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JANUARY 29, 2015


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CONTENTS Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Rabbi Raichik’s Heroic Life Journey . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

JEWISH THOUGHT One Problem – Five Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The Miracle of Mesorah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

COVER STORY 70 Years Since The Liberation Of Auschwitz . . . . . 28

HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Uncle Moishy Fun Page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

LIFESTYLES Book Review: Letters from Mir. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Travel Guide: Vermont. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

EDUCATION Jews, M.L.K. and the African-American Civil Rights Movement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 50 Years Later - Would Churchill Have Recognized the World that is Today? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

It seems the showdown between Israel and the Iranian regime is coming closer by the day. As of this writing IDF forces are digging across the border with Lebanon, a country that serves as a puppet of Iran, to see if there are any preexisting tunnels which could be used to launch terrorist attacks into Israel. The IDF has also been digging trenches along the border with Syria, another Iranian ally. These security measures as well as the placement of Iron Dome Batteries along the Northern border, come on the heels of the successful military operation in which a senior Hezbollah commander and an Iranian Revolutionary Guards General were eliminated. For many of us, these events are seen as a continuation of the ongoing process of the final redemption in which G-d fulfills his promise to the Jewish people and returns us to our land after protecting his people one final time, showing great miracles and his love for every single Jew. As the Jew is the microcosm of the world, the redemptive process, including the miracles, applies to all non-Jews who are committed to a G-d given morality and justice. Regardless, one can’t help but feel that we owe an apology to the Jews living in Europe, and America, in the beginning of the 1930’s. When reading about the build up to the eventual Nazi killing machine we couldn’t help but wonder “Why didn’t they see it coming?” “Why didn’t the Jews in America do more?” “They should have stormed the heavens!” They saw the literature of the Nazi party and were aware of the views they had on Jews and other minorities. This in addition to the street beatings and humiliating tactics which became more common as time went on and eventually led to the Nuremberg Laws, Kristallnacht... We owe an apology because we have the same signs. There are now countries which are promoting the worst types of anti-Semitism, teaching their children that 6 million Jews weren’t killed in the Holocaust and openly supporting attacks on Jews wherever they may be. More importantly however are the large number of terrorist organizations which have dedicated themselves to freeing Israel from Jews, and indeed the world as well. These include Hamas, Hezbollah and IS in addition to Al Qaida, many in the Palestinian Authority, Boko Haram, the Muslim Brotherhood and the list goes on. More than signs we have been witness to manifestations of this hatred and what these terrorists would like to do if they had their way.

There are obviously many differences now that 80+ years have passed; then there were many Jews in Nazi Germany and now there are very few in the above countries. Then Jews didn’t have a military and now we do, and so on. Yet, it is also true that all new challenges contain new dimensions and just as back in the 30’s they probably pointed out to the differences of the previous manifestations of anti-Semitism and whether it can happen in “Germany of the 20th century”, so too we can choose to ignore the new reality today. As Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer has pointed out; is there a difference whether the threat is a concentration camp or a nuclear weapon? The hate is there, the ideology is there, as well as the suicidal will. Now that we’ve learned that such talk isn’t meaningless, will we courageously stand up and face the evil for what it is? Can we face the Holocaust survivors and tell them they’ve well taught us to never again remain silent when faced with blind hate? This isn’t about fear mongering as only G-d knows what will happen. This is about understanding the Jews of the 30’s and not passing judgment on what they could have known or done about it. More importantly however, it’s the lesson that there’s no such thing as, “It can’t happen in the 21st century”. As with the epic east coast blizzard which never happened; while only G-d knows what will happen, our job is to act with the deck of cards laid out to us. The phone, Radio, fax machine, Internet, email, Facebook, Twitter and other advances in technology have shown the world to be a unified organism. Certainly for the good as well. Let us recommit ourselves to having one more positive thought, one more positive thing to say and one more positive action so that the scales of judgment tip in the favor of the good and the holy, ultimately ushering in the time when the essential unifying force, our creator, will be revealed for all to see. Was just told that local Angelino Reb Ariel RavNoy, 36 years old and a father of seven has suddenly passed away. Nothing left to say. Let us storm the heavens with our prayers, asking that we see the fruition of bila hamaves lanetzach umacha hashem elokecha dima m’al kol panim. May we have a peaceful Shabbos,


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

JANUARY 29, 2015

OP-ED: The Invisible Bullet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Dear Readers,





JANUARY 29, 2015


Home Grown Fruit Trees Tu Bishvat, listed in the Mishna as the New Year for trees, has a special significance for Los Angelinos who grow fruit trees in their backyards. Even though fruit grown outside of Eretz Yisrael is not tithed, the date of Tu Bishvat, as well as the date of Rosh Hashana, is used to determine when the fruits of a newly planted tree are no longer considered orlah and may be eaten. In fact, growing fruit trees in Los Angeles provides special mitzvah opportunities and allows a glimpse into the agricultural cycle described in the Torah. We are lucky that our local climate is similar to that of Eretz Yisrael. Almost all of the seven species of Eretz Yisrael are able to grow here, with the exception of dates that need a hot desert climate. Besides pomegranates, figs, grapes, and olives, Los Angeles tree enthusiasts also grow citrus trees, apricots, peaches, loquats, persimmons, mangos, and others. “Trees are life,” says Deena, whose backyard boasts a variety of fruit trees. “They are a place to get shade, food, oxygen. They make you stop, put down roots.” Most locally grown fruit trees lose their leaves in the fall and appear lifeless this time of the year. “The trees are dormant,” explains Ilana Korchek, a gardener and landscape designer in Los Angeles. “Around Tu Bishvat, the soil begins to

Yehudis Litvak

thaw, and the sap starts to flow up. As the weather gets warmer, the tree expands, and the water is able to flow. The trees begin to form buds.” With spring, fruit trees grow new leaves and begin to blossom. The blossoms turn into fruits which ripen

throughout the summer. Some trees, such as citrus trees, stay green and give fruit all year around. They grow especially well in the southern California climate, and some local residents grow their own esrogim and use them on Sukkos. Growing an esrog tree, however, has its halachic complications. “Almost all fruit trees sold in local nurseries are graft-

ed,” says Ms. Korchek. “[For the mitzvah] an esrog tree has to be grown from seeds.” The Hauer family in Los Angeles did just that. “We took some seeds from an esrog and put them into pots, and then we kept transferring them to bigger pots as they grew bigger, until they were ready to be put in the ground,” explained Mrs. Hauer. One of the trees is currently producing large esrogim. Before Sukkos, the Hauers need to protect the esrogim from the prickles that grow on the tree branches because a damaged esrog cannot be used for the mitzvah. A lack of planting space does little to stop local tree enthusiasts. Chava Gerber, whose tiny backyard is paved, grew her esrog tree in a pot. It is now four years old, and this past Sukkos she used her homegrown esrog for the first time. “It was fun to watch it grow,” she enthused, “I picked it right before I needed it.” Ms. Gerber also grows figs and lemons in pots. Children especially enjoy growing fruit trees. At Emek Hebrew Academy, the students have been growing an orchard, adding new fruit trees every Tu Bishvat. The orchard is part of Emek’s project-based learning program. “We asked the children what they were interested in, and a lot of children wanted to start a garden,” explained Rae Shagalov, Library Talent Center Director. So far, they’ve

planted fig, apple, olive, and pomegranate trees. Each of the children also receives their own square foot of land where they can plant a vegetable of their choice. “Children go out at recess to watch the plants grow,” added Mrs. Shagalov. “It’s amazing how much science they learn informally.” Some fruit trees are very easy to grow. The pomegranate tree in Ms. Gerber’s front yard “thrives on neglect.” Figs are also very low maintenance. “You can’t kill a fig tree,” noted Ms. Korchek. In fact, the Citron family, which grows two kinds of figs in addition to other fruit trees, once had a house guest who watered their fig trees in an attempt to be helpful. “It wasn’t good; that summer, the figs tasted very watery,” lamented Mrs. Citron. Nevertheless, growing fruit trees requires a commitment. Halacha forbids destroying a fruit tree. Once planted, the tree is there to stay for generations to come. Besides their nutritional value, fruits can also provide food for thought. “By blessing the fruits during the Tu Bishvat Seder, and sharing Torah insights about them, we can elevate our relationship to food, and infuse our eating with Torah,” expounded Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum in her book The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel.

2015 Kosher Food And Wine Experience Celebrating The Flavors Of Kosher It was back in 1948 that the Herzog family brought a family tradition from their native Czechoslovakia to America and since then, the company has continued to build their reputation for medal award vintage wines as well as simpler labels, offered at a broad range of prices. Since the beginning, Herzog has become synonymous with quality kosher wine and the company is now focused on recognizing and supporting the larger kosher food and wine industry. On February 11, Herzog is presenting more than 300 wines from 40 wineries, at the revamped 2015 Kosher Food and Wine Experience in Hollywood. This is the fourth year that Herzog has compiled the KFWE and this year will be more intriguing, educational and enjoyable than in previous years because participants can now sample wines from independent wineries all in the name of celebrating kosher. The previous event, known as the International Food and Wine Festival, only offered Herzog products. This year will see a presentation of kosher wine and food which come from wineries that are wholly independent from Herzog. There has long been a sense that it is hard to create the highest quality flavors from kosher food and drink, but times have changed. There are now award winning kosher wines that take gold medal awards on the international circuit because of their taste,

regardless of the fact they are kosher. The KFWE event is open to the public and follows hot on the heels of sister events held in London, New York and Miami. There has never been an event quite like this in Los Angeles, but demand is high and the 2015 KFWE has been upgraded to a larger hall at the glamorous W Hotel in Hollywood because it is clear that 1,500 tickets will be sold. There will be wines and spirits, all birthed by a diversity of countries. The event has also been widened to include tasters from the most interesting menu’s offered at seven Los Angeles restaurants including, Tierra Sur at Herzog Wine Cellars, La Gondola, Pat’s Restaurant, Ditmas, Beverly Hills Thai Kosher, Meshuga 4 Sushi and Shiloh’s Steak House. The chefs will be serving their creations that guarantee mouth-watering flavors for the foodie in us all. The 2015 event has general admission tickets as well as a new VIP ticket holder option which provides an exclusive lounge for visitors to taste the finest spirits from Scotland, England, Russia, Israel and Mexico. The VIP lounge will also house prestigious Chef Gabriel Garcia and his crew from Tierra Sur who will be creating gourmet delicacies exclusively for VIP attendees. There will also

be hand-rolled specialty cigars for gentlemen. New wines will debut at the event, including Herzog Variations, Ovadia by Ovadia Bartenura Montepulcianoa D’Abruzzo, the new Flam Noble, wine from the Titora boutique winery, located in Modi’in Israel and Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre, a new young approachable Bordeaux from a top 2nd growth chateau in Bourdeaux. There is also a new flagship wine from the Montefiore winery called Montefiore Kerem Moshe and Herzog Single Vineyard Dry Creek, created from grapes that are grown at a distinguished California vineyard. David Whittemore is the Marketing and

Public Relations Director for Herzog Wine Cellars and explained the process, “Attendees can choose a country and sample a variety of wines from that country, for instance Israel. On the other hand, you might want to taste wines from Portugal, which have different soil and weather conditions that produces a subtle difference in the bouquet and balance, even when using a familiar grape. Once you’ve narrowed down your choice selection, you can take a picture of the chosen bottle and then go home and order online.” David Roccah’s Wine Musings Blog agrees that the event is unique, “The festival is a great place to get to taste some of those wines that are either beyond your price budget, or hard to find wines, or ones that you pass by on the shelves because you just have no idea how good they are. They will be pouring more than 200 bottles of wines, so be sure to get there early, before the crowds show up.” For tickets, contact eventbrite.com. The event is on Wednesday, February 11 from 6 - 9pm at the Hollywood W, 6250 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles 90028. Jewish Home readers can get a 20% discount on tickets by using the code: jewishhome.


Leading Gedolim Gather at Home of Vizhnitzer Rebbe to Urge Participation in Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Chaim Gold

give a sense of urgency on solution to neutralize the how important it is for every middas hadin and invoke Jew to be familiar with the middas harachamim is to halachos of daily living and learn halacha. The Sanzer thus realize the primacy of Rebbe picked up where making a daily halacha sedRav Badani left off saying er. Daf HaYomi B’Halacha that the holy seforim relate is an ideal way to accomthat the learning of halacha plish that goal. has the power to neutralize Without a doubt, one terrible gezeiros. of the primary highlights was the words of chizuk The American Nesius of HaGaon HaRav Aharon of Daf HaYomi B’HalaLeib Shteinman, shlita. Rav cha Shteinman spoke about the The creation of the importance of daily hala- Sanzer Rebbe greeting HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman American Nesius of Daf cha, saying, “The foundaHaYomi B’Halacha has tion of a Jew is to conduct similarly inspired Amerhimself in accordance with ican Jewry to recognize the four orders of Shulthe importance of a serious chan Aruch. Nevertheless, daily halacha seder. from the very fact that the According to Rabbi Chofetz Chaim wrote the Ahron Gobioff, Dirshu’s Sefer Mishnah Berurah on American Director, the enthe chelek of Orach Chaim thusiasm shown by all the (and according to those who Gedolei Yisrael representmaintain that it was his ining the Sephardic World, tention to write on all four the Yeshiva World and the orders, the fact that he chose Chassidic World, is deepto start with Orach Chaim) ly moving. They were full shows that one must learn of praise and excitement l-r: Vizhnitzer Rebbe , HaRav Shimon Badani, HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman halacha daily. Orach Chaim about the benefits for all is unique in that it outlines of Klal Yisrael that would the daily halachos that evbe gained through mass enery Jew must know. This rollment in such a program. is the chelek that a person In a beautiful display of must live with every day of the importance with which his life. Thus he must learn the American Nesius atit every day of his life.” taches to the Daf HaYomi The Chairman of the B’Halacha program they evening, Rav Binyomin signed a historic docuFinkel mentioned that the ment outlining the hashDaf HaYomi B’Halacha was kafa behind the program established upon the advice and explaining why it has of HaGaon HaRav Yosef garnered such an enthusir-l; HaRav Dovid Cohen, Boyaner Rebbe, HaRav Berel Povarsky Sholom Elyashiv, zt”l. astic worldwide backing of The Vizhnitzer Rebbe Gedolei Yisrael. It says, “It tical halacha properly so that he can fulthen addressed the assemis impossible to properly blage, explaining the well-known words fill Torah and mitzvos in accordance with depict the importance of this [Daf HaYof Chazal, “Kol hashoneh halachos b’chol halacha. “A tremendous responsibly rests omi B’Halacha] undertaking, because the yom muvtach sh’ehu ben Olam Haba’ah— upon marbitzei Torah and mechanchim foundation of the life of a Jew is to conduct He who learns halachos every day is as- to influence their talmidim to institute a his life in accordance with Torah...Baruch sured a place in the world to come. B’chol non-negotiable seder in practical halacha. Hashem our generation has been woryom means everyday but it can also mean, It is not sufficient to be a lamdan or some- thy and we see kehillos comprehensively ‘throughout the day’. When a person one who knows Torah. Without knowledge learning halacha all over the world. Tolearns halacha daily his entire day is one of halacha, a person is missing the “orach gether with the halacha program [Dirshu] long manifestation of learning and fulfill- chaim”, the path of life that must charac- also has established daily learning of musterize every Jew. ing halacha,” concluded the Rebbe. sar in the seforim of the Chofetz Chaim…. HaGaon HaRav Shimon Badani, shlita, Although the Gerer Rebbe, shlita, was From here we call on all G-d fearing unable to attend, he told Dirshu leaders. brought proof from pesukim that specifical- Jews, to be clever and join the tens of thou“It is very important to convince and urge ly when the world is in a terrible situation, sands already in the program and to give people to learn halacha. It is the desire of when Jewish blood is being spilled and so nachas to Hashem.” Hashem that every Jew should know prac- many want to ruin the Jewish Nation, the

JANUARY 29, 2015

“I feel that we are in yemos haMashiach! I had tears in my eyes when I saw senior Gedolei Yisrael from all three Moetzos Gedolei HaTorahs sitting at one table coming together to encourage Klal Yisrael to learn a daily daf of halacha.” Those were the words of Rabbi Avigdor Berenstein, a member of Dirshu’s hanhala, who merited being present at the historic event. The first kinnus of the Nesius of Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program was a demonstration of the beauty of Klal Yisrael and a reminder on the importance of undertaking the daily learning of halacha. This is why senior Gedolei Yisrael, Roshei Yeshiva and Admorim led by the centenarian Rosh Yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, felt compelled to interrupt their packed schedules and travel to the home of the Vizhnitzer Rebbe in Kiryat Vizhnitz in Bnei Brak to participate in the first Nesius gathering of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. Nesius members who participated were HaGaon HaRav Berel Povarsky, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Ponovezh, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Shimon Badani, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva Torah V’Chaim, the Sanzer Rebbe, shlita, the Boyaner Rebbe, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Dovid Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Chevron, the Alexander Rebbe, shlita, the Modzhitzer Rebbe shlita, and HaGaon HaRav Binyomin Finkel, Mashgiach of the Mir Yeshiva of Yerushalayim, who chaired the event. In addition, Dirshu has merited to have an American Nesius of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha led by Gedolei Rosh Yeshivos and Admorim. The American Nesius is comprised of luminaries of Torah and piety including the Skulener Rebbe, shlita, the Roshei Yeshiva of Lakewood, HaGaon HaRav Aryeh Malkiel Kolter, shlita, and HaGaon HaRav Yeruchim Olshin, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Yosef Harari Raful, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva Ateret Torah, HaGaon HaRav Matisyahu Solomon, shlita, Mashgiach Beis Medrash Govoha, Lakewood, the Vizhniter Rebbe of Monsey, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of South Fallsburg, HaGaon HaRav Yechezkel Roth, shlita, the Karlsberger Rov, and HaGaon HaRav Asher Anshel Katz, shlita, the Vienner Rav. Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha has united the venerated senior Gedolei Yisrael representing the entire cross-section of Torah Jewry, k’ish echad b’lev echad. These gedolim have come together not only to encourage Klal Yisrael to bring daily halacha into their lives, but also to


Nesius of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Led by Senior Gedolei Yisrael from Eretz Yisrael and America


JANUARY 29, 2015


33rd Siyum HaRambam Celebration Continued Success for Daily Rambam Learning Program Over 500 people gathered at the prestigious Beverly Hills Hotel on Monday January 12th to celebrate the 33rd annual Siyum HaRambam. The event was hosted by over twenty communities. This marked the 33rd completion of the three chapter cycle and the 11th completion of the one chapter cycle of the entire Yad Hachazaka works of the Rambam. Twenty one Chabad houses and communities from around Southern California joined together to host the event with a variety of special guest speakers. Rabbi Avraham Zajac of Chabad of Sola, emceed the event and ushered in the Siyum with

chabad.org, stressed that the Rebbe’s mission for every Jew was to learn Rambam every day. The crowd viewed a beautiful 8 minute JEM video in which the Rebbe emphasized how Rambam is unique and applicable to all Jews equally. Anyone and everyone can learn the halachos of Torah on a daily basis and this shared learning and understanding amongst Jews creates a special bond of Jewish unity throughout the world. Rabbi Avrohom Union of the Rabbinical Council of California noted that studying Rambam provides a unique experience in learning. He explained that the Rambam

provided by Rabbi Shimon Raichik of Congregation Levi Yiztchok. Rabbi Yosef Y. Shusterman, Chabad Shliach to Beverly Hills and the Chabad Rav of Los Angeles who began the new cycle with insights into the foundation and pillars of Torah, representing our faith in Hashem, and the intellectual exercise of learning Torah. The audience was enthralled by the keynote of the evening, Rabbi Leib Shapiro, Rav and Rosh Yeshiva of the Chabad Yeshiva of Miami, Florida. Rabbi Shapiro eloquently explained that there are 2 parts to educating children, the overt and the subtle approaches. The overt part of

Rambam describes the Yesod HaYisodois, the “foundation of all foundations,” he is touching on the fact that the foundation of our Jewish life is educating our children and living a Jewish life. However the foundation of this foundation, the Yesod Ha-Yisodois, is that there is a Motzoi Rishon – a first and primary being. It is specifically our subtle parenting and modeling behavior that needs to convey this message - acting and behaving with a conscious effort that we value a Jewish and G-dly life of Torah and Mitzvos. This subtle parenting approach will speak louder and with greater impact than anything we

several chapters of Tehillim for peace in Israel and for the safety of Jews in France and the world over. Opening remarks were by head shliach of the West Coast Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin. Rabbi Cunin expounded upon the connection between learning Rambam, to the era of Moshiach, the time when the world will be consumed with the knowledge of Hashem “as the waters cover the sea.” Rabbi Yehoshua B. Gordon, head shliach of Chabad of the Valley, who recently completed the first ever video series of the entire Rambam that is featured on

uses very precise language in every halacha and he shared lessons on what we learn from the specific words, as well as halachic lessons we can glean from what he does not write. Rabbi Avrohom Teichman, Av Beis Din of Kehilla and Rav of Kehilas Aguda explained there is a unique expression in the middle of Birchas HaTorah that teaches us that ultimately we will all learn Lishmah – just for the sake of the Torah itself. The evening continued with the completion and initiation of the new cycles of learning Rambam with the completion

chinuch includes the things we tell our children to do and not do and the active guidance that we give them. The subtle approach to chinuch includes all the behavioral queues and message that our children learn from our behavior and how we model our values for them. Children have a natural tendency to question and challenge us but this only occurs against our overt parenting. They don’t consciously challenge our subtle messaging because there is nothing that is directly challenging them or telling them what to do. Rabbi Shapiro suggested that when the

can ever tell our children to do verbally. Living a life of mitzvos and learning Torah ourselves will model the behavior that we want most for our children and will better ensure that they follow in our path and in our expectations of them. Rabbi Shapiro’s inspiring words brought the evening to a close. The packed crowd took home some memorable lessons on the Rambam and renewed encouragement to learn Rambam.

2nd Annual Jewish Halftime Show During The Superbowl Grammy Award Winning Musicians To Debut New Song The Nachum Segal Network has announced the 2015 Kosher Halftime Show, hosted by Jewish radio icon, Nachum Segal. The Kosher Halftime Show is a family oriented alternative to the SuperBowl entertainment that is broadcast on television. “The Kosher Halftime Show is a real alternative for families during the Super Bowl,” explained Segal. “There are many families that enjoy watching the game together, but when the halftime show starts

they are uncomfortable. We’ve created a family friendly entertainment venue that can be enjoyed by everyone.” The program will stream and be available during halftime of Super Bowl XLIX, Sunday February 1, 2015. The program will feature Soulfarm, led by Grammy Award winning guitarist C Lanzbom and lead singer Noah Solomon Chase. Soulfarm will debut, “Shalom Lach Eretz Nehederet,” a Hebrew song about wandering away from, and then returning to Isra-

el. Soulfarm will also perform two other tracks. Nachum’s trademark humor and commentary on the Jewish music scene and Jewish community life will provide background for the entire program. Segal Network’s 2014 inaugural show received accolades from across the spectrum, attracting tens of thousands of viewers during and in the weeks following the game. This year, following the game, the song “Shalom Lach Eretz Nehederet” will be available on iTunes, along with the rest

of Soulfarm’s catalogue, and the entire Kosher Halftime Show will be available on demand on NSN’s website and the NSN YouTube channel, “NachumSegalNet”. More information about the Nachum Segal Network visit www.nachumsegal. com for Soulfarm visit www.soulfarm. com.




JANUARY 29, 2015


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JANUARY 29, 2015


Annual Awards Dinner

‫ישיבת התלמוד‬

Talmudical Academy

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

Annual Awards Dinner Sunday, February 8, 2015 19 Shevat, 5775

Adelphia Yeshiva Honors Los Angeles Couple with the Eitz Chaim Alumnus Award The Adelphia Yeshiva, New Jersey is presenting this year’s distinguished Eitz Chaim Alumnus Award to Shemaya and Dvorah Mandelbaum. Shemaya and Dvorah are well-known and beloved in their Los Angeles community and are a beautiful tribute to the

people know they can find a listening ear, abundant hachnossas orchim and an atmosphere of simcha. The couple is deeply involved in and devoted to their children, who are following in the ways of their parents and grandparents.

foundation in Torah and avodah built at the Adelphia Yeshiva. Shemaya is the son of Rav Uri Mandelbaum, shlita, who served as the menahel of the Philadelphia Yeshiva for 55 years, and Bettie Mandelbaum. Shemaya’s commitment to Torah and his caring nature, learned in his parents’ home, was evident from the day he entered Adelphia where other talmidim were always inspired by and drawn to him. Today, Shemaya uses his talents to operate his construction firm in Los Angeles, Mirage Construction. He is a respected member and gabbai of the Bais Medrash Eitz Chaim of Hancock Park, under Rabbi Rubin. Dvorah was brought up in Los Angeles and is the daughter of Herschel Berkowitz, z”l, and Mimi (Berkowitz) Narod. She uses her formidable energy and talents in her position at Yeshiva Gedolah, and to benefit the many community organizations in which she is involved. The Mandelbaums have created a home of warmth and chesed where

Adelphia is proud to recognize Shemaya and Dvorah Mandelbaum as the recipients of this year’s Eitz Chaim Alumnus Award. The home they have built and the name they have earned bring credit to the Adelphia Yeshiva and nachas to all of us who have maintained a bond with them over the years. We wish them continued growth and hatzlocha in all their worthy endeavors, and a life overflowing with brocha and nachas from their family. The other honorees at this year’s dinner are; the renowned Marbitz Torah, HaRav and Rebbetzin Yosef Meir Kantor, Rav of Agudas Yisroel of Monsey, and Rabbi & Mrs. Eli Berkowitz, 10th grade Rebbi at Adelphia Yeshiva and founder and director of the famed Camp Yachad located in the Canadian Rockies. The dinner will be held February 8th, 2015, at the Woodlake Country Club, Lakewood, New Jersey. For Dinner and Journal information please contact the Yeshiva at 732.431.1600 ext. 10 or tadinner@gmail.com.

Woodlake Country Club

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

For Dinner & Journal Information, please contact:

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

Eitz Chaim Alumnus Award

Mr. & Mrs. Shemaya Mandelbaum Los Angeles, CA

Tiferes Bonim Award

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

Harbotzas HaTorah Award

Rabbi & Mrs. Eliezer Berkowitz

Adelphia, NJ


easy. simple. cash.

JANUARY 29, 2015



Only as a Bikur Cholim Blood Donor will your blood count as a gift from the Jewish community to our City’s hospitals and make an immeasurable difference. So roll up your sleeves and be counted!

Appointments at www.bikurcholim.net or call (323) 852-1900

Bikur Cholim • 8489 W. Third St. • Los Angeles, CA 90048 • (323) 852-1900 • www.bikurcholim.net

Los Angeles Cheder Celebrates Hachnasas Sefer Torah was established in 1988 with some 30 students. In 1993, a girl’s school, Bais Tzivia, was founded and in 1994 the Gan Udel Preschool was added. The goal of the Cheder has always been to provide a high quality chinuch with a heimishe, old world flavor. Visiting Rabbonim and Rebbes are always amazed and delighted to be able to address the children in Yiddish. With close to 400 students currently enrolled, the Cheder has earned its reputation as a premier educational facility, producing ehrliche talmidim and talmidos under the leadership of Rabbi Simcha Ullman shlita, the Cheder’s Menahel. A highlight of this simcha was the arrival and participation of the Satmar Rebbe, Reb Zalman Leib Teitelbaum shlita. The Rebbe arrived in Los Angeles on Monday night and was greeted by a welcoming Reception in the home of his hosts, the Weiss family. On Tuesday, the Cheder was privileged to daven

shacharis with the Satmar Rebbe shlita, who then addressed the children and guests with heartfelt words of inspiration and bracha. As darkness descended on the City, the Cheder children lined the street with kindled torches in preparation for the evening’s program. The final preparation of the Sefer Torah was done in a room at the Moshe Weiss building of Yeshiva Rav Isacsohn. The small room was packed wall-to-wall with Rabbonim, members of the Weiss family, parents and community members. Honored guests in attendance included the Nikolsburger Rebbe, the Biala Rebbe, the Skulener Rebbe’ son and the Satmar Rebbe and his gabboim. The last letters were inked onto the parchment and cries of Mazel Tov and l’chaim could be heard by one and all. The Satmar Rebbe was honored with hagbah, the lifting of the Torah and in a circular motion the open parchment of the Torah scroll was visi-

ble to all. The mitzvah of gilelah, rolling up the scroll and encasing it with its new cover were given to Rabbi Dovid Rosenbaum. As the music began, the Satmar Rebbe carried the Sefer Torah out to the street and under the magnificent chuppah the procession to the Cheder was on its way. The students led the way with their torches, followed by the music truck, the dancing crowds and the chuppah with honored guests. When the crowd reached the Cheder, the talmidim were waiting as the Rebbe danced inside with the dignitaries and the crowd of participants. The dancing continued inside until joyously exhausted, the Torah was placed in the Aron and the ceremony ended with the recitation of tehilim and the maariv service. May the Cheder, its Menahel, Rabbanim, parents and talmidim continue machaiyil el chayil.

Photos: Arye D. Gordon

It was a long and special week for the Cheder of Los Angeles. The amazing event began on Sunday, 27th of Teves, 5775, at the Cheder on La Brea Avenue. In an unforgettable event for Los Angeles, a new Sefer Torah was dedicated and presented to the Cheder. The Sefer Torah was written l’ilu nishmas Chaya Pessel “Bessie” Weiss, a”h, mother of the Cheder’s Chairman of the Board, Reb Yissachar Dov “Barry” Weiss. The festivities began on Sunday with the participation of the entire Cheder as well as the Rabbonim of the city and the extended family of R’ Moshe and Bessie Weiss. A special area was set aside in the Bais Hamedrash where Rav Moshe Weider, Los Angeles’s famed Mohel and Sofer Stam, assisted in the writing of osios L’shem mitzvas Sefer Torah. It was under the direction of Rabbi Avrohom Low, with the assistance of a dedicated group of Holocaust survivors, that the Cheder

Rabbi Arye D. Gordon

The Satmar Rebbe giving a Shiur at the Chassidishe Kollel

Marching at the procession for the Siyum Sefer Torah

Dancing at the Cheder in celebration of the new Sefer Torah

Avraham Fried and Cantor Arik Wollheim Perform at Packed Saban Theatre

About 1800 people from the greater Los Angeles community were in attendance on Sunday, January 11 as Avraham Fried performed at Beth Jacob’s second annual concert. The event was attended by hundreds of Jewish music fans, including large contingents from Beth Jacob, as well as the Chabad yeshiva day schools, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, Maimonides Academy, Beverly Hills High School, and YULA boys and girls schools. Highlights included an address by Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau, as well as

dancing and conga-lines in the aisles, and singing and participation from the audience. Avraham Fried is an American Jewish singer, songwriter and musician who lives in Crown Heights. He began his music career in 1981, when he released his first album, entitled No Jew Will Be Left Behind. His hits include works in English, Hebrew and Yiddish, many with a Chabad flavor, and he has performed worldwide to large audiences. Sunday’s concert was one of the largest Jewish music events LA has ever hosted, and

Beth Jacob’s Cantor Arik Wollheim wondered why this should be so. With a vibrant orthodox community that boasts hundreds of synagogues in Pico-Robertson, Hancock Park, Valley Village and Tarzana, tens of large day schools and Yeshivas, as well as many popular kosher markets and establishments, one might expect the Los Angeles event halls to be packed on a regular basis with Jewish entertainers, including musicians. “What is it about Jewish American culture that prevents this from happening, and why

does Jewish music tend to be limited to weddings in this city?” Cantor Wollheim asked. “Why are we not a major consumer of Jewish music?” Wollheim hopes to change this, and is weighing ideas for a Jewish music event for 2016. For more information, please contact Beth Jacob at (310) 278-1911, or visit www.bethjacob.org.

Photo Credits: Joe Shalmoni (C) 2015, All Rights Reserved. Photos are single-use licensed images. Please consult photographer to re-license them if needed.


JANUARY 29, 2015



JANUARY 29, 2015

Emek Hebrew Academy is constantly planning and coordinating chesed opportunities for our students. The 7th and 8th grade boys recently launched their chesed program, “Tzarchay Tzibur” which means “community needs.” Throughout the course of the year, each boy has a five hour chesed commitment. Their kick-off event was the Chanukah Toy Drive, for which the boys brought in unwrapped toys. The toys were categorized by age and gender, wrapped, and distributed with a hand-written card to the children of Tomchei Shabbos. Similarly, the middle school girls packed and boxed Shabbos kits for patients at Cedars Sinai. Each package contained grape juice, electronic candles, challot, a Tefilla card and hand-made beautiful Refuah Sheleimah messages for the patients. Finally, our 4th grade boys wrote letters to our troops in Afghanistan. Dr. Eli Ziv, parent of a 4th grade student, and his troop all received special cards from our Emek students thanking them for their service and wishing them a safe return. These projects as well as many similarly themed endeavors, teach our children the mitzvah of focusing on the needs of others and giving back to the community


Emek Students Design 3 New Community Programs

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

Rabbi Menachem Gottesman zt”l

January 31, 2015 8:00PM

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

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


JANUARY 29, 2015


Rabbi Raichik’s Heroic Life Journey Elliott Michaels

The eighth of Shevat marks the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Menachem Shmuel Dovid Raichik, the first Lubavitch emissary to Los Angeles. Before accepting this noble assignment in 1949, Rabbi Raichik endured years of Mesiras Nefesh. He narrowly escaped Poland shortly after the outbreak of World War II. His route to safety took almost seven years as he fled to Lithuania, then Russia, Japan, and

promise in the tumultuous years ahead. R’ Shmuel Dovid arrived in Otwock in 1936. Admission to the yeshiva was very competitive, and the students toiled in both Talmud and Chasidus day and night. Otwock was a woodsy town with fresh air and beautiful landscape, and the students enjoyed this serene environment in between their studies. They also were privileged to receive many prominent gedolim

Shanghai, China. After finally arriving in the United States in 1946, he tirelessly dedicated the next fifty years of his life to strengthening Yiddishkeit. Those who knew him recall his gentle humility, Ahavas Yisroel, and selfless dedication to this mission.

Rabbi Raichik, second from right, along with fellow Chabad Shluchim presenting a Menorah to President Reagan

Pre-War Years R’ Menachem Shmuel Dovid Raichik was born on the 2nd of Nisan, 5678 (March 15, 1918) in the Polish town of Mlawa, (pronounced “Melava”) which is approximately 65 miles northwest of Warsaw. Like most towns in Poland, the Nazis eventually destroyed Mlawa. They forced the Jewish community to build a ghetto there in 1941. Mlawa also served as a repair center for German tanks preparing for the invasion of Russia. Nearly 6,500 Jews lived in Mlawa before the war, but only about 50 survived. Rabbi Raichik’s father, Reb Shimon, was a devoted chasid of the Amshinover Rebbe, Rabbi Shimon Sholom Kalish. After young R’ Shmuel Dovid completed his mesivta years in Mlawa, his father sought the Amshinover’s advice on where to send Shmuel Dovid for the next stage of his yeshiva studies. The Amshinover lived in Otwock (pronounced “Otvutzk”), Poland, and he suggested that R’ Shmuel Dovid enroll in the Lubavitch Yeshiva, Tomchei Temim, which was located in Otwock. The Amshinover promised to look out for young Shmuel Dovid, and he kept this

who visited the yeshiva and the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rav Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, known as the Rayatz. The serenity and kedusha that R’ Shmuel Dovid and his fellow students enjoyed came to a crashing halt on September 1, 1939. The Nazi invasion of Poland had begun, and German bombs interrupted the yeshiva’s preparations for the approaching yomim noraim. The students could see German bombers pummeling the Polish countryside, and the Nazi soldiers were not far behind. The Rayatz had to evacuate to Warsaw, and R’ Shmuel Dovid personally escorted him to a waiting taxi. It was a painful moment, but the yeshiva students would eventually reunite with the Rayatz again.

the way to Vilna, R’ Shmuel Dovid and his colleague R’ Volf Greenglass visited the Rayatz in Warsaw. The Rayatz gave the group his blessings for safe travels to Vilna, and he also provided them with money for the route. The Rayatz fled to the United States in 1940, and R’ Shmuel Dovid would not reunite with him until 1946. As they clandestinely moved towards Lithuania, they arrived in the city of

experience. On the way to Vilna, Jewish homes along the route opened their homes to the students. The raging war could not extinguish the Lithuanian Jews’ Ahavas Yisroel. Upon arriving in Vilna, the Rayatz telegrammed the students and asked them to urge all who could to flee to Vilna. R’ Shmuel Dovid copiously followed these instructions. Through all hours of the

The previous Rebbe in Otvotsk

Shadlitz. They arrived at nighttime, and were promptly arrested by the Wehrmacht for violating the town’s curfew. After forcing the students to stand for hours in the freezing cold weather wearing their Tefillin, the group was miraculously released. They then smuggled themselves across the German border in the middle of the night. As they approached the Lithuanian border, they hired a small boat to transport them across the Bug River, into Lithuania. The group finally crossed into Lithuania on the third of Teves, 5640. They had all walked for miles in the freezing mud, and R’ Shmuel Dovid suffered from frostbite for the rest of his life as a result of this

night, he waited by the border and assisted people in crossing the border into Lithuania, a “crime” for which he was once arrested. Years later, whenever he was asked about what transpired in prison, he answered with a simple “gurnisht”—nothing! R’ Shmuel Dovid and the yeshiva group enjoyed relative peace until Shavuos 1940. Around that time, the Russians invaded Lithuania, and all civil liberties were revoked. The students learned that Japan had established a consulate in Kovno. For a limited time, the consulate granted temporary visas for people seeking to travel to Japan. The goal was to travel with the group to Japan, and remain

Escape From Poland The outbreak of war disrupted the yeshiva, and after the yomim noraim, many students tried to return to their families. By this time, the Nazis had already occupied R’ Shmuel Dovid’s hometown of Mlawa, so he remained in Otwock until he and his colleagues could find a safer location. The students did not have to wait long. Lithuania had declared independence, and those living under Nazi occupation were invited to seek refuge there. The Rayatz instructed the yeshiva students to flee to Vilna, and in December 1939, R’ Shmuel Dovid and his colleagues began their escape. On Copy of the letter sent to the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe upon Rabbi Raichik’s arrival in the United States


Rabbi Raichik helping a fellow Yid with the Mitzva of Tefillin

er cities, the group boarded a ship in Vladivostok, Russia. Once the Japan-bound ship reached international waters, an announcement was made, and all aboard rejoiced at this great news. The ship docked in the port city of Nagasaki, Japan. The students were amazed at the plethora of fruits and vegetables, staples they had not seen for many months. They finally arrived in Kobe, Japan in February 1941. The students found a thriving Jewish community in Kobe. There were several shuls, a strong community infrastructure, and other yeshivos recently transplanted from Europe. In Kobe, R’ Shmuel Dovid and the group reunited with the Amshinover Rebbe, who had also escaped Poland. The Amshinover took responsibility for thousands of yeshiva refugees in the city. The students spent Pesach in Kobe, and the Rav of Shanghai, Rabbi Meir Ashkenazi, sent them Matzos for the holiday. Although only in Kobe for a short period, the conditions there were very difficult. Many students became ill as they adapted to the Japanese, rice-based diet. They soon received word that the American government ceased granting entry

Warsaw after the German bombings

Shanghai, China When R’ Shmuel Dovid and his colleagues arrived in Shanghai, they once

The Lubavitch Yeshiva in Vilna

again found an established Jewish community led by the Lubavitch Rabbi Meir Ashkenazi. Rabbi Ashkenazi undertook great efforts to help rescue and provide for the exiled European yeshiva students. Some of the other European yeshivos that relocated to Shanghai included Kamenetz, Kletzk, Lublin, and Mir. The Rosh Yeshiva of Mir, Rabbi Chaim Leib Shmuelevitz, helped R’ Shmuel Dovid and his yeshiva colleagues. R’ Shmuel Dovid remained close with Rabbi Shmuelevitz for many years, and examples of Rabbi Shmuelevitz’s assistance to thousands of other yeshiva students are well documented. Japan had allied with Germany, and this meant more troubles for the Jews living in Shanghai. The Nazis insisted that Japan deport all Jews; instead, Japan expelled them to a poorer section of the city. It was at this time that the famous interaction occurred between the Amshinover Rebbe and the Japanese governor. When asked why the Germans hated the Jews, the Amshinover quickly replied that the Germans hate all Orientals from the East, and not just the Jews. For the next two years, R’ Shmuel Dovid oversaw the daily functioning of the yeshiva. He worked closely with Rabbi Ashkenazi, and provided him a daily report on the yeshiva’s finances. R’ Shmuel Dovid also cultivated close relationships with Shanghai’s business community to raise money for the yeshiva. But as much as he tried to maintain order in the yeshiva, the physical conditions deteriorated.

Some of the students died from malnutrition, and others became ill adjusting to their meager diets. The stifling heat and humidity, and reports from Europe continued to affect the yeshiva’s morale. In late 1944, American forces began the bombing of strategic Japanese-occupied cities, including Shanghai. The students tried to learn in their makeshift bomb shelter as they heard bombs explod-

The Yeshiva courtyard in Otvotsk

ing around them. When Japan surrendered in August 1945, American soldiers began arriving in Shanghai. Some of these soldiers were Jewish, and they took great pride liberating the city and speaking Yiddish with R’ Shmuel Dovid and his colleagues. With the Japanese defeat, the students’ goal of reaching the United States became attainable, and they once again applied for American visas. The American government granted the yeshiva students’ applications. R’ Shmuel Dovid and the Lubavitch yeshiva boarded the USS General Meigs and left Shanghai on July 4, 1946. They arrived in San Francisco two weeks later. Their arduous, seven-year trek to safety had ended, but R’ Shmuel Dovid’s life’s mission was just beginning. United States When the yeshiva students arrived in San Francisco, they immediately telegrammed the Rayatz. He instructed them to split into groups and travel to different communities across the country. The Rayatz wanted the students to discuss their wartime experiences, and deliver old-world words of inspiration to American Jewish communities. R’ Shmuel Dovid would perform this duty in many cities for decades to come. R’ Shmuel Dovid reached New York, and spent Rosh Hashana 5707 (1946) with the Rayatz. The Rayatz advised him to continue traveling around the country to strengthen existing communities and to plant seeds for new ones to grow. On a barebones diet of sardines, fruits, and vegetables, R’ Shmuel Dovid traversed the country and visited Talmud Torahs and Shuls in cities like Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. In the winter of 1948, he married Lea Rapoport, another Polish Holocaust survivor, and barely six

weeks later, the Rayatz sent them to Los Angeles as his first “shluchim” to the city. The Rayatz passed away in 1950. When the Rebbe assumed the leadership the next year, he instructed the Raichiks to spread their influence to other communities besides Los Angeles. Rabbi Raichik often traveled for months at a time pursuing this goal and fulfilling this obligation. The Raichik home was always open to visitors, guests, and those seeking advice. Whether it was the President of Israel, Zalman Shazar, or a Jewish business owner on Fairfax, all who encountered Rabbi Raichik felt his warmth and sincerity. Rabbi Raichik never tired of his lifelong mission of strengthening Yiddishkeit in America. He passed away on the 8th of Shevat, 5758 (1998), with his Rebbetzin and children by his side. His children and grandchildren followed his example, and today they serve as Rabbonim, shluchim, and leaders of their respective communities across the globe. Los Angeles continues to benefit and derive inspiration from the life and works of Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Raichik, a true Chasid and Ahavas Yisroel Jew who lived a life of Mesiras Nefesh.

JANUARY 29, 2015

Trek To Kobe, Japan The route to Japan required an exhausting trip through the Russian tundra on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. After passing through Moscow and several oth-

visas, and their Japanese travel visas expired. They were stuck. In the summer of 1941, the Japanese government expelled thousands of yeshiva students, including R’ Shmuel Dovid and his colleagues, to the neutral city of Shanghai, China.


there until securing visas to the United States. Their travel visas to Japan were granted, and they left Lithuania in Shvat, 1941. But their journey was far from over.


JANUARY 29, 2015


One Problem – Five Solutions Rabbi Sholom Kesselman

The Jewish people, only seven days after leaving Egypt found themselves in an impossible situation. In front of them was the raging sea and behind them was the advancing Egyptian army. Sensing imminent doom and with nowhere to go they panicked. Thankfully Moshe was there to reassure them and his words spoken with confidence and passion succeeded in restoring calm among the Jews. (Shemos 14:13-14): “Moses said to the people, don’t be afraid! Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation that He will wreak for you today, for the way you have seen the Egyptians today, you shall no longer continue to see them for eternity. The Lord will fight for you, but you shall remain silent.” The Jerusalem Talmud (Tanit 2:5) explains that the Jewish people at this time were divided into four camps, with each camp suggesting a different solution to their predicament. Moshe’s relatively long speech here was, in actuality, a response to each of their arguments. The first group argued for mass suicide. They said: “We are better off drowning ourselves at sea then allowing ourselves to be recaptured by the Egyptians. To them Moshe’s response was: “Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation” i.e. stand firm and don’t jump into the sea. The second group argued for surrender. They wanted to give themselves up to Pharaoh to be returned to Egypt. To them Moshe’s response was: “The way you have seen the Egyptians today, you shall no longer continue to see them for eternity.” Specifically, we’re not going back and we’ll never see them again.

The third group argued for battle. They wanted to take on Pharaoh’s army and try to defeat them. To them Moshe’s response was: “The Lord will fight for you,” i.e. we are not going to fight them; leave that for G-d to do. The fourth group argued for prayer. They wanted to pray to G-d for salvation and not attempt anything on their own. To them Moshe’s response was: “But you shall remain silent,” because now is not even the time for prayer. What then? If none of these strategies were acceptable to Moshe, what did he want the Jews to do? The answer is given in Shemos (14:15.) “Speak to the children of Israel and let them travel.” The Jews were supposed keep moving forward. Not as suicide, rather as a continuation along their path towards receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. In truth, all of these four groups had legitimate and strong arguments and all were firmly based on Torah law, as follows: Group one: G-d had given the Jews a commandment to leave Egypt and its respective slavery. This commandment could not be violated under any circumstances for the following reason. The law that a person should violate a Mitzva rather than be killed was only introduced after Matan Torah; before then, all commandments had to be observed even to the point of death. This group argued that the only way to avoid being returned to Egypt, a violation of G-d’s command, was by killing themselves and so this became necessary from the standpoint of Halacha. Group two: They were aware of the

commandment to leave Egypt and they were in fact not arguing for surrender. G-d had given them another commandment before leaving Egypt and that was to “empty Egypt of all its wealth.” When they saw the Egyptian army approaching they reasoned that G-d was purposely bringing them back to Egypt because they had in fact not completely emptied it of its wealth. They argued that G-d was sending them back to finish the job and after they did, He would once again redeem them. Group three: They argued that returning to Egypt even for this reason was too risky because the Egyptians at any moment could decide to re-enslave them. The only sensible option therefore was to fight and trust that G-d would help them be victorious. Group four: They argued that waging war was too risky as well, as there could be some casualties. Instead they figured they should only pray and leave it all in the hands of G-d. The story of the Jews by the sea is in reality the story of life. Life is about heading towards “Mount Sinai” - Torah and holiness - and all of us are confronted along the way by the “Egyptians - the temptations and challenges of this world. And as it was then, in life too there are four legitimate approaches to dealing with these “Egyptians”. One – Mesirat Nefesh: Creating the resolve within yourself that come what may, you will never succumb to the temptations of the world. Your commitment to G-d is so strong that you would rather die before going astray. Two – Tikkun Ha’olam: This ap-

proach calls for getting involved with worldly matters for the sake of elevating them and revealing some holy meaning within them. Even though on the surface the world seems to conflict with G-d, in reality all that G-d made, He made for his glory and it just needs someone to go out there and reveal it. Three – fight: This approach is to battle against anything worldly and secular. It is too dangerous to attempt to reveal G-dliness within the world because a person can easily go astray while doing so, instead we need to treat it as the enemy and fight it. Four – seclusion: This approach calls for elevating yourself to a high level of connection to G-d, to the point where the world becomes meaningless to you. You become so spiritual and holy, that the world ceases to be a threat and you don’t care for it at all. But in the end, all of these approaches were not ideal. The ideal system is one that encompasses both extremes. A person needs to be on the highest spiritual level, where the world is totally meaningless to him, while at the same time living within the world and working to reveal G-dliness within it. This idea was made possible by Matan Torah, when G-d descended into the world and onto Mount Siani. This gave us the ability to be totally G-dly while at the same time descending into the world to elevate it and reveal G-dliness within it. This is what Moshe was telling them: “The real approach is not any of these four rather to continue on to Matan Torah.”


The Invisible Bullet Rabbi Hershy Z. Ten, President of Bikur Cholim Los Angeles, CA

of the population who experience adverse physical reactions to vaccines thus cannot be vaccinated. And when the herd immu-

fordability was thought to be the obstacle to immunization; however since vaccinations are available through all public

nity is compromised, the most contagious diseases are the first to return. We’ve seen the return of pertussis (whooping cough),

health systems, this resistance isn’t stemming from a lack of funds. Over the past decade there has been a significant uptick of well-educated and economically stable households opting not to immunize their children citing personal and religious beliefs as their mantra. Unfortunately the choice not to vaccinate is most often based on false data that incites fear among parents. Much is due to people clinging to erroneous studies published such as the now discredited and fraudulent 1998 research paper authored by Andrew J. Wakefield, MD falsely claiming links between the MMR vaccine and autism and bowel disease; all of which was uniformly dis-

JUST ONE INFECTED CHILD IN A CROWD CAN SPREAD MEASLES TO EVERY OTHER PERSON PRESENT WHO HASN’T BEEN VACCINATED, LEADING TO HOSPITALIZATION AND POSSIBLE DEATH. – 2014) as many as 21% of their kindergarten students are not immunized due to the Personal Beliefs Exemption. These children sit and play with your children; their parents take them to pizza shops, celebrations, everywhere. A small number of adults who were vaccinated as children may not be safe either, as there is some evidence that potency and effectiveness of childhood measles vaccinations may eventually wear off in some people. And since there is no way of identifying measles cases in the earliest stages of their infectiousness, everyone is a potential victim in the line of fire. The efficacy of MMR vaccines relies on “herd immunity”; meaning that 95% of the population must be immunized to ensure that an infected person cannot spread disease. This is especially vital to the 1%

mumps, and now measles. To put this danger into perspective, measles carries the distinction of being the world’s most contagious disease. Just one infected child in a crowd can spread measles to every other person present who hasn’t been vaccinated, leading to hospitalization and possible death. Babies are routinely scheduled to get their first measles shot at 12 to 15 months of age which means that within the first year of their lives, they are defenseless against anyone walking around spreading this life-threatening disease. In fact, measles is so widespread in California that public health officials have advised parents to keep all babies under immunization age away from crowds, international travelers, and airports. For those below the poverty-line, af-

a potential killer. For the pregnant woman, measles places their unborn child at risk of premature delivery and death. While school administrators are aware of which students are not vaccinated, their teachers are not. So what is a pregnant teacher to do? Should a policy be put in place to have unvaccinated children removed from school? What is the anti-vaxxer parent’s responsibility, must they disclose that their children pose a risk to others? While many pediatricians are now refusing to continue caring for patients who are unvaccinated, equal measures need to be implemented by our schools and synagogues against this potential epidemic. Just little more than 25 years ago, America was hit by a major measles outbreak which infected 55,000 people and killed 120, with half of said deaths occurring in California. A fundamental tenet of the Torah is to lead a healthy lifestyle and not put oneself or a fellow human-being at risk. The observant community has always looked to its rabbinical and educational leaders for guidance and there are substantial halachic sources supporting immunization that should be championed and set forth to help protect our children and society. There is no shortage of sermons from the pulpit expressing opinions on regional or global politics or lobbying congregants to join on missions to our nation’s Capital. Policies are established by educators to shelter students from inappropriate media and etiquette that may compromise our values and iron gates and guards employed to protect our synagogues and schools. With the very real threat that measles poses, we

JUST LITTLE MORE THAN 25 YEARS AGO, AMERICA WAS HIT BY A MAJOR MEASLES OUTBREAK WHICH INFECTED 55,000 PEOPLE AND KILLED 120, WITH HALF OF SAID DEATHS OCCURRING IN CALIFORNIA. credited by the worldwide medical community and recanted by the author himself. Exacerbating the problem are irresponsible laypeople, especially celebrities, who publicly decry vaccinations with absolutely zero medical credentials or supporting research. For anyone suffering from measles it is

must call on our leadership to allay the unsubstantiated fear of vaccinations and thwart this deadly anti-vaxxer trend. cle.

L. Quaytman contributed to this arti-

JANUARY 29, 2015

Imagine a 6 y.o. child walking into a classroom waving a loaded gun amidst his classmates while his pregnant teacher acts as if nothing is wrong. Now imagine a week later 4 more gun-toting children come to school with no objection from any school personnel. While this scenario is inconceivable, in fact this deadly game of Russian Roulette is happening in our own communities at an alarming rate. Over the past several weeks the deadly disease of measles has returned. From Disneyland in Orange County to Santa Monica, the number of potentially life-threatening cases is growing every day. The cause is simple, not enough children are being vaccinated which is placing us all at risk. Every day, there are anti-vaxxer parents sending their children into schools, playgroups, synagogues, and public gatherings as unwitting biological weapons; creating breeding grounds for contagious diseases long thought to be eradicated in America thanks to the success of vaccinations. Some Los Angeles Jewish day schools have reported that in recent years (2013



JANUARY 29, 2015

The Miracle of Mesorah

Rav Archik Bakst of Shavel was a dominant rabbinic figure in prewar Lita, as a rov, mechanech, posek and baal mussar. He took the mandate of kibbud av va’eim seriously and would frequently travel to visit his aged mother. Once, he was laid over in the city of Lida, where he waited for the next train. Word quickly spread throughout the town that the Shaveleh Rov had arrived and was sitting in the train station. Lunch invitations flowed to him from the town’s leading citizens. Rav Bakst had to decide which invitation to accept, that of the rov, Rav Yitzchok Yaakov Reines, or the one from the rosh yeshiva, Rav Shlomo Polachek, affectionately known as the Meitchiter Illuy. Rav Archik accepted the Meitchiter’s invitation, explaining afterwards, “I do not know who is the greater talmid chochom or tzaddik, but I know that Rav Shlomo was exposed to the Torah of my rebbi, Rav Simcha Zissel, the Alter of Kelm. I therefore went to his home for lunch.” What Rav Archik was describing is the value and power of the intangible relationship between a rebbi and talmid. A rebbi isn’t just someone whose shiur you attend. A rebbi isn’t just a person who teaches you p’shat in a Rashi. He does that, of course, but he is more. A rebbi is a vibrant, real connection to life itself. Rav Bakst went to the person who had benefitted from his rebbi, because he believed that he carried spiritual nutrients that could enhance his growth. It is a kindness from Hashem that even though times have drastically changed, and

worlds have been destroyed and rebuilt, Torah remains a constant reality, guiding us from generation to generation. In our day, in 2015, and in our place, in the heartland of America, we still acknowledge the benefit and power of a rebbi, just as our forbearers did throughout the centuries. Two Shabbosim ago, I was heartened when I saw the dedication of rabbeim and the thirst of talmidim. I attended a Shabbaton for mesivta talmidim of Yeshiva Gedola of Waterbury, and as I listened to talmidim and rabbeim discuss burning issues, clarifying, arguing and analyzing, I couldn’t help but think of how fortunate these boys are. The Chazon Ish famously said of chinuch that today’s battles must be waged using today’s armor. We have a mandate, as part of an am netzach, to move forward without forfeiting our identity. This is the job of our rabbeim, transmitters of mesorah. Like skilled drivers navigating bumpy, curving roads, handling twists and turns with ease, the leaders selected by Heaven guide us and drive us along the paths of history. The visit of Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch

“One of the greatest roshei yeshiva began learning Torah in our very yeshiva. You can too!” Rabbi Muller told the over 350 talmidim who packed the room in a display of kavod for the rosh yeshiva. After the visit, Rav Hirsch expressed interest in visiting the centenarian former menahel, noted mechanech Rabbi Elias Schwartz, who was the principal of Toras Emes when Rav Moshe Hillel was a young student of the school. Rav Hirsch thanked Rabbi Schwartz for the values he instilled in him. Rav Hirsch recalled a morning many decades ago when Rabbi Schwartz entered his classroom and asked each of the children what they wanted to do when they grow up. The answers were as could be expected: One wanted to be a fireman, another a policeman, a third a doctor, and so on. After listening to each child’s ambitions, Rabbi Schwartz told the boys that regardless of the career path they would eventually choose, they should remember that there is nothing more important than being a talmid chochom and no pursuit more worthy than Torah. “I thank you for all that you did for me

FOR ME, THE SHABBOS WAS RESTORATIVE, BOLSTERING MY FAITH IN THE PROCESS AND THE PRECIOUS OLAM HAYESHIVOS. to Yeshiva Toras Emes in Flatbush, Brooklyn, last week was unique in that it brought the Slabodka rosh yeshiva back to his roots. Some seventy years ago, in 1944, when the idea of attending a yeshiva school was not yet popular, young Moshe Hillel Hirsch attended Yeshiva Toras Emes Elementary School. Rabbi Nosson Muller, menahel of Toras Emes, introduced Rav Hirsch to the talmidim and told them that there were two reasons the rosh yeshiva was invited to visit the school. The first was so that the youngsters would get a glimpse of an adam gadol and a leader of thousands of talmidim. The second was so that they could see the greatness that every student can attain. After all, Rav Moshe Hillel started out just like them, as a student in Toras Emes.

and my classmates,” the rosh yeshiva told Rabbi Schwartz. “You told us that day that whatever we do, we must first be a talmid chochom. That message inspired me then and inspires me until today.” Visibly emotional, Rabbi Schwartz told the rosh yeshiva how proud he is to have such a talmid and that he “should keep on growing.” With tears in his eyes, Rabbi Schwartz reached out to take the rosh yeshiva’s hand and kissed it with great emotion. Seventy years had passed, yet the rebbi-talmid relationship was as strong and personal as ever. We are a people of mesorah, transmitting our heritage from one generation to the next. The relationship developed between the generations is integral to the

success of the endurance of our tradition. Rabbeim are the heroes of transmission and talmidim are the heroes of acceptance. The Sefas Emes points out that the posuk references that Hashem hardened the heart of Paroh as the saga of the makkos played out. Paroh’s stubbornness, however, seems to be rooted in the ability of his mind to hear the logic, accept the threats of impending destruction, and then ignore them. His deficiency seems to be located in his brain, not in his heart. The head is where a person processes intellectual information, but how we react to that information, and how we adapt and modify our behavior as a result of that analysis, depends on the purity of our hearts. Thus, while Paroh may have accepted the truth of Moshe’s words on an intellectual level, he proved incapable of applying those facts to his life. Thus, his failure was one of the heart. Over Shabbos, the achdus I witnessed was impressive. The ruach and singing were invigorating, and the talents and love of the rabbeim were heartening, yet what moved me most was the purity of heart of the talmidim. I sensed their essential conviction that there is a mesorah and that there is wisdom to be found amongst those of the older generation. The bochurim I met demonstrated a gnawing desire to find the truth. In pursuit of that goal, they ask real questions that get real answers that they are willing to accept. Those bochurim are fortunate to have rabbeim qualified to answer their questions and help guide them lovingly along a path that leads to the potential to become a talmid chochom and a gavra rabbah. Just as the Shavele Rov who sought out the unique characteristic possessed by the Meitchiter Illuy because he had been exposed to the influence of his rebbi, talmidim who base their worldview on that which they receive behold the essential solidity that will accompany them throughout their lives wherever they go. There is siyata diShmaya that accompanies the talmid. A follower merits a special connection with his leader. The following story appears in the sefer Yissochor Zevulun, written by Rav Aharon Tawil and printed 100 years ago in Yerushalayim. The sefer was recently re-

21 repair the breaches and to replace tears with smiles, sadness with happiness, and tumah with taharah. Hakadosh Boruch Hu and his agents, the tzaddikim of ages past will assist us. In last week’s parsha, Am Yisroel essentially begins its formation. It is interesting to note that the first mitzvos they received before leaving Mitzrayim were those of Kiddush Hachodesh and Korban Pesach. Kiddush Hachodesh reminds us on a monthly basis that we should never de-

her that her son had a treife book in his possession. Rav Hillel immediately took the manuscript and disposed of it outside his home. The Chofetz Chaim was looking out for his grandson and protecting him from Shomayim, because he knew that he was doing his best to follow in the ways of his sainted grandfather. He thus reached out to assist him. When we work hard lesheim Shomayim, our forebears protect us and look out for us. They help us succeed and excel. If we show interest and do the best we can, we are zocheh to siyata diShmaya. We must not permit our errors and missteps to discourage us from remaining on the proper path and continuing to endeavor to improve. We must study the lessons of those who came before us, for their zechuyos and lessons are eternal. We are sometimes afraid to undertake great commitments. We look at the work that remains to be done to prepare the world for Moshiach and we shudder. We look at the number of people who need help and can become discouraged before we even begin. We see how many Jewish people are removed from Torah and wonder if it is even possible for us to reach them. We look at the size of Shas and are frightened from even attempting to study it in its entirety. We want to be better Jews and we know that to do that, we must study Shulchan Aruch and halachah seforim, but the complexity of it is daunting. We must ensure that we don’t capitulate to the urge to despairingly concede. Heaven helps those who seek to purify themselves. We have to begin. We have to show the willingness to undertake improvements. We will then be granted the strength and ability to fill the vacuum in our world. We have to do what we can to

spair. Although the moon shrinks and disappears, it always returns to its former glory, size and strength. The Jewish people, as a nation and as individuals, must likewise, never perceive loss and hardship as eternal setbacks. Hashem watches over us and provides us the ability of resurgence and growth. The mitzvah of Korban Pesach welcomed Am Yisroel to a life of avodas Hashem with a mitzvah unique in its demand for zeal and care. The sheep must be chosen days prior to Erev Pesach to ensure the health and worthiness of the korban. As it remained in the Jewish home, tied to its owner’s bed, the family’s anticipation for Pesach continued to build. Once offered in the Bais Hamikdosh, the korban was eaten bechaburah, in groups. Families joined together - fathers and sons, grandfathers and their grandchildren - symbolizing the role of mesorah in mitzvos. Every aspect of the korban required special care, including its final consumption, when it was forbidden to break any bones while eating it. The Korban Pesach was eaten with matzos, which also require intricate care to produce. There must be no chometz available for the duration of the yom tov, another difficult mitzvah to observe. Armed with these mitzvos and the lessons they convey, the Jewish people were able to advance towards Yetzias Mitzrayim and Har Sinai. The first mitzvos that the soon-to-be-redeemed people were commanded were difficult, but they would provide much joy and succor when properly observed and fostered a unique relationship between the Creator and His people. A teenaged talmid had questions on emunah and his bais medrash rebbi feared that he was headed on a path that would lead him out of yeshiva. On Purim, he brought the boy to Rav Elazar Menachem

Man Shach zt”l and asked the rosh yeshiva if he could answer the boy’s questions. Rav Shach told the boy that there were many people coming and going that day and it wasn’t a good time to engage in serious discussion. “Why don’t we speak during the Pesach bein hazemanim?” Rav Shach said to the boy. “Then we’ll have time and peace of mind to discuss your questions.” When the boy returned to yeshiva after bein hazemanim, his rebbi asked him if he had gone back to Rav Shach. “No, I didn’t,” he answered. “When we were there on Purim, through his conversation with me, he surreptitiously found out where I live. He came to my house twice. I couldn’t believe it. He said that we made up to meet, so he came to me because I hadn’t come to him.” “Did he answer your questions?” the rebbi asked. “He didn’t have to,” said the boy. “I never asked them. The fact that Rav Shach troubled himself to travel to me in Tel Aviv changed everything in my life.” This boy’s life was turned around when he saw that Rav Shach believed in him and cared about him and the direction in which he was headed. This is the dedication and concern I saw this past Shabbos. I observed a flow of love between rabbeim and talmidim. The feelings appeared to be mutual; not only do the rabbeim believe in their talmidim, but the talmidim believe in their rabbeim. A boy related that he was in many different yeshivos and was never able to sit still, but when he came to Waterbury in the eleventh grade, he developed such a kesher with his rebbi that he did whatever his rebbi said, because he felt the love. He became a tremendous masmid, as he was shown his potential, it was demonstrated to him that he really does have the ability to make something of himself and his life. In 2015, we still see the miracle of the mesorah. We see the ayin tovah, the confidence and the belief that rabbeim have in each talmid, and, in turn, we see the belief that the talmidim have in their rabbeim, which is such a vital component in continuing the golden chain. For me, the Shabbos was restorative, bolstering my faith in the process and the precious olam hayeshivos. It gave me a new depth of understanding of the pesukim of a parsha filled with references to mesorah: “Lemaan tesapeir b’oznei bincha uven bincha… Vehigadeta levincha bayom hahu...” As fathers, our job is to give. As children, our job is to receive. As teachers, our duty is to transmit, and as students it is to acquire. As good Jews, our task is to do both in order to perform the sacred mission that comes with being part of a mesorah. Like the staff of the Waterbury mesivta, rabbeim and moros in yeshivos and schools around the globe remain dedicated to their sacred tasks as the world spins out of control. At a time when people fear what news the next day will bring, it is comforting to know that what is true and eternal is safe.

JANUARY 29, 2015

he heard from Rav Hillel, who was a son of Rebbetzin Faiga, a daughter of the Chofetz Chaim. One evening, someone came Rav Zaks with a manuscript of a sefer he had written. The author left it and asked him to review it. He put the book aside to read when he would have an opportunity. He then went to sleep. The next morning, his mother asked him what he was doing with a treife book. She explained that her father had come to her in a dream the previous night and told


published by Rav Yaakov Hillel. The Arizal was once learning with his talmidim, when a young talmid, Rav Shmuel Ozidah, entered to join the shiur. When the Arizal saw him come in, he immediately rose and said, “Boruch haba.” He took the young man by his hand, sat him down next to him, and spoke to him. Rav Chaim Vital was intrigued. “Rebbi,” he said to the Arizal, “why did you rise for that young man and why did you extend to him the greeting of ‘Boruch haba,’ something you have never previously done?” The Arizal responded that he did not rise in respect for the young talmid, nor did he say, “Boruch haba,” to him. “I was being mechabed Rav Pinchos ben Yair, who arrived with him. His neshomah was nislabeish in this bochur, because he performed a mitzvah that Rav Pinchos ben Yair was accustomed to performing. Therefore, his neshomah came to him today to be mechazek and to help him.” Later, the talmidim urged the bochur to tell them which special mitzvah he had performed that would have the holy Tanna accompany him. He told them that on his way to the shiur, he heard cries coming from a home. He entered and saw a family that had just been robbed of everything. Thieves had literally taken the clothing off their backs. The bochur hurried home and brought his clothing for the family to cover themselves and stay warm until they would be able to put themselves back together. Thus, by following the path of Rav Pinchos ben Yair, known for his generosity, compassion and charity, Rav Shmuel merited his company. Though he was not even aware of the assistance, it was there and he benefited from it. This is the intangible zechus of following a mesorah, the Divine protection and guidance with which a true talmid is stamped. The Arizal explained the phenomenon to his talmidim. “That is the sod, the explanation, of Chazal’s statement that ‘Haba letaheir mesayin oso - Heaven helps those who seek to purify themselves” (Yoma 38b), for as soon as a person thinks about doing a great mitzvah, the neshomah of a tzaddik from the other world who excelled in that mitzvah comes to help him, and through that he is able to properly perform the mitzvah. Otherwise, the yeitzer hora would overpower the person and scare him out of doing the great mitzvah.” Children who cling to the paths of their fathers and talmidim who cherish the lessons of their rabbeim merit a special zechus. When we sacrifice and give even more than we think we can, and we work to plumb the depths of the Torah that we think might be too difficult an undertaking for us, we merit special assistance. We are never alone and are never given challenges that we cannot overcome. Rav Tzvi Shvartz of Rechovot, a oneman kiruv lighthouse, is a talmid of Rav Hillel Zaks zt”l, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Knesses Hagedolah who passed away last week. Reb Tzvi told me something that


JANUARY 29, 2015


Jews, M.L.K. and the African-American Civil Rights Movement Aaron Feigenbaum Jews have been involved in some of America’s most defining moments. They were participants in the Revolutionary War and fought alongside colonial Americans as well as sending financial support and signing resolutions that were part of the journey that led to American In-

When the Civil Rights Movement took off, Jews were statistically one of the most involved non-black groups to participate. Scores of Jewish students worked side-by-side with African-Americans in civil rights groups including, CORE, SNCC and SCLC, which in turn

Chaney were all murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in 1964 near Philadelphia. King honored their sacrifice, as well as that of the imprisoned rabbis, by saying: “How could there be anti-Semitism among Negroes when our Jewish friends

ing prayer in which he taught that, “when we deprive our fellow man of bread and dignity, we negate the Tselem Elokim-- the image of G-d in man -- and delay the fulfillment of His Kingdom.” Meanwhile, other Jewish activists were working behind the scenes in

Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner

dependence. The Civil Rights Movement was no exception. As we mark M.L.K. Day and remember the valiant struggle for equality fought over fifty years ago, we should also make note of the fact that many prominent Jews also played an integral part in helping Martin Luther King Jr. to achieve that victory. In fact, Jews’ involvement in civil rights advocacy in America began decades before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950‘s and 60‘s. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the largest civil rights groups today, was co-founded in 1909 by Jewish activist Henry Moskowitz. Moreover, the NAACP’s first chairman and later president, Joel Spingarn, as well as Spingarn’s brother Arthur, the second president of the NAACP, were both Jewish. A major impetus for Jews to join the nascent African-American civil rights movement came in 1915 with the lynching of Leo Frank. Frank was a Jewish factory manager who was falsely accused of murdering a 13 year old girl who worked at his factory. The fact that Frank was denied justice and lynched like a runaway African-American slave led many American Jewish leaders to feel greater solidarity with African-Americans. One of these leaders was Julius Rosenwald of Sears-Roebuck fame. Rosenwald, using a large part of his vast fortune, collaborated with the renowned African-American intellectuals Booker T. Washington and William H. Baldwin to improve the state of African-American education. Another noteworthy figure is Samuel Leibowitz, legal counsel for the Scottsboro Boys, a group of nine African-Americans who were falsely accused of rape in 1931 and finally pardoned in 2013. In the face of insults and death threats, Leibowitz appealed the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

were partially funded by Jewish philanthropy groups. Jews also made up a large Jewish Civil Rights activist Joseph L. Rauh Jr. marching with MLK in 1963 percentage of white volunteers in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer ini- have demonstrated their commitment to tiative, an attempt to register as many Af- the principle of tolerance and brotherhood rican-Americans to vote as possible. And not only in the form of sizable contribuJewish participation in the Civil Rights tions, but in many other tangible ways, and Movement wasn’t limited to secular, col- often at great personal sacrifice. Can we lege-types either. ever express our appreciation to the rabbis Many rabbis took on Afri- who chose to give moral witness with us can-American civil rights as a spiritual in St. Augustine during our recent protest quest. Leading intellectual and theologian against segregation in that unhappy city? Rabbi Abraham Heschel took part in the Need I remind anyone of the awful beatSelma, Alabama march of 1965 where ing suffered by Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld of he was photographed walking just a few Cleveland when he joined the civil rights spaces away from King. Rabbi Heschel workers there in Hattiesburg, Mississippi? later wrote of his experience, “When I And who can ever forget the sacrifice of marched in Selma, my feet were praying.” two Jewish lives, Andrew Goodman and In another example of Jewish re- Michael Schwerner, in the swamps of Misligious participation, sixteen rabbis were sissippi? It would be impossible to record arrested while protesting in St. Augustine, the contribution that the Jewish people have made toward the Negro’s struggle for freedom—it has been so great.” In perhaps the most notable example of Jewish participation in the civil rights struggle, Rabbi Joachim Prinz delivered a speech just moments before Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his, “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington. Rabbi Prinz made an eloquent call to action, saying, “When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many Rabbi Joachim Prinz, center, among other Civil things. The most important thing that I Rights leaders meeting with President Kennedy learned under those most tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not Florida in 1964 at the Monsoon Motor the most urgent problem. The most urgent, Lodge. It was the largest mass arrest of the most disgraceful, the most shameful rabbis in American history. and the most tragic problem is silence.” Some Jews paid an ever great Another religious leader present er price for fighting for civil rights. Jew- at the March on Washington was Rabbi ish activists Andrew Goodman, Michael Uri Miller, president of the Synagogue Schwerner, and black activist James Council of America, who gave the open-

Leo Frank at trial

Washington, D.C.. In 1963, the NAACP changed the purpose of its Leadership Conference on Civil Rights organization, formerly a fair labor advocacy group, to pressure the Kennedy administration and Congress to enact new civil rights legislation. Jewish labor lawyer Joseph Rauh, Jr. was brought in to be one of the LCCR’s foremost lobbyists on Capitol Hill, while Arnold Aronson, former head of the Bureau on Jewish Employment Problems, would be the group’s executive director. Marvin Caplan, former reporter for Fairchild Publications was selected by Aronson to be his right-hand man. Together, Rauh, Aronson, and Caplan were integral to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965. They not only worked with Congress to strengthen parts of the bill, but they also reached out to the public to drum up support. Additionally, they brought in religious leaders including Rabbi Irwin Blank of the Synagogue Council of America to advocate for the bill before the House Judiciary Committee. Thanks to the efforts of Jewish leaders of the LCCR, a provision was added to the bill to prohibit job discrimination on the basis of race. But the LCCR’s fight wasn’t over yet. Once the Civil Rights Act cleared the House, it went to the Senate, where pro-segregation Democrats launched a record filibuster against it. The LCCR organized rabbis and other Jewish leaders in an all-out lobbying campaign that reached almost every senator’s office. The Union of American Hebrew Congregations even encouraged its constituents to write to their senator in support of the bill.


On the subject of Israel, King once responded to a student who made an anti-Zionist remark by saying “Don’t talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!” Speaking at the Rabbinical Assembly for Conservative Judaism just two weeks before he was assassinated, King opined, “I think it is necessary to say that what is basic and what is needed in the Middle East is peace. Peace for Israel is one thing. Peace for the Arab side of that world is another thing. Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all of our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel, and never mind saying it, as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land almost can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.” King had planned on visiting Israel in 1967 but canceled his trip due to the political climate following the Six Day War. In a letter to El Al Airlines president Mordechai Ben-Ami, King lamented that it was “extremely difficult to conduct a religious pilgrimage free of both political

over tones and the fear of danger to the participants.” While the relationship between Jews and African-Americans hasn’t always been tension-free, during the Civil Rights Movement, M.L.K. and his Jewish friends and advisors built bridges based on common goals and a certain degree of shared history. As Representative John Lewis, one of King’s confidantes, said, “[M.L.K.] understood that a special relationship exists between African Americans and Jews… He knew that both peoples were uprooted involuntarily from their homelands. He knew that both peoples were shaped by the tragic experience of slavery. He knew that both peoples were forced to live in ghettoes, victims of segregation… He knew that both peoples were subject to laws passed with the particular intent of oppressing them simply because they were Jewish or black. He knew that both peoples have been subjected to oppression and genocide on a level unprecedented in history.” (Sources: Tablet Magazine, Forward, Jewish Virtual Library, The Jewish Press)

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JANUARY 29, 2015

and a speech at Temple Sha’arey Shalom in Springfield, New Jersey in 1963. The latter speech was made at the behest of his close friend and advisor Rabbi Israel Dresner, an ardent supporter of civil rights who was arrested numerous times during Freedom Rides. When King himself was arrested in 1963 in Birmingham, he wrote that “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal”…. It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers.” This echoed the sentiments he expressed in an earlier speech to the American Jewish Congress in which he said, “My people were brought in America in chains. Your people were driven here to escape the chains fashioned for them in Europe. Our unity is born out of our common Rabbi Heschel, second from right at the Selma - Montgomery march struggle for centuries, not only to rid us of bondage, but to make leagues. King made a speech at Beth Emet oppression of any people by others an imSynagogue in Evanston, Illinois in 1958 possibility.”


Were it not for the lobbying efforts of the LCCR and other Jewish groups such as the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, and the American Jewish Congress, the course of the 1960‘s Civil Rights Movement might have been very different. For his part, Martin Luther King Jr. was deeply appreciative of the efforts made by his Jewish friends and col-


JANUARY 29, 2015


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BOOK REVIEW Letters from Mir: A Torah World in the Shadow of the Shoah, the Correspondence of Ernest Gugenheim (OU Press: 2014) Reviewed by Rebecca Klempner In Letters from Mir: A Torah World in the Shadow of the Shoah, readers get to see what der heim, the old country, was like through a first-hand account written by a student of the Mir Yeshiva in 1938. Letters from Mir consists of letters sent home to France by the Alsatian bochur, Rabbi Ernest Gugenheim, during the period he learned at the Mir Yeshiva under Rabbi Yechezkel Loewenstein (Levenstein). The letters were collected years later by Rabbi Gugenheim’s remarkable wife, Claude-Annie, who, along with their daughter, Martine, edited

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them for publication. The translation into English by Ken Ritter followed an earlier edition of the book in French. The joy that Torah study brought the Mir’s students is palpable to readers from the moment young Rabbi Gugenheim enters the beis medrash with the bochurim who met him at the train station (interestingly, their number includes a young Shlomo Wolbe, who later became a rabbi and a rosh yeshiva himself in Israel). Young Rabbi Gugenheim described the scene: “It is ten-thirty in the evening, and we approach the yeshiva. We first hear from outside a chanting sound, or rather it is louder than chanting, but really this is nothing yet. We enter, and, lo, an immense room, truly immense, and inside there are let us say fifty to a hundred fellows, masmidim, who sing, who shout, who move and shake in a frenzy that delights and frightens you at the same time.” Due to the late hour, this represented only a fraction of the yeshiva’s students, a fact that astonished Rabbi Gugenheim. The schedule kept by the students while at the Mir was a rigorous one. Long sedarim were complemented by collective reading of Mesillas Yesharim daily, supplemented by periodic mussar schmussen by the Rosh Yeshiva. Rabbi Gugenheim spoke warmly of yeshiva personnel and his classmates. However, many of the newer students skipped Gemara shiurim by Rabbi Loewenstein because the complexities of his arguments flew over their heads. Instead, they opted

to learn with a chevrusa or in small groups. As he adjusted to yeshiva life, Rabbi Gugenheim sent home descriptions of his meals, clothing, bedding, transportation, and even bathing arrangements. We can read weather reports in his letters and learn about the yeshiva’s minhagim, as well as those in the surrounding town. One of the things that I most valued about Letters from Mir was the specificity of detail. For example, the yeshiva ran on “yeshiva time,” a clock distinct from local time. And I laughed at how any new student seemed to be greeted with an attempt at “Jewish geography.” While I found it unsurprising that the Mir’s students did not go to the movies or theaters, I was a bit astonished to find out that they learned about world events from non-Jewish newspapers, and that to practice his Yiddish, Rabbi Gugenheim read novels by an irreligious author. This paints a very different picture of pre-War, Orthodox Jewry than do the many stories which tend to highlight purity and elevation above secular culture. As a primary source on this historical period, Letters from Mir inevitably reflects the biases of its author. These letters are from a young, unmarried man in his twenties, a student used to the conveniences of Western Europe and most comfortable among Jews like himself. Rabbi Gugenheim joked in his letters about who had a beard and who didn’t, the primitive plumbing, and how much better it was to be surrounded by Russian gentiles than Polish ones (the former being less anti-semitic). At least initially, he looked askance at Hasidim, and tended to think of the mode of study, students, and rebbes of the Mir as better than their equivalents in all other yeshivos. The young Ernest Gugenheim was not without foibles, but for me that added to the charm of this volume. Several passages of Letters from Mir reminded me of the center section of All for the Boss, in which Ruchoma Shain described her experience as a kollel wife in Europe during roughly the same time period. I imagine that pairing those two books, alongside a similar volume about Hasidishe life in the 1930s, would make a marvelous reading list for a high school or college class about pre-war Europe. The OU Press is to be commended for this volume. Not only because of the insights and history it contains, but because they created it with flair. The quality of the cover, printing, and binding is top-notch. The translation maintains the chatty tone of the original documents, and the editors fleshed the letters out with photos, footnotes, and a glossary. These greatly enrich the reader’s understanding of Rabbi Gugenheim’s experiences. Other additions include biographical essays and historical context offered by the Gugenheim family and Rabbi Genack of the OU. The entire package is eminently informative, easy-to-understand, and a pleasure to read.


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28 JANUARY 29, 2015





ike many of my Brooklyn-born peers, grandchildren of survivors, I learned about the Holocaust from my grandmother. She did not speak of it to me, but her arm did. I was about five years old when I noticed Bubby’s tattoo. I asked my mother and thus began a very real and very personal Holocaust study. Bubby had been through Plaszow, BergenBelsen, and Auschwitz. Her number branded her forever as a woman of paradoxes: strength and suffering, pride and humility, luck and fate, and love and loss. This year marks 70 years since the soldiers liberated her from Auschwitz, throwing chocolate and whatever food they had at her, so horrified were they at the living skeletons quietly standing at the barbed wire entrance to hell. Now, 70 years since Auschwitz’s liberation, the last of those courageous survivors and world leaders are convening at Auschwitz, the little city of tremendous horrors, to recognize the past and emphasize a resolve and hope for the future: never again. The Horror of Auschwitz On January 27, 1945, the Allies liberated Auschwitz. The Soviet advance forced the Nazis to retreat from Eastern Europe to Germany; they took many of their prisoners to kill in death marches along the way. However, the Germans left 7,500 prisoners behind, among them children and those prisoners closest to death. Upon liberation, the world was horrified and shocked. The Soviets found 600 corpses, and thousands of living skeletons greeted them when they arrived. “I saw the faces of the people we liberated,” Soviet major Anatoly Shapiro recalled. “They

went through hell.” Holocaust historian Daniel Goldhagen writes, “Auschwitz was a death factory, an oxymoron that would have made no sense before the Holocaust, but that now is effortlessly comprehensible.” Overall, in Auschwitz, 1.1 million people were slaughtered. One million of those killed were Jews.


uschwitz was the site of the largest mass murder in the history of the world. In spring of 1940, Rudolf Hoss, captain of the SS, became commandant of a concentration camp in a town called Oswiecim in southwest Poland. The Germans called it Auschwitz, and it had been taken over by the Germans the year before. Hoss was told to make a camp for 10,000 prisoners using old Polish army barracks. These buildings were “well-constructed,” he later wrote, but “completely run down and swarming with vermin.” The camp came to be called Auschwitz I and was meant to contain and control Polish dissidents. At the time, Polish Jews were still confined to ghettos. Hoss decided to utilize the ironic motto of Dachau, “Arbeit Macht Frei—Work Makes You Free” in his camp as well. More than 10,000 Poles died in Hoss’s camp within 20 months. The camp had few supplies and little support from headquarters. Hoss later admitted in his memoirs that cruel and brutal punishment was routine there. However, because the town was so close to major railroad lines and surrounded by natural resources, including fresh water, lime, and coal, it was perfect for IG Farben, the German industrial company, to build a factory for war materials. This worked for SS Commander Heinrich

Himmler. He envisioned a model Nazi settlement, where prisoners worked as slaves and the SS grew rich selling coal, gravel and labor to IG Farben. Toward the end of 1940, Himmler visited Auschwitz and told Hoss to triple the camp’s capacity. This would be the largest concentration camp in the Nazi regime. They drew up architectural plans, expanding their Nazi vision. At this point, during the spring of 1941, Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. The Nazis hated the USSR and considered the Red Army a gaggle of inferior human beings. The Nazis took three million Soviet troops prisoner; within nine months, two million were dead from bullets, starvation, or hard labor. Hitler wanted any prisoner who could not work dead. Soon Himmler decided to extend Hitler’s Euthanasia Program, “mercy” deaths of handicapped children and the mentally and physically disabled, to Auschwitz. This way, he would not have to transport those who could not work out of the labor camp. He wanted a more efficient way to murder people that was also psychologically easier on the killers.


nter Zyklon B, a pesticide used to exterminate bugs and vermin from warehouses. One of Hoss’s deputies figured out how to efficiently use Zyklon B to fumigate barracks and disinfect clothes. These crystals dissolved in air to produce a lethal gas. He chose Block 11 for the first Zyklon B experiments. In late summer of 1941, the Nazis sealed off the doors and windows of Block 11. August Kowalczyk, a Polish political prisoner in Auschwitz, recalls, “Our attention was drawn by SS men running around with gas masks. The windows of the bunker had been covered up with sand, and in the cellar Soviet prisoners of war were assembled. And it turned out the following day that the SS—actually it was [Gerhard] Palitzsch in particular who attracted attention because he was running around like crazy. It turned out that the gas hadn’t worked properly and that many of the prisoners, the people, were still alive. So they increased the dosage— added more crystals—and finished the job.” Hoss later wrote that this experiment calmed him. He said that he was “relieved to think that we would be spared all these bloodbaths.” Even so, the so-called bloodbaths, or death-by-firing-squad, continued with a new camp built a mile and a half from Auschwitz, in Birkenau, also known as Auschwitz II. Auschwitz II, designed originally for Russian

29 113 be there, propped up by their fellow inmates. After roll call, they would walk to their work details five abreast, wearing their camp uniforms and ill-fitted wooden shoes—despite the fierce cold. A prisoners’ orchestra would play cheerful music as they left the camp. During the summer, work would last for 12 hours; it was slightly shorter in the winter. Much of the work was labor-intensive and meant to break their spirit and inflict the most pain. Some prisoners would be forced to roll boulders up and down hills; many would be crushed as they tried to push the large rocks up the hills in their weakened state. A second roll call took place in the evening, and again, all prisoners would have to be accounted for. Afterwards, punishments were meted out, depending on what happened during the day. Finally, after hours of horror, the prisoners were allowed to head back to the barracks for their bread and water rations. They slept lengthwise and crosswise one on

Greeting their Soviet liberators

somewhere. My brother and my father are buried here as well, you know.” Hoss was a master of efficiency: During 1942, 200,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz from all over Europe. Seventy percent were killed immediately upon arrival. In 1943, the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele, an SS physician, arrived at Auschwitz. He and other Nazi doctors conducted experiments on women, children, twins, and infants. If one twin died under experimentation, he would kill the other in order to conduct twin autopsies. Auschwitz was his laboratory and terror playground. Hours of Horror and Torment Although Hoss focused on killing as many people as possible, there were thousands of prisoners who were living through the horrors of life in Auschwitz. Their day began at 4:30am with morning roll call. Weak and shivering through the cold, the prisoners were forced to line up in rows of five for the roll call, which could last for four hours. Beatings were carried out for infractions, such as a missing button or an improperly cleaned bowl. All prisoners were counted and recounted—even those who died through the night were expected to

top of each other, pushing to try to sleep before they were forced awake in a few hours for another day of terror. As punishment, some prisoners were made to spend the night in standing cells. The cells were only 16 square feet and held four men who could only stand. After a night of standing, they then had to head out to work. Prisoners sentenced to death for attempting to escape were confined in a dark cell and given neither food nor water until they died of thirst and starvation. In the basement of Block 11 were the “dark cells,” which had only a very tiny window and a solid door. Prisoners placed in these cells gradually suffocated as they used up all the oxygen in the cell; sometimes the SS lit a candle in the cell to use up the oxygen more quickly. Many were subjected to hanging with their hands behind their backs for hours, even days, thus dislocating their shoulder joints.


n 1944, the Nazis struggled with a bottleneck of people: so many Jews were coming in from Hungary, and the gas chambers were always full. With about 725,000 Hungarian Jews in all, Hungarian Jews were the largest group of Jews

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y spring 1942, Auschwitz became the pivotal point of implementation of the Final Solution. And Birkenau was not about Russian POWs anymore; it was about Jews. While Hoss had been using Zyklon B to kill Soviets and the sick in the camp’s crematorium, Hoss did not find this the best place for mass murder. For one, the killings were happening too close to Hoss’s office. A prisoner recounted that after the Zyklon B pellets entered the gas chamber, “in spite of the fact that these walls were very thick—you could hear a great scream from within. This took place at lunchtime. In order to stifle the screaming, they had two motorcycles standing on the pavement near the crematorium, engines revved up as far as they could go.” So Hoss found an ideal location for new gas chambers where people could die in secrecy. In a remote field, just a few miles from Auschwitz I, was a little cottage known as the Little Red House, or Bunker 1. This they converted into two separate gas chambers. A few weeks later, they build a sister cottage to the Little Red House. The new place of death was called the Little White House. In March 1942, Hoss was ready. Jews came from Slovakia to the railhead in Birkenau, just two miles from the Little Cottages. From Birkenau, they were pushed toward the cottages. Eva Votavova, a Jewish survivor from Slovakia, recalls, “When they opened the train carriages and forced us out, they shouted at us immediately. They were screaming in German… We had to stand in line. Men had to step out first, then women with children, and then old people. I looked at my father, here, and I saw a sad look on his face. This is my last memory of him.” Thus, Auschwitz-Birkenau became fully operational in 1942: it was Germany’s largest killing site. Hoss issued commands, that what was most important in “the whole business of arriving and undressing” was that it “should take place in an atmosphere of the greatest possible calm.” The murder mastermind later wrote, “Hundreds of men and women in the full bloom of life walked all unsuspecting to the death in the gas chambers under the blossom-laden fruit trees of the orchard… I looked upon them as enemies of our people. The reasons behind the Extermination Program seemed to me right.” The SS had Jewish prisoners deal with the bod-

ies, to load the dead onto hand trucks and wheel them to giant pits behind the cottages. These men were called the Sonderkommando. The SS eventually made sure to have Sonderkommando speaking every language to calm the people entering the gas chambers. The Sonderkommando were killed by the SS cyclically to ensure that they would not rise up and rebel. Former Jewish Sonderkommando Otto Pressburger related, “We were digging holes. We really didn’t know what they were for. It was only when the holes were deep enough that we started to throw the bodies into them. It was appalling. New bodies were lying here every morning and we had to bury them. When summer came everything started to rot. “It was terrible. The majority of the people working here were from my home city of Trnava. I knew all of them and every day there were less and less of them. They must still be buried around here


prisoners of war, was built to hold 100,000 prisoners. The architects ensured that suffering was part of its planning. The plans had no provisions for enough water or waste disposal, and they knew the overcrowding would lead to widespread disease. At the last minute, they planned to increase the occupancy of each barrack from 550 to 744. Of the first 10,000 Russian POWs sent to Birkenau, only a few hundred lived past the first five months. At this point, Auschwitz was not part of the plan to liquidate the Jews. The Germans were still isolating Jews into smaller and smaller ghettos. On January 20, 1942, at the infamous Wannsee Conference held in a villa in a swank Berlin suburb, the Nazis fully articulated their plan: the Final Solution. All Jews under German command must die.




Children survivors show the numbers on their arms


nd then came the catch-22, or as Shlomo Aronson of Hebrew University calls it, The Trap. Jews needed to immigrate in large numbers. But the world was occupied with the Great Depression, high unemployment, and poverty. Countries would not take the Jews. When Jews waited on lines for visas in Germany and Austria, they were harassed. Soon, Eichmann made a rapid system of taking all Jewish property and trying to force Jews to emigrate. When the Germans deported Jews to the Polish border, they were turned away by the Poles. The United States, prior to World War II, was already isolationist. This influenced the American intelligence community. The Americans were focused on the Communist threat and perceived the

JANUARY 29, 2015

A Symbol of the Aryan Revolution What is most troubling, Holocaust historian and author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners Daniel Goldhagen writes, is that the Holocaust and its mass murders would have happened even without gas chambers and even without Auschwitz, Treblin-

Did the Allies Know? The question that immediately follows witness-

ing or hearing about this horror is what the world could have done. Americans think about our country: Did the Allies know? Could they have stopped the atrocities? As with all aspects of the Holocaust, the Allies did not know the level of horrors until 1943. Even with that information, had the Allies bombed the train tracks leading to Auschwitz, the Nazis would not have stopped the murders. Even when Hitler was losing the war, the Nazis sent trains that could have been used to transport more troops to the front to transport more Jews to concentration camps. Their single-mindedness underscored their determination. What Allied efforts would have accomplished, though, was a show of force toward the Nazis and a message to the suffering Jews. But the Allies did not want to use military force for civilian means. It is easy for us to examine history as a continuum; it is harder for those living it to anticipate the future or fully understand it. Students of history see the Nazis’ clear intent based on de-classified documents from the Axis and Allied powers and the luxury of time. What we do not remember is that even the Allies themselves were comprised of different countries with different ideologies. We don’t visualize Stalin, of purge fame, trying to protect human rights, or the British, who have a strong history of anti-Semitism, standing up for Jewish rights and lives. These were the Americans’ partners. From 1933 through 1939, especially following the first few months of the Nazis’ rise to power, the United States had heard constant reports of events in Germany. Jews lost their civil rights; they faced economic persecution. While the Americans perceived this as mostly unprecedented, they compared these laws to medieval precepts and strictures of old. The Germans were careful to say that Jews who were arrested and sent to concentration camps were not arrested as Jews, but as “opposition.” To the Americans, this discrimination may have been wrong, but not historically unique. But by 1938, the Nuremberg Laws ceased to be a simple German internal issue that influenced only several hundred thousand German Jews. With the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria in March of 1938, Austrian mobs clogged the streets. The antiJewish sentiments got louder. The Jews were told to leave.


alive in Europe. By early July 1944, more than 380,000 of them were brought to Auschwitz where they were gassed and burned. But all the bodies overtaxed camp resources. The SS started burning bodies in pyres in huge pits behind Crematorium V. By January 1945, the SS knew the Red Army was approaching. Himmler frantically ordered the dismantling of the camp. The crematoria and gas chambers were blown up. Files were removed or destroyed. The Germans could not get rid of all the bodies, though. The Russian liberators found stacks of tens of thousands of bodies in the snow. The Germans evacuated more than 60,000 inmates and marched them in subzero temperatures to railway junctions. Thousands died on these death marches; many were shot. Those who survived were packed in wagons and sent west to work as slave laborers. Those who were too weak or too ill were left behind to be shot, though, in the confusion to evacuate they were thankfully abandoned and left behind. Many of these were children who had been Mengele’s test subjects. These were the prisoners the Russians found. After liberation, Hoss was incarcerated while he awaited trial. He spent his time writing his memoirs of Auschwitz. He felt that the reasons behind the extermination seemed right, and he wrote about watching women and children entering the gas chambers. One chilling statement from his memoirs: “One woman approached me as she walked past and pointed to her four children who were manfully helping the smallest ones over the rough ground and whispered, ‘How can you bring yourself to kill such beautiful, darling children? Have you no heart at all?’ ” In just four years, 1.3 million people were sent to Auschwitz. By conservative estimates, under Hoss’ watch and directives, at least 1.1 million died there, 90 percent of them Jews. Before Hoss was hanged at specially-made gallows at Auschwitz, he wrote: His only regret was that he did not spend more time with his family.

ka, and Sobibor. Only half of the six million died through deliberate slaughter; the rest “they killed by nonindustrial means, mainly by shooting or starving them to death.” In fact, Goldhagen claims, rounding Jews up and shipping them to concentration camps was inefficient. The Nazis could have killed Jews where they found them. The Germans chose to create death factories to keep the killers away from their victims. Goldhagen points out, “To understand the politics of mass murder and eliminationism, the technical means of carrying out the deed are almost never the central issue. Rather, the crucial elements are the political leaders’ decision to commit genocide, the willing participation of a large population of perpetrators, the sympathy of an even broader civilian population — in the case of the Holocaust, principally ordinary Germans, but also many other Europeans — and, above all, the ideology that motivates them all to believe that annihilating the targeted people is necessary and right.” To Goldhagen, this is what marks Auschwitz as so important. Auschwitz is a symbol of a “racist revolution,” a group of people committed to overturning core ideals about humanity and normalcy. Auschwitz’s gas chambers were only one part of a larger system of 40 camps and sub-camps run by German “overlords.” In this way, Auschwitz “was a microcosm, not so much of the specific mechanisms of the Holocaust, but of the Nazis’ ideological vision of a world to be ruled by a master race, resting on the collective graves of the Jewish people...served by an enormous population of slaves.” Goldhagen says that when global leaders convened this week at Auschwitz they needed to realize “that they are gazing into the abyss that would have consumed their continent and the world.” If not for the end of the war, the Nazis just would have kept on killing, bringing their weapons to the rest of the world.



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32 Nazis as a limited problem. Furthermore, many Americans were anti-Semitic. This does not mean they supported mass extermination of Jews: many Americans simply did not like Jews. Jews were an unpopular victim. By 1939, with the outbreak of World War II, news began to travel across borders. The Joint started sending packages. By June 1941, the Nazis attacked the USSR. The Germans started sending out mobile killing units to shoot everyone. The British, in the meantime, cracked the Nazis’ codes and began deciphering thousands of daily transmis-

from Warsaw, to his countryside dwelling Kever [“tomb”]. I am alone here; I feel lonely...Uncle Gerush [“deportation”] works also in Warsaw; he is a very capable worker. His friend Miso [“death”] works together with him. Please pray for me. A follow up arrived in September: “Uncle Achenu has died.” The two men purposely delayed going public with this report for four months. At that point, more reports came through. The mass murder had been going on for more than a year. By the end of 1942, the British foreign minister addressed Parliament. He told his fellow Englishmen that the Nazis were carrying out systematic killing of many hundreds of thousands. The British condemned the killings. Then they held a moment of silence. The Allies started feeling pressure to do something. There was nothing more, however, that they thought they could do. They had just had their first Allied victory—in North Africa. They could not really reach the places Women survivors huddle in a prisoner’s barracks shortly after Soviet forces liberate Auschwitz that they had to to stop the killing. sions. The British were concerned the USSR would he timelines, tragically, do not correlate, collapse quickly; they saw reports about Jews and according to Dr. Joel Zissenwine of Yad the “murder of citizens” but did not react, in part, Vashem. The Allies only knew about the they claim, because the Nazis would realize someone had deciphered their secret coded transmis- gas chambers and the murders when the Allies did not have sufficient power or access to do anything. sions. At this point, the Americans were still unaware By 1943, the Allies focused all their power on the of anything as terrible as gas chambers. Further- unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. Their more, the British could not believe that a Western resources were directed to that, curtailing any atcountry would engage in systematic mass murder tempts for humanitarian action. 1943 also marked the turning point in the war: the Allies began as part of a larger plan. But 1942 marked a turning point. Vyacheslav to win. But it also marked the end of Operation Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister and diplomat, Rhinehard: the Germans had completed their mass informed the Soviets about the murders. Bertram murder of Jews in Germany and Poland. But what about Auschwitz? Could the Allies Jacobs of the Joint Committee announced that 300,000 Jews were killed on the Eastern front. have bombed the complex of evil? The first reports of Auschwitz came in late 1940 Members of the Bund smuggled out a report that 700,000 Jews were killed. There was talk about from the Polish government in exile, located in gas chambers. This information reached the Pol- London. The Polish government knew Auschwitz ish government in exile and the BBC in England was being used to kill Poles. They wanted the British RAF to bomb Auschwitz. But the RAF would reported on it. Despite that, the British were reluctant to be- not do it, a reflection of the British attitude toward lieve the reports. They were afraid of exaggera- many humanitarian causes at the time. Jews from Hungary who had been on the front tion, like some of the propaganda that had reached them during World War I. But by August of that also told the Allies about Auschwitz. But the reyear, a representative of the World Jewish Congress ports of the horror seemed surreal to the listeners. By 1944, Eichmann organized deportation to received a report: the Nazis planned to murder all the Jews. He sent this information to Dr. Stephen the only death camp still working: Auschwitz. DurWise in the United States and Sidney Silverman in ing the spring and summer of 1944, deportations began of 400,000 Jews in a matter of weeks. Great Britain. Two prisoners escaped from Birkenau in June The encoded letter read: I spoke to Mr. Jager [“hunter” in German]. He 1944. They sent a report with details about gas told me that he will invite all relatives of the fam- chambers and the ongoing horrors of Auschwitz. Then there were no more secrets. Henry Morily Achenu [“our brothers,” meaning all Jews], with the exception of Mrs. Eisenzweig [“ironworkers”], genthau, Jr., a high-level member of FDR’s cabinet,


saw that the State Department was not helping the Jews, and so he founded the War Refugee Board as an unprecedented resource to save Jews. The Allies then bombed Budapest. This halted some deportation. Raoul Wallenberg acted on behalf of the War Refugee Board; the organization, according to Professor David Leiman, saved 200,000 Jews. The Allies bombed an industrial complex in Auschwitz III, a few miles from Birkenau. They argued that they would kill innocent civilians if they bombed Birkenau. They claimed that did not have the right range to bomb the area, though they did. Whether they could have precisely bombed the crematoria and gas chambers is an unanswered, debatable question. Professor Shlomo Aronson of Hebrew University questioned, as so many of us do, whether the Americans should have and could have bombed the rail lines leading to Auschwitz. He interviewed Albert Speer, the Nazi minister of armaments, in jail while Speer was serving a life sentence. Speer told Professor Arenson that repairing a rail line would have taken the Nazis mere hours. The Allies would only have halted the killings for some time if they had bombed key railroad interchange points. Looking at the Nazi track record, the Nazis would have continued their murders using other methods. This was still 1944, and, by June 6, the Allies began their most aggressive offensive: D-Day. Allied resources were now dedicated to bombing areas near parts of France rather than the inland Auschwitz. Less than a year later, the Soviet forces marched into the Auschwitz concentration camp, aghast with the horror of what was happening there for the past few years. Living skeletons greeted them, still living, breathing and surviving despite the evil Nazi machine. Survivors Speak Most of the 114,000 Holocaust survivors living in America are in the New York area. They struggle with horrible memories, issues with trust, and hoarding food. The UJA keeps track of survivors who are, on average, 79 years old, poor and in need of special help due to stress and malnutrition. About half the survivors of Nazi camps and wartime ghettos have died in the last ten years; half of those who remain are expected to die in the next seven years. Survivor Hy Abrams recalls his time in Auschwitz, Plaszow, Mauthausen, Melk and Ebensee. Abrams was taken at age 20 by German Nazi soldiers and separated from his mother, father, brother and three sisters. He keeps a little blue book of his memories of the time. “At night I saw the chimneys and the fire and the smoke,” Abrams recounts. After he entered Auschwitz, he asked another prisoner where he could find his parents. Abrams recounts, “‘That fire,’ he says, ‘is where your father and your family went.’” He never saw his parents again. Abrams, at 90, is one of the oldest of Holocaust survivors who gather each week to share stories. Seven decades have not dulled the pain he lived through. Abrams and Golda Pollac, 89, survivors of several camps, including Auschwitz, see the anniversary of the liberation as a time of pain. Golda



went to Auschwitz at 19, where she lost her hair, her name, and her family. She worked in Buchenwald at an airplane factory and ate grass off the ground during forced marches. “I [would] say, ‘Here is the heaven and here is the hell. And we are now in the hell,’” she said of the camps. “This is what I say and with this I go until I [was] liberated because here people do everything.” In Plaszow camp, Abrams made shoes for the Germans; in Mauthausen, he hauled boulders up the “Stairs of Death.” On his way to Plaszow, Abrams saw his once-beautiful sisters, who, bald and starved, called out to him. He did not answer. “I was so depressed, I couldn’t even look from where that voice came,” he said. “That lives with me.”

“I Will Outlive You” My grandmother, Rochel Rothschild Schwartz, was not present at Auschwitz this week. Her time there ended decades ago. In Auschwitz, she lost her mother, her sisters, her brother, her father. Later, married and living in Los Angeles, she named her children after her parents, mourned for her parents on Tisha B’Av, and wrote her family names into books at Yad Vashem. She lived through Auschwitz in part because of her friend, Henchu Weiss of Queens, who worked in the kitchen and snuck food to my grandmother. Our family is ever grateful. Once, in Auschwitz, broken and devastated, without a thought about her future or a glimmer that she would ever emerge alive, Bubby looked a Nazi in the eye and said, “I will outlive you.” He laughed. She outlived him. But what the Germans could not do to her, a brain tumor, a possible side effect of being deloused with DDT in Auschwitz, eventually did. Though she and so many other survivors did not make it to this 70th anniversary, their children and children’s children and children’s children’s children, have. They have outlived them. 


JANUARY 29, 2015


n Monday, the day before world leaders convened on Auschwitz to commemorate the liberation, hundreds of survivors gathered for a private day of prayer at the former camp. One survivor cried out in pain, “I don’t want to come here anymore!” The trip, funded by the World Jewish Congress and the USC Shoah Foundation, brought back terrifying memories: for some, it was the first time back since the end of World War II. Those returning said they wanted a final visit to cry for their parents and siblings who were slaughtered in the Holocaust. Rose Schindler, 85, never said goodbye to her family. She survived because she was selected for slave labor. “I have no graves for my mother and sisters and brother, my father. So this, somehow, it is a way to say goodbye,” said Schindler. Together, the survivors chanted the kaddish next to the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign. Marcel Tuchman, a 93-year-old survivor of Auschwitz and three other Nazi camps, said, “The

overwhelming statistics are not the stories to be told. The stories could only be told by the victims. Unfortunately their voices were silenced by gas and the crematoria, so we are here, the survivors, to speak for them and honor the memory of their suffering.”


After liberation, “I was so weak,” Abrams recalled. He learned that only about 30 people from the 100 Jewish families of his hometown survived.


JANUARY 29, 2015


Notable 90


Notable Quotes

Compiled by Nate Davis

“Say“Say What?” What?” Reverend, you’ve been fighting the good fight on climate change, and we can see the crazy climate here, and we’d like to have a little bit more of you down in Washington. - Bridgeport, CT, Mayor Bill Finch (D) on MSNBC, thanking Al Sharpton for being on the forefront of climate change

The winner gets to witness a beheading in Riyadh. - Tweet by Mark Bowlin in response to the Pentagon creating a contest to honor the recently deceased King of Saudi Arabia

What is middle class income? Why are gas prices dropping? How much does the president make? When does Obama’s term end? What does the Speaker of the House do? -GOOGLE’s most searched questions during the State of the Union address

I’ve served in Congress with many of you. I know many of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for – arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision. Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different. - President Obama during the State of the Union address I hope you’re excited about the agenda I laid out tonight for 2015. Now it’s time to get to work. Let’s go – make a monthly contribution to support Democrats now: https://my.democrats. org/2015. Thanks, Barack Obama - From a mass fundraising email sent out by President Obama minutes after his State of the Union address

Change your plans, change your behavior, change your approach starting right now. This could be a storm the likes of which we have never seen before. New Yorkers should not underestimate this storm. We are facing one of the largest snowstorms in the history of the city. - Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was criticized last year for his handling of the city’s snowstorms, on Sunday

Compiled by Nate Davis

Today is National Hugging Day. It’s a day that encourages people to hug more often. Why they have it in the middle of the cold and flu season, I have no idea. I don’t know if it was sponsored by Theraflu or what. – Jimmy Kimmel

A new study says that children are suffering bad health effects from eating too much pizza. The study was explained in a pie chart which children immediately tried to eat. – Conan O’Brien

I said to my wife, “You know Jill, you know I sit back there and I listen and I help write the ideas in the speech and I know it all.” And I said, “I got to pay attention.” She said, “Welcome to the club.” And I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “Welcome to the Good Wives Club… How many times have I sat and listened to you make a speech and pretended to be interested?” - Vice President Joe Biden talking about sitting through the State of the Union address

While we were discussing a resolution regarding the murder of 1.1 million human beings – I will point out that 90 percent of them were Jewish, but the other 10 percent, they were political dissidents … those were the people who were being killed together at Auschwitz-Birkenau—while we were discussing that, they had the chutzpah, the nerve, the temerity, to unfurl a Palestinian flag and yell at us… What you saw here today was naked, blind anti-Semitism. That’s what you saw. That’s what you watched. That’s what you witnessed. People who are upset for one reason. Do you want to know why they are angry? Do you want to know why they are unfurling that flag today? Because Hitler did not finish the job. He only wiped out half of my family. And only by the grace of G-d is the other half, me, the grand-child, still alive today. That’s why those people are upset. Shame on them! Shame on them for hating Jews! Shame on them for hating people! Shame on them for disrespecting the most diverse, democratically elected body in the United States of America. – A portion of New York City Councilman David Greenfield’s impromptu speech after pro-Palestine protesters heckled the New York City Council’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of AuschwitzBirkenau Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon announced that this will be his final season of racing. You could tell it was time for him to retire during his last race when he had his blinker on the whole time. - Jimmy Fallon

This isn’t ISIS. No one’s dying. - New England quarterback Tom Brady addressing his team’s use of improperly deflated footballs in the AFC Championship game





The Obamas invited 22 guests to the speech, including a former Cuban prisoner, an astronaut, and a doctor. Either that or he was setting up the weirdest bar joke of all time. – Ibid

SkyMall’s parent company has filed for bankruptcy, which could mean the end of the catalog. Airline passengers were really upset. They said, “Now what am I gonna spit my gum into?” – Jimmy Fallon SkyMall was the premier shopping destination for people who just drank four tiny bottles of Jim Beam. – Jimmy Kimmel I will answer very simply that the internet will disappear. There will be so many IP addresses … so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it. It will be part of your presence all the time. - Google Chairman Eric Schmidt when asked about the future of the web during a panel at the World Economic Forum

As gas prices continue to drop, 28 states are now selling regular gasoline for less than $2 a gallon. It’s getting cheaper to pump two gallons of gas outside the station than it is to pump two squirts of nacho cheese inside. - Jimmy Fallon

We have to keep our heads. The biggest error we could make would be to blame Muslims for crimes…that their faith utterly rejects. - Secretary of State John Kerry at the World Economic Forum talking about radical Islam, or as he would call it, “terrorism” This extremism has grown up over a long time, over decades. Its roots are deep within the perversion of a religion, the perversion of Islam. At some point we have got to deal with the root problem, which is educating people from a close-minded view of the world—if you’re not like me you’re my enemy. We got to stop making excuses for those people. - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the World Economic Forum

He spat in our face publicly, and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price. - A senior Obama Administration official talking to Israeli newspaper Haaretz about Prime Minister Netanyahu planning to address Congress on the Iranian threat at Speaker of House John Boehner’s invitation, despite President Obama’s disapproval

The fury is telling. It reminds, as if we could forget, that everything is always about Obama. How dare Israel be more concerned with the existential threat of Iranian nukes than with Obama’s feelings? And what do members of Congress think they are, a separate branch of government or something? - Michael Goodwin, New York Post I was leading in every poll. I regret that I didn’t stay in. I would’ve won the race against Obama. He would’ve been easy. Hillary is tougher to beat than Obama, but Hillary is very beatable. - Donald Trump in Iowa, talking to the Des Moines Register  We have to build a fence. And it would have to be a beauty. Who can build better than Trump? I build – that’s what I do. I build, I build great fences. I build great buildings. But fences are easy, believe me! - Donald Trump talking about immigration policy at the Iowa Freedom Summit (which is the unofficial kickoff of the 2016 presidential elections) First and foremost we need to control our border. The 40 percent of the people that have come here illegally came with a legal visa and overstayed their bounds. We ought to be able to figure out where they are and politely ask them to leave. - Likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Jeb Bush (R-FL), talking about immigration

Last night President Obama gave the State of the Union address, and I just have to say that I don’t know what union he was describing. But I want to live there. I want to move. It sounds outstanding. There’s a middle class. They have small businesses. It sounds great. – Seth Myers

Vice President Joe Biden said he has privately met with 17 Republican senators at his home to try and connect on issues like tax reform. Biden asked what he can do to speed up negotiations, while Democrats asked, “Does this door lock from the outside?” - Jimmy Fallon

CNN is developing a game show to be hosted by Anderson Cooper. It will be just like the other CNN shows except the contestants will make wild guesses instead of the news anchors. – Seth Myers

JANUARY 29, 2015

– Jimmy Fallon

America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life. - Billionaire Jeff Greene who flew to Davos with his family and two nannies on a private jet in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland


Tonight President Obama gave the State of the Union address. Obama said he was more relaxed just because he’s already done it so many times. Incidentally, Mitt Romney said the same thing about running for president.


Tree Trivia

4. The tallest tree in the world is a Coast Redwood located in Northern California. How tall is it? a. 379 ft b. 590 ft c. 734 ft d. 1,100 ft

3. Which country has the most square miles of forest? a. U.S. b. Russia c. Australia d. Brazil

6. The oldest known tree in the world is located somewhere in Inyo National Forest, California. (Its exact location is undisclosed to protect it from vandalism. If I found it, I would totally love to hang a “No Mets Parking Here” poster on it.) The tree is 4,789 years old. What is the name of the tree? a. Methuselah b. Solomon c. Goliath d. Jacob’s Ladder


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Comm Let the ission er dec


6. The oldest known tree in the world is located somewhere in Inyo National Forest, California. (Its exact location is undisclosed to protect it from vandalism. If I found it, I would totally love to hang a “No Mets Parking Here” poster on it.) The tree is 4,789 years old. What is the name of the tree? a. Methuselah b. Solomon c. Goliath d. Jacob’s Ladder

2. Approximately how many types of trees are there in the world? a. 500 b. 2000 c. 14,000 d. 23,000

5. Which of the following U.S. states has the most trees? a. Wyoming b. Oregon c. New York d. Ohio

4. A 4. The tallest tree in the 5. B- According world is toaa Coast reportRedwood published by located in Northern the USDA Forest ServiceCalifornia. in 2002, tallmost is it? trees in the U.S. OregonHow has the 6. A a. 379 ft 7. B b. 590 ft c. 734 ft Wisdom key: d. 1,100 ft 6-7 correct: You are a serious tree lover. Let me guess, you tied yourself to a tree5.toWhich protestofit the being cut down to states has the m following U.S. build a new hospital, right? trees? 3-5 correct: Not bad. You see? You gained somea. Wyoming thing from those nature walks that your parents b. Oregon forced you to take as a child. c. New York 0-2 correct: You could use a little less d. Ohio carbon dioxide and a little more oxygen… develop a give and take with your local tree 6. The oldest and maybe you will do better on the nextknown trivia. tree in the world is locate somewhere in Inyo National Forest, California. location is undisclosed to protect it from vanda it, I would totally love to hang a “No Mets Park poster on it.) The tree is 4,789 years old. What i the tree? a. Methuselah b. Solomon Comm Let the c. Goliath iss d. Jacob’s Ladder ioner de 5. Which of the following U.S. states has the most trees? a. Wyoming b. Oregon c. New York d. Ohio

6. A 7. B

4. The tallest tree in the world is a Coast Redwood located in Northern California. How tall is it? a. 379 ft b. 590 ft c. 734 ft d. 1,100 ft

1. What is the official tree of the U.S.? a. American Chestnut b. Gray Birch c. Oak d. Hawthorn

7. The science of calculating a tree’s age by is known 1. What is its therings official tree of the U.S.? as: a. American Chestnut a. Chlorophyllyzation b. Gray Birch b. Dendrochronology c. Oak c. Treehugolagy d. Hawthorn d. Makeitupolagy because nobodyknowsy2. Approximately how many types of trees ourelyingoligy there in the world? e.are Botanology 500 f.a. Arboristology b. 2000 c. 14,000 d. 23,000 Answers: 3. Which country 1. C has the most2. D B- Russia has apsquare miles3.of forest? proximately 3,287,243 a. U.S. square miles of forest. The U.S. comes in b. Russia fourth place with c. Australia 872,564 square d. Brazil miles of forest. Wisdom key: 6-7 correct: You are a serious tree lover. Let me guess, you tied yourself to a tree to protest it being cut down to build a new hospital, right? 3-5 correct: Not bad. You see? You gained something from those nature walks that your parents forced you to take as a child. 0-2 correct: You could use a little less carbon dioxide and a little more oxygen… develop a give and take with your local tree and maybe you will do better on the next trivia.

Answers: 1. C 2. D 3. B- Russia has approximately 3,287,243 square miles of forest. The U.S. comes in fourth place with 872,564 square miles of forest. 4. A 5. B- According to a report published by the USDA Forest Service in 2002, Oregon has the most trees in the U.S.

2. Approximately how many types of trees are there in the world? a. 500 b. 2000 c. 14,000 d. 23,000 3. Which country has the most square miles of forest? a. U.S. b. Russia c. Australia d. Brazil

T ide

1. What is the official tree of the U.S.? a. American Chestnut b. Gray Birch c. Oak d. Hawthorn

7. The science of calculating a tree’s age by its rings is known as: THE JEWISH HOME a. Chlorophyllyzation b. Dendrochronology c. Treehugolagy d. Makeitupolagy because nobodyknowsyourelyingoligy e. Botanology f. Arboristology

JANUARY 29, 2015




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BY SUSAN SCHWAMM ANSWER TO RIDDLE: He drives his car in reverse.

It was 50 years ago—on January 24, 1965—that the British people mourned and celebrated their late leader, Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill died at the age of 90 after suffering for two weeks from a series of debilitating strokes. It was hard for many Britons to imagine England without the British Bulldog. Many saw him as the country’s savior after leading them to victory in some of the darkest times. They treasured his determination to save their country and bring back her splendor. They revered him as a leader who rallied the nation and led his people from the brink of defeat to the glory of victory. And even after the war, when the Allies had finally won, he helped craft post-war peace, and then eventually, alerted the West to the alarming expansion of the threat of Soviet Communism. HIS YOUNGER YEARS months earlier. Later that year Churchill started his political career Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was born to an aristocratic when he became a Member of Parliament in the Conservative Party family on November 30, 1874. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, for Oldham, a town in Manchester. Churchill, like his father, was a was a British statesman from an established English family, and his champion of social reform. But when he thought that the Conservative mother, Jeannie Jerome, was an independent-minded New York social- Party didn’t reflect his views, Churchill switched to the Liberal Party ite. The family lived in Dublin, Ireland, when Churchill was young, in 1904. 1908 was a fortunate year for the young politician: He was and surprisingly, the future leader was a poor and rebellious student. appointed to the Prime Minister’s Cabinet as President of the Board of Eventually, he was sent to boarding school, where he joined the Har- Trade and he married his wife, Clementine Ogilvy Hozier, after a short row Rifle Corps, which put him on a path to a military career. courtship. But initially Churchill didn’t seem like the perfect fit for military Once in the Cabinet, Churchill introduced several pieces of legisschool. It took him three tries to pass lation, including reforms in the prison the exam for the British Royal Military system, the first minimum wage, and College. However, once there, he did helped set up labor exchanges for the well and graduated 20th in his class unemployed and unemployment insurof 130. Churchill enjoyed a brief but ance. He also assisted in the passing of eventful career in the British army at a the People’s Budget, which introduced zenith of British military power. While new taxes on the wealthy to pay for in the army, he wrote military reports new social welfare programs. for two newspapers and two books on In 1911, Churchill showed his his experiences, The Story of the Malmore hardheaded side when he made a akand Field Force (1898) and The Rivvisit to a police siege in London. Ofer War (1899). ficials had surrounded a home with two It was when he left the army that thieves inside. Some say that Churchill Churchill garnered national attention. came just to watch the scene; others say Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, King In 1899, during the Boer War while that he actually told police how best to George VI and Princess Margaret wave from the balcony of working as a war correspondent for the storm the building. The house, though, Buckingham Palace during VE Day celebrations on May 8, 1945 Morning Post, he was taken prisoner by caught on fire and Churchill prevented the Boers in South Africa. Eventually, Churchill managed to escape the the fire brigade from extinguishing the flames. It is better “to let the prisoner of war camp and travelled almost 300 miles to Portuguese ter- house burn down” than risk the firefighters’ lives, he said. When the ritory in Mozambique. Instead of returning to Britain, the hero rejoined flames died down, the bodies of the two robbers were found in the General Buller’s army on its march to relieve the British at the Siege of ruins. Ladysmith and take Pretoria. He and his cousin, the Duke of MarlborP While serving as First Lord of the Admiralty since 1911, Churchill ough, were able to get ahead of the rest of the troops in Pretoria, where helped modernize the British Navy, ordering new warships be built they demanded the surrender of 52 Boer prison camp guards. with oil-fired instead of coal-fired engines. He was one of the first to promote military aircraft and set up the Royal Navy Air Service. So A FORAY INTO POLITICS enthusiastic was he about aviation that he took flying lessons to underIn 1900, Churchill returned to England on the RMS Dunottar stand firsthand its military potential. Castle, the same ship on which he had set sail for South Africa eight From 1919 to 1922, Churchill served as Minister of War and Air

JANUARY 29, 2015

Would Churchill Have Recognized the World that is Today?


50 Years Later




JANUARY 29, 2015

Witty Winnie: In His Own Words • Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. • To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. • Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. • Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. • Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. With President Franklin D. Roosevelet and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference in 1945

and Colonial Secretary under Prime Minister David Lloyd George. As Colonial Secretary, Churchill was embroiled in another controversy when he ordered air power be used on rebellious Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq, a British holding. At one point, he suggested that poisonous gas be used to put down the rebellion. This proposal was considered but never enacted, though conventional bombing campaign was and failed to end the resistance. Fractures in the Liberal Party led to the defeat of Churchill as a Member of Parliament in 1922, and he rejoined the Conservative Party. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, returning Britain to the gold standard, and took a hard line against a general labor strike that threatened to cripple the British economy. With the defeat of the Conservative government in 1929, Churchill was out of government. He was perceived as a right-wing extremist, who was out of touch with the people. Forced out of politics, he spent the next few years concentrating on his writing and published A History of English Speaking Peoples. CRUSHING THE NAZI BEAST World leaders were naïve when Adolf Hitler y”msh came onto the international scene. In fact, the 1936 Summer Olympics was held in Berlin. Hitler was already chancellor, and for two weeks, Nazi Germany mesmerized foreigners and journalists with their idyllic image of a tranquil, tolerant Germany. The United States and other Western countries rejected a boycott of the Games, missing an opportunity to take a stand against Hitler and possibly force him to give pause to his plan of world domination. Churchill, too, at first did not see Hitler as a threat when he rose to power in 1933. But eventually he became a loud advocate for British rearmament. Seeing the future a little more clearly, by 1938, as Germany began controlling its neighbors, Churchill became a staunch critic of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement toward the Nazis. “You must never underrate the power of the German machine,” he said, “this tremendous association of people who think about nothing but war.” On September 3, 1939, the day that Britain declared war on Germany, Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and a member of the War Cabinet, and by April, 1940, he became chairman of the Military Coordinating Committee. It’s interesting to note that Churchill generally appreciated a policy of appeasement and negotiation. One of the high points of his political career was the agreement for Irish independence that he arrived at with I.R.A. leader Michael Collins, a man who, in Churchill’s mind, was simply a murderer. Churchill not only negotiated with Collins but came to admire his character and dash. In regards to the Germans, though, he realized that they were possessed by a higher idea—one of an Aryan race that will dominate the world—and armed with a reformed military. Both ingredients, Churchill realized, would lead to disaster. “They do not value freedom themselves and the spectacle of it in others is hateful to them,” he said. Later that month, Germany invaded and occupied Norway, which was a setback for Neville Chamberlain, who had resisted Churchill’s proposal that Britain pre-empt German aggression by unilaterally occupying vital Norwegian iron mines and sea ports. In May, debate in Parliament on the Norwegian crisis led to a vote of no confidence to-

• We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. • A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. • All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. • We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. • The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. • The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. • Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. • Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon. • I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. • The price of greatness is responsibility. • History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. • You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they’ve tried everything else. • A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. • I am easily satisfied with the very best. • A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject. • In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet. • An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. • We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out. • History is written by the victors. • Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. • Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. • In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics, many times. • I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is a much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place. • Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of champagne; knowing him was like drinking it. • Eating words has never given me indigestion.



JANUARY 29, 2015



ward Prime Minister Chamberlain. The British knew that they needed domination in Eastern Europe. “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in a leader who would fight this enemy with determination and grit. On the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent,” he May 10, King George VI appointed Churchill as prime minister and declared. His speech, made at Westminister College in Missouri with Minister of Defense. Within hours, the German Army began its West- President Harry S. Truman at his side, is considered one of the first ern Offensive, invading the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. opening volleys announcing the beginning of the Cold War. He pointed Two days later, German forces entered France. It was Britain alone that out that like with Nazi Germany, appeasement could be disastrous. In stood up in the face of the Nazi machine. dealing with the Soviets, there is “nothing which they admire so much Quickly, Churchill formed a coalition cabinet of leaders from the as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than Labor, Liberal and Conservative parties. He placed intelligent and tal- for military weakness.” ented men in key positions. On June 4, Churchill addressed the House In 1951, Churchill was once again elected to the prime minister’s of Commons, referring to a recent military failure, encouraging the seat. In 1953, Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He intronation, and warning them of a possible invasion by the Germans. It duced various reforms and improved working conditions in mines and one of his most iconic speeches and the nation was bolstered by his established standards for housing. These domestic reforms, though, inspiring words. were overshadowed by a series of foreign policy crises in the colonies Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous of Kenya and Malaya, where Churchill ordered direct military action. States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all While successful in putting down the rebellions, it became clear that the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall Britain was no longer able to sustain its colonial rule. go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing THE LATER YEARS strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost Despite his strength against his enemies and in his convictions, may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing Churchill was a weak man. He suffered a mild heart attack while visitgrounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight ing the U.S. in 1941 and then again in 1943. In June 1953, at 78, he in the hills; we shall never surrender. suffered from a series of strokes at his office, located at 10 Downing On June 18, just a few days later, Churchill once again addressed Street. The news was kept from the public and Parliament, with the the House of Commons, warning that “the Battle of Britain” was about official announcement stating that he had suffered from exhaustion. to begin. He concluded with the following inspiring words to a nation He recuperated at home, and returned to his work as prime minister in reeling from fresh, oozing losses. October. However, it was apparWhat General Wygand ent even to him that he was physicalled the Battle of France is cally and mentally slowing down. over. I expect that the Battle Churchill retired as prime minister of Britain is about to begin. in 1955. He remained a Member Upon this battle depends the of Parliament until the general survival of Christian civilizaelection of 1964, when he did not tion. Upon it depends our own seek re-election. British life, and the long conOn January 15, 1965, Churchill tinuity of our institutions and suffered a severe stroke that left our Empire. The whole fury him gravely ill. He died at his and might of the enemy must London home nine days later, at very soon be turned on us. age 90, on January 24, 1965. BritHitler knows that he will ain mourned for more than a week. have to break us in this Island Harold Macmillan, who was prime Farewell to a courageous leader or lose the war. If we can stand minister from 1957-1963, wrote in up to him, all Europe may be his diary on that sad day, “England free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit without Winston! It seems impossible. Not even the oldest of us can uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United remember England without him as a considerable figure.” Tony Benn, States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink a fellow Member of Parliament, mourned, “Thus ends the life of one of into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps the greatest Englishmen of our time.” It seemed that when Churchill more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. died, a part of the glory of Britain died with him. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourChurchill were alive today, would he recognize the world that is? selves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a In the 1930s and 1940s, when Nazi Germany was systematically thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.” During the war, Churchill kept resistance to Nazi dominance alive swallowing up countries in Europe and threatening the survival of deand worked to create an alliance with the United States and the Soviet mocracy, Churchill was a brilliant strategist and combatant. He was Union. He had previously cultivated a relationship with U.S. President fierce; he was determined; he was courageous. He was unafraid to take Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, and by March 1941, was able to se- on the Nazi beast. He knew his enemy and was resolute in his desire to cure vital U.S. aid through the Lend Lease Act, which allowed Britain crush them. But our enemy today is hidden in the shadows. They don’t have a to order war goods from the United States on credit. After the United States entered World War II in December 1941 state; they don’t fight a conventional war. Their war is shrouded under following the harrowing events of Pearl Harbor, Churchill was confi- the blanket of religion and in the name of G-d. Westerners can’t fully dent that the Allies would eventually win the war. In the months that understand them. We are taught to enjoy life, to work towards successfollowed, Churchill worked closely with Roosevelt and Soviet Union es. Our enemies are trained to love killing, to maximize the proliferation leader Joseph Stalin to forge an Allied war strategy and helped craft the of terror. How can we fight an enemy who we don’t understand? Perhaps if Churchill were alive today, he would have taken notice of post-war world with the United Nations as its centerpiece. As the war wound down, perhaps seeing him only as a “war-time the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. He was always a student of history; prime minister,” Churchill was defeated in the general election in July maybe he would have seen the few parallels between Nazi Germany and Islamic fundamentalism—the belief in a higher cause, the hatred of free1945 by Clement Attlee. But that was not the end for Churchill. During the next six years, dom, the mass destruction and killings. With his trademark frankness he he became the leader of the Opposition Party and continued to have an would have warned the West of the dangers of terrorism. He would have impact on world affairs. In March 1946, while on a visit to the United been unafraid to speak out against those who preach hate. And he would  States, he made his famous “Iron Curtain” speech, warning of Soviet have led England in her fight in the War on Terror.

Travel Guide: Vermont By Aaron Feigenbaum


JANUARY 29, 2015


Locomotive at the Shelburne Museum

Vermont is the pastoral and agricultural heart of New England. From the state’s iconic autumn foliage to its award-winning hiking trails to the many farms and small towns that fill its countryside, Vermont is a breathtaking escape from the pressures of modern life. As one of the safest and most beautiful places to live in America, Vermont has always been home to artists, writers, and nature-lovers for whom the state’s rural charm and fiercely

The Old Constitution House at Windsor

independent spirit have been a source of inspiration in their lives. Outdoors enthusiasts will find that despite the state’s relatively small size, Vermont has no shortage of activities: From the tranquil waters of Lake Champlain to top-rated ski resorts to lushly forested trails, Vermont is proof that big things come in small packages. And no trip to Vermont would be complete without a stop at one of the many fine certified-kosher maple syrup farms,

a true delicacy of the Northeast! Whether you want to explore the Great Outdoors or you’re merely looking for a taste of the simple life, Vermont has all you’re looking for and then some.


Native Americans, particularly the Abenaki tribe, had lived in what is now Vermont for thousands of years prior to European exploration. The first European to set foot in Vermont was the French adventurer Samuel de Champlain in 1609. Native American attacks threatened the survival of the fledgling French settlements, so Fort St. Anne in the middle of Lake Champlain was built to safeguard the French enterprise in Vermont. Over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries, the French population was gradually replaced by English colonists coming from the south. The colonies of New York and New Hampshire made overlapping claims to parts of Vermont. In 1770-71, a group of New Hampshire colonists called the Green Mountain Boys, led by Ethan Allen, attacked colonists in Vermont who had land titles issued by New York. However, this internal strife ceased once news of the American Revolution reached the region in 1775. Vermonters succeeded in capturing strategic British positions in the north including Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Vermont asserted its status as an independent republic and was admitted to the Union as the 14th state in 1791. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Vermont was a major railroad hub, leading to rapid growth for the state’s small towns. Vermont’s ardently anti-slavery politics led it to give Abraham Lincoln the largest margin of victory of any state in the 1860 election, and to contribute thousands of volunteers to the Union cause. As economic conditions changed during the Great Depression, Vermont’s economy shifted from heavy industry to tourism, farming, and quarrying. Vermont today attracts millions of visitors every year with an accompanying annual reve-

Ethan Allen Homestead

nue of over $1 billion.

Things to See and Do:

Burlington: Situated on the idyllic shores of Lake Champlain, between the Adirondack and Green Mountains, Burlington is Vermont’s largest and most vibrant city, and is a mere two hours away from the Canadian border. The town is dominated by the University of Vermont, and is tolerant, safe, and pedestrian/ bike-friendly. If you’re coming in September or October, Burlington is also the most popular place to view the changing foliage. Though Burlington is most associated with foliage, there are plenty of other things to check out as well. One of the best attractions is the European-esque Church Street Marketplace, an open-air shopping center where you’ll find historic buildings, festivals, live entertainment, and over 100 shops. Another great spot is ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, which features over 70 different species of sea creatures and provides petting opportunities for the kids. Then visit the restored home of Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen where you can learn not only about Allen himself, but also life in early America. The house overlooks the scenic Winooski River and is surrounded by beautiful wooded trails. Outdoor activities are abundant in the Burlington area. Mount Philo is a great leisurely hike, but for the best views of the Champlain Valley, try the more challenging Camel’s Hump or Mt. Mansfield. You can also try your hand at fishing on Lake Champlain, or drive to one of several nearby ski resorts, (all are within an hour’s drive). The 7.6 mile Burlington Bike Path cuts along beaches and parks, and gives riders excellent views of the city, the lake, and the Adirondacks. After a full day of activities, wind down and watch the sunset at Waterfront Park where you’ll be treated to a stunning view of Lake Champlain and passing boats. Killington: Most noted for its ski re-


Autumn in Vermont

sort, Killington is one of the most popular destinations in Vermont for outdoors enthusiasts. Reviews for Killington Resort praise it for its pristine slopes and friendly staff. The Killington area is also well-known for its hiking. For the complete hiking experience, Appalachian Trail Adventures is a kind of “hiking spa” that gives guided treks through Vermont’s Green Mountains. Their hiking and kayaking expeditions are tailored to your experience level, and will take you through some of Vermont’s most scenic mountains vistas, waterfalls and lakes. Manchester: Located in the heart of the Green Mountains, Manchester is quintessential small-town Vermont, complete with antique shops and quaint inns. You can hit the slopes at the Bromley and Stratton Mountains in the winter or hike through the verdant Merrick Forest during the rest of the year. Other popular activities include fly-fishing, shopping in Manchester’s big-name outlet stores, and viewing the foliage from a canoe on the Battenkill River. But the main reason tourists come to Manchester is to see Hildene, home to Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Lincoln who survived to adulthood. Set in the Georgian Revival style, the house was completed in 1905 and overlooks the Battenkill Valley. Almost all the house’s furniture are original pieces belonging to the Lincoln family. Hildene’s other sights include the restored 1903 wooden Pullman palace car, a goat farm and cheesemaking facility, and surrounding trails. Montpelier: Vermont’s capital is a humble, yet beautiful town that is home to the nation’s oldest capitol building. Made out of local granite, this magnificent piece of architecture is topped with a golden dome, and the whole premises is surrounded by a well-manicured garden. Moreover, the interior has been lovingly restored to its late-1800‘s state. After you’ve gone on a free tour of the capitol, head over to the Vermont Historical Society Museum which tells the history of the Green Mountain State from its Native American beginnings to the adventures of Ethan Allen to the present day. Finally, if you’re feeling bold, climb to the top of Camel’s Hump and soak in the view of the forests and mountains surrounding Montpelier.

Other attractions: To see all that Vermont has to offer, don’t limit yourself to the major cities and towns. A relatively “off-the-beaten-path” attraction is the Shelburne Museum in the town of Shelburne. This is one of New England’s best art and design museums with over 150,000 pieces displayed throughout 38 buildings. Some of the museum’s exhibits include Impressionist paintings, quilts, furniture, a full-scale steamboat, a lighthouse, and a fully recreated Colonial-era village. Another must-see is the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Ferrisburgh. Here you can see recreations of such vessels as the Revolutionary-era gunboat Philadelphia II and the canal schooner Lois McClure. The museum hosts educational programs for kids and students, as well as sponsoring rowing competitions in the summer. If machine shops pique your interest, visit the American Precision Museum in Windsor. This former factory is said to be where the first interchangeable parts were made in America, giving birth to the precision tool industry. One of the most interesting exhibits there is about how the factory produced over 1.5 million rifles for the Union army in the Civil War. Windsor is also home to the Old Constitution House where Vermont’s constitution was signed and ratified in 1777. The Park-McCullogh House in North Bennington, built in 1864-65, is an incredibly well-preserved and luxurious Victorian mansion. The grounds are beautifully maintained and have trails and even horses to delight visitors. Finally, be sure to see the Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth Notch where President Calvin Coolidge lived from age four in 1876 to 1887. The house was built by Coolidge’s father, John, and the President regularly visited his old home. In fact, it was while he was visiting there in 1923 that President Warren Harding died, and Coolidge was sworn into office by his father in the house’s parlor room. When you visit the Coolidge Homestead District, you get to see not only the house where he grew up, but also some of Plymouth Notch’s original buildings including the schoolhouse, general store, and a farmhouse/barn.

Daven and Eat:

The only Orthodox shul in Vermont is Chabad of Vermont at 57 South Williams

Street, Burlington (802-658-5770/chabadvt.org). For kosher-certified food, visit Vermont Kosher at 88 North Prospect Street in Burlington. This great restaurant has a wide selection of traditional Ashkenazi and Middle Eastern foods. The Price Chopper supermarket in Burlington (595 Shelburne Road) as well as the Trader Joe’s (200 Dorset St.) both carry a large variety of kosher dairy products, meats, salads, frozen foods, and wines. Kosher maple syrup farms in Vermont include Butternut Mountain Farm, The Green Mountain, Hidden Springs Maple, and 1836 Country Store.

Getting There:

The largest and most popular airport in Vermont is Burlington International. Flights to there from LAX currently start at around $530 per person round-trip. Greyhound has several stops in Vermont including Burlington, White River Junction, and Montpelier. Amtrak operates a special Vermonter line which runs between St. Albans, Vermont, New York, and Washington, D.C. Driving from Los Angeles to Burlington is an approximately 2,900 mile trip that would take around 3 days. (Sources: Wikitravel, Lonely Planet, Tripadvisor)

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JANUARY 29, 2015


Global Saudi Arabia Bids Farewell to their King

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud died at the age of 90 last Friday. Within a few hours of his death, throngs of mourners gathered in Mecca to pay tribute to the long-time leader. A few weeks ago, the state-run Saudi Press Agency announced that the king was suffering pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. After his passing, the crown was

passed on to King Abdullah’s brother Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. The White House was quick to honor the late king. “King Abdullah’s life spanned from before the birth of modern Saudi Arabia through its emergence as a critical force within the global economy and a leader among Arab and Islamic nations,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement. Obama also praised Abdullah’s role in sponsoring the Arab Peace Initiative. “This is a sad day. The United States has lost a friend, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and the world has lost a revered leader,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. “He was so proud of the Kingdom’s journey, a brave partner in fighting violent extremism who proved just as important as a proponent of peace.” King Abdullah was officially crowned king of the oil-rich nation in August 2005, but he had been running Saudi Arabia since 1996, after his half-brother King Fahd’s stroke. King Abdullah was viewed as a reformer in an extremely conservative











nation; Abdullah took initiatives toward expansive freedoms and invested some of the country’s vast oil wealth in large-scale education and infrastructure projects. Under Abdullah’s leadership, Saudi Arabia helped conquer al Qaeda, capturing or killing its leaders in the kingdom. Last year, it became the lead Arab nation in a U.S.-led coalition to eradicate the ultra-radical ISIS group in Iraq and Syria.

court starting February 9, with a verdict expected thereafter. Five other Costa Crociere employees indicted in the case were allowed to enter plea bargains and none is serving prison time.

9 Killed on Attack on Tripoli Hotel

Costa Concordia Captain Faces 26 Years

On Monday, prosecutors asked a court to convict the captain of the Costa Concordia and sentence him to 26 years in prison for the 2012 shipwreck off Tuscany that killed 32 people, saying the term is hardly excessive given the death toll. Prosecutor Maria Navarro also asked the court to detain Capt. Francesco Schettino again and seize his passport and navigation license, saying he is a flight risk. She said the trial had proved that Schettino “thought only and always about himself.” Schettino is being tried for manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the Concordia while many passengers and crew members were still aboard. Survivors of the January 13, 2012, wreck described a chaotic and delayed evacuation, with lifeboats unable to lower because the ship was already tilting so much. In his defense, the captain has said he saved lives by steering the liner toward shore after it hit rocks that weren’t on his charts. The blame does not lie with him, he says. He has accused his crew of botching his orders and blamed faulty generators aboard the ship for contributing to the disaster. Despite his protestations, Navarro accused Schettino of lying from the start, of never apologizing to the victims and saving his own life “without even getting his shoes wet.” She said the requested sentence, beyond the 20-year maximum speculated, was not “exaggerated” considering Italy’s high court recently confirmed a 10-year prison sentence for a car accident that killed four people. The defense is expected to respond in

On Tuesday, gunmen stormed a hotel in Tripoli, killing at least nine people including five foreigners before blowing themselves up. After setting off a car bomb outside the luxury Corinthia Hotel in Libya’s capital, three armed militants rushed inside and opened fire, Issam al-Naass, a spokesman for the security services, said. They made it to the 24th floor of the hotel, which is a major hub for diplomatic and government activity in Tripoli, before being surrounded by security forces and detonating explosive belts they were wearing, he said. The dead included three security guards killed in the initial attack, five foreigners shot dead by the gunmen and a hostage who died when the attackers blew themselves up. At least five people were also wounded during the assault, including two Filipina employees hurt by broken glass from the car bomb explosion. The hotel’s 24th floor is normally used by Qatar’s mission to Libya but no diplomats or officials were present during the assault, a security source said. The head of Libya’s self-declared government, Omar al-Hassi, was inside the hotel at the time of the attack but was evacuated safely, Naass said. In a statement on Twitter, the Tripoli branch of the Islamic State jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack. It said it was carrying out the attack in honor of Abu Anas al-Libi, an al Qaeda suspect who died in the United States earlier this month, days before facing a trial for bombing U.S. embassies. EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini condemned the attack, calling it “another reprehensible act of terrorism which deals a blow to efforts to bring peace and stability to Libya.” “Such attacks should not be allowed

Visiting Israel?

Deep in a village in Egypt’s Nile Delta is the tomb of Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeira, who passed away on a pilgrimage to Israel. From the time of his death it quickly became a tradition to visit his tombstone annually on his birthday; the tradition lasted for many years and slowly died out when it became increasingly dangerous and difficult to travel in Egypt. In December, an Egyptian court formally outlawed the festival marking the rabbi’s birthday, the 19th day of Tevet, which fell on January 10 this year. The Alexandria administrative court that imposed the ban also moved to strip the shrine of its government designation as a cultural monument, though it was not clear whether it had the jurisdiction to do so. This is reflective of the growing rate of anti-Semitism in the Middle East. However, not all citizens are guilty of anti-Semitic ideology. Hanan Emara, who lives near the shrine said, “There was never a problem, and we never complained. We are Muslims and they are Jews.

Flogging for Blogging in Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia is notoriously conservative and surprisingly barbaric at times. It is one of the few remaining countries that do not allow women to operate a motor vehicle and that punish individuals for expressing opinions with whippings. Public beheadings are also not uncommon after Friday prayers and large crowds gather to watch. In general, one can say that Saudi Arabia is a playground for human rights activists. Earlier this month, a Saudi blogger became the subject of an international campaign to overturn an extremely harsh sentence. Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes spread over 20 weeks, a punishment so cruel that doctors recommended that a second round of 50 lashes be postponed on Friday because Badawi had not yet healed from the first. His crime?

Badawi was chastised for creating a website, Free Saudi Liberals. He is accused of publishing an article seen as ridiculing the kingdom’s religious police and other “offensive” material. Two weeks ago, Badawi was arrested and transported in handcuffs and shackles to a square outside a mosque in Jidda, his hometown. A crowd gathered as a security officer approached from behind and started to beat Badawi with a large cane, according to an unidentified witness quoted by the London-based rights group Amnesty International. “The officer beat Raif on his back and legs, counting the lashes until they reached 50,” the witness said. “Raif raised his head towards the sky, closing his eyes and arching his back. He was silent, but you could tell from his face and his body that he was in real pain.” Although the internet has made it possible for Saudis to discuss their views on social and political issues openly, the government disciplines those who criticize members of the royal family, senior religious leaders, or government policies. The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Raad al-Hussein, appealed to the king to rescind the public flogging by pardoning Badawi “and to urgently review this type of extraordinarily harsh penalty.” The U.S. also made an unusual diplomatic decision to publicly call on Saudi Arabia, an important U.S. ally, to overturn the sentencing, with U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki recommending that Saudi authorities “cancel this brutal punishment.” A Princeton University professor and a prominent Muslim American figure, as well as five other religious freedom advocates, are offering to take 100 lashes each for imprisoned blogger. As of now, Saudi authorities did not change or amend Badawi’s sentence.

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British Terrorist Fakes Death to Return Undetected from Syria Imran Khawaja, 27, was reported dead last year, however, the terrorist was very much alive. Khawaja faked his own death while fighting in Syria in an attempt to sneak home to Britain without being noticed.

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Egypt Bans Jews from Visiting Rabbi’s Tomb

We have our celebrations, and they have theirs.” Experts on Middle Eastern politics believe that this move speaks volumes about Egypt’s relationship with Israel. The two countries have had a peace treaty since 1979, and their militaries and intelligence services cooperate closely on security matters, particularly in the volatile Sinai Peninsula. But in a new wave of anti-Semitism spreading through Egyptian society, there has been much anti-Israel rumblings. Even prior to the court’s ruling, attendance at the festival had decreased after Egypt’s 2011 uprising against dictator Hosni Mubarak and the turmoil that followed. The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, culminating in the election in 2012 of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, in effect marked an end to the celebrations, said Rabbi Yehiel Abuhatzeira, a scion of the rabbi’s dynasty who is now the municipal rabbi of the Israeli town of Ramle. “Since Morsi came to power, Jews from Israel have not gone,” he said. An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, said Israel was studying the court ruling and weighing the possibility of raising the issue with Egypt. “This is a sensitive issue — after all, this was a court ruling and there is the matter of judicial independence,” he said. “But we are considering asking that this be viewed from a broader perspective.”


to undermine the political process,” Mogherini said in a statement. A new round of UN-mediated peace talks between Libya’s rival factions kicked off in Geneva on Monday as they seek to implement a roadmap on forming a unity government. The North African nation has been wracked by conflict since the overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a 2011 uprising, with rival governments and powerful militias battling for control of key cities and the country’s oil riches. The Islamist-backed Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) militia alliance took control of Tripoli last summer, forcing Thani’s government to flee to the remote east.



JANUARY 29, 2015


According to police, Khawaja admitted to preparing for acts of terrorism, attending a training camp, and possessing firearms. Khawaja is originally from Southall in west London. He departed from Heathrow Airport last January and headed for a training camp in Syria. He spent the first half of last year fighting alongside jihadists in Syria’s civil war. During that time, he posted an image of himself holding a severed human head on social media. According to Britain’s Metropolitan Police, Khawaja was an active member of Rayat Al-Tawheed (Banner of God) — a group which became aligned with the Is-

lamic State group. The terror group falsely announced on social media that he was later killed on the battlefield. Police now believe the reports were part of a plan to throw authorities off his trail. “In May 2014, the group put out a message on social media, designed to deliberately mislead authorities, claiming that Abu Daigham al-Britani had been killed alongside an image of two masked men holding a flag associated with Islamic State,” said Scotland Yard. In reality, he was heading for Bulgaria, where he had asked his cousin, Tahir Bhatti, 44, to pick him up. The duo was arrested on June 3 last year as they reached the port of Dover in southern England. “He was a senior figure in Rayat Al-Tawheed, a group aligned to Islamic State that celebrated its terrorist acts through social media back to the UK,” Richard Walton, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said on Tuesday. “This is a man who has chosen the path of terrorism. We don’t know why he came back. We don’t know what he was planning.” Bhatti, a taxi driver from near London, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to assisting an offender, but previously pleaded not guilty to preparing a terrorist act. A

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third man, Asim Ali, pleaded guilty to entering into a funding arrangement for the purposes of terrorism after making £300 ($455, 394 euros) available to Khawaja. All three face sentencing on February 5 and 6, with Khawaja facing an extensive jail term, perhaps a life sentence.

More Violence in Ukraine At least 30 people were killed by indiscriminate rocket fire this week in Ukraine’s southeastern city of Mariupol. The Ukrainian president called the blitz a terrorist attack, and NATO and the U.S. demanded that Russia stop supporting separatist attackers. Ukrainian officials responded by rushing to defend the strategically important port on the Sea of Azov, beefing up military positions with more equipment and sending in more forces. President Petro Poroshenko held an emergency meeting of his military officials and cut short a trip to Saudi Arabia to coordinate the government’s response. “The time has come to name their sponsors. The help given to militants, weapons deliveries, equipment and the training of manpower — is this not aiding terrorism?” Poroshenko asked in a statement. Russia insists it does not support the rebels, but Western military officials say the sheer number of heavy weapons under rebel control makes those claims unlikely. Secretary of State John Kerry said the rebels’ new offensive “has been aided and abetted by Russia’s irresponsible and dangerous decision to resupply them in recent weeks with hundreds of new pieces of advanced weaponry.” “I join my European counterparts in condemning in the strongest terms today’s horrific assault by Russia-backed separatists on civilian neighborhoods in Mariupol,” Kerry said in a statement, citing reports of dozens wounded as well. The rocket attacks came a day after the rebels rejected a peace deal and announced they were going on a multi-prong offensive against the government in Kiev to vastly increase their territory. The rebel stance has upended European attempts to mediate an end to the fighting in eastern Ukraine, which the U.N. says has killed nearly 5,100 people since April.

Nigerian Arms Sale Blocked by U.S. The U.S. has vetoed a 2014 arms sale of U.S.-made Cobra helicopters by Israel to Nigeria over human rights

abuses. Though the resale of decommissioned gunships was approved by Israel’s Defense Ministry, Washington nixed the deal over concerns that the Nigerian government was not doing enough to avoid civilian casualties in its ongoing fight with the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. The canceled sale has further strained Washington’s already tense ties with Nigeria over the government’s response to the five-year-long insurgency by the Islamist group. Beyond its concern over human rights abuses, the Obama administration has significantly limited its security assistance to the central African nation in recent months, due to widespread government corruption and a possible Boko Haram infiltration into the Nigerian military.

Though Asia remains Israel’s biggest arms customer, military exports to African nations virtually doubled in 2013.  A total of $224 million worth of arms and military technology was sold to African countries, compared to $107 million in 2012.  

Israel Israeli Products Back in Gaza Gaza’s Ministry of Economy announced this week that it will end its five year boycott of Israeli products. Many factories and processing facilities, which normally provide Gaza residents with food and other goods, were destroyed in Operation Protective Edge, and rebuilding has been slow. Additionally, Israel and Egypt have destroyed many of the tunnels that Hamas uses to illegally import goods into the Gaza Strip, and Egypt has set up a buffer zone to further limit Hamas’s smuggling efforts. As a result of this pressure, many products that were previously supplied locally or smuggled in illegally are now only available through legal, Israeli shipments. “The last war led to the destruction of thousands of factories, which affected the production power [in Gaza], and to fill that gap we decided to allow Zionist prod-


Rockets Rain over Golan Heights

Palestinians: Israel Behind France Attacks

Rockets rained over the Golan Heights from Syria on Tuesday, just over a week after several Hezbollah and Iranian operatives were killed in an airstrike in Syria. That same day, the official IRNA news agency reported that Iran sent a warning to Israel through the United States over the recent killing of an Iranian general in the alleged Israeli airstrike. “We told the Americans that the leaders of the Zionist regime should await the consequences of their act,” Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was quoted by IRNA as saying. He added: “The Zionist regime has crossed our red lines.” Iranian General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guard, was killed along with six Lebanese Hezbollah fighters in a January 18 airstrike in the Syrian-controlled part of the Golan Heights. Both Iran and Hezbollah blamed Israel for the strike and vowed to respond; the Israeli government refused to comment. Amirabdollahian said Iran delivered the message to U.S. officials via diplomatic channels. He did not elaborate. The foreign minister’s remarks came during a commemoration ceremony in Tehran for the slain general and the Hezbollah

National Highest Court: Beards Allowed

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that an Arkansas policy prohibiting inmates from sporting beards violates prisoners’ religious rights. The inmate in question had wanted to grow one in accordance with his Muslim beliefs. The justices, on a 9-0 vote in a closely watched case involving prisoner Gregory Holt, rejected the state’s reasoning that the policy was needed for security reasons to prevent inmates from concealing contraband. Holt, who wanted to grow a halfinch beard, is serving a life sentence for burglary and domestic battery at the Varner Supermax prison. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to separate charges of threatening the daughters of then-President George W. Bush. Without any legal representation at the time, he persuaded the court to hear his case by filing a handwritten petition. In the decision, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the prison’s “interest in eliminating contraband cannot sustain its refusal to allow petitioner to grow a half-inch beard.” He said the state already searches clothing and hair and had not given a valid reason why it could not also search beards.            Holt said the state’s prison grooming policy prohibiting inmates from having facial hair other than a “neatly



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It is hard to say which is more upsetting: how shocking this poll is or maybe that it’s not shocking at all. A survey conducted by the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency after this month’s string of terror attacks in Paris found that the vast majority of respondents believe Israel may have played a role in the Paris attacks. The survey, which was released last week by an official Palestinian Authority, showed 84.4 percent of Palestinians, 5,142 of the 6,090 interviewed, believed that the attacks were “suspicious, and that Israel may be behind it.” Only 8.7 percent of those interviewed thought the attacks were the result of growing Islamic fundamentalism in Europe. The results of this poll are likely a disappointment to those hoping for a more moderate response from the Palestinian population. Since the attacks earlier this month, Palestinian Media Watch reported, the official PA media has been filled with conspiracy theories linking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Mossad and Jewish leaders to the Paris attacks. Some of these op-eds have been less brazen, only implying a connection based on Israel’s benefiting from the terror attacks by way of increased immigration from France. Palestinian journalists have published, “The operation [i.e. the terror attacks] served Israel’s demographic [interests]… Government bodies predicted yesterday that 10,000 French Jews would immigrate to Israel.” Others, however, have been direct and unequivocal in their blaming Israel for the attacks in France. “We have seen that terror[ists] have begun to receive training, weapons and perhaps intelligence from

fighters. In the same ceremony, General Hossein Salami, acting commander of the Guard, said Iran will retaliate soon. “We tell [Israel] to await retaliation, but we will decide about its timing, place and the strength,” he said, according to the IRNA report. Allahdadi was one of the highest ranking Iranian officers known to have been killed abroad in decades. On Tuesday afternoon, two rockets slammed into open Israeli territory in what was widely viewed as retaliation for the airstrike. Israel responded to the rockets by shooting 20 shells into Syria. The Israeli military has been on high alert along the northern border since the airstrike, fearing retaliatory action from Hezbollah or its patron in Tehran. At the same time Israeli leaders have warned that Hezbollah, Lebanon and Syria will pay a price for any attacks against Israel. “They who play with fire – will be hit with fire,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday. Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan stressed that his country fully supported Hezbollah and added that Tehran would aim to heavily arm Palestinians in the West Bank, the Iranian Fars news site reported. “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s position on the Zionist regime is unchangeable, and given the fact that the resistance stream is standing against the Zionists and the terrorist and Takfiri groups, we will make our utmost efforts to support and strengthen Hezbollah and the resistance of the Lebanese people,” Dehqan told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday. “The constant and general policy of the Islamic Republic is arming the West Bank and strengthening the resistance stream and Hezbollah forces to confront the Zionists’ usurping and occupying regime,” Dehqan said.





JANUARY 29, 2015

A diverse array of Israeli products have entered the Gaza Strip in the past five years and have been sold there, but their purchase was officially condemned by the Hamas government that runs the Palestinian enclave.      

Israel,” Yahya Rabah, a columnist and member of the Fatah Leadership Committee in Gaza, wrote on January 11. He claimed the terror spree ”was an [attempt to] target the role of France, which had [lately] begun to rise and assert itself” in December’s vote regarding Palestinian independence. Muwaffaq Matar, a columnist for Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, discussed the rise of the Islamic State and anti-Semitism in Europe on January 15. Matar wrote that the latest attacks “raise legitimate questions as to who is behind these crimes, if not the Israeli Intelligence, given that ‘Netanyahu’s Jewish State’ was the only one to benefit from them.”  


ucts in,” said Imad al-Baz, an assistant deputy of the ministry.


JANUARY 29, 2015


trimmed mustache” violated his religious rights under a 2000 federal law called the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. His lawyers noted that more than 40 states and the federal government allow prison inmates to have similar beards.  

Are you Password Protected?

Password security has come under the microscope in light of recent largescale hackings and identity theft. Even some of the country’s biggest companies have recently been the victims of hackers in recent months. In that vein, password-management company SplashData has released its annual list of the worst passwords you could have had in 2014.

SplashData took a look at the 3.3 million passwords that got leaked last year, analyzing the most commonly leaked and least secure passwords. Most of the passwords on SplashData’s list come from North American and Western European users. Unsurprisingly, “123456” and “password” both topped the list this year, but phrases like “monkey,” “dragon,” and “letmein” also placed in the top 25 list. To keep your passwords secure, you definitely shouldn’t use any of the phrases on SplashData’s list. The company recommends using passwords that are eight digits or longer with different types of characters (letters, numbers, and symbols). You should also use different username and password combinations for different websites. Most computers now come with a password manager to protect your passwords and help you generate passwords that are random and thus more difficult for others to guess correctly. Here’s SplashData’s top 20. If your password is on here, you should probably consider changing it. 123456 Password

12345 12345678 Qwerty 1234567890 1234 Baseball Dragon Football 1234567 Monkey letmein Abc123 111111 Mustang Access Shadow Master Michael  

New AG Nom to Face Congress President Barack Obama’s nominee to become the first female African-American attorney general is longtime Brooklyn-based federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch. Lynch will face the Senate in the coming weeks for her confirmation. While she may be well known in New York, the Republican-run House will have many questions for her along the road to being confirmed.

Lynch started as an assistant U.S. attorney and climbed the ranks, distinguishing herself as a skilled courtroom tactician before her two separate appointments to lead the office, first under President Clinton and nine years later as President Obama’s appointee. Her courtroom victories involved some of the district’s most high-profile cases, including the convictions of more than a dozen members of the violent Green Dragons street gang. But none won the notoriety that came with the prosecution of a former New York City police officer who brutalized Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in 1997. The horrific attack, carried out in a Brooklyn police precinct bathroom, drew national attention, resulting in the 30-year prison sentence for Justin Volpe. Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, who assisted Lynch in the Volpe prosecution,

said that while the case was significant, it also offered a window into Lynch’s “selfless’’ style. With much of the nation focused on the case, Thompson said he was “shocked’’ when Lynch tapped him, then a young prosecutor, to deliver opening statements in a case that carried so much weight. “It really was an extraordinary act of selflessness,” Thompson said. “Not many people would do that. It told me that she was much more interested in doing justice than getting the credit.” Her work on the case left a deep impression at the defense table as well. “With her, you never had to watch your back,” Volpe attorney Marvyn Kornberg said in an interview soon after Lynch’s nomination. “What you saw is what you got.” Having twice been confirmed to serve in Brooklyn, there is widespread expectation that Lynch will be approved again — though no one is promising universal agreement on a range of thorny issues, including immigration. Republicans have threatened to challenge the nominee on President Obama’s executive action that would shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.

Boston is a Picture of Health Where in the U.S. are the most French fries eaten and the least miles ran? Well, in order to assess the unhealthiest—and healthiest—cities in the nation, there are many factors to consider. BetterDoctor evaluated bad habits, overeating, low physical fitness rates, and poor access to suitable healthcare. Using a  100-point composite index, BetterDoctor ranked the 50 largest cities in the U.S. by evaluating physical fitness (exercise rates, eating habits, chronic health problems, disease rates, access to parks and recreational activities, and more), healthcare (doctor access, doctor quality), and the percentage of residents with health insurance coverage.

“In short, the higher-ranked cities


Drone Crash Raises More Concerns The number of U.S. criminals exonerated in 2014, according to a new report, climbed to a record high of 125, in part because of efforts by prosecutors willing to admit their offices made mistakes. The states with the most exonerations last year were Texas, New York and Illinois, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of the University of Michigan Law School. This was the first time the Registry, which has tracked exonerations since 1989, found more than 100 in a single year. Evidence that frees a prisoner may include DNA linking another person to the crime and evidence of perjury. In one case, Ohio native Ricky Jackson spent

A quadcopter drone crashed onto the White House grounds in middle of the night this week. The latest White House security breach has highlighted the growing security threat posed by small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s). The White House incident comes less than two weeks after a drone flew over the French presidential palace in Paris. “I do think it’s a wake-up call for the government to start thinking about how

it will protect against this type of thing – it’s important for the government and the military in general,” Missy Cummings, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University, told reporters. “This [White House drone] was harmless, but in the future it might not be.” The Secret Service said that the drone was a 2-foot-long commercially available “quadcopter.” Brian Leary, a Secret Service spokesman, said an officer posted on the south grounds of the White House complex ”heard and observed” the device “flying at a very low altitude” shortly after 3 a.m.. The commercially available device was said to pose no threat. Caroline Baylon, a cyber-security researcher at the the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, in London, says that drones, thanks to their small size and ability to hover low over the ground, can pose a huge security headache. “They have opened up this whole area that we haven’t defended against before,” she said. “Most radar can’t deal with drones that fly really low.” Baylon, who has studied the spate of drone incidents in the French nuclear industry, explained that taking down a drone is no easy task. “You can shoot a drone down, but it requires a certain level of marksmanship,” she said. “It’s easier said than done.” The U.S. military has been ramping up its anti-drone efforts. Last year, for example, the Office of Naval Research announced plans to build a laser weapon to shoot down drones. Someone has claimed responsibility for the drone that crashed onto the White House grounds, an incident that triggered an immediate lockdown and a Secret Service investigation. Secret Service spokeswoman Nicole B. Mainor said the individual contacted the agency to “self-report” the incident. According to Mainor, “Initial indications are that this incident occurred as a result of recreational use of the device.” A U.S. official told reporters that the man said he didn’t mean to fly the drone over the White House; he is said to be cooperating with investigators. 

That’s Odd The Cost of Being Truly Unique Your child is one of a kind. And now, if you wish, your offspring can have a tru-

ly one of a kind name—but it’ll cost you. For $35,000 a Swiss company called erfolgswelle will create a 100 percent, globally-unique name for your child. That means nobody in the world will have the same name as your little infant—although we hope that they can pronounce it! “We calculated that the entire process takes around 100 hours,” says Marc Hauser, owner and CEO of erfolgswelle. “We have 12 translators that speak the most common languages around the world among 5.5 billion people.”

JANUARY 29, 2015

Exonerations Hit All Time High

39 years in prison for murder – making him the longest-held U.S. prisoner to be exonerated. He was freed last November after the witness admitted he hadn’t seen the crime. Of the total known exonerations in 2014, more than half were obtained at the initiative or with the cooperation of law enforcement – the highest number in a single year, the report found. Most of these were the work of “conviction integrity units” set up by prosecutors to review questionable cases. In one case, a Chicago judge dismissed charges against Alstory Simon after 15 years in prison for a double murder. Another man, Anthony Porter, had been convicted of the same crime in 1983, and sentenced to death but was released after Simon’s confession. Upon reinvestigation, prosecutors found that Simon’s confession had been coerced. Michigan law professor Samuel Gross, author of the report, said he is seeing a change in attitude among prosecutors about wrongful convictions. “I think prosecutors are much more willing to see identifying errors as a positive part of their job, rather than as a misfortune they have to endure,” Gross said. Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim, whose office covers the northern suburbs of Chicago, started an independent panel made up of retired judges, defense and civil rights attorneys to review cases. He said prosecutors should be leading the charge against wrongful convictions. “We’re all on the same side – no prosecutor wants to wrongfully convict somebody,” said Nerheim. “We all want the truth.”    


tend to have an ecosystem of health and fitness that starts early, and this is evident in their state regulations for school fitness, local healthcare programs and regulations, spending on outdoor space and exercise habits of residents,” pointed out Better Doctor’s consumer insights researcher Divya Raghavan, “The lower-ranked cities tended to have less parkland, higher obesity rates, and more stringent state requirements for physical education in schools.” So in which city do they gobble down heart attack-burgers and greasy fries daily? Memphis, TN, is the unhealthiest city in the nation. Oklahoma City, OK; Louisville, KY; San Antonio, TX, and Nashville, TN came in at the top five. Indianapolis, IN; Las Vegas, NV; New Orleans, LA; Los Angeles, CA; and Jacksonville, FL, rounded out the top ten. Better lace up those sneakers and put down those cookies! On the other side of the scale, the healthiest city in the nation is Boston, MA. Maybe it’s all that snow shoveling that keeps them healthy. Minneapolis, MN; Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; and Hartford, CT came in as the top five pictures of health. Pittsburgh, PA; San Jose, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; Seattle, WA; and Cincinnati, OH, rounded out the top ten. New York, NY, came in as the 24th healthiest city in the nation. After all, we’re known as the Big Apple.

This is no simple process. Along with translators, Hauser’s creative team assembles a list of 15 to 25 unique names by using a combination of different words. Those names are then presented to the customer for review. After the family chooses their favorites, a team of professional historians will check for any existence of the names used in markets, or in previous history. “If there are any interruptions with past history of anyone having the name before, then we kill it,” Hauser told ABC News. “Some of the copyrights on our team are parents as well,” he said. “So it’s not just about the name. It’s very important to us to give a name that fits within the family’s culture and background.” If you can’t cough up $35K for a completely unique name, you can still consider a nationally-unique name for your child. After all, who ever said he or she will be world travelers? For a nationally unique name, erfolswelle charges only $20,000. Since their launch this month, the company has had a few naming requests. The families, though, have requested their identities remain private. After spending $35,000, I wonder if there’s a way to prevent others from naming their children the same “unique” name as yours…’cuz then, you’re not so unique anymore.

A Sandwich for Two Grand Burger King is not just about burgers anymore. A New Hampshire woman ordered sweet tea and a junior spicy chicken sandwich on Friday at the restaurant, but


JANUARY 29, 2015


instead of enjoying her tasty supper, she got a surprise in her bag: loads of cash. Janelle Jones says she discovered that the bag did not her order on the way home. She then called her husband and they returned the $2,631—which was meant to be a Burger King Bank deposit.

Matthew Jones admitted that they briefly considered keeping the money, which they certainly could have used. But he and his wife said that G-d sees everything and felt it was only right to return the cash. The restaurant seems to be relieved that the money was returned. “A manager told me they would give me five free meals,” Janelle said. “The manager said he talked to the corporate office and they said to tell me ‘thank you.’” Hmmm…five free meals—that’s real gratitude.

A Knockout Photo

Better brush up on your boxing—you never know who you’re gonna meet when you pose for photos on the famous “Rocky steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A group of tourists met the Rocky star himself after they bounded up the staircase last Saturday. According to Peter Rowe, Sylvester Stallone said to the boys, “Man, you guys are fast. You’re making me look bad!” He then posed for a selfie with the trio, putting up one fist. “Look tough, guys!” he said, according to Rowe. Stallone made the art museum’s steps famous in his first turn as fictional boxer Rocky Balboa, who used them as part of his training regimen. Thousands of people now visit the steps each year to re-create the run and to take pictures with a Rocky statue, which originally was a prop in “Rocky III.”

Stallone has always loved the steps. When he wrote the screenplay to the original movie, he conceived of the scene there. And in every subsequent movie, his character either runs the steps again, or returns there. In Rocky IV, which took place in Russia, there are flashbacks to the steps. In Rocky on Broadway last year, there was an homage to the steps. In the original Rocky, Stallone wanted to run the steps carrying his dog, Butkus, but the dog weighed 120 pounds. “After going up a flight and a half,” Stallone wrote in the foreword to Rocky Stories: Tales of Love Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, “I realized I would only be completing this with a terminal case of a hernia, so I abandoned that idea.” In Rocky Balboa, the sixth movie, however, he runs the steps, at age 60, with his new dog, much smaller, on a leash, and thrusts only one hand to the sky in celebration at the top because he has picked up the pup with the other. It was hardly surprising that Stallone returned to the steps incognito on Saturday. He loves it there. Rowe’s friends, Jacob Kerstan and Andrew Wright, were visiting him from Azusa Pacific University in greater Los Angeles. Rowe recently graduated from the university and moved to the Lancaster area, about 60 miles west of Philadelphia. Yet in all the time spent in L.A., Rowe said, they never saw a famous person. “What are the chances of meeting him, that celebrity, right there?” he said of the Stallone encounter, calling it “an unreal experience.” I call it a knockout punch.

How Many Cows for a Wife? Looking for a wife? Perhaps you should consider getting this new app. A software developer in Johannesburg has taken the time-honored African tradition of paying a bride price into the tech age. He has designed an app to calculate the woman’s value. Anyone considering asking for a woman’s hand can enter her stats into 26-year-old Kopo Robert Matsaneng’s Lobola Calculator and it churns out her value in the currency, the rand, and tells you how many cows that would equate to. The price can also be converted into pounds, euros and dollars. The app considers the person’s age, height, weight, waist size, and how attractive they are: ranging from “not at all” to “really [beautiful].” The prospective groom must also enter certain qualifica-

tions the woman has, including whether she has a job. “This is a fun app to calculate how much lobola you’re worth,” Matsaneng says in the app’s introduction. “It’s simple, fun and meant to be playful, so enjoy.” Lobola, known outside South Africa by other names, is a tradition practiced in many parts of Africa, where a man’s family approaches a woman’s relatives to propose marriage and to negotiate a bride price. The custom symbolizes a coming together of the two families. Lobola was historically paid in livestock, a symbol of wealth, but now it often includes other goods and money.

race was very bad windburn on my face… Some of the lads who were out running for longer got snow blindness.” The race consisted of five 20K laps on snow and ice, and there was a special mandatory kit the 12 runners had to wear to protect against hypothermia. This race sounds way too cool for me.

Hair Today, a Fortune Tomorrow

Running 100K Miles of Ice

Thought our snowstorm this week was a good excuse not to go for your morning jog? Meet Keith Whyte, who just won the Antarctic Ice 100K ultramarathon in temperatures that hovered around 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Amazingly, Whyte, who is 33, quit smoking in 2007 and won the race in just 9 hours, 26 minutes, and 2 seconds – almost four hours ahead of his closest competitor – even though he signed up at the last minute because another runner withdrew. Whyte is the Irish record holder in the 100K, and his victory was redemption for a 100K race in the much warmer conditions of Qatar in November, when he was slowed down by a stress fracture in his pelvis. Despite it being summer in Antarctica, it was cold enough to put Whyte in danger of frostbite. “I lost a glove at one stage,” he told the Irish Examiner. “I could feel the frostbite setting in. At the next station we poured warm water on it and after a few minutes the feeling came back into the fingers. If the station had been further away, it could have been more serious. Thankfully we found a replacement glove and I was able to continue.” “Any part of your skin exposed was in danger,” the winner related. “I was lucky in that the worst injury I got during the

Last week, a collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia was sold at an auction in Dallas, fetching more than $800,000. Fans of the late president bought a lock of his hair for $25,000. The hair was taken by Surgeon General Joseph Barnes shortly after Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865. Other memorabilia was sold as well. A letter signed by his assassin John Wilkes Booth sold for $30,000 and his military arrest warrant made $21,250. Interestingly, a letter written by the late president admitting that the Civil War was not going well did not sell. The 300-item collection was started in 1963 by Texas gallery owner Donald Dow, who died five years ago. His son, Greg, said it was time “for other collectors to have a chance to enjoy it.” His father had started collecting because of his interest in the Civil War and military history “but then he became interested in Lincoln and the assassination.” Don Ackerman, from Heritage Auctions, told the Associated Press that the Booth letter had raised more money than expected because “the public was so disgusted by Booth’s atrocity that most all letters, signatures and documents mentioning him were destroyed after Lincoln’s death, making any that survive 150 years later exceedingly rare and valuable.” Also sold were two separate eyewitness accounts of the assassination – for $27,500 and $14,375.






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