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The Week In News


SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

We wish all of Klal Yisroel a ‫כתיבה וחתימה טובה‬. A year filled with all the goodness earned through your devotion to ‫כבוד בית כנסת‬. We are gratified that thousands around the world have joined our movement

and raised the levels of tefillah to the lofty level it truly deserves. May Hashem bless us all with a ‫שנת גאולה וישועה‬


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Stop the Talking in Shul Movem


The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home



The Leading Center in Special Education Founded by Rabbi Dov Levy z"l

Seeach Sod is delighted to invite you to our annual Simchat Beit HaShoeivah event for children and adults with disabilities and the entire community!

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When: Tuesday, 16 Tishrei (October 5, 2019) beginning at 6:30PM until midnight Where: The rooftops of Seeach Sod’s main building 31 Yirmiyahu St., Jerusalem, (right near the Central Bus Station and the entrance to the city.) For more information, please contact: or call +972533123187



The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home




Dear readers, As we get older, we get a whole new appreciation for the takanos and minhagim our chachamim have instituted over the past 2000 years. Take the calendar, for example. By the time the summer is over, we are both physically and emotionally drained. It’s hard to imagine starting a new year. So, the chachamim instituted that we blow shofar every morning in Elul to wake us up from our slumber. Yet, as the days go by, we’re still not where we should be, so a week before Rosh Hashanah, we’re schlepped out of bed at 1:00 a.m. to go to shul and recite selichos until we get the message that the yamim noraim are just around the corner… Then comes Yom Kippur. It repeats every year, we know it will come each year—one might expect we’d get so used to it that it would no longer have an impact on us. However, each year the solemn day moves us in a profound way, telling us that no matter what we did the past year, we are able to shed the negatives of our past and start anew. Yom Kippur also tells us that even down here, we are one with Hashem. Our job is to realize this and express it in our day-to-day actions. This explains why Yom Kippur is after Rosh Hashanah and not before. If it were just about forgiveness of the previous year’s mistakes, it would be before Rosh Hashanah. Once we’ve accepted Hashem as Father and King we able to experience the inclusion and unification that Yom Kippur brings. As with all spiritual realities, we will see this with our physical eyes when Mashiach comes. May it be very soon. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos and a k’sivah v’chasimah tovah l’shanah tovah u’misukah,


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

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



TheHappenings Week In News

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Project Focus Inspires and Educates Families in the Digital Age Yehudis Litvak On September 15th, just two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, about 2000 Jewish men and women gathered at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills for an evening of inspiration and guidance presented by Project Focus, an organization dedicated to addressing the challenges of technology. “This is an unprecedented city-wide event,” said Rabbi Avi Tashman, the M.C. “We are not here to solve the problem. This is a process. We are here to reignite the conversation, galvanize our community, strengthen our safeguards, minimize distractions, and be inspired and motivated.” In his opening remarks, Rabbi Boruch Yehuda Gradon, Rosh Kollel of Merkaz Hatorah, spoke about the kiddush Hashem created by so many Jews coming together to grow. “Our tefillah to Hakadosh Baruch Hu is that this tremendous ruach and achdus should bring the Shechinah to settle onto this room,” he said. “Together, we should be improved people.” The first presenter, Dr. Gavriel Feigin, Ph.D., director of Tikunim Counseling Services and a nationally acclaimed expert on Internet safety, spoke about the latest research on the impact of screen time. While the internet has its benefits, such as

access to information and help with learning disabilities, it also comes with many challenges. Dr. Feigin spoke about the medical, psychological, social, and academic effects of screen time on children and adolescents. Among them are sleep deprivation, lowered self-esteem, decreased ability to problem solve, resolve conflicts, and relate to other people, and decrease in focus and concentration. These challenges can be addressed by time limits on screen usage. Dr. Feigin emphasized the parent’s job as a role model for their children. “Be objective and mindful,” he said. “Are we able to put the phone down?” Another aspect of internet usage is content control. Dr. Feigin spoke about open communication with our children about damaging content available on the internet, and how to respond when a child discloses accessing inappropriate materials. He recommended setting clear rules about where children can use devices and installing appropriate filtering and monitoring software. “Stay informed and proactive,” he said. “Our kids are worth it.” The attendees then watched a moving video presentation about a local yeshiva boy who struggled with a pornography

addiction. The next speaker, Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman, Rosh Yeshiva of Meor Yitzchak, spoke emotionally about rising to the challenge of parenting in this generation. “We are here tonight to hold our children,” he said. “Our children are so good, so desperately want to be good. They need us to hold them and guide them… This heilige kehillah got together for one purpose: to take steps to do what needs to be done in order to guarantee the continuity of Klal Yisrael. Our children are under a threat.” Rabbi Wachsman encouraged parents to believe in their ability to overcome this challenge. “Klal Yisrael possesses extraordinary kochos,” he said. “Your neshamah’s light is greater than any light in all creation. With our neshamos, we can uplift our children and ourselves.” Rabbi Wachsman emphasized the need for “kosher certified” technology and recommended TAG’s services for filtering software. He also addressed people who have already been exposed to inappropriate materials. “Chas veshalom, don’t think that you’re already destroyed! This is an opportunity for you to be great. Hakadosh Baruch Hu knows your private struggles.” “Hakadosh Baruch Hu is giving us

tests to raise us up, not to put us down,” concluded Rabbi Wachsman. “Hakadosh Baruch Hu will help, and we will see beautiful doros.” The next speaker, Rabbi Dovid Revah, Rav of Kahal Adas Torah, listed three practical recommendations for our community. The first was down time, regularly scheduled device-free time to give our full attention to our spouses and children. The second recommendation was content control, such as removing time-wasting apps while keeping the useful ones. When practical, Rabbi Revah suggested using “kosher smart phones” without internet browsers. For filtering help, he recommended TAG Los Angeles (www., a free service which was recently completely revamped and much improved. Third, Rabbi Revah spoke about Project M.U.S.T.—Mothers Unite to Stall Technology (www.mothersunite4kids. org)—where parents of all children in a class or school agree on what kind of technology they would allow their children. This step eliminates peer pressure and empowers parents to say no to their children’s requests for electronic devices. Rabbi Revah concluded with the hope that Hashem would bless our efforts.

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ThePress WeekRelease In News

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Tefillah and Tzedakah in One? Don’t Miss This Special Opportunity Ahead of Rosh Hashanah! Teshuvah, tefillah, tzedakah create a trio of potent weaponry in our arsenal to nullify any painful decrees for the upcoming year r”l. As we approach Rosh Hashanah 5780—with our fates and the fates of our families in the balance—we are presented with an incredible, easy opportunity for both tefillah and tzedakah at the highest levels. The Gadol Hador, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a, places only one request that someone should daven on his behalf before the Yomim Nora’im. Rav Chaim personally donates to the Vaad Harabanim L’inyanei Tzedakah and handwrites his name and mother’s name, requesting that other gedolei Eretz Yisrael daven for him in the zechus of his donation. Can we even imagine the benefit of having the same meilitzei yosher at this consequential juncture as the ones that Rav Chaim personally seeks out? We do not need to imagine anything. All of us can attain it ourselves. Just four hours before Rosh Hashanah, a historic atzeres tefillah will iy”H be held at the Kosel Hamaaravi. Leading rabbanim and roshei yeshiva, shlit”a, from Litvish, Chassidish, and Sephardic circles will unite to daven on behalf of donors to Vaad Harabanim L’inyanei Tzedakah. Those who donate $100 and up can submit up to two names that will be individually recited by the gedolim at that atzeres. Other tefillah opportunities, available for donors of $36 and $52, respectively, include tefillos by gedolim on Erev Rosh Hashanah, Erev Yom Kippur and Hoshanah Rabbah and a tefillah by Rav Chaim Kanievsky every day of Aseres Yemei Teshuvah. The reason that these preeminent gedolei Yisrael so value the donors of Vaad Harabanim L’inyanei Tzedakah is because they are intimately familiar with the lifesaving chessed that the organization does for residents of Eretz Yisrael around the clock, every day of the year. The organization serves as a single, all-encompassing address to assists those in need, regardless of background or affiliation. Within the past year alone, Vaad Harabanim distributed over 23,000 food packages to hungry families; financially assisted nearly 5000 almanos and yesomim; assisted over 12,000 yidden with medical treatment and rehabilitation; and helped nearly 3000 children with tutoring and mentoring. The sheer

magnitude of these chassadim and their far-reaching, long-term implications is difficult for the human mind to grasp. The Heavenly zechus of supporting these endeavors is impossible to estimate!

In the zechus of our chessed towards our brothers and sisters around the world, may all of Klal Yisrael merit a kesiva v’chasima tovah. To make a donation and submit names for the tefillos of the gedolim,

please call the Vaad Harabanim hotline at 877-RAB-ANIM. Or mail in your donation to Vaad Harabanim, 221 Regent Drive, Lakewood NJ 08701.



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Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home


Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman It became a joke, but many years ago, when Hillary Clinton was still thought to be a somebody, she met Russian President Vladimir Putin and gave him a present. It was a cheap plastic reset button, meant to symbolize that she and her then boss Barack Obama were going to reset America’s relationship with its old nemesis. Of course, as with much else that she and Obama attempted, nothing happened. Rosh Hashanah is our reset button, and a whole lot more. On this day, Hakadosh Boruch Hu examines everyone and every creature and decides what type of year they will have. We have the ability to do teshuvah and reset ourselves and our actions and the way we have conducted ourselves throughout the year. The word teshuvah has at its root “shov,” commonly understood as to return. When we do teshuvah, we return to our pre-sin state and are able to connect with Hashem because the aveiros that cause separation to be formed between us and Him are erased. “Shov” has a second meaning. It also means to leave, as in the posuk which states, “Shavtem mei’acharei Hashem” (Bamidbar 14:43). Undertaking proper teshuvah involves both definitions. We must leave behind our improper acts and also seek to return to the way we were before we sinned. Hashem then forgives us and erases the aveirah from us, as if we had never done it (Bais Elokim, Shaar Hateshuvah, 1). Therefore, we can once again reach our pre-sin level and are able reconnect with Hashem and be blessed for the coming year. Rosh Hashanah represents a new beginning, affording us the opportunity to clean our slate - and ­neshamos - and start over again. But we have to address it from both ends. The Rambam, in discussing the process of the judgment on the Yom Hadin, writes (Hilchos Teshuvah 3:3) that “a beinoni who has an equal number of aveiros and mitzvos does not receive the final judgment on Rosh Hashanah. Rather, it is postponed until Yom Kippur. If he has done teshuvah, he is sealed for life. If not, he is sealed for death.”

Rav Itzele Peterburger asks that since a beinoni is a person who has an equal number of mitzvos and aveiros, why is his din sealed for death if he doesn’t do teshuvah? It should be sufficient if he just performs a mitzvah and thus tips the scales in his favor. The window of opportunity began in Elul, the chodesh harachamim, when Hashem is closer to us, as gleaned from the roshei teivos of the posuk (Shir Hashirim 6:3), “Ani leDodi veDodi li,” loosely translated to mean that when I bring myself closer to Hashem, He will come closer to me. Ever since Moshe Rabbeinu ascended Har Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Elul to daven on behalf of the Bnei Yisroel after they sinned with the Eigel, and returned to earth forty days later on Yom Kippur, every year

Hashanah and seek to do teshuvah, returning ourselves to when things were better for us. We are not stuck in our ways. There is no bas kol that proclaims that we are losers. We can all pick ourselves up out of the rut we are stuck in and make something of ourselves. We can walk a new path if we press the reset button. Rosh Hashanah precedes Yom Kippur because it is the day when we begin anew. The new beginning gives us the confidence to undertake teshuvah and make ourselves great again. A man who was removed from the beauty of Torah for much of his life merited a son who was drawn to Torah and became a baal teshuvah. Although the man had never learned a word of Torah in his life, when he retired, he decided that he wanted to learn about his religion, the one

We can walk a new path if we press the reset button. those forty days are charged with the ability to help Jews repent and become closer to Hashem. “Dirshu Hashem behimatzo, kera’uhu behiyoso karov.” Now, when Hashem is closer to us, we should seek Him out and call out to Him, for He will answer. We stand before Him on Rosh Hashanah, blow the shofar, and proclaim, “Hayom haras olam. Today is the day on which the world was created. Hayom yaamid bamishpot kol yetzurei olamim. Today, the forces of creation are strongly evident, as You judge all Your creatures and decide what type of year they will have.” The day of Rosh Hashanah marks a new beginning for the world and for its inhabitants. The new beginning can be seen as a source of comfort, for it indicates that if the past year wasn’t a good one for us, the coming year can see total improvement. Thus, we stand before our Maker on Rosh

his son now adhered to. His son thought that it would be a futile effort. “It’s too complicated for you,” he said. Since this was before ArtScroll, he told him that the Gemara is written in a strange language, “one that you cannot read and do not understand. Forget it, dad. It’s not for you.” But the man was insistent, so they began to learn. Each day, they painstakingly studied, moving at a snail’s pace, one word after another, one concept and then a second concept. This went on for months. Finally, after one year of study, they completed a whole page. The man was so excited, he wanted to make a siyum. The son wasn’t so sure that a celebration was in order for only finishing one page of Gemara. Residents of the Manhattan’s Lower East Side, they agreed to ask Rav Moshe Feinstein. After all, Rav Moshe was said to have completed Shas 300 times. Who was a better expert than him as to what qualifies for a siyum?

Rav Moshe agreed with the father that finishing even one page is cause for celebration. Not only that, but he said that he would join the father and son for the siyum. The festive party was held and Rav Moshe participated. That night, the man died in his sleep. The next day, at the levayah, Rav Moshe spoke. He said, “Yeish koneh olamo b’daf echod. It is possible for a person to earn Olam Haba by studying just one page of Gemara as this man did.” By dedicating himself to the study of Torah, this man repented for a life of darkness. He turned himself around and had a new beginning, and although his life was short, he had earned for himself a share in the World to Come. We should never give up. We must never think that we are too far gone or that teshuvah is too difficult an undertaking for us. Every person can do teshuvah. Every person can start over and earn for themselves eternal reward. Every little bit helps and makes a difference. Once, when Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach was hospitalized, one particular nurse gave him special attention and care. He felt obligated to her and wanted to repay her for the kindness she bestowed upon him. She was a smoker, and before he left the hospital, he sat with the woman for fifteen minutes and explained to her the dangers of smoking and its ill effects. He told her that since she took such good care of him, he felt obligated to repay her in some way, and if she would stop smoking, that would be his reward. He later explained that the woman was not shomeres Shabbos. If he would have asked her not to smoke on Shabbos, she would not listen, but if he could convince her to stop smoking altogether, he would be preventing her from smoking on Shabbos, and with that he would have repaid her favor. We begin with small things and they add up. We cleanse ourselves one aveirah at a time, and by the time Yom Kippur arrives, we have become completely cleansed and have begun anew. Everyone can change. We can all change who we are and what we are doing that is incorrect and improper. There is nothing that is too difficult. It is just a question of attitude and approach. In the shofar’s plaintive wail, we hear echoes of the blasts that were sounded at Har Sinai, when Klal Yisroel was formed into the nation of Hakadosh Boruch Hu. The shofar then proclaimed a new beginning. The shofar proclaimed that the world had reached its destiny and the purpose for its formation. There was a new beginning then, and there is a new beginning every

Living with the Times The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

year as the shofar is sounded on Rosh Hashanah. It reminds us of the hope and promise that lay in the future for those who put everything erroneous in the past. We start again with a new lease on life and a new look at what is important and what our goals should be. No longer are we encumbered by the swirling tensions of the physical world in which we work so hard to keep up socially and financially. We appreciate the gifts Hashem has granted us as we seek to maintain the newly-cemented connection with Him throughout the year. So, of course we are joyous on Rosh Hashanah. With a new beginning and a new focus, we celebrate the renewed relationship with our Creator, who feeds and cares for us. Absent our chato’im, our faith that the world was created by Hashem, who cares for every living thing, is reinforced, and we are satiated by the knowledge that what happens to us and the world is not by happenstance or haphazard, but rather by Divine design. We recognize that now that we are closer to Hashem, if we reach out to Him through tefillah, He will definitely answer us. Even though things seemed dark to us previously, now that the mechitzah of sin that separated us from Hashem has been removed, we see things in a different light and know that the future holds only good for us. The Gemara states (Rosh Hashanah 18a), “Rebi Meir says that if two people are sick with the same disease, and if two people are judged by a court for the same offense under the same circumstances, if one is healed and the other isn’t, or if one is found guilty and the other is not, why is that? It is because one davened and was answered and the other davened and was not answered. [Why was one answered and not the other? Is it not true that everyone who reaches out to Hashem in tefillah is answered?] The one who was answered davened a tefillah sheleimah, while the one who wasn’t answered didn’t.” Rashi explains that the definition of “tefillah sheleimah” is that one davened with kavonah. We see from this Gemara that anyone who davens with kavonah can expect to be answered by Hashem. Rav Yaakov Galinsky spoke at a family simcha. He discussed the period during the Second World War when he was sent to the Siberian gulag under a twenty-five-year sentence of hard labor. When he entered the camp, the commander let him know that the front gate only worked one way. “Nobody leaves here alive,” he told his inmates with a snicker. Rav Galinky reminisced that while he was in that awful place, he would daven to live, and that if he would die, at least he should merit a Jewish burial. “Little did I know that I would live to get out of that place and come to Eretz Yisroel, head a network of kollelim, and father a family of dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” he said.

“This is the meaning of the posuk (Tehillim 22:2) where we pray and say, ‘Rachok m’yishu’osi divrei sha’agosi - My tefillos are far removed from my salvation.’ A person prays for a morsel of bread, for a decent burial, and Hashem answers the tefillah in ways we can never fathom.” We think we know what is good for us and we pour out our hearts to Hashem, begging that He accept our tefillos and reward us. But we are short-sighted and simple. We don’t know what is good. We don’t

know what can lie ahead in our future or the good that is destined for us. So we do teshuvah and bring ourselves closer to Hashem. We say that we have now gone through the month of Elul and are entering the Yom Hadin and the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah. We are analyzing our behavior from throughout the past year and attempting to do teshuvah for the times we acted improperly when dealing with other people and in following the halachos of the Torah.

We proclaim that we want to return to the way we were before we sinned, before we adopted negative middos and bad habits. Hashem, we want to return to Your embrace, firm in the knowledge that it is You who created this world and guides every part of it and everything in it, and that You await us and our tefillos so that You can grant us a blessed, happy, healthy and successful year, as only You can.


The Week In News


SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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Torah Musings The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

You Never Know What (Challah) Will Stick Sarah Pachter

Years ago, my mother-in-law mailed me a “how to” page from a magazine. The article was instructing how to make a braided challah in the shape of a crown and pomegranate for Rosh Hashanah. She knows I appreciate beautiful culinary presentation and thought I would be interested. Now, as much as I do appreciate culinary presentation, interest does not always translate into action. So, when I saw the magazine clip I thought, Oh, that’s beautiful! I would love to do that sometime! Then I simply stuck it in my recipe book. Like many other new recipe ideas, I forgot all about it. Until about two years later. I was making challah with my girls for the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah, and my seven-year-old daughter, Nava, was making elaborate shapes with her braids. Emmy, two years younger, asked me to help her make a special design. Wracking my brain (and my cookbook), the lightbulb went off. “Hey Emmy, why don’t we make this fancy design Savta sent us? She’ll be so happy we finally used it!” Together, we were actually able to follow the directions to make the beautiful crown shape. We didn’t attempt the pomegranate because it looked a little too advanced for me. Emmy was pleased with her crown and was eager to share a picture with my mother-in-law. (Points for everyone!) As I closed up the cookbook in order to put it away, a thought came to me: My mother-in-law sent this years ago. It remained dormant in my cookbook until many moons later. Isn’t this a great analogy for parenting? Sometimes, we invest in our children, teaching them lessons and practicing by example, and it feels like it’s falling on deaf ears. Perhaps on that specific day it is falling on deaf ears. But you never know when an influential seed will resurface, often far later than we would like, but still precisely at the perfect time. Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe compares parenting to planting and building. The building process is immediate. When the build-

er lays a brick, the results are visible right away. However, that brick will never create a new brick of its own. Planting entails digging, toiling, watering, and sweating—yet for a long time, it seems like nothing is taking place as a result. Eventually, though, a small seedling may become visible, and later a beautiful tree surfaces which will bear fruit of its own, each containing its own seeds. The goal isn’t just to create a tree; it’s to cultivate a plant with the potential to create more plants…and on and on into the future. How your child behaves at this very moment is important. However, what is perhaps even more essential is how he or she carries on into the future. The end goal is to raise children who will bring their own light into the world. Perhaps this is why on Tu B’shvat, the holiday for the trees, we focus on saying brachot on various fruits. If the holiday is honoring the trees, why don’t we mention the tree itself, rather than the fruit? The ikkar is the fruit that is produced, but it takes years for it to become a reality. Sometimes it feels like an eternity before that seed finally yields a fruit-bearing tree. Sometimes it seems like that seed is doing nothing in there, but eventually it surfaces. A frustrated friend once said to me about her difficult child, “I’m doing everything right, and doing what the books and classes say.” As parents, we may feel we dejected when our chinuch seems to not make any changes. Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen writes in To Kindle A Soul that the planting process is a slow one. In fact, the seed has to rot first before it sprouts. For parents who have children who create challenges in the home, or children who may be off the derech, we must realize that our words, actions, and prayers are not for naught. As Rebbetzin Henny Machlis said, never give up. It’s like that recipe that is tucked away in the back of a cookbook but will one day be used. The spark of holiness is simply in the recesses of your child’s mind and heart, and eventually it will come forth. My mother-inlaw wisely reminds me that when she was raising children, she would say, “It’s not

working…yet.” We can learn the lesson of patience and persistence from the bamboo tree. A person plants a bamboo seed and waters and fertilizers it for an entire year, and nothing happens. Another year passes, and they continue to water and fertilize, and still nothing. A third, fourth, and fifth year come and go, and nothing is sprouted. Then, six weeks into the fifth year, the bamboo tree sprouts and shoots up to 96 feet! If the planter were to have stopped watering it, it would have died. However, since he was persistent, he is able to see the end results—a huge tree! How long did it take for the bamboo to grow? One might respond, six weeks. But that’s not accurate. It took five years of nurturing. During that time, deep roots are forming below the surface to support the large tree. Nothing is instant in the planting process. Both planting and parenting require years of nurturing and a lot of hidden work. We have to remember that what a child looks like today is not what he or she will look like years from now. And the same may be true of our own inner child. Change, and spiritual growth, is difficult and slow, both in ourselves and our children. Keep sending magazine clippings and books—whether they be real paper ones or in the form of links—and continue planting and digging deep. In the long run, good will come from it. When my oldest son was younger, I would make a major effort to inculcate gratitude in him. Everywhere we went, I would ask, “What do we say?” He would respond, “Thank you,” dutifully. At one point, I wondered if he would ever begin to say it on his own without prompting. I did not have older kids or the experience

of another child to reassure me. Then, without even really realizing, it became second nature to him. So much so that when we went to the dentist for a cleaning, I saw my son go over to every person in the office to thank them. And the director of his sleepaway camp called me specifically to tell me how grateful my son was and how he often expressed gratitude for organizing such a great camp. Only then did I realize that the planting had taken root years ago. What are the keys that ensure a plant will eventually resurface and grow? When speaking to a well-respected rav and rebbetzin, I asked them how they managed to raise children who were able to withstand temptations of our society, such as drugs and alcohol, despite having had direct access. Their answer was one word: love. They continued, “A child may experiment because curiosity might get the better of them, or they may even go off the derech for a time, but if you give them love, they will come back to what is right eventually. Kids who feel deep-rooted love usually are only experimenting.” So, for those parents with children who are struggling, try to see the big picture and remember that just because they are not listening today does not mean they will always be like this, even if it takes years to come around. When we continue to act according to our values, we are planting seeds that will one day sprout. On Rosh Hashanah, we crown Hashem as our king. This symbolizes keeping Hashem constantly on our mind. We eat pomegranates, with their many seeds, to signify a multitude of mitzvot that we hope to perform this upcoming year. If we keep sharing ideas for our children’s “crown,” or mind, eventually it will trickle down to their heart and translate into action. Essentially, this combination of the crown and pomegranate represents moving ideas from our thoughts to action. Never give up on your children, keep nurturing them with love, and maybe they will pull that metaphorical recipe card out— just in time.

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SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News Story

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home



nce, on the evening before Yom Kippur, one of the chassidim of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk asked his Rebbe to allow him to see how he, Rabbi Elimelech, observes the custom of kapparot. “How I do kapparot?” repeated Rabbi Elimelech. “How do you do kapparot?” “I am an ordinary Jew — I do what everyone else does. I hold the rooster in one hand, the prayer book in the other, and recite the text, ‘This is my exchange, this is in my stead, this is my atonement...’” “That’s exactly what I do,” said Rabbi Elimelech. “I take the rooster in one hand, the prayer book in the other, and recite the text. Actually, there might be a certain difference between your kapparot and mine: you probably make sure to use a white rooster, while to me it makes no difference: white, black, brown — a rooster’s a rooster...” But the chassid persisted that his Rebbe’s kapparot was certainly no ordinary event. He had been coming to Lizhensk to pray with the Rebbe every Yom Kippur for more than twenty years now, and had always wanted to observe his Rebbe at this most solemn moment. “You want to see an extraordi-

nary kapparot?” said Rabbi Elimelech. “Go observe how Moshe the tavern-keeper does kapparot. Now, there you’ll see something far more inspiring than my own, ordinary kapparot.” The chassid located Moshe’s tavern at a crossroads several miles outside of Lizhensk and asked to stay the night. “I’m sorry,” said the tavern-keeper. “As you see, this is a small establishment, and we don’t have any rooms to let. There’s an inn a small distance further down the road.” “Please,” begged the chassid, “I’ve been traveling all day, and I want to rest awhile. I don’t need a room — I’ll just curl up in a corner for a few hours and be on my way.” “O.K.,” said Moshe. “We’ll be closing up shortly, and then you can get some sleep.” After much shouting, cajoling and threatening, Moshe succeeded in herding his clientele of drunken peasants out the door. The chairs and tables were stacked in a corner, and the room, which also served as the tavern-keeper’s living quarters, was readied for the night. Midnight had long passed, and the hour of kapparot was approaching. The chassid, wrapped in his blanket under a table, feigned sleep, but kept watch in the darkened room, determined not to miss anything.

Before dawn, Moshe rose from his bed, washed his hands, and recited the morning blessings. “Time for kapparot!” he called quietly to his wife, taking care not to wake his guest. “Yentel, please bring me the notebook — it’s on the shelf above the cupboard.” Moshe sat himself on a small stool, lit a candle, and began reading from the notebook, unaware that his “sleeping” guest was wide awake and straining to hear every word. The notebook was a diary of all the misdeeds and transgressions the tavern-keeper had committed in the course of the year – the date, time and circumstance of each scrupulously noted. His “sins” were quite benign – a word of gossip one day, oversleeping the time for prayer on another, neglecting to give his daily coin to charity on a third – but by the time Moshe had read through the first few pages, his face was bathed in tears. For more than an hour Moshe read and wept, until the last page had been turned. “Yentel,” he now called to his wife, “bring me the second notebook.” This, too, was a diary – of all the troubles and misfortunes that had befallen him in the course of the year. On this day Moshe was beaten by a gang of peasants, on that day his child fell ill; once, in the dead of winter, the family

had frozen for several nights for lack of firewood; another time their cow had died, and there was no milk until enough rubles had been saved to buy another. When he had finished reading the second notebook, the tavern-keeper lifted his eyes heavenward and said: “So you see, dear Father in Heaven, I have sinned against You. Last year I repented and promised to fulfill Your commandments, but I repeatedly succumbed to my evil inclination. But last year I also prayed and begged You for a year of health and prosperity, and I trusted in You that it would indeed be this way. “Dear Father, today is the eve of Yom Kippur, when everyone forgives and is forgiven. Let us put the past behind us. I’ll accept my troubles as atonement for my sins, and You, in Your great mercy, shall do the same.” Moshe took the two notebooks in his hands, raised them aloft, circled them three times above his head, and said: “This is my exchange, this is in my stead, this is my atonement.” He then threw them into the fireplace, where the smoldering coals soon turned the tear-stained pages to ashes. Reprinted with permission from – the Judaism Website.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Book Review

The Week In News

A Yom Tov Book of Poems—Tishrei Tales by Rabbi Reuven Bauman (Menucha Publishers 2019) Reviewed by Rebecca Klempner This past July, the Jewish world mourned a wonderful educator, Rabbi Reuven Bauman, who perished as he rescued one of his students in the waters off Norfolk, Virginia. The previous year, Menucha Publishers* had published Rabbi Bauman’s middle-grade novel, Yanky’s Amazing Discovery, and just weeks before his death, Rabbi Bauman had submitted another manuscript to the publisher. That book, A Yom Tov Book of Poems—Tishrei Tales, has just been released. This poetry collection focuses on the major holidays of Tishrei: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkos. Whether they be bitter or sweet, the characters in Rabbi Bauman’s narrative poems experience plentiful emotions. There’s boredom, excitement, concern, disappointment, and mischievousness aplenty. While the overall tone of the book is humorous, at several moments, the characters experience familiar challenges: the melancholy at the end of a fun summer, the loss of a beloved item, rain threatening on Erev Sukkos. As one of the characters says (p. 33), “Life’s not always easy/You must put in your best effort,/And doing the right thing,/Well, sometimes it might hurt.” Rabbi Bauman assures us that there’s always a reward for these efforts; however, it may not be visible immediately or in this world. A Yom Tov Book of Poems starts off



with a beautifully written Editor’s Note, describing an interaction Esther Heller had with Rabbi Bauman, in which he promotes poetry for children. The illustrations, by Sarah Zee, are both playful and heartfelt. The book closes with a short biography of the author, appropriate for young readers (meaning: it doesn’t mention his tragic death) and a touching poem about him by his family members. I think this book would make a lovely yom tov purchase for a family with young children, and it would also make a wonderful addition to a Jewish classroom library. * For full disclosure: Menucha Publishers has published two of my own books.


Sunday, November 17, 2019


Sunday, November 24, 2019




Emotional Health The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

How to Have a Blast on Rosh Hashanah Rabbi Dov Heller, LMFT

Rosh Hashanah is the Judaism’s Day of Judgment. Sounds scary? It could be the most enjoyable day of your life! Here are five ideas to help you have a blast this Rosh Hashanah. 1. G-d judges us because He loves us. I was visiting a family recently, and the topic of conversation turned to Jewish continuity. The father took this opportunity to talk to his son who was about to embark on a college year abroad. He strongly encouraged his son to be proud of being Jewish, always act like a mensch, and to never forget that the “world is watching you because you’re a Jew.” Later, in a private moment, I asked the son how he felt. He said, “A little uncomfortable, but I know my dad said what he said because he loves me.” Although the father’s tone was somewhat strong, his intent was loving. He wanted to give his son guidance in order to help him live a good life. It was clearly an act of love, and his son experienced it

as such. Doesn’t every parent have a critical eye on their children? Isn’t every parent in some way or another constantly “judging” their children? We parents do this because we care so much about helping our children live meaningful and happy lives. So, too, the Creator of the universe: He “judges” us not because He wants to punish us, but because He loves us and wants to make sure we live a great life. When you walk into the synagogue this year, feel the loving embrace of a Father who cares about you and only wants the very best for you, as it says in the holiday prayers, “For you are the King who desires life!” 2. Hear the shofar saying, “I love you—wake up and live!” G-d is trying to get our attention. He’s calling out to each of us with “the blast of the shofar.” One sound of the shofar is like a loud call, “Just want to make sure you’re listening.” Another tone is much softer,

which touches a deeper, more vulnerable part of us. Hearing the shofar can be an awesome opportunity to feel G-d’s love. He’s calling out to us with a love song, in pleading tones, “Please, wake up. Stop and think seriously about where you’re going in life. Please, think about what you really want out of life. Do it now while you still have life in you. All I want is for you to have everything good.” When you hear the shofar this year, listen closely and hear the love song being sung just to you. 3. Choose to live a great life. G-d can put the “good life” right in front of us and say, “Choose this,” but if we don’t have the clarity to want it, we’ll never take ownership of it. The power of will is the only real power we have in this world. Rosh Hashanah is the time to learn how to use it. There once was a king who went out to the villages to visit the poor once every year. Approaching one very sad peasant, he said, “I will give you anything you want.” The peasant smiled and said, “I would like some grass to fix the hole in the roof of my hut.” The king offered him anything, and all he asked for was some grass? How tragic! He could have asked for a mansion! On Rosh Hashanah, the King of the universe asks us, “What do you want?” What will be our response? Will we be like the peasant and ask for grass? Everyone wants to have a great life. But if we don’t take responsibility to clarify for ourselves what the meaning of greatness is, we will likely conform to the values and standards of our society which seem to be more about seeking comfort than seeking greatness. What does a great life look life? Do we have a picture that we are completely satisfied with? 4. Ask yourself, what am I living for? To live greatly, there is one question that we absolutely must ask: What am I living for? After all, how can I live if I don’t know what I’m living for? Most people avoid this question. We get busy with being busy in order not to think about where our lives are ultimately headed. It’s a profound question and one that requires courage and great personal integrity to ask it. On Rosh Hashanah, G-d asks us to look in the mirror and judge ourselves. This is a tremendous and awesome challenge. The Almighty is giving us life and we don’t know what to do with it. Life is too precious to waste. Rosh Hashanah is the time to clarify what we’re living for

Furthermore, how can I live the “good life,” if I don’t have my own definition of what “good’ means? There are many things that people call “good”: love, creativity, power, kindness, knowledge, thinking, health, peace, relationship with G-d, wealth, etc. On Rosh Hashanah, explore this question: Of all the possibilities of what people deem good, what is the greatest good? When we know what the greatest good is then, we can truly live the “good life.” Why settle for second best when we can have the best? 5. Monitor your emotional experience The word for prayer in Hebrew is “l’hitpallel,” which means to judge oneself. Prayer is an opportunity for self-discovery. To read the prayers without reflecting upon how they make us feel is like going to a concert wearing ear plugs. Use prayer as a tool for self-discovery and growth by listening to our feelings. For example, there may be a moment in the prayer service that deeply moves you. It is crucial to hold on to the experience and make an effort to understand what made that experience meaningful for you. If you can understand the meaning of that experience, you have discovered a precious insight that you can use the rest of your life. On the other hand, you may feel bored and disconnected. Again, it is crucial to ask, “What am I feeling, and why am I feeling this way?” Understanding our emotional discomfort rather than counting the minutes until the service is over can openup new worlds of self-understanding. Prayer teaches us how to live consciously. During the High Holidays, don’t suffer through the prayers; rather let them be the vehicles for self-discovery and growth. Be honest. Be curious. This is not a day to tune-out, but rather a day to tunein by listening to our feelings and learning from them. In Judaism, every holiday is an opportunity for personal transformation. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the High Holidays because they offer extra special opportunities for self-discovery and growth. They are not days of doom and gloom. This year, seize the opportunity and have a blast. 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

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

The Week In News

Travel Operator Collapses

This week, at 150,000 people from the UK on holiday were stranded abroad after major travel operator Thomas Cook collapsed. The operator had been unsuccessfully attempting to seal bailout cash from Chinese conglomerate Fosun as well as from a number of other firms. “Thomas Cook’s collapse is very sad news for staff and holidaymakers. The government and UK CAA is working round the clock to help people. Our contingency planning has helped acquire planes from across the world – some from

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

as far away as Malaysia – and we have put hundreds of people in call centers and at airports,” said transport secretary Grant Shapps. “But the task is enormous, the biggest peacetime repatriation in UK history. So, there are bound to be problems and delays. Please try to be understanding with the staff who are trying to assist in what is likely to be a very difficult time for them as well.” The collapse of the tour operator has put 22,000 jobs from around the world at risk, of which 9,000 are in the UK. Thomas Cook had encountered a range of issues over the last year, leading to job cuts and store closures. The travel group also put its airline business up for sale after a heat-wave in northern Europe last summer put holidaymakers off last-minute deals. This led to a number of profit warnings. Thomas Cook warned earlier this year that the European travel market has become “progressively more challenging,” which ed to a dent in its finances and made it difficult to sell its tour business. That’s when it entered talks with banks and Fosun – its largest shareholder. Meanwhile, it ran up debts of £1.2bn ($1.48m) and made a first half loss of £1.5bn as it battled a weak bookings market and asset write-downs and faced a cash crunch. The Department for Transport said


that all Thomas Cook customers who are booked to return to the UK over the next two weeks will be brought home “as close as possible” to when their original booked return date. For those who booked holiday packages, their accommodations abroad and their flight home would be covered as well.

Retiring? Move to Iceland According to the global retirement index from Natixis Investment Managers, an asset management firm, Iceland is the best place for retirees. It unseated Switzerland this year largely being of its advantage in material wellbeing. Norway came in at slot number 3; Ireland took the fourth spot; and New Zealand nabbed the fifth position on the list. Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Australia, and Luxembourg rounded out the top ten. All the countries listed at the top of the list earned high scores for both health and quality of life. The study considered 18 total factors to create a final composite score for each country. In its seventh year, the study is designed to spark discussion about societal retirement risks among policymakers, employers, and individuals. Forty-four countries were analyzed in the making of the list. The United States came in at 18; Israel managed to garner the 16th spot. The U.S. saw declines in three of the four categories that make up the index. It went from 10th place to 9th in finances in retirement; from 19th to 20th in quality of life; and from 26th place to 28th in material well-being. Its standing remained unchanged for the health of its retirees.

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On Friday, the German government announced that it would spend a total of 54 billion euro on a package of measures designed to tackle climate change after environmental groups and the opposition Green party applied pressure to the government. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the deal hammered out by governing parties during marathon talks overnight would boost the country’s contribution to

fighting global warming. Europe’s biggest economy aims to cut its greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. “We believe that we can achieve the goals and that we’ve truly laid the foundations for this,” Merkel said in Berlin. Ottmar Edenhofer, one of Merkel’s top climate advisers, slammed the proposals and accused the government of “political faintheartedness.” Edenhofer, who heads the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said the planned charge for carbon emissions from transport and heating fuels — starting at 10 euros ($11.07) per ton of carbon dioxide in 2021, and rising to 35 euros ($38.73) in 2025 — was too low to be effective. According to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation, OECD, an effective tax on fuels that reflects the climate costs of carbon emissions would need to be above 30 euros per ton of CO2. Environmental campaigners have accused Merkel of surrendering to the interests of Germany’s powerful automaker lobby by failing to set a deadline for phasing out fuel combustion engines as some other countries have already done. A poll released on Friday by ARD television showed 63% of voters saying the government should prioritize climate protection over economic growth. Only 24% said economic growth should take priority. Protesters have taken to the streets to pressure the government to act. Last week, rallies were held across the country. Merkel acknowledged the pressure her government has come under from protesters, saying young people were justified in demanding “that we do something so they, too, have good chances in life.” The 65-year-old old trained physicist said she agreed with Thunberg that was time to “unite behind the science” and there was no point in denying the evidence for global warming. But she also admitted that the climate plan was a compromise. “Politics is (doing) what’s possible, and we explored those possibilities,” Merkel said. Germany’s climate policy is being closely watched elsewhere. The country has the sixth biggest greenhouse gas emissions in the world, with a 2.1% share of the global total. Failure to meet its emissions reduction targets would cost Germany financially; under European Union rules, the country could be fined billions of euros from 2021 if it doesn’t meet the bloc’s emissions reduction targets. Aside from the carbon pricing, the government’s new plan envisages substantial subsidies for consumers who buy cleaner cars and home furnaces. The installation of oil furnaces will be banned entirely from 2026. Other measures agreed on include raising the climate charge on airline tickets and investing more in low-emission rail travel, including by reducing the tax on train tickets.

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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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