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The Week In News


SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home




~ Rav Ahron Feldman, Shlita message canon beour seen at Full Full videovideo message can be seen website, FOR A FREE DISPLAY FOR YOUR SHUL, PLEASE EMAIL STOPTHETALKING@GMAIL.COM

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The Week In News



The Week In News

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Dear readers, When I was a teenager, and we would form teams to play sports, I generally allowed the other captain to pick the better players. This meant he had the better team and was expected to win. My team, on the other hand, was expected to lose. An emotional win-win situation: if we won, everyone was impressed, and if we lost—well, what did you expect! While deferring decisions can come from a good place, especially on non-consequential issues, it can also be an escape from responsibility. “You decide; I’d rather not be responsible,” is a negative response if we are supposed to be in charge at that moment. Each one of us is supposed to be a leader in certain areas of our lives. If, in the name of humility, we shy away from that responsibility, saying, “Who am I?” we have not only failed those around us, we have failed ourselves. Taking a position of strength and focusing on what’s needed to get the job done isn’t selfish, it’s the right thing to do. As children, spouses, parents, and members of our community, we need to strengthen what we have to offer and play our specific instrument in the orchestra called life to the best of our ability. All previous generations have their eyes on our us, amazed at our resilience in the face apathy and at times mockery of all that we hold dear. May we finish our mission, ushering in the times of Mashiach in 5779 yet! Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,


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The Week In News

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Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman This week’s parsha is replete with many blessings for those who follow the Torah. However, it also contains many klalos. Those who stray from the path will end up regretting their actions, as the enormity of the Tochacha will befall them. Regrettably, as we review the pesukim, we recognize much of the history of the Jews in golus. This week’s election in Eretz Yisroel struck fear in the hearts of many, as several parties campaigned openly against the religious community and appealed for voters by promising that they would get the religious people out of the way. With Iran looming in the background, border states Syria and Lebanon teeming with terrorists aiming to destroy Israel, Gaza inflamed and ready to boil over any day, and the general issues of economic policy and the West Bank that usually come up in any election, you would think that the political parties would have much to debate and discuss. But you would be wrong, because the only thing being discussed was how Jewish the Jewish country should be. A spokesman for the right-wing Yamina party summed it up, saying, “They are on a hate campaign against anything that has a Jewish aroma to it.” Now is not the time to debate what led to this hatred for everything Jewish, but it is something that we must recognize and repair. All the kiruv organizations and all the religious and right-wing parties and Binyomin Netanyahu spent the past few weeks spinning their wheels, trying to convince regular Israelis that the religious community is not as terrible as it has been portrayed, and that they should vote for the parties and man who will maintain a strong Israel and respect religion and Israel’s basic foundations as a Jewish state. Perhaps because the religious and secular communities do not live together, our people can be forgiven for thinking that there is more cohesion and interest in Judaism than there actually is, but many of the tag lines thrown out by the likes of Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Avigdor Lieberman strike fear in our hearts as we study parshiyos such as this week’s.

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Be Happy After all that our people have been through, personally and as a country over the past seven decades, we would imagine that there would be more of a connection to Torah, to mesorah, to tradition and to Jewish feeling. At times, our public behavior has been lacking, and that definitely should be rectified, but the hatred expressed during this campaign goes deeper than that and is indicative of an infectious rot, indicating a need for broader education and outreach. We dare not sit idly by as a war rages against the concepts of Shabbos and Yahadus that have defined our people throughout the millennia. Let us daven that when the dust settles, cooler heads will prevail and bridges will be built and traversed, enabling our people to live in the Promised Land without the steady fear that currently envelops them.

appreciate the gift of following the Torah and obeying Hashem’s word. There is no joy as great as being blessed to be able to live the meaningful, fulfilling and productive life of a shomer Torah umitzvos. When a person lacks joy, it indicates a latent sadness brought on by an absence of satisfaction with what that person is doing. Someone who is unhappy while performing mitzvos and as he goes about his everyday avodas Hashem doesn’t grasp the greatness of what he is doing and is unaware of what he accomplishes when he performs a mitzvah. For that, he is punished. At the beginning of the parsha, after discussing the concept of bikkurim and the offering of first fruits, the posuk (Devorim 26:11) says, “And you should be happy with all the good Hashem has given you

It is He who has given you challenges, and it is He who will help you overcome them and succeed. Let us daven that never again will Torah be under attack as it is now. That is on a communal level, but on a personal level, as we study the parsha, we come across the posuk (Devorim 28:47) which states that a cause of punishment is “tachas asher lo ovadeta es Hashem Elokecha besimcha uvetuv leivov meirov kol - because you didn’t serve Hashem, your G-d, with happiness and goodness of heart when everything was plentiful.” It would appear that the Tochacha is brought about because people don’t perform the mitzvos joyfully. In fact, it is deeper than that. As we go through the day, we must think of Hakadosh Boruch Hu and what He wants us to be doing at that time. Our obligation is not only to be happy when performing a mitzvah as we

and your family…” When a person appreciates the goodness that has been bestowed upon him, it is natural that he will be happy. Those who are blessed “bechol hatov” and don’t appreciate the Source of the blessing are unhappy souls, as the posuk of “tachas asher lo avodeta” indicates. They have everything they need and more, yet they are morose, for they don’t appreciate that the source of their blessing is Hashem. If they would believe that what they have is from the source of all good, the Creator of heaven and earth, they would find satisfaction in knowing that He who provides for every living creature in the world decided to bless them with the possessions they have. They would appreciate what they have and be thankful for it.

People who think that they have earned everything they possess by dint of their brilliance and hard work will never have enough. They will always want more. They are never satisfied. Since the reason they have the house they have, the car they have and the money they have is because of what they have done, when they see that others have more than they do, it indicates a problem with their actions and their intelligence. They feel incomplete and weak, and are upset with themselves that they haven’t achieved more. These people are upset when they look at others who have more money, a larger house, and a fancier car. They are overcome by jealousy that they were not able to achieve what the other person did, because they think it is in their control. If you realize that everything that you have is from Hashem and the amount of money you earn is decided on Rosh Hashanah, then you are satisfied with whatever Hashem gives you. A believing person does not look at what others have, nor does he become jealous if they have more than him. A person who recognizes that he should be thankful for what he has is content and is oveid Hashem b’simcha. Happiness is a central part of a productive life and a sign of a person who has perfected his middos of emunah and bitachon. Those who know that nothing that happens in their lives is happenstance do not become depressed when confronted by tragedy and sad occurrences. Rav Mordechai Pogromansky represented the greatness of Lithuanian bnei Torah. Even when locked in the Kovno Ghetto, surrounded by death, destruction and deprivation, he never lost his calmness brought about by emunah and bitachon. He remained devoted to Torah and was a source of chizuk to those around him. With the Jews walled into a small, constantly patrolled area, he would tell those who would gather around him that he didn’t see the ever-present German beasts. “I don’t see Germans all around us. I see pesukim of the Torah [from the Tochacha] surrounding the ghetto.” This Torah giant saw what was transpiring as the realization of the pesukim in this week’s parsha that we read quickly and quietly. He saw those words coming to life. He was able to remain calm, because he knew that all that was happening was, in essence, the realization of the verses. He didn’t see Germans. He didn’t fear Germans. He saw and feared Hashem. He knew that whatever was going to happen was preordained by the Ribono Shel Olam. Bombs were falling, and devastation

Living with the Times The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home

and hunger were his daily companions, yet, with depth, sensitivity and brilliance, he sensed the stark clarity of the pesukim of the Tochacha and the reality as expressed by the Torah. Everything around him was merely a reflection of that reality, a cause-and-effect built into creation by the Creator. At every moment, he pondered what Hashem wanted of him at that time, how He wanted him to act and to conduct himself. At all times, he accepted Hashem’s will, for that is how a believer conducts himself. A Jew is meant to be joyful. The Arizal told his close talmid that all the unprecedented Divine revelations that he received were a reward for performing mitzvos with tremendous joy. Simcha is attained when there is shleimus, when something is complete. When doing a mitzvah excites a person and brings him to a state of ecstasy, that indicates that he has performed the mitzvah perfectly. Hence the joy. A sense of calm and satisfaction permeated the Kelmer Yeshiva all year round. Rav Moshe Rosenstein, later of the Lomza Yeshiva, once described what he experienced when he arrived in Kelm for the first time as a yeshiva bochur. “As soon as I entered, a bochur came over to me. He greeted me with a smile and a handshake. He asked me how I was and when I had arrived. He asked me if I had a place to eat and sleep and about my general welfare. “He was so friendly to me and I was trying to place him. He had to be an old friend I didn’t recognize. A minute after our conversation concluded, another young man came over to me. He was another long lost friend I didn’t recognize. He smiled at me and was so happy to see me. He asked how I was doing, when I came, and if I had what I need. I assured him that all was well and moved along, embarrassed that I didn’t remember him. “Then another boy came over, and then another one. By the time I was done, it seemed to me as if the whole yeshiva had welcomed me graciously, with smiles on their faces, as if they knew me. It took a while, but then I came to understand.” Kelm meant treating every person with kindness, whether the talmidim knew him or not. Everyone created b’tzelem Elokim is worthy of respect and a smile. In fact, there was a consensus in Kelm to greet people the same way even during the month of Elul and the period of the Yomim Noraim. The talmidim of the renowned mussar yeshiva were overwhelmed with preparing themselves for the Yom Hadin and did not engage in idle chatter during this somber time. Yet, even then, everyone was greeted joyously and with love, with a beaming face and a smile. The chinuch we provide our children should also involve the joy of doing mitzvos. Too often, mitzvos come across to

children as burdens and things they resent because of the harshness with which they are presented. If children are made to feel that the Torah and its commandments are grueling and stress-inducing, they will view them as a burden, and it will be difficult for them to accept them. When they mature, they may be tempted, chalilah, to rid themselves of the shackles placed upon them in their youth. But if Yiddishkeit is invigorating and joyous, learning is exhilarating, and there is nothing as euphoric as Shabbos, then our youth will appreciate what they have and grow with it as they mature. Shul should be a pleasant experience, with a meaningful davening among satisfied people happy to thank Hashem for His beneficence and ask for more. School should be cheerful and inviting. People don’t generally thrive or do well under punishing circumstances, with constant pressure and fatigue, or in places where the restrictions are overwhelming. Perhaps there was a time when negativity and harshness were effective with children and adults, but those days have passed, as is evident by the many dropouts and at-risk youth. We have to bring back the everyday pride everyone felt about being a frum Jew and the merriment with which people were infused. We all face challenges. The tendency to become saddened and overweighed by life’s burdens is understandable. But why lead a life of sorrow when, no matter how bad a person’s condition is, there is reason to smile and hope? There is always something to be happy about. Hashem created you and watches over you. It is He who has given you challenges, and it is He who will help you overcome them and succeed. The courage to understand is the theme of Elul. We read further in the parsha (28:1) that if we adhere to all the mitzvos we were commanded by Hashem and follow His word, we will merit to be ascendant over all the other nations. It is interesting to note that this posuk is preceded by the one which states, “Arur asher lo yokim es divrei haTorah hazos Cursed shall be the one who does not uphold [raise] the Torah.” The Ramban cites the Yerushalmi in Sotah (7:4) that states that this curse is referring to people who are in a position to influence others to come closer to and support Torah but fail to do so. People who shirk that responsibility are included in this arur. Even if a person is a complete tzaddik, if he could draw people closer to the holiness and truth of Torah and doesn’t, he is included in the arur. The Chofetz Chaim would repeat this Ramban and strengthen its message by quoting the Gemara in Shabbos (54), which says that one who has the ability to protest against wrongful actions of the people of his town and fails do so is punished as well. One who reproaches his fel-

lows and causes them to return to proper behavior, thereby enhancing kevod Shomayim, is showered with the brachos in this week’s parsha that were delivered on Har Gerizim. The Chofetz Chaim would conclude that to receive those brachos, each person should use his abilities for the causes of Torah. If Hashem blessed someone with money, he should use it to build yeshivos for the study of Torah. If he is blessed with oratory skills, he should use them to raise money for yeshivos and other Torah causes. He should speak out against practices that cause a weakening of our religion. As the Yom Hadin approaches, we all seek zechuyos so that we will merit being inscribed in the book of tzaddikim. As the world spins out of control and rogue nations gird themselves with weapons capable of causing colossal damage, we realize that there is no one we can depend on to protect us other than Hashem. We seek to be included with those the posuk refers to as “boruch, the blessed ones.” Hashem created every person uniquely because it takes the varied capabilities possessed by different people to accomplish things and strengthen a nation. Let us all use the talents we have been blessed with

to improve our situation and that of Klal Yisroel. Let us always be kind and thoughtful, always considering other people, and treating everyone as a tzelem Elokim. Let us act like mentchen wherever we are. For example, how about starting with improving our driving habits, so that powering a car in a frum area doesn’t become a stress test? Let’s obey common courtesies, such as letting people merge and make left turns and exit from parking lots and parking spaces. Let us be ever vigilant in our behavior, remaining loyal to the Shulchan Aruch, our mesorah, and what we know is true and proper. Let us maintain the strength of character and purpose necessary to remain upstanding in a tipsy world. Let us seek to bring the beauty and joy of Torah to our brethren who don’t yet feel welcome in the tent of Yahadus. Let us spread the wealth of Shabbos and mitzvos to the less fortunate who reside in a grayscale world. Let us show that with love, joy and a smile, we can expand the tent of the blessed ones. May we earn the brachos for a year of success, good health, parnossah, happiness and shleimus.



Torah Musings The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home

More Secrets Towards a Happier Marriage Sarah Pachter

An acquaintance of mine, Judy, opened up about her strained marriage. I told her about a book entitled The Empowered Wife, by Laura Doyle. Doyle’s personal story sounded similar to Judy’s, and she had made this the premise of her book. Despite being stuck in a tense marriage, Doyle and her husband stopped attending therapy after they saw their therapist berating her own husband one evening in public. Doyle spent the next few years interviewing thousands of happily married couples who had been together for at least 15 years. She uncovered their “secrets” and discovered six common threads which she calls “intimacy skills.” She claims these skills can salvage most marriages and make a good marriage even better. The Empowered Wife gives unconventional advice, tailored to women. A number of prominent rebbetzins utilize her book as the basis of their shalom bayit classes. After learning Doyle’s concepts with several students of mine, the real-life feedback I have received has been tremendous. Last week’s column enumerated the first three skills: self care, gratitude, and becoming a receiver. The following three skills are respect, relinquishing control, and vulnerability. Skill #4: Respect Men need respect like oxygen. We want to respect our spouses, we try to respect our spouses, but we have to make sure that our actions are translating into what they consider respectful. When men feel they are getting the respect they crave, they return that sentiment with adoration towards their wife. Doyle suggests that one of the most

useful phrases in marriage is, “Whatever you think.” This phrase indicates our trust in our spouse’s decision-making ability. Many of Doyle’s clients ask skeptically, Yes but what if I don’t trust that he makes good decisions? Doyle claims that when we put our faith into our spouse, he will step up to the plate and our trust becomes a “spouse fulfilling” prophecy. When a husband looks into his wife’s eyes and sees that she doesn’t think he’s capable, his self-image is diminished. However, if he looks at you and sees reflected back a person who values his worth, he will perform better in every area of his life. Doyle shares, “Take a step back and trust him to run his own life without any help from you and watch him take a step forward and start acting like the man you fell in love with.” It is worth noting the difference between the phrase “whatever you want” and “whatever you think.” Doyle explains that when a woman says whatever you want, what a husband hears is, I’m not going to tell you what makes me happy, good luck figuring it out. When you say, “Whatever you think,” he understands that you trust his judgment. The concept of respect starts to become controversial when our opinion differs from our spouse’s. The second game-changing phrase is, “I hear you.” This opens up the possibility of listening wholeheartedly, while maintaining our own opinion. Listening without offering advice shows respect and validation to your spouse. Another important factor in showing respect involves cutting out bossiness. Delivering orders to your spouse is antithetical to respect. Rather, Doyle suggests complimenting what we do like. Doyle explains that men crave respect more than

physical intimacy, and the way to communicate respect is by refraining from criticizing, contradicting, and dismissing him. Utilizing these phrases will translate into respect, and he will once again begin to delight and amaze you. Skill #5: Relinquish control Famous author and speaker, Sarah Yocheved Rigler, explains succinctly about control. She says we have 100% control over our output and 0% control over our input. This of course includes our husbands, and the best way to achieve positive results in a marriage is to laser-focus our energies inward. A student of mine recently shared and experience that illustrates this concept. Her husband’s home office was in disorder, and she was itching to have him reorganize it. Rather than asking him to make any changes, she decided to focus her energy on her own clutter first. Room by room, drawer by drawer, she started to organize things, and her husband noticed. The house was looking great, and on his own, he started to declutter his office without her mentioning (or hinting) anything! When you stay on your own side of the lane, the overall picture improves. Sometimes women insist that they are not controlling their spouse, but rather “helping.” “Helpful,” in “wife language” translates as “control” in “husband language.” By correcting his driving or taste in clothing, we are letting him know that we don’t feel he is competent in that area, and even if we mean well, this pushes away intimacy. Control and intimacy are like opposing sides to a seesaw. If we choose to exert control, we are losing intimacy, and we need to ask ourselves if it is worth the cost. Usually, what you gain in exchange for control isn’t worth the intimacy you just lost. What if you are on the road, and your husband is speeding in the wrong direction, and it will now take twice as long to get to your destination? We can view it as extra, uninterrupted time together. Nagging or saying, “I wouldn’t have done it that way,” is backhanded criticism, which translates into a lack of respect. Giving up control is a vulnerable place to be, but it is also the cornerstone of intimacy. Which leads me to… 3. Strive to be vulnerable Everyone hates rejection. Vulnerability creates an accepting atmosphere that enables our fear of rejection to dissipate, and allows our spouses to flourish. The nature of living with another person for eternity lends itself to the fact that

our spouses will be insensitive from time to time. Doyle suggests one word for hurtful moments: “ouch.” Instead of lecturing or ranting to our husbands, this word indicates immediately that we are hurt, without invoking a defensive response. Rather than making demands, vulnerability means guiding them with our desires. A student of mine was complaining that her husband, a successful neurosurgeon, was working around the clock. She really needed to spend more time with him and contemplated saying, “Please clear your schedule one day next week, I want a day with you!” I felt that it would be better to let him know how much she misses him and would like to find ways to spend more time together. Rather than trying to control his schedule, she could be vulnerable by expressing her desire and leaving the details up to him. Vulnerability means leaving the when and how up to someone else. Although difficult, the benefits of having an intimate relationship without control far outweigh the challenges. While being vulnerable, we can still express our needs, but we should be mindful of how those needs come across. Doyle calls complaints “lazy desires,” and claims any complaint can be rephrased as a desire. For example, instead of “It’s a scorching day, I’m so hot!” Try, “I would love to cool off.” When you express a complaint, the response is stagnant—you are essentially saying, I’m upset, and there is no way to please me. However, when we express a desire, the imagination lights up. A person can come up with all sorts of ways to cool down. Perhaps a glass of cold water, a cool shower, or a shady spot would do the trick. The relationship with our spouse is a vehicle for connection to Hashem, and the spousal relationship serves as a metaphor for that connection. When we pray to G-d, we can make requests, but ultimately the “when and how” is up to Him. Similarly, when we make requests to our spouse, we must give him the space for when and how it happens. Relinquishing control with our spouses is good practice for accepting Hashem’s life trajectory for us. When we practice respect, relinquishing control, and vulnerability with our spouses, we will eventually reap the benefits of this challenging task. Although these tools may be difficult to implement in the moment, they have lasting, longterm effects on a marriage. Doyle’s six intimacy skills are crucial to improving the spousal relationship, and can make any marriage even better.

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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Facing Tefillah, Community, and Family as a Couple Struggling with Fertility Dr. Karen Wasserstein

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is a time of reflection, a time of spirituality. For many people, tefillah, community and family feel like a warm embrace. To others, such as those experiencing infertility, these can feel more like a straight jacket. I always ask my patients about their religious affiliation. Religion can be a tremendous comfort when someone is in pain, but it can also be a stressor. During the chaggim, it can be both to the couple experiencing infertility. If you are in this position, please try to understand how you feel, what you think the experience will be like for you this year and discuss with your spouse some strategies to assist you during this time of year. First, let us set the scene: The davening during the High Holy Days has many images and themes. It discusses G-d as King; a G-d who is slow to anger, full of mercy and compassion. But it also speaks of a G-d who is deciding, “Who will live, and who will die…who will be born and who will perish.” The language used in our prayers can evoke strong feelings. Communities spend more time together in shul at this time of year than at any other time. But with packed shuls, and often assigned seats, the couple experiencing a difficult personal time often feels crowded and overwhelmed. Young children and pregnant women seem to be everywhere, parents revel in bringing young children in for shofar blowing, and babies are passed from relative to relative. All of this can serve as powerful emotional triggers. Lastly, family gatherings are often part of the yom tov season. Some families are very sensitive to members who are struggling with infertility, and some are not. Some couples have shared their fertility struggles with their families, and some have not. Intrusive questions, whether well-meaning or not, can ruin a holiday for a couple. The same can be said when families seem to only focus on children and

not on the adults at the gathering. Many clients of mine have related how they feel that their parents “only care about the grandchildren,” and so even though they are expected to attend, it does not seem as though they are important as well. What are some suggestions for the couple who is struggling with infertility to get the most out of the holiday experience and minimize painful experiences? Family: 1. Talk with your spouse about how much to disclose to family members. Decide what you will share and what you will not share BEFORE you are with the family. 2. Remember there is an inverse relationship between privacy and support. The more privacy you have, the less support you may receive. Decide together where the line is with each family member. If you both feel someone will be a big support to you, consider sharing with them your experiences. 3. In these pre-chaggim discussions with your spouse, be honest about family members with each other. Not every family member is the same. If one of you does not feel comfortable sharing with someone, respect each other’s feelings. 4. If you are with family that can be intrusive, come up with some phrases that you can repeat throughout the holiday. “Thank you for asking. We have decided to keep that private for now.” “We will let you know when there is something to know but have decided to keep the details of treatment to ourselves.” “Thank you for caring, but it’s not something I am comfortable talking about right now.” 5. Know your limits. Create a signal between you and your spouse so that when you have reached your fill, you can take a break and leave the environment. You can take a walk, read a book or separate yourself in another room. 6. Discuss with your spouse where

you want to spend yom tov. What do you need as a couple now? What do you want to do for the chaggim THIS year. It does not have to be a permanent plan. 7. Try to make sure that you cope together. Couples struggling with fertility are generally newer couples, couples who are still finding their way in each other’s extended families. Make sure you turn towards each other, not away. Shul: 1. Distractions: For some people, it is hard to concentrate, to have kavanah, when they have little children or a pregnant person in their line of sight. You can often move to the wall and stand and have some private time to daven off to the side. 2. Change of minyan: There are times that you are better off in a different environment. Some minyanim seem to be more “family-oriented”; this may not be the minyan you chose to go to this year. 3. Plan ahead: Know yourself. If you do not want to stand “catching up” with everyone after tefillah, make a plan with your spouse or another family member or by yourself to leave as soon as services are over. If you plan it ahead of time, it can reduce the anxiety through shul that you will have to make small talk, and if others know you are leaving right away, it reduces the need to find them and tell them where you are going. Make a plan that “We will meet at home.” Machzor: 1. Take some time in this month of Elul to look through the tefillot. Even though it is familiar to you, you may be in a different place emotionally and spiritually this year; spending some time with the machzor ahead of time can help reduce the emotions of the words that poke at your wounds. 2. Try to find the images and the words that bring comfort to you, words that help you relate to this experience so that they will stand out when you are saying them

in shul. For example, is the image of “G-d as King” or “G-d as a caring Father” more helpful to you this year such that you want to make sure you focus on the verses that contain that image? You can use sticky note flags or mark those passages so that they envelop you during services. 3. Spend some time with the more challenging images ahead of yom tov. What do they mean to you? How can you relate to them this year? How do they contribute to your relationship with G-d, and how do you talk to G-d about that? The conversation with G-d can begin at home, in a quiet room, just you and a machzor, and can continue through yom tov. While Rosh Hashanah is a two-day holiday, and Tishrei is a month-long, ideally we are in a lifelong conversation and relationship with G-d. 4. Consider your resources: Some of the words and images may be difficult. Images of “barrenness” and of judgement are particularly jarring. If you have a relationship with a religious leader or current or former teacher, consider meeting together privately beforehand to discuss it if you think this can help. Overall, you will have your own strategies and methods for coping with the holidays. Be thoughtful about who you and your spouse are, and what strategies work well for you and what does not. Know your limits and what you can change and what you cannot. Most of all, in the spirit of Yom Kippur and forgiveness, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for having complicated emotions and sensitivities. Be kind to yourself and take care of yourself, as an individual and as a couple. Karen Wasserstein is a psychologist in Maryland and Virginia with a specialty in working with those facing fertility challenges. She can be reached at

Avinu Malkeinu - A Night of Awakening in Your City E. Klein 25,000 People. 13 Cities. 7 Speakers. 5 Countries. Avinu Malkeinu, A Night of Awakening, is Ohr Naava’s crowning achievement. What an AMAZING Kiddush Hashem

it is to see thousands of people in one room preparing for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur – taking time out of their hectic pre-Yom Tov schedules to grow in their Avodas Hashem! In addition to our incredible Brooklyn event, Ohr Naava has spread its wings in 10 other locations, with many speeches available online. This year,Avinu Malkeinu comes to

life in Antwerp, London, Manchester, Toronto, Five Towns, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Montreal, Monsey, Lakewood, Flatbush, and Jerusalem. All over the world, Jews of all backgrounds join together to listen to words of inspiration and chizuk to prepare themselves and their families for the Yomim Noraim. Our blockbuster lineup includes: Mrs.

Jackie Bitton, Rav Gav Friedman, Mr. Charlie Harary, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, R’ Eli Mansour, Rabbanit Yemima Mizrahi and R’ Zechariah Wallerstein. Ohr Naava Avinu Malkeinu 2019 World Wide Tour. Don’t miss it.

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home 20 SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Torah Israel Musings The Week In News

Israel at an Impasse


The tally was announced at noon and was not final, with votes from Arab population centers expected to be finished shortly, followed by counts of the votes cast by soldiers, diplomats, and patients in Israeli hospitals, among others. Liberman on Wednesday reiterated his insistence on a unity government comprising his party, Blue and White, and Likud but said he wouldn’t start coalition negotiations with any party unless it accepts his list of demands for secularist policy changes. The Yisrael Beytenu leader told reporters outside his home that “there is only one option: a broad unity government.” “The picture is clear and one seat here or there won’t make any difference,” he added. In his first public comments the day after elections, Gantz said on Wednesday morning that he hoped for a “good unity government.” “We’re waiting for the official results. For a long time we were busy with the campaign,” Gantz said outside his home in Rosh Ha’ayin. “I wish for the people of Israel a good unity government, that the [po-

s Israel going to be thrown into another round of elections? Israelis hope not, but the numbers coming from Tuesday’s elections are of possibly concern. With 89.8 percent of votes having been counted by the Central Elections Committee, Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party on Wednesday was projected to secure 32 seats in the Knesset, edging ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, which stood at 31 seats. In the official count, the Gantzled center-left-Arab bloc has a slight advantage over the Netanyahu-led right-religious bloc with 56 seats versus 55. In the middle are the nine seats of Yisrael Beytenu, whose leader, MK Avigdor Liberman, has vowed to force Likud and Blue and White into a unity government. The Joint List, an alliance of mostly Arab parties, stands at third with 13 seats, followed by the ultra-Orthodox Shas and Yisrael Beytenu, both with nine seats. Bringing up the rear are the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism (8), the nationalist alliance Yamina (7), center-left Labor-Gesher (6) and the leftist Democratic Camp (5).

litical] system will calm down a little bit and we can start moving,” he said. Likud officials have reached out to Labor chairman Amir Peretz in an effort to convince him to join a coalition along with the ultra-Orthodox parties and Yamina, Haaretz reported. Peretz quickly declined the offer, saying he is only interested in replacing Netanyahu. United Torah Judaism chairman Yaakov Litzman said his ultra-Orthodox party will stick with Netanyahu “until the end.” The next several weeks are expected to heavily feature coalition wrangling, as parties attempt to jockey to form a government. In the last elections in April, Blue and White managed to tie Likud, but Netanyahu, who has been prime minister for 10 years, was given the first chance to form a government. He failed when Liberman refused to join unless a bill formalizing exemptions


to mandatory military service for yeshiva students was passed as is, a demand flatly rejected by the premier’s ultra-Orthodox coalition partners. The mandate never passed to Gantz, with Likud instead engineering new elections. President Reuven Rivlin, who decides whom to task with forming a government, has promised to do what he can to avoid a third round of voting. Forming a new government will require compromise – and Israelis, as we know, are generally known for their strong commitment to their ideals. Who will blink first will be the deciding factor in who will be leading the State of Israel for the next few years. Voter turnout on Tuesday outpaced voting levels from the elections earlier this year, bucking predictions of a drop in participation in the repeat poll. Turnout as polls closed was at 69.4 percent, up from 68.5% in April.

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Kedem The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Other Side of the Cork: Psâgot Winery – History Makes History Again Yael E. Geller, MPH Psâgot winery is certainly a household name for anyone who drinks kosher wine. There is a remarkable range of wines in the portfolio that appeal to every palate and price point. The winery, which lays outside Ramallah and North of Jerusalem, produces more than 350,000 bottles of wine annually, achieving tremendous growth regardless of calls to boycott the winery courtesy of the BDS movement. Recently, the prestigious Decanter Magazine rated Psâgot Peak 2016 with a gold medal and 91 points! If that doesn’t speak for the success of the winery, surely a visit to the winery to pop a few bottles with CEO Yaakov Berg and head winemaker and master of his trade Ya’acov Oryah, will convince any non-believer. There are some very exciting things in the works for experienced and novice wine lovers alike at Psâgot. Let’s get a bit of a background on the winery before we dive in for some insider info on the forthcoming projects in the works at Psâgot. Psâgot winery was founded by Na’ama and Yaakov Berg in the village of Psâgot, right outside the perimeter of Jerusalem in 2003. The Bergs had been growing and selling grapes in this region since 1998, and eventually decided the next step was for them to build their own winery. If you look closely at the bottles of wines produced by Psâgot, you will notice a very unique coin or symbol of a coin on the label. This ancient-looking coin certainly gives Psâgot a lot of curb appeal, but the story that accompanies the coin is remarkable in and of itself. When the Bergs started construction for their new winery, the excavation of the land set aside to house the winery revealed a very unique asset. Under the winery was a cave with a wine press, which was estimated to be around 2500 years old! This confirmed that this exact spot had been used for winemaking and grape growing for many generations. While exploring the cave during the early years of the winery, Yaakov discovered an ancient coin. The coin was dated back to 73–66 BC a time period referred to as “the Great Revolt.” The coin was inscribed with the words “For Freedom of Zion” and adorned with a vine leaf, while the reverse reads “Year Two,” alongside an image of a container known as an amphora, which was used for wine storage in ancient times. This symbol was as important as it was during the times of the revolt as it is right now in modern times, since many boycott and rally against the very existence of Israel. A replica or image of the coin that was found in the cave embellishes all of the bottles produced at Psâgot. The winery has grown by leaps and bounds since the cave and coin discovery and has since moved its operation to a more expansive

campus in Kochav Yaakov, just south of the original winery. Ya’acov Oryah, head winemaker at Psâgot, has his own history in the winemaking world. He joined Psâgot full time as head winemaker extraordinaire in 2014. (I have to brag that I’ve known about Ya’acov almost my entire life having known his uncles and cousins and crossing paths many years before he made his mark on the Israeli wine world.) Ya’acov has had many small-scale productions in the past; Psâgot is his first “orchestra,” as he refers to it, and it is completely different than playing small-scale “jazz gigs” as he used to. Working as head winemaker for a winery of Psâgot’s magnitude is a completely different ballgame. Yaacov is extremely critical of his work, and yet he continues to hit home run after home run producing more impressive wines with each passing vintage. The white wine program at Psâgot continues to expand. White wine is a must for Ya’acov Oryah, as well as his specialty. We have had the honor to taste a new exciting wine, a bone dry Gewürztraminer. This type of grape is not so common in Israel and certainly not in a dry form. It is usually semi dry, but this wine is absolutely magnificent in its floral dryness it offered. Dare I say it’s the most enjoyable Gewürztraminer I can remember? Many people frown and cringe at white wine lovers. Rejoice, please! White wine is fun, sophisticated, and macho. In some cases, a white wine can age for years and develop into a completely different wine with some patience. If you intend to have some fun, you should absolutely pop a white at your Shabbos table this week, or better yet, tonight for dinner. It is highly recommended by Ya’acov Oryah to give extra thought to the food pairings with white wines. They are perfect to accompany some fish and chips with a fresh salsa verde on top. They pair beautifully with veal Milanese or even some lemony grilled chicken. Yaacov’s approach is as simple as he explains, “This is not a beverage to consume alongside your meal, but a drink that should be in a dialog with the dish. If you do so, you will see how the versatility of white wine styles, which pair with many more dishes than reds, can give us a new kind of enjoyment of wine altogether.” If you are ready to have fun, then white wines are cut out for the task. They can be lean or heavy, from bone dry through all the levels of sweetness. They can be oaked and un-oaked, still or sparkling, and in all styles loaded (or restrained) with miner-

ality, atop fruitiness or spiciness. This incredible spectrum of styles give us many options to have some serious fun in the kitchen as well as at the table. Psâgot’s vineyards are located in the Binyamin region. I shared some interest in the concept of terroir, also known as the makeup of the soil or land and climate that the vineyards are planted on. Terroir can give a lot of character to different grapes, but if not treated and cared for properly the terroir can be expressed in a negative light, highlighting the wrong characteristics of grape varietals. Some philosophies were shared with me about how Psâgot approaches the terroir. It is considered an “ingredient” in wine that cannot be replaced.

It is absolutely important, however it cannot be labeled good or bad as it is the only key to a wine’s uniqueness. When terroir is not utilized it is considered useless, you have to know how to work with it to allow its expression in the wine. If you succeed, your wine will have an un-copyable advantage. The same is true for a warm Mediterranean climate. It is not good or bad, it is what you learn how to work with it and what to do with it. We can look forward to several new projects and wine varieties in the near future from Psâgot. After many years of focusing on red wines, Psâgot offered two white wine varietals, Chardonnay and Viognier. The newly added 2018 Gewürztraminer was noted previously, and in 2019 Psâgot will start to yield fruit from a newly planted Sauvignon Blanc vineyard, a very exciting endeavor in the hands of Ya’acov Oryah. Something very unique to an Israeli winery was started in 2014, a traditional method sparkling wine program. There is a new Pinot Noir vineyard which will start to yield fruit in 2019 designated for the sparkling wine program. I had the pleasure to visit Psâgot back in 2016 and was able to taste a very early sample of the divine sparkler. Every time I recall that trip my mouth waters for the lovely bubbly mouthfeel of this wine. It was nowhere near ready at the time, so we look forward to its release in the next few years. Some other interesting wines which should be on everyone’s radar are the Cabernet Franc, as well as the new Malbec. The style has recently gotten a slight upgrade to a more fresh style for people to enjoy on any night of the week. Psâgot’s wines are versatile and a beautiful expression of what Israeli wineries can accomplish with the care and expertise of a brilliant team, terroir, and good fruits. They are achieving the full expression of what the great land of Israel has to offer. Psâgot winery has everything it needs to produce wines that are beloved by all kosher consumer, from the expertise of Yaakov Berg, a state-of-the-art beautiful facility with a visitor center, and Ya’acov Oryah’s creativity and love for a great wine experiment. I’ll drink to that any day! L’chaim! The visitor center is located in Kochav Yaakov, about 15 minutes from Jerusalem. You can reach the winery by phone at 052771-0220 or via email at The winery is a beautiful location to host your smachot like a wedding, bar/ bat mitzvah, or siyum.

The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

Iran: We Didn’t Attack Saudi Arabia’s Oil Supply

Iran denies being behind this weekend’s massive aerial attack on two Saudi Arabian oil refineries that shut down 50% of the kingdom’s oil exports. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday evening. However, their claims were rejected by the United States due to the fact that their militia is not known to have such advanced targeting capabilities. According to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the drones were most likely launched by Iranian militias in Iraq. He accused Iran of “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Tehran hit back at the claims and warned that U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf are within range of its missiles. “Having failed at ‘max pressure,’ [Pompeo is] turning to ‘max deceit,’” tweeted Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. “Everybody should know that all American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000km around Iran are within the range of our missiles,” added Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ air force chief Amirali Hajizadeh. The Iraqi government also denied reports “about its land being used to attack Saudi oil facilities.” The drone attack destroyed Saudi Arabian oil refineries in Khurais and Abqaiq, causing a massive inferno that forced state oil company Aramco to take the two installations offline. The attack, which is the most serious in the country’s history, caused Saudi Arabia to halt half of its oil production and affected 5% of the total global daily output. It could take months for the country to be able to resume at full operations once again. In addition, the drone attack will likely cause oil prices to rise as a result of fears for the safety of the world’s oil supplies.

Russia Asks Interpol to Locate Spy in U.S. Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked international law enforcement agency Interpol for help in tracking down a spy for the U.S. who had been living in Russia and is currently believed to be hiding within the United States. Earlier this month, CNN reported that the CIA had extracted Oleg Smolenkov in June 2017 while he was vacationing in Montenegro. The CIA had reportedly been

fearful that President Trump would not be able to keep the existence of a top-level mole in Russia secret and decided to whisk him to safety. The decision to exfiltrate the sensitive source was made after Trump leaked a top-secret raid by Israeli commandos into ISIS-held territory in Syria while speaking with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Russia filed an official request with Interpol asking for its assistance in locating Smolenkov. While Russian intelligence was reportedly aware of Smolenkov’s treachery and current location, it has ramped up its response ever since the report first aired.

“A citizen of Russia disappeared on the territory of a foreign state along with his family,” said Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “Two years later, American media throws up a story about how he is in the United States.… Interpol was presented with questions regarding the disappearance of a foreign citizen and his presence on the territory of the United States. “Of course, this information needs checking with all the required procedures and standards. In this case, through Interpol, we posed a question to Washington about the disappearance of a Russian citizen and him being in the U.S.” added Zakharova.



The Week In News Observers say that Russia’s strident response to reports about the mole is likely intended to cover up its embarrassment over the intelligence failure. Smolenkov had been close to Putin’s inner circle and had even worked for a while in his administration; the fact that such a senior official was spying for the United States has left Moscow red-faced. Soon after the report was released, Russia dismissed the “spy scandal” and alleged that it was an invention of the U.S. media “because an electoral campaign has begun in the United States.”

Olives and $27K

Looking to relocate? Italy is making it easy. The region of Molise is offering people more than $27,000 to relocate to one of its small villages. The 106 underpopulated villages in the region boast green pastures, olive groves, and snowy mountaintops. But it won’t all be rolling hills and luscious fruits for new residents. They’ll also

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home

be required to start a small business to contribute to the local economy. Anyone who takes up the offer will receive 700 euros a month (about $770) for up to three years. “I want my region to undergo a renaissance and avoid its authentic villages turning into ghost towns,” Antonio Tedeschi, a regional councilor who came up with the idea, explained. “We need to safeguard our roots.” Tedeschi, who was born in the small Molise village of Filignano – home to barely 700 residents – says he knows what it means to see old traditions and historical places fall into oblivion and wants to stop the decline in its tracks. “The goal is to breathe new life and revamp the local economy,” he added. “Newcomers are free to kick-start anything they please in order to get our financial support: a small inn, restaurant, bar, B&B, a tiny rural farm, artisan boutique, library or shop selling local gourmet excellences.” Thousands of people have left Molise in recent years. Official statistics say the number of people living there has fallen by almost 9,000 since 2014, pushing the region’s population to just 305,000. Now one of Italy’s most depopulated regions, 106 of its 136 towns have fewer than 2,000 residents. Younger people have been migrating to bigger cities and towns in search of better business opportunities.


Inside China’s Exit Bans

China has been barring American citizens from leaving the country as a way to pressure them into cooperating with authorities in the country’s struggle against the United States. Known as exit bans, the tactic of inventing false legal reasons to prevent Americans from returning home has become increasingly common in China. While the regime has employed such measures against its own citizenry for years, it has never dared to use it against Americans until recently. “We don’t have firm numbers in terms of exactly how many people, on either the Chinese side or the international side, have been subjected to exit bans … but we know that the number is quite large,” said Thomas Kellogg, the executive director of the Center for Asian Law at Georgetown University Law Center. Kellogg told USA Today that the increase is likely connected to the trade war

between the U.S. and China that has ratcheted up tensions between the two sides. With President Trump having levied hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on China, Kellogg says that the growing use of exit bans is likely a way for Beijing to pressure Washington. The United States is well aware of China’s new harassment techniques against U.S. citizens. In January, the State Department released an official travel advisory warning tourists to be wary of China’s exit bans. “China uses exit bans coercively to compel U.S. citizens to participate in Chinese government investigations, to lure individuals back to China from abroad, and to aid Chinese authorities in resolving civil disputes in favor of Chinese parties,” read the warning. “China does not recognize dual nationality. U.S.-Chinese citizens and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be subject to additional scrutiny and harassment, and China may prevent the U.S. Embassy from providing consular services.”

17M in Ecuador Affected by Data Breach If you live in Ecuador, it’s time to say uh-oh.

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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home

On Monday, security experts said that almost the entire population of Ecuador had their personal data leaked online, a massive breach that the government called a “very delicate” issue. An estimated 17 million people, including almost seven million minors and children, had their data exposed by a breach on an unsecured server run by an Ecuadorean marketing and analytics firm. “The information that I can share with you at this moment is that this is a very delicate issue; it is a major concern for the whole of the government and the state,” said Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo. The security company vpnMentor uncovered the breach on the server run by the firm Novaestrat, which included citizens’ full names, dates and places of birth, education levels, phone numbers and national identity card numbers. Data on the country’s president and on Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who had applied for asylum in Ecuador and who had been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London before being arrested by British police this year, were also affected in the massive breach.

Blackout Strikes 4 Countries

A failure in Central America’s electrical grid left millions of people without power for hours in at least four countries – Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala – on Monday. Honduras was the country hardest hit, with the entirety of its territory and its more than 9 million inhabitants affected. Traffic snarled as more than 600 stoplights went dark in the capital, Tegucigalpa. Leonardo Deras of Honduras’ state electric company said at a news conference that the problem arose from an overload at a substation on the Caribbean coast. Salvador Mansell, president of Nicaragua’s state power transmission company, Enatrel, said the blackout hit his country’s capital, Managua, and its main departments, or provinces. There are about 600,000 paying customers for electricity in the country. Internet service and water distribution in parts of the capital, which relies on pumps, were also knocked out. Power began to be restored in the afternoon. Honduras’ government said the process would take three or four hours. El Salvador and Guatemala also had partial outages. The four nations plus Costa Rica and Panama have shared a linked electrical network since the late 1980s.

Runoff Expected in Tunisia This week, it will be confirmed that a runoff between law professor Kais Saied and imprisoned media mogul Nabil Karoui will be taking place in Tunisia’s presidential election.

With almost 90 percent of ballots counted, Saied was set to advance to the next round, with 18.8 percent of the vote ahead of Karoui, who had 15.7 percent, according to the electoral commission, ISIE. Depending on if any appeals are launched, the second round could be organized for October 6, the same day as legislative elections, or on October 13, ISIE said. The two candidates – though very different – have drawn on the same “an-

ti-system” sentiment among the electorate, spurred by exasperation with the status quo. Unemployment plagues about 15 percent of the population in Tunisia, especially young graduates, while inflation eats away at already low incomes. Tunisian voters on Sunday “preferred to venture into the unknown rather than extend a hand again to those who betrayed their hopes,” Le Quotidien newspaper said.



The Week In News Karoui’s arrest in the runup to the election cemented his status as an outsider, despite being a longtime key supporter of president Beji Caid Essebsi, whose death on July 25 brought forward the polls. Karoui remains eligible to run despite his imprisonment, as long as any conviction does not also specifically deprive him of his civil rights. Saied, a fiercely independent academic, advocates a radical decentralization of power, with local democracy and the ability to remove elected officials from office during their mandates.

Netanyahu planned to invade Gaza after rocket strike

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly planned on embarking on a massive operation in Gaza last week after being rushed off the stage at an election rally due to rocket fire. Bibi had been speaking at a Likud rally in Ashdod when the air raid sirens sounded. He was hastily rushed to safety by his bodyguards while the crowd chanted his name. His escape under fire was heavily criticized, and Netanyahu was mocked by both his political allies and rivals alike. Later that night, Netanyahu’s spokesperson released a photograph of the premier meeting with the IDF Chief of Staff, the head of the Mossad and Shin Bet intelligence services, and National Security Advisor Meir Ben Shabbat. Netanyahu appeared tense in the photograph – the decision to release a picture of the highly

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home

sensitive consultation was highly unusual. Later that night, Israeli warplanes launched a series of attacks on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad positions throughout the Gaza Strip. The airstrikes were routine and were no different from the thousands of similar retaliatory bombings the Israeli Air Force has carried out in recent years. Yet, according to a new report, Netanyahu had ordered a massive operation in Gaza that would have hit hundreds of high value targets. The assault would likely have led to war. Netanyahu had received significant pushback from senior defense officials, who questioned the timing of going to war so close to election day. The plan was so close to fruition that Meir Ben-Shabbat instructed the Central Elections Committee to make plans to push off Tuesday’s elections. IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi also vehemently opposed embarking on an extensive campaign, saying that the military needed more time to prepare and call up the reserves. The proposal was eventually shelved after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ruled that Netanyahu needed cabinet approval to launch any strike that was liable to lead to war. Netanyahu’s readiness to plunge the country into a new round of fighting so close to elections reportedly shocked defense chiefs, who now allege that the prime minister was motivated by political calculations and not military ones.

Gov’t Legalizes Israeli Village in Jordan Valley Israel’s government voted to legalize the Jordan Valley outpost of Mevo’ot Yeriho on Sunday after Attorney General Avichai Mandeblit dropped his opposition to the move. The small 30-family settlement will now be fully legal, enabling it to access government funding regarding infrastructure, transportation, zoning, etc. Prime Minister Netanyahu had announced the move last week following his declaration that he would annex the entire Jordan Valley if given opportunity to form the next government. According

to reports, Netanyahu had planned to do so even before Israelis go to the polls but was deterred by fierce opposition from the heads of the IDF and the Shin Bet. However, Netanyahu’s plan to legalize Mevo’ot Yeriho was stymied by Mandelblit, who ruled that a caretaker government does not have the right to legalize an outpost in the West Bank. Mandelblit eventually dropped his opposition after a long meeting between Netanyahu’s advisors and Justice Ministry officials on Sunday.

Speaking from a rare cabinet meeting in the Jordan Valley, the first since 2001, Netanyahu promised that the legalization of the small village was the first step towards annexing all of the Jordan Valley settlements. “We will apply sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the Northern Dead Sea as soon as the next government is established in the next Knesset,” Netanyahu said, adding that he had already tasked a team to work on annexing 31 villages throughout the strategic valley. “This is a historic moment,” added Likud Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis. “This is our land. This is an ancient land of the people of Israel. “We are here, not only with a cabinet meeting but with a decision about a new settlement not far from here, Mevo’ot Yericho. This is the first step toward Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley.”

Israel’s Unwitting Arab Spy A new bombshell report illustrates how Israeli intelligence successfully recruited a senior Arab official to spy for them – without his knowledge. The report, which was published by the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, provided a rare look into the IDF’s Unit 504. The top-secret Unit 504 is tasked with running agents into surrounding Arab countries, and its operations are highly classified. According to the story, Israel began targeting the unnamed senior Arab official known under the code name “Torpe-

do” five years ago. After realizing that he knew information that is crucial to Israel’s security, a complex and lengthy operation was launched. First, 504 agents gathered information about his surroundings with a focus on whether his frequent trips abroad to meet with them would attract unwanted scrutiny. Israeli intelligence officers then began a business relationship with his distant cousin on a totally unrelated subject. During one of the meetings with the consultant, a 504 agent casually mentioned that he was looking for information that Torpedo had access to. As expected, the consultant volunteered that his relative possessed such information and set up a meeting between Torpedo and 504 personnel. “While collecting the information about Torpedo I discovered he has an acquaintance, a distant relative, who lives abroad and had previously had a connection with a certain field,” recalled the agent known only as “Dalet.” “I contacted that acquaintance online and started asking him about topics he is an expert on. He was happy to cooperate. “He told me about a relative of his who is a senior official in that country. He explained that due to his position he is close to many officials, well-connected,” Dalet added. “I told him I would think about the ideas floated during our correspondence, and that I would come back with an answer.

“My goal was to give the impression that I’m not eager, not in a hurry. I want to create suspense. That he will check his email inbox every day and wait for my answer.” After months of prodding, the official ended up agreeing to provide 504 with intelligence. 504 intelligence officers stressed that they were careful to give him the impression that what they were getting from him was of minor importance in order not to deter him. Yet due to the official’s known hostility towards the Jewish State, 504 agents never divulged to him who he was working for. Currently, Torpedo remains on Israel’s payroll but has no idea that he is providing information to an “enemy” state. “We always aim high, toward sources with a high intelligence value, in very important roles,” said the commander of the operation. “That necessarily increases the level of difficulty, because whoever reached such a senior position is already older and more experienced, alert and suspicious.”

The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019 | The Jewish Home


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Join Dirshu’s Fifth International Yom Limud and Tefillah, together with thousands of Jews from around the world. Join with Yidden from across the globe, who will beseech Hakadosh Baruch Hu to spare us from any hardships, and bentch Klal Yisrael with a ‫שנת גאולה וישועה‬. Join Shuls, Kollelim, Yeshivos, Bais Yaakovs, Seminaries,

and individuals worldwide, who will gather together for a day of tefillah and Limud HaTorah. You will receive booklets for your entire organization, filled with Tefillos, Divrei Torah, and educational stories appropriate for all ages. Don’t pass up on this incredible opportunity! YOU have a chance to be a part of this immensely powerful day.

red -tailo e g a ive lets Rece iful book om the t beau lachos fr m a ai s ring H tz Ch featu rei Chofe ing storie t a Sif n or asci l as f ned auth ! l e w as ero now by re echiel Sp Y i Rabb


EVERYBODY KNOWS SOMEBODY FROM THE MIR. THE YUNGERLEIT OF THE MIR ARE COUNTING ON YOU. Whether through a family member or your community, you are likely connected to Mir talmidim. You now have a chance to make a real difference. Whether you have not donated to the Mir in the past two years, or you


are a current donor, you can now make a really big difference in the budget of the yeshiva. A group of benefactors has offered to double - above and beyond what they already give - any donation from donors who have not contributed in the past two years, or current donors who have increased their annual commitment. As the yeshiva has experienced significant growth recently, it has become necessary to expand its donor base. Now, for a limited time, your donation will fill



SEPTEMBER 25-26 ‫ כ׳׳ו אלול‬- ‫כ׳׳ה‬













this vital need and will motivate others to do the same. Please contribute today.