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The Week In News


NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home




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The Week In News



The Week In News


Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

JEWISH THOUGHT Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Humor: Double-Parked in Los Angeles. . . . . . . . . . 19

FEATURE Saudi Arabia & Iran. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

LIFESTYLES Book Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Ask Dr. T.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

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NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers, Where would we be without the Jewish mother’s intuition? Sarah Imeinu sensed that Yishmael had veered away from the correct path, and Rivkah was the one who saw through Eisav’s pretentious piety. It takes a special perception to distinguish between surface and reality. Yes, the surface might feel right, smell and look right, but if it isn’t right, we need to know it and stay away. Perhaps this motherly intuition is needed now more than ever. Pretty much every organization or group is busy “saving the world.” We need the age-old – and, alas, often hidden – sense of yiras shamayim to determine which ones really do so. Who will be the bubby of our children, who will be the bubby if not us? Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,


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

The Week In News

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

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Judge Ruchy Freier Speaks about Leadership and Community Service at Beth Jacob Congregation Yehudis Litvak On November 1st, as part of its Modern Minds on Jewish Matters series, Beth Jacob Congregation hosted Judge Ruchy Freier, the first Chassidic woman elected as Civil Court Judge in New York state. Judge Freier spoke about community service and her journey towards her current position. “Community service challenged me as a person and as a mother,” said Judge Freier. “You get out so much more than you put in.” Judge Freier was a regular Bais Yaakov girl from Boro Park who married a Bobover chassid. Her mother used to tell her that she “could do anything, as long as it’s not illegal, immoral, or against the Torah.” In high school, she took a legal stenography course, and after her marriage, she got her first job as a legal secretary in order to support her husband, who was learning in kollel. She continued working in the field while raising her six children. At age 30, after her husband graduated from college, Judge Freier decided to pursue a law degree. After completing her Bachelor’s degree at Touro College,

she attended Brooklyn Law School. Before she ventured into the secular world, she made a decision not to compromise her standards. “I knew I was going to be different,” she said. “I made a deal with Hashem – help me, and when Your children need help, I will help them.” Judge Freier shared several anecdotes which demonstrated that her unswerving commitment to her values, including praying three times a day, only led to more respect on the part of her gentile colleagues. “We all have different standards,” she said. “Whatever they are, hang on to them, don’t compromise on them in order to succeed. That’s what propelled me to success.” After graduation, Judge Freier got involved in helping kids-at-risk in her community. She also helped found Ezras Nashim, a female paramedic volunteer organization intended to serve women in emergencies involving childbirth. She trained as a paramedic and worked in an ambulance. After ten years of private law practice, Judge Freier ran for Civil Court Judge, with the support of her family and com-

munity. She won the election and was inaugurated in December 2016. “Being on a bench is easier than raising six children,” she said. “We all have challenges,” said Judge Freier. “I still have lots of challenges.” She explained that whenever she’d feel con-

flicted about her public role, she’d think of Sarah Schenirer, the founder of the Bais Yaakov movement. At the time, her revolutionary ideas about women’s education created much controversy, but “she went and did what had to be done… We become leaders when Torah is trampled.” Throughout the years, said Judge Freier, she’d always put her family first. “I am a professional; I don’t have a career. My children were always included... They came with me to classes and to work. I bring my home with me to the courtroom – that’s how I survive.” Judge Freier shared that she made mistakes along the way. “The road to success is full of failures,” she said, advising her audience not to get stuck on mistakes, but “pick yourself up and move on.” “My advice to everybody,” she said in conclusion, “is to be proud of who you are and make G-d proud… Don’t be afraid to do something – you never know what you can accomplish.” She urged her listeners not to get discouraged, but simply do the best we can.

TheHappenings Week In News

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Abundance of Jewish Stars Shine Brightly at the Magen David Red Star Ball Tova Abady

Photos: Michelle Mivzari

The Magen David Red Star Ball took place October 30th at the Beverly Hilton. The event celebrated the work of MDA and the donors who make its work possible. Rabbi Chaim Mentz of the Chabad of Bel Air addressed the crowd saying that it was the night of Rachel Imeinu’s yahrtzeit. He suggested that the most important person to impress is your mother and “tonight you and I are going to impress one of the holiest mothers we have.” MDA Director General Eli Bean and his assistant Chief Operations Officer Ori

moser nefesh every single day. Paramedics from different regions in Israel appeared on stage. Mohammed “Chamudi” Arrabi, Senior EMT represented the Dan region; Israel Weingarten, Senior EMT Rivka Or, First Responder Yoni Cohen, and Aharon Adler represented the

Jerusalem region. Volunteer Paramedic Nati Regev and Alisa and Robert Leeds represented MDS Overseas Volunteers. IDF hero Gilad Mezamer related the miraculous story of how one paramedic, Aharon Adler, helped save his life when he was critically injured by an Arab terrorist.

Alisa and Robert Leeds spoke about their experiences this past summer volunteering in Israel. Alisa volunteered at children’s hospital where she shadowed and assisted doctors in the emergency room and surgery and rode in an ambulance from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. Robert Leeds

MDA - A procession of ten MDA paramedics kick off the festivities

MDA - Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson, moments after announcing a $12 million pledge to support Magen David Adom in Israel

Shacham thanked Los Angeles and a dedicated mother, Dina Leeds, who serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Eli Bean said the enthusiasm of Dina and her husband Fred was amazing, inspiring and should serve as a model for everyone. More than 18 million dollars was raised this year thanks to a 12 million dollar donation from Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, a five million dollar donation from Maurice Kanbar, and many other generous corporations and individuals, including a lone soldier. Funds raised will go towards the new Marcus National Blood Services Center that will keep Israel’s blood supply safe from rocket attacks and earthquakes, and for the life-saving work MDA performs 365 days a year. According to Fred Leeds, there is a call for assistance every eight seconds. The paramedics and EMT’s that answer the call are real heroes that are

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TheHappenings Week In News rode in the very ambulance he donated for his bar mitzvah and was able to see in person how the ambulance was essential in saving lives. Dina Leeds led everyone in the recitation of Shema. She spoke about places in the world that she has visited that are beautiful now, but years ago were places where Jews were oppressed and persecuted. She said, “There’s only one thing that has protected us and that’s G-d’s gift of the State of Israel,” adding, “in order to protect our children, we must make sure that Israel is safeguarded with a strong infrastructure.” Renee and Meyer Luskin were the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Meyer Luskin said that at 92 years young he’s not ready to accept a lifetime award, but that he and Renee had “immense joy in helping others.” He quoted a Talmudic scholar “Who so ever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” Meyer Luskin said Magen David Adom saves at least one life every single day and should always have the best equipment and facilities. Nikita Kahn accepted the award for Leadership-Next Generation. She said that Israelis deeply love their country and will do anything to keep it safe. “These heroes are just men and women like you and me mothers and fathers, sisters and broth-

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

MDA - Two IDF soldiers whose lives were recently saved by MDA paramedics and blood services, Roy Grilak (left) and Gilad Mezamer (right), express gratitude

ers, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The humanitarian of the year award went to Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson. Adelson told the story of how he met Miri. Both of them helped people with addictions, and Mr. Adelson joked he became addicted to his future wife. Sheldon Adelson concluded his acceptance speech by saying, “My heart is in Israel and Israel is in my heart.” The Adelsons have also set up a medical school at Ariel University, support Yad Vashem, and own the newspaper Israel HaYom. Jerry Seinfeld, the iconic comedian, entertained the crowd. Mr. Seinfeld introduced himself and when he returned hours later towards the end of the program to do his set, he joked that he since the beginning of the Red Star Ball, he had flown to Chicago, had another gig, and returned. His observational comedy is as funny as ever. Concluding the magical night, Saul Blinkoff – successful animator and development consultant, as well as a director/ producer for Walt Disney Studios – took the stage. While music from favorite Disney classics filled the ballroom, he sketched animated characters, wowing the crowd.

Project CHAI Expands Presence on West Coast: International Crisis Intervention and Trauma Response Program to Have Dedicated, L.A.-Based Team Melanie Kwestel Project CHAI – the crisis intervention, trauma and bereavement department of Chai Lifeline – will soon have a dedicated crisis intervention team on the West Coast. This exciting news was recently announced by Rabbi Dr. David Fox, Director of Interventions and Community Education for the Department, and Rabbi Simcha Scholar, Chai Lifeline’s Executive Vice President. For two decades, Project CHAI has provided clinical intervention, consultation, and support following communal incidents ranging from targeted mass shootings to natural disasters to sudden deaths that impacted families and entire communities. Rabbi Dr. Fox has created an evidence-based, state-of-the-art training program that trains educators, lay leaders, mental health professionals, rabbanim, rebbetzins, and community askanim to provide immediate service to families and communities in times of crisis, trauma, or tragedy. The teams are personally supervised and overseen by Rabbi Dr. Fox, a clinical psychologist in private practice and the rav of the Hancock Park Hashkama Minyan as well as a lecturer at the Kollel of Los Angeles, and Zahava Farbman, LMSW, an internationally recognized traumatologist and clinician.

While Project CHAI has worked closely with Chai Lifeline’s West Coast office in Beverly Hills on several occasions, the dedicated team will be the first that will focus entirely on helping Jewish communities in western states recover and heal from traumatic events. “We are very pleased to share that training is underway in Los Angeles to develop a team that will coordinate our efforts throughout the region,” said Rabbi Dr. Fox. “Among the communities that will be covered are Phoenix (and all of Arizona), Las Vegas, the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and the northern California communities.” Like all Project Chai teams, the West Coast group will operate under the direct supervision of Chai Lifeline’s national headquarters in New York as well as under Rabbi Dr. Fox, a Los Angeles resident. Education and training for Project CHAI is specific to crisis intervention Project CHAI utilizes a focused, evidence-based, multi-component training program developed by Rabbi Dr. Fox, Mrs. Farbman and members of the Project CHAI team. “It’s important to appreciate that crisis intervention and trauma work are not, contrary to popular belief, psychotherapy. We are not training our team

members to become therapists and clinicians, Rather, they learn a specific array of skills to be utilized in crisis intervention. They gain an understanding of brain function, what happens inside a person when they are in shock following a tragedy. They learn how to gain trust and make inroads into the person’s mind, heart, and soul so that survivors can process and begin functioning rather than remain numb and traumatized by the event. “Our program is wedded to evidence and scientific understanding of what is effective in these situations. Our training format, developed over the course of 15 years, is constantly being enhanced as research emerges. We are proud that it is sought after by institutions and organizations inside and outside the Jewish community. Project CHAI’S consultations and trainings have taken place on campuses, synagogues, and in community and educational institutions. We liaise with law enforcement, emergency rooms, mental health clinics, and with clergy. Hatzolah and other organizations turn to us when an emergency or accident has a mental health component. In fact, Zahava Farbman serves concurrently as the mental health coordinator for her community Hatzolah in the Five Towns, New York.”

The Los-Angeles based Project CHAI team will join cohorts in Detroit, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Williamsburg, Monsey, Flatbush, Boro Park, Monroe, Melbourne, Montreal, and Antwerp. “It’s a testament to the importance and track record of Project CHAI in frum communities around the world that so many mental health professionals, educators, askanim, rabbanim, rebbetzins and lay people have come forth and expressed interest and enthusiasm for the Project CHAI training,” said Rabbi Scholar. “We are well on the way to undertaking the training and creating a dedicated team for the region.” Randi Grossman, MPH, west coast region director for Chai Lifeline, is also looking forward to having a West Coast team. “Dr. Fox and I have worked closely on many occasions when people were in the midst of trauma or crisis. We are very pleased that Project CHAI is taking an active role and will have a trained team in residence.” For more information about Project CHAI training on the west coast or if immediate assistance is needed, contact Project CHAI at 855 3-CRISIS. Project CHAI team members respond to all calls immediately. In addition, Dr. Fox can be reached directly at (323) 653-2785.

The Week In News

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home





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The Kamocha Campaign Launches in Los Angeles Yehudis Litvak Two weeks ago, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation (CCHF) launched a city-wide Kamocha Campaign in Los Angeles. This program for mid- to upper elementary students, intended to raise awareness of the mitzvah of ve’ahavta l’reacha kamocha, was praised by school principals as “incredible” and “historic.” Los Angeles is the second location to use the program, which pioneered last year in Chicago. Inspired by the Chicago event, Chani Weiss of Los Angeles undertook to reach out to all the schools in L.A. and fully coordinate the event, which took place at Moshe Ganz Hall. The Kamocha Campaign is part of Los Angeles resident and renowned askan Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz’s vision for greater ahavas Yisrael. Mr. Rechnitz is Chairman of the Board of CCHF. The campaign began with two hourlong gatherings – one for girls and one for boys – sponsored l’ilui nishmas Yisroel Dovid ben Chaim. Thirteen schools, with close to a thousand students in total, attended the event. After recitation of Tehillim, Rabbi Shlomo Ornstein of CCHF introduced the campaign. “There are 7.4 billion people in the world, but there is no doubt that in shamayim, the children sitting in this room right now, are making

one of the greatest impacts!” he said. The guest speaker, Rabbi Yechiel Spero, shared inspiring stories about the power of ahavas Yisrael. “Today, we make history,” said Rabbi Spero. “We form a pact of brotherhood. We might look different, dress different, act different, but we are there for each other.” Rabbi Spero’s speech was followed by a video message from Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlit”a, who emphasized the importance of the campaign and blessed the students to “become careful with what we do and continue to grow.” An entertaining video presentation followed, to further convey the Kamocha message. The feedback from local teachers and principals has been overwhelmingly positive. Rabbi Yaakov Krause, Menahel of Yeshiva Rav Issacsohn-Toras Emes Academy, emphasized the “unique k’vod shamayim in bringing together hundreds of talmidim and talmidos from such varied backgrounds for the sole purpose of sensitizing them to the importance of ve’ahavta l’reacha kamocha.” He added, “The tagline of ‘How would I feel’ can already be heard and felt in the classrooms, lunchroom, and on the courts.” Rabbi Zheutlin, Mashgiach at Yeshiva

Aharon Yaakov Ohr Eliyahu, said, “Having all the schools there together gave the kids (and rebbeim) a feeling of real ach-

culminate with a city-wide newsletter, raffles and prizes. “The success that was experienced in

dus.” “The events really took on a life of their own,” says Mrs. Estie Koot, Director of Bidrachov, elementary school division of CCHF. “The atmosphere was electric; the kiddush Hashem that was engendered through such a gathering created an excitement that followed each student back to their school to help jumpstart the follow-up initiative.” In the next month, under the guidance of their rebbi or teacher, each participating class will choose something specific to work on, such as not excluding anyone during recess or a game. The program will

Chicago makes us cautiously optimistic that it can really work, and have a tremendous impact,” says Mrs. Koot. “We are hopeful and excited about potential friendships that can develop, the positive interactions that can ensue, and the lifelong awareness of what a difference positive words and actions can make, that will remain.” As each of the participating schools continues to implement the program in its classrooms, ahavas Yisrael is being brought to the forefront of the Los Angeles Jewish community.

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NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



Living with In theNews Times The Week

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

In this week’s parsha, we learn of Rivkah’s concern during her much-anticipated pregnancy. She sought out great men to explain to her why her unborn child was exhibiting tendencies toward kedusha and tumah. The posuk (Bereishis 25:22) states that she said, “Im kein, lamah zeh anochi,” and went to seek Hashem. Why was she so bothered that she went to Sheim to find out what Hashem had planned for her? Perhaps the language of the posuk provides us with a hint. The words “Lamah zeh anochi,” commonly translated as, “If so, what am I doing this for? Why did I pray for children?” can be understood allegorically a bit differently. Rivkah was perturbed, as the Medrash states, by the fact that when she passed the bais medrash of Sheim and Eiver, the baby kicked as if trying to exit, while when passing a place of avodah zorah, the same thing would happen. When Rivkah said, “Lamah zeh anochi,” perhaps she was referring to the Aseres Hadibros that her offspring were to receive, commencing with the commandment of “Anochi Hashem Elokecha.” She was concerned, for she knew that someone who pretends to be a proponent of opposing sides cannot be the progenitor of the Shivtei Kah, the chosen people who will receive the Torah. As the ultimate truth, Torah is not the domain of those who are all things to all people. Hashem is uncomfortable, kevayachol, with someone who presents himself as a holy person when that is advantageous to him, while he poses in a different fashion when he deems that to be more beneficial personally. Rivkah knew that as the child of Yitzchok and grandson of Avrohom, the offspring she was to give birth to would have to be a leader, setting a standard of virtue as the epitome of goodness and G-dliness in this world. She was worried that the child she was carrying was demonstrating symptoms of being unprincipled. Since such a child would not be a worthy heir to Avrohom and Yitzchok, she thought that

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Finding Inner Peace she would have been better off remaining barren. Thus, she was relieved when Sheim informed her that she would give birth to twins, one righteous child and the other evil. Although she would have been happier with two righteous children, she was comforted with the knowledge that she would be giving birth to a worthy progenitor to Avrohom and Yitzchok. Not only in her day, but in ours as well, there is a shortage of leaders. In every society, in every country, and in every industry, people are disconcerted as they seek leadership in a drifting world. People look

To find answers in a confounding world, we should follow our grandmother, Rivkah, and seek the word of Hashem in the bais medrash. Only those who study the word of Hashem are equipped to guide us in times of disillusionment and confusion. It is only with the Torah’s perspective that we can appreciate what is going on around us and find direction and purpose in our world. This week, as we enter the month of Kislev, we begin thinking about the story of Chanukah. We realize that the Bnei Chashmonaim were neither warriors nor leaders. They were people in whose hearts

Flee from an overtaxed life and carve out moments of silence to hear your heart and soul. for someone trustworthy to rally around, searching desperately for a person who can put their feelings into words and give voice to their concerns. There is a dearth of leaders who act in the best interests of the people they are supposed to serve. The Torah is not some esoteric book available only to the rich and privileged. The Torah is for everyone, at every time, and in every period. It is neither in the heavens nor available only in some remote region. It is for anyone who dedicates himself to its study and acquisition. As we sit by the feet of good teachers and imbibe the lessons that were inculcated in them by their rabbeim, our minds are opened, our souls are purified, and our sensitivities are awakened to the needs and aspirations of our people.

burned an insatiable desire to rid the world of evil. As we say in Al Hanissim, they were few and they were weak. But they were righteous. And they had the courage of their convictions. They refused to subjugate themselves to the profane practices and worldview of the Hellenists. Under the leadership of Matisyohu ben Yochanan Kohein Gadol, the handful of die-hard tzaddikim and oskei Torah arose to provide leadership for a dejected, subjugated people. Hashem took note of their courage and self-sacrifice, and empowered them with the ability to rally the bnei Yisroel and to emerge victorious over a powerful and deeply entrenched enemy. The leader is not the one who cheats his way up the political ladder. The true leader is not the one who repeatedly lies to

his people and engages in subterfuges in a desperate bid to maintain a hold on power. He doesn’t just pontificate and blame the consequences of his ineptitude on someone else. The proper leader doesn’t hold on desperately to an outdated and disproved ideology. He is not crippled by arrogance and ignorance. The Jewish leader spends his time bent over a sefer, teaching and helping people. He imparts his knowledge to others with love and devotion. He parcels out his advice and guidance with humility. People flock to him and follow him. We have an inbred sense of where to go for leadership and whom to follow. A radio call-in show was playing in the background as I was writing. I wasn’t paying attention until I heard someone who identified himself with a Jewish name from a frum town ask a question. The host is retiring after a few decades of broadcasting. The listener called for advice. “As you plan to retire, can you give me some advice?” the caller asked. “I want to be a success. How do I go about that? You are successful. How can I be successful?” he questioned with a tone of desperation. The host asked him what his goal is. “Goal? I want to be successful. That’s my goal,” was the response. The host went on a rant, educating the caller that success is not a goal. “A goal is something you want to reach. Do you have interests? Do you have any talents? Is there anything you care about? If there is something you can do and want to do, you work hard at it, set a goal, and aim towards it. Reach your goal and you’ll be happy, satisfied and successful.” What struck me about the conversation most was that the caller was asking this person in the first place. Why would he turn to a radio talk show host? Is he the person best qualified to answer the question? If you don’t see yourself as succeeding in life, why would you call this fellow? Why wouldn’t you reach out to people known for their success in Torah and other areas of pursuit? If this caller would be satisfied with his heritage and spend time each day learning Torah and mussar, he wouldn’t have to contact a radio show for tips. The Torah and sifrei kodesh are replete with lessons guiding a person to reach success. They teach what life is about. They teach us to set goals and what those goals should be. When confused, the bais medrash and its leaders offer care and concern, as well as proven advice on how to overcome dissolution and achieve success.

Living withIn theNews Times The Week

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Yaakov and Eisov were born to the same parents, and had the same chinuch and upbringing. One grew up to be a tremendous success, while the other may have succeeded financially but is remembered for all time as an evil loser. One spent his time in the bais medrash, studying Torah and seeking to establish a life predicated upon the values of his father and grandfather. The other spent his days hunting, acting as a ruffian and tough guy in the street, and putting on a show for his father, presenting himself as a holy and learned person. Rav Reuvein Dov Dessler of Kelm would say that the way Eisov presented himself was dependent on his wants on that particular day. On the day of Avrohom’s passing, Eisov’s goal was to gulp down the bowl of adashim Yaakov had prepared for the seudas havra’ah following the funeral. He decided that in order to procure the adashim, he would present himself as a person of mussar, remembering the yom hamisah and broken over the loss of the tzaddik Avrohom. In truth, he was moved by neither. His sole motivation was the sweet-smelling pot of beans. And so is the way of man, Rav Dessler would say. He has different masks, depending upon his specific wants. We have to be careful to be true to ourselves and not project ourselves as people we are not. Which brings us to the age-old question of why Yitzchok wished to bless Eisov, and not Yaakov, with the blessings of Veyitein Lecho. Let’s go back to Rivkah seeking out Sheim’s guidance regarding her troubling pregnancy and her statement of “Im kein, lamah zeh anochi – If this is the child I will be giving birth to, why do I need this?” Rivkah knew that Avrohom had more than one son. She also knew that Hashem promised (Bereishes 17:21) to honor the covenant He had made with Avrohom through Yitzchok. She knew that following Avrohom’s bris, Hashem said (Bereishis 18:18), “Avrohom will give birth to a large nation… For I know that he will command his sons and household to follow the ways of Hashem, to engage in charity and justice, so that Hashem will bring upon Avrohom (and his children) all He promised.” In order for the son of Yitzchok to merit being the inheritor of the brachos and for the bris to continue through him, he would have to be someone who would follow in the ways of his father and grandfather. Were Rivkah to give birth to a son who served avodah zora, he would not be able to continue the chain and would be rejected, just as Yishmoel was. Rivkah feared that since the baby was

exhibiting dangerous tendencies, he was evil, and when that would become evident, she would be scorned as Hagar was and would be evicted from the home of Yitzchok along with her son. “‘Im kein,’ if that is to be my fate,” worried Rivkah, “‘lamah zeh anochi,’ I will not merit to be the mother of the Jewish people, so what will be of me? “Eliezer came to my area and devised a test to see who would be the worthy wife for Yitzchok, carrying on the traditions established by Avrohom and transmitting them to future generations. Perhaps, although Eliezer was impressed by my acts of chesed, I was not the girl who was bashert for Yitzchok. ‘Im kein,’ if it is true that my son will be an unworthy heir, ‘lamah zeh anochi?’ What am I doing here? I am the wrong wife for Yitzchok and my shlichus is not to be the mother of the third av.” Sheim informed her that while one son would be unworthy, his twin would be the third of the avos, and through him the Jewish nation would begin to take shape. Rivkah was satisfied with that and happily returned home. Apparently, Rivkah never shared that information with Yitzchok and never let him in on the fact that Eisov was an evil imposter, who succeeded in fooling his father with respect to his degree of religiosity. Explanations for Rivkah’s behavior are set forth by the Zohar, Rishonim and Acharonim and are beyond the purview of this article. When it came time to transmit the brachos, Yitzchok planned on giving them to Eisov. However, Rivkah, who knew the truth about Eisov, worked to ensure that Yaakov, the worthy heir, would be blessed, and the chain would be transmitted through him and his children. “Im kein, lamah zeh anochi?” She learned that her shlichus, her mission in life, was to give birth to the third of the avos hakedoshim and ensure that he would be the heir who would give birth to the Shteim Esrei Shivtei Kah, the progenitors of Am Yisroel. This is the meaning of the posuk which tells us (Bereishis 25:28), “Yitzchok loved Eisov and Rivkah loved Yaakov.” Yitzchok was unaware of Eisov’s true nature. Therefore, he loved him, because he would constantly seek to impress his father about his knowledge and frumkeit. Rivkah was aware of the truth and knew that the golden chain would carry on through Yaakov. Therefore, she loved him and dedicated herself to his welfare, though he was “ish tam yosheiv ohalim” and not one to brag or put on a show to impress anyone, including his father. We all have our missions in life. We all

seek to be worthy links in the chain going back to Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov. We face many financial pressures just to be able to maintain a stable family life. We feel pulled from all sides. The yeitzer hora is ever-present, seeking to ensnare us. He has many vises, some of which allow us to maintain our outward appearance of frumkeit and yashrus. He causes us to fool ourselves and think that we are engaging in mitzvos, when what we are really after is the nezid adashim. We have to be honest not only with others, but also with ourselves. We have to understand what we are doing and what our motivations are. If the cause is not as holy as we think, or if we are doing something that we can’t really afford, we should not let ourselves be fooled into something improper or unrealistic. Flee from an overtaxed life and carve out moments of silence to hear your heart and soul, ensuring that they are focused on proper goals. Escape the noise of the world and find a tent, as our grandfather Yaakov did.

Eisov was a man about town, making deals, rushing, always on the move. He wanted to be successful. Yaakov, the ish tam yosheiv ohalim, was neither a participant in the rat race nor seeking to impress anyone. He set goals for himself and attained them. In our day, as well, if we want to benefit from the brachos reserved for the Bnei Yaakov and not fall prey to the vicissitudes of life, we have to set goals for ourselves. A simple drive to succeed leads to bogus figures, dishonest dealings, deceitful relationships and false impressions, coupled with increased pressures and many dead ends. Eisov sought to succeed at all costs. Unprincipled and deceiving, he has been remembered throughout history as the epitome of fallaciousness. Get away from the noise, frustration and pressure. Find a seat in the ohel of Yaakov. There you will find yourself and the elusive commodity of inner peace. You will become motivated to achieve a good life, and merit calmness and happiness as a worthy heir to Yitzchok and Rivkah.

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Torah Musings The Week In News

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Strive for Truth Sarah Pachter

I was learning with a student when she mentioned that a huge obstacle for her was her parent’s opposition to her religious growth. They often told her she had been “brainwashed” and that “these organizations” with whom she had taken classes and whose events she had attended had an agenda to make her into who they wanted her to be. I find that this is one of the greatest challenges for baalei teshuvah. Family members don’t understand what they are doing or going through and often assume the worst. They hear rumors that “being religious” means “being brainwashed.” The media exacerbates this concern with coverage of horrific stories about cults where the followers of a charismatic leader committed mass suicides together. Who can forget Jonestown and other terrible tragedies like that? Naturally, parents are worried. Here is their child in whom they have invested many years of their lives, and now it seems like they risk being rejected for some “otherworldly” reason! Rejected means their children will not eat in those familiar restaurants they grew up eating in or even in their parental home. It means not answering the phone on the “weekend” (now called Shabbos) or not attending all kinds of events that are part of “normal American culture.” Uh-oh! Are parents worried about something that really exists or something they imagine could happen? As I became interested in learning more about Judaism, I couldn’t forget the following experience. When I was in a Conservative Jewish camp as a child, one of the counselors had been to Israel and was now “keeping Shabbat.” I remember overhearing some of the counselors saying, “Ben has been brainwashed.” So there I was, a young, impressionable kid, wondering, What does that mean? Was Israel a scary place, where people force strange things upon you? When I began my own journey to becoming a religious Jew, I felt compelled to learn and grow and explore my own heritage. Yet, those thoughts lingered in my head: Is Orthodox Judaism a cult? And

how will I know if it is or not? When I arrived as a fresh, eager student ready to learn, I was daunted by the enormous gap between where I was religiously and spiritually, and where my peers and teachers seemed to be. Initially I felt overwhelmed as I was forced to really think about my Judaism for the first time in my life. The strange, new environment with what seemed like such an intense approach to religious observance catapulted me into a search to uncover the truth about understanding what “the truth” is! The methods that cults typically use include refusing to allow their practices to be questioned, using social pressure to force unhealthy ideals upon everyone, providing inadequate food and not enough opportunities to sleep in order to prevent clarity of thinking, and punishing anyone who tries to escape. These are just some of the ways cults keep their followers in line. Years later, I worked with a professional who had actually escaped from the Church of Scientology. Her story was not only eye-opening and frightening, but fit the bill for what cults do to maintain power and control. These oppressive methods are diametrically opposed to what Judaism has always offered in its truest form. The places where I learned always encouraged personal growth for the sake of the individual, and my teachers were themselves positive role models who embodied the growth that occurs when we strive to become mentshen – good, honest, kind, loving Jews. It was clear to me that the Torah provides amazing tools that we can internalize and use to become better people. Religious Jews I met – my teachers, rabbis, and the hosts who graciously fed and housed me in their homes on many Shabbatot – all made one thing very clear: The more questions the better! Asking questions was encouraged. (Of course, learning Torah does mean verifying that our teachers are educated, qualified “experts” in conveying our mesorah, as it has been taught for thousands of years, since we stood at Har Sinai and received the Torah. When choosing a teacher, we must make inquiries and use discernment the same way we would choose a

surgeon, physician, dentist, or anyone else in whose hands we place our physical or spiritual selves.) I was very inspired by the many Torah Jews who really “walked the talk,” but they also emphasized that it’s a lifetime process, a long journey with ups and downs. They also explained that observance is always a choice, self-imposed, and not forced on us by others. I can’t speak for every Jewish organization that exists, but Judaism in its purest form is not a religion that exerts detrimental influences onto a person or manipulates the behavior of its followers. There may be groups that push their own agenda under the banner of Judaism, but that does not reflect the religion at its core. And as with everything in life, you can’t judge a whole group by the behavior of some of its followers. True Torah ideals emphasize that happiness comes from within, and specifically from forming meaningful connections – with ourselves, with our loved ones, and of course, with Hashem. The happiest moments in our lives can almost always be traced back to a connection of some kind. Judaism is there to encourage deepening those sparks in our lives. A lot of the assumptions and fears that parents have are a result of the media attempts to portray the religious world in a very negative light, as though people aren’t thinking clearly. But yeshivos and seminaries are places where intellectual, rational thinking are the norm, not the supposed bastions of “brainwashing” we often hear them accused of. The Torah was given to every Jew and there is a direct path of connection to Hashem for each one of us. For me, learning the historical proofs that show the difference between how the Torah was given to us really opened my eyes. Judaism isn’t about “just believe and be saved.” We have to know with our heads, as well as our hearts, the intellectual reasons that we as Jewish people have survived and thrived throughout the millennium of exile and persecution. Standing at Har Sinai with over two million witnesses who saw and heard the Torah being given to us, after coming out

of the bondage of slavery in Egypt together, is a very different beginning then any of the other religions in the world have ever claimed. This is all vital information to know and build our foundation on. Rabbi Dovid Kaplan, who has been teaching baalei teshuvah for many years, advises every person who already has a strained relationship with their parents before becoming observant, as well as those seeking ways to improve their connection, to really learn how to keep the mitzvah of kibud av v’eim. When we visit our parents, instead of preaching, we can roll up our sleeves and start doing the dishes. We can stand up for our parents when they enter the room and explain to them that we are trying to honor them and to express our gratitude, “for everything you have contributed to my life for years!” Try writing a letter thanking them for all the values they instilled in you, including the ones that gave you the intellectual freedom and courage to explore a new way of life. At the very least, express your gratitude for how much they provided for your physical needs throughout your life. Parents – all parents – are thrilled to receive credit for doing something right, and it’s a wonderful way to develop our attribute of appreciation. Leaders of cult-like groups promote adherence to harsh rules and sacrifices as the keys to both earthly and eternal happiness. Advertising and secular society promote the consumption of materialistic products as a way to find happiness. Only the Torah, however, promotes forming connections, within our inner selves, with the people in our lives, and with Hashem, in order to build true inner joy. True observance and religious growth is about accepting ourselves and others, creating a non-judgmental environment, and meeting others where they are at. Judaism, unlike cults, provides structure and limitations in a healthy, guiding way, with independence as the ultimate goal. We must know who we are, where we are trying to go, and do our best to get there in our own time.

The Week In News

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home





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Communicated The Week In News

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

The Biale Rebbe Of Bnei Brak Visits Los Angeles One Of The Greatest Rebbes In Israel, About Whom Hundreds Of Miracle Stories Are Told Barely a year has passed since the Biale Rebbe’s last visit to Los Angeles, but it seems like so much longer. Since then, dozens of miracles resulted from the Rebbe’s blessings, and the sense of wonder and awe that remains with all those who met him in Los Angeles buzz within the community. Now anticipation pulses among the Los Angeles residents, who look forward to seeing the beloved Rebbe again, hearing his golden advice, and above all, glimpsing his loving smile. WHAT MAKES BIALE BNEI BRAK UNIQUE? What is it about Biale Bnei Brak Rebbe that attracts thousands to the Rebbe? What propels hundreds of people to stand on line for hours for a meeting with the Rebbe? CONGRESSMEN & PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S FAMILY MEMBERS What makes democratic Congressman from California Ted Lieu to come and see the Rebbe and what attracts Jewish family members of the president, Donald Trump, to come and get a blessing from the Biale Rebbe? It’s long past midnight and the waiting room is still full of people waiting to see the Biale Rebbe. A look at the crowd is very interesting: Dozens of people went through the door today, people who flew specially from all over the states. These were people who came from all over the U.S. – doctors, lawyers, realtors, financers, bank officials, Young Israel Rabbis – people who would not be expected to come. They are the Biale Rebbe’s chassidim! DON’T WORRY, YOU WILL HAVE A SON!!! We met there a senior doctor that lives in Long Island. The doctor, with his knitted yarmulke, didn’t look like a student of the Biale Yeshiva. To our amazement, he relayed his wonderous story. “Eight months ago, my wife went to a regular checkup during pregnancy, and the doctor said that the baby’s organs don’t look good – there was a chance of Down Syndrome. My wife, in her eighth month, called me in panic. I was lost; I didn’t know what to do. Suddenly I remembered that last year I was by the Biale Rebbe of Bnei Brak. I called the Rebbe’s gabbai and the Rebbe remembered us and heard the doctor’s words. After a few moments, he said decisively, tell your wife she shouldn’t worry – she will have a healthy, whole baby. I said, ‘Amen,’ and told my wife, but understandably the worry didn’t disappear. After two weeks, before she went for another checkup, we called the Rebbe again, and he said, ‘I told you everything will be all right. Don’t worry!’ Baruch Hashem, erev Sukkos, we had a healthy, whole baby, as [promised by] the Biale Rebbe’s blessing.” LIVELIHOOD IS FROM HEAVEN!!!

We met a lawyer from Los Angeles who told us an incredible story. “I make my livelihood as a lawyer for damage claims. Every year, I need at least one big case which will provide for my living throughout the entire year. On my last visit with the Rebbe, I complained about this situation and the Rebbe declared: ‘Mr. _____ don’t worry! This year your parnassah will come in a miraculous way.’ “A short while later, a woman comes to me with a sorrowful story. Her husband, who was a singer by profession, had a sore throat. The doctor prescribed him medication and sent him on his way. After about a month the pain returned and once again the doctor prescribed him the same medication. When

the pain reappeared for the third time, the doctor sent him the prescription via fax without even examining him. Another six months passed, and an acquaintance who met her husband mentioned that he didn’t look well. Unfortunately, the tests showed that he had fifth stage cancer. Not much could be done at that stage, and the man passed away after a few short months. This is an obvious classic case for a lawyer. I handled the damage claims against the doctor, and we reached a decent arrangement which enabled me to charge a nice sum for my professional services. “After the court case I called one of my lawyer friends to thank him for directing this case to me. The lawyer responded with a claim for a big percentage of my earnings. I was dumbfounded by his high claim and offered to meet and discuss it with him. “The very next day, I meet with the lawyer and he exclaims: ‘Good news for you, bad news for me!’ I had no idea what he was on about. The lawyer proceeded to tell me how he checked all his files and could not find anything about recommending me to this woman. This was getting more and more mysterious. I called the woman, and this was her story. ‘I was at my beauty parlor in Beverly Hills, and I poured my heart out to my hairdresser, telling her about my husband and the doctor. Behind us sat another woman, waiting her turn, and she announced, “I know of an excellent lawyer; his name is_____ and I have his details.” Neither I nor the hairdresser has any idea who this woman

was.’ “She was my personal shaliach sent from Heaven to provide me with a living as the Biale Rebbe himself had promised!!!” “A TZADDIK DECREES…” Many stories go around about the power of the Biale Rebbe’s blessings. A couple from Great Neck, New York, came to the Rebbe concerned that they are married already five years, and they are now expecting but they are full of fear as the previous four pregnancies ended with, chas v’chalila, miscarriages, and the doctors say they have no chance to have children. And they advise them to adopt a child. The Rebbe read their names on the kvittel, and said decisively, “With Hashem’s help you will have a healthy baby.” The Rebbe told them to take upon themselves resolutions in mitzvos and good deeds, and promised that he will attend the bris as the sandak of the healthy born baby. Whoever didn’t experience the excitement and emotion of that bris in the presence of the Rebbe could not imagine it… A Jew from Los Angeles, struck with leukemia, came totally apprehensive to the Rebbe, shlita. The Rebbe told him he will get healed from his sickness, and his cure will be to put on tefillin. Barely did a year pass, and he came to the Rebbe showing his test results proving that his body is completely clean of the disease. Businessmen attest that since receiving the Rebbe’s blessing, their businesses flourished unbelievably. Barren couples had children after many years. People who’d been pursued by the court and couldn’t sleep at night in inconceivable trepidation, witnessed wondrous turnabouts. These and more are just a fraction of the miracles that people merited through the Rebbe’s blessings. It is not surprising that hundreds of people flock to the Rebbe’s door, awaiting his advice and blessing. THE FATHER OF THE ORPHANS The Rebbe doesn’t rest for a moment. He has 15 biological children, kein eine hora. The Rebbe spearheads the institutions “Mishnas Shimon” in Beitar Illit, Biale shuls and kollelim in Bnei Brak, Jerusalem, Beitar Illit, Modi’in Illit, Ashdod, and Beit Shemesh, and – closest to the Rebbe’s heart – the Fund for Orphans and Widows, which functions under the Rebbe’s personal supervision. This special fund provides clothing, shoes, homey accommodations in the yeshiva dormitory, and even pocket money for the orphans studying in the Biale yeshivos. But most of all, the Rebbe takes these precious souls under his wing, opening his home for them and caring for their needs as only a father would. The Rebbe follows up on their learning and pairs them with private mentors. The Rebbe personally sees to it that they have new clothing before each holiday. Once, when the Rebbe returned from an overseas trip before Pesach, he went to visit the orphans straight from the airport, even before he saw his fam-

ily, and gave each one money to buy clothing and gifts for yom tov, and only then did he go home. A SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT IN THE BIALE INSTITUTIONS IN ERETZ YISRAEL Barely half a year has passed since the construction has commenced and the building is almost completed. Last completions are currently coming to an end, and the new building in Beitar Illit will be ready for the new beis midrash and beis knesses for the Biale chassidim of Bnei Berak. The new building will also serve as a logistic center to provide aide and support for the many hundreds of orphans, widows, and families in dire need, who the Rebbe takes care of on a steady basis. The Rebbe is renowned for his acts of charity. Widows and orphans in need of assistance know to turn to his address for help. Every erev yom tov, trucks laden with goods are dispatched to provide the needy with everything they might need including: clothing, shoes, meat, fish, goodies, and of course a hefty check, which brings a smile to their wretched faces. Only two months ago, the Rebbe celebrated the wedding of two orphans where the Rebbe acts as a surrogate father to both ever since they were orphaned at a young age. SEVEN GABBAIM AROUND THE CLOCK When the day ends in New York, the phones start humming from Israel, with Jews from Israel on the line who need the Rebbe’s blessing and advice. When the Rebbe is in Israel, phone calls come from Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and New Jersey, because all Jews are his children. Hundreds of emails arrive at the Rebbe’s secretariat, and the Rebbe devotes time every day to answer the questions that arrive from all corners of the world. He prays for each of them, either in his beis midrash, or at holy sites, or at his ancestors’ graves; the Rebbe carries the burden of the whole nation, feeling their sorrow and rejoicing with their simchos. There are seven gabbaim who work around the clock to answer the thousands of questions of people who phone to get a blessing from the Rebbe. Their greatest satisfaction is to tell the Rebbe the good news of another miracle, a child that was born or a couple that got engaged due to his holy blessing. EDUCATION AND DOMESTIC PEACE Among the Rebbe’s many attributes is a deep perception in all areas of life. Parents from all parts of the world consult the Rebbe about education issues. Many times, the Rebbe provides surprising advice which brings about a complete change to the entire household. Homes which were full of strife are now happy, peaceful homes. Countless cases of conflict between couples are solved following the Rebbe’s instructions. Even in hopeless circumstances peace was restored thanks to the Rebbe’s immense investment and intervention. AN ENGAGEMENT PARTY AT 3:00 A.M. One of the Rebbe’s “hobbies” is helping

Communicated The Week In News

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

singles find their marriage partners. Many single boys and girls and parents of singles come to the Rebbe for his encouragement and blessing. But more than just offer his blessing, the Rebbe actively seeks marriage partners for them. This last summer, the Far Rockaway community residents were invited to an engagement party. Both the chassan and the kallah were already in their thirties! Only the couple in focus knew the real story, that were it not for the Biale Rebbe this happy occasion would never have happened. It was the Rebbe who encouraged and supported and even “pushed” the bond. The Rebbe dedicated countless of hours upon hours with each one, until finally at 3:00 a.m. another plate was broken setting the motions for another Jewish home to be built!

extra things I should take on. The miracle took place immediately! Nine months later, I stood outside the delivery room and phoned the Biale Rebbe in Bnei Brak (with apologies to my parents whom I phoned after the Rebbe). ‘Mazel tov,’ I told the Rebbe, ‘It’s a boy!!!’ “‘Mazel tov,’ the Rebbe answered, ‘I know already!!!!’” Now, the residents of the Los Angeles also have the opportunity. If you haven’t

Shabbos tisch. There was a large crowd there enjoying the Rebbe’s singing and talking. Suddenly, the Rebbe looked around in all directions as if he’s searching for somebody, and when he saw me, he called me over, took a piece of fish with a bone from his portion, put it in my hand and said, “Take a son!” (A play on Yiddish/Hebrew words – in Yiddish a bone is called a bein which is like the Hebrew word for son, ben.) After the tisch the Rebbe spoke to me and told me which

yet met the Rebbe, and you are interested in making a personal appointment for advice, blessing, or guidance, you can do this now by phoning the Rebbe’s personal English-speaking secretary, Reb Moshe Friedman at (917) 272-4045 or send an email to NOW IS THE TIME! DON’T MISS THE OPPORTUNITY!!

THE REBBE’S ADDRESS Now the residents of Los Angeles can merit seeing the Rebbe again. During his yearly visit, Angelenos are hosting the Rebbe in their midst, The Rebbe’s main lodgings in Los Angeles will be at the home of the honorable Dr. David and Mrs. Dorothy Stoll, at 422 S. Las Palmas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90020. ONEG SHABBAT & TISCH FRIDAY NIGHT IN HANCOCK PARK A large crowd is expected to come to draw spiritual pleasure and delight, to hear the singing at the Oneg Shabbos tisch which the Rebbe will conduct this Friday night, Parshas Toldos, NOVEMBER 17, will be held in The KOLLEL YECHIEL YEHUDA under the leadership of the well-known Rabbi Yochanan Henig and the Rosh HaKollel Rabbi Menachem Krybus, at 441 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, at 8:30 pm. There are still some people in Los Angeles who remember the Rebbe’s Holy Father, the previous Biale Rebbe, ztz”l. So it is now over 30 years that Rabbis of the community, shtreimlech-wearers, and modern Jews, have participated in Biale tischen. A special part of the tisch is when the Rebbi recites the kiddush in a special nussach, keeping the entire crowd electrified to his holy avodah. It is a known fact to his chassidim that the time of kiddush is a special time with potential to bring about great salvation. Singing together at the tisch moves the masses each time as if they are hearing it for the first time. The assembled feel a “real taste of paradise” each time they experience a Shabbos gathering. A SON IN THE MERIT OF A BONE AT THE TISCH The following story was told first hand by the rav of a Chassidic community in Monsey N.Y.: “Eight years ago, my friends told me that the Bnei Brak Biale Rebbe was visiting Monsey and recommended that I get a blessing from him. I went into the Rebbe with a kvittel with my name and those of my family. At that time, I had three daughters, the youngest already six years old. The Biale Rebbe looked at my kvittel and asked me, “What’s with a boy?” I looked at the Rebbe and replied that I’ll be delighted to have a son. The Rebbe told me that the time hasn’t yet come for this blessing, but it will happen. That Friday night I participated in the Rebbe’s Oneg









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TheBook WeekReview In News

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision-Making Rabbi Jason Weiner

Urim Publications, 368 pp.

Reviewed by Devorah Talia Gordon

When asked to review Rabbi Jason Weiner’s book, Jewish Guide to Practical Decision-Making, I hesitated. Surely my editor had asked the wrong writer. Having almost no medical or halachic knowledge, I imagined the read would be akin to the obligatory earth science class I took as an undergrad, where I struggled to retain even the most basic information to get a “C” in the class. Gratefully, reading this book was nothing like that experience. As the Senior Rabbi and Director of the Spiritual Care Department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Hospital, Rabbi Weiner has helped numerous patients and their families with the highly sensitive issues raised in this book. Rabbi Weiner brings this vast

experience in chaplaincy, along with his compassion, knowledge, and humility, to present a work that is not only a wellspring of vital information on contemporary healthcare, but a source for learning medical issues and the intricacy of halachah when interacting with those issues. The book, filled with real-life scenarios Weiner faced at Cedars, is intended for many types of individuals – from laymen, to patients and clinicians, to rabbinic scholars. Weiner’s goal is “to provide an introduction to the general principles relevant to each issue and the essential questions that must be asked by laypeople in order to productively move towards a resolution to each situation.” Further, he hopes that the

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information in the book will help medical professionals understand the needs of the observant Jew. Although Weiner defines this book as an introduction, I found each chapter rich in its content and detail. The more I explored each topic presented, the more intrigued I became. Such issues as “Truth-Telling: When Painful Medical Information Should and Should Not Be Revealed”; “Palliative Care and Hospice in Jewish Law and Thought”; and “Is Prayer Ever Futile? On the Efficacy of Prayer for the Terminally Ill,” are explored in an accessible yet intelligent style. Each chapter is complete with copious endnotes, giving sources and explanations for those who wish to delve deeper into the topics (which I even found myself doing). In this work, of course, Weiner addresses the highly controversial issues surrounding the end of life. After reading his discussion of the topic, I could grasp words and concepts I’d previously heard but barely understood, such as DNR, Advance Directives, and “Terminal” (what does that mean according to Jewish Law?). For example, Rabbi Weiner does a fine job explaining the difference between withholding vs. withdrawing treatment for patients, including the various halachic opinions with intubating and extubating from a ventilator. I was also quite impressed with the sensitive chapter on mental illness, and Rabbi Weiner’s elucidation on the Jewish approach: “Just like one should not be ashamed when they are stricken with a physical malady, mental illness is an illness like any other, which can be treated and for which there need not be a stigma.” Weiner goes on to discuss pertinent issues in therapy like lashon ha-ra, yichud, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. A fascinating case study Rabbi Weiner explores is an increasing popular innovation called TAH (Total Artificial Heart). This electronic device which serves as a mechanical substitute for the entire heart, carries both “wonderful potential as well as perplexing ethical dilemmas.” Rabbi Weiner elucidates on some of the hala-

chic issues involved, such as what happens when the “heart” continues to beat but the body is failing? Although this is a brief study of the topic, Weiner includes a whopping 55 endnotes just on this topic! The final third of the work focuses on such current topics as physician-assisted suicide, after death, the loss of a baby or fetus, organ donation, autopsies, genetic testing, and reproductive technology. Again, each topic is handled with care and extreme sensitivity, and it is obvious that a vast amount of research went into producing this substantive work. What this reviewer most appreciated was the fact that the author’s personality came through while he delved into intricate medical and halachic issues. This made the work highly engaging. Rabbi Weiner’s compassion for those with whom he works, and really all people, is palpable as he explains his role as chaplain: “Attempting to balance my role as serving as an advocate for patients and their values at the same time that I remain a full member of the interdisciplinary healthcare team is complex, but it is also a privilege – and quite an opportunity, when done right, for positive influence and kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God’s name).”

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NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Humor: Double-Parked in Los Angeles Rebecca Klempner

I really don’t mind it when nonJews eat matzo ball soup or shout, “Mazel tov!” when someone announces a birth or engagement. After all, matzo ball soup is delicious, and “Mazel tov!” is a lot more fun to say than “Congratulations.” (It also has fewer syllables.) Also, it’s hard for me to begrudge others for borrowing our food or our language when I borrow the foods and language of other ethnic groups quite regularly. I’d be a hypocrite. But there’s one bit of cultural appropriation that I will protest: double-parking. You see, double-parking belongs to New York Jews. In the streets of Brooklyn, it is a hallowed custom. Grown out of the desperate straits of those caught in taxis with no place to pull over, it has become the hallmark of the New York Jew. Only UPS men

and Fed-Ex drivers may adopt this minhag with a clear conscience. However, in the last two or three years, the use of double-parking by those driving for Uber and Lyft in Los Angeles has skyrocketed. On Hauser, 3rd Street, and Rexford, it has become common to find drivers double-parked, idling as they wait for their rides to emerge from their apartment buildings, blocking traffic for all those unfortunate enough to have chosen to drive those streets at that moment. Frequently, they double-park even when there is a totally legal spot at a curb just five or ten yards away. It seems they double-park by sheeta. Even Angeleno Jews know better than to steal this minhag from their New Yorker co-religionists. Rarely do they double-park even though the streets of Hancock Park are narrow and parking

scarce. The thought of chillul Hashem reverberates through their imaginations and forces them to find alternate solutions to their parking quandaries – like actually parking two blocks away, when necessary. (The one exception is Purim, when parents double-park with abandon all over Hancock Park and Pico-Robertson as their offspring deliver shalach manos. But we know that Purim is a period of v’hanofachu, when everything is flipped around. Angelenos become New Yorkers. I fully expect that New Yorkers recycle and wear flip-flops everywhere on Purim. The women all wear white shells under their short-sleeved shirts.) In the beloved and much-missed webseries Verplanck, one of the characters – a Breslover chassid – confesses that he has a personal custom to stop wherever he spots someone

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double-parked. He knows where there is double-parking, he’ll find Jews to whom he can hand his pamphlets filled with the wisdom of Rebbe Nachman. If that Yid walked the streets of L.A. today, he’d be very confused. He’d see a car double-parked on Cochran and find a nice Korean family sending their kid back to college. Or he’d stop outside a restaurant on 3rd Street and discover a hipster about to eat avocado toast. Sure, maybe the Korean kid and the hipster would appreciate the words of Rebbe Nachman, but I don’t think they’re exactly our Yid’s target audience. And so, I respectfully request all ride-sharing drivers cease their double-parking immediately. It’s the only moral thing to do.

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Saudi Arabia & Iran A Thousand-Year-Old Conflict Reignited By Sholom Nachtman


ran and Saudi Arabia have long been rivals for supremacy in the Middle East but the two energy-rich superpowers have traditionally avoided direct confrontation. Instead, they have waged their struggle for regional supremacy through proxy wars and diplomatic skirmishing. Wariness and instability in the region have kept the two rivals from taking each other on directly. In the past decade, Saudi Arabia has dealt with turmoil and change while Iran has been consolidating power. In 2015, this fragile stalemate began to unravel. Iran entered a nuclear deal with six major powers, and Saudi Arabia became concerned that Iran’s outcast status on the global stage was beginning to change. In January of 2016, Iran and Saudi Arabia broke off all diplomatic relations in

an acrimonious dispute related to the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. In June of 2017, Saudi Arabia fired the next shot when the Kingdom and several of its Sunni allies cut off all diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting terrorism with the backing of Iran. To international observers, these developments represented a rapid escalation of tensions between the two countries. The pace of the aforementioned events, however, seems downright glacial when compared to the startling news emerging from the region since November began. A string of unprecedented events that threaten to completely upend the status quo have occurred in quick succession. While some of these actions seem unconnected, experts on the region say they are

all part of Saudi Arabia’s new strategy of a direct confrontation with Iran. Military conflicts, political machinations, purges, and ideological schisms are adding up to a potentially explosive geopolitical storm that could bring Iran and Saudi Arabia to the brink of war.

Sunni vs. Shiite: An Age-Old Battle While modern-day animosity between Iran and Saudi Arabia is influenced by recent power struggles, it is also firmly rooted in a centuries-old sectarian dispute. A foundational schism occurred in the Islamic faith 1,500 years ago. After the death of Mohammed in the year 632 C.E., a conflict about succession arose amongst his followers. One

group believed Mohamed’s successor should be someone in his bloodline. The other group maintained that a devout person who would follow Mohammed’s example would be acceptable as a leader. The first group, who believed only in Mohammed’s relatives’ supremacy – coalesced to become the Shiites; the second unit joined to form the Sunnis. Although the original dispute was only about who would lead the Islamic movement and not about religious doctrine, over time the two groups developed distinctly different religious identities, and conflicts in the Muslim world have often broken down along Shiite and Sunni lines of division. Today, Sunnis have become the majority in the Islamic world, encompassing 90 percent of the global Muslim popula-

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tion. While the two groups have much in common, they have significant difference in their beliefs and practice, such as how many times a day to pray and which sites are considered holy. Sunnis are more beholden to strict interpretations of ancient religious texts, while Shiites follow the edicts and directives of individual clerics. Sunni-majority countries include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and others. Iran and Iraq are primarily Shiite. In the wake of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, when radical Shiites gained control of Iran, the Sunni/Shiite rivalry became the dominant theme of Middle Eastern politics. Shiite Iran, with its rabid hatred of the West, became the sworn enemy of Sunni Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which was allied with the U.S. In the decades that followed, with the weakening and eventual removal of Saddam Hussein, Iran and Saudi Arabia have emerged as the leading combatants in a perennial religious rivalry fused with a modern geopolitical power struggle.

An Ascendant Iran The exact starting point of the current situation is a matter of perspective. According to a Middle Eastern diplomat quoted in The Guardian, “Where this story starts depends on your vantage point… To the Saudis, it’s the Islamic Revolution of 1979. They say that forced them to behave abnormally, and that now things are reverting to their old ways. There is truth to that, but there is just as much truth in suggesting 2003 kicked things off. Some of the Iranians at the pointy end of this, meanwhile, might go back another 1,500 years.” Many would agree that the Unites States’ 2003 invasion of Iraq was a definite turning point for the region. One of the unforeseen consequences of the U.S.’s action against Saddam Hussein was the way Iran would manipulate the region in the war’s aftermath. Hussein’s Iraq had been acting as a containing force on Shiite power in the region. (Although the country of Iraq is majority Shia, Saddam and his cohorts were Sunni Muslims.) Iran was held in check territorially and politically for so long as it was bordered by its strongman enemy to the west. With the fall of Saddam came a pow-

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon meeting with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh

er vacuum that Iran was eager to exploit. In the decade and a half since the invasion, Iran has emerged as a regional force with an ever-widening wide sphere of influence. They were one of the main backers of the insurgency that rocked Iraq for years after the war. Now they have become allied in a Shiite partnership with their erstwhile foes and have a permanent military presence in Iraq that is larger and more powerful than Iraq’s own army. In Syria, it is Iranian-backed Hezbollah forces and Iranian soldiers (in the semantical camouflage of “military advisors”) who have bolstered Bashar Al Assad’s forces in their battle against a fierce rebellion. It was also Iran’s partnership with the Kremlin that has allowed the Assad regime to rely on Russian air support and weaponry. With Iranian support, Houthi rebels have successfully engaged Saudi Arabia in a costly war of attrition for two years. As the result of all these strategic partnerships, Iran has carved itself a swath of control that stretches from Tehran to the Mediterranean coast. Along with an increase in military power and political clout, Iran has also raised its profile as a player on the global stage. The tenure of Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust-denying provocateur vocal about his nuclear ambitions as well as his animus towards Israel and the West, caused the world to take notice of Iran and their growing power. At the same time, Saudi Arabia was in a state of flux. The Saudi kingdom’s

dominance has historically been tied to their status as the nexus of the oil industry. The emergence of new forms of energy and other economic developments weakened the Saudis in the marketplace. In addition to economic distress, societal turmoil was brewing. Seventy percent of the country’s population was under 30 and this demographic was hungry for change in Saudi Arabia’s strict religious laws and unfair economic system. Saudi Arabia was forced to contend with these internal problems while Iran continued its quest for power beyond its own borders.

New Sheriff in Town In June of 2017, a sudden change in leadership in Saudi Arabia occurred, leading to a seismic shift in politics and society. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayaf, nephew of King Salman, was ousted by the king and replaced by the king’s son, Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS as he is known in Saudi Arabia. The prince’s profile had rocketed in the years prior to this move. Soon after his father ascended the throne in 2015, the 32-year-old quickly began gaining control and earning a bullish reputation. He was unafraid to take on Saudi power players, including religious leaders, titans of industry, and fellow members of the royal family. Sweeping ambition and a desire for change were the defining traits of his vision for the country. In his positions on both foreign and domestic policy, MBS seems

determined to change the fortunes of Saudi Arabia. His economic plan, named Vision 2030, is meant to transform the Saudi Arabia’s oil-centric economy into a more diverse system. The plan includes selling shares in Aramco, the Saudi national oil company (considered to be the world’s most valuable company), and the development of an independent economic zone on the borders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. Some of MBS’s most radical changes have been to the religious nature of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s leading powers are followers of Wahhabism, an austere and conservative sect of Sunni Islam. Wahhabism is reflected in the extremely religious nature of Saudi Arabia’s laws, which famously includes a ban on women driving. Devotion to Wahhabism is what has given rise to the western perception of Saudi Arabia as an insular country steeped in fundamentalist belief. Wahhabism is also seen as the philosophy behind the rise of al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS. In 2014, Saudi Arabia’s rulers took a tentative baby step away from Wahhabism, saying that the movement had led to jihadism among its adherents and that the strict religious observance it dictates was adversely affecting the country’s economy. Saudis began promoting moderate clergy and introduced legislation that reined in the more extreme clerics and their rhetoric. The government also began involving itself in education and law, areas that had previously been the sole domain of religious leaders. At the time, experts said this was not a rejection of Wahhabism, but a slight softening of very harsh theological views meant to differentiate Saudi Arabia from the nascent Islamic State and make Saudi Arabia friendlier looking for international business. Stephane Lacroix, author of Awakening Islam, has explained the government’s move towards the center. “They’ve been pushing for a more national Wahhabism, one that is more modern in its outlook, one that is better in terms of the Kingdom’s image overseas, one that is more economically suitable.” Under MBS, this push towards modernization and a more western-friendly image for Saudi Arabia has been kicked into high gear. In




OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

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September, the prince ended the ban on women driving and has stated his intention to bring Saudi Arabian culture into the twentieth century. In an interview with The Guardian, MBS explained why Saudi Arabia needed to change: “What happened in the last 30 years is not Saudi Arabia… After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, people wanted to copy this model in different countries, one of them is Saudi Arabia. We didn’t know how to deal with it… We are simply reverting to what we followed – a moderate Islam open to the world and all religions.” He added, “Seventy percent of the Saudis are younger than 30. Honestly, we won’t waste 30 years of our life combating extremist thoughts; we will destroy them now and immediately.” The socially moderate and politically strong-willed MBS was hailed as an ally for the current U.S. administration when he rose to power in June. At the time, a source close to the Trump administration said that the American president was happy with MBS taking control of Saudi Arabia and that he was an asset to the U.S. vision for the Middle East. “The circles who have worked on the bridge between this administration and the Arab coalition, they know each other, and they know Prince Mohammed is a solid ally,” the source said. “The consolidation of Prince Mohammed’s influence within the government of Saudi Arabia is going to be seen as a positive development for the administration ... and now there are less risks that there will be opposition to him in the near future.”

Despite this early vote of confidence from the U.S., recent drastic moves by MBS have outsiders worried that the prince’s brand of decisive leadership may prove to be a risky source of conflict.

Purges and Power Grabs On November 4, a sudden blitz of police action shocked Saudi Arabia. In what amounted to a purge, MBS ordered the arrests of many influential Saudis, including eleven princes and several business tycoons. Accused of corruption and taking bribes, these powerful Saudis were abruptly taken into custody and imprisoned at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton. Along with the ar-

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

rested: some sources say they were for real crimes discovered by intelligence agencies, while others say the charges were trumped up excuses for MBS to consolidate power and eliminate enemies. A report by The Economic Times quoted sources who said that a coup against MBS was in the works and that the corruption charges were a cover to prevent the takeover. Whatever the reason, the purge revealed the extents to which MBS will go to maintain control of Saudi Arabia. Concurrent with the purge, Saudi Arabia saw a major escalation in its military conflict to the south with Houthi rebels in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has been backing Yemenite government forces in their battle against the

Iran and Saudi Arabia have emerged as the leading combatants in a perennial religious rivalry fused with a modern geopolitical power struggle.

rests came the freezing of thousands of bank accounts and almost 800 billion dollars’ worth of assets. Among the arrested were Miteb bin Abdullah, MBS’s cousin and a rival for the throne, and Alwaleed Bin Taleel, a major shareholder in companies like Apple, Twitter and Citigroup. There is ambiguity surrounding the charges against those ar-

Iranian-allied rebels. Thanks to Iran’s support, the war has dragged on for two years and has led to the deaths of the 10,000 civilians, the displacement of three million more, and a crippling famine. On the day after the purge, the rebels launched a rocket at Riyadh. The missile was shot down 125 miles away from the capital and

caused minimal damage. MBS called the missile attack “a direct military action” by Iran against Saudi Arabia, although Iran has denied supplying the missile to the rebels. The missile attack is yet another indication that proxy warfare is bleeding into more open combat.

Resignation or Coercion? Another major development in the emerging tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia was the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Said Hariri. Hariri was in Saudi Arabia on the day of the purges in the Kingdom. In an unexpected televised press conference, Hariri announced his resignation. During his remarks, he criticized Iran for meddling in his home country by backing Hezbollah, saying that the interference had made his job impossible and that their efforts were a failure. “I say to Iran and its allies – you have lost in your efforts to meddle in the affairs of the Arab world… [The region] will rise again and the hands that you have wickedly extended into it will be cut off.” Hariri seemed to be issuing a stern rebuke to Iran with his comments and resignation, an act which caused reverberations throughout the region. During the days that followed controversy swirled surrounding Hariri’s resignation. Hariri was not seen for eight days and many began to suspect that the Saudis were holding Hariri against his will. Stories began to emerge that painted a picture of coercion. Hariri’s phone had been con-

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

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NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

fiscated at the airport and there were rumors that a resignation script had been handed to the prime minister upon his arrival in Riyadh. On Sunday after his long absence from the public eye, Hariri gave another press conference. Looking haggard and at times close to tears, the former prime minister denied that he was being held against his will and declared his intention to return to Lebanon for a formal resignation. He added a surprising caveat: the possible rescinding of his resignation if Hezbollah would cease its military activities in the Middle East. If the Iranian-backed group would stop fighting in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, Hariri would return to his post and keep Lebanon neutral in all ongoing regional conflicts. This press conference and strange bargain did little to deflect rumors that Hariri is the unwilling pawn of the Saudis. In fact, the blatantly pro-Saudi nature of his resignation terms only served to increase suspicion of heavy-handed

tactics on the part of the Kingdom. Maha Yaha, director of the Middle East Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has pointed out that Hariri’s television appearance was meant as a way for the Saudis to save face. “I suspect that this [statement by Hariri that he might return] is kind of a more honorable exit for everyone concerned… I think this kind of strong-arm tactic [by Saudi Arabia] obviously caused a lot of alarm and that flies in the face of international norms. So I suspect that this was [to] kind of soften the entire situation.” The Saudis claim that Hariri acted of his own accord, coming to Saudi Arabia because of death threats he faced in Lebanon. They say his resignation was meant to send a message to Hezbollah and Iran about the corrosive effects their meddling has had on Lebanon. Hezbollah has responded by saying that Saudi Arabia’s actions are a declaration of war against Lebanon. Whatever the truth is behind the resignation of Hariri, it has served


to markedly ramp up the tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

A Tumultuous Future The recent firestorm of political and military upheaval in the Middle East makes the future of the region very uncertain. The specter of a head-on collision between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a frightening one for the international community. The U.S. has sought to moderate the friction between the two powers. Initially, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seemed to tentatively back the Saudi Arabian narrative about Hariri’s resignation, saying that it was “well intentioned.” However, he later released the following statement as the mystery deepened: “The United States supports the stability of Lebanon and is opposed to any actions that could threaten that stability… There is no legitimate place or role in Lebanon for any foreign forces, militias or armed elements other than the legitimate security forces of the Lebanese state –

which must be recognized as the sole authority for security in Lebanon… The United States cautions against any party, within or outside Lebanon, using Lebanon as a venue for proxy conflicts or in any manner contributing to instability in that country.” Tillerson’s statement serves as a warning to both Iran and Saudi Arabia, two parties who have been guilty of manipulating Lebanon in the past. His request seems reasonable enough on the surface: don’t use Lebanon to wage your grudge match. Complying with Tillerson, however, would come along with a troubling reality that belies the simplicity of his request. Iran and Saudi Arabia have always used countries like Lebanon to fight their wars. Devoid of proxies and puppets, and with their fundamental conflicts unresolved, is the only remaining option a hot war between the rivals? The world can only watch and wait as these two powerhouses square off in an increasingly fraught, fearful and fragile environment.


Faces of ICSN: The Boy on the Bike Instead of learning and playing with friends his own age, 6-year-old David Babayan must be content with riding a tricycle outside the entrance of a cancer treatment center at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein-Kerem Hospital. As David’s father, Eitan, watches his frail looking son from a distance, enjoying a few precious moments of fun amidst Jerusalem’s fresh air, he cannot help but wonder what his family’s situation would be without the on-going support of the Israel Cancer Support Network (ICSN). “I’m waiting for a volunteer driver from ICSN to pick us up and take us both home for a few hours. Then David can see his mother and actually enjoy being with the family for a few hours, because then we have to return to the hospital to continue my son’s treatments,” he revealed. A sick child is every parent’s nightmare. The impact on a family goes far beyond the worry for their child’s future.

families who were previously in an economically sound situation. ICSN offers families battling cancer with holistic support based on their needs from funding for medicines to household help. “I honestly don’t know where we would be without ICSN’s help. It makes no difference what time of the day or night, if I need to get back to the hospital with David. They arrive with a smile on their face, ready to assist in any way,” claimed Eitan. “And because I’m not always able to work our financial situation isn’t great. But ICSN makes sure we have basic food staples by providing us with various forms of financial assistance. They are literally life savers.” Eitan Babayan struggles to balance caring for David with his own work schedule and the needs of his other children. The bulk of the hospital visits fall on Eitan, while his

wife stays home to juggle her own job and the rest of the household responsibilities. The fiscal toll of dealing with a desperately sick child can wreak havoc even on

To learn more about how the Israel Cancer Support Network is helping families survive the worst see .



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Hundreds Dead in Earthquake in Iran

At least 530 people in Iran have been confirmed dead after an earthquake struck the Iran-Iraq border region on Sunday. Over 7,400 others in Iran were injured in the 7.3 magnitude quake. In Iraq, on the other side of border, seven people lost their lives. 535 people were reported injured there. Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran, toured the area of Kermanshah, which ap-

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

peared to be the most affected by the tremor. “This was a pain for all Iranians,” he said. Seven big cities and 1,950 villages were damaged in the quake. At least 12,000 homes were completely destroyed. Officials in Iran declared Tuesday as a national day of mourning and newspapers broke with tradition to publish their front page headlines in the Kurdish language in a rare move showing solidarity with the majority-Kurdish areas worst affected. “Iran wept,” read the front page of Aftab-e-Yazd, over a big photo of an Iranian woman holding a lost family member in her arms. “Kermanshah, you are not alone,” read the reformist Etemaad’s headline. Serious questions have been raised about the construction standards of a series of newly built apartments that collapsed or were severely damaged. Iran’s first vice-president, Eshaq Jahangiri, said many had been built as part of an affordable housing scheme introduced by the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian daily newspaper Hamdeli blamed Ahmadinejad for the scale of destruction, publishing a cartoon on its front page under the headline “This is what you cooked [for us]” of the former president taking a selfie in the rubble. Iran has seen powerful earthquakes in recent decades. The 1990 Manjil–Rudbar earthquake in northern Iran, which had a

magnitude similar to the one on Sunday, resulted in the deaths of 35,000 to 50,000 people. The 2003 Bam earthquake in the southern Kerman province killed at least 31,000. Sunday’s earthquake was the deadliest in Iran in over than a decade. Israel offered condolences and assistance to Iran and Iraq after the dissaster, but was immediately rebuffed.

Australian MP Resigns

A by-election was recently triggered in Australia when Liberal MP John Alexander resigned from parliament there. The 66-year-old recently found out that he may not be a pure Australian and is therefore unable to hold public office. He

announced that after checking with the British Home Office – he was no longer certain that he was a sole Australian citizen. “Given what I have learned about the constitution and understanding now of the high court decision just a couple of weeks ago, I can no longer, with sufficient certainty, maintain the belief that I have held through my 66 years,” he said. “Therefore, it is my obligation that I must resign. That’s what I will do. I think there is a great need for certainty, to clarify the situation and to do so as expeditiously as possible.” He added that Australians are fed up with the uncertainty in their government. The loss of Alexander means that the government does not have a majority in the House of Representatives. The Labor party announced its intention to bring money back into the government’s coffers. Of the 148 members of the House, 74 are from the government’s Labor party. It takes a majority of 76 votes to win a vote. Putting together a coalition government will be very difficult now that many members have been found to have been born in England and were also UK citizens at the time of their nomination to parliament. According to the constitution, representatives can only hold Australian citizenship and not be dual citizens of another country.

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The by-elections are set to take place on December 16. The chief government whip, Nola Marino, is also facing questions after it was revealed that she may have Italian blood in her through marriage. According to the consulate general of Italy “foreign women who married an Italian citizen prior to 27 April 1983 automatically acquired Italian citizenship on the date of marriage.” Marino married her husband in Western Australia in 1972. According to Marino, registration is required in order to be disqualified from holding office, and she is not registered. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will decide what exactly constitutes “citizenship” from another country.

Joint U.S. War Carrier Exercises For the first time in a decade, three 100,000 ton carriers, the USS Ronald Reagan, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz, and their multi-ship strike groups sailed together off the Korean Peninsula. The group on Tuesday was finishing up four days of exercises in the waters between South Korea and Japan. But so many U.S. ships – and several South Korea and Japanese warships – are making North Korea uncomfortable. According to a letter from North Korea to the United Nations secretary-general, the exercises are creating “the worst ever situation prevailing in and around the Korean Peninsula.” Washington “is now running amok for war exercises by introducing nuclear war equipment in and around the Korean Peninsula, thereby proving that the U.S. itself is the major offender of the escalation of tension and undermining of the peace,” the letter written by North Korea’s UN Ambassador Ja Song Nam read. He added that the exercises show that North Korea is right to build up its defenses. The state-run Korean Central News Agency said on Saturday that the presence of the three carriers was part of Washington’s “sinister intention to maintain military hegemony in the region.”

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 | The Jewish Home

The United States has said that their presence is a signal to North Korea that it will not be intimidated by Kim Jong Un’s constant testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. “We sent three of the largest aircraft carriers in the world [to the Korean Peninsula] and a nuclear submarine is also positioned,” U.S. President Donald Trump noted after his arrival in South Korea last week. The president also chastised North Korea on his trip, calling for an end to its nuclear program and saying “we hope to G-d we never have to use” the military strength the U.S. has on the Korean Peninsula. North Korean government officials told CNN last week that the U.S. was increasingly taking action that could “ignite another Korean War.” “Nobody knows when and how the ‘war maniac’ Trump will ignite the ‘wick of war,’” the officials said, referring to the presence of the carriers near the peninsula.

Most Visited Countries

well. The third spot went to London, which was Europe’s most visited city. By the end of 2017, 19.8 million tourists will have visited the city of Big Ben. As Asian capitals become more popular, large European cities like London will see their spots on the list fall, the findings predict. “Asia Pacific is the standout region driving change in travel,” said Wouter Geerts, Senior Travel Analyst at Euromonitor International. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv came in as the 76th and 78th most visited cities in the world. Following Hong Kong, Bangkok and London, the rest of the top ten includes Singapore, Macao, Dubai, Paris, New York, Shenzhen and Kuala Lumpur. According to Euromonitor’s estimates, the five most toured cities in 2025 will be Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Macao and Dubai.

China Dominates Supercomputers

ers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee and cloud-computing company Prometeus. It ranks supercomputers by how fast they can perform mathematical calculations on an imperfect but still useful speed test called Linpack. Results are measured in floating-point operations per second, or FLOPS. The top two machines both are in China. Sunway TaihuLight, at China’s National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, was clocked at 93.01 petaflops, or 93 quadrillion calculations per second. The No. 2 machine, Tianhe-2 at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, scored 33.86 petaflops. They’ve held the top two spots for two years. The United States might reclaim the top spot on the Top500 list, though. An IBM-built machine called Summit at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is designed to reach about 200 petaflops, double the performance of Sunway TaihuLight. It’s housed in a 10,000-square-foot facility that has a 20-megawatt power system for running the machine and keeping it cool. That’s enough electricity to power about 16,300 houses.

Ancient Jewish Cemetery Discovered in Italy

Looking to take a vacation? The rankings of the “world’s top tourist destinations” have been published, and Hong Kong once again nabbed the top slot. 25.7 million tourists visited the bustling city this year. Although Hong Kong saw a 3.2% drop this year compared to last, it was still higher than Bangkok, Thailand, which landed at number 2. Bangkok saw a 9.5% spike in tourist visits this year with 21.3 million guests visiting the city. It came in second last year as

It’s been a race of the supercomputer between the U.S. and China. For years, China has claimed the top spot on a list of the 500 fastest supercomputers. Now it dominates the overall list, too, pushing the United States into second place. For the first time ever, China has the most systems on the Top500 list – 202 – up from 159 six months ago. The U.S. dropped from 169 to 144. And in terms of the total performance of those machines, China also overtook the U.S., the Top500 supercomputer list organizers said. The news underscores the relentless ascent of China’s supercomputing trajectory in recent years. It also marks a notable shift in the international balance of highend computing power that’s closely tied to industrial, academic and military abilities. As President Trump knows, China is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Supercomputers, mammoth machines that can occupy entire buildings and use thousands of processors, are useful for tasks like simulating nuclear weapons explosions, forecasting weather, designing aircraft and investigating the cosmos by reconstructing thousands of years of the universe’s history. The Top500 list, released twice a year in conjunction with the annual SC conference, is compiled by research-

About five centuries ago, Italy was home to many Jews. But due to oppression and persecution, most signs of Jewish life have been erased – until recently. As part of an excavation, the largest medieval Jewish cemetery known to have ever existed in Italy has been discovered, nearly 500 years after it was desecrated. Bologna Mayor Virginio Merola announced the discovery last week. The project actually began over five years ago when archaeologists began discovering graves. The graves were those of men, women, and children, and some plots had ornaments made of gold, silver, bronze, hard stones, or amber. “It is a unique discovery,” Merola said. “It is an enrichment of the cultural story of our city and of the presence of the Jewish community in Bologna.” Located in Via Orfeo, in central-Northern Italy, the excavation began by accident during a residential construction project.

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Archaeologists were able to date the cemetery back to the 1390s and assumed it was destroyed when Pope Pius V banished Jews from the region in 1569. Only Jews in Rome and Ancona were allowed to remain in Italy. At the time the Jews were forced to live in a ghetto in Bologna. In 1586 Jews were once again allowed back into the town of Bologna until 1593, when they were again banished. 900 Jews left at the time and were not allowed back for more than two centuries. Historians say that the pope’s instructions to local nuns were “to dig up and send, wherever they want, the bodies, bones and remains of the dead: to demolish, or convert to other forms, the graves built by the Jews, including those made for living people: to remove completely, or scrape off the inscriptions or epitaphs carved in the marble.”

Big Brother Coming to China The Chinese government will be introducing the Social Credit System in order to track its citizens. The controversial system will be similar in some ways to a credit score but will include factors other than finances such as political leanings, purchase history, and even a “trust score” based on social interactions. All citizens will be evaluated using the new system by 2020. Chinese officials claim that the system will influence their citizen’s behavior to better benefit society and “move their country forward.” Critics of the system say that the system is the latest attempt by the Chinese government to keep tabs on its citizens and continue a long tradition of state surveillance. Rachel Botsman has written a book about the new system that is to be implemented in the coming years. Botsman explains that the system will look at many aspects of a person’s life, such as whether someone pays their bills and their mortgage on time. The system will also look at people’s online presence and whether their comments are in-line with the Chinese government’s agenda. It will also be able to track a person’s friends’ behavior and their social connections as well in order to fully assess a Chinese person’s “National Trust Score.” Botsman explains that the government will be tracking purchases to gauge how responsible a person is. She says that if someone buy shoes or diapers, their score would go up, but if they buy video games, their score would go down as they are seen as less responsible. The idea of the score is to sum up a person’s character and make predictions based on their social environment, which many find very frightening. The benefits of a high score include being fast-tracked for visas, discounts on insurance policies and even discounts on

cars and hotel stays. The scariest part of the system, according to Botsman, are the consequences of having a low score. A low trust score would mean that your children might not get into the schools that you want and you may not be able to get a job or a mortgage. Many supporters of the system say that big companies are gathering this data anyway, so at least let the government regulate it. Time will tell whether the Chinese government will abuse the system or will use it to truly advance China’s society and business culture.

Slovenian President Re-elected The president of Slovenia was re-elected in a runoff vote this week. Borut Pahor just beat out his challenger with 53 percent of the country voting for him to hold office for a second term. The voter turnout was about 42 percent, according to the preliminary figures released by the country. They are the lowest numbers for a presidential election since the country became independent in 1991.

Pahor promised to focus on cooperation, political stability, and security after his win was announced. “I will be the president of all; I will connect people, build


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The Week In News upon the things we have in common,” he said. The role of president in Slovenia is mostly a ceremonial one, however, the president does lead the army and nominates top officials who are then confirmed by the parliament. Pohar was forced into a runoff race after he could not secure a majority of voters in the first round. Pohar was only able to garner 47% of the vote in the first round three weeks ago. The former fashion model is known as “the king of the Instagram” because he often posts pictures of himself on social media playing sports.

Military Coup in Zimbabwe After 37 years of rule, Robert Mugabe’s power over Zimbabwe seems to be over. On Wednesday, the military said that it was holding the president and his family “safe” while targeting “criminals” in his entourage. Mugabe is the only ruler the country has known since its independence. The main goal of the military seems to be preventing Mugabe’s wife, Grace, from taking over after Mugabe. Robert Mugabe is 93-years-old; Grace is 41 years younger than her husband.

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Soldiers seized the state broadcaster and a general appeared on television to announce the takeover. Armored vehicles blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare, while taxis ferried commuters to work nearby. The atmosphere in the capital remained calm. Mugabe, still seen by many Africans as an anti-colonial hero, is reviled in the West as a despot whose disastrous handling of the economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power destroyed one of Africa’s most promising states. He plunged Zimbabwe into a fresh political crisis last week by firing his vice president and presumed successor. The generals believed that move was aimed at clearing a path for Grace Mugabe to take over and announced on Monday they were prepared to “step in” if purges of their allies did not end. “We are only targeting criminals around him [Mugabe] who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, said on television. “As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.” Hours after the coup the country remained calm. Traffic was lighter than usual, but without chaos. Whatever the

final outcome, the events could signal a once-in-a-generation change for the southern African nation, once a regional bread-basket, reduced to poverty by an economic crisis Mugabe’s opponents have long blamed on him.

Even many of Mugabe’s most loyal supporters over the decades had come to oppose the rise of his wife, who courted the powerful youth wing of the ruling party but alienated the military, led by Mugabe’s former guerrilla comrades from the 1970s independence struggle. While most African states gained independence by the end of the 1960s, Zimbabwe remained one of the last European colonies on the continent, ruled by white settlers as Rhodesia until 1980. Mugabe

took power after a long guerrilla struggle, and two decades later ordered the forcible seizure of white-owned farms. The fall in output that followed was one of the worst economic depressions of modern times. By 2007-2008 inflation topped out at 500 billion percent. Mugabe blamed Britain and the United States for sabotaging the country. His followers used violence to suppress a growing domestic opposition he branded lackeys of former colonial powers. The economy briefly stabilized from 2010 to 2014, when Mugabe was forced to accept a power-sharing government with the opposition, but since then the recovery has unraveled. In the last year, a chronic shortage of dollars has led to long lines outside banks. Imported goods are running out and economists say that by some measures inflation is now at 50 percent a month. The economic implosion has destabilized the region, sending millions of poor laborers streaming out of the country, mostly to neighboring South Africa. The political crisis came to a head last week when Mugabe sacked his presumed heir, Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa, a long-serving former leader of the security forces nicknamed “the Crocodile” for his role as Mugabe’s enforcer over the decades.

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ochel was always a happy child. Now, at 22, her natural spirit has been dampened by the trials of life. For over a year, she has been seeking a job in her profession. While we live in Toronto, Canada, Rochel wanted a job in NY, where she felt she would have also have a greater chance of finding a shidduch. But no job, no shidduch… no happiness. I watched Rochel become more sad and despairing each day. It broke my heart. I couldn’t watch her suffer anymore. I davened to Hashem for help, and he placed this random idea in my head. I flipped through the newspapers all the time, glanced at those Tehillim Kollel stories, but never put too much thought into what they had to offer. But now, it seemed like a message from Hashem: “Call! Their honest and dedicated Tefillos are what you need!” So I signed up my Rochel. And 10 days later, I repeat, 10 days later, she got a job! A great job, a job in NY, exactly what she was looking for. And over the next couple of days, I watched my Rochel bloom and transform back into the Rochel I knew, happy and contented. We daven that the next step should be a good shidduch and that we continue to watch our Rochel grow and thrive!






WILLIAMSBURG ‫ | ביהמ״ד דינוב‬MONROE ‫ציון הרה״ק‬ ‫ | מסאטמאר זצ״ל‬MIRON ‫ | ציון הרשב״י במירון‬YERUSHULAYIM ‫ | קבר שמעון הצדיק‬AMUKA ‫ | ציון רבי יונתן בן עוזיאל‬BEIT SHEMESH ‫ | קבר ָדּן בן יעקב‬TZFAS (1) ‫| ציון האר”י הקדוש‬ TZFAS (2) ‫ | ציון רבי לייב בעל יסורים‬TZFAS (3) ‫ציון רבי שלמה‬ ‫ | אלקבץ‬TEVARYA (1) ‫ | ציון של״ה הקדוש‬TEVARYA (2) ‫ציון‬ ‫ | רבי מאיר בעל הנס‬EIN ZEITIM ‫ציון רבי יהודה בר אלעאי‬ | ENGLAND ‫ | ציון הרה״ק משאץ זי״ע‬BELGIUM ‫ציון הרה״ק רבי‬ ‫ | איציקל ורבי יענקלע זצ״ל‬MONSEY ‫ציון הרה״ק מריבניץ זצ״ל‬


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Proactive Parenting:

Chinuch vs. Control – Part 2 Sara Teichman, Psy D

The previous article differentiated between chinuch and control. Whereas chinuch is long- lasting and emanates from within the child, control is short-lived and external (i.e. We can force our child to behave but only while he is in our presence.). However, as parents, we want more than just learned, automatic – albeit good – behavior. We want our children to choose to do the right thing, both in public and in private. Unfortunately, too many of us, way too often, resort to pressure in our efforts to get our children to behave appropriately. Though we suspect that there is a better way, we are flummoxed by the many challenges our children present and react – all too often – poorly. Even though we put great stock in training, it is critical to note that training is not chinuch. It is one of a host of strategies parents can use, but it certainly has its limitations. Training is an excellent beginning strategy for the very young, and a fine one for us all to fall back on. When we are pressed or unsure, our early training and habits stand us in good stead. But habit has limited traction, as the story of the cat trained to be a waiter who forgets himself when a mouse is let loose teaches us. Chinuch is more than training and good habits. It is internal, in every fiber of our being. It is about being clear in our values and beliefs and making sure that our choices are in alignment with them. Thus, even when we arrive in unforeseen, novel situations, the background imbedded in us will – hopefully – direct us to the Torah choice. So, how are we best mechanech our children? There have been tens of thousands of sefarim and books written about this subject, and I urge my readers to find those which talk to them. In this brief article, I will highlight some of the concepts I find important and hope that you

will be inspired to look into them in greater depth. Modeling: Children – and adults – copy what they see. And, despite complaints about the school and bemoaning “the streets,” what children see most is us. Be what you want to see. Mom believes in being generous and sharing and hopes her children will adopt those values. She gives space in her home freely and loves making tzedakah parties. Surprisingly, she also grumbles about the stream of meshulachim at the door and passes by the homeless without a second glance… Unfortunately, the mixed message is not lost upon her daughter who is happy to share her largesse with the popular girls, but oblivious of all the others. Give Genuine Choices: To make choices, we have to be aware that we have responsibility to make conscious decisions; bechira is the cornerstone of yiddishkeit. We need practice to get in the habit of making choices and taking responsibility for them. Unfortunately, force aborts that process. People who have been coerced their whole life have no experience in making choices. They often do not believe that they even have the right to make choices. When faced with a challenge, they expect to be told what what to do – or simply do what their parents did. Or, maybe, instead of choosing, they react – in anger, frustration, or resentment. By allowing our children choices (within a reasonable framework for our families), instead of forcing discipline, we are preparing them for a healthy Torah existence. The Staub kids are really into Monopoly. Unfortunately, though the first hour goes well, the game eventually devolves into a cheating fest with accusations of “You’re a

cheater!” and toy money hurled around the room. Now, Dad knows what his father would have done: confiscated the game or hurled it in the garbage. But, what would the children have learned? To fight sotto voce, out of Dad’s earshot? Stop throwing fake money? Dad wants his kids to learn something more and decides to try something else. He calls the kids together and gives them a choice. They could agree on some mechanism for disagreement or play a different game. It’s their choice – and hopefully one that will spur them on to make similar choices based on shalom bayis in their adulthood. Relationship: The only real claim we have on our children is our relationship to them. We cannot influence our children in a positive way until we have formed a connection to them. This idea has been captured in the phrase “connection before correction” by Jane Nelson in her classic Positive Discipline. When children feel connection, they feel significance and belonging. Often that alone is enough for behavior to stop. However, when they are punished and criticized, they pull away from us. They do not want to please us; in fact, they may choose to misbehave to get back at us. Elly is the “no-fair” child in the family. No matter what it is – treats, privileges, attention, stuff – he is convinced that the distribution is unfair. And he’s the one losing out, of course. His parents have tried it all. Lectures, talks, mussar shmuessen, consequences, and punishments have all proven useless. After a particularly frustrating day of “no-fairs” the parents decide to go another way – to begin a campaign of convincing Elly that they are on his side. They listen and hug him even when they don’t feel

like it. They validate his feelings. They stop arguing with him and try to spend some special time with him every evening. Now, I’m not in the habit of telling tall tales, so I can’t say it ended happy ever after right away. But, after a long, hard few weeks, parents did detect a thawing in Elly’s attitude. They felt convinced that they were on the right track and that “connection before correction” was the way to go. Like Elly’s parents, we often wish it wouldn’t be so hard. Maybe we recall our own parents who may have never bothered to think about this stuff at all. We wish we could just teach our children to listen – or simply force their hands. But, we know that every generation has its issues, and as astute parents, we want to figure out how to effectively conquer the challenges of our day. Dear Readers, It has been my privilege to contribute to a fine publication like The Jewish Home – LA. However, due to my upcoming move to Lakewood, New Jersey, this will be my last column. I appreciate all your interest and support, questions and challenges, over the last couple years. I hope this column has motivated you in some small way to work on becoming the best parent you can possibly be. Much hatzlachah to you all, Dr. T. The Book Nook: The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson is designed to help parents understand how their children think and feel. Their ideas are based on connecting to our children and attachment theory and have a very practical application to our world today. Sara Teichman, Psy D. is a psychotherapist in private practice and has served as the Clinical Director of ETTA, L.A.’s largest Jewish agency for adults with special needs.

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Photo by Boruch Ezagui