THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 15, 2015 2
THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 15, 2015
THE JEWISH HOME
OCTOBER 15, 2015
Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
JEWISH THOUGHT Scaling the Heights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Racheim. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 The Infamous Case Of The ‘Get Of Cleves’. . . . . . . . 22
Israel Gripped by Terror Is it the Third Intifada?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Notable Quotes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
LIFESTYLES OP-ED: Don’t Blame the New York Times. . . . . . . . 13 Are the Haggim Over?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Travel Guide: Toronto. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Many of us hoped we would experience the coming of Moshiach and world peace in 5775. We were disappointed, to say the least, when Motzei Simchas Torah came and we had to re-enter a dark imperfect world. And dark it was when we experienced last Friday’s blackout in a section of the La Brea neighborhood. On the other hand, this gave perspective on how to live with temporary darkness. A few hours before Shabbos we already knew the blackout would last through candle lighting so each household had to prepare. We bought a box of 24 hour candles, so that we could have light even whilst sitting around the darkened Shabbat table. The same is true with this Golus. In order for us to survive, Hashem gave us the Torah and Mitzvos to light up our way as we travelled and as were expelled from one country to another. Even though one can get accustomed to darkness and even start enjoying it, the summer heat was overwhelming and we were not ourselves during the murky evening. The darkness of Golus is the same. We can get accustomed to it, perhaps even thinking this is the way it always was, but the “heat “of outside pressures reminds us this is not who we really are. As fish need water, we need spiritual sustenance. And not just a few times a day. Our DNA requires that G-dliness be revealed in the street. There were different estimates as to when the power lines would be fixed. We knew it was sometime between 8pm and 1am. Knowing that it would surely return, was good. More than good. The only question was the timing, but this made the darkness infinitely more manageable, especially with the kids complaining about the unrelenting heat. And so is our destiny. Moshiach will come, us Yidden will return to Eretz Yisroel and we will become a respected and admired nation once again. Of this we’re certain. The only question is when. This knowledge of the future allows us to handle all the real and imagined challenges we face in the right way; Setbacks are temporary; everything is temporary. Last week we were blessed to have the lights and air working at 8pm but they shut down again a frustrating fifteen seconds later. And this worked. Our spirits were greatly lifted when we were re-
minded of the light and comfort that was waiting for us, even though we had to wait another long two hours. Through experiencing the sweetness of learning Torah, especially the inner dimensions, and by performing Mitzvos, especially the Mitzvah of Ahavas Yisroel, we get a small taste of the goodness which will permeate our world in the very near future. Now, when looking at the current situation in the world, one can’t help but get a sense that it’s all being led from above. Yes every single terrorist attack is the end of the world and at the same time no nation would be able to survive and thrive notwithstanding the worldwide hate and indifference shown them. There is a miracle happening in front of our eyes and it is just a taste of the great miracles which will accompany the ultimate redemption. This letter wouldn’t be complete without addressing the hypocrisy of the world leaders when we Jews are involved. Though nothing new, it still hurts as we are forced to experience it again. They relentlessly refuse to realize that every single method of terror was first tried on the Jews and when overlooked, was subsequently used to terrorize the world and more severely. It is as clear as ever that nothing we Yidden did or didn’t do, and nothing that we said, has anything to do with the murderous expressions of anti-Semitism taking place now or in the past. Let’s see it for what it is; a naked hatred for Jews or anything Jewish. The candles are starting to flicker and the heat is becoming unbearable. Let us hope the lights and air are turned on now. In Yerushalayim, regular people are arming themselves with knives, crow bars and metal sticks, as they are the first responders in this fight. Let us enlist ourselves as well, every one of us, men, women and especially children, to do everything we can to tip the scales in favor of goodness and kindness, bringing peace and harmony to the world at large. With blessings for an energizing Shabbos,
T H E P R E M I E R J E W I S H N E W S PA P E R H I G H L I G H T I N G L A’ S O R T H O D OX C O M M U N I T Y The Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not necessarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The Jewish Home contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly. FOR HOME DELIVERY, OR TO HAVE THE LATEST ISSUE EMAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, SEND A MESSAGE TO EDITOR@JEWISHHOMELA.COM
THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 15, 2015
THE JEWISH HOME
OCTOBER 15, 2015
Hooleh Fun at Sukkot Carnival. Interview with 8th Day. Ruth Judah On Thursday, October 1st, the expansive Emek Hebrew Academy campus was overhauled with a grand collection of games and activities that created a Sukkot Carnival such as never had been seen before. There was hope for a good turnout and the final numbers were rewarding with sales to more than 1,500 people. Visitors were from a cross section of the entire Jewish Community. The event is a yearly program that Emek has been hosting and providing as a chol hamoed service for the broader Jewish community for close to 10 years. Each year Emek makes additional changes always striving for a premium event. This was the first year that there was also a concert. The excitement peaked as the highly popular Chassidic rock band, 8th Day took to the stage. Playing many wellknown songs, the concert lasted more than an hour. Brothers, Shmuel and Bentzi Marcus, with other musicians in the band, played dozens of songs from their previous albums and introduced their fans to tracks from their new CD, Inner Flame, released in June. With a mesmerizing aerial camera filming the show, the crowd of kids and parents were delighted. The Rockin’ Sukkot Carnival was organized by Rabbi Moshe Tropper, Director of Family Programs, who was delighted but unsurprised by the turnout, saying, “We knew the broad selection of interesting activities would appeal to many students and the chance to see and hear the wonderful sounds of 8th Day was a certain success. Our community is bursting with good energy and the LA Jewish population is stronger than ever; that’s why the Carnival was a successful Sukkot celebration.” Admission cost was capped at a maximum of $25 per family which allowed large families to enjoy the day of fun in a secure environment at an affordable cost. It takes a large group of people to organize such an event and Emek staff as well as student volunteers from other Jewish schools were complimented on their professionalism, efficiency and dedication. Rabbi Mordechai Shifman, Head of School at Emek, was thrilled by the enthusiasm of the guests, remarking, “It makes sense that Emek, the community school, would host a community event that has something to offer everyone.”
The Sukkot Carnival concert was the first time in five years that the band has spent the Sukkot holiday in California. In previous years they have played concerts elsewhere, from New York and Texas to stages in Australia, Canada, Spain, South Africa and England. Still, 8th Day creators, Shmuel Marcus,
a family man with 5 children and the Rabbi of Chabad of Cypress, CA and Bentzi Marcus, his brother, with 3 kids and additionally the manager of a recording studio and music production company, know they are able to avoid a certain amount of touring because of the
way of seeing. It’s more than playing music that captures our hearts, it is also the expression and spiritual connection that is meaningful. Jews played instruments in the Bet Hamikdash and Kind David himself composed and played. Music is a great gift and it is a different
internet distribution of their music. The Emek crowd were mighty pleased that the band was home this year. There are few contemporary Jewish bands and most school kids are familiar with 8th Day’s music and videos which are even played on El Al’s flight entertainment channel. Their songs are created with the hope that audiences, young and old, will be uplifted and entertained by the compositions. As the school kids watched the th 8 Day band dancing and guitar strumming, they were filled with breathless wonder, thinking perhaps, “You can be religious and play music for a living?” Shmuel answers carefully, “Music in general is an amazing thing to be involved with. It develops and enhances our
language and for kids with a Torah education it will enhance their learning. “Yes, I encourage Jewish kids to have music in their life because it enhances Yiddishkeit. On the other hand, as a career, it can be very, very challenging. It is not a typical profession. Still, if someone is inspired, music can be a big part of your life in a Torah friendly capacity. You just have to know that along with the joy, there are a lot of challenges.” Perhaps our school curriculum should include more music? Shmuel agrees and explains the recent history. “In the ‘50’s and ‘60’s it was thought there was no infrastructure to handle music and in the frum community it was pushed aside.
Now, a new educational style is in place and music can be included in a safe space again. Music enhances self-esteem and it is not a danger. That was the fear, although that’s not a valid argument any longer because the world has embraced the frum lifestyle and the door is open for us to enjoy our heritage more easily. I think the learning of music is the healthiest thing that our kids can do to remind themselves that everyday life is inspiring.” Bentzi agrees, emphasizing the truth about humankind. “If you have a talent it is G-d given and you should use it and you have an obligation to use it. Our kids will pursue whatever they want in the framework that we parent them. Today the recording studios are less expensive and so is graphic design and filmmaking and these can all be used to produce entertainment that celebrates Yiddishkeit.” The band is named 8th Day after Shemini Atzeret, but the concept of the number eight is also one of transcendence. What does their music transcend? Shmuel wants fans to, “try and evoke a sense of breaking out of the personal limitations we put on ourselves and embrace infinity.” This sounds serious and deep at heart. Shmuel agrees, “Music can inspire people and so we write songs that are inspirational.” Still, along with this thoughtful component, the band keep their music upbeat, hopeful and amusing even. This is the blend that has created their unexpected success. Passionate and motivated about music they have taken pleasure in building their family sing-a- longs into a global phenomenon with millions of fans and thousands of CD sales. Bentzi admits, “We write music all the time, and there are songs that don’t make it to performance. That’s OK. We aim to be prolific composers. Shmuli has tons of ideas and lyrical creations and hooks that keep us fired up. We also love performing and reaching Jew-
and sounds they bring to their fans because they grew up in a large family in a Rabbi’s home. They are proud of their routes in a small Los Angeles Yeshiva. Celebrity can change you, but Shmuel qualifies this reality in a religious framework, “Everyone is either changing the world, or the world is changing them. That’s why we daven and make a bracha over our food before we eat. Jews are always changing and when you are well-grounded in your values you know that we are just the student with a suitcase who is passing through this world. At the end of the day, everything is temporary. In the meantime, it feels good to spread a message of joy. That’s our goal.” 8th Day website can be visited at my8thday.com. 8th day albums can be downloaded and purchased from the site, or at Mostly Music or iTunes.
Hooleh and Yalili official music videos
the simplest idea with a witty musical delivery. The supermarket was the location for Ya’alili whose singing fish were seen by 3.4million viewers to date. 800,000 viewers have watched Hooleh, set in the Baron Herzog winery and a variety of simple urban locations are made exotic in other frum-sensitive music videos which pull in viewers who love the high energy rhythms and poetic lyrics. The newest album, Inner Flame, the 6th album in 8 years, sums everything up, “There’s a smile deep, deep within you.” “We take our inspiration from different places. Back in the ‘70’s we were mesmerized by the Jewish Rock band, Megama. This was the first time we heard country/ folk sounds and it was a new movement without a clarinet in sight. There was also the frenetic electrified sound of the Jewish band, Raya Mehemna. And the Baal Teshuva
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movement brought modern sounds to the yeshiva music scene. Much Jewish music remains true to the original shtetl sound but many new artists, especially coming from the Israel scene, have introduced electronic music which has influenced Jewish music in general.” The Marcus brothers feel a strong responsibility for the values
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ish people who have not previously considered their Jewish identity. Often when we play there is someone from the audience who shares a poignant story where our music has opened the door to their Jewish observance.” 8th Day have built a viral internet presence by continually posting magical music videos which blend
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OCTOBER 15, 2015
Bais Naftoli President, Commissioner Andrew Freidman, visits Hungarian President Ruth Judah In September, County Commissioner Andrew Friedman made an official visit to Hungary with his wife, as guests of Hungarian President Janos Ader. The Hungarian President invited Friedman, President of Bais Naftoli Orthodox Congregation, in appreciation of the accolade and respect he had received as the shul’s Reception, held in his honor this past June. At the June event the Hungarian President acknowledged the responsibility of Hungary in the murder of 500,000 innocent Jewish men, women and children during the Holocaust. The Friedman’s enjoyed a 90 minute meeting at the historical Sandor Palace in Budapest, the official home of President Ader. Friedman presented the President with a certificate from Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Paul Koretz. Although the palace was resplendent with ornate tapestries and gold furnishings, the Friedman’s were served a meal on paper plates and plastic cups, reflecting the seriousness with which President Ader considers the issue of glatt kosher entertaining. Friedman was updated with news that
Hungary has now committed over eight million dollars to the refurbishing of Hungary’s aging synagogues and cemeteries. Additionally, this year, it is a Hungarian, Szabolcs Takacs, who will be chairperson of The International Holocaust Alliance, an event that includes representatives of more than thirty countries. Takacs will be visiting Los Angeles in December in an official capacity at a Chanukah Party. President Ader and Friedman discussed the current migration crisis caused by the hundreds of thousands of Muslims fleeing Syria and beyond. The President agreed that the issue particularly affects Jews. When Moslem refugees arrive in Hungary, they are walking into a country which has a healthy respect for Israel but maintains a latent antisemitism. The concern is that Muslim immigrants will agitate this delicate issue. The EU immigration policy for political and economic immigrants, mandates that new arrivals have to register in the country of arrival. Estimates show that as many as 175,000 undocumented refugees
have tried to enter Hungary but only 60,000 or so have registered. ISIS claims they have sent thousands of terrorist immigrants into Europe and these criminals will avoid registration. So far, many Hungarian arrivals have left for wealthier northern European countries. The European Union has designated the number of immigrants that each member country will have to accept; Hungary is required to take a more manageable 1,500. The newly erected 15 foot fence around its borders is not coming down any time soon. The President told Friedman that Hungary’s decision to close its border to new migrants is crucial for Hungary to maintain its unique identity. It should also benefit the Viktor Orban government, which is doing much to revitalize Jewish life in Hungary. At the same time, it is crucial to limit the power of the extreme right wing Jobbik party who are antisemitic and spreading their support network across Europe. Voters are quick to support right wing political parties who tout anti-immigrant policies but whose agenda is inevitably antisemitic as well. Antisemitism is unique to each European country and the issues relating to the Arab immigrants will vary. Currently this is a humanitarian crises. The future will likely see a sympathetic response to those whose values are compatible with their chosen European country. Heinz-Christian Strache, was recently standing for Mayor of Vienna. His position was well-known; give preferential treatment to Christian migrants over Muslims to protect, “Austria’s western character.” There will likely be a long-term sympathetic response to political refugees but a certain amount of repatriation of economic refugees. Friedman was told that 70% of refugees are men, 13% are women and 18% are children because the overwhelming reason for the immigration is economic. According to a recent article in
Time magazine, an estimated 700 million people worldwide would like to relocate their families in order to achieve a better economic opportunity, this being wholly unviable. Meanwhile, the newest EU assessment requires an assignment of immigrants throughout Europe with the numbers in France and the UK to double the number who have currently been admitted. The problem is that these countries already suffer from increased antisemitism and anti-Israel inclinations. Hate crimes associated with the burgeoning situation are being reported in twice as many instances over the last year. Friedman is clear on the solution to the influx of Muslims to Europe, education of human rights, civil rights and Jewish rights as well as legal consequences for any form of hate crimes. In Hungary today it is a crime to deny the holocaust.
of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects, as well as experience in teamwork, innovative thinking and problem solving. Each class receives equipment and materials from CIJE and the teachers undergo specialized training to “reorient” how they approach class material. Judy Lebovits, CIJE vice president and director, explained, “This new program is going to give our Jewish Day School and Yeshiva students a greater advantage in STEM curriculum which encourages innovation, creativity and problem solving.” Over the course year, students will be developing all
types of products and machines, ranging from advanced circuitry to bridge building to developing prosthetic limbs. “At Cheder Menachem, students are inspired to recognize every aspect of learning as part of their journey to become productive members of society and leaders in their individual communities,” said Mrs. Yudi Blauner, general studies coordinator. “Partnering with CIJE provides our students the ability to learn, ask, think, and discover essential skills for life and for 21st century learning.” “The incredible professionals at CIJE have brought a sense of innovation, positivity and creativity previously unseen in our science classes,” explained Esther Kreiman, Ohel Chana General Studies
Historic Chanukas Habayis for Missouri Torah Institute Talmidim of Missouri Torah Institute (MTI), an affiliate of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim in Queens, moved into a magnificent new campus in Chesterfield, Missouri on Elul Zman. The eight acre, 120,000 sq ft property has helped the yeshiva realize their dream of building and glorifying Torah from the Midwest and across America. The new campus will iy”H be dedicated at a historic Chanukas Habayis event, on Sunday November 15th in Chesterfield.
The event will mark a milestone in American Yeshiva history as a most magnificent Mesivta and Beis Medrash campus becomes a jewel in the crown of the Yeshiva Torah world. “The move to this campus has already had a tremendous impact on our talmidim, our community and the whole area in general,” said Rabbi Dovid Fromowitz, Rosh Yeshiva of MTI. “There is an amazing positive energy; our parents and talmi-
dim are proud; people in the community are coming to daven and learn here, and people from not only the Midwest but all the way across the country, are calling and sharing their excitement and chizuk from this incredible Kiddush Hashem!” For the past two summers, the MTI Bais Medresh Talmidim and Rabeiim were hosted by the Los Angeles community in Valley Village, where they helped staff the successful Shaarei Tzedek Summer Beis
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Principal. “The most incredible thing about CIJE are the professionals we’ve met who work tirelessly day after day to make sure that our students are receiving the best, most comprehensive Science education out there. Our school is very excited to see the long lasting benefits of CIJE’s science program in our students’ lives.” Dr. Adrian Krag, director of West Coast STEM programs added, “From pre-K-12, CIJE looks forward to continue expanding the number of advanced core curriculum and STEM programs on the west coast to ensure a new generation of innovators in our schools.” For more information visit www.thecije.org.
Medresh Program. The students were true ambassadors of Torah in bringing the thrill and excitement of a full time Beis Medresh Program to the Valley and there are plans to spend time on the West Coast this upcoming summer, as well. For more information about Missouri Torah Institute, please contact 636 778 1896.1896
OCTOBER 15, 2015
Cheder Menachem is one of a select group of Jewish Day Schools nationwide that are now launching an innovative, new, CIJE-Tech MS engineering program designed specifically for middle school grades. Ohel Chana Girls High School has also launched the STEM Program. These are the first Chabad schools to offer the CIJE STEM program to their students. The Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education has introduced the new CIJE program at 35 schools for the 2015-2016 school year. The program provides students with a challenging and rigorous program of study focusing on the application
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New Engineering Program Launched at Cheder Menachem and Ohel Chana High School
Local Teachers Honored with Excellence Award At the end of September, four remarkable teachers from Los Angeles Jewish schools were awarded an unrestricted $15,000 cash prize when they were honored with the 2015 Jewish Educator Award by the Milken Family Foundation. There are more than 1,000 teachers in Los Angeles yet only a select few are nominated and finally chosen for the award. Winners are selected for their innovation, creativity and loyalty to their day schools who must be affiliated with the Builders of Jewish Education (BIJE) program. The announcements were made by Milken Family Foundation Executive Vice President Richard Sandler and BJE Executive Director Dr. Gil Graff. A key element of the Jewish Educator Awards mission is the incorporation of community in school excellence. The JEA program was established in 1990 by the Milken Family Foundation, in cooperation with BJE, as an adjunct to the Miliken Foundation’s National Educator Awards program. The award recipients are selected by a committee of educators, professional and lay leaders from the Jewish community who have a long-standing involvement with education in Jewish schools. Rabbi Levi Solomon, the Principal at
Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center, received his surprise 2015 Jewish Educator Award during a schoolwide assembly, ostensibly held to celebrate the Jewish high holy days. His wife and children all knew of the prize for two weeks beforehand but kept the big secret safe. Rabbi Solomon admitted, “I was surprised they were able to keep the secret. There wasn’t even a comment about wearing clean white shirts or a jacket on the day!” Solomon was deeply moved by the unexpected windfall and expressed his love for his job saying, “I’ve been part of this school for 18 years...This is my life. This is what I do, day in, day out. I feel I’m blessed by each one of you. Emek has invested in me so that I can bring meaningful advancement and innovation to the school.” Rabbi Solomon has worked tirelessly with current and former principals and Head of School Rabbi Shifman to develop the most engaging curriculum. Becoming a school principal in 2012 he has worked tirelessly with the administrative team to establish 21st century learning skills and techniques. In particular, Emek now offers techniques in blended classroom which rotates learning stations for small groups
Photos courtesy of Milken Family Foundation
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OCTOBER 15, 2015
Rabbi Solomon reacting to the announcement that he had one the prestigious Milken award and $15,000
so students receive more personalized attention. At Milken Community High School, the prize was awarded to Mr. Kelly Shepard who has led the performing arts program for 17 years and has developed one of Los Angeles’s finest performing arts programs. “I love being wowed by kids. And it happens all the time,” he said as he accepted the Award. Mrs. Jamie Gomer is kindergarten and general studies teacher at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Los Angeles. She had to take a few minutes before she could speak after hearing of her award. Milken Family Foundation were impressed that through innovative teaching techniques, Gomer has transformed Heschel’s kindergarten experience into one that encourages
creativity, question-asking and collaboration. The fourth award went to a teacher at Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am. Hanna Keynan is a K-8 arts teacher and is known for breathing creative life into her curriculum at Pressman, where, “students learn Hebrew through art and art through Hebrew.” Her Jewish Educator Award was, of course, a complete surprise. What will the winners do with their prize? Rabi Solomon shared his dream, “I would love to give some of my winnings to the school for a student activity. And then…well, my car is very old and worn. I just might replace it!”
consequences of pain management. Under many circumstances, extreme pain relief can suppress respiratory function to the extent that the patient can no longer breathe on their own without the assistance of a respirator. The patient is thus confront-
ed with dependence on a machine for the remainder of their life. In this condition, many patients view themselves as useless and non-productive, or even as a burden on their family and society. Today’s lexicon attempts to repackage assisted suicide with softer terminology such as “aid in dying” or “death with dignity”. However make no mistake; in Jewish law this is suicide, period. Our Torah deems anyone’s assistance in this act as an unconscionable taking of human life, and some Torah authorities have gone so far as to equate it with murder. Independent of the conflicts this law presents to faith-based groups, there are many other opponents. For example, a considerable number of physicians have voiced serious concerns with how it diminishes the value of life while infusing the acceptability of assisted suicide into contemporary society. They view this as a dagger ripping apart the very fabric of their Hippocratic Oath and express concern that the doctor-patient relationship is being compromised. Critics also fear the law’s potential incentive for coercion by family members seeking to expedite the dying process, insurance carriers driven by the bottom line, or federal and state government entities making decisions based on scarce public funding. There is no shortage of medications that aren’t covered by public and private insurance, yet all suicide drugs are. Given the choice, many a patient may choose to end their life in order to alleviate the financial and emotional burden on their family. The possibility of the most vulnerable of patients facing emotional and psychological manipulation, most especially the elderly, the poor, and those with no loved ones to protect them is a chilling scenario. Today we cannot escape the influence of public policy on Jewish values. For many, this law may be solely about relieving pain and suffering. However, for this writer, the critical component is how Jewish patients live and die in America. As
such, I’ve found myself wondering why this topic hasn’t received significantly more traction within the Orthodox Jewish community. Perhaps we as Jews don’t want to be painted as unsympathetic to those suffering under these circumstances, even though this is far from true. A basic commandment of Judaism is to show compassion and kindness to all in society, regardless of their faith, and our empathy to those who are suffering knows no bounds. However, publicly voicing a religious objection to an issue is too often labeled as “bigoted” or “out of touch”; thus we opt for silence rather than speak out. In response to Governor Brown signing this bill into law, we advised his office that Bikur Cholim is extremely distressed by assisted suicide becoming legal. In addition to being contrary to Jewish principles, the law in its current form presents serious deficiencies, and our focus now is to engage the State Assembly during the regulatory process to include specific provisions and amendments that would appropriately protect patients when they are in their most fragile state.
Select regional and national Jewish organizations are seeking ways in which to deal with changing societal, and by extension, legislative attitudes towards this issue. Notably, Agudath Israel of California has been actively involved with the State Legislature, and stated it will continue to work on ways in which to improve and add safeguards to the current law. Jewish medical ethics and healthcare policy will clearly be at odds in a variety of areas, and for this reason it is vital for us to speak in an unequivocally united voice. With this in mind, Bikur Cholim has moved forward in forming a Medical Ethics Council comprised of physicians, healthcare providers, and Halachic authorities to provide support for patients, families, and the medical establishment dealing with end-of-life issues. As Jews, we must remain true to our principals, beliefs, and tenets, and never lose sight that life is of infinite value. L. Quaytman contributed to this article. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
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A little more than a year ago, our country was swept up in the drama of a 29 year-old woman who planned to end her life. She had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was told by her doctors that she had six months to live. Following her diagnosis she moved to Oregon to take advantage of its physician-assisted suicide law. Social media was rife with photos of this woman, including a video of her own testimonial and farewells, and on November 1, 2014 she ended her life. Her images and words were both riveting and extremely emotional. Many believed that her actions were acceptable, reflecting their own humanity and belief that no one should be condemned to debilitating pain and suffering when there is no hope for recovery. Last week, following in the footsteps of Oregon and three other states, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the End of Life Option Act legalizing physician-assisted suicide in California. Simply put, terminally ill patients who are left with no available treatment options can request that their physician hand them a drug that will end their life. In such an instance, the doctor would be immune from civil or criminal liability. Prior to the Governor’s action, Bikur Cholim wrote to him, articulating the Jewish perspective on physician-assisted suicide and requesting his veto. Our letter was endorsed by the Rabbinical Council of California, Agudath Israel of California, Agudath Israel of Los Angeles Bais Avigdor, and Chabad Lubavitch (Greater Los Angeles). It was also strongly supported by many leading Halachic and bio-ethics authorities, including Rabbi J. David Bleich (NY), Rabbi Moshe D. Tendler (NY), and Rabbi Shlomo E. Miller (Toronto). Among other things, the letter stated, “In Judaism, the sanctity and infinite value of human life is a fundamental principle, as is a physician’s obligation to heal. However when all medical efforts fail, and the physician is left with no further treatment options, then their role changes from that of healer to one who provides supportive and palliative care combined with psychosocial support. No matter how valiant the intentions a physician-assisted suicide may appear, the deed constitutes an unconscionable taking of human life….Judaism demands that everything possible be done to alleviate a terminal patient’s suffering. Intractable pain relief is a paramount responsibility of the physician, and today’s medicine offers a variety of methods for its relief. There is no objection in Jewish law that prohibits the use of medication to control a terminal patient’s pain at any time….” The question then, is this: If pain relief can be managed, why the need for assisted suicide? The answer lies in the
Rabbi Hershy Z. Ten, President of Bikur Cholim Los Angeles, CA
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Life Under Siege Assisted Suicide
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OCTOBER 15, 2015
Gedolei Yisrael Address Precarious Situation in Eretz Yisrael One of the underlying hashkafos of Dirshu is to constantly seek guidance from Gedolei Yisrael, both with regard to existing programs and new programs in their planning stages, in keeping with the words of the Gemara that, “Anyone who takes advice and guidance from the elders will not stumble.” Thus, last week, senior members of Dirshu’s hanhala went to the homes of several senior Gedolim to receive their bracha and words of chizuk as Daf HaYomi B’Halacha embarks on the daily halachos of davening and in mussar on shmiras halashon. Among the Gedolim visited were the senior Rosh Yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, the Sar HaTorah, HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, the senior Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovezh, HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, and the senior Sephardic Rosh Yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Shimon Baadani, shlita. The visits transpired Sunday, 28 Cheshvan/October 11, when Eretz Yisrael was in the throes of an unprecedented wave of terror attacks perpetrated by young Arabs against innocent Israeli civilians. Dirshu’s hanhala found the Gedolei Yisrael very worried about the plight of Am Yisrael and in tremendous pain over the loss of life and injury caused by the wave of attacks in multiple cities and especially in Yerushalayim where there have been numerous serious incidents. Little did the hanhala of Dirshu realize that in the eyes of the Gedolei Yisrael, the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha and mussar program can play an important role in arousing the rachamei shamayim needed to neutralize and stop these gezeiros from transpiring. The first Gadol that Dirshu visited was HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlita. Rav Gershon, whose every word is measured in his public statements. He told the Dirshu hanhala that, “learning the concepts of shmiras halashon carries within it the power of hatzalas nefashos. The senior Rosh Yeshiva added that learning hilchos tefillah in a comprehensive manner, with cheishek, excitement and desire, has the power to transform a person’s tefillah.
[This enhanced adherence and devotion to] tefillah is a segulah that can help a person be saved from difficult occurrences.” From the unassuming apartment on Rechov Rashbam in Bnei Brak where Rav Chaim Kanievsky lives, the light of Torah shines forth to the four corners of the world. Although it is well known that Rav Chaim is extremely sparing with his words he nevertheless has a special place in his heart for Dirshu and expresses his deep simcha and respect for the tremendous amount of Torah learning and Torah living that Dirshu has facilitated among Yidden the world over. When Dirshu came to receive guidance and chizuk from Rav Chaim, Rav Chaim said, “It is obvious that chizuk in the learning of daily halacha, with a program such as Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, coupled with the words and ideals of mussar from the Chofetz Chaim, can serve as a shield and a source of salvation during this difficult period [that Am Yisrael is undergoing.]” HaGaon HaRav Shimon Baadani, shlita, member of the Nesius of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, was extremely distraught over the difficulties that Yidden across Eretz Yisrael are facing due to the outbreak of Arab terrorism in cities throughout the country. Rav Baadani bemoaned the fact that still, despite everything, people are often not careful in what they say about their fellow man. “Negative speech and lashon hara is so dangerous!” he reiterated. He then praised Dirshu for instituting a program where the halacha and mussar regarding lashon hara is learned because just as speaking lashon hara can r”l, be the source of much difficulty and travail for Klal Yisrael
A visit to the humble abode of the venerated senior Rosh Yeshiva of our time, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, is always a deeply inspiring, instructive experience. The visit of Dirshu’s hanhala to his home this past Sunday was no different. As always, Rav Shteinman greeted the hanhala of Dirshu who were accompanied by his close talmid, HaGaon HaRav Chiz-
kiyahu Mishkovsky, shlita, Mashgiach of Yeshiva Orchos Torah, with great affection. After hearing a report about Dirshu’s latest accomplishments and plans, as well as the hisorerus engendered by the recent Dirshu mission to Radin, Rav Shteinman addressed the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha
program and the current wave of terror in Eretz Yisrael that is causing the Rosh Yeshiva such heartache. He spoke about the power of all limud haTorah and limud halacha to neutralize difficult gezeiros saying, “It is simple and obvious that learning in a program like Daf HaYomi B’Halacha can help [Klal Yisrael] in the present difficult situation.” Later, he qualified his words with even greater emphasis saying, “It is clear that joining the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha can serve as a means to change the matzav…” Rav Shteinman ended with warm, heartfelt bracha to Dirshu that “they should continue to accomplish only good things!” Good things continue to happen, as a new student expressed just six months after starting the study program. “I can’t believe I learned the entire hilchos tefillin with Mishnah Berurah! Even the difficult siman lamed beis and the Mishnas Sofrim about how to properly write the letters in tefillin, mezuzos and Sifrei Torah was not skipped. It was the first time in my life that I learned these halachos! The Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program has taught me not to be scared of any area, but rather to plunge into the learning, one day at a time, one se’if after another and realize how, with a small daily investment I can slowly make huge strides in knowledge of halacha and mussar. Now we have started the halachos of birchas hashachar and the daily tefillos. I am so motivated!” These are the excited sentiments expressed by one person who began the second machzor of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha just six months ago and has not looked back since.
Saadya Notik to the Holy One, blessed be He; He created it (this we learn from the story of the Creation) and gave it to whomever He deemed proper. When He wished, He gave it to them, and when He wished, He took it away from them and gave it to us. “Of course the world understands Israel’s security needs, but arguments of ethics and justice will trump security arguments,” Hatovely said, urging Israeli diplomats serving abroad to reiterate the Jewish people’s right to the entire land of Israel. “The time has come to tell the world that we’re right – not only smart.” The diplomats were shocked. And for good reason. “It’s the first time anyone has asked us to use verses from the Torah for public diplomacy abroad,” one diplomat was quoted as saying. Recently, when a Muslim-American girl came with her university’s imam to Jerusalem on a program to learn about Israel and the Jewish story as it relates to Israel, she had an epiphany. “So what you’re really saying is that you’re here not because of the Holocaust?
You’re here because you have an ancient connection to this land? Did I get that right?” The Muslim girl was shocked. And for good reason. The story that Israel has promulgated is that we need a country as a refuge from persecution. That the State of Israel was a necessary safe-haven after the Holocaust. And for that reason all subsequent arguments are based on security alone; all negotiations on “defensible borders.” Last Thursday the New York Time’s dropped a bomb in an article entitled Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem’s Holiest Place: Nobody can say for certain whether there was a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount. Many Jewish writers are up in arms: How dare they! This is journalistic malpractice! They are assisting anti-Semitism. Let’s boycott, divest and sanction the paper. It must have been a mistake! They must have meant to say nobody can say for certain where the Temple stood, not whether the Temple stood. (After all the NYT did issue such a correction and did
publish a letter to the editor by one of the specialists interviewed for the piece.) No, the NYT just hates Israel and they’ll stop at nothing to delegitimize them! The correction is too little, too late. Yes, many Jews are shocked. But without good reason. That a New York Times reporter and editor of the foreign desk could pen an article with the sole purpose of questioning one of the least questionable things in all of history – and with such utter nonchalance! – has less to do with their biases and Arab propaganda and more to do with the story that Israel itself has told for way too long. And the oldest story they haven’t been telling at all.
OCTOBER 15, 2015
Eyebrows were raised. Diplomats looked at each other in disbelief. Were they really hearing Israel’s top diplomat suggest that they start quoting the Bible in defense of Israel? Likud lawmaker Tzipi Hatovely had just cited 11th century Bible commentator Rashi’s first commentary on the first verse in the Torah to incoming Foreign Ministry employees. “In the beginning, Hashem created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1 Rashi (paraphrased) asks in the name of Rabbi Isaac: Why does the Torah begin with the creation of the world? Shouldn’t it have started with the very first commandment of counting the months? After all Torah, as its name suggests, is about hora’ah – instruction. The Torah is foremost a book of laws, an instruction manual on how to live our lives, not a book of stories or history. So why then begin with creation of the world? Rashi answers: For if the nations of the world should say to Israel, “You are robbers, for you conquered by force the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan],” they will reply, “The entire earth belongs
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Don’t Blame the New York Times
Born in Brooklyn, raised in California, Saadya Notik traveled the world as an ambassador for the largest Jewish organization before founding the Shabbat Society -- an invite-only Friday night dinner group for New York City’s least-affiliated and most talented young Jews. First appeared on timesofisrael.com
Are the Haggim Over? Muriel Levin, Certified Life Coach How do you know if the High Holidays are over? Do you check your calendar to be sure? My Rebbe Kohn told me, “You will know if you had a Yom Tov, the day after.” It’s true. The days that follow Yom Tov will let you know if it’s over and forgotten or if you will continue to change. For the better, that is. The proof is in the many days after, not in the diet pudding shake you eat after all the delicious and plentiful meals. It reminds me of the response that Rabbi Manis Friedman gave to someone who had asked the question. “How do I know if that person is my beshert?” Rabbi Friedman replied, “You will know the next day when you wake up next to them!” How do you know if the High Holidays have done their work? You will know when you wake up the next day a different person. Yom Kippur is the time for this. Succot is over if the holiday has passed and you have not touched the intense energy of Hashem surrounding you, just like the Succah surrounds us. Simchas Torah is over if the day has passed and you did not commit to wake up
dancing every morning. The same Torah you danced with remains yours to enjoy every single day. How do you know the holiday season was successful? You will see the reward for your prayers when, a year from now, your list of personal improvements has some items checked off and looks different from the list of the year before. For those who remember the end of the story of Yonah, not just the part about the fish, remember that Yonah stayed in the shade while waiting to see for how long the inhabitants of Nineveh would sustain their incredible Teshuvah turn around? And why do you think he was staying there after giving his prophecy? Why didn’t he return home? Because he figured that such a radical change was not sustainable for a whole population. He feared they were acting out of fear of being annihilated. Sadly, he was right. Two years later they returned to their bad deeds and they were finished. So what do we learn from this? First of all, that in order to improve, it is not enough to wish and pray for change. We have to
show change in our behavior. Think, 123… ACTION! Hashem looked at the deeds of the inhabitants of Nineveh. Not just their outer signs of regret, which, by the way, were quite remarkable but still, not enough to warrant retracting the bad decree against them. The second part of Teshuvah is the factor of sustainability. The steps that are taking us on the road to change have to give us permanent pleasure. The end results and the process of transforming ourselves have to be deeply meaningful. Acting out of fear is a good strategy to initiate change but it takes more than this to sustain meaningful modification. We need to find pleasure in our new path or it won’t last. They say in Hebrew: Taanug! Nothing beats it! Think about these questions and write them with the answers in your journal: • Why do I want to change? How happy will I be during and after I change? Remember if the change will bring happiness, you are more likely to go forward. • What am I risking by changing?
Are the risks worth taking and how do I know that? If you are willing to take the risks and yes, make mistakes along the way, you are likely to change. • How will I feel once I have changed? Can I clearly envision the new me? Is it enjoyable? A compelling image of the new You will propel you forward. • What commitment am I willing to make in writing? How will I gather the support I need to make these changes? Be prepared in order to feel good. What strategies do you need to put in place to achieve your goal? • What is the smallest step I can take right now to start the process? Go for it and enjoy! For this new month, treat yourself with a new YOU! Supporting you in achieving your life dreams and purpose! Muriel Levin, Certified Life Coach can be reached by email at email@example.com and at 323 3639140.
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OCTOBER 15, 2015
Scaling the Heights
Sir Edmund Hillary is widely known as the first man to climb to the top of Mount Everest. Mixing courage, determination and skill, in 1953 he succeeded in climbing the towering peak. Before him, many had attempted the feat and failed. His accomplishment drew interest and excitement around the globe and conferred upon him hero status. However, historians later discovered that he was the second person to reach the top of the world’s tallest mountain. Decades before Hillary conquered the mountain, a climber named George Mallory had attempted the climb. He tried twice in 1921, and then again in 1924 after saying that he was making another attempt “because it’s there… Everest is the high est mountain in the world, and no man has reached its summit. Its existence is a chal lenge.” The last time he was seen was on his way to make that climb. It was widely assumed that he had died on the way up and never accomplished his goal. His body wasn’t able to acclimate to the thin air or the frigid temperatures or deal with the others many hazards that had previously led man to believe that the mountain could not be climbed. When Mallory’s frozen body was found by climbers in 1999, scientists stated that the evidence suggested that he had been to the top and was making his way down when he lost his life. As a result of the discovery, according to them, Hillary was unfairly crowned as “the first”. However, something Hillary said after his historic climb came to have
even more meaning than when it was originally stated. When discussing the feat no one had thought possible until he accomplished it, Hillary said that reaching the top of the mountain was not really enough. “I was very much aware that we still had to get safely back down the mountain again, and that was quite an important factor,” he said. “I really felt the most excitement when we finally got to the bottom of the mountain again and it was all behind us.” On the first two nights of this new year, the baal tefillah dramatically intoned the posuk from Tehillim which states, “Mi ya’aleh behar Hashem umi yokum bimkom kadsho.” Dovid Hamelech appears to be asking, “Who is capable of ascending the mountain of Hashem and capable of remaining at that exalted level?” Perhaps we can understand the question differently. Dovid Hamelech is asking not only who can climb the mountain of Hashem, but “umi yokum,” who can maintain that high level even after the inevitable descent. Who can be “mekayeim,” or sustain, those levels once he has come down to earth? Who can maintain the high levels reached during the Yomim Noraim throughout the
a gentleman slumped over in utter exhaustion, obviously recuperating from what must have been a very long day. In my own post-Hakafos reverie, I mused that the image of my slumbering friend was that of Klal Yisroel in golus, slumped over, worn out from endless travels, bewildered and unsure. We rest our weary heads and wonder what is expected of us. As I approached my dozing pal, he stirred, coming alive at my “gut yom tov” greeting. He lifted his head and smiled through the haze, and I thought to myself that this is the image of the Yid in golus. As the posuk states, “Ani yesheina velibi eir.” The Jew picks himself up and starts again. Never is this lesson more relevant than now, at this time of the year, in the current climate. Less than two weeks after Simchas Torah, with the memories fading, slumber threatens to overtake us. It’s all too easy to slump over and lose ourselves in sleep. In truth, no nightmare is as harsh as reality, the news in the golah and in Eretz Yisroel. It takes strength, courage and drive just to go on. Most of all, it takes the middah per-
WE ARE ALL MERCHANTS, EMERGING FROM THE LOFTY DAYS WITH POCKETS FULL. coming days of the year? Our challenge now is to incorporate and adapt what we have learned and experienced over Elul and Tishrei into our lives. Perhaps this is why the month of Cheshvan contains no holidays. It is a period set aside for spending time internalizing the lessons and levels of the past two months. It therefore has no outstanding days of its own to interrupt the acclimation process. On Simchas Torah afternoon, I went to shul for Minchah. A “reshima d’kedushah,” an imprint of holiness, was felt in the room - the echo of raised voices and stamping feet, lingering smells of sweat and dust, crumpled flags and empty candy wrappers. There was a lone figure present,
sonified by Noach, the steady, unwavering diligence with which he forged on. Simple temimus. Imagine what it must have been like for him. Consider the thoughts that must have been going through his mind as he tried, for 120 years, to convince the world to repent. He was mocked and vilified. He couldn’t even persuade one person to lead a moral life. How dejected he must have been! Yet, we are told otherwise. Even as the rains began to fall, he pleaded for a little more time, holding out against the hope that perhaps he could convince someone to repent. He had been charged with a mission and he never quit. Therefore, the
posuk tells us, he found favor in the eyes of Hashem. If ever someone had reason to put head in hands and forget about the world, it was Noach. His golus was worse than ours. He was completely surrounded by immoral people. There was not one other family with whom he could converse on an equal level. The world was so evil that it had to be destroyed. Yet, Noach persisted in being a tzaddik and fulfilling the ratzon Hashem, guided by temimus and simple faith. He lived atop a lonely mountain, but he came down in an attempt to care for others and try to influence them. It’s all too easy to grow lonely and despondent. We can look around and lose hope, seeing a world gone mad and wring our hands. Noach teaches us not to grow dejected, to keep hammering away and building. We look to Eretz Yisroel and think of the heartrending funerals and shivah homes, the fresh yesomim and almanos. We think of the continuing wave of terror and tragedies and weep. Our hearts break as we think of the panic and dread that fill the hearts of our brothers and sisters. We see our enemies emboldened, their youth taking up knives and searching for Jews to kill. We see their imams, their friends and the international media cheering them on. We bemoan the double standard and wonder when and how it will end. We ponder the general security situation there and shudder. We think of the lack of achdus and we shake. We worry about the future of our Israeli brethren. How will they hold out? How will they manage? How will they pay their bills? We see the void created by America’s abdication of leadership and wonder where it will lead. We see groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda gaining. Countries such as Russia and Iran are solidifying gains and wonder if and when the West will challenge them. We look at what is taking place in this country and aren’t much more optimistic. We see a president who threatens Israel, an administration that governs irresponsibly, and a party that supports them, enabling them to carry forward their misguided agenda. We see immorality throughout the land and watch helplessly as the laws of
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relatively short time and were capable of being mechadeish chiddushei Torah, while in previous generations, it took scholars much more time to achieve the same levels. The Chazon Ish turned to him and said quite cryptically that it was, “because of the ashes of the furnaces.” Rav Auerbach explained that the ability of young people in our generation to rise and excel is due to the power of the Torah of Jews, young and old, who toiled and excelled in Torah, but were exterminated by the Nazis during the war. As Chazal say, “Gevillim nisrofim, osiyos porchos b’avir.” The parchments burnt, but the letters flew into the air, where they hover, waiting for people to come and grab them. The darkness and fires of the Holocaust gave birth to the rejuvenation. The destruction was awful, inconceivable to us seven decades later. So many millions of people lost their lives, so many millions were forever affected. There is no facet of Jewish life that was not altered, but with the penetrating darkness came a ray of light. “Mitoch tzarah hamtzi’eim pedus urevachah,” we asked in Selichos. From the depths of the pain itself, find us a glimmer of salvation. In the most severe din, there is still rachamim.
The Chofetz Chaim would often quote the Gemara that describes the posuk in Eichah (3:6) which states, “Bemachashakim hoshivani kemeisei olam - He thrust me into the darkness as the dead,” as a reference to Talmud Bavli. The Talmud we all study, the Talmud that is the foundation of our lives, is a mammoth achievement that emerged specifically from the gloom of the exile. It is easy to get pulled down, to stand on the sidelines and shrug our shoulders, agreeing that nothing can be done. We can excuse our inaction by convincing ourselves that even if we were to act, nothing would be accomplished. Noach stands by his teivah and proclaims that this is not true. He reminds us that we must do what we can. Standing up for what is correct, proper and moral is itself an accomplishment. Defending the righteous is the correct course of action, whether or not you prevail. Thus, the Torah testifies, “Noach ish tzaddik tomim hayah bedorosav.” Although his generation was depraved, Noach stood out as a tzaddik because he wasn’t deterred from his mission, despite the obvious fact that everyone else in the world was opposed to him and what he
was doing. He went b’temimus, knowing that man’s mission is not necessarily to win every battle, but to do his best to succeed. We do what we can. We work as hard as we can, expending our energy to the best of our abilities in the pursuit of justice and propriety and fulfilling Hashem’s will. Whether we accomplish anything is in the hands of Hashem. There is a partnership. We labor and Hashem combines our efforts and completes the job when He so desires. Each year, at the close of Hakafos at Yeshiva Be’er Yaakov, Rav Shlomo Wolbe would ask the talmidim to sing “Vaharikosi lochem brachah ad beli dai.” He would explain, “We sang such beautiful songs today, reminding ourselves of such elevating and powerful realities, but we are all at risk of forgetting and letting it slip away. We close the Hakafos with a request for brachah. May Hashem allow the blessings we accrued today to remain with us and become part of our lives.” Rav Shimshon Pincus once remarked that everyone appears a bit dejected after yom tov is over, as they go back to the daily grind. Everyone, that is, except for a few people: the esrog merchant, the fellow who sold s’chach, the hat-store owner, and anyone else whose busiest season was the period leading up to the yom tov. “Now,” explained Rav Pincus, “with pockets full, they can finally rest and enjoy their hardearned profits.” We are all merchants, emerging from the lofty days with pockets full. How we spend our profits depends on us, the choices we make, the altitudes we reached, and the attitudes we have. It’s time to wake up, smile, and face life focused on our own teivos, building, traveling, and climbing ever higher using the gifts we have been given. May the brachos accompany us and brighten our way, ad beli dai.
OCTOBER 15, 2015
the country are changed by fiat, throwing us into the same boat as Sedom. We fear the unknown and don’t know what will come next. We watch a presidential campaign taking shape and wonder if a courageous, honest and forthright leader, who can set the country on a proper path once again, will emerge. The golus tightens, and we fear that the luxurious, comfortable ride we have thankfully become accustomed to may encounter turbulence. We fret and worry. And then we learn Parshas Noach and are reminded to remain optimistic and never give up on our ability to fulfill our mission and Hashem’s commands. The posuk tells us that Hashem told Noach to build a “tzohar” in the teivah. Some interpret this as a command to place a window in the teivah to provide light. Others say that it was a light-emitting diamond. Everything in the teivah was supernatural, for there is no way that it could have contained so many passengers and supplies, much less survive the flood. It was a Divine ship cloaked in nature. Rashi tells us that the teivah accepted only species that remained faithful to their partners. It was a vessel of purity and holiness, presented as a boat. In this miraculous teivah, Hashem told Noach to construct a “tzohar” for light. Perhaps there was an additional message there for him and us: No matter how bleak everything appears, no matter how much rain pounds on your teivah, no matter how dark it is outside, always look for the glimmer of hope and light, for it always exists. Despite all the destruction, life existed and would regenerate and repopulate the world. Despite overwhelming darkness, there is always light. Rav Avrohom Dov Auerbach, brother of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, once asked the Chazon Ish why it is that in his generation, even young talmidei chachomim were able to rise to great heights in a
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17 THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 15, 2015
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THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 15, 2015
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OCTOBER 15, 2015
The Week In News
SEPTEMBER 1, 2015 | The Jewish Home
Israel Gripped by Terror Is it the Third Intifada? By Nachum Soroka
If you’re the Western media, you can call it unrest; if you’re Hamas, you can call it Intifada; if you’re an Israeli, you know that it’s terror at its worst.
he Palestinians have taken to officially terrorizing innocents again, this time mostly with knives, though, as opposed to ball bearings and BBs. Why? No one really knows, even the attackers themselves, some of whom are too young to actually hold an occupation, let alone know what the “Occupation” is. And they are certainly too young to remember the last intifada and whatever consequences it had on their territories. The ongoing uprising contrasts with the First and Second Intifadas in its complete disorganization.
The First Intifada, which began in in 1987 and lasted all the way to 1993, consisted mainly of Arab mobs blocking roadways and hurling Molotov cocktails. The unofficial prime mover of the riots was the PLO, led by Yasser Arafat, who adopted the practice of murdering Arab collaborators with Israel. The Second Intifada, which is infamous for its images of blown out buses and restaurants, claimed the lives of over 1,000 innocent Israelis and was again instigated by Arafat, with the help of many Arab MKs, as well. It began in September 2000 after Arafat rejected thenPrime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer to hand over 96% of the West Bank to the PA, causing much frustration for the Palestinians. During that time, crowded civilian areas were the prime targets for suicide bombers, and the killings only ended with the building of the Israeli security fence around the West Bank.
sukkah while celebrating with her family, the same night a shooting into a sukkah in Lod sent a five-year-old boy to the ICU. Odel and Aharon Benita, young parents of two, were attacked on Sukkos by a 19-yearold terrorist in the Armenian shuk, a popular route from the Kotel. The attack, which left Aharon dead and Odel running through the market’s alleys with a knife in her neck, was casually captured by an Arab storekeeper on his cellphone. “I screamed, I begged for aid” from the Arabs, she told the New York Times. “They stood chatting and laughing — they spat at me.” That stabbing preceded another stabbing of a fifteen-year-old in the Old City by just a few hours. But the terror in Jerusalem is not limited to Arab sections: this past Shabbos’ stabbings occurred not only by Shaar Shechem, the entrance to the Muslim Quarter, but also by Kikar Hadavidka, a central Jerusalem street that is as quiet at 10 o’clock on a Shabbos morning as much as any Chareidi neighborhood. Two teenagers were nearly stabbed to death by a thirteen-year-old and sixteen-yearold Arab terrorist while walking in Pisgat Zeev on Monday. One can attempt to steer clear of the Number 2 Bus and opt to walk to the Kotel, but how can one avoid venturing to his neighborhood shul altogether? Must he forego his daily pre-sunrise
“We call for escalating and deepening the intifada... We are proud of you, the heroes of knives.”
THIS TIME OUND,
Israelis find themselves attacked from all sides. No longer can one avoid busy streets or crowded buses in Jerusalem to feel secure: On Rosh Hashana, a 64-year-old man was killed after his car was attacked by angry Arab teenagers in East Jerusalem. On Sukkos, a young girl was shot in her
walk to vasikin, which doubles as his time for introspection because there is no one else out at that hour to make the trek safe? Must a soccer fan avoid attending Teddy Stadium, the home of the Beitar Yerushalayim club, because of planned Arab attacks on fans going to and returning from a soccer match?
On Tuesday of this week, thousands gathered to attend the funeral of Rabbi Yeshayahu Kirshavski, 59, who was killed by a terrorist who rammed his car into him as he was standing at a bus stop in central Jerusalem after davening Shacharis. The Arab was not satisfied with the car attack; he exited his car and then commenced to stab Rabbi Kirshavski numerous times. Another person was injured in the attack. Rabbi Kirshavski was killed just minutes after two male passengers were killed and others were wounded when terrorists stabbed and shot at riders on a bus in Jerusalem. And on that same day, in Ra’anana four people were stabbed with a knife just hours after another man was stabbed in the city. The attacks are coming in all shapes and sizes and in all areas of the country. In West Bank areas like Chevron, where living with roadside ambushes and infiltration into yishuvim are, unfortunately, the norm, such occurrences are becoming more frequent. Last week saw numerous stabbings in the areas surrounding Kiryat Arba and Chevron, including three in Kiryat Arba on Thursday. On Shabbos alone, an attempted infiltration on the Negahot yishuv near Chevron was thwarted by the IDF and a homemade roadside bomb was immobilized just outside of Kiryat Arba on Motzei Shabbos. Then, on Sunday, an alert border policeman stopped a female suicide car bomber near the Ma’ale Adumim checkpoint, and Kever Rochel was put on lockdown because of Arab rioting there. The weekend violence in the West Bank came days after the murder of Naama Henkin and her husband Eitam, hy”d, a noted talmid chacham and American citizen. The couple was shot to death in their car by Hamas gunmen while their four young children watched from the backseat. Rock-throwing by Arab teens in these areas has intensified at border checkpoints. On Sunday, twenty rock-throwing teenagers were injured by rubber bullets as police endeavored to stop the violence. In other areas of Israel which have been less contentious in the past, Palestinians are still
The Week In News
SEPTEMBER 1, 2015 | The Jewish Home
and increasing of the intifada… It is the only path that will lead to liberation” was the message the “cleric” delivered in his sermon. Whether the Palestinians consider themselves involved in an intifada or just enjoy throwing rocks, ramming cars and stabbing innocent citizens is not clear, but Hamas certainly wants the violence to escalate to an uprising on the level of an intifada. The incidents have become so frequent and so ubiquitous throughout the country that a non-for-profit startup has cre-
SO WHO IS BEHIND THESE RECENT ATTACKS?
It seems as if the leaders of the Palestinian world are igniting the flames. Clearly Hamas leader Haniyeh is inciting the terrorists with his calls for an intifada. “We will liberate Al-Aqsa and we as Gazans intend to join” the current upheaval, he declared at Friday prayers. “We call for escalating and deepening the intifada... We are proud of you, the heroes of knives,” he cheered. In a surprising about-face, though, the Palestinian instigator-in-chief, Mahmoud Abbas, is publicly disapproving any escalation of violence and is outwardly urging calm. The EU claims that the PA President told an EU official over the weekend that he intends to keep the situation “under control.” According to the Shin Bet, Abbas is indeed not behind the recent events, which were carried out mostly by individuals. But there is no denying that declarations like “The dirty feet of the Jews must not be allowed to desecrate Al-Aqsa,” and “Every drop of blood that has been spilled in Jerusalem is holy blood as long as it was for Allah” – which Ab-
bas stated just before Rosh Hashana – and his “clairvoyant” comment about Israel’s “attack” on the mosque is leading the country into “another intifada” – which he made at that time – were enough provocation in and of themselves. Even if Abbas is not to be blamed, there is still much incitement coming from within Israel, from the Arab leadership in the Knesset. Many Arab MKs consider themselves part of the Islamic Movement, an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the leading group, along with Hamas, in the current wave of the “defense” of Al-Aqsa. Netanyahu recently quoted an interview from the Hamas newspaper in which MK Haneen Zoabi said, “Hundreds of thousands of worshipers should go to the Al-Aqsa Mosque to stand up against Israel’s conspiracy to condone violence against East Jerusalem residents. If individual attacks will continue without popular support they will die out in a matter of days – thousands of people going out will turn these events into a true intifada.” Arab MK Bassel Ghattas justified the cold blooded murder of the Henkin family because, after all, “they were settlers.” The prime minister had strong words for the Arab MKs when he addressed the Knesset earlier this week, “You cannot... enjoy all the rights and at the same time undermine the state. I ask you to choose the right way,” he said. Netanyahu has called for an im-
LIKE SO MANY TIMES before in its short history, Israel
continues to be under siege from all sides and by many elements. The threat of ISIS looms larger to Israel than most other countries, the libelous BDS movement is gaining steam throughout Europe, and the U.S. is in the middle of inking a treaty which would allow Israel’s most vocal enemy, Iran, to have the weapons it needs to act on its most nefarious desires. Yet, like before, Israel has proven resilient. The country’s startup economy is second largest in the world (with over $47 billion invested in the year 2014), it ranks as the eleventh happiest country in the world (the United States is 15), and it just announced that it will be the first nation to have privately funded rockets sent to the moon. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset on Monday, “After 100 years of terrorism and 100 years of attempts to destroy the Zionist enterprise, our enemies still have not learned. Suicide terrorism was not victorious over us in the ‘90s and ‘00s, and the terrorism of knives will not be victorious over us now. What always wins is the recognition that this is our home and our homeland. “Our will to live trumps our enemies’ desire for death.” Israel is a nation that truly means it when it says, “Am Yisrael chai.”
OCTOBER 15, 2015
“Our will to live trumps our enemies’ desire for death.”
ated an app which features a real-time interactive map of all the attacks in the country over the past few weeks. The MappingTerror app by StandWithUs is built on the MapMe platform which in lighter times was used to map the hummus “ecosystem” of Israel. Instead of displaying the concentrations of falafel joints along the highway from Jerusalem to Chevron, MappingTerror has icons along the route which provide information of an attack which occurred there. As of Tuesday evening, there are seven icons there. In Jerusalem, there are forty six.
mediate criminal investigation into Zoabi for her incitement of terror against civilians. Zoabi’s response was to call on Netanyahu to resign. Ironically, the Arab MKs who have fomented the incitement for the recent attacks do not seem to have their constituents’ better interest in mind. A recent poll revealed that 80% of Israeli Arabs do not support the newfound unrest. They are tired of the destruction the rioting has wrought on their personal property and the tensions it has caused between them and the Jews. In Nazareth, the Arab mayor yelled at the lead Arab MK, Ayman Odeh, who was conducting an interview on TV, “Ayman, you need to go elsewhere; you’ve destroyed our city!” Netanyahu is also contemplating banning the Islamic Movement from the country, a move that may be almost impossible to carry out. One needs to only look as far south as Egypt to see the struggle the current Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has had in trying to disable the Islamic Movement’s cousin, the Muslim Brotherhood, imprisoning its leaders and supporters, and banning its preachers from mosques. Still, the movement is strong there.
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trying to carry out terror. A viral video from last week shows an Arab knife-wielding woman being shot in the legs in the Afula bus station in the North. (Russian media posted a link to the video with the headline, “Videos emerge online showing Israeli police shooting Palestinian woman ‘execution-style.’”) In the North and South of the country, the rockets continue to fall. In the Golan, Israel is the unhappy recipient of stray rockets from the Syrian conflict. In retaliation, the IDF fired on Syrian military positions in that country. “Israel will not tolerate violation of its sovereignty,” IDF spokesman Peter Lerner tweeted. “Syrian military is responsible and accountable for any aggression emanating from Syria.” In the South, Hamas has been firing mortars from Gaza for the past few weeks and most recently over the weekend as an alleged retaliation for IDF troops killing protesters along the Gaza border. It was as part of the border riots that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced a new intifada on Friday. “Gaza will fulfill its role in the Jerusalem intifada and it is more than ready for confrontation. We are calling for the strengthening
The Infamous Case Of The ‘Get Of Cleves’ part 3 Rabbi Pini Dunner, Rav of Young Israel North Beverly Hills
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OCTOBER 15, 2015
In the first two parts of this series we saw how the ‘Get of Cleves’ controversy embroiled the rabbinic world of the late eighteenth century as the fate of a recently married and divorced couple became the table talk in dozens of communities across Europe. With the Frankfurt beit din refusing to back down over their controversial ruling to invalidate the divorce, the stage was set for a difficult showdown. In March 1767, half a year after the events in question, the senior rabbi of the time, Rabbi Yaakov Emden, dismissed the Frankfurt beit din’s position as untenable, and implored them to reverse their position so as not to make utter fools of themselves. They refused to do so, and instead began to publicly denounce anyone who opposed them over their stance. At around this time, Rabbi Yechezkel Landau of Prague, author of the Noda Biyehuda, intervened in the controversy. Still quite young and not nearly as well known as he would be ten or fifteen years later, Rabbi Landau was by nature a leader and a man of action. In his opinion the Get of Cleves was without doubt a legally viable document, but nevertheless he felt that Rabbi Lipschuetz of Cleves, who had presided over the divorce, should try and negotiate a face-saving compromise with the Frankfurt beit din so that everyone could walk away from the controversy with their heads held high. But after making a number of approaches to the rabbis of Frankfurt, he concluded with regret that they were in no mood for a compromise of any kind. Once this became evident to him, he immediately issued a public ruling validating the Get of Cleves. In his pronouncement he rebuked the Frankfurt dayanim for their obstinacy, and for claiming sole jurisdiction in the case, and suggested forcefully that they immediately reverse their decision in accordance with the majority view of all the other rabbis who had ruled on the case. In a last effort to be conciliatory, he
wrote that as he was sure the Frankfurt beit din had initially acted in good faith and in accordance with their religious convictions, their refusal now to comply with the majority view was understandable. But, he said, it was a grave violation of Jewish law to question the legitimacy of a valid Get, and therefore, although he did not wish to offend the Frankfurt rabbinate, his duty to justice and Torah law compelled him to declare that Leah was free to remarry immediately. He nevertheless suggested that she should wait a full year from the date of the divorce, to give the Frankfurt rabbis a chance to reconsider their position. Frustratingly for all concerned, Rabbi Abish of Frankfurt and his dayanim totally ignored Rabbi Landau’s suggestion. They were not looking for any exit strategy. In fact, it seemed that they were determined to force the entire rabbinic world to fall in line with their way of thinking. When this dawned on Rabbi Landau, he decided to act, and to act decisively. Exactly one year after the dispute had initially erupted he called together the entire Prague community into the city’s main synagogue, and in a rousing public address announced that Leah was free to remarry, and that he would perform the wedding if called upon to do so. He also launched a powerful attack on the Frankfurt rabbinate, calling them to task for allowing pride and vanity to color their judgment. “Even the greatest Jewish legal minds can occasionally make mistakes,” he thundered, and with the packed synagogue listening in stunned silence, he closed his dramatic speech with these devastating words: “when there is a desecration of God’s name it is my duty to defend the honor of heaven, the honor of the Torah, and the honor of laws relating to the daughters of Israel. How sad that this story so perfectly demonstrates how careful one must be to ensure that the evil inclination does not gain control over us.” Rabbi Landau was far from done. He wrote to Rabbi Aron Shimon Copenhagen, who had attended the wedding of Isaac to Leah, and later the divorce, and asked him to publicize the Prague speech as widely as possible, and also to send printed copies of the validation of the ‘Get’ to as many rabbis and communities as he could. Even at this juncture he made an attempt to get the Frankfurt rabbis to back down. But it was no use – not only were they in no mood to listen, in March 1768 they took his published letter and publicly burned it in front of the whole Frankfurt community. Rabbi Landau was not alone defending the Get of Cleves. In the early Fall of 1767, Rabbi Yosef Steinhardt went public with his ruling in favor of the Get. The
following month Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel of Ausbach did the same. Towards the end of the year ten rabbis from Brody in Poland validated the Get. Rabbi Shlomo of Chelm, a renowned and respected halachic expert, was next to come out in support of the get, and he was followed by Rabbi Arye Leib of Hanover, son of the former Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt, Rabbi Yaakov Yehoshua Falk, author of Pnei Yehoshua, and whose students included the dayanim of Frankfurt. In Frankfurt the mood remained belligerent and unrepentant. Copies of the avalanche of rulings by the various rabbis were publicly burned, and a stream of pronouncements were published, all of them restating that the Get of Cleves was
Rabbi Dr. Markus Horowitz, Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt in the late nineteenth century, tried to whitewash his predecessors’ role in the ‘Get of Cleves’ saga in his book on the history of the Frankfurt community.
not worth the paper it had been written on, and Leah was forbidden to remarry without a new Get. Although they never explained their inflexibility, it seems that the Frankfurt beit din were of the view that sanity and insanity had to be judged contextually and holistically. If the behavior leading up to the Get process indicated that the husband was insane in some way, then his instruction to give the Get could also be considered part of that same trend. Isaac’s disappearance with the money on the Shabbat after his wedding was a clear indication that he was mentally ill, and therefore any subsequent act – including his instruction to write a Get – had to be treated as part of his mental breakdown, even if he appeared rational when giving the instruction. Rabbi Lipschuetz of Cleves – and every single other rabbi who weighed in on the matter – disagreed profoundly with this viewpoint. The Shabbat disappearance incident was totally irrelevant, and what
mattered was whether or not Isaac was lucid and coherent at the time the Get was given, which Isaac had certainly been. It had also become a matter of great concern among the rabbinic community that the Frankfurt beit din had refused to publish their legal arguments, or to publish refutations of the reasons published by those who opposed them. Especially because their stance was so contentious, it seemed odd – at best – that they refused to back up their views with solid evidence and source based material to support their views on the matter. Their complete refusal to concede to the majority view was by far the most problematic aspect of all. Had they been involved with the actual divorce – their obstinacy might have been excusable. But as their involvement had only begun after the fact, and even then only as representatives of one side, they really did not have a leg to stand on. Even had they been completely right, Jewish law dictates that the majority has priority, which meant that the Get of Cleves had to be treated as a valid legal document. There was a view that the Frankfurt rabbis and community had closed ranks to defend their esteemed chief rabbi, Rabbi Abish. This view seemed to be borne out when the community leaders in Frankfurt entered the following decree into their official community rulebook a few month’s after Rabbi Landau’s speech to the community of Prague: “Since Rabbi Landau publicly insulted our chief rabbi we decree that the he, his children, grandchildren, sons-in-law, and grandsons-in-law, and any of his descendants, shall never hold an official position in our community. If a member of his family ever visits Frankfurt, he will not be allowed to speak publicly, nor be given any communal honors. Any document signed by the Rabbi of Prague alone, without any additional rabbinical signatures, shall be completely disregarded by our community.” Interestingly, it was never Rabbi Abish who was the driving force in the fight back by the Frankfurt rabbinate. The leading protagonist in Frankfurt was Rabbi Nathan Maas, author of the scholarly work Binyan Shlomo. A charismatic and forceful personality, he was regarded as a very smart man, and was undoubtedly the most influential dayan in Frankfurt. It was Rabbi Maas who composed all the letters and public pronouncements, and it was Rabbi Maas who rabbis outside of Frankfurt accused of misleading Rabbi Abish and forcing him to stick to his guns, by convincing him that he was fighting a holy war.
his Shabbat disappearance, and who believed therefore that the Get of Cleves was worthless. With no reason to doubt the veracity of Rabbi Hess’s opinion, as it was based on first-hand knowledge of Isaac and his state of mind, the Frankfurt rabbinate was under no obligation to change their minds once they had ruled on the matter,
Rabbi Yisrael Lipschuetz’s publication, Ohr Yisrael (Cleves, 1770), included a vicious attack on the Frankfurt rabbinate on pages 31 and 32. The attack was later removed and the text reworked so that in most copies of Ohr Yisrael p.31 is followed by p.33. Copies that include the original pages 31 and 32 are extremely rare. This illustration shows the offensive pages from the copy of Ohr Yisrael in Rabbi Dunner’s book collection.
separate group by Rabbi Samson Raphael nor to relinquish the jurisdiction of the Hirsch). Rabbi Horowitz claimed that his case, which had been granted to them by account of events was based on previously Rabbi Hess. But this statement of Rabbi Maas, as unseen source material taken from the archived files of the Frankfurt kehilla. reproduced by Rabbi Horowitz, raised The rabbinic world once more erupt- more questions than it answered for those ed in uproar over who knew the insthe Get of Cleves, and-outs of the story. especially as RabConcerned that the bi Horowitz had confusion caused by declared in a pubRabbi Horowitz’s lished work that the account would have Get of Cleves had real repercussions been invalid, as had for halacha, many been stated by the rabbis publicly conrabbis of Frankfurt demned the Horowa century earlier. itz book and disThis opinion had missed it as fiction. been dismissed for Their views were a century or more, later summarized and that it had now and published by a resurfaced caused no man called Rabbi end of consternation. Yehuda Lubetzky, Rabbi Horowitz the Lithuanian born also claimed to have Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yechezkel Landau of Prague initially tried to resolve the dispute through compromise, but later found a manuscript Rabbi of Paris, in became the Frankfurt rabbinate’s most vocal opponent. authored by Rabbi a pamphlet called As a result he and his family, including his descendants, Maas in which he ‘Kevodan shel Riswere banned from the Frankfurt Jewish community. had explained why honim’. In a long inhe and his colleagues troduction he repeathad remained silent in the face of mounting ed the view of his predecessors in the late rabbinic opposition. eighteenth century, namely that a halachic Rabbi Maas wrote, said Rabbi Horow- decision such as the one reached by the itz, that the Frankfurt rabbinate had simply rabbis of Frankfurt about the Get of Cleves been asked to endorse the view of Rabbi did not occur in a vacuum, and if a majority Tevele Hess of Mannheim, who had him- of senior rabbis decide that you are in the self witnessed Isaac’s curious behavior wrong, it is simply untenable to persist in during the wedding week culminating in defending your opinion.
Rabbi Lubetzky’s main criticism was directed at Rabbi Horowitz for concluding that the Frankfurt rabbinate had got it right. He accused Rabbi Horowitz of being disingenuous and sloppy in his presentation of the facts of the case, and even of being deliberately misleading in his eagerness to exonerate the Frankfurt rabbis. If the Rabbi Maas manuscript even existed – and he questioned whether even if there was a manuscript, if it was genuine, or if it was a later forgery – the most likely reason why it had never been published or seen was because Rabbi Maas himself had probably realized how foolish he would appear if he attempted to defend the indefensible. There was no doubt at all, said Rabbi Lubetzky, that halacha in such cases had been firmly established in favor of those who had supported Rabbi Lipschuetz. Just before we close the door on this incredible tale, it is worth noting that both Rabbi Lipschuetz and Rabbi Copenhagen published books recording their personal experiences of the controversy, in which they demonstrated the halachic basis for their views, and reproduced the prolific correspondence generated by the whole saga. There is quite a curious side story with regards to Rabbi Lipschuetz’s publication. In 1770 he published his work, which he called ‘Ohr Yisrael’. On pages 31 and 32, after he had accused the Frankfurt rabbis of spreading lies about him, and of being utterly dishonest, he included the text of a public declaration he had made in Cleves that described the ‘wickedness of these men’ in explicit detail, even referring to Rabbi Maas as ‘the evil and corrupt dayan of Frankfurt’. But this incendiary version of Ohr Yisrael was quickly withdrawn from circulation, possibly following negative feedback by the rabbis who were behind the campaign to validate the Get of Cleves, and whose support Rabbi Lipschuetz needed. The invective against the Frankfurt rabbinate was clearly a step too far. And so, a new version was published in which page 31 was rewritten, page 32 was removed, and the text reworked so that it flowed seamlessly from page 31 to page 33. The first version of Ohr Yisrael is exceedingly rare, and perhaps there are a couple of dozen copies in the world, most of them in private hands. The second version is less rare, although it is also a prized collectors piece. I am lucky enough to have both versions in my personal collection, and have included an illustration of the elusive page 32 for the readers of this article. The ‘Get of Cleves’ controversy set the precedent for defining incompetence and insanity in divorce cases according to Jewish law. The obstinacy of the Frankfurt rabbinate forced the rabbinic community of the eighteenth century to crystallize around a more lenient understanding of the relevant definitions and to enshrine them in halacha, making it easier to ensure that women in failed marriages could not be held ransom by husbands who feign ‘madness’ and then claim they are not competent to issue a Get.
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of Moses and Israel” The author of this incredible version of events was a man called Rabbi Markus Horowitz, who was himself orthodox Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt during the latter half of the nineteenth century (although by now the community had split into two, with the strictly orthodox community led as a
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Tragically, Rabbi Abish died the day after Yom Kippur in 1768. His death shocked the Frankfurt Jewish community to its core. The belief was that his death had been caused only by the anguish he had suffered from the controversy. At his funeral it was announced that no rabbi who had opposed him in this case could ever be elected to replace him. It took four years to find a replacement, due to the huge numbers of rabbis who had publicly defended the Get of Cleves against Rabbi Abish’s opinion. Eventually, Rabbi Pinchas ha-Levi Horowitz was hired to take up the position as Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt. It emerged much later that he had in fact written a letter to Rabbi Lipschuetz to support the notorious Get. But as he finished writing the letter he reached for the container of sand to scatter some of it on the letter to blot the still damp ink. Instead of picking up the sand container he mistakenly picked up the ink container and spilled it over the paper, ruining the entire letter. He began writing the letter for a second time, but someone who was with him told him not to bother. Rabbi Lipschuetz already had the support of so many other rabbis, the man said, and Rabbi Horowitz’s letter would not add anything extra, and it was not worth wasting time to write the letter for a second time. Inadvertently it was that advice that got him the position in Frankfurt a few years later. In the course of this incredible tale we have been so caught up with the epic battle between the rabbinic luminaries of Europe, that we have lost touch with the original characters - Isaac and Leah. Whatever happened to them? As it turns out, the story’s conclusion is almost too fantastic to be true, and considering the source of the story, it could well not be true. In the late nineteenth century a book was published that described the history of the Frankfurt rabbinate over the previous centuries. The story of the Get of Cleves saga was included in the book, for the first time from the perspective of the Frankfurt rabbinate. The book claimed that in early 1768 Leah and her family decided that they would accept the decision of the Frankfurt beit din, and she would not remarry, despite the numerous rabbis who had validated her divorce. Then, without warning, Isaac suddenly returned to Germany from London, and came to visit Leah and her family in Bonn. After a long heart-to-heart talk, the couple announced that they had decided to ‘remarry’. As far as the Frankfurt rabbinate was concerned they did not need a wedding, seeing as the divorce had never been valid to start with. But just to be sure, the couple took part in a strange pseudo-wedding ceremony in Frankfurt, presided over by the Frankfurt rabbinate, during which Isaac put a ring on Leah’s finger and said: “At od mekudeshet li betaba’at zo kedat Moshe ve-Yisrael” - “You remain betrothed to me with this ring in accordance with the laws
The Week In News
SEPTEMBER 1, 2015 | The Jewish Home
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OCTOBER 15, 2015
Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two.- How the BBC reported last week’s terrorist attack when two Israelis were murdered by a terrorist who was then shot and killed
The race for president is really starting to get competitive, and Donald Trump recently said that he’s actually getting ready to air his first campaign ads. Even the Geico lizard was like, “I think we already see enough of you on TV, mate.” – JIMMY FALLON
The CDC is accusing Big To-
ees.” – JIMMY FALLON •••••••••••••••••••
I have had a gun held on me when I was in a Popeyes… Guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs. And I just said, “I believe that you want the guy behind the counter.” – Ben Carson recalling once being held up and what his laissez-faire response was •••••••••••••••••••
bacco of using different flavors of e-cigarettes to try and lure in young people. They’re especially concerned about the newest flavor, Cheerios in a Ziploc Bag. – SETH MYERS •••••••••••••••••••
You know, the NRA’s position reminds me of negotiating with the Iranians or the Communists. There’s no possible discussion. And it’s for political purposes. – Hillary
If Bernie Sanders wins, he will be the first socialist elected since 2008.- Jay Leno, during a guest appearance on the Tonight Show, during which he delivered a part of the opening monologue ............................................................................................. And Hillary Clinton is not the only Democrat running. Martin O’Malley, ex-governor of Maryland, you know him? He’s running for president. See, look, nobody knows him. He’s two percent in the polls. Two percent. He’s been in the race for eight months and he’s only tied with low fat milk. That’s not good. That’s not good. – Ibid.
Clinton discussing gun laws in the aftermath of the Oregon shooting and hastily using an analogy which uncovers her true beliefs about President Obama’s Iran deal •••••••••••••••••••
Whole Foods announced yesterday that it is cutting 1,500 jobs, although Whole Foods doesn’t want to call them “unemployed.” They’re calling them “free range employ-
Today is National Coffee Day. For those who don’t know, coffee is an ingredient in the milkshakes they serve at Starbucks. – JIMMY KIMMEL What’s the secret of my popularity? Honestly, it’s my looks. I’m very handsome. That’s the only thing I can think of right now. – Donald Trump, responding to a questioner at a town hall meeting •••••••••••••••••••
Vladimir Putin celebrated his 63rd birthday today. He had a nice party,
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SEPTEMBER 1, 2015 | The Jewish Home
– JIMMY FALLON •••••••••••••••••••
I think that it was a mistake.- President Obama, when asked on 60 Minutes about Hillary’s use of a private email server •••••••••••••••••••
U.S. officials have been wondering why, according to photos, ISIS seems to have so many Toyotas. One clue seems to be ISIS’s credo, “Fanatical about
harvest was plentiful. – SETH MYERS •••••••••••••••••••
***And what Dr. King said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, has implications for us as
at a march in Washington last weekend •••••••••••••••••••
As we sit here, there is an apartheid wall being built twice the size of the Berlin Wall in height keeping Palestinians off of illegally occupied territories, where the Europeans have claimed that land as their own. We are grateful to G-d to be able to be here and to speak a word on behalf of Palestinian justice. Palestinians are saying, “Palestinian lives matter.” We stand with you, we support you, we say G-d bless you.- IBID. •••••••••••••••••••
There’s almost no measure by which we’re not better off than when I took office and we stand bein order to “stir Crop experts when we startside our Palesin Illinois are up the pased this process tinian brothers reportedly consions of peofor change. But and sisters, cerned that ple.” Then Al it does kind of who have been there will not be Sharpton was make you wondone one of the like, “You know a strong enough most egregious der. Why are so pumpkin crop you’re talking many Republiinjustices in to fill the deto me, right?” – can politicians JIMMY FALLON the 20th and mands of both so down on 21st centuries. ••••••••••••••••••• Halloween and America? Why Apartheid is Thanksgiving. are they so Hundreds of going on in PalBut don’t worry, grumpy?- Presthousands of – PRESIDENT estine. ident Obama at worshipers should your pumpkin OBAMA’S spice lattes will a fundraiser in be ascending to pastor, JereSan Francisco Al-Aqsa in order to be fine because miah Wright, fend off an Israeli
OCTOBER 15, 2015
Despite claiming last week that he would have rushed the Oregon shooter to save lives, Dr. Ben Carson yesterday recounted how he was once held up at gunpoint in a Popeyes Chicken and told the gunman, “I believe you want the guy behind the counter.” So we know at least one guy who’s definitely not voting for Ben Carson. – Seth Myers
In an interview with Al Sharpton, Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump just says whatever he needs
plot to spill their blood. Lone terror must be turned into a real intifada.- Arab member of Israel’s Knesset, MK Haneen Zoabi, in an interview with a Hamas newspaper
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but it got awkward Islam, sensible about gas milewhen two of his age.” – CONAN O’BRIEN friends got him the same country. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
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Travel Guide: Toronto Aaron Feigenbaum
As Canada’s largest and most populated city, Toronto has a dizzying amount of sights to explore. Toronto is one of the world’s most vibrant metropolitan areas thanks to its renowned artistic culture, shopping and dining, unique attractions, and it is a melting pot of over 200 different ethnicities and over 100 languages. Visitors to Toronto are often reminded of New York City because of its sprawling urban neighborhoods and the huge number of immigrants who have settled there. Despite its cosmopolitan hustle and bustle, Toronto is still, for the most part, a very relaxed and fun place to visit. Toronto may dazzle with its famous landmarks, but it’s the quiet, artistic neighborhoods like Yorkville, as well
1820’s. The town once again became embroiled in violence with the very shortlived rebellion of 1837, led by local activist William McKenzie against the Tory government. The rebellion was swiftly crushed, and McKenzie fled to America. York played a key role in bringing about Canada’s unification in 1867, which most residents agreed was necessary to stave off another American invasion rather than for any nationalistic reasons. After unification, York was officially renamed Toronto and became the capital of the province of Ontario. Like New York around the same time, Toronto in the late 1800’s was a center for business, technological innovation, archi-
as the welcoming people, that will make you want to come back. History Before European exploration, Toronto was home to numerous indigenous tribes. In 1615, French explorer Etienne Brule arrived at the mouth Ontario Science Center of the Humber River and founded the settlement of Toronto. The site tectural and infrastructure development, became vital for the French fur trade, and and Jewish and Italian immigrants. Until it later developed into the permanent Fort the Great Depression, the city was booming with activity, and it was here that many Toronto in 1750. The British took New France under the Canadians made their fortune. After the Great Depression, this city of terms of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, and Toronto became part of the British Empire. tolerance and diversity became a hotbed of The city became the capital of Upper Can- xenophobia when anti-Semitic riots raged ada (now known as Ontario) in 1793 and across Toronto and Chinese immigration was later renamed Fort York. The fort was was banned. The end of WWII brought peace and designed to defend against an American invasion, but when the Americans arrived stability back to Toronto. Thousands of in the War of 1812, the fort was overrun European immigrants arrived, and the city and the British were forced to surrender. expanded ever more into the suburbs. ToFortunately for the British, American ronto overtook Montreal as Canada’s fasttroops stayed for less than a week before est growing city and is now one of the largest and best rated cities in North America leaving of their own volition. Attractions York expanded with the arrival of the CN Tower: By far the city’s most stagecoach and Irish immigrants in the
recognizable landmark, the CN Tower stands at an impressive 553 feet making it one of the tallest towers in the world. Built in 1976, the CN Tower is a communications and observation facility that is visited by over 2 million people annually. Ascend the glass elevator and, if you don’t have a fear of heights, walk across the reinforced glass floor for a view straight down to the street. The main observation deck provides a panoramic view of Toronto and, on a clear day, Niagara Falls. For an even better view, buy a separate ticket to ascend 33 storeys higher to the Skypod. The truly brave might be interested in EdgeWalk which, as the name suggests, lets people walk hands-free along the edge of the Tower’s main pod while harnessed. (Needless to say, those with vertigo/fear of heights should definitely not attempt this.) Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada: Located near the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium is one of Toronto’s newest and most popular attractions. The Kiever Shul aquarium holds
over 13,000 specimens representing over 450 species of marine life. From octopi to stingrays to exotic sharks, one could spend a whole afternoon marveling at the sheer variety of sea creatures in this massive facility. The aquarium is organized into nine different galleries such as the Discovery Centre where visitors can touch living fossils, the colorful Rainbow Reef and Canadian Waters, which features animals from Canadian bodies of water. Royal Ontario Museum: One of North America’s largest museums and one of Canada’s top research institutions, the Royal Ontario Museum has an incredible array of natural and cultural treasures from around the world including the world’s oldest totem pole. The natural history section of the museum features models endan-
gered species such as the polar bear and white rhinoceros, as well as recently extinct species including the dodo bird. This section also contains the Bat Cave, simulating the natural environment of over 20 species of bats. On the world culture side, the museum has aboriginal Canadian art, Chinese silk paintings, European Judaica and costumes dating back as far as the 1st century B.C.E. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the Discovery Gallery where visitors can touch specimens, dig for dinosaur bones and look at meteorites. Ontario Science Centre: This futuristically designed museum has some of the world’s best hands-on science exhibits. Whether you want to see what it takes to climb Everest, spot poisonous frogs in an indoor rainforest, touch a tornado, gaze at the night sky in the planetarium or walk through a distorted room, the Ontario Science Centre can fulfill your thirst for knowledge and adventure. The museum’s current special exhibit displays the space suit and capsule from Felix Baumgartner’s record breaking space jump in 2012. The museum’s IMAX Theatre is currently showing films about the human body, Hubble telescope, humpback whales and undersea life. Art Gallery of Ontario: This beautiful modernist building, recently redesigned
by the legendary architect Frank Gehry, is home to one of North America’s largest art collections. It contains more than 36,000 works cover the first century B.C.E. up to modern times. The museum has a wide selection of works from famous European figures such as Picasso, Rembrandt and Goya. There is an extensive aboriginal Canadian art display, as well art, photos and sculptures from around the world. Be sure not to miss the ship model collection located below ground level. Be prepared to devote at least 3-5 hours to see all that this renowned institution has to offer. Casa Loma: This fairytale-like castle sitting atop a hill, was once home to Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt, who was responsible for bringing hydro-electricity to Toronto. The castle took 300 men
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working for three years to complete at a cost of $3.5 million. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the stately interior and of the luxurious gardens surrounding the property. An underground tunnel leads to the garage and stables. The castle also provides superb views of downtown Toronto. Centre Island: For time away from Toronto’s hustle and bustle, consider an excursion to Centre Island. The island has plenty of greenery and hiking trails, as well as the Centreville Amusement Park for the kids. Try out the newly reopened William Meany maze and see if you can make it to the center. Day trips: Located just 25 miles north of Toronto, Canada’s Wonderland is the country’s largest amusement park and has enough fun and excitement to last a full day, if not longer. The park features a whopping 69 rides including the Leviathan, Canada’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster. In fact, there are a total of 16 roller coasters, as well as a massive water park, animatronic dinosaur park and an awe-inspiring light show at night. And when you’re done with the rides, you can take the kids for photo ops with costumed employees, or buy them some cool souvenirs. Toronto is also not far (1.5-2 hour drive) from the world famous Niagara Falls. Visitors from the Canadian side of this natural wonder will typically arrive first at the meticulously manicured Queen Victoria Park where they’ll catch their first glimpse of the roaring rapids. From there, a popular way to see the falls up close is the Maid of the Mist tour, in which a boat will take visitors right to the base of the falls. Alternately, the Journey Behind the Falls
tour, which provides a side-on view of the falls, is perfect for overcrowded days. And that’s just the start of it. From a cable car to a jet boat to helicopter, there are many more ways to explore this amazing scenic wonder. There are also indoor water parks, a botanical garden, butterfly conservancy observation tower, the carnival-like atmosphere of Clifton Hill and so much more. Daven and Eat Toronto has a huge Jewish population, so there is certainly no shortage of shuls and kosher restaurants. There are mainstays such as Chabad and Aish HaTorah, but the only shul (reportedly) in the downtown area that holds daily minyanim is Anshei Minsk in the Kensington Market neighborhood (theminsk.com). A must-see is the beautiful and historic Kiever Synagogue, one of the most iconic in Canada (kievershul.org). For a full list of Toronto shuls, visit: www.kosherdelight.com/CanadaOntarioSynagoguesOrthodox.shtml One of Toronto’s most popular and highly rated kosher restaurants is the Marron Bistro Moderne Kosher, serving fine French food in a refined atmosphere. For a full list of Kashruth Council of Canada-certified restaurants, visit: www.cor.ca/establishments.html Getting There Tickets from LAX currently start at around $375 per person round trip while Amtrak and Greyhound run at around $280 and $440 respectively. Driving from L.A. to Toronto takes about 36 hours (without stops) to cover a distance of 2,520 miles.
Travel the World Without Limitations
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OCTOBER 15, 2015
Global Funny Medicine in Argentina
Hold onto your multicolored hats and round red noses. Argentina has a new law for treating children in hospitals that requires doctors to literally send in the clowns. The groundbreaking law — the first in the world — for Argentina’s largest province, Buenos Aires, was inspired by the “laughter therapy” of American physician Hunter “Patch” Adams and was implemented in August. All public hospitals in the province that have pediatric services are required to work jointly with specially trained clowns. The project aims to provide “complementary medicine to bring joy to sick children in hospitals, their families and the medical and non-medical personnel,” according to the Argentine Senate. One child who knows the benefits is Ezequiel Belsu, 12, who was crippled by pain from a pulmonary disease in intensive care at Hospital Piñero. He needs an oxygen mask and IV line and was not moving in his bed. But his eyes suddenly widened and he smiled when three enthusiastic clowns stepped slowly into his room and asked if he wanted to make a wish. José Pellucchi, a physician who is director of Payamedicos, an organization of medical clowns, said professional clowns have already been working in more than
150 hospitals in Argentina and neighboring Chile since 2002. When the clowns arrive at Hospital Piñero, they first write down each child’s name, age and disease they will visit. They also consult with the pediatricians to know which patients they can entertain without disturbing them — or getting exposed to a disease. “We do an activity with everyone in the hospital, from the cleaning employees to the security officers and the doctors, to … generate well-being in the workplace,” said Gustavo Iribarne, another Puente Clown professional and an anthropologist. The doctors believe the clowns benefit the patients. “The fact that someone comes in with a white medical coat and a red nose saying the same things [as a doctor] but with a distinct language changes everything,” explained Daniel Rivero, a physician who heads the pediatrics department at Hospital Piñero. “Health issues are not just related to our body. Determining factors include our sensations and human contact, which can change how our body works … called the placebo effect,” he said.
Fukushima Radiation Linked to Cancer in Children Thyroid cancer rates in children living near the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns are 20 to 50 times than that of children elsewhere, a new study has found. Most of the 370,000 children in Fukushima state have been given ultrasound checkups since the March 2011 meltdowns at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The most recent statistics, released in August, show that thyroid cancer is suspected or confirmed in 137 of those children, a number that rose by 25 from a year earlier.
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porters gathered outside the compound to thank Moscow for its intervention in Syria. The first shell slammed into the compound and people started to flee as smoke billowed from within. A second shell then hit the area. No one was injured in the blasts. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov condemned the attack, saying, “This is obviously a terrorist act intended to, probably, frighten supporters of the war against terror and to not allow them to prevail in the fight with extremism.”
Elsewhere, the disease occurs in only about one or two of every million children per year by some estimates. “This is more than expected and emerging faster than expected,” lead author Toshihide Tsuda told reporters during a visit to Tokyo. The study was released this week and is being published in the November issue of Epidemiology. The data comes from tests overseen by Fukushima Medical University. Making sense of the relationship between radiation and cancer is tricky: it’s scientifically impossible to link an individual cancer case to radiation. Looking harder with routine check-ups, like the one in Fukushima, leads to quicker discovery of tumors, inflating the tallies in a so-called “screening effect.” Right after the disaster, the lead doctor brought into Fukushima, Shunichi Yamashita, repeatedly ruled out the possibility of radiation-induced illnesses. The thyroid checks were being ordered just to play it safe, according to the government. But Tsuda, a professor at Okayama University, said the latest results from the ultrasound checkups, which continue to be conducted, raise doubts about the government’s view. Thyroid cancer among children is one sickness the medical world has definitively linked to radiation after the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. If treated, it is rarely fatal, and early detection is a plus, but patients are on medication for the rest of their lives.
Russian Embassy in Syria Attacked It was supposed to be a rally thanking Russia for its interference in the Syrian conflict, but it ended up as an attack. On Tuesday, insurgents fired two shells at the Russian embassy in central Damascus as hundreds of pro-government sup-
Before the shelling, the demonstrators had gathered outside the embassy carrying posters showing Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and waved the two countries’ flags. Some held placards that read: “Thanks Russia” and “Syria and Russia are together to fight terrorism.” “President Putin’s stances were absolutely positive for Syria,” said 39-year-old civil servant Nizar Maqsoud. “All the West stood against us. Only Russia backed us; we are all here to thank Russia and President Putin,” said Osama Salal, an 18-year-old student, at the rally. Rebels in the capital’s suburbs have targeted the embassy in the past, and it was not clear if Tuesday’s attack targeted the rally. Insurgents have vowed to fight Russian forces after Moscow began launching airstrikes in Syria late last month. Russia has been one of Assad’s strongest supporters since the start of the uprising in 2011. The civil war has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced half of Syria’s population. Russia began launching airstrikes in Syria on Sept. 30, allowing Syrian government forces to launch a multi-pronged ground assault. Moscow insists it is mainly targeting the Islamic State group and other “terrorists,” but the ground-and-air offensive is being waged in areas controlled by U.S.-backed rebels as well as other insurgents, including the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front. Earlier Tuesday, the Nusra Front released an audio message from its leader, Abu Muhammed al-Golani, describing the Russian military intervention as a new “Crusader campaign” aiming to save As-
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remained mainly calm amid the recent unrest in Israel and the West Bank. However, a march of about 300 people last week near the border with Israel in the northern Gaza Strip saw youths throw stones toward Israeli soldiers on the other side of the frontier, who responded, causing two injuries, Gazan rescue services said. Other reports put that number at five wounded, with some reports saying a Palestinian had been killed. A recent outbreak of stabbing and stoning attacks all across the country, along with noisy rioting, have increased fears of an official third intifada.
OCTOBER 15, 2015
sad’s rule. He called on Syrian militant and rebel groups to unite and intensify shelling of villages inhabited by members of Assad’s minority Alawite sect. Al-Golani also called on Muslims in the former Soviet Union to attack Russian civilians if Russians target civilians in Syria. “The Russian intervention came to declare a new eastern Crusader war after the western Crusader war failed in Syria,” al-Golani said, in an apparent reference to airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition that began last year. Al-Golani said the Russians are not targeting the IS group, but are instead striking at militants who are fighting the government. The jihadi leader promised to pay 3 million euros ($3.42 million) to whomever kills Assad and 2 million euros ($2.28 million) to whomever kills Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, whose men are fighting alongside Assad’s forces.
PA Paying Terrorists
ISRAEL Hamas Leader Declares Intifada The last few weeks in Israel have been horrific, as Israel has been hit with attacks almost daily.
Hamas’s chief in Gaza is calling the violence that has hit Israel and the West Bank in recent days an “intifada” and urged further unrest. “We are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the intifada… It is the only path that will lead to liberation,” Ismail Haniyeh declared during a sermon for weekly Muslim prayers at a mosque in Gaza City. “Gaza will fulfill its role in the Jerusalem intifada and it is more than ready for confrontation,” Haniyeh proclaimed. The Islamic terror movement Hamas rules Gaza, the Palestinian enclave squeezed between Egypt and Israel and separated from the West Bank. Gaza has been the site of three wars with Israel since 2008, but it has
In the latest loathsome Palestinian Authority revelation, official Palestinian government documents have been published showing hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to prisoners convicted in some of the deadliest attacks on Israelis. The report came after days of violent clashes and repeated Israeli accusations of Palestinian incitement to violence. Hefty sums have been given to murderers serving out multiple life sentences in Israeli prisons. Individuals who received funds from the Palestinian Authority include members of the PA security forces who were implicated in terrorist attacks against Israelis during the Second Intifada, as well as senior Hamas members serving time in Israeli prisons. Abdullah Barghouti, a Hamas commander and bomb-maker serving 67 life terms for his involvement in several terror attacks, including the bombing of the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in August 2001 that killed 15 Israelis and wounded some 130, has received over NIS 250,000 ($64,000) from the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians have long acknowledged paying support to the families of prisoners held by Israel, but payments made personally to prisoners convicted in deadly attacks have never been made public. Ashraf al-Ajrami, a former Palestinian minister for prisoners’ affairs, confirmed the report, saying the prisoners are “heroes” and the money is for their families.
The future is in your hands. Meet Spencer Brasch, a student at Yeshiva University. On a pre-med track, Spencer is an Honors student pursuing a dual major in biology and music, who also finds time to compete on YU’s NCAA Division I fencing team. His commitment to Torah study is actualized as he delves into shiur with distinguished Roshei Yeshiva in our world class Beit Midrash. Individual attention and career planning are important to him, so Spencer chose Yeshiva University because it enables him to balance his academic goals with his religious commitment. This is the essence of Torah U’Madda and what sets YU apart. Picture yourself at YU. #NowhereButHere
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Interview with Israel’s Top IQ Yaron Mirelman is thought to be the smartest Israeli in the world. With an IQ of 183— that’s 20 points higher than Albert Einstein is believed to have had—Mirelman is among the 33 most intelligent people in the world. Life with that brain capacity is not always easy. In a recent interview, Mirelman discussed the challenges he faces as a result of his intellectual prowess and recounted that as a child he shied away from his gift in an effort to ward off bullying and unwanted attention from his peers. “During my childhood I began to downplay my ‘otherness’ and gifts because I hated the reactions it aroused,” he related. “I wasn’t always accepted or understood,” Mirelman added, recalling being frustratingly bored for the majority of his school years. As
a result, Mirelman said he retreated and slowly stopped interacting with his peers and teachers, which ultimately damaged his self-confidence.
“The more my self-confidence went down, the harder it was for me to interact in social settings,” he said. Mirelman now works as a business consultant and claims dozens of clients from a wide variety of spheres. “At the end of
the day, all of these companies manage people, money and procedures. And that is something I’m good at doing,” he said. Mirelman is often recruited to problem solve for his clients, and he works to streamline production or operational procedures. Owning his own consulting company allows Mirelman to work a short workday of between 2-3 hours, giving him ample time to pursue his hobbies. In his free time, Mirelman hangs out at the beach or at a martial arts studio where he trains in Thai boxing. Towards the end of the interview, Mirelman was asked why he chose not to utilize his gift for the good of humanity, such as trying to make life-saving advances in the field of medical research. Mirelman said he is unable to concentrate or function in any long-term initiatives and dedicating his life to scientific research wasn’t for him. He also countered that he feels like he is “doing something good for humanity, because companies who earn more provide greater stability for their employees.”
NATIONAL States Ranked from Thickest to Thinnest
well. Your family and friends can dramatically impact your health and fitness. In fact, just having a close friend who becomes obese raises your own risk by 57 percent. Surprisingly, having a sibling or spouse whose obese also increases your risk, but to a lesser degree. The logic is simple: if you are around high caloric food, you are more likely to eat it, and if your friends either encourage or discourage exercise it will affect your decisions. Twenty-two states now have obesity rates that top 30 percent, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. Overall, the nation’s obesity rates have plateaued but obesity rates are growing in five states: Ohio, Minnesota, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah. The editors at Eat This, Not That! magazine ranked all 50 states and Washington, D.C., according to obesity rates. The top ten states for obesity include: Arkansas (35.9% obese); West Virginia (35.7% obese); Mississippi (35.5% obese); Louisiana (34.9% obese); Alabama (33.5% obese); Oklahoma (33.0% obese); Indiana (32.7% obese); Ohio (32.6% obese); North Dakota (32.2% obese); and South Carolina (32.1% obese). The states with the lowest obesity levels include: New York (27.0% obese) (tie) and Rhode Island (27.0% obese) (tie); New Jersey (26.9% obese); Montana (26.4% obese); Connecticut (26.3% obese); Florida (26.2% obese); Utah (25.7% obese); Vermont (24.8% obese); California (24.7% obese); Massachusetts (23.3% obese); Hawaii (22.1% obese); District of Columbia (21.7% obese); and Colorado (21.3% obese).
Another Nixon Lie Revealed There are seven Dunkin’ Donuts within 50 miles of Arkansas’ capital Little Rock and in Denver, the capital of Colorado, there are 14 branches within 50 miles. But it seems that in Arkansas, donuts must be the bestselling item and in Colorado it is probably black coffee with no sugar or milk. Arkansas boasts the highest obesity rates in the country while Colorado has the lowest. In fact, many Southern states have high obesity rates, West Virginia, North Dakota, and Indiana all have a high percentage of people who classify as obese, according to a new report by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health. According to a recent study conducted at Harvard, being surrounded by people who are obese increases personal risk as
A new book by Bob Woodward reveals that former President Richard Nixon believed that years of aerial bombing in Southeast Asia to pressure North Vietnam achieved “zilch.” This disclosure is shocking only because Nixon publicly declared the bombings were effective and ordered more bombs while running for reelection in 1972. Nixon’s private thoughts were revealed in a handwritten note from Nixon. Nixon’s note to Henry Kissinger, then his national security adviser, on January 3, 1972, was written sideways across a top-secret memo updating the president on war developments. Nixon wrote: “K. We have had 10 years of total control of the air in Laos and V.Nam. The result = Zilch. There is something wrong with the strategy or the Air Force.”
Can I Write Your Fortune?
The Facebook Felons
I love to eat Chinese food. In fact, the best part of a meal out for me is the dessert—sliced pineapples, oranges, and yummy, crunchy fortune cookies. Fortune cookies don’t just provide a great taste at the end of a meal of chow mein, Peking duck and fried wontons, they give great advice and amazing insight too! “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Yes, the soup was a little salty today. “If at first you don’t succeed, try try
Wearing a new outfit and want the world to know? Take a selfie and post it on social media. How about a major party that you’ve attended? Want everyone to know? Take a selfie and post it on social media. What about the perfect SAT score? That’s something to brag about. Take a selfie and post it on social media. But if you’ve just robbed a bank and are counting your loot, you may want to leave the iPhone at home. Two brilliant crooks, John E. Mogan II, 28, and Ashley K. Duboe, 24, robbed Savings Bank Ashville North in Ohio in August. Mogan handed the teller a note, grabbed the cash and fled on foot.
OCTOBER 15, 2015
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The day before he wrote the “zilch” note, Nixon was asked about the military effectiveness of the bombing by Dan Rather of CBS News in an hour-long, primetime television interview. “The results have been very, very effective,” Nixon declared. Nixon’s private assessment was correct, Woodward writes: The bombings were not working, but Nixon defended and intensified it in order to advance his reelection prospects. The claim that the bombing was militarily effective “was a lie, and here Nixon made clear that he knew it,” Woodward writes. Nixon’s note, which had not previously been disclosed, was found in a trove of thousands of documents taken from the White House by Alexander P. Butterfield, deputy to H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, and not made public until now.
again.” OK, mom, I’ll study a little harder next time. “Children should be seen and not heard.” Or maybe we should just leave them at home. “Little strokes fell great oaks.” I’ll keep pushing for a raise. So who writes these great strokes of genius? Believe it or not, it’s not philosophers or even a wise grandmother. The writers of fortune cookie intelligence are really high school students and struggling writers. There are around 40,000 Chinese restaurants in the U.S., and every year a mind-boggling 3 billion fortune cookies are manufactured and consumed. Each cookie needs a fortune line buried in its shell. That’s a lot of advice that needs to go around. Kay Marshall Strom, 65, was a high school senior when she saw a little blurb in the local San Francisco newspaper asking for a fortune writer. Intrigued, she sent an inquiry – she had been contemplating becoming a writer when she grew up and figured, why not start small? She got the job. Where do they get their nuggets of inspiration? Well, everywhere. Writers jot down ideas and then submit them to the companies. Some companies are more conservative, others enjoy creative lines. “You will be hungry again in an hour” was written by Strom. Wise words indeed. Russell Rowland, interestingly, doesn’t like fortune cookies. But that didn’t stop him from churning out 700 fortunes—at 75 cents apiece. He turned to literature and used famous quotations to get to his quota. “Love is the secret to happiness” was written by him. And my secret to happiness is chowing down fortune cookies. I’ll leave the little scraps of paper to someone else, though.
The future is in your hands. Meet Lee Sahar, a current student at Yeshiva University. Pursuing degrees in Accounting and Finance, this summer Lee interned at the New York accounting firm Cohn-Reznick. A member of YU’s Business Leadership and Finance clubs, Lee also enjoys tutoring fellow students, and participates in a mentorship program through Deloitte. Career preparation is very important to Lee. She chose Yeshiva University because it enables her to balance academic goals with her religious commitment, offering her the dual curriculum in Jewish and General studies. This is the essence of Torah U’Madda and what sets YU apart. Picture yourself at YU. #NowhereButHere
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Doing the Mumba
But Mogan wasn’t satisfied with counting the cash in private. Instead, the two started taking selfies with the greenbacks and then uploaded the pictures to Facebook. Their bragging online earned them great status—a ride in a police car two days later, with a minimum of four years in prison if convicted. Some things (I say, most things) are best left private.
In Hong Kong, kids are exercising way too early. In fact, some of them are sweating it out even before they begin to walk. In “Mumba” classes in the busy city mothers are using cute accessories as weights in their workouts—their children. Once the preserve of traditional communities, the art of wrapping a baby across a caregiver’s body so it can be carried during daily activities is being taken up by modern parents. Hong Kong’s busy and narrow streets make pushing a stroller too difficult and so many parents are wearing their children on their backs or across their bellies. And when they head to the gym, they keep their favorite accessory on. “Mumba” fitness, baby-wearing belly dance, ballet, yoga and pilates classes, and even suspension training (TRX) classes have sprung up in recent months – all allowing parents to exercise while
their baby is strapped to them in a carrier. “There is huge demand from mums who wanted to get back in shape and to get strong again after the challenges of labor, but who also didn’t want to leave their young babies behind while they spent time exercising,” explains Ifat Hindes, co-founder of Mumba Fitness. “We have combined different types of exercise including yoga, dance, TRX, and pilates, and the bonus is that you are using your baby for weight training,” she says. “There’s no need for expensive gadgets – it’s just you and your baby, with other parents, being guided by a professional. You know everyone is in the same boat. Hong Kong can be a difficult and unwelcoming city for new mothers.” Mey Jen, director of Oasis Dance Centre, says that the babies enjoy her belly dancing class. “The mothers want to belly dance and they want to be with their babies at the same time. The little ones react very naturally to the beats and the movement. Often the babies become very calm and fall asleep.” Yeah, it’s easy to sleep when mom is doing all the work.
Massachusetts and Vermont. Once the Warings collect the perfect specimens, they “undergo a unique preservation process” that involves soaking them for 2-3 days and allowing them to dry for a few more. This ensures that they’ll last long after the fall season is over—an estimated 5-7 years, according to their company’s site. So far, Waring has seen the most demand from season-starved customers in California, Texas, and Florida. “I guess there’s something about New England foliage,” he says. Or maybe Americans living in those states are just more gullible.
Beards May Make You Healthier It’s been a long yom tov and some men in the community have sported thicker beards over the holiday. And that’s a good thing. You see, according to researchers from the University of Southern Queensland, a thick beard may offer benefits to the person upon whose face it’s attached.
Leaves for Sale Remember back in the winter when we were surrounded by piles of snow and people who were stuck (?!) in warm states were actually paying for the fluffy cold stuff? Well, the insanity didn’t stop when the snow melted. As October brings in cooler temperatures and the leaves start filling your yard, you may be able to make a couple of bucks.
Kyle Waring and his wife have been searching for the perfect leaves on their hikes and are now shipping the foliage to customers who live in states where their leaves stay green all year long. For just $19.99, customers can have the perfect bundle handpicked from New Hampshire,
In their 2012 study, researchers left a group of mannequins, some bearded and some bare-faced, under the harsh sun of the Australian outback. When they compared the amount of radiation absorbed by each subject, they found that the beards blocked 90 to 95 percent of the harmful UV rays from the faces of the mannequins. This level of built-in protection in human beard-owners should successfully slow the aging process and reduce the risk of one day developing skin cancer. “Facial hair has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of anywhere from 2 to 21,” one scientist on the study, Alfio Parisi, related. “The percentage of UV blocked to the skin depends on the thickness and angle of the sun.” Though the adequate thickness of a beard can be hard to quantify, Parisi said that “it has to be a thick bushy beard
Do you suffer from hand-to-phone contact? Do you always need to have a slim, rectangular object in your hand? Do you relish the feeling of heft in your back pocket? Introducing the ZERO, the new “smartphone” from New York-based NoPhone. The ZERO is the same size as Apple’s iPhone 5, but it does way less. And I mean, way, way less. In fact, it does nothing at all. Zip, zilch, ZERO. No, the ZERO does not make calls. It does not take pictures. It does not record video or connect to the internet or let you play Solitaire. So why would someone buy this brick-like device?
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The future is now. Visit today. Women’s Open House and Israel Fair Sunday, November 15, 2015 Stern College for Women Sy Syms School of Business Beren Campus Men’s Open House and Israel Fair Sunday, November 22, 2015 Yeshiva College Sy Syms School of Business Wilf Campus RSVP at www.yu.edu/open-house
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The Phone that does ZERO
“It’s a technology free-alternative to constant hand-to-phone contact,” says NoPhone Co-Founder Van Gould, facetiously. For Gould, the ZERO is a satirical comment on our device-obsessed culture. “We want to become the largest fake phone company in the world,” he says. “That’s kind of the goal.” Meeting its Kickstarter fundraising goal in September, the ZERO offers fewer features than ever before. Its designers have stripped it of the grooves previous models included to mimic an outlet, camera, and home button, thus removing even the illusion of distraction. All that’s left is a sturdy, thin rectangle, void of any purpose aside from helping you re-focus on your life. It’s perfect the person who needs a little time away from the constant pull of social media or connection to the outside world but can’t seem to go no-phone cold turkey. You can hold the ZERO in your hand, fit it into your pocket or purse, or have it next to you as you prepare dinner. The company’s website advertises the NoPhone as a way to “never again experience the unsettling feeling of flesh on flesh when closing your hand,” striking a tone just serious enough that it’s hard to tell if it’s a joke or serious experiment. “The most amazing part of the NoPhone is that, in the future, it could be nothing at all,” Gould gushes. The original NoPhone sells for $12, but the ZERO is debuting at $5, making it a more palatable purchase for the curious. For just $5 you too can experience life in the 19th century when people didn’t need to update their status every five minutes or take pictures of their cat—and pretend to like other people’s pets. And then, of course, once you purchase the ZERO, you can turn back to your (real) phone and make sure to Facebook your new, inspired purchase to all your thousands of (real) friends.
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and not just stubble.” Beards are also good at capturing dust and pollen, which sounds like bad news for people with asthma or hay fever. But they work like fuzzy fortresses, protecting your nose, eyes, and mouth from irritants. What’s more, an impressive coat of facial hair retains moisture and acts as a barrier against harsh wind, keeping the skin underneath fresh and youthful. It’s also a great way to capture challah crumbs so you can enjoy the taste all week long.
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THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 15, 2015 34
35 THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 15, 2015
Honoring Our Traditions 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
Mount Sinai Simi Valley 6150 Mount Sinai Drive Simi Valley, CA 93063
Our parks are open Sunday through Friday 8:00 AM â€“ 5:00 PM daily except Saturday in observance of the Sabbath.
MY DIRECT CONTACT INFORMATION: Naomi Silbermintz 323-769-1374 nsilbermintz@ mountsinaiparks.org
Jewish Home LA - 10-15-15