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The Jewish Home April 18, 2013 2


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Contents Prager University Takes On the Liberal College Influence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Forgotten Heroes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

Community

Now that Pesach is completed, the summer months are descending upon us. We look forward to a healthy and successful season. We apologize for the paper being pushed off by a week. This was due to the

New Sleepaway Camps Offer Enticing West Coast Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

sudden passing of my dear father-in-law, Rabbi Lipa Dubrawsky, who was a Shaliach

Newly Launched RallyBound Offers Savvy Social Fundraising for Nonprofits. . . . . . . . . 22

of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to Vancouver, BC. Besides being an extremely learned and

Real Estate - Ask Meir! Is now a good time to buy?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

intelligent man who was a teacher to many, he was a master of Middos Tovos, refined

Jewish Thought

character traits. A kind, unassuming, gentle and caring soul, he had a rare humility

Is the Cyclops in your Cave? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Emek Children’s Corner - The Omer . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Education

enabling him to influence the lives of many many people. (To see him described through the eyes of those influenced, please visit rabbilipablog.blogspot.com.) He

Question & Answer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

had the ability to listen and understand each fellow human being and make him or

Parsha

her feel that someone was sharing their burden and that they could go on. May we

Acharei Mos­‐Kedoshim Kissed by the Almighty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

all take this ever-so-important message to heart, leading us to the time when the

OPED

Creator shall erase all our tears forever.

Op-Ed Do You Want to Be Sensitive or Inclusive By Ian Lurie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Have a wonderful Shabbos,

Humor & Entertainment

Shalom

Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Serial Novel – Moon Cap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

News

Shalom Rubashkin

Odd-but-True Stories. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

managing editor

editor@jewishhomela.com

Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Yitzy Halpern

Publisher & editor

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yitzy@jewishhomela.com

Rachel Wizenfeld

Contributing Writer

Sara Dubrawsky Copy Editor

Life in North Korea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Esther Heller Berish Edelman Design & Production

Josh Bernstein

joshua.bernstein@hotmail.com

David Haridim Account Executives

118 S Orange Dr, Los Angeles 90036 Phone 323-932-1106 Fax 323-843-9391

Israel Israel news. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Lifestyles From Slavery to Weight Loss. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Travel: Montana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Recipe: Seuda Shlishit with Sophistication. . . . . . 44

Shabbos Z’manim Friday, April 19 Parshas Acharei Mos-Kedoshim Candle lighting 7:10 Shabbos Ends 8:08 Rabbeinu Tam 8:41

Friday, April 26 Parshas emor Candle lighting 7:15 Shabbos Ends 8:15 Rabbeinu Tam 8:47

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.

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Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

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Happenings

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April 18, 2013

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YULA holds 10th Annual Trustee Event On Tuesday evening, March 12, Yeshiva University High School of Los Angeles (YULA) held its 10th annual Trustee event at the Paley Center for Media, to show appreciation for the school’s generous trustees. According to Joey Small, Director of Institutional Advancement at YULA Boys High School, “the YULA Trustee Society demonstrates the commitment of our community towards advancing our schools to the highest levels of educational excellence. It is because of

the commitment of our philanthropic partners, together with our parents, staff, students, and alumni, that YULA is able to continue to produce student leaders in our community who are dedicated to Torah values.” The event also honored Gilda Hazan for her 16 years of service as the Academic Registrar. It was a beautiful evening, complete with a tour of the museum, a delicious cocktail and dessert reception on the roof, and a tribute video.

Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy Hosts Intergenerational Celebration “Grandparents day at Hillel… my heart is full with love, joy, just nachas and tears. It is so emotional to see your children’s children,” Nora Schwartz (Grandmother). On March 8, 2013 approximately 200 grandparents and special friends entered the doors of Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy’s Beverly Hills campus located at 9120 Olympic Blvd. Guests were welcomed into special multi-generational Shabbat assemblies led by Head of School Rabbi Y. Boruch Sufrin, where they raised their voices together in song. The day’s assemblies and classroom visitors were also joined

remotely by guests from New York, Florida and across the country as they signed into a live feed and Skyped with their grandchildren. Additionally, grandparents and special people were offered time to meet teachers and staff and to share in a classroom lesson together with students. The celebration was a whole school event with children from the Early Childhood department all the way through Middle School participating. The purpose of the day was to create a greater since of community and an opportunity for people of all generations to experience a child-centered day of

learning at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy. By opening their doors to special guests, Hillel was able to include grandparents and special friends in classroom lessons, activities, assemblies and a dessert and coffee reception. Highlights of the day included Shabbat songs with our Head of School Rabbi Y. Boruch Sufrin and an interactive photo booth where guests were provided with a custom memento of this special event. The weekend’s festivities continued March 9th with a very special Kehillah Shabbat where the entire community joined together in Tefillah and learning led by students.

Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy Students Selected for National Bible Contest at YU By Rabbi Yahel Tsaidi, Principal Judaic Studies Chidon Hatanach, The National Bible Contest, recently announced the names of the students who qualify to compete in the national competition to be held in New York at the Yeshiva University campus on Sunday, May 5th, 2013. Students in over fifty schools across the country have been studying over the past six months, taking three regional exams over the

course of the year. The exams focused on five Sifrei Tanach; Devarim, Yehoshua, Ruth, Iyov and Daniel. The exams assess depth of retention, analysis and application of the text for each of the respective sefarim. There are about 300 participants of which approximately 100 qualify to perform on the national stage in New York. Of those selected this year, 15

will be from California, of which 14 will represent Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy. In the Bet Midrash Program at the Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, 20 students, under the guidance of their mechanechet, Morah Zippi Klein, took on the challenge, and 14 will be attending the National competition this coming May. The news was announced to the

students at our recent Hillel Kehilla Shabbat, a Shabbat experience run by the students at the school every 6 weeks. The Shabbat Tefillah is a child-centered davening in an intergenerational setting. “We heard that schools send 4 or 5 students, and that some get 8 or 10. We never imagined that 70% of our class would get invited,” said Mrs. Klein, the


Happenings that carries for years after taking part in the Chidon. Students feel that they have joined an exclusive social fraternity of sorts and that anyone who has been a part of the Chidon can attest to. Lastly, I credit the students. Their commitment, desire and love for Tanach has been a source of great inspiration to us all. Yishar kochachem!

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In 6 months, this program has managed to bring a culture and atmosphere into our Middle School that has transformed my perception of what a Middle School student can attain and accomplish at this age. Watching students sitting at the blue benches during lunch with their Tanachs open beside them or in the Bet Midrash well after school hours b’chavruta reviewing became an expected sight in our Middle School hallways. I credit these sights to many factors; first and foremost, any program is only as successful as the teacher that leads the class. Secondly, the program is truly one of a kind. Other than the benefits previously mentioned, there is a social element

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Chidon Instructor.

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Yachad Los Angeles Expands into the Valley After an incredibly successful Yachad Shabbaton (weekend retreat) at Young Israel of Century City this past Shabbat, Yachad inaugurated a new division of its LA chapter: Valley Yachad. Recognizing the need for social inclusive programming in the valley, Yachad is excited to expand its already thriving program in the city into the greater valley area. The kickoff event was a family oriented fun-day held on Sunday, April 14th, at Emek Hebrew Academy. A delicious barbeque, two moon bounces, and arts projects were enjoyed by the over seventy-five participants. With so many different activities, there was something for everyone in the family. Some people worked on an Israeli-themed art project

in honor of Israel Independence Day, while others played “moon bounce basketball.” Midway through the event, everyone participated in a competitive water balloon toss, with the champions tossing the balloons nearly fifty feet to their partners. Ian Lurie, the Director of Yachad LA, commented that, “The kickoff introduced numerous families to the inclusive programming Yachad provides. The event could not have been more perfect.” The kickoff was the first of many Valley Yachad programs to come, with bowling at Pinz coming up in under a week. For more information about Yachad LA, please contact Ian Lurie at 310-229-9000 ext. 206 or LurieI@ou.org.

“Dreams of Hope” Production Teaches VTHS Girls Life Skills and a Different Perspective on the Holocaust “’Dreams of Hope’” turned out to be an amazing production that I am so proud to have been a part of,” says Valley Torah High School sophomore Brooke Rifkin. “As the Stage Manager, I gained a lot of valuable skills, such as responsibility, time management, leadership, patience, and perseverance. It was a lot of hard work but, if I could, I’d do it all over again.” Brooke was one of about 40 students in VTHS’s girls division who participated in the first production of the school’s new performing arts department. “Dreams of Hope” which celebrates the triumph of the children of the Kindertransport, was presented Sunday, March 10, at the Salter Family Theater at Beverly Hills High

School. “The show was a great success,” says Lisa Pietruszka, VTHS director of performing arts and author of the creative adaptation. “The girls have learned tremendous lessons that they will carry into their lives far beyond show time and the stage they performed on. “Aside from the wonderful performances on the stage, I’m particularly proud of the students who worked endless hours behind the scenes heading various crews including props, costumes, playbill, publicity, sound and stage managing.” As publicity manager, Reena Levy (VTHS ’2015) also worked closely with Pietruszka. “I was able to get a strong in-

sight as to what really happens behind the scenes,” she comments. “Putting together a play is not all about finding the actors to fill the parts. So much happens off stage that actors are unaware of! From the whole experience I gained an entirely new sense of what responsibility means and the importance of communicating with everyone.” “Dreams of Hope” was inspired by “The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” a one-woman play based on the book by Mona Golabek, The Children of Willesden Lane. The book and play chronicle Golabek’s mother’s experience as a participant in the Kindertransport during World War II. Golabek is a concert pianist, as

was her mother, Lisa Jura, and her maternal grandmother, Malka Jura, who died in Auschwitz. The play used music as a vehicle to “celebrate the power and triumph of the children of the Kindertransport,” says Pietruszka, “It’s about children facing adversity and through adversity being able to triumph.” Directed by Cindy Kania, the play featured live classical piano music, dance and choral numbers. To inspire them for their own production, last September, VTHS invited the girls to a moving performance of “The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” at the Geffen Theater in Westwood. The Kindertransport was a rescue mission of nearly 10,000 predominantly Jew-


Happenings

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April 18, 2013

8 ish children from Nazi Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Free City of Danzig prior to the outbreak of the World War II. The United Kingdom took in the children and placed them in British foster homes, hostels, and farms. Some of them were the only members of their families who survived the Holocaust. Sheer Dadon (VTHS ’2013), who has portrayed female characters in past VTHS productions, played the role of Lisa Jura’s father in “Dreams of Hope.” She reflects, “Playing a father who was saying goodbye to his daughter he knew he would never see again was very difficult in the beginning. After many hours practicing, listening to great advice from the directors of the play, and speaking to a Holocaust survivor who himself had to say goodbye to his father, I believe I was able to encompass a Jewish fatherly role. As a Jewish girl who is very

interested in Jewish history, and especially in the Holocaust, this experience was truly amazing,” Dadon adds. Introduced last fall, the VTHS performing arts department has five components: vocal music, dramatic arts, creative writing, dance (modern, jazz and ballet) and theatrical production. All the elective disciplines collaborated on this production. Pietruszka, a professional pianist and music teacher, designed and oversees the department. VTHS also has a thriving, award winning visual arts department. Both programs place a strong dual emphasis on fostering a love of the arts and teaching the girls life skills through the arts, such as collaboration, determination, presentation and self-confidence.

Science Comes “Alive” at Tashbar The science curriculum at Tashbar allows students to discover the wonders of Hashem’s creation. Students of all ages study Life Science in a unique fashion. This up-close interaction with nature provides the opportunity to recognize Hashem’s miracles first hand. The 3rd Grade science curriculum is integrated with Language Arts. This includes not only reading and writing about Urban Wildlife, but also observing wild creatures living right in their classroom. Watching the behaviors of Harvester Ants as they build their colony teaches the students the importance of teamwork. 4th and 5th Graders supervise Tash-

bar’s “hatchery”, checking and rotating chicken eggs daily in their classroom incubator. Students learned the technique of candling to monitor and measure the growth of the chicken embryo while still in its shell. Junior High students diligently monitor the metamorphosis of their amphibian class pet. With their own eyes, they observe the stages of its life cycle as it transforms slowly from tadpole to frog. Tashbar Torat Hayim, the only Sephardic yeshiva in Los Angeles, is located at 1210 S. La Cienega Blvd.

Acheinu 2013 Kiruv Conference in Eretz Yisroel Highlights Rewards and Challenges of Kiruv By Chaim Gold How does one engage in kiruv rechokim? How does one venture out far beyond the sheltered walls of the home and frum community while simultaneously preserving the kedushah of himself and his family? This was one of the challenging, fascinating questions that prominent leaders on the front lines of kiruv rechokim in Eretz Yisrael, grappled with at this year’s Acheinu Kiruv Conference this past Rosh Chodesh Nissan. The conference was held at the Acheinu “Yeshiva Hakdosha” - Acheinu’s yeshiva for baalei teshuvah located in the Givat Shaul section of Yerushalayim. In addition to the informative, eye-opening panel discussion, there were numerous interesting presentations to provide kiruv activists with even better tools to reach out to those who have not had the privilege of a Torah education. The Acheinu Yeshiva Hakedoshah in Yerushalayim, where the event was held is a yeshiva that caters to bochurim from

non-religious homes. How did these bochurim get to the Acheinu Yeshiva? The answer is that Acheinu and other kiruv organizations have “Midrashiyot” across the length and breadth of Eretz Yisroel. A Midrashiya is basically a drop-in learning center. Boys drop in and Acheinu pe’eylim invest their lifeblood to befriend them and show them how much they are missing as well as the beauty and importance of leading a life of Torah. Many of these young men end up in the Acheinu Yeshiva Hakedosha in Yerushalayim.

with the family of the boys with whom he is working? What about his own family? When he invites prospective baalei teshuvah to his home, whether on Shabbos or on a weekday, how can he ensure that the values, the manner of speech and the kedusha of his own family will not be compromised?”

Preserving Kedusha While Doing Kiruv

In addition to the panel discussions there was a fascinating video presentation. The many participants from across the country watched with bated breath as the gedolei Yisroel answered kiruv questions posed by Acheinu. HaGaon HaRavYitzchok Silberstein, shlita, famed posek, Rav of Ramat Elchanan and son-in-law of HaGaon HaRav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, zt”l, answered many of the halachic and hashkafic questions. Questions and guidance was also heard from HaGaon HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Slabodka Yeshiva,

Rav Zev Hofstedter, Rosh Yeshiva of the Acheinu Yeshiva, related, “The work is extremely rewarding and pays dividends for generations. Nevertheless, it still comes along with plenty of spiritual hurdles. How does a kiruv activist preserve his own kedusha when interacting with people who, certainly when they are at the beginning stages of the process, are light years away from the mindset of chareidi shomer Torah u’mitzvos? How does he interact

Kiruv activists from numerous kiruv organizations all over Eretz Yisroel came together to address these questions and to hear the guidance of gedolei Yisroel.

HaGaon HaRav Dovid Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Chevron Yeshiva and HaGaon HaRav Brooks, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Nesivos Olam, one of today’s most successful kiruv yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel. The Pivotal Importance of Warmth Combined with Vigilance Rav Dovid Hofstetdter, shlita, founder of Acheinu, also addressed the assemblage. In his poignant remarks he bemoaned the fact that there are so many innocent Jewish neshamos that have never been given the chance to experience the beauty of Torah. “Hundreds of thousands of children are in the State school system and know absolutely nothing about Torah.” Rav Hofstedter praised those at the forefront of kiruv and the Acheinu yeshiva. “Each talmid in the yeshiva represents generations,” he said. He then began his personal reminiscences about his late mother who was moser nefesh to keep mitzvos while being beaten and tortured in the crucible of


Happenings

After Avraham underwent the mitzvah of Bris Milah, the level of spirituality found in his home rose exponentially. As a consequence of the Shechinah taking up residence, so to speak, in Avraham’s home, people of low spiritual stature were

From Avraham we learn the importance of screening the people we bring into our homes. As the children of Avraham Avinu, it behooves us to follow in his footsteps, to open our doors to every type of guest… while adhering to our responsibility to protect our families from negative influences. Vital Kiruv Information in one Location Another very helpful bonus received by the throngs of pe’eylim who attended, was a special kiruv manual distributed by Acheinu with every vital piece of information about kiruv that is available. All of the many kiruv yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel and the areas in which they specialize were mentioned; kashrus questions were addressed; and the addresses and phone numbers of roshei yeshiva of kiruv yeshivos and rabbanim who specialize in kiruv sheilos were listed. One kiruv activist said, “Just

obtaining that manual made the trip from afar worth it. All of the other tools have infused me with chizuk and guidance to continue bringing Hashem’s children back to Him, one at a time!” Bringing Children and Parents Back through the Koach HaTorah On Tuesday night, 2 Nissan/March 12, another remarkable Acheinu event was held at the Acheinu Yeshiva in Kiryat Sefer, a yeshiva that Rav Dovid Hofstedter opened at the behest of HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita. The Acheinu Yeshiva in Kiryat Sefer is a yeshiva that caters to bochurim who did have an elementary Torah education but nevertheless come from homes that are traditional in nature but not fully observant. The boys go on to be mainstreamed in first-rate yeshivos throughout the country. The Yeshiva organized a parents’ night where the fathers and mothers of the talmidim came to participate in a special event in the yeshiva with their sons. The parents observed their sons making a siyum on Masechta Megillah that they had learned over the past month and a half in the yeshiva. The sight of numerous

mothers crying pure tears of joy to see their sons so happy and so successful was a sight that itself brought tears to the eyes of everyone present. The singing and dancing combined with the powerful feelings of achdus and acceptance spotlighted the life-saving work that Acheinu is doing, not only with their bochurim who attend the yeshiva but also with the entire family unit. One touching scene was the “Avos Ubanim” segment of the evening, where fathers who rarely if ever opened a Gemara in their lives were paired up to learn with their sons. Some boys were clearly filled with deep emotion as they shared their newfound inner world of Gemara learning with their fathers for the first time. “One saw the koach haTorah, one saw how these fathers were connecting with their sons with the pure, life-giving waters of the Torah, in a way that they had never previously connected,” said Rav Michoel Berlin, Rosh Yeshiva of the Acheinu Yeshiva in Kiryat Sefer. “It is clear that Acheinu not only strengthens its charges but invests in the entire family bringing Klal Yisroel closer to the day when, “All of Your children will know Hashem!”

Dirshu’s Kinyan Shas Test Puts 1488 on the Path to Shas By Chaim Gold To see the face of HaGaon HaRav Yeruchem Olshin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Bais Medrash Govoha, was to see a combination of amazement, simcha and ahavas haTorah. The Rosh Yeshiva expressed his amazement upon entering the Lakewood Cheder Dining Room, Dirshu’s testing site in Lakewood, and observing the tables upon tables of talmidei chachomim taking the Kinyan Shas test!

He responded, “I don’t know! Truthfully, during the entire month running up to the test, I snatched every minute I could, to learn. Even when we were travelling, my wife would drive and I would try to chazer. I knew that if I didn’t chazer a minimum of 20 blatt daily I would not

test. They represent the entire crosssection of Klal Yisroel: A virtual kibbutz galiyos of Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Yeshivish, Chassidish, Baalei Battim and Kollel Yungeleit, all on the trajectory to becoming true Shas Yidden!

Kinyan Shas is perhaps Dirshu’s most demanding program because it is the program that produces and encourages people to become true “Shas Yidden” people who literally have Shas at their fingertips. Dirshu has numerous programs including its most popular monthly Kinyan Torah Daf Yomi tests. The biannual Kinyan Shas test is a cumulative one, on all that has been learned from Brachos until where the Daf Yomi is holding at the time of the test.

There were numerous other sites in North America, including, Boro Park, Williamsburg, Flatbush, Monsey, New Square, Toronto, Montreal, Cleveland, Staten Island and The Five Towns. Without a doubt, however the largest concentration of Kinyan Shas participants was in Eretz Yisrael where more than 1,200 people took the test. In the Bnei Brak location which was graced by HaGaon HaRav Berel Povarsky, shlita itself there were some 400 people

A Test on 240 Blatt and Double How?! As I walked up and down the rows watching people engrossed in the 16 page test, I was amazed. How did they do it? How were they able to take a cumulative test on all 240 blatt that the Daf Yomi has learned since the beginning of this machzor? Then I met Rabbi Moshe Fisher, one of the individuals taking the test. I asked him, “Reb Moshe, “how were you able to review that much?”

get up after the shiur, stand in a corner and begin reviewing the entire shiur by heart. Some bochurim viewed his conduct as a bit strange but that bochur took no notice. The name of that bochur was Chaim Kanievsky! That is the power of chazarah!” thundered the Rosh Yeshiva. “Those bochurim may have thought it strange but no one knows who they are today! Rav Chaim, however, became a Gadol Hador!”

Transforming Lives

make it. Dirshu has literally transformed my life into a life of being mosef v’holeich to achieve increasingly more yedias haTorah.” The numbers of people who took the Kinyan Shas cumulative test worldwide is simply mindboggling. Nearly 1,500 people in Eretz Yisroel, Europe and America took this first Kinyan Shas

HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita and the Power of Chazarah In his remarks, Rav Yeruchem told a fascinating story that he personally heard from Rav Chaim Sarna, zt”l. “Rav Sarna related that when he was a young bochur learning in the Lomza Yeshiva in Petach Tikva, he remembered that after the Rosh Yeshiva finished delivering his shiur there was one bochur who would

Dirshu is transforming lives across the world. As Rabbi Moshe Fisher of Lakewood eloquently explained when I asked him how he managed to remember so much – “It becomes part of your life. Every time I say kriyas Shema at night, I think of the Gemaras about kriyas Shema. Every time something comes up on Shabbos, I think of the related sugya in Shabbos... Once you are into Dirshu, it is hard to be meisiach daas—to take one’s mind off of Shas!”

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Nevertheless, Rav Hofstedter cautioned that coupled with that warmth there must be vigilance to preserve the spiritual level of the family too. In his sefer Dorash Dovid he devotes an entire ma’amar to this issue. He explained that in Parshas Vayeirah we find that Avraham Avinu planted an eishel in Be’er Sheva. An eishel was a tent from wherein he preformed the mitzvah of hachnosas orchim. What, then, was so special about the eishel that Avraham established in Be’er Sheva? Did his practice of hospitality there differ from the hospitality he had offered in Charan and in Eilonei Mamrei?

unable to enter. Therefore, Avraham found it necessary to set up a new hospitality house, the “Eishel” outside of his private dwelling. It would be a place where he could host all comers, even those not of noble souls.

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the concentration camps during the Holocaust. He related that one of her amazing qualities was her ability to create a warm, supportive and loving atmosphere in her home and with everyone she met. “That is such an important tool in kiruv today,” he explained.

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Cover Story

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April 18, 2013

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Q&A with Dennis Prager

Prager University Takes On the Liberal College Influence By Rachel Wizenfeld Three years ago, when brainstorming options to expand Dennis Prager’s message beyond his radio show, books and editorial columns, Prager’s radio producer, Allen Estrin, had the idea

to create an online university with exceedingly short “courses” that would distill some of the most critical ideas and concepts into five minutes. “Everybody complains that nobody has time to delve into serious ideas,” said Estrin, who is co-founder and CEO of Prager U. “And from that followed the idea, is there a way we can turn this problem into an asset.” Today, Prager University hosts nearly 50 courses on topics ranging from free market policies and the Vietnam War to happiness and politics. Its primary purpose, according to Dennis Prager, is to “change minds in five minutes.” Prager contends that universities in America have largely become progressive seminaries with the purpose of producing committed people on the left. Besides the rare individual professors who don’t have a political agenda, he believes that universities overwhelmingly promote a biased, liberal approach, which he would like to counteract through Prager U. Since he and Estrin said they are not

seeking any sort of accreditation, their intention by calling it a university was on the one hand, a satire on the university, “because we make the claim we can give you more wisdom in five minutes than you can get in a semester of university,” Estrin said. Prager U also plans to offer its own degree, like a faux degree, that one could earn after taking a certain amount of courses, tests, reading material and writing essays (these activities have not yet been incorporated on the site). “In some way we’re anti-university,” Estrin said. “We don’t encourage people to go bankrupt to go to college, and we do encourage them to go inoculated against the brainwashing they’re going to get in college. We offer a different point of view. We want to offer our students information and ideas that they’re not going to hear at university.” One example is a course done by Father Wilson Miscamble, a professor of history at Notre Dame who is also a Catholic Priest, in which he morally defends the American act of dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Such a course is critical, according to Prager, because the majority of college students today are taught that the US committed an act of evil in dropping the bomb, so much so “that Hiroshima is often lumped in with Auschwitz.” He added that several courses on the site would be of particular interest to the Orthodox Jewish community, including courses arguing for G-d’s existence that

“are very rational and would be deeply appreciated by an Orthodox Jew.” More than five million people worldwide have watched Prager U courses, but it’s hard to get specific data on who is watching, since no registration is required to watch a course (registration is required to acquire course credits, which will eventually be tied to earning a degree or other certifications and rewards). One course on the Middle East went viral – it currently has a million and a half views on YouTube, and ended up being translated into 20 languages, according to Prager. Prager U currently markets its courses through social media and a network of bloggers and Internet sites that help promote courses as they come out, said Estrin. He hopes to raise more money to expand their advertising strategies, including targeting people through Google adwords and on Facebook and Twitter, along with advertising in college newspapers and national newspapers. An additional opportunity they offer to college students is to start a Prager U campus club, in which the club president can gather students for meetings or discussions using the courses and additional Prager U support materials. One such club president is Gabriel Yaffe, a 21-year-old senior at UC Davis. Yaffe said he chose to found a Prager U club in large part because of his belief in the topics and values expressed in the Prager U videos, and also because his career goals are media oriented, and Internet videos and Prager’s radio influence play nicely into that. While watching the courses has not been a “revolutionary” experience, since the videos are in alignment with his current views, Yaffe said that they have allowed him to express opinions more easily and with more data to present. “Overall it has been an enriching experience which has allowed me further insights into my beliefs.” Because the courses are free to watch, Prager U depends entirely on donations, which they raise as a 501(c)3. When asked if he feels if Prager U is a culmination of his work as an author, speaker and radio host, Prager responded, “I would put it this way. At this time in my life I have to ask myself, ‘What is the most good I can do with my time?’ in addition to my radio and my lecturing and my books, and the answer is this.”

By Rachel Wizenfeld

What are your thoughts on the LA Orthodox Jewish community with regards to political involvement and ethics? Your question is really about Orthodoxy in general, at least American Orthodoxy. LA Orthodoxy is not that different from Orthodoxy in other cities. Well, the Orthodox community needs to represent the Torah values to the world. My big push is to have Orthodox Jews recognize how important they are to representing Torah to the world. I’ve gone to Yeshiva until I was 18 and after spent an additional two years in mesivta, and I grew up in Brooklyn, and my biggest problem was the insularity of Orthodox life - that Jews forgot they have a message to humanity. I call the Jews the messenger who forgot his message. And the message is to bring the world to the G-d of the Torah, G-d of the 10 Commandments, and that’s been forgotten. Whether you call it the sheva mitzvot b’nai noach or whatever. Chabad has embraced it, and I think some other Orthodox Jews are beginning to realize that in the Western world, the move toward secularism and godlessness is very dangerous - dangerous for the values of our societies. Theologically conservative Christians are out there trying to fight the secular onslaught; Mormons are out there, but very few Jews are out there. Most Jews are secular and think secularism is – well, read my Jewish Journal article on secularism and you’ll see what I mean. Being a staunch Conservative, how do you deal with the ire and fire with which people respond to you? It saddens me, but not for me – it has almost no impact on me except to


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April 18, 2013

By Rachel Wizenfeld

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Q&A with Dennis Prager continued reinforce my belief that what I’m saying is probably true. Because of the inarticulate responses - and they’re all ad hominem, they’re all about me and not about the ideas of which I speak. To the extent that this Hollywood writer a few weeks ago said I defended the Nazis, that was the lowest they had every gotten. That was a new low, and in fact I titled my column, “A New Low.” The biggest reason the left is successful, the single biggest reason, is not because its ideas are successful (its ideas are almost all a failure), but because they very effectively demonize conservatives. It’s what I call SIXHIRB: sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist and bigoted. And without that vocabulary, the left has no way of answering us. What are your biggest concerns in both general America and in the Jewish community today? What issues keep you up at night?   Well, happily I sleep well so I’ll take your question metaphorically. What keep me up are many things, but first of all, in America, there is a battle for the soul of the United States. Does it remain true to what I call the American trinity, the three values on every coin: liberty, in G-d we trust, and E Pluribus Unum (which means “out of many, one”). The left has attacked all three: egalitarianism instead of liberty, secularism - and I don’t mean government I mean society secularism rather than a G-d based society which America was founded to be, and multiculturalism rather than E Pluribus Unum. They have successfully divided Americans into ethnic and racial groups as opposed to all Americans. So that’s number one. Number two is the secular versus G-d-centered ethics. Secularism means that ethics are made up. Only if there is a G-d who says “Thou shalt not murder” is murder objectively wrong, not subjectively wrong. The vast majority of American college kids do not have a sense of there being a right and wrong that transcends their feelings. It’s, “how do you feel about this?” The question I’ve been asking since I’ve been in my 20’s is, “Would you save your dog or a stranger first?” Two-thirds would not save

the stranger because they love their dog, and they follow love, whereas I would save the stranger before the dog that I love, because humans are created in G-d’s image and dogs are not. So it’s feelings versus standards. That’s what same-sex marriage is about. They feel for the gay, which I completely agree with, I feel for the gay too, and therefore you say let’s redefine marriage for the first time since the history of the world to include members of the same sex. So you don’t ask is there a standard for marriage, you ask, “do you feel for gays?” The Republican Party recently released its Growth and Opportunity Project report, assessing why they failed to win the presidential election and where they have gone wrong. What are your thoughts on this? Where the Republican Party has gone wrong is it hasn’t been able to articulate what conservatism stands for. If they would go around America explaining what’s on our coins: liberty, in G-d we trust and E Pluribus Unum, they would do a better job. That’s another reason for Prager U - to explain these values so that the people who actually might believe in them can articulate them. What career achievement or accomplishment are you most proud of? To be perfectly honest, I spend a lot more time thinking about how much I haven’t accomplished that how much I have, so I don’t have a great answer. But I’ll tell you this. It may not be my biggest achievement, but I get a very good feeling when people tell me when they meet me or email me that I saved their marriage. My Male/Female hour - I broadcast an hour every Wednesday - has helped a lot of marriages stay intact. Do you have any future plans beyond Prager U? I’m now working on my autobiography, tentatively titled A Man, A Jew, An American.


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Happenings

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April 18, 2013

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YULAMUN: A Reflection

YULAMUN

By Micah Hyman Early in February, the YULA Model UN team packs their bags and heads off to compete in Yeshiva University’s Model United Nations. Last year, YULA decided to bring the Model UN experience to the Greater Los Angeles community with YULAMUN, a now annual event that is run by YULA’s Model UN team and hosts 7th and 8th grade students from Maimonides, Hillel and Emek. YULA freshmen also participate as preparation for tryouts as sophomores. After weeks of planning and ordering all the necessary items, the YULA Model UN team arrived at the Girls School campus bright and early on Sunday morning, March 17, for a full day of competition. The team finished last minute preparations before the visiting students began arriving for registration and breakfast. Everyone dressed up for the event in formal attire, fitting for the occasion. The students listened to an opening ceremony by Model UN Secretary General, Asher Naghi. Naghi spoke about the importance of using the lessons in diplomacy learned during Model UN in the real world. After Naghi banged the gavel, declaring Model UN in session, the students rushed to their committee rooms. The students from Maimonides and Hillel

participated in the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), chaired by Elon Swartz and Deena Felsenthal, where they discussed sustainable energy. Alternatively, the students from those schools served in the World Food Program (WFP) chaired by Shana Salomon and Noah Kest, where they discussed genetically modified organisms. The students from Emek served on the Security Council, with the girls chaired by Jasmine Peled and Olivia Levkowitz and the boys chaired by Asher Alter and Jonathon Hermel. Lastly, the YULA 9th graders discussed alien life on the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) chaired by Micah Hyman and Lizzi Peled. The students had four hour-long committee sessions from 10:00 AM through 4:15 PM punctuated by breaks and lunch. Before lunch, however, Dillon L. Hosier, the political advisor at the Israeli consulate, treated the students to a speech. Mr. Hosier related that he attributed his current profession and success to his Model UN experience through high school and college. In the afternoon, the students gathered together in the auditorium for the award ceremony. Although only a few students won awards,

everyone came away from the experience enlightened, excited and ready to participate again next year! Dr. Paul Soifer, YULA Boys School General Studies Principal and director of Model UN and YUNMUN, received this effusive email from Mrs. Ilana Zadok, 7th and 8th Grade History Teacher at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy. Clearly, the day had an impact far beyond the few hours the students spent on a Sunday afternoon. Dear Dr. Soifer, Thank you for an incredible day. Our students are transformed by the YULA Model UN experience gaining confidence and recognizing skills they never knew they had. I appreciate how your chairs not only kept order and structure within in the various committees, but had patience and taught the students how to become better debaters and how to better collaborate with the other countries throughout the process. I think it was a positive learning experience for both the chairs and the students. The skills attained through the Model UN experience are universal life skills and I know that our students will keep this day as a close memory as they move forward in life. Thank you for this contribution to their middle school experience.

Yom Hashoah at YULA On Monday, the entire student body gathered together to watch a moving film about the children of the Holocaust. Rabbi Dunner then spoke about President Obama’s visit to Yad Vashem and Rabbi Lau’s message of the need to act now, and not be late in responding to acts of violence. Rabbi Schreiber, Micah Hyman and Andrew Hirsch spoke about the importance of the Poland trip and the significance of seeing the horrors firsthand to be able to educate the rest of the world.

The students then walked to the Museum of Tolerance for a ceremony that included a touching rendition of Kel Maleh Rachamim by Cantor Baram, followed by a Mizmor Le’David reading by Elon Swartz and Jonathan Hermel. The program also highlighted Mr. and Mrs. Sharpe, righteous gentiles from America who helped liberate Jews during the Shoah. Many ambassadors and government dignitaries were in attendance, and Rabbi May, Rabbi Hier and Rabbi Cooper all made moving speeches. The continuous theme was the importance of remembrance and applying the lessons from the horrors of the Holocaust to the situations of evil and genocide that we face today. As 11th grader Yossi Estshalom said, “YULA provided us with a morning of intense Holocaust remembrance. It was a powerful and effective way to commemorate such tragic events.”

By Noa Segal, 7th grader at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy Being in YULA Model UN has really changed me as a person and helped to advance the way I approach my studies. It has helped me tremendously with my vocabulary, persuasive writing, and ability for public speaking. I now have even more confidence in myself when representing my opinion. It has enhanced my research skills and showed me the importance of corroborating my evidence. It has taught me how to communicate with others in a respectful and beneficial manner. I have also learned that the answer to a problem may not always be right there in front of me and that sometimes I may have to think outside of the box to find a good solution. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities that I have been given. Every single one of the skills that I have received will be useful in the future. At first I was scared to do it because I thought I wouldn’t be able to do well. After I finished and got an award of Honorable Mention I realized that I was much better than I thought I was. The entire Hillel team worked hard preparing for the event with our faculty advisor, Mrs. Ilana Zadok, and we felt so rewarded earning six of the ten awards. I congratulate my peers on their accomplishments: Noa Zarur for earning Best Delegate, Ilan Bouskilla, Michaela Rosenberg, Isaac Goor, and Layla Galeck for earning Honorable Mentions.


Happenings News By Yossi Cohen, (12 year old Tankist)

loads of Tefillin, Hachlatos for the Rebbe, the handing out of Pesach guides and over 4000 matzos!! By the end of the day, LA can proudly say we gave the Rebbe an extrememly special birthday Present! May all the souls that were touched and actions that were done be the zechus and the final brick to build the 3rd Beis Hamikdash and bring Moshiach NOW!!! A special thank you goes out to the LA community who embraced the idea and helped make it happen: Cheder Menachem, Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon, Drivers, designers arrangers, and mostly the kinderlach for taking on their duty as the rebbe’s soldiers. Thank you to Ha’oisek Reb Yankee Raichik for organizing the largest LAPD escort. This event was brought to to Los Angeles by the “Rebbe’s Diamond Davener’s -Kol Yakov Yehuda” - and “Unzereh Kinder” Foundation.

april 18, 2013

It was a beautiful sunny day in Los Angeles, California. While many children like me, would run to the park or beach in this weather, the boys and girls of Southern California piled into the Cheder Menachem hall for a chance to celebrate the Rebbe’s 111th birthday in a way that would really make the Rebbe proud with a grand Tzivos Hashem rally!! Ran by Rabbi Mendel Duchman & connected to the Live rally being broadcasted worldwide, the 350 children had the chance to connect with Chayolim from all over, as they said the 12 Pesukim, took on Hachlatos and showed true Chassidishe spirit. Following the rally, everyone raced outdoors for the grand MITZVAH TANK PARADE organized by the alumni of kolYaakov Yehudah. The parents gathered on the corner, to escort the 11 tanks about to hit the streets of LA by storm, in honor of the Rebbe’s 111 years. Snapping pictures, excitement growing, Niggunim playing loudly from the speakers - the scene was a quite a rare phenomenon, even for the Anash and children, being only the second year of a Mitzvah Tank Parade in LA! Clad in Tank Parade t-shirts and big smiles, over 50 TANKISTIM proudly waved out the windows as the parade began, turning on to Pico BLvd, one of the busiest streets in LA. The parade drove through the PicoRobertson area, down La Cienga, heading south on Wilshire Blvd through the world-famous “Museum Row” through Miracle Mile and onto La Brea Blvd finishing in Hancock Park , where lunch was served; Over this drive being veiwed by thousands of people walking and driving through the streets - inspiring them and really making a difference! Can you imagine what a spectacular sight it was for Jews and non-Jews alike seeing 11 motor-home turned Tanks parading through the streets, wrapped in signage displaying messages of goodness and kindess? To reach the maximum amount of people, Los Angeles joined the Global network of tanks - from New York, Monsey, Melbourne, Paris, Toronto, Montreal and many other places. Each sign had a special QR barcode linking viewers to the Sharethefreedom.com websites which allowed passersby to find the closest tank, follow the progress of the tank parade on twitter, pledge Hachlatos in honor of the Rebbe’s birthday, Shabbat info and so much more! But that was just the beginning armed with the Tzivos Hashem soldiers, bochurim and members of Anash, the tanks split up to hit up LA’s most popular spots. UCLA, Santa Monica College, Larchmonth, Sunset, Hancock Park, Downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills Public Schools, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Drive, the mivtzoim groups were ready for Jews of all ages! These 11 tanks saw

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MY FIRST MITZVAH TANK PARADE

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The Jewish Home April 18, 2013 16


Op-Ed

Ian Lurie

go on to study in Israel, learn side-by-side, and one day, will teach their own children about the importance of full inclusion. Another monumental challenge for individuals with special needs is finding a job. Some young adults attend day programs, others work part-time for just a few hours a week, while many sit at home wishing they had a meaningful way to contribute to the world around them. Together, we can provide ways for this to be achieved. Someone with special needs can be a valuable asset to a company, providing office assistance, interacting with customers, designing a company’s website, and the options are endless. It takes vision and dedication, but as a community, we can truly redefine the quality of life for those around us. I believe, that it will be only when we recognize that those

Sensitivity is a requisite for inclusion, but not a substitute. social skills workshops, and trips to sports games. Friendships and memories are being created and the label of “disability” is becoming less and less important. I believe social inclusion is the first step in achieving full and complete inclusion for those with special needs. The next steps that we collectively take will determine whether our children, relatives, and friends with special needs will truly feel a sense of belonging. Education and vocation are two pressing areas of need. I spent Pesach in the tri-state area and learned about many of the resources available for students with disabilities in Jewish day schools. The standard in New York and New Jersey schools is to have resource rooms, individualized attention for students requiring extra help, and parallel tracks in the elementary and high schools for individuals with special needs. The implementation of such a program sends a powerful message: we as a community want every child, with or without special needs, to have a Jewish education, no matter what. If each child can receive a quality Jewish education along-side typically developing Jewish students, the effects will be felt immediately. Friendships will build from a young age between a child with special needs and one without. Children will quickly realize that having a disability is not the sum total of the person. That child will graduate elementary school with his or her best friend who has a disability, but is not defined by it. Together, they will

with special needs have the same needs as everyone else, desiring to connect with G-d in shul through prayer, or wanting to be part of a Jewish school and classroom with Jewish friends, having a fulfilling job, and feeling that they are wanted will we achieve full inclusion. I am confident that working together, B’Yachad, we can accomplish this. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but if we look into the mirror and asks ourselves, “How can we ensure a brighter tomorrow for everyone?” we will be heading in the right direction. As a community, we have many needs but we do not have limitless resources. Or do we? Our relatives and friends with special needs have much they wish to contribute to our community, if only we will let them. Ian Lurie is currently the Director of Yachad Los Angeles, overseeing both the City and Valley Yachad chapters, after serving as the Assistant Director for the past three years. He received his B.A. in history from UCLA in 2012.

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Growing up, I attended preschool with twin sisters: Ariella was a typical girl, and Tali had Cerebral Palsy. Although at the time I did not fully understand what it meant to have a disability, I was old enough to realize that one sister was “typical” and the other was “different.” Despite our differences, in our class, we were all students. We were all friends. Most importantly, in our eyes, we were all equal. The atmosphere in which I was raised promoted inclusion for all, disregarding superficial differences. Unfortunately, so much of the world assumes that having a disability disqualifies someone from being treated equally and fairly. Twenty years later, the fight for the full inclusion of those with varying abilities and disabilities is still being fought. Society today is far more sensitive and tolerant of difference than it was even just a decade ago. It is now inappropriate to use the word “retarded” to describe someone with special needs, while years ago, this was commonplace. The progress achieved is noteworthy and an important part of an even bigger picture. When we are sensitive, others feel less threatened and more loved. But, there is an important distinction between sensitivity and inclusion. Sensitivity is a requisite for inclusion, but not a substitute. Today, I work as the Director of Yachad LA, a local chapter of an international organization committed to fully including those with special needs in our community. Our weekly social inclusive programming has changed families and brought friendship to thousands of participants. Having grown up in the Yachad family throughout high school, taking over as the full-time director this year was a dream come true. But more than a dream, it was an eye-opening experience. I meet with families, parents, and individuals with special needs weekly and constantly hear about their yearning for a

more “sincere and welcoming” community. The shabbatons (weekend retreats) provided throughout the year by Yachad and other local organizations provide respite for the families and a great social experience for the participants, but what about the next step? Where are the individuals with special needs after we say hello at a local restaurant or shake hands on Shabbat? This is the struggle for inclusion. The Los Angeles community has arrived at a crucial juncture. Locally, social programming for individuals with special needs is thriving. There are weekly events,

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Do You Want To Be Sensitive Or Inclusive?

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Judaism Alive

April 18, 2013

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Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn

The Jewish Home

Is the Cyclops in your Cave?

Odysseus and his men accidentally stumble into the wrong cave. They enter the cave of the Cyclops Polyphemos. The Cyclops is away from his cave for a brief while. The men help themselves to all the food they could want. They are ready to leave with enough time to get away but Odysseus makes a huge miscalculation and says let’s stay to meet these beasts. Odysseus miscalculation was in thinking that Polyphemos was raised with the same of love the Greek virtue of hospitality. But this was not case. Polyphemos in a fit of rage closes up the cave with a giant boulder. The Cyclops violently has his way with Odysseus’s men. He destroys them, smashing several of them against the wall of his cave. The remaining few are horri-

fied. Polyphemos feels that he can take a nap as those few left in his cave pose no threat. While he is asleep Odysseus realizes that he can’t kill the Cyclops because nobody will be able to get them out of the cave. When he wakes (and after several outings) Odysseus gives the Cyclops some wine. Polyphemos says that for that gesture he will kill Odysseus last. Polyphemos asks Odysseus his name and he say “my name is nothing.” Several drinks later, Polyphemos is good and drunk. Odysseus takes a blade and stabs him in the eye. The Cyclops screams to the other Cyclops for help – they come to the front of his cave and announce – “what’s happening in there?” The Cyclops responds in a scream “Nobody is attacking, nobody is attacking me.” Well, if nobody is attacking you then it’s better we leave. The other Cyclops leave him there in his cave. Odysseus and his men ultimately procure their escape. What I take away from this story is that sometimes your best bet is to be Nobody.

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you actually realize your position in contrast to the Almighty. You are nothing. Yet, you are everything. If you believe that you are doing G-d’s work in this world, whether you are a rabbi, carpenter, or Wall Street trader, then with each success you move closer and closer to G-d. And as you step a bit closer, you realize how small you truly are. You are “but dust and ashes” and at the same time, the world was created for you. Craving simplicity in life can at times be the sweetest thing. I remember on one of my family trips to Israel we went to the Western Wall. There is a custom to make your personal requests of G-d while standing at the wall. Some people pray for their health, some people pray for spiritual redemption, some people pray for direction. My son, Yisrael, who at the time was 3, stood in front of the wall. I asked him “is there something you would like to ask G-d for?” He replied the most simple, yet most powerful prayer that I can remember hearing: “Hashem (G-d), can I please have a Popsicle.” When the Moses saga is first introduced, the narrative of the Bible begins by telling us “there went a man from the house of Levi.” Why not just identify this individual, Moses’s father, by name? The great German Rabbi, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, claims that the Bible wanted you to know that pretty soon Moses will work his marvel. He will become the titanic leader that is famous the world over. But you should know, says G-d, after all is said and done, Moses is simply a human being. He’s not G-d. Simplicity. After all the miracles, plagues, and bending of nature Pharaoh agrees to let the Israelites go from bondage. He says “kedvarchem” “go, as per your words.” In the end, what might have ultimately moved Pharaoh was not the blood and the frogs and the vermin but rather the simple words “let my people go.” Be strong, be clear about who you are and don’t be ashamed in your pursuit of success. Nevertheless, remember to stay simple and humble. As Bruce Sprinsteen says “stay hungry, stay hard, stay alive.” And from time to time revel in the spiritual simplicity of a question like “G-d, can I have a popsicle?”

Even baseball managers grow eloquent about Moses as paragon

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When faced with the trappings of an out of control ego, sometimes safety comes by being Nobody. Let us clarify. Being nothing, and negating your identity isn’t a goal in life. It isn’t the proper way to carry yourself day in and day out as we live outside of caves, but from time to time it

helps to step back and acknowledge how small we really are. Sometimes it helps to just be simple. Abraham is often remembered for his mantra – “Anochi Afar V’efer” – “I am but dust and ashes.” Moses tells G-d that without my people I am nothing. Their greatness, their magnificent and clear sense of mission was not lost by acknowledging how much nothingness we are. On the contrary, to live with such humility in the face of so much talent – only serves to enhance our character and our identity. There is a Hassidic teaching that every person must live with two coins in their pockets: one that says “I am but dust and ashes” and the other that says “the world was created for me.” Identity, vision, and drive don’t need to conflict with a healthy dose of humble pie. We often assume that with greater achievement comes greater pride, and with greater pride comes an inflated sense of self, dominating ego, and then the beginning of our downfall. But it doesn’t have to work like that. Moses is considered the humblest of all human beings. How is that possible – didn’t he once, while standing atop the mountain looking down at the people, stop and say “not bad, all these people here just for me”? No. And here is why. Moshe is the epitome of success. As David Van Biema puts it: Moses is a universal symbol of freedom, law and leadership. He was sculpted by Michelangelo, painted by Rembrandt, eulogized by historian Elie Wiesel as “the most solitary and most powerful hero in biblical history...After him, nothing else was the same again.” Even baseball managers grow eloquent about Moses as paragon: when recounting why Mets star Bobby Bonilla failed to inspire his teammates during his first stint with the team in the early 1990s, Frank Cashen explained, “He was supposed to lead us out of the wilderness, take us to the Red Sea and part the waters. It didn’t work that way. He said he couldn’t swim.” But as he grew in greatness – something happens. The closer you get to G-d the more

Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn is the Rav & Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh in Los Angeles. He is the creator of WINGS; a synagogue consulting group for the Orhodox Union. He is also the author of 3 sefarim. For any comments, thoughts, or observations email the Rabbi at rabbieinhorn@gmail.com


Hassidic Thought

Rabbi Reuven Wolf

Kissed by the Almighty a result of their coming so close to Hashem that they were absorbed, so to speak, into the Presence of Hashem. This is the manner in which the greatest of the righteous are finally transported from the bonds of life on earth to the light of the afterlife. But unlike how this happens with other righteous people, where

even greater than ours. Although this seems to laud Nadav and Avihu and places them on a higher plane than even Moshe and Aharon, yet why is this sacrifice necessary in order to sanctify the Mishkan? With Hashem descending into the Mishkan and occupying it, as seen

what we really seek is to do Mitzvot naturally the Presence of Hashem, the Shechinah, comes down and “kisses” them, so to speak; here the sons of Aharon rose up and brought about their own demise through an act of such powerful bonding with the Shechinah, that they were absorbed by it and passed from life in this world. According to the Ohr HaChaim, this is not a criticism of Nadav and Avihu—it’s actually a compliment: They were willing to elevate their souls in coming ever closer to the Divine Presence to the point that their lives were sacrificed as they cleaved to Hashem. It is thus clear why there is no negative connotation here about the death of these two sons of Aharon. But back in Parshas Shemini, where their deaths are described, they are said to have brought an “alien fire” (aish zarah), “which they were not commanded to bring,” which seems to imply that they did, in fact, do something wrong. While it seems that the Ohr HaChaim is on solid ground here in Acharei Mos in his positive interpretation of the actions and subsequent death of the sons of Aharon, there remains a difficult question: What prompted the Ohr HaChaim to view the actions of Nadav and Avihu in such a positive light, even in parshas Shemini, when so many Midrashim and commentaries see them as having sinned, and their deaths as punishment? The Scriptural source for this view of the Ohr HaChaim’s may be the verse in Shemini (10: 3) in which Moshe says to Aharon, after the death of his sons, that Hashem has told him that, “I will be sanctified in them that approached Me [meaning, Nadav and Avihu], and glorified before the nation of Israel”—and Aharon, we are told, is consoled by this. Rashi further explains what Moshe meant: “Aharon, my brother,” Moshe says, in the language of consolation, I foresaw that a sacrifice in the form of a life would be necessary to sanctify this House of the Lord, but I assumed it would be you, Aharon, or me, who would die. Now I see that it was your sons, whose service and righteousness was

in the manner in which the sacrifices in the Mishkan are consumed by a Heavenly Fire, what is added or further required, and how is whatever that missing element might be supplied by the (at least in some ways improper) actions and subsequent death of Nadav and Avihu? And if there was some error on the part of Nadav and Avihu, how can their actions create or cause the Mishkan to assume the Kedusha that it had for centuries—and will have once again in the future, please G-d. The Ohr HaChaim saw none of what Nadav and Avihu did as improper—not even their having received no commandment or instruction to perform the ceremony they performed. (In fact, the Ohr HaChaim can be seen as holding that Hashem praised the sons of Aharon for acting as they did, “without even having to be told to do it”!) The Ohr HaChaim is consistent in his mystical, Kabbalistic view of the Mishkan and its operation—and it’s a view that enlightens not only the Mishkan, but also nothing less than our own lives and existence. For the Mishkan is a model and symbol of the human being; it is structured like the elements of the human body and soul. The Mishkan has two basic kinds of services, and each takes place in a different place within the Mishkan: One is a Korbon—usually translated as “sacrifice,” but which should more accurately be transated as “elevation” or a “coming close to,” which is what the root word—karov—means. These are services performed on the outer alter in the outer courtyard of the Mishkan (and the Bais HaMikdosh—the Holy Temple). In this service, the elements of the material world—animals, vegetative growth, and even mineral, in the form of salt—are elevated and brought nearer to the Divine Presence. Yet, as close as anything can come to the Divine, there is still a gap between it and the Divine Presence. But on the inner altar, in the inner chamber, a second kind of service takes place: Keto-res—the burning of incense and spices.

Keto-res, the Zohar and the Shelah tell us, is from the Aramaic word “keter”—which means, “bonding with” or “melding with.” This is a deeper, more intense approaching to the G-dly. It bespeaks a more intimate relationship between the human being and Hashem. This mirrors the distinction between the relationships a person has with friends and acquaintances, which are based on superficial elements that do not cut to the innermost reaches of the soul, and the qualitatively different relationship between a parent and a child, a mother and her newborn infant child—or between a husband and wife who have achieved an intimacy of soul so that they “just know” what their partner is thinking, what he or she is feeling and needing from moment to moment. The intimate Divine was what Nadav and Avihu sought—and achieving it caused their souls to meld into the Shechinah and to depart from this mundane material world— and to return to the source of the soul, which is, as the Kabbalists tell us, Hashem Himself. And the sacrifice of Nadav and Avihu was what imbued the very beams of the Mishkan and the stones of the Temple with holiness that made it a fit and inspiring “House of the Lord—a Bais Elokim. This kind of relationship with the Divine is what we aspire to, what the human soul seeks and yearns for—and we seek it while retaining our individual earthly existence and our identity as created beings. Thus, while we can study Torah and do Mitzvot as commandments that bring us closer to Hashem, but we are still separate from the source of the command, which is Hashem and His Torah, what we really seek is to do Mitzvot naturally—without a sense of subject or “commandee”; to serve Hashem with an intimacy and a bonding that we call “devekut”—cleaving to the Shechinah. Since the day this kind of soul-connection was achieved by the sons of Aharon, the person who most purely personified it was Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the great student of Rabbi Akiva, the source of the esoteric, Kabbalistic teachings of the Zohar. The “Hillulah”—Day of Celebration (to some, the anniversary of his death)—of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is upon us: it will soon be Lag BaOmer, the 33rd day of the Omer count, or the 18th day of the month of Iyar. Celebrating this day—as it will be all over the world, centered around Rabbi Shimon’s tomb on Mount Meron in Israel—is an affirmation of these teachings and expressions of our desire to attain nothing less than this intense and intimate relationship with the Almighty.

april 18, 2013

The Parsha, Acharei Mos, begins with a statement that Hashem spoke to Moshe Rabeinu after the passing of the sons of Aharon, which was described a few portions ago, in Parshas Shemini. The Torah goes on to describe the service in the Mishkan on Yom Kippur, relating how this service could only be performed by the Kohen Gadol. This includes the service in which the Kohen Gadol entered the Holy of Holies, the place where the Ark containing the Tablets of the Ten Commandments was kept—a place where only the Kohen Gadol could enter, and only on one day, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year. The Torah does not generally record when Hashem communicated with Moshe. Here, however, it does tell us when this took place—right after the death of the two sons of Aharon on the eighth day of the Inauguration of the Mishkan. According to many commentators, one error that the sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, had made was that they entered the Holy of Holies without being given permission to do so. So now Aharon is being warned not to make the same mistake and enter the Holy of Holies on any day other than Yom Kippur, and not without preparing for it with the entire Yom Kippur service in the Mishkan. This is how Rashi interprets the verse. Yet, this opening verse still seems difficult in that it tells us only when Hashem spoke to Moshe, but not what was said. The next verse repeats that Hashem spoke to Moshe, and only then do we learn what Hashem said, namely, Moshe’s instructions to Aharon about entering the Holy of Holies. The first verse, however, does not seem to contain (at least as Rashi explains it) any content of the communication between Hashem and Moshe. This difficulty prompts other commentaries, such as the Ohr HaChaim (Rabbi Chaim ben Moses ibn Atar, the great Moroccan Talmudist and Kabbalist who passed away in 1743 in Jerusalem at the age of 47), to say that the last few words of the verse is not simply a report on when this communication took place; these words were actually part of the message imparted to Moshe by Hashem: “When they [Nadav and Avihu] came close to G-d, and [as a result] they died.” This was important, the Ohr HaChaim continues, because the death of these two nephews of Moshe was a special sort of death—the highest and most sanctified kind of death there is: a “Missas Neshikah,” a “death by being kissed, as it were, by the Almighty.” This communication by Hashem was exactly of how Nadav and Avihu died:

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Acharei Mos-Kedoshim

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Education

April 18, 2013

Question & Answer Education is at the fore of every parent’s mind. Parents and Educators have many questions, concerns and worries.  

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If you wish to have your question or issue considered by a team of Educators feel free to email educationqanda@hillelhebrew.org and your topic may be discussed in this column in future weeks. All names will be held confidential.

We just celebrated Pesach, and I constantly had to deal with my children’s down-time with nothing to do. Now that it’s over I cannot help but think ahead to the summer...

Just Thinking Ahead

Dear Just Thinking Ahead: Always remember that children need down-time too. It is okay for our children to have a well-deserved break in the summer.  However, children do need structure and stimulation even during these down-times. It is especially during times like these that our children learn the true meaning of what it means to be a ben or bat Torah.  Starting the day with a conversation with Hashem is a great message during breaks. In school, prayer can become a rote exercise and sometimes monotonous.  The concept of prayer

as a meaningful way to start a day can get lost in the school-day cycle. However, when it is a part of vacation and down-time, it now assumes a new meaning.  It allows your children to see more clearly the idea of prayer as a personal event and interaction time with Hashem.   Allowing your children to be involved in the choices of activities for the day or week empowers them to take responsibility and make choices.  Just as we complete the holiday of Pesach, when we as a nation celebrate our freedom, the entire episode was intertwined with the giving of the Torah at Sinai as the culmination of the exodus; likewise we teach our children to tie in all their activities with meaningful and responsible activities.  Having your children choose

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activities that also lend themselves to productive outcomes allows them to gain tools to make good choices in life. Your children can have fun and down-time but also can learn how to make time holy. Find ways to have your children include options that require them to do chessed for others.  It is amazing how children love feeling fulfilled after helping people in need.  This also inspires them to become well-rounded individuals and look beyond themselves. Find the time to have family time during this period.  This role-models for our children and also allows them to appreciate family. Joint family activities stimulate and teach your children to collaborate. Parenting and education require planning.  You are to be commended for thinking ahead about this topic. In the story of Pesach, in Exodus Chapter 13, when we are instructed to educate our children about the story of Pesach (vehigadeta levincha) something interesting takes place.  Moshe tells the people to remember the story of the exodus, and prior to instructing them to teach this to their children, he says:  “When G-d takes you into the land...he promised your forefathers...” to tell this story to your children and future generations.  Why does he insert this piece about entering the land? Our Sages explain that Moshe teaches us that education needs pre-planning and thought.  It is not only a requirement to “respond” to children when they ask, but we need to “plan” ahead by being proactive in our messages to our children. Use these strategies and have a wonderful summer break with your children.  Plan ahead now so the variety of options they will choose will be meaningful and restorative.   If we look at the way that Hashem structured our freedom, we can gain some more insight into how to guide our children during their free time. When Hashem prepared the Jewish people to leave Mitzraim he gave them their very first mitzvah Rosh Chodesh.  This is to sanctify the Jewish month, which is, in essence, to sanctify time.

This commandment teaches us two things: Firstly, Hashem did not just say to the Jewish people “you are free.” He started with a directive to do something positive. We too as parents must find ways for our children to find purpose and meaning in their day. Secondly, Hashem teaches us in our first commandment as a nation that time is precious. That is why it is so important for parents and children together to make time to plan. As mentioned above, by involving them in the process, they will take ownership and appreciate the value of time well spent. Remember to create those moments that families never forget: • Create some short, simple rituals. During those moments when the family is together, such as during meals, or at bedtime, create moments to connect with each other. • You may want your children to keep a log of their days and go back and pick a highlight of each day. • Create a family vision board. These are great ways to express ideas and desires. Have each person brainstorm ideas that represent the kind of activity he or she would like to do. Everyone takes a turn sharing what he or she chose and why. Then post it in the kitchen for everyone to see. You can vote and then have fun with that activity.

Create moments like these and you will all have a summer never to forget...There is so much joy, learning, growth and opportunities for new perspectives when we slow down and live in the present without stress of forced schedule.   When we relate to each other on a deeper level, this time together nourishes us and we begin to long for it. Wishing you a meaningful school break.


Available at your local newsstand

april 18, 2013

The time is now!

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Read Zman 21


Start-Up Newly Launched RallyBound Offers Savvy Social Fundraising for Nonprofits Shmuli Pinson, co-founder of RallyBound, discusses the coolest features of his new platform and the day-to-day challenges of being an entrepreneur

By Rachel Wizenfeld

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April 18, 2013

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What’s exciting about sites like RallyBound is that social fundraising opens up a whole new world of contacts for charities that otherwise they would never reach, and for a very low cost, according to Pinson. Over the past year, while still in beta, RallyBound processed about 20,000 donations totaling more than $2 million for 30 clients – “way more than we thought we would do,” he said. With social fundraising, nonprofits are suddenly able to reach many more people than they would be able to on their

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Social fundraising, which can be loosely defined as people asking their personal social networks to donate money, is a new but growing tool that charities are using to turn their most ardent supporters into fundraising machines. RallyBound, co-founded by Shmuli Pinson, 31, who lives in La Brea, is one of the latest online platforms in which nonprofits empower supporters with a wide array of tools so they can garner donations from their friends, family members and broader contacts.

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own. With Rallybound, every supporter that signs on gets their own campaign page where they can upload pictures, videos and information, and encourage their friends, family members and social contacts to donate. When nonprofits start using RallyBound, they typically see a 20-30% increase in donor participation, he said. Pinson, a NY native who is selftrained in web development, had worked in both nonprofit and for-profit computer tech for the past 10 years and saw a need for a more robust social fundraising site with better social compatibility and more customization options. Along with two colleagues, he started RallyBound three years ago and is currently incubating at Prodégé, which created the extremely successful Swagbucks search and earn site, along with other online companies. For starter funding, Pinson mostly raised money from family and friends. As things grow and if they move out of Prodégé, he said he might apply for more serious funding in order to hire customer support and a sales team. While currently tailored for larger nonprofits, RallyBound’s next phase of development is to create an option for smaller nonprofits who need a campaign on the fly without extensive services and customization options. However Pinson said he strongly encourages all nonprofits – whether they’re schools, synagogues, or charities promoting any sort of cause, to see the impact that RallyBound can have Having officially launched in February and since he’s still finishing up his beta referrals, Pinson hasn’t actively had to do sales yet, which is of course the fearsome bread and butter of every entrepreneur. He feel strongly, however, that the strength of RallyBound’s website along with it’s unparalleled customer service will differentiate it in what is becoming a crowded field of social fundraising sites. “It’s one advantage of having a small start-up,” he said. “We’re incubating at a large company so we have a lot of talent and resources, but at the same time

when we bring on a new client, we can spend a lot of care and time working with them and guiding them based on our experience.” Eli Laber, director of the Friendship Circle of Conejo Valley who was RallyBound’s first beta client, said he’s found Rallybound’s service to be much more intuitive and user-friendly, as opposed to larger online fundraising platforms who don’t invest time and energy in their social fundraising components. “I’ve used Blackbaud for many years – they’re one of the largest online portals for fundraising, but I was very frustrated with them because they seem to be very locked into things, not up with the times,” Laber said. Because RallyBound focuses specifically on one aspect of online fundraising, that of social fundraising, they’re better positioned to create a stellar platform for charities like Friendship Circle which organize events like fundraising walks. Since Laber signed on, other Friendship Circles from around the country have used RallyBound as well, giving Pinson valuable beta experience and feedback from nonprofits around the country. On being an entrepreneur as opposed to a salaried worker, Pinson said it’s hard when you don’t know where the next paycheck is going to come from. “You have to rely on G-d and your work to provide. That’s something that either drives you or makes you depressed.” He said he’s grateful that in its beta year RallyBound garnered a lot of interest and support, which bodes well for the future. He advised entrepreneurs who are single and living under their parents’ roof to give an idea all they’ve got – “because there are no real consequences if it doesn’t go through…Once you got the family to support, then it’s a little more risky.”


Cover Story

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By Rachel Wizenfeld

Moshava Malibu Many Modern Orthodox families here are familiar with the popular Moshava camps in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and have been sending planeloads of children to these locations each summer. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the 220acre Shalom Institute, a non-denominational camp and retreat center in Malibu, CA, Moshava can offer an exciting sleepaway camp experience on the West Coast for the first time in nearly 20 years. Moshava and Bnei Akiva are known for being very Zionistic and incorporating lots of Israeli language and culture, as well as encouraging youth leadership – nearly all programs are led by high school counselors and graduates of Moshava camps often grow up to take on leadership roles in the Jewish community, according to Rabbi Kenny Pollack, Moshava Malibu’s camp director and a Moshava camping veteran. Some of their activities include organic farming, making pita and building fires, and a multi-level ropes course, along with typical summer swimming, archery, horseback riding and other sports. Rabbi Kenny Pollack also said that Moshava is unique in that it’s experiential – instead of learning about grape juice and olive oil in the Torah, campers actually help make it.

Already 100 campers have registered for the two-week session – they hope to expand to two four week sessions in the coming years - so make your plans soon! Details: Camp is open to boys and girls currently in grades 2-9. Tuition for the two-week camp from Aug. 11-25 is $2,000. Scholarships for first-time campers available from the Foundation for Jewish Camp along with other need-based scholarships. Learn more at www.moshavamalibu. org.

Camp Judah West A private camp run by Rabbi Judah Assaraf, an administrator at Shalhevet High School, Camp Judah West has been leading day camps and sports camps for Modern Orthodox youth in LA for the past four years. This summer, Rabbi Assaraf procured a space for a sleepaway camp in Cuyamaca State Park, 40 minutes outside of San Diego, which finally allows the passionate camp director to offer a sleepaway camp experience on the West Coast. Camp Judah West “strives to instill within each camper a love for Israel and an appreciation for nature, while integrating both intellectual and Modern Orthodox views,” according to their website. Activities include mountain biking, wilderness cooking, rock shaving and greenhouse planting, along with summer sports like sailing, volleyball and kayaking. Some of the more unique elements include a first-aid course taught by former members of Tzahal (the Israeli army) and weekly musical concerts by popular Jewish performers. Rabbi Assaraf said he believes an enriching camp experience can transform a child’s summer experience and serve as a bridge between the school years, and therefore is dedicated to providing generous scholarships so that anyone who wants to can come to camp. He’s hoping to attract up to 250 kids and teenagers to the fiveweek camp this summer, and has

already signed up campers from 15 cities in the West, as well as from NY, NJ and Florida. Details: Camp runs from July 10 – August 13 and is open to students currently in grades 2-9. Tuition ranges from $3,499 for a full session to $499 for a week-long session. Need-based scholarships are available. Learn more at www.campjudahwest.com. Camp Ranch Boys at Camp Ranch do a lot of things that you would read about in Tom Sawyer, according to Rabbi Shlomo Menkes, a Chabad shaliach (emissary) in Santa Monica who started the camp in 2008 after years of running a more traditional Gan Israel sleepaway camp. He leads activities such as building rafts out of logs, archery, mapping, fishing, whittling, capture calves with a lasso, drive an old-fashioned locomotive, shoot from a shotgun and more. Camp Ranch’s horse program is run by a professional wrangler who teaches the boys how to groom, shoe, bridle and saddle horses, and leads them on a two-day horseback riding retreat. “It’s very unique; we’re the only frum camp that does this kind of

stuff,” said Rabbi Menkes. He started the camp as an alternative to typical camps with frequent bunk competition and color wars, in which he saw boys coming out of summer camp without feeling much better about themselves. He designed his camp so that kids can come, learn a brand new skill or expand a skill without having competitions to show who’s better, “just be the best they could be.” “There’s nothing like the experience of a 90 or 100 lb. kid controlling a 1,000 lb. horse – it’s a very empowering experience,” said Rabbi Menkes, who added that he’s seen boys transformed at the end of the summer with newfound confidence and skills. Located on a dude ranch in Quincy, in Northern California, which features a farm as well as a nearby lake, the facility can hold only 32 campers, so space is limited. Rabbi Menkes hopes to open a similar camp for girls in the near future as well. Details: Camp runs from July 23-Augut 20 for boys aged 9-13. Tuition is $2,500. Limited scholarships available. More info at www.campmamosh.com.

april 18, 2013

Here that sound? It’s the sound of a hundred parents sighing with relief – finally, the Los Angeles area has several sleepaway camps to choose from for Orthodox Jewish campers who don’t want to head East - and for parents who don’t want to foot the bill. Newly opening this summer are Moshava Malibu, a Bnei Akiva-affiliated camp located in Malibu and Camp Judah West, a privately-owned, Modern Orthodox camp outside San Diego. Another sleepaway option is Camp Ranch, also known as Camp Machane Mamosh, run by Chabad Shaliach Rabbi Shlomo Menkes which offers a month of unique outdoors activities on a dude ranch in Northern California. So if you’re looking for the leadership building, independence and range of activities that a good sleepaway summer experience provides, be sure to research these new options before discounting what the West Coast has to offer.

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New Sleepaway Camps Offer Enticing West Coast Options


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Cover Story

T h eTJewish Jew i sHome h h oHOME m e April n naMAY p18, r i l 2013 2013 HE J EWISH 2148,, 2012 The

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Susan Schwamm

Life in North Korea

A glimpse into the totalitarian regime where people live under the tyranny of the very leaders they adore

Great Leader Kim Il Sung and his son, Dear Leader Kim Jong Il

North Koreans pay homage to their leader

T

hroughout America’s relatively short history, those that have threatened our way of life have usually been driven by visibly evil ideologies, such as the spread of Communism and radical Islam. North Korea, though, seems devoid of ideology, thus it does not seem as frightening to the average American. The fact that its leader, Kim Jung Un, is a 30-year-old pudgy guy with a bad crew cut probably takes away from the fear factor as well. It seems hard to take him seriously. But the truth is that Kim Jung Un—like his father and grandfather—is running an evil regime which is essentially a “house of horrors.” This is not only of concern because of the humanitarian crisis, but also because North Korea may soon have nuclear capabilities and has set the U.S. as one of its targets. A lot of what comes out of North Korea is bluster and hot air. The Ryugyong Hotel was built to be the world’s biggest hotel. But construction was halted, and now it stands, 330 meters in the air without windows or interior fittings. All one sees is the empty façade looming high above the North Korean skyline. Statues of the North Korean leaders dot the landscape and loom over their people. North Koreans “drink” the lessons of their greatness in their mothers’ milk. But these great leaders, who can change the weather at whim and author hundreds of books, cannot save their people from hunger and sickness. They have cut themselves off from the

world in a spirit of independence but all that they have accomplished has resulted in a country full of death, pain, and persecution. The Splitting of Korea North Korea is often known as the “Hermit Kingdom,” and many think that nickname comes from their frosty relations with other countries under the Kim dynasty. But that is far from the truth. In fact, the name was given to Korea in the mid-19th century when its leaders adopted a closed-door policy to protect itself from Western powers wishing to invade the peninsula. Throughout the years, Korea has been invaded and fought over by its larger neighbors including worldpowers Japan and China. In 1910, after Japan won the Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, Korea was annexed by the Land of the Rising Sun. The Japanese exhibited tight control over the peninsula with ruthless efforts to eradicate Korean language and culture. Although there were efforts to overthrow the Japanese, they proved unsuccessful. Japan remained in power until the end of World War II in 1945. Once Japan lost the war, Korea was divided into two occupation zones: the U.S. was given the southern half of the peninsula to control and the U.S.S.R. took control of the area north of the 38th parallel. This divi-

North Korea has the fourth largest military in the world

sion was meant to be temporary until the U.S., U.K., Soviet Union and China could arrange a more permanent resolution. But that was not meant to be. Relations between the Soviets and Americans became strained as the Cold War began in earnest. As such, the ideologies of those living in the North became diametrically opposed to the principles of those living in the South. In 1948, two separate nations were established. The Republic of Korea was established in the South; the North established the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea headed by Premier Kim Il Sung. Tensions ran high between the two new nations, and ultimately, on June 25, 1950, the North launched a surprise attack against South Korea. The Korean War involved major world powers. The United Nations established the UN Command to which sixteen member nations sent troops and assistance. The North was primarily assisted by China; the South was supported by the United States. The war was long and ugly. 1.2 million people lost their lives fighting the war. Finally, after a long, arduous conflict, on July 27, 1953, an armistice agreement was signed. But neither the United States nor South Korea signed the peace treaty. It was signed by the military commanders of the North Korean People’s Army, the Chinese People’s Volunteers, and the United Nations Command. And because no other peace agreement has replaced the 1953 armi-


25 learn in school is “Great Father Kim Il Sung, thank you, and Dear Leader Kim Jong Il, thank you.” Citizens working the fields

When Kim Jong Un took over, he had many of those in government executed

stice pact, there still remains a level of tension between the North and South, a source of heat buried beneath the surface and threatening to boil over into conflict at any time. The agreement restored the border between the North and the South near the 38th Parallel and created the Korean Demilitarized Zone, known as the DMZ. The DMZ is a 148 mile long, 2.5 mile-wide fortified buffer zone between the two nations of the peninsula. Most of the DMZ is divided by walls and electrified wire but there is a section of the DMZ that has neither walls nor wires. It is guarded by guards; on the South side, an American soldier and a South Korean soldier face the North. On the Northern side, three guards stand watch. Two face each other, and the other faces the north, to make sure that no one leaves the country. The stark contrast between the guards on either side is evident. On the South side, the guards are making sure no one is entering the country. On the North side, the guards are there to ensure that no one leaves the country; they know that no one is entering North Korea willingly. Discos in the South; Cannibals in the North Looking at both countries now, it’s hard to imagine that they were once part of one unit. It’s like seeing twins, all grown up, one a professor of law and one on death row. How could they have come from one mother, one family? Don’t they have the same genes, the same ancestors? In this case, Koreans are from the same mother. They lived the same way, ate the same food, read the same books and played the same games until 1945, and that’s when it all changed. Recent statistics show the contrast between the two nations. While the South has become an economic powerhouse and is home to companies like Samsung and Hyundai, the North has become a poor, belligerent nation which rules with fear and oppression. South Korea’s GDP is $1,622 billion; North Korea’s is $40 billion. For every 1,000 live births in the South, 4.08 infants die; 26.21 out of 1,000 infants die in North Korea. Even for those who live past infancy, life expectancy is shorter in the North. South Koreans enjoy a life expectancy of 79.3 years—in the North, people are only expected to live 69.2 years. Even more interesting is the fact that the growth of Koreans is stunted in the North. Those living in the North tend to be 1.2-3.1 inches shorter than their brothers in the South. (It’s interesting to note that the South Koreans have guards on the taller side standing on their side of the DMZ as a psychological putdown to their shorter counterparts.) 81.5% of South Korea has access to the internet; in North Korea the internet is illegal, and it is reported that less than 0.1% of North Koreans have internet access. The South is known for its permissiveness atmosphere. In the South, teenagers flaunt luxury items and frequent discos and nightclubs. English is taught as a second language and education is valued.

Many children in North Korea are malnourished and scrounge for food

Much is considered illegal in the North and those who flaunt their infractions are punished severely. It is hard to know if North Koreans believe in their country and its laws or if they are too scared to commit infractions against the system. There are spies everywhere who report any crime to the government. Speaking against the regime is illegal. North Koreans know not to speak in public; they know there is always a government spy looking to report any violation. Punishment for those caught committing crimes is prison and sometimes death. Public executions are common and used a deterrent to others. Hunger is rampant. Families are punished for the sins of their relatives. If one defects or leaves the country illegally, their family is interrogated and often punished. One defector, Chong Yang Koo, spoke of her grandfather’s sin of speaking against the government. She said he was sent away to prison for twelve years and was tormented from his experience. Her family went forced to move out of the city because of his sin. Life in prison for her grandfather was brutal. Prisoners ate rats and seeds found in animal dung. Punishments were severe and included bites from dogs and beatings from guards. When Chong Yang’s father defected, she was interrogated by officials. But she lied and told them that her father died in a fishing accident, a common occurrence in the country. Admitting that she knew of his plan would have meant death for her. Ultimately, Chong Yang was able to sneak out of the country and is now living in South Korea. There is not much known about what goes on in North Korea because of the iron-lid put on communications to the outside world. North Koreans are not allowed to listen to news or read reports from the outside world. All information that they hear or see is approved or produced by the government. The brainwashing is intense and starts from infancy. People Void of Emotion Some have managed to defect from North Korea and tell their story to the world, but they are few and far between. Even after they leave, many of them are still left with the fear—fear for their families left behind and suspicion of government, any government. Shin Dong-hyuk is now a human rights activist living in South Korea. He is the only person known to have escaped from a “total-control zone” grade internment camp in North Korea and lived to tell about it. Even more so, he is also the only person known to have been born in a North Korean prison camp and to have later escape from it. Shin Dong tells his story in the book titled, Escape from Camp 14. His grandfather committed a crime against the regime, and as such, his parents were sent to the prison camp to eradicate the evil from their family. North Korea denies the existence of camps like Camp 14, but Shin Dong’s account and other information prove their existence. Because he grew up in the camp, Shin Dong knew nothing of the outside world. He thought that it was normal to be hungry all

the time—all he ate was watery gruel and the occasional rat or frog that he managed to catch. He competed with his mother for food and was used to the constant beatings from the guards. The scars on his body are witness to the beatings that he was forced to endure. Public executions were common. Prisoners were lined up to watch the executions and those who committed crimes were either shot or hanged. When Shin Dong was young, his teacher found a young girl with a few grains in her pocket. Eating more than what is rationed is considered illegal. The girl was beaten to death in front of her classmates. Shin Dong revealed that he and his classmates did not feel sorry for the girl, they did not feel sadness. They understood that she committed a crime and deserved to die. The fear of the regime and the feeling of hunger repress the prisoners’ human emotions. They do whatever they could to survive. In fact, when Shin Dong heard of his mother and brother’s plan to escape, he reported the plan to a guard in the hopes he would be rewarded with more food. Instead, Shin Dong was tortured. A hook was put through his flesh so he wouldn’t move and he was burned by fire to make him confess. After days of interrogation, he was finally released only to witness the execution of his mother and brother. Shin Dong admits that at the time he did not feel sorrow or regret. The emotions he felt were sub-human. He knew that he was hungry. Reporting to the guards, he thought, would mean more food for him. In an interview last year with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, Shin Dong said that after years in the free world, he feels like he is finally able to feel real emotion. “When I see videos of the Holocaust it moves me to tears. I think I am still evolving — from an animal to a human,” he admitted. Making the prisoners into animals, having them scrounge for food, fear for their lives, and spy on their family is important to the regime. When humans are forced to worry about their basic needs, they have no time or energy to worry about overthrowing their leaders. When people are divided against each other and suspicious of one another, coalescing for mutiny is impossible. Walking Skeletons in Camp 22 No prisoner is known to have escaped from Camp 22, a concentration camp near the border of China and Russia. A former prison guard, Ahn Myong-chol, has recounted his experience in the camp and the horrifying conditions prisoners are forced to endure. When he first arrived in the camp, Ahn Myong was shocked at how the prisoners looked like walking skeletons, dwarfs and cripples in rags. Around 30% of prisoners have deformities—torn off ears, smashed eyes, faces covered in scars. Many are missing limbs, but even those are forced to continue working. There are around 50,000 prisoners in the camp; around 1,500 die every year and more are sent to the camp every year. Even children are forced to work and many of them die before they turn Continued on page 77

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After years of abuse and indoctrination, the emotions of fear and love likely became strangely intertwined. Guarding the DMZ. The North Korean soldiers are making sure no defectors try to leave the country

ten-years-old. Inmates are forced to perform back-breaking labor daily and then the brainwashing continues. Every evening, they are forced to listen to ideological re-education and self-criticism sessions. Even the guards are brainwashed—they are told that the prisoners are class enemies that have to be destroyed like weeds down to the roots. Guards can kill and punish at any time. Ahn Myong admitted that he had a family of 31 killed because one member tried to escape. He only feels regret for his actions now that he is living out of North Korea. Kwon Hyok was a security officer in Camp 22. He reported that prisoners were subjected to unbelievable torture including water torture (having to stand on their toes in a tank from of water for 24 hours), kneeling torture (where prisoners kneel with a wooden bar inserted behind the knees to stop blood circulation, resulting in loss of mobility), and box-room torture (where prisoners are forced into a small, solitary cell where they can barely sit but not stand or lie for three days to a week). Punishments are meted out swiftly. Inmates do not rebel because the guards are vicious and quick. No infraction, even the most minor, is forgiven. The guards don’t feel remorse—they know they are doing the right thing by eradicating the evil from the country. The Kim Dynasty What power is so strong that it makes people lose their most-basic human emotions? What belief could be so powerful that it makes guards turn cruel and sadistic and prisoners submissive? What idea is so compelling that children turn against their parents, and, at times, parents against their children? The answer lies in the force behind North Korea— the Kim dynasty. In order to understand North Korea and the power behind the culture, you have to delve into their past and learn about the founder and leader behind the nation. Across North Korea, the first sentence children learn in school is “Great Father Kim Il Sung, thank you, and Dear Leader Kim Jong Il, thank you.”About 30% of what is studied in school is about the Kim family. There are pictures of both leaders in every classroom, in every school, in every home, every train station, and every airport. North Koreans are given a special cloth to clean the pictures daily in their homes and no other pictures are allowed to be on that wall. Adults are required to wear a lapel pin featuring the leaders on the left side, above their heart. Visitors are cautioned to include the whole picture of the leaders in their photographs. In a National Geographic documentary, a photographer was threatened that his trip would have to be cut shot because, while taking a photo of towering statues of the leaders, he lay down on the ground so he could include the whole statue in the shot. Lying down on the ground in front of the statues is disrespectful to the leaders, he was told. In that same documentary, a visiting doctor per-

formed 1,000 surgeries in ten days on North Koreans who were blinded by cataracts in their eyes. On the last day of the doctor’s visit to North Korea, the patients were gathered in a room to have their bandages removed. There were 1,000 patients in the room, sitting on chairs, waiting to see if their sight had been restored. Slowly, the doctor removed the bandages from the first patient. He held up his fingers—she could see! Her gift of sight was restored! But the patient’s reaction was far from normal. Immediately, the patient turned her eyes to the pictures of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il at the front of the room. She ran over to them and prostrated in front of them. “Thank you dear leaders for giving me my sight!” she shouted. This reaction was demonstrated time and time again. Not one patient turned to face their present family members or the kind doctor; every one of them ran to the pictures and publicly expressed their gratitude to their leaders for returning their sight to them. The National Geographic reporter was amazed at this display of affection for the Kims and pondered whether it was borne from true feelings or total fear. She concluded that after years of abuse and indoctrination, the emotions of fear and love likely became strangely intertwined. Kim Il Sung—Heavenly Leader Born in 1912 to Korean peasants, Kim Il Sung attended a Chinese school when his family immigrated to Manchuria from Korea. As he got older, he moved back to Korea and became a member of the Communist party and launched a series of attacks against the Japanese who were ruling Korea at the time. In 1948, he became the first premier of the People’s Democratic Republic in North Korea when the country was divided after World War II. In 1949, the United States Army started to withdraw from South Korea and just a year later, Kim Il Sung became convinced that the people in the South would welcome being ruled by his government. At dawn on 25th June 1950, the North Koreans launched a surprise attack on South Korea. Three days later, Communist forces captured the South Korean capital, Seoul. The Korean War ended just a few years later in 1953. After the war, Kim Il Sung established an authoritarian dictatorship. He launched a five year economic plan to establish a command economy—all industry was to be owned by the state and all agriculture was to be collectivized. Class differences were eliminated and a strong army was established. In fact, the North Korean army is now the fourth largest army in the world. To hold onto his tenuous power, Il Sung told his people that the United States deliberately spread diseases among the North Koreans. He conducted largescale purges against any dissidents. Anyone who was considered an enemy of the state was punished without a trial. Some of them simply disappeared. Prison camps were established and punishments were meted out deliberately and quickly. To reinforce his rule, he succeeded in constructing a

Shin Dong hyuk is the only known prisoner to have escaped the horrors of Camp 14

cult of personality with himself as the main icon for adoration. He was considered the “Sun of the Nation” and could do no wrong. There are over 34,000 statues of the leader throughout North Korea. His face appears on banknotes and his picture is in every train station, classroom and home. Citizens are expected to pay annual tribute to Il Sung on the anniversary of his death and birth. Traditionally, newlyweds go to the nearest statue of the “Great Leader” after their marriage to lay flowers at his feet. North Korea was always a nation that followed Confucius principles and placed strong emphasis on paternal hierarchy and loyalty. But Il Sung abused that culture and replaced the traditional devotion to the father’s role in the family with himself. During his reign, every major publication in North Korea, including newspapers and textbooks, were to include “words of instruction” from Il Sung. The cult worship began when children were young. In schools, North Korean children were taught that they were fed, clothed and nurtured by the “grace of the Chairman.” The larger elementary schools in the nation have a room set aside for lectures that focus on Kim Il Sung. Images of him were regulated to be in proportion to the building on which they hang. In North Korea, time is set by Kim Il Sung’s birth. In 1997, the “Juche Era dating system” was introduced. The calendar begins with the birth of Kim Il Sung (April 15, 1912) as year 1. The year 2013, therefore, corresponds to Juche 102 (there is no year 0). His place of birth has become a place of pilgrimage, and his birthday and anniversary of his death are considered holidays. Even in death, he is worshipped. In fact, according to the budget for 2013, 44.8% of North Korea’s budget is to be used for “funding the building of edifices to be presented to the 100th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung…” for “face-lifting” the country and consolidating the foundations for a Juche-based economy. The Juche Philosophy The ideology that the “Heavenly Leader” developed and that was defined by Jong Il, called Juche, became the guiding principle behind the nation. Juche refers to self-reliance and independence from all other sources. According to the official website of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, “The Juche idea means, in a nutshell, that the masters of the revolution and construction are the masses of the people and that they are also the motive force of the revolution and construction.” He believed in self-reliance as a nation economically and politically. “The realization of independence in politics, selfsufficiency [sic] in the economy and selfreliance in national defence [sic] is a principle the Government maintains consistently,” the official website declares. “Man is the master of everything and decides everything,” the website concludes. Although Il Sung had ties with the Soviets, his guiding principle was not necessarily Communism. It was Juche above all that he believed in.


The mourning for it was as if their own heart and soul was taken from them. Intense grief was displayed at Leader Kim Jong Il’s funeral

Communism is a system that is known to fail and Juche does not seem to be succeeding. At times, the country has been forced to look outside their borders for help. For instance, when crops went bad, the North Koreans needed to seek help from China or the Soviet Union, countries they could count on in dire circumstances. Most North Koreans are malnourished. There have been eyewitness reports of cannibalism where people are so driven by their hunger that they kill others to consume their flesh. Kim Il Sung died on July 8, 1994, but the people of North Korea still praise him and believe it is only with his help that they survive. His embalmed body lies in a glass-enclosed casket. Kim Jong Il, “Dear Leader,” Controller of the Weather Kim Jong Il, the oldest son of Il Sung, took over leadership after his father. But he was already appointed to succession when his father was still alive—in 1980, Il Sung delegated the running of the government to him. Jong Il was respected by the nation and to reinforce that respect, Il Sung turned over the chairmanship of North Korea’s National Defense Commission, the body in control of the armed forces. It’s hard to keep up with what’s truly fact and what is definitely fiction in North Korea, but stories about Kim Jong Il’s amazing prowess abound. North Koreans are told that Jong Il was born on Mount Paektu in 1942. In truth, he was born in the Soviet Union and was named Yuri Irsenovich Kim. His birth was heralded by a swallow, caused winter to change to spring, a new star to illuminate the sky, and a double rainbow to spontaneously appear over the mountain. He was able to walk and talk before he was six-months-old. He was a prolific writer and wrote 54 books in less than 40 years. It was reported in North Korea that a French fashion expert praised the Dear Leader’s fashion and said that “Kim Jong Il mode, which is now spreading expeditiously worldwide, is something unprecedented in the world’s history.” It was also said that he could control the weather based on his mood. Before he became chairman, Jong Il headed the Propaganda and Agitation department and created films that glorified his father. In his official biography, Jong Il composed six operas and enjoyed staging musicals. It was reported that he was a film buff and owned more than 20,000 movies, including the James Bond films and anything starring Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis. He loved basketball and golf and, according to North Korean state media, Jong Il routinely shot three or four holes-in-one while golfing. The Chairman also referred to himself as an internet expert. Under his leadership, over a million people—onetenth of the country’s population—died. Most of them died from hunger as famine swept the land, and Jong Il was not equipped to deal with it. His former ally, the Soviet Union, was not able to provide assistance and his

This 33 year old woman was executed for distributing copies of the Bible. Her family was then sent to a prison camp

emphasis on building a stronger military diverted the necessary funds to feed the people. In 1994, North Korea and the United States signed an Agreed Framework. In the agreement, North Korea pledged to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in exchange for aid in producing two power-generating nuclear reactors. But in 2002, Jong Il’s government admitted to producing nuclear weapons since the agreement. In 2006, a North Korean news agency announced it successfully conducted an underground nuclear test. On December 17, 2011, the country of North Korea was once again plunged into mourning. Amid rumors of failing health, Kim Jong Il, the Dear Leader, died of a heart attack while traveling on a train. The Korean Central News Agency reported that upon his passing, the sky glowed red above Mount Paektu and a snowstorm paused. The ice on a famous lake cracked so loudly, it shook the heavens and the earth. Thousands of North Koreans lined the streets, crying bitterly. The mourning was so intense it was as if their own heart and soul was taken from them. However, in videos released of the mourning, it was readily apparent that the throngs of criers did not seem to have tears. This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that within weeks of Jong Il’s passing those who did not show a sufficient display of mourning were severely punished. Kim Jong Un—Proving Himself to the World Declared the Supreme Leader after his father’s state funeral, Kim Jong Un is the youngest son of Jong Il and his third wife. He is estimated to be approximately 30-years-old and is the youngest head of state in the world. He was educated in Switzerland and, according to his official biography, was a superior student. But other students at the school recall him as being a mediocre student who was so obsessed with the NBA and Michael Jordan that he spent hours drawing sketches of Jordan. This may explain why he invited former Jordan teammate, Dennis Rodman, on a highly touted tour of North Korea. An early sign that Jong Un was going to be chosen as successor came in 2006 when Jong Il bestowed the title of “Brilliant Comrade” on him. At his father’s funeral, it was announced that he was chosen as his father’s successor because he inherited “great comrade Kim Jong Il’s ideology, leadership, character, virtues, grit and courage.” However, in reality, he was probably chosen as leader because there was no other choice. His older half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, whom he reportedly never met, was the top contender to succeed his father in the role of Supreme Leader until he embarrassed his father in 2001 when he was caught sneaking into Japan on a forged passport in order to visit Tokyo Disneyland. Perhaps out of bitterness, Jong Nam has lobbed insults at Jong Un since his accession, telling one Japanese newspaper that his regime was “a joke” and doomed to collapse. Jong Un took retribution by cancelling Jong Nam’s state-sponsored Visa Gold card, causing him

to be tossed out of his residence at a five-star hotel in the Chinese gambling hub of Macau. The middle son, Kim Jong Chul, was viewed as a “little girl” by his father and too weak to lead, according to a memoir by the family’s Japanese former chef. Some reports speculated that Jong Un was anointed successor partly because of his resemblance to North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung. According to reports, before he began appearing at official functions, the government spent months shaping Kim Jong Un’s image, including feeding him a carbohydrates-rich diet to make him stocky and round-faced. Jong Un soon sported his grandfather’s iconic box-cut hairstyle, with a neatly pressed wave, and began wearing the founder’s trademark dark, Mao-style suits. Upon taking power, Jong Un immediately began taking action to consolidate his power and deter any criticism of his youthfulness and inexperience by eliminating dozens of senior members of the military. He ordered his loyal officials to use the excuse of misbehavior during the mourning period for his father to remove any potential opponents. Jong Un showed a penchant for brutality when he ordered the vice minister of the army be obliterated by a mortar round, so that “no trace of him would be left behind, down to his hair.” In classic propaganda form, Jong Un released videos of himself inspecting military rockets and firing guns. In one video, the camera is focused on Jong Un firing a gun. The video then pans in on the bulls-eye, showing that Jong Un’s shot went right through the center of it. Because, of course, Jong Un is an expert marksman as well. Jong Un is following in his father’s footsteps. Public executions, prison camps and swift punishment for those who dare go against the regime have continued. He has issued warnings against the United States and the West and seems to be continuing North Korea’s nuclear arms program. But he is trying to portray himself as a lovable leader to his people. He is seen frequently with his wife, who recently, according to basketball legend Dennis Rodman, gave birth to a baby girl. He has been seen riding roller coasters. But that is part of the façade; this man is evil and he wants the world to tremble in his wake.

T

he true picture of North Korea may seem surreal but it is very real to the men, women and children who live in harsh conditions, many of whom suffer daily. It is natural to avoid thinking of the plight of others who live thousands of miles away especially when the reality of their suffering is covered up by their own government. But the truth is, our world is small and it is every nation’s responsibility to relieve the suffering of every citizen in the world. Perhaps, someday soon we will learn of the demise of totalitarian regime, and one day the citizens of North Korea will be able to experience the same freedoms enjoyed by people around the world. And then they’ll know the beauty of humanity. 

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You Gotta be

Riddle

Kidding! Submitted by Chani Herzog

The owner of a small New York sandwich deli was being questioned by an IRS agent about his tax return. He had reported a net profit of $80,000 for the year. “Why don’t you people leave me alone?” the deli owner said. “I work like a dog, everyone in my family helps out, the place is only closed three days a year. And you want to know how I made $80,000?” “It’s not your income that bothers us,” the agent said. “It’s these travel deductions. You listed six trips to Florida for you and your wife.” “Oh, that,” the owner said smiling. “It is a legitimate business expense because we also deliver.” ******

Submitted by Yoni Cohen A cowboy rode into town on Friday, stayed three days, and rode out again on Friday. How did he do that? Answer on next page

A man walked into the tax collector’s office and sat down and smiled at everyone. “May I help you?” asked the clerk in charge. “No,” replied the man. “I just wanted to meet the people I have been working for all these years.”

“We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” - Winston Churchill

“The difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” - Will Rogers

“Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” - Benjamin Franklin

“It’s income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.” - Dave Barry

“The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.” - Albert Einstein “The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf.” - Will Rogers “Like mothers, taxes are often misunderstood, but seldom forgotten.” - Lord Bramwell “If you are truly serious about preparing your child for the future, don’t teach him to subtract - teach him to deduct.” - Fran Lebowitz “America is a land of taxation that was founded to avoid taxation.” - Dr. Laurence J. Peter

“Taxation with representation ain’t so hot either.” - Gerald Barzan “They can’t collect legal taxes from illegal money.” - Al Capone “If you get up early, work late, and pay your taxes, you will get ahead – if you strike oil.” - J. Paul Getty “The only difference between a tax man

and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.” - Mark Twain “Income tax returns are the most imaginative fiction being written today.” - Herman Wouk “Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors . . . and miss.” - Robert A. Heinlein


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Answers: 1. H-obviously! 2. B- The other 6 states with no income tax are Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas and Washington (state, not D.C. obviously, which has that whole “taxation without representation” shtick that they cry about all day). 3. C- In 1862, in order to support the Civil War effort, Congress enacted the nation’s first income tax law. Good job Confederates...way to go! 4. D 5. 5. A-The sale of illegal drugs is taxable in North Carolina. Of course, the drug dealers wouldn’t report the income if it meant that they would be busted for the sale. So, the way it is set up is that the dealer would go to the authorities — anonymously, of course — and pay a tax based on the weight and the type of drugs he was

very hard for them , hopefully the federal income tax helps us line their pockets well enough to reward them for all of their hard work. b. To fund bridge and tunnel projects c. To fund the Civil War d. To fund World War I

b. 56,000 c. 73,000 d. 114,000

4. The FBI employs 36,000 people. How many people are employed by the IRS? a. 12,000

5. If someone sells illegal drugs in North Carolina is he obligated to pay tax on it? a. Yes b. No 6. Approximately how many words is the U.S. Tax Code? a. 300,000 b. 700,000 c. 1.2 million d. 4 million

holding. He would be given a tax stamp, not unlike the tax stickers on cigarette packs. The dealer could then place the stamp on the drugs he is selling. Needless to say, the drug dealers “for some odd reason” don’t comply. (Come to think of it, the lawmaker who thought of this plan may have been their clients.) 6. 6. D- Maybe as a punishment every politician in Washington should have to read all 4 million words Form AK75-42(b)6(b)b(6)6(b)7137S(5)A (Short form: Answer Key) 5-6 correct: You know way too much. You know what they say about people who cheat at TJH trivia? They probably cheat on their taxes as well. Who is that knocking on your door? 2-4 correct: You are a “50 percenter,” like the rest of us tax payers in NY. 0-2 correct: You know nothing about taxes, you probably never paid them. Hey, you should run for office; you have the right resume.

Fraud Warning! WARNING! PLEASE READ IMMEDIATELY! THIS IS SERIOUS! If you get an envelope from a company called the Internal Revenue Service, DO NOT OPEN IT! This group operates a scam around this time every year. Their letter claims that you owe them money, which they will take and use to pay for the operation of essential functions of the United States government. This is untrue! The money the IRS collects is used to fund various other corporations which depend on subsidies to stay in business. This organization has ties to another shady outfit called the Social Security Administration, who claim to take money from your regular paychecks and save it for your retirement. In truth, the SSA uses the money to pay for the same misguided corporate welfare the IRS helps mastermind. These scam artists have bilked honest, hardworking Americans out of billions of dollars. Don’t be among them!

GOT FUNNY? Let the Commissioner decide. Send your stuff to centerfold@fivetownsjewishhome.com

Answer to riddle: His horse’s name is Friday.

2. Which of the following states has no income tax? a. Delaware b. Florida c. Utah d. California (ha...ha...ha) 3. Federal income tax was first established for which purpose? a. To pay politicians who sacrifice so much for the greater good. Whereas most Americans travel in luxury, they are forced to travel in big, black Suburbans, driven by scary looking security guards. They are also forced to travel – to various golf courses around the country – on these planes which are flying spas. It’s

TThe e JJewish w i s hHome hHOME o m e nnapril P R I218, L 41, 82013 , 2013 ThHE JeEWISH MAAY 2012

1. What is IRS an acronym for? a. Invisible Rattle Snakes b. It’s Really Stealing c. I Remain Solvent...barely d. It Really Stinks e. Very Bad Agency (Perhaps that doesn’t make sense...I just did my taxes, nothing makes sense right now) f. Intentional Raiding Society g. Incredibly Rude and Smug h. All of the above...ding! ding! ding!


30 Jewish April 2013 T H EThe JEW I S H H OHome M E n M AY 2 4 ,18, 2012

88

Notable

Quotes

Compiled by Nate Davis

“Say What?” “I turned Havana to Atlanta... Boy from the hood I got White House clearance... Obama said ‘Chill, you gonna get me impeached.’” - A rap by a famous rapper who recently traveled to Cuba “I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury.” - White House spokesman Jay Carney, who stated that the rapper received clearance from the Treasury Department

“A 14-year-old boy from China is the youngest golfer to ever compete in The Masters. During his round of golf today, the Chinese boy made two birdies, an eagle, and an iPad.” -Conan O’Brien “Teachers at nine universities are using a new technology that can tell if students are actually reading their textbooks. Let me save you some time. They’re not.” - Jimmy Kimmel “The digital books create something called an engagement index that shows how often they open their book, which pages they read, and whether or not they skipped pages. That’s a great way to get kids to like books. Program the books to tattle on them.” - Ibid

“According to a new study, our views on immigration are changing. For example, when asked if they support a path to citizenship, 40 percent of the respondents said, ‘Si.’” - Jay Leno “Our retaliatory action will start without any notice from now as such thrice-cursed criminal act of hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK is being openly committed in the heart of Seoul under the patronage of the puppet authorities.” - North Korea’s military statement issued in response to the burning of effigies of Kim Jung Un at rallies in Seoul, South Korea

“Gitmo Is Killing Me.” - title of an Op-ed appearing in the New York Times by Guantanamo Bay prisoner Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, in which he bemoans the fact that the hunger strike which he is on is very difficult for him

“Last night, President Obama hosted Republican senators for dinner at the White House. The president said he had to do without salt, pepper, and butter — because as you know, the Republicans refuse to pass anything.” - Jay Leno

“I want to go to a Bob Seger concert.” - What 79-year-old Evie Branon said when she awoke from a five year coma; her wish was fulfilled on April 11th

“I’ve heard in a couple of quiet conversations with U.S. officials is two things: Number one, how safe it is over here in this country where people are not running around with guns. And number two, how our – how some students, we had an interesting discussion why fewer students are coming to, particularly from Japan, to study in the United States. And one of the responses I got from our officials, from conversations with parents here, is that they’re actually scared. They think they’re not safe in the United States, and so they don’t come. They think they’re not safe in the United States and so they don’t come. Unlike the United States, the right to private gun ownership in Japan is not guaranteed in law.” - Secretary of State John Kerry

“If babies had guns they wouldn’t be aborted.” - Conservative Texas Congressman Steve Stockman’s latest bumper sticker for his reelection campaign

“The only thing it would not cover is if you sold a gun to your son, for example...I would argue if you want to sell your gun to your son, maybe you have a problem in your family. Why don’t you just give—I don’t know if you should have a gun or not, but if you have a commercial transaction of $100 with your son, there’s something wrong in your family.” - Michael Bloomberg on the “John Gambling Show” discussing new national gun legislation

“Because of budget cuts, the Navy may have to cancel Fleet Week, where thousands of sailors dock in New York City. Of course if you want to see a bunch of people glad to be off a boat, you could just wait for a Carnival cruise to come in.” - Jimmy Fallon


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Jay Leno “On the same night I began hunting for the scraps of paper I’ll need for my tax return, President Barack Obama, his wife, kids and a bunch of their buddies were enjoying a live concert of Memphis soul music in a White House now closed to the public because of budget sequestration... As I scrounged through drawers and coat pockets in search of anything that might reduce the size of the check I’m going to write tomorrow, I was acutely aware of how my tax dollars are being used. Defending my freedom and maintaining the avenues of commerce, no problem. Feeding the hungry and nursing the sick? All good. But I draw the line at paying... to serenade a president.” - Nolan Finley, The Detroit News

“People are surprised...some people are surprised I can even read.”Former-President George W. Bush to the Dallas Morning News, discussing people’s reaction to his ability to paint

“We’ll just hang and have some fun!” - Dennis Rodman discussing his next trip to North Korea to visit Kim Jong-Un, planned for this summer “This is going to follow Tiger Woods around for the rest of his life.” -Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee discussing Tiger Woods’ decision not to disqualify himself from the Masters after he placed a ball on the wrong spot

“Hi. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not the president.” - Francine Wheeler, the mother of a Newtown victim, delivering the President’s weekly address in place of President Obama

“North Korean officials reportedly are planning a cyber attack on the U.S. in an effort to bring our economy to a halt. Nice try guys. You’re five years too late.” - Jay Leno

“Secretary Kerry will be the first to admit that in some ways he can never fill Hillary’s heels.” - U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice at the Women in the World Summit in New York

“Hadiya Pendleton was me and I was her.” - Michelle Obama talking about a 15-year-old Chicago girl who was killed by gun violence

“Well, Michael, tax day is today. That came up. You know, I was thinking of all the iconic events that are being told about today. Of course I knew it was tax day because I got them in. But of course, it’s Patriots Day. It’s also the Boston Marathon. And would you as an expert be thinking domestic at this point? I don’t think tax day means a lot to the Arab world or Islamic world or certainly not to al Qaeda in terms of their world. It doesn’t have iconic significance.” - Chris Matthews, NBC

“Explosions are a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking appointment.” - New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff’s tweet, within hours of the terrorist attack in Boston “Once the device—if it is a device—is found, what kind of explosives were used. So for instance, if it was hydrogen peroxide, this is a signature of al Qaeda. If it was more conventional explosives, which are much harder to get hold of now—that might be some other kind of right-wing extremist. … We’ve also seen, for instance, right-wing groups trying to attack the Martin Luther King parade in Oregon in 2010.” - Peter Bergen on CNN, within hours of the attack “We still do not know who did this or why, and people should not jump to conclusions before we have all the facts.” - President Obama in a statement after the bombing “The President of the United States has pledged his full support in all efforts to keep the city safe and to find the person who did this and bring them to justice. We did not have to reach out to the president. The president reached out to us. He called the governor, he called the mayor, he called the members of the (congressional) delegation, because the president is actively involved here and responding.” - Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D- Mass., who did not mention the victims in her press conference after the Boston bombing CNN: “What are your impressions of the response in Boston so far?” BARNEY FRANK: “I’m glad you raised that, because it gives me a chance to make a point I’ve felt strongly about. In this terrible situation, let’s be very grateful that we had a well-funded, functioning government. It is very fashionable in America, and has been for some time to criticize government, belittle public employees, talk about their pensions, talk about what people think ... of [their] health care. Here we saw government in two ways perform very well. ... I never was as a member of Congress one of the cheerleaders for less government, lower taxes. No tax cut would have helped us deal with this or will help us recover. This is very expensive... What I’m asking people is, whether you have private health insurance or not, whether you can afford this or not, maybe the government’s going to have to pay for it. This is an example of why we need, if we’re going to be a civilized society, to put some of our resources into a common pool.”

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“It’s starting to get serious — China has warned North Korea about starting a war. China told them flat out, ‘Do not fire any missiles at the United States at least until after we get our money. They owe us $16 trillion. Wait until then.’”-


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April 18, 2013

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Global Putin Makes Less Than His Spokesman

Vladimir Putin is earning a nice salary, and so is the Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev. What’s funny is that they are each making less than their spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. A newly released list has made public official salaries of those in high office. The president and prime minister of Russia each make around 5.7 million Rubles ($183,000) while Peskov and his wife pull in a combined 11.1 million rubles.  The highest earner in the list was First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, one of Russia’s richest state officials and the government’s point man on the economy. He declared a family income of 448.4 million rubles ($14.4 million) for 2012, around half of which was earned by his wife, according to data published on the Kremlin website. Income declarations are a new obligation for Russian officials, which only began last year, when Shuvalov’s large income raised eyebrows and forced him to make clear none of his interests infringe Russian law. For some reason I have a feeling that if Putin was not happy with his salary, he would somehow manage to have it increased.

Less Than Smooth Landing in Bali “Missing your connection” took on a whole new meaning this week when a passenger jet skidded off the runway into the ocean while attempting to land on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Saturday, local officials said. “The aircraft was from Bandung, West Java, and about to land in Bali Ngurah Rai Airport but it probably failed to reach the runway and fell into the sea,” Lion Air spokesman Edward Sirait said. Miracu-

lously, all 108 passengers and crew members survived, the company and the government said. Forty people were treated for broken legs, shock, and other injuries, but only four were admitted to a hospital, according to officials. The plane stopped in shallow waters at least 650 feet past the end of the runway.. Local TV footage showed the plane with slightly ruptured fuselage floating in the water. People in life vests were also visible in the water.

“There was no sign at all it would fall but then suddenly it dropped into the water,” passenger Tantri Widiastuti, 60, recalled. “I saw holes in the floor of the plane ... we were evacuated quickly.” An investigation is underway, and the National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to the site.

Argentinian President Not Welcome at Thatcher’s Funeral Britain did not invite Argentine President Cristina Fernandez to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral this week in a snub likely to deepen a long-running diplomatic dispute over the Falkland Islands. Thatcher, 87, led Britain at the time of the 1982 Falklands War and ordered her armed forces to repel an Argentine invasion of the contested South Atlantic archipelago which Argentina calls Las Malvinas. Just over 30 years later, memories of the conflict remain raw and Fernandez has mounted a campaign to renegotiate the islands’ sovereignty, lobbying Pope Francis on the issue and rejecting a referendum last month in which Falkland residents voted to remain a British Overseas Territory. A government source revealed that every country which Britain enjoys “normal” diplomatic relations was being invited to Wednesday’s funeral, but Thatcher’s family had objected to Fernandez attending. “It’s about adhering to her family’s wishes,” the source said. A government spokesman said Argentina’s ambassador to Britain would be invited, and that was in keeping with protocol.

Thatcher’s children, Mark and Carol, said they felt it would be “inappropriate” for anyone from Argentina to be there after government officials floated the idea. Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman brushed off the apparent snub. “It does not matter to me to be invited to a place where I don’t want to go,” he told a local radio station. “It is another provocation. The woman died; let the family mourn her in peace.” Prime Minister David Cameron’s office made it clear on Thursday that invitations will be sent far and wide. “Around 200 states, territories and international organizations are being invited to send an official representative to the funeral service,” a spokesman said. “We have invited those countries and institutions with whom we have normal diplomatic relations.” Members of parliament from Thatcher’s ruling Conservative party have hailed Britain’s victory in the Falklands War as one of her greatest achievements and her funeral is expected to follow a Falklands theme. More than 700 armed forces personnel will take part in the ceremony and the 10 coffin bearers will be drawn from regiments and units that played a pivotal role in the conflict. The war boosted Thatcher’s flagging political fortunes at the time and cemented her image as a patriotic defender of what was left of Britain’s Empire, helping her win a landslide victory at a general election in 1983.

President of Egyptian Jewish Community Dies Carmen Weinstein, the longtime president of the Jewish Community of Cairo, died in her home in Zamalek this week. She had been suffering severely from blood clots in her legs, and had been warned by doctors to desist from physical activity. But Weinstein, 82, kept up her community activities to the very end, and on Friday had been in Maadi to inspect renovation works at the Maadi Synagogue.

soon as possible to choose a new leader. Asked if there is a chance the community could break up and that people would leave the country, especially considering the political situation, Haroun responded that this is not the time to leave. “This is our country and we have lived through four wars so why should we leave now? What can happen to us that has not already happened?” Zvi Mazel, who served as Israel’s sixth ambassador to Egypt, and his wife, Michelle, knew Weinstein well. Mazel remembers that he had met her for the first time in 1980 while he was working at the embassy in Egypt. “She was loyal to the community even though it was very small and she was under pressure from the Egyptian security, she managed all the holidays,” he said. “She was a frequent guest at my place as ambassador and was invited to every reception that the embassy held.” Michelle Mazel, a writer, was in frequent contact with Weinstein until she passed away. She recalled how “[Weinstein] was a staunch defender of the community and insisted on holding the seder even though the doctors told her not to” for health reasons, adding that “she never thought about leaving; she felt very deeply Egyptian, even though that may be hard to understand.” When Weinstein’s mother, Esther, died, Carmen took over the leadership of the community during difficult times. “There were no men in the community, only women, and there was only a minyan if there were foreigners or tourists present,” Michelle said. “This is a very sad day for the Egyptian Jewish community.” Last month, Weinstein organized the community seder that was held at the Sha’ar Hashamayim Synagogue and was conducted by Rabbi Marc Alfassi, who came especially from France, just as he had come for Rosh Hashana to conduct services for the community. Alfassi traveled to Cairo again to conduct Weinstein’s funeral, which was attended by Ambassador to Egypt Yaakov Amitai.

Russia Bans 18 Americans in Retaliation

Nadia S. Haroun, a member of the Egyptian Jewish community, said in an interview, “This is a big loss for us.” Haroun added that there would be a meeting as

This week, Russia banned eighteen Americans from entering the country in response to Washington imposing sanctions on eighteen Russians for alleged human rights violations. The list released by the Foreign Ministry includes John Yoo, a former U.S. Justice Department official who wrote legal memos authorizing harsh interrogation techniques; David Addington, the chief of


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in the kingdom. Saeed al-Shihri called on Saudis to revolt against the ruling family in the new message. His statement appeared to back up al-Qaeda denials this week that he was killed in a drone attack. The Saudi national was reportedly killed by a U.S. drone strike earlier this year, based on alleged Saudi intelligence.

Greece Unemployment Reaches Record High In December of 2012, many thought that the financial problems of Greece would soon be a thing of the past when unemployment rates dropped in the year’s last quarter. However, those hopes proved to be premature as new numbers are being released for 2013.

January’s unemployment rate jumped 1.5% to a record high of 27.2%. More importantly, the number of employed people in Greece, which dropped to a new record low of 3,617,771 compared to 3,888,400 a year ago (and down 11,653 from December), is now nearly as much as the entire inactive population at 3,346,423 and far below the ranks of the unemployed (1,348,694 – an all-time high as well) and inactive. Spread by gender, the unemployment rate for males was 23.9%, while a record 31.4% of eligible women had no job in January. Finally, youth unemployment once again hit a record high 59.3% in January, even as unemployment among those aged 65-74 has soared from 0.9% in 2008 to 6.9% in 2013.

Al-Qaeda Leader Slams Saudi Arabia Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader in Yemen has released an audio recording blasting Saudi Arabia’s policy of allowing the U.S. to launch deadly drone strikes from bases

In the 14-minute audio recording, alShihri accused the al-Saud ruling family of betraying Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula, which is home to Islam’s holiest site in the city of Mecca. “They made it permissible with their bases and forces that planes launch to kill people of faith in Yemen,” he said of Saudi Arabia, which borders

Yemen to the north. “Instead of spending money to fight poverty and unemployment and help Muslims defend themselves against enemies, it is spent to fight Muslims in every place,” he said, referring to Saudi Arabia’s vast oil revenues. Washington considers the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda, known as “al-Qaeda in The Arabian Peninsula,” as the most dangerous and active of the group’s offshoots. The United States has expanded its use of drone strikes in Yemen from bases around the region, including from inside Saudi Arabia. Among the most high-profile cases of killings by U.S. drones were those of U.S. citizens Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, who used their English-language skills to try and recruit fighters in the West.

“Going Green” Gets Greener A new housing complex just completed in Hamburg, Germany, is definitely not the first residential building to produce every bit of energy it uses, but the newly completed lime green box is, in fact, the

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Also on Russia’s list are fourteen Americans whom Russia says violated the rights of Russians abroad. It does not give specifics of the alleged violations, but includes several current or former federal prosecutors in the case of Viktor Bout, the Russian arms merchant sentenced in 2012 to 25 years in prison for selling weapons to a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist group. A federal judge, one FBI agent and four U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents also are on the list. Some of them were involved in the case of Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot convicted for drug smuggling.

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staff for former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney; and two former commanders of the Guantanamo Bay detention center: retired Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller and Adm. Jeffrey Harbeson. The move came a day after the U.S. announced its sanctions under the Magnitsky Law, named for Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was arrested in 2008 for tax evasion after accusing Russian police officials of stealing $230 million in tax rebates. He died in prison the next year, allegedly after being beaten and denied medical treatment. The U.S. State Department released a statement on Saturday in response to Russia’s latest decision. “As we’ve said many times before, the right response by Russia to the international outcry over Sergey Magnitsky’s death would be to conduct a proper investigation and hold those responsible for his death accountable, rather than engage in tit-for-tat retaliation,” according to the statement. Neither Washington nor Moscow put high-ranking or politically prominent figures on their lists, perhaps aiming to limit the effect on U.S.-Russian relations that have deteriorated, despite President Barack Obama’s initiative to “reset” relations with Moscow. “I think that both sides showed a definite restraint because in Washington and in Moscow there were hotheads demanding to inflate the list to an unthinkable size,” said parliament member Vyacheslav Nikonov, who focuses on foreign affairs. The Magnitsky law infuriated Russian authorities, and parliament quickly passed a retaliatory measure than banned Americans from adopting Russian children. Russia also has banned U.S. funding for any non-governmental organization deemed to be engaging in politics. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov is quoted as saying there also is a “closed part” of the list of banned Americans and that the U.S. knows of its existence. The U.S. law in turn allows the administration to compile a separate classified list of Russian officials subject to visa bans. The public U.S. list includes Artem Kuznetsov and Pavel Karpov, two Russian Interior Ministry officers who put Magnitsky behind bars after he accused them of stealing $230 million from the state. Two tax officials the lawyer accused of approving the fraudulent tax refunds, and several other Interior Ministry officials accused of persecuting Magnitsky, also were on the list. Absent were senior officials from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s entourage whom some human rights advocates had hoped to see sanctioned. Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement that the U.S. sanctions struck “a strong blow to bilateral relations and joint trust.”

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very first to owe its net-zero status to the growth of live algae. The structure, known as BIK, is armored in panels designed to nurture algae growth with water, nutrients, and carbon dioxide pumping inside each of the building’s 129 “bioreactors.” As the sun shines, the algae photosynthesizes and grows until there’s enough biomass for the structure’s mechanics to convert the residue into energy. The algae system, supplemented by solar panels and ultra-insulating architecture designed to keep indoor temperatures comfortable without using any energy at all, means the creators of BIK can loudly boast the building’s complete energy independence.

The panels also provide internal shade and temperature regulation in the warm seasons. The sunnier it is, the more algae grows, which in turn makes the panels darker and the interior temperature cooler. Though Jan Wurm, a research leader in charge of the design, said in a press release that the algae system could very well “become a sustainable solution for energy production in urban areas,” he also notes that “the companies haven’t said how well the building will perform in winter (algae doesn’t grow without light) or how much it might cost.” So it will probably be a while before we’re outfitting every home with algae-packed bioreactors. Hope all that algae doesn’t turn the tenants green…

lice Department added an even faster car to its fleet – a 700-hp Lamborghini Aventador. News surfaced of the acquirement on Twitter, with tweets stating “Only in Dubai” and “Officer, please cuff me in the Aventador and throw away the keys.” Additional sports cars are set to join the fleet too, with machines being designed according to police specifications in an effort to “facilitate policing on highways.” Here in the U.S., we now focus on fuel efficiency from our cop cars rather than brute strength; philosophies between the two countries couldn’t differ more wildly. A recent study of several Ontario, Canada-based police departments found the “average police car spends two-thirds of a 10-hour shift idling.” That translates to more than six gallons of fuel wasted over two shifts each day. Imagine how much fuel the Aventador will burn. Luckily, Dubai has plenty of its own oil to burn. No word on which lucky Dubai cop gets to drive the superfast car, or if they require special driver training. But I’m sure enrolment at the local police academy has gone up.

Portugal Votes to Grant Citizenship to Jews Expelled by Inquisition The parliament of Portugal is scheduled to vote on whether to naturalize descendants of 16th-century Jews who fled the country because of religious persecution. The motion is set to be brought to a first reading by Portugal’s Socialist Party and is expected to pass, as it has the support of the ruling Social Democratic Party. Together the parties hold 80 percent of the Portuguese parliament’s 230 seats.

A Lamborghini for Cops

You might want to think twice before speeding in Dubai from now on. The country known for its wealth built off the back of the oil industry, now boasts very high revenues from its tourism, real estate, and financial services. All that cash floating around evidently means lawbreakers tend to drive expensive and fast cars. So in response, the Dubai Po-

Jose Oulman Carp is the president of Portugal’s Jewish community. Carp called the motion “a huge development” and explained it proposes to give Portuguese citizenship to descendants of the Portuguese Inquisition, which began in 1536 and resulted in the expulsion of tens of thousands of people and the forced conversion into Christianity of countless others. At the time, Portugal had a Jewish population of about 400,000, many of them

refugees from neighboring Spain, where the Inquisition started in 1492. Spanish lawmakers are said to be drafting a similar motion. “There is no way of knowing for certain how many people would become eligible for Portuguese citizenship if the law passes, and there is no bureaucratic system yet for vetting applications – all of that will have to come later,” said Carp, who has lobbied for the bill for several years. Carp is hoping the measure will help attract new members to the country’s Jewish community of 1,000 to 1,500. The community would be involved in reviewing applications, he said. Many Portuguese refugees of the Inquisition settled in Turkey. Popular support for the motion stems from a desire to “make amends” for a dark historical chapter in Portugal – a country that Carp describes as being “virtually” free of anti-Semitism. Some also hope the law would attract investments by Jews seeking to settle in Portugal, one of the European Union’s most vulnerable economies.  

Germany and Poland Try to Pass Each Other the Buck It seems that Poland and Germany are at war with each other over who is to blame for the Holocaust. A Polish magazine this week created the uproar after its cover photo featured Germany’s Angela Merkel dressed in a concentration camp prisoner’s uniform. ”Distorting History: How the Germans Managed to Turn Themselves into World War II’s victims,” read the cover of the Uwazam Rze weekly. The weekly’s cover followed general outrage in Poland over a new German historical miniseries, which depicted Polish resistance fighters as indifferent to Jewish suffering during the war. On Wednesday, the German Der Spiegel reported the cover as the latest in the long-running verbal dispute between Germany and Poland regarding the blame for the war.  While Germany disapproved of the weekly’s “bad taste,” Poles accused their German neighbors of falsifying historical facts and turning the war’s victims into its perpetrators.  The three-episode miniseries, entitled “Our Mothers, Our Fathers,” aired at the end of March. It focused on the fate of five Germans during World War II. In one scene, a group of Polish fighters allows a concentration camp bound train to carry on when they realize the passengers are Jews. In another, a Polish character says “We drown Jews like rats.”

The station that produced the miniseries stated in response that there was no attempt to distort history or make light of Germany’s blame for World War II. The series’ producer, Nico Hofmann, said, “The scenes are based on historical data. There was no intention to insult the Poles.” Perhaps they all are to blame.  

Cruise Company Pays Hefty Fine for Costa Concordia Disaster

Costa Cruises, the unit of Carnival Corp that owned and operated the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia, has accepted a $1.31 million fine to settle potential criminal charges concerning last year’s deadly accident off the coast of Italy, a company spokesman said on Wednesday. Costa Cruises had been under investigation as the employer of the crew of the Concordia when it hit a rock off Tuscany in January last year, killing 32 people. The prosecution is satisfied with the ruling by the preliminary court judge, Valeria Montesarchio, and will not appeal, prosecution sources said, adding that the fine was close to the maximum allowed by law. The settlement means Costa will not face a criminal trial and ends its potential liability with the state of Italy, but not private lawsuits brought by passengers or crew, the prosecution sources said. “This is a balanced decision,” Costa Cruises’ lawyer, Marco De Luca, said after the ruling. “It is the most reasonable solution.” Captain Francesco Schettino remains accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship, which was carrying more than 4,000 passengers and crew, and could face up to 20 years in jail. Schettino steered the ship close to shore in a maneuver known as a “salute,” striking a rock that tore a gash in its hull. The 950-foot-long Concordia came to rest on its side, half submerged, where it now rests awaiting salvage. Five other members of the crew including Schettino’s first officer and three members of a crisis unit set up by Costa to handle the accident, also face indictment and trial.


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On March 13, 1997, Ahmed Musa Dakamsa, a Jordanian soldier, opened fire on a group of schoolgirls in Beit Shemesh. The 7th and 8th graders, from the Amit religious school were on an annual field trip to the “Peace Island” park at Naharayim. The park, established in 1994, is located just inside the Jordanian side of the border between Israel and Jordan. The park was established after both countries signed a peace treaty in the wake of the Oslo Accords. Dakamsa fired two full magazines of bullets before his weapon jammed and other soldiers overpowered him. He murdered seven innocent girls and he wounded six others. Following the murders, Jordan’s King Hussein visited Beit Shemesh to personally apologize to the victim’s families. Now, the families of the murdered girls have asked the public to assist them in preventing the release of Dakamsa. An internet petition is calling upon Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to take action to prevent the release of the terrorist.   A total of 110 out of 150 members of the lower house of Jordan’s parliament signed a petition to free Ahmed Musa Dakamsa, who is serving a life sentence for the multiple murders in a Jordanian jail. The Jordanian justice minister, too, has voiced support for releasing Dakamsa, calling him “a hero.”

Hawking to Visit the Holy Land

Israel is expecting a celebrity visitor. No, it’s not an American politician trying to save the day (thankfully). It’s British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. He will be visiting Israel this summer as

Turkey’s Prime Minister’s Son Continues to Trade with Israel Turkish Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son, Ahmet Burak Erdogan, is the owner of the MB Shipping company, which holds two cargo vessels. One of the two, Safran-1, has sailed between Turkish and Israeli ports several times, transferring goods back and forth, in the past three years even as Ankara and Jerusalem have grown more distant. The ship, which is 95 meters (312 feet) long, last docked at the Ashdod Port on January 12 – about three months before the end of the crisis between the countries.  An assistant to the chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Erdogan’s main opposition in the Grand National Assembly, slammed the Turkish prime minister over his “hypocrisy.”  Fellow opposition members directed a series of questions at Erdogan: “Has your son been exempted from the trade embargo against Israel? Is it ethical? What share of the volume of trade with Israel did the ship owned by your son take?” Turkey has never directly declared a trade embargo against Israel even at the height of the diplomatic crisis. Erdogan did in fact announce that he was suspending economic ties with Israel, but later clarified that he had only referred to defense-related trade.

Fayyad Resigns Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad resigned on Saturday, leaving the Palestinians without one of their most reasonable and well-respected representatives. A statement from the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, said President Mahmoud Abbas met with Fayyad late in the day and accepted his resignation, thanking him for his time served. According to the statement, Abbas requested that Fayyad continue to serve until he can arrange a new government. Abbas is expected to name a new prime minister within days. Abbas and Fayyad have been entangled in an increasingly unpleasant disagreement over the extent of the prime minister’s authority. Fayyad offered his resignation on Thursday, but Abbas failed to respond to Fayyad’s offer until Saturday. This shouldn’t have come as a shock since Fayyad and Abbas’ relationship has been strained for a while. Reportedly, the prime minister mentioned to Abbas last year that he wanted to quit. Fayyad is a Western-trained economist and is well respected in international communities; many expected him to play a key role in U.S. efforts to revive peace talks. He will be difficult to replace in that respect.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he plans to announce a series of measures to boost the West Bank economy in the coming days. Fayyad, a former official at the International Monetary Fund with expertise in development, would be key to overseeing such projects. The politician had been prime minister of the Palestinian Authority since mid2007. He led the self-rule government that administers roughly 40 percent of the Israeli-controlled West Bank. He primarily focused his efforts on developing the foundations of an independent Palestinian state. Fayyad built roads and schools with the hundreds of millions of dollars in inter-

national aid. However, with the Palestinian Authority plagued by a financial crisis, Fayyad has been publicly criticized for the cash-strapped government’s failure to pay the salaries of teachers and civil servants on time. “Prime Minister Fayyad has been a strong partner to the international community and a leader in promoting economic growth, state-building, and security for the Palestinian people,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Saturday. “We look to all Palestinian leaders to support these efforts.”

Israel, Australia Join Forces A team of Australian energy and water officials will be making their way to Israel this spring. Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom and Australian Ambassador Andrea Faulkner agreed to this arrangement at a meeting in the minister’s Tel Aviv office on Tuesday morning. The project is intended to promote cooperation on energy and water issues between the ministry and the Australian government, as well as relevant Australian firms.

Shalom and Faulkner discussed issues related to Israel’s natural gas discoveries in Tamar and primarily in Leviathan, where the Australian firm Woodside holds a conditional permit for a chunk of the reservoir. The two leaders also discussed the Jordan River Rehabilitation Project, which Shalom promotes as regional cooperation minister. The purpose of the project is to promote peace by rehabilitating the polluted river and its banks – shared by Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. To date, the Regional Cooperation Ministry has invested about NIS 1 million (around $275K) in preparing a comprehensive plan for transforming the Jordan River into a cleaner and more tourist-friendly environment. Faulkner mentioned that the Australian government has expressed interest in joining the project as a partner, pending the submission of the comprehensive plan. Shalom told Faulkner that he would be glad to help Australia bring its members in and assist in expanding their operations in Israel. When the delegation arrives this June, it will meet with senior officials from

april 18, 2013

Don’t Let This Killer Go Free

Erdogan supporters claim that throughout the conflict, trade ties between the two countries thrived, reaching an all-time high of $4 billion, a 30% increase.

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part of the President’s Conference, “Facing Tomorrow.” Hawking suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease; he is wheelchair-bound. This will be his first journey since his 2006 visit, when he was invited by the British Embassy to tour and meet with local scientists. Hawking, the head of the Practical Mathematics and Physics Department of Cambridge University who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from United States President Barack Obama in 2009, is best known for penning the book, A Briefer History of Time, which talks about life since the Big Bang. “Facing Tomorrow,” the fifth Israeli Presidential Conference under the auspices of President Shimon Peres, is planned to begin June 18 until the 20th in Jerusalem. The conference will look toward the future and analyze, predict, and discuss the central issues that are expected to heavily influence the face of our future: geopolitics, economics, society, environment, culture, identity, education, new media, and more Hawking is brilliant but does not believe in G-d. Perhaps a visit to Israel will bring him closer to seeing the Creator.

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the energy and water ministry.

Israel to Launch 24/7 News Channel Israel doesn’t yet have a news network station to compete with the likes of CNN, BBC, or Al Jazeera but that all may change this summer. The project, i24news, is funded by a private investor so it will not be forced to rely on government funding or donations. It will be based in Jaffa Port near Tel Aviv and the 24 hour global network will broadcast worldwide in English, French, and Arabic. This is an opportunity for Israel to present its perspectives to a global audience. The channel said in a statement they intend to “broadcast news from the heart of Middle East.” They explained that, “The letter ‘i’ was chosen as representing several of the topics and values that will guide the channel: international, information, independent, individual, innovation, interactive, etc. The number 24, of course, stands for a 24/7 broadcast.” Live news reports will run daily from 6 a.m. to midnight and taped programming during the overnight hours. The channel will use sophisticated technology, will have applications for cell phones, video on demand, and a website. The current staff of 45 is expected to grow to about 150.

National Tragedy in Boston It was supposed to be a beautiful day in Boston. 24,662 people were running in the 117th edition of the Boston Marathon. After 2 hours, 10 minutes and 22 seconds, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia finished the race and was declared the winner. Rita Jeptoo finished the race in 2 hours, 26 minutes and 25 seconds and was declared the winner in the women’s race. The race started with 26 seconds of silence in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. But it ended in even more sorrow. Just before 3pm, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the race, killing at least three and injuring at least 176 people. Several of those injured lost limbs and suffered deep cuts when the bombs went off. Details are still emerging, but it is known now that at least one of the bombs was made from a pressure cooker and set with a timer. The bombs were placed in a knapsack or duffel bag to conceal their contents. One of the explosives contained

shards of metal and ball bearings, and another contained nails to maximize injuries. These types of bombs have been used in Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan but authorities have not confirmed if the bombings were part of a domestic or international terrorist plot. “This will be a worldwide investigation,” Special Agentin-Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office Richard DesLauriers said at a Tuesday morning news conference, adding that investigators will go “wherever the leads take us.” “We will go to the ends of the Earth to identify the suspects responsible for this despicable crime,” he added.

The severity of the injuries are substantial. At Massachusetts General Hospital, Alasdair Conn, chief of emergency services, said: “This is something I’ve never seen in my 25 years here ... this amount of carnage in the civilian population. This is what we expect from war.” Eyewitnesses reported seeing victims with lost limbs. A spectator grimly revealed, “Somebody’s leg flew by my head. I gave my belt to stop the blood.” Other people reported seeing people with lots of blood in a daze. Some said they saw many with no limbs. One of those killed in the blast was Martin Richard, 8, who was standing by the finish line with his family. Martin’s mother, Denise, suffered a brain injury and his 6-year-old sister reportedly lost a leg. The Richard family was the “all American family,” and now they are crushed by tragedy. Martin loved to ride his bike and play basketball. Sadly, his life is snuffed out with this devastating attack.

Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Protest Prison guards and prisoners at Guantanamo Bay had a clash last Saturday. After months of increased tension, the military closed a communal section of the facility and moved its inmates into single cells. The violence exploded during an early morning raid that military officials said was necessary because prisoners had covered up security cameras and windows as part of a week-long protest and hunger strike over their indefinite confinement

and conditions at the U.S. base in Cuba. The military reports that 43 prisoners were classified as hunger strikers under a definition that includes missing nine consecutive meals. Lawyers for prisoners have insisted the strike is much more widespread and say almost all of the men are refusing to eat. Prisoners attacked guards with makeshift weapons that included broomsticks and mop handles as they tried to move them out of a communal wing of the section known as Camp 6. Military spokesman Navy Captain Robert Durand said that guards were forced to respond by firing four “less-than-lethal rounds.” There were no serious injuries from the gunfire. Army Col. Greg Julian, a spokesman for Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the prison at the U.S. base in Cuba, said, “I know for sure that one detainee was hit but the injuries were minor, just some bruises.” Camp 6 was a section of the camp reserved for detainees who followed prison rules. In exchange, they were allowed to share meals and pray together, have nearly round-the-clock recreation time as well as access to satellite TV, computer games and classes. It held a majority of the 166 prisoners at the base before the hunger strike began, but the military said the number was down to fewer than 70 by Saturday. Durand said, “For now, housing detainees in individual cells will enable us to observe them more closely.” “This is exactly the opposite of what they should be doing,” Carlos Warner, a federal public defender in Ohio, said of the decision to move prisoners into single cells instead of negotiating an end to the strike. “The military is escalating the conflict.” It’s hard to feel bad for prisoners who have allegedly committed crimes against the state and are watching satellite TV and playing computer games on taxpayers’ backs.

Obamas Won’t Go Hungry President Obama may not be able to get his favorite dishes cooked at the White House in the next few weeks. Assistant White House chef Sam Kass, who cooks weekly for the President and the First Family, announced last week that he is going to be furloughed due to federal budget cuts. Kass is also involved in the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative to combat childhood obesity across the nation. He related that the program will not be subject to cuts, but, he said, “We’re being furloughed.” Kass joined the White House staff during Obama’s first term in office and he was essential in the creation of the vegetable garden on the South Lawn that has provided more than 3,000 pounds

of homegrown produce for meals at the White House. When Kass leaves his post, the Obamas won’t go hungry. The White House has an executive chef and four assistant chefs, although it is unclear whether the other chefs will be affected as well.

Let’s hope they know how to make some good, ol’ mac ‘n cheese.

Weiner Wants a Second Chance Former Congressman Anthony Weiner is considering a run for mayor of New York City this year. He was forced to resign in 2011 after a public scandal. Weiner spoke of his hopes and dreams with the New York Times Magazine. He says he wants a “second chance” from voters and calls the upcoming mayoral race a case of “now or maybe never for me.”

“I don’t have this burning, overriding desire to go out and run for office,” Weiner said in the interview. “It’s not the single animating force in my life as it was for quite some time. But I do recognize, to some degree, it’s now or maybe never for me, in terms of running for something. I’m trying to gauge not only what’s right and what feels comfortable right this second, but I’m also thinking, how will I feel in a year or two years or five years? Is this the time that I should be doing it? And then there’s the other side of the coin, which is ... am I still the same person who I thought would make a good mayor?” Weiner added, “I want to ask people to give me a second chance. I do want to have that conversation with people whom I let down and with people who put their faith in me and who wanted to support me.


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Invasion of the Snails Florida residents may soon be battling a slimy pest. The giant African land snail is starting to call South Florida its home and it’s not just a slimy nuisance. The mollusk can grow to the size of a rat, eat through stucco and cause tires to shred with its sharp, broken shells.

As of now, authorities do not know how the species came to Florida. The last known invasion to the state occurred in 1966 when a boy returning from vaca-

tion in Hawaii brought back three of them, possibly in his jacket pockets. His grandmother released them in her garden and the population of the snails grew to 17,000 in the next seven years. It took ten years and $1 million to get rid of the slimy pests. Be careful where you walk.

when he garnered about $5.6 million from two publications, The Audacity of Hope and Dreams From My Father. The profits for 2012 are just under $274,000.

april 18, 2013

Each week, more than a 1,000 of these pests are caught in Miami-Dade—that’s 117,000 in total since the snail was first spotted by a homeowner in September 2011. And they’ll be poking their heads out more as the snails emerge from underground at the start of the raining season. Denise Feiber, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said, “It becomes a slick mess,” with their slime coating walls and pavement. Experts gathered last week in Gainesville, Florida, for a Giant African Land Snail Science Symposium, to seek the best ways to eradicate the mollusks, including use of a stronger bait approved recently by the federal government.

Obamas Made $608K in 2012 From the desk of the White House accountant: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama paid $112,214 in federal income taxes for 2012 on adjusted gross income of $608,611, an effective rate of 18.4%. The First Family’s adjusted gross income (the amount after certain deductions and exemptions) was down from $789,674 in 2011, when they paid total federal taxes of $162,074, an effective rate of 20.5%. The decline was due primarily to falling royalties from sales of books Mr. Obama has written, according to tax returns released Friday. The president’s book-related earnings peaked in 2009

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I think to some degree I do want to say to them, ‘Give me another chance.’” Rumor has it that Weiner spent $100,000 polling New York City voters about whether they would accept him again. Weiner is married to Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She says she has forgiven her husband and insists he is a changed man. They have since had a son, Jordan. Weiner says he has no exact timeline for when he’ll make a final decision about his possible mayoral run. If he does run, he will enter as a financial front-runner, thanks to more than $4 million he raised for a possible mayoral bid in 2009. Do you believe in second chances?

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In 2012, the Obamas paid $29,450 in state income tax to Illinois. The couple gave $150,034, about 24.6% of their adjusted gross income, to 33 different charities last year. The largest reported gift was $103,871 to the Fisher House Foundation, which provides free housing to family members of injured veterans. They also made donations to the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, and the National Congress of Black Women.


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The Obamas also made $5,000 pledge to a foundation set up to benefit the family of Bruce St. Laurent, a motorcycle police officer in Jupiter, Florida, who was killed while serving in the president’s motorcade in September, 2012. In both years, the Obamas made a $5,000 contribution to Sidwell Friends School, the exclusive private school attended by their two daughters, Malia and Sasha. Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill Biden reported adjusted gross income of $385,072 in 2012, the White House said. They paid $87,851 in total federal income tax for 2012, a further $13,531 in Delaware income tax and $3,593 in Virginia income tax. The Bidens gave $7,190 to charity in 2012. The Bidens also listed donations of clothing, books, kitchenware, glassware, bicycles, toys, pottery and kitchenware to Goodwill and furniture and exercise equipment to The Ministry of Caring. This release comes as Obama continues to push higher taxes on the wealthy. The president’s proposed budget would raise about $1 trillion in new tax revenue over the next decade.

Joe Biden Rents Cottage to Secret Service

In case you’re wondering how Vice President Joe Biden makes a living…he’s a landlord. Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, earned $26,400 in 2012 by renting a cottage on the property of their Delaware home to the Secret Service. They pocketed $17,944 of that rental money.

The arrangement under which the vice president charged the Secret Service personnel for staying on his Delaware property was first reported by The Washington Times in 2011. The 2012 payouts were part of the $385,072 in adjusted gross income the Bidens reported to the IRS in 2012, according to their 2012 tax returns.

Slow Down—You’re on Candid Camera, or Not

We’re being tricked…and it’s working. The City of Laurel in Maryland installed two fake cameras this week. The two decoy boxes look identical to real traffic cameras with police logos, except there is no actual camera inside. “Is it a camera or is it not a camera?” says Laurel City Police Chief Richard McLaughlin. “I think the desired effect is basically just to slow drivers down and ensure compliance versus issuing citations. These cameras are a way of showing it’s not about the money.” Laurel’s speed camera program has been in existence since December 2010. There are currently six real cameras within the city’s five mile radius. “I think they’re a great tool. You don’t know if it’s a decoy or there’s a camera in there, so hopefully it’ll get people to slow down,” says Laurel Mayor Craig Moe. McLaughlin though of the idea earlier in the year and suggested it to the mayor. They negotiated a price with their vendor over the last six weeks and agreed to pay about $2,500 for an empty box. “When I went to our vendor, Brekford, they laughed at me and said, ‘Is this really what you want to do?’” says McLaughlin. “Is it trickery? Sure, you can qualify it however you want to qualify it. But if you don’t speed, you don’t have anything to worry about. Be in compliance,” he says. Drivers also don’t realize that the speed cameras can only ticket drivers from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Drivers will often slow down in front of cameras on the weekend, unaware that cameras cannot issue tickets. Moral of the story: play it safe and slow down.

the Walmart in Federal Way, Washington. His hourly salary is $9.19 so imagine his shock when he stumbled upon an envelope with $20,000 inside. Upon discovering the cash, Mensah ran after the couple who dropped it, hoping to catch them before they left the parking lot. After he returned the envelope to Wisdom, “She was like, ‘Wow! Tears are coming out,” Mensah said. The grateful owner tried to offer him a reward but he refused. Wisdom said she called Walmart twice to make sure management was aware of Mensah’s honesty.

That’s Odd A Town Underground Last week, Kansas City police and local officials cleared out a complex of elaborate tunnels and holes that housed some homeless people near East Bottoms, Kansas. The system of passageways went many feet underground and there is evidence that many people, including young children, called these tunnels their home. “One of the tunnels probably went 20 to 25 feet underground towards the back and veered off in another direction about six feet or so, and there was some bedding and some candles,” said Officer Jason Cooley, community interaction officer for the East Patrol. “It was kind of in a little hill and probably four feet beneath the surface.” Many of the tunnels were concealed, some with wood stacked around it, others packed with bare earth. Fresh air was brought in through PVC pipes for the inhabitants. Of most concern was the pile of recently soiled diapers that was discovered, indicating that young children were living in these labyrinths. Before clearing out and filling in the tunnels, police and volunteers visited the camps to advise residents to clear out the area. After repeated visits, they only encountered four people, although it was clear that many others considered these tunnels their home. It takes the phrase, “living in a hole in the ground,” to a whole new level.

Walmart Employee Returns $20K Shopping in Walmart can make people happy. Bismark Mensah, 32, is an employee at

Reportedly, the money was for a down payment on a house, the couple had cash because they didn’t want to wait for a personal check to clear. Mensah, who emigrated from Ghana in 2012, had been assisting the couple with loading their purchases into their car. After they began to drive off, he saw the envelope in the cart, its clear address window revealing its contents. When asked if he was tempted to keep it, Mensah answered, “My conscience wouldn’t allow it,” he told the Seattle Times. “I couldn’t even drive home if I did that.” Mensah was recently rewarded with Wal-Mart’s national 2013 “Integrity in Action Award” for his honest and altruistic act. While this may seem like rare act of kindness, there has been several similar incidents recently. Last year, an Austrian bus driver returned a bag with over $510,000 inside. This past February, a casino worker came across $10,000 in a restroom and turned it in immediately. There are a lot of good people in the world.

Babies of Blind Mothers Excel in Vision Test New research suggest that babies born to blind mothers have better visual attention and memory than their counterparts with parents who can see. The findings, published on April 9 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggest that blind parents’ inability to respond to gaze and eye contact doesn’t negatively affect their babies’ develop-


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As real estate suffers nationally, New York City housing prices don’t seem to be declining. The average home price in the five boroughs is a staggering $786,000 along with extremely high property tax. One Brooklyn couple that lives paycheck to paycheck just like many other New Yorkers was determined to find a solution. They built themselves a stacked six shipping container home on a 20-by-40-foot plot of land on Keap Street. Yes, they used shipping containers, making it the first shipping container home in NYC. It cost them about $400,000 to build, about $100,000 of that was due to interest that built up due to delays, while only $9,000 went toward the cost of the six containers. Michele Bertomen and David Boyle got the containers from the Port of Newark in New Jersey, and the structure was put up in just three hours. Considering Boyle is a contractor and Bertomen is an architect, their professions certainly helped them with the planning and construction. The couple now has a 1,600-square-foot home that consists of a rooftop deck, a bedroom suite, a balcony, a kitchen space, three bathrooms, a spiral staircase, and a pulley system, among other rooms and features. Considering it’s the first home of its kind in NYC, the couple and the DOB had to work together to figure out plans and requirements, which meant that both sides had to meet every couple of weeks. After sorting out some bumps along the road, the couple finally got their move-in date. They intended for the space to be a bit larger but the Department of Buildings (DOB) stated that the couple’s backyard wasn’t large enough to count as an open space, and therefore they were forced to shrink the structure. I hope they purchased the materials from companies with free return shipping.

A World Record Backflip Doing a backflip while skiing is no

The Tragedy of Texting Alexander Heit’s short life ended on April 3 in a tragic accident. The 22-yearold University of Northern Colorado student drifted into oncoming traffic, jerked the steering wheel, and went off the road, crashing his car. Police suspect that the young driver was texting while driving based on a mid-sentence text discovered on his iPhone at the crash scene. Heit was responding to a friend by typ-

ing “Sounds good my man, seeya soon, ill tw” seconds before the fatal crash. Witnesses told police that Heit appeared to have his head down when he began drifting into the oncoming lane in the outskirts of Greeley, where the University of Northern Colorado is located. According to police, an oncoming driver slowed and moved over just before Heit looked up and jerked the steering wheel. Police say the Colorado native had a spotless driving record and was not speeding at the time of the accident. Heit’s parents chose to release a photo of their son’s iPhone displaying the text cut off in hope that it will serve as a strong lesson to drivers. They are hoping the photo of the mundane text will serve as a harsh reminder to drivers. “In a split second you could ruin your future, injure or kill others, and tear a hole in the heart of everyone who loves you,” Sharon Heit, the boy’s mother, said. This should serve as a powerful lesson to all.

The Art of Walmart Walmart has everything from lawn mowers to diapers. In many small towns, it is the go-to-store for almost anything and everything except fine art. But that doesn’t stop it from being the backdrop to paintings. Artist Brendan O’Connell turns the Walmart shopping experience into art. His largest canvases sell for about $40,000. His images often feature the colorful displays, blue-vested employees, and shoppers. O’Connell is drawn towards subjects interacting with their environment and he felt that Walmart is an ideal setting to analyze shoppers. You’re probably imagining the American painter perched smack in middle of Aisle 8 with his easel and pallet…but that’s not exactly how his paintings come to life. In 2003, he began traveling the country

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easy feat. Thirty people doing a backflip together while skiing is really no easy feat. But thirty people doing a backflip together while skiing and holding hands—well, that just may be a world record. On Sunday, mogul freestyle skiing World Cup champion Mikael Kingsbury organized 29 of his friends to perform the largest backward somersault ever. It took place at Mont Saint-Sauveur ski resort in Quebec. “Mikael had this idea a month or so ago and created a Facebook group where he invited the people he knew that could do a backflip easily enough to be confident doing it holding hands,” another skier, Jerome Berneche, explained. “When he saw there was interest, he contacted the mountain [resort] to see if they could build us a jump wide enough and close a part of a slope for a day. They were kind enough to help us with this idea and made it happen.” Obviously, Kingsbury was among the jumpers, along with current or former members of the Canadian freestyle skiing team. After a little practice, the group was able to perform the simultaneous backflip. “We were pretty stoked,” Berneche said. “I don’t think anybody really expected it to work that well. We went for lunch [and] got a big poutine [typical Canadian dish] to celebrate.” It certainly is something to celebrate. I can’t even ski in a straight line. See you on the bunny slopes.

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“The babies are very flexible, and they can easily adapt to the different modes of communication,” said study co-author Atsushi Senju, a developmental cognitive neuroscientist at Birkbeck, University of London. Previous studies have concluded that children with autism make less eye contact and children in orphanages, who get little eye contact or social interaction, also show development problems. Based on these findings, Senju and his colleagues wondered how the lack of eye contact and gazing from blind parents affected their seeing children. Although blind people may not be able to make intentional eye contact, they still interact socially through sound, touch, and conversation. To determine results for this study, researchers divided a sample of babies into two groups: five babies with a blind mother and a sighted or partially-sighted father and 51 babies with two seeing parents. The researchers then showed the two groups a video of people and compared the gaze of the babies of blind mothers to that of the babies with seeing parents. They evaluated the babies twice: once between 6 months and 10-months-old, and again when the children were between 12 months and 15-months-old. Then, they assessed the babies’ brain development between ages 2 and 4. Throughout the study, the babies of blind mothers were able to follow a person’s gaze and look at faces just as well as those whose mothers didn’t have visual problems. Furthermore, in tests of their visual attention and memory, the babies of blind mothers actually performed better than their peers at all-time points. “We were totally puzzled to find it,” Senju revealed. The team studied previous literature and discovered that bilingual babies show a similar trend in increased visual attention leading the team to wonder whether switching between sighted and blind caregivers could provide the same mental boost as switching between different spoken languages.

The study proves that humans are prewired to seek out social interactions, especially with their caregivers. “One of the most striking and endearing findings in this paper is that the babies of blind mothers significantly increased their attention-getting vocalizations to the mother over and above that shown by babies of sighted parents,” Metlzoff said. “They crave maternal social attention and switch modalities and produce auditory events that will get the mom’s attention. Brilliant!” This is just another proof of Hashem’s wonderful world!

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ment. In fact, the need to rapidly switch between communicating with blind parents and the seeing world may actually enhance development by boosting visual attention.

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and taking photographs of happenings in Walmart stores and then recreating the images in his studio. “I was struck by the notion of capturing everyday American life,” he told The Boston Globe. “Walmart has replaced the church as the place where people congregate.”

In some paintings, O’Connell focuses on the abstract shapes and colors formed by dozens of cans or bottles, all lined up in columns and rows. It’s hard to make out exact brand names, but as seen in the painting, “Fiber and Ketchup,” the shapes, colors, and label designs are so familiar to us that the products are instantly recognizable. Initially the artist was asked to leave several Walmart locations since a man

snapping pictures of shopped and cans of beans seems rather strange. Once store managers were informed of the man’s artistic intentions he was welcomed into stores and some stores accommodate his work and supply a forklift for panoramic shots. The company actually purchased a painting of the original Walmart store in Arkansas. “My last two favorite paintings came from photos that people sent me as opposed to ones I took, which I love that because I’ve been in more Walmarts than anybody I know who doesn’t work for the company. So you start to get a familiarity blindness, where if somebody goes in and just thinks of it in an artful way, they’re going to come up with something more interesting just from the freshness of it,” O’Connell said. O’Connell turned his gift to giving by founding Everyartist.me, a venture that helps nurture the creativity in children. Last year, Everyartist.me helped more than 8,000 elementary school children fill a football field with their art. O’Connell admits that he has discussed a possible collaboration with Walmart. He would set up a studio inside a store and take a picture of a scene or interaction and begin transferring the image to canvas right there, turning an everyday ritual into fine art. Shoppers can watch the entire process and perhaps have an opportunity

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to be a subject of a painting, and possibly buy the painting which will have a more Walmart-like price tag. Buying art in Walmart featuring Walmart—that would definitely be something I’d like to hang in my living room.

$40K Win: Happy; $40 Million Win: Ecstatic! When grandma Maria Carreiro checked her lottery ticket, she was shocked that all the numbers matched! The lucky winner showed her Lottery Max ticket to her daughter who just couldn’t believe that she had won $40,000. When Carreiro’s daughter went online to check the incredible win, she discovered that her mother had won but she has misread the amount. The winning amount actually contained a couple of more zeros and she had won $40 million. Carreiro, 51, is a former factory worker who now looks after her five grandchildren. “I couldn’t believe it. I was shaking and just couldn’t believe that it was real. We were all excited when we thought it was only in the thousands but then in disbelief when we discovered I was a millionaire!” Carreiro said at an April 8 press conference of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission, where she accepted an oversized check for her prize money. Carreiro was elated as she spoke at the press conference. “Thank you, L-rd! Thank you, L-rd!” she cried, while doing a happy dance and blowing kisses into the air. Carreiro had been playing the lottery for years but always used her three children’s birthdays as the numbers. This time, she decided to let the computer choose the numbers for her. “It still hasn’t sunk in,” her daughter said, breaking down. “My dad works so hard and we’ve been struggling so much.” “The first thing I’m going to do is look for a nice big new house. And then I’m going to pamper myself – buy new clothes for myself and my husband and buy things for my kids that I couldn’t buy before,” the lucky winer said. “Now it’s time to relax together with my husband. We never had a honeymoon, 30 years ago, so now it’s time. We’re going to Hawaii.” As if this news couldn’t get any better— just so you know, Canadian citizens are not required to pay taxes on lottery winnings.

Nobel Prize Medal Bought for $2M The Nobel Prize was for sale. The Nobel Prize medal that Francis Crick won for his role in a historic DNA discovery was sold on Thursday for more than $2 million to a Shanghai biotech executive who plans to use it to promote science in China. It is unusual for a Nobel

Prize to be sold. A letter that Crick wrote to his son in 1953, in which the scientist sketched out the DNA molecule’s double-helix structure weeks before the discovery was revealed publicly, was auctioned off for $6 million. The purchaser of that letter has remained anonymous, but the 23-carat gold medal along with its diploma was purchased by Jack Wang, who heads a Shanghai-based biomedical venture called Biomobie. Wang put in the top offer of $1.9 million at the end of a enthusiastic round of bidding. The traditional buyer’s premium boosted the total price to $2,270,500. Crick’s family attended the auction including his son, Michael, whose letter was sold at Christie’s the day before. “This is a good week for you guys, eh?” Kathleen Guzman, the auctioneer at Heritage Auctions, joked after the bidding for the medal ended. Prior to the sale, Michael Crick announced that 20% of the proceeds will be donated to the Francis Crick Institute in London which is scheduled to open in 2015. The remainder will be divided among Francis Crick’s heirs. Wang also purchased the canceled check that Crick received as his monetary share of the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology back in 1962, for a total price of $77,675. It seems like Wang is obsessed with Dr. Crick. Perhaps it’s in his genes.

Addicted to Pasta Ramen-style noodles, a staple in the pantry of broke college students, has been the mainstay of one teenager’s diet for the past 13 years. Georgi Readman, 18, of the Isle of Wight, U.K., refuses to eat anything but Ramen-style noodles. Ramen-style noodles are cheap, contain high amounts of fat, saturated fat, and sodium. One package typically has 400 calories and 20 grams of fat. She refuses to eat fruit or vegetables. The teenager is 5’3’’ and weighs 98 pounds. Readman said she became addicted to the noodles when she was just five-yearsold and her mother still buys her packages by the dozens. She says that the thought of eating anything else makes her sick. “I hate the texture of fruit and vegetables,” she said. “I can’t go to my friends for dinner or go out for meals because I don’t want them to see me freak out if the side salad touches the stuff I eat. Mum goes to the supermarket and brings back as many packets as she can afford. I always fancy noodles and could easily eat two packets at once. I’ve even eaten them dry and uncooked before!” A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that 78 percent of picky eating habits can be attributed to genetics and only 22 percent are caused by environmental factors. Noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner—sounds like oodles of noodles to me.


Health & Fitness

From Slavery to Weight Loss

1. Avoid White Flour. Choose multi grain or whole grain breads, brown rice, and sweet potatoes over their white counterparts. Fiber will make you feel full, keep your GI track run smoothly, and help you lose those pounds. 2. Eat Protein. Try to eat lean proteins at every meal, like egg whites, fish, chicken and turkey. Fish will help you lose weight and also will give your body oil to maintain good skin. 3. Drink Water. Try to drink at least 8 cups of water a day. Drink 1 – 2 cups of water before each meal and you will find that you will eat less. Alcohol consumption is harmful to your diet since it metabolizes as fat.

4. Snack on Fruit and Veggies. Avoid snacking on cookies, cake, chips, and pretzels. Eat raw, not dried, fruits and veggies to fill you up with good nutrition. 5. Eat Dinner Before 7:00 pm. Whatever you eat from dinner and on will be converted and stored as fat, so the earlier you eat, the better. Avoid late night meals! 6. Exercise. The weather is getting warmer (finally!). Go for long walks, bike, or swim. The more you move, the more you’ll burn. Running or jogging at a pace of over 8 mph will allow you to burn at least 1000 calories per hour. Also, swimming is amazing for your body and helps you burn calories faster, without stressing inflamed joints. Now is the perfect time to get a jumpstart on your diet! The challenges of the holidays and bitter cold are in the past, leaving us at the right moment to look at our current eating lifestyles. Summer is the perfect time to make your change to a healthier life. It will be invigorating to lose all those unwanted evil pounds accumulated over the past few months. Like every challenge, a plan is needed to be successful. We all must be tenacious about our eating habits. A gezunten spring!

Aliza Beer is a registered dietician with a Master’s degree in nutrition. She has a private practice in Cedarhurst, NY. Patients’ success has been featured on the Dr. Oz Show. Aliza’s new line of prepared, healthy mealsto-go are available at Gourmet Glatt. Aliza can be reached at alizabeer@ gmail.com.

SALVAGED THE SALE

CHATZOS PARTNERSHIP Become a partner And experience miracles!

“It’s not the first time that I’ve had a sale in my store” related the “Kollel Chatzos” partner. “Once a year I make a large sell-off which usually brings in lots of revenue and helps sustain the business for a long time.”

SEGULAH OF KETORAS The only Segulah written in the Torah!

“This year, as in the past, we once again announced our big annual sale. We invested in a huge marketing campaign with prominent ads and large discounts, and looked forward to a profitable week”.

MISHNAYAS & SHAS According to your specications-for the soul of a loved one

“But halfway through the sale week,” he continued “things were not going as planned… It was as if we were standing in a desert without a person in sight…..the merchandise lay untouched and we were afraid that we would be “losing” money, let alone making any”.

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esach is over and it’s time for summer! The warm weather is almost here, so it’s the perfect time to come out of our winter and holiday hibernation and greet the hot season with slim, healthy bodies. Pesach was a major challenge regarding dieting. The plethora of food and meals combined with an overall lack of exercise posed many problems for those concerned with their weight. A diligent diet and exercise program is necessary to lose those unwanted pounds.

Shemos

“When my son saw my predicament, he urged me to contact “Kollel Chatzos”, an organization consisting of a group of honorable men who immerse themselves in the task of helping people in crises by Torah and Tefillah at chatzos, and one that had personally benefited him already”. “I have to tell you, I am a middle-aged man with a lot of life experience, but I have never been this astounded! Shortly after calling in to sign up with “Kollel Chatzos”, customers started streaming in non-stop! What an amazing power you possess!” he concluded.

TOPIC SOURCE Through the power of Learning at Chatzos, You will Achieve Good Luck and Great Success!

VACHTNACHT The Torah learning will protect the newborn

Monsey Rabbonim shlit”a proclaim: Blessings and Success!

In recent days, the honorable directors at “Kollel Chatzos” have been paying visits to the venerable Rebbes and Rosh Yeshivas in Monsey, who have responded warmly and have welcomed the big day, Tu B’Shvat, a date established for the start of the new branch of “Kollel Chatzos-Monsey”. It will be located in the beautiful and spacious “Toshnod Shul”, from which it will serve as a source of light for all of Monsey I”H!

(‫ פלא יועץ שער השכמה‬:‫)זוהר הק' ח"א רז‬

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the Segulah with the Power of Torah

The Jewish Home

KOLLEL CHATZOS

Aliza Beer

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by Shiffy Friedman ©

April 18, 2013

Shiffy Friedman is a Jerusalem-based freelance writer. Her works have been published widely, primarily in Ami Magazine. She would love to hear feedback on her writing. Feel free to contact her at passionforthepen@gmail.com.

Part One

The Jewish Home

Chapter Three

Recap: Incensed at her sister Becca’s abandonment of their divorced mother, Lisa plans to take revenge by violating a vow she’d made to Becca many years before. Their brother Davie, who lives with a close friend Tuvia, comes home from Becca’s baby’s kiddush to find Tuvia sprawled on their bedroom floor. Lisa Stein Marcus Just a short drive from our neat little home on Delaware Street is The Place. I sometimes wish for the distance to be longer so I’d have more time to think about all the good talks we have there on my way home. On evenings when too many thoughts rattle in my brain like pennies in a tin can, I circle our street so many times I know the precise second the light will turn green. If I wouldn’t know it’s there, I’d miss the tiny blue sign hanging on the side door of the plain building. I imagine it read The Place once in time, but today the P is already missing, making one wonder why the adjective lace was left dangling forever unexplained.  The questions, however, end at the door. Inside, in the cozy carpeted room that smells of black coffee and microwaved popcorn (the half-popped seeds at the bottom of the bag always get passed to me), are all the answers. Sometimes the ears are pained to hear them and it seems easier to bounce them back unthinkingly, but what good would that do in the healing process? We agreed to join this noble group of fighters so we’d win a trophy of growth, not denial. We’re all here to reach the Magical Place, where hearts and minds are stripped of all things negative. At 8:00 sharp, Rifka launches the session with the question we know to expect though three of the ten women are still not present.  “What have you done within the past two weeks to bring yourself closer to the Magical Place?”  Judy Krausz, a woman I’ve come to admire and befriend, sits closest to Rifka so she answers first. “I was at my mother’s house for a visit yesterday. That alone is a victory, by the way, because I hate to go. I took along my toddler so she could see him do his latest antics. I thought that maybe now, in her advanced age, she’d finally appreciate her nachas. The first few minutes went just fine and I was literally holding my breath, hoping that everything goes over well,” Judy stops for a moment, twiddling the oversized diamond on her finger, as we all wait to hear the end. “It did. It really did until the very, very end of our visit. When I went to get our coats, Avi did a terrible thing. He crawled

onto one of the couches in the living room with his shoes on! Oh did I get bashed for my incompetence at parenting. She was like, ‘What a mother you are, Judy! Who taught you this? You can’t be my daughter.’ The rant was just awful but I didn’t let it penetrate. I didn’t allow her words to eat me for even one minute. I just let her talk and talk until she had no breath left and then I gathered our stuff and walked to the door, not without a smile. I know I can never change this woman but at least I didn’t let her venom get to me.” We give Judy a short round of applause before the next member shares an incident. Lena, still in her lower twenties, tells us of the nightmare she had just last night, of how she woke up in a cold sweat, panting heavily. “I saw my father in the room, a broom in his hand. I think I screamed in my sleep because the baby was crying when I woke up. It took a few minutes of calm breathing and positive thinking until I finally felt safe, even in my own home. I literally pushed the images away before I nursed the baby back to sleep and then drifted off myself.” Now too, we applaud.  Goldy shares her story and then it’s Shira’s turn. Her history of abuse is so troubling you’d think she made it up.  “So we had a family simcha last week and I had no choice but to attend. In the past, family simchas would kill me every single time I’d go. I’d cry so much when I’d get home that my husband wouldn’t know what to do with me. But since I’ve started to attend these meetings, I’ve learned so much about staying in control. The biting comments and nasty jokes just pass right through me as if I didn’t hear them. Because I believe in myself, there’s this fortress around me that makes me feel protected and unharmed despite my family’s negativity.” This is a giant leap for Shira. When she first joined the group, I wondered if she’d ever return. Since most of us had started the sessions several weeks before, we were already stronger and more confident than she was. At that point, she was so broken I thought she’d never heal. But here she was, sharing several episodes of that one simcha that could’ve killed her but built her instead.  Two more women slip into the room quietly, pulling chairs from the stack in the corner against the wall.  In her loud voice that always reigns supreme when arguments get heated, Gila tells of how she had an urge to punish her son last night, to slap him so hard he’d be red in the face until the morning. “When I came upstairs to check if he’s in bed, I found him

still dressed at the computer, playing games. I can’t describe what restraint I had to use, how I had to tie my hands behind my back so I wouldn’t hurt him. In my head, I warned myself, ‘You don’t want to continue the cycle, Gila. No, no, no. Keep calm. Count till ten. Breathe it in.’ I worked so hard I was exhausted afterwards but I didn’t touch Yoni.” When it’s my turn, I scratch my head. I was sure I’d have something to share by the time Rifka says “Lisa,” in her soft, sweet voice, but I can’t think of any particular incident worth sharing with the group. I shrug my shoulders. Unlike Shira, I hadn’t emerged a hero from our latest family simcha. Instead, the anger was still brewing within. “Something,” Rifka tries. “Just a little something.” I hesitate before I speak. I don’t like to talk about my professional life in a setting so personal. “My incident is different from the ones you ladies shared,” I turn to the others. “It’s about how I worked to stop abuse this week. As a play therapist, I sometimes observe behaviors in children that make me suspect they’re being abused at home.” Shira sits up straighter. Does she think I’m any more respectable than she because of my career? She’s the hero in my eyes. “I can’t share any details, but I’ve actually saved a child this week. I saved a life.” While three other women speak, I think of my victory. Entering the field of therapy was a step enough for me. It often requires that I delve into my own past, that I look into a mirror so jagged I almost don’t see myself anymore. But I’m doing it day by day, trudging through this career and building solid muscle. Something did become of me, Dad, a voice whistles inside. Gila’s rugged voice pulls me out of my thoughts. She wants to share something before Rifka moves on to the second part of the session. “This piece was written from the perspective of an abused wife,” she starts. “A friend sent this poem to me and I thought it would be interesting for you to hear what it’s like to suffer the abuse as a spouse.” I think of my mother, of the rag she’s become over time, as I try to concentrate on Gila’s voice. “The title of this poem,” she starts, “is ‘If Only I’d Known’.” She lets out a deep breath and begins to read. “If only I’d known What life would bring How I’d cry into my pillow How my heart would never sing. If only…” I hear her read like I’m underwater, drifting in and out to catch a line here and there. “…That I’d never be good enough

That nothing I’d do would make him smile And every move would distance us a mile...” This life sounds eerily familiar to me. It is the life of my mother, who hasn’t known a happy day. Before I know it, Gila’s reading the last lines. “If only I’d known That life would be one long stretch Of pain, disappointment, and distress Would I have never, ever said That cursed word ‘Yes’? “ I don’t think Rifka likes what this poem is doing to the mood in the room. “We’re not here to dwell on the past,” she always tells us. “But to move on, to heal, to pat ourselves on our backs for the efforts we take to bring ourselves closer to the Magical Place.” I’m seething inside, unable to concentrate on the healing part of today’s session. I want to drive to my mother’s house, to wrap my arms around her worn body, to let her know how much I admire her for still being alive today.  When the class officially ends, I make my way to the door. On other nights, I’d linger behind to catch up on Judy’s life, to share some tidbits about mine.  Tonight, I need time for myself. I want to think about Becca, to talk to her in my mind and let her know how despicable a child she’s being, how much she deserves to be punished for betraying our mother who’s suffered enough. Rifka catches me at the door. I wonder if she picked up on my uptight mood. Since the kiddush, I haven’t been the kind, pleasant person I usually am but tonight’s reading only aggravated the flare in my heart. I don’t want Rifka to know, though. If she cuts open my soul tonight, she’ll find graffitilike streaks of revenge all over its walls.  I don’t think she’ll approve of my wicked plan.  “Lisa,” Rifka puts her time-worn hand on my shoulder. “Are you in a rush?” I pause for a moment, undecided. “Not really,” my voice says. “If you give me a few minutes of your time, I can talk with you about an offer I think you won’t refuse.” “Sounds exciting,” I say, retreating into the room. Shira and Goldy are still seated, eating the last remnants of popcorn while the room clears out. I walk with Rifka to the other end. “It’s good you brought up your career tonight,” she says when we take our seats. “For several weeks, I’ve been trying hard to find a candidate for a very special project.” Rifka’s eyes sparkle as she speaks, piquing my curiosity. I wonder what it is she’s getting at, glad she hadn’t pulled me back because she’d read my soul. Her offer is definitely something promising, I realize, as excitement builds in my chest. “Lisa, you just might be the person I’m looking for.”


D

Ledo Road: The Little Road that Could

uring a At first, the supplies military were being trucked campaign, over the Burma many stories of Road but soon it was heroic fighting overrun by the Japaand bravery on the nese. By the end of battlefield make it 1942, the only way to the papers in the to supply the war efhome country. Very fort in China was for few stories about the Fourteenth Air Generals Stillwell (r) and Merrill the work of soldiers Force, under Claire who toil behind the lines ever make Chennault of Flying Tigers fame, to fly national news. American soldiers who them over the “Hump.” The Hump was weren’t in the fighting made up about part of the larger Himalaya Mountain sixth-sevenths of the entire U.S. Military Range. British commander General Wilduring WWII. There was one area of liam Slim had sent surveyors for the first operations, called the Forgotten Theater, 80 miles of the would-be road and said that almost never made the headlines while it was feasible, it would have minibut without the construction and engineering feats of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the battle would have been lost. Even though most of the fighting in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater of Operations against the invading Japanese was done by the British and Chinese, American engineers constructed an all-weather road A bulldozer working in the mud that surpassed anything built to date. The Ledo Road was created in mal effect and the precious material that about two years over a 1,000 mile stretch it would consume wouldn’t be worth the of the toughest terrain in the world. effort. He also claimed that Ledo was the The Japanese had invaded Chi- wrong place to start. In December, the supreme commander of the British army, Sir Archibald Wavell, agreed with Stillwell to create another road that would link up with portions of the Burma Road. Ledo in Assam, India, was chosen as the start point because it was at a crucial rail and caravan juncture where supplies passed through. The road wound through the Pataki Mountains and Construction on the Ledo Road sometimes reach the height of na in 1931, and in 1941, with the declara- 10,000 feet. The first 38 miles was in Intion of war on the U.S., they continued dia. The next 646 miles were in Burma their offensive in the south. Soon a large and went through many important cities chunk of China was in Japanese hands, on the way. The last 395 miles travelled and they were threatening Burma (today through China and ended at Kunming Myanmar) and parts of India. The west- which was a key city for the Chinese ern allies were only able to send only a forces fighting the Japanese. 65,000 few frontline fighting units to the theater people worked on construction, and as most troops were needed to fight the 15,000 were American soldiers with a Germans and to stage invasions against large number of African-Americans. The Japanese-held islands in the Pacific. Service of Supply (SOS) under General However, the U.S., under General “Vin- Wheeler oversaw the project who apegar Joe” Stillwell, was on very good pointed Colonel (later General) Lewis terms with the Chinese government and Pick as the base commander. their leader, Chiang Kai-shek. Chiang’s The first leg of the road went from troops were being trained by the west- Ledo, India, to Shingbwiyang, Burerners but they needed supplies badly. ma—a distance of 103 miles. It took

Avi Heiligman

render in August 1945. about a year to creFor the six months ate this stretch which that it was in use durwent through some ing the war, 129,000 extremely difficult tons of supplies were terrain to clear. At transported over the the beginning, there road in 26,000 trucks was a lack of sufthat were subsequently ficient heavy equiphanded over to the ment to clear the soil Chinese. and crush the rocks. The British were The few bulldozers right in their assessthat they had were too ment that the suplight for the mountain A plane hovering over the road plies flown over the terrain but eventually some equipment was borrowed from the hump would greatly exceed the tonnage British and finally the rest was shipped trucked over the road. However, it was a from the U.S. Work continued around necessary step in the defeat of the Japathe clock as the engineers found ways to nese for they were constantly pressured clear the area including using explosives. in that theater and it deprived them of Even though the rest of the road was still troops that could have been sent to other under construction, this part was already front lines. in full use to supply the troops fighting in Burma. Heavy rains and a monsoon in April severely hampered the effort but the work continued despite the treacherous conditions. One of Stillwell’s deputies, Brigadier General A truck in the first convoy over the road Frank Merrill, had created After the war, the Stillwell Road fell a unit of about 3,000 American soldiers (pretty much the only regular American into disuse and only recently have efforts troops fighting in the theater) to clear the been made in the three countries, India, way ahead of the construction units of Myanmar and China, to reopen it as a Japanese. As the Japanese retreated fur- major source for economic growth. The ther south, the road took shape in North- road is also a testament to the ingenuity ern Burma, and by late 1944, the construction had reached as far as Bhamo, 372 miles from the starting point. There were two four-inch pipes that ran along the road to provide gas for the bulldozers at the front. It was much more logical than having to truck them all the way and not let other vital materials reach the construction units. The old Burma Road had a spur that reached Bhamo, and at Mong-Yu, China, the junction between the Burma Road and the Ledo Road was connected. The going was much easier General Pick inspecting the road as improvements were made along the that his troops had just built road and no major mishaps or tough ter- of the engineers and construction units rain caused delays. Finally, on January of the U.S. Army who, despite the great 12 1945, the road reached Kunming, challenge and against all odds, completChina—a distance of 1,079 miles from ed one of the greatest engineering feats Ledo. General Pick led the first convoy of the war. of 113 trucks along the entire road finally Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to The reaching the end point on February 4. The Stillwell Road (the engineers Jewish Home. He welcomes your comments nicknamed it Pick’s Pike after their lead- and suggestions.for future columns and can er) was continually being improved as be reached at aviheiligman@gmail.com. a major highway until the Japanese sur-

april 18, 2013

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Forgotten Heroes

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In the Kitchen Seudah Shlishit Shalosh Seudos with Sophistication Sophistication Now that Shabbos is getting longer, here are some ideas to grace your table for Shalosh Seudos. You never know what you’ll end up making every week this season!

Tabouleh Salad

Poached Salmon

Asian Pasta Salad

Ingredients 2 bunches of fresh parsley (1 ½ cup chopped, with stems discarded) 2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped I medium onion, finely chopped 6 medium tomatoes, diced 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or cayenne pepper 1/2 cup bulghur, medium grade 6 tablespoons lemon juice 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Romaine lettuce or grape leaves to line serving bowl (optional)

Ingredients 5-6 slices of salmon, skin removed 1 large onion, sliced 1 ½ cup water, divided ½ cup sugar or Splenda ½ cup vinegar Pickling spices Bay leaves

Ingredients 1 package spaghetti 1 teaspoon olive oil 6 tablespoons soy sauce ¼ cup white sugar 3 tablespoons rice vinegar 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds 2 teaspoons chili sauce 1 teaspoon sesame oil 2 scallions, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped (optional) 1 cup sugar snap peas (optional) Sesame seeds for garnish

Preparation Soak bulghur in cold water for 1 ½ to 2 hours until soft. Squeeze out excess water from bulghur us.ing hands or paper towel. Combine all ingredients, except for salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. If you wish, you may line serving bowl with grape leaves or romaine lettuce, and add salad. Sprinkle olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper on top. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator for two hours before serving.

Preparation In a large pot, boil ½ cup water with the onion slices and sugar. Once the water boils, add the vinegar, 1 cup water, pickling spices, 1-2 bay leaves and salmon. Return to boil and then reduce heat to medium heat for 20 minutes. Transfer to container when cool. Serving suggestions: the salmon slices can be served with lemon slices, tartar sauce or dill sauce.

Preparation Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl and toss with olive oil. Whisk soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame seeds, chili sauce, and sesame oil together in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Toss soy sauce mixture with pasta; top with scallions, red bell pepper, and snap peas. Refrigerate 30 minutes to overnight to allow flavors to blend. Toss again before serving and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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Susan Schwamm

The Jewish Home

Leisure & Travel

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From Sea to Shining Sea : Montana

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raveling to Montana may be best done with a friend. You see, they seem to have trouble with being alone in the state. It’s illegal for unmarried women to fish alone in Montana and sheep cannot be in the cab of your truck without a chaperone. And that sounds funny because it seems that people really are lonely in this state. There are only six people per square mile living in Big Sky Country. The only things that aren’t lonely in Montana are the wildlife. The average square mile of land contains 1.4 elk, 1.4 pronghorn antelope and 3.3 deer. So if you’re looking for some wild friends, it’s best to come to Montana. You are bound to meet some deer and grizzly bears—Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states. Montana is also called the Treasure State because of its rich mineral reserves. In fact, the Montana Yogo Sapphire is the only North American gem to be included in the Crown Jewels of England. Talking about jewels, Montana’s most visited place is Glacier National Park which is known as the crown jewel of the continent. So there’s a lot to enjoy in Montana. One thing is certain when visiting this state—you are bound to make some fourlegged friends all the way! Things You Won’t Want to Miss Glacier National Park Montana is home to two national parks and each one will leave you breathless. Glacier National Park is the center of one of the largest and most intact ecosystems in North America. Visitors are awed by its one million acres of turquoise alpine lakes, mountain goats and grizzly bears, rugged mountain peaks and smooth glaciers. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is the most popular attraction in the park. Visitors can drive the 50 miles or take the Park’s famous Red Jammer buses and marvel at the scenery and wildlife. But the Lake McDonald Valley is also a wonder to explore, with the largest lake in the park and high peaks with majestic waterfalls surrounding the lake. Hiking, horseback riding and a boat tour are

just a few of the activities available to visitors. At Logan Pass, Reynolds Mountain and Clements Mountains tower over fields of yellow wildflowers, and visitors can hike the Hidden Lake trail and Highline trail and enjoy the splendor of the park up close. Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone is the world’s first national park and is perhaps the most recognized national park in America. Established in 1872, the park spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles and is a wonderland of lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Although the majority of the park is in Wyoming, the park extends into Montana and Idaho. Visitors flock here for the geysers and its famous Yellowstone Caldera, the largest super-volcano on the continent. There is much to do in the park, although most visitors prefer to drive through the park and gaze at the scenery and wildlife. Bison, grizzly bears and wolves abound in the park. Thousands visit Old Faithful every year and the less-famous Norris Geyser Basin. Each season brings its own splendor; there is much to see all year. Explore the Great Outdoors Besides for the beautiful nature found in Montana, there is so much to do while visiting there. Love water? Spend time rafting, canoeing or kayaking its rivers and lakes. Enjoy fishing? Cast your fishing rod for some rainbow trout of lunker walleye. Hiking or backpacking your thing? Slip on your hiking boots for a good trek in the Bob Marshall Wilderness or Beartooth-Absaroka. Biking and horseback riding are some other favorite activities of visitors to the great, big state. In the winter, enjoy skiing, dogsledding and snowmobiling. How about a good, long soak in Montana’s famous hot springs? Sounds relaxing to me!


The Jewish Home

April 18, 2013

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LA Real Estate Real Estate

Ask Meir! To buy or not to buy? Is it the right time to sell or not? Is now a good time to buy? As a real estate professional I am frequently asked “is now good time to buy a home?�. We are currently in a market with historically low interest rates, therefore I believe this is the ideal time to purchase a property ESPECIALLY if it is for the long term. If the right situation presents itself to a prospective long term buyer, I even go so far as to recommend to this buyer that they over extend themselves, if necessary. The reason being is that whatever they are purchasing now will certainly be worth more in 10 years. Additionally they can take advantage of locking in an extremely low interest rate for the next 30 years and this may be the best, if not the one of the best,

investment they make in their lifetime, outside of receiving the continuous benefit of living in a home that they love. That being said there are some answers to the question is now a good time to buy, that depend on the prospective buyer’s situation and what they are hoping to accomplish with their purchase. The following are some questions I may ask in order to provide the most accurate answer. Are you looking to purchase as a personal residence, or as an investment? If it is for personal use, how long do you plan on living in this property? Will it be for short term (3-5 years or less) or for the long term? If it is a person with a family, do they plan on growing


Additionally I may ask if this person’s financial position will be improving in the near future. If so, it would be better to wait and purchase something that might be more expensive or larger so they may enjoy it for a longer period of time.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found the advice and questions helpful. It is my hope that this “Ask Meir” column become a real estate source of information where you may get your questions answered. Please feel free to send your questions to meir@meirkroll. com. I will select a few questions each month that I will publish the answers to. Thank you for your continued interest. I look forward to sharing my professional expertise with you.

Some people feel inclined to purchase a home for the income tax benefits that owning an owner occupied residence provides (such as mortgage interest and property

MEIR KROLL

OFFICE: 310.341.4393 CEL: 310.658.1288 FAX: 310077339247 EMAIL:MEIRRMEIRKROLL.COM WWW.MEIRKROLL.COM DRE#01864039

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april 18, 2013

tax deductions benefits on tax returns). If this is the case I always recommend you speak to your accountant or tax professional. In doing so you should find out exactly what the ideal balance is for your monthly interest and property tax payments based on your income in order to take full advantage of these benefits. Furthermore you should be sure to get all of your financial documentation together, if you haven’t already done so, to ensure that you are ready to get pre-approved and or get your loan approved with a bank.

The Jewish Home

their family in the near future and if so, does what they are looking for now or what they can afford now, fit within that long term goal of growing their family? If it is a person who plans on starting a family in the near future, is the property they are looking to purchase or can afford conducive to this? You never want to be in a position where you have to sell a property you just bought within a short period of time because the costs involved in doing so will most likely leave you with a loss on your investment.


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