THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 17, 2013 2
ל’ חשון תשע”ד
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
Sunday, November 3, 2013
THE JEWISH HOME
SHALHEVET OPEN HOUSE - 11/3/13
THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 17, 2013 4
COMMUNITY Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 The Changing Face of Orthodox Conversion in LA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 LA Real Estate - Questions & Answers with a Mortgage Broker. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Hechzir Atarah Leyoshnah – The Passing of Harav Ovadia Yosef Zt”l. . . . . . . . . . 26 Seeing the Good in Life From Auschwitz to The White House. . . . . . . . . . . . 29 7 Questions with Efryim “Barry” Shore. . . . . . . . . . . 31
The Reservoir of Willpower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 A Contrarian Approach to Kiruv . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
It’s Not That Simple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 The Paths of Kindness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Hillel Q & A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT
Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Moon Cap: A Novel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
American Victory in the Battle of Fort Riviere. . . . 46
Op-Ed - Has Jewish Humor Lost the Will to Live? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Career Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Restaurant Review Two Dishes at Trattoria Natalie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Travel – Virginia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Recipe - What’s for Supper? It’s Mexican Tonight! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
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CORRECTION In the Oct 3rd issue of The Jewish Home a recipe was inadvertently used without crediting the source. The Lite Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach recipe should’ve been credited to skinnytaste.com
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
Dear Readers, “There’s no winter in LA, period.” This remains one of the biggest draws of moving here, in my opinion. (Personally, I love calling up the native Angelenos every time it rains to remind them about their “it doesn’t rain in LA” promise.) But is this an entirely positive phenomenon? Don’t we as humans need some time to “hibernate” within ourselves, and then come out in full bloom in the spring? Of course we’d all take this weather hands down, but perhaps there is some internal need to withdraw from the world, which we should be conscious of harnessing and nurturing within ourselves, without the hard winters which we are so fortunate to avoid. Another thought, based on the increased frequency of “Orthodox” (how I hate such labeling) Jews in the news. I’m not sure if it’s because people still find it intriguing that such an ancient way of life and old-fashioned appearance can thrive in the society we live in, or perhaps, and I guess this is a compliment, our way of life was supposed to have gotten rid of the bad, evil and greed within us, and now, “Rabbi so-and-so did such-and-such?!” Or maybe it’s just that any group which stands out will get both wanted and unwanted attention. Whatever the reason, we need to be encouraged by the success we’ve had in carrying on our traditions, passing them on to our children, all the while inviting our neighbors to join in as well. (People really are looking to connect. We needed to be in UCLA this Tuesday and about every five minutes there was someone else trying to connect with us: “they don’t make yarmulkas for infants?” or, speaking to our eight-month-old, “did you also sleep in the Sukkah?”) At the same time though, we need to be on guard for our “Orthodox yetzer hara” which likes to give us all the right reasons to do the wrong things. So let’s keep up our guard from both inside and out, and carry on learning Hashem’s Torah and fulfilling the mitzvot, knowing that this is the one sure way for us to continue our success and become a light unto the nations. The content of this week’s paper in a large part reflects the feedback and requests we’ve received from our readers. Please continue to comment, agree and disagree (and perhaps even compliment?) so we can continue to shape the paper as it was intended to be - for the enjoyment of you, our reader. In the spirit of being positive, how about we all try to give one meaningful compliment to any individual - even within our own family - every single day. The biggest winner might just be ourselves. As it says about our matriarch Rachel, whose day of passing was this week; “A voice is heard on High… Rachel weeps for her children; she refuses to be consoled… Thus said Hashem: restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for there is reward for your accomplishment… and your children will return to their border.” Have a most wonderful Shabbos,
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THE JEWISH HOME
OCTOBER 17, 2013
OU West Coast Gives Tribute to Los Angeles Police Department in Appreciation Breakfast In an event sponsored by the OU West Coast Region with the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Orthodox Community hosted Commanding Officer Capt. Evangelyn Nathan together with the senior leadership of the LAPD as well as City Councilman Field Deputy Jay Greenstein. The purpose was an appreciation breakfast as a thanks to the LAPD for its efforts to keep the Los Angeles Jewish Community safe over the High Holiday season and the Festival of Sukkot. “I have had a relationship with the LAPD senior leadership for many years,” declared Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, director of
the OU West Coast Region. “And it is vitally important that we keep that alive as we show the Police Department that we care about them and the work they do.” Rabbi Adir Posy, assistant director of the OU West Coast Region, explains: “For so much of Jewish history, the Jewish people have been in the unfortunate position of having a relationship with police that was based on distrust and animosity. How fortunate we are in a country and a community where the dialogue is so open and the desire is so sincere to work together and to share genuine friendship.”
From left: Captain Evangeline Nathan; Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, director of OU West Coast; Senior Lead Officer Ballasteros; Rabbi Adir Posy, assistant director of OU West Coast; Jay Greenstein, Chief Field/Transportation Deputy representing the Jewish Community from Councilmember Paul Koretz’ Fifth District office
Tashbar Students Join Thousands Across the Globe in Studying Mishnayos Junior high students listened to the funeral of the great Sephardic Torah scholar, Harav Ovadiah Yosef, zt”l, which was broadcast live from Jerusalem. The school’s dean, Rabbi David Zargari, delivered a moving eulogy at the school campus in which he explained to the students the great influence that Rav Yosef made on the entire Jewish
community. Rabbi Zargari highlighted not only Rav Yosef’s genius but also his kindness and love for all Jews. Rabbi Zargari encouraged the students to continue to take pride in their unique heritage and appreciate the greatness of beloved Sephardic Torah Leaders such as Maran Harav Yosef.
Under New Assistant Rosh Kollel, LINK Is Expanding In New Directions Newly–minted Assistant Rosh Kollel, Rabbi Elchanan Shoff has hit the ground running at the LINK Kollel in Los Angeles. In particular, he has jumpstarted two new ventures that are already bearing fruit. A native Angelino, Rabbi Shoff has returned with a flourish after spending many years learning in the Waterbury (CT) Yeshiva and the Mir Yeshiva in Yerushalayim as well as teaching at Aish HaTorah and Ziv HaTorah in Israel. Besides sharing some of the fund-raising burdens
of LINK’s expanding budget with Rabbi Asher Brander, LINK’s founding Dean and Rosh Kollel, Rabbi Shoff has thrown himself into a new part-time yeshiva learning program for Yeshiva/Day School (HS) graduates (and a few returnees from Baalei Teshuva Yeshivos in Israel). There are a number of young men in that category between 18-25 who either go to college or work and who are in search of some type of daily learning seder. Indeed, this has long been the dream of Rabbi
Rabbi Shoff learning with some students at the new LINK Yeshiva learning program
Brander who taught at YULA High School for over 20 years and valiantly struggled to find a means for his former students to stay connected to learning. While always one of LINK’s missions from its inception in 2002, this is the first time that a formalized program has been implemented. The daily morning seder consists of a brief Mussar or Machashava shiur from Rabbi Shoff, then directed chavrusa leaning amongst the students and then a Gemara shiur from Rabbi Shoff. In the evenings, the young men likewise hear a brief Mussar shiur and then join LINK’s exciting array of 4 nightly Gemara shiurim offered by the Yungeliet. Despite the demands of college and work, the young men are excited to come and leave spiritually refreshed and exhilarated each day. On another front, Rabbi Shoff has begun a new Shabbos minyan called “LINK East”, about a mile east of LINK’s present Photo credit: Yosef Ober location. Rabbi Shoff
identified a need for a new Orthodox shul in the neighborhood known as Fair Crest Heights (east of La Cienega Blvd). Several young families have been moving in in order to find more affordable housing plus a number of young Jews in that area are searching for a more traditional way of life. The minyan began shortly before Rosh Hashanah, using the facilities of Mesivta Birchas Yitzchak, located in the heart of this new area. The davening is warm, the singing is passionate and uplifting and the drasha is aimed at inspiring its new tzibur to spiritual growth. Each week, Rebbitzen Shoff, a renowned professional party planner, designs a beautiful sit-down Kiddush, where the Shoffs engage participants in thoughtful Torah discussions. The Schoff’s home, just a couple of blocks away, is always open for Shabbos dinner and lunch invites for the new community. In addition, Rabi Shoff has made it his business to literally knock on doors of his new neighbors, many of whom are Jewish but not yet observant, to introduce himself and to invite them to daven and/or for the Shabbos seudos. Many of the new people that LINK East is attracting are making their way to the main Kollel building during the week to access the more than 50 weekly classes that LINK offers.
By Alisa Roberts
of Outreach and Programming, spoke about how much they love living in the group home. When asked, “What do you like best about living in the home?” Seth answered, “I like my friend Max.” Elliott and Debbie Fils, parents of a resident, shared what an incredible journey it has been for their son to move out of their home and become independent. They spoke about how meaningful it is to see him with his own friends and social life, now on equal ground with his sister, who is neurotypical. “Parents worry about their children both when they soar and when they stumble. Etta is there for them for both,” said Elliott. Assemblymember Richard Bloom, son of Aaron Bloom, spoke next. He shared
OCTOBER 17, 2013
This past Sunday, October 6th, Etta Israel dedicated their fourth group home. With the opening of the Aaron Bloom Home, located in North Hollywood, Etta now provides services for 24 residents with developmental disabilities. The Aaron Bloom that this home was named for was, along with his wife Rickey, one of the founders of the Etta Israel Center. While he is no longer with us, all of his children and grandchildren were in attendance, including Richard Bloom, Assembly Member for the 50th district in California. Also in attendance were Etta home residents, parents of residents, community members, and David Mandel and Amy Berig, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Administrator Officer of OHEL. Mr. Mandel and Mrs. Berig came in from the East Coast to attend the celebration and extend their support for Etta, with whom OHEL formed a strategic relationship last year. Dr. Michael Held, Executive Director of Etta, welcomed everyone and spoke about what a milestone this opening was. The Etta homes are the only such homes in Los Angeles that are entirely kosher. All four homes are located in the Valley, where the residents have been embraced by the community, attending shul services and receiving invitations for Shabbos meals. Two residents, Max Stein and Seth Katz, accompanied by Josh Taff, the Director
The Bloom Family with Etta COO Scott Saliman and Etta Executive Director Dr. Held
memories of his father, and discussed the importance of these homes. Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, representing the 46th District – the district where the homes are located – also spoke. He emphasized what it means for the community to have these homes. Bruce Bloom, also a son of Aaron Bloom, closed the ceremony. In a
very emotional speech, he talked about how much this work meant to his parents and to Mrs. Etta Israel, who had been one of the original special education teachers in Jewish schools in Los Angeles in the 1960s and whose passion for special needs individuals led to the founding of the Etta Israel Center.
The Los Angeles Community Joins World Jewry in Remembering Harav Hagaon Ovadia Yosef zt”l By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon
lined with busses that had brought people to Yerushalayim. The mesiras nefesh of men women and children, walking from the entrance to Yerushalayim all the way to Sanhedriya! Chacham Ovadia Yosef zt”l, has an illustrious history of accomplishments, going back over half a century,as part of his legacy. A recognized Talmud Chacham and an authority on halacha, Harav Ovadia
Photo credits: Arye D. Gordon
A Community Hesped was held at the Mogen David Shul on Pico Blvd. The Keynote Speakers were: Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder Simon Weisenthal Center, Opening remarks by Rabbi Yehuda Moses, Words of Eulogy by Rabbi Moshe Benzaquen, Rabbi Ariel Ovadia, Rabbi Gavriel Cohen and Rabbi Gabe Elias.. Community Hespedim were also held at Em Habanim Sephardic Congregation, Beit Torah Ohr Gadolm And at Nessah Synagogue. From the Golan to the Desert and from Yehuda and Shomron to the Mediterranean and from all parts of Eretz Yisroel, a nation in mourning converged on Yerushalayim to pay their last respects to a gadol b’yisroel who managed to touch everyone, Sefardi, Ashkenazi, Yemini, Persian, Chassidim, Ethiopians and even non-Jews as well. They say over 800,000 made their way to Yerushalayim, with some making it to the Beis Hakvaros in Sanhedriya. It was a day heavy with sadness and tears. I was in Yerushalayim, but was scheduled to fly back to the United States. At 9pm in the evening, it was still difficult getting out of the city. As we finally inched our way to exiting Yerushalayim, it was amazing to see both sides of the road at the entrance to the city,
Rabbi Marvin Hier speaking at the Memorial Service
Partial view of the audience
THE JEWISH HOME
Etta Israel dedicates fourth group home
was regarded as the most important living halachic authority of our time. Harav Ovadia’s reputation and awareness by the torah world began with his Halacha Shiurim and his appointment as Dayan on the Petach Tikva Beis Din. His publication in 1954 of the first volume of Yabia Omer, Rav Ovadia Yosef’s Responsa on all four parts of the Shulchan Aruch, his championing of Torah chinuch,
his prominence as a speaker, followed by his appointment as Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and then in 1973, as the Rishon LeTzion, Chief Rabbi of Israel for the next 10 years were historic. All played a part in forming the worldwide reputation that was his. His concern and endeavors on behalf of the interests of Jews originating from North Africa and the Middle East became of paramount importance and expressed itself with his becoming the Founder and Spiritual Leader of Israel’s Shas Party. The stories of his accomplishments, incidents reflecting on his love of klal Yisroel, his torah learning and piskei halacha, will be retold for years. From that moment on at 1:20 pm in the afternoon the world of klal yisroel has forever changed. Harav Hagaon Ovadia Yosef zt”l will never greet us again. Our beloved Maran, leader and friend has gone on to the olam ha’ames.. Harav Ovadia zt”l touched the lives of generations for more than 75 years. He was a beacon of truth and trust, and a manhig hador for all to turn to in good times and in bad. Sar Hatorah, Posek Hador, Manhig of Klal Yisroel and a Gaon in Torah and Halacha. Yehe Zichro Baruch.
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
Remembering Harav Simcha Wasserman zt”l on his 21st Yahrtzeit By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon
Motzei Shabbos Parshas Noach, 3 Cheshvan, marked the Yartzeit of Harav Simcha Wasserman zt”l. Harav Simcha. son of the illustrious goan, Harav Elchonon Wasserman Hy”d, followed in his father’s footsteps in a most meticulous manner. He was a gadol of immeasurable greatness, a marbitz torah in numerous communi-
a talmid muvhak of Rav Simcha and absorbing his torah and midos during Rav Simcha’s 20 year of harbatzas torah in Los Angeles. Their connection was so strong that when it was suggested that Rabbi Fox make known to the torah world who Rav Simcha was, he authored a biography of Rav Simcha, ”Greatness in our Midst: The Life
Rabbi Dr Fox hosts yahrtzeit gathering for Rav Simcha Wasserman ztl
ties around the world, a baale chessed and truly a man of “simcha” in all his interactions with the Jewish Community. The mention of his yahrtzeit generates a reminder of a gadol and the now empty space where he stood and which no one could fill. Here in Los Angeles, a dedicated group of rabbanim and former talmidim, gather every year on his yahrtzeit in the home of Rabbi Dr. David Fox, to reminisce of days gone by and remember that moment of time in their lives, when Rav Simcha was the center of their universe, showering them with torah and chesed and molding the finer qualities of their being. One of the most significant goals that any yeshiva bochur looks to attain during his years of learning, is the chance to bond with his Rebbe, to become the closest thing to a Talmud muvhak, thereby experiencing and absorbing a toras chaim to the utmost level. One of Rabbi Dr. Fox’s most significant accomplishments was becoming
first names of his father, the renown Gadol Harav Elchonon Wasserman zt”l and the word “Ohr” was used as an alternative for the name “Meir” of his mother’s father, Harav Meir Atlas zt”l. Under the guidance of Harav Simcha, the Yeshiva Ohr Elchanan grew to become a full-fledged yeshiva consisting of an elementary day school,
professionals who studied at Rav Wasserman’s West Coast Yeshiva. Tonight the gathering was held once again in the home of Rabbi Dr David Fox, a talmid of Rav Wasserman. Among those who attended this year were: Rabbi Yaakov Krause, Dean Yeshiva Rav Isacsohn, Dovid Bass, Jacob Goldfinger, Dr Binyamin
Photo credit: Arye D. Gordon
of Rav Simcha Wasserman” published by Feldheim. Rabbi Dr. Fox, who is today a renowned clinical and consulting psychologist, professor and lecturer, manages to find the time to deliver a number of shiurim during the week and serve as Rov and marbitz torah to the early Shabbos minyan at the Young Israel of Hancock Park. And so it went on this day of chesvan. One by one, all those seated around the table, retold a personal experience, a talmudic thought, a special moment they shared with the Rosh Hayeshiva and how he effected their lives. Rav Simcha Wasserman zt”l (1900-1992) served as Dean of Yeshiva Beis Yehudah in Detroit in the 1940s, founded Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon in California in the 1950s, and later founded Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon in Yerushalayim in the late 70’s. The Yeshiva was named, “Ohr Elchanan” by Harav Simcha after his father and his mother’s father. Taking the
an accredited High School, Beis Medrash and included some young married kollel members. At the height of its popularity, the yeshiva had over 300 talmidim. Harav Wasserman stayed in Los Angeles until 1978. Prior to moving to Eretz Yisroel, Harav Wasserman transferred the yeshiva to the Chabad Lubavitch organization which maintained the name “Ohr Elchonon” and continues to thrive as a yeshiva in Los Angeles. Harav Wasserman then moved to Yisroel and developed another Yeshiva, also named Ohr Elchanan, which today consists of the Yeshiva in Yerushalayim and numerous branches around the country. News of his petira in Yisroel in 1992, brought thousands of Jews to the levaya in Yerushalayim on a Friday. A special gathering was also held in Los Angeles at the Young Israel of Hancock Park, with over 500 people in attendance. Among them were rabbis, teachers, doctors, lawyers and other
Gross, Hymie Barber, Yossie Kram, Eli Raskin, Gershon Schlussel and Edan Hirt. In speaking of Harav Wasserman, it was pointed out that his strength of character, his caring personality and immense Torah knowledge, set him apart from others. And more. Harav Simcha was known to be an anav and an ish tamim. Never one to promote himself, he was nevertheless highly regarded by the Gedolei Yisroel of his time. His depth of knowledge of Shas, as well as, Reshonim and Achronim, was legendary. Combining this with his tremendous clarity of thought, it is understandable why his talmidim loved him for his teaching abilities. “Harav Elazar Simcha Wasserman represented a carry-over from an era that has vanished. He was an Old World scholar who really symbolized the heights of rabbinic scholarship that we only read about in our legends of centuries past”, said yeshiva alumnus Rabbi Dr. David Fox.
By Chaim Gold
he made a seudah for all the talmidim. Rashi adds that finishing the masechta means learning and reviewing it. We see that one can finish a masechta without properly learning and reviewing it. This too is an accomplishment, but it cannot compare to truly learning and reviewing a masechta from cover to cover. This siyum is therefore such a profound Simcha, not of one ben Torah completing a masechta this way, but of 250! This certainly engenders tremendous simcha in the celestial worlds, all in the zechus of Dirshu!” HaGaon HaRav Eliezer Kahaneman, Shlita: “Rejoicing When Someone else Finishes a Masechta is Real Ahavas HaTorah!”
everyone so talks about?!” “Retelling this, the Ponovezher Rav thundered, “He was right! Shas is not that big! It is possible to know the entire Shas if you persevere systematically!” “May it be Hashem’s will that you continue to complete and truly acquire the entire Shas!” Thousands Participate in Dirshu Programs for Bnei Yeshiva Dirshu’s bnei Yeshiva programs are hailed by leading Roshei Yeshiva. Bachurim in Ponovezh, Chevron, or tens of other yeshivos joining the Dirshu family, across Eretz Yisrael and in chutz la’aretz, learn entire masechtos, truly acquire them. Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi of Dirshu
HaGaon HaRav Eliezer Kahaneman, shlita, Nasi of the Ponovezh Yeshiva told stories and divrei Torah from his illustrious grandfather, the Ponovezher Rov, HaGaon HaRav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, zt”l. “Why did Abaye make a seudah when talmidim made a siyum? My grandfather heard from the Chofetz Chaim that a person who makes a siyum, doesn’t fully indicate love of Torah. Real ahavas Torah is when you are so overjoyed that someone else finished a masechta that you want to celebrate his accomplishments. Here 250 bachurim made a siyum, and it is Rav Dovid Hofstedter and Dirshu that are making the siyum. This is deep ahavas haTorah.” “Once, the chief priest of the city of Ponovezh asked my Zeideh to show him the famed Talmud Bavli, about which he heard so much. He showed him his large Vilna Shas. Shocked, the priest exclaimed, “That is the whole thing?! 20 volumes?! This is the Book of Jewish wisdom
contrasted three times in Tanach when Hashem decided to destroy a society: Noach’s generation, the people of Sedom, and Ninveh. “The mabul generation was guilty of gross immorality and idolatry. Why did stealing seal their fate? We find that while the people of Ninveh were also guilty of stealing, Hashem sent Yonah to warn them to do in teshuvah, which preventing their destruction. Why did Noach not daven for for his generation or give similar rebuke?” Rav Dovid cited the Ramban: if a person descends to such immorality that he ceases to understand something as simple as that stealing is wrong, it is a sign his neshamah has become so depraved it does not deserve to be invested with life from Hashem. The mabul generation was so farremoved from acting as human beings they were not capable of hearing rebuke. “We see that if a culture can’t understand a moral code that even a child understands- they and their culture forfeit
existence. To our distress, we live in a world wherein things always considered abominable, are accepted. There can be no reasoning with people who have lost their elementary humanness.” “That is why the responsibility weighs so heavily to engage in Torah, to understand what the Torah wants from us -and to finish masechtos. We must ensure that the world continues to exist.” HaGaon HaRav Aharon Kotler and HaGaon HaRav Shach on Finishing the Masechta Rav Dovid said, “When I was a bachur, my Rosh Yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Berel Schwartzman, zt”l, one of his generation’s deepest minds demanded that we complete the entire masechta. He himself tested me. He told us HaGaon Harav Aharon Kotler, zt”l, would berate talmidim who didn’t complete the masechta. With his gaonus and depth, he still demanded completing the masechta.” “HaGaon HaRav Shach, zt”l, would rail at those who not finish a masechta. It is thus, Baruch Hashem, such a simcha when bachurim learn and finish masechtos, thereby upholding the entire world!” HaGaon HaRav Isamar Gerboz, shlita: “When You Make a Siyum… You Can Eat for Seven Days Straight!” HaGaon HaRav Isamar Gerboz, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva Orchos Torah told how his fatherin-law, a first born, mistakenly thought as a bachur that on Erev Pesach one must make a siyum in the morning before eating and must make another to eat in the afternoon. The Chazon Ish told him, “When you make a siyum in the morning, you can eat for seven days straight!. So great is the simcha of a siyum! Many poskim rule that we do not say tachanun the week after Simchas Torah, when we are still in the week of rejoicing .“This siyum, within the week of Simchas Torah, truly continues that, our own Simchas Torah that we can celebrate for a week!” One bachur, still holding his Gemara told a member of Dirshu’s hanhala, “I always knew my Torah learning was important, but when I see how Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, and the other gedolim participate and address us, it brought home what they teach us - how important it is to learn and finish masechtos!”
OCTOBER 17, 2013
Hundreds of bachurim of Yeshivos Ponovezh and Orchos Torah gathered at the Ponovezh Yeshiva on Sunday, 25 Tishrei/ September 29 for a siyum on completing the entire Bava Kama. The climax of an exciting evening was unquestionably the arrival of HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, who rarely leaves his home to attend public events but troubled himself to come show his admiration and pleasure at the accomplishments of hundreds of bachurim, and to Dirshu for facilitating their completing and being tested on the entire Masechta. Marking a Milestone The siyum culminated Dirshu’s special yeshiva programs enabling bachurim to finish and attain true kinyan in the masechta their yeshiva learns. The siyum was graced by gedolei Yisrael: HaGaon HaRav Baruch Dov (Berel) Povarsky, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva at the Ponovezh Yeshiva; Rav Isamar Gerboz, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva Yeshiva Orchos Torah; HaGaon Harav Eliezer Kahaneman, shlita, Nasi of the Ponovezh Yeshiva; HaGaon HaRav Dov Diskin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva Orchos Torah; HaGaon HaRav Chaim Peretz Berman, shlita, R”M at the Ponovezh Yeshiva and HaGaon HaRav Chizkiyahu Yosef Mishkovsky, shlita, Mashgiach, Yeshiva Orchos Torah. The venerated senior Ponovezh, Rosh Yeshiva HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, was unable to attend due to illness. Rabbi Avigdor Berenstein, a senior Dirshu hanhalah member said, “Besides the mesaymim’s remarkable accomplishments , an inspiring component was the tangible achdus. Bachurim from different yeshivos unite in that which joins all G-d-fearing Jews: limud haTorah. “We learn the same Masechta Bava Kama wherever we are,” said one bachur. HaGaon HaRav Berel Povarsky, Shlita: “Not All Siyumim Are Equal!” HaGaon HaRav Berel Povarsky, shlita, Rav Povarsky expressed his special simcha , “It is like a continuation of Simchas Torah when Klal Yisrael completes the Torah. We see so many wonderful bachurim who merited dveikus in Torah - the ultimate simcha - through learning, reviewing, and completing the large, important masechta of Bava Kama.” “Not all siyumim are equal. The Gemara teaches that when one of Abaye’s talmidim finished a masechta,
Photo credits: Arye D. Gordon
HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, HaGaon HaRav Berel Povarsky, Shlita, and Other Gedolei Yisrael Participate
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Hundreds of Bachurim from Yeshivos Ponovezh and Orchos Torah Participate in Dirshu Bava Kama Siyum
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
Yeshivat Yavneh Launches “Webisodes;” a Weekly Recap A weekly news feature at Yavneh Hebrew Academy is getting great reviews from parents, students and anyone who has seen the short weekly news video the eighth grade Yavneh class is producing. The three-minute video of school happenings is reported by rotating anchors and reporters from the eighth grade class. It is emailed each Friday and can be viewed on Yavneh’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook page. For the students, it’s a great opportunity to learn about journalism; editorial and writing skills, camera work and the editing process. Student Michael Stark, who is the executive producer says “we are learning a ton about broadcast journalism while having an awesome time shooting these weekly episodes.” “It’s a lot harder than we thought but it’s a fantastic experience.” Naomi Weberman did one of the first reports, on the schools 9/11 assembly. She says, “It feels exciting to be part of a newscast and has me thinking about studying editing.” Shana Lunzer anchored one of the newscasts and said it helped her understand more of what’s going on around her school and made her think of journalism as a possible future profession.” The students meet for a story meeting each Monday with Executive Director Lev Stark to discuss what’s happening around the school that week. They also email teachers asking for story ideas. Each newscast has about 3-5 stories focusing on school events, such as assemblies, guest speakers, school sports, and outstanding students. All the work is done after school as part of the school’s extracurricular activities. For these students, who were practically born knowing how to use computers, and social media, administrators say the school video is an excellent outlet for many of their technical and social media skills. As the school year continues the students are becoming more and more involved in the writing and editing process under the guidance of Stark. Stark says
“we’re working with the kids to leverage social media and technology in getting the message of the school out to the parents, our alumni and community.” Stark, created the studio out of a small office that was available after hours. Using a green screen, lighting and camera equipment, he transformed the space so that what you see on screen looks like a spacious news studio. Like any good TV program, the show has advertisers, paid sponsors, looking for the exposure to the greater Yavneh community while supporting a great cause. The sponsorships are helping to fund the students’ eighth grade trip to Israel. Parents say the newscasts have an added bonus, a nachas factor. Putting the videos online lets out-of-town bubbys and zaideys and other relatives and alumni do a little kvelling.
Shalhevet Students Help Raise Money for Breast Cancer Research As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, students at Shalhevet High School organized “Manicure for the Cure” this past Thursday. During their lunch, faculty and students were able to make a donation and received a special “pink” manicure. All funds raised as part of the program were donated to Sharsheret, an organization that helps promote Breast Cancer Awareness in the Jewish Community and helps fund breast cancer research. Students also arrived at school dressed in pink and wore pink ribbons to help further raise awareness for this most important issue. Shalhevet senior Liat Menna receiving her “manicure for a cure” from director of student life Raizie Weissman
most powerful country on earth. Your opinion matters, and policy makers want to hear what you have to say. It is time reach our potential and write history.” Rabbi Pini Dunner, the program’s advisor, put the students’ work in perspective by highlighting the role they can take in ensuring the Jewish future and the safety of the Jewish people. Elliot Brandt, AIPAC’s Western States Director, also addressed the group and thanked the students for their tireless efforts in becoming advocates for Israel. YULA is also proud to have had two of its students chosen to attend AIPAC’s National Summit in Napa Valley on October 13 and 14, 2013. Seniors Yonah Hiller and Naphtali Nektalov were the sole two high school students in the country invited to attend the Conference, a huge honor bestowed only upon the most dedicated student activists. “Growing up in our community, Israel isn’t a novelty; it is spoken about and a lot of our community cares deeply for the state,” said Naphtali Nektalov, Chairman of the student Board of Directors. “The Israel Advocacy Club aims to take ordinary students who love the state of Israel, and turn that love into action. We empower students with the knowledge and tools they need to speak effectively on the issues that affect Israel and the United States.” Over the course of the school year, students will take part in an intensive training program that not only arms them with facts, but also aims to provide them with the opportunity to make a difference. According to Naphtali, “Advocacy is predicated on the notion that one person can make a difference; one student can build a relationship with a member of Congress and have an influence on a decision that will affect policy in the Middle East and the US.” With these student-led clubs and its passionate leaders and participants, the Jewish future is in excellent hands.
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The impact that a single high school student can have is often overlooked. YULA High School’s Israel Advocacy Club, however, views its members as more than capable of affecting large-scale change. Armed with the correct knowledge and tools, the club’s participants go on to advocate for Israel to well-respected members of Congress, having meaningful conversations and changing policy for the better. Together, the YULA Boys and Girls School comprise the largest student-run high school Israel Advocacy program in the country. The goal is simple: to turn students’ love and passion for Israel into tangible action, including lobbying members of Congress on behalf of the State of Israel. Students in the club are guided by AIPAC-trained activists, where they learn about the history of the Middle East, the current political atmosphere, and how to become effective pro-Israel advocates. On Thursday, October 10, over 120 YULA students, parents, and various community leaders, came together to launch the 2013 YULA Israel Advocacy Program. Set in the stunning backyard of a current YULA parent, the evening was a beautiful introduction to a club that has garnered a great deal of interest and action from students. Students arrived at the event after a full day at school and were engaged in a fun and meaningful way, surrounded by other young adults with a shared passion for Israel. This event was the first for students on the road to becoming pro-Israel advocates. The Los Angeles Jewish community was well represented, including community program facilitators Rabbi Zev Goldberg, Assistant Rabbi at Young Israel of Century City, and Rabbi Zach Swigard, Teen Rabbi at Beth Jacob Congregation. Rabbi Elazar Muskin and Rabbi Kalman Topp also attended the evening, representing a unique community partnership that has developed between the school and shuls over a shared love for and commitment to Israel. Student speakers addressed the group, explaining the vision and goals of the program and the ability for each individual to make a difference. YULA Senior Yonah Hiller passionately told the audience, “The power you have as a high school student is incredible. You can make your voice heard in the
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Making a Difference: YULA Israel Advocacy Club Kick-Off Event
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
The Changing Face of Orthodox Conversion in LA By Rachel Wizenfeld
With more people converting than ever before and now with a more professional, standardized process, Orthodox conversion has a much different face than it did 20 years ago. Here rabbis, administrators and converts talk about what draws people to Judaism and what the conversion program has become. Some are looking for deeper meaning. Some want to marry a Jewish spouse. Some grew up Jewish, were stalwarts in their Jewish day camps and religious schools, and are stunned years later to realize that according to many, their Jewish status is highly questionable. Others are inexplicably drawn to religious Judaism for reasons they can’t quite put their finger on. But whatever the reason, rabbis agree that the numbers of those looking to convert through Orthodox Judaism is significantly more than in past years. In Israel, the increase is driven by the influx of Russians and those from the former Soviet Union, while in America, it’s the result of being part of a very non-Jewish society – many converts have had their interest in Judaism sparked by meeting and becoming inspired by someone Jewish, says Rabbi Avrohom Union, the rabbinic administrator for the Rabbinical Council of California (RCC), who is in charge of the council’s conversions. And the increasing size of the Orthodox Jewish community, which appears to be growing steadily according to many studies, means that more Americans have exposure to Orthodox Jews. Rabbi Union spoke of a case where a convert had encountered a yeshiva student at a bus stop and noticed him averting his eyes from her casual, summertime outfit. Intrigued (and slightly offended) by his looking away, she began exploring Judaism. Rav Gavriel Cohen, who heads a beis din near Hancock Park, says that in addition to the increase in conversion applicants, their quality and seriousness has increased. “The ones who come in these days, they’re very strong. They really want to go through it at all costs, even if they are going to lose connection with their family members, or they have to work hard. It’s a different feel,” he says. And while those who convert to marry a Jewish spouse were always a consistent percentage, today there are many candidates who simply have a yearning for something higher, says Rabbi Shmuel Ohana, who runs a beis din in the valley. “Some of them, without any Jewish partner, have been exposed to Judaism one way or another that encourages them to investigate it further, and we find they respond to their yearning,” he says.
There are four primary motivations of those who wish to convert, according to the RCC, which has been collecting statistical data on Orthodox conversion for over twenty years. While many assume that the primary reason people convert is for marriage, only 30% of RCC conversions are by those who are currently married or seeing someone. “It’s significant, but by no means a majority,” Rabbi Union says. One major group is made up of spiritual seekers who are simply driven by a search for G-d in a secular society. Others don’t necessarily have a clear sense of what it is that’s pulling them to Judaism, but feel an uncompromising urge to join the tribe. Sometimes these individuals find out later that they have Jewish ancestry, like one brilliant fellow from Brazil who was in LA getting his PhD in computer sciences on a full scholarship from the Brazilian government. He came to the RCC for his conversion, professing a sincere dedication to Judaism, married another convert, and much later, after investigating his family tree, discovered that he descended from Marranos that had moved to Brazil from Portugal several centuries prior. Another convert interviewed for this article, Chloe Traicos, had always felt drawn to Judaism and at home in Jewish life, as she puts it. Born and raised first in Zimbabwe and then in Australia, Traicos initially converted Reform, but found that keeping Shabbos and kosher meant she was more religious than all the Reform Jews she knew. Upon discovering that not everyone would consider her children Jewish, she began studying for Orthodox conversion, which she successfully completed this past summer under the supervision of Rabbi Zvi Block, who runs a beis din in North Hollywood. Traicos had long suspected that her maternal great-grandmother, who lived in Odessa, Ukraine, was Jewish, and was exhilarated to learn that a recent DNA test found her to be 43% genetically Jewish. While both of these individuals still required conversions to become halachically Jewish, these findings were powerful affirmations of their choice to convert. The final motivation to convert comes from being raised Jewish or having Jewish family origins, according to Rabbi Union. Often such an individual will be an unaffiliated or non-observant Jew who starts becoming interested in religious Judaism and becoming a baal teshuva, and suddenly finds out that he is the product of a
less-than-Orthodox conversion. These situations crop up all the time: one man who was learning Daf Yomi daily was suddenly informed by his father that his mother didn’t have an Orthodox conversion. A young woman, who fell in love with an Israeli on a Birthright-style trip to Israel, was shocked to learn that she would have to convert in order to marry the man in Israel. Many of these converts have a Jewish father or grandparent, or grew up with a strong Jewish identity, whether through USY or NFTY, Conservative and Reform Jewish youth programs. This last group of conversion candidates is growing steadily and is expected to rise even more as high intermarriage rates (as documented by the recent Pew study on American Jewry) lead to more blurry Jewish identities. Because it is often traumatic for these individuals to learn they are not considered Jewish, Rabbi Union likes to tell them, “consider yourself an associate member of the Jewish community, even though right now you’re not halachically Jewish.” Often, these stories conclude with positive endings. Rabbi Ohana recalls one man who became a baal teshuva and began learning and observing Jewish practice, and then suddenly discovered he wasn’t halachically Jewish (his father was Jewish, his mother was not). He approached a local beis din to be converted, but despite his sincerity, after his initial interview he was sent a letter encouraging him to become a “ben noach” –a righteous gentile. This man came to Rabbi Ohana’s shul to show him the letter and plead his case, and Rabbi Ohana proceeded to learn with him and presided over his conversion, after which he married and started a family. “The last time I called the rabbi of the shul where he belongs to check up on him, the rabbi said, ‘that guy? He just came – he’s waiting for us now for mincha.’” Rabbi Union wouldn’t say which of the primary motivations lead to more successful converts, under the concern that releasing too much proprietary information can assist people in “gaming the system.” (Apparently in Israel there are “cheat sheets” circulating with information on how to convince rabbis of one’s sincerity to convert.) But there are certainly predictors of success for converts. The biggest one is integration into the community, which is why the RCC makes such a push for people to relocate, even if they already live within two or two and a
half miles from a shul. “We insisted that they have to relocate, and in the early years people were really upset with us. But all the people that we did push, after their conversion, they said ‘we get it,’ after having moved into the community and seeing the difference,” he says. Having a balanced, realistic approach is also critical. If someone comes into the initial interview and says, “My mind is made up. I’m doing this 100%,” the warning bells start to go off, Rabbi Union says. “This isn’t being born again, where you stand up and wave the flag. We want them to understand the issues and the challenges. It’s not like this is going to solve all of their problems. Is it a beautiful way to live? Sure it is, but they have to appreciate the challenges and be willing to confront those challenges.” That was one thing that Elsa Monterroso, a woman currently in the process of conversion, had to discover for herself. “It’s not like you wear the head covering and boom – no problems will happen to you,” she says. “Religious people are just like everybody else – it’s real. And it’s so beautiful.” How many people complete the program and actually convert each year? At the RCC, generally accepted to be the “gold standard” of geirus in Los Angeles, it’s about 1 in 3 candidates, or about 20-30 each year. Most of those who drop out do so within the first 6-8 months, once they realize the demands of living a fully Orthodox lifestyle. Some were experiencing what turned out to be a passing interest, others were lacking in commitment, having been pushed into conversion for family reasons or other pressures. Sometimes applicants will be rejected – about one to two each year - usually due to hiding information, such as a girlfriend or boyfriend in the background, says Rabbi Union. “It’s very simple: if there’s a Jewish man in a women’s life, he needs to be involved in the process; it can’t be that she’s the Orthodox one and he’ll turn on the TV on Shabbos.” Is there more of a pressure to do a conversion for a couple that’s already married, to remove the stigma and halachic problem of an intermarried Jew? Obviously the pressure is there, but the standard doesn’t change, says Rabbi Union. “You don’t want to do that conversion if the end result is a non-observant Jew.” At the smaller batei din, people drop out for many of the same reasons – primarily from a realization that the commitments of Orthodoxy are too much – but the rabbis attest there is more handholding throughout the process. “We concentrate on the students our-
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
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convening their own batei din and vouching for the validity of their converts, were they to relocate or marry. But over the past decade, largely spurred on by the Israeli rabbinate, many conversions in America have become more standardized and handled by centralized rabbinic courts. The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) was largely responsible for initiating this change through its program called GPS (Geirus Policies and Standards), which instituted national standards and created a network of regional batei din to oversee conversions. GPS was intended to provide converts with a safer conversion that wouldn’t be called into question by the Israeli rabbinate. In years past and current, the rabbinate has refused to recognize some conversions from diaspora rabbis it is unfamiliar with or uncomfortable with, leading to fraught and messy situations for converts and their offspring. Yet critics of GPS say that the new standards are too strict and uniform-like, and that the stanselves - we know exactly what they’re learning, what they feel, and we stick with them all the way through the end; we don’t let go,” says Rav Cohen. “We make sure that we hold the hands of the person until they get the certificate. We’re very close to them.” “They need chizuk,” agrees Rabbi Ohana, and he says that’s primarily why he initiated his own beis din – because he saw a need for a more sensitive, compassionate
approach. “I feel I have more understanding; I stay in touch with them and find out how they are doing, especially before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Because they need chizuk. To have someone convert and then you forget about them, that’s not fair to the convert.” There has been a major – and recent shift in the way conversions are processed in America. Historically, local rabbis were responsible for administering conversions,
dardized, professional process means conversion candidates are handled with less compassion and sensitivity. Rabbi Union believes that in today’s fragmented Jewish community, a central body that handles conversions and creates and enforces recognized standards can only be a good thing. To counteract the humanistic concerns, he encourages the close involvement of a sponsoring rabbi who lives in the convert’s community and offers support and guidance, even while the actual conversion goes through the regional beis din. “At the end of the day, what is it we want to accomplish?” Rabbi Union asks. “We want people who will become observant members of the Orthodox community, and who are fully participating in Orthodox life. They can be Chassidish or Modern Orthodox, Yeshivish or Mizrachi, but they have to be members of an Orthodox Jewish community, and we’re helping people to do that.”
Primary motivations of converts: Jewish spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend - Inexplicable pull to Judaism Jewish parent or grandparent, or raised as Jewish - Spiritual seeker, looking for G-d Average cost of conversion: $1,500-$2,000, includes tutoring, administrative fees and mikvah fees Average timeframe: 1-2 years Number of Orthodox conversions done in LA annually: approximately 50-80 (based on anecdotal data)
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THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 17, 2013
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
Beth Jacob Congregation Presents
Dudu Fisher in Concert Hosted by
Chazan Arik Wollheim
Sunday, November 17, 2013 7:00 p.m.
Beth Jacob Congregation Ticket prices are $36, $50, $75, $100, $125. Sponsorship: $1000 (includes two tickets and autographed CD) To purchase tickets today call (310) 278-1911 or visit us: Bethjacob.org/concert.html
Bring Torah to Life. Beth Jacob Congregation 9030 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills (310) 278-1911 â€˘ www.bethjacob.org
Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn
served Sabbath there is no increase. And therefore it’s a day when you appreciate the intangible elements. We don’t add anything new to the Sabbath. Are there physical pleasures on Shabbos? Of course. But the idea is that it’s your day to use the physical world to appreciate that life is much more about the intangible than it is about the tangible. Now we are ready to explore the intangible drivers of our lives. What is it that allows us to contribute the most in our lives? What allows us to be most effective? At face value, it’s a science. If I exercise this many hours, I will be ready for the race coming up. If I go through the following courses in this school, I’ll be able to get this degree and thereby I can better do X and Y. Science of achievement looks at a series or a collection of tangibles and quantitatives that I need to do in order to get me from Point A to Point B. Larry Bird used to sit in his backyard as a kid and take 500 shots a day - 500 shots and no less. So someone like him might have been awkward, tall, lanky, but what made him great was just consistency: 500 shots every single day. That’s the science of achievement. To achieve things in life, you have to go through a certain amount of technical skill. But we need to look at a different side of the coin. We just looked at what allows us to be most effective, but what allows us to be most fulfilled? That’s a totally different topic. Science of achievement - there are books and YouTube videos on that. We could research and find what things we need to do in order to become a great chef. But that does not promote in any one specific way the science of fulfillment. The realm of fulfillment entails a totally different skillset and unfortunately we mesh the two together and then we wonder why. Well, I just worked hard, I put this whole banquet together, it was very successful - how come I don’t necessarily feel better afterwards, or how come I don’t feel fulfilled? It’s a different metric system. What’s the difference between somebody who’s been given plenty of opportunities, schooling, job offers, spent their days in and out of rehab versus a lot of people we may know who did not have those opportunities, those same possibilities, yet live their lives in success? Many of us would say that our lives are dictated by our past. As Tony Robbins puts it, “Most of society believes that biography is destiny.” You’re destined to live it over and over. Past equals future. It does if you choose to live there; if you choose to stay living there, then your past does equal your future. Rav Chaim Shmeulevitz says we’ll make entire stories with our lives so that we can allow our past to continue to
dictate our dysfunctional trajectory. Our past is one way to dictate whether we have fulfillment or not because it’s up to us to choose whether we are there or not. At the end of the Torah, G-d says, I put in front of you blessing and curse, choose life. Meaning G-d puts in front of us all possibilities, we’re asked to make decisions and those decisions affect the path of our life. Dr. Phil says our entire life is dictated by 10 defining moments, 7 critical choices, and 5 pivotal people. I’m not so sure life works out that neatly but the point is well taken. Map it out and we get the screenplay of our entire life. It’s our job to audit that information and keep the things we like and get rid of the things we don’t like. The decisions we make shape our destiny. There are three components to a sound decision: 1) Esav and his soup. Esav is sitting in the forest with two options in front of him: keep my rightful birthright, or sell it and get some soup. What’s more important to me right now? He used a very narrow window to make his decision. When we make decisions do we focus on present value or do we think about the impact 10, 20, 40 years down the line? One of the critical components to any decision that we make is what choose to focus on. If something happens to me, is that a sign of the beginning of a new way of life or is that an indication that something is ending? It’s all a matter of focus. You could look at the same situation from two different vantage points. Steve Jobs was given away by his parents. They literally left him on a doorstep. The average kid could look at that event and say I was abandoned. Steve Jobs looked at that event and said to himself, “I was chosen.” My new parents chose to have me. There’s a story told over from the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. One hundred people are all trying to get to the palace of the king. Before you can get to the King’s palace there are seven walls. The first wall is made of ice. Thirty-five people bow out after attempting that first wall. The second wall is made of glue. Another 20 people quit after trying that wall. Each wall is progressively more difficult. Finally six individuals make it to the final wall which is made of swords. Only one valiant soldier makes it over. The King greets the triumphant one and asks him, “How did you get through all seven walls?” The brave one answered, “Because I woke up one morning, I looked ahead and realized that there are no walls.” The point of this story, at least on one level, is that our focus and outlook of the world changes the obstacles that stand in
OCTOBER 17, 2013
When we try to find the defining elements of what separates people who have achieved greatness in their lives and those who have not, often that gap is attributable to invisible factors, things that you can’t exactly point to. We love thinking that we know the cause. Historians can conveniently look after the fact and develop five causes of the civil war. But do we really know? Life is much more complex than that and wars, innovations, significant moments are usually due to a combination of factors that happen to collide at the same time, thus creating opportunities which normally wouldn’t have been available. Carl Jung explained this phenomena with a concept he called “synchronicity.” Malcolm Gladwell speaks about how if Bill gates was born 7 months later, he would have never become Bill Gates because he wouldn’t have accessed the computer program that he got into. If he was born 7 months later, he would have never had those thousands of free hours of training, allowing him to hone his skills and figure things out. Much of life is a collection of invisibles working in consonance. I’d like to focus on some of those drivers that distinguish us and give us our strengths and abilities to get things done. Focusing on the unseen is critical to any sophisticated relationship with Judaism. G-d calls upon Abraham to go to a land that he knows is there but he cannot see. Abraham is very disturbed by his father’s idols. Why do they bother him? Because for Abraham religion is not worshipped in the tangible. The physical can’t be a deity; something that you can point to, that you can touch, can’t be G-d. We know this to be true with love - love is not something you can point to. You can point to acts of love, to behaviors that increase love. But when you ask, “What is love?” there is nothing specifically to which you can point. Let me adapt an ancient illustration. A Samurai went to a Chassidic Rabbi. The Samurai says to the Rabbi, “So, you think you’re so wise? Tell me then, where is the gate to heaven and the gate to hell?” The Rabbi, calmly sitting there, looks up at the Samurai and says, “You know, you’re so worthless. You walk around with that sword thinking you’re powerful. I’m sure
anybody can finish you off.” With those words of insolence, the Samurai reaches into his belt and begins to unsheathe his sword. He lifts up the sword above the head of the Rabbi. The Rabbi with a glimmer in his eye looks up and says, “That’s the gate to hell.” Then the Samurai puts down the sword and puts it back in its scabbard. The Rabbi says, “That’s the gate to heaven.” This story goes to the message that there are some things that are just intangible. There are some things that we cannot point to. We can point to the behaviors but they’re not exactly the emotions themselves - what goodness is or what badness is - they’re just behaviors that indicate those ideas. As they’re fleeing from Sodom, Lot’s wife looks back and turns into a pillar of salt. Why? Presumably, one reason is that G-d was saying you’re not supposed to see this, you’re supposed to believe in something that you can’t measure, something that is intangible. Stop looking back. Life is often about the things we can’t see and often those are the most valuable. Teenagers are usually bothered about that fact that we’re trying serve a G-d that we can’t see. But the truth is we know that some of the greatest parts of life are all the things that we can’t see. When Sarah dies, Abraham goes through a difficult negotiation over a piece of land for her to be buried. Why? What’s he really fighting for? Let him just take any spot in the world. Abraham is struggling for something again that he can’t see. It’s a cave. The greatness of a cave is hidden from the eye. The worth of it you cannot see. The mystical work, the Zohar, talks about how the normal eye looked into this cave and saw nothing. Abraham looked into the cave and saw something - he saw the whole universe opening up in that one spot. And he buys the almost intangible spot for his wife Sarah who’s moving into a world that we can’t see. Historians point out that this is what distinguishes Biblical Egypt. Egypt was very much a world of the physical, a world of labor, of the pyramid, of what you can build. That’s why when an Egyptian leader died, he was buried with his treasures because your worth in the next world was the physical assets that you accumulated and that was the concept of mummifying an individual to try to preserve the physical. The Jewish message to the world at that time is that there was limited value to the physical and it has a short shelf life. At some point we enter into the real world, which is the world of the intangible. It’s the singular focus of the Sabbath. Every day we operate through commerce and barter, exchange, purchasing and activity. On the fully ob-
THE JEWISH HOME
The Reservoir of Willpower – How to Harness the Intangible Drivers of Success
THE JEWISH HOME
OCTOBER 17, 2013
front of us. 2) The Banner. The second ingredient in making a decision is one of interpretation. The Hebrew word for miracle is “nes,” meaning banner. Why is a miracle called a nes? Nachmanides answers that a miracle holds up a banner of G-d’s relevance to the world. A miracle raises our awareness and compels us to ask ourselves, “What does this event/ordeal mean to me?” It’s up to us to choose our interpretation. Dennis Prager speaks about a concept called Missing Tile Syndrome. A person lies in bed looking at tiles in the ceiling. Ninety nine of them are aligned perfectly, but one tile is missing. The person keeps staring at the broken tile, unable to get it out of his or her mind. Some of us just see the negative. Some people see the same event and read it in different ways. 3) The Song at Sea. And the third element of a decision is the notion that there’s no point in having a vision if you’re not going to do anything about it. There are no spiritual events for the sake of spiritual events. If it doesn’t make me better, then there’s no relevance. If it doesn’t get me to do something different in my life then it’s a wasted moment. As soon as the Israelites crossed the Red Sea they broke out
into song – Az Yashir. Why? Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchever says that they had such a spiritual epiphany at that moment, but it could have been worthless if it wasn’t concretized. These decisions not only shape our lives but when we make good decisions we change the history of the world. Because one woman decided not to sit at the back of the bus, the American legacy has changed forever. Australian Nick Vujicic is an amazing individual. He was born with a rare disorder called tetra-amelia syndrome. He was born with no limbs. Nick travels around the world to speak to people who have a lot more and at times want to give up. People like us. He uses his ability to get up with no limbs as an analogy for life. Nick, at some point in his life, made a decision that he’s not going to spend his whole life sitting in the corner of a room. The secret is in our decisions. What drives us toward certain decisions? Rav Wolbe citing the Vilna Gaon says that “ratzon” – will – is a tremendous power. It is driven by specific needs that every human seeks to be met. Understanding these needs is the key to understanding the root of conflict. Often discord and strife is a result of a lack of understanding each other’s needs.
As the Israelites are fleeing from Egypt they become nervous. They begin to complain and suggest that they should go back to Egypt. “Were there not enough graves in Egypt?” How could they even think about going back there? Didn’t they remember what their lives had been like? I was at a shiva speaking with the mourner about his family who is still in Tehran. I asked him why his family stays in a country where Jews are hated. He explained that this is the mentality of people in Tehran. They may live now with wealth - they’re doing well by and large - but they don’t realize, as is the case when you’re in the situation, that they’re being used as a pawn against Israel. They don’t understand that. And in a moment the government can take everything away, they can hit delete and everything they have is gone. So why do people choose that life? Because it’s certain and predictable. People want certainty. They want to know that they can be comfortable, that they can avoid pain, and everything can be certain. The same goes for the Israelites in Egypt. Why did they want to go back to Egypt? Life was certain there. They woke up, they knew they had to build at 5 am. They went to bed at night at 10 pm. The schedule was the same every single day. They knew where they were going to be at all times. There was no freedom. There was no independence. But you know what? It was certain. And how do we gain certainty? We gain certainty in our lives either by controlling someone, smoking something, doing something that we know is always there for us. It’s certainty. A meal is always going to be there for us. It provides us a comfort because it’s always there. After the first primary need of certainty, the second primary need is almost contradictory: it’s the need for variety, uncertainty, the element of surprise. This was the complaint of the Israelites concerning the manna. It could taste like whatever you want. But it was the same experience every day. So the very same people who wanted to go back to a certain life in Egypt craved variety again. “We remember the cucumbers and the vegetation and the watermelon, things looked different to us,” they proclaimed. We all have an innate need for a sense of variety in our lives. It’s why you can’t see the same movie over and over. We’ll always need to do something different, to go to different places, live different experiences. The third basic human need is suggested by Rav Levi of Yitzchak Berditchev. He wonders why there is a Jewish custom to dance with the Torah on the holiday Simchas Torah? The message we seem to send is an odd one. We’re dancing with the Torah as if to say, “Oh thank G-d we have 613 more laws.” Would we ever dream of taking the Declaration of Independence and dancing along with the Bill of Rights and the Constitution? You don’t dance with the Constitution, with the Magna Carta. The
custom is to dance with the Torah because of what it says about us: G-d trusts us to keep it and its charges mean that we are chosen for a special mission, and we are capable of fulfilling it all. This brings us to our fourth need: the need to feel significant, special, and unique. A positive way to meet that need can be through more spirituality, more education, teaching ourselves something different, or getting involved in an organization. Alternatively, you can meet that need in a negative way. What do we do if we have no education, no resources, nobody gives us a job - how do we feel significant? For some people, the answer is violence. If I pull out a gun on somebody I can be the king. Next is the need for connection and love - the most basic element. The Maharal says that connection and love is the core component to attending synagogue. It’s not so much about a place where we can be most devotional, rather the value of it is coming together. It’s the feeling that we need a sense of connection. No man is an island. We need each other. The last two needs embody in many ways what real fulfillment comes from. It’s the sense that we’re always growing. Growth is the message of lech lecha. Abraham is asked by G-d to find himself and, in that, become greater. Growth is also the message of the angels and Jacob that even after all those years in the house of Lavan, after all those years in such an immoral environment house, the Torah says that Jacob encounters angels. Why does it tell us that he runs into angels? The fact that Jacob dreamed of angels at the ladder before he got to the house of Lavan and after all those years studying in a spiritual enclave of course he was dreaming of spiritual beings. What else was he was going to dream of? The more remarkable occurrence is that after he left the house of Lavan he was still dreaming of angels. He never stopped growing. We also all need to contribute. Life is not just about me. We need to be able to give in some way. Decisions affect our fulfillment in life. How do we make decisions? Decisions are a product of what we choose to focus on and what it means to us. Those decisions are further driven by a series of needs that the human condition makes a part of each of us. To understand what goes into any given decision offers us the most sought after gift – the source and sustainability of willpower. All the modern research is pointing in the direction of a limited reservoir of willpower within each of us. Now it’s time to understand what’s in that reservoir.
Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn is the Rav & Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh in Los Angeles. He is the creator of WINGS; a synagogue consulting group for the Orhodox Union. He is also the author of 3 sefarim. For any comments, thoughts, or observations email the Rabbi at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rabbi Reuven Wolf
cepts is what connects them to the words of Avraham, who compared himself to just that—dust and ash. But we might wonder if there is something else, a deeper connection between these two mitzvoth and the words of Avraham—and perhaps to the life and character of Avraham. The Maharsha (Rabbi Shmuel Eideles,
the quality of G-d’s Kindness came to Hashem, as it were, and complained that as long as Avraham walks the earth, he, the quality of Divine Kindness, is out of a job and has nothing to do—Avraham is doing it all! This is the Midrash’s way of showing how deep and how pervasive was Avraham’s caring and compassion for the
THE KOHEN WHO TESTS THE SOTAH MUST PERFORM AN ACT THAT MOST KOHANIM WOULD SHUDDER TO EVEN THINK ABOUT
the 17th-century Polish Talmudist, author of a famous commentary on the Talmud) sees in these substances, dust and ash, an allusion to the humble beginnings of human life—for Adam was made from dust—and to the ultimately humble end of life—for ash is what is left when all the life substance is removed when a human being is buried after death. The Maharsha says further that the two mitzvoth—Sotah and Parah Aduma—are related to these two aspect of human existence. For the Sotah ceremony has as its objective the reunification of husband and wife for the purpose of creating new life. And the sprinkling of the ashes of the Parah Adumah has as its objective initiating the healing process following exposure to death, especially to the dead body of a loved one whom one has, for example, needed to be attended to and buried. The Maharal (Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague, who lived in the 16th century), sees the connection between Avraham’s words and these two mitzvoth in the special character of earth—represented by dust and ash—as both the most humble of elements (compared to fire, air and water), but also the most creative and generative of elements, in that all life germinates ultimately from humble earth. Thus, just as Avraham’s humility was a powerful creative force in the world, as exemplified by his comparing himself to dust and ash, so are these two mitzvoth creative and life affirming: Sotah in bringing husband and wife back together, and Parah Aduma in helping people to cope with death and continue living. But there may be a deeper connection between these Mitzvoth and the essence of Avraham. For we are told that Avraham was the very personification of kindness, chesed—the great champion of chesed in the world. In fact, the Sefer HaBohir by Rabbi Nehunya ben HaKanah (a contemporary of Rav Yochanan ben Zakai) relates us that during Avraham’s life of kindness,
plight of people in need. We see this most clearly in the episode (at the beginning of this Parsha) in which Avraham excuses himself while he is talking to G-d Himself to run and care for three wayfarers in need of help. But even kindness comes in two varieties—there are two very different sources of human kindness. One kind of kindness domes from greatness and bounty, and another kind of kindness that comes from humility and self-negation. In the first variety of kindness, a person who is blessed with great wealth can feel the desire to use their wealth to help other people. To many of us in the lower, more common segment of the income scale (the “lower 98-percent”), we might feel that this generosity and giving is motivated by arrogance and the desire for recognition, but this would be a mistake. For the many, many gifts that Hashem bestows on the earth and on us comes from His magnificence and His great power—like a king bestowing gifts and benefits upon his beloved subjects. There is nothing wrong with such kindness and nothing tainted by such generosity. But there is another variety of kindness—one that comes from humility and a sense that everything one has is there to be used for the purpose of helping others, of making life more bearable for people in need. We are not talking about someone who has a poor self-image, who has a problem seeing his own worth and merit. We are talking about a person who knows that he has great accomplishments and great talents, but sees his task, his destiny on earth as being to help others, and to do so with every last resource, every ounce of energy, every bit of wealth that he has been given or acquired here on earth. This is a kindness that is born of humility—from an image of the self that is lowly and humble, that is overwhelmed by the greatness and grandeur of the Creator. There is a great difference between these two sorts of kindness: in the kindness
that comes from great wealth and power, the person bestowing his generosity will do so as long as he is left with great wealth for himself. Those who create foundations for the good of humanity usually have quite a bit left to support their own comfortable life-style. Perhaps they would be just as giving even if they were not blessed with great wealth; then again, perhaps not. But the kindness of Avraham does not depend on his having enough for himself. For on several occasions, Avraham is ready to give everything for the sake of the welfare of another person. When Avraham goes to war to save his nephew, Lot, he risks everything—his life no less than his wealth—to rescue his captive (and otherwise despicable and worthless) relative.  Such is the character of Avraham, and such is our legacy—and you might say our “genetic” legacy—from the founder of our people, Avraham. That is the character of the Jewish People—the identifying characteristic of the Jewish personality: not only charity, but giving to help others “until it hurts.” Now we see the connection between these two Mitzvoth and Avraham: in both cases, the Kohen must himself make a sacrifice to help these bereaved people in need. For when the Kohen sprinkles the person who has been defiled by exposure to a dead body, that Kohen becomes himself defiled and cannot serve for a time in the Temple. And the Kohen who tests the Sotah must perform an act that most Kohanim would shudder to even think about: erasing the name of Hashem from a document containing the Parsha of Sotah to get the ink for the concoction he has to mix—all for a person who has acted a wayward and obstinate way by creating the suspicion of infidelity. When one realizes that any particular Kohen serving in the Temple did so only twice a year for only a few days, these two ceremonies call upon the Kohen to make sacrifices—the same self-sacrificing and humble spirit of charity and kindness that was the hallmark and path of Avraham.
Rabbi Reuven Wolf is a world renowned educator and lecturer who has devoted his life to reaching out and rekindling the spirit of Judaism in his fellow Jews. He was raised in the Ropshetz Chassidic dynasty, educated in the Belz and Bluzhev Yeshivos, and later, in the famous Lithuanian schools of Slabodkea and Mir. He is profoundly influenced by Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah, and particularly Chabad Chassidic philosophy. Since 1995, Rabbi Wolf has been teaching students of all ages, from elementary school children to adults, and has lectured across North America. Maayon Yisroel was founded in 2006 by Rabbi Wolf and Haki Abhesera, as a center to fulfill the vision of spreading the profound mystical teachings of Chassidic Judaism.
OCTOBER 17, 2013
In this week’s Parsha, Parshas Vayeira, we read more about the life of our Patriarch, Avraham, and our Matriarch, Sarah. We read about what happens when Hashem tells Avraham that He intends to bring about the annihilation of the wicked and cruel city of Sodom and four other cities. Avraham argues, and argues vehemently, with G-d in defense of these cities, that they should not be destroyed in such a way that the righteous people in those cities should die along with the wicked. Avraham pleads with Hashem on behalf of the people of Sodom and speaks humbly about himself, even as he argues strongly with Hashem. Even as he stands up to defend the cities, Avraham humbles himself and says, “I am but dust (afar) and ash (eifer) [18:27]” as he continues to challenge the edict of Hashem. The Midrash tells us that this Posuk is an allusion to the fact that Avraham was rescued by Hashem from death—from returning to dust—during his battle against the overwhelming odds of the war he waged against the four kings (in chapter 14), and from being consumed in the fires of King Nimrod and turned to ash. Though Avraham has devoted his life to the service of Hashem and had already accomplished so much to spread the concept of the existence and the unity of the Creator in the world, he considered himself just lowly dust and ashes before G-d as he pleaded for the lives of the people of Sodom. The Gemara (in Sotah 17 and Hulin 88) tells us that as a reward for humbling himself before Hashem during this encounter, the Jewish people, the descendants of Avraham, were given two specific precepts, two mitzvoth: one is the mitzvah of Sotah, which involves dust; and the second is the mitzvah of Parah Aduma, the red heifer, which involves ash. The precept of Sotah involves a ceremony that was conducted in the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple, in which a woman who was suspected of having been unfaithful (but who insisted on her innocence in spite of her wayward behavior) was given a potion to drink that contained the dust of the Temple floor that would test her fidelity. And the precept of Parah Aduma involved a ceremony, also performed in the Temple, in which a person who had become impure because he had been exposed to a dead body would be purified by being sprinkled with a concoction made from the ashes of a red heifer that had been previously slaughtered and burned expressly for this purpose. On the one hand, these two mitzvoth were given to Am Yisroel as a commemoration of the humility that Avraham exhibited when he spoke to and argued with Hashem. On a simple level, the mere appearance of dust and ashes in these pre-
THE JEWISH HOME
The Paths of Kindness
A Contrarian Approach to Kiruv By Rabbi Avi Shafran
THE JEWISH HOME
OCTOBER 17, 2013
I unintentionally shocked a Jewish journalist several months ago. I had invited the non-Orthodox reporter to Agudath Israel of America’s offices to introduce her to the organization’s various divisions and projects, and to some of my colleagues. But later, conversing with her about various issues, something I said – although to me it was entirely unremarkable – seemed to take my guest aback. She had brought up the topic of abortion rights. I noted that Orthodox Jews don’t regard the issue as one of “rights” but rather of right – that is to say, our obligations to our Creator. Odd as it still seems to me now, my guest reacted as if a new lens on the world had suddenly opened before her. She wasn’t about to suddenly adopt the Orthodox paradigm, I’m quite sure. But she admitted that she hadn’t ever considered its contrarian conceptual source – the idea that we are here on earth not to reach our own conclusions and assert our rights but rather to accept G-d’s will and serve Him. Suddenly, she seemed to understand why the Orthodox approach to a number of contemporary issues was so different from her own and that of her own professional and personal circles. She had actually thought a new thought. I was reminded of the reporter’s minor epiphany by the recently released and much-reported-upon Pew Research Survey of American Jews. There are all manner of puzzlements in the survey results, likely a result of the very broad definitions employed by the researchers. One category of “Jews” is “Jews by affinity,” which is to say Americans lacking any Jewish parentage or any Jewish education who simply opt to call themselves Jews. There are apparently more than one million of them (which might go a long way toward explaining the survey’s finding that fully one third of all “American Jews” erect a holiday tree in their homes each December). Similarly suspicious is the survey’s definition of “Orthodox.” How else to explain the bizarre finding that fully 15% of Orthodox Jews regularly attend services in a non-Jewish place of worship? (Or that 4% of them, too, have holiday trees!) Times, to be sure, are strange. But still. All that aside, though, the clear and less-contestable takeaway of the survey is that there is a very large and increasing number of halachically Jewish American Jews who have opted out of Jewishness as a religious identification altogether, on whose
radar Judaism is a fading blip, if that. The larger community’s approach to such “unaffiliated” Jews has long been to offer an elaborate smorgasbord of “Jewish” choices: Funky Federation programmatic food, somewhat moldy “denominational” fare (whose expiration dates have come and gone), “tikkun olam” appetizers, various affinity-group pastries “koshered” by adding the word “Jewish” to them (like “Jewish” vegetarianism, or “Jewish” yoga and even “Jewish” activities condemned by the Torah). Even some of the various Orthodox kiruv, or outreach, groups, all of whom do wonderful work in the American spiritual field (or desert) occasionally lapse into entertainment-mode, enticing unconnected Jews with nosh whose ingredients, while they include healthful Jewish additives, remain essentially nosh. There’s nothing wrong, of course, with trying to reach Jews “where they are,” with connecting to them through their personal interests or culture. And certainly nothing wrong with using the beauty of a Shabbos (or the aroma of a cholent) to help a Jew begin to “bond” with his or her heritage. But might there be room, even a need, for a… different approach? What if, instead of special offers and glitzy offerings, we simply proclaimed loud and clear – in billboards and web ads and social media – that being a Jew, like it or not, precious fellow Jew, means being Divinely charged, that it means shouldering, whether it is always comfortable or not, responsibility ? And that ignoring that mandate is a reckless wasting of an opportunity to live a meaningful life by doing G-d’s will? That each of us has a stark and urgent choice: either to regard our lives as the brief opportunities to access eternity they are, or to waste one’s days in the pursuit of stuff and fun and “rights”? Would such an ‘in your face” challenge just be a total turn-off? Or might its message actually reach Jews, at least those who prefer being challenged to being wooed? And might, just might, there be more such Jews than we dare imagine? The common wisdom is that most Jews simply can never “become Orthodox” – that is to say can never come to accept and respect true Jewish belief and halacha. And so there’s no point trying to offer them the entirety of their religious heritage. But maybe the less common but more Jewish wisdom lies in Jewish tradition: that there flickers in every Jew’s heart a spark of desire to serve G-d, that every Jewish soul was present at Mt. Sinai. Yes, free will exists, and each person in the end makes his or her own choices. But could the best way to fan some Jewish sparks into flame be to simply, starkly state the Jewish facts – that the Torah is our Divine inheritance, and that striving for a fully observant Jewish life is the mandate of every Jew?
© 2013 Rabbi Avi Shafran
By Rabbi Asher Brander
fountain on the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where are you coming from, and where are you going to?” And she said, “From before Sarai my mistress, I am fleeing.” And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and allow yourself to be afflicted under her hands.” Sarah accepts her back. Shortly thereafter, Hagar has a child. Fourteen years later, Hashem remembers Sarah and she too gives birth to Yitzchak. With the background in place, the Torah now describes our scene of dispute: And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, making merry. Sarah sees something very bad here. What did she see? Rashi synthesizes the midrash: “making merry:An expression of idolatry, as it is said (Exod. 32:6):“and they rose up to make merry”Another explanation: … illicit sexual relations,as it is said (39:17):“to mock me.” … An expression of murder, as it is said (II Sam. 2:14):“Let the boys get up now and sport before us, etc.” - [from Gen. Rabbah 53:11] She responds immediately: “Drive out this handmaid and her son, for [he] …. shall not inherit with … Isaac.” Avraham is very not happy: But the matter greatly displeased Abraham, concerning his son. Rashi: … because she told him to send him away. Let us consider the machlokes. Sarah is certainly worried about Yishamel’s negative influence. There is what to worry about. A famous Rambam [Deios, 6:1] It is natural for a man’s character and actions to be influenced by his friends and associates and for him to follow the local norms of behavior. Therefore, he should associate with the righteous … so as to learn from their deeds. Conversely, he should keep away from the wicked who walk in darkness, so as not to learn from their deeds. Peers matters – and there is no greater peer than a sibling! The Torah portrays the ultimate tempter as the sibling from within: If your brother, the son of your mother, tempts you in secret or your son, ... saying, “Let us go and worship other gods, which neither you, nor your forefathers have known.” So Sarah sees pernicious Yishmael negatively affecting her Yitzchak. And what does Avraham see? Listen carefully to Kli Yakar’s words. They ring and wrench: Sarah said to drive him out so that Yitzchak shall not learn from his ways. And if you shall say just the opposite maybe Yitzchak will turn him around and bring him back for the good .... It is a heart-tugging question till this
very day. One that many parents and almost all Yeshiva principals must now poignantly consider: How to deal with that “at risk” child. On the one hand, he might be a corrosive influence; alternatively the chevra might turn him around. That’s the Avraham- Sarah dispute. There are no easy answers. They turn to their Rebbe for guidance: And God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased concerning the lad and concerning your handmaid; whatever Sarah tells you, hearken to her voice, for in Isaac will be called your seed Sarah wins. Avraham of course listens2. So we may now derive THE rule: When in doubt, kick the dangerous kid out?! - It’s simply not that simple. Consider: Years later Yaakov prepares for Esav with eleven sons. Where is Dinah? Listen to a shocking midrash. [Yaakov] put her into a chest and locked her in, so that Esav should not set eyes on her. Therefore, Jacob was punished for withholding her from his brother- [because had he married her,] perhaps she would cause him to improve his ways -and she fell into the hands of Shechem.[Bereishis Rabah 75:9] It’s not a shidduch most would agree to. Consider one more remarkable midrashic comment: [Sanhedrin 99b] Timna was a royal princess, ... Desiring to become a proselyte, she went to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but they did not accept her. So she went and became a concubine to Eliphaz the son of Esav, saying, ‘I had rather be a servant to this people than a mistress of another nation.’ From her Amalek was descended who afflicted Israel. Why so? — Because they should not have repulsed her. Life is not black and white. [But Rabbi, just give me the bottom line - what does the halacha say?...] Sometimes it says you have to really think, discern and recognize that not every situation is the same. When in doubt, we must use our brains, check our ego at the door, pray to God and speak to our trustworthy mentors. A wonderful note of irony. Yishhmael leaves and returns a ba’al teshuva. The right and wrenching decision is affirmed to Avraham’s years later. May we have the courage to make the right decisions, and may we merit to see the nachas within our lifetime.
Rabbi Asher Brander is the Founder of the LINK Kollel and Shul, located on 1453 S. Robertson Blvd and is a Rebbe at the wonderful Bnos Devorah Girls High School
OCTOBER 17, 2013
For the first and only time, the Torah offers us a glimpse of a rare moment of Matriarch/Patriarch discord. It is a sincere Avraham-Sarah dispute that resolves itself, but not without heavy feelings. First, some background: Battling lifetime barrenness, Sarah urges Avraham [apparently against his will] to marry Hagar : [Bereishis, 16:1-3] Now Sarai, Avram’s wife, had not borne to him, and she had an Egyptian handmaid named Hagar. And Sarai said to Avram, “Behold now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing; please come to my handmaid; …. And Avram hearkened to Sarai’s voice. 3. So Sarai, Avram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her handmaid, at the end of ten years of Avram’s dwelling in the land of Canaan, and she gave her to Avram her husband for a wife Note that it is not Avraham’s desire that motivates – it is rather, the kol sarai. Note again Sarah does the taking, whilst Avraham is passive in this narrative. Sarah really wanted this! Finally, one reasonable inference: Given that Avaraham was a spiritual giant [and a great catch], and that Sarah was Sarah Imeinu, we may conclude that Hagar had vast spiritual presence and enormous potential – a fact borne out by Rashi’s midrashic citation: …She was Pharaoh’s daughter. When he (Pharaoh) saw the miracles that were wrought for Sarah, he said, “It is better that my daughter be a handmaid in this household, than a mistress in another household.” - [Bereishis Rabah 45:1] Hagar moves from being Princess to servant; no longer a newsmaker, she drops precipitously out of sight. It is worth it for her to leave the world stage to be part of Avraham’s world. Sarah brings Hagar into the picture as part of her plan: … perhaps I will be built up from her And how can Sarah be built through Hagar? Many offer the rational approach. If Sarah can’t birth a child, she will find a surrogate mother; Sarah will then channel
her greatness to the holy task of raising a wonderful child in the Beis Avraham. Rashi1 however, gives us a different way I will be built up from her …. : in the merit that I will bring my rival into my house. [Bereishis Rabah 71:7] In other words, Sarah wants to be a mother. By nature geit nisht, it’s just not going. She brings in a spiritual rival – a meritorious formula that will evince a positive Divine response: the spiritual mechanics seem to be that davka because this is so hard for Sarah, does it have a chance of working. It is a fascinating notion to consider that at times, one can create their own nisyonos; somehow by autonomously upping the spiritual ante, one can coax Dvine rachamim. Something goes awry! Hagar belittles Sarah. Sarah is upset with Avraham [Bereishis, 16:5] And he came to Hagar, and she conceived, and she saw that she was pregnant, and her mistress became unimportant in her eyes. And Sarai said to Avram, “May my injustice be upon you! I gave my handmaid into your bosom, and she saw that she had become pregnant, and I became unimportant in her eyes. May the Lord judge between me and you!” Avraham does not protest. Presumably, Sarah’s critique is in place. He affirms his confidence in her: [ibid,6] And Avram said to Sarai, “Here is your handmaid in your hand; do to her that which is proper in your eyes.” And Sarai afflicted her, and she fled from before her. How are we to characterize Sarah actions? Avraham apparently acquiesces. Sarah must have had a holy cheshbon. We can safely assume that is not about Sarah’s ego; it was a legitimate response to Hagar’s condescending attitude. Remember, Sarah need not bring in Hagar in the first place. A sharp and monumental Ramban comment however unsettles the mind: [Ramban ad loc.] Our matriarch sinned with this affliction and so Avraham by allowing her to do this, and Hashem heard her affliction and gave her son … to afflict the children of Avraham and Sarah in ally manners of torture To be sure, it is not the mainstream approach, but Ramban’s words need be reckoned with and require careful analysis. A Mussar orientation might observe that even as Sarah had absolutely sincere motivation, an ever slight whiff of personal bias was in play. For the self righteous and the righteously indignant amongst us, it should certainly give us pause for thought! Hagar leaves home, but not for long: And an angel of the Lord found her by a water fountain in the desert, by the
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It’s Not That Simple
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
Question & Answer Education is at the fore of every parent’s mind. Parents and Educators have many questions, concerns and worries. If you wish to have your question or issue considered by a team of Educators feel free to email email@example.com and your topic may be discussed in this column in future weeks. All names will be held confidential.
We have recently moved to Los Angeles from a community that is very insular. How do set up a home that conveys our values as Jews while helping our children relate to the “outside” world? Mixed Up Dear Mixed Up, In Parashat Lech Lecha it says: “Avraham journeyed forth from there
to the south country and settled between Kadesh and Shur, and he sojourned in Gerar.” (Genesis 20:1) The Hebrew word vayeshev – and he sojourned, connotes a permanent residency. This means Avraham settled permanently between Kadesh and Shur. Yet, the same verse immediately points out that he sojourned in Gerar. The Hebrew word for sojourned is vayagar which connotes temporary residence. We are seeing two contrasting actions taking place in the same verse. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch
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points out that the place we are told that Avraham settled permanently was between two cities, between Kadesh and Shur. This means he did not want to settle in a city, but rather maintain some form of isolation. Therefore his permanent residency was “between” two cities. But then from time to time he had a temporary residence “in” a city. This was in the city of Gerar, a Philistine city. This episode transpires prior to the birth of Yitzchak. The intention of Avraham was to prepare his homestead for a new baby who would be his heir. Part of the preparation for this new baby was setting up a home atmosphere that would support his child’s education. Avraham is trying to balance two educational settings for his soon to be born child. On the one hand, he wants him separated from society so the child understands that he needs to be prepared to distinguish himself from certain aspects of society that may be a negative influence on him. However, on the other hand, complete isolation will deny the child contact with people and the world around him, not allowing him to realize that there are people who think differently than him. This type of isolation can be a dangerous educational mistake. A young person who never gets exposure to a life other than his parent’s lifestyle will not learn to appreciate and value the moral contrast and will not learn how to make good choices. At the first exposure to an alternate lifestyle he may fall victim to the alternate influence. Avraham’s heir, the future of his heritage, has to be exposed from time to time to alien ideas so he knows
how to make critical choices. An heir of Avraham will also learn as a result of exposure to the world in general, how to utilize the best of alternate cultures in improving his own standards and moral character. This is why the Torah tells us that even though the permanent residency of Avraham was isolated from his contemporaries, from time to time he did sojourn and hold a temporary residence in the midst of the Philistine society. When setting up your home take the time to emphasize what is “permanent,” what values and morals are absolutes? What are the principles that guide the choices you make as a family? Define the lines in the sand that identify your family as proud observant Jews. But, at the same time, allow your child to integrate into the culture in which you live so he may experience what it means to understand why your values are the ones to adhere to and take pride in. It is also a good opportunity to have a discussion about what you can learn from society to see how you can integrate some of the values of your neighbors to elevate your own personal standards and ethics. Talk about the reasons why you as a family make certain choices and what it means to be a member of an am segulah -- a treasured nation. Discuss how Torah values affect your life and the quality of your life. Empower your child to experience the world to its fullest by engaging with it and making a difference in it. You will be inspired both at home and in the world by knowing who you and your family are and how you fit into the world around you. To continue the dialogue and share other ideas on this topic, emaileducationqandq@hillelhebrew. org. We want to hear your thoughts. This article was compiled by Rabbi Y. Boruch Sufrin and Rabbi Eli Broner Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy Administration
c"ryz elqk f-d NOVEMBER 8-10, 2013 For more information, please contact the Dirshu office at:
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D L O S ! T OU
OCTOBER 17, 2013
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"התאחדו עם "דרשו בשבת של התעוררות "שבת חיזוק ללומדי תורה" לכבוד הצלחת הלימוד של אלפי יראים ושלמים מהרבה קהילות שלמדו באחריות ובבחינות באופן המעמד יכהן.נפלא פאר בהשתתפות ראשי,גדולי ישראל ישיבות ורבנים מכל .רחבי העולם
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Join Dirshu for a truly inspirational “Shabbos Chizuk L’lomdei Torah” which will mark the momentous achievements of many thousands of Yidden from all segments of Klal Yisrael who have learned with extraordinary accountability in an unprecedented way. The Shabbos will be graced with the presence of Gedolei Yisrael, Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim from around the world.
ל ק ל ו חיזו מ ד י ת תו
Has Jewish Humor Lost the Will to Live? By Norma Zager
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
One of the questions most repeated through the years is why there are so many Jewish comedians. Various answers have been served up on a platter like roast chicken at Shabbat dinner, but the answer has always been quite obvious to most observers: Jewish people need their sense of humor to survive. “Jewish “ comics the likes of Henny Youngman, Myron Cohen and Jackie Mason entertained the population on Sunday nights as part of the regular Ed Sullivan line up; while the Milton Berles and Sid Caesars were a mainstay in homes across America. Jewish people were known for their sense of humor, applauded for it and it was an expected component of our heritage. It was also a necessary one for our survival. One often wonders how a religion fraught with such great tragedy fends off the constant anti-Semitic attacks and threats to their people and homeland. Of course times have changed and Israel possesses the capability of blowing their enemies off the face of the earth, but this is an option one would hope was never exercised.
So how do we cope in the meantime? How do we deflect the rising hatred and dangerous mindset of our new world order? A world where Jewish people are no longer safe in countries throughout Europe, where Jewish areas in Paris, London and Stockholm and other of the world’s capitals can no longer offer religious freedom to the Jewish people? Where suddenly the pogroms and ghettos of the past are indeed a very scary reality once again. Oh the names may have changed for these atrocities, but the game is quite familiar and the endgame remains: to extinguish as many Jewish people as achievable. Is it possible the younger Jewish generation can exist without their laugh makers? Or is their link to Facebook, Twitter and every social media mishagas enough to allay their fears? Is a good joke no longer the antidote to suffering? When we watch the Middle east, a new Arab Spring that is nothing more than a thunderstorm of rising hatred, exploding before our eyes, is it simply enough that we are secure in the knowledge our precious Israel possesses the fire power to “handle” our enemies? Is this a form of sophistication that has raised us to the level of a serious player on the world stage? And is this a production in which we choose to play a role? I must say, that although it is an essential decision to possess such powerful arms, is it all the psyche really needs to allay its fears? When broken down and analyzed,
humor has many functions, one of its most important is as a coping mechanism. This is the one the Jewish people have always counted on to diminish their fears. Why does Mel Brooks create such a roar of laughter when he takes on Torquemada or the evil of evils, Hitler? Simply because when you can laugh at something that seems too large to overcome, you break it into pieces and make it seem small and insignificant. This has worked for the Jewish people for thousands of years. Yet, in this time of enormous danger to our people in a world where they are being murdered, threatened and assimilation is deteriorating our numbers daily, what shall we laugh at now? Where is Ed Sullivan parading out a plethora of Jewish humor to break down our fears? Where are the leaders of Jewish comedy that can take the bogeyman and beat him to a pulp with a one liner? Yes, many would say we still have Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal or Larry David, who seems to attack these issues in his own strange yet often hysterical way, but it seems the real sadness lies in the fact that not only do the young Jewish people of today not have their Jackie Masons, they don’t seem to be aware they actually need them. Growing up in a Jewish home always provided two important ingredients; one an overabundance of food and second a serious regard for humor. Remembering the laughs of my grandfather and my father in front of the black and white television, and
for our younger readers, yes they did actually once exist, is one of my fondest childhood memories. Humor and laughter was a shared experience in a Jewish home as vital as fressing until you nearly burst. Whose fault is it that need is no longer seen as so important to fill? I would not be surprised to hear that Jewish people invented self -deprecating jokes. How better to deflect the insults of the playground bully than to have him laughing uproariously? What is a more effective ploy to neutralize the hatred than to keep them laughing? It has worked for centuries and I am certain will never lose its power. Although one hopes with every fiber of their being the world will change for the better, our people will be safe from hatred, and peace will be a reality instead of some far off dreamy ideal, Jewish people are nothing if not pragmatic. This is the world in which we exist, and must prepare our children to function within. If we lose our ability to diminish our enemies through the power of laughter we have eliminated a key element in our arsenal for survival. Perhaps we all need a good laugh at the expense of our enemies. How about Assad and Ahmadinijad walked into a kibbutz…ah no, this one is up to you to finish, and enjoy the laugh. Norma Zager is an award-winning investigative journalist and author. Her passion for Israel has driven her to dedicate the past decade writing and having a radio show about Israel.
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
Larry Miller ❖ Brian Kiley ❖ Wendy Liebman
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YULA Girls High School Comedy Night
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
Hechzir Atarah Leyoshnah - The Passing of Harav Ovadia Yosef Zt”l Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz
They came from everywhere, from every corner of the country. Some closed their Gemaros, some their school books, and others their falafel stores. Then they set out on their way and converged on Yeshivat Porat Yosef in Geulah. They walked miles, the length of K’vish Ramot, from the entrance to the city, from near and from far. They abandoned their cars, busses and packages to join with the multitudes forming a sea of people mournfully parting from a beloved, affectionate, leader. They flocked from everywhere and in every type of dress to bid farewell to the towering figure who gave an entire community a reason to hold their heads high. Who was he? Who was this man who drew approximately one million people to his levaya? Who was this man who touched so many? What was his power? What set him apart? How did he live his life? What did he do to earn the largest funeral in the country’s history? It is hard to visualize and contemplate the sheer magnitude of the number: one million people. The entire Yerushalayim was crowded with people walking, mourning and participating in the levaya of Rav Ovadiah Yosef zt”l. Police begged people to stay away. They warned of the danger to life caused by the sheer number of people being squeezed into spaces and roads that could not accommodate them. Hechzir atarah leyoshnah is the phrase that best depicts the life mission of Chacham Ovadia Yosef. It wasn’t merely the political slogan of his Shas party, but a statement that went to the essence of a giant. It was a halachic mandate, a drive and commitment to bring back the centrality of “Maran the Bais Yosef” to Sefardic life. After he succeeded in bringing back traditional halachic observance to the masses, Rav Ovadiah forged on. He dreamed of a generation of Sefardic bnei Torah, yeshivos, kollelim and genuine talmidei chachomim. He established the movement that would include kindergartens and day schools, mikvaos and mosdos, giving the substance of Yahadus to the people - all the people. As he was accomplishing all that, the visionary trailblazer scaled the heights of Torah knowledge, imbibing the sacred air of the daled amos shel halacha all day, every day. Rav Ovadiah never lost the touch and feel that enabled him to relate to the people - his people. Oz vechedvah bimkomo. Visits to his room, attending his shiurim, and meeting him were experiences of sheer joy. His warmth, humor and delight in other Jews were things to behold. He was a master of Torah and a master of ahavas Yisroel. Rav Ovadiah Yosef was a simple man who lived a simple life. He grew up poor. He was poor as a bochur and poor after his marriage. He came from a simple family.
His father ran a small makolet (grocery), yet he rose to become a great gaon and manhig. As a young man Rav Ovadiah was so poor that he could not even afford to buy paper on which to write his chiddushei Torah. When Rav Ovadiah’s children would win prizes for their learning, they would excitedly ask for a notebook so that they could give it to their father to write his chiddushei Torah. He spoke at a party his children arranged in honor of his and his wife’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. His wife, Rabbanit Margalit, was already ill; she passed away shortly thereafter. As she sat there in a wheelchair connected to an oxygen tank, he spoke of “the kindness of her youth.” He recalled the time way back when she was saving for their first piece of furniture, an aron, or closet, in which to hang clothing. One day, he told her of his dream to publish one of his notebooks of chiddushei Torah. The young wife took her savings, forfeiting her dream of obtaining furniture, and gave him the money so he could print the sefer. When the sefer was published, the poor couple rejoiced at their good fortune. That sefer was the beginning of the journey, acquainting a nation of scholars with the brilliant young Sefardi. Torah mitoch hadchak endures. If there was a chorus heard throughout the long and productive life of Chacham Ovadiah, it was his song of hasmadah, of limud haTorah, of love for Torah. His desire to teach and spread Torah, coupled with his love of Jews, enabled him to teach masses of Jews and bring back hundreds of thousands to the ways of their forefathers. As the star of this young chacham rose, the requests began to pour in: “Rabbeinu, teach us.” He acquiesced to all, traveling to speak to a crowd of ten, a hundred or a thousand. It made no difference. If Jews wanted to learn and become inspired, he was there for them. He spoke their language, the jargon of the simple working people, using humor and parables to make his point. This was a man versed in all of Shas, poskim, teshuvos, Rishonim, Acharonim and modern-day seforim, yet it wasn’t beneath him to tell stories and simple vertlach. He lived in the world of Tannaim, Amoraim and Geonim, yet he always had a pleasant comment for storekeepers, vendors, taxi drivers and the common folk he passed in the street. As recently as fifteen years ago, he would walk along Rechov Hakablan and stop to greet this one, answer that one, and inquire how a third one was feeling. His love of Torah, combined with his hasmadah and brilliance, led him on a path to greatness. He genuinely cared about people, and as much as he loved to learn and write Torah, he loved the people and the love was returned. A young man related that his mother passed away when he was seven years
old. The family lived in Har Nof and Rav Ovadiah heard of the tragedy. For the next two years, Rav Ovadiah made a point of bringing the boy and his eight-year-old brother with him to his seat in the beit knesset every Shabbos morning. He sat one boy on his lap and the other boy in the seat next to him. When davening was over, he would invite them to come to his house in the afternoon, at which time he went out of his way to make the two yesomim feel warm and welcome. He wasn’t only a parent to those two yesomim whom he barely knew. He was the avi hayesomim of a dor yasom. His son, Rav Dovid, related in his hesped that fourteen years ago, Rav Ovadiah was feeling unwell and was rushed to the hospital. After examining him, the doctors found that he required immediate surgery to clear a heart blockage. Rav Ovadiah’s response was to ask to be taken home for three hours. Aryeh Deri, who had accompanied him, asked why he wanted to return home instead of preparing for the vital surgery. The ailing rav answered that he was in the middle of writing a teshuvah permitting an agunah to marry. “I am worried about that agunah,” he said. “Who knows if I will survive the surgery? If I don’t, who will care for her? Who will worry for her? I want to return home to complete writing the teshuvah before undergoing the surgery.” Such was his worry for others. Such was his care for every Jew. Such was his dedication to utilize his position to help people. The Creator plants giants of spirit in each generation. They tower above others, teaching and spreading Torah, and providing leadership and direction. The great gaon and posek, Rav Ovadiah Yosef, was one of those rare, exalted souls. He was a builder of Torah. He built and led a generation of Sefardic Jewry, and that is no exaggeration. Ashkenazim are all too familiar with the Holocaust that destroyed Jewish life in Europe and killed millions of our brothers and sisters. Institutions, shuls, yeshivos and schools - the spiritual heartbeat of generations - were all but wiped out, consumed in the smoke of Hitler’s crematoria. Those lucky few who survived were mostly broken and depressed souls. They had lost everything - their loved ones, their friends, their communities and everything they had known. Many gave up on rebuilding anything that would even vaguely resemble the thriving spiritual centers that had been destroyed. They feared that they would lose their children to the sea of assimilation in the new country. They weren’t sure if it would be possible to recreate the kehillos they left behind in Europe. They didn’t dream that their children would one day learn in yeshivos, kollelim and Bais Yaakov schools.
Yet, today the Torah way of life flourishes. The rebirth is thanks to a handful of heroic Torah giants and builders who refused to give up. We are all familiar with their names and accomplishments. Sefardic Jewry, largely unaffected by Hitler’s Holocaust, suffered its own turmoil and was uprooted and transplanted in a strange new land. Sefardim had lived lives of piety, led by holy chachamim, producing great gaonim and tzaddikim, whose Torah we all study and whose words we live by. Taking advantage of the beautiful, innate temimus of Sefardic Jewry, Zionists and secularists opened schools and used many sly, deceptive methods to tear those Jews away from their heritage. With the first stirrings of Zionism, their Arab hosts began turning on the Jews who lived amongst them. With the founding of the State of Israel, the Jews were no longer wanted. Entire communities were thrown into exile. Millions, from Morocco and Tunisia all the way to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, were sent packing. As the refugees streamed to Israel, the secular Ashkenazi elites set about robbing them of their hallowed heritage and stripping them of the Torah way of life they had been following for over a thousand years, and in some countries going back to the time of the churban. Despite valiant attempts to save as many as possible from the evil designs of the meisisim and madichim who controlled the levers of power in Israel at the time, only a minority of them were saved. Their children were ripped away from them and sent to secular schools, and those who insisted on following the Shulchan Aruch were prevented from earning a living. Many were relegated to living in tents, ma’abarot, dusty towns far from the center of the country. They were treated as, and turned into, second-class citizens. To a large degree, it was Rav Ovadiah Yosef who brought them back to Torah, showing them the way and restoring pride in their heritage and culture. He trudged from door to door signing up children to religious schools. He traveled across the country telling stories, parables and simple Torah thoughts to inspire people to lead Torah lives. Then the great gaon returned home and delved into the deep sea of Talmud. He lowered himself to the level of people who had been made to feel that they were destined to lead second-class lives in order to raise them higher than those who had subjugated them. His efforts gave birth to a generation of observant Jews. He was the last, great, modern-day builder and he created something from almost nothing. He created a generation of Sefardic Torah greatness, including rabbonim, bnei Torah and simple, good, ehrliche Jews. These people saw in Chacham Ovadiah the manifestation of Torah grandeur and holiness, and they followed his every word and sought to
27 in the north to Eilat in the south and everywhere in between. The poor industrial cities on the periphery, where so many Sefardic families live, were given priority. The schools educated an entire generation in the ways of the Torah. Their hundreds of thousands of alumni have enriched Klal Yisroel. He directed his talmidim to establish dozens of excellent Sefardi yeshivos to produce not only bnei Torah, but also talmidei chachomim, rabbonim, poskim, madrichim and teachers for future generations. He created the demand and then established kollelim for people to learn Torah lishmah and to enable Sefardi gedolei Torah, poskim and roshei yeshiva to spring
The author with Maran Harav Ovadiah Zt”l
fulfill his goal of returning his brethren to their proper place and previous glory. After he was appointed Sefardic chief rabbi of Israel in 1973, he became the ultimate rov and ambassador to the Sefardic world, engendering deep affection as he enriched them with ahavat and limud haTorah. However, his greatest spiritual impact came during the last 30 years of his life, after he had retired from his position as chief rabbi in 1983. In his 60s, when most people begin to slow down, following a remarkable rabbinic career, Rav Ovadiah embarked on the most fruitful era of his life, an era that would forever change the face of Sefardic Jewry. The establishment of the Shas political party with Rav Ovadiah as its spiritual leader began a period of unprecedented outreach that transformed the Sefardic world. He saw the Shas party as the vehicle with which to cut through the government red tape that limited schools, yeshivos and kollelim to several chareidi centers in Eretz Yisroel. He used Shas to expand and bring the devar Hashem to every corner of Eretz Yisroel. Under Shas, he established the “Mayan Hachinuch HaTorani” network of elementary schools that brought Torah education to hundreds of thousands of Sefardic youth who would have otherwise languished in state schools and remained secular and at the underclass of Israeli society. Mayan Hachinuch Hatorani established hundreds of schools from Kiryat Shemonah
forth. He saw the Shas party as a vehicle for spreading Torah in an absolutely unprecedented way. There was nothing, neither on the political front nor the domestic or foreign policy front, that took precedence over the mosdos of Torah that Shas supported and created. Rav Ovadiah’s strict instruction to Shas was always the same: “Use the political power that you have to build Torah,” he would tell the Shas representatives. “We have more Torah building to do. We must be machzir atarah leyoshnah.” On his word, governments were established and fell. He was courted by politicians of all stripes. He put people in power and cut others down to size. Yet, his credo remained the same. He led the party to great successes and also suffered some defeats, yet he never lost sight of the goal. I came to know him in the years and would make it a habit to daven in his beit knesset on at least one morning during past few my visits to Eretz Yisroel. That was an experience in itself. The Sefardi nusach hatefillah always touched me. Following davening, he would say a devar halacha. As he rose to leave, the minyan would sing a beautiful pizmon of brachos for him. I would then be permitted to enter his office for conversation. He was unfailingly gentle, kind and wise. He had the custom of smacking across the face those who found favor in his eyes. The first time I went there, I was told that if I received a smack it was a good sign. Though I had been warned, I was caught off guard when the smacks came. They were full of love and cherished
each time. The last time I was there, the gabbai told me that the rav was weak and that if he didn’t smack me, I shouldn’t be insulted. We were speaking for a few minutes when he began smacking me right and left. My son counted twelve petch. I was thankful for every one of them. Alas, they were the last petch I would receive. As he smacked the right cheek, he would say, “Orech yomim b’yemino,” and as he smacked the left cheek, he would say, “Ubesemolo osher vechavod.” He began life as a poor boy in a poor neighborhood, probably not given much of a chance to get further than a job in his father’s makolet. But he learned Torah lishmah mitoch hadchak and became conversant with more seforim than probably anybody in the past few hundred years. In that merit, he earned and merited orech yomim and osher vechavod. He showed hundreds of thousands the way and proved that greatness is in every person’s reach. Rav Ovadiah was machzir atarah leyoshnah in a historic fashion and will be long remembered for his accomplishments. His seforim will be reprinted and studied for the rest of time by people who owe to him their fidelity to Torah. Rashi in Parshas Chukas quotes the Chazal that the passing of tzaddikim is mechaper for the generation. Let us hope and pray that this final potch we have received from Rav Ovadiah will indeed lead to much-needed kapparah for our dor yasom. Kaddish is recited to replace the kedushah the niftar brought to the world though his Torah and mitzvos. Upon the passing of such a towering giant, we are all obligated to do what we can to fill the vacuum of kedushah caused by his passing. Sefardim recite an additional sentence in Kaddish. They pray for salvation and “revach vehatzallah,” relief and deliverance. The assembled in the beit knesset all repeat in unison, “Revach vehatzallah.” As we mourn the passing of Rav Ovadiah Yosef ben Ovadiah, we pray for revach vehatzallah. We are all familiar with the statement of Rav Yosef, (Pesochim 68b), regarding the Yom Tov of Shavuos, “Iy lav hay yoma kamah Yosef ika beshookah,” if not for this day of matan Torah, I would be like all the other Yosefs in the street. The resounding cry that came forth from multitudes of Sefardim who jammed the narrow streets on Monday, was “Iy lav Yosef, hayiti beshooka,” if not for Rav Yosef, I’d be just another person hanging out in the shuk or street. Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank, rov of the Ashkenazim in Yerushalayim and a gaon for the ages, said of the young Rav Ovadia, “He will be the meishiv of the coming generation.” Meishiv has two meanings. It can refer to the one with the answers, the great posek. But it can also mean the one who was meishiv so many, who returned a generation from sin and despair, from the darkness of not knowing who they are to the glorious legacy bequeathed to them. He was the one. He was the meishiv of the generation.
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love of Torah, emunah and a desire to return to the observance of their forbears. Rav Ovadiah saw it as his shlichus to be machzir atarah leyoshnah and return Sefardic Jewry to its glorious past. He sought to connect them with the scholarship and piety of the Rambam and Rabbeinu Yonah, and to follow once again the path of the Bais Yosef, whose halachic rulings Rav Ovadiah scrupulously observed and advocated. As chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, in addition to his duties on the Bais Din and solving difficult halachic questions, he spent every night delivering shiurim. He never stopped teaching. Rav Ovadiah tore himself away from his beloved Gemara and poskim to
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emulate him. He revealed to them the greatness of their own legacy, showing the descendants of the Rambam and the Ran how the Torah of their ancestors is the stuff of life itself. He took the p’sokim of the Bais Yosef and demonstrated their enduring relevance. The message spread. “We have a rav,” Sefardim said to each other. “Maran is so brilliant that the Ashkenazi gedolim revere him. Yet he understands us and is paving a road especially for us, according to our traditions.” Years of learning in poverty and privation took their toll and Rav Ovadia’s eyes suffered. As a relatively young man, he faced serious eye surgery and, eventually, the doctors told him that he would likely lose his eyesight. He traveled to Tzefas, to the kever of Rav Yosef Karo, and burst into tears. “Maran,” he cried, “I gave the best of my kochot, my energy and time, to restoring the crown, to bringing your teshuvot and p’sakim to our people. I need to see. I still have work to do.” His tefillos were answered, but the dark glasses he wore until the very end were a reminder of that scary period and how he - and hundreds of thousands - was saved from a life of darkness. Wherever you go in Eretz Yisroel, you see religious Sefardim, prideful in their traditions. You see young couples, the wives wearing tichels and the husbands with beards and peyos, and you know that they are that way because of Rav Ovadiah. Sefardi yeshivos and kollelim flourish across the land, thanks to his efforts. Was he the only one? No. Were there others who cared and acted and contributed to the Sefardi rebirth? Of course. But it was he who led the way and showed by his own personal example that it could be done. Around the world, Sefardim study Chacham Ovadiah’s halacha seforim and conduct themselves according to his rulings. Rav Shmuel Auerbach recounted in his hesped at the levaya that as a young man, he knew Rav Ovadiah, “the masmid from Porat Yosef.” Think about how much Torah this man, who never stopped studying, learned in his 93 years. Think about how much Torah he caused to be learned. Ponder how many battles he fought for Torah and consider how many people he helped. You will realize just how much a person can accomplish even in our day. As a teenager, Rav Ovadiah was meitzar betzoroson shel echov. He was deeply pained by the spiritual suffering and neglect that his brothers and sisters were subjected to. Along with his phenomenal hasmodah, at the age of 17 he began delivering shiurim in local shuls. Despite his towering brilliance, photographic memory and amazingly quick mind, he was able to speak on the level of simple Jews in a style they understood, identified with and accepted. His unique ability to reach Jews of all levels of observance and intellect was a Divine gift that endeared him to generations of Jews who loved him as a father. As he rose to prominence, he saw his primary responsibility in his rabbinic positions as imbuing people with Torah,
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
First, an Italian lesson brought to you by Stephan Sultan, the owner of Trattoria Natalie. In Italian there are 3 words for restaurant: ristorante, trattoria, and osteria. Ristorante is the one you probably heard of; it’s the most formal. Osteria is the least expensive, what we would call a “joint” (the kind you eat at, come on guys). A Trattoria is right in the middle, with simple, plentiful food and casual service. After eating there, I think Stephan Sultan was being modest- Trattoria is definitely a ristorante. I have a friend who is a geyores (convert). The one thing she tells me that she misses is a good pizzeria. She describes it as higher end than a pizza place with tablecloths and candle light, but not quite fine dining. I think Trattoria Natalie might be her answer. It’s a mash-up between a pizzeria and a East Coast chic restaurant, sprinkled with a twist of Europe for class. The décor includes high ceilings and exposed brick, reminding me of La Carne in Manhattan (unfortunately closed). We break overwhelmingly good bread with Mr. “call me Stephan” Sultan who entertains us with colorful stories of his life in France, the opening and revival of his other restaurant, and the purchase,
reconstruction, and opening of Trattoria. I munch happily on the herb crusted bread while dousing it with the incredible eggplant and cheese and tampinada dips that it comes with it, while I listen. It all started with a green card. After selling his successful furniture business in France and noting the increasing anti-Semitism there, the Sultans moved to Los Angeles. Keeping strictly Kosher, they ate dinner at a Kosher restaurant on Pico Blvd. as they waited for their stuff to be unpacked. They calculated the price of a meal into Euros and felt like they were robbing the place$20 for lunch? In France they easily paid double for a much smaller portion. They figured going out was cheaper than cooking, so for their first 2 years in America, the Sultans ate every single lunch and dinner out. He was a regular everywhere and began to memorize the menus of all the Kosher restaurants in L.A. After over 24 months of fun and lots and lots of dining out, Stephan got a call from his lawyer. Since it was obvious he intended on staying in the U.S. he needed to work in order to get himself a green card. The easiest way to obtain a green card (though the process is still long and tedious and expensive) is by opening
a business which employs at least 10 people. He threw a few business ideas around, but nothing called him. Serendipitously, just 2 days after he hung up the phone with his lawyer, while enjoying his umpteenth dinner out at one of his favorite restaurants, the owner suggested that he and Stephan open a dairy restaurant together. This partnership was short lived, but lead to the birth of 26. After a couple of years, Stephan decided to change 26 into a fleishig restaurant and consulted his Rav, Rabbi Pinto. Rabbi Pinto encouraged him to keep a dairy place open as well because there are much fewer Kosher, dairy restaurants. Stephan heard the logic in Rabbi Pintos words and found a property on Pico boulevard the very next day. In typical Stephan style, it had just gone on the market one hour before. He checked out the place at 10 AM and signed on the dotted line by 11 AM. Now that he had experience in both the furniture and restaurant business, he took complete control over his new property designed, decorating, and hiring every employee by himself. He brought 26’s milchig kitchen over to the new property and did a complete overhaul, combining 2 buildings into one, and removing old wood that hadn’t been touched in 40 years. Under this wood near the top of the building was 9 cool, square windows. Mr. Sultan had the brilliant idea to have the name of the restaurant fit into those 9 squares- so that’s why he chose the name T-R-AT-T-O-R-I-A, he also added Natalie, his wife’s name, to make Trattoria Natalie, a warm restaurant with a woman’s touch. You must try the crispy cheese risotto balls, they are scrumptious. The schnitzel like crisp goes perfectly with the warm bits of pasta and gooey cheese inside. Do
yourself a favor and order the sauce on the side- it’s super spicy and is best poured on sparingly. Stephan cheaps out on nothing, purchasing up to 16 cases of heavy cream a week, when most owners would be happy to stretch it with plain milk. He notes “people just want simple, fresh food made from the good stuff, no junk”. I also enjoyed the vegetable soup, it features a clear broth, untainted with the lazy powdered mixes that so many restaurants resort to for flavor, as well as a full corn on the cob half resting a thick bed of freshly cooked spinach. The soup is simple and compelling in its plainness. For dessert go with a cream brulee. I have never tasted better. It’s served in a wide, shallow ramekin and the top is glazed so perfectly that the caramel sugar makes a crunch sound as you dig in your spoon to release the slippery custard underneath. Sweet goodness. Upstairs there is a party room that seats up to 80 people, the night we ate at Trattoria Natalie it was busy with a happening 30th anniversary party. This place is a fun addition to Pico, a classy place with high end fish options, soups, and salads as well as endless pizza possibilities and kitchy desserts. Really, it’s a crossbreed, a Trattoria in fact.
Estee Cohen is a California native and goes out to eat more than is appropriate. She is a kosher food insider, has a patient husband and 3 little kids. She is passionate about restaurants, science education, and collects rooster figurines.
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T h e J e w i s h h o m e n o c T o b e r 1 7 , 2013 T HE J EWISH HOME n M AY 2 4 , 2012
THE JEWISH HOME
Seeing the Good in Life
FROM AUSCHWITZ TO THE WHITE HOUSE
How Martin Greenfield Went from the Ruins of the Holocaust to Suiting World Leaders BY NACHUM SOROKA ne night in late 1991, after all the staff had already left for home at Martin Greenfield’s East Williamsburg, three-story, custom suit factory, the phone rang in Martin’s office. The caller on the other end identified himself to Martin’s son, Jay, as General Colin Powell, the recently returned, four-star hero of the Gulf War. Jay recalls, “I’m thinking, yeah right. This is some kind of prank. After all, this is after the U.S. victory, and everyone’s talking about Colin Powell. So my dad asks me who it is and when I tell him that this guy says he’s Colin Powell, he’s like, ‘Sure, that makes sense, hand me the phone!’” There are many things about Martin Greenfield that would surprise anyone, yet are considered just natural, everyday occurrences to the worldfamous octogenarian. In fact, just about everything in Martin’s life is extraordinary. Would you believe that the tailor to the likes of former President Bill Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Cardinal Edward Egan, the one who GQ magazine calls America’s greatest living tailor (Martin disagrees; he says he’s the world’s greatest tailor), the one who helped create Donna Karan and Isaac Mizrahi’s original lines of suits, the one
whose eponymous Brooks Brothers Martin Greenfield Golden Fleece label is sought after the world over, learned his craft in the midst of death and squalor, in Auschwitz? How about the fact that of all of Martin’s achievements in life, from suiting heads of state to being Hollywood directors’ exclusive choice for costuming prime-time movies and shows, he lists his accomplishments with his family and community as the ones he is most proud of? Hard to believe, but everything about Martin is remarkably true. Martin Greenfield is a handsome, dapper man with a full face and a head of silvery-white hair. When I met him he was impeccably dressed in a pleated vest and a perfectly knotted tie with green argyle socks peeking out from on top of a pair of oxfords. He looks the part of any exceptional Savile Row tailor, except that his “shop” is located just off of Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn. It’s been there since the days it was GGG clothing, which Martin took over in 1977, long before the gentrification of the neighborhood began (the shop has been burglarized eleven times). His company now employs close to one hundred and twenty expert tailors and he himself has assumed as close to a celebrity status as anyone with a measuring tape and scissors can get. The walls of his factory are lined with framed articles about him from newspapers like the New York Times and magazines like
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cising a little Yiddishe hubris. After being assigned the company’s most important customer, President Dwight Eisenhower, Martin would leave little notes in the pockets of Eisenhower’s suits. One of them concerned the conflict over the Suez Canal, which had ramifications regarding Israel, and posed this question to the president: “Why don’t you send money?” The two had met before when Martin shook then-General Eisenhower’s hand in Buchenwald, but now their relationship was a little more intimate. These days, Martin still works full time on the floor of his suit factory; although he loves to read, he only takes time to crack a book during his biannual two-week vacations. Every suit made in his factory is hand-stitched and perfectly detailed. It’s no wonder then that when Martin Scorsese needed a suit maker for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire he was insistent that it would be only one person: Martin Greenfield. But, according to Martin, all this should be irrelevant to readers of The Jewish Home: “The Chassidic in the ‘Four Towns’ – they wouldn’t know about HBO!” Even the media follow Martin’s comings and goings like the paparazzi on the hunt. Recently, the Washington Post published a report complete with investigations of White House guest logs and analysis of photos of the president that tconcluded that Martin is indeed President Obama’s suit maker. While they would definitely agree that a Martin Greenfield suit is an absolute upgrade from the Hart Schaffner Marx tuxedo President Obama wore to his inaugural ball, Greenfield Clothiers will not comment on the issue. What is most remarkable about Martin is what he considers to be his crowning accomplishments in life. He is most proud of his being a founder of the West Hampton Synagogue and of his close relationship with his spiritual leader, Rabbi Marc Shneier. He boasts of the prominent guests at his granddaughter’s recent bas mitzva, including Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and the man known as the herring king of Israel. Indeed, Martin is so proud of his Jewishness that he even strongarmed Colin Powell, himself a former “ShabWith his family in his youth; Martin is in the center bos goy,” into inviting him for Friday night dinner. “I told him, don’t worry, you just make sure no one else’s food touches mine!” Recently, Martin was at an event with the fomer-Israel ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren. “I saw he was wearing [a suit from] Men’s Wearhouse. So after he finished his conversation with someone I pulled him over and said, ‘What are you doing wearing that Men’s Wearhouse? Throw it away – forget it! I wouldn’t even buy it to throw away! Other countries have their representatives dressed nicely, and you represent the Jewish people like that? You’re nuts!’” And of all the personalized letters and signed photos that cover the wall behind his desk, the one he chooses to point out to me is his correspondence with former President Bill Clinton, thanking him for attending Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin’s funeral. “Rabin was a great man, and I told President Clinton that because he went so many other important people made it their business to go.” Shortly after the Allied Forces liberated Buchenwald, Rabbi Herschel Schacter, the late U.S. Army chaplain who helped thousands of Buchenwald prisoners after the Holocaust, came looking for Jews in Martin’s DP camp. Martin asked him, “Where was G-d in all of this?” Rabbi Schacter had no answer. “Whom can I turn to for answers now that everyone I love is gone?” Still he had no answer. (The two reunited and became best friends forty years later at a reunion in Auschwitz.) These days, however, Martin has the answer. “People ask me: Did you see G-d? I say, ‘Sure I do, I see him every morning. It’s so easy to believe, to be good!’”
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the New Yorker, its floors are crammed with racks and tables of fabrics and suit canvases, and his office boasts a wall of fame that any politician would lust after; Martin’s clients range from billionaires (Michael Bloomberg) to athletes (Shaquille O’Neal) and from righteous (Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger) to downright creepy (Michael Jackson). Moshe Shimon Greenfield was born in 1928 to a very religious family in the city of Pavlova in the Carpathian Mountains of Czechoslovakia. His grandfather, Fishel Berger, was very prominent in their Munkatcher community, and was known by the many Rebbes who came to vacation at the nearby mineral baths as the “Pavlover Kiddushmacher,” as he took care of all the trappings of the weekly Shabbos kiddush. His family sat at the mizrach vant of the shul which they commissioned. Moshe’s grandfather was also very concerned with young Moshe’s Yiddishkeit and made sure he was well-learned and on the way to becoming a Talmud chachom. By the time the Nazis and Hungarians came to Pavlova in 1938, Moshe was expert at the beginning of Bava Mezia. After his father was taken away and it was apparent that he would also soon be, he was sent to hide by his cousins in Budapest. Three years later, his father escaped from the camp he was being held in, and the family reunited in Pavlova. In 1943, after the first Pesach seder, the Germans rounded up all the Jews of the city, and the Greenfields, along with all their community members, were sent to the Munkatch ghetto and shortly after to Auschwitz. “At Auschwitz,” says Martin, “my father said, ‘When they call your number, whatever trade they say they need I will say that you do it.’ I didn’t know how to do anything; all I knew was how to learn Torah!” So after the Nazis requested a tailor, Moshe was sent to the laundry of Auschwitz. On his first assignment, the first time he probably cleaned a shirt in his lifetime, Moshe tore a Gestapo officer’s collar while trying to remove the dirt from it. After a quick and thorough thrashing, the Gestapo officer threw the shirt in Moshe’s face and after Moshe fixed up the collar so he could have the shirt for himself to wear, he had completed his first tailoring job of many. Later, on the death march from Auschwitz to Buchenwald at the end of the war, that shirt, along with another he received later on in Auschwitz, helped him survive in the brutal winter weather. After General Eisenhower liberated Buchenwald in 1945, Moshe – by now Martin and by now bereft of family (his mother chose to go to the “left” and not be separated from his 3½ -year-old sister when they arrived at Auschwitz) – drove a truck loaded with survivors who were to emigrate to Israel aboard the Exodus nightly. Every night he would be arrested and his truck would be confiscated; the next night the sequence would be repeated, only with a different truck. After a while, he immigrated to America aboard the U.S.S. Ernie Pyle to live with his cousins who had immigrated well before the war. He began a job at GGG clothiers in Brooklyn, and slowly made his way to the top, eventually buying the company in the 1970’s and renaming it Martin Greenfield Clothiers. Even as a young worker at GGG, Martin had no trouble exer-
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31 THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 17, 2013
7 Questions with Efryim
By Rachel Wizenfeld
world-class brands, every gift card you purchase for a store you already shop at brings you points. These points can be used to play games to win high stakes gift card auctions, or can be turned into the Dlyte store for instant and free gift card money. It’s fun and easy, not to mention incredibly rewarding. We’re also looking for input from You’ve started several successful the community, especially now while business ventures in your lifetime. we’re just launching. We want to hear Can you tell us about your latest, from users like you what stores and brands you use most, so we can acDlyte.com? Sure. A little history. In 1999 I commodate. Our goal is simple: bring built and then sold fax4free.com to a you free money in a fun, easy and renow billion-dollar company, which warding environment. How do you strike a balance bemarketed the service as efax. Then in 2000 I built speak4free.com, which tween making money and living a was funded by a then billiondollar meaningful life? I can’t think of how these are sepcompany and got sold to another one. The sale was almost all stock and the arate. After all, the Mishna in Pikei internet bubble burst, wiping out tens Avos states clearly: “Love work.” This really relates to providing serof millions in paper profits. Now, my latest is Dlyte.com, which vice, which in turn leads to making is a rewards platform, much like fre- money. It’s the service which proquent flyer miles, for gift cards. People vides the meaning and the means, and buy gift cards of their choosing (such then the Creator provides the monas Gap, Macy’s or Bath & Body Works) ey. The more service, oftentimes the and receive points. These points can more money, and that can provide be used to play in high stakes auctions for many benefits to the community. to score free gift cards, or simply to exchange in the Dlyte store to get gift What do you see as your biggest succards for free. There’s something for cess and accomplishment, both in everyone. The auctions are higher risk business and in life? Being happily married to the same but include tantalizing payoffs, and if you’re risk averse you can do a simple woman for more than 36 years. Marexchange of points for gift cards. It’s riage is a fruitful testing ground for fun, easy and rewarding. After all, if refining middos and character. We you shop at any of these stores (and we have grown mightily together, weathknow you do) you may as well get re- ering some stormy seas, not the least warded for it…and what’s better than of which was enabling me to recover from a state of quadriplegia over the free money?! What impact do you think Dlyte. past nine years. And all with a smile, a loving, giving heart, and wonderful com will make on the community? Dlyte is that special place that, cooking (!). (For more on Shore’s amazing reonce discovered, will become one of your most visited spots online. Why? covery from a rare neurological disorBecause it rewards you for doing what der called Guillain-Barre syndrome, you need and want! Whether shopping read his bio on Dlyte.com or google for food, coffee, house repairs or a cer- Barry Shore on YouTube.com.) Can you tell us how you got your tain favorite item from any number of
An entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and positive force to be reckoned with, Efryim Shore has long inspired the LA Jewish community with his vibrancy, ingenuity and generosity. Now he sheds light on his latest business venture and the growing success of a project near and dear to his heart.
motto: “Spread Joy, Happiness, Peace & Love,” and what you mean by that? With pleasure. First, it’s JOY Happiness Peace & LOVE, like an ascending ladder. These have been a fundamental part of my life for more than five decades (I am now in my 64th year) and is how I came to Judaism. When I met amazing, loving, giving Jews (before the days of Artscroll, no less!) and began to understand that their life was animated by these principles, I was suddenly able to articulate something that had been brewing inside me for years. Whether they were Lubavitch, Chassidic, Lithuanian, Modern, Ashkenazi or Sefardi, it made no difference. Each one was a giver and wanted to share. I decided and determined to live with the purpose of Torah, and when I heard and met Rabbi Avigdor Miller a”h and witnessed his profundity of spirit in person, then I knew I wasn’t just crazy but truly in love with the Borei Olam. And I wanted to serve. As an aside, out of the entire group that I was a part of when first getting introduced to Judaism in the 1970’s, I am the only one who is still observant. And I credit it all to learning. Back then, Boston was a home for many interesting and forward-thinking people, all in their early 20’s, and they were into whole wheat bread, macrobiotics, eating seaweed and rice, you get the idea. It was fun, the camaraderie was great, the flow and energy was so enlivening, but it didn’t have legs. Learning is what gives Judaism its legs and really enables you to grow. Do you have advice for aspiring entrepreneurs or those who are starting their own business? Aspire to Serve. To build. To grow. And know in your very being that you cannot fail. You may find circumstances not to your liking, then try again. But never give in. Remember this: Life is a 3D Process: decision, discipline, determina-
tion. And it’s up to you how you view your circumstances. Tell us about your “Keep Smiling” cards! This is the most positive program I have ever been a part of: spreading Joy Happiness Peace & Love via the language of the smile. Please visit the beautiful site called TheDailySmile.com to see what it’s all about. (Built by Ronita Godsi of idezzine.com) To date, more than 650,000 Keep Smiling cards in over 20 languages have been distributed worldwide. The initial goal is one million, and we are more than halfway there. The cards are given for free and mailed for free, as long as people want them and distribute them with a warm, open and loving heart. The message is oh so simple: the smile is the common language of friendship. It warms all. It brings benefit only when given. And it makes a difference. What better project to help dispel darkness than lighting the world with your smile? Here’s a story to make you feel: on Erev Yom Kippur, a mother and daughter were walking to shul. As they crossed the street, a car drove into them. The mother was killed, the daughter seriously injured. Tragedy. How did young dynamic Jews respond? They contacted me and asked, could we give cards in her merit for healing? With tears of joy I said “yes.” Of course. And in the past month alone, over 25,000 Keep Smiling cards have been given to aid the girl’s healing. This is the power of Joy Happiness Peace & Love. Use this lever and you can move the world. And as I always like to finish, “Make it a great one! Be well…do well.”
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You Gotta be
Alice and Frank are bungee-jumping one day. Alice says to Frank, “You know, we could make a lot of money running our own bungee-jumping service in Mexico.” Frank thinks this is a great idea. So they pool their money and buy everything they’ll need: a tower, an elastic cord, insurance, etc. They travel to Mexico and begin to set up on a square in a small town. As they are constructing the tower, a crowd begins to assemble. Slowly, more and more people gather to watch them at work. When they finish, there’s such a crowd they think it would be a good idea to give a demonstration. So, Alice jumps. She bounces at the end of the cord, but when she comes back up, Frank notices that she has a few cuts and scratches. Unfortunately, Frank isn’t able to catch her and she falls again, bounces, and comes back up again. This time, she is bruised and bleeding. Again, Frank misses her. Alice falls again and bounces back up. This time she comes back pretty messed up; she has a couple of broken bones and is almost unconscious. Luckily, Frank finally catches her this time and says, “What happened? Was the cord too long?” Barely able to speak, Alice gasps, “No, the bungee cord was fine; it was the crowd. What in the world is a piñata?”
David sent his business associate, Jack, to the airport to greet three high level executives who were potentially big clients. Jack had never met any of the executives and didn’t know anything about them. David warned him, “Bob is very sensitive so make sure you are very proper and nice to him when you meet him.” When the three executives come off the plane, Jack walks up to them, turns to one of them and says “Bob, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Can I grab your bag for you?” How did he know which one was Bob? Answer below
Everything October 1
6 7 8
13 14 16 17
Answer to riddle: The other two executives were women.
Down 2. Arrives in the Bahamas after a 33 day trip 4. First prime minister of Israel 5. Missile crisis 6. Happened to Clinton and one other president 7. Baseball’s first number 42 9. Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev pounds the U.N. podium with this 11. Tallest trees in the world 13. Getting early 14. The Great Fire of Chicago erupts when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicks this over 15. Leader of nonviolent resistance to end British rule over India 17. Chicago gangster sentenced to jail for tax evasion Across 1. 22.6% market plunge on October 6, 1987 3. Henry Ford’s car for the masses 8. The first satellite ever sent into orbit 10. The oldest institution of higher learning in America 12. Many different colors 16. Egyptian President assassinated on 10/6/81 while watching a military parade 18. U.S. development of the atomic bomb Answer on next page
33 THE JEWISH T H E JHOME E W I S H HOCTOBER O M E n M17, AY 2013 2 4 , 2012
Interpret Your Evaluation Comments AVERAGE: Not too bright. EXCEPTIONALLY WELL QUALIFIED: Has committed no major blunders to date. CHARACTER ABOVE REPROACH: Still one step ahead of the law. UNLIMITED POTENTIAL: Will stick with us until retirement. QUICK THINKING: Offers plausible excuses for errors. ZEALOUS ATTITUDE: Opinionated. TAKES PRIDE IN WORK: Conceited. TAKES ADVANTAGE OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO PROGRESS: Buys gifts for superiors. INDIFFERENT TO INSTRUCTION: Knows more than superiors. EXPRESSES SELF WELL: Can string two sentences together STERN DISCIPLINARIAN: Nasty TACTFUL IN DEALING WITH SUPERIORS: Knows when to keep mouth shut. APPROACHES DIFFICULT PROBLEMS WITH LOGIC: Finds someone else to do the job. A KEEN ANALYST: Thoroughly confused. NOT A DESK PERSON: Did not go to college.
Answers to crossword: DOWN 2. Columbus 4. David Ben Gurion 5. Cuban 6. Impeached 7. Jackie Robinson 9. Shoe
11. Redwood 13. Shabbos 14. Lantern 15. Gandhi 17. Al Capone
SPENDS EXTRA HOURS ON THE JOB: No life outside of work CONSCIENTIOUS AND CAREFUL: Scared. METICULOUS IN ATTENTION TO DETAIL: A nitpicker. DEMONSTRATES QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIP: Has a loud voice. JUDGEMENT IS USUALLY SOUND: Lucky. MAINTAINS PROFESSIONAL ATTITUDE: A snob.
WELL ORGANIZED: Does too much busywork.
STRONG ADHERENCE TO PRINCIPLES: Stubborn.
COMPETENT: Is still able to get work done if supervisor helps.
GETS ALONG EXTREMELY WELL WITH SUPERIORS AND SUBORDINATES ALIKE: A coward
CONSULTS WITH SUPERVISOR OFTEN: Pain in the neck
IS UNUSUALLY LOYAL: Wanted by no one else.
WILL GO FAR: Relative of management.
ALERT TO COMPANY DEVELOPMENTS: An office gossip.
SHOULD GO FAR: Please.
REQUIRES WORK-VALUE ATTITUDINAL READJUSTMENT: Lazy and hard-headed.
USES TIME EFFECTIVELY: Clock watcher.
HARD WORKER: Usually does it the hard way.
VERY CREATIVE: Finds 22 reasons to do anything except original work.
ENJOYS JOB: Needs more to do.
USES RESOURCES WELL: Delegates everything.
HAPPY: Paid too much.
DESERVES PROMOTION: Create new title to make him or her feel appreciated.
ACROSS 1. Black Monday 3. Model T 8. Sputnik 10. Harvard 12. Leaves 16. Anwar Sadat 18. Manhattan Project
G OT FU N N Y?
Comm Let the ission er dec Send your s tuff
o fivetow centerfold@ nsjewis hhome. com
34 17, 2013 T HTHE E J EJEWISH W I S H HHOME O M E n MOCTOBER AY 2 4 , 2012
Compiled by Nate Davis
“Say What?” California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that allows illegals in California to practice law. You thought a lot of Americans wanted to close the border before? Wait until lawyers start sneaking across. - Jay Leno
When he leaves office on Dec. 31, he will be worth about $31 billion … Trust funds have already been established for his daughters and other loved ones, and he is not far from owning as many houses, planes, paintings and sculptures as he needs. The rest he has promised to give away – “bouncing the check to the undertaker” … In 2013, Bloomberg plans to spend about $400 million on pet causes … If his net worth holds steady, or even if it fails to gain a bit of interest over the coming decades, the annual giveaways will have to rise substantially to meet his goal of spending down the fortune in the lifetimes of his daughters, ages 30 and 34. Ask him about the challenge, and Bloomberg will smile. “That’s a nice problem to have.” - TIME Magazine
Syrian dictator Assad says he may run for re-election next year. In fact, today he went over the results of next year’s election and he said it looks pretty good. - Jay Leno
I think I would just ignore, it is local news doing a story on a lost dog. Their entire government is shut down and about to default and this is how the U.S. media spends its time. - An internal Air Canada email that was mistakenly sent to CBS News in response to an inquiry about their losing a dog that was shipped to Canada on one of their planes
Circulation of newspapers has fallen to all-time lows. They say newspapers are becoming obsolete. I’ll tell you how bad it’s gotten. Today I saw a homeless guy sleeping on a park bench with an iPad on his face. - Jay Leno
Should have been mine. -Syria’s President Assad joking that he should have been awarded the Nobel Peace prize, as reported by Al-Akhbar newspaper
President Obama’s approval rating is down to 37 percent. Time to kill bin Laden again. - David Letterman
Starbucks is offering something called the duffin. It’s a combination of a donut and a muffin. Who says America has lost its exceptionalism? - David Letterman The duffin is a combination of a donut and a muffin, and if you eat enough of them you get a combination of diabetes and heart disease. - Ibid. After four or five years of eating the duffin, they’ll put you in a cuffin. - Ibid
They said today that the government shutdown will not interfere with NASA’s next mission to Mars. Isn’t that ironic? We can go to Mars but we can’t go to the Statue of Liberty. - Jay Leno
This afternoon, President Obama has invited the Senate Republicans to the White House. So after leaving here, I’m going to be going to the White House. I will make a request, if I’m never seen again, please send a search and rescue team. I very much hope tomorrow morning I don’t wake up amidst the Syrian rebels. - Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) joking at a press conference before departing for shutdown talks at the White House last week
For me, I think the coolest thing is that if there is somebody interesting who’s doing anything – a scientist, a sports figure, a writer, anybody in the world – if I want to call them up ... they will answer my phone call. That’s a pretty cool thing. - President Obama on New York’s WABC television discussing what the coolest thing about being the president is Yesterday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said he wants the Iranian people to stop chanting “Death to America” because he thinks it’s too harsh of a statement. Then the Iranian people were like, “Paper cuts to America?” - Jimmy Fallon
A historian has evidence that the Chinese discovered America before Christopher Columbus did. He said the Chinese were the first to sail across the ocean to North America. Then they realized they’d forgotten the sweet and sour sauce and had to go back. - Jimmy Kimmel
China issued a warning because we owe them $1.3 trillion. If we default, they have threatened to cut off our supply of cheap plastic [junk] made by kids. - Jimmy Kimmel There’s a new restaurant in New York that doesn’t let customers talk to each other during their meals. When they heard that, Obama and Republicans said, “Table for 200 please?” - Jimmy Fallon Tell Biden that it’s a big [big] deal that one person signed up for Obamacare in Delaware. -Sarah Palin, referring to the infamous hot mike catching Vice President Biden congratulating President Obama during the healthcare signing ceremony Researchers say there might be diamonds on both Jupiter and Saturn. Apparently, the diamonds form on the planets because of immense pressure. So it’s nice to know that planets get diamonds for the same reason husbands do on Earth. - Jimmy Fallon I’m like the conservative ayatollah. Okay, I’m issuing a fatwa: We have to win elections! - Ann Coulter
I think it’s a big mistake to pay the death benefits to the families of members of the military who are killed in Afghanistan and whose bodies are being brought back to Dover Air Force base and were not going to get benefits because of the government shutdown. The government does some great things. When you shut down the government, a lot of great things are not going to get done. And why should we make an exception for those that just happen to pop up and get a lot of media attention? - Liberal radio host Bill Press discussing the fact that after a public outcry the Obama administration agreed to pay death benefits to families of soldiers who died in Afghanistan last week
I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned. - Ohio Probate court Judge Allan Davis to Donald Eugene Miller Jr. who reappeared last week and sought to overturn a 1994 ruling which declared him dead after he had disappeared. (The judge refused to change the ruling because the three-year legal limit for changing a death ruling already expired.)
Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) to IRS official Sarah Hall Ingram, in an effort to mock Republicans, during an October 9th House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing examining the IRS role in Implementing Obamacare:
Hemorrhoids, toenail fungus, dog poop, and cockroaches all might be a little bit gross—but they’re all more popular than Congress. Hemorrhoids beat out Congress 53/31 with bipartisan support. On the other three there’s a partisan split—Republican voters go for Congress while Democrats take the alternative but overall it’s a 47/40 victory for dog poop, a 44/41 one for toenail fungus, and a 44/42 triumph for cockroaches. - From an official October 8th release by Public Policy Polling, in which they claim to have polled numerous dubious things against Congress
REP. CONNOLLY: Are reports that you can fly accurate?
[Not running for the Illinois Senate seat in 2004 was the] biggest mistake I’ve ever made. Not that I would have won, but I probably would have and [Obama] wouldn’t be in the White House. - Former NFL coach Mike Ditka
REP. CONNOLLY: Have you been consorting with the devil? MS. INGRAM: Not to my knowledge, sir.
MS. INGRAM: Greatly exaggerated, sir. REP. CONNOLLY: Have you been involved in any way in trying to pervert our youth in Salem or anywhere else? MS. INGRAM: I’d certainly hope not, sir.
I don’t think I blame Hitler. - One of numerous antiSemitic comments made by a videographer at a Jewish wedding in London which can be heard in the unedited wedding video that he mistakenly sent to the newly married couple
President Obama said he thinks the Washington Redskins should consider changing their name. He didn’t stop there. He also said the New York Giants should consider changing their sport. - Jay Leno
I think it’s hatred. I don’t think it’s politics. - MSNBC host Chris Matthews accusing conservatives of being motivated by animus toward President Barack Obama [Sen. Ted Cruz] is Ted bin Laden — the guy who hands out suicide vests and then goes to lunch. - Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post Question: If Ted Cruz and John Boehner were both on a sinking ship, who would be saved? Answer: America. Harsh? Look around you at what is happening to America and you will see harsh. I am not talking about closed parks and monuments. I am talking about the funds cut to nearly 9 million mothers and young children for food, breastfeeding support and infant formula. That is harsh. Making a war against babies is harsh. - Politico’s chief political columnist Roger Simon I haven’t heard Republicans comparing the Democrats to suicide bombers or to kidnappers or to arsonists. But it’s possible that I’m not paying close enough attention. - CNN’s Jay Tapper discussing the level of President Obama’s rhetoric against Republicans
It’s very good news. If we get another chance, we will definitely kill her and that will make us feel proud. -Statement by the Taliban after 16-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, did not win the Nobel Peace prize
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The Nobel Prize for chemistry was announced this week. It was awarded to Senator Ted Cruz for mixing up that batch of Kool-Aid that the Republicans seem to be drinking on Capitol Hill. - Jay Leno
Taliban Mocks U.S. Shutdown
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
The government shutdown has been the subject of much criticism and the punchline to countless jokes over the last couple of weeks. Now the Taliban is weighing in. The Islamist militants in Afghanistan issued a statement accusing U.S. politicians of “sucking the blood of their own people.” They used the word “paralyzed” to describe the state of government run institutions. “The American people should realize that their politicians play with their destinies as well as the destinies of other oppressed nations for the sake of their personal vested interests,” the Taliban said. The insurgents accused “selfish and empty-minded American leaders” of taking U.S. citizens’ money “earned with great difficulty” and then “lavishly spending the same money in shedding the blood of the innocent and oppressed people.” Despite the shutdown, the U.S. embassy in Kabul has said that it expects “to function normally in the short term.”
Malala Yousafzai Wins European Union Award
ed to Malala Yousafzai, 16, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for education for girls. The Pakistani 16-year-old was attacked last year while on a school bus in northwestern Pakistan. Her wounds were not fatal and she recovered after receiving medical treatment in Britain. She won over the honor over Edward Snowden.
“She is an icon of courage for all teenagers who dare to pursue their aspirations and, like a candle, she lights a path out of darkness,” said Joseph Daul, chairman of the center-right European People’s Party in the European Parliament. Malala quickly rose to international fame when more and more foreign media outlets conducted interviews with her. Her inspiring story attracted a lot of media attention which only infuriated the Taliban and led to more frequent death threats. “I was not worried about myself that much. I was worried about my father. We could not believe they would be so cruel as to kill a child, as I was 14 at the time,” Yousafzai said in a U.S. television interview with “The Daily Show” on Tuesday. Her book, I Am Malala, is currently the second-best selling book on Amazon.com. The young girl was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but in the end the committee decided not to award her the prestigious award, a decision that was met with disappointment from her fans and joy by the Taliban.
The winner of the European Union’s annual human rights award was present-
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Argentina Refuses to Bury Nazi
Officials in Argentina have refused to allow the remains of a 100-year-old Nazi to be buried in their country. Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke will be buried in his home country of Italy instead. He died in Rome after serving 15 years of house arrest for a World War II massacre at Italy’s Ardeatine Caves that killed 335 people, including 75 Jews. In 1998, Priebke was sentenced to life in prison. Four years earlier, he had been arrested in the Argentine ski resort city of Bariloche, where he had lived for more than 40 years. Because of his age and ill health he was allowed to serve out his sentence under house arrest. The Ardeatine Caves massacre was carried out in March 1944 in retaliation for an attack by the Italian resistance movement on SS soldiers. Victims of the massacre were executed with a bullet to the neck. Priebke never expressed remorse for the killings, insisting he had only obeyed orders. “My death would not have allowed for those innocents to be saved,” he said at an appeal hearing in 1998. The Argentine foreign ministry said on Twitter that “Foreign Minister Hector Timerman has given the order not to accept the slightest move to allow the return of the body of Nazi criminal Erich Priebke to our country.” Jewish groups in Argentina welcomed the move; the Jewish community in Argentina consists of around 300,000 members, the largest Jewish community in Latin America.
Is this Paradise in Afghanistan?
Kandahar, Afghanistan, was once the quintessential suburban town. The streets were quiet, the homes were beautiful, everyone’s garden was well-kept, and many backyards had inviting swimming pools where the family pet could take a dip. But this lovely town was where a horror story began. Kandahar is the birthplace of Osama bin Laden. The suburb was also once home to Taliban supreme Mullah Omar. Lately, it has become notorious for Is-
lamist death squads, criminal gangs and drug traffickers killing hundreds of public officials and tribal leaders, including the president’s half-brother Ahmed Wali Karzai. However, life remains peachy in Aino Mena, a relatively new development on the city’s outskirts. Residents frequent the gym after work, the tree- lined boulevards lead to cascading fountains. Residents can relax and enjoy dinner at one of the many local restaurants.
“It is like we grew up in a village, which first turned into a big city and now into this,” Kandahari businessman Khalil Ahmad, 35, told AFP. “We have good schools, the security is high and it is not dusty or noisy. I come to exercise here six days a week.” Of course, the town still has signs of Islamic life. The women wear burkas in public and the gym is exclusively male. Aino Mena was founded in 2003. The first phase of the development has about 2,000 homes, and a second phase of 11,000 more properties is planned. Residents consist of wealthy residents who claim to avoid getting involved in politics. Homes in Aino Mena range in price from $25,000 to over $600,000. Many homeowners are accused of profiting from the 12-year war with the U.S. Residents such as Sharifullah admit their businesses rely on contracts from the USled NATO military campaign. He worries that the economy will suffer when U.S. troops withdraw at the end of next year. “With the U.S. leaving, it will affect us a lot,” said Sharifullah, the owner of a transport and logistics company that works for the NATO coalition. Aino Mena has not been immune to attack; in May, two bombs went off on the suburb’s main road, killing nine people.
Greeks Approve Neo-Nazi Takedown A new poll taken in Greece shows that most Greeks believe that criminal charges filed against the leader and top officials of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party are fair and more than half are happy with the
U.N. Being Blamed for Haiti Cholera Outbreak The U.N. is being accused of covering up its part in initiating one of the worst outbreaks of cholera in modern history. Survivors and family members of near-
Tests show that the strain of cholera circulating in Haiti is genetically similar to cholera found in Nepal. Members of an independent panel appointed by the U.N. initially said that the evidence pointing to the peacekeepers was not conclusive, but have since said that new evidence indicates the soldiers were the likely source. The suit alleges that U.N. officials falsely claimed that peacekeepers had been tested for cholera and none had come back positive, and barred Haitian health officials from the camp in late October. The suit also alleges that the U.N. issued a false statement that its septic tanks were up to U.S. EPA standards. A spokesperson said the U.N. is working “on the ground” in Haiti to “do all that the Organization can do to help the people of Haiti overcome the cholera epidemic.” The U.N. has spent $118 million to date to respond to the outbreak, and plans to spend millions more, depending on the level of international contributions.
Assad’s Un-funny Joke
“We felt it would be much easier to resolve this out of court, to spend less money on lawyers and litigation and more money on stopping cholera in Haiti,” said Brian Concannon of the IJDH. “The U.N. refused to take that opportunity and left us no choice but to go to court.” The U.N. cited its immunity and has not accepted responsibility for the epidemic, even though medical experts agree that the disease was likely introduced by U.N. peacekeepers. During an interview in Port-au-Prince Monday, a top U.N. official repeatedly refused to answer questions from NBC News’ chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman about whether or not the U.N. was to blame. “I can’t answer that question,” said Sophie de Caen, senior country director for the United Nations Development Program. “It’s an ongoing legal case and it’s something that needs to be discussed with the U.N. legal office in New York.” The cholera outbreak began near Mirebalais, Haiti, in late 2010, ten short months after a devastating earthquake. Since then, more than 650,000 Haitians have contracted the disease, which had been unknown in the country for centuries. By now, it has spread to Venezuela, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and has claimed the lives of more than 8,500 people. Numerous scientific studies have linked the disease to a group of U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal who arrived at a camp near Mirebalais in October 2010.
A pro-Damascus Lebanese newspaper reported on Monday that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said that he should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize was awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is working in Syria to destroy the Assad regime’s massive chemical arsenal by mid-2014. In jest, Assad said the award “should have been mine.” Yes, he was kidding but is that even funny? We’re talking about the lives of hundreds of innocent lives. Whether guilty or innocent, this comment illustrates the arrogant attitude of the president.
The Pakistani Taliban is believed to be responsible for the failed attempt to detonate a bomb in NYC’s Times Square in 2010. Marie Harf, deputy spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said that Mehsud was captured by U.S. forces in a military operation. “Mehsud is a senior commander in TTP, and served as a trusted confident of the group’s leader, Hakimullah Mehsud,” Harf said. “TTP claimed responsibility, as folks probably know, for the attempted bombing of Times Square in 2010 and has vowed to attack the U.S. homeland again. TPP is also responsible for attacking our diplomats in Pakistan and attacks that have killed countless Pakistani civilians.” There are conflicting reports as to exactly how Mehsud was captured. Arsallah Jamal, governor of Logar province in eastern Afghanistan, said Mehsud was captured a week ago as he was driving along a main highway in Mohammad Agha district. The road links the province with the Afghan capital, Kabul. The Pakistani Taliban confirmed the capture but claimed Mehsud was seized on October 5 by the Afghan army at the Ghulam Khan border crossing in the eastern province of Khost. According to sources, he was returning from a meeting to discuss swapping Afghan prisoners for money but that version of the story has yet to be confirmed.
N. Korean Prisoner Gets Visit from his Mother
U.S. Captures Senior Pakistani Taliban Commander
The U.S. confirmed on Friday that American troops are holding Latif Mehsud, a senior Pakistani Taliban command-
Last week, Kenneth Bae got a visit from his mother, Myunghee Bae, in his North Korean hospital room where he is serving out his harsh sentence. The Korean-American missionary was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after being accused of rebelling against the North Korean government. Bae, 45, was arrested last November while leading a group of tourists in the northeastern region of Rason; the North Korean government accused him of subversive acts. The emotional visit between mother and son was photographed. The pictures
OCTOBER 17, 2013
The stabbing of 34-year-old Pavlos Fissas prompted a wide crackdown on the Golden Dawn party in a search for evidence linking it to the attack and also led to a shake-up of the police after allegations that party cells were operating within the force. Recent TV footage of the lawmakers, handcuffed and hustled to the police headquarters by hooded anti-terrorism officers with machine guns, had riveted Greeks unused to such images since a military coup nearly five decades ago. The party, which according to the poll remains the country’s third most popular political force, has shed support since the arrests. The poll put support for Golden Dawn at 6.3 percent. Before the killing, opinion polls found the party enjoyed about 10 to 13 percent support. Before winning 18 seats in last year’s elections, Golden Dawn was relatively unknown, but it won over Greeks struggling through Greece’s dire economic crisis by giving out food in poor neighborhoods and promising to fight crime and take on corrupt politicians. Human rights groups have linked Golden Dawn members dressed in black and wielding batons to violent attacks on darkskinned migrants and political opponents, but the party denies accusations of violence. It is widely regarded as a neo-Nazi group. Nazi memorabilia has been found in searches of the homes of arrested party members and its leader has been seen giving Nazi-style salutes, although the party rejects the label.
ly 700,000 Haitians who have contracted cholera are now suing the United Nations for billions of dollars. “They have to help us because there are so many kids that are orphans now, that lost their mom, that lost their dads,” said plaintiff Felicia Paule, 45, who survived cholera but lost a daughter, brother and nephew to the disease. “They’re responsible, so they have to help.” The suit was filed in a Manhattan federal court last Wednesday. It was filed by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, which attempted to file the suit in 2011 with the U.N. The United Nations did not respond for more than 15 months, but then invoked an extensive immunity from nearly all legal claims that dates back to its founding.
THE JEWISH HOME
government’s handling of the case. The party’s leader, Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, five other senior lawmakers and dozens more members were arrested in September following the killing of a popular anti-racism musician by a Golden Dawn sympathizer.
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
38 show Myunghee Bae embracing her ailing son who is wearing a blue and white striped uniform. Prior to her visit, Myunghee Bae said in a video statement that her heart “was broken into pieces” when a prison interview with her son surfaced in July, because he looked so unlike himself and so frail. “I want to see him and comfort him and hold him in person,” she said. “I miss him so much.” Bae was transferred from prison camp to the hospital in August because he had lost more than 50 pounds. He suffers from diabetes, an enlarged heart, liver problems, and back pain. Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, of the Seattle suburb of Edmonds, said on Friday she had not yet spoken with her mother, but did hear from the Swedish ambassador in Pyongyang, who attended the visit. “He said it was a very emotional meeting, that they had a reunion and that Kenneth did look better from when he was hospitalized on Aug. 9,” Chung said. The ambassador also reported that Bae has regained about 15 pounds since being transferred to the hospital. There has not been much headway as to his release but his sister says, “We can only hope.” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. helped coordinate the visit through the Swedish embassy, which represents U.S. interests in North Korea because the U.S. has no diplomatic ties there. Bae has three children. He is officially a U.S. citizen but had been living in China for the past seven years. He was born in South Korea and immigrated to the U.S. with his parents and sister in 1985.
Child Bride Dies in Yemen A very disturbing and shocking report has come out of the backwards society that is the country of Yemen. Last month, an eight-year-old girl named Rawan died after being forced to marry a 40-year-old man. Young girls being forced into marriage is a phenomenon that is found all over the country and one that is resulting in many psychological and medical complications. Dr. Arwa Rabi’i, an OBGYN from the capital city of Sana’a, is calling for the legal age of marriage to be raised to 18. “When a woman marries before the age of 18, … there are going to be many complications … and life-threatening infections,” she said. “We see it every day, not every month or week, every day! A lot of them, 10 or 20 sick girls.” According to data from Human Rights Watch, about 14% of girls in Yemen are forced into marriage under the age of 15, and about 53% marry under the age of 18. Belkis Wille, an activist in Human Rights Watch, said that in rural areas, it is common to see marriage at the ages of eight or nine. Wille told reporters that stories such as Rawan’s are very common.
After the girl’s death, Civil Rights Minister Huria Mashhoor pledged to raise the marriage age in the country to prevent such incidents recurring. “We demand to raise the legal wedding age to 18, considering Yemen is signed on the international treaties for children’s rights.” The government commissioned a special committee to look into reports about the death of the child. Before the commission, the minister expressed concern that there may attempts to silence the case. Aside from the horrific physiological problems with the low marriage age, the girls are not prepared to live in a social and economic world. Many of the girls who are forced to marry drop out of school before the age of ten and move into their husbands’ homes. There, it is very likely the young bride will be the victim of domestic violence and abuse. They are extremely isolated and alone and develop no skills outside of the home.
Red Cross Workers Kidnapped in Syria On Sunday, gunmen kidnapped seven Red Cross workers in northern Syria after stopping their convoy along a road near the town of Saraqeb in Idlib province. The gunmen opened fire before kidnapping the workers. The team was returning to Damascus. Six of the people kidnapped are International Committee of the Red Cross staff workers, and one is a volunteer from the Syrian Red Crescent. The team had been in the field since October 10 to assess the medical situation in the area and to decide how to provide medical aid. Much of the countryside in Idlib has fallen into the hands of rebels and kidnappings have become more of the norm. It has been said that this kidnapping was perpetrated by “terrorists.”
known to employ migrant workers were vandalized as well. Several hundred people were demonstrating anti-migrant sentiment that has grown in the country. Protesters were seen chanting “White power!” as they stormed a shopping center. The protest came after the killing of a young ethnic Russian, Yegor Shcherbakov, 25, that was blamed on a man from the Caucasus. Several police officers were wounded in the attacks as protesters threw glass bottles at them and police fought back with batons. Around 380 people were detained after the riots. Over the past decade, many Muscovites have been angered by the influx of migrant laborers to the capital. The Kremlin has watched with alarm at frequent outbreaks of violence in Russian cities between members of the Slavic majority and people with roots in the mostly Muslim North Caucasus, ex-Soviet South Caucasus states and Central Asia. “On the one hand, I completely understand resentment among Muscovites who see people getting killed on our streets and law enforcement officials doing nothing,” Mikhail Fedotov, head of the human rights council in Russia, said. “But that in no way justifies ... this pogrom.” The rioting on Sunday was worst outbreak of violence seen over a racially charged incident in Moscow since December 2010.
Israel Shocking College AntiIsrael Campaign
up to find that an eviction notice had been posted on their dorm room doors. The notice informed students that they would have three days to vacate their rooms or their belongings would be destroyed. The movement originated at New York University and has trickled across the nation. The same campaign was demonstrated at schools across the nation including Harvard University, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of California, Berkeley. The eviction letter stated: “We regret to inform you that your suite is scheduled for demolition in the next three days. If you do not vacate the premise within this time, we reserve the right to destroy all remaining belongings under Code 211.3B.” Rabbi Akiva Dovid Weiss, the Orthodox Union-Jewish Learning Initiative rabbi at Rutgers Hillel, was outraged by the incident and said the group violated student privacy and their emotions. “This is a group that receives university funding and routinely engages in controversial and divisive programming and tactics, often employing the use of propaganda, to play on the emotions of students in order to spread their views or message to others,” Rabbi Weiss said. Rutgers Hillel released an official statement to the university concerning the alarming campaign. “We decry this manipulation and intimidation of students through stunts employed to promote a political agenda,” the statement read. Rabbi Reed of Rutgers Hillel also condemned the campaign. “These were not approved fliers, and the information was factually inaccurate and vilified Israel,” Reed said. Reed also suggested that there are “more positive ways to engage in a factual discussion” about Israel. “Making students feel unsafe in their homes is apparently part of the SJP strategy which also includes propagating half-truths, misstatements and historical inaccuracies.”
Israel Finds Terror Tunnel in Gaza
Rioting Against Migrants in Moscow
A peaceful protest turned violent in Moscow on Sunday, with rioters smashing window shops, storming warehouses and clashing with police. Shops that were
The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Rutgers University are using manipulation and scare tactics to raise awareness about the “unrealistically harsh treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.” As part of a campaign called, “The Palestinian-style eviction movement,” over a thousand students at the university woke
On Sunday, Israel displayed a Palestinian “terror tunnel” running from the Gaza Strip into Israel proper. As a result, it was
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announced that Israel will freeze the transfer of building material into the Palestinian territory. “The discovery of the tunnel ... prevented attempts to harm Israeli civilians who live close to the border and military forces in the area,” Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a statement, accusing Gaza’s ruling Hamas Islamist movement of being behind construction of the 1.5 mile-long tunnel. Hamas did not officially claim responsibility for the tunnel, but a spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing wrote on Twitter that “the determination deep in the hearts and minds of resistance fighters is more important than tunnels dug in the mud.” Hamas, along with other militant groups, tunneled into Israel in 2006 and seized an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who was held for five years before being exchanged for 1,400 Palestinians in Israeli jails. The military said the tunnel, dug in sandy soil, had been reinforced with concrete supports, and Yaalon announced that he was immediately halting the transfer of building material to the Gaza Strip. For years, Israel had refused to allow these goods into the territory because it said militants would use them to build fortifications and weapons. In 2010, as part of its easing of its internationally-criticized Gaza blockade, Israel gave foreign aid organizations the green light to import construction material for public projects. Last month, Israel resumed the transfer of cement and steel to Gaza’s private sector.
Newest Spy Trial in Iran
Another group of “Israeli spies” have gone on trial in Iran. According to Iranian news sources, the group on trial was led by three people who hired over 60 others to conspire against the government. Not surprisingly, many of those on trial are said to have confessed under interrogation. Prosecutors said they acted against Iran’s security, collected information and transferred it outside the country, and assisted anti-religious establishments in Israel.
Iran regularly accuses Israel and the United States of waging a deadly campaign of sabotage against its nuclear program and has announced a string of arrests of alleged agents in recent years. In August, the Islamic Republic claimed it had arrested a local citizen on charges of passing intelligence about Iran to Israel. In June, Iran claimed to have dismantled a terrorist and sabotage network in the southern city of Shiraz, which allegedly planned bombings and assassination attempts during Iran’s presidential election. In May, Iran hanged two convicted spies, one accused and found guilty of working for Israel, the other for the United States. Last year, Iran executed Majid Jamali Fashi after convicting him of spying for the Mossad and of playing a key role in the January 2010 assassination of a top nuclear scientist in return for payment of $120,000.
NYT Continues to Blast Netanyahu
The New York Times has continued its anti-Netanyahu (read: anti-Israel) agenda this week. Two weeks ago, the newspaper’s front-page editorial criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech at the UN General Assembly as “combative” and sarcastic. This week, an interview-profile was printed that portrays Netanyahu as a “shrill” voice on a one-man “messianic crusade” against Iran’s nuclear weapons program. In the piece, the Times says Netanyahu’s long campaign against Iran is “a messianic crusade” according to “critics and admirers alike.” However, it quotes mostly critics, like journalist Ben Caspit, who says of Netanyahu that he is “a professional whistle-blower. He’s a professional prophet. But all the time pessimistic, threatening.” The Times claims that Netanyahu not only seems “a solo act on the world stage,” he is also “increasingly a one-man show in Israel, doubling as his own foreign minister.” “Netanyahu is most comfortable predicting disaster, scaring people into doing something,” the liberal paper quoted a political analyst as saying. “The problem is now he’s lost momentum.” In his recent attempts to focus the
world on the Iranian nuclear program, “using ancient texts, Holocaust history and a 2011 book by Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani,” the paper says, “he has sometimes come off sounding shrill” and “risks seeming frozen in the past amid a shifting geopolitical landscape.” The “ancient texts” the Times appears to be referring to is the Torah.
National Dubya and Cheney Never BFF’s
Teva Announces Cutbacks
Israel-based pharmaceutical giant Teva has announced that it will cut about 10% of its workforce worldwide throughout 2014. In the largest layoff in the company’s history, over 5,000 employees will be receiving pink slips. Of those, about 800 workers live in Israel. A year ago, the company announced a restructuring plan in the hopes of saving $1.5-2 billion. The layoffs are a part of the restructuring. “Teva will complete the majority of the reduction by the end of 2014,” the company said in its statement. “Teva continues to identify opportunities to optimize value through the selective trimming of assets that no longer fit its core business or are not critical to its future.” Teva President and CEO Jeremy Levin commented, “Teva is managing its operations to achieve high levels of effectiveness in the short term, while pursuing opportunities for the long term. The accelerated cost reduction program will strengthen our organization while improving our competitive position in the global marketplace. We understand that this may be a difficult time for our employees and are committed to act with fairness, integrity and respect, and provide support during this time.” Teva is one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, the leading company in the genetic field and the largest commercial company in Israel. The company has production, research and marketing facilities in Israel, North America and Europe. The company’s greatest achievement was receiving the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for its Copaxone drug in 1996. The medication was developed by a team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science to treat multiple sclerosis.
Seems like if enough time passes after a president leaves office, a report will come out saying he and the VP didn’t quite get along. Well, the George W. Bush administration is no exception according to the new book, Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House, by chief white house correspondent Peter Baker. In the book, Baker details what he describes as the “final insult in the BushCheney marriage”: the president’s decision not to pardon “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s former chief of staff, who had been convicted of lying to federal officials investigating the leak of the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson. When Bush informed Cheney of the decision, Cheney snapped: “You are leaving a good man wounded on the field of battle.” But according to Cheney, they were never really on friendly terms. “It was professional, more than personal,” Cheney told Baker shortly after leaving office. “We weren’t buddies in that sense.” While Bush called Cheney “Dick,” Baker wrote, Cheney always called Bush “Mr. President” and referred to him with others as “the Man.” Baker also highlights how the Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Texas is filled with exhibits of Bush with his First Lady, children, Condoleezza Rice, Joshua Bolton, Andy Card, and his dogs. But there is very little sign that Cheney worked there, also. In reality, Baker writes, it was Rice who became Bush’s top lieutenant. “No one in the White House had the relationship with Bush that Rice had. She worked out with him, talked sports with him, dined with him and Laura in the residence and spent weekends with them at Camp David,” he writes. Guess the Oval Office is more like a high school cafeteria than I thought.
THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 17, 2013
Eco-terrorist Pleads Guilty
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
After a decade of being wanted by the FBI, radical environmental activist Rebecca Jeanette Rubin has turned herself in. She has pleaded guilty to arson and conspiracy for playing a part in setting 20 fires between 1996 and 2001. The fires destroyed over $40 million worth of property. Rubin, 40, faces a federal sentence term of 5 to 7 years when she is sentenced early next year. The short prison stay is part of the plea deal her lawyer arraigned with prosecutors in return for providing information concerning her co-conspirators. She belonged to a highly wanted eco-terrorist group known as “The Family.” According to the FBI, the Family is even more extreme than both the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front. Rubin surrendered last November at the Washington state border after a decade of hiding in Canada, where she is a citizen. Her attorney said that she tried to give herself up as early as 2009 but that he couldn’t work out an acceptable arrangement with prosecutors. Rubin was indicted in 2006 with three other Family members in a 1998 fire that caused $12 million at the Vail Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado. Two of the others, Chelsea Gerlach and Stanislas Meyerhoff, were sentenced to nine and 13 years in prison, respectively, in 2007. The third, Josephine Overaker, remains at large and is the subject of a $50,000 reward offered by the FBI.
Jimmy Carter: Middle Class Living Like the Poor
Jimmy Carter evaluated the nation’s economic problems this week and high-
lighted some dismal points. According to the former president, the income gap in the United States has increased to the point where members of the middle class resemble the Americans who lived in poverty when he occupied the White House. He spoke at a construction site of a Habitat for Humanity project in Oakland. The recent economic downturn revealed that families living in even comparatively well-off, but expensive regions like the San Francisco Bay Area are economically insecure, he said. “Even in one of the wealthiest parts of the world there is a great deal of foreclosures and now a great deal of people who are fortunate to own their own houses owe more on them than the houses are worth in the present market, and that’s all changed in the last eight years,” Carter said during an exclusive interview with The Associated Press. Taking a break from framing windows at a new 12-unit town house development in a section of East Oakland where Habitat already has built or repaired 115 homes, the 89-year-old former Democratic president said the federal government is investing less in affordable housing at a time of greater need. “The disparity between rich people and poor people in America has increased dramatically since when we started,” he said. “The middle class has become more like poor people than they were 30 years ago. So I don’t think it’s getting any better.”
were arrested as well. Those arrested will be charged with “crowding, obstructing and incommoding” under the local laws of the District of Columbia, the Capitol Police said. Before being arrested, Gutiérrez said he planned the act of civil disobedience “so the speaker of the House can free Congress and finally pass immigration reform.” Prospects for passage of a comprehensive immigration bill appear dim at best. A bill passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate and backed by the White House includes billions of dollars for border security as well as a 13-year path to citizenship for those already in the U.S. illegally. It’s unclear whether the GOP-dominated House will ever pass legislation that could form the basis for a final deal with the Senate. Most House Republicans have rejected this comprehensive approach, and the House Judiciary Committee has moved forward with individual, single-issue immigration bills that could come to the floor sometime later this year or next.
Obama’s Stingy Pardon Record
House Members Arrested in Rally
About 200 people were arrested at a rally blocking a main street near the Capitol in Washington. Among them were at least eight members of the House looking to push Republicans to vote on immigration reform. While police would not divulge the identities of those arrested, reporters did witness the arrests of Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga.; Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill.; Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz.; Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; Joseph Crowley and Charles Rangel, both D-N.Y.; Al Green, D-Texas; and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. Representatives of other groups whose members attended the rally, such as United Farm Workers and Farmworker Justice, confirmed that several of their members
On March 1, President Obama granted 17 pardons to convicted felons who had committed crimes ranging from drug dealing to embezzlement to pirating cable TV. This brings the total number of pardons issued by President Obama since taking office to 39 – an amount that’s actually well below the rate of many of his predecessors. Franklin Roosevelt, the longest serving president, granted over 3,600 pardons during his twelve years in office. These were not without controversy, especially the pardon of Earl Browder, the founder of the Communist Party here in the United States. Browder was pardoned during World War II, after America and the U.S.S.R. signed an alliance. Contrastingly, both William Henry Harrison and James Garfield signed a total of zero pardons, but that may have to do with the fact that they both died soon after taking office. Article Two of the U.S. Constitution establishes the president’s right to issue a pardon, which has been used on some wellknown individuals throughout America’s
history. In 1868, President Andrew Johnson pardoned all the soldiers that fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. Perhaps Gerald Ford granted the most famous presidential pardon to former President Richard Nixon for any laws he had broken as a result of the Watergate scandal. Nixon’s pardon created a scandal of its own, as many people felt the former president was getting off too easy.
Pelosi, Ford, and Others Inducted into Women’s Hall of Fame
The National Women’s Hall of Fame has announced its new inductees for the year 2013. Topping the list this year is House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the late former first lady Betty Ford and Title IX advocate Bernice Sandler. The ceremony is being held in Seneca Falls, the western New York village where the first known women’s rights convention was held in 1848. “I’m absolutely thrilled. I can’t believe it,” Pelosi told reporters. Several of her female congressional colleagues, along with two of her daughters and two granddaughters, plan to attend. Also being honored are horse racing’s most successful female jockey, Julie Krone, Ina May Gaskin, who is known as the “mother of authentic midwifery,” and monetary scholar Anna Jacobson Schwartz, who collaborated with Nobel laureate Milton Friedman on “A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960,” published in 1963. She died last year. “The 2013 inductees again represent the spirit of Seneca Falls and the groundbreaking events that inspired the nation and the world,” Beverly Ryder, co-president of the board of directors, said in announcing the inductees this year. The inductees join the ranks of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, tennis pro Billie Jean King, astronaut Sally Ride and actress Lucille Ball. A new class is selected every other year based on their lasting contributions to society. In all, 247 women have been inducted so far.
Who is Janet Yellen?
Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen has been nominated by President Obama to replace Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve starting next year.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement on Saturday that investigators never gave up. “They made it their mission to identify this young child, to lay her to rest and to bring her killer to justice,” he said. Investigators launched a renewed push this summer for leads in the case, and it was amid that publicity for “Baby Hope” that a tipster contacted police, saying she thought she might know the child’s sister, now an adult. That tip led detectives to relatives of the girl, and eventually her mother. This week, the child’s real name was finally learned.
For 22 years the “Baby Hope” case has been a mystery. In 1991, the body of a 4-year-old girl was found in an icebox in a wooded area in upper Manhattan. But now police have announced that they have arrested a suspect – a cousin of the girl.
Like a Bridge over Troubled Waters
That’s Odd Bring in Da Noise
Baby Hope Killer Finally Arrested
the record for the loudest recorded crowd at a sporting event. The previous record was set by Seattle Seahawks fans last month with a level of 136.6 decibels. 137.5 decibels measures way past a rock concert’s noise level (115 dB), the level at which pain begins (125 dB), and slightly short of a jet engine when you’re standing 100 feet away (140 dB). The loudest recommended exposure that a person can withstand without hearing loss is 140 dB, so watch out sports fans. This extreme noise is becoming an extreme sport on its own. Years ago, Arrowhead Stadium was recognized as one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL when a crowd hit 116 dB. After Seattle recently claimed the “noise-crown,” die-hard fans wished to reclaim the title. “We want the fans being as loud as ever and we’re doing everything we can to break a world record and to reach 137 decibels,” said Ty Rowton. “But more importantly, the main goal of all of this is to bring back Arrowhead and make it the loudest and most intimidating stadium in the NFL.” But Chiefs fans shouldn’t be resting on their laurels. It looks like Seattle wants its record back and it’s not afraid to scream about it. “All records are meant to be broken. Fortunately #12S have experience in this endeavor,” the team tweeted. Pass the ear plugs please.
On Sunday, Arrowhead Stadium roared into the record books. With a representative on hand from the Guinness World Records, fans cheered so loudly for the Kansas City Chiefs that they reached a deafening 137.5 decibels. The noise broke
After finishing a walk against breast cancer, a 55-year-old woman decided to take a shortcut home. Ignoring No Trespassing signs, she tried to cross a bridge that was not meant for pedestrians. Unfortunately for the Fort Lauderdale woman, the bridge started going up, and she was forced to cling to the bridge for dear life from about 22-feet in the air, while passersby called authorities to rescue her. When police came, they used a 24foot ladder to rescue the terrified woman. Luckily, she escaped the ordeal unharmed, but it’s a good lesson for all people out there: signs are there for a reason. Authorities don’t just post them for fun.
The Cheesiest Wedding Cake of all Time
OCTOBER 17, 2013
Additionally, she is not a political insider. Yellen has been to the White House only once in the past two years. Although she was head of the Council of Economic Advisors for two years in the Clinton Administration, she does not appear to have close ties with this administration or Congress. Yellen is also the top Fed forecaster. A study of 700 economic predictions made by 14 Fed policymakers from 2009 to 2012 found Yellen was the most accurate forecaster overall. She also scored in the top four for her forecasts on inflation, labor, and growth. Despite being the first to lead the Federal Reserve, Yellen wouldn’t be the first woman to lead a central bank; she will join a list of 17 women who already lead central banks around the world. Yellen is married to a Nobel Prize winning economist. Her husband is George Akerlof, an economist at UC Berkeley. One of his best known articles is “The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism.” The paper delves into the theory of information asymmetry by using the market for used cars (lemons) as an example.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said 52-year-old Conrado Juarez was visiting relatives, staying at his sister’s house in Queens, when he attacked the girl, whose name is Anjelica Castillo. Construction workers found the girl’s body on July 23, 1991 along the Henry Hudson Parkway near Dyckman Street. Her identity was not known until this week. Detectives in the cold case had even paid for her headstone, inscribing it with the message “Because We Care,” Kelly said.
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She will be the first woman to lead the Fed in its 100 years of existence. The president called her “one of the nation’s foremost economists and policy makers.” You may have heard a lot about her in the last few months but here is a list of some things you may not have known about her. Yellen is independently wealthy. She is one of the richest members of the central bank’s board of governors, according to the Federal Reserve’s annual financial disclosures.
I have to admit that I have never tasted Cheez-Its but I have never heard it spoken about in gourmet circles as a culinary confection. But this bride had her own ideas about the perfect wedding cake. At her wedding ceremony, Stephanie Izard served her guests a wedding cake made of alternating layers of Strawberry Nesquik-infused chocolate marble cake with bacon buttercream and a Cheez-It-flavored cake with a filling of chocolate ganache, peanut butter, and chocolate-covered Cheez-Its. Lest you think that this is probably the most vile dessert ever served, bear in mind that Stephanie was the winner of a celebrated cooking competition. She is also a chef and owns her own restaurant. Her husband, Gary Valentine, is also a “foodie”; he is a craft beer consultant. “I just wanted to have a fun, sweet, and savory wedding cake that was unique and tasty at the same time,” Stephanie recounted. “Mathew [her restaurant’s pastry chef] is always up for trying new fun flavor combinations to fit my love of sweet and savory cuisine. I think the cake was a marriage of our two styles.” Stephanie’s husband is not as big a fan of Cheez-Its as Stephanie. But he does has a favorite beverage of his own. “Gary is not a Cheez-It addict like I am. But while I got to choose the cake, he got his brewing buddies to make special beers. So it all worked out!” Stephanie said. For those of you who weren’t invited to the wedding but would love to sample some of the eclectic dessert, there are slices of the cake on sale in Stephanie’s restaurant for just $3—what a bargain!
Egg-sized Diamond Sells for $32M This diamond is sure to weigh down the finger of any bride. The 118-carat, flawless D-diamond
fetched $32.6 million when it was auctioned off by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong last Monday. It was estimated that the diamond would sell for between $28 to $38 million. Sotheby’s declined to comment on the buyer or the buyer’s nationality.
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OCTOBER 17, 2013
44 The Baltimore Running Festival hosted marathoners, supporters and...a representative from Guinness World Records on October 12 to see their 716 pound bowl of applesauce. Applesauce company Musselman’s sponsored the event in which runners (and others) dumped cups of applesauce into a giant bowl resulting in the biggest bowl of applesauce on record. Yum?
Police Officer Tickets Toy Car The precious gem is the largest and most significant diamond graded by the Gemological Institute of America. Sotheby’s says it was discovered in southern Africa but won’t name the country because the seller wishes to remain anonymous. During the auction, 330 pieces of rare jewelry were sold for a total of $95 million, $15 million less than expected. “Hong Kong has in the last few years pulled itself up alongside Geneva and New York as one of the three major selling centers at auction” for diamonds, said Quek Chin Yeow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia and an international diamond expert. The all-time world record price for a jewel at auction was set in 2010, when London jeweler Laurence Graff paid $46 million for a “fancy intense pink” diamond weighing 24.8 carats.
Hello, Where’s My Jello?
A 39-year-old Pennsylvania man called the Upper Macungie Township police on Thursday night to report an emergency. Apparently, his Jell-O was stolen from the break room fridge at work. According to the police report, the caller explained “that this was not the first time his food had been stolen from the refrigerator.” The incident remains under investigation.
New Guinness World Record Set at Baltimore Running Festival What weighs 716 pounds, is edible, can be eaten with or without teeth, and is served in a (very large) bowl? I bet you didn’t guess applesauce.
A Beechcraft King Air twin-turboprop plane took off from Monterey Regional Airport in California on Thursday afternoon. Mid-flight the pilot heard a pop and immediately prepared for an emergency landing. When he was back on the ground, he discovered he had lost a door while inflight. It wasn’t until Friday morning that the missing door was discovered by a contractor working at El Castell Motel in Monterey, California. The 75-pound door apparently landed on the tile roof of an unoccupied room. What do you do when your door comes knocking?
Doctor Heals Seizure Disorder with Laser Surgery
This police officer either has a sense of humor or a very low IQ. Last week, a classically pink Barbie toy Jeep was left abandoned on the street in the Salt Lake City suburb of Cedar Hills in Utah. An unidentified police officer was patrolling the suburban neighborhood when he noticed the vehicle blocking the road. The officer moved the Jeep to a nearby driveway and ticketed it with a bright-orange abandoned vehicle tag. It seemed the intention was to show residents that police were patrolling their streets. “It’s a warning tag we put on cars that tells owners it has to be moved within 72 hours,” said Lt. Sam Liddiard of the American Fork Police Department. The next morning, the father of two young girls, ages 7 and 9, found his children’s toy with the ticket. The girls had reportedly left their Barbie Jeep in the street after the battery died. “It had nothing to do with the girls,” Lt. Liddiard said of the police warning. “It was his [the officer’s] attempt at humor to let the residents in the area know that he’d been patrolling the neighborhood. “He just thought it’d be a cute idea to put a tag on the car.” Now residents know he was patrolling their area, and they know how mature he is as well.
Plane Door Falls from the Sky It’s not a bird… it’s not a plane…it’s a door!
Chris Murto’s silent seizures began when he was just an infant. At the time, doctors assumed it was nightmares and it would pass. His mom, Maura Murto, 59, of Sedona, Arizona recalls, “He rarely slept more than two hours at a time. He would wake up and look startled, then begin to cry.” By time he was a toddler, he would frequently stiffen up and look tense but only when he was asleep. “His face would grimace and a slight tear would roll down his cheek,” she said. Eventually, Chris was diagnosed with a rare type of benign tumor, a hypothalamic hamartoma (HH). HH tumors, affect about 1 in 200,000 individuals. The condition could cause up to 350 seizures a month. By the time he was 13, Chris was taking 25 pills a day. Chris’ parents began logging his daily seizures at age 5. They began to get worse as he got older and affected his ability to learn. His IQ declined from 120 to 79, and his parents were told he would not be able to live independently. “He had tremors in his hand, his eyes rolled up in his head so you could see the whites, he slept a lot and his drool was out of control,” Maura Murto said. “He was losing ground mentally and physically.” “It’s impossible to explain the amount of pain I was experiencing,” said Chris. Now Chris Murto is 29 and he is miraculously seizure-free. He owes it all to Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s
Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, the first in the country to treat HH tumors. The surgeons used new, minimally invasive laser-surgery techniques to burn out the tumor in his brain. Since his surgery in August 2012 Chris has not had one seizure. “Oh, my gosh, what a miracle for our family,” his mother said. “It was absolutely amazing. Now we have all zeroes on his chart.” Dr. Peter Nakaji, Chris’ neurosurgeon, used a new kind of surgery that uses MRI technology to pinpoint the tumor and destroy the mass. Nakaji cut a two-millimeter incision in Murto’s skull to insert the laser catheter. “The laser gently heats up the hamartoma and cooks it to death,” he said. “The tissue is dead and the body absorbs the melted cells.” Amazingly, the complex surgery involves a single stitch and only one night’s stay in the hospital. Now, two months past surgery, Murto said he still experiences fatigue but is “contemplative and relieved” about his future, hoping eventually to find a job programming the computer games he likes to play. “This surgery has changed my life,” Murto said. “It’s amazing to have instantly gone from having [on average] 250 seizures a month to not having one. After all these years, I’m finally able to live an independent life.”
Ancient Haggadah Discovered in England
After an elderly Jewish couple passed away in Bury, England, their home was cleared out by relatives. While sifting through their belongings, their relatives discovered a cardboard soup box that was protecting a Jewish manuscript from the 18th century. The discovery was made during a house clearance conducted after the passing of the Jewish couple that lived there. Bill Forrest of Adam Partridge Auctioneers made a field visit to evaluate the antique item in the home. He said, “There was this one very thin, fairly modest looking manuscript really sitting in there. I picked up, picked up that and started to leaf through it and realized actually this is quite a significant piece.” This significant piece was a 20-page Haggadah, painted on goatskin vellum
Canadian Hunters Kill “Sacred” Albino Moose
Judge Tells Ohio Man that He’s Legally Dead Ohio resident Donald Eugene Miller Jr. is very much alive but Judge Allan Davis refuses to acknowledge that. Back in 1994, a Hancock County court ruling declared the 61-year-old legally dead after he disappeared from his rental home for eight years, resulting in the retirement of his Social Security number and his driver’s license. Judge Allan Davis admitted that it is a “strange, strange situation,” but he at the same time maintained that the court cannot budge in its decision. “We’ve got the obvious here,” Davis said. “A man sitting in the courtroom, he appears to be in good health. I don’t know where that leaves you,” he continued, “but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned.” Although it varies state by state, generally in order to declare a person legally dead without proof they need to be missing for seven years and there has to have been a continuous and genuine effort to find the person. Miller said he is a recovering alcoholic and abandoned his rental home while in the throes of his addiction. He is now attempting to regain his identity in the hope of putting his life back on track. There is a three-year legal limit for reversing a death ruling. “It kind of went further than I ever expected it to,” Miller told the court. “I just kind of took off, ended up in different places.” According to the law, Miller has the right to petition his case and have his Social Security number reinstated in federal court, but his attorney, Francis Marley, said that Miller does not have the financial resources to pursue a second hearing. “My client’s here on a wing and a prayer today,” Marley said.
Three proud hunters posted a photo of themselves with their loot, a rare albino moose that they killed in the Nova Scotia wilderness last week. They were within their rights when they killed the unusual animal but they have been harshly criticized on social media. Their action particularly outraged the indigenous Mi’kmaq people, who regard white creatures as “spirit animals” and believe that killing them brings bad luck. Danny Paul, a Mi’kmaq hunter, said that aboriginal people have known about the spirit moose for years. “We know the significance and we’ve been teaching that to the non-native population for almost 500 years—about the importance that this and other white animals played in our lives,” he said. “We are not to harm them in any way, shape, or form because they could be one of our ancestors coming to remind us of something significant that’s going to happen within our communities. It was so disrespectful having seen it put on the social media, and it’s been an outcry and our people are outraged.” A Department of Natural Resources biologist said that based on the photographs, the moose probably was a partial albino. The names of the hunters have not been released but they did issue an apology explaining that they were not aware that the animal was considered sacred. They agreed to hand over the carcass to the Mi’kmaq people so they can perform a traditional ceremony. What a moose-take!
It’s Not Superman, It’s a Super-Bird The Alpine swift bird is a swallow-like bird that has a wingspan of about 22 inches (57 centimeters) and a body length of about 8 inches (20 cm). It spends most of its life in flight according to scientists who have researched their habits extensively. Recently, researchers found a way to prove exactly how long these birds fly without taking a break. Researchers at the Swiss Ornithological Institute and the Bern University of Applied Sciences in Burgdorf, Switzerland, have collected data showing that the birds take little to no breaks during their migration from breeding grounds in Switzerland to wintering grounds in Western Africa and back again the following year. To collect their data, the researchers outfitted six birds with small tags that logged acceleration and ambient light during the course of a yearlong migration cycle that began and ended in Switzerland. Only three of the six birds were recaptured the following year, but these individuals provided enough data to complete the study, the researchers said.
phone. Now diners at Eat in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood do not have to be subjected to that type of rudeness but they also need to be ready to practice their self-control and sit in silence. The New York City restaurant prohibits any talking while dining at their restaurant (not a great place for a first date). Nicholas Nauman, head chef, said he was inspired to pitch the tight-lipped consumption sessions after spending time in India, where Buddhist monks take their breakfast without exchanging words.
“It’s just an opportunity to enjoy food in a way you might not have otherwise,” said the chef. Aside from the clanking of flatware and dishes and some background noise from the kitchen, the dining hall is quiet. “There’s such a strong energy in the room,” says Nauman. “It’s kind of like a meditation,” Eat owner Jordon Colon said. “The silence speaks for itself.” Don’t even think of bringing the kids!
A Celebration of the Pilgrims & Maccabees The only period of prolonged rest appeared to be when the birds were breeding in Switzerland. “Their activity pattern reveals that they can stay airborne continuously throughout their nonbreeding period in Africa and must be able to recover while airborne,” the team writes in their report. “To date, such long-lasting locomotive activities had been reported only for animals living in the sea.” Scientists have not determined whether or not the birds sleep in flight but periods of decreased movement suggest that they do. I guess there are no stopovers on their flight.
Silent Supper These days it’s basically impossible to enjoy a nice dinner out without hearing the person next to you yap on their cell
This calendar year, Chanukah and Thanksgiving fall out on the same day. While Thanksgiving is always the last Thursday of November, Chanukah varies since it’s based upon the Jewish calendar. Usually we celebrate eight nights of Chanukah in December but this year it falls out in the end of November. The last time this convergence occurred was in 1888, and if you miss this opportunity to celebrate both holidays, then you will have to wait till 2070, according to calculations by Jonathan Mizrahi, a quantum physicist at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. After that, the two holidays overlap again in 2165 and then again in 76,695. So bust out the sweet potato latkes and enjoy your long weekend filled with lots of jelly doughnuts or maybe a cranberry filled one, if you’re experimental in the kitchen. Happy Thanksgivukah!
OCTOBER 17, 2013
Miller’s ex-wife, Robin Miller, asked for the initial death ruling so that Social Security death benefits could be paid to their two children. According to sources, Robin Miller is opposed to overturning the death ruling because then she would be required to reimburse the federal government for the benefits she received over the last two decades. Reportedly, her ex-husband owed her $26,000 in child support at the time of his disappearance.
THE JEWISH HOME
by Aaron Wolff Shreiber Herlingen. It is believed that the Haggadah dates back to 1726. Adam Partridge said, “So if we look here it’s all handwritten by the scribe Aaron Wolff and hand-illuminated as well each little vignette.” Supposedly, the manuscript ended up England during World War II when it was smuggled out of Belgium by a family escaping the Nazis. “This family became slightly split up and various sides of the family weren’t talking to each other. Decades then ensued and these things get lost,” Partridge explained. The estimated value of the precious artifact is £100,000–£150,000 (about $161,000–$242,000), but can potentially be sold for much more when it goes up for auction at the end of November. I guess there’s no need to ask how this haggadah is different from all the other haggadahs.
T h e THE J e wJEWISH i s h h oHOME me n
oOCTOBER c T o b e r 117, 7 , 2013 2013
American Victory in the Battle of Fort Riviere
n the past centutactics. After exry, the world has ecuting hundreds seen the United of political prisonStates military as ers, an angry mob the global policelynched him. The man to protect its country was leaderpolitical and finanless again. The next cial interests. Some potential president call it imperialism was anti-American. while others think The U.S. had Painting of the action at the fort. of it as a world economic interests Gross is on the right, Smedly in the center and Iams on the left power extending its in Haiti especially long reach to make in the sugar plantathe world a safer place. Certain areas tions. In order to protect these interests, required the attention of the Amer- President Woodrow Wilson sent 330 icans more than once. Places like the marines to restore order. They landed Philippines, Somalia and Iraq have in the capital city, Port-Au-Prince, in seen American ground troops trying to July and established a government with stabilize these nations and reorganize several marines and sailors in tempothe local government. Haiti is another rary positions of power. Establishing one of these couna police force, the tries which first got marines then sought American attention to bring down the in 1915 right at the rebels with a group beginning of World called the GendarWar I. merie. The fight For five years, between the rebels, Haiti was in political also known as Caturmoil. Five presicos, and the governdents had come and ment’s Gendarmerie gone (a couple of force reinforced by them were assassithe Americans was nated), and General known as the Caco Vilbrun Sam took Wars. The first battle over establishing was at Fort Dipitie a dictatorship. As on October 24, and with the previous the Americans were Painting of Samuel Gross in action presidents, he faced quick to quell the uprisings and at400 rebels holding tempted coups. Determined to squelch the fort. the rebellions, he resorted to brutal The marines, led by Captain Smed-
ley Butler with the Gendarmerie in tion reads, “In company with members reserve, continued pushing the rebels of the 5th, 13th, 23d Companies and back but came upon the formidable the marine and sailor detachment from Fort Riviere. The fort was built by the the USS Connecticut, Gross participatFrench in the 1700s and was on top of ed in the attack on Fort Riviere, Haiti, a mountain with formidable defenses. November 17, 1915. Following a conHowever, the rebels had no artillery centrated drive, several different deand were known to be poor shots. The tachments of marines gradually closed 200 defenders only had a few rifles and in on the old French bastion fort in assorted medieval weapons like swords an effort to cut off all avenues of retreat for the Caco and knives. Still, bandits. ApproachButler was taking ing a breach in the no chances and prewall which was the pared to attack with only entrance to the three companies of fort, Gross was the 24 hand-picked masecond man to pass rines each. through the breach At about 7 PM in the face of conon November 17, the stant fire from the Americans moved Cacos and, thereafstealthily into positer, for a 10-minute tions around the fort. period, engaged the A half an hour later, enemy in desperate Butler blew a whishand-to-hand comtle and the attack bat until the basstarted. The way tion was captured into the fort from and Caco resistance the direction they Smedly Butler neutralized.” were attacking was a This battle ended the first Caco small tunnel. The first two men into the tunnel were Sergeant Ross Iams and War. A few years later, there was anPrivate Samuel Gross followed by But- other uprising against the American ler. They were under fire the entire time occupation known as the Second Caco but suffered no casualties at this point. War. That rebellion was also squelched As they came out of the tunnel, over 60 pretty easily even though it was bigger Cacos opened fire but the three Amer- than the first war. However, the Battle icans were soon reinforced by the ad- of Fort Riviere was the most widely vancing marines and in about 10 min- known battle of the American occuutes forced the Cacos to flee. About 50 pation which ended in 1934. Samuel Cacos were killed and only one Amer- Gross retired from the marines in 1918 ican was injured. The rebels weren’t and is believed to be the only Jewish trained to use their guns for short dis- marine to receive the Medal of Honor. The men who fought in Haiti were tances so they threw them away and picked up stones instead. One of these not only protecting American interests stones hit an American officer in the but were showing the world that the face. Aside from the lieutenant needing U.S. has the power to defeat anyone dental work, the Americans captured who threatens world peace. Indeed, a the fort while facing superior numbers. couple of years later, America entered What was interesting about the af- WWI and defeated the German military termath of this battle was the awarding juggernaut in just one year of fighting, the Congressional Medal of Honor to restoring peace to Europe. Butler, Iams and Gross. The medal is the highest decoration for an American in the military. Gross, who was one of only a handful of Jewish servicemen Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to to win the medal, was born in 1891 in The Jewish Home. He welcomes your comPhiladelphia. His real name was Samu- ments and suggestions.for future columns el Marguiles and was credited with sav- and can be reached at aviheiligman@ ing the life of Butler who was issued his gmail.com. second Medal of Honor. Gross’s cita-
Part II: Career Exploration
Questions & Answers with a Mortgage Broker by Michelle Hirsch
by Jessica Yuz
BASIC INFORMATION Begin by gathering basic information about the occupations you are interested in pursuing. Oneby-one research each occupation thoroughly, even if you think you already have a good understanding of what the job entails. Begin by looking at job descriptions to get a sense of expectations. Then do an in-depth analysis of employment statistics including; job outlook (is this occupation growing or dying), earning (national and state averages), education and training, comparing your “stats” with those of the average worker in each field) There are many excellent resources available including O*Net, Bureau of Labor and Statistics, professional organization and the like. SHADOWING Once you have gathered your basic information you are ready to narrow down your list. The best way to get a realistic glimpse of an occupation is through shadowing. A well-connected and experienced career counselor can match you with professionals in your area(s) of interest willing and able to provide you with shadowing opportunities. Remember, there are occupations in which your experiences will be limited due to issues of client-patient confidentiality and the like. None-the-less, meeting with a professional and picking their brain will still give you a lot of the information you are looking for. Especially if you come prepared with relevant and thought-provoking questions. INTERNSHIPS Embarking on an internship experience is an ideal way to understand the day-to-day experience of working in a field. Internships are often prestigious and you may need to go through a rigorous application and interview process before being accepted. Ideally, your internship will solidify that an occupation is right for you. Equally beneficial, your internship may lead you to understand that a
particular field is not a good fit for you. The good news is that either way this will save you significant time, energy and heartache in the future. Even if you end up spending most of your time making coffee runs and filing papers you are still taking in the sights, sounds and personalities of the job you aspire to pursue. MAKING CHOICES Congratulations! You are now ready to make a decision. You began by doing a thorough assessment of your Values, Interests, Personality and Skills. Next, you narrowed down your search to a handful of options. You researched each option, thoroughly, and further narrowed your search down. You took your top areas of interest and showed and/or interned. Now you are ready to make a decision. While this may seem stressful and heart wrenching, choices are rarely irreversible. Career exploration is an on going process with many twist and turns along the way. The average employee changes their occupation multiple times throughout their career. For this reason you can save yourself significant time and money by working with a career counselor who will guide you along the way and aid you in the gamut of career exploration. Furthermore, once you are ready to apply for work in the field they can assist you with your resume, cover letter, interview skills and the like. Good luck! About the Author: Jessica Yuz, MBA is the Founder of Yuz Career Advisers, dedicated to helping individuals identify their interests and set realistic goals so they can take control of their future. With nearly a decade of experience in higher education, Jessica works with high school, undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of career exploration, resume writing, interview skills, job search and placement, goal setting, time and stress management, and related fields. Jessica also specializes in assisting professionals of all ages’ transition between employment, finding fulfillment in their work and achieving a life-work balance. You can follow Jessica’s career blog at ycadvisers.blogspot.com or contact her at email@example.com.
Interview with Moshe Nafisi, Vice President of First Meridian Mortgage For more than ten years, Moshe has been helping families and individuals achieve their dreams by leveraging his extensive mortgage lending resources to provide great rates, fast pre-approvals, superior customer service and hassle-free closings. As a vice president with First Meridian Mortgage, Moshe is dedicated to building lasting relationships with realtors by providing their buyers with effective purchasing solutions and real time communication. NMLS ID # 311442 What makes a great loan officer? Choosing a loan officer is as critical as choosing the right Realtor. A mortgage is so much more than an interest rate. There are so many decisions that consumers need to think about both short and long term concerning the financing. Choose a loan officer who has a deep knowledge of not only the proper guidelines but also one who has a sense of overall financial issues. In addition, work only with loan officers who have a highly responsive way of doing business. Consumers are very busy today and in a real estate transaction there is no time to wait. Where are interest rates going? Rates have been so low for so long it seems likely they will continue to rise. Consumers need to understand that rising rates is much more significant than rising prices. The economy is showing major signs of improvement so the time to buy may be now. Any major changes that buyers will need to know? The mortgage industry is constantly changing. Today most loans are Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loans. It is important that the loan officer you choose knows the most recent changes. One of the big changes in the near future is the reduction of the conforming loan limit. This means that the rates on higher loan balances will rise. Is it still hard to get a mortgage? The fact is that all lenders are much more careful about lending than in years past. The process years ago was too easy and now it seems like lenders are being tough. Lenders want to make sure that those who commit to a loan have the ability to repay it. That sounds somewhat unusual given that so many loans in years past were given to those who had little or no ability to repay. Provided a borrower has all the documentation and can verify their income and assets, the process in many respects has become easier. Are foreclosures and short sales still a problem? The percentage of foreclosures and short sales are dropping. That is no surprise as lenders stopped making those unrealistic loans back in 2007. The market has had almost five years to absorb that inventory. It is not to say that there will not be more of them but the percentage of defaults to on-time payments is reaching more normal levels. There are still some excellent buying opportunities in that market but they do get bought up quickly. Is it smart to pay points on a mortgage? It is not a question of smart. It is a determination of how long one thinks they will remain in the home. Typically the return on investment of paying points is 3 to 4 years. That said, one should speak with their financial advisor as to the overall benefits based on one’s individual circumstances.
What advice would you give home buyers today? A couple of things; First and foremost, getting into the market right now has never been better in terms of interest rates. If you are thinking about buying a home or investment property, now is definitely the time to do it. Rates are going to continue to go up. Whether it is right now or in 6 months from now, it will happen. The next thing I would suggest is to ask you Realtor to try and negotiate a seller’s concession. This is where a seller contributes a sum of money towards the buyers closing costs. This may be tougher to accomplish as the market becomes more and more of a “seller’s market”, however could be very helpful to a buyer. On some programs that can be as much as 6% of the purchase price. This is a great financial tool for buyers. In addition, one can have a portion of that concession used to buy the interest rate down. Highly qualified loan officers can help structure transactions such as these. So many people have gone through financial hardship in the last few years, and their credit scores are in poor condition as a result. What should buyers know about maintaining their credit scores, and what number should they be striving to reach in order to be looked at by lenders as a strong buyer? There are three separate credit bureaus that monitor and report consumer credit activity. These are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Each bureau has a different scoring module based on its individual algorithm. Therefore, a consumer’s credit can vary from agency to agency. Typically lenders look at credit scores in addition to the individual’s credit history. The higher the credit score, the more favorable terms the consumer will get in terms of qualifying, interest rates and down payment requirements. A score of 740 and above is considered excellent credit and therefore will receive more favorable lending terms. Borrowers with poor credit may be limited to FHA financing which in turn will make the cost of the loan greater due to upfront and monthly FHA insurance premiums. Since each scenario is different from the next, it’s hard to offer one solution. However here are some pointers for consumers with low credit ratings who do not have derogatory items on their credit profile: Make timely payments on all revolving accounts and installment loans. When possible, make more than the monthly minimum payment required. Maintain a 30% debt to credit limit ratio on each account. Agencies want to see that you are not over leveraged and are able to make smart decisions. Consumers with poor credit who have derogatory items, such as late payments, collection accounts or federal and state tax liens, should seek help from a reputable credit counseling firm. Michelle Hirsch has been a top producing agent for the last 9 years. When meeting her for the first time, you will notice one of the friendliest and inviting personalities in Real Estate. At the same time her strong negotiation skills and experience, ensure a high success rate for accomplishing her client’s goals. Michelle can be reached at 818-512-4226, firstname.lastname@example.org, and through her website: www.michellehirsch.com
OCTOBER 17, 2013
Once you have honestly and thoroughly assessed your Values, Interests, Personality and Skills and you have narrowed-down your list to a handful of occupations for further research.
THE JEWISH HOME
What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?
Leisure & Travel
TTHE h e JJEWISH e w i s hHOME h o m e nOCTOBER o c T o 17, b e r2013 1 7 , 2013
From Sea to Shining Sea: Virginia
trip to Virginia is a trip down America’s memory lane. One of the original 13 colonies, the Old Dominion has been around since the country’s birth and is a vital part of our nation. In fact, Jamestown was the first English settlement in the United States. Patrick Henry made his iconic “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in Richmond. The state is also known as the “birthplace of a nation”; eight of our presidents were born there. (Think you know all eight? I’ll help you out: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson.) Six of our First Ladies (Martha Washington, Martha Jefferson, Rachel Jackson, Letitia Tyler, Ellen Arthur and Edith Wilson) were born there as well. Virginia played a major role during the Civil War. Over half the battles—2,200 out of 4,000—were fought there. Additionally, Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses Grant on April 9, 1865 at the Appomattox Court House, ending the bloody battle. But even though there is so much history here, Virginia is not just for history buffs. There are beautiful beaches, breathtaking views of nature, scenic drives, myriad festivities and loads of activities for the whole family to enjoy. This season, you’ll “fall in love” with Virginia! Things You Won’t Want to Miss arlington national Cemetery More than 400,000 American servicemembers, veterans and their family members are buried at the 612 acre national cemetery, located just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital. Arlington National Cemetery is Northern Virginia’s most popular attraction and one of the area’s “must sees.” Walk the grounds and see the graves of notable Americans such as Presidents William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Robert Kennedy. See the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visit Arlington House, the former home of Robert E. Lee. Claude Moore Colonial Farm A visit to this U.S. park is a trip back in time. The pre-Revolutionary tenant farm boasts costumed interpreters and farm animals that roam freely. There are farm skills events and a market fair where the whole family can learn more about life in 1771. Check out their weekly events— there is “dairy day” and “wheat harvest”; every day brings another experience!
Colonial Williamsburg A trip to Virginia would be incomplete without a few hours (or days) spent in Colonial Williamsburg. Unlike the Williamsburg we know just a few miles away, the Revolutionary City is home to dozens of original buildings, homes and shops reconstructed on its 301 acres. Visit the meetinghouse, Raleigh Tavern, the Magazine with its arsenal of muskets and cannons, and the Courthouse. Art museums featuring American and British antiques and furniture abound and there are many activities for both adults and children to enjoy. Shenandoah national Park This natural treasure includes its famous scenic 105-mile Skyline Drive. During the fall months, the foliage gleams like multi-colored gems. The park covers the crest of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains for over 75 miles. For those who love to hike, there are over 500 miles of hiking trails. The most popular trail is Old Rag Mountain, which offers a thrilling rock scramble and breathtaking views of the state. Horseback riding, camping, biking and myriad waterfalls are there to enjoy.
49 Shiffy Friedman is a Jerusalem-based freelance writer. Her works have been published widely, primarily in Ami Magazine. She would love to hear feedback on her writing. Feel free to contact her at email@example.com.
Recap: When she realizes that Dad’s car is parked in the garage, Young Lisa dreads the surprise birthday party that awaits in her bedroom. Lisa Stein, 14 I trudge up the stairs, all the time thinking, “Where, oh where, was Becca? Why didn’t she stop them?” “That’s so kind of you,” she could’ve—should’ve, said, “But you know how Lisa hates surprises. Oh, and she loves to eat at Pizza Pie. Take her there. Their ice cream is her favorite, especially the one with the pecans inside, and it’ll be all dripping and watery by the time you bring it to our house.” But she didn’t say any of this. She didn’t do anything to save me from this horror. Why? I squeeze the sides of my forehead and shut my eyes tight. The knot in my stomach is clenching relentlessly stronger to the point that I can trace the rope inside. I turn the doorknob to my room, trying my very best to spread my lips apart, my lips that are white from— “Surprise!” They yell in unison, their nescience a nauseating, charming mix. What do they know? “Oh my gosh!” I exclaim, my hands to my mouth. I’m good at this game. Why, I’ve been playing it since I know my name. “You are amazing!” In no time, we’re giggling over potato chips and chocolate bars, the results soon visible on our potholed skin, of course. While we play Riva’s latest version of pin the tail on the donkey—pin the stars on the flag, there’s a soft knock on the door. In one fierce move, I tear the blindfold off my eyes. I know it can’t be he, but still. I turn toward the door, my heart racing in my chest. Can the girls see it? Does it make them as dizzy as I am? “Hi, girls,” Mom says, in an almost-whisper. In her hands, she holds a plate of cupcakes. Fourteen perfect-
ly round cupcakes covered in lots of chocolate and a smattering of colored sprinkles. “Hi,” we all say at once. “This is such fun!” Sara says, her eyes shining. “These signs are beautiful, girls.” My friends watch proudly as Mom examines each one of them, her eyes moving slowly. “I like the way you wove the 14 into Lisa’s name,” she points to the colorful banner on the window, and they nod. “This is for you,” she says, looking embarrassed. Why is she always so shy, as if this is her first day at a new school? Why is her back never straight? She holds the ceramic plate out toward us. “Yum!” Gila lunges forward, grabbing the first piece from the plate. “You knew just what I’m in the mood of!” Mom doesn’t say anything. She stands there for a moment, smiling. My feet squirm in my too-small shoes. I want her to laugh, to talk, to ask them something, like when we go to Sara’s house and her mother wants to know how Sara behaves in class. “I appreciate that you made this for Lisa,” Mom turns toward the door, her last words barely audible, “It’s very kind of you, girls.” When she walks out, she leaves behind a lingering moment of quiet, heavy on my broadening shoulders. I look out the window, just in time to watch a lone leaf fall from the tree-- a long, painful journey as an eternal vagabond. “Your mother sure knows how to bake,” Riva taps me on the shoulder. “This one’s for you, Lisa.” Sara hands me a cupcake, her stubby fingers smothered in frosting. Their lips are dark brown o-shaped frames as they savor the rich chocolate on their tongues, these friends of mine. I’m afraid to take one, too afraid to eat lest the nausea overtakes me and I bring up deposits of this cel-
ebratory meal right here, at my fourteenth birthday party, in the presence of my friends who know no sorrow. I laugh. “I’m good,” I say, holding one hand on my almost-empty stomach and the other up in the air to decline the offer. “It’s a big day for you Lisa, huh?” Gila asks. I blink hard. Can she see through my eyelids, this girl who always knows what to ask when? “Yeah,” I sigh. “Fourteen is a number.” I try hard to concentrate on the conversation. They’re talking about birthdays, the excitement of starting anew. But I hear him downstairs. He must be done with his paperwork if he’s out of his office so soon before dinner. I thought my radar is pretty good, but now I realize it’s not that razor sharp to discern his words one and a half flights below as he climbs up the stairs toward the kitchen while I’m trying to keep tabs on the discussion in this room. I’m tired. “She makes no sense. I think they’ll end up firing her,” Sara says. They must be talking about our science teacher, who’s given us three assignments in one week. And she expects them all to be four pages long! “Nah, not if she’s the dean’s daughter,” I chime in, hoping my comment makes sense. An uncomfortable bubble of heat surrounds my head, producing tiny beads of sweat across my forehead. Am I the only one who’s hot in this room? “You have a point there,” Gila’s words are garbled, her mouth filled with licorice bits. Who cares about Ms. Mark? She’s the least of my troubles right now. Dad is clearing his throat downstairs, probably shooting sparks from his eyes as he searches the kitchen for his next victim. My frame shudders. I’m glad I have an excuse to be in my room, but how I wish I could be here
all by myself, in my own little fantasy world underneath my down quilt. As far as my sharpened ears can detect, it’s still quiet down there. I allow myself the luxury of deep breathing, my deprived lungs welcoming the puffs with open arms. Good. Please G-d, let this last for only another twenty minutes, just until I can look at my watch in all innocence and pretend that dinnertime is quality family time in our house. Please! Another few seconds of quiet pass by, my heart ticking in unison with the hands of my watch. I secretly wish that he opted for silent treatment for today. What a blessing. “Can you believe that Joey’s fifteen months old already?” Sara asks. “He took his first step this week!” Someone must have messed up down there. It’s Dad’s voice I hear over the exciting vocal reaction to Joey’s first steps. “R-E-B-E-C-C-A!” he shouts, his thunderous voice vibrating through the halls, its lingering echoes incongruous in this party room. Through a brume that comes not from my contact lenses but from inside my brain, I can see that Riva is fumbling with the tassels of my pillow. Gila is staring out into the deserted street. Sara’s still talking about her nephew’s first pair of shoes. “They’re yellow, but not like the sun yellow, more like a mustard kind of shade. You know what I mean?” Crash. I don’t know what she means. All I’m fumbling for is a magic word that can make these mindless beings, who have nothing on their hearts but licorice and chocolate-covered cupcakes and mustardy shoes vanish into thin air.
OCTOBER 17, 2013
THE JEWISH HOME
by Shiffy Friedman ©
TTHE h e JJEWISH e w i s h HOME h o m e nOCTOBER o c T o b e17, r 12013 7 , 2013
In the Kitchen Naomi Nachman
What’s for Supper? It’s Mexican Tonight!
on’t you just love Mexican food? It’s a real combination of flavors that have a little heat from jalapeños and the sweet taste of cilantro. With kosher Mexican restaurants popping up all over the place, I wanted to be able to also make it myself at home. The key is using fresh ingredients such as garlic, limes, lemons and herbs.
You can go either dairy or meat. For this recipe, you can make it dairy too by using soy chicken cutlets available at the local kosher supermarket and that way you can use real cream cheese; you should also add 1 cup of mozzarella cheese into the mixture of your dairy version.
Fiesta Chicken Enchiladas Ingredients 1 small onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 4 chicken breast cut into ½ inch pieces ½ cup corn ½ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained 2 diced jalapeno peppers
1 cup salsa, divided ¼ cup chopped cilantro 1 teaspoon ground cumin 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper ¼ cup parve cream cheese 8 flour tortillas (6 inch)
Preparation Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat large skillet with 1 tablespoon canola oil on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink inside. Add corn, beans and jalapeño peppers and sauté until soft for 2 minutes. Then add ¼ cup salsa, parve cream cheese, cilantro and cumin; mix well. Cook for 5 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam-sides down, in 9x13-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with remaining salsa. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve with guacamole and fresh salsa.
Fresh Tuna Tacos
3 8-ounce tuna steak, ¾ inch thick 3 tablespoon taco seasoning mix 1 tablespoon vegetable oil Dipping sauce 1/3 cup pareve sour cream 1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (use can use parsley or dill if you have an aversion to cilantro) ½ fresh lime, squeezed 2 dashes hot sauce, optional 4 taco shells
Preparation Mix the ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside. (I throw mine in a food processor for smoothness.) Place tuna in medium bowl; sprinkle with taco seasoning. Heat oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add tuna; sear to desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium rare. Place tuna in taco shells, drizzle with dipping sauce mixture, guacamole and/ or salsa.
Perfect Guacamole Ingredients 2 ripe avocados ½ red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup) 2 cloves of garlic 1 jalapeño 1 handful cilantro leaves, finely chopped 1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice ½ teaspoon coarse salt A dash of freshly grated black pepper 1 ripe tomato, diced (optional) Preparation In a food processor, add onions, garlic and jalapeño. Once it is smooth, add the rest of the ingredients. If you are using tomatoes, fold it in by hand.
Naomi Nachman, the owner of The Aussie Gourmet, caters weekly and Shabbat/ Yom Tov meals for families and individuals within The Five Towns and neighboring communities, with a specialty in Pesach catering. Naomi is a contributing editor to this paper and also produces and hosts her own weekly radio show on the Nachum Segal Network stream called “A Table for Two with Naomi Nachman.” Naomi gives cooking presentations for organizations and private groups throughout the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area. In addition, Naomi has been a guest host on the QVC TV network and has been featured in cookbooks, magazines as well as other media covering topics related to cuisine preparation and personal chefs. To obtain additional recipes, join The Aussie Gourmet on Facebook or visit Naomi’s blog. Naomi can be reached through her website,www.theaussiegourmet.com or at (516) 295-9669.
THE JEWISH HOME OCTOBER 17, 2013
THE JEWISH HOME
OCTOBER 17, 2013
The Menachem Institute presents
I Am Jewish
Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl הי״ד
The world has come to know Daniel Pearlhy’d as the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in early 2002, just four months after 9/11. People around the
Featuring an introduction by
world, along with his pregnant wife and family, prayed for his
Chief Political Correspondent
release. Since then, he has been remembered as a symbol of hope: a man who built bridges between diverse cultures -- as a writer and a gifted musician.
Tuesday, October 29, 7:30pm 18181 Burbank Blvd. Tarzana Advance Tickets: $7.50 At the Door: $10.00 For tickets and information, please call 818.758.1818 or visit our website at www.ChabadoftheValley.com/Pearl
Dr. Judah Pearl
Dr. Judah Pearl is the father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearlhy’d and president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which he co-founded with his family in February 2002 “to continue Daniel’s life-work of dialogue and understanding and to address the root causes of his tragedy.” Under the auspices of Machon Menachem - J & S Gutnick Foundation Chabad of the Valley The Finder & Schaeffer Family Centers
Jewish Home LA 10-17-13