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2 DECEMBER 18, 2014

Beth Jacob and Los Angeles - Beverly Hills are Deeply Honored to Welcome


Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi David Lau January 9-10, 2015 Friday Night Tefilah January 9, Mincha at 4:50 pm Shapell Sanctuary

Shabbat Morning Davening & Drasha January 10, Shacharit at 9:00 am Shapell Sanctuary

Community Lunch in Bayer Hall with Remarks from Rabbi Lau $50 Adult; $25 Child To reserve your spot please contact 310-278-1911 or rsvp@bethjacob.org

Rabbi Lau in Conversation with Rabbi Topp Saturday Night, January 10, 8:00 pm At Beth Jacob

Weekend generously sponsored by Carrol & Jack Fenigstein and Anne and Mark Goldin.


abbi David Lau was elected Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael in July, 2013, the youngest person ever to be appointed to that post. He previously served as Chief Rabbi of Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut, and Chief Rabbi of Shoham. He is a reserve major in the IDF Intelligence Corps. Rabbi Lau, son of former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, was the first rabbi in Israel to teach responsa over the internet, and has appeared regularly on radio programs addressing questions of Jewish law. He is the author and editor of many articles and books, including a book in memory of his grandfather, Yitzchak Yedidya Frankel, and Maskil L’David, his 2008 work on matters including genealogy, conversion and military law. Rabbi Lau has developed a reputation of reaching out to different constituencies within the State of Israel in an inclusive way. “Judaism belongs to everyone, the rabbinate belongs to everyone, and the Torah belongs to everyone,” he said upon taking office. “To succeed in connecting everyone is what I hope to achieve.”

9030 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills • (310) 278-1911 www.bethjacob.org Connected to the Past – Committed to the Future

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DECEMBER 18, 2014

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DECEMBER 18, 2014



MADE IT Enjoyable.


Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

JEWISH THOUGHT Chanukah Mission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 The Power of the Menorah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Where was G-d? Is He really listening? . . . . . . . . . . 23

COVER STORY From Rockets to Doughnuts Menorahs Large and Small. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 OIL! This Year’s Chanukah Miracle and Some of the Jews who Helped Find the Oil. . . . . . . . . . . . 34

HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

LIFESTYLES Book Review: Measure of a Man, A Memoir . . . . . 24 Fun with Dreidels. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Travel Guide: Alaska. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

EDUCATION Forgotten Heroes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Real Estate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Ask the Attorney. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

(Dictated on behalf of Joe who is great with words but cannot type)

Dear Editor, My friend gave me a copy of your newspaper and I wanted to let you know that I am homeless and I panhandle but I am not ever dirty and your image of a dirty hand was untruthful. I am concerned when I see these stereotyped pictures because they affect the way people see panhandlers and this makes people frightened and then they have

Tehillim become “tanks” and acts of charity become “war planes”. We may have only “one light” which doesn’t seem to be enough, but we will not be daunted. We will light the “pure oil” which we have and G-d on his part will continue to give us the miracle of Chanukah. The truth is, the world has come a long way since the Miracle of lights. Religion and belief in a creator is respected and honored in much of global society (the trouble makers were always around and is nothing new). Giving Charity is universal and Public Menorah lightings are very much the norm. The real obstacle is the voice within us which makes us uncomfortable to reach beyond the consciousness and tap into the holy. The world at large has also connected to the belief in a redeemer. One who will usher in the time when we will see the purpose for which the world was created. In fact, details cast aside, we’re pretty much all in agreement that it’s playing out right now. As the Rambam writes at the end of Hilchos Melachim “…all of the happenings… and of… who stood up after him are only there to prepare the path for the redeemer. And to prepare the world at large to serve G-d together… How so? The world has since been filled with talk of a redeemer and words of Torah and concepts of mitzvos. And these have spread to far away islands…” The Rambam wrote this a thousand years ago. We’re experiencing it today. We want it. Our families want it and the world needs it. May we have a Shabbos filled with the warmth and light of the Menorah,


a bad attitude to us and their children are rude to us, even though they don’t understand our situation. I have been homeless for 7 years on December 17th. I live behind the Electronics store on Sawtelle. Every face has a name and my name is Joe. If you see me sitting outside Starbucks with my 80lb pit bull terrier, you wouldn’t know that I am homeless. I have made some bad choices in my life so I am not eligible for government housing but a lot of good people help me out because they like me and they like my dog. People also appreciate that work

is what matters to me. I am a good worker. Work is the most important thing I need. My sign reads, “Hello, I’m Joe. No work, no home, any help at all – even work!” I’ve got a lot of work from that sign. It also helps people to see me as a person and they ask how I’m doing and I appreciate that. So I wanted to write to you so that you could tell people that there are many panhandlers and many homeless people who are very clean and are fine to talk to. Thank you, Joe

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

DECEMBER 18, 2014


Dear Readers, There’s something about the glowing Chanukah lights which bring us back to our childhood. We feel protected, warm and joyful as we watch the flames flicker from side to side. If we pay attention we can hear the lights recount our history together. First as the seven lights of the Menorah in the Beis Hamikdosh and then as the eight lights of the Chanukiah marking the great miracle which happened back then. The candles remind us of triumphant times and tell stories of the challenging ones. The sweet and the bitter are layered stories in the burning flame. These candles remind us that what’s right is not always popular. At times society can descend into moral decay. At other times society will support a moral code, but mock the spiritual and the holy. The present culture becomes the bible as the divine gets cast aside. Social fashions can judge traditional ways as old fashioned and it’s seen as narrow minded to believe in G-dly laws such as Shabbos, Kashrus and the sanctity of marriage. The study of Torah becomes a target as well. We’re told; Modern logic? Fine. The sciences? Fine. But what’s this business of studying the same laws for over 3,000 years? Statements such as “thank G-d my business is doing fine,” or “G-d willing we’re buying a new house,” are looked at as primitive and narrow minded verbiage, veering from the “the world created itself” dogma. Ultimately however, the lights tell us of the eternity of all that is G-dly. In size it can be small, in a popularity contest it will lose, but as with nuclear energy size is not what matters. A small band of fighters led by Kohanim who would rather be studying Torah can win over the hardened legions of the armies of enlightenment. Children reciting





DECEMBER 18, 2014


Yeshiva Ketana of Los Angeles Brings Uncle Moishy to Beverly Hills For the third consecutive year, families bought tickets to enjoy the sounds and fun of Yeshiva Ketana’s Annual Uncle Moishy Concert. Uncle Moishy has a long history of entertaining Jewish children and is indeed a singing sensation, along with his joyful band of Mitzvah Men. This year the delightful performance took place in Beverly Hills, just a stone’s throw away from the Pico-Robertson neighborhood.

Over 800 men, women and children were seated in the plush auditorium of Beverly Hills High School. The auditorium was lit up by fluorescent glow necklaces which matched the children’s glowing faces as they reveled in the magic that is Uncle Moishy, Cousin Nochum, and Mordy the Mitzvah Man. During intermission there was a run on concessions which included cotton candy,

Chanukah cookies and Sufganiyot. A brief video highlighted the host school, Yeshiva Ketana of Los Angeles. Though only in its third year of existence, the school has grown to over 60 students across its two locations. It boasts an allstar staff, and uses the latest technology and techniques to bring a high quality Yeshiva education to the Valley. With events like the Uncle Moishy concert, Yeshiva

Ketana reaches out to benefit the greater Los Angeles community as well. After the dynamic performance, the audience left the concert with free shopping totes and chocolate Chanukah gelt to start their Chanukah season. As one audience member said on the way out, “What a class act!”

Museum of the Holocaust Hosts Kindertransport Event with Author Michelle Gold by Bracha Turner “Anyone can find something meaningful in the Holocaust” said E. Randal Schoenberg, board chair of the L.A. Museum of the Holocaust. On Tuesday evening, December 9th, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust presented a reading from Michelle M. Gold’s book ‘Memories That Won’t Go Away, A Tribute to Children in the Kindertransport.’ The event, sponsored by RVW Consulting, explored the

England, relates her mother’s story along with the stories of hundreds of other children. All the children were between the ages of 2 and 17 years and came from Czechoslovakia, Austria, Germany and Poland. They traveled to Great Britain by train alone, not knowing if they would ever see their parents or relative again. Although the majority of the ‘survivors’ are still alive, most don’t regard themselves

days) paid to the state as a guarantee for each child, the children did not know how much their parents often sacrificed to save them. Money was raised quickly. Funds were required on the theory that it would prevent the children burdening the state until they were reunited with their parents, as was optimistically anticipated at the end of the war. The readings portrayed the deep emo-

safe, happy childhoods free from anti-semitism or discrimination prior to leaving their families. One of the more acclaimed rescuers of the children was Nicholas Winton, an English civilian who, along with his friends, visited Prague while on a skiing trip and after seeing the camps decided to help. Over the next year he brought 669 children to England, by asking the government for the

lives of the 10,000 children that England protected from the reality of annihilation. After the violence of Kyrstallnacht in November 1938, European Jewry recognized the danger of living in anti-semitic countries. The Kindertransport was the organized transportation of Jewish children from Nazi Europe between the years 19381939. When parents realized they could not rescue themselves with their families, they gave their children to the Kindertransport as a step to safety. Some parents were later able to join their children in England, but they were in the minority. The author, whose own mother was among the children rescued and sent to

as survivors and thus the healing process of grieving and exploring their history has never experienced a complete outlet. As a museum docent, Gold’s research was conceived by an artistic ceramic exhibit hosted by the museum in which she collected pictures of survivors. Her research took four years and encompassed a breadth of documents and stories that she found in libraries, synagogues, organizations and individual families throughout the world. The resulting book is an exposition of an often overlooked story of hope within the Holocaust. For 50 sterling pounds (equivalent to about $80 today but expensive in those

tional bond between parent and child, as well as the pain of parting against a backdrop of anti-semitic terror. Even when they arrived in England, it was not an easy place to call home because the children found little sensitivity for their cultural or religious needs. Besides the trauma of leaving their parents, they had to cope with fear, the absence of protection, the difficulty of learning a new language, chores and domestic work (which was expected in exchange for accommodation). Others lived in hostels or orphanages. Sometimes, the children were so young, that they had no understanding why they were being sent away. Many recalled stories of seemingly

conditions which permitted unsupervised children for entering England. And then getting together the necessary documents. Soon, Winton and his friends believed that their politicians couldn’t be relied on and felt they knew more of what was occurring in Eastern Europe than the government. In an interview which was screened in the museum following the book reading, Winton quoted a German philosopher “We’ve never learned anything from the past.” The reason why history repeats itself, he asserted, is that the world can never change, “until people decide, irrespective of religion, to live by the standard of ethics and compromise.”


Ramon, representing HaRova Seminary. The sense of community was evident at this year’s fair with the co-sponsors, Yeshiva High Tech, NCSY, YULA, Shalhevet and Valley Torah, encouraging students’ participation. Masa, was also a co-sponsor of this event, provides funding to make trips to Israel possible. NCSY made the Fair an event, even arranging for a bus to make it more accessible to Valley residents. There were parents who flew in from Seattle and San Francisco as well as those who drove in from San Diego, Irvine and Long Beach to attend, as well as students from public schools and other private schools. “While the fair featured Orthodox programs, the opportunity to reach students across denominations and cities shows the need and interest of serious student s who want to explore the life changing opportunities that Gap Year in Israel provides,” says Phyllis Folb, Israel Gap-Year Fair Director. Additionally the early exposure to the Israel programs by younger students builds excitement now

DECEMBER 18, 2014

Four hundred people were on hand to greet the 37 Israel schools presenting Gap Year Programs at the Second Annual Israel Gap-Year fair hosted by Yeshiva High Tech. The community-wide event generated excitement for the Gap Year programs in Israel and provided a forum whereby the schools, parents, and students could all interact in one place. Students, parents, and representatives responded enthusiastically as they discussed and learned about the various opportunities offered. It proved “A fantastic evening that was well planned with an eye for detail, which contributed to the success of the event,” commented Rav Boaz Mori, Rosh Yeshivat Lev HaTorah. “The Israel Gap Year Fair is really the only open forum for both students AND parents to have an opportunity to meet reps from the various schools. Another positive aspect was that there were a significant number of 11th graders who came and who had a lot of questions,” noted Mrs.

and allows them to make more educated future choices.” Rabbi Dardik, from Orayta Yeshiva, summed up the success of the event by remarking that “The Israel Gap Year Fair provided an opportunity for a large group

of people to see a broad swath of schools in a short time, and families in attendance ranged from those who know what they want to those who brought their son over and said, ‘Rabbi please explain to him why he should go to Israel.’ The fair was very worthwhile and worth repeating.”

IAC-CARE Sponsors the Humane Rehousing of Homeless Dogs On December 5th, IAC-CARE, The Israeli-American council, once again sponsored the Wings of Rescue Holiday Air Lift at Van Nuys Airport. The IAC is involved with a variety of programs that support LA needs; not just Israeli or Jewish related, but aimed at helping the entire community. Los Angeles is a city with an estimated million homeless dogs. While the majority are healthy, they are mostly euthanized because there are too many to handle. In fact, more than 3 million healthy dogs are euthanized in America every year with a bill of approximately $1billion, paid by our taxes. California has some of the highest kill rates in the country because there are so many unwanted and stray dogs. In support of the humane practices of Wings of Rescue, IAC-CARE came onboard with sponsorship that included breakfast, a team of nearly 50 volunteers, dog coats for each furry 4-legged friend that was flying to a colder climate, and a travel box so that each animal would be ready for their airplane journey. The volunteers lovingly dressed each dog, cared for them at the airport and then carried them in their travel boxes, to the small chartered airplanes that were taking them to a new home. This is the 5th holiday air lift that Wings of Rescue has coordinated and it is the largest charity that transports dogs to successfully rehome them. At this event there were dogs from 40 pet shelters, rescue organizations and humane societies, although Wings

of Rescue works with 120 Los Angeles rescue organizations. 660 dogs on the holiday airlift were flown to new homes with destinations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and New York. All the pilots donated their time and the airplane fuel, to make the holiday air lift possible. The dogs were a variety of breeds, mostly smaller in size and included 150 Chihuahuas who were requested by the North Shore Animal League on Long Island. Chihuahuas are easy dogs to care for but they have a death sentence once they reach rescue organizations because there are so many of them. The length of stay in a shelter is usually between 5 days and 14 days. Some shelters brand themselves as no-kill homes, but in reality it is impractical to keep so many unwanted dogs alive. A spokesperson for Downtown Dog Rescue explained the reality, “We’re not going to adopt our way out of this problem. Adoption is very important,


Over 400 People Attend the 2014 Israel Gap Year Fair Hosted by Yeshiva High Tech

but it’s going to take much more.” Spay and neutering dogs would alleviate the problem and there are many free programs that offer this service, but pet owners don’t take up the opportunity and many dog owners are unaware of the programs and think it’s going to be an enormous expense. Wings of Rescue’s website has information on free services so there really is no excuse. Without pet owners taking the matter seriously, the overwhelming number of homeless dogs in the Downtown area will not subside. Many of the dogs would have been put to sleep on the day of the airlift although it costs just $88 to fly a dog to a new home. Unfortunately there are not enough pilots or planes or budgets available to fly the dogs so frequently; the planes are chartered for $15,000 a day. There are other ways to transport the dogs, but this is mostly by truck and that makes for a long, hard journey. Sharon Fall, is a Fund raiser and Press Relations Volunteer with Wings of Rescue. She explained that, “Flying dogs to new homes is the most efficient and humane way

to rehome these lovable pets. Wings of Rescue flies approximately 100 dogs each week of the year with this program. Over the last four years we have saved the lives of more than 10,000 healthy dogs. It’s just a drop in the bucket, but at least it’s something. The dogs are adopted by families in different parts of America; Wings of Rescue does not have flight passage out of the US.” While stroking a chestnut colored, long haired dachshund with a sweet disposition, Fall went on to explain, “In October, Wings of Rescue took 136 dogs to Bellingham, Washington in October. We set up a temporary shelter at the airport and by the end of the day, every single dog had been adopted. That same shelter, however, took in 75 dogs on the same day. It’s a fire hose; it never stops, yet I feel it’s important that we are at least doing something and we have a goal. We want to raise enough money to purchase our own plane that can rehabilitate 150 dogs twice a week.” The goal is sensible and yet the cost of a small, used plane is $1.8million. Ori Pikoos manages community events at the IAC. She wasn’t sure that the IAC would be able to purchase something so costly, “There is only so much we can do! At the same time our investment in this program is close to our hearts. We take a great deal of care in sponsoring this program because it effects our community and the reward is meaningful; thousands of homes are made happier by the addition of a dog.”

LINK Kollel in LA Hosts Rabbi Dovid Kupinsky and Rabbi Moshe Weinberger


DECEMBER 18, 2014


During the week of Parshas Vayaishev, the LINK Kollel in Los Angeles had the special gift of hosting Rabbi Dovid Kupinsky, brother of Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky Hy”d, one of the four Kedoshim that were recently murdered in a Har Nof shul.  Rabbi Kupinsky is a Rav in Nokdim in East Gush Etzion and he undertook to travel to America to speak about his late brother and to offer some perspective on the terrible tragedy that befell Klal Yisroel.  On just a few hours’ notice, approximately 75 people packed into the LINK Bais Medrash to hear his moving words. Rabbi Kupinsky started by delineating all the hashgacha that determined who would be at the 6:30am minyan on that fateful morning.  He gave several examples of regulars who for whatever reason were not at the minyan and yet several others who normally daven elsewhere who were.  His point was that there was a clear hashgacha that determined that those that were killed or wounded were from the “choicest offering” of Klal Yisroel and that Hashem clearly chose them to be a kaparah for the rest of the tzibur.   In particular, he recounted how

his brother Reb Aryeh was a “Gaon in Chessed”. After the tragic loss of his 13 year old daughter O”H, Reb Aryeh founded a gemach to deliver freezers to families who were making simchas.  He would schlep the heavy freezers up and down the very hilly terrain of Har Nof, insisting that he personally deliver and pick up each freezer.  He would daven naitz every Shabbos morning so he could go from shul to shul to help set up the various Kiddushim that different families were hosting.  He also gave out various candies and treats to children with special wrappings so that they should have his late daughter’s name in mind when they make the bracha. Rabbi Kupinsky concluded that the aim of the terrorists was to destroy our connection to HaKodosh Baruch Hu.  He cited the eyewitness reports that the terrorists waited specifically for their victims to be in the middle of their silent Shemoneh Esrei- the most sublime moment of Divine connection- before perpetrating their dastardly deeds.  In effect, they were saying that a Jew clad in Tallis and Tefillin in the middle of his most intense connection with Hashem is completely helpless (G-d for-

bid). Our response must be to strengthen our connection to  kedusha, our  deveikus to Hashem and our overall emunah in Hashem’s hashgacha over Klal Yisroel .  Ultimately, when we do that, the gentile nations will recognize Klal Yisroel’s’ rightful place in the world and will turn to observe the seven Noachide laws and Klal Yisroel will reside in safety and security in Eretz Yisrael with the advent of Moshiach. A few days later, the LINK Kollel hosted a luncheon with the renowned speaker and spiritual mentor, Rabbi Moshe Weinberger of Cong. Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, Long Island.  Rabbi Weinberger’s appearance was arranged in conjunction with the annual West coast Convention of the Orthodox Union.  Over 100 people came to hear his stirring address on “Meeting the Challenges of Chinuch in the 21st Century”.  Rabbi Weinberger is known for his rare ability to translate profound Chassidic ideas into contemporary idiom for Jews of many different backgrounds.  He identified the major challenge that we face today being how to protect our children from an all-pervasive corrosive, decedent, and profane secular culture that has found a way through the internet, smart phones, etc. to penetrate even the most impermeable walls of kedusha in our homes and schools.  Invoking the paradigm of the Al HaNisim tefilla (“the many into the hands of the few, the strong into the hands of the weak, the profane into the hands of the pure”,) and quoting classical Chassidic sources, he delineated a clear approach to combating

this seemingly insurmountable problem. First, he stressed the importance of instilling a sense of kedusha in our children and making them aware of the dangers of the spiritual toxins in the air all around us.  This also entails a concerted effort on the part of the parents to - as much as possible - shield our children from the onslaught of secular culture in all of its technological manifestations. He next addressed the imperative to spend quality and quantity time with our children.  Whereas in previous generations, the challenge was often finding the financial means to provide a Torah education, the obstacle today is more often than not the parents’ inability to carve out sacred space in their hectic schedules to not only learn with their children but to speak to them about  emunah and connecting to Hashem.  Just “being there” for our children when they can feel free to open up to us and express their vulnerabilities, is so critical. Lastly, he stressed the importance of tefilla, especially the inimitable and invaluable tears of a Jewish mother.  We need to feel a tremendous sense of investment in our children’s spiritual success.  He recounted several stories of Chassidic masters who stressed the indispensable component of a mother’s copious prayers for her children’s success in Torah an Avodas Hashem. Rabbi Weinberger then proceeded to answer a variety of questions from his audience who hung onto every word until it was time for him to leave for his next presentation.

Bais Naftoli Hosts Breakfast in Honor of Hungarian Delegation to Los Angeles A seven member high level Hungarian delegation visited Los Angeles headed by Zoltan Balog, Minister of Human Capacity, and Katalin Novak, State Secretary for Family and Youth Services. Attorney and Los Angeles County Commissioner, Andrew Friedman, held a breakfast reception for the delegation in his Hancock Park home for a dialogue with four distinguished Rabbis- Rabbi Pinchos Gruman, Dean of Los Angeles Rabbis; Rabbi Yuval Noff, Rabbinical Council of America; Rabbi Zvi B. Hollander, Orthodox Union; Rabbi Yoel Gold, Congregation Bais Naftoli. The participants discussed the rich Jewish-Hungarian heritage, including that two-thirds of the fourteen Hungarian Nobel Prize winners have Jewish origin. Hungarian schools are required to teach about the Shoah as well as Jewish cultural integration into mainstream Hungarian

society for hundreds of years. Minister Balog, in addressing the gathering, stated that “it is only through proper dialogue and extensive education of the youth that anti-Semitism can be eliminated.” The Hungarian Jewish community numbers approximately 50,000 and is the largest in the Eastern Central European region with most Jews living in Budapest, the capital. Before the war, Hungary had a Jewish population of 450,000 and approximately 30% survived. There are approximately 20 working synagogues today, along with a plethora of other Jewish institutions, both religious and cultural. Jewish life is complete, although anti-Semitic rumblings persist. Pictured L-R: State Secretary Prohle, Rabbi Hollander, Rabbi Gold, Rabbi Noff, Minister Balog, Rabbi Gruman, Commissioner Friedman, Consul Pinter, State Secretary Novak, Consul General Kalman

20 Holy Sites ‫כותל המערבי | מערת המכפלה | קבר רחל | מירון | עמוקה‬ ‫רבי יוחנן הסנדלר | רבי טרפון | בניהו בן יהוידע‬ | ‫רבי יהודה בר אילעי רבי מאיר בעל הנס | הרמב"ם‬ ‫הבית יוסף האלשיך הקדוש | האר"י הקדוש | השל"ה הקדוש‬ ‫הפרי חדש | האוה"ח הקדוש | רבי לייב בעל היסורים‬ .‫הרה"ק מויטבסק | המהרי"ל דיסקין‬ ‫זאת חנוכה – להשאיר בעברית [בכל‬ ‫[השעריםלהוריד‬

On Zos Chanukah, messengers of Kupat Ha'ir will daven for contributors at the following 20 Holy Sites ‫כל המקומות לתפילה להשאיר‬ ‫בעברית‬

At each of these sites messengers

At each of these sites messengers will daven for each name individually, along with its request. May be submitted until 10:00 pm on Tuesday the 7th day of Chanukah - December 23rd








24 Donations can be sent to: Kupat Hair - 4415 14th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11219 www.kupat.org

‫קו‬ ‫העפת‬ ‫יר‬

DECEMBER 18, 2014

On Zos Chanukah, messengers of Kupat Ha’ir will daven for contributors at the following


‫זאת‬ ‫חנוכה‬

Kupat Ha’ir


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DECEMBER 18, 2014


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‫חיים‬ ‫עץ‬ ‫מדרש‬ ‫בית‬ ‫בנשיאות הרב חיים ברוך רובין שליט״א‬


DECEMBER 18, 2014


Five Years Old and Still Growing, Kehillat Mogen David Education Center This coming academic year, Kehillat Mogen David Education Center, (“KMDEC”), will welcome a new 2nd grade to its thriving education community. Only five years ago this fledgling orthodox school was launched in the city, promising a cost effective quality education. Currently the school takes children from age two until 1st grade but each year a new grade is added as the parents want to stay. KMDEC is affiliated with Congregation Mogen David. The shul is headed by Senior Rabbi Gabriel Elias, whose efforts to build his community have resulted in an increase in membership, with the addition of 205 young families, which include over 100 children. In 2009, a decision was made to add a school that would serve the shul’s congregation. KMDEC is led by Director Cecelie Wizenfeld, who comes to the school with over thirty years of experience in Early Childhood Education, including Shalhevet School, where she worked as Director of the Early Education program and the Director of Admissions. Additionally, she

comes with 13 years of experience as the Early Childhood Director at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy. KMDEC is a school that believes in children leading their learning with teachers that are happy to foster the children’s voice, their creativity, and their sense of community through experiential learning. The program is Reggio inspired and the

school prides itself on being a progressive school, weaving in the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development of the students into everyday learning. The children love the vibrant atmosphere and this year have created space stations, weather stations, made fresh olive oil for their Channukiot, incorporated painting techniques from the grand masters, and more.

This year has also seen KMDEC incorporating an Ivrit B’Ivrit Hebrew immersion Program in which instructors speak only in Hebrew to build and encourage the growth of the Hebrew language for the children. Along with Ivrit study, the children are surrounded by Judaica, from an Orthodox approach. Beginning with morning davening and prayer services for every age group, to rich lessons filled with exposure to the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and the spirit of every Jewish holiday, KMDEC builds a solid foundation for the practice and understanding of the Jewish religion and culture. One parent told Wizenfeld, “KMDEC provides a solid Jewish education and nurturing environment at an affordable rate in the heart of my Pico/Robertson community. The individualized attention is something my wife and I have literally never seen from any day school.” Another Parent added, “Everyone is very warm and welcoming. My child says the teachers tell us even though we come from different homes, we are together and we are one.”

Chabad of Sherman Oaks Launches Annual Chinese Auction Chabad of Sherman Oaks has found success with a new program. With the number of children in the community constantly growing, there was a need to increase synagogue funds for a myriad of kid’s events. The exciting fundraiser was conceived by the shul’s Rabbi and Rebbetzin Teitelbaum and a Chinese auction was held. It took four months of detailed

to Bloomingdales, gift card to Starbucks, kids jewelry, an American Girl doll, Teeth Whitening, a three string Pearl necklace, a Chef catered evening in your home, an Ipad Air 2, a vacation to Hawaii and an Imac computer. Tickets were sold on the website that was launched for the event and more tickets were purchased on the evening. Rabbi

vided by the synagogue’s popular Hebrew school, which registers more than 100 kids each year. This was followed by an action-packed video that showed the myriad of happenings at the synagogue. For the haggim, gym teachers have set up a kid friendly exercise class, there have been puppet shows, carnivals, guitar teachers and more.

buying a ticket online from her home in Argentina. The grandparents of a Hebrew school student were winners and a teacher from the Hebrew School was thrilled to win a top prize. Rebbetzin Shternie Lipskier was satisfied with the numbers, explaining, “It takes so much effort and creativity to start a new program like this one, but every year it will

preparation but the first annual fundraiser to support children’s programs was launched on December 7th. The evening was a vibrant affair with more than 200 attendees and a meaningful numbers of tickets being sold. Prizes were allocated by price bracket. The selection of prizes included $150 gift cards

Weiss introduced the evening with appreciation for the supporters and explaining, “An investment in Jewish education is eternal.” Before the winner’s tickets were handpicked from a last glass urn, the crowd were entertained by the cheerful singing of the Chabad Hebrew School Choir pro-

With enthusiasm mounting for the top prize, long-time comedian Mark Schiff came onto the stage and delivered a smooth and hilarious routine which was witty and oh-so-polished. Then the winners were announced including the mother of Rebbetzin Chanie Teitelbaum. She was the first person to support the event,

be easier to put together and we are lucky to have a supportive community who were happy to support the shul. Now we can provide more activities for our Jewish kids and that makes everything worthwhile.”


Join us for Our Open House! Torah Values, 21st Century Learning • Warm community school • Individual whole child instruction • Love of Torah & Israel • Rich Torah studies • 21st century skills • Gifted & talented enrichment center • Ivrit curriculum Early Childhood – 8th grade

• Rigorous academic program • Middot / character development • Technology integration/iPad program • Music, Art, PE, Electives • Sports & after school enrichment programs • Fun family programs • State of the art facilities

Schedule Pre-1st (5 years) Tuesday, December 30th at 9:00 am

General Open House Wednesday, January 14th at 9:00 am

1st grade (6 years) Tuesday, January 13th at 9:00 am

Early Childhood Center Wednesday, February 11th & 18th at 9:30 am

Walk-in Tours Available For a scheduled tour, please contact Sandra R’bibo, Director of Admissions at srbibo@emek.org or call 818-783-3663

Head of School: Rabbi Mordechai Shifman Pre-1st to 8th Grade Campus: 15365 Magnolia Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 Nursery Campus: 12732 Chandler Blvd., Valley Village, CA 91607 www.emek.org Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students of the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship programs or other school administered programs.

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DECEMBER 18, 2014


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DECEMBER 18, 2014


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DECEMBER 18, 2014


Rabbi Gordon, I Study with You! There has been a longstanding opinion that the orthodox Jewish community of Los Angeles is centered on La Brea, Pico, Robertson and Hancock Park. The total Jewish population of Los Angeles is probably between 600,000 and 700,000 in size and the San Fernando Valley used to number a smaller crowd of, perhaps, 100,000. But times they are a changing. An influx of Jewish families has relocated to areas of the Valley because of lower property prices and for their work and the word is out; the Valley has an excellent network of shuls, schools, kosher restaurants and Jewish communities. There has been no official censor since 1997, yet there is agreement that over the last years the number of Israeli, Persian and Russian families has grown the Valley community to twice that size, perhaps 250,000 strong. Where do these families turn for events that make up the Jewish lifecycle? In 1973, the first Chabad house in the Valley was started by Rabbi Gordon, who was sent by the Lubavitcher Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, as emissary, along with Rabbi Gordon’s wife, Deborah, and 3 week old son. This was at the time of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s 70th birthday and Chabad of Encino was one of the last of the 71 new Chabad houses that were established around the world in honor of the Rebbe’s milestone celebration. Rabbi Gordon was raised in Newark, New Jersey. His parents were sent there by the previous Rebbe; the Gordon family has always been a family of shluchim. Rabbi Gordon tells the story of his first meeting with his wife to be. “Are you interested in becoming an emissary and travelling to some community where Jewish life is unrealized?” She said she was, and a courtship was born. The story did not end there. There was a dearth of Jewish activity in the San Fernando Valley in those days. When the young Rabbi Gordon visited influential people and asked how they thought he might start a Chabad House, he met with apathy or even resistance. “Go back to New York!” was not uncommon advice. Now, it is a very different story. Rabbi Gordon is Executive Director of the Chabad centers in the Valley and under Rabbi Gordon’s watch, there are currently 26 Valley Chabad Houses. This month sees the newest synagogue opening in North Ranch, Agoura Hills. Doubtless there will be more, all of which offer low cost learning and frequent activities that support contemporary Jewish life. Indeed, the ball has come full circle with Rabbi Gordon’s son, Rabbi Yossi Gordon, now running events up the street from his father, as the shliach of Chabad of Woodland Hills. Rabbi Gordon explains the

by Ruth Judah

path to Chabad’s success, “Chabad finds Jews; Jews don’t find Chabad.” And there is another way that Rabbi Gordon finds those Jews. In the summer of 2009, Rabbi Gordon started teaching a vibrant online learning program that Rabbi Gordon had neither forethought nor predicted. For many years the classes had been held daily in Torah, Ramban and Tanya. Then the students encouraged Rabbi Gordon to take to the internet. He was initially resistant, concerned that an online presentation of his words would stymy him. Finally, however, Rabbi Gordon agreed to take the plunge and five years later, the classes are fully available online. They are free to listen to and easy to access from anywhere in the world. With a simple Google Search of “Daily Torah Class,” students can click and study. Classes run between 20 and 35 minutes; a short presentation that starts and ends many people’s days with meaningful results. For the more dedicated students, the Rabbi started studying the Mishneh Torah on the three year track established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. This December 14 will see the lesson on the final chapter and the whole program will have been recorded for future students. And still the learning continues! The next recordings will be on Talmud, approximately one page a day. The number of students who have used this learning program are overwhelming. Daniel Aharonoff is a tech investor and longtime student of Rabbi Gordon and it was Aharonoff who was instrumental in organizing the classes. Aharonoff is privileged to watch thousands of people logging into the sessions in real time. There are men and women of all religions and all ages who join the seminars live and at a later time that suits there schedule. The classes are transforming. In fact, the latest statistics from Chabad.org show the rabbi’s classes have been viewed nearly 2 million times since Chabad.org began tracking hits to the site. Chabad.org hosts the classes on Jewish.tv and given that Chabad is the largest online Jewish site in the world, the numbers are set to grow further. From the Jewish Rice Farmer in Thailand who was recently reported to be a most enthusiastic pupil, to mum’s on their way to school, the lessons are reaching thousands of Jews who want to study. Daniel Aharonoff explained the appeal, “I know that I often share things that I’ve learned throughout the day with business acquaintances and family, and other people do that as well. The effects are just astronomical.” Rabbi Gordon understands how this can be and attributes his successful learning style to his father, Rabbi Sholom Gor-

don, ob’m, from whom he learned how to teach. “My father had a sense of humor. He was charismatic and inspirational and was blessed with the power to enthuse people with simple words. I listened to him all through my youth and this is how I tackle my online classes. My goal is clarity. Not deep hidden meaning. I teach so that listeners can pick it all up and understand what they have heard and take that knowledge with them. I don’t want them to run away from learning.” Rabbi Gordon has been a teacher for most of his life, “I’m a born teacher,” he explains, although he never thought his career would lead him to create the most

successful online Torah classes in the world. “I was in Wholefoods, Tarzana last year and an African American man with wild hair approached me and said, “Rabbi Gordon, I study with you.” “What do you study?” I asked. “Why parashah of course” the man replied and Rabbi Gordon answered in the same way that he has always answered, “Well, thank you.” Rabbi Gordon now has many requests for meetings from travelers who are coming to LA. They are thrilled to meet the man whose voice and image have brought Jewish knowledge to their homes. Rabbi Gordon takes it all in his stride and is particularly pleased when he hears that Jewish learning has impacted unaffiliated Jews. Today’s horrors and tragedies, in Israel and beyond, are endless. Now publicized online, they are often with accompanying images of the most negative kind. In contrast, the simple presentation of quality Jewish learning offers a kind of antidote. Online learning is still new but the potential for teaching a positive message to an untapped market is infinite. Rabbi Gordon’s classes are making a difference for many participants and reaching untold numbers of people. “When terrible negativity comes down, there is only one possible response. Do something positive. That’s what these classes offer to people. I know of many listeners who have become more observant of mitzvot because they have listened to the Shiurim,” affirmed Rabbi Gordon. It has been two years since Rabbi Gordon’s mother passed away. He tells the story that it was while he was sitting shivah that an immense number of emails of condolence came to him from people across the world who had been listening to his lectures. “It was very meaningful. I could never have imagined this kind of support. I still have all the letters in a book of condolence and this year I read them again and I’m so appreciative.” Is this acknowledgement the highpoint of Rabbi Gordon’s teaching? Perhaps not. “One of my granddaughters had a test in Tanya. She’s in High School and she was very nervous. One of her friends knew that she was worried and told her to visit a website that would make Tanya clear to her.” The site, was Rabbi Gordon’s classes. “Now that is my dream! To help High school kids and college kids find clarification and understanding in what they are learning. This is the best part of online teaching. I never stop being amazed by the impact of these classes. And it grows and grows; every time I travel I meet people who tell me, ‘You’re Rabbi Gordon! I study with you.’”


kids learning how to play the taiko drums. Following the performance was the Grand Menorah lighting ceremony, where each child had the chance to light a candle, while reciting the blessing. The big smiles on the kids’ faces was a priceless moment

ride the carousel. Tamm noting his delight in attending the event, explained: “This carrousel is just brilliant. I love the whole idea that if you’re in a wheelchair you can come in and you can turn it yourself and feel safe and secure. It’s an ingenious

and the happiness continue as everyone danced and sang Chanukah songs. Outside, in Friendship Circle’s stateof- the- art all inclusive playground, were a slew of kids who patiently waited to take a ride on the integration carousel, the only one of its kind in California. Daniel Tamm, the Mayor of LA’s interfaith liaison, stood in awe as he watched the kids gleefully

idea. The whole environment throughout this building offers opportunities for kids to be creative and that is just tremendous. To have an environment like this is so precious and what a gift.” Two volunteers, who were also outside helping out their buddies during the event, shared similar stories about their life-changing experiences at the Friend-

ship Circle. Daniella Hay, a current Freshman at CSUN has been volunteering for several years. She said, “Friendship Circle has really impacted my career path in that I am now looking into becoming a speech therapist and working with children with special needs.” Adina Rosenberg, a current junior at Vanderbilt University, started volunteering in 2005 as a 6th grader added, “Friendship Circle informed my life and career path. It brought me into the special needs community and informed me of its incredible population. It has led me to eventually choose a career path in the field.” The festivities ended as each of the kids received a special Chanukah gift. Friendship Circle’s annual Chanukah program was once again an exceptional event that created a sense of unity and camaraderie among children, parents, and volunteers. To learn more about Friendship Circle, please email info@fcla.org or call 310.280.0955

DECEMBER 18, 2014

A Japanese themed Chanukah celebration took place at Friendship Circle of Los Angeles on Sunday, December 14. The event has always been the highlight for this 12 year old organization that is known for supporting children with special needs along with their families. The afternoon was filled with excitement. Each room had its own special Japanese themed Chanukah activity. Activities included a make your own sushi station, Chanukah arts and crafts, origami, and storytelling with the author of Jewish Holiday Origami, Joel Stern. Executive board member of The Lev Foundation, Negin Elazari, joyfully watched over the kids during her visit explaining, “The Lev Foundation, loves to come together with the Friendship Circle to bring Chanukah gifts and hang out with these children. This event really brings our community together and helps raise awareness.” Then the kids, parents, and volunteers gathered together to watch and ultimately participate in a Japanese performance of comedic sumo wrestling and karate techniques. The performance ended with the

Shimmy Lautman Photography

by Berenice Famili


Friendship Circle’s Chanukah Event went Japanese

OU West Coast Convention: Bringing Light to a Darkened World by Yehudis Litvak

described light as the soul of a person, including the love that binds a couple together. In contrast, a home may consist of two spouses that faithfully fulfill their responsibilities, but miss the light that makes

gations that were part of the marriage contract with Hashem, but the light that was present at the giving of the Torah is now missing, and there is no joy in such mitzvah observance. Rabbi Weinberger said

Rabbi Dr. Moshe Goldfeder, Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, Rabbi Dr. Hillel Goldberg, and Rabbi Hershel Schachter. Each received an enthusiastic and positive response. Lew Groner Photography

The 24th annual OU West Coast Convention took place over the December 13/14 weekend. The theme of the convention was Bringing Light to a Darkened World. “We aim to make the OU Convention exciting, meaningful, and inspiring every year,” said Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, director of OU West Coast. “This year’s event was very special.” The convention began on Thursday night with the keynote address by Rabbi Moshe Weinberger at Young Israel of North Beverly Hills. Rabbi Pini Dunner of Young Israel, welcomed the attendees and expressed his hope that everyone would walk away having truly experienced the joy of Torah. Then Mr. Allen Fagin, OU executive vice president, introduced the keynote speaker. Rabbi Weinberger is a musmach of the RIETS rabbinical school of Yeshiva University and the founding Rav of Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, NY. He received an MA in Jewish philosophy from YU and an MS in educational administration from Columbia University and studied under Rav Soloveitchik. Recently, he was appointed as Mashpia at RIETS at YU and is a leader of neo-chassidus that is becoming increasingly popular in the Modern Orthodox community. Rabbi Weinberger discussed the concept of light or “the inner light of Torah” -- a topic frequently mentioned in Torah sources but rarely understood. He

The Keynote address at YINBH

it a pleasant place to live. Rabbi Weinberger described a scenario he encounters frequently when a married couple comes to him for counseling. The husband recites a long list of what he contributes to the marriage – making a good parnassa, fixing things around the house, buying his wife flowers. The wife doesn’t deny that he does all these things, but she feels that something fundamental is missing in their relationship. She did not marry a repairman or a florist. She married her husband because she felt that there was a shared light and the potential to build something wonderful together, and that light is now missing. The same scenario could occur in the relationship between a Jew and G-d. A Jew may faithfully fulfill all of his or her obli-

that he has observed this sad phenomenon across the spectrum of the frum community. Yiddishkeit that is meant to be alive and vibrant and bring simcha beyond words, descends into a lake of Jewish life that is boring and tedious. At the same time, there are many young people in this generation who are searching for a deeper relationship with G-d. Rabbi Weinberger spent Shabbos in the Pico/Roberson neighborhood, where he led a Chassidic tisch on Friday night, attended by 150 people. The attendees found it a moving and inspiring experience and were hesitant to leave. Other shuls throughout the greater Los Angeles area hosted other convention speakers as scholars-in-residence. The scholars included Mr. Allen Fagin, Rabbi Steven Weil, Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman, Rabbi Ronald Schwarzberg,

Motzoei Shabbos at Yavneh

Mr. Fagin, who was attending the west coast convention for the first time, was impressed with the achdus and sense of community that permeated all the events. The convention is always open to the public free of charge, and every community member is invited to participate. Some local schools also had the opportunity to hear from the scholars. The OU Convention concluded with a Sunday session at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, with sessions for women’s Torah learning, a rebbetzins’ seminar, legal ethics session, and a closing plenary session which discussed, “Is Social Orthodox the New Reality?” followed by a discussion by Rabbis Weil and Schwarzberg and moderated by Mr. Fagin.


DECEMBER 18, 2014


THE WINNING EDGE 2014 CONFERENCE: A DEFINITE WINNER Business Professionals’ Conference Meets With Tremendous Success In the wake of the exhilarating Winning Edge 2014 Business Conference, the staff at Bottom Line Marketing Group has been inundated with positive feedback. With over 160 frum business professionals attending the event that was hosted by a dozen top-tier presenters, the conference was a resounding success. Participants checked in and enjoyed a breakfast catered by MiChicas. The presentations then began with an introduction by Yitzchok Saftlas, President of Bottom Line Marketing Group, whose contagious enthusiasm set the tone for the day. Renowned executive coach and sales trainer Adam Lieberman spoke on Leading & Motivating a Successful Sales Force. He gave practical, applicable tools for creating and maintaining an effective sales team, encouraging business leaders to go one step beyond competitors to ensure success. Nachum Segal, famed President of the Nachum Segal Network, moderated the rapid-fire presentations that followed. Next were three sets of concurrent work-

shops, each focused on a unique and compelling topic. Perhaps the most difficult choice for attendees was which of the concurrent sessions to attend. Topics ran the gamut of business-related topics that are applicable to all companies, from start-

eryone; even the presenters were seen attending other sessions when they were not running their own. Jacob Engel, CEO of Yeda, ran an informative workshop focused on identifying the technical skill and, equally im-

ups to well-established firms. Effective hiring, increasing productivity, strategies for growing one’s business and corporate philanthropy were relevant topics for ev-

portant, the interpersonal skills in job candidates. Yitzchok Saftlas led a workshop on developing and perfecting a successful marketing plan. The expertise and prowess of Saul N. Friedman, Senior Partner of Saul N. Friedman and Company, were evident in his illuminating workshop on taking one’s business to the next level. Full of practical strategies and inside tips, all these session provided useful, applicable guidance. President of R. Bieler Consulting Services, Rabbi Richard Bieler presented on the benefits of corporate philanthropy, encouraging companies to grow through giving. Jack Friedler, President of City View Commercial, kept the participants’ riveted attention as he interspersed humor and wisdom in his workshop Proven Techniques To Close That Deal. Ira Zlotowitz, President of Eastern Union Funding, presented on raising staff productivity to increase profit. Zlotowitz summed up the conference saying: “Executives of the most successful frum companies came together to explore what works best to grow a company. I am confident that as these companies tailor and implement the ideas discussed, their top and bottom lines will grow and employment in our community will increase.” Certainly a wealth of ideas flew throughout the day. Bottom Line Marketing Group also arranged an exclusive women’s track for The Winning Edge 2014. Female business leaders had the option to attend this special set of workshops in which three of the Jewish world’s most highly-acclaimed professional women presented on pertinent and pressing topics. With an overflow of personality and good cheer, Miriam L. Wallach, General Manager of the Nachum Segal Network, led a session on presenting oneself properly as “the woman in the room”. In this women-only session, participants spoke up without inhibition, having

the unique opportunity to ask questions to, and collaborate with, other frum female professionals. In the second session, Suzy Schwartz of Yeshiva University led a phenomenal interactive workshop on perfecting a sales pitch. Those attending the workshop enthusiastically practiced pitching and openly received feedback, allowing the women to productively connect and collaborate with one another. Interior designer Fanny Zigdon’s session concluded the women’s track with inspirational flair as she told her personal story of achieving her dream. She discussed how she used social media as a way to further monetize her creativity, and how now, with 53,000 followers on Instagram, she has met with success. Zigdon shared tips on how to utilize social media to grow in business. After the breakout sessions, all conference members reconvened to hear divrei halacha and chizuk from Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, shlita, Rav of Kahal Bnei Yitzchok in Brooklyn. Rabbi Goldwasser’s warmth and sincerity engaged the audience as he touched upon delicate topics, such as gezel, tefilla and support of Torah, bringing in memorable anecdotes to accentuate each point. Rabbi Goldwasser presented relatable sheilos, which arise daily in the business world—including hiring, advertising and shmiras Shabbos—emphasizing the necessity of consulting Daas Torah. He concluded with an impassioned dose of chizuk with regard to bitachon in business and in life in general. Like a fantastic dessert at the end of an especially satisfying meal, Marc Bodner’s keynote address served as the perfect conclusion. Bodner, CEO and Chief Visionary Officer of L&R Distributors, kept the room in rapt attention as he presented on Building a Dynamic Business Vision in Turbulent Times. Bodner gave pragmatic advice on maintaining stability and perspective. Each participant was encouraged to become a visionary, and recognize an adaptive, visionary outlook as being a key tool for continued success. Innovation serves as the answer to disruption in our quickly evolving world. The conference continued well into the night as participants took the opportunity to process, internalize and discuss the day’s events over dinner. Marc Bodner surmised that, “The vibe at the con-

ference was energizing. What a forum to network and learn!” Jay Block of The

Small Business Journal aptly assessed, “It was an excellent convention, and more importantly it was insightful and practical. I came away with helpful tips and points to incorporate in my business.” The positive responses and still-palpable excitement following the conference are testimony to the win that was The Winning Edge 2014.


sorah—like never before. Gracing the hotel for all eight days will be Ohr Naava founder Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein, internationally sought-after speaker Mrs. Lori Palatnick, master mechanech Rabbi Binyomin Ginsberg, and noted relationships expert and Shmuz. com creator Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier, who is scheduled to serve up invaluable talks on building loving, lasting marriages. Over the second days of Yom Tov, beloved maggid Rabbi Paysach Krohn will offer intriguing speeches in his inimitable, magnetic way. This year, in addition to multiple scheduled talks for adults, Rabbi Wallerstein has developed two totally innovative Erev Pesach programs, separately formatted for children and teens. With the understanding that Seder night is centered on children—and that we are mandated to transmit to them foundations of our faith—

he and the Ohr Naava team have created a magical, mesmerizing series that unfolds the awesomeness and enormity of Yetzias Mitzrayim in an unforgettable way, helping kids recognize this historic event as the key to our existence as Torah Jews. The product of months of careful planning, this revolutionary program will change the way participating children approach Yiddishkeit for the rest of their lives. For older children, joining the program for all of Yom Tov there is the guidance of Mrs. Lisa Elefant, one of New York’s premier shadchanim. Mrs. Elefant is a fulltime shadchan at Binyan Adei Ad, where she has facilitated countless beautiful marriages, and she volunteers as an Ohr Naava shadchan. Mrs. Elefant has developed a nationwide reputation as a warm, wise, and effective matchmaker whose dedication is unsurpassed. On each day of Pesach, Lisa will conduct one-on-one meetings with eligible girls, boys, and their parents, acquiring a solid understanding of who they are and what they are looking for. In addition, she will be offering personalized guidance, encouragement, and networking opportunities. Newly-renovated, and located in the heart of sunny Phoenix, the Sheraton Crescent Hotel is the ideal setting for this program. Best of all, the entire hotel will be reserved for Ohr Naava guests, allowing for weeklong social comfort and an undiluted Yom Tov atmosphere. The food reflects similarly uncompromising standards. With over 26 years of fine dining experience, Richter Caterers has redefined upscale glatt kosher catering, delighted discerning palates with a perfect fusion of gourmet and traditional. Now joining forces with Ohr Naava, Richters’ team of culinary artists—supervised by the tireless, uncompromising mashgichim of ORB—is uniquely suited to create the most palatable Pesach ever: mouthwatering menus, meal after meal, complemented by an array of luxurious extras like a 24 hour lavishly-plied tea room, exclusively non-gebrokts cuisine, and piquant poolside barbecues. Entertainment promises to be exceptionally engaging. In addition to a lineup of some of today’s most popular Jewish music stars, including 8th Day, Lipa, and Yoni Z, renowned magician and mind-reader Ben Cohen will be on site all Pesach, enthralling both child and adult audiences with humor, intrigue, and mind-boggling stunts. Running the action-packed, highly professional day camp is educator Lisa Lancry, whose track record boasts years of successful children’s programming. Possibilities for Chol HaMoed day trips are limitless. Guests can visit the na-

tionally-acclaimed Children’s Museum; indulge in retail therapy at Metrocenter, Arizona’s second largest mall, hike up Camelback Mountain; surround themselves with fascinating flora at the Desert Botanical Garden, or choose from hundreds more options to satisfy every age and interest. On April 6, Ohr Naava guests can experience— live—the groundbreaking Opening Day for Arizona Diamondbacks versus the world-champion San Francisco Giants, just a few minutes from the hotel. And the uniqueness of the program goes further: Pesach with Ohr Naava is a not-for-profit endeavor. 100 percent of proceeds will be directed to two worthy charities—Ohr Naava Women’s Torah Center, and Tomchei Shabbos of Pelham Parkway—bringing light and hope to thousands of people lacking emotional or physical support. Ohr Naava has become a defining movement in the frum world. Now, their team has rolled out the consummate Pesach: comfort, creativity, and unforgettable

DECEMBER 18, 2014

Over the past decade, Ohr Naava has created many impeccably-planned events. Featuring out-of-the-box themes, top-tier programming, and exceptional attention to detail, events by Ohr Naava have been creative and meaningful. Now, these event planners are presenting a 2015 event, Pesach with Ohr Naava. The event will be hosted by veteran Pesach director, Rabbi Moshe Fuchs, Rav of Congregation Sons of Israel, in The Bronx and Director of Tomchei Shabbos of Pelham Parkway. The program brings together some of the frum world’s most talented and experienced professionals, coupling the expertise of Rabbi Fuchs, who has 22 years of Pesach program-directing, with the ingenuity and skill of the greater Ohr Naava team. Ohr Naava’s Pesach event will provide luxurious accommodations and delectable dining while the core of the program will be a nonstop schedule of thought-provoking lectures with a distinct focus on chinuch: parenting our most precious assets. Alongside an array of speeches, roundtables, and eye-opening Q&A sessions, a lineup of today’s foremost Torah educators have been lined up so that guests can experience Pesach—the Yom Tov of me-


5 Star Pesach Vacation with Ohr Naava Now Taking Bookings!

chinuch. Featuring a plethora of outstanding programs led by a handpicked selection of educators, Pesach with Ohr Naava promises to be a transcendent experience for parents and children, rich in spiritual and material pleasures. To book reservations, or for more information, call 855.300.1873 (daytime) or 800.522.1850 (evenings/weekends), or visit www.pesachwithohrnaava.com.

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DECEMBER 18, 2014

Chanukah Mission

As we observe the Yom Tov of Chanukah, it is interesting to note that there is a mitzvah of zeh Keili ve’anveihu; to perform a mitzvah in its most perfect form. We find in hilchos Chanukah that the hiddurim in the mitzvah of lighting involves the type of oil and wicks used to light the menorah and providing a menorah for every member of the family. After the fire burns for a half hour, it may be extinguished. The Mishnah Berurah [672, 6] writes that there is no hiddur mitzvah in having it burn longer. I have long wondered why. We would think that the longer the candles remain lit, the more of a hiddur mitzvah it would be. Perhaps we can explain as follows. We light the menorah to commemorate the heroic act of the Chashmonaim. The greatness of what they did and what we celebrate is that they had the courage to stand apart with faith in Hashem as they battled the Yevonim and those who fell under their influence. What came after was a result of siyata diShmaya, Divine intervention. Although by the laws of nature, there was no way they could have succeeded in their mission, their dedication was rewarded by Hashem so they could overcome the odds stacked against them. With siyata diShmaya, after the war, they found a small container of holy oil, which miraculously proved to be enough precious liquid to light candles for eight days, and then they were able to procure more. The heroic act of the Chashmonaim was the first kindling of the menorah. The fact that it remained lit until more oil was

obtained was a miracle independent of them. They performed their mission without weighing their chances of success and this is why Hashem caused them to succeed. Thus, the mitzvah is to light the menorah - kovsah ein zokuk lah - and there is no hiddur in the lights burning longer, because we are saluting the action of the Chashmonaim, namely their devotion to their mission of kehunah and kedushah, and destroying the tumah, even though victory was not apparent. They kindled the menorah even though they didn’t know how long it would remain lit. The mitzvah, therefore, is to acknowledge their heroism by lighting the menorah. For the menorah to remain lit longer than the initial thirty minutes does not add to the performance of the mitzvah. Klal Yisroel didn’t feel itself strong enough to throw off the yoke of Greek tyranny until Matisyahu showed that it could be done. Forces of evil are permitted to remain in power, because the people they dominate do not appreciate their own power and do not join together to bring down the wickedness. Evil is toppled when one

Very often, we hear tales of wonder about people who succeeded in building Torah where no one thought it was possible. How many times have we heard about the rov who came to a town and was told that hair would grow on hand-palms before a yeshiva would take root? The naysayers are long forgotten as Torah repeatedly takes root and blossoms. People still move to far-flung cities and towns and everyone thinks they are crazy, yet they succeed in building Jewish life. We are moser nefesh to do a mitzvah and, in the long run, communities gain from the efforts of the first teachers. People who work lesheim Shomayim, with selfless dedication, are not limited by logic or the laws of nature. They go to places, despite being told they can’t and they succeed because they know that our task is to light the fire; the rest is in the hands of Hashem. On Chanukah, we pay tribute to the ideals of mesirus nefesh of the Chashmonaim. They took a brave, determined stand against the evil tyranny that brutalized them and sought their destruction as a people. The Chashmonaim were unpopular, as much of Klal Yisorel succumbed to

AFTER SPENDING A SHABBOS WITH THOSE PEOPLE, I SEE THAT THERE REALLY IS ROOM FOR OPTIMISM & HOPE good man decides that he can bear it no longer and begins to rally people around him. The miraculous military victory over Yovon is a dramatic example of how the laws of nature are suspended when dedicated people join together to increase Torah and kedushah in the world. That reversal of the natural order was made possible by the great acts of courage and heroism carried out by one courageous individual, Matisyahu, and his small group. Though according its natural makeup, the flask contained enough oil to burn for one day, it fueled the flame for as long as was necessary until more oil could be made. So too in physical terms, it was those who were virtuous, if outmatched, who won against those who were evil.

the temptations presented by the Yevonim. In fact, the Bach (Orach Chaim 670) writes that the Yevonim were able to enact gezeiros, because there was a hisrashlus b’avodah, a general weakening in the commitment to religious obligations. The Chofetz Chaim foretold of a similar atmosphere towards hachzokas haTorah in ikvesa deMeshicha, the period leading up to the arrival of Moshiach. The avodah of Chanukah and of these dark times is the same: to support and enable courageous stars to emerge within our people and free us of our shackles, enabling us to rise. The Chofetz Chaim regularly delivered a shmuess to his talmidim in his Radiner yeshiva. The teachings were actually more of a rumination. He would contemplate, think and reflect. The shmuess was a con-

versation more than a lecture. In discussing the battle between Yaakov Avinu and the sar of Eisov, the Chofetz Chaim wondered why the force of evil worked with such energy and drive to block the path of Yaakov. He asked why the paths to kedushah of the first two avos were not impeded in this manner. The Chofetz Chaim seemed to look into the future as he spoke. “Each of the avos represented a distinct path in avodah. Avrohom’s was chesed, Yitzchok’s was gevurah and Yaakov’s was Torah. The Zohar reveals that a time will come, just prior to the alos hashachar of Moshiach, when people will ignore talmidei chachomim and forgo traditional support for Torah,” he said. “The lack of encouragement will cause talmidei chachomim to weaken in their resolve. This is hinted to by the injury the malach caused Yaakov in his kaf yerech. The thigh supports the body, and the angel thought that by injuring that limb, Yaakov would be unable to battle him. “The malach struck Yaakov Avinu, but he fought on. Although he was hurt, he summoned the strength to overcome his heavenly opponent.” The Chofetz Chaim said that before Moshiach’s arrival, chizuk and encouragement for Torah would decline. However, he said, the fight would go on, and there would be a few resolute individuals who would fight lonely battles. He foretold that while they might be few, they would be proud and effective. Every individual has the ability to grasp an ideal and stand tall in its defense. We all have a singular mission in life, and if we are true to our core, we can summon the strength to realize it. We must never lose sight of our ultimate goal, despite all the noise and static seeking to steal our attention. Challenges confront us, but we possess the ability to surmount them. This is as true today as it was thousands of years ago, when the Chashmonaim confronted the masses to fight with dignity and pride in defense of our mesorah. On Chanukah, we celebrate the Chashmonaim and their mesirus nefesh for kedushah. They rose to throw off the forces of darkness from the nation that was having its light source blocked. They were the

Chanukah is primarily that of the tiny flask YatedNe’eman that burned58longer than was thought to be realistically possible. The menorah’s lights signify that the power of light overcame the power of darkness. The oil lasting so long signifies that if you expend the effort and work bemesirus nefesh, physical rules will not apply. We see wrongs in our world and are told that there is nothing we can do about it. We try to right the wrongs and are mocked. Yet, in fact, if you look around, there are so many people who overcame the odds, building Torah where no one thought it was possible, restoring lives that others had given up on, and fighting abuse that people thought was part of life. We see teachers touching souls and impacting them forever. We see righteous men and women standing up to an apathetic society and awakening people’s consciences. We see people rallying to fight for those who have been wronged. We see people working with selfless dedication and are amazed that it seems as if logic and the laws of nature don’t apply to them. They tread where no one has dared step before, and they succeed where lesser people vowed success was absolutely impossible. Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz zt”l, who founded Torah Umesorah, stood up to the passive negativity that was

siyata diShmaya reserved for those who work bemesirus nefesh lesheim Shomayim. This week, Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman selected my dear friend, Rav Eliezer Sorotzkin, to run on the Yahadus HaTorah list for the Knesset. Twenty-five years ago, when Lev L’Achim was founded, Rav Elozor Menachem Man Shach zt”l tapped the energetic yungerman to lead it. Since then, he has worked ceaselessly and tirelessly, crisscrossing Israel to bring the blessings of Torah to tens of thousands of thirsting people. With the direction of the gedolim, assistance of an army of volunteers, and support of bnei Torah around the world, he demonstrated the ability of one person to affect tens of thousands. This recent Monday night, Rav Shteinman said, “He is what the generation needs,” proving again how much one person can accomplish and that if we dedicate ourselves to our missions, we can transform the world. Many others work alone, mocked and derided as failing dreamers, yet they place their faith in Hashem and live to see much success. Our forefathers, such as the Ponovezher Rov, are the substance of legend and many stories are told about them. But even in our day, there are people who defied the odds and went on to undertake

from much oppression. 27 Kislev 5775 December 19, 2014 It is because of |individuals like the Chashmonaim. that we can reach and learn and daven. It is because of the mesirus nefesh of people who went forth into an eretz lo zorua that Torah and Yiddishkeit are stronger than ever. It is because of their dedication that we can publicly light the menorah with pride, without fear of our neighbors. As we light the menorah, we should learn the lesson of the Chashmonaim, and of the gedolim, roshei yeshiva, admorim, rabbonim, mechanchim and mechanchos who have led us on a path of greatness, and be motivated to do what we can to complete their missions and ours. Rav Yitzchok Blazer would relate from his rebbi, Rav Yisroel Salanter, that on Chanukah it is forbidden to be sad. If someone would tell Rav Yisroel something depressing, he would respond, “Shhh. On Chanukah it is forbidden to say hespeidim and be despondent.” How can a person be unhappy on the Yom Tov that commemorates Hashem helping those who actively place their faith in Him? The menorah reminds us of the successes of those who refused to be depressed or suppressed throughout the ages. Let’s remember that. Ah freilichen Chanukah.

DECEMBER 18, 2014

Forces of evil are permitted to remain in power, because the people they dominate do not appreciate their own power and do not join together to bring down the wickedness.


me’atim, the tzaddikim, the tehorim, the people who performed Hashem’s service in the Bais Hamikdosh and in the bais medrash. Rather than turning to the strongest people and to others who were trained in physical labor and forceful accomplishment, they themselves led the battle against the forces of darkness. Too often, we look for others to do our work. We look in the wrong places for saviors and salvation, not knowing that the solution is within us. If we improve ourselves and make ourselves worthy, we can overcome whatever stands in our way. And if it isn’t us who can accomplish the goal, we can assist those who can. It is very difficult to work in a vacuum. Those intrepid souls who do so need all the help and support they can get. While the first part of the Chofetz Chaim’s prophecy has been realized, it is comforting to know that the second part is coming to fruition as well. Yes, we are bombarded by many who seek to undermine us. We are beset by various problems that beg for solutions. There is an air of negativity and begrudging acceptance of the situation, as many are apathetic. This past Shabbos, I attended the Torah Umesorah convention, which catered to askonim, executives, lay leaders and yeshiva administrators. These are people who enable roshei yeshiva, rabbonim, mechanchim and mechanchos to inspire and lead. They represent the kaf yerech support system for those to whom we entrust our children. After spending a Shabbos with those people, I see that there really is room for optimism and hope. There are people all across the country who fight on and refuse to be dissuaded from bringing Torah and kedushah to all corners. They, and those like them, are heroes in our time. They are the ones the Chofetz Chaim referred to as he spoke to the bochurim in Radin in a different time and a different world. Such people are referred to as “tamchin d’Oraysa.” A tomeich Torah differs from a nadvan, who donates to Torah and good causes. The tomeich doesn’t just donate. He stands behind the talmid chochom and supports him, motivating him and enabling him to continue; comfortable and strong. The quintessential tamchin d’Oraysa shows humility and veneration for Torah scholars. As wealthy, influential and powerful as they may be, they acknowledge the leadership of genuine Torah greats. Reb Moshe Reichmann zt”l generously supported a local kollel. Once, a close friend asked the Canadian philanthropist to prevail upon the rosh kollel to accept a certain yungerman. Mr. Reichmann looked at him in shock. “Me? What do I know about running a kollel? I am a developer. He makes talmidei chachomim. I have no right to offer an opinion.” He exemplified the tamchin d’Oraysa who are the yerech, holding up the guf of a nation with distinction. Being a tomeich Torah doesn’t necessarily involve donating money. A very wealthy European Jew, who was a generous philanthropist, experienced a bad turn in business and lost his fortune. He shared his frustration and pain with the Satmar Rebbe, Rav Yoel Teitelbaum zt”l. The

work lesheim Shomayim, with selfless dedication, are not limited by logic or the laws of nature. They go where everyone says you can’t and they succeed because they know that our task is to light the fire; the Rebbe comforted rest is up to him. Hashem.“It’s a difficult niOn Chanukah, we pay tribute to the sayon,” heideals said, “but have been of mesirusnow nefeshyou of the Chashmonaim. Theya took a brave, determined given a new role, new shlichus. Now stand against the evil tyranny that brutalyou will show people how can assist ized them and sought theiryou destruction as a people. The Chashmonaim were unpopumosdos without money. You will help raise lar, as much of Klal Yisorel succumbed to temptations by thegood Yevonim. money, youthewill comepresented up with ideas, In fact, the Bach (Orach Chaim 670) and you will utilize your connections writes that the Yevonim were able to enact and gezeiros, because there was a hisrashlus business experience. By doing so, you will b’avodah, a general weakening in the commitment religious obligations. demonstrate thattoanyone can be a tomeich The Chofetz Chaim foretold of a similar Torah.” atmosphere towards hachzokas haTorah in ikvesa deMeshicha, the period leadingshared up A heartbroken almanah once to the arrival of Moshiach. of Chanukah and of these her tale of The woeavodah with Rav Chaim Ozer dark times is the same: to support and enGrodzensky zt”l. Her husband had been able courageous stars to emerge from withour people and freeand us of our shackles, of a wealthy in industrialist a patron enabling us to rise. Chofetz Chaim regularly yeshivos. HisThebusiness went intodelivered a downshmuess to his talmidim in his Radiner ward spiralayeshiva. and, before he knew what The shmuessen were actually had of a rumination. would contemhappened, more he was left withHean empty bank plate, think and reflect. The shmuess was a account. He died shortly from a pervasive in his time and dedicated him- trailblazing endeavors on behalf of our conversation more thanthereafter a lecture. In discussing the battle between Yaaself to doing what he could so that tens of people. We can all have that impact if we broken heart. kov Avinu and the sar of Eisov, the Chofetz Chaim wondered the that force she of evil The woman told thewhyrov went thousands of children would say, “Shema discover our mission and set out to right worked with such energy and drive to Yisroel.” He sent his talmidim across the wrongs and make the world a better place. to visit herblock son, who was learning the path of Yaakov. He asked whyin a paths to kedushah of the first two avos country, infusing them and others with the We have to light the spark lesheim Shoprominent the yeshiva, and was appalled by were not impeded in this manner. The which Chofetz Chaim seemed to look the squalor in the bochurim were passion to change people’s mindsets. The mayim. Hashem does the rest. into the future as he spoke. “Each of the spark they created grew into a fire that A delegation once traveled to St. Peliving. After listening her problems, avos represented to a distinct path in avodah.Rav Avrohom’s was chesed, Yitzchok’s was spread from New York to California and tersburg to meet with the Russian minister Chaim Ozer said to her, “It’s your fault.” gevurah and Yaakov’s was Torah. The Zohar reveals that a time will come, just prior every major city in between, fueled by in- of education in an attempt to convince him The woman reacted with astonishment to the alos hashachar of Moshiach, when to the charge. Ozerchachomim explained: trepid souls who forsook fame and fortune to revoke a decree that would have had a peopleRav will Chaim ignore talmidei forgo husband traditional support for generous Torah,” GettY iMAGeS to save a nation in a death spiral. terrible impact on yeshivos. Upon arrival “You and and your were he said. “The lack of encouragement will talmideiofchachomim to weaken Wherever Torah Umesorah reached, in the Russian capital city, the participants and caringcause friends yeshivos, and inthen, to askonim, executives, lay leaders and their resolve. This is hinted to by the in- pride in defense of our mesorah. the community hasChashblossomed. Many tens met withyeshiva the local rov, Rav Yitzchok unfortunately, you were noYaakov longer we celebrate the administrators. They are people Blazjury the malach caused in hisable kaf to On Chanukah, monaim and their mesirus nefesh for keduwho enable rosheithey yeshiva, rabbonim, meyerech. The thigh supports the body, and abof thousands of Jewish children have been er, to discuss tactics would employ to give money. You thought that you were chanchim and mechanchos to inspire and the angel thought that by injuring that limb, shah. They rose to throw off the forces of robbed ofhaving a Jewish education, but underscore of Torah darknesslost fromand the nation that was lead.the Theyimportance represent the kaf yerech supportto the Yaakovobligation would be unable battle him. Torah, solved of your totosupport for those to whom we entrust our “The malach struck Yaakov Avinu, but its light source blocked. They were the school movement has made it pos- minister. system Someone suggested translating but that isn’t true.”on. Although he was hurt, he me’atim,the the day tzaddikim, the tehorim, the children. he fought people who performed Hashem’s service After a Shabbos with those summoned the strengthcan to overcome his so sible to change that narrative. Assisted by the words of thespending tefillah of Ahavah Rabbah He continued: “You still do in the Bais Hamikdosh and in the bais mepeople, I see that there really is room for heavenly opponent.” for the minister the depth of drash. dedicated baalei batim who worked with optimism to anddemonstrate hope. There are people all much. Here,”The he Chofetz said, handing sum of Chaim said her that abefore Rather than turning to the strong people across the country who fight on and refuse Moshiach’s arrival, chizuk and encouragemesirus nefesh, the mindset has been translove for Torah. Rav Blazer replied, “If we money, “take this and buy straw. I’m sure to be dissuaded from bringing Torah and ment for Torah would decline. However, and others who were trained in physical labor and formed accomplishment, themselves ensued. kedushah to all corners. They,for andourselves, those he said,determination, the fight would go on, and will there be and atheyrevolution would translate those words that with your you led the battle against the forces of darkness. like them, are heroes in our time. They are would be a few resolute individuals who are the of our people. we wouldn’t need to doChaim so for them.” able to get would sacksfightdonated. We can fill them Too often,These we look for others to doheroes our the ones the Chofetz referred to as lonely battles. he spoke to the bochurim in Radin in a difHe foretold that while they might be work. We look in the wrong places for savThey have taken a desolate land and caused We daven three times every day, but with the straw and the bochurim will have iors and salvation, not knowing that the ferent time and a different world. few, they would be proud and effective. within us.of If assimilation we improve our- to bloom with ToSuch people are referred as “tamchin Every individual the ability to grasp solutionais desert we don’t necessarily taketothe words to new beds to sleep on. Gohaswith hatzlachah. an ideal and stand tall in its defense. We all selves and make ourselves worthy, we can d’Oraysa.” A tomeich Torah differs from rah. It isstands these heroes heart. Wea nadvan, learn who thedonates storyto and of You can still doa singular so much.” theandalmanah whatever in our way. Andwho have heard the have missionSo, in life, if we overcome Torah halachos and good us who can accomplish the goal, are true to our core, we can summon the if it isn’tcall causes. The tomeich doesn’t just donate. their of the Chashmonaim. They have been Chanukah, but we have to recognize left, not just with money, but with a new strength to realize it. We must never lose we can assist those who can. It is very difHe stands behind the talmid chochom and bombarded by many who seek to under- supports him, motivating him and enabling work shluchim in a vacuum. Those intrepid for the rebirth ofWeour people relevance to us and our daily lives. The inmission in sight life.of what our ultimate goal is, despite ficult to the mine us. are beset by various problems all the noise and static seeking to steal our souls who do so need all the help and suphim to continue; comfortable and strong. that beg for solutions. There is an air of decades after we were nearly wiped out. spiration is there for those who seek it. If There are many missions for the takattention. Challenges confront us, but we port they can get. The quintessential tamchin d’Oraysa negativity and begrudging acceptance of shows humility and veneration for Torah the ability to surmount them. While the first part of the Chofetz in They have succeeded greater fashion each of us would internalize the lesson of ing. Therepossess are causes waiting for chamIt is as true today as it was thousands Chaim’s prophecy has been realized, it is the situation, as many are apathetic. scholars. As wealthy, influential and powThis blessed past Shabbos, I attended To- erful as they may years ago, when Chashmonaim con- of comforting to know that the second part be, could they acknowledge the than anyone thought possible, with thetheChashmonaim, we free ourselves pions. Theofmiracle andthethe celebration fronted the masses to fight with dignity and is coming to fruition as well. Yes, we are rah Umesorah convention which catered leadership of genuine Torah greats.



DECEMBER 18, 2014

The Power of the Menorah The seven branches represent the seven channels of spiritual self-expression, which can change you forever. BY REBBETZIN TZIPORAH HELLER


he Temple in Jerusalem – where Jews once had a special connection to God – was destroyed 2,000 years ago. Any discussion of it today must seem arcane. What difference do the symbols of the Temple make to our collective life in the modern age? Can they still make changes in us? One of the special vessels in the Temple, which is still very much part of our identity, is the menorah. The menorah is part of Chanukah, and lighting it is often the only mitzvah that still speaks to people who are far from Judaism. Like the other vessels that were in the sanctuary, the menorah has symbolic value. It is a reflection of the way that the soul finds its expression in this world. The menorah reflects the fire of the soul and its unceasing desire to rise to the source. The seven branches represent the seven channels of spiritual self-expression. What exactly is that spiritual self-expression?

Spirituality The term is hard to pin down. We can gain a sense of its meaning by looking within ourselves. Our identities are enormously complex. When you ask a child, “Who are you?” the answer given is usually associated with the physical as in “I am a girl.” When the same question is put to a 30-year-old, the answer given is often associated with the intellectual, as in “I am a lawyer.” However, we all know that our sense of self is not

and every article within it, was to make the Jewish people holy. This word holy is tricky. The root of the Hebrew word kadosh, usually translated as “holy,” literally means “separate.” But separate from what? The Jewish answer is separate from everything that constrains us. Our vistas are cramped by time, space, and of course, our own desires and subjectivity. The Torah opens up our inner landscape. In it, G-d tells us, “Make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in you.” It would seem more appropriate for the Torah to say, “Make me a holy place and I will dwell in it,” rather than “dwell in you.” But the phrasing communicates the fact that the physical act of building the sanctuary affected spiritual changes. And we also learn that the physical actions performed within the Temple – like lighting the menorah – did the same. How does a physical act accomplish a spiritual goal?

Effects of a Mitzvah In the renowned philosophical work “Guide to the Perplexed,” Maimonides says that we can gain insight into the reason for G-d giving us any given mitzvah by observing the effect that that mitzvah has. He tells us that the mitzvot of the Torah undeniably have an effect. The focus of the effect of the mitzvot is not the outer world but the inner world – the world of the menorah. He tells us that the mitzvot affect profound changes in our identity. Each mitzvah When they re-lit the menorah, it reflected their presents specific means of selfexpression and self-change. full commitment to move beyond the limits that Maimonides divides the posGrecian rationalism placed on the human spirit. sible influence of any given mitzvah into four groupings: Mitzvot that channel the basic tied down to our ever-changing bodies nor to our intel- components of our personalities, such as visiting the lectual prowess – we had an identity before we had a sick. Not only is the patient taken beyond the confines profession. of isolation and pain, but also the visitor is taken beOur most basic longings for love, for meaning, for yond the confines of self-absorption and ego. The visitruth are aspects of our souls, not of our bodies nor of tor becomes a more compassionate person. The effect our careers. Our other spiritual facets include a sense of on the patient may be transient, but the effect on the there being more to life than the moment – a sense of visitor will last a lifetime. humility, of desire for relationships that are stable and Mitzvot that keep us in reality – included in this meaningful, and of yearning to give of ourselves totally. group are the many prohibitions against various suWithout these, we suffer the frustration of living in a perstitious and idolatrous practices. Too many lives spiritual vacuum. have been wasted on illusion for us not to appreciate These are the spiritual branches of the menorah the enormous significance of this category upon earnest within us. What do we gain by giving them physical ex- seekers. pression? And how does constructing and lighting the Mitzvot that commemorate events that happened in menorah change us? the past. By celebrating the holidays, Shabbat, etc. we bring the memory of the fact that G-d is here with us, Holiness in this world, into our present. Our ability to rise above The Torah tells us that the effect of the sanctuary, despair, to see ourselves (and everyone else) as divine

creations can be transformational. Mitzvot that alter and refine our relationship to the physical world, such as keeping kosher. We elevate ourselves and the world in which we live when we relate to it as neither confining nor base, but as being full of spiritual potential. While many mitzvot belong to more than one group, what they share in common is that they affect the individual by using the real world as a medium. Feelings and thoughts are grounded and concretized. Meaning of the Menorah What does this have to do with the menorah? Nothing is simultaneously more real and more ephemeral than our yearnings and strivings. The message is that we must do something about it. We must concretely give voice to our deepest identity. We must not be afraid of seeking, but that must never be the end of our journey. The Maccabees lit the menorah when they reentered the Temple after it had been defiled by the Greeks. The second Temple, which had been built with enormous spiritual fire under the aegis of the prophets Ezra and Nechemia had become a home to Greek idols. The defeat of the Greeks was far more than a miraculous military victory. It was a victory of the spirit of Israel. When they re-lit the menorah, it reflected their full commitment to move beyond the limits that Grecian rationalism as well as Greek paganism placed on the human spirit. They didn’t express the spirit of the law alone, but insisted on precision in every concrete detail as well. They would use no oil that didn’t have the seal of the High Priest. Their minds, spirits, emotions, and bodies all had to travel the same road. One of the most enduring lessons of Chanukah is the light that they ignited endured. Thousands of years later, no matter how much darkness surrounds us, we still light the menorah. We still know who we are, and who we can be.  Reprinted with permission from aish.com.



Where was G-d? Is He really listening? On November 27th, hundreds of close family, friends, colleagues and students attended Rabbi Eliyahu [Eden] Stewart’s funeral. By all accounts it was an incredible experience, both heart breaking and inspiring. For the past 65 years, Rabbi Stewart, my father, was a dear friend, colleague and rebbe to so many. The eulogies shared a few common themes. They reminded us that we are left holding onto his ideas, ideals and teachings, along with the memory of his larger than life personality. This is his legacy. And yet, we are still left with questions. Why did he die? Why was he not granted a complete recovery? Where was G-d’s mercy? These basic thoughts are enveloped by the teachings we have learned over the years. Rav Yisroel Salanter writes that if someone wants to merit a positive judgment on Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment, the day when G-d determines who is written in the Book of Life and who is not, than one should become an “ish hakllal” - a person upon whom the community depends. There are multiple ways of creating connections to others that enable a person to extend beyond one’s own self. The world of the self is an expandable world; it is a space that has room for others. There are different ways of becoming a person of the community. Some people excel in preforming acts of charity and kindness. Others teach Torah to many students. Many people are indeed needed by the community. Rabbi Stewart was a man upon whom so many depended. His family, his friends, his colleagues, his students, indeed his community needed him. Alas, to our great horror and lasting chagrin, our Abba, our friend, colleague and Rebbe is no longer here, passing away on the fifth of Kislev after battling leukemia for nine months. What happened to Rav Yisroel’s guarantee for a positive judgement and another year in the Book of Life? This existential question is compounded by other troubling puzzles. Traditionally, we are taught that prayer and good deeds change mazel, they bring about G-dly mercy. There are few people who are truly beloved by so many. The outpouring of love and comradeship that Rabbi Stewart and we, his family, experienced in the time since his passing, is remarkable. Students from the past 40 years have showered their love and concern upon us.

These same students had been praying; they had taken special mitzvos upon themselves, in the merit that Abba would have a refuah shleimah. His current students at YULA dedicated a googledoc spreadsheet to this endeavor and there were hundreds of entries, each one a special merit for a refuah shelimah. Students at BYLA organized a massive campaign on his behalf.

Rabbi Eliyahu Stewart z”l

So what happened? Why was Abba not healed? Where was that mercy? Confronting these questions is essential to moving onwards and looking towards the future with hope and confidence, rather than depression and hopelessness. I would like to use an approach that I have learned from Abba himself. It is his ideas, ideals and values that will enable us to process these challenges. Emunah and Bitachon. The Chazon Ish writes that Emunah is a cognitive exercise. It is the intellectual belief that there is a G-d who exists and knows what He is doing. Bitachon is the intellectual idea that is expressed by our behavior when we are confronted with real life challenges. As a teacher of Torah, Rabbi Stewart loved to teach and loved to teach Hashkafah. Frequently, he spoke of the basic principles of Emunah in his classroom. However, living a life of Bitachon is not something easily shared from a pulpit, let alone a teacher’s desk. Unfortunately, my family had the opportunity to see if our Emunah was the sort that led to Bitachon. In November/Cheshvan of 2001 my sister, Rivkie a”h, passed

away. She was talented, articulate, beautiful, kind, and a fabulous teacher with many dedicated and inspired students. She died after suffering from the disease and treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes. She passed away young, far too young. She was twenty three years old. How might one be expected to deal with this kind of tragedy? How did Rabbi Stewart deal with this challenge? The entire shiva he spoke about Emunah. He mentioned a well known book written by a scholar whose view was not rooted in the Torah’s tradition, in which the author claims that accidents happen and there is no G-d of Divine Providence overseeing and managing the world. He kept repeating how if this were true than there is no meaning in suffering and no meaning in loss. it is only to Hashem that we turn. It is only our love of Hashem and through Judaism that we can cope with loss. More recently, when I would spend time in the hospital with him, he spoke only of emunah and bitachon. He said that he has no complaints against Hashem and “ki kol derachav mishpat” - “All of G-d’s path are just.” When he underwent excruciating bone marrow biopsies it was verses of Hallel that sustained him. My father, and of course my mother as well, were great examples of putting thought or theology into practice. This is our Chinuch and this shall be part of their legacy. There are two directions to go or methods of practice that people use when faced with catastrophe and tragedy. Some people say, “Where was G-d? He does not hear our prayers. What is the point of prayer?” Others have a different response. This past summer, the incident with the three boys who were kidnapped and murdered brought the collective Jewish world to its knees. We begged and pleaded with Hashem, seemingly to no avail. And yet Rachelli Frankel, Naftali z”l’s mother shared that her family understood that at times Hashem says no. Let’s take a more global or historical perspective. We don’t know how Hashem operates. We only experience a tiny window of reality. We don’t understand why He does what He does. All we experience is our little slice of history. There is nothing final about this world, about this life. There is 6000 years of Jewish history. This world is merely a corridor to the next. In the spiritual spheres there is an “olam han-

ishamos,” a World of Souls. We believe in reincarnation. We believe in Moshiach and in techias haMesim. Our experience in the moment is severely limited. This is admittedly a very cognitive response to what is really an emotional question. By definition, it is lacking. An emotional question demands an emotional response. Nonetheless, our faith system must be clear. The good deeds we performed and the prayers we recited were helpful. We expect Hashem to answer the way we want to be answered. However, this is folly. Hashem does as He wills. Dr. David Fox shared a powerful idea. In Ashrei we say “Poseach es yadeicha umasbia lichol chai ratzon” - You open your hand and you fulfill and satisfy every living being. This is the will of Hashem. Every Tefilah matters. Every mitzvah counts. Every passage of Torah learning was a merit. Rabbi Stewart used to say every word of Torah is more precious than diamonds and gold. Did he suffer less because of our prayers and mitzvos? Yes. Did Abba live longer because of our prayers and mitzvos? Yes. Was he grateful for our prayers and mitzvos? Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes. We all deserve a pat on the back and a yasherkoach. We made a huge difference, for him, for our family and for each other. This was his philosophy and this is Judaism. If you think about this a little more deeply, this approach is simple; but it is life changing. Judaism is not a black and white religion. It is not all or nothing. Everything a person does is real and significant. Every blessing you make. Every time you put on tziziz and a kippah. Every day you put on Tefilin is a great day. Every time you say the Shemah and daven the amidah. Every mishnah you learn and every moment spent learning Torah is precious and priceless. Aba’s reward and continued growth is contingent on his legacy. The legacy which we which we - his family, friends and students - carry Every time we follow his lesson plan, we are propelling him further along his journey closer and closer to Hashem. May we all be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Rabbi Avi Stewart is the Rabbi of the Westwood Kehilla and a therapist in private practice.

DECEMBER 18, 2014

by Rabbi Avi Stewart


DECEMBER 18, 2014


BOOK REVIEW Measure of a Man, A Memoir: From Auschwitz Survivor to Presidents’ Tailor by Martin Greenfield (with Wynton Hall)

Martin Greenfield’s recently-published book, Measure of a Man, A Memoir: From Auschwitz Survivor to Presidents’ Tailor, has been receiving a fair amount of press lately. An interview with him appeared in Tablet Magazine, and Aish.com published a selection from the book, which describes the author’s experiences during the Shoah and his life afterward. I wondered about the hype, but when I read Measure of a Man, I understood why people have found it so captivating. The book starts off with the heavy subject of the Shoah. Greenfield’s matter-offact treatment of it is less literary than the approaches of Elie Wiesel or Primo Levi, yet, his straightforward account is no less affecting. Greenfield started life as Maximilian Grünfeld, born in 1928 in a small town in the Carpathian Mountains called Pavlovo. He grew up as Hitler rose to power but young Maxi experienced an idyllic

Reviewed by Rebecca Klempner

childhood in a close, traditional Jewish community. His corner of Czechoslovakia was initially spared from deportations and concentration camps. That security didn’t last, though, and the Nazis rounded up the entire populace of Pavlovo on the second day of Pesach in 1944. Pavlovo’s Jews first stopped in the ghetto in Mukačevo, but found themselves transported to Auschwitz just a month later. There, Grünfeld came face-to-face with Mengele and lost every member of his immediate family. Suffering daily violence, depravation, and humiliation, he also learned that an extra shirt could elevate a prisoner above his fellows and that the right pair of shoes could ensure his survival while on a death march. At the war’s close, Grünfeld relates, “Physically, I was free. Emotionally, I was in chains.” He first attempted to avenge himself against the wife of Weimar’s may-

or, who once had begrudged him a few bites of rabbit food when he rescued her beloved pet. Then, he joined the Czechoslovakian army’s efforts to polish off the Nazis. Neither effort released him from his torment. When they had parted at Auschwitz, Grünfeld’s father had told him, “If you survive by yourself, you must honor us by living, by not feeling sorry for us.” Grünfeld came to realize that starting life over, pursuing happiness and success, would be the greatest way to fulfill his father’s wishes. In the second half of Measure of a Man, we learn how he carried out this goal, and it is this part of the book – which has received less media attention – that I think is the real gem. Providentially, Grünfeld was located by longlost uncles and aunts, and he relocated to the U.S. He recreated himself as Martin Greenfield and took a job with GGG, the premier maker of hand-tailored menswear in this country. Eventually, he married, established a family, and started his own firm, Martin Greenfield Clothiers. Today, that company dresses stars and presidents. Greenfield’s list of accomplishments might have been tiresome to read. However, he avoids arrogance because he never attributes his success to his own efforts. Instead, Greenfield acknowledges the influence of his mentors, collaborators, and champions, as well as many moments of Heavenly assistance. It’s a resounding lesson in the trait of hakarat hatov (gratitude). Greenfield offers additional character lessons throughout the book. Such proverbial declarations as, “Dressing powerful people has taught me that the greatest men take interest in the smallest people,” and “I was deeply moved by the way accomplished and successful people took time to help someone who could not help them,” become more than mere cliché when followed up with a story about Eddie Fisher or President Clinton or any of the other

celebrities whom Martin Greenfield has dressed. I was intrigued by Greenfield’s business practices. He explained that customers are willing to pay top-dollar for a Martin Greenfield suit because each is created by hand, according not only to individual measurements, but for how the customer plans to use the suit. This means that customer Senator Bob Dole, who has a paralyzed hand, receives a suit with the button closures made easier to handle. If the client is wheelchair-bound, the jacket will be made to drape properly even in the seated position. Greenfield does pepper his book with a few very slightly risqué anecdotes, as well as pop-cultural references, so the book is not strictly-speaking a “frum book.” But it contains many moments that evoke parallels in Pirkei Avos, and for a reader looking for a relatively light, quick read with Jewish content, it will be a hit.





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DECEMBER 18, 2014

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From Rockets to Doughnuts Menorahs Large and Small BY SHIRA DIAMOND

From destruction came light, lighting a menorah made from rockets


we think of Jewish holidays, we usually think sculptor, blacksmith and part-time computer teacher. He spent years witof our traditions, and Chanukah is no exception nessing rockets being launched into Israeli cities—over 18,000 of them to the rule. Beautiful, silver menorahs lit with oil, customary fried foods since 2001. Yaron had two personal, frightening incidents with rockets, such as doughnuts and latkes, Chanukah gelt, and the tunes we sing each and he felt a strong need to do something with them, to make something year are some of the warm memories we associate with the Festival of constructive from the destruction of the rockets. However, he was also hesitant to touch them, because they are instruments of death. The stress Lights. The Jewish faith has been connected to the symbol of the menorah was rising the more the rockets were falling. “It finally struck me that I for generations. The menorah brings light into the world, just as the need to make a rose from a Kassam,” he related. He thought of the verse, Jewish people are a light unto the nations. The seven branched meno- “Swords will be turned into plowshares” and decided he would take the rah was used in the Bais Hamikdash, with the kohanim lighting it every destructive rockets and turn them into something beautiful. The police give Yaron the spent rockets after the bomb squad does day in the evening and cleaning it every morning. The Chanukah methe necessary checking to ensure they are norah is similar to the Bais Hamkidash’s not live. He first began making metal rosmenorah, but contains eight branches and es, with only the help of a hammer, anvil one shamash to symbolize the miracle that “Lighting them truly and furnace. Each rose takes him hours to lasted for eight nights. Some say it is also produce, and each one is truly unique. The not the same as the Temple vessel because symbolizes the victory stem of the flower is attached to a metal there is a tradition not to replicate anything base that is in the shape of the land of Isused in the Bais Hamikdash after it was of the light of Israel rael; the flowers seem to be growing out of destroyed. Incredibly, this holiest menorah over the darkness of the base. from the days of old was constructed out of Now, Yaron has branched out into other a solid block of pure gold. That includes its our enemies.” items, not just roses. In fact, his beautiful base, cups, knobs, shaft and flowers, and selection of menorahs made from rockets the lamps on top. In fact, the concept was is breathtaking. Each one is different, and so difficult to understand, that Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu to throw it into the fire, and Hashem formed the intri- range from modern to traditional in design. We spoke with Shana from the Israel Boutique, whose website, www.rocketsintoroses.com, sells cate menorah for the Mishkan. Nowadays, people are thinking a little more out of the box when it the vast majority of Mr. Bob’s products. In fact, they came up with the comes to menorahs. While gold and silver are the more traditional mate- “Rockets into Roses” name, after they met Yaron Bob and saw his movrials used, these modern-day menorahs make the mitzvah slightly differ- ing artwork. Shana says that people’s reactions to the products have been incredible. They feel very connected to the Israelis who live in fear when ent than usual. they touch the different items made from the rockets. “They love the idea into Roses is one such project, which of turning terror and destruction into beauty, which is what the Jewish is the brainchild of Yaron Bob, a metal people are all about,” she explained.



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‫ העולמי‬‫דרשו סיו‬ ‫ היומי בהלכה‬‫ של ד‬‫למחזור הראשו‬ —— SPRING 2015 ——


DECEMBER 18, 2014


it. This menorah lighting ceremony began in 1877, when Mayor Abraham David Beam, the very first Jewish mayor of New York City, lit the menorah in public. While we’re on the subject of the tallest menorah, let’s not forgot the smallest menorah that is actually the size of a dust speck! The menorah was created by the physics laboratory at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in honor of the holiday. This lab, part of the Peter Brojde center for innovative engineering and computer science where their main focus is applying scientific discoveries to technology, has created incredible objects that are nothing less than groundbreaking. It is the home of the one and only Nanoscribe system in the Holy Land, and two doctoral students, Yossi Kabessa and Ido Eisenberg, The most delicious menorah – made out of doughnuts! decided to show the world the Nanoscribe’s abilities in building tiny 3D structures. Eventually, Kabessa and Eisenberg built the world’s smallest menorah. But don’t think that you’ll be lighting it any time soon. This ice menorah is a “cool” menorah actually measures less than a tenth menorah found around the of a millimeter; it can’t be seen by the naked world at many Chabad Houses. The Chabad eye. It is only visible through a microscope at Cornell University has one, the Chabad of The world’s smallest menorah is less than a tenth of a millimeter and is built with building blocks that meaIndiana, the Chai center in Brookline, Massure 100 nanometers. The detail that is visisachusetts, and many others have this freezble on the menorah is incredible considering ing menorah to attract onlookers and bring its size and represents the “miracle machine” attention to the mitzvah of lighting menorah. that has the potential to make incredible Cool Way Ice, LLC even advertises that they breakthroughs in medicine and the environsell ice sculpted menorahs and will do a live ment, as well as in the war on terror and for demonstration upon request. In the past they military purposes. Unfortunately, this menohave even constructed ice menorahs as large rah is not considered kosher since it can’t be as ten feet tall. No need to worry about these lit, as a candle or even a single wick would menorahs melting; an ice sculpture lasts tower over this miniscule structure! about six to nine hours in 70 degree weather As far as the world’s yummiest mebefore it starts to melt and lose its shape. Menorah, Rabbi Mendel Kastel, the Chabad norahs made in the winters of the east coast shaliach in Bondi, Australia, likes to make will last a lot longer. To make the menorah An ice cold menorah menorahs out of the most interesting things. even cooler, one can add different color LED In fact, in 2010, he constructed a menorah lights to tint it any color they desire. Talk that was made from doughnuts. This deliabout a menorah that is sure to “freeze” your cious confection stood tall with hundreds of attention on this Chanukah holiday. doughnuts on its base and branches. The loAnd what about the menorah the kids cal bakery, Carmel Cake Shop, donated 600 would go crazy for? This year, The Chabad doughnuts for the project and to give out to Jewish Center of Oceanside/Vista sponsored those who attended the lighting. After Rabbi its annual community event for families, and Kastel lit the candles, he announced that the it was held on December 16. As a family crowd could partake of the treat, and evproject, kids and their parents spent the night eryone made a beeline to try the oily food. building a seven-foot menorah out of 5,000 Think a yummy menorah is really different? Lego pieces. Lego menorahs have been Rabbi Kastel is no stranger to unusual menomade before and are actually quite popular, Lighting the world’s tallest menorah in New York City rahs. He has previously made menorahs out but seven feet worth of Lego is quite a feat! (And quite a hefty price, too). Kids will definitely be ogling this menorah of sand, and one from surfboards. One year, he had 20 tons of snow delivered to Sydney’s Hyde Park to make heads turn with his wintery menorah. and give them one more item to put on their Chanukah gift lists. Seven feet is quite large, but that is nothing compared to the world’s of what your menorah is made largest Chanukah menorah whose home is right here in New York City. th out of, whether it’s the more In Grand Army Plaza, between Fifth Avenue and 59 street, stands the tallest menorah in the world at 32 feet high! This steel, gold-colored me- traditional silver or metal, or something a little different and out of the norah weighs about 4,000 pounds and was designed by Yaakov Agam, a ordinary, one thing stays true. The beauty and tradition of Chanukah and world-renowned Israeli artist who makes contemporary art. The meno- the warm glow of the lights create a wonderful atmosphere that carries rah also uses real oil for burning, instead of lightbulbs like many others. us through the dark, cold winter season. Spending time with family and Each oil lamp is equipped with glass cases specially designed to keep the friends, eating delicious latkes, singing songs and gazing at the Chanukah wind from blowing out the flame. Rabbi Shmuel Butman, the director of lights remind us of the love Hashem showed us years ago when we saw Lubavitch Youth Organization which funds the event, says, “This meno- the menorah lights burn for eight days and nights. rah stands as a symbol of freedom of democracy and delivers the message No matter what kind you are lighting this year, whether it’s cold, big, of light over darkness and freedom over oppression.” oily or invisible to the human eye, whether it’s made from precious metals Interestingly, Con Edison helps out with this lighting. Because it is or metals of destruction, allow the message of the menorah to penetrate: so tall, they use their crane to help lift people to the top in order to light that even in the darkness there is always a spark of light. 

During the year, the Star of David is by far the best-selling piece. It’s a classic item, and its popularity doesn’t wane. Another popular item is the petit rose, which people keep on their desk at home or at work and is an item of interest to others and never fails to spark a conversation. Specialty items are also big sellers in their respective seasons, and the menorah is no exception. As Shana beautifully points out, “Lighting them truly symbolizes the victory of the light of Israel over the darkness of our enemies.” The most wonderful thing about these menorahs, she explains, is that it truly tells the story of our people, the Jewish people. In every generation our enemies rise up to destroy us, and we take that destruction, we build with it and turn our circumstances into beauty. “People in Israel are not hungry for war and what they really want is a bright and beautiful future,” Yaron says.




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Fun with Dreidels

Chana’s art room; where colors come to life Visit chanasartroom.com for links to source materials

Perfect for Torah and Tea on Chanukah! Ideal for a women’s event! …And absolutely fun for a cup of tea after hosting! These are easy and fun to make and I can tell you that the options are endless with the many variations of sugars, icing and sprinkles! (Make them match your tea cups!) All you need is a dreidel cookie cutter and basic cookie dough. Simply cut out your dreidel cookies and using a knife cut a slit in the dough, off center. ( I found that they balanced better this way). Make sure your ‘slit’ is about 1/4″ wide as it will fill in a bit as the dough bakes. (Try use thin rimmed tea cups or play around with making a bigger slit to accommodate thicker rimmed cups). Then, simply spread out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles of your choice and bake! Line up your tea cups on your coffee table/counter and it will definitely be a (delicious) show stopper when your guests arrive! Yum!

Ribbon Dreidels! Sitting at my craft table, fiddling with ideas for this years Chanukah events and programs, I saw before me my many spools of ribbon. I have a confession to make, I LOVE ribbon. In as many hues and textures as possible and in as many widths as there exists! This was really easy to make, all you need are the adhesive rollers, ribbon and wooden dreidels! That’s it. Roll on the adhesive and wrap each dreidel in ribbon. Of course you could add a nun, gimmel, hay and shin to each side, using a fabric marker or puff paints! These are fun for decorating your home, hang each one from clear fishing string from a beam or doorway for a grand entrance into Chanukah! Tie one to a gift with twine or toss a few in a glass candy dish or on a platter and make this the center of your dining room table. You can even experiment with this look by adding glitter, gemstones and anything else that sparkles!

Basic Cookie Dough • 3 eggs • 1 cup margarine (Earth Balance) • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract • 4 cups flour • 2 cups icing sugar (confectioners sugar) • 3 tsps. baking powder • Yields 7 to 8 dozen (if dough rolled thin, 4-6 dozen if kids are making them:) • Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. • In a large mixer bowl, beat eggs. Add margarine and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder and mix well. • Roll out dough on a floured board to 1/4″ thickness and cut into desired shapes. Place on cookie sheet. • Press sprinkles onto cookies. • Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until slightly browned. • Remove from Cookie sheet to cool. (Recipe credits: Spice and Spirit The Complete Kosher Cookbook)

DECEMBER 18, 2014

Torah & Tea Dreidel Cookies!

DECEMBER 18, 2014





This Year’s Chanukah Miracle and Some of the Jews who Helped Find the Oil BY BRENDY J. SIEV


he miracle of Chanukah this year includes the Miracle of a Lot of Oil that Costs a Little, rabim b’shvil me’atim,

or a Little Oil for a Lot of Cars. Not to say that olive oil prices have dropped. (They haven’t.) But the fuel that keeps our cars and engines going has gone…cheap. Oil prices have dropped the lowest since June 2009. The price at the pump has dropped to an average $2.55 a gallon, and households using oil heat are expected to save $362 this winter because of lower oil costs. And oil prices keep dropping. How did this Chanukah miracle happen?

Too Much Oil All of the foreign oil-producing countries have taken a hit recently. Over the past decade, with all the talk about alternative energy, the United States has become a top natural gas producer, and, with new shale oil production (chemically forcing the creation of oil from fossils in shale rock), America has overwhelmed the world markets and pushed prices down by 40 percent. The U.S. is now one of the top producers of fuel in the world. OPEC—the Arab alliance of oil producing countries—feels the hit. Instead of curtailing their oil production, they’ve kept it up, creating a surplus of oil out there. With so much oil on the market, prices are dropping. It’s simple supply and demand economics, folks. Some people believe OPEC’s actions are meant to hurt America’s energy industry. But, according to experts, for you and me and American businesses, dropping oil prices are not bad news. In fact, this means more spending on the goods and services and more profits for businesses. It means airlines will drop prices and more people will take a vacation. It means food prices drop because it takes less gas to transport food from farm to table. Still others are raising the alarum on behalf of the American shale oil companies that are still in the startup phase with startup-style loans and bills. Analysts predict though that the companies will make enough to cover the interest on their loans so they should be okay. Targeting the Enemy: Using Oil to Bring the Powerful and Power-Hungry Down In the meantime, others are taking a closer look at OPEC’s intentions. In their eyes, the continued production and the forced hit on profits for oil producers are engineered by Saudi Arabia, the biggest and most powerful player in OPEC.

The Saudis can afford the hit on profits. But other countries can’t. And those are the countries the Saudis want to hurt. Here’s a short list of those pained by the drop in oil profits: • Iran • Syria and ISIS • Iraq • Russia • Venezuela • Brazil • Nigeria Those who gain include China (they’ll depend less on their locally-harvested coal, which will improve their air quality), India, Canada, Mexico, and, of course, the United States. Oil: Some Background, Some History So what makes that little bit of oil so special and so valuable? Fuel in the United States: William Penn, the Jews, and a Marathon William Penn stepped foot onto his land in his new country and dubbed it Pennsylvania. He started trekking and checking out his property, coming to what we now call the Delaware Water Gap. It’s a place you probably know fondly and possibly well, a place where you have meandered on the paths of Boy Scouts before you. But back then, it was no man’s land. In a historical moment worthy, really, of Mel Brooks, who does William Penn, in the year 1682, meet there? Jews! I mean, Lenape Indians! Penn was a few hundred years too early for meeting actual Jews there. One look at the Lenapes, though, and he thought the Lenapes were Jewish. He

Western Pennsylvania: A Land Flowing with…Oil Eastern Pennsylvania was not where the best fuel was hiding. And hiding, in this case, is the wrong term. The real American treasure was seeping out of the rocks in Western Pennsylvania in an area called Oil Creek. There, the Seneca Indians’ land included this amazing treasure: oil. So much oil—the kind you pump into your car and that inspires great treaties and organizations like OPEC—flowed so freely on their land that it flowed through a river and seeped out of rocks. The Senecas drank it and used it as a medicine and rubbed it on their faces. They used it for fuel. They dug great pits to catch the runoff oil and gather it, and this oil was so pure that, in our times, it would barely need any refining. You could just scoop it up and pump it into your Ferrari and zoom down I-95. Soon private farmers came and bought small tracts of land around this area. They started to dig and, without going too deep, created oil wells, pumping and selling the fuel privately. The Hunt for Pure Oil: A Jewish Woman Saves the Day Once those oil sources were depleted, oil companies of course prospected through various parts of the

there she met a new recruit, Leonard Harris, a geologist who specialized in Southern Appalachia. In a casual conversation, they had a breakthrough.

And the U.S. government decided to take action by helping the oil industry find the oil on our side of the world. The government pumped money into the United States Geological Service’s Branch of Oil & Gas Resources. They hired people from oil companies and other high-level geologists to join the Service, the kind of government office that sends people off to hike mountains and map the terrain and rocks there. The geologists who work for them actually send bags of rocks back to Washington from whatever remote post office they can find. (This means that when the mailman grumbles, “What have you got in here? Rocks?” geologists working for the USGS can actually say, “Yes.”) Now they wanted these geologists to answer the quintessential question: where is the oil, and how can we get to it? It was soon answered by a young Jewish woman from Brooklyn, New York.

Colors, Conodont, and How to Find Oil First, some background about oil: Petroleum is actually morphed algae fossils. They turn into oil when the rock holding the fossils gets as hot as a cup of coffee and stays that way, or a bit hotter, for a very long time (scientists say a million years, but who’s counting?). If the temperature is too low, the fossils don’t become oil. Too high and they’re destroyed. This “petroleum window” –between 50 and 150 degrees Celsius—is a fraction of the temperature variation within the earth’s crust. That’s why oil is such a scarce resource. Not only does it have to cook and form, but it has to stay that temperature for a long time and the earth’s crust is generally not consistent at staying in one temperature range. Well, Anita had noticed that tiny little pieces of eel fossils buried in the rocks, call conodonts, vary in color based on location. And she wondered why. Everyone told her there was no reason. But she kept collecting samples and charting their presence. She and Harris realized that the conodonts changed color, because the rocks holding the fossils had undergone different temperature changes. She created a “conodont alteration index,” connecting the color change with the heat the rock had gone through. And this way oil companies could determine whether oil is under a particular area: they could check out the color of the conodonts in the rock of an area in the country. If the color was right, that meant that the rock underneath had undergone the right amount of heating to turn it into oil. Anita checked out the rocks from the Western Pennsylvania sweet spot, where oil used to run freely. The conodonts were golden brown. And that is the color that you look for if you want to find oil. So, thanks to a Jewish woman from Williamsburg, if the color is right, it’s drill, baby, drill, and let the oil runneth over. 

From Williamsburg to Washington Anita Fishman Epstein was a star. She grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, playing at the Brooklyn Navy Yards when they were still a navy yard. And sometimes, when she would get bored, she took a little walk—across the Williamsburg Bridge. She started walking across the bridge, stepped onto Delancey Street, and into Manhattan. This became such a habit that she drew her own boundaries: she would walk from Williamsburg to Central Park and then home again. A brilliant student who graduated high school at 15, Anita went to Brooklyn College and, once there, intended to get her full tuition’s-worth. She paid six dollars a year. She majored in geology, a sure-fire way to get out of Brooklyn and do what she did best: walking long distances and collecting rocks. She saw rocks as clumsy storybooks, telling eloquent stories of their history in layered narratives. After graduation, she joined the United States Geological Survey, traipsing across the country on foot and collecting samples of rocks. On weekends, she not only collected rocks, but she dunked them in different solutions, carrying on her own research in her home. Soon, she was working in Washington, D.C., in charge of the mapping division of the department. And

The Drake Well in Pennsylvania was the first well in the world drilled just for the purpose of producing oil

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DECEMBER 18, 2014

The Senecas drank the oil and used it as a medicine and rubbed it on their faces.

United States looking for oil. They had ways of suspecting where oil would be, but their method was far from perfect and involved a bit of trial and error: dig a little here, bore a little there. By 1973, things had reached crisis levels, with the oil embargo and the long lines to fill the car’s tank.


wrote this with great excitement to the king, did a comprehensive study of the Lenape language, a language that he claimed followed the style of Hebrew, and described the Indians’ look: just like Jews. Penn brokered a treaty and created some boundaries with the Lenapes which was a good thing. The treaty went something like this: Penn could have land west of the Lenape River. But only the amount a man could walk in a day or two at an easygoing pace. And everyone lived happily ever after. Until Penn died, and his son took over. Penn’s son didn’t like that this land was off-limits to him. So he arranged a great land grab, the kind that inspires wars and tremendous bloodshed. He went to the Indians to demarcate his land and showed them the treaty. Then he advertised for the best runners in Pennsylvania. They would receive 500 acres of land for participating. On a designated day, the Lenape’s and Penn’s marathon runners went to demarcate where exactly a “day’s walk-worth of land” ended. The white men walked 65 miles into the Poconos. The Indians panted behind. And the white men laid claim to the Lenape’s beloved Minisink River. Eastern Pennsylvania, though, is coal country, the good kind of coal that breaks into chunks and burns a nice blue flame. But this is not what we really use to heat our homes and fuel our cars. We use oil.


DECEMBER 18, 2014

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Chanukah Word Jumble

Siblings Sara, Moshe, Chaya, Leah, and Tzvi all lit the menorah. Sara lit before Chaya, but after Moshe. Leah lit first. If Tzvi lit after Chaya, in what order did the siblings light? Answer on next page

1. Nteesprs


2. Ltge


3. Knaauhhc


4. Tnghouud


5. Aabcceem


6. Xndraaler tehtreag ________________________

You Gotta be


Yankel, a small man, is looking for work. He goes to a ranch and says to the lumberjack, “Excuse me, I’d like a job chopping down trees.” The lumberjack, who is built like an ox, looks at skinny, little Yankel and says, “You’ve gotta be kidding. This is a tough job. Not for little old men like you. Besides, where did you ever work before chopping down trees?” “Well, I used to work at the Sahara Forest,” says Yankel. The lumberjack looks at him and says, “You mean the Sahara Desert?” Yankel dismissively waves his hand and says, “Oh, well, now it’s a desert. You should have seen it years ago!”

7. Hytmsiaau


8. Hheuady


9. Rliedde


10. Sltkea


11. Lio


12. Nrhomae


13. yptra


14. sbeimkhaiashd


15. heuaairslmyy


16. hcpa


17. ehgti


18. eehmns


19. aaiochhsmmn

________________________ Answers on next page

“You Say Donut, I Say Doughnut” Facts o

The most accepted spelling for the delicious round pastry is “doughnut.” However, according to Merriam-Webster, “donut” is also an acceptable spelling.


Bakers started placing holes in donuts when they realized that it enabled the doughnut to cook more evenly.


The largest doughnut ever made was an American-style jelly doughnut weighing 1.7 tons, which was 16 feet in diameter and 16 inches high in the center.


Krispy Kreme was founded in 1937. Dunkin’ Donuts started selling doughnuts in 1950, though it was known as Open Kettle for two years prior.



10 billion donuts are eaten in the U.S. every year. (Sounds crazy? Ever see what goes on at the corner of Rockaway Turnpike and Burnside Avenue at all hours of the day?)

Eric “Badlands” Booker holds the Guinness World Record for eating 49 glazed donuts in eight minutes.


Per capita, Canada has more doughnut shops than any other country.

The original name for doughnuts was “oily cakes.”


According to studies, there is an 8 day period in the winter, usually in December, during which if you eat a doughnut a day for 8 days you won’t gain any weight from it. (OK, that was totally made up by me… but I know you totally believe it!)

o o

The original pastries, which didn’t have holes, were the size and shape of walnuts—thus the name.

2. One fifth of the oil shipped worldwide passes through which checkpoint? a. Strait of Hermuz b. Panama Canal c. Suez Canal d. Black Sea Port

• The doughnuts used must be fresh and must have a minimum diameter of 6 cm (2.36 in). • The doughnuts must have jam in the center and be covered in sugar. • The doughnuts must be served at room temperature and may not be heated prior to eating.

3. Which U.S. city is built on top of a major oil field? a. Houston b. Los Angeles c. Anchorage d. Miami

6. Which country is the world’s biggest producer of oil? a. U.S. b. Russia c. Saudi Arabia d. United Arab Emirates 7. What is ethanol? a. It is a type of oil which is extracted from the ground without causing adverse environmental impacts b. It is an alcohol c. It is oil which is ethical d. It is a natural gas

• The challenger’s hands must remain behind their back for the entire duration of the attempt. Answers: 1. C- A barrel of oil’s refined products includes about 20 gallons of gasoline, 12 gallons of diesel and 4 gallons of jet fuel and other products like liquefied petroleum gases and asphalt. 2. A- The Strait of Hermuz is a narrow strait located between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Iran borders the Strait of Hormuz to the north, and the United Arab Emirates and Oman’s Musandam Peninsula border it to the south. 3. B 4. C 5. E 6. A- In 2013, the U.S. produced 12.31 million barrels of oil per day. Saudi Arabia produced 11.59 million per day and Russia produced 10.53 barrels per day. 7. B- Ethanol is a clear, colorless liquid. In the U.S., over 80% of ethanol is produced from corn. (When you fly over the heartland and see millions of acres of corn fields, it’s not just because corn is a great BBQ side dish.)

• If the challenger licks his or her lips at any point during the attempt, they will be immediately disqualified. • The challenger is not permitted to drink water during the attempt. • Any jam, sugar or crumbs that remain on the plate must also be consumed. As the challenger is not permitted to lick their lips, they may have small remnants of food around the mouth and lips. Any large pieces of doughnut unconsumed, or on any other part of the challenger’s face, the attempt is disqualified. • The attempt ends when the challenger opens their mouth and it is empty.


Comm Let the ission er dec Send

your s t



to fivetow centerfold@ nsjewis hhome. com

ANSWER TO RIDDLE: Leah lit first, then Moshe, then Sara, then Chaya, and then Tzvi.

5. How much did a gallon of gas cost after the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo? a. $5.76 b. $3.23 c. $2.12 d. $1.89 e. $0.55

• The doughnut must be placed on a plate.

JUMBLE ANSWERS: 1. Presents; 2. Gelt; 3. Chanukah; 4. Doughnut; 5. Maccabee; 6. Alexander the Great; 7. Matisyahu; 8. Yehudah; 9. Dreidel; 10. Latkes; 11. Oil; 12. Menorah; 13. Party; 14. Beis Hamikdash; 15. Yerushalayim; 16. Pach; 17. Eight; 18. Shemen; 19. Chashmonaim

4. Which of these states is not in the top five oil-producing states? a. Alaska b. Texas c. Oklahoma d. New Mexico

• The attempt must take place at a table or desk, with the challenger sitting or standing.

DECEMBER 18, 2014

The TJH Centerfold Commissioner should have made this challenge up, but it is actually a real Guinness World Record Challenge, which is available on their website. The challenge is to eat a jelly doughnut without using your hands and without licking your lips. You must abide by the following rules (again, these are the Guinness World Record’s rules, not mine…so, please, no hate mail):

1. What is the standard size of a barrel of oil? a. 5 kiloliters b. 76 liters c. 42 gallons d. 55 gallons


All About Oil

The Jelly Doughnut Challenge





DECEMBER 18, 2014


Notable Quotes Notable


Compiled by Nate Davis

Compiled by Nate Davis

“Say“Say What?” What?” New research has found that 84 percent of vegetarians and vegans ultimately return to eating meat. It turns out the way animals are treated is nothing compared to how people treat vegetarians. – Jimmy Fallon

Mohammed Islam is only 17 and still months away from graduating — but worth a rumored $72 million. “The high eight figures” is as specific as the shy and modest teen would get when asked his net worth. – From a profile piece in New York magazine ranking Mohammed Islam 12th in its annual “Reasons to Love New York” issue. Mohammed Islam has since admitted that he totally fabricated the story of his extreme wealth and doesn’t even trade stocks or have any money, for that matter

Events are alleged until we know all the facts. - New York City Mayor de Blasio talking about several incidents caught on video during which NYPD officers were physically assaulted He’s a total nincompoop… Maybe he should be out there to take the broken nose for the lieutenant. Ask him if he’d be willing to stand out there and take the punches for the cops. - Ed Mullins of the Sergeants Benevolent Association talking about Mayor de Blasio’s comments in reference to attacks on the NYPD

Some people are mad over the Discovery Channel’s “Eaten Alive” special about a man getting eaten by an anaconda because the snake didn’t completely swallow him. This proves there are two things America will not stand for: false advertising and portion control. – Conan O’Brien

A flight headed from San Francisco to Phoenix had to make an emergency landing in L.A. today after a passenger gave birth midflight. The parents called the birth a miracle while the airline called it a second carry-on. – Seth Myers A woman on a Southwest Airlines flight gave birth to a baby. As soon as he was born, the baby said, “I had more leg room in the womb.” - Conan O’Brien The woman gave birth in the middle of a flight. I’m happy to report that the mother and child are doing fine, while the guy who was sitting next to her is not. – Seth Myers

Today, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi received the Nobel Peace Prize. And they’re giving an honorable mention to whoever has to announce them. – Seth Myers

Time magazine has named “Ebola Fighters” the 2014 Person of the Year. The Ebola fighters said they were honored to be chosen and look forward to the ceremony. Then Time said, “Oh no, we’ll just mail them to you.” - Jimmy Fallon

A midget. - How Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis described Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who made his first NFL start on Sunday. Manziel is six feet tall

The good book says don’t throw stones at glass houses. - President Barack Obama, in a speech about immigration, citing a biblical reference that doesn’t exist  There’s a holiday gift giving trend that’s supposedly on the rise this year called self-gifting. I don’t know why everything has to have a term. Didn’t that used to be called shopping? – Jimmy Kimmel

What happened in 2008 was that Hillary’s candidacy got out in front of any rationale for it. And the danger is that’s happening again. You hear “Ready for Hillary.” It’s like, ready for what? – Former Obama advisor, David Axelrod, on MSNBC

This week, Biden said that he will decide on a potential 2016 presidential campaign by the spring or the summer. Then he said, “Whichever comes first.” – Jimmy Fallon

A guy in Pennsylvania was arrested because he was drunk in his golf cart going from bar to bar. So they arrested him. I said: Wait a minute. Isn’t that golf? – David Letterman

This week, Apple stores are holding free computer programming classes for children. Or as that’s called in China, a job fair. - Conan O’Brien

Facebook revealed that Ebola was the most popular Facebook topic in the U.S. this year, with the World Cup coming in sixth. So welcome to America, where even Ebola is more popular than soccer. – Jimmy Fallon

– Jimmy Fallon We helped elect Barak Obama—now we’re calling on Elizabeth Warren to run in 2016. - From a public letter signed by over 300 staffers of President Obama’s presidential campaigns

A man was recently admitted to the hospital for surgery after doctors discovered he still had surgical scissors in his stomach from a procedure performed 12 years ago. Said his new doctor, “The surgery was a success. Now where are my keys?” – Seth Myers President Obama was talking about the new report on CIA interrogation techniques and praised our country’s ability to—quote—“Face our imperfections, make changes, and do better.” Which sounds less like a speech on torture and more like the comments on a kindergartner’s report card. - Jimmy Fallon

I spend most of my time watching ESPN in the morning. - President Obama during an interview on ESPN’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd

Every year Americans spend millions of dollars on [holiday] gifts for their pets, which makes no sense to me. Your pet doesn’t know it’s [the holidays]. In fact, your pet doesn’t even know it’s a pet, so giving your cat a sweater is about as useful as giving your microwave a hat. – Jimmy Kimmel

Michael Jordan on his worst day is ten times better than Kobe Bryant on his best day. - Reggie Miller on ESPN

Jeb Bush’s brother, Neil, said that their mother has “come around” to the idea of Jeb running for president in 2016. Because if there’s anything that says you’re qualified to be president, it’s your own mom saying, “I guess you could do it.” – Jimmy Fallon

I seemed to have him kidnapped and killed for no good reason. He is not the first wizard whom Voldemort murdered because he knew too much (or too little), but he is the only one I feel guilty about, because it was all my fault. – Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling writing about the untimely passing of Harry Potter character Florean Fortescue

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told me personally, “Your country will turn on you, the liberal media will turn on you, the people will grow tired of this and they will turn on you. And when they do, you are going to be abandoned.” - Dr. James Mitchell, a former U.S. Navy psychologist who was involved in the interrogation of suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, defending the CIA’s interrogation tactics on Fox News Next year, Iowa will become the first state to offer residents an app that allows them to use smartphones as their driver’s license. That way, you can have the one thing you lose most on the thing you lose the second most. – Jimmy Fallon Sy Berger, the designer of modern baseball cards, has died. He will be laid to rest in a shoe box somewhere in an attic. – Conan O’Brien

At the White House yesterday, they kicked off Computer Science Education Week. Students gave tutorials on computer code and President Obama sat down and wrote one. All his program does is draw a box, which he’s hoping he can crawl into and hide in for the rest of his term. - Jimmy Kimmel

We’re off the plantation! The plantation days are over! – Oprah Winfrey in June 2014 reacting to private conversations of Donald Sterling, then owner of the LA Clippers, and arguing that he should be forced to sell the team There are things that you say in your private conversations with your friends and with your colleagues that you would not want to be broadcast on CNN. - Oprah Winfrey on CNN this week, defending Sony executives after a hacker exposed their racist emails

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently installed a fence around Gracie Mansion for privacy and security concerns. De Blasio wants to make sure the wrong person doesn’t get into the mayor’s mansion — while New Yorkers said, “Too late.” – Jimmy Fallon

The point I keep making is that the ISIL death cult has nothing to do with any religion, any real religion. It has nothing to do with any particular community. It is something to which sick individuals succumb, and sick individuals exist in all communities and in all societies. This idea that, you know, ISIL is somehow spawned by any particular religion, frankly, it’s probably even less true than saying that Catholicism spawned the IRA. They’re just completely separate things - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at a press conference after a terrorist attack by a Muslim who professed his allegiance to ISIL

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DECEMBER 18, 2014

Scientists say they’re getting closer to developing a pill to replace exercising. Americans heard this and said that it better come in cool ranch flavor. - Conan O’Brien

The General Mills cereal Cheerios will soon come out in new flavors like quinoa. The CEO of General Mills said the new flavor is in response to an overwhelming demand by—no one, absolutely no one. - Conan O’Brien


The world’s largest travel guide publisher has declared Queens, New York, the best place in the U.S. to visit next year. And if you don’t believe it, neither does anyone who lives in Queens.

We are a substantially different versed candidate. - Governor Rick Perry, comparing his 2012 presidential campaign to his preparation for a possible 2016 run 


Forgotten Heroes

Avi Heiligman

American Victory in the Battle of Fort Riviere

Chanukah on the Frontlines


n the past centutactics. After exry, the world has ecuting hundreds seen the United of political prisonStates military as ers, an angry mob the global policelynched him. The We all know the miracle of Cha- dles. Suddenly, General Washington man to protect its country was leadernukah started on the battlefield. Ye- appeared and askedless himagain. aboutThe thenext mepolitical and finanhudacial ledinterests. a smallSome group of untrained norah and was inspired by his answer. potential president soldiers against the massive The next year, Washington visits him call to it victory imperialism was anti-American. Greek army. Eventhink today, people who on the Lower East Side to give while others The U.S. him hada Painting of the action at the fort. it asmuch a world economic interests don’tof have connection their Grossto is on the right,medal. Smedly in the center and Iams on the left are many in Haiti errors especially rootspower still extending light the its menorah in comThere factual with long reach to make in the sugar plantamemoration of this tale, the world a safer place. Certain areas tions. In order to protect these first interests, being the themiracles. required the attention of the Amer- President Woodrow Wilson sent 330 During times that Washingicans more than once. Places like the marines to restore order. They landed of Philippines, battle, the Somalia and Iraq have in the capital city, Port-Au-Prince, ton campedinat Jewish Valley Forge seensoldiers American ground troops trying to July and established a government with in 1778 and whostabilize do wind these nations and reorganize several marines and sailors in tempotwo years up on frontthethe local government. Haiti is another rary positions of power.not Establishing of these a police force, like the earlier, linesonestill feel countries which first got marines then sought the story says. this connection to bring down the Also, medals and American have madeattention in 1915 right at the rebels with a group for bravery sacrifices to beginning of World called the Gendarin the U.S. lightWar theI.menomerie. The fight rah. Stories of Army didn’t Rabbi Nathan Zelizer lighting the menorah For five years, between the rebels, for soldiers at a military hospital in 1944 soldiers celecome asabout Haiti was in political also known Cabrating Chanuuntil the turmoil. Five presicos, and the governcome ment’sis Gendarmerie kah dents datinghad back all and the way from the 19th century and there no accepted gone (aRevolutionary couple of forceStill, reinforced by American War have source for this story. there may them were assassithe Americans was found a way to bring light into the be truth to the fact that Jewish soldiers nated), and General as the Caco darkest of places. lit the menorah at known Valley Forge Vilbrun Sam took Wars. The first battle One storyestablishing from the American Rev- and a commander was was at inspired over Fort Dipitie with their courage. olutionary War (1775-1783) has been a dictatorship. As on October 24, and Until World War I (1914- were proven tale. At least the dewithto be thea tall previous the Americans 1918), there is quick very tolittle tailspresidents, are mostlyhefalse but maybe there Painting of Samuel Gross in action faced quell the uprisings andthe at400books rebels ofholding is some truth in story of General mention in history tempted coups. to squelch the fort. Chanukah on the Washington being Determined inspired by Cha- celebrating the rebellions, he resorted to brutal The marines, by of Captain nukah candles. The basic story is that frontlines. Whileled tens thou-Smed-

The Jewish home n

DECEMBER 18, 2014

o c T o b e r 1 7 , 2013

78 40

there was a lone Jewish soldier camping with Washington’s army at Valley Forge in the dead of winter. He was a Polish immigrant and brought over a

sands of Jews participated in the American Civil War (18611865), it seems that many went home for the winter months or lit the menorah without much fanfare. It wasn’t until a century ago that fighting in the winter became a major part of warfare and stories of Jews on the battlefield lighting candles became known. Many soldiers on both sides during the Great War were German Jewish soldiers on Chanukah 1916 Jewish and pictures still exist of them menorah that his father had given him lighting the menorah. to light every year. After everyone had There are many stories of Jews bunked for the night, he lit the can- in concentration camps gathering up

ley Butler with the Gendarmerie in tion reads, “In company with members reserve, continued pushing the rebels of the 5th, 13th, 23d Companies and back but came upon the formidable the marine and sailor detachment from Fort Riviere. The fort was built by the the USS Connecticut, Gross participatFrench in the 1700s and was on top of ed in the attack on Fort Riviere, Haiti, scraps to light candles a mountain with formidable defenses. November 17, 1915. Following a conright under the nosHowever, the rebels had no artillery centrated drive, several different dees of the Nazis. The and were known to be poor shots. The tachments of marines gradually closed mesiras nefesh that 200 defenders only had a few rifles and in on the old French bastion fort in these people had just like swords an effort to cut off all avenues of reassorted medieval weapons and knives.light Still, treat for the Caco to bring in the Butler taking will bandits. Approachdarkestwas of times noresonate chances and preing a breach in the for generapared to attack with wall which was the tions to come. three companies of only entrance to the In late 1943, the 24 hand-picked mafort, Gross was the American forces rines each. second man to pass fighting in the Pacific At about 7 PM through the breach the China-Buronand November 17, the in the face of conma-India moved Theater Americans stant fire from the stealthily into posi- had Cacos and, thereafof Operations A 12-foot menorah being lit, courtesy of Chabad, tions around the fort. ter, for a 10-minute in Al-Faw Palace in Baghdad just come back from Abloody half an battles hour later, period, engaged the in farButler blew a whisenemy in desperate knew how to make latkes and knishes. flung islands. Dozens tle and the attack hand-to-hand comin the war, the Jewof Marine veterans just returning from For the first time started. The way bat until the basish soldiers were able to taste Chanuthe the bloody into fort battle from at Tarawa (their kah cooking.tion was captured landing craft got and the direction theystuck in the surf and Caco resistance Smedly Butler Several other tales of miracles incoral and they sitting ducks for were attacking waswere a neutralized.” volving small tunnel.gunners) The first two menin intowestern the This battleJewish ended soldiers the first celebrating Caco Japanese were Chanukah exist, including menorah tunnel were Sergeant Ross Iams and War. A few years later, there was anAsia, probably at a base in India, for a remote army base in Private Samuel Gross followed But- otherlighting uprisingatagainst the American rest and relaxation. A Jewishbychaplain, to ler. They were under fire the entire time occupation Alaska known asand the giving Second presents Caco but suffered no casualties at this point. War. That rebellion also squelched Jewish was orphans in London at As they came out of the tunnel, over 60 pretty easilya even though party it was for bigger Chanukah soldiers. Cacos opened fire but the three Amer- than the firstThe war.Battle However, the Battle broke of the Bulge icans were soon reinforced by the ad- of Fort Riviere was the most widely out on the morning of seventh vancing marines and in about 10 min- known battle of the American occunight of Chanukah and soldiers utes forced the Cacos to flee. About 50 pation which ended in 1934. Samuel tell of trying to light candles Cacos were killed and only one Amer- Gross retired from the marines in 1918 that night ican was injured. The rebels weren’t and is believed to be on the Zos onlyChanukah. Jewish Several organizations trained to use their guns for short dis- marine to receive the Medal of Honor. protances so they threw them away and The men who fought in with Haiti were vided soldiers the means picked up stones instead. One of these not only protecting American interests to celebrate Chanukah includstones hit an American officer in the but were showing world that ing thetheAgudah, thetheJewish face. Aside from the lieutenant needing U.S. has the power to defeat anyone War Veterans and Jewish WelSoldiers in the IDF lighting a menorah dental work, the Americans captured who threatens world peace. Indeed, a fare later, Board. A more recent stoRabbi Rudin, traveled to numbers. be with thecouple of years the fort while facing superior America entered ry of Chanukah lighting was in 2006 What about thetogethaf- WWI and defeated the German military men andwas to interesting light the menorah in Iraq. Saddam Hussein had several termath of this was the awarding er. There wasbattle no electricity so the can-juggernaut in just one year of fighting, palaces andtothrough the Medal of Honor to restoring peace Europe. Chabad and other dleCongressional lighting had to be done in daylight Butler, Iams and Gross. The medal is organizations, menorahs were lit in at when everyone could see. He lit the the highest decoration for an American candles, said the brochos and sang least two of them by Jewish soldiers. in the military. Gross, who was one of There are many stories about sol“Maoz Tzur.”ofItJewish was dark and onlyAvi Heiligman only a handful servicemen is a weekly contributor to diers lighting the menorah on the was still lit inwhen tothe winshamash the medal, was born 1891aingustThe Jewish Home. He welcomes your comThe small, flickering of wind blew one light and litmentsfrontlines. and suggestions.for future columns Philadelphia. Hisout realthat name was Samuflames are able hope and soat ignite aviheiligman@ elthe Marguiles and was They credited with sav-ownand can be reached to other candles. had their lace in the dark times of war. ing the Chanukah life of Butlermiracle who wasinissued his gmail.com. little the middle second Medal of Honor. Gross’s citaof a brutal war.

At another outpost in India, another chaplain began to prepare for Chanukah but he only had candles. Somehow, local tribesmen appeared and gave them eggs. Unexpectedly, a Jewish mess sergeant had arrived and

Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to The Jewish Home. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.for future columns and can be reached at aviheiligman@gmail.com.





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of ice as far as the eye can see and forests teeming with some of America’s most stunning wildlife. As an ideal winter destination, Alaska has plenty of thrilling opportunities for skiing and other traditional winter

the Nome Gold Rush

native American totem pole

the highest peak on the continent. Everything in Alaska is big and bold including untamed rivers, soaring mountains, fields

activities. However, those who are willing to go the extra mile to see what this wilderness really has to offer will want to






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consider more involved activities such as ice climbing or taking a bush plane ride across the frozen northern tundra. After you’ve explored Alaska’s surreal winter landscape and lain at night under the dazzling colors of the aurora borealis, you can

ka turned out to be anything but foolish. Though not much gold was found in Alaska itself, the Yukon Gold Rush of 1896 brought in thousands of miners and brought Alaska up from the depths of an economic depression. By the turn of the

Alaskan cliffs

come back again in the summer and go hiking through verdant meadows or fish for Alaksa’s famous jumbo-sized salmon. For a trip that’s the textbook definition of “off the beaten path,” few places offer as much natural beauty and unforgettable adventures as Alaska. The history of Alaska starts with its native inhabitants, commonly referred to as “Eskimos” which means “snowshoes-netters” in the Montagnais languages. They crossed the Bering Land Bridge of Siberia thousands of years ago to settle in what is now Alaska. Native Alaskans are today divided into several groups: Eskimos, consisting of the Inupiat and Yup’ik, the Athabascans, those who live on the southeastern coast, and the Aleuts who inhabit the huge Aleutian Islands chain. The first European contact with Alaska occurred in 1784 when Russian trader Grigory Shelikhov landed on Kodiak Island and founded the first Russian settlement. The name “Alaska” comes from the Russified version of the Aleut word for “the great land,” Alyeska. Despite the presence of rival British and Spanish settlements, Russia managed to maintain a monopoly on the Alaskan fur trade for over a century. However, the Czar never fully colonized Alaska as the Russian settlements lost their economic advantage to the British Hudson’s Bay Company. Russia then attempted to ban foreign traders within its Alaskan sphere of influence, as seen in the 1824 Russo-American Treaty, but this proved futile. Russia’s economic misfortune in Alaska and desire to keep the British out of its neighborhood resulted in the sale of Alaska to the U.S. in the Alaska Purchase of 1867, derisively referred to as “Seward’s Folly,” for $7.2 million ($118 million in today’s dollars). Of course, with the discovery of gold in nearby Yukon, the purchase of Alas-

century, Alaska’s gold and fishing industries had taken off and the territory was on solid economic ground. However, there wasn’t much political will to press the issue of statehood. Alaska had a small population that was satisfied with the status quo. It wasn’t until the Japanese invasion in WWII of two of the Aleutian Islands, Attu and Kiska, that Alaska was treated as a strategic military outpost. The Battle of the Aleutian Islands resulted in American victory, but at the cost of thousands of casualties. On January 3, 1959, Alaska was finally granted statehood. Alaska then experienced a second kind of gold rush with the discovery of oil in Prudhoe Bay in 1968. The oil boom took off over the course of the next two decades until it briefly came to a halt in the infamous 1994 Exxon Valdez disaster, which severely damaged Alaska’s fragile ecosystem. Today, the controversy over Alaska’s oil industry is still raging, with a controversial plan to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at the heart of the debate. Attractions: Anchorage: Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city and the most popular starting point for visitors exploring the frontier state. A great sight is the Alaska Native Heritage Center which features not only native Alaskan artifacts, but also traditional dance performances and an outdoors section showing different aspects of native life. The even more impressive Anchorage Museum has over 600 native objects, high-tech video displays with native storytellers and the sounds of wild Alaska, as well as a children’s Discover center. Then be sure to visit the small, but highly unique Anchorage Zoo. The zoo features animals specific to Northern climates such as grizzly bears, bald eagles, polar bears, and moose. For hiking in the

DECEMBER 18, 2014

Alaska, wedged between Canada and Russian Siberia, is a land of unspoiled beauty and proud traditions. It has some of North America’s most unique natural wonders including the Northern lights, 20-hour winter days, and Mt. McKinley,


Travel Guide: Alaska


DECEMBER 18, 2014


Anchorage area, one of the best trails is the one leading to the peak of Flattop Mountain. A short 3-mile trek rewards with you with awe-inspiring views of surrounding valley and the nearby glacier. Another popular hiking adventure is Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. This 11-mile expedition takes travelers through ancient forests and offers views of surfacing beluga whales as well as the indomitable Mt. McKinley in the far distance. For skiing, Alaska’s largest ski resort,

Animals of Alaska

Alyeska, is located 64 miles south of Anchorage in Girdwood. Alyeska has a variety of terrain for every difficulty level, and its magnificent hotel sits picturesquely on an alpine lake as if it were transplanted right from Switzerland. Last but certainly not least, a museum, located at the Chabad house, details Alaska’s Jewish history. Fairbanks: As Alaska’s second-largest city, Fairbanks stands at the crossroads of several major Alaskan highways. It is often included on Alaskan travel itineraries for one simple reason: it’s one of the best places in the world to view the Northern lights, visible from mid-August through April. For the full Northern lights adventure, look for companies such as Sirius and Black Spruce that take you on a multiday dog sled trip to prime viewing spots. The city of Fairbanks itself is much like a typical American city in the lower 48 with plenty of chain malls and restaurants. However, there’s still no shortage of interesting attractions to see. The University of Alaska’s Museum of the North has great exhibits about native cultures. The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center is dedicated to Alaska’s general history, which it presents in state-of-theart fashion with an HD theater and over 9,000 square feet of interactive displays. At Pioneer Park, you can enjoy an aviation museum, native village, mining tun-

nel, President Warren Harding’s car, the S.S. Nenana (an old steamboat that once crossed Alaskan rivers), and other kids’ activities. One of the best tours in Fairbanks is the Riverboat Discovery tour, a narrated trip down the Chena River which stops at an Athabascan fishing village as well as the Chena Indian Village, showing visitors firsthand how life was like for native Alaskans before colonization. A fantastic family-friendly activity is panning for gold at Gold Dredge 8, an area that once

Animals of Alaska

extracted millions of ounces of gold in the late 1800‘s. A narrated train ride recounts the history of Alaska gold mining. Whatever gold you pan is yours to keep. If you’re willing to go out of your way, enjoy some R&R at Chena Hot Springs Resort, located sixty miles outside Fairbanks. This world-class resort offers an indoor pool, hot tubs, and the Aurora Ice Museum where everything is made of ice including an ice tower and a full-size game of ice chess. Juneau: Alaska’s capital and third-largest city is located in the state’s Southern Panhandle near British Columbia. The surrounding area is quite different from the rest of Alaska, with rainforest being the norm. Travelers describe this city as a “cooler, even wetter version of Seattle,” yet it’s still, on average, Alaska’s warmest area. The Alaska State Museum has excellent displays covering the state’s history starting with the Bering Land Bridge crossing and going all the way to post-statehood. There’s a tramway in downtown Juneau that connects the city with nearby Mt. Roberts where you can take a fairly gentle hike or, for the more adventurous, climb to the mountain’s summit. Just 12 miles away from downtown Juneau is Mendenhall Glacier, one of the region’s best attractions. The glacier area

boasts beautiful hiking and camping spots, and some companies offer helicopter tours which give you a panoramic view of the area. A nearby visitor center has an informative museum, and is an easy access point to hiking and fishing expeditions. Juneau tour packages incorporate whale/ bear watching, glacier exploration, and, depending on the company, rafting. Ketchikan: This sleepy fishing port is the first stop for ferries and cruise ships coming from the south. Located in the coastal rainforest of southern Alaska, Ket-

Attu Japanes troops

chikan is one of North America’s rainiest towns, averaging about 160 inches of precipitation per year. It was once known as the “canned salmon capital of the world” but has since thrived on tourism. The town’s Totem Heritage Center has one of the largest collections of totem poles in the world. The picturesque Creek Street is one of Ketchikan’s main tourist draws; it features many charming wooden houses and a view of migrating salmon in the adjacent river. Ketchikan is also the perfect jumping-off point for a seaplane tour, rainforest hike, or even a rainforest zipline tour. Aleutian Islands: This massive chain of islands stretches out from the mainland of southwestern Alaska towards Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, with Attu Island being the westernmost point of the United States. The Aleutian’s largest city is Unalaska where bald eagles are as commonplace. Unalaska is home to the Aleutian WWII National Historic Area. The area’s visitor center houses a museum which tells the tale of WWII’s bloody, forgotten war in the far north. The park preserves Mt. Schwatka, America’s highest coastal defense battery. The observation posts, gun batteries, and tunnels are very well preserved. The Museum of the Aleutians shows how the creative Aleut people adapted to life in such an unforgiving environment. Other displays center around the period of

Russian colonization, the evacuation of the Aleutian Islands in WWII, and the modern fishing industry. Head to Expedition Park to get perfect bald eagle photos. Barrow: Barrow, Alaska is one of the state’s most unique and remote locales. It’s famous as the northernmost settlement in America. It lies in a flat, foggy area that’s locked in almost perpetual winter. The Inupiat people have made Barrow, or Ukpeagvik (“place to hunt snow owls”), their home for over two millennia and still constitute the majority of the town’s population.

Mt. Arrowhead

Here, the midnight sun doesn’t set for 82 days lasting from May to August, making living conditions especially harsh. You can see the Inupiat Heritage Center, gaze upon the Northern lights, take a helicopter tour, take a photo under the whale bone arch (a testament to Barrow’s whaling history), or just go for a stroll out on the frozen Arctic Ocean. Barrow is only accessible by Alaska Airlines, offering service from Fairbanks and Anchorage, and Era Airlines, with service from Anchorage. There’s also barge transportation in the summer. Daven and Eat: For Orthodox shuls, the only option is Chabad of Alaska. It’s located in Anchorage at 1210 East 26th Avenue. It can be reached at 907-279-1200. Catering can be arranged in advance with Chabad. Falafel King in Anchorage (930 Gambell Street/907 258-4328) which is a well-reviewed kosher Israeli restaurant. Natural Pantry Market in Anchorage (3801 Old Seward Hwy/ 907-770-1444) has a decent selection of kosher food. Note: Please consult your rav for special instructions on davening and Shabbos candle lighting times in Alaska. Getting There: Anchorage and Fairbanks are accessible by most major airlines. Smaller cities such as Juneau and Ketchikan are served by Alaska Airlines via Anchorage. Kosherica offers two glatt kosher cruises in the summer leaving from Seattle. Currently, the cheapest flights from LAX to Anchorage cost around $600 per person round trip. If you’re willing to brave the drive from Los Angeles to Anchorage, it’ll take 3,400 miles or about 65 hours. For winter driving, a block heater is recommended to protect your car’s engine from the cold weather. (Sources: Wikitravel, Lonely Planet, Tripadvisor)



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Residents of Far Rockaway, rejoice! The borough of Queens has just been named the number one location primed for a visit for the upcoming year. “2015’s Best in the U.S. list includes a mix of up-and-coming destinations, old faves with new highlights and places poised to shine,” a Lonely Planet post on the picks says. “And we hope you like to eat and drink, because the whole country seems to be enjoying a local food renais-

Queens, NY: Top Vacation Destination

sance.” Queens in the largest borough geographically and is home to a mixed bag of cultures and ethnicities. According to Lonely Planet, if you’re planning to go on vacation next year, make sure to check out these top locations: 1. Queens, NY 2. Western South Dakota 3. New Orleans, LA 4. Colorado River region 5. North Conway, NH 6. Indianapolis, IN 7. Greenville, SC


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Protestors Continue to Fight for “Justice for All”

Protests continued nationwide this week following the Michael Brown and Eric Garner verdicts; in both cases, grand juries concluded not to indict the white officers involved. On Saturday, thousands of people from across the nation gathered in Washington, D.C. and stormed Capitol Hill demanding “Justice for All.” Family members of the victims stood on the stage in front of the U.S. Capitol and encouraged marchers to continue to demand changes of the criminal justice system. “My husband was a quiet man, but he’s making a lot of noise right now,” said Washington protest marcher Esaw Garner, widow of Eric Garner, 43. “His voice will be heard. I have five children in this world and we are fighting not just for him but for everybody’s future, for everybody’s past, for everybody’s present, and we need to make it strong.” Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, called the demonstrations a “history-making moment.” “It’s just so overwhelming to see all who have come to stand with us today,” she said. “I mean, look at the masses. Black, white, all races, all religions. ... We need to stand like this at all times.” Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and Garner died of a heart attack in NYC several hours after

Visiting Israel? 3. Chevron 4. Texas Instruments 5. McAfee 6. Google 7. Intuit 8. Adobe 9. Amgen 10. SAP AG Chrysler (25), Pepsi (26), NBCUniversal (30), Sabra Holdings (31), Walt Disney Company (33), Yahoo (36), Citibank (37), eBay (48), Paypal (49), and Apple (50) were also included in the happiest companies list. “As we evaluate the factors that impact happiness such as growth opportunity and company culture, it is also important to understand what type of industries are creating happier work environments overall. This year we saw a surge of STEM-related companies rank in the top 10,” Heidi Golledge, cofounder of CareerBliss, pointed out. STEM is an acronym referring to the academic fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. CareerBliss advisor Bradley Brummel, who has a Ph.D. in workplace psychology, adds: “Not only do these industries pay well, but employees in STEM-related compa-

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community. For the fifth year, the site released the Happiest Companies in America rankings which is based on reviews submitted by professionals in the year 2013 and 2014. Workers who reviewed their employers were asked to rate them on eight factors that affect work happiness on a five-point scale: work-life balance, your relationship with your boss, your relationship with your coworkers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, and company culture. CareerBliss combined those numbers to find an average rating of overall happiness for each worker, a “bliss score” and organized the results by employer to determine the happiest companies in the U.S. If you want to whistle while you work, perhaps pursue a career at Johnson & Johnson. The New Jersey-based medical devices, pharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods manufacturer has the happiest employees in the country right now. The other happiest companies in the nation, where employees do a jig while waiting for their computer to boot up, are: 1. Johnson & Johnson 2. Broadcom


police locked him into a chokehold after he resisted an arrest. The march was also held in the memory of Amadou Diallo, who was fatally shot by police more than 15 years ago. Originally, organizers had predicted about 5,000 people would attend the Washington march, but the crowd appeared to be far more than that. It was later estimated that about 25,000 had come to protest, although that number seems to be an over-exaggeration. It’s impossible to verify the exact numbers since Washington police do not release crowd estimates. Washington, D.C., and U.S. Park Police said that the demonstrations remained largely peaceful and no arrests were made at the Capitol protests. Al Sharpton helped organize the marches. “Members of Congress, beware we’re serious,” Sharpton thundered onstage in Washington. “When you get a ring [on X-mas] … it may be Rev. Al coming to your house.” During protests in New York across the Brooklyn Bridge, two police officers were assaulted when they tried to arrest a protester for unruly behavior. During the arrest, Eric Linsker, 29, a CUNY professor, poet, and Brooklyn resident, punched and kicked the officers while trying to remove their radios and jackets. He was taken into custody and the officers were thankfully released after being treated for their injuries. This is not the first time Linsker has had a run-in with the law. He was arrested for punching a police officer in the face at an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City in 2011. As a poet, Linsker has been known to indulge some violent and anti-social subjects. His poetry is often filled with attacks on police and government.



nies are happier in these jobs overall. This may reflect the positive features in the type of jobs these companies offer, but it also might reflect the fact that employees with these skills have lots of choices of whom to work for. This means the companies have to keep them happy to keep them at the company.”


DECEMBER 18, 2014


Spending Bill Finally Passed

The United States government will be funded through next September thanks to

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a $1.1 trillion budget passed by the Senate this week. Senators voted 56-40 for the long-term funding bill, the main item left on Congress’ year-end agenda. The measure provides money for nearly the entire government through the end of the current budget year September 30. The exception is the Department of Homeland Security, which is funded only until February 27. The Senate had at first only approved a short-term bill funding the federal government for a few days, which avoided a partial government shutdown. The stopgap bill, which passed by a voice vote, bought lawmakers more time to comb through the separate $1.1 trillion long-term funding bill. Conservative Republicans such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz opposed the controversial spending package for not challenging Obama’s immigration measures. Leading liberals such as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. also criticized the bill for repealing banking regulation. Despite the opposition from liberals,


Overall, Americans have been working on healthy habits. There has been a decline in smoking, violent crime, pollution, infant mortality, cancer deaths, and heart deaths nationwide. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that our country’s health is in good condition.

Pennies Costing Us Millions

The U.S. Mint reports to Congress twice a year. The latest report comes with some good news and some bad news. The good news is that we’re wasting less money on pennies and nickels. The bad news is we’re still wasting money on pennies and nickels. Production costs for all four major coin types fell in fiscal year 2014 due to the falling price of copper, one of the primary metals used to make coins. The Mint estimates it saved $29 million this year compared to last year on account of lower copper prices. But amazingly, it continues to lose money on pennies and nickels. It now costs $1.62 to make a dollar’s worth of nick-

els, and $1.66 to make a dollar’s worth of pennies. As of 2013, taxpayers were losing $105 million annually on penny and nickel production. On the other hand, it costs only 36 cents to make a dollar’s worth of quarters, and 40 cents for a buck of dimes. Paper dollar bills are even more cost-efficient. The Mint could decrease production costs even further, especially on dimes and quarters, by using different metal compositions in the production of those coins. But that would change their weight and their “electromagnetic signature,” which would drive vending machines haywire. It would require a multi-billion dollar upgrade of coin-operated machines nationally, which dwarfs the few million that might be saved from adjusting the coins’ metal composition. So long story short, a penny made costs 1.66 pennies earned. Even the shiny ones seem less lucky with numbers like that.

That’s Odd

social media by storm. When watching the clip, it’s hard not to jump into the car and grab the wheel. The 97-point turn by a woman in a BMW X3 who is trying to back out of a parking space takes four minutes to complete. After clipping one car nearby and finally getting out of the spot, the woman calmly drives away. Police in Calgary, Canada, also viewed the video and decided not to the let the world’s worst parker get away with her incompetence. They later found the driver and gave her a ticket for $115 for “unsafe backing.” It’s unclear if the owner of the Mazda 3 that was damaged in the woman’s trying attempt will be compensated. Be thankful that the woman hasn’t tried getting into a spot on Central Avenue on Friday.

Shoplifting Grandma Hit with Kindness

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On December 6, Alabama Police Officer William Stacy was called to the Dollar General store. He wasn’t too surprised. “We get shoplifting calls at Dollar General all the time,” he related. “Usually people are stealing things like makeup or phone chargers – not things they need to get by.” But when Officer Stacy got to the

DECEMBER 18, 2014

The State of Health—or “UnHealth”—in the U.S.

According to the 2014 America’s Health Rankings, Americans still have a lot to lose. Obesity has increased 153% since 1990, bringing this vital issue to the spotlight. Physical inactivity, diabetes, child poverty, and immunization coverage are also on the rise, according to the report. The analysis of the findings broke down the nation’s health by state by analyzing all sub-categories in each region. For the third consecutive year, Hawaii was named the healthiest state with low smoking and obesity rates, a low child poverty percentage, and low rates of cancer and cardiovascular deaths. Vermont came in as the second healthiest state, followed by Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Utah. Minnesota, New Hampshire, Colorado, North Dakota and Nebraska rounded out the top ten healthiest states in the nation. Mississippi, with many struggling with diabetes, smoking and obesity, is the unhealthiest state in the nation. Arkansas came in second, with Louisiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma following behind. Tennessee, West Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina and Indiana rounded out the top ten unhealthiest states in the nation.


the package won a personal endorsement from Obama and was brought before the Senate. The legislation locks in spending levels negotiated in recent years between Republicans and Democrats, and includes a number of provisions that reflect the priorities of one party or the other, from the environment to the legalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia. Some of the items tucked inside the bill include increases in the individual limits that donors can give to national parties to help fund conventions, building funds and legal proceedings, such as recounts. The change would effectively allow rich donors to give ten times more than they can today to support political parties. With this bill, local schools are given more flexibility on how they decide to include whole grain items on school menus. Taxpayer dollars are no longer allowed to be used for commissioning expensive portraits for committee chairs and other high-ranking government officials. Fresh vegetables were added to the WIC program, including white potatoes specifically, for those who need food assistance. Safety advocates wanted to require truck drivers to get a full two night’s sleep before beginning their new shift on the road; the bill blocks that requirement. Detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are barred from being transferred to any prisons in the U.S. And, according to the bill, federal money cannot be used by the Internal Revenue Service to target any advocacy group based on their ideological leanings. This practice is already not allowed, but Republicans wanted to underline it after internal documents showed that some IRS employees targeted some groups when investigating their tax-exempt status. The bill may be the last thing Republicans have to compromise over. Democrats will lose control of the Senate in January because of heavy losses in midterm elections last month and will go deeper into a House minority than at any time in nearly 70 years.


DECEMBER 18, 2014


scene, he was saddened to find Helen Johnson stealing eggs to feed her two daughters, niece and two young grandkids. The 47-year-old grandmother cried that her family hadn’t eaten since Thursday and the kindhearted police officer was moved. Instead of arresting Johnson, Stacy bought her a carton of eggs. Johnson tried to give Stacy the $1.25 she had in her pocket for the eggs, which cost $1.75 plus tax, but instead he asked only for a promise she wouldn’t shoplift again. She was shocked by the officer’s good deed. “I was like ‘Oh my G-d, thank you … for this man,” she said. “He is my hero.” Stacy’s act of kindness had a ripple effect. It was caught on video by another customer who posted it to Facebook and was viewed more than 960,000 times. After the incident, Stacy’s lieutenant helped Johnson sign up for the fire department’s toy drive which provides toys and food for families during the holiday season. But the goodness didn’t end there. By that Wednesday, donations had started to pour in from across the country for the family. “It took an entire shift to take all the stuff to her house and unload it,” Stacy says of the afternoon he spent delivering groceries to the Johnsons. “I’ve taken three Tahoe loads of food to her house, and I know a food bank came to bring her food.” Stacy hopes that others will be inspired to help those who are hungy. “It’s a rough city to live in,” Stacy says of Tarrant, Alabama. “There are a lot of people who need food.” Additionally, he hopes that folks will see police officers as real people who have kind hearts and generous spirits. “There’s a real trust issue between law enforcement and citizens right now, but hopefully this shows we are not robots who just want to arrest people,” Stacy says. “We have hearts – you have to have a big heart and clear conscience of mind to do this job.”

“I don’t see myself as a hero. I’m not a big fan of cameras and the spotlight, I just want to do my job, do it the right way, and spend time with friends and family,” he related, although others have called him “an angel in disguise.”

The Perfect Numbers These two girls will surely never forget their birthdates. At 10:11 a.m. on Saturday, Hazel Grace was born at a hospital in Cleveland, and Quincy Kessler was born at a hospital in Billings, Montana, making their birthdate and time of birth 10:11 12/13/14. Hazel is the daughter of Leisha Campbell of Cleveland who has three other children, Aubree, Adalynn, and Josalyn. “We knew she was going to be born today [Saturday], we just didn’t know it would be at 10:11 a.m.,” the new mom said. “Everyone is telling us we should play the lottery. We feel this is a lucky day.” In Montana, Quincy is preparing to go home with her parents, Trenton and Melida Kessler. “It’s pretty exciting,” said the girl’s mother. “That’s a really special birthday to have.” Kessler and Quincy are both doing well. The couple has one other daughter. It would be a cooler story if they weighed 15 pounds, 16 ounces (which we know really is 16 pounds!).

attempt at surprise. According to the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper, the fiancée said “yes” despite his clumsiness. After speaking with police, the couple traveled to Paris to celebrate. Amazingly, the story doesn’t end there. The crane fell yet again during attempts to right it with a larger crane, bashing in the rest of the neighbors’ roof. I am sure this proposal will be remembered in town forever, although they may not remember it too fondly.

Living Large—with a Lie

A Smashing Proposal Recently, a Dutchman proposed to his future fiancée with a bang. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the “bang” he was expecting. The unidentified man in the central town of Ijsselstein rented a crane, plan-



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ning to descend in front of his fiancée’s bedroom window first thing on Saturday morning, play her a song and then pop the question. Instead, the crane toppled over, smashing a large hole in the neighbors’ roof and waking them all. Thankfully, no one was injured in his



He called himself the teen wolf of Wall Street. Mohammed Islam, 17, from Queens claimed to have made tens of millions of dollars by trading stocks on his lunch breaks at Stuyvesant High School. The self-proclaimed millionaire spoke with New York magazine and was highlighted in its Monday issue. “The high eight figures,” he told the paper, when talking about his net worth. But all is not what it seems. Since the interview, many have questioned how he made all that dough in such a short time, and the teen was forced to admit that he lied about his worth and has not made any money on the stock market. During his interview, Islam said he bought himself a BMW but doesn’t have a license to drive it. And he rented a Manhattan apartment, though his parents, immigrants from the Bengal region of South Asia, won’t let him move out of the house

yet. “What makes the world go round?” Islam asked in the interview, explaining his preference for trading and investment over startups. “Money. If money is not flowing, if businesses don’t keep going, there’s no innovation, no products, no investments, no growth, no jobs.” Unfortunately for Islam, it’s not flowing his way. In the interview, Islam related that he and a pair of other young, Wall Street wolf-cub buddies eat regularly at hot spot Morimoto, where they enjoy $400 caviar and fresh-squeezed apple juice. They hope to start a hedge fund in June, after Islam turns 18 and can get his broker-dealer license. “Mo’s our maestro,” one of the kids explained. And they were not stopping at just “eight figures.” The three pals said they intend to make a billion dollars by next year. All while attending college. “But it’s not just about the money,” Islam told the mag, which ranked his spectacular success story as No. 12 in its 10th annual “Reasons to Love New York” issue. “We want to create a brotherhood. Like, all of us who are connected, who are in something together, who have influence,” Islam said. In the interview, Islam related that his biggest inspiration is Tudor Jones, a billionaire hedge-funder and private asset manager from Connecticut who ranks as the 108th-richest American, according to Forbes. Battered by losses, Jones would jump back in the game again and again. It was a lesson Islam found instructive when, while dabbling in penny stocks at age 9, he lost a chunk of the money he’d made tutoring. Islam swore off trading at the time. Fortunately for him, he said he then turned to studying modern finance, reading up on the titans of trading and ultimately finding inspiration in Jones. “I had been paralyzed by my loss,” Islam remembered of his 9-year-old self. “But [Jones] was able to go back to it, even after losing thousands of dollars over and over,” he said. And while Islam still needs to rely on Dad to chauffeur him on inspirational drives past the magnate’s Greenwich mansion, he’s quick to quote from the guru whom he credits with getting him back in the game and making him “who I am today.” “Paul Tudor Jones says, ‘You learn more from your losses than from your gains.’ ” Well, you know what Sinatra says, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” even if you are making it all up.


A: I get this question a lot and fairly so. Los Angeles has never been an inexpensive place to live and when you are looking to buy a home that is not what you want to hear (of course, once you’ve owned a home for a while and then want to sell, you will love the expensive Los Angles market). You may have other needs apart from the budget; you might want to be close to a shul, school, and kosher food and feel like you are part of a community. At the same time, unless you are comfortable renting for a very long time, you will likely have to branch out from the Beverlywood and Hancock Park areas in order to get the size home you need. I’m guessing that a three-bedroom home is the smallest you would consider, am I right? So where do you go? These are three areas I would like to bring your attention. The first and most established is Valley Village. Some people have lived in the valley for a long time but I’m seeing a new influx of first-time buyers heading to Valley Village and that makes good sense. The trailblazers have long ago established that community and there are choice of Jewish schools and kosher foods. I may know what you are thinking… the valley is nice and all but it’s so far from the rest of the city. And the traffic! While I cannot solve LA’s traffic problem in a sentence I would like to point out that Los Angeles has finally constructed a subway. The orange line can take you downtown from the Valley for a low fare and you spare your car some more mileage and get some work done on the train. For those of you still worried that the commute isn’t going to work, here is another option: Faircrest Heights, just east of La Cienega and north of Venice Blvd. A quick drive puts you

right on Pico and a mouthwatering selection of kosher restaurants and stores. Several schools are in easy carpooling distance. The homes in this area typically need some updating which is economical and a benefit in the process of buying a house and turning it into your family home. The chances are that any new home will want some improvement. Of course it takes time and money to fix and repair a house but the cheaper purchase price should mean you can create a remodel budget. The last area I should mention is for the more adventurous type. Between Olympic and Pico east of La Brea is an area that you may not know called Longwood Highlands. The homes need a little work but your dollar goes a lot further here than you would think and the neighborhood has some untapped charm. When you need kosher food you have Western Kosher, just down Pico along with schools for your kids. The obvious problem is that there is no shul or for that matter an established community. Don’t you kind of wish that there were already twelve families that had moved and set up a shul for the rest of us to join? Maybe you can start one and get to enjoy Friday night at your new, under $1,000,000, four-bedroom, four-bath house. If nothing else I hope this article has inspired you to look outside the box. No matter, where you buy a home the most important thing to keep in mind is that you get what you pay for. If something seems too good to be true then you need to whip out the magnifying glass and really examine what you are getting into. With that said, you can certainly find a decent home for under $1,000,000 without having to move to Alabama, and still be a part of the Los Angeles Jewish community.

Call or write Aaron with any questions you have regarding buying or selling real estate. Direct: 310-819-1545 Email: aaron.revere@elliman.com Website: aaronrevere.elliman.com

Question: I was recently rear-ended. At the scene of the accident, the driver apologized and accepted liability. The next day, his insurance company called me and recorded my statement. Soon afterwards, they sent me a notice denying liability. Can you explain this? Answer: Your question illustrates a key problem when dealing with an adverse insurance company. Many attorneys, myself included, will tell you that discussing the accident with the other driver’s insurance company is often a bad idea. Let’s begin by explaining what typically transpires behind the scenes after an auto accident. After you’ve exchanged information with the other driver, you are supposed to report the accident to your own insurance company, and the other driver should do the same. After you report the accident, the insurance company will gather the basic facts, and assign the case to an adjuster. The adjuster’s job is to investigate the accident further. He or she will determine liability; evaluate the damage to the car; and whether there are any compensable injuries. By law, insurance companies must set aside reserves once they are notified of a potential claim. The amount of the reserves will vary depending on the extent of the property damage or injuries sustained in the accident. Because the insurance company must prepare itself for the possibility of paying a claim, its representatives will move quickly to ascertain the extent of any financial liability related to the claim. This explains why you received a call from the other driver’s insurance company relatively soon after the accident. The adjuster took your statement, and after evaluating the facts and circumstances, determined that you were at fault. And this prompts the question of whether it is wise to discuss the case with the other driver’s insurance company. In my experience, the answer is usually no. Adjusters are trained in investigation and framing the narrative in a way that benefits the insurance company. Keep in mind that the insurance company’s goal is to maximize profits by keeping down its expenses, like any other business. A claim is an expense, so don’t be surprised if the insurance tries to pay as little as possible on the claim, or finds creative ways not to pay it at all. With this underlying goal in mind, the adjuster will ask you detailed questions about the accident, looking for ways to minimize the company’s financial liability, or eliminate it completely. I have seen cas-

es in my practice where an adjuster asked leading questions to my clients in an effort to pin liability on them. This might explain what happened in your case, and it probably would not have happened if you hired an attorney to represent you. For these reasons, it’s important to discuss your case with an attorney who knows how to negotiate with an insurance company. Ideally, this should be done before discussing the case with the insurance company, and most personal injury attorneys will offer a free initial consultation. If you hire the attorney to represent you, he or she will handle all communications between you and the insurance company so your interests are protected. Even if you were not injured, it’s worth calling an attorney to discuss your case and make sure you are not prejudicing your rights. Take the following example from my practice: My client was stopped in rush hour traffic on the freeway, when he was rear-ended at close to 70 miles per hour by a driver who was not paying attention. Thankfully, my client’s injuries were not severe, but he was hospitalized and missed several weeks from work as he recovered from his debilitating pain. It was a traumatic experience. In the days after the accident, the atfault driver’s insurance company took my client’s statement. The company accepted liability in the case, but offered my client a few hundred dollars to settle it. When my office took over the case, we made it clear to the adjuster that his insulting offer was insufficient. Through tough negotiating, I settled the case for substantially more than the adjuster originally offered. My client was satisfied that he had been fairly compensated for his injuries and lost income. Adjusters are not attorneys. They may be unaware of an important point of law or court decision affecting your case when evaluating liability or offering a settlement to you. Whether it’s a car accident, dog bite, or slip and fall on someone’s property, the adjuster’s job is to close the case as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many accident victims are taken advantage of in the process. Remember that, under California law, you have two years to settle with the insurance company after an accident. There is no rush to answer the adjuster’s questions—you are well within your rights to discuss the case with an attorney first to ensure your rights are protected. Michael Rubinstein is a Los Angeles based accident attorney. Visit his website at www.mrubinsteinlaw.com, or contact him at Michael@mrubinsteinlaw.com, or by calling 213-293-6075.

DECEMBER 18, 2014

Aaron Revere, Realtor


Where can I buy a house in Los Angeles for less than $1,000,000?

Should You Discuss The Accident With The Other Driver’s Insurance?


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