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The Week In News

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JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Q: In the shul that I daven, people are always talking and making noise. Should I try to make some sort of quiet by making a scene about it, or should I just leave and find a quieter shul? A: The best thing to do is to leave that place altogether. Unless you’re a very important personality there. Otherwise, you’re not going to change them. It’s a great tragedy, this tragedy of talking in the synagogues. It’s a , a disgrace for Hakodosh Boruch Hu. If a gentile, lehavdil, would come into a shul and see what type of place it is, he’d lose all interest, all respect. You have to realize that it’s a great cancer of our nation, chas veshalom. It’s a terrible cancer. And if you can not heal it, you can’t go get into a fight with them, then find a better place, and at least rescue yourself.

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The Week In News

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The Week In News

CONTENTS COMMUNITY

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

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers,

“Think good and it will be good.” This

In this week’s Torah portion, on the isn’t just a slogan. The point is that by words “speak to the children of Isra- thinking good, it will be good. It’s a di-

JEWISH THOUGHT

Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The Weekly Daf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

el and they shall travel,” Rashi says, rect reward for the faith mastered. Sure “They have nothing to do but to travel, it’s difficult, but if we would muster up

FEATURE

for the sea will not stand in their way. this type of faith more often, we should

Consumer Electronics Show 2018. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

The merit… and the faith they had in surely see more success.

LIFESTYLES

Me when they came out [of Egypt] are

Humor: Don’t Throw the Book at Me! . . . . . . . . . . . 17

NEWS

sufficient to split the sea for them.”

Another tool for success is joy. Being joyful gives us inner energy to

At times we are faced with a chal- overpower the struggles within and

Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 National. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

lenge that seems insurmountable; we eventually the ones in the world at

The Jewish Home is distributed bi-weekly to:

In front is a sea, behind are adversar- be realized when the true source of life

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feel there’s just no way to overcome it. large. Nonetheless, pure joy will only ies. There’s no way out.

is revealed and “the occupation of hu-

This is where faith comes in. It manity will be to know G-d,” as Maidoesn’t have some specific solution or monides says in his articulation of the idea. It’s a decision to have faith in the laws of kings. One above that we will overcome, and

Wishing you a joyful Shabbos,

it will be good. In the popular adage:

Shalom

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


JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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TheHappenings Week In News

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Panel on Insularity Hosted by Shalhevet Institute Yehudis Litvak The Shalhevet Institute, a division of Shalhevet High School, hosted a panel discussion on January 10th, entitled Rethinking Insularity: The Role of Boundaries in the Modern World. The panelists were Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, founder and director of Project Y.E.S. and a renowned chinuch expert; and Shulem Deen, a former chassid who is no longer observant and the author of a memoir All of Who Go Do Not Return. The panel was moderated by the writer Abigail Shrier. The goal of the Shalhevet Institute is to provide a Modern Orthodox beit midrash in Los Angeles for the larger community, says its director, Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg. While most of the institute’s events involve traditional text-based learning, some events, like the panel discussion, are unique in their approach. Rabbi Schwarzberg explains that they apply Shalhevet’s approach to education – honest engagement with our identity, history, and the Torah – to issues not yet addressed in a serious way by the Orthodox community. The panel on insularity brought two speakers from very different walks of life into a dialog. “It is always great to be exposed to different personalities and characters, and to observe them in a cordial dialog with one another,” says Rabbi Schwarzberg. “Civil discourse is critical to the Orthodox community.” The issue of insularity concerns the whole spectrum of Orthodoxy. Modern Orthodox Jews maintain insularity only

as children, while the Chassidic community insists on insularity for all ages, but every community needs to decide for itself where to draw the line. “We go through the Jewish experience without giving pause to reflect on the nature of our communities,” says Rabbi Schwarzberg. “Do we need to consider being more or less insular? What would better serve the ultimate purpose?” This question was debated, at times heatedly, at the panel discussion. Rabbi Horowitz offered several points to ponder for the Modern Orthodox community, describing “best practices” in the Chassidic world that other Orthodox communities can learn from. He emphasized the camaraderie and the sense of belonging inherent to a Chassidic community. “Chassidim are like football fans,” he said. “They may kvetch about the team, but they still show up for the game.” Chassidim root for their communities and support their communal institutions. For example, in Chassidic communities, the cost of tuition is kept low, because the schools are considered communal responsibility, supported by anyone who can to afford to help whether they have children in the school or not. Rabbi Horowitz encouraged other communities to “move to a model where there is more communal support for the institutions.” As an example, he told of the Baltimore community, where the leadership successfully campaigned to make local schools a priority in giving tzedakah.

When asked by the moderator how Chassidic communities manage to create this sense of closeness, Rabbi Horowitz explained that the sense of community is there from the moment a child is born. The parents and teachers strive to inspire the children “through their hearts, not only their minds.” He recommended singing with the children and getting them involved in other activities that engage their hearts and build camaraderie. Mr. Deen agreed that the chassidim are able to create more experiential rather than intellectual Jewish experiences. He described the Chassidic tisch as an example. “The tisch in New Square is one of the most powerful immersive experiences in the Jewish context,” he said. “All five senses are completely engaged… Chassidim know how to dance, sing, and tell stories.” A drawback of insularity brought up by Mr. Deen is inadequate secular education

in Chassidic schools, whose graduates are not able to properly communicate in English. He mentioned his own children as an example. The panelists discussed Jewish continuity. Mr. Deen did not consider it a concern, given the growth of the Orthodox community. He predicted that in the future, the majority of the Jewish community will be Orthodox, with ultra-Orthodox dominating the scene. As a future area of work, Rabbi Horowitz mentioned developing better educational tools for teaching Torah subjects. “Children are exposed at a young age to amazing technology,” he said, “but Torah learning is not presented this way. We need to transmit our Torah, without diluting it, in an appealing way.” In conclusion, Rabbi Horowitz said that while there is much work to do, as a community we have a lot to be proud of.

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Pidyon Rashash: Create a New Person, Receive a New Judgment Where does this powerful and potent segulah come from? Reb Chaim Vital performed this renowned pidyon for himself twice a year. He writes in his sefer, Pri Eitz Chaim: “Thousands of times this segulah has been tried and proven.” While the Arizal revealed this powerful pidyon, it was the holy Reshash who instructed us how to perform it. The Reshash wrote that one should set aside 160 pure silver coins, recite special kabbalistic tefillos, and donate these coins to talmidei chachamim who are moser nefesh to learn Torah. The 160 coins, equivalent to the numerical value of eitz, symbolize man, who is likened to a tree in the field, eitz hasadeh. Through this segulah, the person receives a pidyon nefesh (redemption of his soul) where judgment is transferred from the person to the coins. As a result, the per-

son receives a new tzelem Elokim. The Pidyon Rashash is cited and referred to in countless sefarim. Many illustrious gedolim and rebbes have quoted and performed the renowned Pidyon Rashash. The sefer Shemen Sasson writes that for whomever the Pidyon Rashash is

performed will certainly live through the year! Who can deny themselves the promise of life? The sefer Sha’arei Rachamim describes the Pidyon Reshash as a segulah received from Eliyahu HaNavi, himself. How did Kollel Chatzos come to perform this incredible segulah? While the segulah is tremendously potent at every time, it is particularly powerful after midnight. When the Ropshitzer Rav was sick, the Ateres Tzvi even wrote to the Zera Kodesh that he will perform the pidyon for him after chatzos and “Certainly, certainly, certainly, you will merit a yeshua!” We are living in desperate times. Klal Yisroel is looking out for refuos, shidduchim, nachas, parnassah, etc. It is mekubal that oftentimes there are wonderful hashpaos and yeshuos waiting to come down, but we are not worthy of them. Once the

Pidyon Rashash is performed, we are pure, with a new tzelem Elokim, clearing the path for the hashpaos tovos to descend. Every year, on 10 Shvat, the yahrtzeit of the Reshash, Kollel Chatzos’s talmidei chachamim perform this segulah and distribute the coins amongst the Kollel learners. These talmidei chachamim, who sacrifice their nights for Torah, are most worthy to perform the pidyon, for they truly personify Torah with mesirus nefesh. They recite the lengthy tefillos individually for each supplicant, in the most mehudar way, and perform the pidyon at the most opportune time – after chatzos. And so, every year, after performing the pidyon for Yidden who are longing for yeshuos, the Kollel merits to hear story upon story about individuals whose lives have been transformed by the pidyon. In the time of the emperor Napoleon, the holy Chasam Sofer did the Pidyon Ra-


The Week In News

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought invites you to an evening with Yeshiva University

A PROJECT OF THE STRAUS CENTER’S PROGRAM ON EARLY AMERICA AND THE JEWS

Was Alexander Hamilton Jewish?

The Straus Center’s Director, Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, and visiting scholar, Dr. Andrew Porwancher, will discuss the emerging evidence and historical debate surrounding Hamilton’s roots.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 I 7:30 p.m. BETH JACOB CONGREGATION I 9030 WEST OLYMPIC BLVD. I BEVERLY HILLS, CA 90211

WHERE COMMUNITY HAPPENS

Register online: yu.edu/hamilton-la For more information, please email strauscenter@yu.edu or call 212.960.5400 x6902

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The Week In News

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

This

Tu B’shvat

waiting for a

shidduch

daven for a beautiful esrog and sweet fruits

shash for all the residents of Pressburg, and although all the homes were destroyed in the war, not one Yid perished. It was a truly wonderful miracle.

“It is a proven segulah.” Now Try It Out for Yourself! To take advantage of this opportunity and be included in the Pidyon Harashash

The holy Maggid of Mezeritch did the Pidyon Rashash for an esteemed woman who was critically ill, and she miraculously recovered. When the holy mekubal Rav Mordechai Sharabi was asked to pray on behalf of Jews who were very ill, he would do the Pidyon Rashash for them and would say,

for the success of you and your family, that will take place on Thursday Night, January 26th, at the tziyon of the holy tannah, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, please call, 24 hours a day, 718-887-9114 or email info@ chatzos.org or visit the webpage at www. chatzos.org.                                 

Daven for your beautiful

shidduch & sweet children! For thirty days, beginning Tu B’shvat through Purim, Kollel Chatzos will daven for your shidduch at the Kever of Reb Yonason ben Uziel in Amuka

+

"Just like every shidduch,my shidduch also has a hashgacha pratis chain of events backstory. Still, the first event that started the whole chain was definitely my partnership with Kollel Chatzos. From then onward, I saw all the cogs moving in the right direction, until we were zoche to this mazel tov. So, thanks."

K. M., Brooklyn

Deadline: Jan. 30, 8:00 PM

On Tu B'shvat, Kollel Chatzos will daven the renowned Tefilas HaShlah at the Kever of the Shlah HaKadosh for ehrliche children.

95

$

Boro Park Williamsburg Monsey Monroe Meron

Hungarian Consul General Tamas Szeles and Attorney Andrew Friedman-L.A. County Commissioner-celebrated Chanukah at the Hungarian House with a standing room only crowd


JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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TheHappenings Week In News

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Yavneh’s Campaign to #choosekind Entertains and Educates in the Month of January For four weeks in January, fourth and fifth grade students at Yavneh Hebrew Academy have participated in an innovative program to develop empathy and ex-

tend kindness to fellow students. Special visitors and other activities throughout the month have helped children #choosekindness.

Raquel Jaramillo, who wrote Wonder under the pen name of R. J. Palacio, started the #choosekind initiative to instill empathy in children and inspire them to

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act upon it. Yavneh’s Program Director, JJ Duchman, explains, “When the movie came out not long ago, our Student Activities Team decided to bring the magic and power of Auggie Pullman from the big screens to our school hallways. We thus created the #choosekind program celebrating differences, choosing friendship over popularity, and showing empathy towards all.” Students met with “middot mentors” and pledged to #choosekind. Their pledges were stamped proudly on the hallway wall for all students to see. In addition, classes earned Kind Balls for their Kind Jars for particularly bold acts of kindness. Each Friday featured a “Wonder Lunch,” with a speaker who highlighted a different combination of abilities and disabilities. At the first event, Mark Goffeney, aka “Big Toe,” visited. Goffeney is a musician from San Diego born without arms. Yavneh’s students were shocked and enchanted when he played guitar with his feet. The following week, Yavneh’s CAL

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director, Morah Suri, spoke about a young boy, Simcha, born with Downs Syndrome. She also explained to the fourth and fifth graders that all of us have hidden disabilities, areas of weakness which might be less obvious, but which challenge us nonetheless. Tzvi Burston, born with Cerebral Palsy, visited Yavneh next, speaking about facing all the challenges Hashem sends our way. On the final Friday, Mrs. Alyssa Weisel, from the Chai Lifeline office, will visit to teach children how to access their inner strength to #choosekind. Yavneh’s students watched the movie version of Wonder together, then broke into smaller groups to discuss the feelings the character experienced in the movie, as well as the feelings different students face in school. Dr. Ariella Agatsein, Assistant to the Head Master, states, “As winter break approaches, students are all fired up to go out to the world and #choosekind!”


JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Happenings

The Week In News

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Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Jewish History

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

Parshas Beshalach is an ode to a nation being formed through trial and tribulation. The Jews faithfully followed Hashem’s direction out of Mitzrayim and into the desert, “lechteich acharai bamidbar,” marching from the depths of slavery to the heights of Kabbolas HaTorah. Yet, there are some issues that require explanation. Following the makkos and the exit of the Jews from Mitzrayim, Paroh and his nation chased after their former slaves, catching up with them on the banks of the Red Sea. Had Paroh and his people not learned their lesson? Had they not experienced enough bitterness and pain at the hands of the G-d of the Jewish people? Had they not recognized that they are no match for the G-d of the Jews, having lost every showdown with His nation? Why did they chase after the Jews? What made them think that they would be able to subjugate them once again? Paroh’s chase after the Jews is explained by the posuk (Shemos 14:4) in which Hashem had told Moshe that He would harden Paroh’s heart and cause him to chase after the Jews in order to bring about a kiddush Hashem. But what about the Mitzriyim? Why were they engaging in yet another doomed attempt to vanquish the Jews? Anyone with minimal intelligence could have concluded that the Jews would triumph, as they had repeatedly in the past. Why engage in a suicidal mission? While perhaps we can understand that the Mitzriyim were charmed by Paroh into engaging in this suicidal mission, how do we explain the behavior of the Jews? As Paroh and his people came closer to them, they let out a hue and a cry. They assaulted Moshe (Shemos 14:11-12), saying, “Are there not enough graves in Mitzrayim that you brought us here to die in the desert? We already told you in Mitzrayim that we would prefer working for Mitzrayim rather than dying in the desert.”

These were the very same people who just a few days prior had been delivered from the clutches of Mitzrayim. They had partaken in the Korban Pesach, they heard Hashem’s promises about their future in the Promised Land, and they answered their children’s questions, as prescribed by the posuk. These were the same people being led by the protective Anan Hashem during the day and the Amud Aish at night. Why were they fearful? How could they have sunk so quickly to express no confidence in Hashem’s ability to save them from Paroh?

While it seems silly to fashion a god out of stone and worship it as if it has powers, worshiping a false deity has many seeming advantages, for it frees people from obligations. To have recognized the power of Hashem would have obligated the Mitzriyim to follow His principles. Acknowledging that Hashem is indeed the Creator of the world and Omnipresent means that His Torah is the blueprint for the world and for man. The Egyptian legends and myths were much easier to accept than a truth that came with a code of proper conduct.

Amaleik is ever-present, bombarding us daily with challenges, moral, legal and ethical. We commonly understand avodah zorah as the inane worship of an inanimate statue or human being. Rav Elchonon Wasserman zt”l (Ikvisa D’Meshicha) explains that avodah zorah is actually embracing any concept or attitude that causes one to believe in a power or force other than Hakadosh Boruch Hu. Any belief that distracts a person from Hashem’s complete mastery over creation is avodah zorah. The Mitzriyim who followed Paroh to encircle the Jews and capture them and the Jews who complained that they were about to die in the desert had something in common, as Chazal teach us. “Hallalu ovdei avodah zorah, vehallalu ovdei avodah zorah.” Both were worshippers of avodah zorah.

The Jews were at the 49th level of tumah and under the influence of the Mitzriyim. As obvious as it may be to us in hindsight, as objective observers, it was very difficult for the Jews to shake lose the preposterous suppositions that they had become accustomed to. Prior to Krias Yam Suf, they still found it difficult to accept upon themselves the Divine code of conduct and fashioned imprudent postulations to explain their predicaments. At the splitting of the sea, the Jewish people rose to a very high level, recognizing Hashem’s strength and singing shirah. Chazal say that at that time, “a maidservant witnessed greater visions at the sea than the prophet Yechezkel ben Buzi ever saw.” It would appear that when they at-

tained those heights, they overcame their weaknesses and would remain in awe of Hashem’s mastery of the world. Yet, the same people lifted from the depths of impurity, who witnessed the open revelation of Hashem’s Presence and cried out, “Zeh Keili ve’anveihu,” seemed to fall ever so quickly. Their plunge was as dramatic as their rise. Three days after the climax, they were again complaining (Shemos 15:22), crying out, “Mah nishteh? What will we drink?” as if Hashem had brought them there for them to die of thirst (Shemos 15:24). Hashem’s answer is revealing. The posuk (ibid. 26) states that they were told, “If you listen to Hashem and do what is proper in His eyes, and follow His mitzvos and chukim, I will not place upon you the illnesses I placed upon Mitzrayim, for I am Hashem, your healer.” Their complaint about the lack of water emanated from a lack of belief. Hashem’s response was to remind them of their obligations as people of belief. If they would totally forsake their mythical beliefs, Hashem would be their protector. Although they knew the truth of Hashem, they began to slip back into the clutches of avodah zorah because of its convenience. Avodah zorah is akin to drug addiction. Although it is obvious that the drugs do not help the person’s situation, instead creating fictitious realities that cause the addict to be drawn into a downward spiral, the freedom from obligation and reality is a very enticing a panacea, making it difficult to overcome. With that incident behind them, they began moving, only to once again fall from their lofty plateau and complain that Moshe and Aharon were leading them to a painful death of starvation. They claimed that their life in Mitzrayim was idyllic, with prime beef and luscious bread. What happened? Where had the tangible emunah disappeared to? Once again, they were experiencing the ebb and flow of addicts. It was proving difficult for them to accept upon themselves the discipline that comes from recognizing Hashem. Their emunah and bitachon suffered, because they lacked the courage and fortitude to completely accept the restraint and regulation that accompany the acceptance of the fact that Hashem is the Creator. The nisyonos faced by the Dor Dei’ah are just as daunting to our generation today. We don’t worship little idols and other vacuous trivialities, but we are tempted by


Living withIn theNews Times The Week

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

other avodah zorahs. People worship money and fame, power and influence. They delude themselves with fictitious beliefs so that they can engage in physical pleasures. Anything that negates the fact that Hashem controls the world is a form of idol worship and avodah zorah. Every Jew recoils in horror at the thought of avodah zorah, yet we tread dangerously close when we attribute actions to forces other than Hashem. Society has adopted the theory put forward by Charles Darwin that the world created itself and animals evolved from shapeless matter into living, breathing beings. Everything you see in our beautiful world, they say, arrived there by itself. The millions of atoms required to form one being somehow managed to arrange themselves in that way to become trees, flowers, birds and all of humanity. The very idea is preposterous. To think that a human, or any part of him, could have come into existence by itself defies logic. Flowers created their multiple shapes, sizes and colors all by themselves? How can it be? Who can really believe that? The truth is that no one can, but people do anyway, for doing so frees them from being subservient to a Divine code of conduct. Dr. Henry Marsh, a British neurosurgeon, is one of the pioneers of a procedure called “awake craniotomy,” allowing the removal of certain brain tumors while a patient is awake. Karl Ove Knausgaard, a Norwegian author, was allowed to witness one such operation. His account was translated for The New York Times. He writes that one of the operating doctors “looked up from a microscope that was suspended over the brain and turned to me… ‘Do you want to have a look?’ he asked. “I nodded. “The doctor stepped aside, and I bent down over the microscope. “Oh G-d. “A landscape opened up before me. I felt as if I were standing on top of a mountain, gazing out over a plain covered by long, meandering rivers. On the horizon, more mountains rose up. Between them, there were valleys, and one of the valleys was covered by an enormous white glacier. Everything is gleaming and glittered. It was as if I had been transported to another world, another part of the universe. One river was purple, the others were dark red, and the landscape they coursed through was full of strange, unfamiliar colors.

But it was the glacier that held my gaze the longest. It lay like a plateau above the valley, sharply white, like mountain snow on a sunny day. I had never seen anything quite as beautiful, and when I straightened up and moved aside to make room for the doctor, for a moment my eyes were glazed with tears.” Yet, scientists, intellectuals, common people and lawmakers have the audacity to say that the brain created itself. There is nothing as beautiful as this organ, rarely seen by human eyes. The brain is merely one organ of millions, and its beauty and intricacy are mind-boggling. Imagine if you factor in the awesomeness of the Grand Canyon, the beauty and grandeur of every component of the world, the intricacy of a leaf and a blade of grass, and insects and the cosmos. How can anyone who knows anything about anything in this world mock creationists? It is hedonistic urges that drive people to Darwinism. The Chazon Ish taught that a necessary component of greatness is to always be objective. It might seem obvious, but to be free of negius means to be firmly committed to the ramifications of emunah. Great people are entrenched in their faith and aren’t dissuaded by temptations of money or power, since they know that everything comes from Hashem. If they are deserving of something, they do not have to obtain it through subterfuge. When they investigate an issue, when they are consulted for advice and direction, their judgment can be relied upon. A group of assimilated students once approached the Alter of Novardok, wishing to discuss finer points of religious ideology. He agreed to have the conversation, but said he would talk to them only after they had spent a month studying in his yeshiva. He explained his decision with the following parable: A simple person was walking along the street on a Shabbos afternoon when he saw a golden coin. He needed the money badly and began to find ways, according to halachah, to permit moving the coin on Shabbos. His reasoning was quite creative, and he was satisfied with his conclusions and kicked the coin step by step as he walked down the street towards his home. The town banker was taking his Shabbos afternoon stroll and noticed the gentleman kicking a coin as he walked. He bent down to examine the coin. When he straightened up, there was a frown on his

face. “I hate to break it to you, mister,” he said. “That coin is copper, not gold. It’s worth pachos mishoveh prutah.” Suddenly, all the heteirim vanished and the man sulked away, shuffling his tired feet home. His excitement was dashed and he was done with his creative halachic reasoning. The Alter of Novardok turned to the group. “That’s the truth for everything that captures us. If it holds value, then our reasoning is impacted and we are unable to think clearly. Only when we get rid of our misconceptions can we appreciate our errors and honestly examine the issues. “As much as I would like to help you in your thinking, it would be a waste of time for me to speak with you while you are still held captive by the allure of your culture and philosophy. After you have spent some time in yeshiva and your minds are cleared, I will be happy to talk.” It is only at the very end of the parsha that a change seems to overcome Am Yisroel, and for many parshiyos they do not rebel against Hashem. As Amaleik descended upon the Jewish people, something changed. Moshe, Aharon, Yehoshua and Chur led the charge against Amaleik. When Moshe raised his hands, the Jews advanced in their battle. The Mishnah teaches that when the Jews put their faith in the One Above and davened for victory, they won. The parsha ends as Hashem instructs to write down the story of Amaleik’s attack and to know that Hashem will erase the memory of Amaleik. However, that realization will wait until Moshiach’s arrival, for until then, we will face attacks from Amaleik in every generation. Amaleik sensed a lack of emunah and pounced. They saw a void and sought to expose it and take advantage of it. The nation of asher korcha baderech worked assiduously to tamp down the fires of faith. When the members of Klal Yisroel asserted themselves, they emerged stronger than ever. They believed with a new certainty and focus not just that Hashem runs the world, but also that everything else is just a distraction from that reality. The encounter with Amaleik served to tighten their embrace with Hashem and bring them closer to Har Sinai. Similarly, in every generation, when Amaleik attacks us, he causes us to reaffirm our beliefs and turn to Hashem. This is why Hashem promises that our arch-enemy will be ever-present until the redemption. We need him in order to remain loyal to Hashem. As we adapt to our host country in

the exile, people grow comfortable with surroundings and begin assimilating and adopting the prevalent avodah zorahs. When that happens, the nations get fed up with us, anti-Semitism reappears, and Jews are reminded who we are and where we come from. Check our history and you will see that it is true. The Jews are forced from their homes to a new exile. There is much pain and anguish. Jews are mercilessly killed and robbed of their possessions. Beaten and barely holding on, they establish roots in a new country. Slowly, they spread out of their ghettos and gradually become accepted and comfortable in the new host country. Good times are had by all, but then, just as it seems as if Moshiach has come and brought us home, the cycle begins again. The goyim get fed up with us, the noose tightens, and, before we know it, Amaleik has us on the run again. This time it is different, for we have been told that America will be the final stop in this exile. When we leave here, it will be to go with Moshiach to Eretz Yisroel. We must ensure that our faith remains firm, that our objectivity holds us in place, and that we don’t veer off the path. Amaleik is ever-present, bombarding us daily with challenges, moral, legal and ethical. He seeks to temp us with various avodah zorahs. In the spirit of “asher korcha,” he seeks to cool us from extreme devotion and dikduk b’mitzvos with different guises and nomenclatures. Sometimes, they sound intelligent and sophisticated, while at other times, they are directed at man’s baser temptations. When something comes along that can lead to chillul Hashem, we should know to stay far away and not get involved with it. When people begin doubting halachah or mesorah; when people throw up roadblocks to shemiras hamitzvos; when they mock our values and talmidei chachomim, seeking to adapt Torah to other cultures and religions; when they say that we must be more open-minded or accepting, we should recognize the voice of Amaleik. To survive, we must remain faithful to our mesorah, unyielding in our devotion to Torah, untempted by anything that introduces foreign beliefs, and support the hands of the Moshe Rabbeinus of our generation with emunah, bitachon, tefillah and humility. By doing so, we will merit the final geulah, bemeheirah beyomeinu. Amein.

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Torah 2017 inMusings Review The Week In News

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

“Say What?” The Power of Speech, Part 1 Sarah Pachter

One Shabbat afternoon, my husband and I were walking down the street when we overheard a teenage girl exclaim to her friend, “Oh my gosh! You’ll never believe what someone said to me today!” “What!?!” her friend asked. The girl lowered her voice before sharing, perhaps knowing that this “top secret information” was gossip. My husband and I kept walking but could hear whispers coming from the two friends. After a few moments, my husband turned to me and said, “I don’t know why, but I was pretty interested in what she was going to share.” I laughed. “Me, too! My ears completely perked up when she said that!” Usually when we begin a sentence with, You’ll never believe what so-and-so said/did, it is a lead-in for lashon hara,

gossiping about others or evil speech. The listener is seduced and ready to digest this juicy information. What is it about lashon hara that causes our interest to pique? We long for humor, distraction, and – as in the case with my husband and me – are simply curious. Sometimes we even feel superior when information is shared about someone we know that isn’t very flattering. It makes us feel just a little bit better about our own imperfections. Speech is powerful. The world was created through dibur, “speech” in Hebrew. Davar, which means “object,” has the same Hebrew letters. When G-d created the world, He said, “Let

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there be light,” (Genesis 1:3), and suddenly, light was created. This is unfathomable in today’s world. Could you imagine if we were to close our eyes and say, “Apple!” and an apple appeared in our hands? Although we do not create with our speech the way Hashem does, our speech has the power to inspire change, create movements, revolutions – even war. The tongue is often described in science books as the strongest muscle in the human body. There are other sources that claim that the masseter (a part of the jaw) is the strongest muscle. Isn’t it fascinating is that both the masseter and tongue are necessary muscles for human speech? They work together. This small piece of science is indicative that our physical bodies give insight into the power speech truly has in our lives (http://www.livescience. com/32823-strongest-human-muscles. html). Speech is so strong, in fact, that we barely have control over it. A wise woman once shared with me that when it comes to sharing information, the buck must stop with you. The moment you share something verbally, you become powerless over how and where your words will travel. It is impossible to say to a friend, “I’ll tell you this secret; just don’t tell anyone,” and to be able to trust that they won’t. Once you share it, it can take on a life of its own. There is a famous Jewish folktale about a man who loved to gossip. After years of living this way, he approached a rabbi wishing he could fix what he had done. The rabbi said, “It’s simple. Go take a pillow made of feathers, open it, and place one by each door of every house on the block. When you complete this task, come back to me.” Soon the man returned, and the rabbi said, “Great! Now, go collect them.” Dumbfounded, the man said, “I can’t! They have flown away!”

“So too have your words,” The rabbi responded. Speech has the power to build a person, motivate him to action, and help raise our children to become their best selves. Yet, speech also has the power to destroy. Hitler hardly picked up a physical weapon, yet with his words, millions perished. Most people do not abuse speech to this extreme, but there are four main types of negative speech that do hurt others: lashon hara (loosely translated as gossip), onaas devarim (hurting others with our words), deceptive talk (pertinent especially to business transactions), and disgusting speech (cursing, inappropriate, language, etc.).   If we analyze what happens when others use words against us, we feel ashamed, discouraged, defeated, embarrassed, and less than. I once shared something about an article that I had written with someone. The article had run in an international Jewish publication. The person said, “Oh, everyone knows that paper is just a bunch of advertisements.” I don’t think she had any idea how much that statement hurt me. Even a thoughtless comment can linger in our psyche. (Incidentally, how we feel when someone puts us down is actually an indication of how the other person feels that led them to do it.) Knowing how powerful our words can be, why on earth would we ever involve ourselves in negative speech, especially when the potential for so much good lies latent in our tongue? The answer is as layered and complex as humanity itself: we get angry, we become insensitive, become triggered by past trauma, or we simply lose our cool. We may feel the need to vent to someone, and are truly hurting inside. Alternately, making conversation and talking about others is part of our culture – hence the water cooler at work. Breaking that habit can be extremely difficult. Bearing human nature in mind, the question becomes: How can we stop ourselves from speaking negatively? I’ll let you know in our next installment.


The Week In News

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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Torah The Week In News

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Weekly Daf Can a caterer rent out a wedding hall to people who will be violating the halachah at the wedding? Rabbi Shmuel Wise, Maggid Shiur of RealClearDaf.com This is a question that R’ Moshe Feinstein deals with in his Igros Moshe (Yoreh Deah Vol. 1, Siman 72), and involves a gemara that we learned this week on daf 6. Our masechta began by teaching us that the rabbanan forbade commerce with pagans within three days of their idolatrous festivals. The gemara on 6a seeks to clarify the reason for this decree. Perhaps the rabbis’ concern was that by allowing an idolater to gain from a business deal, this might lead him to give thanks to his idol and thus the Jew will have violated the prohibition of causing an idol to be praised. Or perhaps the enactment was made in order to prevent a transgression of, “Do not place a stumbling block before a blind person.” That is, if the Jew for instance sells an animal to an idolater before his festival, which he might very well be planning to use for an idolatrous sacrifice, the Jew will have facilitated the idolater to transgress the sin of idol worship (it’s clear from our gemara then, that the “Do not place a stumbling block…” prohibition includes causing nonJews to sin as well).

The gemara then points out that this is not merely an academic question. If an idolater already possessed other animals, whether a Jew could sell him an animal near a pagan festival would hinge on the above question. For if the rabbis’ concern was only the issue of facilitating an idolatrous sacrifice, that would not be a problem in this case. As the gemara explains, “Do not place a stumbling block,” is only applicable if a person actually enables another to sin. Since this idolater anyways had his own animal to sacrifice, the Jew in this case would not be enabling him to sin by selling another animal to him. Rav Moshe applies the gemara’s distinction to the question of a catering/wedding hall business patronized by people who openly violate the halachah at their events. Since these customers could easily find a different catering business for their event, we cannot say that this particular business is actually enabling these people to do a sin. Therefore, Rav Moshe asserts, there is clearly no problem here as far as the Biblical transgression of “Do not place a stumbling

block…” However, we must still deal with the Rabbinic prohibition that says a Jew cannot “aid the hands of a sinner.” Seemingly contracting to service an event where the halachah will be violated is “aiding a sinner,” and should therefore be Rabbinically forbidden. Yet, Rav Moshe presents three arguments why in fact this case would not be prohibited on the grounds of “aiding a sinner.” First Rav Moshe brings a Shach (Y.D. 151, 6) who limits the “aiding a sinner” prohibition to a case where the sinner doesn’t realize that he is engaging in a sin. In this situation the Torah obligates us to apprise the person of the situation to distance him from the sin. But if the person in not observant in general, the prohibition does not apply. Rav Moshe also points out that the prohibition not to aid a sinner should not dictate to decline providing a wedding hall to the non-observant patron given the fact that if he is turned down by this kosher caterer, it is likely he will end up using a non-kosher caterer. Prompting this customer to use a

non-kosher caterer would not exactly be helping this person to avoid a sin! Lastly, Rav Moshe suggests that “aiding a sinner” is inapplicable to this situation due to the indirect nature of how sin is abetted here. For certainly the actual transaction before us, i.e. providing a hall for an event to be held, is not sinful in any way. It is only that, once provided with the amenities, the customer will choose to engage in halachically problematic behaviors. This is far less direct than, say, handing someone a cheeseburger. Were we not to accept this argument, Rav Moshe points out, it would lead us down a slippery slope: how could we e.g. sell pots and pans to non-observant people when they will use these things to prepare non-kosher food (it is given that there is no issue to sell cookware to non-observant people)? Evidently, the prohibition is limited to a situation where the person is very directly facilitating another to sin. See Rav Moshe’s responsum there to further explore this interesting topic.


Humor The Week In News

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Humor: Don’t Throw the Book at Me! Rebecca Klempner

Last week, I finished writing a novel that took me five years to complete. It’s sitting on my husband’s nightstand right now. We printed it out, but it’s missing the last few pages, because we ran out of ink. Even without pages 295-317, it makes an impressive stack. On one hand, I’m extremely excited. Although it’s not my first novel, it’s my first novel written for adults. I think I did a skillful job with some of the dialogue, and I think I covered original territory with the subject matter. On the other hand, I have just spent five years on a book, and I have no idea if anyone will publish it. If I can’t sell the book, I will get zero money. Imagine a doctor who goes to the clinic to treat patients five days a week for five years. They’d expect payment, right? Imagine a janitor who shows up to scrub toilets and mop floors five days a week for five years. They’d expect a pay check each month, right? I like to think of writing as my profession, but sometimes it feels more like gambling. Come to think of it, it probably took me five years to finish this book in part because I’m not a gambler. I can go to Vegas for a week and not drop a nickel in a slot machine. I look at people eating those jelly beans which come in nasty flavors like stinky sock and dirty diaper and think, “I don’t care if a yellow jelly bean has an equal likelihood to be lemon meringue or earwax; I refuse to try one.” Anyway, for someone like me, thinking about having spent so much time on a single project with no guarantee that it will ever make me money makes me hyperventilate. Or eat chocolate. Or take a responsible well-paid job that will stifle my creativity and make me go bonkers. Instead of dedicating myself full-time to this novel, I kept at it in the snippets of time I had between other writing projects with better publishing prospects, as well as all my copyediting. The other concern I have with my book is that it is not very good. Or maybe it is. But I can’t tell because I’ve been writing and reading and rewriting and rereading ad nauseum for five years. The smart thing to do would be to hire a freelance editor to straighten me out. Only, I can’t really afford an expert editor to straighten me out, maybe not even an inexpert one with only marginally more experience than I have. In theory, I should view acquiring a freelance editor as an investment. My husband and I are also busy paying L.A. rent, day school tuition, food for six, and student loan payments. Not to mention fixing my car and replacing missing socks and socks with holes in them and socks that have shrunk in the wash.

I keep telling myself that this is an exercise in emunah. I’m not a chassid, but I like to quote the Rebbe and tell myself, “Think good, and it’ll be good.” Or, I repeat one of my favorite mantras, “I’ll do

my best and let Hashem do the rest.” I know my new manuscript is not yet “my best,” but it’s getting pretty close. Im yirtzeh Hashem, Hashem will make miracles. My husband will read my book over

the next few days and let me know what he thinks. I think that might make me feel a little more confident. I’ve just got to remember to pick up that new ink cartridge before he hits Chapter 41.

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Feature The Week In News

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Consumer Electronics Show 2018: Artificial Intelligence Takes Off Aaron Feigenbaum

Each year, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas highlights the most cutting-edge, revolutionary tech out there, and this year was no exception. From a rollable TV to truly wireless charging to major advancements in virtual reailty, CES 2018’s whirlwind of incredible gadgets represents not only science fiction come to life, but also the increasingly competitive and rapidly shifting nature of the tech industry. Case in point is the heated AI rivalry between Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and the new challenger in the game: Samsung’s Bixby. These voice-controlled technologies are used to do everything from give you reminders to controlling your smart devices to answering questions. However, until CES 2018, they’ve mostly

been confined to the iconic tabletop speakers. Now, Google and Amazon plan to expand far beyond that by integrating their AI platforms into cars, earbuds, office meeting rooms, and even unusual places like the Kohler smart toilet. Meanwhile, Samsung has big plans of its own for its Bixby assistant. Rather than merely showing off new phones, TVs, and refrigerators as has been the tradition at CES, the Korean tech giant also emphasized new ways for users to interact with these devices via the Bixby ecosystem. For example, beginning this year, Samsung TVs will have Bixby integration to allow you to do things like search for shows and movies, view photos from the cloud, and serve as a hub for all your smart devices. Samsung also upgraded their smart Fami-

ly Hub refrigerator to recommend what you should cook based on the ingredients in your fridge and your family’s food preferences and allergies.

In the TV arena, Samsung was the clear winner at this year’s CES. In a show-stopping moment, Samsung unveiled a massive 146” TV that it simply calls “The Wall.” However, the size isn’t the only impressive thing about it. Using advanced MicroLED technology, this TV is modular, meaning that users can add or remove pieces of the TV without affecting performance. Samsung also unveiled its Q9S 8K smart TV, which uses AI to upscale low-resolution video.

Not to be outdone, LG showcased a rollable 65-inch 4K OLED TV – a first of its kind. The TV rolls out like a poster from a rectangular box, and its height can be adjusted depending on the type of content. In another breakthrough, the relatively unknown Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo made a huge splash by unveiling the world’s first phone with a fingerprint sensor embedded into the screen, beating Apple and Samsung at a game that everyone expected one of them to win. In the world of virtual reality, Google stunned the crowd by announcing the Lenovo Mirage Solo,

the world’s first standalone VR headset. This means that no extra hardware such as a smartphone, gaming console, or PC is required. All the technology is baked right into the headset itself. Google also announced a companion camera that allows users to shoot 4K video and images and stream the content to the headset to view them in VR. Robotics also made a strong showing at CES with offerings such as the cleaning bot Aeolus and the A1 robot from Amy Robotics, which provides a mobile video conference and can follow you around. A particularly impressive demonstration came from the Robomart team, which makes a very futuristic-looking, self-driving that delivers fruits and vegetables to your home. Forwardx seems to have solved the annoyance of lugging around heavy suitcases at the airport with its autonomous suitcase robot that even recognizes gesture commands. Their rival Travelmate Robotics made a version that can lie either flat or vertical and integrate with the user’s smartphone. Finally, Toyota showed off its e-Palette self-driving vehicle that can potentially be used as a taxi, food truck, retail delivery vehicle, or even a place to sleep.


JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Feature

The Week In News

Going the extra mile! Awarded the Best of Innovation award, Wi-Charge has the potential to revolutionize the world or portable electronics. Forget tangles of charging wires and even having to leave your phone on a wireless charging pad. Using infrared beams, Wi-Charge delivers juice to your devices simply by connecting the receiver unit and leaving them in the line of sight. The Wi-Charge line of products most notably includes Lights, a stylish ceiling light fixture that delivers power over a long range.

CES 2018 saw some remarkable strides made in health tech. One of the most significant of these is the NeoMano robotic glove, which allows people with spinal cord injuries use of their hands via a rubber pad that is controlled with the arm or elbow. The device is currently in early development and the company plans on improving its aesthetics as well as adding voice recognition and head motion activation. Olfinity is a smart air purifier that monitors your home’s air quality in real time and dispenses an aromatherapy cleanser as needed. Fitness tech also made its way into the spotlight with the Peloton Tread. Peloton has already made a huge splash with its indoor exercise bikes that stream live workout classes into your home. Now the company is expanding into the world of treadmills with its new Tread model. Despite its prohibitively expensive cost ($4000 + a monthly subscription fee), the Tread is likely to have a top spot on many fitness enthusiasts’ most-wanted list. Yet while having fitness classes live-streamed to your exercise device is revolutionary in its own

right, the Black Box company wants to take it a step further in bringing what they call the world’s first “virtual reality gym.” Black Box’s approach is to immerse users into a game where your exercise moves are translated into attacks. And if the workout is too stressful or too easy for you, the system’s machine learning software can automatically adjust the intensity. You can also play multiplayer and compete against friends and fellow gym attendees. Black Box, rated the Best Startup at CES, is planning on building its own boutique, VR-only gyms later this year. Last, but not least, the Wi-Fiber company won the Best Vision of the Future (Smart City) award for its smart streetlights. Rather than merely lighting up the road, Wi-Fiber’s design integrates a security camera, WiFi equipment, and the ability to change the lighting color (which would be useful, for instance, in directing law enforcement and medical teams to the site of an emergency). The streetlight can also be upgraded to include things like gunshot sensors, air-quality monitors and potentially machine-to-machine communication when the era of mass adoption of driverless cars arrives.

Overall, this year’s CES continued in the tradition of showing off the most fascinating and futuristic tech gadgets around. With the show’s heavy emphasis placed on AI, we can expect to see rapid development in the Internet of Things as our devices become smarter and more interconnected. One can only imagine the kinds of wonders in store for next year’s show.

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The Week In News

The Week In News

Former CIA Agent Mole Arrested

In a joint effort, the CIA and FBI arrested a mole within the CIA ranks in China. The arrest of Jerry Chun Shing Lee, also known as Zhen Cheng Li, a former CIA case officer, is seen as a breakthrough in a joint FBI and CIA investigation into the devastation of the agency’s spy network in China. This ongoing probe began in 2011 after the FBI was tipped off by an informant in China who grew increasingly concerned after everyone he knew who was helping the U.S. government was being discovered by Chinese authorities. Since then, the loss of

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

so many important sources has been a major preoccupation within the intelligence community. Many of those discovered were either killed or forced to work for China. The CIA and FBI made it their mission to discover how the Chinese government managed to learn the names of so many people spying for the United States when their identities were supposed to be among the most carefully guarded secrets in American espionage. Previously, some believed that the Chinese had discovered the methods the CIA uses to communicate covertly with its assets in the field, a suspicion that has yet to be confirmed. Lee, 53, does not yet appear to have an attorney. He faces a charge of unlawful retention of national defense information. When he returned from China to the U.S. in 2012 to live in Virginia with his family, investigators began to track him. During two hotel stays by Lee, in Hawaii and Virginia, the FBI searched Lee’s rooms and photographed a pair of small notebooks containing handwritten notes, including the real names and phone numbers of CIA assets and covert employees. In 2013, the FBI approached Lee and interviewed him on five separate occasions. He denied his involvement and the existence of the notebooks during all encounters and was never charged with a crime. He eventually fled the U.S. and moved to Hong Kong. Last week he arrived at a New York airport, was greeted by authorities, and immediately arrested. Two former U.S. officials described Lee as an “arrogant” case officer and said

he may have determined that having been interviewed multiple times by the FBI without being charged there was little risk of his being apprehended if he returned to the United States. There is no evidence, yet, that Lee actually handed over classified information to a foreign government, and he therefore may not be charged with more serious offenses. “Absent any proof, there’s not much you can do with it,” one former official said. “There’s lots of smoke around this guy. They couldn’t prove anything.”

Saudi Arabia Sends Relief to Yemen Yemen is still torn apart by an ongoing civil war that involves the current government against Iran-aligned Houthis. A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia pledged $1.5 billion in new humanitarian aid for the war-torn country. This essentially supports the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The U.S.-backed alliance, which also includes the United Arab Emirates, said in a statement it would operate an air bridge to Marib, set up 17 overland corridors for aid deliveries, and will lead the expansion of additional Yemeni ports to receive humanitarian and essential cargo. “We are backing a professionally planned and detailed humanitarian mission with military power and precision to guarantee that the humanitarian aid reaches the people who need it to lift their suffering,” said spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki. Yemen is currently the world’s worst humanitarian crisis although it doesn’t get the media’s full attention. An estimated 8.3 million people are entirely dependent on external food aid and 400,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, a potentially lethal condition, according to the United Nations. Billions of dollars have already been pumped into Yemen by the coalition. However, the war has still created conditions that require global assistance. For example, food deliveries have decreased by more than half. Additionally, outbreaks of cholera and diphtheria have been discovered across Yemen.

1.2M Forever Missing On Tuesday, Germany’s Red Cross announced that it would end its search for missing people from World War II in 2023, leaving the fate of 1.2 million people a mystery. “We won’t be able to shed light on their fates,” the head of the German Red Cross’s tracing service, Thomas Huber, admitted. His office and the German interior ministry have agreed to halt efforts to determine

what happened to the disappeared in five years’ time, he said, 78 years after the end of the devastating war.

While interest has waned over the decades, the German Red Cross said it still received some 9,000 requests in 2016 from people looking for information about family members who vanished during the 1939-1945 war. Researchers were able to find answers in 40 percent of those cases after scouring archives from the Second World War and those left behind by the Soviets and authorities in communist East Germany. “For many people this (period) is still a black hole on their family tree,” said Huber. In 2010, the tracing service was able to reunite two brothers after six decades apart. “Cases like that are very moving,” he noted. When it was set up shortly after the war, the tracing service was tasked with finding more than 20 million people, often soldiers who were either killed or taken prisoner but also many ordinary civilians caught up in the chaos of war.

Terrorism in Kabul At least 22 people were killed when gunmen raided the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on Saturday. The terrorists engaged in a 12-hour standoff with security forces, Afghan authorities said. Of those killed, 14 were foreign nationals and four were Afghans, according to Najib Danish, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior. Four gunmen were also killed by Afghan security forces responding to the attack, he said. Nine of the victims were from Ukraine and one from Greece, another from Germany and another from Kazakhstan, Kabul Police Chief Salem Ehsas said. Americans were also killed and injured in the attack, although exact numbers have not been released. The Taliban released a statement claiming responsibility and saying it was carried out by five assailants. The attackers were affiliated with the Pakistan-based Haqqani network. The ministry said 153 people – including 41 foreigners – were rescued from the hotel 12 hours after the gunmen attacked the hotel at about 9 p.m. last Saturday. During the standoff, the hotel’s third floor kitchen caught fire, said Nasrat Rahimi, a deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry. TOLO, an Afghani TV


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station, showed images of people hanging off balconies, proclaiming that they were “desperate guests and staff trying to escape” from the burning hotel. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a statement on Sunday condemning the attack. “The United States stands with the government and people of Afghanistan,” he said. “We remain firmly committed to supporting Afghan efforts to achieve peace, security, and prosperity for their country. Violence like what we witnessed yesterday has no place in Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world.” Vassilis Vassileiou, a Greek Kam Air pilot in the hotel during the attack, said he cut a mattress open and hid inside it. “They were first killing Westerners and then laughing at the dead,” said Vassileiou, according to Reuters. “I was constantly hearing shouts, shots and bangs on the doors.”

spirit is about respect, dialogue and understanding. The Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018 are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean Peninsula and inviting the world to join in a celebration of hope.”

Chinese Gang Busted in Italy Italy got a taste of its own medicine when authorities closed in on a Chinese mafia organization on Thursday. After a seven-year investigation, 33 gangsters

were arrested on suspicion of running a criminal enterprise that dominated the transport of Chinese products in Europe, financed by money from gambling, drugs, and other illegal activities.

The criminal headquarters were located in Prato, a Tuscan city northwest of Florence, home to a large Chinese community. Prato is home to around 4,500 Chinese companies that import textiles or accessories from China and assemble them for sale at low- and mid-price retailers all over Europe. Since the early arrivals of Chinese migrants in Prato in the 1980s, the community has become one of the biggest in Europe. The police operation broke up “a dangerous organization that had used force to take control of trucking, and was financed by its illegal activities,” Interior Minister Marco Minniti said in a statement.

N. Korea to Attend Olympics Games The Olympics is about to mix business with pleasure by involving politics. North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympic Games has been sporadic over the years. This year, they will be participating in the Games, even though they will be located in South Korea. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach announced that 22 North Korean athletes will be sent to South Korea to compete in three sports: ice hockey, ice skating and skiing. Fifteen of the athletes are women and seven are men. They will be accompanied by 24 coaches and 21 media representatives. This update came after a meeting between delegations from the two Koreas and Olympic officials in Lausanne, Switzerland. Bach said reaching this outcome “was not an easy journey” but that he was proud of what the representatives of the two Koreas, the IOC and the Pyeongchang 2018 Organizing Committee had achieved. In a show of unity, athletes from the North and South will march together under one flag at the opening ceremony for the Games in Pyeongchang on February 9. “This team will enter the Olympic Stadium under the Korean unification flag. I’m sure that this will be a very emotional moment not only for al Koreans but also for the entire world,” Bach said. In another historical move, the two nations will be competing as a team in a women’s ice hockey game. They submitted the name “Korea” and will display the unification flag. Many are seeing this show of unity as a possible diplomatic breakthrough that could eventually allow for peace on the Korean Peninsulas. Bach proclaimed, “The Olympic Games are always about building bridges, they never erect walls. The Olympic

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The Week In News “Being able to shed light on the mafia character of this group is almost incredible,” Federico Cafiero De Raho, Italy’s chief anti-mafia prosecutor, told journalists at a news conference in Florence. “It’s quite unusual to be able to identify a complex Chinese mafia organization.” The authorities seized assets worth a few million euros, including 61 bank accounts and eight vehicles. The mafia’s affiliates spanned Paris, Madrid and Neuss, Germany, as well as in some northern Italian cities and in Rome, where the group’s leader lived. The organization’s leader, Zhang Naizhong, 57, was arrested early Thursday in a Prato hotel. Nicknamed the “black man” by affiliates and “boss of all bosses,” it is believed that he visited the town from Rome with his son once a week to tend to his business. The evening before his arrest, the police said, he had visited businesses in Prato and used eight cars to avoid being followed or identified. Since Prato had thousands of goods being transported throughout Europe it enabled the gang easy access to its prey. According to authorities, the criminal ring used threats and violence against Chinese business owners to carry out illegal activities such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, extortion and gambling.

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Largest Underwater Cave Reveals Secrets

Archaeologists retrieved a wealth of information when divers discovered the largest known underwater cave in the world in Mexico. Historians are hoping they could learn more about a pre-Hispanic, ancient community that existed in the region. The Yucatan peninsula, where the cave is located, still holds treasures from the ancient Mayan community. The cave is constructed by two massive connected underwater caverns which span 216 miles, according to the Gran Acuífero Maya (GAM), the team of explorers who discovered the cave. Located near the beach resort of Tulum, the two caves, Sac Actun and Dos Ojos, measured at 163 miles and 52 miles, respectively. Until the discovery of the connection between the two caves, the largest underwater cave in the world was the Ox Bel Ha, which stretched 168 miles long, according to the National Speleological Society.

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The discovery “allows us to appreciate much more clearly how the rituals, the pilgrimage sites and ultimately the great pre-Hispanic settlements that we know emerged,” said Guillermo de Anda, director of the GAM. He called it an “amazing” find that would help to better understand the Mayan civilization.  For years explorers have been touring the miles of underwater caves. According to the exploration director, Robert Schmittner, his team has been exploring the Sac Actun cave for 14 years. “Now,” Schmittner said in a statement, “everyone’s job is to conserve it.”  “This immense cave represents the most important submerged archaeological site in the world,” de Anda said in a statement. This cave system has “documented evidence of the first settlers of America, as well as extinct fauna and, of course, the Mayan culture.” 

ample where researchers were able to pin state-backed hackers to a specific building. “We were able to take advantage of extraordinarily poor operational security,” she noted. Murray said relevant authorities had been notified about the spying but declined to go into further detail. Galperin and Murray both said researchers were marshalling more evidence and that more revelations were coming. “Stay tuned,” Murray said.

Post-Gulf War Interviews Released

Lebanese Hackers Exposed Hackers are usually known for being meticulous about covering their tracks but it seems that a major hacking operation associated with Lebanon’s main intelligence agency let themselves get real sloppy, leading to their exposure. Spies working for Lebanon carelessly left hundreds of gigabytes of intercepted data exposed on the open internet, according to a report published on Thursday. Mobile security firm Lookout Inc. and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, said the haul, which includes nearly half a million intercepted text messages, had simply been left online by hackers linked to Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security. “It’s almost like thieves robbed the bank and forgot to lock the door where they stashed the money,” said Mike Murray, Lookout’s head of intelligence. Lookout security researcher Michael Flossman said investigators found Syrian battlefield photos, private phone conversations, passwords, and pictures of children’s birthday parties. “It was everything. Literally everything,” Flossman said. Victims of the hack span 21 different countries, including in the U.S. and European countries. Hackers used fake websites and malicious smartphone apps, including WhatsApp, to steal passwords or meddle into communications, snooping on conversations and obtaining at least 486,000 text messages. Victims were scammed by being tricked into visiting the bogus websites and downloading harmful apps. The hacking campaign, dubbed “Dark Caracal,” is unusual in the quantity of data discovered. Electronic Frontier Foundation Director of Cybersecurity Eva Galperin said the find was remarkable, explaining that she could think of only one other ex-

The IDF has released interviews that were conducted with Israel’s 1991 Defense Minister Moshe Arens and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Shomron shortly after the First Gulf War. The war began in the predawn hours of January 18, 1991 when the Iraqi army launched eight SCUD missiles into Israel which reached Tel Aviv and Haifa. This attack, that left seven people dead and many injured, sparked the war. Throughout the war, Saddam Hussein ordered his military to fire 30 more SCUDs into Israel. Another two people were killed in missile attacks and 11 were injured from heart attacks and asphyxiation as a reaction to the missiles. It was highly expected that Israel would send retaliatory airstrikes to Iraq, and the newly released interviews shed light on the IDF’s thinking at the time. “It turns out that Arens called [thenU.S. secretary of defense Dick] Cheney and told him, ‘OK, we’re going to attack, move your planes,” Shomron recalled in his interview. Arens confirmed in his interview that he was indeed in touch with the United States discussing their counterattacks. ”I spoke with Cheney on a special line almost every day. I told him, ‘We need to attack, we need to coordinate,’” he recalled. “He was always trying to push me off. He said it required permission from the president and that there still wasn’t permission from the president so we couldn’t coordinate,” Arens said. The United States was very opposed to any Israeli intervention because they feared that the coalition members would not want to be seen as fighting on the same side as Israel. The coalition therefore went “SCUD hunting,” which consisted of searching for the launchers that the Iraqi


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army was using to attack Israel and Saudi Arabia. One such launcher had hit a U.S. Army Barracks and killed 28 soldiers. Arens said in his interview that although few people were hurt in Israel, there was always a feeling that the “next missile could cause mass casualties, the next missile could be a chemical missile and the Americans aren’t succeeding in stopping it, so we have to.” Shomron said that he was much less enthusiastic about launching an attack. ”If the government said to attack, we’d attack, but I recommended that we shouldn’t,” Shomron said. “If an hour later, a missile fell with poisonous gas that caused mass casualties, maybe I would recommend to attack. I wasn’t saying no attacking from now until the end of time.” Shomron spoke about how his views did not make him popular in Israel. “People think, ‘They attack us and we don’t respond?’ That’s the reflex most people have. That’s how we were raised,” Shomron said. “Arens always wanted to do something. He’d always bring us little missions. And I never wanted to do those little missions,” Shomron said. “When do you lose your deterrence? When you do something little. Then they say, ‘This is all [the Israelis] can do,’” the former general said. Arens also recalls in his interview going to speak with President George H.W. Bush to convince him that Israel should conduct a retaliatory attack on Iraq because the coalition was not being effective and the Patriot anti-missile system was not effectively stopping the attacks. “There was an argument, and they said that their figures showed that they were succeeding in intercepting [Scud missiles]. I told them, ‘Look, I’m telling you they’re not. They haven’t intercepted one missile,” Arens said. Ultimately, Israel did not carry out any counterstrikes against Iraq, mostly due to American pressure against it.

Israel’s Embassy in Jordan to Re-open

An official memorandum has been sent from Israel to the Jordanian government apologizing for the deaths of two Jordanians during a shooting incident at the Israeli embassy in Amman in July and the killing of a Jordanian judge in a separate 2014 incident. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office then put out a statement announcing that the embassy, which was closed after the July incident, would be reopened. A Jordanian spokesperson said that Israel has agreed to comply with the Kingdom of Jordan’s preconditions in order to resume

regular diplomatic relations. The conditions included bringing legal action against the Israeli security guard accused of killing two Jordanians at the embassy and offering financial compensation to the bereaved families. “Israel attaches great importance to its strategic relations with Jordan, and the two countries will act to advance their cooperation and to strengthen the peace treaty between them,” Bibi’s office said. Ziv Moyal, the security guard at the embassy, shot two Jordanians after one of them attacked him. Israel has maintained that he acted in self-defense. This week it was announced by Israel that they will not be prosecuting Moyal. Instead, Israel will be studying the incident and will be sharing its findings with the Jordanians. The killings in the embassy led to all diplomatic staff in the Amman embassy to return to Israel, including Ambassador Einat Schlein. Jordan had originally said that Schlein and the rest of the staff could not return to Jordan unless Moyal was put on trial. Netanyahu is set to name a new ambassador to the embassy. All three Jordanian families have agreed to accept the financial compensation from Israel, a reported $5 million.

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The UN had to scramble to replace funds that the United States is withholding from the UNRWA. Belgium has agreed to disburse $23 million for Palestinian refugees out of the $65 million that the U.S. has withheld. The United States supplies nearly a third of the UNRWA’s annual budget. Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that his country was responding to a global fundraising appeal by UNRWA. The money is what Belgium would have paid in the next three years, however they made the funds ready for immediate release in response to the appeal. UNRWA’s Secretary-General Pierre Krähenbühl said the fundraising appeal will continue over the next few weeks but did not say which countries would be approached to help make up the missing funds. The U.S. State Department announced that it would not be releasing $65 million of the $120 million it planned on contributing this month, which would have been one of many payments made in 2018. The United States sent a letter to UNRWA that the funds would not be released unless major changes were made by the UNRWA. “We would like to see some reforms be made,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, adding that changes were needed in the way the agency operates and is funded. “This is not aimed at punishing anyone,” Nauert said,

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The Week In News adding that the U.S. believes there needs to be more “burden-sharing,” a regular issue raised by President Donald Trump about multilateral organizations dependent on significant contributions of U.S. cash. “We don’t believe that taking care of other nations and other people have to be solely the United States’ responsibility,” she said. The United States gave $335 million to the UNRWA in 2016 and was supposed to make a similar contribution this year. The State Department decided to withhold the funds after President Trump criticized the lack of progress in the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis. They are awaiting a formal policy decision from President Trump before sending the first installment. On January 2, the President tweeted: “We pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect,” he said. “But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

Building a Wall – Underground

The IDF has allowed journalists inside the tunnel that was dug 650 feet inside Israel by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. The destruction of the tunnel, which was 16 feet belowground, led to mortar fire, rocket attacks, and riots within and around Gaza. The tunnel was only 1.2 miles away from Kibbutz Kissufim and, had it been completed, could have led to a very violent situation for kibbutz residents. The increased number of underground tunnels such as this one has forced Israel to come up with an innovative solution. The Israeli government and military

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

have come up with a clever way of stopping any future construction of such tunnels. Construction of an underground barrier surrounding the Gaza Strip has begun. The subterranean terror tunnel threat is to be eliminated by the censor-laden reinforced concrete walls that are being placed deep into the ground. The 40-mile barrier is known as “the obstacle.” The IDF has been adamant that it will protect Israeli citizens from underground threats. ”Israel will defend this barrier in every way possible,” an IDF official said in August. “This barrier will be built. Period. At any price.” As of now, 2.5 miles of the barrier has been built. Construction has started around the most at-risk Israeli communities. Five cement factories have been built in the area to accommodate the heavy work order. The underground barrier is created using a machine called a hydromill. A deep trench is dug and filled with a mixture of bentonite, clay, and water. A metal lattice is then dropped into the trench and a pipe is lowered to the bottom which pumps in concrete and pushes out the bentonite mixture. When asked how deep the barrier will be, the IDF official would only say that it was “deep enough.” If work continues at its current pace, the underground barrier will be completed by the end of 2019. According to an IDF official, Gazan terrorists will have to turn to other ways of doing Israel harm, likely using drones, sea-based attacks, or more advanced types of missiles. The IDF has warned that Hamas is attempting to make progress in all three of these areas.

31 Years of Pain An IDF soldier that has been in a vegetative state since he was injured in Lebanon 31 years ago has died at the age of 50. Sgt. Avraham Ajami was remembered at his funeral by his relatives and friends as a “shy 19-year-old that was loved by everyone.” The IDF was fighting in southern Lebanon in 1987 when a shell exploded near Ajami during a battle at an army post in the town of Marjayoun. The young soldier was evacuated to a hospital in critical condition. Though he survived, he was never

able to regain consciousness after his serious head injury and spent the rest of his life hooked up to machines. Two weeks ago, Ajami came down with pneumonia and was unable to recover. A full military ceremony was held in his honor at the military cemetery in Holon. “Abraham was loved by everyone — [he was] shy, introverted and liked helping others,” said his sister, Metuka Aspir. Ajami’s brother, Reuven, said in his eulogy that “friends loved him, and it seems like he was truly a special person. After the injury, they told us things about him we didn’t know, since he was so shy. He was no ordinary person.” “He had immense inner strength and always smiled,” said Ajami’s commander, Dror Lifshitz. “I remember we once tried to educate him and told him to wipe his smile off his face, and he said, ‘OK,’ but then came back smiling and said, ‘I just can’t wipe it off.’”

raid. One suspect was killed and another was taken into custody. Two police officers were wounded, one of them seriously. However, Ahmad Jarrar apparently succeeded in fleeing the scene. Israeli forces have been in pursuit of him ever since, with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman saying on Friday that he is “living on borrowed time.”

You Have Won a Free Trip to Hawaii!

Arrests after Raziel Shevach Murder Early Tuesday morning, IDF forces arrested the brother of one of the terrorists suspected of murdering Raziel Shevach, Hy”d. Suhaib Nassar Jarrar, brother of terror cell leader Ahmad Nassar Jarrar, was captured by the IDF. Ahmad has so far evaded arrest. The IDF also arrested Wissam Assam Jarrar, a relative of Ahmad, in Jenin. Details of the arrests were released by Palestinian media; the IDF has a gag order in place regarding the investigation. Even so, the IDF has confirmed that eight Palestinian suspects were arrested in the West Bank between Monday night and Tuesday morning in connection to Shevach’s murder. On January 9, shortly before 8 p.m., 35-year-old father of six Rabbi Raziel Shevach was driving his car on the highway near his home in the Havat Gilad outpost when shots were fired at him from a passing vehicle. Shevach, a volunteer medic, was shot in the neck, but managed to call his wife and tell her to call an ambulance. Civilian and military medics rushed to the scene and tried to stop the bleeding as they took Shevach to Kfar Saba’s Meir Hospital, where he was pronounced dead after life-saving efforts failed. Israeli security services launched a manhunt after the perpetrators, leading them to a house in Jenin where the suspects were believed to be hiding last Thursday. In an operation led by the Israel Police’s counterterrorism unit, security forces used a technique known as “pressure cooker,” in which troops use a number of high-intensity weapons and tools to disorient the suspects inside a house before knocking down a wall and entering the structure in full force. A firefight broke out during the arrest

In 2003, a bipartisan bill was passed to stop the telemarketing that we have all been subjected to. Telemarketing had gotten out of hand in America and President George W. Bush wanted to put a stop to it. The House bill creating the Do Not Call Registry, to be overseen by the Federal Trade Commission, passed with a vote of 412 to 8. President Bush marked the occasion with a Rose Garden announcement saying that “when Americans are sitting down for dinner, or a parent is reading to his or her child the last thing they need is a call from a stranger with a sales pitch.” Telemarketers would have to pay to obtain the list of names on the registry and if they called those numbers, intentionally or not, they would be subjected to an $11,000 fine per number called. Within the first three months, over 50 million people had signed up to the list. Hundreds of thousands of telemarketers were out of a job and Americans could rest at home in peace again. However, the win for the Bush administration was not to be long-lived. Within a few years, “robo-calling” would replace traditional telemarketing and the problem grew exponentially worse. When telemarketing first started, only huge corporations like GE & Proctor and Gamble could afford to hire the large amounts of people it took to make the calls. Once voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) dialing was invented, telemarketers were able to make a huge number of phone calls at a very low cost from anywhere in the world. Will Maxson, an assistant director in the FTC’s consumer protection bureau, explains that VoIP “also allows you to set up shop, tear down, and move. All you really need to make a lot of calls is a comput-


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er and an Internet connection.” In 2009, the FTC outlawed almost all robo-calling, but from 2010 to 2011, the amount of Do Not Call complaints went from 1.6 million to 2.3 million. In 2012, the numbers jumped another 70 percent. Last year, the FTC received 7.2 million complaints. The most common complaints were about calls concerning debt-reduction schemes, vacation and timeshare offers, warranties and protection plans, and impostors. The problem is two-fold. The FTC has only 43 employees assigned to the department that deal with robo-calling. Additionally, the fines that are imposed are not big enough or imposed quickly enough to act as a deterrent as an offender simply shuts down their operation and opens under a different name using different phone numbers. Many are working on technology that will allow for further screening and many apps are available to help filter out robo-callers. Time will tell if the new technology and increased push to shut down robo-telemarketers will result in a quieter dinner for your family.

Amazon Shopping for a Home

Location, location, location. Amazon is on the search for a qualified city to host its second headquarters. The facility, which will be called HQ2, will cost at least $5 billion to build and operate. Along with that will come an estimated 50,000 jobs. Last year, the company received bids from 238 cities and regions in 54 states, provinces, districts and territories in the U.S. and Canada. Last week, Amazon revealed the 20 finalists; they are expected to make the grand reveal at some point this year. The locations being considered are: Atlanta Austin Boston Chicago Columbus Dallas Denver Indianapolis Los Angeles Miami Nashville New York City

JANUARY 25, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Newark Philadelphia Pittsburgh Raleigh Toronto Washington Northern Virginia Montgomery County Different cities have proposed alluring incentives to entice Amazon to open HQ2 in their locations, including billions of dollars of tax incentives for the internet giant. According to firm Sperling BestPlaces, which has a good track record when it comes to picking winners (they picked 15 of the top 20 picks that made it to Amazon’s short list), Atlanta is coming in first, followed by other areas in the Eastern U.S. Interestingly, a quarter of the top 20 on Amazon’s list are in the D.C. and New York areas. CEO Bert Sperling of Sperling’s BestPlaces points out, “The Washington, DC and New York metro areas took a big jump in our prediction,” he says of his firm’s new rankings. “Amazon is giving us a big clue that there are really serious about these places. Three of their top 20 are in the Washington, D.C., area (D.C., plus suburban Virginia and Maryland), and Newark is part of the New York City metro area. Together that’s 25 percent of their picks.” BestPlaces is betting that Atlanta will be the future place to call HQ2 home. It’s still close enough to D.C., Boston and New York, but Atlanta has more available space to offer, and is affordable. If Amazon were to choose this southern city, it could build on the outskirts of town to avoid crowding, overpricing and congestion. On the other hand, Sperling’s has put Toronto on the bottom of its list, primarily because dealing with another country will add an additional layer of complexity to operations there.

Textgate

Robert Mueller continues to push forward in his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The most recent update in the long-winded probe involves two FBI officials who were briefly involved in the special counsel who were caught criticizing Donald Trump via text message between themselves. This has set off rumors that the FBI agents working on the Russia probe might be biased against Trump. A delivery of close to 400

pages of transcripts of the text messages were delivered to lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Friday evening. In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Saturday from Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, he  describes several texts that appear to involve the FBI’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, a subject of investigation for the committee. In one February 2016 exchange, FBI lawyer Lisa Page calls it “unbelievable” that the 2016 presidential race would come down to Clinton versus Trump. Peter Strzok, who led the investigation into the Clinton email server as the No. 2 official in the FBI’s counterintelligence division, responds, “Now the pressure really starts to finish MYE . . . ,” an apparent reference to “Midyear Exam” – the FBI’s internal case name for the Clinton investigation. As a leading counterintelligence expert, Strzok was involved in opening the investigation into ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives. Page was also briefly on Mueller’s team before returning to the FBI, but she completed her detail before the special counsel’s office was made aware of the texts. The Homeland Security Committee, as well as at least two House panels and the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, are all independently examining the FBI’s conduct of the investigation and actions surrounding the Clinton investigation. This isn’t the first batch of text messages brought to the public. Previously, 375 text messages from August 2015 through early December 2016 were discussed because they involved relevant individuals insulting both sides of the presidential race. They particularly focused on their panic over Trump being appointed the 45th president of the U.S.  Trump told The Wall Street Journal earlier this month that the messages amounted to ”treason.” In another exchange Strzok discusses the curious timing of news that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had decided to accept the recommendations of career supervisors in the Justice Department and FBI on the Clinton email matter, just days after Lynch met privately with President Bill Clinton aboard her plane in Phoenix, Arizona. Strzok texted, “(t)iming looks [crazy]. Will appear to be choreographed.” Page eventually texts back, “And yeah, it’s a real profile in couragw (sic), since she knows no charges will be brought.” Additionally Sen. Johnson questioned whether the FBI has any records of messages exchanged between Strzok and Page from December 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017, which the Justice Department said were not preserved due to a technical glitch. “The loss of records from this period is concerning because it is apparent from other records that Strzok and Page commu-

nicated frequently about the investigation,” Sen. Johnson wrote. How do emails and texts get lost in 21st century?

Shop, Don’t Pay, & Go

If Amazon has it right, shopping in the future won’t involve long lines at the register. On Monday, Amazon opened its Amazon Go concept to the public in Seattle. In the store, shoppers take milk, juice, salads – you name it – off the shelves and walk out. Amazon’s technology charges customers after they leave. “It’s such a weird experience, because you feel like you’re stealing when you go out the door,” Lisa Doyle, who visited the shop Monday, noted. Amazon employees have been testing the store, at the bottom floor of the company’s Seattle headquarters, for about a year. Amazon.com Inc. said it uses computer vision, machine learning algorithms and sensors to figure out what people are grabbing off its store shelves. Amazon has been growing its physical presence. It has opened more than a dozen bookstores, taken over space in some Kohl’s department stores and bought Whole Foods last year, giving it 470 grocery stores. Want to shop like the Jetsons? Shoppers enter the store by scanning the Amazon Go app at the turnstile, opening the doors to the store. When an item is pulled of a shelf, it’s added to that shopper’s virtual cart. If the item is placed back on the shelf, it is removed from the virtual cart. Customers shopping with families can use just one phone to scan everyone in. But don’t be too helpful when shopping. Grabbing cereal off the top shelf for an older woman will have the app charge you for her Cheerios. At 1,800 square feet, Amazon Go resembles a convenience store, except for a kitchen visible from the street where sandwiches and ready-to-cook meal kits are prepared. A small section features products from the Whole Foods 365 brand. There’s no hot coffee or hot food, but microwaves are available for customers who want to warm something up. Beer and wine is in a cornered-off section where a staffer checks ID before anyone enters.


The Week In News

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