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The Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



The Week In News



Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

JEWISH THOUGHT Bursting the Bubble. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Op-Ed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 The Karma of Kindness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

FEATURE The Electoral College - Disaster or Genius?. . . . . . 18 Donald Trump’s Early Thanksgiving. . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

PARENTING Dr. T.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

LIFESTYLES Margy Horowitz and Her Labor of Love . . . . . . . . . 24 Ask the Attorney. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26




NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers,

Elections. They bring out the worst in us. Just as with sports, it’s personal when my team loses to yours. Ideas and goals are replaced by frenzied statements and Messianic euphoria. “If only my candidate wins then…” To be honest, I breathed a sigh of relief when it became clear that the direction our country was headed these past eight years would change course, balancing the seesaw once again. After all, no party has a monopoly on getting it right and over the course of years, both have included Anti-Semites from the fringes of the far left or right. The question is who would be better for the country at this point in time. For me it’s simple. The center has tilted too left too fast and needs to be evened out. More and more American college campuses are becoming safe havens for the views of individuals who in the ‘60s were demonstrating against having only one view heard. Yet, after all these years shouting about freedom from this or freedom from that, it’s come to mean freedom to control and dictate to others what’s moral, ethical, and sophisticated. It’s a modern day miracle that the likes of Sidney and Max Blumenthal and Huma Abedin won’t have the listening ear of the President of United States. True, there’s no shortage of Anti-Semites and self-hating Jews, but clearly it’s the extreme left that has been emboldened both here and around the world over the past decade and which needs to be confronted. Nevertheless, this is where true unity and ahavas yisrael comes in. We don’t love our fellow man because they agree with us, we love them despite disagreeing with us. Our connection is deeper than our decisions. To be dragged into name-calling or feelings of self-righteousness makes us the biggest loser of the elections. We don’t believe in people; we vote for those we think will best promote what we believe in. We might think someone got it wrong, but questioning their motive or viewing their basic goodwill as being any less than ours is out of bounds. Many people are hurting and are scared for the future. Hopefully, with G-d’s help, those voted into office will lead us into a more blessed one. The height of which is the arrival of the long awaited Messianic Era when nations will know no war, there will be no more jealousy, and the negative traits within each of us will be eradicated forever. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,


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

TheHappenings Week In News

The Shabbos Project: Jews Unite to Keep One Shabbos Together Tova Abady In the Gemara, we learn, “…The scion of David (Mashiach) will come if they keep just one Shabbos, because the Shabbos is equivalent to all the mitzvos.” (Shemos Rabba 25:121: Yerushalmi, Ta’anis 1:10) Enter the Shabbos Project, founded by Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein of South Africa. The goal as explained on the website is for “Jews from all walks of life from across the spectrum – religious, secular, traditional, young and old, from all corners of the world – to unite to experience one full Shabbos together, in full accordance with Jewish law.“ The Shabbos Project has grown and expanded to all parts of the globe. In Los Angeles, the Shabbos Project began three years ago, thanks to the efforts of Leanne Praw and her family. Leanne became involved when her cousin (who was not observant) took part in the first Shabbos Project in South Africa. She called Leanne to say that the experience was so fantastic that maybe it should be expanded to L.A. Two years ago the Shabbos Project was launched with a challah bake at Ohr Eliyahu, lunch at Aish HaTorah, and dinner for a thousand people at Nessah synagogue. The following year, there was an amazing dinner outside on Pico Boulevard for 3000 participants. The street was blocked off from Beverly Drive to Doheny Drive. Unfortunately, the dinner could not be replicated in 2016 due to a lack of funds. The

challah bake was almost cancelled too – that is, until the Hecht family stepped in. This year, the Hecht family, owners of Schwartz Bakery, funded the entire challah bake. They contributed money, resources, supplies, and food for the sold-out event. Over 300 women and girls filled the beautiful new Adas Torah synagogue on Thursday night. Rebbitzen Sharon Shenker introduced Mrs. Machla Perkowski, who did hafrashas challah for the group, followed by each table captain. Women were given an opportunity to pray for anything they wanted to before everyone began shaping and braiding the challah. Grandma Rosie, one of the participants who baked challah last year for the first time, was present to celebrate her 101st birthday. Bais Yaacov girls wore chef hats and sang “The Challah Lady Song,” and the Shabbos Project Women’s Choir sang “Yibanei Beis Hamikdash,” “Im Atem Meshamrim,” and a “Shabbos Medley.” Bais Yaakov and B’nos Devorah girls volunteered for various jobs and led the whole room in very spirited song and dance culminating in everyone joining together to sing Mordechai Ben David’s “Just One Shabbos.” One participant, named Sandy, went around helping people braid their challah. She said she had an idea to introduce challah baking kits into the schools. This and any other ideas are welcomed by the Shabbos Project. They encourage everyone to

participate in any way they can. Shabbos was ushered in Friday night with davening at Aish HaTorah’s Boxenbaum Family Building, with The Community Shul, The Happy Minyan, and Pico Shul singing and dancing in unity. Jeff Rohatiner of “Jeff’s Gourmet Sausages,” led the services with beautiful Carlebach-style melodies. David Sacks, co-founder and leader of the Happy Minyan, inspired and uplifted everyone with his words of Torah. He presented a new idea based on a teaching from Reb Tzaddik HaKohen. Reb Tzaddik points out, “Everything in the realm of space has a correlation in the realm of time. In space you have a concept called Israel. Israel in the realm of time is Shabbos.” David Sacks expanded on this, saying, “Avraham and Sarah were to march

and to journey towards Shabbos. The messianic era is called Yom Shekulo Shabbos, the day that will be all Shabbos. Avraham and Sarah had been charged to march toward and to arrive at a journey, which will culminate in the perfection of the world. The first six days of Shabbos are com-


pared to the body of the universe, whereas the seventh day of the week is the soul of the universe. This is the historic journey that all of us are on.” Shabbos afternoon, there were three programs for seudas shelishis. Over 100 women gathered at Morry’s Fireplace to eat a delicious meal and hear Rebbetzin Batyah Brander speak. Her dvar Torah discussed how the original song “Halleluka” by Leonard Cohen mixed up metaphors, combining the scheming Delilah with the virtuous Batsheva. Liz Leibowitz wowed everyone with her beautiful rendition of a verse about Shabbos sung to the tune of “Halleluka” written by Rebbitzen Brander. YICC hosted guest speaker Rabbi Mark Wildes, founder of the Manhattan Jewish Experience. The topic was “Reaching Out: the Dual Nature of Kiruv.” Rabbi Wildes handed out source materials from the Rambam, instructing Jews how to be responsible for one another. Rabbi Muskin posed the question of why many who go to yeshiva go off the derech. Rabbi Wildes replied that young people in their twenties often lose their connection with a rabbi or a mentor and that is important for them to have that connection and for the community to embrace them in the years in between school and settling down with a family. Aliza Marton also held a beautiful seudat shelishis in her home. The Shabbos Project continued with two programs for havdalah, melave malkah, and kumzitz, one at Yeshiva Aharon Yaakov Ohr Eliyahu, with entertainment provided by Naftali Finkel; and the other at the Pico Shul, with everyone dancing to Rabbi Yona’s band. Leanne Praw says she couldn’t have launched this year’s Shabbos Project programs without her hardworking team. Beth Leventhal, Ronnie Penn, Tali Merowitz, Sharon Weiner, and Michelle Perkowski spent countless hours in preparation.

Photos: Ari Praw

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

TheHappenings Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Celebrity-Studded Gala for Magen David Adom Raises $14 Million Tova Abady Adele and Beny Alagem hosted the Los Angeles Region of American Friends of Magen David Adom’s 2016 Gala at the Beverly Hilton. Dubbed the “Red Star Ball,” the annual event was in support of the life saving work of MDA’s emergency service that is responsible for Israel’s population of more than eight million and which houses 97% of Israel’s blood sup-

ply. Money raised will go towards a new state-of-the-art underground blood center. This premier fundraiser was attended by celebrities, philanthropists, and communal leaders including Yarin Ashkenazi (IDF), David Mazouz (“Gotham”), Emmy Award winner Camryn Manheim, actress Tori Spelling, actor Miles Brown (“Blackish”), Suzanne Cryer (“Silcon Valley”),

Jimmy Jackson (NBA star), Ivan Bitton (celebrity stylist), and Maurice Kanbar (SKYY Vodka). Mr. Kanbar donated five million dollars. The newly appointed Consul General to Israel, Sam Grundwerg, said, “This evening is so significant, celebrating the critical work that Magen David Adom does in the State of Israel, saving lives, leading the

Maurice Kanbar announcing his $5 million pledge to support MDA

Rob Eshman and AFMDA Humanitarian of the Year honoree David Suissa

way, and it’s very important that we take out a night and really salute the heroes that do all the work out in the field, the paramedics, [who] don’t get enough credit. We really salute them and say thank you.” The esteemed MDA medics from Israel present included Director-General Eli Bin, Reem Elbassel, Dudi Gur, Inbal Rauchweger, Yair Schussheim, Uri Shacham, Israel Weingartern, and Zaki Yahav. In a moving ceremony, Dina Leeds, Regional President of AFMDA and co-chair, presented an honorary paramedics uniform to 16 year old Dvir Litman, who heroically called “101” to bring MDA to the scene of a terrorist attack. His father and brother were murdered in the attack. Another young hero was Dina’s son Robert Leeds, who selflessly donated ambulances to Israel. Robert strummed “Hativka” on his guitar while Gilad Mezamer – who was saved in part thanks to Leeds’s generosity – accompanied him on his own guitar by simulcast, with the Kotel as a backdrop. Dina Leeds, alongside her husband Fred, asked everyone to light a candle and be thankful that they are here fulfilling their life’s purpose, a promise she made to her father, of blessed memory. She stated, “We have so much to do,” and she introduced Yigal Kutai, one of the leaders of the Kiryat Arba/Hevron community. Dina continued speaking about the Jews of Hevron who are “defending our holy land defending our history and our heritage.” The three honorees for 2016 were David Suissa, Stanley Black, and Zach Zalben.

Photos: Michelle Mivzari


TheHappenings Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Melave Malka and Art Auction held for the Kever Rochel Heritage Foundation Tova Abady

An impressive crowd of rabbis, community leaders. and supporters gathered together at the Young Israel of North Beverly Hills to hear Shomeret Kever Rochel, Miriam Adani, speak, and to raise funds for Kever Rachel. The melaveh malkah was organized by Sandy Kalinsky, who recruited local caterers to contribute food for the event. The yartzeit of our Matriarch Rochel was this past Saturday night, November 12th, through Sunday night November 13th.

(Chapter 16) translated as, “For the holy ones who are in the earth, and the mighty ones in who is all my delight.” Rabbi Gradon said contributions coming in for this holy cause are just a fraction of what is needed to protect Kever Rochel. Mrs. Adani related the following story:

“Erev Rosh HaShanah, I received a phone call from a general who was bringing 60 soldiers to guard the kever and wanted to know if I could provide machzorim.” Miriam told them, “Sure, I’ll do it.” The general then asked if she could provide holiday food for them. Although it was too late for

a caterer, a yeshiva took care of cooking the meals and bringing the simanim. The soldiers were very happy. Thankfully, even the most secular soldiers were asking if anyone would be able to blow shofar for them. Miriam said donations from America help her continue this vital work.

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Ma’ara d’asra Rabbi Pinny Dunner praised keynote speaker Miriam Adani for her work and strongly advocated for Jewish prayer at all Jewish holy sites. He told the audience that when he studied at Merkaz HaTorah in Talpiot in the ‘80s, he would often visit Kever Rochel. There was just one tired bored soldier – and it wasn’t dangerous. Now, he said, it’s totally fortified and protected. Rabbi Dunner continued, “Before you think to yourself, well, of course we can visit Kever Rochel because Eretz Yisrael is governed by the government of Israel, remember there’s a place in Nablus called Kever Yosef where Jewish prayer is no longer permitted. I’ve never been to Har HaBayit, but I resent the fact that the reason I can’t go is because some Arab mullah is telling me that I can’t go. If I go to my rabbi and he says I can’t go, I won’t go, but I don’t want it to be because the Waqf tells me I can’t go, and if I do, I will start an intifada.” Rabbi Boruch Gradon, Rosh Kollel Merkaz HaTorah, praised the vigilance of Miriam Adani, who fights to keep Kever Rochel open. He stated, “Rashi says an amazing thing. It’s because our forefathers are buried in Eretz Yisrael that we were able to acquire it. Our ability to come, conquer, and live in Eretz Yisrael – among other things – is a function of these tremendously holy and dedicated people. Nachmanides says that in a place where righteous people are buried, we have to honor that place.“ He quoted a pasuk in tehillim • OPEN HOUSE RSVP 323.822.9700 ext. 85155 • Neman Hall 1317 N. Crescent Heights Blvd

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TheHappenings Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Biale Rebbe of Bnei Brak Visits Los Angeles His Brachos Widely Sought Barely a year has passed since the Biale Rebbe’s last visit in the Los Angeles, but it seems like so much more. Since then, dozens of miracle stories resulted from the Rebbe’s blessings last year, and the sense of wonder and awe that remains with all those who met him in Los Angeles buzz within the community. Now anticipation pulses among the Los Angeles residents, who look forward to seeing the beloved Rebbe again, hearing his golden advice, and above all, glimpsing his loving smile. What Makes Biale Bnei Brak Unique? It’s long past midnight and the waiting room is still full of people waiting to see the Biale Rebbe. A look at the crowd is very interesting: dozens of people went through the door today, people who flew specially from all over the states. These were people who came from all over the U.S. – doctors, lawyers, realtors, financers, bank officials, Young Israel rabbis – people who would not be expected to come. They are the Biale Rebbe’s chassidim! What is it about Biale Bnei Brak Rebbe that attracts thousands to the Rebbe? What propels hundreds of people to stand on line for hours for a meeting with the Rebbe? What makes Democratic Congressman from California, Ted Lieu, come and see the Rebbe, and what causes Jewish family members of the newly elected president, Donald Trump, to seek a blessing from the Biale Rebbe? “Don’t Worry, You Will Have a Son!” Once there, we met an esteemed rabbi from California. This rav – who did not look like a graduate from the Biale yeshiva – was actually a graduate of Yeshivas Ner Israel. We asked him what brings him to Biale, and he answered us with a story he had shared with his congregation on Shabbos that week. “Last year the Rebbe visited with our community. On Sunday I found myself standing at the sidelines watching the throngs of people welcoming the Rebbe and asking for a blessing. Suddenly I asked myself, ‘What about me?’ although I am B”H blessed with several children, my youngest was already five years old, and I desperately wanted another son. However, I was really hesitant to approach the Rebbe. After all it’s not the ordinary thing for a Yeshivas Ner Israel graduate to do… Still, I decided to try and I wrote a kvittel with the names of my family members and entered the Biale Rebbe’s chambers to receive a brachah. “The Rebbe, shlita, read the names of my wife and me and declared, ‘Don’t worry, you will have another child!’ B”H, within a short while we knew that good tidings were ahead, and the Rebbe con-

stantly inquired about the wellbeing of my wife. B”H, not a year has passed since the Rebbe’s last visit to our community, and my entire congregation has already taken part in the simchah of my son’s bris – born as a result of the Rebbe’s brachah.” Livelihood is from Heaven We met a lawyer from Los Angeles who told us an incredible story. “I make my livelihood as a lawyer for damage claims. Every year, I need at least one big case which will provide for my living throughout the entire year. On my last visit with the Rebbe, I complained about this situation and the Rebbe declared: ‘Mr. _____, don’t worry! This year your parnassah will come in a miraculous way.’ “A short while later, a woman comes to me with a sorrowful story. Her husband, who was a singer by profession, had a sore throat. The doctor prescribed him medication and sent him on his way. After about a month the pain returned, and once again the doctor prescribed him the same medication. When the pain reappeared for the third time, the doctor sent him the prescription via fax without even examining him. Another six months passed, and an acquaintance who met her husband mentioned that he didn’t look well. Unfortunately, the tests showed that he had Stage IV cancer. Not much could be done at that stage, and the man passed away after a few short months. This is an obvious classic case for a lawyer. I handled the damage claims against the doctor, and we reached a decent arrangement which enabled me to charge a nice sum for my professional services. “After the court case, I called one of my lawyer friends to thank him for directing this case to me. The lawyer responded with a claim for a big percentage of my earnings. I was dumbfounded by his high claim and offered to meet and discuss it with him. “The very next day, I meet with the lawyer and he exclaims: ‘Good news for you, bad news for me!’ I had no idea what he was on about. The lawyer proceeded to tell me how he checked all his files and could not find anything about recommending me to this woman. This was getting more and more mysterious. I called the woman and this was her story. ‘I was at my beauty parlor in Beverly Hills and I poured my heart out to my hairdresser, telling her about my husband and the doctor. Behind us sat another woman, waiting her turn and she announced, “I know of an excellent lawyer, his name is_____ and I have his details.” Neither I nor the hairdresser has any idea who this woman was.’ “She was my personal shaliach sent from heaven to provide me with a living as the Biale Rebbe himself had promised!”

“He’s Buying the Ring Now” Tens of people are stood in line in the banquet hall to be blessed by the Rebbe. “I waited until close to four o’clock in the morning for my turn,” the caterer tells me. “I approached the Rebbe, wrote down my children’s names, and told the Rebbe that my daughter who is studying at university has been going out with an excellent boy, but we don’t know if he’s planning to get engaged to her or not. “The Biale Rebbe looked at their names, stared at me with his gentle eyes and told me, ‘He’s buying the engagement ring now.’ “What can I tell you,” says the caterer, “the next day the boy phoned my daughter and told her that he wants to get engaged! Since then we are full of admiration for the Rebbe. Many of my friends and acquaintances who have met the Rebbe tell me amazing stories of the Biale Rebbe’s greatness.” The caterer tells me that he himself knows of another ten miraculous salvations that occurred to people who were blessed by the Biale Rebbe, shlit”a, at the same wedding where he received his own blessing. “A Tzaddik Decrees…” There are countless stories that are spread around to the power of the Rebbe’s blessing. A distraught couple from Great Neck once came to the Rebbe with worrisome news. The wife, who was pregnant again after all her previous ones had tragically ended with a miscarriage, was informed by her doctor that her unborn baby would be sick. He even advised the couple to consider adopting a child. The Rebbe read the couple’s note with their Hebrew names and declared that he didn’t see any problem and that their child would be healthy. He advised the shocked couple to undertake additional mitzvos and assured that he himself would participate at their healthy son’s bris. The joy at that bris was indescribable. Businessmen attest that since receiving the Rebbe’s blessing their businesses flourished unbelievably. Barren couples had children after many years. People who’d been pursued by the court and couldn’t sleep at night due to inconceivable trepidation, witnessed wondrous turnabouts. These and more are just a fraction of the miracles that people merited through the Rebbe’s blessings. It is not surprising that hundreds of people flock to the Rebbe’s door, awaiting his advice and blessing. Three Weddings in One Year We met a known caterer from New York and asked him what his story was. What was his connection with Biale Rebbe? His story begins two years ago. His friend hired him to cater his daughter’s wedding. During that wedding he noticed

a large crowd at the side of the hall, and when he went to check it out he was told that this crowd was all waiting for a blessing from the Rebbe of Biale Bnei Brak. The bride of that wedding was the third daughter in her family to get married that year. Less than a year earlier the bride’s father asked the Biale Rebbe for a blessing for his still single older children. The Rebbe looked at the note that he gave him with the names of his children and said, “For the Ribono Shel Olam it’s not hard to marry them all off in one year. May He help that they all get married this year.” Having heard a story that happened to his own friend and actually participating at the wedding, the caterer was determined to get his own blessing from the great tzaddik. The Father of the Orphans The Rebbe doesn’t rests for a moment. He has 15 biological children, keineinehora, The Rebbe spearheads the institutions “Mishnas Shimon” in Beitar Ilit, Biale shuls and kollelim in Bnei Brak, Jerusalem, Beitar Illit, Modi’in Ilit, Ashdod, and Beit Shemesh, and closest to the Rebbe’s heart, the Fund for Orphans and Widows, which functions under the Rebbe’s personal supervision. This special fund provides clothing, shoes, homey accommodations in the yeshiva dormitory, and even pocket money for the orphans studying in the Biale yeshivos. But most of all, the Rebbe takes these precious souls under his wing, opening his home for them and caring for their needs as only a father would. The Rebbe follows up on their learning and pairs them with private mentors. The Rebbe personally sees to it that they have new clothing before each holiday. Once, when the Rebbe returned from an overseas trip

TheHappenings Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

before Pesach, he went to visit the orphans straight from the airport, even before he saw his family, and gave each one money to buy clothing and gifts for Yom Tov, and only then did he go home. A Significant Development in the Biale Institutions in Eretz Yisroel Barely half a year has passed since the construction has commenced and the building is almost completed. Last completions are currently coming to an end, and the new building in Beitar Ilit will be ready for the new beis midrash and beis haknesses for the Biale chassidim of Bnei Berak. The new building will also serve as a logistic center to provide aid and support for the many hundreds of orphans, widows, and families in dire need who the Rebbe takes care of on a steady basis. The Rebbe is renowned for his acts of charity. Widows and orphans in need of assistance know to turn to his address for help. Every erev yom tov, trucks laden with goods are dispatched to provide the needy with everything they might need, including clothing, shoes, meat, fish, goodies, and of course a hefty check which brings a smile to their wretched faces. Only two months ago, the Rebbe celebrated the wedding of two orphans to whom he’d acted as a surrogate father ever since they were orphaned at young ages. Seven Gabbaim Around the Clock When the day ends in New York the phones start humming from Israel, with Jews from Israel on the line who need the Rebbe’s blessing and advice. When the Rebbe is in Israel, phone calls come from Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and New Jersey, because all Jews are his children. Hundreds of emails arrive at the Rebbe’s secretariat, and the Rebbe devotes time every day to answer the questions that arrive from all corners of the world. He prays for each of them, either in his beis midrash, or at holy sites, or at his ancestors’ graves; the Rebbe carries the burden of the whole nation, feeling their sorrow and rejoicing with their simchos. There are seven gabbaim who work around the clock to answer the thousands of questions of people who phone to get a blessing from the Rebbe. Their greatest satisfaction is to tell the Rebbe the good news of another miracle, a child that was born, or a couple that got engaged due to his holy blessing. Education and Domestic Peace Amongst the Rebbe’s many attributes is a deep perception in all areas of life. Parents from all parts of the world consult the Rebbe about education issues. Many times the Rabbi provides surprising advice which brings about a complete change to the entire household. Homes which were full of strife are now happy, peaceful homes. Countless cases of con-

flict between couples are solved following the Rebbe’s instructions. Even in hopeless circumstances peace was restored thanks to the Rebbe’s immense investment and intervention. An Engagement Party at 3:00 a.m. One of the Rebbe’s “hobbies” is helping singles find their marriage partners. Many single boys and girls and parents of singles come to the Rebbe for his encouragement and blessing. But he does more than just offer his blessing; the Rebbe actively seeks marriage partners for them. This last summer, the Parkway community residents were invited to an engagement party. Both the chassan and the kallah were already in their thirties! Only the couple in focus knew the real story: that were it not for the Biale Rebbe this happy occasion would never have happened. It was the Rebbe who encouraged and supported and even “pushed” the bond. The Rebbe dedicated countless of hours upon hours with each one, until finally at 3.00 a.m. another plate was broken setting the motions for another Jewish home to be built! The Rebbe’s Address Now the residents of Los Angeles can merit seeing the Rebbe again. During his yearly visit, the Rebbe’s main lodgings in Los Angeles will be at the home of the honorable, Dr. David and Dorothy Stoll, at 422 S. Las Palmas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90020. Oneg Shabbos & Tisch Friday Night in Hancock Park There are still some people in Los Angeles who remember the Rebbe’s holy father, the previous Biale Rebbe Z”TzL. It is now over 30 years that Rabbis of the community, shtreimlech-wearers, and modern Jews, have participated in Biale tischen. A large crowd is expected to come to draw spiritual pleasure and delight, to hear the singing at the “Oneg Shabbos” tisch which the Rebbe will conduct this Friday night, Parshas Vayera, November 18. The tisch will be held at Kollel Yechiel Yehuda under the leadership of the wellknown Rabbi Yochanan Henig and the Rosh Hakollel Rabbi Menachem Krybus, at 441 N. La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, at 8:30 p.m. On Shabbos morning, the Rebbe will pray at the Beis Naftali shul, which is under the leadership of the prominent shul president, the known activist for Torah, Reb Andrew Friedman. A special part of the tisch is when the Rebbe recites the “Kiddush” in a special nussach, keeping the entire crowd electrified to his holy avodah. It is a known fact to his chassidim that the time of “Kiddush” is a special time with potential to bring about great salvation. Singing together at

the tisch moves the masses each time as if they are hearing it for the first time. The assembled feel a “real taste of paradise” each time they experience a Shabbos gathering. A Son in the Merit of the Rebbe’s Tisch The following story was told first hand by from a member of the community in Hollywood, Florida: “Eight years ago, it was a few years from our wedding, and we had two daughters, and we yearned for a son. I went into the Rebbe with a kvittel with my name and those of my family. The Biale Rebbe looked at my kvittel and asked me, “What’s with a boy?” I looked at the Rebbe and replied that I’ll be delighted to have a son. The Rebbe told me to come attended the “Oneg Shabbos Friday night Tisch,” a time that is conducive for yeshuos (salvations). “That Friday night I participated in the Rebbe’s “Oneg Shabbos” tisch. There was a large crowd there enjoying the Rebbe’s singing and talking. Suddenly the Rebbe looked around in all directions as if he’s searching for somebody, and when he saw

me, he called me over, took a piece of fish with a bone from his portion, put it in my hand and said, ‘Take a son’ (a play on Yiddish/Hebrew words – in Yiddish a bone is called a bein, which is like the Hebrew word for son, ben). After the tisch the Rebbe spoke to me and told me which extra things I should take on. “The miracle took place immediately! Nine months later, I stood outside the delivery room and phoned the Biale Rebbe in Bnei Brak (with apologies to my parents whom I phoned after the Rebbe). ‘Mazel tov,’ I told the Rebbe, ‘It’s a boy!!!’ “’Mazel tov,’ the Rebbe answered, ‘I know already!’” Now, the residents of Los Angeles also have this opportunity. If you haven’t yet met the Rebbe, and you are interested in making a personal appointment for advice, blessing, or guidance, you can do this now by phoning the Rebbe’s personal English-speaking secretary, Reb Moshe Friedman, at 917-272-4045 or send an email to NOW IS THE TIME! DON’T MISS THE OPPORTUNITY!!



Living with In theNews Times The Week

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

The great mechanech, Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, is said to have commented to a talmid reading the daily newspaper, “Not a word that you read there is true, besides the date.” He then added, “Actually, even the date is false, because the paper was printed the night before, so that it would be available on newsstands and in groceries by daybreak.” Apocryphal or not, the lesson is just as relevant today. At some point, the media became an echo chamber telling people what to think, what to feel, and what it means if we don’t go along with their narrative. They stopped reporting news and started to create news, attempting to shape elections and public opinion. In 1990, there was a small news item about a building that collapsed in Moscow. The Kremlin issued an official statement that the collapse was caused by an engineering error and reassured Muscovites that the government would get the building up and that it would stay up. A wise rosh yeshiva noticed the story and commented that the end of Communism was certainly imminent. A keen student of human psychology, Rav Shlomo Freifeld explained that for decades, the only position the Kremlin took when anything went wrong was to blame. They unfailingly said that whatever happened wasn’t their fault, but someone else’s. For the Russian government to concede a construction error, even if it was a relatively small mistake, meant that they had lost their arrogant smugness and their end was near. Chacham odif minovi. Six months later, he was proven right. I thought about this story when I saw a letter that the New York Times publisher sent to subscribers of the newspaper. Under the flowery talk, it was as close to a mea culpa as can be, a concession that the paper of record had failed in its mandate to report the stories of the day without partiality or agenda. The arrogance has been punctured, even if only a bit and for a short time. Obama had presented a Democrat co-

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Bursting the Bubble alition that followers believed would last a generation. Even people registered with other parties, who rely on the mainstream media, believed it and feared that their candidates would never win another election. Many pundits smugly wondered, live, on air, if the Republican Party would ever again have a majority, or even a close minority, in the Senate or House. The presidency? Ha! Not a chance, they assured us. From the day Trump entered the race, he was mocked and vilified. The mainstream powerbrokers and media portrayed him as a buffoon who could never last even as he won primary after primary. The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, and every other media outlet hammered home the message that Trump was unsuitable for the presidency and could never win. And it wasn’t only the liberals. Conservatives such as Charles Krauthammer and Karl Rove are just as guilty for failing to perceive what was happening. Perhaps they were influenced by the general media as well, believing the polls, which were skewed in Clinton’s favor. Trump did not have formulated policies or serious ideas about governing, but he gives voice to the attitude that empowers the people. He talked about the real fear in American homes, the desire to triumph, the hope of being winners again. He filled large arenas, peddling that message, and by doing so, he made the professional politicians look silly. The experts chose to ignore the phenomenon that was sweeping the country. They were tone-deaf to the message sent by thousands of people who chose to wait for hours to get into a rally, where they would wait some more for the candidate to arrive. Instead of reporting on Trump’s large crowds, the media never showed pictures of anything other than Trump at the podium, unless there was a protester or angry poster in the crowd. They ignored the truth. The old ways of the so-called experts and poll-driven candidates, with staff-written position papers and rote responses to straight questions, didn’t work this time.

People want action. They want someone who understands and respects them. They want their candidate to speak off the cuff and be truthful and straightforward. They don’t care for long political records and pedigree. Trump’s bluster and banter reflected conversations that took place in coffee shops and gas stations across the country. Tens of millions of frustrated Americans saw him as someone who would address what was troubling them. His promises, such as vowing to change the way government runs, were expressed and channeled by crystallizing his positions in a threeword-chant, such as “drain the swamp.” The people loved it and connected to it, seeing Trump as the leader they had been waiting for. He didn’t speak intelligently, and he is not well-read or well-versed, with no experience in doing anything he promised, but they didn’t care. When given the choice of just such a person, they chose him every time they were given the opportunity, as he racked up primary wins and then, last week, electoral votes, one after the other. Hillary Clinton had a mammoth fundraising operation, with influential political aides, her husband, power-brokers, and most of the media in the country on her side. But people bought into the idea that everything is rigged against them. They saw Trump as real, not phony. He was one of them. He spoke like them, using simple, down-to-earth language that they understood, without using multi-syllable words. He didn’t try to make himself sound smart and knowledgeable, while trying to make the people feel dumb and less educated on the matters they care about. He was blunt and forthright, and people appreciated that. Yes, they realized that he has a lot of money, but they got over that. When he was attacked, they didn’t focus on his deficiencies. In fact, the more he was attacked, the more they were convinced that the rigged system was trying to destroy him. He won despite everything that was unleashed against him, because the people rebelled against the establishment and

wanted to get America back to what it is supposed to be. People are worried about the economy and healthcare. They are scared of terrorism and illegal aliens taking over their country. They care about the Supreme Court, and the sanctity of life and marriage, and were fed up with being told that they are standing in the way of progress. One-third of Democrats in Congress will now represent three states, California, Massachusetts and New York. The Democrats lost the Senate and the House. Republican governors will now control 33 states. President Obama, touted by the media and Democrats as a post-racial bridge-builder, was actually a gift to Trump. People don’t like him or his policies. They are upset with his lies, his presidential proclamations making an end-run against their elected representatives, taking the country left, quashing American pride, apologizing for America’s gains, and coddling with enemies while ignoring friends. Trump had desired to run for many years, but he presented himself as a political outsider and novice, which he certainly was, leading a movement. The pundits laughed at his unorthodox campaign. He didn’t have front men, fancy surrogates, fundraisers, marketing people, pollsters, message tweakers, and everything else that Hillary, Jeb and all the other political pros had. He had himself. He had his brain and his connection to the voters, who saw him as a regular guy like them, just with more money. And so he won. And the lessons for us are endless. We must develop eyes that see the truth, a discernment and judgment to be able to see through lies, recognizing the emes and sticking to it. Lehavdil, this week’s parshah opens with an account of Avraham Avinu’s chessed and extraordinary hachnassas orchim. The Ribono Shel Olam himself was visiting, but there were hungry guests waiting. Avraham was weak, recovering from his bris milah, but there were human beings who needed his help. Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky would point out that the greatness of Avraham does not become evident until we study the second perek of the parshah and the juxtaposition of Avraham’s concern and kindness with his pleas on behalf of the people of Sedom. Avraham’s special mitzvah was hachnassas orchim. It would stand to reason that he would despise Sodom, the epitome of an anti-chessed city. Since the essence of Sodom was counter to his “agenda,” he could be forgiven for per-

Living with In theNews Times The Week

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

ceiving them as an enemy. But Avraham was able to view things clearly. He rejected the actions of the Sodomites and was saddened by the way they treated guests, but he didn’t let that cloud his vision. In modern-day parlance, the noise didn’t distract him from his mission. When Hashem shared with Avraham His intention to destroy the city and its inhabitants, he davened for them and bargained for them to be saved. Hakadosh Boruch Hu rejected his entreaties and Sedom was wiped off the face of the earth. The posuk (Bereishis 19:27) tells us that after the evil city was destroyed, Avraham arose early and headed to the place where he had stood pleading before Hashem and took a look at the destroyed cities of Sodom and Ammorah. The Gemara in Maseches Brachos (6b) cites this posuk and comments that someone who is koveia makom l’tefillaso, establishes a fixed place for his prayers, is a chassid, an anav, and a talmid of Avraham Avinu.

Because of his humility, Avraham Avinu was able to return to the same place where he had been rejected and kept on davening because it wasn’t about him. He was a humble soldier of the Creator, focused on carrying out His will, being kind and generous and helping as many people as possible. Avraham had no agenda of his own that he was seeking to affect. The Creator can carry out his own agenda with us or without us. If we are fortunate, we can follow his word and get to be on His team. Sure, it is a struggle not to get swept up with the cause of goodness. We can easily imagine good people being carried away by anti-Sodom rhetoric and hoping for quick destruction of the evil-doers. Rav Aharon Kotler would tell his talmidim that they could learn “da’as Torah” by studying ma’asei avos, the reactions and choices made by the avos hakdoshim in these parshiyos of Bereishis. The Tchebiner Rov was a successful lumber merchant. When he lost his fortune

and was left with no source of income, he acquiesced to the request of gedolim that he accept a rabbinical position. On Purim of his first year in Tchebin, mishloach manos and financial gifts piled up on the table. The rav noticed tears in the eyes of his rebbetzin, who wasn’t accustomed to taking money from anyone. The rav said to her, “I know how you feel. It is difficult to be a taker. But I ask you one thing. In a few years, don’t become upset with those who do not give as much as you would have expected.” The wise rav was aware of the human tendency to initially see a practice as incorrect, but then get used to it, viewing the practice as correct and those who think otherwise as being wrong. He pleaded with his wife not to let that happen to them. And it shouldn’t happen to us either. We can plumb these parshiyos, developing Torah attitudes and ideals, and refining our sense of integrity. We can approach life with clear eyes,

seeing past the lies and hearing beyond the din. This week, hundreds of good Jews gather at a convention specifically for the purpose of learning how to listen, to hear gedolim and rabbonim analyze contemporary issues and address them with Torah lenses. Being together with ehrliche Yidden is itself a means of absorbing the emes and living above the commotion and noise. The courage, conviction and chizuk offered by gedolei Yisroel and our rabbeim are our agenda and our party. My rebbi, Rav Mendel Kaplan, a vestige of the Lithuanian world that is no more, would relate to us that his rebbi taught him something that he had, in turn, learned from his rebbi: “The first rule in our Shulchan Aruch is zei nisht kein na’ar, don’t be a fool.” We have the greatest tool in the world, the Torah, to provide us with wisdom and truth. If we begin to see things clearly, then half of the battle is already won.



The Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News




The Week In News




VOICEMAILS After going to many doctors to try and help our little Tzadik’l walk on his own, we finally arrived at the right address – “Kollel Chatzos”… …My 2½ year old finally started walking as any other child. M. S. Antwerp

‫להצלחת זושא דוב‬ ‫בן בילא‬ ‫וכל משפחתו‬

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Chessed that Americans Need Right Now Rebecca Klempner This week’s parshah, Vayera, begins when three angels visit Avraham Avinu. Avraham does not immediately discern their angelic nature; based on their appearance, he assumes they are simple Bedouin. Nonetheless, he rushes to alert Sarah and Ishmael to the presence of these guests, and together they take care of their needs, washing the dust from their feet, preparing fresh foods, offering shade from the hot desert sun. Avraham’s actions in this incident exemplify why he is associated with the quality of chessed. The United States is often called, a “medina shel chessed,” a country of lovingkindness. Why? Because it has welcomed immigrants from around the world, most of whom were escaping oppression or economic hardship. It has allowed people to practice their religions freely and to express their political beliefs without fear. Despite episodes in which this country has failed to live up to this goal, it remains a cornerstone of our national identity. It seems to me that right now, our medina shel chessed needs a little chessed itself. During the campaign, we heard from a lot of voices who were afraid: Trump voters chose their candidate in part because they feared losing jobs or not finding one that paid enough to support their families. They feared losing their homes, as the price of housing has outpaced income growth. They feared cultural changes being foisted on them from what they viewed as “liberal elites.” They feared terrorism. These are all genuine fears. Those who supported Clinton often shared fears about losing rights they have become accustomed to. They worried that friends, relatives, and colleagues would be deported. They feared the executive branch in the hands of someone who expresses misogyny and distaste for the disabled. And yes, they feared hate speech that suddenly proliferated. These too are genuine fears. Following last week’s election, our national landscape looks more fractured than ever. Clinton supporters mourn and panic. Triumphant Trump voters taunt them in person and on social media, despite leaving a trail of tweets, memes, articles, and radio talk show segments proving that they struggled to cope with the Republican candidate’s loss after the last election. In yet another demonstration of his abundant chessed, Avraham Avinu pled with Hashem in an attempt to save the people of Sodom. Avraham Avinu knew the people of Sodom were depraved! Yet he hoped to find enough righteous citizens to spare the city. Even when Avraham had to accept the destruction of Sodom, he did not cackle in delight. He did not relish their fate, even though he knew that G-d was doing what was good and just. Likewise, at the Pesach seder, we pour off a little of our wine to

show we do not take pleasure in the destruction of the Egyptians, but only in our salvation at the Hands of Hashem. While I understand concerns of rioting – although most of the protests since the election have in fact been non-violent – what person ever said, “You know, you’re right,” after being humiliated by someone telling them to just “Suck it up?” The biggest chessed Americans can do right now is to empathize with the fears of their political opponents. Imagine if Trump supporters listened to the fears of Clinton supporters without judgment. Imagine if they said, “We’re sorry you are afraid,” and meant it. Imagine if said to the protesters in the streets, “We want you in our America. Let’s find some common ground.” If Trump supporters stopped their insults, more Clinton supporters might be willing to listen to them as they express their own concerns. Isn’t that what they wanted all along? Wasn’t that the goal of this election – to force those in power to listen to them? Trump supporters are right: they have been ignored by policy-makers in Washington. This election is a wake-up call. Politicians can ignore them no longer. Listening to each other with open hearts instead of criticism doesn’t mean that everyone will get what they want and sing “Kumbaya.” It doesn’t remedy the fact that Americans simply don’t agree about a lot of things. It doesn’t even mean people won’t protest in the future, peacefully, should policies provoke their ire. Empathy doesn’t mean we have to agree…but it allows us to repair relationships with our neighbors, relatives, colleagues, and friends. As President-Elect Trump builds his team and heads for the White House, there will be other opportunities to delve into chessed. For example, it’s hard for me not to think about refugees – political ones fleeing ISIS and economic ones fleeing poverty in Latin America and elsewhere – when reading the story of Avraham Avinu and the three Bedouins who turned out to be messengers from G-d. But the chief chessed we need now is simply to embrace our fellow Americans even when we can’t embrace each other’s ideas. Empathy is both the easiest chessed – for it requires no money and no physical effort – and the hardest – because it means setting aside our egos. But it’s what this country needs right now, on both sides of the aisle. Rebecca Klempner is a wife, mother, and writer in Los Angeles. Her stories and articles have appeared in a wide variety of venues, including Tablet Magazine, Binah, Hamodia, The Jewish Home LA, Jew in the City, and The Jewish Press. She is also the copyeditor of The Jewish Home - LA.

Torah Musings The Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Karma of Kindness Sarah Pachter

Jumping online for a quick check of my email, I had every intention of clicking directly into my inbox when I became distracted by the homepage’s catchy articles. Suddenly, I just had to know where the boa shark gives birth. I lost track of time reading other pseudo-news articles, and before I knew it, I was behind schedule. Yahoo – and other such websites – have this uncanny ability to distract us from our original intentions by placing various headlines in the center of the screen to catch the reader’s attention. The articles are sometimes news-related, but are more often inconsequential. Despite being strapped for time, I regularly found myself clicking on the headlines simply because of the way they were packaged with their images. So, I switched to Gmail, but mused to myself, If only we had Yahoo working to advertise for Torah. If Torah could be made more interesting and eye catching, more Jews would be learning about their heritage than “What Size Does Jessica Simpson Fit Into?” Immediately, I thought of my upcoming lecture featuring the matriarchs, Rachel and Leah, and wondered, How would Yahoo package their story? Consider the following headline: “At a Destination Wedding, One Man Marries… The Wrong Woman!” The picture beneath the headline would show a handsome man, completely in shock, with a strange-looking woman, grinning ear to ear, by his side. Here is how the article would read: Yaakov worked seven years to marry the love of his life, Rachel. The blissful couple had a feeling that Rachel’s father, Lavan, would try to switch Rachel for her sister, Leah, on the wedding night. Therefore, Yaakov and Rachel developed signs so that Yaakov could confirm that it was indeed Rachel under the veil on their wedding night. On the night of the wedding, Lavan did switch the sisters. Rachel, on her wedding day, watched from the back of the crowd while her sister wore her dress, and was about to marry her man. Most women in Rachel’s shoes would think, “Thank G-d I have signs – my fiancé and I are one step ahead. My dad is trying to trick us, but does not realize that we made a plan to ensure that he fails.” Rachel, however, pulled her sister aside, and gave her the signs so that she could marry Yaakov. Why would she foil her own plan? Most people view their siblings as people separate from themselves. We love our sisters – and brothers – but we are different

people. Rachel viewed her sister as an extension of herself. She felt her pain and joy like it was her own. Rachel could not bring herself to embarrass her sister, Leah. She therefore gave her the signs out of pure compassion. When the Jews were exiled from Israel because of idolatry, the souls of Avraham, Yitzchak, Moshe, and Rachel came to G-d to plead on behalf of the Jewish people. Each ancestor beseeched the Almighty, saying that in the merit of their actions, the Jewish people should be allowed back into Israel. When it was Rachel’s turn, she begged: “G-d, I swallowed my jealousy and gave my sister the signs so as not to embarrass her. If I, a mere mortal of flesh and blood, can bury my jealousy, then surely You, Hashem, the King of all kings, can find compassion. Bury your jealousy of idolatry, and find forgiveness for the Jewish nation.” G-d listened only to Rachel’s plea and allowed us to re-enter Israel. The patriarchs spent years accomplishing and overcoming their own trials. After

in Mishpacha Magazine that depicts this concept perfectly. Long ago, Yaakov, an electrician in Brooklyn, picked up the local Jewish paper when an article caught his eye: “Electrician in Brooklyn Dies Suddenly.” He was compelled to read more, and found that this electrician was actually a neighbor living in the building next door. His survivors included a wife and four children. Their pain felt palatable to Yaakov as he thought to himself, This could have been me. Out of pure compassion, he felt an urge to pay a visit to the family, despite the fact that he had not been to a shiva in years. He uncomfortably entered the room to see people solemnly offering condolences. This woman now had a family of four children to support, with no income. The widow was leaning back on a low chair, lifeless, like a puppet. He saw a young child sitting on the floor, crying that they had no food. Yaakov, the electrician, walked into the tiny, decrepit kitchen, opened up the fridge, and saw that it was

all, Moshe spent his life leading the Jews. Yaakov spent twenty-two years slaving to get married. Rachel displays one moment of compassion, and G-d is swayed? One commentary suggests that the reason G-d listened to Rachel was because the patriarchs were commanded in their actions, while Rachel took this choice upon herself. Although not obligated to give her sister the signs, she went above and beyond by doing so. Her single act of compassion changed the lives of every Jew today. We do not really know what our own acts of compassion can lead to. When faced with someone who needs us to act, we may feel exhausted, or even taken advantage of, but if we go the extra mile, especially when we do not have to, it can have lasting effects generations later. I saw an article over five years ago

completely bare. He quietly left the home, but returned that night to stock their fridge. He handed the widow his number and bent down while saying, “I myself am an electrician. If there is anything I can do to help you, please do not hesitate to call.” Desperate, she called him in the following days to ask if he would purchase her late husband’s tools. Yaakov organized them, added some of his own tools into the mix, and sold every last item for her. He called upon all of the connections he had, and raised over $3,000 for this woman – a hefty sum in that time. He continued to stock their fridge quite frequently, and without being asked. Fast forward to many years later in Israel. Ruthy, a pregnant woman, is sitting at a Shabbos table in Jerusalem. She recounted to all that she was worried about losing her job. She worked in a factory, and was

struggling to make ends meet. “During these difficult economic times, I don’t know if they will keep me on – especially because I am pregnant. If I take maternity leave, they won’t have me back, but I am the sole support of my family. My husband lost his job, and my brother, also jobless, lives with us.” Everyone present, including the host, a prominent businessman, shook their heads with sympathy. The conversation continued, and the wealthy businessman asked where Ruthy was from. He then proceeded to bombard her with detailed questions about her family name, her father’s name and profession, and so on. Shortly afterwards, the businessman got up and briskly turned to walk out of the room. Ruthy didn’t understand what she had said to offend him. She had merely related where her family lived in Brooklyn. She also shared that her grandfather, Yaakov, was a well-known electrician in the neighborhood. The wealthy man came back from the other room with visible tears in his eyes. “Your grandfather, Yaakov, is a righteous man.” He then proceeded to share that his father, also an electrician, had passed when he was a young boy. He remembered crying on the floor, starving as a child. “Your grandfather asked me what was wrong. He came back with food to fill the entire refrigerator, on many occasions. He did kindness after kindness for my mother and our entire family. It would be my honor and responsibility to help yours. You, your husband, and brother all have secure jobs in my company. Come by on Monday morning, and I will have a position waiting for you all.” We are not always privy to the effects our actions will have years and even generations later. Perhaps Rachel the matriarch had a suspicion that her action would have extensive ramifications, and maybe this is what gave her the strength to give up everything she’s dreamed of for one act of kindness. We find ourselves drawn in quite easily by the media’s headlines, yet most of them trumpet events that seem enormous today, but which will be forgotten tomorrow. Spiritual efforts often move in the opposite direction: actions which seem small today may seem enormous when we learn their true measure after 120 years. Let us all be cognizant of this phenomenon and make extra efforts in Torah, mitzvah performance, and chessed. The effects will be eternal!




Feature The OCTOBER Week In News 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Electoral College Disaster or Genius? BY SUSAN SCHWAMM


he Electoral College is a disaster for a democracy,” tweeted Donald Trump in 2012. Now he th will be the 45 president of the United States because of it. And the highbrowed elites who looked with scorn at this “champion of the uneducated working class” who couldn’t grasp the wisdom of the Electoral College are now decrying the Electoral College as a disaster for democracy, as it gave them him. As of now, Hillary appears likely to win the popular vote by a razor-thin margin of less than one percent. Even so, President-elect Trump will likely end up with a total of 306 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 232. By all measures this is a landslide victory for Mr. Trump. But, as a consolation prize, Ms. Clinton’s sup-

porters will always be able to say that she received more popular votes than Trump. A Trump supporter — who is lacking empathy — may respond that Trump’s ability to win with an electoral landslide despite getting less votes is proof positive that he was the superior candidate. Furthermore, a Trump supporter may argue that many large population states – such as California, New York, Washington, and Illinois – are deeply blue, and as such there was no incentive for Trump supporters to vote. The only large population deeply-red state is Texas, and in Texas Trump won by less than 10 percentage points; Republicans didn’t feel the need to vote in a state which automatically leans toward their candidate. So Trump supporters would say that Trump’s slight deficit in the popular vote

should be disregarded. But, as we know by now, each side will dig into their arguments and disregard the other side’s view. Still, the question will remain: should the system of electing our president be changed? Let’s take a look at the Electoral College, why it was implemented, and why it is important for the United States to have it.

Wisdom of our Founding Fathers It all started over 200 years ago when the country’s founders were ironing out details for the nascent nation. At the Constitution Convention in 1787, the Virginia Plan proposed that Congress would elect the president. Most delegates at the Convention agreed, although some pointed out that it would put the power of the

presidency into the hands of a select few. Additionally, it would force the president to cater to the whims of Congress. On the other hand, small states were concerned that in a popular vote they would be overlooked if politicians were campaigning for individual votes. When it came to working out the details of the plan it was ultimately decided that the president would be elected by a group of people proportioned among the states in the same numbers as their representatives. As such, each state would have the same number of electoral votes as they would have representatives in the Senate and the House of Representatives. (The 23rd Amendment outlined that the District of Columbia, which is not a state, would get at most the numbers of electors it would have if

Feature The Week In News 55

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

it were a state but not more than the number of electors than the least populous state, which, in 2016, is three.) In all, there are 538 electoral voters – equal to 435 representatives in the House, 100 senators and three from D.C. The voters pledge before Election Day to vote for the candidate who their party has chosen. Initially it was decided that electors would be appointed by each state’s legislature. Each state would be able to decide if the electors would be appointed by popular vote or if the state legislature would appoint them. The electors cannot hold public office or a federal position. After the Civil War it was added that they could not have been part of the “insurrection or rebellion” against the United States during the war. The group of electors only meet one time in their state and are different every election. In this way, the founders hoped to ensure that they would be above influence. Alexander Hamilton, in The Federalist Papers, points out that the electors in the Electoral College would be appointed by the people for one time only. The process would ensure that the body would not be able to be influenced by foreign interests. The small states favored the Electoral College process out of concern that they would be ignored by candidates when it came to presidential elections. Their fears were warranted and we see now how in recent elections many large states – Texas, California, New York – despite their hefty populations have largely been ignored by candidates. Smaller states that are considered swing states have become the focus of candidates on the campaign trail. The Electoral College process ensures that politicians aren’t just crowding the street corners of Times Square and Hollywood; the voters in the smaller towns of Ohio and Philadelphia are just as important. In the first few presidential elections, each elector was given two votes. One vote had to be for a candidate who was not from the elector’s “home state.” Again, the founders wanted to ensure that the process wouldn’t be favoring one candidate over the other. After adding up all the electoral votes, the one candi-

The 2016 electoral map after the election

date with the majority would win the presidency. The candidate with the second-to-highest number of electoral votes became vice president. If there was a tie, the House of Representatives chose the president from the two who had the most votes. On September 6, 1787, the plan for the Electoral College was approved. The College is not a place, it is a process – a process by which the electors are selected; they cast their votes for president and vice president; and Congress counts their votes. So far, in the 2016 election, we have only completed part I of the process. Part II, in which the electors vote for president and vice president, takes place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after the presidential election, which comes out on December 19 this year. Congress counts their votes on January 6. The president is then inaugurated with great pomp and circumstance on January 20.

12th Amendment Eventually, after a tumultuous election in 1800, in which 36 rounds of voting was needed in Congress

to break a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr – who both received 77 electoral votes – it was clear that amendments needed to be made to the process. Thus, the 12th Amendment of the United States was proposed. The main change in the amendment that was ratified in 1804 was that each elector received two votes – one for president and one for vice president – instead of two votes to vote for any two candidates. Thus the candidates began to run as a “team” on one ticket – one for president and one for vice president. If no majority is able to be reached for one candidate (in 2016 that meant that no candidate garnered the magic number of 270 electoral votes), the House of Representatives – with each state delegation casting one vote, instead of each representative voting – chooses the president, and the Senate selects the vice president. The election of 1824 was unique in that the four candidates who ran on the Democratic-Republican Party line had strong support in different parts of the country: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, William H.

Crawford, and Henry Clay. As such, the electoral votes were split between them and no one candidate received the required majority to become president. At the time, there were 261 total electoral votes. Andrew Jackson received the most electoral votes after the initial count, 99. The decision was then moved to the House, where John Quincy Adams received the votes of 13 states (there were 24 at the time), making him the elected president of the United States. Since the 1880s, each state gives all their electoral votes to the candidate that the majority vote for in their state. Maine and Nebraska, though, are the exceptions. They use the “congressional district method,” in which the electors are selected within each congressional district by popular vote; the remaining two electors are selected by a statewide popular vote.

Faithless Electors Electors are generally chosen for their high integrity. But sterling character or not, there have been “faithless electors” in our nation’s history. Faithless electors fail to vote for the candidate for whom they have




Feature The Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Congress during a certification of electoral votes in 2008

pledged to vote. They either vote for the other candidate or don’t vote at all. Doing so, though, will tarnish their reputation in the eyes of their party; most electors won’t want to run that risk, although there have been 179 instances in U.S. history. In some states, there are fines for those who do not follow their pledge. In the 1836 election, Virginia’s 23-man electoral delegation defected and voted against the Democratic Party vice presidential candidate Richard Mentor Johnson because of his relationship with his black slave. Johnson fell one electoral vote short of the majority and the vice presidential election was forced – for the only time ever in U.S. history so far – to be decided by the Senate. The presidential candidate, Martin Van Buren, was voted for by the delegation as pledged and his victory was not in dispute. Johnson was eventually voted in as vice president by the Senate. Interestingly, the 1836 election is also notable because it was the first and only time a party endeavored to split the electoral votes so that the House would be forced to determine the president. The newly formed Whig Party put four candidates on the ballot to run against Van Buren; each of the candidates was strong in different parts of the country. Despite their efforts, Van Buren won the majority of the electoral votes and handily won the presidency.

There have been instances in which people endeavored to persuade electors to change their pledges, although none have dramatically altered any elections. In 1960, Southern Democrats were looking for an alternative to John F. Kennedy but refused to put Richard Nixon into office. The group wished to deny an Electoral College majority to either candidate, hoping to throw the election to Virginia Senator Harry Byrd. Eventually, only one elector betrayed his pledge and went along with the plan: Henry Irwin, a Republican from Oklahoma, who cast his vote for Byrd. JFK won the presidency with 303 votes; Byrd received 15. In 1976, Jimmy Carter won Gerald Ford by a razor-thin margin – if Ford would have had a bit more than 5,000 people in Ohio and 3,000 more Hawaiians voting for him, he would have garnered the needed 270 electoral votes. Efforts went out to influence electors to vote for Ford instead of their pledged candidate, Carter. Indeed, Bob Dole, who was Ford’s running mate at the time, admitted to actively seeking to influence Democratic electors to switch their votes. “We were shopping – not shopping, excuse me – looking around the electors,” he disclosed to a Senate committee. “It just seems to me that the temptation is there for that elector in a very tight race to really negotiate quite a bunch.” The last time the United States

Bill DeBlasio (left), Thomas DiNapoli (center), and Lt. Governor Bob Duffy (right), all members of the New York State Electoral College in 2012, cast their ballot on December 17, 2012

saw a faithless elector was in 2004 when an anonymous elector from Minnesota voted for John Edwards when he was pledged for John Kerry. Some say, though, that the move was an honest mistake. No elector has come forward to admit the wrongdoing.

Not Perfect but Excellent The 2016 election – and its outcome – is unprecedented in history on many counts. Supporters of Hillary and those who oppose Trump don’t want to admit defeat. They are still holding onto the hope that electors will be willing to cross party lines and throw off their obligations. As of this week, over 3.6 million people have signed a petition on Change. org for electors to select Hillary when officially voting on December 19. According to the petition, “Trump is unfit to serve.” But whether he’s fit or not, The Donald garnered at least 290 electoral votes; Hillary received just 228. (That is not counting Michigan’s numbers.) That would be a lot of electors crossing party lines. And which Republican elector with a wish to continue on in the party would want to move their “yay” from red to blue? This year’s election joins many others in which the popular vote and the electoral vote split. It is said that despite winning electorally, Trump will probably come in short between 500 thousand to one million votes

when all is counted and tallied. This is the sixth time the popular vote winner did not win the Electoral College vote. For the millions of Americans who have signed the petition for electors to reject their pledge, it seems that they may have a point. After all, didn’t more Americans vote for Ms. Clinton? But America is not a true democracy; we are a representative democracy. Some of our laws are decided by the majority, directly by the people. But that is only a small fraction of how our country is run. Generally, the people elect representatives who are elected by them and vote for them in the legislative branch. The Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, created the Constitution and our system of government with a balance of power in mind. As Alexander Hamilton said of the Electoral College system, “I venture somewhat further, and hesitate not to affirm that if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent.” On Tuesday of this week, President-elect Donald Trump seemed to agree, contrary to his 2012 sentiment. “The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!” he tweeted. Genius or disaster, the Electoral College system has worked for over 200 years. And the United States is a more perfect place because of it.


The Week In News

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Bonus Feature The Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Donald Trump’s Early Thanksgiving Rabbi Hershy Z. Ten President, Bikur Cholim (Los Angeles)

With the Jewish New Year just over a month behind us, and the long nights of winter closing in, Jewish communities throughout the world have begun their new cycle of the weekly Krias Hatorah. The parshios throughout sefer Bereishis describe the greatness of our Avos and the permanent impact they had on the world in which they lived, the children they bore, and the future of the Jewish people and humanity. The first of the Avos, Avraham Avinu, is presented to us as a majestic and benevolent individual who possessed an unsurpassed level of empathy. Avraham Avinu was deeply affected not only by the plight of his own family, but by that of strangers whose lives may be in jeopardy. Despite his unwavering compassion for all, his steadfast commitment to those in need was never confused with weakness. Avraham was able to convey his kindness for the frail, the forgotten, and the sick while still exhibiting great strength and resolve when demanded of him. G-d bestowed upon him the title Av Hamon Goyim (the father of many nations) and Avraham is identified throughout the literature of our Sages as the embodiment of chesed. It is the actions, character, and values found in our Patriarchs that we must look to for inspiration and the blueprint for a meaningful life. I believe I speak for many of us in stating that this year’s election cycle has been an almost never-ending litany of drama, featuring passionately opposed politicians and supporters coupled with a barrage of media bias unlike no other in my memory. Adding fuel to the fire was the disheartening rhetoric and dishonesty prevalent throughout social media and our national news sources, regardless of the candidate or political affiliation. This year more than ever, we witnessed news outlets sharing half-truths, even flat-out lies, solely to promote their agenda; where sensationalism outplayed accuracy, and bias prevailed over accountability. This breakdown of common decency seemed aimed to strip away people’s dignity and illustrated a tragic collapse in our society with regard to how we treat those of opposing views, and more specifically, how we treat our fellow man. To be human is to be flawed. Even the holiest of men and women who do their utmost to maintain the highest moral standard throughout their daily lives can suffer from making a poor decision regardless if it was of their own accord, or if they fell prey to another’s malice intent. However, does a single flaw define one’s entire char-

acter while negating a lifetime of achievement or public service? In America, our president must possess inordinate strength and wisdom balanced with a genuine compassion and desire to answer the call for help from those whom are underserved and less fortunate. Above all else, when a president reveals their steadfast commitment to humanity, it humanizes all of us and reflects the greatness of Americans as one people. It’s human nature to believe things that jibe with our own beliefs; however in this day and age, the endless plethora of misinformation at our fingertips can warp one’s opinion in the very worst way. We often take stories we read at face value, because the writer’s opinion validates our own. However we all know that not everything we see or hear is true, and it’s up to us to be diligent in vetting stories that carry such magnitude. With this is mind, I am compelled to retell a very personal story featuring the extraordinary kindness Donald Trump showed to me and my family many years ago. I share this with the hope that it may inspire some readers to take a step back from the incessant negativity perpetuated by the media; to take a breath before reiterating another sensationalized headline that’s solely designed to distract, and learn the firsthand account of two parents whose desperate call to a NY icon on behalf of their critically ill son was answered without hesitation. My history with Donald Trump began in July 1988. At that time, my wife and I had been living in Los Angeles for 5 years after moving here from New York. Our beautiful 3 year-old son Avraham Moshe was suffering from a severe lung condition. When Avraham Moshe’s doctors found themselves at a loss to remedy his pain and suffering, I looked to my former home of New York with the hope that a set of fresh eyes could offer a chance at recovery. However, in order to pursue this we needed to fly my son across the country, but no private or commercial airline would do so due to potential liabilities, and our health insurance wouldn’t cover the cost. So there we were, with seemingly nowhere else to turn; but the thought of doing nothing was not an option. In the 1980s, Donald Trump’s fame was well-known to me, and well-known to most of the world. So when I once again awoke early one morning to the familiar sight of my son struggling to breathe, I decided to take a bold step – I picked up the phone and called Donald Trump’s office, spoke with him,

and bluntly asked him to lend us his private plane for this mission of mercy. Without knowing me and without hesitation, he said yes. A week later, Donald Trump’s 727 landed in Los Angeles and flew me, my wife, and my son along with 3 ICU nurses to LaGuardia Airport. We landed at sunrise and were greeted by our family-members on the tarmac, as well as an army of reporters. You must bear in mind that at this time there was no social media or internet; nevertheless the news was out and the NY press was abuzz with the story of the famous entrepreneur’s generosity with dozens of headlines such as, “Trump to the rescue of tyke” and “On two wings and a prayer”. Sadly, there was no new hope that could be provided to our son, and weeks later we returned home on the same plane. Though Avraham Moshe bravely battled for his life for years to come, he passed away just months shy of his bar mitzvah – yehi zichro baruch. While my son’s z”l outcome was devastating, Mr. Trump’s enormous act of chesed rendered me forever grateful and gave me a unique insight of his character. Since that first contact, we were indelibly connected and remain so to this day. For almost 3 decades I’ve dropped by his office to say “hello” and not a year has passed without he and I exchanging wishes of a L’shana Tova and a Gut Yor. Those who know me both personally and in my role as president of Bikur Cholim (Los Angeles) know that I’ve carried the impact of his kindness with me every day. However, for many years I had often wondered as to what personal impact this may have had on him. In September of 2008 our country was in financial crisis, with major Wall Street firms failing, individuals and families losing their savings, their homes, and their future. That year, the upcoming Rosh Hashana was approached by many with trepidation and uncertainty. As was tradition, I made my annual call to Mr. Trump to wish him and his family all the blessings that we hope and pray for on the Jewish New Year. Sometime thereafter, I received a package from the Trump Organization, in which there was a book titled “Think Like a Champion” authored by Donald Trump accompanied by a handwritten note. Within the book was a chapter titled “An Early Thanksgiving” where Mr. Trump recalled the moment our paths crossed and the lasting impression it had on him. He prefaced this with a poignant quote from Albert Schweitzer: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” In this passage, Mr. Trump wrote, “On

the day before the Rosh Hashanah holiday each year for the past eighteen years, I receive a message from a Rabbi in Los Angeles. I am not Jewish, but have many observant Jews who work for me, so I am well aware of the holiday schedule and that Rosh Hashanah is their New Year, a time for celebration. I find his message of thanks to be especially resonant because he and his wife lost their son years ago, yet they call to remind themselves (and me) of the many blessings they’ve had in life. The reason the Rabbi calls me every year is a wonderful example of the spirit of Thanksgiving.” The chapter went on to describe in detail my call for help and his response, going on to share, “I had small children at the time and I immediately said yes to his request. How could I say no? I sent my jet out and brought the little boy and his parents to New York with the hope that doctors here might find a cure for the severe breathing illness from which he was suffering. His cure was not to be, but his parents have remained grateful to this day. I am always touched that they remember me. In these recent days of upheaval in our country, I found the Rabbi’s yearly message to be an insight into a good way to handle difficult and even tragic times – to find a blessing in the midst of adversity. This family and their faith is a wonderful example for all of us, and I would like to thank them for their yearly reminder. We should realize that we all have a lot to be thankful for, whether it’s New Year’s, Thanksgiving, or just another Wednesday in our lives.” As I read his words, written with such clarity of the events, what struck me deepest was how moved he was by the gratitude of another. Gratitude has no expiration date; Hakaras Hatov is a fundamental Jewish principal and should never be abandoned for one’s personal agenda. Today Donald Trump is our President-Elect. What I know for a fact about this man is that he has consistently shown heartfelt gratitude for the blessings in his life; whether it be for his family or his accomplishments. This awareness is a much-needed quality in the leader of the free world, as it reflects a central understanding that life is precious, and we must remain grateful and empathetic to the struggles of others. Great leadership must include in its foundation a depth of kindness and charity. Regardless of one’s political leanings, it is my hope and prayer for our new President to lead us well, and that we as Americans can rise above the distractions that impede unity and find the best in ourselves and others to accomplish great things for all mankind. L. Quaytman contributed to this article



People The Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Margy Horowitz and Her Labor of Love With Signature Passion, Margy Horowitz Ushers in the JWRC Season Devorah Talia Gordon

Once a year in L.A., “ladies’ night (or day) out” takes on a whole new meaning. Thanks to Margy Horowitz – co-founder, producer, and director of the Jewish Women’s Repertory Company (JWRC) – local women and girls can attend a Broadway show, one that typically sells-out its three performances. “When I started out, over a decade ago, I was told it [an all-female production] would never go in L.A.,” says Horowitz. “People said L.A. was too diverse.” But Horowitz, a native Chicagoan who has been playing piano since age six, was determined to create a kosher performance venue for Jewish women. The classically-trained pianist had been involved with theater production since her Bais Yaakov days, and was inspired by a friend’s creation of such a theatre company back home. Then Horowitz heard Rabbi Weil, of Beth Jacob, speak about the newly founded Aleinu Family Services, and the scourge of abuse that gets swept under the rug in the Jewish community. “I said to myself, ‘How can I help?’ I am going to do a musical and donate the money to Aleinu. That’s what I’m going to do.” Thus in 2005, JWRC was born. In those pre-Hillygram days, Horowitz and her co-founder Linda Freedman advertised the auditions for its first show, The Mikado, on lamp posts in Pico. About 25 women showed up. Although Horowitz and Freedman started JWRC because it sounded like “a fun thing to do,” as the women were auditioning, Horowitz realized it was much more than that: they were providing women with the opportunity to use talents that would otherwise be left dormant. In addition, Margy relished the opportunity to bring women together, of all ages and backgrounds, from Pico, Hancock Park, the Valley – even as far out as Yorba Linda. Although there are exceptions (such as this year’s play The Secret Garden in which a young girl plays the lead) parts are aimed for post-high school women, who have few performance opportunities. The diverse cast has consisted of non-Jews (an African-American woman was in two

shows), Bais Yaakov mothers, mothers from Pressman Academy (a Conservative school), and anywhere in-between. “Everyone loves the camaraderie,” Horowitz explains, and the differences don’t matter since, she quips, “The goal is not to lecture or be judgmental, unless you miss a note! Anyone is welcome as long as she is female.” The JWRC, which Margy calls, “her baby,” started up on a shoe-string budget (of the Horowitzes’ own money). They originally performed at Beverly Hills High, used virtually no scenery, and did everything as minimally as possible. “But we sold out,” Margy says, with the overflow sitting in the aisles. “I never in a million years could have expected it would become a phenomenon in the community, when it was just me wanting to have a good time.” Prior to rehearsals, Margy spends

months “cleaning up” the script where necessary. “We try to make it as kosher as possible. Nobody complains to me, and there are for sure women who won’t come – but you always get that. I do it for the women who are receptive.” She also spends countless hours working on stage direction, composing the harmonies, planning the sets, designing the playbill and more. When asked if it is hard for her to delegate, Horowitz responds with a resounding, “Yes! I want it to be perfect… if something goes wrong, it’s out of my control, but over the years I have gotten better.” Margy now works with co-producer Sharona Motkin, as well as using a costumer, but still puts in more than full-time hours, with no pay, on her labor of love. The JWRC has grown increasingly professional, including the use of Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, and therefore

a bigger budget has been vital. The cast brings in playbill ads, there are some community donors, and a “cabaret night” each spring, featuring JWRC singers accompanied by Margy on piano. Each production costs about $50,000; Horowitz donates almost all of the profit to “The Family Violence Project” division of Jewish Family Service (formerly Aleinu), save what’s needed to start up next year’s show. “What I am most proud of is,” says Horowitz, “is that I’ve given about $45,000 over the years.” What’s next for this talented individual? “We’ll see how long I can keep this up,” Margy says lightly, though the hours on the show, in addition to her regular piano teaching, do take a toll on her family. But as long as she has good talent, and a show that she can “live with for a year,” the show will go on.

Parenting The Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home


Proactive Parenting:

I’ve Got To Stop! Sara Teichman, Psy.D.

Like many women of her generation, my mother was a “screamer.” Though she was a very good person who had no intent to harm, it was like she was on automatic pilot. Whatever the issue – small or big – my mom used yelling as the first line of defense. Though I survived very nicely – thank you very much – I resolved to leave yelling out of my arsenal. I have B”H been by and large successful, yet I still do yell more than I would like – though definitely nowhere on the scale of my mother. My question is twofold: • How do I train myself for 100% (or close to that) success? • Am I damaging my children – or our relationship – by the very occasional screaming? Mirel may be confused by the different Mommy. What can a parent do to turn this negative situation into a positive one, one that is a growth experience for the child and a healing moment for you both? The first step is an obvious one, so obvious – or maybe so difficult – that we often ignore it. Apologize! Tell your child that you are sorry you lost it and are working on doing better next time. Absolutely resist the temptation at this point to tell the child how his behavior contributed to your loss of control. Remember, we want to teach our children what we know and believe: We are always responsible for our own behavior. Apologizing at this juncture has the added benefit of your modeling the behavior that you want to see in your children. By allowing yourself to be vulnerable and having the courage to admit you were wrong, you go a long way in preparing your child to be a mentsch. By admitting that you have made a mistake, you reinforce the idea that “a mistake is simply a mistake” – but one which we have the obligation to redress. Mom comes home from work exhausted and sees that the children have dumped their knapsacks in the front hall again. Be-

coping skills and he would be naïve and defenseless in the face of future challenge. However, because these little lapses force him to learn how to cope, growth ensues. Now I certainly am not suggesting that it’s okay to yell – or do any of the other things that we know we shouldn’t. But, the acknowledgement that we are imperfect humans is a wonderful example for our children. And, our desire to do the very best we can, despite all our limitations, well- that is an inspiration to us all. The Book Nook: The Miriam Adahan Handbook: Living with Kids, Parents at Their Best describes with great sensitivity the challenges that parents face in raising their children. The author guides the readers in understanding and dealing effectively with their children. Sara Teichman, Psy D. is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles and Clinical Director of ETTA, L.A.’s largest Jewish agency for adults with special needs. To submit a question or comment, email



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Dear Mirel, Begin by giving yourself credit for both your awareness and honest desire to find the right approach with your children. Obviously, the same way one cannot diagnose a rash over the phone, it is hard to assess the effect of your lapses on your children without actually observing them. However, I do believe that good intentions are both a necessary first step and a predictor of success. It is always important to keep in mind that we are human, not perfect. It is unrealistic to expect that you will get it right every time. It is actually quite a jump to go from an environment where screaming is the norm to one where there is zero screaming. The question is not whether you are the perfect parent – even in this one matter – but rather whether you can do a little better than the previous states quo. Gradual change is what we are after, because that is what is attainable – and sustainable. I say this not to limit your aspirations, but rather to help keep you grounded in reality. When parental failures occur, as they inevitably do, we – the parents – need to know how to handle them. We see that we have let our child down. We feel that he

fore she knows it, the exasperated, “How many times have I told you to…” flies out of her mouth. The children, suitably chastened, pick up their stuff and tip-toe around Mommy for the rest of the evening. When Mom has had dinner and has calmed down, she realizes that though the children do know better, so does she. She could simply tell them to pick up their stuff, or set up some reinforcement system that will help shape their behavior. Before bedtime, she calls the kids together and says, “I am sorry for yelling at you about the knapsacks on the floor.” No excuses. No blame. So, though Mom regrets her loss of control, she has modeled for her children how to deal with the inevitable lapses in our behavior. But, Mom has done more than that. She has shown her children that there can be occasional little tears in the relationship which can be repaired. The children learn that despite the sins of either – or both – parties, the relationship can be maintained. This life lesson is invaluable: it will positively impact your child’s friendships and ultimately his marriage. Dr. D. W. Winnicott, a British pediatrician and psychoanalyst, coined the expression the “good enough mother.” What this phrase refers to is a mother who is not perfect – just good enough. Dr. Winnicott proposed that this “good enough” quality was necessary for the child’s psychological growth and development, because if the child lives in an all perfect world, he would not face any challenges. There would be no need for him to develop any






Ask Attorney The the Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home

New California Law Expands Cell Phone Prohibition While Driving Michael Rubinstein Esq. California law is about to get tougher for drivers holding their phones while driving. Last month, Governor Brown signed into law AB1785, which substantially expands California’s behind-thewheel prohibition of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Since 2008, California has prohibited texting-while-driving and conversing on a cell phone while driving, unless the phone is being used hands-free. The law did not discuss simply holding a cell phone as a navigational aid for drivers using apps like Waze and Google maps. The California Court of Appeal dealt with this issue in 2014. A man in Fresno, Steven Spriggs, was pulled over and cited for violating California’s handheld cell phone prohibition. Spriggs argued that he wasn’t “using” his cell phone because he wasn’t talking on it; instead, he was clutching it in his hand and glancing at the screen to get directions to his destination. The Court of Appeal agreed that simply holding a cell phone is not the same as “using” it. The gravamen of the Vehicle

Code’s prohibition against handheld cell phone “use” was conversing with someone on a cell phone who is not present in the vehicle. The Spriggs decision was precedent in California for allowing drivers to physically hold their phones while driving, provided that the driver is only using the phone for navigation. Come January 1, 2017, that will change. AB1785 will amend California’s Vehicle Code to prohibit drivers from holding their phones while driving. The law will read: A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving. The law will allow drivers to use their phones for navigation as long as the device is mounted onto the dashboard or

center console, and the phone can be quickly accessed by tapping or swiping the screen. Violations of the new law can result in a ticket and a fine. Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation released statistics for traffic deaths across the country since the beginning of 2016. R”L, over 17,000 people have been killed in crashes in the United States since January. Cell phone use is still one of the biggest distractions for drivers across the country. Let’s hope the new law will go a long way in preventing more tragedies in California. La Brea Area Residents: New Stop Signs Installed! Several busy intersections in the La Brea neighborhood have had new, fourway stop signs installed in the past few weeks. They include: Oakwood and Alta Vista; Oakwood and Sycamore; First Street and Vista. Drivers familiar with these intersections in the past should remember that

they are now controlled by all-way stop signs. Please exercise caution when driving through these intersections! To request a traffic study on an intersection you think might need additional stop signs, you can call 311 or visit the Los Angeles Department of Transportation website at www. A Note for Out-of-town Visitors Throughout the year, many in our community enjoy their families and guests who visit from out-of-town. Many guests are not accustomed to Los Angeles traffic, and many shuls are located on busy streets that are not necessarily located near stoplights. Visitors might be tempted to jaywalk or cross busy streets like La Brea, Beverly, Pico, and Robertson, among others. This might be par-for-the-course in other cities; but in Los Angeles, it can have tragic consequences. Most people cannot outrun a car, and it’s difficult to see a pedestrian at night who is wearing dark clothing. Please be mindful, obey the law, and stay safe when crossing the street! Michael Rubinstein is a Los Angeles based personal injury and accident attorney. He may be reached by visiting www., or by calling 213-2936075.

The Week In News

NOVEMBER 17, 2016 | The Jewish Home



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