THE JEWISH HOME DECEMBER 12, 2013 2
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COMMUNITY Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Doctors Continue to Reign. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Chanukah in LA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Heard on the Street. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
7 Questions with Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn Dean and Rav of Yeshivat Yavneh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Believe in Them . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Yaakov Is Not Dead! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Question & Answer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Business Weekly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT
Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Moon Cap: A Novel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Reflections on South Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Old News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Animals in Battle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
LIFESTYLES Personal Branding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Yoga and the Body as a Metaphor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Restaurant Review Two Dishes at Abba’s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Last week I was sitting in my parked car (finally!) after circling for a half hour looking for a spot so that I could enter the wedding hall and wish Mazal Tov to the prominent and philanthropic Rechnitz family. And I couldn’t help but wonde r if the throngs of people converging on this private simcha - in LA! - were perhaps a bit out of place; part of the superficial brouhaha us humans tend to create around material success, and which only gets quadrupled in the shadows of flashy Hollywood. But then again, maybe it was only right that these organizations and individuals who had been helped by Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz should come in person to wish him well. It states in the Talmud that “Rebbi mechabed ashirim,” translated loosely as Reb Yehuda Hanasi would show honor to the wealthy. Knowing the stature of Reb Yehuda Hanasi, there’s obviously a deeper meaning to this than simply a pragmatic approach to life. Perhaps we can understand it using another teaching from the Talmud: “Kol hagadol meichaveiro, yitzro gadol himenu,” which means that one who is greater than his friend also has a greater inclination for evil. Thus, one who was given a vast amount of resources is also given the challenge in using them properly and for the betterment of the community. What Rebbi was honoring was the added potential strength of character given to the wealthy, so that they could counter the extra urge to use their money selfishly and instead share it with others. I’m told that there are very few in the Orthodox world who can match the huge amounts of tzedaka given by the Rechnitz family. In the current state of the economy, it’s profound and meaningful that the Los Angeles community has an individual who is willing to give a helping hand to almost anyone who reaches out for help. But perhaps what’s most striking is the diversity of causes which they support – how there is nothing narrow or partisan in the manner which they choose to give. We can all take a lesson on how to open our wallets, our talents and our knowledge and share it with others who are in need. Equally important, though, is to reach out to one another without fretting over whether they look like us, pray like us or eats like us. We are one community, and if we have something to share, we should use it for the betterment of the entire klal. On Friday, we commemorate that day 2,500 years ago when the king of Babylonia encircled Jerusalem; that day which marked the beginning of the end of the first Temple period. We’ve come a long way since then, experiencing every trial and tribulation imaginable, yet here we are today, prouder and stronger than ever. Let’s not become complacent and let’s continue to guard against all challenges especially those from within. This will surely speed our return to our land, as one people with one G-d. As we read in the Haftarah from the words of Isaiah “…I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them rejoice in my house of prayer… for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations… I will yet gather others to him besides those already gathered.” Amen. Have an easy fast and a most wonderful Shabbos!
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DECEMBER 12, 2013
THE JEWISH HOME
THE JEWISH HOME
DECEMBER 12, 2013
Motzaei Shabbos Father and Son Program a Resounding Success at Em Habanim Congregation “I am so happy to see almost 50 boys learning Torah with their fathers or older brothers each Motzaei Shabbat!” said Rabbi Joshua Bittan of Em Habanim Congregation in Valley Village. Em Habanim’s Avot Ubanim – Father and Son Learning program is a one-hour learning program offered free to the community every Motzaei Shabbat during the fall and winter months. Once again, we are pleased to be one of the US branches of Avos Ubanim International who have provided prizes and program materials to over 80,000 boys in branches in countries across the globe. This year each boy has received a key chain and attendance card which will be sent in for national drawings of a Shas and other sefforim. “We are truly a community program drawing together families from many different synagogues including the Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and Chabad traditions. We even have a family that comes in all the way from Tarzana in the West Valley.” explains Rabbi Bittan. The evening currently starts at 6:30
pm and boys learn for approximately 45 minutes. Boys as young as four years old enjoy the program and learn midrashim or the alef bet with their fathers. Some boys are learning their bar mitzvah parshas, while others are learning how to sing parts of the Shabbat davening. Older boys and even some fathers have been learning with havruta. Yehuda Bittan, a senior at Yeshivas Ner Aryeh and his brother, Yair Bittan who attends Mesivta of Greater Los Angeles in Calabasas, are currently learning the Gemorah Bava Kamma with these boys. Shlomo Ansellem said, “I like the program because I enjoy learning Torah in a school-like setting, but it’s not as formal as in school. I also like learning with my friends and my Dad with me at the same time. It’s cool!” Each week one or more boys gives over a devar Torah and Rabbi Bittan tells a short story. Weekly prizes are geared to both younger and older boys including story books, as well as boxed sets of Chumashim, Mishna Berurah, and other sefforim such as Pirkei Avot, as well
as the Chofetz Chaim’s Sefer Shmiras HaLashon, and Tehillim. The evening concludes with pizza for everyone. Rabbi Bittan expressed that the program has been able to offer beautiful prizes each week because of the generous donations we’ve been receiving. Some sponsorships have honored yahrtzeits for loved ones, while others simply give to support such a beautiful program. Each year we raffle off two sets of Shas. We had our first drawing last week at our annual Hanukah party. Ari Winegard was the lucky winner. Ari said, “I am learning Mishna Brachos with my Dad and plan to finish it for my Bar Mitzvah next summer.” Aime Oiknine, President of Em Habanim’s Board of Directors said
“I am so pleased that our Avot Ubanim program has been such a success because it brings the community together which is one of the synagogue’s founding objectives.” New boys continue to join each week so please consider joining us next Motzaei Shabbat.
Shalhevet’s Model Congress Team Wins 13 Awards Shalhevet’s debate team continued to rack up awards with another successful trip to Princeton Model Congress in Washington, DC. Half of the 24 students in attendance won awards for their work during the competition. Four of the thirteen awards were gavels, which are presented to the most outstanding debater in either committee or full sessions. The additional 9 awards were honorable mentions. Their achievement is even more noteworthy because they did not participate in nearly a quarter of the competition, which took place on Shabbat. “The team’s achievements are rivaled only by the fact that the students accomplished them while maintaining a rigorous schedule of daily tefilla, and that they refrained from debating during Shabbat,” said Rabbi Ari Segal, Shalhevet’s Head of School. Rabbi Segal explained, “While other conference participants worked late into the night on Friday night and continued their debates on Shabbat afternoon, our students were singing zemirot, davening, laining, and bonding over beautiful meals and hilarious games at the historic
6th and I Street Synagogue in Washington.” At the conference, students are divided into various committees in which they debate specific bills and proposals. The committees include Foreign Relations, Appropriations, Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs and others. After working in their committees, the students join together in larger groups which are called full sessions to debate the bills that they just passed in their committee. At the awards session, Shalhevet students were a constant presence on the stage, showcasing their academic prowess, innovative political and legislative solutions to complex contemporary problems, and oratory sophistication. The four gavels went to junior Sigal Spitzer, and sophomores Boaz Willis, Jonah Gill and Daniel Soroudi. Honorable mentions were awarded to seniors Liat Menna, Sarah Soroudi and Tamar Willis; juniors Max Helfand and Daniel Steinberg; sophomores Nicole Newman, Noah Schechter and Boaz Willis; and freshman Maya Golan. Boaz Willis, class of 2016
won Shalhevet’s first-ever gavel in a full session. Rabbi Segal added, “Whether hanging out at shul or in the hotel lobby, playing an epic game of “nerf capture the flag” on Motzei Shabbat, working on a legislative bill or visiting the inspiring exhibit on display at the National Archives of ancient
Jewish texts confiscated from Iraqi Jews by Sadaam Hussein and rescued by American Special Forces, Shalhevet students showcased their academic achievement and Judaic commitment, while also finding time to relax, enjoy, bond, and learn on what was a truly unforgettable trip.”
DECEMBER 12, 2013
THE JEWISH HOME
קול ששון וקול שמחה אשת חיל מי ימצא
משגרים אנו ברכת מזל טוב לבבית בלב מלא יגון ואנחה משתתפים אנו באבלו וצערו העמוק של תלמידנו מעומק הלב ,לידידנו וידיד ה' האהוב ,עמוד החסד והצדקה בעירנו לאס אנגלעס מחזיק תורה בעירנו באופן נעלה ונפלא ושמו יצא לתהלה בכל רחבי תבל ושמו יצא בכל רחבי תבל לתהלה
הר"ר ישראל זאב רכניץ לאיוש"ט והצנועהשיחי' רכניץ יהודה שלמה החשובה פטירת אשתו הר"ר על תמר( ע"ה מרת אביגיל)לבית ווקשלק שתחי' ורעיתו החשובה מרת אשר נקטפה בדמי ימיה וכשמש בצהרים בא באירוסי בת השמחה לחכמיםםומקור החסד והצדקה שבמעונווועד שהי' בית חכמת אשה בנתהעלביתה, אילה שתחי' הכלה המהוללה שרה בעירנו. התורה די בכל אתר למוסדות החתן בכל עב"גבעלה, בטח בה לב קרנפלד נ"י הכבירותדוב פעולותיו שמואל הנודע לתהלה בריסקמעשה צדקותיו. מלאה בכל ואתר ,והיתה שות פהישיבת מחשובי כפה פרשה לעני ,לחזק ידים רופפות והיתה לעזר ולאחיסמך לכל מאן דבעי והכל בהצנע לכת. יהי רצון שיהא קשר של קיימא ובנין עדי עד צופי' הליכות ביתה ,שנהלה במיטב כשרונה וחינכה משפחתה שיחי' על ויזכו לבנות בית נאמן בישראל לשם ולתפארת טהרת הקודש וברוח ישראל סבא. רבות בנות עשו חיל ואת עלית על כלנה וכן אנו משגרים ברכת מזל טוב לידידנו החשובים וגם משגרים כוס תנחומין להוריה אחיהשתחי' הכבודה ולרעיתו שיחי' יעקבלקרכניץ ואחותה שיחי' שתחי' ורעיתו שליט"א הר"רווקש הרב חיים שתחי' ורעיתו ורעיתו שליט"א בלסקירכניץ הר' יעקב ולידידנו היקר הרבנית שתחי' שליט"א ישראל ולהרה"ג ר' ולכל משפחת רכניץ שיחי'. המאחלים המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים הרב אליעזר יצחק הלוי גראס באבלכם המשתתפים הלוי גראס ר' יעקב יוסף שלמה מייער יעקב יוסף הלוי גראס גראס אליעזר יצחק הלוי ר' הנהלת הישיבהמנהל הישיבה ראש וכל וכל הנהלת הישיבה ישיבה גדולה דלאס אנגלעס
THE JEWISH HOME
DECEMBER 12, 2013
Gedolei Yisrael Urge Participation in Dirshu Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Set to Begin Chelek Vav of Mishna Berurah By Chaim Gold
As Dirshu’s popular Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program is set to embark on Chelek Vav, the last volume of Mishna Berurah, Gedolei Yisrael encompassing the entire cross-section of Torah Jewry have issued an unprecedented call to Jews the world over to bring daily halacha learning into their lives. At the recent Dirshu Shabbos Kinnus Olam HaTorah, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Kiryas Melech of Bnei Brak, issued a passionate call to join Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, emphasizing that it is an ideal method to invoke Divine Mercy at a time when Klal Yisrael finds itself in a difficult situation. In addition, numerous Gedolei Yisrael wrote letters of chizuk in advance of the Shabbos Kinnus Olam HaTorah stressing the importance of the wider community participating in a daily halacha learning seder. Setting the Stage: The Pre-Shavuos Proclamation by the Gedolei Hador In truth, however, the latest call of the Gedolei Yisrael to all Jews to undertake daily learning of halacha is a continuation of a historic proclamation made before this past Shavuos by the senior Gedolei Hador, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita; HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita; HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlita and HaGaon HaRav Nissim Karelitz, shlita. In that historic Kol Korei addressed to “Acheinu Bnei Yisrael wherever they may be,” the senior gedolim wrote: It is therefore proper that every single person set aside time everyday to learn halacha, and especially halachos that are of practical relevance, every day and every Shabbos. This daily learning of practical halacha should not be less than a half hour….” The imperative for every Jew to bring daily halacha into their lives is not a new concept. Several years ago, the Posek Hador, HaGaon HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt”l, encouraged the hanhala of Dirshu to create halacha programs whereby lomdei Torah would be encouraged to learn, understand and know halacha l’maaseh, practical halacha. The Gerer Rebbe, shlita, too has been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program, urging Dirshu to embark on a program that would help all Jews bring halacha observance into their lives. Over the course of the past six years lomdei Dirshu in both its Kinyan Halacha and Daf HaYomi B’Halacha programs have followed through on Rav Elyashiv’s guidance and have wrought a transfor-
mation in the Torah world. Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learners will soon embark on learning Chelek Vav, the final chelek in the Mishna Berurah that covers the halachos of the Yomim Tovim. A few months ago, Dirshu released the final chelek of its trailblazing Mishna Berurah and, it has been extremely well received. The day is not far away when Klal Yisrael will be enriched with thousands of new bekiim in all six volumes of Mishna Berurah!
lema’aseh with clarity, to know how one should live in every detail. Thousands of yungeleit in Eretz Yisrael and America participate in this sacred avodas hakodesh.” In advance of the Dirshu Shabbos, Gedolim have recently issued letters urging the daily learning of halacha while hailing Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha as an ideal way to achieve that objective. HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Scheiner, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Kamenitz Yeshiva, wrote in a letter last month:
Learning Halacha Daily: A Pivotal Antidote to the Religious Oppression in Eretz Yisrael HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, shlita, in his major address at the Dirshu Shabbos stressed the imperative to learn halacha and the amazing contribution to this goal achieved by Dirshu: “In previous generations, we merited the clear Mishna Berurah of Maran the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, who gathered in one place the rulings and decisions of the Gedolei HaPoskim in Orach Chaim, and with his great strength issued final rulings of halacha lema’aseh. Additionally, we merited the addendum to clear halacha from the beis medrash of the Chazon Ish and all the great poskim of our times which Dirshu’s monumental undertaking compiled in its magnificent edition of the Mishna Berurah. This was done together with the undertaking and organizing of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha and study of the Mishna Berurah to encourage the study of halacha
“I specifically want to praise the distinguished Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program that Dirshu has instituted throughout the world, and that is now being expanded [to allow for even greater enrollment]. [This is imperative] especially now when there is such religious oppression in the Eretz Hakodesh…” The Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe of Eretz Yisrael also issued a clarion call to learn Daf HaYomi B’Halacha expressing his deep wish that as a result of the Shabbos Kinnus Olam HaTorah the learning of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha should be further strengthened: “Especially at this time when it is an eis tzarah l’Yaakov, and specifically in Eretz Hakodesh, where there are attempts to trample on the kavod haTorah and those who learn Torah…” HaGaon HaRav Dovid Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Chevron Yeshiva, also wrote a letter in advance of the Shabbos saying:
“Learning halacha, learning Mishna Berurah, is something that always needs strengthening. It is an absolute obligation for every Jew and particularly for a ben Torah. It is impossible to even describe the greatness and the zechus inherent when thousands strengthen themselves by learning Mishna Berurah every day and then taking test on what they have learned to ensure that they remember… In this zechus may we soon merit the geulah sheleimah.” Worldwide Availability! There are hundreds of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiurim in locales throughout the world; in communities that have a large Torah observant community and in those that don’t; from Brooklyn to Portland, Oregon… from Lakewood to Providence, RI… from Kiev, Ukraine to Paris, France… Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is everywhere. Aside from the numerous live Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiurim the world over, Dirshu has made available numerous opportunities to hear shiurim for those unable to attend a shiur along with many other aids to learning Daf HaYomi B’Halacha: Tens of live, archived shiurim can be heard on Kol Halashon; A daily radio segment of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is broadcast thrice daily in the New York Metro Area; A daily newsletter is available via e-mail as well as a monthly Daf HaYomi glossy bulletin with all kinds of interesting shailos and insights to enrich one’s learning and knowledge. In this way, Dirshu has empowered Jews, who are interested in learning Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, to participate wherever they may be! “It Has Elevated my Day from Mundane to Holy!” Perhaps the words of Rabbi Mattisyahu Lazerson in explaining what the program did for him say it best. “I have been part of Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program since its inception. I can’t stress enough how it has changed my life. Every second of the day, every action that I take during the week and on Shabbos, by day and by night brings to mind a halacha that I learned. Daf HaYomi B’Halacha has transformed my day from the mundane into the holy!” If you have not done so yet, Now is the time to join and implement this into your daily schedule. The bracha of such a kabala and heeding the call of our gedolim implementing this limud, can only bring about yeshuos for ourselves and Klal Yisrael. To join Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, please call 1-888-5-Dirshu or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE JEWISH HOME DECEMBER 12, 2013
THE JEWISH HOME
DECEMBER 12, 2013
Chanukah At Tashbar Torat Hayim Tashbar’s Early Childhood Department celebrated Chanukah with style! Parents were invited to step into their child’s world at Tashbar. The parents got a glimpse of the school day as they participated alongside their children in Tefilah circle time, complete with giving Tzedakah, kissing the Torah, and reading Mitzvah notes! Not a dry eye was in the house as the children performed a medley of Chanukah songs for their parents. The children sang proudly, stood tall, and smiled big. The highlight of the morning was when parents had the opportunity to enjoy the classroom centers with their little ones. Moms and kids decorated cookies together, made delicious edible menorahs, and completed projects - all with their moms by their side. What a beautiful feeling it was that took over the room with the warm feelings of Chanukah and the family atmosphere of the school. Kindergarten children entertained their parents with a Chanukah play and songs
before the activities began. “One of our goals in our Early Childhood Department is for the children to really understand and feel the meaning of the Chanukah story. We don’t want the children to simply memorize the facts. When the children are excited about Chanukah, we know it’s because they understand this is a holiday of light, blessings, and we remember the Ness that Hashem made for the Jews, so many years ago,” said Minde Ornelas, Tashbar’s Early Childhood Director. One parent said, “My daughter asked me the next day if I can I come again for another Chanukah party at school! I had so much fun being a part of the classroom and spending time with my daughter in school. I love how alive and meaningful the school makes everything the kids are learning.” The Chanukah fun didn’t stop with Tashbar’s preschoolers. The classes were filled with arts and crafts with the Rabbanim and Morot, and a Chanukah art contest with exciting prizes for the winners. The kids sure loved the daily
Feeling the Chanukah Spirit at YULA! Celebrating Chanukah is always a fun and special occasion. Celebrating it YULA-style is even better! At YULA Boys School, every day of Chanukah brought new excitement both in the yeshiva and out. In the days leading up to Chanukah, students from every grade took part in round Robin shiurim that focused on the laws of Chanukah. Each class had the opportunity to hear from different rebbeim on different items pertaining to the holiday. For the week of Chanukah, students were treated to a 3-day celebration, starting off with special ruach-filled davening and Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast, followed by a beautiful school-wide Chagiga, where all of the boys and Rebbeim gathered together to sing and dance. The next day, students were treated to a Student Council BBQ lunch and participated in a Student/Rebbe Basketball competition. Celebrations rounded out with an incredible Student Council-run “YULA’s Got Talent” event
which showcased the unique talents and abilities of YULA students in a fun way that unified the entire school. Students even had the chance to vote for their favorite performance! Rebbeim also opened their homes to host students from their shiurim for beautiful Chanukah lighting and celebrations throughout the week. Each Rebbe hosted a Chanukah Mesiba at their homes, which gave students an opportunity to continue to strengthen the special relationships they have with their Rebbeim, and to celebrate the simcha of Chanukah together with their shiur. By the light of the candles, rebbes and students sang and shmuzed, played games and took part in a variety of fun activities, from sushi and smoothie making, to homemade pasta making. It was a delicious and fun way to celebrate the chag in true YULA fashion!
yummy treats of chocolate gelt, latkes, and fresh sufganiyot. Students participated in a Chanukah Chidon, where they were tested on their knowledge of the Halachot for the Chag. Each correct answer was worth a dollar! In Tashbar’s girl’s junior high department, the girls were treated by their gracious Morah to a Chanukah Chagigah at her home. Continuing the good feelings of Chanukah into after school activities not
only helps the girls to bond, but perpetuates the light and blessings of the holiday. How exciting for the 5th grade boys to start learning Gemara with their Rebbe on Chanukah! The world of learning and excitement is just opening up to the children in a very real way and Chanukah is an auspicious time of year for blessings. If Antiyochus would have known how enjoyable Chanukah would be for us, he probably would have left the Jews alone!
THE JEWISH HOME
DECEMBER 12, 2013
Yeshiva Ketana of Los Angeles is growing and is looking for talented and motivated new team members. There are lead teacher positions available in early childhood and primary grades, as well as teacherâ€™s aide opportunities across all levels. Competitive salaries commensurate with experience. Please email resumes to email@example.com. ALL INQUIRIES WILL BE TREATED CONFIDENTIALLY.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 818.766.7610
THE JEWISH HOME
DECEMBER 12, 2013
Festive Chanukah Event at Men’s Central Jail by Alisa Roberts The last night of Chanukah was a festive one this year at the Men’s Central Jail. Between green metal benches bolted to the visiting room floor were latkes and a large Menorah – along with the members, guests, and honorees of the Orthodox Jewish Chaplaincy Board. Jewish chaplains have been around for many years, and Howard Winkler, Los Angeles County Commissioner and the OJCB Director and Senior Chaplain, has himself been visiting inmates for 27 years. “In the early days we only had about one inmate per year,” he explains. “Then about 13 years ago we suddenly had eight Orthodox inmates, and I just couldn’t handle it. So I put together a group of rabbonim. Most of them are still with us.” This group is incredibly diverse, with members including Rabbi Dara Abaei, who runs the Jewish Unity Network for Persian youth; Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff, director of Aish Tamid of Los Angeles; Rabbi Zvi Bojarski, the (West Coast) director of the Aleph Institute; Rabbi Shimon Cagan, former West Coast Director for NCSY; Rabbi Gavriel Cohen, Av Beit Din of the West Coast (Rabbinical) Court; Rabbi Yochanan Henig, the head of Kollel Yechiel Yehuda – the Chasidishe Kollel, and Rabbi Shimon Raichik, of Chabad of Hancock Park. And Howard Winkler, of course. Born in New York, but living in Los Angeles for 53 years, Mr. Winkler served as an Army CID criminal investigator in Bangkok, Thailand, during the Vietnam War. When he returned home he became involved in politics, but his passion is helping people. “I think people need help, and I’ll help them however I can.” This passion is important, as chaplaincy is entirely voluntary. None of the chaplains receive any payment, and everything they do for inmates is on their own time. When asked how he managed to get such a varied group to help him in this cause, he says, “I know everybody. I ask people to help.” The help is, unfortunately, necessary. From one inmate a year to the overwhelming eight inmates of last decade, there are now about 140 to 150 inmates who affiliate as Jewish. While the need for chaplains has increased, some aspects of the job are not as challenging as they once were. “I used to deal with the Federal Bureau of Prisons years ago. Back then you couldn’t bring food in. Inmates couldn’t get kosher food. Through the offices of a few senators, most notably Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator John Ashcroft, we passed legislation.” Today, the OJCB works hand in hand with many Sheriff’s Departments, from Ventura County all the way to San Diego. They visit inmates and help with every aspect of observance. “We take lulav and esrogim inside. We had chaplains visiting on Rosh Hashana… We bring teffilin, we bring seforim. We can always use donations of soft cover Hebrew/English books.” And,
of course, they light Chanukah candles. On the eighth night of Chanukah the OJCB celebrated not just the holiday, but the support and service of many individuals. Among the honorees at the celebration were Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Custody Services Division Chief Eric Parra and Commander Stephen B. Johnson, who were honored for their efforts in assuring that inmates of all religions maintain their religious rights during their incarcerations. LASD Deputy Jennifer Hernandez and Custody Assistants Judy Akiike (Religious & Volunteer Services), Marcos Hernandez (Twin Towers Correctional Facilities), and Kevin P. Lutz (Pitchess Detention Center) were recognized for their outstanding assistance and continued support of the OJCB. C/A Marcos Hernandez was presented the exemplary service award for the second time in as many years for volunteering to escort the Jewish Chaplains through// the jails during Rosh Hashana to daven with the inmates and blow shofar. Hernandez did this on his off days. Lieutenant Sergio Murillo (MCJ) and Lieutenant Joseph Badali (TTCF) were also recognized for their outstanding assistance and continued support of the OJCB. Both Lieutenants Murillo and Badali have gone out of their way to accommodate religious practices for all inmates in general and for the Jewish inmates in particular. Members of the Religious & Volunteer Services Unit of the L.A. County Jails were commended for their professional management of the programs performed by the OJCB. Other honorees included Rabbi Moshe Yitzchok Schwartz, Director of B’Derech Kovod, a community service organization in Los Angeles that supplies clothing to needy families, who was honored for his support, commitment and dedication to the Jewish Community. Stanley Treitel,
one of the foremost community leaders in Los Angeles, was honored for his support, commitment and dedication to the Jewish Community of Los Angeles as well as across the United States and Israel. Tiffany Feder, Esq.,was honored for her support, commitment and dedication to the OJCB. Attorney Feder handles all OJCB legal matters and assists many in the Jewish community with their legal matters. Limor Zarin Amrani, a CPA who works with Attorney/CPA Yosef Manela, was honored for her support, commitment and dedication to the OJCB. The Manela accounting firm handles all OJCB accounting and financial matters. All honorees, as well as the OJCB, received commendations from United States Congressman Brad Sherman, California State Assemblyman Richard Bloom, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, Sheriff Lee Baca, L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz, and the OJCB. When the presentations and dinner (catered by Sinai Glatt Kosher Catering) were complete, the chaplains and volunteers left the visiting room to go into the jail and visit the Jewish inmates. They lit candles and raised spirits. It might sound like a simple gesture, but these gestures have incredible impact. Tiffany Feder, Esq., herself an honoree for her help and support to the OJCB and Jewish community, couldn’t say enough about the OJCB and Mr. Winkler. “The work that the OJCB has done and continues to do on behalf of Jewish inmates is utterly important,” she tells me. She first met Mr. Winkler when a religious client of hers was remanded into the custody of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. She called him, desperately hoping someone could help her client get kosher food, tefillin, and a siddur. Mr. Winkler took care of it all. “I have had the good fortunate of knowing Mr. Winkler
throughout my years of practice,” says Ms. Feder. “He has never avoided a phone call and has always been completely helpful. He exemplifies the true meaning of a giving and good soul. No one knows all of the good that he does for thousands of people, willingly and without complaint. The challenges of what he does are never brought into the equation. As a criminal defense attorney, to know that there is someone who gives Jewish inmates dignity and goes above and beyond the call of duty is a blessing. That is who Howard Winkler is. It is my honor to know him and consider him a friend.” Mr. Winkler sees the impact as well. Two of the people who came to this event were former inmates that he met in jail. “One of them was a violent offender who started out in juvenile hall and then went to jail,” he tells me. “I came many times. I spent time with him, sat with him, learned with him, davened with him...and from that time on he’s been a model person. He mentors teenagers now. And he’s in the process of becoming one of our chaplains.” An incredible story, but not a unique one. “I was at a wedding once and someone came up to me and said, ‘Do you remember me?’ I looked at him, but I didn’t remember him. And he said, ‘I was in jail and you came to me and you gave me a sefer and you bentched lulav and esrog with me. That afternoon I was released, and I kept that sefer. And I remained religious.’ “I hear stories like this all the time,” he says. Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to: Orthodox Jewish Chaplaincy Board, P.O. Box 480454, Los Angeles, CA 90048. A tax deductible receipt will be sent to all contributors.
L-R : LASD Deputy Jennifer Hernandez, LASD Reserve Deputy Jacob Castrol, Attorney Tiffany Feder, Commander Stephen Johnson, C/A Judy Akiike, C/A Marcos Hernandez, Lt. Sergio Murillo, OJCB Chaplain Gavriel Hershoff, L.A. City Neighborhood Councilman Michoel Bloom, OJCB Chaplain Dara Abaei, Cpt. Daniel Dyer , OJCB Director/Senior Chaplain Howard Winkler, LASD Chief Eric Parra, LASD Lt. Joseph Badali, Richard Polanco, Jr., OJCB Senior Chaplain Rabbi Shimon Raichik, Rabbi Yisroel Hecht, OJCB Chaplain Gregory Metzger, Rabbi Yitzchok Magalnik and OJCB Chaplain Rabbi Shimon Cagan.
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THE JEWISH HOME
DECEMBER 12, 2013
Universal Studios President joins Chabad of the Valley’s Chanukah at CityWalk calling it amongst “the largest Chanukah events in the world” Chabad of the Valley’s Chanukah at CityWalk has become an annual fixture on the L.A. calendar and is known to be the largest Chanukah celebration on the West Coast with many thousands in attendance each year; but Larry Kurzweil, President of NBC’s Universal Studios Hollywood went a step further this year, proclaiming that this event had perhaps earned its place amongst “the largest Chanukah events in the world”. “It was truly a proud moment for the Jewish community of Southern California,” according to Rabbi Yossi Baitelman, Director of Chabad of Studio City and the original founder of the event. While Rabbi Baitelman was the event’s founder, he credits his wife with the idea: “Driving by Universal Studios one evening, my wife said to me that arranging a menorah at Universal Studios would be an incredible way to publicize the miracle of Chanukah. I actually said to her, ‘Keep dreaming.’” But he took that dream straight to Universal Studios, which worked out better than either of them had hoped. “We suggested a small event. At the time, they had an outdoor ice skating rink that would go up during the winter months. We suggested doing a little menorah lighting with some kind of Chanukah celebration at the rink. The CEO of City Walk said to us, ‘No, can you do something a little bigger?’ And whatever we suggested they said, ‘Can we do even bigger?’” That was when they contacted Chabad of the Valley, which has partnered with them on the event for the past 13 years. Rabbi Mayer Greene, marking his 12th year involved in organizing the event and also serving as its Master of Ceremonies, said that the concert and celebration “had three hours of non-stop entertainment generating an incredible excitement”. This year’s headliner was Eli Gerstner and soloists of the Yeshiva Boys Choir, led by Yossi Newman, making their debut
performance in front of a live audience on the West Coast. The outdoor plaza at CityWalk came to life, as the YBC performers sung one hit after another and featured a special guest appearance by Yakov Mordechai Gerstner. If that wasn’t enough, this spectacular evening of Jewish entertainment also featured performances by The Mystic Sideshow, Kenny Ellis, new local talent Shmueli Schwartz, and an inspiring performance by New York’s Yoely Greenfeld, described by Jewish Music Report as “one of the top three voices in Jewish Music today”. Moshe Hecht captivated the audience during the Menorah lighting ceremony performing his hit song, “Lamplighters”. Then to top that off, Yisroel Williger joined the stage with a Musical Tribute to Jewish music’s superstars, many of whom had graced the stage at CityWalk over the years. Williger had the crowd laughing away with his multiple costume changes appearing as: Avraham Fried, MBD, Lipa, The Chevra, 8th Day and everyone’s favorite uncle, Uncle Moishe. Chabad of the Valley’s Executive Director, Rabbi Yehoshua B. Gordon gave a short address and extended special thanks to the anonymous sponsor, who has made this event possible for over a decade. He also called upon a special friend of Chabad, Hector Guerrero, who highlighted the importance of acts of goodness and kindness. Rabbi Mordechai Einbinder, Associate Director of Chabad of the Valley, welcomed various dignitaries, among them, AM870’s famous talk show host Ben Schapiro, who made a special appearance at CityWalk as a guest of Rabbi Yanky Kahn of Chabad of Tarzana. Following the formal ceremony, the event’s behind the scenes technical Director, Rabbi Yochanan Baitelman was joined on the podium by the President of Universal Studios Hollywood, Mr. Larry Kurzweil, Philanthropist Lyle Weisman
and other dignitaries honored with lighting the enormous 15 ft. Menorah. From 6:00 p.m. till 9:00 p.m., Universal Studios CityWalk had been transformed into a “Chanukah Wonderland” with a vast array of entertainment, face painters, arts and crafts and all the favorites from LA’s popular Meshuga4Sushi Kosher sushi franchise. During the evening, numerous speakers thanked Jonathan Herzog, one of the Executive Producers of Chanukah at CityWalk for bringing together a spectacular
array of talent, in a show of the magnitude that is rarely seen on the West Coast. The giant stadium-sized screen was a focal point all evening, showcasing all the live onstage entertainment and video presentations. “To see a place like this so completely taken over by the light of Chanukah is truly the fulfillment of Pirsumei Nissa!” remarked Chabad of North Hollywood’s Rabbi Nachman Abend, who is responsible for arranging Chabad’s giant Menorah each year.
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DECEMBER 12, 2013
Los Angeles Jewish Community Celebrates The Engagement Of Yali Rechnitz To Shmuel Yissocher Dov Kornfeld Of Montreal Close to a thousand people came to celebrate with the Rechnitz family, one of the largest philanthropic families in the orthodox Jewish world. Noted Rabbonim, community leaders, heads of the local organizations and well wishers came to show their thanks to an individual who has taken the act of giving to a whole new level. Through giving significant amounts to almost anyone who approaches him,
and not just his own specific community he has come to embody the attitude that the wealth of the individual is the wealth of the entire community. The Los Angeles community wishes Reb Shlomo Yehuda and his wife Tamar, continued success and much Nachas from Yali, her Choson and the rest of their children for many years to come.
THE JEWISH HOME DECEMBER 12, 2013
Hachnasas Sefer Torah in Memory of Avraham Kaufler z”l By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon
Avraham was one in a group of survivors who found their way to Los Angeles, rebuilt their lives, maintained their religious beliefs and lived out their lives as prominent and commendable members of the Jewish Community. And so this hachnasa sefer torah by the members of his family, was a most fitting manner to remember his life, his survival and his attachment to torah and yiddishkeit. The Simcha began with the completion of the final Kesivas Osios (writing of Hebrew Letters in Torah) between 9-10 am in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Philip Kaufler. Rabbis, Community-wide Leaders and Members, lined up for the zechus (honor) of kesivas osios (writing a letter in the Torah). Around 10:15, the guests gathered in front of the Kaufler home and the procession began down North Maple Drive with Mr. Beinish Kaplan carrying the new sefer under the simcha canopy, with an honor guard of torch bearing yeshiva students heading towards the Young Israel on Alden Drive. The procession was led by a Music Float sound truck with students and chazzan Nati Baram aboard, joyously leading the singing. The assembled community followed behind, dancing and singing through the streets of Beverly Hills. As the marchers reached the Shul, The rabbi, chazan and members came from within with the shul’s sifrei torah to welcome the new sefer. The community danced into the shul and were mesameach the occasion.
The shul’s sifrei torah were returned to the Aron Kodesh and Chazan Baram, joined by the Kaufler/Kaplan children, sang “Mimkom’cha”. The new sefer was then opened and following Hagba and Gelilah, the Chazan and the children sang “Ko Amar”. The olam then danced with the new sefer to the aron kodesh. Chazan Baram sang Mizmor l’David and Etz Chaim He. The community then heard from Rabbi Pini Dunner and Mr. Philip Kaufler and grandson, Mordechai Kaplan. Everyone was then invited to join in a sumptuous seudas simcha. As the group of survivors gets smaller and smaller, we owe it to the few left to do all we can for them and remember them, now and in the future, as we remember today, Reb Avraham Yosef Ben Chaim z”l.
Mr. Benish Kaplan holding the new Sefer Torah
Photo Credit: Arye D Gordon
Behind the writing of every sefer torah, there is a story. This time is no different. On Sunday morning, the 4th day of Chanukah, the 28th of Kislev, 5774, the Young Israel of North Beverly Hills celebrated the Hachnasas Sefer Torah given by Mrs. Hedy Kaufler and the Kaufler and Kaplan families. It was in memory of Reb Avraham Kaufler z”l , a Jew whose personal story was retold in the book, “Night of Remembrance: The 50th Anniversary of the Destruction of the Hungarian Jewish Community”. One of nine children with only two surviving sisters, Avraham managed to endure a stint in the Hungarian Army (1940), which lasted until the Jews were thrown out as undesirables. He then was placed in the Hungarian Forced Labor Brigade building airfields near Debrecen. His next test of survival was living through a forced march of 20,000 people that dwindled down to 1,000 by the time they reached Mathausen. Reb Avraham experienced the starvation, the hunger, the beatings and the unmentionable horrors and degradation. He managed to beat the malach hamaves (Angel of Death) and survive the death that was the lot of many, all part of the Holocaust and destruction of over 6 million kedoshei Yisroel. Abraham managed through rachmei Hashem (G-d’s benevolence) to pick up the broken pieces of his life and go on to marry (Hedy), immigrate to America, raise a fine family of four children and be blessed with many grandchildren.
(L- R) Mr Philip Kaufler, Mr. Beinish Kaplan (with Torah) and grandson Yehuda Kaplan leading Dr. Uri Zisblatt adding a letter to the Sefer torah the procession bringing the new Sefer Torah to the Young Israel of North Beverly Hills.
“The Spiegel Shul” of Los Angeles holds Annual Melava Malka By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon
On Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Vayigash, the 5th of Teves 5774, Ohr HaChaim, known in the community as “The Spiegel Shul” held its Annual Melava Malka. Tucked away along a row of small businesses, the storefront entrance to Ohr HaChaim can be missed if you are not alert. “The Spiegel Shul” is a Landmark on La Brea Avenue, located between first and Second Street. The fact is, that no matter where else you might daven in this neighborhood, you will always manage to catch a davening, be it Shacharis, Mincha or Maariv. It is not only the davening that draws you to this shul. Another inviting purpose to come to Ohr HaChaim is to attend one of the many shiurim offered by prominent rabbis and exceptional lecturers in the area. Mr. Howard Gluck, a grandson of R’ Chaim Binyomin Spiegel, HY”D, who arranged the Melava Malka and who supervises many the shul’s activities, related the history of the Shul’s beginnings. “In 1949, a group of Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Los Angeles established Congregation Ohr HaChaim in
memory of Chaim Binyomin Spiegel and other family members, Hy”d, who perished in the Holocaust. For over 60 years, the shul has served the Los Angeles Community as a “Heimishe” makom tefilah and limud torah”. To this day, the family is still involved with the shul and its needs. Under the able leadership of our esteemed Rabbi, Rav Shloime Klein, shlita, the shul has grown and continues to offer Shabbos and daily minyanim, regularly scheduled shiurim and many other learning opportunities,” he said. In welcoming the guests, Mr. Gluck commented, “it is our hope that with the support of all of you here tonight, our Beis
Medrash will continue to serve and inspire the Los Angeles Community and perpetuate the legacy of those in whose memory the shul was founded.” Special thanks were given to many people, especially to Ronnie Mayer, President, Meir Leib Rosman, Gabbai, and Yitzchok Salzman, the shul’s ba’al koreh. Rav Shlomo Klein then offered a dvar torah and his personal observations on the shul and its members. In commenting on the mitzvah of hadlakas haneiros, Rav Klein pointed out that Chanuka and the neiros are not a matter of quantity, but of quality. “When talking about our beis me-
drash, said Rav Klein, “quantity vs. quality come to mind. In size, we are far from being the biggest in the city. But in quality, it is a great beis medrash! Young people, older people, heimishe yidden, Holocaust survivors, Jews with unimaginable faith, and they all manage to blend in comfortably with each other. Such a beis medrash gives the young people here the opportunity not just to do mitzvos, but to see how to properly do them. We welcome them all and look forward to many years of blessing and joy.” The evening ended with dessert followed by Birkat Hamazon.
Photo credits: Arye D. Gordon
THE JEWISH HOME
DECEMBER 12, 2013
Partial view of Audience listening to Rabbi Shloime Klein of the Speigel Shul
R L Rabbi Moshe Borzikowsky Rebbe Los Angeles Cheder Rabbi Yitzchok Meir Zeidman and Rabbi Moshe Yitzchok Schwartz Maggidei Shiur Rabbi Shloime Klein Rav Ohr Hachaim Rabbi Nechemia Langer Rav Shaarei Torah
DECEMBER 12, 2013
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מזל טוב ברכת
משגרין כסא דברכתא ,בברכה שלימה ,מזלא טבא וגדיא יאה ,להאי איש רב פועלים, חתן הראש ישיבתנו שליט“א ,רודף צדקה וחסד ,תומך אורייתא ומוסדותי‘ ,בארבע כנפות הארץ, ויט שכמו לסבול עול הצלחת ישיבתנו באופן גדול ונורא
מוה“ר שלמה יהודה רכניץ ני“ו וב“ב על השמחה השוכן במעונו בבא בקשרי שידוכין בבתו החשובה הכלה שרה אילה תחי‘, עם בן מחותנו הבחור החשוב החתן
שמואל דוד בן מוה“ר יצחק קארנפעלד
ני“ו ,מעיר מאנטריא‘
הקב“ה יזכהו שהזיוג יעלה יפה ,ויראה מהם בנין עדי עד, ודורות ישרים מבורכים ,בשמחה ונחת וכל טוב סלה.
אל מול פני המנורה גם אנו מברכים בזה
לכבוד ראש ישיבתנו ,מורנו ורבנו
הרה“ג ר‘ ישראל הלוי בעלסקי והרבנית תחי‘
שיאירו הזיוג הזה באור התורה ויבנו בית נאמן בישראל לה‘ ולתורתו, ויראה נחת מנכדיו ויזכה לבריאת הגוף והנפש ויאריך ימים על ממלכתו בקרב כל ישראל אנס“ו
ראשי הישיבה ,הנהלה ,וועד הדירקטורין ,אבריכי הכולל ,ותלמידי הישיבה
גם לרבות את מוה“ר יעקב רכניץ וב“ב לברכת מזל טוב ולראות נחת ושמחה מהזיוג הנ“ל G
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DECEMBER 12, 2013
Yizkor: YULA Boys School Poland Trip By Eitan Meisels This year’s YULA Poland Experience was nothing short of remarkable; in fact, it exceeded every expectation I had for the trip. Nineteen YULA students, accompanied by two rebbeim and two fathers, spent a week in Poland to process both the magnitude of the Holocaust, and to gain a stronger appreciation for Poland’s rich Jewish history. Whether it was dancing with the Torah and learning in Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin or visiting the gravesites of great Tzadikim, we all came away inspired to be better and proud Jews. After months of planning, including studying the history and preparing ourselves emotionally as much as possible, we departed on Sunday, November 17 for Warsaw, Poland, where we began a sevenday journey never to be forgotten. Traveling from one region of Poland to the next, we, along with our rebbeim, Rabbi Sufrin and Rabbi Rosenbluth, two fathers, and our rabbinic scholar, Rabbi Eli Marcus, made it a priority to absorb each and every sight, sound, and smell. Of the many places we visited, I was impacted most deeply by the Majdanek Death Camp, Auschwitz- Birkenau, and Treblinka. These three camps, surrounded by trees and the ever-so-suggestive smell of smoke, truly struck me at my core. Majdanek Death Camp is in the center of the Polish city of Lublin. It is surrounded by trees, tall office buildings, and apartments. It is now used for recreational purposes by many of its neighbors. Some Poles use the
perimeter of the camp as a running track, while others walk through the camp as if it were a park. The fact that the site, a former extermination camp, is treated this way is quite unsettling. Likewise, Auschwitz Birkenau is located in the southern tip of Poland. It is surrounded by dark birch trees and a tall, looming, electrified gate. The camp extends as far as the eye can see, and is lined with many, many wooden barracks. The camp is more of a tour site than anything else. Auschwitz I now features a gift shop and numerous concession stands. The camp is no longer a memorial to the thousands of men, women, and children who perished there, but is a disturbing and unattractive museum. Zachary Schoen described his reaction to standing in the gas chambers where so many Jewish men, women and children perished: “I entered into a room about 20-30 feet long and maybe 10 feet tall. I was not allowed to enter the gas chamber in Majdanek so this experience was quite different. I was standing on the exact spot thousands died within minutes. I could see the holes where the gas pellets came out of and the scratches on the wall (although our guide said that many of those were made by tourists over the years). It was an incredibly powerful feeling standing in that spot and one that I may never feel again. We then entered the crematorium next door where many were tragically burned and treated with no dignity, even after death. Again, the feeling was eerie and indescribable. I do not
think I will ever forget Auschwitz.” Lastly, Treblinka is one of the oldest concentration camps in Poland but was burnt down shortly after the War. The Nazis destroyed it so as to abolish evidence of their wrongdoing. The camp is now an expansive field with more than 17,000 rocks lining its perimeter. Each rock represents a city, town, or village whose members were sent to their deaths at Treblinka. To me, the most frightening thing about Treblinka was its silence. After witnessing the pain, destruction, and silence of the camps, it was inspiring to join my fellow classmates and rebbeim in beautiful Divrei Torah, Tefillah, and singing. According to Rabbi Arye Sufrin, who helped organize the trip, “For me, the highlight of the trip was the intense learning and emotional singing that took place at the gravesite of the holy tzadikim we visited. Whether it was the Reb Chaim, Netziv, Kotzker, Chozeh, Rema, Bach or R’ Elimelech of Lizensk, it was powerful for everyone to connect to these great tzadikim who have left an everlasting impact on the Jewish people. Standing at the kever of the Chidushei Harim at 4:00 AM in the freezing cold, singing and learning famous Divrei Torah he has brought to the world is an experience I will never forget.” All in all, the trip was very inspiring. It allowed me to connect with the past, become a witness to history, and also gave me a desire to grow spiritually and be more connected to Torah and Mitzvot.
VTHS Celebrates Chanukah with Panache The Valley Torah High School boys division beis medrash was lit up and decked out as a game show studio and the girls division social hall was transformed into a Roaring Twenties ballroom. All of this flair and fashion created an exciting and memorable Chanukah for VTHS students. On the eighth day of Chanukah, Thursday, December 5, at lunchtime, the VTHS Boys Division held its annual Chankuah Chagigah. At the much anticipated event the boys enjoyed schwarma, falafel and many rounds of lively dancing. However, the unmistakable highlight of the chagigah was the chidon – a contest of Jewish knowledge, featuring questions on Chanukah and other Jewish topics. The chidon contestants, four from each grade, are chosen by an extensive exam. Each of the finalists received $10 Coffee Bean cards, the winning 12th grade team received $25 gift cards to the House of David Judaica store and the entire senior class received $5 Coffee Bean gift cards. “This event is one of if not the most exciting activity of the year. The boys were so enthusiastic about it,” said VTHS Student Activities Director Rabbi Yisroel Semmel, who coordinated the chagiga and
chidon. Contestants on the winning 12th grade team were Maor Ben-haroch, Yakov Stone, Eliyahu Yifrach, Jonathan Arashebn and alternate, Yosef Schoen. Other contestants were: 11th grade, Julian Gershon, Sam Leibowitz, Daniel Mishail, Shaya Escowitz and alternate, Eden Issachar; 10th grade, Liron Ben-haroch, Davidi Berg, Benji Kaufman, Aaron Loffman and alternate, Eliyahu Ohevshalom; 9th grade, Joseph Bral, Ari Leichter, Josh Immanuel, Yoni Zisblatt and alternate, David Kashanirokh. The Valley Torah girls division began their week of Chanukah festivities with a spirited dreidel competition. Semifinalists from eight teams competed in a championship round in which senior Deena Denbo was the clear winner, rolling 6 gimmels in a row! The week culminated in the long awaited Chanuka chagigah in which the humble Valley Torah social hall was transformed into a ballroom circa the Great (Gatsby) Maccabees of the Roaring Twenties. “Valley Torah was filled with flapper fashion, music and energy!” said veteran teacher and 9th grade mechanecht Miriam Striks. After a lesson in 1920’s style make-up by VT alumna Jessica (Golriz) Hyam, the girls competed to
replicate the most authentic 20’s look! A dessert and salad buffet was followed by the creation of flapper headbands studded with bling and feathers. ”They were the “bees knees” of the Roaring 20’s!” said Striks. The highlight of the chagigah was the long awaited Chinese auction in which coveted prizes such as a Shabbos with Rabbi and Mrs. Biron, Mrs. Orloff’s Challah, and Mrs. Striks’ S’mores Bars were eagerly bid on. A happy Chanuka was enjoyed by all thanks to the efforts of Student Council Advisor Mrs. Shira Pollack and chagigah organizers Iara Sereur, Sarah Lucas, Orah Shafa, Rochel Leah Raskin, Esther Chulpaev, Shani Sarusi and Miriam Niessany.
THE JEWISH HOME DECEMBER 12, 2013
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DECEMBER 12, 2013
Simon Wiesenthal Center: Waters’ Venomous Anti-Israel Attacks Rank him in Top Ten Anti-Semites of 2013 “The Simon Wiesenthal Center first called out Roger Waters when he affixed a Star of David on a floating pig during his tour of European cities. Now, in a venomous new interview he confirms his status as one of the most virulent haters of the Jewish state anywhere,” charged Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights NGO. “He accuses Israel of being an apartheid, racist, murdering regime, comparing it to Nazi Germany’s genocide of European Jewry during World War II.” In Waters’ own words: “The situation in Israel/Palestine,
with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable. So for an artist to go and play in a country that occupies other people’s land and oppresses them the way Israel does, is plain wrong. They should say no. I would not have played for the Vichy government in occupied France in the Second World War, I would not have played in Berlin either during this time. Many people did, back in the day. There were many people that pretended that the oppression of the Jews was not going on. From 1933 until 1946. So this is not a new scenario. Except that this time it’s the Palestinian People being murdered…
Anybody who looks at the situation will see that if you choose not to take up arms to fight your oppressor, the non violent route, and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions(BDS) movement … is a legitimate form of resistance to this brutal and oppressive regime.” Waters also dismisses fears Israeli fears over the threat of a nuclearized Iran as “a huge bucket of garbage that they are pouring into the mouth of a gullible public… It’s a diversionary tactic.” He also confirms his ongoing activism in the BDS movement, acknowledging that he wrote singer Cindy Lauper to cancel a Tel Aviv concert.
“The Wiesenthal Center calls on his peers in the entertainment world to condemn Waters’ slanders and to show through their continued appearances to Israel that they share our contempt for this bigot,” Rabbi Cooper concluded. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).
Ou West Coast Torah Convention, With Theme Of Traditional Judaism In the New Millennium, To Be Held December 12-15 At Synagogues Throughout Los Angeles
The 23rd Annual Orthodox Union West Coast Torah Convention will be held this year in Los Angeles from Thursday, December 12 to Sunday, December 15 with the theme, “Traditional Judaism in the New Millennium.” The program will take place at OU member synagogues throughout the area with the Sunday closing sessions being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, the Rabbi of Shearith Israel Congregation (The
Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue) in New York and Director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought of Yeshiva University, will deliver the keynote address, Thursday, December 12 at 7:45 p.m. at the Young Israel of North Beverly Hills. His topic will be “Conventional Zionism: A Reflection on the Life of Menachem Begin.” Scholars in Residence, who will be fanning out to OU shuls in the area, include Rabbi Avram Bogopulsky of San Diego; Rabbi Dr. Reuven Bulka of Ottawa; Dr. Yocheved Debow of Israel; Rabbi Mark Dratch Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Council of America; Rabbi Yitzchak Feldman of Palo Alto; OU President Martin Nachimson of Los Angeles; Dr. David Pelcovitz of Yeshiva University; Rabbi Steven Pruzansky of Teaneck, NJ; Rabbi Hershel Schachter of Yeshiva University; Rabbi Steven Weil Executive Vice President of the OU, and Rebbetzin Yael Weil.
According to Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, Director of the West Coast Region, and Rabbi Adir Posy, Convention program director, “The theme for 2013, Traditional Judaism in the New Millennium, is most appropriate. Over the last months and years the pace of technological and societal innovation has been more intense than any time in recent memory. With all of the new opportunities that this new world offers come new challenges, and the goal of this year’s convention is to stimulate a communal conversation about how we can ensure that we use our traditional Orthodox values to navigate the delicate road ahead.” The Sunday sessions at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, beginning at 9:30 a.m., include The Dr. Beth Sharon Samuels z”l Memorial Women’s Beit Midrash, at which Rebbetzin Weil will speak on the topic, “Not Afraid to Speak Her Mind: The Life and Legacy of Miriam the Prophetess.” She will be followed by Dr. Yoch-
eved Debow on “A Torah Based Sexual Ethic”; by Rabbi Weil on “Insights from the Rav on Sefer Bereishit: A Launch of the New Masoret Harav Chumash; and a closing plenary session, “Talking Tachlis: Dealing with Contemporary Challenges Facing Today’s Orthodox Families.” Rabbi Weil will moderate the panel, which will include Dr. Debow, Rabbi Bulka and Dr. Pelcovitz. The Sunday program will also include a Legal Ethics session, “Ethical Challenges of an Orthodox Attorney,” with Rav Schachter and Rabbi Pruzansky on the panel, which will be moderated by Chaim Woolf. A one hour MCLE Credit is available. There is no registration fee and no charge for the Keynote Address and Sunday sessions. For more information on attending, contact 310-229-9000 x 200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ball game. Reconnecting Right Away Why wait five, ten or even twenty-five years to have your first class reunion? Recently, Shalhevet’s Principal, Mr. Noam Weissman, traveled to many of the Yeshivot and seminaries in Israel to meet
with Shalhevet alumni to find out how their year of study in Israel is going. During Mr. Weissman’s visit, Shalhevet’s most recent graduates also held their first official Shalhevet reunion with a Melva Malka dinner at a restaurant in Jerusalem.
The Flame Burns On at Shalhevet As part of a Thanksgivukah celebration, Shalhevet Alumni reunited both in Los Angeles and Israel to keep the Shalhevet flame burning in their hearts. The school held a 10-year reunion for the class of 2003, an Alumni basketball game and a reunion for recent graduates spending a year studying in Israel. Shalhevet Alumni Shoot and Score! On Thanksgiving weekend, Shalhevet alumni faced off against the Shalhevet Firehawks boys’ and girls’ basketball teams in the school’s first annual Alumni Basketball Game. In the women’s game, the Lady Firehawks defeated the alumni by a score of 14-4 and in the men’s game the alumni narrowly beat the current boys’ team by a score of 38-36. Hundreds of
Shalhevet fans – parents, students, alumni and faculty – showed up to cheer the teams on. To celebrate Thanksgivukah, spectators brought canned goods and non-perishable food items to donate to SOVA. Reconnecting With Old Friends: Class of 2003 Holds 10 Year Reunion On Motza’ei Shabbat Chanukah, members of the Shalhevet class of 2003 gathered for their 10th year reunion at The Cask on Pico Boulevard. The evening was a great opportunity for alumni to catch up and reconnect with classmates, as well as with some of the Shalhevet Faculty. Alumni and spouses came from near and far to attend what was a memorable evening. Prior to the reunion, many of the alumni attended the Shalhevet Alumni Basket-
By Yoni Sosnick
help guide them through their unique needs and challenges. “ W e want to help kids become productive so they will be able to build up their self esteem. Many of the kids have learning issues or family issues. Many of them have never accomplished anything before, and for the first time, they are feeling that sense of accomplishment. In addition, being a part of Aish Tamid gives them a sense of belonging and a feeling of being accepted for who they are,” notes Rabbi Hershoff. One of the ‘graduates’ of Aish Tamid, Yosef, reflected on how it has shaped his life. “I was getting into trouble at school and hanging out with the wrong circle of friends. One night, a close friend brought me to Aish Tamid. I met with Rabbi Hershoff who, in a short period of time, helped me make plans for my future and get my life back on track.” This included getting his high school diploma on time (despite being projected to graduate 2 years late), a driver’s license, a full time job, and a better lifestyle by quitting smoking and other negative habits. This lead to even bigger achievements which included strengthening his yiddishkeit by going to Yeshiva in Israel, and ultimately joining and serving in the highly respected Golani Infantry Unit of the IDF, which he is currently a part of today. According to Yosef , Rabbi Hershoff opened doors and guided him every step of the way. “This place is so close to my heart...the things that the Rabbi does for these kids,
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For over a decade, Aish Tamid has been helping at-risk teens and young adults establish healthy and productive lifestyles, with a focus on being drug-free, emotionally stable and self-sustaining members of society and our communities. What initially started as a small and informal program founded by Rabbi Avi Leibovic, Esquire, has developed into a fulltime outreach program that assists those in need on a daily basis. Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff, Director of Aish Tamid, MSW and Substance abuse counselor is in touch with 300+ kids and sees approximately 100 boys per month coming through the Center. Aish Tamid provides an array of services, including crisis intervention, substance abuse counseling, evaluations and therapy referrals, jobs, high school and yeshiva placement, GED preparation, and optional Torah learning to name a few. Parental counseling and support is also a key component, and they partner with parents to strengthen the family ties and work through any sensitive issues the family is experiencing. According to Rabbi Hershoff, the crisis hotline for Aish Tamid is always on and ready to assist. They have also established a relationship with local Jewish rehabilitation and mental health providers in the community, including the Chabad Rehab Center and Beit Teshuva. On weeknights, Aish Tamid is a Dropin Center, which provides boys between the ages of 15 - 23 with a comfortable and non-judgmental setting where they can be helped in a covert fashion, without making it feel like a therapeutic program. Not only do they serve FREE dinner every night of the week, there is also a ton of fun activities including billiards, foosball, air hockey, an outdoor basketball hoop, a gym, a musical instrument room, a lounge with a large screen TV and video games, computers with internet access and a Jewish library. This social environment not only keeps kids off the street, but also fosters the personal connection needed in order to work with each of the boys and to
I’ve never seen a man work this hard. I’ve seen these young guys coming in with bad behavior... but within a week or two they start changing their attitudes due to the positive influences of both the Rabbi and the other boys. They start davening more and it really helps them to mature. They take kids who are having serious issues and get them on track and help them become stronger as people...it’s really quite amazing. I’ve never seen a program like this and I really support it with all my heart.” This worthy organization, which is a critical part of the Los Angeles Jewish community, needs our financial support and volunteer efforts in order to continue their important work of helping our local boys. Aish Tamid plays multiple roles in the lives of these young men. “We often become their mentor, therapist, advocate,
and liaison to other programs. To that end, we are always looking for people to donate their time and services in any of these capacities,” says Rabbi Hershoff. “The nightly dinners alone cost $500 dollars a week, in addition to all the other program costs.” Aish Tamid is also looking for members of the community who are able to tutor the kids in a variety of subjects as well as to train/hire them for entry level positions or internships so they can learn a trade. “The biggest Chesed one can do for these kids is to give them a job where they can feel good about themselves and give them the opportunity to be productive.” Please email us at email@example.com or call the office at 323.634.0505
14th Annual Book Fair at Cheder Menachem Cheder Menachem hosted its 14th annual book fair this week. The 5th of Teves is a special day in the Lubavitch calendar. Hey Teves, or Didan Notzach, is a day when the Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraged the buying of seforim. To honor this, Cheder Menachem hosts a book fair where students and their families can browse through hundreds of books and order the books they choose at a discounted rate. There are around 350 books on display, mainly from the Lubavitch publishers Kehos Publication Society, Sichos in English, and Hachai. These publishing
houses offer their best discounts this time of year, with some books marked down by 50%. While the event is for the children, parents and families are invited as well. And even when family is unable to attend, the kids go home with a price list for all the books, so the parents have a chance to go over the list and pick books too. Hundreds of books are ordered each year. Rabbi Sholom Heidingsfeld describes the excitement among the students. “You hear children looking through the books saying, ‘OK, I’m going to get this one for my baby brother, and this for my sister.
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Aish Tamid Opens Doors for At-Risk Teens
What would be good for my mother?’ We also have kids who come with long shopping lists of books. I told one child who brought me a list, ‘Go ask your mommy,’ and he responded, ‘If it’s a Tanya and a Tehillim, I’m sure my mommy will let me get it!’” This excitement is a driving force behind the fair, Rabbi Heidingsfeld explains. “The Rebbe believed that even children should have their own miniature Chabad house – their own siddur and Chumash and Tanya – in their room. When a child has his own sefer it adds to his excitement for learning.”
Powerful Shabbaton and a Remarkable Siyum Highlight a Busy Week at LINK Kollel in LA spoke about the special nature of the three levels of observance unique to Chanukah. LINK’s annual Chanukah party brought a crowd of over 100 adults and children for a variety of Chanukah-themed activities. Finally, the LINK Beis Medrash held its inaugural Chanukah Mesiba with inspiring words of Torah by Rabbi Asher Brander (Rosh Kollel) and stirring, heartfelt zemiros and dancing lead by Rabbi Daniel Weinstock on his guitar. It was most fitting that on the Sunday morning of Chanukah (Dec. 1st) 93 year old Myron Schnur made a Siyum on Sefer Shemos at LINK, together with Rabbi Eli Stern (LINK’s Outreach Director), his teacher. Mr. Schnur had started his process of becoming a Baal Teshuva at age 85(his son, daughter-in-law and their children had become observant a number of years earlier). He now is Shomer Torah U’Mitzvos and has been learning Chumash weekly with Rabbi Stern for the past 6 years. They went through the p’sukim with Rashi and Mr. Schnur also learned through Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsh’s commentary as well. (They finished Bereishis about 3 years ago, when another festive Siyum was held.) In his remarks, Mr. Schnur commented on how the symbolism of the Mishkan on some level corresponds to the different organs of the human body. He added that the influence of learning Torah these past few years has transformed every aspect of his physical existence. Rabbi Stern noted how inspired he is every time from Mr. Schnur’s enthusiasm and incessant questioning to arrive at the truth of Hashem’s Torah. The whole tzibur then joined Mr. Schnur in spirited dancing before eating from the Seudas Mitzvah. Finally, LINK held a profound Shabbaton with Rabbi Sauer on Parshas VaYigash (Dec. 6th and 7th). Rav Sauer gave two lengthy and masterful presentations on the halachos relating to the theme of separating ourselves from the deleterious influences of the ambient
secular culture. The Friday night talk touched on the topic of making fences in male-female interactions (such as yichud). He went through both the halachic details as well as the hashkafic overview of this very important topic. During Shabbos lunch, he discussed the various halachos relating to the customs and holidays of other religions and the various cultural echoes of their practices (such as “holiday parties”, giving gifts and greetings to gentiles before their holidays and listening to “religious” music). Over Shabbos, he also gave a brief Halacha shiur on why we cover the challos at the Shabbos table, a drasha on the unity of Klal Yisroel based on the Parsha and a shiur
at Shalosh Seudos on seeing the ultimate good in Hashem’s actions (also based on the Parsha). The over 100 people who attended at least part of the Shabbaton were deeply moved by their exposure to such a consummate Talmid Chacham and Posek.
Photo credit- Yosef Ober
A powerful Shabbaton with Rav Nachum Sauer (Rosh Kollel of YOLA and noted community Poseik) capped off a busy 2 ½ weeks at the LINK Kollel in Los Angeles. In between, there were several Chanukah related events, an amazing speaker from Eretz Yisroel and a remarkable Siyum by a 93 year old man who recently became a Baal Teshuvah. Taking it in chronological order, the flurry of programming began with a presentation by Mrs. Penina Taylor (now of Beit Shemesh in Israel) on November 20th to a packed room of rapt listeners. Mrs. Taylor was born Jewish but converted to Christianity r”l at age 17. She eventually became a leading missionary teacher, first to gentiles and later to Jews through the deceptive “Messianic Judaism” movement. Along the way, she married a Christian pastor and had 4 children. After 17 years, through a series of wondrous “hashgacha pratis” events, she returned to become a fully observant Torah Jew. Eventually, her husband converted to Torah Judaism and all their children have followed their parents back to Yiddishkeit as well. She now teaches in various seminaries in Israel and also devotes her energy to bringing Jews back from the ensnarement of Christian missionaries. She has written 2 booksone an autobiographical description of her amazing journey, and the other, a scholarly verse by verse refutation of the claims of Christian missionaries. Her talk deeply stirred her audience and inspired them to redouble their efforts at coming closer to Hashem. In addition, she gave a shiur at a women’s Shalosh Seudos on the topic of how do we know that Hashem loves us. LINK had something for everyone over Chanukah. There were 2 guest presentations in the Beis Medrash. Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn of Yeshivat Yavneh in LA gave over a plethora of Chassidic insights into Chanukah while Rabbi Eliezer Niehaus (whose father Rabbi Ephraim is one of the mainstays of the LINK Kollel)
L-R: Rabbi Eli Stern Outreach Director of LINK, Rav Nachum Sauer guest speaker, and Rabbi Asher Brander Rosh Kollel of LINK
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Beth Jacob Congregation Hosts Its Semi-Annual Masters Lunch On the sixth day of Chanukah this year, Beth Jacob Congregation hosted its semi-annual Masters Lunch. An event for members 60 and over, last Tuesday’s lunch included a multi-course meal, learning, and live musical entertainment. Rabbi Kalman Topp gave a talk about Chanukah and
Chazan Arik Wollheim played piano and sang Chanukah songs, much to the delight of the crowd. There were 65 people in attendance to enjoy the abundant food and warmly festive Chanukah atmosphere. With smiles evident on all sides, both organizers and
attendees were very happy with the event. One of the gatherings that Beth Jacob Congregation puts together to promote friendship and unity, this was the second Masters Lunch held this year.
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Yaakov Is Not Dead! Rabbi Brander
A strange and wonderfully deep statement by Chazal evokes obvious wonder [Ta’anis 5b] Thus said R. Yochanan: Yaakov Avinu did not die. I. On a simple level, what motivate Chazal to make this statement is the omission of the verb meis [death/dying] in describing Yaakov’s departure from this world [49:33]; (a word that is explicitly mentioned with the departure of Avraham and Yitzchak [25:8, 35:29]) And Yaakov concluded commanding his sons, and he drew his legs [up] into the bed, and expired and was brought in to his people. But alas, it is too simple. Ramban piles up the obvious questions, wondering how the Rabbis could make such a shocking statement given that…. a....Yaakov himself tells us he will die [48:21 ], using the meis verb b....The Torah relates the brothers saw ki meis avihem- that their father had died [50:15] c.... Yaakov is enbalmed, eulogized and buried - thinks not generally done to live people [50:2,10,13] This latter point is picked up by the gemara which responds in a typically remarkable fashion He [R. Nachman] objected: Was it for no reason that he was eulogized, embalmed and buried? The other replied: I derive this [that Yaakov did not die] from a pasuk, as It is said, Therefore fear not, Yaakov My servant, says the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel, for, lo, I will save you from afar and your seed from the land of their captivity. The verse likens him [Yaakov] to his seed [Israel]; as his seed will then be alive so he too will be alive In other words, Rav Yochanan “proves” that Yaakov did not die, based on a textual comparison found in Yirmiyahu; needless to say a textual proof from a book written over 1,000 years later seems a bit confounding when the primary narrative explicitly contradicts this fact [question 1a]! II. We shall yet present 3 approaches to appreciate this Yaakov did not die notion, but let us also note a few other problems in the Yaakov
not carry] Yaakov’s coffin [50:13 based on Tanchuma]: And his sons carried him: But not his grandsons, for so he had commanded them: “Neither shall any Egyptian carry my coffin nor any of your sons, for they are born of the daughters of Canaan, but you [alone].” He designated a position for them [by his coffin], [so that] three [of them would carry] on the east, and so on for [all] four directions. [This was] similar to their arrangement in the traveling of the camp [in the desert] of the groupings [of the tribes as] they were designated here. [He also ordered,] “Levi shall not carry it because he (i.e., his tribe) is destined to carry the Ark. Joseph shall not carry it because he is a king. Menashe and Ephraim shall carry it instead of them.” That is the meaning of “Each one according to his group with signs” (Num. 2:2), according to the sign that their father gave them to carry his coffin. Incredibly, Yaakov is buried in the very same formation that his children travel in the desert. Levi and Yosef are both separated out; what is the depth of the connection [qu. 4]? Rav Wolfson majestically connects Moriah [place of the mikdash] to Machpela. Both represent hashra’as haShechina [basking in the direct presence of the Hashem]. Whereas Moriah represents the revealed sanctity of the mikdash, Machepela is the hidden world. The mishkan/ mikdash manifestation of kedusha is ultimately rooted in the hidden world of Chevron. Consider this fascinating Mishna which details the daily ritual of readying for the morning tamid [Yoma 28b] Go forth and see whether the time for slaughtering [the morning sacrifice] has arrived. Mathia b. Samuel said: the whole east is alight. Even unto Chevron? And he answered ‘yes’. From Chevron to Yerushalayim! Chevron, then is the root of all sanctity: the lighted Jerusalem sky begins in the deep dark world of Chevron - a place that is hidden  and beyond churban [same letters as Chevron]; in that place resides the immutable and untouchable kedusha of the Jew who lives only for d’veikus - to completely and constantly to connect with Hashem. The root of Jewish holiness begins with the burial of Avraham and is completed with the burial of Yaakov. That immanent holiness sown deep within the Jew eventually pours out into the Mikdash - but it begins with the avos and imahos Note that Yaakov and Yosef who live such parallel and intertwined lives of destiny, must now part company at death - a difficult fact that Yaakov must impress upon Yosef [and thus makes him swear- answer to qu. 1]. It is this critical message that Yaakov emphasizes to all his children [ans. to qu. 3]. And for the Jew to survive the impending exile, Yaakov must be buried in Chevron immediately [ans. to qu. 2] Consider this: As he embarks upon the dangerous meraglim mission, Kalev prays in Chevron, not Yerushalayim - for in the meraglim episode (which happens on 9 Av) lay the seeds of destruction. Kalev must pray in a place that is immune to Tisha B’av; he must pray in the place of immutable kedusha know as Chevron  As Yaakov leaves the world, the Torah curiously omits the verb death - for even as Yaakov the biological father of his children [Yaakov avihem] leaves this world, his kedusha as the
bechir ha’avos the synthesis and refinement of Avraham and Yitzchak - as Yaakov Avinu - our father leaves an indelible mark upon Bnei Yisrael. We are now ready for the beautiful words of the S’fas Emes For Yaakov Avini did not die, that means he left all of his power within Klal Yisroel... and Bnei Yisrael can awaken daily that koach of Yaakov avinu... and just as the avos can awaken all of Bnei Yisrael, so klal yisrael has within their power to awaken the avos Thus as the Jews travel through galus, even without a mishkan/mikdash [Levi] or a Melech [Yosef], they can survive [by mimicking the formation of their ancestors] by holding onto Yaakov; in that grasp is the key to our survival. Now our original gemara is clear- if the children are alive - having survived the incredibly traumatic exile, it must only be because the Yaakov within pulsates vibrantly! [answer to qu. 1a] We conclude with Rav Wolfson’s beautiful words: Dear Jew: you know that within you is found both Yerushalayim and Chevron - for at a time of clarity and light- feeling the closeness of Hashem you are ascending to Har HaMoriah that is within you... but there are times that the heart is clogged and the brain is closed - your heaven is clouded with black clouds and darkness covers your eyes - you have no desire for Torah and the gates of prayer are locked - you search for what your soul desires - you search but do not find ... you know what just happened to you? Your Beis HaMikdash has been destroyed. In that state, when you cannot go to Har Hamoriah, you must go your me’aras hamachpela and like Kaleiv prostrate yourself by the graves of the patriarchs - that are found in the depths of your heart. Learn Torah even if it tastes bitter... Work like an ox because your machpelah will never be destroyed. And fulfill in your soul the words of Yeshayahu “and I wait for Hashem who hides from the house of Yaakov and I hope for Him... Hashem will not forget you forever. Hold onto the emunah. Wait until the morning until the glory of G-d will be revealed upon you and [your] city will be rebuilt once again. May Hashem’s Yerushalayim and ours too be rebuilt speedily in our days!
Good Shabbos Asher Brander  Sfas Emes 5653 ; Emunas Itecha - Chayei Sarah HaMoriah V’HaMachpela  Note that Rachel is buried on the road - her holiness and beauty are manifest. Leah, who is buried in the Machpela is from the hidden world.  Cf. Ramban introduction to Shemos: Ha’avos hein hein HaMerkava  Rav Wolfson develops this notion in several directions - herein a few: A. Thus the Midrash teaches that Chevron is the place of over lasocheir - where souls leave this world and enter gan eden - a hidden yet immutably holy place. In contrast Har HaBayis, according to Raavad and others currently has no remnants of kedusha. B. Further, we direct our prayers to Yerushalayim and not to Chevron - because Yerushalayim takes up space and exists in the physical universe But Chevron is a non place - one of dirt C. Finally, the bond of marriage in kiddushin [3a] is connected to acquiring Chevron because marrriage is not a fusion of the external body to body, rather it is an eternal soul connection of husband-wife that transcends this world. So when Yaakov sees Rachel and he cries, why does he cry - not because she will die young - but because he will not be buried with his Rachel - he is worried does that mean we will not be fused together forever? .
DECEMBER 12, 2013
l’iluy nishmas Rav Shmuel Koppel ben HaRav Sholom Pinchas (Rabbi Samuel K. Wohlgelernter) whose yahrzeit is 18 Teves. May the neshama have an aliyah.
burial saga: 1. Yaakov implores Yosef to bury him and demands that he swear to this effect - something he does not demand from the other brothers why this extra emphasis ? 2. Yosef demands that his brothers bury him in Eretz Yisrael, but he is willing to wait a few hundred years for the redemption. Yaakov however wants immediate burial; Why the difference? 3. In describing where he should be buried, Yaakov is straightforward with Yosef [ ] and very elaborate with his other children: Note the seven-fold identification of the me’aras hamachpela: [ 49:29 And he charged them, and said unto them: ‘I am to be gathered unto my people; ... ] 1. bury me with my fathers / 2. in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, / 3. in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, / 4. which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place. / 5. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. / 6. The field and the cave that is therein, /7. which was purchased from the children of Heth.’ III. To Yaakov’s non-death we return with a mystical and rational approach: 1. Rabbeinu Bechayei, based on Ramban offers us a window into the experience of death: the meaning of he did not die is he did not taste death or ... that the soul of Yaakov hovered upon his body because of his intense holiness ... for the souls of other tzadikim that were not on his level of sanctity return to their root and once they ascend, they do not descend - but Yaakov due to the holiness of his body would ascend and descend ... and this great power is limited only to the holy ones ... singular people in their generation like Rabbeinu [R. Yehuda HaNasi] therefore the Rabbis taught he would return [after his demise]every Friday to his house Certainly, Yaakov does die, but his post mortem experience differs greatly from mere mortals. Yaakov’s holiness means that his death does not create as wide a chasm between guf and neshama and therefore they remain connected. A similar phenomena is noted with certain Talmudic personalities [cf. Ramban, Rabbenu Bechayei] 2. Rav Schwab offers a creative rational approach: There are 3 partners in the formation of man, the father, the mother and Hashem [cf. Nidah 31a]. Each contributes and then the child grows adding his own. When the parent passes away - that which he gave to the child goes back with him ... thus a piece of the child also dies - [and for the parent who dies before the child is born, Hashem becomes the avi yesomim - Tehillim 68]. Thus Chazal teach that a mourner must perceive the sword near his neck [Moed Katan 27a] - for he too has undergone a death of sorts - but Yaakov our father never died -i.e. the piece that we received from Yaakov remains within us. It is Rav Schwab’s approach that forms the rational basis of the beautiful notion that follows. 3. A 3rd. Chassidic approach, combining S’fas Emes and Rav Wolfson opens a whole new world. We begin with a fascinating Rashi that focuses upon who carried [and who did
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DECEMBER 12, 2013
Believe in Them
Parenting has become a big industry. People are confounded and confused about how to raise their children. They need not look further than this week’s parsha, where Yaakov lovingly explains, praises exhorts and admonishes his sons. Successful parenting requires all of those responses in measured doses. In order for life skills to be properly conveyed, children must be disciplined and taught respect, responsibility, fidelity to Torah and moral principles. The question is how that is best accomplished. In Parshas Vayigash, we learned of the reunification of Yaakov Avinu and his beloved son Yosef after a multi-year separation that began when he was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Although Yaakov had been told that Yosef was killed by wild animals, he continued to believe that one day they would meet again. As he struggled to maintain his dignity and fidelity in a foreign land, Yosef’s ability to remember his father’s love provided him with the strength necessary to persevere. The Torah (Bereishis 46:29) describes their meeting. Yosef traveled to Goshen, “vayeira eilov, and he appeared to him, fell on his shoulder, and wept.” Rashi explains that when the posuk says “vayeira eilov,” it means that “nireh el oviv,” Yosef appeared to his father. The Sifsei Chachomim explains the depth of Rashi’s explanation. When Yaakov came to Mitzrayim, he went directly to Goshen, where Yosef had selected for him to live until the hunger would pass. Upon his arrival, Yosef went there to visit him. Thus, it was Yosef who was going to show himself to his father.
The posuk still needs explanation. What does the Torah want us to learn from stressing that Yosef went to show himself to his father? Perhaps we can understand that although Yaakov was happy that his son had survived the years of separation, he may have been apprehensive that Yosef had assimilated into the Mitzri culture. Additionally, it was possible the kavod of being a ruler had gotten to his head and the angelic son he remembered and loved would have changed so much that he wouldn’t recognize him. Yosef respectfully traveled to Goshen to appear before his father and to show him that he was the same Yosef Hatzaddik that Yaakov had remembered. “Beloved father, it is I, your son. The exile and years apart did not take a spiritual toll. Ani Yosef, I am the same Yosef you sent to find my brothers many years ago on that fateful day when I disappeared.” Yosef’s resolve not to disappoint his father motivated him to remain loyal to Yaakov’s teachings despite all that befell him. The knowledge that his father believed in him empowered him. He wanted to ensure that he wouldn’t betray his father’s faith in him. Bearing this in mind creates difficulty understanding the pesukim in this week’s parsha which relate (47:29-30) that when Yaakov felt his strength ebbing and his life drawing to a close, he called Yosef to him and asked that he not be buried in Mitzrayim. Yaakov didn’t act the way you would think a loving father approaching death would when making a request from a loyal, powerful son. He didn’t tell him, “Don’t bury me in this country.” He didn’t say, “I want to be buried in Eretz Yisroel near my parents and grandparents.” He said to his most beloved son, “If I have found favor in your eyes, please give me your hand and do me a tremendous favor and don’t bury me in Mitzrayim. I [wish to] lay with my fathers, take me from Mitzrayim and bury me [next to] where they are buried.” Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz says that we learn from this the way a parent should deal with children. A father should not make unrealistic demands of his children. When parents require a favor from a child, they shouldn’t mandate it, even though
they have the right to. They should explain to the child what it is that they need done and why. Yaakov gently asked Yosef if he thought he would be able to honor his request, which he calmly explained. The Torah commands children to honor their parents, and the obligation to do so is one of the underpinnings of Yiddishkeit. But no one should be taken advantage of, not even a child. We should treat children the way we want to be treated and be considerate of their needs and feelings. At the end of their meeting, Yaakov bowed towards his son, displaying respect for the royalty. Rashi quotes the Gemara (Megillah 15b), which states, “Taala be’idnei sagid leih - When a fox rules, bow to him” (Bereishis 47:31). He also comments that Yaakov was thankful that Yosef remained righteous, despite what had transpired to him. As a father, Yaakov endeavored to see the good in his child. He didn’t question whether it was proper for a father to bow to a son, but paid the customary honor to Yosef’s position. Children who are treated justly recognize what is expected of them and seek to ensure that the confidence in their abilities and loyalty is not misplaced. When they have to be disciplined, they are better able to accept the tochachah, knowing that it emanates from parents who love them and want the best for them, not merely from doctrinaire elders who possess a need to dominate and control. The sefer Minchas Shmuel writes that his rebbi, Rav Chaim of Volozhin, said that in our day, in order for tochachah to be accepted, it has to be delivered calmly and softly. Someone who angers easily and speaks harshly is freed from the obligation of hocheiach tochiach, rebuking those who act improperly. The greatest gedolim served as the conscience of their generations. They saw their main responsibility as being the ones to motivate their students and followers to grow in Torah, avodah and middos tovos. They demanded excellence and total dedication to the goal, yet they were loving and realistic, helping their students climb the ladder to greatness one rung at a time. A prominent mashgiach was visiting Rav Elozor Menachem Man Shach when the elderly rosh yeshiva’s young grandson
came into the room. Rav Shach offered the boy a candy, asking him if he preferred a green, yellow or red one. The boy considered the options carefully and happily chose the red one. The rov turned to Rav Schach. “Rosh Yeshiva,” he said, “with all due respect, aren’t you encouraging the child to become like Eisov, who saw everything superficially? Why is choosing a red candy over a green one and making the distinction important, different than Eisov asking Yaakov to ‘pour me this red soup’?” The rosh yeshiva smiled. “You need to understand the mind of a child,” he said. “A child sees the world on a shallow level. He has not yet matured to the point where he can see deeper than the color of a candy. He inhabits an imaginary world. To him, the color of candy is very important. Eisov was already a grown person, yet he maintained a child-like superficial view of the world.” Rav Shach looked back at the contented child. “He is doing exactly what he should be doing. Remember, he is just a child.” Our great leaders, inhabiting the peaks of spiritual grandeur, never felt too high to look down and see the struggles of a child. When Rav Eliyohu Eliezer Dessler moved to Eretz Yisroel to assume the position of mashgiach in Ponovezh Yeshiva, he sought to admonish through giving chizuk. Talmidim who visited him the first Chol Hamoed that he was there were amazed by the reception they were afforded. “What an honor that you came,” Rav Dessler said to his teenage visitors. “I have special wine that I only take out for important guests.” He made them feel important, and they returned the favor, raising themselves to be worthy of his respect and doing their best not to upset him. Once, talmidim behaved in a way that demanded rebuke. The owner of a nearby makolet complained to Rav Dessler that bochurim were not paying their bills and that he was feeling the pinch. Rav Dessler delivered a shmuess, discussing the severity of the middah of selfishness and the importance of behaving with honesty and integrity. He didn’t mention anything about the bills at the makolet. He didn’t have to. Everyone knew what was expected of them and modified their behavior accord-
Question & Answer Education is at the fore of every parent’s mind. Parents and Educators have many questions, concerns and worries.
I am wondering how to help my child appreciate the value of investing personal energy and time in achieving results. My child always seems to want me to do all the work. Signed, Hard Work Pays Off
heritage to the next generation in a way they can understand and appreciate. We begin when they are in their youth by lovingly explaining the mitzvos and setting a fine example for them to follow. When Yaakov became ill, Yosef brought his two sons who were born in golus Mitzrayim to their grandfather for a final brocha. Yaakov opened the conversation by telling Yosef that he knew he was upset with him for not burying his mother in the Meoras Hamachpeilah. He explained with great reverence to Yosef that he had done so “al pi hadibur,” in accordance with Hashem’s will. He then upset Yosef by blessing the younger Efraim before Menashe. Not always does a parent accede to the wishes of the child. Not always does the child get his way. Recognizing the accomplishment of successfully raising children in exile, Yaakov blessed Yosef that from that day onward, every time a father would bless his sons, he would say, “Yesimcha Elokim ke’Efraim vecheMenashe - May you grow as the two sons of Yosef, who persevered despite the many challenges, becoming as great as the shevotim who grew up in Yaakov’s home.” May we merit with Hashem’s help, as Yaakov did, children and grandchildren who make us proud.
Dear Hard Work Pays Off: It is a great start that you recognize the value of personal investment. Allowing a child to deal with a challenge and not to automatically resolve it for him or her is often a big challenge for a parent. We don’t like to see our children in pain. But the value of helping a child contend independently pays dividends. If we look at the lives of Yaakov and Yoseph in the book of Bereishit, we see so many examples of their fighting through their personal challenges. Each one of them could have used his life situations to say “I did my best and it’s not my fault I didn’t fulfill my potential - the odds are stacked against me.” Both Yoseph and Yaakov could have legitimately excused themselves from playing the role of patriarch and vizier. Both could have earned a pass from acting as Jewish leaders to be emulated in the future. “You want me to succeed in this place?” would be a fair excuse. In the land of Egypt a Jew is surely exempt! Yoseph could use his plight at the hands of his brothers who hated him. They led him to become a slave and ultimately be jailed. It is easier to just go with the flow. Yet Yoseph makes the best of his situation and grows to be the viceroy of the land. He does this while being a proud “Ivri” - a Hebrew. His children are educated in his way as well. He does not allow his surroundings to define him. Yaakov could have surely come before G-D after 147 years and said. “What could I do? I had a brother that wanted to kill me. I lived in the home of a liar and cheat, my uncle Lavan. I was in a deep depression over the loss of my son for 22 years. You want me to act as a patriarch?” When describing Yaakov’s age at his passing it singles out the number seven from the rest of the numbers. The Torah says he was “seven years and one hundred and forty years.” The number seven signifies that when he is about to pass away he has completely refined his seven human character traits. Mankind shares these traits with G-d. Yaakov
successfully met his life challenges and continued to act and refine himself as the patriarch of a nation. He learned how to use his situations to his benefit. When discussing with your child a challenge, help him or her contend with it. Use the opportunity to support your child as he or she contends with the challenge. If he or she complains, “it’s not fair,” or, “you do it for me,” assess the situation. If it is a challenge that your child is not ready for, help him and bring him along with you so he sees you role model solving the issue. If it is something he should do, and is age appropriate, such as a tough homework or research assignment, be empathetic and help him see how to overcome the hurdles, but make your child take the steps him or herself. After the assignment is done, (never preach mid crisis) then use examples of people who became great as a result of their work. Use Yaacov and Yoseph as examples. When your child finishes a particular project, have him or her describe what went easy and what was difficult. Have your child try to identify what he gained from the experience. Have your child describe how the project may have turned out had he used an excuse or taken an easy way out. This is also why a child should always be given chores and participate in the running of the home. It gives him or her the ability to appreciate the value of hard work. Nothing tastes sweeter than success. The Talmud states that “Adom rotzeh bkav shelo mtishah kabin shel chavero” a person desires his single measure more than nine measures given to him by someone else. By pointing out what your child has already accomplished you will help him or her envision what they can accomplish in the future. To continue the dialogue and share other ideas on this topic, firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear your thoughts. This article was compiled by Rabbi Y. Boruch Sufrin and Rabbi Eli Broner Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy Administration
DECEMBER 12, 2013
If you wish to have your question or issue considered by a team of Educators feel free to email email@example.com and your topic may be discussed in this column in future weeks. All names will be held confidential.
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ingly. A teen-aged talmid had questions on emunah and his bais medrash rebbi feared that he was becoming at-risk. On Purim, he brought the boy to Rav Shach, asking the rosh yeshiva if he could answer the boy’s questions. Rav Shach told the boy that there were many people coming and going and it wasn’t a good time to engage in discussion. “Why don’t you come back over the Pesach bein hazemanim? Then we’ll have time and the ability to discuss your questions.” When the boy returned to yeshiva after bein hazemanim, his rebbi asked him if he had returned to Rav Shach. “No, I didn’t,” he answered. “When we were there on Purim, through his conversation with me, he surreptitiously found out where I live. He came to my house twice. I couldn’t believe it. He said that we made up to meet, so he came to me because I hadn’t come to him.” “Did he answer your questions?” the rebbi asked. “He didn’t have to. I never asked them. The fact that Rav Shach troubled himself to travel to me in Tel Aviv changed everything for me.” This boy’s life was turned around when he saw that Rav Shach believed in him and cared about him and the direction in which he was headed. This is the lesson that Yaakov Avinu taught when he bowed to his son. He recognized the long journey that Yosef had taken through the impurity and moral depravity of Mitzrayim, emerging pure. Hu Yosef she’omeid betzidko. Yaakov was inspiring us to view children with appreciation for dealing with their challenges and for their accomplishments. It is difficult to be a young person. Youngsters have long, hard schedules, days that start early and end late. They are surrounded by multiple nisyonos, often with challenges that overwhelm adults, yet much is expected of them. Most people have an innate desire to do well, grow, prosper and be successful in what they are doing today and in life in general. As we arm them with the tools they need to make it in these trying times, we have to let them know that we believe they have what it takes to make it. Since the time of Adam and Chava, temptations have been ever-present. Subsequent to their failing, life has been rough. To succeed at anything, we have to work hard and endeavor to enable the yeitzer tov to overpower the yeitzer hora. We have to be seriously motivated in order to overcome life’s tribulations. As we grow and mature, we are expected to derive that strength on our own from studying Torah and mussar, and through our avodah and tefillah. But the younger people among us, who are the future of our nation, need the older ones to pave the way for them, lovingly demonstrating and teaching how it is done in order for them to be motivated. Chinuch is all about transmitting our
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DECEMBER 12, 2013
Doctors Continue to Reign Despite California’s kooky reputation, alternative health is slower to catch on in the frum community compared to the rest of SoCal. by Rachel Wizenfeld The alternative health movement has yet to catch on in a significant way to the mainstream frum community here. Despite the West Coast’s kooky reputation, Orthodox Jews in LA on the whole seem to prefer traditional, Western medicine, based on reports from natural health practitioners who say attracting clients in the frum community can be quite difficult. While a growing group of younger, independent-minded Jews are giving alternative medicine a try, their numbers remain small and relatively close-knit. Whether it’s homeopathy, acupuncture, spinal manipulation or herbs, alternative or natural medicine refers to treatments or medical systems that are more natural, holistic in nature and more reliant on the body’s natural ability to heal itself, as opposed to needing outside interventions such as medication or invasive procedures. Proponents say it heals the body without causing unneeded side effects or damage. But opponents caution that alternative medicine can actually be harmful to health, discouraging people from using scientifically-proven treatments while encouraging the use of untested, unreliable methods. It’s a growing movement nationwide. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults use health care approaches outside of mainstream Western medicine for specific conditions or overall wellbeing, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). And 17.7 percent of adults used a natural, non-vitamin product to enhance their health in the past year, according to a 2007 NIH study. But in hospital-heavy LA, while Orthodox Jews may be happy to try yoga or even chiropractic, overall the community here is wary to stray from Western medicine. Dr. Joshua Leibow, ND, is a naturopath who practices locally and in Torrance. When he moved to LA to start a practice a little over a year ago, he says he was excited to build a niche in the frum community. But he’s found that the community here isn’t looking for his services. Partly because he doesn’t take insurance and so seeing him becomes a significant expense compared with a traditional doctor, but he thinks it’s also due to a discomfort with alternative medicine. “I think it’s partly the Jewish doctor syndrome,” he says, as well as it being a matter of priorities. “Raising a Jewish family is very expensive, and if people are paying for insurance and going to Kaiser for their basic medical needs, they don’t have an interest in going above and beyond. As a naturopath specializing in homeopathy, Dr. Leibow attended a five-year graduate program akin to a traditional
medical school, and is licensed to diagnose conditions and order lab tests and imaging. But he was also trained in holistic modalities such as energy treatments, craniosacral therapy, homeopathy, chiropractic techniques and more. He says his approach is particularly successful in treating chronic conditions such as digestive issues and emotional issues like anxiety, depression, and ADD, in which people have been recommended medication but would like to get off, or it isn’t working for them. But while chiropractic and acupuncture are more tested and accepted modalities, and - more importantly – covered by insurance, naturopaths are still trying to get situated in LA. An early mentor warned Leibow: “Don’t work with the Jews – they don’t want to pay,” and indeed Leibow now has clients exclusively outside of the Orthodox Jewish community, not by choice but by necessity. One woman who lives in Hancock Park, admits that this is the prevalent attitude here. While this woman herself is drawn towards holistic medicine and nutrition, she says she’ll have friends with chronic problems, like back aches, who just keep taking medication after medication, and whose doctors have run out of suggestions, but still won’t consider an alternative. Yosef Haridim, a homeopath for 21 years who works out of a storefront on Pico Boulevard, says he’s found that people who are drawn to alternative medicine are more spiritually-minded in general, as opposed to those who are more academic. But while he originally saw more clients from the Persian and Chabad communities, now he sees a broader cross-section of the community, people who have “the extra sense that this will help them,” in contrast to those who think medicine will take care of all their ills. Haridim treats a lot of chronic illnesses, such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, infertility, ear infections in children and the like. He also finds that while people are reluctant to try alternative medicine for themselves, they’re often drawn to explore new treatments if their children need help for recurring conditions, like ear infections. Tania Jedian, a certified homeopath and life coach who practices locally, estimates that 65% of her clients come for help with their children, whether they have viruses where medications and antibiotics aren’t effective, or parents think their children were damaged by vaccines. She also offers “vaccine alternatives,” in which parents can boost their children’s immune
Dr. Joshua Leibow
Dr. Elliot Berlin
Dr. Alyssa Berlin systems naturally. A charged issue across the spectrum, Jedian finds that many in the Chabad community are reluctant to vaccinate, despite scientific evidence that it prevents disease, due to concerns that vaccination can exacerbate or cause chronic conditions such as digestive issues, ADD or other issues. But while the Chabad community is more open to alternative health, she’s found the rest of the community still prefers having doctors and nurses treat their medical conditions. They’ll come to her
for essential oil use as opposed to homeopathy, which they are more skeptical of, she says. Brenda Goldstein, a Valley Village resident who was trained in homeopathy by Tania Jedian, says that when she worked at Bais Tzivia, the elementary school in Hancock Park also known as “the Cheder,” she found that quite a few chassidish families there regularly went to a homeopath. The same is true in New York, where Dr. Leibow says he heard of a few chassidish homeopaths who treat their communities. “Homeopathy is a cheap and affordable medicine, so in communities that are more poverty level and struggling, it’s much more prevalent.” Jedian has taught homeopathy to many families here who are interested in alternative health, and is the resident homeopath at Berlin Wellness Group, run by husband and wife team Dr. Elliot and Dr. Alyssa Berlin. The group operates four SoCal locations which offer pregnancy-specific chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, individual and couples counseling, yoga, craniosacral therapy and lactation support. Their clientele is 15-20% Jewish, and while both Berlins agree that California and LA lend themselves to more of an open, holistic environment, the frum community here is lagging behind in adopting more integrative approaches to medicine. What often draws women to the Berlin Wellness Group is that many medications and procedures are off-limits during pregnancy. So if clients want treatment for back pain or colds, during pregnancy they are more open to trying natural treatments. “People will say they don’t believe this stuff, but I need to feel better before I can take my medicine again,” says Dr. Elliot Berlin, who is also the prenatal chiropractor on staff. Others come after having a birth experience that traumatized them, such as a C-section which felt unnecessary, a phenomenon that Berlin believes happens more frequently in the religious community due to women having babies much earlier and with less time to research their options. “It’s devastating to me when a 19-yearold gets married, gets pregnant, and places all her trust in her doctor, and that’s how she starts her reproductive career,” he says. “These women don’t realize the consequences. There’s a 35% C-section rate; most of them are unnecessary, some are very necessary.” Having a C-section may introduce a limit to the number of children a woman can have, as well as increase the risk for complications or infection. “It’s rare that I see frum women who have really done their homework on their
THE JEWISH HOME DECEMBER 12, 2013
options” Berlin says. While he encounters a handful of people trying homebirth or using a midwife, they often keep it quiet due to stigma and not wanting to raise eyebrows. “The frum community here is very rooted in the medical community and very trusting of it,” he says. At the same time, he does see a small trend in the direction towards a natural, holistic lifestyle, including interest in probiotics, concerns about different toxins and the benefits of certain foods such as organic. This undercurrent of interest is something that Shaina Kamman, a local health and nutrition coach, has observed as well, calling it a grassroots movement. “My personal opinion is that as the younger and BT (baal teshuva) generations begin to feel more empowered, they realize that maybe we could learn halacha and beautiful things about how to run a Jewish home from rabbis and classes, but for health they should trust themselves…I see a lot of creative young Jewish people having a lot more confidence in what
Dr. Yosef Haridim
Dr. Tania Jedian
they’re doing.” Orthodox women will approach Kamman for nutrition questions, such as which oil is healthiest to cook with their different smoke points, but it’s more rare that they’ll sign on to become clients and make drastic changes in their lifestyle. “Their plates are already full,” Kamman says. “In all honesty, if we’re going to be
generalizing, the more modern communities are more open-minded and interested in health in general,” she says. “They’re the ones who push the envelope and don’t want to keep taking pills. There was a woman who came to me that wasn’t getting her period naturally for years and was being medicated; that’s what her OB could do for her. She started to work with me and
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after 6 weeks she got her period naturally. The food you eat and the way you live has a profound effect, but it’s the people that are real doers and pushing the envelope that are looking more for that.” Some alternative approaches have roots in Easter traditions, which may elicit halachic concerns of avodah zara or general discomfort. That’s why one woman who practices Reiki, a Japanese hands-on technique to promote pain and stress reduction, was advised by a rabbi to change the name so people would be more likely to seek her services. Yulia Edelshtain, a yoga teacher and doula who works primarily with the frum community here, says that when she first moved to the neighborhood and told members at her shul that she was a yoga teacher, they looked at her with shock. Across the street was a Kundalini yoga studio, a type of yoga where people wore turbans and were quite spiritual. “I told them my yoga is scientific. It’s everything before the spiritual,” Edelshtain, popularly known as Coach Yulia, says. Yoga has become quite accepted in the religious community, partly she believes because she and other yoga instructors have been successful in positioning it as a blend of relaxation and exercise – something to counterbalance the nonstop lives of religious women. “I tell women, if we don’t take care of ourselves, how are we going to take care of our families?” In addition, she sees yoga as a form of preventative maintenance, PANORAMA CITY keeping people healthy before they get sick, something she sees 818-782-6341 the Orthodox community as being 14628 Titus Street quite interested in. that interest spills Panorama City, CA 91402 overButintountil things like acupuncture and holistic health treatments, alternative medicine, in the frum community at least, seems relegated to the sidelines.
Dr. David Zinati
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DECEMBER 12, 2013
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33 THE JEWISH HOME DECEMBER 12, 2013
7 Questions with Rabbi Shlomo Dean and Rav of Yeshivat Yavneh
By Alisa Roberts 1. Tell us about your childhood. Who were your biggest influences? I grew up in Los Angeles. I went to Yeshivat Yavneh as a child which certainly had a huge impact on my life. I went to YULA for high school. I’ve had a lot of great Rebbeim and teachers along the way. One teacher in particular who has a huge impact on my spiritual commitment is Rav Hershel Schachter Shlit”a whose shiur I was in for six years. A major part of my life is the inspiration of gedolim like Rav Kook Zt”l , Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Zt”l, Rav Shalom Elyashiv Zt”l and Yb”l Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlit”a. It’s their consummate attachment to Torah that drives me to finish Shas Bavli each year. I’m on, thank G-d, my eighth round this year. 2. What’s something unique about your teaching style? I’ve always been drawn to the power of entertainment as a medium by which to move people. I believe in using that as part of the way I teach and the way I preach. To that end I try to keep the programming and lectures in line with a more epical quality. I like to run a lot of theme Shabbatonim, which are designed to help celebrate our Judaism through various kinds of entertainment. We know that music moves us. We know the emotional power of a motion picture. Those emotional charges can be used to assist in our learning and our education and in the way we influence our children. Humor is specifically a major element of my presentation style. That was given to me as a mesorah from my parents and is daily being reinforced by my Rebbetzin Shira. 3. Tell us about your time as the Rabbi of the West Side Institutional Synagogue in Manhattan. West Side Institutional Synagogue is one of the oldest synagogues in New York. It has a beautiful history but for numerous reasons most of the congregants left. When the position opened up in 2004 I said “this is great, a large blank canvas in Manhattan”. Along with the help of a fantastic Chazan – Zev Muller and some wonder-
ful wide eyed young families, we built the shul. By the time I left it was up to 450 people on a given Shabbos. 4. What brought you back to California? Are you happy with the choice to return? I really thought I would be in New York for a long time. But my past eventually came back to find me. I was invited to become the Dean of the community that I was part of in my youth. That nostalgic element was powerful. And it wasn’t just that I was coming back to a good school. I was coming back to very unique school. Yeshivat Yavneh has a vision that it lives by of which I have not seen duplicated anywhere . It takes on both Torah and secular studies without reservation or holding back. Yavneh really believes that its pursuit of Torah, Halacha, Zionism and its pursuit of general knowledge do not have to be watered down; you can do both properly and in a strong way. I’m very happy with the choice. I love Manhattan and I miss New York, but Los Angeles is so rich with opportunity. This is a great community and everybody knows that there’s a lot work to do here. 5. What’s it been like coming back to the school you went to as a child? It’s been amazing. It’s very different. For one, it’s in a different building now. The opportunities are also different. Yeshivat Yavneh is a much better school than the one I left. It’s a much stronger school on all levels. 6. What are your goals for Yavneh? My biggest goal is to strengthen the community’s relationship with Yavneh and create a stronger sense of camaraderie and family. We want to build a sense of warmth among our graduates, our students, and our parent body. Yavneh represents achievement at such high levels that I think our mission is to have an impact on the greater community as well. We’re also working hard on making sure Yavneh leads the charge into the next generation. We need to exemplify what is possible for a Yeshiva
Day School in 2014. There’s also some serious fundraising goals. We need to make the burden of tuition more manageable on parents. We’ve come up with several out of the box and wild fund raising ideas that we’re going to roll out in February. G-d Willing it should be a game changer. 7. What do you think is in store for the LA Jewish community? I’m doing a series called The History of Orthodox Judaism in Los Angeles. It’s never been done before. I started from 1840. The purpose of it is really to under-
stand where we came from, and then to understand where we are heading to. The series has been amazing; life changing stories have been popping up. So many people have been coming out to hear it. I think it is a strong indicator that the Los Angeles community is very tied in to their past. That past needs to inform our future. In terms of what’s in store, I think that we’ve done a nice job until now of building a diverse Orthodox community. Right wing, left wing, Chassidic, Modern Orthodox. Now I think our task is to see how those communities can work together and make a greater impact on the world around us.
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34 T h e J e THE wT HE i sJEWISH hJ EWISH h o m e HOME nHOME d e c enm e r 21 42 , 2012 2013 DECEMBER 12, 2013 Mb AY
Reflections on South Africa and the Loss of a Leader
by Hylton I. Lightman, MD, DCH, FAAP
N THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2013, NELSON MANDELA, A MAN WHO OVERCAME PERSONAL CHALLENGES AND ENABLED A PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF POWER IN SOUTH AFRICA, PASSED AWAY AT THE AGE OF
95. SOUTH AFRICA WOULD NOT BE WHAT IT IS TODAY IF NOT FOR THE EFFORTS OF SOUTH AFRICA’S “MADIBA,” A NAME MEANING FATHER, WHICH WAS FONDLY BESTOWED UPON MANDELA BY THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA. Mandela’s Early Years and Apartheid
Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, into the Thembu royal family of the Xhosa tribe. He attended the Fort Hare University and later received his law degree from the University of Witswatersrand (my alma mater as well). From the time he was a student, he was an activist dedicated to fighting South African society’s segregation of the races. The National Party (NP), which was founded in 1915, was the ruling party. In the 1950s, the government formalized “Apartheid,” an Afrikaans word which means “the
state of being apart.” There was complete separation and segregation between the races in South Africa—the Whites (Europeans), the Blacks (non-Europeans), the Coloreds (those of mixed race), and the Indians. As a result, there were separate hospitals, schools, suburbs, beaches and places of entertainment for white people. The blacks received inferior services to the whites. Afrikaans and English were the two main languages in the nation. Blacks were able to be domestics, or servants, in white households. They were required to carry a pass: Those
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who were found by police without a pass were arrested. There were times when police searched homes for illegal domestics, and as a child I recall my family hiding our maid, who did not have a pass, in the bathroom so she wouldn’t be arrested. After the African National Congress (ANC) was outlawed in 1960, Mandela went underground and later received military training abroad. Mandela was part of the movement that promoted the idea of one man, one vote. Eventually, he resorted to the promotion of violence to achieve his purpose, as he realized that he was not able to achieve his goal through peaceful means.
his vision for the “New” South Africa, world leaders lobbied for his release.
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A Controlling Government
While I was being raised in South Africa, the government was Calvinistic (Dutch Reformed Church) in religious outlook. Practically, this meant there was censorship of all books and movies that they deemed inappropriate. In fact, there was no TV in the country until around 1979 and even then, it was censored and limited to only three hours a day. As is well known, the South African government was considered a pariah of the rest of the world at the time. It was paranoid, controlling most of society. Even though there was a semblance of freedom of press, they kept tabs on newspapers and universities. People who disagreed with the government and opposed the ruling party could be banned and put under house arrest, with limited access to conversing with others. The general population was fearful of the government and its wide-reaching arm. This had a major impact on the Jews of South Africa.
One of the
hallmarks of South
African Jews is pride
In 1964, Mandela was put on trial as a group of eight called “The Rivonia Group of Eight,” on trial for conspiracy and sabotage. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and was incarcerated on the infamous Robben Island where he spent 27 years. While Mandela was imprisoned, in 1966, Prime Minister H.F. Verwoerd was assassinated. The Jews held mass prayers and fasted when John Vorster took office. Vorster was a pro-Nazi supporter during World War II and the Jews feared the worst. But surprisingly, Vorster was pro-Israel. At the time, South Africa, Israel and Taiwan were shunned by the rest of the world. As such, they formed a close connection economically and South Africa and Israel worked together manufacturing arms and developing nuclear power. During his incarceration, Mandela achieved international fame as a prisoner of conscience. Impressed with
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States and Australia. The Jews left in large numbers, despite the fact that it was forbidden to take financial assets from the country when emigrating. In 1990, Mandela was finally released and became an instant international celebrity. The country’s economy was in dire straits and the government saw that Apartheid would not be able to prevail. Courageously, State President F.W. de Klerk made overtures to free Mandela and
In His Words “I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.” “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” “Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.” “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” “I was made, by the law, a criminal, not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for, because of what I thought, because of my conscience.” “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” “I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.” “Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.” “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
other prisoners, and he lead the way to the policy of today’s government of one man, one vote. In 1993, de Klerk and Nelson Mandela received the Nobel Peace Prize for their roles in ending Apartheid. Despite having faced trials and tribulations, Mandela did not come out of prison bent on revenge. Instead, he prevented a bloodbath from occurring with his statesmanship and by promoting community and acceptance between the races. On April 27, 1994, the first election where all adult citizens, regardless of race or color, were allowed to vote took place. Millions stood in line to cast their vote over the three day voting period. 19,726,579 votes were counted, and Nelson Mandela was swept into office as President of South Africa, the first black person to hold the position. Today, April 27 is a national holiday, known as Freedom Day, in South Africa. Immediately following his election, Mandela delivered one of his most famous speeches ever. Urging all South Africans to set aside their differences, Mandela stated: “The time for healing wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us.” Mandela encouraged the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It revealed the human right abuses by different political parties during Apartheid. People spanning the political spectrum from the right to the left admitted their roles. This prevented a potential bloodbath from ensuing. As president and after his tenure, Mandela embraced Arafat and the Palestinian cause with encouragement from the Muslim Indian population in South Africa. In regards to Israel, he showed himself to be non-partisan. This contrasted with the pro-Palestinian government, as evidenced at the infamous 2001 Durban Conference. At the time of his election, many Jews left the country, but 75,000 still remain.
The Jews of South Africa
By way of background, the Dutch founded a settlement in South Africa in 1652. Because of the country’s strategic location between Europe and India, Britain tried to wrest control of the area. Many British settlers arrived in the 1820s. The Dutch (Afrikaners) and French Huguenots who had fled France due to Catholic persecution, moved to the hinterland and established the Orange Free State and the Old Transvaal Republic while the British consolidated the Cape Province and Natal. The Boer Wars erupted between the two powers, as the Transvaal was rich in gold. Britain subsequently gained control of South Africa and united the four provinces into the Union of South Africa in 1910. South Africa declared itself a republic and independent of Britain in 1961. Jews began immigrating to South Africa in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many emigrated from Eastern Europe, primarily from Lithuania, to become prospectors and merchants in the Cape and Transvaal provinces. It was beneficial for the government to consider the Jews of South Africa white. Despite a high aliyah rate, the Jews consistently numbered until recent years about 125,000. In the 1960s, there were approximately 4-5 million whites who ruled the 25 million blacks. Hence, the government made sure to include the Jews in their numbers. In the 1930s, the British government closed the doors to Jewish immigration. The Afrikaner government that took over was anti-Communist. Many of the Jews who immigrated to South Africa were members of the Bund and proCommunist. In fact, Joseph Slovo, who was a long-time leader of the South African Communist Party (SACP), was a Jew whose parents emigrated from Lithuania. Interestingly, he was in the same class as Nelson Mandela at Wits
promoting community and acceptance
between the races.
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statesmanship and by
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occurring with his
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University and ultimately served in Mandela’s government. create a unified Jewish community. Joseph was married to Ruth First who was assassinated by Recently, the South African community celebrated a parcel bomb by order of a major in the Apartheid security The Shabbos Project, whereby tens of thousands of Jews police. By the way, Slovo was descended from the illus- in South Africa committed to keep Shabbos in accordance trious rabbinical Soloveichik family: Yossel Soloveichik, with halacha. Under the guidance of Chief Rabbi Dr. who had been born into an OrWarren (Zev) Goldstein, The thodox Jewish family of eight Shabbos Project was successchildren in Lithuania in 1926 ful, from 2,000 Jewish women and immigrated to South Africa baking challah outdoors on in 1934, shortened his name to Thursday night to people keepJoe Slovo. ing Shabbos halachically who, The government had a heretofore, had never done so. strong army which demanded It culminated in a havdalah compulsory enrollment for all service ushering out Shabbos white males after completing Parshas Lech Lecha with nearhigh school. I served in the ly 10,000 people in attendance. army for two years and one The Shabbos Project far exday (it was a leap year). If one ceeded even the Chief Rabbi’s didn’t complete his army reexpectations. Two points that quirement, he could be arrested attributed to the success of this or he would have to flee the endeavor are especially notecountry never to return. worthy. First, South African One of the hallmarks of Jews are proud to be Jewish South African Jews is pride in and this pride is a springboard being Jewish. I was raised by into something larger. Second, proud Jewish parents and a grandmother. The public school setting aside their differences, all Orthodox Jewish groups from which I graduated was over three-quarters Jewish. worked together to build something much larger and with The intermarriage rate among South African Jews had al- more impact than each could ever accomplish on their own. ways been minimal while the aliyah rate is high. Even The regard in which the Jewish community is held when I served in the South African army from 1979-1981, is best illustrated by the fact that Chief Rabbi Goldstein already as a doctor and a lieutenant, I was able to procure delivered the opening prayer at the memorial service for kosher food and accommodations for those who were not Mandela on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. (yet) shomer Shabbos. I viewed it as a kiddush Hashem As I pen these lines, this massive funeral in a stadium and a way to be mekarev those who didn’t know (yet) from in the Soweto section of Johannesburg earlier today was Yiddishkeit. In fact, as an intern in the hospital before I was watched by millions of people throughout the world. in the army, I was able to be mekarev families who are now Madiba changed the face of South Africa forever. Unforthe backbone of the South African frum community. tunately, poverty, poor housing, crime and unemployment Jews were fearful of buckstill plague the country. Some ing the system because of their of Madiba’s changes have yet awareness of anti-Semitism to unfold. throughout the world, even though there was latent antiHylton I. Lightman, MD, DCH, Semitism from Afrikaners. FAAP, is a pediatrician in priEven so, Jews were at the forevate practice in Far Rockaway, front of the anti-Apartheid and New York. He was born, raised, anti-party movements in Parand educated in South Africa and liament. But as individuals in graduated from the University of the country, they were aware of Witswatersrand Medical School. maintaining a low profile. He worked as a family practitioner In general, Jews tended to and subspecialized in pediatrics. treat the blacks with more reIn 1984, he immigrated to this spect than other groups because country. He pursued a Fellowship of our heritage. In fact, Manin Allergy and Immunology at Long dela’s first job as a clerk was at Island Jewish Medical Center, folthe Jewish law firm of Witkin, lowing which he established his Sidelsky and Eidelman. In his practice. Even after his office was autobiography, Long Walk to destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, Dr. Freedom, Mandela recalled Lightman continued to see patients that Lazer Sidelsky was one in his home and temporary office at of the first whites to treat him The White Shul in Far Rockaway, with respect and “enormous Dr. Lightman with his wife, Leah, on a recent trip to South Africa. while his office was reconstructed. kindness.” Having developed expertise in mold Today, the community is as strong as ever. It is harder to live in South Africa as a non- exposure as a result of Sandy, he has been interviewed on CNN’s frum Jew than as a frum Jew. There are myriad yeshivos and Canada AM and Al-Jazeera America, and has been interviewed day schools for Jewish children. There is only one beis din by The New York Times and other publications. He has also been in South Africa, which has been under the aegis of Rabbi a featured speaker at the Pediatric Disaster Coalition and the Moshe Kurstag for decades. Anything related to kashrus, 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics. marriages, gittin, burial and other milestones of life are di- He is also an expert witness in mold trials. Dr. Lightman was a rected by the beis din: One central authority has helped to founder of the Shalom Task Force.
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Personal Branding: Defining and (Re)-positioning Yourself In the 21st Century
Co-authored by Kinneret Dubowitz and Sarede Switzer, edited by Tracy Seider
by Howard Forman, Ph.D.
What imagery do you think of when someone mentions the brands Coca Cola, Nike, or Facebook? If they are positive images, then these companies did good jobs cultivating their brands and the imagery associated with them. People’s notions of brands go beyond popular brand names. Other organizations and entities also have brands. Democrats, Republicans, and the Los Angeles Lakers are brands and have images that they are quite careful to cultivate. Non-profit organizations such as the Susan G. Komen and Tomchei Shabbos here in Los Angeles are also brands. Brands are also prevalent in Hollywood. When actors represent certain types of characters/roles, we often say they are typecast. Few people, however, conjure up any imagery of themselves as brands. This could not be farther from the truth. In fact, just like Hollywood actors, not only is everyone a brand, but everyone represents multiple brands. It is helpful to think of these personal brands as roles. People have multiple roles and thus multiple brands. Adults often play the roles of parents, friends, siblings, spouses, co-workers, etc. In each of these roles, the same people mean different things to various audiences, or in marketing terms, various segments. For example, I am a father. My role as a father is much different from my role as a husband, which is much different from my role as a professor. So, my students will view me (my name and/or my person) differently than will my kids. That’s because I have different brands for each of these audiences, or if you will, target markets. You may not know it, but you probably work very hard to maintain these brands and to build on them. You want to be recognized as good spouses and good parents. You also want to be recognized as excellent employees so when your boss hears your name, it means something relevant, positive, consistent. Brands are receptacles for meanings and/or feelings and they become psychological constructs residing in our target markets’ knowledge structures. At best you can funnel energies to influence it. That said, you need to be vigilant about your brands, especially when looking for a new job or career. So let’s explore your personal brands. You should start off by asking a general question: What is your personal brand? To answer this, you need to objectively assess who you are in the minds of your target audience. For example, what does your name mean to your co-workers or
Yoga and the Body as a Metaphor to Illuminate the Wisdom of Torah
your boss? Does your name represent someone who works hard or someone who is not motivated? Does your name represent professionalism or something less than that? Does your name suggest that you are a person that will go the extra mile or someone who watches the clock? These are not easy questions to tackle. In order to objectively make this assessment, you need to be able to identify the following: First, you need to understand where your strengths lie. Once you are confident with your relevant strengths, develop a plan to leverage them. For example, these strengths can be problem solving, communication, or program management skills. For this, you need to be honest about strengths and not to under or overestimate them. If you are a good communicator, then think about careers or activities that leverage excellent communication skills. These may include teachers, researchers, or speakers. Problem solving skills are excellent for managers, inventors, etc. Second, you need to keep in mind that everything doesn’t always come up smelling like roses. You need to understand where your gaps lie. You need to make sure you are able to honestly recognize personal limitations. Individuals who recognize their gaps are able to overcome them by several means. You need to recognize the fact that gaps are not weaknesses but rather skills necessary to improve overall strength. They provide a trajectory for you to improve your overall skill set. You should keep in mind that gaps must be addressed and NOT overlooked or ignored. Gaps can be addressed personally by seeking those resources that will enable you to bridge them in an effort to strengthen your brands. These resources can be in the form of a college degree, software training, learning a new language, etc. Finally, gaps should be addressed incrementally, not all at once. This is especially true if the gaps happen to be larger and more challenging. If you take these first easy steps, you are well on your way to building your strong personal brand. There are, however, many more things to do. We’ll address them in future issues. Howard Forman is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the California State University, Fullerton. He is available to speak or conduct a workshop for your organization or conference. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kinneret Dubowitz and Sarede Switzer, of kinneretyogatraining.com, are two religious Jewish girls from Toronto and New York, respectively, who love yoga, teach yoga, and train other Jewish women to teach yoga. We believe that yoga is the exercise and mindful movement that brings us in touch with breath and healthy living, allowing us to be better Jews and to live closer to Torah and to our Creator, Hashem. The metaphor In yoga we are always working on improving the pose. Each time we practice the pose we understand it with greater depth: we understand how the body aligns with itself, and how the body aligns with the breath. We always seek to improve the pose. Even when we advance within We see yoga as a metaphor to live a life more engaged with mitzvot. Importantly, we do not use Torah to understand yoga because yoga is not our guide as Jews to live more morally, ethically, spiritually, and purposefully—the guide for our Jewish souls is Torah. Yoga, however, keeps us healthy and well and is a great analogy to understand how to love Torah. The more we understand the workings of our divinely-created physical body, the more we appreciate the depth of our Judaism. As we get better at it, we realize that we haven’t reached its fullest potential because the potential to improve the pose is infinite. Although the amount of yoga poses is limited, the potential for physical improvement is endless. One person in downward dog, who is new at it, is reaching a level that is different than someone else who has been practicing downward dog for many years. Yet each person is growing in their understanding of its alignment and of the mind–body connection. Each person is coming to their ‘edge’ within the pose, stretching themselves to their limit, and that edge is expanding each time they do the pose. The discipline of improvement that is expressed in working with the pose, and the notion of continuously progressing and never feeling that we have attained perfection, is a very Jewish idea. Judaism has at its core the notion that we should never be satisfied with the world and that we should always seek to improve it. In fact, Jews have a responsibility to change the world and to help bring the Redemption, which will alter
the very fabric of existence. Similar to the idea that yoga has a limited number of poses, G-d chose to give the Jews a limited number of mitzvot (618), which we are obliged to repeat over and over again, and a Torah, which we are obliged to study over and over again. The idea behind this is that each time we do a mitzvah or study a piece of Torah, we allow that wisdom to penetrate deeper and to reveal more holiness. This idea is expressed in Chapter 5 of Pirkei Avot, when Mishna 26 states: “Turn the Torah over and over for everything is in it.” Through this process we align ourselves with G-d, with G-d’s will, and therefore with our life’s purpose. Each mitzvah can therefore be seen is a G-d-given “pose”. In yoga, the more you practice the pose, the easier it gets. Yet as you go deeper you take it to a new level that requires you to explore untapped physical endurance and mental challenge. Mitzvot are like this, too: the more you do the mitzvah, the more you realize you can keep improving on it with, for example, greater halachic observance or deeper kavannah (the spiritual intention) of it. As you grow in the observance of a mitzvah you must keep confronting the ‘edge’, where you are beckoned to go deeper and to refine your observance, yourself, and the world. Just like in yoga, where the beginner student benefits from the simple level of the pose and the experienced student benefits from the advanced pose, so too, l’havdil, the simple Jew and the tzaddik get the greatest benefit from the mitzvah for where they are holding at that moment in time. Through the yoga pose you get healthier and cultivate more physical discipline. Through the mitzvah—G-d’s poses for Jews—we find the guide for how to live a life that is more ethical, moral, spiritual, and purposeful. Yoga is not a replacement for Torah; but our yoga practice and our focus on improving the pose strengthens both our physical body and our mindfulness. We can then use this energy to propel us into our mitzvot with more alacrity, and into the Redemption, where we will finally see the benefits of our labour. Read more about Kinneret and Sarede at www.kinneretyogatraining.com or join our facebook group ‘Jewish Women’s Yoga Network’ https://www.facebook.com/groups/ kinneretyogatraining/
DECEMBER 12, 2013
THE JEWISH HOME
בשירהקדמוך רוממוך בשירה ידידים קדמוך רוממוך ידידים משתתפים אנו ברגשות גיל קדמוך ושמחהבשירה רוממוך ידידים
אנו אנו משתתפים ושמחה ברגשות גיל עלה ידידינו הנ בשמחתו של משתתפים ושמחה ברגשות גיל עלה מוקירהנ בשמחתרבושל בשמחתו ורחים פעלים, איש חי עלה ידידינוינוהנ ידיד של מרבנן פעלים,צורבא ואיהו גופיה ורחים מוקיר פעלים, רברב רבנןחי איש ורחים מוקיר איש חי בדורינו התורה ואיהושל רבנןהתווך עמוד מרבנן עולםצורבא גופיה מרבנן צורבא גופיה ואיהו רבנן התורה עולםעמלי של לכל אמת עמודוידיד בדורינו התורה התווך התורה בדורינו התורה עולם אשרשל התווך שותף עם להיות עמלי זכה לכל אמת עמוד וידיד זללה"ה ראש רבינו מרן הישיבהעם שותף זכה אשר התורה להיותעמלי הגדוללכל אמת וידיד מדרשינו לקיום בתי הגדוללבו נדיבות מרן ידי על הישיבה זללה"ה ראש רבינו שותף עם להיות זכה אשר לבו בשמו המפואר הטובמדרשינו לקיום בתי על ידי נדיבות הישיבה זללה"ה המפוארראש מרן רבינו הגדול בשמו הטוב לקיום בתי מדרשינו על ידי נדיבות לבוהרב המפואר הרב בשמו הטוב
יהודה שלמה יהודה שלמה רכניץ הרב רכניץ שליט"א
שלמה יהודה רכניץ שליט"א
ולנו"ב תחי' לאוי"ט ולנו"ב תחי' לאוי"ט
לרגל השמחה הגדולה לרגל השמחה הגדולה באירוסי בתו המצויינת תחי' לאוי"ט שליט"אתחי' לאוי"ט באירוסי בתו המצויינת מקרב ובכל לב ונייחל בזה ול נאחל לאוי"ט תחי' נו"ב בורא עולם בקנין ישלים זה הבנין
נאחל ונייחל בזה מקרב ובכל לב לתפארה בקנין לבנות האהובים ביתםהבנין ישלים זה רעיםעולם שיזכובורא נאמן להשי"ת ונישא נאדר שיזכורם בית לתפארה בקודש ביתם האהובים לבנות רעים ורעות שלום אחוה נאדראהבה מתוך ולתורתו הק' להשי"ת נאמן בקודש ונישא בית רם ומבורכים ישרים מתוךדורות הק'יחדיו ויראו ורעות אחוה שלום אהבה ולתורתו אבות דורות בית לתפארת ומבורכים ישרים ויראו יחדיו אבות וטובתם באושרם אשר יזכו לראותבית לתפארת ובשמחת לב בבריאות ושנים וטובתם טובותבאושרם לראות ימים יזכו באורך אשר לב ובכל מקרב בזה ונייחל נאחל באורך ימים ושנים טובות בבריאות ובשמחת לב
לרגל השמחה הגדולה
באירוסי בתו המצויינת תחי' לאוי"ט
בורא עולם בקנין ישלים זה הבנין שיזכו רעים האהובים לבנות ביתם לתפארה בית רם ונישא נאדר בקודש נאמן להשי"ת
42 The Jew ish h o m e nHOME d e cne mM bAY e r 2142,, 2012 2013 T HE J EWISH THE JEWISH DECEMBER 12, 2013
You Gotta be
Patient: Doctor, I think I need glasses. Teller: You certainly do! This is a bank. * * * Doctor: You’re in good health. You’ll live to be eighty. Patient: But, doctor, I am 80 right now. Doctor: See, what did I tell you? * * * Doctor: Your tonsils gotta come out. Patient: I wanna second opinion. Doctor: Okay, you’re funny-looking, too. * * * Patient: My hair keeps falling out. What can you give me to keep it in? Doctor: A shoebox. * * * Patient: My left eye hurts whenever I drink a cup of coffee. What should I do? Doctor: Take the spoon out. * * * Patient: Doctor, if I give up staying up late, eating massive meals and never exercising, will I live longer? Doctor: Not really. It will just seem longer. * * * Patient: Doctor, you must help me. I’m under such a lot of stress. I keep losing my temper with people. Doctor: Tell me about your problem. Patient: I just did, didn’t I, you fool?!
A magician was boasting one day at how long he could hold his breath under water. His record was 6 minutes. A kid said, “That’s nothing, I can stay under water for 10 minutes using no types of equipment or air pockets!” The magician told the kid if he could do that, he’d give him $10,000. The kid did it and won the money. Can you figure out how? L
G OT FU N N Y?
Answer on next page
Comm et the ission er dec Send your s tuff
to fivetow centerfold@ nsjewis hhome. com
By the Numbers 30 minutes - Time it takes the human body to give of enough heat to bring a half gallon of water to a boil
3 to 7 year - The lifespan of an average human hair 1 in 12 - Percentage of men that are color blind 40 pounds - Approximate amount of dust that a person inhales in their lifetime
70% - Amount of body that is water 100 mph - Speed that air rushes through your nose when you sneeze
150 - Days an eyelash lives before it falls out 20,000 - Approximate amount of times a day that the average person blinks
50,000 - Amount of scents that the brain can remember 100,000 miles - Approximate length if all of the blood vessel out of an average sized adult were laid out in a line
500,000 - Amount of sweat glands in your feet (that explains some things, does it not?)
1,000,000 - Amount of filters on each kidney 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Approximate amount of atoms which make up the human body
2.6 million light years from earth Distance between earth and the Andromeda galaxy, which is the farthest object visible with the naked eye
43 THE JEWISH 2013 T h e J eHOME w h DECEMBER o m e HOME n d 12, enc eM mAY b e r2 41, 22012 , 2013 T HEi sJhEWISH
Everything December Down
1. Propels the U.S. into WWII.
2. These brothers finally get it right in 1903 and take off.
4. Every worker hopes for one this month.
6. Benâ€™s book about weather predictions, humor, proverbs etc.
8. Impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice. 9. Completely deaf by the time he wrote his Ninth Symphony.
10. Alcoholic beverages outlawed in the U.S.
13. First 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. 15. African-American woman sparks civil rights movement in Alabama when she refuses to go to the back of the bus.
3. Many will get eaten this month. 5. Currency of European Union. 7. Tea overboard in Boston Harbor. 11. Winter begins. 12. Third span across the East River in NY City opens to traffic in 1910.
Down: 1.Pearl Harbor 2. Wright 4. Bonus 6. Poor Richards Almanac 8. Bill Clinton 9. Beethoven
10. Prohibition 13. Bill of Rights 15. Rosa Parks Across: 3. Jelly Donuts 5. Euro
14. First state to adopt the Constitution. 16. Despite his foreign last name, ______________ van Buren is the first U.S president born in the U.S. 17. This once powerful republic breaks apart on December 8, 1991.
Picture of the Week Beware of holiday shopping sales that are too good to be true
Answer to riddle: The kid filled a glass of water and held it over his head for 10 minutes.
7. Boston Tea Party 11. Winter Solstice 12. Manhattan Bridge 14. Delaware 16. Martin 17. USSR
44 T h e TJHE e wJTHE i s hJEWISH h o mHOME e n e mDECEMBER b2e4r, 2012 1 2 , 2013 HOME 12, 2013 EWISH nd eMc AY
Compiled by Nate Davis
“Say What?” Today the White House confirmed that Obama will be signing up for Obamacare. Yeah, which is good because his current health plan doesn’t cover headaches and depression caused by Obamacare. - Conan O’Brien
What on earth were we doing? We’re world leaders, not a bunch of giggling teenagers. We’re attending the memorial service of Nelson Mandela. Couldn’t we have waited a bit before goofing around? -The UK Independent. President Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle ThorningShmodt were spotted snapping a “selfie” together at Tuesday’s memorial service for Nelson Mandela
This winter storm has left thousands without electricity. It’s as if President Obama had taken over the power companies. - Jay Leno
Not a chance am I going there. - President Barack Obama when asked to pick between Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton for 2016
I honestly can’t help but think right now about Israel and the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under so much … pressure these days, and probably feels to a great extent that his country is isolated in the same way that apartheid South Africa was isolated. -CNN’s Christiane Amanpour comparing Israel to pre-Mandela South Africa Last week a man was locked in an airplane for several hours after he fell asleep during a flight and nobody woke up him up when it landed. But other than that, Joe Biden had a great trip to Asia. - Jimmy Fallon
Scientists have just found out that insects can recognize faces. Which is why I don’t kill insects. I wound them and say, “Remember this face, warn your friends, now get out of here!” - Conan O’Brien
It gives Raul some propaganda to continue to prop up dictatorial, brutal regime, that’s all it is. Why should you shake hands with somebody who’s keeping Americans in prison? I mean, what’s the point? Neville Chamberlain shook hands with Hitler. - Senator John McCain (R-AZ) discussing President Obama’s handshake with Raul Castro at Mandela’s memorial
The NSA collects almost 5 billion records a day that can pinpoint a cellphone anywhere in the world, track its movements, and map the personal relationships of the person using it. I’ll tell you what this means. You know the crazy people that wear the tinfoil hats because they think the government is tracking them? Turns out they were right. - Jimmy Kimmel
According to a new report, America’s teenagers are 30th in the world in math. Luckily, America’s teenagers will never understand the report because they’re 85th in reading.
How is it possible that they can track every cellphone in the world but can’t build a healthcare website? Maybe they should put the NSA in charge of Obamacare. - ibid.
- Conan O’Brien Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, but when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant. - Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who fled Cuba with her family when she was a child, to Secretary of Defense Kerry at a Congressional Hearing, discussing President Obama shaking Cuban President Raul Castro’s hand at the Mandela memorial
New Jersey legislators want to ban eating while driving. Good luck getting Governor Chris Christie to sign that one. - Jay Leno
If Hillary Clinton doesn’t run for president, I bet you John Kerry does. - Time Magazine writer and Washington insider, Mark Halperin on MSNBC
I thought it was funny. - Former President Bill Clinton in an interview with Fusion TV, reflecting on his famous “I didn’t inhale” quote
Earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden arrived in South Korea to talk to the people there. Yeah, first time ever people from South Korea have tried to sneak into North Korea. - Conan O’Brien It’s just my simple opinion that the flag should only be lowered to half-staff for Americans who sacrificed for their country. I have no problem lowering it in South Africa in their country but not for our country. It should be the people who have sacrificed for our country. - Pickens County, South Carolina, Sheriff Rick Clark explaining why he defied President Obama’s order to lower flags to half-staff as a tribute to South African leader Nelson Mandela
The post office announced that since they have lost so much money they are going to be reviewing their business model. That could mean big changes. The last time the post office reviewed their business model they sold the ponies and bought trucks. - Jay Leno
While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success. – African-American Councilwoman-elect Laurie Cumbo on her theory of the reason behind the recent “knock out” attacks in Brooklyn This is a crazy story. For two decades, the secret launch code for America’s nuclear missiles was 0000000000. Even more amazing, George W. Bush forgot it twice. - Conan O’Brien
The difference between the way F.W. de Klerk handled the need for change and the democratic election of Nelson Mandela... is so different than the way [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell handled the election of Obama. They were willing, the McConnell people onto the far right, were willing to destroy the country in order to destroy Obama. Whereas, to succeed in a country he loved, F.W. de Klerk was willing to see it transformed to black rule so it could be done successfully so he could have his country have a better future. - MSNBC’s Chris Matthews
Iran is not our enemy. - Israeli President Shimon Perez on CNN, saying he will be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
At a White House holiday party, the Obama’s dog, Sonny, reportedly knocked over a small child. So although President Obama’s approval rating is down to 40 percent, he’s now number one on YouTube. - Conan O’Brien
Under Obamacare, my insurance costs me about $4,500 more than it did before. - Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nevada) to the Reno Gazette Journal, while denying that he has exempted himself and his staff from Obamacare As time goes on, as the kinks are totally smoothed out of the system, people are going to find that this bill [Obamacare]— the 31 million who never had healthcare— are going to find that it’s like manna from heaven. - Former Pennsylvania Governor and Democratic stalwart Ed Rendell
I have always known that I have had an unfair label put upon me. Now I have a clearer understanding of what’s wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself. - Susan Boyle talking with the Observer newspaper about her recent diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome
The journalists are to be blamed. They should be hanged; they are like the Jews. - Mayor of the city of Gfoehl, Austria, Karl Simlinger, during a city council meeting
Some of our members just aren’t as sensitive as they ought to be. - House Speaker John Boehner explaining why his party needs coaching on running against women
In Syria, Muslim rebels are so desperate for food they broke into the zoo and ate a lion. That shows you how things are changing in the Mideast. In the old days they used to feed the Christians to the lions, and now they’re feeding the lions to the Muslims. - Jay Leno
North Korea has confirmed that Kim Jong Un has fired his uncle. Unemployment benefits in North Korea include two weeks’ severance and not being shot. - Conan O’Brien
Take a moment to remember Pearl Harbour with us. - Tweet sent out by SpaghettiOs brand that marked the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks with a picture of its smiling mascot jauntily holding an American flag
George Steinbrenner, I think he’s a Hall of Famer. I think it’s best if I just say I don’t understand the voting. - Reggie Jackson upon hearing that George Steinbrenner was not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame
THE JEWISH DECEMBER T ThHE e J JeHOME w i s h hHOME o m e nn Md AY e12, c e22013 m4b, e2012 r 1 2 , 2013 EWISH
Yankees’ second baseman Robinson Cano just agreed to a $240 million, 10-year deal with the Seattle Mariners. Cano said, “I had to follow my wallet. I mean my heart!” - Jimmy Fallon
Global Mandela Dies at 95
THE JEWISH HOME
DECEMBER 12, 2013
On Thursday, South Africa lost a hero and champion of democracy. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela passed away to the sorrow of both whites and blacks in the African nation. Born in 1918 in the village of Mvezo, Mandela was later known to his countrymen as Madiba, a mark of great honor. But he was named Rolihlahla at birth, which roughly translates into “troublemaker.” And indeed, this young man spent his life correcting wrongs that he saw needed to be righted. At nine years of age, Mandela’s father passed away and he was raised by a fellow chief. He was the first in his family to receive a formal education and then went on to law school for his degree. At the time, it was almost impossible for a black man in South Africa to secure a professional internship and interestingly, Mandela’s first job as a law clerk was in the Jewish law firm, Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman. In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela recalled how Lazer Sidelsky treated him with “enormous kindness” and was one of the first whites to treat him with respect. “I have found Jews to be more broad-minded than most whites on issues of race and politics, perhaps because they themselves have historically been victims of prejudice,” Mandela wrote. Mandela joined the African National Congress and advocated peaceful resistance against the South African government. Later, he promoted violence in an effort to achieve “one man, one vote.” In the 1950s, Mandela was arrested for treason and with the help of his attorneys, many of whom were Jewish, he was acquitted of all the charges. In 1958, Mandela married his second wife, Winnie Madikizela. The ceremony took place at the home of Ray Harmel, a Jewish anti-apartheid activist. Harmel made Winnie’s wedding dress at Mandela’s request. In 1961, Mandela launched a military wing called Spear of the Nation along
with a campaign of sabotage. But the next year Mandela was arrested for treason. In court, he announced, “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” The trial ended in a verdict of life imprisonment for Mandela. He was sent to Robben Island, and there inmate No. 466/64 did hard labor in a quarry and slept on the stone floor of a small cell. His incarceration drew national and international attention, with millions calling for his release. In 1985, the government offered to release Mandela if he would renounce his call for armed struggle against apartheid, but he refused to those demands. Years later, in 1989, a ban against the ANC was repealed and a white-haired Mandela walked out a free man after living for 27 years in a small cell. Over the next two years, Mandela worked tirelessly towards multiracial elections. In 1993, he and President F.W. de Klerk were honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. As an aside, Mandela showed his disdain for de Klerk in the private ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize when de Klerk refused to acknowledge the pain and torment that came along with apartheid. Mandela then launched into an emotional account of apartheid and the humiliation and hurt that black South Africans had to endure. In April 1994, South Africa swept Nelson Mandela into office, and the former prisoner became the president of the country. Among his appointees was Arthur Chaskalson, a Jew who was a member of his defense team during his trial in the 1950s, as the first president of the new Constitutional Court; he later became chief justice. A year into Mandela’s tenure, with racial tensions threatening to explode into civil war, Mandela orchestrated an iconic, unifying moment: He donned the green jersey of the Springboks rugby team – beloved by whites, despised by blacks – to present the World Cup trophy to the team captain while the stunned crowd erupted in cheers of “Nelson! Nelson!” After just one five-year term in office, Mandela stepped down and left the very public stage, concentrating instead on his efforts against AIDS. His relationship with the Jews and with Israel was not without controversy. He was seen warmly embracing PLO leader Yasser Arafat and the ANC cultivated close ties with the PLO. It was reported that he told a Jewish student at the University of Witwatersrand, “Your enemies are not my enemies.” His relationship with Arafat notwithstanding, Mandela stressed Israel’s right to exist and advocated Palestinians recognizing that right. In his book, Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela wrote, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his
Norway has an unusual government-funded program aimed at employing alcoholics. The initiative pays employees in an unconventional way to clean the streets. Instead of greenbacks, street cleaners are paid with beer, half a pack of rolling tobacco, free lunch, and 10 euros ($13.55) a day. Unfortunately, laborers don’t get to choose the brand of booze to be used as payment; the brand of beer varies according to which brewery offers the best price. The program began last year by the Rainbow Foundation, a private but mostly government-funded organization that helps the homeless, drug addicts and alcoholics get back on their feet. The program has been received well, so well that there is a long waiting list of alcoholics eager to join. Fatima Elatik, district mayor of eastern Amsterdam, is a strong supporter of the project. She feels that offering the homeless an opportunity to do something productive while offering them limited amounts of beer with no hard alcohol is progressive. “It is easy to say, ‘Get rid of them and punish them,’” Ms. Elatik said. “But that does not solve the problem.” She added, “Maybe I’m a softy, but I am happy to be soft if it helps people. They are human beings with problems, not just a problem to be swept away.” Many conservative members of the Amsterdam City Council have criticized what they call the “beer project” as a waste of government money and a misguided extension of a culture of tolerance. The basic idea behind providing alcoholics with beer in return for work was first tried in Canada. “If you just say, ‘Stop drinking and we will help you,’ it doesn’t work,” said Hans Wijnands, the director of the Rainbow Foundation, whose foundation gets 80 percent of its financing from the state and runs four drug consumption rooms with free needles for hardened addicts. “But if you say, ‘I will give you work for a few cans of beer during the day,’ they
to be reunited with his family.” “As you can imagine this has been a very difficult ordeal for us as a family, and particularly for him,” he said in a statement read outside his home in Pasadena on Friday night. Newman’s arrest emphasized the extreme sensitivity with which Pyongyang views the Korean War, which ended without a formal peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula still technically in a state of war. The conflict is a regular focus of North Korean propaganda and media, which accuse Pyongyang’s wartime enemies, the United States and South Korea, of carrying on the fighting by continuing to push for the North’s overthrow.
reach our small businesses and our most vulnerable economies.” A major aspect of the agreement focuses on simplifying customs procedures in attempt to ease the barriers between countries. Experts believe that the deal could boost global trade by $1 trillion over time. “The WTO has re-established its credibility as an indispensable forum for trade negotiations. Nor is this a paper victory: Streamlining the passage of goods across borders by cutting red tape and bureaucracy could boost the world economy,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement.
WTO Makes Deal to Boost Global Trade
American Teacher Killed in Benghazi
After years of negotiations, the World Trade Organization’s 159 members have agreed on a deal intended to increase global trade. This agreement is nearly two decades in the making and will hopefully even out the playing field for rich and poor countries. The main principle behind the WTO is that if all countries play by the same trade rules, then all countries, rich or poor, can benefit. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo became emotional during the summit’s closing ceremony Saturday. “We have put the world back into the World Trade Organization,” he said. “For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered.” The four-day meeting was held in a resort in Bali. Of course, no agreement is without its obstacles. The universal agreement was almost threatened when Cuba objected the removal of a reference to the decades-long U.S. trade embargo that Cuba wants lifted. India was also a potential obstacle because of its determined protests to provisions that can possibly endanger grain subsidies aimed at ensuring its poor get enough to eat. Developing nations were granted temporary allowance from subsidy limits by WTO members. This issue will be addressed at a later date. “This week has been about high-level diplomacy, long nights and considerable drama,” said Indonesian Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, who chaired the meeting. “But it has also been about ensuring that the gains of the multilateral trading system
Just one year after U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed during an attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, another American has been murdered in the Libyan city. Ronnie Smith, 33, an American teacher, was gunned down on December 5 while jogging. Peter Hodge, the headmaster at the International Benghazi School, where Smith taught chemistry, exclaimed, “Why they would pick on him, there’s no reason for it.” Hodge added, “The students themselves [are] obviously shocked, upset, crying, helping each other, supporting each other.” Smith had been teaching at the school for about a year and a half, and he was described as a “really nice, sociable friendly teacher.” The students adored him. Abu Baker, 16, recalled, “Whenever we needed help, he would help us with whatever we need – advice, studies, anything. He was an amazing guy. He was really funny. He had the most amazing sense of humor.” It remains unclear whether or not Smith was targeted for being American; the FBI is investigating the incident. “We are following events closely, and at this point no individual or group has claimed responsibility,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “We look to the Libyan government to thoroughly investigate this killing.” Smith’s family, his wife, and young son lived with him in Benghazi but had returned to the States for the holidays just a few days prior. Smith was planning on joining them at the end of the week. According to Hodge, Smith was alone
U.S. War Veteran Released from N. Korea
Merrill Newman, 85, landed in San Francisco on a flight from Beijing after being detained in Norah Korea for several weeks. The U.S. veteran of the Korean War was incarcerated in late October at the end of a 10-day trip to North Korea. Six decades ago, Newman oversaw a group of South Korean wartime guerrillas during the 1950-53 war. Last month, Newman released a televised statement confessing and apologizing to killing North Koreans during the war. The statement was awkward and strange, leading many to suspect that it had been coerced. North Korea released Newman due to his age and medical condition. Newman’s release comes as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the region brought him to Seoul. Biden said that he welcomed the release and that he talked by phone with Newman in Beijing, offering him a ride home on Air Force Two. “I appreciate the tolerance the [North Korean] government has given to me to be on my way,” Newman said upon arriving at the airport in Beijing from Pyongyang on Sunday. Jeffrey Newman, Merill’s son, said he spoke with his father briefly and that he was “in excellent spirits and eager
DECEMBER 12, 2013
A Salary of Beer in Norway
like it.” “It would be beautiful if they all stopped drinking, but that is not our main goal,” he added. “You have to give people an alternative, to show them a path other than just sitting in the park and drinking themselves to death.” The cleaning teams are forbidden from drinking while out on the street. Mr. Schiphorst, a participant in the program, explained while clutching a can of beer, “This is my medicine; I need it to survive.” Schiphorst began drinking heavily in the 1970s. He has since spent time in a clinic and tried other ways to quit but has never managed to entirely break his addiction. “Every day is a struggle,” he said during a lunch break with his workmates. “You may see these guys hanging around here, chatting, making jokes. But I can assure you, every man you see here carries a little backpack with their own misery in it.”
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skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Last week, South Africans lost a leader who taught them to love and who they loved in return.
THE JEWISH HOME
DECEMBER 12, 2013
48 when the black SUV pulled up behind him and shot him. “I think it was an opportunist, someone who just happened to see him there,” he said. “There’s no way they could have known he would be there at that time.” He added, “He was dedicated. He always put the students first. He wanted to make a difference. And he did.” Since Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown in 2011, security in Libya has worsened, with armed militias controlling large strips of the country. “It’s a very good situation as far as education is concerned,” Hodge said. “It’s a very sad situation as far as security situation is concerned.” There are three other Americans teachers at the International Benghazi School, which has 650 students from kindergarten through high school.
Elian Gonzalez Leaves Cuba for First Time
In 2000, little Elian Gonzalez made headlines when he left Cuba with his mother and nine others on a rickety boat. The boat sank and the six-year-old was found off the coast of Florida clinging to an inner tube. After being placed with relatives in Miami, his father, Juan Miguel, successfully fought to have him returned to Cuba. The case became emotional as tempers flared in the international custody dispute. Since returning to Cuba, Elian has been seen in the presence of Fidel Castro and Raul Castro and has become a Cuban nationalist. Recently, he said his reverence for Castro is boundless; his image of Castro is a blend of a deity and a father figure. “Fidel Castro for me is like a father,” Gonzalez recently told a Cuban paper. “I don’t profess to have any religion, but if I did my G-d would be Fidel Castro. He is like a ship that knew to take his crew on the right path.” This week, Elian, who is now 20, traveled to Quito, Ecuador on a 200-person Cuban delegation for a youth conference. This is the first time he left Cuba since his famous custody battle. He said that his story made him a recognizable face across the world. “Wherever I go there’s always a child, an old woman that comes to me and wants to meet me,” Gonzalez told CNN. ”Not because I’m famous, but because they suffered with my family.”
Elian is now studying industrial engineering and is a military cadet
N. Korea Expanding Prison Camps
Amnesty International commissioned satellite analysis of North Korea’s largest prison camp, which is known as kwanliso 16. The new report seems to show that the size of the labor camp has increased since Kim Jong Un has risen to power. According to the rights group, prisoners are beaten to death with hammers and forced to dig their own graves. Amnesty International interviewed guards and inmates who have personally experienced the horrors of the camps. According to first accounts, inmates, including children, are forced to work long hours doing high-risk logging and mining jobs. “The prisoners are only humans insofar as they can speak,” said a former prison official who was not named in the report. “In reality though, they are worse off than animals. The purpose of prison camps is to oppress, degrade, and violate the inmates for as long as they are alive.” The satellite shows new buildings have been erected inside the compound; the site is about three times the size of Washington, D.C. According to report, more than 100,000 people are imprisoned in labor camps for alleged crimes against the state, which can include “gossiping” about Kim or his predecessors. The North Korean government vehemently denies the existence of the camps.
Protesters Topple Lenin’s statue in Ukraine
On Sunday, anti-government protesters armed with hammers toppled a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin in Ukraine’s capital in a symbolic challenge to President Viktor Yanukovich and his plans for closer ties with Russia. The pro-
testers are angry over last month’s decision to forgo a pact with the European Union in favor of closer cooperation with Moscow. This proposed alliance with Russia has provoked the biggest street protests since the 2004-5 Orange Revolution, when people power forced a re-run of a fraud-tainted election and thwarted his first run for the presidency. “Yanukovich, you are next!” read a poster stuck on the plinth where the red granite statue of Lenin had stood. People hacked off chunks of the leader of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution to take home as souvenirs. Demonstrators are now occupying Independence Square and have transformed it into a tent village for themselves. “We will stay till our demands are met and there is a change of government,” said a 22-yearold man draped in a Ukrainian flag who gave his name as Sergei. “We don’t want to be under Russia’s thumb.” “This is a decisive moment when all Ukrainians have gathered here because they don’t want to live in a country where corruption rules and where there is no justice,” said Vitaly Klitschko, a reigning world heavyweight boxing champion and leader of the opposition Udar (Punch) party. Those opposed to an alliance with Moscow fear an attempt to recreate the hated Soviet Union. But Yanukovich has said he decided to shelve the EU trade deal because it would have been too costly for Ukraine’s struggling economy and the country needs more time to prepare. He says he is preparing a “strategic partnership” with Russia, but has not committed to joining the customs union.
Canada Wants to Conquer the North Pole
The days of Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan are long over, but Canada still wants to expand its empire. This week, the country filed a UN application to expand its Atlantic sea boundary and signaled intentions to claim the North Pole and its surrounding Artic waters. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the filing mainly concerns the outer limits of Canada’s continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean. But it also includes “preliminary information concerning the outer limits of (Canada’s) continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean,” he said. “We have asked our officials and scientists to do additional work and necessary work to ensure that a submission for the full extent of the continental shelf in the Arctic includes Canada’s claim to the
North Pole,” he told a press conference. “Fundamentally, we are drawing the last lines of Canada. We are defending our sovereignty,” added Arctic Minister Leona Aglukkaq. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said enlarging Canada’s Arctic boundary is important for “Canada’s longterm economic prosperity.” Asserting sovereignty over an expansive Arctic archipelago and surrounding waters has been a key plank of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Tories in the past three elections since 2006. But Russia and Denmark are expected to file overlapping claims, which could lead to confrontation between the Arctic neighbors. In recent years, interest in the polar region has flared up as rising temperatures open up shipping routes and make mineral resources easier to exploit. Additionally, the North Pole has symbolic value for countries in the region. Nations bordering the Arctic currently are entitled to a 200-nautical-mile economic zone from their coastlines, but claims for extending their territories are to be decided under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In order to be successful, Canada must show that its continental shelf extends beneath the North Pole, which sits on a slope of the underwater Lomonosov Ridge. The UN is scheduled to consider Canada’s partial submission in July-August 2014.
Marathon “Winner” Admits to Cheating Cheaters never prosper… Chua Puh, 43, was regarded as the first local runner to cross the finish line at the Singapore marathon. But things weren’t what they seemed.
The pastry chef and father of one admitted that he only ran six kilometers (3.7 miles) of the 42km race. In middle of running the marathon, he experienced knee pain and took a shortcut to the finish line. Upon arriving at the finish line a few minutes before any other runner, with a time of 2 hours and 46 minutes, he was crowned the first place winner. Eventually, organizers realized Puh did not hit all the checkpoints and he was disqualified. Puh also admitted to cheating during the last two Singapore marathons, in which he gave up halfway and then hitched a lift from medical vans to
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50 near the finish. “I am sorry if I offended anyone. I never thought I would create so much inconvenience for the organizers,” Tam told The Straits Times. He added, “I never thought about going home midway. It would have been like giving up.” Organizers should have known; he didn’t even break a sweat.
Riots Erupt in Singapore
On Sunday, a crowd of around 400 people set fire to vehicles and clashed with police in Singapore after an Indian national was hit and killed by a bus. This is the first major riot in the nation for more than 40 years. 27 people of South Asian origin were arrested and more are expected to be arrested in the coming days. Even while rescuers were trying to remove the man’s body, protesters threw “projectiles” at them. Several police cars were overturned and other vehicles were set on fire. Singapore Police Force Commissioner Ng Joo Hee said, “As far as we know now, there was no Singaporean involved in the riot.” He added, “The unwanted violence, rioting, destruction of property, fighting the police, is not the Singapore way.” Singapore has not seen a riot of this scale since 1969, when Chinese and Malay residents clashed violently. The country has tough laws on rioting that carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison and possible caning. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called the riot a “very grave incident.” “Whatever events may have sparked the rioting, there is no excuse for such violent, destructive, and criminal behavior. We will spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law.” Interestingly, the riots came on the same day that Singapore’s ruling political party adopted a new resolution, the first since 1988, about its social aims. The eight-point mission statement from the People’s Action Party included a resolve to strengthen the Singaporean identity where people of different races, religions and backgrounds “live harmoniously together, embrace one another as fellow citizens and work together for a better Singapore.”
Living a Long Life In the past four decades, life expectancy in the U.S. has risen about eight years. Back in the 1970s, life expectancy was 70.9 years and by 2011, it jumped to 78.7. Sounds good enough, right? But the U.S. is actually increasing slower than most of the developed world. Although Americans spend the most per capita on healthcare, it is only in the 26th spot of the life expectancy ranks.
The Organizations for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a report highlighting the latest life expectancy figures earlier this month. Predictably, residents in countries with higher life expectancies tend to be healthier. Residents of countries with high life expectancy also tend to have lower incidents of serious diseases and lower rates of death when they contract these illnesses. The majority of these countries have below-average rates of cancer mortality and diabetes. Many of the countries with the highest life expectancy rates had the lowest rates of heart-related illnesses. In countries where healthcare spending is very low, life expectancy tends to be far lower than most of the developed world, but as proven with U.S. stats, high spending does not necessarily indicate higher life expectancy. Of course, affordability and access to health care are major factors that may be leading these countries’ residents to longer lives. Norway came in tenth on the list with a life expectancy of 81.4 years. Health spending per capita was a whopping $5,669, the second-highest on the list. Israel came in ninth on the list; Israelis tend to live 81.8 years and they spend $2,239 per capita on healthcare. Swedish citizens tend to live to 81.9 years and Australians expect to live to the age of 82. France (82.2 years), Spain (82.4 years), Iceland (82.4 years), Japan (82.7 years), and Italy (82.7 years) came in next. Switzerland came in at the top of the list. People living there have a life expectancy of 82.8 years and healthcare spending is $5,643 per capita, the third-highest on the list.
Air Force Two Drops Dead Mice on Guam It’s raining dead mice in Guam. Two thousand dead mice equipped with card-
board parachutes have been airdropped over a United States Air Force base in Guam in order to poison brown tree snakes. Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the western Pacific Ocean.
The dead mice were pumped full of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. The poisonous snakes have been invading the area and harming exotic native birds and the island’s power grid. The intention was that the snakes will be attracted to the toxic rodents, eat them, and then die. Dan Vice, the Agriculture Department’s assistant supervisory wildlife biologist for Guam, told reporters that the mice were dropped in a time sequence from low-flying helicopters. Each rodent was strung up to a tiny parachute made of cardboard and tissue paper. “The cardboard is heavier than the tissue paper and opens up in an inverted horseshoe,” Vice said. “It then floats down and ultimately hangs up in the forest canopy. Once it’s hung in the forest canopy, snakes have an opportunity to consume the bait.” So how will workers know if the plan is working? After all, it’s not like the mice can radio back to base. Or can they? The workers behind the plan said that some of the mice were outfitted with data-transmitting radios so workers will be able to tell if the plan worked. The mission is part of an $8 million program from the Interior and Defense departments.
Israel World’s Tiniest Menorah
Some folks like to have a nice big menorah l’kavod Chanukah. But the people at Hebrew University had another idea. They have constructed the world’s tiniest menorah to celebrate the yom tov. The menorah is the size of a speck of dust and shows how advanced the university’s Nanoscribe system is. As part of its state-of-the-art research, Hebrew U’s Brojde lab recently became home of the first and only Nanoscribe system in Israel. To demonstrate the Nanoscribe’s capabilities in constructing miniscule three-dimensional structures, Yossi Kabessa and Ido Eisenberg built the tiny menorah. Standing at less than a tenth of a millimeter and invisible to the naked eye, the microscopic menorah is built of building blocks measuring 100 nanometers. While a menorah that is thinner than a piece of human hair is cool, the laboratory is working on projects with more practical value as well. An example of the technology’s potential is the creation of a physical interface between electronic signal processing devices with opto-electronic devices. With such technology it would be possible to build a new type of network able to sense its surroundings and influence it directly. Such a breakthrough would bring a revolution to the fields of medicine, environmental protection, military and the war on terror.
Our Candles Still Burn
A Chanukah menorah was lit this year at the infamous Steri prison in Palermo, Sicily. The prison served as a headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition between 1601 and 1782. Rabbi Pinchas Punturello, emissary for the Shavei Israel organization to southern Italy and Sicily, headed the trip to the prison and the lighting of the menorah. Among the participants were about 100 bnei anousim who live in Sicily. Bnei anousim are the descendants of Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity under the Inquisition’s regime of terror. Many of these “New Christians” did their utmost to remain loyal to their Jewish roots, passing down the faith and practices of their ancestors across the generations. “Hundreds of years after the Steri prison palace operated to put out the light of
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Israel, we came here today to show that the Jewish flame continues to burn,” said Michael Freund, founder and chairman of Shavei Israel, which works to bring the bnei anousim back to the Jewish fold. “For 200 years, Jews were tortured within the walls of the palace, and many of them were burned at the stake by the Inquisition for secretly maintaining their Judaism. And that is why this event is not only historic – it is also symbolic, in that the light of the Hanukkah candles has come to the place where the Inquisition’s darkness once ruled,” he added. Freund said that there are still graffiti inscriptions on the walls of the prison’s solitary confinement cells, two of them are written in Hebrew letters.
Mossad Agents Honored
In an uncharacteristically public showing, President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo awarded 12 Mossad agents with honorary plaques for excellence. Among those awarded were four women and eight men who work in technological and operational fields. Chief Pardo explained, “The Mossad’s might is in its people, who serve with resourcefulness, devotion and creative thinking, alongside humility and integrity through which battles can be won, including those that seem impossible.” The president saluted the recipients, saying that the ceremony was a reflection of the Israeli people’s “gratitude and appreciation.” “I am filled with pride to see you,” Peres turned specifically to the
women, “combatants who are also mothers who do not only defend their children but also their nation.” The prime minister also expressed his gratitude to the agents, saying, “The citizens of Israel don’t know what you’re doing, but I know the enormous [things] you do for the State’s security. When I approve your operations I am astounded at your gumption and insightfulness that know no bounds.”
a previous 133; and Japan slid one spot to 18.
Paternity Leave on the Rise
Israel Improves Transparency Ranking Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index ranks the perceived straightforwardness of international business practices. Israel has been ranked 36th out of 177 countries with a score of 61 out of 100. This is a minor improvement from last year when Israel was ranked 39th. Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index ranks more than four-fifths of countries in the Middle East below 50 on a scale where zero is a country perceived to be highly corrupt and 100 perceived to be very clean. The Berlin-based institute measures perceptions of graft rather than actual levels due to the secrecy that surrounds most corrupt dealings. Denmark and New Zealand tied for an admirable first place with scores of 91, followed by Finland, Sweden and Norway. Australia and Canada tied in ninth with scores of 81. Britain was 14th with a score of 76 and the United States tied with Uruguay in 19th place with a score of 73. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia tied for last place with scores of 8. The biggest improver this year was Myanmar, which emerged from 49 years of military rule in 2011. The Southeast Asian state gained 6 points, taking it to 157th on the list from a previous 172. Among the major global economies, the United States, 19, and China, 80, both were unchanged from last year; Russia improved slightly to joint 127th place from
More Israeli men are staying home to help change diapers and give bottles. According to the National Insurance Institute, there has been a steady increase in the number of men who go on paternity leave in Israel. Six years ago, the introduction of a legislative amendment allowed Israeli men to take six weeks of paternity leave, which is deducted from 14 weeks owed to the mother. In the first two years since the amendment was made, only a small increase in the number of men who took paternity leave was recorded, but the last three years show a constant upward trend. In 2010, out of 103,000 births in which the mother was entitled to take maternity leave (eligibility is given to those who worked for at least a year before birth), 354 men took paternity leave. In 2011, out of 106,100 births, the number of fathers climbed to 369. In 2012, 432 out of 112,000 eligible fathers chose to be with mother and child. Their average leave lasted six weeks, as the law permits. The numbers are climbing slowly, but the National Insurance Institute says that this may affect the workplace on a larger scale in the coming years.
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Finally, some good news for Detroit as a city. Last Tuesday, a judge ruled that
the city is eligible to unburden billions of dollars of its debt by declaring bankruptcy. These debts will include pensions of thousands of workers and retirees. Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that pensions can be cut just like any contract because the Michigan Constitution does not offer bulletproof protection for employee benefits. “This once proud and prosperous city can’t pay its debts. It’s insolvent,” Rhodes said, announcing that Detroit was formally eligible for the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history. “At the same time, it also has an opportunity for a fresh start.” The ruling came more than four months after Detroit filed for Chapter 9 protection. Detroit “could have and should have filed for bankruptcy long before it did. Perhaps years,” the judge said. Officials will meet $18 billion in debt with a plan that might pay creditors just pennies on the dollar and is sure to include touchy negotiations over the pensions of about 23,000 retirees and 9,000 workers.
Obama’s Uncle Wins Deportation Battle
He’s been leading the nation since 2005 but many mysteries remain regarding Obama’s past. On Thursday, the White House acknowledged that President Barack Obama briefly lived with a Kenyan uncle previously targeted for deportation. Initially, the Obama administration insisted there was no evidence that two had ever even met. Apparently, when the subject was first broached, “Nobody spoke to the president,” press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. Instead, staff relied on one of the president’s autobiographical books for the inaccurate information. “Back when this arose, folks looked at the record, including the president’s book, and there was no evidence that they had met … and that was what was conveyed,” Carney explained. During the press release, Carney denied any inappropriate White House interfering in the deportation procedures against the elder Obama. Obama’s uncle won his fight against deportation this week. The man, Onyango “Omar” Obama, has been identified as Obama’s father’s half-brother. He lived in the U.S. for 50
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אומרים שירה על כוס מלא ברכת ד' לרגל השמחה הגדולה של ידידינו הדגול האי גברא יקירא ,ידידינו וידיד כל בית ישראל ראש וראשון לכל דבר שבקדושה בנדיבות לב להפליא ובחפץ לב לפלא, ה"ה מוה"ר ולנו"ב הכבודה שתחיו על אשר בתו המהוללה והמשולמת יעלי שתחי' באה בקשרי שידוכין עם ב"ג הב' המופלג והיקר כמר שמואל דוד נר"ו למשפחת קארנפעלד הכבודה מעיר מונטריאל.
שלמה יהודה רעכניץ שליט"א
יתן אדון הברכות שיזכו לבנות ב"ן בישראל לנחת הורים ומורים שליט"א בית שבו יזכו לתורה וגדולה במקום אחד מתוך כל מילי דמיטב כל הימים. וברכה אחת לכבוד הגאון הגדול הסבא
הרב ישראל בעלסקי שליט"א ולביתו הכב' תחי' שיראו וירוו רק נחת דקדושה מהם ומכל צאצאיהם עד כי יבא שילה בשם רבנן ותלמידיהם, הרב ליפא מרגליות ראש הישיבה
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years. At a recent hearing, Onyango “Omar” Obama testified that the president lived with him in Cambridge for three weeks while studying law in Cambridge and waiting for his apartment to be ready. “After that, they saw each other once every few months while the president was in Cambridge, and then, after law school, they gradually fell out of touch. The president has not seen Omar Obama in 20 years and has not spoken with him in roughly 10 years,” Carny explained.
Governor to Supporters: Forget the Gifts, Remember Me
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s re-election campaign has an interesting fundraising technique. His suggestion to parents is forget the holiday gifts, save time and effort, and instead send the money you would have spent on gifts to the Walker campaign. In a Black Friday fundraising email to supporters, the Walker campaign asked supporters for a holiday contribution to his re-election bid that will last another four years. “This year, we are celebrating the Holiday Season with a Black Friday special that is better than any deal found in stores,” Friends of Scott Walker’s Taylor Palmisano wrote in an email. Walker’s campaign explained that toys are temporary but political contributions are forever. (Touching.) “Instead of electronics or toys that will undoubtedly be outdated, broken, or lost by the next Holiday Season, help give your children the gift of a Wisconsin that we can all be proud of,” Palmisano continued. Walker, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Mary Burke, a member of the Madison, Wisconsin, school board and a former businesswoman. According to a recent Marquette University Law School poll, Burke and Walker are essentially tied. Lucky for Walker, those under eighteen can’t vote.
NYC: City of Roaches? Is New York about to become the city of the diehard cockroach?
The High Line, a park that turned an abandoned part of elevated railways on Manhattan’s West Side into a tourist attraction, is not just a paradise for New Yorkers. It seems that a new-to-the-U.S. cockroach is calling the High Line its home and this pest is not about to go away. The Periplaneta japonica has been spotted in Asia but was never seen in the United States until now. It can withstand harsh winter conditions, including the heavy snows that blanketed our city this week. “There has been some confirmation that it does very well in cold climates, so it is very conceivable that it could live outdoors during winter in New York,” insect biologist Jessica Ware said. “I could imagine japonica being outside and walking around, though I don’t know how well it would do in dirty New York snow.”
Thankfully, Ware says that competition for food among cockroach species will keep the city’s population of roaches low “because more time and energy spent competing means less time and energy to devote to reproduction.” The new pest was first spotted in New York in 2012 by an exterminator working on the High Line. Scientists suspect that it came in via the ornamental plants that adorn the park. “Many nurseries in the United States have some native plants and some imported plants,” Ware said. “It’s not a far stretch to picture that that is the source.”
Fast Food Workers Fed Up with Pay
Thousands of fast food employees went on strike last Thursday in more than 100 cities across the U.S. Each day, 1 in 4 Americans visits a fast food joint, making fast food restaurants a huge part of daily American life. But those behind the counter are “fed up” with their wages and claim that their “poverty wag-
es” are not nearly enough to support themselves and their families. Reynetta Bennett, a 23-year-old Wendy’s employee, joined a rally of dozens of union members and workers in downtown Brooklyn on Thursday. The protesters gathered outside the Wendy’s sliding doors, which were locked, chanting that they wanted to be paid $15 an hour. “I just think we should get more respect,” Bennett, who makes $8.15 an hour after seven years at her job, said. “We should get paid a decent wage.” According to a study from the University of Illinois, nearly 70 percent of fast food workers are the primary bread-winners for their families. About a quarter of workers are supporting kids, the study found. Fast food franchises are operated by a team of owners and employee turnover is high, making unionization difficult. Each day about 50 million Americans are served in restaurants, generating close to $110 billion in revenue each year, and workers feel like more of that should go into their pockets. In response to the rallies, more than 50 members of Congress sent a letter to five major fast food chains this week to urge them to raise wages. Those pushing for higher wages for these workers argue that taxpayers often end up footing the bill when low-income workers sign up for welfare in order to survive. The U.S. minimum wage is $7.25, which adds up to about $15,000 a year for a full-time worker. Fast food workers are demanding $15 per hour. They say that at that rate they will be able to support themselves and their families.
Museums that Celebrate All Things Odd There are over 17,500 museums across the U.S. While many celebrate traditional topics like art, history, and technology, there are some that boast odd collections. If you are looking for a weird museum to explore on your next adventure take a look at this list…Independence, Missouri, is home to Leila’s Hair Museum. The museum displays a collection of real hair fashioned into art by Leila Cohoon, a retired hairdresser. She lovingly collected 600 hair wreaths and more than 2,000 pieces of human hair jewelry dating back to the 18th century. Michael Jackson, Queen Victoria, and four presidents have made contributions to Leila’s collection. If fine art is not your thing then maybe bad art is. The Museum of Bad Art in Dedham Square, Massachusetts, displays art that is so bad, it’s good. The artistic creations are so bizarre that they are actually interesting to look at. There is method to the madness; each piece has to have a
special quality to meet the standard of “too bad to be ignored.” “The Banana Museum puts a smile on peoples’ faces every time,” says Ken Bannister, founder of the International Banana Museum in Mecca, California. Since the early ‘70s, Bannister has gone bananas for bananas. He has accumulated more than 18,000 items of “bananabilia.” In 2010, he sold his collection to Fred Garbutt, an equally enthusiastic banana fan.
Housed in the former Chief Theater in Britt, Iowa, the Hobo Museum celebrates the vagabond lifestyle, which surprisingly has a strict code of ethics. It’s full of drifter memorabilia from the likes of Frisco Jack, Connecticut Slim, and Hard Rock Kid. Hobo crafts, art, photographs, and documentaries depicting the unorthodox way of life are also on display. So next time your 8-year-old begins collecting something rather strange, don’t dismiss it as a phase. It can potentially be used to create an artistic institution or future business.
Councilwoman Blames “Jewish Success” for Attacks in Brooklyn
Councilwoman-elect Laurie Cumbo has her own theory for the recent “knockout” attacks in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She emphasized that while she “admire[s] the Jewish community immensely” for its work ethic, black teens may have a different perspective. “While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success,” Cumbo, who was recently elected, wrote in a letter. She added that Jewish landlords may be the source of a lot of the hostility.
Norman Rockwell Painting Breaks Record
On Wednesday, a Norman Rockwell painting sold for $46 million, setting a new record for any work sold at an American art auction. The painting, titled, Saying Grace, was sold to an unidentified buyer. Saying Grace originally appeared in Post Magazine’s Thanksgiving issue and Rockwell was paid $3,500 for it. It was voted Post readers’ favorite cover in a 1955 poll. Two individuals bid against each other via phone for nine minutes before the prized piece was sold for $46 million. The painting’s pre-sale estimate was $15 million to $20 million. In 2006, the auction house sold Rockwell’s Breaking Home Ties for more than $15 million, a record at the time. The previous record for any work at an auction of American art was set in 1999, when George Bellows’ painting Polo Crowd sold at Sotheby’s for $27.7 million. Another Rockwell painting, The Gossips, sold on Wednesday for just under $8.5 million, while a third, Walking to Church, fetched a little more than $3.2 million. Until now, all three paintings were featured at the Norman Rockwell Museum on loan in his hometown, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The museum has the world’s largest collection of original Rockwell art. Rockwell Museum director Laurie Norton Moffatt, who attended the Saying Grace auction, called it “a thrilling moment for Norman Rockwell.” “It’s a painting of such significance that, wherever it is, there will hopefully be a desire to share it, have it seen in public,” she said. She is hoping it will go on loan or be placed in another museum exhibition. “We’re just so happy we were able to share it for two decades,” she said.
Oh, the things we will do to avoid the dentist…until it’s an emergency and keeping us up at night. A man serving a one-month sentence for an unspecified crime broke out of the minimum security Östragård facility in Sweden because he was in pain. He had a terrible toothache that was keeping him up at night. The 51-year-old prisoner told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper, “My whole face was swollen. I just couldn’t stand it anymore.” According to his version of the story, the detainee asked for medical care and was denied. So he took matters into his own hands. He broke out of prison and went to the nearest certified dentist. The dentist extracted the inflamed tooth. After his mild procedure, the prisoner turned himself into police and was returned to jail. His punishment for breaking out of prison was an extension of his sentence by one day… that’s better than a toothache, right?
It’s Mazal Tov Times Three
According to doctors, the odds of having identical triplets without medical intervention are “one in a million.” So it was an unusual and exciting moment when the Hepners of Sacramento welcomed their three identical babies on November 22 at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Northern California. “It’s everything at once. I think you can get lost just staring in their faces,” said the triplets’ mother, Hannah Hepner. “But it’s overwhelming to think about everything to come.” Each of the babies weighed between three and four pounds at birth and was in good health. The triplets were delivered at 33 weeks. Dr. William Gilbert, the director of Women’s Services for Sutter Health in Sacramento, Calif., is the family’s obstetrician. Gilbert said there is no definite rate
for the number of identical triplets born every year. “It’s hard to calculate a conservative estimate,” Gilbert told ABCNews.com about the rate of naturally conceived identical triplets. “One in 70,000 that would be on the low end, the high end is one in a million.” The babies, Abby, Brinn, and Laurel, weighed 11 pounds in total at birth. Good things come in threes.
Calling 911 15,000 times Japanese police arrested a 44-year-old woman for calling them more than 15,000 times over a six-month period. Prior to the arrest, authorities visited the woman and requested that she stop making the calls but she refused. “She made as many as 927 emergency calls in one day....disturbing our police duties,” said an official in the city of Sakai, near the western city of Osaka. Her calls had “no real meaning,” according to officials. Thus far mental illness has been ruled out and the motivation for her calls remains a mystery. “She didn’t make up a story that required us to respond – it was just total nonsense,” one official recounted. “We visited her place about 60 times before arresting her, trying to persuade her not to call us again. I wonder if she was just lonely.” The defendant was charged with fraudulent obstruction of police business, which carries a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison or a fine of 500,000 yen ($4,900).
Street Mural Sells for $200K
A Banksy mural that was removed from a Hollywood Chevron gas station wall fetched $209,000 at the first U.S. auction of the reclusive British street artist’s work, an auction official said on Friday. The art’s vessel was a 9-by-8-foot slab of beige brick wall, weighing close to four tons. “Flower Girl” was completed in 2008; it features a spray-painted stencil image of a young girl staring up at a surveillance camera posted atop an over-sized flower stem. Banksy’s graffiti and stenciled paintings appear as social commentary in public spaces and private property around the world. The artist emerged in Bristol, England, in the early 90s. Despite having worldwide notoriety and being featured in
the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” the artist has kept his real name a secret. In October, he concluded a month-long “street residency,” where he placed artwork around New York. “Banksy has been one of our most provocative yet entertaining subjects to auction to date,” said Martin Nolan, Executive Director Julien’s Auctions. “The excitement in the room when Flower Girl went up for auction was electrifying,” he added. Earlier this month, a Banksy mural went for $1.1 million in London. More of Banksy’s artwork is due to go on sale in Miami later this month.
Lost and Sound Asleep on the Plane
A Louisiana man lived a nightmare when he woke up after a flight and found himself on an airplane—a dark, empty airplane. Tom Wagner insists he’s not a deep sleeper, but he fell asleep during his flight on Friday night and then awoke to total darkness. “I woke up and I happened to look up and the lights were out,” he said. “I was like, ‘Well, what’s going on here?’ And then I looked down the aisles and nobody was there.” Wagner had fallen asleep in a window seat near the back of the United ExpressJet plane. When he saw the nightmarish situation when he awoke, he immediately called his friend who didn’t believe him. “Debbie, you gotta call the airlines,” Wagner said, recalling the conversation. “I’m locked in the plane.” Eventually, maintenance workers arrived and opened the door about a half hour later. “They were like, ‘Who are you? What are you doing on this plane?’ I said, ‘Dude, I was a passenger on the plane.’ ... and then [they] said, ‘Where’s your badge?’ I said, ‘I don’t work here.’” The airline is still trying to figure out how Wagner was missed during sweeps of the plane after landing. Wagner was given a free hotel room and a $250 voucher by United for his trouble. Maybe now he can get a good night’s rest.
DECEMBER 12, 2013
Man Breaks out of Prison to go to the Dentist
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Cumbo was sure to express her distress over the attacks and supported investigations and legal actions against anyone involved. Cumbo, who is an African-American, said that she was looking to “offer possible insight as to how young African-American/Caribbean teens” think and how those feelings lead to the attacks.
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DECEMBER 12, 2013
Vayechi STORYLINE A Thud and a Split by Rabbi Meir Orlian Mr. Weiner was taking the garbage out when he realized that his garbage can was missing. He finally spotted it. His neighbor, Mr. Fixler, was painting his house and had used a heavy wooden board to make a platform. He had propped it up with two garbage cans — the Fixlers’ and the Weiners’. “What chutzpah!” Mr. Weiner thought. “He had no right to use my garbage can without asking. It’s not the first time he’s used our things without permission.” Mr. Weiner walked over to his garbage can and pulled it out from under the board. The board fell to the ground with a thud and split. “Serves him right!” thought Mr. Weiner. “I’ve warned him a hundred times not to take my things without permission!” When Mr. Fixler returned, he saw that his board had fallen and split. “Do you know how my board broke?” he asked Mr. Weiner. “I took my garbage can out from under it,” replied Weiner serenely. “The board fell and split.” “So you broke it!” shouted Mr. Fixler. “That was a solid wooden board; it cost me $50.” “It’s your fault,” replied Mr. Weiner. “You had no right to use my garbage can. I warned you about this many times.” “I acknowledge that it was wrong of me to take your garbage can,” said Mr. Fixler, “but that doesn’t give you the right to damage my property. You could have propped up the board with something else or lowered it gently.” “Why should I have to do that?” insisted Mr. Weiner. “You misappropriated my garbage can; I reclaimed it. Any ensuing damage is your fault.” “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” said Mr. Fixler. “I didn’t damage your garbage can, but you damaged my board! I want to ask Rabbi Dayan about this.” “Fine!” said Mr. Weiner. “I have no doubt he’ll say it’s your problem.” The two came to Rabbi Dayan. “I used Mr. Weiner’s garbage can to prop up my board,” began Mr. Fixler. “He pulled his can out and my board fell and smashed. He owes me $50 for the board.” “I didn’t touch his board,” argued Weiner. “I simply removed what was justly mine!” “Without doubt, Mr. Fixler was wrong to use the Weiners’ garbage can,” ruled Rabbi Dayan. “However, since Mr. Weiner could have removed his garbage can and propped the board with something else or lowered the board gently, he is liable for the damage to the board.” “Why is that?” asked Mr. Weiner. “The Gemara (B.K. 28a) teaches that even when a person can take the law into his own hands to protect
his property, he may not do so in a manner that damages the other person’s property unnecessarily,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “For example, if one animal jumps on another and attacks it, the owner can pull his animal out or remove the attacking animal. Nonetheless, if he can remove the attacking animal gently, but shoves it off and injures it, he is liable. “The Rosh extrapolates this to a case in which someone steadied his barrel with another person’s stone,” continued Rabbi Dayan. “The second person removed his stone; the barrel then rolled and broke. The Rosh holds him liable for the barrel, since he could have replaced his stone with another one, to prevent the barrel from rolling. Here, too, you could have propped the board with something else or lowered it gently (C.M. 383:2).” “What if I needed the garbage can, and could not easily find something to replace it?” asked Mr. Weiner. “I’ve got a bad back and a hernia. I couldn’t lower the board easily.” “There is a dispute between the later authorities in that case,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “A number of authorities exempt you if it is difficult to find a replacement. The Aruch Hashulchan maintains that you are still obligated, though. He considers an act such as pulling out the garbage can a manner of damage, unless it was getting ruined by the weight of the board and time was of the essence (Pischei Choshen, Nezikin 12:; Aruch Hashulchan 383:7).” FROM THE BHI HOTLINE Pilfered Paper, Part II As discussed last week, a woman arrived in Israel after World War II to seek employment. Armed with a letter of recommendation from a well-known Gadol who knew her family, she applied for a job at an office. The business owner took the letter and asked her to return the following day. The next day, the owner not only informed her that there was no position available, but also refused to return the letter to her. A number of years later, the business owner sold the letter to a Judaica collector. We dealt with the issue of how much the businessman would need to pay the woman. Q: If the collector believes that the letter was stolen, is he obligated to return the letter to the woman or not? A: When the owner of a stolen object abandons hope of recovering his object (yei’ush) and the object is given or sold to a third party (shinuy reshus) the recipient is not obligated to return the object to the owner because he performed a proprietary act through yei’ush and shinuy reshus (C.M. 353:3). It must be noted that when a thief bequeaths property to his heirs, that is not considered a third party, since the possession of an heir is not comparable to the possession of a purchaser. The heir must return the stolen object to the owner (C.M. 353:4). On the other hand, if a thief gives the stolen mer-
chandise to his heirs, either as a gift or through a halachic will (for example, a gift to take effect shortly before death), the heirs are considered a third party and would not be obligated to return it to the owner (Yam shel Shlomo, B.K. 9:6). This is true even if the transfer was done via kinyan sudar and the heirs never took physical possession of it (Chazon Ish, B.K. 16:4). In your case, since the thief sold it to the Judaica collector, it has undergone a shinuy reshus and the collector is not obligated to return the letter to the woman. However, the practice nowadays is to return stolen objects to the owner even if there was yei’ush and shinuy reshus (Rema 356:7; see Ketzos 5). This is rooted in the recognition of the binding nature of the law of the land (dina d’malchusa dina) which mandates the return of stolen property to its owner. However, the buyer is not required to return the stolen property to the owner unless the owner repays him what he spent to purchase it. The rationale behind this practice is to protect the free market (takanas hashuk). If buyers had to fear that purchases would be confiscated in the event that the merchandise was stolen, people would be very hesitant to purchase items from others. In order to maintain confidence in the market, it was enacted that the owner must repay the buyer what he spent to purchase the stolen merchandise (C.M. 356:2). Consequently, if the woman wants to repay the collector what he spent when he purchased the letter (even if it subsequently increased in value and he will not realize that profit) the collector must return the letter to her. MONEY MATTERS Lost and Found #21 Q: I found an item belonging to a child. Do the laws of hashavas aveidah apply to children’s possessions? A: If you find a child’s belonging with a siman, you should publicize it, as you would for any other aveidah. If the item has no siman, where we presume yei’ush (despair), there is a distinction between something used by the child but owned by the parent, and something owned by the child, since the yei’ush of a minor child is not valid (see Nesivos 260:11; Pischei Choshen, Aveidah 2:4). Something used by the child but owned by a parent requires the yei’ush of the parent-owner. Thus, if the parent was likely to be aware of potential loss, e.g. of a pacifier or a baby’s clothing item or the like, you may keep the item, just as with any other aveidah with no siman. If the parent is not likely to be aware of the loss, it is considered yei’ush shelo midaas, as discussed last week. However, something that is likely to be owned by the child, e.g. children’s jewelry, a watch, a baseball card or stamp collection, is not subject to yei’ush. Thus, the halacha remains yehei munach ad sheyavo Eliyahu, as discussed last week (Hashavas Aveidah K’halachah, 9:1-2).
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Captain Kenneth Rubin A Hero of the Skies
hen the airplane was invented, it changed the world and the world of travel. Flying was once only a dream, and airplanes opened up a whole new vista. One shortfall of the airplane was that it always had to be moving because if it tried stopping in midair or even slowed down, it would fall out of the sky. In the 1930s, inventors went back to the drawing table to come up with an aircraft that would be able to hover midair. In 1939, Igor Sikorsky tested the first successful helicopter. Although it didn’t see combat during World War II, helicopters played a major part during the Cold War. In Vietnam, two helicopters provided the backbone for the American army in terms of ground support. These were the Huey and the Cobra. The Bell AH-1 Cobra was designed as an attack helicopter (hence the AH designation) and was introduced into the U.S. military in 1965. The Cobra’s main mission was to accompany the unarmed troops carrying Hueys into battle and protect them from ground fire. This arrangement became the air cavalry of the army (horses had been phased out before World War II). Most helicopters are property of the army, navy or marine corps and not the air force. Each service needs to transport and protect their soldiers, and the Cobra was the workhorse of the army. Flying
An AH-1 Cobra
a helicopter is much more difficult to most pilots than flying a plane because it takes a great deal of multitasking to put it exactly in the right spot, especially under fire. Ground troops were rely-
ing on these special pilots to do the job right, and Captain Kenneth Rubin was one of these in this elite group. Details on Captain Rubin’s personal life weren’t available for this article but we do know that he was born into a Jewish family. He trained as a Cobra pilot and by the summer of 1967 was stationed in Vietnam flying a variety of missions. His team would deploy to a certain area with known enemy in the vicinity and would be on call if any friendly soldiers needed their firepower. On August 1, Rubin was leading a flight of two heavily armed Cobras in the Rung Sat Special Zone on a reconnaissance mission when a call came over the radio. A commercial ship had been ambushed in the South China Seas by a group of Communist Vietnamese. After one pass over the enemy to fire at the insurgents, the Cobra was hit by a bomb and was badly damaged. Despite the fact that the wounded Cobra was a sitting duck, Rubin kept on flying until he had expended all of his ammunition. He killed several enemy soldiers and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions. Rubin again was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions on December 17. This time, he was laying a smokescreen for advancing ground troops and troop-carrying helicopters when troops hidden in a tree line began shooting at the Cobra. He was hit several times by bullets but finished applying the screen. Seeing that two unarmed helicopters had been hit and were going down, Rubin put down another smokescreen by the crash site, thereby enabling an emergency helicopter to rescue the downed crews. On December 26, Rubin again put the lives of his fellow soldiers before his own when he was a flying a smokescreen mission. The hero was injured in the leg by a bullet but stayed on scene until all the
men were safe. Only then did he seek current attack. They attacked the enemedical attention. He received the Sil- my through thick ground fire but had ver Star, the third highest award given to disengage after 30 minutes because they needed to reto soldiers, for his bravery in battle. fuel. Rubin and By January his Australian co1968, Rubin was pilot were injured stationed at Bien but they asked for Hoa Air Base fifa new Cobra beteen miles north of cause the previous Saigon, the capione was not in tal of South Vietflyable condition. nam. It was the Back in the air, site of a disaster in they helped out a 1965 when a B-57 ground unit that bomber accidently was asking for air set off a 500 pound support and then bomb and 27 men went to engage were killed. Three about two hundred The hero, Captain Kenneth Rubin years later, it was VC. Rubin directthe target of a ed the Cobra’s North Vietnamese raiding party that fire in such a skilled way that the VC was part of the larger Tet Offensive. could not escape and were annihilated. Tet was a Vietnamese holiday and the As daylight approached, more enemy two sides had an agreement that there positions were spotted, and Rubin led would be a ceasefire. The ever-devi- the assault. Then he noticed two air ous Communist government planned a force guards who were wounded on massive foray into the south. Tens of the ground and were trapped behind thousands of guerrillas stealthily pen- enemy lines. Rubin himself landed etrated the southern defenses and took his chopper and rescued the two men over several American-held bases. while enemy resistance was again anThe offensive was short-lived and the nihilated. Communists suffered many casualties, The battle raged on at Bien Hoa for but for the first few days it was pan- three more days until tank support redemonium for the Americans and their lieved the beleaguered troops. Captain South Vietnamese counterparts. Bien Rubin was awarded the second highHoa was one of the bases that came est award for battlefield bravery—the under attack, and the helicopter pilots Distinguished Service Cross—for his there saved the day. actions. The Cobra stayed in service In the pre-dawn hours of January for many decades as a workhorse for 31, 1968, elements of three Viet Cong ground support missions. Rubin, one (Communist South Vietnamese or VC of the most decorated Jewish servicefor short) regiments started their at- men in American history, will always tack on Bien Hoa. They started pour- be remembered for the lives that he ing mortar and rocket fire on the base saved during the bitter battles of the as they prepared for the main assault. Vietnam War. Most air force personnel were ground crews and were unarmed. They were in a bad position when the VC had penetrated the light defenses. Everyone was Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to surprised when they heard the sound of The Jewish Home. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.for future columns incoming fire from helicopters. It was Captain Rubin and his team and can be reached at aviheiligman@ who were returning from a mission gmail.com. when they were told to divert to the
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by Shiffy Friedman ©
DECEMBER 12, 2013
Shiffy Friedman is a Jerusalem-based freelance writer. Her works have been published widely, primarily in Ami Magazine. She would love to hear feedback on her writing. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Recap: The family therapy session goes awry when Lisa and Davie both pass up their turns to talk. Lisa Stein Dad grips the steering wheel with a vengeance on our drive home. Seething, he mutters under his breath, “Those Smiths… I’ll give it to them.” “Smith?” I whisper to Becca. “Do you think it’s them?” Becca bites her lip. “Maybe,” she says quickly, all the time looking out the window. When he stops at a red light, he bangs down hard, the horn emitting a thunderous honk on this eerily quiet side street. “Who do they think they are?” He spats. “Mind your own business!” “Sam,” Mom whispers, and I can’t believe I’m hearing her voice. “Why do you think the Smiths would have us do this?” He grits his teeth angrily. I’m afraid for Mom. Sometimes-- not very often, though, she does stuff that I wouldn’t dare do, like when she allowed punished Davie into the house one night because a heavy snow had started to fall. As she wrapped his wet frame in a towel, my heart thumped for her, but it felt good to know how much she cared. “Who else,” he bellows, “Who else thinks they’re so kind? Only the Smiths,” he enunciates the name in a tone of mockery and I feel the urge to speak up for the really kind people. Suddenly, my love for our dear neighbors only blossoms, and the longer Dad spats about them and their work for the community, the more I bless them in my heart for shattering his throne. “Don’t you worry,” he says as he parks the car. “They’ll be hearing from me. Be-
fore you know it, they’ll be packing their bags.” I wonder how Dad could do this. After all, the world outside our walls knows him only as a kind guy, the type of man who buys gifts and remembers birthdays. But from him and his faux smile, I’ve learned that nothing is impossible. We pile out of the car, trudging up the path together. If anyone passes by right now, they see a family—a father in a rich shearling coat, a sweet mother, her slight frame wrapped in a soft lavender pashmina, and three nice-looking children. They see nothing else, and I’m left to wonder if they ever will. When we reach the door, Dad turns the key and lets us in. Then, he walks down the path toward the Smiths, and I run upstairs to peek from the window. How does a man confront his neighbor for doing the right thing? What will he say to the kind Mr. Smith that does justice to thank him for trying to save our family? Even from my place on the second floor, I can see that he’s angry. While he walks, he kicks an empty can of soda all the way to their door. I sit down on Becca’s bed at the window, making myself comfortable as I observe this unusual scene. I pull her pillow from under me and curl my legs into a pretzel, my hands under my chin as I sit and watch. He reaches toward the bell and I have to laugh when I realize I’m nervous for him. Why is he doing this? Why does he want to expose his guilt in so ugly a way? If only he’d stop for a moment, I know that he’d turn back. But that’s his problem, I realize now.
He never stops to think. Never. Like a wild animal, when the rage brews inside of him, his tongue hangs loose. It’s as if he’s on a fire that can only extinguish itself with more of its own kind. “Hey!” Becca suddenly lunges toward me. “Get off my bed!” Alarmed, I retreat quickly, rustling a sheet of paper from under my feet. “Whoa!” I say, “Calm down!” She’s usually nicer than this. In a jiffy, her back is bent to the floor and she grabs the piece of paper into both hands. “Did you read it?” She asks me, her eyes darting. “Read what?” “This,” she points to the notebook sheet I sat on. She cradles the piece of paper and folds it into a tiny square. There’s something here I don’t know, something I must know. “Yeah,” I lie. Her eyebrows come down low to either side of her face, and her lips form a perfect frown. “You sneak!” She cries. “I hate you!” I continue to stand before her in silence, fumbling quickly for the right words. Should I tell her it was all a lie-- that her secret is still tightly secured within that tiny square? But I must know! “Hate me,” I say. “I hate you too.” We always tease each other like that but now I can see those words stinging her deep inside. She looks like she wants to tear me apart, limb by limb, hair by hair. “You’re horrible,” she spats. If I let this fight continue, I suddenly
realize, I may never know what I could’ve known. I may never know the secret that set my sister on fire. So in a kind voice, I say to her, “I’m sorry, Becca. I didn’t mean to read this. It was on your bed when I sat down, so I cleared the way for my feet.” She sobs as I speak, her breaths pitifully rapid. “I had--” sob “I had to do this, Lisa.” She starts to hiccup while I stand before her, my thoughts competing with each other in a mad race. “I understand,” I say, though I’m left to wonder what it is I’m meant to comprehend. “It was too much.” She twists the paper into a thin long rod. “Right I did the right thing?” I close my eyes tight. So it wasn’t the Smiths. It was my sister and best friend. I can feel the rush of her blood through her aching bones, the fear she’s enduring for the sake of our family. I slowly shake my head yes. “You did the right thing,” I say as I place my hand on her heaving shoulder. “Do you promise,” she asks me, broken, “Do you promise you won’t tell him I called?”
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Kelly Benarroch greets me with a warm hug as we enter Abba’s restaurant at 129 N. La Brea on a cold Thursday night. It makes me feel good when she inquires about my family; my parents had been her customers for over 20 years at her former location, La Glatt on Fairfax. I remember going to La Glatt with my mom and grandfather for a classic deli sandwich and some meatballs, and eating Kelly’s delicious Pesach catering long before Pesach hotel programs were in vogue. But, I know I am not getting special treatment; Mrs. Benarroch and her husband Shimon treat everyoneyoung, old, rich, homeless with the same love and respect. Shimon Benarroch is a shochet by trade and as a young couple, Kelly and Shimon were willing to live “anywhere there were cows and a Jewish school.” They originally resided in St. Paul, Minnesota, home to Rabbi Manis Friedman, frigid winters, and a small Jewish elementary school which the Benarroch’s helped start. The Benarroch’s opened a small butcher shop/Kosher grocery store while Shimon commuted an hour to do shechting in Laverne, Minnesota. When their older children reached high school age they had to be sent away to continue their Lubavitch educationthe girls to New York and the boys to Los Angeles. On a trip California to visit their sons, the Benarroch’s decided to move their brood out West so that the rest of their children could attend a local school and not be sent away. They spent a couple years in Long Beach operating a popular catering company, and when they found an appropriate space, they opened the doors to their first restaurant La Glatt. La Glatt opened in 1988 and remained in the same location until about 2 years ago when the Benarroch’s found out that their lease would not be renewed. They consider this tremendous Hashga-
cha Pratis and love their new location, as it enables the local community to walk to Abba’s and use the space for Shabbos kiddushes and simchas. Abba’s is a lovely space, very clean with beautiful lighting and lavender décor. It was decorated with love by her daughter Miriam Rav Noy and daughter in law Breindy Benarroch; son Moshe took care of the extensive contracting work, re-plumbing the entire place and taking a run down restaurant space into the twenty first century. Today, a grandson helps Kelly, talking comfortably as he stacks napkins. This is a family business, and every customer is treated as such. We scan Abba’s homey, classic menu
and order a falafel plate, schnitzel and grilled chicken salad. The quantities are generous, the care in making good food the old fashioned way is apparent. Everything is tasty and arranged neatly. She brings a dish of pickles and olives while her husband plates our food. We decline her fresh, delicious bread and the overwhelming scent of freshly baked challah wafts through the room taunting my low carb ways. She won’t let us go without sending the challah home with us. We reminisce with Kelly about “old L.A” when Fairfax was very, very Jewish and Pico had nothing but Nagila Pizza. Lots of Los Angeles restaurants struggled in the 80s and early 90s, and being raised by my restaurant-loving family, together
we can list a dozen restaurants that came and went: Ole’, Fish House, Mosaic, Rib Tickler… I ask Kelly what the secret to her restaurant’s longevity is and, in typical humble Benarroch fashion, she looks heavenward and says, “The Abeishter” (Hashem). She thinks for a moment and adds, “Also, we’re friendly, we work hard, and if you want your business to survive the owners need to be there every day.” I completely agree with all of this, Shimon and Kelly seem to never leave their restaurant, cooking, serving, smiling, listening, offering a kind word to their loyal customers day in and day out for over 25 years. Aside from a classic lunch and dinner menu, Abba’s offers legendary take out. Try the savory yapsik- a crispy, potato based, cholent competitor, Abba’s potato kugel, or their famous, homemade herring that people stand in line for and talk about all week. Mrs. Benarroch’s dream had always been to run a Simcha hall, and now she has it on a bit of a smaller scale. Abba’s operates as both a daily restaurant and party room for private affairs. The room is large enough to host a Shabbos Sheva Bracha, shul luncheon, bris, or small bar mitzvah, and Abba’s is always available for in-house catering. A customer waits while we chat and grows antsy. She wants her Shabbos take out and also Kelly’s motherly conversation. She is a regular and stands close as Kelly wraps her kugels and salads, she says “I don’t only come here for the food, I come for the company.” Call (323) 6587730 for more details.” Estee Cohen is a California native and goes out to eat more than is appropriate. She is a kosher food insider, has a patient husband and 3 little kids. She is passionate about restaurants, science education, and collects rooster figurines.
63 THE JEWISH HOME
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Malave Malka With Benny Friedmam
DECEMBER 12, 2013
DEC 23 - JAN 2, 2014
הודה רי י בע מע יש עוד
בית מדרש גבוה
ו ב ח ו
ברכת ה' שלוחה
צו ת י
ר ו של י ם
תנחומים תנחומים כוס גבוה מדרש בית הנהלת תנחומים כוסכוס חבר ועד הנאמנים רבניהון ותלמידהון שולחים את ברכותיהם ואיחוליהם הלבביים אל מע”כ הנכבדה בלייער משפחת מע"כ אנו מושטים הנכבדה בלייער משפחת מע"כ אל אנו מושטים בלייער משפחת מע"כ אל אל אנו מושטים הנכבדהשבקדושה דבר לכל וראשון ראש וההטבה החסד איש ידידנו היקר גבוה, מדרש בנםבית התווך עמוד המעש עתיר היקר ואחיהם ובעלם אביהם מאתם בהלקח היקר ואחיהם בנם ובעלם אביהם מאתם בהלקח היקר ואחיהם של בנם ובעלם אביהם מאתם בהלקח חבר מסור בועד הנאמנים יו”ר משותף לסגל מנהלי הישיבה, לתפארת פרח כבודה' בחצרות ונעמן נאמן מעם מורם לתפארת פרח ה' בחצרות ונעמן נאמן נטע מעם מורם איש לתפארת פרח ה' בחצרות ונעמן נאמן נטענטע מעם מורם אישאיש ועמלי’ התורה לרומם ושליחותו מהותו אשר ספרים לחבר וזכה לא מעמלה נשמתו, תורתו אשר חכם תלמיד ואחריות עול בנשיאות הצדקה עמוד ספרים לחבר וזכה פסק לא מעמלה נשמתו, תורתו אשר חכם תלמיד ספרים לחבר וזכה פסקפסק לא מעמלה נשמתו, תורתו אשר חכם תלמיד
מוהר״ר שלמה יהודה שליט”א רעכניץ ז"ל בלייער זלמן שלמה מוהר"ר ז"ל בלייער זלמן שלמה מוהר"ר ז"ל בלייער זלמן שלמה מוהר"ר ומנב״ת רעיתו שתחי’ שרה אילה שתחי׳ בנשמתו כרוכים והצנע הטבה בנשמתו כרוכים לכת והצנע הטבה חסד בנשמתו כרוכים לכתלכת והצנע הטבה חסדחסד אלימלך בןבן אלימלך הר' אלימלך הר'הר' בן
לאוי”ט היקרה בתם אירוסי לרגל שתחי', פעסיל מרת לאמו ומשפחתו, שתחי' מנב"ת לרעיתו העמוקים תנחומינו מביעים שתחי', פעסיל מרת לאמו ומשפחתו, שתחי' מנב"ת לרעיתו העמוקים תנחומינו אנו מביעים שתחי', פעסיל מרת לאמו ומשפחתו, שתחי' מנב"ת לרעיתו העמוקים תנחומינו אנואנו מביעים התורה עולם מבחירי בתויר”ש המופלג החתן עב”ג שתחי' פרנס אביבה ומרת שתחי' בראנשטיין יהודית מרת לאחותו שליט"א, יוסף מוהר"ר לאחיו שתחי' פרנס אביבה ומרת שתחי' בראנשטיין יהודית מרת לאחותו שליט"א, יוסף מוהר"ר לאחיו שתחי' פרנס אביבה ומרת שתחי' בראנשטיין יהודית מרת לאחותו שליט"א, יוסף מוהר"ר לאחיו לעד ויזרח יאיר נרו קורנפלד דוב שמואל תלמיד ישיבת קליפוואוד ,תלמיד מובהק של הגאון רבי שמעון אלסטר שליט”א תהא אגודתם מבורכת משמי מעונה ,להתעטר בחיי אושר ושמחה, בבנין ביתם על אדני התורה והחסד כממשיכי שלשלת אבות וירשלים ציון אבלי שאר בתוך השמים תנוחמו הברים הברוכ ומעשיו אורחות בהמשך וירשלים ציון בתוך השמים מן תנוחמו ים לפארוכ הבר ומעשיו חייו אורחות בהמשך וירשלים ציון שאר בתוך השמים מן מן תנוחמו וכים ומעשיו חייוחייו אורחות בהמשך אבליישראל אבליבית שארכרם ולתפארת הכבודה משפחתם הדורות, ומסורת לדאבה שלוחהו תוסיפ עטרת זקניהם, מע”כ אל הברכה וזאת עוד לדאבה תוסיפו ולא עודעוד לדאבה תוסיפו ולאולא
איש החסד ומוקיר תורה מוהר״ר יעקב רעכניץ שליט״א ומנב״ת רעיתו שתחי׳ הנאמנים וחברי ותלמידיהון רבניהון גבוה מדרש הנהלת בשם הנאמנים ועד וחברי ותלמידיהון רבניהון גבוה מדרש בית הנהלת בשם הנאמנים ועדועד וחברי ותלמידיהון רבניהון גבוה מדרש ביתבית הנהלת בשם ראש ישיבת תורה ודעת הגאון רבי ישראל בלסקי שליט״א ומנב״ת רעיתו שתחי׳ יזכו לרוות רוב נחת אושר ושמחה מבית זה הנבנה בישראל, ומכל צאצאיהם היקרים ,בבריות גופא ,עד נזכה כולנו לראות גדול יהיה הבית בראש ההרים.
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