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The Week In News B”H

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home







The Week In News

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home




and in between,





summer experience






The Week In News

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home




Dear readers, It’s counterintuitive: We are not permitted by the Torah to allow our animals to do work for us on Shabbos, yet if our one-year-old turns the light on, we don’t have to stop them. The same thing regarding damages to another person’s property: There are many cases for which we are responsible if our property, including pets, destroys someone else’s property, but we are not obligated to pay if our children did the damage. The reasoning is simple. We don’t own our children. True, our animal didn’t ask before it caused financial loss to someone, but it’s our property, so we are responsible. Children, on the other hand, are independent of us. If they hurt someone, it’s between them and the person whom they’ve harmed. Indeed, while they are exempt of paying damages as a child, those who are stringent should pay for losses they caused others when young. This attitude is very helpful in educating our children: They are independent of us, and we were entrusted by Hashem to nurture and raise them in a safe, positive Yiddishe environment. Trusting too much in the strong bond we feel with our children can lead us in the opposite direction, making us feel that our children are our extension. This misunderstanding can make it a challenge to correctly use our bond to raise them in a healthy environment. Back in the ’60s, someone asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe for practical advice in not hitting his son when the child disobeyed (this wasn’t as socially unacceptable as it is today). The Rebbe suggested he view the child as if he were someone else’s but given to him and his wife to raise in the way of Torah and Mitzvos. Realizing all this makes it easier to give proper attention to each child’s specific physical and emotional needs. It also helps prevent us from viewing them as an extension of ourselves, which can lead to unwarranted disappointment. When they grow up—just like we did—and have opinions of their own, it won’t take us by surprise. Indeed, the opposite will be the true; we can experience true nachas of watching the sapling grow into a tree. May it be a successful school year for all our children, for truly it is they who will ultimately bring the redemption to pass, ushering in a time of light and joy. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,


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The Week In News

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home


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TheHappenings Week In News

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Jewish Foster Parents Needed: Children’s Village Advocacy Group Helps Families in Distress Yehudis Litvak When Dr. Lizzy Weisinger, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist in private practice, received a phone call from a Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) social worker at 10:45 p.m., she didn’t know that she was about to embark on a life-changing mission. The social worker had with him a frum 14-year-old girl who had no place to go. He asked if Dr. Weisinger would be available to take her in for emergency fostering. Otherwise, he would take the girl to a shelter. Dr. Weisinger had no experience with fostering, but she understood that sending a frum 14-year-old to a shelter was a recipe for disaster. Despite her hesitations, she said yes. The social worker dropped the girl off at her house at 12:15 a.m. Thus began Dr. Weisinger’s journey into the world of emergency foster care. Along the way, she learned that there were many more Jewish children in need of Jewish foster homes. Dr. Weisinger helped form the Children’s Village Advocacy Group, and today, she serves as its Clinical Director of Mental Health Services. Natalie Zangan, Psy. D, MFTA, the founder and director of Children’s Village Advocacy, is an experienced foster parent. Together with her husband, Rabbi Bijan Refael Zangan, she fosters children on an emergency and long-term basis. With their own two sets of twins, their home is now full to capacity, but the Zangans continue to receive phone calls about Jewish children in need of foster care. “We have to delegate and do what we can to help,” says Mrs. Zangan. To that end, she founded Children’s Village Advocacy and began a WhatsApp

group for potential foster parents. Since the group’s inception six months ago, 13 Jewish children were placed with Jewish foster families. Recently, Children’s Village Advocacy held a meeting to raise awareness of the need for Jewish foster homes. Farshad Sinai, Director of Community Awareness and Involvement at Children’s Village Advocacy, spoke movingly about his own experience as a foster parent. He explained that the organization’s work is motivated solely by the desire to help. Children’s Village is “a community effort, 100% voluntary based, because we care,” he said. He urged everyone to get involved in whichever way they can, using their own strengths to help children in need. Then Rabbi Zangan added a spiritual perspective on foster care. “This is holy work, trying to save neshamot,” he said. It is not easy work, and sometimes the obstacles seem unsurmountable. He spoke about Batya, Pharaoh’s daughter, who reached for the basket with baby Moshe, even though it was out of reach, and miraculously, her hand stretched far enough. “If Hashem puts it in front of us, all we have to do is stretch out our hand and take the first step,” said Rabbi Zangan. Mrs. Zangan added, “Every call to DCFS is nothing less than a Batya experience.” The timing and circumstances of a particular case make it seem impossible to place the children with a Jewish family, but she makes the effort anyway, and miraculously, everything falls into place and the children end up in a warm Jewish home. She praised the efforts of the police and DCFS for working together with Chil-

dren’s Village Advocacy to create a better situation for the families. Mrs. Zangan also spoke about prevention and what a struggling family can do to ensure that DCFS does not take away their children. She suggested networking and putting a safety plan into place. Currently, Children’s Village Advocacy runs a help hotline which offers free services to struggling parents. They also coordinate community efforts to help, including providing meals for new foster parents, allowing them to spend more time with their foster children. The next speaker, Dina Stuhl, who has been working for DCFS for 26 years, spoke about DCFS’s commitment to do everything they can to stabilize the biological family so that the foster children can either stay at home or return home if removal was needed to ensure the child’s safety. Only if it is determined that reunification efforts have failed to show that the children can be safe at home would DCFS look to enact an alternative permanent placement. Mrs. Stuhl also spoke about the process of becoming foster parents, now called Resource Families, and the courses people would need to take to meet the state requirements. She also mentioned that in case of emergency, a family member, or affective kin could, after passing a quick clearance and home walk-through, take children in right away and then follow up with the rest of the qualification process. Dr. Weisinger spoke about the psychological impact of foster care on the child. She emphasized the need to find appropriate placement as soon as possible be-

cause each move from one foster home to another further builds on the initial trauma of separation from the biological family. That’s why it’s crucial to have certified foster families in the community. “People lined up for emergency placement would prevent a lot of long-term trauma,” she said, adding that a certified family can always say no to a specific placement. Dr. Weisinger also mentioned how important it is for Jewish children to feel that the community cares about them and will stand by them. Her foster child was moved to tears when complete strangers would bring food and clothes for her. For a child who attends a Jewish school, it is important to do everything possible to keep the child in the same school, which is where the community can also be of great help, especially if tuition assistance is needed. Other participants in the meeting described their own experiences with foster care and the challenges they’ve faced along the way. There was also a discussion of monitoring visits with biological parents, which is something community members can do even if they are unable to foster children in their own homes for the time being. The long-term vision of the Children’s Village Advocacy volunteers is to create an emergency safe house—a house where children who must leave their own homes can stay in emergencies, while appropriate long-term placement arrangements are made. More information about Children’s Village Advocacy’s work, can be found on or by calling (818) 527-2324.

Valley Riders Help Chai Lifeline Raise Over $10 Million Dollars Two Valley Village bike riders, Dr. Jan Moore and Moshe Kinsbursky, joined with 575 riders from across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to participate in the tenth annual Bike4Chai August 14th-15th. Bike4Chai is a two-day 180-mile bike ride and the top fundraising event for Chai Lifeline. Chai Lifeline has grown from a small, community-based summer camp program for children with cancer to one of the preeminent international health support networks supporting seriously ill children, their families, and communities. Chai Lifeline’s programs and services meet the unique emotional, social, and financial

needs of families living with serious pediatric illness or loss. From the moment of diagnosis or trauma, Chai Lifeline’s professionals and trained, compassionate volunteers step in to help restore equilibrium and bring joy and hope back into lives devastated by medical crises and illness. They also run Camp Simcha, a fully medically supported camp for these kids, allowing them to experience the joy and freedom of summer camp. The first day riders traveled 109 miles from Princeton, New Jersey through the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, finishing at the Kalahari Resort. That evening the riders were joined by many of the

Camp Simcha kids in a joyous celebration. But that was to be topped the next day when the riders rode the rest of the way to Camp Simcha in Glen Spey, New York. The riders entered camp together; it truly is “The world’s greatest finish line.” Hundreds of family members and volunteers celebrated the riders’ arrival. Campers presented each rider with their finisher’s medal. The celebration continued with music and dancing with the campers, staff, and riders. “The energy was off the charts! It was incredibly emotional to see the pure joy and simchah in the eyes of the campers as we continued singing and dancing with the kids.”, said

Dr. Moore. “All the work we did raising money and training came to an amazing conclusion. Seeing the campers and knowing the challenges they face made all our work training seem trivial.” Together Moore and Kinbursky raised over $19,000. The overall total raised was $10 million. “We were happy to do our part to help this wonderful organization”, said Kinsbursky. “Hopefully next year Team L.A. will have an even bigger team for Bike4Chai 2020.” Video of the finish line festivities can be seen at

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home


The Week In News

Jewish Residential Treatment Program for Women to Open This Fall Yehudis Litvak The substance abuse and addiction epidemic has hit the Jewish community hard, with too many heartbreaking cases of fatal overdoses. Addiction treatment programs are life-saving, but most of them are not Jewish and do not accommodate a religious lifestyle. While there are some kosher Jewish treatment programs for men and some mixed-gender programs, until recently there haven’t been any for women only. Mrs. Yael Roizman, a local psychologist, took note of this void and decided to fill it. Working together with the Israel-based psychologist, Dr. Yosef Milstein, Ph.D., she founded Beit Nesicha, a treatment center for English-speaking women ages 17 and above in Kochav Yaakov, Israel. Beit Nesicha is scheduled to open its doors this fall. Dr. Milstein, Program Director at Beit Nesicha, has worked with kids at risk for many years. Recognizing that there were not enough frum mental health professionals, he trained as a psychologist and gained experience in addiction treatment at his internship, and later job, at the Chabad Residential Treatment Center in Los Angeles. “I gained a lot, and I appreciate and respect the Chabad treatment model,” says Dr. Milstein. “They care about the individual and focus on the person’s recovery.” The Chabad Center has an impressive 70% rate of people staying sober after year, in contrast to 40% average recovery rate in other programs. However, the Chabad Center only offers its residential program to men. One year, they had an outpatient program for women, and Dr. Milstein saw first-hand the need for a more effective residential women’s program. “It became my mission in life to open a similar program for women,” says Dr. Milstein. Mrs. Roizman explains that while in the throes of addiction, most people are not particularly observant, but once they experience success in a Jewish environment, many will come back to observance. However, if they seek treatment in a secular program, they are likely to continue leading secular lives. “Why close the door, why give up on Yiddishkeit in order to be healthy?” Mrs. Roizman asks passionately. Providing the women with everything they need to maintain their Yiddishkeit if they so desire, without forcing them into it in any way, is the goal of Beit Nesicha. Located in a picturesque yishuv with stunning views of Judean Hills, Beit Nesicha will offer a state-of-the-art treatment program, combined with kosher food, Shabbos meals, and spiritual opportunities, such as daily davening and meditation at the site of Mishkan Shilo, where

the prophetess Chana had her prayers answered. There are other advantages of operating the treatment program in Israel rather than in the United States. American programs tend to be tremendously expensive, overwhelming families that have already spent large sums of money in efforts to seek help for the affected family member. Beit Nesicha will be much more affordable. In addition, being away from their familiar environment makes it harder for women to access addictive substances and thus facilitates recovery. In contrast to American 90-day programs, the Beit Nesicha program lasts a full year, giving each woman an opportunity not only to reach sobriety and lower the risk of relapse, but also to form definite long term plans and take the first steps towards a career goal, such as completing a high school diploma or college courses. An important component of recovery is building self-esteem, explains Mrs. Roizman. The name of the program alludes to the idea that each Jewish woman is a princess. The women will build up their self-esteem not only through therapy and twelve-step work, but also by volunteering and giving back to the community. The women will be able to volunteer at an old age home, a rescue dog training program, participate in gardening, and plan and cook their own Shabbos meals and invite guests from the nearby community. Equine, art, and somatic therapy will also be available, along with weekly hikes or trips to the beach and special Rosh Chodesh events. A special focus at Beit Nesicha is on repairing familial relationships which might have been damaged due to substance abuse, mental health issues, or prior dysfunction in the family. The women will be given guidance to “build what was severed,” says Mrs. Roizman. Beit Nesicha is registered as a non-profit both in Israel and in the United States, and much of its funding comes from private donations. To get involved, or to find out more about the program, please email

SO MUCH MORE. Don’t take our word for it. See what the genetic experts have to say.



TheHappenings Week In News

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Pink Challah Bake Hosted by Sharsheret Yehudis Litvak

port from other cancer survivors. “I was so inspired by interacting with these vibrant, healthy women,” she said. “Who knew they’d ever been sick?” She praised the work of Sharsheret, as well as Bikur Cholim of Los Angeles. Then Dr. Taaly Silberstein spoke about the four types of women’s cancers, their

Sharsheret, a national non-profit organization offering support to Jewish women facing breast and ovarian cancer, hosted a Pink Challah Bake and Women’s Health Education Discussion, held at the Bais Yaakov of Los Angeles. Over 30 local women attended the emotional evening, where two cancer survivors shared their personal journeys and Dr. Taaly Silberstein, an OB/GYN from Tarzana, spoke about women’s cancers. Jenna Fields, director of the local branch of Sharsheret, spoke about the organization’s work in providing free phone and email psychosocial support to Jewish women dealing with cancer. Sharsheret also organizes community education programs, where women get together to talk about the risks of women’s cancers and how to minimize them. Then Robyn Cardoza, a survivor of endometrial cancer, spoke about her own experience, emphasizing the importance of community support. She lost her own mother to cancer many years ago, and she wished she could have had Sharsheret’s support when she was her mother’s caregiver. When Robyn received her own terrifying diagnosis at age 50, she contacted Sharsheret. Robyn spoke about the emotional, as well as physical, challenges she faced in her journey. “I had an amazing support network,” she said. “I can’t imagine having gone through such a horrible experience without the support.” Robyn is determined to raise awareness of Sharsheret’s work, to ensure that no Jewish woman ever has to face cancer alone. Another cancer survivor, Sharon, spoke about her diagnosis and lengthy treatment. “I learned a lot,” she said. “I learned to be grateful—for the advances in medicine, for the anti-nausea drugs, for the kind doctor who gave me his cell phone number, for the kind nurses, for volunteers offering snacks. I learned how to accept help from friends and family and let my kids cook for Shabbos.” Throughout her experience, she drew a lot of sup-

risk factors, symptoms, and early detection. She emphasized the importance of regular medical care, self-exams, and mammograms. Then, she answered specific questions from the audience. After the speakers, participants had the opportunity to braid pink challah from beet-colored dough supplied by Bibi’s

Bakery. Sharsheret is always looking for volunteers to bring such programs to the community. More information about Sharsheret is available on their website,, or by contacting Jenna Fields at

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home


The Week In News

Dor Yeshorim Does More for Klal Yisrael

Specialized family testing is only one way Dor Yeshorim preserves generations. You may know Dor Yeshorim as a compatibility test, ensuring that you or your children would never have to experience the pain of genetic disease, R”L. You may not know that hundreds of families with rare genetic mutations turn to Dor Yeshorim for highly specialized testing panels. When their healthy children reach marriageable age, the standard testing panels do not suffice. Unique genetic strands require unique screening solutions. To date, more than 10,000 individuals have turned to Dor Yeshorim for specialized testing panels researched and developed by the high-tech Dor Yeshorim labs. “For the hundreds of families facing rare genetic diseases, Dor Yeshorim has become the preeminent source of specialized testing,” says Dr. Wendy K. Chung, the Kennedy Family Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York.

“I can personally attest to the untold hours and countless dollars the organization invests to ensure that these families will have reliable testing panels when it comes time for their healthy children to marry.” Dor Yeshorim’s mission and mandate is to pioneer, protect, and preserve our people, healthy generation after healthy generation. When special people with special circumstances deserve specialized testing, Dor Yeshorim is here.

The OU Visionary Forum: A Unique Think Tank to Generate Innovation in Programming One July 15th and 16th, the OU Visionary Forum was held at Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, California. The program focused on generating and strategically implementing innovative programs that engage and empower young professionals and millennials in the Jewish community. This two-day think tank was the brainchild of Solly Hess, OU Western States Regional Director, and Rabbi Adam Simon, Director of Advancement at Southern California Yeshiva High School. In attendance were 20 Jewish influencers, including shul rabbis, non-profit professionals, and lay leaders from communities across North America, including Los Angeles, San Diego, La Jolla, Edmonton, Denver, Portland, Houston, New Jersey, Lakewood, and Baltimore. Throughout the Visionary Forum, participants worked with renowned experts, coaches, and scholars, including Rhoda Weisman, Dean of the Graduate School of Nonprofit Management at American Jewish University, and Salvador Litvak, AKA the “Accidental Talmudist,” a Jewish filmmaker and lecturer with over one million social media followers. The visionaries

For the hundreds of families facing rare genetic diseases, Dor Yeshorim has become the preeminent source of specialized testing. I can personally attest to the untold hours and countless dollars the organization invests to ensure that these families will have reliable testing panels when it comes time for their healthy children to marry.

Dr. Wendy K. Chung, MD, PhD Wendy K. Chung, MD PhD Kennedy Family Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine

shared best practices, examined issues that inhibit communal engagement, explored design thinking and strategic processes, and collaborated on the creation of dynamic, game-changing initiatives. Participants were guided, through Design Thinking methodologies, to construct comprehensive implementation plans to best impact both their local and global Jewish communities. Rabbi Gershon Albert, Senior Rabbi, Beth Jacob Congregation of Oakland, California, said, “The Visionary Forum was a unique opportunity that allowed me to gather with a group of incredibly talented and innovative leaders. Creating new concepts to address challenges in the Jewish community was already special, but doing it through the iterative process designed by the conference leaders was a technique that I plan to use in my own career as well.”

Columbia University Medical Center Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York New York Presbyterian Hospital



Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman It is one of the strangest things in politics; Jews overwhelmingly vote Democrat. This habit is said to go back to the days of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a hero of liberal Jews. And the dichotomy was evident there. Though FDR provided jobs for many unemployed citizens, led the United States into World War II, and guided the country to subsequent victory in the war that saw 6 million of our brethren murdered, he refused entry to refugees from the Nazis and rebuffed pleas to bomb the tracks to the concentration camps and shut them down. Many have faulted him for millions of deaths, which they say could have been prevented had he acted properly. Nevertheless, he brought Jews into the party and they stayed there. His successor, Harry S. Truman, earned the Jewish vote, supporting the founding of Israel in 1948. Then it was Adlai Stevenson and his fascinating oratory against the dour – and some say anti-Semitic – Dwight D. Eisenhower, and you couldn’t blame the Jews for voting for Stevenson. Eisenhower’s vice-president, Richard Nixon, was seen as an anti-Semite, and Jews couldn’t bring themselves to vote for him against the youthful, telegenic John F. Kennedy. Though Kennedy’s father was a well-known Jew-hater, so bad that he and his future generations were cursed by a leading rabbi, his son was seen as prince charming and Jews fell in line, voting for him. And so it was. Jimmy Carter, the peanut farmer from Georgia, was no friend of the Jews or of Israel. You would think the Jews withheld their votes from him, but you’d be wrong. Things changed a bit with Ronald Reagan, a great friend of Israel who ran against him. Reagan got a few more Jewish votes than a typical Republican. The Jews solidly backed the loser, because he was a Democrat. As Reagan was swept to victory in a landslide the second time around, the Jews once again put on their blinders and voted for the Democrat. No other group did that besides the blacks. And so it was. They decided that George H.W. Bush was an anti-Semite

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Truth and gave him a huge thumbs down in both of his elections. Bill Clinton, who beat him the second time around, was a huge favorite of the Jews. Though the affection wasn’t rewarded, they voted for him the second time around and then for his wife, despite her being part of the Barack Obama anti-Israel brigade and treating the Jewish country harshly during her term as secretary of state. George W. Bush was a decent person and displayed great friendship to Israel, but it didn’t matter. He was a Republican, so the Jews voted against him. Obama was no friend of the Jewish people or Israel, and nor were many of the people in his administration. But shhh… Don’t say anything. The anti-Semites may get upset if the Jews say a word. It’s ridiculous. I omitted some others

It makes no sense at all. There is no rational, intelligent way to explain why a Jew who cares about Judaism, about Jews, about Israel, about his wallet, or about the cultural climate of this country would vote for a Democrat. It is nonsensical. But it’s one of those things you aren’t allowed to discuss. Not if you want to be considered intelligent, learned, and savvy. If you want to be with the “in” crowd, get invited to political functions, and have your picture taken with important people, you aren’t allowed to discuss the ugly secret. If you want to be viewed as important and connected, and perceptive and shrewd about the political world, you hobnob with liberals and Democrats. The media likes you, the machers like you, and people who don’t know better see your picture with Chucky Schumer or Jerry Nadler or some

The media likes you, the machers like you, and people who don’t know better see your picture with Chucky Schumer or Jerry Nadler or some other phony and think, “Oh wow. This guy really gets around. He’s important.” here and simplified the races, but the fact is that Jews ignored their own best interests and foolishly voted for Democrats at every chance they had. Not only in presidential races, but also in local races, anyone with a “D” next to their name could be guaranteed the Jewish vote. It didn’t make a difference what their position was on moral and social issues, nor if they continuously voted to increase taxes on our hardearned income and homes. Democrats got the Jewish vote.

other phony and think, “Oh wow. This guy really gets around. He’s important.” Of course, it’s all meaningless. But when the president of the United States, who is a greater supporter of Israel than anyone who preceded him in that position, points out the obvious and says that a Jew who doesn’t vote Republican is either an idiot or disloyal to the party that supports Israel and fights anti-Semitism, the Jews and the media go crazy and say that Trump is out of his mind. How dare he

point out that the Democrats can no longer be counted on to support Israel? Who is he to remind everyone that the Democrat Party tolerates anti-Semitism and has within its ranks some of the most prominent enemies of the Jewish state? Not only does the party support and condone them, but it places them on vital congressional committees, where they certainly don’t belong. Trump, the media warns, is an anti-Semite. “Jews,” they say, “be careful. Stay away from him. He doesn’t like you.” It is helpless to remind them that his son-in-law is Jewish, that he permitted his daughter to undergo an Orthodox conversion to marry a Jew, that his grandchildren are Jewish, that his closest people in the administration are Jews, that he stuck his neck out for Israel several times, and that he freed Rubashkin because he is a compassionate person who cares about justice. The New York Times and the media echo chamber that follows it accused Trump of bringing up the old canard that Jews are not patriotic citizens of the lands in which they reside, because he used that dirty word “loyal” when he said that Jews who vote for Democrats “are being very disloyal to the Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel.” Says the Times in an editorial, “In the bloody history of modern anti-Semitism, one of the most common justifications for violence is the inflammatory canard that the loyalty of Jewish citizens is suspect.” So, by using the word “disloyalty,” Trump has reawakened an old lie and “Mr. Trump toys with fanning [the] flames” of anti-Semitism, as seen in Pittsburgh and Poway. Liberal Jewish mouthpieces got into the act and jumped all over Trump, as if he were the worst enemy of the Jews and Israel, comparing him to Hitler, Stalin, and such wicked murderers. The same Democrats who Jews have been supporting and helping put into office term after term now control the strings of New York State government. And how are they repaying us for our support? For one, they are going after yeshivos as never before. With a venomous hatred, yeshivos are being treated as enemies of mankind and hotbeds of bolshevism. Who is doing this? The Democrats. Yup, those same people every macher was friendly with and took pictures with. As soon as they were free of the Republican shackles, their true progressive colors came out and the battle began. The governor so many Jews contributed to and felt friendly with couldn’t care less. Oh, but he’s our friend. All the state assemblymen and state senators who are described as friends of our community, well, some friends they are. With friends

Living withIn theNews Times The Week

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

is becoming more and more precarious by the day. We need to support the president because he is the only one who will suppress the anti-Semites and battle the progressives. It’s all about loyalty and intelligence. Michelle Goldberg explains the thinking of the leftist Jews. Writing in the New York Times, she says, “The Jewish left rejects the idea that anti-Zionism is equivalent to anti-Semitism, but even more than that, it rejects the idea that Israel is the guarantor of Jewish safety or the lodestar of Jewish identity. And that is not for religious reasons. It is because they don’t care about Israel. ‘Where we are is our home. This is what we fight for. This is where we seek kinship,’ said one spokesman to the Times, in a quote eerily reminiscent to the ‘Berlin is our Jerusalem’ slogan of the enlightened ones in Germany a century ago.” And that is why they hate Trump so much. Writes Ms. Goldberg, “For those primarily concerned about Jewish life in the Diaspora, Israel…isn’t really an ally,

much less an ideal. And Trump, who always speaks of American Jews as if they belong there, is a grotesque enemy. He tells Jews committed to life in America that they owe loyalty to Israel, which he sometimes calls, when speaking to American Jews, ‘your country.’ He says this and expects Jews to react with gratitude.” So, the non-Jew fights for Israel and reminds Jews that it is the land that Hakadosh Boruch Hu gave them and blessed them with, and for doing so, he is deplored, because the Jews of the left don’t really care about Israel. Thanks to former President Obama and our European allies, Iran gets stronger by the day. The stockpiles of missiles intended to fall in Israel, killing our brothers and sisters, grow daily. Is there anyone other than Trump who is supporting Israel and working to curtail Iran? Which other western leader stands up to Iran and seeks to remove the threat it poses to Israel and the world? Murderous, communist China has been

robbing America for decades and seeking to overcome this country as the world’s greatest superpower by the end of the decade. Did anyone stand up to that country until Trump came along? Lev melochim vesorim beYad Hashem. Hakadosh Boruch Hu has chosen him, for reasons unknown to us, to lead these battles on our behalf. Hashem has emboldened and strengthened him, providing him with the fortitude to stand at our side during these fateful times. Elul is here and we begin looking at things seriously. With Elul, we think about ourselves and where we are holding, and we also look at the world and offer tefillos that we be spared further pain, additional hatred, and more wars. Let’s be intelligent and know what we are davening for. May we all be zoche to a meaningful Elul and the geulah kerovah b’meheirah.

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like these, who needs enemies? Yet, G-d forbid for us to call them out or to mention the obvious. How long will we permit the farce to continue? For how long will we and those who claim to represent us play the game in which we end up at the losing end of the stick? When will we face up to the truth that these people don’t like us and act accordingly? Four women new to the game of politics have shaken it up, striking the fear of progressiveness in the hearts of all. Four hateful women have taken a party hostage. The entire Democrat roster of presidential candidates is dancing to the tune of those women. Local politicians veer further and further left because they are afraid of those women. There is only one person in this country in a leadership position who stands up to those women. He deserves our support. He is neither an anti-Semite nor a nut, as the left claims. Rather, he expresses the truth. Our existence here in this country

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AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Nationwide Shabbos of N September 6-7, 2019 - ‫ופטים‬

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Marking the Yahrtzeit of the Tosfos Y

Stop the Talking in Shul! A zechus for parnasah, shiduchim, refuos & yeshuos

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AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

No Talking in Shul ‫שבת פרשת שו‬

Yom Tov zt”l

Join in Making History! On Shabbos Parshas Shoftim, September 6-7 2019, thousands of people across the Country will join in reinforcing zero tolerance for talking in shul. That date will mark the Yahrtzeit of the Tosfos Yom Tov, mechaber of the Misheberach, blessing those who keep quiet in shul. The Tosfos Yom Tov zt”l, HoRav Yom Tov Lipman Heller, a Talmid of the Maharal and Klei Yakar, was one of the most important Rabbonim of the early 17th century. During the Chmelnieki Massacres of 1648-1649 (Gzeiras Tach v’tat), the Tosfos Yom Tov had a revelation from Heaven that talking in shul was the cause of the terrible tragedy. He authored the tefilla as a chizuk and blessing to those who abstained from talking in shul; a tefilla that is said in shuls worldwide to this very day. Tap in to the great brachos promised by the Tosfos Yom Tov... Make your kabaloh to stop talking in shul. The zechus will be eternal.

Historic Shabbos!

Stop the Talking in Shul! A zechus for parnasah, shiduchim, refuos & yeshuos



Torah Musings The Week In News

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

What Video Games Teach Us About Happiness: Developing a Good Eye, Part II Sarah Pachter

Reflecting on the recent obsession with Fortnight and other violent video games— thank goodness the hype seems to be dying down—my husband and I reminisced on the good ’ole days. “What ever happened to simple games, like Mario, where the ultimate goal was to collect coins, or even Tetris, the shape-maneuvering game?” Remember Tetris, that seemingly simple game where one must try to create an unbroken horizontal line while different shapes fall from the top of the screen? The only goal of the game is to create as many unbroken lines as possible. Perhaps this seems boring compared to Fortnight’s goal of mass destruction, but it’s surprisingly addictive. Believe it or not, a study at Harvard medical school’s department of psychiatry actually paid subjects to play Tetris for multiple hours a day, over sever-

al consecutive days. The aftermath of this amount of gaming resulted in participants dreaming about Tetris and perceiving their real-world environment as one big Tetris opportunity, and these consequences lasted for days. For example, one Tetris addict told the Philadelphia City Paper, “Walking through the aisles at the local Acme, trying to decide between Honey Nut or the new frosted Cheerios, I noticed how perfectly one set of cereal boxes would fit in with the gap on the row below it.” Others expressed a similar experience when seeing a brick building. No, these gamers are not going crazy. What happened to them is a physical process that gets triggered in the brain when playing a game for repeated hours. As Shawn Achor, Harvard professor, writes, “The cognitive

pattern caused them to involuntarily see Tetris shapes wherever they looked…it actually changes wiring in the brain.” Now, imagine what happens after playing Fortnight. This isn’t just an anti-video game article, because this research doesn’t just affect gamers. Achor describes, “This phenomenon explains how our brain can get stuck into patterns of viewing the world, some more beneficial than others. In other words, this is a metaphor for how our brains dictate the world around us.” The brain works like a filter for information, and it only has the capacity to focus on a certain amount of input at once. About 90% of what we feed our brain from external stimulus gets put into “spam.” Just like we don’t see what’s in the spam box attached to our email account, if it’s not pertinent, not only do we not remember it, but we don’t even “see” or experience it. A famous psychological study asked its participants to watch a basketball-passing game on video. The participants were asked to determine how many times the white shirt-wearing team passed the ball. Half a minute into the video, a man dressed in a gorilla costume strolls clearly across the screen for a total of five seconds. After the video finished, the participants were asked questions such as, “Did you notice anything out of the ordinary in the video, like maybe a gorilla?” Almost half (46%) did not see the gorilla at all! Furthermore, they adamantly requested to see the video again, disbelieving that it could have been there. After watching the video a second time, they were shocked at how oblivious they had been. This experience is called inattentional blindness, or selective perception. It also explains why when you purchase a new car, you suddenly see that model everywhere. What we focus on is what we see— perception is reality. In essence, whatever our mind doesn’t use gets immediately filtered. If we don’t have use for negative perceptions, those perceptions will get thrown out. The more we seek to see good, the more we will automatically see good. The more we play Tetris, the more we see Tetris in the world around us. The more we “play” gratitude, the more we see joy as a byproduct, while automatically filtering out negativity because our brain

realizes, “It’s of no use to us.” The same goes for anything we spend our energy on. Our goal should be to create a positive “Tetris effect.” Rather than scanning the world for bad Tetris blocks or disadvantages, we can actually train our brain to look around us for opportunities. This newfound positive outlook can enable us to grow. Through her book, The Committed Marriage, Rebbetzin Jungreis shares that developing a good eye is the most important trait for a healthy marriage. Of course, she is not referring to 20/20 vision, but rather seeing the positive in one’s spouse. In the same way, Rabbi Yochanan (in Pirkei Avos) pondered the timeless question, What are the most important traits for a human to develop that will help him leave this world loved and having made an impression? He gathered five of his most trusted students and asked them what trait they considered to be most important for a human to develop. Rav Eleazar, the first of his first followers, responded that the most essential trait was developing a good eye. This requires constantly seeking out the good in others. Acknowledging gratitude and reviewing positive aspects in our day is one way to build and develop a good eye. Gratitude journals can help prune our minds to be more positive. Such journals take many forms, but one way to incorporate the concept is by asking ourselves and family members to identify three positive experiences from each day. Doing this not only inspires a warmer atmosphere at the dinner table, during the bedtime routine, or throughout the car ride home, but it forces our brains to preemptively search our days for the positive, while at the same time filtering out smaller, unimportant annoyances (such as the gorilla walking across the screen). Using the science behind video games and selective perception, we can become master thinkers of positivity. When we practice seeking out the positive in our lives and actively expressing gratitude with those closest to us, we will become skilled at weeding out negativity. In this way, when a negative thought pops up, our minds will swiftly prune it, and move on to more positive thinking. Through this we can achieve happier, and therefore more successful, lives.


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AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Home Home OCTOBER 29, 2015Jewish | The Jewish

Doron Sheffer’s

Slam-Dunk The Basketball Legend Talks about How the Sport Led Him Back to His Roots

By Tzvi Lev

n early February, the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies announced that they were waiving Omri Casspi. The 6-foot 9-inch small forward’s play had fallen in recent years and averaged only 6.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 14.4 minutes this year. In addition, the Grizzlies’ decision to release him meant that he had been cut by two teams in two consecutive years. After the news of his departure was announced, Casspi acknowledged that his sojourn in Memphis didn’t go as well as he had hoped, as he appeared in only 36 games as a reserve and got into a widely-publicized physical altercation with a teammate during practice. “Didn’t go as we all envisioned but the team and city embraced me and my family as one of their own. Thank you, Memphis,” Casspi wrote on his Twitter account. The news that Casspi was released by the Grizzlies barely made a ripple in the United States. A cursory Google search of the subject shows only three relevant results. In Israel,


however, the reality was very different. The latest twist in the career of Israel’s favorite son was the subject of prime-time telecasts and was splashed across the opening pages of the next day’s newspapers. Casspi earned his status by virtue of becoming the first-ever Israeli to play in the NBA. Since being drafted by the Sacramento Kings in 2009, Casspi has been viewed as a rock star of sorts in his home country and is frequently mobbed by his proud countrymen when returning to Israel during the offseason. Before Casspi, however, there was Doron Sheffer. One of the first Israelis to play NCAA Division A basketball, Sheffer won three straight Big East Championships while at the University of Connecticut. Playing under the legendary coach Jim Calhoun, and forming a trio with Kevin Ollie and future hall of famer Ray Allen, Sheffer rocketed to stardom as the 1993-1994 Big East Conference Rookie of the Year. Similar to Casspi today, all Israeli eyes were on Sheffer. With a proven ability to perform at basketball’s

highest levels, Sheffer was expected to begin a long and fruitful NBA career and enjoy everything being young and famous had to offer. Sheffer is indeed famous today, but not only for sporting accomplishments. A sought-after motivational speaker, the man whose emotionless blue eyes once earned him the moniker “The Iceman” is now a religious moshav-dweller who peppers his sentences with chassidus. From college campuses to television studios to the life-coaching seminars he gives over, everyone wants to know: why did he decide to turn his back on the NBA despite being drafted by the Clippers in the second round? What caused him to give up millions of dollars in order to embark on a search for inner peace? And most importantly, why did he decide to return to his roots, becoming one of Israel’s most prominent ba’alei teshuva?


heffer still remembers when he first realized that he had what it took to compete with the best. Born in the central city of

Ramat Gan, Sheffer grew up as any other secular Israeli, attending public elementary and high schools, and serving a mandatory three years in the army upon graduation. Yet there was nothing ordinary about his basketball skills. Already at a young age, Sheffer was dominating his opponents on his local youth team with his mix of playmaking and natural athletic ability. Yet Sheffer only realized that he had something special after he thrived against the top players that Europe had to offer. “At the age of 16, I was invited to play in Israel’s national youth team,” recalled Sheffer in an interview with The Jewish Home. “That summer, we participated in the European Championships that were held in Spain. “For the first time in my life, I played against the best players in the game and noticed that I had dealt with them as an equal,” continued Sheffer. “At that point, I understood that I had received a gift and that I had been blessed with this talent and that it was worthwhile to utilize it as much as possible.”



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Sheffer’s gift continued to pay dividends. By the age of 18, Sheffer was already starting for the Hapoel Galil Elyon professional basketball team. This achievement was deemed all the more impressive considering that Sheffer was actively serving in the IDF at the same time. A year later, Sheffer led his team over the powerhouse Macabbi Tel Aviv to win Israel’s national basketball championship, ending Macabbi’s 23-year run at the top. At that point, it was obvious where someone with Sheffer’s talents would go: America. Sheffer’s “desire to experience something else, to change and innovate” led him to join the UConn Huskies under Jim Calhoun, considered one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. Sheffer’s decision to join the Huskies would thrust him into the national spotlight. Historically a basketball powerhouse, the Huskies are perennial contenders who have won four NCAA Tournament Championships and are tied with the most Big East Tournament Championships ever. To perform at the high level demanded by Calhoun, Sheffer says that he was forced “to adapt to the different culture, the new home, and the intensive training regime and the different style of play.” His hard work paid off. Sheffer quickly established himself as a presence in Waterbury, Connecticut, and formed an explosive trio with future NBA superstar Ray Allen and center Kevin Ollie to win the Big East title in each of his three years at UConn. By the end of his freshman season, Sheffer had beaten out Allen to become the Big East Conference’s Rookie of The Year. Sheffer also succeeded in becoming the first Husky to score 1,000 points and 500 assists in each of his three seasons. In a 2014 Sports Illustrated article about Sheffer, he was described by fellow teammates and coaches as a player who stuck out for his stoicism and intelligence. “Remember, he was a thoughtful guy to start with, and he was 21 as a freshman,” says Calhoun. “There was such a maturity there.” Ray Allen, meanwhile, remembers Sheffer as “poised. He had a lot of control over

The Jewish Home OCTOBER 29, 2015 AUGUST 29,|2019 | The Jewish Home

Doron with Coach Jim Calhoun, right, and Ray Allen

his game and his life, and we learned from him,” he said. With his successful tenure at UConn ending, everyone assumed that Sheffer would become the first Israeli to play in the NBA. Indeed, Sheffer was selected 36th overall in the 1996 draft by the Los Angeles

team that he had beaten to end their 23-year run at the top. Sheffer described this turbulent period in the article “A Letter To My Younger Self,” which he published this past year. “Your personal achievements and your team’s achievements during the three years you spent in the U.S. will

“I felt my soul was wanting to spread wings and fly.” Clippers, and the story seemed to write itself. Sheffer would sign with the Clippers, cementing his status as an Israeli icon, and enjoy a flourishing career on professional basketball’s highest stage. et this story had a different ending. Sheffer surprisingly turned down the Clippers after he wasn’t offered a guaranteed contract and decided to return to Israel to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv, the same


be incredible, and many will predict that you will be the first Israeli player to play in the NBA – the best basketball league in the world,” wrote Sheffer. “Although you will not think you will be able to reach this summit at first, you will slowly see that you are an equal competitor to the best college basketball players, some of whom will predict a bright future in the NBA. “‘I can, too,’” you say to yourself, and decide to try to take advantage of this possibility,” continued Shef-


fer. “You will be ranked 36th in the second round by the Los Angeles Clippers and will become the first Israeli to be selected in the NBA draft. “But the joy will be too early: you will find that the choice does not guarantee you a contract in the best league in the world and next season you will find yourself returning to Israel to the ranks of Maccabi Tel Aviv.” In the beginning, Sheffer’s choice seemed to be a wise one. His basketball acumen, which only improved from competing against the likes of Allen Iverson, enabled him to lead Maccabi Tel Aviv to four straight championships and a spot in the 2000 EuroLeague Final Four. It was precisely at the highest point in his career that Sheffer shocked the sports world by announcing that he was walking away from it all. “My heart told me to, and you don’t argue with your heart,” Sheffer would answer when pressed by journalists as to the reason of his sudden retirement. He then packed a bag and went to travel the world in search of inner peace, to find answers to the questions that wouldn’t stop nagging him. “I felt my soul was wanting to spread wings and fly,” Sheffer told Sports Illustrated. “I couldn’t do it with basketball.” For the next few years, he traveled to India, Brazil, Thailand, Costa Rica, Australia, the U.S., and Europe, trying to unravel the meaning of what he called “the game of life” and to “end the pain I was experiencing.” He searched everywhere; his journey led him to a wide variety of places in an attempt to find answers. From Buddhist ashrams in India to meetings with shamans and other gurus, the former basketball star tried everything. “I was in a kind of trance, naive,” Sheffer recounted to Haaretz. “I lived the moment and acted according the slogan: ‘I’m following my heart.’ And I went to the edge and didn’t receive the answer.” It was cancer that prompted his ultimate return to Judaism. During one of his wanderings in 2002, Sheffer was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After first attempting to treat it with new-age methods, he eventually underwent a surgery that put him into remission. It was


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OCTOBER 29,| 2015 | The Jewish AUGUST 29, 2019 The Jewish HomeHome

this frightening experience, however, that started him on the path to Jewish observance. oday, Sheffer calls his cancer diagnosis “one of the most enlightening experiences of my life, which changed my lifestyle in different levels such as nutrition, exercise, coping with stress, etc.” His inner drive to live better in every aspect of his life “naturally returned me home to our roots and [Jewish] sources” and caused him to embrace “the land of Israel, Judaism, and the Torah.” Sheffer never had a single spiritual awakening. Despite growing up completely secular with zero religious background, there was no one moment that caused him to adopt a religiously-observant lifestyle. “It’s like somebody who tries to stop smoking,” said Sheffer. “He tries for years and years. He goes to treatment, stops for three months, then comes back. Then one day, poof! it’s no longer there. But before, there’s 20 years of trying.” In 2003, the newly-observant Sheffer decided to return to professional basketball and signed with Hapoel Jerusalem. With his personal upheaval behind him, he found that he was a changed man on the court. Rather than be plagued by the stress and pressure that tormented him in the past, he was finally able to go out and have fun. “It was the same ball, same court, same coaches, same players, but a totally new game,” Sheffer says. “I could see it in a much more healthy, balanced way. Much less pressure and tension. I could also play much more freely.” That season was historic; Sheffer’s mix of clutch shooting and decision-making led his team to win the 2004 Euroleague championship, becoming the first Israeli team to raise the Eurocup. After the final victory against Real Madrid, Sheffer famously celebrated while wearing a shirt he had designed reading “Ein Od Milvado.” He would play for another year for a team in Tel Aviv before retiring again. After having another change of heart and returning to basketball,


Wearing the shirt he designed himself after winning the championship

he retired again in 2008, this time for good. Today, his life is drastically different from the high-flying pace of a professional athlete. iving in the rural agricultural village of Amirim near the Sea of Galilee with his wife and five children, Sheffer now dedicates himself to his life coaching practice. A popular motivational speaker, Sheffer aims to apply the lessons he learned during his basketball career towards helping others. “I returned to our Land of Israel, to Judaism and to our Torah,” he explains. “This journey continues


today, and it is a constantly moving, breathing and challenging journey.” Sheffer says that in his seminars, he utilizes sports in general and basketball in particular as educational and therapeutic tools to provide essential skills and advice for personal growth. In 2012, he founded a self-help and wellness center titled “Hyuli – Hospitality, Treatments and Workshops” together with his wife. Sheffer explains in a book he published titled, The Game of Life, that only recently did he realize that his experiences both on and off the court could be utilized to help others. “For me, basketball hasn’t been

just a game. It was the game, the game of life,” wrote Sheffer. “Basketball has revealed life in all its glory, with its successes and failures, expectations and disappointments, fears and hopes, misery and happiness. “Even if I have felt otherwise in the past, today I know that the championships, the trophies, the personal achievements, the money – all of these were just bonuses I enjoyed along the way,” he continued. “But over the years, it has become clear to me that the game of basketball is an amazing gift I can use to learn about myself, about life, and, particularly, how to grow and develop as a human being.” Despite his new career helping other people, he hasn’t jettisoned his previous life as a professional athlete. While acknowledging that it’s “not as much as in the past,” Sheffer says that he still keeps in contact with the basketball superstars he played with at UConn. “When I come to the United States, I try to make contact and sometimes to see people and friends, such as Coach Calhoun, Ray Allen and more,” he said. In 2013, Sheffer published a book titled Aneni, which chronicled his athletic career, his bout with cancer, and the personal quest he embarked on that returned him to religious observance. As Sheffer learned from one of his rabbis, Judaism is “like driving a car.” He expanded on this theme in an interview with Sports Illustrated: “If you take a car that drives on 95 [octane], it will drive on diesel, but not as good. If you put in 95 and it is exactly what it needs, it will drive better,” he said. “There’s a lot of wisdom in all religions, with things I still can use in my life. But as soon as I got to the Torah in Israel, in my language, I came back home.” “The Torah is the teacher of life,” Sheffer said in an interview with Jewish Action. “The Torah includes everything. It gives me endless advice, tools and inspiration for how to live in a more healthy, happy and balanced way – in my married life, raising my kids, employment and faith. All in all, it helps me be a better human being.”



Emotional Health The Week In News

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Why Am I so Depressed? Tolerating and Integrating Difficult Feelings Rabbi Dov Heller, LMFT

Stan, aged 31, has battled depression since he was 14. His parents were both highly successful in their careers, and Stan often felt like he was in their way. He kept his needs quiet so as not to bother them. He painfully recalls several occasions when both parents promised to do something with him and then canceled, breaking their promises at the last minute due to work responsibilities. This left him feeling angry and disappointed. He remembers trying to talk to them about how he felt, only to have his feelings dismissed with comments like, “I’ll make it up to you.” These

vague commitments often turned out to be just more broken promises. It’s no wonder that he felt he could not express his needs to friends and frequently accommodated to their wishes. Over time, he became more and more alone, depressed, and hopeless. Feeling down is a normal part of everyone’s life. All of us experience disappointment, loss, failure, loneliness, rejection, shame, confusion, etc. A significant difference between people who suffer a clinical depression and those who do not is that those who don’t are able to tolerate and integrate their depressive feelings. Instead

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of tolerating and integrating their uncomfortable feelings, people who suffer from depression become overwhelmed and seek ways to avoid them. Those who don’t fall into a depression experience those same feelings, yet they are more resilient. Why are some people more emotionally resilient than others? One can cite a number of factors, but one of the most significant, to my mind, is the quality of the emotional environment a person grows up in. To become an emotionally strong and resilient person, who can tolerate difficult feelings, a person needs to grow up with what I call a “relational home for their feelings.” If a child has at least one emotionally attuned adult (who does not necessarily have to be one of the child’s parents) to listen to and help her process her difficult feelings, she will be able to tolerate and integrate the painful and even traumatic experiences of life. If a child does not have a relational home for her feelings, then these painful experiences become more and more difficult to tolerate and integrate, eventually becoming unbearable. In order to protect herself against the accumulated pain, the child will unconsciously construct defenses which unfortunately, in the long run, will derail her emotional and creative development. Dr. Carl Jung maintained that, “Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.” When we cannot consistently tolerate and integrate painful feelings and experiences, we will unconsciously end up substituting unhealthy and self-destructive defenses which Jung refers to as “neurosis.” There will always be pain in life. The only question is, will it be the healthy pain of growth or the unhealthy pain of neurosis? Stan’s parents consistently failed to provide attuned responses to Stan’s painful feelings around his anger and disappointment. Stan’s defensive (neurotic) response for coping with these depressive feelings was alcohol. It was a easy way to numb the pain of the feelings he experienced every time he experienced some disappointment with friends, school, or work. Because he lacked a relational home for his feelings

as a child, he never developed sufficient strength and resilience to tolerate the pain that got triggered when others made him feel unimportant or marginalized. What is the solution for Stan’s depression? He may well need medication if his depression renders him non-functional. The fundamental cause of his depression is his inability to tolerate feelings of loneliness and disappointment. At this point in his life, Stan needs a relationship with a trained therapist who can provide the relational home he never had in order to help him acknowledge and tolerate his feelings—in other words, to help him feel his feelings. The more he can tolerate his feelings, the more he will be able to explore them, learn about himself, and how his relationship with his parents impacted him. The more he understands himself, the more he will be able to integrate his feelings. As he grows emotionally, he will become less depressed. What we can feel, we can heal. Are you suffering from depression or some other unbearable feeling? There are many paths to healing. Here I have discussed a developmental or analytic approach. Not every type of depression will yield to this approach. Nonetheless, if you’ve tried other approaches without success, perhaps exploring the path of gaining greater emotional tolerance, resilience, and understanding may be the approach you’ve been looking for. Rabbi Dov Heller is in private practice offering psychotherapy and personal mentoring for individuals and couples. He can be contacted at You may also visit his website at

The Week In News

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

Tight Smiles at G-7 Summit On Sunday, world leaders gathered on France’s Atlantic coast for the Group of Seven summit to talk about trade disputes, tariffs, and tensions among the nations around the world. China and the United States were at the forefront of talks. According to President Trump at the summit, “We’re getting along very well with China right now. We’re talking,” the U.S. president said, seeming to soften his threat to force U.S. companies out of China. The G-7 this year seemed more tense than usual, with the United States being the target of barbs or innuendos at the elegant seaside resort Biarritz. Even an impromptu lunch on Saturday between Trump and his host, French President Emmanuel Macron, appeared to be an attempt by the French leader to corner Trump into a discussion of climate change and trade. Trump insisted the meal was their best meeting ever. But afterward, American officials complained the session materialized without warning and amounted to a first attempt by Macron to mold his summit around issues that will divide Trump from other leaders. On Sunday, Trump seemed to dispute an announcement from the French president that the leaders had all agreed for Macron to deliver a message to Iran on their behalf. “No, I haven’t discussed it,” Trump said, adding he’d generally support Macron’s outreach to Tehran. Macron was then forced to acknowledge that Trump was the “president of the world’s number one power.” But Macron then, on his own, invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the G-7 for an uninvited visit to the summit. Zarif came to the building where world leaders were discussing how to handle Tehran’s growing nuclear ambitions. Zarif is sanctioned by the United States. Far friendlier was a Sunday morning breakfast with Boris Johnson, the newly installed British prime minister in whom Trump sees a more natural ally. “You know who this is?” Trump asked reporters, gesturing toward Johnson, as the men descended a grand staircase at Trump’s hotel. “He’s going to be a fantastic prime minster.” Later, over a meal of scrambled eggs and veal sausage, Trump acknowledged he was more aligned with Johnson than his predecessor in Downing Street, Theresa May.

“He needs no advice. He’s the right man for the job. I’ve been saying that for a long time. It didn’t make your predecessor happy,” Trump said. “You’re on message there,” the enthusiastic prime minister replied. Together, Trump hopes he and Johnson can counter what he views as the left-leaning agendas of other European leaders, according to US administration officials. Trump sought to dispel the notion on Sunday that he was feuding with his G-7 counterparts, despite their open differences on his use of tariffs or his environmental record. “We are having very good meetings, the

Leaders are getting along very well, and our Country, economically, is doing great – the talk of the world!” he wrote on Twitter. Alongside Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, Trump said he’d been “treated beautifully” since his arrival in France. It was noted by American officials that Macron was intentionally adding sessions to the summit that were meant to pit Trump against his fellow leaders. Trump himself had griped before the summit that like past gatherings, the G7 was overly focused on issues like plastics in the ocean and global women’s empowerment — and not the global economy, on which the organization was originally founded.

Palm Oil Currency Looking to replace aging military equipment, Malaysia is in talks with at last six countries on the possibility of using palm oil to pay for arms. Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy has struggled to update its defense equipment over the years and a cut in its defense budget this year all but derailed efforts to replace navy ships, some of which have been in service for 35 years or more. Costs have been a big hurdle but using palm oil to help pay for equipment could open new avenues

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The Week In News to upgrade, Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu said on Monday. Mohamad said discussions on paying with palm oil had started with China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran. “If they are prepared to accept a palm barter trade, we are very willing to go in that direction,” Mohamad said of talks with China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran. “We have a lot of palm oil.” Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s two largest palm oil producers, are embroiled in a dispute with the European Union over a plan to phase out the commodity from renewable fuels used by the bloc by 2030 over deforestation concerns. The two countries supply about 85% of global palm oil, much of which is used in food but also in items such as lipstick and soap. Mohamad said he could not put a figure on how much palm oil Malaysia was looking to trade for defense equipment. Besides new ships, Malaysia was also keen to acquire long-range surveillance aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and fast intercept boats, the minister said. The planned barter is part of a 10-year defense policy to be tabled in parliament this year, which Mohamad said would focus on boosting naval capabilities, including in the disputed South China Sea. China claims historic jurisdiction over the sea via a so-called nine-dash line on maps, but it overlaps with territory claimed by Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines. Taiwan also claims most of the sea. Recent Chinese naval deployments in the disputed sea, through which over $3.4 trillion in goods are transported annually, have reignited tension with Vietnam and the Philippines. Malaysia had been critical of China’s South China Sea position, but has not been excessively outspoken recently, especially after China pumped in billions of dollars into infrastructure projects under its Belt and Road Initiative.

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

or the U.S.,” Stary said. “We know him as a blogger and democracy activist – so we can’t conceive of any other actions outside of his role as a political agitator.” Espionage can carry the death penalty in China, so the charges are concerning. A former official with the Chinese foreign ministry, Yang, 53, also holds Australian citizenship, and was known to spend most of his time in the United States. He also had a large following on Twitter, where he posted satirical commentaries and criticism of the Chinese government. He was detained in the city of Guangzhou in January, while he and his wife were visiting from New York, where Yang was a visiting scholar at Columbia University. Yang’s wife, Yuan Xiaoliang – a Chinese citizen with Australian permanent residency – has been issued an exit ban preventing her from leaving China. Yang’s detention in January came amid a period of rocky relations between Beijing and Canberra. The two sides were clashing on issues ranging from China’s alleged attempts to influence the former’s domestic politics, to Australia’s decision to ban technology by Chinese company Huawei from the country’s 5G mobile networks and Beijing’s rising ambitions in the South Pacific. In December last year, two Canadians – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – were detained and accused of stealing “sensitive information and other intelligence.” Their detention came just over a week after the Canadian government arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei, on behalf of the U.S. Meng is facing charges of working to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Indonesia’s New Capital

China Arrests Writer for Spying

After being detained for seven months in China, Beijing confirmed this week that Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun has been arrested on espionage charges. His charges were announced by the Australian government. Yang’s Melbourne-based lawyer, Rob Stary, said few details had been released about the case beyond the spying charges. “We don’t know whether he’s accused of spying on behalf of a third party actor – a foreign government such as Australia

Since 1949, Jakarta has been the capital of Indonesia. But that is set to change real soon. A jungle-covered area on the east of Borneo island is set to be transformed into Indonesia’s new capital city. Jakarta has become too congested and is physically sinking into the mud. President Joko Widodo announced that a new capital will be established near the relatively underdeveloped cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda. “As a large nation that has been independent for 74 years, Indonesia has never chosen its own capital,” Widodo said in a televised speech. “The burden Jakarta is holding right now is too heavy as the center of governance, business, finance, trade and services.”

Moving the capital will take a lot of time and will be expensive. According to CNN Indonesia, the move will cost around 486 trillion rupiah ($34 billion) and will take around 10 years. Jakarta is home to more than 10 million people, according to the United Nations, with an estimated 30 million in the greater metropolitan area -- making it one of the world’s most overpopulated urban regions. It’s also one of the fastest-sinking cities on Earth, according to the World Economic Forum, dropping into the Java Sea at an alarming rate due to over-extraction of groundwater. The city sits on swampy ground and hugs the sea to the north, making it especially prone to flooding. A worsening air pollution crisis, exacerbated by near-constant traffic congestion on its roads, has grown so dire that some residents sued the Indonesian government in July.

S. Korea: No Military Sharing with Japan

South Korea is scrapping its military intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan, the latest escalation in a trade dispute that threatens global supply chains for smartphones and other gadgets. Kim You-geun, first deputy director of the Blue House National Security Office, said the move was in retaliation for Japan’s decision to exclude South Korea from its list of trusted trading partners. “Under these circumstances, the government judged that it would not be in our national interest to keep the agreement in place, which was signed for the purpose of exchanging sensitive military information for security (purposes),” Kim said. The rising tensions between the two countries have sparked worries around the world. “We encourage Japan and Korea to work together to resolve their differences. I hope they can do this quickly,” said Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman. “We are all stronger – and northeast Asia is safer – when the United States, Japan, and Korea work together in solidarity and friendship,” he said, adding that intelligence sharing was key to developing common defense policy and strategy. The standoff between Tokyo and Seoul started last month when Japan placed new restrictions on the export of three chemical materials to South Korea.

Those chemicals are used in computer chips manufacturing, a key part of the South Korean economy. The new rules delay exports as Japanese companies must apply for licenses for each of the materials, a process that can take up to 90 days. But tension between the two countries has been rising for months, stemming in part from Japan’s colonial rule over the Korean peninsula in the early 20th century. South Korea’s top court recently ruled that its citizens can sue Japanese companies for using forced Korean labor during World War II. Japan has denied that the two issues are linked.

Was Boris Brexit’s Savior?

If you were one of those people who cheered when Boris Johnson ascended the position of prime minister in the United Kingdom, hoping for a clear end to the Brexit conundrum, you may be a bit crestfallen. The deadline for Brexit is coming ever closer: October 31 is just two months away. It’s been three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. And they’re hardly any closer to extricating themselves from their neighbors. Enter PM Johnson, an avowed Brexiteer whose bet is that the threat of a disorderly “no-deal” exit will convince German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron that the EU must grant him the divorce deal he wants. But on his first foreign trip as prime minister last week, the response from Germany and France was polite but firm: the Withdrawal Agreement struck last year by then-Prime Minister Theresa May will not be changed much. “I want to be very clear,” Macron said. “In the month ahead, we will not find a new withdrawal agreement that deviates far from the original.” In Berlin, Merkel used a puzzling remark about finding an answer in “30 days” to underscore just how little time remained before the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline and how complex the Irish border riddle was. Johnson, who allowed himself to put one of his feet on a coffee table at the Elysee Palace in a light moment with Macron, lauded Europe for “positive noises” and insisted a deal could be done, possibly in the “final furlong.” Johnson’s key demand is that the EU remove the Irish border backstop – an insurance policy that would keep the Unit-

The Week In News

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

ed Kingdom in a customs union with the EU unless a better solution is found to keep open Ireland’s 500-km (300-mile) land border with the British province of Northern Ireland. As the backstop would also keep Northern Ireland aligned to the rules of the EU’s single market, Johnson and the Northern Irish party that props up his government see the backstop as a threat to UK unity – and their own political survival. Britain says there must be a better solution, though it has yet to present one. Part of the problem is that there is suspicion in Europe that Johnson is using Brexit diplomacy to line up a potentially vote-winning confrontation with the EU ahead of a possible British election.

record for the most deforestation ever in the Amazon in a single month, The Guardian reported. The Amazon shrunk by 519 square miles (1,345 square kilometers). That’s an area about 23 times the size of Manhattan. Data from Brazilian satellites indicated that about three football fields’ worth of Amazonian trees fell every minute last month. The deforestation is directly linked to fires in the Amazon, since farmers sometimes set the forest ablaze to make room for livestock pastures and crop fields. These purposeful burns can then get out of control. In the past 50 years, roughly 20% of the Amazon – about 300,000 square miles – has been cut down in Brazil.

Amazon Ablaze

Iranian Reporter Seeks Asylum

In the last couple of weeks, thousands of fiery infernos have sparked across the Amazon rainforest, razing tropical vegetation, trees, and the fauna they house. Since August 15, more than 9,500 new forest fires have started across Brazil, primarily in the Amazon basin. The blazes – and the choking smoke clouds they create – are visible from space. The NASA satellite image above shows how far the smoke has traveled over the continent. Global Forest Watch, an organization sponsored by the World Resources Institute to monitor forests and track fires using satellite data, reported more than 109,000 fire alerts in Brazil between August 13 and last week. So far this year, 2019 has the highest number of fires observed in Brazil in any year since researchers began keeping track in 2013 – and there are still four months to go. So far, scientists have recorded more than 74,000 fires in Brazil in 2019. That’s nearly double 2018’s total of about 40,000 fires. The surge marks an 83% increase in wildfires over the same period of 2018, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research reported. The largest state in Brazil, Amazonas, declared a state of emergency on Monday. In the Amazon region, fires are rare for much of the year because wet weather prevents them from starting and spreading. However, in July and August, activity typically increases due to the arrival of the dry season. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, a federal agency monitoring deforestation and wildfires, said the country has seen a record number of wildfires this year. The smoke plumes from blazes in the Amazon have spread from the state of Amazonas to the nearby states of Pará and Mato Grosso, and even blotted out the sun in São Paulo – a city more than 2,000 miles away. In total, the blazes have created a layer of smoke estimated to be 1.2 million square miles wide. This week of fires comes on the heels of another worrisome milestone for the world’s largest rainforest. July set a new

A hardline Iranian journalist with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is seeking Asylum in Sweden or Norway. Amir Tohid Fazel had accompanied Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on his tour of the Scandinavian region and then fled from there. Fazel was political editor for Iran’s Moj news agency and had previously worked for the government-funded Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). Al Arabiya news agency quoted Moj’s editor-in-chief Amir Mortazavi telling Iranian news site Ensaf News that “[Fazel] was a political editor at the agency and was sent to Sweden with the Foreign Ministry.” Mortazavi added that “he has not come to work since going to Sweden.” The Iranian newspaper Kayhan referred to Fazel as a traitor. Over the weekend several Iranian news reporters wrote on Twitter that Fazel did not return to Iran and accused the reporter of taking advantage of Zarif and the Foreign Ministry for personal gain. Fazel cryptically responded on Twitter that, “Everyone can decide for himself. No one knows what happens in the future. Only the short-sighted will speak out of ignorance,” without revealing his location. Zarif visited Sweden before flying to Biarritz in a surprise visit to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, who was hosting the G7 summit at the time.

19, on Friday. “I wanted to believe it was just a dream,” Rabbi Shnerb said on Friday from the hospital. Both Rabbi Shnerb and Dvir were wounded in the attack. “We started going down toward the spring, [and] as we came close to the spring there was a roadside bomb. I have experienced several bombs in my life and been saved, thank G-d, but this one got us,” Rabbi Shnerb said.

“It was a very big roadside bomb. It was black, everything went black…and I heard Dvir shouting to me, and I immediately called to Rina, shouting, ‘Rina, Rina,’” he said. “I looked down and saw

that she was not alive.” Rina was buried in Lod on Friday. Thousands joined in her funeral to commiserate with the pain that the Jewish nation felt upon hearing of her passing. Her father was not able to attend the funeral because he was in the hospital at the time. “Immediately after the attack, I understood…. At first I wanted to believe it was just a [bad] dream, but when I saw Rina, I knew we had to do something,” he said. “Dvir said to me we will be strong, we will protect the people of Israel and the Torah of Israel, and together we will move forward,” he said. “That’s what I also told Rina. At the same moment, her face was unmarked and serene, I gave her a kiss and I told her we will make sure to be strong.” “Rina saved us, she absorbed it all,” he said. Rabbi Shnerb spoke at the funeral by phone, saying that: “We are trying to be strong here in the Land of Israel, the people of Israel, Rina believed in that. “Our response to the murderers is that we are here and we are strong and we will prevail.” During the attack, Rabbi Shnerb used his tzitzit to make a tourniquet for Dvir. Dvir was in serious condition after under-

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The Week In News going surgery and was unconscious on a ventilator. A piece of shrapnel had pierced Rabbi Shnerb’s stomach; he also suffered a broken hip. Earlier this year, Shnerb was recognized by the army for helping to thwart an attack on a West Bank settlement while serving as a rabbi in an IDF reserve brigade. While checking the eiruv, Shnerb spotted two Palestinians outside Har Bracha and alerted the soldiers. One of the suspects was shot as they were arrested and Israeli troops found a knife and pistol on them. On Friday, Hamas said in a statement that the bomb attack was “proof of the vitality and bravery of the Palestinian people, and of the fact that it will not surrender to the crimes and terrorism of the occupation.” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in his Friday sermon in the Gaza Strip, called the killing “a heroic attack,” though he claimed ignorance as to who was responsible. But it “shows that the default state in the West Bank is one of resistance, despite what our residents suffer there. The West Bank has strong people who are no less faithful and steadfast than their brethren in Gaza,” he said. On Monday, the IDF said that they captured the terrorists who planted the unusually large bomb.

Israel Pushing Emigration from Gaza

According to a senior Israeli official, Israel is actively promoting the emigration of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and is working to find other countries who may be willing to absorb them. The country is also willing to bear the costs of helping Gazans emigrate and would consider using an Israeli airfield near Gaza to help them leave to other countries. More than 35,000 Gazans left the Strip in 2018, the official said, not including those who left but later returned. “That’s a pretty high number,” the senior official said. According to the official, European and Middle Eastern countries had been approached by Israel to accept Gazans who want to leave the Strip, but none had agreed to absorb them. The official said the National Security Council had been spearheading the effort, with Netanyahu’s blessing, for about a year. The Hamas terror group – which took over Gaza by force in 2007, leading Israel and Egypt to impose a blockade – has imposed measures to stem the tide of emigration. Gaza shares one tightly controlled ci-

AUGUST 29, 2019 | The Jewish Home

vilian crossing with Israel, generally only used for humanitarian cases. Most Gazans leave the Strip via the Rafah crossing with Egypt, which is only opened sporadically. While the crossing is intended for brief trips out of the beleaguered enclave, many residents, mainly young and educated, use the Rafah crossing as an opportunity to escape permanently, usually seeking refugee status in Europe. An Islamist movement that openly seeks Israel’s destruction, Hamas has fought three wars with the Jewish state since 2008 and has launched thousands of rockets at Israeli cities, as well as incendiary balloons and kites carrying explosive devices that since last summer have burned large swaths of land.

Drone Attack on Hezbollah in Beirut A drone attack on a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut early Sunday that was attributed to Israel targeted the Lebanese terror group’s precision missile project, the British Times reported on Tuesday. In the predawn hours of Sunday morning, two copter-style drones crashed in the Dahiyeh neighborhood of Beirut, an area of the city known to house Hezbollah members and offices. One of the unmanned aerial vehicles was reportedly brought down by teenagers who pelted it with rocks. It was recovered by Hezbollah and taken away for study. The other drone exploded while still in the air, causing damage, according to Lebanese officials. Hezbollah has claimed that its media offices were damaged by the blast. However, according to the Times, the explosion set fire to two crates that held materials for a Hezbollah program to turn its stock of simple rockets into precision-guided missiles – a project that is of deep concern to Israel as it would significantly increase the threat posed by these projectiles. One of the crates contained a “computerized control” unit and the other held a specialized industrial mixer that is used to make solid-state fuel. The crates were being held in Dahiyeh before being transferred to the factory where the actual work on the precision missile project would take place. Israel has accused the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group of setting up factories in Lebanon to develop precision-guided missiles and has vowed to thwart its efforts. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has denied the existence of the factories but said his organization does possess such weaponry. Hezbollah and the Lebanese government both blamed Israel for the drone strike earlier this week. The reported Beirut drone attack came after Israel on Saturday carried out airstrikes in neighboring Syria to thwart what it said was a plot to fly explosivesladen drones into the country. Nasrallah on Sunday said two Hezbollah members were among those killed in the Syria strike.

They were buried in Beirut’s southern suburbs on Monday, amid a large turnout of party supporters. While both Hezbollah and the Lebanese military insist the drones were sent by Israel, several well-connected Israeli commentators, including a former IDF general, said the drones appeared to be of Iranian origin. Official Lebanese state media released a photograph of the quadcopter-style UAV that crashed. It appears to be based on a civilian model with extremely limited range that the Israeli military would likely be unable or uninterested in using for a sensitive operation like conducting reconnaissance on, or attacking, a Hezbollah stronghold. Hezbollah, considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States, is a major political actor in Lebanon and also a key government backer in war-torn Syria.

Iran Sentences 2 for Spying for Israel

This week, Tehran sentenced two people, including a British dual national, to 10 years behind bars after convicting them of spying for Israel. The claim comes amid reports of a wave of Israeli strikes against Iranian targets and Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and Israeli accusations that Iran had planned a kamikaze drone assault on northern towns. Anousheh Ashouri, a woman with British and Iranian citizenship, was found guilty of feeding information to Israel’s Mossad spy agency and handed 10 years in jail, Iran’s judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said. Ashouri had managed to “transmit a lot of information” to Israel, Esmaili said. She was also ordered to return the millions of euros she had allegedly received from the Mossad. Ali Johari, an Iranian national, also got 10 years for various espionage offenses, including “widespread connections with Mossad…and meeting with various elements linked to the Zionists,” Esmaili said. Johari was connected to the Mossad “for many years,” and had met its agents in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Macao and elsewhere. The judiciary said he had also visited Israel. Tensions have shot up in recent days after Israel carried out airstrikes on Iranian and Iran-backed fighters in Syria to thwart what it said was a plot to fly explosivesladen drones into the country. Jerusalem has also been blamed for airstrikes in Lebanon and Iraq. Hezbollah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah gave a fiery speech Sunday in which he vowed revenge for the deaths of two of the group’s members.

VR Training In an effort to help IDF soldiers navigate tunnels built by Hezbollah and Palestinians, the IDF is turning to virtual reality. The simulated tunnels feel real to the soldiers in training. Aside from the videos that put the soldiers into the tunnel, the trainees feel the humidity, the cramped walls of the tunnels. The headset displays every detail of the virtual tunnel — a reconstruction of one of several subterranean infiltrations uncovered by the army — allowing instructors to guide soldiers in real time. In December, the Israeli army launched an anti-tunnel operation on the Lebanese border dubbed “Northern Shield.” Israel said it had found six tunnels, while UN officials confirmed three reached into the Jewish state’s territory. Hezbollah planned to use them to abduct or kill Israeli soldiers or civilians, and to seize territory in the event of hostilities, according to the military. They ran for dozens of meters and some reached a depth of 55 meters (180 feet). In recent days, fresh tensions have erupted between Hezbollah and Israel; the Iran-aligned Shiite movement blamed the Jewish state for a drone attack on its Beirut stronghold. Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah called it the first such “hostile action” since a 2006 war between his movement and the Jewish state. He threatened retaliation. The Israeli army is also on the lookout for tunnels dug into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. They are used by terrorists and, on the Egyptian border, smugglers trying to circumvent a blockade on the Palestinian enclave. The Israeli army says it has destroyed several tunnels that ran into its territory and were designed as attack launchpads. The Egyptian army has vigorously hunted for and blocked smuggling tunnels from its side of the frontier. Until recently the domain of video game creators, the virtual world has in recent years made inroads into medical, aerospace and military research, where it is increasingly used for training. “Technology is an essential part of the fight,” which justifies heavy investment, says H., commanding officer of Yahalom’s training center at a military base in central Israel. The Hezbollah tunnels exposed by Israel have been digitally scanned and appear on a soldier’s headset as they are in reality. “The soldier sees what a tunnel looks like,” says H. Since it is not always possible to train in the field, the virtual world allows personnel to familiarize themselves with a hostile underground environment without leaving their base, he added. There are a dozen soldiers on the current course; 100 have been through it since it began three years ago. While virtual reality (VR) aims to place the person in a simulated world, augmented reality (AR) allows elements to be added in a real-world environment. Both aim to provide a multi-sensory experience. Soldiers can experience scenarios where there are obstacles such as holes, cables, or explosive devices and simulate the hand movements they will need to defuse a real bomb.

The Week In News

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