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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

‫בס”ד‬ The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News



Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5


Learning to Bounce Back. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 The Gardeners. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers,

When bringing various proofs there will be a future redemption, Rambam, in Hilchos Melochim (Halachah Beis) quoting this week’s parshah writes, “…in the laws addressing cities of refuge the Torah also says,

Smile – Its Elul!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

‘And when the L-rd, your G-d, expands your boundary, as He swore to


your forefathers…you shall add three more cities for yourself, in addition

25 Years of the Internet: How It Has Revolutionized Our World and What Lies Ahead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Back to School with The Digital Citizenship Project A Few Minutes with Dr. Eli Shapiro. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32


Travel Guide: Kiev. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Ask Dr. T . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Ask the Attorney. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

NEWS That's Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

to these three…’ this has not yet happened, and Hakadosh Baruch Hu didn’t command this for naught.” Why the need to connect the coming of Moshiach with a mitzvah? The Rambam himself writes, “All the books of the Neviim are full of this (a future redeemer),” so why the need for this extra proof? At the beginning of the perek, when describing the purpose of the coming of the Moshiach, Rambam explains, “the Melech Hamashiach will return malchus beis Dovid, rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, and gather in the exiles. All the Torah’s laws will then return to the way they were…” Perhaps Rambam is telling us that the halachic definition of the future redemption is the ability to keep the Torah in its totality. Bringing the example of the cities of refuge is a clear example of this; the mitzvah will only be complete after bias hamashiach. Our job is to follow the Torah,




to the extent we can now, expecting we will be able to do so 100% after his arrival. If we keep our end of the deal, surely Avinu Shebashamayim will keep His and redeem us from this lengthy exile. Have a wonderful Shabbos,


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

TheHappenings Week In News

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

“Heroes of Hatzolah” Upcoming Dinner Yehudis Litvak Hatzolah Los Angeles, in conjunction with United Hatzalah Israel, will be holding its annual dinner on Wednesday, September 14th, at the Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills. The banquet will benefit both the local and the Israeli Hatzolah organizations. “We are honoring the heroes of Hatzolah, the people who drop everything to save lives,” says Michoel Bloom, Executive Director of Hatzolah Los Angeles. The banquet will fete Hatzolah supporters, Siona and Mansoor “Elie” Alyeshmerni and Chelsea and Matthew Schames. Hatzolah Los Angeles is a city-wide organization operating in the Pico/Robertson, La Brea/Hancock Park, and Valley Village areas. The organization serves the Jewish community, responding to medical emergencies wherever they occur in their response areas whether in private homes, schools, yeshivos, shuls, temples or on the street. Hatzolah LA receives an average of four calls a day, most for medical emergencies, but are also called for other types of emergencies including coordinated searches for missing people. A recent incident combined both. On a Friday night, a gentleman, who seemed confused, walked into a local shul. Nobody in the shul knew him but invited him to an outreach dinner, held in the shul every Friday night. At the table, the man began choking and clutching his chest. By hashgacha pratis, just a week earlier Hatzolah LA had conducted a CPR class at the same shul, and the rebbetzin had attended the class. She immediately began to perform CPR. As the rebbetzin knew from the CPR training, performing CPR with adequate compressions requires physical exertion. The rebbetzin and another shul member took turns performing CPR on this unknown man. While the other shul member was doing compressions, the rebbetzin rushed to the phone, installed at Hatzolah LA’s recommendation to ensure an easily accessible phone is always available for use on Shabbos in case of emergency. The rebbetzin called Hatzolah, and they instructed her to also call 911 which has the paramedics needed for such serious emergencies. Within seconds, both Hatzolah volunteers and paramedics arrived at the scene, and worked in tandem to ensure that the man was no longer in danger. The paramedics took the patient to the hospital. However, the man was unable to provide any personal information about himself, including his name. While the Hatzolah responders switched hats to try to identify the man, the Hatzolah dispatcher on duty received a missing person call. The dispatchers, who are on call to answer the phones 24 hours

a day, 7 days a week, are trained to request photos of missing people in order to aid the searches. The dispatcher was able to inform the astonished family that they had already found their missing loved one, who had disappeared at candle lighting time. “It was hashgacha pratis that he’d walked into a shul that had a communal meal,” says Mr. Bloom, explaining that

all of Hatzolah’s life-saving efforts are accompanied by incredible Divine assistance. Unfortunately, Hatzolah receives many calls over the Yom Tov season and throughout the year. “People hurt themselves in the Yom Tov rush,” explains Mr. Bloom. He cautions the community to take proper precautions when climbing ladders

to build a sukkah, as well as in the kitchen. Hatzolah’s work is appreciated not only by the Jewish community, but also by the wider Los Angeles population. Many dignitaries will be attending the dinner on Wednesday, September 14, including city councilmen, assemblymen, and the fire chiefs of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Los Angeles County. The opening ceremony will feature the Beverly Hills Police honor guard. Exciting announcements about the future joint projects between Hatzolah and the City of Beverly Hills will be made at the dinner. For reservations, contributions and information to this critically important community organization, please visit, call 310-362-8592 or email



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TheHappenings Week In News

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Federal Title Services for Children in Jewish School Batsheva Isaac Most of us have come to realize that here in California, government money does not find its way into Jewish day schools as it does in New York. There, children are often bused, provided lunch and textbooks, and have many specialized services and therapies, all at the expense of the government. Yet, there are services in Los Angeles that day schools can access from the local educational agency. These services are known by their different Federal Title names – Title I and Title II.

“Title I” is the federal program that provides funding to local school districts to improve the academic achievement of disadvantaged students. It is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act first passed in 1965. That act is reauthorized by Congress from time to time, often given a new name. This act was most famously renamed the “No Child Left Behind Act,” under President George Bush. Most recently it was reauthorized as the “Every Student Succeeds Act.” Title I provides supple-

mental math and reading help to students with academic need. It also provides counseling services, professional development for teachers with Title I students in their classrooms, and parent education. Title II, also part of the act discussed above, provides professional development for teachers in the form of university courses, workshops, and coaching or mentoring of teachers and administrators. Both Title I and Title II are only offered to the schools in the form of services. And in keeping with the separation between church and state, services can only benefit the students themselves, never the school. Parents are more likely to be familiar with Title I than Title II because it affects them more directly. When a child is included in the program, the parent should get a letter informing them that their child is receiving Title I


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services. The letter invites them to a meeting at the school in order to meet the teacher and learn about the goals of the program. Some questions that need to be answered are: Why is your child receiving this service? How did he/she become eligible? How much and what type of service can the child get? Who are the teachers providing service and from whom do they receive direction? While the funding that a school generates is determined in by the poverty level of the local public school where the family lives, receiving services does not. Income level is not a determining factor in whether a child may receive this service. As long as a student’s home school (the public school the student is eligible to attend) is a Title I school (the school fits into the poverty level bracket determined by the Federal Government), the child can receive the services. A child also needs to be academically eligible. This is determined by how a child scores on yearly standardized testing (if they are over 3rd grade). If a child scores below the 50th percentile on one or more of the tests related to math or English language, and is identified by the teacher to need services based on low scores on classroom tests, the child is then placed in a “pool book” and further tested for eligibility to receive these services. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is responsible for providing the Title I program for private schools. They either contract with an educational company to provide the teachers and services, or they will provide services themselves to any school that has generated enough money to allow LAUSD to hire a teacher for that school. The more students enrolled in a school, the more service they can receive (i.e. the number of hours the Title I teacher is in the school). Since all of the Jewish schools belong to a consortium of schools that pool their generated funds, all Jewish Schools in Los Angeles have a teacher on campus, anywhere from full-time to just a few hours per week. LAUSD has a specific program that is taught to the children, in small groups, usually two-three times per week. According to regulatory guidance for Title I Services to Eligible Private School Children, the goal of Title I for the Jewish Schools is “To provide supplemental educational services so that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education.” Teachers are trained by LAUSD to assess, teach, monitor, and assess again to determine how the students are improving their basic skills. They also work with the classroom teachers to help determine individual student’s educational deficits that can also be addressed in the Title I classroom. There are other services also offered through Title I. These include student counseling, staff development, and parent education. Counseling – the service that is most valuable to the schools – is only offered to those students eligible for Title I. The schools have requested, and LAUSD has happily complied, to provide social workers and therapists who are from within the Orthodox Jewish Community. Any parent who feels that their child is struggling and in need of these services should contact their schools to determine if their child is eligible for these services. While it is too late for a child to be placed in Title I for this year, awareness of the services and how they can work for children should help parents plan for next year. While L.A. might not have the plethora of government-sponsored services that New York does, at least parents can benefit from these specific services that are offered in the local Jewish Schools.

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home


Help for the Mentally Ill in Our Community Yehudis Litvak From the day he was born, he brought nachas to his parents with his sharp mind and astounding academic achievements. Success followed him wherever he went – in high school, in college, and even in yeshiva, which he attended after college, when his interest in yiddishkeit deepened. His learning soared so high that he traveled to Israel to attend the Mirrer Yeshiva. At age twenty, he lost his father to brain cancer. The whole family was devastated, but he was especially heartbroken. When the family members slowly returned to the demands of everyday life, they noticed that he remained withdrawn and disconnected. However, he continued his studies, seemingly successfully. Several years later, his rebbeim noticed that he was behaving in an extreme manner. Then he had his first psychotic episode, which abruptly transformed his status in the community from a rising star to a psychiatric patient, to be kept as far away as possible. That is the story of Laurie Ritz. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he spent many years tossed from one psychiatric ward to another, from jail to courtroom to living on the streets. Thanks to his devoted older brother, Jonny Ritz, who lives in the Pico/Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles, Laurie is currently being cared for in a local live-in facility, where he is receiving proper treatment. His family and friends see him improving every day, getting back to his old self. But it took much time, effort, and dedication to get him to this point. Unfortunately, many people with stories similar to Laurie’s still await their happy endings. They are stuck in the vicious cycle of homelessness, lack of proper care and medication, destructive or illegal behavior due to mental illness and/ or addiction, arrest and incarceration, release, and then back to square one of homelessness. On their own, these people are unable to break out of the cycle. It is only with the care and involvement of their families and communities that they can hope to recover and lead meaningful, productive lives. The Jewish community, however, is ill-equipped to handle serious mental illness. “When Laurie became mentally unstable,” says Jonny, “I spoke to many community members. Some were caring, but the majority stepped back and disconnected. People don’t know how to deal with this illness, so they don’t deal at all.” By hashgacha pratis, Jonny got in touch with the Aleph Institute.

“They have done an abundance of chessed,” says Jonny. In Laurie’s case, they helped navigate the complicated court system and advocated within the judicial system to get Laurie out of jail and into a psychiatric ward, where his recovery began. They also assisted in finding and appointing a private conservator – a community member with prior experience in caring for a person with severe mental illness – who assumed the responsibility of overseeing Laurie’s medical care and making medical decisions for him. In the midst of a psychiatric episode, Laurie was in no condition to make his own medical decisions, but it was illegal to treat him against his will. With the involvement of the conservator, Laurie can now be treated even when he is unable to give his consent, and he is no longer at risk of arrest and incarceration. Project Tikvah at Aleph Institute Founded in 1981 by Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, at the directive of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Aleph Institute is a Jewish nation-wide non-profit organization which provides outreach, education, and support for individuals who are separated from their families, such as members of the military, as well as prisoners and mental health patients. Their motto is, “No one alone. No one forgotten.” Aleph Institute’s headquarters are located in Florida, with branches in New York and Los Angeles. Among Aleph Institute’s various divisions is Project Tikvah, which helps young adults who are either currently in prison or facing prison due to mental illness or addiction. “We go to court and fight to get them into rehab,” says Leah Perl, Director of Project Tikvah. It is no simple matter – rehabs are hard to get into and expensive, and sometimes the young adult doesn’t have insurance. Project Tikvah helps the family with all the necessary steps towards securing a bed in a rehab or mental institution. Along with Laurie Ritz, Project Tikvah has helped 25 young adults to date. About half of them suffer from both severe mental illness and addiction. “This means that they are essentially self-medicating,” explains Mrs. Perl. Another 25% suffer from a mental illness, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, while the other 25% suffer from severe addiction, which sometimes develops in response to trauma or abuse. In all cases, the young adult’s struggles affect the entire family. Mental illness, explains Mrs. Perl, usually surfaces at ages 18-22. “No

Jonny and Laurie Ritz

one sees it coming,” she says. It happens in the most loving and stable families. The parents often feel embarrassed and don’t know where to turn. “These kids are very spiritual, very sensitive, and very deep,” explains Mrs. Perl. Project Tikvah provides information and support and a weekly webinar for parents whose children were incarcerated or are facing prison due to mental illness and addiction. Recently, Project Tikvah received a Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation for its innovative program. “The Foundation’s trailblazing support will, please G-d, translate into countless precious young lives being transformed in a very meaningful way,” says Rabbi Zvi Boyarsky, Director of Advocacy at Aleph Institute. The grant money will be used to take on more cases, as well as raise community awareness. Jewish Mental Health Center As a result of his family’s experience, Jonny Ritz is determined to improve the lot of community members suffering from severe mental illness. When Jonny visited Laurie in the mental health facility where he was transferred from jail, he told the staff that his brother needed kosher food. They replied that they were not equipped to accommodate his needs. Jonny relates, “The Hispanic woman in charge looked at me and asked, ‘Doesn’t your community have any facilities for the mentally ill?’ I felt a pain in my guf. I felt that we failed. When I got home I called a parlor meeting.” Jonny’s vision is “to build the biggest mental health hospital in L.A., where Jews can come from all over.” The hospital will meet all the religious needs of its Jewish patients. “When you do a kiddush Hashem, everything is possible,” says Jonny. Currently, he is researching the practical issues involved and is seeking a partner who would work together with him. “I told my brother,” says Jonny, “that after all those years of suffering I realized that Hakadosh Baruch Hu had come to me and said to me, ‘It is time to go into the darkness of mental illness.’” Jonny is on a mission to bring his vision to fruition.

The Week In News


TheHappenings Week In News

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Los Angeles Tribute to the memory of Rabbi Maurice Lamm, zt”l Rabbi Arye D. Gordon On Tuesday, August 30, 2016, Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills held a tribute evening in memory of Rabbi Dr. Maurice Lamm, zt”l. The first to speak was Rabbi Kalman Topp, the present rabbi of Beth Jacob. His connection with Rabbi Lamm occurred

decades before he even knew he would serve as a rabbi at Beth Jacob, and Rabbi Topp touched on Rabbi Lamm’s many fine qualities. “Rabbi Lamm,” he said, “served as a rav chesed, a rav of kindness, who profoundly helped countless people. He is fondly remembered as a magnificent

speaker, a strong rabbi, and a caring rabbi, who was an inspiration to the shul congregants.” Rabbi Mayer May, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Wiesenthal Center, related the tremendous influence that Rabbi Lamm exerted on his behalf. “I am here,” said Rabbi May, “as a lifelong admirer of the Lamms.” Selwyn Gerber, a long-time member of the shul, spoke of the special relationship he had with the Lamms and what a great influence the rabbi had on him and his




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wife, Glynis. “We had a deep, meaningful, and growing relationship over a period of forty years.” The others to speak included Mara Kochba, a long-time member of the shul, and Dr. Ivor Geft, lecturer at Beth Jacob and noted cardiologist. The last to speak was Rebbetzin Lamm, who made a special trip to Los Angeles to attend this memorial. She thanked all the shul members, long-time friends, and associates for their constant support and friendship. Chazan Arik Wollheim concluded the evening, singing “Kel Malei Rachamim.” Rabbi Dr. Maurice Lamm – author, teacher, scholar, shul rabbi, military and hospital chaplain, and President of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice – played a prominent role in the growth of the Los Angeles Jewish Community. Over the years, Beth Jacob has been a waystation for up-and-coming rabbis. Rabbi Lamm’s 1972 to 1985 tenure occurred during a period of expanding growth for the Jewish communities of Beverly Hills and Pico/Robertson. Prior to his arrival in Los Angeles, Rabbi Lamm was already known for his well-received book, The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning, first issued in 1969. To this day, The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning is one of the most used books by those suddenly confronted by the petirah of a family member. Rabbi Lamm’s succinct and clear style of writing – uncluttered and unimpeded by too many differing opinions – made it a much needed and accepted resource. As a teacher and scholar, Rabbi Lamm held the Chair of Rabbinics at Yeshiva University’s RIETS rabbinical seminary in New York until his retirement and served on the faculty of Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women. He also lectured nationally on various topics of Jewish interest. Another major project of his was hospice care, and he expanded this needed service as president of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice. Rabbi Maurice Lamm will be remembered for his many accomplishments in a life well lived. Yehei zichro baruch.

Photos: Arye D. Gordon


SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

What Did Rav Moshe Say About the L.A. Eruv To: Howard Witkin Executive Director Los Angeles Community Eruv Dear Howard, I am responding to your letter in which you seek clarification as to Rav Moshe’s position regarding an eruv in Los Angeles; and did he say that “Los Angeles cannot have an eruv”. As the executive director of the Los Angeles Community Eruv you are entitled to know what Rav Moshe did and did not say. In the 70s, the “frum” LA community decided to establish an eruv. To this end, Mr. Zvi Ryzman imported Rav Zundel Kroizer, the rabbinic authority of the eruv in Yerushalayim, and a world-renowned eruv expert. Mr. Ryzman, for the unlikely possibility that you may not have heard that name before, is an outstanding talmid chochom (Talmudic scholar) and a renowned philanthropist in Los Angeles who contributes to scholarly causes. During Rabbi Kroizer’s stay in LA, I was amazed to discover that he knows the entire tractate (volume) Eruvin by heart, word for word. I was able to ascertain that, as he was my guest during his visit in Los Angeles. When the eruv was completed, I called Rav Moshe to ask him how I should announce the eruv in my shul, Young Israel of Los Angeles, and through it to the community. This is what he told me: “Anyone who wishes to rely on the eruv has enough halachic authorities to rely on; anyone who wishes to be stringent, may be blessed.” These are the exact words I quoted in my announcement that Shabbos. On Monday I received a telegram with Rav Moshe’s name on it, stating that one cannot have an eruv in Los Angeles. I immediately called the person who I knew had forged the name of Rav Moshe, and told him that if I did not receive a telegram the very next day saying that the first telegram was sent in error, I would make it known in the entire Jewish and Anglo-Jewish press in America that he, that person, has falsified Rav Moshe’s name. I received that telegram the next day. Based on this eruv, the congregations of Beth Jacob of Beverly Hills’ Rabbi Maurice Lamm and of Sha’arei Tefillah’s Rabbi Nissan Shulman officially adopted that eruv and urged the congregants to use it. Now, two points must be made. One, Rav Moshe was not referring to a specific eruv in Los Angeles; he was referring in general to any eruv in a large city. The merit of any particular eruv rests entirely with the halachic authority who endorses that eruv. Secondly, the present eruv in our community is vastly superior halachically to the eruv endorsed by the ga’on Rav Zundel Kroizer zt’l. With blessings in your endeavors, sincerely, Rabbi Pinchos Gruman P.s. I am still in the possession of both telegrams.

The Week In News



The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home




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AndRebbe Harav him in litigation, everyone understands thatMaran it is aHagaon worthwhile Maran Hagaon Harav necessary, excessive? We are told to increase our tefilos a person chosen to lead the public is granted tremendous ko'ach. Maran Hagaon Harav expense. Now, before Yom Hadin, you need to hire the best attorneys time; can thereNaftoli be a greater increase? We are told to give Nussbaum Dovid Cohen Maran Hagaon Harav Hakadosh Baruch Hu gives him the power to ask – and receive. Moshe Shaul Klein Photo Survey from in the world. there any tzedakah more mehudar than this one? We ar 40-consecutive Yitzchok Zilberstein How did Kupat Ha'ir arrange such an incredible thing? How Maran Hagaon Harav the power – can there possibly be a 40-day Maran Hagaon Harav Harav Maranan Hagaon Harav Y. Edelstein and Hagaon Maran Hagaon Harav daysFinkel, of prayer atof a tzaddik ch Hu gives our powerout? of "tzadik gozer canleaders it all bethe worked How can anyone fail to join? 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Hagaon Hatzaddik Rav Elimelech Biderman, 40-consecutive t Ha'ir arrange such an incredible thing? How shlit"a, will take one day, Hagaon and so on and so forth. Maran Harav Maran Hagaon Hatzaddik days of prayer at orked out? How can anyone fail to join? Will you Yaakov Hillel Every day, a different gadol willthe rend the heavens, forming a consecutive R' Aharon Toisig Kosel by the redible event to take place without ensuring super-powerful tefillah. Another gadol hador, another posek hador… Gedolei Hador ily is included? Who can remain impassive in Maran Hagaon Harav K"k is Maran The the common denominator that tzaddik gozer vaHashem mekayem. themselves from h a powerful tefillah? Who deems such Maran a tefillah Hagaon Harav Maran Maran Hagaon Harav Harav K"k Maran The K"k Maran The Hagaon Maran The Maran Maran Hag K"k MaranThe The Chaim Feinstein Pinsk-Karlin Rebbe Salachti kidvarecha. "Is surely answered." uring such a time? 5775 Yaakov Edelstein Yitzchok Scheiner Aryeh Sanzer Rebbe Biale Rebbe Boruch M. Ezrachi Chernobyler shlit"a Rebbe shlit"a

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Torah Musings The Week In News


SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Learning to Bounce Back Sarah Pachter

Imagine it is a beautiful afternoon in Los Angeles, and you decide to take a stroll around the neighborhood. You go to your local coffee shop, order an iced latte, and begin to thumb through a copy of National Geographic. Right away you are transported into another world full of face paint, headdresses, and piercings. The people of Papa New Guinea stare up at you from the slick, glossy magazine pages, their exotic faces and different lives igniting your imagination. These are not the typical people you run into at Starbucks or Ralph’s. It is hard to imagine them living a life so different to your own. Their very existence is difficult to envision. This phenomenon is what Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller calls, “The National Geographic Syndrome.” We see people from a different culture, speaking language distinct from our own, and we dismiss them as another species. We then close the magazine and return to our mundane lives, never suspecting that these people, of a totally different culture, are deep down exactly like us. The truth is that they want the same things as any human wants: to feel accepted, to be happy, and to be loved. When it comes to the stories in the Torah, we often react in a similar fashion. We open up a Chumash and think, “Oh, how interesting. Adam, Eve, Abraham. How nice… Now back to my life.” We might question the validity of the lives of our ancestors, often dismissing the thought that they once lived. Additionally, on a more superficial level, one might think that the Torah is just a collection of fictional stories. However, when one pushes oneself to dig deeper, another reality can emerge. One can find richness and beauty in our biblical predecessors’ narratives, as well as a pro-

found relevance to our everyday lives. Take Miriam, for example: “Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took her drum in her hand and all the women went forth with drums (tambourines) and with dances. Miriam spoke up to them: ‘Sing to Hashem, for he is exalted above the arrogant!’” (Exodus 15:20) This is a typical part in the Torah where we apply the National Geographic treatment. Our eyes glaze over the text, and we stifle a yawn; we may have heard this part many times and initially it does not appear to apply to our everyday lives. But what if we take a brief moment to thoroughly analyze these sentences? Why is Miriam referred to as the sister of Aaron and not the sister of Moshe? After all, isn’t Moshe the one who is famous? And why is this the first time that we are hearing Miriam referred to as a prophetess? Finally, why does she have a drum in her hand? All of these questions do have profound answers, but let us first focus on why Miriam had a drum in her hand. To answer this question, we need to recall the backstory on Miriam. When the King of Egypt had decreed that all male Jewish babies must be slaughtered, Miriam’s father, who was the leader of the Jewish nation at the time, made the decision to separate from his wife. He reasoned that if the Pharaoh was killing all the boys, procreation could only result in murder. However, one person objected. It was none other than the five-year-old Miriam, who proceeded to prophesize that her parents would give birth to a baby boy who would rise to lead the Jewish people out of Egypt. Most fathers would have dismissed a



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five-year-old’s rant as chutzpah, but instead, Miriam’s father listened and obeyed. He reunited with his wife, and they soon bore a child called Moshe. While Moshe was raised safely in secret anonymity, Miriam and her mother became midwives. They were assigned by the Pharaoh to continue murdering Jewish children, but instead, they defied this law by single-handedly saving the lives of thousands of infants. Amongst this harrowing time, Miriam desperately clung to her belief that Hashem would deliver the Jews from the Egyptians. Miriam’s name literally stands for “bitterness” and “rebellion,” which perfectly reflects the timbre of the cruel years of Jewish enslavement. Miriam had such confidence and faith that she kept drums and tambourines at her bedside for the day when she would need them to sing Hashem’s praises and celebrate freedom. On that note, you may again feel skeptical. We might think to ourselves, “This is just a story, right? Miriam is not real. No one can possibly be as resilient in the face of such suffering. No one is waiting for their suffering to be over in order to sing to G-d.” Personally, when I am in a challenging state, I cannot wait for it to be over simply because I cannot wait for it to be over! Most people are not at the spiritual level of “holding onto a drum” during suffering so that they can later sing Hashem’s praises post-suffering. However, there are people who exist in this world that have this mentality, and you might even see them at the grocery store without even realizing. One such woman is my teacher named Aviva Feiner. She and her husband had been childless for years, and when she was finally expecting a child, she glowed with joy and radiated both inner and outer beauty. The day her son was born, she did not even have the chance to hold him him in her arms, before he was whisked away for testing. The doctors had devastating news: her son was born with a rare amino acid deficiency – so rare, in fact, that he was one case in a billion. When the baby was five days old, a gathering was made for his speedy recovery. Mrs. Feiner left the hospital to speak that day in front of 500 people. She was recovering from a C-section, was feeling ill herself, and yet selflessly wanted to speak to give others strength. She did not know if by the time she finished speaking her child would still be alive, as each breath he took endangered his life. She walked into the room and described that despite her physical and emotional pain, she felt G-d lifting her up and carrying her to deliver her profound words. As I listened to her speak, I expected her

to grieve, or, at the very least, complain. But instead she emphatically called out, “I want you all to know that I have never felt closer to Hashem in my entire life. He is guiding me and holding me through every step.” She told us that although she couldn’t hold her baby, she would sing to him, physically resembling biblical Miriam. Mrs. Feiner did not even wait for the suffering to end to begin singing praises to G-d. She never gave up hope. So how can we channel the resilience of people like Miriam and Aviva Finer into our own lives? How can we learn to sing Hashem’s praises, even when we feel no desire to continue believing? What is it that allows one person to bounce back, while another perishes under the load of their difficulties? Like Miriam’s drum, we may be stretched to our limits, being pulled to the farthest reaches of what we believe we can handle in life. Yet it is in these precise moments that we are able to make the sweetest music. A drum itself can only resonate when its skin is pulled taut. It is this tautness which gives the drum its resilience. A study by the American Psychological Association shows that resilience is not something we innately do or do not have. Resilience can be developed. During a phone conversation I shared with Mrs. Feiner a few years after her son’s birth, told her I had been profoundly impacted by her words when we gathered to pray for him; they still resonated with me years later. She said, “Yes! It is true! I had never felt closer to Hashem Yisborach in my entire life – never before and never after. It was, and it still is, the closest I have ever felt to Hashem.” I was shocked. Perhaps it is when when we are pulled in so many directions and experiencing our greatest challenges that our resilience can be brought forth. We may also recall that Miriam was known for the well that accompanied the Jewish people on their trek through the desert in her merit. When one is in a desert, and there is no water in sight, we dig deep into the earth. Miriam merited a well because it is symbolic of resilience. There’s no relief to our metaphorical thirst in sight, and so we must dig deep. Lack of water was just one of the many obstacles the Israelites faced in the desert. G-d gives us challenges because he wants us to rise to the occasion. He wants us to grow, change, and flourish. May we all strive for resilience – with success! – in our moments of challenge.

The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Gardeners

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

This week’s parshah opens with demands for justice and truth. The parshah is filled with messages of conviction, justice, clarity and honesty, including establishing a functional court system, with empowered judges and submissive litigants. We learn about the mandate to appoint a king, who follows the rules and is held to high standards. The kohanim, who occupy leadership positions, also must follow a precise code of conduct. The prophet also must live up to high standards. Charisma, eloquence, and passion are of no importance if his words don’t radiate fear of heaven. We see in the parshah how our system of justice embraces the accidental murderer, providing a haven for him as well. There are halachos that protect business owners and ensure that every Jew lives within a framework of perfect justice. When we are forced to engage in battle, the military seeks fighters who embody the ideals of honesty, refined character, and courage. The parshah closes with a resounding lesson about the inclusiveness of our system. The lonely traveler who traverses the town becomes a communal responsibility. We are obligated to look out and care for him. Should tragedy befall him, the elders of town gather to atone for his death, proclaiming that they are not culpable for his death. We must all atone for his blood. A single thread is woven throughout the parshah, welcoming us to this month of Elul, with its avodah of self-improvement and cheshbon. Being part of creation obligates man. Hashem created the world with a certain harmony, as different aspects of creation complement and feed off each other. The Torah and the way of life it prescribes reflect the perfection that comes about when every Jew does his part in caring for others and acting responsibly and honestly when dealing with their fellow man. Someone who visited the Chazon Ish left behind his walking stick. The Chazon Ish wrote a letter to the man, asking him to come retrieve it, because he could not be calm in the room as long as someone

else’s possession was there. The Chazon Ish’s sensitivity to the laws of Torah was so real that he couldn’t bear the thought of having someone else’s property in his room. He reacted as we would to an ugly sight or unpleasant smell. For some, this may be a difficult concept to imagine. The greater question is how all this affects us. How does it impact the way we view the world and lead our lives and communities? The Apter Rav was once called to serve as a dayan in a din Torah. Very quickly, it became apparent which litigant was in the right and which was lying. The liar realized that his plan was exposed and that if he didn’t do something fast, he would be found guilty and forced to pay up. The only way he could win, he figured, would be to bribe the judge. Knowing that the Apter Rav would never accept a bribe, he placed a large amount of cash in the Rav’s coat pocket, figuring that the Rav would know who put it there. The man assumed that the Rav would quietly keep it and adjudicate the case to his benefit. A short while later, the Rav said that he must take a break. What had seemed to be such a simple case, was not simple anymore. He was bothered by the sudden twist in his understanding of the case and needed fresh air to rethink the arguments. He went to his chambers and put on his coat to go outside for a stroll. It was a cold day, so he stuck his hands into the coat pockets for warmth. He was astonished to find money in one of the pockets and immediately returned to the room of the bais din, declaring that he could no longer rule on the case. He had become tainted. The Rav wasn’t only righteous and G-d fearing. His soul was so trained against dishonesty that even though he did not know that a bribe was given to him, the fact that money was placed in his coat pocket without his knowledge affected him. He knew intuitively that something was wrong. Honesty and ehrlichkeit are so much a part of him that he could not function once the money was in his pocket.

The Torah insists that we live honestly by ensuring that those selected to lead us are paragons of virtue. There are no shortcuts, loopholes or backroom deals. Just a few months ago, a prominent rav was speaking to Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman, when another gentleman, the coordinator of a large gemach, entered the small room. The rav, wishing to encourage the askan, introduced him to Rav Shteinman. “The rosh yeshiva should know that this Yid is a tzaddik. He issues halva’os (loans) to so many talmidei chachomim.” Rav Shteinman reacted immediately. “I hope you don’t have any money from him on loan,” he said, “because, in that case, the compliment you just gave him is a form of ribbis devorim.” The rav marveled at Rav Shteinman’s response, repeating it again and again. “I am an active dayan,” he said, “experienced in financial dinei Torah, but I wasn’t sharp enough to sense that my comment could be a violation of halachah. Yet, the aged tzaddik, who is attuned to perfect din, feels it right away.” Rules do apply. And you must follow them to become a leader in our world. When people follow the instructions of someone like Rav Shteinman, they are not merely agreeing with his ideas. They are expressing something much deeper. They are saying that the instincts, thought process, and reaction of a gadol are rooted in Torah. They affirm that his mind is attuned to the Torah’s will, and therefore his vision is refined enough to see further. Having leaders like that is the reason our nation is still here after so many challenge-filled years of exile. Our mesorah has carried us through the ages. Like yesterday morning and this morning, tomorrow morning and the morning after we will affix to our heads tefillin in the color, shape, and structure taught to Klal Yisroel via a halachah l’Moshe m’Sinai. Every day, we affirm the veracity of tradition when we place those boxes on our arms and heads. And when we bind them to the minds and hearts of our bar mitzvah boys, we say to them, “Dear son,

know that with this, you, too, are connected to Har Sinai. This is our secret. It is the secret of our survival.” The Torah in this week’s parshah (17:18-20) commands us, “Shoftim v’shotrim titein lecha bechol she’arecha.” We are to appoint judges who will properly and correctly administer fair justice, never accepting bribes of any kind or showing favoritism. Throughout our history, we have been blessed to be led by “shoftim v’shotrim,” gedolim who stood tall and strong in demonstrating honesty and safeguarding the halachah and mesorah. There has been always been pressure from some to make changes and conform to a modern zeitgeist. There are the usual claims that the rabbis aren’t open-minded and refuse to fall into line with whatever fad or idea is popular. The rabbonim continue to lead, as they have since the time of Moshe. The foreign ideas pile up and clutter the dustbin of history. Just like Korach, they seek to appeal to the emotion and present specious arguments cloaked in demagoguery, seeking to cause populist revolts. They all meet the fate of their progenitor, Korach. When the Reform and Haskalah movements began, the Chasam Sofer was fearless in his opposition to them. He was undaunted by the populist push emanating from the rabbis who campaigned to loosen the rules, with the promise that doing so would make Judaism more welcoming and accepted. When prominent rabbis of the day thought that organ music would be a welcome addition to the shul, the Chasam Sofer responded with the passion of a lion whose cubs are being attacked. The paradigm false messiah, Shabsai Tzvi, appeared to be a great sage, wellversed in all matters of Torah and Kabbalah. He spawned a movement of many followers, including the vast majority of the Jewish people, who were taken by his charm, knowledge, welcoming promises, and seeming love for the common man. A wave of teshuvah followed, as people sought to prepare for his final revelation. He was lauded wherever he went and praised for his scholarship and for bringing people to elevated spirituality. Rav Yaakov Sasportas warned that Shabsai Tzvi was a false messiah who would cause much damage to the Jewish people. It was his stubborn insistence and leadership that prevented many from going astray when Shabsai Tzvi became an apostate. Aharon Choriner was a talmid of great men, and appeared to be a religious talmid chochom. However, when the gedolim of his day read his seforim, they set out to delegitimize him. They saw that despite his outward religiosity, he had, in fact, broken with the mesorah.

Living with In theNews Times The Week

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Alluding to the infamous Mishnaic apostate named Acher, the Chasam Sofer referred to this man as “Ach’er” (an acronym of his name, Aharon Choriner, and the title Rabbiner), and waged war against the man and his writings. Similarly, in his will, the Chasam Sofer urged his children not to study the writings of Ramad, a.k.a. Moses Mendelsohn. Like Acher, Mendelsohn appeared to the masses to be a sincere, learned individual, who wrote a wonderful biur on the Torah. Yet, included in his final wishes, the Chasam Sofer warned that he and his works were dangerous and found the need to admonish his offspring one final time not to look at his works. “Shoftim v’shotrim titein lecha bechol she’arecha.” You should place good judges at every gate. And also at every opening, every breach, and every place where those who wish to change Judaism seek to enter. Install a shofeit there, install a shoter there, and allow them to stand tall and proud as they defend the Torah from all comers. Generations later, the Chasam Sofer’s light shines brightly. His name and teachings are quoted hundreds of times each day in study halls and religious courts around the world. His approach and attitude, and those of many other leaders like him, shape many of our positions. The people he fought are long gone.

Their chain has been broken, their offspring swallowed by the society to which they sought to endear themselves. In Vilna, there lived a Maskil, Avrohom Dov Lebensohn, who was known as Adam Hakohein. A poet and writer, he tried influencing a bright young orphan, seeing him as a potential force for the Haskalah movement. The young man rejected his efforts. By spurning the lure, he charted for himself a saintly path. You know him, and Jews for all time will, for he went on to author a sefer called Chofetz Chaim and led the yeshiva in Radin. He would become the gadol hador, for his generation and succeeding generations as well. Like his grandfather, Aharon Hakohein, he loved Jews. He was oheiv es habrios umekarvan laTorah. He found positive attributes in others, as he viewed them with an ayin tovah. The sage was a loving father to his people. Actually, there was a Jew for whom he had no sympathy. When referring to the Maskil Adam Hakohein, he would add the words “yemach shemo” – a curse, from a man who was a fountain of blessing and overly cautious with his words. The Chofetz Chaim had seen how the dangerous Maskil had moved into the open “sha’ar” of a lonely orphan’s heart and tried to claim and sway it.

Today, our shotrim stand tall. Bechol she’arecha, in every opening. We must stand guard, vigilant and proud. Why? Because the Torah tells us to. Why? For the same reason the Chasam Sofer fought the Reform. Why? For the same reason the Chofetz Chaim fought the Haskalah. Why? Because if we don’t, their innovations will take hold and we will have to fight vigorously to uproot them. The Brisker Rav, it seemed, was always pointing out dangers, pointing out the flaws in various streams of Jewish thought. Even Torah Jews wondered why he couldn’t just sometimes agree with the mainstream. Someone asked the Rav why he chose to resist. He responded with a story about a group of people who were walking through a splendid public garden, admiring the beautiful landscaping and magnificent colors. One man walked alongside the path, and as the others marveled, he found what to criticize. Where they saw a gorgeous flowering bush, he saw a broken branch. As the people were lost in the beauty of Hashem’s creations, this man was pointing out wilting flowers, a dead tree, and weeds here and there. Finally, the people had enough of his negativity. One of them shouted at him, “Stop complaining and focus on the beauty.”

“You don’t understand,” the fellow replied. “You are all visitors. You can and should enjoy. I, on the other hand, am the gardener. My job is to keep this place perfect. My job is to inspect and maintain, to see what needs to be corrected and keep the garden beautiful.” We are that garden, still here, still flourishing after all these years. There are dead trees all around, yet we thrive. There are flowers that are wilting and need tender care. There are weeds that must be plucked before they spread and rob nutrition from the plants. Because we are vigilant, because we have gardeners charged with protecting us, we endure and proliferate. Bechol she’arecha, at every gate. Let’s rise, as one, with our leaders at the head, and face this threat as we have faced all the others, confident in our past, present and future. Let us all do what we can so that we may be able to proclaim, “Yodeinu lo shofchu es hadom hazeh.” Let us be able to say that we did all we could to root out the weeds and repair the sickly branches. We were loyal to our responsibilities, skillfully laboring to grow and cultivate the precious plants, flowers and trees that together form the great people we are so proudly a part of.

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Smile – Its Elul! Rabbi Sholom Kesselman

The fear is palpable; the mood, tense. A sense of dread hangs over every community like a thick grey cloud. It is the month of Elul and only a few short weeks before the awesome Day of Judgment. Soon, all will have to stand before G-d to have their every deed examined; who knows what fate lies in store. Will it be life, sustenance, health and blessing? Or – G-d forbid – the opposite? Only one thing can save us now, and that is teshuvah (repentance). Only crying to G-d with great remorse for all the wrong that we have done; only begging Him for mercy, could turn things around and bring about a favorable judgment. This is the sense one gets when reading stories and memoirs from days bygone about the month of Elul. There was real fear surrounding the Yom Hadin, and the days leading up to it were filled with trepidation, apprehension, tears, and a tense seriousness. Elul was a difficult month, a month when G-d was all “business” and certainly not “smiling” or making “small

talk.” It was a month of teshuvah and teshuvah meant crying, remorse, bitterness, and begging for mercy. However, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, author of the Tanya and founder of the Chabad movement, revealed an entirely new perspective on Elul. He rescued the month from the ranks of the gloomy and dreary, and restored it to its rightful place among the glorious, joyful, and bright. The Baal HaTanya has a famous discourse on Elul that begins with the verse "‫“( "אני לדודי ודודי לי‬I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me.”) He points out that the first letters of each of these words spells out ‫( אלול‬Elul). The immediate implication is that Elul is first and foremost a time of “love,” when a Jew can come all that much closer to his Beloved (G-d) and vice versa. He then goes on to quote from kabbalistic sources that during this month the ‫ – י"ג מדות הרחמים‬the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy – shine down upon us and the world, making it a time of infinite G-dly mercy.

This revelation is so special that it leads the Baal HaTanya to ask the following question: Why are the days of Elul not considered a yom tov? After all, if there is such a great influx of G-dly light into the world, shouldn’t these days be considered holy and special just like a yom tov? He answers this question with a parable, one that by now has become quite famous and almost synonymous with Elul – that of the “king in the field.” Before a king enters his city, its inhabitants go out to greet him and receive him in the field. At that time, anyone who so desires is granted permission [and can] approach him and greet him. He receives them all pleasantly, and shows a smiling countenance to all… A king lives in a royal palace. There, he is revealed in all his glory and is surrounded by royalty, wealth, and power. This king inspires awe in all that come before him. However, in the palace, he is inaccessible. To see the king, one must wait months for an appointment, and even then only the elite of society can expect to be granted an audience. The simple ordinary citizens would never dream of entering the palace to be given time with the king. But every so often, the king comes out into the field. There, he appears relatively ordinary, lacking most of the pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies him. This king doesn’t inspire awe – rather the opposite. His disposition is inviting and welcoming, and his casualness makes him approachable to all like at no other time. Here all people, especially the simple and ordinary citizens, feel like they too can approach him, and the king receives them all graciously. The message here is stunning. Elul is a time when G-d comes out to mingle and get close. He makes himself fully accessible and reaches out to all with a cheerful demeanor and shining, radiant face. This is not a distant “businesslike” King who is harsh and demanding, rather He’s a loving, merciful King who is doing all He can to make Himself available to His subjects. It might not be a yom tov because the King is revealed in a casual state, but this comes with a tremendous upside. It is a month of closeness and bonding like no other. Yes, it’s a month of teshuvah, but teshuvah in its essence isn’t necessarily crying and remorse. Teshuvah means returning and coming close. It is a Jew returning to G-d and strengthening his commitment and bond with Him. G-d wants this teshuvah and closeness even more than we do and so he comes out to us in an effort to

reach out and invite us to reconnect and return to Him. When one takes a look at the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Siman 128, a very similar picture of Elul emerges: From Rosh Hodesh Elul until after Yom Kippur is a time of (Divine) favor. Although, throughout the entire year, the Holy One, blessed be He, accepts the repentance of those who return to Him wholeheartedly, in any case, these days (between the 1st of Elul and Yom Kippur) are more special have been set aside for repentance, because they are days of mercy and favor… Rabbi Isaac Luria may his memory be a blessing wrote: … “that this month is like a place of refuge, a time of favor when (G-d) accepts (our) repentance on the sins done throughout the year…” Here, too, it is clear that these are days of favor and mercy; they are like a city of refuge and a time when G-d wants and readily accepts our repentance. A further point: Rosh Hashanah is the time when we crown Hashem as King of the universe. A king, we are told, must be crowned by the people, and it is they who must accept him and instate him as their ruler. The same is true of Hashem on Rosh Hashanah; He needs us to crown him and accept him as our King, and He cannot do it alone. (Without this, He is a Despot, but not a King.) This is in fact the essential theme of Rosh Hashanah and what our service on that day is all about. The Talmud tells us: “G-d asks the Jewish people, please say before Me verses of kingship so that I may become King over you. And how is this indeed achieved? Through the blowing of the Shofar.” G-d needs us. He is asking us to please crown Him as King, and the sounding of the Shofar is like the blowing of trumpets that signals the inauguration of the King. The month of Elul, then, is G-d’s month of campaigning. He comes out to us in the field because He needs us. He is wooing us in an effort to win our support, so that come Rosh Hashanah, we will indeed choose Him and proclaim Him as our King. So this Elul, let’s make sure we smile back at G-d. Let’s accept his invitation to connect and truly return to Him with love, joy, warmth, and devotion. “Let us be to our beloved and He will be to us.” He is a kind and merciful king and will surely inscribe and seal us all for a year of life and blessing. So smile and be happy – it’s Elul.

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25 Years of the Internet: How It Has Revolutionized Our World and What Lies Ahead Aaron Feigenbaum

August 6th marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web, more commonly known as the Internet, a technology that is nearly inescapable in today’s world. While older communications technologies like TV and radio made significant impacts in terms of linking the world together, they pale in comparison to the Internet. Born in a Swiss lab in 1991 to facilitate academic collaboration, the Internet has since ballooned into something much more than even its creator, Tim Berners-Lee, could have imagined. From social networking to business to gaming to education to government, the Internet is part of the fabric that holds the modern world together. It has spawned entire categories of professions dedicated to maintaining its core systems and expanding it with new, cutting-edge websites. With the click of a mouse or touch of a screen, information is available in mere milliseconds, and the scope of that information is virtually limitless in an age where almost everything is being digitally documented. And as we’ve seen (such as in various protest movements and revolutions) that digital information can have dramatic real-world consequences. In short, the Internet has made the world a much smaller and more connected place in a way that once only existed in the minds of sci-fi authors. However, along with the benefits the Internet has brought to global society, it has also brought challenges, especially when it comes to law enforcement, the “gig economy,” privacy, and how Orthodox Jews are dealing with its vast amounts of objectionable content. This article will discuss the history of the Internet, look in depth at some of the countless ways it has impacted our daily lives, address its dark side and give an overview of what’s to come. Even before Tim Berners-Lee launched his world-changing project, the Internet was technically in existence. It started in the early 1960s, when fears over a Soviet attack on the nation’s telephone system were top concern at the Department of Defense. Thus began ARPANET, the precursor to today’s Internet. ARPANET was based on the theory of packet switching, where data is broken into separate blocks known as “packets” before being reassembled at its destination. The key advantage of this is that each packet has its own separate route to the destination, thus ensuring security against potential hacks. October 29, 1969, marks the date ARPANET officially went online. It started

out with just four computers at four different universities. A programming student at UCLA sent a message from Boelter Hall 3420 to the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford in the first “node-to-node”

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web

Boelter Hall 3420

World's first website

communication. The message entered was “LOGIN” but the receiving computer only got the first two letters before it crashed. In the following years, more university computers were added to ARPANET including some outside the U.S. However, as the network grew it soon became clear that computers needed a cohesive, reliable method to talk to each other. Fortunately, a computer scientist named Vinton Cerf had the answer. At the end of the 1970s, Cerf came up with “Transmission Control Protocol” (aka TCP/IP). With this new communication standard, universities, businesses, and government institutions could talk to each other efficiently and send files to one another. In 1990, Tim-Berners Lee, working at CERN in Switzerland (now famous as the home of the Large Hadron Collider) came up with the World Wide Web, a system

where documents are linked to other documents through hypertext. The language Berners-Lee developed, HTML, is now at the heart of all websites and allows users to not only access pages from any connected computer and view them easily but also build pages themselves. The first web page went online on August 6, 1991. It can be viewed at WWW/TheProject.html. From there, the number of websites grew exponentially. Netscape Navigator became the first popularly used web browser in the mid-1990s but was soon dethroned by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Some of the most well-known online companies such as eBay and Amazon started in 1995, while 1998 marks the birth of the Google search engine. The social media era officially started in 2003 with the birth of MySpace, followed by Facebook in 2004 and YouTube in 2005. Today, there are over 1 billion websites and more than 3 billion people worldwide have access to the Internet. Mobile Internet usage has skyrocketed in the past few years to overtake desktops as the number one digital platform. The Internet’s impact on society has been incredibly profound. The Internet has brought ceaseless technological wonders and affected everything from economics to education to personal communication. Things that people couldn’t imagine doing just a few decades ago are now commonplace: Want to do a live video chat with someone halfway around the world from your phone? No problem. Need to buy your groceries online and have them delivered within an hour? Sure thing. Would you like to earn a college degree from the comfort of your own home? Lots of people do that! Store all your most treasured photos, videos and documents on a cloud server? Absolutely. The Internet has also had a huge impact on businesses and government. Businesses can advertise cheaply through social media and/or their own sites, keep an easily accessible and searchable database with their customers’ and employees’ information. Companies may even base their entire business around the Internet itself as Dropbox, Netflix, Paypal and many others have done. As for government: officials can quickly communicate with the people they represent and vice versa, citizens can submit forms electronically and government records can be digitized and uploaded to facilitate both inter-agency and intra-agency communication. Criti-

cal infrastructure such as power plants, airports, and water rely on the Internet. In fact, the Internet itself is considered critical infrastructure (and even a basic human right by the U.N.). Whatever a politician says or does can be instantly uploaded to the web and discussed. Rally groups can coordinate through social media and protest their government (even when said government tries to block access, as during the Arab Spring). E-voting is still controversial, though, due to security concerns. Even the nature of warfare has changed: The entire defense infrastructure relies heavily on the Internet. From coordinating with generals on the ground in real time to handling logistics to controlling drones, the Internet is an essential part of the military’s day-to-day operations. Thus, the U.S. military has invested significant resources into preventing cyber attacks, especially those from Islamic terrorists and China. These cybersecurity efforts also extend to preventing internal leaks, such as we saw with the Edward Snowden case. Israel especially has taken the lead in developing some of the world’s best cybersecurity solutions (in fact, an Israeli company called Check Point developed the very first firewall in 1993). In fact, the field is so lucrative that cybersecurity specialists were recently named the highest paid workers in Israel. Currently, an entire sub-city within Beersheba, Israel is under construction to house a national cybersecurity response team comprised of the IDF’s secretive cyberattack squad Unit 8200 and the National Cyber Security Authority. As far as education goes, the Internet is truly this era’s “Library of Alexandra,” except holding many orders of magnitude more information than the actual library ever did. Students today can take online classes, obtain online degrees, get tutoring, and much more. The advent of Massive Online Open Courses, hosted on sites such as Coursera, M.I.T. OpenCourseWare, and EDX has allowed students from around the world to get quality, university-level education from anywhere at their own pace. Research institutions can publish articles and upload historic documents for the whole world to see. Teachers can easily incorporate multimedia in their lectures and communicate with their students at the click of a mouse. Almost anything you’d want to know is available through online resources such as Google, Wikipedia, or an Internet-connected A.I. assistant like Siri. Regarding communication, the impact cannot be overstated. As one expert puts it, social media is a place where people “can freely and autonomously construct their lives.” If you want, you can essentially put your entire life online for the world to see. Sharing special moments with others is now as simple as hitting the “share” button on your phone. Live streaming your birthday party to friends and family thousands of miles away can be done seamlessly through something like Peri-

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scope. Need to talk to someone but don’t want to use a phone? Just text or Skype them. Hours upon hours of Torah lessons? or (or even an entire yeshiva curriculum at webyeshiva. org) can help you out. Finding a potential marriage partner is simply a matter of going to or using the Tinder app. Renting someone’s room: Airbnb. Getting a ride from someone: Uber or Lyft. Advertising a yard sale? Craigslist. The list goes on and on. The Internet has essentially virtualized almost every social function and, for better or worse, made real-life, face-to-face conversations optional. On the other hand, sites like have actually encouraged users to meet new people face-to-face by streamlining the process and allowing users to form groups

Amazon Echo

by interest. For business, education and government, though, the communication benefits of the Internet are crystal clear. The Internet allows for fast and efficient collaboration, something that’s essential in, say, a team project where the members are located far from each other. Unfortunately, like almost any other technology, the Internet presents its fair share of challenges. The Internet has added an entire new category of crime: cybercrime. From stealing people’s personal information to online stalking to pirating movies to selling illicit products, cybercriminals are inventing new ways to skirt the law and make sure they don’t get caught. With the rise of anonymizing services such as the Bitcoin currency and the Tor web browser, simply identifying illegal activity and the perpetrators behind it can be a daunting task for law enforcement. What’s more, even if cybercriminals are caught and their website is shut down (e.g. Kim Dotcom who ran the pirating site Megaupload), there’s always others looking to step in and replace that site with something even more impervious to anti-cybercrime efforts. Increasingly, companies are both helping the government maintain online law and order (such as YouTube taking down videos that infringe on copyrights) as well as developing their own crime-fighting solutions (e.g. the Denuvo anti-piracy software). Another major issue is privacy. Countless lawsuits have been filed against tech giants such as Facebook and Microsoft for handing over users’ personal data to big

businesses and governments. Personal data can be acquired by numerous methods including spyware, face recognition software, tracking user searches, Internet service provider records, and Big Data – a highly complex set of info about the user that’s analyzed by special software to reveal trends, especially those relating to human behavior and interactions. Perhaps the most famous case of a privacy breach is the massive NSA spying program that was exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013. Another notable one is the FBI/Apple controversy earlier this year, centering on Apple’s refusal to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s phone. Cases like these illustrate the incredibly complex legal issues surrounding the Internet and how technology is always one (or often more) steps ahead of the legal system. The “gig economy” is another major point of Internet-related controversy, particularly when it comes to Uber. Uber lets anyone drive for them so long as they pass a background check. Uber driving is seen by many as a fun, quick way to make cash while not being tied down to a desk job. However, the company’s practices have often flown in the face of local laws (case in point Austin, Texas, where the company was booted out), enraged taxi drivers, been cited in numerous safety complaints, and sued by its drivers for the right to be considered employees of the company. Furthermore, Uber is planning on deploying an entire fleet of self-driving cars in the next few years, thus replacing human drivers entirely and truly putting the “gig” (aka temporariness) in “gig economy.” For frum Jews, the Internet presents an entirely different host of challenges. A key principle in Judaism is shmiras ey-

Augmented reality

nayim (“guarding the eyes”). The Torah commands us to keep our minds pure and guard from inappropriate/immoral content, as can be found throughout much of the Internet. Many rabbonim have tentatively allowed Internet use so long as it’s for a purpose such as business, learning Torah, or emailing. Internet use for children is strictly monitored. The problem for Haredi leaders comes in the form of WhatsApp. This is a very popular social media app developed by Facebook that mixes business with social media features. A group of top Haredi figures in Israel denounced the app as “a great spiritual danger.” In Israeli Hasidic communities, those caught using an unfiltered phone face denial of certain rights (such as not being allowed to read from the Torah during yamim tovim) or even outright shunning. As it is, rabbis have virtually given up on outright bans and settled for “kosher smartphones” that block immoral content through filtering

software like Livigent or eNativ. As the Internet continues to penetrate more and more layers of society and present new opportunities and dangers, the question is how frum Jews will continue to live with it. As noted in a recent Haaretz article, some groups such as the Sanz and Kretshnif Hasidim (whose members are noted for declaring that their home is free of the “ills of the Internet and technology”) have taken a very cautious approach. A famous anti-Internet rally held four years ago in New York warned of the potential dangers to the Internet posed to the traditional Jewish way of life. On the other hand, modernist Jewish groups like Aish embrace the Internet (at least to a limited degree) as a way of reaching out to young Jews and getting them engaged in Judaism. One thing is clear though: Given the Internet’s easy accessibility and far-reaching social consequences, the Orthodox Judaism of today will likely look very different from the Orthodox Judaism


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decades from now. But so too will the Internet itself. One of the biggest predictions for the future Internet is the so-called Internet of Things where the objects around us are connected and communicating with each other. This has very big potential: For instance, engineers can install a device inside a concrete bridge that will tell your car to slow down if the bridge is icy. The appliance of the “smart home” can be accessed remotely and even be programmed to do new things by using a microcontroller device such as the popular Raspberry Pi. A refrigerator

won’t just something to put food in – it’ll let you remotely view what food you have so you don’t have to carry a shopping list or suggest recipes to you or even let you order food right to your door from via its touchscreen. Cars are increasingly being packaged with connected infotainment systems like Android Auto. Speaking of cars, it’s likely that one day soon you’ll be able to summon a self-driving Uber from your app (the company is testing a fleet of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh this month). Artificial intelligence has been experiencing an incredible renewal of

interest as major companies are increasingly looking into chatbot technology to assist customers. Indeed, the A.I. of today is lightyears ahead of the A.I. of just a decade ago, as evidenced by this year’s defeat of world Go champion Lee Sedol at the hands of Google’s DeepMind supercomputer. A.I. is even being integrated into the home through Amazon’s Alexa, an A.I. hardware hub that allow you to do everything from controlling your smart home appliances to making phone calls to automating just about anything, all using voice commands. Augmented reality


















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Google data center

Anti internet rally

(where virtual elements are layed on top of the real world) is being brought online by Google’s Tango project while Google’s Daydream app promises to bring virtual reality to mobile devices this fall. Thinking long term, computer scientists, and network engineers are devising plans to extend the scope and speed of the Internet. Just this past June, NASA installed its Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking Internet system aboard the International Space Station with plans to extend it to Mars and beyond, if and when humanity gets there. The Internet speed record is constantly being broken in labs testing cutting-edge technology that’s way beyond even the best fiber-optic Internet connection. A new method of accessing the Internet wirelessly through light, called LiFi, is gaining traction. Even more exotic is the recently launched Chinese satellite that aims to create a quantum Internet. But even with all these advances, don’t expect the many problems the Internet has posed to society to go away. On the contrary, some experts predict that the Internet will increase economic inequality and along with it government surveillance and censorship. Some believe that the very power of nation-states to control its population will erode. Others have a brighter outlook and believe that the Internet will ultimately benefit society by increasing access to education and creating new opportunities for self-improvement and connecting with others. A few even think that the Internet will be brought down by cyber attacks and cease to exist. Whatever the case, we should keep in mind the words of communication theorist Marshall McLuhan, who once said “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” The Internet, for all its good and bad, can be seen as a mirror of global society. It represents both our most destructive and creative tendencies – our tendencies to turn away from each other and hate as well as connect with each other and find common ground. When it comes down to it, how the Internet changes depends on how we change.

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Electric Gold Some athletes who’ve earned gold in the Olympics have literally cashed in on their prizes. Some countries throw thousands of dollars at their winners; others buy their champions houses and luxury cars. This woman, though, really lit up the sky with her win. Faith Kipyegon is a 22-year-old Kenyan runner who won the gold in the 1500-meter women’s race in Rio just weeks ago. Amazingly, Faith’s friends in town couldn’t even watch her win; her hometown of Ndabibit hasn’t had electricity since it was settled in the 1980s. But Faith’s win put her town on the map, and her fame brought their predicament to light. After the Games, Kipyegon’s father, Samuel Kipyegon, made a direct plea to the Kenyan president in the African paper the Daily Nation. He asked for electricity for the village to allow him to watch his daughter race. The next day, his request was granted, and workers began installing power lines to the whole area. Nine days later, the village was completely wired.

Although Faith’s dad doesn’t yet have a TV or a computer on which he can watch his daughter race, Samsung has promised to gift him a set soon, giving Kipyegon and his family the ability to watch Faith’s next big win – with the lights on.

Token Time When Matthew Ahn sets his mind to achieve something, he doesn’t lose his train of thought. The determined lawyer broke a Guinness World Record this summer doing something we all would like to do a lot less of – riding the NYC subways. Ahn traveled to every single subway stop on 24 train lines in New York City’s slithering subway system throughout the five boroughs. He managed to reach every one of the 469 stations in just 21 hours, 28 minutes and 14 seconds – a winning record. Armed with a GoPro strapped to his chest, an iPhone, five granola bars for an energy boost, and numerous bottles of water, the 25-year-old created a detailed

spreadsheet and itinerary of subway timetables and routes to help him break the record. His journey started right here at Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue on the A train at 2:02am and ended more than 21 hours later at Flushing-Main Street on the 7 train. The journey wasn’t easy. It was one of the hottest days of the summer, reaching at least 93 degrees – and that’s above ground. Imagine what some of those subway stops felt like. Ahn also needed to acquire witness signatures, time-stamped photos, and a detailed log of the opening and closing of each subway to qualify for Guinness. To get the most out of his time, Ahn ran a total of eight miles between stations instead of

waiting for certain transfers. Thankfully he wore sneakers. The race that Ahn won was actually against himself. His previous world record, totaling 21 hours, 49 minutes, and 35 seconds, was nullified when the 34th Street-Hudson Yards subway stop in Manhattan was opened in September 2015. This time he managed to shave 21 minutes and 21 seconds off his previous total time. “I would like all the food, and then I would like to sleep,” Ahn said as soon as he completed his trip. “That would be great!” Sounds like his brain is still a bit lost in the subway.

Chowing Down Here’s a chance to win a whole lot of cash – and some extra pounds – while stuffing your face. On September 18, the brave of stomach and heart will try their hand at Wayback Burgers’ ninth annual Triple Triple Challenge. Those who will be crowned the “Triple Triple Chompion” will not just have lined their arteries with layers of glistening fat, they will also line their bank accounts with $3,300. So what do you have to do to win the title of most gluttonous? According to



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The Week In News Wayback Burgers, you just have to chow down on “the Triple Triple Burger, 9 patties of beefy goodness topped with 9 slices of gooey cheese, lettuce and tomato, in the shortest amount of time nationwide.” Nine burgers? Tums, Tums, Tums, Tums, Tuuums. If you’re going to try out, you better start exercising your esophagus. Last year’s winner and defending “chompion,” Molly Schuyler, ate the ginormous burger in a little more than 40 seconds. As of last week, more than 800 people have signed up for their chance at the heartburn hamburger. Perhaps they should rename it heart attack in a bun – or two.

A Café without Courtesy Don’t like gluten in your pancakes? Well, unless you have a doctor’s note confirming that you’re suffering from celiac disease, it’s boo-hoo for you – at least when you’re dining at White Moose Café in Dublin, Ireland. Recently, a customer at the diner ordered gluten-free pancakes. When asked if she had celiac disease, she didn’t even

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

know what the term meant and then ordered regular pancakes. This unassuming customer outraged the café so much that they changed their policy for all customers. “From now on, guests who demand gluten-free food are required to produce a doctor’s note which states that you suffer from celiac disease. Guests following a gluten-free fad, who don’t even know what gluten is, can … eat regular food like everybody else.” Their post attracted a lot of attention – and not all of it good. They either must have the best food in the world or a lot of money in the bank, since they seem to have no problem taking digs at their customers. One outraged post read: “I don’t know who your spokesperson is but he/she should [brush] up on their lack of knowledge about gluten free. I won’t be visiting your café any time soon.” The café responded: “Well when WILL you be visiting. I’d like to know. So I can LOCK THE FRONT DOOR.” Later on, after realizing the brouhaha their lack of finesse to their customers caused, the café posted this for those who were hurt by their comments: “We are giving away free bandages for anyone whose feelings have been hurt over the past day or two. The bandages come in

different sizes depending on how much of a … idiot you are.” I think the joke is on us if we patronize this establishment.

Ice Cold Criminals Start screaming. Someone has been stealing the ice cream and they’re probably the coldest criminals to have hit the streets. The police have been asking the public for assistance in identifying four suspects in a string of ice cream thefts that have been perpetrated in Manhattan since November. For the past few months, the coldhearted criminals have swiped approximately 1,249 cartons or bars of ice cream and gelato in 11 thefts. All the thefts took place in chain stores like Duane Reade, CVS and Gristedes. “They come at night, like two or three of them, with bags,” a Duane Reade employee said. “They fill them up and run out of the store.” And they take the good stuff: Ben & Jerry’s, Talenti, Haagen-Dazs. On one day in January, thieves made off with 256 pints of ice cream — including 100 pints

of Haagen-Dazs and 100 more of Talenti — in three separate heists. Summertime is obviously ice cream time and the thieves have been casing the freezers and pilfering the sweet frozen confections. With all that ice cream are these thieves rolling on the floor with brain freeze? The police don’t think so. They surmise that the frozen dessert is being sold to bodegas and small mom-and-pop stores by the thieves. The owner of Gristedes, John Catsimatidis, has offered a reward for the arrest of these thieves. Now, pints are no longer stacked a few high – they’re only put in one high, so thieves can only take one at a time. In Duane Reade, if a clerk thinks an ice cream bandit is on the loose, they announce on the PA system, “Security, walk the floor.” A screen near the ice cream cooler in one store shows surveillance feeds to shoppers. But that has still not kept thieves at bay; they have raided that store four times since December — twice on one day, 90 minutes apart. At some CVS stores, an alarm rings when someone opens the ice cream freezers. Other CVS stores have put locks on the coolers; an employee needs to open the case for shoppers. “It’s sad,” said one manager. “To resort to stealing ice cream.”

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Travel Guide: Kiev Aaron Feigenbaum One of Eastern Europe’s oldest cities, the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, is a testament to the centuries of struggle that helped shape the modern Ukrainian nation. The city’s golden domes and glittering spires rise from the wooded hills on the banks of the Dnieper River. With its curious blend of stark, Stalinist blocks, medieval architecture, Orthodox churches, and modern museums, Kiev stands


firmly rooted in tradition while also looking to the West for inspiration. Despite recent political turmoil, daily life in Kiev continues largely unaffected. Tourists still pack the high-end shops on Khreschatyk, the city’s main shopping street, as well as Andriyivskyy Descent, the hill that’s the focal point of tourism in Kiev and one of the city’s most scenic spots. Kiev is an “off-the-beaten-path” destination, which makes it all the more rewarding for tourists looking for a relatively unspoiled cultural experience. Plus, the lack of tourists makes for cheap prices! Regardless of the resurgence of Ukrainian nationalism in the wake of the Crimea and Donbass conflicts, foreign visitors will find that the locals are friendly and will try to help as best they can despite the fact that most Kievans don’t speak English. Kiev might seem daunting and uninviting for some, but most who make the journey there come away satisfied at having seen one of Europe’s most beautiful, unique, and underrated cities. History Kiev’s long history is filled with tales of both illustrious empires and incredible tragedy. According to ancient legend, the city’s history begins in the sixth century BCE when, according to legend, it was founded by three brothers – Kyi, Schek and Khoryv – and their sister Lybed. Kiev (aka Kyiv) translates to “city of Kyi.” By the end of the ninth century, the town had become a meeting and trading center for the Eastern Slavs. Meanwhile, in what is now Russia, the powerful ruler of the city of Novgorod and the Rus’ people, Oleg, was looking to expand his influence. He chose Kiev as the site of his new capital. Thus was

Mariinsky Palace

born the Kievan Rus’ kingdom, which lasted until the mid-13th century. The year 988 marked the introduction of Christianity as the official religion of Kievan Rus’ on the order of Vladimir the Great, thus broadening ties with nearby Christian states like Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire. At this time, Kiev was one of the largest and most important cultural, economic

under Soviet control. Stalin turned the city into a major industrial center but made it, along with the rest of the country, suffer in the 1932-33 Holodomor (Great Famine). Kiev endured privation once again during WWII, when it was occupied by Nazi troops. Almost the entire city’s Jewish population was wiped out. The battle to regain the city claimed 600,000 Soviet soldiers’ lives. Kiev recovered after the war and was spared the fallout of the Chernobyl disaster (only 62 miles away from Kiev). Ukraine declared its independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite the country’s recent setbacks and long, bloody

Red Army. Afterwards, it was rebuilt in the Stalinist style and was the location of the first Ukrainian flag raising in 1990. Currently, it is used both for shopping and political protests. It is considered one of Europe’s most expensive streets due to its luxury fashion stores like Gucci and Bulgari. The three-story underground Globus mall alone contains over 200 shops. You can also find small vendors selling souvenirs, as well as live entertainment and convenient nearby access to the Kiev Metro. Grishko National Botanical Garden: Located at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, this beautiful garden contains thousands of different types of trees and

Babi Yar Memorial

and political centers in Eastern Europe. The Grand Dukes of Kiev united the Slavic tribes, brought artisans into the city, and constructed grand palaces and churches. The city enjoyed a strategic position at the center of the Viking and Greek trading routes. 1240 marks the end of the Kievan Rus’ at the hands of Mongol invaders. The city came under joint Polish-Lithuanian rule in the late 1300s and was returned to native Ukrainian rule 1654 by the terrible Hetman Khmelnitsky, who was well-known for his extreme anti-Semitism and ruthlessness. However, Khmelnitsky required Russian help to win the war against Poland-Lithuania, and so in exchange Ukraine became a vassal state of the Russian empire. Despite Russian domination, Kiev managed to thrive artistically and commercially. However, dissatisfaction with Czarist rule became public and, in the 1840s, a movement led by author and poet Taras Shevchenko to free Ukraine arose. The movement was unsuccessful, and Shevchenko was sent to prison for promoting use of the Ukrainian language and advocating for independence. He is today a major figure in the Ukrainian nationalist movement. The Industrial Revolution hit its full stride in Ukraine in the late 1800s as factories, railways, and migrant laborers made their way to Kiev. The Russian Revolution and subsequent Civil War marked the beginning of chaos and factionalism in Kiev. Immediately after the fall of the Russian Empire, Ukraine declared its independence, but that was not to last. Divisions between the moderate Menshevik socialists and the Soviet Communists culminated with the invasion of Kiev by the Red Army in 1919, as well as invasions by the German and Polish armies. By the end of the war in 1920, however, Ukraine was firmly

Brodsky Shul

history, Kiev continues to thrive as a center of art, history and culture, as it has for over a millennium. Attractions Mariinsky Park: Kiev is known as a green city, and this peaceful park represents the Kievans’ respect for nature and history. The park contains many landmarks dedicated to Ukraine’s past such as the People’s Friendship Arch, which was dedicated to the union of Russia and Ukraine within the former Soviet Union. (This arch is scheduled to be replaced with a memorial to the veterans of the ongoing Donbass conflict.) There is also the Kiev state puppet theatre, the oldest in Ukraine, which contains a huge antique doll collection. Right near the park is Mariyinsky Palace, which adjoins the Verkhovna Rada building (Ukraine’s national parliament). The palace was built by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli (also responsible for St. Petersburg’s magnificent Winter Palace) in 1752. It was used a residence for the imperial family until the Russian Revolution, during which it became the headquarters for the Kiev Soviet faction. Today, it is the Ukrainian president’s official residence. Unfortunately, it is currently closed for renovations. A statue in Mariinsky Park pays tribute to the participants of the January Uprising of 1918, in which Bolshevik workers faced off against defenders of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. Khreshchatyk: Stretching from Old Town’s European Square to Besarabsky Market, Khreshchatyk is Kiev’s most famous street. During WWII, the street was completely destroyed by mines planted by the

Mezhgorye Yanukovych Pervomaisk missile silo

Great Choral Shul

flowers from across the world. The flowers are stored both outside and in greenhouses. Entrance is cheap ($1), and the gardens sometimes host concerts. State Aviation Museum: Located on Kiev’s outskirts, this museum has a large collection of rare Soviet and Ukrainian military aircraft. These include some of the most famous aircraft from the Cold War such as the MiG-21 jet fighter, which dates back to 1956 (and is still being used by the Syrian air force in the current civil war), and the IL-26 heavy transport/aerial refueling plane. The museum is pretty barebones as far as interactive exhibits go, but if you’re an aircraft enthusiast, then it’s a must-see. Museum of the History of Ukraine in WWII: One of Ukraine’s largest and most popular museums, this memorial to the lives lost in WWII is dominated by the 62-foot Motherland statue – a symbol of Ukraine’s resilience. Dozens of pieces of vintage Soviet military equipment from tanks to planes to missile batteries are situated outside. 16 interior halls take visitors through the history of Ukrainian involvement in WWII as well as later conflicts like the Soviet-Afghan War. Special exhibits focus on some of WWII’s most harrowing moments on the Eastern front such as the Siege of Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk, and the Battle of Sevastopol. In all, there are over 15,000 artifacts on display including soldiers’ diaries and letters, propaganda posters, uniforms, weapons, and much more. Babi Yar Memorial: The massacre of over 30,000 Jews in 1941 at the Babi Yar ravine in Kiev at the hands of SS troops and local collaborators was one of the single most horrendous atrocities of WWII. Official So-

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Tashlich in Uman

viet policy after the war was to not admit that the victims were Jewish. While other groups such as Gypsies, Communists, and Soviet prisoners of war had their own Babi Yar memorials for decades, it wasn’t until Ukrainian independence in 1991 that a Jewish memorial was erected – a solemn menorah marking the spot where the massacre took place. A visit to Kiev would not be complete without paying one’s respects here. Chernobyl National Museum: This museum helps you get an appreciation not only for the events that led to the infamous Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, but also the immense human toll it took. Visitors can get a sense of what it was like to be inside the power plant right at the time of the accident. The museum has a number of artifacts from within the plant including safety gear and rescue vehicles sent to evacuate the workers, many of whom risked their lives and those of their children to stay behind and contain the crisis. Artifacts from workers and local residents who were forced to flee are on display. A memorial to the children of Chernobyl is one of the museum’s most evocative displays and drives home the full scale of this disaster. An English audio guide is recommended as little of the museum displays will make sense if you don’t speak Ukrainian or Russian. Pyrohiv: This small village just to the south of Kiev is home to the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life of Ukraine. Showing rural Ukrainian life as it was centuries ago, the outdoor museum is dedicated to peasant life and traditional folk art. The most notable feature of the museum is the beautiful wooden mills situated on a hill. The interiors of the over 300 buildings in the museum show objects from everyday Ukrainian life such as folk dresses, metal, glassware, carpets, and wooden utensils. Day trips: The city of Uman, home to Rabbi Nachman of Breslov’s grave, is about 130 miles south of Kiev. Each Rosh Hashanah, tens of thousands of Chassidim make the pilgrimage to the Rebbe’s grave in accordance with his wish that people should be with him for that holiday. While you’re in Uman, be sure to also check out the magnificent Arboretum Sofiyivka, one of Europe’s best botanical gardens. The gardens were founded by a Polish noble in the late 1700s and named after his wife. Visitors can walk through the park’s romantic landscape, learn about the many species of flora represented in the park, and ride on a steamboat over the park’s ponds. Located about two-three hours away from Kiev, the town of Pervomaisk in central Ukraine was once home to the 46th Rocket

Division of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces. It was here that the Soviets kept an ICBM launcher silo, ready to send out nuclear missiles at a moment’s notice. The silo was decommissioned after the collapse of the Soviet Union and turned into a museum in 1997. Today, visitors can descend over 100 feet below the surface to the silo’s control center and see the room that could have started WWIII. Tours are conducted by ex-servicemen who staffed the silo. You can also see an R-36 Soviet ICBM, which was capable of carrying three nuclear warheads. A much more recent (and controversial) excursion from Kiev is the former residence of ex-Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Named Mezhigorie, the residence is located in the village of Petrivtsi Vyshgorodskiy in the Kiev region. In early 2014 as the Euromaidan protests hit full swing and an arrest warrant was issued against Yanukovych for mass murder of protesters, the ex-president fled his estate for Russia. For many Ukrainians, the lavish villa is a symbol of Yanukovych’s hypocrisy and corruption. Visitors can tour the villa and get a glimpse of the extravagant lifestyle Yanukovych led. From an extensive artwork collection to gold and crystal to recreational facilities such as a tennis court and a bowling alley, it’s no wonder why some refer to this place as a modern-day Versailles. Last, but certainly not least, is a tour of the Chernobyl plant and the nearby town of Pripyat. Radiation levels have gone down quite a bit since 1986, but visitors are still screened for radioactive particles when entering and exiting the Exclusion Zone. Touring the abandoned streets of Pripyat, once home to over 50,000 people, is truly an eerie experience. The forest and wildlife have slowly overtaken the area in the absence of humans. Visitors can see the power plant’s massive concrete sarcophagus, which prevents even more radiation from escaping. Other highlights include the abandoned hospital that was used to treat plant workers and rescue personnel, the iconic Ferris wheel used in an amusement park that never opened, the plants cooling towers and cooling pond (now populated by catfish), and the once-secret Soviet radar antenna used to track ballistic missile launches. Daven and Eat Kiev has three exceptionally beautiful shuls. One is the Brodsky Shul, the city’s largest and dating back to 1898. Brodsky was damaged by the Nazis and then used for puppet theatre. It subsequently rebuilt in 2000, and it now serves as a Chabad congregation. Another major shul in Kiev is the

Great Choral Shul, located in the historic district of Podil. Built in 1895, it’s Kiev’s oldest surviving shul and is fashioned in a colorful, Neo-Moorish style. Lastly, there’s the lesser-known Galitska Shul, built in 1909 and used as a workers’ restaurant after WWII until it was renovated and re-converted to a shul in 2001. Kiev has several kosher restaurants. The most conveniently located of these is right in the Podol Inn, Kiev’s only hotel that caters specifically to Jewish visitors. There is also the Bet Yehuda restaurant, serving traditional Ashkenazi food, and Bakerman, serving a mix of Asian and Italian food. Getting There Airfare from LAX to Kiev currently

starts at around $950 per person round trip. Despite the language gap, getting around Kiev is fairly easy. Google Maps has good coverage of the city, or – if you prefer – you can pick up a tourist map at Boryspil Airport. The metro is the best way to travel in Kiev as it is fast, clean, and efficient. (Kiev has one of the world’s deepest metro stations – Arsenalna – at a depth of 351 feet.) Taxis are commonplace and have some of Europe’s cheapest fares. The city’s bus system is also highly rated although it can get quite crowded during peak hours. Several companies offer long-distance bus rides to other Ukrainian cities and neighboring countries. If you have extra time, take the trolley or the Kiev Funicular to ride in style.



The Parenting Week In News

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Proactive Parenting: School Success Sara Teichman, Psy.D.

Dear Dr. T I enjoyed your recent JHLA column about concrete ways (diet, sleep, exercise) of helping our children be successful in school. But, honestly, it’s kind of basic. What about our attitudes and expectations, hopes and dreams? What impact, if any, do they have on our children’s success? Merav Dear Merav, You are so right. Parenting is far more than the concrete, physical tasks that we perform for our children daily; it involves the parents’ attitudes and values, as well. There are many ways that our parenting style affects our children’s learning expe-

rience. Let’s start with what we all know. To succeed, we have to want to succeed and must be willing to work hard to achieve that success. In short, for a child to do well in school, this goal has to be a priority in the family. Most people give lip service to

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this notion: when questioned, both parent and child alike will say that doing well in school is important. However, it is not the words that count: it is the many complex and consistent steps that a parent and a child must take in order to achieve the desired goal. And, though there are always those creative geniuses who seem to fly effortlessly through life’s tasks, most of us do need to work really hard to succeed. The first step to school success is deceptively simple: come to school every day, on time. Missing a day, or even part of a day, is not just a matter of the hours missed; many children become disoriented when they join the class in middle of a lesson, just as their parents might feel if they came late to an important meeting. However, even more importantly, there’s an attitude behind the absence/lateness. When there is no true need (illness, medical appointment), what is reflected is a casual attitude at best, and a subversive attitude (the school cannot tell us what to do!) at worst. Not only does this parent mindset influence the child’s attendance, but it more than likely spills over into other areas – such as homework, co-operation – as well. Making school a priority means recognizing that school is the child’s work and needs to be respected and taken seriously. On the other hand, I do feel it’s critical to give the child some healthy space – and that is why I recommend one free mental health day per year. We all need a break. Children, like adults, do best with some choice, and school offers precious little. Ideally, our child chooses his day the night before to obviate the “I don’t want to go to school today,” syndrome. In fact, this free day may eliminate that kind of early morning grousing because it lets the child know that there is exactly one day when he does not have to go. The free day concept encourages problem solving and delaying of gratification, as well. Even a young child can learn to save the value of a day in the bank “for later,” and can internalize the message that “You can’t have your cake and eat it,too.” I have even heard of some parents, as the end of the year draws near, who allow their child to redeem the unused free day for a sum of money. Ultimately, even if the child eventually redeems his free day for cash, the day has served its purpose: to hold out the promise of space when it is most need-


Sometimes, it is hard to work with the school. After all, just like the rest of us, not every teacher is a star. But, effective parenting dictates that we treat staff members of our child’s school as partners, not adversaries. As in any partnership, there may be many qualities that we don’t like in our partner, but we choose to overlook them so that we can work effectively together. We parents choose the school our children attend – and despite our inevitable disappointments – we must remain supportive, available, and involved. When we challenge the school – in attitude, words, or deeds – it confuses and upsets our child. The school and his parents are the two stable authorities in his life, and when they conflict, our child has divided loyalties. He feels forced to take sides, and this emotional tug-of-war may affect his academic success and ability to “join the system.” As mature parents, we recognize that once we have chosen a school for our child, it is in our child’s best interest to support that school and minimize any unintentional mixed messages. However, it is important to note at this point that I am not advocating the black and white “teacher is always right” approach. It is always a parent’s role to be his child’s advocate. What is crucial though is that conflict is managed with co-operation and good will: not with rancor, but with the spirit of “Let’s work it out.” Our values, attitudes, and behaviors create a road map for our children. Let us make sure we draw one up that gets our children where they need to go. The Book Nook: Preparing Your Child for Success is written for both parents and teachers. Its common sense approach to helping a child reach his potential makes this an invaluable guidebook. The book is written by Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, who began his distinguished career as an educator in 1986. He is the founding principal of Me’ohr Bais Yaakov Teacher’s Seminary in Jerusalem, and is a popular lecturer and consultant on education and parenting. Sara Teichman, Psy D. is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles and Clinical Director of ETTA, L.A.’s largest Jewish agency for adults with special needs. To submit a question or comment, email

The Week In News

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The Week World In News Digital

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Back to School with The Digital Citizenship Project A Few Minutes with Dr. Eli Shapiro Susan Schwamm

It is no secret that advances in the availability and affordability of technology devices has had a profound impact on our daily experience. From the ability to connect with family and friends anytime and anywhere to the convenience of managing our personal finances from a device the size of a deck of playing cards, technology brings us tremendous opportunity. With that opportunity comes challenges, as we all know that we can become over-connected with our technology at the expense of real world connections, impulsive texts or emails can have unanticipated consequences, and managing our children’s devices and technology experiences is a task few of us have been prepared for. As we prepare for the back to school season, we sat down with Dr. Eli Shapiro, licensed Clinical Social Worker and Doctor of Education, to discuss how technology is impacting our children and to explore practical strategies to managing it effectively. Dr. Shapiro is the creator and director of The Digital Citizenship Project, which teaches healthy and responsible use of technology in the digital age. He has been writing and lecturing on the topic extensively. Dr. Shapiro has presented in dozens of communities and schools across the country, at conferences for The Jewish Education Project (BJE), The North American Jewish Day School Conference, Torah Umesorah, and The Consortium of Jewish Day Schools, and will presenting this fall at the International Kinus Hashluchim for Chabad worldwide. Dr. Shapiro also serves as an adjunct professor of social work at the City University of New York (CUNY) York College. TJH: Dr. Shapiro, thank you for taking the time to meet with us to discuss the important issue of kids and technology. What is the biggest challenge we are facing with technology today? ES: It really isn’t a singular challenge. We are living in an unprecedented time where the speed at which technology advances is far faster than our ability to understand its impact and create the norms and rules to effectively regulate it. Our

children are the first generation growing up in this perpetually “connected” society, making them digital natives, and we are the first generation of parents trying to guide them as digital immigrants. That generational disconnect and a lack of prior experiences in how to parent the digital generation makes the challenge unique. I was recently working with a parent whose child was struggling academically and having trouble maintaining focus in class. Through our conversation I discovered that this sixth grader was frequently up until 3 in the morning on his iPad. When I suggested to the mother that her child should be responsible to bring her the iPad every night at 10pm, she responded by saying, “But it’s his.” Such are the parental challenges for managing our children’s technology in a generation of entitlement. When we are constantly hearing from our children that “everyone has one” or “everyone is allowed to” it becomes difficult to set the policies that maximize the likelihood of their success. On a side note, when the parent felt empowered to implement rules regarding technology, the child’s academic experience vastly improved.

ble behavior with regards to technology use. What that means is how we utilize technology in a socially, psychologically and behaviorally responsible way for both others and ourselves. Socially we have the opportunity to connect with more people, but we also run the risk of being distracted by our devices. Many recent studies find that basic social skills such as eye contact, which is critical for establishing a meaningful connection between people, has diminished as a result of technology. In fact, a recent study by UCLA found that after only 5 days of being separated from technology in overnight camp, middle schools students markedly improved their ability to read social cues and engage in healthier social interactions. They key is balance and maximizing what technology has to offer while minimizing its negative impacts.

TJH: We have been hearing for years about the need for filters, doesn’t that address most of the problems of the Internet safety? ES: One of our big goals at The Digital Citizenship Project is to shift the communal paradigm from “Internet Safety” to “Digital Citizenship.” Internet safety has traditionally focused on protecting people from graphic imagery available on the Internet. Filters and parental monitoring software are critical tools in managing that aspect of technology but it fails to teach Digital Citizenship and address the broader issue of technology’s impact on social, psychological and behavioral functioning. We have conducted a national study on technology ownership trends and behaviors amongst Jewish day school students and found that filters in and of themselves do not effectively protect children. Filters are effective when paired with student education and parental empowerment or simply put, teaching digital citizenship. TJH: How do you define Digital Citizenship and what specifically is technology’s impact on social, psychological and behavioral functioning? ES: Digital Citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate and responsi-

prone to dissatisfaction and lower levels of subjective wellbeing. A study of twitter hashtags found that for every positive hashtag (#ilove, #bestever, etc.) there are two negative (#ihate, #worstever, etc.). In a sense, poor digital citizenship contributes to our negative wellbeing. For teens and pre-teens, in addition to comments and posts, we see this negativity manifesting itself in cyberbullying and other aggressive online behavior. TJH: Tell us about The Digital Citizenship Project and how it addresses these difficult challenges. ES: The Digital Citizenship Project is a school- and community-based program designed to provide parents, children and school personnel with the tools to manage children’s technology use. We educate them on technology’s impact and give them a common language and strategies to be better digital citizens. Since children today do not know what it means to live without the constant connectivity they have no way of self-assessing when their behavior has become problematic. That is where the common language becomes critical. Parents and students can identify disinhibition, impulsivity, or digital distraction and address it before it becomes a problem. We educate the school community through a comprehensive curriculum, specifically designed for different age groups, that empowers everyone to effectively manage their technology ownership and behaviors. TJH: What are some examples from the curriculum?

TJH: You mentioned a psychological effect. How does technology impact that? ES: Numerous studies find correlations between avid cellphone and Internet use and increased anxiety and depression. There are also studies that find that connection with excessive gaming. Writing something down often cements our perceptions of experiences and ultimately our overall outlooks. A study by Peterson and Seligman, founders of the Positive Psychology movement, found that people who wrote down five things at the end of the day that they were grateful for tended to be happier. The opposite is true as well; if we tweet, text, blog, and comment negative experiences, we tend to see things negatively and ultimately are more

ES: In addition to the general educational knowledge provided, the curriculum includes modules on topics like “responsible photo sharing,” “being a good consumer of online information,” and “the public and permanent nature of your digital footprint,” to name a few. It comes as a shock to many students and parents as well that their digital footprint will have more of an impact on their college and career opportunities than their actual grades. For parents, we provide practical strategies for managing their children’s device usage including family policy setting and promoting more effective dialogues to discuss technology issues with their children. TJH: You mentioned parents and children. As schools shift to technology-based learning models what kind of impact can

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SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

we expect there and what should schools being doing about it? ES: Great question. Blended learning, which combines traditional classroom teaching methods with technology-based activities, is a great opportunity for customizing learning plans for students and for tracking individual student progress and achievement. However, the same screen time challenges apply. The position of The Digital Citizenship Project has always been if we are promoting technology use for its benefits, it must be paired with digital responsibility education. We have and continue to work with many schools that are taking a blended learning approach and, whether they are utilizing the full Digital Citizenship Project program, scheduling parent lectures, staff development programs or consulting with us on their policies on technology use and social media, they are clearly engaged in a thoughtful and deliberative process with regards to student technology use. TJH: You bring up an interesting point: there are vast differences to a school community’s engagement in technology with some schools providing students with handheld devices even in school while other schools have policies that students cannot have handheld devices even at home. How does The Digital Citizenship Project address such a broad spectrum of needs?

ES: Our program is research-based and data driven. Before beginning work with any school community, we conduct a formative assessment to understand the unique digital profile of that community. We designed a comprehensive survey that paints a very clear picture of technology ownership, attitudes and behaviors, and that data is what informs the content of the parents’ presentations, student workshops, and staff development programs. Not only does the technology profile differ from schools to school, but we see differences from grade to grade. While there are common issues amongst all schools, our statistical analysis allows us to address communal issues with significantly greater precision than an “off the rack” program might. TJH: What are some of the most significant findings in your research? ES: In our study of Jewish middle schools, nearly 70% of respondents reported owning a smartphone and 59% owning a computer tablet device, but only 15% reported having any filters or parental control settings activated on those devices. 50% of respondents reported having accidentally ended up on a website that their parents would disapprove of, and over 14% in total and 27% of eighth graders reporting intentionally looking up a website. When asked, “Have you ever seen an image or video clip that disturbed you?”,

more than 50% in total and nearly 69% of eighth graders replied, “Yes.” Other areas of concern are that 60% of respondents report sleeping with their cellphone within reach and going to bed late as a result of their online activity, and 44% of students reported “often” playing games or staying online longer than they intended. What we are definitely seeing is that kids today need empowered and informed adults to help them manage their technology in a healthy way, and that is what The Digital Citzenship Project is here to do. TJH: Thank you for your time today. It is my understanding that you will be working numerous schools across the country this year. How can a school or community sign up for The Digital Citizenship Project?

ES: Yes, we will be working with a number of schools in the New York metro area, greater Los Angeles area, and communities in between. West coast schools will also have the opportunity to participate in a full day training for both elementary and high schools educators on October 31st , which leads to our “Tech Smart” certification in Digital Citizenship education. The training will take place at Yeshivat Yavneh in Los Angeles and training participants will receive our Digital Citizenship curriculum as well as the knowledge and skills to implement effective Digital Citizenship programming in their school communities. For more information we can be reached via email at or through our website,



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SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

California Legalizes Motorcycle Lane Splitting Michael Rubinstein Esq. In August, California became the first state to formally legalize motorcycle lane splitting. Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist rides between two lanes of traffic, usually at an intersection where traffic is backed up or stopped. A majority of motorcyclists in California admit to the practice, and many believe it saves lives. Lane splitting has been tolerated by law enforcement for decades. There was no law banning it, but there was also no law condoning it. This allowed the practice to perpetuate, confusing many drivers who thought it was illegal. California’s lane splitting law will now define the practice to mean “driving a motorcycle that has two wheels in contact with the ground, between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane.” The law also authorizes various government agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, DMV, and Office of Traffic Safety to develop guidelines to educate drivers and motorcyclists about

lane splitting. Previously, the CHP offered lane splitting guidelines on its website. Some of these guidelines advised motorcyclists to travel at a speed that is no more than 10 MPH faster than surrounding traffic. Motorcyclists were cautioned not to lane split at all when traffic was traveling at 30 MPH or faster. It is possible that the CHP and other agencies will formulate new guidelines for motorcyclists now that lane splitting is legal. There are some common motorcycle accident scenarios for drivers in Los Angeles. Now that lane splitting has the full force and effect of law, drivers should be extra cautious to help prevent these collisions. Two scenarios I’ve experienced in my practice include: Left Turns. Left-turns often result in motorcycle collisions. Drivers are accustomed to scanning ahead for vehicle traffic, but not training their field of vision in between the lanes to check for motorcyclists who might be lane-splitting as they

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approach. The left-turning vehicle is usually to blame in this scenario, for failing to yield to oncoming traffic. Lane Changes. This is probably the most common scenario. Changing lanes, especially close to an intersection where traffic is stopped is ground zero for motorcycle collisions. The adjacent lane might be clear, but did you check your blind spot? Did you check to make sure the area between the lanes was clear? That’s probably where a motorcyclist will be riding as he or she approaches the intersection. The driver changing lanes in this scenario would be at fault for making an unsafe lane change. Motorcyclists can also ride in the lane itself, in addition to between the lanes. Always make sure the adjacent lane is clear of motorcycle traffic too. Let’s do what we can to help prevent motorcycle collisions in Los Angeles! BACK TO SCHOOL SAFETY RE-

MINDERS Now that schools and yeshivas in our community have resumed, let’s keep safety in mind. Drivers should be courteous at the carpool line, not text and drive, not block driveways or alleys, and plan enough time in the mornings to transport students to school. A rushed driver is a stressed driver, and a stressed driver can make mistakes behind the wheel. Students who walk to school should only cross at an intersection when the light is green, and students under 18 who ride scooters or a bicycle must wear a helmet. If riding a school bus, don’t ever run into the street after exiting the bus. Let’s all have a safe, successful school year! Michael Rubinstein is a Los Angeles based personal injury and accident attorney. He may be reached by visiting www., or by calling 213-2936075.

SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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