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The Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

5 thAnnual


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The Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home






















The Week In News CONTENTS


Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 In Pictures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22


The Voice of Silence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Let the Neshamah Take Over . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16


Does the Media Control Your Mind? . . . . . . . . . . . . 24


Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

LIFESTYLES Travel Guide: St. Petersburg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Ask Dr. T. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

NEWS Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32




Dear Readers,

“Na’aseh v’nishmah – We will do, then we will understand.” These are the words we collectively responded when G-d asked if we would accept the Torah. We knew the truth of G-d’s existence, and so taking this leap of faith was the obvious choice. Since G-d is real, so are his laws – the details of which we knew would soon follow. Here’s another way to look at it. Say, for example, someone isn’t well, and the doctor proscribes a medicine which will heal them. (For the sake of our mashal, assume this a trustworthy doctor who is 100% correct in the diagnosis 100% of the time.) It would make little sense for the patient to take this medicine only on condition that they understood its exact mechanism and the details of how it worked: When someone isn’t feeling well, their faculties are not 100%. If they take the medicine, they will reach their prime strength, and then it would be easier to understand. The healing process is best understood when experiencing it firsthand. Why push off getting better! The medicine will work regardless of our understanding of it. Same is true with the mitzvot. A Jew is only 100% spiritually well when adhering to the ways of the Torah. Its beauty

2, 2016 appreciated | The Jewish Homewhen and purpose JUNE is best experienced first-hand…why not get spiritually healthy now! A few thousand years have passed since then, and by now the benefits of many of the commandments are easy to see. Shabbos observance = focus. Modesty = sanctity. Kosher = conscious eating. Prayer = spirituality. Torah learning = constant education. Pikuach Nefesh = sanctity of human life. Tzedakah = concern for others. And so on. These benefits are sometimes so obvious it can be tempting to keep these mitzvos because of logic while ignoring their G-dly origins. When hesitating to take the next leap in Torah observance, thinking, “What’s the purpose” of adding another Torah class, being more careful with the blessings we make, or getting along better with our in-laws, we should remember na’aseh and then nishmah. If we take the plunge, we will surely come to appreciate it later. It says matan Torah only happened once, but the secrets of the experience will only be revealed after the coming of Moshiach. Our world can use exactly that. May we have an inspiring Shabbos and a joyous matan Torah,


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

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home


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The Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Great Lengths for Cancer: Hair for Wigs Program Yehudis Litvak

As a member of Yeshiva Aharon Yaakov Ohr Eliyahu PTA, Jenny Gurvitz is very involved in the school. But she isn’t s a t i s fi e d . “We want to do more than help our school,” she says. “We want to make a difference in the entire community.” To this end, the YAYOE PTA partnered with Zichron Menachem, an Israeli organization that provides support for children with cancer and their families. For the first time in Los Angeles, they will be hosting a unique event, Great Lengths for Cancer, where local women and girls will be able to donate their hair to be made into wigs for Israeli children with cancer. Zichron Menachem, one of the top Israeli charities, currently provides 24hour support for families battling cancer. It maintains a blood bank and a database of platelet donors available on short notice. It also operates a day center where siblings of children with cancer can come after school and receive help with homework and a hot meal while their parents are busy caring for their sick sibling. Other Zichron Menachem activities include a respite camp for patients, a birthday program to make a sick child’s birthday special, and a support group for parents of children with cancer. Zichron Menachem is also known for providing wigs, free of charge, to children who lose their hair while undergoing treatment. “This is the first question children ask when diagnosed with cancer – when will I lose my hair?” says Eli Seliger, who has been volunteering for Zichron Menachem for the past thirteen years. By giving them a wig, the organization “gives them back their humanity,” Mr. Seliger adds. Each wig is custom-made, according to the specific requirements of the child, out of top quality human hair. The wig-

makers take the child’s measurements, look at pictures of the child before treatment, and match the color and style to resemble, as much as pos-

sible, the child’s own hair. Last year alone, the organization distributed 1300 wigs. Children are very grateful, explains Mr. Seliger. One girl called the day she received her wig “the best day of her life.” Another girl refused to attend a family bar mitzvah without a wig. Within four days, Zichron Menachem provided her with a beautiful wig, and she was able to attend the simchah. The hair for wigs is donated by women and girls all over the world: South Africa, Australia, Canada, United States, and England. Some people bring their hair to Zichron Menachem on their trip to Israel, or for their bas mitzvah project. Others donate hair at events similar to the one about to be held in Los Angeles. The local event will take place on June 14th, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, at Haas and Co Hair Design on Larchmont Boulevard. “It will be a beautiful experience,” says Mrs. Gurvitz. The donors will feel pampered, she explains. They will receive a certificate from Zichron Menachem, as well as a gift basket. “We want girls to feel beautiful,” says Mrs. Gurvitz. Most importantly, the YAYOE PTA would like the girls to feel good about giving back to the community. “Girls will feel that they made a difference,” adds Mrs. Gurvitz. “They will feel empowered.” To donate hair, please email ester@ Hair must be at least twelve inches long from where it is cut. And for those who would like to participate, but whose hair is not long enough, the YAYOE PTA is hoping to make this an annual event.

TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home


Valley Torah Students Visit Yosemite for their Biennial "Weekaton" Moshe Samuels

On May 15th, the Valley Torah High School boys’ division embarked on its biennial Weekaton. The destination this year was Yosemite National Park. As one would suspect, taking almost 100 teenage boys on a four-day trip to a national park is a daunting task. However, under the leadership of Rabbi Stulberger, and the hard work and dedication of Rabbi Semmel and the rest of the rebbeim of Valley Torah, the trip achieved overwhelming success. From hiking the famous Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls, to the water slides at the private outdoor water park, to whitewater rafting eleven miles down the Merced River, the destinations and activities were amazing. Students shared once-in-a-lifetime experiences that they are sure to carry with them for years. For the first time ever, the school arranged to stay in Camp Wowona, a private campsite with beautiful cabins situated alongside a rushing river. The accommodations fostered a feeling of achdus and bonding that was unique and uplifting. Most importantly, the students accomplished something on a spiritual level that deserves tremendous recognition. Prior to the trip, there were school wide discussions about the importance of kiddush Hashem and positively representing the Jewish people. The students learned about the exceptional position we’re in, at this particular point in history, to make a positive impression on those around us. By the conclusion of the trip, it was clear that the students took those lessons to heart. At every stage of the trip, observers commented about the impressive conduct of such a large group of boys. Even in the peaceful setting of Yosemite, where visitors are expecting a sense of quiet and serenity, the boys were complimented on their respectful behavior. As a rebbe at Valley Torah, I’m proud to have been a part of such a wonderful experience and such an inspiring kiddush Hashem!

Valley Torah High School is proud to congratulate our


irt-nint raduatin las Yeshiva Tzvi Dov v'Ephraim Menlo Family Boys' Division

Back Row (L-R): Max Engel, Yonah Darrison, Daniel Mashiach, Alex Zinati, Avi Goldman, Aaron Loffman, Ryan Marshak Center Row (L-R): Benjamin Halpern, Adam R'bibo, Elimelech Allison, David Berg, Samuel-Norman Flicker, Yishai Anatian, Joseph Cohn, Avraham Eskenazi Front Row (L-R): Avraham Stoll, Moshe Eshaghian, Dovid Levy, Jonathan Kiaei, Calil Goodman, Nevo Shnider, Jonathan Bitton, Yehuda Atzmon, Aaron Abrishami, Liron Ben-Haroch Not Pictured: Ely Cohen, Mendel Greenberg

The Administration, Staff and Board of Valley Torah High School extend a hearty Mazel Tov to the Graduating Class of 2016 and wish the Graduates only success for all their future endeavors in Yeshiva, College and beyond. This year's Graduates have been accepted to the following Yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel: Aish HaTorah - Gesher Midrash Shmuel Reishit Yerushalayim Derech Etz Chaim Mikdash Melech Shaarei Mevaseret Lev HaTorah Ohr Somayach - Derech Toras Shraga Merkaz HaTorah Ohr Yerushalayim (OJ) Yeshiva Tiferet (TJ)

Class of 2016 Graduates have been accepted to the following Colleges: University of California, Santa Barbara University of California, Los Angeles University of California, San Diego University of California, Riverside University of California, Irvine

Hunter College Yeshiva University New York University Loyola Marymount University

California State University, Channel Islands California State University, Los Angeles California State University, Northridge St. Johns University, New York


TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

New Holocaust Research and Documentary Filmmaking Class at YULA High Schools Nick Parsons May 16th marked the culminating event for YULA Girls’ Holocaust Research and Documentary course. For the past eight months, students have been studying indepth history of Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust, as well as learning how to transmit that knowledge to others.

Instructors Brigitte Wintner and Nick Parsons became proficient with USC Shoah Foundation’s iWitness video database in order to help guide students in creating interactive multimedia lessons and survivor testimonies. Students participated in a blended learning course, meeting during

free periods and online to complete assignments and lectures relating to the Holocaust. Rabbi Yaakov Cohen came on board




as an instructor and helped paint the picture of religious life in Europe before World War II. The three staff members then took a group of students on a week-long trip to Poland, where they saw first-hand all of the important places they were learning about. A recap of their trip (including photos and videos) can be found at yulagirls. org/poland. To help enhance the curriculum, YULA High Schools joined with the program Names, Not Numbers©, an interactive, multimedia Holocaust project creat-

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ed by Tova Fish-Rosenberg. Through this program, students embarked on a journey to interview and document nine local survivors’ stories. Soshea Leibler-Weberman, a YULA parent and former CBS Morning News producer, taught the students interview techniques and best practices for when they sat down with their survivors. The interviews took place the last week in December, and the documentary was completed and premiered to an audience of 400 people on May 16th at The Grove Pacific Movie Theatres. Throughout the program, YULA Girls partnered with Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH). With the help of Jordanna Gessler, Director of Educational Programs at LAMOTH, students were able to visit the museum many times to deepen their knowledge of the history of the Holocaust. During this partnership, the students in the course became experts on the various museum galleries and served as guides during a school field trip for ninthand tenth-graders. It was incredible to see the transformation the girls made from students to teachers over the past school year.

The Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

torah changed #546 the story of my life Adar 5775 The two brothers enjoyed a brotherly chat, laughter, barbs, and all. Looking into his brothers Yaakov’s eyes though, Moshe saw pain. Understandable. Childlessness is no picnic. And the fact that his two sisters who were married a­er Yaakov already have children doesn’t make ma ers any easier. Moshe’s heart ached. ‘If only there is something I can do for him…,’ he thought. As soon as the two parted ways, Moshe whipped out his phone. “Kollel Chatzos, where the light of Torah burns brightly throughout the night…” Yes. There is something I can do. “My brother has been married for several years,” Moshe told the representative. “And, he has been not blessed with children yet.” “I’ve heard that learning Torah at chatzos is a segula for zerah shel kayama. I would therefore like to sign up for a partnership with Kollel Chatzos as a zechus for my brother. Please have the talmidei Chachamim daven that Yaakov ben Rivka be zoche to a child of his own.” Nissan 5775 "This story sounds Moshe calls the office of Kollel Chatzos. unbelievable to so “I have seen astounding success in business over the many, but it is true. I past month. Money is flowing in as if on its own will continue to accord. support the talmidei ‘’Interestingly, I’ve noticed that this amazing success chochomim at Kollel started at the time that I signed up for the Chatzos" partnership with Kollel Chatzos. Obviously there is a correlation… “Seeing this major improvement in the zechus of torah, I strongly believe that by brother’s yeshuah is not far behind.”

Adar 5776 It’s just one year a­er he placed the original call and a joyous Moshe is calling kollel Chatzos again. “Mazal Tov! My brother has been zoche to a child of his own. An angelic li le boy, born in the zechus of limud hatorah at chatzos.”

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TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

13th Annual Ariel Avrech Lecture at YULA features Ben Shaprio Bracha Miriam Turner

On Sunday, May 22, over 200 people gathered at YULA Girls School for the13th Annual Ariel Avrech Lecture. Organized by Robert and Karen Avrech, in cooperation with Young Israel of Century City, this year’s event included an address by conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro. The room was bursting from the seams, forcing some listeners to stand in the back. Robert Avrech – an Emmy award winning screenwriter and producer – and his wife, Karen – a child psychologist – created the lecture series as a tribute to their son. To the assembled crowd, Mr. Avrech described Ariel: Academically advanced for his age, he skipped a grade and entered high school a year early before being diagnosed with cancer. After high school, Ariel fought to maintain his learning, studying at Ner Yisroel in Baltimore before being forced to return home due to his deteriorating condition. Michael Wiener, Ariel’s friend from Hillel Hebrew Academy, then spoke fond-

Photo Credit: Steve Cohn


ly of Ariel – recalling his defense of a bullied kid in middle school, meeting Michael J. Fox, his own face appearing in a movie for a second, and how Ariel wore a suit and black hat while walking for two hours journey in summertime heat to a bar mitzvah. The featured speaker of the event was Ben Shapiro, whose presentation shared a title with his best-selling book, Brain‫בס״ד‬

Valley Torah High School Ateres Malka v'Sara Esther Menlo Family Girls Division is proud to congratulate our

raduatin las of 2016

The Administration, Staff and Board of Valley Torah High School Menlo Family Girls Division extend a hearty Mazel Tov to our Graduating Class of 2016. May the growth and success that highlighted your years of High School be an inspiration as you go from strength to strength pursuing your goals and dreams in the future.

washed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth. Upon assuming the podium, Shapiro surprised the audience: “I’m going to tell you how you can save Israel.” Shapiro presented his case on how to end Israel hatred, which he persistently equated with Jew hatred, a problem that has prevailed for the past three years at UCLA, his alma mater. “You tell the college student, ‘Forget that! You’re an anti-Semite because you’re holding Israel to a different moral standard than the rest of the world.’” In order to save Israel, Shapiro argued, we must take political action, not meekly hope for peace. At the national and global level, he recounted statements from John Kerry and the Obama administration that isolated Israel and undermined its attempts to fend off a nuclear Iran and to reconcile with its enemies. Shapiro forecasted that the U.S. is heading towards increasing isolationism. He spoke of internal and external threats to the State of Israel – political, economic, and even ethnic ones. Analyzing candidates for the presidential election, he scorned Donald Trump for his pandering “to the worst sort of people,” who hate Jews and foreigners. He also denounced Trump for using the term “Political Correctness” in order to not have to take stances on major issues. Shapiro concluded that Trump is reactionary and may be starting a new movement, but his stance towards Israel remains unclear until he will “stand still on some issues.” He also assured the audience that Hillary Clinton’s administration would be no better for Israel. Next, Shapiro identified an internal threat to Israel: a secular left which questions the very existence of the state. Shapiro categorized leftists as those who tend to side with the underdog. This presumption has caused them to repeatedly denounce Israel; Israel’s prosperity in the face of internal problems suggests to them that

Israel must have done something wrong against Palestinians. Israel has admitted it committed “these original sins” in an attempt to appease those who oppose her on this account, but this simply reinforces the mindset of the country’s adversaries. However, real security threats from places like Iran tend to cause the country to move toward the right. As part of his regimen to combat Israel’s haters, Shapiro suggests that Jews should support religious Christians in Christian moral causes. Many of these issues also affect Jews, and he believes this would be a beneficial alliance. Moreover, he brought data suggesting that more evangelical Christians are pro-Israel than Jews. Noting that there are not many moderate voices in the Muslim world, he said, “Every moral narrative has to have a bad guy. The problem is that with the pro-Israel community, there is a reticence to actually naming the bad guy” - referring to Muslim fundamentalism. Even more controversially, Shapiro told the audience to stop providing monetary support to AIPAC as a whole. Instead, he recommended they support specific projects and causes, since lobbying efforts are largely corrupted by concerns for re-election. On college campuses, he explained the importance of loudly critiquing Israel’s enemies, and targeting those who do not already have a stance on the issue – which includes the majority of college students. “Negative ads are the only ads that work” he declared. “Make issues so toxic that people run away from it.” Emphasizing the perpetration of horrific hangings, decapitations, and violent criminal laws in counter-protests is necessary. Following Mr. Shapiro’s address, Rabbi Avi Stewart, who was Ariel’s close friend at Yeshiva Gedolah, sang the “Kel Malei Rachamim,” and Mr. Avrech recited a most moving kaddish.

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

‫ְל ִה ְת ַחנֵ ן‬

The Week In News

‫על צאצאינו‬

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TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Friendship Circle of Los Angeles' Garden Party Doonie Mishulovin M.A. Ed.

Nearly 350 guests attended the Friendship Circle of Los Angeles’s Garden Party on Tuesday, May 24th, at the lovely gardens of the Nissel family in Beverly Hills. The night honored 481 volunteers and culminated in an inspirational ceremony celebrating a year of inclusion and community service. Guests entered a “Garden of Eden” as they enjoyed a delicious dinner from “Let’s Have a Cart Party,” with tasty entrees, hot pretzels, fancy sweets, and much more. Guests took many photos at the “step and repeat” banner, and volunteers were filled with excitement as each of them received a new Friendship Circle baseball cap. Volunteers also enjoyed taking photos in the Instagram booth. Rebecca Kianmahd, a senior at Milken Community High School who will be entering UCLA in the fall, received the Heart and Soul Award for nine years of exceptional volunteering. In an eloquent speech, Rebecca shared how she began volunteering in fourth grade, when she insisted on joining her older sister at Friendship Circle. Through building a close friendship with first Sharon and then Stella, Rebecca realized that these special children “have the most radiant of smiles, biggest of hearts, most contagious laughter, and purest of souls.” She plans on spreading this inclusive message as a Bruin and becoming a pediatrician who has the sensitivity to care for this population. Yaakov Sobel, an eleventh grader at

Shalhevet High School, was introduced by our behaviorist Julius English, who shared a fiery Torah thought. Yaakov gave a stirring speech as the recipient of the Hineini Award. The Hineini Award is given to an outstanding volunteer who steps up to assist Friendship Circle in multiple programs and roles; a volunteer who can consistently be counted on to help with enthusiasm and expertise. He shared his struggles as a child with ADHD, dysgraphia, and dyslexia, and how at the age of 14, he began to give back to the community. He spoke of his best friend, Abie, who has autism, and who joined him on stage in an open and exuberant show of friendship. His message was that we are all perfect; it is society that is imperfect, and we can change society. ​The Family of Friendship Award w as given to honor the Schuraytz family w ho have made Sunday mornings at the Friendship Circle Hebrew School a prior-

i ty, despite the distance from the Valley. T his family has been volunteering regularly at Friendship Circle for the past nine years! Ben, Debbie, and their three daughters – Racheli, Chana Leah, and Sarah Bracha – are always there for our special children. They have volunteered at an array of programs with commitment and love. A ctors Steven Clark and Christina Sanz of the reality show “Born This Way” w owed the audience with their profess ional, yet warm, moving, and entertaining speeches. Steven spoke about how his parents have always helped him meet his dreams and taught him to believe in himself. Regarding his life goals he declared, “ I’m working on these goals – it might take me awhile, but I’m confident I’ll get t here.” Christina shared her story of succ ess, including her engagement to fiancé A ngel. Both of these young adults with Down Syndrome are breaking barriers and stereotypes with their hard work and success. G uests enjoyed a presentation where 3 8 students received the prestigious Fell owship Award for their extraordinary commitment to volunteering and enhancing their knowledge in the field of special education. Awards were presented by Beth F reishtat, Director of Jewish Education a nd Engagement Partnerships, and Miriam Maya, Director of Caring for Jews in N eed, both of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The video, “I Can Be,” featuring high-

l ights of the year and children achieving their goals, captured precious moments of friendship with footage at Friendship Circle. M iriam Rav-Noy, Program Director o f the Friendship Circle, concluded the e vening with a message dedicated to the v olunteers about the foundation of the Friendship Circle. “The Lubavitcher Rebbe, the inspiration behind Friendship Circle, taught a deep lesson based on the verse ‘love our fellow as you love yourself.’ Just as we have a personal and unique approach t o loving ourselves, we should demons trate similar love and understanding tow ard others; surely including those with special needs.” M iriam concluded by sharing the impact this love and understanding is having on the community. Over the course of this p ast year, 10 local Jewish day schools, t emples, and youth groups have contacte d FCLA to run inclusion programs and workshops with their students! Finally, Miriam saluted the graduating s eniors and presented each with a plush b lanket, embroidered with the Friendship Circle logo, reminding them that the warmth of friendship will carry on! On the way out, beautifully packaged, h omemade cookies with the message, “Volunteering is Sweet,” were set out for g uests to enjoy. Everyone left feeling ins pired and excited to continue making a difference in the lives of all our very special children.

TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home


YULA Girls and Shalhevet Host Young Engineers Conference and Award Ceremony Bracha Miriam Turner

ceremonies) were Shalhevet, YULA Boys, Valley Torah Boys, De Toledo from West Hills, Harkham-GAON Academy, Mesivta Birkas Yitzchok, and Tarbut V’Torah from Irvine. “The student are engaged, excited, and in charge of what they’re doing” remarked Willoughby. The co-ed schools reportedly did not have as many female participants, which is something CIJE hopes to rectify in the future. R abbi Abraham Lieberman, dean of Y ULA Girls School, persistently insisted that CIJE start a West Coast division and i s heavily invested in the program. He emphasized the importance of being techn ologically adept in a future workforce a nd, subsequently, invested tremendous financial resources, technical support, advice and everything else that was needed into making the program a success. YULA Girls School also took students to Israel to meet with scientists, allowing the kids to be mentored and inspired by them. “CIJE takes our school to a higher lev-

el,” Rabbi Lieberman declared with pride. At the culmination of the conference, Dr. Willoughby remarked, “Until we get here, they can’t envision what we’re doing.” Some problems that the students tackled in their projects were water safety

and conservation, burglary systems, medical contraptions, and sleep solutions. The students’ innovations were remarkably creative, and each one more intriguing than the next.



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O n Tuesday, May 17th, YULA Girls High School hosted the annual West Coast C IJE Young Engineers Conference and award ceremony for participating all-girls s chools. This was the third consecutive year they did so. The following day, Shalhevet hosted the corresponding ceremony for boys. CIJE stands for the Center for Initiative in Jewish Education, a nonprofit organization that provides academic support in the form of curricula and funding for participating schools. Besides investing in teacher training, the program provides a rigorous s upplementary curriculum in engineering and coding. The program focuses on t eaching 9th and 10th graders the basics o f electrical and mechanical engineering, coding, and design. The program’s national director, Dr. Jane Willoughby, was once i nvolved in bioengineering, and the program also encourages participants to think creatively in order to solve mechanical issues in the medical world. The focus of the curriculum is to allow s tudents to explore methods of trial and e rror to design an actual project that has the potential to bring benefit to the world. Afterwards, CIJE transfers top projects to sourcers who have accepted students’ designs in the past. “ This is what engineers focus on in i ndustry,” noted Dr. Adrian Krag, CIJE’s W est Coast director, who travels from school to school to assist and direct teachers. Not only do students have to identify a problem and create a solution; they also m ust execute, building and testing their project. The program is a rigorous one but it helps that they produce something concrete. Krag remarked, “[A] lot of students do well if you let them build something.” An inquiry-based atmosphere of learni ng offers students the independence to o wn and explore their individual ideas. T he students each displayed microproc essor boards. In the final stage of the p rogram, they must also comprehend 3D m odeling language and practice with it. The students worked in small groups and competed against their classmates. A panel of judges comprised by teachers and volunteers awarded a prize to one team of students from each school. Amongst the participating girls schools were YULA Girls, Valley Torah Girls, Ohel S ara, and Meira Academy of Palo Alto. Amongst the participating boys and co-ed s chools (with separate presentations and





TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Baal Shem Tov’s Sefer Torah: A Special Journey Yehudis Litvak

Photo Credit: Monica Lightstone photography


Writing a letter at the Kever of Reb Levi Yitzchok M'berditchev

The Los Angeles Jewish community was treated to a majestic experience on Lag B’omer night, at the hachnassas sefer Torah for Maayon Yisroel Chassidic Center. Accompanied by beautiful white horses, a decorated carriage, and live music – including singing by Benny Friedman – hundreds of people escorted the new sefer Torah from the home of Rabbi Reuven Wolf, the rabbi of Maayon Yisroel, to the Maayon Yisroel building. But this sefer Torah’s unique journey began much earlier, and included many more stops along the way. “The story behind it is inspirational,” says Rabbi Wolf, “beyond what I can fathom.” Maayon Yisroel had been using a borrowed sefer Torah. Three years ago, the owner of the sefer Torah needed to take it back. At shacharis, Rabbi Wolf asked his congregation if anyone knew where they could borrow another sefer Torah. Somebody suggested, “Why don’t we write a new sefer Torah for Maayon Yisroel?” Rabbi Wolf was hesitant to take on such a large expense. But everyone offered to chip in, and right then and there, enough money was pledged to cover sixteen parshiyos. “In whose honor should we write this sefer Torah?” Rabbi Wolf asked. Together, the shul members decided to dedicate the sefer Torah to the Baal Shem Tov, after whom Maayon Yisroel is named. Thus the journey began. Many miracle stories happened along the way, not the least being the special sofer in Eretz Yisrael who was hired for the job. When the sefer Torah was almost finished, Rabbi Wolf decided to go to Eretz Yisrael to pick it up. Then a thought occurred to him: why not also bring the sefer Torah to the Baal Shem Tov’s kever? And then the idea developed further, until it was decided to also visit the graves of other tzaddikim in Eretz Yisrael and Ukraine. The news spread, and others decided to join the trip. Altogether, exactly 22 people traveled to Ukraine, which corresponds to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the travelers contributed

something unique to the journey. One of the participants, Mushka Lightstone, is producing a documentary film about this trip, called Where Light Begins. “I’ve always wanted to make a documentary about the journey of a sefer Torah, the soul of the sefer Torah, and its connection to the Jewish people,” says Ms. Lightstone. She joined Rabbi Wolf and his wife in Eretz Yisrael and filmed the whole trip. “It was incredible,” she says. Just as there are four levels in learning Torah – p’shat, remez, drash, and sod – there are four levels in this journey, she explains. On a simple level, it was a road trip. On a deeper level, it was about the history of the Jewish people. Yet deeper, it was about the path of the tzaddikim. And deeper yet, it was about the journey of the soul. The first stop after picking up the sefer Torah from the sofer was the Kosel Hamaaravi. The next stops were the Maaras Hamachpeila and Kever Rachel. At each gravesite, Rabbi Wolf and his companions davened for people with special requests and asked the tzaddikim buried there to shine their light into the sefer Torah, inviting them to the hachnassas sefer Torah ceremony in Los Angeles. A sofer from Israel, Rabbi Moshe Braun, joined the group. At the kever of the Arizal, they stopped and wrote a letter in the sefer Torah. They continued to write letters in the sefer Torah throughout the trip, wherever there was a shul next to the kever they were visiting. In Ukraine, at the graves of the Chassidic Rebbes, they sang each Rebbe’s special niggun and told stories about him. The participants agree that each stop was a moving experience. They reached some of the kevarim by horse and buggy, which added its own magic to the experience. “Each kever had its own beauty, its own kochos,” says Shoshana Mansouri, one of the travelers. At the kever of the Baal Hatanya, white dandelions were falling like snow. “There

Reb Levi Yitzchok M'berditchev

At the Heichal Habaal Shem Tov

was a feeling of light there,” says Rabbi Wolf. The last stop in Ukraine was the kever of the Baal Shem Tov in Medzhibozh, where the group spent Shabbos. On Erev Shabbos, the men toveled in the Baal Shem Tov’s mikvah. Then one of the participants took the sefer Torah out of the suitcase and put it down on the Baal Shem Tov’s tombstone, dedicating it to the Baal Shem Tov. On Motzaei Shabbos, the group had melave malkah in the Baal Shem Tov’s shul – a reconstructed copy of the original. “We were sitting in the same place where the Baal Shem Tov sat,” says Rabbi Wolf. “We sang, danced, and told stories about the Baal Shem Tov until 2 a.m.” “It was me’ein olam haba,” says Mrs. Mansouri. “Now I can tell when Mashiach comes because I know how it feels.” Ms. Lightstone agrees that the experience was powerful. “We hear the stories, but to see with our own eyes and hear with

our own ears – you realize it’s real. It’s visceral, life-changing.” On the way back from Ukraine, Rabbi Wolf and his wife stopped in New York and visited the graves of the Lubavitcher Rebbes. Then the magnificent hachnassas sefer Torah in Los Angeles exceeded all expectations. “I’m sure that all the tzaddikim we invited came,” says Rabbi Wolf. “Their light was there.” The new sefer Torah will be read for the first time at Maayon Yisroel on Shavuos, the yahrzeit of the Baal Shem Tov. Until then, letters of the sefer Torah are still available for sale at http://maayonyisroel. com/sefertorah.

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The Voice of Silence Sarah Pachter

When I was eighteen months old, my mother walked into my bedroom one morning and found me lying in my crib whimpering quietly. As she came closer to see what was wrong, I turned my head and my mother gasped in horror. The left side of my head had a golf ball-sized bump right where the crevice of the ear meets the scalp. Terrified, she called the doctor, who advised us to rush to the hospital. We raced to the emergency room, where the doctor discovered a severe infection that had spread to the mastoid – the inner portion of the ear that connects to the skull. If the skull becomes infected, it becomes life threatening. A few days prior, I had come down with a typical toddler ear infection. My mother did what every mother does – she went to the doctor, picked up the prescribed antibiotics, and gave me the correct dosage according to schedule. However, unbeknownst to her, my body did not respond to the antibiotics, and the infection rapidly spread, almost to my brain. An emergency mastoidechtomy was performed. During the surgery, a bone inside the inner ear (the mastoid) is hollowed out to allow the fluid of the infection to drain. The mastoid connects to the skull, and if not dealt with correctly, it is only a matter of time before the brain can become infected, leading to permanent injury or even death. I spent a month in the hospital recovering from this life-threatening – and life-saving – procedure. My dedicated parents took turns spending nights and days by my side. My siblings sacrificed precious time with my mother and father so that I could be cared for 24/7. My father sacrificed much time from work in order to care for my siblings and myself. Finally, right before Thanksgiving, I was discharged from the hospital. Our family had much to be thankful for on that third Thursday of November, and every Thanksgiving to come. Although I do not have real memories of this experience, I will forever remain grateful for it. I am so lucky to be alive – but I did not realize just how lucky until recently. Fast forward almost twenty years: I am sitting in my college audiology class learning about the inner workings of the ear. My professor practically skipped over the subject of mastoidechtomy. I quickly interjected: “Hey! I had one of those!”

He was stunned. “You must be mistaken. Did you just say you had a mastoidechtomy?” “Yeah!” I adamantly responded. “My left ear. Look, I still have a scar from it!” I was ready to prove it. “Are you sure it was a MAS-TOID-ECHTOMY?” He slowly repeated the name of the surgery. “Yes, absolutely! I was in the hospital as a baby for a month.” He then asked me a seemingly unrelated question: “What year were you born in?” “1985,” I responded. My professor was silent for a moment and then said, “Sarah, you are one lucky girl.” He then told me that only 200,000 people worldwide have ever had such a surgery. He informed me that even today, a mastoidechtomy is extremely dangerous, and few survive the procedure. During the 1980s, the technology was not nearly as advanced as it is today. Hardly anyone survived back then. It was not news to me that the procedure was life-threatening, but what he told me next almost made me fall off my chair. “Sarah, do you remember that there is a facial nerve inside the inner ear? During a mastoidechtomy, it is extremely common that the facial nerve gets severed, leading to facial paralysis on the opposite side.” He looked and me and said quite frankly: “You, my dear, are a walking miracle. Not only because you are alive, but also because the right side of your face, and particularly your mouth, functions perfectly – I cannot believe my eyes.” For many weeks, I felt extremely blessed. Nonetheless, the intense gratitude faded with the passage of time – ten years have passed since then, and my memory of the event has faded. However, one aspect of the conversation stuck with me: the connection between the mouth and the ear. Was there a deeper connection beyond the medical bond between these two body parts? As I was learning about Shavuot, that connection became apparent to me. According to the midrash (Shemos Rabbah 29:9), when G-d handed over His Torah to the Jewish people, the entire world became silent. Why did the whole world need to be silent? The wind stopped blowing, no animals made a peep, and every human being was silent during the moments leading up to the giving of the Torah. Was G-d

afraid the Jews would not be able to hear his voice? Surely He could have made His voice heard over all of these sounds? G-d did not make it silent so we could hear Him; He made it silent so we could finally hear the voice within ourselves – the voice that longed for a spiritual connection, the voice that longed for His Torah. We have so many distractions today – technology, billboards, and so forth. It is extremely difficult to ignore these distractions and clear our minds so that we can focus on what is important.

speak over each other, not bothering to wait for their friend to finish speaking first. In a sense, they are not really connecting with each other. Each girl’s words fall flat, not making much of an impact, since no one is really listening to them. Indeed, if no one is listening to what is being said, the words lose much of their power to have any effect. This kind of “silence” in a relationship and in a conversation is just as defining as its sounds. My miraculously undamaged facial nerve, which affects my ability to speak,

I once asked a student of mine who was feeling stressed to take one minute that week to stop and think of nothing – a meditation minute. The next week she confessed that she had not been able to do so. There were too many distractions. G-d eliminated the distracting sounds around us so that we could hear our inner voice telling us to connect to what is truly essential: the Torah. Likewise, in order to really hear another person, we have to learn to listen. There is something called parallel speech. Parallel speech can be typified by two excitable teenage girls chattering on the phone eager to tell each other about their day. The girls

could have been permanently impaired thanks to its connection to my ear. Through this link, we can understand that before we can use our speech to meaningfully connect with others, we have to learn to listen. This is also G-d’s message with regard to the giving of the Torah. If we want to accept the Torah, and if we want a connection and a relationship with Him, we must learn to listen – to others, to ourselves, and to G-d. On the occasion of my father’s birthday, this article was written with tremendous gratitude for my parents Meir Ben Shlomo and Rivka Bat Sarah.



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By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

The weeks of Sefirah, during which we count days and weeks and monitor our progression through the seven sefiros of middos, are meant to bring us to a place of harmony. The seven sefiros we mention each day following the counting of the numbers of the omer represent the attributes required for growth during the period leading up to kabbolas haTorah. To properly receive the Torah on Shavuos, man must be perfected in each facet of his avodah. In Parshas Emor, we read about the various blemishes that render a kohein unfit, one being “saruah” (Vayikra 21:18). Rashi explains that one with this blemish suffers from “one eye being larger than the other, or one limb longer than the other.” He fails to explain why these conditions are considered blemishes that render a kohein unfit to perform the avodah, for apparently his ability to perform his tasks in the mikdash is not impeded. The Chofetz Chaim posed this question and offered an explanation during his hesped on the beloved rosh yeshiva of Radin, Rav Naftoli Trop. He said, “Sheleimus, perfection, means that everything fits and the middos of a person are compatible with each other. Someone who davens a long Shemoneh Esrei but has horrible middos is out of sync. A talmid chacham with no yiras shamayim is unbalanced. A measure of Rav Naftoli’s greatness was that his avodah was proportionate to his Torah. His middos fit with his yiras shamayim. They all came together in equal measure. No limb was bigger than any other.” Now is generally a time of year when we seek to become a little more whole, not just internally, but externally as well, doing our part to bring the body of klal yisroel together. We just celebrated Lag Ba’omer, when Jews of all types held hands in circles the world over, singing, “Ashreichem Yisroel.” We are marking the climb from Pesach, when four sons sat at the communal table,

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Let the Neshamah Take Over when we learned that even those on the 49th level of impurity are worthy of geulah, towards Shavuos, the day that saw us proclaim, ke’ish echod beleiv echod, all of the Bnei Yisroel together, “Na’aseh venishmah.” We often wonder: Why can’t we all get along for longer than one dance? What happened to that achdus? Where has it gone? Why can’t we recreate it on a daily basis, everywhere, all the time? We need peace in the Holy Land. We need peace in our community. We need peace in our world. “Why can’t we all get along?” sounds like a simple question, but the answer eludes us. Seriously. Why the infighting? Why the backbiting? Why one against the other? And more importantly, what can we do to bring some harmony to our people? The way to start is by creating peace in ourselves. If we would be fulfilled and satisfied, secure with ourselves and happy, we wouldn’t have to engage in battles to create feelings of accomplishment. The pesukim at the beginning of Parshas Bechukosai provide insight into how we go about doing that. The posuk (26:3) promises, “Im bechukosai teileichu… If you will walk in the path of My laws and observe the mitzvos of Hashem, then the rains will fall on time, the earth will produce its proper harvest, vishavtem lovetach be’artzechem. Venosati shalom ba’aretz, ushechavtem ve’ein machrid…and you will live confidently and in peace.” The absence of external enemies can lead to internal friction. If the nation is not engaged in a battle for its survival against outside enemies, there is a danger that the people will then fight with each other. The Ramban (ibid.) writes that this is why, after promising vishavtem lovetach, the posuk promises shalom, peace. Hashem is promising the Jewish people that if they behave properly, they will not only be safe from attacks from across their bor-

ders, but they will also not have to worry about internecine battles. There will be peace, complete and total. Those who follow the chukim of Hashem will be fulfilled spiritually and physically, and they will earn peace and harmony. They won’t have to resort to outside negative activities to satisfy themselves. Through being amal baTorah, diligently following Hashem’s commands, we become elevated people, tranquil and calm within. When we maintain peace in our land, we earn the Divine promise of freedom from our enemies. In the midst of the brachos contained in the parshah, the posuk says (26:11), “Venosati Mishkoni besochechem velo sigal nafshi es’chem – I will place my mishkan amongst you and My Soul will not purge itself of you.” The Alter of Novardok wondered about the nature of this brachah and the implications of Hashem’s guarantee. He answered that according to the natural order of things, the spiritual soul of man, known as nefesh, should despise being in a physical body, known as guf. The reason the nefesh is not offended by being placed in the guf is because of the special brachah depicted in this posuk. The soul of a Jew can acquiesce to its placement in the physical body, because when the guf fulfills the wishes of Hashem, it becomes elevated and can equal holiness of the neshamah. Man has the ability to raise his physical being into a spiritual being. It is this synthesis that allows man to function, experiencing the desires of his guf and the longing of his neshamah and learning to work with this duality. It’s how peace is made in the olam koton, the small world that is man. The Ponovezher rosh yeshiva, Rav Dovid Povarsky, in Yishmiru Daas, amplifies this concept. He explains that the relationship between people who fulfill the ratzon Hashem and those who ignore it parallels this association between guf and

neshamah. This, the rosh yeshiva says, is the reason for the intense dislike displayed by Jews who scorn the Torah toward those who cherish it. According to teva, there is a dichotomy between the guf and the neshamah, but Hashem created man with the ability to turn his guf into neshamah. Thus, the neshamah doesn’t dislike the guf, because it knows that the guf can raise itself to its level. However, those who are totally physical despise the spiritual, for the neshamah can never lower itself to the inferior level of the guf. Therefore, those who insist on keeping their guf on a low level, naturally despise the neshamah and anything that resembles it. People who choose to focus their lives and choices on the world of neshamah are despised by those who choose guf; which is only natural. But the people who have chosen a life of guf aren’t disliked by those who live a life of neshamah, for the world of neshamah remains optimistic that, one day, those who choose guf will also adopt the lifestyle of the neshamah. Even a person who is controlled by his bodily urges can overcome them and raise himself to the level where his nefesh controls his guf. I met just such a person this past Shabbos. He was observing Shabbos for the second time in his life and is not yet ready to commit to more. His cherished daughter became a baalas teshuvah a few years ago and lives in a frum area with her husband, who also gave his nefesh control of his guf. This man’s grandchildren attend a fine yeshiva and he derives much joy when he visits them. He and his wife were ardent leftists and were devastated when their daughter adopted a life of “Im bechukosai teileuchu.” But as we sat and talked, he told me that he knows that his days of living strictly a life of guf are numbered. He said that his father had attended cheder, but there was no religion in their home. “When my father died, one sister got his siddur and the other a chumash. For me, though, there was nothing,” he said. He let that hang for a while as he related with eyes and heart that he didn’t want to leave his children with nothing and was giving serious consideration to allowing his neshamah to slowly take over. Thankfully, there are more people like him out there waiting for people like us to embrace them. Tragically, there are too many people going the other way, giving

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their neshamos over to their guf. They also need to be embraced. When we merit to visit Yerushalayim and walk through neighborhoods such as Zichron Moshe, we don’t even realize that this neighborhood was once home to the country’s leading Maskilim. It was on one of its pastoral gesselach that Ben Yehuda lived and wrote his dictionary. Rechov Press, now home to the famed Brisker Yeshiva, was home to a leading progressive named Yeshayahu Press. The Lemel School, now home to a cheder, was the first modern educational institution in Yerushalayim. Zev Jabotinsky would rally his supporters on the ground that later occupied the Edison Theater and is now home to a Satmar housing complex. As the religious people approached the neighborhood, those early Zionists and others like them moved out, seeking greener pastures for their poetry, novels, and works of philosophy. Their children are lost, but not beyond repair. There is always hope for everyone. Every guf has a neshamah that can be tapped. Thankfully, the battles those people fought a century ago are largely settled, and as you walk into neighborhood shuls, you have no idea that they were once staging grounds for internal battles. Today, Torah seems to be the ruling authority in those very places. There is still much to be done and a long path to be hoed. There are people who are lost and bewildered, disenchanted by abuse, poverty, or strict conformity. They need a loving heart and soul to reach them. People who despise the mishpatim of the Torah remain obsessed with their desire to carve out a secular state unencumbered by age-old laws, but passionate Jews don’t rest from trying to bring wayward souls back to Torah and achieving harmony between the neshamah and the guf of the nation. The sefer Lulei Sorascha tells of a well-regarded askan who was welcomed by Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach, who then bared his soul to him. “Listen,” Rav Shach said, “I am pained by the financial situation of Chinuch Atzmai to the point that I would do anything to help. I would give the shirt off my back to anyone who could do something.” The askan responded that he had two influential government contacts who could help if the rosh yeshiva would invite them to his home and receive them warmly. Rav Shach was hesitant, explaining that every time he spoke with public officials about

money, he worried about chillul Hashem. “I don’t want them to think that all the rabbis want from them is money and that we only reach out at times like that,” he said. The askan assured Rav Shach that they would be happy to help and the rosh yeshiva agreed. The two politicians arrived at the humble apartment and Rav Shach welcomed them with love and respect. Then he articulated his request. “You represent the government. You are charged with building up this country and helping the nation flourish. Now, a successful country needs industry to thrive. I turn to you with advice: Help this industry of authentic Jewish education, because it will make your country succeed. You’re younger than I am, and you may not understand what I’m saying now, but trust me. If you help these children learn the Torah of the Jews, then the country will benefit and you will have done your jobs.” The askan reported that the government officials responded to Rav Shach’s plea with generosity and heart. The great rejoicing and dancing on Lag Ba’omer in Meron and all around the world were expressions of the neshamah’s yearning, an appreciation of our great rebbi, Rabi Shimon bar Yochai, and the heights he reached. He revealed the depth and potential of each Jew, assuring us that wherever we are, we can always raise ourselves ever higher. The words selected as Rabi Shimon’s enduring legacy, emblazoned on the famous entranceway in Meron, quote his teaching, “Ki lo sishochach mipi zaro,” representing his assurance that Hashem’s children will never forget the Torah, despite all that will befall them. The final letters of the words spell Yochai, a hint at how they are bound up with the essence of the one who said them: yud, alef, ches, yud, vuv. Rav Shach succeeded in expressing the timelessness of Torah, the enduring birthright of our children, and the Divine assurance that each succeeding generation has a right to its light. We have to connect the neshamah to the guf, inside ourselves and outside ourselves. As the fame of the Chofetz Chaim grew, people flocked to him, asking for brachos. Many times, he would respond with a question. “Why did you come to me for brachos?” he would ask. “I am just a simple human being. Brachos can be obtained by following the pesukim in Parshas Bechukosai, which proclaim that all the

blessings of the world will flow to those who observe Hashem’s path – ‘Im bechukosai teileichu.’ The Torah, whose every word is true, guarantees brachos for shemiras hamitzvos. If it is blessings you seek, you would be well advised to spend your time advancing your shemiras hamitzvos and forgetting about me.” May the words of this parshah, with its promises of brachos and yeshuos, fill Jews everywhere with light, blessings, peace, and the ultimate brachah. The period of Sefirah is a time of harmony, of working on our bein odom lachaveiro, in the season of yomim tovim defined by achdus. We prepare for kabbolas haTorah by empowering our personal neshamah, as well as the neshamos of all of our people, so that they appreciate their importance and obligation in this world, through peace, harmony, and greatness.

Rav Yisroel Eliyohu Weintraub writes in his sefer Raza D’Shabbos that when we say that a person is a tzelem Elokim, it means that man has the ability to resemble Hashem through his actions. He explains that the neshamah hears the bas kol reminding it how to conduct itself. When the neshamah manages the guf, man can rise to the highest levels of conduct and spirituality, but when the neshamah doesn’t dominate, man can’t advance and cannot be rachum vechanun like Hashem. As we count the final days of Sefirah and recite the middos of chessed, gevurah, tiferes, netzach, hod, yesod, and malchus, and as we learn this week’s parshah of brachos and shalom, let us allow the neshamah to take over and influence our behavior so that we may be blessed with shalom and sheleimus.



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Photo Credit: Manny Saltiel



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LA Council Member Paul Koretz

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OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home 52 The Week In News Feature

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Does the Media Control Your Mind? By Nachum Soroka


or years, it was the journalist’s job to keep the public informed of the news matters of importance to their day-to-day lives. It was Edward R. Murrow’s London news reports, with which he began every evening with the catchphrase, “This is London,” which provided daily updates to ordinary Americans on the German Blitz. Murrow was the first to account back home on the horrific Nazi concentration camps, reporting from Buchenwald in 1945, “I pray you to believe what I have said about Buchenwald… If I’ve offended you by this rather mild account of Buchenwald, I’m not in the least sorry.” Today there are five Edward R. Murrow awards handed out by various organizations to outstanding journalists.

Almost everyone of a certain age remembers where they were when they heard President Kennedy was shot; it was Walter Cronkite who on April 16, 1962 somberly broke the news to the country on CBS and kept the public updated throughout the day. It was also Cronkite who introduced a new British band called the Beatles to the United States in November 1963. Cronkite’s work on the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, the Apollo 11 moon landing and the Watergate Scandal earned him the title, “The Most Trusted Man in America.” His steady manner of speaking kept America informed for over 19 years. Newsmen not only had the job of disseminating the news; they also were able to serve as steady voices

in moments of turmoil. Cronkite’s broadcast on Kennedy’s funeral ended with the following: “Tonight there will be few Americans who will go to bed without carrying with them the sense that somehow they have failed…. If, in the search of our conscience, we find a new dedication to the American concepts then maybe it may yet be possible to say that John Fitzgerald Kennedy did not die in vain.” In 1980, Ted Turner established CNN, the first 24-hour news television channel. While many people at the time scoffed at what they figured to be an unsustainable platform, the network’s success was buoyed by its coverage of the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster and the

Gulf War. Indeed, to this day, government officials refer to the impact 24-hour news organizations have on U.S. government policy as “The CNN effect.” CNN spawned a number of copycat all-news organizations, including its chief rival, conservative Fox News, and MSNBC on the left. The influx of news availability which runs the political gamut allows viewers to choose whichever side of the story they felt most comfortable listening to. While the purpose of an all-news network officially is primarily to broadcast news with only a dash of commentary thrown in (Fox News’s slogan was until recently, “We report, you decide”), the companies still have the choice of what politically charged issue deserve their

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President Obama with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

coverage and how exactly to cover it. This is all well and good to the viewer; a Barack Obama supporter in 2008 would tune into Chris Matthews on MSNBC; a John McCain supporter would watch Sean Hannity in the evenings on Fox News. But, like most things of the ancient turn of the millennium, cable news, along with all traditional news outlets, has by now been replaced with the offerings of technology and the World Wide Web. And while early internet news sites were no more than digital versions of an editor-curated newspaper or television channel, in the past few years Americans have embraced the algorithm as their curator of choice for news items worthy of their attention. This week, the Pew Research Center reported that 62 percent of American adults get their news on social media, including 18 percent who do so often – that’s up sharply from just four years ago when the figure was 49 percent. Two-thirds of Facebook users in the U.S. get news from the site (up from 47 percent just three years ago); that’s roughly 44 percent of the population, according to Pew – which is more than the cumulative news reach of YouTube (10), Twitter (9), Instagram (4), LinkedIn (4), Reddit (2), Snapchat (2) and Tumblr (1), the next seven biggest social media news sources. Computer programs help us make decisions by offering suggestions about the next book we would find enjoyable on Amazon or showing us advertisements for airline ticket prices when we are searching

for hotels in Aruba. By analyzing one’s search history, Google can determine the gender, race and religion of him and his dog, along with his marital status, profession and aversion to guacamole. And now Facebook does the same. The company has not maintained the popularity

President Obama with Google’s Eric Schmidt

obtain news stories from television and other media; Facebook’s algorithm learns which news items are of relevance to someone and which sources are deemed credible to him. No need to tune into Fox or read The New York Times; Facebook will post their stories to your Feed for you.

The anti-Israel page was allowed to remain on the site in spite of displaying posts like, “Revenge against the Jewish enemy that threatens Al Aqsa! Death to all the Jews!” which led to its over-$300 billion value because of people’s pictures of breakfast smoothies and birthday wishes. Instead, it is the company’s powerful News Feed feature, which occupies the center of every Facebook page and provides updates on items of interest to each user. News Feed is powered by a secret algorithm which helps keep its users on the site for all those ad-laden, valuable hours. Every Facebook user’s News Feed is personalized to display only items deemed of particular interest and relevance to that individual; Facebook’s program is made to track one’s physical location, what posts he has “liked” recently, and whether or not he regularly clicks on links of videos. News Feed has been so successful that it has replaced many users’ need to


Facebook’s official page describing its News Feed algorithm explains that “the topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you’ve liked and your location.” But a recent story, broken by The Guardian, portrays a much different methodology, which has actual (human!) editors curating almost every aspect of the News Feed, including placing items that would not have ended up there and “blacklisting” items that should have made it onto people’s News Feeds. On its face, there is nothing wrong with having human intervention to override a computer program. An algorithm’s precision can actually become its serious imperfection, and a real editor should have the ability – and mandate – to

make sure that a News Feed does not cater to someone’s offensive views. If Joe Bigot enjoys following the Nazi Party or Ku Klux Klan, there needs to be a way to ensure his Facebook page is not offering him up his daily dose of hate every time he logs in. Likewise, if Cynthia Catlover enjoys viewing photos of grumpy felines all day, it would not be so egregious for her Facebook Feed to present more than just videos of morose looking kittens and instead to offer her a more varied experience. But Facebook’s editorial team – which was created in 2014 with only a dozen members and has since mushroomed exponentially – operates under guidelines which sound more like those of a traditional news organization’s, not like those of a technology company which ostensibly only seeks to optimize its users’ experiences, and no more. The website relies mostly on only ten news organizations to report news stories and has an around the clock team which “blacklists” and “injects” items deemed by the team members to be worthy of such treatment. That included the recent “Black Lives Matter” campaign, which, regardless of one’s views and level of concern on the matter, was inserted into many people’s Feeds. It could be argued that the whole Black Lives Matter campaign gained traction only because of Facebook. Whether it is a worthy cause is a matter of personal opinion. But Facebook should not be in the business of promoting personal opinions. The recent North Carolina restroom controversy, which by some accounts affects less than


The Week In News Feature

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700,000 Americans, is still a heated topic of conversation because the Facebook editorial team deemed it newsworthy. Facebook’s editorializing also allowed it to suppress certain conservative, but trending, topics from users’ News Feeds, according to many conservative activists. Stories from right-wing sites, such as Breitbart and Newsmax were many times not displayed, and were only placed on Facebook once other sources, such as The New York Times, began covering them, some allege. A recent, disturbing survey conducted by the Pew Research Center may be more understandable in light of the recent Guardian report. Pew reported that amongst Millennials, the sympathy for the Palestinian cause has risen 5% over the past eighteen months. Millennials are also becoming increasingly more critical of Israel’s military defense of itself against known terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. In recent years, Europe has become a hotbed of hostility towards the Jewish state; the second largest political party on England, Labour, has had many of its members suspended for making openly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments in public. Israel now faces a new challenge across Europe and American college campuses as the irrational BDS movement intensifies. Social media, particularly Facebook, may lay at the root of Millennial’s growing shift in attitude. Palestinians may be winning the social media war with openly hateful and inciteful posts, and companies like Facebook are passively complicit. Shurat Hadin, an organization dedicated to stopping terror groups through the legal system, created two Facebook pages: one titled “Stop Israelis,” the other, “Stop Palestinians.” Both contained hateful imagery and statements, but only one was pulled from Facebook after the group complained to the website about their offensive messages. The anti-Israel page was allowed to remain on the site in spite of displaying posts like, “Revenge against the Jewish enemy that threatens Al Aqsa! Death to all the Jews!”

John Q. Public can’t be sure that the news reports he is receiving are not one-sided. He may also be exposed to news reports that are no more than PR messages distributed by the parties in discussion. According to a 2012 Pew study, roughly two-thirds of Americans naively believe that search results found online are unbiased. There are a number of things that President Obama will consider part of his legacy, legislation and diplomatic achievements that will remain relevant for many years after the president leaves office this year. On the legislative side, there is Obamacare; on the diplomacy side, there is the détente between the U.S. and sworn enemies such as Iran, Cuba and, most recently, Vietnam. Say what you want about the feasibility or politics of these achievements, or of the president’s motivation in accomplishing them, but the White House deserves credit for realizing the president’s aspira-

Many news organizations now rely on the White House to get information on stories developing overseas, making an awkward situation of the medium being the message. There may be no better example of the White House’s successful manipulation of the media –and by extension, the American public – than Obama’s Iran deal. The White House version of the events as they were unfolding was that the administration was pleasantly confronted with a new, moderate Iranian government led by President Hassan Rouhani in 2013. In truth, Obama was looking for a compromise with Iran for at least a year before Rouhani came into office, a fact that the American people would not be happy to hear as it means that the deal didn’t symbolize a meeting of the minds between the U.S. and a new Iran; it instead suggests an accession by the U.S. to do business with the same hard-line regime that had been in place for decades.

No doubt that there were a slew of issues discussed at these meetings – much more than just the news – but it should leave the public ill at ease when the shepherd is dining with the wolf. tions, particularly in the face of a very hostile Republican Senate and Congress. The Obama administration realized early on that to get its way in Washington would require a calculated strategy and found one in its relations with the media. Obama – or more specifically, his press secretary, Ben Rhodes – was quick to recognize the fast-changing news landscape of our web-driven society and has utilized it to influence public support for his initiatives. The internet has nearly decimated the traditional news industry: nearly 40% of newspaper professionals have been laid off in the past decade and most media outlets are no longer supported by foreign news desks.

Press Secretary Rhodes appointed members of his staff to run Twitter accounts full time which would “educate” the public on details of the situation handpicked by the White House. For the less tech-savvy audiences, Rhodes chose certain well-regarded political writers such as the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to disseminate the message, according to The New York Times Magazine. Rhodes worked closely with certain non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to disseminate the message that Congress would be doing the world harm by blocking the administration’s deal with Iran, including J Street, the Jewish, pro-Palestinian group, which received over $500,000 in funding from outside

Walter Cronkite, The Most Trusted Man in America

sources to fund a pro-Obama ad campaign. Indeed, the Iran deal has been something which the president still does not speak much of in public; it is a topic guided by his deputies. The “new media” companies seem to find this relationship with the White House to be a swell deal. White House logs have Google executives visiting the White House over 125 times since President Obama took office in 2009. Lobbyists from technology companies like Comcast, Facebook, Amazon, Oracle and Verizon have been reported to visit nearly as much in that time period as well. No doubt that there were a slew of issues discussed at these meetings – much more than just the news – but it should leave the public ill at ease when the shepherd is dining with the wolf. There has been no time in history when the public has had so much access to information, in so many forms and in real time. Sadly, though, the ease of access to information has allowed the world to become even more divided. As knowledge has become less and less expensive, it has become equally cheap. Opinions abound and online vitriol is a fact of life. Media no longer functions as the gatekeeper for all that is good and honest in the world. We live in the information age, for better and for worse. To quote Walter Cronkite, “That’s the way it is.”





TheCenterfold Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015


1. The first daily newspaper in the U.S was started in 1784. What was it called? a. The New York Gazette b. Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser c. New England Courant d. USA Daily

a. The industrial revolution b. Cross country railroads c. The Penny Press d. Creation of synthetic paper



2. What is the order of the following newspapers by their circulation? a. New York Times b. Wall Street Journal c. USA Today d. Los Angeles Times 3. Which author wrote for the Kansas City Star? a. Mark Twain b. Ernest Hemingway c. Hunter Thompson d. John Grisham 4. Which newspaper famously declared “Dewey Defeats Truman” the day after Truman was reelected in 1948? a. The Chicago Tribune b. The Milwaukee Standard c. The Philadelphia Inquirer d. USA Today 5. Newspaper circulation exploded in the 1830s because of what?

6. Created in 1917, the best known award which is distributed for “good” journalism is known as what? a. Nobel Journalist Prize b. Golden Globe c. Pulitzer Prize d. Excellence in Journalism Award Answers 1. B 2. C, B, A, D 3. B 4. A 5. C 6. C Wisdom Key 5-6 Correct: You are a Pulitzer Prize winner! 3-4 correct: You are pretty well-informed…keep reading TJH! 0-2 correct: “You Aced the Trivia!” Oops…sorry, had a little Chicago Tribune moment there.

Answer to riddle: Crystal Ball - Astrologer (crystal ball); Dinah Soares - Paleontologist (dinosaurs); Paige Turner - Author (page turner); Dee Major - Musician (D Major); Lee King - Plumber (leaking); Sue Mee - Lawyer (sue me)



Newspaper Trivia




Well Said ◊ If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: “President Can’t Swim.” -Lyndon B. Johnson ◊ Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock. -Ben Hecht ◊ They kill good trees to put out bad newspapers. -James G. Watt ◊ The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.- Thomas Jefferson ◊ No news is good news. No journalists is even better. -Nicolas Bentley ◊ I’ve always said there’s a place for the press but they haven’t dug it yet. -Tommy Docherty ◊ I hope we never live to see the day when a thing is as bad as some of our newspapers make it.- Will Rogers ◊ If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. - Mark Twain ◊ Everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have firsthand knowledge. -Erwin Knoll ◊ News is something someone wants suppressed. Everything else is just advertising. - Lord Northcliff ◊ Rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, in order to provide articles for people who can’t read.- Frank Zappa ◊ Being a reporter is as much a diagnosis as a job description. -Anna Quindlen


The Week In News Quotes

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Notable Quotes “Say What?!”

The Taliban has named a new leader this week after their former leader was killed in a drone strike over the weekend. It’s the only job interview where the correct answer to “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is “I don’t.” – Seth Myers

He actually performed a public service. - Former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder on Edward Snowden

President Obama today spoke at the G7 summit in Japan. Bernie Sanders was like, “G7?! Bingo!” – Seth Myers

Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus blasted Hillary Clinton on Twitter for using “bad judgment.” Priebus said, “I haven’t seen judgment this bad since my parents named me Reince Priebus.” – Conan O’Brien

Eating two strips of Rapley’s award winning bacon for breakfast reduces your chance of being a suicide bomber by 100%. - A sign displayed at Rapley’s Midtown Quality Meats in Narooma, Australia, which went viral

Fleet Week is when members of the Navy do the bravest thing they’ve ever done: wear all white on the New York City subway. – Jimmy Fallon

One of the events for Fleet Week is the “Parade of Ships” along the Hudson River. That’s one more reason we love you guys — you found a way to have a parade in New York City that doesn’t [mess] up traffic. – Jimmy Fallon

Yeah it is. I’m going to continue to attack the press. I find the press to be dishonest. I find the political press to be extremely dishonest. – Trump, when asked at a contentious press conference whether his relationship with the press would continue to be contentious if he wins the presidency

Donald Trump issued a statement saying he will not debate Bernie Sanders. For a while, it was looking like they were going to go ahead with it. They even started negotiating the rules. The one thing they both agreed on: no ceiling fans. – Jimmy Fallon


Quotes The Week In News

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The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

29 21

Donald Trump tweeted that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be “four more years of stupidity.” As opposed to a Trump presidency, which would be one year of stupidity followed by three years of war with Mexico. – Conan O’Brien

It’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries. — Former McDonald’s USA chief executive Ed Renzi, warning of job losses from the push to increase the minimum wage

The NRA on Friday endorsed Donald Trump for president. I guess that reaffirms their commitment to absolutely zero background checks.

Though the content of the quotes was reviewed thoroughly, the attributions clearly were not. - A Quaker Valley School District official to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review after a local high school’s yearbook quoted Hitler, Stalin, and the leader of ISIS

– Seth Myers

They cannot do a [expletive] thing. It’s been reported that the head of security for the TSA has been officially removed from his position. That’s right – he was told to turn in his badge, his uniform, his shoes, his belt, his keys, bottles over 4 ounces, his laptop, and any coins in his pockets. (I repeat! There should be NOTHING IN HIS POCKETS!) – Jimmy Fallon

— Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, on U.S. complaints about his nation’s ballistic missile program

One of the winners of this year’s national spelling bee has an older brother who won the competition in 2014. Or as their dad put it, “I’m just going to throw these baseball mitts away.” – Jimmy Fallon

Donald Trump is holding his first-ever campaign fundraiser but says he’s only doing it because the Republican Party asked him to. Yeah. Trump thought he should do this for the Republican Party, since he turned down their first request: Don’t be our candidate. – Conan O’Brien

It’d be cool to fight people and shoot weapons and blow up stuff. - 17-year-old Hannah Carpenter of Alvord, on becoming one of the Army’s first two female infantry recruits from Texas

I just reject the results. I don’t agree with them, and I don’t agree that this is a valid way of surveying public opinion in Indian Country. — Lead plaintiff Suzan Harjo, 70, who belongs to the Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee tribes, on a Washington Post poll that shows nine in 10 Native Americans are not offended by the Washington Redskins’ name

Saturday was the 141st running of the Preakness, and it was won by a horse named Exaggerator. Apparently, he won just by promising to make horse racing great again. – Jimmy Fallon



The Week In News

New Unit to Protect the North The number of civilians on Israel’s Syr-

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

ian border has grown so much that the IDF is establishing a special liaison unit to manage its growing contacts in the war-ravaged country. The northeastern border of Israel, known as the Golan Heights, touches large sections of Syria that are controlled by various rebel and jihadi factions, including the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and Islamic State-affiliated Yarmouk Martyrs’ Brigades. Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, which has claimed the lives of at least 250,000 people and displaced as many as half the country’s population, Is-

rael’s army has treated some 2,000 Syrians who arrived wounded at the border fence. Israel has also tracked — and occasionally responded to with airstrikes — a growing Iranian and Hezbollah presence on the Syrian Golan. The new unit is said to be modeled on the Yakal, the IDF’s liaison unit in southern Lebanon during Israel’s military presence in the country that ended with Israel’s withdrawal in 2000. Yakal coordinated IDF and allied South Lebanese Army operations, and served as the army’s interface with civilians living in areas controlled by the IDF

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. The new unit is likely to help facilitate easier access to Israeli medical facilities for wounded Syrians, as well as help the IDF keep a closer watch on developments across the border. With the exception of occasional reported airstrikes against Hezbollah weapons smuggling convoys and other similar targets, Israel has maintained neutrality in the war on its northern border. The IDF is said to coordinate its strikes on the Assad-allied terror group with Russian forces fighting alongside Hezbollah to prop up Assad’s rule.

5/31/16 11:14 AM

A Shin Bet investigation has revealed that the six-member Hamas cell that carried out the attack on a Jerusalem public bus recently intended to carry out a series of terrorist attacks in and around Jerusalem. The cell planned to commit suicide with shooting and car-bombing attacks. The suicide attack on bus number 12 injured 20 civilians, and the 19-year-old bomber from Bethlehem was mortally wounded and later died from his wounds in the hospital. Now that the gag order has been removed from the investigation, it has been revealed that the cell members were between 19 and 30. Some of them were detained in the past in Israel after having been convicted of Hamas-related activities. Two members of the group were involved in a shooting attack in 2015 that ended without any injuries. The cell had organized in recent months with the goal of carrying out a series of terrorist attacks. They sought to recruit other terrorists to carry out suicide attacks. The explosive device used in the Jerusalem bus attack was built by one of the cell’s members from over-the-counter products that could be easily purchased, and that same member learned how to prepare the device online. The other members helped him by purchasing the products.

The Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

‫ סדר נשי‬‫ על‬‫הדר‬ !‫ על‬‫והדר‬


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The Week In News

BDS Movement Gains Support in the U.S. A growing and concerning number of Americans are displaying anti-Israel attitudes. According to a recent poll, onethird or 33% of Americans believe that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement presents a legitimate strategy against Israel; nearly two-thirds see it as anti-Semitic. The poll sampled 1,100 people across the U.S. A similar survey in Britain found 40% see divestment as a legitimate measure. Despite the growing numbers, there

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

was still majority support for Israel with nearly two-thirds (62%) in the U.S. and 50% in the UK saying that the BDS movement is anti-Semitism.

said, according to the report. “Nonetheless, the young students of today are less committed to the special connection between the two countries than previous generations.” “There is no doubt that the BDS movement doesn’t let up in its efforts to harm Israel,” Danon noted. “Together with our partners we will continue to stand firm in the face of any threat, and we will win.”

“We have no ally more important than the United States of America and we have no closer friends than the American community in all its diversity,” Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon

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Ain’t Nothing but a Hot Dog It is estimated that Americans down 20 billion hot dogs a year. That means that if you’re average (and we know that you’re not!) you consume around 70 dawgs annually. Being that Memorial Day is in the rearview mirror, the hot dog fest has begun. Eaten with relish, ketchup, mustard, or sauerkraut, there’s nothing like a hot dog. But while you’re eating your favorite frank, you must have wondered once in your life: is a hot dog a sandwich or just a hot dog? Deep questions to ponder while you’re enjoying your barbecue. Now you can stop your ruminating. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the “most trustworthy dictionary and thesaurus of American English,” the hot dog is definitely a sandwich. They tweeted this essential piece of news on Friday. “We know: the idea that a hot dog is a sandwich is heresy to some of you. But given that the definition of sandwich is ‘two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between,’ there is no sensible way around it,” they wrote on their website. “If you want a meatball sandwich on a split roll to be a kind of sandwich, then you have to accept that a hot dog is also a kind of sandwich.” Some were relieved to hear this news. Others were chagrined by the revelation. User @JoeRoobol wrote, “This is terrorism,” while Kevin Morrell said, “This tweet made me an @OED convert,” in reference to the Oxford English Dictionary. You know what? Perhaps you should consider eating a burger instead.

A Fine Penny Brett Sanders was caught speeding recently and was given a ticket. But the Texan was not going to take the fine sitting down. He duly contested the ticket but was found guilty. Stuck with a whole lot of anger at the court and at the police, Sanders took his revenge out in pennies. In a dramatic video he created to document his vengeful act with small change, Sanders is seen going to the extra effort of branding his buckets with the slogans “Policing for profit” and “Extortion money.” “I’m not a big fan of extortion,” Sanders explains in the video he posted to YouTube. “I was convicted by a jury for driving 39 in a 30 and was subject to $212 at the barrel of a gun.”

The Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

not Mr. George W. Bush, who would you like to have right near you when you’re gasping for breath? Dr. Henry Heimlich might come in handy. The 96-year-old Cincinnati surgeon is credited with inventing the lifesaving technique named for him. Last week, he used the Heimlich Maneuver for the first time to save a fellow senior center res-

Sanders filled up his buckets with 22,000 pennies using a shovel and then hauled them to the county clerk to pay the fine. But Sanders didn’t just hand over the copper coins. In the video, he lifts up the buckets and then dumps the thousands of pennies on the desk. The clerk, obviously, looks displeased. Sanders, though, felt the whole process was cathartic. “It felt great. It really felt great,” he told NBC Chicago, who reported that the clerk’s employees used a local CoinStar machine to count the change. It took them three hours. By the end of it, it appeared Sanders had overpaid by $7.81. Finished making his point, Sanders said the clerk’s office could keep the change. Perhaps he has an uncle named Bernie?

A Pie in the Sky

In Italy, pizza is so popular, it’s even looked at like currency. Recently, a judge in Padua, Italy, ruled that it is acceptable for child support to be paid in the form of pizza. After being ordered to pay his ex-wife €300 ($333) per month in child support for their daughter, a pizza chef decided to instead provide them with an equivalent amount of pizza. But his former wife wasn’t pleased with the pies of pizza cluttering up her freezer and decided to take him to court. Instead of the verdict she expected, the judge ruled in favor of the pizza maker, saying, “Since he does not earn enough to make the full payment ... it was acceptable to continue paying the alimony with his culinary creations instead.” Guess what’s for dinner tonight?

Heimlich Performs the Heimlich Choking on a pretzel? Well, if you’re

ident who was choking on a hamburger, a center spokesman said on Friday. Heimlich, who in multiple national television appearances had demonstrated the “Heimlich Maneuver” to dislodge food from an airway, had never employed it in an emergency, said spokesman Ken Paley.

But on Monday, the doctor was sitting at a communal dining table at Cincinnati’s Deupree House, an upscale senior living center where he lives, and noticed fellow resident Patty Ris, 87, in distress while eating an open-faced hamburger. He dashed out of his seat, put his arms around her and pressed on her abdomen below the rib cage, following his own instructions, which



The Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

are on posters required to be displayed in most restaurants in the United States.


“After three compressions, this piece of meat came out, and she just started breathing, her whole face changed,” Heimlich said. “I sort of felt wonderful about it, just having saved that girl,” he admitted. Ris said she randomly selected the seat in the dining room on Monday because she is a new resident at Deupree. “When I wrote my ‘thank you’ note to him for saving my life, I said, ‘G-d put me in that seat next to you, Dr. Heimlich, because I was gone, I couldn’t breathe at all,’” Ris said.

Whale Ale

Wood Grilled Rib Eye mustard demi | fried yukon gold potatoes sous vide abalone mushrooms | roasted pearl onions




I have to admit, I am not a beer drinker. But after this story, I am staying far away. Recently, a team of Australian brewers announced that they have produced a new ale. The new flavor comes from the ocean depths. Moby Dick Ambergris Ale from Robe Town Brewery is brewed with a “pungent, musky substance” called ambergris, which is also known as “whale vomit.” Sounds yummy, no? Well, whale vomit is considered a delicacy. To those unfamiliar with whales, ambergris is a solid waxy material which scientists believe is formed in the intestines of sperm whales. It is said to aid in digestion but when the animal dies, it’s regurgitated into the ocean. Since it’s only available once the creature is no longer living and seldom washes up on shore, it’s very expensive—a one pound piece sold for $63,000 back in 2012. The whale vomit doesn’t just add flavor to beers. In medieval times, the substance was used for medicinal purposes. Today, perfumers use it to enhance scents and give them staying power. “When I heard that ambergris was used in the perfume industry, I thought, ‘I wonder if that could be used to flavor or spice up a beer,’” Maris Biezaitis, one of the brewer’s behind Moby Dick, said. A few years ago, some friends found a 400-gram lump of ambergris on a nearby

beach. That inspired the brewer to add a little “zing” to a new ale. “It was a relatively fresh piece, quite a smelly piece, so it was airing and curing in the backyard before I got hold of it.” The whale vomit brew was created as a special edition for a beer festival in Melbourne, Australia, earlier this month. It appeared alongside the infamous Belly Button Beer in which brewers used human belly button lint as yeast. Seems like beers of a feather flock together. What does a brew seasoned with whale barf taste like? “It tastes a little bit like the sea; it tastes a little bit like marine animals. It’s really interesting, I think,” co-brewer Kristi Biezaitis admitted. Some describe it as “surprisingly sweet”; others are disgusted by it. I, for one, will never know. Whale vomit beer just doesn’t tickle my taste buds.

The Swarming Sedan

Talk about loyalty. Carol Howarth, 65, was driving around in her car recently and picked up an interesting decoration: a swarm of bees. Apparently, the hive’s queen bee entered her car when she visited a nature reserve. She didn’t know she’d acquired an unwanted passenger — but the busy bees knew, and they followed her. When she parked her car and then came out from a store she noticed the back of her car was covered with hundreds of black and yellow insects. A passerby noticed the strange mound and posted it on Facebook. “It was spectacular. I was driving through when I spotted the big brown splodge,” Tom Moses said. “A lot of people were really amazed by it, cars were slowing down and people were taking pictures of it,” he continued. Moses stopped to help and called the Pembrokeshire Beekeepers’ Association. They de-beed the car and Howarth drove home, seemingly bee-free. But the next morning, they returned with a stinging vengeance. “The swarm of around 20,000 had followed her and were sat around on the boot of the car,” said beekeeper Roger Burns. After many tries, the bees and their queen were sent on their way. Howarth, finally left with a bee-free car, was as happy as can “bee.”

Parenting The Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Proactive Parenting: Tantrums Sara Teichman, Psy D

Dear Dr. T, I am looking forward to the summer – a relaxed schedule, a trip cross-country with the family, and then a week in the mountains with my husband. Here is my dilemma: my husband and I really do need a break and time alone together, but I don’t know if it is healthy to leave my children – ages three to seven – for a week. My husband feels that even if our going away is hard on the kids, it’s worth it, they’ll never remember it, etc., but I am not so sure. Are there any guidelines for this kind of situation? Rachel Dear Rachel, It is certainly challenging when there are two competing, yet valid, claims on the family. Children, particularly very young children, need their parents; but parents need private time with each other. How can we accommodate both these needs? I want to begin by clarifying what we all know and believe – that the needs of children trump the needs of parents. We give up our sleep to feed our babies, and abandon our agendas to take our children to the doctor, Uncle Moishe, etc. The hallmark of good parenting is maturity – the ability to put another’s needs before our own. So, though the answer is complex and multi-layered, never black or white, the good parent, as a general rule, does strive to delay gratification in the best interests of his children. I want to take a moment to address your husband’s position that the children will not remember your absence; hence it’s a short term pain for a long term gain. While it is obvious that we generally have little cognitive recall of early events – little actual memory – we all have affective (feeling) memory. So, for example, while your child may not remember the details of his bedtime routine by the time he reaches adulthood, he will have a sense of how bedtime felt to him. The sense that he carries with him that he was put down lovingly, dispatched with haste, or sent off in anger – this will be his affective (emotional) memory. While your young children may not actually remember your leaving them, this disruption in attachment may become part of a reservoir of negative feelings that burden your children in the days to come. On the other hand, parents do need to work on strengthening their marriage and attaining a relaxed, rejuvenated lease on

life. The wise parent attends to his mental health needs and the best interests of the couple: happy, healthy people make for good parents. And realistically speaking, sometimes parents must leave their children – for illness, a new baby, family emergency, a simchah, or much-needed time together. So, what to do? There is no one sizefits-all solution; your decision is a unique, highly personal one that balances the conflicting needs of everyone in the family. Hopefully, it is a process that calculates the value of a vacation as a couple to your marriage versus the cost to your children at this particular moment in time. Although your situation is unique to you, it represents the many choices – conflicting responsibilities and competing mitzvos – that we all face daily. • A child’s homework or a much-needed shiur? • A sudden levaya or chasuna of a very good friend? • Monopoly with your son or a well-deserved rest? Here are some additional, concrete factors to think about that may help you decide. • Age – The younger the child, the harder it is. • Temperament – Children differ: a content go-withthe-flow child is different from one who is anxious and high-strung. • Time – A weekend is better than a week. Younger children have little concept of time, so the shorter the better. • Location – Home is most comfortable; a familiar place is a runner-up. If possible, arrange for someone to come into

your home rather than sending the children “out.” • Caretaker – A familiar person – relative, friend, nanny – is best. • Routine – Routine is comforting. In every way possible, have the children follow their same routine. This includes diet, scheduling, extra-curricular activities, etc. • Frequency – Are we talking once month? Once a year? Every five years? • Keep in touch – Can you remain in touch through phone calls, Face Time, or Skype? While there is no right answer, your attempt to make a decision that meets

everyone’s needs confirms the fact that as a parent you are doing the very best you can. Book Nook: Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel Siegel, MD, and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed describes how a deeper self-understanding can help us raise children who thrive. It offers parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children. Sara Teichman, Psy D. is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles and Clinical Director of ETTA, L.A.’s largest Jewish agency for adults with special needs. To submit a question or comment, email

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JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Travel Guide: St. Petersburg Aaron Feigenbaum Once desolate swampland in Russia’s cold north, St. Petersburg today is Russia’s cultural and intellectual heart. Built by the visionary czar, Peter the Great, in the 1700s, the planned city of St. Petersburg is reminiscent of European cities such as Paris and Venice. Golden spires, gilded domes, awe-inspiring palaces, Italian-style mansions, meandering canals, and the bustling Nevsky Prospekt give this city a flavor unlike any other in Eastern Europe. While Moscow has alluring, modern buildings and is the center of Russian political power, it is safe to say that most visitors prefer the grandeur and traditionalism of St. Petersburg. From the priceless artistic and cultural treasures stored at the world-famous Hermitage Museum to the awe-inspiring Winter Palace to ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg is a striking and elegant combination of East and West. After a full day of enjoying the beauty and diversity of this city, take a stroll along the Neva River and soak in the atmosphere of the “White Nights,” an exotic northern phenomenon (only in the summertime) where night is almost indistinguishable from day, and which inspired some of Russia’s greatest literary figures such as Dostoevsky and Gogol. History The area now known as St. Petersburg was once a Swedish fort called Nyenskans until it was conquered by Czar Peter the Great in 1703 and given its current name. Building an entire city on this cold marshland was no easy task; tens of thousands of serfs formed the construction corps, and many died from disease and exposure. With the help of foreign engineers, the marshland was drained. The city’s first building was the Peter and Paul Fortress, which was a prison for many high-profile political and religious prisoners (including the first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi) up until the Communist Revolution. Peter the Great’s grand vision

of a city to rival Amsterdam and Venice in the West aroused the ire of the Russian nobility, and several attempts were made on his life. Nevertheless, Peter’s vision came true, and St. Petersburg became the center of culture and learning that he had envisioned. Countless palaces such as Peterhof, the Winter Palace, and Catherine’s Palace were built by him as well as by his daughter, Empress Elizabeth, and by Catherine the Great. Despite the repression of rulers like Nicholas I, St. Petersburg in the early 1800s was a magnet for intellectuals and businessmen. With Alexander II’s emancipation of the serfs in 1861, the population of the city swelled. Tenements quickly sprang up on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, and city saw the beginnings of industry. The assassination of Alexander II in the streets of St. Petersburg in 1881 marked the beginning of the city’s revolutionary phase. Underground socialist and anarchist movements popped up, and their activities culminated in the Revolutions of 1905 and 1917. St. Petersburg was the focus of Lenin’s crusade during the 1917 Revolution, but he made Moscow the capital in 1918. Several days after Lenin’s death, St. Petersburg was renamed Leningrad both to honor Lenin and the communist revolution and to stamp out the memory of the czars. Once one of Eastern Europe’s most prosperous cities, St. Petersburg was devastated by Stalin’s purges in the 1920s and 1930s resulting in millions of residents fleeing to Western Europe and America. However, even that paled in comparison to the utter catastrophe caused by the Nazis in WWII. The Battle of Leningrad was one of most horrible in history, resulting in over one million civilian deaths, almost complete destruction of the city itself, and the looting of countless treasures, such as the famous Amber Room. Leningrad was rebuilt after the war but


Catherine Palace

Faberge Museum

stagnated economically under the Soviet Union’s stifling economic and political system. The city’s original name was restored in 1991. With the end of the Soviet Union, St. Petersburg has made steady progress. While inequality and corruption remain big issues (as is the case in many other Russian cities), St. Petersburg has done a great job of modernizing and developing its tourist infrastructure. It is now visited by millions every year and is one of Eastern Europe’s top destinations. Attractions The Hermitage: Located within the Winter Palace and situated along the Neva River, The Hermitage is St. Petersburg’s most popular attraction and undoubtedly one of the best art museums in the world. It had humble beginnings as an adjunct to the Winter Palace meant to house Catherine the Great’s small collection of cultural artifacts, but it has since grown into a beautiful baroque palace that holds three million treasures from around the world, dating from prehistoric times to the present. From priceless ancient Middle Eastern artifacts to original Da Vinci paintings to the greatest works of the Impressionists to jewels, sculptures, and the crowns of the czars, the scope and scale of the Hermitage is simply mind-boggling. There are over 1,000 halls and rooms to explore, each of which is sumptuously decorated and contains some of the world’s most valuable art. The Winter Palace itself was originally built for Peter the Great and was last used by Alexander II. Most visitors begin their Hermitage adventure by ascending the Jordan Staircase to the Winter Palace’s state rooms, which include the Great Throne Room, the main ballroom, the Music Room, and the shockingly ornate Golden Drawing Room. The Hermitage Complex is not only the Winter Palace but also several other buildings. One of these is the General Staff Building, which once housed government offices during the Czarist period. One wing of this building showcases some of the unique diplomatic gifts given to the Imperial Court while another pays tribute to St. Petersburg’s famous Art Nouveau movement. The Hermitage’s Menshikov Palace was built by Peter the Great for his close friend Alexander Menshikov. Peter used the home for his most formal occasions such as greeting foreign dignitaries and holding state parties. After Menshikov fell

Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad

out of favor with the Court and was exiled, the palace became the home of the Cadet Corps and was later reopened as part of the Hermitage’s art collection. The beautiful Hermitage Theatre was originally built for Catherine the Great, a passionate theater lover, to entertain herself and her friends. Today it functions mainly to entertain tourists with its wide range of classical music and ballet performances. If you’re coming to St. Petersburg in the summer when the Mariinsky Theatre is closed, then this is your next best bet. Peterhof: Often compared to the Versailles Palace in France, Peter’s Grand Palace (aka Peterhof) is truly a marvel. Peter dedicated this awe-inspiring architectural masterpiece to Russia’s victory over Sweden at the Battle of Poltava, Ukraine in 1809. The palace is surrounded by three parks and a stunning array of 150 fountains, all of which operate without pumps. The exquisitely decorated palace was built by Italian architect Francesco Rastrelli, who also built the Winter Palace and Catherine’s Palace. Highlights of the Grand Palace include the gilded ballroom, the white and turquoise throne room, and the Oriental-themed Western Chinese Study. Located nearby is the much smaller Monplaisir Palace, Peter the Great’s summer retreat. It was at Monplaisir that Catherine would cook for her guests and admire the view of the Gulf of Kronstadt and the city. A highlight here is the painstakingly created Lacquered Gallery, which required Russian artists to spend many months studying the traditional art of Chinese lacquering. Catherine Palace: Built for Peter the Great’s wife Catherine I (not for Catherine the Great) and located in the nearby village of Tsarkoye Selo, this palace is truly magnificent. Its blue, white, and gold exterior make it instantly recognizable and one of the most visually striking palaces in Europe. Highlights of the interior include the White Dining Room, Portrait Hall, and a recreation of the legendary Amber Room. The original Amber Room was dismantled by Nazi troops when they took over the palace in 1941 and shipped to Konigsberg. The ultimate fate of the room is unknown to this day. Yusupov Palace: Czars weren’t the only ones that had palaces in St. Petersburg. Built for the incredibly wealthy Yusupov noble family, this palace is most famous as the site of the 1916 assassination of Grigori Rasputin, the mysterious peasant faith healer and close friend to Nicholar II’s family. The details surrounding the assassination are mired in controversy, but a display inside the palace tries to make some sense of things. You can also see the beautiful rooms the Yusupovs stayed in (which have the distinction of being in their original state unlike many other palaces in the city) and catch a show at the palace’s impressive rococo style theater. Mariinsky Theatre: Built in 1783 and originally called the Bolshoi Stone Theatre, Mariinsky has hosted some of the world’s most talented singers, dancers and composers such as Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky. It has become Russia’s premiere opera and music house and continues to

Travel The Week In News

JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home


showcase the best of Russia’s performance art history in this elaborately decorated venue. An additional stage, the modernist Mariinsky II, was opened in 2013. Museums: Besides the Hermitage, St. Petersburg has an abundance of worldclass museums worth visiting. One of these is the Fabergé Museum, opened in 2013 and located in the Shuvalov Palace, which contains over 4,000 handcrafted eggs including a group of nine specially made for Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II. The Cruiser Aurora, one of Russia’s most famous naval ships, took part in the Battle of Tsusima in the Russo-Japanese War and fired the blank shot that signaled the start of the October Revolution in 1917. It sits on the Neva River welcoming tourists onto its decks. The Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad is small but presents a moving account of one of WWII’s darkest moments. The museum details the effects of the Nazi siege on the city through personal diaries and video/audio. There are also newspaper articles and Nazi diaries recounting the feats of Soviet snipers. Visitors can tour the WWII-era submarine Narodovolets to get a feel for the cramped conditions sailors lived in at that time, as well as its role in sinking four enemy ships. The State Russian Museum holds one of the finest collections of Russian art and is one of the country’s largest museums. The museum comprises three buildings and covers the entirety of Russian art history, from Byzantine iconography to the avant-garde scene of the 20th century. The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics takes a look at the Soviet Union’s im-

pressive accomplishments in space exploration and astronomy. Some of the most fascinating pieces on display include a moon rover, Soviet space suit, rocket engines, a piece of moon rock presented to the Soviet Union by the crew of Apollo 11, and a capsule similar to the one used to transport Yuri Gagarin (the first person in space). Daven and Eat The most recognizable Jewish landmark in St. Petersburg is undoubtedly the beautifully decorated Grand Choral Synagogue, the second largest shul in Europe. It runs several schools and is involved in many charitable efforts to help the Jewish community of the city. There is also a kosher restaurant and food store on site. For more info on Jewish life in St. Petersburg visit Getting There and Around Currently plane tickets from LAX to St. Petersburg start at around $800 per person round trip. From Moscow, St. Petersburg can be reached either by plane or by the Sapsan Bullet Train (a 1.5 hour and 4 hour trip respectively). Getting around St. Petersburg is easy and cheap. The most popular way is to take the metro and enjoy the beautifully decorated stations. There are also buses, trolleys, taxis, Uber, and boats. Note that most means of transportation shut down at night. Private vehicle taxis are quite popular with locals but not advised with tourists. It’s generally advised not to step in a private taxi if it already has passengers. And as in most other metropolitan cities around the world, be on guard for pickpockets. Otherwise, St. Petersburg is a very safe city to tour.



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JUNE 2, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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