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JANUARY 15, 2015


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JANUARY 15, 2015

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JANUARY 15, 2015



TO THE LOS ANGELES CHEDER 801 N. LA BREA AVENUE ********************************************************* Procession will begin on La Brea Avenue and proceed west on Clinton Avenue, turning right and heading north on Formosa Avenue, then right and continuing east on Waring Avenue to the Cheder building.

CONTENTS Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 In Memoriam: On Losing The Irreplaceable. . . . . . 17 Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein; A Man With Many Hats. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

JEWISH THOUGHT A Nation of Spirit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

COVER STORY Je Suis Juif. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Uncle Moishy Fun Page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

LIFESTYLES The Best New Tech of CES 2015. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 How the IRS views Air Miles & Points?. . . . . . . . . . . 37 Travel Guide: Montana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

EDUCATION Ask the Attorney. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

We hear and read over and over again “Je Suis Charlie”, “Je Suis Juif” and “Freedom of expression, freedom of religion and in the Jews case freedom to exist, will endure!” But what are those freedoms? Are we really Charlie? Wouldn’t we be sick in the stomach if we saw some of the snide cartoons before the terrorists struck? Is there a connection between the cold blooded murder of the staff at an obnoxious newspaper, and Jewish shoppers at a supermarket? When discussing the laws of punishment for someone who kills, the Rambam writes that “although there are sins which carry a punishment worse than for murder, they do not cause the destruction – interfere with world harmony as does murder. Even idol worship, not to mention immoral behavior or the desecration of Shabbos are not like homicide. For these sins are between man and G-d but murder is between man and his fellow man.” Taking someone else’s life is the worst possible crime. All upstanding and decent human beings understand that. That’s why over a million and a half individuals made sure to attend the rally in Paris, ignoring the palpable fear that another terror attack might take place. If the terrorists accomplished anything, besides putting this otherwise relatively unheard of newspaper in the limelight, it was to unite human beings from across every group to be disgusted by this type of belief system. Whether on the political right, left, believers or self-proclaimed atheists, we are all united in respecting the sanctity of human life. The irony of it is that the staff at this extremely secular newspaper were lumped together and hated alongside members of the oldest faith. Perhaps that’s the connection. As in previous times, whenever hatred was directed toward a specific group of people, us Jews were always included for we are a reminder that there is a moral code and one can’t just act as they wish.

The Jew reminds the world that freedom of expression and the freedom to make bad choices comes from G-d himself. In an interesting twist there are many so called “leftists” who are currently having a hard time with the doctrine of “freedom of expression” which they’ve been pushing all these years and it’s the religious, including many Muslims who have to remind them. The more time passes the more it seems that individuals in almost every nation are getting this right; all humans were created in G-ds image and that human life is sacred. Unfortunately the hypocrisy of most Governments including those who marched, and those who didn’t, continues to increase… What’s the message for us? Let’s try and think of someone or a group of people with whom we absolutely don’t see eye to eye and try connecting to their humanity. They too were created in the image of G-d, and we need to relate to them that way. Perhaps this recognition is what’s needed for the “world” to have accomplished the purpose it was created for; Je Suis Charlie, Je Suis Shalom, Je Suis Sara, Je Suis Juif. We were all created in G-d’s image and we need tap into that, live life accordingly and most importantly, see it in our fellow man. Here in America we have the luxury of doing so in freedom. Let’s not waste this freedom on the pursuit of the physical and the temporary. Most significantly, let’s call out to our creator in heaven that He protect our sisters and brothers in France and the rest of Europe. Let us pray that instead of the predicted waves of Aliyah, He gather us all from wherever we may be and bring us back home, ushering in the redemption for all humanity. May we have a Shabbos filled with unity and respect,


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

JANUARY 15, 2015

In Defense of Moshe’s “Lack of Faith”. . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Dear Readers,





JANUARY 15, 2015


Hachnossas Sefer Torah event Honoring Mrs. Chaya Pessel Weiss The Los Angeles Torah community is eagerly anticipating the grand Hachnossas Sefer Torah in memory of Mrs. Chaya Pessel bas R’ Yissachar Dov HaCohen Weiss a’h, to take place this coming Tuesday evening, January 20th, erev Rosh Chodesh Shevat. Family and friends of the Weiss family, are expected to join the community in this wonderful kavod haTorah in memory of the matriarch of the exemplary Weiss mishpacha. The procession will begin at 6:00 p.m.

in front of the Moshe Weiss building of Yeshiva Rav Isacsohn, with the participation of a large cross section of schools, mesivtos, and yeshivos. A huge crowd of Rabbonim, supporters, community members, Yeshiva bochurim, parents and children will dance with the Torah to the Cheder, located at the corner of La Brea and Waring Avenue. All Los Angeles parents are urged to bring their children to this unforgettable event! There will be music, dancing and

treats for the children. The flaming torches against the dark night, accompanied by the Hachnossas Sefer Torah truck, will lead the way in this colorful parade. The simcha will continue as the Sefer Torah is brought into the Cheder and placed into the Aron Kodesh in the Bais Medrash. In recognition of the integral role that the Cheder maintains on the chinuch scene in Los Angeles, and in recognition of the distinguished Weiss family, The Satmar Rebbe, Rav Zalman Leib shl-

ita, will grace the olam with his presence. This will be an unforgettable event of kavod haTorah. Every man, woman and child in the community is invited to participate and view for themselves the simcha shel mitzvah and the Kiddush Hashem in the streets of Los Angeles! For more information, please call the Cheder at 323-935-9274x106.

CIJE High School STEM Group to Participate in First Tech Trip to Israel A group of students from the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education, (“CIJE”) Tech High School Engineering Program along with students from Jewish day schools will be participating in the first “CIJE-Tech: Journey to the Start-Up Nation,” STEM Education Israel Trip from January 13-23. The ten-day program is a unique component of the CIJE-Tech program. It will prepare students to innovate, problem solve and leverage their skills in 21st century STEM-based careers. During the trip, several dozen students will work in teams to develop product and technology ideas. They will meet entrepreneurs at a variety of companies in Israel who will provide real world feedback. Students will also have a chance to pitch their ideas to venture capital executives from Jerusalem Venture Partners and meet with best-selling Start-Up Nation author Saul Singer, who will discuss the Israel high tech miracle in the heart of “Silicon Wadi”. CIJE-Tech is a discovery-focused, in-

teractive curriculum with a year spent on scientific and biomedical engineering. The curriculum was developed in collaboration with the Israel Sci-Tech network of schools. CIJE-Tech exposes students to a diverse range of science and technical knowledge areas while helping develop multidisciplinary and abstract thinking as well as leadership and teamwork skills. CIJE also provides intensive teacher training, on-going teacher mentoring as well as a well-furnished science laboratory. Israel is far ahead in leveraging STEM capabilities in new business startups,” explained Judy Lebovits, Vice President and Director of CIJE. “We’re providing unique access and activities that will significantly enhance our CIJE-Tech students’ education.” Jason Cury, CIJE president added, “Schools and parents are intensely focused on providing these STEM skills and we hope that with additional support, we can organize more of these unique, engineering-focused trips.”

Students will be participating from two Los Angeles schools; New Community Jewish High School and Yeshiva University of Los Angeles High Schools for Boys and Girls. “We will have the opportunity to join other CIJE-Tech students throughout the country who are coming together for the sake of science, which I find very exciting,” said Frisch School CIJE-Tech student David Lifschitz. “Yeshiva University of Los Angeles High School for Boys (YULA) is proud to send participants on this first ever trip to Israel,” said Rabbi Dov Emerson, head of school. “What better place to go than to the “Start Up Nation,” where our students can benefit from the rich history of our people and Torah, while at the same time get exposed to cutting-edge research only being done in Israel?” CIJE strengthens and enriches education in American Jewish schools across the denominational spectrum, educating a generation for innovation, instilling criti-

Magen Yeladim Event Draws an Outpouring of Support On a crisp, clear January morning, in the garden of Frank and Lynn Menlo, Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein addressed the issue of abuse in the frum community. “The first stage was the sha-sha stage. No one wanted to discuss it, or realized the scope of the problem. The second stage was the weather stage, where everyone was talking about it, but no one knew what to do about it. Fortunately,” declared Rabbi Adlerstein, “we’re now ready for the third stage, the Magen Yeladim stage. No one had the solution before Debbie came with her programs; the doors were closed. Today, they are beating down her door to get her programs into their communities.” It was in one such community where Mrs. Ruth Gordon first approached Debbie Fox and shared her personal story. At the Magen Yeladim event, Mrs. Gordon recounted it to rapt listeners. In May 2009, her son David, almost 16, disclosed the sexual abuse that he had suf-

fered between the ages of 8 ½ and 10 ½, by members of the Jewish community. Although her son was terrified to tell his parents, when he did so the Gordons were ashamed, embarrassed and hurt. Then they found, “there was no mechanism to treat our needs in the Jewish world, nothing in place to help us deal with it.” Fortunately, David Gordon got the support he needed, but not within the frum community. All of the therapists he worked with were not Jewish, and his new chevra consisted of a mix of people who knew how to be warm and supportive. “I look up to my son,” Mrs. Gordon said. “He advocated, confronted those people…and his main goal was to help others in the same position.” Although David, a lone soldier in the IDF, was nifter this summer and cannot continue his efforts, Mrs. Fox explained that he has “charged us with advocacy, to educate, and to

cal thinking, creativity and problem solving skills. CIJE currently provides funding for programs at 150 beneficiary schools nationwide including advanced technology, engaging curricula, teacher training and vital support in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects. The organization offers a number of innovative programs including CIJE-Tech Engineering Program, SET3 science, engineering, teamwork, technology & training enrichment programs; and Excellence 2000 (E2K) developed in collaboration with the Israel Center for Excellence in Education (ICEE). Since 2001, CIJE has built 100 computer laboratories, 27 state-of-the-art science laboratories and donated more than 500 smart boards. CIJE was established as an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization in 2008. For more information, please visit www.thecije.org.

by Devorah Talia Gordon

make a difference.” Mrs. Debbie Fox is working hard to make sure stories like David’s become a thing of the past in the frum world. “We are here to create communities that keep children safe,” explained Mrs. Fox, describing Magen Yeladim’s primary mission. “We have to create a foundation of safety within schools.” This occurs by educating the school administration, staff, parents, and finally going into the classroom with Magen Yeladim’s renowned Safety Kid Program. With its use of a child-friendly puppet, videos and trained Safety Kid presenters, the program has now reached 30,000 school children across 25 cities. According to Fox, echoing David Gordon’s writings, “‘Change is coming, justice is thundering in.’” Since the massive launch of the Safety Kid Program, parents and educators from across the country have reported that kids are safer when they have the lan-

guage and tools to protect themselves from abuse. Administrators are more successful when they know how to deal with perpetrators. Magen Yeladim has launched other projects as well, such as Project SafeCamp, which provides safety training for camp counselors and educates camp administrators. Another new program, Project Community Shield, is an ongoing protection system that keeps children safe by mobilizing multiple community resources. “When we work together, it is a safe community,” said Fox. Clearly, the large showing of support of Magen Yeladim’s work is a testament to Los Angeles’ desire to be on the forefront of creating safe communities.


Dirshu Prepares for First Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Siyum with New Shiurim by Chaim Gold

An Inseverable Bond and A Once-ina-Lifetime Opportunity The bond between Dirshu and the heilige Chofetz Chaim, zy”a, is an inseverable one. Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program of halacha and mussar, endorsed by Gedolei Yisrael worldwide, is devoted to learning the sefarim written by the Chofetz Chaim. The program has brought tens of thousands from many countries, to learn the Chofetz Chaim’s Mishnah Berurah and mussar sefarim daily. Now, with Dirshu on the cusp of completing the seven-year program of the entire Mishnah Berurah and in the midst of preparations for the historic siyum, a momentous event will take place at the kever of the Chofetz Chaim. The event offers the wider public a unique, one-time opportunity to invoke the tremendous zechus of the Chofetz Chaim. On 12 Shevat/February 1, more than 15 Gedolei Rabbanim and Poskim together with a group of senior members of Dirshu’s hanhala will be travelling to Radin to participate in an exclusive maamad, a maamad that has the power to immeasurably enrich the lives of both present and future

Daf HaYomi B’Halacha participants. The trip, to be undertaken in advance of the siyum, will have a dual purpose. First, the delegation will visit the Chofetz Chaim’s kever and say, “We are here at the kever of the Chofetz Chaim. We are about to com-

plete the first machzor of daily Mishnah Berurah. In the merit of daily learning the Chofetz Chaim’s Mishnah Berurah and mussar sefarim, Hashem should answer our tefillos!” The Gemara (Bava Metziah: 85) tells us that when one of the Amoraim was ill, he approached the kever of his Rebbi. Wanting to invoke the powerful zechus of his Rebbi, whose Torah he constantly learned, he approached the kever and said, “I learn your Torah!” The Gemara explains how in that merit, he was healed. Acting on the lesson learned from that Gemara, Dirshu will place the ‘Sefer Gibborim’ in a special place at the kever of the Chofetz Chaim where it will remain. What is the ‘Sefer Gibborim’? It is a sefer containing the names of all current

Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learners, as well as any person who accepts upon himself to learn daily halacha with Daf HaYomi B’Halacha and mussar. The names will be placed at the kever and remain there as an eternal merit for those inscribed in it. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The public reaction to this opportunity in America, Eretz Yisroel, Europe and elsewhere has been overwhelming! Dirshu’s offices worldwide have been constantly receiving names of both veteran Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learners and countless new members that have undertaken to join now or in the future. The day by day increased public interest and enthusiasm for the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program is a remarkable testament to its popularity. One of the manifestations of that growth is the numerous new Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiurim that have opened at the request of the wider public. As always, Dirshu remains committed to opening a shiur for any group that desires one. Recently, additional shiurim have opened in Monsey and Lakewood, with anticipated openings in Chicago, Marine Park and several other locales. There is even a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha chaburah of some 25 yungerleit in Caracas, Venezuela! Yes, in far-off Caracas, a daily oasis of halacha and mussar can be found as Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is learned and monthly tests are taken religiously. One of the most exciting recent developments is that in Lakewood, 25 members of the elite Dirshu Chaburah led by Rav Moshe Pruzansky felt that they would gain tremendously from a daily shiur before morning seder in Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. Every day, 25 yungerleit come early, long before the official start of morning seder to get in their daily limud of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. The maggid shiur, Rav Yisrael Zucker, is a close talmid of the wellknown posek, HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Miller, shlita, Rosh Kollel of the Kollel

Avreichim of Toronto and Av Beis Din of the Bais Horaah of Lakewood. In Monsey, two new shiurim have recently begun. The first shiur transpires every morning immediately after Shacharis in Rav Yisroel Hartman’s shul. The story behind that shiur is the Dirshu Kollel that learns Gemara there every morning before Shacharis. The members of the Dirshu Kollel declared that they would very much like to bring practical halacha into their lives on a daily basis. Despite their busy schedules they felt compelled to make time after davening for a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiur. The maggid shiur is Rav Shmuel Adler. Another new Monsey shiur is given every evening by Rav Chaim Schabes, Rav of the Knesses Yisroel Shul and one of Monsey’s distinguished Rabbonim. Rav Schabes acquiesced to the request of several baalei batim who greatly wanted to bring daily halacha and the resultant bracha into their lives. Why Not You?! Now there is an absolutely unique opportunity to have your name inscribed for perpetuity in the ‘Sefer Gibborim’ that will be permanently housed at the heilige kever of the Chofetz Chaim! It is an opportunity to join Klal Yisrael’s newest Daf HaYomi, The Daf HaYomi B’Halacha and access the unending zechus of the Chofetz Chaim! The Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is marching and is already nearing the end of Chelek Vav. For seven years, thousands upon thousands of Yidden have taken approximately a half hour out of their schedules to bring halacha and mussar into their lives. Why not you?! To join Daf HaYomi B’Halacha or to access a shiur near you and to get your name placed in the Sefer Gibborim please call Dirshu at 188-5-Dirshu, extension 106, fax 732-987-3949 or e-mail: info@ kolleldirshu.org

scenery to hike, caves to explore, local ghost towns, relaxing spas and photography opportunities unlike any other. Rabbi Richler knows that Lake Tahoe is also a cost-effective choice when compared to other Pesach packages. He explained, “We offer a communal Seder and are planning Pesach events. At the same time families will have the freedom to enjoy their Pesach with activities that suit different aged kids and a variety of personal styles. We also plan to have outside services during the haggim because the view is spectacular and the weather so pleasant.”

Designing a Glatt Kosher menu for the visiting families has been the job of Rebbetzin Richler whose culinary prowess has been a characteristic of this Chabad since it opened a year ago. With a team of cooks at her side, the list of options will include varied, healthy cuisine but dishes so enjoyable you will forget the Pesach limitations. The final menu will be posted in February. For more information contact Rabbi Richler at JewishTahoe.com or call 530314-7677.

Lake Tahoe Will Do the Job for You! This week, Chabad of Lake Tahoe launched a perfect Pesach program which guarantees visiting families will have a break from the regular Pesach preparation. The program offers visitors a website where they can find short term home rentals in the Tahoe Keyes, the lakeside area in walking distance of the shul. Visitors who sign up for Chabad’s Pesach Catering will find that the kitchen in their home-fromhome has been cleaned and is kosher for Pesach when they arrive. Throughout the trip, Chabad will provide a daily food service including homemade meals and tasty

snacks, per the unique menu orders of each family. The meals will be delivered to your door. The Pesach holiday is low season for this mountain area so Lake Tahoe is perfectly situated to allow for outings without the demands of high season. There are boat trips to be enjoyed in the warmer spring weather. For others, skiing is still in action with many runs offering lift service, covered with a decent snow pack and manmade snow. Snowboards and skis can be rented at any Ski Lake Tahoe resort. Additionally, there are vast areas of magnificent

JANUARY 15, 2015

What do Radin and Venezuela have in common? What is the connection between a new shiur before morning seder in one of Lakewood’s elite chaburos and the kever of the heilige Chofetz Chaim? What do a pre-davening shiur, an evening shiur in Monsey, new shiurim in Marine Park and Chicago have to do with the unique Sefer HaGibborim that will remain permanently at the kever of the Chofetz Chaim? Three questions with one answer! The answer is that they are all related to the mounting world-wide anticipation for the upcoming historic siyum of Dirshu’s first machzor of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, the highly successful and popular daily learning program of Mishnah Berurah and the mussar sefarim of the Chofetz Chaim that will transpire in just over two months.


Opportunity to Invoke The Infinite Zechus of the Chofetz Chaim

Educating Our Children in an Ever-Changing World On Sunday, January 4th, at Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, Harkham Hillel Academy presented a panel with over 60 city officials and educators who addressed the question: “How do we educate our children to succeed in an ever changing world?” The panel, which featured an address by Senator Joe Lieberman, was presented as a series of questions from educators in the community towards community leaders who were formerly or are presently involved in education, at the levels of civic and academic administration, activism, funding or actual pedagogy. Many voices offered different perspectives on the current trends in education but combining public, private and charter school agendas was like mixing oil with water. Each had a different agenda and focus. Some attendees focused on equal opportunity for disadvantaged students who have fewer options while others spoke about students who are already in good schools. Questions discussed included, ‘Is the public school system a failure?’ ‘Can government funds be channeled into private schools?’ ‘With universal, equal access to knowledge in the modern day, what is the proposition value of education?’ ‘Do schools really kill creativity?’ ‘Has education become commercialized into a business model where teachers have no power to affect their own curriculums?’ Rabbi Y. Boruch Sufrin, Head of School for Harkham Hillel Academy opened up the panel with an account of parshat Shemot and demonstrated that when each child counts, when each name counts, that’s when education succeeds. But how do you make sure that every child is a name? How do you make sure that each child gets the education that he or she deserves? This is

where officials were called upon to seize the reigns of education for the economically underprivileged and create opportunities where they might otherwise dissolve, due to lack of funding. Some panelists emphasized the importance of education which starts in the home, with parents speaking to their children, and continues throughout young adulthood to be promulgated in the home through parents themselves. The event, moderated by Liebe Geft, Director of the Museum of Tolerance, was well organized and featured an impressive array of city officials and dignitaries. There was no address of the ways students could be engaged on a practical level but instead, there was discussion of ways to improve the institutionalization of education as a whole. Statistics show an astronomical 40% of students who graduate high school are in need of remedial classes upon entering college so there is clearly a problem in preparing students for higher education. Education, rapidly changing in our global world, grapples with the benefits and challenges of improving technology for stu-

by Bracha Turner

dents. In the midst of this challenge, the web is largely unsafe for children and this also has a devastating effect on children’s ability to succeed. Senator Joe Lieberman asserted the need to re-divert the greatest resources in education from a trend that was formerly S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, mathematics,) focused to one of S.T.E.A.M. (incorporating the arts). The key, he pointed out, is to instill in the children a love of learning and the skill of critical thinking that will allow them to thrive in a global economy. Education is moving away from focusing on fields where there’s a correct answer and we are now training children to think creatively when there is no correct answer. He emphasized the significance of children having someone who believes in their ability in order to repair family attitudes that disregard education as a priority. A graduate of the public school system, he asserted his confidence in the public school system, and noted his pleasure at the federal administration which granted double the funding to pub-

Magen Yeladim Event Draws an Outpouring of Support On a crisp, clear January morning, in the garden of Frank and Lynn Menlo, Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein addressed the issue of abuse in the frum community. “The first stage was the sha-sha stage. No one wanted to discuss it, or realized the scope of the problem. The second stage was the weather stage, where everyone was talking about it, but no one knew what to do about it. Fortunately,” declared Rabbi Adlerstein, “we’re now ready for the third stage, the Magen Yeladim stage. No one had the solution before Debbie came with her programs; the doors were closed. Today, they are beating down her door to get her programs into their communities.” It was in one such community where Mrs. Ruth Gordon first approached Debbie Fox and shared her personal story. At the Magen Yeladim event, Mrs. Gordon recounted it to rapt listeners. In May 2009, her son David, almost 16, disclosed the

sexual abuse that he had suffered between the ages of 8 ½ and 10 ½, by members of the Jewish community. Although her son was terrified to tell his parents, when he did so the Gordons were ashamed, embarrassed and hurt. Then they found, “there was no mechanism to treat our needs in the Jewish world, nothing in place to help us deal with it.” Fortunately, David Gordon got the support he needed, but not within the frum community. All of the therapists he worked with were not Jewish, and his new chevra consisted of a mix of people who knew how to be warm and supportive. “I look up to my son,” Mrs. Gordon said. “He advocated, confronted those people… and his main goal was to help others in the same position.” Although David, a lone soldier in the IDF, was nifter this summer and cannot continue his efforts, Mrs. Fox explained

lic schools relative to private and charter schools. However, despite his confidence in public schools, Lieberman suggested the need for a few tweaks, such as adopting the controversial Common Core Standards Approach in a willingness to innovate. John Mirisch of Beverly Hills City Council spoke of raising educational standards. He also hoped to see the administration reallocate resources, eliminating the problem of lifelong college debt. He contrasted America’s debt problems with Sweden where citizens pay tremendous taxes but are rewarded with free education through college. Steve Zimmer, the head of L.A. Unified School District, which is the second largest public school system in the country, evidenced that even in the public education system, there are disparities which means that the promise of public education is not realized for all children. He spoke reprovingly of cuts to public education which disproportionately affect children at most risk. Lisa Korbatov, a proud Hillel alumnus and member of Beverly Hills Unified School Board of Education, described a key measure of the success of learning. This measure requires that by the 3rd grade, children need to be literate and to like reading. This love of learning is essential for keeping education meaningful for life. She described a tremendous mistake that is made with funding priorities: $47K is allocated to house a prisoner for a year in California, while only $10K is granted to fund each student in public school for a year. The problem is that adults are making decisions that are benefitting adults and not children.

by Devorah Talia Gordon

that he has “charged us with advocacy, to educate, and to make a difference.” Mrs. Debbie Fox is working hard to make sure stories like David’s become a thing of the past in the frum world. “We are here to create communities that keep children safe,” explained Mrs. Fox, describing Magen Yeladim’s primary mission. “We have to create a foundation of safety within schools.” This occurs by educating the school administration, staff, parents, and finally going into the classroom with Magen Yeladim’s renowned Safety Kid Program. With its use of a child-friendly puppet, videos and trained Safety Kid presenters, the program has now reached 30,000 school children across 25 cities. According to Fox, echoing David Gordon’s writings, “‘Change is coming, justice is thundering in.’” Since the massive launch of the Safety Kid Program, parents and educators from across the coun-

try have reported that kids are safer when they have the language and tools to protect themselves from abuse. Administrators are more successful when they know how to deal with perpetrators. Magen Yeladim has launched other projects as well, such as Project SafeCamp, which provides safety training for camp counselors and educates camp administrators. Another new program, Project Community Shield, is an ongoing protection system that keeps children safe by mobilizing multiple community resources. “When we work together, it is a safe community,” said Fox. Clearly, the large showing of support of Magen Yeladim’s work is a testament to Los Angeles’ desire to be on the forefront of creating safe communities.

Photo: David Finnigan


JANUARY 15, 2015







JANUARY 15, 2015


Annual Awards Dinner

Valley Torah Boys Pack In Snow Sports at Inspiring Winter Shabbaton

‫ישיבת התלמוד‬

Talmudical Academy

Adelphia, New Jersey cordially invites you to join us at our

Annual Awards Dinner Sunday, February 8, 2015 19 Shevat, 5775 Woodlake Country Club

25 New Hampshire Ave., Lakewood, NJ, 08701 Reception 6:00pm • Dinner 7:00pm

For Dinner & Journal Information, please contact:

Talmudical Academy, Adelphia, NJ Route 524, Adelphia, NJ, 07710 732-431-1600 / Fax 732-431-3951 tadinner@gmail.com

Eitz Chaim Alumnus Award

Mr. & Mrs. Shemaya Mandelbaum Los Angeles, CA

Tiferes Bonim Award

HaRav & Rebbetzin Yosef Meir Kantor Rav, Cong. Agudas Yisroel, Monsey, NY

Harbotzas HaTorah Award

Rabbi & Mrs. Eliezer Berkowitz

Adelphia, NJ

Their buses began to ascend the snowy mountains of San Bernardino a few hours after the chain restrictions were lifted for Highway 38 on January 1st. An unexpected, yet exciting late evening departure foreshadowed other surprises and exhilarating events planned for the Valley Torah High School (VTHS) boys division winter Shabbaton. On arrival, there was fresh powdery snow covering the Alpine Meadows Retreat and Conference Center which delighted the 82 students. Fortunately there was a hot cocoa machine in the dining room which provided warm relief from the cold temperatures. The boys’ rose early on Friday morning to brace high-energy winter sports, including skiing, snowboarding and “incredibly fun snow tubing,” reported sophomore Yoni Zisblatt. This paved the way to a Shabbos that offered an abundance of gourmet meals, ruach-filled zem-iros, uplifting davening and an inspirational guest speaker, all warm and welcome after the frigid outdoors. Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi, founder of Kiruv Organization and founder of the successful web-site DivineInformation. com, delivered passionate words of Torah, emunah and hashkafa followed by private Q&A sessions with the boys. “It was especially exciting to experience an inspiring Shabbos together so distant from familiar city life,” said Director of Student Activities Rabbi Yisroel Sem-

mel. Throughout Shabbos the students enjoyed active indoor games with their rebbeim. The pyr-amid challenge was neck and neck, keeping everyone at the edge of their seats. Soon after Havdalah, the outdoor activities resumed. Laser tag in the moonlit woods and round robin football in the snow, were two of the highlights leading up to a stimulating melave malka featuring world renowned mentalist Brent Webb, who performed by giving jaw dropping predictions and mind reading acts. The audience was especially floored when Webb read Rabbi Asher Biron’s mind and revealed the name of the historical figure that he had select-ed. “This was the highest quality show I can ever remember seeing,” noted VTHS Dean Rabbi Avrohom Stulberger. The Shabbaton concluded with a stirring fireside kumsitz complete with roasted marshmal-lows and s’mores. Student Council Vice President Daniel Mishail agreed it had been, “a tru-ly inspirational and bonding experience.” ‘’Once again, Valley Torah has taken things to the next level,” complimented Rabbi Daniel Grama, VTHS Rebbe and Director of Recruitment. “The retreat was spectacular in every sense of the word. The warm atmosphere, delicious food, great speeches and superb planning of events really made it a memorable Shabbos for our boys.”




JANUARY 15, 2015


Cheder Menachem PTA hosts “Cholent Cook Off” This past Wednesday evening, the Shul in Cheder Menachem Los Angeles, was filled with the delightful sounds and pungent aroma of cooking! Ably assisted by the chefs-in-training of J.E.T.S Culinary School, nine father and son teams gathered to prepare for the Inaugural Cheder Menachem Grand Cholent Cookoff. The Cholent Cookoff, a project of the Cheder Menachem PTA, was conceived as an innovative, fun collaborative parent/ student activity and fundraiser. The teams comprised a diverse representation of local companies and organizations, all competing for the coveted prize of BEST CHOLENT in the city. The participating teams were: Universal Leasing, Wukogals, The Jewish Home, Kol Yaakov Yehuda, Chabad of North Hollywood, Nick Trading, The Levenbergs, The Cholent Power Rockets and The Cholent Meisters. When the fathers and son teams arrived to cook on Wednesday night, each team received their cholent “kit.” This included staple ingredients of cholent meat, potatoes, onions, beans, barley and spices. The teams were also allowed to bring their own secret ingredients to elevate their cholents to the next level. With the initial prep completed, the teams left the building, anxiously awaiting word as to whether their Cholent creations would last the night without tripping the electrical circuits in the Cheder building.

Their concerns were alleviated when the next morning, they received word from Cheder Principal, Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum,that the electricity had remained intact and the building smelled like a Shabbos Kiddush. Thursday night was the main event. Families flocked to Cheder Menachem to sample and vote for their favorite cholents. Each cholent had a number assigned to it in order to ensure anonymity, while samples were ladled out by the Chefs of J.E.T.S, led by their Culinary Master,Tzemach Rosen-

feld. The guests walked around and sampled the cholents of their choice along with some delicious home baked potato Kugels. The voting was intense and came down to the wire, with the first place winner of the Inaugural Cholent Trophy presented to the Kol Yaakov Yehuda team. The Second place winner were the Cholent Meisters (run by the Ravnoy family) and third place was a tie between Universal Leasing and Wukogals. The event helped raise money for Cheder Menachem’s PTA, which is ex-

tremely instrumental in partnering with the school in many programs, and providing the students with many special events, and treats. The Cheder Cholent Cook-off was an enjoyable evening and a great way to support the school! A special thank you to Estee Cohen for her innovative idea and seeing it through until the end. Also thank you to Tzemach Rosenfled and J.E.T.S for all of their help. Thank you to all the teams who did such a great job and to our sponsors. Can’t wait for next year!

Je Suis Charlie in Los Angeles On Sunday, January 11th, hundreds of people attended a unity rally for France that was held near Los Angeles City Hall. The gathering was a statement in protest of efforts to silence free speech and the free press. The French Consul General, Mr. Axel Cruau, was at the event and made his point, “The terrorists will not succeed.” He continued, “Whether we are Christian, Jews, Muslims, atheists, we all live together and they will not win.”

Although the rain was falling, spirits were high as the crowd of 500 showed up with French flags, flowers, candles and with signs that said, “Je Suis Charlie in LA” and, “Je Suis Juif!” David Siegal, the Consul General of Israel, was also there to show support. “The world should stand against terrorism, we’re all affected by it,” he added, “And now is the time to respond because if we don’t respond, what happened in Paris will only be the beginning.”

CUFI Launches New Millennial-Focused “Israel Collective” Initiative, Releases Two Short Films SAN ANTONIO – On January 13th, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the nation’s largest pro-Israel organization, announced the establishment of a new initiative, “The Israel Collective,” aimed at building relationships between American Christians, Israelis, and people of goodwill throughout the Arab and Islamic world. This initiative is a direct response to efforts by Israel’s detractors to mislead Americans. The initiative’s announcement coincided with the release of two new documentaries, “My Brother’s Keeper” and

“Israel Collective: Los Angeles.” The first movie follows three individuals, an Arab-Israeli priest, a Muslim Zionist, and a Holocaust survivor, as they join CUFI on Campus at some of America’s most anti-Israel universities. The latter examines the life-changing visit of three Los Angeles-based Christians to Israel. “Our millennial generation has an admirable focus on the core values of compassion and love. I find it tragic that Israel haters have rushed to hijack these noble morals for their bitter cause. We owe it to our young people and to Israel to make

sure the truth is told and heard,” said CUFI executive director David Brog. The Israel Collective is an initiative of Christians United for Israel. It is dedicated to creating a community of young peacemakers to build bridges between American Christians and Israel. Christians United for Israel is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States and members spans all fifty states. This month, the group surpassed the two million member mark. This comes just over two-and-a-half years after the group reached one million members. “We’ve come a long way since we began

CUFI with 400 Christian leaders back in 2006. And I can say without hesitation that while reaching two million members is no small accomplishment, we’ve only just begun. We will continue to grow and to speak out with an ever-louder voice for Zion’s sake,” said CUFI founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee. Each year CUFI holds hundreds of pro-Israel events in cities around the country and in Washington, D.C. to be sure their voices are heard in support of Israel and the Jewish people.


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JANUARY 15, 2015



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JANUARY 15, 2015


Building Bridges: Chief Rabbi David Lau visits the southern California Jewish Community Yehudis Litvak

Rabbi David Baruch Lau, the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, paid a six-day visit to the southern California Jewish community so that he could familiarize himself with California Jewry and help to build bridges between different segments of the Jewish community. Rabbi Lau is the former Chief Rabbi of Modi’in. He was elected for a ten-year term as the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel in 2013. Rabbi Lau is a 37th- generation rabbi, descending from a long line of rabbis, including his distinguished father, the former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, currently Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau. Rabbi Lau and his wife Tzipporah followed an ambitious itinerary as they visited Jewish organizations, schools and synagogues throughout southern California and across the spectrum of Jewish affiliation and observance. This interest in the entire community is unprecedented, and many consider this visit a historic event. Throughout his visit, Rabbi Lau emphasized Jewish unity and found a willing audience in each segment of the local Jewish community.

Rabbi Lau speaking at the New Community Jewish High School

The first stop was The New Jewish Community High School, a pluralistic high school catering to Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform families. “The Chief Rabbi’s visit was an act of tremendous political courage and a statement of achdut,” said Head of School, Dr. Bruce Powell, “And the students’ reaction was exactly that. We are all one people, and the things that divide us are not nearly as big as the things that bring us together.” Rabbi Lau addressed the students, focusing on brotherhood and encouraging the students to learn from the ideal brotherly relationship in the Torah, that of Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon. The students asked questions. “Rabbi Lau answered [the tough questions] with tremendous kavod,” said Dr. Powell. “He answered not from politics,

but from the heart.” Then the school put up a mechitzah and Rabbi Lau davened mincha together with the students and faculty. “It was a historic moment that will affect the students for decades to come. It’s just short of zman mashiach,” summarized Dr. Powell.

agreement as well as issues of concern,” explained Mr. Jay Sanderson, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation. “It

Affixing a Mezuzah at the Maimonides Academy

Meeting with the Jewish Federation At the Westlake Hyatt, in conversation with Rabbi Moshe Bryski and David Suissa

That evening, Rabbi Lau participated in a discussion with Rabbi Moshe Bryski, Director of Chabad of the Conejo, and David Suissa, President of the Tribe Media Corporation and a weekly columnist for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. The event was held at the Westlake Hyatt Hotel in Conejo Valley and was attended by a crowd of 500, mostly non-Orthodox. The questions ranged from simple, such as what is included in the Chief Rabbi’s job description, to controversial, such as the differences between Israel and America regarding separation of church and state. Rabbi Lau responded that unlike the United States, Israel is first and foremost a Jewish state, was established as a Jewish state, and needs to preserve the Jewish flavor. He defined his job as teaching Torah and inspiring Jews of all backgrounds. He shared his vision of bringing everyone together despite our differences. “We are one family. We need each other,” was Rabbi Lau’s message. The audience responded very positively. “I was shocked and amazed that the Chief Rabbi found the time to come to Conejo Valley,” added Laurence Michelson, one of the attendees. “This truly shows his love for the Jewish people and speaks volumes for his desire to reach out to Jews. I was taken aback by his humility. He is very down-to-earth.” Another attendee, Yitzchak Barnett explained, “I felt the presence of holiness and was inspired.” “Everyone walked away with a sense of humility, acceptance, and closeness,” agreed Rabbi Bryski. The next day, Rabbi Lau met with a diverse group of community leaders, including non-Orthodox rabbis and leaders of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “We discussed issues of mutual

was a wonderful opportunity to sit down with such an esteemed leader. We are happy he believes in dialog and listens to our concerns. Rabbi Lau has open arms for all Jews.” Nevertheless, in the course of the vigorous conversation it became clear that Rabbi Lau’s strong stand on halachic Judaism is irreconcilable with the sentiments in favor of Israeli government funding for non-Orthodox synagogues that was discussed at the meeting. Rabbi Lau also visited a number of our Jewish schools. At Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy he was greeted by the student body who lined the hallway, and

ticipated in the dedication of a recently completed building and he was honored to affix a mezuzah. The ceremony was attended by all the students as well as 200 adults, including community rabbis, representatives of other schools, and leaders of the BJE. This event was held right after the tragic events in France, and Rabbi Lau spoke about the appropriate Jewish response to the tragedy which is to build

At Yeshivat Yavneh

stronger Jewish communities and schools. At Yavneh Hebrew Academy, Rabbi Lau spoke to boys and girls in grades 6th through 8th about Jewish unity. “[Rabbi Lau] has a great sense of how to talk to people,” said Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, Dean. Next, Rabbi Lau visited Yeshiva

Being greeted by the faculty and students of the Harkham Hillel Academy

then spoke to the students in 4th through 8th grade. Rabbi Lau held a question and answer session with the 8th graders, where he described his job responsibilities. He emphasized Torah learning as the foundation of all community work and encouraged a connection with Eretz Yisrael. “It was an unbelievable experience for our students,” says Rabbi Eli Broner, Director of Campus Life, “to see greatness, to meet and interact with such a figure on a personal level.” Rabbi Lau then gave a shiur to the Judaic studies teachers, where he described teaching Torah as emulating Hashem’s work. At Maimonides Academy, he par-

At Yeshiva Ohr Eliyahu

Aharon Yaakov Ohr Eliyahu and gave a shiur at Yeshiva Ohr Elchanan Chabad, where he encouraged the students to keep growing and to use their Torah studies as a basis for their future endeavors. On Shabbos, Rabbi Lau’s drasha at the Beth Jacob Congregation at Beverly Hills drew 700 people, and 180 of them stayed for the luncheon. “It was a special weekend that strengthened our feeling of connectedness to Israel and inspired us about our Jewish future, “explained Rabbi


ty in an event attended by 300 people. An emotional meeting took place when Holocaust survivors were invited to light yahrzeit candles for the four victims of the terror attack in France, and it was revealed that one of the survivors, Dr. Jacob Eisenbach, had been in Buchenwald together with Rabbi Lau’s father. The Chief Rabbi also took the time to visit Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz, Director of Chabad Jewish Center in Temecula, CA, whose movement and communication are severely limited due to the ALS disease.

The Gottesman Family together with Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy invites the entire community to a special Shloshim memorial service for Rabbi Menachem Gottesman zt”l

Rabbi Menachem Gottesman zt”l

January 31, 2015 8:00PM

Beth Jacob Congregation 9030 W. Olympic Blvd Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Limited parking available on a first come, first serve basis in the Hillel garage. For more information please contact info@hillelhebrew.org

JANUARY 15, 2015

At Yeshivah Ohr Elchonon Chabad

an amazing event. [The Chief Rabbi] talked to us about tackling the challenges of the 21st century,” added Yoni Goldenberg from CSUN. Rabbi Lau also met with the Israeli American Council of Greater Los Angeles and with a group of local Chabad shluchim. On Monday, Rabbi Lau visited Orange County and met with the leaders of the Jewish Federation of Orange County and participated in a public conversation with Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie, head of North County Chabad Center in Orange Coun-


Kalman Topp, Senior Rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation. “People were impressed with Rabbi Lau’s warmth, caring, his gentle and soft-spoken manner. He was able to connect in a deep way with many different constituencies.” On Motzei Shabbos, Beth Jacob was filled again as Rabbi Lau participated in a conversation with Rabbi Topp and took questions from the audience. Israeli Consul General David Siegel attended the event and addressed the audience, praising Rabbi Lau as a true leader who makes Judaism accessible to everyone. Rabbi Lau responded to questions and addressed the relationship between the Rabbinate and the Israeli government, stating that since Israel is a democracy it needs a religious advisor to provide a Jewish opinion just as it needs legal advisors to provide legal opinions. Rabbi Lau said that the Prime Minister and other members of the Knesset agreed with him, but others disagreed, and he asked the audience to pray that the upcoming election results in a government which is supportive of Judaism. Rabbi Lau also described his meeting with the Minister of Agriculture where he suggested planning for the next shmitta year, seven years in advance, in order to make it easier for the farmers to keep shmitta. On Sunday morning, Rabbi Lau davened at Congregation Etz Chaim of Hancock Park and shared words of encouragement with the congregants, emphasizing the holiness of the Jewish home and its role in transmitting our tradition. “Rabbi Lau enhanced and beautified our shul by his visit,” said Rabbi Chaim Baruch Rubin of Etz Chaim. On Sunday afternoon, Rabbi Lau visited the Chabad Jewish Center at USC and met with 60 Jewish student leaders from several universities in the area, making history as the first Israeli Chief Rabbi to visit an American university. He advised the students to seek a community where both the older and the younger generation come together. Grounded in tradition, such a community has both past and future. He encouraged the students to be proud of their grandparents and to become the kind of people their grandchildren would be proud of. When asked about the most important task of a Jewish leader on campus, Rabbi Lau urged students to represent Israel and explain that Israel wants peace, prays for peace and dreams of peace, but needs the help of other nations to make it a reality. Rabbi Lau also addressed Israel’s greatest challenge, which he described as “teenage identity crisis.” Since Israel is still a young country it hasn’t yet solidified its national identity, which leads to arguments and occasional raised voices among its citizens. “We forget that we are brothers and sisters,” said Rabbi Lau. “I want to educate people in Israel to remember that we have more in common than what separates us.” The response of the student leaders was very positive. “It was


Joe Shalmoni (C) 2015, All Rights Reserved

JANUARY 15, 2015


At the dedication and completion of the Maimonides Academy

Rabbi Lau at the Avrohom Fried concert

Meeting with Jewish student leaders

While the common theme throughout Rabbi Lau’s visit was Jewish unity he did not shy away from controversial questions. Rabbi Lau was ready to admit that the Israeli Rabbinate could use improvement. He described his vision of raising the level of professionalism in rabbinates throughout the country and educating every clerk in the halachos of Kiddush Hashem which apply to their interactions with clients. Rabbi Lau also mentioned a new test he instituted as part of the semicha examination which requires the new rabbis to be thoroughly familiar with the halachos of derech eretz and proper interpersonal conduct. He believes that a rabbi should teach by example, through his personal qualities, his prayer, and behavior towards others. Asked about conversion, Rabbi Lau said that the issue was blown out of proportion by the media. The majority, over 70%, of those who desire a conversion are actually Jewish by birth but are missing the documents to prove it. Rabbi Lau described his plan to go through the archives of Yad Vashem, as well as those of some European cities, and find proof of these people’s Jewishness. The Israeli government had agreed to his plan and began the necessary work, but later postponed it due to upcoming elections. The question of the other 30% is a matter of halacha to be decided in a Beit Midrash, said Rabbi Lau, and not on the pages of newspapers. The issue of Reform and Conservative movements in Israel is also blown out of proportion by the media, according to Rabbi Lau. Out of over 500 shuls in Tel Aviv, only one is Reform, and the same pattern is seen throughout the country. At several events, Rabbi Lau was asked about chareidim serving in the IDF. His reply was both personal and passionate. Rabbi Lau is a Major in the IDF intelligence Cops, but he did not join the army at age nineteen. It was only after he left yeshiva that he joined the IDF, and stayed longer than mandatory, earning the rank

of Major. Rabbi Lau’s answer is that as soon as a student leaves yeshiva he should join the army. While the learning is going well, however, Rabbi Lau believes that the student should continue learning, for the benefit of the whole Jewish nation which is in need of scholars and sages. Just as a talented musician or basketball player is not drafted into the army in Israel because the government recognizes that he can

With Rabbi Kalman Topp at Beth Jacob

contribute to the country in other ways, so too the yeshiva students make a meaningful contribution to the Jewish people by continuing the tradition of Torah learning. Rabbi Lau also addressed the role of the Jewish diaspora. He expressed his appreciation for the diaspora Jewry’s support of the State of Israel, and named Jewish education as the most important task in the diaspora that would ensure continuity of the Jewish people. Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie, who was instrumental in bringing Rabbi Lau to California, believes that the goals of the visit were met with resounding success. “Rabbi Lau was able to build bridges across sectors of the Jewish community in a remarkable way,” he said. “He found a way to connect with everyone.”


In Memoriam: On Losing The Irreplaceable by Rabbi Harold Rabinowitz

at City University in New York, but then married Rudy Lowy in 1974 and moved to the west coast. Esther became a respected member of the UCLA mathematics faculty, until the Lowy family started to grow. Esther put her career on hold for two decades as she raised eight children. Even then, she worked on behalf of Jewish education in the Los Angeles area, serving on the boards of many yeshivas and schools. When the time came to create a branch of Touro in L.A., Esther was the natural choice as Dean and she worked tirelessly this past decade, nurturing the college and promoting it in the community. During that decade, the students of Touro found in Dean Lowy a compassionate and wise administrator who looked upon all her students as family. Getting Touro started in L.A. was no easy task, to put it mildly; the centers of Jewish learning were back east or in Israel. It has taken over a decade for the numbers of graduates from Orthodox Jewish secondary schools to reach the level required to support an institution such as TCLA. During that nascent period, it took a real “eshet chayil,”a fighter, who worked tirelessly to promote the school in all the far-flung corners of the community.

Dr. Lowy believed passionately in higher education for both men and women and would go to any length to assist students in achieving that education. She taught classes herself—a task she really didn’t have the time for, but she took great pride in the successes she could claim. As teacher, she was excellent in helping students overcome their math anxiety and hurdle the obstacles that kept them back in pursuing a career. I remember the nachas she felt when she told me about a student she had helped—person-to-person, face-to-face—to overcome his difficulty in mastering an element of elementary pre-calculus mathematics. “That’s the kind of teaching I like most,” she often said. That kind of dedication is a gift from above; a prize to the teacher, and, of course, a reward to the students, and ultimately, to the entire community as well. I also remember the joy on her face when I told her that a non-Jewish student taking a course in Jewish Business Ethics had worked hard to familiarize himself with the basics of Jewish rabbinic literature and had performed admirably in class and on tests. (So well, that the students, some of them advanced students of Talmud in local Kollels, came to jokingly, but admiringly, calling him “Rabbi”.) That kind of success inspires work and commitment from everyone in an institution and radiates out into the world around it. And that source of energy and inspiration is irreplaceable. When it’s gone, a void is left that all her family and loved ones feel every moment, and which her friends, colleagues and supporters must strive to fill. The halls of Touro are quiet these past few weeks. Missing is Dean Lowy’s lilting voice and her conversation, filled with Biblical references and Yiddishisms, her sense of humor and her palpable loving

concern with the welfare of everyone connected with the institution. Anyone and everyone who came to her office with a problem knew they would be treated with respect and love and her genius for finding a solution. Dean Lowy was no pushover. She regarded the standards of the institution as sacred. Yet, one could count on her to find the solution to a problem, one that was compassionate, even as it called upon faculty and student alike, to apply ourselves and strive to achieve excellence, even when we ourselves weren’t certain we had it in us. Esther Lowy was the poster-child for the “You Can Do It!” philosophy, and how can one ever replace that? Our hearts and condolences go out to her loving family, to her devoted husband, Rudy, and to her children and grandchildren, all of whom shine with the light that their mother has kindled in them. These may seem like glib words filled with sentiment, but just have a conversation with any of the Lowy children, and you’ll see the flame that Esther imparted to their souls and minds shining forth. This is the flame that she lit in all of them. A Shloshim Memorial service will be observed at Touro College (1317 N. Crescent Height Blvd, near Fountain Ave.,) in Sapper Hall, on Sunday, January 18, at 4:00 pm. The public is invited to attend. We pray that her memory will be a blessing for all of us, and that we will use her inspiration to carry on the cause of better higher education for the young people of Southern California. Dean Lowy would have wanted nothing less. Rabbi Harold Rabinowitz is a member of the TC-LA Faculty.

JANUARY 15, 2015

On the third day of Chanukah last month (27 Kislev—December 19, 2014,) we lost a great lady, Esther Rose Lowy, a loving person, whose work this past decade could only be described as heroic. The “we” I refer to is the Los Angeles Jewish community, but the loss extends far beyond that. The loss of Esther Lowy at a young 66, was the loss of a one-of-akind educator. She was a person who was dedicated to both the Institution of Touro College Los Angeles, and to the students, faculty and staff of TCLA. Her devotion to her husband, her children, her parents and all of her relatives was legendary. And then there are those of us who knew her so well, worked with her, attended her classes, or discussed the issues facing Jewish education in Los Angeles. We all felt like family to Esther, because that was how she looked upon us. We were her family. A native of New York, Esther distinguished herself early on when she won the U.S. Tanach (Bible) competition and traveled to Israel to compete in that country’s national Bible competition, the Chidon HaTanach, at a time when American participation was strictly a courtesy. The Israelis had the contest locked up in those days. She placed third, which was an astounding achievement. After school, she went on to be a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brooklyn College, and then earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the prestigious Courant Institute of NYU. A Ph.D. in mathematics! And from Courant, at a time when women accounted for less than 4% of Americans receiving doctorates in Mathematics. Being named a Woodrow Wilson Fellow upon graduating Brooklyn College was almost an afterthought for Esther. She joined the mathematics faculty


JANUARY 15, 2015


Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein; A Man With Many Hats by Yehudis Litvak

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein wears many hats, some of them unusual for a blackhat rabbi. At heart, he is a Torah teacher. He received his semicha from the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva in New York, graduated from Queens College, and had originally moved to Los Angeles thirty seven years ago to teach Torah at a program for advanced baalei teshuva. After the program closed he was offered a job as director of interfaith affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center -- a global human rights organization focused on defense of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Rabbi Adlerstein’s job involves building relationships with people outside of the Jewish community whose friendship is crucial for the State of Israel. Most of them are religious Christians. In addition to writing for the general media, he directly targets Christian publications. His goal is to gain respect for the Torah and for the State of Israel among the general population. Rabbi Adlerstein feels that the chief mission of a Jew today, unique to this generation, is kiddush Hashem. Such work often leads to personal relationships with the leaders of Christian communities. Over the years, many nonJews have been guests at the Adlersteins’ Shabbos table, where they are introduced to Torah life. Rabbi Adlerstein finds it refreshing, especially in the current anti-Israel media climate, to meet wonderful people outside of the Jewish community who work tirelessly to protect Jews and the State of Israel. Rabbi Adlerstein feels comfortable doing this type of work because he has the safety net of halacha that delineates ways to work with non-Jews while remaining separate. His children benefited from diversity at the Shabbos table. Rabbi Adlerstein relates that his son, at age twelve, once successfully debated two very bright Jesuit professors on the subject of G-d and science. The children also saw how fortunate they were to have Torah which provides concrete ways to connect to Hashem. Another one of Rabbi Adlerstein’s jobs is teaching Jewish Law at Loyola Law School. Rabbi Adlerstein was offered the job after he debated Professor Laurie Levenson, the associate dean of Loyola Law School at the time, at a kiruv event. Most of Rabbi Adlerstein’s law students are secular Jews, and many are not Jewish. Rabbi Adlerstein enjoys

Rabbi Adlerstein with Dr Yong-Soo Hyun, founder of the Korean Shma Institute

Lecturing at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena

With the President of Eastern University (Evangelical)

teaching Torah using a different vocabulary and putting it in a western framework. He aims to show the students the depth of Torah. Jewish students find that Jewish law resonates with them. Often, they have the spirit of the law, the yearning for spirituality, but no meaningful way to express it. Jewish law allows them the

opportunity to encounter the Ribbono Shel Olam in ways that are not arbitrary, but well defined. They quickly understand that the power of law can apply to shaping one’s character and that a person becomes who s/he is by what s/he does. For many, just the exercise of attaching oneself for a while to something Jewish is beneficial.

Some choose to go further and explore other areas of Judaism. Rabbi Adlerstein also teaches Torah in more traditional venues, but the bulk of his teaching currently takes place through writing and publishing. He is the author of two books, one on the Maharal’s Be’er Hagolah and the other on Nesivos Shalom of the Slonimer Rebbe. The latter is a compilation of Rabbi Adlerstein’s online advanced parsha classes at torah.org. He began teaching the inspirational book, Nesivos Shalom, after a student introduced him to it and he saw that the sefer was taking the frum world by storm, just like Michtav Meeliyahu had done back in his yeshiva days. In fact, Rabbi Adlerstein recognized that these two books are the mirror image of each other. In Michtav Meeliyahu, Rav Dessler took kabbalah and turned it into mussar. In Nesivos Shalom, the Slonimer Rebbe took mussar and turned it into chassidus. Rabbi Adlerstein has also taught the writings of Rabbi Shimshon Refael Hirsh, the Netziv, Be’er Mayim Chaim, and Be’er Yosef at torah. org. He says that he is thrilled to live in a generation where he can influence thousands of people over the internet. Rabbi Adlerstein is the founding editor of an influential frum blog, cross-currents.com. His posts are directed to the section of the frum community that find themselves to the right of Modern Orthodox and to the left of Chareidi. Rabbi Adlerstein finds that many people live in between these two worlds, but are afraid to voice their views. He offers chizzuk and validation for those people. He himself has a hard time fitting into a narrow label. Growing up, he was exposed to diversity, and he feels that his essential hashkafa hasn’t changed since his yeshiva days. While the frum community has undergone certain changes, Rabbi Adlerstein strives to provide an authentic Torah view that he acquired from his rabbeim. The two mentors who inspired Rabbi Adlerstein’s love for Torah thought were Rabbi Nachman Bulman, z”l, and Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, z”l. Rabbi Bulman would introduce his students to sefarim which they weren’t learning in yeshiva, broadening their horizons and teaching them to deal with diversity. Rabbi Adlerstein hopes he is doing the same for his own students.


In Defense of Moshe’s “Lack of Faith”

Our Parsha begins with G-d rebuking Moshe for his lack of faith. At the end of Parshat Shemos, we read, “Moses returned to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Why have You harmed this people? Why have You sent me? Since I have come to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has harmed this people, and You have not saved Your people.” Parshat Vaiera, records G-d’s response: “G-d spoke to Moses, and He said to him, ‘I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob with the name Almighty God, but with My name YHWH, I did not become known to them.’” What exactly was G-d’s response here? The Talmud (Sanh. 111a) explains: “The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “I must lament the death of the Patriarchs. When Abraham sought to bury Sarah, he could not find a grave until he bought one for a very high price. Similarly, with Isaac, the Philistines contested the wells he had dug. And so with Jacob, “And he bought the part of the field where he had pitched his tent,” (Gen. 33:19), yet they did not question My actions! But you said, “Why have You harmed [the Israelites]?” G-d’s response was to rebuke Moshe for his questioning Him. He contrasted Moshe’s behavior with that of the patriarchs’ who had complete trust and never questioned G-d. How was it indeed possible that Moshe displayed such a lack of trust in G-d? Moshe was the greatest human to have ever lived. How did a man of his stature make such a seemingly obvious and fatal mistake? The Jewish people are called (Talmud, Shabos 97A), “Ma’aminim bnei ma’aminim” or, “Believers, children of believers.” This seems to suggest that the “emunah,” the belief we possess, is by virtue of our forefathers. It was bequeathed to us by them and we have been given it at birth as an inheritance. The patriarchs excelled in their Emunah, and they passed this quality on to us, their descendants. But Moshe too is credited with nurturing our Emunah. Moshe is called the Re’aya M’heimna and this has a double meaning. A) The faithful shepherd and B) The one who nurtures (Ro’eh) the “Emunah”. So what then is the difference between the roles of our forefathers and

JANUARY 15, 2015

Rabbi Sholom Kesselman

Moshe? What is the difference between the faith we inherit from our patriarchs and the faith that is fostered within us by Moshe? There are two kinds or levels of faith. The first level is faith which goes against the person’s psyche. In his heart he feels differently and in his mind it doesn’t make sense, but nevertheless he accepts whatever it is with pure faith. The second level is faith which permeates the person’s entire being. It infiltrates his heart and mind and his thinking and his feelings become aligned with his beliefs. This is the difference between the faith we inherit from our patriarchs and our faith that is nurtured by Moshe. An inheritance is something we receive from another without working for it. It is imposed on us from the outside and doesn’t necessarily reflect our inner essence. This is the nature of the faith we inherit from the patriarchs. It doesn’t penetrate down to the very core of our psyche but hovers above our real feelings and understanding. On the other hand, the faith which Moshe nurtures is of the second level. His role is to generate within us a faith that is truly ours. A faith that is not imposed from the outside but one that reaches all the way down to our very essence and becomes what we really are. This was actually an integral part of Moshe’s role as the redeemer. His job was not only to redeem us from the physical Egypt but also from the spiritual one. He needed first and foremost to rekindle our faith and reestablish our connection to G-d and only then were we capable and worthy of being redeemed from Egypt. This is why Moshe questioned G-d. He was going through the process of internalizing his faith. As a descendant of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’akov, he already had the inherited faith that goes beyond all questions and doubts. But he was looking for more. He wanted his faith to permeate his entire being including his heart and his mind and his questioning of G-d wasn’t, G-d forbid, real doubting, but part of the internalizing process. Furthermore, it is likely that Moshe wasn’t even asking this question himself but was expressing on behalf of the Jews. Moshe himself was on such a high level that his faith already permeated his entire being and he personally had no questions.

But as the faithful shepherd, whose task it was to nurture his people’s faith, he was expressing the challenge that they would have in internalizing their faith in G-d. He was completely in touch with their struggles and was living the process together with them. Nevertheless, G-d still rebuked him and us because ultimately it is not for us to question G-d. The goal is to reach a level where we have internalized our faith so much that we truly have no questions. Until then G-d will prod us along and rebuke us, but internalizing faith is a process and while going through it, this type of questioning has its place.

Here lies the lesson for us all. We all are believers, children of believers and we all have unquestioning faith in G-d. But how deep does this Emunah run inside of us? Is it what we really are? Is it life itself or is it something imposed? Do our thoughts and feelings truly reflect our belief or is there a gap between them? Let us learn from Moshe to internalize our Emunah and with that Zechus we will surely merit the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days. (Based on a talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1971)


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JANUARY 15, 2015

A Nation of Spirit

Last Friday, our brothers and sisters were trapped in a Paris supermarket. Engaged in the lofty activity of preparing for Shabbos Kodesh, they found themselves under fire by a crazed Islamic terrorist. Hearts across the Jewish world skipped a beat as Yishmoel sharpened his sword once again. To be sure, the terror war is not only being waged against Jews, cartoonists or France, but against the entire civilized world. Western governments and societies fail to perceive the obvious. The Jews of France have been emigrating in droves for several years already, but not everyone is able to leave. There are always familial and financial considerations. Jews across Europe are edgy and have one eye on the exit door. On the same streets where Nazis rounded up Jews for deportation to death camps, today radical Muslims plot to take over France, arrondissement by arrondissement. One neighborhood at a time, striking fear and terror in country after country, jihadists are on the march across Europe. The Grand Synagogue of Paris, built in 1874, has been witness to many events, both happy and tragic. Alfred Dreyfus, victim of a forgotten century’s anti-Semitism, was married in that shul. Nazi deportations took place in front of it. Last Shabbos, its doors were shut as authorities forced Jewish public institutions to close. On Sunday, it hosted a dramatic gathering of world leaders protesting the attacks. These leaders issued promises that need to be put into action and monitored. Terrorists have now realized that with a small scale attack, they can cause as profound an effect on society as a complex

action that is more complicated to orchestrate. French hospitality has been turned on its head and its weakness exposed. Jihadists cheer their savagery as victory. With a relatively small attack on two locations by a few people, the jihadists grabbed the world’s attention and struck fear in the hearts of men and women everywhere. They no longer need to hijack airplanes, blow up buildings, shoot rockets, or enlist legions to carry out operations. Terror attacks carried out by just a few people are easy to engineer and have been shown to achieve the same bombastic result as larger incidents. These individuals brought the world to paralysis and focused its attention when they killed twelve journalists and a police officer. Four Jews died in the attack on the kosher supermarket, as they were purchasing supplies for Shabbos. Jews around the world heard the news as they awoke Friday morning. As people prepared for the day that is mei’ein Olam Haba, they were confronted by the worst of olam hazeh. The dichotomy of good and evil, temporal and eternal, olam hazeh and Olam Haba, was brought clearly into focus. There is grave anxiety in France and around the world, as people realize that

country and is home to the third largest concentration of Jews in the world. It took until 2014 for the French-government-owned railway to come to a compensation agreement with Holocaust victims in America and Israel. It was only in 1995 that France acknowledged its role in assisting the Nazis in deporting tens of thousands of Jews. When French President Jacques Chirac declared that his country had contributed to the genocide, he finally gave validation to decades of Jewish complaints and feelings. The French Jewish community is comprised of children of Holocaust survivors and émigrés who arrived in the country seeking protection from persecution in Arab lands. They are well aware of the precariousness of the Jewish people in golus. Those thoughts were once again reinforced as French authorities closed Jewish stores on Friday and asked that shuls be closed on Shabbos because they could not guarantee the safety of their Jewish citizens. It is not necessarily a French problem. It is a global problem. The Jewish experience in Europe has been one of triumph and tragedy. During the good times, people tend to forget the amount of Jewish blood that has

THE CHEVLEI MOSHIACH ARE DIFFICULT AND PAINFUL. WE AWAIT THE DAY WHEN THEY GIVE BIRTH TO THE END OF THE SIEGE OF THIS EXILE. there are those among them, born and raised on their soil, who despise them and their culture and are prepared to kill and die to advance their goals. Gloom and apprehension set in as millions realized the fragility of the freedoms we all take for granted. Millions turned out in the streets to express their sadness over the tragedy and concerns for the future. There is strength in numbers and a measure of comfort in the knowledge that, if nothing else, at last, the French people and the world recognize the precarious situation in which the world finds itself. Yet, entire neighborhoods in France are carved out as harbors for sharia compliance. Jews don’t feel safe and the government’s actions to date have not brought confidence to a beleaguered community. France has the largest Jewish population of any European

been spilled on that continent over the past millennia of golus. There are always different excuses and guises, and slayers carrying different colored flags and flying different slogans, but the result has always been similar. Jews have been driven from their homes, fleeing death and destruction as they escaped to yet another foreign land. Displacement is never easy and always takes a great toll. The leaders of the West had hoped that the war against radical Islam could be ended with the use of kind words and gestures. They thought that they would succeed with their liberal ideology in engaging in compromise with jihadists on many different battlefronts. They negotiate with Iran, cut deals with the Taliban, and believe that if radicals are coddled and offered Western

blessings, peace will ensue. They have not taken the rise of radical Islamists seriously enough and continue to deal with the issue as a police matter, instead of an existential concern. They force Israel to compromise with the terrorists who seek its destruction, naively believing that accommodations can be reached with people who kill and die for the sake of hatred. The terrorists take note and are heartened by their growing power. Jewish blood has been spilled millions of times, each occurrence spelling out the message that we are in golus. Each time, we pick ourselves up and march on. We gather the inner strength to persevere and continue our trek towards the finish line, heads held high and spirits intact. Three simple words captivated France and the world following the attack on the cartoonist publication Charlie Hebdo: “Je suis Charlie,” “I am Charlie.” Millions of people the world over marched with signs with those simple words emblazoned upon them. At times like these, we must realize that “Je suis Juif,” or “We are all Jews.” We have to feel the pain of Jews everywhere. We must try to imagine their dread and their fear. When we walk freely to shul on Shabbos, we should think of those who must disguise themselves so as not to attract attention to them and their religion. When we shop, we should think of those who take their lives into their hands when they purchase their Shabbos needs. No Jew is alone. No Jew should feel alone. Je suis Juif. We are Jews, united around the world. In times of happiness and tragedy, we are together. We should resolve to never let anyone or anything divide us. Feeling solidarity with others should be paramount. We should seek to draw others close and console them. We should embrace them as they seek comfort. No one should feel forsaken, adrift or alone. Many Jews don’t feel safe. Many are extremely worried and agitated. Many have had their breath knocked out of them. Where do we go for safety? Where do we go to get our breath back? Let us examine this week’s parsha and hearken back to the first Jewish exile. A family consisting of seventy people came to a foreign country due to a hunger in their native land of Eretz Yisroel. They were led

into the world where he’s happiest.” This is a story about the inventiveness and skill of a photographer, but what emerges is the most beautiful testimony to Torah’s ability to be meishiv nefesh, to be marchiv da’as, to reignite the ruach and allow man to transcend suffering. Rav Yitzchok Hutner zt”l would talk about Dovid Hamelech’s choice of term for his delight in Torah: sha’ashuai. A child engaged in playing with his favorite toy earns smiles and radiates chein and favor, because, at that moment, he is real. He isn’t engaged in a pursuit leading him somewhere else. He isn’t trying to earn money, points or power. He is simply expressing an essential desire. There is nothing cynical or calculating about his action, so passersby smile. The sight of a young boy zooming his fire truck along the floor or a little girl putting her baby doll to sleep touches us. We recognize the purity of their actions. Torah is our sha’ashua. It is where we turn to find ourselves. It is where we go to get in touch with existence and where we encounter our spirit. The bullets are always intended for us. The hatred and anger have always been directed at us, as they are now. All through the ages we have been victimized by angry, desperate people. Yet, we have endured. How have we battled back? What is the secret that enables us to remain strong and confident and successful despite having so many enemies and Kalashnikovs aimed at us? This week’s parsha provides the answer to our endurance. Only through learning Torah do we lift our spirits. As they try to snuff out our ruach, we respond with more chiyus, more energy, and more toil. We are living in times of insanity in a world where demented extremists roam freely. They have been empowered and emboldened by diplomats and governments afraid and incapable of confronting them. We wonder how leaders of the free world can be so blind and inadequate. People wonder how it can be that the United States was not among the prominent attendees at the anti-terror march in Paris on Monday. When Hashem asked Moshe to tell Paroh the message of deliverance of the Jewish people, Moshe demurred. “The Jewish people didn’t listen to me. How will Paroh?” he asked, (Shemos 6, 12). Rashi states that this is one of the ten instances in the Torah where a kal vachomer argument is used. The question is obvious. The posuk explains that the Bnei Yisroel didn’t listen to Moshe because of kotzer ruach and avodah kosheh. However Paroh, who was safely ensconced in his comfortable place, didn’t have those limitations, why was Moshe convinced that he wouldn’t listen to his arguments? If we understand kotzer ruach as referring to a lack of Torah and madreigah of ruach, then the argument is quite understandable. The Bnei Yisroel, heirs to a golden tradition, were weakened in their study of Torah and were thus unreceptive to messages of freedom and spirit. Paroh, who never benefitted from this tradition and never studied Torah, would surely be unable to be sympathetic to a tender humanitarian message of opportunity. We cry out in Selichos, “Veruach kodshecha al tikach mimeni - Hashem, please don’t remove Your holy spirit from me.” We

can explain that the prayer is also a request that our ruach, spirit, remain holy and blessed, infused with Torah. We seek to merit the brachos of the novi Yeshayahu (59:21), who prophesied, “Ruchi asher alecha udvori asher samti beficha lo yomushu mipicha umipi zaracha umipi zera zaracha mei’atah ve’ad olam - May that spirit of Hashem that rests upon the lomeid Torah never fade from our mouths, from those of our children, and their children.” We are currently in the teshuvah and growth period known as Shovavim, given its name by the acronym of the parshiyos we lain during this period, from Shemos through Mishpotim. As we read these parshiyos about Klal Yisroel’s descent into Mitzrayim and redemption, we are enabled to escape our personal prisons and enslavement. Repentance is brought about through acts of charity, fasting and affliction. Ameilus baTorah, intense Torah study, also has the power to cleanse and purify. Shovavim is as good a time as any to add fervor and zeal to our learning. An old Dvinsker once described what it was like when the Rogatchover Gaon walked down the street. Coachmen would stop their horses, waiting for him to pass. Peddlers would stand at attention. Vendors would stop their hollering. He was so engaged in learning and so oblivious to his surroundings, that he moved people of all walks of life into respectful silence. He embodied the ruach of Torah. We have to breathe in deeply and fight for each breath, because we are living in an era when ruach is in short supply. We exist in a state of mikotzer ruach. We have tragically held our breaths more often over the past few months. Mikotzer ruach. We have seen tzaddikim murdered because they are Jews, and young boys kidnapped and killed because they are Jews. Mikotzer ruach. Last week, we held our collective breaths as our brothers and sisters were held hostage in a Parisian store. Mikotzer ruach. Our breath was taken as the news reached us that four innocent hostages were brutally killed. Mikotzer ruach. And then there is mei’avodah koshah. As the noose of the golus tightens, it becomes more difficult to concentrate on doing what we must to restore our breath and happiness. We have to endeavor to work harder to lift our nefesh, ruach and neshomah to higher and broader levels so that we can breathe easier, safer and longer, meriting the geulas hanefesh and geulas haguf bekarov through Torah. Last week, Jews came under attack as they prepared for Shabbos, symbolic of a generation preparing for the ultimate Shabbos, the yom shekulo Shabbos, a frenzy of final tasks amidst the sirens. We are in the final moments before the arrival of Moshiach. News reports indicated that police crashed through the doors of Hyper Casher on Rue Jean de la Fontaine at sundown, shkiah. As Shabbos began, the siege ended. The chevlei Moshiach are difficult and painful. We await the day when they give birth to the end of the siege of this exile.


JANUARY 15, 2015

Targum Onkelos teaches, is what sets man apart from animal. The highest form of ruach is to be engaged in words of Torah and tefillah. Neshomah is the highest level of man, as it refers to things spiritual. Perhaps we can thus understand the posuk that explains why the Bnei Yisroel were not heartened by Moshe’s prophesy. Their avodah koshah, hard physical labor, caused an inability to listen, as it caused them to be lacking in the attribute of ruach. Their spirit was dead. With no spirit, there is no room for life. When the spirit dies, the body becomes numb. With no spirit, there is neither stirring nor hope. A person who has become enveloped in apathy, depression and despair cannot be reached without having his spirit restored. In order to hear words of tanchumim, in order to understand what the novi is telling you, and in order to serve as a kli for cheirus, one has to have a ruach. As Rashi says, one who is short of breath cannot accept words of comfort. That shortness is brought about by a deficiency in Torah and avodah (tefillah). This is the p’shat in the statement of Chazal, “Ein lecha ben chorin ela mi she’oseik baTorah.” The free man is the one who is engrossed in Torah study. One who spends his time learning Torah becomes receptive to true freedom, growth and happiness. One who studies Torah is blessed in all his bechinos. To the degree that a person subjugates his nefesh to his neshomah, he is able to gain happiness, pleasure and ruach rechovah. The Mishnah teaches, “Kol halomeid Torah lishmah zocheh ledevorim harbeh One who learns Torah merits many blessings” (Avos 6). One of the rewards of a lomeid lishmah is “kol ha’olam kulo kedai hu lo.” The literal understanding of the Mishnah is that the entire world was worth being created just for him. Darshonim expound on the reward. What type of reward is it for him that the whole world was created for him? To answer that question, they explain the Mishnah to mean that the entire world is “kedai,” worthwhile, to such a person. He enjoys every experience. He lives every moment to its fullest and derives maximum satisfaction from each encounter, because Torah uplifts and expands a person to the point where every moment of life is worth celebrating and taking seriously. Last year, Rav Chaim Kanievsky sat shivah following the passing of a beloved daughter. At the conclusion of the shivah, he joined the family at her kever, as is customary. Prominent Israeli photographer Shuki Lehrer showed resourcefulness and imagination. He stood near the gravesite, determined to capture a picture of Rav Chaim walking away from the kever. The photographer explained: “I knew that Rav Chaim had been prevented from learning his regular regimen of Torah during the shivah period. I understood that he would be thirsty for his Gemara. I knew that at the moment the shivah would end, he would re-immerse himself in learning. I anticipated that one of his grandchildren would bring a Gemara to the bais hakevaros and hand it to Rav Chaim as he exited. I wanted a picture of that special moment. “It happened exactly that way. Rav Chaim accepted the open Gemara and his face lit up. He immediately slipped back


at the time by their grandfather, Yaakov, and his twelve sons. Things took a turn for the worse, and as the family grew, they became the subject of increasing hatred. Eventually, they were subjugated as slaves to the king and his people. The slaves knew who they were, where they had come from, and how they had arrived in that country. They were well aware of the promises Hashem made to their forefathers, Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov. They were certainly encouraged by the fact that Hashem had promised their forebears that their grandchildren would be tormented by a foreign power and they would then be released. They knew who Moshe Rabbeinu was. They knew his yichus. They knew that he grew up in Paroh’s palace. Incarcerated people are desperate for any glimmer of hope. They trade rumors and stories that bring succor to them and help them think that their freedom is around the corner. So, as we study this week’s parsha, we wonder why it was that when Moshe appeared and told them that the long-awaited redemption was at hand, and he expressed the four leshonos of geulah, the posuk (Shemos 6:9) states, “…velo shomu el Moshe.” They didn’t listen to Moshe. How could these poor, suppressed people not have taken heed and comfort? Not only that, but in last week’s parsha of Shemos, the posuk (5:29-31) relates that Moshe and Aharon gathered the ziknei Bnei Yisroel, told them what Hashem had related to Moshe, and performed miracles to prove the authenticity of his mission. The posuk says that the “people believed and heard that Hashem had remembered them and their situation, and they bowed” in appreciation. What had happened between then and now? The posuk in this week’s parsha (6:9) explains that the reason they didn’t listen to Moshe’s prophecy was “mikotzer ruach umei’avodah koshah.” Rashi explains that the posuk is saying that the enslaved people were like a distressed person who suffers from shortness of breath. In other words, they didn’t listen to Moshe because of their terrible situation and hard work. The Ramban explains that their failure to accept Moshe’s words was not because they didn’t believe in Hashem and his prophet, but rather because they were in terrible pain - kotzer ruach - and feared that Paroh would kill them. Umei’avodah koshah refers to the fact that their supervisors tormented them and didn’t let them pay attention to what was being said. They simply weren’t given the luxury of a moment’s peace to be able to listen. Clear and direct as these explanations are, we still wonder what the people thought about as they dragged their exhausted bodies to their tents each night. Peace of mind or not, didn’t something sink in? Didn’t they wonder about Moshe and what he foretold? When they lay on their straw mattresses, didn’t they think that perhaps there was something to his prophecy? Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz compares kotzer ruach and avodah koshah to the components that make up man. There are three madreigos commonly referred to as nefesh, ruach and neshomah. The lowest level is nefesh, which refers to man’s physical attributes and the ability to perform physical labor. Ruach is the ability to speak, which,



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JANUARY 15, 2015

As you know, our Pesach program is a “Non-Gebrokts” program. Consequently, guests are kindly requested to be careful that Matzo should not come in contact with liquids. Furthermore, being that Egg Matzo is not permissible on Pesach (except for the infirm on the advice Dearof Guest: a Rav), guests shall please be extra careful during the “Shabbos Erev Pesach” meals to keep away the Egg Matzo –as much as possible- from As you know, our Pesach program is a “Non-Gebrokts” program. the Pesach dishes andrequested utensils.to be careful that Matzo Consequently, guests are kindly

The Brownstone Experience is a collegiate and young professional leadership center that enables and encourages future Jewish leaders to shape their own unique Jewish identities, lead active Jewish lives and become empowered leaders committed to serving their Jewish Community. The Brownstone Divisions



Dear Guest:




JANUARY 15, 2015


JOIN DAF HAYOMI B’HALACHA, AND MASTER THE HALACHOS OF DAILY LIVING! .‫וצריך כל אדם ללמוד הלכות בכל יום כדי שהלימוד יביאנו לידי מעשה‬... ,‫ אך שיזהר ללמוד בכל יום‬,‫ועל ידי לימוד ההלכות מובטח האדם לידי חיי עולם הבא‬ ...'‫ תנא דבי אליהו כל השונה הלכות בכל יום וכו‬:‫כדאיתא בגמרא‬ ‫—מתוך ההקדמה של החפץ חיים זצ"ל להמשנה ברורה‬

Thousands worldwide are joined together and have benefitted from Daf HaYomi B’Halacha’s daily limud of Mishnah Berurah and Mussar from Sifrei Chofetz Chaim. Gedolei Yisrael have endorsed and encouraged Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program’s unique retention and accountability methods, as a way to master Halacha.

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JANUARY 15, 2015


Sar HaTorah

When visited by Hanhalas Dirshu, Harav Kanivesky was very gratified to hear about the success of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program and the fact that new learners were joining every day. “Wonderful, wonderful,” he exclaimed, saying it was a “mitzvah gedolah, a great mitzvah” to engage in daily learning of Mishnah Berurah. In his understated way, Rav Chaim also acknowledged that daily learning of Mishnah Berurah has the power to bring the geulah.


“Baruch Hashem today we have the Mishnah Berurah, a sefer that helps make it easier to learn and know Halacha. Hashem should bless the entire Hanhalas Dirshu that you should be able to fulfill your mission…and be zocheh to expand the learning of Torah and specifically to continue to strengthen the learning of Mishnah Berurah.”

‘‘ ‘‘



“Do you know that when Rav Meir Shapiro first instituted the Daf Yomi many felt that it would not be successful over the long run, and after the easier masechtos were done, the whole program would just fizzle out. Look now at how many tens of thousands are finishing Shas with every machzor. The Daf Yomi ensured that so many people who would otherwise never finish Shas have become Shas Yidden. The same will transpire with the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha!”


“There is nothing more important than learning a page of Mishnah Berurah every day. There is no better way to increase one’s desire to learn than by learning and joining. There is no learner of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha who can say, “I didn’t need to do this! Mishnah Berurah is something that virtually everyone needs to learn and wants to learn. There is no sefer as pleasant as the Mishnah Berurah...”


“Consistent and fixed times for learning Halacha leads to its proper fulfillment. It is known that people who weren’t so careful with Halacha, once they started to learn Halachos regularly, became meticulous in their adherence to Mitzvos - real tzadikim….as learning Halacha has an impact on one’s Yiras Shomayim as well!”



‫ העולמי‬‫דרשו סיו‬ ‫ היומי בהלכה‬‫ של ד‬‫למחזור הראשו‬ —— SPRING 2015 ——

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JANUARY 15, 2015

26 102

Je Suis Juif

French Jewry: Where Will They Go From Here? BY BRENDY J. SIEV


summer, we reported on France and how the Jewish population was faring in a country full of Arab Muslims and anti-Semitic tensions. This week, the crisis has peaked, shifting from individual attacks to a hostage crisis in a kosher supermarket last erev Shabbos. Yehoshua Fridman’s family is rooted in Northern France for as long as they can track it: the 14th century. His business, in high-tech engineering, is located in Paris. His father led the Rashbi School in Paris until his parents immigrated to Israel six years ago. They closed the school. It was too dangerous to

keep it running. Fridman and his family moved to the States when his life and family were threatened by Paris extortionists. His business remains there, and his business partner was visiting with him stateside when the hostage crisis occurred. In Paris, his partner lives within walking distance to the supermarket. When the crisis began, his 13-year-old daughter called her father immediately. She and her mother were under the bed, petrified that someone would fire through the window. Thousands of miles away, Fridman reports, he and his partner heard the gunshots through the phone. “Fear,” says Fridman, “that’s what French Jews live with every day.”


French Jews are extremely pro-Israel

the country with the third largest Jewish population in the world, is home to some 480,000 Jews and 5 million Muslims. But these numbers do not reflect the reality on the ground. Some estimate that that 5 million is actually 12 million. And Muslims are concentrated in the major French cities—Paris, Lyons, Marseilles. In Paris, some estimate, the population is 40 percent Muslim. That means that it’s too dangerous to wear a yarmulke, or any

sign of Judaism, publicly. While a single Muslim may not hurt a Jew, the young Arab Muslims often walk in packs. Together, at best the packs beat up their victims. At worst— anything is fair game. The French have a strong history of anti-Semi-

“Fear, that’s what French Jews live with every day.” tism. They are hardened, in many ways, and arrogant about their culture. Until this week, they looked the other way, for the most part, when Muslims attacked Jews. Furthermore, the French justice system is not as strong as the American justice system. (Even Arab women who are abused by their husbands are told by the government to keep what happens in their home private. The government will only help a woman if her husband harms her to the extent that she is hospitalized.) Judges are government appointed; the minister of justice has instructed the judges to act with leniency. Her extremely liberal and forgiving outlook has cost her country lives: the terrorists should have been jailed and should not have been allowed out, free to terrorize and kill.

27 103

do they ensure that funding keeps coming, but their voting bloc put the current French president, Hollande, into power. This president has taken to bashing Israel, including initiating a vote to give Israel two years to return the territories. French Jews are proudly pro-Israel. Therefore, this Israel-bashing has been perceived within the country as Jew bashing. Worse, it has sent a message to Arab Muslims living in France: you can do anything to Jews. Empowered, those who took the Jews hostage on Friday spent months planning. They had clearly been observing the store and French Jewish habits and knew when to have the greatest impact and hurt the most people. French Jews like their food fresh, and so they shop for Shabbos at the last minute. They buy late, and they buy a lot. Unlike in major American cities, the kosher supermarkets in France are few and far between. This particular supermarket is very popular: it is close enough to home that people can shop there before Shabbos without risking getting stuck in traffic. Usually, hundreds of people crowd the store late in the day. That’s when the terrorists decided to strike. The final tally: three days of bloodshed, three assailants, 17 dead, including 4 Jewish shoppers and 1 Jewish cartoonist, targeted attacks on the satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, and a kosher supermarket. For years, police have guarded Jewish


the march on Paris demonstrated this week, the French finally realize that the Jews are only the first target. French youth Praying on the streets of Paris; some say Paris is 40 percent Muslim have started studying martial arts, as French Jews have been since 9/11. Anti-Muslim groups are gaining tracThis comes down to walking down the street. tion, and in all likelihood the next French president Samuel Gotsman, a teenager from Miami, visits will be a neo-Nazi. Paris each summer with his father. He reports, “The Even the Jews will vote for her. streets there are narrow. Whenever we pass someThe panic in France is palpable. People utilize one on the street, one of us has to move sideways. the words “Palestinian” and “Israel” as fronts for a As the Jew, it always has to be me.” Once, though, thinly-veiled anti-Semitism and a validation of the Samuel did not, and his shoulder brushed against the attacks. Any tensions in Israel lead to tensions in passerby. The man began cursing. To ensure that France. Samuel and his father would not become “prey,” Fridman has a friend, an optician with a chain of Samuel’s father hit the other man. This stopped eyeglass stores, who is selling his established busi- what could have become a more serious altercation. ness and moving to Israel. Over the past year, the French government The flight to Israel will likely impact the French banned pro-Palestinian marches, but protesters igeconomy, and Fridman is unsure whether the French nored the bans. They continued to smash cars, government has processed that or not. Most French rampage through business centers, and even threw Jews, says Fridman, are in business and employ makeshift bombs at police. Their attacks have escamany people. The cost of labor is high; Jewish busi- lated; now they have begun to attack businesses and nesses pay a lot in taxes; the economic loss of Jews newspapers, slaughtering civilians. on the French economy should be substantial. More than 75,000 French Jews were sent to conThis week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu centration camps during World War II. Jewish peoof Israel arrived at the supermarket to show solidar- ple have not forgotten: both Fridman and Gotsman ity with French Jews. The New York Times reported, will not be returning to France, even for planned vis“Many people waving Israeli flags gathered to cheer its. French aliyah has gone up: around 400 French him, and some said they would seek to immigrate to Jews arrived in Israel in just one week during the Israel because they no longer felt safe in France.” height of the Gaza war. In fact, many moved to cities During the summer, Natalie Melka, a French Jew in the Negev, including Ashkelon and Ashdod. living in New Haven, CT, told TJH that, in France, Despite an ancient Jewish presence in France “If you don’t show signs of Judaism, you’re okay. (the community harkens back to the year 39 CE), a But if you affirm your Jewish identity, you’re at- total of 5,000 French Jews have immigrated to Israel tacked.” by the end of December. French Jews feel more secure in Israel, even when under attack. Over the summer, Natan Sharansky said, ‘’If aliyah predictions for 2014 are met, one percent of French Jews will have moved to Israel this year. Within a single year, and for the first time in history, a Jewish community in the West is sending a full percent of its Jews to build their lives in the State of Israel. We await you in Israel with open arms.” Those who stay in France, Fridman claims, are generally the middle or lower classes who cannot financially uproot themselves, despite their stress and constant fear. After more than a thousand years of history in France, the Jewish community in France is fleeing. Fridman shakes his head. “It’s a doomed Finally being protected, an officer guards a Jewish school after the attacks country.” 

JANUARY 15, 2015

The French finally realize that the Jews are only the first target.

schools. But this week, the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said that 4,700 police officers would be posted to guard the country’s 700 Jewish schools and other institutions. The big difference: now the officers are armed. But Fridman wonders like many other French Jews, “What happens when the children leave the school?”


Initially, with the first wave of Muslim immigrants into France, Jews felt comfortable appearing Jewish. Anti-Semitism was limited to comments (from native French) on the street. In fact, Fridman says, Jews and Muslims shared mutual respect. With the birth of the second generation of French Arab Muslims, hatred began. That was in the 1990s. By the 2000s, France had become, according to Fridman, “unbearable and dangerous.” Before 9/11, Jews passed mosques after services without incident, despite hundreds of worshippers that poured into the streets. But 9/11 and al Qaeda empowered the Muslim youth. The youth acted out of hand. Their numbers grew. Worse still, they do not work. Through various government welfare programs, one recently convicted (and unemployed) terrorist was making 10,000 euros a month, double a French engineer’s salary. These government programs are here to stay; those who benefit support the socialist/communist parties who want these programs. Arab Muslims have such power that not only




Prime PESACH 2015

Rabbi Dr. Seth Grauer Rabbi Arthur Schneier Rabbi Weil Rabbi Sion Sutton

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Rabbi Marvin Hier Rabbi Cooper Malcolm Hoenlein Nick Muzin

Dr. David Pelcovitz Nick Muzin

Rabbi Elie Abadie M.D. Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff

Under The Strict Supervision Of Rabbi Daniel Elkouby Of Kehilla Los Angeles


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JANUARY 15, 2015

Under The Strict Supervision Of Rabbi Mendel Mintz

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JANUARY 15, 2015


The Best New Tech of CES 2015 By Aaron Feigenbaum The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas introduces some of the world’s most original and sophisticated gadgets, and this year’s show was no exception. From driverless cars to curved smartphones and ultra-thin computers, some of these amazing technologies will become the next big thing. Here are some of the highlights: Driverless cars: Computer and display technologies may have made an impressive showing last week at CES, but it was Mercedes’ ultra-futuristic F015 driverless car that stole the spotlight. The car manufacturer envisions its new model as not just a method of transportation, but also as an intimate social setting. The sleek, modern interior has four lounge-style seats that can rotate to face each other. Six displays, activated by touch or gesture, allow for online connectivity and a 360-degree view of the outside. The car’s touchscreen dashboard provides GPS directions and critical info about the car and its surroundings. One of the car’s most touted features is its ability to project a crosswalk onto the ground to let pedestrians know when it’s safe to proceed. Running on a hybrid electric-hydrogen engine, the F015 is fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. Mercedes claims it has a range of almost 700 miles, way above that of even the best electric cars on the market. It can even be remotely summoned and parked via Mercedes’ i3 smart watch. Audi’s driverless car also made a bang by driving itself from San Francisco to Las Vegas to attend the conference. Still, despite advances made by Mercedes, Google, and others, driverless cars remain in their infancy. Given the complex legal and insurance issues that this technology presents, the California DMV recently extended its deadline for devising driverless car rules. Experts predict that 75% of cars will be driverless by 2040. Computers: The Dell XPS 13 super-light, super-thin ultrabook has been getting rave reviews from tech experts. At only 13 inches and just under 3 pounds, it’s the thinnest laptop available today. It has a battery life of up to 15 hours, and features Intel’s Rapid Start Technology, allowing the device to boot up in just a few seconds. At a starting price of $800 and upgradable storage, Dell’s new model is highly competitive in the ultrabook market. Perhaps the most innovative computer at CES was the Amplicity modular PC, designed by L.A.-based startup Hive. This pocket-sized device, containing 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage and can connect with monitors just like a desktop tower. It has built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and a 6 month basic rent-

Dell XPS 13

Mercedes F015

LGs G Flex 2

Amplicity modular PC

al subscription (priced at $99,) includes a free terabyte of cloud storage and software from companies such as Microsoft and Adobe. Also noteworthy in the pocket-sized desktop field is Intel’s Compute Stick, featuring active cooling for better heat dissipation. While these tiny computers may not have the raw power of larger models, market trends are clearly in their favor as consumers increasingly prefer lighter, smaller, and more connected devices. TVs: Samsung made a splash at this year’s CES when it announced its Super Ultra HDTV models. These TVs are even better than 4K/Ultra HD because of their quantum dot technology, which provides more accurate color, sharper contrasts, and brighter images. The set’s processor automatically analyzes image brightness to adjust power consumption, making it one of their most energy-efficient models. It also boasts the Tizen operating system which integrates the TV with online video content providers such as Amazon and Netflix. LG also made a strong showing in the TV department with its new series of flat 4K OLED displays which offer some of the richest colors and best overall picture quality around. Rather than builtin speakers, sound is delivered through a soundbar which can either be attached to the TV stand or connected wirelessly, giving home theater enthusiasts major cause to celebrate. Smartphones: LG’s G Flex 2 curved smartphone was a real crowd-pleaser. It has a smaller, 5.5“screen than its predecessor, a 1080p display, and a 13 megapixel camera. For those who want even more camera power, Panasonic’s Lumix CM1 is a hybrid between a smartphone and a regular digital camera. Its f2.8 Leica lens and 20 megapixel camera make for some of the best photos you can take with a smartphone. The relatively unknown company Saygus launched its V2 model which delivers a massive 320GB of storage, (including 2 microSD card slots,) and excellent sound quality from its Harman Kardon speakers. For those who want better battery life for their smartphone, Israeli company StoreDot’s phone uses flash technology to charge the battery from empty to full in just 1-2 minutes. Battery technology is crucial to the future development of smartphones as consumers demand more features and spend more time using the devices.





JANUARY 15, 2015


You Gotta be



As a master text messenger, your job is to figure out what ^*$%@#&?! means. The nine letter text message code can be translated into two English words that are opposites. What are the two words? To assist you, each symbol stands for one of five letters: ! stands for Y, E, G, P, or T @ stands for F, B, A, Q, or T # stands for R, E, A, N, or Z $ stands for F, E, N, S, or H % stands for S, T, Y, M, or W ^ stands for P, D, E, H, or C & stands for U, K, H, T, or B * stands for O, J, G, I, or Z ? stands for E, L, D, N, or C

Jimbo went to the doctor with two burned ears. “The phone rang, and I accidentally picked up the iron,” he explained. The doctor asked him, “What about the other ear?” Jimbo replied, “They called back.”

Answer on next page

Cell Phone Phacts • Cell phones went on sale in the U.S. in 1983 and cost approximately $4,000. • In 2012 Apple sold more than 340,000 iPhones per day, which is around 4 per second. • Cell phones have 18 times more bacteria than toilet handles. • Smartphones have more computing power than the computers used for the Apollo 11 to land on the moon. • 70% of mobile phones are manufactured in China. • More than 90% of adults have their mobile phone within arm’s reach all the time. • More than 4 billion people own mobile phones. But only 3.5 billion use a toothbrush.

• According to Guinness World Records, Sonim XP3300 Force is recognized as the toughest phone. It survived an 84 foot drop without any operational

“Life is wh at when you happens rc is charging ell phone .”


• The Philippines is ranked number one globally in usage of text messages with about 1.4 billion text messages being sent every day. • Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was the first owner of the phone number 888-888-8888, but it proved unusable as he was receiving over 100 wrong numbers a day, mostly from babies playing with phones. • The average person unlocks his or her cell phone 110 times a day.

• 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt.

• The average American cell phone user will have about three unused or outdated cell phones in possession.

• In 1985, 45-year-old communications researcher Friedhelm Hillebrand defined the length of a standard text message. He typed random sentences on his typewriter and almost all of them were under 160 characters long.

• Most Americans will only use their mobile phone for about 12-16 months before getting a new one. • Texting came into existence 21 years ago. • The first photo to be shared using a cell phone was taken by Philippe Kahn in 1997. He sent pictures of his daughter Sophie from the maternity ward. Kahn is a French inventor who developed the world’s very first camera phone.




Cell Phone Addiction Test Answer YES or NO to each of the following questions to test your addiction level:

16. You can text faster than you can type on a keyboard.

2. You occasionally feel your thigh vibrate out of nowhere.

17. You think that “Social Security Number” means your iPhone lock screen code.

3. You have tried to swipe open a book.

18. You get upset when your kids ask to play on your phone… because you want to play on your phone.

4. You judge people by the pattern on their iPhone case. 5. When your phone is dead, and someone asks you what the weather is like, your first instinct is to say, “I don’t know,” rather than look outside or simply open the front door. 6. You justify being on your phone all the time because you “might miss a work email.”

19. If you left your phone in your office (before the weekend) and realized when you arrived home, you turn around and drive an excess of an hour each way in order to retrieve your phone. 20. When airport TSA tells you to put your phone through the security check, you get a slight panicky feeling and wonder how you will retrieve it if it gets stuck in the machine.

7. At least once a week you panic that you can’t find your phone, and then realize it’s in your hand. 8. When you close your eyes, you see Candy Crush combos. 9. You keep your phone on while flying, despite the fierce warnings of the captain to shut your phone.

21. When you don’t feel your phone in the pocket you thought it was in you quickly give yourself a rapid and fierce pat down, as if you are arresting yourself.

10. This year you have spent more time arbitrarily scrolling through your Camera Roll than doing anything else.

Your Addiction Level

11. When you wake up in the morning, you check your phone while still in bed. 12. Books make you twitch with anxiety. 13. When packing, the first thing you pack is your phone charger. 14. You try to turn down the brightness on the sun. 15. You get excited when you’re at a restaurant and your friend goes to the bathroom.

Answered YES to: 15-21 statements: You are totally addicted to your…hold on, I just have to grab this call. 8-14 statements: Not bad. Just wait until you get the iPhone 4S, it’s totally 2015! Comm Let the 0-7 statements: So how is that ission er dec phone that you ordered from ide Send your s the back of the Smithsonian tuff to magazine? Had BIG NUMBERS, c e n t fivetow erfold@ huh? nsjew


ishhom e.com

JANUARY 15, 2015

1. You plan your day around known charger locations.

ANSWER TO RIDDLE: Construct and Dismantle



JANUARY 15, 2015


Notable Quotes Notable


Compiled by Nate Davis

Compiled by Nate Davis

“Say“Say What?” What?” The newly elected congressmen and women from the midterm elections were sworn in today. This Congress will be the most diverse ever, with 104 women…That’s right, 104 female lawmakers. In other words, there’s going to be a lot of filibusters that go like this: “You know what you did.” – Jimmy Fallon

One of the new gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show is a belt that tells the person wearing it when it’s time to lose weight. Another device is a pair of jeans that says, “Hey, try a salad.” – Conan O’Brien

And I think the other big thing is that I think he’s a Democrat and so I know that as a Republican that there are some people that really don’t like that. - Curt Schilling on why John Smoltz was recently voted into the Hall of Fame and he was not According to a new report that just came out, the average college freshman reads at a seventh grade level. Or if you’re an optimist, every seventh grader now reads at a college freshman level. – Conan O’Brien

We tend to forget how often it happens and we’re Americans so we don’t want to single out people, but when you look at that list just since 9/11, we had the Madrid bombings in ‘04; London in ‘05; Mumbai; the Kenyan mall attack; Benghazi… ISIS; Boko Haram, who killed an entire village this week; Pakistan…killing all those kids at school; Canada, the parliament; Australia…. And that’s just the terrorists, let’s not forget also governments. That’s the thing that I think gets lost. It’s inside the establishment and it’s outside. Saudi Arabia today, a blogger gets a 1,000 lashes… These two guys who shot up the cartoonist the other day they were avenging the prophet when they did it. A bad idea. To martyrdom, a bad idea. Women as second class citizens, a bad idea. And unfortunately the terrorists and the mainstream share a lot of these bad ideas…. When there’s this many bad ideas, there’s something wrong with the orchard. - Bill Maher

A new study has found that watching Fox News can make you more conservative and watching MSNBC can make you more liberal. And watching CNN can make you think that no plane has ever safely reached its destination. - Conan O’Brien

Do you have a father? Do you have a brother? Are you the same person? - Jeb Bush, at a recent fundraising event for his probable presidential run, when asked how he will differentiate himself from his father and brother

We have new Baseball Hall of Fame guys going in. There are two great honors if you’re a baseball player. Getting elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is one, and owning a mediocre steakhouse is the other. – David Letterman

President Obama’s just come back from vacation, and I know how it is when you’ve been gone for a week or two—your desk is piled up. And he had other pressing problems to address. So I don’t think there’s any reflection on our country or no criticism is worthy. - Jimmy Carter, in an interview with Katie Couric, defending the absence of any Obama administration officials from the massive antiterrorism rally in Paris on Sunday Well, one of the origins for it is the Palestinian problem and this aggravates people who are affiliated in any way with the Arab people who live in the West Bank and Gaza, what they are doing now — what’s being done to them. So I think that’s part of it. - Jimmy Carter on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, arguing that the Paris attack is not due to radical Islam but because of Israel

The FDA is warning New Yorkers about Chinese food after a major Brooklyn distributor was found with rats and birds nesting in boxes of ingredients. The distributor says it’s all a misunderstanding — those ARE the ingredients. – Seth Myers

Sportscaster Jim Rome has angered marching bands across the country after he called them “dorks” on Twitter. Marching bands are crafting a reply, but it’s taking them forever to spell it out on the field. – Seth Myers

There were no screaming babies, no one listening to loud lyrics or reclining their seats or taking off their shoes. - Chris O’Leary of Brooklyn telling ABC News about his experience of being one of only two passengers on a 76 seater Delta Airlines flight (due to a series of delays resulting in the rest of the passengers taking earlier flights)

In Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Show is going on... The Consumer Electronics Show included a Wi-Fi kettle, which is a kettle that lets you boil water from anywhere in your house. Gee, finally. – Jimmy Kimmel

On the TV this morning the weatherman said to dress warm if you’re going outside. If you need a TV weatherman to remind you to dress warm, you’ve got bigger problems than the cold weather. – David Letterman

Macy’s may create a discount clothing chain similar to T.J. Maxx. Meanwhile, J.C. Penney will continue operating out of an unmarked van. - Jimmy Fallon Macy’s is interested in creating discount clothing stores similar to T.J. Maxx. It’ll be great for customers who love the style of Macy’s, but prefer all that clothing thrown on the ground. - Ibid I’d rather die standing up than live on my knees. - Stéphane Charbonnier, or “Charb,” editor of Charlie Hebdo, in an interview with Le Monde newspaper in 2012 while discussing threats that had been made to the newspaper over its representation of the Prophet Mohammed. He was killed last Wednesday by Islamic terrorists in the Charlie Hebdo’s offices.

If you guys need any tips on winning back to back, you know where to find me. – President Obama at a White House ceremony for the 2014 NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs

The Girl Scouts announced that they’re adding three new cookies this year, which include Rah-Rah Raisins and two gluten-free flavors. Even Jehovah’s Witnesses said, “If they ring the doorbell, pretend we’re not home.” - Jimmy Fallon

Our findings suggest that iPhone separation can negatively impact performance on mental tasks. Additionally, the results from our study suggest that iPhones are capable of becoming an extension of ourselves such that when separated, we experience a lessening of “self” and a negative physiological state. – From a University of Missouri about people’s connection to their smart phones

AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS. - A tweet sent out on the U.S. Central Command’s twitter account, when it was taken over by hackers known as “Cyber Caliphate” (while President Obama was giving a speech on cyber-security)

It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire Islamic world to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.  Impossible! That thinking – I am not saying “religion” but “thinking” – that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world.  It’s antagonizing the entire world! Is it possible that 1.6 billion people should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants – that is 7 billion – so that they themselves may live? Impossible! – Egyptian President Al- Sisi in a speech to Muslim Imams As head of the Egyptian state, Al-Sisi occupies an office once occupied by Anwar Sadat, who was murdered by Islamic extremists for his opening to Israel. This was an act of tremendous bravery by Al-Sisi, and if the Nobel Peace Prize committee is looking for someone who plausibly deserves it, they could start there. -George Will, discussing Al-Sisi’s courageous speech against radical Islam

I really think this is sort of quibbling a little bit. – Secretary of State John Kerry responding to criticism of the Obama administration for not sending any senior officials to the Paris peace rally

Kim Jong Un is either 32 or 33. They actually aren’t sure. North Korean scholars agree that when he entered the world a silver eagle ascended and promised 1,000 years of prosperity for his people. That should kick in any day now. – Jimmy Kimmel

This is a chronic problem. I stopped calling them Muslim terrorists…I mean they have no respect for anybody’s life, that’s not what the Koran says. – Former Gov. Howard Dean (DVT) on MSNBC, shortly after the terrorist attack in France took place

We’re going to have a family conversation. – Speaker of the House John Boehner after 25 conservatives opposed his reelection as speaker

Potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush will release a decade’s worth of tax returns to avoid comparisons to Mitt Romney. Yeah, they’re nothing alike. They’re just both former governors from wealthy families whose parents gave them super-weird names. – Jimmy Fallon Charlie Hebdo Attack and Mossad Link: Is Israel Venting its fury for France’s Recognition of Palestinian State? – Headline of a conspiracy theory article that appeared on the International Business Times website before it was removed and an apology was issued

President Obama posted a video on Facebook yesterday announcing his plan to make the first two years of community college free. Unfortunately he was interrupted when Biden got confused and threw a bucket of ice water on his head. – Jimmy Fallon African American man - CNN’s Chris Cuomo’s description of one of the French Muslim terrorists who is of African descent

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Former Arkansas governor and potential 2016 candidate Mike Huckabee is releasing his twelfth book later this month called, “G-d, Guns, Grits, and Gravy.” The craziest part: that’s just his favorite aisle at Wal-Mart. - Jimmy Fallon

Israel supports Europe in the struggle against terrorism, and the time has come for Europe to support Israel in the exact same struggle. – Prime Minister Netanyahu at a memorial service in France


Hillary Clinton is the leading presidential contender for the Democrats. Former Clinton aide John Podesta said Hillary will highlight her differences with President Obama if she runs. The biggest difference: Hillary is still interested in being president. – Jimmy Fallon



How the IRS views Air Miles & Points By Eli Schreiber business and not personal miles earned, was the most meaningful directive on the taxability of frequent flyer mile awards. For the past ten years nothing has changed and the IRS did not require taxpayers to disclose these benefits. The IRS never requires taxpayers to disclose items that are relatively modest in value, and the Federal Government doesn’t classify and regulate items that have a subjective estimate of value. The subjectivity of this area and the constant devaluation of miles and points by airlines is still being investigated by the Department of Transportation. The 2012 IRS guidelines stated that when rewards are dependent on some kind of financial action - whether it’s meeting a

certain spending threshold or where the rewards are given after a purchase - the IRS views the rewards as a discount on whatever it is you purchased initially. They therefore do not consider this as additional monies earned that need to be reported. However, if no transaction is required to earn to the rewards the IRS states the rewards earned must be disclosed and are subject to tax. Recently, the IRS issued additional guidelines classifying the taxable status of miles and points which they broke down into two different components: a) how an individual obtained their miles and points and b) what the individual does with them. What’s important to note is that even in the case where the rewards are given with-

out any transaction, they only need to be reported if they are valued above $600, which is the IRS’s mandatory reporting threshold on income earned by taxpayers. The IRS is clear that any future regulations will have no impact on past miles or points earned, stating that any future guidance on the taxability of these benefits will be applied prospectively. Stay tuned and as always, please consult your tax advisor with any questions, as neither PEYD, its affiliates, nor their employees provide tax advice. Eli Schreiber is a partner and Director of Marketing at Get PEYD and PEYD Travel Llc. The website address is www. getpeyd.com.


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JANUARY 15, 2015

One of the most commonly asked questions is whether there is a tax obligation on air miles, points and for other redemption options like hotel stays, car rentals or gift cards. This issue is complicated by the fact that the federal government has yet to regulate the rewards industry and determine the taxable status and overall value of credit card rewards and airline miles. In 2002, the IRS issued a statement indicating that business professionals would not be held liable for the receipt and personal use of frequent flyer miles or other in-kind promotional benefits obtained from business or official travel. For the past ten years, this announcement, although stated specifically in regards to miles and points earned through one’s


JANUARY 15, 2015


Travel Guide: Montana By Aaron Feigenbaum

Big Sky resort

Montana is a rare and special place in the modern world. Its slow-paced way of life, natural charms, and “live and let live” mantra make it a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. Montana, also known as, “The Treasure State,” is a land of vast rolling plains, crisp air, spiraling snowy peaks and crystal clear glacier waters. Step back in time as you visit one of the many Old West rodeo towns, which bring to life the state’s mining and cowboy past. Then explore the rugged outback of Glacier National Park, one of North America’s most celebrated and diverse wilderness areas. Perhaps Montana’s biggest claim to fame is its

Montana State Capitol

wide-open, deep blue skies that seem to stretch on forever. No matter why or when you come to visit, Montana’s simplicity, beauty, and open-hearted people will leave a lasting impression. Montana might not be at the top of many travel lists, but once you’re there you might never want to go home.


Native American tribes including the Crows, Cheyenne, Blackfeet and Kootenai were the original inhabitants of what would later become the state of Montana. The famed Lewis and Clark expeditions of 1804-1806 brought the first Europe-

Western Heritage Center in Billings Montana Photo by ALH

an-Americans to this land, and this was followed by the arrival of merchants including traders and fur trappers. Natives began to suffer as the arrival of a new economic system, disease, and the loss of natural resources took a toll on their way of life. The gold rush of 1862 brought thousands of miners to Montana along the Montana Trail, which stretched to southern Utah. This put even more strain on the Native American population’s access to resources, and some took to raiding the mining convoys for supplies. The U.S. army retaliated in the brutal massacre of the Shoshoni people at the Battle of Bear River in 1863. However, the army, under the command of George Custer, suffered one of its greatest defeats at the infamous Battle of Little Bighorn in eastern Montana in 1876. The last major stand of the Montanan Native American tribes was in 1877 when the Nez Perce people held off the army at the Battle of the Big Hole. After the Native Americans were defeated, settlers flowed into the state via the new railroad built in the 1880‘s. Some were attracted by the recently discovered silver and copper lodes in Butte, while others took advantage of Montana’s huge grasslands for farming. The Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 made the land cheap, and brought in tens of thousands. Many of these new arrivals engaged in wheat farming, until the economic effects of WWI financially ruined many of them. FDR’s New Deal plan during the Great Depression brought much-needed economic revitalization to the state including the building of Fort Peck Dam, afforestation by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and public construction projects by the Works Progress Administration. Montana in the post-WWII era has gradually shifted from a resource-based economy to also include tourism as a major source of revenue. The state government and local communities have made great strides in building bridges with Native Americans, and Montana today is a highly diverse society. Montanans pride themselves on their defense of the environment, an independent mindset, and sense of community.

Things to See and Do:

Glacier National Park: Created in

1910 when the American conservation movement was in its infancy, Glacier National Park is one of Montana’s most popular attractions. Visitors are rewarded with historic lodges, awe-inspiring Going-to-the-Sun Road, and an incredible variety of local wildlife. Rushing streams, huge meadows and alpine lakes, are just some examples of the epic scenery contained within this massive 1500 square mile preserve. The park is also the only place in the lower 48 states where you can see grizzly bears in their natural habitat. But, of course, viewing the scenery is only half the fun. Glacier National Park has no shortage of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, and winter sports such as skiing and snowshoeing. One of the most scenic hikes is the 2.5 mile trail from Sperry Chalet to Sperry Glacier. The climb is steep, but the incredible view of the surrounding valley, as well as of the glacier itself, make it worthwhile. Most mountain passes and services are closed in the winter and spring, so the best time to visit is in June, July or August. The park is serviced by Glacier Park International Airport, located about 30 miles west of the park’s western entrance. By car, both the I-90 and I-15 freeways lead to the park. If you have extra time, consider taking the Amtrak Empire Builder train, which is arguably the best way to see the park. The Amtrak option allows for bundling with special tour options, (available from amtrakvacations.com). Day trips from the park include Waterton Lakes National Park, located just over the Canadian border, and the excellent ski resort town of Whitefish. Big Sky: When it comes to winter activities, few places in America can compare with Big Sky Resort. Built in 1973 and located just a few miles away from Yellowstone National Park, it recently became the country’s largest ski resort by acreage. Hiking trails, accessible in summer, wind their way throughout the surrounding forests, and a tram takes you to the top of the mountain for spectacular views. The nearby Gallatin River is a favorite for kayakers and fishing enthusiasts. Wildlife in the area includes grizzly bears, wolves, and elk. Besides outdoor activities, visitors can enjoy free classical


Winter fishing at Lake McDonald Photo by David Restivo

music concerts in August. Billings: Montana’s largest city, Billings is in the middle of six mountain ranges. It’s a must-see for those interested in the history of the Old West. The Lewis and Clark expedition stopped in this area and left their inscription in the huge rock formation now known as Pompeys Pillar National Monument. Billings became a railroad hub in the late 1800‘s and has continued to preserve its Old West legacy ever since. The Western Heritage Center has over 16,000 artifacts that tell the story of the early settlers in Montana, as well as of the unique Native American cultures of the region. Just outside the city is the Pictograph Cave State Park, a prehistoric archaeological site containing cave paintings that are over 2000 years old. Also check out the Yellowstone Art Museum, home to one of America’s finest collections of Western art including over 3,000 pieces by cowboy illustrator Will James. Finally, stop by the lavishly styled Moss Mansion, built by the same architect who designed the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York. Bozeman: Nestled in the heart of the Gallatin Valley, Bozeman’s peaceful, laid-back nature belies the many unique attractions it has to offer. The excellent Museum of the Rockies has a planetarium, huge historical artifact collection, and a children’s discovery center. The Pioneer Museum allows visitors to step into a real Old West jail cell where staff wear period costumes for added authenticity. An unexpected sight in Bozeman, let alone in Montana, is the American Computer Museum, showing such fascinating exhibits as the history of the Internet, the development of personal computers, and the history of robotics. For local outdoor activities, head to Palisade Falls or take a drive up to the gorgeous Gallatin Canyon for excellent rock climbing and photography opportunities. Great Falls: This is one of Montana’s top outdoors sites. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center tells the story of how these two legendary pioneers helped make America what it is today. Nearby is Giant Springs State Park, containing one of the largest naturally occurring springs in the world. Visit the fish hatchery and watch the feeding frenzy, and afterwards grab a

bottle of pure spring water to take home. Helena: Located halfway between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, Helena is Montana’s capital city. Visit the beautifully designed State Capitol building (tours are free) and see how politics work in free-spirited Montana. The Montana Historical Society museum features displays on Native American history, settler history, and the works of Old West painter Charles Russell. The old-fashioned, animal-themed Great Northern Carousel ride is a perfect treat for kids. The Original Governor’s Mansion is a quaint Victorian building that’s been lovingly recreated to show how it looked in the late 1800‘s. Finally, hike to the top of Mt. Helena and get a stunning view of the city below. Butte: This historical town was once the nerve center of Montana’s mining operations. Its landmark district has some of America’s best-preserved Victorian architecture. Perhaps the most interesting attraction (or terrifying, depending on your perspective) is Berkeley Pit, a former open pit copper mine that is now on the federal Superfund list of toxic sites. There’s a viewing deck and gift shop, but it’s not advised to go there. For something much safer, one of Butte’s best attractions is the World of Museum of Mining. There, you can see original buildings from a turn-ofthe-century mining town. Take an underground mine tour that goes 65 feet down, complete with a hard-hat and lamp given to you by staff. Next, you’ll want to head to the Mineral Museum, containing over 1,300 specimens from around the world including gold nuggets and many other beautiful, sparkling minerals and crystals. The stately Copper King Mansion will round out your trip with an inside view of how one of the 19th-century Montanan copper barons lived. Little Bighorn National Monument: No visit to Montana would be complete without stopping off at this solemn battle site. Were it not for the presence of gravestones for soldiers of both sides of the battle, one would not guess that this desolate plain is where General Custer made his last stand in 1876 and there are two annual re-enactments of the battle.

Daven and Eat:

The only Orthodox shul in Montana

is Chabad of Montana in Bozeman, located at 8766 Huffman Lane. They can be reached at 406-585-8770 or jewishmontana.com Kosher food in Montana is expanding thanks to Chabad of Montana leader Rabbi Chaim Bruk, who established a local kashrut agency five years ago. As of now, kosher food can be found in markets including Albertson’s and Safeway.

Getting There:

major cities such as Billings, Missoula, Helena, and Bozeman do have airports. Greyhound offers limited service throughout the state, and, as mentioned before, Amtrak can get you right into Glacier National Park. A car trip from L.A. to Bozeman is about 15 hours long, L.A. to Glacier National Park 19 hours, and L.A. to Billings 18 hours. (Sources: Wikitravel, Tripadvisor, Lonely Planet)

Most visitors drive to Montana, but

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Global Japanese Government: Take a Break! There is an unusual problem in Japan: they are working too hard. According to last year’s jobs records, less than half of the allowed vacation days were actually taken by workers in Japan in 2013. In response, Japan has announced new laws to force workers to take a break. The government is aiming to raise the days taken to 70 percent by 2020. The reasons for the dogged work ethic are varied. In an uncertain economy, Japanese companies are demanding more of their staff. Many younger workers are expected to put in as many as 100 hours of overtime a month. But almost two-thirds of workers were also unwilling to take their allowed time off because “it would inconvenience their colleagues,” according to a study by the Japan Institute for Labor Policy Training. More than half of those polled also said they simply had no time for vacation because of their heavy workload. Workers said that anyone taking time off in such a stagnant economy risked being perceived as lacking commitment. As a result, Japan’s curse of “karoshi,” or death by overwork, has spread from older, senior employees, to younger staff.

Currently, employees are entitled to a minimum of 10 days paid leave annually, with the figure increasing one day for every year that they work to a maximum of 20 days a year. And while the Labor Standards Law requires firms to grant paid leave, the assumption is that employees need to request that leave. If they fail to do so, the company is not violating the law. Under the revised law, which is to be discussed when the government reconvenes in late January, companies will be required to ensure that their employees take time off. The government said the revisions are designed to prevent overwork and to enable employees to have an appropriate “work-life balance.”

ISIS Hacks U.S. Central Command’s Twitter Account

The U.S. Military’s Central Command had its Twitter account hacked this week. The hackers, who claim to be ISIS computer terrorists, posted internal documents to the web. “American soldiers, we are coming, watch your back! ISIS. #CyberCaliphate,” the first tweet read. The Centcom photo was changed to that of a masked man in a black-and-white checked scarf with the Islamic State flag. The perpetrators also published documents with the personal contact information of senior American military officers, as well as files they claimed were Pentagon war scenarios. However, many of the documents were publicly available files and didn’t belong to the U.S. military. “ISIS is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base,” read another tweet. The Central Command’s YouTube account was also apparently hacked, with two Islamic State propaganda videos posted entitled, “O Soldiers of Truth Go Forth,” and “Flames of War.” It wasn’t immediately clear who was behind the cyber-attack, which ironically took place as President Barack Obama delivered a speech about cyber-security. Twitter spokespeople said they were aware of the hack and were working to fix it. Shortly afterwards, the @CENTCOM Twitter user was suspended. A Pentagon official said that CentCom was aware of the cyber-attack, but had no immediate information about how it took place.

AirAsia Black Box Brought Up From Seabed The mystery behind the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501 may soon be solved. Indonesian divers have found the crucial black box flight recorders of the Airbus A320200 plane that crashed in the Java Sea two weeks ago with 162 people onboard. The box itself took some time to locate as it was stuck under debris from the main body of the plane. The recorders were discovered 100 feet below the sea. On Tues-

day, investigators revealed that the cockpit voice recorder was located. After a frustrating two week search often hindered by bad weather, officials raised hopes by reporting that strong ping signals had been detected by three vessels involved in the search. Those signals were coming from the seabed less than one kilometer from where the tail of the plane was found, Malaysian Navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar said.

The Indonesian meteorological agency has said stormy weather likely caused the plane to crash as it flew from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore on December 28. But a definitive answer is impossible without the black box, which should contain the pilots’ final words as well as various flight data. “There’s like 200-plus parameters they record,” said aviation safety expert John Goglia, a former U.S. National Transportation Safety Board member. “It’s going to provide us an ocean of material,” he said referring to the black boxes and the trove of information investigators should be able to download in a few weeks’ time. The search, which has involved U.S., Chinese and other international naval ships, has recovered 48 bodies so far. 32 remains have been identified. All but seven of those onboard the flight were Indonesian. Of the foreigners, there were some from South Korea, one Singaporean, one Malaysian, one Briton and a Frenchman – co-pilot Remi Plesel. Their bodies have not yet been recovered. The disaster has once again placed Indonesia’s chaotic aviation industry under scrutiny. Indonesian officials have alleged Indonesia AirAsia did not have a license to fly the route on the day of the crash, although the airline rejects the claim. After the crash, Indonesia’s transport ministry quickly banned AirAsia from flying the Surabaya-Singapore route. Dozens more routes operated by five other domestic airlines have also been suspended for similar license violations.    

Long Lines for Basics in Venezuela Deepening food shortages in Vene-

zuela have forced the government to put military personnel in charge of food distribution. The search for basic items such as detergent and chicken has led to long lines, some stretching for blocks, outside grocery stores in Caracas. A dearth of foreign currency exacerbated by collapsing oil prices has led to shortages of imports from toilet paper to car batteries and helped push annual inflation to 64 percent in November. The lines will persist as long as price controls remain in place, said Luis Vicente Leon, director of a Caracas-based polling firm. The price for Venezuela’s oil, which accounts for more than 95 percent of the country’s exports, has plunged by more than half from last year’s peak in June to $47 a barrel this month.

President Nicolas Maduro last week vowed to implement an economic “counter-offensive” to steer the country out of recession, including an overhaul of the foreign exchange system. He has yet to provide details. While the main government-controlled exchange sets a rate of 6.3 bolivars per U.S. dollar, the black market rate is as much as 187 per dollar. “This is the worst it has ever been – I’ve seen lines thousands of people long,” Greisly Jarpe, a 42-year-old data analyst, said as she waited for dish soap in eastern Caracas. “People are so desperate they’re sleeping in the lines.”

Boko Haram Kills Civilians “Like Insects” 150 people were slaughtered in and around the town of Baga in Nigeria, located near the border with Chad, in days of violence in which Boko Haram fighters seized a key military base on January 3. Survivors described days of relentless violence in which, one witness said, some people were slaughtered “like insects.” Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, a military spokesman, said on Monday that the evidence available so far indicates a death toll of no more than 150, including insurgents killed in combat with troops. The military has said 14 soldiers were killed and 30 were wounded in the Baga attack, and that it was making a plan to restore “law, order and normalcy” to the area. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon as well as the United States and other countries have con-


Cuba Releases 53 Last Political Prisoners

Saudi Cleric: Snowman is a No Go

Many countries in the Middle East don’t always get to enjoy snowfalls in the winter, but last week, a large storm covered many areas with blankets of snow. As children rejoiced in the winter wonderland and ran outside to build snowmen and forts, a Saudi cleric rained—or snowed— on their parade. According to Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid, a snowman with “clear facial features” is un-Islamic and is prohibited.

In a major tension-easing initiative, Cuba has completed the release of all 53 prisoners it had promised to free, the Obama administration said. The release of the remaining detainees overcomes a big hurdle for historic talks next week aimed at normalizing ties after decades of hostility. The list of 53 is part of last month’s breakthrough U.S.-Cuba agreement. The United States welcomed Cuba’s action as a milestone, but senior U.S. officials said Washington would keep pressing Havana to free more people they consider political prisoners. Lifting the secrecy around the freed dissidents, the White House provided the full list to congressional leaders. There had been questions whether Havana would release all those it had pledged to free as part of the deal that Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced on December 17 to restore diplomatic ties, which Washington severed more than 50 years ago.

Among those on the release list were people designated by Amnesty International as “prisoners of conscience” such as brothers Bianco Vargas Martín and Diango Vargas Martín, members of the Patriotic Union arrested in 2012 and sentenced on public disorder charges to four years in prison. U.S. officials said as many as eight people on the list had been released even before the December announcement, some because they were already scheduled for release. One U.S. official said Obama could exercise executive powers “in a matter of days and weeks” to begin easing some business and travel restrictions. Officials project the first of those changes could be announced around the time of the January 21-22 talks in Havana, when U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson begins high-level negotiations. Reopening the U.S. embassy in Havana for the first time in 53 years will also be a “near-term” focus for the administration, but there is no timeline, one official said. “You don’t erase decades of mistrust overnight but you can chip away at it,” he added.

Contaminated Beer Leaves Dozens Dead

JANUARY 15, 2015

“A similar ruling applies to figures that are made out of dough and other sweets,” he added. However, “if the head is cut off or the features are erased, then the prohibition no longer applies,” the cleric said. Snowmen are only allowed if they resemble a “three-dimensional figure with no features.” The decree was posted on the popular Salafist question and answer website Islamqa. The ruling falls in line with an injunction in Islamic law banning the creation of images and artistic representations of living beings. According to Al-Jazeera, al-Munajjid is considered a highly respected scholar in the Salafist movement, a fundamentalist stream of Sunni Islam that is dominant in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. The cleric has stirred controversy in the past, including with a fatwa he issued permitting the hacking of “Jewish websites,” as well as blaming the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on “Christian immorality.” Several centimeters of snow fell in the northern Saudi Arabian desert last week, following days of inclement weather that saw blizzards sweep through parts of Israel, Lebanon, Syria and even Pakistan.


demned the Baga bloodshed, which highlights the increasingly brazen tactics of an insurgent movement in Nigeria’s northeast as well as the inability of Nigerian forces to respond effectively. President Goodluck Jonathan is running for re-election in Feb. 14 elections, but it is uncertain how voting can proceed in areas under Boko Haram’s sway. One survivor of the Baga violence, Ibrahim Gambo, estimated that more than 500 people may have died and said he did not know what happened to his wife and daughter. The 25-year-old truck driver said he was part of a civilian militia that, bolstered by a belief that its fighters were protected from bullets by a magical charm, initially had success in resisting Boko Haram insurgents. But the army told his militia group to pull back so a military plane could attack Boko Haram forces, which then surrounded Baga when the plane didn’t arrive.”It is sad that our fortification charm became ineffective once we showed fear,” Gambo said. Yahaya Takakumi, a 55-year-old farmer, told Nigeria’s Premium Times that he escaped from Baga with one of his wives, but does not know the whereabouts of four of his children, his second wife and his elder brother. “We saw dead bodies especially, on the islands of Lake Chad where fishermen had settled,” the newspaper quoted Takakumi as saying. “Several persons were killed there like insects.” Boko Haram fighters opened fire on vessels carrying fleeing residents, Takakumi said. He and other survivors managed to flee to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

Sixty nine people died this week after drinking contaminated beer in Mozambique. Provincial health director, Paula Bernardo, told Radio Mozambique on Monday that 196 people have been admitted to hospitals in the northeastern Tete province with medical issues related to the beer consumption. On Sunday evening, district health officials said 56 people had died and 49 were hospitalized after drinking the


JANUARY 15, 2015


beer at a funeral on Saturday. Pombe, a traditional Mozambican beer, is made from millet or corn flour. The exact source of the contamination is still unknown, but authorities believe the drink was poisoned with crocodile bile during the course of the funeral. Blood and traditional beer samples were sent to the capital Maputo to be tested, said provincial health director Carle Mosse. Mozambique is a country in Southeast Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west, and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest. It is the world’s 35th-largest country in physical size, with a population of over 25 million.

M15 Chief Warns of Threats to the West

The head of Britain’s MI5 Security Service warned on Thursday that al Qaeda militants in Syria are plotting attacks to inflict mass casualties in the West, possibly against transport systems or “iconic targets.” MI5 chief Andrew Parker warned a strike on the United Kingdom was highly likely. “A group of core al Qaeda terrorists in Syria is planning mass casualty attacks against the West,” Director General Parker said in a rare public speech at MI5 headquarters in London. His last public speech was in October 2013. Parker’s speech was actually planned before the killings in Paris last week. The two largest terror attacks by al Qaeda on record are the September 11th attacks in America and when suicide bombers killed 52 commuters in London on July 7, 2005. After al Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces in 2011, the threat posed by the network seemed to regress but spies in Europe and the United States have been concerned lately that al Qaeda militants from Pakistan have appeared in war-torn Syria, in what some intelligence analysts say could be part of a plot to mount a major attack against the West. Parker also revealed that around 600 British extremists had traveled to Syria, many joining the militant group which calls itself “Islamic State” that has taken

control of swathes of Iraq and Syria. The group is an offshoot of al Qaeda and is responsible for beheading two U.S. journalists and an American and two British aid workers in an effort to put pressure on a U.S.-led international coalition bombing its fighters in Syria. MI5 was founded in 1909 to counter German espionage ahead of World War I. It has taken responsibility for preventing three possibly fatal “terrorist plots” against the United Kingdom in recent months. “We face a very serious level of threat that is complex to combat and unlikely to abate significantly for some time,” said Parker, who has strongly advocated for more surveillance rights to spy on militant communications on the Internet. “My sharpest concern as Director General of MI5 is the growing gap between the increasingly challenging threat and the decreasing availability of capabilities to address it,” he said. Twitter and Facebook are crucial to militants, and therefore technology giants should give security services greater access to their networks, the head of Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping agency said last year. “The dark places from where those who wish us harm can plot and plan are increasing,” Parker said. “We need to be able to access communications and obtain relevant data on those people when we have good reason.”

France Unites, Millions Join March At least 3.7 million people united to show their sincere sadness following last week’s Paris attacks. According to the Interior Ministry, an estimated 1.2 million to 1.6 million marched in Paris and another 2.5 million in other cities, making it the biggest public demonstration ever registered in France. Commentators said the last time crowds of this size filled the streets of the capital was at the Liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany in 1944. Seventeen people, including journalists, police, and innocent bystanders were killed in a three day murder spree that began on Wednesday morning with a shooting attack on the political weekly Charlie Hebdo, known for its satirical comments on Islam and other religions. President Francois Hollande and leaders from Germany, Italy, Turkey, Britain, Israel and many other major countries marched from the central Place de la Republique ahead of a sea of French and other flags. Giant letters attached to a statue in the square spelled out the word Pourquoi?” (Why?) and small groups sang the “La Marseillaise” national anthem. “Paris is today the capital of the world. Our entire country will rise up and show its best side,” Hollande said. The terrorists, two French-born broth-

ers of Algerian origin, targeted the periodical for its publication of cartoons depicting and ridiculing the Prophet Mohammad. The bloodshed concluded on Friday after one of the murderers took hostages at a Jewish supermarket leaving the four hostages and the gunman dead. Hours prior to the march, a video surfaced featuring a black man strongly resembling the gunman responsible for the attack at the kosher deli. In the video clip, he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State insurgent group and urged French Muslims to follow his example. Two of the gunmen had declared allegiance to al Qaeda in Yemen and a third to the militant Islamic State. All three were killed during the police operations in what local commentators have called “France’s 9/11.” There were around 2,200 police and soldiers patrolling the streets of Paris to protect marchers from potential attackers. Police snipers adorned rooftops and plainclothes detectives were dispersed throughout the tremendous crowd. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were among foreign leaders that linked arms and marched with Hollande. Renzi said the fight against terrorism will be won by a Europe that is political, not just economic. “The most important is the Europe of values, of culture, of ideals and that is the reason we are here,” Renzi said. Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu – who earlier in the day encouraged French Jews to emigrate to Israel – and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were also present and walked just a few steps from one another. “In the same way that the civilized world stood today with France against terror, so it must stand with Israel against terror,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony in a Paris synagogue following the march. The head of France’s 550,000-strong Jewish community, Roger Cukierman, said Hollande had promised that Jewish schools and synagogues would have extra protection, by the army if necessary, after the killings. He also called for limits on hate speech and more control on suspected jihadists.

White House Apologizes for Absence of HighProfile Diplomat at Paris Rally The world was abuzz when photos emerged of heads of state attending the Paris rally with an obvious major world player absent: the United States. The absence of President Obama or any high diplomat

was highly criticized by many across the world. Republicans severely disapproved of the president’s decision, and both domestic and foreign media called out the White House for its lack of presence at the event. On Monday, the White House admitted that it was indeed an oversight and a higher-profile official should have been sent to Paris to participate in the rally along with 1.5 million other people to demonstrate their unity against terrorism.  The United States was represented at the rally by Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas were in Paris for weekend security meetings but did not attend the march. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said he would visit Paris on Thursday; he was in India during the rally. Kerry brushed aside the criticism, calling it “quibbling a little bit,” and said many embassy staff, including Hartley, attended the march. “But that is why I am going there on the way home, to make it crystal clear how passionately we feel about the events that have taken place there,” he added. “I think it’s fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile” to the event, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday. Of the criticism, Earnest said, “We agree that we should have sent someone with a higher profile in addition to the ambassador to France.” More than 40 leaders including French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attended the Sunday march that was organized in response to days of terrorist attacks that left 17 people dead.

ISRAEL The High Cost of Terrorism A new study out of Tel Aviv University is measuring the huge financial cost of terrorism. So, just how much does terrorism cost society? Estimates of the cost of the 9/11 attacks, for example, range from about $45 billion for direct costs (the value of damaged or destroyed factories, equipment, housing and structures, merchandise, lost wages, pain and suffering) to over $100 billion when indirect costs are included (the increase in airport security, purchasing of new equipment for security, etc.).

Visiting Israel?

French Victims Buried in Israel

The four Jewish men who were brutally killed in HyperCacher kosher supermarket in Paris were laid to rest in Israel this week. The burial decision came after the Israeli Foreign Ministry reached out to the families with an offer to bury the victims in Israel, despite the fact that they were not Israeli citizens. The victims, who were killed shortly before the start of Shabbos last week, were Yohan Cohen, 22, an employee of the HyperCacher store; Yoav Hattab, 21, a student of Tunisian origin and the son of the chief rabbi of Tunis; Phillipe Barham, 45, an executive at an IT company, a father and the brother of a rabbi; and François-Michel Saada, 64, a retired father of two. Tearful mourners held placards bearing their portraits with the words: “I am dead because I’m Jewish.” Amedy Coulibaly, the Islamist gunman who murdered the four men and held others hostage before he was killed by French security forces at the kosher store, reportedly told a French journalist at the height of the siege that he had deliberately chosen to target Jews. The last decade has seen a series of high profile attacks on Jews in France, including the kidnapping and brutal murder of Ilan Halimi in 2006 and a shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012 that left four people dead, including a rabbi and three children. During the summer, a number of anti-Israel rallies turned violent, including one in which many Jews were trapped inside a synagogue. Following the Friday attack on

Terror Victims Sue PA and PLO Eleven years after filing a billion-dollar lawsuit, victims of terror attacks in Israel between January 2001 and February 2004 hope to prove to an anonymous Manhattan federal court jury that the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization were behind the

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But there are costs even beyond the “indirect” ones. What about the productivity lost as workers spend extra time at the water cooler discussing how anxious they are? The time lost to commuters who decide to take a longer but safer route? The loss of sleep and increase in anxiety and the associated loss in productivity? These, too, are a “cost of terrorism,” says Dr. Sharon Toker of TAU. In collaboration with Dr. Gregory A. Laurence of the University of Michigan and Dr. Yitzhak Fried of Syracuse University, Toker set out to measure those ancillary indirect costs. A preview of the report shows that terrorism costs society a lot more than had been thought until now. In just one parameter – sleep – terror’s impact is sufficient to cause significant slowdowns in productivity. When fear of terrorism is in the air, people have a hard time sleeping, and more often than usual find themselves suffering from a full state of insomnia and in an almost constant state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. The study was conducted in Israel, taking a group of 670 Israeli workers chosen at random beginning in 2003 – at the peak of the Second Intifada, during which 550 attempted terrorist acts led to the deaths of 880 civilians. The workers underwent routine annual checkups as part of the Tel Aviv Medical Center Inflammation Survey every year until 2009. In addition, they filled out periodic questionnaires that assessed the incidence of insomnia, fear of terror, fear for personal safety, tension experienced in public places, level of workplace support, and signs of job burnout. The results showed that fear of terror was almost inexorably linked to factors that significantly reduced workplace productivity. “We found that the higher your levels of fear of terror at baseline, the higher your risk of developing insomnia — and those who were more likely to develop insomnia were also most likely to experience job burnout several years later,” said Toker. “Burnout is a direct outcome of depleted resources, so those who consistently don’t get enough sleep report job burnout.”

the HyperCacher market, Israeli leaders upped calls for French and European Jews to make Israel their home. “To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, I would like to say that Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the State of Israel is your home,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a televised statement. “This is not how we wanted to welcome you to Israel,” said President Reuven Rivlin, addressing the victims by name as he fought back tears during the ceremony attended by more than 2,500 people including Israeli political leaders. “We wanted you alive.” Rivlin said that it was unacceptable that Jews were once again living in fear in Europe. “We cannot allow that in 2015, 70 years since the end of World War II, Jews are afraid to walk in the streets of Europe” wearing a skullcap and prayer shawl, he said. Lighting a torch of remembrance, Yonatan Saada said his father had longed to move to Israel. “He was in love with Israel, he wanted to live here,” he said, his voice breaking. “He’s here now.” Speaking in Hebrew, a mournful Valerie Braham paid tribute to her husband Philippe. “I am crying but I know that you’re all crying with me,” she said. For many Israelis, the killings were further evidence that France is becoming hostile territory for Jews and proof that the authorities there are unable to protect them. The Jewish community in France numbers 500,000 to 600,000 people. French migration to Israel hit a record high last year of 6,600 people, and many believe the trend will accelerate. Addressing the crowds, Netanyahu said that although Jewish people have the right to live anywhere in the world in safety, they know where their real home is, Netanyahu said. “I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, Israel, their historical homeland which will always be ready to receive them with open arms as much-loved sons,” he said.


The good news is that with help and support, these emotional strains take a much lighter toll. Toker says they found that “those who reported support from colleagues developed significantly less insomnia and little incidence of job burnout after several years.”           



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attacks. Jury selection begins Tuesday in the trial, expected to last up to three months. It is occurring despite a last-ditch unsuccessful attempt by the PLO and PA to convince appeals judges that a Manhattan court does not have jurisdiction. The effort was rejected by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawsuit was brought in 2004 under the Antiterrorism Act of 1991 by victims of seven shootings and bombings near Jerusalem. The attacks killed 33 people and wounded hundreds more, including scores of US citizens. “The injuries remain very fresh for most of these people,” plaintiffs’ attorney Phil Horton said. “It is often hard to work with them because the pain is still so great. There have been a lot of tears in conference rooms.” Horton said some victims are seeking a sense of closure and many were interested in accountability as well. Many are expected to testify. Any damages awarded to the plaintiffs would be automatically tripled because the claims involved acts of terrorism, he pointed out. “This case is really about the rule of law. Can you take the law into your own hands or not?” Horton said. “Terrorism is the opposite of the rule of law.” If successful, the plaintiffs expect to recover a substantial amount of any award,

although attorneys would not be able to pursue documentation of the groups’ assets until they win, he said. “The one thing I’m sure about is they wouldn’t be spending what are clearly enormous sums on the case if they didn’t believe there was money to be collected at the end of the day,” Horton said. In court papers, lawyers for the PA and PLO say a US court should not have jurisdiction over the case just because the PLO maintains a 12-person office in the United States. The PA and PLO’s home is in the West Bank, they say. The publicity of the trial, “some of it inevitable, some of it sought by plaintiffs, will undermine the confidence in the PA’s ability to govern and contribute to a worsening of tensions in the region at a delicate moment,” the lawyers representing the PA and PLO said in court documents.          

National Boston’s Olympic Run Bostonians may be hosting the summer Olympic Games in 2024. The Massachusetts capital has never hosted the Games before. According to the United States Olympic Committee, Boston beat out Los

Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. for the bid. The city will require construction of an Olympic stadium, and projected costs run to more than $7 billion. But they shouldn’t start any building just yet. The International Olympic Committee is expected to name the host city in 2017. The United States has not hosted a Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996. While hosting the Olympics has long been considered an honor, recently local governments have understood accolades don’t pay the bills and Olympic price tags are getting out of hand. Costs for hosting Olympic Games have soared past $50 billion, and while most governments will not go to the ridiculously lavish (and by all accounts, corrupt) extremes of Russia with the Winter Games in Sochi, the price of entry now is a substantial one for a twoweek event. In fact, the prestige of hosting the Olympic Games is so dimmed that four cities have already dropped out of the bidding for the 2022 Winter Games, leaving only Kazakhstan and China as the bidding nations. Many nations don’t want to bear the crushing expense of trying to meet the IOC’s demanding standards only to see their facilities plunge into disuse or even ruin within months after the Games’ end.  

San Fran Top Performer

“If you live in a metro with dynamic growth, there are lots of employment opportunities available for you,” says Ross DeVol, chief research officer at the Milken Institute. “You also find a great deal of immigration occurs as it attracts talent to these dynamic cities. This tends to propel housing prices higher which is good if you [already] live in one of these metros.” The wage growth and employment opportunities that these cities provide are important considerations to make when looking at career progression, he says. This begs the question: if you don’t live in a top city, should you move to one? “If you look at the top 50 cities, all of them have net in-migration, more people moving in than moving out,” says DeVol. “If you’re living in what might be a stagnant metropolitan economy, you should certainly consider the possibility of moving to one of these dynamic metros,” he recommended. Moving, however, isn’t for everyone. Stagnant areas tend to have lower housing prices and if you’re in a middle-wage job it might make sense to stay put. Still, living in a dynamic city allows for more potential wage growth. “More importantly, if you have a family, your kids may have better economic opportunity.” The bottom line, says DeVol, is that there’s big risk in moving to one of these cities. “You may have to initially step back [career-wise] a bit further…there are hightech STEM skilled jobs but even if you work in the leisure industry, if you’re embedded in one of those metros, it pulls up wages for everyone.”

1 Dead as Smoke Fills D.C. Metro Station

Each year, the Milkin Institute, an economic think tank, measures jobs, wages, salaries and technological output to map out the cities it believes “hold the key to economic success.” What are this year’s top-performing cities? 1      San Francisco, CA 2      Austin, TX 3      Provo, UT 4      San Jose, CA 5      Raleigh, NC  The cities that declined the most this year are: 1      Peoria, IL 2      Erie, PA 3      York, PA 4      Roanoke, VA 5      Hartford, CT So what does it mean to live in a top-performing city like San Fran, and what does it mean to live in Peoria, a city that ranked towards the bottom of the list?

On Monday, in the late afternoon, smoke filled one of Washington, D.C., busiest subway stations, resulting in one person’s death and injuries to 84 others. Many of the victims were riding on the Virginia-bound Yellow Line train that had departed from the L’Enfant Plaza station shortly before 3:30, when it suddenly came to a halt and began to fill with smoke. Officials said it was due to an “electrical arcing event,” when water hits the third rail and generates smoke. Riders were forced to evacuate the smoke-filled train and station but as much as an hour went by before firefighters were


Fugitive Caught 40 Years Later

Founding Fathers Time Capsule Opened

In September 1977, Robert Woodring was sentenced to ten months of prison time for removing a yacht to keep it from being seized by authorities. Now, nearly four decades later, the former Florida resident has been arrested in Mexico and will be arraigned in a U.S. federal court this week. Woodring was taken into custody in Guadalajara, Mexico, last month in an operation involving authorities from the United States and Mexico, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida said in a statement. Woodring, who formerly lived in the Fort Lauderdale area, had also been sentenced to seven years in prison in a related mail fraud case, officials said. In 1984, he was indicted on charges of failure to appear to begin his sentence, prosecutors said, and now is to be arraigned this week.

Too Close? Alaska Town’s Residents Under One Roof The population of Whittier, Alaska, is just 218 and most residents live under one

One would think this town would be king of snow days but no such luck, kiddos! The school is connected to Begish Tower via an underground tunnel; it can be a blizzard outside and 32 degrees below zero but classes are always in session. Residents adore their homey, comprehensive community. “It would be silly to say that you live a lonely life living in the building because I have friends and neighbors and students and coworkers that are right down the hall,” local teacher and Begich resident Erika Thompson says.  ”If you’re having a bad day, if you’re having a day when you think, ‘Gosh I haven’t talked to another human being for a while,’ you can just walk down the hall, or get in the elevator.” Like they say, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality: a couple of good neigh-

bors are more valuable than a city filled with millions of strangers.

Sandy Hook Parents Sue City for Poor Security

This December marked two years since Adam Lanza stormed into Sandy Hook Elementary School and ruthlessly shot children, staff, and teachers. Now two families of first graders killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre are suing the town of Newtown and its board of education, alleging security measures at the school weren’t adequate. The parents of Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Connecticut town last Friday. The families are seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit, which is expected to be filed in state Superior Court in Danbury over the next few weeks. One strong allegation is that the staff at the school was unable to follow the security policies in place. According to the suit, classroom doors could only be locked from the outside with keys, leaving teachers and students vulnerable to intruders, and the front of the school didn’t have security glass to protect against gunshots. In addition, in one of the two classrooms where students were killed, was a substitute teacher who did not have a key or proper training in security protocols. “We are hopeful that the town of Newtown’s elected and hired representatives will work with these families, who have already suffered, and continue to suffer, unimaginable loss, to help resolve this



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Massachusetts officials opened a 220-year-old time capsule containing coins, documents and other artifacts left by Samuel Adams and Paul Revere this week. “The history of Massachusetts is the history of America,” Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said before the box was opened, adding the items were symbols of the “great hope” of the country’s founders. The corroded 10-pound (4.5-kg) brass box, removed from beneath the state house last month, was painstakingly dismantled and unpacked by custodians at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts in a gallery hung with oil portraits of both men. Among the items in the box were two dozen coins including a 1652 Pine Tree Shilling struck by colonists in defiance of England, a bronze medal portraying George Washington, a silver plate made by Revere, and colonial records and newspapers. Galvin said he expected the items

roof. The small, isolated town is unique in its infrastructure; it is only accessible by sea or a two and half mile tunnel that runs through Alaskan mountainous terrain. During the summer, there is 22 hours of sunlight (that’s an amazing suntan!), and during the winter, the days are dark and cold making living conditions brutal. The population remains so small due to the harsh winter living conditions which force the town to remain indoors during the winter months. The Begish Tower houses most households of Whittier along with the post office, general store, video rentals, and playground. The 14 story building was previously an Army barracks built in the 1950s.



JANUARY 15, 2015

would be displayed at the museum for some time before being placed back beneath the state house cornerstone, possibly with additional items from this era. The capsule was first placed under the cornerstone of the 18th-century state house building, a Boston landmark topped by a gilded copper dome made by Revere’s company, on July 4, 1795 in recognition of America’s 20th anniversary of independence. Adams was then governor of Massachusetts, and Revere a colonial icon and silversmith best known for alerting Colonial fighters to the approach of British Forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775. The unveiling marked the first time its contents have been seen publicly since 1855, when it was also removed from the cornerstone, the items inside cleaned, and other items like newspapers and coins added.


able to lead passengers out of the cars. Some began to choke on the smoke, others lost consciousness. DC Interim Fire Chief Eugene Jones told the Washington Post that firefighters did not immediately enter the tunnel to help the riders because they want to ensure that power to the third rail had been shut off. He also took issue with passengers’ claims, saying that the delay was “nothing like” the length of time they described. Jonathan Rogers told The Post that he was aboard a Yellow Line train as it headed to Pentagon Station, which is one station away from L’Enfant Plaza. He said smoke quickly came through the subway car’s doors. “It started to get scary pretty quick,” he related. The subway’s driver tried moving the train backwards, but smoke continued to enter. “People started praying,” he said. “Smoke was coming in pretty steadily. Some people were fine and some people were just hurting pretty quickly.” Passenger Saleh Damiger was quoted by the newspaper as saying that people were choking and yelling aboard the train. “It was a lot of smoke,” she said. “We couldn’t see each other. ... We felt like we were almost going to die.”    




JANUARY 15, 2015


matter in the most efficient and constructive way possible,” Donald Papcsy, a lawyer for Lewis and Pozner’s parents, said in a statement. “As residents of the town, we all either have, or are going to have, students in our Sandy Hook schools, and we promote the idea of learning from the past and protecting our children in the future.” Last month, the families of nine of the murdered victims filed a lawsuit in state court against the maker and sellers of the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that Lanza used in the shooting, saying the gun should not have been sold for civilian use because of its devastating firepower. Reports by state police and the state child advocate said Lanza’s parents, teachers and others missed obvious red flags that should have been clues to how deeply troubled he was. They said he should have received more appropriate treatment for his mental health problems. Lanza’s obsessions with firearms, death and mass shootings have been documented by police files, although investigators previously concluded the motive for the shootings may never be known.

Ebola Survivor to Return to Africa to Provide Aid

An American doctor who survived Ebola last fall announced this week that he is returning to the heart of the worst Ebola outbreak in history: West Africa. But Dr. Rick Sacra, a family doctor from Massachusetts who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia in September, will not be treating Ebola patients when he returns to Liberia. He is set to depart on January 15, and will work with aid group SIM USA in the emergency department and teaching. Dr. Sacra was discharged from Ne-

braska Medical Center Ebola-free on September 26. He was later re-admitted with an upper respiratory infection and said he also had a complication called uveitis, or swelling of the eye. But he said he’s “95 percent” better. “I guess I’m less nervous about this trip because I know what I’m getting into a little more,” Dr. Sacra said at a news conference. “The thing I was afraid of last time, I’ve had it, and I’m through it. Thank G-d.” “Doctors say I’m immune, but I don’t plan to test that,” he added. He is the first American to return to Africa after surviving Ebola. Health care workers are at special risk of infection from Ebola. The World Health Organization says more than 500 have been infected in the current epidemic. “Ebola is both hard to get and easy to get,” Dr. Sacra pointed out. “It’s hard to get in community settings, normal settings like this or sitting in a restaurant or walking on the street. But in the health care setting, where you’re dealing with people who are very sick, dealing with blood and body fluids, it is very easy to get,” he added. “Even when the proper precautions have been put in place, you still see health care workers getting sick with Ebola,” he added. Just hours before Sacra spoke, London’s Royal Free Hospital said one of the 500 infected health care workers, Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey, was better. “Royal Free Hospital is pleased to announce that Pauline Cafferkey is showing signs of improvement and is no longer critically ill. She remains in isolation as she receives specialist care for the Ebola virus,” the hospital said in a statement. Cafferkey was diagnosed with Ebola in December after treating patients in Sierra Leone. “Even after Ebola is finished in West Africa, if we don’t continue to be very strategic about strengthening the health system there, then they’ll be vulnerable to another epidemic, whether it is Ebola or whether it is another disease,” Dr. Sacra said.

Increased Security Following Paris Attacks If you plan to fly in the next few weeks, be prepared for beefed up airport security following the attacks in Paris last week. All across the U.S., airport security staff has taken on extra precautionary measures, according to the nation’s top homeland security official. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was sure to clarify

that the measures were not in response to “specific, credible intelligence of an attack,” but rather are preventative. The new measures are also being taken, Johnson said, because of “the recent public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on Western objectives, including aircraft, military personnel and government installations and civilian personnel.” He was chiefly referring to last week’s violent terrorist attacks in Paris but also mentioned the recent attacks in Canada and in a coffee shop in Sydney, Australia.

Security screeners increased the number of random searches of passengers and carry-on luggage. In recent months, intelligence officials warned of numerous Iraqi and Syrian militants possibly possessing Western and European passports. The U.S. is demanding that foreign airports, especially in the Middle East, increase their screening of passengers flying into the U.S. Johnson also informed the public that the Transportation Security Administration has been instructed to conduct an immediate short-term review to determine whether more security measures are necessary at airports in the U.S. and overseas. The agency’s Federal Protective Service will also expand its presence at the more than 9,500 federal buildings it guards nationwide. The U.S. government also boosted security at federal buildings after the October shooting at the Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa that killed one soldier.

That’s Odd This Bus is for the Dogs Thought the passenger next to you on this morning’s commute was hairy, smelly and had really bad breath? Well, it could be because your neighbor wasn’t a person


t-shirt. The fan, though, is unaware of the shot, since his back is to the camera and seems oblivious that he is standing next to the sports great himself. Halladay posted the pic with the words: “Oopps you missed me! Walked right by me! Hope he gets to see his pic with me on Twitter, he doesn’t know we took this.” Can’t imagine what the fan was looking at that was more exciting than seeing his sports idol.

December, the identical triplets were really exceptional. “To have a patient with spontaneous identical triplets is incredibly rare,” Billings Clinic maternal fetal medicine physician Dr. Dana Damron told the Billings Gazette. In fact, he said they were one in a million.

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It isn’t clear how many people were originally scheduled to be on board the 76-seater regional plane, but according to O’Leary, he was the only who was not rebooked on an earlier flight after they faced a number of delays. O’Leary was actually scheduled on a 7:15 a.m. flight out of Cleveland but when that flight got cancelled, he was re-booked on this flight, which was scheduled to take off at 9:39 a.m.


heading to work; it was a black Labrador heading to the dog park. Eclipse has no patience, it seems, for lazy human folk. When her owner takes his time smoking and the bus to the dog park arrives, she jumps on solo and rides to her stop—to the delight of her fellow Seattle commuters.

Walking Down the Aisle—Again She and her owner, Jeff Young, live right near a bus stop. Once on the bus, Eclipse looks out the bus windows for her stop. When the bus reaches the dog park, she hops off—again, on her own. “She’s a bus-riding, sidewalk-walking dog,” Young says proudly. Young admits that sometimes Eclipse heads onto the bus without him, but he then catches up with her at the dog park, which is three or four stops away. Commuter Tiona Rainwater says, “All the bus drivers know her ... she makes everybody happy.” And it’s not just drivers who love this dog. A Metro Transit spokesman says the agency loves that a dog appreciates public transit. Well, it always nice to get a ride to the bark, I mean, park.

Flying (Almost) Solo Do you want an aisle seat, window seat or middle? How about all three? Perhaps you’d like the whole plane. Chris O’Leary got the flight of his life when he found himself the only passenger on a Delta New York-bound flight after hours of delays. The passenger, a Brooklyn-based man named Chris O’Leary, started tweeting about his amazement before the plane took off, saying how he got a personalized safety briefing and a one-on-one run down from the captain about the flight. “It was definitely the most memorable flight I’ve been on in recent memory if only for the sheer lack of passengers to become bothersome,” O’Leary told ABC News. “There were no screaming babies, no one listening to loud lyrics or reclining their seats or taking off their shoes.” Unfortunately for O’Leary, he wasn’t truly able to fly solo; the plane went back to the gate to pick up one more passenger who slept through the whole flight, seemingly unfazed by the extra room.

The flight was delayed for hours, and since O’Leary learned of the delays by phone notifications, he stayed in his hotel until shortly before the flight was actually due to take off. When he arrived at the airport, he heard his name being paged on the loud speaker and he was informed that everyone else had been rebooked on earlier flights because of the delay. “Part of this is my own stupidity but it ended up working out in my favor,” he related. Oftentimes when planes fly with a small number of passengers the plane itself is needed in the destination city for a later flight.

Hey, It’s Halladay!

Roy Halladay may be proving to be more entertaining in his retirement than during his years playing ball. On Sunday, he posted something on Twitter that got the world’s attention—and hopefully a specific someone. The photo posted on Twitter shows a smiling Halladay at an amusement park standing next to a fan wearing a Halladay

It was 19 years ago—when they were three years old—when this couple first met. Now Briggs Fussy and Brittney Husbyn are married and once again walked down the aisle together. In 1995, Fussy stood as the ring bearer and Husbyn was the flower girl at Fussy’s grandmother’s wedding. “We were 3 years old, I think,” Fussy related. “It was my godmother’s wedding and Brittney’s mom worked with her. She needed a flower girl.” On that day, no one knew that they will end up spending their lives together. In 2007, when they were in the same class in high school, they discovered that they had walked down the aisle together years before. “We were in class and she had a picture with her from the wedding,” Fussy said. “I started to laugh because it was the same one we had hanging in the hallway at home, but I never knew who she was. That wedding was the only time I ever saw her.” Eventually, the two ended up dating, and on January 10, they finally walked down the aisle once more in front of 300 family and friends—as husband and wife. “Everybody loves it – especially my godmother, she takes all the credit,” Fussy said. “It’s constantly brought up that we walked down the aisle together again.”

They’re One in a Million Every child is special, but when Ian, Cade and Milo entered this world in early

The proud parents, Jase and Jody Kinsey of Miles City, Mont., also have a 6-year-old son named Jax, were surprised when they found out about the triplets. “It’s going to be interesting,” Jase Kinsey told KULR. “I think it will be a lot of fun though in the end, because they’ll be so close.”

Worker Skipped Work for 24 Years Want to work, but not really? Head to India, where labor laws make it hard to fire anyone bar criminal misconduct. A.K. Verma, an executive engineer at the Central Public Works Department, though, was really pushing it. Just this month, the worker was fired from his job. Don’t feel too bad for him: he last showed up for work in December 1990. “He went on seeking extension of leave, which was not sanctioned, and defied directions to report to work,” the government said in a statement last Thursday. Even after an inquiry found him guilty of “willful absence from duty” in 1992, it took another 22 years and the intervention of a cabinet minister to remove him, the government said. In an effort to prevent these types of disregard by employees, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cracked down on rampant absenteeism by making New Delhi bureaucrats sign in at work using a fingerprint scanner. The results are publicly available online – at www.attendance.gov. in – in real time.

$326 Million and a Dream


JANUARY 15, 2015


The New York Lottery began in 1967; its first slogan was “Your Chance of a Lifetime to Help Education.” Well, recently, the lottery certainly helped education, I mean, educators, when a retired elementary school principal won the November 4 Mega Millions jackpot. Harold Diamond, 80, claims that he only won the $326 million lotto because he listened to his wife, Carol, a former math teacher. “This is Carol’s favorite spot,” said Diamond, standing inside a Valero gas station not far from his home in Wurtsboro, about 90 minutes north of the city. “She said, “Stop at the Subway,’ and if I didn’t stop at the Subway that particular night, we wouldn’t be standing here today. So I have to thank her for making me stop here,” said Harold, who worked at Monticello School District for 39 years. They had stopped to buy a sandwich when he decided to spend $10 on 10 sets of Quick Pick numbers at the nearby gas station. The next day, the unsuspecting winner stopped for a snack after playing golf. “The gal that works behind the counter said, ‘Gee someone [at Valero’s] was a single winner,’” he recalled. He immediately wondered if he could have been the one — but it wasn’t until much later that night that he and Carol saw the numbers on TV. “I saw the first five numbers so I immediately knew we won a million,” he told reporters, as his wife stood quietly beside him holding a bouquet of flowers. “And then when I saw the last number, I yelled up to my wife, ‘I think we won a few bucks!’” Actually, what the Diamonds won was the largest jackpot in the history of the New York Lottery — an astounding amount even after taxes. The lump sum payout was $197 million and the former principal pocketed $130 million. Diamond said he’s glad his wife made him stop at Valero. “I always lis-

ten to what she says,” he told the crowd. They plan on returning to Hawaii where they celebrated their 25th anniversary. They have been married for 55 years. Diamond’s win was the 29th time a New Yorker took the top prize on the multi-state mega jackpot game, which launched in 2002. For all of you wondering why you weren’t holding the winning ticket that night, “you gotta be in it to win,” otherwise, you’re just dreaming.

100 and Still Working Out

Think you’re too old for exercise? Think again. Lauretta Taggert just turned 100 years old this week. She looks young and feels young, thanks to her exercise routine. The centenarian has been teaching the exercise class at the senior apartments where she lives for the past 15 years. (Yes, she started the classes when she was 85.) Lauretta does not let her age slow her down; it’s all about the right attitude, she says. “She is amazing,” said Jana Kyser, who manages the Riverview Highlands property. “I asked what she attributes such a long life to... She said an attitude of gratitude, and honey, don’t ever let your hair go gray.” Besides for staying young with her exercise routine, Lauretta has recently opened up a Facebook account and has started ordering books on Amazon. Lauretta also stays current, connecting with family and friends on Facebook and ordering new books on Amazon. She also plays a lot of bridge when she’s not exercising. “She is the epitome of the long, healthy life,” reflected Kyser. “Virtue, honesty, so many character qualities are just exemplified. She’s a part of bringing this community together.”

Why Some Cases Settle For Less Money Question: I was recently in a minor car accident. My injuries were B’H minor, and I was fairly compensated by the insurance company. But a friend of mine who was badly hurt in an accident received less money than I did. Can you explain why some cases settle for less than others? Answer: Clients ask me this question all the time. In theory, more significant injuries ch’v should entitle an injured victim to more money. But as your friend’s case demonstrates, this is not always the case. Many factors can affect a personal injury or accident settlement. An important factor is the limits of the adverse party’s insurance coverage. When someone is injured through the negligence of another, and liability is clear, the attorney must determine the injured party’s damages. Damages can take many forms, including medical treatment, loss of income, and emotional distress. Before an attorney can negotiate the highest possible settlement, he or she must obtain the at-fault party’s insurance coverage information and determine the policy limits. California law requires any vehicle to maintain a minimum of $15,000 in liability coverage. This is known as a 15/30 policy, which means that the driver of the covered vehicle is insured up to $15,000 per person, with $30,000 total coverage available per accident. What if the at-fault vehicle maintains low insurance coverage? This can leave an injured party without recourse. For example, my office recently handled a case involving a three-car accident. A speeding van rear-ended a pickup truck, which in turn rear-ended my client’s sedan. We determined that the van was responsible for my client’s injuries, because it initiated the pileup by hitting the truck that hit my client’s sedan. As part of my office’s representation of the injured sedan driver, I requested the van’s insurance company to disclose the van’s policy limits. Coverage information is confidential, and the insurance company cannot disclose this information without the insured driver’s consent. However, the insurance company has a strong interest in convincing the driver to authorize the disclosure of this information. If the carrier does not seek the driver’s permission, it can face serious financial consequences. Cases in California hold that a carrier’s failure to request permission to authorize the disclosure of the policy limits can ren-

der the carrier liable for amounts exceeding the policy limits. If the case proceeds to trial, and a jury awards the injured party an amount greater than the policy limits, the carrier may still be responsible to pay that amount. For this reason, the at-fault driver will usually authorize the insurance company to disclose the policy limits information to facilitate a settlement with the injured party. In my client’s case, we learned that the van driver maintained liability coverage of $300,000 per person, which was enough to compensate my client for her injuries. But what if the van driver only maintained $15,000 in liability coverage? $15,000 may seem like a lot of money to most people, but it can be used up very quickly by injuries suffered in a three-car accident. Thankfully, my client did not have to face this scenario. This may explain why your friend received a less-than-fair amount of money for her injuries. Obviously, there may be other factors that affected her case, but it’s very likely that there was insufficient insurance coverage to compensate her for her injuries. I advise my clients to routinely examine their insurance coverage. Low coverage may expose an at-fault driver to personal liability to fill in the gaps caused by being underinsured. Personal liability can pose serious problems for property owners, business owners, and others who may have assets. You do not want to find yourself in a position of being underinsured, so it’s a good idea to discuss your insurance coverage with your agent or broker. It’s also a good idea to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. Insurance companies in California must offer this type of coverage to their insured drivers as part of a regular automobile liability policy. Michael Rubinstein is a Los Angeles based accident attorney. Visit his website at www.mrubinsteinlaw.com, or contact him at Michael@mrubinsteinlaw.com, or by calling 213-293-6075.




JANUARY 15, 2015



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