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NOVEMBER 20, 2014



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NOVEMBER 20, 2014




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

JEWISH THOUGHT Connected and Charged . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Rabbi Einhorn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Oseh Shalom Ya’aseh Shalom. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The Halachik View. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

COVER STORY A Nation Mourns while Terrorists Rejoice. . . . . . . . 21

HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Wacky Lawsuit Trivia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

LIFESTYLES BOOK REVIEW - Farewell, Aleppo: My Father, My People, and Their Long Journey Home. . . . . . . . . . 12 Travel Guide: Newport, Rhode Island . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Your Money. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Ask the Attorney. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Kosherology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

EDUCATION Real Estate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Illegal Deduction in the Backfield. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

Dear Readers,

Stunned silence. Shock. There are no words. Can this massacre really have happened in a Jerusalem shul? No matter how well we pulled ourselves back together from the previous tragedies, we now unravel all over again…there is no other response. We know what will inevitably follow; condemnations directed at “both sides of this conflict”. Self-righteous heads of state once again pointing fingers at the Jewish victim saying they need to do more for peace. We know this from history; it was common practice in previous centuries for the police to arrest the Jewish victims of a pogrom as If they were part of the problem. Then there’s the media, which seems to indulge in truth manipulation. Determinedly, the segments of the global media that have but cold respect for Israel, pleasure themselves by stretching the tape measure of moral equivalence. “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians Dead In Jerusalem,” wrote CNN, “Jerusalem Police fatally shoot two after apparent Synagogue attack,” was the CBCNEWS headline of choice, and the dishonest reporting goes on. Our Jewish brethren in Israel are facing existential threats on multiple fronts, yet most of the world is still busy telling them what they need to do. There is blind denial of the enemy’s psyche, the terrorist’s state of being. We need all the friends and all the supporters we can muster, but we still insist on true facts as we advocate on behalf of the justice of our cause. We know with certainty that it’s in the best interest of the global population. History has shown that in the end it is the haters and people that twist reality who become irrelevant, while those

who come forth and stand up for truth, morals and values are the ones who prosper. We are the descendants of Yaakov who is described in this week’s Parshah as an Ish Tam; a pure man. He was unsophisticated in the ways of trickery and falsehood. While it’s been several thousand years since those days, the struggle between Yaakov and Esav continues until the day when the Kol Yaakov, the simple soft sound of Yaakov’s learning and praying will prevail. This past Sunday morning I overheard the following conversation: Yid 1 to Yid 2. “Did you ever live in Israel?” Yid 2. “No.” Yid 1. “So you always lived here?” Yid 2. “You call this living!” Besides being a wise retort of sorts, I believe this was an expression of the underlying belief we all have that the current situation in which we find ourselves might be the best we’ve had in a very long time, might even be very enjoyable for the most part, but it’s not deeply satisfying. Deep down, we yearn for a time of truth, when distortion is seen for what it is, when good people are visibly rewarded and when spirituality is tangible. Anything short of that is merely a stop, albeit a blessed one, in this long journey of ours that has us work to reveal the good that is inherent in the mundane. This horrific event was yet another intensely painful jolt in our collective travels. Let us hope it’s the last. May we have a comforting 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


years ago. Rav Sauer was visibly shaken by the loss of 2 of the victims whom he knew well – Rav Moshe Twerski and Rabbi Levine, Hy”d. He shared his recollections of his learning in the same Beis Medrash (of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan) with Rav Twerski many years ago in New York and seeing even then his rarefied middos, his ahavas chesed and his unparalleled grasp of all areas of Shas and Aggadah. He recalled Rav Twerski’s devotion, once he moved to Eretz Yisrael, to his talmidim and to his family and he shared about the way in which he balanced everything in a beautiful way. Rav Sauer was also a mentor in many

ways to Rabbi Levine who was a ben bayis by him during his LA days at YULA. He noted his tremendous desire to learn and grow that propelled him to leave college and to focus solely on Torah learning and then move to Eretz Yisrael, never to look back. “When such quality neshamos are taken from us, we need to do our part to try to help fill that gaping void,” he concluded. Rabbi Gabi Heimowitz of the LINK Kollel then led the assemblage in a heartfelt recitation of five chapters of Tehilim for the 12 people wounded in the attack. The program concluded with Maariv.

Photos: Yosef Ober

al direction, averring that we need to take tefilla more seriously as a way of speaking to Hashem and letting Him Know how much we desire to be close to Him and how much we yearn for the Final Redemption. Rav Tendler also exhorted the crowd to feel a closer connection to everyone in Klal Yisrael who is undergoing suffering; we are ultimately all considered as one body. Every tragedy and loss must penetrate our souls and give us pause for reflection and shared grief, not just events of this horrific magnitude. He also shared his fond memories of Rabbi Kalman Levine Hy”d, one of the four Kedoshim who began his serious leaning in YULA’s Beis Medrash under his tutelage, over 30

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

The LINK Kollel in Los Angeles organized a community-wide gathering of Divrei Hisorrerus and Tehillim on Tuesday night November 18th, in light of the terrible slaughter that took place during Shacharis at the Kehilas Bnei Torah shul in Har Nof, on that same day. The hastily arranged event attracted an overflow crowd of more than 75 people to hear words of commemoration and remembrance from Rav Shalom Tendler, Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Birchas Yitzchak and Rav Nachum Sauer, Rosh Kollel of YOLA. “The shocking carnage and the spiritual caliber of the victims leave us speechless,” Rav Tendler began. Sensitively, he continued with words that offered spiritu-


LINK Kollel Holds Asifa in Light of Har Nof Killings

Rav Tendler addressing the crowd

Reciting Tehillim for the wounded

Education Today, Let’s Be Honest! A panel of rabbis held a vibrant meeting on November 18th, discussing some of the key issues facing parents today. The panelists offered their experience and wisdom in discussing techniques for tackling modern issues in traditional homes. The four rabbis included Rabbi Shifman, Head of Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center, Rabbi Mendy Greenbaum, Dean of Cheder Menachem Boys School, Rabbi Eli Broner, Director of Campus Life at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy and Rabbi Abraham Lieberman, Head of School at YULA Girls High School. The event was well attended and began with Rabbi Greenbaum’s presentation on the subject of, “The Internet, Friend or Foe.” Rabbi Greenbaum expounded on the benefits of the internet. So much wisdom and knowledge is readily available on the internet without charge. Sources and references that used to take many hours and days of research, are now accessible to anyone who cares to look. On the other hand, he noted that every home should clearly establish computer rules.

All laptops, iPad’s and computers should have filters installed and electronics must be used and stored in public areas where

nothing unseemly can be accessed or created. Rabbi Lieberman then spoke on, “Alcohol and Drugs, Open Dialogue or End of Discussion?” He explained the importance of communicating with our children about substance abuse and use from preteen years. This conversation will ensure that the topic and relating issues, are an ongoing theme. Even when a teenager returns from school and retreats to their bedroom and locks the door, the parent must take every effort to reach their child. Knock on the door and wait for them to speak to you about their day. It is the homes that

lack open discussions that have the most problems with alcohol and drugs. If troubles are confronted on a regular basis, the infrastructure of family support can alleviate future crises. Rabbi Shifman explained the issues relating to appropriate dress code at schools. The subject was, “Dress Code, The Solution or the Problem?” Rabbi Shifman emphasized that parents must establish what tznius dress implies. It is not only limited to how we dress ourselves, but includes an appreciation of modesty as it effects other people’s personal space. You can make someone uncomfortable by the way you dress and we have to recognize the fragile line that defines acceptable clothing. Our schools need to have enforceable dress codes otherwise we have no way to ensure our standards. Many parents perceive their personal style as an expression of their unique value system and there can be a perception that the school is burdening personal self-expression. Instead, parents need to understand that young children are confused to see a parent dressing without

respect for their school’s values and traditions. This message of respect is essential for building strong value systems in every area of our children’s lives. Rabbi Broner continued with a discussion of, “Homework, Too Much or Too Little?” All the panelists agreed with Rabbi Broner’s thoughts on the subject. Children who attend a Judaic and English learning program have a lengthy school day and homework should be kept to a minimum, especially in elementary school. While it is important that kids bring home certain work that benefits from repetition, specifically math multiplication facts and spellings, yet too much homework is counter-productive. Even as the kids move into middle school, we must look to keep homework to a minimum so that we can make sure the children retain what they have learned in school, but still have sufficient energy to return to class the next day with a clear mind and a positive attitude. The event went into overtime and concluded with a range of excellent questions and debate from the attendees.


NOVEMBER 20, 2014


Har Nof Victim From Los Angeles On Tuesday, November 18, Rabbi Kalman Levine was one of four men, whose lives were stolen from them as they prayed. At 7am, two armed Palestinians entered the busy Kehillat Bnei Torah Synagogue in the West Jerusalem suburb of Har Nof during Shaharit. The men had their backs to the assassins, identified as cousins Odai Abed Abu Jamal, 22, and Ghassan Muhammad Abu Jamal, 32, when they were killed. Rabbi Levine is survived by his wife, Chaya, who was born in Cleveland, as well as 10 children and five grandchildren. He was 55. One of Rabbi Levine’s sons, Rabbi Yerachmiel Levine, spoke to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying, “My father would study Torah all day long and would return home at night only to learn some more until he would fall asleep in his chair. Abba, you were in the middle of

saying the Shema when your soul left your body and the terrorists came and murdered you.” Rabbi Levine had spent several years in Los Angeles before moving to Israel. Shimon Kraft lives in Los Angeles and owns The Mitzvah Store on Pico Blvd. He spoke to the press about his strong friendship with Rabbi Levine that has lasted since childhood. He spoke about their lives growing up and how Levine moved to Los Angeles from Kansas City after high school and became engrossed in Torah study while being mentored by Rabbi Zvi Block in North Hollywood. Kraft described Levine as an exceedingly humble person who was a serious student dedicated to increasing his knowledge of Judaism and Torah. At the same time, Kraft remembered that Rabbi Levine kept a sharp sense

of humor and a strong sense of humor.

Rabbi Block established the first Los Angeles branch of Aish HaTorah in North Hollywood in 1976 and Levine was one of

Block’s first five students. Rabbi Block remembered Levine as one of the brightest young minds he ever encountered. Levine’s relationship with Rabbi Block guided Levine through his decision to drop out of his USC college studies in dentistry and to commit to a study of Torah on a full-time basis. Rabbi Block revealed that Levine once gave him two books on Jewish Law, as a symbol of gratitude. Block found the note inside one of the books and revealed its content, “Dear Rabbi Block, here is a small token of appreciation for sending me to Eretz Yisrael. If it wasn’t for you it is very possible I would never have had the opportunity to learn Torah. Thank you for changing my life, Kalman Levine.”

“Shabbos of Torah” with the Roshei Hayeshiva of Mir Yerushalayim By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon

Photos: Arye D. Gordon

On Shabbos Parshas Chayei Sarah, November 14-16th, 2014, The Mir Yerushalayim Roshei Hayeshiva, spent a “Shabbos of Torah” with the Los Angeles Community. Harav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, shlita, and Harav Nachman Levovitz shlita, returned for their Annual visit to the West Coast. With over 8,000 talmidim spread out over 10 buildings in the Beis Yisroel neighborhood of Yerushalayim, the financial burden relating to these American, European, Israeli, Hasidic, and non-Hasidic students is tremendous. The yeshiva was originally founded in the Polish town of Mir in 1814 by Rabbi Shmuel Tiktinsky. After his death, his

The Rosh Hayeshiva greeted by students of Yeshiva Rav Isacsohn following shacharis

son, Chaim Leib Tiktinsky, was appointed Rosh Yeshiva. He was succeeded by his son, Avrohom Tiktinsky, who brought Rabbi Eliyahu Boruch Kamai into the yeshiva. In 1903, Rabbi Kamai’s daughter married Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, son of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel (the famed Alter of Slabodka,), who in time became the head of the Mir. The yeshiva remained in that location until 1914. In the following years the Yeshiva moved and went through various chang-

es. In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, the Community that they visited. Nazi armies continued to push to the East Friday morning the Rosh and the yeshiva students fled to Shanghai, Hayeshiva, Harav Finkel davChina, where they remained until the end ened with the talmidim of the of the war. The story of the escape of the Los Angeles Yeshiva Gedolah Mir Yeshiva to the Far East, along with and were welcomed by its thousands of other Jewish refugees during Rosh Hayeshiva Harav Eliezer WWII, was largely due to the courageous Gross. Following davening, issuing of visas by the Japanese con- Harav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, sul-general to Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara. addressed the students. After The rest of the story is history. While his inspiring words, the stuView of the attendees at the Mir Breakfast Reception it is much harder to rebuild than to build, dents came forward to greet the va and its importance to all of us. “Not Harav Yudel Finkel began the great effort Rosh Hayeshiva and shake his only is the Mir Yeshiva the largest yeshiva to rebuild the yeshiva in Yerushalayim hand. that resulted in what is the Mir Yeshiva of Over Shabbos, Harav Levovitz dav- in the world, but it provided the nucleus of ened at the Young Israel of Hancock Park, Torah throughout the world,” said Rabbi today. With the Israeli government cutbacks, Cong. Khal Zichron Moshe and Yeshivat Krause. While the Rosh Hayeshiva addressed the fundraising efforts on the talmidim in Hebrew, Rabbi Krause behalf of the yeshiva have translated his words afterwards for those increased dramatically. Los who might not have understood. One of Angeles, which happens to the salient points made by Rav Finkel was be one of those communities that, “You, the talmidim of this yeshiva, in the States that have a large are playing a pivotal role in insuring that following of former Mir by your learning, Torah will not be forgottalmidim, parents of talmiten”. dim, friends and other supThe Roshei Hayeshiva, Harav Finkel porters of the yeshiva, made and Harav Levovitz, then attended the Mir it a natural place to visit for (L-R) Harav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, Harav Nachman Levovitz, Rav Nechemia Langer listening to Rav Mordechai Grunwald at Los Angeles Mir Breakfast Benefit Breakfast held at Shaarei Torah. support. A video presentation of the Yeshiva in Aside from the fundraisYerushalayim was shown to the audience. ing effort, a significant part of the week- Yavneh. Harav Finkel davened at Kollel The Rosh Hayeshiva, Rav Finkel, then end was used as an opportunity to recon- Yechiel Yehuda, Shaare Torah and Kollel spoke of the continued growth of the Yenect with the Roshei Hayeshiva and the Los Angeles. shiva, and the extensive work required to former students. On Shabbos afternoon the Rosh keep the students learning and the yeshiva From the moment of their arrival on Hayeshiva, Harav Finkel delivered a shiur running smoothly. Thursday afternoon the 21th of Chesh- at the Kollel Los Angeles. He finally thanked Chairman Shlomo van 5775, November 14, 2014, through Sunday morning the Rosh Hayeshiva Yehuda Rechnitz and Zev Wolmark, for Shabbos Chayei Sarah and Sunday, the davened with the talmidim of the Yeshihosting the Shabbos weekend, as well as Roshei Hayeshiva davened, offered words va Rav Isacsohn. In introducing the Rosh the Los Angeles community for its conof encouragement, gave Torah lectures Hayeshiva to the students, Rabbi Yaakov tinued support, concluding with words of and offered moral support to the various Krause, the Dean of the Yeshiva Rav Isacbracha and hatzlacha. students in the Los Angeles/Hancock Park sohn, related the history of the Mir Yeshi-


movies; some short form, several in subtitles, a few documentaries, but all with a decidedly Sephardic storyline. Given that the Sephardic community makes up approximately 25% of world Jewry, perhaps 5 million, it is not surprising that there are stories to tell. The New York Sephardic Film Festival, held each year in March, explained the reason for these kind of festivals. They fill

a need, “to illuminate the scope of the

Sephardic experience; to raise the consciousness of the American Jewish, and non-Jewish, community to a better understanding of Sephardic Jewry; and to present, through the medium of film, the history, literature, poetry, music, dance, customs and traditions of the Sephardic world.”

The LA festival lasted just a week but

Valley Torah Shabbaton Builds Friendships The freshmen shabbaton to San Diego has long been an iconic tradition at the Valley Torah High School boys division. Friday’s 140-mile drive south to San Diego, was soon a memory as the group of 33 students became engrossed in a challenging rock climb. Afterwards, the early Shabbat was the perfect setting for a lengthy Friday night filled with ruach; zemiros, divrei Torah, oneg Shabbos and Rabbi Stulberger’s number game. The boys were busy until late at night, added Binyomin Sloves, “I was inspired by the numerous divrei Torah given over Shabbos.” Many rebbeim and faculty joined the shabbaton which provided a nurturing experience for all the students. “Our shabbaton philosophy is rooted in providing an

atmosphere where students can thrive in a non pressured, inspiring and energetic environment,” said Director of Student Activities, Rabbi Yisroel Semmel. Improv, a popular elective at Valley Torah, was featured during the shabbaton with team competitions led by General Studies Principal Dr. Eliezer Jones. The students were highly entertained by the various improvisational skits. The weekend was then completed by an action packed visit to Sea World. Students enjoyed a wide array of shows and rides, rejoining for lunch and the Shamu show. “I can’t wait to experience our upcoming school-wide shabbaton in January,’’ said Michael Stark and his friends agreed.

offered a small window to Jewish stories. At the same time, the delicate subjects that were presented portray earnest representations of the diverse cultures that make up the Sephardic community. The film makers who produced the presented movies have successfully created a legacy of identity that is now awaiting future generations and is captured for posterity in the art of the movie. The Dove Flier tells the story of the Iraqi Jews who were forced out of Iraq in 1950. The narrative depicts how, prior to the years before emigration, family life had been strong and quietly ambivalent to the ways of the Arabic neighbors. The family who are central to the movie, are symptomatic of Jewish Iraqi families who lived a value-filled life, despite the complications of being Jewish in Iraq. Two Legacies tells the story of a theological conflict that existed among the Yemenite community before the 50,000 community were brought to Israel in 1950. The movie offers a fascinating look at the issues and conflicts of this community who had traditions very different from the other

Sephardic societies. Orange People is the story of an aging Moroccan grandmother who is looking for someone to take over her community role as the reader of dreams. In dreaming of the past, she has an uncanny ability to guide families in their current decisions. 24 days is the true story of Ilan Halimi, a 26 year old Parisian cell phone salesman. He was kidnapped and tortured in 2006. Finally released, he was raced to hospital but died on the way. The audacity of the crime incited a march through the streets of Paris with more than 1,000 participants. It Never Rained on Rhodes and The Final Journey are two movies that present the wretched story of the Rhodes Jewish community. Once a community of several thousand, more than 90% were sent from Greece to Auschwitz in 1944. Of the 151 who survived the war, none returned to the island of Rhodes. Preserving the Sephardic culture and identity, languages and history, is an important goal and the LA festival contributed to that end.

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

The Sephardic Jewish Film Festival opened on November 9th with an extravagant evening event held at Paramount Film Studios. Subsequent screenings followed at Laemmle’s Music Hall Theater on Wilshire. Rabbi Daniel Bouskila is the Festival Director and he put together a successful presentation of a small selection of


The Sephardic Jewish Film Festival; Small but Worthy


NOVEMBER 20, 2014


HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita: Daily Learning Of Mishnah Berurah Will Bring The Geulah! By Chaim Gold

Entering the kedusha-permeated home of HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, is always a zechus. Hearing him say that your actions have the power to bring the geulah to the world raises the experience to a different level! Recently, the senior members of the Dirshu hanhala led by Dirshu’s Nasi, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, visited the revered gaon, Rav Chaim in his home. They came to receive his bracha and appraise him of the continued success of Dirshu’s popular Daf HaYomi B’Halacha daily Mishnah Berurah program. They informed him that in just a matter of months, on 4 Nissan, the historic siyum on the Machzor Rishon of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha will be held at the Yad Eliyahu Stadium in Eretz Yisrael and in other venues worldwide. Rav Chaim was most gratified to hear about the success of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program and the fact that new learners are joining every day. “Wonderful, wonderful!” he exclaimed, saying it was a “mitzvah gedolah, a great mitzvah” to engage in daily learning of Mishnah Berurah. In his understated way, Rav Chaim also acknowledged that daily learning of Mishnah Berurah has the power to bring the geulah! After being apprised of how the program works, including the additional learning of the biurim and musafim, Rav Chaim asked if the rulings of the Chazon Ish, his uncle, were part of the program. Rav Chaim was extremely pleased to hear that all of the Chazon Ish’s rulings related to the subject matter learned, were incorporated in the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha material. Rav Chaim’s approbation and warm bracha depicts the importance that this venerated gadol attaches to the daily learning of Mishnah Berurah and by extension to the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program. Daily Learning of Mishnah Berurah = Hands-On Learning! Rav Chaim is certainly not alone. Gedolim representing every sector of the wide cross-section of observant Jewry have expressed their admiration for the program and have encouraged their constituents to join. HaGaon HaRav Shimon Badani, a senior member of Shas’s Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah V’Chaim, was also visited by the hanhala of Dirshu to receive his blessing and to appraise him of the progress of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program. Rav Badani was very glad to hear about the upcoming

siyum of the first machzor of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. “There is something special about learning Daf HaYomi B’Halacha,” Rav Badani explained, “one comes home with tremendous practical to’eles – which

cha every day is assured a place in Olam Habaah, as it says, ‘Halichos olam Lo [the ways of the world are His]’ - do not read the word halichos, but rather halachos.” Rav Badani explained that the passuk,

Rav Dovid Hofstedter with HaRav Shimon Badani

he can apply in his day-to-day life!” The Antidote to Tzaros?! Rav Badani then went on to give a moving explanation that was particularly significant in light of the fact that not long after he said these words, his beloved grandson, Shalom Aharon Badani, hy”d, was killed by an Arab terrorist who drove his car into the bus stop where Shalom

‘Halichos olam Lo [the ways of the world are His]’ is mentioned in Sefer Chabakuk, where the Navi discusses terrible punishments. The preceding words are, ‘Everlasting mountains were smashed, eternal hills were laid low, for the ways of the world are His.’ How,” Rav Badani asked, “do the words of ‘halichos olam lo’ come into this description of Hashem’s judgment?

Rav Dovid with HaRav Chaim Kanievsky

Aharon was standing. He cited the well-known Gemara (Megillah 28), “We learned in the beis medrash of Eliyahu that one who learns hala-

Perhaps we can say that Chazal derived from this passuk that one who learns halacha every day is assured a place in Olam Habaah to teach us that even when we are

plagued by great tzaros, great travail and suffering, maybe the antidote is to learn halacha every day.” The Choftez Chaim’s Mussar Living on Every day! The Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program features daily halacha learning which is transformative in its own right. In addition, the program features daily mussar learning from the voluminous mussar sefarim written by the Chofetz Chaim, thus providing a combined daily dose of halacha and mussar. One longtime member of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program, related that, “I cannot begin to describe the impression and inspiration I derive from learning the sefarim of the Chofetz Chaim. Those few minutes of learning remain with me throughout the day strengthening my emunah and yiras shomayim.” “Learning Halacha Every Day Without Respite Merits Being in Olam Habaah Every Day Without Respite!” Another inspiring visit made by the hanhala of Dirshu was to the Alexander Rebbe, shlita. The Rebbe, who is very familiar with Dirshu’s myriad programs, related that one of his own grandsons was religiously taking Dirshu’s monthly tests. The Alexander Rebbe hailed Dirshu’s ideal of giving tests to increase chazarah and accountability. “After the war, all was gone! There were plenty of reasons to think that the Torah would be forgotten, but look what we have today! People are being tested on the entire Shas, on the entire Mishnah Berurah!” The Alexander Rebbe praised current participants in the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program and encouraged those who have not yet joined, by explaining the above mentioned Chazal that says, “One who learns halacha every day is “assured” a place in Olam Habaah.” He commented, “The Mishnah states, ‘Every Jew has a ‘share’ in the World to Come.’ “Why,” asked the Rebbe, “is one who learns halacha every day ‘assured’ a place, while every Jew has a ‘share?” The Chida in the name of the Rama M’Pano, says, “Whereas a ‘share’ is akin to one who visits occasionally, ‘assured’ means that one is always in Olam Habaah because that is where he lives.” The Rebbe concluded, “One who learns halacha every day without respite, merits to be in Olam Habaah every day without respite! That is the power of being part of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha!”


By Ruth Judah

nized by viewers and their parents. Is this system ever going mainstream for book

of Jewish family values and there are books where outrageous situations are depicted

readers? There are online resources, yet parents must take care as well-meaning bloggers have created sites that offer Jewish books where the characters are critical

that have taken the orthodox teenager away from their traditional values. Given the lack of any organized review board, it is not surprising that many a school librarian resorts to cutting pages, stapling pages together or using a sharpie on the offensive section of an otherwise decent book. Yet, there are now schools and websites that have created their internal review board which rate a book for themes of concern. G o odreads.com is an extensive book site that provides their Best Book Choice Awards and allows for a consumer ratings systems. Additionally, if you input the title of a book that you approve and like, the site suggests compatible reading material. The site allows the user to quickly understand whether the book is acceptable. Explanations such as, “Oria is the Golden Queen of the Ahwahneechees,” let you immediately know the story is magical fantasy. The accompanying review notes, “The wisdom is of the old days and they are both considered wise elders of the tribe,” lets you

know the flavor. Author’s blogs can provide certain book recommendations, for instance the well-reviewed children’s author, Melissa Wiley, has been compiling an extensive booklist which you can see at http://melissawiley.com/book-recommendations/. For every title that you click on, there are more title suggested in the same age range with explanations like the following, “These are a gentle and steady source of comfort for a little kid who is beginning to take notice of a very big world.” Library Thing has a great list of Jewish literature for Young Adults, perhaps a source for ideas. http:// www.librarything.com/topic/57884. Of course, there is always Amazon.com who have an serendipitous compilation of book lists with a variety of themes, although there is no way to avoid the modern litreature that presents questionable language and dubious morals. The best site yet found is created by the yeshiva of Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey. His yeshiva has a detailed breakdown and review of 500 approved books. A group of parents has w o r k e d through thousands of books which they have rated for “boy/girl themes”, the “depiction of other religions”, the “use of objectionable language” – major language, minor language, slang and inappropriate talk. They also rate for books which, G-d forbid, glorify in any way the areas of divorce, death, abuse and broken families. They vote against books of “truly horrible middos” and books that are too gritty in their depiction of the social realities that face the modern city inhabitant, or which idolize western values of fame and fortune. First created in 2013 you can see their list of books at www.darcheinoam.org

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

What to read? What to read in those few moments of time when you are not praying, working, cooking or caring for others. And when you read, are you going to turn to study books on parashah or Jewish wisdom? Perhaps you will look for escapism, hope and vitality in the pages of novels. Hardback, softback, digital or audio, books are easily available at all prices and a variety of formats. And here lies the true problem; what advice can you find to let you know the appropriateness of a book. It is well-known that the meaning and content vary broadly. When you dive into the still calm waters of a new novel, the water can splash back, cold and murky. The few books we make time to read should provide a perfect and complete story, giving us the ideal escape; energizing our inner core and inspiring or empowering us to achieve more. And so often, they are not. How many books are published with themes, words and imagery that are unsuitable and incompatible with traditional Jewish values? The movie industry has long ago established codes of morality which are recog-


Approved Book Lists

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NOVEMBER 20, 2014


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NOVEMBER 20, 2014


BOOK REVIEW Farewell, Aleppo: My Father, My People,


and Their Long Journey Home By Claudette E. Sutton Reviewed by Rebecca Klempner


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With civil war raging, Syria has captured Americans’ attention. Few Jewish lives are directly at risk, as the last 4,000 Jews were allowed to leave in 1992. However, Syria was once home to an ancient and vibrant Jewish community. Through the lens of her father’s journey from distant Aleppo to suburban Washington, DC, Claudette E. Sutton tells the story of Syria’s Jews in her new book, Farewell, Aleppo. Growing up, Sutton always knew of her father’s Syrian root yet her father’s personal history remained a mystery until he finally asked her to write his life’s story. Sutton supplemented interviews of her father with extensive historical research and has created a rich tale. At the time of Meir Sutton’s birth, more than 30,000 Jews lived in Syria. Communal life revolved around the synagogue and the family; elders were venerated and religious practice was largely taken for granted. While they generally resided in Jewish neighborhoods, Jews attended schools and dealt business side-by-side with Christian and Muslim Syrians. Although Arab nationalists attacked Jews in other countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa during the 1920s and 1930s, Meir experienced no significant antagonism from his Muslim neighbors during his idyllic childhood. All that changed in 1939. Since France then ruled Syria, locals feared they would be dragged into war. What would happen if Germany conquered the country? And even if it didn’t, would Arab nationalists turn on their Jewish neighbors? These concerns prompted Meir’s father to seek a way out of the country for his family. Obtaining the proper permits to enter the U.S. was a challenge. Instead of taking a direct approach, Meir’s father sent his two teenage sons – Meir and Saleh – to join his brother Joe in Shanghai. While Joe owned a Chinese business, he was an American citizen. Working for an American business with their American uncle, Meir’s father hoped, would improve his sons’ chances at obtaining the coveted visas to enter the U.S. – both for themselves and for remaining family members. Meir – who adopted the English name “Mike” – discovered unexpected difficulties nearly as soon as he arrived in China. Saleh fell ill with tuberculosis, war spread to the Pacific, and Joe sailed back to New York, leaving him alone in a foreign country. Remaining an observant Jew became increasingly challenging and Mike floundered while living in China. He did, however, survive the war, despite Japanese control of

Shanghai and Hitler’s repeated requests that his Japanese allies turn over any Jews in their territory. Meanwhile, Syria became independent in 1944, with French troops finally pulling out in 1946. Anti-European and Anti-Semitic inci-

dents finally reached Aleppo. While Mike figured out how to get to the U.S., the rest of his family in Syria planned for their own escape. The remaining chapters of Farewell, Aleppo detail the complicated and often dangerous exploits of various members of the Sutton family as they crossed borders, obtained visas, suffered losses, and finally made it to the United States. Today, fewer than a hundred Jews remain in Syria. Nevertheless, Sutton’s book ends on a note of hope. “[T]he end of Jews in Syria has by no means meant the end of Syrian Jews,” she writes. Those in Flatbush and in Deal recreated the tight-knit communities they left behind. In fact, Sutton’s uncle proudly claims, “Today, if you came to Brooklyn, you would not know you weren’t in Syria, except for the language.” Syrian Jews have gradually gained the respect of many because of their relatively low intermarriage rate and their successful retention of their religion and customs. Farewell, Aleppo contributes to our understanding of the Jewish experience in America. At 155 pages, it makes a quick and informative read which will be appreciated by those interested in the American Jewish experience. Printed by Terra Nova Books, 2014




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NOVEMBER 20, 2014

Connected and Charged

We read in this week’s parsha about Rivka’s difficult pregnancy. She is informed that “shnei goyim bevitneich,” she would be giving birth to two distinct personalities, Yitzchok and Eisov, who would lead two separate nations. Yaakov was the epitome of goodness, while Eisov is always pointed to as the embodiment of evil. The pesukim describe their differences somewhat cryptically, and Chazal expound upon what took place. Eisov is described as an “ish yodeia tzayid, ish sodeh,” a hunter, while Yaakov was an “ish tam yosheiv ohalim,” a fine person who spent his time in the tent of Torah. On the day that Avrohom Avinu passed away, Yaakov prepared the customary “nozid” of lentils for the mourners to partake of when returning from the cemetery. Eisov returned “oyeif,” tired from committing sins and murder in the fields. He asked Yaakov to let him eat the red mix, “ki oyeif anochi,” because he was tired. The posuk concludes, “Al kein kara shemo Edom – Therefore, they called him Edom.” While it is commonly understood that he was given the name Edom because he preferred to partake in the red soup than serve as a bechor in the Bais Hamikdosh, we must understand why the posuk interrupts the discussion of his desire for the red food to tell us that he was oyeif, tired. Yaakov responded that he would serve him the red soup if he would give his bechorah to Yaakov in exchange. The posuk describes this with the words, “Vayomer Yaakov michra kayom es bechorasecha li.” Eisov was overjoyed by the deal. He

mocked the bechorah and noted that he would die anyway, so it was of no use to him. The exchange between Yaakov and Eisov contains the ideologies that would separate the two until this very day. In their dialogue and subsequent barter, the lines that separate the nations for eternity were drawn. To Eisov and his progeny, life is temporal and fleeting. The goal towards which they expend their energy is maximizing physical enjoyment. They think that nothing is more valuable than fleeting pleasures. Eisov tires himself working for those momentary splashes of joy. However, when it comes to matters of lasting value, he is lethargic and uninterested because they do not grant instant physical pleasure. A person is referred to as an oyeif when he becomes tired from engaging in idle pursuit – or worse – and his energy is spent when it comes to doing real stuff. A student who spends the night playing silly games instead of studying and sleeping, is too tired the next day to study and conduct himself properly. Thus Eisov was named Edom, and his

only in the moment for the moment. We now understand the adjectives in the posuk as laden with meaning and significance. When the posuk states “vehu oyeif,” it means more than the fact that Eisov was tired. His essence was such that when it came to matters of importance, he had no patience. He was exhausted and he was drained. He lacked in spirit and in verve. This is reinforced by the phrase used in the posuk to describe the sale: “michra kayom.” It was a sale for today, because Eisov’s vision was limited to that which fit with his need for immediate gratification. Yaakov was never tired. He remained vibrant, fresh and young, with the feeling that a person has at the dawn of a new day, when he is just getting started, aflame with the sense of possibility and optimism that comes with the start of a project or endeavor. He saw far into the future. He visualized the fires of the mizbeiach, the joy of a korban being accepted, and the sanctity of the makom haMikdosh. He was able to “taste” it right then. He felt it. He saw a bigger picture than “kayom.” When he realized the value of every moment and every mitzvah and every word of Torah, he

THE MILK IS REFRIGERATED TO MAINTAIN ITS FRESHNESS; WE MUST ALSO DO WHAT WE HAVE TO IN ORDER TO REMAIN ‘FRISH.’” nation is referred to as Edom for all time, because his desire for the red soup - and the lopsided barter he agreed to in order to obtain it - express his essence; Eisov and the Edomites trade the holy and eternal for temporal pleasure. The opportunity of bechorah was an investment that would offer future spiritual benefits. The inherent gifts of avodah and closeness to Hashem, serving as the nation’s representatives in the Mishkon, were in the distance. Eisov didn’t possess the energy to see that far. He saw the soup, he smelled it, and he quickly enjoyed it as he moved on to fulfill his next temptation. To Eisov, something that cannot be immediately touched and tasted has no value. The subtle and the sublime are traded for that which is here and now. Eisov lives

was energized. In making that decision, he invested us, his children, with the ability to stay young - ki na’ar Yisroel ve’ohavehu - and to remain fresh. Imagine a marathon runner nearing the finish line. He is sapped, drained, thirsty and hot, yet when he sees the finish line, his spirits are raised. He looks ahead, more excited and energetic, as his eyes behold his goal. A nation of people who had the strength to walk into fires in Spain and gas chambers in Germany, and face the less glorious mesirus nefesh of turning their backs on the world, ignoring the call of the street and the lure of the outside culture each day, draw their strength from that vision. They embody the rush of power that comes from

visualizing a goal. Thus, the posuk states, “Vekovei Hashem, those who hope to Hashem, yachalifu koach, are constantly re-energized.” Their hope and faith invest them with life, spirit and stamina. Being a Yid means being connected and charged. That is the legacy of Yaakov Avinu. One morning, when Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev was reciting the Birchos Hashachar, one of his chassidim noticed that Rav Levi Yitzchok waited a long time before reciting the brochah of “shelo asani goy.” He asked the rebbe about this. The rebbe explained that when he awoke that morning, something was lacking. He didn’t sense the same burst of energy and joy that he did every morning upon arising. His eagerness and excitement about the new day were lacking. He therefore needed increased meditation to attain the level necessary to recite the brochah. Rav Mordechai Zuckerman was a humble tzaddik with a glowing countenance and unassuming ways who lived in Yerushalayim not long ago. A talmid of Kelm, he sought to hide his greatness and act as if he was a regular, simple person. He would go to the local makolet, the grocery, to purchase his food and would stand on line with everyone else. Once, as he stood on line waiting to pay for his items, a fellow customer held up a bag of milk he had taken from a box on the floor and asked the makolet owner, “Zogt mir Reb Pinny, is the milk fresh?” With the dry wit unique to the Yerushalmi Yid, Reb Pinny responded, “It was fresh when it arrived here.” Rav Zuckerman lit up. He turned to his friend, Rav Avrohom Sh’or Yoshuv, who was next to him on line, and said, “Reb Avrohom, did you hear what he said? That is our story too. We arrive in this world fresh. It is our job to do what we can to remain fresh. Just like the milk is refrigerated at a low temperature to maintain its freshness, we must likewise do what we have to in order to remain ‘frish.’” The tafkid of creation, summed up in a single sentence. Rav Elyokim Shlesinger was a close talmid of the Brisker Rov and other gedolim. One chol hamoed he brought his


Trying Our Best To Explain The Massacre Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn

Rav and Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh

G-d knows, we have had our share of tragedies before. The explosive decimation of S’barro Pizza in 2001. The tragic suicide bombing of Café Hillel which took the life of Nava Appelbaum and her father on the eve of her wedding in 2003. Yossi Klein HaLevi called that one an “epic tragedy”. The list goes on. Nevertheless, there is something jarring about the slaughter in Har Nof this week that is touching a spot on our nerves that we are not used to. The people: Rabbis are the ones who have a certain connection with G-d. Yes, Judaism believes that all can have an equal connection with G-d but on the whole Rabbis can form a stronger relationship just by virtue of the fact that they’re the ones who tend to learn more Torah and Torah is the word of G-d. The time: To compound the depressing theological problem, these were men who were in the middle of Shemona Esrei – the apex of Jewish prayer. The moment where, as Reb Chaim Brisker puts it, we “stand so completely in G-d’s presence”. Job and his suffering taught us that most of the time tragedy cannot be explained. If we picked up the pieces and carried on after the incomprehensible tragedies of the Inquisition and the Shoah then logic ought to dictate that this attack should not pose us with any greater difficulty in moving on.  But it does. And we are bothered. And maybe we’re not as strong as Job. Let us explore what we would have liked to see happen. I recall a movie that I watched in my youth: Highlander. It was a film about a certain species of people battling until there was only one left. They had one main rule: there is no fighting on Holy Ground, no matter who deems it Holy. L’havdil, maybe here we would have hoped that these animals would feel a sense of reverence when walking into another religion’s Holy Ground.  There is a parallel in Tanach, in Melachim 1 Yoav ran away from King Solomon. He ran to the mizbeach (altar) to take and find safe hav-

en. But alas the mizbeach is not a valid safe haven and the King had him killed. This wasn’t a safe haven for our tzadikkim, we wish it was. Or no, maybe we would have hoped for another scenario. These terrorists came in with hate, rage and pain. They stormed the doors of the synagogue, burst them open, and ran in on their high horses, weapons aplenty. But at that very moment when they would have seen such sublime beauty – they would freeze right in the tracks, they would witness the majesty of a minyan swaying with kavanna and be converted forever.  They would drop their weapons to the floor because who would harm the most beautiful spot on Earth. No. This too did not happen. But there is a third scenario, which I like to believe did happen. When we pray, we engage in a transcendent experience, out of body. The Ramchal (Kitzur Kavannos) says that in prayer we have found a way to shed our earthly clothing, leave our dross behind and connect our soul with its source. Perhaps these Palestinians simply took their shells. Perhaps these kedoshim were already in a place of such sublime majesty, their neshamos were already dancing with Hashem in Heaven as they chanted the words of Shemona Esrei – “U’vYerushalayim Ircha B’rachamim Tashuv”.  Yes, that must be what happened. Their families will suffer this loss. Their children will struggle in a world without their heroes. But we believe that these titans of Torah are there in their hearts, in their DNA, in the pages of chiddushim that they have written. They will no longer find their bodies. They will no longer take comfort in their voice or their embrace. But they will engage them in the silent conversations of a neshama as the body goes to sleep. In a class on Faith, given by one of the victims – Rabbi Moshe Twersky he says: I don’t know all the anatomy of the mitzvos and how what we do adds up to what G-d wants. But Hashem asks us to do what we can. That’s it. That’s why we’re here. A person needs to have an ongoing awareness that he’s here to be ‫משמש את קונו‬ – serve his Maker. Chilling words from a man who lived his life and died while serving his Maker. Hashem asks us to do what we can. In writing this piece I tried to do the best I could. I hope that’s enough.

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

Many talmidei chachomim with whom we are familiar can become overwhelmed by the day’s activities and pressures, yet when they sit down in front of a Gemara, they come alive. They are energized and electric with anticipation and joy as they study the word of Hashem. They are the offspring of Yaakov, who didn’t sleep for the fourteen years he studied in the yeshiva of Sheim and Eiver. Rav Aharon Paperman, an American-born talmid of the Telshe Yeshiva in Europe, served as a chaplain during World War II and was part of an army unit that liberated one of the concentration camps. When he entered the camps, he saw emaciated Jews who were more skeletons than human beings. When he met one of those human skeletons, Rav Paperman’s heart filled with rachmanus. The man was wearing nothing other than the striped uniform that hung loosely on his emaciated figure. Rav Paperman approached him and asked, “Reb Yid, what can I get for you? Perhaps you want a sweater to protect you from the cold, a pair of shoes, or maybe something to eat?” “No,” replied the man. “I don’t need any of these things.” Rav Paperman persisted, “Can I get you something? Anything?” Looking at him, the Yid said, “Do you really want to get something for me? What I really need is a Gemara Bava Kama!” Rav Paperman was stunned at the purity of this Jew. He had just been through the seven levels of Gehennom, but the only thing he wanted was to once again embrace a Gemara Bava Kama and learn from its life-giving words. He understood that the ultimate elixir that would make him better was learning Hashem’s Torah. As a captain in the army, Rav Paperman commandeered a jeep and procured a Bava Kama for this starving neshomah. The simcha on the man’s face energized Rabbi Paperman as he continued his life-sustaining efforts. That’s staying frish. No matter what our surroundings are and no matter what challenges are thrown our way, Hashem has blessed every one of us with the ability to keep our internal fire of Torah burning, ready to burst into a glowing flame at any moment. Let us do what we can to grow that fire, day after day, week after week, and year after year, expending our energies on matters of substance and meaning. Let us endeavor to always remain focused on a goal, ambitious and driven, young and vital as long as we are able to on this earth. If what we are doing is worth doing, then it is worth doing right; energetically and giving it all we’ve got. Let us never become lazy, lethargic or tired, focusing merely on momentary impediments. We are charged with completing a mission. Let’s do it.


young sons with him as he went to visit the Chazon Ish. The boys were unable to follow the scholarly conversation, and as children are wont to do, they began to jump around. As there were no toys in the Chazon Ish’s humble room, the boys jumped from the bed to the bench, and back on to the bed, without landing. Whoever could jump the most times without falling would be the winner Their father was embarrassed by their behavior and apologized for their rambunctiousness. The Chazon Ish smiled indulgently. He watched them with obvious joy, and then blessed them. “Kinderlach, azoi vi ihr shpringt fuhn tisch oiff’n bank, un fuhn bank tzum beht, Just as you are jumping from the table to the bench, and from the bench to bed, so too, one day you should jump from the Gemara to the Rif, and from the Rif to the Rambam!” The Schlesinger children grew up to become respected talmidei chachomim, who ignite a beis medrash with a kushya and enliven those near them with a he’ara on the Rambam. And the secret of their chiyus might well lie in the vision of Rabbon shel Yisroel, who understood that spirited natures are a gift; energy is a tool of growth. Last week, while visiting Toronto for a simcha, I met Reb Avrohom Shmuel Gross, who told me that a rebbi in the local cheder asked him for a story that he could tell his class in honor of the yahrtzeit of Rav Zuckerman, which was last Thursday. Reb Avrohom Shmuel told the rebbi about the time Rav Zuckerman addressed a group of bar mitzvah-aged boys and told them that they must always be frish. Reb Avrohom Shmuel was astounded that a ninety-year-old man was speaking to young boys in that fashion. At his advanced age and at their young age, the most important message he could impart to them was to remain fresh and vibrant. Indeed, it is a most important message for us all, no matter our age or our physical condition. A person who is alive, who appreciates the gifts Hashem has given him, and who understands “mah chovaso ba’olamo” never tires or tarries. Every moment is an opportunity for nitzchiyus, not to be wasted or squandered. Adrenaline kicks in every time they do a mitzvah, take a step, daven and learn. They are alive. Reshoim, who by definition lack this appreciation, are kruyim meisim. Even when they are alive, they are dead. They are spent, lethargic and burnt out. Anyone who attended Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv’s shiurim in his later years felt that spirit of life, as the man who could barely walk even when aided, would sit down in his chair and come alive as he delivered his shiur, quoting from sources throughout Shas, Rishonim and Acharonim. People would fire questions at him, and he would rapidly respond. He was the “youngest,” most vibrant, and frish person in the world.


By RaBBi Pinchos LiPschutz


NOVEMBER 20, 2014

Oseh Shalom Ya’aseh Shalom They davened Shemoneh Esrei One last time, Their last words were Oseh shalom bimromav. Yechidei segulah Each one. Bekrovai ekodeish Each one an olah temimah. In a flash 24 yesomim 4 almanos Not one dry eye. Jews everywhere in shock Numb with grief. Frozen hearts Disbelief. In the heart of Yerushalayim A shul under attack Unarmed mispallelim Shot in the back Rifle blazing Knife stabbing Savage hate Gunfire roaring People falling Massacred. Innocent souls Will never daven Speak Or learn again. They leave us behind To ponder the tragedy Of how they died.

The victims are our Brothers, Cousins, Friends. The yesomim and almanos Are ours. We need to feel Their pain. Can it be that shuls, too, are no longer safe? Our teivas Noach In stormy waves The teivah was breached In tallis and tefillin Slain, Wounded, bleeding Searing pain. The Jewish heart punctured Our souls Grieving United in grief. Yerushalmi Yidden Broke down and cried. Mosru nafshom al kiddush Hashem. Seforim soaked with victims’ blood, Survivors numb Friends and family gone forever, To their final rest in the World of Truth. Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers Trying to comfort each other Sitting shivah, hearts rent Grief that keeps flowing without end.

Complacency shattered Around the world Jews gasped.

Jewish pain is as vast as the ocean The cycle returns The waves crash, Hate and persecution take their toll On a nation with an eternal soul.

We are all sons All brothers All cousins All friends.

Down the corridors of history From the days of Harugei Beitar The eight crusades Gezeiros Tach V’Tat. Crisscrossing the globe The pogroms in Russia Poland… Chevron. Auschwitz Birkenau TheresienstadtTreblinka.

Naharia Kiryat Shemonah Munich Sderot. The 12 bus The 2 bus Sbarro Netanya Merkaz Harav Light rail stop. When will it end? Tough questions No easy answers, Platitudes won’t work Neither will shirking. Rain the first night of Sukkos Signals Hashem’s displeasure What about the innocents Snatched early on a Yerushalayim morning? Do we feel the pain in our Deepest soul? Do we feel the hurt or are our hearts cold? Look at the bloody pictures If you can bare, Study them. Share them. Think about them. There is evil in the world. We are targets. Lemaan yishmeu veyirou Massacring Jews didn’t end With the Holocaust, We can’t close our eyes Let’s be real. Feel the pain, And do what we can To assuage it, And do what we can That it should never happen again. The mizbei’ach is mechapeir For avonos The bais medrash became a mizbei’ach

Lechapeir al avonoseinu, Chodesh nehefach misasson l’eivel. But the story will soon change In the End of Days As love conquers hate And comfort removes pain, Truth will triumph over lies Darkness will finally yield to light. Ohr chodosh al Tzion ta’ir The light of Moshiach will shine Over Tzion And Yerushalayim. When we learn to Love Care Feel the pain Of the exile. When at last we unite As brothers and sisters When love binds us close Despite our differences No one will defeat us Armed with our oneness No enemy can beat us. Without each other, We aren’t whole Achdus brings us victory Ensures our survival. If we are united We can triumph. “Leich kenos es kol haYehudim.” Only if we are together, Can we defeat Yishmoel. When we are One Echad Without friction or fighting No power can hurt us No force is as mighty. Ke’ish echod beleiv echod Under Hashem Echod. May Hashem bring us safely To that blessed day Bayom hahu yihiyeh Hashem Echod Ushemo Echod.


It got me thinking. According to Halacha, is a Jew ever obligated to risk his/her life to help save another? Is a Jew permitted to risk his life in the hope of saving other lives? Put more delicately, is that permissible? It seems preposterous. Wouldn’t a doctor’s death be a waste of a brave and meaningful life? And a senseless waste at that, after all what can he accomplish if he is dead? Of course Halachah has an answer for every situation. The Tosefta to the Mishnah of Terumot instructs a Jew to give their life rather than surrender a fellow Jew to execution. There are three things that Jews are commanded to refrain from, even if this means being killed themselves: committing or abetting murder, incest and engaging in idol worship. “Any other infraction of the laws of Judaism, no matter how grave, is permissible in order to save one’s own or someone else’s life. This is the principle of piku’ah. nefesh, saving life” I’d like to present Two Halachik scenarios, where this question is relevant, and a poignatn story of a Jew who risked his life to save his fellow Jews’. Watch me die? Imagine, G-d forbid, you and I are travelling through the dessert and we have almost run out of water. I have nothing left; you have merely enough water to last you long enough to get to civilization. If you drink it all, you will survive and I will die. If we split the water, we will both perish. The Talmud2 discusses this harrowing scenario, and two Tana’im argue over the Halacha. ‘Ben Petura’ maintained that we split the water and both die. ‘Let one man not see the death of his fellow.’ Rabbi Akiva disagrees, ‘the one who is in possession of the water drinks it all and saves himself.

1 2

NY times reported. Bava Metzia 62

By Rabbi Moshe Kesselman, Rav of Congregation Shaarei Tefila

He may watch his fellow die. After all, ‘Your own life comes first.’ The Halacha follows Rabbi Akiva, but it’s still not that simple. The Poskim who codified the Halachah, argued over Rabbi Akiva’s intentions. Did Rabbi Akiva mean that you may save yourself first? Or that you have to save yourself? What if you chose to share the water with me? Is that permissible? This question has practical ramifications in a contemporary Halachic debate, for example: Falling on a Grenade. Falling on a grenade Is one allowed to ‘fall on a grenade’ and absorb the impact of the explosion,

himself. Does Rabbi Akiva maintain that the man has the right to jump away and save himself? Or does Rabbi Akiva mean that he has the obligation to jump away and save himself? Example No. 2 Donating a Kidney Harav Eliezer Waldenberg4 maintained that it is forbidden for a Jew to donate a kidney, if there is a chance that the donor’s life might be endangered. He claims that although the risk to the donor is uncertain and the benefit for the recipient is certain, he is forbidden to donate it even though the kidney would save his life. R’ Moshe Feinstein5 disagreed. He maintained that it is permissible to donate a

printed a set of 5 books filled with many tragic Halachic questions that he dealt with throughout World War 26. In one example Rav Oshry writes that when the Germans entered Lithuania, in 1941, he was approached by Rabbi Avrohom Grodzinsky, the Rosh Yeshiva of the famous Slobodka Yeshiva. The Rosh Yeshiva wanted Rav Oshry to prevail upon the secretary of the Agudat Harabonim - Rabbi Itzkovitch - to ask the Lithuanians to release his yeshiva boys who had been jailed. Rabbi Itzkovitch knew these officials from before the war, and it was believed that he had the best chance of success. For Rabbi Itzkovitch to even make this request was Sakanat Nefashot, he would be risking his life by even showing up at the office of the anti-Semetic Lithuanians. Rav Oshry ruled, ‘One could not ask Rabbi Itzkovitch to endanger himself in order to save the Yeshiva students. However, if he volunteered to endanger himself, on the chance that he might save them, he was certainly not to be stopped.’ In the end, Rabbi Itzkovitch decided to make the appeal and he courageously made the effort on behalf of the Yeshiva students. He was successful, and the Yeshiva boys were freed. Conclusion

in order to save the lives of others? Let’s assume for the sake of this discussion, that the man has the ability to jump away and save himself, but he chooses to jump onto the grenade, in order to save others3. What is the Halacha? According to Ben Petura, he would be obligated to kill himself, in order to save others. According to Rabbi Akiva, he is under no obligation to do so because his own life comes first. But Poskim are still unclear whether Rabbi Akiva allows for the man to kill 3 We all remember the story of Roi Klein. He was a general in the Israeli army and was killed in the 2006 Israel Lebanon war after jumping on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers. It is important to point out, that during war, many of the regular ‘life and death’ Halachos are different for soldiers.

kidney in order to save someone’s life, provided, that the benefit for the recipient is definite and the danger for the donor is indefinite. In the case of Dr. Spencer, there is more involved. He went to Guinea to save the lives of many people, not just one. So we need to rephrase the question. Halachikly, would a Jew be allowed to risk his own life, in order to help save many lives? It seems most opinions would agree that for the sake of a Tzibbur/community, one may do anything to save them. No holds barred. A Heroic story R’ Ephraim Oshry was one of the few European rabbis and Poskim to survive the Holocaust. In 1949 he

4 5

Tzitz Eliezer 13:101 Igros Moshe YD 2:174

A Chassidic Rebbe once said: ‘It is sometimes more difficult to live with Mesirut Nefesh, (giving our life, giving everything we have,) than to die with Mesirut Nefesh. Boruch Hashem, many of us do not have to face life threatening challenges, in our daily lives. In order to help those around us, we don’t have to risk our lives. But we have much to learn from those who do. May our halachah guide us and may their courage and bravery inspire us.

6 The Halachic discussions in

these Sefarim are testament to true Jewish heroism. The commitment of these Jews to Torah and Halacha in the most trying circumstances is incredible. In fact some of the material has been translated into English; ‘Responsa from the Holocaust.’

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

A recent New York Times article reported the story of Dr. Craig Spencer, who risked his life to treat deathly ill patients in West Africa. For six weeks he worked with Doctors Without Borders, and somewhere out in Guinea he was exposed to that deadly virus ‘Ebola.’ He tested positive on October 23rd and was then held in strict isolation for 20 days where he was successfully treated, and released. His fiancée was also quarantined but did not contract the virus1.


Risking One’s Life To Save Someone Else


NOVEMBER 20, 2014



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Tuesday morning, at 6:30am, a few dozen men filed into the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue on Agassi Street in Har Nof to daven Shacharit. Wrapped in talleisim and tefillin, the men began to daven fervently, swaying in concentration. But the peaceful sounds of tefilah were shattered when two Palestinian terrorists burst into the shul shouting “Allahu akbar,” wielding guns, knives and meat cleavers. It was only a few minutes of horror but when the terrorists were finally shot dead by police, four kedoshim were killed, men slaughtered al kiddush Hashem. Eight others were wounded; one policeman later succumbed to his injuries. The floor of the shul was awash in pools of blood. Straps of tefillin and strings of talleisim were stained crimson as these four men died with the words of G-d on their lips. The heinousness of this terrorist act shocked the world. Even the most jaded were shaken when they heard that these men were taken in the midst of prayer in one of our most holy places, a mikdash me’at. ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi Zahav described the horror, “To see Jews with beards and pe’ot wrapped in tefillin surrounded by puddles of blood – I do not remember seeing such a sight… We have only seen things like this happen in the Holocaust.”

The Palestinians are heeding their cries and are rushing thirstily to spill more Jewish blood. As they stumble over each other to slaughter and maim, the Palestinians declare to the world that they are forced to commit these atrocities. After all, they aren’t a bloodthirsty nation (those are the Zionists!); they are committing these acts of terror in the name of Allah to protect their holy site at Temple Mount. On Tuesday, Alaa Abu Jamal, a cousin of the two terrorists, revealed the joy the community in Gaza felt when they heard the news of the butchering of four Jews in the most recent terrorist attack. “We got the usual death notification and we shouted with joy. People here also handed out candies to guests who came to visit and were happy for the martyrs.” He said that his cousins felt compelled to carry out these murders. “This occurred because of the pressures of the occupying Israeli government on the Palestinian people and in Jerusalem generally, and the ongoing harm to the alAqsa mosque; this act is something normal for any person who is connected to his people, to courage and to Islam,” the Palestinian related emphatically.


the past few weeks, Israel has been rocked by terrorist acts—ostensibly carried out by lone jihadists. But these terrorists have not been acting on their own accord. They carry out their horror with the praise and encouragement of the Muslim establishment. In fact, a few weeks ago, the head of the Media Department for Fatah in Lebanon, Muhammad al-Biqa’i, praised the Palestinians who carried out three recent terror attacks that killed four Israelis and left a rabbi in critical condition. “They are the ones who heard the call of Yasser Arafat… They came out with their weapons, with their true belief that Jerusalem needs blood to purify itself of Jews.” And just last week, Hassan al-Saifi of the PA Ministry of Religious Affairs thundered, “Jerusalem has no need of declarations or religious rulings, but rather needs the religious scholars in particular to fulfill their duty, rush to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices and blood.”

Palestinians hand out sweets in Gaza to celebrate Tuesday’s heinous attack continued on page 24

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

A Nation Mourns while Terrorists Rejoice


NOVEMBER 20, 2014


NOVEMBER 20, 2014



‫ העולמי‬‫דרשו סיו‬ ‫ היומי בהלכה‬‫ של ד‬‫למחזור הראשו‬


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right of Jews to visit the Temple Mount has been discussed and debated long before the creation of the State of Israel. Although the site was annexed into Israel’s national borders after the Six Day War, the Mount complex has remained under joint control of Jordan and the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a trust known for managing many of the Old City’s Islamic edifices since the twelfth century. The law ensures freedom of access to all visitors to the Mount, but an agreed-upon ban prohibits all non-Muslim prayer and worship at the site. In February, however, the Knesset opened up an unprecedented formal discussion of Israel’s sovereignty over the area. The parliamentary debate called into question the ban on non-Muslim worship and was viewed as a threat to Jordanian and Muslim sovereignty, inciting the resentment of the Arab Rabbi Kalman Zeev Levine hy’d world. Initiated by right-wing Likud Beytenu MK Moshe Feiglin, the debate brought lawmakers together from all sides of the divisive issue, though nearly every Arab parliament member abstained in protest. Arab youths, characteristically, demonstrated by throwing firecrackers and rocks at police officers, while angered parliamentarians in Amman voiced Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky hy’d their fury in no uncertain terms. In an effort to quell unrest in the wake of the discussions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Israel’s commitment to the status quo with no intentions to change any part of the arrangement that has been in place since 1967. But in Feiglin’s words, “Behind the back of our people, we gave up on any vestige of Israeli sovereignty at the Mount. Every terrorist organization can wave their flag there, but the flag of Israel? It must not be mentioned. Reciting a psalm is grounds for arrest. Even wearing a skullcap [at the Temple Mount] is inadvisable by police standards.” Supporters of Feiglin are primarily right-wing religious nationalists, though some enthusiasts can be found within the Labor party, too. At the debate, Feiglin insisted, “Without the Temple Mount we have no home. Not in Tel Aviv, not in Haifa, and not anywhere else. There is no purpose and no designation for our sovereign existence in the entire land. The time

has come to stop the erosion of our sovereignty in the heart of Jerusalem.” Feiglin is a frequent visitor to the site and has been arrested twice for praying there. As soon as the Mount compound came under Israeli control in 1967, a rabbinic ruling supported by then-Chief Rabbis and the Council of the Chief Rabbinate prohibited Jews from even entering the site because of its intrinsic holiness and our inability to adequately purify ourselves by halachic standards. The majority of chareidim and religious Zionists still accept and abide by this ruling.


movement to visit and pray at the Temple Mount has been championed by religious nationalist Jews who rely on medieval rabbinical precedent and argue that because some parts of the Mount are in fact permissible to Jews even without ritual purification, we should be able to pray there peacefully. In September 2000, Ariel Sharon deliberately visited the holy site, a move that in part triggered the Second Intifada. While leading rabbis in Israel continue to forbid entrance to the Temple Mount, the outspoken minority Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg hy’d movement to increase a Jewish presence at the Temple Mount has gained momentum, arguing that it is incumbent upon Jews to visit the site in order to prevent its complete Islamization. In 2013, the LIBA Initiative for Jewish Freedom on the Temple Mount was founded in an effort to call on Jews everywhere to help bring Jewish presence to the Temple Mount and advance the Jewish cause of freedom to worship there. The organization’s founder, spokesman, and recognized nationalistic activist, Rabbi Yehuda Glick, is known for leading frequent group tours on the Temple Mount and openly decrying the Israeli government’s policies regarding the site. At a LIBA conference in April, Glick denounced Palestinian riots that threaten Jewish visitors, “We came to say loud and clear — ‘enough.’ The situation of daily attacks on Jews on the Temple Mount cannot continue for another moment. I call on the State of Israel and its leaders to act like a democratic state and protect the basic rights of every Jew who goes and prays on the Temple Mount.” Violent Palestinian demonstrations in April in response to increased visits to the Temple Mount prompted Israeli authorities to temporarily close the site to visitors and restrict access to Muslims worshippers over 50 years old. Israel’s Religious Affairs Ministry prepared new regulations that would permit Jewish prayer at the compound, but police were not instructed to adopt them. Any Jews praying at the Temple Mount were at risk of arrest. Rabbi Moshe Twersky hy’d

Since U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah met in Amman to calm tensions

the end of the Gaza war in August, the Temple Mount compound has seen almost daily disturbances by Palestinian protestors against Israeli security personnel. Frequent clashes, riots, and demonstrations have prompted officials to repeatedly close or restrict access to the site. In recent weeks, with the increase of Jewish settlers moving to predominantly Arab neighborhoods, rumors of aggressive Israeli plans to take over the Temple Mount proliferate in the Arab press and media. And just weeks ago, on October 29, LIBA held a conference in JerusaContinued on page 76


NOVEMBER 20, 2014

100 24


The terrorists are lauded for their martyrdom – youths in Gaza pose with axes in celebration of Tuesday’s murders

the status quo, that it is the Palestinian extremists who are “instigating violence through incitement,” and that “Israel is the only country in the Middle East that fully, unstintingly, continuously, and constantly protects the freedom of worship and the access to the holy sites of worship.” At the same time, the prime minister pleads with Feiglin and other activists to desist from asserting their agendas for the time being for the sake of Israel’s security. It is time now for Palestinian leaders to stop inciting the masses to riot and kill in the name of G-d.


are 24 orphans sitting shiva on Rechov Agassi this week. 24 sons and daughters don’t have their fathers to say kiddush on Friday night; instead they will be saying kaddish for them. In this time of tragedy and horror we ask Hashem to send us the true nechama as we mourn for our lost brothers. Yehi zichram baruch. 

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

lem, which was attended by a number of MKs and right-wing advocates. As Rabbi Glick left the building that night, he became the target of an attempted assassination by Islamic jihadist and former Palestinian prisoner Mu’taz Hijazi. Hijazi, who was released from Israeli prison after serving a decade-long sentence for terrorist activities, said upon his release in 2012, “I’m glad to be back in Jerusalem. I hope to be a thorn in the Zionist plan of Judaizing Jerusalem.” Hours after the attempted assassination, Israeli police surrounded Hijazi’s home; when he opened fire, they returned the shots and he was killed. The Temple Mount was closed to all worshipers and visitors immediately following the incident and was later reopened to Muslim men only over the age of 35. Israel’s approval of new home construction in and near Arab neighborhoods in Ramot was, unfortunately, announced not long after the incident, further fanning Arab rumors of Israeli aggression on all fronts. Violent riots and terrorist attacks have drastically escalated tensions in the region. In continued efforts to “calm tempers,” Netanyahu met last Thursday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to confer about the situation. Netanyahu resolutely affirmed his commitment to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount. According to Kerry, both Israel and Jordan, who had recalled its ambassador to Israel in response to Temple Mount tensions, agreed on very practical steps that would help tensions subside dramatically but avoided detailing those steps. The next day, the age restriction on Muslim worshippers was dropped in time for Friday’s prayers. While riots and demonstrations erupted in parts of Israel, the fact that none of those riots occurred on the Temple Mount was noteworthy. Approximately 40,000 Muslims prayed there last Friday without incident. But one productive trilateral meeting and one unexpectedly peaceful prayer service do not seem promising. Many believe that the Palestinians are using the crusade for Temple Mount as an excuse to inflict terror and start another Intifada. Until now, what Netanyahu has referred to as “status quo” on the Temple Mount has, for the most part, pacified both Muslims and the majority of Jews. In response to international criticism for quelling riots with a strong arm, Netanyahu reminds world leaders that he is committed to maintaining





NOVEMBER 20, 2014

90 26

Notable Quotes Notable


Compiled by Nate Davis

Compiled by Nate Davis

“Say“Say What?”What?” The issue of climate change is a perfect example of why young people have to lead. Because old people—they’ve created a mess, and then they’ll be gone, and then you—you’re the ones who have to deal with it. - President Obama at a town hall meeting for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative

Yesterday, LeBron James apologized to fans for not dunking enough this season. LeBron says he’s trying as hard as he can, but at the end of the day, he’s just one team.

President Obama shows up in China, he’s chewing gum, they go crazy. A big stink because the president’s chewing gum… Child labor, not a problem. Censorship, not a problem. Torture, not a problem. Chewing gum in China — oh, my G-d! You better not be over here chewing gum. - David Letterman

- Jimmy Fallon

Deadly Attack on Jerusalem Mosque. - CNN headline banner while covering the Har Nof terrorist attack on Tuesday The Mormon Church said this week that their founder Joseph Smith may have had between 30 and 40 wives. And just to be safe, he started every conversation with, “Happy anniversary!” - Seth Myers

In Beaumont, California, two people have lined up over two weeks early at Best Buy for Black Friday. The two people said they’re hoping to get a great deal on a life. - Conan O’Brien

It is Veterans Day, when we honor everyone who served in all of the campaigns. We honor them with dignity and respect, and of course, mattress sales and tire discounts. - Craig Ferguson

They asked us to delay the moment of silence to wait until the mayor got there. They kept telling us, “Wait, he’s coming. He’s coming,” and I said, “No, we’re not waiting. We’re not going to wait for him for a moment of silence. It happened at a certain time. That’s the time that we have to toll the bells.” - Miriam Estrella, who lost five family members in Flight 587 over Belle Harbor 13 years ago, talking about Mayor de Blasio’s late arrival at the memorial ceremony last week I was just not feeling well this morning. I had a very rough night. I woke up sluggish, and I should have gotten myself moving quicker … (I) just woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep and I felt really sluggish and off-kilter this morning. - Mayor de Blasio explaining why he was late to the memorial ceremony

Developers are working on a new app that gives you a 10-second warning before an earthquake. The app is called “Too Late.” - Conan O’Brien

I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine. - Canadian Prime Minister Harper upon greeting Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit Pre-K does put money in the pockets of folks who don’t have to pay for childcare and other options after school. We’re doing the same reality. Building affordable housing addresses the number one expense in people’s lives. Giving people paid sick leave, raising minimum wage, creating a living wage program where government subsidizes employers. You attack from enough angles, enough directions, then it starts to add up to something. – Mayor de Blasio on MSNBC explaining his governing philosophy Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus. - Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a televised address

On the occasion of the National Day of the State of Palestine, I wish to convey to your Excellency my best wishes for your health and happiness and for the prosperity of the people of the State of Palestine. - From a letter written by the King of Sweden to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to mark November 15th, which Yasser Arafat declared Palestinian National Day

According to a new report, Detroit, Michigan, is the most dangerous city in the country with Oakland, California, coming in second. And the third most dangerous was somehow Detroit again. - Seth Myers

Have you met Joe Biden? - Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) when asked on Fox what his position is on impeaching President Obama over his plans of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants

- Jimmy Kimmel Why can’t you worship in your mosque and leave our churches alone? - A protester during Muslim prayers inside the Washington Cathedral which was turned into a mosque for a day

One of the biggest arguments protestors have against Klinghoffer is that it humanizes terrorists. But terrorists are human. - Jesse Kovarsky, the Jewish actor who plays a terrorist in the controversial play, Killing Klinghoffer

Beijing residents will no doubt feel uneasy when the city is once again smothered in smog after the Apec meeting, but they will get used to it as they did before. - Editorial in The China Daily regarding the respite Beijing had from smog due to rules placed in effect in preparation for the AsiaPacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit.

President Obama is in China now for an economic summit in Beijing. The president wore a traditional purple silk shirt along with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. That’s after they taught Putin how to put a shirt on. - Jimmy Fallon

Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew is coming. You drink it, you get a combination of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. – David Letterman

This week, Bill Clinton tweeted a photo of himself reading George W. Bush’s new book, 41. Then George W. Bush responded to that post on Instagram. Then John McCain said, “You two are hilarious” by telegraph. – Jimmy Fallon

The heroic New York doctor who caught Ebola has been declared Ebola-free. President Obama called the doctor to thank him for his selflessness and compassion. Then to be safe, Obama threw his phone in a trashcan and lit it on fire. - Jimmy Fallon

Too many Israelis have died; too many Palestinians have died. At this difficult time, I think it’s important for both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and reject violence. - President Obama after the gruesome terrorist attack in Har Nof on Tuesday ISIL’s actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which AbdulRahman adopted as his own. Today we grieve together, yet we also recall that the indomitable spirit of goodness and perseverance that burned so brightly in Abdul-Rahman Kassig and which binds humanity together, ultimately is the light that will prevail over the darkness of ISIL. – President Obama reacting to the beheading of Peter Kassig (who “converted” to Islam during his captivity and “took on” the name Abdul-Rahman)

27 91

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

RadioShack says it’s staying open to accommodate their target demo: people who forgot to bring an iPhone charger to their parents’ house. - ibid

Sesame Street turned 45 years old. If you are not familiar with it, Sesame Street is how we entertained our children before we could just hand them an iPhone.

Every day for the last six years, I ask my staff early in the morning to contact the Department of Defense to get a detailed report of the number of troops deployed, the number wounded, and the number killed. Not a general number; the exact number every day. Because for every one of those warriors, there’s an entire family, extended family, back in America that has bled or is bleeding. As of this morning, U.S. troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan: 6,703; troops wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan: 5,168. - Vice President Joe Biden at a Veteran’s Day ceremony (the correct number of wounded was 52,168)


RadioShack just announced that it will open most of its stores at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving day. Of course, experts say those stores would do better if they opened even earlier — like 1983. - Jimmy Fallon

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

Wacky Lawsuit Trivia

2. John Coomer is in the midst of a lawsuit against the Kansas City Royals because he sustained a detached retina while at a ballgame in 2009. How did the injury take place? a. He was hit in the eye by a hot dog which was thrown by the team mascot, “Sluggerrr.” b. The team mascot, “Sluggerrr,” was throwing balls into the stands and one hit Coomer. c. He was drunk and bumped into an ice cream stand. d. He claims that because he was seated in the upper deck, he had to squint and that damaged his eye. 3. Why did Kellogg’s sue Exxon in 1996? a. Because Exxon started using the slogan “gas of champions,” which Kellogg’s argued was a knock-off of one of their slogans. b. Because the Exxon tiger looked too similar to Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes spokesperson “Tony the Tiger.” c. Because they had a contract giving Kellogg’s the exclusive right to be sold in Exxon minimarkets, but Exxon did not abide by the contract. d. Because when the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred, the Kellogg’s plant was forced to shut down for two months due to environmental hazards. 4. Why did Jonathan Lee Riches sue “The Guinness Book of Records” in 2009? a. Because he found faulty information in the book. b. Because he claimed that he ate 1,700 pancakes in one day and they refused to include that in the book.

c. Because they named him as the “most litigious individual in the history of mankind.” d. Because they fired him from his editorial assistant position. 5. Why did Scott Anthony Gomez Jr. sue the Pueblo County Jail in Colorado in 2008? a. Because they served mashed potatoes as a side dish for 14 straight days. b. Because he injured himself while trying to escape. c. Because his roommate snored. d. Because he was not allowed to watch a football game which was on after his curfew. 6. In 2006, Curtis Gokey commenced a suit against the City of Lodi, California, for damage done to his parked vehicle when a city dump truck backed into it negligently. Why was his suit dismissed? a. Because he was parked in the middle of the highway. b. Because he told the dump truck to hit his car because “we are conducting an amateur movie shoot.” c. His car was a remote control toy car. d. He was driving the city dump truck. Answers 1. D- Teunis Tenbrook was banned from attending classes at Erasmus University in Rotterdam after administrators said his foot odor was distracting to professors and students. After a 10 year legal fight, he was allowed to resume his education at the school. In his ruling, the judge said professors and students would “just have to hold their noses and bear it” if the smell of Tenbrook’s feet bothers them in the future. 2. A- The defense argued that the hotdog toss by “Sluggerrr” is a usual practice at the Royals games and the risk is the same as getting hit with a ball. The case is still pending—“ongoing,” for you three people in the Five Towns who are not lawyers. 3. B- Kellogg’s sued Exxon Mobile, claiming that the Exxon tiger looked too similar to Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes spokesperson “Tony the Tiger.” Both tigers had been emblematic of their respective brands for more than 30 years. Kellogg’s argued against Exxon’s use of

the tiger in relation to food products inside the “Tiger Mart” convenience stores claiming that children might mistake Exxon’s tiger for their beloved “Tony the Tiger.” In the end, the court ruled that Exxon did not violate Kellogg’s trademark because the oil giant consistently used the tiger cartoon images in its marketing materials for more than 32 years. 4. C- Riches, who is known by the nickname “Johnny Sue-Nami,” has filed over 4,000 lawsuits. His targets included George W. Bush, Somali pirates, NASCAR, NFL quarterback Michael Vick, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Martha Stewart and Steve Jobs. 5. B- Gomez was injured when he tried to rappel on bed sheets down the side of the 85-foot building and fell. Gomez sued the sheriff of the southern Colorado County saying authorities caused his injuries by making it too easy to fly the coop. His suit notes, “Defendants . . . did next to nothing to ensure that the jail was secure and the plaintiff could not escape.” 6. D- Curtis Gokey was working at his job as driver of a city dump truck when he backed the dump truck into a parked vehicle, causing $3,600 in damage. The owners of the parked vehicle were Gokey and his wife, so Gokey brought a claim against the city to cover his repair bill. To help his case, Gokey admitted that the accident was his fault. The city rejected the claim, arguing that Gokey was the author of his own woes, and pointing out that he was effectively suing himself. Not to be discouraged, Gokey’s wife then commenced a separate action. Her claim was also rejected because as a married couple, California law recognized them as one entity. Wisdom key: 5-6 Correct: You know too much about lawsuits. If I say anything about you, you will probably sue me. So I will just keep quiet. 2-4 Correct: You know a little bit about lawsuits, but you probably think you know a lot. Come to think of it, you’re probably a lawyer. 0-1 Correct: No, a lawsuit is not a garment.

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

1. Teunis Tenbrook, a philosophy student, sued Erasmus University in the Netherlands for expelling him. In 2009, he won his case and was permitted to return. Why was he expelled? a. He refused to raise his hand in class b. He voiced his philosophical objections to certain classes by whistling in a high pitch. c. He refused to read certain assignments on religious grounds. d. He had smelly feet





Travel Guide: Newport, Rhode Island By Aaron Feigenbaum

side of the Patriots, in large part due to the burdensome taxes levied by the British Colonial administration. In fact, Newport became such a hotbed of Patriot activity

a Jewish immigrant from Holland, who served as the congregation’s first chazzan and who advised Harrison on the shul’s interior design. Touro Synagogue became a

collective vision, the Marble House became one of the most opulent mansions in the world. The main inspiration for the house’s design came from the Petit Tri-

er you’re taking a stroll along the stunning Cliff Walk trail, visiting the homes of the Vanderbilts and Astors, exploring the city’s museums and Colonial landmarks, or browsing the quaint, charming shops of Thames Street, Newport offers the promise of a stress-free vacation in an ideal setting. As the location of America’s very first shul, Newport also holds special significance for American Jewry as a bastion of freedom from religious persecution and as the place that started a rich culture that would profoundly shape the American social, political, and economic landscape from Colonial times right up to the present. One of America’s oldest cities, Newport was founded in 1639, just 19 years after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. The town’s first settlers came from Boston in order to establish a new town that would be free from political interference with their religious practices. Thus, Newport’s 1641 Town Charter enshrined the principles of religious and political freedom, as well as diversity and tolerance - a prototype for the future America. Many Jews and Quakers, frequent victims of religious discrimination by Colonial authorities, flocked to Newport and made the small agricultural settlement a bustling trade port on the Atlantic coast. By the 18th century, the majority of the town’s inhabitants were Quakers and their culture heavily influenced Newport’s architecture, arts, politics, economics, and social life. Thanks to the trade of fish, fine goods such as silver and furniture, and, unfortunately, slaves, Newport became an economic powerhouse in the mid-18th century, joining the likes of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia as one of Colonial America’s leading port cities. Along with other booming cities, Newport’s allegiances before and during the Revolutionary War lay firmly on the

that British soldiers occupied the town from 1776 to 1779, causing much of the population to flee and the economy to lag. After the war, Newport struggled to recover its former glory. The city was able to get back on its feet in the early 19th century as a haven for artists and intellectuals. At the end of that century, Newport gained its reputation as a “playground for the wealthy” as many aristocratic families build vacation homes there. Newport’s popularity is in large part due to the mansions, but also its fishing industry, naval base, and yacht clubs, among other establishments. Newport today remains a thriving, vibrant city that prides itself on its diversity, history, and scenic landscapes. Things to See and Do: Touro Synagogue: Built in 1763, this is the oldest shul in the U.S. The congregation itself dates back to 1658 when the descendants of Sephardic Jews, who had fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal, themselves fled from the Caribbean in search of greater religious freedom. As the Jewish population of Newport continued to grow, it was finally decided in 1758 that a shul should be built for the community. Peter Harrison, a local British-American merchant and architect, graciously volunteered to lay out the shul’s design. His design, possibly inspired by those of shuls in New York and the Dutch island of Curacao, made the Touro Synagogue one of the most beautiful in America. It was spared by the British during the Revolutionary War as they turned it into a hospital and meeting house. Famously, George Washington wrote a letter to the then-president of Congregation Yeshuat Israel, Moses Seixas, in which he defended religious freedom and expressed good tidings to the Jewish people. The letter is ceremonially recited there once every year, often with dignitaries such as Supreme Court justices and university presidents in attendance. The shul owes its name to Isaac Touro,

National Historic Site in 1946. Congregation Yeshuat Israel is still active and gladly welcomes visitors who wish to daven and/or tour. Tours are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for students, and free for children 13 and under. The Breakers: Arguably Newport’s most famous and grandest mansion, The Breakers is a 70-room architectural masterpiece, incorporating the most dazzling artistic elements of the Italian Renaissance. When Cornelius Vanderbilt II, President of the New York Central Railway company, purchased the house in 1885 as his summer home, it was nothing more than a simple wooden building. That changed after he commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a grand palace that would match, or even exceed, those of the wealthiest European aristocrats. The interior is virtually the same as it was when the Vanderbilt family occupied the mansion. Highlights include the extravagant foyer, the library, music room, and the 2nd-floor bedrooms. When you exit from the rear of the building, you’ll be met with an impressive view of the ocean. Just near the mansion is the stable and carriage house where visitors can see the original carriages that were used by the staff to run Mrs. Vanderbilt’s errands. Admission to The Breakers only is $19.50 for adults and $5.50 for youth, but you can also purchase a bundle pack to see The Breakers plus another mansion, or 5 mansions including The Breakers. Marble House: Cornelius Vanderbilt’s brother, William, constructed his own summer home in Newport during the period of 1888-92. Marble House was as given to William Vanderbilt’s wife, Alva, as a 39th birthday present. Alva envisioned the house an American “temple to the arts.” Thanks to the $11 million supplied by Mr. Vanderbilt ($7 million of which was spent on 500,000 cubic feet of marble) as well as Alva and architect Richard Morris Hunt’s

anon at Versailles in France. The array of architectural styles Marble House incorporates is staggering. From the Louis XIV style Grand Salon to the Rococo style Library to the Gothic Room, displaying the Vanderbilts’ collection of medieval and Renaissance decorative pieces, Marble House is the epitome of Gilded Age luxury. After William Vanderbilt’s death, Alva remarried to Oliver H.P. Belmont and had a beautiful Chinese Tea House built right on the cliffside where she would host parties and rallies for women’s right to vote. The Elms: Another “summer cottage” for the wealthy elite, The Elms, built in 1901, served as the residence for coal baron Edward Julius Berwind. The mansion’s design is based on that of Chateau d’Asnieres, a mid-18th century French chateau. The art collection includes beautiful 18th century French and Venetian paintings, as well as exquisite Oriental jade. The mansion is smaller compared to The Breakers and Marble House, but that’s no reason to miss out on it. The grounds alone are some of the most impressive of the Newport mansions. From a marble and bronze sculpture park to elegant fountains to meticulously designed gardens to a carriage house and horse stables, The Elms’ exterior perfectly complements the palatial interior. In addition to a tour of the house’s main floors, you can opt to descend to the basement and see what life was like for the servants. Rosecliff: This “H” shaped, Versailles influenced mansion was built between 1898 and 1902 by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Oelrichs and her husband Hermann, an agent for a steamship line. The Oelrichs hosted many lavish parties in the Louis XIV style ballroom, including one which featured magician Harry Houdini. Rosecliff has also served as a prime filming location for movies such as The Great Gatsby, True Lies, and Amistad. Those who don’t find the extreme ostentatious-

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

Famed for its opulent gilded era mansions, the shopping and breathtaking coastal scenery, Newport is New England’s shining gem on the water. Wheth-


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ness of The Breakers or Marble House to their liking will find Rosecliff’s relatively simpler, less gaudy layout a welcome alternative. Chateau-sur-Mer: The subtle luxury of this Victorian mansion stands in marked contrast to the bold flashiness of its French counterparts in Newport. Built in 1852 for China trade merchant William Wetmore,

house in the Victorian style we see today. Unlike the seasonal mansions of Newport, this one was intended for year-round residence. Other mansions: Kingscote, Chepstow, Beechwood, and Belcourt Castle, among others, are also well worth your time. Colony House: The fourth oldest

include the announcement of the death of King George II and the ascension of King George III in 1761, the celebration of the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766, and the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony on July 20, 1776. The house’s Great Hall hosted a banquet given by French General Rochambeau in honor of Washington’s victory. It served

al fortification that was in use up to 1953. The park offers great views of the harbor and Narragansett Bay, as well as hosting the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals. The park is also home to Dwight Eisenhower’s summer house. Newport also has two picturesque lighthouses. One is Castle Hill Lighthouse which sits atop a hill overlooking the

the Chateau-sur-Mer was often the scene of socialite parties in its massive Grand Hall. After William’s death in 1862, his son George inherited the family fortune and had Richard Morris Hunt remodel the

statehouse still standing in the U.S., Colony House was built in the 1730‘s in the English Georgian style and is the site of many important events that led to the creation of the United States. Some of these

as Rhode Island’s main state house from 1739 to 1901, when it was converted to a courthouse. Colony House became a National Historic Landmark in 1962. Naval War College Museum: Though small, this museum provides excellent insight into the naval heritage of Narragansett Bay from Colonial times to the present. Among other things, you can learn how the first torpedoes were made and how the War College worked as a thinktank for naval strategy. There are also vintage Navy recruitment posters. Admission is free. National Museum of American Illustration: This beautiful museum, set in the Vernon Court mansion, features over 2,000 pieces of illustration from such names as Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish. The art and architecture complement each other to make for what’s undoubtedly one of America’s finest art galleries. Admission is $18 for adults, $12 for students, $8 for children 5 to 12 (children under 5 not admitted), and $16 for seniors. Thames Street: The heart of the downtown shopping district, Thames Street has many charming shops selling art, jewelry, clothing, antiques and more. The shops are a bit pricey, but Thames Street is still the perfect place for souvenirs, or even just a stroll along the boardwalk. The street is also one of the oldest in America and was one of Newport’s two original streets when its plans were laid out in 1654. Besides shops, you can see historic houses and stay in one of the many cozy bed-and-breakfasts. Outdoor activities: Newport boasts some of America’s most beautiful coastline scenery and has plenty of fun activities to match. The most popular is the Cliff Walk hike from which you can see famous mansions, rocky causeways, fishermen, and, of course, spectacular sunsets. Fort Adams State Park offers a free tour of Fort Adams, a late 18th century coast-

ocean and nearby Pell Bridge. The other, Rose Island Lighthouse, is a bit harder to get to as it’s located on Rose Island, but it’s well worth the trip. In addition to its beautiful architecture and serene location, you can step inside it and view the museum or even stay a night as a keeper. Outdoor sports in Newport include fishing, sailing, jet skiing, kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, and skydiving. One of the most popular activities is taking a cruise on Gansett Cruises’ restored wooden yacht. The cruise goes along the coast and offers great views of mansions, lighthouses, and other boats. There is also a tour guide on board to inform you about the history, people, and wildlife of the Narragansett Bay. Adults are $26, children 4-12 $20, and seniors $24. Cruises are not offered in the winter. Where to Daven and Eat: Touro Synagogue is the only orthodox shul in Newport. It is located at 85 Touro St. and can be reached at (401) 847-4794 or info@tourosynagogue.org The Admiral Weaver Inn bed-andbreakfast is a popular place of lodging for frum visitors. It provides a limited selection of kosher food in-house as well as kosher catering (though at a considerable cost). A Shabbos blech is provided. Kosher food is also available from Newport’s various supermarkets. How to Get There: The closest airport is T.F. Green which serves Warwick, Rhode Island. From there, it’s 35 minutes to Newport. Flights start around $360 per person. By car, the city is accessible via three bridges: Pell, Mount Hope, and Sakonnet. Driving from L.A. to Newport takes at least 4 days and crosses a distance of about 3,000 miles. Greyhound bus service is available at a price of about $260 per person round trip. (Sources: Wikitravel, Tripadvisor, National Park Service, Discover Newport)






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GLOBAL Putin Gets Icy Reception at G20 Summit

As world leaders gathered in Brisbane, Australia, last weekend for the G20 summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin was rebuked and given the “bad boy in the class” treatment. The world leaders warned Putin that he risked more economic sanctions if he failed to end Russian backing for separatist rebels in Ukraine. “There’s a real choice here. There’s a different and better way for Russia to behave that could lead to an easing of relations, but at the moment he’s not taking that

path,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron. President Obama said the United States was at the forefront of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17”—a reference to the downing of a Malaysian airliner over rebel-held territory on July 17, with the loss of 298 lives. The G20 host, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, for his part, accused Putin of trying to relive the “lost glories of tsarism.” The message to Putin was made clear not only by the statements of various leaders but by protocol as well: He was placed on the outer edge of the formal G20 leaders’ photograph. While Obama and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping were met by Australia’s governor general and attorney general when they arrived in Brisbane, Putin was greeted by the assistant defense minister. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman revealed that upon greeting Putin at the Summit, Mr. Harper said, “I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.” Indications are that Mr. Putin was quite insulted—he was the first leader to

fly out of Brisbane on Sunday afternoon, skipping out on the final lunch meeting. Putin, however, explained that he left early because he wanted to be rested before returning to work. “On Monday, I must go to work. I hope to have four or five hours to sleep.” Yes, he must get his sleep—invading sovereign nations is quite tiring.

Is There a Chocolate Shortage?

According to Switzerland’s Barry Callebaut Group, we’re all eating too much chocolate. The group is the world’s largest confectionary producer and it joins Mars, Inc. in warning of a shortfall that could reach a million tons by the year 2020. Soaring demand has helped chocolate prices hit more than double of what it was just eight years ago. Manufacturers have been packing their chocolate with more nuts, fruits and wafers and making bars smaller to help moderate prices for consumers. Barry Callebaut Group, which provides chocolate for firms from global giants to artisan bakers, has revealed it sold 1.7million tons in 2013/14 – a rise of 11.7 percent over the year before. But there are limited quantities of the fragile crop, which means as production rises, so does the price. “The global cocoa sector may suffer a 1million metric ton shortfall by 2020 because of increasing economic and environmental pressures on cocoa farms around the world,” the firm said this week. Chocolate deficits, whereby farmers produce less cocoa than the world eats, are becoming the norm. Already, we are in the midst of what could be the longest streak of consecutive chocolate deficits in more than 50 years. It also looks like deficits aren’t just carrying over from year-toyear—the industry expects them to grow. Last year, the world ate roughly 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced. The chocolate shortage is exacerbated on two sides. For one, supply is an issue. Dry weather in West Africa (specifically in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where more than 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is produced) has greatly decreased production in the region. A nasty fungal disease known as frosty pod hasn’t helped either. The International Cocoa Organiza-

tion estimates it has wiped out between 30 percent and 40 percent of global coca production. Because of all this, cocoa farming has proven a particularly tough business, and many farmers have shifted to more profitable crops, like corn, as a result. On the other side is the world’s growing and insatiable appetite for smooth, creamy, luscious chocolate. The Chinese, in particular, are buying more and more chocolate each year. Still, they only consume per capita about 5 percent of what the average Western European eats. There’s also the rising popularity of dark chocolate, which contains a good deal more cocoa by volume than traditional chocolate bars (the average chocolate bar contains about 10 percent, while dark chocolate often contains upwards of 70 percent). As such, chocolate producers have been slowly raising prices. For now, there are efforts in place to try to make chocolate cheap and abundant—although taste may be comprised in the process. The majority of chocolate-eaters won’t really care—as long as they have their chocolate and can eat it too.

Revisionist History: Muslims Discovered America

According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it was not Christopher Columbus who discovered America, rather it was—want to take a wild guess?—Muslims. “Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus,” Erdogan said in a televised speech during an Istanbul summit of Muslim leaders from Latin America. Erdogan won his bid for re-election in August under the campaign banner “Allah is Enough for Us, Turkey is Enough for Us.” On the campaign trail, the Turkish president was known for his blatant anti-Semitic and pro-Islamist remarks. In July, he said of the Jews, “Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism.”


The tax hike is very much to blame. Prior to the hike, many individuals and companies had spent money before the sales tax was increased in April from 5 percent to 8 percent, and spending has languished since then. “The impact of the sales tax was much more severe than expected,” Junko Nishioka, an economist at RBS Japan Securities, pointed out. Given the gloomy news, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to put off another sales tax hike planned for next October, slowing progress on efforts to rein in Japan’s government debt, the largest among industrialized nations. He also will likely make the dismal GDP reading the basis for calling a general election in mid-December to underpin the public mandate for his “Abenomics” policies of lax monetary policy, fiscal spending and structural economic reforms. Japan emerged from its last recession just as Abe took office in December 2012, vowing to restore the nations’ economic vigor after two decades of stagnation. The country is still struggling to regain momentum as its population declines and ages.

American Planned his Own Detention in North Korea Speaking with NK News, Matthew Miller, one of the two American detainees


NOVEMBER 20, 2014

In the third quarter of this year, Japan’s economy unexpectedly contracted as housing and business investment declined following a tax hike, dragging the country into a recession. The world’s third-largest economy contracted at a 1.6 percent pace in the July-September quarter, the government said on Monday, contrary to predictions it would grow after a big drop the previous quarter. The surprise deepens uncertainty when China’s growth is slowing and the 18-country eurozone grew only 0.2 percent in the same quarter.


Japan Slides into a Recession

released from North Korea last week, revealed that he went to North Korea with the intention of being detained. In an interview with NK News, which is not affiliated with the North Korean government, Miller explained that he went to North Korea with the goal of finding out how life there is “beyond the tourist trail.” He explained that his interest in life in North Korea was not satisfied by simply reading news articles and watching documentaries. He went to North Korea on April 10, 2014, with the intention of being detained. “My main fear was that they would not arrest me when I arrived,” Miller said. So on the flight to Pyongyang, Miller intentionally damaged his tourist visa. Despite this, and the eyebrows raised in North Korea by an American demanding asylum, Miller’s fear was nearly confirmed: He said North Korean authorities didn’t want to arrest him at first – they wanted him to leave. “I was trying to stay in the country,” said Miller. “They wanted me to leave. The very first night they said, ‘We want you to leave on the next flight.’ But I refused. I just did not leave.” Miller said he was initially moved to the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang, where he said North Korean officials again urged him to leave the country. But again Miller refused. Actual detention did not start for Miller until the third week of the American’s arrival. On April 25, Miller was moved to what he described as a “guesthouse,” the same place where he said fellow American Kenneth Bae was being held – along with several other unidentified prisoners. Miller would ultimately stay there for five more months. “This might sound strange, but I was prepared for the ‘torture’ but instead of that I was killed with kindness, and with that, my mind folded and the plan fell apart,” Miller told NK News. Since Miller had such a good time, maybe he should go back. Next time we won’t inconvenience him by sending the Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper to pick him up.

Wood Grilled Rib Eye mustard demi | fried yukon gold potatoes sous vide abalone mushrooms | roasted pearl onions

“Jihadi John” Injured in Attack on ISIS

The British government announced last Saturday that “Jihadi John,” the British citizen terrorist who beheaded two British and two American hostages held by Is-





NOVEMBER 20, 2014


lamic State terrorists, has been injured in a U.S.-led air strike. The masked executioner with a London accent is believed to have narrowly escaped death when he attended a summit of the group’s leaders in an Iraqi town close to the Syrian border last Saturday. According to reports, the notorious terrorist was injured and rushed to the hospital after a devastating airstrike carried out by U.S and Iraqi planes. The secret, heavily guarded meeting

took place last Saturday in a makeshift underground bunker beneath a house in Al Qaim. At least 30 tribal elders from various parts of Syria and Iraq gathered to pledge allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Al-Baghdadi. At least 10 ISIS commanders were killed in the attack and 40 were wounded, including Al-Baghadadi and Jihadi John.

Growing Hair Industry in Pakistan


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In Pakistan, hair makes you happy. In fact, hair is so synonymous with strength and masculinity that even some Taliban members use ointments to give their hair and beards a lustrous finish. Those who aren’t blessed with a full head of hair are called “ganjas,” a derogatory term. “Here, calling someone a ‘ganja’ is a stigma but over there [in the West], saying ‘bald’ is not that bad,” explains Dr. Humayun Mohmand, one of the first doctors to offer hair transplant treatment in Pakistan. When Dr. Mohmand opened his practice years ago, the hair transplant business wasn’t thriving. But in 2007, when Nawaz Sharif, who was balding when he was deposed as prime minister by General Pervez Musharraf eight years earlier, returned from exile with a full head of hair, Pakistanis admired his lush locks and clamored to get hair transplants for their balding heads. “After the hair transplant...by Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif [his brother, the chief minister of Punjab province], this has become very popular,” said Doctor Fawad Aamir at his Peshawar clinic. “[Before] they were very afraid of this, that something is going to happen, that cancer will develop, that infection will lead to the brain.” Now they don’t share that concern. One patient in Dr. Aamir’s waiting room is the son of Farid Khan Khattak, a big man who fills the room with hearty laughter. “My son had some kind of inferiority complex because he had some gaps in his hair,” he joked. “One of my friends told me that instead of a hair transplant I should buy a motorbike for my son. But my son insisted: ‘Instead of a motorbike I want a transplant,’ so it’s for his happiness.” Today, there are nearly 120 hair transplant clinics in Pakistan, according to official figures, with a dozen in Peshawar. The operation generally costs from $400$1,000, with some top clinics charging up to $6,000 – a fraction of what it costs in the West, but still well out of reach for most Pakistanis. Many clients come from abroad, in particular the Pakistani-Afghan diaspora who come to see their friends and family – and return more hirsute. Some patients aren’t just concerned with the hair on their heads. They come to clinics for beard transplants, eager to display their piety with healthy growths on their faces. One such patient came to Dr. Aamir. He was a Taliban commander’s son who became frustrated with a patchy beard as compared to fellow rebels’ bushy beards. “A doctor tried to convince the man that ‘you don’t grow beard because this is the beard given to you by G-d,’” he said. “And he said, ‘No, I want to have this like Mohammed, peace be upon him.’ “So we went ahead and six months later he had a very big beard and he was very happy.”





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NOVEMBER 20, 2014


Venezuela’s Holiday Season Underway with State Mandated Discounts To someone living in America, saying, “He’s no Hugo Chávez,” may not be an insult, but Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has been dealing with exactly that problem: the poor people in Venezuela still adore the deceased Hugo Chávez and are disappointed in his successor. But now that may change after Maduro launched a plan to lower the cost of toys, clothes and appliances for shoppers over the holiday season. Merchants are prohibited from charging more than a 30 percent markup on any item.

Since assuming power, Maduro has had to deal with a challenging economy. While Venezuela has the world’s largest petroleum reserves, it also has one of its highest inflation rates, at 63 percent. Last month, Maduro decreed a ban on street sales of coffee, eggs, shampoo and

some 50 other “regulated” items whose prices are capped by the government. He ordered the National Guard to police market stalls for such items as mayonnaise and powdered milk and threatened to prosecute recidivist violators.

ISRAEL IsraAid at the Forefront of the Ebola Crisis The lone Israeli or Jewish disaster relief organization on the ground in the Ebola zone, IsraAID is providing psychosocial counseling and training to service providers — health workers, social workers, teachers, police — dealing with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. Those who interact with Ebola patients are also in need of help as they deal with the constant trauma and tragedy. IsraAid is there to help counsel those workers and provide them with much need succor.

“Dealing with the psychosocial trauma

is critical to addressing the Ebola outbreak,” Shachar Zahavi, IsraAID’s founding director, said in a recent interview. “A major deterrent to treatment is that people don’t trust one another. If you don’t feel well, your family immediately hides you and you then infect your entire family. We’re trying to teach police, social workers, health workers and teachers how to deal with people who are afraid of them — and how to manage their own stress and anxiety.” Last month, IsraAID’s work earned the organization a letter of praise and thanks from Sierra Leone’s first lady, Sia Nyama Koroma. She also happens to be a psychiatric nurse, and when IsraAID held a twoday psychosocial counseling workshop last week in Freetown, Koroma cleared her schedule to attend the entire program. IsraAid has been providing counseling for 13 years and is partly funded by US Jewish institutions and federations, and supported by the Israeli government. They have journeyed to other disaster areas, such as the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines. But IsraAID staffers say Ebola is their most challenging crisis. “It’s more difficult than other disasters, mostly because it’s an ongoing disaster and it’s scary,” said Yotam Polizer, IsraAID’s regional director for Asia and now the person in charge of the Africa response. Polizer spent most of October in Sierra Leone and will head back there next week from his home base in Japan. IsraAID has brought four Israelis to Sierra Leone — two psychosocial trauma specialists and two logistics experts. Next week another six will arrive, and Polizer is working on hiring a team of locals. It’s hard to recruit Israelis to join the



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effort, organizational officials say, because they must be fit enough to work in grueling conditions required by Ebola protocols and be able to clear their schedule for at least six weeks — one week for training, three to four weeks in the field, and two to three weeks afterward to make sure they’re not infected. And then there’s the fear factor. “At least two to three times a day people start to freak out, worrying they have a fever, and they have to be calmed down,” Polizer relates. “It’s very challenging.” Aside for the counseling challenges, workers need to take their temperature every few hours, wash their hands with chlorine 20-30 times a day; refrain from any physical contact, even handshakes, with other people; and eat only at three or four carefully vetted restaurants. Most importantly, workers are cautioned not to touch their own eyes, as they are the most easily affected areas of the body. Recently, the head nurse of one hospital outside Freetown came to one of IsraAID’s stress management sessions burnt out and afraid after having lost more than 35 colleagues to Ebola, Polizer recalled. Instructors helped the nurse with a relaxation technique in which participants close their eyes and imagine themselves in a safe place. The nurse fell asleep, and when she awoke she was smiling. It was the first time since the outbreak began, she told Polizer, that she had enjoyed a proper, restful sleep.

NATIONAL MD School District: No to Muslim Holidays Last Tuesday, Montgomery County Public Schools’ Board of Education voted 7 to 1 to eliminate all references to religious celebrations for the next school year. The vote came about when local Muslim leaders requested to acknowledge their holidays on the school calendar. Now, no religious holidays will be considered a holiday in the Maryland school district. “We were blindsided. We are disappointed,” Zainab Chaudry, spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said. “It isn’t what we asked for. We don’t believe that other faith groups should be punished for our request.” Despite the ruling, as in previous years, all schools in the district will be closed on the major Jewish and Christian holidays because those days show a high number of absenteeism – not in observance of those celebrations, according to Montgomery spokesman Dana Tofig. “This is similar to what many districts across the country do,” Tofig said to Yahoo


A recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that people are generally empathetic creatures. People who gladly underwent electric shocks for cash in an experiment were more willing to sacrifice money to reduce others’ pain than they were to reduce their own. Scientists at University College London set up two experiments involving more than 160 participants in anonymous pairs, randomly assigned the ominous-sounding roles of “decider” and receiver.” The decider would get to choose between more money and more electric shocks, or less money and fewer electric shocks — say, seven shocks for 10 British pounds ($15.64), or 10 shocks for 15 British pounds ($23.46). But even though the decider always got the money, there was a twist: Half the time, the decider would get the shocks; the other half, the receiver would get the shocks. The researchers found that people were “hyper-altruistic” —the deciders were less likely to harm the receivers for a little more cash than they were to harm themselves. While they were willing to take a few more

“Those with stronger prosocial preferences [behavior that’s intentionally meant to help others] may be faster in rewarding contexts but slower in aversive [tending to avoid punishing stimulus] contexts,” the study authors wrote. “This account gels with past studies showing that people who help others quickly are judged more positively than those who hesitate, but people who harm others quickly are judged more negatively than those who hesitate.” How much of this is learned behavior and how much of it is innate? That’s unclear. And it’s also unclear whether the same pattern would hold if the stakes were higher — more money, more pain. For obvious ethical reasons, there’s a limit to the amount of pain that can be administered in a laboratory setting. “Social interactions are fraught with uncertainty because, try as we might, we can never truly know what it is like to occupy someone else’s shoes,” the study authors wrote. “Instead, we must rely on our best estimates of others’ beliefs and preferences to guide social decision making and tread carefully when their fate rests in our hands.” For now, the study reveals the goodness inherent in most people.

New KKK Accepts Jews It’s a new age for the Ku Klux Klan. According to a prominent Montana white supremacist, the group is now accepting

members regardless of race or religion. John Abarr says that his new group, the Rocky Mountain Knights, represents “the new Klan,” one which no longer holds supremacist views. Abarr, who says he is a reformed man, has long been involved in white supremacy organizations in the Wyoming and Montana areas. He claimed his opinions slowly evolved after meeting with members of the NAACP African-American advocacy group. He plans on holding a “peace summit” with other religious groups in the summer of 2015. Despite the new concept of inclusion, the Klan is conceptually a group that spews hate. As such, how can the Klan include groups that were formally banned? And although Abarr says his new Klan chapter will be nondiscriminatory, his declared mission to stop the federal government from creating a “new world order” evokes conspiracy theories rooted in anti-Semitism. Members will also be required to wear the trademark robes and hoods and participate in secret rituals. Those costumes evoked trembling fear in many African-Americans who were killed and terrorized in the name of the Klan. Many are skeptical of Abarr’s Klan’s “openness.” Rachel Carroll-Rivas, co-director of the Montana Humans Rights Network, said if Abarr was actually a reformed man, “he could drop the label of the KKK.” She further criticized Abarr’s anti-Semitic “new world order” statements. “They know that their beliefs aren’t popular, so they try to appear moderate,” Carrol-Rivas pointed out. United Klans of America representative Bradley Jenkins, the organization’s “imperial wizard,” also derides Abarr’s new organization, asserting that Abarr was going against the KKK constitution and using the organization to further his political career. The Ku Klux Klan first gained prominence in late 1860s in Southern United States, calling for white supremacy rule and the purification of American society. The movement flourished a second time in the mid-1920s, this time adding anti-Semitic ideologies, and driving the creation of the Anti-Defamation League. There are between 5,000 to 8,000 members of KKK groups.

That’s Odd A Needle in a Haystack How hard is it to find a needle in a haystack? Turns out it’s not too hard—you just need a lot of patience and lots and lots of time. Sven Sachsalber, 27, seems to have a lot of both. He spent 30 hours sifting through a giant pile of hay dumped in the Palais de Tokyo gallery in Paris. Hidden deep inside the mountain of hay was a needle dropped there by the gallery’s president, Jean de Loisy. De Loisy points out that the exhibit was more than just about sifting through the hay for the needle; it was about the complex relationship between words and actions and the world of metaphors.

“I don’t think there is anyone, regardless of whether they like modern art or not, who would not be intrigued by this childish question – can it actually be done, or is ‘Searching for a needle in a haystack’ simply a turn of phrase?” De Loisy said. Sachsalber was given 48 hours to find the secreted spike and he relished the hunt. “It’s like playing the lottery, so you don’t know if you’re going to win or not, you hope you’re going to win otherwise why play the lottery? And it’s the same thing here, even if it’s hard I think, because it’s itchy, this hay, and I have it everywhere after a few hours, but it’s fun at the same time.” This is art that everyone can connect to, the performance artist pointed out. “And it’s very accessible, I think you don’t really need to understand much about art or whatever, just everyone knows what it is,” he said.

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

Monetizing Empathy

shocks themselves to earn a higher payoff, they were less likely to raise the number of shocks for those extra bucks if it was the receiver getting the shocks instead of them. The situation worked in the inverse, too: the deciders were more willing to pay money to decrease the shocks to the receiver than they were to pay money to decrease the shocks to themselves.


News. “They refer to winter break as winter break and spring break as spring break.” The district must have a “secular, operational reason” for closing schools. “A decision was made 40 years ago based on high absenteeism among students and staff to close on days like Rosh Hashanah,” he said. Despite the closure on the Jewish holiday, officials insist is not due to religious observance. “It’s important to note that we cannot close school for religious reasons.” To some, it appears the school would rather get rid of religious observances altogether than bring Muslim holidays into the fold. “I think this really shows that the Board of Education would take drastic measures to ensure that the Muslim students don’t receive equal and fair treatment,” Chaudry said. For several years, CAIR and other Muslim activists have asked the district to add Eid ul-Fitr [which marks the end of Ramadan] and Eid ul-Adha [which falls at the end of the Hajj] to the school calendar. “This is something that the community has been working for over a decade,” she added. “We have been working hard to raise awareness.” Next year, Eid ul-Adha and Yom Kippur will fall on the same date: September 23rd. But Montgomery schools were only going to reference Yom Kippur for the closure. CAIR requested “politely but firmly” for Eid ul-Adha to be mentioned as part of the reason. The request was denied. According to the district, the school is only closed because of high absenteeism on Yom Kippur. On Muslim holidays, there is no significant absenteeism as compared to any other day.


NOVEMBER 20, 2014


Sachsalber is not new to the world of eyebrow-raising exploits. In the past, he’s eaten a highly toxic wild mushroom, spent 24 hours in a room with a cow, cut down a tree he was precariously perched on, and climbed over gravestones pretending to be a squirrel. “Even though it might look stupid, I just want to test out these things,” he said. As they say, “hay,” you never know…

Snake Outgrows Home

What do you do when your pet python outgrows your home? Yes, you read that right. A Swiss family has finally decided that the python that they smuggled from Vietnam into Switzerland 20 years ago has now outgrown their home. The nonvenomous reptile is now a whopping 16 feet and weighs 180 pounds. Samy was smuggled into the country in a boy’s pant leg. The family was allowed to keep the snake after paying a fine. He is now so big that he has a whole room for himself in the home. But now, the family has had enough and is donating the snake to the local zoo. Garenne zoo said it was keeping Samy temporarily while a special vivarium was being built to house him in nearby Saint-Cergue. Ssssounds like Samy’s going to get a home of his own.

Tractor Girl Heads to the South Pole

Dutch adventurer Manon Ossevoort is heading to the South Pole—on a tractor. Tractor Girl, as she is known, is set to fulfill a decade-long dream of chugging her way to the most southern tip of the world. Asked whether people think she is cra-

zy, the 38-year-old actress replies with a wide smile and bubbly confidence: “Only if they haven’t met me.” The mother of a 10 month old baby girl will spend about 12 hours in a tractor seat as she completes her journey around the South Pole. She will make a 4,500-kilometer (2,800 mile) round trip across the largest single mass of ice on earth, from Russia’s Novo base on the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. When not pushed to the limits by the hostile environment of frozen mountains and deadly crevasses, she will have plenty of time to admire the scenery, although she may have to take things nice and slow. “Ten kilometers an hour would be good,” she says. “Fifteen would be nice, 20 lovely.” Ossevoort travelled alone through Africa on a tractor, but in Antarctica the tractor will need to creep forward day and night so French mechanic Nicolas Bachelet will share the driving. Hopefully, the duo will be able to complete 100 to 200 kilometers a day and complete the trip in four to six weeks. “I think I’ll love the experience, travelling the last leg in relative silence over this vast and white continent,” Ossevoort enthuses. “It’s a beautiful last phase in a long pilgrimage.” In total, she will be accompanied by a team of seven, including crew who will film the journey for a documentary. Ossevoort began her trip in 2005, taking four years to drive from her home village in Holland to Cape Town at the southern tip of Africa on a tractor—and then missed the boat that was due to take her to Antarctica for the final leg due to delays. Frustrated, the former theater actress spent the next four years back in Holland, writing a book, working as a motivational speaker, and desperately trying to get back on a tractor. Now, she and her tractor will fly to Antarctica this week and set off for the pole around November 20. Her baggage will include the dreams of many that she collected in Africa and around the world. Scraps of paper and emails have been converted into digital form and will be placed in the belly of a big snowman she plans to build at the pole – to be opened only in 80 years’ time. “I want to turn them into a beautiful time capsule of the dreams of the world so that in the future children and people can read something about our dreams and not only about politics or war.” “The tractor for me symbolizes this very down-to-earth fact that if you want to do something, maybe you will not be so fast but if you keep going and keep your sense of humor you will get there,” Ossevoort relates. Ossevoort’s tractor is named Antarctica 2 in honor of legendary explorer Sir Edmund Hillary, who travelled to the South Pole on a tractor in 1958.

Life in a Bubble

Feeling down? Need to talk to someone to get out of your funk? Take a walk down Fifth Avenue and head into one of the large bubbles set up on the sidewalk—you’ll feel better after chatting with the psychologist on call. Last week, Israeli start-up Talkspace erected large transparent bubbles on New York’s Fifth Avenue to offer free online psychological treatment to pedestrians. Passersby can step into a comfortable living room—complete with a cozy chair, a bookshelf and a rug—to chat online with a therapist. According to organizers Eli Pe’er and Alon Zeipart, the project’s aim is to raise awareness of the availability of mental health services over the internet. “Many people find it easier to [seek treatment] anonymously on a touchscreen at home,” Pe’er related. There is nothing to be ashamed of in seeking help. Patients should approach their treatment with full transparency, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the clear “living rooms” erected in Manhattan. Talkspace was founded by Tel Aviv duo Oren and Roni Frank — a married couple living in New York — following the death of a close friend who failed to seek treatment for depression. According to the founders, 60 percent of people dealing with a mental health problem do not seek treatment due to financial reasons or the difficulties associated with a face-to-face meeting with a psychologist. The clear bubbles are bringing attention and awareness to their vital organization. Sure gives a new meaning to the term “shrink wrap.”

99 Phones—No Way Will you iMarry me? As November 11, Singles’ Day in China, was looming, one man decided to finally propose to avoid any more Singles’ Day festivities for him and his bride-to-be. The techy man bought 99 iPhone 6s and romantically arranged them in the shape of a heart, because, after all, there’s nothing more wonderful than to propose to your intended with some flowers and choco-

lates—I mean, a bunch of phones. The setup cost him around $82,000, but it was all for naught. The young woman declined his proposal—sending him and his 99 iPhones packing.

Siri, what do we do when she won’t say, “I do”?

Doctor Has Heart Attack on Live TV

Is there a doctor in the house? On Tuesday, a Turkish doctor suffered a heart attack in front of millions of viewers during a health broadcast on national television. Dr. Ugur Yansel, a professor of orthopedics, was talking about flat feet in children when he had a heart attack during a live telecast of the hugely popular “Healthy Living” (“Saglikli Yasam”) program on the Istanbul-based 360 channel. The doctor, who is in his late 50s, displayed symptoms such as chest pain and discomfort before suffering what appeared to be the first in a series of heart attacks. “Are you feeling well, professor?” asked Arzu Kilic, the elegantly dressed host of the show, suggesting that he took a sip of water. “It’s something to do with my pacemaker,” Yansel replied, pointing to his chest. He then took some water and had a more severe heart attack, which made him jump up on the couch. Amazingly, the host was able to maintain her composure during the tragic event and ended the broadcast with a smile on her face: “It’s time to take care of our doctor now and the commercials.” Yansel was moved to the backstage area where he had a third heart attack. He was taken to a hospital by ambulance and is reported to be in a stable condition.


Deduct the Alamo!


‘WOMEN ONLY’ GYMS Question: I frequently attend a women’s gym. On a recent visit, a man was exercising among the other women. I expressed my discomfort to the management, but they told me that they could not ask the man to leave. How can the gym advertise as “women only” if it allows men?

ed your gym and was allowed to stay. There is one caveat to the Unruh Act. A business is allowed to “discriminate” if there is a legitimate business purpose for doing so. For example, an establishment that serves alcohol may exclude patrons who are below the legal drinking age because there is a compelling societal interest in ensuring that minors do not illegally Answer: Your question raises an consume alcohol. interesting issue. Can a California business This begs the question: What if one establishment offer goods or services to has a religious objection to serving a parfemale patrons while excluding the same ticular patron? Or what if one’s religious from male patrons? The answer is, proba- observance requires what might otherwise bly not. be called “discrimination” (e.g., for reaCalifornia is ahead of the pack when sons of tznius, etc.)? The answer might be it comes to tolerance and eliminating dis- concerning for members of our communicrimination. The Unruh Civil Rights Act, ty. named for legendary civil rights advocate A recent case decided by the California Jesse Unruh, was originally enacted in Supreme Court analyzed this issue. The 1959. The law was designed to guarantee case involved a doctor who would not 212.470.6139 all Californians equal access to public ac- perform a medical procedure on a patient www.impactfulcoaching.com • info@impactfulcoaching.com commodations and businesses, regardless because of his religious objections. The Naphtali Hoff, of gender. Since then, the Unruh Act hasPresident patient sued the doctor for violating the been extended. It now prohibits arbitrary Unruh Act, and the doctor countered that forms of discrimination against any patron it would be unconstitutional to force him based on gender, race, color, religion, an- to perform the procedure on the patient cestry, medical condition, marital status, or in violation of his religious beliefs . The orientation. Court disagreed, and held that the doctor’s The Unruh Act applies to “business es- conduct violated the Act. tablishments.” While the law itself does The Court noted that the doctor had a not define what is a business establish- legitimate religious objection to offering ment, the courts have offered guidance on his medical services to the patient. The this issue. Examples of business estab- Court explained that a law that intentionallishments include restaurants, hotels, retail ly targets a particular religion is illegal unshops, hospitals, theaters, golf courses, der the Constitution. For example, a law salons, fitness clubs, and gyms. In short, that would require Jews to work on Saturthe Unruh Act applies to any establishment days would be unconstitutional. The Unthat opens its doors to the public. ruh Act, however, is a generally applicaWhat kind of conduct does the Unruh ble law that applies to everyone, but it has Act prohibit? In other words, what is con- incidental consequences on some people, sidered “discrimination”? Here are some such as the doctor. Since the Unruh Act is examples of conduct that violated the Un- a generally applicable law that applies to ruh Act. the entire public, it trumps the doctor’s priProviding free admission or discounts vate religious beliefs, even if those beliefs to women only. conflict with the Act. Charging men and women different If you have any questions about your prices for comparable services, such as rights or obligations under the Act, or if food, haircuts, or dry-cleaning. you suspect that you were the victim of Maintaining a “women only” or “men discrimination, you should contact an atonly” business. torney right away. Excluding members of one gender from the premises during certain times. Michael Rubinstein is a Los Angeles As the above examples demonstrate, based attorney. He handles personal init is probably illegal for a gym to operate jury and other matters, and also maintains as a “women only” establishment. There a daily Tort Talk blog on his website that are several of these gyms (such as Curves) discusses legal topics. Visit his website at in and around Los Angeles. While they www.mrubinsteinlaw.com. Michael welcan represent to the public that they are comes your questions or comments at Mifor women only, the key distinction is that chael@mrubinsteinlaw.com, or by calling they cannot exclude men from attending. 213-293-6075. This probably explains why a man attend-

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NOVEMBER 20, 2014

tion,” which passes income through to itscollectibles owners, Bisciotti will pay the same like the Alamo artifacts are 39.6% income tax rate that Rice would even subject to a special 28% rate, 8% have paid. would higher thanHowever, the regularBisciotti 20% for regular avoid the 3.8% Medicare tax that long-term gains). But there’s an Rice easy would havedonors paid. That might not way for like Collins to sound avoid like lot and — but of bigger $470,588 still thata tax get 3.8% an even charitaworks out to $17,882 that would have ble deduction for their gifts. goneLet’s to the say U.S.you Treasury. spend $5 million The $58,823 penalty,that based on one building a collection grows to be worth $15 under million. youcondegame’s salary lastThen year’s cide is you want it tocall. go to a museum. If tract, a tougher Fines and penyou sell it to the museum, you’ll owe alties are usually nondeductible, unless $2.8 million in capital gains tax, plus they’re consid$380,000 in “net investment ered an income “orditax” on your $10 million That’s nary gain. and necesprobably not as bad sary” as being overrun expense in by 1,500 soldiers — abut it still leaves taxpayer’s you with just $6,820,000 trade oforafter-tax busigain. ness. (Criminal let’s finesNow are never say that instead deductible.) Rice of selling your could argue that collection to the paying the fine museum, you is “necessary” to continue his employdonate it. Now ment with the Ravens.you But won’t from a pay PR standpoint, that would any likelytax be aatfumall. ble. Whether Rice attempts (Why to deduct should it or not, the actual money up in you?winds You never the League’s treasury — and since the really “realize” league is a not-for-profityour organization, it gain.) And, will escape taxation entirely. because you’re making a charitable Rice has achosen not to fight gift, youhimself get to take charitable deduccriminal or appeal tion for assault the fullcharges $15 million valuethe of league’s punishment. But he’s taken a your donation! Thatknock same strategy works for than any rougher to his reputation sorthitofhe’s appreciated any taken onproperty. the field,Let’s and say reyou paid $1 million for a piece of propcovering won’t be easy — if it’s possierty, which now worth $3 million. ble at all. We isshouldn’t be surprised to Now want your mater to have see himyou making somealma visible donations $3 million, even though youorganiknow tothat women’s shelters or other they can’t use the property itself. You zations opposing domestic violence. could sell the property, donate the afBut those should qualify as charitable ter-tax proceeds, and take a deduction contributions and lower Rice’s taxes as for your after-tax gift. Or, you could well. just donatereally the property the There’s not muchand of a let “planschool sell it. That would avoid the tax ning” angle here, per se. But there is on the gain and give you a deduction a valuable lesson, and it’s that every for the full pre-tax value! financial activity has at least some tax Tax planning couldn’t save the consequence. Sometimes it’s easy to Texans at the Alamo. But it can save see; sometimes it’s hidden. it’s youand from the IRS artillery. So But if your always there, and it’s always our job year-end plans include charitable gifts, tomake help sure you make besteven of it.if So call to planthe now, you’re usnot before you act, for a valuable peek deducting the Alamo. at the IRS playbook. And remember, we’re here for your teammates, too! Allan J Rolnick is a CPA who has been Allan J Rolnick is a 30 CPA whoinhas been in practice for over years Queens, inNY. practice for over 30 in Queens, He welcomes youryears comments and NY. He reached welcomes your commentsorand can be at 718-896-8715 at can be reached at 718-896-8715 or at allanjrcpa@aol.com.


NOVEMBER 20, 2014


ootball fans can rejoice — the NFL is finally back! General Last Sunday n 1836, Mexican Santa night, the New York Giants defeatAnna and 1,500 troops laid siege ed their cross-state rivals from Buffa-at against 182 Texans garrisoned lo, the 17-13, in aa meaningless pre-season Alamo, Spanish mission designed contest. Onattack September 4, thetribes. Packers to resist from native Thirandteen Rams kick off a regular season sure days later, the Mexicans stormed to be dis-inthefilled wallswith and beer killedcommercials, every last man count checks, and brain-numbside,double including Commander William ingTravis, concussions. It all leads up toCrockett Super frontiersmen Davey andXLIX Jim Bowie. Santa Anna’s cruelty Bowl on February 1 in Phoenix Texans to join their army — inspired somewhere on cable television, theto seek revenge, crying, “Remember the pregame show has already begun. Alamo!” on their way to crushing the The NFL is the Battle of San Jacinto. no Mexicans stranger at to Remembering the Alamo has becontroversy, and come a central part of Texas history. this year’s first So, which Texas musician just offered dustup came a tax-planning lesson by donating his early. Baltimore collection of Alamo artifacts to the Ravens running Texas Land back Ray Rice Office? Was was caught on it rock ‘n’ video dragging roll pioneer his unconscious Roy Orbison, fiancée out of an elevator in Atlantic hailing from City. The league lonely Vernon suspended Rice for twonear games the and Okla-fined him $58,823 for conduct detrimental homa border? to the NFL in violation of theitleague’s Personal Conduct Perhaps was Policy. Now, two games is less than the country legend league has suspended players for drug Willie Nelson, violations and even for born an hour south driving of Fortwithout Worth? a license following a DUI. So Rice’s leWait, wait . . . was it Tejano accordinient punishment sparked outrage, onist Leonardo has “Flaco” Jiménez from including calls for NFL San Antonio? No, no, Commissioner and no. The answer, of course, is English singer and Roger Goodell’s resignation. drummer Phil Collins, the You probably don’t hailing think afrom footLondon suburb of Chiswick! ball player’s off-the-field misbehavior Collinstofell love withBut theyou Alahas anything do in with taxes. mo be legend at age 5, watching actor might surprised at some of the subtle Fess Parker of playRice’s the “King of the consequences actions —Wild so Frontier” Davey Crockett. According let’s take a look. to Texas Monthly,suspension the rocker’smeans collecThe two-game tion includes hundreds of documents Rice will miss the Ravens’ season “plusagainst artifactsCincinnati like uniforms Brown opener on and SeptemBess muskets that belonged to Mexiber 7 and a nationally-televised Thurscan soldiers, a sword belt believed to day night game against Pittsburgh have been worn by Travis when he September 11. And that will cost him died atop the northern wall, and a shot big-time in salary — $470,588, to be pouch that Crockett is thought to have exact. Is that loss deductible? Well, no. given a Mexican soldier just before he Rice won’t pay tax For on it,years, but that’s was executed.” they only sat in because he won’t get it. You can’t take his basement in Switzerland. But last a deduction for income youover never month, Collins donated 200get ofin his thepieces first place. to go on display in a new Alamo Still, ourCenter. friends at the IRS probaVisitors’ bly won’t be as happy as if Riceto Collins quite grudgingly admits hadspending earned the two games’ salary and “seven figures” building his paid tax on it himself. That’s because collection. Today it’s said to be worth whatever doesn’t getmillion. taxed atThat 39.6% as much as $15 sortonof Rice’s return will windseem up on Ravensatappreciation would to invite owner StevetheBisciotti’s return. tack from troops at the IRS. As(And suming the Ravens are an “S corpora-


Unnecessary Roughness


Allan J. Rolnick, CPA

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Fun for the Day The Kosher Trifecta Travel with Kosherology


Stone Barnes Center for Agriculture s a relative newcomer to the chman of the Aussie Gourmet). It was

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AlexAlex IdovIdov

side note: fresh I also area greatofto connect with representabaked rare varieties, by only natural meansmatzah (no pestiOnkosher a recentfood trip blogosphere, to the Monsey/Monroe was extremely excited to join tives from some awesome kosher food smells visiting New York, my father and I decided to venture off to cides, etc.). The only downside aboutrealin Pocantico the activities this year’scounty), “Ko- home companies I haveBarns worked withisin ly awesome!) Center that the restauHillsof(Westchester of thethatStone sherStone Trifecta.” Commencing the the past, as well as some I hope to After the tour, rant on thethat premises, Barns Center for Foodwith & Agriculture. Located Kosher Food Blogger conference and work with in the future. While very I joined the less than an hour away from Monsey in the beauti- which serves food Ithat climaxing with the world’s largest much appreciated being able to learn evening’s fesful Hudson River Valley, the Stone Barns Center is was raised and grown tivities, where a must-see tourist attraction for any hardcore foodie. on their farm, is unluminaries in Figuring that I would soon be attending college with a fortunately not komajor in culinary sustainability, we made visiting the sher. But don’t let the kosher incenter a high priority trip, as it paints a vivid picture of that deter you from dustry were the “farm-to-table” culinary world. The Stone Barns going to visit this recognized for Center is a non-profit farm that acts as an educational beautiful and edutheir contribucenter which promotes the knowledge of sustainable cational farm with the tions to the kofact The agriculture and local farming. The beautiful farm sits family. I’m still trying to get over sher the world. townsbeing and on 80 acres of colorful pastures which were once home that this place and its surrounding honorees miles from that the to a Rockefeller estate (I guess that explains why it’s villages are located only 27recognized bustling streets of Manhattan. True it is a little the most beautiful barn I’ve ever seen—commissioned showcase of kosher products at Ko- much about branding, marketing, PR, night includcoldrelated outside, warm weather is by John himself). While there canmedia sherfest, it D. wasRockefeller, an amazing experience and you social to but my the field, I spring ed Chef Jeff Nathan of Abigail’s on tors in the past, but never have I attendget up close and take a good look at all of the livestock just around the corner! of food, food, and more food (and of really just enjoyed being in the pres- Broadway, Dr. Peter Praeger (ob”m) ed a show that had a great Yiddishe flaVisitors can get more information about including sheep, cattle, chickens, turkeys, and pigs. course meeting and connecting with ence of a group of people with a pas- of Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods, Es- vor/taam (and shoe-polishing stations The premises also contain vegetable gardens the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture some awesome kosher foodies along sion for the culinary field and good tee Kafra of KosherScoop.com, the and massage chairs, at that). There was (greenhouses) and outdoor fields, which are used to at www.stonebarnscenter.org. Located at 630 the grow way).over 200 varieties of produce year food. Streit’s family, (Tarrytown) NY,and Joey Allaham of a great excitement in the air! Amongst round. Here Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills the Prime Hospitality Group. The fare the rows and rows of artisan cheeses, they grow an array of vegetables, many of which are 10591; (914) 366-6200. for the evening was a modern take on warm and scrumptious pastries, and traditional New York City/Lower East smoked fleishig delicacies were some Side favorites such as sweet (BBQ) cool, new kosher companies and prodbrisket, mushroom-barley soup, and a ucts including NoMoo parve cookies, deliciously awesome egg-cream soda Fresh Dress salad dressings, Choc(made with seltzer from real old-fash- la-Tashen (chocolate hamentashen), Summer is just around the corner....the days are growing longer and the weather DeeBee’s Organic Teapops, and black ioned glass seltzer bottles)! is starting to get warm (hopefully!), and when the weather is warm, it’s time to Of course, it goes without say that and white truffle pates by La Rusticella break out that favorite summer treat: ice cream! Or better yet...travel to the source of one of the world’s favorite ice cream factories: Ben & Jerry’s. Kosherfest was remarkable! I have Truffles. Not to forget to mention the The Ben & Jerry’s Factory is located in the beautiful countryside of Waterbury, attended many food expos hosted by arrival of Jerusalem’s famous MarziVermont, (5 ½ hours from the NY metro area) and is “must-do” summer activity for some of the largest U.S. food distribu- pan Bakery products now in America! every ice cream enthusiast. The Ben & Jerry’s Factory tour is a fun and educational Recording live from the show 30 minute guided tour around the real factory...think “Willy Wonka,” only minus tour: the flavo-room. In the flavowas the Nachum Segal Netthe Oompa Loompas and crazy tour guide. The price for admission is $4 for an room, you get to sample a fresh work’s “Table for Two” with adult, $3 for senior citizens, and kids 12 and under are free...which is pretty awe- batch of ice cream (the flavor of the host, Naomi Nachman, and Kol some considering that the tour includes a free scoop of the day (and a scoop of ice day when I went was mint chocolate Chai Radio, adding another laycream alone at a B & J shop costs around the same price). chip), and if you don’t care for the er of excitement to the event. After purchasing your tickets, the tour begins with meeting your tour guide who featured flavor, they always have a It was a very exciting endproceeds to take you to the “Cow over the Moon” theater where you are shown a backup option for you to sample. In the flavoing to a weekend full of friends, The first event, the third annual Immediately following the conshort film on what makes Ben & Jerry’s, well, Ben & Jerry’s. From there you go to a room, you also get to see a real Ben & Jerry’s food scientist and culifun, food and more food. Kosher Food Blogger conference, was ference, I ran along with some of the glass-enclosed mezzanine where you look down into the actual factory where all of nary artist developing new flavors for Ben & Jerry’s (talk about a cool job—literby the far Ben the &event I enjoyed the most. other conference attendees to KosherJerry’s ice cream in the U.S. is made (no pictures allowed from hereon in). ally!). The guided portion of the tour ends there, and then you are free to explore TheThankfully, conference, which was held on at athe feast, a pre-Kosherfest social networkI was at the factory day that there was ice cream production sched- the B & J’s awesome gift shop and their famed flavor graveyard, where you can pay Chabad House Bowery, annual ingthe event hostedasbythey Roberta Scherfinof your respects to retired flavors (they have tombstonesAlex Idov, the Kosherologist, is and all…). uled, so I actually got to is seeanthem packaging ice cream, had already a food blogger runs the conference for food bloggers, kosher Koshereye.com and Esti Berkowitz of Ben & Jerry’s is under the hashgacha (kosher supervision) of thewho Chof-K. Theblog ished mixing the batch that day. Any part of the production process is cool to watch. “Kosherology” and is a contribbrands, and foodies to munch, meet, Primetimeparenting.com. This year’s Of course, the most exciting part of the tour is the final visit of the guided portion of the factory is located at 1281 Waterbury-Stowe Rd, Waterbury, VT 05676 uting food columnist for numereat, learn and discuss the best blog- event (the fourth annual) was held at ous Jewish publications across the ging and branding practices for our the famous Streit’s Matzo factory in the U.S. is currently attending websites and businesses. It was great Lower East Side. The event began with Alex Idov is a kosher food blogger who runs the award-winning site ‘Kosherology’ and a regular contributing food columnist to The Jewish Home magazine. HeHe is currently studying for hisKennesaw State University near Atto meet many of my fellow food bloga wonderful guided tour of the historic bachelor’s degree in Culinary Sustainability & Hospitality. Visit ‘Kosherology’ at www.exploretheworldofkosher.com and like ‘Kosherology’ on Facebook. lanta, Georgia, for his bachelor’s gers and “co-foodies” face-to-face (in- factory, where I was able to get an updegree in Culinary Sustainability cluding the Five Towns’ Naomi Ross close look at how matzah is made from and Hospitality. Visit his website at of Cooking Concepts, Melinda Strauss the mixing of the dough to the packagwww.thekosherologist.com. of kitchen-tested.com, and Naomi Na- ing and shipping of the boxes. (On a

I enjoyed being in the presence of a group of people with a passion for the culinary field and good food.

Ben & Jerry’s Factory






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NOVEMBER 20, 2014




Profile for Jewish Home LA

Jewish Home LA 11-20-14  

Jewish Home LA 11-20-14

Jewish Home LA 11-20-14  

Jewish Home LA 11-20-14