THE JEWISH HOME JANUARY 9, 2014 2
3 THE JEWISH HOME JANUARY 9, 2014
Rabbi Aharon Rubenstein, MENAHEL Rabbi Aryeh Davidowitz, MENAHEL Mrs. Aida Forman, PRESCHOOL DIRECTOR
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THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 9, 2014
CONTENTS COMMUNITY Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Heard on the Street. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Slim Pickings in LA for Jewish Special-Ed. . . . . . . . 26
Dear Readers, Well, another group of murderers has been freed to be treated to a hero’s welcome. (I wasn’t able to confirm if the honor given to each individual was according to how many people they had killed or the level of torture used.) We have also been reminded by senior Palestinian official Abbas Zaki that
PEOPLE 7 Questions with Robert Avrech award-winning Hollywood screenwriter. . . . . . . . . . 16 Who Didn’t Want Us Dead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
giving away the land won in the Six Day War is merely a first stage to the greater goal of acquiring all of Israel. In his words: “Because the inspiring idea cannot be achieved all at once. Rather in stages.” (Google “Abbas Zaki 67 borders first stage.”) It seems that “the more outrageous the claim, the more it will be accepted” continues to be the ongoing reality on the global stage.
Let’s All Sing the Song of This Shabbos . . . . . . . . . 20
Sometimes, the best way to debate these issues is through a bit of satire…
Student Op-Ed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Of course I understand that Abbas wants peace, and wishes for nothing more than to live side by
Five Biggest Regrets. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
side with us. I understand that their leaders are not happy when Jews are killed, and would love to see an end to the bloodshed. But… let’s theorize for a second and wonder how would they act if their
I Believe in Me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 10 Most Fascinating Divrei Torah of 2013 . . . . . . . 19
EDUCATION Business Weekly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Forgotten Heroes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT
Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Moon Cap: A Novel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
real intentions weren’t peace. How would we know if they wanted to take over the entire land and make it free of Jews? To put it better: what would they need to say/do/act like for us to come to the conclusion that they really don’t want peace? By honoring those who have stabbed people to death? Check. By stating that they want the whole land? Check. How about by teaching their children that Jews are vermin and need to be eliminated? Check. Using the same line of questioning when it comes to the Iranian regime. What would they need to do that would make us realize, “you know, they really do want a nuclear weapon. They really do have Jihadist ambitions for the world.” Moving on to our home country. I understand that our president is the most capable we’ve ever had and if we just went along with his agenda we’d be living in the Messianic times, but… which actions, claims or promises would show it to be otherwise? A botched launch of a signature legislation?
By running the most partisan politics we have seen in many years? Or how about by having a foreign
Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
policy which seems to be leading us to another world war?
National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Old News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
LIFESTYLES Recipe - Tu B’Shevat Treats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Restaurant Review Two Dishes at Ditmas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Travel - Hawaii. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
At times it seems the answer to these questions is nothing. Nothing can show us Abbas doesn’t want peace. Nothing can show us Iran has the bomb in mind, and nothing will prove to us that we voted for a magnificent orator who covers his actions with sparkly words. As we go through these trying times, it helps to remember that this is all part of a master plan that is unfolding in front of our very eyes – and quite fast. Who knows what will happen in just two weeks! All we can do -- and all we must do -- is take control of our own lives and live it in the best possible way, so when we stand at the “One Day” we’ve all been waiting for, we can honestly say that we did everything we could have, and we were a part of bringing this about. With blessings for a most wonderful Shabbos,
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BERG DER S. ROSEN RABBI ALEXAN strator (1950-1972) ic Admini
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Dear Rabbi May,
asked for an Department and the OU Kashrus establishments. RCC approached s in place in RCC In April 2013, the of kashrus system I was asked independent audit COO of the OU, Moshe Elefant, ate occasions guidance of Rabbi es on five separ and Angel ion Los direct Under the able To that end, I visited review process. to conduct this months. eight ugh review, past thoro a the in it from n would benef kashrus organizatio the best of supervisions. that almost any be identified in It is fair to say ness would likely and areas of weak s suggestions for variou made ards of and d many facilities to two areas: stand ations related trip to LA, I visite During my first . My recommend ents. of RCC supervision enhancement oring of establishm systems of monit efforts to effect icant hashgacha and signif ations and made visits to Los my recommend in my last two diately accepted ations d to state that The RCC imme le. I am please my recommend and found that ves to as soon as possib these changes RCC retail outlet and the RCC deser cted almost every . This is a major achievement, Angeles, I inspe ed across the board . were implement effort ended for this be highly comm red: occur have that of the changes summary of some Following is a brief supervision. us standards of Stronger kashr . in-store mashgichim by vision of super ent. Increased levels each establishm mashgichim in e instructions for cols with precis Written proto . gichim mash re ng of in-sto on-going traini to hired Enhanced ional staff was as opposed ssional staff. Addit ctions of a team, ctions by RCC profe for crisscross inspe Increased inspe this need and allow accommodate ut on of the Kashr to individuals.
creati RCC led to the Bnai Torah. The openness of the Rabbonim and changes, the priately ittee of local these internal ards are appro n oversight comm In addition to kashrus stand to the RCC ), a non-partisa to insure that are forwarded Vaad of LA (KVLA facilities on a regular basis cted a establishments local OU has also instru file regarding RCC KVLA inspects s of this group r dispatch. The ents and prope vation lishm with Obser of RCC estab maintained. are addressed ng inspections as many of the staff and issues well ongoi ive as , rm istrat perfo gichim to admin mash of local mashgichim ctions of the KVLA and OU ain a strong level number of OU maint inspe to the ue copied on able to contin reports. I am this way I am RCC staff. In reports of the and oversight. vision of the RCC. involvement for level of super enhanced the recommendations RCC ss has greatly ssional staff to the , this entire proce willingness of of the RCC profe of In conclusion Above all, the receptiveness the is ain a high level icant modifications. menting such Particularly signif ng basis and maint familiar with. alacrity in imple am ng on an ongoi the auditi t y and e agenc that I enden chang other supervisor to layers of indep alleled by any to subject itself unpar is and review transparency
Luban Rabbi Yaakov nic Coordinator Executive Rabbi Orthodox Union
• The dedicated professional staff of the RCC • Our loyal and committed vendors • The Executive Committee of the RCC, distinguished rabbonim who volunteer hundreds of hours a year for the benefit of the community • The Vaad Hakashrus of the RCC, headed by its Chairman, Rabbi Yonason Rosenberg • The OU and its outstanding Kashrus Executives, Rabbi Menachem Genack, Rabbi Moshe Elefant and Rabbi Yaakov Luban • The new Kashrus Vaad of Los Angeles (KVLA) • Especially our wonderfully supportive community
OUR SINCEREST THANKS AND HAKORAS HATOV - Rabbi Meyer H. May, President
Rabbinical Council of California
JANUARY 9, 2014
A REPORT BY THE ORTHODOX UNION PRAISING THE RABBINICAL COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA’S (RCC) UNPRECEDENTED TRANSPARENECY, IMPLEMENTATION OF TOUGH PROCEDURES AND ADHERING TO THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF KASHRUS
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JANUARY 9, 2014
Yeshiva High Tech Holds a Chessed Day By Daniella Coen, Sophomore Yeshiva High Tech
Rarely in my life have I seen, firsthand, the enormous impact that I can have on someone else’s life and happiness by doing the simplest gestures. On December 25 Yeshiva High Tech organized a Chessed Day on Wednesday, December 25. The student body of our school was split up into four groups. The groups were divided between Garden of Palms Retirement Home where students spent the day doing activities with Senior residents. The students played ball and word games with the seniors and R. Becker help a concert that had students and seniors singing and clapping. At Beth Israel’s feed the homeless event in Hollywood YHT students fed hundreds of homeless families. They poured drinks and interacted with the children. Global Kindness has a huge warehouse downtown Los Angeles filled with items destined for needy people. Our students helped arrange the warehouse and readied items for shipment and processing. As for me, I went to PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) a homeless shelter downtown LA that specializes in teaching skills to the homeless. In previous years, I had gone to PATH with my family to serve holiday meals, so I was more than eager to go again. Additionally, this time, we would have the opportunity to spend the day with the children in the shelter, which I had not done before. We wanted to make the most of the day so before hand we prepared arts and craft materials that we would assemble with the children of the residents. We also prepared ingredients to cook lunch in the shelters kitchen for all the residents. When we arrived at the shelter we each grabbed a box of food or roll of fabric from the car and took them upstairs to the men’s floor. A group of boys volunteered to cook lunch assist our principal, Rebecca Coen, in the kitchen while the rest of us made our way to the children’s and mothers’ quarters. We spent the first few hours measuring and cutting fabric getting all the arts and crafts material ready for the kids in the shelter to make pillows. Instead of jumping to grab the supplies, the children politely asked if there was anything that they could do to help me. So, with a heart bursting with emotion, I, along with my fellow students, spent the next few hours laughing, dancing to music, and getting to know these kids. We played holiday trivia games with the families and gave out fuzzy socks, candy necklaces, and stickers for prizes. I talked to a little ten-year-old girl named Tiffany, and the two of us immediately bonded. We gossiped and talked about school, and our hobbies; we played games; and we read stories together.
When it came time to make the highly anticipated art project, the kids asked if they could make their pillows for their moms instead, because they were so worried that their mothers would miss out on getting new pillows. It was truly beautiful. A little girl proudly stated that she was going to make her pillow for her preacher because “he is such a nice man” and she wanted “to thank him” and wanted “to make sure that he gets a nice present for [the holidays].” I was like…”wow”. That took me a while to digest. I had no words. Here, this girl was living in a tiny room crammed with all of her belongings, sleeping in a bunk bed with her mother. Here was a girl who didn’t know what it was like to grab a friend and spend a day buying clothes at the mall. Here was a child who didn’t know the relief of coming home from a long day of school to a house with a tail-wagging dog, two parents, and the constant buzz of siblings. And yet, her initial thought was to give something of hers, to a man who probably went on a relaxing vacation with his wife and children for the holidays. While I was sitting with my new friend Tiffany, helping her make her pillow, she stopped, looked up at me, and exclaimed, “I love you. This is the best [holiday] I have EVER had in my life.” I was crying with joy inside and my heart just melted right there in my chest. I didn’t even feel like we had done so much for them! If anything, I felt like we ought to have been doing more. But, I realized from these two simple sentences uttered by a small homeless girl that even the smallest acts of kindness reach farther than we can possibly imagine. I have dug a place into Tiffany’s heart, and she a place in mine, that I don’t think will ever change, and I certainly did not expect to have this sort of lasting impact on someone. One day, when she finds her place in the world and makes a name for herself, I hope that she will remember the day that we shared together and the special way that our kindness made her feel wanted. I hope that she will pass on the same flame of compassion to another person in need of its light. Also, I had the rare opportunity to sit down and speak with a man and hear the unbelievable story of how he came to reside in a shelter for the homeless. He had been an extremely successful nurse practitioner and physician’s assistant, earning between four hundred and five hundred thousand dollars a year. He had a magnificent mansion with fourteen rooms and multiple servants. However, his life plummeted when he got sick and had suffered multiple blood clots in his head, and then was hit by a bus – only increasing
Chesed Daniel Melamed serving a YHT made lunch at PATH
the damage to his brain. Having lost the ability to work he was finally afforded the opportunity to undergo surgery that would partially restore his abilities The doctor called his sister who was the only eligible person available to sign consent papers allowing him to undergo the surgery. Answering the doctor’s call, his sister told him not to call her again unless her brother was dead. She also told the physician that she would not contribute any money from the family fund (which was significantly large, as he comes from a long line of oral surgeons). Homeless for more than a year now, he is struggling through the process of collecting some money that was lost in the transition of
selling his large home. He hopes, however, to move into a small apartment and begin building his life again. Through all of his trials, challenges, and hardships, this man remains strong and optimistic. He has not given up on his loved ones, and he holds steadfast to the dream of a better life. He taught me that things can change in less than a heartbeat and when we least expect it. So live a life of gratitude and kindness. Live happily and never take anything for granted. When life knocks you down, don’t just get up. Jump up and pull somebody else up with you. I will surely think twice about the life I am and plan on leading.
by Rabbi Ephraim Osgood
Many people may not be aware that Hillel was founded in 1948 by the founding rabbi of Beth Jacob, Rabbi Dr. Simon A. Dolgin. Eight years ago, Rabbi Roi Zadok, who was then Hillel’s Judaic Studies Principal, suggested that I begin a bi-monthly Shabbat afternoon Mishna shiur for my students at Hillel. Originally, I invited the boys from my class. Beth Jacob was happy to host yet another Torah class in its midst, and even agreed to provide some delicious treats for the kids. At that point we decided to actively recruit from the community. We learned a number of Mesechtot over the next seven years. Aside from Pirkei Avot, we always use Mishnayot with pictures in order to help bring the Mishna’s narrative alive. A few years later, when I joined Beth Jacob’s Youth Department to run the Junior Congregation, we decided
to increase the shiur’s frequency to every week. Due to the shiur’s popularity, a girls’ shiur was founded as well, and the two groups (boys and girls) were eventually combined into one. Thankfully, I have hired an assistant to help with the large crowd. We begin one hour before Mincha in the Ives Youth Lounge at Beth Jacob Congregation located at 9030 W. Olympic Blvd, Beverly Hills CA 90211. We have delicious treats and lively Torah discussion for everyone who comes. We also end each class with a raffle of awesome prizes (last week I raffled off a Sky Ball and an autographed basketball card). For more information about our program please e-mail me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
JANUARY 9, 2014
Torah, treats, prizes, and friends attract dozens of kids to weekly Shabbat Mishna Shiur at Beth Jacob. I would happily stand corrected if someone would tell me that they are aware of a Mishna Shiur like ours anywhere in the world. Our co-ed shiur attracts a mixture of boys and girls from an amazingly broad spectrum of the Jewish community here in Los Angeles. We have 30-40 2nd-6th graders coming to learn Mishna Pirkei Avot every Shabbat Afternoon. The shiur is hosted by Beth Jacob Congregation and Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, and is attended by kids from my class at Hillel, as well as students from Maimonides, Yavneh, Chabad, Etz Jacob, Sinai Akiba, and almost all of the local public schools. Where better to learn our eternal moral values than with the full tapestry of our city’s youth?
Rabbi Ephraim Osgood teaches 3rd and 5th grade boys at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, and is Junior Congregation Director at Beth Jacob Congregation of Beverly Hills.
Ex-NBA Stars Disassociate from Dennis Rodman-Led Basketball Game in Pyongyang (NBPA), the NBRPA is a non-profit for news updates sent direct association comprised of former to your Twitter page or professional basketball players of the mobile device. NBA, ABA, Harlem Globetrotters, and WNBA. The NBRPA is a charitable, The Simon Wiesenthal 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a two- Center is one of the largest pronged mission to assist its members in international Jewish human their transition from the playing court into rights organizations with life after the game, while also positively over 400,000 member impacting communities and youth through families in the United States. basketball. It is an NGO at international “While we support international agencies including the goodwill and diplomacy in instances United Nations, UNESCO, deemed appropriate by our Board of the OSCE, the OAS, the Directors, it is important to clarify that Council of Europe and the the trip to North Korea led by Dennis Latin American Parliament Rodman and others was not sanctioned by (Parlatino). the NBRPA and is not supported by our organization in any way,” said NBRPA Chairman of the Board swwxc Otis Birdsong, a four-time NBA All-Star. “Under the right circumstances basketball can serve as a bridge to bring communities together, Transportation, Messenger and Delivery Company but these are not those 24 Hour Service Including Erev Shabbos & Motzei Shabbos circumstances. Standing alongside our partners at the NBA, we do not PUNCTUAL condone the basketball activities to be conducted COURTEOUS in North Korea this week.” RELIABLE HAIMISHE For more information,
please contact the Center’s Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center commended the the National Basketball Retired Association for firmly disassociating itself from the Dennis Rodman organized basketball game in Pyongyang in honor of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s 31st birthday. “While all Americans support the use of sports to break down barriers between nations, this game does nothing but give the North Korean propaganda machine an undeserved opportunity to change the narrative of this dangerous, nuclearized bully, into a fun-loving, youthful basketball fan,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights group. Pictured at podium, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) with Rabbi Abraham Cooper Photo: Christine Butler “At the Wiesenthal Center’s press conference yesterday we heard North Korean escapees urge the ex-NBAers to speak out and we are grateful they have before the tip-off in North Korea tomorrow,” Cooper added. The association’s press release from Chicago reads in part: This morning the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) Board of Directors held a conference call to discuss human rights and the upcoming basketball exhibition in North Korea to be led by Dennis Rodman this week. In a productive conference call, the NBRPA Board of Directors discussed the basketball exhibition, as well as conditions and policies in place under North Korea’s current leadership regime. Directly supported by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association
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Los Angeles is Home to First of its Kind Mishna Shiur
THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 9, 2014
Dirshu European Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Siyum in London Leaves Powerful Impact HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Akiva Schlessinger of Strasbourg Delivers Keynote Address By Chaim Gold
“As Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha completes the Mishna Berurah’s fifth volume, embarking on the sixth, final, one, now is the time to join and increase limud halacha. “The Gemara teaches that Hashem has nothing in His universe other than the four amos of halacha! Massive Crowd Despite Stormy Weather Rav Schlessinger delivered passionate remarks at London’s Finchley Synagogue to a crowd of nearly one thousand, celebrating Dirshu’s Siyum on Mishna Berurah Chelek Hei. There were powerful addresses from Dirshu’s Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, and the well-known Maggid and author, Rabbi Paysach Krohn. The massive Finchely Synagogue turnout was especially notable in light of the very inclement weather. The European siyum came shortly after Dirshu’s major North American Shabbos Kinnus Olam HaTorah, celebrating accomplishments of many hundreds of members. The London siyum featured delegations from Manchester and Gateshead, as well as France, Belgium and Switzerland. While the London Siyum was the most prominent, siyumim took place in Brooklyn, Lakewood, Chicago and throughout Eretz Yisrael. Rav Meir Rapaport, Rav of Kehal Imrei Shefer in Golders Green, noted the tremendous increase of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiurim in various London neighborhoods encompassing Jews in the cross-section of European Jewry, as Dirshu’s ability to unite disparate groups through Torah as a special zechus. The keynote speaker, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Akiva Schlessinger, Shlita: Filling Empty Halacha Chairs in Shamayim Rav Schlessinger recounted how after Rav Meir Shapiro, zt”l, instituted the Daf HaYomi, the Chofetz Chaim praised him. “In the celestial world every Masechta has a chair. Tragically, until Daf HaYomi, there were many empty chairs, representing Masechtos that virtually no one learned. Now all are full.” “Here too,” thundered Rav Schlessinger, “so many areas of halacha had empty chairs. As Dirshu embarks on Mishna Berurah’s last volume, they fill all the empty halacha chairs!” “Hashem Has Nothing in His Universe Other Than the Four Amos of Halacha.” He cited Brachos 8, ‘Since the day the Bais Hamikdash was destroyed, Hashem has nothing in His universe beyond the four amos of halacha.’ “There is so much in Hashem’s world, so beautiful,
rich, massive. But all Hashem cares about is the four amos of halacha. Can we understand its magnitude?!” Dirshu has added tens of thousands of learners world-over who learn Mishna Berurah, attend daily Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiurim and review and take tests on halacha. After all, halacha is the only thing in Hashem’s world! Can we begin to
demption from today’s long galus. Throughout Chazal we find reasons why Bnei Yisrael was redeemed from Mitzrayim: they didn’t change their names, language or clothing. Or because they did not transgress arayos. Or because they never stopped learning Torah and always had yeshivos. Or it was the merit of pious women who raised children despite Pha-
understand the Divine simcha that permeates the entire world for this?! “We beg Hashem– ‘Avinu Av Harachaman, our merciful Father, . . instill in our hearts to understand, listen, learn, teach, safeguard, perform and fulfill all the words of Torah . . .’. What is the difference between perform and fulfill? It’s possible to perform a mitzvah such as tefillin, but not fulfill it properly because one doesn’t know its many halachos. When one learns halacha he performs mitzvos and fulfills them! The Mishna Berurah’s introduction to Hilchos Shabbos cites Rav Yonasan Eibischutz: if a person doesn’t learn hilchos Shabbos, no Shabbos goes by without inadvertent transgression of an issur d’Oraysah or d’rabanan. Daf HaYomi B’Halacha’s goal is that we perform daily mitzvos and fulfill them as well!” All Dirshu desires is for more people to bring daily halacha learning into their lives. Understanding Our Galus by Looking Back at Galus Mitzrayim Rav Dovid Hofstedter explored the concept that the galus and geulah in these weeks’ parshiyos are the paradigm for all galus and geulah. These are keys to the re-
raoh’s gezeiros of killing their children and enslaving their husbands. Nevertheless, Chazal say Bnei Yisrael had no merits, no mitzvos, to achieve freedom until Hashem gave the mitzvos of the blood of the Korban Pesach and Bris Milah. Why weren’t their many zechusim sufficient? Conversely, in our galus, we have been through so much! We suffered through a Holocaust. With mesiras nefesh, the survivors rebuilt from nothing. Why was that not sufficient for Geulah?! The Gemara says Avrohom Avinu’s question, ‘How will I know?’, was deemed, for his exalted level, a tiny deficiency in emunah, for which Egyptian slavery was decreed. The Gemara offers another reason for it, that Yosef’s brothers sold him into slavery. Jealousy, lack of achdus on their exalted level, resulted in Egyptian slavery.” “We see the issues of emunah and achdus are those requiring tikun, corrected in the blood of the Korban Pesach and bris milah, which identify Jews as Jews in inclusionary achdus, while the opposite, chalilah, results in kareis, complete severence from the Jewish Nation.” The Strength of Emunah and Achdus
“Final redemption will come through emunah in the face of adversity and the achdus to rectify disunity,” said Rav Hofstedter. When Klal Yisrael learns halacha l’maaseh together as one, when we come with achdus and learn what Hashem wants us to do, we combine emunah and achdus. When we unite, all Eisav and Yishmael’s forces do not stand a chance! There is nothing Klal Yisrael as a tzibbur cannot overcome!” He concluded with the bracha that the entire Mishna Berurah’s siyum on completing Chelek Vav will be in Eretz Yisrael with Mashiach! The siyum was made by HaGaon HaRav Binyomin Eckstein, shlita, Belzer Dayan, who oversees Dirshu’s European operations. He noted the last se’if, is the imperative to ensure that simchas Yom Tov not lead to aveira, but be completely holy. Here is the difference between frivolity and inebriation associated with this season’s secular holidays and l’ehavdil how a Yom Tov is celebrated according to the Shulchan Aruch. Yosef: The Concept of Always Adding, Always Striving… Rabbi Paysach Krohn had the crowd spellbound with his divrei Torah and inimitable stories. He told a vort in the name of HaGaon HaRav Chanoch Eherentrau, shlita.“When Rachel bore Yosef, Yaakov told Lavan he wanted to return home. Why was Yosef was the impetus to feel he could face the world? Rachel named Yosef, saying, “May Hashem add, Yosef, for me another son.” Yosef, adding, means never being satisfied, constantly striving, to strive higher and do better. That is Dirshu!” “Tonight, “all of us who have not joined Daf HaYomi B’Halacha must become bnei Yosef. We must not be satisfied but seek more! We must begin Chelek Vav to connect to this phenomenal daily learning and chazarah program to begin our own journey through the Mishna Berurah!” Let us Each Make The Momentous Decision to Change Our Lives! Rabbi Krohn concluded with a story. The Chofetz Chaim once said the turning point in his life was when, as a young bachur he ran away from the beis medrash because of a maskil trying to cause him to stray from Torah. ‘Yesh koneh olamo b’shaah achas - one can acquire his [entire] world as a result of one momentous decision,’ the Chofetz Chaim said. “That decision gave us the Chofetz Chaim! Tonight, every one of us can acquire our olam with one decision, to join Daf HaYomi B’Halacha and change our lives!”
THE JEWISH HOME JANUARY 9, 2014
Two Legal Holiday “Yeshiva” Programs Highlight a Flurry of Guest Speakers at LINK in LA It’s been a busy two weeks at the LINK Kollel in Los Angeles. From December 24th through January 5th, the Kollel hosted two special learning programs for Legal Holidays, plus three additional guest speakers. On “Nittel Nacht” (December 24th) LINK presented a fascinating shiur by Rav Eliezer Gross, Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivah Gedolah of LA, and an acknowledged authority on Jewish history. His topic was the Vikuach of the Ramban with the Catholic Church in Spain in the year 1263 (also known as the Disputation). Rabbi Gross gave a masterful overview of the historical context within which the church challenged the Ramban on the veracity of the Torah’s beliefs vis-a-vis Christianity and their “proofs” to their belief in their messiah. He also contrasted the Moslem’s benign relationship with the Jews in Spain with the virulent hatred of the Christians after they defeated the Moslems. He explained unique theological hostility of Christianity to Judaism through the lenses of the Vekuach. The next morning, LINK held its popular legal holiday “Yeshiva For A Day” program, featuring its new Assistant Rosh Kollel, Rabbi Elchanan Shoff. The topics, appropriately enough, were two aspects of Christian theology which are the subject of much discussion in the Rishonim and Acharonim: Is the concept of the “trinity” considered Avodah Zorah for a Non-Jew under the Noachide Laws (forbidding the belief in more than one G-d) and does the Christian belief of “G-d becoming human” likewise violate the Noachide laws in re-
lation to Hashem’s non-corporeal nature. The many people who took advantage of their day off studied the sources in the original with the help of the Kollel Rabbis in preparation for Rabbi Shoff’s very enlightening shiur. On Sunday evening, December 29th, a founding avreich at LINK, Rabbi Gidon Shoshan, returned for a guest shiur. Since 2004, Rabbi Shoshan has been the Mashgiach Ruchani at Yeshivas Darchei Noam/ Shapell’s in Jerusalem. His topic was the concept of time in Torah thought. Many in the crowd were alumni of Shapell’s, eager to hear Divrei Torah from their Rebbe. Following a profound hashkafic analysis of how some events in the Torah transcend the physical dimensions of time, he then offered words of Mussar on the importance of not wasting time. On the legal holiday of January 1st, LINK had the special privileged of hearing from Rav Dovid Revah, the Rav of Cong. Adas Torah and the Second Seder Rebbe at Yeshiva Gedolah’s Beis Medrash program. The topic was mesira in halacha. Under what circumstance, if any, may a Jew inform the civil authorities about the malfeasance of another Jew, financial or
Photo Credit: Yosef Ober
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otherwise. Once again, the Kollel Rabbis studied the sources from Shas and Poskim with the many attendees in preparation for the shiur. Rabbi Revah discussed specific cases of whether a Jew may work as an auditor for the IRS as well as more general cases of a Jew revealing such information to the secular authorities. Finally, on Sunday January 5th , LINK had the distinct honor of hearing from its beloved former Rosh Kollel (2005-2010), Rabbi Mordechai Lebhar. Rabbi Lebhar, who is now the Rosh Kollel of Kollel Yismach Moshe in Toronto, was in LA to headline a Shabbaton at Cong. Magen David, led by Rabbi Ariel Ovadia, who has
been a member of the LINK Kollel since 2007. His topic was “Gambling in Halacha”. Amongst the many subjects that he covered (besides the standard “Las Vegas” type of gambling) were the issues of buying lottery tickets and playing the stock market. He buttressed his presentation with numerous citations from Gemaras and Poskim. The LINK Kollel, founded by Rabbi Asher Brander in 2002, is in its 12th year of service to the Greater LA community, and offers more than 50 weekly classes and dozens of one-on-one chavrusa tutorials for Jews of all backgrounds.
and I wish every leader in a Jewish Day School could take part. You not only get to learn about the best practices in education and leadership from experts around the country, you also get to connect with a cohort to share ideas about the learning, hear about their experiences, and discuss ways in which we can apply our learning. YU Lead is giving me the tools I need to be the best leader I can be while helping me create bonds with very special educators around the country.” – Michelle Andron
Maimonides School, Brookline, MA Manhattan Day School, New York, NY Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, Rockville,
YU Lead 2014 Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center is proud to announce that Michelle Andron has been selected from a highly competitive applicant pool to participate in YU Lead, the YU School Partnership’s exclusive leadership development program. This year’s cohort is comprised of 30 teachers, division principals, student support faculty, curriculum coordinators, and student activity directors. Participants are spending this academic school year immersing in the study of leadership as they learn with experts in the field of education and peers from around the country. The learning is taking place online, synchronously and asynchronously, and at two in-person conferences. These sessions are addressing topics that include: unlocking leadership presence, time management, building a positive faculty culture, 21st century learning, reflective practice, creating systems for student support, instructional leadership, parent partnership,
problem based learning, curriculum design and much more. Mrs. Andron is already enjoying the professional networking opportunities that YU Lead provides, having just returned from an intensive two day convening at the YU School Partnership’s Critical Friends Group (CFG) Conference, where she learned and networked with over 120 other professional and lay leaders. Although they hail from different backgrounds, YU Leaders all share something in common: a strong commitment to Jewish education and to learning and growing in their practice. “YU Lead is an unbelievable leadership training program
The following schools are represented in the second cohort of YU Lead:
Bi-Cultural Day School, Stamford, CT Columbus Torah Academy High School, Columbus, OH Emek Hebrew Academy, Los Angeles, CA Fuchs Mizrachi High School, Beachwood, Ohio HAFTR Elementary School, Lawrence, NY The Jewish Educational Center Elementary School, Elizabeth, NJ Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, Livingston, NJ Magen David Yeshivah, Brooklyn, NY Maimonides Academy, Los Angeles, CA
Oakland Hebrew Day School, Oakland, CA Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, River Edge, NJ SAR Academy, Riverdale, NY Sha’arei Bina, North Miami Beach, FL Shalhevet High School, Valley Stream, NY Shulamith Elementary School, Cedarhurst, NY Stella K. Abraham/HALB High School, Hewlett Bay Park, New York Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School, San Diego, CA Torah Academy of Bergen County, Teaneck, NJ Torah Academy of Philadelphia, Lower Merion, PA Yavneh Hebrew Academy, Los Angeles, CA Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island, Inwood, NY Yeshiva of Atlanta High School, Doraville, GA Yeshiva of Flatbush High School, Brooklyn, NY Yeshiva University High School for Boys, New York, NY
For more information on YU Lead and other YUSP programs, please visit: www.yuschoolpartnership.org/YULead
debate rendered the tournament unique among other competitions of its kind,” Zisblatt says. The day-long tournament consisted of five preliminary 37-minute rounds with the win-loss record from each of those rounds determining which debate teams would compete in the final round. In most cases, two-person debate teams competed against each other in separate boys-only and girls-only divisions. The VTHS Girls 20-member debate squad sent eight teams to the tournament and the VTHS Boys 18-member debate squad sent seven teams. In the final Girls Division round, the Valley Torah High School (VTHS) team of Tzipporah Levine and Yehudit Kaszirer won first place, beating the Yeshiva University Los Angeles (YULA) second place, three-person team of Sarah Lipman, Aviya Zarur and Noa Zarur. In the Boys Division final round, after debating solo all day because his partner never arrived, Tarbut V’Torah (Jewish community day school in Orange County, CA) debater Adam Jacobs took first place, giving the Valley Torah Boys team of Michael Kawas and Daniel Mishail second place in the boys’ competition. Speaker awards were presented to the debaters who accumulated the top speaking scores from their rounds’ judges
on a scale of 20 to 30 points. These points are separate from the win-loss record used to advance debaters to the final round. Girls Division Top Speakers were: -4th Place (tied): Sharon Aharonoff and Zipporah Levine (both from Valley Torah Girls) -3rd Place: Aviya Zarur (YULA Girls Debate Team Captain) -1st Place: (tied) Deena Denbo (Valley Torah Girls) and Sophia Blumenstrauch (Valley Torah Girls Debate Team Captain) Boys Division Top Speakers: - 5th Place: Eric Bazak (Shalhevet High School) - 4th Place: Daniel Mishail (Valley Torah Boys Debate Team Captain) - 3rd Place: Yehuda Kelman (Valley Torah Boys) - 2nd Place: David Markson (YULA Boys Debate Team Captain) - 1st Place: Adam Jacobs (Tarbut V’Torah) The first place teams and Top Speaker Award winners received medals engraved with their names. Second through fifth place winners received “Superior Speaker” certificates.
Each debate round was judged by experienced, secular debate tournament judges plus volunteer parents and faculty including: Effie Zisblatt, Dr. Roy Blumenstrauch Joel Gedzelman, Jacques Ohana, Jessica Lidergot, Rabbi Shalom Denbo, Rabbi Asher Biron and Miriam Striks (Valley Torah), Shmuel Zarur (YULA), Rebecca Bubis (Tarbut V’Torah) and Rabbi Ephraim Osgood (Hillel Harkham). Finnigan is very pleased with the participation in the tournament and looks forward to including more teams next year, including some from outside the Los Angeles area. He thanked Hillel Harkham Principal Jason Ablin, Administrative Assistant to Head of School Gabrielle Sab and Board of Directors member Regina Raphael for “their diligent efforts in creating a welcoming environment as the host school.” *Participating schools: Shalhevet High School, Tarbut V’Torah, Valley Torah Boys High School, Valley Torah Girls High School, YULA Boys High School, YULA Girls High School and Yeshiva High Tech.
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Thirty-nine students representing seven Los Angeles area Jewish high schools,* including Valley Torah Boys and Girls Divisions, competed in the Jewish Public Forum Debate Tournament, Sunday, Dec. 22, at Hillel Harkham Hebrew Academy in Beverly Hills. The debate topic, “Resolved: Popular Culture Is Having a Lasting, Negative Impact on Jewish Teenagers,” set the stage for many lively and sometimes heated discussions. The tournament is organized by the Jewish Speech and Debate League, whose founder and executive director, David Finnigan, is also the debate coach at VTHS, YULA and at other secular schools. The League is creating speech and debate competitions for Orthodox high schools and middle schools whose students cannot compete at secular debate tournaments, usually scheduled on Fridays and/or Saturdays. As participants are all students in Jewish schools, the use of Torah examples is integral to the Public Forum Debate format, notes Effie Zisblatt, a parent volunteer judge. “Not only did the participants offer persuasive and wellprepared arguments, but more importantly, they supported their arguments with Torah values and hashkafa (philosophy). The integration of Torah principles into each
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VTHS Students Take 1st and 2nd Place in Respective Divisions of the Jewish Public Forum Debate Tournament
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VTHS Girls Get Kudos at Mock Trial Valley Torah High School girls competed through two rounds at the annual Mock Trial Competition in Los Angeles County. They competed against other public and private school teams earning general praise from the presiding arbiters, the competition’s scorers, and opposing teams alike. Singled out for special achievements at the competition were Sharon Aharonoff and Rena Ohana, who received most valuable player acknowledgements from opposing teams, and Rena Ohana
and Calanit Serur who received special commendations from the scorers. Sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the Mock trial is a nationwide high school competition that teaches students how the United States judicial system works by involving kids in simulated court room experiences. Students take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, bailiffs and clerks and compete in court rooms in the Stanley Mosk Court House before real judges and groups of attorneys who rate their performances. L. – R. Bracha Smith, Calanit Serur, Rena Ohana, Sharon Aharanoff
Chabad of the Valley Hosts Melava Malka On Motzei Shabbos, January 4, 2014 some 35 Shluchim (Rabbis) and their Rebbetzins (wives) of Chabad of the Valley joined together at Chabad of Encino, California. Rabbi Joshua Gordon and Rabbi Mordy Einbinder addressed the representatives of Chabad of the Valley and encouraged them to continue their important outreach work. The participants enjoyed a catered meal by Gladys, as well as heart-warming stories of both challenges and success. The Shluchim are all extraordinarily busy people and have little time to socialize with each other, so they enjoyed spending their evening with colleagues and friends and exchanged ideas, chizuk (encouragement), and even peppered with some laughs as they sat together. The first shluchim to the West Coast, Rabbi Joshua Gordon and Rebbetzin Deborah Gordon, were sent by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to Encino, California as his shluchim to the San Fernando Valley in 1973. Rabbi Gordon began with a small storefront and spent his first shabbosim standing outside on Ventura Boulevard in his wool kapota and hat in 106 degrees weather asking pedestrians if they are Jewish and if so, wouldn’t they love to come in and join the minyan? He could not have anticipated the tremendous organization that Chabad of the Valley would become: today there are 25 Chabad “houses” (the opening of the soon-to-be 26th center was announced) which act as shuls, Hebrew schools, and centers for every day Jewish life. The Chabad houses that are included in the umbrella organization of Chabad of the Valley span from North Hollywood and Toluca Lake to the City of Ventura and nearly every freeway exit in between. On any given day 25 Torah classes are going on throughout the San Fernando Valley. These include adult education classes, daily Torah portion of the day, classes on Rambam, Tanya, practical Kabbalah, Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) classes which focus on a specific topic in depth, Hebrew reading, Gemara, and many, many more. For a full list visit www.chabadofthevalley.com. Chabad of Tarzana has a new program called
TorahZana Nights which takes place Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays and includes study in Gemara, Tanya, Holiday Laws and Parsha, at 8:30 PM in the Blauner Youth Center. Each Chabad house offers classes, meals, Jewish clubs, lectures, Minyanim, and so much more- just to give you some specific examples: Weekly “Lunch and Learn” classes given by many of the Shluchim including Rabbi Shlomo Bistritzky of Chabad in Oak Park. Rabbi Ari Herzog, a Shliach in Encino, has recently launched a new networking group for young, Jewish, professionals living in the San Fernando Valley (YJP), Rabbi Sapochinsky at Chabad of Westlake runs a very popular JLI Teens program and Hebrew High, and in Agoura Hills a “Friendship Circle” club for disabled children thrives under Rabbi Bryski as well as in Studio City under Rabbi Yossi Baitelman. More than one hundred free meals are given out to the homeless every day by Chabad of the Valley. There are also Chabad Hebrew school classes for children in public school in West Hills, Northridge, Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Agoura Hills, and Tarzana (and other locations) that teach hundreds of children Hebrew reading and Torah basics in a warm, loving atmosphere. Chabad of the Valley has a long standing summer camp for ages 4-13 and Chabad of North Hollywood has a winter camp. Chabad of the Valley has no membership fees and opens its shuls and classes to everyone regardless of their financial ability. Any person can walk into any Chabad house on Shabbos and will be treated like family. If you ever have any issue- be it physical or spiritual, your Chabad of the Valley Shliach will do everything he can to help. The gathering that took place reinvigorated the Shluchim to allow them to continue their important work and was much appreciated by all in attendance. The event was organized by Chabad of the Valley.
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Annual Winter Camp at Friendship Circle of Los Angeles Over 40 Jewish children with special needs joined Friendship Circle of Los Angeles for a week of spirited fun and friendship at their annual winter camp at the end of last month. Joined by 57 volunteers from 22 schools across Los Angeles, children celebrated a week of friendship with daily trips to Scooter’s Jungle, Sky High, Knott’s Berry Farm, Discovery Science Center and the Zimmer Museum. “While key to all Friendship Circle programming is the relationship between child and volunteer, winter camp is a time when that relationship is strengthened”, said Chana Fogelman, Camp Director. A child’s growth is vividly seen as he basks in the warmth, friendship and confidence provided to him by his volunteer. “Winter Camp always makes an indelible impression on me”, said returning volunteer, Valerie Lopez, a student at Re-
naissance Art Academy. “Everyone gets caught up in the cheer and works together to give everyone a memorable experience.” A stand out experience for Lopez was watching a child who is wheelchair bound enjoy a ride on the carousel for the first time. “Differences are checked at the door”, said Michelle, parent of a FC participant. “My child is celebrated for what he can do and is given the time of his life while doing so”. “Winter camp has become a topic we discuss year long in our home.” Friendship Circle of Los Angeles hosts summer and winter camps annually and provides a wide range of social, recreational, educational and Judaic programming for Jewish children with special needs in Los Angeles. For more information call: 310 280 0955.
15 THE JEWISH HOME JANUARY 9, 2014
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7 Questions with Robert Avrech award-winning Hollywood screenwriter By Alisa Roberts 1. How did a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn become a Hollywood screenwriter? I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a screenwriter. One of the things my father used to do when I was young was take me to the movies. I just really loved the movies. And I loved television, especially the westerns that were on when I was a kid. All movies are moral landscapes in one way or another, but westerns are a very specific moral landscape where good struggles against evil, and usually good triumphs against evil. I was especially drawn to that landscape. I started writing stories when I was very young. I wrote stories, I wrote poetry…I wrote all sorts of things. And then at a certain point I learned about screenplays. I began with little short screenplays. They got longer, but they were all pretty terrible because I had no craft. There was nobody to teach it to me. So what I would do is just go to movies all the time. I would go to the same movie over and over. I studied the movies the way I studied Gemara. I broke it down, I saw the structures. I realized there was act one, act two, act three. I realized there was always a main character and the main character had conflict. And I also saw very quickly that almost all movies in one way or another were a love story. I began to understand the basics without the craft. I didn’t go to Yeshiva University because they didn’t have an art department. They couldn’t teach film there. I got a partial scholarship to a secular school called Bard College, and I went there even though it was a really difficult environment for me as a frum Jew. I learned about film and about art, and I wrote quite a few screenplays. I learned the craft. I learned about filmmaking. Then after college I went to Israel for a year. I was there during the Yom Kippur War. I wrote a movie called Geshem Barzel, The Steel Rain, which is what you call incoming artillery. It was actually a very good screenplay. I knew it was the best thing I’d ever [written]. When I got back to America, I started sending this specific screenplay to every agent in the world. You have to understand, I was still unsophisticated when it came to the film business; I was still basically a Yeshiva kid. I just sent around this screenplay to everybody. No one responded. I didn’t get rejection letters – nothing. I was so naïve, I didn’t realize that this was just not the way to do it. But then, about a year later, I got a call from a famous director named Brian De Palma. And he said that he had read my screenplay and really liked it, and he wanted to talk to me. Brian lived in New York, in Greenwich Village, so I went to his office. We met and I asked him how he got my screenplay, and he said, “Well, my agent got it and he really liked it and he dropped it on my desk.” So Brian liked my screenplay. He didn’t want to make it, but he thought I had the right sensibility to write a movie that he was thinking of. He hired me to write a movie that a few
years later he would direct called Body Double. That was a big hit and it propelled me into the front ranks of Hollywood screenwriters. So it was a combination of tenacity, talent, and a lot of luck. Before Body Double came out, they asked me to come out to California to write more movies. So Karen and I packed up and came out to California, and we’ve been here ever since. That’s how I came to be the first shomer Shabbos screenwriter in Hollywood.
or if there is, it’s very rare. And as long as they are putting out leftist propaganda, then it’s incumbent upon us – the conservative or religious or both – to do the same thing. I’ve done that in my career. If you look at Stranger Among Us, it’s an antidote to a lot of other movies. If you look at a film like The Devil’s Arithmetic, the film that I won the Emmy Award for, again, it’s a very conservative and religious message. So I try to counter this in the movies that I do. But I’m only one man. I’m now trying to train the next generation of frum writers. I volunteer at YULA Girls School and I teach a screenwriting course. I have a very small class – only three girls. It’s the same course I would be teaching in college or in a master’s program. It’s a very
2. You mention that movies are moral landscapes. Is this true of all film and television? In the golden age of Hollywood, where people would go to the movies, they came in with their ideological defenses completely down because they went to be entertained. They went to a movie starring Bette Davis or Joan Crawford, or Douglass Fairbanks or Cary Grant. And they went because it was fun and it took them out of the world for a little while. Usually they projected their own fantasies onto the silver screen. That’s how it was for me. But that’s no longer true. At a certain point, secular ideology found its way into Hollywood in a big way. And so people still go to movies with their ideological defenses completely down, and they are assaulted by a brand of thinking which is woven into the storylines, skillfully and brilliantly, that teaches a certain morality to the audience. And the audience, whether they know it or not, soak it up and project it into their own lives. I’ve been in enough story conferences, and been with enough producers and directors and actors, to know that this is now done deliberately. And I think, ultimately, it’s dishonest and destructive.
challenging course, but the girls I’m working with are incredibly talented, and who knows? Maybe one or two of them will become screenwriters.
3. Is there a remedy? First of all, people need to be aware that it’s happening. I think awareness is the most important thing. If your kids go to a movie or are watching television, talk to them about it. Be aware of the writing between the lines. What’s the ideologically driven message? You even have to be careful with Sesame Street, which was not the case when my children were young. Now Sesame Street has turned very hard left. One has to be aware of the messages being driven home by Burt and Ernie. It’s become a mouthpiece for radical leftism. That is antithetical to the frum Torah lifestyle. Second of all, we need to get more people like me into mainstream Hollywood so that we can make the films that we want to make as a counter to the other ideological message. It is no longer tenable to make movies that are pure entertainment. Look at a show like Friends, which was pure fluff. It was wonderful fluff. But they were still the first people on Television to show gay marriage. Now, that did more for gay marriage than all the activists in the world. There is no such thing as fluff anymore. There’s no such thing as ideological-free entertainment,
4. Do you ever feel pressure to change your writing? How do you maintain your message? Each film is different; each production is its own universe. It depends on the studio, the network, the producer, the director. It depends upon the actors. You’re always balancing different things. There is no general rule. You have to be very nimble and you have to know who you are and what you believe or else you’ll get steamrolled. So there is no one answer except to do the best you can. I also turn down certain projects if I feel their underlying ideological message is something I simply can’t get behind. The problem is that another writer will take it, do a good job, and that message gets out there. One can make the argument to take the job and put something subversive in it, but I found that that never works. Look, it’s a constant battle. It’s the religious Jews against the Maskillim in 19th century Europe. It’s the religious Jews against the burgeoning Communists and Bolsheviks, who were 80% Jewish. Jewish history is tediously repetitive. It’s the same thing over and over and over again. The Maccabim were fighting Jews
much more than they were fighting the Greeks. It was much more of a civil war than anything else. And it’s the same thing now. Who am I fighting? I’m fighting with secular Jews in Hollywood. It happens to be that my best friends in Hollywood are very religious Catholics and Mormons. I have much more in common with them than the secular Jews who are the majority in Hollywood. Basically, we’re still fighting the wars of the Maccabees. The good thing is that we’re not murdering each other in the streets. That is some progress. They won’t work with me, but at least they’re not slitting my throat. 5. Does being Orthodox hinder you at all in your business? The truth is, not at all. That’s because I’m a screenwriter. People hire me because I’m a proven talent. Screenwriters make their own time. Things would get more difficult if I were a director. Directors have to be away from home all the time. I want to be with my wife and my family, so it just doesn’t interest me. But as a screenwriter I produce my own material. By the time I’m in the environment of production, which is really 24 hour a day work, the people I work with know me well enough to know that I don’t work on Shabbos. And they work around it, one way or the other. It always works out. People are incredibly respectful. Nobody has ever badmouthed me or given me a hard time. If by any chance a yom tov gets in the way, I work twice as hard to make up for lost time. The only time I ever ran into a problem was when a Jewish producer scheduled a meeting with me on a particular yom tov. I said, “I can’t do it, it’s a holiday.” He said, “That’s impossible. I know that Rosh Hashana’s over, Yom Kippur’s over, Sukkos…What are you talking about?” I said, “It’s Shmini Atzeret.” He said, “I’m a Conservative Jew, I’ve been going to synagogue my whole life. I never heard of that.” I said, “Go look it up. I promise you, Shmini Atzeret is real.” He called me back an hour later, said, “I’m sorry, you’re right. Have a happy shmini whatever.” And ever since then, every time I see him he says, “Have a happy shmini whatever.” So it’s simply not a factor. People are respectful. It’s not a problem for screenwriters. The real problem is social. Many people in the Yeshiva world have very low social IQs for the outside world. There is a specific Yeshiva world that we’re all aware of and have affection for. However, once you step outside that world, it is a very large, complex, and varied world. Many people who were brought up in the Yeshiva environment are simply not socially sophisticated enough to swim in the complex world of Hollywood production. I know this for a fact. I can’t tell you how many Orthodox people come to me and they say, “I have a great idea for a movie, all I need is somebody to write it.” And I ask them what it is, and it’s always the same story: a bal teshuvah, and how their life is so much better than people who are not religious. And when I try to explain to them, when I ask them if they’ve gone to the movies recently, if they’ve seen a real movie, they all say that they don’t go to the movies. This is delusional. It shows a complete lack of awareness of the world out there, and of Hollywood. There are only certain kinds of people who become sophisticated enough to step outside the Yeshiva world. To retain their Yiddishkeit and also talk about the cinema of Carl Dreyer or Akira Kurosawa or John Ford or Alfred Hitchcock. It takes a certain kind of personality to be able to sit in the morning at Daf Yomi and learn Yoma – which I’m learning now – and then in the afternoon to screen Lawrence of Arabia. And it’s not common. It’s not natural to the environment. I think this stems from a basic distrust of
7. You recently wrote a book about your love for and courtship of your wife. Tell
To read more from Robert or purchase his book, How I Married Karen, visit http://www. seraphicpress.com/
An Accredited An Accredited BAchelors MAsters Degree Degree Major in Business or Human Services/ Behavioral Science
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6. Can you share a Hollywood experience with us? One of the things I don’t do is kiss and tell. Hollywood is a varied place. I’ve had wonderful experiences, and I’ve had some really weird experiences. But on the whole, I’ve found that the best kept secret in Hollywood is how very hard people work. I don’t think people realize what a grind Hollywood is. It seems glamorous. I’ll tell you one story that sums it up for me. Working on one of my movies, I met a star. I came into her dressing room; she wanted to talk to me about rewriting some lines for her. She was in a robe and slippers, she didn’t have her makeup on, and her hair was pushed back and uncombed. I looked at her and almost said, ‘Wait a minute. That’s not you.’ Of course, she was just a normal little skinny girl. She looked like every other schlub in the world. It shows the power of the Hollywood image that even I, who was somewhat aware of Hollywood power and glamor, could still be shocked by reality. It’s all an illusion. It’s an amazing illusion – that’s why I say that it’s the most amazing propaganda tool in the world. We have to be aware of that. America only wins wars when Hollywood is behind those wars. Hollywood was behind WWI. Hollywood was behind WWII in a big way, and we won that war. Hollywood was not behind Korea, and Korea came to a terrible stalemate which has led to the most repressive government on the face of the earth. North Korea is now one gigantic gulag. Hollywood was not behind Vietnam and we lost Vietnam. Hollywood was not behind Afghanistan or Iraq and we lost both those countries. And let me just say that Hollywood is not behind Israel now, and America’s current president is certainly not a friend to the Israeli state. He is very closely aligned with Hollywood, ideologically and financially, and that is a huge problem. If you work in Hollywood you understand one thing very quickly: there are certain no-go zones. One of those zones now is Israel. The last pro-Zionist film made in Hollywood was Cast a Giant Shadow. And that wasn’t even a big movie. The bigger movie was Exodus, and that was 50 years ago. There has not been a pro-Zionist movie made in Hollywood since then, but a couple years ago a Jewish actress gave a Golden Globe award to an Arab filmmaker, who made a film that glorified homicide bombers. That’s how far and how low we’ve come in 50 years. It is not just disgraceful, it is dangerous.
us about How I Married Karen. Pretty much at the same time that I fell in love with the movies, I fell in love with my wife. We both attended Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn, and she came into school in 4th grade; she transferred from Yeshivah Ohel Moshe. I saw her on the first day of school standing in the schoolyard, with a white linen handkerchief pressed to her mouth, and I fell in love with her. There’s no way of explaining it – I was nine years old. And it was a love that animated my soul and my imagination for as long as I attended Yeshivah of Flatbush, and continued through my childhood and young adulthood. She was not only the prettiest girl in school, she was also really smart. She was in the A class and I was in the dumb class. And unlike the other alpha girls, Karen was never immodest. She never played all the cruel games which so characterized the pretty female creatures of that particular class. And Karen didn’t know that I existed all those years. She had no idea. I’ll skip forward. At the age of 26 I spotted Karen at a Jewish street festival on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. My knees turned to liquid, and my feelings for her were exactly the same. So I screwed up my courage and approached her. We talked all afternoon. We started dating, and I discovered that Karen was exactly who I had imagined. When I told Karen – and this was the turning point in my life – when I told her of my Hollywood ambitions, she didn’t say, like so many other Orthodox girls, “Is that a parnassah?” or “Is that realistic?” Karen said, “I think that’s wonderful. I have faith that you’ll achieve exactly what you want.” And what I wanted was Karen and Hollywood. A year later Karen and I were married, and we’ve been married 38 years now. Without my wife I’m absolutely nothing. I’m a very lucky person. The book came about because I felt that I wanted to write a great love story. I was looking around for a screenplay to write, and then I just started fooling around with my recollections about Karen. It just came pouring out of me. I realized that was the love story that I wanted to tell. Here’s a halacha of great movies: Every great movie is a love story at the core. And I always want to write a great movie. So I ended up writing How I Married Karen and I’m actually working on the screenplay. I want to make it into a movie. It presents difficulties because since it’s a story of Orthodoxy, it takes place in a very closed milieu. How do I make that happen? But I feel I made it happen with Stranger Among Us, so I can make it happen here also. But it’s also not just the story of one man’s love for a woman, it’s the story of my love for the movies. So it’s basically two tracks running along at the same time. It presents many challenges, but it’s my current project. I think if there’s one thing that people adore it’s a love story. The other thing is that there is a certain kind of Orthodox literature that has been accepted, that I think means well but is not helpful. They present perfect figures, which are basically unattainable. Jews don’t believe in saints. We see people and society as flawed, which is why we need 613 mitzvot. These books tell stories that are so modest that we don’t recognize people in them. And of course, there are no grand love stories. Now, none of us can live without love. So one of the things that I wanted to do was tell the great Orthodox romance, which was my feelings for my wife Karen. You can tell this story and still be a Torah Jew. I think people should know these stories, not just in the outside world but in the Orthodox world as well.
17 THE JEWISH HOME
secular knowledge. And with good reason. The college that I went to was filled with Leftist Marxist professors. They didn’t teach – they indoctrinated. Education is no longer valued for education; it’s become indoctrination. And that’s just evil. It’s Orwellian. At UCLA now, they no longer learn Chaucer, Milton, Shakespeare, or Petrarch. What you do learn is gender studies and colonialism. That is the road to ignorance, the soft tyranny of academia. It’s very dangerous to liberty. I understand all the problems. Listen, my children all went to yeshiva. My daughters went to Stern College, my son went to Yeshivah Gedolah and then to Ner Yisroel. Yet there are certain people, like me and other people I know, who could not stay in the beis medrash. It wasn’t tenable; I just wasn’t a good enough student for it. I needed to go out into the world and do different things. And I think the Orthodox world has changed quite a bit, for the good. Certainly, the average programs are fantastic. Aish HaTorah, Chabad, all these other groups…they’re absolutely fantastic. And they give people like me the space to move in which is absolutely invaluable.
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I Believe in Me Rabbi Asher Brander
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JANUARY 9, 2014
In honor of the Avreichim of the LINK Kollel whose precious Torah learning of Mesirus Nefesh changes lives. The Torah describes a nation with no place to turn: [Shemos, 14] 6. So he [Pharaoh] harnessed his chariot, and took his people with him. 7. He took six hundred select chariots and all the chariots of Egypt, with officers over them … and he chased after Bnei Yisrael …. were marching out triumphantly. The Egyptians chased after them and overtook them encamped by the sea every horse of Pharaoh’s chariots, his horsemen, … Pharaoh drew near, and the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold! the Egyptians were advancing after them. The Jews turn to and on Moshe: They said to Moses, Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us to die in the desert? What is this that you have done to us to take us out of Egypt? A swift R. Hirsch digression teaches us the value of a good line: This sharp irony (out of graves, Moshe?) even in moments of deepest anxiety and despair is characteristic of the witty vein which is inherent in the Jew … from their earliest beginnings Humor counts! It is one of Hashem’s great gifts to mankind. To laugh at oneself is to be able to see a bigger picture; the ultimate laughter of course is saved for the end [Bereishis Rabah, 52:3] Vatischak l’yom acharon – And she laughs on the final day (Mishlei 31:25) . What is the meaning of on the final day? That all the reward of the righteous awaits them in the world to come, from where : And she laughs on the final day … R. Abbahu as he was about to depart from this
life, beheld all the good things that were stored up for him in heaven, whereat he rejoiced and said: ‘All these are for Abbahu, But there’s a question here: Yes – the Egyptians have 600 elite chariots and a large force of people - but consider that 600,000+ men were all massed in one place. Why did the Jews consider themselves stuck ? A remarkable Ibn Ezra opens up a penetrating psychological window: [14:13] One must wonder – how could a camp of over 600,000 men be afraid of their pursuers – and why would they not fight for their souls and for their children? The answer is that the Egyptians were masters over Yisrael and this generation that left Egypt learned from their youth to suffer the yoke of Egypt; its soul was low and how could they now fight against their masters…. And Hashem alone establishes the pattern and sets the plans that the whole male nation that left Egypt would die for they would not be able to fight the Canaanites It’s not them - it’s us! The Jew was and remained a slave; long after the shackles were removed, he was still unable to fathom overcoming his master. The abusive relationship perpetuated itself to the point that a Jew, even at the banks of the Yam Suf, post plagues, was unable to escape his Mitzrayim mindset. Liberation then begins with self re-assessment. A striking contrast gives us a glimpse within the inner mindset of royalty divorced from its this-worldly trappings. The background: a Talmudic description of King Solomon’s descent: [Sanhedrin 20b] …. so did he [Solomon] reign over the whole world. But eventually his reign was restricted to Israel, as it is written, I Koheleth have been king over Israel etc. Later, his reign was confined to Jerusalem alone, … And still later he reigned only over his couch, …. ….And finally, he reigned only over his stick … Did he regain his first power, or not? Rab and Samuel [differ]: One maintains that he did; the other, that he did not. Shlomo sinks to utter powerlessness and yet the Talmud depicts Shlomo as king of his stick. Is this classic Talmudic irony or reflective of something even deeper? In a classic mussar vort , Rav Chaim Shmuelevits explains: Even after his descent, the wisest man of all found a method to not sink into depression. What did he do? He remained king over his stick – even though he had only a stick, he retained his regal bearing
– even in his present state of poverty and this is what allowed him to return to his throne as before [Sichos Mussar, 5731, Ki Tisa p. 237] ... In pithy Ishbitzer terminology: In that stick, resided Shlomo HaMelech’s whole world! A powerful R. Yaakov Galinsky [a powerful and famous passionate Bnei Brak maggid] story illustrates the point: In a Siberian slave labor camp, Rav Galinsky and so many others suffered unbearable and inhuman pain and misery. The Russians did not single out Jews . Whoever fell into their clutches was imprisoned and relegated to performing backbreaking labor under brutal conditions. After a full day’s work the men would trudge back to their barracks … and attempt to fall into a painfully fitful sleep. Every night at approximately 2:00AM, one of the Polish prisoners would arise from his “bed” and remove a bag that was hidden beneath his bed. He would quickly remove what appeared to be some kind of a uniform, put it on, view himself in the mirror, quickly remove the suit, and go back to sleep. …. To force oneself to arise in the middle of the night just to put on a suit seemed irrational. …One day, when they were alone, Rav Galinsky asked the man to explain his behavior, “Why do you arise in the middle of the night to put on your suit and view yourself in the mirror? Do you not value your sleep?” “Yes, Rabbi, my sleep is very important to me, but so are my sanity and dignity. Let me explain. Prior to being taken captive by our Russian tormentors, I was a distinguished general in the Polish army. I had the respect of thousands of soldiers. Suddenly, our army was vanquished and I became a prisoner. The degradation and depravation to which they subject us is, in my opinion, a greater danger than the physical blows which they rain down on us on an almost constant basis. At all costs, I had to prevent them from getting into my mind and destroying it. Therefore, every night when everybody is fast asleep, I risk removing my general’s uniform which I was able to retain in my possession. I don the uniform and look in the mirror. For two minutes, I see before my eyes my true self - my position and my status. I do not see a broken down, frail prisoner. I see a general in the Polish army! This is how I am able to maintain my sanity.” Royalty and slavery then are mindsets more than body modes. With regard to one’s ability to overcome, self-perception
and inner royalty makes all the difference in the world. And for us, a generation that suffers from chronic self-esteem, from whence do we purchase a potent dosage of healthy self-perception - in order to be empowered servants of Hashem? Just etch these incredible words of R. Tzadok HaKohen [Tzidkas HaTzaddik 154] on your heart forever: Just as one must believe in Hashem, so one must then believe in himself, - meaning that Hashem has involvement with him, … he is not a meaningless worker, who is here one night and gone the next …. (Rather) he must believe that his soul comes from the source of life, blessed be His Name and that Hashem delights and playfully rejoices … when one does His will [ this is the meaning of “and they believed in Hashem and in Moshe His servant – all 600,000 souls believed that Hashem desired them] Being wanted and a real delight to God is life altering. It gives one a sense of mission and the ability to overcome all obstacles. It is perhaps the singularly most important message we can give our children/students and ourselves as we seek to lead inspired ascendant lives of Kiddush Hashem. May Hashem help us believe in ourselves - so that we can pass it forward. Good Shabbos, Asher Brander
 In a remarkable analysis of why it is that Moshe had to come from the outside, Ibn Ezra goes further [Shemos, 2:3] Perhaps Hashem arranged that Moshe should grow up in the house of the king so that his soul will be on an elevated state …. And he would not be habituated and lowly in the house of slaves… do you not see that he slew the Egyptian who acted violently and saved the Midianite daughters from the shepherds …. Moshe ability to redeem was rooted in his self perception as a royal personality [even as he was the most humble of men]
________________________ Rabbi Asher Brander is the Founder of the LINK Kollel and Shul, located on 1453 S. Robertson Blvd and is a Rebbe at the wonderful Bnos Devorah Girls High School.
Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn
a story that is told about the pious Rav Aryeh Levin. Before Pesach he would bring Matzah, Marror, the 4 Cups of Wine to prisoners and he would teach them how to observe the laws. At one point the prisoners turned to him and said “Rabbi, you taught us everything, but how do we open the door at Shfoch Chamoscha, we are behind bars?” Rabbi Levin responded “this is the biggest question of Passover night. Everybody needs to ask themselves how they can open the door to free themselves from their personal Egypt.” 5) Rav Chaim Cohen (AKA The Milkman) recently put out a 489 page work on the prayer Anah Bechoach that we recite every Friday night. One of the stanzas of this mysterious prayer is “kabel rinat amcha” “receive the song of Your people.” What is this word “rina” which means song? Rina is the type of music that cuts right to the most hidden part of our soul. Rina comes from the most sacred and the purest part of ourselves. When a person sings from a very deep place they can feel their external body, their mood, their energy, entirely shift. We ask that G-d recognize who we truly our at our core. Hear our soul music. 6) The sefer Ma’ayanos HaPeshat is a 5 volume work that focuses on Chassidic Torah that reads well on a peshat level. He quotes a profound insight from the Dinnover Rebbe. The Torah in Exodus 12:12 says “and I passed through Egypt on this night.” The Hebrew word for passed is ""עברתי. How did G-d pass through Egypt? We know that Moshe couldn’t hear the word of G-d while in Egypt because of the land’s impurity, so how did G-d all of a sudden make it in to Egypt? According to the Talmud in Nazir (23b) we are taught that sometimes a sin done for the right reason is a great thing. In America we call it “taking one for the team.” In order for justice to be meted out G-d violated His own code of not descending into Egypt. Hence the Hebrew word choice: – עברתיwhich literally means “I have sinned.” 7) Malcolm Gladwell’s new work “David and Goliath” had a great chiddush. Everybody looks at the story of David and Goliath as a miraculous story of G-d’s momentary bending of nature. Gladwell argues that this is a misnomer. He develops the idea that often an underdog story is simply a misreading. Giants are not always who we think they are. Often, they don’t even have the talents we thought that they had. More importantly, being a perceived underdog changes people in ways that we couldn’t have imagined. This understanding of the David and Goliath story is in consonance with the Ramban’s notion of miracle minimization. Where possible, G-d will seek to minimize the magnitude of a miracle. The situational structure of nature is already a tremendous miracle. The mussar imbedded in this piece is multi-layered. “Giants are not who we think they are.” We give too much credence to those walls in front us, not realizing that the wall is often a straw man. 8) Rav Mordechai Zilber, the Rebbe of Stuchin, was handpicked by his predecessor. His appointment marks a unique deviation in the usual familial structure of Chassidic dynasties. In a new compendium of his Shabbos teachings the Rebbe has an essay on Tu B’Shevat. In there he questions why G-d speaks about the emergence of vegetation and flora on the third day of creation only to tell us that it would not grow until man was created. Rav Zilber says Tu B’She-
vat is an expression of the beautiful relationship G-d has with the human race. We are partners in creation. G-d has started a process – put seeds in the ground – but the cultivation and development comes from the human involvement and creativity. The story of creation is not about what G-d created. It’s about what G-d created in preparation for humanity. With this insight one wonders whether this might explain why certain parts of creation are left out. For example, there is no mention of dinosaurs. Other creations may be irrelevant to the Genesis story as the Genesis story is our manual for better living. Therefore, only creations which directly impact our day to day life are mentioned. Just a theory! 9) One of the most exciting Judaic purchases of 2013 was the new Sichas Mussar of Rav Chaim Shmuelievitz. Rav Chaim was the Mashgiach of the Mirrer yeshiva in Poland, Shanghai, and Jerusalem. A new volume of his teachings has just seen the light of day. Where did Moshe develop this heroic notion of needing to save people from their plight? Where did he get the hero bug from? Argues Rav Chaim, that it was modeled for him from a very young age. Basya, the daughter of Pharaoh, literally saved Moshe from the Nile. Moshe, in all likelihood, grew up with that story. He knew that his caretaker extended her reach and saved his life. He was born into salvation, and with salvation he would lead. 10) The Orthodox Union published the long awaited commentary of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik on the Chumash. Only a volume on Genesis has come out so far. This work is chock full of golden ideas but to share one: the text tells us that when Sarah died she was “one hundred years and twenty years and seven years.” Rashi based on the Midrash comments that the word shana years was written after each segment to tell us that each phrase is interpreted individually. The Yalkut Shimoni Midrash has a slightly different rendering: “At one hundred she was as beautiful as a girl of twenty; at twenty she was, as regards sin, as innocent as a child of 7.” What’s the message of this Midrash? The phrase "” "שני חיי שרהthe years of the life of Sarah” refers to the lives of Sarah. She was always a one hundred year old adult, a twenty year old woman, and a seven year old child. While old she lived with the wonderful childlike nature normally associated with youth. While young she lived with the wisdom that only comes with experience. Sarah was concurrently seven, twenty, and a hundred years old. She was simultaneously very old and very young, representing the aged, the adult, and the child. Salvadore Espriu’s, arguably the greatest Catalan writer in history, last work was “The Old Man and the Young Man.” The story is a fantasy dialogue between the authors’ old self and the authors’ young self. Each one is attempting to make the case why their personal is better. The conclusion of the book is that we are better off with both. This is Sarah, she lived the best of each age consistently throughout her life. I can’t wait to see what Torah is in store for us this coming year! Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn is the Rav & Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh in Los Angeles. He is the creator of WINGS; a synagogue consulting group for the Orhodox Union. He is also the author of 3 sefarim. For any comments, thoughts, or observations email the Rabbi at email@example.com
JANUARY 9, 2014
Barbara Walters does her 10 most fascinating people of the year, so I figured we would do the ten most fascinating Divrei Torah of the year. A lot of great material has come out this year. 1) A new edition of the Noam Elimelech came out this year. The Noam Elimelech, Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk was a student of the great Mezritcher Maggid, who himself was a student of the Baal Shem Tov. They say it’s a segula to keep versions of the Noam Elimelech in your car, in your house, in your crib. I like the segula of one volume in my hands ready to be learned. In Va’era it says “And I appeared to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Yaakov with (the name) K-l Shakai.” Rashi adds that G-d appeared “to the forefathers.” What is Rashi adding? We know that Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov are the forefathers!? He gives a fantastic answer. Our traditions teaches us that Avraham approaches G-d through the mode of kindness. We know that Yitzchak approaches G-d through the mode of power. We know that Yaakov approaches G-d through the mode of splendor. This then poses a problem – presumably only one of those is the right route. If I, for example, ask you to make a chulent and you put jello and water in a crockpot you won’t get chulent. To get chulent you are going to need beans and barley. If one is trying to arrive at G-d if they don’t take the proper road to get there they simply won’t get there. Rashi is addressing that potential misalignment. While it may seem like disparate approaches among the individual forefathers from G-d’s vantage point it is all the same. All roads point in the same direction. The Baal HaTanya echoes this idea when he says that the reason G-d created 12 tribes is to illustrate that there are multiple ways to approach G-d. All roads lead to G-d. 2) Rav Avraham Rivlin of Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, a descendant of one of the original students of the Vilna Gaon who came to Israel, wrote some brief notes in a commentary on Tanach. Here is a succinct background to Sefer Shoftim just to get some context: the pattern of Shoftim is that the Jewish people stray and immerse themselves in idolatry. A judge is delivered to inspire the people to return to G-d. Often he or she will lead them in battle. This revival is often short lived and is followed by a period of continued idolatry. One leader who ends up on the darker side of the list of Jewish leaders is Avimelech. Avimelech convinces the people of Shechem that they should appoint him as their new leader. Yotam speaks out against the people’s election of Avimelech. He protests their choice via the use of a complex parable: The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive-tree: Reign thou over us. But the olive-tree said unto them: Should I leave my fatness, seeing that by me they honor G-d and man, and go to hold sway over the trees? And the trees said to the fig-tree:
Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig-tree said unto them: Should I leave my sweetness, and my good fruitage, and go to hold sway over the trees? And the trees said unto the vine: Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them: Should I leave my wine, which cheers G-d and man, and go to hold sway over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble: Come thou, and reign over us. And the ated said unto the trees: If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shadow; and if not, let fire come out of the ated tree, and devour the cedars of Lebanon. Notice that in each instance it says “the trees went forth” but when it came time to approach the ated tree (a thorny bush of inferior quality) it says “all the trees.” Why the distinction? Rav Rivlin answers that as the trees were looking for a proper leader, when they went to the fig tree, for example, the olive tree and vine did not come to make the pitch because they knew that the fig tree would say “hey, why don’t you guys take the job you are more qualified than I?” Likewise, when it came time to make the pitch to the olive tree the vine and the fig tree didn’t join as well, etc. But when it came time to ask the worst of all tress – the ated – they all felt confident going because they knew that he would readily jump at the chance to take power. This observation of Rav Rivlin is profoundly intuitive. Think of how many synagogue, school and community boards have all the wrong people in leadership positions. Usually the one’s we would want making a difference are more reticent to step forward and those that shouldn’t be leading jump at the chance. 3) Rav Moshe Chaim Sussevsky is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim. He just published a fresh commentary on Meseches Brachos. In his introduction he addresses the question of why the Mishnah begins with the Order of Zeraim (seeds or agricultural topics). The Rambam’s answer to this question is that the basis of our ability to observe the law is our health. Property dietary observation and respecting nature helps assure that we are in a healthy position to practice our religion. Why do you wish somebody “have a Kosher Pesach”? You’re blessing them that they should be healthy and not have to take chametz medicine on Pesach. Why does Zeraim specifically begin with Meseches Brachos (which deals with Shema and Blessings, among other topics)? The Abudraham responds that as we begin our daily spiritual journey it starts with accepting G-d in our lives. The Rosh in his commentary to Brachos cites the opinion of the Geonim that one who recites Shema at night, not in the context of Maariv, must make a blessing beforehand just like any other mitzvah. The reason why we don’t do that in Shacharis or Maariv is because the paragraph beforehand (ahava rabbah) functions as our blessing. The Rosh disagrees with this position. There is no need for a blessing before Shema. Why not? Rabbi Sussevsky postulates that the whole function of a blessing is for the purpose of kabbalas ol malchus shamayaim – accepting the yoke of Heaven – before performing a mitzvah. The Shema’s central theme IS kabbalas ol malchus shamayim; therefore, it would render the whole need for a blessing pointless. 4) Rav Shlomo Luria is a Slonimer Chassid who lives in Los Angeles. He wrote a colorful new work called Ohel Devorah. In the back of his commentary on the Haggadah he brings
THE JEWISH HOME
10 Most Fascinating Divrei Torah of 2013
Let’s All Sing the Song of This Shabbos
THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 9, 2014
Every Shabbos is special, but this Shabbos carries a special distinction. We refer to it as Shabbos Shirah. While every Shabbos provides spiritual nourishment to sustain us for the week, this Shabbos possesses a unique spiritual energy as the depository of the power of the definitive moment in our founding, the climax of Yetzias Mitzrayim, when the newly released nation sang Oz Yoshir. Chazal teach that leading up to the original shirah, simple maids merited perceiving Divine splendor and glory in a way that surpassed that of the greatest prophets. We wonder what it was that they saw. Were the Jews at Krias Yam Suf the only people to appreciate the magnitude of miracles? Surely not. Was the sight of a mighty sea splitting and dry paths suddenly appearing the greatest super-human experience? The Medrash (Bereishis Rabba 23, 3) sheds light on the vision apparent at the splitting of the sea. The Medrash concentrates on the word “oz,” which opens the eternal song of the shirah. Chazal say that Moshe Rabbeinu had previously sinned by uttering the word “oz” in a complaint against Hashem. “Be’oz chotoh, with “oz” he sinned, “ube’oz tikkein,” and with “oz” it was rectified. Moshe Rabbeinu erred by asking the Ribbono Shel Olam why it was necessary to increase the suffering of Bnei Yisroel. Hashem appeared to Moshe and told him that He heard the cries of the enslaved Jewish people. He would free them from oppression and take them to the Promised
Land. Hashem instructed the reluctant Moshe to appear before Paroh and ask him to permit the Jews a brief respite to worship Hashem in the desert. Unreceptive to the request, Paroh tightened the pressure on the poor slaves. Moshe registered his complaint to Hashem, saying, “Umei’oz bosi el Paroh ledaber biShmecha heira la’am hazeh vehatzeil lo hitzalta es amecha - Since I spoke in Your Name to Paroh, he has worsened the way he treats the people and You have not rescued them” (Shemos 5:23). Moshe’s ode of repentance is apparent in this week’s song, “Oz yoshir Moshe uVnei Yisroel.” The opening word “oz” is the very term with which he sinned. There is something that bears explanation. Moshe erred when he used the word oz to complain about the situation facing the Jews. He did not use that word in the actual shirah. What, then, does the Medrash mean when it says that Moshe sinned with “oz” and repented with “oz,” when that word is not part of the song? We may be able to understand the depth of the connection by observing that when the Jewish suffering and toil seemed too much to bear, Hashem appeared to Moshe and told him that the oppression would come to an end. Yet, when Moshe followed Hashem’s instructions and spoke to Paroh, it appeared as if his efforts were for naught. Paroh increased the workload. It seemed to Moshe that appealing to Paroh for better treatment was a bad idea that backfired. In time, however, it became clear that the increase in work was a means of speeding up the redemption, for it allowed the Bnei Yisroel to be redeemed 190 years earlier than originally prophesized. The harshness of servitude was what caused it to end sooner. Even great nevi’im, who feel Hashem’s total mastery over the cosmos, don’t merit to see both parts of the story, the beginning and the end, come together the way the humble maids did as the Jewish nation was born as a free people at the yam. It was the specific factor about which Moshe had complained that was the catalyst of the redemption. At the sea, as he
witnessed his oppressors washing up dead on the shore and saw the mighty Egyptian army reduced to corpses, Moshe understood it. On the shore of the Yam Suf, as geulim, Moshe uVnei Yisroel perceived the perfect symmetry of the Divine plan as they saw everything they had been promised come to fruition. It was then that they sang the shirah. The root of the word shirah is shir. The Mishnah in Maseches Shabbos that lists the accessories that an animal may carry outside on Shabbos includes a shir, a round ring worn around the neck of an animal. Rav Moshe Shapiro explains that shir is a circle. He says that at the moment they sang shirah, Moshe and the Bnei Yisroel perceived the perfect harmony of creation, how there is a beginning, middle and end to everything. They witnessed the realization of what was foretold to the avos, to Moshe and to them. When they saw that, they sang. The Bais Halevi explains it as follows: “There is another level: he who perceives the kindness shown to him through the suffering as well, as it says, ‘I thank You, Hashem, for You have answered me and become my salvation’ (Tehillim 118:21), an expression of gratitude on the ‘inui,’ the affliction, as well as the salvation - I thank You for both, for both are beneficial and good for me. This was the attitude of Moshe Rabbeinu and the Bnei Yisroel when they sang at the Yam Suf.” At that instant, they perceived the benefit of their long bondage. There is another time that the word “oz” appears in Tanach that can contribute to our understanding of this equation. The posuk in Tehillim states, “Nachon kisacha mei’oz,” meaning that Hashem’s throne has been fixed in place since creation. The Sefas Emes explains that mei’oz refers to the “oz” of Oz Yoshir. There is a certain depth of comprehension of Hashem’s Hashgochah and clarity in the revelation of His dominion that was not revealed to the world until Krias Yam Suf. The Torah recounts that when Moshe originally told the Jewish people that Hashem had spoken to him, foretelling
their release, they were unable to hear his message “mikotzer ruach umei’avodah kashah” (Shemos 6:9). The Ohr Hachaim explains that their inability to accept words of consolation was due to the fact that they had not yet received the Torah. Without Torah, their spirit was compromised. Torah expands the hearts of those who study and observe it. The Jews in Mitzrayim were not yet blessed with that ability. Perhaps the Sefas Emes can help us explain why the Jews were unable to have faith in Moshe’s announcement. The light of emunah that shined in the world at the beginning of creation had been dimmed until Krias Yam Suf. Thus, the abused slaves in Mitzrayim didn’t have the benefit of the emunah sheleimah that resides deep within each of our hearts since that moment. At Krias Yam Suf, there was a new revelation. Everything in the world that had previously been thought to be disparate and imperceptible came together, clearly. They were no longer slaves. They were a new nation of geulim, having been crafted goy mikerev goy, one nation plucked from among another. The Maharal says that as they formed into a nation, they developed as people. Their minds became clearer and their hearts purer. They became capable of accepting the words of Hashem and His servant, Moshe. It was at Krias Yam Suf that they understood that the bitterness, suffering and oppressive toil were means of hastening their freedom. Thus, the Torah records their song as “Oz yoshir.” They sang a song of oz, appreciating the profound mistake in the original complaining “oz.” They rectified their error by singing “oz,” comprehending the way of Hashem. The shirah is written in the Sefer Torah as “oriach al gabei leveinah, like bricks on a wall.” The amount of white space on the scroll equals that of the written words. There are as many spaces as there are words, because in shirah, everything comes together. The words and the silence, the black and the white, darkness and light, all combine to form shirah. We all have trials and tribulations, aspects of our lives that we don’t understand.
“Many people have emunah in their hearts,” Rav Shach cried out. “Der mashgiach hut gehat emunah in zeine hent - he had faith in his hands.”
Rav Levenstein, the world-renowned tzaddik, possessed a tangible emunah and was able to practically feel the Divine kindness in every episode and event. To him, it was not merely an intellectual exercise. It was real. His students relate that he derived much of his emunah from his daily recitation of the shirah, the words of Oz Yoshir, which were seared into his soul and armed him with the emunah he carried in his holy hands. Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz would recall the time Rav Yisroel Salanter visited the home of a wealthy man, who unfortunately had doubts in emunah and asked Rav Yisroel to prove Hashem’s existence. The rich man’s daughter could be seen playing piano in the next room. Rav Yisroel asked if she could play a particular piece of music for him. The girl refused. Her father asked her why she didn’t want to play for the distinguished guest “For every individual who asks me to play I must make a concert?” she replied. Rav Yisroel smiled and asked, “But how do I know that you are really capable of playing? Your father says that you
icate, handed down from father to son, to prove it. Now we have to
believe.” This week’s parsha defines that certificate. We play the music and sing the song that proclaims that we know we will continue singing until we merit to chant the song that will celebrate the centuries of hardship and suffering. Ufduyei Hashem yeshuvun uvau leTzion berinah vesimchas olam al rosham.
Personal Branding: Defining and (Re)-positioning Yourself In the 21st Century by Howard Forman, Ph.D. Last month I discussed an important marketing concept: the brand. I also let you know how brands apply not only to the products and organizations we come in contact with on a daily basis, but they also apply to people in the form of roles or, as I called them personal brands. I also wrote about how we go about identifying and overcoming gaps which get in the way developing a strong desirable personal brand. However, everyone—yes that means you too—grapples with more gaps than we may like or want. Unfortunately, given the busy lives you lead, many find it difficult, if not impossible to address all of your gaps. More than likely, you are going to be faced with the dilemma of having to select some gaps to overcome before you are able to address others. The big question then, is how do you prioritize the gaps you should address first? Good question! Well, all you need to do is figure out the essence of you. Or, in other words, what makes you tick! Simple…right?! Well, maybe not so simple. First you should figure out your core beliefs. You know what they are…right? Fear not if you don’t. Core beliefs are those things that you hold to be true and personally important. They are important down to your core. Your core beliefs are only half of what you need to know and understand (about yourself) to establish the essence of you. The other half relates to your core values (your philosophy of what is right and wrong). Your core beliefs and values are going to guide you in your overall behaviors. They will also be a differentiator given your unique set of skills. Once you have an understanding of your core beliefs and values, it will act
as a guide to help you to engage in behaviors in your comfort zone. In other words, focus on those gaps that are preventing you from engaging in activities consistent with your core beliefs and values. That goes for hobbies, past times, and careers. The hobbies and past times are easy. Most of you do not go out of our way to engage in hobbies that are not consistent with our beliefs and or values. However, many of may actually be going out of your way to engage in career activities that are inconsistent with your beliefs and values. In other words, you do not like your job or what it represents. Take an inventory of what you are doing at work and decide if it is indeed consistent with your core beliefs and values. Maybe this will lead you to start looking for a career change. If that is the case, then select one that is consistent with your core beliefs and values. Do not settle for one that is convenient. Be not afraid to take the time to fill gaps preventing you from entering into that career that IS right for you. Think it over and be honest with yourself and do not be afraid of the answer you might find. Figure out what is important to your core and what types of careers are consistent with your core. What kind of difference do you want to make? How do you want to feel when you get home from the office? Once you do, you will be ready for the next step, positioning your brand. That will be covered next. Howard Forman is an Associate Professor of Marketing at California State University, Fullerton, CA. He published numerous articles and gave many speeches and workshops on marketing and branding. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JANUARY 9, 2014
There are happenings that impact Am Yisroel and Eretz Yisroel that we can’t comprehend. We experience times that we think are good and others that seem to be not so good. We wonder why we suffer and why others suffer. We wonder why there are so many tragedies in the world, including senseless murder, disease, abuse, and sadness. But we have to remember never to lose our faith and that one day it will all become clear to us. There will be a day, soon, when we will understand all that has transpired. On that day, all will sing shirah, but we, men and women of faith, can sing shirah every day. Just as the Torah records concerning the Jews at Krias Yam Suf, “Vayaaminu baHashem,” we, bnei uvenos Torah, possess the harchovas hadaas granted to us with Yetzias Mitzrayim and Matan Torah to realize that we should maintain our faith and hold on tight through the cycles that lead to one goal. The sefer Orchos Chasidecha recounts a story of emunah and bitachon, which I have not been able to verify. On May 7, 1945, Nazi Germany signed its unconditional surrender to the Allies. Following fierce American bombing, Japan gave up at the end of the summer. Thousands of Jews had found refuge in the Japanese-controlled Chinese city of Shanghai. However, as American bombers shelled Shanghai in a final effort to defeat Japan, the refugees feared for their lives. As the bombing campaign intensified, some students of the Mir Yeshiva, who fled Poland and Lithuania to the safety of Shanghai, suggested to move further inland to the city of Nanjing. The renowned mashgiach of the yeshiva, Rav Yechezkel Levenstein, wouldn’t hear of it. He argued that they should remain in Shanghai, saying that moving would disrupt the sidrei hayeshiva. When pressed, he explained that all the journeys of the
are an expert pianist, but if you don’t display your gift and play that piece, how do I know that you are really capable?” “Simple,” the girl answered. “I graduated from a prestigious musical conservatory and the instructors there signed my award certificate attesting to my abilities. I will show it to you and that will prove my musical capabilities.” Satisfied, Rav Yisroel looked at his host. “The Creator showed Himself to our ancestors and we have the certif-
THE JEWISH HOME
Rav Yechezkel Levenstein, zt”l
Jews as they traversed the desert, going from Mitzrayim to Eretz Yisroel, were “al pi Hashem.” They followed the Anan Hashem wherever it took them. They stayed there as long as the Anan did and moved only when it dictated they should. “Hashem helped us until now,” said Rav Levenstein, “and we must have bitachon that He will guide us at this stage of the war as well. Until He sends a sign that we must move, we are staying here.” Because of Rav Levenstein’s well-earned reputation and fierce bitachon, the entire yeshiva followed his direction and stayed in Shanghai, despite the apparent dangers. Rav Levenstein later testified that the reason he didn’t move was because his rabbeim had appeared to him in a dream and told him that a move would be very dangerous. In fact, hundreds of Nanjing citizens were subsequently killed. In his hesped on Rav Levenstein, Rav Elozor Menachem Man Shach quoted a posuk from this week’s parsha. The Torah recounts that Moshe Rabbeinu’s hands remained raised in prayer as the Jewish people battled Amaleik: “Vayehi yodov emunah ad bo hashomesh.” The literal translation of the verse is that Moshe’s hands had faith until the sun set.
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Maybe it’s a symptom of being a native Californian, but I’m used to showing up at restaurants without reservations. I can only think of one or two local places where this would be risky. So, when I popped into Ditmas just a few days after they opened I was completely taken aback when I was told they are too full and couldn’t host us. As we slinked towards the door discussing alternate possibilities for dinner, a friend of ours who had a reserved table, spotted us and chased us into the parking lot. Yossi and Mushka Shusterman, and a visiting relative, allowed my husband and I to be guests at their coveted table. It was well worth the initial awkwardness and I will be forever grateful to the Shustermans for their generosity. As we settled in I took in the stunning
ambience. A blink ago this location had been Bocca’s Los Angeles location, but chef and owner Alex Reznik tweaked it by changing the lighting, rearranging the layout and adding a few key elements to take it from a nice diner to a must-see destination. The large room can hold 200 people at maximum capacity (which it did on that night) but seems cozy due to the clustered tables, dark wood elements, and dim lighting. A 20-foot long community style table with pendulum lighting stands in front of the bar encouraging parties and impromptu reunions of any sort. Judging on the high end décor and glamorous reputation of the owner, I assumed Ditmas would encourage businesspeople and couples as their main clientele. However, manager Colin Hobbs informed me that it’s just the opposite:
Ditmas was designed to accommodate large families, including small children, without disturbing diners who want a peaceful, elegant, night out. This is why there are several different sized tables set up throughout the space- a large family can enjoy themselves on one end, while date night can take place 25 feet away. Ditmas is generously staffed and each table is assigned a waiter and drink re-filler who hover nearby to entertain your every need. The waiters are very knowledgeable and open to changes and special orders. Since we were now eating as a large group, we all ordered different things and shared them- trying not to double dip on the table favorites. The hands down best piece of meat was the Eye of Rib. It’s a reasonable 6 ounce size and featured the crispy outside and juicy inside that is globally loved. The side dishes on the menu go beyond the afterthought of cooked veggies, rice or salad. Ditmas offers creative sides that takes old basics like mash potatoes or French fries and upgrades them. No matter what else you order you must get the Vidalia Onion Rings. I am not generally an onion ring fan, but these are fantastic. Crunchy, salty- in a good way, and the sweet onion taste comes through. So flavorful you don’t need ketchup. The Jerusalem Artichoke Soup was a favorite as well. I recognized the style of the soup as chef Alex Reznik’s signature: in the bowl are the solid ingredients, including pea shoots and sun chips, and the liquid artichoke and watercress is poured with a flourish at the table. Alex Reznik is a Top Chef alum and has worked as a chef at several restaurants, most recently the foodie acclaimed (and now closed) La Seine of Beverly Hills. Ditmas is named after the street Mr. Reznik grew up on in Brooklyn and the restaurant is a celebration of legacy and family. The concept of Ditmas formed just a few months ago
when Chef Alex became a father for the first time to an adorable baby girl. He was busy as a consultant for other restaurateurs, but as he began fatherhood, he became determined to own his own piece of the American dream and create a venue that encourages families and friends to get together and enjoy each other’s company over delicious, unique and memorable food. We ended our fantastic meal with a sampling of every dessert on the menu and my personal favorite was the chocolate soufflé which reminds me of a sophisticated s’more complete with dark chocolate, marshmallow crème and sweet sesame crunch. Aside from an incredible dinner, the Ditmas bar is the main attraction. Team bartenders Jason and Dmitri have created several inimitable drinks. Try the Green Side which is made from Double Cross Vodka, dill, lime, and arak, or the Canarsey Creamsicle that includes bourbon, rosemary, kumquat syrup, lemon juice and an eggwhite. In a couple weeks Happy Hour from 4-6 PM will be introduced which will feature $4 beer, $5 wine, and $6 cocktails. Ditmas will soon include a separate bar menu that will host fun treats like New York style pretzels. You will not be disappointed with Ditmas at 8731 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles 90035- just be sure to make a reservation! Call 310-271-9300 for more information or to reserve your table. Estee Cohen is a California native and goes out to eat more than is appropriate. She is a kosher food insider, has a patient husband and 3 little kids. She is passionate about restaurants, science education, and collects rooster figurines.
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Beshalach STORYLINE Purchasing Agent by Rabbi Meir Orlian “Yossi is getting married next week,” Moshe said to Yehuda. “He mentioned that if a few friends wanted to chip in, he would be happy to receive a microwave as a wedding gift.” “How much will it come to?” asked Moshe. “$100-150 a person, depending on how many people chip in,” replied Moshe. “That’s fine,” said Yehuda. “Put me down.” A few days later, Yehuda’s wife showed him an embroidered challah cover. “I planned ahead and ordered it for the new couple,” she said. “That’s great,” Yehuda replied, “but a few of us chipped in for a microwave.” “The challah cover has their name embroidered on it already,” she said. “We can’t return it.” Yehuda called Moshe, but there was no answer. “This is Yehuda,” was the voice message he left. “We got our own gift for Yossi and do not want to participate in the purchase of the microwave.” Meanwhile, that same day, Moshe bought the microwave. When he came home, he checked his voicemail. Moshe called Yehuda back. “I didn’t get your message until after I bought the microwave,” he said. “So it’s too late; you’ll have to pay. It comes to $120 for each of five people.” “What’s too late?” asked Moshe. “You were buying it anyway; just divide the cost into four instead of five.” “But you were on the list when I made the purchase,” said Moshe. “It’s not fair to make the others pay more.” “I called to cancel beforehand,” pointed out Yehuda, “but you didn’t answer.” “The truth is,” said Moshe, “by the time you called, I may have bought the microwave already.” “Even so, I’m going to give another gift,” reasoned Yehuda. “I won’t benefit from the microwave.” “Whether you give another gift or not is your own issue,” said Moshe flatly. “I bought the microwave for you, as well, so you have to pay!” “Not unless Rabbi Dayan says I have to!” said Yehuda. The two went to Rabbi Dayan’s beis horaah. Moshe explained what happened and asked, “Does Yehuda have to pay his share in the microwave, or can he back out?” “You have to check the message and see what time Yehuda called to cancel,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Once you bought the gift on behalf of those who signed up, they cannot retract.” “Why is that?” asked Yehuda. “When people signed up, they became partners in the purchase, and Moshe was their agent to buy the microwave,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “Shelucho shel adam k’moso — a person’s agent is like him (Kiddushin
41b). Thus, when Moshe purchased the microwave, he did so on behalf of all those who had signed up, so you were already a partner/owner in the gift (C.M. 182:1; 200:12).” “What about the fact that Moshe used his own credit card to buy the microwave?” argued Yehuda. “Isn’t it like he bought it, and we’re now buying it from him?” “That’s irrelevant,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Even when an agent uses his own money to purchase something, the transaction is credited to the owner. Moreover, any halachic kinyan (act of acquisition) done by the agent — whether hagbahah, meshichah, chalifin, etc. — is binding on behalf of the owner (C.M. 183:4).” “What if it turns out that I called to cancel before Moshe completed the purchase?” asked Yehuda. “Then you would not have to pay,” continued Rabbi Dayan, “since Moshe was no longer your agent.” “Even though I didn’t know that he canceled?!” asked Moshe. “It would seem so,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “In principle, a person can cancel an agent even when not in his presence. However, when this causes a loss, e.g. it is not possible to return the item, the owner usually remains liable for the loss, since he undertook responsibility for the purchase (arev). “Here, there was no loss, since Moshe was going to buy the microwave for the group regardless. Thus, if Yehuda called before Moshe finalized the purchase, he would not have to share in the payment (see Nesivos 182:3).” FROM THE BHI HOTLINE Level of Liability I am traveling to Israel soon. My neighbor asked if I could deliver an electronic device to his son who is learning there. I agreed. Later, he told me that I was welcome to use it while traveling. Q: Does permission to use the device impose on me the liability of a borrower (shoel), of a paid custodian (shomer sachar), or neither of the above and I remain an unpaid custodian (shomer chinam)? A: The answer depends upon a number of factors. If at the time your neighbor asked you to take the device, he granted you permission to use it, you would be categorized as a shomer sachar. It is as if he is paying you for performing the job of a custodian by granting you permission to use it (Shach 72:30; Machaneh Efraim, Shomrim 28). However, if he gave it to you initially without permission to use it and subsequently granted you permission to use it, you would be categorized as a shoel and are liable even if something happens to the device due to circumstances beyond your control (oness). The reason is that once you initially agreed to watch his device without expecting any sort of remuneration, subsequent permission to use it is not part of the original custodial agreement, and you become a borrower. In this case, where the custodian is given subsequent permission to use the object in his care, there is a debate at what point he has the liability of a shoel. According to one approach, as soon as the owner grants
the custodian permission to use it he is liable as a shoel — even before he actually uses it (Shach 72:31). Others maintain that though as soon as the object is deposited in the care of a borrower, he is liable as a shoel, in this case he does not become liable as a shoel until he actually uses the object. The reason for the distinction is that in normal circumstances, the shoel is the one who benefits from the relationship (kol ha’hanaah shelo). In this case, at the outset of the relationship, the owner was the beneficiary of the relationship since he had someone guarding his object for free. When the owner subsequently grants the custodian permission to use it, he becomes a paid custodian; when he actually uses the object he becomes a shoel (Machane Efraim ibid.; Tumim 72:19; see also Sema 292:16). Some suggest that even after the custodian uses it for personal benefit, he only has the liability of a paid custodian since permission to use it is in exchange for the custodian’s agreement to protect the object. Even though permission is given after the custodian took possession of it, because permission to use it is given in consideration of him serving as a custodian, his liability is that of paid custodian and the owner cannot impose on the custodian the liability of a shoel (Tumim, ibid.). According to all opinions, the custodian’s liability does not increase unless he accepts the privilege to use the object. If the owner authorizes the custodian to use it but the custodian rejects the privilege, he remains an unpaid custodian. In the event that the custodian responds to the offer with silence, it is unclear whether or not he accepted the offer and whether he becomes liable as a shomer sachar or shoel; consequently, he cannot be forced to pay more than what an unpaid custodian would have to pay (Nesivos 72:18). MONEY MATTERS Lost and Found #25 Q: What should a gabbai do with items left in shul? A: Items left in shul should usually be left in place, as the shul is considered semi-secure; most likely the owner will return there to look for the item. If the shul is not secure [or if there is a need to clean the place] the items should be moved to a secure and designated lost and found area (Igros Moshe, O.C. 5:9). The same is true for a beis medrash, mikveh, etc. If the item is left there for a long time and seems abandoned, we can assume that the owner abandoned hope of reclaiming it (yei’ush) and anyone can take it, even if the item has a siman. However, the shul or beis medrash does not acquire the lost item automatically through chatzer (see C.M. 262:5; M.B. 154:59; Pischei Choshen, Aveidah 9:13). Current Poskim recommend that the shul post a noticeable sign that anything left in the shul beyond a certain length of time becomes hefker and the gabbaim will do as they please with it (see Igros Moshe, C.M. 2:45b; Hashavas Aveidah K’halachah 7:1-4).
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24 I look at the picture of his face, And see his smile. I hear his children saying kaddish, And his father. Overwhelmed with grief, Wife, 8 children, Awash in tears. Communities around the world Mourn. A young life cut down, Giving, loving, Holy soul, Snuffed out. I look at the front page of the paper I see mean, Vicious, Hatred, Screaming loudly to the city and world. I think back to Lavan. Eisov. Nevuchadnetzar. Trotsky, Lenin & Stalin. All the way back in time. Until this very day. Who hasn’t wanted to see us dead and buried? Jewish blood has always been cheap, Nobody cared when they came after us. We’ve been burnt at the marketplace. Stomped. Gassed. Shot. Given up for dead. Yet here we are, Persevering, Succeeding, Growing. They can’t stand it. They can’t stand us.
Who Didn’t Want Us Dead?
By RaBBi Pinchos LiPschutz
We are alive. Where are they? Titus. Ferdinand, Isabella. Mussolini. Hitler. Why, they ask, are the Jews titans of industry and commerce? Real estate, stocks and bonds? Why do they have influence? Why aren’t they dead? They are all cheaters. They are all liars. Underworld cut-throats. They poisoned the wells, They killed our babies, For matzos. They froze us in the winter, Boiled us in the summer. The Jews. It’s all their fault. The rotten, Smelly, Jews. Till today they wonder How to get rid of us. They cover their hate with smiles, Feigned ignorance, And legal shenanigans. “We love the Jews,” they say. Sure, just as Paroh did. All types of charges, Allegations, Fraud. The Jews, they say, don’t care about laws, Violations, Fidelity, Children, Abuse victims. They kill their baby boys, To satisfy an ancient rite. They rob, cheat and steal. They can’t be trusted, Disloyal citizens. They control the banks, The press, But not the Post.
We thought it was different here. America is not Russia, Or Germany, France or Rome. It’s not, But the hatred is here as well. The quiet murmurs, Suspicions, And tricks. We need reminders, From time to time. Don’t get complacent. Don’t get too comfortable. Remember we’re not home, We’re far away, Homeless, On a comfortable bench, In a nice park. We pine for geulah, Moshiach, Redemption, Salvation. Uva leTzion goel.
THE JEWISH HOME JANUARY 9, 2014
THE JEWISH HOME
JANUARY 9, 2014
Slim Pickings Here for Jewish Special-Ed by Rachel Wizenfeld
LA may have the kosher restaurants, the kollels, and now even the summer camps for Jewish families who want to stay local, but when it comes to educational options for Jewish kids with special needs, it’s a grim landscape. Unlike in other states (New York in particular), if students here have learning challenges, learning differences or a developmental delay, they have virtually no services available to them unless they go to a public school (or a public-private school like the Help Group’s Village Glen). If parents want to keep children in a Jewish school, they have to pony up the cash to pay for services themselves – such as shadows, inclusion specialists, speech therapists and more, or pray that the child’s school or a local organization can offset some of the costs. In contrast, in New York, students who receive state-funded special-ed services may receive those services at the non-public schools that they attend. But in Los Angeles, once a child turns five, unless he is enrolled in public school he’s ineligible for nearly all special-ed services. “It’s unbelievable,” says Rabbi Abraham Lieberman, principal of the YULA girl’s school who moved here from New York five years ago. “In New York all of these services are provided from kindergarten through high school.” Besides money for textbooks, bussing, school nurses and more, he recalls how every yeshiva in New York has a resource room staffed by a NYS or NYC-funded specialist. But in California, whether it’s due to the power of the teacher’s union lobby, or a stronger division between church and state, funding for these services is from the state is barely available, placing a huge burden on Jewish families and the Jewish schools themselves. Day schools here really don’t have the funding nor the space or true ability to take care of these kids, says Rabbi Michy RavNoy, founder and director of the Friendship Circle of Los Angeles, which operates a Hebrew school for children with developmental delays and offers social
A New Hope for Jewish Inclusion in Schools As demand for special-needs services grows, innovations emerge. One such innovation is Online Jewish Academy (OJA), a learning system that blends online and in-person teaching components to accommodate different learning styles and needs, and which can be easily incorporated into an existing brick-andmortar school.
support and other programming for Jewish kids with special needs. He estimates that 96% of LA Jewish kids with special needs -- who would prefer to stay in a Jewish school -- are forced to go to public or non-Jewish private schools, while 4% remain in the Jewish school system, and end up paying double tuition for the shadow-
to remain in Jewish schools, since they are likely to succeed with the proper modifications and support. But once kids need more intensive therapies and have more profound disabilities, the expense and unlikeliness of social and academic success at a regular yeshiva becomes virtually impossible.
ing and extra services that they need. Some of these kids utilize programs like Ner Yaakov (an Etta Israel program for boys with learning disabilities at Toras Emes; its sister program, Ner Shoshana, ended this past summer), or a new program called Online Jewish Academy (see sidebar). Some elementary and high schools have inclusion specialists to guide student integration and success in the school, and there is a general feeling among parents and teachers that schools are becoming more open and accepting of students with differences. Rav-Noy sees hope for kids with mild or moderate learning disabilities who want
Doonie Mishulovin, the inclusion specialist at Valley Torah High School for Boys, says that she’s been able to successfully integrate kids with ADHD, learning disabilities, anxiety issues and other needs. But most of these students need additional outside intervention to succeed, and this cost is most often paid for by the parents – who are sometimes shelling out tens of thousands of dollars each year in addition to tuition. Families who can’t pay for additional help either end up going to public school, homeschooling, or remaining in the day school system with academic and behavioral problems and/ or emotional issues that come from fail-
ing in school or having needs that are not properly addressed. “They fail and they don’t learn what they could have learned in public school – how to read and other basic skills.” Beth Jawary, the student support coordinator at Bais Yaakov and Yavneh Academy who has worked with many of the local Jewish schools, says that while basically all the day schools here do have a resource room, none of the high schools do, and overall there’s really a lack of services for students who learn differently, she says. “Oftentimes, if not all the time, it’s on the parents to fund the extra services.” At Yavneh, where Jawary works, there are some school-funded intervention options up until 3rd grade, and some services through Title 1, a federal program that provides supplemental educational services often to those with special needs - to eligible students attending private schools. Most elementary schools provide some Title 1 services, and some elementary and high schools will give families paying for special-ed a tuition reduction, or aid through private fundraising and tzedakah. “For some, keeping their children in a Jewish environment is more important than getting the other services,” says Jawary. But remaining in a regular-ed school or yeshiva can sometimes erode a child’s self-esteem if their ability doesn’t match that of their peers. “They don’t feel good if they’re not accomplishing. Kids understand when their grades aren’t authentic. In the long run, if they can’t do the assignment when the rest of their class can, they’re not going to feel good about themselves.” She quotes what she heard a rav say once, that “’you’ve got to make them a mensch first.’ Basic skills make a person a mensch.” However, Jawary believes that a lot of progress has been made in the elementary and high schools here becoming more open to students with differences. “There’s more of a willingness to accommodate different needs and learning
Shalhevet, and Valley Torah, and Rabbi Abraham Lieberman, the principal of YULA Girls School, says that while new, it’s already helping some of his students succeed despite learning challenges. OJA was co-founded by Hyim and Sari Brandes, a brother and sister team. Sari had grown up dyslexic and ultimately attended Harvard, and had been frustrated that no one realized her capabilities when she was young, according to Melanie Feder Tassoff, OJA’s director of admissions.
Sari founded OJA together with her brother as a way to use technology to enable students with learning differences to attend and thrive in a Jewish school setting. Using a mix of online tools and teacher support, subjects and skills can be slowed down, broken down and explained in a different manner. Students using OJA have a range of learning challenges, such as processing disorders, dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s or general anxiety disorders that play into different learning issues,
OJA was a recipient of an RFP (request for proposals) released by the Jewish Federation of LA last year as part of a growing desire to nurture programs in the area of Jewish education for kids with special needs, according to Adynna Swarz, director of Caring for Jews in Need at the Federation. OJA also received a Cutting Edge Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation. The program is currently in use at several local high schools, including YULA,
Students are considered to be dually enrolled in OJA as well as their home campuses. Students attend their home campus (such as Shalhevet or YULA) and then take certain classes, such as math or English, in a special classroom devoted to
friends. One mother of two Down-syndrome children who lives in West Hollywood and who also prefers to remain anonymous, recently pulled her 7th grade son out of the Orthodox elementary school, where he had thrived for many years, to go to public school. While his class had grown to accept him and his occasional disturbances, children from the younger classes had begun to make fun of him, creating an uncomfortable social environment. Academically as well, the gap was growing, especially as kids advanced in Mishnah and Gemara. She switched him to public school for these two reasons, and now he gets services during school hours like speech therapy, adaptive P.E. and more. But he doesn’t have the opportunity to learn about parsha, the Jewish holidays, or to daven. He puts tefillin on when he comes home at 3pm. However, because he spent so many years at a Jewish school, he has the foundation of reading Hebrew and tefila that other kids may lack. This mom was met with an unexpected challenge. After her son missed numerous days for Rosh Hashanah and Sukkos, the school called her saying he had missed too much school, accused her of making up Jewish holidays, and threatened to elevate the issue to the city attorney. The school, a regular middle school with a special needs track, receives money from the city per child per day of attendance, so they are motivated to have students show up. “I said, ‘It was a Jewish holiday.’ The woman in charge of attendance said, ‘we don’t have it in our calendar, and we also have other Jewish children in school that were not absent.” OJA. They also receive a certain amount of educational therapy as additional support. The school acts as a subcontractor, so parents pay regular tuition to the school, and the school pays OJA per student per class. Much of OJA’s funding comes from grants and donations to try to minimize the burden on the schools. This is the second year that OJA has been in place at YULA, and Rabbi Lieberman says that while it’s currently in use for just two students, it’s really helping them
transition into a regular school. Previously these students were in a school where all these special learning services were provided, and without OJA, the transition to YULA would have been much harder. “It’s designed particularly to help each student on his or her own level; it works at their speed,” he says. And due to the online component, teachers are able to quickly assess a child’s level of understanding or skill, which can’t always be elicited from testing.
February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, a month that Jewish communities across the country are using to promote inclusion in our community. To learn about volunteer opportunities or ways that you can get involved, visit jewishla.org/inclusion. In addition, ETTA (formerly Etta Israel) is hosting internationally-renowned psychologist Dr. Robert Brooks for a one-day conference on February 27 for teachers, parents, and professionals on the themes of resilience, motivation and school climate. For more information, please email email@example.com. fill the Jewish void for special-needs children. Kids with mild disabilities or behavioral issues like ADDD could have more support systems in school such as shadows, more resource rooms, and perhaps special classrooms for certain parts of the day and along with integration for other parts of the day. For kids who are severely disabled or delayed, they would need a designated classroom for kids to have a special-ed teacher and contract with therapists. All of these services would partly be paid for by the parents and partially subsidized, either by the schools or community donors. A major obstacle is the immense cost it takes to provide services for just a few children with special needs. Phil Lief-Greiff, the associate director of the BJE (Builders of Jewish Education in Los Angeles) says that in places where these schools have been built, they’ve come together because of a significant influx of dollars, far beyond what even normal communal funding can provide. He mentions a pull-out program in Jewish day schools that was underwritten by the Gindi family and lasted for several years, but ultimately proved to be too costly and closed. “It all comes down to money,” he says. Rav-Noy agrees, and hopes to find a funder who really believes in Jewish education for everyone – “for every Jew’s right to be a part of their heritage, regardless of their abilities.” He adds that with OJA available, he’s getting more inquiries from parents who want to send their children to YULA, but need more specialized instruction. “Hopefully it will eventually go nationwide,” he says of OJA, which is currently an LA-based program. “It will help a lot of places.” For more information on OJA, visit www.onlinejewishacademy.org or contact Melanie Feder Tassoff at mftasoff@OnlineJewishAcademy.org.
JANUARY 9, 2014
says Feder Tassoff. She mentions one student who is at honors level academically, but has a tremendous amount of test anxiety and was unable to sit in a traditional classroom for an entire day.
Last month, Friendship Circle Hebrew School was awarded the “Award for Program Excellence “ at the Builders of Jewish Education Annual Dinner and has been the recipient of several BJE grants in the last few years.
This woman also has a daughter who is a high-functioning Down-syndrome young woman currently in a seminary for girls with special needs in Jerusalem. Her mother says she thrived going to a typical girl’s high school, which she attended with a full-time shadow as well as weekly support from a private speech therapist and educational consultant. But shadows cost between $15-$20 an hour, and therapists and consultants can run $150 an hour, making such options out of reach for many families. Some are able to get funding through Regional Center under the category of “afterschool-services”, but sometimes families have to put up a fight to get the funding and wind up in a bureaucratic runaround. Devorah Weiss, a woman in Hancock Park who has become something of an advocate for parents of special needs, says she considered a move out to New York for years to gain access to better special-ed services for her son. While she ultimately remained in Los Angeles, she still wonders whether her son would have been better off in the schools there. Some families actually have moved cross-country to better accommodate their children’s learning needs in a Jewish environment. But such a move is obviously not feasible for everyone. Ultimately, the hope for many families here is that someone will open a Jewish school for kids with special needs and developmental delays. Rav-Noy says that creating a school is a dream of his, and something that could have dramatic impact on the lives of these children. “We get feedback from parents – ‘the Hebrew school has really helped; our kids are getting more involved in Shabbos, they take part at the seder, they’re singing Chanukah songs and not Xmas songs.’ Imagine how much more we could do if we had a full-time program?” He recently began investigating if there’s interest in a full-time program and is collecting responses. His first goal is to get seed money for a strategic planner to put together a funding plan, a lobbying strategy and an overall framework so they can create a sustainable venture. Short of building a school, Rav-Noy sees other steps that could be taken to help
THE JEWISH HOME
styles” of the kids who leave the yeshiva system, some hate it because they have to deal with the boy-girl dynamic, and there’s a social pressure to be culturally different (such as needing to watch TV and movies in order to fit in), “but honestly I see kids who are benefitting from being in public school because their needs are being met,” says Mishulovin. However these kids do suffer religiously. The Friendship Circle offers the only Orthodox Hebrew school for students with developmental delays in Los Angeles – Mishulovin is the educational director -and parents have told her that once their kids started coming to the Hebrew School, suddenly they were sitting at the Shabbos table and were more involved -- because now they felt it was theirs. “Parents are busy being parents. They’re not going to make a makos project with their kid, there’s way too much going on! That’s why the Hebrew school is so incredible.” One Pico-Robertson mom, who prefers to remain anonymous, said she tried to create her own special-needs program in one of the day schools about 15 years ago, but it was so cost-prohibitive and she was frustrated from the lack of guidance and support from the schools that she ended up sending her son to a non-Jewish, therapeutic elementary school program. There her family was “thrown into the secular world,” having to deal with Halloween and proms and non-kosher cooking classes which were central to students’ socialization. Her son is now in high school, and she says the main thing he missed out on was friends. “Being in a secular environment, he had very little contact with other religious kids.” “It’s a painful choice,” says Rav-Noy, about leaving a Jewish school. He points out that these kids suffer from a double isolation. Already they are isolated from general society due to their disabilities or differences, and then added to that is a deeper isolation from the Jewish community which they don’t feel a part of. Their siblings might come home with parsha projects and sheets and they don’t have anything; they’re unable to participate the same way in shul, and they go to different schools so they don’t have Jewish
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You Gotta be
Paula was having a hard time selling her car because it had 250,000 miles on it. When telling Jane about her problem, Jane mentioned George the mechanic who could turn back the mileage for a couple of bucks. A few days later, Pamela met Jane again on the street. Jane asked her, “Well, did you sell the car?” “Are you crazy?” Paula replied. “It only has 50,000 miles on it— why would I sell it?!”
Four cars come to a four way stop, all coming from a different directions. They aren’t able to decide who got there first, so they all move forward at the same time. They do not crash into each other, but all four cars go. How is this possible? Answer on next page
What’s It Called? Each of the following, except for one, is the real name of a car that is either sold in America, Australia, China or Japan. Can you figure out which one is not a real car name?
Mohs Ostentatienne Opera Sedan Honda That’s Great Wall Wingle Toyota Deliboy Mazda Scrum Wagon Mitsubishi Lettuce Honda Excel Honda Life Dunk Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard Toyota Chaser Avante Lordly Suzuki Every Joypop Turbo Isuzu Bighorn Plaisir Long Mitsubishi Mini Active Urban Sandal Mazda Bongo Friendee Mazda Carol Me Lady Geely Rural Nanny Mitsubishi Toppo Guppy Mitsubishi Minica Winky Answer on next page
DRIVING PERSONALITY QUIZ 1. When stuck in traffic, which of the following do you do? a. I keep my hands on the steering wheel and wait patiently for traffic to move b. Honk like a lunatic c. I usually just chill and play drums on my steering wheel d. Whip a U-eey and take the back roads which only you know “because I am so great.” 2. When the traffic light turns green and the car in front of you doesn’t move right away, how long do you wait before honking your horn? a. I wait patiently and don’t honk b. I honk even before the light turns green c. What? The light turned green? d. I don’t honk my horn, I flash my headlights. That is much more effective. e. 1 second 3. When you are in traffic and one lane is cleared for an emergency vehicle do you try and get behind the emergency vehicle? a. I immediately pull over to the side of the road and wait on the shoulder until further notice b. Yes, I get right behind it and sometimes I even go in front of it! c. I’m not down with the noise of the sirens because it messes with my groove d. I get behind it, but I make sure that there are 3-4 cars between me and the emergency vehicle, this way those cars have to fend off all the
other cars that want to jump into the line as soon as they see the emergency vehicle. 4. When on the highway and a car ahead of you is going 10 miles over the speed limit, what do you do? a. I shake my head in disapproval and continue to obey the speed limit b. I whiz by him because I always go at least 20 MPH over the speed limit c. I don’t notice other cars because I’m into my own chill d. I go 1 MPH less than him so that he gets the ticket and not me 5. Which of the following best describes the type of food you eat in your car? a. Ricolas b. Double pastrami burger with extra mayo, ketchup and cole slaw c. Oats and stuff like that d. I don’t really eat in my car because it messes with the aerodynamics of the vehicle 6. When you are 30 feet from an intersection which you know has a red light camera, what do you do? a. What’s a red light camera? b. I gun it just because I always gun it. But the truth is, I don’t care if I get a ticket because I have a guy that gets me out of all of my tickets. Yes, even red light camera tickets.
c. I wave at the camera. Who knows, maybe it will be a good picture? d. I tend to avoid streets that have red light cameras because those intersections tend to have shorter yellow lights, which means that they generally create congestion ahead due to a lack of synchronization. I tend to drive on the most effectively synchronized roadways. Your driving personality: If you answered A to four or more questions— How is the weather in Florida treating you? If you answered B to four or more questions— Hey, Brooklyn guy, any way you can stay off of the Five Town roads? If you answered C to four or more questions— Dude, where’s my car? Peace out, bro! If you answered D to four or more questions—Don’t you realize that when you give people rides they are not interested in hearing how you are the “driving efficiency guru”? “Hey, watch this, I am going to go left here and then turn around and catch that light, yada, yada, yada…” Just drive, for crying out loud!! We know you are amazing!
G OT FU N N Y?
Comm Let the ission er dec Send your s tuff
o fivetow centerfold@ nsjewis hhome. com Answer to riddle: They all made right-hand turns. Answer to What’s it Called: Honda Excel
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Compiled by Nate Davis
“Say What?” Fox News Correspondent Ed Henry: The First Lady stayed behind in Hawaii, and the White House said that was an early birthday present from the president. Does that mean he’s paying for the flight back or are the taxpayers paying for it?
Get off my phone, you creep! - Signature line of radio host Bob Grant, who passed away this week at age 84
White House Spokesman Jay Carney: As with all personal travel, the First Family will appropriately fund personal expenses, Ed, and in line with past presidents and first ladies. The First Lady will travel via government aircraft, but you are accurate in your description that this was ah, her decision to remain in Hawaii, the president’s suggestion that she remain in Hawaii to spend time with friends ahead of this very big birthday. If you have kids, you know that telling your spouse they can spend a week away from home is a big present. Not that we don’t love our kids…
Living with his wife was particularly difficult and unbearable.
Rand Paul does not know what he’s talking about. And, Rand Paul is really spreading fear among the American people. To me, he’s either totally uninformed or he’s part of that hate America crowd that I thought left us in the 1960s. In any event, he doesn’t deserve to be in the United States Senate for spreading that type of misperception and absolute lies. - Congressman Peter King (R-NY) during an interview on Sunday morning regarding Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) President Obama returned to D.C. on Saturday. But he left First Lady Michelle Obama in Hawaii for a few days as part of an early birthday present. You can tell a couple has been married a while when a good birthday present is spending time apart. - Jimmy Fallon
My New Year’s resolution is that I’m going to take more time off this year. Actually, it wasn’t my resolution, but I’m going to do it anyway. - Jay Leno More than one million of our fellow Americans lost a vital economic lifeline – the temporary insurance that helps folks make ends meet while they look for a job. Republicans in Congress went home for the holidays and let that lifeline expire. -President Obama speaking from his two-week vacation in Hawaii about Republicans not stahing in Washington, D.C. over the holidays to extend unemployment benefits
- Statement released by police as to why an Italian man who was under house arrest fled from his home to the police station and asked to be placed in prison Those earning between $500,000 and one million dollars a year, for instance, would see their taxes increase by an average of $973 a year. That’s less than three bucks a day – about the cost of a small soy latte at your local Starbucks. – New York Mayor De Blasio during his inaugural address
MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry has apologized for making fun of one of Mitt Romney’s grandchildren. She said that from now on before she goes on the air she’ll remind herself that some people may actually be watching MSNBC. - Jay Leno
Because I LOVE being human and I LOVE the privilege of being able to ask the question WHY? in the first place! I love the question WHY? because sometimes I find that the answer leaves me with even more questions about life… and then, my circle starts all over again and I wouldn’t want my WHY? any other way. - A blogger explaining—sort of—why she ate nothing but items from Starbucks for a full year; her legal name is Beautiful Existence
When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government. President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden’s vilification and give him an incentive to return home. - The New York Times editorial
We have prison camps here in America too! - Dennis Rodman when asked why he doesn’t talk to his “friend” Kim Jung Un about the horrific prison camps in North Korea
The postal service is now saying that they are raising the price of a stamp from 46 cents to 49 cents. They would have made it an even 50 but that would have made the line at the post office go too fast. - Jimmy Fallon Why don’t you ask him? I’m sure he would be happy to tell you. - The not-so-happy wife of a pilot who emergency-landed his small plane on the Major Deegan Expressway last week, when asked by reporters about the incident
Mayor de Blasio says he wants to get rid of horsedrawn carriages in Central Park, saying they are inhumane. Meanwhile, thousands of unemployed New Yorkers are saying, “I’ll pull the carriages. How much an hour?” - Jimmy Fallon I’m not sure where you can touch down if you’re not going to make it. - The not-so reassuring response of a flight controller to the pilot of a 4-seater plane with engine failure, after the pilot said he cannot make it to LaGuardia (the plane landed on the Major Deegan Expressway)
I imagine Council member Schaeffer is getting a lot of heat because of the news coverage. Some people will see it as obnoxious or a sign that he’s not taking the oath of office seriously. But I am completely confident that Schaeffer will distinguish himself as a council member of the highest caliber. - Statement released by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, after Christopher Schaeffer, who considers himself a “Pastafarian,” was sworn into the Pomfret, New York, town council while wearing a pasta strainer on his head
The controlling nature of the Obama White House, and its determination to take credit for every good thing that happened while giving none to the career folks in the trenches who had actually done the work, offended Secretary Clinton as much as it did me. - Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in his new memo
The Winter Olympics are around the corner. President Vladimir Putin says people will be allowed to protest the Winter Olympics as long as they stay in a designated protesting zone. When they asked where the zone is located Putin said, “Poland.” - Jimmy Fallon
[Congressman] Trey Redel, he’s the guy that was arrested for cocaine possession last week. Well, he now says that all members of Congress should be drug tested. Oh, great, that’s just what we need, another government shutdown. – Jay Leno
Auburn might be a team of destiny, but tonight, Florida State is deeper from top to bottom. With Jameis Winston and Telvin Smith’s leadership in the fourth quarter, I think they win 35-31. - Tim Tebow predicting the outcome of the Rose Bowl in his debut performance on ESPN’s pre-game show (Florida State won 34-31 after a heroic 4th quarter comeback)
I’m the best mayor that this city has ever had.
Liz Cheney has decided to pull out of her Senate campaign race in Wyoming — thus making her the first Cheney with an actual exit strategy. - Jay Leno
I think [VP Biden] has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades. - Ibid. The president disagrees with Secretary Gates’ assessment – from his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world. President Obama relies on his good counsel every day. - White House statement in response to Secretary Gates’ opinion about Vice President Biden
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford explaining why he is running for reelection, despite his recent scandals This week Dennis Rodman and six former NBA basketball players are going to travel to North Korea to play the top North Korean basketball team. My advice to Dennis Rodman—lose! They will feed you to the dogs! - Conan O’Brien Look at my beard! - LeBron James, when he was “carded” while ordering a drink at a bar
According to new research, elephants can understand the communicative intent of human pointing. If a human points to something an elephant can turn and understand what the human wants…The only elephants that don’t understand what people want are the Republicans in Congress. – Jay Leno
Expect [Mayor de Blasio] to operate on “progressive” autopilot: The rich (except those who support me) are takers, the poor their victims; wealth comes at someone else’s expense; government officials are wiser and more compassionate than private actors; inequalities are the product of racism and economic injustice; individual choices have little or nothing to do with poverty. If New Yorkers were too ignorant or apathetic not to reject these LBJ-era bromides, they deserve what they are going to get. -Heather MacDonald, National Review
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Let the plantation called New York City be…a city set upon the hill, a light shining in darkness. - Rev. Fred Lucas during his invocation at the De Blasio inauguration
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The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic died on Wednesday in an explosion that occurred when he opened an old safe that had been left untouched for more than 20 years, officials said. Jamal al-Jamal, 56, had been serving as the ambassador in Prague since October 2013. Officials say al-Jamal was attempting to open an old safe that had not been tampered with for 20 years at his home. According to Palestinian Embassy spokesman Nabil El-Fahel, al-Jamal did not die on the spot. He was immediately rushed to a local hospital and passed away a few hours later in the hospital. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said no foul play was suspected. Apparently the door to the safe had been booby-trapped decades ago. The details regarding the type of safe or how al-Jamal tried to open it remain unclear at this time. The safe had recently been moved from the old embassy building that was being relocated, but it had come from a building that used to house the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s offices in the 1980s. “The safe was sitting neglected in one of the areas of the old embassy. It was in one of the corners. No one had touched it for 20 to 25 years,” Malki said. “The ambassador wanted to know what is in the safe. He opened it and asked his wife to bring a paper and a pen to write down the contents of the safe. She left him to bring [the] pen and paper. During that time, she heard the sound of an explosion.” Malki said the ambassador had taken some of the contents out of the safe but he did not specify what the items were. How soon the explosion occurred after al-Jamal opened the safe is not known either. At the time of the explosion the ambassador and his wife were alone in the building. His wife, 52, immediately summoned embassy employees for assistance. She was treated for shock at the hospital. Police are searching the apartment for further clues.
Young Girl Suicide Bomber Averted in Afghanistan On Sunday, a young girl, 9 or 10-yearsold, was caught wearing a suicide vest by border police in southern Afghanistan. The “scared and cold” child told officers that her brother Zahir, a Taliban commander, had given her the explosive device and directed her towards a police checkpoint
Saudi Airliner Crashlands; 29 Injured
On Sunday, a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight suffered a technical malfunction and made an emergency landing in Medina, injuring 29 people — including three who were seriously hurt. The flight — arriving from the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad before dawn — was transporting 315 passengers. Saudi Arabian Airlines — also known as Saudia — is the desert kingdom’s national carrier and operates a fleet of upwards of 100 aircraft. “Saudia expresses its deep sorrow to all the injured passengers as a result of the accident and prays to Allah the Almighty that He may provide them with a speedy recovery,” the airline said in a statement. Medina is the burial site of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed and is home to the three oldest mosques in Islam. The accident occurred just hours before Secretary of State John Kerry was slated to arrive in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah.
Saudi Arabia Opens First Female Law Firm
Rights for women in Saudi Arabia have
Frenchman Opens Restaurant in Pakistan— No Pakistanis Allowed In October, Philippe Lafforge opened a high-scale restaurant in Islamabad. The 20-seat “La Maison” offers fine dining to everyone—except for locals living in Pakistan. The restaurant owner defends his practice by explaining, “It’s not a discrimination thing. It’s a culturally sensitive thing. How can I serve pork and booze to Pakistanis without getting into trouble? So I have a rule: no locals getting in.” By Muslim and Pakistani law, Muslims are forbidden from eating pork and drinking
alcohol. Lafforgue claims that he is only allowed to serve alcohol to non-Muslims. And although he can tell Muslim customers that he is restricted from serving them booze, Lafforgue has decided to circumvent the problem by prohibiting entrance to all Pakistanis. Interestingly, his entire staff—including his chef and bartender— is Pakistani. “It’s not discrimination, it’s my respect to the people,” said Lafforgue. “I can’t open it up to the Pakistani people because I serve alcohol. If I start serving locals, which is obviously profitable, I will have to bribe the police…which I want to avoid.” But Lafforgue’s rule has obviously brought criticism from the locals. Several Pakistanis – including non-Muslims who are legally entitled to consume any food or drink they want – have questioned the policy, creating a stir on social media, and forcing the police to take note. “It’s very straightforward,” said Cyril Almeida, a 34-year-old newspaper editor who started tweeting about the restaurant’s policies when his reservation was rejected because he had a Pakistani passport. “It’s a restaurant, it’s open to the public, and anybody can eat there…except Pakistanis. That’s wrong, and that’s offensive. How does a foreigner run this money-spinning business out of the heart of the Pakistani capital, and not let Pakistanis in,” Almeida asked. “And how does he get to ask me to produce my passport? He’s not an airport. He’s not an international authority. He’s not an embassy. How can he do this? Reserving the right to admission doesn’t mean an entire category of people [can be] written off.” Lafforgue insists that other clubs function across Islamabad with similar rules; however, those are affiliated with embassies and diplomatic missions. Instead, La Maison is on the ground floor of Lafforgue’s own residence in Islamabad’s posh F7-1 neighborhood and enjoys no embassy connections that would extend it diplomatic privileges. There isn’t even a display sign outside the restaurant. “We got complaints about this place practicing a colonial-style ‘Dogs and Indians Not Allowed’ policy in the middle of Islamabad, serving only foreigners,” said Yasir Afridi, an assistant superintendent of the Islamabad Police. He was referring to the harsh code of the British era when locals, then Indians, served as disempowered second-class citizens of the Raj. “So I personally called in to make a reservation, and was rejected when I said I was a Pakistani,” said Afridi. “The next step was obviously to check the place out. We found over 300 bottles of non-licensed alcohol and even a casino table.” The police charged Lafforgue with “unlicensed alcohol,” a crime in Pakistan. “How can you live on our soil and treat us like this,” said Afridi. “No rules allow such behavior. This is not the nineteenth century.” Lafforgue is still defending his posi-
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PA Ambassador to Prague Killed in Explosion
been evolving over the last several years. In October, a huge stride was taken in the career field for women. The Islamic kingdom granted four females their licenses to practice law in Saudi Arabia. This is a ground-breaking step for women’s rights in the Arabic nation. Prior to this, women were relegated to careers as legal consultants and were banned from becoming lawyers. Now, the four women joined together to form an all-women’s legal firm in the city of Jeddah. Unsurprisingly, the all-female firm’s primary focus is on women’s rights. Bayan Zahran, the head of the new practice, told Arab News that her team is dedicated to fighting for women’s rights in her country. She believes as women she and her colleagues are better suited to fight this crusade than male lawyers. She added that the firm will not exclusively accept cases involving women’s rights and is open to other litigation as well. In an interview with the English-language daily, she reiterated, “I believe women lawyers can contribute a lot to the legal system. This law firm will make a difference in the history of court cases and female disputes in the Kingdom.” Mahmoud Zahran, Bayan’s father, lavished praise on his pioneering daughter: “We are very proud of our daughter who stands firm for protection of women’s rights. This will help all women who couldn’t go and speak to male lawyers about their problems.” “This is a very positive step for the Saudi court system…we are four female lawyers who got the license, but I am hopeful that in future, the number will increase,” Zahran added. Although this is a revolutionary step for women’s rights, the standing of women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains unbalanced. Every woman is still required to have male guardian (father, brother, or husband) who is authorized to make decisions in her name. Women are still banned from acquiring their driver’s license and less than 20% of the labor market is occupied by females.
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in the Khan Nasheen district of Helmand province. Hamidullah Siddiqi, an Afghan border police official, said, “She was crying and told border police that she was made obliged by her brother to do suicide attack on them.” Even so, the girl may not even have been able to operate the detonator in this incident. The police are searching for her brother.
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36 tion. “The cops knew I wasn’t around to show my documents, and that’s why they timed the raid to perfection,” he said. “But now I am fighting it. I am also writing a letter to [Prime Minister] Nawaz Sharif, who is both a fan of fine food and for creating a good atmosphere for foreigners to invest in Pakistan. I hope he listens to my case.” Serving its last meal – for now – on Saturday evening, Lafforgue is confident he “will be serving pâté in a week or two.” However, the Islamabad police, insists that Lafforgue has a criminal record in another Pakistani city, Lahore, and are conducting background checks on him. Perhaps he should consider opening up his restaurant in another country.
Israel Sharon’s Dim Prognosis
Ariel Sharon has been in a coma for nearly eight years. His doctors are describing the former prime minister of Israel’s condition as being in a “slow, gradual” decline. “At this time we cannot report any change in the condition of former-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,” said Israeli news sources. Sharon is reportedly nearing death, with the 85-year-old’s health worsening as he suffered serious kidney problems after surgery. “Tests show a slow, gradual deterioration in the functioning of his vital organs... His state has not changed. He’s still in critical condition, and his life is in danger,” Tel Hashomer hospital director Zeev Rotstein was quoted by public radio as saying. “I don’t think the situation will improve with time, and we know what usually happens in cases like this,” he added, suggesting that Sharon’s prognosis is very poor. Rotstein said there were traces of infection in Sharon’s blood, and that it had not been possible for him to undergo renal dialysis since his other organs were in such a fragile state. Sharon has remained in a vegetative state since suffering a massive stroke in 2006. Since then his condition has remained relatively stable, but in recent weeks it has deteriorated significantly after he suffered a renal failure.
“Strengthening Ties” Leads to Award for Charedi
Buckingham Palace has announced that a leading member of the Charedi community is to receive a rare honor from Queen Elizabeth. Yitzchak Schapira, son of Rabbi Avraham Yosef Schapira, a leader of the Agudas Yisrael and a former member of the Knesset, will receive the appointment of an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He has been given the award in recognition for strengthening the ties between the UK and the Charedi community. Schapira said in response to the news that he is “deeply honored by this award. As the first person to receive an honor for building links between the Charedi community and the British government, I see this award as a mark of great respect for our community. I have been proud to witness for myself the British government’s warmth and supportive attitude towards our community.” Commenting on the award, British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould said: “I am delighted that Her Majesty has chosen to honor Isaac with this award. Isaac’s efforts have helped us build a friendship and understanding between Britain and the Charedi community. Isaac has devoted huge time over many years to helping me and my predecessors get to know this vital and important part of Israeli society.”
Knesset Goes Green
The multi-year project’s goal is to convert the Knesset into a legislature that is guided by the concept of sustainability. Speaker Edelstein said that while the project required a significant financial investment, “it will bear fruit and return the investment,” adding that the “Green Knesset” project constitutes a declaration of an “irreversible policy” led by parliament. The project will consist of numerous activities, including educating MKs and Knesset employees on the environment and encouraging them to partake in activities related to the environment, publishing position papers on the issue, launching projects that will make the Knesset a more sustainable place, and making the everyday operational activities in the Knesset more sustainable as well. Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz said during the event: “At a time when my office is leading an environmental revolution in industry and in the residents’ homes, the symbol of the country must become a leading element in the green revolution, because it is the Knesset’s duty to protect the next generations, and protecting the environment is the way to do it. Those who want to think far must think green.” The announcement marked the beginning of the first phase of the project, which will be implemented throughout 2014 and 2015. This phase will be characterized mainly by 13 ventures focusing on energy and water. Among other things, this phase will include the construction of a 4,500 square meter solar field for the production of electricity from renewable energy; replacing hundreds of bulbs with LED bulbs; replacing the air-conditioning systems with an energy center; automatically shutting down all of the computers at the end of the workday; measuring the amount of water used for irrigation in the Knesset and adopting a more economical water consumption model; the desalination of water from the Knesset’s air-conditioning systems and using this water for irrigation and other purposes. Some NIS 7 million ($2 million) will be invested in these initiatives, and the average return from saving energy and water is estimated at NIS 1.5 million ($430,000) a year, on average, after about five years.
Arrests Made in Bat Yam Investigation Israel has launched the “Green Knesset” project which will make the Israeli parliament the most environmentally conscious in the world. “Green Knesset” is Speaker Yuli Yoel Edelstein’s flagship project and is being is spearheaded by Knesset Members Dov Khenin (Hadash), Zvulun Kalfa (Habayit Hayehudi) and Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz).
Shin Bet, in collaboration with the IDF and police, has arrested 14 men for their involvement in the blast on a bus in Bat Yam last week. Four of the suspects are senior Islamic Jihad operatives living in Bethlehem. Ten other suspects who were arrested for involvement in the attack include Negev Bedouins. The security forces arrested Sahada Taamri, 24, Hamadi Taamri, 21, Sami Harimi, 20, and Yosef Salamah, 22. The
other 10 suspects were involved in the minor details of the plan.
The Shin Bet’s investigation revealed that during the last several months the group decided to execute a massive terror attack in Israel. The Taamri brothers and Salamah prepared the explosive, using two kilograms of improvised detonation material, nails and screws, and had a switch attached to a cellphone to activate the bomb remotely. After praying in a Jaffa mosque, Harimi got on bus no. 240, laid the bomb, got off a few minutes later, and then called the cellphone that was attached to the bomb, thus triggering the explosion. The bomb was placed in a pressure cooker, similar to the bomb in last year’s Boston Marathon. Harimi was arrested several days later in Bethlehem, admitting his part in the attack, and said that the group of terrorists wanted to execute a larger attack in Tel Aviv a few days after the Bat Yam explosion, but their arrests hindered their plans. Commanding officer of the Judea and Samaria Brigade, Brig. Gen. Tamir Yadi, said, “Over the past few days we were after that cell of four operatives, including the one who planted the explosive device. I’m upset and scared that we didn’t know about the cell, but it is possible that with hundreds of cells planning attacks there is one that we didn’t know about.” Two hours after the bomb exploded last week, the Shin Bet had already detained some of the suspects. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the Shin Bet, IDF, and police forces for “a timely capturing of a terror cell that laid an explosive device [the] on Bat Yam bus.” Netanyahu also addressed the fact that one of the suspects was in officer training with the Palestinian police noting that “this is further proof of Palestinian Authority personnel’s direct involvement with terror. It’s time that Abu Mazen stops celebrating with released murderers and lead his people into the way of peace.” Thankfully the bus was evacuated before anyone got hurt.
Most Israelis Say U.S. Committed to Peace for Israel The United States seems set on reaching a peace agreement between Palestin-
Bob Grant Dies at 84
Beloved and loathed by his many listeners, conservative talk show host Bob Grant died this week after a short illness. He was 84. Grant was born Robert Ciro Gigante in Chicago in 1939. He began his broadcasting career in the 1940s at WBBM in Chicago. He moved onto radio and television jobs in Los Angeles and was named after-
creep!” as he cut off those who disagreed with him. Interestingly, those who knew him say that Grant was polite and courteous off the air. On the air, a program director once said, Grant wanted to relay the frustrations of “the working stiff — the guy who pays $4 a day in bridge tolls just to go to and from work.” Asked once by an interviewer to characterize his political views, Mr. Grant replied almost wistfully. “My basic problem stems from the fact that I am an idealist,” he said. “I want a tidy world, but I know we will never get a tidy world. Perhaps what I want is a contradiction in terms: a benevolent dictatorship that would allow many different flowers to bloom.” After a pause, he added, “I think I would make rather a good dictator.”
A whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a “polar vortex” descended on Monday across the nation, pummeling parts of the country with a dangerous cold that could break decades-old records with wind chill warnings stretching from Montana to Alabama. For a big chunk of the Midwest, the subzero temperatures were moving in behind another winter wallop: more than a foot of snow and high winds that made traveling treacherous. Officials closed schools in cities including Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee and warned residents to stay indoors and avoid the frigid cold altogether.
Yarmulke Makes Sports News
Aaron Liberman made headlines this week when he wore a yarmulke to work. No, he’s not a lawyer or a politician. Liberman is Northwestern’s forward and although he played for only one minute in Sunday’s game, he made Big Ten Conference history: he is the first Big Ten player to wear a yarmulke in a game. The 6-foot-10 freshman from Valley Torah High School in Los Angeles is believed to be the only Orthodox Jew playing major college basketball. Even so, he is not the first player to wear a yarmulke in a Division I game. The other player to do so was former Towson guard Tamir Goodman, who played in 2000 and 2001 and was nicknamed the “Jewish Jordan.” Liberman is shomer Shabbos, so on Fridays, he walked 8 miles to practice last season. When he was invited to speak after a home game last month about what’s it’s like to be an Orthodox Jew playing in major college basketball, over 200 purple yarmulkes with an N printed on them were handed out to attendees. Hats off to you, Aaron.
Polar Vortex Pummels U.S. You don’t have to read the news to know that it’s cold, cold, cold outside. But it’s not just cold—temperatures are frigid.
The forecast is extreme: 32 below zero in Fargo, N.D.; minus 21 in Madison, Wis.; and 15 below zero in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Chicago. Wind chills — what it feels like outside when high winds are factored into the temperature — could drop into the minus 50s and 60s. “It’s just a dangerous cold,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Butch Dye in Missouri. It hasn’t been this cold for almost two decades in many parts of the country. Frostbite and hypothermia can set in quickly at 15 to 30 below zero. Roads were treacherous across the region. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard upgraded the city’s travel emergency level to “red,” making it illegal for anyone to drive except for emergencies or to seek shelter. The city hasn’t issued such a travel warning since 1978. National Weather Service meteorologist Philip Schumacher urged motorists in the Dakotas — where wind chills were as low as the minus 50s — to carry winter survival kits and a charged cellphone in case they became stranded. More than 1,000 flights were canceled Sunday at airports throughout the Midwest including Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis. More than 400 flights were cancelled at Chicago’s airports Monday. Many cities came to a virtual standstill. In St. Louis, where more than 10 inches of snow fell, the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Art Museum and St. Louis Zoo were part of the seemingly endless list of things closed. Shopping malls and movie theaters closed, too. Even Hidden Valley Ski Resort, the region’s only ski area, shut down. Schools were closed in some states due to the frigid temperatures and government offices were closed in some states as well. Southern states were bracing for pos-
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noon drive time host at WABC in 1984. His show drew thousands of listeners who tuned in to hear his straight talk. “Remember this: If you are offended during the next two hours, it’s nobody’s fault but mine,” Grant said at the top of a broadcast featured in a 2010 tribute. “Because somebody’s got to say these things. It has to be me.” He stated his opinions sharply and was verbal about those who he disliked. Over the years, he referred to then-New York Mayor David Dinkins as a “washroom attendant,” called then-President Bill Clinton a “sleazebag” and suggested women on welfare should not have any more children. In a May 1993 broadcast, he lambasted Martin Luther King Jr. as “that slimeball” and “this bum, this womanizer, this liar, this fake, this phony.” Although criticism against Grant was loud, WABC defended his right to freedom of expression. But in 1996 he crossed a line when he was told there was only one survivor of a plane crash carrying U.S. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown in Croatia. “My hunch is that he [Brown] is the one survivor,” he said. “I must have a hunch. Maybe, ‘cause at heart, I’m a pessimist.” Two weeks later, he was taken off the air and then he moved to WOR in New York before returning to WABC in 2006. Grant was vocal about his disdain for liberals, prominent black people, those on welfare, feminists and those who disagreed with his views. White supremacist David Duke had been a frequent guest on his show in the 1970s. He was also openly partisan, friendly to Republicans like Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Gov. George E. Pataki and hostile to Democrats like Gov. Mario M. Cuomo (whom he called “Il Duce”) and Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (“Senator Loussenberg”). In regards to race, Grant once said, “You can talk all you want about ‘minorities’ rights,’ but heaven forbid you talk about white rights. I see a very bleak future for this country, simply because the quality of the citizenry seems to be heading down.” The country was being overrun, he said in 1991, by “millions of subhumanoids, savages, who really would feel more at home careening along the sands of the Kalahari or the dry deserts of eastern Kenya.” And yet, Grant insisted that he was not a racist, pointing to conservatives like civil rights activist Roy Innis, Justice Clarence Thomas and the columnist Thomas Sowell, all of them black, who he said were among those he admired most. “I’m no more racist than you are” was his standard reply to a question he considered insulting. He was also a stalwart defender of Israel and a friend to the Jewish community, always protecting them on the air. Part of Grant’s charm (if you can call it that) was the shock value that he imparted to his listeners. He was one of the first to court listeners with his curmudgeon-type of attitude—frequently hanging up on callers, saying, “Get off my phone, you
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ians and Israel. But what do Israelis have to say about it? On Monday, a new poll was released that shows that the majority of Jewish Israelis believe that the U.S. is committed to reaching a signed peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel. According to The Israel Democracy Institute’s December Peace Index poll, 64% of Jewish Israelis and 78% of Israeli Arabs believe the U.S., and particularly Secretary of State John Kerry, is committed to ensuring Israel’s security in negotiations. Jewish opinion in Israel was split as to whether strong external pressure was needed in order to reach an agreement, while 77% of the Arab public said an outside push was needed for the sake of the accord. Only 51% of Israelis (48% of the Jewish public and 65% of the Arab public) said that the Netanyahu-led government would be able to withstand strong American pressure if the Israeli government deemed the peace plan not good for Israel. Despite the recent rise in terror attacks in the country, there is no clear certainty as to where the sequence of events will lead. From the poll, 49% of the Jewish public agrees with the official position of the Israeli defense establishment that the series of recent terror attacks are not a third intifada, but an assortment of attacks by lone individuals, while 45% disagree. In the Arab public the sense on the street is different, as 67% disagrees with the defense establishment position that recent terror attacks are not part of a third intifada, and 28% agree with the defense establishment.
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38 sible record temperatures too, with single-digit highs expected Tuesday in Georgia and Alabama. Temperatures plunged into the 20s early on Monday in north Georgia, the frigid start of dangerously cold temperatures for the first part of the week. The Georgia Department of Transportation said its crews were prepared to respond to reports of black ice in north Georgia. Temperatures were expected to dip into the 30s in parts of Florida on Tuesday. Though Florida Citrus Mutual spokesman Andrew Meadows said it must be at 28 degrees or lower four hours straight for fruit to freeze badly, fruits and vegetables were a concern in other parts of the South. With two freezing nights ahead, Louisiana citrus farmers could lose any fruit they cannot pick in time.
Brain Dead Patient Moved to New Hospital
There’s new hope for Jahi McMath. The 13-year-old California girl who was declared brain dead after a surgery is now in a facility where her family can take care of her, a place her uncle says that believes as much they do that she’s alive. Jahi went into cardiac arrest while recovering from surgery to fix severe sleep apnea. To help her, surgeons removed her tonsils and other parts of her nose and throat. But something went severely wrong during the routine procedure and now, three doctors have declared Jahi brain dead based on exams and tests showing no blood flow or electrical activity in either her cerebrum or the brain stem that controls breathing. She is not in a coma; a person in a coma has brain activity. Many have said that in this condition, Jahi is considered dead. But her family refuses to give up and continues to insist that Jahi is alive as long as her heart is pumping. But the controversy is fierce. The hospital had wanted to remove Jahi from the ventilator that is keeping her heart pumping, arguing in court that Jahi’s brain death means she is legally dead. Nailah Winkfield, Jahi’s mother, has gone to court to stop the machine from being disconnected. On Sunday night, in a victory for the family, a critical care team took Jahi while she was attached to a ventilator but without a feeding tube from Children’s Hospital Oakland, after a weeks’ long battle with the hospital over her care. They have not disclosed where she has been taken, but they
say there has not been any problems with her transfer, possibly indicating she is still in California. The new facility has “been very welcoming with open arms. They have beliefs just like ours,” Jahi’s uncle said. “They believe as we do.” The family’s lawyer, Christopher Dolan, said Jahi’s condition suffered because of poor nutrition during her hospital stay. “We are very relieved she got safely to where she needed to be,” he said. “She’s in very bad shape,” he said. “You would be too, if you hadn’t had nutrition in 26 days and were a sick little girl to begin with.”
CA Court Says it’s Legal for Undocumented Citizen to Practice Law
Last week, the California Supreme Court ruled that Sergio Garcia should be granted his license to practice law. Garcia emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico unlawfully as a child; he has waited years to obtain legal residency in the U.S. but he is still not a legal citizen. His dad, a naturalized citizen from Mexico, sponsored him, and he was approved to begin the naturalization process in 1995 at age 17. But due to the backlog of applications, his visa had not been granted, and, according to the California Supreme Court, a visa “may not become available for many years.” Since Garcia’s father only became a citizen after Garcia turned 21, Garcia was put in the decades-long line for a green card for adult children of U.S. citizens. He is scheduled to obtain his green card in 2019. But now, Garcia has graduated law school and is desperate to put his legal skills to work. This noteworthy decision by the court has given Garcia the keys to start working on his dream. It may also become a stepping stone for many other undocumented immigrants in the U.S. “I’m speechless, tired, relieved,” Garcia, 36, said moments after the ruling came down. “I’m glad it’s over.” The case dates back to May 2012, when the justices agreed to hear the case. Garcia won initial support from the State Bar of California, which determined that he had met the rules for admission and his lack of legal status in the United States should not automatically disqualify him. Initially, the Justice Department filed briefs saying
Garcia should not be granted a license, a stance it later backed away from. “The court has been extremely, extremely conservative,” Garcia said. “We fought hard. We had incredible victories last year [with the State Legislature]…I never in my life imagined it would take me longer to win my right to practice than it took to actually get my degree,” Garcia added. “I’m glad California is moving forward and I think we’re setting a good example for the rest of the country.” Garcia passed the California bar exam in 2009. While he waited to be granted permission to practice law he has become a motivational speaker. “I think I’m going to continue doing that and fulfill my dream of practicing law,” he said.
Your Phone is Making You Sick
Ever lost your phone for an hour or maybe a day? Did it feel like you were walking outside without shoes or driving without your glasses? We have all become so reliant on our phones and other technology that many simply cannot understand how people lived in the past without it. Yes, technology offers us many conveniences and opportunities but the reality is that it also creates a lot of issues. Phone or technology addiction is a very real problem plaguing our society. A recent study conducted by Nokia found that smartphones users check their phones up to 150 times during a waking day of 16 hours—that’s more than 9 times an hour. Now experts are warning that this obsession with our phones, tablets, and computers can lead to serious health problems. Phil Reed, professor of psychology at Swansea University and an expert on internet addiction, explained some characteristics of a phone addict. “They might have disrupted sleep, they are tempted to lie about using their phone in the presence of their friends and family – sneaking off to check it in social situations, they would be anxious when not connected – which would have a negative impact on their mood. Smartphone addiction might also lead to increased social isolation and depression,” Reed adds. Some people suffer from “sleep texting,” which is the act of sending text messages while sleeping. Generally, sleep texting occurs in the first two hours after a person falls asleep, interrupting their deep REM sleep. Sufferers are not aware that
they are texting while they are actually doing it. People who practice sleep texting wake up tired since they are not getting their full amount of deep sleep and this critically effects higher brain functioning. Dr. Josh Werber of EOS Sleep says the problem can be addressed by banishing phones from the bedroom and by switching them off an hour before going to sleep. Another syndrome related to internet addiction is “Phantom Vibration Syndrome.” This is when a person thinks their phone is vibrating or ringing when in reality it is not. Some people are so used to their phones constantly buzzing that their brains think it is happening when it really is not. Phantom vibrations are a result of anticipatory anxiety and they affect as many as seven in ten mobile phone users. Another result of technology bombardment is “cybersickness.” Similar to motion sickness, cybersicknes is caused by a disagreement between a person’s eyes and the movement perceived by their balance system. It is a common side effect of specifically 3D features of iPhones and iPads. The brain is “tricked” into believing they are moving while they actually remain still. When things are out of sync, it can trigger nausea, eye strain and dizziness. “Text claw” is also a common problem for those addicted to the phones. This is the feeling of soreness and cramping in the fingers, wrists, and forearms after spending too much typing on a phone or playing games. Text claw is caused by repetitive fine motor activity. Most people work on their phones in a position that’s not natural for the thumb and wrist joints. This can lead to tendinitis, which is inflammation of the tendons. Although it may be tempting to tuck your phone under your pillow at night and constantly check it throughout the day, it may be a good idea to allow yourself some time each day to disconnect and give your mind and body a little break. You certainly deserve it.
De Blasio Takes Office New York officially welcomed Bill de Blasio into the city that never sleeps on January 1 at midnight at his home in Brooklyn. The following day at noon he was sworn in again by former-President Bill Clinton on the stairs of City Hall. De Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, was there for the momentous occasion along with their two teenage children. During his first address to the public as mayor, de Blasio stressed his determination to reduce income inequality in the city. “When I said we would take dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities, I meant it,” de Blasio said during his inaugural speech. De Blasio is the 109th mayor of New York City. He is the first Democrat to occupy City Hall in over two decades. Post Office Sends Woman Package from the Obamas—in Error!
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40 Alane Church was expecting a holiday package but she was shocked when she saw who the sender was. Instead of from her brother in New York, the package came from Washington, D.C.—the White House! A week after the holiday, Church received a box of presents for her family from her brother. Not only was the box a week late but it had also been re-packaged in a toilet paper box after coming apart in transit. Also enclosed was an apology letter from the post office. At the very bottom of the box she found a “beautiful” personalized photo book that was not intended for her. The book was addressed to the godparents of the Obama girls and featured personal photos of the First Family. “It’s chronological so it starts in Hawaii last year and ends with a Christmas tree,” Church said. “There are precious pictures through the whole book. They are not all perfect pictures, just loving pictures. There are some professional pictures, but others look like they are taken on someone’s phone, just sweet memories.” The photos feature the Obama girls and the president and first lady. The events range from basketball games to dance recitals. The book was wrapped in red wrapping paper and had a label on the outside that said, “To Mama Kaye and Papa Wellington from Barack, Michelle and the girls.” Mama Kaye is Kaye Wilson of Chicago, Sasha and Malia Obama’s godmother Church admitted that at first she was not sure what to do so she took a snapshot of the photo book and posted it to her Facebook. One of her friends informed her that Mama Kaye is Kaye Wilson of Chicago, Sasha and Malia Obama’s godmother. So Church contacted Wilson who said she was “elated” because she had been “waiting for it to arrive.” Wilson told her “every year the girls make a book of their life in the White House [for her].” The United States Postal Service said they are investigating the situation and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Former First Lady Beats Pneumonia
Former First Lady Barbara Bush has been discharged from a Texas hospital. Mrs. Bush had been there for a week battling pneumonia. “I cannot thank the
doctors and nurses at Houston Methodist enough for making sure I got the best treatment and got back to George and our dogs as quickly as possible,” Bush said. The Bushes are well-known dog lovers and live in Houston. The nation’s longest-married presidential first couple had just celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary. Fortunately, they are both healthy. Unfortunately, though, they are no strangers to hospitals in the past few years. Barbara Bush had heart surgery in March 2009 for a severe narrowing of the main heart valve. She also was hospitalized in November 2008, when she underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer. In 2010, she was admitted to the hospital after having a mild relapse of Graves’s disease, a thyroid condition for which she was treated in 1989. Her 89-year-old husband spent nearly two months in the same hospital and was discharged in January 2013 after treatment for a bronchitis-related cough and other health issues. Hopefully they will continue to enjoy healthy, long lives together with their devoted family.
Lopez and his quick-thinking team used their trucks to stop traffic on the highway, in effect giving the plane a runway. ”The plane turned and hit some treetops,” Lopez said. “Then it landed straight down. The landing wheels buckled under the pressure of the plane.” The four-seat, one-engine 1966 Piper PA sustained minor damage, the Federal Aviation Administration reported. Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the FAA, said both the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the crash to determine the probable cause of the accident.
ND Train Derailment Raises Concerns about Oil Industry
Major Landing in the Bronx
Talk about a traffic stopper! A small plane made an emergency landing on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx, resulting in minor injuries to three people on board. One man and two women were the only passengers onboard the small aircraft, and only suffered minor injuries when the plane landed near East 233rd Street on the busy highway. They were all transported to St. Barnabas Hospital, which is about four miles from the scene. NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio said the plane left from the Danbury airport in Connecticut and had flown over the Statue of Liberty. The plane was returning to Connecticut when engine problems struck over the Bronx, he said. The plane landed in the northbound lanes, which had to be closed for several hours. Credit for the safe landing goes in large part to Department of Transportation employee Miguel Lopez, 55, who was part of a pothole crew working on the Deegan when he saw the plane making its descent.
Last week, a railway train carrying grain in North Dakota derailed and a portion of it fell onto an adjacent track carrying an oil transport train. Eighteen cars on the 106-car oil train derailed and several burned. The fires burned for hours and although no one was hurt, many of the 2,400 residents in nearby Casselton were temporarily evacuated due to potentially unsafe air. A broken axle has been found by federal investigators at the scene of the train derailment. Officials are uncertain if the axle was the cause of the wreck. “We’ll want to know if it was the actual cause of the derailment, or was it broken during the derailment?” National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said. As of now, investigators at the scene have found nothing wrong with the railroad track or with signals along the tracks. Investigators have to first finish developing a detailed timeline of the incident and going through shipping records before they can conduct employee interviews to discover more details. Mayor Ed McConnell has called for federal lawmakers to address safety concerns posed by transporting oil by rail. “There have been numerous derailments in this area,” he said. “It’s almost gotten to the point that it looks like not if we’re going to have an accident, it’s when.” While the rate of oil train accidents remains low, there has been a sharp increase
in the past several years in the number resulting in accidental releases. That increase is being driven by a surge in drilling in North Dakota and other western states.
Jihad Jane Sentenced
The Pennsylvania woman who called herself Jihad Jane and a teenage accomplice from Maryland provided “very significant” assistance to U.S. authorities in several terrorism investigations but still remain a threat to the public, prosecutors say in new court filings. Prosecutors said Colleen LaRose, 50, should be sentenced to “decades behind bars” for her role in a failed 2009 plot to kill Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist who offended many Muslims by drawing the Prophet Mohammed on the head of a dog. After years of delay, the American-born LaRose was sentenced to ten years in jail in Philadelphia on Monday. She has been incarcerated for four years; she has six more left to serve. U.S. guidelines called for LaRose to receive a life sentence and for Khalid, who is now 20, to receive 15 years. Given their cooperation, prosecutors asked the judge to sentence LaRose to “decades behind bars” and Khalid to “less than 10 years.” In a presentence filing this week, U.S. authorities reiterated what they declared when LaRose’s arrest was made public in 2010 – that her gender, blond hair, Texas twang and green eyes make her case significant because she does not fit the stereotype of an Islamic terrorist. “News of LaRose’s arrest spread shockwaves throughout the West, as people recognized that the face of the terrorism threat had changed forever,” prosecutors Jennifer Arbittier Williams and Matthew Blue wrote. “The world is watching, and this sentencing presents an important opportunity to send a strong message to other lonely, vulnerable people who might be enticed by online extremists promising fame and honor.” A Muslim man sparked an interest in Islam for LaRose. After months of learning online, LaRose said, she converted to Islam and later watched videos of alleged U.S. and Israeli atrocities against Palestinian children that radicalized her. By 2008, prosecutors said, “She had managed to align herself with violent terrorists who valued her ability and persistence as their online predator, or ‘hunter,’” recruiting new fighters.
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42 “I just loved my brothers so much, when they would tell me stuff, I would listen to them, no matter what,” LaRose told Reuters. “And I also was ... lost.” In 2009, LaRose followed instructions from an al Qaeda operative in Pakistan and flew to Europe for the plot to kill the Swedish artist. But after six weeks, largely in Ireland, LaRose became frustrated with the mission’s pace and returned to Philadelphia, where she was arrested.
Poll: Americans Lack Confidence in Government
ing the issue include both opponents and supporters of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul. Jobs and the economy were next, followed by the nation’s debt and deficit spending. Perhaps most disturbingly, Americans have little confidence that the federal government can make real progress on the issues that need fixing. When it comes to the issues people cited as most important to them, 80 percent want the government to spend significant effort working on them. Yet 76 percent say they have little or no confidence the government will make real progress. For instance, 86 percent of those who called healthcare reform a top priority said they want the government to put “a lot” or “a great deal” of effort into it. But about half of them are “not at all confident” there will be real progress, and 20 percent are only “slightly confident.” Americans also don’t feel great about their own economic opportunities. Although 49 percent say their standard of living surpasses their parents, most are highly pessimistic about the opportunity to achieve the “American dream.”
Wanted “Dead” Banker Arrested A new poll has found that Americans, who generally have a reputation for optimism, have a sharply pessimistic take on the government after years of disappointment in Washington. Americans started 2014 with a profoundly negative view of their government, expressing little hope that elected officials can or will solve the nation’s biggest problems. The poll was conducted by AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and comes about two months after partisan gridlock prompted the first government shutdown in 17 years. Half of Americans feel that our system of democracy needs either “a lot of changes” or a complete overhaul. Only 1 in 20 says it works well and needs no changes. The percentage of Americans saying the nation is heading in the right direction hasn’t topped 50 in about a decade. In the new poll, 70 percent lack confidence in the government’s ability “to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.” Local and state governments inspire more faith than the federal government. According to the poll, 45 percent are at least moderately confident in their state government, and 54 percent say the same about their local government. When asked to name up to ten world or national problems Americans would “like the government to be working on” in 2014, pollsters chiefly cite issues that have dominated the White House and Congress for five years. Healthcare reform topped the list. It is likely, however, that those nam-
If you are on the run from the federal government, don’t tint your windows. A Georgia banker wanted by the FBI for a $21 million investor fraud was finally captured this week when cops stopped him for having illegally tinted car windows. Aubrey Lee Price, 47, went on the run in 2012 after writing friends a suicide note admitting to “horrendous financial mistakes” and saying, “It would be better for me to exit this world.” Of course, Price did not leave the world – he just drove about 300 miles. He was ultimately caught in Brunswick, Georgia, after cops pulled him over and realized who he was after just a bit of questioning. A federal warrant was put out for Price’s arrest in New York in June 2012 after he was charged with wire fraud. Price was also charged with a civil action suit by the SEC that year claiming he perpetrated a massive fraud through two investor funds while he was the director of the Montgomery Bank & Trust in Ailey, Georgia. The two funds suffered massive losses and there were also “frequent large wires
transferred out of the account,” according to the SEC complaint. Price allegedly made up account statements with bogus returns on them to cover these big losses and illicit transfers. Price was also accused of embezzling millions from the troubled bank that he directed. After his disappearance, local journalists spoke with clients who didn’t think Price’s suicide was authentic. “I don’t believe he’s dead. I believe he planned for this exit,” said Wendy Cross, who lost her $364,000 nest egg by investing with Price. Turns out she was right.
quired a whopping ten hours! This is not the first snow-sea creature to join the Bartz family. The three brothers began molding elaborate snow sculptures in the winter several years back. During previous seasons, the teens made a giant puffer fish and a walrus. “We like to see people’s enjoyment, and we like to see people smile, take pictures,” Connor Bartz told CBS Minnesota, adding that the activity is a good way to spend time together. Sounds like they deserve a nice vacation on some sunny island…
Photo Finds a Lost Son
Amazon Blows it Up Amazon has become the internet superstore. From live bugs to gun safes, the company wants to sell it all. But it seems that cars are not yet on its list of items due to federal and state laws that determine that cars be sold in most states by franchised dealers. Despite the laws, Amazon has delivered three Nissan Versa Notes to three lucky customers. As part of a promotion, Nissan revealed in September that three lucky shoppers would get their Versa Notes in one of Amazon’s trademark brown boxes. Ever thought that you received big boxes in the mail? Imagine a car encased in the brown Amazon paper. The large box was delivered on a flatbed truck, much to neighbors’ delight. Talk about a “superstore!” I wonder if they got free delivery with their Amazon Prime membership…
It’s Snowing Sharks in Minnesota
Think that your snowman is the world’s coolest? Well, think again. Three teens in Minnesota managed to wipe out the competition when they created a snow shark that is about ten-feet tall. Austin, Connor and Trevor Bartz of New Brighton spent around 95 hours building the mammoth creature. (Don’t they have school in Minnesota?) The fins and tail re-
On New Year’s Day, Nicholas Simmons disappeared from his parents’ home in a small upstate New York town. The twenty-year-old left behind his wallet, cellphone and his possessions, and his frantic family was left, searching for their lost son. Four days later, an Associated Press photographer, looking for a way to illustrate unusually cold weather, snapped Nicholas’ picture as he warmed himself on a steam grate a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The photo, taken on Saturday by AP photographer Jacquelyn Martin, showed Simmons with his unshaven face pressed against a grate outside the Federal Trade Commission. He wore a ski jacket and a hood over his head. A thick gray blanket covered his lower body. Interestingly, Martin was assigned to the White House that weekend, but with President Barack Obama still on vacation in Hawaii, she spent the day looking for shots that would illustrate the cold weather. That is how she found Nick Simmons, in an area where homeless people often gather when it is frigid outside. She found a cluster of men huddled around the grate, introduced herself and started taking pictures. Then she noticed one person in particular, huddled under a blanket. “It struck me how young he was,” Martin said. “I again introduced myself and shook his hand. He said his name was Nick.” Paul and Michelle Simmons saw the AP photograph in USA Today Sunday morning after it was brought to their attention through a Facebook page set up to help find their son, according to police and family friends.
When a diner asked for the grumpiest server in a restaurant, he couldn’t find what he asked for. He wanted to spread some joy to someone who was unhappy this season. But the hostess at the Cracker Barrel in Lincoln, Nebraska, said that the eatery only had happy employees and a spirited waitress was sent to take their order. Despite her happy demeanor before taking their order, Abigail Sailors, 18, walked away over the moon after dealing with the two men. You see, during lunch Abigail told the two customers her story— how she was tossed about in foster care, how she suffered from abuse and her first semester in Trinity Bible College. Her first semester went well, but Abigail was working to pay for her second semester and would have to continue working until she had enough money for tuition. Well, it turns out that these diners were listening. The pair left Abigail a generous $100 tip that was split with another server in the restaurant. And then came a little miracle: one of the men revealed that he was a Trinity alumnus and pulled out his checkbook. He wrote the young student two checks — one for $5,000 to the school and another for $1,000 for whatever else she needed. Abigail was shocked when she saw the four figures. “I couldn’t believe it. I tried to thank them, and they said, ‘Thank G-d,’” Sailors recalled. $100 tip: nice; $5,000 towards tuition: really nice; brightening the day of a
sheets that are an exact replica of the original.
Robot Creating Genius is Just 12-Years-Old
Rohan Agrawal was hired by Ted Larson, the CEO of OLogic, a successful Silicon Valley robotics firm for a summer internship. The reason why this is newsworthy is because Agrawal is 12-years-old. The usual candidates for the position are college or graduate students. Larson admits that he was skeptical at first. “We had a large box of robot parts that some of the guys at Google gave us,” Larson said of Rowan’s first day at Ologic last summer. The box also contained a few laptops. “The goal was to get Linux and ROS (the Robot Operating System) up and running.” Agrawal assembled a robot in just one day. Larson said that when he had given a similar assignment to a grad student he created a functioning robot in a few weeks. ”And I was like, ‘Oh my G-d,’ what will I do with him for the summer?” Larson said. “This was Day 2.” Larson says that Agrawal’s skills and knowledge can be compared to an adult with a PhD. How did this kid become such a whiz? Agrawal explains that he searches for instructional videos and how-tos online. “I’m self-taught,” says Agrawal. ”My mom showed me Google once and I was really fascinated by it. I asked her how it works and she told me you use this thing called HTML.” By the age of 5, Agrawal had created his own website.
“I needed some stamps and thought, ‘What the heck,’” Van Riper said. “I just had a feeling that maybe there would be one in Waverly.” Initially he planned to buy just 5 sheets for $12 a sheet and then to give them to friends and family as a holiday present. But postal clerk Betty Gable convinced him to buy more. “I told him our office had 45 and he might as well buy them all,” she said. She also told him that it was very likely that the last one would probably be the one with the right-side up airplane.” “I’ll be a son-of-a-gun, it was,” said Van Riper, who has a jewelry store and said he collects oddities ranging from baseball cards to old steins. This is the fourth of the 100 sheets to be discovered since the USPS launched the campaign in September, USPS spokesman Mark Saunders said. One of the four is listed at $25,000 online. Right now, though, Van Riper has no intention of selling the valuable sheet. Among stamp collectors, the inverted Jenny, produced by a printing error, is a diamond in the rough. One sheet of 100 stamps commemorating the nation’s first airmail flight was sold. One of the stamps recently sold for $977,000, according to the Postal Service.
Couple in their 60s Runs a Marathon Every Day
Upside Down Stamp Surfaces in Pennsylvania Art Van Riper read about the new batch of “inverted Jenny” stamps that were created to celebrate the 95-year-old edition of a famous postal office printing error. The stamps that were printed in 1918 featured an upside-down biplane. This year’s printing was intended to attract more people into stamp collecting. The Postal Service printed 100 sheets that featured the plane right-side up along with the 2.2 million
Janette Murray-Wakelin, 64, and her husband Alan Murray, 68, spent 2013 fulfilling their New Year’s resolution: the couple ran a marathon every single day in the year 2013. Their exercise regime was accompanied by a raw, vegan diet. They reportedly eat dozens of bananas a day and hope to “lead by example.” Throughout their journey, the spritely couple has been fund-
raising for several charities, including animal and human welfare groups. On December 31, in Melbourne, Australia, they completed their 365th consecutive marathon. Their children and grandchildren were among the 200 onlookers waiting at the finish line to greet them. “A very emotional moment and so wonderful to see them,” they said of seeing their family. “We were quite overwhelmed with such a wonderful welcome.” Surprisingly, Janette and Alan didn’t spend January 1 with their feet up by the fireplace eating s’mores, rather they…ran their 366th consecutive marathon! Setting a world record. According to couple’s website, they’ve run a total of 9,776.75 miles since they set out on their mission. “We are healthier, more physically fit and have unlimited energy at beyond 60 years of age than in our earlier years,” they wrote on their website, RunningRawAroundAustralia.com. Wonder how many pairs of sneakers they’ve gone through.
This Restaurant’s for the Dogs
This German restaurant is exclusively for your furry friends. The Berlin luxury eatery welcomes dogs and cats and serves them “decadent” dishes. Pets Deli offers tasty treats for domestic animals in the upscale neighborhood of Grunewald. Don’t expect to be offered any lunch specials; meals are priced from 3 ($4) to 6 ($8) euros. All kinds of treats like cupcakes are either served in plastic trays for take-out or metal bowls for on-site consumptions. Owners can enjoy a nice cup of joe while their beloved pets eat their snacks. Business owner David Spanier, 31, had the idea for the doggy deli after finding his own canine friend could not digest pet food from supermarkets. “Junk food is bad for animals,” he pointed out. “It’s as if I ate fast food every day. I may like it, but it’s very bad for your health.” The store manager, Katharina Warkalla, is an animal nutrition expert and serves up portions of beef, turkey or kangaroo
JANUARY 9, 2014
Tipping for Smiles
hard-working girl: nicer than anyone I know.
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While questions remain unanswered about why the young man left and how he ended up in Washington, his mother expressed her relief on Facebook that her son had been located. “It could have been months before we had a lead on his whereabouts. My baby looks so lost and I will be spending the rest of my life making him well,” she wrote. The photographer points to the power of a photo. “It’s really gratifying to see that a photograph can make a tangible difference in someone’s life. That’s a really amazing thing to have happened,” Martin said. “I’m happy and touched that the photograph could help reunite this family.” “It was pure dumb luck how all this happened,” said Sgt. David Mancuso, the lead investigator. “It’s truly a miracle.”
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meat with broccoli or berries, and “carbs” such as rice, pasta or potatoes. “The meat is of such quality that it could be safely consumed by humans,” said Spanier. “Bark, bark,” Spot agrees.
CEO Poses as Homeless Man and Rewards Do-Gooders
Jonnie Wright is a successful business man; he serves as the CEO of sales consulting firm, the Buyosphere. Although he could have spent his holiday feasting on extravagant delicacies surrounded by family and friends, he set out on an experiment with the intention of helping others. Wright donned the shabbiest clothes he could find and posed as a homeless man collecting money on the streets of Des Moines. The Iowa businessman braved the cold on the evening of December 24th and sat on the street corner. But his motive was not to earn a dollar or two. Each of the 50 unsuspecting patrons that generously gave him donations were rewarded with a $10 or $100 bill from Wright. When he finished his act of kindness, he doubled the donations he received and then gave it to a shelter. Wright says that randomly handing out cash to do-gooders has been on his bucket list for a while now; he handed out a total of $1,000. Along with the money he handed out to passersby was a note that read “Thank you so much for your very kind and thoughtful donation! I live in Des Moines but I am not homeless or destitute or without a job. Instead I am here to give thanks for the many blessings in my life by paying them forward and honoring you and others who give. Thank you so much! Please take the money in this envelope and keep it, spend it, donate it, pay it forward, whatever your heart tells you to do. All of the money donated today by you and others will be given to The Bethel Mission in Des Moines. I am also matching each donation dollar.”
Wright said, “I thought this was a way to acknowledge those who give, who do so anonymously.” Rob Taylor, one of the residents who received the incredible goodwill gesture, said, “I was blown away…The first thing that I did was call my wife on the phone, and I could hardly talk to her on the phone. I said, ‘You wouldn’t believe what just happened to me!’” What goes around comes around.
College campuses have seen all-digital libraries before but according to the American Library Association, BibilioTech is the first bookless public library system in the country. A library without books. That’s like a school without students.
Ice Truck Hits the Road
A Library without Books
The most recognizable trait of a library is the endless rows of books. One Texas library bears no resemblance to any library you’ve ever seen. Rather it looks more like an Apple Store with rows and rows of Macbooks and iPads. The librarians do not wear tweed skirts or large plastic glasses. Instead they wear an Apple-style dress code: t-shirts with a geek-chic feel and hoodies. Bexar County’s Bibilo Tech Library is the county’s only public library that does not have a single book. The $2.3 million library is 100% bookless yet it attracts bookworms from around the globe. “I told our people that you need to take a look at this. This is the future,” said Mary Graham, vice president of South Carolina’s Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. “If you’re going to be building new library facilities, this is what you need to be doing.” Tablets are available for loan for members only. Elkholf claims that since the library opened its doors nearly four months ago they have yet to have one of their expensive tablets failed to be returned. Although it sounds like an expensive investment, in reality running a bookless library is not all that more costly than a book library. Firstly, a technology library requires much less space than traditional libraries. Secondly, the 10,000-title digital collection can be purchased for the same price as physical copies. Additionally, the library saved money on architecture because the building did not need to be designed to accommodate thousands of printed books. “If you have bookshelves, you have to structure the building so it can hold all of that weight,” Elkholf said. “Books are heavy, if you’ve ever had one fall on your foot.”
more impressive is the attention to detail: things like an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror. It even has working lights. With the ice truck built, Canadian Tire succeeded in its mission, driving about a mile while averaging 12 mph. It has now submitted its efforts to Guinness to become officially recognized as the world’s first drivable ice vehicle. After a week like this one, I hope they had some good heating.
Boy Born on Skype
Canadian Tire Co. had a problem. How can you prove to your customers that a MotoMaster Eliminator battery could withstand being frozen to -40 degrees Fahrenheit and still start a vehicle? To do just that, the company used a 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500 in Ontario, Canada. But in order to really prove their point, they took it a step further. The Canadian retail giant decided to remove the body of the truck and rebuild it using massive blocks of ice. With some incredible carving and ingenuity, the team created the Ice Truck – a fully drivable pickup made (almost) entirely from ice. When automakers build vehicles, the material used for the bodywork must be extremely strong and as light as possible. Ice isn’t either of these things. To create the truck, 14,000 lbs. of ice was needed, causing a few problems: The truck had to be capable of managing the weight. And once you’ve found a suitable truck, how do you prevent the ice from cracking when hitting bumps and potholes? Another problem is how to prevent the engine’s heat from melting the ice. After a thorough inspection to ensure the Chevy’s 2005 frame was free from rust, the team proceeded to weld it rigid to prevent any unnecessary movement that would cause the ice to crack. They then prepared it to run under its own power without the body, and added extra coolant to help keep the engine from melting the ice too quickly. After some initial testing, driving over rough roads with a few blocks of ice placed on the framework, the team deemed their modifications a success, and that the ice could withstand the bumps without fracturing. The only thing left to do was add the remainder of the ice blocks, carve it into a truck, and then drive it one mile through the town of Hensall, Ontario, to set a potential world record for the first self-propelled ice creation to drive. The process of making and driving an ice truck is impressive. But what’s perhaps
Like many expectant fathers, Daniel Rasik wanted to be present for the birth of his baby. What makes his story a little different? He was 7,500 miles away at the time. Thanks to an iPad and Skype, the 29-year-old Army sergeant, who is currently deployed in Afghanistan, was able to support his wife, Genevieve, before and during her Caesarean section and see his new son come into the world last month. ”It really felt like he was there,” Genevieve Rasik, 27, said. “When I looked to my left, I saw my husband and, he was saying, ‘You can do it,’ and talking me through it. It was incredible.” The experience was one that Rasik didn’t think was possible after her initial visit to Martin Medical Center in Stuart, Florida. “When I went in for a tour of the hospital, they made it very clear that no cameras or video cameras were allowed in the operating room or the delivery room,” she says. “I left the tour extremely sad and upset.” She voiced her concern to her doctor, Pete Papapanos, at her next prenatal appointment. “He said, ‘We are going to make this work,’” recalls Rasik. “We are so grateful for everything he did for us in helping to facilitate this.” Hospital spokesperson Scott Samples explained that videotaping or photographing of a delivery is against hospital policy. However, “this was a unique circumstance and we were able to work with the physician to allow the father to be there virtually for the birth of his child.” This was only the second time the hospital made an exception and allowed Skype to be used during a delivery. According Rasik, her husband was present on Skype while she got ready for her scheduled C-section early one morning and stayed with her for most of the day, until about 3 p.m.During the delivery, Rasik’s mom was in the operating room and held the iPad. “As soon as they were pulling the baby out, they told my mom she could stand up so my husband was able to see them lift the baby up,” says Rasik. “It was like Dan was in the room the whole time.”
45 79 Avi Heiligman
Weapons Expert Who Helped Lead the North to Victory
here are many branches to the U.S. military that do not wage war in the conventional sense but fight battles behind the scenes. Creating weapons and ammunition is a major part in keeping the American forces ready to fight anywhere in the world and at any time. It is the job of the Ordnance Corps to give soldiers the best weapons to fight. One of the most influential officers who made the Union the stronger side in the Civil War was an observant Jew. Alfred Mordecai was an influential person preparing the Ordnance Corps for the Civil War but like many men who were torn between loyalties to both sides, he did not participate in the fight. Alfred Mordecai was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, in 1804. Being the only Jew in the West Point class of 1823, he had a tough time keeping kosher. He graduated the top in his class and held a number of positions in the army. In 1836, Mordecai was appointed commanding officer of the Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia. During the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), he was a powerful member on the board
Alfred Mordecai is on the left
of ordnance which was in charge of making and implementing new weapons. The U.S. had many outdated weapons and machinery that were being used prior to the Mexican-American War, and the Ordnance Corps needed its board to approve new designs and techniques. Mordecai was outspoken and the most influential member of the board that put the U.S. on the map in terms of military prowess and readied the country to fight the bloody Civil War with the upper hand. He penned a manual that according to historian Stan-
ley Falk “standardized the manufacture gladly joined the North in their strugof weapons with interchangeable parts, gle to preserve the Union. He graduated a step in the evolution from West Point in of American mass 1861 and was immemanufacturing” and diately assigned to “performed importthe front lines. By the ant experiments with time the war ended in artillery and gunpow1865, Alfred Jr. was a der.” Up until that full colonel. During point, manufacturers the war, he served produced weapons as an ordnance offibased on the individcer and held many ual order that would command positions make a profit and during several batweren’t looking at the tles. After the war, bigger picture. These he twice held the top regulations made it command at the same easier for the soldier Watervliet Arsenal Alfred Mordecai (1804-1887) on the battlefield to that his father had load and fix his weaponce commanded. on. Upon his retirement, Alfred Mordecai From 1857 to 1861, Mordecai was Jr. was promoted to brigadier general the commander at Watervliet Arsenal, New York. There he designed a new bullet and a press that would increase productivity and send ammunition to the front at a faster rate. At the beginning of the war, Mordecai had the press running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but he wasn’t destined to stay there for long. After writing several manuscripts and making many changes in the production of munitions for the service, Mordecai was left with a major dilemma when the Civil War broke out in early 1861. Since he was born in the South, he had loyalties to his state, family (several siblings fought in the Confederate Army) and neighbors. A few Southern officers who were serving in the army hated the idea of secession and decided to fight for the North. Mordecai was offered a post by the Confederates and said no. He asked the Union for a post in California but was declined. He was torn and chose the third option of staying out of the war altogether and retiring. At the age of 57, Mordecai stayed away from the fighting and taught math in a private school. Even after the war, he declined a position to return to the army. Alfred Mordecai Jr., Mordecai’s son, had no loyalties to the South and
and was one of only a few Jews in the 19th century to hold that rank. Even though he didn’t participate in the Civil War, Alfred Mordecai Sr. was a major reason that the Union was prepared to fight the war. He was one of the country’s foremost experts on weapons and would have filled a badly needed position on the general staff if he had stayed with the Northern army. If he had stayed, Mordecai would have had been a much remembered hero in history but torn loyalties took precedence. Nevertheless, his contributions were vital to the Union victory. Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to The Jewish Home. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.for future columns and can be reached at aviheiligman@ gmail.com.
THE HOME JANUARY T h eJEWISH Jewish home n j a n u a9, ry2014 9 , 2014
by Shiffy Friedman ©
JANUARY 9, 2014
Shiffy Friedman is a Jerusalem-based freelance writer. Her works have been published widely, primarily in Ami Magazine. She would love to hear feedback on her writing. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This chapter is the last one to be printed in The Jewish Home of Los Angeles. To receive the final chapters, please write to email@example.com with MOONCAP REQUEST in the subject line, and the author will be glad to send them to you. Recap: Lisa breaks the silence and meets with Becca in an attempt to accomplish Project Heal. However, Becca’s acknowledgement of her desperate situation is not forthcoming. As Tuvia amasses the sum he needs to attend rehab and asks Davie to consider joining him, Davie gets uncomfortable about the idea. Davie Stein “Not a good day,” Tuvia tells me over the phone as I conquer large portions of asphalt toward the restaurant. I’m already ten minutes late. “What’s the story?” “Remember Jay?” Oh no! “He called me.” “Don’t tell me,” I say, huffing. “Yeah, what can I do? He wants the money.” Despicable Jay! “I can’t believe he remembered you just now.” “Can’t either. But I owe it to him and he’s right.” I can just see Tuvia shrugging his shoulders in defeat. “You sure?” “He won’t back off. He sounded desperate. Said something about loans and stuff.” “Now?” I’m surprised at my disappointment—that it’s even worse than Tuvia’s sounds. I finally stand right outside the restaurant, its windows frosty from the cold, but I don’t—I can’t walk inside. “This is ridiculous.” “I have the money, Davie,” Tuvia reassures me, as if that’s the problem. Of course he has the money. He just counted it last night! I want to shoot myself for the happy flutter inside my chest. No, no, no.
“You can’t do that, Tuvia!” I know Jay too well; have seen him too many times in the place that sucks all the cash out of my pocket holes. “No way are you taking that money and giving it to that low—“ “I must,” he interjects. “I must.” I’m pacing back and forth now, blessing the inventor of thermal socks. Could use a new pair, though. “Can’t he wait?” I beg. “Tell him to give you some time.” “Won’t work, brother. I’m on my way to meet him already.” “Kidding me.” “With the stack in my pocket.” I slap my face so hard I can almost hear my skin screaming “aaahh!” “You can’t be serious,” I say, shaking my head. “You can’t be doing this after all that work.” He doesn’t answer. I switch my phone to the other hand so my numb hand can get some much-needed thawing. Can it really be that he suddenly cares so little for himself—so little for his future? “What got into you?” I demand. I want to yell but a customer passes me by on his way to the entrance so I lower my tone. “It’s too late now. Just figured I’ll tell you so you know why I’m in no mood for fun soon, but there’s nothing I can do about this.” He sighs, “I try to be a good guy and paying back an old debt is just a basic of being one.” “If you say so,” I surrender, “Then I’ll get going here.” I walk into the steakhouse, shoulders sagging at the sides of my frame. Are people really enjoying a steak now? Tuvia will never know that last night I was nearly convinced-- that after he dozed
off, probably with sweet dreams of a clean future, I saw myself staring out the rehab window in striped pajamas, wishing I’d never entered that cursed place. Now, I suddenly wish I could be there and as I slowly maneuver my hand into the blazer sleeve I realize that as much as I’m bothered for the death of Tuvia’s future, I’m hurting even more for the short-lived hope of my own. Lisa Stein Marcus “I’m proud of you for trying,” Nathan tells me as he cracks open a pistachio with his tooth. Tuesday night is date night, but tonight I chose, and Nathan agreed, to stay home and enjoy the quiet of our living room. I stir the tea as I wait for it to cool. “Thanks for the support, Nate, but seriously, this isn’t what I wanted.” How can I tell him something he’ll never understand—tell him how much it would mean for me to succeed at Project Heal? “I hear you, Lisa, but someone like you should understand where she’s coming from. She can’t suddenly open up to you and say, ‘Come grab me out of this mess.’ It’ll take time. But you don’t give up.” I take a long sip. “How long do you think this could take?” Nathan laughs. “You’re asking me?” “Rifka called me today,” I admit. “She wanted to know where I’m up to. The others are moving along, she told me.” “Oh yeah?” “You know me. In my mind, I already was starting to let go. I said something like, ‘Oh, good for them. It doesn’t look like I’ll make it.’ “ “I can hear that,” Nathan half-smiles. “Yeah, what can I do? But she told me, ‘I still believe you will.’ I don’t know why,
but I have a feeling she’s right. Does that make any sense, any sense at all?” I look at Nathan, my eyes begging. I know he won’t forsake me. “Do you really want me to go over this again?” Nathan moves his legs from the couch to the floor. “I guess you want to hear it, huh?” A cry from upstairs startles us. “Probably a nightmare,” I offer. He’s already on his feet. “Should I go get her?” That’s Nathan for you. Did I ever tell you how blessed I am? “Nah. It’ll pass,” I motion for him to sit back down. We drink in silence while the wailing subsides. As it does, I kick myself for letting this opportunity slip by. Will I ever learn to be the perfect mother-- the one who chases monsters away with her magical wand of kisses and love? At moments like these, the toxic mix of anger and guilt has me shrink into the shattered child I once was. Suddenly, all of my successes—everything I’ve done to build a life for myself, fall to the wayside like tiny specks of dust. “Will this ever end?” I find myself asking aloud. “Will what end?” Nathan asks, confused. I scratch my head. A funny laugh escapes my throat. “You funny,” he says, and the blessing of my life embraces me so fiercely I’m suffocating from the joy. Just when I realize that the credit for it all goes to the man in my life—that none of it, absolutely none of it is mine, the phone rings. “BAUMAN REBEC,” reads the caller ID.
THE JEWISH HOME JANUARY 9, 2014
JEWISH T h eTHE JT HE ew s h h oHOME mHOME e n JANUARY u a ry 2014 JiEWISH nj a nMAY 2 49,9, ,2014 2012
48 96 76
In the Kitchen Naomi Nachman
Tu B’Shevat Treats WHEN I WAS IN SEMINARY IN ISRAEL, IT WAS THE FIRST TIME I COULD REALLY APPRECIATE WHAT TU B’SHEVAT REALLY MEANT. ONE COULD HARDLY MOVE ON RECHOV YAFFO AS THERE WERE VENDORS PACKING THE STREETS SELLING PLANTS, TREES, SHRUBS AND FLOWERS. TU B’SHEVAT, THE 15TH OF SHEVAT ON THE JEWISH CALENDAR—CELEBRATED THIS YEAR ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 16— IS THE DAY THAT MARKS THE BEGINNING OF THE “NEW YEAR” FOR TREES. THIS IS THE SEASON IN WHICH THE EARLIESTBLOOMING TREES IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL EMERGE FROM THEIR WINTER SLEEP AND BEGIN A NEW FRUIT-BEARING CYCLE. LEGALLY, THE “NEW YEAR” FOR TREES RELATES TO THE VARIOUS TITHES (MA’ASER) THAT ARE SEPARATED FROM PRODUCE GROWN IN ISRAEL. THESE TITHES DIFFER FROM YEAR TO YEAR IN THE SEVEN-YEAR SHEMITTAH CYCLE, THE POINT AT WHICH A BUDDING FRUIT IS CONSIDERED TO BELONG TO THE NEXT YEAR OF THE CYCLE IS THE 15TH OF SHEVAT. WE MARK THE DAY OF TU B’SHEVAT BY EATING FRUIT, PARTICULARLY FROM THE SPECIES THAT ARE SINGLED OUT BY THE TORAH IN ITS PRAISE OF THE BOUNTY OF THE HOLY LAND: WHEAT, BARLEY, GRAPES OR RAISINS, FIGS, POMEGRANATES, OLIVES AND DATES. WINE AND GRAPE JUICE, BOTH WHITE AND RED, ARE ALSO DRUNK ON THIS DAY. HERE ARE SOME RECIPES IN HONOR OF TU B’SHEVAT THAT USE THE SHEVA MINIM.
Feta, Fig and Green Grape Salad Ingredients 2 TBS balsamic vinegar 1 TBS honey Juice of ½ orange Salt and freshly ground black pepper ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing 12 fresh figs, halved 4 oz. mixed greens 6 oz. feta, crumbled ½ cup chopped pistachios 1 cup green grapes, halved Preparation Whisk together the vinegar, honey, orange juice and some salt and pepper to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Set aside. Brush the figs with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and bake at 400°, cut-side down, just until slightly wilted. Remove to a plate. Toss the greens with some of the vinaigrette. Transfer the greens to a platter and arrange the figs over top. Sprinkle with the feta, grapes and pistachios and drizzle some of the remaining dressing over top.
Garlic-Herb Marinated Olives Ingredients 1 TBS dried oregano 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed ½ cup red wine vinegar 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 cups Kalamata olives Preparation Combine oregano, garlic, vinegar and oil. Toss with olives.
The Center for Torah and Shmurah
Ingredients 5773 1 cup (8 oz.) pomegranate arils 2/3 cup (4 oz.) good quality chocolate (I like Noblese) The Segulah with the Power of Torah ¼ tsp curry powder (optional) CHATZOS SEGULAH OF MISHNAYAS & ¼ cup fresh,PARTNERSHIP mint stemmed and julienned KETORAS SHAS
Adapted from epicurious.com Ingredients Streusel Topping 1 cup flour 1 cup sugar 1/8 cup desiccated coconut (optional) ½ cup canola oil
Preparation Melt chocolate chips in a heavy-bottomed “Kollel small saucepan over Are you on R’ Shimon Chatzos low-to-medium heat Bar Yochai’s List? Meron” can stirring frequently, 2 to 3 only mention minutes. Remove sauceThis Rosh Chodesh Elul a limited pan from the burner. Add is the historic date when amount of pomegranate seeds and we celebrate the opening of people so stir in curry powder. reserve the newest branch of “Kollel Use a spoon to scoop now! Chatzos” in the holy city of Meron, the burial out small chocolate-covplace of the R’ Shimon Bar Yochai, who states ered clusters quite and place clearly that “all the requests of Chatzos each on a waxJews paper-lined plate. Garnish with mint. Refrigerate until chocolate is are accepted up above”! firm, about 15 minutes.
“Kollel Chatzos in ‘Meron’: a Fact!”
Muffins cups whole dates, pitted ¾ cup boiling water 2 cups flour 2 ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt ½ cup canola oil ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla Preparation To make the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and coconut. Using a fork, stir oil until well combined and mixture begins to hold together but is still crumbly. To make the muffins: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Place the dates in a shallow bowl (in a single layer if possible), pour boiling water over them, and soak for 15 minutes. Transfer the dates and soaking liquid to a food processor and puree until almost smooth but a few pea-sized fruit pieces remain. Set aside to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the oil and brown sugar. With the motor running, mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until moistened. Follow with the date puree, and when thoroughly combined, mix in remainder of the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and give a final stir with a spatula to make sure all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Top with the streusel and press down gently to adhere. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Whole Wheat Crescent Rolls Ingredients 2 cups warm water 4 TBS honey 2 pkg active dry yeast (about 5 teaspoons instant dried yeast) 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups whole wheat flour 1 TBS salt Preparation In a bowl, add 2 cups of water and sprinkle in the yeast; then add the honey. Let stand until foamy. After it has foamed, add in the flours and salt, then mix by hand until a dough ball forms. Turn onto a slightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Let stand and rise for 45 minutes. Cut dough in half. Roll one half into a large pizza-like circle and cut up into “pizza” pizza. Take each “slice” and roll up like a rugelach. Bake for 25 minutes at 350° until slightly brown.
TThHE e JJeEWISH w i s h hHOME o m e nn MAY j a n u2a4ry 9 , 2014 , 2012 JANUARY 9, 2014
THE JEWISH HOME
Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Clusters KOLLEL
Currently, many families are signing their entire household up to the list of “Kollel Chatzos – Meron”, which is the perfect messenger to carry your prayers to the right destination: “at the holy gravesite of R’ Shimon Bar Yochai to be blessed with a joyous and positive year!” Ingredients
Mushroom Barley Soup with Hot Dogs ¼ cup olive oil Where else can you obtain a better or stronger cup Yachoi? chopped onion advocate than R’ Shimon 1Bar ¾ cupand diced Call now to submit your names thecarrots ½ cup chopped esteemed scholars of “Kollel Chatzos – celery 1 tsp Meron” will “mention your family at minced the holygarlic pound fresh gravesite in Meron from Rosh 1Chodesh Elul mushrooms, sliced until after Yom Kippur!”
6 cups chicken broth ¾ cup barley 1 pkg Abeles and Hyman hotdogs, sliced thin on a bias Salt and pepper to taste
“A Story for the Holy Days”
Preparation A fitting tale of divine amazing occurred; at the Heat intervention the oil in a large soupupcoming pot over medium Add things the onion, carrots, celnext heat. hearing, took a for the ery and garlic; cook and stir until onions are soft. Stir in mushrooms and hot dogs High Holy Days! An innocent dramatic and positive turn! and continue to cook a few minutes. chicken and add barley. Thein the judge and broth prosecuting mother wasforpulled into a Pour Bring to complicated a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until barley is tenteam suddenly began feeling court case, and the der, about 50 minutes. Season with salt and pepper before serving. government was threatening sympathy and empathizing
to remove her children from with her situation. her home. The mother’s heart “Who prayed for you?” her was shattered and her spirit lawyer inquired in amazement. was quickly being crushed by When she informed her friend the constant harassment by about the astonishing miracle the prosecutor’s team and it she had experienced, her was apparent that the judge friend relayed the following was being swayed by their holy words from R’ Shimon Bar negative views, and she feared Yochai ()זוהר הק' ויקרא כא: “in an losing custody of her children era of harsh decrees when Klal ח"ו. Yisroel’s pleas go and unanswered Naomi Nachman, the owner of The Aussie Gourmet, caters weekly Shabbat/ Yom Tov A few of her friends advised the prayers that meals for families and individuals within The Fiveunfortunately, Towns and neighboring communities, with her to sign up to “Kollel do get accepted are the ones of a specialty in Pesach catering. Naomi is a contributing editor to this paper and also produces Chatzos” something those whoNetwork rise at stream Chatzos!” and hosts her own weeklyand radio show on the Nachum Segal called “A Table
for Two with Naomi Nachman.” Naomi gives cooking presentations for organizations and MERON MONROE N.Y. WILLIAMSBURG MONSEY N.Y. private groups throughout theatNew Metropolitan area. InThe addition, Yeshivah the York/New Bais Mordchei Old ShulNaomi Toshnod Jersey Shul The Torah Grave Site 500 Bedford Ave. 2 Howard Dr. 18 Getzel Berger Centers of has been a guest host on the QVC TV network and has been featured in cookbooks, magazines Kollel Chatzos as well as other media covering topics related to cuisine preparation and personal chefs. To CALL NOW 24 HOURS TOLL FREE 1-855-CHATZOS 2 4 2 - 8 9 6 7 obtain additional recipes, join The Aussie Gourmet on Facebook or visit Naomi’s blog. NaoContinued on page 98 mi can be reached through her website,www.theaussiegourmet.com or at (516) 295-9669.
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