Jewish Home LA - 10-13-16

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The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home


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The Week In News



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

JEWISH THOUGHT To Share or Not to Share. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 A Marvelous Creation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Yom Limud and Tefillah: A Day of Absolute Connection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28


The Venezuelan Meltdown: A Country in Turmoil. . 20

ENTERTAINMENT Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

LIFESTYLES The Darkest Sukkah in Jerusalem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 How to fly to Israel for free this Pesach Using American Express Delta Credit Cards!. . . . . . . . . . . 27 Ask Dr. T.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

NEWS Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 National. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 That's Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40




OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers,

Zman simchaseinu, the time of our rejoicing, is upon us. Like breathing, joy is a basic necessity of life. It doesn’t come from items or things outside us, and is an expression of life itself. No need to pursue it. It’s right there inside waiting to be released. Yom Kippur gave us the opportunity to let go of negativity, each of us receiving a clean slate. Sukkos is the time to celebrate. Celebrate the blessings in our lives, celebrate life itself. As Jews around the world spend seven to eight days in the sukkah, we are reminded that we are an eternal people in a temporary dwelling. Perhaps one depends on the other; recognizing that worldly possessions, political candidates, and debates are temporary, allows us to look deeper for eternal and permanent truths and meaning. Once found, we cherish it dancing with it all the way to Simchas Torah. Being joyous doesn’t mean that we are apathetic to the suffering of many people throughout the world, it’s rather the recharging of our batteries to be able to be ambassadors of light throughout the rest of the year, each in our own family, community, and place of work. After all, a little light dispels a lot of darkness. Even so, in our time of joy we should remember the millions of people the world over who are being persecuted, hungry, and suffering. Let us call out to our Father in Heaven and sincerely request He put an end to darkness and pain, ushering in the time when the world will be the beautiful & G-dly garden it was intended to be. We believe it already is – it’s time we see it as well. Wishing you and your families a wonderful Shabbos and a most joyous Chag Hasukkos,


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

The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home






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TheHappenings Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Bridging the Gap: The Upcoming Israel Gap Year Fair Yehudis Litvak

The American Israel Gap Year Association (AIGYA) will be holding its annual Los Angeles Israel Gap Year Fair at B’nai David-Judea Congregation on Thursday evening, November 17th, at 6:30-9:30 p.m. 40 Israeli programs will be represented at the fair, some of them new for this

year. In addition to traditional learning for all levels, such as yeshivos and seminaries, there are also academic programs offering college credits, touring, Ulpan, kibbutz work, internships, vocational programs, and a transitional program that prepares

students for serving in the Israeli army. Some programs are separated by gender while others are co-ed. “There is truly something for everyone,” says Phillys Folb, executive director of AIGYA. The fair is intended for young men and women across the religious spectrum.

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Six local high schools are sponsoring the event: YULA Boys and Girls High Schools, Valley Torah, Harkham Gaon Academy, Shalhevet, Milken Community School, and De Toledo High School, which speaks to the cross-denominational support of the concept. The trend of spending a year after high school in Israel is now becoming popular even outside of the Orthodox community, fueled by the variety of programs offered and the growing statistical evidence that the Gap Year in Israel is transformative both academically and personally, explains Ms. Folb. There is a growing trend to identify this important experience as less Gap Year and more Bridge year connecting previous Jewish education to their next educational experience. Young men and women come back from a year in Israel more mature and better prepared to go on to secular educational institutions. Additionally, this year of growth solidifies the students’ Jewish identity and connection to Israel, making them more inclined to seek out Jewish engagement on campus and in the future. In fact, the theme of this year’s fair is “Bridging the Gap: The Transformative Year in Israel.” The keynote speaker, Ron Krudo, “Stand with Us” Director of Campus Life, will discuss the positive impact of a year in Israel on students’ college experiences. Ernest Katz, PhD, a clinical psychologist, will speak about the emotional growth students experience during their gap year. The attendees will also hear from past students – “people who have indeed been transformed,” explains Ms. Folb. Local Jewish high schools encourage their students to attend the fair. While the students might be familiar with some gap year programs through their school, the fair offers a much greater variety of opportunities. “The fair allows students to explore different options and to take ownership of their choices, making for a more productive year,” says Ms. Folb. Also on hand at the Fair are representatives from colleges such as UCLA, USC, CSUN, AJU, YU, Touro LA, ORT, SMC, LA Valley and Pierce Colleges to discuss the options after the year in Israel. In addition to local high schools, the fair is also supported by its longtime sponsor, MASA Israel Journeys, as well as local synagogues, including host B’nai David-Judea, Beth Jacob, Young Israel Century City, Beverly Hills Synagogue, and the Westwood Kehilla. More information about the Israel Gap Year Fair may be obtained by emailing, finding them on facebook @ Israelgapyear, or calling (310) 7020644.

TheHappenings Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Beth Jacob’s Minds on Jewish Matters Series presents Dr. Michae Oren on Jews and Druze Bracha Miriam Turner

On Tuesday, September 27, over 250 people flocked to Beth Jacob to hear Dr. Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S., address the subject of “Israel’s Place Among the Nations.” The evening was prefaced with a welcoming address by Sam Grundwerg, newly appointed Consul General for the State of Israel, who was grateful for being graciously accepted into the Beth Jacob community. Rabbi Topp began the evening by lamenting the death of one of state of Israel’s founders, former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who had passed away that evening. The hall observed a moment of silence. Following that brief memorial, Mr. Koftan Halabi, Chairman of the Druze Veterans Association, who helped organize the event, received a plaque recognizing his efforts to support and empower Druze veterans. Subsequently, Oren vouched for the supporting “our blood brothers,” veteran IDF soldiers who are Druze. He recounted incidents of her-

oism and solidarity with the nation of Israel throughout his own army service and throughout the history of Israel in general. Although Israeli Druze represent only 2% of Israel’s population, over 83% of them actually serve in the army, unlike Israeli Arabs who are not required to serve in the army. Druze are not Muslim, but rather are a unique religious and ethnic group who borrow elements from Islam, Hinduism, and ancient Greek philosophy. The Druze ascribe their lineage to Yitro, and their religion’s holiest site is centered around his burial place in Northern Israel. Oren described an incident during his army service when he was surrounded by Arabs while in a broken down Jeep. He thought it was his end, but his Druze commander assured him that all would go well, and he subsequently stuck peace with the Arab chief of the village. The diversity in the Israeli army, Oren noted, works in Israel’s favor. He proclaimed, “Our diversity is the source of our power and strength.”

Oren described the plight of former IDF soldiers who, despite loyally fighting in combat units alongside Jewish soldiers and contributing to the security and safety of the state, lack opportunities in higher education. The Druze community in particular faces challenges in integrating into Israeli society after army service. In the concluding question and answer session, Oren stated the bottom line delineating Israel’s place among the nations: Israel was ranked to be the 8th most powerful country in the world. Nonetheless, the threats from all around are substantial – 130,000 potential rockets from Hezbollah, 100,000 potential rockets from Hamas, Palestinians trying to delegitimize Israel in the courts of Europe (who account for a third of Israel’s foreign trade), an Iranian regime that could make even more nuclear weapons, threats from ISIS in the south (Egypt), and from the north (Syria and Iraq). Israel is the nexus point of three conti-

nents, with an army two to three times the size of the French and British armies combined. Without Israel, Oren asserted that Egypt, Jordan, North Africa, and the Gulf would fall to ISIS or worse. “Everyone in a position of responsibility understands that,” he declared. Furthermore, Israel shares the U.S.’s democratic values and is Israel’s strongest ally to the extent that the U.S. has invested billions of dollars into Israel over the past ten years, with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) soon to be renewed in 2018. Moreover, Israel’s geopolitical status has swelled to the extent that while in the past it was unthinkable that Israel would have good relations with Jordan, India, China, or Russia – now they and even East African countries are vying to build a relationship with Israel. The event served as a reminder to pray for the welfare of our brethren in Israel during the forthcoming holidays.

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TheHappenings Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Rabbi Einhorn Shares Rosh Hashanah Greetings with LAPD Wilshire Division In honor of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the new Jewish year of 5777, Yavneh Hebrew Academy delivered a traditional festive Rosh Hashanah meal to the LAPD Wilshire Division this past Thursday, September 29th. The police dined on traditional foods including brisket, chicken, potato kugel and tzimmes from Western Kosher, and apple strudel and honey cake desserts from Schwartz’s Bakery. Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, Rabbi and Dean of Yavneh Hebrew Academy, shared a large Rosh Hashanah card signed by Yavneh students with the officers and staff on duty and thanked the police for keeping the community safe. He blew shofar for the police and answered questions about the holiday and the food . Over the course of the day, close to 100 police officers partook of the festive meal, some coming back for seconds and thirds. The police particularly enjoyed the potato kugel – a new delicacy for most of them – and the apple strudel, which some hoped to take home.

TheHappenings Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home


Los Angeles Welcomes New Kollel Netzach Yisroel With the start of Chodesh Elul, yeshivos and kollelim begin their seder of learning. As the new year of learning begins, a new kollel appeared in Los Angeles on La Brea Avenue next door to Shaare Torah. Rav Nechemia Langer, mara d’asra of Shaare Torah, confirms that the new kollel, Netzach Yisroel, named after Harav Yisroel Belsky, zt”l, the father-in-law of Rev Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, is indeed the shul’s new kollel. Rabbi Langer explains, “There was a desire to expand the Torah base of the shul and to have a younger group of kollel members to mirror the younger baalei batim of Shaare Torah.” A few years ago, the idea for a kollel was discussed by Reb Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz and a few key people in the shul, Shaare Torah. While it was decided to establish a kollel, there was a tremendous amount of planning necessary to bring the plan to fruition. Where would they find a rosh kollel? What about the core members of the kollel? What about a building? What about housing for these families coming from the other side of the country? Under the guidance and assistance of Rabbi Berish Goldenberg and Duvi Blonder, the search for a rosh kollel and kollel members began in earnest. Rabbi Reuven Markin, an experienced rosh kollel, was a perfect fit. The members of the kollel include the “magnificent fifteen,” a unique group that showed the desire and ability to become part of this venture. Most of the young married kollel members were talmidim of the Lakewood yeshiva. Members of the kollel include: Sholom Hirschman, Yehuda Gorelick, Aharon Feldman, Menachem Schwartz, Yehoshua Jakobovits, Dovi Kenig, Tzvi Yaakov Shapiro, Yehuda Flagler, Ari Sobelman, Moshe Ribiat, Yechezkel Hertz, Tzvi Yehuda Simon, Yaakov Rubin, Yaakov Goldberg, and Eli Kirshner. Stepping into the kollel to get a firsthand look, one will see the young men in action, engaging their whole being in the learning process. Most learn in groups of two, totally absorbed in their limud gemara. Rabbi Markin provides guidance in understanding difficult points in their studies. He engages them, prods them to explain to him what the gemara says. When they understand the sugya, they exchange looks of satisfaction. Aside from the all-day learning schedule and a night seder to end the day, Rabbi Markin plans to incorporate into the kollel schedule learning with members of the shul and the community at large, including all who wish to avail themselves of the opportunity to learn in this new makom Torah.

Photos: Arye D. Gordon

Rabbi Arye D. Gordon

Rosh Kollel Reuven Markin with Kollel members

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TheHappenings Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Hittoreri: Helping Jewish Men Recover from Addiction in a Jewish Way Yehudis Litvak

Each incident of drug overdose in our community is heartbreaking, but the statistics are downright alarming. According to Amudim, a Jewish organization that provides support for individuals and families in crisis, 60 drug-related deaths occurred in the New York area Jewish community over the past year alone. The most recent victim was a 22-year-old granddaughter of a Chassidic Rebbe in Monsey. Clearly, the plague of substance abuse and addiction does not spare even the holiest of homes. “Everyone knows someone who is struggling with substance abuse,” says Rabbi Yekusiel Kalmenson, clinical director of Hittoreri, a Jewish recovery residence for men ages 18 to 30 in North Hollywood, California. Hittoreri was founded four months ago in response to “a strong need for Torah living outpatient rehab,” says Rabbi Kalmenson. It currently houses eight young men, with a maximum capacity of ten. The small size allows for individual attention for each resident. Rabbi Kalmenson explains that while

people struggling with addiction might be able to reach sobriety in a rehab, there is a very high relapse rate once they get back to their home environment. The goal of Hittoreri is to get to the root cause of its residents’ addictions and provide comprehensive treatment that would help them maintain sobriety throughout life. To that end, Hittoreri offers not only the twelvestep program for treating addiction, but also psychological and psychiatric services to treat its causes. In most cases, the residents are dealing with a dual diagnosis – both addiction and mental health challenges. While sometimes it is the mental illness itself that leads to addiction, more often both the addiction and the mental health issues are triggered by trauma, abuse, or neglect earlier in life. “They experienced fractured relationships; they have no self-esteem, no self-confidence,” says Rabbi Kalmenson. “Usually there are mental health challenges to be overcome [in order to maintain sobriety].” Joey, a 21-year-old from New York,

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has been dealing with addiction for three years, though it took him a full year to recognize the problem. His home environment was very competitive, with high expectations placed on him by his family and community. “There was a hole in me before I started smoking,” he says. “Smoking helped me fit in with my friends, gave me confidence.” While many of his friends used drugs and alcohol, only some became addicted. “G-d gave everyone a choice,” says Joey. “[At first,] I had a choice to stop or continue using. Then I couldn’t choose any more. I lost that choice. [The addiction] became a part of me.” No one can be forced into recovery, explains Joey. All addicts initially deny the problem, convincing themselves that they can control their substance use. “We don’t take anyone who is not interested in treatment,” says Rabbi Kalmenson. “We accept adults who want to change, and we surround them by people who can help them change.” Some of Hittoreri’s staff members are former addicts who have successfully maintained their own recovery. Joey had also fallen into the trap of denial at first, until he hit rock bottom – a truly low point. Once he recognized the power his addiction was wielding over his life he sought help. “It’s okay to have a problem,” says Joey. “A lot of people look down on people who have an addiction. When someone has a cold, people [sympathize and] say, ‘feel better.’ With addiction, most people don’t listen with open arms.” After several months in a different rehab, Joey went back home, but soon found himself relapsing. “I knew I needed help,” he says. “I picked up the phone and reached out.” Joey is impressed with the staff at Hittoreri, whose sincere desire is to see the residents succeed. After two weeks at Hittoreri, “I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long long time,” says Joey. The best part of Hittoreri is the unity and camaraderie among its residents, explains Joey. “I left my family to come to a new family,” he says. “We all care for each other. Whenever I need anything I can walk over to anyone nearby… [At home,] I couldn’t be myself. Here, people love me for who I am. We feel comfortable being open with each other.” Rabbi Shmulik Schneerson, the house rabbi of Hittoreri, explains that the staff works hard to create that special family atmosphere. They invite guest speakers and conduct special events, such as farbrengens, kumzits, and meditation hikes. Every Thursday night, Hittoreri conducts a “cholent recovery group,” where the residents

talk about their struggles with addiction over a bowl of steaming hot cholent. Yiddishkeit is woven into the atmosphere at Hittoreri, without putting any pressure on its residents. Rabbi Shais Taub, an addiction expert and author of a book on Jewish spirituality and recovery from addiction, gives a class to the Hittoreri residents twice a week over the internet. Rabbi Schneerson relates that at a recent class, when Rabbi Taub began speaking about the month of Elul, a young man objected that he had already learned enough about Elul in school and wanted to learn only about recovery. Rabbi Taub agreed and began to go through the steps of recovery. Soon, the same young man commented that the Torah says something similar. Rabbi Schneerson explains, “[Rabbi Taub] shows how yiddishkeit goes hand in hand with recovery.” All the residents come from observant homes, but some feel resentful towards yiddishkeit, while others have left observance altogether. The familiar Jewish environment at Hittoreri helps them feel at home without pressuring them into any lifestyle changes. For example, the house rules require the residents to comply with Shabbos observance in common areas, but they are free to do whatever they like in their own rooms. “We don’t impose yiddishkeit,” says Rabbi Kalmenson. “Part of the solution is bridging the gaps, mending the relationships between them and the institutions they grew up in.” Hittoreri also helps its residents improve their relationships with their parents by providing family therapy. For some young men, Hittoreri is the first place where they experience yiddishkeit in a positive way. Rabbi Kalmenson relates that in a conversation about the beauty of Shabbos, one of the residents exclaimed, “I’m so happy to hear that there is a different Shabbos than what I grew up with.” It turned out that his father was a chain smoker whose tension on Shabbos affected the whole family atmosphere. “We expose them to something nicer, richer than what they grew up with,” says Rabbi Kalmenson. In addition to the twelve steps, Rabbi Kalmenson developed his own recovery curriculum, consisting of ten supplemental steps. Based on the Kabbalistic model of the ten sefiros, these steps help navigate the challenges of recovery. Joey appreciates the Jewish content at Hittoreri and the opportunities to go out for Shabbos and Yom Tov meals. “You can be Jewish and grow spiritually and mentally,” he says.

The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

PARDES & HEARTY have an awful lot in common


2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 lb. skinless chicken cutlets cut into bite size strips 1 package frozen Pardes Stir Fry Vegetables 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced 1/2 cup soy sauce 3 Tbsp. sugar Pinch of ground ginger 1 box spaghetti, cooked

Mommy’s Asian Chicken

Stir Fry Spaghetti

By: Sarah Lasry

Add the chicken strips to the hot skillet and cook for about 1 minute. 2. Add the stir fry vegetables and mix with the chicken and let cook in the pan. 3. When the chicken starts turning white (about 6 minutes from start), add the soy sauce, sugar and ginger. 4. Coat all the chicken & vegetable pieces well with the sauce and cover pan for about 4 minutes. Uncover pan occasionally and stir making sure the chicken is not sticking to pan and the soy sauce is not burning.

5. When chicken has been fully cooked, turn flame to low and add the spaghetti to the chicken, stir fry and soy sauce mixture. Using tongs fully coat the spaghetti with the soy and chicken stir fry mixture. If it seems too dry add more soy sauce to the spaghetti mixture and mix well. Serve hot. Serves: 5-8

Directions: 1. In a large skillet on med-high flame, heat the olive oil and garlic.

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TheHappenings Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

After Weeks of Legal Hurdles, Jewish Woman Receives a Proper Burial Yehudis Litvak When a Jewish woman who had no family passed away in Los Angeles, different segments of the Jewish community came together to ensure that the woman received a proper Jewish burial. Elizabeth Pick was 88 years old. She lived at the Olympia Convalescent Hospital (OCH) in Los Angeles for the past four years. Then she fell ill and was taken to the hospital. Miriam Vargas, an employee at OCH, would visit her in the hospital. One day, she found out that Elizabeth had passed away. Ms. Vargas contacted Yanky Lunger, corporate VP of human resources at OCH, who immediately set to work to arrange a Jewish burial for Elizabeth. There were many obstacles to overcome. Since Elizabeth’s body remained unclaimed, the hospital intended to release it to the county, which would have cremated it. Frantically, the OCH employees began the search for some family members who could claim the body. There were two contacts listed in Elizabeth’s files at OCH. One of them turned out to be a casual acquaintance who was not interested in getting involved, and the other one could not be located. Another clue in the files was a mention of Mt. Sinai Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Mr. Lunger contacted Naomi Silbermintz, who works for Mt. Sinai Memorial

Park. “From the moment I heard about the situation – a woman with no family – it was my goal to get her buried,” says Ms. Silbermintz. She searched through the cemetery’s records and found that Elizabeth’s parents were buried at Mt. Sinai and that Elizabeth herself owned a plot at the

help with the funeral expenses. Mt. Sinai administration, however, declined the offer and assumed all the costs. The next hurdle was getting the body released to the Mt. Sinai Mortuary. Mr. Lunger had to go to court, where he was appointed to take care of the burial. The

cemetery. However, she did not leave any money for funeral expenses. Ms. Silbermintz assured Mr. Lunger that Mt. Sinai, in conjunction with Jewish Family Services (JFS), would cover the cost of the burial, in accordance with their policy that every Jew is entitled to a Jewish burial. Mr. Lunger contacted the JFS, which verified the situation and offered to

process took several weeks. Finally, right after Rosh Hashana, the paperwork came through. Mt. Sinai Mortuary prepared the body for burial according to halachah, which included taharah, shmirah, and tachrichim. The funeral was scheduled for Thursday, the 4th of Tishrei, at 12:30 p.m. Mr. Lunger was worried that there

would not be enough men for a minyan at the funeral. He contacted Hillygram and the Valley community email list and posted notices asking community members to come. To his amazement, about thirty people showed up. Several employees of Mt. Sinai Memorial Park also attended the funeral, including Ms. Silbermintz. “I’d like to thank the community for coming together on such a short notice, in the middle of a weekday,” says Mr. Lunger. “People came from all walks of life,” says Ms. Silbermintz. “It was a tremendous chessed from everyone.” Rabbi Bruce Bloom performed the funeral services. Two employees of OCH spoke about Elizabeth. One of them is not Jewish, and it was her first time at a Jewish funeral. “She was extremely touched by the kavod [accorded to the diseased],” says Ms. Silbermintz. Complete strangers attended the funeral because they were touched by the story. “They heard about the body languishing so long without being buried, and they felt the need to come,” explains Ms. Silbermintz. “It is the story of the Jewish community coming together to take care of our own.” Mt. Sinai will continue to take care of the grave and will assume the cost of a monument for Elizabeth.

Photo: Linda Kasian


Crème de la Crème of Hollywood Society Celebrates Jerusalem’s SHALVA Center Steve Walz An impressive array of Hollywood movie and TV luminaries including Amy Pascal, Brett Ratner, Adam Berkowitz, Howard Rosenman, and Dawn Hudson honored movie producer Michael De Luca and his wife Angelique at the inaugural SHALVA “Spirit of Hope” fund-raising soiree in Los Angeles this week. The event was held at the home of noted businessman and philanthropist Stanley Black .Michael is a three-time Academy Award-nominated movie producer for “The Social Network,” “Moneyball,” and “Captain Phillips.” Jeremy Garelick – a fast-rising movie and TV producer who has worked with the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Cate Blanchett, and Anthony Hopkins – emceed the event,

which also drew many renowned members from Los Angeles’ Jewish community. These included Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, as well as local politicians. The De Lucas have worked diligently to spread news around Hollywood about SHALVA’s ground-breaking outreach services to special needs children in Jerusalem and across Israel. SHALVA recently opened a state-of-the-art facility in Jerusalem in order to service the growing needs of the community. The goal of the dinner was to create additional awareness, as well as to raise critical funds to support the new center. “We feel privileged to be the Honor-

ees at SHALVA’s ‘Spirit of Hope Dinner.’ SHALVA is an incredible organization that we have supported and been a part of for a number of years. It’s important that children with disabilities and their families get help and support tailored to their individual journey, so that they are able to reach their full potential. We look forward to the incredible success the program will continue to achieve,” said the De Lucas. Kalman Samuels, SHALVA’s Founder and Chairman, lionized the De Lucas and Black for their efforts on behalf of the organization. “That which bonds our host Stanley Black and our honorees, Michael and Angelique, is the timeless value of wanting to help people in need. Via this

Rebbetzin Hier, Rabbi Marvin Hier and Kalman Samuels, founder of Shalva

inaugural dinner in Los Angeles, they together with many dear friends are creating miracles for those who are unable to dream it for themselves. As a West Coast child of the ‘60s, I am humbled to have established SHALVA in Jerusalem and to partner with such extraordinary, caring human beings to inspire hope and change lives,” said Mr. Samuels. Garelick added, “When Michael asked me to MC this event and [I] discovered what SHALVA is all about, I was proud to be a part of this special evening. My family is constantly involved in assisting charitable causes and SHALVA is truly something special.”

Torah Musings The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

To Share or Not to Share Sarah Pachter

I was walking with a student of mine, Jane, catching up on her life – specifically, her dating life. She shared that she had been dating someone for a while, but that it did not work out. I prodded for more details, and we had the following exchange. “At first, he was very into me. We were getting serious – he’d even met my parents. Then, he started to pull back, and he eventually broke it off.” “What happened?” I asked her. “Well, I shared some vulnerable information with him, and I think he was uncomfortable with it,” she replied. I could not imagine what this incredible girl could possibly share that would turn someone away. She was a quite a gem: beautiful, insightful, smart, successful, and deeply caring. As far as I was concerned, this guy had hit the jackpot with her. She reminded me that her hearing is slightly impaired, and that she uses hearing aids to make of the deficit. She felt, as it proved to be true, that as soon as she told him about it, it was the beginning of the end. The words “hearing aid” likely conjure up images of the elderly shouting “What?” while watching TV or speaking into the telephone. Jane’s hearing aids, however, were tiny, and would never be noticed by anyone else. In the seven years that I have gotten to know her, I have never once had to repeat myself, nor have I even seen the actual devices. They are invisible to the naked eye, and yet, the idea of them made this guy uncomfortable to the point of wanting to end things with Jane. I was quite surprised at her response, and decided to investigate further. “How did you go about telling him, and what exactly was his reaction? Are you sure you didn’t break up because of something else?” She explained, “I was terrified to tell him, and I felt myself fumbling over my words because I was so nervous. I feel so hurt that he rejected me, but more importantly, I am now confused as to when to share this important part of me over the course dating someone. I don’t want to turn anyone else away from me, but this is information that needs to be shared. I feel so stuck.” My heart was hurting for her. Even her parents had told her to keep it a secret from the people she dated, out of fear that no one would want to marry her because of it. This issue is not exclusive to my student. Everyone has vulnerabilities that we are reluctant to share out of self-preservation or fear of rejection. When we start to date someone, it can be thrilling. Butter-

flies flutter, chemistry sparks, and each time we get together it can lead to a stronger connection. At a certain point, however that connection no longer feels liberating. It starts to become intimidating as we realize that the time to share more intimate aspects of ourselves is approaching. When is the right time to share such things? How do we share this information, and with whom do we disclose these things to? The following are the three key elements needed in order to open up to someone you are dating: the right person, the right time, the right delivery. The Right Person When a friend of mine dated her now-husband, she told me that from the get-go she felt completely comfortable

first time you meet someone is not a good idea, either. People make the mistake of thinking that sharing intimate information right away will lead to a greater sense of closeness. However, the opposite usually occurs, as over-sharing leads to disconnection and awkwardness. Sharing too much, too soon is like blinding an oncoming driver with fog lights. This form of over-sharing or lack of discretion can cause the other person to turn away, and will ultimately be detrimental to a relationship. Real vulnerability is sharing things little by little with the person who has proven his or her respect, loyalty, and love. It is okay to have some form of a protective mask on initially, but with time it should only be removed slowly until you are left

to be herself around him. Initially, she thought it was a result of her outgoing personality. As she reflected back on past dates, however, she realized that there were plenty of people she’d dated that she felt insecure around, or had been unable to be herself. Oftentimes, feeling that you can open up to someone is a reflection of the other person, indicating that the relationship is comfortable and safe. In Jane’s story, she was extremely nervous to share something important with the most recent person she was dating. Sometimes, when we feel guarded or nervous to share whom we really are, it is a reflection of the other person, rather than ourselves. We must first examine the relationship and internally ask, Am I comfortable enough to peel off my layers? Can I share my earnest thoughts without feeling that they will be brushed aside or judged? Sharing vulnerable information with a person who makes you feel less than comfortable will not lead to a deeper connection. Rather, we must only share such things with a person who has proven that he or she has earned the right to hear our story. The Right Time It is important to note that shedding all protective gear and opening up the

bare with someone who has earned the right to hear your story. With any luck, the other person is doing the same. Hence the old adage: the right person at the right time. The Right Delivery Delivering vulnerable information requires confidence, so that it can be normalized to our significant other. In my student’s example, had she been more confident in her delivery regarding her medical needs, the other person might have received it in a more neutral fashion. Although Jane was scared to talk about her hearing aids, they are simply a form of technology to make one’s life easier. From making life more convenient to providing lifesaving help, the advent of technology has helped every single one of us, myself included. I used a personal example to explain this to my student. “Jane, if it were not for modern technological advances, I would not be alive today – and on that note, my daughter would not be here, either. Both of us spent extended time in the hospital as infants with life threatening issues.” Many of us would not be where we are today if not for technology in some form. Describing her hearing aids as merely a common use of technology normalized it for Jane so she could describe her

situation with more confidence to someone else. You Are Enough Whether it is our dependence on technology or some other vulnerability, we all have circumstances we may feel uncomfortable sharing. We worry that the disclosure will turn others away. I call it the “share it or not” moment. In order to verbalize the issue in a confident way, we must first feel confident about it within. If we internally come to the realization, I am enough, regardless of the outcome, then we’re ready to share. I was very close with another student of mine named Amanda. She had gone through the process of conversion to Orthodox Judaism in Israel, which is quite strict and grueling. After completing her conversion, she started to date someone seriously. She met with me to discuss a concern she had about her past. “Sarah, I don’t know exactly when or how to tell him about my conversion. I know it must be brought up, but I’m so scared to do it. I’m afraid that he or his family won’t accept me because of it. What if it isn’t good enough for them?” Before I could say anything to help her, she continued, “To be honest, I think about acceptance regarding my conversion a lot. What if the people in my life – or my community – don’t think I’m Jewish enough?” I responded carefully but firmly, “Amanda, it’s not about what others think. Your conversion and your journey in Judaism cannot and does not depend on acceptance from every human being in the world. At this point, it is more important that you accept yourself. It’s about embracing the words, ‘I am enough.’” The “share it even if you’re scared” moment is when you have the confidence to feel the message, “I am enough.” If your relationship has progressed slowly, and in a healthy fashion, then you are ready to reveal that piece of yourself. An addendum to Amanda’s story is that she did tell the boy about her conversion, and not only was it more than enough for him and his family, but from that point forward, their relationship truly flourished. It is crucial that we come forth with our vulnerabilities by sharing accurate information with the people we date. This free flow of honest and appropriate communication is the key to taking the next step in a relationship. The best way to talk about our vulnerabilities is to do so with the right person, at the right time, and with the right delivery. You’ll be glad you did.



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By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

Sukkos is a special yom tov. While there is an obligation to be joyous on every chag, Sukkos achieves distinction and is singled out as zeman simchoseinu. What is it about Sukkos that gives it this added title? We are always supposed to be happy. Every mitzvah should be performed with joy. What is special about Sukkos that creates such simchah amongst the Jewish people? One of the most famous teachings of the Vilna Gaon is a lesson he imparted shortly before his passing on Sukkos. As he lay on his deathbed, he looked at those gathered around him, held his tzitzis, and tearfully said, “I am leaving a world where these are available for next to nothing, and I am going to a world where mitzvos are no longer accessible.” This famous story answers the question. We live in a world bursting with opportunities to acquire eternity. With small amounts of money or effort, we can gain for ourselves priceless eternity. How can we not be happy when we ponder the thought that for a few dollars, we can buy threads and fashion them into tzitzis on our begadim? What a happy world this is! What a joyous place it is to be. We are surrounded by opportunities to transform the mundane into nitzchiyus. Sukkos is zeman simchoseinu because of the many examples it bears, reminding us of this truth and enabling us to benefit from it. Sukkos follows the yamim noraim because our forefathers sinned with the eigel in the midbar and lost the protection of the Shechinah. They were forgiven on Yom Kippur, and on Sukkos the Ananei Hakavod returned and surrounded them, sheltering them from their enemies and the elements. On Yom Kippur, the hashpa’ah of the selichah of the original day of forgiveness in the desert is renewed, and following our teshuvah, we are forgiven for our sins just as our forefathers were. On Sukkos, we once again merit the protection of the ananei hakavod in the form of the tzeila demehemnusah that hovers over our sukkos. This is the meaning of the Zohar (3:103) which states, “Ta chazi, beshaata da tzila demehemnusah shechintah parsa gadfa alei mele’aila – When a person enters the sukkah, the Shechinah spreads its wings over him.” The Vilna Gaon expresses the concept a bit differently, saying that the posuk in Shir Hashirim (1:4) of “Heviani haMelech chadorov – The King [Hashem] brought me into his room” refers to the sukkah. The Gemara in Maseches Sukkah (9a)

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

A Marvelous Creation derives from the korban chagigah that just as a korban becomes sanctified when the makriv says, “Korban laShem,” so too, the walls and covering of the sukkah are holy and sanctified for the duration of Sukkos. Sukkos is the yom tov of simchah because it demonstrates that we have the ability to transform the mundane into the spiritual. Our lives have meaning because our actions can bring about holiness. The Vilna Gaon regretted leaving behind the simchah of life when we can so easily accrue not only meaning, but also value to ourselves and to the world. We invest but a few dollars and the returns on our investment are a thousand-fold. We enable people to study Torah, we enable a poor family to have food and new clothing for yom tov, with a mere smile we cheer up others, and our accounts become flush. We are not animalistic creatures, who spend their time foraging for food and a comfortable place to sleep, for we are granted intelligence and the ability to speak. When we do a mitzvah, we strengthen the world. We raise ourselves and the level of the keili, we are using to perform the act of the mitzvah. Taking simple wooden boards and placing bamboo atop them, we fashion a house for Hashem, where He covers and protects us with His shadow. We can assume that just as we are able to create a house for Hashem on our porch, infusing kedushah into simple building materials, we can certainly raise our bodies – which are blessed with a neshamah, nefesh and ruach – to that lofty level. This is the depth of the words that the paytan Rav Elazar Azkiri wrote hundreds of years ago in the holy city of Tzefas: “Besoch libi mishkan evneh – I will build a mishkan in my heart.” If boards can be elevated and planks transformed, then man can surely become a pillar of holy fire. A Jew is overcome with joy when he enters the sukkah and realizes that it is suffused with holiness, as was the mishkan. He comprehends that he has the ability to construct a place of holiness within himself. He is overcome with joy as he realizes his potential. We may become dejected when we think we are stuck at a low level. A person becomes sad when he believes that he can’t excel and rise. When we enter the sukkah and are enveloped in kedushah in a simple room we constructed, we become energized as we appreciate our potential. Nobody has to stay down forever. Everyone, including us, can improve and achieve great heights. It’s interesting that the s’chach, the

covering that gives the sukkah its name and its status, is created out of p’soles goren veyekev, the castoffs and rejects of the threshing floor and wine pit (Rashi, Devorim 16:13). The husks lifted from the ground grace the sukkah, forming its crown, to symbolize that following Yom Kippur, we have also risen anew and have the capacity to again be the prince among the nations. What is the enduring symbol of the Jewish people in golus? Is it the shtender upon which Jews have proclaimed their fidelity to Hashem and his Torah? Is it the menorah that we kindle, keeping alive the promise to Aharon Hakohein at the chanukas hamishkan? Is it the picture of cherubic children, demonstrating that after all we have been through, we are optimistic about the future as expressed by the devotion of our beloved progeny? The sukkah is a strong contestant. The haunting, a-little-bit-sad, a-little-bit-happy tune of Ah Sukkale Ah Kleine would be its anthem. The beautiful, classic Yiddish tune tells the tale of a man who made a sukkah out of a few wooden boards and covered it with some green s’chach branches. As he sits there the first night making kiddush, a bitter wind blows, threatening the flickering candles. To his amazement, as he makes kiddush, the lights continue to burn and give forth their light. His daughter comes running, shrieking that the wind will topple the sukkah. “Have no fear,” he tells her. “The sukkah is already standing for 2000 years. The winds that are blowing, which you are so afraid of, will calm and dissipate, but our sukkale will remain strong.” Some of us fear for our future. Others think it’s all over. The goyim hack at us from all sides. Enemies from within eat away at our traditions. We have repeatedly been written off. Have no fear, the sukkah says, as it shines upon the golus with the eternal light. Each morning of yom tov, we happily and proudly carry the daled minim aloft to shul, demonstrating our joy that we were found virtuous during the yemei hadin and are prepared to live life on a higher plane. We take a fruit and branches and turn them into cheftzei mitzvah with many deep spiritual meanings. We take simple, inanimate objects that most of the world has no use for and transform them into the beloved daled minim. With this, we can understand the simchah of the Bais Hashoeivah, which the Mishnah (Sukkah 5:2) and Gemara (Sukkah 52a) describe as the greatest joy ever witnessed by man. What happened at the

Bais Hashoeivah? Water was drawn from a spring and brought to the Bais Hamikdash. Nothing is more available than water. Not only is water abundant, but it is also odorless, shapeless, and easily accessible. The joy was brought on by the people realizing that Jews can take simple water and raise it to the highest level of kedushah as an offering in the Bais Hamikdash. Recognizing that they could affect the transition of one of the lowest forms of creation to the highest, brought unparalleled happiness and joy to the Jewish people. Sukkos provides us the perspective and attitude that allow the simchah to carry over into the long winter ahead. The winds will blow and the lights will flicker, but as long as we remain kedoshim, clinging to the mitzvos, we will persevere. So often, we get overwhelmed by olam hazeh and the physical aspects of our lives. We ponder the purpose of all that we experience. We become frustrated as the mundane humdrum of life wears us out, for we don’t comprehend the purpose of all that we endure. We feel as if we are going in circles. And then yom tov arrives. On Sukkos, we take a fruit and a stick, which become cheftzei mitzvah that are mashpia bechol ha’olamos. We combine boards and bamboo to create a home where the Shechinah rests. We see that our actions have positive effects and create heavenly places for us to live in. Our feelings of futility disappear, as our inner thirst for spirituality is fed and nourished. Look at who we are! There is another reason for the joy. The Sefas Emes writes (634) that the sukkah is akin to a chuppah that completes the union between a bride and a groom. Just as the chosson brings his kallah under his roof, Hashem completes his renewed relationship with the Bnei Yisroel through the sukkah. While this is another explanation for the holiness of the sukkah, it also provides us with a reason for the joy of the yom tov. We can add that the joy of Sukkos is akin to that which is present at a chuppah, with the simchah on the individual days akin to that of the shivas yemei hamishteh, when the chosson and kallah refrain from work so that they can celebrate their marriage. Just as at every one of the sheva brachos there is a new guest, so do we welcome the Ushpizin into our sukkos. Each night, there is a panim chadashos, relating to a different bechinah of our relationship with Hashem. As we invite the exalted guests each night, we are reminded of our relationship with Hashem and the holiness of the sukkah, which symbolizes the chuppah, and our ability to proactively raise ourselves and the level of everything around us. Rav Chaim Volozhiner writes in Nefesh Hachaim (1:4) that no Jew should ever say to himself that he is useless and has no

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power to accomplish anything with his daily activities. Every action we undertake, every word we utter, and every thought we bear can accomplish great things in the upper worldly spheres. Rav Yisroel Elya Weintraub, in his peirush Yiras Chaim, explains this idea and says that at the root of human failing is a person’s feeling that his actions have no intrinsic value. It is such insecure thinking that leads man to forsake the proper path and engage in sin. If people would be secure in the knowledge of the impact of their actions, they would not sin. Rav Chaim Volozhiner explains that this is the meaning of the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (2:1) which states, “Da mah lemaalah mimcha – know what is above you.” Know, the Mishnah exhorts us, that what transpires in the heavenly realms is a result of your actions in this world. It’s all mimcha. Perhaps we can apply that Mishnah to our lesson from the sukkah. Know what is above you. As you sit in the sukkah and look up, know that your actions have caused the Shechinah to hover above you. Know that what you do has significance. Know that you have the power with your actions to dwell in the shadow of Hashem. Know that you have intrinsic value. Remember that you can cause world-altering changes. Know that nothing you do is wasted. It is all for a purpose. There is nothing that brings more joy to a person than recognizing that he has value, that his internal battles have heavenly ramifications, and that he can beat back melancholy and apathy, accomplishing plenty. The kohein gadol uses his precious moments in the kodesh hakodoshim on Yom Kippur to offer a few tefillos. What does the holiest man, in the holiest place, at the holiest time, ask for? Among a few other requests, he asks that the prayers of travelers not be accepted. Klal Yisroel needs rain for the crops to grow. Travelers would likely pray for clear weather to ease their trek. The Alter of Kelm explained that this underscores the power of the simple tefillah offered by an ordinary traveler who looks at the cloudy sky and says, “Oy, Ribbono Shel Olam, please do not let it rain.” That heartfelt request is so effective that it is able to negate the communal need for rain were the kohein gadol himself, on Yom Kippur, not to ask Hashem to ignore the request of the simple man with a sack over his shoulder. A marvelous creation, the Jew. His every action and deed is loaded with significance and power. The Torah tells us (Vayikra 23:42) to dwell in the sukkah on Sukkos: “Basukkos teishvu shivas yomim, you shall dwell in the sukkah for seven days, kol ha’ezrach b’Yisroel yeishvu basukkos.” The posuk then continues with the explanation as to

why we are to dwell in the sukkah for seven days. It is “lemaan yeidu doroseichem ki basukkos hoshavti es Bnei Yisroel behotzie osam mei’eretz Mitzrayim, so that the generations will know that Hashem fashioned sukkos for the Bnei Yisroel when he removed them from Mitzrayim.” Regarding Pesach, the posuk (Shemos 13:8) says, “Vehigadeta levincha bayom hahu leimor, and you shall tell your son” the tale of yetzias mitzrayim. On Pesach, much time is spent transmitting the mes-

the Bnei Yisroel in the midbar on Sukkos are empowered once again in our day on Sukkos in our own sukkah. We don’t need anyone to tell us about it. It is in our DNA. We feel and perceive it through our emunah and bitachon, appreciating that we are Hashem’s chosen nation. He watches over us and protects us at all times, most evidently and conspicuously on Sukkos. One of the Slonimer rebbes met a Jewish cantonist soldier on Sukkos. The unfortunate young man was one of those

and recite the brachah of leisheiv basukkah. He ate some challah and a piece of fish, and then hurriedly bentched and returned to his post. “That’s it, rebbe. It was nothing special,” he said. “What did you do when you returned to the base?” asked the rebbe. The soldier looked down and said, “The truth is that I was so excited at having eaten in a sukkah that as I stood there back at the base all alone, I broke out in a

sage that Hashem expunged us from Mitzrayim and performed many miracles during our exile there and upon our redemption. In fact, the entire seder is constructed around that message, and we do our best to make it come alive through interesting questions and conversation. Why do we make such a big deal about the mitzvah of sippur yetzias mitzrayim to our children on Pesach and not on Sukkos? It is true that poskim discuss whether you can fulfill the obligation of mitzvas sukkah without articulating the reason for the obligation, but, by and large, the issue is barely discussed in the sukkah. Why is that? If we examine the posuk in Shemos closely, we will note that it does not command us to discuss the reason for the sukkah with the generations. Rather, the posuk is stating a fact: Sit in the sukkah so that you will know that Hashem created sukkos for the Jews when He took them out of Mitzrayim. When a Jew sits in the sukkah and the Shechinah hovers above him, and he is enlightened by the ohr hamakif that is present in the sukkah, he is enveloped in holiness, unlike at any other time of the year. The guf and neshomah perceive on their own the tzeila demehemnusa and know that the Shechinah and ohr hamakif that returned to

children who were torn away at a young age and conscripted for so long that he had just a vague memory of what he learned in cheder. He was separated from his family for so long that he had forgotten most of which he learned and loved. He possessed faint memories of a life gone by. The rebbe looked at the soldier and told him, “Your face has a special glow. Please tell me what zechus you have. Which mitzvah did you perform to merit this?” The simple soldier shrugged. He said that he had done very little. His job involved standing watch for long hours at a time, and in his free time he could do little more than rest in the barracks. “I’m sorry, rebbe, but I can’t think of any special mitzvah that I did.” When the rebbe persisted, the soldier told him that over Sukkos, he had managed to eat one small meal in a sukkah. He said that on the first night of Sukkos, he felt a pull to eat in a sukkah. He asked a fellow soldier to stand guard for him, switching rotations so he could take a break. He hurried to the Jewish section of town and found a home with a sukkah behind it. He knocked on the door and asked the family if he might join them. They were thrilled to welcome and befriend a cantonist. They helped the unlearned soldier recite kiddush

spirited dance. I danced and I danced, so happy about what I had done.” A poor cantonist, separated from yiddishkeit and Yidden, made his way to a sukkah and, covered by the tzeila demehemnusah, blessed by the ohr hamakif, spontaneously broke out in joy and dance. The Vilna Gaon (Shir Hashirim 1:4) teaches that the sukkah alludes to the status of Klal Yisroel after Moshiach’s arrival, at which time we will all be betzilah demehemnusah, as when we traveled through the desert on our way to Eretz Yisroel. Just as the sukkah symbolizes the mishkan in the midbar where the Shechinah dwelled, so does it symbolize the Shechinah’s return to the rebuilt Bais Hamikdash. The Maharal, in his Shabbos Hagadol drashah, states that the third Bais Hamikdash will be built to house the Shechinah in the merit of the yom tov of Sukkos. May our post-Yom Kippur conduct and joyful observance of the mitzvos of Sukkos enable us to merit the arrival of Moshiach tzidkeinu speedily in our day. May we feel the simchah each time we enter the sukkah, every time we grasp the daled minim, every time we do a mitzvah, every time we appreciate that Hashem hovers over and protects us. Chag sameach. Have a great yom tov.



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The Venezuelan Meltdown: A Country in Turmoil Aaron Feigenbaum

By all accounts, Venezuela right now is in a life-or-death struggle for its economic and political future. The Maduro government, ideological inheritor to the controversial Chavez regime, has routinely championed the cause of the poor and rallied against the West and rich capitalists. Yet the poverty rate has risen to an alarming 76%, and the gap between the rich and the poor has grown. Supermarket shelves are bare. Power outages are commonplace. Inflation is up to unprecedented levels, thus making food at privately-run stores unaffordable for most Venezuelans. The healthcare system is in shambles. Government corruption is rampant and the national debt is spiraling out of control. Crime rates have skyrocketed as Venezuela has become one of the world’s most dangerous countries. Add a severe nationwide drought to all these, and you have a perfect storm of instability that demands the world’s attention. To understand the crisis better we should be asking the following questions: What is daily life like for the average Venezuelan? Who’s responsible for this historic catastrophe? What should be done about it? To answer the first question, according to the headlines, shortages of food and other basic necessities have left many markets severely understocked. During a recent food protest, citizens voiced their outrage at the meager supplies handed out to them, which only contained three bags of flour, one jar of tomato sauce, a sardine, three bags of flour, and a bag of detergent. Many people are restricted to the bare essentials, such as cereal and rice, while things like bread and meat are luxuries.

There are even reports of children fainting from inadequate nutrition. With inflation predicted to rise to as much as 1200%, some families have spent their entire savings on stockpiling food. Others have run across the border to Colombia where food is much more plentiful and cheaper than in Venezuela. Some have created online bartering clubs to trade for the most basic necessities. For those who are better off and don’t want to brave the enormous food lines, or who want what the markets don’t have, a black market has emerged offering food and other staples at heavily inflated prices. Perhaps even more alarmingly, the shortages have severely affected Venezuela’s healthcare system. An estimated eight out of ten pharmaceutical drugs are either difficult or impossible to find, forcing many patients to look to the black market. Many doctors have resorted to prescribing veterinary medication to their patients. Some patients have even brewed their own medicine from plants, such as yucca (which can be toxic if not prepared correctly). Easily treatable diseases such as malaria, much less the deadly Zika virus, have reached epidemic proportions because of the lack of medicine. Hospitals are usually understaffed, undersupplied, dirty, have malfunctioning equipment, and have a high mortality rate. The most simple of conditions can turn into a fullblown medical emergency. Such was the case with three-year-old Ashley Pacheco, whose scraped knee went untreated and developed into a staph infection which later scarred her heart and left her family almost penniless after paying for their daughter’s medicine.

Mental patients, one of society’s most vulnerable groups, have also been hit hard. Without their medicine, many have relapsed into their conditions. Psychiatric facilities that can no longer afford to house and feed their patients resort either to tying them down and putting them in isolation wards or to letting them go entirely. Pets too are suffering, as owners are forced to choose between feeding themselves and their family and feeding their pets. Many owners have simply abandoned their pets to the streets. The Venezuelan national veterinary system, Mission Nevado, is, like the rest of the country, plagued by chronic food and medicine shortages. Pet shelters are overwhelmed by the number of new strays they’ve had to take in. Venezuela’s overall economic health is very poor indeed. Venezuela currently has the world’s highest inflation rate – 470%. If trends continue, the International Monetary Fund predicts inflation could hit a shocking 1700% next year. Many manufacturing companies have been forced to lay off workers and close down plants, as they cannot afford the raw materials needed to make their products. Margarita Island, once swamped with tourists and renowned for its balmy weather and beautiful beaches, is mostly empty. Both hotel occupancy and flights to the island have dropped significantly this year. Hotels

Street Monkey

Colombia-Venezuela border

Food Lines

Locked up mental health patient

Margarita Island

President Nicolas Maduro Abondoned pet

Newborn babies


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there have mostly been forced to suspend meal service due to food shortages, and guests are required to bring their own soap, towels, and even toilet paper. Some hotels fill their pool with murky well water as the drought and water rationing have left them with no other choice. In fact, tourism across the country has been affected because of the perceived danger, lack of supplies, and high inflation rates. So what are the root causes of this crisis? A major one is the falling price of oil. Venezuela has some of the world’s largest oil reserves and oil constitutes the vast majority of its exports. Venezuela is also heavily dependent on imports for its goods, meaning that falling oil prices and/ or oil production issues can have a dramatic impact on the availability of everyday goods, as we’ve seen during this crisis. Venezuelans have also long enjoyed some of the cheapest gas prices in the world thanks to hefty government subsidies. For years, many economists predicted those subsidies would be unsustainable, and their analysis proved correct this year as the Venezuelan government was forced to raise gas prices for the first time in 20 years (albeit not even close to U.S. levels). The falling oil prices have left the country’s petroleum sector in shambles: Foreign investors have been discouraged, oilfields and oilfield facilities have become dilapidated, power outages have affected production, inflation leaves suppliers with higher costs than they can deal with, and the Venezuelan government is having a hard time paying other countries like the U.S. and Nigeria to blend its heavy crude. Venezuela’s oil problems tie in to its foreign debt, especially its Chinese debt. Venezuela owes China over $50 billion, and this year marks the first since Venezuela started lending that the China Development Bank has not issued any additional money. Chinese officials fear a Venezuelan default and so have been in talks with both President Maduro’s administration and the opposition for a possible loan resettlement. Yet even if oil prices rise, Venezuela

faces another daunting problem: that of government mismanagement. President Nicolas Maduro, taking after his ideological predecessor Hugo Chavez, has gone after the private sector with a vengeance. In order to reduce the influence of foreign corporations, both leaders nationalized large sectors of the economy, from banking to telecom to steel and even the nation’s largest supermarket chain. Per socialist ideology, the goal was to turn these nationalized industries into state-owned, worker-operated collectives. Unfortunately for the Venezuelan economy, this experiment has failed. These state-owned companies simply can’t compete with their privately held counterparts. As we’ve seen in Cuba and the former Soviet Union, government-run businesses are extremely inefficient. Bureaucracy, corruption and artificial price controls lead to shortages such as the ones in Venezuela right now because if the price is too low, then fewer people are willing to produce. For example, in one particularly ill-advised move, the government last year forced farmers and manufacturers who produce staples such as milk and sugar to sell between 30% and 100% of their produce to the government. As Ricardo Hausmann, the former Venezuelan planning minister, puts it, “A lot of people are putting in effort, and none of that increases the supply of anything. This is perfectly unproductive labor.” Exacerbating the production problem are the government’s currency controls. First enacted by Chavez in 2003 after an oil industry strike, the controls place the bolivar (the nation’s currency) above all other currencies at the expense of foreign investors. Thus, the problem today is that the exchange control system doesn’t have enough dollars to import foreign goods. The government loosened its currency restriction earlier this year to allow for greater market influence in setting prices. However, severe currency problems remain. Venezuela’s economy is still heavily dependent on bolivars and the government

needs to print more currency. The problem with that is that the national printing presses are low on the special security paper and metal needed to produce bolivars. Thus, like with most other goods in Venezuela, money has to be printed abroad and imported. The catch-22, though, is that with currency reserves at critically low levels, Venezuela can’t afford to purchase its own money! In fact, De La Rue, the world’s largest banknote manufacturer, sent a letter to Venezuela’s central bank demanding the $71 million it was owed. Astonishingly (or perhaps not so astonishingly), the finance minister insisted that all this was caused by capitalist greed and not faulty monetary policy. In fact, this response is typical of the Maduro administration. While the country is beset by severe problems on all sides, Maduro refuses to admit his policies are to blame. Instead, he politicizes the crisis and blames the U.S., the West in general and “greedy” capitalists both at home and abroad for his country’s mess. Sticking closely to Chavez’s playbook, Maduro consistently accuses the U.S. of plotting to overthrow him and destabilize Venezuela. In typical paranoid fashion, Maduro calls his opposition “fascists” and part of a U.S.-led “economic war” against Venezuela. The Organization of American States disagrees and places the blame on the Venezuelan government saying, “Venezuela should be one of the most prosperous and influential countries in the region. Instead, it is a state mired in corruption, poverty, and violence. It is the population who suffers the consequences.” The question now is if Maduro can keep hold of power until the end of his term in 2018. According to recent polls, Maduro is very unpopular. A whopping 80% would vote to cut his term short via referendum, as the opposition has vehemently argued for. Led by politician and lawyer Henrique Capriles Radonski, the opposition has gathered enough signatures to call for a referendum and the country’s national electoral council has verified

the signatures. The process now requires that one-fifth of the electorate formally demands a referendum take place. As to whether that referendum takes place this year or next (if at all) remains to be seen. Whether it’s Radonski or Maduro’s loyalist vice-president that becomes Venezuela’s next president, there will be some hard choices to make. One that most economists agree on is abolishing price controls. For a population that’s used to low commodity prices, this may be a painful shock, but with government revenues so low, it’s most likely a necessary step. Another critical action is to take the bolivar off a fixed exchange rate. This would have to be done gradually and with plenty of foreign currency reserves to bolster the bolivar. Alongside this would be a cohesive plan to overhaul the economy in hopes of convincing foreign investors (exactly the kind of people Maduro abhors) to pump in much-needed capital. Another important step is to abolish subsidies and de-nationalize most of the economy. While the population may suffer even more in the short-term, in the long-term this will make Venezuela a friendlier place to do business and lead to economic stability. Last but not least, Venezuela must reduce its dependence on oil for revenue so that’s its economy is diversified and doesn’t fluctuate according to the price of a single commodity. The socialist playbook of nationalization, price controls and a fixed exchange rate has failed before and is failing now in Venezuela. It should take a hint from other Latin American countries, like Chile, which has emerged from a period of dictatorship to become a well-functioning democracy with a moderate economic policy that allows for a great deal of market freedom. As the food lines grow ever longer, and as critical supplies become more and more scarce, the time is now for Venezuela’s leaders to put aside their ideology and immediately develop a plan that works for the benefit of all Venezuelans.




The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Artfully crafted and meticulously aged for optimal enjoyment.


Holiday Series The Week In News

OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

• The Darkest Sukkah • in Jerusalem BY RABBI YERACHMIEL TILLES


ll the Jewish inhabitants of the Old City of Jerusalem in the early 5700s (1940s C.E.) were well acquainted with the unique sukkah of Rabbi Shlomo-David Kahane, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of the Jewish Quarter. It was so special that even many New City residents made a custom of dropping in during the Sukkot festival on their way to the Western Wall in order to imbibe of its beauty, its invigorating spirit of holiness and festival joy, and the inspiring Torah words of the rabbi. Despite his advanced age (in his 70s), Rabbi Kahane always expended much effort in the mitzvah of building his sukkah. After the 26-hour Yom Kippur fast he would have something to eat and drink and, with the help of some of his students, he would get to work immediately. He wanted to be sure that it would be large and spacious enough for all the guests who would want to come. His young grandchildren and great-grandchildren could hardly control themselves in anticipation

until the sukkah would be ready so they could make it even more beautiful and precious with their innocent festive decorations. While everyone was fascinated by the rabbi’s magnificent sukkah, one custom of his perplexed them all. Indeed, it seemed almost bizarre. On the first night of the holiday, the time of the only meal of the Sukkot festival required by the Torah to be eaten inside a sukkah, all the sukkot in Jerusalem were filled with light…except the famous one of Rabbi Kahane, where the meal was conducted in great joy, but in near-total darkness, relieved only by the dim light of a few candles. And when those candles dimmed and went out, the rabbi sat in the pitch blackness the entire night, accompanied by some of his students, energetically discussing Torah topics relevant to the festival in particular to the commandment of dwelling seven nights and days in a sukkah. In a later year, on one of the days of Sukkot, Rabbi Kahane agreed to explain the background behind this strange custom of his.

Poland had been beaten into submission by the brutal Nazi war machine. Heavy artillery and rocket fire had devastated all the major cities, especially Warsaw. It was September 5740 (1939 C.E.). The High Holiday season was just beginning. Rabbi Shlomo-David Kahane was then Chief Rabbi of Warsaw. He was well aware that he would not be able to fulfill the two Sukkot festival commandments of dwelling in a sukkah and waving the Four Species in their full glory as he was accustomed to. Not a single lulav (palm branch) was available, nor any suitable myrtles or willows. In all of Warsaw there was one etrog (citron fruit) in the possession of Rabbi Meshulem Kaminer, the man in charge of the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw. After Yom Kippur, with the Sukkot festival only four days away, it seemed that it would be impossible to erect a sukkah for the week-long festival. True, Rabbi Kahane had in storage all the wooden boards necessary for the walls and the roofing of a sukkah, but to dare to actually build a sukkah would seriously endanger his life. Warsaw was occupied

then by bloodthirsty Nazis, who voraciously patrolled the streets. Any visible sign of Jewish observance could whet their appetite for another bloodbath. No one in his family would be safe – not in the sukkah and not inside the house. Nevertheless, despite the difficulties and the dangers, Rabbi Kahane was not willing in the slightest to give up the mitzvah so precious to him. In the days preceding Sukkot, he prowled all over the area, looking for a spot in one of the Jewish courtyards sufficiently concealed for him to risk constructing a sukkah there. In the end, he decided on a location in a courtyard only three houses away from his own dwelling. With the help of some of his students, he succeeded in removing the wooden walls and the thin strips of wood for the roof from storage, quietly transporting them to the chosen spot and quickly erecting a sukkah that fit all the requirements of Jewish law. Around it he hung wet sheets and clothes so that a casual glance would register only laundry hanging to dry. On the first night of the festival, the rabbi surreptitiously entered


The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015


Holiday The Week Series In News

the sukkah with two of his students. They recited kiddush over two slices of bread and discussed Torah topics relating to the holiday and the mitzvah of dwelling in a sukkah in as low tones as possible. There were no decorations in the sukkah nor delicacies appropriate for a festive meal to eat or drink, no visible signs of the holiday at all other than the bare sukkah. Still, Rabbi Kahane felt as happy as he ever did in his life, filled with joy and gratitude at being able to fulfill the mitzvah of dwelling in a sukkah in such extremely difficult conditions. In order not to arouse the suspicions of the Nazi beasts, who patrolled everywhere in the area until there was no one left on the streets, the rabbi and his two students remained in the sukkah the entire night. Not even once did they discuss the dire political situation and its continuous terrors; they continued with enthusiasm to analyze the holiday and its mitzvot from all the various aspects of Torah. One point which the Rabbi emphasized to his two students was the following: There is one question I always ask myself: when will I be able to fulfill the commandment to “rejoice in your holiday” purely and in its entirety? Holidays contain many elements besides the mitzvah itself – eating, drinking, fancy desserts, resting, socializing, etc. Tonight we have learned that when we sit in a sukkah devoid of any of these components – no delicacies to eat and not even any light – overshadowed by an environment of dread and terror, yet still we make every effort to instill and feel joy in our hearts. This is true, pure, unadulterated joy in the mitzvah – the real thing! – an inner joy, stemming from the actual fulfillment of the mitzvah in the most antagonistic of conditions. A basic motif of Nazi activity in conquered cities was actions to depress the spirit of the Jewish community – to humiliate them, to subjugate them, to crush any remnants of Jewish pride and personal self-esteem. One of their favorite methods for accomplishing this was to topple the rabbi; it was on top of their “to do” list. They well understood the role


OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

the rabbis filled in encouraging the people, strengthening them, and lifting their spirits. So it happened that on the first night of Sukkot, in the middle of the

blessing, thanking the Al-mighty for the kindness of His intervention. After a long arduous journey with numerous potential pitfalls, Rabbi Kahane finally managed to escape

One of the Nazi soldiers placed the barrel of his revolver between her eyes and barked, “Tell us immediately where the rabbi is or else….” night, while the rabbi and his two students were still sitting and conversing in the blacked-out sukkah, a small group of uniformed Nazis came banging loudly with their gun butts on the Kahane family door. When the terrified Mrs. Kahane finally opened the door, the vile Germans burst in and amidst much cursing began a thorough search in every room and corner of the house, pausing only to present blows with their gloved fists to any family member who came too close. During the entire time of the search Mrs. Kahane stood stone still. When they were not able to find any trace of her husband, one of the Nazi soldiers placed the barrel of his revolver between her eyes and barked, “Tell us immediately where the rabbi is or else….” It was with great difficulty that the terrified rebbetzin managed to squeeze out a few words in reply. “He disappeared as soon as the gunfire and explosions started.” This explanation made sense to the Nazi murderers because many people ran off whenever there were explosions. So he lowered his gun and they wrote in their report “the Rabbi fled,” implying there was no need to search the house anymore. While the rabbi was sitting in his sukkah with his students that night, he heard the screaming, the curses and the tumult in the neighborhood, but it never occurred to him that he was the main cause of it. Only early the next morning, when he managed to sneak home, his wife told him about the miracle that had taken place the night before. Subsequently, at the festival morning Torah reading, Rabbi Kahane said the “Gomel”

the claws of the Nazis and reach the shores of the Holy Land. He decided that as a reminder and an expression of appreciation for the wondrous salvation that had occurred for him, every year he would continue to sit in a darkened sukkah on the first night of the festival to remember and re-experience how it is possible to capture the true essence of the mitzvah of sitting in a sukkah, even without light or any other usually available

pleasure. Into his remarkable story Rabbi Kahane delighted to weave the pithy explanation of the Chassidic rebbe and tzaddik, Rabbi Meir of Premishlan, about a law of the festival as stated in the Mishna: “One who is suffering [from illness or from conditions in the outdoor sukkah] is freed from [the obligation to dwell in] the sukkah.” Commented Rebbe Meir’l: “One who is suffering, the sukkah frees him” – the sukkah can free us and save us from all of our sorrows. Source: Translated-adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the Hebrew weekly Sichat HaShavua #1344. (First published on AscentOfSafed. com.) Reprinted with permission from Festivals of the Full Moon from Menorah Books, which is now part of the Koren Publishers and Toby Press family of publishing companies, by Rabbi Yerachmiel Tilles to be launched on November 1.



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PEYD The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

How to fly to Israel for free this Pesach Using American Express Delta Credit Cards! During the holiday season in Jewish communities across the country, there is always an uptick in conversation about who is traveling to Israel for yom tov, how nice it was to visit their child in seminary the previous year, or how beautiful it would be to spend Chanukah in the Old City. Whether your desire is to take the family to Israel for Pesach or perhaps Mid-Winter Vacation for this coming January, your everyday expenses can help you earn enough points/ miles to travel to Israel without any money out of pocket. Lately the news is even better: there are four new limited time offers from American Express that can help you get there. For starters, it can be very confusing navigating the vast network of airline and credit card rewards programs. It’s vital that a person apply for the best credit card offers and understand how exactly to use their miles to book the most cost effective travel arrangements. At PEYD, our mantra is to help our clients understand how to use their buying power to take advantage of great new offers as they become available. We truly enjoy helping our clients navigate this industry, in the hope that they can experience what it feels like to travel the world in style without breaking the bank. American Express just released four limited time Delta Credit Card offers that can give consumers enough miles to make it to the Holy Land by Chanukah or, at the latest, Pesach of this coming year. Let’s see a breakdown of the offers below. American Express Delta Offers The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express is offering a limited time offer of 50,000 bonus miles (up from 30,000) after $2000 is spent in purchases in the first three months. Additionally, you can earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first three months. The limited time offer ends on 11/09/2016. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express is offering a limited time offer of 70,000 bonus miles after $5000 is spent in purchases in the first three months. Additionally, you can earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first three months. The limited time offer ends on 11/09/2016. The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Personal Credit Card from American Express is offering a limited time offer of 50,000 bonus miles (up from 30,000) after $2000 is spent in purchases in the first three months. Additionally, you can earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first three months. The limited time offer ends on 11/09/2016. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Personal Credit Card from American Express is offering a limited-time offer of 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $3000 in eligible purchases on your new card in your first three months. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card within your first three months. This limited time offer expires on 11/9/16. Once you apply for these credit offers and complete the required minimum spending (yeshiva tuition for two or three kids can often cover this!), it’s time to figure out how many

“rewards miles” it will actually take to obtain your desired flight to Israel. Next, we must confirm that there is “mileage availability” – the most important aspect of booking award travel. After running a test of the Delta Skymiles award program, we found full availability for tickets to Israel this Pesach for as low as 70,000 Delta Miles round-trip, with a stopover included. That means if you get approved for both business credit cards you will have enough miles to fly two people to Israel this year and if one get approved for all three cards, you’ve truly hit a homerun.

It’s important to keep in mind that these limited time offers are only available until the first week of November and specifically to customers that have not yet been offered of any of these bonuses previously. In addition, mileage availability often changes without notice, so it is best to take advantage of this ASAP. Luckily, there are also some great hotel offers available which can help you keep costs down while traveling. Whether one utilizes Starwood bonus offers or others, the benefits of a heavily discounted trip to Israel are too great to pass up.

The good news is that even if these Delta Mileage tickets are no longer available, you can always utilize your miles by exchanging them with PEYD for a paid flight to Israel. There are never any blackout dates or catches when booking your travel this way. For more information and to get the links to these offers, visit or email *offers not available if you have had this card before




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Dirshu The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Yom Limud and Tefillah: A Day of Absolute Connection Rabbi Nachman Seltzer

It is not easy to convince people to agree with one another. People have different ways of relating to situations and events and tend to come at things from their own unique perspective. In truth, the fact that everyone has their own worldview is legitimate and helps make the world a more interesting place. Yet once in a while along comes that rare situation or movement which finds common ground amongst people everywhere, uniting them with the simple justness of its cause. The idea of achieving unity within the Jewish nation is something that we all agree is important – vital even. Easier, however, said than done. In the world of 2016, finding unity across the spectrum seems to have become a virtual impossibility. Or is it? I am of course referring to a day which has come to be known as “Yom Limud and Tefillah,” or as it is also known – the “Day of Jewish Unity.” Spearheaded by Acheinu – the outreach/kiruv arm of the Dirshu organization, a simple concept was introduced to the world (and I do mean world.) In general the “simple approach” is usually most effective and here as well, the “simple” idea of designating one day to unite Jews all over the world, caught on and spread like fire through a dry field. There is a reason for this. The Jewish nation loves one another and given the opportunity to gather together, join hands and show that love, they will choose to do so overwhelmingly. And although we tend to think of the Jewish world in terms of Eretz Yisrael, Brooklyn, Lakewood and the Five Towns – in reality, the Jewish world extends much, much farther. And all those millions of people are also waiting for an invitation to unite and become part of something that is much greater than the sum of its parts. Enter “Yom Limud and Tefillah.” ... Although Jewish people participated in this auspicious day in multiple locations from France to Argentina and all around the United States, the jewel in the crown was the Dirshu Chizuk mission to the Chofetz Chaim’s kever in Radin, Belarus. On the 24th of Elul, the day of the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrtzeit, numerous gedolim – litvish, chassidish and Sephardic – traveled from Eretz Yisrael to mark the occasion, reciting tehillim with tears and sincerity while making a point of mentioning the names of thousands of yidden in a special tefillah at the Chofetz Chaim’s kever. There is nothing like entering the


Dirshu Yom Tefilah, Argentina

village of Radin and driving towards the Chofetz Chaim’s world famous yeshiva. There is nothing like experiencing a selichos davening in the Rebbe’s beis medresh. And there is absolutely nothing that compares to the feeling of standing beside the legendary kever, surrounded by a group of prominent gedolim from Eretz Yisrael who have come to Radin to storm the very heavens in supplication for Klal Yisrael. In truth, whatever I will tell you about the Radin mission is not sufficient, because the actual situation defies description. It is a magnificent moment of togetherness and it resonates and resounds from the tiny village of Radin in Belarus to every single corner of the world. If it was only the gedolim who were davening for Klal Yisrael in Radin – dayenu. If the only ones involved in this in-

Kever Rochel

credible day were the Dirshu mission of gedolim to Radin and an array of yeshivos, girls’ schools and kollel yungeleit around the globe – dayenu. But it was all those things and much, much more. The gedolim in Radin might have been piloting the jet, but the passengers were comprised of every kind of Jew – from yeshivish to unaffiliated. “Passengers” from Staten Island, Cleveland, Texas, and Arizona, recited tehillim. “Passengers” from Atlanta, Detroit, Providence, Toronto, and Chicago, recited tehillim. It was a day when every single type of Jew was included and valued as an integral component in the proceedings. A day of glorious prayer. A day of spiritual togetherness. A day of Jewish pride. And when yidden everywhere unite, the sheer power of that collective action becomes a

Dreem Kitchen, Lakewood

force of such energy that it can’t help but achieve recognition – even by a media that normally has no trouble ignoring the news within our communities. Not today. Not on the Day of Jewish Unity. There’s no question you see, that authentic Jewish Unity is news – even beyond our beautiful walls. ... The Atlanta Jewish Times had a lot to say on the topic of Jewish Unity. I quote, “This Day of Jewish Unity is a revolutionary initiative designed to unify all Jewish people from around the world in a day of prayer on behalf of the current and cautioning state of affairs, both nationally and internationally.” The reporter then

Dirshu The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Vishnitz, Bnei Brak

Darchei Torah, Far Rockaway



Rav Badani

Davpart Halacha Shiur, Toronto

Talmid Torah Eretz Yisrael

proceeded to explain the background of this unique day – the threats worldwide to Jewish safety and well being, the ongoing terrorist alerts in every civilized country, the divisiveness that exists between every camp. However the article went on to stress that all wasn’t lost, because the Jewish nation has historically turned to prayer. The Atlanta Jewish Times then told its readers what Acheinu wanted them to do. How every one of them should please take the time to recite two chapters of tehillim – 20 and 130. It then sent anyone interested in taking part, to the Jewish Unity website so they could sign up. But that was only the beginning. ... Newsmax had this to say. “An upcoming September ‘Day of Jewish Unity’ hopes its message of peace and stability around the world will also help make a difference in this year’s volatile U.S. presidential election. The Sept. 27 event is asking Jews from around the world to pray ‘on behalf of the current state of affairs, both nationally and internationally.’ “2016 marks an alarming year in which the daunting cloud of uncertainty is prevalent more than ever,” the statement read. “From a turbulent presidential race to widespread terrorism affecting countries across the globe, there is much cause for concern regarding the safety of the Jewish people and our homeland.” The Newsmax article connected the dangerous global realities and the upcoming American presidential election, while explaining how vital it was for every single individual to learn to accept one another and to treat the people you meet with respect – no matter the differences in opinion. “It’s praying for a change in the political climate. We can change the climate when we speak, not speak negatively about each other, not gossip about each other. We hope the message will change the climate.” Though the article viewed the Day of Jewish Unity through the prism of current events, there was no missing its salient point. America is deeply divided. Politics are poisoning the atmosphere. Yet a day of Jewish Unity can change everything. A day where people everywhere refuse to speak negatively can and will have an effect on an entire country. ... Every individual publication approached the event from a slightly different angle. There was however one common thread running through every single article – a sincere appreciation for what Acheinu was spearheading and a hope that readers grasped the significance of what was about to happen and joined in to take it viral. Mr. David Luchins – a professor at Touro College and chair of its political science department, had this to say in an opinion piece that he penned for Newsweek. Entitled “Some Things Are More Important Than Party Unity,” Mr. Luchins


drew on his many years in the political arena, (he served as an aide for Herbert Humphrey and worked for twenty years on the Senate staff for New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan) to explain exactly why he too was enamored by the Acheinu initiative. Beginning the piece with a humorous anecdote about Henry Adams as an introduction, he went on to expound at some length about the political system in the United States and how the demeaning nature of the system has even spread into the Jewish community, before sharing a personal story. “Hubert Humphrey – the embodiment of classic liberal values, had just lost the nomination in 1972 to George McGovern,” Luchins wrote. “Yet Hubert Humphrey picked up the phone and called his arch-nemesis Richard Nixon to offer to help his campaign. I (Luchins) then became the youngest National Vice Chairman of Democrats for Nixon, and was joined by many staffers from both the Humphrey and “Scoop” Jackson campaigns (I later learned that Senator Jackson had made a similar phone call). Hubert Humphrey taught me an important lesson that night. “Some things,” he said (quoting John Kennedy) “are more important than party loyalty”. And that message is so necessary today when the vitriol of this nasty campaign is eating at the very fabric of our

community’s civil discourse. Respecting each other, listening to the other side, avoiding harsh generalizations or hateful speech are all more important than party loyalty.” Luchins then tied it all together explaining why he feels the Day of Jewish Unity is so important for our society. “And so,” he concluded, “I am excited about a seemingly innocuous request…to say a prayer for our country and our national dignity on next Tuesday, September 27th…in an effort to remind us that some things are, as always, more important than partisan politics. “What a quaint idea. To pray that we will all speak more kindly to each other. To pray that we will treat our political opponents with dignity and respect. To pray that we remember that when we descend to the gutter we are all soiled. To pray that we all find the strength and good sense to remember that “some things are more important than party loyalty”. A quaint idea! Perhaps. But an excellent one indeed. ...



Dirshu The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Dirshu Yom Tefilah, Hungary

London, England

Kollel Ateres Shlomo

Manchester, England

Neos Simcha Venezuela

Yeshiva Yesodei HaTorah, Toronto

Toras Aron, Lakewood

Lakewood Cheder

Shagas Aryeh, Lakewood Yeshiva Eitz Chaim, Toronto

Dirshu The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Yehivas Ohr Yisrael, Boston

Yehiva Torat Emet, Houston

Bnei Brak

Churva Shul

Dirshu Yom Tefilah, Gateshead

Adass School, Melbourne, Australia

Reading Luchins fine article, I cannot help but notice that many papers and writers seem to be commending the concept of unity and efforts in building a bridge between the disparate cross sections of American society, which seems to have reached a point where there is precious little for people to agree on. All were agreeing that davening together will create a sense of unity/achdus - because it proves that there is something much greater happening around us at every second of every given day, and that it is up to us to rise above temptation and focus on the thousands of details that we agree on instead of the things that drive a wedge between us. And that was before I read an article that had been penned about the Day of Jewish Unity for The Huffington Post. And I found myself amazed. Too long to quote in its entirety here, I will satisfy myself by quoting bits and pieces. The author, a Mr. Frederick Lawrence, who among other positions of prominence has served as the former President of Brandeis University – began the article with a question he was asked by a student. “Has it always been like this,” the student wanted to know, in reference to the brutal harshness of the political system which seems to be creating enemies out of everyone on both sides of the divide. Mr. Lawrence explained to the student that in truth, it had not always been “like this,” sharing two examples from American political history to make his point. He then posed the following question to his readers. “Is it possible to reverse the trend toward incivility in our political life and to restore some basis of cooperation, collaboration and dialog? And how might we, as citizens, play a role in this?” This is his answer as written in The Huffington Post – which as I am sure most of you know is not a religious newspaper. “We should look to the wisdom of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, a 19th- and early 20th-century teacher, scholar, and ethicist in Eastern Europe, whose most famous work, ‘Guarding the Tongue,’ explicated Jewish laws and learning concerning speech, the power of words, and especially the danger of gossip and malicious speech,” Mr. Lawrence wrote. “His teachings, as powerful and direct today as they were when written more than 125 years ago, are strikingly simple to articulate and deceptively difficult to implement – we should watch our words carefully, weighing them as we would our treasures. We should speak, discuss, even argue and debate decently and respectfully of others, ques-

tioning their ideas but not their motives. “The anniversary of the passing of the Rabbi Israel Meir Kagen occurs on Sept. 27. On that day… (the group) is asking all to refrain from gossip and harmful speech. Just for one day. It is a small but significant gesture. Is it possible that if we could do so as a society for one day, we might be able to do it for another, and then another?” In all honesty, Lawrence’s article was frum enough to have been written as an op-ed in one of our newspapers, and yet this is The Huffington Post – a far cry from a Torah newspaper that we may take into our homes. Which means, that Acheinu’s request and message is universal. Apparently everyone agrees that public discourse and our carelessness with words has gone too far! Everyone agrees that we need to unite! Everyone agrees that achdus through tefillah is the way to do it! But as a mussar shmuess courtesy of The Huffington Post? I have to tell you, I didn’t see that one coming! ... The list of media outlets that ran with this story is long and prestigious. From The Daily Wire and The Times of Israel, to The Jewish Star and Cleveland Jewish News, the general consensus coming from outside, is that the Day of Jewish Unity is a wonderful idea whose time has come. As The Daily Wire writes in its article, “Orchestrated by the Acheinu organization, the Day of Jewish Unity was born: a revolutionary initiative designed to unify all Jewish people from around the world in a day of prayer on behalf of the current – and cautioning – state of affairs, both nationally and internationally.” Acheinu is working to mobilize Jews of varied ideological orientations from around the world to take a step back and reexamine the often petty and disorienting political divisions that divide us.” ... What an interesting turn of events! The Chofetz Chaim wrote a sefer exhorting us to be careful how we talk about others and a hundred years later, he is being quoted in mainstream American media. How’s that for fascinating? And so I return to an epic journey that began in Eretz Yisroel and culminated in Radin, Belarus – on the “Yom Limud and Tefillah” – on the “Day of Jewish Unity.” A journey with so many unforgettable moments. Who will ever forget davening in the Radin yeshiva, as the walls began to release the sounds of Torah that had been stored inside them for so long? Who will ever forget the chizuk that

was heard on that trip, the stories, the mussar and the opportunity to watch Klal Yisrael’s ambassadors up close? Who will ever forget the sound of the gedolim crying as they prayed for their nation and how the heavens themselves seemed to cry along with them? It’s not just the fact that the Chofetz Chaim wrote so many sefarim, or the fact that he penned the Mishna Berurah – his seminal work on halachah. There were and are many other gedolim who have written Torah works of greatness. One might suggest that what sets the Chofetz Chaim apart from his contemporaries or even those who came before him, was the fact that he cared so much about every single facet of Klal Yisrael – down to the soldiers who had been forced into conscription by the Russian army – to the point that he took the time to actually write a comprehensive work explaining how they were to relate to the challenges facing them every single day. Others might claim that the Chofetz Chaim’s uniqueness lies in the fact that he ran a yeshiva, wrote piskei halachah and managed a business at the same time – thereby being able to relate to every type of Jew. One could posit that the source of his power was the sense of abject humility that he projected or his honesty or the fact that he was able to forgive... There are so many ways to explain the incredible popularity of the Chofetz Chaim’s ongoing message and the fact that it still rings forth throughout the world on a daily basis. Yet I would like to suggest one additional reason why this may be so – and that is the fact that it was the Chofetz Chaim who gifted us with an awareness towards the evils of loshon hara and our halachic obligations in the realm of bein adam l’chaveiro – between man and his friend. It was he who educated us in the intricacies of shmiras haloshon, of guarding one’s tongue, and it was he who explained with crisp accuracy how the unthinking words that we utter have a tremendous effect on the people around us. My point is a simple one. It was the Chofetz Chaim who taught us what real unity is all about. How to consider the other, how to think before we talk, how to love our fellow Jew. This was his message from day one. That being the case, there can be no other possible date for the “Day of Jewish Unity” than the yahrtzeit of the tzaddik who dedicated his life to spreading that very concept. And so it is, that from Radin comes the word of achdus and Jewish Unity until this very day. Because he cared about us, his nation. And it is incumbent upon us all to do the same.



The Week In News

The Week In News

King of Jordan Awarded for Aiding Refugees

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The annual prize commemorates the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia, a series of treaties concluded and announced in Muenster town hall in 1648 that ended the Thirty Years’ War and other conflicts. It has honored distinguished individuals and organizations regarded as role models for promoting peace and equality since 1998 and is awarded in conjunction with a youth prize given to a young individual and youth organization. This year’s youth prize was awarded to the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, a German peace organization that confronts the legacy of Nazism. Both recipients receive a 100,000 euro prize.

for different scenarios, including how to overcome the doubts and suspicions of their victims. Many of the workers were “very convincing in recorded conversations,” according to police officials. Callers made between $150 and $1,050 a month. “Employees were aware of the fraud, but since they were getting a good salary, they remained silent,” Shelke said. Behind of the IRS – whether it’s authentic or not.

Six Years for Story about Stoning Tax Scam Ring Raided

Last Saturday, King Abdullah II of Jordan was awarded the Westphalian Peace Prize, a prestigious award, in Germany for his peace efforts in the Middle East. German President Joachim Gauck said the Jordanian royal and his fellow Jordanians had “set standards for humanity” for their work in the region’s refugee crisis. He also lauded the king’s efforts in finding a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine struggle. Jordan, with a population of about 6.5 million, is hosting about 635,000 refugees from neighboring war-torn Syria. The international community is facing “the biggest worldwide refugee crisis in human history,” Abdullah said upon acceptance. “We are standing before a global crisis, which requires a global action.” He called on other countries to do their part to aid refugees in crisis. Earlier in the week the king praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “open door” refugee policy and her government’s support of other countries in the region dealing with the flood of refugees from Syria. Last year, Germany welcomed almost 900,000 refugees.

A large arrest was made just outside of Mumbai this week, when a tax scam ring that had swindled Americans out of tens of millions of dollars was shut down. So far, over 70 people have been detained, and more arrests are on the way. The scheme was run from a huge call center. Scammers would call victims posing as IRS officials and left voicemails that accused the victim of tax evasion and threatened them with arrest. Assistant police commissioner Bharat Shelke explained that after being threatened, “some used to call back, and employees at the call center then demanded a few thousand dollars to settle the case,” he said. Suspicions should have been raised when unused iTunes gift cards were also accepted if the victim did not have any cash. While the owner of one of the call centers was among those arrested, police reports indicate the ringleaders were not brought in. Authorities say that the callers were instructed to alter their Indian accent to an American one. They were handed six-page scripts that contained answers

Six years of prison. That was the sentence handed down to Golrokh Ebrahimi, an Iranian writer and activist, who convicted of “insulting Islamic sanctities” and “spreading propaganda against the system.” She wrote an unpublished book about stoning. On September 6, 2014, Iranian authorities, said to be members of the Revolutionary Guard, arrested Ebrahimi and her husband Arash Sadeghi. During the arrest, they found the unpublished manuscript. Ebrahimi’s piece describes the anger of a young woman while watching the 2008 American Persian-language movie The Stoning of Soraya M, about a young woman who is stoned to death. According to Amnesty International, Ebrahimi was put in Evin Prison in Tehran for 20 days, without being allowed to see her family or a lawyer. She told the organization that she was blindfolded and placed facing a wall during her hours of interrogation. She was reportedly told that she could be executed for “insulting Islam.” Ebrahimi’s husband is currently serving a 15-year sentence at the prison in a special wing for academics, journalists and political prisoners.

Until a Hundred and Fifteen?

The longest documented lifespan in history was that of Jeanne Calment. The upbeat French woman died in 1997 at the age of 122. Scientist now believe that her record age may not be beaten for a long time. Analysis was conducted at Albert Einstein School of Medicine on the statistical mortality trends across 40 countries. While the average life expectancy rate is rising, the statistics show that as a species, humans have hit their longevity ceiling. A person who lived to be 115 in 1970 does not have a greater life expectancy than a person of 115 today. Since Calment’s death, the age-ceiling trend has been around 115. “It is possible that someone might live slightly longer, but the odds of anybody in the world surviving to 125 in any given year is less than one in 10,000,” observed molecular geneticist Brandon Milholland, who helped lead the study published in the journal Nature. “Despite any gains in the average life expectancy, there is a limit beyond which the maximum lifespan of humans cannot be extended,” Milholland pointed out. Italian woman Emma Morano, 116, is recognized as the world’s oldest living person.

Nobel Prize for Microscopic Machines

If you invent a machine that is 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, you can definitely expect to get some recognition. Frenchman Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Scottish-born Fraser Stoddart and Dutch scientist Bernard “Ben” Feringa have all won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for doing just that. The three scientists will share the $930,000 prize for the “design and synthesis of molecular machines,” which was presented to them by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The academy said that molecular-level machines “will most likely be used in the development of things such as new materials, sensors and energy storage systems.” Although the practical applications are still very far away, the Academy called the

The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

advances “very exciting.” Illinois native Stoddart, 74, has already developed a 20 kB molecule-based computer chip. The Northwestern University chemistry teacher believed that chips that small may be the next step in the technology revolution of the past two centuries. Feringa, an organic chemistry professor in the Netherlands, leads a group of researchers that built a “nanocar” in 2011 that has four molecular motors as wheels. Sauvage, 71, is professor emeritus at the University of Strasbourg and director of research emeritus at France’s National Center for Scientific Research. The trio’s work has also inspired hundreds of scientists around the globe to expand the field of molecular technology. Robots have been built that can hold amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. “I feel a little bit like the Wright brothers, who were flying 100 years ago for the first time and then people were saying, ‘Why do we need a flying machine?’” Feringa, 65, told reporters in Stockholm. “And now we have a Boeing 747 and an Airbus. So that is a bit how I feel.” This year, the medicine prize was awarded to a Japanese biologist who discovered the process by which a cell breaks down and recycles content. The physics prize was also split three ways between three British-born scientists whose theoretical discoveries have shed light on strange states of matter.

Afghan Criminals Get Rich off U.S. Taxpayers

sufficient oversight and flawed contracting practices created opportunities for the theft and embezzlement of foreign aid.” According to Sopko, virtually every dollar that has been spent in the war-torn country has had greedy hands reaching for it. His office is responsible for preventing further fraud and corruption and identifying those in the U.S. and Afghanistan who have stolen the funds. A large portion of the funds have gone to warlords and militia leaders who “guard the U.S. supply chain for a fee,” according to a report issued by the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The report shows that these modern day gangsters provide “protection” for a fee, making money off of their poorly veiled threats. But warlords are not the only Afghans to raid the $114 billion cookie jar. In 2013, 21 executives and employees of the Kabul Bank – which was founded after the war to pay army and security forces – were found guilty of fraud after they spent over a billion of the bank’s dollars to support their lavish lifestyles. The fraud was even found at levels of the bank’s management, including the bank chairman, Sherkhan Farnood. Sopko has written a report detailing how the United States has “turned a blind eye” to the rampant corruption. “The U.S. government was forced to choose between maintaining a hard line against corruption or retreating in the face of the realization that fighting corruption would either require even more political capital than anticipated, or be largely futile in the absence of Afghan political will,” the report stated.

Hurricane Hits Haiti Hard Only six years after a devastating earthquake rocked the small country of Haiti, Hurricane Matthew wreaked a new level of havoc on the small Caribbean nation. At least 300 Haitians have been killed since the category 4 hurricane made landfall, with entire communities and villages being washed away by the storm.

The American taxpayers have spent more than $100 billion rebuilding the infrastructure in Afghanistan. But the committee that oversees the spending has concluded that huge sums of taxpayer dollars have made millionaires out of corrupt builders, officials, warlords, and gangsters. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko admitted, “Our $114 billion investment in Afghanistan has been plagued by criminal acts.” He continued, “Injecting tens of billions of dollars into a small country with in-

Haitian ambassador to the United States, Paul Altidor, said that Haiti unfortunately expects that number of 300

to “rise a little bit as we begin to access communities, regions that were inaccessible because of the roads …[and] the bridges that fell due to the hurricane.” Winds of 125 miles per hour destroyed thousands of homes and cut off many areas from the rest of the country. “The southern peninsula has been devastated,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, commander of the Joint Task Force Matthew. Humanitarian and disaster relief assistance has already begun to pour into the poor country. In addition to U.S. aid, ships are beginning to arrive from France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. U.S. President Barack Obama appealed to Americans to help other countries by donating to the Red Cross and other relief organizations, as Matthew brushed by the Florida coast. “We know that hundreds of people ... lost their lives and that they’re going to need help rebuilding,” he urged. Over 350,000 Haitians are in need of some sort of assistance in the aftermath of Matthew. At least 61,000 are living in temporary shelters until they can rebuild their homes.

Nazi Justice?

It’s a wonder why so few Nazi criminals made it to prison post-World War II. But recent revelations shed light on the justice system after the Holocaust, revealing the true reason why so many weren’t brought to justice. According to a new official study released on Monday, Germany’s post-World War II justice ministry was infested with ex-Nazis hell-bent on protecting their former comrades. 77 percent of senior ministry officials in 1957 were former members of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party, a higher proportion even than during the 1933-45 Third Reich, the study found. “We didn’t expect the figure to be this high,” admitted study co-author Christoph Safferling, who evaluated former ministry personnel files.



The Week In News The fascist old-boys network closed ranks, enabling its members to shield each other from justice, the study found – helping explain why so few Nazi war criminals ever went to prison. “The Nazi-era lawyers went on to cover up old injustice rather than to uncover it and thereby created new injustice,” said Heiko Maas, Germany’s justice minister, who presented the report Monday.

2 Murdered in Jerusalem Attack Sunday morning turned tragic in Jerusalem as an East Jerusalem terrorist opened fire at police and pedestrians. Two people were murdered in the attack; five others were injured. The terrorist possessed an Israeli identification card, according to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. “There were no prior warnings ahead of a focused attack like this,” Erdan said. He was killed by

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

security forces. Hamas praised the shooting, calling it “heroic,” “brave” and a “natural response to the occupation,” Army Radio reported. One of the people who was killed on Sunday morning was a 29-year-old police officer, First Sergeant Yosef Kirma. He was just recently married. Kirma’s father, Uzi, eulogized his son. “Yossi, you were my friend. Now you are no longer with us anymore. How is it possible to continue? What will I do now?” he said. “How can I move on from here? I love you so much.” His wife Noy lamented their short time together. “We had so many plans together, a home, children, and you always supported my career. You loved me always, unconditionally, even more than I loved myself,” she said. “My Yossi, look how many people came just for you. You are my light and my heart.” This is not the first time Kirma tried to stop a terrorist from harming others. He was decorated after helping to stop a terror attack in December 2015. The other victim of the attack was Levana Malihi, 60, a grandmother and former longtime employee of the Knesset who retired in 2010, having worked there for over 30 years. She is survived by her husband, three children, and six grandchildren and was known to be a warm person who kept in touch with friends at the Knesset even after retiring.

The terrorist, who had served five months in an Israeli prison in the past, was supposed to start another prison sentence on Sunday. After the attack, a video was made public in which his daughter spoke about how proud they were of her father. “We’re very happy and proud of our father,” she can be heard and seen on the recording. “My father is a great man. Our relationship, as father and daughter, was excellent.” There were celebrations in the streets as sweets and baklava were handed out in the Gaza Strip and in East Jerusalem. The terrorist was a member of the Morabitun, a group of Muslim extremists who regularly go to the Temple Mount to harass and threaten Jewish visitors. Hamas put out a video chronicling his life. A few hours later, Hamas published a statement recognizing the terrorist as one of its members and “a symbol of the city,” adding that “he gave his life today for the al-Aqsa mosque and the city of al-Quds.”

Second Presidential Debate: A Red Star Rises

One would be hard-pressed to describe the second presidential debate last Sunday night in political terms; it bore more of a resemblance to a wrestling match. As Clinton and Trump took to the stage they did not shake hands, as is customary at the start of debates. Although many thought that Trump – whose campaign in the 48 hours before the debate hung by a tether – would present himself as contrite and humble, he came out with guns blazing. He physically tow-




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The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

ered over Clinton and when she spoke he maneuvered around the stage like a tiger waiting to pounce on his prey. Trump also took on the moderators – CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz – and called them out for showing favoritism to Clinton throughout the debate. “So, it’s three on one tonight,” he quipped at one point when they tried to shut him down. When Clinton called Trump’s temperament into question and said, “It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Trump fired back: “Because you would be in jail.” Although there was much discussion about recent controversies involving Trump, there was also discussion about a recent WikiLeaks dump which discloses that Clinton told Wall Street bankers that it is OK to have a public and a private position on any given policy. Clinton defended her speech by saying that a movie about President Lincoln showed that he did the same thing. Trump retorted, “She lied. Now she is blaming the lie on the late great Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe never lied.” The format for the debate was a town hall meeting in which the undecided voters on the stage – who bore a great resemblance to the cast of Guess Who? – would ask questions of the candidates. However, most of the time was taken up by a back-

and-forth between the candidates and only several questions were asked by the voters onstage. There was a substantive conversation about the failings of Obamacare and the crisis in Syria, but most of that came between the sharp barbs. In the immediate aftermath of the debate many are of the opinion that Trump’s performance brought his campaign back from the brink and enables him to fight another day, although he likely did not attract any new voters. However, there was one clear winner at the debate: Ken Bone. Bone asked a question about energy independence. But it wasn’t the question that endeared him to millions of Americans and made him an instant social media sensation, rather it was the bright red cardigan sweater that he wore so well. By the morning after the debate Ken was on numerous shows discussing his wardrobe choice and explained that he actually purchased a brand new olive green suit for the debate but the pants split as he was getting into his car so he wore the red sweater instead. All I got to say is: “Kenny boy, you will never win that war. When they say you are size 48, don’t try to squeeze into a 44. It never ends well.”

“I’m Not Tired, I

Just Have an XL Brain!”

This new study is for every teacher who took offense from your mid-lecture yawn – it was actually quite a compliment directly from our brains. Psychologist Andrew Gallup of the State University of New York at Oneonta and his colleagues recently released an article claiming that yawning actually promotes brain growth and activity and the duration of a yawn is heavily correlated to brain size. The researchers gathered 109 individuals from 19 species, including humans, African elephants, walruses, mice, rabbits, and capuchin monkeys. After analyzing the motley crew they discovered that the average yawn of the individual predicts the species’ brain weight and its number of cortical neurons. A long yawn represents a complex brain. Primates, including humans, have the longest yawn of all mammals. Hu-

mans don’t, however, have the largest brain. That accolades goes to elephants, who have the heaviest brains. But human brains are the most complex, followed by African elephants who also have more cortical neurons than other primates and the second longest yawn, perhaps hinting at their intelligence. There has been previous research and findings on this topic. A 2014 study found that yawning also jumpstarts the brain. Researchers believe that a yawn arouses the brain from its default mode, a sort of background humming-along state, and into a paying-attention state by increasing the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid. About a decade ago, a Gallup study suggested that by yawning, opening our jaws and breathing in air it cools off the brain, a theory that has come to be known as the thermoregulatory theory of yawning. “Longer and/or [more] powerful yawns should provide greater physiological effects,” Gallup said at the time. This theory prompted a prediction: yawn duration should correlate with brain size and complexity, since having a larger and more neuron-dense brain might require more blood flow. To test that idea, Gallup and his colleagues timed yawns captured in YouTube videos. The duration varied from 0.8 seconds (mice) to 6.5 seconds (people).

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EpiPen Makers Sued by Medicaid

The abuse of power by drug maker Mylan is shocking. Recently the pharmaceutical company cranked up the price of the lifesaving drug that counteracts allergic reactions. Mylan acquired the EpiPen this year and has been accused of price-gouging. In 2007, the device cost just $94. It skyrocketed to $608 this year, while experts have estimated that it costs less than $10 to produce one EpiPen. The company will pay out $465 million to settle allegations that it overcharged Medicaid for EpiPens. According to recent revelations, EpiPen has been falsely classified as a generic product under the Medicaid health program for the poor and disabled. However, the federal government says EpiPen is a branded drug, meaning Mylan should have been paying Medicaid a far higher rebate under the government’s complex pricing rules. Drug makers are required to pay Medicaid rebates of just

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

13 percent for generic products it purchases, versus a 23.1 percent rebate for brandname drugs, which cost far more. “I am glad the Department of Justice pursued this so quickly, since the misclassification was an outrage,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said in a statement. Medicaid and other government health programs are valuable clients of EpiPens. Medicare and Medicaid spent $486.8 million in 2015 on EpiPens – that’s a 463% increase from $86.5 million in 2011. Last week, Mylan said in a statement that the proposed settlement resolves all potential federal and state government claims and doesn’t provide a finding of wrongdoing on the part of the England-based company. “This agreement is another important step in Mylan’s efforts to move forward and bring resolution to all EpiPen Auto-Injector related matters,” CEO Heather Bresch said in a statement.

Liberal Professors Dominate Campuses Colleges are notoriously liberal but it’s not just the students who generate the liberal, leftist sentiment. Professors and

leaders on campus are equally as liberal. A new study published in Econ Journal Watch last month confirms that liberal professors outnumber conservative professors drastically on college campuses. This may help explain campus protests regarding national and global politics. The study was based on faculty voter registration at 40 leading universities, and concluded that of 7,243 professors, Democrats outnumber Republicans 3,623 to 314 – that’s a ratio of 11.5 to 1. The study analyzed the academic fields and of the five departments studied, economics boasted the most conservative professors, with just 4.5 liberals to every conservative. This is a far cry from the least conservative-friendly department, where liberals outnumber conservatives by a 33.5 to 1 ratio.

Historically Democratic academics have outnumbered Republicans, but not this drastically. In 1968 a study put the Democrat-to-Republican contrast 2.7 to 1. Even more recently, in 2004, researchers estimated that liberals outnumber conser-

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vatives in the field by a ratio between 9 to 1 and 15 to 1. The disparity between liberal and conservative professors is highest at the most prestigious universities, the study finds. Pennsylvania State University, for instance, has a comparatively balanced faculty ratio of 6 to 1, while Ohio State University enjoys even closer ideological parity at 3.2 to 1. But a pair of Ivy League universities, Columbia and Princeton, both weigh in at 30 to 1. The university with the most even ratio examined in the report is Pepperdine University, which has a reputation for being a conservative school but still has 1.2 Democrats for every Republican on the faculty. Interestingly, the ratio between professors of different political leanings expands as their age drops. The possible reason could be that older professors eventually retire and make way for younger, more liberal professors on faculty. Or it could mean that professors tend to lean more conservative as they age.

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Trump trumps his opponent on Election Day, he will be the number one richest president of all time. Although no one has the exact numbers, Forbes has estimated the GOP nominee’s fortune at approximately $3.7 billion in a recent analysis. Hillary Clinton is not doing too shabby when it comes to wallet size. Her personal net worth totals $31.3 million. Husband Bill is estimated to be worth $80 million, which gives the couple a combined net worth of $111 million.

ing all but a handful of the nearly 150-person crew. It’s believed the heavily laden ship sunk quickly, leaving the ill-gotten riches from over 50 ships at the bottom of the ocean. Each year Clifford and his team return to the wreck, over which he has special rights, in hopes of discovering more facts. Supposedly they’ve already reclaimed some 200,000 artifacts, including thousands of silver Spanish coins, hundreds of pieces and fragments of rare African gold jewelry, dozens of cannons, various colonial-era objects and other prizes. Now Clifford, 70, is claiming to have found more of the ship’s legendary treasure.

Clifford told the Associated Press his expedition recently located a big metallic mass that he’s convinced represents most, if not all, of the 400,000 coins and other riches believed to be contained on the ship. “We think we might be at the end of the rainbow,” Clifford said in the recently opened Whydah Pirate Museum on Cape Cod, where many of the expedition’s finds are now showcased. Maritime archaeologists and historians are skeptical, saying that Clifford has had previous false predictions. “Barry Clifford’s many claims can be very exciting, if they can be verified with photographs or scientific proof,” said Paul

Johnston, a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., who specializes in shipwrecks. “Until then, it’s just talk.” The dedicated explorer promised to try and prove his theory but stressed that the recovery process will take time. Once the mass is raised and removed from the sea, his team will need to break it down with care using electrolysis and small hand tools. “For me, it’d be great to get it all finished, but it isn’t going to get done in my lifetime,” Clifford admitted. “Archaeology doesn’t happen quickly, if you’re doing it correctly.”

“HIT ALL THE BASES WITH BOYS BASICS” Our 44 presidents have ranged from deep-pocketed to log cabin poor. Who’s the richest of them all? Many say that John F. Kennedy was America’s richest president. If he would have lived, he would have inherited his father’s financial empire, worth $1 billion. It would have been shared by a trust with the rest of his family, though. George Washington was the second richest president of the United States – if you consider JFK to be the richest – with a fortune of $525 million (adjusted for inflation). Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was worth a whopping $212 million. Theodore Roosevelt, president number 26, garnered $125 million in his lifetime. With $119 million, Andrew Jackson was our fifth richest president, followed by James Madison who was worth $101 million.














Undersea Explorer Locates Pirate’s Treasure



Barry Clifford has made it his life mission to explore the great blue sea. He has been successful thus far. Clifford discovered the Whydah Gally back in 1984, the first authenticated pirate shipwreck in North America. The former slave ship, commanded by the English pirate Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy, sunk in stormy seas off Wellfleet, Massachusetts, in 1717, kill-



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The Week In News


OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

old and still seems to be sporting a wig. His mother, Chelsea, says that it takes two hours to go shopping because awestruck shoppers stop to chat and to stroke Junior’s fuzzy locks. Despite his young age, Junior knows you gotta take care of your hair if you want it to look good. Chelsea blow-dries his hair after baths on the cool setting; it takes too long to dry naturally. But she won’t be cutting it too soon. “It’s too unique, so I’m going to leave it as it is.” Sounds like a good move, although I’d love to borrow some of it for my next date.

fake-voting booth with mannequins of presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the side. Where do your election papers get tossed? Well, down the toilet. Owens told New Hampshire Public Radio that customers have been stopping by for photos and to vote at the Ashland farm. He’s already collected a couple hundred ballots.

The Polling Potty Most women are looking at that baby’s picture and smiling. Men, on the other hand, are jealous. I know because I’m one of them. Junior Cox-Noon of the United Kingdom has great hair. Sure, many babies are born with hair but Junior was born with it – and lots of it – and he hasn’t yet lost it. The hirsute baby is more than two months

If the presidential election is any indication, our politics are going down the drain. Chris Owens has the right idea when it comes election time. The owner of Owens Truck Farm, a farm stand in New Hampshire, is letting customers put their votes for president where he thinks they belong: right in the toilet. On the farm visitors cast their ballots in an outhouse-turned-

Honoring Our Traditions

Above the Trump mannequin is a sign that reads, “If I am elected, we will build a wall between Plymouth and Rumney, and Rumney will pay for it,” referring to two nearby towns. Owens plans to tally the just-for-fun votes next month.

Fruity Shoes Bubby in the Kitchen

As a member of the Orthodox community, I am pleased to have joined the Mount Sinai family as an Advance Planning Representative. Mount Sinai is committed to respecting the Halachic needs of our community; and I look forward to working with you. Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills 5950 Forest Lawn Drive Los Angeles, CA 90069

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land eatery boasts of serving the most authentic, ultimate comfort foods to patrons. Owner Jody Scaravella felt inspired to employ grandmothers at his restaurant after losing his own grandmother, mother, and sister. “I think subconsciously I was just trying to patch those holes in my life and seeing an Italian grandmother in the kitchen cooking was my idea of comfort,” he said. Scaravella started by placing an ad in an Italian-language newspaper calling for “Italian housewives to cook regional dishes.” But it’s not just nonnas who work at the stove. He’s since expanded his team of chefs from those of his own Italian heritage to include grandmothers representing different cultures and ethnicities. At any given time there are two nonnas in the kitchen: one from Italy and one from a different part of the world. A few of the places his cooks hail from include Syria, Poland, Nigeria, Venezuela, Turkey, and France. Enoteca Maria also features one male “nonno” who makes gnocchi, ravioli, and other fresh pasta for the menu. The restaurant has been open for around a decade and has published its own cookbook featuring its most popular nonna recipes. Since the restaurant is not under the Vaad, you may want to spend some time with Bubby over Sukkos to enjoy some good, heimish food.

Who makes the best stuffed cabbage? Bubby, for sure. What about your special yom tov strudel? Nogymama, of course. We all know that the best cooking comes from our grandmothers’ kitchens. Looking for grandma’s cooking but she’s still playing bingo? At Enoteca Maria, “nonnas” from around the world take the place of professional chefs. The Staten Is-

As we dip the apple in the honey, many of us are throwing the peels away. But there are good uses for apple peels – namely, for shoes and bags. Hong Kong company Life Green is using apple peels from apples grown in Bolzano, Italy, to make their products. The apples are used for juicing and the peels were then burnt. But the company now uses a process which helps to transform the peels into a leather-like substance. It takes just two months to turn peels into bags or shoes. So what do their bags look like? Just like any other leather bag, available in black, red, green or pink. No word on if they’re edible if you’re really hungry one day at work.

The Parenting Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Proactive Parenting:

Parenting in Public Sara Teichman, Psy.D.

Dear Dr. T I’m not sure this is a parenting question – more likely, it’s a “parent” question. It’s my turn to go to my parents for yom tov, and I truly look forward to spending time with my parents and sibs. My issue is a very personal one. I very much want my children – ages 2 to 12 – to be on their best behavior because we get together infrequently, and this is my chance to share my nachas. Yet, what with the change in schedule and environment, my children generally find it hard to hold it together for eight whole days. By the last days of yom tov, my kids present themselves at their very worst, and I look like I can’t cope. Is there any way to make sure they behave? Sandy Miriam Dear Sandy, I would venture to guess that all my readers have been in this, or some similar, situation – at school, the doctor’s office, or the like. Though your situation seems particular – that of visiting parents – it is actually quite universal. Whether it’s dinner with friends, a Shabbos meal with the neighbors, or a trip to the park – managing our children out of the home is often tricky. There is no doubt that a child is his own little person – with a mind and a will of his own. I know of no magic to guarantee or force proper behavior, but there is much you can do to increase the likelihood of relatively smooth sailing. As always, the greatest predictor for success is the parent’s proactivity. What you do before yom tov is far more valuable than anything you can do when stuff happens. So, first and foremost, be mentally prepared to be busy with your children: entertaining them, taking them places, refereeing, and so on. Yom tov is unstructured time: there is lots of opportunity for mischief and fighting. Though many an adult looks forward to “returning to the womb” and being a child once more, your responsibility for your children precludes that fantasy. A good rule of thumb for the proactive parent is to prepare the environment for the child and the child for the environment.

The Environment Your parents’ home is the environment, and the more your family (parents and siblings) know about your child, the more comfortable your child will be. The idea that “no child gives more pain than he feels” is crucial here. Happy children generally behave; uncomfortable children, for the most part, tell us about their discomfort – not with words, but with their behavior. So, discuss with your family • food preferences (Children are picky eaters, despite your mom’s great cooking.) • eating schedule (Some children may need to eat before kiddush and/or before the seudah.) • sensory issues (Does he not like to be touched or to even have his chair touched?) • sleep habits (Bed or crib? Nightlight? Routine?) • activity level (Remove all tabletop items? Is your child unable to sit through a meal?) • adaptability (Are they easy, difficult, or slow to warm up?) There are many other traits that make your child special, and the more people know about him, the better they can deal with him. By preparing the environment, you are helping your extended family deal

more effectively with your child, and that usually results in a better behaved child. The Child Most of us, especially children, find new environments difficult to negotiate. Not only is the house different, but so is the yom tov schedule. Add to this the many new faces, often of different generations, and the change in diet, and it’s no wonder that many a child (and adult) feels out of sorts! So, before you go, talk to your child about: • new faces (Even if he knows them, spending a week is a different matter.) • sleeping arrangements (Where? With whom? Bedtime?) • yom tov set-up (shul, seudos) • food (new foods, yom tov traditionals) Knowing what he can expect will help your child go with the flow and ease his discomfort with change. Your wise decision to prepare your child will save you and your family much grief. To ease the transition, you may want to bring some of home along with you, particularly for the younger child or babies. Familiar items like blankets, favorite toys, sippee cups, and the like go a long way to ease the diferences. You might even consider bringing a favorite food, or preparing it in your parents’ home. The point of all this preparation is to minimize any possible negative reaction to change on your child’s part. In addition, achieving a level of comfort in his new surroundings should help keep your child on an even keel. Every family has its own set-up and style and knowing what’s okay or not okay is critical. Explain that though Mommy may have an entirely different set of rules, it is only fair to respect the rules of the host. So, choose a few rules that your parents really care about and are age-appropriate, and teach them to your children. Typically, items like “eat only at the kitchen table” or “play in the playroom when people are resting” are positive steps in the right direction. Of course, depending on the child’s developmental level, you may need to help your child keep the rules. Though you may love to chat with your sibs, it may be necessary to sit at the table while the little ones eat or keep them company in the

playroom. Realistically speaking, despite all the preparation in the world, there probably will be some difficult moments. Some children have a more difficult nature, or are challenged by ADHD, processing or social issues. If a difficult situation arises, choose to leave the public domain and deal with the problem in a private place. Disciplining in public is a lose-lose position: the child is humiliated in front of others, you feel embarassed and powerless, and onlookers may become critical and “helpful.” By removing yourself and the child, you spare everyone needless pain, especially your parents who worry about you. Knowing that you can make that facesaving choice should support you in the difficult moments. Above all, develop realistic expectations. Children are not adults; they get angry, are impulsive, and find it hard to contain their frustration. Learn to let go; children are not perfect. Ignore when possible; not every behavior is worthy of comment. An outburst is simply a failure in communication, not a harbinger of a life of bad middos. By understanding that we cannot expect adult behavior from a child, we lower the temperature and diffuse the situation. Hopefully, your insight and preparation will have a calming, positive influence on the whole family and turn your yom tov into a win-win situation. Best wishes for a wonderful experience for both you and your children. The Book Nook: Einstein Never used Flash Cards by Drs. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Golinkoff examines how our children really learn. The authors point is that to stimulate a love of learning, young children need to play more and memorize less. They also suggest many things that parents can do to foster their children’s academic, social, and emotional development. Sara Teichman, Psy D. is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles and Clinical Director of ETTA, L.A.’s largest Jewish agency for adults with special needs. To submit a question or comment, email



The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | The Jewish Home






Our academic seal is not only rooted in the past. It also celebrates a sweet beginning. Each year, Cedars-Sinai graduates PhD students in our fully accredited Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine doctoral program. Their diplomas feature Cedars-Sinai’s academic seal, which draws upon the institution’s history, Judaic tradition, and its deep commitment to healing and education. In the lower right corner is a drawing of Kaspare Cohn Hospital, the first precursor to Cedars-Sinai, founded in 1902 in Angelino Heights, and Los Angeles’ first free hospital. The two top images relate to Cedars of Lebanon and Mount Sinai, the hospitals that merged in 1961 to create the modern medical center we know today. The lower left image is known as the Staff of Asclepius, an image that represents the Greek mythical figure of healing and medicine. The symbol also recalls the Staff of Moses with entwined Copper Serpent used to cure all onlookers in the Torah (Numbers 21:6-10). The Hebrew text at the bottom of the seal (V’rapo Yirapeh) translates as “You Shall Surely Heal” (Exodus 21:19), from which the Talmud derives the obligation to heal those who are sick. Our academic seal is an ongoing reminder, particularly during the month of Tishra, that we all must strive to improve the world as we and our Jewish community partners have done throughout the year. May your families and our community be sealed for a year of health and goodness in 5777. Shanah Tova.

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