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The Week In News

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home




Dear readers, Often, when discussing differing views with others, we reach a point where neither side will convince the other. In fact, sometimes the very same logic will be brought as proof by each side. In the larger political arena, this is true, as well. Even the most outlandish of opinions or ideas may be based on a salient point (albeit totally misapplied). This is where conviction comes in. It is a power within us that can be harnessed, correctly, as an engine dedicated to the ideals we hold to be true. Of course, we want to convince people of the justice of our cause, but even when unsuccessful, we forge ahead on the beaten path of Torah and mitzvos. “A little light expels lots of darkness,” begins with us. Instead of tackling each idea or claim made by our ideological opponents—an impossible feat now that there’s social media and anyone can issue statements as if they are an expert, all day and all night— we should stack up acts of goodness and kindness. A kind word to those around us (beginning with our children), a listening ear to our spouse or close ones, a bit of extra focus on Who we are davening to and what we are saying, or giving some real brain space to Torah learning—these all will help us think healthfully and logically. “Ha’elokim asa es ha’adam yashar, viheima bikshu cheshbonos rabim.” We were created on the straight path, but since the beginning of time, we have searched for views and pleasures that are foreign to our original selves. Each and every bit of light we add to our lives strengthens our essence and banishes that which has attached itself to us. The noise we see and hear around us feels strong, and at times overwhelming, but G-d is on the side of goodness. Thus, in the end, goodness will prevail. And when it does, the whole world will to see its truth. May it happen very soon. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,


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

TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Mishayos Baal Peh Prizes at Cheder Menachem Los Angeles the event, welcoming the talmidim, their parents, grandparents, and guests. After sharing a few words giving yasher ko’ach to the talmidim, the rabbeim and the older talmidim in Cheder who helped out in all aspects of the program, he introduced Rabbi Shlomo Cunin, Head Shliach in California, who spoke to the talmidim and the parents, reminding them of the great

nachas they bring to the Rebbe who is constantly with us. Rabbi Yosef HaLevi Shusterman, Shliach to Beverly Hills and Rav of Anash, spoke next, sharing divrei brachah, and reminding the talmidim to keep reviewing that which they have learnt baal peh. Special hakaras hatov was expressed to Reb Yankel Ginsburg and family, who

are the “Zevulun” of the Mishnayos Baal Peh Program, sponsoring the prizes given to the talmidim, liluy nishmas his father, Reb Dov Reuven ben Reb Dovid HaLevi, obm. Also, the administration voiced gratitude to an anonymous sponsor who sponsored liluy nishmas Reb Isser ben Reb Aryeh Leib, obm, and HaShliach Harav Yehoshua Binyomin ben Reb Sholom


On Sunday, 13 Sivan, talmidim of Cheder Menachem Los Angeles, together with their mechanchim, parents, grandparents, relatives, and friends gathered together to mark the culmination of over two months of learning mishnayos and Tanya baal peh, as a present to the Rebbe in honor of Yud Alef Nissan. Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum, Menahel of the Cheder, began the formal part of



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TheHappenings Week In News

Dovber Gordon, obm. Another sponsorship was given by the family of the noted mechanech who was at the forefront of promoting limmud mishnayos baal peh, HaRav Levi Yitzchok ben Reb Lipman Shapiro, obm. Rabbi Sholom Heidingsfeld, the coordinator of the program, gave a brief overview of this year’s accomplishments, highlighting the fact that this year we learnt the most lines of Tanya in the 19 years of Mishnayos Baal Peh, reaching a total of over 16,500 lines, which include 212 com-

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

plete perakim. In mishnayos, the totals were over 25,000 lines, which include 613 mishnayos, 428 perakim, 56 masechtos and one seder, and a total of 74,000 lines of Torah baal peh, including the above and many lines of siddur and yediyos klaliyos. Every talmid participating has a share in the nachas we have brought to the Rebbe. A special announcement was made regarding talmidim who are working on completing the first 12 perakim of Tanya baal peh and four talmidim, who have already learnt more than seven perakim

of Tanya were called up to the stage, including two fourth graders, Levi Yitzchok Hecht and Mendel Zaetz; sixth grader, Avremele Levitansky; and seventh grader, Yitzchok Wolowik, who has already learnt 12 perakim baal peh. Special mention to the Weiss family, whose three sons are close by with more than five perakim already fluent on their lips. This year’s achievements include the talmidim of Rabbi Blasberg’s third grade girsa class who learnt the entire Masechta Megillah and Rosh Hashanah baal peh

and are in the middle of Masechta Taanis, with the teitch. Special mention was made to Yossi Heidingsfeld, seventh grade, who learnt the entire Seder Moed baal peh. New for this year was also the addition of Gemara baal peh in certain classes. A presentation was made to eight boys in Kitah Ches who learnt the entire Perek HaKones baal peh and were tested shakla vetarya with the Rashis and to eight talmidim who learnt a significant amount of Perek HaMafkid baal peh. Also new to this year was the presentation of awards at the ceremony for Mivtza Torah, Gemara Bifnim, a program by the Igud HaMelamdim. Talmidim in Kitah Vav who excelled in their tests on Perek HaMafkid received sefarim according to their points earned in the mivtza. After this, every talmid received their prize according to their achievements. A special thank you to Mrs. Ruchie Stillman, R’ Nochum Labkowsky, Rabbi Leibel Cohen, Mr. Sam Kustanovich, all the rebbeim and menahalim of the Cheder and the Cheder board for all their help in ensuring the success of the day’s events.

Hungarian Ambassador Meets Commissioner Friedman

L-R Anrew Friedman, his wife Chanie, Dr. Ivonne & Ambassador Laszlo Szbo

Hungarian Ambassador Laszlo Szabo-headquartered in Washington, D.C.made a rare visit to the West Coast in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s recent meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. During a stay in Los Angeles, the Ambassador made it a point to visit with Commissioner Andrew Friedman to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism in Hungary. The Ambassador emphasized that the Prime Minister has stressed that Hungary today has a “zero tolerance policy” toward anti-Semitism. Hungary considers the Jewish community part of the Hungarian cultural heritage and thus the government has recently given substantial financial support for the renovation of synagogues, Jewish schools and nurseries. Hungary has become the safest country for Jews with or without yarmulkes (unlike many Western European countries). Hungary will be hosting the European Maccabi Games next month, where hundreds of Jewish athletes will be competing in Budapest.

TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Friendship Circle of Los Angeles Celebrates 16 Years of Service to the Community On Tuesday, May 21st, Friendship Circle of Los Angeles (FCLA) celebrated their 552 volunteers at their annual Garden Party. In their 16th year, FCLA runs 24 programs for Jewish children and young adults who have special needs. The night culminated an incredible year at FCLA, with the ceremony highlighting their shared passion for inclusion.  The Family of Friendship Award was presented to Jeremy and Naomi Ives. Jeremy is Executive Director Rabbi Michy Rav-Noy’s childhood friend and an early supporter of FCLA. As a sponsor for the last five years of Friendship Circle’s annual Walk4Friendship, Jeremy spoke passionately about their family’s desire to help FCLA spread the word of inclusion and acceptance of children who have special needs.   Chanie Lazaroff, the Mitzvah Volunteer Program (MVP) coordinator, recognized the 73 MVP graduates for dedicating their time to learning more about how

to interact appropriately with children who have special needs. The sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders of MVP stood proudly, wearing their exclusive, personalized, MVP sweatshirts. Keynote Speaker, Brandon Farbstein, captivated the crowd with his story. After severe bullying and an attempted suicide, he turned his life around and inspires others to do the same. His words made an engaging and profound impact on the entire crowd. After discovering his calling at age 15 on the TedX stage, Brandon has spent four years traveling the world as a GenZ activist and author. He realized his life’s meaning: to change the lens through which people see their world.    An amazing group of 51 volunteers received the Fellowship Award given to volunteers who have dedicated an exceptional number of hours to spending time with their special friends and furthering their knowledge in the field of special education. Each volunteer was called up and

presented with a beautiful certificate and glass award for their tremendous commitment. FCLA’s program director, Miriam Rav-Noy, presented Julius English with the Heineini Award. Julius has been a dependable and outstanding head behaviorist for seven years. 

Amid confetti and cheers, FCLA presented their seniors with canvas duffel bags in appreciation for their years of dedication. Miriam Rav-Noy warmed the crowd as she saluted the volunteers. She said, “We are so many flames ablaze. Together, when we shine brighter, warmer and stronger, we are unstoppable!” 

The Los Angeles Premier of Soon By You at The Community Shul Yehudis Litvak Soon By You, an award-winning Jewish comedic web series, premiered the first episode of its second season at The Community Shul in Los Angeles. Mostly hilarious, yet at times heartbreaking, Soon By You portrays the dating struggles of young Modern Orthodox Jews living in New York. The latest episode follows the main characters’ relationships—some succeed and some don’t—and introduces new characters who add another dose of eccentricity to the mix. After the screening, the audience participated in a Q&A session with the series creator, producer, co-writer, and actress Leah Gottfried and with the composer Aaron Symonds. The session was moderated by Melanie Ehrlich, a local actress and filmmaker. Leah spoke about her career in the film industry as an observant Jewish woman. She began acting at age eight. When she was 14, her family moved to Los Angeles, and she attended the Kol Neshama summer camp, a performing arts camp headed by Robin Garbose. Leah considers Mrs. Garbose her mentor and role model as an observant woman pursuing her dreams as a filmmaker. After high school, Leah wanted to continue acting, but found that most jobs in the industry conflicted with Shabbat. She turned to screenwriting as a way to remain in the film industry without religious conflict. Determined to provide filmmaking opportunities to the religious Jewish community, Leah was instrumental in creating a first ever Film and Television program at Stern College, the women’s division of Yeshiva University. Currently, Leah heads a full-service production company, Dignity Entertainment. Soon by You grew out of the desire for Shabbat-friendly filming opportunities, but

it came to encompass much more than that. When the first episode won the Best Short Film award at the Washington Jewish Film Festival, Leah felt validated in her quest to portray an authentic Orthodox Jewish experience on screen. “It is my passion project that I’m excited to share with you,” Leah said. Aaron Symonds grew up in Jerusalem. “I didn’t see my first movie until I was fourteen,” he said. Once exposed to the film industry, he fell in love with it and wanted to make his own contribution as a religious composer. He’s experienced his own share of struggles with finding jobs that do not conflict with Shabbat and now prefers to work on his own projects where he chooses his own schedule. He finds that Shabbat observance helps him in his creative process, because there is a temptation to keep creating non-stop, which can easily lead to burn out. Shabbat forces him to stop, to take a break, and then come back to the creative process refreshed and invigorated. Leah and Aaron connected on LinkedIn and are working on Soon by You remotely, with Leah in New York and Aaron in Los Angeles. “We clicked from the get-go,” Aaron says. “We are never in the same room, but we are on the same page. I have a special place in my heart for Soon By You.” In addition to composing the show’s music, Aaron helped Soon By You get fiscal sponsorship from JenLA, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Jewish entertainment professionals. The Soon By You team has other exciting projects in the works. As Leah said, “Stay tuned.”


TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

LINK Kollel Celebrates Its 17th Anniversary with Gala Dinner/Concert Featuring Baruch Levine Rabbi Eli Stern The LINK Kollel in Los Angeles celebrated its 17th anniversary with a gala dinner and a festive concert featuring the renowned singer and composer, Baruch Levine. The event—which attracted a standing room only crowd of over 400 guests, some from as far away as New York—was held in the banquet hall of the

Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills, on Monday evening, June 3rd (Rosh Chodesh Sivan). This was LINK’s most successful dinner to date, both in terms of attendance and of fundraising. The guests of honor were Mr. and Mrs. Avy and Sandra Azeroual, who received the prestigious Community Leadership

Award. Mr. Azeroual, a well-known supporter of Torah institutions, is a successful real estate investor and developer in several cities world-wide. Besides his generous support for LINK, he was honored for being such a worthy role model for limud haTorah, spending nearly two hours at LINK everyday learning with the avrei-

Photos: Manny Saltiel


chim. In introducing him, Rabbi Mordechai Lebhar, LINK’s Rosh Kollel, highlighted the century-old ties between the Azeroual family in Morocco and support for Torah learning (including the yeshiva of Rav Yaakov Abuchatzeirah, the Babe Sali’s grandfather). In his own remarks, Avy spoke of the fortuitous circumstances of how he met Rabbi Lebhar some three and a half years ago. He related how his daily Torah study has transformed his life and those of his family. He thanked his wife Sandra for her steadfast and unwavering support for the all the time that he spends in the beis medrash. Rabbi Asher Brander, LINK’s founder and rav, focused on the unique contributions of countless individuals in making the LINK Kollel and Shul the special community that it is. At the same time, he challenged his listeners to reach out to all those Jews, both frum and non-observant, who are not yet tasting the sweetness of Torah in their lives.  To top off the evening, Baruch Levine sang some of his well-known compositions (many dealing with the theme of Torah and educating our children). The concert culminated in spirited dancing—many in the audience enthusiastically joining in. LINK is on the cusp of moving into its brand-new facility, currently under construction. The proceeds from the evening will go towards the realization of LINK’s goal of a beautiful new bais medrash to better serve the community.

Torah Musings The Week In News

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Waking Up is Hard to Do Sarah Pachter

I recently attended a class given by older rebbetzin who had raised six children, now grown. She described a scene from her younger years when her children spanned the ages of six months to 16 years old. Motzaei Shabbos, she would collapse into bed, dreading Sunday morning. There were few activities that would satisfy the various ages of her kids, and trying to get through a typical Sunday was overwhelming. When the birds let out their first chirp in the morning, she wished she could throw the covers back over her head and hide. Hearing a renowned rebbetzin openly admit to these feelings was validating. In fact, as I read a version of this article to my husband, he asked, “Wait, are you talking about yourself here?” We have all had days where we would rather stay under the covers. Some of us cannot confront the daily grind, while others are facing larger challenges. For simple and complicated time periods, here are some thought-provoking ideas to combat these hard-to-wake moments. Our Unique Mission One morning, I took my daughter to story time at the library, and the librarian thanked everyone for attending. He jovially told the crowd, “Give yourselves a round of applause! You got up, and you are dressed!” We all laughed—and wondered if he was referring to the children or the parents—but how true! Sometimes, simply waking up and getting out of the house is an accomplishment in itself! I have a student who suffers from debilitating depression, and there are days that she is still in bed at three in the afternoon. How, then, can we achieve great things when the most simple of actions, waking, can be a challenge? Rabbi Yaakov Cohen, an on-campus kiruv rabbi, was learning with with a college boy who was struggling to wake each morning. Despite various attempts, the boy could not find the emotional strength to get up and attend classes. Determined, Rabbi Cohen learned “Modeh Ani” with him, the prayer said upon awakening in the morning, which thanks G-d for returning our soul. He described that G-d believes in

us and is rooting for us, as is explained by the term rabbah emunatecha, great is Your faith in us. This seemed to give the young man the strength to wake the following morning, and he was able to attend his class. Later that day, he called Rabbi Cohen, beaming through the telephone. “Rabbi! Today I witnessed a miracle! As I was about to walk to campus, I saw a young child, completely alone, walking straight towards a busy street. As he was about to walk into oncoming traffic, I scooped him up and brought him to safety back onto the sidewalk. Two minutes later, his babysitter caught up to us, and in tears, she thanked me. “I realized that there was not a single other person walking around the sidewalk that day. Do you know what that means? If I had stayed in bed, no one would have been there to save this child’s life. Now I understand the truth of ‘Modeh Ani.’ Every day, Hashem gives us a gift of life because He believes we can accomplish something great that no one else can.” Marathon Goals The best way to accomplish something great is by establishing goals that vary based on our circumstances. Pahla Bowers, a fitness instructor who runs many marathons, described how she sets goals for her marathons. I initially assumed that meant she had three separate goals, such as a time goal, an energy goal, and an endurance goal. Yet, she actually created three different time goals. She explained that depending on how the day starts, she creates tailored goals. For example, a marathon day where the weather is less than ideal, or she is exhausted, she sets a certain time goal. Then, on days where everything runs smoothly, and she has energy, her time goal is faster. Lastly, on days where the stars are aligned and she could not ask for better circumstances—good weather, great sleep, high energy—she has a third and even faster goal time in mind. This is what she calls her masterpiece marathon. This idea of varying goals can be applied to our everyday lives as well. We can change our goals for the day based on our circumstances. We cannot and should not expect the same from our-

selves when we are sick, overwhelmed, stressed out, or everything seems to go wrong the first five minutes of the day. Change your goals and expectations as needed, based on your conditions. This way, we can feel accomplished every day, regardless of how our day begins. This Is Where I Am Supposed To Be Years ago, a friend of mine shared a recording of a shiur by Shifra Rabinstein with me. Her words have stayed with me for over 15 years. Rebbetzin Rabinstein’s husband fell into a coma when she was four months pregnant with her third child. She gave birth to that child while her husband was still unconscious. She suffered the emotional pain of not sharing that momentous occasion with him, coupled with the physical and mental challenge of caring for four children, including a newborn, alone. One night, she was awoken by her crying baby, who was inconsolable, even after being fed and changed. She tried rocking her baby to sleep, while crying in sorrow over the situation she faced. Finally, the woman described: I was so exhausted, I wanted to collapse. I was sad, and angry. I was feeling every emotion, but then it hit me. This place, this situation, is exactly where I am supposed to be right now. This is where Hashem wants me to be. So many times in life, we wonder, am I on the right path? Am I doing the will of Hashem? We may find ourselves in a situation that begs the question: What does Hashem want from me right now? And I realized right then and there, as I was gently calming my baby, that this is exactly where Hashem wants me to be. What greater joy than to know that you are doing the will of Hashem? That thought gave me strength to just get through one

more night, and one more day. Most of us are not going through challenges as intense as this. But this concept of acceptance is crucial for our overall happiness and wellbeing. There are many times in life where we are simply not in control. In these circumstances, it’s best to remind ourselves, This is exactly where I am supposed to be. Here are some real-life examples: You are waiting for your spouse to complete an errand, and it’s taking much longer than anticipated. Right now, this is where I am supposed to be. You are waiting with your three-yearold at an after-school activity for your older child. The younger child is hysterically crying because she had an accident. After you remove her pants, you realize you don’t have a change of clothes with you. You want to join in her hysteria. Instead realize, this is where Hashem wants me right now. You broke your foot, and your child’s wedding is the next week. As the pain shoots up your leg, think, this is where Hashem wants me. It is precisely here, in this struggle, that I can grow. When we feel out of control, instead of succumbing to feelings of anger and resentment, think, What joy! Hashem is telling me what he wants from me. If a woman whose husband was in a coma was able to reach levels of utmost happiness, despite her terrible circumstances, then surely we can, too, within our own challenges, large or small. We can always choose to wake up and start a new day fresh. When we recognize our unique mission, set realistic goals, and realize Hashem has placed us right where he wants us to be, we can make any day a masterpiece marathon.


The Week In News


JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



Book Review The Week In News

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

I Love When that Happens by Schwartzie (Chai Publishing 2019) Reviewed by Rebecca Klempner

I Love When that Happens depicts the life and work of Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz— or “Schwartzie,” as he was affectionately known. A major figure in the world of Jewish outreach, Schwartzie particularly influenced campus kiruv, as one of those who launched UCLA Chabad; and the movement to make Judaism accessible, as the creator of the Chai Center, which famously offers free High Holiday services and Shabbos meals for “Any Jew that Moves.” While the book purports to be a memoir by Schwartzie himself, the truth is more complicated. In the foreword, Rabbi Mendel Schwartz—one of his sons and his successor at the helm of the Chai Center— explains that although Schwartzie began to write his memoir during his final decade, his illness and death prevented the book’s completion. Thus, the family and staff of the Chai Center compiled much of the book’s contents after Schwartzie’s demise, using emails, letters, and other documents written by Schwartzie. They hired Vicky Judah to interview colleagues, friends, and family, and then wove all the threads into a coherent whole. Surprisingly, the process worked. The resulting text felt like I was being addressed by Schwartzie, who I met briefly on two occasions. As I read, I could hear his voice in my head—playful, full of

joy, and slightly bombastic. Material that did not originate with his original draft, emails, or letters has been used mostly to bridge sections or to elaborate on a subject Schwartzie mentions in passing, and it’s set apart with distinctive formatting. I always understood clearly where his words ended and others’ began. Schwartzie began life as the only member of an Austrian family who escaped the Shoah to be born in the U.S. Growing up in a traditional, misnagdish family in Atlantic City, then studying at the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore, he was mischievous but grew steadily more devout. He only came to Chabad Chassidus in his late teens. The Rebbe personally intervened with his father to maintain family bonds when Schwartzie left Yeshiva University to study in a Lubavitch yeshiva. Schwartzie’s years of study and early marriage sound similar to those of other shluchim of the Rebbe—albeit punctuated by a couple dramatically timed deaths and the arrival of the 1967 war while he was studying just yards away from the Jordanian border. It’s only when he and his first wife, Alta, move to California that Schwartzie’s ability to innovate becomes startlingly clear. His reminiscences of his work, first with Alta at his side, then (after Alta’s un-

timely death) with his second wife, Olivia (a powerful leader and teacher in her own right) are full of satisfaction and humor. When I was asked to review the book, I was nervous to see how Schwartzie would portray the more controversial events of his life, particularly his departure from UCLA Chabad. Schwartzie explains what happened from his perspective, true, and in his eyes, he was certainly right. However, his honesty about what happened let me see the other side, too. With great maturity, he focuses on differences of opinion, not on personalities. I was relieved that I didn’t have to endure the mudslinging or wound-licking so often found in memoirs. One of the pleasures of reading I Love When that Happens is the care which the Chai Center took when preparing this volume. The design harkens back to Schwartzie’s beloved tie-dye shirts, and his radiant face graces the front cover. As I mentioned above, the interior organization and formatting made the text easy to follow. My favorite part of the book comes in Part Four, where Schwartzie delves into synchronicity, bashert, hashgachah pratis, Heavenly intervention—whatever you want to call it. “I saw the divine hand in almost every chance meeting,” Schwartzie writes (p. 183). “I considered bashert experiences to be ways of bringing order to

a chaotic world. Every time a synchronistic occurrence smacks you in the face—in other words, confronts you directly and undeniably—it invariably points to the fact there is a method to the (seeming) madness in our personal lives.” He loved to share these moments via emails with his students, family, and friends, usually capping his storytelling off with a trademark, “I luv when that happens!” I Love When that Happens is sure to be enjoyed by any of the many thousands whose lives were touched by Schwartzie, people who engage in Jewish outreach, those who are interested in the history of Chabad in Los Angeles.

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The Week In News

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

Iraqi Military Base Targeted

near U.S. government facilities in past months and have usually been attributed to Iran, which has denied any role. The U.S. and allies have also accused Iran of being behind recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, located less than 100 miles away from the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important maritime oil route and the subject of dueling threats by both countries. On Monday, Iranian ambassador to the U.K. Hamid Baeidinejad warned that Tehran and Washington were currently “heading towards a confrontation.” He called on the U.S. to end its sanctions policy, which he described as a form of “economic terrorism.”

Stunt Gone Wrong On Monday, an Iraqi military base where U.S. and allied coalition troops are stationed was targeted by a rocket attack. The attack took place just as the Pentagon released new photos as evidence that Iran was behind recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The Iraqi military’s official Security Media Cell reported Monday that “a short time ago, three Katyusha rockets fell on Camp Taji,” a military installation also known as Camp Cooke, located about 17 miles north of Baghdad. The apparent attack came just two days after unknown assailants fired rockets at Balad air base, another Iraqi installation where U.S. military personnel were present. No casualties were reported in the previous attack, though the Security Media Cell said more details would be forthcoming about Monday’s incident, which also came amid a spike in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which has begun to scale back its commitments to a 2015 nuclear deal that the White House pulled out of completely on a year ago. President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the deal despite it still being supported by Iran and fellow signatories China, the EU, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom was accompanied by a “maximum pressure” campaign of strict sanctions designed to undermine the Islamic Republic’s economy. As Tehran dismissed Washington’s warnings of a heightened threat posed by Iranian forces and their allies in the Middle East, recent incidents have left the region on edge. Iran seems to have become emboldened or perhaps just plain reckless as it flexes its muscles against the world’s super powers. Iraq, which has close ties to both the U.S. and Iran, has found itself caught in the middle of the latest unrest as various Shiite Muslim paramilitaries supportive of Tehran threatened to expel U.S. troops, which have largely been present in the country since overthrowing its former government and attempting to quell a Sunni Muslim insurgency led first by Al-Qaeda and then the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).. Isolated rocket attacks have occurred

Chanchal Lahiri, known by his stage name “Jadugar Mandrake (Wizard Mandrake),” is feared to have died after a recent stunt he attempted may have gone wrong. The Indian magician went missing after being lowered into a river while tied up with chains and ropes in a Houdini-inspired stunt. He was lowered by winch into the river in Kolkata on Sunday in a yellow and red costume. But after many minutes, horrified onlookers and family stood by mutely as the 40-year-old – who had his legs and arms tightly bound – did not emerge from the water. Rescue workers have been scouring the fast-flowing murky waters since Sunday but he has yet to be found. Lahiri has successfully pulled off a similar stunt 21 years ago. “I was inside a bulletproof glass box tied with chain and locks and dropped down from Howrah bridge,” he told AFP before this week’s stunt. “Then I came out within 29 seconds.” He admitted it would be tough to free himself this time. “If I can open it up then it will be magic, but if I can’t it will be tragic,” he said. When Lahiri tried another stunt at the river in 2013, he was assaulted by onlookers who saw him escape from a locked cage via a door that was clearly visible. He was beaten and punched and his long flowing golden-brown wig was pulled off by the crowd. Almost a decade earlier, he declared he would walk on the river waters but had to beat a hasty retreat when the act went wrong.

Ousted Egyptian Prez Dies

additional 15-year sentence for other, lesser, charges. In 2016, Morsy’s death sentence and life sentence were overturned.

Iran Says it May be Violating Deal

Mohamed Morsy, former president of Egypt, died on Monday at the age of 67. He had been in middle of a trial for an espionage case when he suffered a heart attack. Morsy had been the country’s first democratically elected leader before being ousted from power. Egypt’s public prosecution office said in statement that Morsy had been granted a request to speak before the trial ended. After a five-minute statement, the court adjourned and Morsy was brought back inside a cage inside the court, where he fell unconscious, it said. Morsy’s lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud, who is also the lead lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood, told CNN on Monday that Morsy had closed his statement by quoting a verse of a poem that read: “My country is dear even if it oppressed me and my people are honorable even if they were unjust to me.” Morsy had been placed in solitary confinement and had not been allowed to see his lawyers or communicate with his family. His family had only been allowed to see him three times since 2013. A strict Islamist who was educated in southern California, Morsy was voted into power in June 2012 following the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s longstanding rule. A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsy had campaigned on appealing to the broadest possible audience. But during his year in power, he became an authoritarian leader who forced through a conservative agenda. In 2013, Morsy and the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood movement were ousted in a coup, with the Muslim Brotherhood banned by the government after the military seized power and declared it a terrorist organization. Following his ouster, Morsy was tried en masse with Mohamed Badie – the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood – as well as more than 100 alleged members of the outlawed group. In 2015, he was sentenced to death over a jailbreak during the 2011 uprising and to life in prison on espionage charges after being convicted of conspiring with Palestinian group Hamas, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and other foreign organizations. He was also handed a 25-year prison sentence for leaking state secrets to Qatar, and had received an

If European nations won’t help Tehran in offsetting U.S. sanctions against Iran, the Persian regime said on Monday that it would soon violate a central element of the 2015 agreement to limit its nuclear program. Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said that within days it expects that the country will have produced and kept in its stockpiles more low-enriched uranium – the sort used to fuel power plants – than allowed by the 2015 deal, which the Trump administration withdrew from last year. The agency also left open the possibility that it might soon begin enriching the uranium to much higher levels of purity, edging it closer to what would be necessary to produce a nuclear weapon. In response to Iran’s bullying threats, the White House called for greater international pressure on Iran. “President Trump has made it clear he will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons,” the National Security Council said in a statement. The developments come at a time of escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran, and European officials have urged restraint between the two longtime adversaries. Iran has been attempting to pull European nations away from allying themselves with the U.S. In May, the U.S. State Department announced that it might penalize any country that transfers any enriched uranium out of Iran. Until now, Iran had shipped most of the low-enriched uranium it produces out of the country, swapping it for natural uranium. That allowed it to continue producing token amounts of nuclear fuel for civilian power plants without building up a stockpile that might later be used in a weapons program. Iran is saying that sanctions by the U.S. have led to a surplus in uranium in the country. During a news conference announcing Tehran’s decision, Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said that Iran might also increase the level of uranium enrichment up to 20 percent for use in its reactors. He added that the uranium would be used as fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which the United States supplied to Iran in 1967. Iran says the facility is used to



The Week In News create medical isotopes for use in cancer treatment. The nuclear agreement limits the level of enrichment to 3.67 percent, but if Iran began producing 20 percent enriched uranium, it would put the country much closer to weapons-grade levels. Over the last year, the Trump administration imposed severe economic sanctions that have discouraged most outside companies from doing business with Iran and followed that up with measures to cut off Iran’s revenues from oil sales, the lifeblood of its economy. In April, Trump designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, an arm of the Iranian military, as a foreign terrorist organization. Recent attacks on tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, which the Trump administration has blamed squarely on Iran, have further inflamed matters. As tensions rose, the White House said it would be adding 1,500 troops to the Middle East. If Iran breaks the limits of the deal, as they are threatening, European nations will have to consider bringing the case to the United Nations Security Council and to perhaps reimpose their own economic sanctions.

South America in the Dark A “massive failure” in an electrical interconnection system left Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay completely without power over the weekend. Parts of Chile and southern Brazil experienced outages as well, said Edesur, the Buenos Aires-based company. Chile’s system was running normally again Sunday afternoon, CNN Chile reported. By Sunday, Chile’s system was running normally, and electricity had been restored to parts of Uruguay and Paraguay. By Sunday evening, Argentina’s energy secretary had confirmed that more than half the country had their lights back on.

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

to communicate with their cellphones, as internet connections on their phones were not affected. Utility distributor Edenor, which controls 20% of the Argentine market, about 3 million customers, said a transmission system at Yacyretá Dam, on the Paraná River near Ayolas, Paraguay, failed “without human intervention,” forcing an automatic shutdown. The failure began in a transport connection between the dam and the Salto Grande power stations on Argentina’s coast. The shutdown was a protective measure, it said. Approximately 50 million people live in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina collectively.

Mysterious Deaths in the Dominican Republic At least nine people from the U.S. have died recently while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. Joseph Allen of New Jersey was found dead in his hotel room in Sosua on Thursday. Allen, 55, had told his friends that he was not feeling well. After not hearing from him the next morning, officials investigated and found him dead. Allen is the ninth American to die in the Dominican Republic since last year, although he was not staying at the same resort where multiple other Americans have died, several of them after drinking from the hotel minibar. The FBI is investigating if they passed away after drinking tainted liquor. One couple who had been vacationing in the Dominican Republic said that their room smelled like paint had been spilled and had become sick. Their doctor, who examined them upon their return to the U.S., said that they likely had become sick due to poisoning by pesticides. The investigation began after three Americans, including a Pennsylvania woman, died at a Bahia Principe resort within days of each other in May. After the news of the deaths made headlines, several more families have come forward with stories of similar experiences.

Quebec: No Kippahs for Public Employees Still, Gustavo Lopetegui, Argentina’s energy secretary, said that experts are still trying to determine was causing the massive blackout. In a statement on its website, Edesur, the energy company, said a “collapse” in Argentina’s government-operated interconnection system occurred around 7 a.m. The outage “is the first generalized blackout that Argentina has had in its history,” Edesur spokesman Alejandra Martínez noted. Interesting, most customers were able

pahs, turbans or hijabs while on the job. The bill passed on Sunday 73-35. Polls have shown that there’s been widespread support for the bill among the province’s French-speaking majority. But critics maintain that the real target of the bill is the Muslim community and that the new law is a violation of Canadian human rights charters. Some Jewish-majority municipalities have passed motions promising never to enforce the law, which has seen months of acrimonious debate and public hearings. “The Jewish community of Quebec is profoundly disappointed by the adoption of Bill 21,” Brenda Gewurz, chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Quebec, said in a statement on Monday. “This bill is reckless. It undermines religious freedom and equal access to employment.” Last-second codicils to the legislation allow for surveillance and disciplinary mechanisms that will mete out sanctions if the law is broken. Those chosen to enforce the law already are being dubbed the “secularism police.”

Collision Midair in NZ Both pilots were killed when two light aircraft collided midair on their final approach at a regional aerodrome in New Zealand on Sunday. Just before the crash, four parachutists who were onboard one of the planes had jumped off. Witnesses who saw the crash described a long bang before impact. Plumes of flames sprouted from the sky. Speaking to the media, Wairarapa Police area commander Inspector Scott Miller said that one of the aircraft was a training plane. “The impact was very severe. Both planes dropped immediately after the impact and most likely both pilots were killed, very unfortunately and tragically, at that impact,” he said. As of now, investigators believe that one plane was preparing to land, while another was just taking off when the crash took place. One of the planes belonged to Skydive Wellington while the other to the Wairarapa Aero Club. The Hood Aerodrome is owned and operated by the Masterton District Council. “We have a close-knit community at Hood Aerodrome and the incident has understandably rocked that community,” the council said in a statement on its website.

India Hits U.S. with Tariffs This week, Quebec passed its “secularism law” that bans certain public employees including teachers, judges and public officers – from wearing religious symbols at work. Those workers cannot wear kip-

This week, India announced increased tariffs on U.S. exports – another one of India’s tariffs on products like motorcycles and whiskey. His decision to revoke trade privileges for India followed complaints

from American dairy farmers and medical device manufacturers that tariffs imposed by New Delhi were hurting their exports.

Saudi Teen Spared Execution

This week, Murtaja Qureiris breathed a sigh of relief when he was told that he would be sentenced to 12 years in prison. The 18-year-old was arrested when he was 13 and had been facing execution. Qureiris’s sentence includes time served since his arrest in 2014, with the four final years on probation, leaving him with three years left in prison. He could be a free man in 2022. International pressure had been mounting on the kingdom after CNN reported on Qureiris’s case. In Austria, the country’s parliament, voted to close a Saudi-backed center for interfaith dialogue in protest against the detention of Qureiris. Qureiris was 10 years old when he committed at least one of the acts alleged in his charge sheet. He was charged with accompanying his activist brother, Ali Qureris, on a motorcycle ride to a police station in the eastern Saudi city of Awamiya, where Ali allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at the facility. His other alleged crime includes attending his brother’s funeral which later became a rally. Qureiris has denied the charges and said that the confessions, which the prosecution has largely relied on, were obtained under duress. At the time of his arrest, Qureiris was considered by many to be the youngest known political prisoner in the kingdom. Murtaja Qureiris is from a Shia family in the eastern province of the majority Sunni Saudi Arabia. In April, Saudi Arabia announced it had executed 37 men who, according to rights group Reprieve, were mostly from the kingdom’s Shia minority. At least three of the men executed were minors at the time of the commission of alleged crimes. All three were arrested for violence the government says was committed during protests around the time of the Arab Spring. But the prosecution relied heavily on confessions which the prisoners said were extracted from them. In the court proceedings, they said that they were tortured and that the confessions made under duress. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates of execution in the world and has frequently been criticized by rights groups for executing people who were minors at the time of the commission of crimes.

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

Offline in Ethiopia

Try accessing the internet in Ethiopia and you may become very frustrated. It’s been at least a week since many Ethiopians have been unable to access the internet. Access to social media platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram have been restricted since June 11, according to internet monitoring service Netblocks. In the capital of Addis Ababa, businessowners and journalists have said they were using VPN to connect to the internet and access messaging platforms. Many have been forced to use the internet services at luxurious resorts at a steep price in order to access the online world. Text messaging services were disabled last Thursday. Many are suggesting that the internet restrictions have been put into place by the government to prevent cheating by students who are sitting for national exams. This would not be the first time the Ethiopian government flipped the switch on the internet. Last year, before Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April 2018, the internet had been cut off for three months in many regions where there had been pockets of unrest. Once he took office, though, Abiy turned services back on and freed political prisoners, journalists and bloggers who had been incarcerated. “While Abiy’s government has made impressive progress on freedom of expression and access to information, blacking the internet is a step backward and reminiscent of the previous government he is so keen to distance himself from,” Felix Horne, Senior Ethiopia and Eritrea researcher for Human Rights Watch, noted.

Sara Netanyahu Convicted

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

nouncing the verdict this week in the case against Sara Netanyahu. The prime minister’s wife was convicted on Sunday of taking unfair advantage of a mistake, after earlier confessing to the offense as part of a plea deal signed last week in a case involving allegations of illegally procured catering services at the Prime Minister’s Residence. The agreement saw Netanyahu escape a conviction of aggravated fraud, but confess to the lesser charge. She will pay NIS 55,000 ($15,210) – NIS 10,000 as a fine, and the rest as restitution. The judge noted Netanyahu’s lack of previous convictions and the fact that she had “taken responsibility and saved a lot of precious judicial time.” After the verdict was announced, Netanyahu told the judge: “I have suffered enough.” A year ago, Sara Netanyahu and Ezra Saidoff, a former caretaker at the Prime Minister’s Residence, were charged with fraud and breach of trust for spending $100,000 of state funds on catered meals while there was a full-time chef on staff. That amount was slashed by half in the amended indictment filed last Wednesday, although Netanyahu will only return some $12,500 of it to the state. The judge agreed to Netanyahu’s request to pay the money in 11 separate payments of NIS 5,000 each, the first of which will take place July 15. Despite the sentencing and conviction, the state could file a civil lawsuit to get Netanyahu to return the remaining sum. The Prime Minister’s Residence is not permitted to order prepared food if a chef is present. The two allegedly misrepresented the chef’s presence between September 2010 and March 2013, in order to claim state funds to order meals. Netanyahu took advantage of the mistake of the Prime Minister’s Residence accountants, who thought there hadn’t been a chef on staff, the judge wrote in his verdict. A plea deal with Saidoff is expected to be finalized later this week. He is expected to admit to the lesser offense of taking unfair advantage of a mistake. Saidoff has reportedly agreed to pay NIS 10,000 ($2,765) and will be given a suspended sentence. Sara Netanyahu’s trial is separate from her husband’s legal woes, which revolve around suspicions that the prime minister accepted illicit gifts, took bribes, and tried to arrange favors for media barons in exchange for positive press coverage. The Netanyahus have denied any wrongdoing, and say they are the victims of a political witch hunt driven by a hostile leftist media and the courts.

Soldier Punished for Milk/Meat Snafu “Indeed, the defendant misused public funds,” judge Avital Chen said in an-

After a soldier in the IDF put cheese and cold cuts on the same shelf in the refrigerator on his army base, he was pun-

ished. The soldier was confined to an army base for a weekend because of the mishap. In a statement on the confinement of the soldier, a member of the Armored Corps, the IDF said he violated the rules of the base, even though he had been aware of the commands. After the punishment, MK Evgeny Sova of the Yisrael Beytenu party condemned the sentence, adding that it could lead to more religious restrictions in the military. “Today they forbid putting milk and meat together in the same fridge. Tomorrow they’ll forbid girls from enlisting in the army. In two days we’ll become the army for the defense of Jewish law,” Sova wrote on Facebook. “We should stop this quickly,” he added. Sova, a former Russian-language journalist, said he reached out to the army chief of staff’s office over the incident but has yet to receive a response. Yisrael Beytenu, a right-wing secular party which receives much of its support from Russian-speaking immigrants, has made issues of religion and state a central plank of its campaign for the upcoming Knesset elections on September 17. The elections were called after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a government after national elections in April, a failure he pinned on Yisrael Beytenu and its leader Avigdor Liberman as without the party’s five seats the premier was left one seat shy of a ruling majority. While Liberman cited a litany of issues for his refusal to join Netanyahu’s proposed government, the main point of contention was his call for the passage of a Defense Ministry-drafted bill regulating exemptions to military service for charedi yeshiva students.

Ultra-Orthodox parties, who have made up a key part of Netanyahu’s governing coalitions, rejected Liberman’s demand the bill be passed without changes. Yisrael Beytenu MK Eli Avidar decried what he said was a lack of an effective opposition to Netanyahu in the Knesset. “There is no opposition in the Knesset. Netanyahu has no opposition in Likud, my friends there don’t open their mouths. He has no opposition on the right, in the national religious parties or [opposition] Blue and White,” Avidar said at an event in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon on Saturday. Because of this lack of pushback, Avidar said, “Netanyahu can promise the ultra-Orthodox heaven and earth.” He added, “If the public knew what he promised the ultra-Orthodox parties, it would be in shock.”

Balloon Terrorism Continues

Israeli communities bordering Gaza were victims of balloon terrorists over the weekend even as $25 million in Qatari aid was being transferred to the Hamas enclave. Dozens of fires were started over the weekend in Israeli communities because of the attacks. Qatari envoy to Gaza Muhammad al-Emadi was set to enter the Hamas-controlled enclave sometime on Sunday to deliver $25 million in aid to the officials in the Strip. The transfer of the funds is apparently one of the key demands put forward by the terror group in order for the quiet along the border to be maintained. Even so, at least three fires were started on Sunday in the Eshkol and Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Councils. Thankfully, the fires were all quickly put out and no injuries were reported. At least seven fires were started on Friday due to the balloon attacks as well. The day before, on Thursday, an explosive device attached to a balloon was found in Kibbutz Ruhama near the southern city of Sderot and a fire broke out in Simhoni Forest near Kfar Aza. More than a dozen blazes were ignited on Wednesday and Tuesday of last week due to the incendiary devices being launched from Gaza into Israel. Palestinians have endeavored to perfect their devices to ensure maximum flammability. Terrorists have been using slow-burning fuses and soaking them in explosive liquids before attaching them to the balloons. When the balloon is in the air, small fireballs are dispersed, igniting several fires from just one device.

Arab Mayor Expelled after Jews Attend His Son’s Wedding

Radi Nasser has been removed from his position as mayor of Deir Qaddis after

The Week In News

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

photos of Jews attending his son’s wedding circulated and caught the eye of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party. The group of Jews from Modi’in Ilit were invited to the wedding by Palestinians who work with them at a car repair garage near the towns. The mayor denied any knowledge of the Israelis’ participation, telling the Jerusalem Post: “When I learned about the presence of the settlers, I kicked them out, together with the (Palestinian) men who were with them.” But the pictures told a different story. In them, Jewish men were shown to be dancing with other guests. That sight inflamed Fatah activists who condemn the normalization of ties with Israelis. The Jerusalem Post quoted Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh as saying that the participation of “terrorist settlers in Palestinian social events is a cowardly, condemnable, despicable and reprehensible act.” The Palestinian Authority – of which Fatah is the largest faction – said it will launch an investigation into what occurred and may take steps against those who invited the Israelis.

French-Israeli Buys Sotheby’s

Going once, going twice, sold…to Patrick Drahi. Sotheby’s auction house, one of the world’s biggest art brokers, announced on Monday that it had been sold to Patrick Drahi, a French-Israeli telecom and media mogul. He had acquired the auction house for $3.7 billion. Drahi is paying $57 per share to acquire Sotheby’s through his company BidFair USA, the art house said. The billionaire is head of the Altice empire, which owns Virgin Mobile, and also controls Israeli TV station i24 News and cable TV operator Hot. The deal sees Sotheby’s return to private ownership after 31 years as a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. “Known for his commitment to innovation and ingenuity, Patrick founded and leads some of the most successful telecommunications, media and digital companies in the world,” Tad Smith, Sotheby’s CEO, said in the statement. “This acquisition will provide Sotheby’s with the opportunity to accelerate the successful program of growth initiatives of the past several years in a more flexible private environment,”

he added. According to Forbes, Drahi is worth an estimated $9.3 billion, making him one of the richest people in both Israel and France. Sotheby’s was founded in London in 1744 and is now headquartered in New York, with 90 locations around the world. It is named after one of its founders, John Sotheby.

Miracle in Yeshiva in Sderot

On Thursday, most students had already left the Lev Ladaat hesder yeshiva in Sderot but there were still some in yeshiva learning and saying Tehillim. Around 9 p.m. the peaceful chanting was shattered when a missile slammed into a wall in the yeshiva, sending concrete and glass flying but thankfully leaving everyone unharmed. Eyewitnesses said that had the rocket hit a few minutes earlier, when the bais medrash was filled with students, or a few meters from where it did, it could have been a very different story. “It happened two-three meters from me,” said Shalom Kahlon, a former student who was in the study hall at the time of the explosion, speaking to the Ynet news website. “It hit the wall, three meters from there, that’s where I was sitting. If the rocket had been half a meter to the side I don’t know if I would be speaking now,” he added. Kahlon and others described hearing a massive boom as the rocket hit the multi-story building of the school, though there was no explosion from a warhead, which could have caused much greater devastation. The strike still managed to break several tempered windows and leave a large hole in an outside wall where it made a direct impact, with concrete rubble strewn across a sidewalk below. “It was a miracle,” Rabbi Shlomo Binyamin, told Channel 12 news. “Just 10 minutes earlier there had been 15 students saying evening prayers in the room.” Around 150 students attend the yeshiva. Had the rocket struck on another day of the week, more students could have been present but many of them had already left yeshiva for Shabbos. Due to its proximity to Gaza, Sderot

residents have just 15 seconds or less to seek shelter when a rocket alarm sounds. Many newer buildings in the city, which has been pummeled by thousands of rockets since the early 2000s, are constructed of reinforced concrete. The yeshiva building was constructed in 2012. The rocket was the second to be shot from Gaza on Thursday, but unlike the first, was not intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, for reasons that were not immediately clear. Politicians and others called for a major military operation on Thursday night, including assassinating leaders of Hamas, to stem the rising violence. “The situation as it is cannot continue,” Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi said. “As I said in the past, only a military operation will bring peace to our region.” Tensions with Gaza have been steadily rising in recent days, with Israel blocking Gazan fishermen from access to the sea last Wednesday in response to incendiary balloons being launched over the border. The tensions have threatened to undo an unofficial ceasefire brokered after a major flare-up in early May in which the sides exchanged the most intense fire in years, leading to the deaths of four Israelis and 29 Palestinians. Gazans say that Israel has been slow to implementing their parts of the deal.

Illegals OK to Drive in NYS

Undocumented immigrants will have access to driver’s licenses in New York State under a law green-lighted by the Legislature on Monday and signed by Governor Cuomo hours after he’d tried to tap the brakes on the controversial measure. Cuomo has repeatedly expressed support for the bill but raised last-minute concerns on Monday but not for obvious safety reasons. The governor said that he was concerned about whether the information about undocumented immigrants gathered

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by the state DMV could be obtained by federal officials and used for immigration enforcement. “You create a driver’s license for undocumented people, you just have to make sure you do it in a way that the feds don’t come in the next day and access that database with the exact opposite intention,” Cuomo told WAMC. “Why give Trump a list of undocumented immigrants?” Cuomo mused at an unrelated press conference. Overcoming the governor’s qualms, Republican opposition and the reservations of moderate members concerned about the policy’s unpopularity in upstate and suburban districts, Senate Democrats approved the bill with 33 votes. “By passing this needed legislation, we are growing our economy while at the same time making our roads safer,” Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said. “This is the right step forward for New York State as we continue to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform on the federal level.” Twelve states plus the District of Columbia have similar laws. Supporters say the so-called “Green Light” bill will make more than 265,000 people eligible for licenses and improve road safety by making non-citizens who drive take road tests and get insurance and annual vehicle inspections. Driver’s licenses for illegals will also have a stamp saying that they are not eligible for federal identification purposes and do not enable a holder to vote. A Siena poll last week found that 53% of New Yorkers oppose the bill and about 41% support it.

7 Monkeys Poisoned at Facility

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The deaths took place at the University of California, Davis, primate research laboratory. The research center reported the events to federal authorities in April 2018, with additional details provided a year later. In response to the letters and to the deaths, the Office of Laboratory and Animal Welfare told UC Davis that infants aged under six months should not be marked with dye and that mothers and babies should be kept apart longer to minimize the transfer of the markings. The university has about 4,200 primates, mostly rhesus macaques, which it keeps for research into HIV/Aids, Zika virus and other infectious diseases, respiratory disease, reproductive health, Alzheimer’s disease and aging. It has been under scrutiny other times. In 2016, it emerged that UC Davis was among nine federally funded research centers being investigated over mistreatment of primates. In March of that year, a primate fractured both legs after escaping through an unsecured door at the facility, with another primate subsequently injured following a similar incident. In 2005, seven monkeys died of heat exposure. The US government has curbed some primate research in recent years, with the National Institutes of Health announcing in 2015 it would no longer fund biomedical research on chimpanzees. Facing hefty public opposition to primate testing, some facilities, such as at Harvard, have wound down their programs and sent their apes and monkeys to sanctuaries. Testing on primates in the U.S. is far from over, however, with figures released last year showing nearly 76,000 non-human primates in captivity for research purposes. Supporters of primate testing argue it is essential in order to discover new cures for diseases that afflict humans.

Nestle Water: Free for the Taking?

This week it was revealed that seven baby monkeys were accidentally poisoned and died at a primate research center in the U.S. The incident was discovered by the Guardian, who ascertained that the young macaques – who were only just a few weeks old (one of them just a day old) – were exposed to dye when they were reunited with their mothers who were marked with dye. The dye was then transferred inadvertently to the babies.

According to USA Today, when you’re paying for a bottle of water produced by Nestle, you’re really just paying for a plastic bottle. You see, Nestlé, the world’s largest bottled water company, still takes millions of gallons of free water from the San Bernardino National Forest two hours east of Los Angeles. It’s been 17 months since California regulators told the com-

pany to stop what they’ve been doing. But Nestlé has been carrying on – with federal officials’ blessings. The company says it is legally entitled to the water and is “sustainably collecting water at volumes believed to be in compliance with all laws and permits at this time,” according to Nestle when questioned by The Desert Sun. Nestle reported piping 139 acre-feet – or 45 million gallons – of water from the springs and slopes of the popular national forest last year as part of its Arrowhead brand operations. They were required to pay about $2,000 for a new federal permit, but no fees for the water, which is theirs to use for retail sale. Some conditions were imposed in a management plan that they originally drafted, which was signed in March by the forest’s district ranger. California’s top water rights enforcer said in a recent interview that while he and his staff had advised the multinational company in December 2017 not to continue taking unauthorized water, it will take at least another six months for his team to finalize their investigation, and, if necessary, issue penalties. Victor Vasquez, the senior engineer who heads water rights enforcement for the California Water Resources Control Board, and Nestlé have noted that state regulators had found that the company is entitled to up to 26 acre-feet of surface water and 126 acre-feet of groundwater piped from horizontal wells, for a total of 152 acre-feet. Vasquez’s team concluded that in past years Nestlé had taken as much as 356 acre-feet of unauthorized water and advised them to “immediately cease any unauthorized diversions.” So far, it seems that Nestlé is staying within the 152 acrefeet limit, though they submitted a response to the state saying they actually have rights to at least 271 acre-feet. Opponents dispute those claims. “Based on the evidence gathered by the Water Board’s investigators and others, we believe that Nestlé is diverting water for bottling to which it has no legal right,” said Michael O’Heaney, executive director of Story of Stuff project, a global citizens’ group. “The Water Board has no choice but to end Nestlé’s unauthorized removal of water and hold the company accountable to the people of California for its wrongdoing over many years. We continue to encourage the Water Board to complete its work in the most timely and thorough way possible.” If state investigators conclude that the multinational has been taking water improperly, it could face fines of between $500 and $1,000 a day for every day it has continued to take it since the end of 2017, when the notice was sent. It’s not clear how that would affect the company’s bottom line. Nestlé SA, headquartered in Vevey,

Switzerland, is the world’s largest food company, according to a spokesman, and its Paris-based subsidiary Nestlé Waters is the largest bottled water company. Its profits were a reported $10.5 billion last year. With 87 locations in 33 countries, the company bottles and sells several other spring water brands, such as Deer Park, Ice Mountain and Poland Spring. It relies on sites in California, Colorado and Canada for its Arrowhead label, distributed across the West Coast. In documents submitted to the forest service, Nestlé said if it lost access to water from the national forest, it could have “significant market impacts” and risk job losses among 1,200 employees connected with the Arrowhead brand. The battle over Nestlé’s operation in the southern California forest is one of several across the country in recent years, including in Oregon, Michigan and Pennsylvania, seeking to block it from siphoning water from springs and aquifers.

So Long Sarah

Last week, it was announced that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will be stepping down from her post at the end of the month. President Trump wished Sanders well and suggested that she run for governor in Arkansas, a position her father, Mike Huckabee, once enjoyed. The president also called Sarah a “warrior” in his praise. Sanders was one of Trump’s biggest defenders and was able to handle the public and the press with aplomb. With a quick way of understanding a question, an ability to skirt around issues, and a toughness in dealing with detractors, Sanders was the perfect aide to President Trump. When the announcement of Sanders’ departure was made, it was 94 days since she last stood at the podium in a press briefing. Speaking at an event shortly after the announcement, Sanders called her role “the honor of a lifetime” and an experience she “will treasure forever.” “I couldn’t be prouder to have the opportunity to serve my country and particularly to work for this President,” Sanders said after Trump asked her to join him at the lectern. “I’ve loved every minute – even the hard minutes.”

The Week In News

JUNE 20, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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