THE JEWISH HOME JANUARY 23, 2014 2
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THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 23, 2014
CONTENTS COMMUNITY What’s new in LA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Community Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
PEOPLE Free Jewish Classes for Kids in Public School An Interview With The Anonymous Gentleman Behind This Idea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
The Angelic Proclamation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Op-Ed - The Chayn Drain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Business Weekly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
COVER STORY An Interview with Israel Consul General David Siegel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT
Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
LIFESTYLES Health - Californians Make Last Minute Dash to Sign Up for Health Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Your health - Bal Tashchit and a Slimming Waistline. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Restaurant Review Two Dishes at Bibi’s Bakery and Cafe . . . . . . . . . . 49 Travel - Morocco. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Joburg in the Kitchen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Dear Readers, A snapshot of the current international situation: Syria is brutally cracking down on the armed uprising begun three years ago. Joining in the fight on the rebel side is Al Qaida, an organization which joins almost any conflict and tries to establish a Muslim pariah state. Al Qaida is therefore also fighting against Hezbollah, who is helping Assad, which makes Al Qaida an enemy of the chief backer of Hezbollah: Iran. So Iran is helping Iraq fight against a resurgent Al Qaida while at the same time getting ever closer to having its own dirty bomb. Moving on to the south. The Egyptian government, currently run by the army (a development nobody saw coming), is currently working hand in hand with Israel to help rid the Sinai of Hamas, a terrorist group founded for the purpose of ridding the Middle East of any Jewish presence. Things would probably be worse though if Hamas actually got along with the Palestinian Authority – the PA – who are in the middle of offering a “peaceful” solution to create the first country in the world completely free of Jews. Meanwhile, our secretary of state is rushing to produce the piece of paper that will be heralded as bringing “peace in our time” by solving the Mideast conflict once and for all. (The pressure seems to be due to the political climate in which “the shot heard around the world” can pretty much happen in any of the above countries and at any time…). One wonders at which point will the political analysts stop trying to predict what will happen in the next month - or even next week!?! At least there’s one head of government who doesn’t equate Israel’s mistakes with efforts made by her enemies for her total destruction. We pray that Prime Minister Stephen Harper be rewarded for his courage in calling it the way it is. This week I had the privilege to meet with David Siegel, the Consul General of the State of Israel in Los Angeles. Besides enjoying a highly interesting conversation, some of which is included further on in these pages, I was left with the feeling that we could get a lot more done if more of us could learn the art of the counterargument. We need more principled people who can stand up for their beliefs and argue, defend and diffuse. We wish him much success representing and defending the Jewish people in these very trying times. Another very important conversation, addressed by this week’s op-ed, is why does there seem to be an inferiority complex here on the West Coast. So many people feel that if you want a good education, product etc. you have to outsource to the East Coast. LA is just “not that type of community.” But is that attitude correct? Can Los Angeles become the thriving center for everything Jewish as it should be? Finally, whether you agree with the initiative or not, we hope that the 7 Questions column will jumpstart another round of conversation on that most pressing subject which continues to take a toll on our community - beginning with the huge financial stress it puts on families with more than two or three children. We’re confident that the right people can come up with the right solution. Let’s finish with a simple prayer that our Creator protect mankind from any more bloodshed and that He redeem his people, as promised to them many millennia ago, ushering in an era when nations of the world will be in the pursuit of real peace and in which the knowledge of G-d becomes the pursuit of all.
Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
With blessings for a most wonderful Shabbos,
Brave & Brazen Ariel Sharon 1928-2014. . . . . . . . . 22 Forgotten Heroes - Operation Focus Israel’s Amazing Air Fight. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Clarification: Not all the children pictured in the Friendship Circle article on page 14 of the Jan 9 edition have special needs. Some were there to help out with a sibling etc.
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 DISCOUNTED HOME DELIVERY, OR TO HAVE THE LATEST ISSUE EMAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, SEND A MESSAGE TO EDITOR@JEWISHHOMELA.COM
THE JEWISH HOME JANUARY 23, 2014
THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 23, 2014
As the rest of America huddles together to stay warm during this winter’s polar vortex, here in Los Angeles we huddle together to share a good shwarma, a hearty laugh, and perhaps an outdoor shiur, while celebrating our beautiful weather. The much acclaimed Tarzana restaurant, Dr. Sandwich , which on a given weekday afternoon has a line forming across the attached Kosher market, Super Sal , has just opened a city location at 9133 W. Olympic Blvd. In Beverly Hills. Dr. Sandwich has the most authentic and delicious Israeli Shwarma, as well as steak, burgers, fleishig Paninis, salads, fries, and more. Kosher supervision for Dr. Sandwich is under the RCC. Come hungry and bring your friends- their food is fantastic
and the new location is bright, fun, and very modern. For more details call 310278-7777. If you’re a frum woman in Los Angeles looking for inspiration- get ready for a great event. The OU and the Netivot-Women’s Torah Studies Institute has cosponsored a Yom Iyun lecture that will take place on February 23, 2014 at 10 AM-12 PM at the YULA Girls’ school 1619 S. Robertson. There will be a 45 minute session of peer on peer learning and a 1 hour presentation by Mrs. Rivy Kletenik, a master educator and fabulous speaker. The topic is women and their connection to Purim, Pesach and Channukah. It also includes a delicious breakfast. For more information email email@example.com
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or call 310-229-9000 extension 200. Another beautiful, original organization that has just been launched is Time Events. In response to recent tragedy in the Los Angeles community, Time Events was created to bring unity to Jewish women by coming together and working on small, practical things that improve our lives. Examples of small things to work on are smiling at people as you pass them in the street and learning to remain calm around our children. Their upcoming event is a whimsical brunch, with over the top Shaloch Manos presentations, and a fantastic speaker. For more information visit www.time-events.org or email info@ time-events.org. For the men, women, and children, there is a new revamped minyan in Hancock Park. Kesher Torah, which grew out of the minyan at Aish Tamid is led by Rabbi Pinchos Gruman, with President Saul Acherman and Gabbai Dr. Elly Berlin. Kesher Torah only has minyanim for Friday night, Shabbos Day and Yamim Tovim. Their Friday night minyan is Carlebach style at candle lighting time through the winter months, and Shabbos day Shachris is at 9 AM with a hot Kiddush afterwards. There is also supervised children’s groups for girls of all ages and boys through 5th grade. Kesher Torah is located at 5909 W. Third Street in Los Angeles between Pointsettia and Fuller. There is a “Lights Out” Shalosh Seudos that is very lively and features singers and excellent speakers. Try it out! The Frum Therapists Nework is a group of professional marriage and family therapists, psychologists, and social workers who have been meeting together for the last 5 years to discuss issues pertaining to the mental health needs of the frum community. The FTN has created a special subgroup called Baneinu to specifically address the needs of people who are abused within the Orthodox community. Jackie Jaffe Burg is the coordinator for the program and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . There are many so-called parenting experts out there, but to me the true test of an expert is the quality of the product they produce. I had the privilege of teaching Irine Schweitzer’s incredible daughter, Hasya, several years ago. Hasya is so special and has such beautiful middos
and maturity that I considered naming my daughter Hasya. So, I can vouch that Mrs. Schweitzer is the real thing. She offers parenting classes that teach you how to raise great children. Her website is www. therapybyirine.com for more information. Many children have speech issues that can be amended with the help of a talented speech therapist. Tamar Barazani has her Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology and works with children who are autistic, have apraxia, language delays, or articulation disorders. Tamar is bilingual and does therapy in both English and Hebrew. Her office is located at 5535 Balboa Blvd. suite 218 in Encino and she can be reached at 818-268-7548 or emailed at email@example.com. My dream is for my children to all play instruments. I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way. Check out www.ypiano.com which has instructors for piano, guitar, and voice lessons. They also do music lessons for students with autism and other special needs. Rates are $50-$60 per hour depending on the instructor. Unlike most studios, they provide free curriculum books, no sign-up or cancellation fees, prizes to encourage practicing, no recital fees, and many opportunities to perform for the community. Their instructors will travel to the student’s home and there are no upfront payments (students can pay at each lesson or at the end of the month.) If you have a new organization or are looking to spread the word about your current one, consider the Rhino Marketing Group. Rhino is a web design and graphics business that handles everything from gala invitations to business cards to fully built websites. The owner, Jon Dabach, previously worked in Hollywood as a writer and director, creating pilots for television shows. Because of this background, Jon has a keen eye for making sure the client’s “story” comes through in the logo, website or postcards that he designs. Some of Mr. Dabach’s design work can be seen on the Calabasas Shul websites, the Jewish Graduate Student Initiative website, the Aish LA website, and the Rabbinical Council of California website. For more information visit www.RhinoMarketingGroup.com.
By Rabbi Harold Rabinowitz
the text of the Torah. But, Rabbi Shimon bar Yachai warns (says the Zohar), let no one think that these are simply folktales of our people and homilies of the Biblical text; anyone could create stories as charming and as inspirational. The stories and poetic passages that fill the Zohar are the “garments” of the Torah—the words that allow the supernal secrets of the Torah to be perceived and allow we mortals to be influenced. But such is the nature of the relationship between the Torah and the created world—the Torah is the “garment” of the world—that which allows the finite mortals to perceive and comprehend (the the extent to which they can) the world Hashem created. In the 1600s, some Kabbalists were so intoxicated with the power of the Zohar to illuminate the inner meanings of the Torah and the secrets of the supernal worlds, that they abandoned the performance of Mitzvot and devoted themselves exclusively to the study of the Zohar. It took a specific responsum of the Maharit (Rabbi Yosef Trani, the great Talmudist who lived in Greece in the late 16th-early 17th century) to make clear that this was a corruption of the intent and teachings of the Zohar. Rabbi Lieberman then traced the development of a strain of Kabbalists who promoted the Kabbalistic approach to Torah as a counterpoint to the highly rationalistic approach of Maimonides—beginning with the great commentator on the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides, Rabbi Abraham Ibn Daud, the Provencal Sage (known as “the Ravad”) whose comments on Maimonides are traditionally printed as glosses alongside the text of Maimonides. Together, they constitute in many cases the full spectrum of proper rabbinic approaches to the Halakha, the Law. In one especially dramatic instance, when Maimonides presents a rule regarding when one of the four species used in the performance of the Mitzvah of Lulav is rendered unfit, which he bases on a very rational approach to the law, the Ravad in his gloss says that, “in our Beit Midrash (hall of study) the Holy Spirit (ru’ach ha-kodesh) instructed us that the flaw [which Maimonides ruled
does not disqualify the plant] in fact does render it unfit for use to fulfill the Mitzvah of Luav.” For, the Ravad said in many places, Torah knowledge is not purely a matter of logic and reason; it is sometimes communicated to the pious soul and the spiritually devout from “on High.” As the Psalmist puts it (25:14): Sod Hashem l’yerei-av—The secrets of G-d’s [Torah thoughts are sometimes bequeathed] to those who fear Him.” This respect for the Kabbalistic approach was carried on by the Ravad’s progeny, beginning with his son, Rabbi Yitzchak Sagi Nahor (“of abundant light”— actually a euphemism to denote that he had been born blind), who urged the Kabbalists of Gerona, Spain, to treat Kabbalistic writings and teachings with great care, because they could lead the unwary, the impious and the unprepared far astray. Rabbi Lieberman then pointed out the two great themes that are emphasized in the writings of this family of Kabbalists, and culminated in the work of the great 13th-century Talmudic Sage and Biblical commentator, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, known as Nacmanides, or the Ramban. The first theme—the subject of extensive commentaries by Rabbi Yitzchak Sagi Nahor and his two sons, great sages and Kabbalists in their own right, on the Kaddish prayer—is the sanctity and hidden, mystical qualities contained in the Divine names, which not-coincidentally is the very subject of the Kaddish prayer. The great power that the Kaddish has of ameliorating the fate of souls who leave this earth and must sojourn in the Heavenly realms derives from the mystical power and secrets contained within the Names of G-d. Nachmanides went a step further when he posited (in his introduction to his commentary on the Pentateuch) that the entire Torah was to be viewed in toto as a cryptological collection of the names of G-d— and only of the names of G-d. It might be necessary to re-space the letters so that words end in the middle of their conventional form—and it might also require letter substitutions (known as “Atbash”),
JANUARY 23, 2014
Rabbi Abraham Lieberman, noted historian and Dean of YULA Girls High School on Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, delivered the second and third of a series of three lectures at Maayon Yisroel Chassidic Center, 140 N. La Brea Ave., in Hancock Park, on “The History of the Kabbalists” to enthusiastic audiences, on successive Wednesday evenings, December 18 and 25 (Tevet 15 and 22). The subjects of the two lectures were: The special place the Zohar occupies in Kabbalistic literature and in the hearts of the Jewish People, and the coming of age of Kabbalistic thought in the works of such greats as Nachmanides; and (in the final lecture) the outpouring of spiritual insight and Kabbalistic genius that took place in medieval Safed. Lecture II: Rabbi Lieberman began by noting a distinction between the way the Talmud presents the answer to a question, the resolution to a problem—it uses the formula over and over again, Tah shema—“Come and hear”; while the Zohar uses the formula, Tah chazi—“Come and see.” Both the Zohar and the Sefer HaBahir, the early Kabbalistic masterpiece discussed in the previous lecture, have the meaning of illumination in the meaning of their very titles. While hearing entails deciphering finite words and confined argument, the insights of Kabbalah are flashes of illumination that challenge the finite mind by their very infinity. In a sense, the illumination of the Zohar is the paradoxical “dark light”—the flash of creative light that lay at the heart of all creation, but what we finite mortals can derive from that flash, however inspiring, must always be limited. The Chassidic master, Rav Pinchas of Koretz, said that it was only by reading and delving into the Zohar, only through its inspiring teachings, was he able to maintain his faith in a dark world. The Zohar works on a multiplicity of levels and it contains many different types of explanations. For example, it offers many explanations of the reason that lie behind some of the precepts of the Torah (Ta’amei HaMitzvot); it contains stories about Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his students; it explains the inner meanings of
THE JEWISH HOME
Kabbalah Comes of Age: Rabbi Lieberman Continues Lecture Series on the History of the Kabbalists at Maayon Yisroel
or even gematria, in which meanings and new wordages are derived from the numerical equivalents of words—but in Nachmanides’ view, the entire Torah was a collection of the names of G-d laid out in an uninterrupted sequence. For this reason, Nachmanides says, a single letter missing from the text of a sefer torah is enough to disqualify it as a legitimate (kosher) Torah Scroll, because perforce missing any letter would be the deletion of a letter from a name of G-d. The second theme is particularly espoused by Nachmanides, who was forced to leave Spain in 1263 when he defended his faith too successfully in a forced debate he was compelled to participate in by King James of Aragon. The accolades and reward the King bestowed on Nachmanides for so excellently defending his faith did not sit well with the Pope, Rabbi Lieberman recounted, and Nachmanides was forced to leave Spain and resettle in Israel. While in Israel, Nachmanides made the most of his being there, investigating several aspects of the land of Israel relevant to interpretation of the Bible and Halakhah. It may have been his personal experience of the sanctity of the land of Israel, or it may have been born much earlier, but the second theme found its full flower in him when he spoke of the Holiness of Israel; when he taught that being in Eretz Yisrael gave a Jew a closer connection to G-d; and finally when he (unlike other Poskim) counted living in the Land of Israel, even
THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 23, 2014
8 during a time of Galut (exile and diaspora) and with no Beit Hamikdash, one of the 613 Mitzvot (Commandments) of the Torah. The culmination of this period was reached by Rabbi Abraham Abulafia, the 13th-century Spanish Kabbalist who extended the work of Nachmanides and other Sephardic Kabbalistic rabbis and masters in two ways: one which represented “good news” for the place of Kabbalah in Jewish life and learning; and a second that represented “bad news” for the enterprise of Kabbalah. The good news was that Abulafia successfully promoted the notion that the teaching of the Zohar and of Kabbalah in general must become more widely known and more endemic to Jewish learning and ideology. In the twenty years of his writing activity, years during which he also traveled a great deal, Abulafia wrote pro-
digiously—the thirty volumes of his that survive represent, by all accounts, a small portion of his total output—and his works were widely read and were influential in many quarters of Jewish European society. His style was most compelling and his erudition was deep, so that his commentaries were widely read and appreciated, even if some rabbinic authorities looked askance at (and in some cases banned) some of his “prophetic” writings regarding the end of days. In an episode that seems to many the stuff movies are made of, Abulafia undertook a highly publicized pilgrimage to Rome for the purpose of converting the Pope, Pope Nicholas III, announcing that he would accomplish this on Erev Rosh Hashana, the day before the Jewish New Year of 1280. Hearing of this, the Pope ordered his guards to seize the impudent Jew and burn him at the stake the moment
he arrived in Rome. But Abulafia was not on his way to Rome; his destination was the Pope’s summer palace in nearby Suriano. As Abulafia entered that city’s gate, he learned that the Pope had died mysteriously of a stroke the night before. Expecting a new Pope to be chosen soon, Abulafia went to Rome, where he was imprisoned by Franciscan monks until he was released after several weeks under circumstances that remain a mystery to this day. Much of Abulafia’s last years are clouded in uncertainty—he either claimed to be a Messiah, or some over-zealous disciples of his made such claims—and we are not even certain of how, when and where he met his end. But much of the work of Abulafia that has survived contains esoteric formulas and calculations involving different iterations and calculations involving the names of G-d—and in this lies much of the “bad news” that came as a result of
Abulafia (even if unintentional): The manipulation of formulas to derive “insights” from the Names of Hashem could be easily imitated, giving rise to a long literary tradition—which unfortunately is widely practiced in our own day—in which works have only the superficial form of Kabbalistic discourse, but are devoid of real substance or insight. In spite of this undesired legacy of Abulafia, he remains one of the giants of Kabbalistic thinking of the Medieval period, and a harbinger of the heights Kabbalah would reach in its new 16th-century center, a small remote hill-top town in the north of Israel known in Hebrew as Tzefat, or in English: Safed. Audios of all three of Rabbi Lieberman’s lectures are available on the Maayon Yisroel website.
able to get good product in the Pesach period – I’m excited about it, personally.” Are Americans as excited about these products as South Africans? It seems so. “My kids have got friends – American kids – and their parents complain to me that they’re eating it faster than candy,” says Mr. Libesman. “In fact, a friend of mine bought a case of biltong, and they actually hide it away because the kids will literally eat all 12 bags within a couple of hours.” And considering that their products are being sold in 100 stores throughout the US, it seems Americans outside of his neighborhood have taken to them too. Which is no bad thing. They use only high quality meat – “In this kind of product you can’t hide the quality of the meat,” says Mr. Libesman – and they keep the salt content low. “Kosher meat has salt as it is, so you don’t want to be adding it. Biltong is very low in salt and high in flavor.” The flavor comes from the spices and the marinating process. So what you end up with is a food that is high in protein, low in salt, made with no nitrates no nitrite, and very flavorful. “People are health-conscious, and it fits nicely into that area. It’s great for travelling, for putting in salads, for camping; it’s great as a snack.” While the business has been around for three years, they just recently launched a charity campaign as well. “My daughter was in Israel and Orly Ohayon was a roommate of hers.” Tragically, while walking to shul this past Yom Kippur Orly and her mother
were struck by a car. The accident killed her mother and left Orly orphaned and recovering from severe injuries. “My daughter kept asking me, ‘Can we do something?’ I decided that here was a great way to raise money and get an awareness out there. So we started a campaign.” For the past 12 months, a portion of every product purchased, whether through the website or through the stores, will be donated to Orly. The goal is $10,000, and they’ve raised $1,500 already. “It’s just giving back something, doing some good. At the end of the day we’ve all got to help each other.” Joburg Kosher Foods products are now available in 13 locations in California. If you are interested in finding a store that carries these products, catering, or getting products in your store, you can visit Joburgkosher.com.
Joburg Kosher Comes to LA
David Libesman was born in South Africa, but his family didn’t stay there. His father, who used to be a butcher, decided to take some tradition with them when they left. He began making for his family the traditional South African gourmet sausage called boerewors, and biltong, which is sort of a South African version of beef jerky. Fifteen years ago, when David settled in Pennsylvania, he couldn’t find any kosher versions of these traditional delicacies. So he decided to make them himself. “I started making boerewors and biltong at home. All my friends liked it,” Mr. Libesman explains. “So then I ended up making it in a kosher restaurant here in Philadelphia. But that wasn’t good enough for getting it into the stores and taking it national, so I moved to make it in a USDA plant here. Today we are under the OU and the CRC, and our products are available in stores throughout the US.”
They have three product lines. Boerewors, the gourmet sausage, is made with an edible collagen casing and an African spice recipe. It’s not precooked and it doesn’t have any nitrates or nitrites, so you can find it in the freezer section. It comes in three flavors: Traditional, Garlic, and Spicy Peri-Peri. They also have a line of cooked gourmet sausage, which you can find in the refrigerated section. That comes in three flavors: Traditional, Moroccan, and Extra Hot & Spicy. Finally, they have a line of biltong, which is cured and dried all the way through. The biltong also comes in three flavors: Traditional, Black Pepper, and Peri-Peri (Spicy).They have some new products in the works, including a line of dried sausages as well as new flavors for their existing lines. For now, the exciting news is that the biltong and boerewors will be kosher for Passover. “The flavor profile is the same,” says Mr. Libesman. “Being
JANUARY 23, 2014
The 2nd annual “Are you Smarter than a Middle Schooler?” program at Emek Hebrew Academy, run by Mrs. Tova Bayever and hosted by Rabbi Dovid Morris, was a huge success on January 8, 2014. It drew crowds of middle schoolers and many parents, up to about 200 guests. Parent contestants played the game, while their children answered questions to help them. Questions were in all different aspects of their learning, including such areas as math, history, chumash, yediot klaliot, rocketry and digital citizenship. Everyone had an incredible time, and many spoke about looking forward to next year’s event: “Are you Smarter: Family Edition.”
Democracy Now! The Shalhevet Just Community By Roy Danovitch, General Studies Principal
Democracy, as we know, is both a theory and a practice. In theory, Democracy refers to a society founded on equal rights, with liberty, fairness, and justice guaranteed to all citizens. In practice, Democracy refers to the specific mechanisms–voting, free speech, peaceful assembly, elected representation, and many others–that empower citizens to participate in the governance of their country. As we know from a quick review of the evening news, Democracy can be a messy business, filled with endless debates, constant self-analysis, and pitched battles. Yet as President Lincoln described, it is precisely this messy process that allows our country to form
“a more perfect union.” This is because Democracy awakens the free impulses of the people to know, create, inquire, and challenge. It is a system that permits the full realization of our potential as humans. For this reason, Democracy plays a crucial role in the educational process. The Just Community refers to the specific practice of democracy at Shalhevet. Like our own system of governance citizens of The Just Community must abide by constitutionally enshrined democratic values. The preamble of Shalhevet’s constitution reads: “We the students, faculty, administration and staff members of Shalhevet High School, a school founded on Jewish values of Torah, Halacha, Menschlekeit, and Zionism, in order to form a more just and caring community; provide for a mutually respectful learning environment; honor each person’s dignity and worth; promote each individual’s moral reasoning and eth-
ical development; and secure Democratic values of Liberty, Equality, and Justice; do establish this constitution for our Democratic Just Community.” In our weekly Town Hall meetings, students have the opportunity to exercise their rights, and propose solutions for problems traditionally solved by adults. Take, for example, the issue of Bo’s Barista Bar. A few months ago, Boaz Willis (Class of 2016) made a bold entrepreneurial decision to capitalize on the temporary closure of Starbucks, by selling hot drinks at a lower cost. Boaz was joined by his “business partner” Will Bernstein (Class of 2016) who wanted to start Will’s Waffle Works, in joint partnership with Boaz. At any other school, student initiative of this kind might be subject to administrative review. However, the student run the Shalhevet Agenda Committee (which runs the Town Halls) decided to use the case of Boaz and Will to examine a broader issue; whether student run “businesses” have a responsibility to share their profits with the school, or a keep a part of the percentages to cover costs. Do students have a responsibility to include a fundraising component if they’re selling something
on school property? Shouldn’t we all find ways to support crucial programs like The Shalhevet Poland-Israel Experience? How do we ensure honesty and transparency, so students who sell or fundraise on campus abide by common principles, and shared understandings? The administration and teaching faculty avoided steering the Town Hall discussion in any particular way. Just like we see in our classrooms, students were encouraged to think out problems, form arguments, engage with complexity, and come up with creative solutions guided by principles of fairness. As students quickly discovered, there are no easy answers in the realm of human affairs. But there are opportunities to make a difference, and let your voice be heard. And that’s what our students do best–long after they graduate. Complacency and apathy have no place at Shalhevet; our goal is nothing short of developing the next generation of Jewish leaders, who respect tradition, while blazing new trails for themselves, and many others to follow. Amen to that. And Viva Democracy.
YULA Senior Moshe Willner Named Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist For over 60 years, the Intel Science Talent Search has been recognized as the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition, providing a national stage for the country’s best and brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists. YULA Boys High School is extremely proud to have one of its own students, senior Moshe Willner, named a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search. Out of nearly 2,000 applicants
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2nd annual “Are you Smarter than a Middle Schooler?”
from across the United States and several foreign countries, only three hundred students are recognized as semi-finalists and receive a $1,000 award for their outstanding research. Among the 300, Moshe stands out as one of only two semi-finalists that attend a Jewish High School, and he is truly unique as the only recipient from an Orthodox High School. Witnessing a stand out student like Moshe, who a member of YULA’s Advanced Gemara Track and allstar student athlete on the Vasity Basketball
team, also take center stage in an arena that is rarely occupied by Orthodox Jews, is truly inspiring. Over the summer, Moshe conducted research in photonics at the University of Southern California, and in the fall, he presented his findings at the IEEE Photonics Conference in Seattle. Mazal tov and Yashar Koach to Moshe!
THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 23, 2014
Councilmember Tom LaBonge and Yavneh Hebrew Academy Join Forces to Celebrate Tu B’Shevat Tu B’Shevat this year brought a number of communities together. On a clear and bright Thursday morning, Councilmember Tom Labonge, Yavneh Hebrew Academy, and the Koreatown Youth and Community Center gathered to celebrate the day. “The Councilman’s office reached out about a Tu B’Shevat tree giveaway,” said Lev Stark, Executive Director at Yavneh. “It’s about beautification, and also about bringing together our community, the Korean community, and the Councilman’s office.” Why did the Councilmember’s office decide to do a Tu B’Shevat event? “We’re inspired by Tu B’Shevat and the concept of tikun olam,” said Carolyn Ramsay, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Tom LaBonge. “We are inspired to heal the earth, the community, and the city. We’re grateful to have the opportunity, and we knew that Yavneh would embrace it, as would the Hancock Park community.” The 3rd and 4th grade classes lined the front lawn of Yavneh. Councilmember LaBonge spoke about the holiday and the importance of community, while playfully interacting with the children. After asking for a volunteer to present the first of the certificates to the organizations involved, he chose a young girl near the front. “Future mayor of LA, right here!” he announced, to
the delight of the children. Cindy Chvatal, President of the Hancock Park Homeowners Association, spoke about how the Homeowner’s Association has been working on planting and trimming trees in the community. “This is a good day for everyone,” she said. Young-Gi Kim Harabedian, of the Koreatown Youth and Community Center, the co-hosts of the event, also spoke beautifully about the work of the KYCC. “We do many green projects in the community. KYCC has been serving the community for the last 35 years. Please consider KYCC as your green partner in your neighborhoods,” she said. After the certificates were presented, the kids sang several Tu B’Shevat songs, then gathered around for the planting. Councilmember LaBonge emphasized how impactful good events can be and encouraged the children to hold on to this one. “You remember this day,” he said. “What Tom and KYCC are doing is bridging communities to make things better,” said G. B. McGavin, a Yavneh parent present for the event. “I think it’s a remarkable thing.” Four trees were planted in all, and fruit trees donated by the Councilmember’s office were given away to any who wanted.
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Father Son Learning Packs the YULA Beit Midrash Over the course of the school year, YULA Boys students and their fathers have come to eagerly anticipate the inspiring Father-Son learning programs that the yeshiva hosts. As part of this year’s third Father-Son learning program, the YULA beit midrash was filled to capacity with over 150 people, as fathers
and grandfathers joined their sons and grandsons for a beautiful morning of joint learning and bonding over Torah. The day began with davening and breakfast, after which everyone gathered in the beit midrash. Rabbi Emerson opened the program and welcomed all of the guests. Fathers and sons then broke into chavruta
learning for over an hour, pouring over sources and discussing the topic of “The Status of Churches and Mosques in Jewish Law”. Rabbi Nachum Sauer rounded out the program with a fascinating shiur on the subject. As one 9th grader said, “It was an interesting and very relevant topic. Learning with my dad was a fun and
meaningful way to spend the day.” The coming months are sure to bring many more opportunities to have YULA’s parent body join its students in sharing the fire of Torah!
JANUARY 23, 2014
• Brand New Banquet Center
11 THE JEWISH HOME
The Shidduch Initiative:
Photo credit: Monica Lightstone Photography
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JANUARY 23, 2014
500 Chabad West Coast Boys and Girls Participate in First Children’s Convention It was a well-planned, well-executed effort and made a deep impact on all of its many participants. If you ask the organizers, they will say it was well worth it. The Unzere Kinder Convention, perhaps the first children’s-only Chabad conference, took place this past Shabbos in Los Angeles with over 500 boys and girls under Bar and Bas Mitzvah ages. They drove and flew in from as far as from Phoenix, Arizona, Thousand Oaks, California, San Diego, California, and another 26 small cities around California and the West Coast. It took detailed planning and capable coordination to pull off the weekend, setting children up in local homes, and arranging shuls and halls to host the programs and catered meals. “We know this was not an easy task,” wrote one father. “To organize, supervise, feed, entertain, so many children and have it done so well was only due to your tremendous dedica-
tion and care. We are truly appreciative and we are sure we speak for many.” The organizers were Rabbi Mendel and Rochel Duchman, founders of the Kol Yaakov Yehuda junior congregation, joined by rabbis, shluchim and dedicated members of the Los Angeles Chabad community. The convention began before Shabbos with various lectures and workshops focusing on increasing the children’s commitment to Torah and Mitzvos and strengthening their connection with the Rebbe. Children heard from Joseph Herzog of the Herzog Winery about “The Kedusha of Wine.” Rabbi Levi Eisenberg presented “The 3 Traits of Highly Successful Kids” and Rabbi Levi Raichik spoke about chesed. The guest of the Shabbos was Rabbi Shimmy Weinbaum, program director of Tzivos Hashem International, who together with his wife inspired the attendees with his energy, stories he shared and his
lecture titled “A Tale of Two Souls; One’s Struggle with his Yetzer Harah.” Head Counselor for the boys was R’ Arye Perlstein, former Head Counselor of Camp Gan Israel of Florida, who flew in specially from Montreal. Head Counselor for the girls division was Mrs. Srula Chaiton, Coordinator of the Convention and Youth Director of the Ezras Noshim. The convention ended on a high note when the over 500 participants began singing and dancing to the music of the 8th Day Band led by brothers Shmuly and Bentzi Marcus on Motzoei Shabbos at congregation Shaarei Tefillah. “For some reason, my children were very hesitant to go but the entire car ride home they couldn’t stop telling about how great and energetic the entire shabbos was and how much they enjoyed,” wrote one father. “Thank you very much for arranging such a beautiful, meaningful, and fun Shabbos for
our children,” another wrote. “They came home and shared with us what an amazing time they had, and how well the program was run. “Wishing you much energy and good health to continue on your Shlichus in helping to raise the next generation of chassidishe children.” Rabbi Duchman thanked the rabbis, directors, staff and volunteers of Kol Avraham, Bais Betzalel, Chabad of SOLA, Shaarei Tefillah, Hebrew Academy of Long Beach, Congregation Levi Yitzchok-Chabad of Hancock Park, Conejo Jewish Day School, Cheder Menachem in Los Angeles, JETS vocational school and the Hebrew academy of S. Diego. He also mentioned the dozens of families in the Hancock park neighborhood “who have devotedly worked in the last few weeks to prepare for this massive shabbaton and who opened their homes to welcome the kinderlach.”
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YACHAD AT MOSHAVA MALIBU
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THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 23, 2014
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15 THE JEWISH HOME
Beth Jacob Presents its Inaugural Yom Iyun
JANUARY 23, 2014
A half day seminar for anyone who is living, planning for, or caring for family members in this stage of life.
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THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 23, 2014
Yachad Joins Camp Moshava Malibu For A Summer of Fun And Inclusion This summer, Yachad will introduce a new program at Camp Moshava Malibu at the Shalom Institute Campgrounds in Malibu, CA, to bring a summer of fun and Inclusion for all in a summer camp setting. Campers will be between the ages of 8-16. Each Yachad camper will be accompanied by a shadow throughout the camp season. The shadows and program director of the Yachad program in Moshava Malibu will be hired and trained by Yachad and will serve as full members of the Moshava team. The Yachad program at Moshava Malibu will provide supervision for each child on his or her own unique level. “Yachad,” the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NCJD), provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities with the goal of their Inclusion in the total life of the Jewish community. Camp Moshava Malibu, entering its second year, operates under the umbrella of Bnei Akiva, the religious Zionist youth
movement of inspiring and empowering the Jewish youth of North America with a deep commitment to Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael. The camp’s duration will expand this year to eighteen days from two weeks last year. Moshava Malibu is the fourth Bnei Akiva-affiliated camp to join forces with Yachad, along with Camp Moshava Indian Orchard (IO) in Pennsylvania; Moshava Ba’ir in New Jersey; and Moshava Ba’ir in Toronto. “This new program continues our strong relationship with Bnei Akiva,” Dr. Joe Goldfarb, director of summer programs at Yachad, said. “From the time that Moshava Malibu began preparations for the camp, Rabbi Kenneth Pollack, the camp director, has been in touch with us, because they could not imagine having a camp without including children with special needs. Their first year was a tremendous success and we are looking forward to campers with special needs enjoying the fun and exciting Israelcentered programs that are being offered.” Rabbi Pollack shared: “I am very excited about this new partnership. Bringing Yachad
into our Moshava setting is the perfect blend of professionalism and maintaining the Moshava brand, which is very important. Working with people who know how our model works is very important to me. Additionally, the Inclusion model that we are going to be working with will not only benefit our special needs campers, but will add to the overall environment that we hope to create in camp.” According to Orit Faguet, director of Yachad Los Angeles, “Yachad promotes an atmosphere of inclusion, simultaneously helping to integrate those with special needs in our community and improving the sensitivity of those without special needs who participate in our programs. We hope to bring that same spirit of inclusion and sensitivity to Moshava Malibu and provide a great camp experience for our members with special needs here in the Los Angeles area.” The campus includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool, high-and-low-element rope courses, an organic farm, an Israel discovery
center and garden, sports and archery fields, a climbing wall, animal education center, dining hall and health center, outdoor amphitheaters, campfire areas and outdoor fireplace, arts and crafts pavilion, hiking trails directly to the beach, and waterfalls. Daily shiurim (learning sessions) will be filled with interactive activities that educate campers about Hakamat Hamedina (the establishment of the State of Israel) – the camp’s planned theme for this summer.
Which is the whole idea. “Events are a relationship business,” says Mrs. Merewitz. “We all work together and refer each other…we need to get to know each other. The goal is to get to know each other better and work together better.” Mr. Light agrees. “The idea is to bring together the community. There are so many of us involved – photographers, videographers, florists, event planners, invitation makers – we should all know each other. Especially so that if a job we can’t take comes to one of us, people are open to recommendations. If we can refer each other, that’s the whole game.” Which is much harder to do if you don’t know who you’re referring. “I can see a flower guy for four seconds as he’s setting up the flowers and I’m chasing the bride, we can exchange cards, but I don’t really know the guy, he doesn’t know who I am. This gives us an opportunity to get to know each other, to see each other’s work, and to trust each other. You don’t trust me if you only see me in passing.” The participants agree. “I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years, and this is the first time such an organization has been there for the event industry in our community,” says Judith Feldman of the Luxe Hotel. “And it’s not just about networking, but referrals. Events like this build healthy relationships.” “I have been involved with networking groups for a long time, and I think it’s a wonderful addition to help each other grow our businesses,” says Norm Kurnik of Minuteman Press. “It’s always great,” says Robby Helperin of Spotlight Music and Simcha Orchestra. “It’s nice to see the vendors at a time when we’re not focused on the next second.” Lolly Seidenfeld, Bat Mitzvah DJ and Dance Leader, adds, “I just said to Tali that I envision this being huge someday soon. There is such a need for it. It makes for a great working environment. When you go to an event and you know the other vendors, everything is
much more harmonious.” People are appreciative of the organizers as well as the event. When asked about Judah and Tali, everyone is enthusiastically positive. “I think they’re great. They give everyone the opportunity to showcase as well as speak, not just to network. And the food is always great,” says Ms. Feldman, who has been to all three events. The events double as an introduction to the hosting location, allowing everyone to taste their food, see their space, and refer them for events. And of course – with several professional photographers taking photos throughout – the event is also captured beautifully. Those who missed the first few are encouraged to join in next time. “It’s refreshing to meet with other people in the simcha business; it’s energizing,” says Jocelynn Miller, Makeup Artist with David Miller Studios. “For people who don’t think it’s for them, they should try it once and meet other fun, creative, outgoing Jewish professionals.” Mr. Light broadens that invitation. “Anyone who’s involved in the Jewish events industry, or even events in general, is welcome to join. If you’re a bar mitzvah parent or planning a wedding, dropping in at these events would be a great way to see a huge array of professionals who do everything. You can see who you like, who you trust, who you gel with.” The group has been growing steadily, from about 25 at the first meeting to nearly 40 at this latest gathering. Joseph Ober, a photographer who has attended several of the events, adds one more important point. “It needs to be said that even if there are members of the Simcha Network who do similar jobs, the achdus that was forged in making referrals and in the exchange of knowledge to polish our craft is pure Judaism and extreme menschlikeit.” What more could you ask of a Jewish business association?
For further information please contact Nechama Braun at yachadsummer@ ou.org or 212.613.8368 or visit yachad. org/summerprograms. For questions and registration, please email office@ moshavamalibu.org, or call its toll free number 855-MOSHAVA. Office hours are 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. PST. The year-round office is located at Bnei Akiva of Los Angeles, 9030 West Olympic Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.
Simcha Network LA by Alisa Roberts The Simcha Network of Los Angeles held its third networking event last Tuesday at beautiful La Gondola restaurant in Beverly Hills. Started by photographer Jonah Light and event planner Tali Merewitz, Simcha Network hosts networking get-togethers for anyone in the events industry here in LA. “I tried for a year to get Tali on board,” says Mr. Light. “Finally the stars aligned. I had been networking for a number of years myself. There was a group that I was a member of. You had to be there every Wed. morning at 8 AM; if you were a minute late you couldn’t speak, and if you couldn’t be there you had to send someone else. And the food wasn’t kosher.” It may not have been a pleasant experience, but it did teach Mr. Light how to organize a networking group of his own. He began the Jewish Business Network (formerly the Frum Business Network) for the Orthodox community. “After running JBN for a while, I was looking to start something a little more open and casual. And as a photographer, I’m much more motivated to do this. From a selfish standpoint, it’s much better networking for me,” he adds with a smile.
The event opened with general conversations, then moved around the table for the formal introductions and lunch. Mr. Light opened the event, beginning with a dvar Torah on the parsha which including these musings on our wanderings in the desert: “The Jewish People: we like our food and we want it perfect. Moshe Rabbeinu was the biggest even planner in history.” Then each attendee around the table had 30 seconds of introduction. Using a slightly less traditional method, each person was encouraged to introduce their neighbor around the table. The event ended with more one-on-one networking and a door prize drawing. The atmosphere, as promised, was open and relaxed. A variety of professionals attended, for a variety of reasons. “I’m here to connect to other frum professionals,” says Shaina Kamman, Women’s Health and Nutrition Coach. “If I’m able to refer to someone I know is good and who is in the community, I want to do that.” Chana Baichman, of Handtique Studios, wants to expand her network. “I think it’s important – when you work from home you’re in a vacuum – to meet people in the same industry,” she says.
17 THE JEWISH HOME JANUARY 23, 2014
A Big Band-Aid: Free Jewish classes for kids in public school The Jewish Home Interviews the Anonymous Father behind this Idea
By Rachel Wizenfeld
An anonymous donor, struck by the numbers of Jewish kids going to public school and by what he sees as smaller families due to tuition fears, has volunteered a solution – free Jewish classes for kids in public school. You may have seen the ads around town, including in the Jewish Home. Here are the details. Why did you see a need to start this program? The first mitzvah in the Torah is to “be fruitful and multiply.” Furthermore, we learn in the Rashi in Sefer Shemos that when the Egyptians started drowning all the baby boys in the Nile, Moshe’s parents separated and all the Jews followed suit. Miriam came and told her father that, “you’re worse than Paroah. He made a decree on the baby boys, but you’re affecting all Jewish babies.” If you go around America and ask people in the communal know what is the biggest problem facing the Jewish community today, they would say it’s the cost of tuition. There are probably millions of kids who are not being born due to the high costs of tuition. In Israel and England people have bigger families. Anywhere that the cost of tuition is subsidized by the government, Jewish families are bigger. There are probably more kids not being born in this generation than were killed in the Holocaust. It’s an open secret. People will actually tell you they cannot afford more kids because of tuition. And even for the kids who are born – there’s such stress on a daily basis. The parents have to ask for scholarships and feel like schnorrers. It’s not sustainable. How will your program be funded? Thank G-d I make a nice living. And I realize for the same cost of paying tuition, I can send my kids to Third Street Elementary School in Hancock Park (which inci-
dentally happens to be among the top 2% rated schools in LA), then take the money I’m saving and sponsor a Talmud Torah, a free Jewish school that’s open to anyone who wants to join. My kids range in age from 2-9, and Third Street Elementary is for ages 5-10. I’m doing this for younger kids now, and we’ll see what happens when they get older. I’m not saying this solution is ideal. But it’s very cheap to do. I manage money for a living and I have a client who gives a million dollars each year as a donation going to private school. Most of it goes towards administration, maintenance, facilities, secular studies etc. With a million dollars we could pay for the program and cover the whole of Los Angeles! That would include Pico Robertson, where at Canfield alone there are about 100 kids with yarmulkas. Then there are 100+ kids being homeschooled, and you have Beverly Hills where half the kids in public schools are Jewish, and then you have Hancock Park. Do you see this as a long-term solution? The long-term solution is local schools converting to charter schools. There’s a charter school opening in the valley now. They have Talmud Torah in the morning, then the charter school comes in and teaches secular subjects and Hebrew. The problem is that no one is going to bother doing this because every school has full enrollment and they don’t want to rock the boat. But the status quo is wrong. This isn’t the perfect solution, but it’s an option to have completely free tuition. I’m hoping someone will step up to do it. I’m not an educator, but I found a simple solution that I can cover on my own. I’m trying it in my area and if it works out we’ll try to do it in other areas. Who is your program for?
Obviously it’s for kids who are already in public school. But I also want to take pressure of those that can’t afford paying tuition. I want people to know that there is a free option so they can make their plans accordingly. How will the program be structured? There will be two hours of classes afterschool on M/T/W/Th (time varies each day, based on the schedule of Third Street Elementary) and on Sunday from 10am12pm. Rabbi Chaim Friedman will walk the kids from Third Street to the shul, and parents can pick them up straight from there. Kids can come from anywhere though. We’re planning to have two classes. If we get oversubscribed maybe we’ll make another class. It’s for boys and girls mixed. We’ll have one advanced class, 4th and 5th grade level, and one more basic, for kids who have always been in public school and the younger ages. Ideally we’ll have 15 kids to a class. I wouldn’t want to turn away kids though, and I guess I would go up to 30 kids a class. We’ll be teaching what the private schools teach. Two rabbis are leading this: Rabbi Chaim Friedman and Rabbi Sholom Rodal, both are experienced Jewish educators. At this point we’ve worked out the logistics, we have the facilities, I’ve committed to put in the money, now I want to publicize it and get feedback from the community and find out what people want. Anyone who is interested in encouraged to contact Rabbi Friedman at 323-868-8484 or email@example.com. He is the primary coordinator and teacher. It’s only for two hours a day in the afternoon, but we will try to infuse the same knowledge. I think it can be done. I don’t know that it’s perfect. Hopefully someone else will step up to the plate and think of a solution for old-
er kids that’s in a more Jewish environment. I don’t think this is dangerous for the young ages. I’m not a professional, but that’s why I’m sticking to that age range. I’m trying to advocate for people. There are 100’s of kids who are frum in LA right now and in public school. Are you concerned about taking your kids out of Jewish school? The reason why I’m taking my own kids out is I won’t put my heart and soul into it unless my kids are in it. My wife is not very happy about this. She’s quite nervous about it and she’s the boss at the end of the day. I’m committing to cover hard costs for a year and then we’ll see how it goes. I try not to discuss it too much - I know there are plenty of arguments against it. That’s why I’m keeping this anonymous. You’re not an educator or an administrator. Why are you stepping up to start this? “Bimkom she’eyn ish, hishtadel lihyot ish.” When there is no one to lead, try to become a leader. I know I’m not an educator. I know there are people more appropriate to deal with this, but nobody is so I have to start somewhere. People who do hear about this say, “How can you take anyone out of Jewish school?” That’s not what we’re advocating. We want to help out people who are struggling. If people aren’t struggling they should stay where they are. We pay the taxes and don’t use the services. We have our own ambulance service and we’re paying for our own schools. Anything we want to do extra, we have to pay extra. But why should we make parents struggle so much when school is already covered?
THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 23, 2014
The Angelic Proclamation
There are no two words more associated with the deliverance of the Torah on Har Sinai than “naaseh venishma.” However, as intertwined as they are with the Matan Torah described last week in Parshas Yisro, they appear this week in Parshas Mishpotim. The posuk (24:3) states, “And all the people answered in one voice and said, ‘We will do - naaseh - everything that Hashem has spoken.” The posuk (24:7) says that Moshe read the Sefer Habris to the Jewish people gathered at the foot of Har Sinai. Responding to what he had read to them, the Jews responded, “Naaseh venishma.” An explanation is for why naaseh venishma is found in Parshas Mishpotim and not in Parshas Yisro, the parsha of Kabbolas HaTorah. Chazal in Maseches Shabbos (88) recount that when Hashem heard the Bnei Yisroel say, “Naaseh venishmah,” He asked, “Who revealed to the Bnei Yisroel the special secret that is used by angels?” What is so special about those two eternally binding words that they are described as a phrase more suited to celestial spheres than to our own? Seemingly, the explanation is that they embody the total subservience of malochim, who follow Hashem’s every command. Man’s recitation of the phrase was an implicit agreement to follow Hashem’s commandments without understanding their rationale. While blindly following is the definition of an eved Hashem, the people who had just witnessed Hashem’s splendor and
power over all creation, and had been redeemed from Mitzrayim and seen great revelations, had to be overawed by His power and splendor at the sea. Of course they would accept His word. They didn’t have to rely on anyone’s testimony regarding Hashem’s mastery of the world. They had seen it with their own eyes, they had heard it with their own ears, and they had felt it in their hearts and souls. Of course, they would accept Hashem’s word on everything. What, then, is so remarkable about their unconditional acceptance of Hashem’s rule? It would appear that the greatness of the term of acceptance inherent in the words of naaseh venishma is deeper than acknowledging the obligation to follow the rules of the Creator they had heard about ever since their youth and now seen in action. Perhaps through the story of Yisro, related in last week’s parsha, we can gain greater insight into these concepts. Yisro, a leader in Midyan, undertook a life-altering journey that brought him to his destiny. The posuk states that what set him on his path was his ability to hear. “Vayishma Yisro” is literally translated to mean that Yisro heard of all the great things that Hashem did for the Jews. Upon hearing those things, he left his native land and traveled to join a recently formed nation of freed slaves, camped in tents in a barren desert. The man who had achieved power, fame and stature in Mitzrayim and Midyan was so impacted by the accounts of the Bnei Yisroel’s miraculous journey that he made the decision that would forever change his life and the lives of his offspring. All because of “vayishma.” We can understand that the reason the parsha of Kabbolas HaTorah is named for Yisro and begins with the story of his “shmiah” is because it is integral to understanding what Kabbolas HaTorah necessitates. The same “vayishma” that lay at the root of Yisro’s conviction depicted the greatness of the Bnei Yisroel when they said “venishma.” Just as Yisro’s “vayishma” led him to forfeit the prestige and importance he had
earned over a lifetime to move to a desert encampment because he felt that the truth dwelled there, Bnei Yisroel, when they said “venishma,” were proclaiming their willingness to follow Hashem regardless of the impact on their physical situations. When they said “venishma,” they were committing themselves to doing all Hashem asked, whether or not they understood it, even if following the word of Hashem would mean living a life of depravation and isolation, just as Yisro had done. Thus, by responding, “Naaseh venishma,” they were using language normally used by malochim, whose total purpose is to serve the Creator. Through their own bechirah, the Bnei Yisroel chose to suppress their natural inquisitive and independent-minded impulses and affirmed in a homogenized and amalgamated fashion that they would sacrifice all to follow the word of Hashem. Like Yisro, they wouldn’t only follow the letter of the law, but would travel to the ends of the world and give up everything they had spent a lifetime acquiring in order to follow the devar Hashem. They wouldn’t question or demur. The Torah would be their roadmap through life and they would follow it scrupulously. Perhaps the words naaseh venishma appear in Parshas Mishpotim to hint at another truth. The Torah guides and speaks to us in the very earthy realm, a practical guide for every moment of our lives. The true test of whether a person is sufficiently devoted to the word of Hashem and possesses the proper degree of fidelity to Torah is the way he acts with respect to the laws taught in Parshas Mishpotim. The way a person conducts himself in business dealings with other people demonstrates his true level of religiosity. One who cheats, steals and lies in the course of his financial dealings shows that he is not really a believer and thinks that he must bend the law in order to earn the money Hashem sends him. One who is dishonest and defrauds people is in essence denying the laws of the Torah, which define how we must conduct ourselves. He thinks he will get away with it and ignores the punishments the
Torah prescribes for those who harm others. In a sense, he also rejects the basics of emunah: that Hakadosh Boruch Hu is zon umefarneis lakol and that each and every person has his allotted portion. A person who has faith in Hashem is faithful in his business practices, for he knows that what he will earn in any given year is predetermined. The money that is meant to come his way will come his way and he gains nothing by engaging in acts of subterfuge, cheating others for financial benefit. The epic declaration of naaseh venishma is the Jewish mission statement, our promise to work without making cheshbonos and petty calculations. Our job is merely to do, following His will and laws. Baalei mussar point out that a young man on the cusp of his journey to spiritual growth is referred to in Hebrew as a “bochur,” which literally means a chosen one. They explain that the significance of the title with which a young man is crowned is the fact that in order to triumph over the many serious spiritual trials this world presents, a person needs to decide early on who he is and which path he will follow through life. Once a person is on the path that strengthens his core, it is easier for him to stand tall in the face of temptation. Once he has chosen who he is and where he would like to be headed, he can gauge right from wrong and declare that he will not engage in improper actions. His firm identity protects him from activities that would rob him of his future. One who is
bocheir, choosing the right path, is a bochur, a chosen one.
A Polish teenager lost everything in the Holocaust. Destitute and broken, with no family, possessions, money or a place to call home, he was determined to make a life for himself. After much deprivation and many odd jobs, he saved two hundred and fifty dollars. He hid the dollar bills in a suitcase and, with some extra money, bought tickets to bring him from war-ravaged Poland to the goldeneh medinah’s northern neighbor. As he set out on his trip, he was jostled and pushed, and before he knew what
19 THE JEWISH HOME JANUARY 23, 2014
happened, someone had stolen his valise and disappeared. The money he had slaved for was gone. All he had were the passage tickets to Canada tucked into his pocket. With nowhere else to go, the dejected young man got on the ship with no money and only bitterness and anger. He worked very hard for that money. It represented his only hope for the future. Now, he was more alone than ever, sailing the Atlantic, on his way to a foreign land, with no idea what he would do when he got there. Somehow, he ended up in Montreal and found himself various odd jobs with which to pay for some food and shelter. Once again, he was able to eventually save up two hundred and fifty dollars. This time, he had learned his lesson and didn’t keep it in cash. He was told that Edmonton, Alberta, deep in Western Canada, was the new frontier. His information was that it was a virtually undeveloped city with much economic promise. He reasoned that if he could make his way there, he’d be able to create a life for himself. So, he established an account in an Edmonton bank and sent his money there, planning for the day he’d have enough money to move there and begin anew. When the day came and he decided that he had enough money deposited in the Edmonton bank, he went to the local tzaddik and asked for a brocha. The Tosher Rebbe listened to the tale of the broken survivor. He heard about the stolen suitcase and the man’s bitterness over the lost dream. He heard the plans to settle in distant Edmonton. The rebbe urged the fellow not to move. “Edmonton has no kehillah, no thriving shuls and few frum Yidden. Whom will you marry? Where will your children go to school? What will keep you tied to the path of your murdered parents?” The man listened, but he would not be dissuaded. He was too focused on making real money to hear the rebbe’s plea. To the broken survivor, economic stability was the only barometer of success. The rebbe saw that the fellow had made up his mind, so he didn’t argue with him. He just asked him one favor. “You say that you are leaving tomorrow. Please come to my shtiebel for Shacharis in the morning. It might just be the last time you
ever daven with a minyan.” The man agreed. He went to the shtiebel the next morning and, after davening, he joined the small group there for a lechayim and a piece of sponge cake. He noticed someone staring at him, and eventually the other man introduced himself. The gentleman asked our friend where he was from and how he had made his way to Canada. The next thing he said caused the wayward young man to sit up and pay close attention. “I must tell you something,” the gentleman said, not being able to look the man in the eye. “I am also a survivor. I also lost everything. I saw you in the train station with your valise and my hunger got the better of me. I am the one who stole your suitcase! I found the money and it kept me alive and let me get a new start here. I’m the ganav!” He pleaded for forgiveness. “Please forgive me for what I did. I was lost and had nothing. We both made it here. It must be min haShomayim that I should spot you here in this shul.” The gentleman said that he had done well in the new country and would take him to his house and repay the $250 he had stolen from him in the old country. The Edmonton-bound fellow accepted the money, but it was clear that he was still hurt by what had been done to him. The ganav looked at him and said, “What about if I give you another $250? Will you then forgive me?” With a newfound fortune of $500 in his pocket, he forgave him and made his way to the train station, excited more than ever about Edmonton. He boarded the train for the trip across Canada, but as he shifted in his seat, he found himself haunted by the Tosher Rebbe’s arguments and pleas. The rebbe had insisted that he was throwing away his future and letting down his ancestors for the sake of money. He began thinking: “The Ribbono Shel Olam sent me $500. He is sending me a message that I will have parnossah in Montreal as well.” At the next stop, he got off the train and bought a ticket back to Montreal. He stayed in Montreal, got married, and built a family. He did well and was a good provider. He took great pride in what
he had been able to accomplish and the stories of his early arrival in the city disappeared from his memory. Decades later, when his health forced him to move, he reflected on his success and decided that there were two people who played an important role in his remaining religious, the Tosher rebbe and the ganav. He visited the rebbe, who offered blessings for his next stage in life. Then he went to the ganav. Though he had forgiven him, he kept his distance and had little or no contact with the man who had stolen his suitcase and hard-earned money. He rang the bell, entered the house, and explained that he had come to say thanks for playing an important role in his decision to stay in Montreal. “Don’t thank me,” the ganav said. “Thank the Tosher Rebbe, because the truth is that I had never seen you before that morning in the Tosher bais medrash. The night before, the rebbe told me to tell you that I was the one who had stolen your possessions. I protested to the rebbe that I am not a thief and that it would be demeaning for me to present myself as one. The rebbe said that to help another Jew, one must sacrifice himself. The rebbe raised the money and gave it to me. So honestly, the thanks go to him.” This story is a heartening reminder of how people act when their entire being is all about naaseh venishma. Everything such people do is guided by their personal obligation to keeping the ancient covenant. They are prepared to sacrifice everything and do whatever they can so that another person can keep that promise, as well. Nothing is beneath their dignity and nothing can deter them. Naaseh venishma is what drives them. Each of us has that responsibility and ability. Once we are bocheir in our path and affirm who we are, we can possess the strength and even temerity to do the right thing for ourselves and for others. The parsha that contains the declarative naaseh venishma discusses financial matters, for the level of our adherence to those rules is indicative of how deep our commitment really is to following the word of Hashem. On a deeper level, we can perhaps
understand why the parsha begins with the laws of owning an eved ivri, a Jewish slave. We are all familiar with the Chazal that one who purchases an eved ivri obligates himself to caring for him with great sensitivity. If there is only pillow available, the eved is the one who places his head on the pillow to go to sleep. If there is only one blanket, the master gives it to the eved. The Ponovezher Rov pointed out that the halacha is always “chayecha kodmin.” A person is obligated to care for himself before caring for someone else. If so, why is the halacha regarding an eved different? Why when there is only one pillow available does the halacha obligate the master to give it to the eved? The Ponovezher Rov, who helped so many people revive themselves after the Holocaust and gave of his own ruchniyus and gashmiyus to help re-establish Torah, answered that the reason a master gives his one pillow to the eved is because a Yid cannot sleep well if he knows that alongside him is a tired person without a pillow. A Yid cannot sleep if he knows that in the next room there is a person losing sleep because he doesn’t have a blanket. If there is one pillow, the master gives it to the eved, so that he will be able to sleep with the knowledge that he has enabled someone to rest comfortably. That is the way a naaseh venishma person conducts himself, ke’ish echod beleiv echod, forfeiting his own property and comfort for the benefit of others. This is why when the Bnei Yisroel proclaimed naaseh venishma, Hashem said that these are words of angels. This is why when they responded to Moshe’s challenge by saying together as one, “Naaseh venishma,” angels placed crowns on the head of every Jew. The life of those who adhere to the proclamation of naaseh venishma is the best known to man. Living that life
is divine. It brings joy and fulfillment to those who follow it. Naaseh
venishma transforms men into angels. May we all benefit from that transformation and the life it engenders.
THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 23, 2014
Mishpatim STORYLINE Save Me a Seat by Rabbi Meir Orlian Shlomo and Kalman planned a trip during winter vacation. “We’ll meet at the bus station and board together,” they decided. Shlomo arrived at the bus station half an hour early, but Kalman got delayed on the way. As departure time approached, Kalman called Shlomo. “I’ll be there in ten minutes,” he said. “Get on the bus meanwhile, and save me a seat next to you toward the back.” Shlomo boarded the bus and settled in. He put his knapsack on the seat next to him, saving it for Kalman. As time wore on, the bus became more and more crowded. Shortly before departure time, Kalman contacted Shlomo again. “I just bought my ticket and am waiting on line,” he said. With relief, Shlomo saw that Kalman was about to board. Before Kalman boarded, though, there were no longer any other seats available. Another young passenger asked Shlomo to move his bag and allow him to sit. “I’m saving the seat for my friend, who’s about to board,” said Shlomo. “It was nice of you to look out for your friend,” said the passenger. “However, I’m first, and there are no other seats available.” “But my friend already bought his ticket,” protested Shlomo. “He’s also entitled to a seat, and he asked me to save the seat on his behalf!” “Who gave you the right to save him a seat?” argued the other passenger. “First come, first served!” Meanwhile, Kalman boarded the bus. “There’s my friend,” said Shlomo, pointing up the bus. “He’s coming down the aisle.” The other passenger, though, removed Shlomo’s knapsack from the seat and sat down. “What are you doing?” said Shlomo. “You have no right to touch my knapsack.” “You fellows are rude,” the other passenger said to Shlomo. “You should have been decent enough to remove the knapsack yourself.” Kalman came over. “I asked you to save me a seat next to you,” he said to Shlomo. “I did, but all the other seats were taken,” said Shlomo. “This fellow insisted he had a right to the seat.” When Shlomo and Kalman returned to yeshivah, they asked Rabbi Dayan about the incident. “Did Shlomo have a right to save the seat for me?” asked Kalman. “The Gemara (B.M. 10a; Kesuvos 84b) teaches that even in cases where a creditor can seize property from his debtor, another person cannot grab on his behalf if there are limited assets and additional creditors may lose out,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “This is referred to in halacha as ‘tofes l’baal chov b’makom shechav l’acherim.’
“The Shulchan Aruch rules that the other person may not seize the property even if he was an agent of the creditor, who instructed him to seize the property on his behalf (C.M. 105:1).” “How does this apply here?” asked Shlomo. “Each person who buys a bus ticket is entitled, when he pays, to any available seat,” explained Rabbi Dayan (see C.M. 198:6). “Many authorities compare saving a seat for your friend to grabbing property on his behalf at the expense of other passengers, who also have a right to that seat. Thus, you may not save him the seat if there are no comparable seats available.” “What if I had bought both tickets?” asked Shlomo. “Does that make a difference?” “In that case, some contemporary authorities permit saving the seat,” said Rabbi Dayan. “You are then entitled to utilize two seats and, theoretically, could even use one seat for your knapsack if you needed to. Others consider this unfair when other people need the seat (see Sma 105:2). “Of course, these rules apply in the absence of any explicit conditions of the bus company or common practice among people,” concluded Rabbi Dayan. “Therefore, if the company explicitly states that one may not save seats under any circumstances, those terms are binding on the passengers. Alternatively, if the common practice considers it acceptable to save seats for immediate family — spouse, parents/children — who are getting on at the same stop, it is permissible (see Mishpetei HaTorah 1:85).” FROM THE BHI HOTLINE Paying the Partnership I borrowed a tool from my neighbor, and he was nice enough to show me how to use it. Unfortunately, the tool broke while I was using it, and I am uncertain whether I was negligent and did not use it properly or if it just broke in the normal course of use (meisah machmas melacha). Q: Am I obligated to pay for it? A: The first issue that must be clarified is when you are liable as a shomer (custodian) and when you are exempt. When someone borrows something (i.e. a shoel or any other custodian), and the object’s owner was working for the borrower at the time he lent the object, by Biblical decree the borrower is exempt from the liability that is normally imposed on the shoel. This exemption is known as shemirah b’baalim: becoming a custodian (shemirah) while the owner (baal) is working for the custodian (C.M. 346:1). Even if the borrower did not ask the object’s owner to work for him at that moment, but the owner did so voluntarily, the borrower is exempt from liability. However, this is true only when the object’s owner was interested in assisting the borrower. If the owner’s help was provioded out of self-interest, the borrower has full liability for the object. For example, if the object’s owner assisted the borrower out of concern that if he did not assist, his object would become damaged, the borrower is fully liable and it is not an instance of shemirah b’baalim.
Accordingly, in your case, the intent of the owner in showing you how to use the tool is the determining factor for your liability. If his intent when showing you how to use the tool was for your benefit, it is a circumstance of shemirah b’baalim and you would be exempt. However, if he had his own self-interest in mind, e.g. he didn’t want you to use it incorrectly and break it, the exemption of shemirah b’baalim would not apply (C.M. 346:4; Pischei Choshen, Pikadon 6:). In a circumstance in which the owner had his own self-interest in mind and the borrower is uncertain whether it was his negligence that caused the object to break or whether it broke in the normal course of use, the borrower is obligated to pay. The reason for this is that when a borrowed object breaks, the Torah gives the borrower two options: either take an oath that the object broke in the normal course of use, or pay for the broken object. If the borrower is uncertain whether or not it broke in the normal course of use, he obviously cannot take an oath, which leaves him no option other than to pay for the broken object (Tosafos, B.B. 34a and B.M. 5a). Furthermore, even in a circumstance in which the owner had the borrower’s interest in mind and the exemption of shemirah b’baalim applies, there are authorities who write that the borrower has a moral obligation to pay for the broken object (Ohr Hachaim, Mishpatim 22:14), and it seems logical that the borrower should do so when he was negligent (Tal Torah, B.M. 97). However, when it is possible that the borrower was not negligent, it would seem that he is entirely exempt from liability. MONEY MATTERS Lost and Found #27 Q: I moved into a rental apartment and found an item left there. What should I do? Does this apply to a hotel room too? A: This depends on where the item was found and who the former tenant was. If the item was found in a visible area, we can assume that it belongs to the previous tenant, who forgot it. Therefore, it should be returned to him if he was a ben Yisrael. However, some authorities maintain that if the item has simanim, recognizable features, the former tenant must provide simanim; otherwise the item should be publicized. (see C.M. 260:3; Shach 260:11; Nesivos 260:7). On the other hand, if the item was found hidden away in a concealed place, it could have been from an earlier tenant, who already abandoned hope. Therefore, you can keep it. [This halacha might vary with the duration of the previous tenant’s rental.] Again, some authorities maintain that if there is a siman, you should publicize the aveidah (Hashavas Aveidah K’halachah 8:1). In a hotel where most guests are bnei Yisrael, the management should be notified. If the item was left in a haphazard way indicating that the owner no longer wants it, you may keep it (C.M. 261:4).
21 THE JEWISH HOME
The Chayn Drain
By Rabbi Harold Rabinowitz
studies toward a college degree, and still complete a curriculum of college courses in their chosen field of professional activity—all while they are still in their early twenties. And thus begins what I call “the Chayn Drain”—the exodus of the most educated and committed of young people we have managed to produce. They are the ones with the Chayn—the “charm”— the dedication, the character, the personal qualities and the background that makes them perfect and suitable for higher, more “adult” and substantive Jewish education. At this writing and at this moment of LA-Jewish history, for many of these graduates that means going to New York City, to Israel—or to Baltimore. Yes, Baltimore—where a highly respected and venerated Yeshiva, Ner Israel, situated on the outskirts of the city (in Garrison, Maryland), trains men (that is, men only) toward rabbinical ordination and has arrangements with several area universities that offer night classes in various academic disciplines which, combined with the credits received for their Torah studies, leads in four years to an accredited college degree (a BTS—Bachelor of Talmudic Studies—from Ner Israel itself. Earning an actual BA from one of the several universities in the program requires an additional two years.) Obviously, Baltimore is not an option for women, but women who graduate the Orthodox Jewish high schools do have options, only mostly elsewhere. They can spend their winters in New York City attending one of the two Orthodox Jewish institutions, Stern College of Yeshiva University, or the two Lander College campuses of Touro University—it’s an expensive option no matter how you look at it, and it forces parents to send their children out to an uncertain environment, whether they’re ready for it or not. Women can attend one of the seminaries in Israel that is directed at young Orthodox women. There will, of course be a limit to how much they can learn—Israel is so interesting and spiritually invigorating that even the most studious have difficulty concentrating on their studies. And then there’s Touro College–Los Angeles. The institution remains small after a decade, and beset with problems, among the largest being that Touro-New York has come to view Los Angeles as a feeder for its New York schools—so there is little motivation for the higher-ups to change the status quo. But all of the drawbacks and obstacles to pursuing higher Jewish education on the East Coast or in Israel, the real problem is what else happens there. For we know what
happens to young men and women who travel to the East Coast or Israel to find advanced Jewish as well as advanced secular educations, don’t we? Well, if G-d is doing His job (which, the Midrash tells us, is “making Shiduchim”—making matches of husbands and wives, who will marry, raise families and establish Jewish homes), they will meet and marry someone who is from that area—or another area that is unlikely to be Los Angeles—and they will establish their homes there, attend synagogues and get involved in Jewish life there, and send their children to Jewish schools there. Oh, we’ll see them again—for visits, every Pesach, perhaps (actually, every other Pesach), but those young people are all but lost to us. However well we wish them—and because they are, every one of them, precious to us, we wish them Hatzlacha and every happiness—we, the Jews of Los Angeles, are not going to benefit from the remarkable achievement of the Jewish educators of LA who have trained them up to the point of their entrance into their collegiate years. # # # Now, in spite of the fact that I have only recently moved here and am considered a newcomer, I have visited mishpoche (family) in Los Angeles often over the past decades. The fact is, I selected Encino as the place to live because, when I drew a triangle on a map with vertices of the three family members I had here (the last surviving members of the Rabinowitz brood), Encino was in the middle of that triangle. It turns out that Encino is a wonderful place to live—both from a personal and from a Jewish religious perspective (and if they ever manage to get that Eruv up, it will be spectacular!) Last Sunday I was in Sherman Oaks at the 87th birthday celebration of one of that triangle’s “vertices”; I spent four months here a few years ago helping another “vertex,” a cousin, get through a very serious and difficult medical situation. Her mother, my late Aunt Chanah was a fixture at Beth Jacob—they called her “the Hat Lady” after the outrageous hats she created for Purim. (I had to see it with my own eyes when she claimed to be the “Fairfax Kosher meat guru” of a particular UCLA basketball player then named Lew Alcindor!) I’ve seen Los Angeles in “snapshots” taken every few years over four decades; I remember when there was nothing but orchards as far as the eye could see on the north side of Magnolia Boulevard, across the street from our “birthday boy.” Now
JANUARY 23, 2014
My biggest problem is: I just got here. I’ve been living in Los Angeles for less than two years—and many people tell me I’m not really in Los Angeles to begin with, since I live in the Valley—in Encino. I really have a lot to learn (they tell me) about LA, especially about Jewish LA. I admit that’s true—I accept it when people say it, usually in a friendly way, or even when they say that it’s presumptuous, perhaps even arrogant (“chutzpah” is a word that’s used a lot, but not without an avuncular smile), for me to point out a problem and to offer a possible solution. “You just got here!” they say. But I’ve been involved in Jewish education for a long time—in Boston, New York, Philadelphia— and in publishing almost as long. I have pointed out the strange phenomenon that is the subject of this article to LA Jewish educators and leaders who are highly respected and experienced—who have dedicated themselves to Jewish education and the enrichment of Jewish life in Los Angeles for years, even decades. And they nearly always say the same thing: “You know, Reb Hershel, now that you mention it. You’re right. That is a problem—a serious problem,” followed by an uneasy silence. The problem is simply this: The Los Angeles area has developed its Orthodox Jewish educational system to a point where some 500 young men and women are graduating every year from Orthodox religious high schools in this area. Many of them feel about their Jewish education just the way they feel about their secular education: It’s all right for them up to that point, but it’s just not enough—not enough to equip them and train them for the lifetime of learning that we expect and hope will be the personal goal of every Jewish man and woman in our community. In secular knowledge, the demands for continued higher education come from the simple fact that in order to be successful in our society, a college education is a bare necessity—often more training and schooling is required in order to pursue a fulfilling, gainful career. But in Jewish learning, the need is all the more pressing, because we are talking about learning lishmah—for its own sake. A Jew cannot be satisfied with the level of Jewish knowledge and understanding achieved at the end of high school any more than one would be expected to be able to function professionally with a 8th–grade competence in English language or mathematics. So what do they do? What can they do? They hop on an airplane and go somewhere where they can get an advanced Jewish Education, get credit for those
the Valley is building, building, building—and getting populated like crazy, and Jewish families are making up a great part of that growth. Thanks to the “fast-foodfranchise” proliferation of Chabad—in the Valley as it has been throughout Los Angeles (and I hope they will forgive the simile, but that aptly, I think, describes their energetic and heroic history)—and the work of dedicated rabbis, lay leaders, and educators, Thank G-d, elementary and secondary Orthodox Jewish education is seeing a period of flourishing. That’s not to say it is without its problems—some of which are: how will it incorporate and service the Persian and Sephardic communities? what to do about the rising tuitions? how to attract and keep capable mechanchim?—but one gets the sense this enterprise is going to grow in the decades ahead. The picture is not as bright with regard to what happens after high school. And unless something dramatic happens in this area, the Chayn Drain is apt to continue. Last year, a principal of a major Mesivta here in LA tried to form a “starter Beit Midrash” for just a few of his own high-school’s graduates. The idea was that they would learn in the Beit Midrash—under close supervision and with a syllabus that would support giving them college credit for their learning—and then take secular courses at Touro College-LA. He very nearly succeeded when three of the four young men who were going to be participants in this “pilot” program suddenly opted for a year in Israel. I hope he’ll try it again. If it works, it might—just might— be the model of a solution to the problem that stems the Chayn Drain, and keeps the cream of our Orthodox Jewish young people (and the homes and families they create) here—at home. Rabbi Harold Rabinowitz Rabbi Rabinowitz teaches both Jewish and secular subjects at Touro College-Los Angeles, and was a publisher and editor of works by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, zt”l, about whom he is currently producing an omnibus volume for the series, “Modern Giants of Spirituality,” being produced by BookWorks, the book-producing company he founded and directs. Any reactions? E-mail him at hir555@gmail. com—he’d love to hear reactions and will try to answer all serious ones.
The Jewish home n
THE JEWISH HOME
j a n u a ry 1 6 , 2014
Cover Story Rena Zingmond
BRAVE & BRAZEN Ariel Sharon 1928-2014 • 5688-5774
This StateofofIsrael Israelmourned mourns the loss of former Prime Minister Ariel Lastweek, week, the State Sharon who died on Saturday, January 11, 2014, at the age of 85. Sharon, whose military and political careers invoked an equal barrage of support and criticism, finally succumbed to the effects of his January 2006 stroke since when he has lain incapacitated at Sheba Medical Center, a hospital near Tel Aviv. After years of remaining in what doctors termed as a “state of minimal consciousness,” the former leader’s status became precarious as vital organs began to shut down, finally ending in heart failure. His actions and influence leave the world with much to discuss and a great deal to remember. During his life, he brought out strong emotions; there were ardent supporters and harsh critics to his brash and bold initiatives.
On February 26, 1928, Ariel Sharon, formerly Scheinerman, was born to Russian immigrants Shmuel and Dvora Scheinerman in British-occupied Palestine. The second of two children, Ariel, known as “Arik” to his friends, grew up in moshav Kfar Malal, a small, secular farming village about fifteen miles north of Tel Aviv. Sharon’s interest in defense took root early in his life, leading him to participate in regular night-patrols around the moshav. At the age of 14m he joined the Gadna, a paramilitary youth brigade, and soon after enrolled in the Haganah, the precursor to the Israel Defense Forces. Already, Sharon exhibited signs of a fierce independence when serving as instructor at the very schools he attended, supposedly ignoring the designated curriculum and substituting his own.
A WAR HERO
Sharon’s military career catapulted in 1947-8 when he was promoted to platoon leader in the Alexandroni Brigade for his involvement in the attack on Bir Addas, an Iraqi base near Kfar Malal. The 20-year-old, having by then modeled his last name after the Sharon Plain where he had been assigned by the Haganah, was sent with his unit into the Battle of Latrun during the 1948 War of Independence. Described by Sharon himself as “horrible,” the unsuccessful attempt at seiz-
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After leading soldiers across the Suez Canal in a turning point in the Yom Kippur War
In 1964, Sharon was assigned the position of head of the Northern Command by Chief of Staff Yitzchak Rabin, later acquiring the title of Aluf – Major General. Sharon’s offensive strategies in the subsequent Six-Day War were credited as the reason for Israel’s incredible victory over the Jordanian, Syrian and Egyptian troops. Leading the strongest armored division on the Sinai front, Sharon directed a series of individualized, smaller attacks on enemy bases, resulting in the opponent’s inability to protect the targeted spots. Sharon regarded this victory as one of the highest moments in his life, and his unique tactical movements went on to become the subject of extensive study by military researchers. Once again, personal tragedy struck the Sharon family. On October 4, 1967, on the eve of Rosh Hashana, eleven-year-old Gur was playing with friends with an old hunting rifle, stuffing it with gunpowder. The gun went off when a neighbor was playing with it, and Gur was shot. Sharon ran to his son when he heard the blast and rushed him to the hospital but to no avail. The child died in his father’s arms. Sharon later recalled, “There is no cure for that kind of pain,” when speaking with a reporter when he was 75-years-old. Shortly after retiring from his military post to join the Likud political party (of which he was an instrumental originator), Sharon was called back to active duty at the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War. In a move that has been termed both courageous and reckless, Sharon led 27,000 Israeli soldiers across the Suez Canal to surround and compromise the Egyptian army. This daring and ultimately successful stratagem is considered by many to have been the turning point in the war in Israel’s favor. Pictures of Sharon with his head in a bandage – he was hit in the head by a tank part – became an iconic image of Israel’s victory.
With Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas, U.S. President George W. Bush and Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Aqaba in 2003
Retiring from active duty, Sharon turned his attention to politics. Involving himself once more with his co-created Likud party, Sharon was elected to the Knesset at the end of 1973 but soon lost interest in the day-to-day discussions and verbal calisthenics that often characterize political positions. Resigning a year later, he took a break once again from politics, alternating between reserve duties and taking care of his farm, until he was invited by Prime Minister Yitzchak
Rabin to join him as his special aide and military advisor. Preparing for the upcoming 1977 elections, Sharon planned to return to the Likud party and replace Menachem Begin as the head, but failed to be elected. When attempts at joining the Labor and other parties failed as well, Sharon formed his own party, Shlomtzion, successfully securing two Knesset seats. Following the elections, he merged Shlomtzion with the Likud party and became Minister of Agriculture under Begin. In a passionate first move and an ironic twist of things to come, Sharon immediately advocated for the furthering of Jewish settlement and urged Israelis to populate Gaza and the West Bank, thereby ensuring Israel’s continued possession of those lands. His wishes were heeded by many, and the number of Jew-
With Prime Minister Rabin
ish settlements ballooned in those areas. Sharon was appointed Minister of Defense in 1981. It soon became clear that the next most imminent threat to Israel was southern Lebanon, an area that had begun launching attacks on the northern part of Israel. The last straw in Sharon’s eyes came in the form of a failed assassination attempt of Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Argov while the emissary was in London. Sharon began to organize an invasion into Lebanon, simultaneously forming an alliance with the Phalangist Party, a sympathizing Lebanese-Christian group. Promising the maneuver would only last 48 hours, Sharon and his troops proceeded into Lebanon. It soon became apparent that, whether intentionally or otherwise, the procedure was far surpassing the initial timeframe given and included many seemingly unnecessary acts of violence that garnered criticism from all sides. Cease-fires were ignored and large-scale bombings decimated Beirut areas. The ultimate blow became what is known as the Sabra and Shatila Massa-
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ing the Latrun police compound held by the Jordanian Arab Legion left 139 of his soldiers dead and countless wounded, including himself. A bullet had pierced Sharon’s stomach and thigh, and when his requests to be left behind fell upon deaf ears, he forced himself to continue moving together with other wounded members of his force. They were eventually rescued, but that experience would serve to strengthen Sharon’s belief in his own competence as a leader as well as lead him to institute the directive never to abandon any wounded soldiers in battle. At the age of 20, Sharon married a Romanian immigrant, Margalit Zimmerman, also known as Gali. Sharon took a leave from the army in 1952, enrolling in the Hebrew University to study Middle Eastern history and culture. Gali became a psychiatric nurse. A year and a half later, now with the title “major,” Sharon was commissioned by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to launch and head a specialized operations group called Unit 101, whose purpose was to retaliate against Arab attacks. The band was comprised of 50 men who underwent grueling training in the art of guerilla warfare, carrying out daring offensive maneuvers. Soon after its inception, Unit 101 was merged with the 890 Paratroopers Battalion to form the Paratroopers Brigade. The division received a violent condemnation after its infiltration into Qibya, a village in Jordan, in which 69 Palestinian civilians were killed and about 45 buildings dynamited in retaliation for the murder of an Israeli woman and her two children. Brushing off the criticism in the wake of this event, Sharon continued on to command an infantry brigade and study law at Tel Aviv University. During the 1956 Suez War, Sharon commanded the paratrooper unit 202 and was commanded to take the grounds surrounding Sinai’s Mitla Pass. Despite the fact that neither precursory scouts nor aircraft units reported any enemy activity inside the pass, Sharon feared a surprise attack and wished to send troops to investigate. Receiving a negative from superiors, Sharon went ahead and sent a small scout group anyway, which was soon caught in unexpected crossfire. Sharon was forced to dispatch the rest of his troops to come to their rescue. Around 40 Israeli soldiers died, and Sharon was reprimanded for failing to heed instructions as well as for putting his men in unnecessary danger. After the dismal loss at Mitla, Sharon suffered a personal loss as well. In May 1962, his wife, Gali, was killed in a fatal car crash when a truck hit the car she was driving. Sharon later married her younger sister, Lily, and eventually they had two sons together, Omri and Gilad, in addition to the son, Gur, who Sharon fathered with Gali.
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cre, when the Phalanges invaded refugee camps filled with civilians and opened fire, despite the fact that the enclosures had already been labeled off-limits by the Americans. Hundreds of Palestinians were killed, and Sharon, though officially absolved of misconduct by the government, was encouraged to resign. In 1983, Time Magazine published a story insinuating that Sharon had premeditated the massacre and that he had urged the Phalanges to avenge the death of their leader, Bashir Gemayel. Sharon sued the magazine for libel in Israeli and American courts and was granted partial victory in New York since, while no proof could be found to substantiate Sharon’s guilt, Sharon’s lawyers were equally unable to produce evidence that Time was acting with intended malice. Remaining on as a minister without portfolio, Sharon’s next ten years passed in relative quiet as he assumed roles of Minister of Trade and Industry and Minister of Construction and Housing. His Knesset activity included belonging to the Foreign Affairs and Defense committee and serving as chairman for the committee overseeing Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union. Sharon tried repeatedly to oust Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir from his position as head of Likud, to no avail. Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sharon was named Minister of National Infrastructure and Foreign Minister. In 1999, Sharon was finally elected as head of the Likud party after an unexpected twist of events involving Ehud Barak’s Labor party.
LEADING THE NATION AS PRIME MINISTER
In September 2000, Sharon, along with an escort of over 1,000 police officers, paid a visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during a time of particular tension between the Israelis and Palestinians. Opined by critics as ill-timed, the visit was used by Palestinians as an excuse to riot against Israeli police over what they
Brig. Gen. Sharon with Prime Minister Menachem Begin on June 16, 1967
considered to be a deliberate provocation. Sharon insisted that the Palestinians merely used his visit as a pretense for violence, which continued in the form of suicide bombings for months after. In early 2001, Sharon was elected as Israel’s 11th prime minister at the age of 73. He soon surrounded himself with an array of political supporters; his coalition consisted of members from the Likud, Labor, and Shas parties, Yisrael Beytenu, the National Union, Yisrael B’Aliya, and Am Ehad. His cabinet members
were comprised of left-wing and right-wing affiliates as well as three women. In a seeming change of heart and character, Sharon began to lean toward the notion of pursuing peace-making negotiations with the Palestinians, a change from his insistent, hawkish persona of years’ past when he vehemently advocated for Jewish occupation and settlement above all else. After first ordering air strikes against Palestinian security installations in the wake of terrorist attacks, Sharon kept Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat confined to his compound. He was imprisoned there until the end of his life. In January 2003, Sharon was again elected prime minister for a second term. In May of later that year, Sharon supported the plan proposed by the United States, Russia and European Union called the Road Map for Peace. With American mediation, he met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas, expressing his intention to allow for the coexistence of a Palestinian state at a future time. He began talk of a unilateral disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip while still proposing to maintain control of its coast and airspace. As to be expected, his statement was met with outrage from Israeli constituents as well as his own party members.
Over the course of two years, Sharon went ahead with The Disengagement Plan, Tochnit HaHinatkut, uprooting thousands of Jewish settlers from the West Bank and Gaza and increasing his growing unpopularity with many Israelis and Jews all over the world. In protest, Benjamin Netanyahu left the cabinet and attempted to initiate early primary elections to choose a new leader for Likud. Some say that Sharon went through with his plan to take the spotlight over a brewing scandal with himself and his sons. But despite opposition and resistance from the Israeli public, the plan was put in place. 21 settlements from the Gaza Strip and 4 from the West Bank were to be evacuated. By August 16, 2005, around 8,500 people were commanded to leave the homes they built and the cities that they erected. By midnight between August 14 and 15, the Kissufim crossing was shut down, and the Gaza Strip became officially closed for entrance by Israelis. On August 15, the evacuation commenced. Although many settlers chose to leave sadly and peacefully, others were forcibly evicted. Heart-wrenching photos circulated the globe with images of children and their parents being ripped from their land. Some soldiers were reported to be crying and praying with residents as they evacuated the troops. Soldiers went house to house, on horseback and on foot, dragging screaming and sobbing residents from houses and synagogues. In attempt to leave nothing of value for the Palestinians, some residents lit their homes on fire. After all the residents were moved from their homes, demolition crews razed their homes to the ground. The Gush Katif cemetery was dismantled, and the bodies were reburied in other cemeteries in Israel. On September 11, the disengagement was complete. A ceremony was held when the last Israeli flag was lowered in the IDF’s Gaza Strip divisional headquarters and all IDF forces left the Gaza Strip. On September 22, the evacuations of the four West Bank settlements were completed peacefully. Despite Israel handing over their cherished land to the Palestinians, when the Palestinians took over,
Sharon addresses the nation on August 15, 2005--the day when Jewish families were ripped from their homes in Gaza
it was mobs that came to take over their land, waving PLO and Hamas flags and firing guns into the air. The remaining synagogues were looted and torched and even the greenhouses which should have provided a source of income for the Palestinians were looted by mobs. Jewish residents were to be resettled in other communities, but still some of them aren’t living in permanent residences, and harbor a deep resentment for the leader who they initially lauded. Some say that Sharon’s goal was to ensure a strong state for the people of Israel. He viewed negotiating with Palestinian leaders as pointless; he felt they had neither the will nor the power to live up to their promises. The strong Sharon felt that by withdrawing and by building a barrier around Israel, he would ensure a strong country with defensible borders. But his goals are not really known; the future of the leader was abruptly cut short just a few months later.
UNTIL HIS DYING DAY
In November of 2005, Sharon left Likud to form his own centralist party, Kadima, while Netanyahu replaced him as the head of Likud. Once again, his coalition consisted of a motley assortment of individuals including Mayor Ehud Olmert, a former Likud member, Shinui founder Uriel Reichman, former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter and Shimon Peres. While the formation of his new party predicted a sure victory in the upcoming elections, Sharon hit a bump in the road when he suffered his first stroke in December 2005. While in the hospital, doctors detected a small hole in his heart, and he was ordered by physicians not to exert himself while he awaited cardiac catheterization, which was scheduled for January 5, 2006. Sharon suffered his second, more severe stroke the day before the scheduled surgery. Although doctors successfully stemmed the hemorrhaging in his brain, they were unable to prevent Sharon from entering into a coma in which state he remained for 8 years until his death last Saturday.
riel Sharon, whose military and political career was marked with a passion and force that earned him the nicknames “King of Israel” and the “Lion of G-d,” was laid to rest at his ranch-side home in the Negev desert beside his second wife, Lily. Although he was a hero to many, the disengagement plan of 2005 will forever taint his legacy. To many, he will always be known as the Bulldozer, the force that threw thousands of families from their homes and ripped men, women and children from their homeland. A lion is a powerful and courageous animal, but when it turns against its pride, it is a dangerous, lethal force.
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An Interview with Israel Consul General David Siegel by Alisa Roberts and Shalom Rubashkin
Photo Credit: Clifford Lester
Q: Tell us about your background. I was born in the States. My family made aliyah to Israel when I was six. I started right into first grade. Q: Were your parents Israeli? American. Q: So you had to learn Hebrew in first grade. I had to learn Hebrew and I actually remember the process of learning Hebrew. I have very clear memories of my first year in Israel, of school and the language. But what I remember most was being a kid in the sand dunes. We were in the Bat Yam area, which is outside of Tel Aviv surrounded by sand dunes and the ocean. As a child I felt like Israel was an enormous country. You couldn’t see the horizon. It was a very good experience growing up there. I came back and forth to the United States often, because our extended family was in America, so I was fortunate enough to keep my English. I became completely bilingual, and I think that prepared me to be a bridge between communities. In Israel I was very exposed to many communities, both secular and religious, Anglo and Sabra, Sephardi and Ashkenazi. For me, being a representative of Israel is a big privilege, because it’s part of my background. Klal Yisrael is a very important value personally, and important in representing Israel here. Q: What was your position in the military? I was a commander in the infantry. I mainly worked with soldiers who came from difficult backgrounds, broken homes. This was a special unit where they became integrated in the military. These were difficult years; it was during the Lebanon War in the early 80s. Q: Do you feel the military had a positive effect on those soldiers’ personal lives, coming from troubled back-
grounds? No doubt. Look, Israel is so diverse. But we still grow up in pockets that are isolated from one another. I think the army, in many ways, teaches you that there are other people, there are other backgrounds. For me it was eye-opening. It’s something that I still carry with me until this day. Q: So how did you get into government? I came back to the States after the military, and I went to college and graduate school here. In my college years – because of what was happening in Israel, the Lebanon war and the first intifada – I was very involved on campus. It was almost inescapable. I was identified as a representative of Israel even before I was one. For me, it was very natural to emerge from that as a student leader on campus, involved in Jewish organizations. Then I reached out to the Israeli consulate in Boston, where I was going to school, and said, ‘Look, I’m lecturing, I’m teaching Hebrew, I’m teaching Judaism at the Jewish day schools. Please accept me as an intern.’ So I spent a summer interning and loved it. I went back to graduate school, and I started applying to the Israeli Foreign Service through the network that I had developed. And I joined the Foreign Service. Q: How is the atmosphere on campus now compared to when you were in school? The 1980s were pretty rough on campuses. Anyone who was at Columbia University in New York in the late 80s remembers faux blood on locker doors and extremely intense periods of protest. I think what has changed now is what we call the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement that has become much more sophisticated and networked. And of course, they’re online – ironically using Israeli technology, by the way – so they can connect to each other virtually in
much more effective ways than they used to in the brick and mortar days. The good news today is that there are more pro-Israel organizations involved on campus. There are all sorts of programs that are very involved in engaging Jewish kids, but also engaging in pro-Israel programming on campus. So we have also become more sophisticated. The BDS movement is around 10 years old; there are 4,000 campuses in America and they’ve had zero success in actual divestment. They’ve had some success with resolutions, but what is a resolution? It usually means they get their activists into student government and they’re able to pass a resolution without anyone noticing. But do they really do things on campus that have a lasting impact? Do they have long-term relationships with America’s campuses? I think Israel is much, much more adept at that. We have dozens, if not hundreds, of real agreements between Israeli campuses and American campuses. The Technion is now connecting with Cornell on Roosevelt Island in New York. They’re setting up a super campus to be New York’s high tech learning institution. And let’s look locally. In recent years we’ve been able to work with Irvine, which was a poster child for anti-Israel activity, and the atmosphere has changed completely. There are still radical students at Irvine, but Jewish enrollment is higher, we have Israeli faculty there now, and we have 10 agreements with Israeli universities. We had a conference on Israeli innovation at Irvine with Tel Aviv University, and I saw Muslim students not protesting but actually standing there and listening quietly and learning. The approach is to be proactive, to fight back when you need to, and not to hesitate but to help Jewish students feel more comfortable. Q: Do you feel you have been successful in winning over the average student to the justice of the Israeli cause? Yes, and I think it’s always going to be a battle. But we can position Israel even better. We can talk about what’s relevant to Americans – Jews and non-Jews. We have a major outreach to the Latino community and to Christian groups. Q: Can you tell us about that? Sure. We share a lot with the Latino community. They’re very family oriented, they’re education oriented, they’re faith oriented. They see how Israel deals with its own diasporas and that resonates with them. How we’ve brought in immigrants, with our system of ulpans and language training, is very important to them. I think they’re very moved by Judaism. Some of them come from Jewish backgrounds, but for those who don’t, just experiencing faith
in Israel is very powerful. I think we need to do more to expose that. We’re not just about high tech. Jewish values are very much a part of what we’re about. We had several parties over Chanukah. We had Chabad in, we had extended families, we had bereaved families of fallen soldiers and victims of terror from the Israeli community that we engage and do happy events with. And we hosted one for the foreign consulates. It was very interesting. We lit the candles; we discussed what the menorah means, what Chanukah means, our history. And when it was over, one of the Consuls General from Europe came over to me and said he’d never heard a diplomat speak religiously before. In his country, if they want to celebrate one of their holidays, they can only do it in the home and outside of the public eye. They have complete separation of church and state. That was shocking for us because we represent the Jewish State in a Jewish way. When I speak, which is almost every day of the week, I use parshat hashavua as a platform. It resonates not just with Jews, but with every community. Q: Changing the subject, it seems like Hollywood roots for the underdog. Do you feel that over the years the Hollywood portrayal of Israel has become worse as Israel has grown stronger? When I first came here, I also had this impression that maybe Hollywood is anti-this or anti-that. But I actually meet a lot of people in the industry who are very favorable towards Israel. Israel has become a powerhouse when it comes to TV platforms, content, and high tech media that Hollywood needs. And now all that has to be protected. The next wave of the high tech world is going to be protecting the high tech world. And Israel also is the world center of cybersecurity solutions. Already now in Beer Sheva, it’s almost like a prophecy is coming true: the desert is being redeemed; all of IBM’s cybersecurity operations are now centered in Ben Gurion University in the Negev. So Hollywood is very interested in Israel. Another thing that Hollywood might be interested in is Israel’s humanitarian work. Whether in the Philippines or in Haiti, Israel is helping people rebuild after tragedies. During the recent typhoon in the Philippines, Israel was one of the first on the ground – together with the IDF and IsraAID, we opened a field hospital where thousands of operations were performed and dozens of babies were born. These are amazingly heroic, humanitarian stories that must be told. We also need to engage people in a very practical way so they understand that Israel isn’t this militaristic, garrison state
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es in Egypt that treaty holds. We may not be happy with the extent of it, but it’s a critical anchor for Israel strategically. In a very stormy region we have a successful peace treaty with Jordan. We have previous agreements with the Palestinians that had mixed results, and right now we’re trying to sit down again and see where we can go. We need to be realistic and vigilant. We’re also looking at the legacy of Ariel Sharon ((ז״ל, who unfortunately recently passed away. When we left the Gaza Strip, others entered. Hamas, an Iranian proxy, entered Gaza and used that as a launching ground to fire thousands of rockets into Israel. We need to learn from that experience that in the Middle East you don’t vacate areas without being absolutely sure about what the day after will look like. This is partially why we insist that Israel must be recognized as the nation state of the Jewish people. Not because anyone needs to do us any favors; we know who we are. But the Palestinian leadership and the Arab world need to recognize that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, because if they recognize the right of the Jewish state to exist it means that the conflict can’t continue endlessly We have very specific requirements when it comes to security and incitement. You can’t incite against Jews and teach a whole new generation to hate, and at the same time have the world expect that there will be peace. How can there be peace when a five-year-old child is taught that Israel is evil and shouldn’t exist, that Jews should be pursued and harmed? We don’t want to see that. So it’s difficult. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t need to try to pursue a peaceful arrangement. Israel needs it for its future. But the challenge of it is not to be taken lightly. Q: But can’t forcing things, rather than allowing the process to happen step by step, create potential disaster? If one or both sides is not yet ready to come to the table things can explode. I agree. We certainly won’t allow a process that forces us to give up vital interests. And again, as I said, we have very serious requirements. Now, the Palestinians don’t
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that they see because the media tells them that’s the case. We want to bring celebrities to Israel. We would like to bring celebrities, major opinion shapers from right here in LA, to Israel. Q: Are there any celebrities who are vocal supporters of Israel? Well, there are well-known actors like Jon Voight and others, but I think most actors, musicians, and celebrities who go to Israel and are shown the country in a fair way come back as advocates. Madonna, Alicia Keys, Barbra Streisand…they come back with more understanding of how complex things are, and I think that’s a good thing. Q: Are there specific ways to present the story in a less one-sided way and de-emphasize the victimhood of the Arab side? We need to be proactive. We really need to convey Israel in the most resonant way that we can, and convey the justice of our cause. Israel wasn’t set up because someone felt like it. Israel was reestablished out of dire necessity after one third of our people was destroyed in Europe. Obviously, we were developing the State even before that, and Jews were present in the land of Israel for millennia. But the need was very clear in 1948 and it’s still very clear to us today. There is absolute justice to our cause, and we need to make sure that we convey it to the right people in the right way. Q: As someone who has participated in many previous peace summits including the 1998 Wye River Peace Summit, the 1999 Israel-Syria negotiations, the 2000 Camp David Middle East Peace Summit, and the 2007 Annapolis Conference, what is your take on the current negotiations? An American ambassador – now the Secretary of State – is in Israel, and it almost seems like he’s forcing two sides into a room to make apparent to everyone that this can’t work. What do you see as the purpose of these talks? The history of peace talks is mixed. There have been some instances where it has worked. We have a peace treaty with Egypt, and despite all the dramatic chang-
appear to be ready for basic concessions. They must recognize Israel as a Jewish state and the Jewish people as a people with rights of self-determination. They must commit to an end to the conflict. These recognitions must be reciprocal. The Palestinian leadership will be required to make very difficult decisions, as Israel will be required to take difficult positions; if it’s asymmetrical, it won’t work. Q: What’s Israel’s position in regard to the new preliminary agreement with Iran? Let’s talk about Iran for a minute. Iran is a very dangerous country. It has been pursuing nuclear weapons for the last 20 years. And over the years we’ve been very active advocates of a peaceful resolution through diplomatic and economic pressure, to try to get the Iranian leadership to understand that the world won’t allow them to become a nuclear weapons power. Now we’re talking about an interim agreement. This agreement is incomplete. It doesn’t stop the Iranian nuclear program. It allows them to continue R&D on sophisticated centrifuges, which brings Iran closer and closer to what we call breakout capacity. There are those who claim that it puts a cap on some of their programs, but in the final analysis we don’t see that this will stop Iran. Iran will be allowed to continue to develop its missile program, as well its weaponization program that is not treated by this agreement at all. Iran will even be allowed to continue to develop the machinery used in the enrichment program. So six months from now, they’ll be much closer to breakout capacity than they are right now. The flip side is that the sanctions regime, which had developed to the point where it became a real pressure on the Iranian economy, is now eroding. Until recently, two thirds of their oil exports were off the table. Their currency was crashing, their economy was in a nose dive; they had an interest in coming to the table to end those sanctions. What they have now is an agreement that allows them to continue their nuclear program, and at the
same time begins eroding the sanctions. Countries are now negotiating big contracts with Iran. Their currency is skyrocketing, their stock market is back to being bullish, their economy is picking up. We don’t want to see a situation where on the one hand they can continue their nuclear program and on the other hand all the pressures are removed. So we see this as a very dangerous moment. We will continue working with the United States, our greatest ally, on trying to solve this problem. We must keep in mind how dangerous Iran is. They are involved in the butchery of the Syrian population. They’ve transferred tens of thousands of rockets to their allies, both Hezbollah and Hamas. Their allies and agents, from Hezbollah to actual Republican Guards, have been involved in terror attempts or attacks in 25 cities on five continents in the last three years. They have targeted Israeli diplomats, Israeli tourists, and American targets. They tried to blow up an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in India, and attempted the same thing in Thailand. They killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria – in the heart of Europe. They tried the same thing in Cypress and were caught. The European Union is now officially designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization for the first time as a result of these attacks inside Europe. Iran is very active with sleeper cells in Latin America and Central America. They’re here in this hemisphere. They even tried to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington D.C. and blow up the Israeli embassy. Those attempts – to assassinate an ambassador in a high-end restaurant in downtown Washington D.C. and to blow up an embassy – were foiled at the last moment. They undermine countries in the region. They call for Israel’s destruction. They still deny the Holocaust. This is not a country that should be allowed to have nuclear weapons. We don’t just see them as the most dangerous threat to Israel, but also to the stability of the Middle East, and to the world. Q: Is there a red line? Prime Minister Netanyahu’s famous red line speech had to do with the enrichment, but since then their program has
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developed rapidly. Ten years ago, when I worked at the embassy in Washington, we were concerned about 164 centrifuges. They now have 19,000 centrifuges. They haven’t operationalized all 19,000; they’re at about 11,000 operating centrifuges right now. Which means they have enough for five or six nuclear bombs at lower rates of enrichment. They are also developing next generation centrifuges able to enrich uranium five times faster. Because they have so much now, and they’re building more and more sophisticated machinery, they can go from zero to military grade in 24 days. Q: So if they decided today, they could have a weapon in 24 days? Not a weapon, but enough fuel for a weapon. For a weapon you still need the military program, the weaponization program that they’re working on in secret. But you can have a dirty bomb. You can put a bomb in a container. You could do all sorts of things. So they are very close. The question for us is not where the red line is in terms of where they are – the question is when will it be too late to stop them? Enrichment is what the world can watch. The IAEA, which is the agency that is monitoring them in a robust way, can tell us how many centrifuges they have and where they are. But once they’re finished with that – and they’re very close – they could take that fuel, put it in a warhead, and go underground somewhere in Iran, a country that is half the size of Europe. We just won’t know. This is why we’re so focused on the enrichment component. Q: It sounds like we’re on the red line. We’re very close, which is why we’re concerned. We’ve been concerned for a while. And we still believe that the way to resolve this Iranian nuclear weapons challenge is by increasing economic, diplomatic, and political pressure on Iran. And, if need be, by a credible military threat; one that they actually believe. Right now, as a result of this Geneva process, a lot more needs to be done to make sure they understand. Q: Is there a reason why the Arab Spring movement has not been successful
in Iran? There was a Persian Spring before there was an Arab Spring, nearly three years ago. The advocates of change in Iran were brutally suppressed. They continue to be brutally suppressed. The Iranian regime is very sophisticated in suppressing dissent. What we’re seeing right now – and this is very interesting, with all the talk about Rouhani being much friendlier – is that they are actually executing more Iranians right now under the new regime than they did under the old regime. There have been nearly 400 executions, including minors, since Rouhani came into office. Iran, per capita, executes more political prisoners than any other country on earth; they are second in total executions in the world. So not only are they the number one promoters of terrorism in the world, but what they’re doing at home to their own people should be an issue of human rights for every advocate of human rights anywhere. If they are allowed to go nuclear they will be unstoppable. That’s part of what they want to achieve. Q: Are the Iranian people, as a people, more or less willing to work with Israel? There have been surveys done from outside Iran measuring the extent of the democratic sentiment among the people, with very surprising results. The gap between the dictatorial regime and the people of Iran is one of the largest on earth. The people of Iran do aspire to a much freer future, especially women. So there is a future for Iran. The problem is that this is a regime that suppresses any grassroots effort to bring about peaceful change in Iran. Part of the idea in bringing pressure to bear on this regime is also to help domestic forces bring change. But the nuclear program is operating on a much quicker clock than that of the internal change, so we can’t rely on that. You can’t rely on hope when it comes to this. As a result of the economic pressure there has been pressure in Iran to moderate their image in the world. This is where Rouhani comes from, as well as their new approach vis-à-vis the United States and the rest of the world. It comes from
those domestic pressures. Which is exactly why we think those pressures should be increased to clinch a deal, not decreased before negotiating a deal. Q: So with all this going on around the world, one may wonder why the Charedi draft is suddenly a burning issue. This is a very important question, and I have to tell you that I am very concerned about the feelings in the community, about the press reports, and about the political rhetoric. We need unity of the Jewish people and we need unity in Israel. The history of the Charedi community in Israel is important. It’s important to know why there were exemptions from the military, and what hachzarat atarah leyoshnah means – bringing the community and the ancient splendor back to where it needed to be. Let’s talk about the good news first. Today there are more seminaries, more yeshiva students in Israel studying Torah than at any other time – maybe in recorded history, and certainly since the destruction of the Temple. So we need to recognize that the community has been an enormous success. From being a tiny remnant in 1948, there are now over 850,000 members of the Charedi community in Israel. It is now approaching 12% of the population. Who will serve in the military in a couple of decades? It’s a question we need to ask ourselves. Charedim are 11-12% of the population now, but the incoming 1st grade class is 33% Charedi. So you can see very clearly the future of Israel. How will Israel defend itself? We already know that there are successful programs in the military that are helping Charedim serve while also maintaining their full identity. I was recently at a fundraiser put on by the Orthodox community for Nachal Charedi. They brought a representative for Nachal Charedi, a Charedi Jew from Brooklyn who made aliyah to Israel as a lone soldier who is now an officer in the IDF. He’s very proud of the way his unit is conducting itself religiously, and integrating challenges. Nachal Charedi has just under 1000 draftees a year; there are 6000 alumni already, who are still proudly Charedi. They also
now have easier entrance into the work market in Israel. Of the 850,000 Charedim, 60% are under the poverty level. We know that this is not sustainable for them or for the State of Israel. Now the question is, what do you do about it? I think the wrong way is to politically raise flags against each other. The right way is to quietly collaborate, working together to find solutions that work for the Charedi community and for the future of the State of Israel. There are Charedim in the air force, in a program called Shachar, which enables them to come in under terms that they’re comfortable with. They receive vocational training which gives them opportunities to work after the military. We hosted Adina Bar Shalom here a few weeks ago, an amazing woman, the daughter of the late Rav Ovadia Yosef ()ז״ל. She runs the vocational Charedi College for thousands of Charedi men and women who come to her institute to gain proficiency professionally. It’s all done under the supervision and support of Charedi leaders. That is a tremendous model. There’s no reason why the community in Israel should be different from the community here. In the US, people who want to be seminary students are seminary students, those who want to work are able to work, and there are structures in the community that allow that to happen. We need to see the same thing in Israel. Another problem is that you have about 2000 Charedi kids each year who are not studying in yeshiva, who are not in any organized framework. They are in the street, in the margins of society, and unfortunately some of them are engaged in crime. They can’t work, under the current law. They’re stuck in limbo, and that has to be resolved. You could envision a solution where young men who are not in yeshiva should be somewhere where there is a Charedi structure, let’s say in the IDF, that enables them to gain proficiency, gain employment, and be in a military unit, while strengthening their Jewish tradition through rabbinical presence and the community around them. There are already thousands of Charedim in the military, as
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we’ve said. It doesn’t take that much more to have over 10% of the fighting units in the IDF be Charedi, reflecting their numbers in the overall population. What exactly the law will say, it’s premature to say. But these young men will not be made to do things that are not right for them, and there will be enough programs for everyone to find the right fit. Very few people understand the draft law that is being developed now. I would argue that it enables enough room for people who want to be in yeshiva to stay in yeshiva. I’m very optimistic. We know that Charedi employment is increasing, particularly among women. Charedi women’s employment is, if I’m not mistaken, in the high 60 percentile; it’s gone up phenomenally. Employment among Charedi men is still much lower but those numbers are slowly climbing. This is a work in progress. The message that I want the community to know is that there are enough good people quietly trying to make this work, which I believe is critical to Israel and critical to the Charedi community. It is unsustainable to remain at 60% poverty rates. The next generation will be much worse. This is a complex issue. This is important to this Consulate, it’s important to my team, and it’s important to me personally. We’re here to engage, to hear concerns, but also to share perceptions about what’s happening in Israel. Because sometimes those perceptions are driven by inaccurate headlines. There is a narrative of persecution that is being developed. It comes from the backdrop of politics in Israel, but it’s not constructive. There are good people who are trying to bring change both in the Charedi community and in the larger Israeli community. This will be Israel’s number one domestic challenge for the near future. Q: Would it have to be military service, or could it or be public service? Charedim in their early twenties will make a decision about whether they’re going to be in yeshiva, the army, or public service. Sar Shalom Jerbi, the head of the civil service, was here a few weeks ago. He’s an Orthodox leader from Isra-
el, and he’s deeply dedicated to the future of the Jewish people. He’s working with the Charedi leadership in Israel to develop these specific programs: part time, quarter time, full time, yeshiva, half yeshiva, full yeshiva, partial yeshiva, job training opportunities, public service. Public service can be inside the community. The Orthodox community needs more hands in hospitals, in special education, and in schools. I know that there’s pain, I know that there’s concern about cutting back on some of the welfare payments to large families. I know that there are a lot of complaints and concerns. We’re here to convey that to Jerusalem and to be aware of those feelings. But also to bring back some of these stories about what is changing in a positive way. It’s a complicated reality. Q: You mentioned welfare cutbacks. Isn’t that a drastic way to force a solution? There have been changes in Israel regarding welfare payments across the board. This is not an instrument of policy to encourage the Charedim to do more. It really is about cutting back payments to all sectors of Israeli society for budgetary reasons. Which brings us back to an earlier point: there’s only so much the Israeli economic engine can do. When you have 20% of Israel that are Arab-Israelis, who are not all fully participating in the economy, and you have over 10% – very soon to be 33% or more – of the community that are not fully participating in the economy, you get to the point where you have to start cutting back. This is a byproduct of the fact that
the Israeli economy can only do so much. And if we look down the road – it’s going to be worse. Those families who are receiving checks every month, they need something else too. We need to help the parents get jobs. We have to help the kids be better educated. That’s an issue too: how do you introduce secular programs in religious schools? Well, the fact is it’s done in America. Yeshivas here teach science, math, and English. We should have the same thing in Israel, done in sensitive, collaborative ways that work with the community, rather than being imposed upon them. There are many challenges here. It’s part of a changing Israel, but hopefully the end result will be a change for the good. Q: Tell us about the function of the West Coast Consulate. We cover seven states: Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Hawaii and Wyoming. In all seven states you have Jewish communities, Christian communities, Latino communities, African American communities, academic communities, business communities, political communities, and cultural communities. We are tasked with reaching out to all of them. We bring Israel to them, just as we’re doing here by talking about our community. We even have a program with the Native American population. They need agriculture, resources, and infrastructure, and Israel is providing that to them. The opportunities for collaboration are endless. Q: How can the community become
involved? The community can understand that Israel isn’t just what you read in the headlines. Israel is a great place. It’s highly diverse and open to everyone. It’s the best it’s ever been. What we’re asking the community to do is to become more mindful of what the opportunities are. Visit Israel. Visit your family and understand what the issues are and help fix those issues, even from here. Since the Holocaust, we’ve been engaged in reestablishing ourselves as a community and as a people. Now that we’re there, we need to start looking outward. How do we advocate for the Jewish people? How we do make sure that Jews are safe in Israel and around the world? How do we bring the story of the Jewish People, of Israel, to America? It’s not enough to be a pro-Israel Jew today. We need more pro-Israel forces in America beyond the Jewish community. And we can all do that together. Q: Can you give us a practical example? Last year I spoke at Young Israel of Century City. One of the things I conveyed was that we need to help Latino pastors come to Israel. They did a fundraiser, and they are funding Latino pastors as part of Christians United for Israel. It’s a great story. Every Jewish community should be doing something. Together we can show the light of Judaism.
By Roger Marks, LUTCF, Certified Enrolling Agent for Covered California
By Ilana Muhlstein
As the deadline for enrollment for health insurance drew near, Californians made a dash to apply for Health Plans under the New Affordable Health Care Act in California causing the state of California website, “Covered California” to crash twice. This rush to enrollment mirrored the nation’s experience. Over two million Americans rushed to beat the deadline nationwide visiting the national “Healthcare.gov” website to find a policy. In order to make it easier for Americans to qualify for plans and meet the enrollment deadlines, President Obama again extended the deadline another 24 hours so that Americans could meet the January 1st effective date. If an individual thinks they qualify for a subsidy for their health insurance based on their income, they must enroll in the Covered California website: coveredca.com. There are ‘navigators’ to advise you on the plans offered, or they will recommend a certified agent in your area to advise you and process your application. While not every choice for health insurance is available through Covered California, the only way to qualify for a federal subsidy to reduce the cost of your insurance is by applying through the government site. Long Waits on Hold In the week preceding the enrollment deadline the waiting times for callers to Covered California exceeded two hours. Website breakdowns and software issues lead the public to search for independent agents to advise them about the plans. Unfortunately, the agents themselves were also subject to the same delays. Many agents simply used ‘paper applications’ to get their coverage in under the dead line. Even President Obama, who had his staff apply for him found that he was forced to have an application completed by hand, on paper. Private versus Public Many were confused about whether they qualified for a subsidy and other cash benefits. The website does not publish the income guidelines and the only way one finds out if they will receive assistance to lower their premiums is to use the ‘shop and copare’ tool on the Covered California website. In general, the minimum income requirement to be
insured in the Affordable Care Act designed plans for an individual is to have an income $15,500 or greater. If one’s income falls under this threshold they are immediately offered coverage under the federal Medicaid program. In California, this program is Med-i-Cal. The plans are designed differently, there are fewer choices for coverage, but there is no premium charged for coverage. Privacy Concerns When an application is processed with Covered California or with the national site (Healthcare.gov) an individual gives permission to have their tax return examined by the plan administrators. The IRS is then contacted directly and that applicant’s tax return is examined. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security is sent the information to determine residency status and eligibility for coverage. Because of the large numbers of people applying for coverage all at the same time, the state is taking at least 2 weeks to respond to applicants with an acceptance letter. Many people decide to forgo the Covered California website to avoid the scrutiny and possible theft of personal information and apply directly to the insurance companies. What to do? In order to navigate your health care options, one should both try to look at the coverage for themselves and ask insurance advisors for their input. Many are finding coverage in California and the state has been the most successful in enrolling people in the new programs. If you do not mind being on hold, call the program itself and ask the personnel to advise you. Then you will find out the real cost to you and your family along with discovering how the new plan options work. Ask your doctor or medical professionals what plans they prefer. This will empower you to find the best plan for your needs. Roger Marks is an insurance professional and has been specializing in Health Insurance Underwriting for 25 years. He works in Valley Village. To ask Roger a questio you may email him at email@example.com or call his office at 818-985-PLAN
Bal tashchit, the commandment of not wasting or destroying, has been guilting Orthodox Jews into overeating for centuries. Many of my Orthodox Jewish clients couldn’t fathom the idea of leaving food on their plates, because of course, how could they violate the mitzvah of bal tashchit? To make sense of this, I decided to study the topic a bit deeper. Bal tashchit originated in Deuteronomy 20:19-20 where it says that we are forbidden from destroying fruit trees in times of war. Rabbi Yishmael logically infers that if the Torah warns us not to destroy fruit trees, then we should be even more diligent about not destroying the fruit itself. Later Rabbis interpreted and expanded this point to a prohibition against wasting all foods. However, in our all-consuming desire to follow this mitzvah, we’ve neglected another important mitzvah, that of “Viachalta Visavata- you should eat and be satisfied.” Notice it did not mention that we needed to eat until we feel painfully full. Furthermore, Rabbi Moshe Aaron Poleyeff says that overeating is actually a far worse infringement of Bal Tashchit for not only wasting food but for also, harming oneself. There are many ways in which we can fulfill the mitzvah of Bal Tashchit while simultaneously improving ourselves and our waistlines. It is best to think of our hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 (ie. 1 being Yom Kippur afternoon and 10 being the last day of a three-day yuntif). We should really be eating until we are at a 7 to 8 on the hunger scale because that is the true definition
JANUARY 23, 2014
Bal Tashchit and a Slimming Waistline
THE JEWISH HOME
Californians Make Last Minute Dash to Sign Up for Health Insurance
of “Visavata.” Once you feel like you are approaching that point, it would be ideal to stop eating right then and wrap up your food to be eaten the next day. Also, many times I see people eat a few bites of a fruit, such as an apple or pear, and then throw it out. Simply dipping the bitten fruit in a little lemon juice can prevent the browning process and be a perfect snack or dessert later in the day. Another place where I’ve noticed a lot of unnecessary food wasting in our community is with challah. As a community, we need to be more responsible and only make and buy as much challah as we think we will need for a given Shabbos. If you make your own challah, it is a good idea to make plenty of little rolls and freeze them so you can be yotzei the mitzvah of challah each Shabbos without needing to serve so much excess bread every weekend. Another great tip is to start eating off of smaller plates. We eat with our eyes, and one portion of food looks like a lot more on a smaller plate than on a bigger one. This is a great tip for eating smaller portions and a wonderful tip for preventing wasting food. The idea of Bal Tashchit expands beyond the table, and has been interpreted widely as a quintessential ethical Jewish imperative – to preserve our environment and to preserve that which can be used by another human being. Wasting money, clothing, energy, and water are all included in this idea. The Talmud states that even unnecessarily burning oil and fuel is an offense of Bal Tashchit (Shabbat 67b). Shabbos gives us the perfect opportunity to put this idea into practice. I am amazed how far people in the community will walk for a good shiur, minyan or chulent, yet during the week, I’ve seen people drive from Pat’s to YICC! We need to be more realistic about this mitzvah and stop fooling ourselves into thinking we are keeping with Bal Tashchit because we proudly ate all of the brisket on the plate. Bal Tashchit is about eating enough to be satisfied, utilizing our leftovers in a more efficient manner, buying only as much as we need, walking rather than driving when able, and living within our means. And remember, being fit and healthy allows you to live life to the fullest so you aren’t wasting a single second ;)
T h e J e wHOME i s h h o mJANUARY e n m ay23, 2 42014 , 2012 THE JEWISH
You Gotta be
jimbo and mary ann saved up for years (their combined wawa salaries) to take their kids on a fishing trip. they rent all the equipment – the reels, the rods, the wading suits, the rowboat, the car, and even a cabin in the woods. they spared no expense. the first day they go fishing, but they don’t catch anything. the same thing happens on the second and third day. finally, on the last day of their vacation, jimbo catches a fish. as they’re driving home, they’re really depressed. jimbo says to mary ann, “do you realize that this one lousy fish we caught cost us fifteen hundred bucks?” mary ann says in astonishment, “wow! then it’s a good thing we didn’t catch any more!”
the Schwartz family is on vacation and trying to find the hotel that they booked. they stop and ask someone for directions and he says that the hotel is one mile south of their location. this story takes place in new jersey where it is practically impossible to turn around with all those concrete barriers separating the opposite lanes of traffic. the kids are hungry and tired and want to get to the hotel. mr. Schwartz tells his kids that he is a magician (because he’s got to entertain them before they reach the breaking point). he says to them, “ok kids, i will point this car north, drive it for one mile, and without turning around we will end up at our hotel. how does he do it?
G OT Fu n n y?
Comm Let the ission er dec
Answer on next page
Send your s tuff
o fivetow centerfold@ nsjewis hhome. com
What these vacation terms really mean:
old world charm = Shared bathrooms
no extra fees = no extras. Period.
tropical = rainy
live music= Some lonely local convinced the hotel to let him
majestic setting = a long way from town options galore = nothing is included in the itinerary Secluded hideaway = impossible to find or get to
Pre-registered rooms = already occupied
explore on your own = Pay for it yourself
knowledgeable trip hosts = they know how to point at a star on a map and say, “you are here.”
play bad guitar in the lobby on tuesday evenings between 7:00 and 8:30
Parking available= we will valet your car for a small fee of $47 a day
game room on premises = there is an old bacteria-carrying arcade game in a dusty hole in the wall…it will keep your kids entertained for hours
family atmosphere = if we are short on towels, be prepared to share
#1 hotel for nascar fans = “y’aall sayyid yaall want toofffpaste? whuut’s thayat?”
33 THE TJEWISH HOME JANUARY 23, 2014 h e J e w i s h h o m e n m ay 2 4 , 2012
Vacation triVia 1. How did the Disney park called Epcot get its name? a. it is the latin word for “universal” b. it is an acronym for “eat, Play, create, observe and transform” c. it was the name of walt disney’s childhood dog d. it is an acronym for “experimental Prototype community of tomorrow” 2. How many Smithsonian museums and galleries are there in Washington, D.C.? a. 10 b. 13 c. 17 d. 19 3. Which country attracts the most yearly tourists? a. france b. u.S. c. italy d. japan 4. According to FlightStats, which of the following four airlines has the worst on-time percentage? a. delta b. jetblue c. Southwest d. united e. u.S airways
5. Which national park gets the most yearly visitors? a. great Smoky mountains b. grand canyon national Park c. yosemite national Park d. yellowstone national Park 6. Which hotel chain has the largest presence in the U.S.? a. marriott b. hilton c. wyndham d. Starwood 7. Which state has the most ski areas in the U.S.? a. vermont b. utah c. colorado d. wyoming e. new york
Answers: 1. d 2. c 3. a 4. b- would you believe it? we all love jetblue, but their on-time percentage in 2013 was 71.47%; delta was 85.16%; u.S airways was 81.65%; Southwest was 78.50%; united was 77.13%. forget punctuality—jetblue has better snacks than all of them! 5. a- great Smoky mountains Park, located in tennessee and north carolina, draws more than nine million visitors a year, twice the number of any other national park. 6. b- hilton has 3,382 hotels and 506,455 rooms in the u.S. (don’t ask me how many bars of disgusting smelling soap that is.) 7. e- new york’s 52 ski areas are the most in the u.S.
Wisdom key: 6-7 correct: you really know a lot about vacations, you must be tom bodett! thanks for leaving the lights on for me. 3-5 correct: you know a little about vacation. read the tjh vacation guide to brush up. 0-2 correct: you really are off the mark when it comes to vacation. it seems like you must have sustained some vacation trauma along the way. what happened, were you once arrested for stealing shampoo from the chambermaid’s cart or something like that?
A Letter to the C enterfold Comm issi
To whom it may co ncern, In last week’s issue , the centerfold incl uded a section on sports trivia. I found question nu mber two to be bo insulting and flat th out wrong. The qu estion reads, “Because we certainly have some hillbill ies in our audience who won the 2013 : Daytona 500?” Th e answer given is b- Trevor Bayne. First of all that an swer in wrong! Th winner of the 2013 e Daytona 500 was Jimmie Johnson. Trevor Bayne won the 2012 Daytona 500, get your facts straight. Secondly , the question calls ra ce fans hillbillies. Excuse me, but I do n’t see any other ste reotypical names being used for fans of other sports. Is a weak attempt at humor an excuse to offend people? I think not. Perhap we should correct s these issues before running another question about raci ng. Thank you for your time, An insulted NASC AR fan
The Centerfold C ommissioner Res
ponds: Point well taken on the trivia. As to your second point, see this wee k’s joke. Were you on that trip as well? Answer to riddle: he drives his car in reverse.
THE 2014 T h eJEWISH J e w i sHOME h h o m e JANUARY n m ay 2 423, , 2012
Compiled by Nate Davis
“Say What?” My husband, Bill Clinton and I have become great friends. Bill visits us every summer. We don’t agree politically, but we don’t talk politics...Before you’re critical of someone, you should remember that they did not have the advantages you had as a child — a loving mother and father. Bill’s father wasn’t around, and I think that he thinks of George a little bit is like the father he didn’t have. He’s [Bill] very loving to him. I love Bill Clinton. Maybe not his politics, but I love Bill Clinton. - barbara bush in a recent interview
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie continues to push his agenda. Today he proposed a longer school day for children in his state. In fairness, kids in New Jersey probably need a longer day since their buses spend three hours stuck on a bridge. - jimmy fallon
The Labor Department reported that last month 347,000 people quit looking for work. And in New Jersey, 50,000 people quit driving to work. - jay leno I threw them out and when he went to the combine, he found a Wal-Mart. They were $8 ... $8! I’ve thrown them away many times. I’ve asked him, “Please. Pleats are gone, wear the flat front”... The thing is he just doesn’t care. I’ve told him so many times that his outfit reflects on me. - San francisco coach jim harbaugh’s wife, who called into a San francisco radio station after they blamed her for his nerdy sideline outfit, which consists of a black sweatshirt tucked into beige pleated khakis
This week country singer Trace Adkins was on a country music-themed cruise when he got into a fight with a Trace Adkins impersonator. It was a nasty brawl. In fact, it took five Elvises to pull them apart. - jimmy fallon
Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme Conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon [etc.]? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are. - governor cuomo in a recent radio interview Now I want to tell you something – I was born and raised in New York. I want you to know that and I can’t wait to get out of here. I really can’t. I don’t want to pay their 10-percent state tax anymore. I live in the second-highest property taxed county in the entire country in Nassau County. I can’t wait to sell my house to somebody who wants it. I can’t wait to pay no state income tax down in Florida or Texas. I haven’t decided yet, but I’m leaning to Florida because I like the water and I like to fish. Governor Cuomo, I’m going to leave and I’m taking all of my money with me – every single solitary penny…And by the way governor, because I work here – there’s a whole bunch of people that work for me and benefit because I do two shows. And I guess maybe some of them will be out of work, governor. I’m sure you’ll take care of them. - tv and radio host Sean hannity responding to governor cuomo’s comments
Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday party supposedly went all the way until 2 a.m. on Saturday. Which explains why on Sunday, Barack expanded healthcare to include Gatorade and Tylenol. – jimmy fallon
[Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates] denigrates everybody, everyone, Secretary Clinton, the president, [Vice President] Joe Biden, me. I’m surprised he would in effect denigrate everybody he came in contact with in an effort to make a buck. - Senate majority leader harry reid (d-nev.) discussing gates’ new book with the aP It’s common practice on the Hill to vote on bills you haven’t read, and it’s perfectly clear Senator Reid has not read the book. - former defense Secretary robert gates responding to Senator reid’s criticism
Last Friday President Obama finally addressed the issues with the NSA. It was a very difficult needle to thread: How to acknowledge the American people’s very real concerns about privacy, while not upsetting people who—apparently—know everything about us. How to make substantial policy changes, while also not really doing that. - john Stewart
As for your Olympics, something that you really want, we’ve prepared a present for you…We will give you a present for the innocent Muslim blood being spilled all around the world… for the tourists who come there will be a present, too. - from a video released by a islamic militant group in russia’s north caucasus
I believe that my problem can be solved by close cooperation and agreement between the American government and the government of this country. - kenneth bae, the longestserving american prisoner in north korea, during a press conference while under the watchful eye of north korean soldiers
Governor Christie said he wants to do all he can to keep people from leaving New Jersey. That’s why he closed the bridge. He was trying to do some good. - jay leno I think the NRA is a disaster area. I shouldn’t say this, but I’ll tell it to you, I’m going to make a movie…and we’re going to take this head-on. And they’re going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them. The audiences will think: “Gun stocks — I don’t want to be involved in that stuff. It’s going to be like crash and burn.” - harvey weinstein, who produced countless graphically violent movies, discussing his new anti-gun movie
A new report found that more than half of the people who have signed up for Obamacare are older than 45. Which is no big deal until you find out they were 25 when they first tried to log onto the website. - jimmy fallon The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. - President obama when asked by david remnick of The New Yorker about an al Qaeda resurgence taking place in the middle east and africa
Yeah. I’m readier, if that’s a word. - new jersey governor chris christie, when asked by matt bei of yahoo! news if he is now ready to be president I don’t think anybody knows what it feels like to have the kind of attention that I’ve had in the last nine days until you go through it. It’s awful. Listen, it’s awful. I can explain to you as vividly as you like, but you won’t get it. I’m trying to get my arms around an awful situation. - ibid., discussing what the past two weeks have been like, since the bridge-gate scandal
Today New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered his State of the State address: he said the state is improving, but admitted that it’s still New Jersey. - jay leno
The rollout of the Affordable Care Act continues to be terrible. Now comes news that not enough young, healthy Americans are signing up. Did they expect young people to buy insurance the same time that Play Station 4 comes out? - jimmy kimmel
The facts are on the side of the optimists. It’s actually dangerous that people are focusing on the bad news and not seeing the progress we’ve made. It means they don’t look at the best practices, it makes them less generous. - bill gates on bloomberg television talking about his efforts to eradicate global poverty
Oprah’s movie “The Butler” was not nominated for the best picture Oscar. Oprah is said to be very disappointed but she’s being comforted by her 700 real butlers. - conan o’brien
They say that most airline seats on planes today are meant for 170-pound passengers. The last time the average American weighed 170 pounds, the Wright Brothers were flying the plane. - jay leno
THET hJEWISH e J e w iHOME s h h o m JANUARY e n m ay 23, 2 4 ,2014 2012
Recently, The Post told the story of PS 106 in Far Rockaway, Queens, where students had no math, reading or writing books for the new Common Core curriculum, no gym or art, and they spent much of their time watching movies … My proposal — contained in a successful amendment to a recent House bill — would allow those students to take … federal money with them to the public or charter school of their choice. Critics of this idea argue that failing schools simply need more money … Just over 50 years ago, Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and dreamed of an end to segregation… Education opportunity is justice for those children trapped in failing schools. - house majority leader eric cantor in a New York Post op-ed
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JANUARY 23, 2014
Global Attack in Kabul Leaves 21 Dead
A Taliban suicide attack on a restaurant in Kabul on Friday left behind a wake of blood and carnage. 21 people were killed—including 13 foreigners. Customers desperately hid under tables as one attacker detonated his suicide vest and two others stormed inside and opened fire. Among the dead were three Americans, two British citizens, two Canadians, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) head of mission, and the restaurant’s Lebanese owner, who was killed as he tried to fire back at the attackers. A female Danish member of the European police mission in Afghanistan and a Russian UN political officer also died in the Friday evening massacre, which was the deadliest attack on foreign civilians since the Taliban were ousted in 2001. Four U.N. workers were murdered as well. “We heard a big bang and everywhere was dark,” Atiqullah, 27, an assistant chef of Taverna, recalled as he attended a funeral for three of the restaurant’s guards. “We used a back door to go to the second floor. Our manager went downstairs. We heard some gunshots and later found out that he had been shot dead. There was blood everywhere, on tables, on chairs. Apparently, the attackers had shot people from a very close range.” The Taverna has been a regular dining spot for foreign diplomats, aid workers and Afghan officials and businessmen for several years, and was busy with customers on Friday, the weekly holiday in Afghanistan. Like many restaurants in Kabul, it ran strict security checks, with diners patted down by armed guards and passing through at least two steel doors before gaining entry. The assault was claimed by Taliban militants fighting against the Afghan government and NATO forces. A Taliban spokesman said the attack was to avenge a US airstrike in Parwan province on Tuesday night that Karzai said killed seven children and one woman. “These invading forces launched a brutal bombardment on civilians... and they have martyred and wounded 30 civilians. This was a revenge attack and we did it well, and we will con-
tinue to do so,” Zabihullah Mujahid said. All three attackers died in the assault.
some things you may not have known about the Russian leader.
Queen Hands Over Duties to Prince Charles As she approaches her 88th birthday in April, Queen Elizabeth II has announced that she is handing over duties to her son, Prince Charles, 65, in what experts are calling a gentle succession. In a royal first, the prince will be taking on more head of state-style responsibilities. The first sign of the partial power transfer will be the merging this week of the queen and Charles’s press offices. Courtiers are calling the move “wise” and “just plain common sense.” Princes William and Harry will also play their part in the new set-up, with both assuming far more responsibility since they relinquished their military roles. One aide pointed out, “This is about passing the baton to the next generation.”
“The Prince of Wales’s diary is chockfull. Even he realizes with the best will in the world he can’t go on like that. This is not going to be a sudden shift. It is a gradual process which will be borne out over the next few years. It’s a gentle succession. It’s important to note that the Queen is still working very hard. Every day you see her with the red box of Government papers and giving audiences. Charles will be doing less of his campaigning and the things he likes to do and more of the head of state role.” Her Majesty is already the oldest ever British monarch and will soon overtake Queen Victoria’s longest-serving record of 63 years. Even after these changes, one thing that will not change is her Majesty’s weekly briefings with the prime minister. It will still remain strictly private. No notes are taken and it will only be open to the queen and the prime minister.
Who Really is Vladimir Putin? If you’re traveling to Russia for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi, you may want to know more about the country’s leader. Vladimir Putin has grabbed headlines with his hardline rhetoric and his harsh sentencing against his opposition. So who really is Mr. Putin? Here are
Putin is a former KGB spook. From 1985-1990, he was stationed in East Germany and was tasked with recruiting other agents. In the late 1990’s, he began to work in the Kremlin under then President Boris Yeltsin. When he was appointed the Director of the Federal Security Service (the main successor of the KGB) in 1998, the Moscow Times described Putin as “little-known by loyal functionary from the Kremlin administration.” Putin became president on December 31, 1999, when he became acting president upon Yeltsin’s resignation. He was officially elected several months later in March 2000 and ruled until May 2008. Even after stepping down as president because of term limits, Putin remained in power as prime minister. He was then reelected president in 2012. Russia almost has forgotten what it means to not have Putin in power. Besides for the powerful positions he has been in, Putin has a black belt in judo and says he was a “bully” when he was a child. But don’t let that fool you. The man is smart. He studied law at Leningrad State University and obtained a PhD in economics from the same institution. In the 1990s he also worked as assistant rector of the university for a time. But he also has time for recreation. Putin told Olympic volunteers on Friday that he wanted to attend figure skating, ice hockey, alpine skiing and biathlon competitions during the 2014 Olympic games, although noted that whether he’s able to or not will depend on his work schedule.
the months after Rouhani assumed office, prompting criticism from human rights activists who criticized him for not living up to his moderate claims. “The spike in the number of executions carried out so far this month in Iran is alarming,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said on Thursday in a statement. “The Iranian authorities’ attempts to change their international image are meaningless if at the same time executions continue to increase.” Iran has a penchant for hanging criminals publicly from a crane, where observers can gather to watch the execution. The country has officially admitted to killing 21 people since the start of 2014, according to Amnesty, which recorded an additional 19 executions that were not officially reported. “In Iran, drug-related offences are tried in Revolutionary Courts which routinely fall far short of international fair trial standards,” said Amnesty’s Sahraoui. “The reality in Iran is that people are being ruthlessly sentenced to death after unfair trials, and this is unacceptable.” Eleven of the 19 executions on Tuesday secretly took place inside Iran’s Rajai Shahr prison of Karaj, located just outside of Tehran, Iran Human Rights reported. Those killed were accused of murder. Another seven, the majority of them charged with drug offenses, were hanged in various locations across the country. One man was hanged publicly in the town of Saveh, also located outside of Tehran.
Japanese Soldier Who Hid for 3 Decades Dies Refusing to believe that World War II was over until his commander returned to tell him to surrender, a Japanese soldier hid in the jungle of the Philippines for three decades. He died in Tokyo on Thursday at the age of 91.
Iran’s Execution Rampage In the past two weeks, Iran has been on a rampage—hanging 40 people, including 19 people on Tuesday. One of those executed on Tuesday was hanged in a public hanging. Forty executions have taken place since the beginning of January, including 33 in just the past week, according to human rights group Amnesty International. Iran, which human rights activists say is one of the world’s leaders in the abuse of prisoners, hit an all-time execution peak in 2013 when it killed 529 citizens. The rate of executions has spiked under the leadership of President Hassan Rouhani despite his claims to be a “moderate” reformer. More than 300 people were killed in
Hiroo Onoda waged a guerilla campaign in Lubang Island near Luzon until he was finally persuaded in 1974 that peace had been brokered, ignoring leaflet drops and successive attempts to convince him the Imperial Army had been defeated. He was the last of several dozen so-called holdouts scattered around Asia, men who symbolized the astonishingly dogged perseverance of those called upon to fight for
A Tale of Two Cities According to a new report, the world’s wealth is centered among 85 very lucky individuals. These affluent citizens have as much money as that owned by half of the world’s population—3.5 billion of the globe’s poorest people.
U.N. Withdraws Invite from Iran After worldwide controversy, U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon withdrew a previous invite given to Iran to attend peace talks on Syria. Syrian opposition threatened to boycott the conference if Iran, a main sponsor of Assad’s regime, would take part.
In a report titled “Working for the Few” released on Monday, the global aid and development organization Oxfam detailed the extent of global economic inequality created by the rapidly increasing wealth of the richest, warning of the major risks it poses to “human progress.” Some of the report’s findings are interesting: 210 people have become billionaires in the past year, joining a select group of 1,426 individuals with a combined net worth of $5.4 trillion. Additionally, the wealth of the richest one percent of people
in the world now amounts to $110 trillion, or 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population. “Instead of moving forward together, people are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown,” the report points out. Oxfam said that based on its polls conducted across the world, it is believed that there are many laws and regulations designed to benefit the rich. “A survey in six countries [Spain, Brazil, India, South Africa, the UK and the U.S.] showed that a majority of people believe that laws are skewed in favor of the rich,” the report said. India is a prime example where the number of billionaires increased from less than 6 to 61 in the past decade, concentrating approximately $250 billion among a few dozen people in a country of 1.2 billion. “What is striking is the share of the country’s wealth held by this elite minority, which has skyrocketed from 1.8 percent in 2003 to 26 percent in 2008,” the report said. India’s billionaires acquired their wealth in ‘rent thick’ sectors – industries where profits are dependent on access to scarce resources – “made available exclusively through government permissions and therefore susceptible to corruption by powerful actors, as opposed to creation of wealth.”
Iran Halts Nuclear Activity On Monday, Iran halted most of its sensitive nuclear activity under a preliminary deal with world powers. This action won them some relief from economic sanctions. The United States and European Union both announced they were suspending some trade restrictions against the OPEC oil producer after the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog confirmed that Iran had met its end of the November 24 agreement. Tehran is expecting to be able to retrieve $4.2 billion in oil revenues frozen overseas and to resume trade in petrochemicals, gold and other precious metals.
The mutual concessions are scheduled to last six months, during which time six powers – the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – aim to negotiate a final accord defining the scope of Iran’s nuclear activity. Western governments want to lay to
rest their concerns that Iran could produce an atomic weapon and to end decades of hostility with Tehran that goes back to the Islamic revolution of 1979. Iran wants an end to painful U.S. and EU trade and financial sanctions that have severely damaged its economy. This has marked the first time in a decade that Tehran has limited its nuclear operations. “This is an important first step, but more work will be needed to fully address the international community’s concerns regarding the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program,” the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said. “The iceberg of sanctions against Iran is melting,” the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, told Iranian state television. Many are heralding the news as the start to a more stable Middle East. But Israel has warned that this is just a part of a “historic mistake” that will allow Tehran to build a bomb in secret.
Afghan President Blames U.S. for Civilian Causalities On Wednesday, President Hamid Karzai accused the United States of killing seven children and a woman in an airstrike in central Afghanistan. This accusation only adds fuel to the fire in a relationship that is less than positive between the two official allies.
“As a result of bombardment by American forces last night... in Siahgird district of Parwan province, one woman and seven children were martyred and one civilian injured,” a statement from Karzai’s office said. “The Afghan government has been asking for a complete end to operations in Afghan villages for years, but American forces acting against all mutual agreements... have once again bombarded a residential area and killed civilians.” Throughout the 13-year U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan, civilian casualities has been the most sensitive issue. President Barack Obama on Monday insisted he had faith in his Afghan war strategy after former defense secretary Robert Gates claimed the president had soured on his 2009 decision to send in 30,000 extra troops.
JANUARY 23, 2014
Interestingly, it took months for diplomats to convince Iran to attend the conference. Initially Tehran said it would support a transitional administration to take over power in Syria—a conclusion of the U.N. conference in 2012, also known as Geneva-1. But on Monday, Iran made it clear that it was no longer supporting that conclusion. “The secretary-general is deeply disappointed by Iranian public statements today that are not at all consistent with that stated commitment,” Ban’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, told reporters at a briefing. “He continues to urge Iran to join the global consensus behind the Geneva Communique. Given that it has chosen to remain outside that basic understanding, he has decided that the one-day Montreux gathering will proceed without Iran’s participation.” What will come out of the conference is not known, but many are not optimistic. Assad’s position on the battlefield and in diplomatic circles has improved. In a recent interview, he declared that he would likely run for reelection next year. “I see no reason why I shouldn’t stand,” Assad said. “If there is public desire and a public opinion in favor of my candidacy, I will not hesitate for a second to run for election.” Western leaders who have been calling for Assad to leave power for three years have curbed their support for his opponents over the past year because of the rise of Islamists linked to al Qaeda in the rebel ranks. Additionally, Assad’s opponents do not have the military strength to win a battle on the ground.
THE JEWISH HOME
their emperor. Trained as an information officer and guerrilla tactics coach, Onoda was dispatched to Lubang in 1944 and ordered never to surrender, never to resort to suicidal attacks and to hold firm until reinforcements arrived. He and three other soldiers continued to obey that order long after Japan’s 1945 defeat. Their existence became widely known in 1950, when one of them emerged and returned to Japan. The others continued to survey military facilities in the area, attacking local residents and occasionally fighting with Philippine forces, although one of them died soon afterwards. Despite their allegiance to Japan’s victory, Tokyo declared them dead after nine years of fruitless search. In 1972, Onoda and the other surviving soldier got involved in a shoot-out with Philippine troops. His comrade died, but Onoda managed to escape. It was not until 1974, when his old commanding officer visited him in his jungle hideout to rescind the original order, that Onoda’s war eventually ended. Asked at a press conference in Japan after his return what he had been thinking about for the last 30 years, he told reporters: “Carrying out my orders.” Onoda had difficultly adapting to the new reality of Japan, and, in 1975, emigrated to Brazil to start a cattle ranch, although he continued to travel back and forth. In 1984, still very much a celebrity, he established a youth camp, where he taught young Japanese some of the survival techniques he had used during his 30 years in hiding, when he lived on wild cows and bananas. Until recently, Onoda had been active in speaking engagements across Japan and in 2013 appeared on national broadcaster NHK. “I lived through an era called a war. What people say varies from era to era,” he said last May. “I think we should not be swayed by the climate of the time, but think calmly,” he said.
THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 23, 2014
Explosives Discovered in Palestinian Embassy in Prague On January 1, the Palestinian ambassador to Czech Republic, Jamal al-Jamal, was suspiciously killed after opening a safe that supposedly hadn’t been touched for 30 years. In a search following the incident, police discovered 12 illegal weapons. On Thursday, police reported that investigators discovered explosives at the Palestinian embassy complex in Prague. Spokesman Tomas Hulan confirmed the discovery, saying the items were sent for testing at Prague’s Institute of Criminology. Although the ambassador’s death is being investigated as a case of negligence, these discoveries are leading many to speculate that negligence may not have been the actual cause of Jamal’s death.
The Palestinians have officially apologized for the incidents after the Czech Foreign Ministry demanded an explanation, accusing the Palestinians of breaching international obligations. The ministry said on Thursday it would not immediately comment on the explosive. Palestinian authorities claim the weapons were given to them as gifts by the officials of the former Communist Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia was part of the Soviet bloc that had friendly relations with the Palestinian Liberation Organization. They insisted that the weapons were never used and always kept in a safe. Even so, police experts are attempting to find out if the weapons were used for any criminal activity in the past; testing can take many weeks.
Taliban Says American Captive is Alive and Well American soldier Bowe Bergdahl is still imprisoned in Afghanistan. On Thursday, members of the Afghan Taliban confirmed that he is still alive and being held captive. Bergdahl disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in 2009. He was discovered missing when he did not show up for morning roll call on June 30. His mysterious disappearance led many to label him a deserter but later on it was learned that that wasn’t the case.
“He is our special guest, and we consider him a precious bird, that’s why our men are taking care of him. We have been arranging food of his choice, but sometimes he stops eating and drinking and his hunger strike continues for a few days,” said a senior member of the Afghan Taliban, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. A few weeks ago, the United States obtained a “proof of life” video of the kidnapped soldier. In the video, Bergdahl appears frail and shaky. Bergdahl makes reference the recent death of South African leader Nelson Mandela; by referencing this current event, Bergdahl is showing viewers that he is still alive.
sion of the 387-page anti-Semitic manifesto on the “Jewish peril” and the Nazi ideology has become a bestseller on Amazon internationally. This is alarming to many who view this as a sign that anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide. Fox News called it “a bona fide online sensation.” The book recently was at the very top of Amazon’s Propaganda & Political Psychology section for just $.99. Many other e-book sellers show high sales of digital versions of the book including iTunes and Kindle.
According to the Taliban, senior commander Maulvi Sangeen of the Haqqani terror network kidnapped Bergdahl from Paktika province in southern Afghanistan, near Pakistan’s troubled South Waziristan, in June 2009. Sangeen died in a U. S. drone attack last year in Pakistan’s North Waziristan. Supposedly two years ago, when the Taliban opened their office in Qatar for peace talks with the U.S., there were prospects of an exchange of prisoners. The Haqqani network handed Bergdahl over to the Afghan Taliban because they wanted to exchange him for their top five commanders being held at Guantanamo Bay. “U.S. officials had promised us that first they would exchange prisoners and then start peace talks. But it didn’t take place. And finally when there was no hope of prisoners’ swap, the soldier was returned to the Haqqani network,” the Taliban commander said. In response to the “proof of life” video, Bergdahl’s family said, “Naturally, this is very important to us and our resolve to continue our efforts to bring Bowe home as soon as possible. As we have done so many times over the past 4-and-a-half years, we request his captors to release him safely so that our only son can be reunited with his mother and father. Bowe, if you see this, continue to remain strong through patience. Your endurance will carry you to the finish line. Breathe!”
Germany inherited the copyright ownership to the book in 1945 and will maintain national exclusivity until 2015. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, thinks online sellers should only sell edited versions of the book. “We know that the facts of life are that you cannot censor any idea from the Internet, it’s simply impossible,” Cooper told FoxNews.com. “But an annotated version is important for someone who doesn’t know the context of the time and so that they’re not reading pure genocidal hate.” “It adds fuel to the fire of hatred. It’s shorthand for Jew hatred, and that makes it an automatic seller,” Rabbi Cooper added. In response to the surge in digital downloads of the book, the Anti-Defamation League is offering an introduction to the English translation written by Holocaust survivor and ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. “We believe it is important for Mein Kampf to continue to be published as it does have value to historians and students of World War II and Holocaust history,” Foxman said in a statement. “There is always the concern, however, that some people who are already infected with anti-Semitism will misuse the book in an attempt to glorify Hitler or reinforce their own warped views about Jews. We think the only constructive way for the book to be published is with an introduction that explains the historical context and the impact of the thinking behind Hitler’s words, which led right up to the murderous, racist Nazi regime.”
Mein Kampf Becomes Bestseller in 2014
Mexican Police Clash with Cartels
In 1925, Hitler’s Mein Kampf was Germany’s bestseller. The book heralded the start of the Holocaust. Now, more than 85 years later, the international electronic ver-
Last week, Mexican federal forces launched an offensive to take over security in a violence-torn western state, seizing a drug cartel’s bastion and clashing with
vigilantes who refused to disarm. Much of Mexico is held in terror by drug lords and their gangs and recently, vigilante militias have attempted to wrest control from the cartels.
A convoy of 200 military and federal police forces rumbled into Apatzingan and disarmed municipal police officers in the city, which is known as a stronghold of the Knights Templar gang in Michoacan state. The turmoil in Michoacan has become the biggest security challenge for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s 13-month-old administration, undermining his pledge to reduce drug violence. Hours earlier, soldiers arrived in towns held by vigilantes who have battled the cartel for the past year, leading to a confrontation which the civilian militia said killed four people, including a child. The federal show of force in Michoacan’s rural region known as Tierra Caliente, or Hot Country, came a day after the government urged vigilantes to lay down their arms, saying it would take over security. After the display of government force, a spokesman for the vigilantes, Hipolito Mora, said his people would not seize more towns. He added that his forces felt more secure after the government action. But he made no mention of the vigilantes laying down arms. Until now the vigilantes have said they would not do this until drug cartel leaders were captured. In the town of Buenavista, around 100 militiamen blocked some 50 soldiers for about four hours before letting them leave on condition they stay away for at least three days. Civilians first took up arms in February 2013 to oust the Knights Templar from the region, saying local police were either colluding with gangs or were unable to deal with the violence and extortion rackets. Since then, officials have alleged that at least some civilian militias were backed by a cartel, with critics noting that they used unlawful assault rifles that gangs usually own. Analysts, however, say the government was happy to let vigilantes police the state until now, a risky tactic that could have replicated Colombia’s experience with ultra-violent paramilitary militias. “We can’t combat illegality with illegality,” Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam told Televisa television. The purpose of the deployment, he said, “is simply to restore legal order in a place that did not have it.” Vigilante leaders said they would only disarm when authorities finally arrest the
THE JEWISH HOME JANUARY 23, 2014
THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 23, 2014
40 cartel top bosses.
Jews Suffer in 71 Countries Worldwide Violence and discrimination against religious groups by governments and rival faiths have reached new highs in all regions of the world except the Americas, according to a new Pew Research Center report.
Social hostility such as attacks on minority faiths or pressure to conform to certain norms was strong in one-third of the 198 countries and territories surveyed in 2012, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. Religious-related terrorism and sectarian violence occurred in onefifth of those countries last year, while states imposed legal limits on worship, preaching or religious wear in almost 30% of them, Pew said. The Washington-based center, which is non-partisan and takes no policy position in its reports, gave no reason for the rises noted in hostility against Christians, Muslims, Jews and an “other” category including Sikhs, Bah’ais and atheists. On the other hand, Hindus, Buddhists and folk religions saw lower levels of hostility and little change in the past six years, according to the report’s extensive data. Results for strong social hostility such as anti-Semitic attacks, Islamist assaults on churches and Buddhist agitation against Muslims were the highest seen since 2007, reaching 33% of surveyed countries in 2012 after 29% in 2011 and 20% in mid2007. Official bans, harassment or other government interference in religion rose to 29% of countries surveyed in 2012 after 28% in 2011 and 20% in mid-2007. Europe showed the largest median increase in hostility due to a rise in harassment of women because of religious dress and violent attacks on minorities such as the murder of a rabbi and three Jewish children by an Islamist radical in France. The report found the highest social hostility concerning religion in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Somalia and Israel. It gave no reasons but radical Islamists often target mainstream Muslims and Christians in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia, while India has recurring tensions between its majority Hindus and minority Muslims and Christians. Tensions in Israel arise from the Palestinian issue, disagreements between secular and religious Jews
and the growth of ultra-Orthodox sects that live apart from the majority. The five countries with the most government restrictions on religion are Egypt, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Jews suffer hostility in 71 countries, even though they make up only 0.2% of the world’s population and about 80% of them live in Israel and the United States. The report said there were probably more restrictions on religion around the world than its statistics could document but its results could be considered “a good estimate.” It classified war and terrorism as social hostility, arguing: “It is not always possible to determine the degree to which they are religiously motivated or state sponsored.” Despite the high findings in the report, North Korea, which last week’s Open Doors report described as the most dangerous country for Christians in the world, was absent from the Pew study due to a lack of data on its tightly closed society.
Israel Al-Jazeera Host Praises Israel The hosts of the Arab station Al-Jazeera are generally not pro-Israel. That’s why rare praise from host Faisal Al-Qassem came as a surprise to so many this week. While chairing a discussion between pro- and anti-Syrian regime pundits, Faisal Al-Qassem asked of the Syrian army, “Why don’t they learn from the Israeli army, which tries, through great efforts, to avoid shelling areas populated by civilians in Lebanon and Palestine [sic]? Didn’t Hezbollah take shelter in areas populated by civilians because it knows that the Israeli air force doesn’t bomb those areas? Why doesn’t the Syrian army respect premises of universities, schools, or inhabited neighborhoods?”
Al-Qassem, who is famous throughout the Arab world for his provocative style, also noted the differences between the way Israeli and western forces deal with violent demonstration, as opposed to the
Syrian security forces. “The Israeli army, if it wanted to break up a demonstration, would have used water cannons or rubber bullets, not rockets or explosive barrels as happens in Aleppo today,” he said. Qassem went on to favorably compare the French occupation of Syria (between 1920 and 1943) to the current Syrian administration as well. “All Syrians remember that the French forces, when they occupied Syria, tried to avoid – when rebels entered mosques or schools, they stopped…. If people were to be asked, ‘Who would you prefer, the current regime or the French?’ I swear they would have preferred the French.” The popular TV host shared similar sentiments on Facebook as well, posting a memo comparing the situation in Gaza to Homs, Syria, on his page. Entitled “Hey Activists: Is It Really ‘Rights’ You’re Working For?’, it noted that there are “no boycotts, no flotillas, no campus propaganda” in response to the deaths of at least 120,000 Syrians and the displacement of millions more, while in comparison Israel faces boycotts and anti-Israel campaigns on campus over its activity in Gaza – where, the image notes, the only “embargo” Israel has in place is a ban on weapons imports, and where the child obesity rate is 15%. “Imagine: Israel is jealous of the preferential treatment received by the Assad regime… Even Israel is jealous of this international complicity with Assad,” Qassem said sarcastically.
Israel to Deploy Iron Beam Israel plans to deploy a new missile shield known as the “Iron Beam” next year which would use a laser to blow up shortrange rockets and mortar bombs, a defense industry official said on Sunday. The system is designed to deal with threats that fly on too small a trajectory to be engaged efficiently by the Iron Dome.
While Iron Dome launches radar-guided interceptor rockets, Iron Beam’s laser will super-heat the warheads of shells with ranges of up to 4.5 miles. Iron Dome is complemented by Arrow II, an Israeli interceptor designed to shoot down ballistic missiles at atmospheric heights. Israel plans to integrate them with the more powerful rocket interceptors, Ar-
row III and David’s Sling, both of which are still in their testing phases. The United States has extensively underwritten the projects, seeing them as a means of reassuring its Middle East ally as instability rocks the region. The industry official, who asked not to be named, told the media that the Iron Beam would form the “fifth layer” of integrated missile defense.
Anti-Semitic Cartoon Removed Due to Controversy Amid controversy, The Economist removed a controversial cartoon which observers blasted as anti-Semitic. The cartoon depicts President Barack Obama shackled by a seal of Congress overlaid with Stars of David, trying to shake the hand of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is being held back by American flag-burning extremists. It had accompanied an article published over the weekend that described the deep rifts between the U.S. and Iran in negotiations over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. As of Monday, the cartoon had been replaced in the article page with a photo. Even so, the cartoon remained visible on the Middle East and Africa section of The Economist website until late Tuesday morning, but was then replaced there too. An editor’s note at the bottom of the article referred to the illustration by Peter Schrank: “The print edition of this story had a cartoon which inadvertently caused offense to some readers, so we have replaced it with a photograph.”
Readers were quick to criticize The Economist for the cartoon’s publication, blasting editors for not recognizing it as an anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli display. The implication, critics said, was that Jews control the U.S. Congress. With the Stars of David superimposed over the Congressional seal being blue, the connection to Israel did not go unnoticed. Honest Reporting, an NGO that monitors anti-Israel content in the media, issued a statement criticizing The Economist’s editorial staff for not picking up on the fact that the cartoon promoted anti-Semitism. “Jewish control over governments, the media and the international financial system is a classic feature of anti-Semitism and the cartoon is, wittingly or unwittingly, promoting this trope,” the statement read. “This falls firmly under the working
Israeli politicians are not remaining passive in response to the UN’s Palestinian sympathies. Israel’s United Nations ambassador, Ron Prosor, this week slammed the UN’s launch of the International “Year of Solidarity” with the Palestinians.
Israeli Startup Saves the Bananas Ever bought a bunch of bananas only to see them go bad all too quickly? Well, a new Israeli startup called SPRESH is now going to help you keep those bananas
On the start-up’s Kickstarter campaign page, where the company is looking to build funds to expand their production, SPRESH founder Aviad Mozes writes he started the project to stop fruit discoloration after having to throw out leftover browned fruit that his son wouldn’t eat. Mozes points out that research in 2012 indicated $165 billion is lost in America from food waste, and further notes 48% of harvested fruits and vegetables are actually eaten. The figures ignited his determination to find a solution to fruit decomposition which leads to wanton waste. “Since all the ingredients are natural, it is automatically approved by the FDA,” Mozes points out. “After cutting open the produce, you simply spray SPRESH on the surface of the cut pieces” and the fruit is good to go for up to 24 hours.
Hamas: Israel will be Over by 2022 According to Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad, the entirety of “Palestine” will be seen within eight years. The official made these comments on the anniversary of the December 2008-January 2009 intifada with Israel. According to Hamad, Islamic prophecies foretell that Israel will be replaced with a Palestinian state. This goal, the destruction of the Jewish state, “will take eight years,” he explained. Once the Muslims have their final vic-
National Behind the Scenes and Inside the Mind of President Obama David Remnick’s 17,000-word profile of the president in this week’s edition of The New Yorker Magazine has given the political media a feeding frenzy. Based on hours of Oval Office interviews and travels alongside the president, Remnick’s piece pierces the presidential bubble and picks Obama’s brain in an “Obama on Obama” fashion.
The interview paints the picture of a president who is acutely aware of the fortunate position he is in and who believes
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At an event, Prosor said, “The United Nations continues to oil the Palestinian propaganda machine and produce highly publicized events on their behalf rather than putting an end to Palestinian incitement.” Netanyahu made similar comments, calling critics of Israel’s West Bank settlements “hypocrites.” Referencing news that the Europeans were planning on summoning Israeli ambassadors to protest settlement construction, Netanyahu asked rhetorically, “When did the EU call in the Palestinian ambassadors to complain about the incitement that calls for Israel’s destruction?” Prosor’s comments went even further, claiming, “The UN is now the primary platform for Palestinian propaganda. The organization allocates endless resources to advancing lies and half-truths of the Palestinian leadership instead of dealing with pressing issues facing the international community and the Middle East region.” Prosor added, “While they seek solidarity, the Palestinians continue to educate an entire generation to hate Israel. The terrorism from the PA’s territories into Israel has doubled in the past year, and I have yet to hear the UN propose solidarity with the Israeli victims of terror.” Netanyahu has said that the “imbalance” in the treatment of Israel and the Palestinians was hampering peace efforts. “I think it pushes peace further away, because it tells the Palestinians: ‘You can basically do whatever you want, say anything you want, incite any way you want and you won’t be held accountable.’”
When in Israel, don’t yell “Cohen” in a crowded theater. Cohen and Levy lead the list of the most popular last names in the Holy Land. But what are the other most popular names on the list? Unsurprisingly, the three most common family names in Israel this year are still Cohen, Levy and Mizrahi, according to data obtained by Ynet from the Population and Immigration Authority. The figures present a record of the number of individuals in Israel with one of the most common 500 Jewish and non-Jewish last names on December 31, 2013. The last name Cohen ranked first with 169,655 individuals, who make up 1.93% of the population – a slight drop from the list released by the Central Bureau of Statistics in 2010, in which the percentage of people with the surname Cohen was 1.94% of the population. The name Levy came in second with 98,275 individuals or 1.12% of the population – similar to the 2010 list. It was followed by the name Mizrahi, which is used by 29,222 people or 0.33% of the population – a slight drop from 2010. The name Peretz ranked fourth (28,116 people or 0.32% of the population), followed by Biton (26,552 people or 0.30% of the population), Dahan (19,794 people or 0.23% of the population), Avraham (19,136 people or 0.22% of the population), Friedman (18,446 people or 0.21% of the population), and Agbaria (18,173 people or 0.21% of the population). All these names were ranked in the same places as in 2010. The 10th place marks a change as the name Malka (16,972 people or 0.19% of the population) went up from the 11th place in 2010, pushing the name Azulay (16,957 people) down one slot from the 10th place in 2010. Another change was recorded in the next group of 10 names. The surname Jabarin (14,563 people) went up from the 18th place in 2010 to the 15th place in the current list, after Katz in the 12th place, Yosef in the 13th place and Mahmid in the 14th place. Out of the 500 surnames, 188 are Hebrew names (not foreign or nonJewish), making up 37.6% of the list.
tory, Hamad said the “Hittin” principle would prevail. It was a reference to Saladin’s conquest of the Holy Land from the Crusaders beginning in 1187 with his victory at the Battle of Hittin in northern Israel. Saladin’s forces either enslaved or put to death all non-Muslims. Many Israelis and Israeli officials say Western peace brokers are naive, at best, and willfully ignorant, at worst, to believe Hamas and its long-term goal can simply be ignored in the course of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
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Israel Stands up to the UN
Cohen and Levy Lead the List of Popular Last Names
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definitions of anti-Semitism from both the US State Department and the EU, which specifically include: ‘Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions,’” it concluded.
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that he is highly qualified for that position. Remnick writes that President Obama often meets with presidential historians. He notes: “At the most recent dinner he attended at the White House, [historian] Robert Caro had the distinct impression that Obama was cool to him, annoyed, perhaps, at the notion of appearing in the press that his latest Johnson volume was an implicit rebuke to him. As we were leaving, I said to Obama, ‘You know, my book wasn’t an unspoken attack on you, it’s a book about Lyndon Johnson,’ Caro recalled.” Remnick discloses that during his first presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama told historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, “I have no desire to be one of those presidents who are just on the list—you see their pictures lined up on the wall. I really want to be a president who makes a difference.” Remnick notes that as far as the social obligations of the office are concerned, President Obama has mastered that skill, including realizing that in photographs he looks best with “a broad, toothy smile,” which a “millisecond after the flash” drops like “a curtain falling.” However, he also points out that even President Obama knows that he does not have the personal
charisma that his Democrat predecessor Bill Clinton is famous for. Whereas Bill Clinton is a “hyper-extrovert who has a freakish memory for names and faces” and has an “indomitable will to enfold and charm everyone in his path,” President Obama is not like that. At fundraisers he generally eats privately with a couple of aides before going out to perform. In fact, when Jeffrey Katzenberg threw a multi-million-dollar fundraiser in Los Angeles, he told the president’s staff that he expected Obama to stop at each of the fourteen tables and talk for a while. Remnick points out that President Obama is a master at politicking, but he doesn’t have the obsession with it that Clinton had. And there is nothing that he values more than his privacy. In fact, as he was set to begin his first term in office, the Obamas took a vow of no new friends— their small tight circle, mostly consisting of a few couples from Chicago, would not be expanded in Washington. Perhaps this attitude is responsible for the criticism of many in Washington— that the Obamas don’t socialize and create relationships the way other presidents have. However, President Obama sees it differently. He believes that due to hyper-partisanship (which like any politician
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he doesn’t blame on himself), socializing won’t change the gridlock. Besides that, the president told Remnick that for the first few years of his presidency, “I had two young daughters who I wanted to spend time with — and that I wasn’t in a position to work the social scene in Washington.” But now that their daughters are older, Obama and the first lady have been hosting more dinners, with the president drinking a martini or two and sometimes pushing guests to stay past 1 a.m. At one party he encouraged some guests to stay longer and said, “I’m a night owl! Have another drink.” Despite his very liberal positions on social values, the Obamas lead what seem to be a socially conservative family lifestyle. In fact, most television shows are off limits for the Obama girls and they are expected to work hard. The president told Remnick that “because I didn’t have a father in the home and moved around a lot as a kid and had a wonderfully loving mom and grandparents, but not a lot of structure growing up, I emerged on the other side of that with an appreciation for family and marriage and structure for the kids. I’m sure that’s part of why Michelle and her family held such appeal to me in the first place, because she did grow up with that kind of structure. And now, as parents, I don’t think we’re being particularly conservative…But, as parents, what we have seen both in our own family and among our friends, is that kids with structure have an easier time of it.” Regardless of what one thinks of President Obama’s politics, his life and presidency is certainly interesting. The New Yorker article will certainly serve to whet the appetite for Obama’s memoir which will probably be really good. After all, he is being paid between $17 million to $20 million to write it.
Obamacare. Latinos are three times more likely to not have health coverage than whites and twice as much as blacks. In general, the Latino population is younger on average; Obamacare needs the younger generation to sign up for it to be successful. Additionally, Obamacare was supposed to be the lynchpin to hold onto Latino voters. During Obama’s reelection campaign, a quarter of his Spanish-language advertising focused on Obamacare. And Latinos voted in favor of Obama—seventy-one percent of their vote went for the president in 2012. What will happen now that Latinos find signing up for coverage is not as they envisioned? Democrats will find out in 2016.
Senior Citizen Bloodied by Cops for Jaywalking New Yorkers beware: Mayor de Blasio is on a rampage. Jaywalking has become more than an ignored offense in the Big Apple On Sunday, police officers beat an 84-year-old man and put him in the hospital when he jaywalked at an Upper West Side intersection and didn’t appear to understand their orders to stop. Kang Wong was strolling north on Broadway and crossing 96th Street at around 5 p.m., when an officer told him to halt because he had walked against the light. Police were targeting jaywalkers in the area following the third pedestrian fatality this month around West 96th Street.
No Habla Obamacare If you tried signing up for insurance on HealthCare.gov and thought it was confusing, it’s not any better in Spanish. The Spanish website, CuidadoDeSalud. gov, debuted two months late. Users have reported that the Spanish on the site is halted and seems to have been translated by a computer program and not a Spanish-speaking person.
The failure of the website is more than just a glitch. Latinos were supposed to be one of the prime beneficiaries of
“The guy didn’t seem to speak English. The cop walked him over to the Citibank” near the northeast corner of 96th and Broadway, said one witness. “[The officer] stood him up against the wall and was trying to write him a ticket. The man didn’t seem to understand, and he started walking away. The cop tried to pull him back, and that’s when he began to struggle with the cop,” the witness continued. “As soon as he pushed the cop, it was like cops started running in from everywhere.” Wong was left bleeding and dazed with cuts to his face. The dazed senior citizen was then cuffed and taken to the hospital. Hours later he was taken to the precinct. Wong’s 41-year-old son is a lawyer. “I don’t want to talk about anything like that in front of all these cops,’’ he told the Post.
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But walking farther down the street, he said, “The cops are playing games. They won’t tell me what he’s being charged with.” When he found out that his father was in the hospital, he was not able to see him until after 10pm, because his father was not a patient—he was a “prisoner.” Early on Monday, cops fingerprinted Wong and charged him with jaywalking, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct. He went home, accompanied by several family members, with a desk-appearance ticket. Interestingly, the violence was documented and witnessed by several news reporters, who had been at the intersection documenting an accident that killed Upper West Side pedestrian Samantha Lee 12 hours earlier. After Lee’s death, police resorted to the old-school tactic of writing up pedestrians for jaywalking at $250 a pop. “Everyone does it. Heck, the cops do it,” said Emily Skeggs, 23, who was ticketed for illegally crossing the street. Mayor de Blasio’s spokesman, Phil Walzak, said on Sunday, “We won’t sit by while lives are lost and families are torn apart. These latest crashes underscore the urgent need to make our streets safer, which is why we are moving decisively to enact ‘Vision Zero’.”
NFL Commissioner: Goodbye Extra Point...Maybe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell disclosed that the league’s Competition Committee is considering giving the post-touchdown extra point the boot. The extra point comes after a team scores a touchdown and gets 6 points. The scoring team’s kicker then kicks a 20 yard field goal for the seventh point. The chip-shot is pretty much a given.
“The extra point is almost automatic. I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd,” Goodell told NFL.com. “So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.”
In order to add to post-touchdown excitement, there is a proposal that touchdowns will give the scoring team seven points. But teams will have the option of going for an eighth point, either by running or passing the ball. If they choose that option and fail to convert, then they lose a point, resulting in their touchdown only being worth six points. So, goodbye extra point...goodbye bathroom break.
Diet Soda Can Make You Fat Want to lose weight? Better stay off the Diet Coke. According to a new Johns Hopkins study, overweight and obese people who drink diet beverages consume more calories from food than heavy people who consume sugary drinks. “When you make that switch from a sugary beverage for a diet beverage, you’re often not changing other things in your diet,” says lead researcher Sara Bleich, associate professor in the department of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Bleich and other Johns Hopkins researchers used data from the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. For this study, published on Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, they analyzed participants’ recollection of what they’d had to eat and drink over the past 24 hours.
Researchers found that about one in five overweight or obese American adults regularly drinks diet beverages – that includes soda and low-calorie juices, teas and the like – which is about twice the amount that healthy-weight adults are drinking. “On the one hand, that’s encouraging. People are being told if you need to cut calories from your diet, discretionary beverages are a great place to start,” Bleich says. Diet soda consumption has increased steadily since 1965, when just 3 percent of Americans were regularly drinking the stuff, the study authors write. Sales of diet soda actually declined 7 percent last year, but Bleich thinks that just means habitual diet soda drinkers are switching to the many flavored teas, juices and vitamin-en-
hanced waters currently on store shelves. Our bodies fight to try to keep our weight stable, which is one of the reasons weight loss is so hard —and it could help explain why overweight diet soda drinkers may be consuming more calories from solid food. Ever heard of H2O?
Soldier Killed in Helicopter Landing in Georgia On Wednesday evening, a member of an elite Army helicopter unit was killed and two crew members suffered injuries when their aircraft slammed into the ground as they tried to land at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah. The MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was returning from a routine training flight when it made a “hard landing” just before 11:30 p.m. on or near the airstrip at the base in coastal Georgia, said Army Maj. Allen Hill, a spokesman for the crew’s aviation unit.
The three-man crew was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, which trains soldiers to fly helicopters behind enemy lines under cover of darkness. Nicknamed the Night Stalkers, the unit was responsible for flying Navy SEALs into Pakistan during the 2010 raid in which Osama Bin Laden was killed. The 160th regiment is headquartered at Fort Campbell, Ky., but has a battalion stationed in Savannah. Even though the landing was considered to be “hard,” it was not a crash and there did not look to be anything wrong. “They were on final approach,” Hill said. “Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.”
The Hero of the Hudson—Five Years Later Ever wonder what happened to the Hero of the Hudson? It’s been five years since Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after the plane hit a flock of geese and lost power — saving the lives of all 155 people on board and making “Sully” a household name.
Sullenberger is in New York this week to commemorate the anniversary of the “Miracle on the Hudson.” So just what has he been up to since the heroic landing? Since retiring in 2010, the captain has been writing and speaking about aviation safety and provides consulting services. In a recent interview, he mentioned that he’s concerned that the airline industry is getting complacent when it comes to safety. “We’ll forget what’s really at stake when we fly and how many near misses there are every day and how many things have to go right in this complex system to keep every flight safe every day,” he said.
The 62-year-old, who serves as CBS News’ resident aviation and safety expert, says he’s disappointed that the FAA has not adopted any of the recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board as a result of its investigation into his historic emergency landing. “One of them — such a common-sense one you’d think it would’ve been adopted immediately — would be to include life vests for every passenger on domestic flights,” Sullenberger said, “and not just seat cushions for flotation.” But Sully’s head is not just in the clouds. He has recently taken up a new cause: making America’s hospitals safer. “It’s applying all the things we’ve learned for decades in aviation and making them transferable to medicine, where the need is so great,” Sullenberger told the Contra Costa Times. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Patient Safety, more than 200,000 people die from preventable medical errors each year. “[That’s] equivalent to three airline passenger planes crashing a day with no survivors,” he said. “I guess I’m the eternal optimist,” he said. “I think in our society, as with every other crisis it has faced, whether it’s slavery or seat belt use or smoking, we eventually do the right thing. The question is when. In 20 years, when we’ve lost 4 million more people to preventable deaths? My vote is to do it now.”
Probation for Creator of Beanie Babies Last Tuesday, the billionaire businessman behind Beanie Babies was sentenced
That’s Odd The Nut Robbery It seems that thieves are going nuts in California. Because of the soaring value of the Golden State’s nut crops, a new breed of thieves is carting the precious commodity off by the truckload. This harvest season in the Central Valley, thieves cut through a fence and hauled off $400,000 in walnuts. Another $100,000 in almonds was stolen by a driver with a fake license. And $100,000 in pistachios was taken by a big rig driver who left a farm without filling out any paperwork.
Investigators suspect low-level organized crime may have a hand in cases, while some pilfered nuts are ending up in Los Angeles for resale at farmers markets or disappear into the black market. “The Wild West is alive and well in certain aspects,” said Danielle Oliver of the California Farm Bureau. “There’s always someone out there trying to make a quick dollar on somebody else’s hard work.” As the nation’s top nut producer, the state grows more almonds and pistachios than any other country. Only China produces more walnuts, which have nearly tripled in price in the last five years to about $2 a pound, according to the California Walnut Board. “Right now, everybody wants to be a nut grower because it’s kind of like the gold rush of the 1850s,” said Ripon almond farmer Kevin Fondse of Fondse Brothers Inc. “Everybody wants
the gold.” But thieves know a good thing when they see it (or when they eat it!). In a brazen heist in October, thieves made off with 140,000 pounds of processed walnuts from GoldRiver Orchards. The thief cut through wooden fence posts in the dead of night, hooked up a truck to three gondola trailers brimming with nuts and drove off. In another incident, unemployed trucker Francisco Javier Lopez Martinez told investigators he couldn’t pass up a job paying $180, despite his suspicions. He was hired in October by a man who gave him a fraudulent driver’s license and told him to pick up 43,000 pounds of almonds at Sunnygem, a processing plant. A transportation broker tipped off sheriff’s deputies that something seemed amiss. They arrested Martinez, who told them he was supposed to drive the load to a specified address in Los Angeles, park it and walk away. Ultimately, he was sentenced to 350 days in jail and three years of probation. We hope police can track these thieves down soon. They seem to be tough nuts to crack.
never thought of keeping the cash for himself. He later received a phone call from a grateful Davis and a $300 reward. “I think I do believe that at the time, I was the exact person who needed to be there at that exact time to pick it up, because maybe someone else wouldn’t have done the same thing that I did,” Brian related. Guess who is going to be the first guest in Sharon’s new home?
Man Arrested for Warning Drivers of Speed Trap Ever wish that other drivers would warn you of cops up ahead? Well, being a Good Samaritan may come at a cost. Ron Martin was arrested for trying to save his fellow drivers a whopping speeding ticket. Last October, police apprehended Martin for holding up a sign warning drivers that they were approaching a speed trap.
A Good Man in-Deed Brian DiCarlo is someone you want on your side—especially when you’re buying a house. The Oregon man found an envelope stuffed with $2,000 in cash and a cashier’s check for $38,000 in a supermarket parking lot last week. The money was to be Sharon Davis’ down payment for her house. And luckily for Sharon, Brian is an honest man indeed.
He quickly called the sheriff’s office to report his find. “My first thought is that this person, whoever it is, is a wreck, and they are probably losing their mind trying to retrace their steps,” Brian recalled. Sure enough, Sharon was frantically searched the parking lot at the intersection of Southeast 122nd and Sunnyside Rd. after grabbing a cup of coffee. “I was so stunned and so stressed, I swear I was going to have a heart attack or a stroke,” she relates. After a few minutes of sleuthing, police were able to locate the frantic future-homeowner and delivered her the cash. “What a good and amazing man,” the relieved Sharon said of Brian. He said he
Police say they spotted Martin standing on the center median of a six-lane roadway, holding a sign that read, “Police ahead.” In the arrest report, police officer Thomas Mrozinski wrote that he became aware of Martin’s stunt when he noticed drivers “waving at us.” His official arrest was for holding a sign on public property, which is apparently against the law in Frisco, Texas. Supposedly this wasn’t the first time Martin had held up a sign to warn drivers of police lying in wait. Martin argued in his first court appearance on Wednesday that his intention is the same as the police. He was simply “reminding people that there is a limit here.” He logically concluded that the end results are them; getting people to slow down. Martin paints signs for a living and insists he just wants to help make the roads safer, and he argues that his homemade signs are more effective at doing that than speed traps. He points out that police practice unsafe procedures by hiding behind signs and not using their lights. “I just feel like it was a little bit unsafe, not only for citizens, but for police officers having to do their job,” he said. Where, oh where was Martin when I was driving (a little too fast) on the New York State Thruway last August?
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H. Ty Warner, 69, issued a somber but composed apology before being sentenced in Chicago federal court, saying he felt “shame and embarrassment.” He pleaded guilty last year to a single count of tax evasion for not paying taxes on $25 million in income he had hidden. Warren could have been sentenced to up to five years in prison, and a prosecutor asked U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras on Tuesday to impose at least a year behind bars. But Kocoras opted against prison time and spent most of the 20 minutes he spent explaining his sentence praising the businessman’s charitable work. He cited a $20,000 medical bill Warner paid for a stranger with a kidney ailment and Warner’s $20 million charitable donation of proceeds from a toy he helped design commemorating Princess Diana after her death. “I find Mr. Warner to be a very unique individual ... in his service and kindness to mankind,” Kocoras said in explaining his decision to forgo prison time. “Society will be better served by allowing him to continue his good works,” he said, noting that Warner had already paid a price in “public humiliation” and “private torment.” Prosecutor Michelle Petersen told the judge that Warner’s charity — however laudable — should not keep him out of prison. She said Warner had been meticulous about hiding his income from U.S. tax authorities over a period of at least 11 years. “[Without prison time], tax evasion becomes little more than a bad investment,” she told Kocoras. “The perception cannot be that a wealthy felon can just write a check and not face further punishment.” As part of his probation sentence, Kocoras also ordered Warner to do 500 hours of community service. When he pleaded guilty, Warner agreed to pay a civil penalty of more than $53 million and $5 million in back taxes. Warner was among the highest-profile prosecutions in the federal government’s push to go after Americans concealing income from the IRS overseas, often in Switzerland. Prosecutors say at one point, Warner was concealing as much as $107 million. Beanie Babies first appeared in the
mid-1990s, triggering a craze that generated hundreds of millions of dollars for Westmont, Ill.-based TY Inc., of which Warner is the sole owner. Forbes recently put his net worth at $2.6 billion. Warner maintained a secret offshore account starting in 1996 with the Switzerland-based financial services company UBS. He earned $3.1 million in gross income in 2002 through the account, but didn’t report it, prosecutors say. It’s interesting that the judge was so impressed by the charity work of a billionaire. There’s just so much money one can keep in his bank accounts.
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to two years of probation, but no prison time, for not paying taxes on millions of dollars stashed in Swiss bank accounts, with the judge praising the toy magnate for his charity work.
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Crossword Author Turns 100 What’s a seven-letter word for the person who first started the crossword puzzle trend in newspapers? If you guessed “Bernice,” you would be right. Longtime crossword constructor Bernice Gordon marked two big milestones last weekend. She turned 100 on Saturday, January 11, and The New York Times will publish another one of her puzzles on Wednesday.
Gordon recalled her mother saying. Gordon says she works best in the predawn hours in her home office in downtown Philadelphia, surrounded by two bookcases of dictionaries, almanacs and other directories. Ideas come to her constantly, and she uses a computer to build the grids. “She’ll spend hours and hours looking for the right word or the right phrase,” said her youngest son, Jim Lanard, 73. Her first crossword was published by The Times in the early 1950s. Since then, the paper has printed more than 140 of her clever grids.
be named WackyTaco692. Sorry guys the wife wouldn’t go for a free for all.” Smart mom.
World’s Largest Vinyl Record Remember those vinyl records from the ‘80’s? The ones that would invariably scratch or crack? Well, even though most records are a thing of the past, the world’s largest vinyl record is now on display. But you have to take to the skies to catch a peek of it.
Couple Asks the World Wide Web for Help Naming Baby Girl
This makes her the very first centenarian to have a crossword puzzle printed in the newspaper. “They make my life,” Gordon said. “I couldn’t live without them.” Gordon has spent the last few decades creating crosswords for the Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and others newspapers. She also authored puzzle syndicates and brain-teaser books from Dell and Simon & Schuster. Each day of her life, she generates a new grid. The first “word-cross” appeared in the New York Sunday World on December 21, 1913. It was shaped as a diamond and did not separate clues into “Across” and “Down.” Since then, grids have evolved. Gordon is credited with pioneering the “rebus” puzzle, which requires solvers to occasionally fill in symbols instead of letters. Her first rebus in The Times used an ampersand to represent the letters AND, so an answer like “sandwich islands” was entered as “s&wich isl&s.” It was received with mixed reviews. Letters from readers poured into then-crossword editor Margaret Farrar, who forwarded some to Gordon. “She got hundreds of letters, some screaming that they never saw anything worse and it was cheating,” Gordon said. “And the others [said] how wonderful it was. It’s something new. It was an innovation.” Gordon was born in Philadelphia on Jan. 11, 1914. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she raised three children before working as an artist and traveling around the world. She began creating puzzles in her 30s because she liked the challenge and it offered some extra pocket money. “My child, if you spend as much money on cookbooks as you do on dictionaries, your family would be better off,”
Some people just simply can’t make decisions on their own. That’s when the internet comes in handy. One man set up a website to help him and his expectant wife decide on a baby name for their daughter due April 2. Namemydaughter.com allows users to vote for their favorite first and middle names for the unborn baby girl.
In a post on Reddit, the father said, “I was sitting on the end of the bed after coming home from work and the idea hit me. I tend to be very forward person (this gets me in a lot of trouble lol) and I just blurted it out - ‘Hunny, I am going to ask the internet what we should name our daughter!’” Luckily his wife was okay with this untraditional idea. In first place at the moment is: Amelia Mae followed by Cthulu All-Spark. Well, c’mon, weren’t you expecting some people to take advantage of their voting rights? Charlotte, Leslie, Renee and Meagan are also at the top of the list along with Ixtley, Megatron, Slagathor, Titanium, and Salad. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when you specifically solicit Reddit for help in your baby naming plans. According to the official rules made by dad, users can only vote for each name once per household per day…wouldn’t want anyone getting too carried away. He also added in a clause, “Unfortunately, internet, I know better than to trust you. We will ultimately be making the final decision. Alas my daughter shall not
whistle, people are scrambling to find a way to protect their privacy.
Passengers arriving at Los Angeles’ LAX Airport can see the spinning record as they land. The “record” is a 407-foot-wide printed vinyl disc that has been spinning at 17 miles an hour since New Year’s Day and won’t stop till the end of the month. The promotion is intended to highlight the re-opening of the Southern California concert and event venue after a $100 million renovation. It took a crew of about 75 to transform 5.7 acres of printed vinyl, 2,000 linear feet of curved aluminum and a mile of aluminum truss into the rooftop “record,” “spindle” and “turntable,” according to Pop2Life, the marketing and promotion company that came up with the idea. Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration had to approve the project. I’d say this is one for the record books.
“Blackphone” Will Protect Your Privacy
Snowden’s leak prompted people to think about security differently. Now, people are more aware of the information they share online and many have petitioned for companies to secure their data more tightly. But have no fear. Your intimate chats with friends can now stay private. A group of international privacy enthusiasts have banned together to create a smartphone that will protect your information, possibly even from the NSA. Dubbed the Blackphone, the mobile device was created by companies Silent Circle and Geekosphere. Phil Zimmermann, creator of data encryption protocol PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), is one of the big brains behind the device. “Blackphone provides users with everything they need to ensure privacy and control of their communications, along with all the other high-end smartphone features they have come to expect,” Zimmerman said. The phone will probably be missing many of the flashy specs seen in recent devices since the main selling point is the top of the line privacy capabilities. No specific details have been given about the phone yet; the companies will unveil it properly at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona beginning February 24. Hey, at least we can certainly say big brother is not watching.
Now that Edward Snowden blew the
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Israel’s Amazing Air Fight
hroughout Israel’s brief but action-packed military history, the country with Hashem’s help managed to defeat much larger and better trained armies. Before signing a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, the Egyptian Air Force with the backing of the Soviets proved a menacing threat to Israel’s existence. At the start of the Six Day War in June 1967, the IAF (Israeli Air Force) pulled off one of the most spectacular air raids in the history of the airplane. They completely destroyed Egypt’s Air Force and airbases in a matter of hours. It was called Operation Focus
Destroyed Egyptian aircraft
or Moked and is considered the IAF’s finest hour. Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser had been provoking Israel several months prior by closing an important shipping lane to Israel. In addition, he was threatening Israel with war claims since May and made a war pact with Jordan. Israeli intelligence detected an Egyptian military buildup near the border and identified several enemy airbases key to the war plans. The IAF was placed on full alert and trained to go on up to four missions a day. This fast-paced refueling process allowed the numerically inferior IAF aircraft to send several waves of planes at various times during the first day of war. Israel had about 200 combat planes (fighters and bombers) available and all but 12 were used in the operation. The main type of airplane flown was the French-built Mirage III. The tiny country was putting
her entire air force on the line for the bases that would take months to reopportunity to destroy the Egyptian pair. At 10:30 AM, General Hod raAir Force, and Air Force Command- dioed Yitzchak Rabin: “The Egyptian er Motti Hod felt confident that they Air Force has ceased to exist.” would succeed. An Egyptian At 7:45 on the morning of June 5, pilot had this to 1967, the war started with the IAF de- say about the first livering the first punch in a preemptive two waves of IAF strike. They were due to arrive over planes: “Some Egyptian airspace when the enemy 30 seconds from pilots were eating breakfast, and to the end of the achieve complete surprise, the planes [first] attack, a flew close to the ground to avoid ra- second wave of dar detection. Egyptian radar didn’t planes arrived... pick up the incoming aircraft but the We ran about the Jordanians did and relayed the infor- desert, looking mation to the Egyptians; for cover, but due to technical and the planes didn’t shoot. They merely communication difficul- circled, their pilots surprised that the ties the Egyptians never base was completely destroyed and received the message. that no targets remained. We were the In the first wave, 183 only targets... weak humans scurryIsraeli planes destroyed ing in the desert with handguns as out about 200 enemy planes only means of defense. It was a sad stationed at 11 airbases. comedy... pilots of the newest and best Most never got off the equipped jets fighting with handguns. ground but nine man- Five minutes after the beginning of aged to get into aerial the attack, the planes disappeared and dogfights with the Is- a silence prevailed that encompassed raelis and were shot the desert and the noise of the fire that down. The IAF lost just destroyed our planes and the airbase ten planes in this first and the squadron. They completed attack. In less than ten minutes after their assignment in the best way posreturning to their bases in Israel, the sible, with a ration of losses –100 perplanes were refueled and on their way cent for us, 0 percent for them.” back for a second strike. The Arab coalition was reeling The second wave of IAF aircraft from the loss of the Egyptian Air Force struck at 9:30 in the fight and lasted but in the next about an hour. three hours Even though other countries the element of would have surprise was their air forces lost in this attacked. Syrround, another ia, Jordan and 100 Egyptian Iraq responded planes were with retaliadestroyed and tory raids on Flying over the Egyptian-Israeli 16 airfields civilian targets border on June 5 were severely within Israel, damaged. The thankfully doIsraelis suffered minimal damage and ing little damage. The third wave of confused citizens in Cairo were cele- Israeli aircraft was diverted from brating the fictitious Egyptian victory. Egyptian targets to attack targets from In three hours, 70% of the Egyptian the other three countries. The Syrians Air Force was destroyed along with lost at least 50 planes in this wave. A
fourth wave was sent out in the evening and attacked an airbase in southern Egypt. At the end of the first day, the Is-
raeli plan of a bold preemptive strike had borne fruits as the IAF held domination of the skies for the rest of the war. The IAF continued to attack targets of opportunity throughout the war and by the third day, Jordan’s 34 combat planes had been put out of action and the country was out of the fight. Syria lost about 100 planes during the conflict, and Iraq had over 20 aircraft destroyed by the Israelis. Most of the planes were destroyed on the ground but the ones that did manage to take to the skies were quickly overwhelmed by the Israelis with their superior dogfighting tactics. For their part, the IAF lost a reported 46 planes. Nineteen were lost in combat with most being shot down by ground fire. 24 Israeli pilots were killed. Operation Focus was successful way beyond the most optimistic expectations before it started. The Arab air forces had formidable planes and defenses along with the latest Russian technology and knocking them out in a matter of hours was the major factor in the Israeli victory. It was also an intelligence coup because identifying the major enemy airbases and weak points in the enemy lines took several months. Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to The Jewish Home. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.for future columns and can be reached at aviheiligman@ gmail.com.
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Inside Bibi’s Bakery and Cafe the delicious aroma of fresh out of the oven baked goods permeates the room and beckons you towards the large glass display cases. Bibi’s offers Kosher bakery basics like bagels, challah, and pitas, as well as specialty items like pizza bourekas, fresh pretzels covered with sea salt, cinnamon rolls, and a variety of unique breads and sweets. You’ll also find their famous, soft challah inside Kosher supermarkets throughout Los Angeles. Owner Dan Messinger stands behind the counter greeting many of patrons by name and acknowledging, “our ideal customer is very hungry… and not counting carbs”. Since buying Bibi’s about two years ago, Messinger has
transformed the formerly tasty, though ho-hum location into a booming bakery and café that has a loyal Bibi’s or bust following. Dan Messinger, originally from Philadelphia, left his successful career in media production in search of a profession that would require less travel. His wife, a teacher at a local Day School and 2 young boys were completely supportive of his new venture. As a life-long Zionist, food lover, and amateur baker, Dan admired Bibi’s Israeli fare and was familiar with the traditional ingredients including hummus, za’atar, tehina, feta cheese, and olives on the restaurant’s menu. As a former creative producer and marketing professional, Dan had
some original ideas that helped solidify his customer base and create loyal fans that come back for more again and again. This includes a loyalty program where frequent visits can be exchanged for prizes like Bibi’s swag and free food. I’m currently working my way towards a kitchy and cute Bibi’s mason jar mug. Mr. Messinger also decided that Bibi’s should be able to accommodate a hectic work or play schedule and is open weekdays 7 AM- midnight, as well as the 3 AM close time Saturday night. Although pastries are their specialty, I have 2 dishes to recommend which may surprise you. First off, Bibi’s Stone Oven Broiled Salmon is not to be missed. The fresh salmon is spiced with pepper and herbs and has a slight lemony flavor, but the secret sauce is the oven that it is baked in. The centerpiece of Bibi’s is their dome stone oven, called a tabun which, due to its domed ceiling, evenly disperses heat throughout the stone structure. When it comes to salmon, Bibi’s has one of my favorites in Los Angeles. It is served on top of a delicious salad that features two types of olives, lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes. You can also upgrade to a side of garlic-mushroom pasta for just a few dollars more. Another surprise winner at Bibi’s is their tuna melt. Tuna lovers: you know how tuna can be so good if done right, but the wrong amount of mayonnaise or seasoning just destroys the whole thing? Well, Bibi’s gets it right. The tuna is a fantastic combination of high quality tuna, the right amount of mayo and an awesome spice blend. The melt is served on a freshly baked sesame pita and topped with gooey mozzarella cheese and your choice of vegetables. It is of course, cooked in their famous oven. Absolute perfection. For your sweet tooth, sprinkle-covered gingerbread man shaped donuts are
a delectable option, or enjoy a gooey cinnamon bun dripping with smooth, sugary glaze. They even have the sweet ice coffee and slush drinks that are ubiquitous in Israel. The restaurant attracts a wide range of customers: Israelis flock to Bibi’s seeking their authentic Israeli “Toastees” (or “toast”) which is sesame pita or a Jerusalem style bagel with melted cheese and vegetables. Teenagers, and young couples looking for a good time pack in on Motzei Shabbos when the eatery stays busy until 3 in the morning! Because there are full meals from $1.95 (bagel and cream cheese) to $9.95 (the salmon I’m obsessed with) Bibi’s is also great for families. Even your pickiest child will find something they love. There is even a gluten free pizza available for those who are on a restricted diet. The first time I took my children here, I was pleasantly surprised with the reasonable prices and since then we’ve returned many times for the delicious food that both little kids and discerning, calorie counting adults, can enjoy. With a low $15 minimum, you can get Bibi’s delivered and even order online at www.bibisbakerycafe.com. Bibi’s is under Kehilla supervision and can be reached at 310-246-1788. Bibi’s Bakery and Café is located at 8928 W. Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles. For more information see their website or call 310246-1788.
Estee Cohen is a California native and goes out to eat more than is appropriate. She is a kosher food insider, has a patient husband and 3 little kids. She is passionate about restaurants, science education, and collects rooster figurines.
JANUARY 23, 2014
Bibi’s Bakery and Cafe
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