of Purim, it isn’t a question. On the day of Purim, on the deepest level, there is no teva and neis. It’s all one. Ein od milvado.” On Purim, we can ask for anything, because after reading the Megillah, it becomes clear once again that there is one Hand, and nothing else, that bestows and controls life. The men around the table sang another song, because at that moment, it was so obvious, almost tangible, that it’s all Him. How can one not rejoice? Purim is different than any other Yom Tov. Even when all the moadim will be but happy memories, Purim will have its place on the calendar, a joyous festival in the era of ultimate joy. What it is about Purim that generates so much eternal joy and elation? Even in the hidden darkness - hester - of today, when hearts are numb and emotion comes hard, we can still sense it. There is a mitzvah to be happy on every Yom Tov, yet despite our best efforts, we don’t always manage to attain the level of happiness that we do on Purim. On Purim, we all feel it. Like a beacon of light on a dark, stormy night, it shines into our world. Every one of us is struggling. We have days when the

rushing waves of tzaros threaten to engulf us. We encounter people and situations we find intolerable. There are so many issues for which we seek guidance. We all sometimes feel lost and abandoned. So many people we know are sick and in need of a refuah, or suffering in other ways and eagerly awaiting a yeshuah. We fear the spreading virus, the political season which impacts us in many ways. The economy is dependent on a disease nobody can control. Right now, everything is humming along. Unemployment is at historically low levels, the stock market at historic highs. But that can change in a flash if the virus hits here. Besides the tragedy of people becoming sick and dying, if people will be forced to stay home, the economy can suffer. The mood of the country will change in a flash, Trump will be blamed, and a socialist promising free healthcare and lots of other stuff can be

spectfully to the words of a visiting maggid. The preacher castigated the people for their misdeeds, telling them that their offensive behavior was causing Heaven to withhold blessing. When the maggid finished, the Baal Shem Tov rose to speak. “What do you want from these Jews?” he asked the maggid. “They work long, hard hours, laboring under a blazing sun all day. When they have a few minutes of peace, they hurry to shul to daven and learn a bit. What type of message are you giving them?” “Tayere Yidden,” the Baal Shem Tov said, turning to the crowd of farmers, “this is what you must know. We have a powerful Borei, a Creator with limitless abilities, and He can do anything and everything. He loves us and wants to shower us with His blessings. So Yidden, come. Let us dance.” The Baal Shem Tov led the simple townspeople in a joyous rikkud. A circle of

Despondency is not the Jewish way. elected president. People who worry have lots to worry about. When Esther was taken away and brought to prepare to audition for King Achashveirosh, Mordechai could have become despondent. He didn’t. He maintained his faith, believing that all that occurs is from Hashem for a higher purpose. He sat by and waited to see how the story would unfold. Purim is an unfurled banner that reads, “Have no fear. Revach vehatzolah ya’amod laYehudim.” Help can come. Help will come. Don’t despair. Purim teaches us that all that transpires to us in this world is part of Hashem’s plan. It will all turn out for the good if we are patient and follow Hashem’s word. We sing various tunes to the eternal words of “venahafoch hu,” reminding us that Hashem can quickly bring about a stunning reversal of any situation. At no time should we give up hope of recovery, no matter how bad the prognosis. The Baal Shem Tov once traveled through a tiny, forlorn town consisting of a few farmhouses and fields. The locals were suffering from a severe drought. The lack of rainwater threatened the crops and their livelihood was in jeopardy. The Baal Shem Tov went into their shul and saw how the entire town - men, women and children - was present, listening re-

Jews began singing their thanks and praise to the Master of the Universe. They exited the shul and encountered a drenching downpour. The rain turned the fields into mud. The happy townspeople danced their way home. This is the lesson of Purim. Even as we are bound by the rules of teva, a neis is still possible. Teshuvah, tefillah and tzedakah have the power to be maavir any gezeirah. When Esther went into Achashveirosh, she didn’t ask what her chances of success were. When Mordechai commanded her to appeal the case of the Jewish people to the king, they didn’t consider what their chances of victory were. They davened, fasted and did what was right. Armed with emunah and tefillah, their efforts in teva succeeded. Throughout the year, we are confronted by various types of people and the vast spectrum of human behavior, from righteous and noble to incorrigibly evil and many shades in between. We live in a world where up is down and down is up. We have to resist being blown about and led astray, but no matter what comes over us and the world, we must maintain our equilibrium and faith. When good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people, the Megillah reminds us that appearances are deceptive. The “wheel of fortune”

is manipulated by Hashem for His own purposes. The Megillah reminds us that all that happens is part of a Divine plan, which we can’t expect to understand until the entire story has evolved. An evil force may appear to be advancing, but it is only in order for Hashgocha to set up that power for a more drastic descent to defeat. Evil may be on the ascent, but it is merely a passing phenomenon and is destined to fail. Goodness and virtue may appear frail and unimposing, but those who follow Hashem’s path will ultimately triumph. In every generation, there are evil people who plot our destruction, but we are still here, thriving and prospering, and we will do so with Hashem’s help until the coming of Moshiach. That message resonates for all time, wherever Jews find themselves. As we masquerade about, exchanging mishloach manos with friends and distributing Purim gelt to the less fortunate, we tap into the kedusha and message of the holy day. That message never loses its timeliness. Studying Megillas Esther tells the story. There are so many old and new seforim on Purim and the Megillah that you can’t help but find one that will give you personally new significance to the message of the special day. Like a symphony, the discriminating listener appreciates it on a different level. To great men, Megillas Esther is an experience. Every year, we gain new appreciation of what took place during those critical times and its relevance to us today. We also gain a new perspective. Was Haman consumed by hatred or was it jealousy that drove him mad? Was he a megalomaniac or was he just a common anti-Semite? Perhaps he was all of the above. The lesson for us is that we should avoid all these forms of evil. Humility might have saved Haman, as would have his high status as a trusted confidant of King Achashveirosh if he had been satisfied with that prestige. Had he been less greedy for power, he might not have suffered a devastating downfall and would not have ended up on the gallows. Had he not been so mad for power, he could have continued climbing until he reached the pinnacle. He would have remained there, at the height of power, instead of dangling from the end of a rope. As we read the story, we think of people we know who engage in self-destructive behavior and thank Hashem that we are not like them. We internalize the tale and take its message to heart. We feel grateful for the clarity that enables us to be happy with our lot.


The Week Living with In theNews Times

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

Everyone has times when they fail. To err is human. The test is how we recover from those situations and continue on after experiencing a setback. Do we become withdrawn and despondent or do we maintain our faith in Hashem and in ourselves and carry on with dignity and grace? When things don’t go our way, do we get angry, or do we have bitachon that the next day will bring better news and happier developments? The Purim story didn’t happen overnight, and sometimes, it takes years for the yeshuah to arrive, but salvation comes only to those who maintain their faith and optimism. Those who give up lose. Rav Yitzchok Hutner once faced his talmidim after the sun had set on Purim, in the happy exhaustion of teshuvah mitoch simcha, and cried out, “Purim hut nisht kein Havdolah, we don’t recite Havdolah as we do after other festivals, because there is no ‘after Purim.’ Purim is meant to stay with us.” The lessons and joy of Purim are eternal and must remain with us throughout the year. Chazal demand of us that when Adar arrives, we increase our happiness. Not only those for whom all is apparently going well are told to be happy. Even those for whom the good is “b’hester,” hidden, must be happy all year and happier during Adar. We read the Megillah and study what Mordechai Hatzaddik did and realize that his actions, though unpopular, in fact led to the rescue of the Jewish people. Mordechai’s admonition, “Umi yodeia im le’eis kazos higaat lamalchus,” should ring in the ears of every Jew who is about to make a fateful decision. Mordechai’s words encourage us to do what is correct and to resist the temptation to act expediently. Don’t be turned back by obstacles or nasty people, Mordechai says. Remember who you are and why you are here and you will succeed. There is a multi-million-dollar industry in this country that revolves around motivation. People pay to hear speeches or purchase books they hope will motivate and encourage them. Most people sense that they possess more potential than they utilize and are desperate to be inspired and empowered. Megillas Esther is a motivator, with the ability to empower every Jew. Miracles that took place at other times were lemaalah min hateva, while Purim was within teva. That inspires us, because when we see events that are painful and frightening, we are reminded through Purim that miracles happen via the course of regular things that happen. Read the news. You don’t necessarily see the Yad Hashem, but the lesson of the Megillah is that it is there.

Hidden, but evident, nes betoch hateva. We don’t have to wait for supernatural occurrences to spare us and to save us from that which frightens us. Rather, we should believe that there is salvation for our problems through the natural course of human events. Although we may feel crushed, we do not need a miracle to save us. We need faith. Esther was afraid that she was doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Mordechai was prompting her to appeal to Achashveirosh eleven months ahead of the date Haman had chosen to annihilate the Jewish people. She preferred to stall, in the hope that between this Nissan and the next Adar in eleven months, there would be a more opportune time for her to appeal on behalf of her brethren. Why did it have to be now? The temptation is always great to postpone doing what we know we must do. Mordechai’s message to us is not to wait and not to postpone and not to delay doing what must be done. Esther is repeatedly tested throughout the period in which the story takes place. Each time, it appears that there is no way she can outmaneuver the evil facing her. She emerges as the heroine of the story, because she is galvanized by her hopes rather than her fears. She relies upon the sage counsel of her uncle, the Rosh Sanhedrin. With Mordechai’s support, she refuses to allow fear to paralyze her. Faced with situations from which we think there is no way we can extricate ourselves without getting hurt, we should remember Queen Esther and gain strength from the knowledge that by doing the right thing, she saved her people from certain destruction. By following Mordechai’s instructions, she became immortalized in the consciousness of the Jewish people as a righteous and strong woman who put the fate of her people ahead of her personal safety and happiness. The Jews of Shushan, too, taught us a message that carries down through the ages. They had given up all hope. They felt doomed. The lot was drawn and their fate was sealed. But Mordechai and Esther taught them the power of prayer and fasting. They rose to the challenge. Thanks to the leadership of Mordechai and Esther, Hashem heard their tefillos and accepted their teshuvah. A day marked for sadness and death was transformed into a day of celebration and deliverance. The Sefas Emes (643) teaches that because the people of the time set aside their own thoughts and ideas and followed Mordechai, subjugating themselves to his commands which they did not all understand or agree with, they were saved. They created achdus and rose to his higher level. Not only were they spared from the

fate they feared awaited them, but they emerged much holier and better than they were before the saga began. They accepted the Torah once again. The first time it was forced upon them, while this time it was out of love (Shabbos 88a). On Purim, we are reminded not to be depressed or downcast. Despondency is not the Jewish way. We all have our problems. Everyone has a pekel. On Purim, we are reminded that just as our ancestors were delivered from despair, so can we be spared of our burdens. It’s Purim. Dance, smile and be happy. Look at the positive. Be optimistic. Rav Shlomo Bloch wrote a diary of life at the Talmud Torah of Kelm. He describes Purim in the town whose name is synonymous, until this very day, with single-minded avodah. In Kelm, the talmidim took the mandate to drink alcohol on Purim very seriously, he writes, and the entire community seemed to be “a tefach higher” than usual, suspended above the ground in joy and spiritual uplift. But the moment the sky darkened over Kelm and night fell,

the talmidim returned to their regular, focused selves and order ruled once again. To a student of psychology, it might seem extraordinary. To one who appreciates the profound strength of Kelmer talmidim, it’s simple. Purim for them was not an escape from reality. For them, and for us as well, it is an injection of reality that empowers the Jewish people with the clarity and awareness to continue on. And it never ends, for there is no Havdolah. We seize the gift of Purim and incorporate it into our daily avodah, newly charged. Permit the spirit of Purim to overtake you. There is a splendid future for each of us. About Haman it says, “Vayeitzei bayom hahu sameiach vetov lev.” On that day, he was glad. The joy of resho’im is temporal and fleeting. We are people of tomorrow. The commandment to wage war on Amaleik is given for “machar,” tomorrow. We live with an awareness and anticipation of a bright, brilliant tomorrow. Ah freilichen Purim. Ah gantz yohr freilach zol men zein.

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Torah Musings The Week In News

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

The Power of Suggestion Sarah Pachter

On a recent flight to Israel, my family was rather intrigued by the safety guidelines video.1 Lior Suchard, the host, did a great job of keeping the attention of the travelers. Suchard is a famous mentalist, whose performances have blown away millions of viewers. The video begins with Suchard flipping over cards and asking viewers to remember only one card. He then explains the safety precautions while the video cuts between interesting optical illusions. At the end of the video, the camera zooms out and you see him casually strolling atop the Eight of Hearts. Simultaneously, he throws the deck of cards in the air like confetti, indicating that he knew the viewer’s selection all along. 1 watch?v=_6akiuRlEF8

https://www.youtube.com/

As the predicted card was revealed, I heard a passenger a few seats to my right exclaim, “Oh wow! That’s the card I chose!” “Really?” her spouse asked, only half-interested. “Yes!” It turns out, almost all viewers chose this very card. At the beginning of the video, when Suchard displays the cards, the only one that appears long enough for a person to commit to memory is the Eight of Hearts. This concept of influenced decision making struck me. Our choices are often guided by others. We may think we are making our own decisions, but we are subtly—and not-so-subtly—guided to those choices directly. Lior Suchard is not a magician, and while many may call him an illusionist, that’s not what he calls himself. Rather, he calls himself a master of persuasion. If Suchard can persuade us through hints and exposures, then certainly Hashem can, too.

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This revelation begs the question, How can we have free will if Hashem is omniscient and omnipotent? Consider the world as a game of chess. On Hashem’s chessboard, all the pawns have already been set up, and our role is merely to choose our next move, given the circumstances around us. Hashem can create a chess board with obscure options, or one where the moves are more obvious. Hashem controls the chessboard, but we control our individual movements. In this dynamic, we keep free will, and Hashem keeps His total power. On a smaller scale, as parents, we also present our children with options. We might ask, “Honey, do you want to do homework or go to your favorite amusement park?” The parent knows what the most likely answer will be. Does the child make the choice? Absolutely. Does the parent have the power to orchestrate his choice? Yes again. Hashem is the ultimate Parent to us, providing choices constantly. Despite His knowing what we will choose, we still have the power of choice. As parents, we can influence our children towards a desired outcome by offering two options which differ in unimportant ways, yet share the trait we prefer. Suppose you want your child to start a tutoring session, and they are having trouble focusing. Try offering, “Would you like to eat dinner while you work with Mrs. Jones? Or, would you prefer to eat dinner afterwards?” By presenting choices, you give your child some power, but he still completes the desired tasks. Malcom Gladwell, in The Tipping Point, discusses a study revealing why people vote for a certain candidate during presidential elections. In 1984, Ronald Reagan was running for president against Walter Mondale. Eight days before the election, psychologists from Syracuse University recorded the nightly news shows on the three national broadcasting networks. They found that the anchor on ABC Nightly News smiled broadly every time President Reagan’s name was mentioned. After extensive research, they discovered that this subtle action persuaded more viewers to ultimately vote for Reagan.2 Interestingly, other studies have found that just nodding when listening to a speaker causes listeners to agree more strongly, even if the subject matter is disagreeable.3 The subtleties of nonverbal communication have a powerful influence on how we and others behave and feel. 2 Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point (Back Bay Books 2002) pg. 74

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Ibid., pg. 76

If a smile or a nod can affect the adult decision-making processes significantly, then surely we have infinite power to utilize nonverbal communication when influencing our children in a positive way. Facial expressions might even have the power to determine our children’s future observance level. If every time we said the word Shabbat we smile or express positivity, perhaps our children’s desire to keep Shabbat will remain steadfast, even in the face of today’s temptation to do otherwise. Do we smile when we talk about the upcoming Shabbat? Are we happy to prepare for guests? For most of us, this attitude is a work in progress, but we can all make an active effort to decrease complaints. If Shabbat is associated with images of complaining and exhausted parents, then where does that leave our children? There was a time when keeping Shabbat in America was extremely difficult for observant Jews. Shabbat observance meant losing one’s job on Monday morning after not showing up to work on Saturday. The often-used expression, “It’s hard to be a Jew,” became famous for this reason. Many people have ultimately left Judaism because of such difficulties. We may not have these same struggles now, but there are plenty of other tests of our observance all around us. I admit to not always smiling when it comes to Shabbat preparation, but with this context in mind, it feels more important to make an effort to do so. It is vital to send the subliminal message that being a Jew is joyous! Shabbat is our lifeline, and as it says in Orchot Tzaddikim, “We should smile when we perform mitzvot.”4 Our facial expressions and demeanor may determine if our kids will want to keep Shabbat when they get older, and when they are no longer living with us. Beyond Shabbat, what do the expressions on our face transmit? Do we send our children to Jewish day schools grumpily? Do we learn Torah and perform chessed with zerizut or by rote? In small moments and actions, Suchard guided his audience to think and act in calculated ways. In the same way, it is the smallest moments—the subtle eye roll or genuine smile—that our children notice most. If we utilize these small moments of influence strategically, they can have a very large impact down the road. Lior Suchard isn’t the only master of persuasion. As parents and Torah-observant Jews, we all have influential power within us. Let’s use it wisely.

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Orchot Tzaddikim, Vol. 1 (Feldheim 1996) pg. 207


MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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29, | The Jewish Home Feature TheOCTOBER Week In2015 News

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

Bibi

Pulls It Off By Tzvi Leff

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lection day in Israel is not for the faint of heart. With parties and media outlets legally barred from publishing polls in the 48 hours before Israelis head to the ballot box, voters have no idea what the current electoral reality is. As the clock winds down, the rumors begin to swirl. In WhatsApp groups and on popular Facebook pages, viral messages that claim to have “insider information” are endlessly shared for those desperate for news. By the time the country’s three Hebrew-language television channels post the first exit polls at 10 p.m., political junkies are a nervous wreck. While the citizenry is kept in the dark as to the true facts on the ground, Israel’s political parties are fully aware of the current picture. Shelling out extraordinary sums to in-house pollsters, each party runs a highly advanced command and control center that keeps campaign managers constantly updated. This situation renders the public ripe for exploitation and has led to the rise of the “Gevalt” campaign. From the early afternoon, each fac-

tion bombards its supporters with hysterical messages that speak of massive voter turnout among the rival political camp in an effort to scare people to the ballot box. The invention of the “Gevalt” campaign is widely credited to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in 2015 by famously warning that “the Arabs are swarming the polls in droves.” Ever since, every party runs its own version of a Gevalt campaign, to the point where voters have simply stopped believing it. Yet, this Monday, something was off. Instead of the usual election day fearmongering, the Likud radiated optimism and hope. “We’re almost by 61,” wrote Netanyahu on Facebook, referring to the number of Knesset seats needed to form a government. “One more push, and we’re there.” In contrast to the Likud’s hopeful messaging, the rival Kahol Lavan party was all doom and gloom. Speaking of absurdly low voter turnout in solidly left-wing Tel Aviv, Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz begged voters to make a dash for the ballot box. When 10 p.m. arrived, it was

clear that something had gone very wrong. Rather than the clear victory Kahol Lavan was expecting, it was not even the country’s biggest party. That honor belonged to the Likud, which, contrary to every poll, picked up 36 seats to Kahol Lavan’s 34. The left-w ing camp hadn’t done much better. The Gesher-Labor-Meretz merger only garnered 7 seats, a massive collapse from the combined 56 seats the leftist stalwarts received in 1992. On the right, Shas surged to 10 seats while fellow haredi party UTJ fell to 7. Meanwhile, Yamina, a union of Religious Zionist parties headed by Naftali Bennett, fell to either 7 or 6. While disappointing, the party successfully had suffered from aggressive campaigns from Blue and White and UTJ that sought to poach National-Religious voters. Finally, the Arab Joint List Party picked up 15 seats, the most the anti-Zionist faction has ever gotten in its history. The record total resulted from unprecedented turnout in the Arab sector, with cities such as Jaffa and Umm Al-Fahm seeing upwards of 60% participation.

T

he main story of this election remains Prime Minister Netanyahu. Both friends and foes agree that he is a magician. Since entering politics in 1992 and wresting control of the Likud from the party elite a year later, Netanyahu has a long list of shocking electoral wins to his name. It started in 1996, where he defeated Shimon Peres to win the top job, despite coming only six months after the assassination of Prime Minister Yizchak Rabin. In 2015, the Zionist Union was defeated the Likud in every poll, only to watch dumbfoundedly as Netanyahu led his party to a 30-seat blowout victory. Then there was last April, where Netanyahu brought the Likud to a high of 35 Knesset seats despite being indicted on corruption charges in three separate cases. Even so, no achievement was as dramatic and stunning as the 36 seats the public gave the Likud on Monday evening – two more than Kahol Lavan’s 34. Israel’s longest serving prime minister appears to be at the end of his career. In two weeks, his trial will begin. Netanyahu will appear


Feature The Week In News

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before a judge like a common criminal. He is accused of a series of serious offenses that can land him behind bars for years, including fraud and breach of trust. To contrast, the rival Kahol Lavan is headed by three ex-IDF chief of staffs and enjoys overwhelming media support. Netanyahu has already failed to form a government twice this year, after the right-wing bloc fell short of the necessary 61 seats in both April and September. That’s what made the Likud’s victory this week so unexpected. Not only isn’t Netanyahu political roadkill, he brought the Likud 36 seats. When Mark Twain famously quipped that “the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” he could have easily been referring to Netanyahu. Despite all the hostile press coverage and his criminal cases, he remains at the top of Israel’s political jungle. “This is the biggest win of my life,” Bibi exulted at a victory rally on Tuesday morning. Before a delirious crowd of Likud members, Netanyahu added, “We plowed the country from north to south. There is nothing like the citizens of Israel. “Israeli citizens trust us because they know that we have brought the best decade in Israeli history.” Impressive as the Likud’s performance was, however, it is still far from certain that Netanyahu will be able to form a government and end the country’s political deadlock. With most of the votes counted, the right-wing bloc has either 59 or 60 seats. In Israel, victory means only one thing: swearing in a coalition. Without getting to 61, anything is possible.

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hile Likud’s campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv was awash in euphoric celebrations, Kahol Lavan’s offices were eerily quiet. Activists had begun leaving after seeing their party’s disappointing finish, and Benny Gantz gave a low-key address to a half-empty hall in which he promised “to keep on fighting for you.” Now, Kahol Lavan will need to reconsider their vow to never join

Effective as it was, the Likud’s campaign couldn’t have achieved such stunning success without Kahol Lavan’s anemic campaign. a coalition led by Netanyahu. The premier won a decisive victory, and there is no apparent way for the faction to form a government without Likud. Israel has already suffered through an unprecedented three elections this year; Kahol Lavan would likely force yet another round should it keep its campaign promise. In general, Israel’s third elections in the past year presented new challenges for its multitude of political parties. It’s not easy peddling the same merchandise time after time. What once worked on voters quickly becomes tiresome; consistent fearmongering soon loses its bite. Campaigners and spin doctors needed to deal with a seemingly apathetic public weary from the endless rounds of electioneering. In addition, the prevailing belief was that most voters would cast their ballot for the same party they chose the previous September and

the time before that. Convincing swing voters to switch sides has been the bread and butter of political campaigns worldwide, but what is one to do when swing voters no longer exist? “Only a small amount of the electorate can fit the classical definition of a swing voter,” noted political consultant Shlomo Filber last week. “Usually, voters make up their minds based on how the outgoing government is doing. But we’ve had a caretaker government since December 2019 and don’t expect any changes.” While every party searched for ways to overcome this challenge, the problem was particularly acute for the Likud. Netanyahu first returned to the Prime Minister’s Residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street in 2009; since then, he has enjoyed one of the longest uninterrupted reigns of any democratically-elected leader.

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For many, the words “prime minister” and “Benjamin Netanyahu” have become synonymous. Yet as the years passed, a growing number of Likud voters began to grow weary of Netanyahu. Nicknamed by the media “Bibi-fatigue,” concerns were that these voters wouldn’t cross the aisle and cast their ballot for Blue and White. Rather, they wouldn’t vote at all. And after last April, where one Knesset seat made the difference between another Netanyahu-led coalition and second elections in September, getting every possible ballot was crucial. The need to counter Bibi-fatigue was highlighted after the Likud discovered that it hemorrhaged upwards of 300,000 votes in the previous elections. An after-action report found that the Likud’s fall from the 35 seats it got in April to the 32 it received in September was the multitudes who stayed home on election day, as well as the mergers with other parties that didn’t bring the expected electoral windfall. As such, the Likud’s strategy this time around was simple and hinged on two points: Boosting the turnout among the faithful as much as possible, and doing that by highlighting the fact that Benny Gantz had no viable way of forming a government without the support of the Arab Joint List party. In every poll, Kahol Lavan fell far short of being the necessary 61 votes without the support of the Joint List. Without the support of the anti-Israel party, which in September received a record 14 seats, Gantz would never become Israel’s next prime minister. To boost turnout this week, Netanyahu unveiled a multitude of gimmicks from the sort that has kept him on the throne all of these years. Since new elections were declared in December, Netanyahu crisscrossed the country, traveling from one Likud stronghold to another in a frantic attempt to get as many to the polls as possible. The Likud’s success came from Netanyahu’s intensive campaigning that exploited the overwhelming disgust Israelis feel towards the anti-Israel Knesset faction. In Kiryat Shmona, Ramle, Ash-

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dod, and Be’er Sheva, Netanyahu hammered home his message that staying home or voting for Kahol Lavan would result in a government comprised of anti-Zionist lawmakers from the Arab Joint List. This, Netanyahu reiterated, would result in catastrophic damage to Israel’s security and signaled Kahol Lavan’s collapse into post-Zionism. “Gantz cannot create a government without Ahmad Tibi – this is the secret of these elections,” Netanyahu told the audience in working-class Or Yehuda last month. “Ahmad Tibi says don’t operate in Gaza; Gantz will not be able to operate in Gaza,” he added. “Ahmad Tibi will tell him not to operate against Iran in Syria; Gantz will not be able to operate.” Tibi, a former adv isor to arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, would go on to play a starring role in the Likud’s campaign. Throughout the country, billboards paid for by the Likud sported a massive picture of Tibi sitting next to Gantz during coalition negotiations, with the words “Without Tibi, Gantz has no government” splashed across in menacing black letters.

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ffective as it was, the Likud’s campaign couldn’t have achieved such stunning success without Kahol Lavan’s anemic campaign. The party sometimes barely seemed to exist; its rallies empty and its messaging unconvincing, the faction headed by three ex-IDF chief of staffs was unable to explain coherently to Israel’s citizens what they had to offer other than the anti-Netanyahu platform. As Netanyahu appeared at multiple events every night, Kahol Lavan released videos on Facebook decrying Netanyahu’s alleged corruption. While Netanyahu and other Likud lawmakers highlighted the advances in Israel’s international standing and the thriving economy under his tutelage, the record low unemployment and the rising standard of living, Kahol Lavan had nothing to offer other than “Anyone But Bibi.” In addition, Gantz didn’t help his own cause. In recent months, the grizzled general has proven to

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

When Mark Twain famously quipped that “the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” he could have easily been referring to Netanyahu. be an abysmal politician. Seemingly unable to give a single speech or interview without a mistake, his ever-escalating verbal gaffes spawned a parody Twitter account titled “The Daily Gantz” that highlighted his missteps. In fact, none other than Yisrael Bachar, Gantz’s campaign manager, was recorded calling his boss “unable to make decisions,” a “stupid” person “who is a danger to Israel.” Bachar was fired for his remarks but no matter. His description of the Kahol Lavan leader as someone unintelligent and indecisive confirmed what many already thought of him and matched a negative portrayal of

him dating back to his army days. Gantz’s squeaky clean image also took a major hit when the State Prosecutor’s Office announced that it would probe his failed tech company. Under his leadership, the firm, known as the Fifth Dimension, filed for bankruptcy last year after improperly receiving NIS 5 million from the Israel Police to develop a cyber monitoring product. While Gantz is not officially a suspect, his embroilment in the affair rendered him effectively unable to highlight Netanyahu’s upcoming trial. Finally, President Trump’s Deal of the Century exposed Kahol Lavan’s lack of ideological clarity save

for the desire to send Netanyahu packing. While the peace plan was championed by the Likud, the general-laden rival faction was never quite sure what to do with the more right-wing aspects of the deal, such as annexation of the Jordan Valley and the Israeli settlements. In the week after Trump unveiled the Deal of the Century, Kahol Lavan took no clear position. Top officials contradicted each other, leading to embarrassing media interviews. For example, after Gantz went on record as a supporter of the plan, MK Yale German contradicted him hours later and called for a unilateral disengagement from the West Bank. In the final two weeks leading up to the March 2 elections, it became clear that Kahol Lavan was in trouble. Slowly but steadily, Likud began to rise, from 30 seats to 32 and then 33. At the same time, Kahol Lavan spin doctors watched helplessly as the lead it enjoyed this entire election cycle melt away. “We witnessed the gap in the surveys (between Netanyahu and Gantz) regarding who is most fit to be prime minister,” noted veteran Channel 13 political correspondent Ayala Hasson on election night. “We realized that this was a serious warning sign for Kahol Lavan that would translate into their inability to pick up Knesset seats.” The fact that the Likud’s rise came at the expense of Kahol Lavan was significant. For the first time, Likud’s boost wasn’t a result of Netanyahu picking off votes from other right-wing parties but from the stream of disenfranchised Kahol Lavan supporters who decided to switch their allegiance this time around to the Likud.

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ow that Bibi has come out on top, it’s only a matter of time and political maneuvering that will determine what the next few months in Israel will look like. Will Israelis be forced to endure another trip to the ballot box in the upcoming weeks, or will Bibi be finally be able to form a government? For that, he may need a Purim miracle. But that has been known to happen in the Holy Land.


The Week In News

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

SOMETIMES LAUGHTER REALLY IS THE BEST MEDICINE. When a child faces an uncomfortable or painful procedure, a smiling face or silly joke can make all the difference. The Dream Doctor medical clowns at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem found that when they engage and distract patients, the children report feeling less pain. For more than a century, Shaare Zedek’s medical staff has been helping patients heal through advanced medical treatments and compassionate care – even those that include squeaky toys and red noses.

www.acsz.org | national@acsz.org | 212.764.8116

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Emotional Health The Week In News

MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

Finding Your Unique Purpose Rabbi Dov Heller, LMFT

Each of us is here to make a unique contribution to better the world based on our unique abilities; to know what one’s unique contribution is, is to know one’s purpose. Besides having a unique personal mission, Jews also have a universal mission, which is to be “a light unto the nations.” When our universal and our personal missions are integrated, we experience a great feeling of vitality, joy, and empowerment. Knowing our purpose is one of the keys to living a meaningful life. Knowing what our unique contribution is gives us a

future, something to live for which energizes and vitalizes the way we live. A person with a purpose is free from boredom and looking for distractions to “kill time.” Living with purpose also has a curative power. A person with a mission is liberated from the psychological malady of self-absorption. A person who knows his purpose is content with himself and his life. This contentment liberates him from envy, competition, and hatred of others, freeing him to love others and helping them find and fulfill their unique mission in life. Here are five steps to help you dis-

cover what your unique contribution and purpose is and how to live it. STEP 1: Recognize that your unique contribution to the world will be a very specific activity  which you love and excel at. Take a moment to think about people you know who are making their unique contribution. It is not hard to recognize these people: the composer and musician, the stand-up comedian, the woman who specializes in educating mothers about Judaism, the fundraiser of an organization, the man who teaches Talmud in a yeshiva, the woman who is an enthusiastic teacher of young children, the philanthropist, the mom who loves being the mother of 12 children, the man who sits on the boards of many community organizations. All of these examples have one thing in common: they are all involved in a specific activity that defines what their unique purpose is. CAUTION! Many people overlook their unique contribution because it is not big and spectacular enough. We live in a culture that defines meaningful contributions in terms of status, fame, glamour, awards, name recognition, titles, and wealth. Your contribution does not have to earn you a Nobel Prize or an Olympic gold medal! Most people actually do know what their contribution should be, but fail to take ownership of it because they compare themselves with those who get all the publicity. They therefore devalue their own unique offering. Don’t overlook what is right under your nose because you’re spending too much time looking under other people’s noses! Here are some questions to help you track down your unique contribution: 1. If you had a billion dollars what would you do all day? 2. If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you love to do? 3. What activity makes you feel most alive? 4. What activity do you lose a sense of time when you do it? 5. What do you enjoy learning about most? 6. What do you enjoy talking about most with others? 7. What do you spend most of your money on? 8. What issue has been a constant

theme in your life? 9. What kind of giving is most rewarding for you? 10. What have you struggled most with in your life? (Note: What we struggle with is often what we want to help others overcome.) 11. What is your fantasy about how you will save the world? 12. What is a unique talent you have that you excel in? 13. What excites you? STEP 2: Start writing possibilities of what your unique contribution might be and don’t stop until you run out of ideas. STEP 3: The right one will give you a huge rush when you write it out. Write the sentence: “My unique contribution in the world is to___________.” STEP 4: Take ownership of your contribution. As I mentioned, most people know what they’re good at and what their unique contribution should be, but they fail to take ownership of it. Remember your unique contribution will be a very specific action that comes easy for you and which you love doing. The fact that it comes easy is ironically why many don’t take ownership of it. People believe it should be something they need to work really hard at finding and developing. This is incorrect. As Confucius said, “Do something you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” What we are here to do actually calls to us and pulls us towards it. Are you listening? STEP 5: Make a plan how you will either start making your contribution, or if you’re already doing it, how you can do more of it and do it better in order to make more of an impact. There is only one you. When you’re gone, your mold will never be used again. Judaism maintains not only is it necessary for our well-being to know our unique purpose, but it is an obligation to find it and actualize it. As Hillel said, “If not now, when?” Rabbi Dov Heller is in private practice offering psychotherapy and personal mentoring for individuals and couples. He can be contacted at Dov@ClarityTalk.com. You may also visit his website at www.ClarityTalk.com


MARCH 5, 2020 | The Jewish Home

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