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The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

do your children come home from school


Even if they ate breakfast? And lunch? And snack? Thousands of Jewish children are really starving, because they eat next to nothing all day. Their parents are so poor; they can barely afford bread - and often stretch a single loaf to feed many mouths. The children go to bed hungry and wake up ravenous, with no chance of stilling the rumbling in their bellies. You have the power to feed them. You. Yes, you.

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The Week In News


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

JEWISH THOUGHT Nachas: One on One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Proactive Parenting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16


Live Your Life: How the World Runs on Israeli Products and The Antidote to the BDS Movement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Animal Trivia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

LIFESTYLES Kabbalist Or Charlatan? The Life And Times Of ‘Dr.’ Samuel Falk, The ‘Baal Shem Of London’. . . . . . . . . 24 Travel Guide: Orlando. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Winter Discoveries at the Beverly Hills Farmers Market. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Unfold your Strength and Reach Your Vision . . . . 32 Recipe Page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

NEWS That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30




DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers, This week’s note is dedicated to the biggest wonder of creation; a survivor, a remnant of an ancient nation, the Jew. As we mark the tenth of Teves, the encircling of Jerusalem by the Babylonian armies, let us focus on the positive. The Jewish survivor. The fighter, who in each generation, picked up what remained and focused on rebuilding. It is this survivor, a literal ud mutzal m’eish, a firebrand saved from fire, who is the hero of our people. The Jew has been through it all. His people, once fully independent, enjoyed their own land with a grand house of worship where they were visited and honored by all. Attacked and then uprooted from their Promised Land, wave after wave of Jewish communities were taken to foreign countries and cultures, into a bitter exile. There were golden times, and there were dark ages, with some host governments appreciating the blessings of having a Jewish population, and others opting to use their Jewish citizens as scapegoats to blame all ills. Within the Jewish nation as well, there were years of unity and shared vision of an eternal Torah given at Sinai, and there were years the mitzvot were looked upon with contempt. Yet after each period of suffering

there arose a generation of determined survivors. Determined to establish the next generation of Jews. Untiring in their efforts to keep alive the teachings of the Torah. In our century we owe everything we have to those persecuted during the destruction and terror that was the Holocaust. They could have given up entirely, or focus on their victimhood and entitlement. Nobody could blame them. They had every excuse to become angry, vengeful and lifeless. Yet our grandparents did not give in. They rebuilt the Jewish world child by child, family by family, and community by community. One who hadn’t heard of the Holocaust would think that Jews were always a large, thriving and successful community here in America. Surely, the many miracles the Jewish people are currently experiencing is in their honor. We salute you. We honor you. And we hope that in the very near future you will be given the ultimate honor when we return to our land and G-d himself says to each one personally nitzchuni banai nitzchuni, you have bested me my children, you have bested me. May we have a joyous and purposeful Shabbos,


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

The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

has your child ever cried over


How about bread, you know, for breakfast? Or chicken, for dinner? This may shock you, but hunger is not rare at all. There are thousands of families that live well below the poverty line. They face extreme financial difficulty on a daily basis, and don’t earn enough to feed their hungry young children. You have the power to feed them. You. Yes, you.

mesamchelev.org Drawing date is January 5, 2016 Call: 877.686.1313 Visit: mesamchelev.org


TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

LA Hakhel Unity in Support of Educators LA. While Segal’s carving station was busy with non-stop requests for platefuls of his award-winning menu, attendees learned of the intricacies of authentic barbecue and wined and dined on an amazing spread prepared together with Segal by Dovid Lieder, of the LA Kosher Catering service bearing his name. Those gathered then made their way to the Cheder’s auditorium for the highlight of the evening, a roundtable symposium on Chinuch led by Rabbi Jacobson and Rabbi Lieberman. “Rabbi Jacobson’s success at resonating with today’s parents with his My Life series made him an obvious choice for the night’s symposium,” said Mendel Schwartz, the evening’s MC and an organizer of the event. “Coupled with Rabbi Lieberman’s unique and insightful style, the symposium was a breath of fresh air for those parents looking for insight and guidance with regard to raising their budding families.” Organizers said their goal was to raise money which will be distributed as grants to teachers at both LA’s Cheder Menachem Boys School, and Bais Chaya Mushka,

Photos: Joelle Diament Photography

The Los Angeles community came out to show support for their teachers at the second annual Corks & Forks event, a community-wide unity and Hakhel gathering hosted jointly by Cheder Menachem and Bais Chaya Mushka. The fundraiser was created to show special appreciation and support to the teachers who make these schools academically strong and outstanding in the promotion of Torah values and the teachings of the Rebbe. This year’s event was unique as it highlighted the idea of Hakhel and unity among the Los Angeles community in Chinuch  along with appreciation of those educating our children. Headlining the event from Kansas City was Kosher pit master Mendel Segal (RaBBi-Q), and from New York and Boston, were Rabbis Simon Jacobson and Moshe Lieberman, respectively. The barbecued fare included premium barbecued brisket sponsored by Tevya’s Ranch. This had the crowd abuzz and the brisket was paired appropriately with a collection of premium and rare Herzog wines, sponsored by the Herzog Family,


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LA’s Chabad School for Girls. “Our large pool of event sponsors, comprising of both businesses and community members, has allowed us to create an event in which all segments of the community can participate and enjoy an upscale evening benefiting our schools,” said Yechezkel Raeburn, another of the event’s organizers. “We’re not raising money for building expansions and fancy curricula,” said Levy Lieberman during an impassioned speech at the closing of the event, “we are investing in the basics. This is an investment we know will reap returns for generations to come.”

“To witness the community’s participation in this endeavor is heartwarming,” Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum, Dean of Cheder Menachem agreed. “To see such hakoras hatov from all segments of the community, in the true spirit of Hakhel, certainly gives the Rebbe a tremendous amount of nachas. It is a zechus we can all share and be proud of. It is my fervent hope that this momentum continues to move us forward, so that we can carry on showing our teachers the respect and appreciation they truly deserve.”

TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

First Desalination Plant Opens in Carlsbad On December 15th, the Encina Power Station was dedicated by Israeli water company, IDE Technologies who are working on another 10 plants across the country. IDE Americas Inc. CEO, Mark Lambert explained that the opening of the facility is, “putting the Pacific on tap for San Diego County, bolstering the region’s water reliability for decades to come.” Located in San Diego County near Carlsbad, the Encina plant, “will provide 50 million gallons of desalinated seawater per day. The privately financed project will produce enough drinking water for 300,000 San Diegans annually and provide the county with approximately 10 percent of its total water supply.” This is the first facility, but another at Huntington Beach is being built, with the goal of becoming operational by 2019. Located adjacent to the AES Huntington Beach Power Station, this second facility should provide 50 million gallons of fresh water every day. The new desalination plants will provide water that will meet or exceed all state and federal drinking water standards. A three month study on the Californian water crisis has been underway by NBC’s San Francisco Bay Area Investigation team. The findings are flowing; the solution to the water shortage is not that we are without rain but that we are enmeshed in bureaucracy. This means that innovative solutions and business models that could ease drought implications are being pushed to the side in favor of the status quo. As the water goes down the plug, hopes for a timely response are being washed away. Meanwhile, it could be decades until we have sufficient rainfall to support the current status quo. In October, the NBC reporting team made an official visit to Israel where they saw first- hand the successful Israeli innovations. Israel has now the ability to produce more water than the country needs. Rain is not the farmers’ greatest dilemma. This does not mean that the same actions would work for California. Every region has their unique needs, geography and rainfall. On the other hand, it is clear that the sunshine state needs to blend elements of desalination and recycling and increase the speed of the permitting process to increase long-term water viability. Californian, Stephen DeBerry, is founder and CIO of Bronze Investments and spoke to the NBC investigators while they were visiting Israel, saying, “I think we (the State of California) have got to get out of our own way. There’s no shortage of capital in Silicon Valley. There’s no shortage of innovation. There’s no shortage of people. This is what we excel at.” Trevi Systems CEO, John Webley, knows his state-of-the-art water technology “forward osmosis” system incorporates

a desalinated water plant that is energy efficient. “We’re trying to get it down to about a quarter of the energy as reverse osmosis,” Webley explained. “That’s a big savings.” This year Trevi Systems received a grant from the California Energy Commission to treat Orange County wastewater but they found the permitting of other local projects was too cumbersome. In-

stead, an Abu Dhabi consortium purchased the system and placed a multi-million dollar order for a plant that makes 50 tons of water a day. Meanwhile, Israel, with nearly a fifth of the population of California, has five desalination plants in action.


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TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Hungarian State Secretary Visits Los Angeles On December 5th Congregation Bais Naftoli hosted the Honorable Szabolcs Takacs, Hungarian State Secretary for Eu-

ropean Union Affairs and Ambassador Extraordinary for the Prime Minister. Ambassador Takacs was presented

with a Certificate of Appreciation by attorney Andrew Friedman, President of the synagogue, for the recent vote of Hungary

taking the side of Israel on the issue of labeling of products at the European Union. In accepting the Commemoration, Ambassador Takacs enumerated the efforts of Hungary to fight anti-Semitism, which is currently on the rise in Europe. The Ambassador said that Hungary has zero tolerance for anti-Semitism and noted that Holocaust education is taught in the national curriculum.

Takacs also met with the USC Shoah Foundation, The Holocaust Museum, The Los Angeles Hungarian House and the American Jewish University and noted that Hungary is chairing the International Holocaust Alliance in Brussels, an organization of more than 30 countries. The Alliance was designed to combat anti-Semitism. On December 21st Hungary made another statement of its aversion to anti-semitism when it cancelled plans to erect a statue honoring a notorious anti-semite, Bálint Hóman. The decision was made in light of public opposition by local Hungarian civil society organizations, Jewish advocacy groups, and the U.S. State Department. Human Rights First’s Susan Corke said of the decision, “The cancelation of this statue is an important signal that antisemitism will not be tolerated.”

TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Chaverim of Los Angeles: Always There for You Yehudis Litvak The mother was frantic. She pulled the car door, then tried another one, but all of them were locked. Her baby was inside the car, but so were her keys. She couldn’t open the car from the outside. How would she get her baby out? Fortunately, her friend called Chaverim of Los Angeles. The Chaverim members “literally came flying in,” says the mother. “[C]ompetent and efficient – wasting no time opening my car door.” The grateful mother wrote a letter thanking Chaverim. “Please don’t ever think that what you do is ‘simple’ or merely ‘helpful,’” she wrote. “In this case, you really spared a potentially disastrous situation.” Chaverim of Los Angeles has helped many local parents in similar emergencies. “It happens to the best of us,” explained Ari Friedman, one of the founders. It’s easy for a toddler playing with the buttons on the car keys to lock himself inside. Cars heat up very quickly, especially here in Los Angeles, and such a lock out is a true emergency. Fortunately for our com-

munity, Chaverim members are available to help immediately. Since September 2011, Chaverim has been serving the Hancock Park, Pico, and Valley Village neighborhoods. Chaverim also accepts non-emergency requests for assistance with lock outs, as well as car trouble, such as jump starts, flat tires, and running out of gas. About 95% of the calls are car-related, says Friedman. But some calls are unusual, such as a squirrel stuck inside a house or a remote control helicopter stuck in a tree. Once, Chaverim members used magnets to help somebody find jewelry that fell into a drain. Another time, they helped a family install an electric generator in their house, as a back-up power

source for a family member who was on a ventilator. Another area of Chaverim activities is helping with missing person searches. In this event Chaverim teams up with Hatzolah of Los Angeles. Hatzolah coordinates the search, and Chaverim provides additional resources. They dispatch volunteers who join the search, either by car or by foot. In addition to its own members, Chaverim also maintains a database of community members who are able to assist in a missing person search. Sometimes the situation is categorized as critical, for instance, when the person is elderly or ill and disoriented. In such cases, additional volunteers are crucial. Chaverim of Los Angeles is modeled after similar organizations in other cities, but it is an independent organization. It was founded in response to a need within the local community. “We as individuals had received many phone calls about lockouts,” says Friedman. When asked why people called them personally, Friedman responds, “Our guys are just those people

easy. simple. cash.


that would be there whenever there was a need for a lot of things.” Eventually, the number of requests for help exceeded their time constraints, and so Friedman teamed up with Chaim Adelman to form Chaverim. They reached out to Chaverim chapters of Baltimore and Lakewood, which were very helpful with establishing procedures. Currently, Chaverim of Los Angeles responds to approximately four or five calls daily. A registered non-profit organization, Chaverim is funded by donations. Their services are free of charge. Volunteers are provided with all the necessary equipment. Chaverim of Los Angeles is looking to expand its reach. Currently, the organization has fourteen active members, but with an ever-increasing call volume, it’s not enough, explained Friedman. What does it take to become a volunteer? You need to be somewhat handy and to pass a criminal background check. The applications to become a Chaverim volunteer or to join Chaverim search database can be found on their website: http://chaverimla.org.



TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

A Revolution in Olam HaTorah, Share in Torah In an historic event, the Los Angeles community eagerly awaits the January 5th arrival, on the 25th of Tevet, of Chaver Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah HaGaon HaRav Berel Povarsky, Rosh Yeshivas Ponevezh and HaGaon HaRav Asher Weiss Av Beis Din of Darchei Torah. At 7:30 pm, this exclusive meeting will take place at Kanner Hall at Congregation Shaarei Tefila. The event brings to the local community the great zchus to engage with Gedolei HaTorah Rav Povarsky and Rav Weiss in celebration of Torah learning in Eretz Yisrael. This revolutionary campaign, called Share in Torah, unites 326 kollels and yeshivas from across Eretz Yisrael in a fundraising initiative representing all communities ─ Litvish and Chassidish, Ashkenazi and Sefardi. The goal is to strengthen Torah learning in Eretz Hakodesh. “Essentially, we’ve created the world’s biggest yeshiva, comprising 30,000 students representing all of Klal Yisrael,” says founder and Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Rav Yitzchak Pindrus. “Every Jew around the world can partner in the Torah of 30,000 people who are sitting and learning in Eretz Yisrael.” The idea is as simple as it is revolutionary. Instead of every small and middle-sized yeshivah sending a representative abroad to

raise the 40 percent of its budget that isn’t covered by government funding and tuition, hundreds of yeshivas pool together and work through one centralized fundraising arm. Member institutions pay NIS 10 ($2.50) per student per month to cover expenses and then divide all proceeds proportionately, based on the number of students. The only criterion for joining is that bochurim and avreichim learn Torah a full day. The partnership represents all of Am Yisrael under one ‘financial roof’ – with institutions from as south as Eilat and as north as Metullah. Under guidance from leading gedolim including Harav Shalom Cohen, Harav Shmuel Leizer Stern, and the son of Harav Chaim Kanievsky, Share in Torah seeks to ease the burden on smaller Torah institutions, particularly those without foreign benefactors or



the distinguished talmidei chachomim of Kollel Chatzos gather in locations across the globe. During the darkest hours, when the rest of the world sleeps, they immerse themselves in vibrant Torah learning, bringing zechusim and yeshuos to klal yisroel.


Things quickly spiraled out of control. Spending worried nights in the hospital, I missed the simple days when I all I was dealing with was coughs and sniffles. As the doctor’s reports became increasingly frightening, I turned to Kollel Chatzos.


I’ll spare you the details; the only thing that matters is that 5 days later my daughter left the hospital alive and on her way to complete health. When the doctor who had predicted the worst noticed us heading to the exit, he raised his arms and exclaimed, “A case like your daughter’s leaves me with no choice but to call it an ‘incredible miracle!’”




I nodded, thanked him for his dedication, and whispered to my daughter, “We call it a Kollel-Chatzos-inspired miracle!”

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The winter blues descended on my home, and I spent 2 weeks ladling steaming chicken soup and dispensing tissues to my children, each of whom contracted a different cold or virus. I was more than fed up when the worst case of all hit: my daughter came down with pneumonia.


an established alumni network. These are the institutions struggling most over the last couple of years, as government subsidies to yeshivas have been slashed and parents’ child-allocation payments have been decimated. Rav Pindrus, former mayor of Beitar Ilit, explained, “Before this new [government] coalition, we were only getting 15% of our budgets covered by the government, compared to 85% that secular schools get at comparable grade levels. Assuming that the new budget passes – which we won’t know until the end of the 2015 calendar year - we’ll be getting 30 percent, maybe 35%. True, that’s a significant increase. But it still leaves the yeshivas with 65-70 percent of their budgets to raise.” Rav Harav Meir Zakbach, a senior official at Yeshivas Pe’er Moshe in Petach Tik-

vah, said the situation has become particularly trying. “We get NIS 200 ($50) a month per student,” Rav Zakbach said incredulously. “That is supposed to cover three meals a day, their Rabbis, dorm counsellors, electric bills for dorm rooms that all have air conditioners.” Yeshivas Pe’er Moshe was founded over 30 years ago by Harav Moshe Pinto as a Sefardi yeshiva attracting students from across Israel, many of whom come from poor, secular homes. “It’s impossible to ask [parents] for much,” he said. “They don’t have the means. Their socio-economic standing is very, very low. Besides, many of them are not religious and if you push them too hard on tuition, they’ll simply pull the kids.” With Share in Torah, this yeshiva and hundreds more can benefit from unified support. They can then continue teaching Torah in our merit. “Every Jew around the world can partner in the Torah of 30,000 people who are sitting and learning in Eretz Yisrael, each in accordance with his ability to give,” said Rav Pindrus. “It could be $500 a year, $1,000 a year, $10,000, and they all have a share in Toras Eretz Yisrael. Torah learning everywhere is important, but Gedolei Yisrael have taught us that Toras Eretz Yisrael is unique.”

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TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Kollel Chatzos Meron Celebrates Siyum on Seder Kodashim Uplifting Siyum Was a Source of Chizuk for Kollel Members and Their Families There was a deep feelings of joy and gratitude to Hashem for the privilege of learning his holy Torah at the uplifting siyum on Seder Kadoshim that the choshuva talmidei chachamim of Kollel Chatzos Meron, one of four Kollel Chatzos branches worldwide, celebrated. Kollel Chatzos Meron is widely renowned as a rare makom Torah where extraordinary yungerleit from Tzfas toil in Torah at the auspicious hour of chatzos. The specialness of the hour is compounded by the holy location where the learning takes place, the tzion of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who discusses the greatness of chatzos many times in his hallowed work, the Zohar. The uplifting siyum served as a source of chizuk for the chashuva yungerleit and their wives, who sacrifice, with devotion, to enable their husbands to toil in Torah at this special time of night. A rich meal was served in honor of the occasion. The attendees broke out in impromptu song, singing niggunim of ahavas haTorah and thanks to Hashem for the unparalleled zchus of learning Torah at chatzos. Inspiring speeches were given throughout the meal, with each of the speakers extolling the greatness of limud haTorah in general, the chashivus of learning at Chatzos in particular, and above all, the exceptional zchus of Torah at the holy tzion of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. The speakers included Reb Shimon Halperin, menahel of Kollel Chatzos Meron, who served as master of ceremonies; Rav Dovid Zev Reich, Av Beis Din of Sanz in Tzfas and a regular guest at the

kollel; Rav Eliezer Ehrenster, Av Beis Din of Kiryas Meor HaChaim of Tzfas with several choshuva sons who learn in Kollel Chatzos; and Rav Yehuda Meir Halperin from Bnei Brak, who himself arises at chatzos and is the father of the menahel of the kollel, Reb Shimon. Finally, the Nadvorna Rebbe of Tzfas imparted divrei bracha to the attendees. The speakers also praised the members of the hanhala of Kollel Chatzos who expend great effort for the hatzlacha of the kollel, specifically Rav Nechemia Hoffman, the founder of the kollelim, who works day and night to ensure the success of the four branches worldwide. Special emphasis was placed on the role played by the wives of the kollel members, who all accept extra responsibilities upon themselves without complaint to enable their husbands to learn at the special hour of chatzos. One of the esteemed speakers stated, “We know that this is not easy for the wives, but you should know that all of the Torah is only in your zchus. We cannot fathom the nachas that the Torah learned at chatzos, especially at such a holy site, creates in the upper worlds, and the zchus of all of it is applied to the women who are assembled here tonight.” Beautiful gifts were given to the kollel members in honor of the completion of yet another masechta, and to their wives to underscore that all of the Torah is made possible only thanks to their mesiras nefesh. To conclude the event, a beautiful slide presentation with footage of the talmidei chachamim learning at the kever of Rashbi was shown to the women, to give them a glimpse into the elevated atmosphere that

reigns at the kollel every night. The attendees of the siyum left uplifted and inspired, with renewed vigor to continue their learning in the winter weeks ahead. May the zchus of the Torah learned nightly at the tzion of Rabbi Shimon Bar

Yochai at the powerful hour of chatzos continue to bring blessing for the choshuva kollel members, the Yidden who partner with their learning, and all of Klal Yisroel.

and we became close with everyone and also with the teachers who came along. At one point we went outside and the clouds parted and it

was completely silent but the stars were so bright. It was a memorable weekend.”

Valley Torah Girls Enjoy a Mountain Retreat The Dovid Oved Retreat Center in Running Springs, nestled in the forest of the San Bernardino Mountains, proved to be the perfect location for the Valley Torah Girls School Shabbaton. Nature, spirituality and friendship came together to produce a memorable and enriching experience for all. The Shabbaton was held over the December 4th weekend when the high school students relocated to a large cabin in the middle of this pristine nature spot filled with pine trees and starry skies. There, they had an opportunity to connect, learn and be inspired. It was cold outside, but there was excellent food and warmth inside. Rachel Factor, a well-known Jewish lec-

turer and performer, joined the Shabbaton after flying to Los Angeles from Israel. She shared her spiritual journey from Broadway to Judaism and the girls were intrigued by her story and spellbound by her post Shabbat performance. All through the weekend, Factor spoke with the students about the changes in her life which happened when she met her husband and converted and became religious. Elinor Shalom is a 9th Grade student who attended the Shabbaton. She said, “I danced so much and we were all in high spirits but all through the weekend we enjoyed listening to Rachel Factor. She was mesmerizing. I loved her. She was so interesting and her music is great. There must have been 60 of us or more


TheHappenings Week In News


DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Porter Ranch Gas Leak; No Clarity, No Solution Ruth Judah On October 23rd, a gas leak was detected at the Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon facility. The leak is substantial, approximately 80,000 tons of methane gas was lost into the atmosphere during the first month, which equates to 25% of the entire Californian ordinary methane emission over the same period. Methane gas is considered to be a greenhouse gas and is substantially more potent than carbon dioxide in the first two decades after its release. Methane doesn’t stay in the atmosphere which is good, but it effectively absorbs the sun’s heat and warms the atmosphere. This is not good. The methane gas that is being emitted is the primary component of natural gas that is released by the earth and by our bodies and is non-toxic and odorless. However, the chemical, mercaptan, is added to gas for easy detection, and this odor is now in the local air. Sulfurous, some say it smells like rotting vegetables or smelly socks; the short of it is that the scent can be overwhelming. If this wasn’t serious enough, the Porter Ranch residents are also facing certain ill-effects from another odorant which is being used to detect the leak. Porter Ranch is an upscale neighborhood, in the far northwest of the San Fernando Valley, just north of Northridge.

Windy and normally blessed with pristine air, the last months have left many Porter Ranch residents with medical conditions, most notably nausea, headaches and nosebleeds. Northridge shuls, along with Chabad of Porter Ranch, are the synagogues which

are enjoyed by the Porter Ranch Jewish community. Rabbi Yochonon Baitelman is the shliach for Chabad of Porter Ranch. As a result of the gas leak, he was concerned that the Jewish community would stay home rather than enjoy the annual Chanukah party. He was pleased that more than 400 attended, although the conversation was largely focused on the gas leak. Everyone’s story was heard and different

solutions are being worked out. Rabbi Baitelman is as frustrated as anyone by the status quo, but he sees the greatest problem is ambiguity. He explained, “This is disconcerting to say the least. I would hope that we would have the technology and knowledge to deal with situations such as this. There has to be clarity and the politicians and leadership need to work together to find a clear solution. “One of the greatest themes of Torah is Truth. That is the primary goal of every individual. The Rebbe’s hope and wish is that we bring clarity to the world. This is the world of Moshiach when there will ultimately be transparent light for the world’s

populations, where goodness and kindness will flourish. In the meantime, the world is clamoring for guidance, be it a gas leak or other dysfunction in our communities. We need leaders who can guide us during these tumultuous times. How long will it take to rectify the situation? The Gas Company are sending weekly letters to the residents but the only thing that is clear is that there is no

answer. America is a leader in technology, but technical know-how seems to be missing at Porter Ranch. Latest reports confirm the plan is to drill a relief well to seal the leak, and then to plug the entire well with cement. Gas company spokesman, Javier Mendoza, said they have received 4,550 calls about temporary housing. Mendoza confirmed that approximately 1,800 households have been moved to hotels or other temporary accommodations, and nearly 1,200 more are considering their options. Those relocating are booking for three month stays and it might take far longer before they can return home. Meanwhile, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has received more than 1,500 complaints of foul odors since the leak was detected, said spokesman Sam Atwood. On December 18th, the Board of Education approved plans to relocate students from Porter Ranch Community School and Castlebay Lane Charter School after winter break. The LA County Board of Supervisors has now declared a State of Emergency over the site of the leaking well, which means that additional funds can be made available to fix the problem. Arlene Stein is a resident from Porter Ranch who is relocating to temporary housing in Sherman Oaks as a result of the gas leak. She shared her thoughts on the situation, “This situation is proof of the importance of clean energy. Everyone should let their political representatives know we must end urban oil drilling throughout California and switch to safer, cleaner alternative energy sources, before we destroy our environment.”

Misameach Inaugurates West Coast Branch In Los Angeles Rabbi Aryeh D. Gordon Misameach is an organization operating in the New York and New Jersey areas since 2007. Their mission is to

bring smiles to the faces of sick children and their families. On Sunday, November 29th, Misameach inaugurated its West



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Coast branch. Misameach’s West Coast director is Rabbi Menachem Weiss who is spearheading the operations in Los Angeles. The first activity was the hospital visit by four Misameach volunteers who paid a visit to the prestigious Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where a four year old girl enjoyed the joy and cheer brought on by the talented and energetic Misameach participants. They came in costume and with live music, dancing, singing and juggling for the little girl. At first, she was shy but soon she burst into smiles as the music started. By the time the group left, the smallest patient was happy and relaxed. Then she was given a gift. The Misameach group stayed for an hour, but the impression they left, will last for months. In conjunction with their first bedside visit, Misameach inaugurated their

multimedia lending library, which is located in the main Jewish neighborhood of Lost Angeles. The library contains hundreds of hours of entertainment for bedridden and home bound children and adults alike. It is the fourth branch, with the others operating on the East Coast. Misameach is excited to bring its operations to Los Angeles where they can help cholim and their families. Their services will expand as the need arises, but one thing is for sure; they are certain they will leave no stone unturned in their quest to spread smiles and joy wherever they go. For more information on Misameach’s West Coast branch, contact Rabbi Menachem Weiss at 818 809 7893 Website: www.misameach.org Email: info@ mismeach.com

TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Consul General Siegel and Dennis Prager Speak at the JNF Annual Breakfast

The crowds were greeted by Israeli music which procured nostalgia and anticipation as attendees streamed into the massive, tripartite hall. The 10th Annual JNF Breakfast invited Jews of all professions, backgrounds and affiliations to indulge in a gourmet breakfast, while presenting on their contributions to Israeli society and to Israeli-American relations. Despite the fact that doors opened at 6.45am, nearly 1,400 people attended, a great contrast to the first year which included just 40 people. The event was sponsored by the law firm Lurie and Seltzer, who helped raise funds to support “the land and people of Israel.” Barak Lurie, board member of the Los Angeles division of JNF, called the event “a great success” given the volume of attendees. The goal was to raise a billion dollars towards a ten year campaign to transform Israel. Israel’s Consul General in Los Angeles, David Siegel, was the first to speak and he talked about Chanukah being a season of miracles. He explained that Chanukah reminds us of the hope that was invested in a small canister of oil. This hope has become reawakened into a modern day miracle—the rebuilding of the Jewish homeland. As of now, we have the miracle of Israel’s Arrow 3 System which intercepts missiles beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. We also have the miracle of Israel’s sustainable water, and many other modern day miracles flourish before our very eyes. The Consul General elaborated on JNF’s role in expanding Israel’s indispensability to the U.S. Siegel highlighted JNF’s role in assisting the U.S. in efforts towards water conservation, cybersecurity, ecosystem conservation, technological innovation and economic development. Siegel fur-

ther spoke about Israel’s critical role in the Middle East in combatting the grip of modern terrorism. The featured speaker was Dennis Prager whose address required him to skip the first segment of his nationally syndicated radio show. Prager tried to justify why the Jews are the chosen people and explained that it is by virtue of the difficult mission that we carry. If you are not religiously inclined, how do you explain Jew hatred? This hatred, he insisted, is synonymous with hatred of the state of Israel. Why is Israel an isolated nation, singled out obsessively as the object of scornful detestation? The Chinese see themselves as the center of the world, and the Japanese believe they are the land of the rising sun. No one hates them for this. Despite being one of the smallest nations in the world, Jews and Israel have aroused a great degree of enmity throughout history. Prager noted that, “We are hated for that doctrine because they believe it. There is no other explanation.” The father of Saeed Faroukh, the terrorist in the San Bernadino massacre, has publicly confirmed his sons’ obsession with Israel. Prager noted, ‘That’s all you needed to know about him. You know his

entire moral structure.” Prager reiterated that Islamic terrorism is not a Jewish problem. Not only are these terrorists a danger to Jews but they are also a danger to humanity. Prager shared an interesting parable that summarizes history. A miner sees a canary has died of toxic fumes. Now, the miner who thinks the noxious fumes are just the canary’s problem, will die as well. The miner who thinks that the gases are the canary’s fault is also a dead man. So it was with Nazi Germany where the German people were hurt by the war more than other countries such as England and Scandinavia. So it is with countries that breed hatred of Israel and terror. If they don’t battle the disease of terror from within, they will be confronted with it themselves. Prager noted that even though the academia breeds intolerance against Israel, Jews continue to advocate and support the sending of their children to university. If parents insist on sending their children, they ought, at minimum, to maintain a gap year after high school so that the young formidable minds can recognize the inherent falsity of anti-Israeli verbiage and formulate their own opinions. Prager described college campuses as

moral wastelands full of anti-Israel rancor. He recalled how in a famous Oxford University Forum, he was invited to debate on, “Hamas or Israel: Who is the greater threat to peace in the Middle East?” His opponent was none other than an Israeli professor. He figured the topic was absurdly pro-Israel and yet the students voted against Israel, 250 to 150, on whether Israel is a great threat to peace in the Middle East. The apartheid lie is, today, our generations’ ‘blood libel’ equivalent, he proclaimed. He quoted a black member of South African parliament who appeared in Prager University, an online database of 5 minute segments conducted by Prager with visiting guests. The Parliament member spoke with disgust against the apartheid claims, “You cheapen my suffering under apartheid.” While in Israel, the man needed to be treated at a hospital and he received the same exact service as the Palestinians and Israelis alongside him in the hospital beds. Finally, Prager concluded with a plea for more Jews to visit Israel. Prager’s recent tour of Israel was a trip enjoyed by 450 Christians and 50 Jews who joined him on the vacation to Israel in the height of the November stabbings. “Just show up,” he contended. “That’s what you have to do right now more than anything else.”



The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

One cold winter day, one hundred and fifty years ago, in the Polish city of Gura Kalvarya, the Chiddushei Horim was attending the bris milah of his great-grandson. The great Gerrer Rebbe lost most of his children and took nothing for granted. He loved his grandson, the baal simchah, who would later become known as the Sefas Emes. He had adopted his grandson, who lost both his parents before he was eight years old. With obvious joy, the Chiddushei Horim looked at the newborn baby, who was named Avrohom Mordechai and eventually became known as the Imrei Emes. He gazed at the child and commented, “What more can a person hope for? We see that when the Torah wants to tell the extent of Yosef’s blessings, it says that he merited to help raise his great-grandchildren, the sons of Mochir ben Menashe, as Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel explains (Bereishis 50:23).” An astute chossid understood the rebbe’s cryptic message. The Torah writes of the birth of Yosef’s grandchildren in Mitzrayim as “yuldu al birkei Yosef,” which would seem to mean that they were born on his lap. Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel translates the word “yuldu” as “gazrinun,” indicating that the posuk is referring to the fact that Yosef was sandek at their brisos. “Rebbe,” the chossid called out, “Targum Onkelos says that ‘yuldu Yosef’ means ‘rabi Yosef,’ that Yosef merited to help raising the grandchildren. Why suffice with being sandek?” The rebbe sighed heavily and did not respond. The answer to why he quoted the translation of Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel and not Targum Onkelos became clear when he passed away two months later. He had merited serving as his grandson’s sandek, but he did not get to watch him grow up. Since the time of the Avos, the prime Jewish aspiration has been to merit raising and enjoying nachas from future generations. The essence of Yiddishkeit is when we succeed in transmitting it to the next generation. Parents throughout history, in all parts of the world, parted from their children during wartime with the same final request: Remain an ehrliche Yid. Nothing marks a life as well-lived as much as the joy of seeing generations carrying forth the mesorah started at Har Sinai. Last week, a distinguished Klausen-

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Living with the Times:

Nachas: One on One berger chossid¸ Rav Moshe Weiss zt”l, passed away in Yerushalayim. A talmid chochom, he worked as a builder. He left behind great children, including a rosh yeshiva, Rav Asher Weiss; a dayan, Rav Yonasan Binyomin Weiss, av bais din of Montreal; and a rov, Rav Berel Weiss, rov of Kiryat Sanz in Yerushalayim and sonin-law of the Klausenberger Rebbe zt”l. Each of these sons leads a kehillah, yeshiva or kollel. What did he do to merit such great offspring? Reb Moshe would remember the darkest days of the last century. Following World War II, survivors numb with grief and mourning, sick and frail, worked to find energy to begin anew. Reb Moshe was immediately pressed into service by the Klausenberger Rebbe, who had obtained a truck from the Allied Forces to bring to kever Yisroel thousands of Jewish bodies strewn across the camps and forests. One drove the truck and the other dug fresh graves, day after day. One evening, Reb Moshe, exhausted, emotionally spent, and still dealing with the loss of his parents and siblings, turned to the rebbe and said, “I can’t do this anymore.” The rebbe looked at him and responded, “Moshe, you have to help me get this mitzvah done. What can I give you so that you will continue our partnership?” Moshe Weiss saw an opportunity and jumped on it. He asked the rebbe to bless

And in this week’s parshah, we see how Yaakov Avinu, the av of golus, expresses that hope, implanting it within each of us. If you study the brachos he gives his children, you’ll see astounding things. You’ll see his familiarity with the essence and destiny of each child, his appreciation of their challenges and triumphs. You’ll see the attention he pays to each and his acceptance of their differences. And in his farewell to his children, you’ll feel his love for them. Yaakov carefully examined the strengths and personalities of each son and, before his passing, addressed them. He didn’t bless them all with one general brochah, “Hashem should watch over each of you and you should all be gezunt and shtark and be matzliach.” Yaakov Avinu blessed them each with an individual brochah befitting them and their progeny. The way he acted that day was a prime example of proper chinuch. In order for parents to transmit the beauty and customs of Torah to their kinderlach, they have to love their children and their children have to love them. If they treat their child as a separate living, thinking entity, their child will love and respect them. That’s not modern psychology. It’s an approach as old as Yaakov and the shevotim. Your children are not the same as you are. They are also different from each other. They are not formed by a cookie-cut-

A YOUNG CHILD FEELS IT. HIS LIFE AND DREAMS ARE ALTERED IF HE IS NOT ENVELOPED IN A COCOON OF WARMTH AND LOVE. him that he would recuperate and “one day have sons who will know every Tosafos in Shas.” Last week, Reb Moshe was niftar, seven distinguished gaonim around his bedside, products of a brochah, a hope and sincere desire. Ehrliche mothers shed tears weekly as they light Shabbos candles, begging Hashem for the ultimate gift. Parents invest money and energy to find the proper yeshivos, chavrusos and rabbeim for their sons, ready to do anything in exchange for nachas.

ter. If you want to teach and reach your children and ensure that they will carry the torch that hails back to Yaakov Avinu, learn the lesson he conveyed through his brachos. Respect them and see them as the people they are, perceiving the world through their eyes. One of the most impactful rabbeim of the last century was Rav Elchonon Wasserman. Although he was urged to deliver high-level shiurim at the most prestigious yeshivos, he cherished the role of “melamed,” teaching young bochurim and helping them develop a mehalech in

learning. The depth of the mutual love that existed between the bochurim and their rebbi can be understood through the following incident. Each day, when the shiur ended, the bochurim would gather around Rav Elchonon and ask kushyos. The rebbi would stand at the top of the steps, an army of bochurim around him, a circle of holy fire surrounding them. It was the high point of the day. The bochurim were disappointed when, one day, Rav Elchonon held up his hands and said, “No questions today.” With his cherished talmidim following, the great rosh yeshiva headed to the yeshiva dining room and entered the kitchen. “Can you please prepare a portion of lunch for me?” he asked the cook. “Please give me the exact lunch you give the bochurim. I want to know what they eat.” The startled cook prepared a meager portion of kasha for Rav Elchonon. He ate the simple food in silence, then went off to find the yeshiva’s administration. “This is not al pi Shulchan Aruch,” he announced. “If you accept bochurim to a yeshiva, you are responsible to feed them. Tomorrow I will not say shiur.” The bochurim were dismayed at the thought of Rav Elchonon forfeiting saying shiur. Their dismay turned to panic when word spread the next day that Rav Elchonon would be traveling to raise money for the yeshiva so that the bochurim could eat better meals. A talmid who was present shared the story and painted a magnificent picture of the unfolding drama. As Rav Elchonon put on his coat and hat and prepared to set off on his journey, lines of talmidim formed before him. “Rebbe,” they cried, “we don’t need food and we don’t need drink. We just need you, rebbe!” He faced them and responded, “Nein. Bochurimlach darffen essen. No. Bochurim need to eat.” Sad as it was, it was a moment that encapsulated proper chinuch, a flow of mutual respect: talmidim yearning to hear their rebbi’s voice and a rebbi dedicated to their wellbeing above all. Here, in postwar America, few yeshivos made the difference that the Telshe Yeshiva in Wickliffe, Ohio, did during its early years. Hundreds of American talmidim went through its doors, with European roshei yeshiva, Rav Elya Meir Bloch and Rav Mottel Katz, shaping them. A story retold by Rav Mottel himself

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DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

sheds light on why they were successful. Telshe was and is a place of punctiliousness and seder, but one evening, the scheduled time for Maariv was changed, moved back a few minutes. There was a major heavyweight boxing match on the radio and the bochurim wanted to listen to it. Rav Mottel admitted that to him, it was the height of bittul Torah to spend time listening to sports. Aside from that, boxing embodied barbarism and crudeness, he said. He told them that he understood that they were American boys raised in a culture quite different than Lithuania, where he was raised and where he lived until his miraculous departure for America. He told them that he noticed that in this country, respectable people attended boxing matches, so the boys had yet to perceive the inherent offensiveness of the activity. Rav Mottel was confident in his product - Torah - and that, in time, his talmidim would become elevated and refined enough to reject both the activity and the bittul Torah on their own, but he approached the topic with respect. He didn’t laugh or disparage them, for he knew that wouldn’t work. Instead, he changed the time of Maariv to accommodate them. He was bringing an elixir to a new land, and he wouldn’t reach his students and accomplish his goal of building here what was there by mocking and disparaging his new charges, who were unfamiliar with the ways of the great yeshivos of Lita. Generations later, his victory is apparent. Sometimes, parents forget that their children are people too, albeit small people. The Manchester rosh yeshiva, Rav Yehudah Zev Segal, was at a hotel one bein hazemanim. When he prepared to recite Kiddush on Shabbos morning, a gentleman asked the rosh yeshiva to be motzie his young son, who had come late

and missed hearing his father make Kiddush. The child looked dismayed. “Daddy, I want to hear your Kiddush,” the boy said, his eyes filling with tears. The father nudged him forward, ignoring his cries, but Rav Segal put down the becher. He was not going to be making Kiddush yet, as he had a chinuch lesson to impart. It was a teaching moment. “A child is also a person, and you have to do chessed with your children, just as you do with other people. If it means something to him to hear your Kiddush, there is no reason for you not to say Kiddush again.” The core of Yiddishkeit is transmitting the fire of Torah living to our children, passing on to them the torch held aloft by those who came before us and entrusted us with that eternal flame. “Vayevorech es Yosef,” the posuk says (Bereishis 48:15), but it doesn’t tell us how Yaakov blessed Yosef. Rather, the brochah of “Hamalach hagoel osi mikol ra” is addressed to Menashe and Efraim. The Rashbam explains that “birkas habonim hi birkas ha’av,” there is no brochah more precious to a father than a brochah to his children. We will conclude the parshah this week with “Chazak,” as we finish Sefer Bereishis. The entire seder is the story of fathers relating to their children. Let us review the parshiyos before moving on to study the parshiyos of the Jews’ experiences in foreign lands. We must recognize the need to love our children and not view them as burdens to be contended with. We must deal with them the way they are if we want them to have a chance of becoming what we want them to be. When we bring them home after birth, they are so soft and snuggly. We can’t put them down. But then, as we change diapers and wait for them to walk so that we don’t have to carry them

around, we start becoming frustrated. The more children grow, the more some parents begin running out of patience. A young child feels it. His life and dreams are altered if he is not enveloped in a cocoon of warmth and love. As children grow, not everything is the way we want it to be. Sometimes, we have to look aside. Sometimes, we have to punish. But we must always ensure that the punishment is being administered out of love, not anger. We should look for the good in each child’s soul and seek to help him reach his individual potential. When love is replaced by apathy and respect with dissonance, dangerous behavior is soon to follow. Look around you and you’ll notice so many unhappy, lonely young people. Generally, it is not their fault. Somewhere along the line, they didn’t realize expecta-

tions others had for them and sort of fell out of the system. When you meet one of those young people, you immediately recognize the emptiness in his eyes, his soul and his life. Reach out to these youth. Show some friendship, share a nice word, and find something to compliment. Give a smile. It’s worth more to them than anything else. By doing that, you can make a difference in their lives and return them to happiness and fulfillment. What greater satisfaction could there be? Let us carefully study the brachos of Yaakov so that we merit the words we all call out as the parshah is completed in shul this Shabbos: Chazak chazak venischazeik. Much nachas, brochah and hatzlochah to all.



Proactive The WeekParenting In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Proactive Parenting Sara Teichman, Psy D

Dear Dr. T., Could you give me one basic parenting tip? I’m a busy Mom, and though I read lots of articles, I feel that I don’t have the ‘answer’ yet. I like to get to the heart of things quickly and would much appreciate your input on this. Dr. T., Your question is like asking a cardiologist for one tip to prevent heart attacks. We all know that heart health is the result of many proactive behaviors on the part of the individual - diet, exercise, monitored blood pressure and controlled cholesterol readings. Just as it takes a lifetime of vigilance and good habits to develop a healthy heart, effective parenting is the result of years of hard work and a lifetime of choices and behaviors. In both instances, we are looking at lifelong processes, rather than simple, discrete behavior. Effective parenting is a good example of ‘yagata umatzasa- ta-amin.’ Unfortunately, too many of us assume that parenting ‘just comes naturally’ or we rely on our ability to wing it. Because of this thinking, young parents often spend more time on choosing nursery furniture than learning about early infant development. A Mom may put more effort into the baby’s outfit for the day than in understanding her baby’s body rhythms and needs. Of course, every parent hopes and dreams of her baby’s bright future, but – without the dedicated work on the parent’s part – it is harder to achieve your goal. “Good kids” are not a matter of luck. Though I will give you some feedback on your question, I want to point out that my goal is not to answer questions as much as to raise issues. Parenting today is complex, and my purpose is to encourage you to think, read, and consult. It is by working hard to find answers that you will gain the wisdom to be the parent you want to be. So, let’s get to work and look at this job of parenting - not as a quick fix or simple tip, but as a lifelong process of concerted effort. We want to begin by acknowledging that parenting is a highly involved process.

There are many factors such as the child’s temperament, the environment, family issues [siblings, birth order], school, peer

exactly what I mean. It is simply not effective to parent the oldest and the youngest in the same way. Because parenting is evolving and ever-changing, it requires new learning, openness to ideas, and constant soul-searching. At no point are we ‘done’- we are always looking to accommodate new perspectives and information. Our current thinking on ‘children at-risk’ reflects these precise ideas. There is no one way to work with this population: parents and professionals

newspapers, and magazines- which were not available to our parents and grandparents. Stay current. Be informed. Learn what is out there and see what works for you and your family. -Observation- There are many role models in our society – people who clearly have a special touch with children. Observe a rebbe / morah, a bubby or zaidy, your friend or neighbor and see what you can pick up. But, even more important- develop the capacity to observe yourself! Take the time and devote the energy to reflect on your behavior and actions and evaluate what is effective and what requires change. Since much of parenting occurs in the privacy of our own homes, your ability to see yourself as you are and then self monitor and correct is critical here. And, most importantly, observe your children. Are they resentful or content? Are they succeeding outside the home – in school and with friends? Your child’s behavior and manner tells you what you need to know. -Listen- to your children. We do not parent in a vacuum; our children are partners in this process. So, listen when they tell you how it’s going. Pay attention when they have some feedback; you may be surprised at what you hear. And, as always, ask for siyata d’shmaya from the partner in all our endeavors, Hakodosh Boruch Hu. May our efforts to do this most critical avodah of raising the next generation find favor in His eyes and merit much success and nachas.

Recommended reading

group, and life events. Because of the many, and often changing variables, it is not effective to give a simple set of hard and fast rules. Nor is it effective to do exactly what your parents did- or in the case where that did not work - the complete opposite. Our dynamic world requires us to be ever vigilant, always on our toes, in order to parent effectively. Any parent of a large family with a fifteen year age span between the oldest and the youngest knows

are always searching for some other approach that might be effective. Basically, good parenting requires new learning, observation, and listening – among other things. -Learning- Whether it be professionals- psychotherapists or pediatricians- or school personnel- there is a plethora of information available today. There are many Torah and secular publications- books,

Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice by Sarah Chana Radcliffe. A basic – covering topics like discipline, emotions, and relationships – written by the noted psychotherapist and Mishpacha columnist. Sara Teichman, Psy D. is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles and Clinical Director of ETTA, LA’s largest Jewish agency for adults with special needs. To submit a question or comment, email DrT@jewishhomela.com.

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

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DECEMBER ‫הגדול ראש ישיבת פונוביז’ חבר מועצת גדולי התורה הגרב”ד פוברסקי שליט”א‬ ‫ הגאון‬24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Rosh Yeshivat Ponevezh Rabbi

Boroch Dov Povarsky shlita

1844 48 TORAH | www.shareintorah.com

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

‫הגאון הגדול גאב”ד וראש ישיבת דרכי תורה רבי אשר וויס שליט”א‬

Rosh Yeshivat Darchei Torah Rabbi

Asher Weiss shlita

Tuesday, Jan. 5 25 of Teves 7:30pm

Congregation Shaarei Tefila 7269 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles

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Live Your Life

How the World Runs on Israeli Products and The Antidote to the BDS Movement By Brendy J. Siev

The BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement, a thinlyveiled anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic crusade, gained a victory a month ago: the EU declared that all agricultural and cosmetic products made in the “settlements” must be labeled as such when sold in Europe. (Those from the West Bank, but not from “settlements,” are to be labeled “product from Palestine” or “Palestinian product”). The idea is to keep the consumer, as the BBC puts it, “fully informed.”


hese sanctions on agriculture and cosmetics could cost the Israeli economy $50 million. Total exports to Europe from Israel, though, were worth $14 billion in 2014 alone. Therefore, these new “labeling sanctions” will hurt less than a percent (.3%, if our calculations are correct) of Israel’s total export revenue from Europe. Why, BDS? Why limit sanctions to agriculture and cosmetics? The impact seems paltry and rather useless; this does not count as true “economic pressure” that will ultimately “end colonization of Palestinian land.” The truth is that excluding all Israeli products and exports from daily life would mean much more than avoiding SodaStream and paying for pre-made seltzer. What it would mean is: You’d need to find a payphone, because you couldn’t use a cellphone, especially not a 4G phone or one that sends (we shudder to think) texts. And try finding a pay-

phone: even Superman’s at a loss on that one. You’d have to toss your computer. Intel’s processors were developed in Israel. You’d need to pick up a map at your local rest stop. Waze is an Israeli export. You’d need to wait in the rain for a cab. Forget about Uber; the app was developed in Israel. You’d have to drop your What’sApp group. And you know how crazy that is. When What’sApp wouldn’t share users’ private info with the Brazilian government, a Waspish judge ordered the app blocked. Just how crazy did 100 million Brazilians go? In a country where people ask for “your What’sApp” instead of “your phone number,” it took a mere 48 hours for another judge to reverse the ruling. (...And don’t think you’d be able to use Facebook. Too many addons and apps are from Israel.) You’d have to go back to using Linux and Unix (you can look those up). No Windows XT for you. And, don’t invest too much in your new computer, because you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a computer virus fairly quickly. Firewalls and anti-virus technology originated in Israel. You’d have to buy a used answering machine at a flea market. Voicemail was developed in Israel. Since you wouldn’t have a cellphone, this shouldn’t be so hard.

You’d have to become better friends with your mailman, because you’d have to stop emailing. The algorithm for sending emails was developed in Israel too. (Yes, you forgot to get him a gift, and he remembers.) You’d have to go beyond avoiding Israeli oranges. You’d have to make sure not to eat cherry tomatoes. Ever. Again. They were developed in Israel. You’d have to go natural. No more Pampers. The dry-weave that keeps your baby’s bottom dry is made in Israel. You couldn’t drink the water in parts of California. The water has been desalinated with Israeli methods and technology. You couldn’t eat fruits and vegetables from most of Africa, China, India, Indonesia (a Muslim country), and Nepal. They’re using Israeli agricultural products and irrigation methods. You’d have to find a really old toilet, because Israel gives water-saving technology to more than half the planet. You’d have to cut up your credit cards. Chances are your credit card company uses Israeli security monitoring. You couldn’t use your favorite gaming consoles, because most have Israeli technology embedded in them. You’d have to refuse that USB drive with those family photos/ your mother’s will/your favorite

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cat video. USB drives were developed in Israel. And don’t even ask us to list the medical and pharmaceutical advances and medications that you’d have to give up. Try telling someone with HIV or diabetes or cancer or Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis or epilepsy to walk away from a treatment, because it was “made in Israel.” Try telling a person on the kidney transplant list that she would have to wait for a perfect match, because only through Israeli technology could a person receive a kidney from an imperfectly-matched donor. Try telling a mother to expose her child to radiation when radiation-free x-rays have been developed in Israel. Try telling a man with a head wound to bleed out when the innovative Israeli bandage can save his life (ask Arizona Senator Gabriella Giffords about her amazing recovery). Not even the terrorists are doing that (see: December 17 Israeli Medical Association ruling that

terror in the Middle East. Because that is what it does. As the Israeli foreign ministry said regarding product labeling: labeling would not advance the peace process, but “strengthen the radical elements advocating a boycott against Israel and denying Israel’s right to exist.” Perhaps the real issue is jealousy. What makes Israel so remarkably successful and so worthy of the world’s envy? Dan Senor and Saul Singer examined this in their 2009 book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle. Israel, with its population of less than ten million, had, in 2009, 63 Israeli companies listed on NASDAQ, more than any other foreign country. Israel has more high-tech start-ups and a larger venture capital industry per capita than any other country. The authors claim that mandatory military service and immigration are the source of this

“While Israel has much to learn from the world, the world has much to learn from Israel.”

stipulates that Israeli medics must treat wounded based on injuries. That possibly means treating attackers before victims. We haven’t heard the terrorists BDS-ing that.) Should someone actually choose to divest, he need only read two paragraphs up to see what he would be sacrificing for his cause, a cause that condones supporting

Israeli rescue teams in the Philippines after a super-typhoon hit

extraordinary innovation. Army service gives people more skills and contacts and the Israeli army’s structure empowers people with responsibility under minimal guidance. Not only that, but nine out of ten Israelis are immigrants or children of immigrants. Immigrants are hungry to succeed and try hard to realize their dreams. And the proximity of a small country helps as well. Perhaps certain Israeli-Jewish traits also contribute to these successes. To an extent, we value chutzpah, especially when combined with bitzua, a word that means “getting things done” and rosh gadol, a contemporary Israeli idiom for someone with a “can-do and responsible attitude...without the limits of formal authority.” Senor and Singer’s findings

PillCam, the alternative to colonoscopies

aside, basic Jewish culture celebrates creativity and success borne of education and brains. Consider even the most recent iteration of Adam Sandler’s popular Chanukah song: we don’t have a cartoon about reindeer, but we conquered polio. While Sandler’s lyrics are meant tongue-in-cheek, they reveal a basic Jewish pride-ism: we are the people who count Dr. Salk, Albert Einstein, and the founders of Google (rhymes, according to Sandler, with kugel) in our ranks. That kind of thinking, whether hummed in a supermarket or imparted to children by their parents, motivates us: we are innovators, and we are thinkers. Some prime examples:

WHATSAPP In 2007, Jan Koum and Brian Acton left Yahoo, disillusioned that Internet companies were more about advertising sales than communication. Their idea: an easy-touse messaging product that would completely shun advertising. By 2014, they had 450 million monthly users (double that of Twitter), and Mark Zuckerberg had bought their company in the largest Internet deal since Time Warner merged with AOL in 2001. Why was Koum so passionate about privacy? Koum was born in the Ukraine where phone lines were often tapped, and so he wanted an app that wouldn’t collect your personal information: your name, your gender, your address, or your age. He and Acton also wanted smartphone users to be able to message each other outside of their phone carriers’ messaging limits. In fact, they initially relied on word-of-mouth recommendations and did not even hang a sign outside their offices. The only venture capital firm they invited to join

them was Sequoia Ventures, led by Yoav Andrew Leitersdorf (now of YL Ventures), an Israeli venture capital firm.

GOOGLE SUGGEST You can’t imagine doing a Google search without the handy auto complete feature, once called “Google Suggest.” This feature was developed in Google Israel, a Google outpost located on the outskirts of Haifa with another office in Tel Aviv. The size and fervor of the office make it feel like a startup that draws on the talent of the Technion, but with Google values. Google Israel focuses on “search and knowledge.” Google Suggest makes your searches quicker and “smarter,” by auto-filling as you type, based on popular searches. After you hit “enter” on your search, you’ll see “Live Results” pop up – the most up-to-the-minute information about your search (rather than the most popular), another Israeli feature. Ever sent a group email through your Gmail account? Google will ask you if you’d like to add other people you usually include in these group emails. This also originated in Israel. They call it the “Don’t forget Bob” feature. During natural disasters – think Hurricane Irene – Google will immediately offer shelter maps and emergency information when a specific search is entered. Another Israeli feature. Google offers employees “20 percent projects,” where they get to spend 20 percent of their time working on a creative passion or project of their own. In Israel, this led to a project of love: one that has brought Yad Vashem’s massive holdings online so people can search specific names and families

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Feature The Week In News

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OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

are invasive procedures involving anesthesia and radiation. But PillCam is a tiny pill containing a camera and light, weighing no more than four The Theo and Ora Coster family receiving the paper clips. Once 2012 Lifetime achievement TAGIE Award swallowed, the PillCam takes hundreds of thousands of pictures of to learn about their plight during the esophagus and colon, providthe Holocaust. This same digitization technology has been applied to ing necessary diagnostic information to the patient’s doctor. The putting the Dead Sea Scrolls online. PillCam has become a given in the industry. GUESS WHO? Does your person have a beard? Red hair? Facial hair? Is it a girl? SHVAT SHAKED Holocaust survivor Theo Coster AND FRAUD SCIENCES and his wife Ora of Tel Aviv have Shvat Shaked had a startbeen major game players and game up called Fraud Sciences. Scott changers since 1965. Their story Thompson was president of PayPal, the largest Internet payment started when Ora was home on system in the world. They met, bedrest, pregnant with their secbecause Shaked “claimed to have ond child, and trying to keep their older son occupied. To do so, Ora, a solution to the problem of online payment scams, credit card fraud, an artist, created a little map of Isand electronic identity theft.” rael game for him, with tokens and Thompson was bored and busy. pieces for playing. He heard Shaked out – “We believe The Coster’s friend, a gas stathat the world is divided between tion owner, liked the game so much good people and bad people, and he asked the Osters to manufacture the trick to beating fraud is to it for him as a giveaway for his cusdistinguish between them on the tomers. This became the beginning Web” – with little patience. After of a booming business, initially all, PayPal had 2,000 staffers, incalled “Matat” (as in “gift”) but eventually renamed “Theora,” after cluding 50 PhD engineers, working on the same problem. Theo and Ora. The difference was in the One of their early inventions how: how Shaked would separate was Icetix, a Popsicle stick that, the good guy from the bad guys. once you finished the ice cream, Shaked and his co-founder Saar turned into a building toy. These were so popular that Borden Dairy Wilf used the same approach he had used in the IDF when hunting in the United States distributed terrorists online. Terrorists moved them; 12 billion sticks were promoney online using fake identiduced over 11 years. Over the years, Theora – still ties. Shaked had to find them – and had, for 40,000 transactions. using their core team of Theo, Ora, and their two sons – has made Good people, he explained, leave digital footprints all over the place, more than 155 different toy conbecause they have nothing to hide. cepts. The one you probably have It’s the people who don’t that you in your toy closet in Guess Who?, should worry about. marketed in the United States by So Thompson gave Fraud Hasbro. In fact, in November 2012, Sciences a shot. He gave them Hasbro awarded the Costers with 100,000 transactions to anathe lifetime achievement award in lyze, transactions PayPal had toy-making. processed. PayPal removed the personal data from it for privacy PILLCAM, reasons, making the task much BY GIVEN IMAGING harder. “See what you can do,” he Not everyone can sustain a colonoscopy or endoscopy. Both told Shaked on a Thursday.

He thought he wouldn’t hear from Shaked for months. But by Sunday, Fraud Sciences emailed Thompson to say, “We’re done.” The PayPal engineers spent a week matching their results, and found that Fraud Sciences had better results over shorter period of time with less data than PayPal’s entire team. They were five years ahead of PayPal. And so, Fraud Sciences was hired and acquired by PayPal for $169 million. Thompson was moved by the pride and enthusiasm his new employees had for their new company, and the intense focus each employee had on him during their first big meeting. But along with that laser focus came questions during the Q&A that were “penetrating” and “unconventional.” These employees were ready to challenge PayPal’s practices in ways that most American employees would not and in ways that would ultimately benefit the company. And we haven’t even gotten

cleanup (China, the United States, South Africa), We would oppose the anti-BDS movement, but the truth is that most people are already, unknowingly, part of it. That’s because Israeli products and technology are ubiquitous; you can’t help but support Israel in your daily life. The antidote to the BDS movement and EU labeling is to continue living your life. Because BDS cannot and will not work. It merely works as a public smearing campaign about Israel without acknowledging all the good that Israel has done for the world. There’s something sinister about BDS and its EU supporters as well, something that makes BDS less about human rights and terror and more about anti-Semitism and green-eyed envy. While BDSers claim they want to raise awareness about the injustice ongoing in the Middle East, they ignore wholesale the goings-on in Syria, in Lebanon, in Iran, and

Try telling someone with HIV or diabetes or cancer or Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis or epilepsy to walk away from a treatment, because it was “made in Israel.” started on Waze and Viber, both of whom have changed the ways we navigate our streets and call home. Nor have we listed the countries that benefited from Israeli rescue teams (the Congo, New Zealand, Japan, Haiti, India, El Salvador, Turkey, Mozambique, Colombia, Venezuela, Pakistan, Peru), from technological aid and neonatal units to save their babies (Ghana and Romania), from the milk of special high-yield Israeli cows (Vietnam), from solar-powered refrigerators to hold their vaccines (Uganda), from emergency rooms (Kenya), from free eye operations (the Maldives), and from medical training and oil spill

in Saudi Arabia. The European Union does not raise awareness against pumping gas of Middle Eastern origin into cars, despite the appalling human rights violations embedded into Middle Eastern daily government and cultural activities. In fact, should we choose to divest from the Middle East, we would lose and boycott a few products and would simply limit ourselves to South American and American oil. But it would be terribly hard to truly BDS Israel. Because, as Senor and Singer say, “while Israel has much to learn from the world, the world has much to learn from Israel.”

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2. What food makes up nearly all (around 99%) of a Giant Panda’s diet? a. Fruits b. Insects c. Bamboo d. Sweet potatoes 3. What is the largest type of shark? a. Whale sharks b. Great White sharks c. Basking sharks d. Great Hammerhead sharks 4. How many stomachs do cows have? a. 1 b. 2 c. 3 d. 4 5. What is a baby female horse called? a. Colt b. Foal c. Filly d. Stallion 6. Approximately how many years

does the average wild lion live for? a. 14 b. 28 c. 52 d. 78 7. Approximately how many distinct noises can chickens make to communicate? a. 7 b. 30 c. 70 d. 200 8. What is a marsupial? a. A mammal which chews its cud but does not have split hooves b. A mammal whose members are born incompletely developed and are typically carried and suckled in a pouch on the mother’s belly. c. A bird which does not migrate to warmer climate in the winter but actually dies if the weather is too warm d. A bird which preys on its own species 9. What is the largest member of the deer family in the U.S.? a. Moose b. Caribou c. Elk

d. Mule deer 10. African elephants range in weight from 5,000 to 14,000 pounds. What is the average size of an adult blue whale? a. 25,000 lbs. to 40,000 lbs. b. 55, 000 lbs. to 70,000 lbs. c. 85,000 lbs. to 120,000 lbs. d. 200,000 lbs. to 300,000 lbs. Answers 1. A 2. C 3. D 4. D 5. C 6. A 7. D 8. B 9. A 10. D Wisdom Key

8-10 correct: You are a reincarnation of the Crocodile Hunter! 4-7 correct: You are not bad for a filly. 0-3 correct: If you really want to learn about animals, start with the basics. There are some great CDs that you can get to memorize all 200 sounds that a chicken makes. It’s a great place to start. Good luck! Study hard!

Answer to riddle: The horse’s name is Friday

1. Which type of dog has the fastest running speed, at up to 45 miles per hour? a. Greyhound b. Vizsla c. Jack Russell Terrier d. Doberman Pinscher

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Jewish The WeekHistory In News By Rabbi Pini Dunner Rav of Young Israel North Beverly Hills

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Jewish History

Kabbalist Or Charlatan? The Life And Times Of ‘Dr.’ Samuel Falk, The ‘Baal Shem Of London’ The auction room in midtown Manhattan suddenly went quiet. It was late afternoon, Thursday, January 31, 2013. With a dramatic flourish the auctioneer began the bidding for Lot #287. The room was filled with an eclectic mix of seasoned collectors, Hasidic Judaica dealers, and inquisitive aficionados of Jewish art. An atmosphere of eager anticipation hung in the air as the bidding commenced. The lot on sale was a well-executed oil painting portrait of a man known as the ‘Baal Shem of London’. It is without any doubt one of the most recognized eighteenth-century, Jewish-themed paintings in the world. Strangely enough, however, no one in the auction room was particularly interested in the Baal Shem of London or knew too much about him. That is because the interest in this painting has nothing to do with its subject. Quite the contrary. The interest in this painting is based solely on the fact that the benign, avuncular-looking individual it depicts has for well over one hundred years been consistently misidentified. The auction catalogue cut straight to the chase in its description: “for more than a century this eighteenth century portrait of the Kabbalist Rabbi Dr. Chaim Samuel Jacob Falk has been broadly misidentified and popularly thought of as being a depiction of the founder of the Hasidic movement, the Baal Shem Tov himself.” As remarkable as that sounds, it is absolutely true. My own experience proves it. I grew up in a strictly observant community and heard numerous stories about the mythical founder of Hasidism, Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov. I also heard stories about many other great Hasidic luminaries of that era – the Maggid of Mezeritch, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Bardichev, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, and more. We heard the colorful stories about these extraordinary individuals, and although we may have pictured them in our minds’ eye, we had no idea what any of them looked like. There were no cameras in eighteenth century Russiam and Poland, and none of these rabbis had ever sat to have their portrait painted by a well known rococo or neoclassical artist. Except, apparently, for the Baal Shem Tov. Throughout my youth we were reg-

ularly shown a picture of the Baal Shem Tov. It was ubiquitous and no one ever questioned its authenticity. Looking back this seems very strange. How could we have imagined that this exotic looking man wearing a large black beret, with a compass in his hand, was the revered founder of the Hasidic movement? Why would he be wearing a beret? Surely he should have been wearing a fur streimel? And why was he holding a compass, of all things? If anything he would have been holding a volume of Talmud, or some other sacred book. Or holding nothing at all. Why would he have been painted holding a mathematical instrument? Of course, although we didn’t know it then, the answer to all these questions was simple: the man in the portrait wasn’t the Baal Shem Tov at all - it was someone else entirely. The portrait was of Chaim Samuel Jacob Falk, a mysterious character who lived in London during the latter part of the eighteenth century. He was considered a Kabbalist, and known during his lifetime the ‘Baal Shem of London’. The title ‘Baal Shem’, or ‘Master of the Name’, was frequently used at that time to describe people who knew how to write Kabbalistic amulets using G-d’s name. The fact that Falk was referred to as Baal Shem was evidently how the original confusion occurred with this portrait. But before we delve into the mix-up surrounding the painting, let us take a look at the life story of the enigmatic ‘Dr.’ Falk. Chaim Samuel Jacob Falk, also known as Dr. Falk or Dr. Falcon, was a bizarre character. His origins are obscure, and shrouded in mystery. He was probably born in Poland in around 1710, although, like so many other aspects of his life, this ‘fact’ is based on guesswork and speculation. Almost nothing is known about his early years, other than that he spent time in Furth, Germany, where his mother died and was buried. The only thing we know for certain is that he lived in London for the last forty years of his life. Throughout his time in England, Falk presented himself as a Kabbalist who could perform remarkable magical feats. It seems his claim to have magical abilities had begun long before he moved to London. One contemporary writer claimed to have read an account of Falk publicly performing magic in Germany in the pres-

ence of various prominent non-Jews, and his sudden and hasty arrival in London in 1742 was the direct result of his fondness for such performances. After a public demonstration of his ‘powers’ in Westphalia, he was summarily arrested and thrown into jail for sorcery - in those days punishable by death. Falk’s lucky escape to London undoubtedly saved his life. England in the eighteenth century was known for its tolerance of eccentrics, whether locally bred or foreign born. Falk found that the Jewish community had readily adopted this broad-minded attitude, and both the Sephardim and Ashkenazim in London warmly welcomed him. Although he was fairly reclusive, his interest in Kabbalah, and apparent practical skills using Kabbalah, quickly became known. Legends and myths describing his incredible powers were whispered around the community, and these incredible stories continued to circulate long after his death. The stories were fantastic, to say the least. The candles in his home stayed alight for weeks at a time. When he ran out of coal for his fireplace, he would utter a Kabbalistic prayer and his cellar would mysteriously fill up with new coal. It was told that on one occasion, after a fire threatened to destroy the Ashkenazi community’s ‘Great Synagogue’ on Duke’s Place, Falk prevented any damage by writing four Hebrew letters on the doorposts, which halted the fire at the entrance of the synagogue. And these are just a fraction of the fables that swirled around Falk. So, who was he? Through scattered pieces of recorded information we are able to piece together a more accurate picture of Falk than anything gleaned from these fantastic fairytales. Falk seems to have arrived in London completely penniless. For a few years he struggled, and his faithful assistant records that his personal life was fraught with difficulties as he and his wife constantly argued about finances. Eventually things began to change for the better. People were surprised at his sudden change of fortune. How was it possible that someone who had been so insolvent that he was forced to pawn all his belongings had suddenly achieved such incredible material success? Rumors began to spread that he possessed mystical powers that he used to attain wealth. The truth was more

The Kestenbaum Judaica Auction catalog from January 2013. This portrait of the ‘Baal Shem of London’ is the most misidentified and misunderstood classical Jewish painting in art history

mundane. Falk was an exceptionally charismatic individual and particularly attractive to the type of people who are drawn to enigmatic personalities. Two of those people were the affluent Jewish banker Aaron Goldsmid, and his son George. At some point they became enraptured with Falk, and consulted with him on all personal matters, as well as on matters of business. He, in turn, took their advice on investments, which resulted in him becoming extremely prosperous. He began living in fine accommodation, surrounded by servants and an array of wealthy acquaintances. He launched a pawnbroking business, and bought a large home in an upscale residential enclave called Wellclose Square, in the East End of London, where he built his own private synagogue. He rode everywhere in an extravagant coach drawn by four horses and became an avid collector of books and art. Remarkably, although he was not considered a scholar, this in no way detracted from his reputation as a Kabbalist, nor did the fact that he performed extremely peculiar rituals prevent senior community leaders – including Chief Rabbi David Tevele Schiff - from considering him their friend. On one occasion he withdrew into his home for six weeks, and allowed it to be known that he was not eating or sleeping for the entire period. After six weeks had passed he sent for a group of ten men to join him - but only after they had immersed themselves in a mikvah. The men arrived at midnight and were asked to clothe themselves in white robes, and also to remove their shoes. With that they were invited into a large room lit only by flickering candlelight. One of the ten men later wrote in a letter to his son that upon entering the room, “the saintly man was seated on his throne arrayed like an angel of heaven, diademed with a golden miter, a golden chain round his neck reaching to his waist, from which hung a great star, and holy names were engraved on the star. His face was covered with a star-shaped veil, and his headgear was marvelously fashioned out of parchment, with holy names written on it. A star of pure gold

Jewish The WeekHistory In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

was fastened on each corner of his turban, and names were engraved on them. Who could possibly describe the beauty of the painting on the tapestries that were hung on the walls, with sacred figures, as on the heavenly throne in Ezekiel’s vision…..” The letter describes the strange ‘throne room’ as having been divided into an inner section and an outer section delineated by silver chains. Falk instructed five men to sit within the chains, and the other five to sit outside of them, following which he took

Wellclose Square in London, the upscale residential enclave where Falk settled when he became wealthy and successful. His spacious house included a private synagogue

out an engraved shofar and an engraved trumpet, and presumably blew on them. The letter writer and his nine companions were overwhelmed by this melodramatic scene, and became Falk’s avid devotees. Strangely enough none of these activities – which reflected occult rituals rather than anything related to Judaism - elicited any criticism from the leaders of the London community, nor did they lead to any public warnings that he was a fraud. In Europe, however, things were different, and it wasn’t long before Falk’s weird behavior began to ring alarm bells. During the eighteenth century controversies were constantly erupting in the Jewish communities of Germany and Poland as the rabbinate tried to root out crypto-Sabbateans, a subculture of individuals who secretly continued to believe in the Messianic mission of Shabbetai Tzvi. Although Shabbetai Tzvi had died in 1676, there were a cult of people who maintained that he was still the Messiah, and this group secretly perpetuated this and other subversive ideas, employing twisted interpretations of Lurianic Kabbalah. This phenomenon resulted in a deep antipathy towards the unsupervised study of Jewish mystical texts, and if anyone was discovered studying Kabbalah, or was purported to be using practical Kabbalah, they became objects of suspicion, often resulting in their vilification and even banishment. One famous victim of this attitude was Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, known as ‘Ramcha”l’, who was subjected to a relentless campaign of condemnation and then threatened with excommunication after it became known that he had claimed to be studying Kabbalah with an otherworldly ‘maggid’ who regularly appeared to him while he was in a trance-like state. Another famous target of the fierce anti-Sabbatean crusade was the revered rabbi of Hamburg, Rabbi Yonatan Eybeschuetz,

whose amulets for pregnant women were examined by the equally revered Rabbi Yaakov Emden, who controversially alleged that the amulets contained references to Shabbetai Tzvi. In his latter years Rabbi Emden made it his life’s mission to unmask crypto-Sabbateans, and he went to incredible lengths to seek them out so that he could ensure none of these alleged heretics would be able to influence any normative and unsuspecting Jewish community. It was in this context that the Baal

tic rituals that would impress gullible people who then paid them money for advice. One aspect of Falk’s character is undeniable - he was extremely charitable, and this benevolence is probably what enabled him to carry on with his activities without censure for so long. There was a constant stream of poor people at his door, and none of them ever left empty handed. Shortly after Pesach in 1782, Falk wrote his last will and testament. His wife had already died, and there were no children. Aron Goldsmid

Falk’s last resting place at the Aldernay Road Cemetery in Mile End, East London. His philanthropic activities during his lifetime, and the generous bequests in his will certainly contributed towards the respectful treatment he was given by community leaders

Shem of London came to the attention of Rabbi Yakov Emden. Almost as soon as he heard about him the crusading rabbi swung into action - and he did not pull his punches. In a letter written to a colleague, Rabbi Emden wrote, “although I do not know him personally, I have heard that he pretends to be an expert in practical Kabbalah, and that he claims to have the ability to discover hidden treasures. He is married to an immoral woman with whom he moved to London. There he found supporters especially among the lower classes - who tried to use him to enrich themselves. Some rich non-Jews also believed in him, thinking that he could discover treasure for them. Using trickery he succeeded in entrapping one wealthy non-Jewish captain, who spent his entire fortune on him and has now been reduced to poverty, and he is only able to survive as a result of Falk’s charity. Incredibly this captain continues to praise him among wealthy Christians, so that they give him a lot of money. In this way the Baal Shem is enabled to live as a man of wealth, and he uses his money to bribe his close followers so that they continue to spread his fame.” Rabbi Yaakov Emden’s asserted that Falk was a Sabbatean, an assumption he based on Falk’s close friendship with a man by the name of Moshe David of Podhajce, a known Sabbatean who had been expelled from a number of communities. But the guilt by association assumption is problematic. Falk kept a private diary, as did his trusted assistant Tzvi Hirsch. Neither of them ever mentioned Shabbetai Tzvi, nor recorded Kabbalistic ideas associated with Sabbateanism. Although Falk was friendly with Moshe David, it is far more likely that Moshe David befriended him when he discovered that he and Falk shared a fondness for weird and dramatic occult-style rituals. Perhaps they even colluded together to create pseudo-Kabbalis-

A vintage photo from Rabbi Dunner’s private collection shows Chief Rabbi Dr. Hermann Adler in his study in London with the portrait of Falk on the wall behind him. It was Rabbi Adler’s publication of this picture in 1908 that led to Falk being confused with Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Hasidic movement

and his son were appointed executors, along with Goldsmid’s son-in-law, Lyon de Symons. Everything was bequeathed to charity via an endowment fund that would throw off annual payments. Three days after writing his will Falk died, and was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Mile End, East London - where his grave can be seen to this day. Miracle-worker, charlatan, psychic, Sabbatean, physician, alchemist, heretic, philanthropist – every single one of these adjectives has been used to describe the Baal Shem of London. As is the case with most dubious characters who purport to be something they are not, Falk was most likely not a complete fraud, and he probably did possess certain skills and intuitions that he used as a foundation to create an aura of mystique around himself so that he could profit. It was the era just before scientific sophistication, and anyone with knowledge of basic chemistry could dazzle an uninformed audience, if that is what they chose to do. Put Kabbalistic symbolism and dramatic rituals into the mix, and the credulous were easily convinced that Falk possessed supernatural powers. We have no reliable record of his successes and failures, or to what extent his clientele were disappointed by his unfulfilled promises. He was never sued in court, nor charged with any crime. His devotees seem to have been pleased with him, and notwithstanding Rabbi Yaakov Emden’s accusations, he was remembered fondly in the London community long after he died. And had it not been for the portrait painting with which we began, Falk, like so many other minor historical characters, might have eventually been forgotten ex-

cept, perhaps, for a mention here and there in historical footnotes. A fateful lecture was to change all that. At the turn of the twentieth century, British Chief Rabbi Dr. Herman Adler delivered a lecture at the Jewish Historical Society of Great Britain titled ‘The Baal Shem of London’. The lecture was an attempt to look beyond the myths surrounding Falk, and offer an accurate biographical sketch that took all the known details of his life into account. The public lecture included a viewing of the portrait, which had been in the Goldsmid family’s private art collection since Falk’s death. In 1908, the lecture was published together with a picture of the painting. This is what Rabbi Adler had to say about it: “The annexed portrait is from an original painting in the possession of Mr. W. H. Goldsmid by [John Singleton] Copley, and is fully worthy of the artist. The likeness bears out the description of the Baal Shem given by a contemporary, who writes that ‘when he walks abroad he is garbed in a flowing robe, which strikingly harmonizes with his long white beard and venerable features’.” Rabbi Adler’s assertion that Copley was the artist was guesswork, as the portrait is unsigned. Copley was unlikely to have been the artist, and there is speculation that the artist was Philip James de Loutherbourg, a close friend of the Italian adventurer and occultist Giuseppe Balsamo - also known as Count Alessandro di Cagliostro - who spent time with Falk in London after his dramatic expulsion from France. It is possible that Cagliostro introduced Loutherbourg to Falk, as all three of them shared a fascination with alchemy and the supernatural. We will never know. What we do know is that the publication of the picture resulted in a mix-up. Within a matter of months the picture was appearing elsewhere in Jewish publications identified as a likeness of Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov. The confusion was based on a simple misunderstanding. In the eighteenth century any rabbi who was skilled at amulet writing could be referred to as a Baal Shem, but by 1908 there was only one Baal Shem in popular consciousness – the founder of the Hasidic movement. Even though the rabbi depicted in the portrait did not appear to be a saintly Ukrainian rabbinic leader, the title Baal Shem was enough for people to make the mistake and use it to illustrate articles and books about the Baal Shem Tov. And that is how an obscure portrait of a smiling, weirdly attired charlatan mystic became one of the best-known images of any eighteenth century Jew. The auction house estimated the painting at $30,00050,000. In a fevered bidding war it eventually sold to a private buyer for $75,000. Once again ‘Dr.’ Falk had been the center of attention. Could it be that the fact we are still talking about Chaim Samuel Jacob Falk 233 years after his death has something to do with his mysterious powers? An intriguing thought. I don’t think so, but who knows?


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OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Quotes The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Notable Quotes “Say What?!”

People will buy into stop eating meat one or two days a week – you have to start slowly. It’s a very big challenge but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. - Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger advocating during an interview with the BBC that people should go meat-free one or two days a week to protect the climate

The New York Times analyzed the 95,000 words that Trump used in speeches last week and found patterns that aren’t common in most presidents’ speeches. Apparently Abraham Lincoln never insulted Rosie O’Donnell. - Jimmy Fallon

Last week was the 23rd anniversary of the first text message. Coincidentally, it was also the 23rd anniversary of the first rear-end collision.

In a new interview…President Obama said that his favorite book of the year was a novel called “Fates and Furies.” While Hillary Clinton said her favorite book of the year was “Whatever yours was.” - Jimmy Fallon

I first would allow the guilty bankers to pay … back anything over 100 million in personal wealth because I believe in a maximum wage of 100 million dollars and if they’re unable to live on that amount then they should go to the reeducation camps, and if that doesn’t help, then be beheaded. - Actress Roseanne Barr in an interview on RT News

– Conan O’Brien

Time Magazine today revealed their Person of the Year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She is the first woman to be named Person of the Year on her own since Corazon Aquino. I know that because that issue of the magazine is still in my dentist’s office. – Jimmy Kimmel

Of course Donald Trump weighed in on this. He tweeted today, “I told you Time Magazine would never pick me as Person of the Year. Despite being the big favorite, they picked the person who’s ruining Germany.” Even in defeat he’s gracious. – Ibid.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has a severance package that would pay her $160 million if she gets fired. Which will mark the first time somebody actually tries to get drunk at their office holiday party. – Jimmy Fallon


The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home





Each of the 76 chapters ends with clear and concise action steps that you can easily implement in your professional life.

Perfect for executives, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and marketers in the corporate and nonprofit spheres, ‘So, What’s the Bottom Line?’ teaches key business fundamentals, such as creative marketing initiatives, effective communication, customer retention, and strategic planning and execution.

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Travel The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Travel Guide:

Orlando Aaron Feigenbaum

Orlando, Florida has long been known as the epicenter of extravagant amusement parks. From Seaworld to Universal Studios and others, Orlando is a place where families can have fun for many days and create unforgettable memories. At 50 million visitors per year, Orlando is the world’s top family destination. Still, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the excitement and crowds, or if amusement parks aren’t your thing to begin with, Orlando’s other attractions have enough variety to please virtually anyone. Orlando has a thriving arts scene, beautiful nature preserves, world class museums, and tons of day trips to fascinating places like the Kennedy Space Center and the historic city of St. Augustine. If you’re the kind of person who craves adventure and new experiences then Orlando is the perfect place to visit. History Spanish settlers arrived in this part of central Florida as early as the 1500’s but they

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

encountered fierce resistance on the part of the native Seminole tribe which prevented full-scale settlements for several centuries. It wasn’t until the defeat of the Seminoles in the Second Seminole War of 1835 to 1842, that Jernigan, now known as Orlando, began to spring up. Until the 1880’s the economy of Orlando was dominated by cattle breeding and cotton growing. After that, Orlando and central Florida became synonymous with citrus growing, and the area saw a large influx of migrant fruit workers. At the same time, the citrus industry spawned Orlando’s first rail lines in 1881, required to transport the citrus fruits. Orlando’s population doubled in the first two decades of the 1900’s. Many new buildings and other infrastructure were added to the city around this time including the Municipal Auditorium and Public Library. As in many other places around the country, the Great Depression of the 1930’s took its toll on Orlando but the Works Progress Administration helped revitalize the city by building an airport, parks and a football stadium. The post-WWII era saw another economic boom for Orlando as new suburbs, roads and shopping centers were built. The prede-

cessor to the Lockheed Martin Corporation set up shop in Orlando during this time and became central Florida’s leading employer. In 1971, Orlando began its journey to becoming an internationally renowned family destination with the construction of Walt Disney World, which in turn spurred the creation of the tourism infrastructure. Sea World opened in 1973, the Epcot Center in 1982, Disney-MGM Studios in 1989 and Universal Studios in 1990. Orlando’s theme parks have continued to expand, adding more and more exciting attractions that draw millions of tourists every year. At the same time, Orlando is a major center for high-tech innovation and the arts. Overall, Orlando has come a long way from its humble fruit-growing origins to become one of the most popular cities in America. Attractions Magic Kingdom: As the heart of Orlando’s Walt Disney World, the Magic Kingdom

Kennedy Space Center

Street U.S.A. was inspired by Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri. If Disney souvenirs are what you’re after, then there’s no better place than the Disney Emporium on Main Street. At night, the street is bathed in the dazzling lights of the Electrical Parade, which features floats of Disney’s most wellknown characters. Adventureland is meant to resemble exotic jungles such as those in Southeast Asia and Africa. Popular rides include the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Frontierland has an Old American West theme and includes the train roller coaster Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and the highly entertaining Country Bear Jamboree. The American history-themed Liberty Square holds one of Disney World’s most popular attractions: the spooky Haunted Mansion ride. Fantasyland reenacts some of Disney’s most beloved stories such as Winnie the Pooh, The Little Mermaid and Peter Pan. Finally, there’s Tomorrowland, which is famous for its sci-fi rides and for inspiring the movie of the same name that came out earlier this year. Epcot Center: Built in 1982, this part of Walt Disney World celebrates human achievement. The most recognizable part of the center is Spaceship Earth, an 18-story geodesic sphere that takes visitors on a journey through the history of communications from the alphabet to the Internet. Mis-

Newly opened Legoland Hotel just outside the theme park

is usually at the top of tourists’ itineraries. The Kingdom is dominated by the majestic Cinderella Castle, which was inspired by the most beautiful European castles and is illuminated by millions of lights at night.

sion: Space simulates a theoretical mission to Mars with a centrifugal motion simulator, while The Seas with Nemo & Friends takes visitors on an epic underwater journey. The World Showcase, the other main part of Ep-

Be sure to check Disney’s schedule to know when the castle’s firework shows will be. The combination of fireworks and music is one of Walt Disney World’s most captivating experiences. The castle’s interior is equally impressive, depicting the story and setting of Cinderella through murals, mosaics and intricate glasswork. Heading out from the castle, Walt Disney World is divided into six main sections. Main

cot Center, highlights the cultures of 11 different countries with beautiful architecture, themed rides and live entertainment. Be sure to catch the Illuminations show at night when the lagoon is lit up with a visually stunning array of fireworks, lasers and water fountains synced to music. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: As the name suggests, Hollywood Studios is dedicated to glitz and glamour of the movie

business. Hollywood Boulevard is the main entrance and has tributes to classic films such as The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain along with a replica of the famous TCL Chinese Theatre. Pixar Place is a recreation of the studios of the Disney-owned company that has made such acclaimed films as Toy Story and Finding Nemo. The Animation Courtyard gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of classic Disney films as well as the story of Walt Disney himself. The recreation of Sunset Boulevard is home to the thrilling Twilight Zone of Terror as well as two amphitheaters for family-friendly live entertainment. A Star Wars themed section is currently in the planning stage. Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Disney’s zoo is the largest Disney theme park in the world. The Animal Kingdom is divided into several different areas representing animals and plants from different parts of the world. The variety of wildlife at the park is staggering. From lions to tigers to Komodo dragons, Disney spared no expense in bringing the best variety of animals the world has to offer. The park’s DinoLand U.S.A. features DINOSAUR, a trip through the wild Cretaceous period with animatronic dinosaurs. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach is Disney’s very own water park located in Lake Buena Vista. It has many attractions such as surf pools, water slides, a shark reef, an underwater viewing place and a river

The Alcazar, S. Augustine FL

ride. Blizzard Beach, located in nearby Bay Lake, is another Disney water park but with a snow theme. The main attraction is Summit Plummet, one of the world’s fastest free fall slides. There is also whitewater rafting and a huge selection of other water slides for any experience level. SeaWorld: Despite the controversy over the park’s treatment of its orca whales, SeaWorld continues to be one of the mainstays of Orlando tourism. Like the Disney parks, SeaWorld has a variety of themed areas. These include an Antarctican themed zone with penguins, the Sea of Legends with an Atlantis-themed boat/rollercoaster ride and the Sea of Shallows with shallow-water animals such as stingrays and alligators. However, the main attraction of SeaWorld is the Sea of Power, where the orca shows are held inside Shamu Stadium. There is also the Wild Arctic pavilion, which hosts exotic creatures such as polar bears, beluga whales and walruses. Once you’re done seeing the animals, take some time to head to the top of the rotating SkyTower and admire the view. If you have extra time, check out SeaWorld’s sister parks Aquatica and Discovery Cove, both located on Orlando’s outskirts. Aquatica has a southern Pacific theme and

Travel The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Walt Disney’s Adventureland

features Australian and New Zealand wildlife as well as even more slides and wave pools. Discovery Cove is where visitors can swim with dolphins and thousands of fish. It’s a complete ecosystem with beaches, islands, waterfalls, rainforests and more. Universal Orlando: Like its Los Angeles counterpart, Universal Studios Orlando has rides based on Universal Pictures movies. Some of the most well-known Universal franchises have their own ride including Minions, Transformers, Terminator and Shrek. The Islands of Adventure section has seven themed islands dedicated to even more franchises such as the Marvel super heroes, Harry Potter and Jurassic Park. Kids will love the wacky Seuss Landing. Universal Orlando also has its own water park: Wet ‘n Wild (slated to reopen as Volcano Bay in 2017). It has a great selection of water slides and wave pools. Finally, the Universal CityWalk, like the one in L.A., has a huge variety of dining, shopping and entertainment options. Day trips: If Orlando hasn’t satisfied your appetite for theme parks and adventure, there’s a whole lot more to do in the area just outside the city. Legoland, located about 1 hour away, is the second-largest Legoland Park in the world, including roller coasters, a 4D theater, an interactive Lego play area, a water park, Lego recreations of American cities and movie scenes and much more. A hotel opened on the property this year. For a look at Florida’s Spanish past, visit the historic town of Saint Augustine just under two hours away from Orlando. The town, founded in 1565 by Florida’s first Spanish governor Pedro Menendez de Aviles, is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the U.S. The most popular sight is the Castillo de San Marcos, a seaside masonry fort that dates back to the late 1600’s. The fort was sieged twice by England in the early 1700’s and was traded off between England and Spain until the U.S. gained possession of it in 1821. Other sites in town include the old jail museum, the idyllic Fort Matanzas Na-

tional Monument, the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the country, an alligator farm and the eclectic Lightner Museum of antiquities. Daytona Beach, located an hour away, is best known for racing. But if you can’t make it for the Daytona 500, you can still check out the speedway. You can also go to the beach itself, which is lined with resort hotels. Daytona also has Florida’s tallest lighthouse, the largest collection of Florida art at the Cici and Hyatt Museum, and the Rockefeller’s winter home a.k.a. the Casements. Last but least, an absolute must-see is Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center. Located just 50 miles away, the Space Center is where you can learn about and experience the history of American spaceflight. Kennedy has been the launch site for some of NASA’s most important missions including Apollo 11 and the Hubble. The launch pads for the Saturn V rockets and the space shuttles are still in place and can be viewed on a 15-minute guided bus tour. Inside the Visitor Complex, visitors can view the space shuttle Atlantis up close, catch space movies at the IMAX, get caught up on what NASA’s doing to get humans to Mars, step inside a shuttle launch simulator and chat with a real astronaut. There’s also a children’s play dome and the Rocket Garden, which allows people to climb inside replica reentry capsules and walk on the same launch pad gantry used by the Apollo 11 astronauts. Daven and Eat The only Orthodox shul in Orlando is Chabad, which is located at 7437 W. Sand Lake Rd. (jewishorlando.com) A great kosher restaurant option is the recently opened Zayde’s Kosher Kitchen at the Rosen Plaza Hotel (http://www.rosenplaza.com/zaydes-kosher-catering/). For kosher food at any Disney World Resort, call 407-WDW-DINE or check out Chabad’s list of Disney restaurants that carry kosher food. There are also several Orlando markets that carry kosher items. These include BJ’s, Whole Foods Publix.

Getting There Flights from LAX to Orlando currently start at about $300 per person round trip. Greyhound tickets start at about $120 while

Amtrak starts at about $330. Driving from L.A. to Orlando is about 35 hours or 2,500 miles.



The Week In News

When a Dollar is Worth More than a Dollar

Like my dollar? Well, it’s not just any dollar – it’s a “fancy” dollar. Currency collectors are always on the lookout for money that’s worth more than just its popular value. They spend time looking at the serial numbers on the bills and have their favorites. For example, low serial numbers— think 00000001—are a favorite among the group and have some of the loftiest values,

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

sometimes in the thousands if the condition is top-notch. But fans of fancy notes also look for all sorts of other configurations and curiosities that go by a variety of names. There are radars, like 12344321, where the digits read the same both ways as with a palindrome; repeaters such as 20152015, in which the numbers repeat in some fashion; solids like 77777777, which speaks for itself; and ladders like 12345678 where the digits ascend, or descend as the case may be, in order. These notaphilists—as currency collectors are broadly known—have largely remained on the fringe, buying and selling among themselves via fan forums on the Web and scoping their wallets for finds. But the hobby has had something of a star turn over the past year, with attention from the likes of late-night TV host Stephen Colbert stirring up interest from treasure-seekers looking to cash in on their cash. Don’t knock this serious pastime. “I thought the Colbert bit was funny, even though it’s always a little painful to have people mock your hobby,” says Dave Undis, a longtime fancy-serial enthusiast who has written about the hobby and runs CoolSerialNumbers.com, a website dedicated to fancy bank notes. “People see stuff like that and they start looking in their wallets and start thinking they’re going to get rich,” says the 61-year-

old Undis, a retired insurance executive in Nashville, Tenn. “If you go in as an investment, it’s probably a mistake.” To be sure, some notes can command significant premiums. Low serial numbers often carry the best values for their popularity. One example: A seller on eBay recently was asking $114.99 for a professionally graded $1 bill with the serial number 00000046. Make sure to check your wallets. But it’s not all quick-rich schemes. Most fancy bills trade only slightly above face value. And many of the most sought-after by collectors really have only sentimental or personal value, like their child’s birthday or an anniversary (04072004, say, for April 7, 2004); ZIP Codes (00090210, where the final five digits in this instance represent the postal designation for Beverly Hills, Calif.); tombstones (19182014, here representing the birth and death years of a long life as they might appear on a gravestone); and others known by such names as Fibonaccis after the mathematical sequence and flippers whose digits look the same rightside up or upside down. One well-known fan in this universe of collectors, Jim Futrell, for a long time focused on bills featuring the number 27 in some fashion—for example, 27000027. “The number 27 is pretty special in my family,” he says. “Not only is it my birth-

day, but my mom’s, grandfather’s and at least 10 others that I know of.” Mr. Futrell, a 35-year-old office manager in Washington, D.C., got started in the hobby through a fancy-note message board on the currency-tracking site Where’s George, where he offered an old-style $20 bill and received $22 for it. “I was hooked from there,” he says. He became such an avid collector that at one point he used to go to banks and withdraw $20,000 in $2 notes every week to sift for additions to his collection, before redepositing the remainder. Mr. Futrell eventually got bored with 27s and moved on to other sorts of notes. Uncle Sam is always on the lookout to make some money too. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing sets aside some choice notes—none with serial numbers below 100, however—from its print runs for sale to collectors. One series sold by the bureau included “one $10 note from each of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks” with the lowest serial numbers available.” The set went for $359.40. The bureau also pitches its Lucky Money collection. One example is the bureau’s $1 Fortune Notes, where “each uncirculated note has a serial number beginning with ‘8888’ enclosed in an attractive folder festively adorned with Chinese art and symbolism.“ It aims to capitalize on the 8 being

The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

seen as a lucky number in Chinese culture. A single $1 bill in this series goes for $5.95, plus shipping and handling, though customers who buy in bulk can get volume discounts of up to $2 per note for 1,000 or more. What’s in your wallet?

England Smiles Wide

of American bias, our dentistry wins out.” “Experts claim Yanks are wrong to mock us for having wonky or missing gnashers,” wrote The Sun. Published in the British Medical Journal, the study examined the dental data from the Adult Dental Health Survey 2009 for England, and the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 200508. Factors analyzed were the number of teeth each person was missing, how people rated their own oral health, and the impact of oral health on daily life. America, keep smiling – and keep brushing.

Trump Says He’s Undeserving of “Lie of Year” Award

It’s a longstanding stereotype that people from England don’t have the best teeth. But that belief has been busted by a light-hearted study that revealed that U.S. citizens do not have better oral health than English people. “Contrary to popular belief, our study showed that the oral health of US citizens is not better than the English,” wrote the authors of the study, called “Austin Powers bites back.” The study found that on average out of the thousands of men and women aged 25 and over who were surveyed, U.S. citizens had slightly more missing teeth than English people – 7.31 compared to 6.97. The team of researchers from University College London, the National University of Colombia and the Harvard School of Public Health said the misleading view “dates back at least 100 years, with toothpaste adverts extolling the virtues of American smiles.” It found greater inequality in dental health in the United States, with rich people likely to have good teeth but poorer people much worse off, perhaps due to different access to health services. “Those in the lowest socioeconomic position levels tended to be better off in England,” the study found. In Britain, dental care is largely provided through the publicly-funded National Health Service, unlike in the U.S. where dental insurance predominates. Obviously, the study has Englishmen gloating. “Smile! American teeth worse than ours” was the headline in The Times, while the Independent chose “In the teeth

Donald Trump is not one to shy away from awards. In fact, sometimes it seems as if he gives himself awards without even being nominated. This accolade, though, is one he felt –in all honesty – he had to reject. During an interview with ABC, he said that he does not deserve the “Lie of the Year” award by the fact-checking site Politifact. “Politifact is a group that if I said something right down the middle they are always going to be negative,” he told ABC News’ Jon Karl after taking the stage at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “They are leaning in a certain direction, and no matter what you do with them, I mean they are a very dishonest group in my opinion.” In the bestowing of their ignominious award, Politifact included Trump’s allegations that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. They also said that of the 77 statements they fact-checked, 76 rated “mostly false,” “false” or “pants on fire.” “Donald Trump doesn’t let facts slow him down,” Politifact wrote. “Bending the truth or being unhampered by accuracy is a strategy he has followed for years.” The interview with Trump happened after the 2016 frontrunner battled with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over her contention that ISIS was using his disparaging statements about Muslims as a recruiting tool. “He is becoming ISIS’s best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos

of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists,” Clinton said during Saturday’s Democratic debate on ABC News. During his speech, Trump again repeated his demanded for Clinton to apologize for her accusations during Saturday’s debate. “She’s terrible. ‘Donald Trump is on video and ISIS is using him for the video to recruit.’ And it turned out to be a lie,” he said. “She’s a liar. No, it turned out to be a lie.” “[ISIS members] are using lots of things I imagine to recruit but they didn’t use me on a video and I am not sure they used me at all frankly,” he said. It’s nice to know that there are some things – namely certain videos and awards – that the bombastic politician shies away from.

ida. Owner Teresa Davis tells CityLab that she reached out to Vitality after struggling with the elevation on a trip Springboat Valley, Colorado. Feeling better after taking hits from a $15 can of oxygen she bought at a convenience store, Davis is a believer. Since then, she has sold 60 cans in two months and reaches out to exercise studios in hopes of reaching the coveted healthy-and-affluent demographic. Lam and Paquette’s venture into the business of selling air isn’t totally new to China. Liang Kegang, an artist in Beijing, sold a glass jar of air from southern France last year for nearly $800. The eccentric millionaire Chen Guangbiao sold cans of air from less-polluted parts of China in 2013 for $0.80 each. With no signs of China solving its unhealthy air problem, more absurd solutions are sure to arrive on the market. Can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Air in a Can

The Cat Candidate

A restaurant in China has been charging patrons for clean air. The pollution and smog is so bad in China, it’s getting hard to breathe. But don’t worry, Troy Paquette and Moses Lam are the answers to your breathing problems. The duo sold sealed plastic bags of air on eBay (the first for 99 cents, the second for $168 after a bidding war), and have started Vitality Air in 2014. Based in Edmonton, Vitality Air claims to fill each can with the purest air found in the Rockies and Lake Louise in Banff. Their process, “a bit of a trade secret,” Paquette told Vice, involves filling “massive cans through clean compression, locking in the pure air without any contamination.” Then, back at their facility, they fill canisters “to the brim.” A can of Vitality Air contains about 150 sprays. A single can goes for $14 (before shipping), while a double pack can go for as much as $43. It’s no bargain. According to the Telegraph, one can is “about 50 times more expensive than a bottle of mineral water in China.” Vitality Air’s China sales representative tells the Telegraph that most customers are affluent women “who buy [cans] for their families or give [them] away as gifts.” Night clubs and senior homes are also buying in. The company’s first shipment of 500 bottles sold out in less than a week and 4,000 more are on their way, according to Lam. Enthusiasm is palpable on the company’s customer testimonial page: “IT TASTE LIKE AIR VERY GOOD THANK U,” says a reviewer by the name of “Xi.” The only listed U.S. vendor is Brown Dog Distributors in Jacksonville, Flor-

Tired of the dog-eat-dog politics in their Russian city, the residents of Barnaul say they want a cat to be their next mayor. The Siberian city of 650,000 people, which lies 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) east of Moscow, is to get a new mayor next week when a commission comprising the city council and the regional governor choose from among six candidates. But none of the six appear to spark much affection among Barnaul’s residents. An informal online poll asking residents to express their preferences among the six and a Siamese cat named Barsik showed the feline nabbing more than 90 percent of the vote. Barsik has attracted much amused attention in the Russian news media. Still, some local politicians understand there’s a more serious message coming from the people of Barnaul, which like many Russian cities has been riddled with alleged corruption. “Through the image of Barsik the cat, our people are sending definite wishes to the future head of Barnaul,” says regional Gov. Alexander Karlin. “The conclusion has been made that there’s absolutely no trust among voters for any of the candidates,” said local Communist Party official, Ivan Karpov. They all look like the cat that ate the canary.



The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home


Life Coach:

Winter Discoveries at the Beverly Hills Farmers Market

Unfold your Strength and Reach Your Vision Muriel Levin, Certified Lifecoach

Ilana Muhlstein, R.D.N.

There is nothing better than waking up on a cool, crisp Sunday morning with the family, sharing a healthy and hearty breakfast of organic whole wheat buttermilk pancakes topped with ricotta and fresh berries, grabbing your knit sweater, and heading to the Beverly Hills Farmers Market. I love to be there close to the 9am opening to beat the crowds and get the best picks of the colorful produce. Better still, December, January and February offers amazing seasonal discoveries. Seasonal Find: Mini Fuyu (Fuyugaki) Persimmons Season: October to February Health Benefits: These non-astringent persimmons are excellent sources of vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, and high in fiber. They contain a variety of phytochemical antioxidants such as proanthocyanidin, epictechin, gallic, and p-coumaric acids. One study found persimmons to be higher in soluble and insoluble fiber, total phenols, and many minerals than apples. Moreover, another study showed that rats fed persimmon extract, significantly lowered their total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. What to do with it: Bite into them whole, like you would an apple, avoiding the core and leaves. You can also slice them thin and add to salads, serve with a cheese platter, or chop up into your oatmeal or even your salsa. Seasonal Find: Turmeric Ginger Lemon Cayenne Shot Farmer Stand: Pulp Story Nutritional Benefits: This anti-

oxidant-rich booster shot is perfect for enhancing your immune system as we enter flu season! Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C. They also contain vitamin A, folate, calcium, potassium, and limonene, a compound shown to have anti-cancer properties. Ginger is a rich source of powerful antioxidants such as gingerols, zingerones, and shogaols. Ginger has been proven in studies to significantly reduce nasuea, motion sickness, and reduced inflammation and knee pain for those with osteoarthritis. Curcumin is a phytochemical found in turmeric that has strong antioxidant properties and been well researched for its cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties. And finally, cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which acts as a powerful decongestant by releasing mucus from respiratory passages. What to do with it: Drink it straight or mix it into a smoothie with fruit to help mask the powerful taste. Produce name: Broccolini also referred to as Japanese Broccoli Farmer stand: Vang farms Season: October to April Health benefits: Broccolini is a trademarked name for a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale, so you can assume it is pretty healthy for you. Just one cup of broccolini contains 130% of your daily needs of Vitamin C and it’s also rich in potassium and heart healthy fiber. What to do with it: Although broccolini is associated with broccoli, the taste is milder and more similar to asparagus. I like to prepare it similar to asparagus and blanch it by boiling it for a minute until tender and then plunging it in ice water to retain the color and nutrients. Serve with just a sprinkle of salt, extra virgin olive oil or shaved parmesan for elevated flavor. Ilana Muhlstein is a Beverly Hills-based registered dietitian nutritionist. She can be reached at her website: www.IlanaMuhlstein.com.

Aren’t you thrilled to know that pitch dark afternoons will soon come later in the evening hours? Yes, the shortest days are passed and slowly the days are getting longer. I like this moment of transition, when you can look forward to the brightness of spring and more sunlight. Winter solstice, on December 22nd was the shortest day of the year. It’s not just the marker for change in lights and shadows, but in other ways as well. We all find ourselves in moments of transition at different points in our lives. Whether it s a birth or a funeral, a happy or sad event, a family celebration or a professional occasion, no matter what, don’t forget to recognize that you are in transition. Transitions make us question things and they make us grow. We are forced to discover a new direction while leaving the old one behind. The G’marah tells us about two people going to the city of Luz, a city bearing the name of the bone of resurrection. It is an allusion to the neck, the place of transition between the head and the body. If used wisely, transitions are a time of rebirth. At these times, it is crucial to address the answer the questions with honesty and with love. “What’s next for me? Where am I going now? What should I focus on? What shall I do to improve my thoughts, relationships and connection to Hashem?” It is best to take the time to write out the answers to the questions. You will see from your own non-judgmental that there is the seed of change with a decision and plan that will help you reach your next growth level. You will see your strength and this will help you be your best. The wise decisions are already inside each one of us, but we must find that place and bring it forward. It can be difficult to know our strengths. We’re taught to “force fit” ourselves into school assignments, evaluations and job descriptions. It can happen at any age. Take the adolescent who does not fit in the school curriculum. Take the mother who does not fit into the role of Mrs. Hancock Park Perfect. Take the husband who barely makes it financially. Take the older person who wants to have more fun. It would make a lot more sense if we were taught to understand ourselves and honor our strengths. This is how we should create our goals. Finding your light, listening to your soul, uncovering our inner strength, are solutions that can dissolve challenges. Sometimes people visit a life coach or

therapist so they can properly understand their personal strength and power. When building yourself, your emotional foundations have to be strong enough. Then, when life presents you with a transition, you can solve the issue with strength that lies in your inner core. Your inner strength is already part of you. What is your inner strength? What makes you so special? Don’t be modest. Answer with integrity and love for your inner soulHere are some questions for different areas of life where you might want to examine and genuinely set your goals: HASHEM - Can you feel the blessings and praises in your body when you pray or meditate? Could you be more aware of the life given to you at that minute? Are you clear on your beliefs and acting in congruence with them? Can you recognize your mission in life? HEALTH - Could you move more, eat better, sleep more? FAMILY AND FRIENDS - Can you do better for your loved ones or could you be a better giver and listener? FINANCES - Are you setting your goals and using tools and strategies to achieve them on a consistent basis? Do you take care of this as you should? Are you having a clear and honest interaction with money? FUN AND PLEASURE- How will you make time for the activities that energize you? How will you express your individuality so you feel most alive? From all your answers, pick 3 areas where you can easily see how you could improve upon. Write it all out in great details, including the end results you envision for yourself. Post the 3 things in a strategic position in your car, bathroom or office. Review and think how to reach your goal every day. You don’t have to know how you will get there, but trust that you will come up with the ideas and strength to implement changes with a small step you can take in each area. Help yourself and G-d will help you. Take that small step right now and see how it will unfold your vision.

The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

33 B"H

Honoring Our Traditions

Shabbaton Weekend Retreat Lake Tahoe


As a member of the Orthodox community, I am pleased to have joined the Mount Sinai family as an Advance Planning Representative.

February 5-7 2016

Mount Sinai is committed to respecting the Halachic needs of our community; and I look forward to working with you. Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills 5950 Forest Lawn Drive Los Angeles, CA 90069

Relax, Reflect, and refresh your spirit in a luxurious and warm setting right on the lake. An uplifting Jewish community experience for you and your entire family. Explore new ideas and expand your horizons in an open and embracing environment.

Mount Sinai Simi Valley 6150 Mount Sinai Drive Simi Valley, CA 93063

For more information visit TahoeShabbaton.com or 530-314-7677

Our parks are open Sunday through Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily except Saturday in observance of the Sabbath.

A project of Chabad Lake Tahoe

MY DIRECT CONTACT INFORMATION: Naomi Silbermintz 323-769-1374 nsilbermintz@ mountsinaiparks.org

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Simcha hall available for up to 100 people


fine catering

gourmet to go

LET’s PARTY Events

by Serena Apfel

 323-854-9958  letspartybyserena@gmail.com  www.letspartybyserena.com 

weddin Specialg

eat in

wedding 3 courSe Special minimum 50 people: flat rate of $32 per person.* *tax and waiters not included monday - Thursday

129 N La Brea ave., La, 90036 • 323.658.7730

 Weddings  Engagement Parties Bar & Bat Mitzvahs  Bris & Baby Kiddush  Upsherins  Corporate Events  Charity Dinners  Cocktail Parties  Holiday Parties  Bridal & Baby Showers  Anniversary Parties  Birthday Parties  Sweet 16s


The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

DECEMBER 24, 2015 | The Jewish Home


PESACH 2016 White Oaks Resort Niagara Falls, Canada “Extraordinary would be the only way to describe it. The resort that has it all.” NO ONE OFFERS AN EXPERIENCE LIKE “UPSCALE”. LET US SHOW YOU WHY.

The Upscale Experience Awaits. Rancho Bernardo Inn San Diego, California -Condé Nast Traveler Worlds Top 100 Resorts

“A peaceful haven in the heart of the mountains.”

Rabbi Daniel Mechanic

Ami Horowitz

Ben Shapiro

Dennis Prager

Comedian Mendy Pellin

Featuring Live Performances By Soulfarm

info@upscale-getaways.com www.upscale-getaways.com



From Israel, with love. Chazan Arik Wollheim & Beth Jacob Congregation bring you

Israeli Folk Music Sensation

Duo Re’im Live in ConCert Sunday, January 10, 2016 7:00 pm at Beth Jacob Featuring a presentation by the Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy Choir Music Director: Tomer Adaddi

Generously sponsored by Alice Schoenfeld. 9030 W. Olympic Blvd. Beverly Hills (310) 278-1911 www.bethjacob.org

“re’im” in Hebrew means friends; Benny rosenbaum and Yisrael Gottesdiener have been singing partners and friends since the day they met in the iDF in 1967. they performed in the rabbinical army choir and went on to become one of israel’s top entertainment groups, known all over the world. their show is a pure delight that one must see and experience!

For tickets: (310) 278-1911 or bethjacob.org/duoreim

Profile for Jewish Home LA

Jewish Home LA - 12-24-15  

Jewish Home LA - 12-24-15

Jewish Home LA - 12-24-15  

Jewish Home LA - 12-24-15