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The Week In News

APRIL 7, 2022 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

APRIL 7, 2022 | The Jewish Home


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The Week In News

APRIL 7, 2022 | The Jewish Home




Dear Readers, One of the lessons of the Chinese virus is that intended solutions need to be matched to results and weighed against the effects of them. Pointing out a problem or highlighting an area of concern doesn’t automatically give us the right to present any solution. Using gasoline to put out a fire is a worse idea than doing nothing. Same is true when someone says they are a victim. Whether a child of ours, a student in school or a person on the street. Not withstanding the automatic impulse to take their side we must first make sure that they are the victim and not the person they are complaining against (see most cases in Israel.) We can then decide an appropriate reaction - discipline needs to match the wrong done, not the feeling of outrage sometimes caused by an overreacting individual. And lastly, solutions need to be based on helping the victim the most. Promoting a feeling of victimhood causes even further harm to the person wronged. If our grandparents went about life with a feeling of entitlement after living out the quintessence of the word victim, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Our Creator made this world with faults. Some people have material wealth, others struggle. Some people have robust health, others suffer. Some people have respectful children, others endure much anguish. Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Focusing in an impulsive way to address any of these realities often leads to unjust solutions for society as well as the people we are intending to help. As Yidden we have the time-tested gift that Hashem gave us, His holy Torah. All the challenges we have faced up to this day are addressed within. Some clearly, and some after delving deeper, but it’s all there. Let’s recommit as a nation and as an individual to connect to Hashem through learning His Torah and performing His Mitzvos. Doing so is also the best medicine for the maladies contributing to the societal meltdown we are currently witnessing. All of which hopefully ushers us very soon into the time when the entire world will be occupied with knowing our Creator. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos and a Good Yom Tov,


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

The Week In News

APRIL 7, 2022 | The Jewish Home

Announces its Fifteenth Annual Commencement Exercises June 2, 2022 Candidates for Graduation 2022 Talia Sara Aufrichtig

Elisheva Beck

Ester Cohen

Yael Cohen

Jacob Gurfinkel

Daniella Haghighi

Ben Hamer

Laya Jacobson

Tzipora Kagan

Meira Kaufman

Atara Yehudit Ommatyar

Moshe Uriel Rafael

Alexander Michael Schwartz

Chana Shemghatan

Netanel Shnider

Schneur Z. Smith

Yael Sohayegh

Sarah Elizabeth Winter

Ayalah Zahab

Dayana Zakariaei

Lea Zarifpour

Mazel Tov to the Graduates and their Families We wish you great success in the future At Touro College Los Angeles, we offer world-class undergraduate degrees in a supportive environment, small, personalized classes, with educational pathways in Business, Health Sciences, Judaic Studies, and Psychology, with new concentrations in Real Estate and Pre-Speech Therapy, that help you learn the skills you need to succeed. Separate Men’s and Women’s Divisions.



Living with the The Week In Times News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

APRIL 7, 2022 | The Jewish Home

Today is the Day

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

In the initial days of this world, when there was little more than the earth and the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars, the world was waiting. Even after Adam was created and settled into the garden, le’ovdah uleshomrah, the world was still in a state of anticipation. The doubt would remain for centuries on end. Throughout the generations that followed, despite Noach’s lone piety in a world of darkness, Avrohom Avinu’s perception of a Creator, and Yitzchok’s readiness to be offered as the ultimate sacrifice, something was missing. Even as Yaakov studied through the long nights and his sons marched forth, an army of soldiers of the Ribbono Shel Olam, the world was not yet perfect. It was all a journey, a process leading finally to the Yom Hashishi, the sixth day of Sivan at Har Sinai, when the world received its heart and soul. Bishvil haTorah shenikreis reishis. “Ve’am nivra yehalel Kah” (Tehillim 102:19). A nation, newly identified, newly charged with a mission, called out the two words that echo through the ages, defining us and what we are about: “Naaseh venishma.” It was the moment when Klal Yisroel announced for the entire world to hear that although they were mortals fashioned of flesh and blood, they would live on a higher and loftier plane, using the Torah to guide them. And now, once again, we are at the time of year when the power and potency of that day reigns again and we are able to tap into its energy. As we celebrate Zeman Mattan Toraseinu, the best and most appropriate preparation is to focus on how blessed we are, with the gift we received, and what those moments at Sinai and their reverberations mean to us. We all know it’s true. In the year 2022, we can perceive that the ongoing golus has taken its toll and neshamos are increasingly dimmer. It’s hard to feel ruchniyus, to acutely sense kedusha in a crass, immoral world, but it is there. If we take a moment and contemplate, and conduct an honest self-assessment, we will realize that whatever might give us a degree of happiness - a new car or home, a good meal or a great vacation - isn’t the real deal. The feeling it gives us does not compare to the elation we feel when we

gently stand up after a good shiur or seder, having learned with a child or chavrusa. Shetihiyu ameilim baTorah. The joy we feel when we understand a difficult sugya and it all comes together is like none other. We taxed our powers of thought and concentration, and it became clear to us: Ahh! That is satisfaction. The joy of Kabbolas HaTorah is eternal and hasn’t faded along with everything else. Every time we hear a good sevorah, vort, or shiur; every time we work hard to understand a Gemara, Rashi, or Tosafos, the joy that was felt at Har Sinai is felt again. Everything else is fleeting. The world was created for Torah. The joy that was felt on that day in Sivan so many years back

ery sefer of the Torah and the knowledge contained therein. We pledge to take it all very seriously and endeavor to understand whatever we can. The Meshech Chochmah asks at the end of Parshas Yisro: What did Moshe Rabbeinu personally gain from Kabbolas HaTorah? He had already been worthy and was able to rise Heavenward even before having received the Torah. This was an indication that Moshe Rabbeinu had personally achieved perfection before Sinai. The Meshech Chochmah’s answer is instructive and relevant. Until Mattan Torah, he says, Moshe Rabbeinu and man were able to serve Hashem with ruchniyus. The novelty of Kabbolas HaTorah was

Torah touches our souls, impacts our actions, and improves our personal conduct. and all those feelings that were apparent on that day are eternal. We can feel them any time we delve into the holy words of amar Abaye and Rebbi Yehudah omeir. Hashem gave us the ultimate gift, and when we express our thanks, we allow ourselves to become vessels that contain it and open our hearts to its light. Hanosein matonah lachaveiro tzorich lehodio. This means that when a person gives someone a gift, the giver must inform the recipient that he is giving him something. Additionally, the word lehodio also has in its root the word hoda’ah, thanks, indicating that when a person gives a gift, he has a reasonable expectation that it will be appreciated and acknowledged. Therefore, we say thank you every day. Asher bochar banu. You chose us. And on Shavuos, we celebrate it. On Shavuos, when we reaffirm that we only exist for the Torah and our nation has a unifying goal, we allow the Torah to shine its light into our hearts. We remain awake at night, demonstrating our appreciation of the Torah’s role in our lives. We read through the entire Torah in Tikkun Leil Shavuos to show that we treasure ev-

that now, acts of gashmiyus were invested with kedusha. Man was directed to sanctify himself, his corporeal needs, and his animal instincts. This, says the Meshech Chochmah, is the idea of Hashem telling Moshe Rabbeinu at the sneh, the burning bush, “She’al na’alecha mei’al raglecha - Remove your shoes from on your feet. Remove the vehicles for your gashmiyusdike living. Remove your chomer as you approach Me. Here you must be an angel.” That was before Matan Torah. Afterward, the shoes became part of the package - the package called Am Yisroel, to whom the Torah was given. After Matan Torah, Hashem tells Klal Yisroel, “Ve’anshei kodesh tihiyun li - And holy people you should be unto me” (Shemos 22:30). The Kotzker Rebbe explained this to mean, “Be mentchlich heilig. Be holy within the context of being human.” Figure out how to exist within society, to be a father and a husband and a friend who is holy. We are meant to be people who live elevated lives, not malochim. To be good, we don’t have to escape to a desolate island away from humanity. Rather, we are to excel as we live among

others. On Shavuos, we celebrate this concept. Hakadosh Boruch Hu desires our service. He gave us the Torah to guide us and address our physical existence. We celebrate the potential of man, who can use the Torah as the ladder to climb to ever loftier heights. The Creator didn’t ask us to become angels, but rather to remain mortals, to incorporate the Torah and its laws into the realities of our human lives. The Gemara states that while regarding other Yomim Tovim the rabbis disagree how much of the day should be dedicated to the purely spiritual, on Shavuos “hakol modim deba’inan nami lochem.” They all agree that we need to please the more physical side as well. We can understand this to mean that on Shavuos, we need “lochem,” to proclaim that the physical is part of the Shavuos celebration. We demonstrate through our actions that Torah affects and impacts our basic human behaviors as well. The bein adam lachaveiro, the way we conduct ourselves and the way we deal with other people, is an integral part of Torah, not only the bein adam laMakom, the way we serve Hashem. Torah touches our souls, impacts our actions, and improves our personal conduct. Perhaps this is a reason why the Torah is achieved through 48 attributes, many dealing with interpersonal relationships, because in order to excel in Torah, a person’s middos must be refined as well. This is also a reason why the Torah was only given when the Bnei Yisroel were united without any rancor or fights between them. As the posuk (Shemos 19:2) states, “Vayichan shom Yisroel neged hahar,” using the singular conjugation vayichan, instead of the plural vayachanu, to denote that they came to rest at the foot of the mountain prior to Hashem giving them the Torah. As Rashi famously states, “Vayichan shom Yisroel neged hahar, k’ish echod beleiv echod,” as one person with one heart. In fact, prior to that, the posuk uses the plural forms to track their movement: “Vayisu m’Refidim, vayavou midbar sinai, vayachanu bamidar.” As long as they were divided and quarreling, Hashem did not yet see fit to give them the Torah. It was only after they were able to put aside

The Week In News

APRIL 7, 2022 | The Jewish Home

their differences that Hashem said that now He could give them the Torah as He had intended since He created the world. [See Vayikra Rabba 9:9.] Individually, as well, in order to be worthy of Torah, we have to have perfected our character, for it is only when people have refined their middos that they are able to set aside jealousy, petty concerns and hatred to be able to join together in harmony with others. Achdus and the ability to live peacefully with others is a prerequisite for Torah. Chazal (Pesikta Zutrasa, Va’eschanon) state, “Chayov odom liros ess atzmo ke’ilu mekabel Torah miSinai, shene’emar, ‘Hayom hazeh nihiyeisa le’am.’ Every day, a person is obligated to conduct himself as if he accepted the Torah that day at Har Sinai.’” We are all familiar with this directive regarding Yetzias Mitzrayim. In fact, it is the central theme of the leil haSeder, but we don’t think about it on Shavuos. Imagine if today was the day you received the Torah. Imagine standing at Har Sinai and hearing the words of the Aseres Hadibros being called out. Imagine the sounds. Imagine the sight. Imagine being led out of Mitzrayim with very little knowledge or holiness, and trekking through the desert, becoming a better person every day. Now, imagine how empty and meaningless your life would be without Torah. No Torah, no learning, no Shabbos, no tefillin, no Yom Tov, nothing that your life is centered around, nothing that gives your

life the meaning it now has. You wouldn’t even have potato kugel or cholent, or a nice suit, hat or shaitel. You wouldn’t have a shul to go to and no reason to go to one altogether. Think of everything you do in your day, week and year. Now imagine that there was no Torah. Imagine that today is the day you discovered the secret of the world. Imagine that today you were invited to study G-d’s word, to bask in His glow, to find meaning, satisfaction and joy in your life. How excited you would be! How grateful and how dedicated! Today is that day. “Ke’ilu mekabel Torah miSinai.” Appreciate it. Show it. Feel it. Hayom hazeh! Today and every day. Despite the degeneration of the world, despite the struggles we experience with every tefillah and the challenge of concentrating fully when we learn, despite the many forces competing for our attention, we have a new Kabbolas HaTorah. Our human shortcomings are not a hindrance. We weren’t given a Torah despite the fact that we are people, but specifically because we are mere humans. In the days of old, this concept was widely appreciated. There was a natural reverence for Torah and its scholars even among the unlearned. In Volozhin, local homeowners would line up at the train station before each zeman to vie for the honor of pulling the wagons carrying arriving talmidim and their luggage. The ye-

shiva learned through Shas, and when the yeshiva celebrated a siyum on each masechta, the local people would arrive at the yeshiva and proudly serve as waiters. Imagine that! Imagine if in your town, the bochurim and yungeleit would learn in yeshiva, and when there is a siyum, they would sit down in the dining room and the local residents would serve as their waiters, going from table to table giving out the food they had picked up at the kitchen. Nobody forced them to come. Nobody even asked them to come. It was their special honor, because they appreciated Torah and lomdei Torah. It was an honor for them to carry the lomdei Torah and their belongings to the yeshiva, and it was their pleasure to partake in the simcha of the completion of yet another masechta. It was special to them. It was valuable to them, as if it was given today. They treated it with respect. They treasured the Torah and the people who studied it the whole day. It was their pride and joy. We hear these things and smile. They are charming reminders of a world that was. Of a world that we need to recreate. Shavuos is a time to refocus on what Torah means to us, and on how blessed we are to be able to spend time by a Gemara or Chumash or Shulchan Aruch, and be surrounded by talmidei chachomim and yeshiva bochurim. The Kadmonim call the moments spent in Torah study “lev hayom, the heart of the day,” its most crucial and life-giving peri-


We open our arms wide and accept the Torah, just as our fathers and their fathers have done for thousands of years. We cherish its words, raising our children and helping guide them to see the honey under each letter. It is who we are and what we are about. Our lives revolve around it. It is Torah. As we go about what is commonly referred to as “real life in the real world,” as we confront issues of parnossah and health challenges, temptations of all sorts, the different types of people we must contend with and everything else that we encounter in our daily lives, we have to keep focused on our roles as bnei and bnos Torah to deal with everyone and everything as befitting those who stood together at Har Sinai and were embraced by Hashem and given the Torah. We are higher and better than to get pulled down and sucked in by the vortex colluded by the yeitzer hora. As we say and sing the words, “Boruch Hu Elokeinu shebra’anu lechvodo v’hivdilanu min hato’im v’nosan lonu Toras emes v’chayei olam nota besocheinu,” let us think about them and what they mean, so that this Shavuos and every day thereafter, we bask in their glow and earn the brachos of a good life, happiness and fulfillment. Gut Yom Tov.

Book Review

Is It Ever Enough By Sarah Pachter

Feldheim Publishers 400 pages Reviewed by Devorie Kreiman Is it Ever Enough? answers a question that every human asks in one form or another: How can I be happy? The book reads like an intense conversation with a wise and dear friend. Right at the opening, Sarah shares her struggle with her own need for “perfect.” She confides, “How ironic, then, is it for me to write about being satisfied with imperfection, and then agonize over a book title?” Which leads her to, “Here’s the secret: there is no such thing as a perfect title, a perfect book, or a perfect anything.” True. But this book comes very close. Is it Ever Enough? is a deceptively light read because so much meaning is wrapped in a delightful blend of Torah teachings, guidance from professionals, and stories of celebrities and lay-people. We’re allowed glimpses into Sarah’s kitchen and even into her thoughts, as we

contemplate the serious work of “Taking steps towards greatness.” Sarah’s journey is easy to relate to. We see her at bedtime, when she wants her children to brush their teeth and they want to do anything but. “Every fiber in my body was itching to shout. Instead, I sang.” I enjoyed the read, but, even more, I appreciated how “user-friendly” the tools are. For example, I plan to visualize my own “anger hat” when my temper flares. It’s a comprehensive work, that covers a wide range of topics including how to thrive with what we’ve been given, and how to connect to Hashem in a way that is authentic and joyous. There are added shots of inspiration for each of the yomim tovim, and attention to challenges that Sarah terms, “ba’leilos. It is so dark, that the solution is happening, yet we can’t see it — even if it is right in front of us.”

Throughout this book, we are bolstered by sage advice such as the quote from Rebbetzin Rachel Miller, “Learn how to bear the discomfort of the moment.” One of my favorite stories, and one that serves well as an analogy for the entirety of this work, is of the day that Sarah took her young children on a tour of Los Angeles. She describes the view from the upper level of the double-decker bus. They passed a construction site and watched in fascination as concrete was poured. It was the same construction site that, in her daily rush, caused irritating traffic clogs. She reminds us, “Sometimes all we need is a new view, and life becomes enchanting again.” For me, this brave and meaningful book enables that view.


Sarah's The WeekCorner In News


APRIL 7, 2022 | The Jewish Home

We Can Always Return Sarah Pachter

“Making returns is a major part of my job description.” - A mother When I try to return merchandise from Amazon, there are three options available: UPS drop off, UPS pick up, and Kohl’s drop off. Similarly, Hashem offers us a variety of ways to return to Him. Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky shares the following idea. Imagine someone walked into the Library of Congress and wanted to see the Declaration of Independence. He asks the guide to direct him, and the guide points to a certain area. He approaches the document on display and sees that it is written in Russian! He wonders, Why would the U.S. government use a foreign language to identify the very document that symbolizes the essence of America? One of the primary “documents” of the Jewish people is the Shema. We say it twice daily, are commanded to remember the words, and teach them to our children. The content is utilized in our tefillin. And part of the prayer is written in a foreign language: Vehayu le’totafot bein einecha, it shall be for you two between your eyes. The Gemara in Sanhedrin says the origin of the word totafot is a compound word that combines two foreign words. Tot stems from the language of the Katfei, an ancient sect rooted in Egypt. Fot is from the Afriki language. Each part means the number two; therefore, in the tefillin on rosh, head there are four separate compartments for the parshios, whereas in the yad, the arm, there is only one compartment.1 Additionally, Rabbi Kamenetzky shares that tefillin are referred to as a remembrance,2 “Vehaya zicharon ben einecha.”3

1 2 3

The following beautiful story provides insight into why the Torah refers to tefillin as a remembrance and why it uses a word of foreign origin such as totafot? Steve Savisky was on an airplane and was upgraded to first class. Sitting next to him was a large man wearing chains, an open collar, and a gold ring. When it came time for the meal, this man was enjoying a ham sandwich, while Mr. Savisky ate his kosher meal. At the end of the meal, the stewardess came by to clean up, at which point Mr. Savisky took out his small siddur and started saying birkat hamazon. The man seated next to him looked at him and said in a southern drawl, “Hey, is that a siddur?” He replied, “Yes, it is. Would you like to see it?”

Parshat Bo

“I haven’t seen a siddur in so many years! Can I hold it?” He took the siddur in his hands, stood up, and began to daven maariv, shuckling the whole time. Mr. Savisky looked at him in shock. The man explained that he was observant many years prior and that the siddur brought back memories from his childhood. At the end of the flight, Mr. Savisky gave him the siddur as a memento. This story sheds light on the origin of the word tefillin. The Torah purposefully calls tefillin a remembrance, and gives it a foreign name. This is to teach that no matter where a Jew is, the Jewish symbols will be there to remind you to come home. Unfortunately, very often, generations pass and children and grandchildren don’t always stay on the derech. But there is a promise that if we honor our parents, our descendents will be close to Hashem. A leader of the Jewish Orthodox community in the 1920s, Rav Weinberg was the head of Hildesheimer Academy. On Rosh Hashanah, he wanted to daven in the main shul, and he walked a far distance to reach it. When the gabbai recited Yizkor,

Dvar Torah by Rabbi Shmuel Ka-

minetsky in 1998

Rashi and the Gemara Sanhedrin 4B

a limo passed by and out steppedWalter Rathenau, who served as a German foreign minister in the Weimar Republic. Members of the shul began to call out, “Apikores! How can we allow him in the shul? Regardless, Rathenau walked in, said Yizkor, and walked out, unbothered by the uproar. Afterwards, the Rabbi directed his attention to the audience. “How could you possibly be criticizing another Jew for honoring his parents? We are taught that anyone who honors their parents, will merit to see their offspring eventually come back to the religion.” Several years later, Rabbi Weissbrot, a student of Rav Weinberg, was asked to give a shiur in Modi’in on kivud av ve’em. He shared the story about Rathenau. One young student came over and asked, “What name did you say?” He replied, “Walter Rathenau.” The young man was stunned. “That was my grandfather. My father was chozer betshuva.” I have seen this to be true in my own family. My grandfather was born in Morocco, following a long line of rebbeim. As an adult, he was not religious at all, but the one mitzvah he was diligent about was kivud av ve’em. Today, many of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren are now observant. Rabbi Asher Yaakov Sinclair shares a beautiful story. During the Holocaust, the Allies managed to bomb a major road that the Nazis had built across Poland. The road was left with gaping holes throughout the ground. The Nazis were furious that the road was destroyed. One evening, the Nazis pulled many Jews from concentration camps and demanded that they jump across the crater-like dip in the ground. If they managed to make it across they would be allowed to live, but if they fell or could not cross in one hop, they would be shot. All of this

was purely for the entertainment of the soldiers. Throughout the night, Jewish people were shot, and their neshamas rose to greet their Creator. The Bluzhever Rav was part of the line of Jews waiting to jump. Behind him was a young man who had lost his faith as a result of the atrocities of the war. The young fellow said angrily, “When it’s my turn, I’m not going to jump. Let them shoot me where I stand. I’m not going to entertain them or perform for them like a dog.” The Bluzhever Rebbe responded to him softly, “My friend, what a precious gift the Creator has given us. It is the gift of life. However, there is one condition. We cannot take it back one moment earlier than He takes it from us.” Right before the Rebbe’s turn to jump, he closed his eyes and mustered up all the strength he had left. He stood there for a few short moments, and the young lad seemed to see a smile spread across his face. He jumped into the darkness, and when he opened his eyes, he had miraculously crossed safely to the other side. The young man was next to him moments later. He asked the Rebbe, “How did you possibly have the strength to do that? You are old, you are weak…” The Rebbe answered, “Just before I jumped, I saw a vision of my zeide, grandfather in front of me. In front of him was his zeide, and all the Jews back through the ages to Mount Sinai. All of those holy Jews kept the Torah, even though it cost them their lives. I saw my grandfather jumping across the pit, and I stretched my arms out and grabbed his coat tails, and he pulled me across.” The two stood quietly for some time. Then the Rebbe said, “That’s how I made it across. But you, how did you do it?” He answered, “Rebbe, I was hanging on to your coat tails.” Although we are not as holy as the Bluzhever Rebbe, every person has someone who is relying on us. Those people need our love, our help, and our guidance. Just like a father patiently waits for his child to come back, so too Hashem waits longingly for our return. Tefillin, kivud av ve’em is the mitzvah, and hanging onto the coattails of great people can help bring us and our descendents back. No matter how far a person strays, there is always a possibility to return.

The Week In News

APRIL 7, 2022 | The Jewish Home

Shemitta Inspiration Comes to Los Angeles Yehudis Litvak The Los Angeles Jewish community received a dose of Eretz Yisrael shemitta inspiration with the visit of Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon and an American Israeli couple, Sue and Tzvi Muslow, who keep shemitta on their family farm in Moshav Beit Gamliel. Rav Rimon is the rabbi of Gush Etzion, rosh yeshiva of Jerusalem College of Technology (Machon Lev), and a world renowned posek who specializes in the halachos of shemitta. The Muslows made aliyah from the U.S. in 1998 and raised their family in Israel. In addition to their seven acre farm, where they grow a wide variety of produce and raise chickens, goats, and other animals, Tzvi also works as a physician, while Sue works as a technical writer. Rabbi Rimon and the Muslows enthusiastically shared their shemitta experiences with 8 local schools, ranging from preschool to high school, and 4 shuls. Their visit was generously sponsored by Dr. Ron and Cheryl Nagel. Rav Rimon spoke about the unique opportunities presented by the shemitta year. He described his excitement when he first tasted the produce that grew in Eretz Yisrael this year. “These fruits and vegetables are holy!” he said. “In chutz laaretz, no food is holy. Even matzah is not holy.” Holy food existed in the times of the beis Hamikdash, such as korbanos and maaser sheini. But today, the only holy food that still exists is the produce of the shemitta

year, with their kedushas sheviis. And eating the produce of Eretz Yisrael that grew in the shemitta year is the only opportunity we have to eat holy food. Of course, food with kedushas sheviis need to be treated in a special way. For example, the leftovers can’t be thrown in the garbage. Rav Rimon mentioned that some people even avoid the shemitta produce altogether. But he urged his listeners to learn the relevant halachos and not to shy away from kedushas sheviis. “It gives us the ability to be close to kedusha, to be close to Hakadosh Baruch Hu,” he said. Then Rav Rimon went over the pessukim in parshas Behar that list the laws of shemitta and explained how they apply to farming in Eretz Yisrael today. He mentioned that he is constantly answering shailos from farmers in Eretz Yisrael about what they can and cannot do on their farms. Keeping shemitta is not easy for the farmers, some of whom experience substantial financial losses. “You need a lot of yirat shamayim,” said Rav Rimon. Yet, Rav Rimon feels fortunate to have this opportunity to pasken shemitta shailos, as well as shailos that come from soldiers in the IDF. “For 2,000 years, rabbis did not receive questions from soldiers and farmers,” he said. “It’s a privilege to be born in this generation and see the miracles [of Jews returning to Eretz Yisrael]. We see how much Hashem loves us!”

The Muslows spoke about their personal experiences and challenges with keeping shemitta. They showed pictures and videos of their beautiful farm and its various produce. Sue explained that living on a farm gives them a special connection to Judaism, to the cycle of the Jewish year, and to the mitzvos that can only be kept in Eretz Yisrael. However, the shemitta year presents its challenges. Before Rosh Hashana, the Muslows met with their rabbi, reviewed all the relevant halachos, and signed a contract with Otzar Beit Din. The contract specified that all the produce from their farm would belong to the local beis din. The beis din would be able to distribute the produce, as well as pay farmers for the permissible work that is necessary to maintain the farm. The rabbi then appointed the Muslows as managers of their farm. That way, the Muslows can take care of the distribution of the produce. They are able to sell it, at a lower price that only covers their own costs. Even during a shemitta year, there is still work to be done at the farm. “We are not on vacation,” says Sue. They need to maintain their watering system, so their trees don’t die. When the watering system broke down, they asked a shaila and were told that they could replace it. They also need to maintain their fields to avoid snake infestation. Regular pruning is not allowed, but there are some things they can do.

They are constantly in touch with their rabbi to clarify all the details. Sue mentioned that when they had a lot of questions, their rabbi came out to the farm and walked with them from tree to tree, answering their shailos. Tzvi mentioned that they had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get to where they are today. He encouraged his listeners to follow their dreams. “If you have the ratzon, you want to live in Israel, you can succeed!” he said. “It takes time and perseverance.” Tzvi also shared that as farmers, they see Hashem’s bracha in the shemitta year. To feed their animals, the Muslows grow hay. Usually, they plant it right before the rainy season, after Sukkos. This year, they knew that they wouldn’t be able to plant at the regular time, so Tzvi took a gamble and planted the seeds much earlier, two weeks before Rosh Hashana. He didn’t know if anything was going to come out of it, especially since Rosh Hashana was so early in the year. However, this year saw a record amount of rainfall in Eretz Yisrael, and because their farm is in a low valley, a lot of rainwater gathered on their fields. “We wound up having the biggest amount of hay we’ve ever had,” Tzvi said. The Muslows invited the Los Angeles community to come visit their farm. They can be reached through their Facebook page, Meshek Muslow.

Abuse Prevention, Part 2: How to Recognize Abuse Yehudis Litvak Whenever another heartbreaking case of abuse comes to light, we wonder how the abuser managed to get away with it for so long. Why didn’t anyone notice? Weren’t there warning signs? In this article, we continue the conversation about preventing abuse by discussing what warning signs parents should look out for and what parents can do to protect their children. Our interviewees are Rabbi Dr. David Fox, a clinical psychologist and director of Project Chai at Chai Lifeline, and Mrs. Debbie Fox, LCSW, founder and director of Magen Yeladim International. Look close to home As parents, we teach our children not to speak to strangers. We warn them about accepting candy from strangers or getting into a stranger’s car. These are certainly important precautions. However, they are not enough to prevent abuse because most cases of abuse – up to 90% -- are perpetrated by someone known to, and often respected by, the victim, explains Mrs. Fox. When a child accepts a candy, a ride, or simply extra attention from a teacher, an uncle, or a brother-in-law, neither the child nor the parents think twice about it. But these little things could be the beginning of a grooming process. How to recognize the grooming process Mrs. Fox explains that the grooming process begins with the perpetrator developing a special relationship with the victim, which does not include the victim’s parents. Eventually, the child begins to turn to the perpetrator more than to the parents. Slowly, the abuser becomes more physical with the child. It begins within the normal range, such as bear hugs. However, eventually the physical relationship becomes

inappropriate. At this point, the child is so attached to the abuser that he or she can’t refuse. “[The child thinks,] ‘This person has been so nice, gave me so much attention. How can I say no?’” says Mrs. Fox. She advises all parents to pay close attention to their children’s relationships with other adults or older teens. No one should be taking their place and playing the role of a parent. Adults should not have special relationships with children that do not involve their parents. If an adult is paying special attention to a child, buying the child gifts and spending extra time with them, parents may have a reason to be concerned. It is important that parents step in and reclaim their central role in their child’s life. They might need to end the child’s unhealthy relationship with that adult. Talk with your children about uncomfortable feelings around other people Another important precaution is paying attention to our children’s feelings, especially around other people. There are a number of misconceptions in the frum community when it comes to emotions. Some attribute negative emotions to the yetzer hara. Rabbi Dr. Fox explains, “It’s very interesting that the Torah uses the word ‘heart’ for what clearly is the mind or the brain. So many times in the Torah, or in the Neviim, or even in our Jewish vernacular, we use the word ‘lev,’ but we’re not talking about our cardiac heart but about the brain … So are we dealing with emotions or thoughts? The Arizal notes that the Torah … also uses the word ‘levav’. There is a cardiac heart, but there is a dual channel inside of us which is called ‘levav.’ Our great Torah

authorities have told us that the ‘levav’ is the brain, but there are different compartments in the brain ... There are the thoughts and the intellect and the logic and the rational, and then there are parts of us that don’t work on logic and don’t work in what we would call a rational manner, but they are not necessarily irrational. Those are what we generally refer to as our feelings. And both of them are part of the healthy human experience. Maybe, ideally, the majority of our decisions are made by that part of the levav which is the intellect, but meanwhile, when the other part of the levav, our emotions, are activated, they are not always yetzer hara or a sign of something … negative going on.” Rabbi Dr. Fox brings examples of healthy emotions, such as grief due to a loss. He continues, “There are many emotions which we are wired by Hakadosh Baruch Hu to experience. That doesn’t mean that we should be making decisions based on how we feel, but … in order to … make rational, clear decisions, we do need to pay attention to what we’re feeling.” While some feelings might come from the yetzer hara, “if a person is being abused or molested or coerced, or a person feels weak or threatened, mental health demands of us that we are sensitive to that child’s or that person’s emotional experience and allow them to express it,” says Rabbi Dr. Fox. When our children’s emotions involve other people, there is even more confusion. Some parents believe that in order to train our children to refrain from speaking lashon hara, we should not allow them to express any negative sentiments about others. Rabbi Dr. Fox says, “When a child has had a frightening or a confusing or a painful experience and they are turning to a

parent in pain or in fear or in sadness, there is no lashon hara taking place.” He explains that the child’s intention is not to bad mouth anyone but to get help. Similarly, the parent’s job is to provide support and remedy the situation to the extent possible. He adds, “There are many children, and even adults, whose neshamos are in agony, which is amplified when no one wants to listen to them.” Proper supervision at home Sadly, sometimes abuse takes place within the home, such as between siblings. Mrs. Fox urges parents to supervise their children. She recommends leaving children’s bedroom doors open when they are playing and coming in occasionally to check on them. Before going to bed, or when waking up in the middle of the night, parents should check on their sleeping children. Children should know that their parents love them and check on them periodically at night. Can an abuser be helped? In a tragic situation when one’s own child exhibits abusive behavior, what can the parents do? Rabbi Dr. Fox explains that there could be many different causes for abusive behavior, and there is no single treatment. Mrs. Fox adds that the sooner the offender gets help the better chances for recovery. It’s important to find an experienced therapist who is trained to help the offender recover. And yes, she says, there have been success stories! For referrals to mental health professionals who are sensitive to the Jewish community, both Rabbi Dr. and Mrs. Fox recommend contacting the local branch of Relief Resources at or through their website,



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Hijacking – 50 Years Ago RALPH WIGS SPEAKS OUT: As celebrated wigmaker Ralph and his team are about to embark on another state-wide tour, bringing beautiful sheitels to cities across America, Ralph takes a few moments to chat about his products and offers a behind-thescenes look at his successful brand.

Q: Your wigs are extraordinary, as many of your customers can attest. And yet the prices are consistently reasonable and affordable. So how do you do it? How do you produce a luxury line of wigs that are also well priced? What’s the secret? A: Glad you asked. It’s really simple and it’s no secret. Simply put, our wigs come directly from the factory to the customer. There’s no middle-man involved. That fact alone allows for significant savings that really add up. Think of it as though you had a friend or a family member in the business and they allowed you to buy straight from the factory. Obviously, you would save a lot of money while still getting the highest quality product available. At our sales, though, you won’t be wandering through a warehouse or a factory in some far-away city. And you won’t be compromising on service either. We bring the sale to a location near you. You will be serviced as if you were shopping in a boutique salon with all the frills but without the price tag. Q: Can you elaborate on that? What frills are you referring to? A: When you purchase a wig at a Ralph sale in your community, most enhancements are included for free. That means if you need minor adjustments on the fit or the color or the hair, we will take care of it for you at no cost. And best of all, you get the wig styled and cut to your liking for free. Q: What? A free cut? Sheitel machers usually charge hundreds of dollars for that. A: Yes they do. But we don’t. At a Ralph sale, the cut is part of the package. Q: What if I have an issue with my wig a few weeks after I buy it ? You will be long

gone and I will be stuck with it. A: Not to worry. You are in good hands. We offer a one-year guarantee on all our wigs, even those purchased from our sale collection. And we’re not running away. We visit every community several times a year so you can bring your issue to our attention for follow-up service whenever we return. You are also welcome to send your wig back to our factory as many times as you want with in the first year of purchase for most enhancements or adjustments. That way, you have the best of both worlds. The quality and service of a neighborhood salon without the hefty price tag. Q: What if I can’t decide which wig to buy? What if I have questions? Who will help me? A: Not to worry. At every Ralph sale, a staff of experienced and knowledgeable women can guide you so that you feel confident in your purchase. Q: Do you sell only wigs? I could use a fall for the summer . A: Our pre-summer sale which begins soon will be fully stocked with wigs, falls, ponytails, and toppers in a variety of styles and colors. There’s something for everyone. Q: My daughter is a kallah and our expenses are mounting. Can you help us? A: Mazel tov to you. We know this is a joyful time in your life but it is also expensive. In honor of the simcha, I am offering a $200 discount to kallahs and their mothers (as well as their mothersin-law). That’s an incredible value that you should take advantage of. For anyone else, if necessary, we can arrange a payment plan for your purchase. You can give a deposit today and pay up the balance over a three-month period.


Fifty years after Arab terrorists hijacked the Belgian Sabena Airlines flight 571, Israel’s Defense Ministry has published the military’s official logbook from event. The documents detail the chain of events, exactly as they occurred in real time on May 8-9, 1972, when members of the IDF’s Sayaret Matkal commando unit stormed the plane and took down the terrorists. Shortly after Sabena flight 571 took off from Vienna to Tel Aviv, terrorists Ahmed Awad, Abed al-Aziz Atrash, Theresa Khalsa and Rima Tannous – members of the Black September terrorist group – rushed the cockpit, armed with explosives and pistols. The logbook details, “A report was received of hijacking ‘Sabena’ and of it landing in Lod, Moshe was ordered to land in Lod.” The plane landed at 5:15 p.m. The terrorists demanded the release of 315 terrorists in exchange for the plane’s 97 passengers and crew members – and “Operation Isotope” ensued. The pilot of the flight, Captain Reginald Levy, told the control tower officials, “Take them very seriously. If they do not receive a power unit immediately, they will take off immediately.” The terrorists in question were imprisoned in Ramle, which is near Lod, and the hijackers insisted that the swap should not take long. Israeli officials, however, convinced the hijackers that there was an issue with the plane and that mechanics would need to take a look at the aircraft before it could take off. The hijackers then agreed to both the mechanics and the refueling, but at 10:30p.m., Levy warned, “The hijackers informed me of an explosive device that will explode in one hour. Everything must be sorted out within 60 minutes.” He added, “We do not want to fly, but I am pressured to take off.” Eventually, the hijackers agreed to have the plane fixed in the morning, when a Red Cross representative would be available to facilitate a prisoner swap. Levy informed the hijackers that Israel had agreed to the swap and that “they promised me they will send food and technicians to repair the plane.” One hijacker, “Captain Rafat,” responded, “Okay, thanks.” At 4:20p.m., “mechanics” dressed in white overalls boarded the plane. Bursting through five openings, the commandos shot and killed the two male hijackers and captured the two female hijackers. Some of the details of the operation are still censored due to security concerns. Although this was not the first hijacking by terrorists, it was the first time in which Israeli forces were able to conduct a rescue operation.

Jordan: No Jewish Prayers on Temple Mount Jordan on Sunday slammed an Israeli court’s ruling that Jewish teenagers who recited the “Shema Yisrael” prayer on the Temple Mount were within their rights to do so. According to a statement by Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, “The decision allows extremists to hold ceremonies at the Al-Aqsa compound.” It continued, “The ruling is legally null and void according to international law, which does not recognize the authority of the Israeli judicial system on occupied Palestinian territories from 1967, including East Je-

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rusalem.” The ruling is “a gross violation of international decisions relating to Jerusalem, including resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council, which all clarify that the status quo must be maintained in the holy city,” it added. Traditionally, Jews have not been allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas responded to the court ruling by calling on the U.S. to “intervene urgently to stop the Israeli attacks on our people and their sanctities.” But Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office noted, “There is no change, nor is any change planned, on the status quo of the Temple Mount. The Magistrate Court’s decision is focused exclusively on the issue of the conduct of the minors brought before it and does not constitute a broader determination regarding freedom of worship on the Temple Mount. With regard to the specific criminal case in question, the government was informed that the state will file an appeal to the District Court.” The Sunday ruling, handed down by Judge Zion Saharay, said that bowing down and reciting a prayer were not sufficient cause to curtail freedom of religion, especially in light of Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai’s statements last month that police would ensure freedom of religion for “all residents of the country and the territories,” including on the Temple Mount.

Channel 12 News reported police officials as denying the statement and accusing the judge of twisting Shabtai’s words. That report quoted an unnamed police official as saying, “When the commissioner speaks about freedom of worship, he does not refer to the Temple Mount, where the status quo determined by government policy and High Court rulings over the years is maintained. This is a case of a distorted interpretation of his remarks.” Meanwhile, the State Attorney’s office has promised to appeal the ruling.

Meretz MK Won’t Drop Out

Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi on Sunday announced that she would recant her decision to bolt the coalition and would vote with the government. Her decision to drop out last week deprived the coalition of its equal footing with the opposition, bringing it down to just 59 MKs out of the Knesset’s 120. Zoabi’s reversal followed a meeting with

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and several cabinet ministers and mayors. In a joint video announcement with Lapid and Nazareth’s Mayor Ali Sallam, Zoabi said, “Because my mission is to serve the local authorities and to bring about accomplishments to address the needs of the Arab community, I will support the coalition.” She added, “The alternative to this government will be [MK Itamar] Ben-Gvir as police minister, and I want to prevent that alternative.” Lapid praised her decision, saying, “We have put this disagreement behind us and are returning to government work.” Still, Bennett government is working on shaky ground, as they are holding onto a very slim majority after Idit Silman of the Yamina party left the coalition last month.

Covering Veterans’ Tuition Costs

New legislation passed this week in the Knesset will help IDF veterans as they pursue their higher degrees. Now, tuition scholarships for veterans will be covered up to 75% for those who served in the armed forces. Initially, the coalition sought to cover two-thirds of combat veterans’ tuition, and Likud refused to offer its support — first insisting that it didn’t want to give the coalition a parliamentary victory and then clarifying that it would only do so if the bill was amended to cover 100 percent of former soldiers’ college costs. In the past, the government has paid for two-thirds of tuition for veterans. The decision not to fully fund the scholarships intentionally leaves space for student self-funding, in order to create a sense of obligation for recipients to finish school. Despite Likud’s reluctance, coalition

leaders decided to move forward with the vote on Monday evening, daring the opposition parties to vote against such a popular bill. As the vote neared, though, the 60-MK coalition appeared not to have enough votes to get it through, given reported refusal from the coalition’s Islamist Ra’am faction and MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi (Meretz) and rebel MK Idit Silman (Yamina) to back the measure. Moments before the vote was to be held, however, Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that he was prepared to meet Likud halfway so that the bill would cover 75% of combat veterans’ tuition costs. Opposition chairman Benjamin Netanyahu’s party then convened an emergency meeting during which it agreed to accept the proposal. At the conclusion of the sit-down, Netanyahu invited in a group of veterans lobbying for the bill, and they all filmed a video in which the ex-soldiers thanked the Likud for its support. Shortly before the vote was held, Gantz took to the plenum podium to explain his decision to compromise. “I decided to put an end to it. My goal is not to harm the Likud,” he said. “My offer is good and serves the entire Israeli society… I am not prepared for politics to harm the IDF.” The broadly popular tuition scholarship program, called “MeMadim LeLimudim,” or “From Uniforms to Studies,” provided a two-thirds tuition scholarship for former combat troops, and other designated soldiers, toward earning an academic degree. An initiative of former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot, the scholarships started in 2016 and are intended to make educational opportunities more accessible to soldiers without means. Among the non-combat soldiers covered by the new law are troops from economically disadvantaged homes, Druze and Arab soldiers, “lone soldiers” who serve without immediate family in Israel, and new immigrants. Funding was initially provided by private donor organizations, but in order to cut down on conditions imposed upon the grants, the government, led by Gantz, wanted to fund the scholarships through the Defense Ministry. To be part of the defense budget, the scholarships needed to be approved by law.

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More Jail for Prison Escapees A court on Sunday sentenced six security prisoners, including convicted terrorists, to five more years in prison following their escape last year from the Gilboa Prison in northern Israel. The six were recaptured following a two-week manhunt. Five of the terrorists are members of the Islamic Jihad terror group, while the sixth, Zakaria Zubeidi, is a member of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah. In addition to the five-year additions to their sentences, the six were handed eight-month suspended sentences and fines of 5,000 NIS each. Four other prisoners who helped the six escape were handed four years of additional prison and fines of 2,000 NIS each. The Hamas terror group responded to the sentences by calling them “a continuation of the aggression and violations of the occupation against our heroic prisoners.”

Smuggling Weapons from Iran to Hezbollah

The son-in-law of the late Iran Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani is smuggling weapons to Hezbollah, the IDF says. According to the report, Sayyed Reza Hashim Safi a-Din, who is married to Soleimani’s daughter, oversees an operation to smuggle weapons from Iran to Hezbollah using civilian flights via Syria. The IDF warned that the operation endangers civilians at Damascus airport. The IDF’s Arabic-language spokesman Avichay Adraee tweeted, “As part of his role, Hashim Safi a-Din monitors Hezbollah’s activities with the Shiite population, communicates with prominent figures in Lebanon, and oversees media relations. “His son, Reza Safi al-Din, is married to the daughter of Qassem Soleimani, and visits Iran several times a month, where his wife lives.” While he is there, al-Din coordinates the smuggling of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah, “using the infrastructure, resources and a network of activists he heads,” Adraee noted. This operation, he added, is “endangering civilians” by smuggling via civilian

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flights to Damascus International Airport in order to “maintain secrecy.” “The Hezbollah terrorist organization exploits the state of Lebanon and its citizens for terrorism that serve Iranian interests,” Adraee added.

Hamas Terror Plot Foiled

This week, Shin Bet and Israel Police said they had uncovered an active Hamas terror cell in East Jerusalem that had been planning a series of attacks, including an attack against MK Itamar Ben Gvir. The five men planned a shooting attack against Ben Gvir and other Israeli targets, as well as kidnappings of Israeli soldiers, and a bombing attack on the Jerusalem light rail using a drone. The cell was led by Rashid Rashak, “a prominent Hamas operative, a resident of the Old City of Jerusalem,” security officials said. He is also accused of establishing a network of Hamas supporters who led recent clashes on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount last month. Authorities seized a drone that was intended to be armed and used in an attack on Jerusalem’s light rail. After committing the attacks, members of the cell were planning to hide out in Hebron or Jenin to avoid detection. Security officials arrested the five terrorists last month. They were charged with several terror offenses, according to indictments published on Tuesday. The other three suspects were named as Mohammed Salima, Hamza Abu Naab, and Safian Ajlouni.

Tornado Rips Through Michigan

One person was killed on Friday when a powerful tornado ripped through a northern Michigan town. Roofs were ripped off buildings, and car were overturned by the

strong winds. Additionally, more than 40 people were injured as the twister tore through the town of Gaylord, whose governor declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of the storm. “It took out an insane amount of buildings and just jeopardized so many lives,” said Jordan Awrey, a Gaylord city council member. “The town is devastated.” The tornado touched down in a bustling part of the city, home to shops, restaurants and retail stores – some of which were destroyed. Photos of the damage show streets littered with debris, businesses with roofs and walls torn off, and cars completely flipped over. Roads were also blocked by downed trees and powerlines. “It is a busy downtown area, and it went right through it,” noted Lt. Jim Gorno of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, describing the aftermath as “catastrophic.” Michigan averages just 15 tornadoes per year. Still, Gaylord doesn’t get tornados often. “It’s northern Michigan, it’s very rare we get a tornado,” said Gabe Awrey, a resident and the council member’s brother.

Operation Fly Formula The first shipment of imported baby formula arrived on Sunday in the United States. The shipment is part of “Operation Fly Formula” and aims to relieve the severe infant formula shortage across the U.S. The formula arrived via military aircraft flying from Germany’s Ramstein Air Base to Indiana and included the equivalent of up to half a million eight-ounce bottles. Three formulas – Nestlé Health Science Alfamino Infant, Alfamino Junior, and Gerber Good Start Extensive HA – were included in the shipment. All three are hypoallergenic formulas for children with cow’s milk protein allergies.

On Saturday, the Department of Agriculture promised that “additional flights will be announced in the coming days.” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted, “Typically, the process to transport this product from Europe to U.S. would take two weeks. Thanks to Operation Fly Formula, we cut that down to approximately three days.” On Sunday afternoon, the White House announced that another shipment is expected to fly into Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia on a FedEx plane this coming week. In a Sunday tweet, U.S. President Joe

Biden said, “Folks, I’m excited to tell you that the first flight from Operation Fly Formula is loaded up with more than 70,000 pounds of infant formula and about to land in Indiana. Our team is working around the clock to get safe formula to everyone who needs it.” Last week, Biden signed the Access to Baby Formula Act of 2022, which aims to ensure that, in times of crisis, families can use benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – also known as WIC – to buy formula products outside what is normally designated for the program. WIC purchases around half of all infant formula in the U.S.; around 1.2 million infants receive formula through the program. The Access to Baby Formula Act of 2022 received overwhelming bipartisan support, passing 414-9 in the House and unanimously in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praised its passage, saying, “It’s rare that we have unanimity in the Senate on important measures, and I wish we had more, but this is one of these important issues and I’m glad we’re acting with one voice.” The baby formula shortage came about through a conflux of issues. The primary cause of the shortage, though, came about when the government shut down Abbott Nutrition’s factory in Michigan on February 17 after it was reported that some children had gotten ill and died after consuming formula produced at the site. Although the government has said that the factory will be reopening, it will take weeks for formulas to be produced and be on shelves for consumers.

Monkeypox Comes to the U.S.

There is no need to panic, officials say. At least seven people are now confirmed to have monkeypox in the United States. Still, the risk for contracting the virus remains low. “This is not COVID,” Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology at the CDC, said during a media briefing on Monday. There is one confirmed positive case in Massachusetts. There is one presumptive positive case in New York, one in Washington state, two in Utah and two in Florida. The CDC said that the government is in the process of releasing some vaccines from its national stockpile. There is no need to vaccinate the general public against monkeypox, officials said. Rather, those vaccines will be used among a small number

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The Week In News people who have been exposed. The virus, a less-transmissible cousin of smallpox, is passed through close contact with another person, including hugging, touching or prolonged face-to-face contact. Symptoms begin with fever, headache and muscle aches. Lymph nodes swell. Within a few days of developing a fever, patients develop a rash which often begins on the face. The illness generally lasts 2-4 weeks.

RIP NYC Payphones Monday marked the end of an era for New York City’s last public payphone. The city removed the payphone, which was located on 745 7th Avenue, earlier this week, officially ending what used to be one of the city’s most iconic street symbols. Now, phones are ubiquitous in the Big Apple, but they are held close to people’s ears as they rush into midtown traffic.

The effort to replace public pay telephones across the city kicked off in 2014 when the de Blasio administration solicited proposals to reimagine the offering. Officials selected CityBridge to develop and operate LinkNYC kiosks, which offer services such as free phone calls, Wi-Fi, and device charging. The city began removing street payphones in 2015 to replace them with the LinkNYC kiosks. There are nearly 2,000 kiosks across the city. “Just like we transitioned from the horse and buggy to the automobile and from the automobile to the airplane, the digital evolution has progressed from payphones to high-speed Wi-Fi kiosks to meet the demands of our rapidly changing daily communications needs,” Commissioner Matthew Fraser said. The last public pay telephone will be displayed at the Museum of the City of New York as part of an exhibit looking back at life in the city before computers.

A Plot to Kill Dubya

According to the FBI, an ISIS-linked operative in the United States was plotting to kill former President George W. Bush before being arrested. The scheme was uncovered through the work of two confidential informants.

APRIL 7, 2022 | The Jewish Home

The suspect, based in Columbus, Ohio, said he wanted to assassinate Bush because he felt the former president was responsible for killing many Iraqis and breaking apart the country after the 2003 U.S. military invasion, according to the FBI search warrant application. He had traveled to Dallas in November to take video of Bush’s home and tried to recruit a team of like-minded individuals who would be smuggled into the country through the Mexican border to assist in the murder. A lot of the FBI’s intel had come from WhatsApp messages from the plotter’s phone. The suspect had been in the United States since 2020. He had an asylum application pending. In response to the report, Freddy Ford, chief of staff for the Office of George W. Bush, said, “President Bush has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities.” In November 2021, the suspect revealed to the FBI insider the plot to assassinate Bush and asked the confidential source if he knew how to “obtain replica or fraudulent police and/or FBI identifications and badges” to help carry out the killing, and whether it was possible to smuggle the plotters out of the country the same way they came in after their mission was complete. The plotter claimed to be part of a unit called “Al-Raed,” meaning “Thunder,” that was led by a former Iraqi pilot for Saddam Hussein who had been based out of Qatar until his recent death. As many as seven members of the group would have been sent to the U.S. to kill President Bush. The suspect’s job was “to locate and conduct surveillance on former president Bush’s residences and/or offices and obtain firearms and vehicles to use in the assassination.”

Forest Service Pauses Prescribed Burns

The U.S. Forest Service is suspending prescribed burns while it conducts a review of its practices after noting that some burns had burned out of control, contributing to sweeping wildfires. The decision came one month after a prescribed burn, which aimed to reduce wildfire risk, spread out of control in New Mexico and morphed into the largest wildfire currently blazing in the U.S. In a statement, Forest Service Chief Randy Moore said that the Service will conduct a 90-day review of protocols, decision support tools, and practices ahead of planned operations this fall.

He explained, “Our primary goal in engaging prescribed fires and wildfires is to ensure the safety of the communities involved. “The communities we serve, and our employees deserve the very best tools and science supporting them as we continue to navigate toward reducing the risk of severe wildfires in the future.” According to Moore, “In 99.84 percent of cases, prescribed fires go as planned,” but wildfires are becoming increasingly extreme due to climate change and drought. In a statement, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said, “It is critical that federal agencies update and modernize these practices in response to a changing climate, as what used to be considered extreme conditions are now much more common — the situation unfolding in New Mexico right now demonstrates without a doubt the grave consequences of neglecting to do so.” Prescribed burning is the intentional, controlled application of fire to a forest. It is sometimes used to reduce fuel loads as a wildfire prevention tool. Other times, it is used to maintain forest types and can help to control the spread of diseases found in flora.

infrastructure used by Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, including some of the stadiums. Odebrecht is one of the firms that have been caught in Operacao Lava Jato, Brazil’s corruption probe into the state oil giant Petrobras. Dozens of companies acknowledged paying bribes to politicians and officials in exchange for contracts with Petrobras. In June 2015, the group’s chief executive, Marcelo Odebrecht, the grandson of its founder, was arrested. Since then, he and dozens of other company executives have been jailed. In 2016, all of them signed deals with Brazilian investigators, agreeing to confess to crimes and to identify corrupt officials in exchange for shorter prison sentences. An international taskforce of investigators is looking into bribery in 10 countries, including Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. In December 2016, Odebrecht signed a leniency deal with authorities in the U.S. and Switzerland, agreeing to pay $2.6 billion in fines for its past mistakes – the largest sum of its kind in the world.

Prison for Sons of Panama Pres.

A rural New York judge has approved maps that will replace earlier redistricting maps found to be in violation of New York’s Constitution. The new maps set political district boundaries in New York, giving Democrats less of an advantage than they had previously hoped for. The 10th Congressional District has been redrawn and now extends from Greenwich Village in Manhattan to Borough Park in Brooklyn.

A New York court on Friday sentenced two sons of a former Panama president to three years in prison. The sentence, issued against Luis Enrique and Ricardo Martinelli, sons of former Panama President Ricardo Martinelli, also included a fine of $250,000. The brothers were sentenced on charges of corruption linked to the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. Prosecutors had originally requested a sentence of 9-11 years. The Martinellis, who pleaded guilty in December after being extradited from Guatemala to the U.S., had been accused of having received $28 million in bribes from the construction group, $19 million of which allegedly passed through U.S. accounts. Meanwhile, Panama is demanding that the pair face charges there in another corruption scandal. The brothers’ father, Ricardo Martinelli, is also accused in the case. Grupo Odebrecht is Latin America’s largest construction conglomerate. It started out as a small family construction group in the 1940s founded by Brazilians of German origin. It grew quickly, and at its peak, around 2010, the company had 181,000 employees across 21 countries. Its focus is on building large projects, such as Caracas’ metro, a port in Cuba, and much of the

Redistricting Again

The maps were drawn by the court’s outside expert, Jonathan Cervas, and are more competitive than previous maps drawn by the Democratically-controlled state Legislature, which were later thrown out by an appeals court. The redistricting process, which is carried out once every ten years, will see New York lose one of its 27 congressional districts. The maps will be used starting with the 2022 midterms. The judge, Patrick McAllister, had until Friday to formally approve the new maps. New Yorkers sent in over 3,000 comments asking for changes to the maps, but no hearings about the complaints were held – partly in an attempt to allow candidates enough time to campaign in their new districts. Meanwhile, some voting rights groups have urged New York to postpone the primaries.

The Week In News

APRIL 7, 2022 | The Jewish Home


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