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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

Yeshivat Yavneh SCHOLAR IN RESIDENCE

Rabbi Yissachar Frand September 23 23--24, 2016 20 20--21 Elul 5776 Parshat Ki Tavo Friday Night D’var Torah Shabbat Morning Drasha Shabbat Afternoon Halacha Shiur 5:30 P.M. Motzei Shabbat Pre-Selichot Teshuva Drasha 9:00 P.M. Nagel Gymnasium For more information please contact Yeshivat Yavneh at (323) 931-5808

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The Week In News

CONTENTS

COMMUNITY

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

JEWISH THOUGHT

Tune In and Tune Up. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Dealing with Difficult People. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

FEATURE

A Bundle of Bribes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

ENTERTAINMENT

Centerfold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

LIFESTYLES

Travel Guide: Ho Chi Minh City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 What ever happened to the DOT Audit of U.S. Frequent Flyer Programs? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 A Tale of a Few Spies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

NEWS Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 National. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 That's Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

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SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers, What is it about the coming of Moshiach that makes us feel uncomfortable? It’s the elephant in the room; everyone believes it will happen, everyone wants it to happen but as soon as someone mentions it - or what’s more, wishes for it – we all start feeling squeamish and can’t wait for someone to change the subject! Is it simply human nature to feel comfortable with what we know and resist what we don’t? Is it the fear of facing our shortcomings? Do we subconsciously feel that we will somehow be unmasked for all to see? While these feelings are only human, allowing them to rule the day would be like failing to show up for the job interview of a lifetime or some other rare opportunity because we’re apprehensive, throwing in the towel, at the last second, because we can’t take the heat. In reality Moshiach is the culmination of all the good mankind has done since the creation of the world. True, evil sometimes appears to triumph, but the Torah teaches us that bad is like a shadow: the absence of “light” (good). As soon as the good is revealed, negativity will simply disappear. Rashi, in his commentary of the word echad in the posuk of Shema, writes that when Moshiach comes it will be Hashem echad, G-d of the whole world; the whole world will come together to serve Hashem. Think of it as everything we believe being revealed in such a tangible way that even the media/Facebook/Twitter will buzz about it. We believe good will triumph evil? Check. G-d is the essence of good? Check. Man has a divine spark which once recognized puts us in a whole new light? Check. Bottom line: instead of being small-minded and focusing on all that’s wrong and incomplete in this world, let’s focus on the greatness of the human spirit and be ready for it to be revealed in its full glory speedily in our days. You said Moshiach is coming? I know that already and I’m actually looking forward. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,

Shalom

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


SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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TheHappenings Week In News

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SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Press Release: Yeshiva University Presents Inaugural Annual Day of Giving September 20 YU set to raise $5 million in 24 hours with “I Am YU” campaign

Yeshiva University will celebrate its first-ever Day of Giving on September 20, encouraging students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends to come together in a collective show of support for the University.

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However, under Charidy’s rules, YU must reach its full $5 million goal within 24 hours, or all donations will be returned. The campaign’s theme is “I Am YU” and will highlight the various people and communities touched by YU. “Through its commitment to Torah, groundbreaking research, pioneering human rights and social justice programs, and unwavering support for the State of Israel, YU is a radiating force that is shaping our world,” said President Richard M. Joel. “On September 20, we hope to unite as a community to dream big and ensure that YU continues to empower and enrich the lives of so many.” The Day of Giving will begin at noon on September 20 and include live events on campus for students and a social media component, promoting community support and engagement using the hashtag #IAmYU. To learn more about the Day of Giving or to make a contribution, please visit www.charidy.com/iamyu or call 646.592.4514. Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University brings together the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life and the heritage of Western civilization. More than 6400 undergraduate and graduate students study at YU’s four New York City campuses: the Wilf Campus, Israel Henry Beren Campus, Brookdale Center, and Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus. YU’s three undergraduate schools – Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business – offer a unique dual program comprised of Jewish studies and liberal arts courses. Its graduate and affiliate schools include Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. YU is ranked among the nation’s leading academic research institutions. Visit the YU website at www.yu.edu.


TheHappenings Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Yeshivas Bais Toras Menachem Partners with TTI To Offer A Unique Local Program Yehudis Litvak

Yeshivas Bais Toras Menachem (BTM), in partnership with TTI College, is introducing a unique program this year that will allow its students to earn Smicha and a Bachelor’s degree simultaneously. This is the first such program on the west coast. BTM is headed by Rabbi Mordechai and Rivky Katz, who began the yeshiva in 2008 for their own son. “The intention was to create a ‘homeschool group’ for our son and just a few of his friends,” says Mrs. Katz. “But Hashem had other, bolder pla ns, which had a snowball effect, and before my husband and I knew it, a dozen bachurim rolled in, many off the plane, to come learn in what became a little Yeshiva overnight.” Since then, many BTM graduates have completed their Smicha studies, acquired marketable skills, gotten married and are currently utilizing their skills to support their families. This year’s partnership with TTI, however, will bring BTM to a new level. Previously, the yeshiva primarily offered vocational training, such as business man-

agement or computerized accounting. Now, the students can earn a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts or business, finance, information technology, and marketing. Through TTI, the students will receive credits not only for the secular, but also for the limudei kodesh courses, and will be able to complete their degree in two years. After graduation, students may continue to earn their Master’s degree through TTI, or go on to another graduate school. The founders, Rabbi and Mrs. Katz, are excited about the new opportunity. “We are raising the bar this year,” says Mrs. Katz. “We want our students to feel confident in today’s job market.” While many students come to BTM from out of town and stay in the dormitory, BTM also caters to local students, and even offers part time programs. The locals may choose to complete only the Smicha program, or only the Bachelor’s degree, or they can simply attend some of the classes. Additionally, BTM offers evening courses in Safrus and Shechita. The Limudei kodesh classes at BTM are taught by dynamic and inspiring teach-

ers, Rabbi Levi Chazan and Rabbi Yonah Shnek. Learning takes place inside Congregation Levi Yitzchok, in Hancock Park. Because of small class size, BTM is able to offer individualized attention to every student. “The program is a little more relaxed, less intense than other Smicha programs,” says Mrs. Katz. “The learning is more manageable, and there is flexibility in regards to choices for in town students who even just have a lunch break.” Each student will be assigned an advisor who will help him navigate his degree requirements and form a customized plan that would help the student achieve his goals.

The program is intended for bachurim with some yeshiva background and appreciation and interest in Smicha, who value the mitzvah of supporting their families and would like to acquire a degree so they have more choices in today’s competitive job market. The motto of BTM, says Mrs. Katz, is based on Pirkei Avos, “‘Yafe Talmud Torah im Derech Eretz’ -- ‘Nice are the ways of Torah when combined with “the ways of the land”’ i.e. a trade.” The 5777 school year at BTM begins on November 1st. For more information about BTM, please visit smicha.net, or call 323-495-3010.

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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home


SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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Teshuvah: A Guide for the Mind and Heart during Elul, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur by Rabbi Immanuel Bernstein This deep, moving, erudite, philosophical, and highly original and inspirational work attunes our hearts and minds to these awe-inspiring days.

Developing a Torah Personality by Rabbi Avraham Bogopulsky How do we — slowly but surely — change ourselves? How do we live busy modern lives and get closer to G-d? With this book, each of us can develop a “Torah personality”!

For the Love of Truth by Rabbi Dr. Jacob Immanuel Schochet, z”l How do we know that our tradition is true — and that other claims about the Torah are false? Renowned theologian and famed defender of Torah, Rabbi Schochet shows us the way.

A Time to Dance by Rabbi Yehoshua Kurland Let’s be honest: All too often, marriages get stale. How do we find the joy in our marriages once again? How do we become better spouses? Based on decades of experience, this hilarious approach works! The Confused World of Modern Atheism by Rabbi Moshe Averick Is atheism more rational than monotheism? Atheists claim so, but this fascinating, original, and wellresearched masterpiece proves otherwise. Find out why what they say is simply nonsense. Unfolding Potential by Jonah S. C. Muskat-Brown, MSW How do we fulfill our potential? Unlike a skill that needs to be learned, potential already lies within each of us. Gain access to some of the greatest guidance possible on how to ‘actualize’ ourselves.

The New Normal by Rebbetzin Feige Twerski The world has changed. Dangerous attitudes and ideas are creeping into our community. With the guidance in these pages, we can remain strong - and get even closer to the One Above. COMING SOON! Healing in Halacha by Rabbi Micah A. Cohn Of great interest to the scholar, laymen & medical practitioner. “This work is written with brilliance and clarity” - Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky, shlita.

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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News Happenings

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Nessah Community Center Election Debate Urges Voters to Ask Tough Questions Bracha Miriam Turner On Thursday, September 8th, Nessah Synagogue hosted an election debate featuring a panel of public representatives and political commentators to discuss issues of concern to the Jewish community. The event was moderated by Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Panelists mulled over domestic issues such as national security and urban violence. Later the debate moved on to the elephant in the room: Which presidential candidate would be better for Jews as a whole and for the state of Israel – Senator Clinton or Donald Trump? The panel brought to light assumptions that voters make, such as, “Donald Trump’s daughter is Jewish; therefore, he will certainly be pro-Israel,” and, alternatively, “Hillary Clinton may not be good for Israel because she certainly supported her husband’s foreign policy as first lady.” Neither of these contentions can be proven by facts. “We owe it to ourselves to ask tough questions” said Leeor Alpern, former president of the LA Chapter of Democrats for Israel. It seemed the only consensus in the room was support for Assemblyman Richard Bloom’s anti-BDS bill, which was tenuously awaiting Governor Brown signature at the time. (It subsequently passed.) The audience was urged to phone lobby in favor of the Governor passing the bill, as well as to raise awareness about it to those outside of their private circles. The discussion began by raising local issues of concern, such as the rising cost of housing, an economy that hasn’t picked up speed, gun violence, and fighting poverty and homelessness. The rising cost of housing which limits other spending was a common concern that both sides recognized as troubling. Otherwise, on the lo-

L-R: Richard Bloom (California State Assembly Member, 50th district), Leeor Alpern (President Emeritus of Democrats for Israel), George Haroonian (Nessah Board Member), Rabbi Abraham Cooper (Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center) Eitan Arom (staff writer, Jewish Journal), Joel Pollak (Editor-At-Large, Breitbart News Network)

cal level, domestic priorities had disparate agendas. Broadening to foreign policy issues, Elan Carr, L.A. County District Attorney, asserted that strong leadership will be necessary to combat Obama’s catastrophic mistakes in rewarding and legitimizing Iran’s illegal nuclear activity, as well as failing to intervene in Iraq and what was once Syria. “When the United States doesn’t lead, people die!” he exclaimed. He later asserted that foreign affairs has become a dangerous playing field which requires strong leadership to “return the U.S. to a position of dominance.” Alpern proclaimed that the Trump would not be the best supporter for Israel. He commented on an NBC debate on for-

eign policy where Mr. Trump admitted to aspiring to stay neutral in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Alpern commented that the last thing Israel wants is a leader to be neutral. He firmly stated that we know what Clinton’s relationship is with PM Netanyahu, but as for Trump, that remains to be revealed. Bloom reinforced Alpern’s sentiments, confirming that Clinton works with statesmanship and builds relationship, while Trump very well may not do so. Contestingly, Joel Pollak, Senior-Editor-At-Large for the conservative website Breitbart News Network, challenged the Democratic assemblymen to name a single pro-Israel measure that Senator Clinton supported, which was met with silence. He noted subtleties in Senator Clinton’s

history that might suggest that she is not pro-Israel: in 2000 embracing and kissing Mrs. Arafat after listening to a false account of Israel attacking Palestinians in the West Bank with poison gas, or in 2010 asserting with pride that she strongly lectured Netanyahu for 45 minutes by phone. He asserted, “Neutrality is preferable” in guaranteeing Israel’s security. In terms of considering third party alternatives, the panelists dismissed the caliber of such candidates as Gary Johnson, who in a television interview did not know what Aleppo when questioned in detail regarding the turmoil in Syria. Additionally, speakers worried about immigration and border security, whether this is a primarily a public safety issue (“Why have borders if you won’t secure them?”) or a legalization issue (placing legally applying immigrants on hold while accounting for an enormous backlog of illegal immigrants, separating families in the interim). Moreover, with the increasing number of Saudis, Syrian refugees and other Arabs being admitted to the country, Pollak insisted that this may over time result in the subversion of American values. He pointed to college campuses, where socially unintegrated Muslims, who oftentimes bear hatred for Israel, clash with students; and workplaces where latent prejudices may exist (as in the case of the San Bernandino massacre). Pollak suggested changing America’s immigration policy to mimic Canada’s – necessitating skilled immigrants only, adding his opinion that becoming American means accepting gays, different races, as well as Jews. Asserting the importance of elections, he explained that the future security of the U.S. depends on judicious choices of our public representatives.

Press Release: 7th Annual Walk4Friendship Friendship Circle of Los Angeles invites families of all ages to join them at their 7th Annual Walk4FriendshipLA on Sunday, September 25th from 1:30 – 6 p.m. at Shalhevet High School. This community walk raises awareness and crucial funds to help provide friendship and programming for children who have special needs in Los Angeles. The event will include a free live concert by 8th Day, in addition to loads of other fun activities. The beautiful air conditioned indoor gym at Shalhevet will be the venue for the concert, and the

spacious outdoor area will be the setting for the free entertainment. Everyone will have a chance to enjoy the Rosh Hashanah Festival, Bungee Jump, Super Slide, Inflatables, Puppy Party, Kosher BBQ, and Concessions. This exciting afternoon will celebrate this incredible organization and the social, recreational, and Judaic experiences it has been bringing to the local community for the past 13 years. Chanie Lazaroff, a mother of an energetic teenager who participates in their programs, said, “For my son, this day really gives him a sense of belonging, of com-

radery and friendship.” That comment is echoed by the hundreds of families that attend the annual event. The welcome feeling everyone gets is truly heartfelt. All the volunteers are excited to help at the various booths and share their love of Friendship Circle with the other volunteers and children who receive services. Friendship Circle Development Director, Gail Rollman states, “It’s thrilling to see how much effort our teen volunteers put into recruiting their friends from school to join their efforts and support our

Walk. Their passion and love for children who have special needs is contagious! They are an inspiration to us all!” This event kicks off the 2016 – 2017 year of fabulous programming which includes a Hebrew School, Jewish Holiday Celebrations, Summer and Winter Camps. To learn more about Friendship Circle or to become a volunteer, go to www.fcla. org. To register for the Walk, please go to www.walk4friendshipLA.com and receive your free t-shirt. For questions, call 310280-0955.


SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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Living with In theNews Times The Week

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

As we begin the study of this week’s parshah and encounter the narrative of “aishes yefas toar,” we wonder if there is more here than meets the eye. And there is. While the course of action for a man who went to war, emerged victorious, and then chanced upon a yefas toar contains many details applicable in his specific circumstances, there is also a message for all of us, even today and especially during the month of Elul. Kadmonim and mekubalim raise the curtain and provide an understanding of the pesukim that describe the parshah of yefas toar and how she goes about adapting to a new life. The parshah begins, “Ki seitzei lamilchomah al oyvecha – When you will go out and wage war with your enemy,” (21:10). The Ohr Hachaim explains that the posuk refers to the battle for which man was placed in this world. The soul is dispatched to withstand tests. And she shall remove the garment of captivity from upon herself: This will be through ridding oneself of sin, teshuvah, and submission to Hashem. Then be misvadeh and cry for the betrayal from your father and mother and detachment from them. She will weep for her father. This is Hakadosh Boruch Hu. She will weep for her mother. This is Knesses Yisrael. For one month. This is the month of Elul, the period of teshuvah. The Ohr Hachaim’s source is the Zohar Chodosh (Ki Seitzei 72:1), which is also quoted in Yesod Veshoresh Ha’avodah (Shaar Hamayim). The Arizal (Likkutei Torah, in this week’s parshah) offers a similar explanation. He says that “Ki seitzei lamilchomah,” refers to a person who has decided to do teshuvah. He is setting out to do battle with his enemies, namely his yetzer hara and the limbs that betrayed him and caused him to sin. Unesano Hashem Elokecha b’yodecha. Hashem will cause you to beat the yetzer hara. Vera’isa bashivyah aishes yefas toar.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Tune In and Tune Up This refers to the neshamah. Vegilcha es roshah. He should remove bad beliefs from within himself. Ve’asisa es tziporneha. He should cut out luxuries. Vehaisirah simlas shivyah. The covering that is fashioned by sin should be removed. Uvochsa es aviha. This refers to Hakadosh Boruch Hu. V’es imah. This is Knesses Yisrael. Yerach yomim. This is Elul. Rav Tzadok Hakohein of Lublin (Pri Tzaddik, Ki Seitzei 2) quotes Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, who commented that understanding that this parshah refers to man’s eternal battle with the yetzer hara is not homiletic drush and remez, but actual p’shat poshut, the simple explanation of the pesukim. So, as we study Parshas Ki Seitzei and read it aloud this week, it should be clear that these pesukim are meant to help usher us into the sacred portals of avodas yemei Elul. We read about a man doing battle for Am Yisroel and a woman mourning her old home, but, essentially, on a different level, we are reading about teshuvah and Elul. Elul is everywhere. You just have to know how to find it. What should be our frame of mind during these days? We are familiar with the teaching of Chazal that “bemakom sheba’alei teshuvah omdim ein tzaddikim gemurim yecholim la’amod.” Those who return to Hashem stand at a higher level than great tzaddikim who never sinned. On the face of it, this is a difficult concept to behold. Why should someone who sinned be on a higher plane than someone who never deviated from the word of G-d? We tend to understand the concept in terms of the fact that the baal teshuvah traveled a long journey, and despite having fallen, he had the strength to raise himself from the depths, allowing him to return a cleansed and holy person, while a tzaddik who never sinned did not have to overcome such obstacles. Perhaps we can suggest a different un-

derstanding. The Eitz Yosef on the medrash at the beginning of Parshas Eikev discusses the process of teshuvah and redemption. He says that we don’t have to complete the act of teshuvah in order to merit the redemption. It is sufficient for us to show that we have become inspired to repent and begin to undertake teshuvah, and Hashem will begin the geulah. Teshuvah is a motion, a small shift back to the right direction. When we display a genuine desire to do teshuvah, Hakadosh Boruch Hu sees this and comes to assist us on the way back. The posuk in Tehillim (103) says, “Kirechok mizrach mimaarav,” as far as the east is from the west, “hirchik mimenu es peshoeinu,” that is the distance Hashem has removed us from our sins. Rav Nosson Dovid of Shidlovtza explained that the distance of east from west is essentially not much. You stand facing east and then you turn around and are facing west. So too, with teshuvah, you turn to go in a new direction, and you are considered as having a new destiny. Rav Chaim Volozhiner explains in Nefesh Hachaim (1:12) that when a person performs a mitzvah, he begins the action, and Hashem helps him complete it. We can posit that the person who is seeking to repent merits special assistance from the Ribbono Shel Olam. When he turns away from sin and shows interest in repenting, he begins the arduous process and Hashem helps. This is why teshuvah is the only mitzvah regarding which Chazal tell us that Hashem says, “Pischu li pesach kepischo shel machat, you open a hole the size of the eye of a needle, and I will do the rest.” He becomes involved in a Jew’s attempt at returning, helping him navigate the difficult path. Thus, we can understand the meaning of the teaching that “bemakom sheba’alei teshuvah omdim,” the level of the person who has performed teshuvah, is higher than that of the tzaddik who never sinned. That is because the baal teshuvah merited Hashem’s assistance. Hashem has, so

to speak, stood beside him and grasped his hand. He has felt the Divine Presence. Hashem has been part of his journey, so his “makom,” his place, is elevated. It follows, therefore, that Elul should be a happy month, for it is the month when we begin walking down that holy path. As we study the sifrei mussar, think about how we are doing, turn inward, engage in introspection, and contemplate our future, Hakadosh Boruch Hu comes to help us. He is here, at our side, waiting to help us back. We have to show the will. Perhaps the Torah chose to reveal the secrets of teshuvah, depicting the desperate cries of the neshamah as she pines for her father and mother, her return to purity and holiness, in the parshah of yefas toar to demonstrate to us a lesson through the central character, the soldier who finds a foreign woman in the spoils of war. He is so weak that he is not even embarrassed to bring this strange woman back home with him! The Torah is telling us that even a person like him can do teshuvah. Even someone who has sunk that low can turn from a life of lust to a life of holiness. Even he can merit Hashem walking beside him, leading him to the light of teshuvah and a blessed life. This is the secret of Elul. The Baal Hatanya taught that during this month, the king is in the field. During the rest of the year, subjects must work to obtain an appointment. They must wait, fill out forms and use all the connections they have in order to get a moment of time with the leader. During Elul, the king circulates among his subjects, hearing their voices and concerns. During Elul, Hashem is nearby, ready to extend a hand, a yad lashovim, drawing us close and inviting us to come back home. But we have to be there, ready to hear the invitation and accept it. When Hashem sees you want to do teshuvah and haven’t forgotten your neshamah, He becomes overjoyed and grabs your hand with great excitement to bring you where you belong. Rav Shlomo Reichenberg recounted how he ended up in yeshiva after being sent to Kibbutz Chofetz Chaim when he was brought to Israel as a young Holocaust survivor in 1945. “I went to the office and asked to be transferred to a yeshiva. They readily agreed and suggested two yeshivos for me, Ponovezh in Bnei Brak and Kol Torah in Yerushalayim. I made my way to Bnei Brak and found the one story building that was the Ponovezh Yeshiva at the time. “When I walked through the door a man stopped me. ‘Who are you looking for,’ he asked. “‘Rav Kahaneman,’ I answered. “‘That is me. What can I do for you?’ “I told him that I wanted to come study in the yeshiva. He asked me where I had come from, and I told him I had arrived


SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

from Bergen Belsen. He asked me where I had been before the camp, and I told him that I was in the Veitzin Yeshiva, near Budapest. “‘Do you remember anything from what you learned there,’ he asked. “I became afraid for I sensed that he was going to test order to determine whether he should accept me into the yeshiva. I told him that he should ask me a question to see if I remember anything. He asked me which was the last mesechta, and I said Chulin. “‘Can you tell me a machlokes between Rashi and Tosefos in this mesechta?’ “I told him one. When I finished, he kissed me on my forehead. He then took my hand in his and proceeded to drag me through the streets of Bnei Brak until he stopped at a small building. He knocked on the door and walked in. It was the house of the Chazon Ish. “The rav was overcome with emotion. The words spilled out of his mouth. ‘Rebbe, I met this boy who is a concentration camp survivor. I asked him if he could tell me a machlokes between Rashi and Tosefos, and he did. “He then began to say, ‘gadlus hatorah, gadlus hatorah,’ and couldn’t catch his breath. Then he turned to the Chazon Ish and said, ‘If a concentration camp couldn’t make a Jew forget Torah, then definitely Torah will never be forgotten.’ “After the rav calmed down, he told me to stay there and talk to the Chazon Ish. The Chazon Ish was very interested in hearing about life in the concentration camp. I sat there talking to him for two hours. When we finished talking, he said to me, ‘This is your new home. The door is always open for you…” Everyone has moments that can get him going. There are many times in life when there is a call to you, a message with your name written on it, coming out of nowhere. You can either pick up on it and experience something life-altering, or you can ignore it, let it slip by, and lose a chance for eternity. Read any book of stories about baalei teshuvah and you will find the moment when someone touched a college kid, and a light went on. They were invited in and they accepted the invitation. “Do you have a place to eat tonight?” “Did you put on tefillin today?” One thing led to another, and it was as if there was something there guiding the person in the direction of a religious life. They backpacked through Asia, then went to Israel for some reason, and ended up at the wall. They were all alone when they came, but when the Lev L’Achim guy asked if they want to find out what Torah is, they said yes and gave him their name and phone number. They came alone with their backpack, but left surrounded by the ohr hamakif, the spirit of G-d hovering over them. Rav Todros Miller of Gateshead Sem-

inary recounted the tale of an English girl who brought her car to a London mechanic. Testing the vehicle, he turned on the engine. Emerging from the speakers was an audio recording of a shiur delivered by Rav Mordechai Miller, of Gateshead Seminary, on the sefer, Shaarei Teshuvah. The mechanic was transfixed by what he heard, and when the girl returned to retrieve the car, he asked her to bring him some tapes from that rabbi. Influenced by those tapes, the man became a complete baal teshuvah. Random words emanating from a car as he poked under the hood touched him and caused him to ponder his existence. He could just as easily have tuned out and pressed on with his work, engaging in the usual shop talk. Instead, he listened for just a moment. A chord was struck deep inside of him. At that moment, as his heart opened, he was flooded with the ohr hamakif of which Rav Chaim Volozhiner speaks. He was on the road to teshuvah, a Divine force propelling him forward. When we hear those voices, when teshuvah is calling, we have to make sure not to hit ignore, but to tune in and tune up. After all, as the pesukim this week remind us, the neshamah comes down to this physical world from its encampment at the feet of the kisei hakavod, the holiest place in all of creation. It struggles to acclimate to a hostile world, longing for the kedushah it once knew and felt. It cannot adapt, as it is tested and tormented daily. It becomes tainted, it forgets, and it loses its outward shine. And then there is a jolt. A spark. And it remembers. It reaches for the heavens once again and discovers that in this world, it really is possible to attain the kedushah it remembers. It is possible to be enveloped in holiness, to live a life of G-dliness and remain untainted by idle pursuits, a drive for more money, or a lust for power and dominance. At that moment, he begins to be a baal teshuvah and the original shine returns, building up to a sparkling luster. We go through life, one day following another. Let us appreciate our gifts. Let us appreciate the neshamah we have. Let us look to help improve the world. Let’s not be satisfied with a little Torah here and there. Let us daven like we really mean it. As we breathe, let us appreciate each breath, and when we experience a breathtaking moment, let it be a jolt to remind us who we are, what our task is, and where we are headed. Let’s live lives that make it worth the struggle. Let’s act so that the ohr hamakif hovers over us, protecting us from all comers, creating a cocoon of holiness for us to thrive in. It’s Elul. Take advantage!

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Torah Musings The Week In News

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Dealing with Difficult People PART I: SMALL IS BIG Sarah Pachter

I recently discovered one of the secrets of getting along with difficult people while playing a basic card game with my children. The game is called “Spot It,” and it consists of 60 cards. A typical card displays a handful of symbols such as a red balloon, a four leaf clover, a snowflake and more. Every single card has one – and only one – symbol in common with every other card in the deck. The goal of the game is to “spot” that matching symbol. It seems relatively easy; however, certain cards are a bit tricky, even – ahem! – for an adult. Our family played seamlessly for a while, and then suddenly, we were all stuck! My daughter looked up and said, “Mommy, this one for sure doesn’t have

a match!” I responded, “Honey, I promise every single card has a symbol in common. Here, let me show you.”  

I started to closely examine the pair and found these particular two cards to be quite challenging. (I will spare myself embarrassment by not sharing how long it took.) What makes certain Spot It cards so tricky? When searching for the symbol, our mind’s eye naturally looks for a visual of the same size. But if one card has an oversized snowflake, the other card may hold a tiny snowflake, thereby rendering the match unnoticed. Right then, amidst playing with my children, I had an “Aha!” moment, and made a mental note of the following: Each one of us is like a Spot It card. We all contain a certain variety of qualities and character traits. We differ, often in significant ways, but we all share similarities and common ground. Sometimes we meet a person, and we see that similarity and connection right away, just as when we find the Spot It card with ease. Other times however, we meet (or know) someone and may think to ourselves, “Oh, we have nothing in common.” (This is equivalent to when my daughter was sure there was no matching symbol.) Not only do we have difficulty finding our shared trait, but we may even believe the other person is a bit challenging to get along with. The key to getting along with others is finding something that can connect us. Truthfully, every person, no matter how difficult, is made in G-d’s image (Bereishit 1:26). By default, we all have that as common ground. But usually we share other things, too. Just as in the Spot It analogy, one person may have a trait of kindness that is very, very big, while another might carry a trait of kindness that is miniscule. This discrepancy alone can make for a strained relationship. The key phrase when looking for the matching images on the cards is to remember that small is big. Let us focus on this one element and see how it can help us when dealing with difficult people. Small is big. When dealing with someone who is difficult, we must first look inward at our own actions. Not just to determine how we can improve, but rather, to focus on the positive, and on the acts we have already performed. Pat yourself on the back for

any small act you do that moves the relationship in a positive direction. A quick and friendly text or call can work wonders. Even just smiling (especially when that’s the last thing you want to do) can ease tension. On the other hand, sometimes giving space is that small act that is needed for building a relationship. It is particularly crucial that our efforts be small, because it feeds our inner motivation to continue trying. Trying to be a hero can lead us down a failing path, but doing something miniscule can make a long term impact. While performing and recognizing our own small efforts, we must simultaneously acknowledge that small is big for the other party as well. Just as our small actions can go a long way, theirs too can create tremendous impact, particularly when we make note of them, and magnify them. We tend to magnify the negative of people we are not fond of, creating a skewed caricature of them in our mind’s eye. We must learn to magnify their positive. Make their small big. Step outside our perspective and acknowledge that what may seem obvious and gracious to us, is for them stretching beyond their comfort zone. A friend of mine shared with me that she called her sister-in-law every year on her birthday. Additionally, she sent gifts for her sister-in-law’s children’s birthdays with no reciprocation or even acknowledgment. Finally, after many years, she received a phone call on her own child’s birthday. It was a miniscule act, objectively not “matching up.” However, we do not have control of the actions of others, therefore focusing on any positive change makes all parties happier. Small can be someone else’s big. Growth starts from whatever baseline we are given. G-d looks upon our actions and judges our growth from where we stand. Extending this kindness to others only helps everyone win. Sometimes, however, the negative actions of others feel so large that they threaten to outweigh the good, making it hard to focus on the positive. How can we cope with the disappointment we feel from other people’s negative large choices?   Stay tuned for next week’s second installment:  Big is small.


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Feature The Week In News

OCTOBER 2015 | The Jewish Home SEPTEMBER 15, 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

A Bundle of Bribes America’s Pattern of Paying off the Persian Regime BY NACHUM SOROKA

A

s the saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over again over four decades? Well, you must be Iran, and I must be a U.S. taxpayer. With all the skullduggery Iran has played on the West throughout the years, it sometimes seems that Iranians get more entertainment out of suckering U.S. government administrations than from test firing intercontinental ballistic missiles. Indeed, the past year has been a lollapalooza for Iran, the number one state sponsor of global terrorism: It was able to come to an arrangement with world powers which allows it to continue producing high grade uranium while doing away with much of the crippling sanctions once placed upon it for creating a nuclear program. That deal netted the radical regime access to an amount which by some estimates is upwards of $150 billion. In January, Tehran found

itself the recipient of the U.S.’s benevolence of $400 million, with an additional $1.4 billion in interest payments (didn’t they ever bother to refinance?!) in exchange for the release of four hostages whom were

being the primary founder and supporter of ISIS. The $400 million “ransom” payment made in January may not have come to public light if not for a Wall Street Journal report in August

As always, the reaction of the current administration has been to deny, deny, deny.

being held illegally in Iran. Iran’s response to all the generosity/naiveté of the Obama administration has been to continue its patronizing rhetoric of U.S. leadership. The Ayatollah continues to tweet provocative images of President Obama with a gun to his head and preposterous claims like the ones accusing the U.S. of

which laid out all the spy novel-like details of the payments, which was made in Swiss francs, not U.S. currency. The money originated in Europe and was airlifted to an airport in Tehran. “There’s actually not anything particularly unusual about the mechanism for this transaction,” said White House Press Secretary

Josh Earnest. But in an era of Apple Pay and Venmo, one would think that sovereign governments would be able to transfer moneys more economically than by airlifts, unless there is something to hide. And that is just one of the many disturbing revelations that have been coming out in the past two months. The government claims that the existing sanctions held on Iran made normal methods of payment impossible. As always, the reaction of the current administration has been to deny, deny, deny. But recent reports, which have proven undeniable to even the best swift talking political folk, point out that the $400 million January payment was just the first of a series of payments to Iran which totaled $1.7 billion. Finally, the president’s office has been forced to address the payments (which were all originally arranged in a way that made them difficult to discover) and has come up with a convenient, if not contrived, backstory. The payments,

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The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015 SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Feature The Week In News

Reagan meeting with aides on the Iran Contra affair

the administration claims, are for a decades-long dispute that Iran has taken to the international tribunal at The Hague which claims that the U.S. unrightfully froze $400 million of an advance payment made by for U.S. weapons during the Iranian revolution. The astute reader may ask: “OK, that takes care of the $400 million. But where did the total $1.7 billion number come from?” Well, says the State Department, that extra $1.3 billion was for the interest on the $400 million we stole from Iran. (And you thought your Amex charges usurious rates!) In fact, according the Obama administration, the U.S. has gotten itself a great deal with the James Bond-esque settlement. Iran was claiming upwards of $12 billion in payments at The Hague and the U.S. was able to settle for only $1.7 billion. But that assumes that Iran had any chance of winning its case, a claim made by the administration, but one which it has yet to back up with any valid legal opinions. What is most peculiar about the “settlement” arranged by the State Department with Iran, aside from all the secrecy which has surrounded it, is the timing of the first $400 million payment. The very same day which Iran released three U.S. citizens being held there for no cause – January 17 – was the day the U.S. dropped its belated New Year’s present in Tehran. Oh, and that time also coincided with the signing of the nuclear deal with Iran, which allows it to continue its pursuit of nuclear enrichment

without consequences. In fact, the day before the money was sent to Iran was the day which President Obama announced that sanctions on the country would be officially lifted. U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby allowed the connection between the payments and the signing of the deal to be made, but equivocated the link, claiming that the U.S. had held back the money it essentially owed Iran as “leverage” so that the countries would be able to come to a deal. It seems that U.S. citizens were not only duped on the ransom pay-

Lieut. Col. Oliver North, left, and his attorney Brendan V. Sullivan Jr. testifying before the Congressional Iran-Contra committee

I

t would seem that time and again, the Iranian regime has gotten the better of us naive Americans. And there may be a precedent for that. President Reagan’s presidential legacy will always be stained by the Iran Contra Affair, under which he traded U.S. weapons with the radical Ayatollah-led state on numerous occasions for the eventual exchange of U.S. hostages held in Lebanon by Hezbollah. Iran was under an international weapons embargo and revelations that none other than the most senior U.S. officials were involved in selling it missiles

In an era of Apple Pay and Venmo, one would think that sovereign governments would be able to transfer moneys more economically than by airlifts. ment; they were duped on the exact details of the nuclear deal as well. A report issued last week by a Washington-based think tank outlined that in an effort to make a deal – any deal – the U.S. allowed Iran to sidestep many of the restrictions outlined in the official nuclear deal. This report came out just weeks after another report detailed how the U.S. would allow Iran to “self-inspect” its compliance with the terms of the deal.

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were shocking, even to the president himself, who had earlier denied such allegations categorically. At the time, Iran was involved in the Iran Iraq War and was in need of weaponry, and the Reagan administration desired to support the Contra rebels who were fighting communist forces in Nicaragua. A deal was arranged to sell American missiles to a moderate faction of the Iranian government and to divert the funds to the Contra rebels. Israel served as

the middleman in the transactions, and as a gesture of goodwill, the Iranians arranged the release of a number of kidnapped U.S. citizens. While President Reagan claimed that he was unaware of any arms for captives arrangement, it appears that he was briefed about the plan prior to its implementation. When the details of the Iran Contra arrangement were leaked, the consequences shook up the entire Reagan administration. Top Reagan officials, such as Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and National Security Administration official Oliver North, were indicted in the cover-up of the affair, along with nearly ten other senior officials. President Reagan’s approval ratings dropped overnight from 67% to 46%, and the scandal remains a taint on his term.

B

ut the parallels between the Iran Contra deal and the current Iran hostage deal are not as strong as they first may appear. The hostage release arranged by the Reagan administration was arranged as a sign of goodwill between the supposed moderate faction of Iranians having discussions and the U.S. Indeed, the hostages were not being held in Iran or by Iranians. The hope was to create an alliance with a group that would be in a position of power after the death of the Ayatollah. Additionally, there is little precedent for the U.S. to pay cash ransoms for any hostages, or to pay cash


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Saeed Abedini, one of the released hostages, said that Iran wouldn’t allow their plane to take off until another plane landed. They waited for hours for the other plane

to settle an international dispute, as the White House is claiming this payment was for. When the Office of the State Department was asked to provide an example of a previous cash payment to settle a conflict, it was unable to provide one. In fact, there is precedent, but it is more than 150 years old – from when the U.S. paid the Mexican government $15 million

at the end of the Mexican-American War. When the U.S. settled a Pakistani claim over undelivered aircrafts in 1998, payment was made in wheat and soy. Even past settlements with Iran have not been with similar terms. In 1996, President Clinton settled a claim with Iran over the downing of an Iran Air passenger jet by the U.S. Navy with payments made to the

Brokering a deal on Iran’s terms

victims’ families, not the government. Currently we have in place an administration whose goal appears to be to negotiate any sort of agreement, regardless of what the agreement contains, and to act under cover from its citizens. In January, we will have a new leader: Either one who can’t tell the difference between a classified document and a wedding shower in-

vitation and can’t seem to remember important events over the course of a few weeks, or one whose idea of diplomacy is “You’re fired!” The most dangerous and crafty country in the world, with a history of playing on Western trust, is setting its own rules for how it is to be dealt. With friends like them, who needs enemies?

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The Nationwide Shabbos of No Talking in Shul September 9-10, 2016 - ‫שבת פרשת שופטים‬ Marking the Yahrtzeit of the Tosfos Yom Tov zt”l

Mission of Tefillah & Hisorirus At The Kever Of The

TOSFOS YOM TOV

Stop the Talking in Shul! A zechus for parnasah, shiduchim, refuos & yeshuos

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Our sincere and heartfelt appreciation to the thousands of Mispallelim in the many hundreds of shuls throughout the country and the world who joined the movement this past Shabbos for QUIET ACROSS AMERICA. Our special Hakoras HaTov to the hundreds of esteemed Rabbonim who spoke about this vital inyan this past Shabbos. They have inspired their Mispallelim and our organization to continue their kabolos, and expand this holy mission to enhance ‫כבוד בית הכנסת‬. A special note of appreciation to the Rabbonim and other participants who traveled to the kever of the Tosfos Yom Tov on his yahrtzeit last week to read the names and be mispallel for the thousands who submitted ‫ בקשות‬to us. May Hashem answer their tefillos b’korov. CITICOM! 718-692-0999

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SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY! On the Yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim, this coming September 27th, ‫כ"ד אלול‬, a delegation of Gedolei Rabbonim, Poskim and a group of senior members of Dirshu’s hanhala, will be traveling to Radin to daven for the success of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha participants. Please fill out the form below in order to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

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Harav Shimon Badani davening at the Chofetz Chaim's kever during Dirshu's mission to Radin last year HaRav Chizkiyahu Yosef Mishkovsky addressing the Dirshu delegation, at Dirshu's previous mission to Radin

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Harav Binyomin Finkel davening at the Chofetz Chaim's kever during a previous Dirshu mission to Radin

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The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

Everything September

9. Should be respected by everyone, even arrogant NFL players 11. Discovered by Henry Hudson. I guess those that came before him thought it was a puddle

2. Important document approved unanimously in Philadelphia 3. Group that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy

12. Finished his heavyweight career 49-0. Was killed in plane crash

5. Formal end of the American Revolutionary War

13. Pilgrims’ transportation

7. Most populated borough in NY

14. Anti-slavery leader began his escape from slavery by boarding a train in Baltimore dressed as a sailor

8. Capital of South Korea 10. A Great Fire in 1666 burned over 10,000 homes

Across 4. Sandra Day OConnor 6. Cal Ripken Jr 9. National Anthem 11. Hudson River 13. Mayflower 14. Frederick Douglass 15. Camp David Accords 16. Autumn

6. Played 2,632 consecutive MLB games

Down 1. Its governor, George Wallace, refused the order to desegregate schools

Down 1 Alabama 2. Constitution 3. Warren Commission 5. Treaty of Paris 7. Manhattan 8. Seoul 10. London

Across 4. First female Supreme Court Justice

15. Israel and Egypt peace treaty

Answer to Riddle: A haircut

16. Starts in September

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OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

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SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Notable Quotes “Say What?!”

I have told Hilleary’s [sic] minions repeatedly thatApple they are a mistake trying to ismaking supposed to unveil the latest iPhone dragtomorrow, me in, yet they still try. The media isn’t do away with the which will reportedly fooled and she is getting crucified. The traditional headphone jack. And this is convenient; differences are profound and they know the included earbuds will come “pre-lost.” it. I told her how I was using my personal – Seth Myers computer for [unclassified] emails. I said nothing about servers, basements, domains, Apple unveiled the new employees. iPhone today, which it says is Clinton foundation, government

water resistant. This could be a devastating blow for the “big bag of rice” industry.

- From a May 2016 email, obtained by hacking website DCLeaks, in which Colin Powell bemoans Hillary Clinton’s attempt to blame him for her use of a personal email server on which – she Ibid.sent classified government information

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

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Thanks Obama! - President Obama at a rally, after listing his accomplishments while in office

On Sunday in California, several dozen Latinos held a rally for Donald Trump. They were a group calling themselves “Latinos Who Don’t Really Follow the News.” - Conan O’Brien

Instagram has a new feature. Finally you can zoom in That message…America great again is if you’re a white Southerner, Last night North Korea conducted on photos on Instagram by you know exactly what it means, don’t you? What it means is I’ll give what they claim was a successful unpinching your finger. Just you an economy you had 50 years ago and I’ll move you back up on testtheofsocial their biggest nuclear totem and other people down. when our parents learned that – Bill Clinton at a rally for his wife, arguing that Trump’s slogan of “Make America Great Again” is warhead yet. So congrats to them. that didn’t work, now it does. I’m thinly disguised racism I’m glad they’re finally figuring going to miss yelling, “You can’t Did you see Donald Trump dancing at the gospel church? Donald that out. Will someone pleasegreat tell again. Trump this weekend, as make it bigger” at my I I believe that we can make America part of his new initiative to mother. woo Africanam. Kim Jong Un they like while hisrunning newfor president in 1992 – Bill Clinton on numerous occasions American voters, visited really the Great Faith Ministries Church in Detroit. - Jimmy IKimmel He said he was there to listen. don’t know what he was listening to glasses and he looks like he lost It’s time make Americakill great again, and I know that Hillary thedancing, it clearly wasn’t music. but based onishis weight sotohe doesn’t everybody one that could do it. – Jimmy Kimmel on–the West Coast? I’d like to jog with him. I don’t think he Bill Clinton in a 2008 Democrat primary ad for Hillary

– Jimmy Kimmel

could keep up.

After three weddings you’d think he’d have learned how to dance. I - Vice President Joe Biden at a fundraiser for Hillary, deflecting bet if you asked him if he’s a good say, “Yeah, I’m the concerns aboutdancer the healthhe’d of Hillary Clinton and arguing thatbest, spoke nobody out against he is in better physical shape than Republican nominee Donald dances like me.” Trump And it’s true, nobody does dance like that.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus [Islamic radicals] imagine terror, we Hillary Clinton’s attack on Donald Trump’s supporters – Ibid. answer with culture. They destroy and said, “Clinton’s comments show outright statues, we love art. They destroy contempt for ordinary people.” Then again, so does We begin with the breaking news books, we are the country of libraries. Hillary was just diagnosed with Clinton’s pneumonia. And to the name Reince Priebus. about Hillary death. - Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi talking about a program – Seth Myers which gives Middle Eastern refugees vouchers to movies, everyone’s surprise, Trump has refused attack her - New York ABC7’s Joe Torres mistakenlyto reporting that Hillary bookstores and museums Clinton died, at the beginning of a broadcast after Clinton while she’s sick andcollapsed evenat the said that he hopes she feels 9/11 memorial service better. At which point, people started asking Trump if He’s 70 years old. He’s not slim and trim. He brags about he was feeling OK. eating fast foodwere everysaying day. Look at his health. A lot of people Jimmy – Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, 76, arguing that Trump’s beFallon questioned rather President Obama was snubbed by health –should than Hillary’s China when they didn’t have the stairs ready for him to get off the MORE I guess Trump really does want her to getQUOTES better, plane. In fact, Donald Trump said because today he sent her some flowers in a basket of that if that ever happened to him, he’d just close the plane doors and deplorables. – Ibid leave the country. Every other country was like, “That’s all we have to do? Thank you. That’s And what’s Aleppo? – Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson on MSNBC when asked what he would do perfect!” – Jimmy Fallon

about the raging civil war in Aleppo, Syria

MORE QUOTES


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SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Travel Guide: Ho Chi Minh City Aaron Feigenbaum Ho Chi Minh City was once called “the Pearl of the Orient” by the French and then made the capital of South Vietnam. Since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, Ho Chi Minh City, still referred to by many locals as Saigon, has rebuilt itself into a bustling, modern metropolis. Motorbikes whiz along

starting in 1674, when the Nguyen clan in the northern city of Hue began to tax the Saigon’s commercial traffic. Thus, Saigon and the rest of Vietnam increasingly fell under Nguyen control and Hue became the country’s official capital. However, in 1789 the Nguyen rulers moved the capital back to Sai-

after the man considered to be the founder of modern Vietnam. Restrictions on private enterprise were harsh at first but have since loosened considerably. Ho Chi Minh City is now undergoing unprecedented growth in its suburbs as well as a huge influx of Western culture and corporations. Despite problems

Dedication of a Sefer Torah at the Chabad House

Courthouse in French colonial architecture Cu Chi Tunnels

Ben Tre Mekong Delta

the city’s wide boulevards 24/7. Rickshaws and street vendors are an incredibly common sight. The city’s chaotic (to put it mildly) rush hour traffic makes our 405 seem almost quaint by comparison. Trendy malls and towering skyscrapers are an increasingly common sight. Life in Vietnam’s largest city is extremely hectic and crowded. The noise, culture shock, and minimal privacy can disorient first-time visitors. However, once you’ve acclimated, you’ll find that behind all the congestion and commercialism is a rich layer of diverse cultures hidden in tiny alley neighborhoods, serene pagodas, and traditional markets. The echoes of the city’s strife-filled past can still be seen in the famous rue Catinat (known to American troops as Freedom Street and later to the Communists as Uprising Street). The city’s history as part of French Indochina can be seen in the opera house, old city hall, and villas lining the broad boulevards leading to the Saigon River. Vietnam has also been heavily influenced by China, as is evident in Ho Chi Minh City’s large Cholon district (Chinatown). The city’s war museums are a reminder of Vietnam’s bloody past, but residents are often puzzled as to tourists’ fascination with them and prefer to look forward rather than back. While Ho Chi Minh City may not be the most relaxing place to visit, it’s perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in new environments and explore other cultures. With its unique blend of historical and modern influences, there is truly no other city in Asia like Ho Chi Minh City. History Called Saigon for most of its history, Ho Chi Minh City is set in a strategic location that has been fought over for by many different groups over the past 2000 years. It began as a simple trading post used by the Funan empire, and it grew under the Khmer kingdom of Angkor (located in present-day Cambodia) into a major trading center protected by an army. By the 14th century, Saigon (then called Prey Nokor) was truly flourishing. Under Khmer rule, traders came from Malaysia, China, and even as far as the Middle East to do business in Saigon. Saigon grew in political importance

Independence Palace: A prominent reminder of the Vietnam War, the Independence Palace is most famous as the place where Communist tanks crashed through the walls on April 30, 1975, as captured in an iconic photo taken at the time. Two of the original tanks that took part in the palace’s capture are still parked in the courtyard. Before its capture, it started out as in 1868 as the resident for the French governor-general of Cochin China and later became known as Norodom Palace. In the 1960s and early 1970s, it served as the nerve center of the

gon following rebel attacks. The rebels were almost successful: They killed most of the Nguyen clan and briefly took control of the government. In 1802, Prince Nguyen Anh, the last surviving member of the Nguyen clan, defeated the rebel leader with French assistance and reunited Vietnam. He moved the capital back to Hue and declared himself Emperor Gia Long. The French demanded payment for helping secure the emperor’s reign. The emperor responded by promising territorial concessions but never delivered. Fed up with waiting, the French invaded Vietnam in 1859 and made Saigon the capital of their new colony, Cochin China (also called Indochina). The French radically transformed the city by building wide paved boulevards, luxurious villas, public buildings, and railways. Soon after, Saigon became the main collecting area for the export of rice grown in the Mekong Delta. Saigon was invaded by the Japanese in 1940 but the French were allowed to continue administering the city until 1945 when the authorities were interned in labor camps. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Viet Minh organization in Hanoi, declared Vietnamese independence. The surrender celebrations soon turned into riots and the French retook the city, thus starting French Indochina War. 1954 marks the end of that war, when Vietnam was divided in two, and Saigon became the capital of South Vietnam. The Vietnam War officially ended in Saigon on April 30, 1975, when the staff at the American embassy were evacuated by helicopter as the Communists came in from the north. The Communist rulers subsequently renamed Saigon Ho Chi Minh City

with overcrowding, traffic and pollution, the city is visited by millions every year. Attractions: War Remnants Museum: The poignant displays in this museum portray Vietnam’s military past with special attention to the impact of the American and French wars on Vietnamese civilians. The exhibits are admittedly one-sided (there is little mention of the Viet Cong’s war crimes) but informative and gut-wrenching nonetheless. Outside is an extensive collection of American military equipment that was either captured or abandoned. This includes Chinook helicopters, tanks, an F-111 bomber jet, and unexploded ordnance. (A table inside shows the staggering amount of military hardware produced for the U.S. and its ally South Vietnam in the war.) Also outside is a chilling reproduction of the infamous prisons used by first the French and later the South Vietnamese. Perhaps the most shocking of these prisons was the “tiger cage” used to house Viet Cong prisoners. (Unfortunately, the abysmal treatment of American POW’s and South Vietnamese prisoners by the Communists goes unmentioned here.) The museum’s ground floor contains a collection of anti-war posters and photos from around the world. Upstairs are exhibits dedicated to the horrifying consequences the war had for the Vietnamese population. The effects of Agent Orange, napalm, landmines, and experimental weapons such as the flechette are all discussed through audiovisual displays. The Requiem Exhibition shows the work of photographers killed during the war. Despite the museum’s obvious anti-U.S. bias, it provides a perspective that Americans aren’t usually exposed to, which is valuable in its own right.

South Vietnamese government where Presidents Nguyen Van Thieu and Duong Van Minh conducted their country’s war operations. The palace was originally ordered to be built in 1962 by South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem, who was overthrown by Minh (with help from the CIA) in 1963 and assassinated. Minh had been promoted from general to president just two days before the surrender. Today visitors can tour the palace and see, among other things, the reception rooms for hosting foreign dignitaries, the president’s living quarters, and the war room in the basement bunker. For interior architecture buffs, the second floor of the palace is beautifully done in the classic 1960s style with shag carpeting, hubcap lights, and a barrel-shaped bar. There’s also a helipad, rooftop nightclub, and movie theater. Just one block west of the palace is the very fun and entertaining Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater, something that’s sure to be a hit with kids. Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution: Built in 1959, this museum glorifies Ho Chi Minh’s independence movement by showing off thousands of exhibits relating to the uprising. Of course, there are statues of Ho Chi Minh himself but there are also weapons, flags, posters, and everyday objects used by Vietnamese peasants. The museum covers the whole period stretching from the fight against French colonialism to the war against America and South Vietnam to the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Museum of Vietnamese History: Built by a French academic group in 1929 and surrounded by beautiful botanic gardens, the artifacts in this museum span thousands of years of Vietnam’s history. Highlights

Museum of Vietnamese History Dong Khoi street

My Tho Mekong Delta


Travel The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

include beautiful mother of pearl Chinese panels, sculptures from the ancient northern kingdom of Champa, and relics from the Angkor Wat temple complex in neighboring Cambodia. From the Bronze Age Dong Son civilization to the Funan kingdom to the Khmer and modern Vietnamese people, this museum is a great way to learn about the history of this fascinating country. Bitexco Financial Tower: As Ho Chi Minh City’s tallest building and symbol of its recent embrace of capitalism, the Bitexco Tower dominates the city’s skyline. Completed just six years ago, the tower features a sleek, eye-catching design by noted architect Carlos Zapata. Head up to the skydeck on the 46th floor to get an incredible view of urban sprawl and the Saigon River as it snakes its way out to sea. Dong Khoi Street: Once called Rue Catinat by the French, today Dong Khoi is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s most popular thoroughfares. Dong Khoi is the heart of the city’s shopping district and contains many French colonial buildings to admire. One of these is the Hotel Continental, built in 1880 and now one of the city’s most luxurious places to spend the night. Further down the street is the stunning Central Post Office, which was constructed in the 1880s – 1890s. The spacious building has historic maps of the city and South Vietnam decorating its walls along with a mosaic of Ho Chi Minh. Just off of Dong Khoi is Le Thanh Ton Street, where the People’s Committee Building is located. Formerly known as the Hotel de Ville, this impressive colonial building is the center of city government. There are no tours of the building, but photo ops outside are popular with tourists. Ho Chi Minh City Museum: Housed in the stunning former French governor’s mansion, this museum tells the story of the city through old maps, archaeological exhibits, ceramics, and the city’s current economic revival. The building was President Diem’s last residence before his assassination in 1963. Most of the upper floor is dedicated to Vietnam’s long struggle for independence. The exterior gardens have a collection of American military hardware including F-5E jet bomber used by a rogue South Vietnamese pilot to bomb Independence Palace in April 1975. Day trips: The most popular day trip from Ho Chi Minh City is to see the Cu Chi Tunnels, which are part of the Ho Chi

Minh Trail. First built by Viet Cong rebels fighting the French after WWII, they became one of the main arteries for transporting supplies and soldiers as well as conducting sneak attacks during the Vietnam War. Despite the French and American’s superior firepower, the well-hidden tunnels gave the Viet Cong a significant strategic advantage. The lengths to which the American air force went to eliminate these tunnels can be seen by the numerous bomb craters surrounding the complex. The tunnels stretched a whopping 125 miles and at their peak usage contained sleeping quarters, hospitals and kitchens serving more than 18,000 fighters. The Vietnamese government has opened two sections of the tunnels to tourists – Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc. Getting to them from Ho Chi Minh City takes 1.5 – 2 hours. Visitors can climb into the tunnels and experience firsthand the incredibly cramped conditions that Viet Cong fighters lived in. Guides will show you some of the booby traps laid for French and American soldiers trying to clear out the tunnels. There is also a shooting range where visitors can fire off Vietnam War-era weapons such as the M16 and AK-47. Another excellent day trip is taking a river cruise through the Mekong Delta and getting a glimpse of traditional Vietnamese life. The most popular Mekong destination is My Tho, located about 90 minutes from the city. The historic town of My Tho was founded by Chinese immigrants in the 1600s and later became an important economic center for the French thanks to its orchards and rice crop. On your trip the town, you’ll see original French villas and stores as well as the huge Vinh Trang Temple, one of South Vietnam’s most well-known Buddhist temples. Close by to My Tho is the town of Ap Bac, where the Viet Cong won their first victory against the much more powerful South Vietnamese forces in 1963. Today it’s a quiet village of rice paddies with markers indicating where U.S. helicopters and tanks were destroyed by the Viet Cong. If you have extra time, it’s highly recommended to extend your Mekong Delta cruise to Ben Tre for a more authentic, less touristy look at this dynamic region. Ben Tre is best known as being the target of massive U.S. military firepower in 1967 after an American general famously said, “it became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.” Today the town is famous for its coconuts, which can often be seen being unloaded from

boats to be sent around the country. Daven and Eat The only shul in Ho Chi Minh City is the Chabad of Vietnam, open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. A kosher restaurant is located inside the Chabad house and a mikveh is not far away. For more info, check out jewishvietnam.com. Getting There and Around Flights from LAX to Ho Chi Minh City currently start at around $500 per person round trip. The airport bus is the cheapest and safest way to get to the city itself. If you want to take a taxi from the airport, beware of taxi scams and only use trusted companies like Vinasun and Mai Linh. Once in the city, the best way to get

around is by bus. The public transportation system in Ho Chi Minh City is generally fast, cheap, comfortable and not too crowded. Taxis are generally good but rates can fluctuate as the government does not set standards. Also be sure that the driver agrees to set the meter at the start of the trip and that you know roughly how much the trip should cost or you might get scammed. Perhaps the most popular way of getting around is by motorbike. However, it’s recommended not to drive your own motorbike as traffic can be intense and difficult to navigate. Therefore, it’s better to leave the driving to an experienced local.

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The Week In News

Book Review

Revel.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Dorash Dovid on Moadim Elul-Purim by Rav Dovid Hofstedter (Israel Book Shop) Reviewed by Uriel Greenwood

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

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Moadim, holidays, are the highlights of the Jewish year. Often, we are so involved in the physical and logistical preparations for our holidays that we lack the wherewithal to contemplate the many questions on the moadim that are in the back of our minds. The new, handsome, two-volume English edition of Dorash Dovid provides answers that will leave the reader with a more comprehensive understanding of each yom tov. Every maamar in Dorash Dovid begins with several queries, then develops an indepth approach, opening new vistas that enable one to truly grasp the messages that the Torah and our Sages impart. In this unique work, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, nasi of the internationally acclaimed Dirshu Torah organization, analyzes the opportune times of Elul and the yamim noraim. He provides deep and relevant insights into the season of teshuvah and into the yamim tovim of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as the joyous holidays of Sukkos, Shemini Atzeres, Chanukah, and Purim. In addition, he presents

in depth lessons on Tu B’Shevat, and the Four Parshiyos. Virtually every aspect of these special times is covered extensively, with a focus on discerning each yom tov’s message. This is not a sefer of allegorical thoughts. Rather it can be described as “the thinking person’s sefer on the moadim.” Every maamar concludes with a practical lesson that is applicable to everyday life. Dorash Dovid is solidly based on foundations put forth by the rishonim and acharonim. Its objective is to clarify primary concepts and commentaries related to the moadim and to illuminate its messages. It offers deeper meaning to the entire season from Elul through Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and beyond. Dorash Dovid will sort out many difficulties you have long contemplated, and it will ask many questions that you will wonder why you never thought of yourself! With his latest contribution to the world of Jewish thought, Rav Hofstedter will earn thanks from thinking Jews the world over.


The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

What ever happened to the DOT Audit of U.S. Frequent Flyer Programs? ed to share their findings with our readers. The audit report’s summary somewhat perplexing headline read, “Improvements needed in DOT’s process for identifying unfair or deceptive practices in airline frequent flyer programs.” In the DOT’s report, they clearly state that changing the terms and conditions of an airline’s Frequent Flyer program without reasonable and just notice is an unfair and deceptive practice, yet somehow, at the conclusion of this “audit” the DOT stated, “The DOT’s reviews of passenger complaints related to frequent flyer terms and conditions, however, have not proven sufficient in determining whether airlines have engaged in unfair and deceptive practices.” Below is the full text of the DOT’s findings: Improvements Needed in DOT’s Process for Identifying Unfair or Deceptive Practices in Airline Frequent Flyer Programs

Readers may recall that PEYD covered the story some time ago of a rabbi who had sued Northwest Airlines claiming the forfeiture of his mileage account and elite status was illegal. In a unique turn of events, the court decided that the case was not able to proceed due to the federal law protecting U.S. airlines from being sued. Even more interesting was the courts lack of clarification as to whether the rabbi’s claim was valid. What no one anticipated was that a Florida Congressman would be the one who would chose to take this issue up with the Department of Transportation (DOT) as a result of the fallout with his own personal experiences. Over a year ago, Alan Grayson (D-FL) began an initiative to unearth the nature of how U.S. airlines structure the redemption policies of their frequent flyer reward programs. The DOT looked into the matter which resulted in an audit of the industry’s reward systems as a whole. Their official report was recently released and we want-

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Designed to promote travel and secure customer loyalty, frequent flyer programs are extremely popular, with approximately 630 million participants worldwide and more than 300 million members enrolled in U.S.-based programs. In a July 2014 letter and subsequent conversations with our office, Representative Alan Grayson expressed concerns about practices associated with these programs, including how far in advance members are notified about service changes, the devaluation of awards and benefits over time, and the availability of award seats. As the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is authorized to investigate unfair and deceptive practices in air transportation, we initiated an audit to review its monitoring of airline frequent flyer programs. In particular, we looked at DOT’s oversight of air carriers’ disclosure agreements and its process for reviewing passenger complaints. We also examined airlines’ practices regarding the availability of award seats and the valuation of frequent flyer miles. We found that DOT conducts oversight of air carriers’ frequent flyer program disclosures as part of its compliance inspections, and that airlines include frequent flyer rules in their customer service plans, as the Department requires. However, DOT’s reviews of passenger complaints are insufficient to determine whether airlines engage in unfair and deceptive practices. For example, from 2012 to 2014, consumers filed 76 complaints about frequent flyer programs at U.S. airlines, but none of those complaints were forwarded to DOT attorneys for review. Yet our review of 36 of these complaints showed that 4 (11 percent) warranted additional review. In addition, while award seats are available for most flights, it is unclear how many miles are redeemed at different award levels, as airlines do not publicly disclose this information. Finally, airlines do not fully explain their process for determining award-seat availability to the traveling public. We made two recommendations to help DOT improve its process for identifying unfair or deceptive practices in frequent flyer programs. DOT concurred with both recommendations, and we consider them resolved but open pending the Department’s completion of its planned actions. We also encouraged airlines to provide consumers with more transparency regarding frequent flyer seat availability when feasible. What’s interesting is that our friends

over at Dan’s Deals have also recently brought to light evidence contrary to the findings of the DOT report by running a cursory sample of frequent flyer redemption with the AAdvantage program, American Airlines’ frequent flyer program. When attempting to utilize American Airlines’ rewards program for travel dates set at 7/13 – 12/31 the offers available were abysmal. From NYC to Los Angeles there were 99 available dates on United, 107 available dates on Delta, and only 3 available dates on American. All 3 of American’s dates were Saturdays. From NYC to San Francisco there were 107 available dates on United, 104 available dates on Delta, and only 2 available dates on American. From NYC to San Diego there were 133 available dates on United, 109 available dates on Delta, and only 2 available dates on American. From NYC to Las Vegas there were 75 available dates on United, 125 available dates on Delta, and only 2 available dates on American. Both of American’s dates were Saturdays. So it would seem that somehow the DOT’s report was in fact not as comprehensive as it could have been in determining whether U.S. Airlines structure the programs in a manner that discourages redemption or is in bad faith. We encourage our readers who had a bad frequent flyer experience, and who feel so inclined, to file a complaint with the DOT here: http://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm What has become abundantly clear is that consumers earning frequent flyer miles must be aware that for the time being their miles will remain at risk of being devalued, downgraded, or more difficult to use, and that the Federal government has chosen not to enforce how frequent flyer programs are structured or maintained by the airlines. For help redeeming your miles and points, visit our website or call PEYD today.


The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

UK’s Wall

While we in the U.S. have been dealing with our own “wall controversy” courtesy of Donald Trump, England has been preparing to build a wall of their own. The departure point from France to England is to be protected by a 1 kilometer wall. The objective of the structure is to stop migrants from boarding trucks headed to Great Britain through the tunnel under the English Channel. Of course the 13 foot-high wall is not being built without opposition. The controversial project is seen by many migrant-activists as a wrong way to deal with the problem. Still, the government has said that the wall is necessary in order to stop the increasingly aggressive attacks that are coming from the migrant camp at the port. A large fence already surrounds the port, but officials feel that a more sturdy wall is necessary to keep the area safe and secure. “We are going to start building this big new wall very soon. We’ve done the fence; now we are doing a wall,” UK Home Office minister Robert Goodwill asserted.

with several gas canisters outside of the Notre Dame cathedral. The attempted attack was orchestrated by a group of women, including a 19-year-old girl whose written pledge of allegiance to ISIS was found by police.

The main threat today is that the Islamic State has been using their power to “inspire” lone-wolf attacks across the world. “The threat is actually worse: It has metastasized and spread geographically,” said Richard Clarke, a high-ranking terrorism adviser to three U.S. presidents and the person who famously warned the Bush administration about the increasing risk of al-Qaeda attacks in the weeks leading up to 9/11. “Today there are probably 100,000 people in the various terrorist groups around the world, and that’s much larger than anything we had 15 years ago.” There is very little proof that anti-extremist efforts have reached the Middle East, despite years of U.S.-sponsored programs. U.S. officials have worked on blocking the jihadists’ use of social media but they have found their ways around it. Officials have attempted to disrupt international funding and support for extreme interpretations of Islam, yet the organizations still manage to get donations. Experts feel that American intervention may be counter-productive as the Iraq invasion in 2003 and the continued use of armed drones against suspected terrorists has increased anti-America rhetoric and helped attract new recruits to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. “We generate more enemies than we are able to take out,” mused former congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Calif.), a chairwoman of the House Intelligence Committee in the years after 9/11. “Our military power remains extraordinary. But winning this fight requires projecting a narrative about American values and interests. And we have failed to do that.”

Are We Safer Now Than on 9/11/01?

False Terror Alarm outside French Shul

It’s been a decade and a half since the devastating September 11th attacks, yet the global terrorism threat is still looming. America is safer today than in 2001 from large scale terror attacks but the world is still combatting anti-Western jihadi extremists. While the al-Qaeda organization once led by the evil Osama bin Laden has been decimated, there are terror organizations that are just as conniving, bold, and vicious. However, security experts do not believe the current terror organizations have the resources or skills to orchestrate a trans-national plot as tragic as 9/11.

Jews in France had a scare last week when a suspicious looking vehicle was seen parked outside a shul in Marseille, France. Thankfully, the car that was loaded with gas canisters was found to be a false alarm and not a real threat. Police sectioned off the entire area after the suspicious car was reported outside the Bar Yohaye Jewish Community Center on Shabbos.   After evacuating the area, authorities confirmed that the car was not listed as stolen and had no trigger mechanism attached, deeming it less suspicious. Fears were especially high considering that last week a terror attack was thwarted in Paris that involved an abandoned car

France in general, and its Jewish community in particular, has been subjected to extreme terrorism in the past couple of years. This past January, Binyamin Amsalem was attacked by a man swinging a machete and yelling anti-Semitic slogans. Last November, a teacher at a Jewish school in Marseille was stabbed by three people yelling obscenities. One month prior to that attack, a rabbi and two of his congregants were stabbed outside of a shul. In January 2015, four Jews were killed by a terrorist in a kosher supermarket in Paris. With many seeing the writing on the wall, France’s Jewish population has seen a mass exodus to Israel in the past two years. In 2015, 2,900 French Jews fled to Israel.

Supplying the Saudis

Saudi Arabia has gotten the reassurance they were looking for from the Obama administration over the last two presidential terms. The White House has offered to sell a total of $115 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia since taking office in January 2009. This is considerably more than any previous U.S. administration. Experts say the intention is to show the Saudi monarchy that it has U.S. backing especially after last year’s nuclear deal with Tehran. The agreement had increased fears in the Gulf that Washington could potentially lean more towards Iran in its foreign policy in the future. The author of this recent report, William Hartnung of the Centre for International Policy, said, “I think that although the Obama administration is not thrilled about the Yemen episode, it feels it can’t stay out of it because of the need to reassure the Saudis,” Hartnung said.

Hartnung also pointed out that the sale will boost declining Pentagon sales. “There are $57 billion in sales in formal agreements so far, which is also head and shoulders above other administrations,” Hartnung said. Weapon sales include combat aircrafts, attack helicopters, bombs, air-to-ground missiles, warships and military training. The most recent tank deal generated resistance from congressional Democrats. They are calling for a freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of its bombing of civilian targets in Yemen. Ted Lieu, a Democratic congressman from California, led a group of 64 members of Congress demanding a delay in the tank deal due to the “deeply troubling impact on civilians.” “I do not oppose assisting the country of Saudi Arabia, which has been a longstanding ally of the United States,” Lieu told the Guardian in a written statement. “What I do fundamentally oppose is continuing to sell arms to a military coalition that has repeatedly committed war crimes. The Saudi-led coalition has killed children, patients, doctors and newlyweds. A significant number of the killings of civilians by the Saudi coalition were nowhere near military targets. I will continue to do all that I can to see that the United States offers no support to Saudi Arabia’s operations in Yemen. The letter that 64 Members of the House sent last week shows that there is a growing chorus in Congress that shares these concerns.”

Shipping Giant Drowning in Debt

If you are hoping to buy a new pair of Nike sneakers or a laptop on Black Friday, you may be disappointed. The world’s seventh largest shipping company has gone bankrupt and has left 40 massive cargo ships stranded at sea. Now merchants are worried that they may not have goods in their stores by the time shopping season gets into high gear. South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping is waiting to dock an estimated $14 billion of goods – everything from furniture to dog food and high-end electronics. The fear is that while the ships are stranded, they will run out of fuel, supplies, or both. “Our ships can become ghost ships,” said Kim Ho Kyung, a manager at Hanjin Shipping’s labor union. “Food and water are running down in those ships floating in international waters.” The ships are not allowed to enter

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many ports where the company owes money to the dock-workers. “Merchandise is in limbo at the moment and retailers are working hard to make sure it ends up on store shelves in time for the holidays,” National Retail Federation Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold observed. Fuel companies that have not yet been paid seized one of the ships near the Long Beach, California, port. A federal bankruptcy court ruled that no additional ships may be seized by U.S. creditors.  A dozen ships are waiting to unload their goods at U.S. ports. All of the marooned ships for now have enough fuel, food and water onboard, according to the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). The Union leaders at Hanjin are working with the South Korean government to supply the stranded ships with supplies, should the need arise. The company was in good financial standing until the economic recession of 2008. With a slumping world trade and multiple hundred-million dollar vessels under construction, the shipping company was not able to ever fully recover.

North Korea Begs for Aid While North Korea is facing global condemnation for testing its nuclear weapons capabilities, the country is turning to world aid organizations to help its over 100,000 citizens who are left homeless after devastating floods destroyed their houses. On August 30, Typhoon Lionrock tore through northeast Asia and flooded many areas almost beyond recognition. In North Korea, over 130 people are confirmed dead and another 400 are missing. At least 140,000 people are in “need of urgent assistance,” according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Additionally, over 600,000 people have been cut off from their water supply due to water

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pumping stations being wiped out.

While the North Koreans were originally asking for already designated funds to be sent, they have now launched international appeal campaigns for donations. This is coming from a regime that is reluctant to let any information out of the country. The timing for the plea is not the best, as Kim Jong Un just ordered his country’s fifth and largest nuclear test. With many other countries competing for the donations, Pyongyang has encountered difficulties obtaining help. North Korea has said that they have experienced the “strongest storm and heaviest downpour” since the end of World War II. Tens of thousands of houses and buildings have collapsed and hundreds of railways and roads are either destroyed or submerged. Ecology experts have said that the flooding was made particularly worse by the large amount of deforestation the country has undergone recently. Forests have been cut down so people can heat their homes, but the open areas and lack of trees to drink up the excess water has on exacerbated the devastation.

London Plague Explained 350 Years Later Researchers in England have figured out the cause behind the Great Plague of London in 1665 that killed over 75,000 people. Three hundred and fifty years ago, over a quarter of London’s population was

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“The discovery of the ancient DNA, which has eluded scientists for so long, is yet another piece of the jigsaw that we are piecing together to learn more about the lives and deaths of 16th to 18th century Londoners,” said Jay Carver, the lead archaeologist at Crossrail. The same bacteria is blamed for the Black Death which killed an estimated 50 million people during the 14th century. The plague is still alive today. In 2013, 780 cases of the plague were reported – mostly in Africa – resulting in 126 deaths. The difference between now and 350 years ago is that the disease seems to be contracted less easily and spread less rapidly than it once did, thankfully.

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wiped out by a plague whose origins, until now, have been a mystery. It is now known that it was in fact a terrible case of Bubonic Plague, also known as Yersinia pestis. The plague is caused by bacteria living in fleas found on small animals and rodents. The infected fleas then jump onto humans and bite them, causing them to suffer flulike symptoms, body aches, and vomiting. The sickness results in death 60% of the time. Scientist sequenced DNA taken from 17th century skeletons that were recently unearthed in London. The bodies came from a mass grave that was uncovered while digging a new railway line near the Liverpool Street station. The grave contained the remains of 42 victims of the Great Plague. Archeologists and researchers used fragments of pottery and glass to date the gravesite to between 1650 and 1670. DNA was then extracted from the teeth of the victims, as the tooth enamel helps preserve the DNA with less risk of contamination. Of the 20 bodies that were tested, five came back positive, with 15 of them thought to have lost their traces of bacteria over time. The control group that was tested came back with zero hits for the bacteria.

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Although some in the United States may not be able to tell you much about the Chinese and Japanese cultures, there are many differences between our Asian friends. In fact, there may be much animosity and wariness between the two nations.

A recent Pew survey polled the Japanese and Chinese publics to see how each views the other’s country. Arrogant, violent and nationalist were some terms that were bandied about. Although views of each other have certainly improved over the past few years, they remain overwhelmingly negative. Negative feelings spiked in 2013, after a long-running territorial dispute over some remote, uninhabited islands flared in 2012. They have climbed down since then but remain high. 42% of Japanese have a very unfavorable view of China; 53% of Chinese share that view for the Japanese.

War is also on their minds. 35% of Japanese are very concerned about a possible military conflict with the Chinese. Only 18% of Chinese feel that they are very concerned about a possible conflict with their Japanese neighbors. How do these people view their counterparts on a personal level? 81% of Japanese say Chinese are arrogant; 76% say they are nationalistic; and 71% say that they are violent. On the other hand, 70% of Chinese see Japanese citizens are arrogant; 41% see them as nationalistic; and 74% say they are violent. Unsurprisingly, Chinese and Japanese do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to their neighbors. 27% of Japanese view South Korea in a favorable light; 55% of Chinese see them favorably. 54% of Japanese see India in a favorable light, as opposed to 26% of Chinese who share that view. And for those of you who aren’t aware of the difference in Chinese and Japanese cultures, sushi is not a Chinese dish. And don’t ask for chow mein and dumplings when visiting the Land of the Rising Sun.

Abbas’s Former Day Job Mahmoud Abbas kept himself busy in the 1980s, according to newly released information. The famous Mitrokhin archive reveals that the current head of the Palestinian Authority was a former KGB spy. The Mitrokhin archive is a document that was kept by KGB defector Vasily Mitrokhin while the Iron Curtain still stood. When Mitrokhin defected to the United


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Kingdom in 1992, he brought notes that he kept during his decades of work in the USSR. His edited notes were released in 2014, although his handwritten original notes are still classified by MI5. Israeli researchers Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez have obtained documents which show that Abbas answered to a man named Mikhail Bodganov. Abbas was code-named Krotov (mole). The time period during which Abbas was spying for the USSR is not clear, however it is known that he spent the early ‘80s studying in Moscow.

Hamas Spending on Terror While Gaza Residents Suffer Have a look at how Hamas is spending their money. The residents of the Gaza Strip have many economic difficulties; the employment rate is low and at times they do not have access to basic necessities. Meanwhile, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, have spent over $100 million on its war against Israel. Of that, over $40 million have been spent on digging tunnels into Israel.

Bodganov is now a top Russian diplomat in the Middle East. He was publicly embarrassed this week when he was unable to broker a meeting between Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas in Moscow. Both sides claimed that they were willing to meet but their counterpart was not.

funds were spent on weapons, digging tunnels, and training Hamas fighters. While unemployment plagues the Gaza Strip, 1,500 tunnel diggers are currently employed, each being paid between $250 and $400 a month. Excavators also receive incentives for meeting goals and veteran diggers are compensated at higher rates. Many of Hamas’s tunnels are being used to smuggle raw materials into the Strip. The terror group’s military wing has been attempting to develop weapons that may be able to get around the Iron Dome defense system that was so successful in the 50-day war in summer 2014. The tunnels, though, are being discovered and dismantled at a slow but steady rate. Last week, a 2.5 kilometer tunnel was exposed and destroyed by the Egyptian military.

Hummus Gate

To put these numbers into perspective, the last Hamas government, which was dissolved in 2014, had a $530 million budget. That means about 20 percent of their

Israel is not the cheapest country to visit but this story is undeniably ridiculous. A Chinese group of tourists is complaining that they were charged 16,500 shekels for a meal in Abu Gosh last week. Their bill has become a talking point for the Israeli tourism industry.

The Tour Operator Association has made the bill public. The unsuspecting tourists were charged NIS 4,000 for a private room, NIS 5,900 for alcohol, NIS 3,150 for food and NIS 1,500 for a service charge, although the receipt says “service is not included.”

“The Association decided to make this incident public in order to illustrate the importance of fair and polite treatment of tourists who come to Israel and are an important sector of the country’s economy,” said Yossi Fattal, CEO of the tour operators association. The restaurant is partially owned by Jawdat Ibrahim, who won $17.5 million in the Illinois State Lottery while he was living in America for six years. Ibrahim is defending the bill, saying that he thinks they should have paid even more as they closed the entire restaurant down for their meal and stayed for nine hours. “They enjoyed themselves and thanked me, and now, two weeks later, they’re trying to besmirch us,” Ibrahim complained.

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Fattal disagrees. He says he checked with the tourists’ tour guide and the Chinese visitors were only there for four hours while the rest of the restaurant remained open to the public. “Naive customers are a very shaky basis business model, and by behaving this way, we are with our own hands destroying the budding potential of the Chinese market for Israel,” he pointed out. China currently sends 47,000 tourists to Israel each year. The Tourism Ministry is trying to increase those numbers but sees incidents such as this one as a huge step backwards. Considering the amount of money Jews spend on Chinese food, it’s the least they could do...

Record Bank Fine for Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo, the largest U.S. bank by market capitalization, will be paying the largest fine ever levied by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The giant financial institution was ordered to pay $180 million in penalties and an additional $5 million to customers it pushed into fee-generating accounts they never wanted. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will receive the biggest bulk of the fine – $100 million. “Today’s action should serve notice to the entire industry that financial incentive programs, if not monitored carefully, carry serious risks that can have serious legal consequences,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. The Office of Comptroller of the Currency and other Los Angeles officials also received part of the settlement. “We regret and take responsibility for any instances where customers may have received a product that they did not request,” the bank said. Prosecutors were able to prove that Wells Fargo pushed some of their customers into costly financial products that they did not need or even request. Over 2 million deposit and credit card accounts were opened that may not have been authorized. Over 5,300 of the bank’s 100,000 employees were fired due to “inappropriate sales conduct.” Can we call them bank robbers if they’re on the other side of the glass?

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The Fastest Line in Costco You’re at Costco on a Tuesday afternoon and you have 25 minutes till your son’s carpool will be honking outside your door. You dash through the aisles grabbing only the necessities and don’t stop to browse the furniture even though you’re tempted, then you scan the checkout lines with 12 minutes left to spare. Quickly you choose the line with several people with only a few items in their carts. As it turns out, you’ve chosen the slowest line. You realize you made the wrong choice, hastily abandon your shopping cart, and arrive home just as your son’s carpool pulls up. How can you make a better choice about which line to choose next time? Dan Meyer, a former high school math teacher who is now the chief academic officer at Desmos, uses real data to help direct us to the shortest checkout lines. “Every person requires a fixed amount of time to say hello, pay, say goodbye and clear out of the lane,” he related. According to Meyer’s research it takes an average of 41 seconds for each customer to pass through and just three seconds per item to be rung up. Therefore it is a smarter decision to get in line behind a single shopper with a loaded cart than a few people with a fewer things. For example, a person purchasing 100 items will take about six minutes to process while four people buying 20 items will take approximately seven minutes.

den adds that older people generally go a little slower with loading their things from the cart to counter and sometimes have trouble using credit card machines. The type of items are also relevant. Several of the same item will go faster than a bunch of different items because cashiers can scan one item and then multiply it in the computer. Keep in mind that produce items generally take some more time because they cannot be scanned. Meyer also suggests using self-checkout if you have can: “You’ll lose the human contact but gain time,” he said. Another strategy that researchers recommend is to choose a serpentine line when available. A serpentine line is one line that leads to several cashiers like in the bank or the airport. Julie Niederhoff, an assistant professor of supply chain management at Syracuse University, says that these lines also give us a certain sense of relief psychologically because we can avoid making the decision of which line to choose. What about when you’ve finally reached the cashier? Well, there are steps you can take to make sure your checkout goes as quick as possible. Samuels recommends placing your items with bar codes facing up, or if you are purchasing clothes removing the hangers and making tags easily accessible for scanning. The worst thing you can possibly do is switch lines after a few minutes of waiting. If you choose a line that’s slow, stick it out, and make a better choice next time. See you on line in Costco.

What’s the Secret with Clinton’s Health? Richard Larson, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and a line expert, estimates that Americans spend a collective 37 billion hours a year waiting in lines. For some, those minutes actually cost them money since it’s time they could’ve spent working. Others don’t have the patience and energy to spend their time in a supermarket’s aisles. For the impatient among us, there are services that will stand in line for you. Robert Samuel, founder of Same Ole Line Dudes, a New York-based service, shed some light on the science of line selection. He informed that since the majority of people are right handed, most people tend to veer to the right when choosing a line. A. J. Marsden, an assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida, suggests doing a quick analysis of the cashier and demographic of shoppers waiting in line. He says to avoid a chatty cashier who may spend more time with each shopper. Mars-

The world was watching as Hillary Clinton excused herself from the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks ceremony in New York City on Sunday. Apparently the Democratic presidential candidate had to duck out after feeling “overheated.” Media coverage of the incident showed campaign staff holding Clinton up and walking her to a waiting van. The presidential nominee was clearly having trouble walking as she was seen staggering and stumbling on a curb before slumping into the seat of the waiting vehicle. Later in the day her campaign assured the public that Clinton was okay but the episode will surely be used by her rival Donald Trump in the future as an opportunity to question Clinton’s health. Trump has repeatedly claimed that Clinton is not only temperamental but also physically unfit to be president. Back in December 2012 Clinton fainted and sustained a concussion; her doctor diagnosed it as a stomach virus and dehydration. The concussion caused temporary double vision and the discovery of a blood clot in a vein in the space be-

tween her brain and skull. Clinton also has experienced deep vein thrombosis, a clot usually in the leg, and takes the blood thinner Coumadin to prevent new clots. Her campaign has announced that Ms. Clinton is currently suffering from pneumonia.

After leaving her daughter’s apartment from recovering from the 9/11 tribute incident, Clinton waved to reporters and announced, “It’s a beautiful day in New York.” Her campaign subsequently canceled a previously scheduled trip to California. Donald Trump’s doctor, Dr. Harold Bornstein, has publicly said that Trump, 70, is in excellent health. The Republican presidential nominee is set to reveal his health “numbers” on a Dr. Oz show this week. Trump was also in attendance at the memorial service at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, along with New York’s Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand. The Republican presidential nominee was asked about Clinton’s health incident after the ceremony and said, “I don’t know anything about it.” Many Americans were disappointed with how Clinton’s campaign handled the situation on Sunday. Once again, they are feeling that Hillary is being secretive and evasive on another issue that has arisen.

Crime Rising in the U.S.

Hide your kids, hide your wife – crime is on the rise. The first half of 2015 was less safe than the same period in 2014. According to FBI data, the nation had a 1.7% increase in violent crime during that time. There is good news, though. Property crimes during this time have decreased. The midyear violent crime survey released last Monday by the Major Cities Chiefs Association shows 307 more homicides so far in 2016, according to data from 51 law enforcement agencies from some of the largest U.S. cities. Another scary fact is that murder rates are far higher in


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the United States than in Europe, Japan, and Canada. While many speculate why, I wonder why this hasn’t been given more attention during the presidential race. Some of the most dangerous states in the nation are: Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alaska, New Mexico, Tennessee, South Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, Nevada, Missouri, Kansas, Alabama, Texas, Florida, South Dakota, Maryland, and Delaware. These are the most dangerous cities in the U.S.: St. Louis, Mississippi Memphis, Tennessee Detroit, Michigan Birmingham, Alabama Rockford, Illinois Baltimore, Maryland Stockton, California Milwaukee, Wisconsin Cleveland, Ohio Hartford, Connecticut

Male CEOs Dominate our Largest Corporations There’s been a lot of progress in women’s rights since the feminist movement,

but there is still inequality in some sectors, specifically in corporate America. According to a Fortune report, women comprise less than 7% of chief executives at Fortune 1000 companies.

There are some very well-known female CEOs like IBM’s Ginni Rometty, General Motors’ Mary Barra and Hewlett Packard’s Meg Whitman, but they are still the minority. “For every [Rometty, Whitman, or Barra], there are a dozen male chief executives,” said Fortune, citing a DiscoverOrg survey. Of the almost 10,000 C-level executives that DiscoverOrg analyzed,  just 18 percent were women. Only 6.7 percent of all chairs of

the board, 7.2 percent of chief operating officers, and 8.8 percent of chief financial officers were women. There is a strong female presence in two departments, though: marketing and human resources. Almost half of chief marketing officers are women and more than 60 percent of chief human resources officers are female as well. Women leaders are not represented well across the nation – not just in Fortune 1000 companies. According to a recent American Association of University Women study, women remain “underrepresented at all levels of leadership.” Politics is no exception. The U.S. Congress is made up of mostly men; 1 in every 5 members is a woman. As of 2012, only 26 percent of colleges and universities were led by females. The lack of leadership is even stronger amongst women of color.  Last year, less than 3 percent of board directors at Fortune 500 companies were Asian, black or Hispanic women. “To achieve gender parity, we need women willing and able to take up leadership positions. We need men willing and able to take on more domestic responsibilities so that more women have the opportunity to pursue demanding fields,” the AAUW wrote in its report. “We need employers to embrace a more flexible workplace, allowing women and men to move in and out of the workforce as they balance

careers, family, and personal goals. In essence, we all need to intentionally engage in making diversity and inclusion work on a daily basis.” Perhaps a women will be leading the highest office in the land in the next few months.

An Easy Path to Citizenship? Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center of Secaucus, New Jersey, has a new campaign that would surely upset Donald Trump. In an effort to make a nice profit, the hospital is appealing to Russian women who are expecting. They are advertising superior medical care for mother and baby. The bonus? A baby present of American citizenship for the newest member of the family. The fees range from $8,500 to $27,500.

The “AmeriMama” program is a profitable and provocative business method called “birth tourism,” the practice of soliciting pregnant women from other countries to deliver their children in the U.S. in order to grant them American citizenship. “Childbirth in New York is the best

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representing the purpose of their visit or if they were to overstay or if they were to fraudulently claim public benefits.”

Many birth tourism cases, Vaughan explained, “start with a lie to the immigration officer at the point of entry. That’s an immigration violation and means they should be deported,” she reiterated. Alvin Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said, “There is nothing in the law that makes it illegal for pregnant women to enter the United States. However, if a pregnant woman or anyone else uses fraud or deception to obtain a visa or gain admission to the United States, that would constitute a criminal act and be a matter of interest to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI),” he said. Birth tourism is extremely popular in Russia and China amongst middle and upper class couples. The dual citizenship that

their baby automatically receives is considered an insurance policy. In the future if the child wants to attend school in the U.S. he can receive in-state tuition and it can also help parents apply for permanent U.S. residency if they choose. This practice can potentially cost thousands in taxpayer dollars. If the birth is complicated and costs more than the initial quote by the hospital, then the state could end up swallowing the medical bills.

Sleep Right, Eat Right In many homes, bedtime is a very tumultuous hour. For parents who have heard “it’s not fair!” enough times to weaken their resolve, consider the most recent publication in the Journal of Pediatrics before you cave in. A newly published study has found that late bedtimes lead to obesity and diabetes in adolescents and in some as adults. The study followed 977 children from their preschool ages until they were about 15 years old. Their bedtimes at 4-and-a-half were charted against their obesity levels at 15. For children who were in bed before 8 p.m., there was a 10% rate of obesity. Between 8 and 9 p.m., the rate jumps to 16%. After 9 p.m. the rates rocketed to over 23%. Many reasons have been posited to explain the trend. The more obvious reason is that kids have more hours in the day to eat if they are awake late at night. Children who stay up watching TV are also exposed to more commercials promoting unhealthy snacks. A less obvious factor to consider is hormone regulation. “Children who have a regular early bedtime are more likely to get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can result in changes in the hormones controlling appetite and metabolism,” explained Sarah Anderson, associate professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University’s College of Public Health and lead author of the study. Dr. Sumit Bhargava, clinical associate professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine and sleep physician at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, has some advice for parents.  “The goal should be choose an age-appropriate bedtime that allows the individual child to get the hours of sleep the child needs,” he said. “Set an appropriate bedtime based upon the amount of sleep your child needs to be functional and effective during the day. Then, be consistent with it, even on weekends,” Bhargava added. “Sleep is just as important to human life as eating and breathing. We spend almost a third of our lives sleeping.” If you are wondering what the age-appropriate amount of sleep is, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine released updated sleep guidelines for children this

past June. Here is an easy cheat sheet: Babies 4 months to 12 months should get 12 to 16 hours Children 1- to 2-years-old should get 11 to 14 hours Children 3- to 5-years-old should get 10 to 13 hours Children 6- to 12-years-old should get nine to 12 hours Teenagers 13- to 18-years-old should get eight to 10 hours Here’s to a good night’s sleep.

Leprosy Rears its Ugly Head in California

Leprosy is a highly infectious disease that affects the skin, mucous membranes, and nerves, causing discoloration and lumps on the skin. In severe cases the disease can cause disfigurement and deformities. It was mainly confined to tropical Africa and Asia until it mysteriously turned up in Southern California last week. Officials in Riverside Country near Los Angeles are investigating two suspected cases in schoolchildren. Nursing staff at the school first notified officials about the possible infections on September 2, but it will take several weeks for doctors to confirm. Of course, as expected, parents in the district where the cases were reported are very alarmed but Barbara Cole of the Riverside County Department of Public Health reassured the public that Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy, is not quickly spread between people. It is very unlikely that people would catch the disease in a school or work environment. Despite that, the school has taken measures to ensure all students’ safety. Several classrooms were disinfected after the symptoms were discovered in the two students. Leprosy, commonly referred to as Hansen’s disease, is extremely unusual in the U.S.; there are only about 100 to 200 new cases reported each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, there were 175 new cases of Hansen’s disease diagnosed in the United States. The majority were in seven states: Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York and Texas. “There’s a lot of stigma and a lot of


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misunderstanding about leprosy,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious-disease specialist and a senior associate at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Health Security. “In the United States, there are thousands of people” who have the disease, Adalja said. According to the National Hansen’s Disease Program there are currently about 6,500 people living with the disease in the U.S. and about half require active medical treatment. The symptoms are treatable with antibiotics. Once the first few doses are administered patients are unable to transmit the disease to another person. About 60% of those people with Hansen’s disease living in America were not born in the U.S. The main question regarding these suspected cases in California is where the children may have contracted the disease. Armadillos in the United States have been reported to have the bacteria that cause the disease. It is possible for humans to become infected through contact with the animal but the risk is very low. Another way that people can become infected with the disease is via extended contact with other patients with leprosy. The disease is not highly contagious and it’s unlikely to become infected through casual contact. Stock up on Purell, just in case…

classes around the country offer cats and dogs as friendly yogis to join with you. Namaste.

Expensive Taste It’s a matter of taste and taste really matters. Recently, the world famous chocolate brand Cadbury insured one of its scientist’s taste buds for a staggering 1£ million. Apparently her tongue is just so important. Hayleigh Curtis’s skills are key to the success of many Cadbury’s products. She works as part of a 300-strong team of inventors in the innovation kitchen in Birmingham, and the company says that her expert taste buds are essential in making sure all new Cadbury creations meet their high standards. As part of the insurance package, Curtis has to watch her mouth. That includes no performing sword swallowing, fugu fish and truly hot peppers. This is not the first time Lloyds has insured parts of people’s bodies. “We’ve insured some interesting assets over the years, and this certainly adds to the mix!” Jonathan Thomas from Lloyds observed. Curtis is delighted with her pout’s protection. “There is a lot of science that sits behind our chocolate innovation – from mouth feel to melting temperatures of chocolate – so with my taste buds safeguarded I look forward to creating lots more deliciously tasting chocolate for years to come.” That’s certainly putting your money where your mouth is.

Goat Yoga Zero Second Rule

Yoga enthusiasts claim that the exercise calms them and bring them the serenity they need in our hectic world. But it could be that something is missing in their yoga class. Skip the ambient music. Perhaps a few goats would make the class more complete? Heather Ballenger Davis’ yoga class in the Pacific Northwest is held on No Regrets Farm. Goat Yoga is performed outdoors and the farm’s six goats wander in when the class gets started and appear to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Those in the class find that the four legged creatures add to the serenity of the group. And yogis have enjoyed the animals so much that the classes are booked until the end of spring next year. Wish you had a four legged friend while you do your sun salutations? Other

You hear it around the playground at recess numerous times. “Pick it up! Pick it up! Oh, it’s still good – five second rule.” Who made up this “rule” that schoolchildren follow so ardently? Perhaps it was composed by a child who was sad about his fallen lollypop and scooped down for a lick. Now, though, children should reconsider their dropped delicacies.

According to researchers at Rutgers University, contamination from bacteria onto food that fell on the floor can happen instantaneously. Researcher Donald Schaffner pointed out that the five-second rule is a “significant oversimplification

of what actually happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food.” Time, though, does matter. The longer the food is in contact with the floor – or another dirty surface – the more bacterial transfer. Additionally, the type of food and its surface is also a factor. The Rutgers researchers tested watermelon, bread, bread and butter, and gummy candy on stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet. They found that watermelon had the most contamination, and that transfer of bacteria is affected most by moisture. Apparently they didn’t take tantrums into account when conducting their research.

The “Toylet” Project The toilet is their oyster. I don’t know much about oysters – being that I don’t eat them – but now New York is turning toilets into some oysters’ homes. In collaboration with the Billion Oyster Project, New York City will be using 5,000 old toilets primarily from public schools to build a massive oyster bed in

Jamaica Bay. These commodes, smashed into small chunks, will give oyster larvae something to latch onto to grow.

“This oyster bed will serve multiple purposes – protecting our wetlands from erosion, naturally filtering our water, and providing a home for our sea dwellers are just a few,” Mayor Bill de Blasio exulted. “More broadly, this oyster bed is a small but necessary step in our broader OneNYC commitment to create a more sustainable and more resilient City.” Can I say “oy” to using toilets for people’s food?

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SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

History The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Forgotten Her es

A Tale of a Few Spies How the Pinkerton Detective Agency Came to Be By Avi Heiligman

Three Pinkerton spies, 1880. William Pinkerton, Allan’s son, is in the middle

T

here was a time when war was thought to be only fought by gentlemen. Way before the FBI or the CIA existed, spying and going directly after the enemy leader was consider rude and was not an accepted war practice. During the American Civil War these ideas were thrown out the window as spying became a lucrative venture for those brave enough to cross enemy lines. President Abraham Lincoln hired out a private detective agency whose founder was credited with saving the president’s life. His name was Allen Pinkerton and he wasn’t even American. Allen Pinkerton was born on Glasgow, Scotland, in 1819 and moved to the U.S. in 1842. A year later he settled near Chicago where his home

Allan Pinkerton, Abraham Lincoln and General McClemand

became a stop on the Underground Railroad. He was a barrel maker by trade and only became a detective by accident. While looking for wood for barrels he stumbled across a notorious band of counterfeiters. After stealthily spying on the gang he reported the activity to the police who swooped in to make the arrests. This suddenly made him a local hero and he soon found himself as a sheriff in a small town. In 1849 Pinkerton was appointed the first detective ever in Chicago. At first he worked for both the police and the post office, and in 1850 he opened up the private investigation firm that became famous worldwide. Known as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency they were soon hired by railroads to protect trains from bandits.

The agency was successful in solving several train robberies in Illinois and their success soon reached the ears of one of the train company’s lawyers. That lawyer was Abraham Lincoln, and the chief engineer of the Illinois Central Railroad was soon to be famous as the general of Lincoln’s army George B. McClellan. Early on the agency had several rules and policies that distinguished them from other agencies. No bribes were to be accepted and there were no compromises with criminals. By partnering with local law enforcement agencies they were able to arrest criminals nationwide. They decided not to accept any reward money, to raise fees without the knowledge of the client and to keep the client in the loop with the inves-

tigation. Soon they coined the term “private eye,” using the logo of a single eye with the slogan of “We Never Sleep.” Surveillance and undercover work became the norm for Pinkerton agents. In 1856 they made headlines again when they hired Kate Warne as the first female detective in the U.S. Just two months before the Civil War started in April 1865 Lincoln hired Pinkerton to provide private security for the president-elect on his way to Washington. There were rumors that pro-slave sympathizers would try to cut the railroad lines in Baltimore. A cable was intercepted that indicated that Lincoln was at risk of an assassination attempt. With the help of Kate Warne and other agents, Pinkerton managed to change Lincoln’s schedule and


The Jewish Home | SEPTEMBER 15, 2016

History The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

he arrived in Washington safe and even a few hours early. The press labeled him a coward for skipping the planned stop in Baltimore and none of the plotters were ever arrested. Some historians doubt that there was ever an attempt on his life while traveling to the nation’s capital. Opportunity for the Pinkerton Agency to go undercover as spies arose during the Civil War. Several agents dressed as Confederate soldiers, and Pinkerton himself assumed the title of a major in the Union Army in order to set up spy rings without the worry of being recognized. While most of their reports provided the Union Army with vital intelligence that couldn’t be gleaned from cavalry missions not all were successful. Pinkerton reported to an old acquaintance that was beloved by the men he commanded. General McClellan commanded the Army of the Potomac but wasn’t considered a good general by historians. The fights he had with Lincoln are leg-

endary especially the one where he called the commander in chief a baboon and refused to meet him when the president paid him a home visit. Lincoln’s administration had been pressing the general for months to attack, but he always said he didn’t have enough troops and that the enemy was stronger than the pencil pushers in Washington estimated. To prove his point he sent Pinkerton to scout the enemy near Richmond. The report came back that the Confederates had strong defenses and that the Union troops were going to be soundly beaten. The truth was that Pinkerton had been tricked and by moving around troops in quick succession had fooled the Union into think there were twice as many Confederates. If McClellan had attacked then, the war could have possibly been over in 1862. Instead McClellan decided not to advance until General Robert E. Lee had enough men. Popularity of the agency grew in leaps and bounds after the Civil War.

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The newly formed Department of Justice contracted out to Pinkerton the responsibility of hunting down and arresting people in violation of federal laws. After Allen Pinkerton died in 1884 the company was taken over by his two sons. They grew the company into a force that had more men than the regulars in the U.S. Army (over 30,000 agents). This lasted until the 1893 Anti-Pinkerton Act when only members of the government were allowed to track law violators. Backlash from their strong armed tactics, questionable procedures and negative press led to the act. Even though the government agencies couldn’t hire them, private firms still used their services. In 1895, a Pinkerton agent, Detective Frank Geyer, came up with conclusive evidence to charge H H Holmes. Holmes had been accused of several murders in the Chicago area but evidence was lacking. The trail led him through several states and

Canada before finding evidence to charge with him with four murders. Holmes was the first serial killer executed in the U.S. Several other high profile cases were presented to the Pinkertons including legendary outlaws Jesse James, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In a future article we will delve into these cases. The Pinkerton Detective Agency has changed drastically over the years. Competition from former employees starting their own private eye firms and changing laws saw the agency go from being detectives to more of a security role. The FBI now does what the Pinkertons did in the latter half of the 1800s, and the legacy of the Pinkertons remains legendary even today. Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to The Jewish Home. He welcomes your comments and suggestions for future columns and can be reached at avi heiligman@gmail.com.

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Dirshu The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

International Yom Limud and Tefillah on Yahrzeit of Chofetz Chaim: Delegation of Prominent Rabbonim To Daven at Kever of Chofetz Chaim Chaim Gold

At the Kever last year

“A yid came to the venerated rosh yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, begging him to daven for a person plagued with a terrible, terminal illness. He asked Rav Shteinman, ‘What should we do?’ Rav Shteinman answered, “I don’t know. Perhaps tefillah at the kever of the Chofetz Chaim could help?” This was the story used by Rav Chizkiyahu Yosef Mishkovsky, Menahel Ruachani of Yeshiva Orchos Torah, to describe the potency of tefillah at the kever of the Chofetz Chaim. This coming 24 Elul/September 27, the yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim, a delegation of prominent Rabbonim representing the cross-section of Torah observant Jewry will journey to Radin to daven on behalf of Klal Yisrael at the kever of the Chofetz Chaim. The Two Sparkling Diamonds Bequeathed to Klal Yisroel by the Chofetz Chaim Last year too, a large group of rabbonim and roshei yeshiva journeyed to Radin to daven at the kever. At last year’s yom tefillah, Rav Mishkovsky related, “The Chofetz Chaim bequeathed many great treasures to Klal Yisrael, among them were two sparkling diamonds: the Sefer Mishnah Berurah and the Sefer Chofetz Chaim. Until now there were those who made the Mishnah Berurah their primary interest and others who gravitated to the Sefer Chofetz Chaim. Dirshu has brought both together and published special editions of each sefer thereby immeasurably enhancing the learning of them. They are the ones who can truly come to the kever of the Chofetz Chaim and say, ‘We learn your Mishnah Berurah, we learn your Chofetz Chaim, please grant a shanah tovah u’mesukah for all lomdei Dirshu and all of Klal Yisrael.’”

The Sefer HaGiborim It is in this spirit that Dirshu has again invited all members of Klal Yisrael to be included in the Sefer HaGiborim. The Sefer HaGiborim is a book containing the names of all current Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learners as well as the names of any person who accepts upon himself to learn daily halachah with Daf HaYomi B’Halacha and mussar. The names will be placed at the kever and remain there as an eternal merit for those inscribed therein. Anyone who accepts upon himself to start learning Daf HaYomi B’Halacha of Mishnah Berurah with the mussar portion of the learning schedule; anyone who accepted and actually started learning Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, even if he is unable to continue, will still be worthy of entry into the sefer. The kabbalah is to learn the essence - five days a week, it does not have to include the Friday/Shabbos chazara nor does it require taking the tests. Understandably, the kabbalah is to be made bli neder. Storming the Heavens with Zechus Harabbim The yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim is a day of limud, tefillah and Jewish unity for all of Klal Yisrael. Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein, Dirshu’s Communications Director, related that, “In order to tap into the auspicious power of this special day of tefillah and achdus, Mosdos hachinuch all over the world – yeshivos, chadarim, Bais Yaakovs, shuls and even businesses – have undertaken to recite special tefillos with heartfelt recitation of tehillim joining the multitudes on the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrtzeit who will be storming the heavens with tefillos with a koach harabbim in the zechus of the Chofetz Chaim. “Dirshu is distributing copies of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learning text for

Yeshivas Yesodei HaTorah of Melbourne Australia participating in a previous Yom Iyun

24 Elul, the day of the yahrtzeit and Klal Yisrael, even those who have not yet joined Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, are undertaking to learn that day’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learning – the beginning of Chapter 160 in hilchos netilas yadayim, the daily learning of the Sefer Chofetz Chaim and to recite chapter 130 of Tehillim.” Indeed, gedolei yisrael from both Eretz Yisrael and America who comprise the nesius of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha have urged all who have not yet joined the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha to join and make it part of their lives. “An additional purpose of the trip,” said Rabbi Rozenstein, “is to encourage yidden the world over who have not yet joined Daf HaYomi B’Halacha to join the program together with the multitudes throughout the world. Perhaps there is no greater zechus to invoke rachmei shomayim than additional yidden joining those who are already learning the sefarim of the Chofetz Chaim in a daily program of halachah and mussar.” “Rebbi, Rebbi, Father, Father!” HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Eliezer Stern, shlita, Rav of Western Bnei Brak and talmid muvhak of HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Wosner, zt”l, said last year, “The Chofetz Chaim was the Rabban Shel Yisrael and the Avihen Shel Yisrael – the rebbi of all Klal Yisrael and the father of all Klal Yisrael. As the rebbi of Klal Yisrael, lomdei Daf HaYomi B’Halacha are coming to you with hundreds of thousands of pages of Mishnah Berurah and Sefer Chofetz Chaim that they have learned. As the father of Klal Yisrael, we are coming with buckets, rivers of tears, of tzaros, and crying to you, heiligeh Chofetz Chaim, Avi Avi, Father, Father, don’t forget us!” HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Ye-

shiva Kiryas Melech, encapsulated the feelings at last year’s yom tefillah, “As we approach the kever of the Chofetz Chaim, the one person in the last generations whose sefarim are literally the basic sefarim that have been accepted by all of Klal Yisrael, we must beg here, at this heiligeh place, on behalf of all of Klal Yisrael. We must beg Hashem that in the zechus of the Chofetz Chaim, yidden should be able to overcome the terribly difficult nisyonos, spiritual hurdles, that our generation faces. Let us daven that in the zechus of the daily learning of the Mishnah Berurah and Sefer Chofetz Chaim and in the zechus of women and girls learning the laws of lashon harah, Hashem will give our generation the strength to overcome the constantly expanding enticements put forth by the yetzer hara.” “I Learn Your Torah!” As the yahrtzeit of the Chofetz Chaim and the yom tefillah approaches, it is important for all current Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learners and especially those who are contemplating joining the program to be cognizant of the Gemara (Bava Metziah 85) that tells us that when one of the amoraim was ill, he approached the kever of his Rebbi, wanting to invoke the powerful zechus of his Rebbi, whose Torah he constantly learned and exclaimed, “I learn your Torah!” The Gemara explains how in that merit, he was healed. From afar, lomdei Torah, bnei yeshivos and tinokos shel beis rabban, will join the delegation of rabbonim who will be at the Chofetz Chaim’s kever, davening and learning the sefarim of the Chofetz Chaim on his yahrtzeit to invoke rachamei shomayim for all of Klal Yisrael.


The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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