Jewish Home LA - 7-18-19

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The Week In News

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News


Whether You’re Coming or Going… Come Join Us! To celebrate your year in Israel,

Touro College Los Angeles

Invites pre- and post-seminary students to a

Sushi and Salad Brunch Sunday, August 4, 2019 at 11:00am At the home of Professor Hakimi 1554 San Ysidro Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Reminisce with friends and share your experience with those going to seminary this year, or get the inside scoop on what to expect in the coming year. For more information and to RSVP, contact Adina at 323-822-9700 x 85155 or



The Week In News

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home




Dear readers, Love is one of the most confusing and misunderstood words in our vocabulary. We start off our lives with a very primitive, selfish love—we enjoy food, for example. We feel a connection to a food item with a flavor that pleases us and which satisfies our hunger, and our brain tells us we “love” it. There’s an age-old joke: We take a fish out of water because we love it! We laugh because we know it reflects self-love, not the genuine and altruistic variety. This all-consuming feeling continues to mislead us in childhood friendships and throughout our youth. We “love” people whose company is pleasurable; we “love” things that make us feel good. This isn’t entirely negative. The Rambam, teaches us to educate children in the way of Torah using prizes and other rewards. Then, the child will initially be excited to study and keep the mitzvos because of their own self-interest. Is it possible to love selflessly? Isn’t feeling, by definition, a response to something we are getting? And isn’t sinaas Chinam, undefined hate or dislike of another, also a natural expression of our selfishness? This where the soul comes in. At age 12 or 13, our neshamah fully enters our lives, and we are able to see things more objectively. We realize that we have a selfish side, which leads to the emotional challenges of the teenage years. Yet the main change is that we can connect to others outside ourselves in an objective way. Ahavas Yisrael is based on this. We can connect to another person not because we are getting something; rather, we recognize that we are really one. We love our children not because they make us proud but because it’s an expression of the oneness of all of our souls being bound together. More frum Yidden stay married all their lives because we attend to this unity of souls and not merely because our spouse gives us more than anyone else in our lives. A believer sees in G-d’s creation a oneness linking all that we encounter. When we use an item for a mitzvah or even to go somewhere or to refresh ourselves in preparation for mitzvot, we are not simply using something for a selfish purpose. Linking physicality to our mission makes this world a heavenly place. By putting ever more effort into seeing each other and the world around us as one unit, each part will help the others to finish our mission of bringing light, joy, and G-dliness into all that we encounter. Wishing you an enjoyable 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

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Tomchei LA’S Golf Classic Tova Abady

Tomchei LA’s Annual Golf Classic, held July 1st at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, was by all accounts a truly spectacular event. The event was launched five years ago to help continue the vital work of this well-known organization which benefits the entire L.A. Jewish community. Participants arrived having purchased various golf packages, including contests along the course such as “Closest to the Hole,” “Getting Onto the Green” (which resulted in winning a golf club of choice), raffle tickets, and other surprises. Attendees then enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by Pat’s followed by a program with videos and speakers. Additional opportunities to participate included buying into a “Split the Pot” golf ball contest. The golf balls were later dropped by helicopter as happy golfers watched and videoed while sipping cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from the club patio. The person with the ball that landed

closest to the hole split a $11,000 jackpot. No detail was left out by event planner Jenny Kdoshim, who made sure that all 14 hours were packed with enjoyable activities and gave her personal attention to all attendees. Everyone from golfers to staff to volunteers complimented the attractive venue with beautiful scenery and ocean views all along the course. Attendee Shaindl Leanse commented that the fresh breeze added a lot of vitality to the game. During dinner, attendees watched an original video, both comic and serious, titled The GolfFather (spoofing the Godfather film). It starred Tomchei LA Executive Director Shneur Braunstein, who told his “henchman” to go to Pico, Beverly Hills, La Brea, and environs to fill up briefcases with cash to enable the lifesaving work of Tomchei LA. Digital signs flashed important information about the work of Tomchei LA. Impressively, annual expenses exceed four million dollars and Tomchei LA has only a

four percent overhead. Ninety-six percent of all funds raised goes directly to recipients in need. In the past year, over 2900 individuals were assisted with brand new clothing, over 250 families have been assisted with furniture, over 200 candidates assisted with Job Link, and other families have received assistance for utilities and rent on an emergency basis. These types of aid are in addition to Tomchei Shabbos, which provides food for the week, Shabbos, and holidays to families in need. Shneur Braunstein thanked several people for making the event possible, including Jenny Kdoshim—she has worked on all events since the first one held. He also thanked Ari and Vanessa Blau, who made the video. Rabbi Yona Landau, President of Tomchei LA, remarked that the only one Shneur Braunstein neglected to thank was Shneur Braunstein, who is extraordinarily dedicated to L.A.’s Jewish community. Rabbi Landau also said that 54 individu-

als will no longer need assistance thanks to the amazing Job Link director, Tova Klein, who connected them all to a new job. Another individual Rabbi Landau praised was Yossi Manela, who does all the accounting work for Tomchei LA pro bono. Tomchei was Manela’s first client, and now he has a thriving business. Rabbi Landau said it is greatly appreciated when members of the community (like Manela) contact Tomchei LA to offer their services, to donate funds to the organization (more funds are needed as there are thousands of individuals living below the poverty line), or to offer jobs to fellow Jews. Preparations will shortly be underway for next year’s Golf Classic and getting reservations in early is recommended. A few golfers at the Tomchei LA Golf Classic inquired as to whether the U.S. President, who has visited the golf course with this family, might attend next year. A few staff members were hopeful that could happen.

Finding the Perfect Passover Program Amy Dubitsky Steven Spielberg’s film Jaws forever changed how people approach a beach vacation. There’s nothing like a shark to take the joy out of some long-planned relaxation! People who go to a hotel or program for Passover have been planning for months for their “vacation of the year.” These programs have a high price tag, and consumers have high expectations, but every year there are disaster stories that explode across social media. While there hasn’t been a reported Passover shark incident, some of the actual program fiascos can be described as stranger than fiction. There was a program in a Mexican hotel where the operators left the premises early on the day after Pesach, leaving behind a large balance with the hotel. The management put the hotel on lockdown and would only let guests leave after paying thousands of dollars on their credit

cards. While many people managed to get those charges reversed, the experience was a nightmare for the guests. One program which rents out many homes within a complex and provides food and entertainment had the communal spaces confiscated in the middle of Pesach, allegedly due to lack of payment. There are also programs that promise the world and fall short on delivery, to the point where guests have headed into the kitchen to start cooking the meals because there was not enough food provided. Not to mention the operators that cancel their planned programs for various reasons. Sometimes reserved guests get a refund, and sometimes they don’t—at least not right away. So how does someone going away for Pesach not only avoid a fiasco, but find the program that is perfect for them? Un-

til now, it has only been through word of mouth and then just hoping for the best. For Passover 2020, there is, a beautifully designed, modern website built around five years of market research and the input of over 40 program operators. Brandyss Katz, Daniel Kramer, and Doni Schwartz have independently been attending Passover programs at hotels for many years. In 2018, Katz founded the Facebook group, “Passover Program Reviews,” to connect with Pesach Vacationers across the globe. “The high growth and contribution rate within the group was an obvious message to us that there was a gap in the marketplace. There was not one website or publication to date that had combined revolutionary functionality for both the user and program owner,” explained Katz.

Based on their considerable experiences and individual areas of professional expertise, they decided to help the industry as a whole by creating a one-stop-shop for consumers looking for their perfect Passover vacation. “Our mission is to be the ‘Yelp’ of Pesach programs,” said Kramer, “A place where people can write their honest reviews, and others can benefit from their experiences. It is the only place where someone planning a Passover vacation can browse and sort programs according to their specific preferences.” Consumers can peruse over 80 programs listed world-wide with many program owners claiming their program listing. They have over 250 reviews, with additional reviews posted daily. Site visitors can click on a geographic location to view the programs that are avail-



TheHappenings Week In News

able in a specific area, or they can put in search criteria such as “mixed or separate swimming” and “daf yomi” to see which programs best suit them. Each listing provides detailed information about the program that is either provided by the program or which has been obtained through the research of the site administrators. The reviews that follow give additional details only someone that has experienced a program first-hand can provide. “This website promises to be the Better Business Bureau of Pesach programs,” says Baruch Cohen, Esq. a litigator in Los Angeles that has worked both sides of many cases involving Pesach programs, in the court system and in batei din. “A program that doesn’t want to engage with a website like this probably doesn’t have

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home

transparency and that should be an alarm for people to stay away. This website is long overdue; it most likely would have helped avoid the majority of lawsuits in the industry.” Owner of Regal Retreats, Dov Osina, is also excited about PassoverListings. com. “It’s a great place for us to get feedback—positive and negative—and for consumers to hear from people that were actually on the program. There are a minority of owners in the business that lack integrity, but that hurts all of us. A website of this nature is essential to cut down on the misinformation that is given to consumers.” Program operators want nothing less than happy customers who have found the right program for their family. Avrumy

Jordan, operations director of the Diamond Club Passover Program in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, agrees. “A website like is a long time in coming, and I’m glad for consumers that it is finally here. As an operator, I hope it will direct people to the right place for them.” Jordan shudders that some clients may have had a bad experience because someone focused solely on making a sale. He believes that the site will help people manage expectations and provide more honesty in the industry. “I trust the team running the website and that they have everyone’s best interests in mind. In the past, people could only look through a Jewish newspaper for program ads; now they have this tremendous tool where they can search

for a program that has the things that are important to them. For an operator, it will really cultivate solid leads because someone already did the research, and they are calling your program because they already know you have something they are interested in.” Steven Spielberg has been spotted at multiple Passover programs in Arizona over the years. Although he was more likely to have an incident with some gefilte fish than a shark, one never knows if those tea room experiences might land in a film one day. In the meantime, if you’re looking to avoid a real-life drama, is the place to start planning for the perfect Pesach 2020.

Jewish Community Foundation Of Los Angeles Awards $600,000 To Help Relieve Homelessness The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced that it has awarded a record-high $600,000 in General Community Grants—a 22 percent increase from last year—to three organizations that provide housing to individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Among these groundbreaking initiatives seeking long-term solutions to L.A.’s homelessness crisis is one of the first projects in L.A. converting a motel into permanent supportive housing. “Homelessness in Los Angeles has reached unprecedented levels – with alarming double-digit increases in the past year alone – and tens of thousands of individuals living without a roof over their heads each night,” said Foundation President and CEO Marvin I. Schotland. “We recognize that homelessness is a largescale, complex problem that requires the kind of bold thinking and innovative interventions reflected by this year’s General Community Grant recipients to whom we are proud to provide our support.” Schotland continued: “We expect the more immediate and direct outcome of these grants will be to provide hundreds of people experiencing homelessness the opportunity to transition to permanent housing. The greater outcome we hope for is that our investment will bring further attention to this pressing issue affecting us all, and encourage other funders and community leaders to step forward and work together to address it.” The 2019 General Community Grant

recipients—each awarded $200,000—include: • Brilliant Corners • LA Family Housing • The People Concern The grant to Brilliant Corners will support its Motel Conversion Project. The initiative is one of the first local motel conversions resulting from the Interim Motel Conversion Ordinance passed in 2018 by the City of Los Angeles. Brilliant Corners will renovate a mid-city L.A. motel and provide housing for dozens of individuals experiencing homelessness. With more than 380 motels in Los Angeles, totaling more than 10,000 rooms, many of which are eligible for conversion to permanent supportive housing, there is potential to scale this model. Brilliant Corners has a long-established track record of providing housing and implementing creative housing solutions. It plans to scale this project by providing technical assistance to other housing providers, so that hundreds more individuals can be housed. William F. Pickel, CEO of Brilliant Corners, stated: “With this capital investment from the Jewish Community Foundation, Brilliant Corners and its partners—including the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Office of Diversion and Reentry—are excited to pilot the Motel Conversion Project to create new supportive housing in Los Angeles. As L.A. faces an extreme housing shortage, this Motel Conversion Project will bring new supportive housing into service faster and cheaper than typical new

construction projects. The Foundation’s investment not only enables Brilliant Corners to convert a motel into 18 supportive housing units, the L.A. Motel model, but this could also provide proof of concept for a critically needed new pathway with the potential to end homelessness for hundreds of Angelenos.” The grant to LA Family Housing (LAFH) will support its Shared Family Interim Housing project. Over a two-year period, LAFH will purchase, renovate and convert three houses in the San Fernando Valley into shared interim housing for families experiencing homelessness. In contrast to housing families through motel vouchers, this model will place families in neighborhoods with access to schools, parks, supportive services and a community, in order to overcome their challenged circumstances. The community setting is particularly important to minimize the impact on children during this disruptive time. Over the long term, LAFH aims to develop and scale its new housing model across Los Angeles County. The grant to The People Concern will support its Scalable Permanent Supportive Housing for Homeless Individuals in Los Angeles project. The project will invest in a partnership between The People Concern and FlyawayHomes to scale the development of supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, using an innovative model that leverages private-investment dollars and manufactured housing construction to reduce the

cost and time it takes to develop housing. By using a modular building structure, this partnership can provide housing at one-quarter of the price per bed and in one-quarter of the time of traditional construction methods. The People Concern will create the procedures and staffing structure necessary to manage an additional two facilities within one year, and potentially 10-15 facilities within two years that will house at least 300 individuals experiencing homelessness. As part of the General Community Grant selection process, The Foundation consulted with leading experts and funders focused on addressing homelessness, including the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, United Way of Greater Los Angeles Home For Good Funders Collaborative, and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. This collaborative process provided The Foundation with invaluable insight and expertise into this critical issue facing the city. The Foundation’s General Community Grants provide multiyear awards to support programs focused on high-priority social issues throughout Los Angeles. In recent years, these grants have focused on human trafficking, sexual and domestic violence, and foster youth. This year, The Foundation chose to concentrate and make more significant grants to three organizations that support innovative approaches to housing development.

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home


Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

Bolok, the king of Tzipor, saw what the approaching nation of Israel had done to its enemies and those who stood in its path as it headed to the Holy Land, and he became worried. Bolok did not want to face the same end as his neighbors, who had not prepared for the invasion. He noted that the Jews had defeated mighty nations, which left him with only one possible avenue of victory. He would have to curse them. Bolok conspired to convince the well-known sorcerer Bilam to curse the Jewish people. The Torah recounts the conversations between the messengers of King Bolok and Bilam. From reading the parsha, it would seem to us that Bilam was reluctant to go, even turning down wealth and prestige, until he could convince Hashem to support him in his mission. It seems that Bilam was in all ways decent. That is, until he begins squabbling with his donkey, but that’s a different story. Yet, when we study Rashi and other meforshim, right off the bat, they portray Bilam as an evil person. How are we to differentiate between a righteous person and an evil one? What is the difference between a pagan prophet, such as Bilam, and a Jewish prophet, such as Moshe and the others with whom we are familiar? The difference is that the Jewish prophets are motivated by love and always seek to improve the condition of man. Pagan prophets, such as Bilam, are motivated by hate and spite. They seek to curse and destroy man (Akeidas Yitzchok, 82). The Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (5:22) delineates the difference between the students of Avrohom and the students of Bilam. A good eye, a humble spirit and a meek soul are indications of Avrohom’s

influence. An evil eye, an arrogant spirit and a greedy soul indicate a student of Bilam. It is interesting that the Mishnah does not discuss the differences between Avrohom Avinu and Bilam Harasha themselves. Instead, Chazal delineate the differences between their students. Rav Yechezkel of Kuzmir explained that while it may have been possible to be fooled by Bilam and his demeanor, a study of his students and followers reveals the truth about the man and his goals. Often, purveyors of sheker will use

tions lead to machlokes and hate. The prophet whom Hashem gifted to the nations quickly became enamored with himself and his singular ability. Since he was not a student of Torah, his selfish characteristics overcame him and guided all his actions. Thus, the Rambam (Moreh Nevuchim 2:40) advises that the way to tell whether a person is a genuine prophet and not a phony who has a glib ability with words, is by judging his character. A novi who is sent by Hashem to convey a message will be a person who is like He who sent him. He will be kind, gracious, loving

Look not at their presentation, rather see the effects of their words and actions. some emes as a means of gaining credibility and spreading their messages, making it difficult to tell apart the genuine from the phony. With some patience, the intentions of the leader become obvious. Avrohom became “Avinu,” spawning a nation of rachmonim, bayshonim and gomlei chassodim, paragons of decency and virtue. Bilam became the role model of their antagonists, the hero of those governed by ayin ra’ah, ruach govoah, nefesh rechovah, pettiness, greediness of soul and arrogance. The Mishnah is teaching us to ignore what the leaders say and how they present themselves, and to instead look at the effects of their words and actions. They may proclaim that they are all about peace and love, but beware if their ac-

and concerned about the people’s benefit. One who hatefully preaches destruction and is an egotistical sadist cannot be a faithful messenger of a loving G-d. A novi seeks to deter the people from sinning and warns them of what will happen to them if they persist in their sinful ways. A sorcerer goads the people to engage in sinful behavior and in ways that harm them. They seek to propagate hedonism, atheism and self-destructive behavior, just as Bilam did. The man who speaks for Hashem acts as He does, as the posuk states, “Tov Hashem lakol verachamov al kol maasov - Hashem is good to all and is merciful towards those He created.” Rav Dovid Trenk was such a person, a messenger of Hashem who loved all

and only sought to spread the love and bring people closer to the good. I never learned by him, but I came to know him from Torah Umesorah conventions. Every time he saw me, he would envelope me in his warm arms and kiss me, while offering encouragement to continue in my mission. It didn’t make a difference who was watching. He was never embarrassed to be mechazeik a fellow Jew. Rav Yaakov Bender told me the following story about Rav Trenk. One Friday evening, Rav Trenk heard that three bochurim had gotten hold of a car and drove to watch a movie. He ran the few miles to the theater and found the boys in the darkness there. He said to them, “I just wanted you to know that the popcorn here is not kosher. You may not have known that.” Rav Dovid walked back home exhausted but exhilarated. He knew that those boys would never drive to a movie again on Shabbos. That is the action of a novi Hashem. His love for the bochurim overtook every other emotion and sent him flying out the door to rescue them in the most loving way possible. He didn’t curse them or send them further away. He used the keilim Hashem gave him to bring them back. Sadly, we know that not all of the products of our perfect chinuch turn out perfect. What do we do about it? We need more people like Rabbi Trenk. Now that he has passed away, we should all adopt some of his middos and love Jews as much as he did. Thousands of people, young and old, would benefit from a touch of love, a kind remark, a hug, a kiss, and knowing that theater popcorn is not kosher. Klal Yisroel lost another novi emes with the passing of Rav Reuven Bauman of Norfolk, VA. Noting that a boy from his group was sinking in an ocean rip current, he jumped in after him to bring him to life. He was moser nefesh, giving up his life to save a student. He merited bringing all of Am Yisroel together in prayer, and Jews around the globe davened that the selfless rebbi would be found alive. Alas, it was not meant to be. We don’t know the cheshbonos of Hashem, but one thing we do know: The neshomah of Rav Reuven Bauman is un-

Living withIn theNews Times The Week

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home

der the Kisei Hakavod with other great Yidden from throughout the centuries. He died fulfilling the greatest mitzvah, breathing life into another person, and that’s what a rebbi does every day. Last week, I participated in the cheder firen of my grandson. Somebody asked me how I felt being there. I told him that I was inspired. “Inspired from sitting in a primary classroom? For real? I’d go out of my mind,” he said. I explained to him that the sound of twenty-five precious Yiddishe kinderlach davening and saying Shema overwhelmed me. Pure, holy, innocent boys, shelo chotu velo poshu, being led by a phenomenal, loving rebbi, singing the words of tefillah in the traditional tune… Is there anything more precious? “Mah tovu ohalecha Yaakov - How great are your homes, children of Yaakov,” chanted Bilam against his will. Since his time, until this very day, sorcerers arise to curse us and bring us down. With gifted oratory and faux righteousness, they reach out to us, trying to entice us to come over to their side. They ply us with temptations of allure, opulence, debauched provocation and seduction, and when that fails, they torture and kill us with every sadistic method known to man. It is thanks to rabbeim such as Rav Dovid Trenk, Rav Reuven Bauman and yibodel lechaim tovim Rav Zvi Weissman of the Lakewood Cheder’s primary that the Bilams of the generations have failed. It is thanks to dedicated rabbeim and moros that our children excel and flourish in and out of the classroom. But it’s a big world out there, and the children need not only the love of their teachers, but also of their parents and community. They need to be enveloped in a warm atmosphere where they feel welcome, appreciated and loved. The rabbeim and moros also need appreciation for the heart and soul invested into our children daily. If we want rabbeim who are disciples of Avrohom Avinu and children who excel in the middos of our forefathers, then we also must develop those wonderful attributes within ourselves and treat other people the way we want to be treated, expressing appreciation and letting them

know that we cherish and treasure them. Doing so will bring us closer to the day of which Bilam prophesized when

he said, “Arenu velo atah,” referring to Dovid Hamelech, and “ashureno velo karov,” referring to the Melech Ha-

moshiach (Rambam, Hilchos Melochim 11:1) speedily in our day.

Sukkot 2019 — Europe SUN. OCT. 13 - WED. OCT. 23, 2019





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Glatt Kosher Supervision by Rabbi G.M. Garelik and Rabbi M. Shaikewitz, The most well-known Hashgocha in Italy










Torah Musings The Week In News

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home

What Our Teens Wish We Knew Sarah Pachter

As a parent with a preteen, I am on the cusp of a new and challenging stage: the teenage years. Brimming with curiosity, and attempting to prepare myself for the next phase, I have casually interviewed teens around the nation to gain their perspectives. I asked for a glimpse into their world, and thankfully they have welcomed my questions with open hearts. Many shared what it’s like to be a teen and what they wish their parents understood about them. They also discussed what they wanted their parents to do differently, and how they viewed certain boundaries. What’s it like to be a teen? A boy lamented, “Some kids in my school will do anything to be popular, hurting others along the way to get what they want.” Once teens reach a certain age, popularity can become everything. It becomes difficult for some teens to cope with an environment like this. Another teen expressed, “There is a lot of social, academic, and family pressure for teens. Sometimes we get lost in one of the pressures and forget about the others. For example, we may think, ‘Oh, it only matters what my friends think, or only school matters.’” She continued, “Teens can get anxious about trying to balance everything, and we forget what’s important. We can lose ourselves prioritizing only one category in our lives.” Of course, challenges change within “teenagehood.” One girl explained that

early teenage years deal mostly with awkwardness, whereas older teens are facing more serious difficulties like anxiety and depression. She said, “Anxiety and depression are big problems for kids my age. The older you get, the more noticeable it becomes because the pressure to ‘grow up’ increases. In ninth and tenth grade, kids are not paying attention to what’s going to affect our future. But as we move into the later stages of ‘teenagehood,’ we become more anxious about our future.” Is anybody listening? Two teens expressed that they wish their parents would listen more. One, a teenage boy, shared the following, “Teens need to feel heard. When I’m arguing with my parents, I wish they would really listen to what I’m saying instead of just waiting for me to finish so they can respond. Sometimes they get upset about what happened, but maybe I have an explanation or a reason. I want parents to let us speak and really hear what we are saying.” But their desire to be heard has specific requirements. One teen explained that she wished her mom wouldn’t ask so many questions. At this point in my interviews, I felt that teens had created a no-win situation for parents. It’s as if the teens were saying, “Listen to me—but not really—because I don’t want you to ask me a single question or reflect what I’m saying.” I asked her, “Isn’t it a good thing your mom wants to listen by asking follow-up

questions?” She explained that it was the type of questions that irked her. “If I ever decide to share something with my mom, she needs to just be a sounding board. Even though it seems obvious to ask questions, her questions make me want to shut down because it feels like prying. I want her to listen and not push for more. That way, I would probably be willing to share more and more frequently.” What this teen shared is precisely what Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish suggest in their book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Although the logical response when listening is to ask questions, sometimes questions are perceived as intrusive. Faber and Mazlish suggest listening to our children without judgment or too strong an emotional response. For example, if a child talks about a difficult day in school, we can acknowledge their feelings with one word such as “oh” or “hmm.” (Of course, this only helps if we are actually giving the child our full attention; children are experts at deciphering whether our “hmm” is simply masking a distracted mind.) Another way to respond is by remaining as emotionally neutral as possible and offering a term for the emotion they are expressing. For example, “You must have felt betrayed when Lori shared your secret with Melissa.” The teen continued, “When I’m talking to my mom about something, she should be happy that I’m at least sharing something with her. She doesn’t have to know more.” This teen’s sentiments are reflected by Kenneth Ginsburg, Co-founder of the Center for Parent and Teen Communication at CHOP, who describes such a sentiment succinctly. “The parents who know the most and who have the most influence over their child’s academics and behaviors aren’t the ones who ask lots of questions. They are often the ones who are the least reactive and who express warm, unconditional love and support.” It seems that the key to unlocking your child’s emotions is to zip the lips and open the ears. In this way, we can listen to our children for the sake of hearing them, not so we can retaliate or pry.

Where is my space? According to teens, needing “space” does not just mean physical freedom. One girl expressed frustration about her lack of emotional space from her parents. She said, “I wish my parents understood that a bad day can just be a bad day.” She wanted her parents to know that if she comes home in a bad mood, they shouldn’t assume the worst or think she’s depressed. She continued, “Don’t go to the worstcase scenario in your mind. Accept that I will sometimes have a bad day, and it doesn’t mean that I, or the situation, needs to be fixed.” Another boy mentioned needing physical space to spend time with friends. “Friends are important, and I don’t always want to spend time with my family. For example, if a friend invites me to his house for lunch on Shabbat, I wish my parents would let me go.” Many parents reading this might be thinking one of the following: Yes, but what if the parents don’t approve of the friend? What if I’m not okay with the “need for space”—meaning abnormal curfew requests? Alternately, parents may wonder how to deal with other issues, such as: What if we differ regarding cell phone or screen-time usage? What if I don’t approve of their wardrobe when leaving the house? One parent shared an important response: “I can’t keep saying yes to things I’m not comfortable with—suddenly, I look in the mirror and don’t even recognize myself hashkafically.” Based on these interviews, I believe that if we give our children the space they need, listen wholeheartedly, and maintain our value system, our relationship with our teens can be nourished. We may have highs and lows, but ultimately our connection to our teens will be strengthened in the long run. These questions are intricate, and all address the need for boundaries versus freedom. Stay tuned as I address these questions, and others, in the next edition’s article.


Feature The Week In News

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home

OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home


Rose Bowl To

By Yosef (Calvin) Murray

Rashi A Unique Journey to Judaism

A legendary all-star Rose Bowl running back makes his most sensational touchdown run as an Orthodox Jew

s I stood on the steps of the mikvah, for a moment I contemplated the life-changing event that was before me. In a few short moments, after emerging from the mikvah, I would be a new person, a Jew, with a new soul and a new destiny in life. I wondered what my wife was feeling at that moment. We had traveled on an arduous spiritual journey together, from evangelical Christianity to Orthodox Judaism, and after ten years of study we would soon reap our reward. This, after being committed Christians, raising our six children in the church environment and serving as youth pastors. Our ever-increasing list of questions and discontent with the answers given forced us to seriously question what we believed. Being individuals with an intense thirst for truth and seeking a close relationship with God, slowly, slowly we began to see that Judaism held the answers. Not the typical journey for a


black NFL football player. began playing football at the age of eight. By my junior year in high school, recruiters from the University of Minnesota, Ohio State, North Carolina State, University of Arizona, and Notre Dame were watching me with apt interest. The legendary Woody Hayes from Ohio State University made the biggest impression on me and my family, and I was offered and accepted a full football scholarship. The practices were pure torture, but the end result was becoming a better man. Little did I know then that the very disciplines Hayes instilled in me and the moral values he taught me would be crucial in my spiritual journey to Judaism some 35 years later. I lettered all four years at Ohio State, and in 1980 I was honored with being voted Team Captain and Most Valuable Player. In my senior year at Ohio State, I was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. I played two seasons with the NFL before an injury ended my football career. The discipline I


ing for the alvin, play C en th f, Yose Buckeyes University Ohio State

acquired from my football career gave me the discipline to take on the myriad of mitzvot that govern a Jew’s daily life. The constant study, practice, and repetitive actions all laid the foundation for the conversion process and for leading a meaningful Jewish life. married Emunah (then Jeri) in 1992, and thus began our adventure, of raising six kids, of being youth pastors in a church, and spending our lives mentoring young people. We were committed to raising our five sons and daughter with the foundation of the Bible and relationship with G-d. However, 12 years into our marriage we got a taste of Judaism through a messianic congregation. This introduction to Shabbos and the Festivals sparked our interest to dig deeper. After eventually being terminated from our youth pastor positions for being “too Jewish,” we studied Judaism in our home. We eventually ended up at a local Chabad, where we spent two years continuing our studies. We then asked the rabbi to sponsor us for


conversion, and he made the arrangements for our first meeting with the Beis Din of Detroit. The Beis Din was a four-hour drive from our home in Columbus, Ohio. This allowed plenty of time for us to become anxious about what might happen at our first meeting. It was intimidating to sit across the table from four esteemed rabbis and having to convince them of our desire and commitment to pursing a halachic conversion. They were imposing figures, but they all demonstrated kindness and fairness from the moment we started talking. The bar is set very high to exclude all but the few who are willing and able to accept the demands of a halachic lifestyle. They were not aware that we had already spent nearly nine years poring over every morsel of Jewish religious instruction we could find and had already begun to incorporate several Jewish practices into our lives. We do not take our religion lightly and are not people who do things halfway – we wouldn’t have been at this meet-



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Playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. Yosef is holding the football

ing if we weren’t absolutely sure we were 100% dedicated. We offered every piece of evidence we could to prove our resolve. They were convinced of our sincerity and laid out a plan for the process, advising us it would take one to two years. With each successive meeting, we were quizzed at length on what learning had occurred since our last visit. In addition to much study, classes, and one-on-one instruction on Shabbos, kashrut, Jewish holidays, and Hebrew, as a condition to advancing in the process, we were required to sell our family home and move across town to the Jewish community. Finally, the rabbis were satisfied with our progress and the big day was before us. Emunah writes in our book, From Rose Bowl to Rashi, A Unique Journey to Orthodox Judaism: “After one house move, two shuls, two sponsoring rabbis, five visits to the Beis Din; after 2,110 miles, and 40 hours in the car; after hundreds of hours of classes and tutoring; after thousands of pages of reading; and after 19 months – the goal line was in sight. The Beis Din gave us their approval and scheduled us for the mikveh, the immersion ritual that is the capstone of the conversion process, the birth of our Jewish selves.” After our conversion, we had a beautiful chuppah and celebration with our new community. We were fortunate to move into a warm and accepting Jewish community where there are many learning and growth

opportunities. We were nurtured and loved, both by the community and numerous rabbis. onversion to Judaism impacts all areas of your life – what you eat, what you wear, your worldview, and how you conduct your family life. It’s not for the timid or faint of heart; it requires the fortitude to withstand rejection and the strength to stay the course. One of the rabbis of the Beis Din told us, “It’s a marathon,


Marrying k’daas Moshe v’Yisrael

date. Many sacrifices had to be made along the way, not the least of which was having to uproot our children and move out of our family home of many years and relocate to the Jewish community. Another challenge was saying goodbye to people who had previously been part of our lives. This was painful at the time, but G-d brought us many new and wonderful friends after we relocated to the Jewish community. A major challenge for me in becoming shomer Shabbos was that I

“Becoming Jewish is a wonderful and transformative experience - and it is also the hardest decision we have made in our lives.” not a race.” Truly, it is not an easy path, but we cannot imagine living our lives any other way. Becoming Jewish is a wonderful and transformative experience – and it is also the hardest decision we have made in our lives. You are not just adopting a new faith. You are adopting a People, a land, the Torah, and a holy tongue. Our path to Judaism was sometimes difficult and remains so to-


could no longer participate in NFL alumni events, attend Friday night football games, or participate in OSU activities that largely occurred on Shabbos. Although our path was fraught with difficult and sometimes painful decisions as well as a drastic change in lifestyle, we have no regrets. The outcome has been deeply fulfilling and rewarding. We are forever grateful and humbled that we have the great

privilege and responsibility of joining the Jewish People and striving to serve G-d. People often ask how our six children reacted to the conversion (our children share their honest feelings in our book). Our daughter has been the most supportive; she even wanted to take the day off school to participate in our “big day” at the mikvah. Our five sons are at various places – some supportive, some neutral, some resentful. There are resentments amongst our children, largely due to the fact that we cannot eat out as a family any longer (there are no kosher restaurants in our city), and around Shabbos observance issues, such as us not answering our phones on Shabbos. Our children are in various stages of discovering what their religious identities are. None of them are practicing Christianity. Our daughter commented that seeing us on our journey has inspired her to figure out what she believes. My wife and I firmly believe they are all on the path G-d has laid out for each of them. fter my wife’s sixth trip to Israel and my fourth, I could see the sadness in her eyes each time we left Israel. We had discussed making aliyah after we retired, which was still at least seven years away. One of the vows I made to G-d when we got married was that I wanted to make her the happiest woman in the world. I was starting to see that living in Israel was part of that happiness.



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We developed a plan where she would make aliyah first, put down roots, and I would come later. We felt that doing a split aliyah would ease our kids into the idea and make it more palatable for them. We consulted with a trusted rabbi, and he suggested that if we were in agreement, that Emunah had parnassah to sustain herself, and we were not apart for more than 90 days at a time, he thought it would be safe to do a one-year trial. Emunah then quit her dream job of 21 years and, in August 2016, became an Israeli citizen. We agreed on a oneyear trial period, and if at the end of one year if either one of us felt our marriage was weakened or suffering in any way, all bets were off and she would return to Ohio. Our marriage has always been and will always remain our number one priority. About eight weeks after her arrival in Israel, I visited for Sukkot and was stunned when I laid eyes on her at the bus station. She was absolutely glowing. I told here, “You look different;

any worries about her being in Israel without me. I told her I was extending the trial period for another year. Every three months, either she would come back to Ohio for three months, or I would visit Israel. This continued for about two-and-a-half years, until I made aliyah in June of this year. At present, we are only here part of the year but look forward to retirement soon, when we will be able to spend significantly more time in Israel. We live in a very special place, Ma’ale Adumim, with breathtaking Judean desert views and a warm and welcoming community.

The Murrays tell the beautiful story of their spiritual journey from being youth leaders in a Christian church to choosing Torah and Judaism in their book, From Yosef and Emunah in the place they call home

Rose Bowl to Rashi, A Unique Journey to Orthodox Judaism, which is available at, Amazon,

you are different.” After I spent a few days with her in Ma’ale Adumim, I

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could see that she had a very strong support system and I did not have

and Pomerantz Bookseller in Jerusalem, Israel.



Dirshu The Week In News

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France Preparing for Torah Revolution as Dirshu World Siyum Approaches HaGaon HaRav Chizkiyahu Mishkovsky, Shlita, Heads Dirshu Chizuk Delegation to Promote Daf HaYomi Learning in France Chaim Gold

“We felt the tremendous thirst for Torah and for the dvar Hashem wherever we went in France. The way thousands hung on to every world spoken by HaGaon HaRav Chizkiyahu Mishkovsky, shlita, and the enthusiasm to incorporate more kevius ittim l’Torah into their lives is one of the remarkable transformations that French Jewry is undergoing,” said Rav Shlomo Rozenstein, Dirshu’s Director of Public Relations. As the Daf HaYomi Siyum on Talmud Bavli approaches, Dirshu, the Torah organization whose raison d’être is to promote limud haTorah the world over, has undertaken to establish and promote hundreds of new Daf HaYomi shiurim throughout France. Rabbi Naftali Levy, the longtime indefatigable Director of Dirshu France has observed how over the past few years, lomdei Dirshu in France have increased exponentially. The upcoming massive Siyum HaShas that Dirshu will be holding at a super-large venue in downtown Paris, will certainly spur tremendous enthusiasm for limud haTorah and Dirshu is set to capitalize on that effort by expanding Daf HaYomi shiurim in hundreds of shuls throughout France. Letters from HaGaonim HaRav Gershon Edelstein, Shlita, and HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita The two senior gedolim from Bnei Brak, Hagaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Ponovezh Yeshiva and the Sar HaTorah, HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, each wrote separate letters addressed to French Jewry expressing their admiration and brachah for the tremendous efforts that Dirshu is investing to promote more and more Torah learning and shiurim in France. Rav Edelstein writes, “It is a tremendous zechus to set aside time for daily Torah learning as after a person passes away, he will be asked, ‘Did you set aside time to learn Torah?’” “How wonderful it is that Dirshu, led by Rav Dovid Hosftedter, shlita, works to strengthen this important area! Now as the Daf HaYomi Siyum HaShas approaches, they have increased their efforts to establish shiurim all over the country and bring Torah to the wider public.” Rav Edelstein then went on to give his heartfelt brachah to all involved. Indeed, as the siyum approaches, it is only natural that Dirshu, which has been very active in France for more than a de-

cade, establishing shiurim and testing sites both in Daf HaYomi Bavli and also the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha daily Mishnah Berurah learning program, should step in and promote Torah learning on a massive scale in France. In the past, Dirshu has brought in HaGaon HaRav Shalom Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Porat Yosef, and the great mashpia, HaGaon HaRav Moshe Shapiro, zt”l, for chizzuk journeys for French Jewry. Last week, Dirshu continued this mesorah with a tremendously successful chizzuk trip to France headed by Rav Chizkiyahu Yosef Mishkovsky, shlita, Mashgiach of Yeshiva Orchos Torah and a talmid muvhak of HaGaon HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, zt”l. Deficiencies in Kavod HaTorah Rectified Through Increased Kavod HaTorah! During the two-day marathon, Rav Mishkovsky spoke multiple times at yeshivos, shuls, and other chizzuk gatherings. His primary focus was on speaking to current maggidei shiur as well as prospective maggidei shiur about the tremendous opportunity to spread Torah to the masses through Daf HaYomi shiurim and explaining that Dirshu was willing to invest a tremendous amount of effort to promote and encourage the establishment of shiurim in every shul in France. At a gathering for mechanchim and mechanchos held in the Paris suburb of Raincy at Yeshiva Chazon Baruch, led by Rav Yehuda Toledano, Rav Mishkovsky said, “700 years ago on erev Shabbos Parshas Chukas, the Magen Avraham describes how 24 wagons full of Gemaros were taken out to the main square in Paris and burned. The sages of that time instituted that erev Shabbos Parshas Chukas

should be a fast day for individuals. “The Mahari Brunah, one of the early acharonim, writes that the reason such a horrible gezeirah of burning the Talmud occurred was because at that time French Jewry did not display the requisite kavod haTorah for the Rambam because they burned his sefer, Moreh Nevuchim.” Rav Mishkovsky became emotional and exclaimed, “Chazal tell us that Hashem burned the Bais Hamikdash with fire and He is destined to rebuild the third Bais Hamikdash with fire too! The way to fix deficiencies in kavod haTorah is to increase kavod haTorah and learning Torah. Look at what Rav Yochanan ben Zakai did when he told the Roman Emperor, ‘Grant me Yavneh and its chachamim.’ He saved the Torah, and he saved the entire generation. You, Yidden in France, have the power to follow in Rav Yochanan ben Zakai’s footsteps and save the entire galus of France by promoting shiurim in Daf HaYomi in every shul and encouraging Yidden to learn Torah daily. You can establish Torah and kavod haTorah in an unprecedented way!” Every Kehillah to Establish Daf HaYomi Shiurim Another highlight of the trip was the visit made by senior members of Dirshu’s hanhallah together with Rav Mishkovsky to Le Dome De Paris, site of the upcoming Dirshu Daf HaYomi siyum. The Center is the biggest indoor venue in Paris and French Jewry is expected to come en masse to attend the unprecedented demonstration of kavod haTorah and kavod for lomdei Torah that will be held there on 15 Teves/January 12. An important component of the journey was also the effort to reach all kehillos in France. Rav Mishkovsky met with

HaRav Yitzchak Michel Gugenheim, Chief Rabbi of Paris. The Chief Rabbi has appointed two representatives from each of the disparate major kehillos as his personal emissaries to promote shiurim throughout the country. Rabbi Avigdor Bernstein, a senior member of Dirshu’s hanhallah who was one of the organizers of the chizzuk journey, expressed his awe, “I was simply overwhelmed by the level of enthusiasm that permeated French Jewry. Wherever Rav Mishkovsky went, crowds of people flocked to hear him. French Jewry collectively has a special place in their hearts for the memory of HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, zt”l, who came to France a few times in his advanced old age to give chizzuk to French Jewry. The fact that Rav Mishkovsky is a close talmid of Rav Shteinman had the Yidden in France hanging on to his every word. “A recent amazing development clearly shows how excited French Jewry is about the upcoming siyum. An entire network of local sefarim stores has announced that the Shabbos preceding the siyum will officially be called Shabbos Daf Yomi. They have asked the public to sign up to learn a daf or two of Gemara on that Shabbos so that an additional, collective siyum on the entire Shas would be able to be held in conjunction with the Daf HaYomi Siyum HaShas. The sefarim stores have pledged to gift every participant with a sefer.” The renaissance of Torah in France can be seen with a peek into the thriving yeshivos that have been established there. Rav Mishkowsky gave a powerful shmuess at the Yeshiva led by Rav Mordechai Rottenberg, shlita, Rov Agudas Hakehilot Haredim, Paris, and a chizuk drashah for over thirty Daf Yomi maggidei shiur at Mosdos Yad Mordechai, led by Rav Yitzchok Katz. Perhaps the words penned by Rav Chaim Kanievsky in a letter to French Jewry best encapsulate the importance of the Torah revolution taking place in France, “The hands of the activists of Dirshu led by Rav Dovid Hofstedter should be strengthened at the gathering of Daf Yomi maggidei shiur, led by Hagaon HaTzadik Rav Chizkiyahu Mishkovsky, shlita, in the city of the Baalei Tosafos—Paris…. may the zechus of the Baalei Tosafos, who illuminated Paris with their Torah and yirah, ensure that Torah should not be forgotten in Yisrael…

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The Week In News

off for today,” tweeted the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). “Revised launch date will be announced later.” It is not known what technical difficulties delayed the launch or when the next scheduled liftoff will occur.

China’s Economy Slumps to Lowest Rate in 27 Years Newly released data shows that China’s economic production has slumped to its lowest level in 27 years amid fallout from its trade war with the United States. According to a report by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the world’s second largest economy continues to slide, with the slump particularly pronounced in the manufacturing and production industries. Overall, Chinese industrial production – a number measuring the total production of a slew of sectors such as mining and manufacturing – grew by only 5% in May, a 5.4% drop from April and below the 5.5% predicted by economists. The lackluster numbers were China’s worst since the 2.7% growth it saw in February 2002. Meanwhile, both Chinese exports and imports continued their six-month slide, with exports falling by 1.3% for the first half of the year while imports plummeted by 7.3%. In addition, exports to the United States have slid by 8.1% since January while imports plummeted by 30%. More ominously for China, the National Bureau of Statistics warned of further “downward pressure” in the second half of the year and noted that economic spiral is not expected to ease up soon. “The Chinese economy is still in a complex and grave situation,” it said. “Global growth has slowed and external uncertainties are on the rise.” The affected industries heavily rely on exports to the United States, making them particularly vulnerable to tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on Chinese goods. Trump has shown no sign that he will relax the tariffs on China until Beijing agrees to stop stealing U.S. technology and devaluing its currency.

India Delays Moon Launch Citing “technical difficulties,” India delayed its scheduled mission to the moon only an hour before the planned liftoff on Monday. India’s space agency announced that it had scrapped the countdown at 56 minutes before the launch after a “technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system.” “As a measure of abundant precaution, #Chandrayaan2 launch has been called

The spacecraft had been slated to lift off on Monday at 02:51 local time from Sriharikota space station. The liftoff has been postponed several times in the past 17 months for a variety of reasons. The original launch date had been in April 2018 before being pushed to the beginning of October, with another delay sending the launch date to January. After another slew of mishaps, Indian space officials set the final date to the now-delayed July 15. The program that aims to land a probe on the moon’s surface is the biggest challenge the Indian Space Agency has ever faced. With two previous satellites failing to launch in recent years and a $142 million price tag, Indian space officials have refused to take any risks that might doom the spacecraft’s flight. Should the satellite land successfully, Indian will become only the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon, joining the U.S., Russia, and China.

New Anti-Semitism Controversy Rocks Labour

England’s Labour party has found itself rocked by a fresh controversy after a BBC report recently alleged that the left-wing faction is rife with anti-Semitism. The BBC expose included numerous testimonies by longtime party members, many of whom had decided to leave Labour as a result of the rampant anti-Semitism. According to the report, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his close advisors worked systematically to hide the extent to which Jew-hatred has penetrated the party. Throughout the report, many Labour members said that Corbyn’s office was “angry and obstructive” when it came probing officials within the party that were accused

of anti-Semitism. When the said officials were brought before a disciplinary court, senior party officials often “overruled the decision” and “downgraded punishments to a slap on the wrist.” Overall, the BBC report painted a picture of a party both unable and unwilling to deal with the anti-Semitism that has percolated throughout the party that British Jews had once called home. Lord David Trisman, a former Labour Secretary-General, revealed during an interview with the BBC that he decided to leave the party after concluding that it had become institutionally anti-Semitic under the leadership of Corbyn. “Under these circumstances it is difficult not to conclude that he is either indifferent to the problem or part of it,” Trisman concluded. The revelations sent shockwaves throughout the UK political scene, as Labour had been embroiled in a slew of scandals in recent years regarding the party’s treatment of Jews. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is battling Boris Johnson for the leadership of the Conservative Party, said that Corbyn was “either voluntarily blind to anti-Semitism or an anti-Semite himself.”

Russia Launches New Telescope into Space

Following a multi-day delay, over the weekend, Russia launched a highly advanced telescope into space that aims to be the country’s first telescope to orbit the Earth since the fall of the Soviet Union. The Proton-M rocket can be seen in videos shooting off from its launch pad in the cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The spacecraft had originally been slated to take off on June 21 but was delayed due to a battery issue. The Spektr-RG space telescope was launched to replace a similar design that broke off contact with Russian ground control earlier this year. The telescope is supposed to reach its pre-programmed position in 90 days, after which it will be used for a series of advanced experiments. Among other things, Russian scientists aim to conduct a complete survey of the sky within the next six years, making it the world’s first space telescope to accomplish this feat. Russia’s Space Agency said in a statement that the launch “marks the beginning of a new era in X-ray astronomy. No telescope has ever taken such a detailed look at the entire sky.” A smaller telescope attached to Spek-

tr-RG named the eROSITA will be used to map more than 100,000 galaxy clusters as part of a study of the universe’s dark energy.

Pirates Take 10 Turks Hostage

Ten Turkish sailors have been kidnapped by gun9er, Nigeria reported 14 attacks at sea in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 22 at roughly the same time the year prior. An IMB report in April credited the decrease in attacks to Nigeria’s navy ramping up its efforts to “actively respond to reported incidents by dispatching patrol boats.”

French Judge Lets Killer off the Hook

A Muslim man who killed his Jewish neighbor in Paris while shouting about Allah is probably not criminally responsible for his actions because he had smoked marijuana beforehand, a French judge ruled. The preliminary ruling in the trial of Kobili Traore for the 2017 murder of Sarah Halimi came on Friday from a judge of inquiry — a magistrate that in the French justice system is tasked with deciding whether indicted defendants should in fact stand trial. Francis Khalifat, the president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, called the ruling “unsurprising but hardly justifiable.” He said his group and others will appeal in hopes of bringing Traore to trial. He could be hospitalized for treatment of his psychotic lapses or made to attend a drug rehabilitation program, or he could be released. Khalifat’s op-ed published on Monday on the CRIF website follows a series of protests over perceived delays in Traore’s trial and the efforts, including by judges,



The Week In News that CRIF and others have condemned as attempts to prevent a murder trial. Sammy Ghozlan, a former police commissioner and founder of France’s Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in May that the handling of the Halimi case has made him “no longer have full confidence that anti-Semitic hate crimes in France are handled properly.” Traore pummeled Halimi, a physician and kindergarten teacher, for an hour as police stood outside the woman’s door, according to reports. He shouted about Allah and called her a “demon” before throwing her to her death. Traore had called Halimi’s daughter “dirty Jewess” two years before killing the mother.

Rome Getting Trashed

Tourists and locals alike are steering clear of Rome as the famous city battles a growing garbage crisis. Throughout the city, dumpsters overflow with trash, with rats making their way through the putrid garbage. Rotting pizza and other food have attracted wild animals not usually seen within Rome, with wild boars and wolves roaming the city’s outer neighborhoods. While city hall is attempting to solve Rome’s garbage problems, it is hampered by a severe lack of infrastructure. Rome currently has only has one working landfill, following the recent closure of a major garbage disposal site while another remains shuttered following a fire. Meanwhile, the locals are furious. At 597 euros per resident, Rome already pays more than any other city in the country for garbage disposal, and residents are demanding answers. “Of course, it’s the mayor’s fault. You certainly can’t blame the citizens,” one irate resident told the AFP. “They produce waste, they have to throw it away, and the public services have to collect it. It’s simple. We pay taxes for it.”

China Holds Large Military Drill Off the Coast of Taiwan China held a large military exercise off the coast of Taiwan this past week in what many see as a warning to the U.S. over a massive weapons sale to the island nation. China’s Ministry of Defense said in

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a statement that the drills took place “in the water and air space including China’s southeast coastal areas in recent days.” Both Taiwan and China attempted to downplay the hostile nature of the exercise, with China saying that the “the drills are routine arrangements according to the annual plans of the military force.” However, Chinese military officials told the Global Times that the exercises included all five branches of the military and was designed to warn “Taiwan secessionists.”

The drill also comes amid a strong protest by China over a massive U.S. arms sale to Taiwan that was recently announced. China and Taiwan have been locked in a state of war ever since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949, with China claiming that the island nation remains an integral part of its territory. The U.S. State Department announced in early July that it had approved a new $2.2 billion weapons deal to Taiwan, infuriating the Chinese government. The deal includes 108 Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger shoulder-launched missiles, and other weapons. Following the announcement, China called on the United States to “immediately cancel” the weapons deal and said that the sale “grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs and undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests.”

the rebel Houthis to take their forces out of the city. The withdrawal was originally slated to occur two weeks after the ceasefire took effect in December, but that deadline was missed amid accusations of unfilled agreements from both sides. In May, the UN confirmed that the Houthi rebels have left Hodeidah and two other nearby ports in what is the first time the agreements have been implemented. However, the Yemeni government says that the Houthis faked the pullout and merely handed control over to its affiliated militias. Yemen has ripped apart by bloodshed since the Iranian-linked Houthi insurgents overthrew the Yemeni government in 2014. With hundreds of thousands of Yemeni civilians killed, the civil war in Yemen is seen by many as the worst human rights disaster today. According to reports by the UN World Food Program, 15 million Yemeni civilians currently suffer from a “food catastrophe,” with the figure expected to rise to 20 million if the blockade is not lifted imminently.

Radiation Found in Iranian Site Named in Netanyahu Speech

Yemen Rebels and Government Meet

Representatives from Yemen’s government sat down with the Houthi rebels on Monday in order to negotiate a ceasefire between the two sides. The meeting was held on a ship in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen under the auspices of the United Nations. The irregular choice for the meeting was chosen after both sides refused to meet each other on Yemeni soil. The talks centered around the scheduled redeployment from the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah. The result of painstaking negotiations in December, the agreement mandates both the government and

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors have found evidence of radioactive activity in the Tehran warehouse exposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations last year. During his address to the UN’s General Assembly last September, Netanyahu had held up pictures of the warehouse in Iran he alleged had previously housed 15 kilograms of enriched uranium that Iran had hid from the International Atomic Energy Agency. According to Netanyahu, the site is one of many that the Islamic Republic had utilized to fool nuclear inspectors, adding that Iran had since cleared the site of any incriminating evidence. Iran had hotly denied the accusations and claimed that the warehouse was a facility for manufacturing carpets. Yet the findings by IAEA inspectors confirm that Netanyahu had been speaking the truth. As per Israel’s Channel 13, UN inspectors visited the site several times,

with the most recent visit occurring in March, and have found traces of radioactive materials. In a report set to be released soon, inspectors wrote that they have a “definitive conclusion” that “there were traces of radioactive material at the site in question.” The report will be distributed to the international community within the near future and will highlight Iran’s illicit nuclear activity. The report added that Israel has been working in tandem with the UN on the matter, and senior Israeli intelligence officials have known of the breakthrough for months. The news that Iran had indeed been storing enriched uranium is the strongest proof so far that the Islamic Republic had never intended to keep to the terms of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Under the accords, Iran was supposed to inform the UN of any stockpiles of nuclear material it possessed and to allow the international community to conducts frequent inspections.

UN: 271 Million Indians Out of Poverty in 10 years

According to a United Nations report, 271 million people were lifted out of poverty in India between 2006 and 2016. The country experienced substantial improvements in domains including “assets, cooking fuel, sanitation, and nutrition,” the report said. There were 101 countries studied in the 2019 Multidimensional Poverty Index, and the results found 1.3 billion people to be “multidimensionally poor,” or poverty-stricken in more ways than simply income. For instance, poor quality of work, poor health, and threat of violence were also included as factors. Ten countries were found to have reached statistically significant progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 1, or ending poverty “in all its forms, everywhere.” Aside from India, these countries were Bangladesh, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam. Worldwide, one in six adults – and one in three children – is multidimensionally poor. Nearly half of poverty-stricken individuals are children, the vast majority of whom reside in South Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa. “To fight poverty, one needs to know where poor people live,” said UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Achim Steiner. “They are not evenly

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spread across a country, not even within a household.”

Britain to Release Iranian Tanker

Britain said that it will agree to release an Iranian oil tanker it has been holding if the Islamic Republic promises that the ship will not defy sanctions by traveling to Syria. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the UK’s offer came following a conversation on Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif regarding the issue. “I reassured him our concern was the destination not the origin of the oil,” tweeted Hunt. Hunt added that the UK would facilitate the release of the ship “if we received guarantees that it would not be going to Syria, following due process.” Tensions between Britain and Iran have escalated ever since the former seized an Iranian oil tanker last week off the coast of Gibraltar. UK officials said that the ship was transporting 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil to Syria in defiance of U.S. sanctions. Calling the decision to seize the ship “an act of piracy,” Iran threatened to take over a British ship in retaliation. “This is a dangerous game and has implications,” said the Iranian Foreign Ministry. “The legal arguments are unacceptable, and the release of the tanker is in the best interests of all the countries involved.”

32 years in prison. The sentences came after an IDF military court found the two terrorists guilty of intentionally causing death, the military equivalent of pre-meditated murder. In addition to the lengthy prison terms, the two were also ordered to pay NIS 2.5 million in damages to Weissman’s family. The prison sentence is seen as a blow to military prosecutors, who had lobbied the judge to deliver life sentences. However, the request was denied by the judge on the grounds that both perpetrators had been minors when carrying out the attack. The terrorists had infiltrated the Rami Levi supermarket in the Binyamin region, a well-known shopping center that caters to both Jews and Palestinians, in February 2016. After succeeding in smuggling three knives through security, the 14-yearold murderers began stabbing customers while screaming Palestinian nationalist slogans. Weissman, a married off-duty soldier serving as a commander in the Nahal Brigade, had heard the commotion and ran to confront the terrorists. Following an extended fistfight, Weissman was killed after being stabbed repeatedly in the upper body. He left behind a wife and a young child. Weissman was later awarded a posthumous citation from the IDF Central Command for his heroics, as his decision to take on the terrorists singlehandedly stopped them from claiming other victims. “Sgt. Weissman wasted no time and ran toward the place where the shouts were coming from, leaving his wife and baby daughter alone. Once he realized what was happening, Sgt. Weissman didn’t hesitate and charged barehanded at the two terrorists, fought with them, and tried to arrest them,” Major General Roni Numa said upon presenting the award to Weissman’s widow.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry Turns Against its Own Government Killers of IDF Soldier Sentenced

The two terrorists convicted of murdering Sergeant Yanai Weissman in a 2016 attack were sentenced last week to 35 and

The veteran diplomats at Israel’s Foreign Ministry are gearing up for a major campaign against a hostile government. Unlike previous efforts, this campaign isn’t targeting an anti-Israel European country or a biased United Nations resolution. This time, the men and women are battling Israel for the chronic lack of funds that diplomats say has caused the foreign ministry to hit rock bottom. As of the past month, the foreign minis-

try workers’ union has declared war on the Israeli government. Demanding an emergency infusion of cash, employees have embarked on a series of steps designed to make matters as unpleasant as possible for elected officials until their demands are met. The sanctions include shutting its consular service that provides visas and emergency passports to Israelis stranded overseas and refraining from assisting government officials in planning trips abroad. The foreign ministry has also halted all permits it gives to weapons sales, costing the country’s powerful arms manufacturers millions of dollars in lost contracts. The union plans on inconveniencing the highest levels of the country and has even refused to help Prime Minister Netanyahu coordinate his upcoming state visit to Japan. Speaking to The Times of Israel, diplomats described the hard times at the senior ministry caused by the low budget afforded to it by the government. Contending that Prime Minister Netanyahu is purposely attempting to erode the ministry by withhold money needed for its activities, various foreign affairs personnel said that they are barely able to pay the electricity bills at their embassies abroad. “Lately, we don’t have budgets for activities. All we have money for is to pay rent and salaries, and sometimes electricity bills,” said Hanan Goder, Israel’s non-resident ambassador to South Sudan. “But today we don’t have money to buy new ink for our printers. There is no money for coffee. There is no money for trips.”

Pills for Peace

Israel has reportedly told the Hamas terror group that it would agree to transfer medications into Gaza if a ceasefire between the two sides holds. According to Hani al-Thawabata, a senior official in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Israel informed Hamas via Egyptian intermediaries that it is prepared to grant the group a slew of benefits in exchange for quiet. The potential benefits include sending medicines to the Gaza Strip and raising the number of Gazans permitted to enter Israel for medical care. In addition, Israel also promised to return fishing boats confiscated by the IDF for straying beyond the permitted area, providing new boats and facilities in compensation to Gaza fishermen, and increasing the number of work permits for Gazans from 3,500 to 5,000. Thawabata added that Israel would allow more daily shipments into Gaza and would put additional items on the list of things allowed into the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s offer came after the border heated up in recent days after several weeks of quiet. Last week, a rocket exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no injuries. Hundreds of airborne incendiary firebombs also landed in Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip, burning agricultural fields and causing hundreds of thousands of shekels in economic damage. On Friday, 6,500 demonstrators rioted on the Gaza border after an IDF sniper mistakenly killed a Hamas police officer the day before. During the demonstrations, an IDF soldier was injured when his jeep went up in flames after being hit by a firebomb.

Yachimovich Quits Politics

Top Labor Party MK Shelly Yachimovich announced this week that she was quitting politics, at least for the time being, and would not run for office in the upcoming September elections. Yachimovich wrote on Facebook on Tuesday that she was “taking a break” after 13 years as a Knesset member, explaining that “at least for the time being, I’ve exhausted my effectiveness in politics.” Yachimovich, a former journalist who served as the leader of the Labor Party between 2011-2013 and as leader of the opposition in 2012, 2013, and 2019, said her decision was part of “an ongoing personal process.” Yachimovich said she was “grateful for the opportunity to serve the public” and “never stopped loving parliamentary work,” but added that she was “very tired of the politics part.” In her statement, the former Labor leader lamented political gamesmanship that she said was paralyzing the country. With the nation holding an unprecedented two elections in a year, meaningful parliamentary work for the citizenry had become impossible for the foreseeable future, she said. “There must be a balance between [politics] and public service,” she added. “This balance has been upended intolerably.” Yachimovich was originally brought into politics ahead of the 2006 election by Amir Peretz, then newly elected to lead Labor. Peretz served as party head between 2005-2007 and was recently reelected to the post. The two have had an occasionally rocky relationship over the years, but Yachimovich stressed that she would continue to support Labor and Peretz from outside the Knesset. Yachimovich, 59, a self-proclaimed socialist, has championed issues of economic and social inequality and often spoke out strongly against government corruption



The Week In News and misconduct. She has sponsored over 60 bills which eventually became laws. As leader of the party in the 2013 election, she managed to bring it to 15 seats — a twoseat improvement on its previous showing but not enough to save her job. She was replaced by Isaac Herzog who went on to form the Zionist Union alongside Tzipi Livni in 2015. Yachimovich had remained popular with party voters and was placed fifth on the party’s slate prior to the April election. She will presumably be replaced by Merav Michaeli, who placed seventh on the roster during the last election and did not make it into the Knesset. (Peretz, who came in sixth place, was bumped to the No. 1 spot after winning the leadership race.) Yachimovich’s departure follows those of Avi Gabbay, the former leader of the party ousted in the primary held earlier this month, and former army general Tal Russo, who was brought in by Gabbay to the slate’s No. 2 spot, reserved for an appointment by the party chief. Yachimovich had supported leadership of the now-disgraced Gabbay, who in April brought the Labor party to its worst-ever showing with just six seats.

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home

blackout occurred exactly 42 years after the infamous outage in 1977 that led to widespread looting and rioting. Con Edison has come under criticism for the power failure, which only grew after it admitted that it has been unable to pinpoint the cause. The power company said in a statement that it “will be conducting a diligent and vigorous investigation to determine the root cause of the incident.” “Over the next several days and weeks, our engineers and planners will carefully examine the data and equipment performance relating to this event, and will share our findings with regulators and the public.” On Monday, Timothy Cawley, president of Con Edison, said that the 13,000volt cable that burnt up at West 64 Street and West End Avenue led to a series of failures in the electric system. At least two parts of the system failed to operate properly and corral the outages. As such, large parts of the city lost power. Cawley called the sequence of failures “extremely unique” and said that he had never “experienced a case like this.”

Democratic Party Civil War Escalates

When the Lights Went Out on Broadway Over 72,000 New Yorkers were left without power after a sudden power outage on Saturday evening left large swaths of Manhattan in the dark. The power outage began at 7 p.m. on Saturday after six electrical networks that serve the Upper West Side blew out. Lasting until midnight, the blackout caused widespread mayhem and left people stuck in traffic, trapped in elevators, and caused the evacuation of Madison Square Garden.

Particularly affected was the city’s subway system. Several subway stations were forced to close entirely and service along a number of main lines was heavily disrupted. In addition, New York City’s Fire Department said that more than 400 elevators were stuck during the power outage. In what many people call ironic, the

The generational power struggle roiling the Democratic Party exploded into public view after Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was racist. The fetid feud began after Pelosi criticized the radical left-wing Cortez, also known as AOC, in an interview with The New York Times. AOC and Pelosi have butted heads repeatedly ever since the former was elected to Congress in November due to the latter’s refusal to heed Pelosi’s authority. “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” said Pelosi, referring to AOC, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.” AOC responded by suggested that Pelosi was “singling her out” due to the color of her skin. “But the persistent singling out…it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful…the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color,” Ocasio-Cortez said. Matters continued to deteriorate from there. On Friday, the House Democratic Caucus’s Twitter account condemned AOC’s chief of staff for accusing Native American Congresswoman Rep. Sharice

Davids (D-Kan) of racism. “Keep Her Name Out Of Your Mouth,” wrote the House Democrats. A few days later, Pelosi laid into AOC at a meeting of House Democrats over her habit of calling out fellow Democrats for being insufficiently progressive. “You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it,” Pelosi told the legislators. “But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK.”

Champion of Soviet Jewry Dies Mark Talisman, a relentless advocate for Soviet Jewry, passed away this week in his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He had died only a week before his 79th birthday. Talisman had been a fierce advocate for the rights of Jews living behind the Iron Curtain to emigrate and practice their religion freely. Serving as a senior aid to Democratic Congressman Charles Vanik between 1963 and 1975, Talisman worked to tie U.S. trade policy to other nations’ human rights records. As the Soviet Union at the time was pressuring the U.S. to grant favored nation status to many eastern bloc nations, the move was designed to force the communist regime to relax its restrictions on Jewish emigration. Despite the fierce opposition by then-President Richard Nixon, Talisman pulled out all the stops to see both the House and the Senate pass the Jackson-Vanik amendment pass in 1974. The bill was officially signed into law by President Ford a year later. Russian officials later admitted that they viewed the passage of the legislation as a clear message by the United States that the freedoms afforded to Russian Jews was in their national interest.

“While the amendment did little, initially, to help Soviet Jewry, by the late 1980s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to comply with its protocols,” Talisman later recalled. “Since then, hundreds of thousands of Soviet refugees (Jews, evangelical Christians and Catholics) have immigrated to the U.S., and more than one million Soviet Jews have immigrated to Israel. Soviet Jews, representing a fifth of all Israelis today, have markedly changed the face of the Jewish state.” Talisman went on to serve in a variety of leadership positions in the Jewish community, including forming the Washington Action Office for the Council of Jewish Federations of North America in 1975.

Trump Drops Citizenship Question on Census President Donald Trump announced last week that he will drop his attempt to insert a question regarding citizenship on the 2020 census following a divisive legal battle. Instead of using the census to determine the accurate number of illegal immigrants currently residing in the U.S., Trump said that he had ordered every government agency to provide any internal information regarding illegal immigrants they possess to the Department of Commerce. “I am hereby ordering every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and noncitizens in our country,” Trump said when announcing the policy shift at the White House. “They must furnish all legally accessible records in their possession immediately,” Trump continued. “We will utilize these vast federal databases to gain a full, complete and accurate count of the noncitizen population, including databases maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.” Trump added that the new policy showed that he was “not backing down” in his crackdown on illegal immigration in the United States. Trump’s decision to drop the citizenship question on the census comes after a lengthy battle with immigration advocates that wound its way through the courts. The Department of Commerce, which runs the census, had insisted that the contested question was needed in order to know the accurate number of U.S. citizens, something vital for drawing congressional districts. However, pro-immigration groups charged that the question would intimidate illegal immigrants from participating in the census out of fear of potential repercussions. Following a slew of lawsuits, Trump’s effort to keep the citizenship question was dealt a considerable setback when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the administration earlier this month. The move to give up the citizenship question came as a surprise, as Trump was widely expected to restore the question via an Executive Order and immigration rights groups quickly declared victory after the president backed down. “Trump’s attempt to weaponize the census ends not with a bang but a whimper,” exulted Dale Ho, who directs the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “He lost in the Supreme Court, which saw through his lie about needing the question for the Voting Rights Act. “It is clear he simply wanted to sow fear in immigrant communities and turbocharge Republican gerrymandering efforts by diluting the political influence of Latino communities.”

The Week In News

JULY 4, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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