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The Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



The Week In News CONTENTS


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


Connect the Dots. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 It’s About Us. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


Wende Museum Provides Insights into Jewish Life Beyond the Iron Curtain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Massive Gatherings in Eretz Yisrael and Argentina Wrap Up a Month of Dirshu Worldwide Siyumim. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

ENTERTAINMENT Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36


Book Review: Inside Out: In Prison Not Imprisoned, Correspondence of R’ Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin. . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Travel Guide: Seoul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Ask Dr. T . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37




Dear Readers,

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

At least 40 killed in Ankara International airport. 87% of people surveyed in Venezuela say they do not have enough money for food. But Brexit is the problem. A double suicide bombing in Iraq. Incendiary munitions being dropped on civilians in Syria? Blame it on Jews living in Chevron. It will be impossible for the free world to confront the real issues such as the threat of Islamic Jihad if it does not see them as one. The allies were able to bring down Nazi Germany only after it was decided they would accept nothing less than unconditional surrender, eventually outlawing Nazism in the countries it had taken root. To this day many European countries are still extremely sensitive to this and monitor groups associating themselves with the Nazi ideology. They recognize that hate and extremism have always been attractive for people looking to rule others, somehow justifying their own existence. We need to treat radical Islam the same. Governments and populations which support it materially need to be ostracized materially. Those who support it as a belief system need to be shunned from that community. And if the need arises to use the military option, than we need to consider that as well. This is a cancer which is not going away by itself. A good response in our personal lives can be increased joy. Even a mundane activity such as eating pizza with the family should be done with the joyful expression of being alive, as a Jew, at the threshold of the future redemption. It’s this basic enjoyment of life itself which extremists can’t handle, and it is this which will ultimately prevail. “These trust in chariots and these in horses, but we – we mention the name of the L-rd our G-d.” May we have a peaceful and spiritual Shabbos,


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

The Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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TheHappenings Week In News


JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Los Angeles Discovers the “Righteous Gentile” Sempro Sugihara Rabbi Arye D. Gordon right to wear a yarmulke in the armed forces, not to be fired from one’s job because a person can’t work on Shabbos or yom tov, and other issues relating to the Jewish community – this time he honored others. At four years old, Mr. Lewin found himself at a most historic and significant time in Jewish history. What occurred resulted in the saving of his life, those of his parents and many other Jews, as well as the shearis hapleita, the talmidim of the Mir Yeshiva, future disseminators of Torah in America. In a fascinating slide presentation, Mr. Lewin retold the true story how his mother was the impetus for the saving of thousands of Jews. Once the rescue operation was conceived, it’s success required the insight, intelligence, and the monumental

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courage of a man called Sempro Sugihara, the Japanese Consul in Kovno, Lithuania. Sugihara disobeyed his government’s orders in 1940 and issued transit visas through Japan to over 5000 Jews seeking to flee war-torn Europe. Mr. Lewin’s family and other recipients of those visas – including the members of the Mir Yeshiva – made it to Shanghai because of Mrs. Lewin’s determination to save her family. There, they waited out the Holocaust. It took over 40 years until, in 1985, Yad Vashem honored Sugihara as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. He died quietly a year later without much acknowledgement for his courageous activities. While much has been done since then to recognize his bravery, the Japanese people have shown a desire to recognize Sempro Sugihara as well. The film Persona non Grata tells his story and includes others who made it all possible. Among them were the Dutch consul in Kovno, Jan

Zwartendijk, and the Dutch Ambassador in Riga, L.P.J. de Decker. Persona Non Grata exquisitely relays the story of Sugihara and others who endangered their lives to save Jews. At the time of production, the film’s producers did not know the catalyst that generated these visas. They did not know the story of Rebbetzin Lewin, with her tremendous emunah, who put in motion the plan for escape.   At the Los Angeles screening, only a handful of the 600-plus audience members were Jewish – the rest were Japanese. Sempro Sugihara became Persona Non Grata for a lifetime of decisions he made to do what was right and not to follow the misguided actions and directions of others. Having saved thousands of lives, his actions – with the passage of time – will grow to represent hundreds of thousands of lives. What can one say, but yehi zichro boruch?

Photos: Arye D. Gordon

On Thursday afternoon June 23, 2016, the Japanese American Society of California and the Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania jointly presented a panel discussion on “Chiune Sugihara’s Legacy: Japanese-Jewish Bonds” and showed the film Persona Non Grata at the downtown Aratani Theatre. During the Holocaust, there were non-Jews who stepped forward and were responsible for saving yidden doomed to death. Among those saved were future leaders of Klal Yisroel, roshei reshivas, rabbanim, and others whose existence has greatly impacted our history. Mr. Nathan Lewin was in Los Angeles to participate in the panel discussion. Although the prominent attorney has been honored many times – for defending the

TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Aish Los Angeles Gala Banquet 2016 On June 1st, Aish LA held their annual Gala at the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom to a capacity crowd. Former Disney animator and current film director, Saul Blinkoff, was the event’s Master of Ceremonies, and kicked things off with a most impassioned presentation on the eve-

AMIT Hosts Raid on Entebbe: A First-Hand Account On Wednesday, June 22, the Western Region of AMIT, Israel’s premier education network, hosted an event with Lieutenant Colonel Sassy Reuven (retired), who shared his first-hand account of Operation Thunderbolt. AMIT held the event in honor of the 40th anniversary of the heroic operation, during which Israeli commandos flew to Uganda’s airport in Entebbe in order to rescue the hostages taken by the hijackers of an Air France flight. The event took place at 7 p.m. at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre, located at 8556 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. In July of 1976, Lt. Col. Sassy Reuven served in the commando unit that orchestrated the famed Entebbe hostage-rescue mission code named "Operation Thunderbolt," flying south thousands of miles over enemy territory to rescue Jewish hostages being held by terrorists in Uganda. Air France Flight 139 had been hijacked several days earlier, on June 27th. Lt. Col. Reuven shared his personal experience in a step-by-step account from the moment his unit was put on alert for the mission, through its preparation and ultimate execution in the late night hours of July 3rd. “We were honored to host the L.A. community to mark the 40th anniversary of the raid on Entebbe by joining us to hear the engaging hero share his personal experience,” said AMIT Western Region Director Michal Taviv-Margolese. Founded in 1925, AMIT is the premier education network in Israel, serving more than 32,000 students each year in its 110 schools in 29 cities throughout Israel. AMIT enables students to reach their fullest potential and become productive members of Israeli society with the skills necessary to build a successful future. AMIT’s Western Region office is located in Los Angeles. For more information, please visit www.amitchildren.org.

ning’s theme of “Finding One’s Meaning.” A video featuring the eight honorees, including Dr. Susan Berman, Executive Director of the Help Group, was extremely moving, as was a short speech from fellow honoree Rabbi Shlomo Seidenfeld. Also present were the evening’s Chairs,

Edward and Thomas Slatkin, owners of the Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar, and Aish LA Founders Richard and Beverly Horowitz, David and Susan Wilstein, and Leonard and Joyce Wilstein. Keynote speaker Adam Leipzig, whose TED Talk has had over 5.5 million views,

guided the room in how to discover one’s purpose in life. Proceeds from the evening helped to underwrite the costs of sending 220 students in 2016 to Israel to learn and tour on Aish LA programs.



TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Mishnayos and Tanya Baal Peh Awards at Cheder Menachem On Sunday 13 Sivan, talmidim of Cheder Menachem Los Angeles – together with their parents, grandparents, relatives, and friends – braved the 100 degree heat, gathering to mark the culmination of over two months of learning mishnayos and Tanya baal peh, as a present to the Rebbe in honor of Yud Alef Nissan. To date, in the 16 years that the program has been going on, the talmidim have surpassed the 1,000,000 line mark of mishnayos baal peh. This year’s achievements include, Dovi Spalter, 8th Grade, who learned the entire Seder Moed, Masechta Brochos, as well as a the first three perakim of Tanya; Mendel Schmukler, 7th Grade, who learned the entire Seder Moed, as well as Maschta Brochos and the first four perakim of Tanya. Yossi Heidingsfeld 4th Grade, who learned Masechtos Brochos, Bikurim, Shekalim, Yuma, Sukkah, Beitza, Rosh Hashana, Taanis, Megilah, Moed Katan and Chagigah, as well as the first three perakim of Tanya. In the spirit of ma’alin bakodesh, a new component was added to the program – presentations to five boys who are taking part in the “Sefer a Month” club. In this club, talmidim continue reviewing their mishnayos throughout the year, being tested on at least one complete masechta a month, and are rewarded with a sefer each month. Additionally, a presentation was made to members of the Yud Beis Perakim club who completed the first 12 perakim of Tanya baal peh. As part of the Cheder’s twelve perakim club, talmidim gather for monthly meetings where they discuss where they are holding and make goals for their learning for the next month, together with some nosh and review games for the Tanya. This year, four talmidim, Zalman Cunin, Shneur Gurvitch, Sholom Shaya Marozov and Yossi Safranovitz received the sefer Vayehi Ish Mat-

zliach as well as a set of companions to their tefillin bag – a leather Chitas, leather tefillin mirror, and tzedakah pouch. These awards were given out by Rabbi Sholom Heidingsfeld together with Rabbi Levi Eisenberg, who founded the club in memory of HaTomim Nosson Nota ben Reb Zalman Yuda Deitsch, a”h. The annual awards ceremony took place in a large tent set up in the Cheder yard. Talmidim were awarded seforim of their choosing (based on their point total) for their efforts and achievements. Rabbonim, roshei yeshivos, shluchim, mashpiyim, parents, and friends joined together to recognize and congratulate the achieve-

ments of the students. Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum, Menahel of Cheder Menachem, welcomed everyone with a d’var Torah and gave a yasher koach to the talmidim. Words of brachah were shared by Rabbi Shimon Halevi Raichik, shaliach of the Rebbe and Rav of Anash and Congregation Levi Yitzchok, as well as by Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin Head Shaliach to the West Coast. A special presentation was made to Reb Yankel Ginsburg, the “Zevulun” of the Cheder’s MBP Program, who sponsors the seforim on a yearly basis, l’iluy nishmas his father, Reb Dov Reuven ben Dovid HaLevi, o.b.m.

Rabbi Sholom Heidingsfeld, the coordinator of the Mishnayos Be’al Peh program, announced the accomplishments of this year’s MBP, which was followed by awarding the seforim to the three talmidim with the highest accomplishments. After this, every talmid received their prize according to their achievements. A special thank you to Mrs. Ruchie Stillman, R’ Nochum Labkowsky, Rabbi Leibel Cohen, Mr. Sam Kustanovich, all the rebbeim and menahalim of the Cheder and the Cheder board for all their help in ensuring the success of the day’s events.

TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

NEFESH International Inspires LA’s Orthodox Mental Health Professionals Yehudis Litvak The second NEFESH International West Coast conference took place last Sunday, June 26th, at the Harvey Morse Auditorium of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. NEFESH is an international network of Orthodox mental health professionals, consisting of hundreds of members all over the world. Every year, NEFESH holds a weekend-long conference on the East Coast. Due to the cost and time commitment, many local mental health professionals are unable to attend it. The West Coast conference provides an opportunity to connect to a wide international network of frum therapists without leaving Los Angeles, and to hear from frum experts in different areas, explains Debbie Fox, LCSW, founder and executive director of Magen Yeladim Child Safety Institute and one of the organizers of the local conference. The conference was chaired Dr. Lizzy Weisinger, a local therapist, with the assistance of Miriam Turk, LCSW, Executive Director of NEFESH International. About thirty people attended. While most of the attendees were mental health professionals, some rabbis, rebbetzins, and teachers from the Greater Los Angeles area also participated. The program included two in-depths presentations by east coast mental health experts and a special rabbinic address. The first presenter, David Kohn, LCSW, CASAC, spoke about using mindfulness in psychotherapy. He described mindfulness as a state of mind where one is paying attention to what is going on without trying to change anything. He

made a distinction between pain and suffering. Pain, whether physical, emotional, or psychological, is something that happens to us. Suffering is the experience we create for ourselves when we resist or deny this pain. Through mindfulness, a person is able to come to acceptance of their painful experience, thus allowing him/herself to heal and move on. Mr. Kohn then showed how mindfulness can be used in treating various conditions, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and trauma. The rabbinic address was delivered by Rabbi Dr. David Fox, a board member of NEFESH International, a rav, dayan, and a psychologist in private practice. Rabbi Dr. Fox spoke about free will in personality disorders. He described our own implicit judgment when we see people behaving in inconsiderate ways, and questioned whether patients with personality disorders can be held accountable for their socially unacceptable behavior. The question of human accountability has been debated by philosophers and theologians from ancient times, with convincing arguments offered on both sides. Particularly in cases of personality disorders, the patients exhibit very evident deficiencies in dealing with their environment early on in life. Usually, they don’t come to treatment voluntarily because the symptoms don’t bother them, but they make people around them uncomfortable. Often, those diagnosed with personality disorders experienced complex trauma. “Are they cognizant of what they are doing or are they flooded by trauma?” asked Rabbi Dr. Fox. Moreover, he questioned, if

Hakadosh Baruch Hu created people with personality disorders, how can these people receive reward and punishment from Him if they are lacking free will? Rabbi Dr. Fox explained that while we are required to believe that everyone will receive their reward and punishment, we do not know exactly how the system works. They are given out in the Heavenly court, by Hashem Himself. Human judges are unable to make correct determination on any given person’s culpability. When it comes to courts in this world, the beis din is only able to punish a person when two objective witnesses, unrelated to each other or the accused, testify that they had warned the person before the crime that it was wrong and punishable by beis din, and the person acknowledged their warnings, but committed the crime anyway, within a very short time. In all other cases, the question of free will is not for human beings to answer. However, said Rabbi Dr. Fox, in the Gemara, people can be held culpable not because they could have known better, but because they could have learned, but didn’t learn. Perhaps people with personality disorders are initially incapable of socially acceptable behavior. However, they are not doomed to live with their disorders. Nowadays, there are many treatments available. “If moral education and psychotherapy is available, and one doesn’t take advantage of it, that’s the culpability,” explained Rabbi Dr. Fox, expressing his hope that NEFESH continues to educate our community on mental health conditions

and treatment options. Another expert, Dr. Hinda Dubin of Baltimore, spoke about practical applications of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), engaging her audience and providing not only practical guidance, but much needed support and camaraderie. The attendees feel that they benefited tremendously. “The conference was completely packed,” says Mashi Benzaquen, LCSW. “Not a moment was wasted. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from topnotch clinicians.” Raizel Rubin, LMFT, adds, “It’s a phenomenal networking opportunity. It retools you.” NEFESH’ future plans include a West Coast chapter of NEFESH International, with more frequent local events.

Dear Editor... Dear Editor, You wrote one of the best editorials I have read in a long time, and I’ve been reading periodicals for, oy, too many years. Ordinarily the editorials are the worst part of any publication. But your editorial of June 16, 2016, made several important points. Mentioning the massacre in Orlando and the deaths of people in Iraq, Syria, and Tel Aviv, you said, “These were real people … killed because someone saw no value in human life ...” Bless you for reminding your readers: “real people.” You added wisdom to wisdom: “Preserving, respecting, and cherishing human life is the highest calling.”

And more: “In our own lives, this means viewing each other as precious simply for who we are. … each has a unique soul ...” Amen. You also said, “With the polarization of almost everything these days, we experience about five minutes of disgust before official statements and talking points start swirling around our head.” Excellent! However, I would like to add, or perhaps change, one perspective: You said most voters will go to the polls intending to choose “the candidate I despise least,” that they “just know they would never vote for the other nominee – that crook, that bully ...”

Please, if I may, let me remind you and your readers that here in California we will have a minimum of six presidential candidates on the ballot. Some states will have more and many will have fewer. The point is, though, no United States voter has to settle for any alleged “lesser of two evils.” Because I believe in peace and freedom, because I believe real people matter, I am supporting the Libertarian Party candidates, Gary Johnson and William Weld. Both are former governors, of New Mexico and Massachusetts respectively. Not in my lifetime have the two old parties selected two worse candidates. Both have disapproval ratings of more than 50 percent.

Many and maybe most people will say, “I really dislike A, but I have to stop B, so will hold my nose and vote for A.” Here in California, it’s fairly well accepted the Democrat will win our Electoral College votes. So this is a good time for more people to vote Libertarian. It shows opposition to the same ol’ stuff from Republocrats; it shows we want some changes; it shows a preference for freedom and for peace; and it will help change the evil and stultification of an alleged “two-party system.” Human lives matter. I’m voting Libertarian. Michael Morrison 4949 – C Aqueduct Avenue Encino, CA 91436


TheHappenings Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Hatzolah Emergency Preparedness Event: Fun Activities and Potentially Life-saving Information Tova Abady

Yeshiva Aharon Yaakov-Ohr Eliyahu hosted Hatzolah’s Fifth Annual Emergency Preparedness Event on Sunday, June 26th. Many community groups presented useful information to the public while children delighted in an assortment of fun activities. Among the activities were firetrucks the kids could board and the “Shakey Quakey School House,” an earthquake simulator. Kids entered “Shakey” and were taught to “drop, cover, and hold on.” Hatzolah also held a raffle and gave out free emergency kits. Hatzolah and the LAPD demonstrated their response to a car wreck. There was an almost totaled car on display with “DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE” on the windows. Parents had an opportunity to visit many booths. One demonstrated the Ring Home Security System, a device you attach to your door and an app which permits you to see who is ringing your bell or is hovering near your door from inside. Eagle Scouts gave out bags of water which are safe for five years to keep handy in a car or home emergency kit. They are, in partnership with Be More Prepared, in the process of placing 97 containers throughout the city with emergency supplies of food, water, and supplies. A representative from Eagle Scouts said they are looking into kosher food. Supplies for emergency kits can be ordered from Ready America. TELCAL demonstrated a completely off-grid communication system which sells for just under $4000. It comes in a briefcase-style enclosure and weighs only 25 pounds. Arnie and Marilyn Weinger, creators of Kids Are 1st, manned a booth to fingerprint and take photos of the kids. The Weingers do not believe in putting kids in a database, so they handed the fingerprints and photos to the children’s parents, reminding them to periodically update their children’s pictures.

Douglas Feinberg and Jeffrey King, electrical professionals with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), demonstrated the dangers of downed power lines. They explained that these lines are extremely dangerous, and if one is down, one should stay at least 150 feet away. Also, there is no way for citizens to determine if the line is live with electricity, so if you are in a car and a line lands on it, stay in your car, do not get out, and call 911. William Zhang, also representing LADWP, offered advice about water conservation. “Be considerate and try to use only what is a necessity to help avoid outages.” He explained that following the Aliso Canyon gas leak in 2015, the capacity of the major natural gas storage facility is

a fraction of what it was before. He pointed to the display that advised to have an emergency kit, and to know how to shut off water and power. Veronica Delacruz, the neighborhood prosecutor for West L.A. Division, representing City Attorney Mike Feuer, explained, “We have one neighborhood prosecutor in each of our police divisions across the city of L.A.” She said that they work with police and council offices, the goal being to problem solve for community issues. They also advocate in court for communities in L.A. Kenny Lowenstein was on hand for Shomrim. He reminded people they can report any suspicious activity by contacting the Shomrim hotline at 424-294-8273. For LAPD non-emergencies, he suggested

they phone 877-275-5273, adding that for any crime, 911 should be called first. Joanne Troncale, a coordinator for the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department, handed out literature. She said that anyone who has a bundled package (internet, phone, TV) can contact Notify L.A. at www.NotifyLA.org to be added to the list enabling emergency text messages from the City – similar to Amber Alerts. Rochelle Frankel of Bikur Cholim displayed a new initiative, an emergency food box. Mrs. Frankel also reminded visitors to the booth to participate in blood and bone marrow drives coordinated with Children’s Hospital. Tickets were sold for snacks that included popcorn, snow cones, and cotton candy. Lunch selections included grilled chicken, salad, and hamburgers from Beverly Hills Kosher Market. The award ceremony commenced with Councilman Paul Koretz explaining to the audience that keeping your family safe is one of the most important things you can do. Michoel Bloom, Executive Director of Hatzolah, thanked Ohr Eliyahu for hosting the event, saying, “[One of] the greatest guiding principles in Judaism is expressing hakarat hatov.” He then added his deep gratitude to the many participants from all agencies in the community that were present, including the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, and a multitude of city officials. LAPD Sergeant A.J. Kirby accepted an award on behalf of Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala. Also present were city officials: Councilman David Ryu, Beverly Hills Battalion Chief Mike Hand, L.A. City Deputy Chief Darren Palacios, State Law Enforcement Deputy Director Yonaton Berdugo (on behalf of Bob Hertzberg), and LAPD Chaplain Shmuely Newman. Hatzolah volunteers Tuvia Feldsher, Yitzy Moorvitch, Aryeh Rosner, Chavi Gorman, and Yocheved Rosenthal received awards from the State Senate and City Council, presented by Drug Commissioner Howard Winkler (on behalf of County Supervisor Mike Amtonovich) and former Commissioner Andrew Freedman. According to David Bacall, Chief of all Field Operations of L.A. Hatzolah, “Our goal today was to bring together our public safety partners in an area where our local community can come out and meet them and see the people and build a trust. There are certain things incumbent upon all of us as Jews to do to prepare for emergencies, have emergency supplies, know the resources, know the numbers for the police, fire, for Hatzolah, and have them programmed in.” Bacall also said that some people hesitate to call on Shabbos, not knowing who will come and if it’s a real emergency. “If you’re questioning it, call.” The number for Hatzolah is 800-6131911.

Photos: Manny Saltiel


The Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home


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Torah Musings The Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Connect the Dots Sarah Pachter

My family recently surprised my father for his 70th birthday. On his actual birthday, Thursday, we had a special dinner and presented him with a pair of sunglasses wrapped in a picture of him as a thirty-year-old wearing a similar pair of shades. This, he thought, was the extent of it. Saturday night, my brother flew in from out of town – a visit my dad did not anticipate. On Sunday, we brought him to a mov-

ie theater and showed him a montage of pictures and videos of his life. Now this, he thought, was the icing on the cake. Later that evening, my father thought he was accompanying my brother to the airport. Yet, we shocked him once again by taking him in the other direction to an acclaimed restaurant to culminate the birthday weekend. The first question everybody asks the birthday “surprisee” is, “Were you actually surprised?”

My father was genuinely shocked. But when he paused for a moment to reflect, he realized in retrospect that there had been “weird” things going on around him for a while. For instance, when my parents were extremely busy with travel preparations, my father went to look for my mother and found her “organizing old pictures.” He found it puzzling that this was taking precedence over their preparations, but didn’t give it much thought. Another example is when my father was about to “accompany my brother to the airport,” my mother told him he should change his clothes. He did not know the reason behind the request and put on clothes that were more casual than his previous outfit. My mother insisted that he change again into something nicer. He was completely baffled as to why he was dressing up for a trip to LAX. And the list of little bemusing things goes on. When he thought about all of these funny things in the context of the party, everything made sense. As part of the morning blessings, we say the words “she’asa li kol tzarki,” meaning, “Thank you [Hashem] for all You provided for me.” I always wondered why we refer to G-d’s provisions in the past tense; after all, G-d gives to us continuously. However, we often do not see a reason to be grateful except in hindsight, when we have an “Aha!” moment and realize, yes, G-d did truly provide for us.    Apple Inc. co-founder, Steve Jobs, called experiencing gratitude after the fact “connecting the dots.” At his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005, he spoke about how he took a college calligraphy class, which, at the moment, seemed to have no practical application in his life. However, ten years later, he used the skills he learned in that class to help design the typography of the first Mac computer, which was subsequently copied by Windows. As such, if he had not attended that class years prior, the typography on every personal computer may not be what it is today. Jobs summed it all up by saying, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking back-

ward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” This analogy can be illustrated through a child’s connect-the-dots activity book, which prompts the child to connect dots sequentially, with the numbers in ascending order, to create an image that only becomes apparent when all the dots are linked. Likewise, the beauty in our lives does not always manifest until time has passed and all the dots have connected. However, conversely, in life it is easier to connect the dots in reverse order. Practically, this means reflecting on a positive outcome that we have experienced and trying to connect the dots backwards – to realize how we arrived there. And as Jobs mentioned, besides reflection, it also takes trust. Perhaps the trust that Jobs refers to is that of a higher power – our Father in heaven. Janice Kaplan, in her bestselling book Gratitude Diaries, writes about losing her high-powered job at a famous magazine. While waiting at a coffee shop to interview for a new job, she complimented the person next to her on her rain boots. They introduced themselves to each other, and this impromptu meeting was instrumental in her next career move, becoming an author. The initial interviewer never showed up, and at the time she tried not let it bother her too much. Years later, though, she is more than thankful that he was a no-show. Her books made her more successful than she ever could have been at her magazine job. In the moment, we can moan and groan about losing our job, and then wait impatiently for an absent interviewer. We can leave disgruntled and arrive home to vent to our loved ones about what a horrible day it was. Or, we can be open to what life has in store for us. What we might be tempted to view as “the worst day ever” could be life-altering. Like my dad, we can appreciate life’s surprises and realize just how much everything makes sense in the end.  

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JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

It’s About Us

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

What do people care about? What are people interested in? This question intrigues newspaper publishers, as well as rabbis, teachers, and anyone who wants to reach out effectively to the public. Oftentimes, communicators, teachers, rabbeim, rabbonim, and fundraisers wonder if people still care about anything. We’ve all read about the passion and determination of generations past, how people lived for their communities and gave freely of themselves for others. We read how teenagers spent every waking moment under Mike Tress’ direction at 616 Bedford Avenue, assembling packages for survivors in Displaced Persons camps after World War II, and how he dispatched armies of children with pushkas in their hands to go forth and collect pennies for Vaad Hatzalah. The older generation rose up to the daunting challenge of rebuilding a nation that had nearly been decimated. Intrepid souls rallied to rejuvenate survivors, helping them acclimate, finding them jobs, getting their children enrolled in schools, and building a communal infrastructure. Fueled by necessity, they banded together, pooled resources, and rebuilt everything from scratch. We tell the tales of the heroes of that time and we wonder about our time. Do we see people banding together for causes with all their energy, ability and passion? Passion is the key word; it seems as if today it is sorely lacking. We do what we have to, but we do it without passion. We don’t get excited about anything anymore. We are blessed with schools boasting beautiful buildings and excellent rabbeim and teachers. Do we get involved with the schools and appreciate what they have been doing for us? Effective communal organizations have arisen in cities across the country, but there seems to be a lack of passion. Do people truly appreciate the changes these endeavors have brought? We seem to be afflicted by a bout of apathy. It wouldn’t be cynical to say that there was a time when people cared about each other, about their communities, and about communal organizations, bikur cholims, schools, and the like. People cared about the news. They sat glued to their radios to hear the latest news on the hour. They read newspapers for the news and cared about what was going on around the world. They cared about people who had stepped out of line. They got worked up

about issues. They cared about kiruv and followed the latest news about Soviet Jewry. They were consumed by the goings-on in Eretz Yisroel. Those who study generations and psychology say that our generation is plagued by self-importance, narcissism, and getting quick and instants highs. Apparently, our generation doesn’t get excited from a gorgeous esrog, a 50-year-old putting on tefillin for the first time, or a five-yearold kid rescued from public school saying Shema day after day. In the wider world, meaningful dialogue has been replaced by short, soulless tweets, or one-liners. Everything is so superficial and farcical. We try so hard to get people interested in each other, in good causes, in Torah, in the world, in things that should concern them. And too often, we fail and say that the generation is doomed. They don’t care about anything but their toys, phones, cars and wines. That was until the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship last week. People were jumping up and down with glee and happiness. They really cared. They were really happy. The joy was palpable, as people across the country sent each other clips and quotes and updates. Apparently, there are still things people care about. Our generation is not totally unabsorbed. There are things that really grab them. Different things. Suddenly, with that basketball victory, we saw it all on display – raw emotion, passion, heart, exuberance, and zeal. People of all ages – especially those with connections to C-Town – threw their heads back and shouted, cried, and hugged. They came alive like inflatable dolls suddenly filled with air. What happened? More relevantly, what does it mean for us? There is a pulse after all, so why aren’t we seeing it more often? What do the Cavs and their star player have that we don’t? We have battles in our world as well. We have heroes, leaders, and champions, yet people remain apathetic about them. Look around. Scores of Jews are leaving France, traveling to Israel to escape raging anti-Semitism, and no one seems to care. A generation ago, the plight of Russian Jewry consumed our community, as people wondered who would teach them, who would support them, and whom they would mar-

ry. People worried that they would leave Russia only to become lost here, and they rallied to be there for them. Yet, here we are, a quarter century later, and very few are wondering about what will happen to the French children arriving in Eretz Yisroel. How many people know what is going on in Europe? And how many truly care? When was the last time you heard anyone talk excitedly about Be’er Hagolah or Sinai Academy, the two foremost schools in the United States catering to children of Soviet immigrants? How many people care about Lev L’Achim, Shuvu, and other Israeli kiruv groups? And how many care about Oorah, other than to laugh along with Fiveish? Do our children know the names of people like Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Grossman and where he lives? Do we tell them about heroes like Rabbi Tzvi Schwartz of Rechovot and what he does every day? Do they know about the revolutionaries in our midst changing stale mindsets about all sorts of topics and turning people on to Torah? Do they know of the heroes who run Tomchei Shabbos programs to feed hardworking people with honor? How about those who provide a warm shoulder to cry on when there is none, or friendship in a lonely world? Why all the negativity all the time? Why do so many people never look around to see the good in our world? They know how many points a 6′8″ once-in-a-generation athlete scored in a game. Do they know which cities have communal kollelim or day schools? How many Jewish kids are in Catholic schools and how many are in Jewish religious schools? How many kids are waiting for someone to come along and reach out to them? What happened to the passion for kiruv? Do we even care anymore about the millions of Jews being lost to our people forever? Or do we just say, “Oh, look, there used to be a Reform temple here, and now it’s gone,” as if that’s good news? It’s not. The temple is gone, replaced by a school, shul, nursing home, or yeshiva because its members are gone, not because they changed for the better. They have departed from yiddishkeit altogether and are even more lost and unreachable. We wring our hands helplessly and say, “What do you want from us? It’s not our fault. There is so much going on, and we can’t possibly keep up with everything. We are bombarded by news and causes and updates on a minute-by-minute basis.

It’s hard to get too involved with anything before the next email, text message, or WhatsApp rolls in. What can we do? We have to pay tuitions and mortgages, and keep up with the rat race. Life isn’t as simple as it used to be in the pre-iPhone days.” That is certainly true. But when something that we care about, something that touches our soul, happens, we get all into it. Sports may be a bad example, but it shows that it is possible to get people to care, focus, and remain engaged. It shows that passion is not dead. People do care about something; they can still get excited about things outside of themselves. Would it be sacrilegious to say that following a great ball player in action can provide a rush that a magnificent esrog does not? That a sports team’s victory is more meaningful than a 50-year-old putting on tefillin for the first time and a greater thrill than rescuing a five-year-old child from public school? If so, why? And what can we do about it? In this week’s parshah of Shelach, we read how the meraglim returned from scouting out the Promised Land and turned the people against Moshe, Hashem, and the Land of Israel. Knowing the people’s weaknesses, they played down the bounty and blessings of the land. During their mission, as in life, they saw things transpiring that could be viewed as positive and negative. Invariably, they chose the negative interpretation each time. The fruit is too big. The people are too strong. Nothing is good. Hashem promised this place to us and our forefathers. Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov lived there and saw the eternal blessings of the place, but that was of no consequence to the meraglim. “Efes, ki az ha’am. Eretz ocheles yoshveha hee,” they said. We’ll never make it; forget about it. Let’s find some better place to move to. Let’s dump Moshe and start over. What caused them to be so mistaken? How could they veer so far from the pasture of goodness? One hint is the posuk that says, “Vanehi be’eineinu kachagavim vechein hayinu be’eineihem.” They viewed us as small grasshoppers (Bamidbar 13:33). They were concerned about how others looked at them. Insecure in their beliefs, they sought to find favor in the eyes of the Canaanites. They imagined that they were viewed as pygmy interlopers. This is the age-old Jewish mistake of looking to those outside of our community, seeking their praise and adulation. Instead of recognizing our position in this world and seeking to find favor in the eyes of our fellow Jews, helping them, supporting them, and doing what is proper in the eyes of Hashem, we invariably seek to blend in and earn accolades. If a frum paper writes about us, we aren’t impressed, but a mention in a goyishe paper and the whole family and neighborhood breaks out in a burst of ethnic pride.

Living with In theNews Times The Week

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The insecurity of the meraglim caused them to be unhappy, resulting in their negativity about something as blessed as Eretz Yisroel, the mekor of our belief and the place so integral to Torah, our way of life and our history. And they were able to convince the people that Eretz Yisroel is just a farce. Their insecurity was brought on by a lack of enthusiasm for the word of Hashem. It caused them to view themselves through the prism of the locals, and brought on a fear that if the nation would enter the land, they would be supplanted and lose their leadership positions. Their own selfish, petty, subconscious thoughts set in motion contrived, conspiratorial thinking, setting back our people, keeping us in the desert for forty years, sending us into golus, and evoking the anger of Hashem. The people were easily convinced by the meraglim because they also shared apathy toward the words of Hashem and Moshe. Their careers weren’t in jeopardy; they didn’t see the Canaanites to fear them. All their physical and spiritual needs were provided by Hashem as they traveled in the midbar. There was no excuse for them to fall for the lies propagated by the meraglim. They should have recognized the truth in the arguments of Kalev and Yehoshua. Their apathy and lack of excitement caused them to be led astray by what they should have known was fiction. At a gathering of rabbonim from across the pale of Jewish settlement, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik became upset with something one of the rabbis said. The person who was sitting next to Rav Chaim remarked, “What do you want from him? He’s nebach not smart.” Rav Chaim answered, “When it comes to zeiner zachen, his things, he’s smart. Apparently, Torah iz nit zeiner ah zach, Torah is not one of his things. That is why I am upset at him. Torah darf zein unzere zach. Torah must be our thing.” If the Jews were able to be swayed by the meraglim, it was because Eretz Yisroel iz nit geven zei’ir ah zach. They weren’t sufficiently tied to the land and excited about it. The thought of walking in the footsteps of Avrohom Avinu didn’t excite them, so they lost it. We need to be excited about mitzvos. We need to feel connected to Torah. We need to appreciate the many blessings we have and not take them for granted. Torah must be our thing, as must mitzvos and maasim tovim. We have it so much better than previous generations that we lose appreciation for the freedoms we are granted and the ease with which we can practice our religion. But that shouldn’t lead to apathy. We must be alert for opportunities to do good and be thankful for everything we have. We should get excited when we learn a mishnah, a halachah or a Gemara. We should appreciate the value of learning even one posuk and performing even one mitzvah, strengthening us and the world. Mitzvos are about us. Torah is about us.

Simchah is about us. They expand and elevate our lives, giving us reasons to live and be productive. They aren’t simply restricting rules, but methods to make us bigger and better people. And who doesn’t want that? Lebron James, a star basketball player – perhaps the best in the world – returned home to Cleveland, promising that he would win the big prize for them. He said that they know what it means to work hard and that he would sweat for them. His toil for victory would reflect what they were doing in factories. It would reflect the worker standing in the hot kitchen of a diner and the mechanic sliding under a car to make repairs. He was them, and they were him. His battle was their battle, and his triumph was theirs. So they cared deeply. It was about them. The allure of sports is that it allows people to attach themselves to something bigger than themselves and dream of heroics and victories. They feel one with their team and heroes, and when the team wins, they win. Everyone wins. When there is not much going on in your life, that appeal is overwhelming. No one is apathetic about their team. No one is unexcited when their hero brings home the medal. Torah is our team. Torah is our goal. Torah is what we are all about. A young bochur in one of the great yeshivos received a dreaded draft notice. He was called away from his Gemara for life on the Polish front. Someone suggested that he ask Rav Chaim Soloveitchik for help, so the young man traveled to Warsaw, where Rav Chaim was staying at the time. He arrived and made his way to Rav Chaim’s lodgings, only to hear that Rav Chaim was in the middle of meeting a large group of rabbonim, roshei yeshiva, and askonim, discussing issues of importance to Klal Yisroel. The anteroom was filled with attendants and gabboim of the illustrious personages, but the bochur pushed head. The prospect of spending years in the army, eating vegetables for sustenance in the company of coarse soldiers, was a lot more unpleasant than having to fight for a moment of Rav Chaim’s time. An attendant informed him that there was no way he would be allowed entry to the room, but the bochur insisted that this was pikuach nefesh. The attendant was adamant; no one was to disturb the meeting. The argument grew louder. The noise reached the great men in the room and, finally, Rav Chaim appeared in the doorway. With a glance, he took in the situation. He excused himself from his distinguished colleagues and sat down with the bochur in a corner of the room, listening closely and promising to help. When the conversation concluded, Rav Chaim returned to the distinguished group he had kept waiting and apologized, offering a succinct explanation. “Everything

that we discuss, deliberate, and decide here is for Klal Yisroel. Rabbosai, that yeshiva bochur, who wants an exemption from the army so that he can return to his Gemara… He is Klal Yisroel!” Are we always cognizant of the fact that every one of our children is Klal Yisroel – that we are Klal Yisroel? Do we treat every Jew as if he is a member of our team? Do we understand that we belong to each other, that we are here to help each other and bring the championship to our team? When a fan goes to a game, he dresses up in the team uniform and projects himself on the field. After all, it’s his team. When the team wins, he celebrates and lingers in the stadium. But when the game gets off to a bad start, with the pitcher giving up home runs to the other team, the fan can simply leave his seat, return to his car, and go home. For sports fans, as wrapped up as they can be in the game, they are spectators, not players. They come and go as they please; they are not forced to sweat out the game on the field. In life, and especially in leading a Torah life, we are not merely spectators. We are all players. We are in the action and able to make a difference. If we try hard, we can help our team win. But if we are apathetic and unexcited, we cannot contribute to the team. We are then losers. Summer is here. School is out. Coun-

try, here we come. Camps are filled with smiling children. Now is a perfect opportunity to get children excited about our club. We do that by speaking with them on their level, talking to them in a way they can understand and relate to, connecting with them and letting them know who they are and what we are all about. Speak to them in a language they comprehend. Relate to them. Explain things to them in a way that excites them. Don’t force-feed them and scare them into following. Make it come alive with joy and optimism. And it’s not just children. It’s adults too. A generation of parents was forced to part from beloved children in concentration camps or under a hail of bullets. Always, their parting message was the same. “Gedenkt. Remember that you are a Jew.” Nothing else was important at that moment. You’re on a team; make sure you connect and belong. We’re fortunate to raise our children in safety, baruch Hashem. Is that a reason for them to lose out? We can do it. It starts with speaking to ourselves. When we feel it, they will too. Let them know that it’s about them. Spread the word. It’s about us. It’s our thing. It’s our team. Let’s get excited.



The Week In News Feature

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Wende Museum Provides Insights into Jewish Life Beyond the Iron Curtain Rebecca Klempner

I pulled up to an office park in Culver City, ready to learn about the lives of Eastern European and Soviet Jews during the Cold War. Despite the non-descript surroundings, a giant slab of the Berlin Wall told me I’d reached the right place: the Wende Museum. When I scheduled my tour, I mentioned a special interest in the Jewish experience behind the Iron Curtain. My tour guide, PhD candidate Katja Schatte, specializes in the experience of Jews in the GDR (communist East Germany), and added her insights throughout my visit. Katja hails from the GDR herself, and provided many personal anecdotes to illustrate her points. A Turning Point The Wende Museum gets its name from the German word wende (pronounced “ven-duh”) meaning “turning point.” Scholar Justinian Jampol founded the Wende as a research institution dedicated to the study of the Cold War during the 1990s. While doing research in Eastern Europe, he found that many of the period’s documents and artifacts were being discarded or destroyed. Katja explains, “Either they were discarding them because they no longer thought they were worth anything – because they all wanted shiny, Western products – or they were like, ‘Well, we have all that stuff, and we would like to know

it’s being preserved somewhere, but not in our own basement!’” As Jampol’s collection grew, people approached him with donations on their own. “They felt good that there was this place where it would be preserved and treated respectfully.” Many people also preferred that the items they donated were displayed outside their homelands, because they found it uncomfortable to be confronted with the relics of their complicated and sometimes painful past. Although the Wende as a whole doesn’t focus on Jewish history, it does hold a few artifacts specifically pertaining to the Jewish experience. Moreover, many of the items in the general collection shed light on the lives of Jews living in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the period of 1917 – 1989. The Wende is organized into three major parts: revolving temporary exhibitions on the top floor, where you enter, and then a permanent exhibition and an archive on the bottom floor. The top floor also houses a library. Additionally, the Wende stores items in a series of warehouses, both in California and in Europe. While the museum is generally closed to new acquisitions right now, they will still accept donations of books and magazines published in the Eastern Bloc during the communist period.

Jewish Life Under Communism The Jews living under communist rule during the Cold War lived under the shadow of the Holocaust. Many of them hid their Jewish identity out of fear (for example, only 400 Jews officially lived in the GDR, but Katja informs me that the actual number might have been ten times that). Not only had Hitler tried to murder the Jews of Europe, many Jews returned home only to suffer further attacks. Surprisingly, communism brought hope to some of these people. Katja says, that according to the communists, “[t]he Nazi regime had been the culmination of imperialism and capitalism, [so the communists could say,] ‘We’re the good ones, so we can’t possibly be Anti-Semitic, right? Since we’re anti-fascist.’” Early on, in particular, some survivors believed that a communist regime might protect them from further violence. “There were people who were socialists or communists and Jewish,” Katja points out. “...They really came as idealists to the GDR thinking if we want to…prevent something like that from ever happening again, then the GDR is our best bet. To build socialism, and to build this utopia.” Holocaust survivors could apply for reparations, although those who were rounded up simply for being Jewish were offered less compensation than those “patriots”

who actively resisted Hitler’s regime. Other Jews longed to return to active Jewish practice. They found themselves targeted by the government. (Which behaviors attracted the notice of the Stasi is one of the subjects Katja is investigating in her own research.) Eventually, Jews of both types found themselves suspect in the eyes of the authorities, particularly following Israel’s successes during the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War. Behind the Iron Curtain, governments interpreted those conflicts as imperialist incursions on the territories of Israel’s neighbors. As I listened to an interview with actor Eugene Alper, who left the USSR in 1989, I found his description of life in the Communist Era particularly informative: Certain institutions were maintained for the enjoyment of the Party elite and Western visitors – museums, historic hotels – but this was not the experience of the average Soviet citizen. The Soviet regime tried “to do everything,” due to the nationalization of all industries and the centralization of all public services, and they often failed, because, as Alper explained, “[t]he government cannot do everything well.” Awareness of the level of oppression and privation was gradual for the average Soviet citizen, he said. It was difficult to

Entrance to the Wende Museum

Chunk of Berlin Wall illustrated by Thierry Noir

Phones commonly used for spying purposes in E. Germany

Photos taken of Jews by Soviet ethnographers

The Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Revel. do basic things like find a place to live, food, and education, so they were too busy coping to notice right away. Desperate to survive, people became corrupt and tried to use bribery or proteksia as leverage, or turned against their neighbors. Highlights of the Collection One of the most compelling displays in the Wende’s collection relates to the methods used by Communist governments to spy on Jews and other suspect citizens. A bank of telephones in the foyer turns out to be examples of devices used to spy on conversations. In the upstairs gallery, I listened to an interview of a Polish-born Dutch national relating his first-hand experience using such phones. While he was initially appalled at being bugged during private phone calls, he quickly got used to it. Sometimes, he’d joke with his friends over the phone – knowing they would be overheard – about the spy’s poor quality German-made device which made echoing sounds on the line. Busts of Communist leaders proliferated in public spaces in all the Eastern Bloc countries, and they cover several shelves in the Wende’s archive. Most show Lenin, while the visages of Ernst Thälmann (a German Communist leader murdered by the Nazis), Marx, and Engels are also common. Relatively few Stalins appear on the Wende’s shelves. “The reason being,” says Katja, “that after Stalin died in ‘53, there was an entire revision of Soviet policy and the official narrative surrounding him…Khrushchev gave a ‘secret speech’ that ended up not being so secret where he basically acknowledged that a lot of the things that Stalin had done were…[horrible]. “There was an entire revision of history. So in the Soviet Union, they got rid of a lot of the busts of Stalin by themselves in the ‘50s.” That inclination to rewrite history in order to support current policy appears elsewhere in the collection. The most striking example is a painting in which a ghostly image of Khrushchev himself – who originally stood among the patriots in the painting – remains behind after his figure was (mostly) scraped off the canvas when he eventually fell out of favor. Jewish items in the collection include a small kiddush cup, the origins of which are unclear; ethnographic photos taken in Bukhara by anthropologists in order to preserve a way of life the government believed would soon be replaced with that of modern, civilized Russians; a booklet describing the Jewish Autonomous Oblast

(JAO), the little-known “homeland” which was created for Jews in the far eastern segment of the USSR; a creepy 1920s anti-religion magazine called Godless with an Anti-Semitic cover; and an article about Yiddish theater in an English-language Russian magazine. Other collection highlights include the personal library and papers of Erich Honecker, the last leader of the GDR, and reels and reels of films – some educational and some filled with propaganda. The bottom floor of the building also contains a permanent exhibit about the Berlin Wall and border crossing. An upcoming exhibit will display items curators have had trouble identifying accurately, with an eye to determine the provenance of each through crowdsourcing. Visiting the Wende You can visit Wende’s exhibition galleries any (non-holiday) Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. I recommend taking a guided tour, which allows you access to the archive, as well. Free tours are scheduled on Fridays at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. If you would like to schedule a week in advance, you can also schedule a guided visit for a Wednesday or a Thursday, and middle school, high school, and university classes may schedule special tours, also a week in advance. To do so, e-mail tours@wendemuseum.org. The Wende’s Future Currently, the Wende is housed at 5741 Buckingham Parkway, Suite E, Culver City, California. The Wende hopes to move to its more centrally-located new home in the Culver City Armory sometime next year. At the new location, the Wende’s staff hopes to expand their educational programming. In particular, they would like to reach out to Jewish schools. Just as survivors of the Shoah are dwindling in number, those who remember the Communist period in Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Socialist Republics are passing on, or their memories are fading, and this period played an integral role in the history of Jews during the 20th century. The Wende staff mentioned to me the possibility of creating a curriculum for middle school and high school day school teachers who would like to teach a unit on the Cold War. Members of the Jewish community are also invited to share memories of their lives behind the Iron Curtain by contacting research staff at HistoricalWitness@wendemuseum.org.

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






The Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



The Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



The Week In News Dirshu

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Massive Gatherings in Eretz Yisrael and Argentina Wrap Up a Month of Dirshu Worldwide Siyumim Rav Chaim Kanievsky, The Skulener Rebbe, Rav Yaakov Hillel and Rav Yitzchak Ezrachi, Among Gedolei Yisrael who Grace Siyumim Chaim Gold The completion of a month-long yom tov marking the accomplishments of lomdei Dirshu transpired at the most recent Dirshu Siyum on Seder Nashim in Buenos Aires, Argentina. More than 1000 people celebrating with an outpouring of simchah, love, and emotion for what Dirshu has done for their lives and for the community. The siyum in Argentina was preceded by the largest of the siyumim held in Eretz Yisrael and attended by Rav Chaim Kanivesky. “Seeing the face of Rav Chaim Kanievsky wreathed in smiles as he looked at the more than fifty Daf Yomi maggidei shiur make a siyum on Seder Nashim was just so special!” exclaimed Rabbi Avigdor Bernstein, a prominent member of Dirshu’s hanhala. “Rav Chaim has a soft spot for siyumim and the chavivus that he had

for this Dirshu siyum was especially visible.” Rav Chaim’s Heartfelt Brachah to Dirshu’s Leadership In fact, Rav Chaim’s arrival at the Dirshu siyum held in a tent just outside of his home was preceded by a fascinating meeting inside his home with the senior members of Dirshu’s hanhala led by Dirshu’s Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter. Rav Chaim took an active interest in Dirshu’s activities and went out of his way to draw the

hanhala of Dirshu close expressing great warmth for them and their role in facilitating limud haTorah and yedias haTorah at the highest levels. Rav Chaim told Dirshu’s hanhala that the ultimate purpose of learning is the knowledge of Torah and the way to achieve knowledge is through constant learning and review. That is the purpose of the tests, to encourage constant learning and review that will lead to true Torah knowledge. At his home, Rav

Chaim gave a heartfelt brachah to Dirshu, its hanhala and maggidei shiur. The siyum held on Isru Chag Shavuos began in a large tent erected in front of the home of Rav Chaim Kanievsky. It then continued with more than 3000 in attendance at the Municipal Auditorium in Beitar Illit and its environs, where an overflow crowd gathered to share in the simchah. The first part of the siyum with Rav Chaim was attended by over 50 Daf Yomi maggidei shiur from Beitar, together with the hanhala of Dirshu. Rav Yitzchok Schreiber, the chairman of the event, began the festivities by pointing out that the very fact that the siyum was being held together with the Sar HaTorah shows how much importance he attaches both to the siyum and to Dirshu’s efforts to promote limud of Daf Yomi. The siyum was made by Daf Yomi maggid shiur, Rav Moshe Tuvia Weisberger, Rav of Kehal Yereim in the HaGefen neighborhood of Beitar. The Alexander Rebbe, shlita, was then honored with saying kaddish. Rav Yishai Elfenbein, a Daf Yomi maggid shiur at Yeshivas HaRan, beautifully explained the first mishnah in Bava Kama. The siyum and kaddish were followed by beautiful singing accompanied by a violin and clarinet. Rav Chaim was visibly

Argentina Rav Yaakov Hillel at dais in Argentina

Rav Yaakov Hillel

Festive dancing at the Argentina siyum

Rav Yitzchok Ezrachi greeting Rav Yaakov Hillel

Rav Dovid Hofstedter at the Dirshu siyum in Argentina

Rav Yitzchok Ezrachi

Rav Dovid Hofstedter

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moved as the crowd sang the hallowed words of “Kad Yasvin” that illustrates the bond that Klal Yisrael has with the Torah. Rav Chaim Feinstein, Shlita: All of Klal Yisrael Partners in the Siyum The main address at the first segment of the siyum was given by HaGaon HaRav Chaim Feinstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Bais Yehuda. Rav Feinstein explained that, “This siyum is not just the simchah of lomdei Daf Yomi or lomdei Dirshu, rather it is a siyum in which all of Klal Yisrael are partners. Every yid accepted the Torah on Shavuos, thus all Torah learning and certainly such a Torah accomplishment like a siyum on an entire seder has a direct positive impact on the entire Klal Yisrael!” The entire first part of the siyum was shown by live hookup to the thousands in Beitar who had gathered in the large Municipal Auditorium there. After the siyum with Rav Chaim, the hanhala and maggidei shiur quickly traveled to the Municipal Auditorium in Beitar where a massive crowd awaited them.

Indeed, the Beitar siyum was the largest siyum on Seder Nashim with more than 3,000 people packing the hall and the surrounding area where screens had been set up to accommodate the overflow crowd that wished to participate. In fact, Rabbi Yosef Heisler, a member of the Beitar community commented, “I am living in Beitar for more than 25 years and baruch Hashem I have merited to participate in numerous major gatherings. Nevertheless, I have never seen a maamad like the Dirshu Daf Yomi siyum on Seder Nashim celebrating the limud haTorah of lomdei Daf Yomi.” Rav Dovid Tzvi Ordentlich, Shlita: Dirshu Has Reintroduced Daf Yomi To Klal Yisrael In A Profound Way In Beitar, the distinguished, longtime Rav of the community, Rav Dovid Tzvi Ordentlich who was moser nefesh to come despite his weakness, spoke about the complete transformation that Dirshu has accomplished regarding limud haTorah and especially Daf Yomi. “When the

Daf Yomi was established by Rav Meir Shapiro it had a transformative effect on Klal Yisrael. I think we can say the same with regard to Dirshu. Just as the institution of Daf Yomi was a chiddush so too was the establishment of Dirshu. Dirshu has reintroduced Daf Yomi to Klal Yisrael in a profound way. It has ensured that untold thousands are learning masechtos, finishing masechtos, starting new masechtos and knowing them. Just like Rav Meir Shapiro’s Daf Yomi spread to all of Klal Yisrael so too, Dirshu’s method of learning the daf and being tested on it has increasingly spread among numerous segments of Klal Yisrael!” Rav Yaakov Tupik, Shlita: Achieving a True Kinyan in Torah, a Fitting Continuation to Kabbolas HaTorah Rav Yaakov Tupik, another long time Rav of Beitar, also addressed the crowd. With great emotion Rav Tupik pointed out that the siyum held on Isru Chag Shavuos was a fitting continuation to the kabbolas haTorah of Shavuos. “There

are no words,” exclaimed Rav Tupik, “that can possibly describe the power of what you do every day. You lomdei Daf Yomi, lomdei Dirshu are engaged in the ultimate tachlis. Daf after daf, day after day, you attach yourself to Hashem through the Torah!” Rav Dovid Hofstedter: In Order To Have a True Kinyan In Torah a Person Must Toil And Work Hard There was a hush in the hall as the Nasi of Dirshu, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, rose to address the crowd. Rav Hofstedter gave a comprehensive Torah address focusing on the well known medrash that states that the Bnei Yisrael had to be awakened for matan Torah. Rav Dovid’s primary message was that only with true ameilus in Torah, true toiling to understand Torah as opposed to perfunctory, superficial learning will we succeed in overcoming the difficulties that we face in these trying and uncertain times facing the Torah community. “Achieve a


HaRav Yaakov Tupik

HaRav Tzvi Ordentlich

HaRav Tzvi Ordentlich

Rav Dovid Hofstedter meeting with the Boyaner Rebbe prior to the Beitar siyum

Rav Meir Rubenstien, Rosh Hair of Beitar



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Dais at the siyum in Bnei Brak, Alexander Rebbe on right side

HaRav Chaim Feinstein, Rosh Yeshivas Bais Yehuda

HaRav Chaim Kanievsky arriving at the Dirshu Siyum in Bnei Brak

Bnei Brak Partial view of Dirshu maggidei shiur in Bnei Brak

Rav Dovid Hofstedter greeting the Alexander Rebbe at the Siyum in Bnei Brak

true kinyan in Torah! It is not sufficient to go through the daf just to say, ‘I have another masechta under my belt.’ In order to have a true kinyan in Torah a person must toil and work hard. This is what Dirshu Kinyan Torah learners have achieved. The only way we can fight against today’s considerable yetzer haras is through true yegiah in Torah.” Rav Michel Zilber, Shlita: Becoming Drunk from Torah! The main address of the evening was given by HaGaon HaRav Michel Zilber, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Zvhill, a well-known gadol b’Torah who has been giving riveting and comprehensive Daf Yomi shiurim for more than three decades. Rav Zilber related a fascinating story. “A talmid of mine once came over and

asked me, ‘What is it about my father that he learns and reviews and then reviews over and over what he learns? How come he never seems to tire from chazarah?” Rav Zilber continued, “I answered him, when a drunkard sees a shot of whisky he just drinks it up. He doesn’t ask, ‘Why do I like this?’ The ultimate goal that we all strive to accomplish is that we should be drunk over learning. We should want to learn and chazer over and over again. This is what Dirshu seeks to do.” Seret-Vizhnitz Joins Dirshu En Masse Just before Shavuos, a beautiful event was held at the main Seret-Vizhnitz Beis Medrash in Haifa on behalf of Dirshu’s sister Daf Yomi program, its Daf HaYomi B’Halacha daily daf of Mishnah Berurah program. The Seret-Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, not only attended the event, but he encouraged all of


'I look around and see Shas in front of me,' exclaimed HaRav Smith

his chassidim to attend, marking the community’s undertaking of multiple shiurim and programs as the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha began Chelek Beis of Mishnah Berurah. The beis medrash was packed with a standing room only crowd as the Rebbe encouraged every man in the community to join Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. The community instituted a long list of shiurim at various times during the day and various venues. The main address of the evening was given by Rav Dovid Shlomo Zoldan, senior Dayan of the Seret-Vizhnitz community who spoke about how learning daily halachah totally transforms one’s day and his relationship with Hashem. An address was also given by Rav Dovid Hofstedter. One of the moving moments of the evening was the heartfelt l’chaim and brachah that the Rebbe gave to Rav Hofstedter and then to all of the Chassidim. “It Was The Closest Thing To Maamad Har Sinai That Buenos-Aires Has Ever Seen.” “It was the closest thing to maamad Har Sinai that Buenos-Aires has ever

seen,” said a popular rav and maggid shiur from the community. “Indeed, there was electricity in the air, an excitement and intensity that was palpable and indescribable,” said Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein, Dirshu’s Director of Public Relations. “The fact that we anticipated about 400 attendees and nearly 1000 came showed the depth of the inroads that Dirshu has made in Argentina over the past years and the love it has engendered in the community. Virtually every rav of every kehillah in town participated and remained for the entire three-hour program.” In his speech, Rabbi Daniel Cohen, Dirshu’s South American Director, reminisced with great emotion how when he started there had just been a handful of people participating in the programs and taking the tests. “Today,” he exclaimed, “just a few years later, there are hundreds taking monthly tests and participating in Dirshu’s Gemarah and halachah programs and those people come from virtually every kehillah in the city.” Without a doubt, the highlight of the event was the presence of and powerful drashos given by Rav Yaakov Hilllel, shlita, Rosh Yeshivat Ahavat Shalom and HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Ezrachi, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva, Mir Yerushalayim. Rav Yaakov Hillel, Shlita: “If I Am In The City, I Simply Cannot Miss A Dirshu Event!” Rav Hillel, who was on a two-day visit

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Skulener Rebbe reciting Kaddish at the Dirshu Siyum on Seder Nashim in Brooklyn

HaRav Dovid Olewski delivering Divrei Chizuk at the Brookyn Dirshu Siyum

View of the nearly 1,000 participants at the Dirshu Siyum in Ateres Chynka, Brooklyn

Joyous celebration at the dais with Rav Dovid Hofstedter and the Skulener Rebbe in Brooklyn

True Simchas HaTorah at the Dirshu Siyum in Ateres Chynka, Brooklyn


Rav Dovid Hofstedter meeting with the Rachmastrivka Rebbe prior to the siyum

to Argentina with a packed schedule, took time that he did not have to attend the siyum. In his passionate public remarks he said, “If I am in the city, I simply cannot miss a Dirshu event! How could I not attend an event for an organization that has literally been meikim olo shel Torah in our generation?!” Rav Hillel also took a few minutes to

Rav Dovid Hofstedter meeting with the Skverer Dayan, Klausenberg Rebbe in the middle

speak about Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha daily Mishnah Berurah program. He addressed the fact that some people say that because Sefardim do not rule like the Mishnah Berurah they should learn other halachic works. Rav Hillel said that his great Sephardic Rabbeim taught him that certainly a Sefardi must follow the sefar-

Festive dancing by hundreds who take bechinas every month!

Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi Dirshu, addressing the Monsey Siyum in Ateres Charna

dic poskim, nevertheless, one must learn Mishnah Berurah regardless of whether one is Ashkenazic or Sephardic because the Mishnah Berurah gives one the tools to truly understand what is behind the halachah. One of the emotionally charged, beautiful moments of the evening was right after HaRav Eliyahu Massry, a prominent rav and maggid shiur made the siyum, when the entire assemblage burst forth in enthusiastic dancing. Plain ink on dry paper cannot express the beauty, the enthusiasm and simchah that permeated the hall during the dancing. It touched a chord deep, deep in the neshamos of all who were present as they danced around and around, in a circle of simchas haTorah and gratitude to Dirshu and its nasi for facilitating the learning that was having a life-altering effect on Argentinean Jewry. Rav Yitzchak Ezrachi, Shlita: “Dirshu, The Greatest Marbitz Torah In Am Yisrael In Our Times” Another very powerful drashah was given by the special guest speaker at the event, Rav Yitzchak Ezrachi. He said that it was a tremendous honor to participate in a siyum sponsored by Dirshu, the greatest marbitz Torah in Am Yisrael in our times. Being that it was barely a week after Shavuos, Rav Ezrachi imparted an important lesson from Megilas Rus. “From Rus

we learn,” Rav Ezrachi explained, “that when it comes to dveikus in Torah a person must cling to the Torah without chesbonos, without thinking, ‘I will never know the entire Shas, I will never know the entire Mishnah Berurah or Shulchan Aruch, so what is the point of even starting?’ Regardless of how much you know, or what you think you can accomplish, a person must throw himself into learning without cheshbonos and Hashem will do the rest. Look at the difference between Ruth and her sister Orpah. Orpah made cheshbonos. She said, ‘I will not be able to wait that long until a son is born to Naomi. It is impossible.’ Ruth, however, made no cheshbonos. She thought, ‘I want to attach myself to Hashem regardless of what my future will be!’ What happened? Ruth became the mother of the entire royal family of Dovid. Who came out of Orpah? Goliyas. Who came out of Ruth? Dovid Hamelech. David, the tiny David beat the giant that was Goliyas because he too did not make cheshbonos. He did what was right.” Rav Ezrachi then turned to Rav Dovid Hofstedter and related a fascinating story about Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky. Once a person was driving Rav Yaakov somewhere and the destination was two houses from the end of the block. The only problem was that the block was a one-way street so there was no entry from that side. Should the person drop Rav Yaakov off at the corner that would precipitate a walk of two houses or should he drive around the block and drop him off at the house? Rav Yaakov instructed him to go around explaining, ‘When one does a mitzvah he does it b’shleimus.’ With tremendous feeling Rav Ezrachi turned to Rav Hofstedter and thundered, “Rav Dovid has started to be mezakeh Am Yisrael in Torah at a level,



The Week In News Dirshu

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Siyum at Seret Vishnitz, Haifa

size and scope that has never been done before. I say to him, complete the mitzvah, due it b’shleimus, the nachas in this world is indescribable and the s’char in the next world is something that no human eye has ever seen!” Transformative Impact that Dirshu Has on the Home Hailed in Massive Boro Park and Monsey Siyumim The Dirshu siyumim on Seder Nashim in Boro Park and Monsey were packed events that were graced by senior Gedolei Yisrael. In Boro Park, the venerated Skulener Rebbe, shlita, who rarely leaves his home and beis medrash due to his advanced age and infirmity, made a special effort to attend because of the depth of esteem that he has for lomdei Dirshu. The event was attended and addressed by the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, shlita, of America, HaRav Moshe Weinberger, shlita, Rav of Agudas Yisrael of Flatbush

and R”M at Mesivta Shalom Shachne, and HaRav Dovid Olewski, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Ger. In Monsey, addresses were given by HaRav Avrohom Schorr, shlita, Rav of Kehal Tiferes Yaakov and HaRav Yaakov Zev Smith, shlita, Maggid Shiur Dirshu and Irgun Shiurei Torah. The Shining Countenance of the Skulener Rebbe, Shlita Undoubtedly, the highlight of the Boro Park event held at the Ateres Chynka Hall was the entrance of the Skulener Rebbe and the sheer simchah and sweetness of his voice as he slowly recited the long kaddish after the siyum. The fact that the Rebbe, despite his weakness, became so inspired by the singing and dancing that he enthusiastically danced, his countenance shining with obvious joy, infused the entire assemblage with an electrifying simchah. The heartfelt brachah that he gave to Rav Dovid Hofstedter and by extension all lomdei Dirshu imbued the event with a

special aura. In his powerful address at the hadran on Seder Nashim, the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe, shlita, explained that one of the reasons why he felt so compelled to attend the Dirshu Daf Yomi siyum and so fortunate to address the assemblage was because his illustrious father, the previous Klausenberger Rebbe, zy”a, would say that it is a far greater accomplishment for a person living in America to be tested on masechtos than a person living in Eretz Yisrael. “We must appreciate the accomplishment of lomdei Dirshu,” the Rebbe said. The Family Focus Both events in America were attended by hundreds of wives of Dirshu learners. Indeed, at the Monsey siyum, Rav Avrohom Schorr addressed the impact Dirshu has on the entire family. He asked, “How do kids in today’s world know what is really important and what isn’t? The school

may be able to impart book knowledge but seeing how their parents conduct themselves is the ultimate teacher. When a child sees that the entire home is focused around the husband’s and father’s learning seder, chazarah, and preparation for tests, the entire home becomes a manifestation of Torah.” Afterthought One of the most touching and encouraging lessons learned from the numerous Dirshu siyumim is the greatness of Am Yisrael that it manifests day in and day out. Despite living in a time and generation of great stress and pressure, yidden are so dedicated and so moser nefesh to find the time for limud haTorah with accountability. They were joined and encouraged this month by leading Gedolei Yisrael representing the entire spectrum of Torah Jewry and their remarkable accomplishments were celebrated. Ashreichem Yisrael!

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The Heroes of Dirshu Rabbi Yechiel Spero A few weeks ago, Dirshu’s Kinyan Torah/Chazaras Hashas program celebrated the completion of Seder Nashim, along with the rest of the lomdei hadaf world over. Dirshu is not limited to any one group or sect of people. It includes Litvaks and Chassidim, Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The participants are employed in various sectors of society: along with many kollel yungerleit and rebbeim, we find businessman, professionals, and askanim, as well as physicians, such as Dr. Shmuel Goldstein, an electrophysiologist in Cleveland, Ohio, who, in spite of his grueling schedule, finds the necessary hours to learn the Daf and take the Dirshu bechinos. Indeed, all of the participants of this program, the heroes of Dirshu, have elevated their level of limud haTorah and by doing so have helped change the world. Life-Giving: Reb Avrohom Dovid Weisz of Monsey, New York, is a courageous individual who has faced the challenges of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement) for the past 12 years. Recently, his wife Ruchie spoke before a group of doctors and experts in the field of ALS. They were astounded at how her husband not only continues living, but is very much alive, upbeat, positive, and willing to take on seemingly insurmountable challenges. She said to them, “People ask me how my husband has been able to survive for the last 12 years with this dreaded illness. The normal lifespan of such individuals is three, five, and if one is fortunate, perhaps seven years. How is it that my husband has managed to stay alive all these years? It is in part because these doctors, lawyers, accountants, and others who have been stricken are robbed of their abilities and see no purpose in living, and so they become depressed and lose the urge to fight. “But my husband has his learning, and his commitment to Dirshu doesn’t allow him to quit. He feels purpose and drive in every moment of his life. He has what to look forward to every single day. This is what keeps him going.” As Mrs. Weisz told Rabbi Ahron Gobioff, Dirshu’s director of operations in North America, “When people ask me what keeps my husband alive, I tell them, ‘It is 25% respirator and the other 75% is Dirshu.’” Yours Forever:

But one need not be faced with the daunting challenges that Reb Avrohom Dovid faces, to find meaning through Dirshu’s Kinyan Hashas program. Ask any one of the many, many hundreds taking the monthly exams how the program has changed their lives. First, all participants concur that the responsibility and commitment required in the preparation of these tests completely consume them. Though everyone gets days off from work, when it comes to Dirshu’s Kinyan Hashas, there are no off days. One can never miss a day, lest he fall behind and consequently be unable to take the bechinah. And as the date for each test nears, the entire family becomes more and more aware as Totty/Abba/Daddy prepares. The shibud is great, the burden is heavy. There are sacrifices to be made and sometimes, it is not just a personal sacrifice but there are familial ones, as well. A Dirshu participant’s life revolves around the daf and the tests. Sometimes this translates into not going away for vacation or an extended Shabbos, unless there is a Dirshu testing site in the area – and there are hundreds. But that’s the price one pays for inspiring a family, where a test becomes a rallying point, and the pride of achievement unifies the entire family – from the youngest child all the way up to the grandparents. Many of the Dirshu lomdim’s families have their own seudah after the test to celebrate their father’s and husband’s great achievements. After discussing the challenges involved, all the participants agree that any earthly pleasure pales in comparison to the mesikus haTorah and sippuk hanefesh of working toward the bechinah and mastering the blatt, and none of these individuals or families would ever give it up for anything. Yes, there is nothing like it. Reb Shaya Brauner, a Dirshu participant and successful businessman from Brooklyn, New York, shared, “The feeling you have after a bechinah is better than making a million dollars. And I know. Because I’ve made a million dollars. The million dollars can be lost, but the blatt you’ve learned and the feeling that comes with it, is something that is yours forever. No one can take it away from you.” Invigorating: One may think that with such pressure, and with so much responsibility, participation in the program can become overwhelming. When Reb Menachem Berkowitz, COO of Chemed Health Center in Lakewood, New Jersey, was asked if he ever felt like quitting, he responded with candor: “Yes. Every month! The monthly grind, an overwhelming work week, early morning and late night chavrusos, and a family, make for quite a busy schedule. There is no quit, though.” For the participants, it is often as if they are running a marathon and the end seems very far off. They feel as though they are going to collapse from exhaustion. But the euphoria and jubilation when they reach the finish line and take that test is indescribable.

Many men take cumulative tests, where they take a test not only on the 30 blatt they learned that month, but three times a year there is an additional test to review the past four months’ 120 blatt. Then, there are those who take tests on everything they’ve learned since Daf Beis in Berachos! Who can begin to fathom the incredible feeling of accomplishment that these talmidei chachamim enjoy? Rabbi Pesach Skulnick, rebbi in Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck New Jersey, has taken a bechinah on the entire Shas, and is now halfway through Shas with Tosafos. In his words: “If you have ever exercised early in the morning, you know

Dr. Shmuel Goldstein, an electrophysiologist in Cleveland Ohio, greeting HaRav Yerucham Olshin at a previous Dirshu event

Reb Avrohom Dovid Weisz participating at the Dirshu Siyum in Monsey

how it changes your entire day. You daven and learn differently because you feel so invigorated. When you learn Dirshu, it’s an incredible feeling. People ask me how I am able to juggle it with my other responsibilities of teaching and family obligations. The truth is I can’t imagine living without it.” Total Commitment: One fellow was scheduled to take a test on the day of his son’s bar mitzvah. He hired a caterer and that was the end of it; he was not involved in any of the other preparations. He had more important things to take care of. Part of the reason that those in the Kinyan Hashas program are so committed and take the tests seriously is because the Dirshu leaders take themselves seriously. As they balance professionalism with care and sensitivity to personal situations, the Dirshu family – yes, family – exudes a sense of camaraderie and unity. People feel committed to the program and sense that they belong to something. It is as if they don’t want to let anyone else down. The Gemara becomes their stalwart companion and they are afraid to leave it behind. A Test with a Test: Reb Avrohom Dovid Weisz has never thought of giving up. He only became a participant in the Dirshu Kinyan Hashas program after he was diagnosed with ALS. When he sent in his request to receive the tests through email, the people in the Dirshu headquarters did not know what to make of it. Who was this person?

Soon they discovered just who Reb Avrohom Dovid is. Nowadays, he is completely paralyzed and has movement only in his eyes. He is only capable of writing by looking at the letters of the keyboard on his computer. In an ordinary month, the bechinah of 22 questions takes him somewhere between 14 and 18 hours to complete, and Reb Avrohom always makes sure to allot the necessary time to finish the tests in a timely fashion. One time, though, after he had already spent 14 hours on the test, and he had only two questions left, he had to stop to go to an appointment in Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. He conveyed to his wife that he wanted to bring along the computer, so that he could finish those questions while waiting for his examination in the hospital and while he was traveling. On the way back from his appointment, the unthinkable happened. The vehicle hit a pothole, the computer went flying, and it was completely destroyed. Nothing was retrievable. Reb Avrohom Dovid’s wife was petrified, as were the nurses who accompanied him. All the answers were lost and now, with less than 12 hours remaining until the test was due, there seemed to be no way he could finish. But there was one person who wasn’t worried at all: Reb Avrohom Dovid. He very calmly shared that there was nothing to worry about. The night was yet young. At 6:00 p.m., he started again from the beginning of the bechinah. During the next 11 hours, he patiently answered every single question for the second time. At 5:00 a.m., he finished the bechinah and emailed it to headquarters – before the deadline. How inspiring! For those who have never tried to master Shas, it is impossible to even fathom how one can accomplish such things. But for those who do it, month after month, it is unconscionable to think of life without it. “I will do!” Rabbi Skulnick said that the mantra of Dirshu can best be described through the following story: In 1939, after returning to Europe from a fundraising mission to America, Rav Elchonon Wasserman told his talmidim that he had learned two words in America: “I’ll try.” When they asked him what those words mean, Rav Elchonon responded wryly, “Nothing.” Then he explained, “When I asked someone for money and he said, ‘I’ll try,’ it meant nothing. One needs to say, ‘I will do,’ not ‘I will try.’” Those Who Do: The numbers are staggering: 8,000,000 blatt of Gemara. 15,000 participants. 200 participants who have taken cumulative bechinos on the entire Shas, a number which is on pace to double by the end of this machzor. Maybe it is time for more of us to stop being afraid and to join the revolution, so that we too, can taste the sweetness of Dirshu.



TheBook Week In News Review

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Book Review: Inside Out: In Prison Not Imprisoned, Correspondence of R’ Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin Reviewed by Devorah Talia Gordon

“Chassidus and light. Prison and darkness. When the two collide, what happens?” Rabbi Elchonon Jacobovitz and his class of sixth-grade students set out to discover the answer to this question when they began a correspondence with Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, who has been imprisoned since 2010. Though he had never met R’ Sholom Mordechai, R’ Jacobovitz, of Yeshivas Darchei Torah in Detroit, felt a connection to him after davening for his release and gained chizuk from his display of emunah. R’ Jacobovitz wrote R’ Sholom Mordechai and asked if he’d be willing to receive a dvar Torah from himself or one of his students each week and then respond with his own. The school-year correspondence, in the form of email letters, has been pub-

lished by the Rubashkin family. It offers an uplifting glimpse into the life of R’ Sholom Mordechai. From the outset, the camaraderie between the two is palpable; R’ Jacobovitz writes of the “invisible sanctum” Rubashkin has created in prison, where he “lives as a free man, with Torah, avodah, and kiddush shem Shamayim his constant preoccupation.” At the same time, R’ Sholom Mordechai writes of the strength he received from the relationship. “R’ Elchonon sought to give his talmidim a lift by exchanging divrei Torah with me. Little did they imagine what kind of chizuk they would give me in this cold, dark place through our weekly correspondence!” Although the book proceeds chronologically through the parashios, from

Lech-Lecha to Korach, the Table of Contents lists the divrei Torah by theme (rather than by parashah) with such thought-provoking titles as: “We live by miracles…But what about histadlus?,” “The revolving wheel of destiny,” and “Think of the power of a tiny atom.” Formatting the book this way makes it easy for the reader to select a topic he or she might be interested in at that moment. Another plus is that the book contains very accessible, yet profound divrei Torah, with each correspondence a standalone chapter. Woven throughout the volume are recurring themes, such as the struggle between gashmiyus (materiality) and ruchnius (spirituality), loving fellow Jews, serving Hashem with simchah, the uniqueness of being a yid, and, probably the strongest theme, unwavering bitachon, even in the bleakest of situations. Some of the most poignant pieces are, predictably, those where R’ Sholom Mordechai discusses bitachon in the context of his own situation. In “Lessons from the tightrope walker,” R’ Sholom uses the mashal of a tightrope walker to discuss avodas Hashem. “A yid needs to be focused on life’s goal – serving Hashem – and to move toward that goal step by step…in a place where the sum total of a person’s daily activity can easily amount to zero, it’s very easy to be fooled by the yetzer horah into chas v’shalom thinking, ‘I don’t make a difference.’ The truth is that every Yid’s avodah actually does matter greatly to Hashem Yisborach. Wherever Hashem places a Yid, he has an important avodah to do there – to make that place and the world a dwelling place for Hashem Yisborach.” In the middle of the book, there is a wonderful group of divrei Torah where R’ Sholom Mordechai delves into Megillas Esther. In these writings, R’ Sholom Mordechai’s profound connection to Torah and Hashem is palpable, as is his desire to inspire and encourage the boys. The divrei Torah from the talmidim are short yet insightful, while R’ Jacobovitz writes

more involved pieces. However, the bulk of the writings are R’ Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin’s. His divrei Torah reveal that, despite his body being in prison, as the book’s title suggests, R’ Sholom Mordechai’s neshamah is as free as ever. When he was first incarcerated, a guard quipped, “A lot of things are about to change for you from now on.” But R’ Sholom Mordechai was not fazed by this; in fact, the guard’s comment increased his conviction. “My connection with HaKadosh Baruch Hu that I have as a Yehudi would not change in any way.” Shortly thereafter, he asked for (and was given) his yarmulke, tzitzis, tallis and tefillin back. He writes, “No one could take control of my neshamah…” The writings of R’ Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin reveal that in the darkest of places, a person is capable of bringing great light – becoming brighter and brighter themselves, and helping others around them find their own light. Learning the Torah in this collection is a great chizuk; learning about the life and behavior of R’ Sholom Mordechai in prison is perhaps an equally great inspiration. Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin is the uncle of Shalom Rubashkin, Editor of the Jewish Home

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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Travel Guide: Seoul Aaron Feigenbaum As South Korea’s largest city and one of Asia’s biggest financial hubs, Seoul is a booming metropolis that has no shortage of fascinating things to do and see. Seoul presents stark contrasts between modernism and traditionalism. Along with towering skyscrapers, hip malls, and the hustle and bustle of urban life are pockets of art and culture. Old palaces from the Joseon dynasty sit and a huge national park stand at odds with the city’s hectic pace. The Insa-dong neighborhood, with its stalls of hand-crafted traditional Korean goods and folk festivals, is another reminder of Seoul’s rich history. As huge and crowded as it is, Seoul may not be the most relaxing place to take a vacation, but it is a fantastic place to experience one of Asia’s most unique cultures. History Most visitors would be surprised to learn that the super-modern city of Seoul has a very ancient past. That past starts at least in the year 4000 BCE, when settlement is believed to have begun. Seoul (or, rather, Wiryeseong, as it was then known) is recorded in 18 CE as the capital of the Baekje kingdom, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.

The Three Kingdoms phase came to an end when King Jinheung of the Silla kingdom conquered Seoul, then known as Hanseong. Silla rule eventually extended to the entire Korean peninsula but the Silla chose Gyeongju as their capital rather than Seoul. Silla was then overtaken by the Goryeo kingdom, who chose Kaesong (now in North Korea) as their capital. With the end of the Goryeo dynasty came Seoul’s chance to shine. Beginning with the start of Joseon dynasty rule in 1392, King Taejo chose Seoul as the nation’s capital and carried out major expansions of the city. Unfortunately, the city was dealt a severe blow exactly 200 years later when Japanese forces, under the control of famed warlord Hideyoshi, ransacked Seoul and laid waste to many of its most important buildings. Seoul slowly recovered over the next few centuries but faced disaster yet again in the early 20th century when the Japanese returned. Korea was ruled by the popular Queen Min in the late 1800s, but the Japanese considered her an obstacle to their overseas expansion. Acting on official orders by their government, Japanese agents infiltrated the royal palace and assassinated the queen. From there, the situation deteriorated and eventually resulted in the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910. During this time, Japan tried to erase the Korean culture and language through forced assimilation. Korea didn’t become independent until the end of WWII. However, even though the Japanese were gone, Seoul and the rest of Korea were still beset by conflict. Seoul was captured by North Korea for three days at the start of the Korean War and faced two more battles during the course of the war, including one where the city was briefly held by Chinese forces. Seoul was quickly rebuilt after the war, and the economic reforms of the controversial South Korean president Park Chung-hee helped

Gyeongcheonsa Pagoda

Joint Security Area

propel the city into the international spotlight. Seoul today is one of the world’s 20 largest cities and is home to over half of all South Koreans. It is also one of the world’s top 10 most visited cities with the annual number of tourists reported at a whopping 10 million. Attractions Gyeonbokgung Palace: Originally built in 1395 by King Taejo, the Joseon dynasty’s founder, this palace served as the ruling family’s palace until it was burnt to the ground during the first Japanese invasion in the 1590s. The palace was finally restored in the late 19th century by Emperor Gojong’s father Heungseon Daewongun. When the Japanese invaded again they demolished most of the palace complex and built their general government building on the site in order to erase all traces of Joseon rule. Today, a large part of the palace has been restored and is open to the public. The complex has many buildings to tour, one of the most impressive of which is Geunjeongjeon, the throne room and seat of the Joseon government. It was here in this beautifully decorated room that the king would greet foreign dignitaries, make official proclamations, and grant audiences to officials and nobles. The nearby Gangnyeongjeon was the king’s official residence. The bedroom is a fine example of traditional Korean interior decorating. Another highlight is the banquet hall, Gyeonghoeru, which overlooks an artificial lake with two small islands. Also located inside the palace complex are two museums. One of them is the National Palace Museum of Korea. This museum holds a massive collection of Korean royal artifacts and treasures, as well as explores what life was like in the imperial court. Exhibits cover a wide variety of topics ranging from court music to Joseon science to royal recordkeeping. The other museum is the National Folk Museum of Korea. As a contrast to the Palace Museum, the Folk Museum takes a look at what life was like for ordinary Korean citizens, including an outdoor recreation of a traditional Korean street from the 1800s. Visitors can also learn about Korean customs, daily agriculture, and the history of the Korean people from the Paleolithic era to the present. Changdeokgung Palace: Located in a park right in the middle of Seoul, this palace was one of the five “Grand Palaces” built by the Joseon dynasty. It was originally built as a secondary palace but became the royal family’s main palace after the Japanese destroyed Gyeonbokgung. The palace is considered the most traditional of the five palaces and is praised for its blending with its natural surroundings. The main palace building, Injeongjeon, was used for conducting state affairs including the coronation of the king. Nearby are government

Chabad Seoul



offices, the living quarters of the royal family and a serene terraced garden. Also nearby is the Nakseonjae building where descendants of the royal family lived until 1989. Consider taking the Moonlight Tour as the palace looks especially impressive at night. War Memorial of Korea: A sobering reminder of one of Korea’s darkest periods, the War Memorial commemorates the enormous losses suffered during the Korean War. The building is located on what was the headquarters of the Korean Infantry, and gives an inside view of what the Korean War was like for soldiers on the ground through the use of film, photos, maps, and artifacts. The outside of the museum has a collection of vintage Korean military equipment such as helicopters, planes, and missiles. Special exhibits are dedicated to critical moments in the war such as the North’s invasion and the amphibious landing at Incheon. There are also displays that detail Korea’s larger military history including its battles with Japanese and Mongol invaders as well as South Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War and in various peacekeeping missions. National Museum of Korea: The largest museum in Korea, the National Museum contains tens of thousands of artifacts that tell Korea’s history from ancient times to the present. From prehistoric settlements to Korean calligraphy and Buddhist paintings to royal relics, this museum magnificently encapsulates all of Korean culture and history. Some of the most important artifacts on display include a 5th century gold crown (presumed to have belonged to a noblewoman), the 6th-7th century Baekje incense burner (an impressive example of art from the Baekje kingdom), and the ten-story tall Gyeongcheonsa Pagoda. The Pagoda, made entirely of marble, is considered one of the best examples of Korean stonework. The nearby National Hangeul Museum is perfect for those interested in the history of the Korean language. Insadong: This neighborhood is the heart of traditional Korean culture in Seoul. Streets and alleys are lined with wooden tea shops, art galleries, cafes, and small shops selling exquisite arts and crafts. Insadong was once home to Dohwawon, the National Department of Painting, which was responsible for many of the paintings and woodwork found in the royal palaces. Some of the most interesting places to visit here include Tapgol Park where the Korean independence movement began in 1919, the old Ujeongchongguk post office and the Unhyeongung Palace, birthplace of King Gojong in 1852. The best time to visit the neighborhood is on Sundays when the streets are blocked off to cars, although it can be very crowded. N Seoul Tower: Built in 1969 as a communication and observation tower on Namsan Mountain, N Seoul Tower offers the best views of Seoul. You can ride a cable car up to Namsan and then walk to the tower. There are actually four different observation decks as well as gift shops and restaurants. A digital observatory provides a panoramic view and LCD screens showing Korea’s history. The tower also includes a wishing pond and teddy bear museum. A popular activity amongst locals is heading to

Bukchon Hanok village

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the Roof Terrace and attaching a padlock to the fence as a symbol of love. Myeong-dong: For shopping in Seoul, there’s no better place than the Myeong-dong district. It features a huge amount of mid to high end stores selling items from well-known international brands. It’s one of Seoul’s busiest areas and is rated the 9th most expensive shopping district in the world in terms of floorspace rental. If you’re looking for more affordable shopping, try the Namdaemun or Dongdaemun markets. Bukchon Hanok Village: The best way to experience a slice of traditional Korean life is by visiting this quaint village set against the backdrop of modern Seoul. Bukchon Hanok was not designed with tourists in mind (people actually live in these centuries-old houses) but nevertheless its charms have attracted countless visitors. There are traditional art galleries, craft workshops, and tea houses. Be sure to keep noise to a minimum to avoid disturbing residents. Bukhansan National Park: This is the only national park within Seoul city limits and one of the very few national parks in the world to reside within a major metropolis. Tourists and locals alike love to hike to the peaks in the park. The routes are dotted with unique flora and fauna as well as ancient temples and fortresses such as Bukhansanseong (built as an emergency hideaway for Joseon kings in case of invasion). The hike can be challenging at times, but the incredible views from the top make it worth the effort. Lotte World: Korea’s best destination for family fun, Lotte World is an adventure park that’s jam-packed with almost every kind of activity you can think of. From rollercoasters to laser shows to ice skating to a carnival to simulating being inside a tornado, there’s pretty much nothing that’s off the menu here. Lotte World also has a luxury hotel, an IMAX theater, illusionist shows, shopping malls, a Korean folk museum, and an artificial lake. Lotte World holds the Guinness World Record for largest indoor theme park. Day trips: One of the most popular day trips from Seoul is to the huge port city of Busan, located about four hours away by train. Busan is Korea’s second-largest city and has almost as much to see as Seoul. It’s primarily known for its pristine beaches but also has many other interesting attractions like the observation tower in Busan Tower, the Busan Aquarium, and the captivating Taejondae park, whose views of the

ocean make for a very scenic stroll. If you’re a fan of green tea then you owe it to yourself to make the trek to Boseong. The green fields of the Daehan Tea Plantation are beautiful and the pleasant smell of tea permeates the air. Be sure to come in the spring to catch the Green Tea Festival where you can partake in the tea-making process and see a tea ceremony performance. Right nearby Boseong is Yulpo Beach, where you can take a dip in a spa that mixes seawater with green tea. Last but not least is a trip to the dreaded DMZ, a place that is undoubtedly one of the scariest in the world. The Demilitarized Zone is a thin 150 mile-long strip of land that forms the border between South and North Korea. From landmines to electric fences to armies ready to fight at a moment’s notice, this is certainly no trip to Disneyland. However, tour groups will be under military protection at all times, and there are tours every day, so the chances of being caught in a skirmish are very low. Since the end of the Korean War, the DMZ has actually become a wildlife refuge and is, ironically, quite peaceful and beautiful. You can tour Dorasan Rail Station, a connecting point between the two Koreas and the northernmost point of South Korea. See the Freedom Bridge, which over 13,000 South Korean POWs used to return home after the war. Step inside the Third Infiltration Tunnel, one of four that North Korea secretly built and which can potentially allow for 30,000 troops to pass through every hour. The closest point civilians are allowed to North Korea is Panmunjeom Village. The Joint Security Area of the village is where peace talks were held during the Korean War; the conference center is often photographed as it is the only place where South and North Korean soldiers stand face-to-face. There are several observatories where visitors can peer with binoculars into the mysterious land of North Korea. Incredibly, it is possible to legally cross the North Korean border: There are two blue conference UN buildings and the border extends right through the middle of them. You can step inside one of the buildings, cross the border and have your picture taken with a South Korean guard standing inside North Korea. Be sure not to exit out the back door or you will be on your own in North Korea! Daven and Eat Until 2012, South Korea’s only option for Jewish services was the U.S. military base at Yongsan. However, Seoul’s very first permanent shul, Chabad of Korea, opened that year

with much fanfare (including a visit by the prime minister). The Chabad house offers kosher take-out with delivery available right to your hotel room. They have a huge selection of items from all over the world. (Note that many traditional Korean foods are not kosher, though.) For more information, visit jewishkorea.com. Besides that, kosher options in Seoul are extremely limited. Import grocery stores or Costco might be your next best bet.

Getting There and Around Currently, flights from LAX to Seoul start at about $1050 per person round trip. For getting around the city, driving is not recommended as traffic jams are frequent and parking spaces are often hard to come by. Seoul’s metro system, famous as being one of the most efficient in the world, provides an easy way to get to and from the city’s best sights.



Quotes In News OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home 20 The Week

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Notable Quotes “Say What?!”

Two thieves stole $16,000 worth of iPhones from a New York Apple store by dressing as Apple “Geniuses.” Police are on the lookout for two “Actual Geniuses.” - Conan O’Brien

We talked about the presidential election and debated our views of the candidates that were running – he liked Hillary Clinton and I liked Bernie Sanders. - Mohammed A. Malik, in a Wall Street Journal essay about his friendship with the Orlando terrorist

Socialism failing to work — as it always does — this time in Venezuela. You talk about giving everybody something free and all of a sudden there’s no food to eat. And who do you think is the richest person in Venezuela? The daughter of Hugo Chavez. Hello! Anyways, 0 and 2… - Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, on a tangent during the broadcast of the Dodgers game last Friday

Donald Trump celebrated his 70th birthday today. And I guess instead of blowing out his candles, he just insulted them until they put themselves out. “You’re too hot! You smell like wax! You’re the worst part of this cake!” - Jimmy Fallon

We’ll make sure that people know how to turn this stuff off should we get to that point. - Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, talking about the possibility of artificial intelligence becoming evil

The FDA says it found “serious health violations” at some Whole Foods stores and actually sent Whole Foods a warning letter. In response, Whole Foods shredded the letter, mixed it with some kale, and is now selling it for $18 a pound. – Jimmy Fallon

Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for $26 billion. In other words, that’s $1 for every LinkedIn invitation you deleted from your inbox. But I’m going to say this: if bothering you with constant annoying e-mails is worth $26.2 billion, my grandparents should be trillionaires. – James Corden

I do regret calling her Pocahontas, because I think it’s a tremendous insult to Pocahontas. - Trump, when asked on Fox News whether he regrets calling Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Pocahontas


Quotes The Week In News 21

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is the way they want it to be instead of the way it is. After the San Bernardino attacks ... I heard all over the TV, everybody was saying, “If only Americans knew more about Islam they wouldn’t be so afraid.” Actually, it’s the reverse. - Bill Maher, HBO

The FDA has approved a device for weight loss that sucks the food out of your stomach through an abdominal incision. Or, you could just try a salad some time. -Conan O’Brien

Barack Obama is directly responsible for [the Orlando attack] because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaeda went to Syria, became ISIS. And ISIS became what it is today thanks to Barack Obama’s failures, utter failures, by pulling everybody out of Iraq, thinking that conflicts end just because we leave. So the responsibility for it lies with President Barack Obama and his failed policies. I predicted at the time that ISIS would go unchecked and there would be attacks on the United States of America. It’s a matter of record. So he is directly responsible. - Sen. John McCain (R-AR)

I misspoke. I did not mean to imply that the President was personally responsible. I was referring to President Obama’s national security decisions, not the President himself. – Ibid., after his comments drew a backlash

The British are about to vote on whether to exit the European Union. They call it the Brexit, which, in America, of course, is the meal between breakfast and exiting breakfast. – Steven Colbert

For seven years, Barack Obama has not deigned to explain to the American people why he abhors terms like radical Islam, Islamic terrorism, and Islamist, unlike European leaders and most Americans. Obama certainly in the past has had no problem with using far more sweeping and generic categories — for example, dressing down millions of Pennsylvanians as know-nothing clingers, or Christians in general for their purported centuries of “high-horse” sins. His administration has stereotyped and provoked plenty of groups, from supposedly parasitic entrepreneurs who did not build their own businesses to a nation of supposedly cowardly non-minorities. In one area alone, Obama and his administration have created a vacuous and dangerous vocabulary of euphemisms — violent extremism, man-caused disasters, overseas contingency operations, a largely “secular” Muslim Brotherhood, and so on. Such nomenclature only confuses Americans about the dangers that they face from radical Islam while emboldening Islamists, who can suspect that if we are afraid to call them what they are, then we may also be defensive about their bogus grievances against the West. Neither ISIS and al-Qaeda nor the relatives of Omar Mateen and Rizwan Farook, the San Bernardino killer, have shown any gratitude to the U.S. for its politically correct tiptoeing around who is blowing up, beheading, and shooting whom — and why. - Victor David Hanson, National Review

I believe Mark Twain has rolled over in his grave so much for so long, that this news won’t disturb his peace. — Bill Murray, who will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

World’s worst hangover. — British astronaut Tim Peake on what it feels like to come back to Earth after spending six months in space




Communicated The Week In News

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PEYD 360 Combines Full Service Leisure and Business Travel with Credit Card Rewards Management and the Personal Touch In recent years, the world of credit card rewards and loyalty points has become increasingly complex and difficult to navigate, leaving many shaking their heads in frustration. Many allow their hard-won points to expire because redeeming them is just too difficult. In fact, 90 percent of the 300 million-plus in frequent flyer and rewards points

earned each year go unclaimed, often because both private individuals and businesses have no idea how to navigate the often complicated maze of the redemption process. PEYD, a Long Island based company, was founded almost five years ago by a team of four friends to help customers maximize their credit card

Attention Seminary & Yeshiva Students:

rewards and airline miles. While originally PEYD was primarily involved in redeeming awards as well as buying and selling unused rewards points and miles, over time the group found themselves inundated with travel related requests from both private clients and corporate accounts. From helping friends book visits to Israel or vacations in Miami,

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to working with big-name Madison Avenue clients that plan frequent trips for employees, PEYD built a reputation for excellence by going all out for each and every customer, big or small. PEYD evolved from a four-man, one-room operation in Inwood to a fullscale business with additional offices in Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, and Jerusalem, serving a clientele that spans the globe. To date, PEYD has processed almost two billion miles and has expanded its offerings into a new brand that combines full mileage management and extensive travel planning services while still providing every client with warm, personalized service. Titled PEYD 360, this new arm of the company encompasses the full circle of the travel experience, starting with the ticket purchase and covering every detail of every trip. Created in response to customer demand, PEYD 360 maximizes miles while minimizing travel costs and includes a wide array of services including booking flights, hotel accommodations, car rentals and concierge services. “As our company has grown, we renewed our focus on business travel and rewards management,” said Eli Schreiber, PEYD’s director of marketing. “We are the only company that offers credit card rewards, airline miles, and travel services merged into one cohesive product based on your business type and where you are traveling.” PEYD’s dedicated and friendly staff has more than 20 years of experience, giving them the ability to leverage their vast base of contacts, affiliates, and knowledge to provide customers with unparalleled service and incredible value. Because of their extensive familiarity with loyalty points and airline miles, PEYD 360 has the ability to pinpoint the best itinerary using the fewest possible points and can also locate additional rewards that may be unique to particular destinations, providing customers with even greater benefits. PEYD 360 can also make sure that clients are using the right cards to earn the rewards that suit them best including premium cards that are not available to the general public and are only offered through specialized business partnerships. A comprehensive array of services is also available for corporate clients to handle and monitor all aspects of business travel, allowing for maximum savings and productivity. Meir Shuvalsky, director of mileage travel, uses his extensive knowledge of the intricate mileage network employed by various airlines and alliances to find the best deals for clients. A coach ticket to China may cost $1000 or 70,000 miles, while a business class ticket to

Communicated The Week In News

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the same destination can run $7000 or 200,000 miles. Although mileage tickets can offer significant savings with their substantially smaller price differentials, they can be difficult to acquire. “A regular person may not know how to navigate the system to take advantage of that mileage ticket, but we can do that, buying discounted business class tickets with miles,” explained Shuvalsky. “We buy the miles and take care of everything.” Feedback from customers has been extremely enthusiastic, reported Shuvalsky. “Everyone loves the discounts, and they also get personal service,” said

Shuvalsky. “There is someone dealing with seat changes, meal requests, and any changes. There is always someone there for you that you can call or email 24/7 if you need anything.” Most of all, PEYD 360 provides customers with peace of mind, simplifying the world of points and travel by handling the often complex details and presenting customers with the options that best suit their particular needs. “We take all the stress out of travel,” explained Yaacov Hoffinger, manager of PEYD’s revenue department. “Usually corporations have someone dedicated to travel or have people running around getting approvals. We make it a stream-

lined process, with trained professionals offering personalized services.” Being able to interface directly with PEYD team members located in the U.S. is another benefit. “People don’t want to talk to customer service representatives in India or Asia who don’t know them or understand their needs,” said Hoffinger. “They want someone they feel they can trust, someone they are comfortable with. They want the comfort of knowing that they have someone they can rely on.” The personal touch remains an integral part of PEYD’s business model and Partner Pinny Ackerman describes

PEYD as a “feet on the ground” company that combines likability with professionalism. “Our clients appreciate that we having a relationship with them and that we are a bunch of regular guys who have barbeques and play ball after work,” said Ackerman. “We live and work in our community, and we enjoy getting involved locally and giving back to the community.” To find out more about PEYD visit them online at www.GetPEYD.com or call them at 888-404-PEYD.

The Sun Is Out, And The Whites Are In! For many, if not most people, the summer is easily the best time of the year for a well-deserved vacation and diverse outdoor activities. The heat, the humidity, and the type of food that we eat over the sunny season all are elements to factor in when picking the wines that will offer the most enjoyable and refreshing experiences. I would like to suggest and review here a selection of white wines that are rather easy to find, are affordable, and which will make your summer more pleasurable and fun. First of all, please remember that for proper enjoyment, white wines must be served well-chilled. It is also important not to pour too much wine at a time in your glass, as the wine would warm up faster than in the bottle. Ideally, when possible, the best is to maintain the open bottle in an ice bucket as to preserve the wine’s freshness throughout the course of the meal. I would like to highlight a few wines that would be very nice, either sipped simply on their own or which could also pair very well with a variety of light summer dishes. To start with, three light, off-dry and aromatic wines that, while enjoyable as aperitif, would be a nice accompaniment to salads and dips or, why not, with spicy Asian foods as well. An unusual blend, the Baron Herzog Chenin – Viognier is made from

two interesting varieties. Chenin Blanc is one of the main white grape types of the Loire Valley in France and can produce outstanding wines in a wide array of styles. In this case, the Chenin grapes for this wines are sourced from the Herzog’s family vineyards in Clarksburg, California, one of the finest growing regions in the country. Viognier originates from the Rhône valley, also in France, and is known for its fragrant summer fruit aromas. Some of the world’s most sought-after whites are the Viognier wines that come from the Condrieu appellation in the Rhône valley. This wine proves that the variety shows also quite successful in California. The resulting

combination of these two types of grapes here is a light, savory wine with each variety contributing to the flavor profile and to the texture as well. Israel’s leading boutique winery, Tulip, also makes an interesting blend. Made of 70% Gewürztraminer and 30% Sauvignon Blanc, the White Tulip is the perfect summer wine. Featuring notes of tropical and citrus fruit with a subtle touch of sweetness, this is the type of wine to enjoy with spicy fish or with watermelon. And here is another fantastic, Israeli white wine that is quite the crowd pleaser: Flam Blanc. Like the aforementioned Tulip, it is also a blend based on Sauvignon Blanc. However, the second variety here is Chardonnay. While most Chardonnay are aged in oak barrels, here it is not, as to retain all the freshness of the fruit and the acidity. This wine really is a joy to drink! Vibrant and lively, with aromas and flavors of stone fruits such as peaches and apricots, as well as Meyer lemons. Subtle hints of spice such as white pepper are noticeable on the finish. There are also white wines that can pair remarkably well with poultry or veal. Riesling is a noble variety originating from Germany and also quite popular from the neighboring region of Alsace in France. The Koenig Riesling represents very high value for money. Dry and very well-balanced with good acidity, this wine has all the character-

istics of high quality Riesling. Among those, notes of green apple peels, beautiful minerals, and citrus pith. A very complex and affordable wine that will highlight any meal, anytime but even more so in the summer. There is even a worldwide festival among wine lovers that is called Summer of Riesling, encouraging the discovery of this wonderful variety. Goose Bay is well-known for making some of the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. But their Reserve Fumé is simply one of the most interesting wines out there. Aged for a few months in barrels to give it more structure and a slightly smoky profile, this is a wine that would do wonders with smoked chicken! While the classic grapefruit aromas prevail, some hints of flint make this a great topic of conversation. For a fun tasting, I highly recommend trying it side by side with the regular Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc. And for the sweet touch to end the meal in the most satisfying way, the Ice Wine Vidal from Tzafona Cellars is just perfect. This is a wine that is made in Canada. Yes, in Canada! Produced with grapes harvested frozen on the vines from vineyards grown in the Niagara Peninsula, as to concentrate the sugar and retain the highest level of natural acidity, preventing the sweetness from being cloying. This is a wine that has a mouth-watering texture with flavors of candied pineapple, mango, and dried apricots. Paired with fruit pies or simply sipped on its own, it will make for an unforgettable experience! Have a great and sunny summer! L’chaim!



Entertainment The Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

to be perceived as a wine by the consumer — that way they can feel as though they are having a glass of wine with their pet,” Apollo Peak founder Brandon Zavala said. Sure beats drinking alone.

A Whisky for Whiskers

Please & Thank You

Want to celebrate with a l’chaim but are worried that little Tiger will be jealous? Now, your cat can sip along with you. Introducing wine just for cats. Think Pinot Meow, MosCATo and Apollo Peak vintages. The names are cute. But have you ever seen a cat hitting the bottle? We didn’t think so. Turns out, wine could be toxic to felines. These beverages are made of “organic catnip water and colored with organic beet juice.” “It’s made like a tea, but since we got it to look so much like a wine, we want it

Is politeness a thing of the past? We hope not. Recently, a grandma in the UK reminded us how important it is to say “please” and “thank you.” Ben John recently tweeted a photo of his grandmother May Ashworth’s Google search which read, “Please translate these roman numerals mcmxcviii thank you.” He was surprised at her good manners when entering questions into Google’s



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Gold in the Garbage

All that litters may just be gold. Sitting among old sneakers and wood scraps, six-year-old Chloe Smith found a glittering treasure: a gold medal. But it wasn’t just any gold medal. It belonged to Joe Jacobi who won the medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games as a slalom canoeist. Two weeks ago, when Jacobi’s car was broken into, a number of items were taken, including the medal. Some of the items were later recovered by police, but the medal was still missing. When Chloe happened upon the find, she didn’t understand its significance as first and used it as a Frisbee. But her father, Wayne, realized its value and returned it to Jacobi. “The part of the medal the family found identifies the 1992 Olympic games. It has Nike, the Greek goddess of victory on it. It’s the most distinguishing part of the medal,” Jacobi related. The other parts are

still missing, but this seems to be the most important. In appreciation, Jacobi offered the family a $500 reward. More than that, he also promised that when school was back in session, he’d visit Chloe’s school to show off the piece of the medal the six-year-old found. Well, it seems that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. 

The Pool Room

Kids, we know you are bored now that school is out, but please do not try this at home. It seems that there’s a lack of swimming pools in the city of Tver in Russia. So when Vladimir Vechnyy and his pals wanted to swim, they needed to build their own. The perfect place to plan their wet entertainment? The kitchen. (Kids, remember we told you not to do this at home.) The group spent four hours covering the floor and walls with plastic sheets which they glued together to create a waterproof seal. Then they attached a foam tube to the kitchen tap, turned it on and waited for the room to fill with water. It took three hours to get enough water into the “pool.” As soon as it was deep enough, they splashed around the pool, “dived” into the water, and played with rubber floating rings. They even enjoyed beverages which they balanced on floating tables. What happened when swimming time was over? They simply lifted up a floorboard in the kitchen and let the water drain into the basement. “I don’t think our neighbors had the slightest idea of what we were doing,” Vechnyy said. I think they’ll find out when their things are soaked with water.



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search engine. So were many other people when they saw Ben’s post. The tweet reached the ears of Google UK’s Twitter headquarters and they sent Ben a response: “Dearest Ben’s Nan. Hope you’re well. In a world of billions of Searches, yours made us smile,” they wrote. Then they answered the question she posed in the search Ben made famous: “Oh, and it’s 1998,” they wrote. “Thank YOU.” Apparently, Ben’s grandmother thought there was a real person answering each search. “She thought that by being polite and using her manners, the search would be quicker.” Thank you, Ms. Ashworth, for reminding us in our fast-paced world how being polite is the only way.





Parenting The Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Proactive Parenting: Lowering the Temperature Sara Teichman, Psy D

Dear Dr. T., Sometimes when I look into my children’s eyes, I shudder to think at the parent I have become. Let me explain. I wake up every morning with the best of intentions: I will keep my cool and be positive with my children. But, like failed dieting, my resolve melts sooner or later in the day – when a child spills, I am late again, or there is just too much stuff for one set of parents to deal with. I quickly become irritable and angry, and I lash out at whoever is in my path. The pain and confusion in my children’s eyes is only matched by the guilt that I feel. Help! Faigy Dear Faigy, Though this is a pattern that is reactive and unhealthy, do take a moment to praise yourself for honesty, consciousness, and a sincere desire to do better. Many a parent is unaware of how he is seen by his children – and defensive as well (“I have to yell for them to listen,” etc.). You have taken a huge first step by accepting responsibility for your behavior and acknowledging that it has a negative effect on your children. You also show tremendous insight into the cause of much of parental yelling. You are right: parents do not wake up saying, “I will yell/punish my child today.” The typical parent has good intentions, but – for a variety of reasons – cannot withstand the trials of the day. Unfortunately, the pattern of yelling is reinforced by the fact that in the short run it works: it scares the children out of their wits and into compliance. It also provides the parent with an (unhealthy) release of his pent up emotion. However, in the long run – which is what counts – it leads to damaged relationships and wounded children who may suffer from low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and may possibly be “at risk.” When dealing with troubling issues, our first step is to work on understanding them. So, we need to figure out, “Why do I keep doing something that I know is wrong, something that I definitely don’t want to do?” Obviously, there are as many answers as there are parents, but here’s a thought.

We live in very stressful times. Though our own grandparents worked harder than we do – certainly physically – their lives were far less complex. In contrast, the typical parent today has an easier, yet far more complicated life – with carpools, myriad means of communication, social and financial commitments - all of which our forebears escaped. The effect of the cumulative stress - which is defined as “too much, too soon” – is to make us on edge. Keeping all our balls in the air and not letting them drop is a constant struggle. So, if a child has a tantrum, he misses carpool, you are late for work, have to face the “music,” and perhaps come home late for dinner and so on. Little wonder that the most common of occurrences (tantrums and spills) sends us over the deep end. What’s a parent to do? Short of moving to New Zealand, how do we stay calm when the going gets rough? A concept that many have found helpful is that of “lowering the temperature.” Here is how it works: When we are cooking, every little flame adds to the conflagration, but when we are cool, we can tolerate the little fires and even manage to put them out. Similarly, the calm mom can brook a tantrum, while the stressed-out mom overreacts to even a minor incident. Lowering the temperature is no easy matter: it takes proactive planning on the part of both parents. Though I am unaware of any magic, here are some ideas you may find useful in generally lowering the

temperature. • Avoid doing that last thing that puts you over the top. You could push yourself to make that extra dish for company and then catch up on your rest on Shabbos, but you can also choose to let it go. • People are more important than things. You don’t want to ignore a crying infant, but an undusted table never hurt anyone. • Prioritize. That four-year-old in an ironed, starched shirt looks darling – that’s true. But only you can decide if it is worth the extra hassle. • Develop a positive mindset where you have realistic expectations and choose your battles. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. • Deal with any issues of perfectionism you may harbor. Strive for competence instead. Though there may be many factors

that contribute to your tension and loss of control, when you feel calm, you will have a better ability to deal with your children. And though keeping the thermostat set at “low” is a lifelong project, you will find that even the smallest drop in temperature will have a positive ripple effect in your family. The Book Nook: Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim Ginott is a classic that has revolutionized parent-child relationships. Dr. Ginott’s innovative approach to parenting has influenced an entire generation of experts in the field and is well worth reading. He has also written Between Parent and Teenager. 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 DrT@jewishhomela.com.

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The Week In News

JUNE 30, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News


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