The Week In News
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
The Week In News
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
Daniel needs a hero today, and he’s not alone – so do Nathan, Nora, Sofia, and hundreds more.
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The Week In News
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
The Week In News
The Week In News
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
CONTENTS COMMUNITY Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
JEWISH THOUGHT Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
FEATURE A Journey to Freedom through the Pacific . . . . . . 16
Book Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Tribe Tech. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
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, Z’man cheirusenu, the “time of our freedom,” is finally upon us. Freedom—a word which is used often but not always understood. Freedom for children means being able to stay up and eat treats. For a teenager it might mean no rules. And for an adult, an unlimited credit card. The seder shel Pesach celebrates our being free through specific actions and customs. We eat this amount of onion dipped into salt water; we lean to our left while drinking cups of wine; and we ask specific questions. Apparently, freedom in Yiddishkeit means freedom to do. Staying up late, having no rules, or possessing a full line of credit can just as easily be a form of bondage, and discussing the haggadah for a couple hours before even beginning the meal can be the perfect expression of freedom. This helps explain why even a crumb of chametz is suddenly treated worse even than non-kosher meat is the rest of the year. For at the point of our freedom and the birth of our nation, there is no room for the ego and the selfish “I” symbolized by chametz. Matzah, which symbolizes service in a selfless way, is the call of the hour. “Let my people go so they may serve me,” is the rallying cry of the Jewish people. We are an eternal people for we are connected to Hakadosh Baruch Hu. This is also why we speak of redemption in all of our tefillos. True freedom, and indeed the true expression of our Judaism, will only be complete when the inner soul of all creation will be revealed. It’ll be the same world, just with the lights on. And that is the truest freedom of all. L’shanah haba’ah b’irushalayim. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos and a kasher un freilichen Pesach,
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
The Week In News
In Recognition of Dirshuâ€™s Lomdim Across North America As Klal Yisroel heads towards the Dirshu World Siyum, the culmination of years of effort and hasmada, Dirshu wishes to congratulate the efforts of those in the Dirshu ranks who are learning with true accountability and diligence. These participants of the many Dirshu programs, such as Kinyan Torah, Kinyan Halacha, Daf Hayomi Bâ€™Halacha, and Kinyan Chochma, have retained countless blatt gemara, inyanei halacha and mussar, focusing on acquiring the knowledge and making it their own. Below is a partial listing of the lomdim in North America who have invested precious time and effort as members of the various Dirshu programs: Yaakov Aaron Dan Abittan Aaron Abittan Rachamim Aboud Yaakov D. Abramovitz Kevin Abramowitz Meir Yaakov Ackerman Boruch M. Ackerman Gedalya Ackerman Avrohom Tzvi Adler Raphael Adler Yoseph Adler Menachem N. Adler Mordechai Adler Menachem Adler Yitzchok S. Adler Moshe Adler Binayahu Allswang Sachee Allswang Nachman Alpert Pinchas Aminifard Moshe Amsel Benzion Amsel Binyomin Zev Apel Naftoli Apter Yakov Chaim Apter Chaim Aron Eliyahu Ashear Mendy Auerbach Avrum Augenstein Yanky Augenstein Elya Ausch Aharon Azatchi Chaim Yitzchok Babad Yaakov Y. Baddiel Chaim D. Bakon Shlomo Bamberger Avrohom C. Banda Henoch Bandman Yisroel Barber Yehoshua Barnetsky Benzion Baron Moshe Basch Moshe Bassoul Mordechai Bauer Isaac Baum Daniel D. Baumann Shloime Baumgarten Shmuel Bayer Aaron Bayer Yaakov Bayer Yoel Bayer Yaacov Yosef Bayer Yidel Beck Shmuel Becker Nosson N. Beer Yerachmiel Beer Shalom Beit Yakov David Beityakov Aryeh Belzberg Yosef Benedikt Netanel Ben-Habib Yirmiyahu Benyowitz Avraham Berg Azriel Berger Heshy Berger Yanky Berger Zalmen L. Berger Yisroel Berger Yakov Yosef Berger Shloima Berger Eliezer Berger Yossi Bergman Chaim Meir Berkovits Shaya Berkovits Lazer Berkovitz Berish Berkowitz Binyumin D. Berkowitz Yuda Berkowitz Menachem Berkowitz Yoel Berkowitz Shraga Berlin Chaim Bernstein Aron Bernstein Shmuel Zev Bick Dovid Bick Mordechai Bielory Dovid Bielory Leivy Bineth Avrohom Birnbaum Yoel Chaim Birnbaum Chaim Y. Biston Yaakov Bitton Sholom Blau Alexander Blau Yosef Dovid Blau Moshe Blau Hershel Blau Yechezkel Blitz Fishel Blumenfrucht Yaakov Yosef Bluming Avi Bobker Yaakov Bock Eliezer Sholem Bodansky
Chaim Bodner Shmuel Chaim Bohensky Dovid Borenstein Y. Leib Borenstein Mayer Bornstein Nosson M. Bornstein Asher Braceiner Mordchi Brach Shmuel D. Brailofsky Aron Braun Yakov Braun Chanina P. Braun Boruch Braun Pinchas Braun Yisroel Moshe Braun Avrum M. Braun Yisroel Brauner Benzion Braunfeld Eliezer Braunstein David Braunstein Boruch Breuer Yitzchok Breuer Ari Breuer Moshe Tuvia Breuer Hershel Breuer Binyomin Breuer Yitzchok Brickman Shloime Brieger Ahron Brodie Chananya Brodie Pinchas Brodt Yoel Brody Israel Brotsztein BenZion Bruck Mendel Brunstine Zalman Buchinger Yitzchok Buchinger Michael Buckstein Yisroel Burstein Yisroel Meir Byer Yitzchok Caplan Samuel Carr Volvi Censor Nisan Charish Tzvi Charish Menashe Choai Zev Chopp Yaakov Choueka Chaim Choueka Shmuel Choueka Shaul Choueka Nachman Ciment Shlomo Citron Yosef Cohen Michael Cohen Moshe Cohen Moshe Cohen Ariel Cohen Menachem Cohen Shmuel Cullish Yehoshua Cziment Aron Dancziger Mordechai P. Dancziger Shlomo Z. Davidson Sruli Davis Shaul Davis Yitzchok Y. Davis David Dayan Ezra Dayan Mendy Delman Isaac Deutsch Chaim Leib Deutsch Joseph Shmiel Deutsch Dov Ber Deutsch Chaim U. Deutsch Yaakov Deutsch Moshe Deutsch Aaron Deutscher Yakov Diamant Mechel Diamant Shia Diamont Yosef Dombroff Dovid Donner Eliyahu Nota Dowek Dov Drew Gershon Dubin Eliezer Dovid Dubin Moshe Dwek Elisha Dworkin Shmuel Edel Dov Edelstein Yisroel Chaim Ehrentreu Moshe Y. Ehrentreu Yehuda Zev Ehrentreu Tzvi Ehrlich Shraga Ehrman Lazar Eichenstein Menachem M. Eichenstein Shragi Eichorn Menachem Einhorn Aaron Einhorn Jacob Einhorn Mordechai Einhorn Shmuel Einhorn
Tzvi Einstadter Yosef Eisen Yisroel Yitzchok Eisenbach Michel Eisenbach Moshe Eisenbach Yisroel Eisenbach Chaim Eisenberg Pinchas Y. Eisenberger Shmiel Nuta Eisenberger Boruch Eisenberger Yosef Eisenberger Avraham Y. Eisenberger Naftuli Eizikovits Aron Elbaum Dovid Elbaz Binyomin Elewitz Moshe Elewitz Shlomo G. Elias Michael Eliau Shimon Elimelech Yitzchok Ernster Ephraim F. Ernster Yaakov Dovid Ernster David Esses Yitzchak Esses Jacob Esses Levi Falikovici Teddy Fariwa Joshua Farkas Yaakov Feder Menachem Yida Feder Aron Feferkorn Yisroel Y. Feifer Eliyahu Feifer Yechiel Feig Chaim Feig Daniel Feig Elliot Feiler Yaakov Fekete Tzvi Avigdor Fekete Avrohom M Felberbaum Yeshaya Feldbrand Eluzer Feldbrand Yechezkel Felder Moshe Feldhamer Yosef Feldman Yakov Yosef Feldman Aron E. Feldman Boruch Feldman Efraim Feldman Shmuel Feldmann Eliezer Felsen Ahron Fensterheim Moshe Ferber Mordechai Fine Moshe A. Fink Yaakov A. Fink Heshy Fink Yehuda Finkelman Jason Finkelstein Avrohom C. Fisch Zev Fisch Chaim Meir Fisch Pinchas Aaron Fisch Yitzchok Y. Fischer Avraham Fischer Reuven Fisher Shulem E. Fisher Pinchas D. Fixler Tzvi Eliezer Flagler Hershel Fleishman Baruch A. Fogel Avraham Fogel Dov Fogel Rephoel Forchheimer Mal Franco Jacob Frand Shlomo Frand Yehuda Frank Yosef Frank Yitzchok M. Frank Dovid Frankel Yitzchok M. Frankel Shlomo Dovid Freedman Shmiel Freier Nechemia Freier Yisroel C Freilich Chanan Freilich Sholom M. Freisel Zalman Leib Freund Hershi Freund Yosef Leib Fried Yoel Fried Shmiel Fried Yechezkel Y. Friedlander Baruch Friedlander Tzvi Aryeh Friedman Shloimy Friedman Shlomo Z. Friedman Chesky Friedman Avraham Yitzchok Friedman Yosef Friedman Nissin Friedman Shimon Friedman
Meir Chaim Friedman Zev Friedman Shmuel Yehoshua Friedman Osher Friedman Oizer Friedman Eliezer S. Friedman Shloimy Friedman Ephraim Dovid Friedman Yoel Friedman Naftuli Friedman Mordechai M Friedman Yitzchok Y. Friedman Tzvi Y. Frieman Elozer Friesel Moshe Friesel Mordechai N. Friesel Shraga Fromowitz Yehuda Leib Fuchs Hirsch Fuhrer Avrohom S. Fuhrer Naftali Tzvi Fuhrer Yitzchok I. Galandauer Avromi Garfunkel Yoel Gelb Yakov Gelbman Yisroel Genut Chaim Geretz Dovid Nosson Gerstein Aryeh Gibber Shmuel Yaakov Gibber Shlomo Gigi Chaim Ginsberg Yitzchak Ginsberg Nosson Ginsberg Shlomo Ginsberg Ruby Ginsberg Shlomo Z. Gips Moshe D. Gips Shalom Glas Eliezer Zusya Glatzer Yisroel Menachem Glazer Shmiel Dovid Glick Shia Hersh Glick Chaim Nossin N. Gluck Avraham Gluck Isaac Gluck Yaakov Godfrey Shimon D Godick Avraham Goldberg Naftali Tzvi Goldberg Benzion Goldberger Simcha Z. Goldberger Yakov Goldberger Akiva Goldberger Shmuel Goldbrener Arye L. Goldbrener Naftali Goldbrener Yehuda Goldbrenner David Goldenberg Shraga Goldenberg Shraga Goldhirsch Simon O. Goldman Chananya Goldman Aron Goldmunzer Netanel Goldstein Chaim Y Goldstein Yonatan Goldstein Shloima Goldstein Dovid Goldstein Shmuel Goldstein Yehuda Golovenshitz Shimi Goodman Ephraim Z Gordon Mordechai Z. Gordon Aba Gordon Dovid Gottlieb Tzvi Gottlieb Hillel Gradman Leishay Grant Meir Gras Dovid Graus Yehonason Green Yekusiel Yehudah Green Shimie Green Dov Greenbaum Nechemya Greenberg Avrohom Greenberg Dovid Greenberg Ezra Greenberger Mordechai Greenberger Yisroel Greenfeld Shmuel Greenfeld Issac Greenfeld Mordechai Greenwald Shaya Greenwald Ezriel Greenzweig Chaim Greenzweig Shlomo Grinfeld Meir Yaakov Grohman Moshe T. Grosinger Yitzchok S Grosman Avigdor Gross Moshe Gross Motty Gross
Dovid Gross Yossi Grossman Chaim E. Grossman Yitzchok I. Grosz Chaim N. Grosz Yaakov Gruen Yehuda Gruen Meyer Avrohom Gruenebaum Mordechai Grunsweig Josua Grunwald Joseph Grunwald Yaakov Grunwald Sholem Elya Grunwald Yehoshua Chaim Gubitz Noson Gugenheim Naftoli Gurwitz Simcha Gutman Baruch Gutow Meir Boruch Gutterman Hershel Guttman Yosef Guttman Yaakov Guttman Yosef Haber Shaya Haboba Yosef Yisroel Hager Eluzer Hager Chaim Meir Hager Naftali Chaim Halberstadt Yoel Halberstam Asher Halberstam Ezra Halle Daniel Halperin Yisroel M. Halpern Chaim Halpern Eliezer Halpert Joel Handler Shmuel Harari- Raful Moshe Harari-Raful Yechezkel Hartman Hershel Hass Nisim Hasson Lazer Haut Abraham Hedata Yosef Heimfeld Moshe Heimfeld Betzalel Heimfeld Yitzchok Heimfeld Shimon Heimfeld Yosef Zalman Heimon Yehuda Heller Binyomin Hellman Yaakov Herbst Aron Herman Naftuli Herschlag Avrohom Abish Herschlag Elkana Hershberg Joseph Hershkowitz Meilich Herz Shia Herz Fishel Herzog Avraham Y. Herzog Menachem M. Hess Moshe D. Y. Hirschfeld Tuvye Hirschfeld Edon Hirt Avrohom Hirtz Yochanon Hochhauser Meilech Hochhauser Aharon Hochhauser Eliyahu Hoffman Yehuda Honig Shmuel Honigwachs Yisroel Horovitz Yosef Horowitz Menashe Horowitz Gil Horwitz Ariel Asher Indig Yossef Iny Heshy Itzkowitz Aharon Jachimowitz Yossi Jacobovitch Yisroel Jundef Yosef Kabani Yona Kahan Zvi Kahana Bentzion Kaminetzky Shmuel Kanarek Shmuel Kanner Rephael Kantor Yaakov M Kaplan Zev Karasick Boruch Karfiol Meir Kasnett Chaim Kass Eliezer Kaszowitz Benzion Katz Moshe Mordechai Katz Avraham Hacohen Katz Mayer S. Katz Nosson Katz Lazer Katz Shlomy Katz Levi Yitzchok Katz Yehoshua Katz
Yankov Katz Avraham Tzvi Katz Yitzchok Katz Yosef Yehudah Katzburg Dovid Kaufman Shulem Kaufman Mordechai Kaufman Yakov Kaufman Hershel Kaufman Yosef Pinchos Kenigsberg Shimon Kenigsberg Alexander Kernkraut Mordechai Kestenbaum Boruch M. Kestenbaum Yechezkel Khayyat Yitzchok Kimmel Aron Kirschenbaum Yaakov Kirshenbaum Naftali Klahr Moshe Klaristenfeld Benzion Klaristenfeld Mordechai Elozor Klein Yakov Klein Bezalel Klein Hershy Klein Yaakov Klein Yecheski M.M. Klein Yeshayahu Klein Shmuel Klein Menachem Klein Shlomo Aharon Klein Shloimy Klein Shimshon Klein Levi Yitzchok Klughaupt Mendel Knobloch Asher Knoll Yosef Knopfler Yisroel M. Koenigsberg Motty Kohn Boruch Daniel Kohn Cheskel Kohn Meir Kohn Ahron Kohn Naftali Kolman Dovid Komet Amram Y. Konig Mordechai Konigsberg Yaakov Konovitch Moshe Koppel Tzvi Kornfeld Joseph Kornitzer Shmuel Kornitzer Yankel Kramarsky Michael Kramer Yaakov Yosef Kramer Berel Kraus Eli Kraus Yehuda Krausz Moshe Zev Krausz David Krausz Hershel Krausz Usher Krausz Shlome Krausz Zev Krausz Menachem M. Kravetz Yehoshua Kronglas Jeff Kronisch Avrohom Krull Avi Krupnik Avrohom Chaim Kryman Avi Kupfer Noam Kutoff Yitzchok I. Labin Yoel Labin Yaakov Landau Meir Landau Meilech Landau Yoel Landau Eliezer Landau Gidon Leib Lane Yehoshua Langsam Dan Lapan Yaakov Laskin Yisroel M. Laufer Bentzion Laufer Shaul Yehuda Lawfman Dov Lebovic Shloimy Lebovics Eliezer Z Lebovits Mordechai Lebovits Meir Lee Abba Lefkowitz Yona Lefkowitz Moshe Lefkowitz Yonah Lefkowitz Chaim M. Lefkowitz Yonah Lefkowitz Yecheskel E. B. Lefkowitz Chaim M Lefkowitz Moshe Leib Lefkowitz Shlomo Lefkowitz Moshe Lefkowitz Nachman Y. Lefkowitz Eliezer Z. Lefkowitz
Nisson Leiberman Moshe Leichter Shaul Shneur Lenchitz Arye L. Lerman Benzion Shulem Lerner Chesky Lesin Shimon Levin Yaakov Y. Levine Aharon Levine Naftoli Levovitz Nissim Levy Gershon Yosef Lezer Aaron Lezer Menachem Lichtenstadter Shulem Lazer Lichtenstein Meir Lichtenstein Leon Lichter Moshe Lichter Yehuda Lichter Berel Lichter Yitzchok M. Lichter Ari Lichtman Hillel Lieberman Yechiel Lieberman Gershon Lieberman Joshua Lintz Yaakov Lipschutz Avrohom Shimon Lissauer Mordechai Littman Dovid Loberbaum Zev Loeffler Mendy Loevy Abba C. Loevy Simcha Loevy Yosef Dovid Loevy Avrum Lorincz Yossi Lowenstein Avi Lowenthal Azriel Lowenthal Binyomin Lowenthal Avrohom Lowy Zev Volvi Lowy Shlomo R. Lowy Shloima Lunger Yair Lunger Yanky Luria Menachem M. Luria Shloime Luria Yisroel Machlis Moshe A. Leib Makevetzky Shmiel Zev Mandel Pinchas Mandel Yitzchak Mandel Yechiel Mandel Asher Mandel Shmuel Yitzchok Manheim Dovid Mansour Raphael Mansour Yehuda Marcus Yosef Y. Marcus Yakov Margareten Yitzchok Margareten Yitzchok Margulies Chaim M. Margulies Joel Markovitz Simcha Markowitz Mordechai Masleton Yosef Mayer Elimelech Mayer Yaakov Mayer Moshe Meisels Yoel Meisels Aaron Yidel Meisels Levi Yitzchok Meisels Hillel Meisels Shimon Meisels Moshe A. Meisels Chuna Meisels Yida Meisels Zalmen Meisels Reuvain Mendlowitz Yonatan Mendlowitz Moshe Mering Chaim Mering Pinchus Mermelstein Dovi Mermelstein Moshe Metzger Duvid Metzger Chaim Metzger Yakov Metzger Binyamin Mezei Eilish Miller Moshe Mordchi Miller Shmuel Milstein Shlomo Mincer Yitzchok Mincer Yitzchok Mishan Eliezer Mittel Chaim Mordechai Mittel Shmuel Mitzner Yosef Mizrahi Moshe Mizrahi Efrayim Moldofsky Rephael Moller Ari Morgenstern Duvid Morgenstern Shimon Morgenstern Fishel Morgenstern Yisroel Yaakov Morgenstern Shmuel Yakov Morris Yoel Moscowicz Aron Shulem Moshel Abraham Moskovits Aron Moskovits Hershel Moskowitz Eliezer Moskowitz Yecheskal S. Moskowitz Mendel Moskowitz Israel Moskowitz Mechel Moskowitz Aharon Muehlgay Hershel Muller Shmuel Muschel Binem Naiman Meir Simcha Nakdimen Uriel Nashofer Moshe Nashofer Yosef Neiman Pinchas Shlomo Neiman Akiva Neuhaus Naftuli Neuman Nosson Neustadt Aaron Neuwirth Yoel Newman Boruch Ney Ephraim Niehaus Alan Nochenson Mordechai Noe Solomon Nojovits Chaim Y. Nulman Yosef Nusenzweig Eliezer Nussenzweig Elimelech Oberlander Avraham Oestreicher Meir Olshin Avraham Orbach Moshe M. Ornstein David Oscherowitz Luzer Ostreicher Shlomo Ovits Sholom Padawer
Abraham S. Padwa Dovid Shmuel Tzvi Pal Yaakov Pal Chaim Pal Bernardo Pasternak Dovid Perl Chaim L. Perl Kalman Perl Nuchem Tzvi Perl Shrage Perlberger Motel Perlman Yakov Perlman Simcha Perlowitz Mendy Perlstein Raphael Perlstein Yehuda Perlstein Burech Perlstein Abraham Perman Yossef Pfeifer Avrumi Pfeifer Eliezer Pick Pinchas Piller Yechezkel L. Piller Aaron Pinter Yehoshua Plotnick Yosef Halevi Pollack Shalom Pollack Yeshaya Pollak Leiby Pollak Yaakov Pollak Mordechai Porges Aron M. Porgesz Menachem Zev Portugal Chaim Mordechai Posen Aaron Possick Avrohom Preisler Gavriel Price Aron Puretz Shlomo Zalmen Raab Dovid Rabinowitz Chaim Rabinowitz Yosef Radzyminski Benzion Rand Yechezkel Rapaport Yosef Rappaport Baruch D. Rauch Avrumi Rawicki Yosef Rawicki Yosef Rawicki Yitzchok Rawicki Yisroel M. Rayman Alexander Rechnizer Chaim Reich Shaya Reich Jacob Reichman Pesach Reichman Chaim I. Reinman Menachem Reis Boruch Yehoshua Reiss Berish Reitzer David Retter Yehuda Ribiat Yosef Dovid Rieger Shmuel T. Rosen Gedalyahu Z. Rosen Yoel Rosenbaum Mendel Rosenbaum Yosef Rosenberg Pesach Rosenberg Yaakov Rosenberg Dovid L. Rosenberg Chaim S. Rosenberg Yecheskel S. Rosenberg Shlomo Rosenberg Ephraim Zvi Rosenberg Shimon Rosenberg Tzvi Hirsh Rosenberg Yossi Rosenberg Yosef Dov Rosenberg Yakov Rosenberg Aviv Rosenblatt Shea Rosenblatt Tovia M. Rosenblum Shaul Rosenblum Shulem Rosenfeld Shia Mendel Rosenfeld Shloime Rosenfeld Chaim S. Rosenfeld Usher Rosenfeld Nochum Rosengarten Dovid Rosengarten Mordechai Rosenshein Eliyahu Rosenthal Benzion Rosenzweig Amram Y Halevi Rosner Avrohom Roth Eser Roth Yitzchok Meir Rothstein Moshe Rothstein Yakov Rub Moshe Rubelow Shmuel Leib Rubin Elimelech Rubin Shia Dovid Rubin Chaim Rubin Asher Rubin Moshe Rubin Eli Rubinfeld Pinchas Rubinstein Ari Ruttner Netanel Saadon Yehoshua Sabel Yosef Safdeye Ellis Safdeye Shmuel P. Safern Ahron Moshe Salamon Shea Salamon Yisroel S. Salamon Yanky Salczer Avraham Salem Eliyahu Sandell Burach Y. Sander Yaacov Sanders Yoel Sasportas Yitzchok Sayagh Duvid Schachter Mordechai Schapiro Ovadia Schaya Eliezer Schechter Dov Scheier Yoel Scheiner Benzion Schenbach Shlomo Schenkolewski Yochanan Scherman Tzvi A. Schick David Schlager Dovid Schlesinger Yitzchak Schlissel Yehoshua Schlusselberg Dov Ber Schmidt Chaim M. Schneebalg Elkuna Schneebalg Yisroel Schneider Chaim Schneider Aharon L. Schneider Eliyahu Schneider Moshe Schoenblum Yehuda Yoel Schoenblum Yechiel Schon Mechel Schon Yanky Schonberger
Berel Schonfeld Nathan Schorr Chaim Schulgasser Moshe Schwamenfeld Yecheskel Schwartz Simcha Schwartz Avrahom Schwartz Lipa Schwartz Chaim Tzvi Schwartz Eliezer M. Schwartz Chanina Schwartz Mordechi Tzvi Schwartz Dov Ber Schwartz Yanky Schwartz Tzvi Schwartz Aaron Schwartz Moishe Schwartz Avraham Y Schwartz Boruch Schwartz Shmuel Shmelkeh Schwartz Volve Schwartz Yitzchak Yehudah Schwartz Shloime Schwartzberg Yehuda A. Segal Yitzchok Moshe M. Sekula Zishe Sekula Aharon Seleh Dovid Selengut Nochum Selengut Yosef Semah Binyamin Seruya Tuvia Shakow Yitzchak Shalom Avi Shane Shmuel Shanske Reuven Shapiro Shimshon Baruch Sheinfil Yuriy Shekhtman Baruch Y. Sherer Yekusiel Shlisel Eliezer Tzvi Shlisel Yehoshua Shlomowitz Mordechai Shore Elazar Shoykhet Ahron Elimelech Shuvaks Aaron Sikowitz Shimon Silber Abraham Silber Sucher M. Silberman Yakov Silberman Fishel Silberman Hershel Silberstein Yoel Silberstein Yehoshua H. Silbiger Elimelech Silbiger Mordechai Silverberg Stuart Silverman Yoel Simon Yosef Singer Pesach Skulnick Yosef Smith Aron Soifer Aaron Soloff Moshe C. Solomon Chesky Solomon Chaim Sommers Moshe Sosovsky Eliezer Tzvi Spera Naftali Spiegel Moshe Spiegel Yosef Chaim Spielman Shulem Spierer Yakov Y. Spira Chaim Y Spira Boruch Spira Elyukim Spira Nuta Spira Nachum Spira Yitzchok Spira Naftoli Spira Moshe Spiro Nechemia Spitz Yehuda Spitzer Yakov Spitzer Yosef Spitzer Yakov Yosef Spitzer Chaim Eluzer Akiva Spitzer Yehuda Spitzer Zalman L. Spitzer Abraham Spitzer Yossie Spitzer Menachem T. Sprei Eliezer Sprei Hershel Srulowitz Avrum Alter Stahl Tzvi Stark Meshilem Stark Rafael Stefansky Eliyahu Stein Yechiel Stein Hersh L. Stein Yakov Steinberg Shmuel Yakov Steinberg Yehuda Shaya Steinberg Yakov Steinberg Moshe Steiner Yehuda Steinhardt Shimon Steinmetz Chaim Steinmetz Yehuda Yaakov Steinmetz Moshe D. Steinwurzel Zalmen L. Stern Naftoli Tzvi Stern Mordechai Stern Mendy Stern Chaim D. Stern Chananya D. Stern Binyomin Stern Avrohom B. Stern Yehoshua Stern Shulem Stern Chaim Stern Yoseph Stern Alexander Sternberg Yosef Sternhill Moshe Stone Sam Strasser Shaul B. Streicher Boruch Strohli Moshe Strulovitch Dovid Sukenik Joseph Sultan Chaim Surkis Avraham Sutton Yitzchok Gershon Tager Shmuel Tanenbaum Avrohom Tannenbaum Shmuel Tannenbaum Chaim Yaakov Tannenbaum Aryeh Tarkieltaub Dovid Tashker Binyomin Zev Taub Avrohom Taub Bezalel Taub Yoel Taub Yidel Taub Yosef Aaron Taub Shmuel Taubenfeld Alter Tauber Yechiel Tauber Yochonan Halevi Tauber Yehoshua Leib Tauber Yisroel Tauber Moshe Tauber
Moshe Halevi Tauber Moshe Tauber Yechiel Shlomo Tauber Avraham Tawil Meir Tawil Dovid Teitelbaum Moshe Teitelbaum Abraham Teitz Yochanan Tennenhaus Ari Tessler Tzvi Thaler Yossi Toder Boaz Tomsky Shlomo M. Tondowski Yisroel Traube Sholom Zev Tuchinsky Aron Twersky Yaakov Yosef Twersky Yochonon Twersky Shimon Twersky Yosef Y. Twersky Yidel Twersky Mordechai Twersky Aharon Twersky Yochanon Twersky Mordechai Twersky Yochanan Twersky Shlome Twersky Efraim Unger Binyomin Y. Unger Moshe S. Unger Moshe Yehuda Unger Tzvi Kopel Unger Shulem Y. Unsdorfer Yoseph Unsdorfer Binyomin Van Praagh Ezra Victor Mordche Wachsman Elimelech Wagschal David Wagschal Feivel Wahl Yosef Wahrman Pinchas E. Wakshotck Raphael Waldman Chaim Y. Waldman Shimon Waldman Yehoshua Walkenfeld Yaoshua Manacham Walkin Elimelech Walkinfeld Moshe Wallin Shlomo M. Walter Wolf Walter Shmuel Dovid Warshavchik Anshel Warshavchik Issac Wasserman Yitzchok Weber Shulem Weber Shaya Weber Shlomie Weber Meir Nosson Weichbrod Yitzchok Y. Weichbrod Alter C. Weichbrod Moshe Weil Ely Weinbaum Chaim Meir Weinbaum Avrohom Yitzchok Weinbaum Chanina Weinberg Nachman Weinberg Chaim Weinberger Yonasan Weiner Yehuda Weiner Avram Weinfeld Chaim M. Weingarten Berel Weingarten Chaim M. Weinstock Moishe Weisel Yosef Weiss Tzvi Menachem Weiss Yosef Weiss Avrum Chaim Weiss Zurach Weiss Naftali Weiss Yitzchok M. Weiss Levi Weiss Jacob Weiss Ezra Tzvi Weiss Yonatan Weiss Raphael Weiss Yaakov Yehuda Weiss David Weiss Moshe Weiss Dovid Weiss Isaac Weiss Tzvi Avigdor Weiss Levi Yitzchok Weisselbuch Yitzchok Weisz Avrohom Y. Weisz Ozer Arye Weisz Aron Mordechai Weisz Hershel Weizberg Pinchas Weller Dov Weller Moshe Werner Shlomo Werner Binyomin Werther Avrum Wertzberger Issac Wertzberger Moshe Werzberger Moshe White Yosef Wieder Beryl Wieder Dovid Wiederman Bezalel Wiederman Shemuel Wiesel Moshe Wiesel Shmiel Wiesner Yaakov Wigder Fishel Wilhelm Yisroel Willner Chaim Eli Wischnitzer Yehuda Wischnitzer Meir Yechiel Wislicki Levi Y. Wiznitzer Shlomo Wolfson Moshe Wolman Simcha Zissel Wulliger Yisroel Meir Yankelewitz Rachamim Yeganeh Shmuel Y. Yoffe Yehoshua Leib Yoffe Tzvi Young Avram S Zablotzky Avraham Zabner Avroham B. Zabner Yechskel Zabner Yakov Zabner Benzion Zachai Naftali Zafir Edmond Zafrani Farjad Zaghi Shmuel L. Zaidman Shimon Leib Zarecki Yoel Zelcer Eliezer Zelinger Yechiel M. Zenwirth Elimelech Zieg Mendel Zieg Aryeh Ziemba Mordechai Zimberg Tzvi Ziskind Meshulam Zoberman Zalmen Leib Zoberman Avrohom Zoberman Dovi Zucker Avraham Y. Zuckerman
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Local Schools Send Pesach Packages to Jews in the Military Yehudis Litvak As the Los Angeles Jewish community prepares for Pesach, local schools and families are reaching out to those Jews who will be spending Pesach away from home, serving the country and ensuring our freedom. In collaboration with Rabbi David Becker, an army chaplain and head of Jewish Friends of American Army, six local organizations collected Pesach supplies and sent packages with everything needed for the seder to Jewish soldiers stationed all over the world. Rabbi Becker explains that his organization’s mission is to provide support for approximately 30,000 Jews currently serving in different branches of the U.S. military. They organize yom tov programs and send shluchim to remote army bases to conduct these programs. Some of these army bases are located in actual war zones, far away from any Jewish community. When a seder or another Jewish event is announced, “Jews come out of the woodwork,” says Rabbi Becker. “They are excited to participate. It brings extremely warm feelings of home. Those Jews become our family and feel a part of family.” Usually, between 15 and 60 Jews attend each seder. At times, sedarim are interrupted by air raid sirens. “You need to stay where you are or run to the bunker,” says Rabbi Becker. He recalls a seder in Bahrain, where an air raid siren sounded, and all the participants had to stay in place until the all clear siren. In his experience as a chaplain, Rabbi Becker saw that Jewish soldiers need the community’s support, both with practical supplies for Jewish life, such as kosher food, and with emotional support in challenging circumstances.
Five years ago, Rabbi Becker founded the Jewish Friends of American Army to provide such support. The organization brings community members to army bases, facilitating relationships between the Jewish members of the U. S. military and American Jewish communities. This year, the Jewish Friends of the American Army invited local Jewish schools to partner with them in providing Pesach supplies for Jews stationed in Baghdad, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Bavaria, and Japan. The participating schools—YULA Boys High School, YULA Girls High School, Gindi Maimonides Academy, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, Emek Hebrew Academy, as well as Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities—were thrilled at the opportunity to help. “The essence of a Torah education is the realization that ‘Kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh,’ ‘All Jews are co-signers for
one another,’” says Rabbi Moshe Tropper of Emek Hebrew Academy. “At Emek, we teach this constantly, consistently, and with opportunities to live it. Clearly, the Emek parent body has integrated this into their family life.” Since many students at Emek are quite young, the project required active parent participation. The parents gladly contributed the necessary items and money to complete the Pesach kits. The older children wrote letters to the Jewish troops, which were included in the packages. At Maimonides, the parent body also responded enthusiastically to the request for supplies. Students from all the grades brought in their contributions, and the middle school students wrote letters of support to the troops and assembled the Pesach packages. “The kids found it fascinating to send letters to different locations,” says Malkie Hametz, a middle school Judaic teacher and Student Activity
Director at Maimonides. She says that the students were very excited to participate, with the Student Council championing the cause. At YULA, the high school students themselves took charge of the project. “I feel really privileged to do this with Rabbi Becker,” says Yael Glick, an 11th grader at YULA Girls. She describes the excitement as students offered to run errands to different kosher stores to collect the necessary supplies. “It was a nice bonding experience,” she says. Yael’s grade got together to pack the Pesach kits. It was especially exciting to send these packages to Kuwait, so close to Egypt, where the story of Pesach took place. Yael’s vision is to share the warmth of the Jewish community with all the Jews in the U.S. military. The participating schools hope to continue their partnership with Jewish Friends of the American Army in the future.
“He Said to Me, ‘If You Leave, I Will Kill You.’” Shira, rescued woman from an Arab village, to tell her story in L.A. for first time. Yad L’Achim Come meet Shira, trapped in an Arab village for over 20 years, starting from the age of 16. Now she is free and telling her story for the very first time in a series of events across Los Angeles. She is still scared for her life. Come hear Shira tell her story and the details of her rescue by Yad L’Achim. Achmed ben Sara is a name that would raise eyebrows in any Jewish community. It is also the name of a speaking tour, traveling cities throughout North America showcasing the hair-raising stories of Jewish women and children trapped in Arab villages. The tour has visited countries and major cities around the world and is now coming to Los Angeles. The Achmed ben Sara tour features women telling over their
personal experiences and of being rescued by Yad L’Achim. Their stories are heartbreaking and horror-filled. Young Jewish girls, often from troubled backgrounds, are groomed by Arab men who, posing as Jews, offer them gifts and attention to gain their trust. But once they follow their new sweetheart into Arab territory, the excitement turns to terror. Women are routinely subject to depraved violence and abuse at the hands of the men they hoped would be their Prince Charming. Their children are raised as Arab Muslims and taught to hate Jews. “It’s almost impossible for a Westerner to imagine how totally trapped they are,” says Yossi Eliav, Director of Special Projects, organizer of the tour. “Some live like prisoners, without access to a phone or
even the freedom to go outside.” “One woman did not have access to a phone for 32 years and no way to call for help,” says R’ Nesanel Gantz, Director of Yad L’Achim in North America. Yad L’Achim, founded in the 1950s, has rescued thousands of these imprisoned women and their children. The operations are conducted with the utmost secrecy, as the lives of the women, their children, and all operatives are at high risk. Once free, Yad L’Achim provides safe shelter for these women and their children and supports their re-integration into society. The number of Jewish women and children trapped in these conditions today numbers in the thousands. The Achmed ben Sarah tour is traveling to every major U.S. city to showcase
the plight of these women and children and to support their rescue. It provides a rare chance to meet a special woman live as she tells her life story and answers questions after her talk. “People aren’t aware how many hundreds of girls are drawn into these nightmare scenarios each year,” says Eliav. “Our mission is to show their plight to the world and save as many lives as we can.” Also appearing live will be Sari, known as “the mother of rescued women.” who has helped to rescue over a thousand women and children. Events are open to the public and will begin May 12th at the Nessah Synagogue, Moshe Ganz Hall and Young Sephardic Synagogue. We look forward to seeing you there.
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By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman The essence of the Haggadah and the entirety of Pesach is the relationship between father and son and the obligation for a father to transmit to his son the story of the geulah from Mitzrayim. The Torah and Chazal prescribe different ways to speak to different children and lay out the format for the Seder evening conversation. The people of Adopt-a-Kollel were kind enough to gift me Haggadah Nifle’osecha Asicha from Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein. I opened it up to the page on which he tells the following story. One Shabbos morning a few years ago, an old man and his son entered a shul in Petach Tikvah. They stood frozen at the door, gazing at the people davening Pesukei Dezimra. Finally, they felt comfortable enough to find themselves seats and sit down. There was no need for a siddur, because they both couldn’t daven, as they had been locked behind the Iron Curtain for seventy years. The older man paid attention to the chazzan and seemed to enjoy his tunes and chanting, while the younger one waited for his father to lose interest so they could go back home. He’d have to wait. As the laining progressed, the old man started paying particular attention. All of a sudden, he starting screaming towards the gabbai in a beautiful Litvishe Yiddish, “I must have an aliyah. Please, I must have an aliyah.” The kind gabbai acquiesced and called the senior guest to the Torah at the next opportunity. The old man borrowed a tallis and a yarmulka and made his way to the bimah. He pushed away the siddur that was given to him to read the brachos and, with a deep and emotional voice, he began to slowly recite the brocha, saying each word with meaning. When the baal korei finished his portion, the scene repeated itself, as the man cried his way through the words of the second brocha. There was utter silence in the shul, as everyone fixed their eyes on the old man standing at the bimah crying. After davening, people approached the guest. They asked him questions, intending to elicit his story. “I was born and bred in Vilna,” he
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Generational Aliyah began. “When I was 12-1/2, my parents started fighting about where I should go to school. My mother wanted me to continue in yeshiva, but my father wanted me to go to the gymnasia school of the maskilim. He said that this way, I would learn a trade and how to maintain my Yiddishkeit while living among goyim. “My father won and I was sent to that school. I began focusing on the studies, which brought my father much satisfaction. “My bar mitzvah celebration was held in the large Vilna shul. I was given the aliyah for maftir, made the birchos haTorah and lained the haftorah. My father was beaming, while my mother was upstairs in
His father, back in Vilna, might have meant well. He wanted the best for his son and thought that the Haskalah school would provide for him the best of both worlds. But he should have listened to the rov, because if you want nachas from your children, the way to achieve that goal is by following the Torah, as interpreted by the gedolei olam, our leaders, the people such as Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky with whom Hashem blesses us in every generation. Those who think they understand better and ignore the warnings of the rabbonim gedolim jeopardize their ability to succeed in this world, and the next. Pesach is an intrinsic part of our fiber. Its mitzvos, rituals, liturgy and special
Matzoh has the ability to raise us above our preoccupation with the mundane. the ezras noshim weeping. “As I came down from the bimah, Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky came over and shook my father’s hand, wishing mazel tov. And then he said to my father, ‘For your benefit, let me warn you that if you do not remove your son from the gymnasia school, generations will pass before your son will be called to the Torah a second time!’ “My father did not obey the rov. “Today, for some reason, I felt a pull to the shul,” the man said as he began to weep once again. “When the baal korei began to read the parsha, I remembered that this is my bar mitzvah parsha.” He raised his voice and said, “Yidden, her vos ich zog eich. From that Shabbos of my bar mitzvah, when I had an aliyah to the Torah, until today is exactly seventy years [two generations]. Today is the first time since my bar mitzvah that I received an aliyah! “Ay, iz der gaon geven gerecht. Oh, what the great rov said was so true.”
foods enrich and enhance our souls year after year. While the Yom Tov has a special effect on children, as we grow older we perceive new depths. Chag hacheirus becomes more meaningful, as we appreciate its valuable messages in a different, richer way. We increasingly realize how Pesach is meant to equip us with new resolve to rid ourselves of chometz and cheit, villains and tormentors. It drives us to pine ever more for the geulah, so that we might merit visiting the home of Hashem, offering korbanos to Him. We recognize that we can only arrive at cheirus and geulah by doing what is incumbent upon us and fulfilling our missions as best as we can. We reach our potential by delving into the study of Torah and seeking messages from great men whose lives are totally devoted to Torah and nothing else. Sometimes, they tell us to act, and other times, they say to desist. Those who seek the brachos of the Torah follow it, and don’t follow the path
of greater personal benefit or enjoyment, whether they understand or not. At the time of Krias Yam Suf, the Jews were afraid that the Mitzriyim would catch up to them and destroy them. They cried out to Moshe for a game plan. Instead, they were told, “Hashem yilocheim lochem ve’atem tacharishun. Your job at this time is to remain silent and do nothing. Hashem will fight for you.” Chazal state that this advice is eternal. There are times when we must speak up and times when we must remain silent, times to do battle and times to be passive. Our limited human intelligence is not always able to figure out the proper course of action. How we are to act in all times is prescribed by the Torah, as is so beautifully expressed by Shlomo Hamelech in Koheles: “Eis livkos, ve’eis lischok... Eis le’ehov, ve’eis lisno, eis milchomah, ve’eis shalom.” How we are to act in each “eis,” or time, is determined by the Torah. The Torah is a constant, but people change, every generation is different. We have a generational obligation to speak to our children in a language and voice they will understand, respect and follow. What worked in the past does not necessarily work now and to assume it does risks losing touch with those whom we love and wish to follow in our ways. Some years ago, I wrote of a dream I had before Pesach that year. In the dream, I gained a new understanding of the posuk, “V’acharei chein yeitzu b’rechush gadol,” in which Hashem foretold to our forefather Avrohom the future course of Jewish history. Hashem told Avrohom that after being enslaved for many years, the Jewish people would be freed and would depart their host country with a great treasure. The common understanding is that the promise of “a great treasure” was fulfilled with the vast quantity of belongings the Jews received from the Mitzriyim prior to being sent out. In the dream, I thought that the rechush gadol the Jews received was the matzoh that baked on their backs as they left b’chipazon. Matzoh is not simply a physical food. It possesses spiritual qualities and is a gift to the Bnei Yisroel. Only we have the ability to take flour and water and transform them into a cheftzah shel mitzvah. The Netziv of Volozhin, in his peirush on Shir Hashirim titled “Rinah Shel Torah,” writes in the introduction concerning the posuk which states, “Sheishes yomim tochal matzos uvayom hashevi’i atzeres l’Hashem Elokecha lo sa’aseh melacha - You shall eat matzos for six days and on the seventh you shall rest for Hashem and you shall not do any work” (Devorim 16:8). He explains that on the first day of Pesach, the obligation to eat matzoh is to remember that we left Mitzrayim in such haste that the bread the fleeing Jews took along for the journey had no time to rise. He says that the obligation related to the consumption of matzoh the first six days of Pesach recalls the eating of the korban mincha by the kohanim. The korbanos
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mincha were brought of matzoh breads and were never made of chometz. That was to teach the Jewish people that in order to draw closer to Hashem and achieve a higher level of holiness, they must reduce their involvement in the pursuits of Olam Hazeh. On Pesach, we sustain ourselves with matzoh for six days for that same higher purpose. On Pesach, a Jew attempts to rise spiritually and become closer to Hashem. Therefore, on the seventh and final day of the holiday, Jews are commanded to refrain from work and to internalize the message of the six days of eating matzoh. Not partaking of chometz is supposed to affect us in a fundamental way. It is supposed to change our outlook on life and remind us of our purpose here. Eating matzoh for seven days is not something we do to fill ourselves physically. The change in diet is meant to bring about a spiritual change in our souls. This message supports the idea that the matzoh is a rechush gadol. Matzoh is a gift from Hashem that enables us to elevate our rote observance of mitzvos to a higher dimension of avodas Hashem. Partaking of matzoh for a week is meant to reduce our drive for physical gratification. If we heed its message, it is truly a gift, a rechush gadol, which has the power to uplift and purify us and draw us closer to our Creator. I found a similar idea in the words of the Ramchal in Derech Hashem (4:8). He says that as long as the Jews were enslaved in Mitzrayim and living amongst the pagan population, their bodies were darkened by the poison of impurity that overwhelmed them. When they were finally delivered from that society - goy mikerev goy - their bodies underwent a purification process so that they would be able to accept the Torah and mitzvos. This is the reason they were commanded to refrain from consuming chometz and to eat matzoh. The bread that we eat all year is prepared with yeast and rises. Easier to digest and tastier, it is the natural food of man. It feeds man’s yeitzer hora and more base inclinations. Klal Yisroel was commanded to refrain from eating chometz for a week in order to minimize the power of the yeitzer hora and their inclination towards the physical, and to strengthen their attachment to the spiritual. It is impossible for people to live on this diet all year round, and it is not Hashem’s intent. But if we maintain this diet for the duration of Pesach while incorporating the lessons of matzoh, it will energize us spiritually for the remainder of the year. Rav Aryeh Leib Schapiro of Yerushalayim writes in his sefer Chazon Lamoed that the Ramchal connects this to the dictum of the Rambam in Hilchos Dei’os (2:1) that a person seeking to rectify his conduct should go to the opposite extreme of his natural inclination, and he will then end up in the middle, where Hashem wants us to be. The Rambam continues (3:1) that a person should not reason that since kinah, taavah and kavod - jealousy, evil desires and the craving for honor - lead to man’s
demise from this world, he should therefore adopt the extremes of self-denial, refusing to eat meat or drink wine, marry, live in a nice house or wear nice clothes. Pagan priests lived this way. According to the Rambam, it is forbidden to follow this path; one who does is called a sinner. The Netziv’s and the Ramchal’s understanding of Pesach is in accord with the words of the Rambam. While it is undesirable for people to live this way all year round, if one takes a temporary turn to the extreme, it will help him return to the middle, where we all belong. The Yom Tov of Pesach provides a respite from the pressures that govern our daily lives. Pesach is one week of the year that frees us from the yeitzer hora and the pursuits that drive us throughout the year, which lead to dead ends, disappointment and depression. Matzoh is indeed a rechush gadol, a treasure of the Jewish people. Matzoh weakens our evil inclinations and strengthens our inherent goodness. Matzoh has the ability to raise us above our preoccupation with the mundane. Pesach is not meant to be a holiday of gorging and self-indulgence. On the contrary, Pesach is the time given to us to refrain to a certain degree from such pursuits and to absorb the lesson of the matzoh. Following a week of such elevated behavior, we continue along that pattern as we count to Shavuos, when we mark the acceptance of the Torah as the ultimate gift from G-d to man. It is only after the week of matzoh and seven weeks of Sefirah that we can achieve the highest possible levels of spiritual accomplishment. If we take the words of the great Netziv and Ramchal to heart and properly observe the mitzvos of Pesach, and we review the lessons the matzoh can teach us, its influence and inspiration will long remain with us, giving us the strength to rise above whatever challenges we face throughout the rest of the year. Gedolim such as Rav Chaim Ozer, the Brisker Rov, the Netziv and the Ramchal light up our way and provide direction and inspiration for us to follow if we wish to enjoy life the way Hashem intends us to and if we wish to be successful in all we do. Despite all we have been through, a constant in Torah life is that those who seek lives of blessings follow the words of Torah giants. In our day as well, despite the prevalence of so much superficiality, cynicism, pessimism and negativity, when it comes to the bottom line, people who adhere to Torah know that wisdom is found by those who dedicate their lives to the pure pursuit of Torah and mitzvos. May we merit to be among them and to follow them, living lives of steady aliyah. This story took place on Erev Pesach seventy-five years ago, in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. A couple of weeks before Yom Tov, the Bluzhever Rebbe, Rav Yisroel Spira, placed his life in jeopardy and approached the murderous head of the camp, Commandant Hass. He asked permission for forty men to bake matzoh for Pesach. He asked the Nazi to
supply them with wheat and in return they would forgo their daily ration of bread for eight days. Surprisingly, the Nazi examined the request seriously, without issuing any threats of punishment. However, he said that since the German Reich was run in a very orderly fashion, he would have to get clearance from Berlin. A week later, the response came from Berlin and the request was approved. After returning to the camp from their body-breaking labor, the rebbe and his group assembled a small oven and began grinding wheat kernels to make flour. They mixed the flour with water and quickly kneaded the mixture, rolling out matzos to bake in their tiny oven. Flames danced atop the branches fueling the oven and the holy work of baking matzos for Pesach in Bergen-Belsen was underway. Suddenly, the commandant burst into the room, screaming at the Jews like a wild man and breaking everything and everyone he saw. His eyes fixed on those of the rebbe, and he beat him to a pulp. When he was done, the 56-year-old rebbe was barely hanging on to life. The historic attempt ended disastrously. The next night, the people sat down to a “Seder” in the rebbe’s barracks. They had everything – well, almost everything. The rebbe knew the Haggadah by heart, and he was going to lead the Seder. For wine, they were going to drink the slop the Nazis called coffee. There was no shortage of maror, with bitterness everywhere. The rebbe let it be known that he was able to retrieve and save a very small piece of matzoh. They were set. When it came time at the Seder to eat matzah, everyone assumed that the rebbe would be the one to perform the mitzvah and eat the small piece he had rescued. After all, he was the oldest, it was his idea to bake matzos to being with, and he had risked his life to obtain permission for it. Not only that, but he was a tzaddik, he was leading the Seder, and he was the one who had saved the piece. But they were wrong. After proclaiming “motzie matzah,” the rebbe looked around the room, as if he was trying to determine who is the most appropriate person to eat the matzoh. A widow, Mrs. Kotziensky, stood up and said, “Since upon this night we engage in transmitting our traditions from one gener-
ation to the next, I propose that my young son be the one to eat the matzoh.” The rebbe agreed. “This night,” he said, “is all about teaching the future generations about Yetzias Mitzrayim. We will give the child the matzoh.” After they were freed, the widow approached the Bluzhever Rebbe. She needed help. Someone had proposed a shidduch for her, but she had no way to find out about the man. Maybe, she said, the rebbe could help her. “Can you find out who he is? Can you see if he is appropriate for me and if I am appropriate for him?” “What is his name?” asked the rebbe. The woman responded, “Yisroel Spira.” The rebbe said to her, “Yes, I know him well. It is a good idea that you should get to know him.” She returned to the shadchan and gave her approval to set up the match. When the woman showed up at the right address, standing before her was none other than Rav Yisroel Spira, the man she knew as the Bluzhever Rebbe! A short time later, they married, and the little boy who ate matzah in Bergen-Belsen became the rebbe’s son and eventual successor. Which spiritual attributes did the rebbe see in that woman that led him to marry her? When asked, the rebbe answered that in the cauldron of Bergen-Belsen, where the horizon was measured in minutes and the future was a day at a time, a woman who believed in the nitzchiyus of Am Yisroel, that our people is eternal, and who worried for the future generation was someone with whom it was worthy to perpetuate the golden chain. Thankfully, we aren’t tested the way those holy people were that night in Bergen-Belsen. Our matzos come easy. For a few dollars, we can have as many as we want. We can drink wine without fearing a pogrom. We can eat maror and not live it. We don’t have to make awful choices. We can sit as kings and queens at the Seder, surrounded by different generations, concentrating on doing our best to transmit our glorious heritage to the future generations, ensuring that they know the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim and Avodim Hayinu. May we merit much nachas and simcha, cheirus and freedom, kedusha and mitzvos, at the Seder and every day.
Torah Musings The Week In News
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
Everything is Fixable Sarah Pachter
As a young child, I always saw my brother pouring over books at the kitchen table. He was in an endless state of studying, whether for pre-med classes or the MCAT. Watching him, I realized two things: First, he could probably teach me a thing or two about retaining information. Secondly, I knew I never wanted to be a doctor. At one point, I asked my brother for help studying. He shared some sage advice that I continued to draw upon even years later. He said, “Studying for a test is like gathering information and putting it into a drawer. Then, during the test, when you see the problem in front of you, all you have to do is open the drawer and pull it out. The solution is there, you just have to find it.” Life itself is a test, and the solution to its problems is there—we just have to uncover it. Hashem plants every solution into a metaphorical “drawer.” We just have to open up and search for it. The Gemara writes, “Hashem boreh refua lifnei hamakah.” (“Hashem creates the healing before the ailment.”) Teshuvah, repentance, is a prime example of this concept, since it was established before the world was even created. Teshuvah is one of the 613 commandments, which means that in order to fulfill the mitzvah of teshuvah, one must sin! The
“problem” is the aveirah, but the solution, teshuvah, was created even beforehand. From here we learn that the problem is actually the necessary first step to the solution! Commentaries explain that on Har Sinai we achieved such holy heights that if it was not for the Golden Calf, we would not have needed to build a mishkan (tabernacle). Why, then, are we commanded in Parshat Terumah to build the sanctuary before the Golden Calf even occurred? The Torah is precise in all its ways. The building of the mishkan, which is meant to bring us close to G-d, is mentioned before the sin of the Golden Calf, which distanced us from Hashem. This lesson teaches us that G-d provides the solution before the problem even occurs. Another hint to this connection between the mishkan and the Golden Calf is described when Moshe calls B’nei Yis-
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rael to learn the laws of the the mishkan. Usually, the Torah would describe that Moshe “commanded”; yet, here it uses an unusual term—vayakel, he “gathered” the Jewish nation. Vayakel was the very same word used to assemble the Jewish people in order to create the Golden Calf. This strengthens the connection between the solution, the mishkan, and the problem, the Golden Calf. Hashem, in His ultimate kindness, always has a solution ready before He even creates the tragedy. This is a kindness that as parents we can extend to our children. In our house, when something spills or breaks, I started saying a catchphrase: “Everything is fixable!” Spilled juice on the floor? Instead of groaning, I aim to cheerily respond, “Everything is fixable.” A child’s project broke on the way home from school? This gets an “Everything is fixable,” from me. (Thank G-d for glue guns!) Two children are fighting over a toy? “Everything is fixable—kids, can you come up with a solution so everyone is happy?” Someone lost their cool and yelled at another family member? “Everything is fixable. Two words can do it: I’m sorry.” When we show our children the power of teshuvah, they begin to understand that Hashem, the ultimate parent, provides the solution to any problem, big or small. Eventually, this enables them to develop the tools to find the solution within themselves. In turn, they grow into confident and grounded adults, who feel security from their own inner guidance. Sometimes, the solution is latent, but it’s always there, buried deep within, ready to be uncovered. Just like we expect our children to take part in finding the solution by using their natural intuition, it is up to us to tap into our inner child and search for
personal salvations. In Tehillim it writes, “Tov lehodot lahashem…ulehaggid baboker chasdecha, ve’emunatcha baleilot.” Many commentaries explain this phrase to mean that we praise Hashem during good times so that in dark times we maintain faith. On a deeper level, “ve’emunatecha” means belief in you. This is not just referring to our faith in G-d, but rather His faith in us. He believes in our capacity to find the solution amidst the darkness. Hashem has provided the solution, and anticipates our success in utilizing the tools we have on Earth to find it. Sometimes, the problem is baleilot. It is so dark that the solution is happening, yet we can’t see it—even if it is right in front of us. We must remember that Hashem is orchestrating everything, even when it is not visible to us. I had a student who was upset about a guy who ended their relationship. The pang of rejection stung, yet during her time of inner turmoil, unbeknownst to her, Hashem was opening a new door for the man that she is now engaged to. Sometimes the “baleilot” is simply too large or overwhelming to simply say, “Everything is fixable.” When we are in such difficult beleilot, the solution may just be to remember that Hashem is with us in our moment of sorrow. At other dark times, the solution is the growth that occurs within us. We can ask ourselves lemah—what is the reason for this—rather than lamah— why is this happening to me? The solution is about who we become through the process of our pain, rather than the final outcome. Sometimes the “everything is fixable” catchphrase has more to do with reassuring our inner selves than an external situation. Next time you are amidst a test, with a problem permeating your entire being so thoroughly that you see no way out, remember that everything is fixable. Whatever the test may be, gather up and assemble all the information you have in your arsenal. Call upon your courage, the strength in your inner sanctuary, in your soul. Vayakel, open up your personal drawer, and you will discover the key that will unlock the gates of peace of mind and blessing. The solution is in there, we just have to find it.
TheBook WeekReview In News
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
Adina at Her Best by Rebecca Klempner (Menucha Publishers 2019) Reviewed by Talia Liben Yarmush
Adina at Her Best follows three days in the life of Adina Ben-Ami. In many ways, Adina is a typical fourth grade girl. She teases her little brother, she looks up to her older sister, she sneaks snacks with her best friend. But Adina also speaks without thinking, hurting people’s feelings unintentionally and getting herself into trouble. Adina desperately wants to go on her school trip to Rancho Los Cerritos, but she keeps getting in her own way. Forgetful, impulsive, absent-minded, Adina is representative of so many children who struggle with the same symptoms. She wants to concentrate, to listen, to remember, but no matter how hard she tries, she doesn’t seem able to succeed. What I like most about Adina is that manifestations of her limitations are written with both subtlety and thoughtfulness. Adina is a not a caricature; she is fully-formed, with positive attributes and a likeable personality. Author Rebecca Klempner clearly differentiates the actions from the actor, and in the process, creates a character who is both fallible and relatable. Throughout the book, Klempner continues to write her characters with depth and consideration. With the same care that Klempner takes in dealing with Adina’s limitations, Klempner writes African American, Latino American, and non-Jewish characters with equal complexity and dignity. Although she is a minor character, Shirley, Adina’s African American bus driver, is my favorite character in the book. She is kind to the children, has a good sense of humor, and is written without cliché. Klempner goes on to treat the history of Rancho Los Cerritos, and the peoples who once lived there, with the same profundity. Indeed, Klempner writes a deeply religious book at its core that treats those outside the religion with the utmost respect, and would appeal to any middle grade reader, regardless of religious affiliation. Perhaps most moving about Adina at Her Best is how Klempner illustrates the ways in which the adults in Adina’s life show concern for her well-being, as well as an obvious appreciation for who she is at her core. Far too many books for this age group include parents or teachers who are the enemy: cartoon-like characters who breed distrust and dislike of authoritative figures. With a focus on positive middot and a desire to help Adina to be the best she can be, the adults in Adina’s life show a true understanding of both Adina’s limitations and what is inside her heart. Time and again, they are portrayed both authentically and sympathetically. Because it is not primarily adults who will be reading this book, these depictions reinforce to young readers the need to accept others as
they are; the knowledge that if they strive to be at their best, they will be accepted in return; and perhaps most importantly, that there are adults in their lives who want— and are able—to help. While I found the beginning a little difficult to jump into—a personal preference against first person narratives—it only took a few pages until I was hooked. The trajectory of Adina’s life within these
three days—from getting in trouble for rude behavior towards a substitute teacher, to saving the day and subsequently asking for the help she needs—is both inspiring and realistic. If it helps just one reader decide that he, too, needs help—and that asking for assistance is not a weakness but something to be admired—then Klempner has not only written a page-turner, but one that could truly help change people’s lives.
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1943 The future of our nation seemed bleak. The great centers of Torah learning were all but destroyed, consumed by the flames of the Holocaust. Torah life in America was weak, with little Shabbos observance and almost no established Torah learning.
AND THEN IT ALL CHANGED. With the transplantation of the great Yeshivos from Eastern Europe to America after the war, a new Torah landscape emerged, changing the face of Torah infrastructure forever. Under the leadership of various great Rebbeim, Gedolim and Roshei Yeshivos, Torah in America began to flourish and prosper, becoming the thriving center of Torah we are zoche to be a part of today.
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
1997 In 1997, Dirshu was founded as another step in the journey to rebuild and restore the world of Torah Jewry to the glory of previous generations. Dirshu’s mission is to increase Yedias HaTorah, Limud Mussar and Limud Halachah, and reignite the spark of Limud HaTorah by instituting worldwide programs that encourage true acquisition of Torah and Halachah.
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Feature The Week In News
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
to Freedom through the
Reb Shmuel Chaim Soroka’s Journey from the Mir to Shanghai to the Philippines
olocaust stories, survivors’ journeys, and concentration camp recountings are all different and are all miraculous. In some ways, though, they are familiar. We visualize the tracks as trains take victims into the heart of darkness and as families trudge under the mocking Arbeit Macht Frei placard. We tote up the losses, the stories, the faith, and the despair. Reb Shmuel Chaim Soroka’s journey begins with a well-known story. An Alter Mirrer, his journey begins in Kamenetz, Poland, and continues across Siberia with the Mir Yeshiva to Kobe, Japan, and Shanghai, China – but then it continues. Unlike others trapped in Shanghai for the duration of the war, Reb Shmuel Chaim and two friends received visas to America in November 1941, boarded a boat, and left. Their boat arrived in Manila in the Philippines –the very day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. With the arrival of the Japanese, Manila was no longer under American control, and Reb Shmuel Chaim and his friends were taken by the Japanese as prisoners of war. For the next four years, he was in concentration camp, but not a Nazi one: Japanese concentration camps located in and outside Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. His story, as described in Dr. Mordachai Buchie Soroka’s book, A Mirrer in Manila, is thus wholly different. Dr. Soroka spent years researching and examining his father’s odyssey and documenting it, weaving the story of a young man fleeing for survival against the backdrop of war. The saga took place on the other side of the world – far from Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen – the other theater of World War II: the Pacific theater.
An Emotional Parting
By Brendy J. Siev
Reb Shmuel Chaim, an only son with three sisters, grew up in a small settlement outside of Kamenetz (or Kamenetz-Litovsk), Poland. The small town was located at a crossroads on
a highway between Lvov and Vilna; during the Renaissance it was a place of meeting for Polish and Lithuanian princes. Nestled at the edge of the famous Black Forest, the hunting reserve created by princes for their folly and sport, Kamenetz was, for years, a protected small town with properties owned by nobles and royalty. But by the 1700s, most princes sold off their estates, and the area became a more typical shtetl. By the late 1800s, 6,885 people lived in Kamenetz and the surrounding villages; 5,900 – 90 percent – of them were Jews. Reb Shmuel Chaim lived in one of the small agricultural colonies outside of town. These “colonies” were established in the late 1700s as a way for Jews to protect their children from being conscripted into the army (“tillers of the land” were exempt) and were named Abramovo, Sarovo, and Lotova, after Avraham, Sara, and Lot. Cheder started at seven in the morning and ended at eight at night. The Jews who started these farms were not originally farmers. They hired local peasants to help with the work. By the time Reb Shmuel Chaim was born, only 14 of the original families remained. They received modern farming instruction from the Jewish Colonization Association. One, R’ Shimshon Zimel Simchovich, acquired more land and became rich. He planted an orchard, sold surplus in winter, and built a windmill. R’ Shimshon Zimel’s son-in-law, R’ Yosef Soroka, was one of the best talmidim of the Mishmar Yeshiva in Brisk. R’ Shimshon Zimel supported him in learning with the understanding that he would marry R’ Shimshon Zimel’s daughter, Minka. After they married, he continued to support his son-in-law in learning. Eventually, R’ Yosef became a melamed in Kamenetz who would walk to the yeshiva daily, accompanied by his talmidim. He also served R’ Boruch Ber Lebowitz in Kamenetz, reviewing the gadol’s shiurim with the bochurim in the yeshiva. R’ Yosef and Minka (Simchovich) Soroka were Reb Shmuel Chaim’s parents. Well before his bar mitzvah, Reb Shmuel Chaim left home to study in Baranovich (under Rav Elchonon Wasserman), the Kamenetz yeshiva (under R’ Boruch Ber Leibowitz), and eventually, when he was 16, the Mirrer Yeshiva. With the Russian takeover of Mir in 1939, Mir became inhospitable to Torah study, and the yeshiva moved to Vilna,
Feature The Week In News
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
Reb Shmuel Chaim in Yeshiva Baronovich, left, April 1937
a city now part of Lithuania. Reb Shmuel Chaim cabled his only uncle in the United States, Uncle Max Simchowitz, to send him funds and affidavits toward a visa to America. By 1940, the Lithuanians wanted the refugees out of Vilna, and the Mir Yeshiva moved to Keidan. But within seven months, Lithuania became a republic of the Soviet Union, and the yeshiva students were forced to disperse, in four disparate groups, to small villages in what was once northern Lithuania. The Nazis were advancing on one side, the Communists – who hated religious Jews – were on the other side, and Reb Shmuel Chaim and his fellow yeshiva students were trapped. What were the bochurim’s families to do? They were caught; they had lived through pogroms before, but even if they could leave, what about the elderly? Reb Shmuel Chaim’s family was stuck in Kamenetz, and he worried constantly about them. His mother sent him loving letters, “We were emotional and cried when we received your letter. Don’t worry,” she consoled him, “we have what to eat.” But then it was the final goodbye. The yeshiva was traveling across Poland and into the Soviet Union. Reb Shmuel Chaim met his father at the border. R’ Yosef brought him a coat and food from his mother. His father removed his boots and gave them to his son. Reb Shmuel Chaim gave his wristwatch to his father and begged his father to allow him to take his eight-year-old little sister with him. R’ Yosef refused, wanting to keep his family together. But he gave his son a firm and emotional directive: We don’t know who will live and who will die. Stay with the yeshiva. That was the last they spoke.
Recently, a letter written by R’ Yosef to his only son was found. It is perhaps the last extended communication that Reb Shmuel Chaim had with his family. In the letter, R’ Yosef writes: “My dear son. You should know, my beloved son, there is a Divine plan and a reason that the Creator of the World placed you in an environment that will forever bind you with the Holy Torah. Truthfully, it is my only consolation that you follow Hashem’s dictates and He will be pleased with you. This is the main reason why the world was created, to be committed to the Torah forever…. “Do not stray from your Yiddishkeit, not even in the minutest matters. If you have doubts or questions ask your rebbeim and don’t make your own decisions. I’ve given you basic knowledge; build on it. Even though I’ve written this letter quickly, and at night, it contains many thoughts. Keep it with you in yeshiva, read it constantly, and be committed to its content. In this merit Hashem should enable that you merit witnessing the consolation and rebuilding of Yerushalayim.” Reb Shmuel Chaim received two more postcards from his family before all communication ceased. The Nazis had arrived. The Jews were gathered into a ghetto in Kamenetz, and, in 1942, Reb Shmuel Chaim’s parents, R’ Yosef and Minka; his three sisters, Sarah, Esther, and Rivka; their children; R’ Shimshon Zimel; and Reb Shmuel Chaim’s brotherin-law, Rav Velvel Kustin; were shot. According to the Kamenetz Yizkor Book, fewer than ten Kamenetz Jews survived the Holocaust.
Journey through Japan Reb Shmuel Chaim, along with the
A certificate from Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz to Reb Shmuel Chaim to present to the American consulate yeshiva, eventually received a visa to Curaçao in the Caribbean. The issue was getting there. Travelers needed a transit visa to enter and exit various countries on the way to their destination. With this, a famous miracle occurred. Japan decided to open a consulate in Lithuania. This was, of course, pointless. There were no Japanese people in Lithuania. Japan had never had an embassy or consulate there before. This was wartime, a time to close foreign offices, not to open them. But Japan, in a begrudging show of diplomacy following the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, was now a marginal ally of the Soviet Union and so the country exchanged embassies and consulates with its newfound friend. Japan sent Chiune Sempo Sugihara, a diplomat whose base had been in Helsinki, to Kovno. His job was diplomatic. His work was spying, specifically on German and Russian troop maneuvers and to see whether the Germans were readying an attack on the Soviets. A fellow Mirrer Yeshiva student, Moshe Zupnick, traveled to meet Sugihara. He assisted Sugihara and obtained 300 visas for all the Mirrer Yeshiva students. When word spread, Jews – even those without destination visas – thronged the embassy begging for transit visas to Japan. Sugihara complied. Even when the Japanese Foreign Service ordered him to stop, Sugihara continued. He knew his office would be closed within weeks, and yet he kept signing papers through night and day. Being led out of his office by authorities, he threw official papers with his signature scrawled on them to the crowd of desperate people. He saved 3,500 Jewish refugees with his visas, including Reb Shmuel Chaim So-
Reb Shmuel Chaim’s papers from the Mir, 1939 roka. Reb Shmuel Chaim, together with thousands of others, boarded the Trans-Siberian Railway, not to Siberia, but to Vladivostok, to freedom. From Vladivostok, Reb Shmuel Chaim and his fellow yeshivaleit boarded a boat for Kobe, Japan. There, Reb Shmuel Chaim wrote to his uncle in America, and his uncle resumed his tireless efforts to procure an American visa for his nephew. This process had started in 1938, and at each stage of the journey Uncle Simchowitz continued wiring money, affidavits, and documents to his nephew, Reb Shmuel Chaim, but to no avail. While in Kobe, on June 5, 1941, Uncle Simchowitz got word that Reb Shmuel Chaim’s visa request had been granted; the consulate in Japan said they had not received any paperwork but agreed that it was probably on its way. Two of
Feature The Week In News
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
The Mir Yeshiva in Shangai. Reb Shmuel Chaim is in the front row, third from right
Reb Shmuel Chaim’s close friends, Iko and Mottel (Mordechai) Rabinowitz, got word as well. Then, on July 1, the Americans blocked all immigration, even for those approved and with visas; the Japanese extended his visa through August, assuming by then he would be able to leave. Reb Shmuel Chaim went to a clinic for vaccinations against cholera, smallpox, typhoid, and dysentery, inoculations that served him well in the coming year…. By late August, though, the Japanese had had enough. Reb Shmuel Chaim left with the rest of the Mirrer Yeshiva to Shanghai. There, the yeshiva found, miraculously, a beautiful little-used shul that became their bais medrash for the years to come. The shul had been built by a Sephardic Jew in 1927 and had the exact number of seats to accommodate the yeshiva. The famous photo of the yeshiva in Shanghai features Reb Shmuel Chaim in the front row near the mashgiach Rav Chaskel Levenstein, zt”l, and the rosh yeshiva, Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz, zt”l. Reb Shmuel Chaim’s stay in Shanghai was short-lived, and by late November 1941, he had procured both a visa and passage to the United States with his uncle’s hishtadlus, via Manila in the Philippines. His friends were happy and amazed; he was looking forward, but knew he would miss his yeshiva terribly. Before leaving, his yeshiva friends signed a postcard of a Shanghai street scene for him.
A Mirrer in Manila The first boat out would depart on an erev Shabbos, November 28, 1941. Reb Shmuel Chaim and Mottel and Iko Rabinowitz did not feel comfortable traveling then, despite being told that they halachically could. (Mottel and Iko had learned in Baranovich and the Mir with Reb Shmuel Chaim, and their father had already immigrated to America.) The three men left a week later, on December 4, 1941, with a scheduled stop in Manila on December 8, 1941. They
landed a day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor; the United States and Japan were at war. The city of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, was founded by the Spanish in the 1570. It is ancient and new, a city of firsts for the country – first university, first water system – and a city of olds – trade with Chinese dynasties, invasions from the Sultan. The indigenous population eventually gave way to Spanish rule and finally to American governance in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. It was technically still an American colony when Reb Shmuel Chaim landed there, at the port, ready to continue on to America. But they were two days late. The day
Shanties in the Santo Thomas internment camps
with few bathrooms. At first, the Japanese allowed the prisoners to set up their own systems within the camps: work details, food distribution, hygiene, and even English classes. Despite that, people starved and conditions were bleak. Reb Shmuel Chaim and the Rabinowitz brothers planted small vegetable gardens and would not eat non-kosher food; they lived on their greens and rice they cooked themselves. They davened daily, arranged minyanim including other Jews in the camp, and studied from the few seforim they had. And while they kept to themselves, they participated in the work programs and studied English. In May 1943, the Japanese asked for volunteers to be transferred to a new
Reb Shmuel Chaim gave his wristwatch to his father and begged his father to allow him to take his eight-year-old little sister with him.
“Now I know how the enslaved Jews in Mitzrayim felt when they built Pisom and Ramses.” And he helped rebuild the camp. While at first the Japanese allowed the prisoners to plant vegetables and barter for food with the natives, a new military and particularly cruel commandant put a stop to all of that. The commandant confiscated food the prisoners grew, cut the food supply to 700 calories per day per prisoner, and gave rations deliberately contaminated with pebbles and rat droppings. In September 1944, American forces under General Douglas MacArthur (who had famously declared, “I shall return” when the Americans were ousted from the country) began the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese. As the American army grew closer to Manila, in early 1945, the Japanese commandant grew crueler and more unreasonable. He appropriated food from the Red Cross, letting the prisoners starve, which led to night blindness, disease, and death. Reb Shmuel Chaim contracted malaria and developed jaundice, dysentery, and beriberi.
Freedom but Far from Home after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese also bombed and attacked the American military base in Manila and invaded the Philippines. The Americans withdrew, leaving the Philippines to the Japanese. Now Reb Shmuel Chaim, with his Polish passport and American visa, was officially a foreign alien, and the Japanese rounded him up as a Polish citizen and almost-American. He, and all those on their way to the United States, were prisoners of war in Japanese concentration camps for the next 39 months. Initially, Reb Shmuel Chaim was imprisoned in the Santo Thomas Internment Camp on the grounds of the Santo Thomas University in Manila. There, more than 3,300 people lived in quarters
concentration camp, the Los Banos Internment Camp, also located on a former college campus but more than 40 miles from the tiny Manila Jewish community. Los Banos, however, was worse than Santo Thomas: there was less food, no sleeping quarters, four toilets for 800 prisoners, and malaria-infected mosquitoes. Reb Shmuel Chaim was conscripted to build barracks on the side of a muddy hill; he had to push wheelbarrows up the hills through oozing tropical mud. And when construction was completed, a historically horrific typhoon hit, destroying the barracks, ruining the food supply, and spreading sewage throughout the camp. Reb Shmuel Chaim, though, said only,
The American rescue of the prisoner of war and internment camps was heroic and is well-documented. The U.S. 11th Airborne Division liberated the camp on February 23, 1945. In the most successful rescue operation in the history of the American Armed Forces, more than 2,000 internees were rescued despite Japanese orders to wipe out the camp. Reb Shmuel Chaim was among those who cheered the arrival of the American troops. During his internment, Reb Shmuel Chaim had learned basic carpentry and spoke fluent, accented English. After the war, Reb Shmuel Chaim testified before the War Crimes Committee. But he spoke little of his experience, grateful for his life after learning of the suffering and horrors experienced by those who were
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At Reb Shmuel Chaim and Hedy’s wedding, January 1948, with Rabbi Avraham Kalmanovitz and Max Simchowitz
slaughtered and tortured by Nazi hands. Now free, Reb Shmuel Chaim was able to recover from illness and regain strength, procure a position as a clerk with the American army in the Philippines, and try, once again, to come to the United States. His efforts were again frustrating. At one point, he boarded a boat to the United States with hundreds of other rescued prisoners and was removed from the ship because his visa had “expired.” Never mind that it had expired because he had been taken as a prisoner of war. No amount of logic or discussion could convince the officials otherwise. Reb Shmuel Chaim and his uncle eventually persevered, and, in February 1946, long after his yeshiva friends in Shanghai had arrived in the United States, Reb Shmuel Chaim touched ground in America.
Rebuilding It was bittersweet relief. Reb Shmuel Chaim was the last of his family, and he had to build a new life for himself and rebuild what had been lost. Of the large extended Soroka family in Europe three had survived: Reb Shmuel Chaim, R’ Shimon Soroka (later the mayor of Bnei Brak and head of the Agudah – they first met in Shanghai), and Moshe Soroka (founder of Soroka Hospital in Israel). But Reb Shmuel Chaim kept his father’s words foremost in his mind: “Do not stray from your Yiddishkeit, not even the small point of the letter yud. If you have doubts or questions, ask your rebbeim. I’ve given you basic knowledge, build on it…. In this merit, Hashem should enable that you merit witnessing the consolation and rebuilding….” Reb Shmuel Chaim’s family was now
not only his American uncle but his Mirrer yeshiva friends as well. Together, they raised families, started a shul and yeshivos, and learned together. As a family, they rejoiced in each other’s simchos. They shared in each other’s sorrows. They davened together, played together, kibitzed with one another. The loud but respectful arguments over a Rashi or a
At Reb Shmuel Chaim’s wedding. Rabbi Feitel Rabinowitz, father of Mottel and Iko Rabinowitz; Chaim Barash (standing), father of the kallah; Reb Shmuel Chaim Soroka; and Rav Avraham Kalmanowitz grandchildren or any of his great-grandchildren born. Even so, his descendants carry on his love of Torah, his deep emunah, and his unwavering belief in a world that could be rebuilt. Reb Shmuel Chaim Soroka’s journey begins with a familiar story, takes a different path, and ends with a timeless and familiar message: of hope, of mish-
“You should know, my beloved son, there is a Divine plan and a reason that the Creator of the World placed you in an environment that will forever bind you with the Holy Torah.” Ritva would shake the walls of their shul but their jokes during kiddush on Shabbos morning were just as loud. Reb Shmuel Chaim married Hedy Barash, whose father delighted in a talmid chacham for a son-in-law. And Reb Shmuel Chaim and Hedy rebuilt together. Four children – Yosef Moshe (Yossi) married to Suri (Schwartz); Mordachai Boruch (Buchie) married to Surie (Schachter); Shimshon Zimel (Shimshy) married to Raizy (Hans); and Mindy married to Daniel Greenberg. Reb Shmuel Chaim passed away February 2, 1988, yud-daled Shevat. Sadly, he was not zocheh to see all of his 32
pacha, and of emunah.
His Legacy, His Essence Reb Shmuel Chaim Soroka was my zaidy. He did not speak often, if at all, about his ordeals, and my uncle, Mordachai Baruch (Buchie) Soroka, spent years carefully and painstakingly piecing this story together from artifacts, museum records, and Zaidy’s letters. When I was little, here is what I knew: that Zaidy had gotten the last train out of Kamenetz and that his family had been shot in a forest. That Zaidy’s response to Japanese concentration camp was “they had it much worse in Europe.” That what
pained him most about the Japanese was that they took his photos of his family. That he missed his friends in Shanghai deeply during that time. Here is what I knew, though it was unspoken: Zaidy’s family was his tight-knit circle of alter Mirrer friends. From the time I was tiny, I would enter shul, his beloved Mirrer Minyan, a shul he helped found for the alter Mirrers, and everyone knew my name. They greeted me warmly and enthusiastically. My grandparents delighted in their friends’ new grandchildren and children’s successes. They spoke of small details in their friends’ lives easily and sympathetically. I davened yomim noraim at the Mirrer Minyan next to my Bubby from the time I was seven until I got married. That davening is the most familiar to me, and when the Litvaks sang (and they sang, even a little bit), the women hit the high notes together. During hafsaka on Rosh Hashana, I served coffee to R’ Avrohom Shkop, zt”l (Rav Shimon Shkop’s grandson), carried out trays of cake arranged by Mrs. Feigelstein, received countless gletten on the cheek (and pinches too, I’m afraid) from my grandparents’ friends, and visited Rabbi Zaichek and Rabbi Pitterman after lunch. During hafsaka on Yom Kippur, we slept at the Karmels. The Nadbornys, the Edeltuchs, the Sasoons, the Brudnys, the Shmuelevitzes, the Levovitzes, the Chechiks, and the Chisover Rav, Rav Pinchas Levinson, davened alongside us. I was introduced to my husband through his mother’s cousin, Rabbi Noam Gordon, whose father and uncle (Yudel and Moish) were Americans who learned in Mir prior to the war and who helped found the shul. When I first met Rebbetzin Devorah
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ents’ home – Zaidy babysat for me when my mother returned to work – and that time is marked for me by a sense of love and tranquility. There he was a Zaidy: my mother did not allow sugar cereal (I was her first, after all) – she rarely allowed even Cheerios into my very healthy diet. Zaidy, on Shabbos mornings at my grandparents’, would quietly check the cereal stash. If only plain cereal was available, he would sprinkle a teaspoon or two of sugar from the sugar bowl onto the cereal. Neither of us ever told my mother…. Before I fell asleep at my grandpar-
Reb Shmuel Chaim and Hedy Soroka at their son’s wedding
ents’ home, he stood, silhouetted in the dark doorway by the light of the bathroom, and asked me, gently, “Do you have what you need? Are you comfortable?” Looking back, reading my uncle’s book, I finally put it all together: Zaidy didn’t talk about his time in Manila because it did not define him; it refined him. It was a time, a painful time, an ordeal in his twenties marked by loss and tribulation. But he did not let it embitter him or fill his thoughts. He chose to define himself by his yeshiva, his generosity, his feinkeit, his To-
(Kalmanovitz) Svei, z”l, in Philadelphia, she said joyfully, “You’re one of ours!” R’ Zelik Epstein, zt”l, once described my grandfather as the nicest person, and that, I know, is true. Zaidy was aidel, kind, and loving. He was soft-spoken and only saw the good in others. He sent money to his Mirrer chaverim living in Bnei Brak each month despite having little himself. He was refined in speech and manner, learned and learning always, and I knew the names of roshei yeshiva without title when they were mentioned familiarly – Rav Shmuel Birnbaum, Rav Nachum Partzovitz, Rav Shimon Visoker, Rav Walkin. My grandmother once remarked on the family seforim: theirs had worn and faded binding while other people’s shranks were filled with beautiful leather-bound gilded seforim. Zaidy responded: that is because ours are used. He was proud of that. The end of his life was marked by Parkinson’s disease, and yet he walked back and forth to shul three times a day and shuffled half-a-mile slowly to the Mirrer Minyan on Friday night and Shabbos. I, his first grandchild, was born after his diagnosis. I was often in my grandpar-
Reb Shmuel Chaim Soroka’s full story is recounted in A Mirrer in Manila by Mordachai Buchie Soroka, published by Feldheim in 2018.
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Reb Shmuel Chaim’s kever
rah, his friends, and his family. As my grandmother often reminds us, Zaidy did not leave us with great wealth or great titles. But he left us with a shem tov. That is our legacy, and that is his story. Tehi zichro baruch.
Creators: by Jordan B. Gorfinkel acclaimed Batman comics editor & Jewish cartoonist Erez Zadok Israeli comic book artist & Instagram influencer @erezadok with translation by David Olivestone
The Week News Tribe In Tech
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
Testing Your Smart Thermostat’s Shabbos IQ Tribe Tech Review
There are several popular smart thermostats on the market, and the competition is heating up. Honeywell, Nest, and Ecobee are among the most popular devices. Each brand and model must be looked at through the lens of a shomer Shabbos consumer to see if there are issues that need to be addressed for Shabbos use. I have owned the Honeywell Total Connect Comfort Color Touch-screen Thermostat (~$140 @ Amazon) for a few years now. It has a seven-day programable schedule that allows me to customize the temperature for each day of the week. On Mondays-Thursdays during the winter, for example, I save energy by making the
house cooler while everyone is in school or at work. On Friday afternoons, it adjusts as we all arrive home earlier to prepare for Shabbos. Each day or group of days has four modes: Sleep, Wake, Return, and Home, and I can adjust the temperature for each mode based on my family’s schedule. But these features are common among many thermostats, even ones that are not smart. What makes this a smart thermostat is that I am able to control the settings remotely from anywhere in the world. This comes in very handy when traveling, as you can set the temperature when you are at the airport instead of rushing before you
leave the house. On the return, you can do the same and adjust the temperature so that when you arrive home, the house is perfectly comfortable. The Honeywell thermostat also integrates with Alexa and other smart devices so you can ask Alexa to turn up or down the temperature and the thermostat will respond. The thermostat will send you alerts if your temperature or humidity drops beyond a threshold which could indicate a problem with your HVAC unit. The device will send you monthly energy reports that detail your usage vs the previous year. To help with comparisons, the report also provides the average temperatures for each month. When this thermostat arrives, and you take it out of the box and install it, there are no Shabbos issues to deal with, which is why I give it a Tribe Tech Review rating of 5 out of 5. What this Honeywell thermostat does not do, that other smart thermostats can, is to automatically adjust the temperature based on whether or not anyone is home. It also does not have the ability to connect to remote sensors that would allow you to adjust the thermostat based on, say, the average temperature of two or more rooms. This could be particularly important if a zone in your home has different temperatures in rooms that are all controlled by one thermostat. Honeywell is introducing a thermostat called the T9 ($199.99) that seems to have these features, but it is currently only available for pre-order, so it will have to be reviewed at a later time. The two most popular thermostats that have this capability are Nest and Ecobee. However, as soon as a smart device utilizes sensors to detect presence, it automatically sparks Shabbos questions and requires us to understand exactly what is happening and if it is permissible on Shabbos. I will start by reviewing the Ecobee Smart Thermostat, which is available in three different versions: Ecobee3-lite, Ecobee3 and Ecobee4. The Ecobee4 is the only version that has Alexa built-in. If you want your thermostat to play music and answer questions, this is the device for you. However, if you want to use it as an Alexa intercom and drop-in on another room, you will have to wait for Amazon to open this up for third party devices. Like all digital assistant-enabled devices, the Ecobee4 raises issues of Shabbos and privacy since it is always listening
and interpreting your words (see previous articles on Alexa and Shabbos at TribeTechReview.com). For the Amazon Alexa device itself that plugs into a wall socket, I previously recommended you use a smart plug and turn the device off completely for Shabbos. However, thermostats are low-voltage and hardwired so turning the power off is not an option. Like all other Alexa devices, there is a physical/manual way to mute the microphone but no way to automatically or programmatically (using a HUB or IFTTT) turn off the microphone. While you can manually turn this off for Shabbos and then back on later, this is far from ideal. Additionally, when you mute the microphone, the Ecobeee4 has a sizeable “Light Bar” that turns on and glows bright red until Alexa is re-enabled. This is a harsh visual that can be quite irritating in any room, but especially in a bedroom. Unless the Alexa feature is critical, I recommend you try another model. This is only the beginning of the Shabbos issues, as you will shortly see. The Ecobee3 is identical to the Ecobee4 in features but without having Alexa built in. Both contain Occupancy and Motion/Proximity sensors that can be an issue on Shabbos. The Ecobee3-Lite has a Motion/Proximity sensor but does not come with an Occupancy sensor unless you add one. The differences between Occupancy and Motion/Proximity sensors are subtle. Motion/Proximity is a simple sensor that detects clear motion such as walking in front of or passing by the thermostat. The Occupancy sensor is more sophisticated and uses PIR (Passive Infrared) that is heat-sensing. Occupancy detectors aim to differentiate between if you are home and sleeping vs. away and on vacation. They are like night-vision goggles which use the heat emitted from our bodies to detect human presence. The Ecobee Occupancy sensors even attempt to differentiate between you and your dog. Both sensor types would have identical issues on Shabbos that would require them to be turned off, though the Occupancy sensor may be less obvious to the uninformed. To discuss the potential tech work arounds and arrive at a Shabbos rating for all three versions of the Ecobee thermostats will require a dedicated article, so please stay tuned for Part II in our next column. Shabbat Shalom!
The Week In News
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
The Week In News
Sudan Overthrows its Ruler
Last week, Sudan’s leader, Omar alBashir, was toppled by the army after 30 years in power. A military council has promised elections to the people in two years’ time. Over the weekend, protesters took to the streets to demand a full dismantling of the “deep state” culture left behind by Bashir. They want a civilian administration to take over the country, and they chanted “Freedom” and “Revolution” during the sit-in. Bashir has been indicted on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur by the International Criminal Court. He denies any wrongdoing. The military council, attempting to assuage protesters, has announced a raft of decisions, including new heads of the army and the police; a new head of the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS); committees to fight corruption and to investigate the former ruling party; the lifting of all media restrictions and censorship; and the release of police and security officers detained for supporting protesters. Coup leader Defense Minister Awad Ibn Auf had announced that the military would oversee a two-year transitional period followed by elections. When demonstrators – who had been protesting since December over the high cost of living – weren’t appeased, Ibn Auf resigned the next day, just a day after taking the position, and went into retirement. Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan was then named as head of the transitional military council, and became Sudan’s third leader in as many days.
Germany Shutters Hamas Charities Over 90 charities were raided this past week by German law enforcement as part of a massive operation to shutter non-forprofits it said were funneling money to the Hamas terror group. Armed SWAT teams descended on the properties in over ten different states, with
the majority of police activities targeting the charities WWR Help and Ansaar International in the North Rhine-Westphalia region. Interior Minister Hort Seehofer said that the raids were meant to show that Germany would not let Hamas, an EU-designated terror group, raise funds on German soil. “Whoever supports Hamas under the mantle of providing humanitarian aid disregards the fundamental values of our constitution,” Seehofer said. “This also discredits the commitment of the many aid organizations that have committed themselves to neutrality under difficult circum-
stances.” Founded in 1986, the Islamist Hamas terror group has killed hundreds of Israeli citizens and currently controls the Gaza Strip. In addition to its armed wing, the group also runs a large social welfare network with schools, soup kitchens, day-care activities, and orphanages being run under its auspices. To fund its vast social wing, Hamas runs a network of Muslim charities all over the world, enabling it to easily raise money without police interference. Israel notes that money used for charitable purposes also funds Hamas terror activity and has
pressured countries all over the world to crack down on the organization’s activities. Hamas’ use of ostensible charitable organizations to raise money can be seen in the Dusseldorf-based Ansaar International that was raided this past week. Founded in 2012, it calls itself an aid organization carrying out projects “for the good of Allah.” According the organization, it provides vital health services in Gaza, including clean water and sanitation, orphanages and education to the needy. Yet German police say that the funds raised by the group were instead going to train armed fighters to attack Israel.
The Week In News Observers said that Germany has let such groups flourish in recent years and has refused to crack down on them despite frequent Israeli pleas to intervene. Benjamin Weinthal, a research fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Jerusalem Post that the raids were “long overdue.” “Germany has a very lax policy toward Islamic jihadi organizations in the country,” said Weinthal. “The next step in my view should be to outlaw the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).”
Assange Arrested Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London on Thursday and will likely be extradited to the United States to face federal conspiracy charges for leaking sensitive government documents. Assange was found guilty for failing to surrender to the court back in 2012. District Judge Michael Snow called Assange’s behavior “the behavior of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest.” Assange faces 12 months in prison and will be sentenced shortly. The UK is currently weighing a request by the U.S. to extradite Assange. The United States alleges that Assange conspired with former U.S. intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010 to download and release classified databases.
APRIL 17, 2019 | The Jewish Home
Assange, 47, was arrested last week after spending the last seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy. The Ecuadorian government had granted him asylum after a Swedish court found him guilty in 2012 but suddenly rescinded it for what it called his “discourteous and aggressive behavior.” Under Assange’s leadership, Wikileaks has disseminated vast amounts of highly sensitive material over the years, including a mass leak of U.S. State Department’s diplomatic cables, the U.S. Army’s entire order of battle for the invasion of Iraq, and Hillary Clinton’s emails during the 2016 election. Assange’s arrest caused protests by left-wing Britons, who called him a hero for blowing the whistle on what they said were illegal actions by the U.S. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the British government to block his extradition to the U.S., a call echoed by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot. “The extradition of Julian Assange to the U.S. for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government,” said Corbyn. The calls for Assange’s release were rebuffed by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, though, who tweeted that the Wikileaks head is “no hero.” “Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law,” wrote Hunt. “He has hidden from the truth for years.” This week, Ecuadorian President Lenin
Moreno told the Guardian that Assange overstayed his welcome at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London when he used it as a “center for spying.” “Any attempt to destabilize is a reprehensible act for Ecuador because we are a sovereign nation and respectful of the politics of each country,” he said in his first English-language interview since Assange’s arrest last week. “We cannot allow our house, the house that opened its doors, to become a center for spying.” He added: “This activity violates asylum conditions. Our decision is not arbitrary but is based on international law.” Moreno added, “He was a guest who was offered a dignified treatment, but he did not have the basic principle of reciprocity for the country that knew how to welcome him or the willingness to accept protocols [from] the country that welcomed him,” he added. “The withdrawal of his asylum occurred in strict adherence to international law. It is a sovereign decision. We do not make decisions based on external pressures from any country.” Ecuador has claimed that Assange mistreated embassy staff, put excrement on walls, left soiled laundry in the bathroom, and improperly looked after his cat, among other things. Jennifer Robinson, who is representing Assange, says that Ecuador has been spreading falsehoods about her client.
Fungus Superbug Scientists are sounding the alarm about a new deadly fungal infection that is resistant to major antimicrobial medications. Experts say that it is spreading globally and have no idea where it comes from. Known as Candida auris, the fungus originates in a yeast that normally lives harmlessly on the skin and mucous membranes. A drug-resistant form of the disease has spread around the world in recent weeks, popping up in places such as England, Spain, India, Venezuela and the United States. Commonly found in healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes, the fungus can rapidly lead to death in patients with weak immune systems or serious medical issues. The yeast was first discovered in 2009 from the ear discharge of a patient in Japan, although other medical professionals say that it was spotted in South Korea back in 1996. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) warned last week that it has identified 587 cases in the United States recently, with the disease centered in New York City, New Jersey, and Chicago. The CDC says that a third of all patients who have contracted the fungus have since died. “It’s taken us all by surprise,” David S. Perlin told USA Today. The chief scien-
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tific officer of New Jersey’s Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation, Perlin has published several studies on fungal infections in recent years, including on C. auris. “We don’t really know why globally this bug has burst on the scene all over the world,” Perlin said. “We’re seeing it in hospitals – we have a problem obviously in New York and New Jersey, but we see it in Spain, the United Kingdom, South Africa, other places.”
Candida auris can cause different types of infections, including bloodstream infection, wound infection, and ear infection. The fungus has also been detected in respiratory and urine samples, but the CDC says it’s unclear if it causes lung or bladder infections.
EU Gives Britain One Last Brexit Delay If you’re thinking that you don’t want to hear about Brexit one more time, think about Theresa May and those living in the UK. Last week, the European Union (EU) agreed to extend its deadline for the United Kingdom to leave the EU to October 31 as England seems no closer to carrying through with the long-awaited Brexit. The agreement lets England leave the Union earlier if Prime Minister May can convince the divided UK parliament to agree to a deal. The extension comes after a tense meeting of EU leaders in Brussels which saw May promise that the UK would finally agree on a deal to leave the EU after three previous versions were shot down by the House of Commons. “This extension is as flexible as I expected and a little bit shorter than I expected, but it is still enough to find the best possible solution,” said President of the European Council Donald Tusk. “Please do not waste this time.” The EU’s decision to approve a long delay shows that it doubts that May will succeed in gathering cross-party support for her withdrawal agreement, which lawmakers have already rejected three times. The UK had been scheduled to crash out of the EU without a deal on March 26, which was later extended to April 12. The deadline extension means that England will vote in the EU elections on May 23, despite voting to leave the body nearly three years ago. England had never planned to vote in the
aforementioned elections. But May’s failure to get any deal approved by Parliament has the UK no closer to a deal that would enable it to leave the EU without suffering from dire economic consequences. Speaking to the House of Commons on Thursday, May said she “profoundly” regretted that she was unable to get any deal approved. “The whole country is intensely frustrated that this process of leaving the European Union has not been completed,” she said. Aye, aye.
Kim Jong-Un’s Ultimatum North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un said last week that he would give the U.S. a year to change its attitude if the U.S. wanted a third meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump. Trump and Kim have already held two joint summits, with the most recent one taking place this past February in Ha-
noi. The talks have not achieved anything meaningful, and the two leaders have been unable to hammer out a deal that would scrap sanctions on North Korea in exchange for the abandonment of its nuclear program. “If the United States approaches us with the right manner and offers to hold a third North Korea-U.S. leaders’ summit on the condition of finding solutions we could mutually accept, then we do have a willingness to give it one more try,” Kim told North Korea’s parliament on Friday. “We will wait
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with patience until the end of the year for the United States to come up with a courageous decision. But it will clearly be difficult for a good opportunity like last time to come up.” Kim went on to blame the U.S. for
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military exercises with Seoul in order to enable negotiations with North Korea to move forward, the U.S. military still conducts smaller maneuvers with their South Korean counterparts.
U.N. envoy Ghassan Salame reported that a school was bombed in the town of Ain Zara, around nine miles southeast of Tripoli, without saying who was responsible. Both sides have carried out airstrikes in the town.
Journalist Fights for Free Speech
Fighting in Libya: Over 120 Dead
toughening its demands vis-a-vis North Korea, which he said was the main cause of the current deadlock between the two sides. However, the strongman clarified that he valued his relationship with Trump and added that they can communicate “at any time.” “We, of course, place importance on resolving problems through dialogue and negotiations. But U.S.-style dialogue of unilaterally pushing its demands doesn’t fit us, and we have no interest in it,” Kim said, and blasted South Korea for resuming joint military drills with the U.S. Although Trump suspended the annual
The U.N. health agency reported on Sunday that more than 120 people have been killed since a Libyan military commander launched an assault on the capital city earlier this month. On April 5, Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter of the Libyan National Army launched a surprise offensive against Tripoli. In addition to the more than 120 people who have been reported dead by the World Health Organization, more than 560 have been wounded. It has not been reported whether the injured and dead were fighters or civilians. Furthermore, over 13,500 people have been displaced, and according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “significant numbers of civilians” are stuck in areas where fighting has escalated.
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After years of chaos following the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Hifter had vowed to unify the country. He has led previous campaigns against Islamic militants and other rivals in eastern Libya and has received support from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia and France. Hifter met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo on Sunday, though the president would not provide further details.
ISIS Leader Confirmed Dead Philippine officials confirmed on Sunday that “Abu Dar,” the last surviving leader of the ISIS-affiliated Maute Group, had been killed along with three other insurgents in a military clash last month. His death follows a month’s long military operation in the region. Security forces believe Abu Dar had led Dawla Islamiya, an alliance of pro-ISIS fighters in southern Philippines that includes foreigners. “For now his group is leaderless,” said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. “We are monitoring who will replace Dar.” Abu Dar, whose real name was Benito Marohombsar, was killed in March following clashes in the town of Tuburan, near Marawi. However, doubts concerning his identity led to the use of DNA testing. The results have shown that Abu Dar was the person who was killed in the battle.
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The ISIS leader had been involved in planning the 2017 siege of Marawi, a fivemonth battle which effectively flattened the city. He fled to the mountains following the siege but continued recruiting and training fighters from afar. “[This is a] significant accomplishment of the government and the people of Lanao del Sur who worked together to rid their beloved province of terrorists,” said Major-General Roberto Ancan, commander of the army’s 1st Infantry Division.
Maria Ressa, CEO and editor of a popular news site in the Philippines, finds herself at the center of a fight for free speech after being hit with libel charges. A frequent critic of the country’s autocratic President Rodrigo Duterte, Ressa says that the slew of legal charges are designed to muzzle her from speaking freely. Ressa was first hit with a cyber libel charge in February, a charge critics dismiss as politically motivated as the crime was not even illegal in 2012, the time that she published the story in question. Ressa was then arrested again a month later on charges that her Rappler website was the beneficiary of money from the U.S.-based Omidyar Network. The Philippines bans local media platforms from being bought out by foreign companies in order to protect against foreign influence. Ressa’s case suffered another blow this past week after a Manila court rejected her appeal to throw out her cyber libel case. Ressa’s attorneys had argued that no crime was applicable when her article was first published. The court’s decision was praised by government officials despite numerous claims that the court ruling was politically motivated. “The right of a free press does not extend to the making and/or publication of defamatory remarks. That is why in our statement we made it clear that a prosecution for libel does not result to denial of press freedom,” said Department of Justice Undersecretary Mark Perete. The journalist’s legal troubles extend well beyond the aforementioned court cases. Ressa is also fighting a wide range of other criminal charges, including tax evasion. Despite the crackdown, Ressa told CBS that she would not stop publishing pieces criticizing the country’s brutal war on drug dealers that have killed thousands of innocents. “We have increased security both for my reporters, our journalists in the office, and I am aware of the risks there,” said Ressa. “But you know, frankly, this is the time to demand an end to impunity.”
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