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:vkfs thdux ihfrcn smhf erp ihbvbv ,frc ,ufkvu Pre-Yarchei Kallah Hachana Shiurim by Rabbi Shlomo Gottesman BROOKLYN: Wed, Jan. 1st & Sun, Jan. 12th Yeshiva of Brooklyn –

1200 Ocean Pkwy – 10:45am – 12:00pm

PASSAIC: Sun, Dec. 29th & Sun, Jan. 5th Cong. Shaarei Tefilah –

24 Crescent Ave – 10:30am – 12:00pm

To be held v’’ht Monday thru Thursday Ramada Jerusalem Hotel

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January 20-23, 2014

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COMMUNITY Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 What’s New in LA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 2013 - Year in Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

7 Questions with Rabbi Kravitz Executive Director of Jews for Judaism. . . . . . . . . . . . 22


Great Stars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Student Op-Ed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17


Of Speech and Strength . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Evil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

EDUCATION Business Weekly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31


Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Moon Cap: A Novel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Old News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38


Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

LIFESTYLES Plan it Like a Pro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

It’s interesting to analyze the mixed emotions prevalent in our community this time of year. As religious people we can appreciate those who bring G-d into their lives as a force for morality and goodness, and we see that people are more cheerful, kinder and in general in a more benevolent mood during this time. It even makes navigating stop signs a bit trickier as quite often vehicles are waiting for the other one to go first. (What a change from the rest of the year!) But indeed because we are religious ourselves, the beliefs associated with this season are ones which are foreign to us and ones which we are not interested in inviting into our homes. So how are we to view the benefits this holiday seems to give society (especially considering the way it was celebrated in previous centuries and in other countries – not endorsing American consumerism!) while recognizing its roots are antithetical to Jewish belief and belief in one G-d? Perhaps the answer is to focus on the benefits that belief in a Creator brings. Monotheism first educated the world that murder and cannibalism were wrong, which slowly changed the way societies were run. Sure, the selfish desire to conquer, plunder and murder continued and even dragged on in the name of religion, but as a whole the world has been constantly progressing in terms of battling evil. Nations step in to help suffering peoples around the world, enormous amounts of resources –including soldiers! – are used to help victims of natural disasters, and the attitude of sharing one’s wealth with the less fortunate has become extremely prevalent, at least in modern, Westernized countries. (To be sure I’m not pretending the world is perfect or anything near that. I’m just focusing on the real gains society has made over the past few thousand years as to what has become unacceptable and what has become the norm.) If we look a little deeper at America we see a kinder society. One in which belief in a Creator is respected. One which tries to end hunger and suffering. One which admires individuals who act in an altruistic fashion –indeed there was a time when this was seen as a weakness! And one in which people are trying -even if misguided at times- to do what’s right. (For a fascinating description of the benefits brought by the world’s religions see -the unedited version- of Rambam Hilchot Melachim chapter 11). As Jews we need to continue to be a light unto the nations and lead the way by firmly standing up against evil, spending more time studying Torah, observing its mitzvot and sharing its message with all those we we know. By doing this we can be sure that the current upheavals taking place throughout society will be followed by world peace, in which the knowledge of G-d becomes the pursuit of all nations.

Career Corner - The Many Uses For a Resume . . . 47

May we experience this age-old dream in the very near future.

Recipe - Crazy for Quinoa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

With blessings for a most wonderful Shabbos,

Restaurant Review Two Dishes at Western Kosher’s Takeout . . . . . . . 30 Travel - Ireland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49


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DECEMBER 26, 2013


Dear Readers,





DECEMBER 26, 2013


We find ourselves in the season between Channukah and Purim; the time when our children have a shot at actually getting some learning done in the consistently consecutive weeks of school and Jewish businesses have a chance to catch their breath and put the pedal to the metal. Art is a big part of learning, especially in the younger grades. Many parents are baffled about what to do with the dozen or so creations that come home every week. I personally select my favorites- especially the art that has their hilarious quotes, or pictures attached to it and store it in a Tupperware in my garage to be savored in years to come- and quietly toss the rest. There’s an ingenious app called Artkive

which I’m going to start using: You take pictures of your kid’s work and you can tag and share their artistry with those who care (pretty much Bubby and Zaidy) and then you can print it all in a hard cover book. How clever is that? Artkive is the winner of a Family Choice Award and is a featured app in iTunes “Best App for Parents”. Another great source for parents is my new Maid Easier Facebook page. I have another hobby which is not listed under my biography: finding housekeepers for people. As my Spanish is decent (not fluent!), I spend quite a bit of time helping friends find, interview and train housekeepers. So, I decided to make all of our

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lives easier by creating Maid Easier where we can post maids, housekeepers, cleaning ladies, and nannies that we know about and try to help each other find better help. We’ve made quite a few “matches”, come check it out- it’s free. There’s a new, happening shul for young adults at 9041 W. Pico Blvd. in the Tomchei Shabbos building. Rabbi Yonah Bookstein encourages those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who are serious about spiritual growth and want to be part of a warm, welcoming community to join the minyan at 9 AM every Shabbos. The services are Orthodox, yet inclusive and user-friendly for anyone with any background. The davening in punctuated with Divrei Torah and explanations and focuses on accepting others and increasing Ahavas Yisroel. They also have weekly programs on Kabbala, Halacha, and other Torah classes as well as monthly Shabbos dinners and guest speakers. The gabbais include: Josh Lebow, Chaim Perlow, and Joseph Esshaghian. Teachers include: Marcus Freed, Cheston Mizel, Batsheva Frankel, Jessica Tabak, and Rachel Bookstein. More information can be found on www. picoshul.org. Speaking of happening young adults, Devorah Kroll has a new custom dessert business. She offers the usual array of tasty cupcakes and cookies, but what makes her pastries unique is the use of a printer that prints edible pictures onto cakes and cookies. How cute would a sheva bracha be with desserts featuring wedding photos on them? Devorah Kroll is available for custom orders in any quantity. To see a complete menu visit www.deelicioustreats.com. I have a friend, Joanna Missry, who I crossed paths when I was searching for a new housekeeper right after I moved to LA. Joanna is an incredible listener and I found myself sharing all kinds of deep thoughts with her soon after we met- I was not surprised at all when I found out that she’s a therapist! Joanna Missry works together with the well known therapist Michelle Dadoun throughout Southern California: they have offices in Northridge, Encino, Woodland Hills, Calabasas, and Beverly Hills. Michelle has over 10 years experience working with adults and teens and specializes in anxiety and depression

and Joanna has 9 years of experience and specializes in couples issues and is also certified in substance abuse issues. Their website is www.myLAtherapist.com. Thankfully, there are many drug and addiction centers available for adults who need it, however there are very few centers available in the entire United States for teens who are struggling with similar issues. Mendi Baron is a family therapist who has recently opened a Dual Diagnosis Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for teens ages 13-18 years old. It’s called “Destinations to Recovery” or simply Destinations. Destinations is located in Topanga Canyon, California about 30 minutes from Malibu and 40 minutes from Los Angeles. They have a robust therapy program, beautiful grounds, and an on-site school so students in recovery can keep up with their studies. Destinations does not have a religious affiliation, but the director of the program, Mendi Baron is an Orthodox Jew and can offer the necessary accommodations for Jewish clients including Kosher food, the ability to observe Shabbos, and time and space to daven. Their website is www.destinationstorecovery.com, and Mr. Baron can be reached at (310) 987-8298 or at mbaron@dtrtc.com There’s an incredible organization called Misameach which focuses on brightening the days of those who are bedbound. Expectant mothers on bed rest, patients post surgery, and those who are temporarily sick or chronically ill need something to keep them entertained without sacrificing their standards. Misameach offers a very large variety of media, as well as occasional live entertainment including visits from singers, clowns, and Jewish celebrities. The Los Angeles branch of Misameach is the fourth branch of the organization, the others are in Boston, Lakewood, and North Carolina. For more information or to get involved see www. misameach.org. As usual, we’re always looking for new businesses, shuls, schools, restaurants or happenings for this monthly article. Please send your news to estee@nicktrading.com to be featured in the next article.


By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon

“The Gift of Distraction” by Zev Gersten Money is a complex notion. It has the power to destroy a civilization, yet it can save trillions of lives. If I had $1,000, I would give something I love to someone who needs it. I love and devour books. My nightstand overflows with all the books I have consumed. Reading must be genetic because my grandparents are avid readers, and everyone in my family reads passionately. I recently lost my grandfather to mesothelioma. He arrived to every chemotherapy treatment with several books in hand. Grandpa always said the best way to deal with painful chemotherapy treatments is by “escaping into a

Tashbar Hens Lay Eggs Mazal Tov! Mazal Tov! Tashbar’s very own hens have laid eggs. The chickens, supervised by the school’s 6th and 7th grade boys, began laying eggs last week. One of the hens was hatched in an incubator at the school last spring. The chick was diligently cared for by the students. Using math and science skills, the students designed a state of the art habitat for the two hens. With the help of their teacher and her husband, they built a chicken coop this fall for two chickens. They have been patiently waiting for this moment! Now the question is: What will we do with the eggs? Any suggestions?

really good book.” In memory of my grandfather, I would use this money to purchase high quality literature books and distribute them through Chai Lifeline to children who struggle with cancer. Reading is the ideal way to escape the discomfort of chemotherapy. Many organizations generate hope and optimism in seriously ill children, but Chai Lifeline provides incomparable support throughout the child’s illness, recovery and beyond. Chai Lifeline is a dynamic organization that supports seriously ill children by bringing joy to the lives of young patients. One of Chai Lifeline’s guiding principles is that “seriously ill children need and deserve as happy and normal a childhood as possible”. I cannot think of anything more joyous then cracking open the

Photo credit: Arye D. Gordon

was, “What is the “Right” Decision?” As part of his essay, Yakov wrote, “In my life, I have sometimes come across situations where the “right” decision to make eludes me. In the end, however, it always is up to me to make a decision and hope that it was the correct one. Although I could probably take the easy way out and shy away from my responsibilities, as Hillel asks, “if I am not for myself, who will be for me?” As I approach adulthood, I cannot expect others to make the difficult choices, such as how to raise my children or make important business decisions. It is solely up to me to educate myself about my options and make the best possible choices for myself.” Middle School student Zevi Gersten had the topic, Imagine you were given $1,000 and could donate it to any person or organization. Whom would you give it to and why? What would you want them to do with it? The title of Zevi’s Essay was, “The Gift of Distraction” As part of his essay, Zevi wrote, “Money is a complex notion. It has the power to destroy a civilization, yet it can save trillions of lives. If I had $1,000, I would give something I love to someone

DECEMBER 26, 2013

The Milken Family Foundation and Bureau of Jewish Education held its 4th Annual Jewish Educator Awards Student Essay Contest. Participation is open to middle and high school students at all Bureau of Jewish Education affiliated schools. Two winners are selected, one from a middle school level (grades 6-8) and one from a high school level (grades 9-12). Yakov Leebhoff, an 11th grader at Yeshiva Ner Aryeh, was the contest winner from the high school level. Zevi Gersten, a 7th grader at Emek Hebrew Academy was the other winner. The winners receive a gift of $1,800 to the schools of the prize-winning essayists. In addition, each of the students selected has the opportunity to designate a $500 contribution to an approved charity of his or her choice. The topic for the High School Gades 9-12 was: Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?” Using specific examples, describe how this quote is relevant to you as a Jew living in 5773/5774. The title of Yakov’s Essay


Ner Aryeh and Emek Academy Students among Jewish Essay Contest Winners

(L-R) Dr. Gil Graff of BJE, Contest winners Yakov Leebhoff, fromYeshiva Ner Aryeh, and Zevi Gersten, of Emek Hebrew Academy and Richard Sandler VP Milken Family Foundation at Award Presentation.

who needs it. I love and devour books. … In honor of my upcoming bar mitzvah, I have been contacting numerous publishing houses and gathering many books to donate to Chai Lifeline, so that they will distribute these books to children suffering with cancer. No scientist could calculate binding of a brand new book. In honor of my upcoming bar mitzvah, I have been contacting numerous publishing houses and gathering many books to donate to Chai Lifeline, so that they will distribute these books to children suffering with cancer. No scientist could calculate how much joy is in the air when a child is happily engaged in reading, especially a child with cancer who faces great challenges. Reading helps us forget our troubles as we escape into another world. My grandfather was a loyal fan of Groucho Marx who once said: “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” Whenever I receive a new book, this particular quote pops into my head, and I smile. Many organizations are available

how much joy is in the air when a child is happily engaged in reading.” Two worthy students engaged in kidush Hashem. Their school, rabbeim, teachers and parents can all be proud of their contribution in molding these talmidim.

to bring smiles to a sick child, but Chai Lifeline is unique. One of their guiding principles is: “All services are free of charge to ensure that every family has access to the programs it needs. Chai Lifeline finds ways to bring joy to the lives of our young patients and their families through creative, innovative and effective family centered programs, activities and services.” I know my grandfather appreciated this organization, and he would be proud that I am taking an active role in supporting Chai Lifeline. It has been a privilege and an honor to be spending my spare time assisting Chai Lifeline. I look forward to seeing the smiles on the faces of young patients. I know my grandfather is with me and will be smiling down on me in spirit when I deliver all those delicious new books.


DECEMBER 26, 2013


Talking about the Ineffable: Rabbi Lieberman Lecture Series on the History of the Kabbalists Begins at Maayon Yisroel By Rabbi Harold Rabinowitz

Rabbi Abraham Lieberman, noted historian and Dean of YULA Girls High School on Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, has delivered the first two of a planned series of three lectures at Maayon Yisroel Chassidic Center on “The History of the Kabbalists” to receptive audiences, on two successive Wednesday evenings, December 11 and 18 (Tevet 8 and 15). The subjects were the history and place of Kabbalistic literature and thinking in Judaism, from its origins in antiquity to the publication of the Zohar in the thirteenth century. A third lecture on the development of Kabbalistic writing and discourse since the Zohar period is scheduled for Wednesday, December 25, (Tevet 22) at 8:00 pm—at Maayon Yisroel, 140 N. La Brea Ave., in Hancock Park. Using printed hand-outs containing texts, frontispieces and, drawings, Rabbi Lieberman presented an hour-long introduction to the important ideas that lie at the center of Kabbalistic thinking— what is referred to as Torat Ha-Nister: “the esoteric Torah”—and the key works and personalities responsible for bringing that knowledge to the attention of the Jewish people and to the world. He then discussed two important early works—Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Creation) and Sefer HaBahir (The Book of Illumination)—which establish the foundational principles of the Kabbalah in an authentic and legitimate way; the third great work of this kind, the Zohar, will be the subject of the next lecture. Orientation to Kabbalistic Thinking He began by asking the audience to imagine they are in a totally darkened room that contains a wealth of objects. Then, they were instructed, imagine the room is lit by a lightning flash for just a brief moment. They may catch a glimpse of some of the objects in the room, and they may also gain a quick impression of the general layout and contours of the furniture and the piles of objects contained in the room, but they will never be able to say they fully know what is in the room. Such, Rabbi Lieberman said, is what the journey into the Kabbalah is like—that is the only way we can experience and study the Kabbalah: only in brief encounters of flashes of insight. The Chassidic master, Reb Menachem Mendel of Shklov (1750–1827), the devoted student of the Vilna Gaon who recorded many of the commentaries of the Gaon produced in his later years, and who settled in Eretz Yisroel after the Gaon ‘s passing in 1797 (first in Tzfat, and finally in the famous Churvah Shul in the Old City of Jerusalem), described this body of knowledge with these words: “We give the name ‘Nister’ to that which can-

not be transmitted to another person with words. Just as the taste of a food cannot be described by someone who has tasted the food to someone who never has, so are there experiences and ideas about the world that cannot be described and conveyed to another person with mere words. If one were to try to convey to another person the Yiras Hashem—our individual experience of our fear and awe of G-d—we would find words inadequate to the task.” The essential ask of the Kabbalist, Rabbi Lieberman continued, is essentially to understand and explain two brief portions of Biblical texts: the description of the vision of the Prophet Isaiah contained in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 6; and the opening two chapters of the Book of Ezekiel. In both, the Prophet describes what has become known as “Ma’aseh Merkavah”—the structure and operations of the “Chariot” or Throne of the Almighty. Though the descriptions of the two prophets, expressed in highly poetic and image-laden language, seem to be reports of different visions, they are , in fact, of the same aspect of the supernal word. They difference in the descriptions are due to the differences between Isaiah and Ezekiel—both their in their individual personalities and in the level of their sophistication and proficiency in receiving and imparting their vision. (The Talmud regards Isaiah a “city-dweller” who is able to impart his vision completely in just a few sentences, while Ezekiel is a “country-dweller” who needs chapters to convey the same thing.) The Book of Samuel tells us that Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah the Prophet) instructed the most devout and capable among the students of the Torah in the ways of Prophecy so that they could approach the esoteric wisdom of the Toras HaNistar, suggesting that even in the field of prophetic vision, there is training and methodology to be mastered. The problem is—and has always

been, Rabbi Lieberman pointed out—that this wisdom cannot be imparted in a scientific way, with a cookie-cutter syllabus of instruction. Dealing as it does with the most fundamental aspects of Creation—the manner in which the Infinite G-d fashioned a bounded, finite world and how He maintains oversight and dominion in that world—understanding such matters requires the very individual and personal aspects and capabilities of the person attempting to understand it. By its very essence, it cannot be contained in a set of rules, in a lecture given to a crowd, or in an instructional textbook (or a YouTube video). Nor may it be, for the Talmud tells us, in the opening of Tractate Chagiga, Chapter 2, that, while there are some subjects that can only be conveyed in direct communication between teacher and student, one-to-one, so that there is (nearly) no possibility that an important aspect of the teaching will be misconstrued or simply missed due to inattention (something known to happen on occasion with students), Ma’aseh Merkava, the inner mechanics and wisdom of Creation cannot be conveyed even to one: it must be pondered and arrived at through individual effort, devotion and study. While Creation and the “mechanics” of the relationship between Hashem and the Created Universe forms a core subject of the Kabbalah, two other subjects occupy the attention and exploratory talents (intellectual as well as imaginative) of the Kabbalists: one is the nature of the human being; and the other, the meaning and function of Mitzvot—the precepts of the Torah. Regarding the first subject, the Bible is replete with instances and passages that make it clear that the Biblical view— championed since antiquity and defended right to the present day!—is that the human being is comprised of both a physical (guf) and a spiritual component, the latter

called the neshamah—the soul. The decidedly Jewish conception that the soul, the neshamah, is derived in some manner from G-d Himself—that it constitutes a connection between the Infinite, boundless (ayn sof) Divine Presence (Shechinah) and the material, created world—has stood in contradistinction to (and defiance of) the materialistic ideologies that have appeared from antiquity to the modern day, that view human physical existence as well as human psychological, emotional and intellectual existence in purely physical, mechanical terms. If the areas of (a) the relationship between the Almighty Creator and the physical world, and (b) of the ethereal, spiritual composition and working of the human being by virtue of having a soul— have been areas where Jewish religious and Kabbalistic thinking has wrangled with the materialistic, value-less ideologies of the world, such has not been the case with Mitzvot—precepts—in which Jewish Rabbinic analysis has been virtually alone in human history. Though many respected and admired rabbinic authorities have throughout the ages attempted to provide rational and utilitarian explanations for the precepts—in which the Mitzvot are seen as beneficial to human welfare, family happiness and persona fulfillment—the most important work in this area has been in analyzing and explaining the mystical, Kabbalistic, “metaphysical” basis for Mitzvot: the ways in which Mitzvot amplify and enhance the connection between flesh-and-blood human beings and the supernal world of the Shechina and the Divine Presence. Great rabbinic thinkers and authorities have often said that these connections constitute the most important and life-affirming aspects of Torah and Mitzvot, and take Jewish tradition out of the sterile rational way of life into a rich, experiential way of life in which the Jew creates and maintains an existential connection to the Almighty. This has been promoted and illuminated by several works of Kabbalah, which Rabbi Lieberman proceeded to discuss two formative works: Sefer Yetzirah—The Book of Creation; and Sefer HaBahir—The Book of Illumination. Like the third work, the Zohar, in this triumvirate of the most critical works of this literature of the Torat HaNistar, these works were transmitted down through the ages from antiquity in oral or perhaps even in written (but never disseminated) form. In all three instances, ample evidence exists to substantiate the authentic antiquity of the works; and the wealth of rabbinic commentaries written on these works—Sa’adiah Gaon; Nachmanides; Ravad; the Vilna


are combined along with evocations of the Sefirot in a setting of devotional meditation, prayer and concentration—this constitutes a major portion of the content of Sefer Yetzirah. (it would be well to note that this material is dangerous insofar as it may lead one astray from more accessible and “normal” pathways of religious observance. The many ill-conceived uses that has been made of this material prompts a recommendation that a reliable translation of these works be used, such as those created by the late Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. Rabbi Lieberman pointed out in this connection that it is nearly universally considered responsible, prudent parenting, to teach children not to play with matches.) Sefer HaBahir is attributed to the Tanna Rabbi Nehunya ben HaKanah (again, a second century BCE rabbi), and it was also much venerated and comment-

ed on (and used liberally) by many greats from Nachmanides to the Vilna Gaon. The work takes the form of a commentary on the opening chapters of Genesis and deals with various aspects of creation, presented in a dialogue between a master and a pupil. Its central premise is that every letter, every crown (atop the Hebrew scribal letters that appear in the Torah scroll, the Sefer Torah), is significant and teaches something important about the relationship between G-d, Creation and the Neshamah. In the next lecture, Rabbi Lieberman closed, we will look carefully at the “crown jewel” of this body of writing: the Zohar. Audios of all three of Rabbi Lieberman’s lectures are available on the Maayon Yisroel website.

ETTA’s 20th Annual Gala Huge Success Supporting Jews with Special Needs; ETTA Announces “200 by 2020” Plan & Opening of Fifth Home Beverly Hills, CA – ETTA’s 20th Annual Gala, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday December 17, drew hundreds of friends and supporters of ETTA’s services to Jewish adults with special needs in the Los Angeles community. ETTA, which merged with New York based OHEL Children’s and Family Services last year to form “ETTA at OHEL” is the premier resource for residential services for Jewish individuals with disabilities on the West Coast, and also provides many other services to support people with special needs: life skills training, job coaching, social events, a day program, a summer program, and educational programs. The vision of ETTA is an inclusive, participatory community of people with and without special needs, succeeding and growing together. This year’s banquet was particularly meaningful as it marked ETTA’s 20th Anniversary. ETTA was founded in 1993 as the realization of retired LAUSD special education teacher Mrs. Etta Israel’s dream. Her modest estate was dedicated to founding ETTA, which in the past 20 years has become a beacon of hope for people with disabilities and the families who love them. ETTA’s work was celebrated and

appreciated by all at the Gala, including the ETTA at OHEL Board and ETTA Advisory Board. Many OHEL board members and executive staff were there as well, as were many elected officials, including State Controller John Chiang, Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party Eric Bauman, Assemblymember Richard Bloom, District 50, and Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, District 46, who were welcomed by attorney Sam Yebri, Chair of ETTA’s Government Relations Group. An incredible program, emceed by comedian Mark Schiff, featured the many different aspects of ETTA. ETTA’s Executive Director, Dr. Michael Held, explained the organization’s current focus: a plan called “200 by 2020” authored together with ETTA’s Visionary Award recipient Michael Baruch. Due to tremendous need, ETTA’s goal is to house, or support in various housing arrangements, 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020. Towards that end, Dr. Held was proud to announce the opening of ETTA’s 5th home – and first on the Westside – called Bedford House. This house is not a group home but rather a privately-run home for high-functioning women who still need some support.

L-R California Controller John Chiang; Mel Zachter, a member of the ETTA at OHEL Board of Directors; Elly Kleinman, a member of the ETTA at OHEL Board of Directors; and Dr. Michael Held, executive director of ETTA.

Liebe and Ivor Geft were the evening’s recipients of the ETTA Champions Award. Liebe Geft is the Director of the Museum of Tolerance, which is the educational arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Ivor is a renowned cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and teaches many Torah classes in the Los Angeles area. “What is so meaningful about supporting ETTA,” noted Liebe Geft, “is that it enables and ennobles these individuals with special needs to give to others, which is our purpose in life.” Michelle Wolf, co-founder of HaMercaz and currently Transitions Project Coordinator for Bet Tzedek Legal Services, received the Professional Leadership Award for her 25 years of advocacy and innovation in the field, both for her own son Danny and for countless others. Michelle was thrilled – and moved – by a surprise appearance and introduction from her daughter Rachel, whom ETTA flew out from New York. One highlight of the evening was a speech from Moshe Bienenfeld, a young man with autism who was honored with ETTA’s Lazare, z”l, and Moselle Hendeles Young Leadership Award. Moshe reminded everyone that those with challenges are not “disabled” but rather “differently abled,” and shared his pride in being a spokesperson for

Sharon Levine, Co-President of ETTA-OHEL’s Board of Directors; Moshe Bienenfeld, recipient of ETTA’s Lazare, z”l, and Moselle Hendeles Leadership Award; Dr. Michael Held, Executive Director of ETTA

individuals with autism. The evening wrapped up with Michael Baruch, founder of Baruch Enterprises, receiving ETTA’s Visionary Award for his tireless work on behalf of the organization. “What could be more important than giving a home to people who need a home?” Baruch asked the audience. “You all can help our vision to provide homes to all the people who are in need.” Mel Zachter, Co-Chairman of OHEL and member of ETTA at OHEL Board of Directors commented that “the evening personified the growth of ETTA through its new relationship with OHEL and the ability to meet the ever increasing needs of those with special needs in the community.” ### ETTA, founded in 1993 in Los Angeles, California, serves people with developmental disabilities and their families, and is one of the premier providers of such services on the West Coast. ETTA’s mission is to help people with developmental disabilities, and the families who love them, to live fully enriched and active lives as members of the Los Angeles Jewish community. View Gala Highlight Reel and speeches at: https://www.youtube.com/user/ EttaOrg?feature=watch

Sharon Levine, Co-President of ETTA-OHEL’s Board of Directors; Eric Bauman, Vice Chair of the California Democratic Party; Kam Babaoff, member of the ETTA-OHEL Board of Directors; Dr. Michael Held, Executive Director of ETTA

DECEMBER 26, 2013

lated) a calf for the angelic guests who had come to see him (Genesis 18:7). Tradition attributes the earliest formation of Sefer Yetzirah to Abraham; other traditions believe a version was composed by Rabbi Akiva—and analysis of the text indicates that the language was consistent with a 2nd century BCE composition, or during the period of Rabbi Akiva. The Sefer Yetzirah utilizes what it calls, the “32 Mystical Pathways of Wisdom” with which Hashem created the world. In the course of the text, it becomes clear that the 32 pathways consist of the Ten “Sefirot”—or “emanations”: the ten attributes of the Eyn Sof, the infinite presence of G-d, through which He acts and is revealed in the Creation of the world and of the human being. Added to these ten elements are the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, making 32 in all. How the letters


Gaon… the list is a long one—all making clear the genuine Judaic-Rabbinic character of its teachings and contents, give evidence of the authenticity of the works and their importance as Jewish religious sources. The Sefer Yetzirah, for example, is alluded to by Rashi in his commentary on the famous passages of the Talmud, Sanhedrin 65b and 67b, in which Rava is said to have used the wisdom of Sefer Yetzirah to “create” a man that he sent to Rabbi Zeira. In the latter passage, Rav Haninah and Rav Hoshiah, students of Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi, are said to have used Sefer Yetzirah to create a tasty calf which they ate on the Sabbath—emulating the Patriarch Abraham’s similar act of “creation” when he “made” (which is what the text says he did—not “fetched,” as the word “assah” is often inaccurately trans-


DECEMBER 26, 2013


Shraga and S.R. Silver and Rabbi Avrohom Todd Davidovits Are Honored at Valley Torah Tribute Dinner Valley Torah High School honored Shraga and S.R. Silver its Annual Tribute Dinner, November 26 at the Hilton University City. The school also bestowed its Alumnus of the Year award on Rabbi Avrohom Todd Davidovits ‘95. “We try to honor special people who are amazing in the way they lead their lives,” said VTHS Dean and Rosh HaYeshiva Rabbi Avrohom Stulberger, and both of these honorees fit that description. “They have a moral compass of knowing what’s right and what’s wrong; their anchor is Torah, and that’s what our school is about.” Shraga and S.R. Silver have long been active and enthusiastic supporters of Valley Torah High School. They are both native Californians who discovered and were inspired by the beauty of Torah Judaism through many special individuals whom they encountered in their youth and young adulthood. The Silvers are admired and respected for their love of Torah, kindness, and dedication to their community. As a young adult, after receiving his B.A. from Pomona College, Shraga learned with Rabbi Noach Weinberg, z”l, at Aish HaTorah, Jerusalem, Rabbi Simcha Wasserman, z”l, and with Rabbi Moshe Meiselman. He also had the unique opportunity to live in the home of the previous Bostoner Rebbe, zt”l. He earned his law degree from the UCLA School of Law and has had a fulfilling career as a law librarian. S.R.served as president of Hillel while attending Santa Monica College. She attended seminary in Minneapolis and Brooklyn, and in 2012, she fulfilled a lifelong dream of earning her B.A from California State University, Northridge. S.R. enjoys doing acts of chessed and has long been involved in education, bringing her vibrancy and enthusiasm to classrooms as a pre-school teacher. The Silvers still feel a

close connection towards Valley Torah from which three of their four children graduated. They are appreciative of the education their children received at the school and credit the school’s rebbeim and teachers for providing their children with the academic tools and spiritual guidance that enabled them to become the fine b’nei Torah that they are today. “Shraga Silver is an amazing, inspiring Jew,” said Rabbi Stulberger. With S.R at his side, he has overcome incredible physical challenges and “he sets the bar in terms of character and commitment to Torah values.” Rabbi Davidovits is admired and respected for his sterling middos, community leadership, and dedication to both the learning and dissemination of Torah. A dynamic educator with an uncanny ability to connect to students of all ages, he is a distinguished representative of the Torah values that VTHS aspires to instill within its students. After graduating from VTHS’s class of 1995, Rabbi Davidovits learned at Neveh Zion in Israel and Sh’or Yoshuv Institute of the Five Towns where he earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Talmudic Law. He received smicha from the celebrated halachic authority and author, Rabbi Efraim Greenblatt. Rabbi Davidovits is currently pursuing his law degree at UCLA School of Law. He credits his days at Valley Torah with setting him on his path in life. “The quality of Torah learning at Valley Torah was outstanding, as was the emphasis placed on the importance of character development,” he said. “Our rebbeim were role models of dedication to Torah learning and harbotzas haTorah. They encouraged each of their talmidim to shoot for the stars, and to refuse to be satisfied with following the crowd. Their guidance enabled each of us to strive toward great accomplishments in Torah.” Rabbi Davidovits and his wife, Sarah, whom he credits with enabling him to be exclusively involved with learning and teaching Torah for the past eleven years, have five children. Reflecting on the honor given to these outstanding individuals, Rabbi Stulberger noted in the Tribute Dinner Journal, “Our sages explain that there is one barometer that can help us gauge our progress on the path of ruchnius. In Pirkei Avos, it says, ‘Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa taught: Anyone who is pleasing in character and behavior to other people is also pleasing to Hashem.’ This is an incredible testament to the ability of a community to sense sincerity in others, and to recognize the value that the Torah places on proper middos and exemplary character.”


the convention is chosen each year with a community advisory board of lay leaders and community rabbis. “The challenges are not the same from year to year. Certain issues now in question were not even on the communal agenda 10 years ago,” says Rabbi Kalinsky. The goal of the convention is to address the current issues the community is facing, and bring together quality faculty to talk about these issues. The topic of this years’ convention was “Traditional Judaism in the New Millenium.” The keynote event, held on Thursday evening at Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, was a talk by Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik entitled “On the Shoulders of Giants: How Our Past Informs Our Future.” Friday continued with a rabbinic enrichment shiur by Rabbi Hershel Schachter and visiting faculty at several local schools. Friday night boasted two onegs, including one with a talk by Rabbi Pruzansky and Rabbi Dratch entitled “The Pew Study Sinks In: What it Means for Our Community.” Shabbat day brought with it scholars in residence at many area shuls, including Rabbi Avram Bogopulsky, Rabbi Marc Dratch, Dr. Yocheved Debow, Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rabbi Yitzchak Feldman, Rabbi Reuven Bulka, Rabbi Steven Weil, Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, and Dr. David Pelcovitz. Beth Jacob hosted a luncheon with a speech by Rabbi Dratch on “The Scourge of Abuse,” and on Shabbat afternoon Dr. David Pecovitz gave a speech on “Mensch Making in the 21st Century” at Young Israel of Century City. “The theme this year discussed new challenges and opportunities,” says Rabbi Posy. While shuls have latitude in how they want to approach the theme, one thing is constant: “We always make sure it’s just plain Torah.” The Torah thought continued on Sunday, with talks by Rebbetzin Yael Weil (“Not Afraid to Speak He Mind: The Life & Legacy of Miriam the Prophetess”), Dr. Yocheved Debow (“A Torah Based Sexual Ethic”), Rabbi Steven Weil (“Insights from the Rav on Sefer Bereisheit: A Launch of the New Masoret Harav Chumach”), and a panel

on legal ethics which included Rav Hershel Schachter, Rabbi Steven Pruzansky and Chaim Woolf, Esq. The convention concluded with another panel discussion: “Talking Tachlis: Dealing with Contemporary Challenges Facing Today’s Orthodox Families.” A fitting conclusion to a weekend of many new ideas, the discussion centered on the practical: how do we take these ideas into our communities? New ideas are not the only thing the convention brings with it. “First, there is wonderful energy,” says Dr. David Pelcovitz, one of the visiting scholars. “There is something so nice about people making time to think about the bigger issues. These communities are very open to speaking about improving leadership, parenting, and community. They are very open to working on growing in areas they want to grow in, which reflects the values of the OU – spirituality and connection.” Other scholars expressed similar experiences. “The idea of coming together as a community, to find out from the community where the concerns are… you think you’re coming to talk to, but really it’s about talking with,” says Rabbi Reuven Bulka. “They have insights into the problems, and sometimes the solutions. This open discussion is really where the action is.” Rabbi Steven Pruzansky sums it up: “The OU is one of the most indispensable organizations that we have. They do so much more than kashrus – they strive to make Jews better Jews.” Rabbi Posy agrees. “People often think about the OU as just a kashrus organization,” he says. “But there are really several departments. We work with Jewish youth through NCSY. We work on college campuses with our Jewish Learning Initiative. We’re involved with kids with disabilities through Yachad. And our main work is with shuls. We’re there, behind the scenes, whenever they need us.”

Los Angeles is the only regional OU office outside of Jerusalem (the main branch being in New York). It serves not just Los Angeles, but communities from Vancouver to San Diego all the way to Colorado. It is also the only stand alone OU office of all OU activity – from NCSY to Yachad to kashrus. This allows West Coast OU the unique opportunity to be a part of national activities as well as original programming for Los Angeles. This years’ convention did not disappoint. “It went great,” says Rabbi Posy. “It’s interesting how we measure success. We try to look beyond numbers. We have great numbers, but the feedback from people who say it has helped open their eyes is just as important as the numbers.” Both measures for success were certainly met this year, with filled lectures and 3,0004,000 participants overall. The feedback was no less impressive. “It was wonderful as always,” says one participant of the Sunday Sessions. “No one wanted to leave the room.” While the convention occurs annually at around this time of year, the OU provides programming all year round. “The convention in many ways is our public event,” says Rabbi Posy. “But a key portion of what the OU is all about happens behind the scenes.” While the public presence and awareness is important, it is not the main goal. A good day of work at the OU is a shul that didn’t end up involved in a lawsuit, or that managed to avoid a public feud. This impact, which isn’t necessarily in the public eye, is their main work. And it happens behind the scenes in the shuls and schools of Los Angeles, and all along the west coast. “We’re here to provide for the community,” says Rabbi Posy. “The OU wants to reach out to everybody.”

DECEMBER 26, 2013

This past weekend was the 23rd annual West Coast Torah Convention held by the Orthodox Union. Beginning on Thursday and finishing Sunday, the convention stretched through several area synagogues and held its closing events at the Crowne Plaza in Beverly Hills. Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, OU West Coast Director, has seen the convention change much over the past decades. “One of the things that excites me the most is seeing how times change, and yet keeping the conversation current to new challenges and opportunities,” says Rabbi Kalinsky. “The OU maintains a fresh face on the communal conversation every year.” Rabbi Adir Posy, OU West Coast Assistant Director, explains how the convention has evolved over the years. In past years, it used to be a stand alone event – a gathering of speakers more similar to their current closing day. But in recent years they have been pushing to bring it into communities. “There are two advantages to this,” explains Rabbi Posy. “First, it lets us mold a unique talk to the community. And second, it brings speakers to where people already are. It’s been very successful.” That success is evident from the sheer number of shuls and schools participating in the convention. Faculty and Scholars in Residence visited Yeshiva Mesivta Birchas Yitzchak, YULA, Shalhevet, Adas Torah, Beth Jacob, Bnai David-Judea, Mogen David, Shaarey Zedek-Valley, Westwood Kehilla, Westwood Village Synagogue, Yeshivat Yavneh, Young Israel of Century City, and Young Israel of North Beverly Hills. “The OU is in a unique position to speak communally rather than institutionally,” says Rabbi Posy. Another way the convention has changed over the years is in its approach to the topics. While there used to be speakers on subjects more generally related, the new method is more of an umbrella approach to education: faculty is assembled around a theme and gather to discuss the nuances of that theme. While members of the West Coast OU staff are already experts in various topics, they bring in faculty from around the world to ensure a varied and lively exchange of ideas. The topic of


OU West Coast Convention


DECEMBER 26, 2013


Touro LA Alumna Shuli Lowy Named Mobile Marketing “Woman to Watch” Los Angeles, Calif., December 19, 2013 – Shuli Lowy, a 2010 graduate of Touro College Los Angeles (TCLA), was named a Mobile Marketing Woman to Watch for 2014 by MobileMarketer.com. Lowy, who served as president of the student council at TCLA and valedictorian of her class, is the marketing director for the marketing group Ping Mobile. “Congratulations to Shuli on this well-deserved honor,” said Samira Miller, director of admissions at TCLA. “While a student, Shuli excelled academically and displayed leadership in her role as student council president. Based on her accomplishments, we expect to see much more from her in the years to come.” In an interview with Mobile Marketer, which has several high-end clients including Wyndham Hotels, AT&T, Charter Cable and the Westfield Group, Lowy called her job “an adventure” as she is always marketing several different products at once. “Over the past year alone, I have worked with marketing personnel of movie production companies, auto brands, hospitality chains, banks, apparel lines and musicians,” she said.

Lowy worked as an intern at Ping Mobile before she was promoted to her current position. According to a Ping Mobile press release, Lowy, 23, works closely with se-

Shuli Lowy, a 2010 graduate of Touro College Los Angeles, was named a Mobile Marketing Woman to Watch for 2014 by MobileMarketer.com. Lowy, who served as the president of the student council and valedictorian of her class, is the marketing director for marketing group Ping Mobile.

nior executives at Fortune 500 brands to plan and launch their mobile marketing activities, and helps shape the company’s focus on providing industry-progressing marketing leadership. She is responsible for the placement of hundreds of millions of mobile ads and for full-circle SMS activity for key brands, and has remained at

the forefront of mobile innovation by introducing new interactive mobile technologies to the market. Her experience at TCLA empowered her to excel professionally, she said. “The small classroom setting of TCLA, combined with the exceedingly qualified and accessible faculty, allowed me to study key entrepreneurial subjects, including marketing, economics, finance, accounting and business ethics, as well as hone important professional skills. “More importantly, it sparked my passion for the creative energy of consumer engagement which has served as a powerful guiding force for me ever since.” Ping Mobile singled out the proactive role Lowy has taken as an educator and a builder in the mobile marketing community, something Lowy said she planned to do more of in the coming year. She added that she would also work to ingrain an awareness of legal and social regulations related to mobile marketing. A native of Los Angeles, Lowy stressed the importance of attracting women to the mobile marketing industry. “Each of us needs to make an effort to market this field to women who are in the

midst of making their career choices,” she said. “Get involved in your local universities and enlighten women about the prospects available within mobile.” About the Touro College and University System Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. New York Medical College, Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus, as well as Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: http:// www.touro.edu/news/.

La Brea Community Honors Memory of Mordechai Kamornick, A”H, at Son’s Bar Mitzvah By Robert Cordas

The Beverly/La Brea community came together in solidarity to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of Akiva Kamornick a mere two weeks after the passing of his father, Mordechai Kamornick, A”H, a beloved member of the greater Los Angeles Jewish Community. The Bar Mitzvah was held at Shaarei Tefilah Synagogue, and the Kiddush next door at Kanner Hall. An estimated 500 people attended the services, Kiddush or both to enhance the simcha and support the Kamornick family. Akiva Kamornick gracefully leined the first five aliyot, followed by a drasha on Parshas Vayigash, emphasizing his awareness of life’s future challenges and gratitude to

Hashem, his family and community for preparing him to face those challenges. The Rav of Sharei Tefilah, Rabbi Moshe Kesselman, spoke both about the pride and nachas Akiva’s father was having in Shamayim, and the challenge of dealing with tragedy and loss in a way that brings us closer to and not farther from Hashem. Many prominent Rabbanim of other shuls in the Beverly/ La Brea community attended either part of the service or the Kiddush. “The wide variety of people that came to the Bar Mitzvah is a great testament to Mordechai’s close relationship with so many different types of Jews,” stated Rabbi Kesselman in reaction to

Rabbi David Yosef Visits Emek On Thursday, our children had the merit to be visited by one of the gedolei hador (great sages of our generation), Rav David Yosef shlita, the son of Rav Ovadia Yosef zt”l. The children were treated to an inspiring speech by the Rabbi. The Rabbi’s poignant words explained that one becomes a talmid chacham (knowledgeable sage) through hard work and effort, not divine intervention. One does not “wake up” with Torah knowledge; rather, one must invest time and effort into their Torah learning. He told stories about how he would

learn with his father for hours on end. This is a lesson that will surely inspire our own children to reach great heights in their Torah learning like the late Rav Ovadia Yosef, zt”l. As Rav David Yosef shlita went around to our classrooms and blessed our students, it was touching to see the children, who behaved with the utmost respect, in awe of such a great talmid chacham (wise man). A video of the visit is available at http://bit.ly/rabbidavidyosef

the wide spread community support. “So many people keep telling me about how he was such a mentchlech and pleasure to deal with in business. Mordechai never complained about his health. Even when he was in excruciating pain.” Born and raised in Venice, California, Akiva’s father Mordechai Kamornick was part of the greater Los Angeles community for almost all his life. He was one of the first students to attend what now is the Yeshivas Aharon Yaakov/Ohr Eliyahu Academy when it was located in Venice, later attending Yeshivah Gedolah for High School and learning in Yeshivas Bais Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel. He was the own-

er and founder of NKA Consulting Inc., a computer and Network Security Consulting firm, which is still owned and operated by the Kamornick family. Mordechai was known for doing numerous acts of chesed and community service anonymously. His company provides computer and network services for almost all the Los Angeles Jewish Day Schools and Yeshivahs. He served as Gabai Rishon for the Hashkama minyan at Shaarie Tefilah, as well as various other leadership roles in the shul. Besides Akiva, Mordechai Kamornick is survived by his wife Atara and daughters Kayla and Naomi.


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Commemorating the 1st Yahrtzeit of Erika Klein a”h By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon

On Monday evening December 09, 2013 the Los Angeles community turned out to remember Erika Klein a”h. We were reminded of a loss, not just to her family, but to a community that benefited from her presence. Shimshon Beinstock, a son-inlaw of Erika Klein asked, “what is the connection between Kadish and the Niftar? In the saying of kadish we speak of Hashem in terms of greatness and exaltation. How does that relate to the loss we are now experiencing?” “I once heard the following explanation. Each person is here in this world to be mekadesh shem shamayim. Some accomplish this through limud hatorah, tefilah, chesed and tzedakah. When a person passes on, their unique way of being mekadesh shem shamayim is missing from the world. The purpose of kaddish is to help us realize that we are missing, not only the closeness of the person who has departed, but we are now missing their special actions of kiddush shem shamayim which they brought to this world.” “My mother-in-law was mekadesh shem shamayim in many different ways. What made her beloved by the community was the way she treated everyone that she met. She had a constant smile on her face, expressed concern for their particular plight and looked for ways to help them out.” “Just as kaddish is meant to inspire us to achieve a greater Kiddush shem shamayim in the world, so to we have asked Rabbi Pesach Krohn to come here tonight to inspire all of us.” The flyer announced that it would be, “A night of elevation and inspiration with Pesach Krohn, who would captivate us with the mindset of wanting to “Become a Person of Bracha”. It was that and so much more. The large turnout of men and woman was not surprising. Many, many people were touched by Erika Klein. She was a

woman of compassion and understanding, sensitive to the needs and concerns of others. A kaleidoscope of Los Angeles Yidden were touched and influenced by her. It was her manner, her softness, her sensitivity, that drew people to her and formed a bond that none could forget nor did they wish to disengage from. My wife Malka, once met her a few years ago through a casual encounter. That was enough to create a connection that endured. She was friendly and outgoing. In the course of their conversation Malka brought up a matter that was concerning her. Mrs. Klein responded, “I understand what you are feeling. Call me whenever you need someone to talk to. I will be there for you”. And she was. This special evening in memory Erika Klein a”h, was arranged by her daughter and son-in-law Sarah Leah and Shimshon Beinstock. They were looking for a way to properly memorialize Erika’s yahrtzeit and for the community to be inspired by Erika’s lifetime concern for people and to do maasei chesed in her memory. Reb Pesach Krohn was a perfect choice to convey the message and he did not disappoint. While Reb Pesach regaled us with an unending series of moving events in the life of the World Jewish community, he spoke of Erika Klein a”h and her role. “Your name is your history. Tonight we have to focus on becoming a person of bracha. Erika was a blessing to so many people in the community. From the simple to the exalted. She made them all feel special. And just as she became a person of bracha, we too must do the same.” One gem after another tumbled from his mouth. Each one moving, emotional, poignant and decisive. The olam was transfixed by it all. Among the many thoughts and ideas that Rabbi Krohn conveyed was that we must do for others, be forgiving, be considerate and in this time of great conflict

between Jews and Jews, “We have to love and care for all our brothers and sisters,” he said. “Make a commitment tonight to do more. I guarantee you that your life will change. Take out a notebook and every day write down just one of the many chesed’s you may have done that day. Do something every day and you will see after a month that that book will become one of your most treasured possessions. And you will change. For when you do for others, Hashem will do for you. Thank you.”

Shimshon Beinstock, son-in-law, speaking at gathering

Photo credit: Arye D. Gordon


DECEMBER 26, 2013


Rabbi Pesach Krohn at Los Angeles gathering to Remember Erika Klein A”h

View of the olam at the Asifa on the Yahrtzeit of Erika Klein

Bnos Devorah Mechanechet Shabbaton

Bnos Devorah held its Annual Mechanechet Shabbaton in the La BreaHancock Park neighborhood on Shabbos, Parshas Shmos (Dec. 20-21). Each class had the opportunity to spend Shabbos with their mechanchet and their other teachers. The Ninth Grade was hosted by their mechanechet, Mrs. Avigayil Gartner and their Biur Tefila teacher, Mrs. Rozzie Wax. The Eleventh Grade was

hosted by their Mechanechet, Miss Penina Fox and their Chumash teacher, Mrs. Gity Gluck. The Senior Class was hosted by Mrs. Shulamith May (Menaheles) and their Navi teacher, Mrs. Shani Hirt. Each class had their own amazing Oneg on Friday night followed by diverse Panel Discussions. Some of the outstanding and talented presenters included: Mrs. Devorah Zheutlin, Dr. Jerry Lob (Chicago), Mrs. Debbie Fox, Mrs. Fagie Brescher, Miss Elisheva Heyman, Mrs. Rochel Grossman, Mrs. Frume Krause, Mrs. Elizabeth Kraft and Miss Tiffy Kraft. The topics discussed included: “Appreciation”, “Our Relationship with Hashem through Challenging Times”, and “Fast Forward; Where do we go from Here?”

The Shabbaton was culminated with a beautiful Melave Malka program coordinated by Miss Penina Fox. The girls used their creative talents and painted pairs of shoes to be given to “Misamchei Lev” to distribute to the needy children in Eretz Yisrael. This Shabbaton is only a small example of the incredibly inspiring and exciting activities of Bnos Devorah High School. For more information, or an application, please call Mrs. Shulamith May, Menaheles (323) 930-0047. Dear Mrs. May, I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you and your dedicated staff for all the hard work you put in this past Shabbaton. You provided my daughters with a wonderful Shabbat

experience and I’m grateful for that! Hannah & Leah came home excited, inspired, and reenergized! They both had great stories and thoughts to share with me. Thank you for making Bnos Devorah a home away from home…. Gut voch! I was very impressed with your girls. They made sure to greet us each time they came in and out with a friendly “Shabbat Shalom!” They all struck me as being very sweet, fine, eager to do the right thing and eager to please. You must have planned a great Shabbos, they were thrilled with their full schedule that kept them very busy. B’hatzlacha with all your wonderful students!


By Alisa Roberts

instead of being bored.” Yossi Lasker, also 13 and a member of the Ezras Anashim, agrees. “Instead of going with your father and making a disturbance because you’re bored, you’re with Rabbi Duchman, who knows how to handle kids,” says Yossi. “He teaches you what to do when you go out and make your own shul.” The program focuses on davening, and reaching kids at their level. It begins with the Mini Minyan, a program for children 3 years old through pre-1A, as well as 1st and 2nd grade girls. It’s an interactive experience, with snacks, games, stories, and Parsha review. The next level is the Bainany, which includes Pre-1A, 1st, and 2nd grade boys. Next is the Big Minyan, which includes the 3rd to 8th graders and it split between the Ezras Anashim and the Ezras Nashim. The 8th graders officially graduate, but 9th and 10th grade boys come back to make up the minyan. Lastly, there is the Gesher program. This program, coordinated by Mrs. Doonie Mishulovin, is for kids with special needs. Kids in this group have their own activities, and each child has a one-on-one volunteer. But they are also integrated into the shul setting, sitting with the rest of the kids for highlights of davening and kiddush. As Mrs. Srula Chaiton says, “It’s a family run business.” Rabbi Duchman is the founder and director, and he has tapped the talent in his family. Mrs. Chaiton, his daughter, runs the Mini Minyan and the Ezras Nashim. Her husband, Rabbi Dovber Chaiton, is the Program Director

and runs the Ezras Anoshim. Another sonin-law, Rabbi Yitzchok Tenenbaum, runs the Bainany program. While the main programming is the weekly davening, there are other activities throughout the year, including this week’s Play Hooky Day, which had a boot camp theme. Next up is the Unzere Kinder of Southern California, a Shabbaton that Kol Yakov Yehuda will be hosting in Hancock Park for the children in the Ezras Anashim and Ezras Nashim. There is usually one Shabbaton and about 10 other activities a year, including such highlights as visiting the governor of California and the mayor of Los Angeles. There is also an after-school girls’ program called Laugh and Learn, which includes learning and activity. Between 5 and 20 girls voluntarily come to this program each week after school. They even kept it going last year online when their leader, Mrs. Chaiton, was overseas. But the hilghlight of the years’ programming is a very special trip. Throughout the year the kids can earn points based on their behavior. There are rewards based on the status achieved. The grand prize is a trip for one or two children with Rabbi Duchman to a place in the world with a Jewish historical connection. So far, there have been trips to destinations including Russia, Lubavitch, the birthplace of Rashi in France, Chevron, Yerushalayim, and, this past year, Berlin.

As exciting as these programs are, the truest measure of Kol Yakov Yehuda’s success comes down to each normal week. As Yosef says, “It’s a special program, it gets us involved.” Yossi agrees. “He does so much and it’s so fun.” To donate to Kol Yakov Yehuda or to get involved, visit KolYakovYehuda.com.

“The 39 Steps” a Smash Hit At Shalhevet Shalhevet High School’s Drama program mounted a hilarious production of “THE 39 STEPS”, Patrick Barlow’s Tony award-winning comic spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s film noir masterpiece. Five students played over a hundred roles, demonstrating astonishing range as performers. Junior David Lorell played the dashing, ironic hero, Richard Hannay, who is mistakenly drawn into an international espionage ring, falsely accused of murder, and forced to go on the run. Lorell’s intelligence and comic timing were at a professional level - he had an uncanny ability to juggle the lighting quick scene and mood changes with confidence and charisma. Sara Sobolev, as an innocent Scottish girl and Hannay’s sophisticated love interest, Pamela, was an excellent

complement to Lorell, showing strength, intelligence, and humor throughout. Freshman Micha Thau demonstrated great range as a comedic actor. He spun on a dime from cockney showman to wacky housekeeper to the hilariously evil Professor Jordan, and many other characters in between. Akiva Reuveni brought down the house as a gruff Scottish farmer and the elegant but evil Mrs. Jordan. His portrayal of the cockney Mr. Memory, who innocently helps the spies by memorizing a secret formula, was both funny and moving. Annie Asch was pitchperfect in her role as the glamorous spy Annabella Smith, and raucously funny as an Emily Litella-like old lady, a hard-nosed Sherriff, and an overly-friendly Scottish hotelier bent on protecting Hannay and Pamela.

Shalhevet’s Drama Program Director, Ms. Emily Chase, is a professional theater director and actress who has worked at South Coast Rep, the Mark Taper Forum, the Antaeus Company, A Noise Within, and many other highly-regarded theaters.

Working with award-winnning lighting, set, and sound designers, she created a tightly-choreographed comedic thriller that echoed the lighting and soundtracks of old Hollywood movies, and kept audiences laughing uproariously.

DECEMBER 26, 2013

Last Sunday was a bright and warm December day, and Pan Pacific Park was full of children. But one group of kids stood out – partly because of the laughter, partly because of the kippot and tzitzis. This was Play Hooky Day, one of the many activities put on by Kol Yakov Yehuda. Kol Yakov Yehuda is a unique program. The most simple description of the program would be a children’s shul. However, it is much more than that. Started 12 years ago, Kol Yakov Yehuda is best described by its motto: “A shul for the kids, by the kids.” The members of this unique congregation – all under bar mitzvah – have their own elections and help make decisions about their community, including the programming. They are also in charge of the shul itself. The kids run the davening and there is a Junior Rabbi and Rebetzin. The Junior Rabbi even makes a speech. “The idea is to empower kids with leadership skills,” says Rabbi Mendel Duchman, founder and director. “It’s run like a Chabad house so that they know how to run their own.” There are currently 135 members, all 13 and under. Those over bar mitzvah are no longer members, but many graduating kids keep coming back. This phenomenon is not terribly hard to understand, after speaking to a couple of them. “It’s not just play time,” says Yosef Greenbaum, 13, who is currently in the Ezras Anashim, the oldest division. “This is how we learned how to pray. Coming here was the first time we went to shul and had a good time


Kol Yakov Yehuda Kids’ Minyan


DECEMBER 26, 2013


Q&A with Yehuda Solomon, Lead Singer of Moshav Band By Rachel Wizenfeld

Eight is a magic number for all of us who just finished saluting Chanukah, and especially for Yehuda Solomon, who just released the 8th album for his band, Moshav, together with the band’s cofounder, Duvid Swirsky. An Israeli native who has dwelled in Pico-Robertson for the past 13 years, Solomon has been entertaining and inspiring Jewish audiences for years with his ethnic rock Jewish fusion. Now he opens up with the Jewish Home about the meaning of the album’s opening hit song, his friendship with Matisyahu, and how he really feels about living in this neighborhood. Tell us about your opening song, World on Fire: It has a lot of meanings; sometimes I don’t like to tell people specifically what it’s about in order to leave room for imagination for the fan. The theme of it is that there’s a lot going on in this world, there are a lot of dangers and everything is moving really fast, and the song is trying to provide some hope that we can count on each other. That the only way out of any kind of mess is if we can all carry each other. That’s it in a nutshell. Also, it was released in time for Chanukah, and the whole theme of light connects: providing light, bringing hope to the world through light. The world’s on fire, but we’re turning the concept of the world on fire from using that fire from a negative perspective into a positive light – a way to

help each other. Matisyahu (another LA-based Jewish musician who was also Grammy-nominated) is featured in the song. How did you come to work with him and what did he add to the track? Matisyahu has been a really good friend of mine personally for at least seven years. I met him in San Francisco when we did a concert there together for Purim – we opened for him – and we met backstage and really connected. We’ve stayed in touch and he’s had me sing on some of his CDs. He loves that I’m Israeli – I bring a whole Middle Eastern flavor to the music and he loves that – so whenever we’re in the same city he’ll ask me to come on stage and do some wailing or chanting. He’s LA-based but he’s always on tour – he’s the hardest-working man I know. I recorded this song with my band and sent it to him – I thought he’d relate to the style and beat. He thought it was great, a

real hit, and wanted to add something to it himself. This song felt the most right to include him on. How do you feel about the overall album? Any other themes you can point to? This is our 8th official album, which is also cool because we released it for Chanukah, and it’s all about light. We worked hard on it. We took about two years in the making of it and we worked with really talented people. The album is all about hope and light and pushing away darkness and spreading the light. There’s also another message: in order to make a change, you have to start where you are. Maybe that’s why we chose to use our neighborhood for the “World on Fire” music video [word to the wise: the video was not intended for a frum audience]. Maybe hiddenly that message is you got to start where you are, in your home or in your personal life.

There’s another lyric in “Chicki Boom Boom” (the album’s second track) that to love someone you got to love yourself, and to help someone you gotta help yourself. That light has to start inside of you. What’s your experience living here in Pico-Robertson? I think this is one of the greatest Jewish communities in the world. I lead the services at the Happy Minyan on a weekly basis, unless I’m on tour, and I just love the synergy there. You can just count on people. People are real here. And in terms of being an Orthodox Jew there are amazing teachers, people that you can just count on. My experience has been unbelievable. We came here in 2000. We grew up on a small American Moshav between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, actually it’s where the Maccabees lived, and we came here to live our dream of playing music and living off of our music. It’s hard to do that in Israel. Israel is our home and always will be, but right now we’re based here to live our dream of spreading our music. My family always asks me, “how are you living here, away from Israel?” Then my youngest brother came here one year for the High Holidays and we led the services together at the Happy Minyan, and he said, “now I get it.” There are such incredible teachers here and not a lot of judgement going on. The Jewish community here just feels really amazing.


The Role of Jewish Women

Rabbi Brander

It is a mental footnote for those familiar with the Bible, most of us not knowing exactly what to make of it. I refer to the strange fact of Moshe’s kvad peh (speech impediment) – a seemingly trivial detail in the epic of Jewish redemption, yet one that Moshe constantly refers to in his dialogue with Hashem. Believing Jews dig details, [1] for they reflect great Divine care, but in light of the bigger picture one may justifiably wonder just where the wisdom lies in this curious impediment. In considering Moshe’s speech defect, let us raise six questions for your consideration; we will address the final pair (and allude to the first pair): 1. What was the precise nature of the flaw? 2. How did it develop? 3. Why did Moshe constantly reference it as being a fundamental challenge to his efficacy as a Jewish leader [2] – even after Hashem had assured him to the contrary? 4. Why did Moshe not pray for its removal? it?

5. Why did God create Moshe with 6. Why did God not heal it?

1. Famously, Ran, [3] in his drashos (#3) posits the anti-demagogue theory: a leader’s magnetism and oratorical prowess may blind his followers from evaluating his message’s essential content. Hashem created Moshe with a speech impediment to rebuff any potential claim that one man’s charisma charmed the Torah upon vulnerable masses. By de-emphasizing the messenger, the Torah’s Divinity is affirmed.[4] 2. Shelah references the famous mid-

Consider the implications of the midrash: Eighty years later, Moshe appears before that very Pharoah; a delicious irony emerges when Pharoah, who has heard that voice before, realizes that he was the redeemer’s adopted grandfather! It is Divine sarcasm at its exquisite best. Man plans and God laughs; every so often the Master of the Universe reminds us that we are k’chomer b’yad haYotzer, silly putty in the Divine kiln, and we better get with the program. 3. To Maharal, [6] Moshe was a lot neshama (soul) and a little guf (body). Speech belongs to the body and not the soul, even though humans alone are capable of reflective speech. Hence the Talmudic statement [7] that a baby’s entrance into This World is ushered in with a slap on the mouth, highlighting his newfound humanity. Moshe’s neshama, so refined and deep, was simply unable to articulate the depth of his machshava (thought). For Moshe, words profaned the thought. In other words, he couldn’t speak correctly because he was above speech, as it were.[8] 4. For me, Rabbi Itzele Volozhiner’s insight [9] carries the day. Moshe was unable to pronounce certain letters. Some versions have the letter dalet on the list and others have the letter pei. Either letter was critical to articulate the code phrase pakod pakadeti (I shall remember Bnei Yisrael)[10] that authenticated Moshe’s credentials.[11] It turns out, Rav Itzele says, that the code was verified precisely because of Moshe’s speech impediment and his subsequent miraculous transcendence of it in order to pronounce the code clearly. In other words, remarkably, it emerges that Moshe’s speech impediment was critical to make him the undisputed leader of the Jewish People. Strength, our Rabbis teach, is not about buffness (a word I learned from my students) – it is an internal thing. They employ the paradigm of kovesh es yitzro, one who overcomes his natural proclivities. Precious little of that battle is visible to the naked eye. Yet, the internal war that man wages within himself is one that requires enormous power to resist and parry rather than thrust and submit.

Moshe, transmitter of Torah, struggles with speech, the area most critical to be Rabbeinu. Amazingly, he is still considered our greatest teacher. Perhaps that stature is precisely the product of Moshe’s constant internal battle. One thing is clear: Moshe personifies a critical meta-lesson of Torah: Greatness is neither a birthright nor a default destiny. It is only to be found among those who dare to acknowledge their vulnerabilities and are willing to engage in the real work to overcome them. With strength and confidence to face our real challenges, Hashem allows us to tap into the greatness that lies within.

[1] Cf. Sanhedrin 99b. [2] Shemos 4:10, 6:12, 6:30. [3] Spain, 1320-1380. [4] Shelah (Prague, Tzfas, 1565-1630) questions this notion in light of the midrash that indicates that Moshe was healed davka at Mattan Torah (Yalkut Shimoni 3:172). [5] Shemos Rabba 1:26: Pharaoh’s daughter used to kiss and hug him, loved him as if he were her own son, and would not allow him out of the royal palace. …Pharaoh also used to kiss and hug him, and [Moshe] used to take the crown of Pharaoh and place it upon his own head, as he was destined to do when he became great. …The magicians of Egypt sat there and said: “We are afraid of him who is taking off thy crown and placing it upon his own head, lest he be the one of whom we prophesy that he will take away the kingdom from thee.” Some of them counseled to slay him and others to burn him, but Yisro was present among them and he said to them: “This boy has no sense. However, test him by lacing before him a gold vessel and a live coal; if he stretches forth his hand for the gold, then he has sense and you can slay him, but if he makes for the live coal, then he has no sense and there can be no sentence of death upon him.” So they brought these things before him, and he was about to reach forth for the gold when Gavriel came and thrust his hand aside so that it seized the coal, and he thrust his hand with the live coal into his mouth, so that his tongue was burnt, with the result that he became slow of speech and of tongue. [6] Prague, 1525-1609. [7] Nidda 31a. [8] Gevuros Hashem 28. [9] Peh Kadosh, p. 45 on Shemos 3:11: [10] Bereishis 50, Shemos 3:16. [11] Rashi 3:18., cf. Ramban ibid., who deals with the obvious question that anyone could have used the code. For a deeper understanding this whole topic, see our previous article on Va’eira: Probing the Code.

________________________ Rabbi Asher Brander is the Founder of the LINK Kollel and Shul, located on 1453 S. Robertson Blvd and is a Rebbe at the wonderful Bnos Devorah Girls High School.

By Sharon Aharonoff Freshman, VTHS Girls Division

Hashem created woman from man. Therefore, you’d think a woman’s role in life would be just as important as a man’s. But if you were to turn back the clock you would see that ages and ages ago we lived in a world where women didn’t have rights or freedom of choice. They had to cook, clean, take care of the children, and basically follow their husband’s rules. When a woman got married her parents would pay her husband a dowry to take her, as if giving him their daughter wasn’t enough! In the present day, women have as many rights and opportunities as men and there are many powerful women in the world. What happened? Women stood up for themselves! They demonstrated that women can do anything men can do. Although, some women have taken this “equality” to the extreme of dressing and acting like men, which is not necessary. The role of non-Jewish women has changed many times throughout history, although the basic role of Jewish women remains constant. We have gotten more rights, but our basic role is forever the same. What is the fundamental role of a Jewish woman? We can see the answer by looking back in history and observing our ancestor Sarah Emanu’s behavior. Just like Sarah took care of Yitzchak and protected him from the bad influences of Yishmael, Jewish women continue to take great care of their children and protect them from harm. Just like Sara made challah and lit candles, so do Jewish women now. Just like Sarah supported Avraham through his ten tests, Jewish women still stand behind their husbands during their challenges. Yes, a Jewish woman’s role is as important as a man’s, but we do not have to act like a man to be “important” since the role of a Jewish woman is VERY important. Behind every great man there is an even greater woman. A Jewish woman’s role is like the foundation of a building, and the greater the foundation, the greater the building. If women preferred to be the buildings, then there would be no foundation. And without a foundation there would be no building. A Jewish woman is the foundation for her family and the greater the woman, the greater the family.

DECEMBER 26, 2013

rash[5] (cited by Rabbeinu Bechaye) that baby Moshe was suspected by Pharoah of being the Jews’ potential savior. After being put to the famous coals/crown test, Moshe who initially opts for Pharoah’s crown, is steered by Gavriel to the coals – creating his kvad peh (but saving his life by assuaging Pharoah’s fears).


Va’eira: Of Speech and Strength


DECEMBER 26, 2013



Rabbi Reuven Wolf

Moshe was instructed to throw his staff to the ground before Pharaoh as a demonstration of Hashem’s power. Given that Hashem is the only true force in existence, with limitless power and infinite ability, why would He provide Moshe with such a weak demonstration? Not only were Pharoah and his sorcerers unimpressed, they were easily able to replicate it with their own trickery and magic. This comes after Pharaoh completely denied Hashem’s existence, saying “…Who is Hashem that I should heed His voice to let Israel out? I do not know Hashem…” (Shemos 5:2) One would expect that Hashem’s ‘first move’ would have appeared more impressive. Furthermore, since this was Hashem’s first action towards redemption, why did He choose the snake as His symbol of power? The snake is usually associated with evil and negativity, and is certainly not a symbol of holy power or G-dliness! We often find ourselves in a world which often challenges our faith. G-d is thoroughly good, precise and faultless. Yet, sometimes scientific observation doesn’t agree with the Torah. We perceive senseless suffering and pain all around us, and we see great success granted to evil forces which stand against G-d and everything good. Pagans believed that there were two powers, a god of goodness and light, and an opposing god of evil and darkness. Others believe that G-d is the exclusive power and creator, but that He gave man free will and let go, standing by as the poor choices of man corrupt and darken the world. The Jewish people know the only true power is Hashem. Even the Satan is merely His creation and employee. The entire created universe, in every physical and spiritual dimension, operates completely under Hashem’s watchful eye. How is it, then, that forces which oppose Him continue to exist and succeed? Why isn’t the world a pure and perfect place? The Kabbalists teach two fundamental principles which help us understand and relate to this dichotomy, the Klippos/Shells and the Nitzotzos/Sparks. Although Kabbalistic terminology is often metaphorical, it is still precise. Klippa, translates as “shell entity” and refers to all evil and negative forces. These forces and beings are “shells” because they block and cover the good which is inside, perhaps similar to the way a peel masks the tasty part of a fruit, or the hard shell of a walnut hides the seed within. The essential part of the produce is not its shell, yet the shell is what we see until the good within is revealed. Some shells are more subtle and less concealing, such as the edible peel found on an apple, while others are dense and tough to crack, like a walnut. Similarly, there are different degrees of evil, but all of them block G-d in some way. Holy beings are submissive to G-d, and allow his light to shine through. They don’t inject their own desires in the place of Hash-

em’s will. Angels cannot contradict G-d, similarly, Tzaddikim are constantly devoted to Hashem, and their own lives are transparent to G-d’s will. Most of us live in a state of flux. We are often devoted to G-d through prayer, To-

to the highest angels mentioned above, which only desire to jump back into the light. Instead, G-d first created a world, referred to as the world of Tohu/Chaos, without the capacity to hold his light, but he revealed it there anyway. The vessels in the world of


rah study and mitzvah observance. Still, we sometimes find ourselves taking care of our personal needs and desires, not necessarily conscious of the divine presence at every moment. In this state, we also exist within a Klippa, as G-d is not completely revealed during these moments. Further away, on the other side of things, unholy and evil entities are those which do not reveal their divine truth or any G-dliness at all. They appear to exist and behave in a way that is completely contrary to G-d. These are the toughest Klippos because they completely cover the good within, and exclusively project their own egos, completely denying Hashem’s existence. Still, Hashem is responsible for all existence equally, even the thickest Klippos, for they serve a higher purpose: they present the opportunity for free will. G-d desired a world that would discover its own truth, and make its way back to Him. The way G-d chose to accomplish this is by concealing His infinite being. When Hashem channels His life force down to us, He does so through a series of concealments. The first creations, those closest to Hashem, are overwhelmed by the splendor and radiance of G-d. They are so obsessed with Him, they seek only to dive into the light and merge with it. As the light moves farther down the chain, it reduces and conceals itself continuously, infinitely, until it reaches our world, which is so removed from divinity, it is called a world “filled with Klippos and the other side [of holiness].” The divine elements of Hashem’s will and energy which fill the creation are called Nitzotzos/Sparks. At the core of every creation is a divine spark which gives the being its life force and energy. It is when an ego asserts itself, concealing the divine spark, that it enters the side of the Klippa. The sparks fell into our world through G-d’s carefully orchestrated process. Certainly, Hashem could have done things any way He desired, but the Kabbalists explain the process as follows: If G-d’s light would have been revealed directly, the universe would have been overwhelmed. Direct exposure to pure divinity, which is infinite and completely good, results in a world with complete divine visibility, and therefore, a lack of free will. This is similar

Tohu, which were meant to hold this pure light, could not sustain themselves and they shattered. Then, the world collapsed. Some of the holy energy which irradiated these vessels still remained within, and with these fallen shards, G-d formed the matter of our world, called the world of Tikkun/Repair. The shards of the broken vessels of Tohu are the divine sparks, points of holy energy, which make up our universe. Through their shattering and fall into our world, the sparks’ glow was dimmed. Essentially the divine energy remains, but it is affected by the fall. We might compare this to the soul. Prior to descending into a body, a soul basks in the divine light of Gan Eden, pure and devoted to her creator. After entering our world, trapped in a material body, the essential desire of the soul remains, but is blocked and concealed by the body and her exposure to corporal existence. Only on Earth, can a divine and holy soul can be blocked from accessing G-d and driven into unholy activity. The sparks of Tohu can experience a similar blockage. While at its essential core, all divine energy is incorruptible, the darkness of the material world can seep in to block and divert the energy, creating a Klippa. The job of the Jewish people is to reveal the divine sparks in creation. We must crack through the husks of darkness which conceal G-dliness and reveal the universal truth of Hashem. When we encounter anything in this world we must elevate it in divine service. We interact with people, animals and objects in the context of serving Hashem. If we find ourselves in an encounter which suggests we engage in an unholy, or un-G-dly activity, we reject it – breaking and reducing its power. Through these acts, we deflate the ego and reduce the Klippa in the world around us. Ancient Egypt, according to the Kabbalists, contained the highest concentration of sparks in the universe. These sparks empowered the Egyptians and their empire. With this energy the Egyptians formed the largest Klippah in history. They ruled over all of civilization and Pharaoh declared himself a god on earth. Although the Jewish slaves were breaking themselves over their hard labor, in actuality, their efforts were slowly extracting and elevating the sparks of Egypt. Eventually, when

the Jews left, together with all of the gold and riches of Egypt, they elevated it all and used it to build the Mishkan. Hashem tells Moshe that he is going to enact the plagues and humiliation of Egypt “And the Egyptians will know that I am G-d ...” (Shemos 7:5). After the plagues and splitting of the sea, our sages tell us that not a single Egyptian soldier was left. In fact, most of the population had died, and the only survivor of the entire armed forces was Pharaoh himself. Who was left to know Hashem? R’ Shneur Zalman of Liadi explains that the point was not for the Egyptian people to know Hashem. Rather, after being trapped in such a dense Klippa, it was the sparks that that were extracted from Egypt who finally recognized Hashem. At the very beginning, Moshe’s demonstration was a clear message to Pharaoh. The snake, which represents Klippos and evil, is still only an agent of Hashem, who rules all. When Moshe threw down his staff which turned to a snake, the Egyptians laughed and replicated it, for they possessed immense powers of the Klippa. But when Moshe’s snake turned back into a staff, and then devoured the other snakes, the message was clear. The snake exists only as long as G-d wants, and even a stick of wood can destroy a snake if G-d desires. Every plague and miracle that occurred in the process of redemption from Egypt demonstrated that the Klippa has no power over Egypt. Hashem decimated and humiliated the entire Egyptian infrastructure. He toppled an all-powerful civilization, to show that they actually had no power at all. When we see obstacles in our lives that try and prevent us from serving Hashem, we have to know that these Klippos have no purpose except to puff up and assert themselves. In front of G-d’s will everything is powerless, and the obstacles are actually empty illusions from which we must break through and reveal a higher truth. May we immediately merit to see our work completed in a world that is fully elevated and redeemed. .

Rabbi Reuven Wolf is a world renowned educator and lecturer who has devoted his life to reaching out and rekindling the spirit of Judaism in his fellow Jews. He was raised in the Ropshetz Chassidic dynasty, educated in the Belz and Bluzhev Yeshivos, and later, in the famous Lithuanian schools of Slabodkea and Mir. He is profoundly influenced by Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah, and particularly Chabad Chassidic philosophy. Since 1995, Rabbi Wolf has been teaching students of all ages, from elementary school children to adults, and has lectured across North America. Maayon Yisroel was founded in 2006 by Rabbi Wolf and Haki Abhesera, as a center to fulfill the vision of spreading the profound mystical teachings of Chassidic Judaism.



p i r T y a D r e t Win enner

with Guide Hillel Br

with Guide

eve harow

the ArboreAl New YeAr in the Shomron

Kever Binyamin - what’s he doing here in such close proximity to Kalkilya? El Matan hilltop in Maaleh Shomron – A mixed community with amazing views of Nachal Kana Enjoy lunch in Yeshivat Hesder Karnei Shomron where you will also meet some inspiring local people Off to Har Grizim for an overlook of Shechem and Kever Yosef and be taken on a ride through time with the rich history here Learn about the smallest ethnic group in the world, the Samaritans, and visit remnants of their temple from 2,000 years ago at the newly reopened National Park Visit a Tehina factory which has won awards for its outstanding product End the day at the Har Bracha Winery

Up the hill to the Melet Mill for flour, oil and honey. Eretz Yisrael is desolate no more. Peek in at the cutting edge One Israel Funded security center keeping our farmers and their children safe. See where Gideon may have 'threshed his wheat in a grape press' at Ofra of the Judges. Enjoy a delectable home-made dairy lunch at Savta Chana's (Rav Dudkevitch) in Yitzhar. In the afternoon we will honor the holiday by planting fruit trees in Eli, planning for the future even as we partake of the bounty of the Land End the day at the Gvaot Winery in Givat Harel, where creative blending and ongoing research have brought our new old industry back to life



MONDAY, JANuARY 20, 2014

First, we will visit the Zimmerman Farm in Itamar - home grown dried fruits, a dairy and more, all in a self sustaining energy environment

The cherry trees of modern Ofra; we’re way beyond the seven species.

TuESDAY JANuARY 21, 2014



t i s i V y r a Januo the t an Valley Jord with Guide

Eve Harow


Southern Jordan Valley • Down to Israel's east via the stunning back road north of Wadi Kelt towards Jericho • Visit Naama and Omer Atidya on their Einot Kedem Ranch; a little house on the 'prairie' where we can buy their olive oil and dates. This inspirational young couple also provide a haven for youth at risk • Netiv Hagdud; tour with agronomist Chaim Oren and try the restorative pure Argan Oil that he and his wife Sylvie harvest and sell all over the world • After a delicious dairy lunch at Cafe Cafe, we will drive up the Sartaba Mountain to the brand new breathtaking lookout platform of the entire area. • South to the Dead Sea; meet the Megillot Search and Rescue Team. See their storage facility and hear of their high risk life saving work, including never before told stories from their recent volunteer stint in the Philippines after the typhoon. Then, exclusive for One Israel Fund - a live demonstration of a rescue in the Judean Desert.

t i s i V y r a Januo the t an Valley Jord with Guide

Eve Harow


Northern Jordan Valley • Drive the little known Allon Road, behind the scenes, scenic and strategic • A visit to the Spice, Tea and Stevia Ranch at Moshav Hamra. A green oasis in the foothills of the Shomron • In the Massua area, meet the local IDF Brigade Commander and hear firsthand what his challenging work entails. Special for One Israel Fund - lunch with soldiers • At the Miller Packing House in Shadmot Mechola, see locally grown flower bulbs and herbs for export and learn how the BDS movement affects the farmers’ livelihood • An Iron Age foot shaped enclosure near Argaman - can this be a Gilgal from the time of Joshua and the Judges? • Return to Jerusalem via Road 90

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DECEMBER 26, 2013

Great Stars

People all over are worried. They wonder how they will manage. How will they generate the income necessary to feed and support a frum family? They worry about paying their mortgage or rent, tuition, health insurance, and myriad other expenses. People worry about their health. They worry about their children and about their parents. They fear what the future has in store for them. They worry about whether their children will be accepted into school. They worry about shidduchim. People read the news and become disheartened and troubled. They worry about healthcare and the direction in which the country is headed. They worry about Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. They worry that Israel will be attacked. They worry about brothers fighting each other in Eretz Yisroel, where the government is pushing ahead with a plan designed to weaken yeshivos and the Torah community. They worry about how it will all end. People worry about machlokes and hope and pray that we will be blessed with shalom. There seems to be no shortage of things to worry about. Merubim tzorchei amcha. How can we overcome these fears? What can we do to improve our situation and make the world a better place for ourselves, our children and the people we care about? There are some who have already given up and declared that our problems are unsolvable and that we should just worry about ourselves, aiming to get through the day. Thankfully, there are many others who

maintain their positive disposition and press ahead with fulfilling their obligations in this world, living positive, productive lives. There are people all over who fit that description. They are the ones who get things done, not permitting apathy and negativism to thwart their drive. They remain motivated and focused on realizing personal and communal goals. We all know them. They are the people who make things happen. We wonder what our communities, schools, yeshivos and shuls would look like without them. When their ideas and plans are mocked, they push ahead. When they are told that their ambitions are impossible to accomplish, they forge ahead anyway, ignoring the naysayers. When defeated, they aren’t stopped. They regroup, strengthen themselves and try again. Those are the types of people who attended the Sixth Annual Torah Umesorah Presidents Conference this past weekend. Jews from across the country, Canada and even a couple from Panama joined together to support each other and receive and provide inspiration to continue with their tasks. The energy and emotion of the people who aren’t deterred when doors are slammed in their faces were palpable. Intrepid pioneers who have built Torah in disparate cities such as Portland, Dallas, Seattle, Vancouver and Palm Beach Gardens sat alongside veterans from places such as Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Lakewood, Brooklyn and Monsey. They were charged by Torah messages, inspired by moving addresses, and educated at workshops and expert panel discussions. Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky encapsulated the weekend during his address at seudah shlishis, remarking that no one present had come for a vacation; it was too short a period of time for that. Nobody had come for themselves. Everyone who was there had come for others. They came to be in-

spired in their missions of chinuch yaldei Yisroel. They came to learn how to better manage their schools and mosdos, how to market them, how to inspire others to become involved in spreading kedushah and teaching Torah in small towns and large cities, and how to pay for it all. They came to receive strength and succor for the battles they have to fight. They came because despite all the obstacles placed in their way, they remain optimistic about the future. They know what their purpose in life is and they remain focused on realizing that goal. As the rosh yeshiva reminded his listeners, the children of Rav Chaim Volozhiner write in the introduction to his sefer that we were created to help each other. We were placed on this world to be “nosei be’ol im chaveiro.” Helping each other is a primary objective. If we help each other, and if we unite for a common purpose and seek each other’s benefit, we are able to realize our potential and make the world a better place, both for others and for ourselves. If instead of concentrating on the negative, we work together to enhance our communities and spread goodness, we will light up the world like stars in the night. At the beginning of Parshas Shemos, Rashi (1:1) says that the members of Klal Yisroel are compared to the stars of the heavens. Even though the Bnei Yisroel were previously counted, Parshas Shemos begins numbering them again, because

Mr Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz addressing the convention

they are as beloved as stars, which Hashem counts by their names. Rav Leib Bakst zt”l, the Detroit rosh yeshiva, offered a classic interpretation of the comparison. When the world was initially created, the sun and the moon were of equal size. The moon was punished and its size was diminished. In order to comfort the moon, Hashem created the stars. Thus, stars were not created for their own benefit. Rather, their entire existence is to serve something else. The Jewish people, as well, were created to help each other. Therefore, they are beloved and compared to stars. In this week’s parsha, Va’eira, we learn of the makkos with which Hashem struck the evil people of Mitzrayim. During makkas tzefardeia, frogs jumped into the Egyptian ovens, ready to bring about their own deaths. The Gemara in Maseches Pesochim (53b) relates from Todus Ish Romi that Chananyah, Mishoel and Azaryah were inspired by those frogs and walked into a furnace, prepared to give up their lives al kiddush Hashem rather than bow to Nevuchadnetzar’s statue. They analyzed the pesukim and concluded that the frogs could have fulfilled their obligation by simply hopping around Mitzrayim and making a general nuisance of themselves without entering the ovens and dying. Chananyah, Mishoel and Azaryah said


DECEMBER 26, 2013

anyone performs an act of kiddush Hashem because they learned a lesson from the frogs, that itself is a reward to those cold-blooded, scaly, vertebrate mekadshei Hashem. The merits of people who follow our example and are hopeful, positive, giving and caring, teaching and spreading Torah, are accrued to us and are part of our reward for making the world a better place. In Perek Shirah, where we are brought into the sublime world of creatures and the various odes that they sing to their Maker, we read the song of the tzefardeia: “Tzefardeia omer, ‘Boruch


makir tov to those from whom we benefit. A person who examines pesukim carefully, with the aim of deriving inspiration and moral teachings from the stories of the Torah, is a gavra rabbah. Todus was a gavra rabbah. Likewise, one who enables others to learn how to be meitiv with each other can be referred to as a gavra rabbah, especially when coupled with ongoing mesirus nefesh. Menahalim, principals, rabbeim, moros, school presidents, board chairmen and members, as well as the people who do chesed for the poor and the abused, and who help people The author with Rabbi Berish Goldenberg pay their mortgages and tuitions, who go out on Hatsheim kevod malchuso le’olam vo’ed.’” zolah calls and who visit The small creature that teaches us a the sick and the lonely, seeking to do good, resounding lesson about the purpose of are gavra rabbahs. They learn from the existence has a most fitting song. Those Torah’s description of the tzefarde’im and who follow its lesson, echoing its acts of from each other the obligation to be moser mesirus nefesh, proclaim with their every nefesh to be mekadeish Hashem with their action, “Boruch sheim kevod malchuso every action. le’olam vo’ed.” A gavra rabbah analyzes the This is the lesson of Todus and this parsha and the briah and has is the song of the tzefardeia. We are surthe sensitivity and refinement to rounded by a briah, a magnificent symphodraw correct and positive conclu- ny called creation. Animals and people, the flora and the fauna, the mountains and the sions. Rav Chaim Kanievsky asks why the trees, they are all expressions of Hashem’s Torah recounts the reward that the dogs re- will, telling a story and demanding someceived for their role in Yetzias Mitzrayim, thing from us. They all sing shirah. Instead while there is no mention of any commen- of despairing about our condition and instead of thinking that what is transpiring is surate compensation for the tzefarde’im. Perhaps we can answer that the action not part of a divine plan, we should mainof Chananyah, Mishoel and Azaryah was tain our faith, emunah and bitachon and their reward. Their mesirus nefesh was always be prepared to sing shirah. As long as there are people who learn itself the greatest recompense. Any time

and teach Parshas Va’eira, as long as there are people who learn Gemara Pesochim, and as long as there are people who seek to fulfill Hashem’s mandate to our people, there is hope. As long as there are people who are moser nefesh every day to make the world a better place, teaching and learning Torah, and spreading goodness, kindness, love, care and concern, there is hope. As long as we realize our obligation in this world, we cannot give up. We can never say that the situation is hopeless. May we sing the song of the tzefardeia every day, living it, seeing it and feeling it. It endures forever and so shall we. Boruch sheim kevod malchuso le’olam vo’ed.



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that although frogs aren’t obligated in the commandment of committing the ultimate sacrifice for kiddush Hashem, they did so anyway. Certainly, Chananyah, Mishoel and Azaryah, who are obligated to be mekadeish Sheim Shomayim, should be prepared to die al kiddush Hashem. How are we to understand the assumption made by these three neviim that an element of free choice was manifest in the manner in which the frogs carried out their shlichus? How were they permitted to draw a life-ending lesson from the actions of these short-bodied, tailless amphibians? Furthermore, we learn that dogs were rewarded for their good behavior toward the Jews who were leaving Mitzrayim. The posuk says, “Be a holy people to Me. Do not eat treifah... Cast it to the dogs” (Shemos 22:30). Rashi says that the Torah specifies that the forbidden meat should be thrown to a dog to teach that Hashem does not withhold reward from any creature. Since the dogs did not bark as the Jews escaped Mitzrayim (Shemos 11:7), Hashem said, “Give [the dog] its reward.” The question, again, is that if an animal has no bechirah, why do we reward the dogs for having helped us in Mitzrayim? A closer examination of the aforementioned Gemara in Maseches Pesochim may help us understand the lesson derived from the frogs, as well as the purpose of the rewards bestowed upon dogs. The Gemara doesn’t actually say that Chananyah, Mishoel and Azaryah learned a kal vachomer from the tzefarde’im. The Gemara, in discussing the person named Todus Ish Romi, asks whether he was a gavra rabbah, a great man, or a baal egrofin, a tough person whom people feared. The Gemara proves that Todus was a gavra rabbah because of the way he searched for the source of the mesirus nefesh demonstrated by Chananyah, Mishoel and Azaryah to be prepared to die al kiddush Hashem. Todus concluded that they derived their sense of obligation from the pesukim that describe the way the tzefarde’im went about their duty in Mitzrayim. He reasoned that if tzefarde’im, which are not commanded to be mekadeish Hashem, were moser nefesh, certainly we, who are commanded to be mekadeish Hashem, are obligated to risk our lives for that higher purpose. The Gemara deduced from the lesson of Todus that he was a gavra rabbah, because if animals have no bechirah, it must be that Todus didn’t learn his kal vachomer from the way the frogs acted. Rather, he learned his kal vachomer from the way the pesukim describe their behavior. From the manner in which the Torah detailed how the frogs swarmed to every corner of Mitzrayim, including the ovens, Todus determined that there was a lesson to be learned for all time. From the fact that the Torah tells us to throw bosor treifah to the dogs and that the dogs didn’t bark as we left Mitzrayim, we deduce that the reason is to learn to be






DECEMBER 26, 2013


7 Questions with Rabbi Kravitz Executive Director of Jews for Judaism International By Alisa Roberts 1. How did Jews for Judaism get started? We started it in 1985. I got involved because I was doing this kind of work part time while working in Jewish outreach, and the need was growing. I had a passion for saving Jews who were being misled by Christian missionaries. I then expanded, partnering with an organization in Baltimore. Then we became international, bringing in a Toronto office as well as part-time offices in Australia and South Africa. That’s how we started. 2. What changed in the 1980s to spark this growing need? The late 70s and early 80s was when the evangelical movement became more active in outreach to “nonbelievers”. As a result of that, a large number of Jews, primarily disenfranchised Jews, were joining. And the Hebrew Christian messianic movement started to grow. Jews for Jesus became more popular and started to promote the concept that you could be Jewish and Christian simultaneously. They did this by masquerading their beliefs in the guise of Jewish tradition: calling their places of worship synagogues, allowing people to light Shabbat candles and wear yarmulkes. At the same time, they were taking their Christian theology and trying to demonstrate that it was really from a Jewish basis, and that we “other Jews” had missed the boat. They made a cholent of Christianity and Judaism together, and for many people that seemed like the best of both worlds. It made them feel that they weren’t abandoning their heritage and that they were finally able to fit into a mainstream religion without giving that up. For intermarried couples, this seemed like a perfect solution for their dilemma – they could practice Judaism and Christianity simultaneously. The problem is that they are not really practicing Judaism. They’re practicing a total misrepresentation of what the essence of Judaism is about. I think that many of these Jews never had a deep, spiritual understanding of Judaism. So they went from nothing but superficial practices to superficial practices with a spiritual belief that looked like it was Jewish. They didn’t know the difference. 3. What makes these groups so persuasive? The leaders are always rationalizing and trying to demonstrate how their Christian beliefs really had a place in Jewish tradition, how they came from Jewish tradition. They quote sources from the Gemara, from Rashi; sometimes these sources are misrepresented, sometimes they don’t even exist. And people don’t know any better, so they are impressed. ‘Wow! I know more than the rabbis do. I’ve discovered the truth that the rabbis have been hiding.’ Let me give you an example. Every week we read a Haftorah. If you add up how many

chapters of the Haftorah we read in a year, it’s a very small percentage of the entire Nach. We pick particular passages because they share a similar theme with the Parsha. There is a historical reason for this: when the Greeks and Romans didn’t allow us to read Torah publicly, but didn’t prevent us from reading Nach, the Rabbis chose these specific chapters. So there are many things that are left out, not because we don’t read them, but because they didn’t fit that criteria. But missionaries will look at a particular passage, and say, ‘Oh, it’s not read in the synagogue because the rabbis don’t want you to see this.’ For someone who doesn’t know any of the history of what a Haftorah is, that resonates with them. Especially when the person presenting the information is extremely sincere. They believe it! They aren’t thinking, ‘Let me trick this person with lies.’ They actually believe in their message wholeheartedly. So the message gets accepted. That’s what we’re responding to. 4. What new challenges have come up since you began the organization? Are there challenges specific to Los Angeles? I would say that these methods continued to flourish into the mid-90s, and then things started to change with the internet. Rather than having to put ads in newspapers and magazines and stand on street corners, which was very prominent in the 70s and 80s, now it’s shifted to a medium that allows them to reach many more people at a fraction of the cost – and even get into their homes through their computers. That’s half of the new challenge. The other half is that with Israel courting evangelical Christian support, both politically and financially, the Hebrew Christians and Jews for Jesus grab hold of the coattails of those evangelicals and pull themselves into Israel, where they have been setting up tremendous missionary activities. If you had asked me in the 80s if I ever thought that there would be a Jews for Jesus ad on the side of an Egged bus, I never would have believed that Egged would allow that. Or that Haaretz would run a similar ad. But they did. And it’s not simply because they’re secular. It’s because they don’t understand the threat, and they also don’t want to insult the Christians who are supporting Israel. When people don’t know how to make the distinction, when they don’t understand the distinction, they look the other way when these groups set up shop. In Los Angeles, outside of our closed communities here, Jews lack a traditional family sense of Judaism the way they have on the East Coast. Many Jews here are looking for that sense of family, and they find that in these groups. That’s a challenge. We have other groups we’re dealing with here. We get a lot of calls from people who are struggling with their involvement in the Kabbalah Center, we’ve counseled a number of people from that group. We used to get calls about Scientology.

But I don’t know that there are many unique challenges to this area. 5. So how do you combat these groups? I think the only way to combat them is by strengthening Jewish identity, and by also taking a strong stance on the deceptive nature of these groups. Although we don’t agree with them theologically from a religious perspective, and a secular Jew may not be concerned about that issue, they will be concerned if you can demonstrate the fact that they are deceptive and manipulative. So there are two issues when confronting them: one is from a Jewish perspective theologically and the second is this fact that they are misrepresenting themselves. Not simply because they are saying they are Jewish and Christian simultaneously. They use passages from the Talmud that don’t exist, they misquote passages from the Tanach. They use guilt to try to get people to join by threatening them: ‘If you don’t accept this you’re going to burn in hell.’ Or ‘You won’t have salvation.’ And they try to convince people that if they leave the group that would be a disastrous thing for them. I think there is a variety of deception. The other issue is that these Messianic groups try to get the message across that you can be Jewish while believing in Jesus as the messiah. But they believe that Jesus is God. He is God in a body. The PEW study said that 34% of Jews think it’s OK to be Jewish and think Jesus is the messiah. But when they hear the word messiah – what does that mean to them? It doesn’t mean he’s divine. They believe he’s a redeemer. But if you were to ask them, “Do you think you can be Jewish and believe that Jesus is God?” I think far less than 34% would have responded yes. The tactic of not mentioning the divinity of Jesus, and merely it to calling him the messiah, was an intentional marketing scheme by the Messianics. People are taken advantage of because they don’t understand the distinction. Jews didn’t sacrifice their lives in Spain when they were told convert or be killed because of the sole belief that he’s the messiah. Nowhere in chazal does it say that you have to sacrifice your life if someone tells you that you must say that someone is moshiach, even if they aren’t. It says that you’re not allowed to worship avodah zara. So why did these Jews die rather than convert? Because they understood that the belief that Jesus was God was idolatry for a Jew. There’s a machloket whether or not it’s idolatry for a non-Jew, but most poskim hold that Christianity as it’s practiced today is not idolatry for non-Jews. But people can’t understand how it can be idolatry for Jews but not for non-Jews. Well, how can pork be forbidden to us but not to them? It’s up to God to say what’s forbidden. 6. Have you had success in this fight? Sure, lots of success. Our organization has

probably helped several hundred Jews who had actually converted to Christianity return to Judaism and be much more involved in Jewish life. Some ended up becoming completely frum and are now living in New York, Los Angeles, and Eretz Yisroel. We helped a young college student from the University of Arizona who was converted by his roommate. We spent an entire summer counseling him and talking to him, and he is now married with two kids living in Yerushaliyim. We helped another woman on one of the college campuses here. She said she was a messianic Jew, and I said, “So am I, I believe in the messiah.” And she said, “Are you pre or post?” I said, “I’m pre.” She said, “I’m post.” I told her we had something in common and suggested we talk. We spent eight hours that day talking. She came to us for several Shabbosim. She’s now married and lives in Brooklyn. Another woman who was at Cal State Northridge and got involved in Christianity; she now lives in Boro Park. There are so many stories. And there are people living in our own community that you would never know their background, because they don’t want people to know. You would never know by looking at them that they are anything but a strong bal teshuvah. We do speaking all over the world. My son, Rabbi Zalman Kravitz, is out of town this weekend in Nashville, speaking at a BBYO convention. I have spoken at USY and NCSY conventions. We speak at synagogues, youth groups. I have even gone to Bais Yaakov to speak. You could ask why it’s relevant to those girls, but most of them have some relative somewhere that might be vulnerable and might turn to them for an answer. Actually, that’s happened. I spoke once at a frum school and about five years later one of the graduating seniors told me that when she was off at college she met a girl who was being confused by missionaries. That girl recognized that this particular girl [the graduate] was religious, and asked for help. And she had a copy of the book I had written called The Jewish Response to Missionaries. She gave it to the girl, and because of that the girl didn’t convert to Christianity. That book has 360,000 copies in print that we’ve distributed free. And it’s now in nine languages on the internet. Our most recent translation was into Farsi. It’s in French, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Hebrew…I think the next language will have to Latin so I can send it to the Pope. 7. What are your plans for the future, and how can people get involved? We are creating a new project now called Smart Choices Critical Thinking Project. The goal of that is to teach young adults to apply critical thinking to real life challenges. In the internet age, when we have instant access to so much information, people are no longer using critical thinking. So we got a grant from the Jewish Federation to create a curriculum for schools. All the Jewish high schools are working with us and are going to participate in the project. You can visit the website at SmartChoicesProject.com. In addition to having us speak for a group your readers are connected with, the best way to get involved is by supporting the work that we’re doing. You can call the Jews for Judaism office at (310) 556-3344 to donate or ask about volunteering.



Cover Story TJH Staff

201 3 YEAR IN REVIEW President Barack Obama

Despite an improving economy, in his 5th year in office, President Obama’s agenda not only sputtered but his administration suffered blow after blow, from the Syria “red line” debacle to the Snowden disclosures to the failed Obamacare rollout, especially the disclosure that the president lied to the American people on 27 occasions about the most important details of Obamacare. His all-time low approval rating of 41% may signal that Americans have lost trust in him.

Toronto’s mayor is a one man news-cycle with bizarre and illegal behaviors he excuses as being due to a drinking problem. The bright side seemed to be that he was given a reality show, but that too was cancelled after one episode. His uncanny resemblance to Chris Farley adds to the real life comedy that he has become.

John Boehner

Despite opportunity for Republicans to take advantage of Obama and Democrat blunders, the Speaker of the House has not been able to take control of his caucus or communicate his positions with the American people. From the debt-limit showdown to the government shutdown, Boehner has proven unable to bring the moderate and conservative factions of the Republican party together. His penchant to cry on a whim coupled with his constant tanning-bed complexion has made him a bit of an enigma to the American people.


Rob Ford

Chris Christie

2013 was a year of substantial weight loss and big political gains for Governor Christie. He has pivoted himself as a “moderate Republican” who can work across the aisle. His landslide re-election to a second gubernatorial term with over 60% of the vote makes him an instant contender for the GOP nomination in 2016.



New York City’s mayor-elect wins New York City’s mayoral race with 73% of the vote. His landslide victory gives him a clear mandate to embark on his “progressive” agenda. Skeptics are concerned that his disdain for the Stop & Frisk policies and his “spread the wealth” philosophies will turn back the clock on the fiscal and safety strides made by the city over the past 20 years.


Bill de Blasio




Anthony Weiner

Despite abhorrent and devious behavior which forced him to resign from Congress, Anthony Weiner somehow thought that he was entitled to be mayor of NYC. He campaigned with a petulant arrogance which turned off even the uber-liberals of NYC. In the end, his political career was—hopefully—dealt a deathblow, when he garnered a mere 5% of the Democrat primary vote.

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75 The Jewish home n

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NOTED DEATHS Mayor Ed Koch, 88 “You punch me, I punch back. I do not believe it’s good for one’s selfrespect to be a punching bag.”

longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century. Her conservative fiscal policies and world view made her and President Ronald Reagan “political soul mates.” Reagan on Thatcher: “She is the best man in England.” Thatcher on Reagan: “He is the second most important man in my life.”

Mandela on racism: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion...”

In his own words:

“I’m not the type to get ulcers. I give them.” “If you agree with me on 9 out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.”

“[Jews should] get the … out of Palestine and go home to Poland and Germany.” –Helen Thomas in 2010, resulting in her forced resignation As the first female White House correspondent, she covered ten presidents, starting with President Kennedy. However, her 50-plus year career came to a screeching halt at the age of 88 when she made vile anti-Semitic remarks.

Affectionately known as “Tata” [fat”her], the revered South African anti-apartheid icon spent 27 years in prison before leading his country to democracy and being elected as its first post-apartheid president. Mandela on racism: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Fighting for equality: In 1985, after already serving 19 years of a life-in-prison sentence, Mandela turned down the government’s offer to free him if he would renounce the armed struggle against apartheid.

“Israel criticizes Hitler a lot, so do we, but they’ve done something very similar, even worse, than what the Nazis did.” – During a 2006 trip to Iran

“Thank you, Mr. President.”- Helen Thomas at the end of each presidential news conference, signaling the official end of the news conference “I don’t have to answer questions from Helen Thomas.”- Fidel Castro’s response when asked about the difference between “democracy” in Cuba and democracy in the United States

Thatcher on gender: “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”

Known as the “Iron Lady,” she was the first woman ever to serve as prime minister of Great Britain and the

Propelled to fame by The Hunt for Red October, Clancy penned 28 thrillers focusing on political intrigue, military tactics and national security. He sold a total of over 100 million books.

Did you know?

• Clancy started his career as an insurance broker but always wanted to write a book. In his spare time he began writing. “I just wanted to be in the Library of Congress catalog,” he once said. The book he wrote, The Hunt for Red October, was published in 1984 when Clancy was 37-years-old. • The Hunt for Red October became an instant bestseller after President Reagan (who was given the little known book as a gift) was seen stepping off of Marine One holding the book. When asked what he was reading, Reagan held the book up and said, “It’s a really a good yarn.” • Clancy was paid $5,000 for The Hunt for Red October in 1984. In 1997, he was paid $97 million for a multi-book deal. At the time of his death he was worth more than $300 million.

Stan “The Man” Musial, 92

Hugo Chavez, 58

In her own words:

Margaret Thatcher, 87

“I just wanted to be in the Library of Congress catalog.”

Nelson Mandela, 92

With his brash style, he tackled New York City’s fiscal crisis and reined in crime from 1976 to 1988.

Helen Thomas, 92

Tom Clancy, 66

The self-declared “21st century socialist” served as the president of Venezuela from 1999 until his death in March 2013. Despite his populist appeal, during his tenure he consolidated power to a dictatorial level. As a close ally of Iran’s Ahmadinejad, his hatred for the U.S. was only rivaled by his hatred of Israel.

In his own words:

“Christopher Columbus was the spearhead of the biggest invasion and genocide ever seen in the history of humanity.”

When he retired, Musial held 55 major league records.

Musial was a Major League Baseball outfielder and first baseman on the St. Louis Cardinals for 22 seasons, from 1941 through 1963.

Back of the card:

• In 1957, Musial became the first major league player to earn an annual salary of $100,000. • When he retired, Musial held 55 major league records. • Musial retired with exactly 1,815 hits at home and 1,815 on the road. • When a plane carrying the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team encountered engine trouble and began falling, many on the plane began to panic. To calm things down, Musial loudly quipped, “I can see the headline now: ‘Cardinal Plane Crashes — Musial Lone Survivor.’”

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Moore, OK

Tornado May 20, 2013: A 2-mile-wide tor-

nado rips through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, killing at least 51 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen schoolchildren beneath rubble. Several weeks later, another system of tornadoes kill 13 people in El Reno, Oklahoma, including Carl Young and Tim Samaras, who were veteran storm chasers, regularly featured on the Discovery Channel.

Detroit, MI

Bankrupt July 18, 2013 – The city of Detroit

files the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history 1,800,000 – Number of people who lived in Detroit in 1950 680,000 – Approximate number of people currently living in Detroit. 58 minutes – Average police response time to 911 call. (National average is 11 minutes) 40 – Approximate percentage of Detroit street lights that are out of order 18% – Unemployment rate in Detroit $7,000 – Average price for a home in Detroit. 10-14 – Number of working ambulances maintained by the city of Detroit $20 billion – Debt owed by Detroit


Wildfires June 30th – Nineteen elite fire-

fighters of a unit known as the “Hotshots” die battling a wild-fire near the town Yarnell Hill in Arizona. The Gran-

ite Mountain Hot Shots, established in 2002, were an elite ground firefighting crew known for their innovative problem-solving and history of safe, aggressive fire suppression. Members of the crew were highly trained, came from diverse backgrounds, and worked long hours in extreme environmental conditions doing the most demanding of fireline tasks. They carried 50-70 pounds on their back, hiked seven miles

or more to where they needed to work, and worked up to 14 hours, sometimes longer. The average age of the men in the hotshot crew was 22-years-old. “They have to be ready to leave for an assignment on two hours’ notice, which sometimes means missing family events,” Wade Ward of the Prescott Fire Department said. “They have to be prepared to be on that assignment for 21 days, get two days rest at home, and possibly be sent out on another 21-day assignment.” Prior to the Yarnell Hill fire which took nearly all of their lives, the team had just returned from a wildfire in New Mexico. When this fire was reported, the team jumped into action to help contain the fire.


Zimmerman Acquitted July 13th – Neighborhood watch-

man George Zimmerman is acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin as he returned from 7Eleven with iced tea and Skittles.

The trial in quotes:

• “Knock. Knock. Who is there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right, good. You’re on the jury.” – Zimmerman’s defense attorney during opening statements • “A teenager is dead. He is dead through no fault of his own.” - State prosecutor during closing arguments • “We know he had the opportunity to go home, and he didn’t do that. The person who decided to make the night violent was the guy who didn’t go home when he had the chance.” – Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s defense attorney, arguing in closing remarks that Trayvon was the aggressor in confrontation with Zimmerman • “We, the jury, find George Zimmerman not guilty.”- Jury foreperson reading the jury’s verdict • “You have no further business with the court.”- Judge Debra S. Nelson to Zimmerman after the verdict was read

Cleveland , OH

Rescue May 6th – Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight are res-

cued from captivity in the Cleveland house owned by their kidnapper, Ariel Castro. On July 26, Castro pleads guilty to 937 criminal counts. On September 3, Castro is found dead in his prison cell.

The best of Charles Ramsey, who was the first to the rescue

• “I went to McDonalds. Came home. I’m eatin’ my McDonalds. I hear this screaming…so I go over there with my Big Mac…”- Describing the moment that he came to the rescue of Amanda Berry • “I’ve been here a year. You see where I’m coming from? I barbecue with this dude. We eat ribs and whatnot and listen to salsa music...He’s not doing anything but the average stuff. You see what I’m saying? There’s nothing exciting about him. Well…until today.” • “Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway.

Dead giveaway.”- Explaining how he knew something was wrong when Amanda Berry ran up to him

San Francisco, CA Crash

On July 6th, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 from South Korea crashes upon landing at San Francisco’s airport, when the tail of the plane slams into a seawall at the edge of San Francisco Bay, killing three passengers and injuring more than 160. According to a recently released NTSB report, two of the pilots told investigators they realized there were problems on the approach to the landing but they opted against voicing critical concerns or grabbing the controls because they were subordinate to the instructor.


December 23rd - 62% opposed November 2013- 56% opposed November 2012- 52% opposed federal website

April 17th. The blast, which was heard as far as 45 miles away, destroyed approximately 100 homes, causing damage in excess of $100 million.

Washington, D.C. Obamacare

The October 1st bungled roll-out of Obamacare is only overshadowed by the fact that President Obama falsely claimed that under Obamacare “if you like your current health care plan you can keep it.” $394 million: Original estimated cost for the Obamacare website $1 billion-plus: The actual to-date cost of the Obamacare website 500,000: Number of people President Obama and Secretary Sebelius estimated would buy insurance through healthcare.gov in October 6: Number of people who signed up for Obamacare on the first day 26,794: Number of people who signed up in the first month through the

Boston, MA Bombing

On April 15, at 2:49 PM, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev detonate two bombs within 10 seconds of each other near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring an estimated 264 others.

Timeline of the manhunt on April 18th: 5:30 PM - FBI releases sur-

veillance cameras photos of the Tsarnaev brothers and asks for the public’s help in identifying the two suspects. Shortly after, a friend sends Dzhokhar a tweet: “Is this you? I didn’t know you went to the marathon!!!!” 10:20 PM - The brothers execute MIT campus police officer Sean Collier, 26, by coming up behind a car he was sitting in and shooting him in the head multiple times. They leave the scene without taking his weapon. 11:00 PM - A 26-year-old Chi-

nese immigrant, known as “Danny,” pulls his car to the side of the road to answer a text. When there is a knock on his passenger window, he lowers the window. Tamerlan reaches in the car, unlocks the door and enters. “You know about the Boston Marathon bombing? I did that,” Tamerlan says. “Don’t be stupid,” he warns. 12:30 AM - Danny escapes when they pull into a gas station for gas. He immediately calls 911. 12:42 AM - Police officers find the car and the suspects in Watertown, just west of Cambridge, and pursue them into a residential neighborhood. The brothers shoot and throw homemade bombs at the police. Tamerlan Tsarnaev is tackled by police officers, who try to handcuff him in the street. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev drives toward the police officers, who scatter. The vehicle hits the older brother, dragging him a short way down the street, killing him. Dzhokhar gets

7,000,000: How many people the government needs to sign up by March 31, 2014 in order to make Obamacare work 41%: Average increase for individual-market health insurance policies after Obamacare 27: Amount of times President Obama promised Americans, “If you like your current coverage you can keep it.” 4.2 million: Amount of people who lost their individual insurance coverage to date 93 million: Amount of people that the Congressional Budget Office estimates will lose their coverage in 2015 when the employee mandate kicks in

Home page of the Obamacare website, as Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified in front of Congress on October 30th that the website never crashed

away by car.

3:45 AM - The Massachusetts State Police issue a tweet at 3:45 a.m. saying police “will be going door by door, street by street, in and around Watertown” searching for the at-large suspect. The state police also advise residents in and around Watertown to stay inside as they search the entire neighborhood. 6:00 PM - Dzhokar is still not apprehended and Watertown residents are told they can leave their homes. David Henneberry goes into his backyard and notices that the shrink wrap on his boat is partially out of place. He goes to check it out and sees Dzhokar Tsarnaev laying face-down in his boat. He bolts and calls 911. 7:45 PM - After several exchanges of gunfire and hostage negotiations, police move in and apprehend Dzhokar Tsarnaev. He is transported to the hospital in serious condition.

Tragedy: 9-year-old Martin Richards who was killed while eating ice cream and waiting for his mother to cross the finish line, after the monster Dzhokar Tsarnaev laid the bomb down near his feet.

Travesty: Cover of Rolling Stone magazine which humanized the monster Dzhokar Tsarnaev because, according to some, he looks “cool.”

DECEMBER 26, 2013

14 people, including nine first responders, die in a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on

CNN Poll on Obamacare

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West, TX


27 65 79



THE 2013 The Jew sJEWISH hJ hEWISH o m e HOME n HOME d e c eDECEMBER r 2264,,26, 2013 TiHE nm bMeAY 2012

66 80 Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan

On November 8, Typhoon Haiyan makes landfall on the Philippines, ravaging whole towns and killing thousands. 370 miles: The width of Typhoon Haiyan as it surges through the Philippines 195 mph: Speed of winds, with gusts reaching 235 mph



Height of the storm surge in the city of Tacloban



People displaced by the storm 5,235: People killed by the hurricane’s destruction

London, England Royal Birth

England joyously celebrated the birth of His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge on July 22nd. All that meant for us on this side of the pond was some good laughs. • “The royal baby has been born. The royal baby was officially welcomed with a 62gun salute. Because if there’s one thing babies love, it’s the sound of repeated artillery fire.” – Conan O’Brien • “The royal baby has left the hospital. He will now go to one of the royal estates, where he will rest comfortably — for the next 80 years.” – Jay Leno • “Kate Middleton went into labor this morning in London. When the rest of the royal family heard, they were like, ‘Oh my G-d. What’s labor?’” – Jimmy Fallon


Chemical Welfare 8/20/13: President Obama threatens to act militarily if Syria crosses a “red line” and uses chemical weapons. 8/21: U.S. intelligence believes that the Syrian government killed more than 1,400 rebels in a chemical attack, crossing President Obama’s “red line.” 8/24: U.S. naval ships are positioned near Syria as the U.N. carries out an investigation into the attack. 8/26: Russian President Vladimir Putin says that no evidence exists

United States On June 5th, the UK Guardian prints the first of a series of top-secret “whistleblowing” disclosures by

29-year-old Edward Snowden who was employed at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors. Snowden flees to Hong Kong and eventually get temporary po-

that Syria used chemical weapons 8/29: The British Parliament stunningly rejects the resolution for military action against Syria 8/30: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes the case for U.S. military action 8/31: Obama announces his intention to seek congressional approval for a U.S. military action in Syria 9/4: Obama denies setting a “red line” 9/5: Obama travels to Russia for the G20 Summit and tries to gain support for military intervention 9/9: Syrian President Assad warns of retaliation against the U.S. for any military action, saying, “You should expect everything” in retaliation. 9/9: In response to a question from a reporter about whether or not there was anything Syria could do to avoid this military attack, Secretary

of State Kerry sarcastically says, “Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week – turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting, but he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done.” Russian and Syrian officials jump at the offer, but the State Department says that it is not a real offer and was just a “rhetorical statement.” However, the cat is out of the bag and the Obama administration scrambles to make the gaffe become policy. 9/10: In a national address, President Obama announces that he has asked Congress to delay a vote on authorizing military force in Syria in order to attempt a diplomatic solution 9/15: Russia and the U.S. reach a deal on a framework for Syria to eliminate their chemical weapons by mid-2014, leading skeptics to believe the U.S. was outsmarted by Russia and Syria

NSA Scandal

Nuclear Race

litical asylum in Russia, where he remains. To date, Snowden has leaked over 200,000 classified NSA documents.

Some of what was disclosed:

• The U.S. routinely monitors the phones of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and 35 other world leaders. • The NSA has the ability to access a wide range of information stored on smartphones including iPhones, Blackberrys, and those running on Google’s Android operating system. • A program known as PRISM reportedly allowed direct access to the servers of companies including Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and others. • The NSA collected three months of phone records on all Verizon customers. “There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very

rich…The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to.”- Snowden, when asked why he did it. 60%: Responders to a Washington Post-ABC News poll who believe that Snowden harmed U.S. national security by disclosing classified documents 52%: Percentage of people in that same poll who believe that he should be prosecuted

August 4—Supposed “moderate” Hassan Rouhani replaces controversial President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses the U.N.’s General Assembly and says that he is “a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community.” The U.S., on the other hand, sees a partner in Rouhani and on November 23 comes to an agreement with Iran that it will freeze key parts of its nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief from $5.7 billion in sanctions. Netanyahu condemns the deal and says, “What was agreed last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement, it is a historic mistake. Today the world has become a much more dangerous place, because the most dangerous regime in the world has taken a significant step toward attaining the most dangerous weapon in the world.” In a November 25 phone conversation, PM Netanyahu tells President Obama that America is headed toward making the same mistake with Iran as it did with North Korea and Pakistan. President Obama asks PM Netanyahu to tone down the public rhetoric against the deal.

South Africa

Celebrity Murder

On February 14 at 3:00 AM, Para-Olympic Gold Medal winner Oscar Pistorius kills Reeva Steenkamp


Morsi Deposed

On July 3rd, Egypt’s military deposes President Mohamed Morsi, who headed the Muslim Brotherhood party and who had been in office for one year. Morsi is set to stand trial for revealing state secrets to Iran

in his Pretoria home. Pistorius, 26, known as the “Blade Runner” for competing on carbon fiber blades fitted to the stumps of his amputated legs, claims he shot her when he thought that there was an intruder in the house. His trial is scheduled for March 2014.

DECEMBER 26, 2013


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and forging an alliance with Hamas and Hezbollah to launch attacks against Egypt’s interim government. If convicted, he faces the death penalty. In response to Morsi’s ouster, the U.S. withholds some of its annual aid to Egypt, causing concern in Israel that Egypt will not have the means to protect its borders and may have to turn to hostile-to-Israel countries to make up for that support.


29 67 81


DECEMBER 26, 2013


Western Kosher’s Takeout

Now that it’s getting cold here in L.A. (finally!) and darker earlier I find myself not wanting to go out as much to restaurants, and instead have been cooking more and sampling the vast take out options that our Kosher markets have available. So, with your permission I’m going to do a mini-series on supermarket takeout food. Let’s start with the gourmet takeout at Western Kosher’s Pico location at 4817 W. Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles. When I talk about the David and Judy Kagan who own Western Kosher I feel like I’m talking about family. I have known them “forever” and, since their hilarious son is part of my lively carpool, I interact with Judy on a nearly daily basis. As a little kid, my mom used to shlep us from Encino to “the city” to shop at the first Western Kosher on Fairfax to buy “the best Kosher meat”. I remember Mr. Kagan senior (David’s dad) greeting us when we arrived- the distance between the city and the valley seems to have gotten smaller as I get older, but in those days it was a worthwhile journey. Western Kosher’s Pico location was formerly Kosher Club, and when that market closed I wondered what would become of the huge space and awesome parking lot. When I heard that another Western Kosher was opening I was so excited, because the store is so large and had much potential and I knew that David Kagan would utilize the space to its maximum. David had grand plans for the new market; he visited New York’s finest Kosher emporiums and brought back a treasure trove of ideas which included creating a large and creative take out menu. Wife Judy Kagan, together with her sister in laws Chaya Esther Kagan and Atara Reichman, pooled their best recipes and shopped, planned, and cooked all of Western Kosher’s takeout food. Let me just digress for a moment to tell you how incredible Judy Kagan is.

For the average balabuste cooking for hundreds is a big difference than the usual food prep for a family of 6 or 8 and would be met with reluctance and kvetching. However, Judy Kagan cooks vast quantities of gourmet food as part of her daily routine. If you haven’t been to Judy’s Shabbos table, try to get yourself an invitation: I have never in my life seen one woman produce so much delectable food on a regular basis. Several options of meat entrees, three types of chicken, dozens of salads and kugels are the norm. Seriously, a sight to behold. These Kagans know their way around the kitchen. Any how, team Kagan cooked up a storm for about a month and had no plans to stop until a serendipitous meeting in a restaurant supply store. David Kagan was in line to purchase a pile of pots and pans for his takeout kitchen when he and another customer started yakking. The customer was Alex LaBorwit, who mentioned that he had worked on the catering team at Wolfgang Puck, and at his own catering business and was currently doing hot lunch for the Jewish high school, Shalhevet. David admired Alex’s charm and humility and the two immediate-

ly clicked. Judy Kagan and her posse packed up their aprons and let Alex take over. Judy, Chaya Esther, and Atara’s recipes continue to be used for many of Alex’s weekly dishes, and the trio still participate in the menu adding their suggestions and ideas to Alex’s experience and original recipes. Western Kosher’s takeout has a mix of traditional Jewish recipes and modern side dishes, meats, and salads. Mr. LaBorwit gives credit to his two sous chefs, Doris and Emma, who had previously worked in Israeli restaurants and have years of experience making Israeli salad, spicy carrot salad, cole slaws and many more traditional Jewish dishes. Chef Alex keeps Doris and Emma’s classics on hand, but also changes up his offerings depending on the season, availability of ingredients and his mood. He is proud of the chicken potpie and Shepherd’s pie that are often available because these pies are not typical of what you would find in a Kosher market, but have become fan favorites. The Moroccan salmon and hot and spicy chicken nuggets are two of the most popular dishes and sell out every week. I recommend the London broil

and (fake) crab cakes. The London broil makes a great starter Shabbos day; you can make a beautiful salad with lettuce, mandarin oranges, hearts of palm and a raspberry vinaigrette and top it with four or five thin slices of London broil to really impress your guests. The crab cakes are a delicious replacement for gefilte fish, or can be added to enhance any fish course. Because Chef Alex likes to mix it up, sometimes a salad that I’ve come to love is suddenly unavailable. However, if you call a couple days in advance Mr. LaBorwit will do everything he can to accommodate customer requests. Chicken nugget platters in a few different flavors, or any other type of party platter can be put together to feed your large party if it is ordered in advance. Call 323-9338283 for orders. Estee Cohen is a California native and goes out to eat more than is appropriate. She is a kosher food insider, has a patient husband and 3 little kids.  She is passionate about restaurants, science education, and collects rooster figurines.  


STORYLINE Delayed Delivery by Rabbi Meir Orlian Mr. Sofer sent in his book order by email. The vendor offered special, fast shipping for an additional cost, but Mr. Sofer opted for the regular, free shipping. “Delivery within three weeks,” the advertisement promised. Three weeks passed and the order still had not arrived. Mr. Sofer contacted the vendor’s customer service by email. “I ordered a book which was supposed to arrive last week,” he wrote. “Can you please verify that the order was shipped?” “We shipped the book promptly,” the vendor replied. “Mail is at its busy season, though. Please give it another week and contact us again if the order doesn’t arrive.” Mr. Sofer waited another week, but the book still did not arrive. He contacted the company again. “The order still hasn’t arrived,” he wrote, “even though a full month has passed.” “We apologize for the inconvenience,” the vendor replied. “Would you like us to resend the order or refund your money?” “I’d like to have another book sent,” answered Mr. Sofer. “We will send another copy immediately,” the company replied. Three days later, the original order arrived in the mail. Shortly afterwards, the additional copy also came. “Well, I’ve got two copies of the book now,” Mr. Sofer said to his wife. “Maybe I’ll give the spare copy to the library.” “What do you mean?” Mrs. Sofer said. “You have to return the extra copy!” “They decided to send the extra copy,” reasoned Mr. Sofer. “They didn’t tell me I would have to return it.” “Clearly, they sent you the extra copy only because the original order was lost in the mail,” responded Mrs. Sofer. “If you keep it, you’re stealing from the company!” “How can this be stealing?” Mr. Sofer insisted. “They chose to send the extra copy to make good on their delivery!” “It would be best to ask Rabbi Dayan,” suggested Mrs. Sofer. Mr. Sofer called Rabbi Dayan. “I ordered a book and shipment was delayed,” he said. “The company sent another copy, and both arrived. What should I do with the extra copy?” “You should notify the company that the original shipment arrived,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Ask them what they would like you to do. They will either ignore the notice, ask you to return the extra book, or tell you that you can keep it.” “Why should I have an obligation to do this?” asked Mr. Sofer. “It is a form of hashavas aveidah,” said Rabbi

Dayan. “Thus, if the company is Jewish-owned, there is a requirement of hashavas aveidah. If not, it is still proper to return the item as a kiddush Hashem, with your note indicating that you are Jewish (C.M. 266:1).” “If they want me to return the extra copy,” asked Mr. Sofer, “am I expected to cover the postage cost?” “Your primary responsibility is to notify the company that you have their item,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Although the shipping cost for returned items is usually the responsibility of the customer, costs incurred for hashavas aveidah are not the finder’s, but that of the owner of the item. If he is not willing to cover the cost, you are not required to expend it in order to return the lost item to him. Nonetheless, if the postage cost is small, it is proper to do so (C.M. 264:1; see Hashavas Aveidah K’halachah 10:3).” “What if they ignore my email?” asked Sofer. “Do I have to send the extra copy back to them?” “If they ignore your notice, it would be proper to contact them a second time,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Beyond that, you would be allowed to keep what they sent. There is a concept of ‘aveidah midaas’ — willful loss. They knowingly sent the extra item, and if they don’t follow up afterward, this indicates disinterest in the item. This exempts you from having to return it to them and even allows taking it for yourself (C.M. 261:4). “Furthermore, part of the customer service policy of the company is to guarantee prompt delivery, and they are willing to forgo the item as a compensation for the delayed delivery. It’s part of their calculated risk in regular shipping.” FROM THE BHI HOTLINE Limitations In secular law, the statute of limitations rules that if a creditor didn’t seek payment for a certain period of time (varying from state to state and depending on debt type) he may no longer demand payment from the debtor. Q: Is there a statute of limitations in halacha? Does d’malchusa dina (the laws of the host country are binding) apply here? A: Admittedly, there is a halacha that resembles this concept. The Gemara (Kesubos 104a; codified in E.H. 101:1) rules that a widow who does not collect what is owed to her in her kesubah for 25 years and no longer possesses the document, forfeits her right to collect the debt. Even if her husband’s heirs admit that she never received payment, they are exempt from paying, since her silence for this extended period of time proves that she forgave the debt. Each time she files to collect from the amount owed in her kesubah, the 25-year clock is reset. This does not establish precedent for a halachic statute of limitations, because there are specific reasons to believe that the widow’s silence constituted forgiveness of the debt. First, it is assumed that she forgave the debt to her husband’s heirs since they financially supported her for such a long period of time. Second, forgiving this debt does not cause her a loss of principal, as opposed to other debts (Rashi ibid., d”h almanah).

Since these rationales do not apply to other debts, there is no presumption that a creditor forgave the loan/ debt. Therefore, when a lender produces a certified loan document, the borrower must repay the loan regardless of how old the loan is. If the borrower admits that he never repaid, the lender is not even required to produce the document (C.M. 98:1). Still, when an old loan document is presented to beis din for collection, they will investigate whether the claim is fraudulent (C.M. 61:9, 98:2). Beis din will require the creditor to explain why he delayed collection. If he offers a reasonable explanation, the loan remains in force, but if he does not, beis din will write on the document that it is no longer in force (see Divrei Geonim 102:24). Some authorities mention an enactment that a standard loan document more than three years overdue, or a profit-generating loan that is more than six years overdue, invalidates the document and the debt is considered an undocumented loan (Nesivos, end of 61; Beis Shlomo, C.M. 39), but nowadays that is not followed. Although the statute of limitations legally restricts a creditor from claiming money from a debtor, it does not cancel the halachic rights of the debtor. A secular law that contradicts a halacha of interpersonal relationships does not have jurisdiction (Shach, C.M. 73:39). Also, even according to secular law the loan is not canceled; the creditor is merely restricted from turning to the court for assistance in collecting the loan. Moreover, if the debtor does not invoke the statute of limitations when the creditor seeks collection, he loses the right to invoke the principle, and the debt is fully enforceable. In summary, there is no statute of limitations in halacha, but beis din must confirm that the claim is authentic. MONEY MATTERS Lost and Found #23 Q: What is the status of lost items that make their way into my yard? A: A person’s yard (chatzer) or property can acquire for him even without his knowledge, provided that the property is secure (or that the owner’s home is adjacent) and that the item is likely to be found by the person. Thus, if the lost item is one that the finder can keep, e.g. it has no siman or is in a place where mostly gentiles live, the owner of the chatzer acquires the item (C.M. 268:3). Conversely, if the lost item needs to be publicized and returned, you are required to do so. If there was no siman, but the item fell into your property before the owner was aware of the loss, according to some authorities it is considered yei’ush shelo midaas and you cannot acquire the item even after its owner became aware of the loss and abandoned hope. However, you can declare ahead of time that you do not want your chatzer to acquire such lost items until after the owner abandons hope, and then you can take the aveidah after sufficient time passes (Shach 268:2; Nesivos 262:1; Hashavas Aveidah K’halachah 5:8).

DECEMBER 26, 2013


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You Gotta be


As he did every New Year’s Eve, Willard hosted a fancy dinner for his friends and associates. Of course, after enjoying the finest caviar, the guests would be served the most succulent filet mignon. While the guests were eating their appetizers, the cook urgently summoned Willard to the kitchen. “I have a problem,” said the cook. “Your dog climbed on the counter and took some bites out of some of the steaks.” Willard chuckled and responded, “Just fill the holes with some meat and turn the other sides up–nobody will notice.” The steaks were served and when they were nearly finished eating, the cook once again called Willard to the kitchen. This time he was frantic. “Your dog died!” he cried. Upon hearing the news, Willard frantically rushes back to the dinner party and apologizes fervently before announcing, “Something was wrong with the steak and everyone must have their stomachs pumped immediately at the hospital.” The guests all rush to the hospital and go through the excruciating procedure of having their stomachs pumped. When Willard returns to his home, he sadly turns to the cook and says, “Now, where is my beloved dog, I must say goodbye to him.” “Oh,” says the chef, “The dog is still down by the road where the car hit it!”

Riddle! It is late at night on December 31 and a man is driving alone in his car when he spins off the road at high speed. He crashes through a fence and bounces down a steep ravine before the car plunges into a fast-flowing river. As the car slowly sinks in the river, the man realizes that his arm is broken and that he can not release his seat belt and get out of the car. The car sinks to the bottom of the river. He is trapped in the car. Rescuers arrive two hours later, yet the man is fine. How come? Answer on next page


Comm Let the ission er dec Send your s tuff



o fivetow centerfold@ nsjewis hhome. com

What Word is it Anyway? Using the clues below, figure out what the top 10 words looked up on Merriam-Webster online in 2013 were. (They are not in top 10 order, because I had to give a subtle but important subliminal message.) 1. By writing this I am doing engaging in the act. I can also call you or email you.

6. Although I am driving you a little crazy, you know that I possess the quality of honesty and fairness.

I —————————————

I —————————

2. I think that, as your Centerfold Commissioner, we have a nice relationship.

7. You may disagree with how I do things, but my behavior is based on ideas about what is morally good and bad.

R ———————

T ——————

3. I am not just trying to make you crazy, I am trying to get you to engage in conscious mental activities.

8. I am very well-suited for this task; it fits perfectly with my very unique abilities, which are uncommon in others.

O —————————

E —————

4. If you are critical of this exercise (in a mean fashion) it is coming from strong emotions and not from logic or reason.

9. I admit that I have a big ego, but I am also very humble.

C ————————

O ———————

5. If you can’t figure out what this word is, eat some humble pie. I don’t mean that literally.

10. By the way, I also have much knowledge of the natural world including a vast breadth of knowledge of biology, physics and chemistry.

R ————————

N ———————

Answer on next page


THET hJEWISH e J e w iHOME s h h o m eDECEMBER n d e c e26, m b e2013 r 2 6 , 2013



 Times Square was formerly called Longacre Square. It was renamed in April 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the Times Building, now called One Times Square. (Soon it will be called Times Online Only Square).  The first Ball Lowering celebration atop One Times Square was held on December 31, 1907. (Yes, Larry King was probably there).  Times Square’s shape is actually not that of a square but rather a bow tie, formed by the intersection of Seventh Avenue, 42nd Street and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan. (This fact is probably courtesy of some bored helicopter pilot like Tom Kaminsky or something).  In 1917, the first large electric display billboard was installed. 11 years later, the first running electric sign was lit for the first time to announce Herbert Hoover’s victory in the presidential elections.

(I bet people threw their hats in the air –woohoo—when they saw THAT announcement.)  Times Square’s NASDAQ sign cost over $37 million to build. Standing 37 feet high, it is the largest LED sign in the world. (I’ll take some stock in that!!)  Times Square is the only zone in the New York City where tenants are required to display bright signs (and put up with nerdy tourists).  Times Square is the world’s most visited tourist attraction, hosting over 39 million visitors annually. (That’s a lot of people watching some Asian guy sketch a caricature of sisters Mary Kay and Bobbie Sue from Oklahoma).  There are over 300 restaurants in Times Square (and it still manages to smell like trash).

 In 1942 and 1943 the ball lowering was suspended due to the wartime dimout. The crowds who still gathered in Times Square celebrated with a minute of silence followed by chimes ringing out from an amplifier truck parked at One Times Square. (Don’t tell the global warming folks, soon enough the chimes will be ringing.)  The first New Year’s Eve Ball was made of iron and wood and adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs. It was 5-feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds. (Like me.)  The current New Year’s Eve ball is 12-feet in diameter, and weighs 11,875 pounds. (Like me after Shabbos.)  1 million people gather in Times Square to watch the ball drop and 1 billion watch it on TV. (Nothing screams that the world needs a life more than that!)

Answer to riddle on opposite page: The river was not deep – the water only came up to the man’s belt. Answer to What Word is it Anyway?: 1. Communication; 2. Rapport; 3. Cognitive; 4. Visceral; 5. Metaphor; 6. Integrity; 7. Ethics; 8. Niche; 9. Paradox; 10. Science

T HE J EWISH HOME n M AY 2 4 , 2012

TIMES SQUARE Facts and Thoughts

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Compiled by Nate Davis

“Say What?” President Obama has named a top former Microsoft executive to run and fix the Obamacare website. Hey, how about fixing Windows first? – Jay Leno

For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished. I already won. - Edward Snowden, in a recent interview with The Washington Post Attention kids, today only you can take home one toy for free. – Announcement made on PA system by a department store manager in Colorado after an anonymous man walked in and paid for all the toys in advance of the announcement

Losing a football game [stinks]. Losing to a desert racist wasteland [stinks] a lot. – Tweet by Washington State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D), after the Arizona Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle on Sunday

If you’ve got grandkids, make it a [holiday] treat around the table to talk about a little healthcare. - First lady Michelle Obama, trying to sell Obamacare

While convenient and economical for a busy lifestyle, fast foods are typically high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt and may put people at risk for becoming overweight. – Posting on McDonald’s employee resources website

We’ll ride this out…It’s worth the trouble, it’s going to be a glorious thing. - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), speaking with reporters on Monday about Obamacare

A new report says that members of Congress work harder than the average American. You know why? That’s because thanks to Congress the average American is out of work. - Jay Leno

It seems that personal information on nearly 40 million Target customers was stolen this week by hackers. Target customers are outraged and the NSA is really impressed. - Jay Leno

We thought that he was going to be… the next messiah. - ABC’s Barbara Walters on President Barack Obama

Exchange between CNN’s Martin Savidge and Lee Wednesday, who sold one of the winning $648 million Mega Million lotto tickets in Georgia (where there is no reward for selling a winning lotto ticket)

Martin Savidge: Now, you know by selling the winning ticket there’s also prize money for you Lee Wednesday: I know, but I don’t know how much. Long time ago, I heard it’s $25,000. Martin Savidge: Let me tell you, it’s a lot more than $25,000…It’s about $1 million that you get. Lee Wednesday (gasping and clutching her chest): Really? Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I never had so much money!

Commuting the sentence of these eight Americans is an important step towards restoring fundamental ideals of justice and fairness. - President Obama in a statement on commuting the sentences of eight criminals serving time for drug convictions (one of whom is the first cousin of ardent President Obama supporter, Governor Duval Patrick of Massachusetts) Governor Patrick had no involvement in any application for a commutation of Mr. Wintersmith. – Governor Patrick’s spokesman

George Zimmerman is auctioning an original painting for $100,000. $100,000? Man, this guy is getting away with murder. – Stephen Colbert

I only have about $100 million to go. – Hedge Fund titan and noted philanthropist Robert Wilson, who promised to give away his billion dollar fortune before dying, to a friend several weeks ago (he died last Monday)

We’re soft. Gotta bunch of mama’s boys right now. My wife could score more than two buckets on 11 shots…but those guys aren’t listening. They’re uncoachable right now. - Southern Illinois basketball coach Barry Hinson after his team was blown out by Murray State College


One of the passengers told me that there is a suspicious bag on the bus. I asked, “Whose [bag]?” and was told “No one’s.” I arrived at the bus stop and got the passengers to disembark. Most of the passengers went on to catch other buses to get where they needed to go, and I stayed [by my bus] with another two people. Then a police car arrived and cleared people from the area. Ten minutes later, the bus exploded. – Dan bus driver Michael Yuger recounting the moments leading up to last week’s bus explosion in Tel Aviv where thankfully no one was injured

Snowboarding is just a part of my truth; every person has their own. It’s just something that’s unique and special, something that I hope I can bring to the world. And really to make my wife proud, who supports me. – Orthodox Jew Yochanan Katz, whose photo while snowboarding in Jerusalem graced the cover of The Wall Street Journal, discussing his passion for the sport

I’ll be fulfilling a lifelong dream of enjoying a small soda on a nonsmoking beach. - Mayor Michael Bloomberg on SNL saying what he plans on doing after leaving office Right now it’s cold and I think part of the reason is because of my writing. My writing has alienated some people in my family…I hope that my brother and I can really hug each other after he’s president and we can be a family again. - President Obama’s half-brother Mark Obama Ndesandjo (who happens to be Jewish) discussing his new book which disputes some of the facts in President Obama’s autobiography

Chris Christie is a fat nightmare. He is a nightmare…He’s not a conservative. He’s a progressive. I’m done playing the game of, “Well, that means if we don’t vote for that guy, we’re gonna get this guy.” We played that with John McCain. We played that with Mitt Romney. I don’t trust any of them. I’m not going to play the game … I’m not going to sell my principles out anymore. – Conservative host and rainmaker Glen Beck in a CNN interview Over the weekend, China became the third nation to land on the moon. This morning NASA issued a statement: “Sending stuff to the moon is so 1960s. Call us when you get to Mars.” –Craig Ferguson

I congratulate Comrade Raul for his brilliant performance [at the memorial], and especially for his firmness and dignity when with a friendly but firm greeting to the head of government of the United States he said in English, “Mr. President, I am Castro.” - Fidel Castro discussing his brother’s encounter with President Obama at the Mandela memorial service

They need to focus on executive action given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress. - New White House advisor John Podesta to the Politico, comparing the Republicans to a cult community in which 918 people died in a deliberate poisoning

I don’t think it would be wrong to say that we were enthusiastic supporters of Germany. - Senior Palestine Liberation Organization official Farouq Qaddoumi discussing the Holocaust during an interview with Russian TV She’d be ecstatic; she’d think the same, guaranteed. - Tom Crist, a retired 64-year old CEO who won a $40 million lottery jackpot in Calgary and donated every penny to charity, in memory of his deceased wife Danica, I hope you are not too uncomfortable tonight — I know you’re not used to being this close to the front. - Jay Mohr, master of ceremonies at the NASCAR awards ceremony, to Danica Patrick, who did not win any races this year

The basic concept is simple. Every non-incarcerated adult citizen gets a monthly check from the government. Other safety net programs are jettisoned to pay for the income, and poverty is eliminated. - MSNBC’s “The Cycle” co-host Krystal Ball suggesting that the United States implement a minimum guaranteed income

How do I feel about Obama after Snowden’s revelations? I envy him, because he can get away with it. - Russian President Vladimir Putin when asked about the NSA scandal at a recent news conference Dear Kevin, I hope you feel better soon. I am mad at the Steelers because you are my #1 player. I am 7 years old and love the Bengals and Bearcats. I know you played for the Bearcats and Bengals and I love the teams. I hope that Steeler player loses his house and has to live in his car. Get well soon, Nicholas Andrew Johnson. – Handwritten letter written by a 7-year-old fan to Cincinnati Bengal’s punter after a Pittsburgh Steelers player tackled him and broke his jaw.

I could probably hit one from 70 yards. - Justin Tucker, the Baltimore Ravens field goal kicker who became the first NFL player to hit field goals from 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards

Women love money…So I give her a nice check and we’re all happy. - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford when asked what type of gifts he gets his wife

THE JEWISH DECEMBER 26, EWISH 22013 4b,e 2012 T hT eHEJ eJHOME w i s h h oHOME m e nn M d eAY cem r 2 6 , 2013

It’s this moment more than any other moment that Jonathan Pollard [should] be released. - Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz toIsrael Radio after it was recently disclosed that the NSA spied on Israel

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by Shiffy Friedman ©

DECEMBER 26, 2013

Shiffy Friedman is a Jerusalem-based freelance writer. Her works have been published widely, primarily in Ami Magazine. She would love to hear feedback on her writing. Feel free to contact her at passionforthepen@gmail.com.



Chapter Seventeen

Recap: After discovering that Becca was the informant, Lisa promises to keep the knowledge a secret. Lisa Stein Marcus “Java or mocha blend?” I ask Becca from my place at the counter. She’s already seated at a corner table in the café, sorting out some stuff in her handbag. “Java, please.” I bring our frosty cups to the table, catching a glimpse of her perfectly manicured nails as she takes the drinks from my hand. We sit together but our eyes don’t yet meet. It’s been two months since we’ve sat out here and time has its way of rusting the bond. I’m not wearing a white coat today, but my grey sweater will serve me just well today as I embark on my first session for Project Heal. I want Becca to start our conversation, so I sip the blend in lingering silence. I turn to face her when a client enters the store. “It’s good, huh?” She asks. “Haven’t had one in weeks.” “Yeah, I love the way the chocolate feels on my tongue,” I say. “So rich.” She takes a deep breath. “I needed this break.” “How’s the baby? Keeping you up at night?” “Forget about my nights. My days are so tiring.” “Must be so hard. So when do you catch up on your sleep?” “Sleep?” She emits a mock laugh. “Never.”

Becca shakes her head fiercely, surprising me with her uncharacteristic exposure. “I never sleep. I was born to work, not to rest. This is my blessed life.” “Oh, wow. Is this how it always was?” I feel as if I don’t know the woman sitting across from me, the woman who was raised on the same bread and butter as I. “What kind of question is that? Three kids sap you out more than two kids do, especially my kids, and especially when I’m doing this all on my own.” She twirls the straw around the cup, the droplets swishing from side to side. “Why am I saying all this?” She suddenly looks up, allowing me a full view of the perfect liner that frames her eyes. “This is my life, not yours, and why do you always make me feel like I’m your client?” Knowing Becca, even better than she knows herself, perhaps, I allow her to say it all, no holds barred. “I don’t even know why I came out with you today. I have work to do, seriously, and here I am, drinking a Java and talking about how tired I am.” She zips her handbag shut. “Maybe because you need it?” I ask, surprising myself. She lays her hand flat on the table. “Need what? For you to tell me that my life is hard?” “No, no. Maybe you just need a coffee, Becca. Maybe you just need a break.” “And I need to come here for you to tell me that, huh?” I know I’m taking a gigantic risk, but I go for it anyway. “Maybe. I mean, who else will tell you that?”

Not your friends, who think there’s no superwoman like you. And surely not Nathan, who hasn’t had a chance to offer his advice, ever, except if you count the time when you were dating. “Who else?” Her cheeks are crimson red and her eyes are fixed on a Lexus parked at the curb. Yes. Who else? I tap my feet on the floor, hoping she doesn’t sense my curiosity. “Forget it, Lisa.” She pulls her sweater tighter around her small frame. “Okay, can we just forget this and enjoy our coffee?” She takes a long, long sip. Can I kiss Project Heal goodbye right here, right now? Perhaps, but I can’t continue to grill her to death in this coffee shop. “Sure,” I say. “I wasn’t trying to hurt you, you know that.” Who do you think you are anyway? a little voice murmurs inside my head. “I know, Lisa. I’m not good at this. My reaction to everything in life is outbursts.” She flicks a wisp of hair away from her eyes and shifts her legs. “So how are the kids? I haven’t seen them in a while. Just the other day, Gabi asked me to arrange a play date with Susie.” Davie Stein Tuvia is sitting on his bed, counting the bills. “Six weeks,” he tells me. “Six weeks of hard work right here.” “You did a good job.” “Yeah, plus tips and a bonus.” He’s obsessed with his earnings, the

guy. This rehab dream of his is not letting go. I snicker. “Should I start posting ads for a new roommate?” “No way, Jose. You’re joining me.” I drop my frame onto my bed. “Me? You must be kidding.” He looks up. “Why should I? I’m your friend, Dave.” “Not so fast. Not so fast,” I hold up my hand. Tuvia lays the bills down. They make a generous pile by now. “What are you waiting for? Don’t tell me you want to live this way forever. Forever is a long, long time.” “And why not?” I ask. “Oh, come on. Let’s not go through this again.” “First, this program is way out of my budget,” I reason aloud. “I’m not going to scrimp and save the way you do for someone to come and tell me, ‘Do this, don’t do that.’ I mean, how old am I?” “Not older than me,” he tries. Maybe it is a good idea for me to start a search for a new roommate. “I’m telling you, Davie, you’re going to save yourself a lot of money by doing this. Lots and lots of it, believe me. Imagine being fine without all the trash, just being okay on a normal day. How does that sound?” “Can’t convince me.” Even while I say, “I’m good the way I am and don’t bother,” I know that I’m lying straight through my crooked teeth. Perhaps I’ve learned how to kid the whole world, but I haven’t yet learned how to kid myself.





It’s ironic that the designer of the ultimate weapon of destruction lived to the ripe, old age of 94. Mikhail Kalashnikov died in a hospital in Izhevsk on Monday. He was the designer of the AK-47 assault rifle that was also called the “Kalashnikov.” The AK-47 — “Aytaomat Kalashnikov” and the year it went into production—has become the world’s most popular firearm, used by guerillas, terrorists and soldiers worldwide. There are an estimated 100 million guns spread across the world reaping carnage and destruction. But Kalashnikov said he was untroubled by his contribution to death worldwide. “I sleep well. It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence,” he told The Associated Press in 2007. The rifle is not the most precise weapon available, but it is known to jam far less often than other, more precise and sophisticated weapons. “During the Vietnam War, American soldiers would throw away their M-16s to grab AK-47s and bullets for it from dead Vietnamese soldiers,” Kalashnikov said in July 2007 at a ceremony marking the rifle’s 60th anniversary. It became the ideal weapon for insurgents backed by the Soviet Union, and Moscow distributed and licensed its production in 30 other countries. It is enshrined on the flag of Mozambique, heralding the weapon’s use in the nation’s struggle for liberation. Kalashnikov did not always set out to design an assault rifle. He was born into a peasant family in Siberia and began his working life as a railroad clerk. After he joined the Red Army in 1938, he began to show mechanical flair by inventing several modifications for Soviet tanks. When a shell hit his tank during the 1941 Battle of Bryansk against the Nazis, Kalashnikov recognized that the Nazis had far superior weapons than his own unit. “Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer,” Kalashnikov once said. “I always wanted to construct agricultural machinery.” In 2007, President Vladimir Putin praised him, saying “The Kalashnikov rifle is a symbol of the creative genius of our

Dennis Rodman Visits N. Korea but Not Kim

Letter from Former N. Korean Prisoner Describes Torture and Pain

be publicly executed as a lesson to other prisoners to work hard and obey the rules,” he wrote. “I grew up watching these executions, including the hanging of my mother.” “On orders of the guards in Camp 14, inmates are forced to marry and create children to be raised by guards to be disposable slaves,” Dong-hyuk added. “Until I escaped in 2005, I was one of those slaves. My body is covered with scars from torture I endured in the camp.” Dong-hyuk, who has since authored a book titled, Escape from Camp 14, asked Rodman to confront dictator Kim Jong Un about the country’s labor camps. “I am writing to you, Mr. Rodman, because, more than anything else, I want Kim Jong Un to hear the cries of his people,” he wrote. “Maybe you could use your friendship and your time together to help him understand that he has the power to close the camps and rebuild the country’s economy so everyone can afford to eat.” “I end this letter in the hope that you can use your friendship with the dictator to be a friend to the North Korean people,” Dong-hyuk concluded.

Granada to Open Museum Dedicated to Spanish Jews

After visiting North Korea for the third time, it may seem that former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s allure has dimmed. When returning home from his third trip on Monday, Rodman admitted that he did not meet Kim Jong Un but was unfazed by the lack of connection with the leader. “I am not worried about it.” He added, “I’ll see him again.” In his first trip in March, the tattooed basketball star declared the dictator to be a “friend for life” and is even organizing an exhibition basketball game on January 8 to mark his birthday. He reiterated, “He is awesome, man,” in the airport on his return home. Despite his intentions to have a “good conversation” with Kim, Rodman spent much of time training the country’s basketball team in anticipation for a matchup against a team of former NBA players. But some of the Americans he wants to come are too afraid to visit the Hermit Kingdom. “You know, they’re still afraid to come here, but I’m just telling them, you know, don’t be afraid man, it’s all love, it’s all love here,” Rodman told reporters after the tryouts at the Pyongyang Indoor Gymnasium. “I understand what’s going on with the political stuff, and I say, I don’t go into that venture, I’m just doing one thing for these kids here, and for this country, and for my country, and for the world pretty

As news spread that former NBA star Dennis Rodman will be coaching North Korea’s basketball team, the only known person to be born in a North Korea labor camp and escape to the West penned a chilling and persuasive letter to the basketball player. “I have never met you, and until you visited North Korea in February I had never heard of you,” Shin Dong-hyuk wrote in an open letter first published by The Washington Post. “Now I know very well that you are a famous, retired American basketball player with many tattoos.” “I want to tell you about myself. I was born in 1982 in Camp 14, a political prison in the mountains of North Korea,” he continued. “For more than 50 years, Kim Jong Un, his father and his grandfather have used prisons such as Camp 14 to punish, starve and work to death people who the regime decides are a threat.” “Prisoners are sent to places like Camp 14 without trial and in secret,” the letter adds. “A prisoner’s ‘crime’ can be his relation by blood to someone the regime believes is a wrongdoer or wrong-thinker. My crime was to be born as the son of a man whose brother fled to South Korea in the 1950s.” Dong-hyuk then detailed some of the horrors he says people face in North Korea’s labor camps. “At this very moment, people are starving in these camps. Others are being beaten, and someone soon will

The Spanish city of Granada has announced that it is opening a museum dedicated to Spanish Jews who lived there before the Inquisition. The museum, called “The Palace of the Forgotten,” is housed in the Santa Ines palace in Albaicin—a neighborhood where many Jews lived before the infamous day in 1492. It is estimated that the population of Jews living in the region of Andalucia, where Granada is located, during the time of the Inquisition ranged from 5,000 to 20,000. Now, there are only a handful of Jews left who call Andalucia their home. The museum contains Judaica, archeological findings such as ceramic utensils, furniture, artworks and other valuables recovered from Jewish homes. The artifacts were donated to the museum by the Crespo Lopez family. It will also feature the restoration of a mikveh from before the 15th century, which is among the few well-preserved mikvehs from that period ever exca-

DECEMBER 26, 2013

AK-47 Designer Dies

much.” With an argument like that, who could refuse? When asked why he liked basketball, North Korean player Kim Un told Rodman he started playing the game because he was impressed by it on TV, and said he also wants to be good at the sport because it is a favorite of leader Kim and his late father, Kim Jong Il. Rodman asked all the North Korean players if they felt the same way. They nodded in unison. “I want you guys to do one thing for your leader,” Rodman then told them. “It’s his birthday. It’s a very special, special day for the country.” Rodman said the former NBA players will take on the North Koreans in the first half, but the teams will be mixed for the second half of the game. “It’s not about win or loss. It’s about one thing — unite two countries.”



people.” Over his career, Kalashnikov was decorated with numerous honors, including the Hero of Socialist Labor and Order of Lenin and Stalin Prize. But because his invention was never patented, he didn’t get rich off royalties. “At that time in our country patenting inventions wasn’t an issue. We worked for Socialist society, for the good of the people, which I never regret,” he once said. He continued working for the company he built the weapon for well into his late 80s. He said he was proud of his bronze bust installed in his native village of Kurya in the Siberian region of Altai. He said newlyweds bring flowers to the bust. “They whisper, ‘Uncle Misha, wish us happiness and healthy kids,’” he said. “What other gun designer can boast of that?”


DECEMBER 26, 2013

40 vated from Spain. In recent years, Spanish and Portuguese municipalities have invested millions of dollars in preserving their Sephardic heritage in an effort to draw visitors from Israel and North America. Politicians and activists point to the countries’ need to repay a moral debt. Earlier this month, Spain’s ruling party submitted a bill which would make Jewish descendants of Sephardic Jews who were forced into exile eligible for Spanish citizenship. Portugal’s parliament unanimously passed a similar law in April.

Snow White Art

associate sentenced to death for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and Vienna governor Baldur von Schirach, who drew a 20-year prison sentence at the Nuremberg trials for his leading role in the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews. Senior SS official Albert Reitter; Friedrich Rainer, governor of Salzburg and Carinthia provinces; Rudolf Toepfer, a ranking Hitler-era railway official; and Vienna Mayor Hanns Blaschke were also stripped of honors. Under the Nazis, 13 musicians with Jewish roots or kin were fired by the orchestra and five died in concentration camps. By the end of World War II, about half of the Philharmonic’s members had joined the Nazi party. Rathkolb also discovered that Helmut Wobisch, the former head of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra, was a member of Nazi Germany’s elite paramilitary SS and collaborated with the secret police.

Putin Pardons Russian Billionaire Since 1963, the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival showcases artworks made out of snow in Harbin, China. Originally, the festival started as a traditional ice lantern show garden party. Eventually, the festival snowballed into something much grander. The average temperature in the city is -16.8 degrees C or 1.76 degrees F. Annual low temperatures below –35 degrees C (–31° F) are not uncommon. Despite the frigid temperatures, visitors flock to the winter wonderland to enjoy the larger-than-life frozen artworks.

Nazi Officials Stripped of Honors

On Friday it was reported that the famed Vienna Philharmonic orchestra stripped six former senior Nazi officials of honors that were previously awarded to them. Earlier this year, historian Oliver Rathkolb documented the orchestra’s close cooperation with Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and other top Hitler associates. Eventually, a vote was held to strip the officials from their golden rings of honor and medals. Those losing the honors included Arthur Seyss-Inquart, a top Hitler

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday that he will pardon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s once richest man, who has been in jail for the last decade. This came as a shock to many since Khodorkovsky is a known opponent of Putin. Claiming that Khodorkovsky asked for clemency due to his mother’s illness, Putin said, “I decided that with these circumstances in mind ... a decree pardoning him will be signed.” Initially lawyers for Khodorkovsky denied that he had sought clemency but later on a representative said they were trying to reach Khodorkovsky directly in prison near the Arctic Circle to clarify matters. The oil tycoon is expected to be freed next August. His company, Yukos, was broken up and sold off, mainly into state hands, following his arrest at gunpoint on an airport runway in Siberia on fraud and tax evasion charges in 2003. His situation became a symbol of what investors called the Kremlin’s abuse of the courts for political ends. His arrest came after he publicly criticized Putin. In televised comments three years ago, Putin aggressively defended his imprisonment, spitting out a line uttered by a tough detective in a Soviet film: “A thief must be in jail.” Noting the 150 years given to American fraudster Bernard Madoff, he quipped: “I think we are a lot more liberal.”

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said a plea for a pardon meant Khodorkovsky had admitted he is guilty. But his lawyers insist that seeking a presidential pardon is not an automatic confession. In comments published in The New York Times late last month, Khodorkovsky said his mother was fighting cancer for a second time after many years of remission and that they might never see each other again outside of a prison. “Putin is Putin, war is war, but one’s mother is dearer than anything,” Dmitry Gololobov, a former Yukos legal head who lives in Britain, told Reuters by telephone. He said Khodorkovsky might have sought a pardon without telling his lawyers. Khodorkovsky’s son, Pavel, called it “very happy news” and said he was waiting to talk to his father to hear more details.

Syria’s Children Suffer from Hunger and Dysfunction

Syria is flooded with refugees fleeing violent feud-filled regions. The most innocent victims suffering from the country’s current state of dysfunction are the children of these refugee families. Many of these families wander from place to place with no stable shelter and no food to eat. Children are forced to wait on long lines outside food halls for a simple hot meal. “A year ago we were feeding one million people, today we are feeding 4.24 million,” says Mathew Hollingworth, Syria’s Country Director for the World Food Program. “We have to have some kind of solution politically in Syria because the humanitarian crisis is getting to the point I’ve never seen in any other country I’ve worked in.” In Syria there is no time for a normal childhood. Youngsters are forced to face the harsh realities of daily living from a very young age. Their soundtrack from when they are babies is explosions and gunfire. The county’s civil war is still raging since the overthrowing of President Assad in 2011. After three years of fighting, the price of fuel and food are continually rising making it almost impossible for refugees to keep themselves warm and fed.

Volcano Creates New Island

A new island is slowly growing in the South Pacific. Thanks to a volcanic eruption 600 miles south of Tokyo, a 14acre mass has staked its claim in the clear blue waters. The island is named Niijima and sits off the coast of Nishino-shima, a small, uninhabited island in the “Ring of Fire” chain of volcanoes in the western Pacific. It first appeared in late November, when heavy black smoke, ash and rocks exploded from the seas and steam poured forth from the eruption. New images released by NASA show that the island looks likely to stay, unlike past tiny bits of territory that have appeared and later disappeared, according to Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief government spokesman. “This has happened before and in some cases the islands disappeared,” Yoshihide Suga said when asked if the government was planning on naming the new island. “If it becomes a fullfledged island, we would be happy to have more territory.” According to news reports, Niijima is still erupting and growing. Scientists from the Japan Meteorological Agency think the island is large enough to survive for at least several years, if not permanently, NASA said. By early December, the island had grown to 56,000 square meters (13.8 acres), about three times its initial size. It stands 20 to 25 meters above the sea level.

London Theater Collapse A theater in London partially collapsed this week during a performance. Over 80 people were injured in the accident and seven of those were injured seriously. Many theatergoers were trapped for hours while rescue workers labored to uncover them. Considering there were over 700 people in the theater at the time, the low injury toll is quite amazing.


Torah Values, 21st Century Learning • Rigorous academic program • Middot / character development • Technology integration/iPad program • Music, Art, PE, Electives • Sports & after school enrichment programs • Fun family programs • State of the art facilities

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818.783.3663 info@emek.org www.emek.org

DECEMBER 26, 2013

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DECEMBER 26, 2013

42 “Complete chaos” erupted as the debris rained down, said Martin Bostock, who came with his family to the theater. “At first, we thought it was part of the show,” he told a reporter. “Then I got hit on the head.” Dust-covered theatergoers, many with bandaged heads, were treated by dozens of emergency workers in the street outside the Apollo and at a nearby theater. London’s Ambulance Service said it treated 88 patients — 81 with minor injuries and seven with “more serious” injuries who were taken to nearby hospitals. None of the injuries were believed to be life threatening, officials said.

Newest Reforms in Cuba In another step towards economic freedom, Cubans have now been allowed to buy new and used cars from state retailers without written permission from the government. This is the first time private buyers are permitted to purchase such cars since the 1959 revolution. Under a reform introduced two years ago, Cubans can buy and sell used cars from each other, but must request authorization from the government to purchase a vehicle from swtate retailers. The Cuban state maintains a monopoly on the retail sale of cars. The government said about 30 percent of autos sold with government approval last year were quickly resold, indicating that the system was causing “speculation and enrichment.”

The liberalizing of car sales was one of more than 300 reforms put forth by President Raul Castro, who took over for his ailing brother, Fidel, in 2008. The new measures, which will be implemented “gradually,” will set a minimum price for auto sales, which the government can tax to help pay for better public transport. The proposed changes put a greater emphasis on private initiative, which had been largely stifled under Cuba’s Soviet-style system, and less government control over the sale and purchase of personal property such as homes and cars. There are now tens of thousands of small private businesses in Cuba, and thousands of farm, construction, transportation and other types of cooperatives, all of which should

benefit from the new regulations. Before September 2011, only automobiles that were in Cuba before the 1959 revolution could be freely bought and sold, which is why there are so many cars from the 1950s or before, most of them American-made, rumbling through Cuban streets. There are also many Soviet-made cars, dating from the era when the Soviet Union was the island’s biggest ally and benefactor.

Christians: “Arab Spring a Hoax” Christians are voicing their fearful concerns over the so-called “Arab Spring” movements in the Middle East. Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, an Egyptian Christian activist and founder of Voice of the Copts, said in a recent interview with Arab media that the new constitution being discussed in Egypt is further evidence that the “Arab Spring” was nothing more than a front for a revitalization of the Islamic agenda.

Arab Spring is a term for the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests (both non-violent and violent), riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began in December 2010. Ramelah told The Arab Daily News that Christians in the Middle East are far worse off today than prior to the Arab Spring. Proof of that can be found in the fact that it is necessary to consider special clauses pertaining to Christians in the new Egyptian constitution. “Copts (native Egyptian Christians) are citizens of Egypt. They do not need to have special rights. In a democratic country all citizens are equal under the law,” noted Ramelah. But, that is precisely the point Ramelah and others have been trying to make since America and other Western nations got on the “Arab Spring” bandwagon. The purportedly “pro-democracy” uprisings were anything but. “‘Arab Spring’ is a deceptive label created by Western leftists as a misnomer for the Islamic revival in Arab countries,” he explained. “Arab Spring was a massive project instigated by the Muslim Brother-

hood in a series of countries with the Islamic Caliphate as its ultimate goal.” “Christians, like the Jews before them, are meant to be purged from each country,” said Ramelah, recalling that most notorious of Muslim chants, “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.” Indeed, attacks on Christians have increased exponentially in recent years, not only in Egypt, but even more so in Syria and Iraq.

Israel Israel to U.S.: Stop Spying on Us

Greeting Card Causes Controversy With spending at an all-time high at the end of the year, a council in London is coming under fire after its unique warning message to local tenants. A holiday message was sent out in which public housing tenants were warned not to “overindulge” during the holiday season in case they fall behind on their rent payments. Hammersmith and Fulham Council in west London said 46 percent of its tenants were having trouble with their rent and the cards were part of a “hard-hitting” campaign to tackle the problem. It cited research that showed one in 12 renters was prepared to forgo payments over holiday shopping and they didn’t want that list to get bigger.

However, several recipients were unhappy, including resident Mary Buckley who called it a “threatening piece of literature masquerading as a greeting.” “It’s insulting,” Buckley told a local newspaper, adding that she had lived in a council-owned property with her 82-year-old mother Tina for 25 years and had never been behind with payments. “I was absolutely flabbergasted,” she added. “It’s a crass and insulting message and when I went to complain, the lady on the phone laughed at me.” The council’s cabinet member for housing, Andrew Johnson, defended the cards. “The postcard was not intended to be insulting,” he said, “but [was sent] to deter tenants from getting into debt over a period which can bring financial headaches. Research shows that this is the one time of year that many families will consider forgoing their rent. This brings stress and worry, as it can often be very difficult to catch-up. We want to prevent this from happening while offering support to people who are experiencing financial hardship.”

On Sunday, senior Israeli officials showed their outrage when they demanded an end to U.S. spying on Israel. Recently, it was revealed that the National Security Agency intercepted emails from the offices of former Israeli leaders including former-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former-Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Officials also called for the release of Jonathan Pollard, who has been imprisoned for nearly three decades for spying on behalf of Israel. Documents leaked by Snowden and published in The Guardian, Der Spiegel and The New York Times last week revealed that British intelligence agency GCHQ worked with the NSA from 20082011 to target email addresses belonging to the offices of then-serving Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. But Amir Dan, a spokesman for Olmert, played down the significance of the espionage. He said the email address targeted was one meant for queries from the public and was not used for sensitive communications. “There is no chance there was a security or intelligence breach caused from this email address,” Dan said. Additionally, top Israeli officials generally work on the assumption that they are being monitored and use secure lines or face-to-face conversations in a secure room to discuss sensitive issues. Since Pollard’s conviction, Israel has promised not to spy on the U.S. Ministers stressed on Sunday that Israel does not spy on the U.S. president or defense secretary. “I think we should expect the same relations from the U.S.,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said. Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated that the country is constantly working on Pollard’s release. “We don’t need any special event to spur us to action to free Pollard. We are busy with this all the time,” said Netanyahu. “There is no connection between reports stating that the U.S. collected data in Israel and the potential release of Pollard.”


A passenger on the bus, David Papo, said he examined the suspicious bag before disembarking. “I opened it and saw something [that looked suspicious]... After I took a closer look, I saw a red wire coming out of it and I immediately understood what it was.” He then disembarked from the bus together with the other passengers. It is not yet clear who planted the bomb and who was responsible for the bombing. “The incident in Bat Yam illustrates the fact that the threat of terrorism is lurking in the background, especially these days, when there are attempts to advance the peace talks,” Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said.

Adelson, together with his Israeli wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, spoke about their private foundation that funds stem cell and other medical research projects. The Boston-based Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Family Foundation sponsors collaboration among 10 universities, including Harvard, UCLA and Stanford. Since 2000, Birthright has brought over 350,000 young Jews from 64 countries to Israel. But Adelson is not satisfied. Adelson says his message to young Jews not already in Israel is to visit the Holy Land. “If they’re between 18 and 26 and they haven’t been on Birthright before, they should come,” he said.

Orthodox Snowboarder Makes Headlines

Adelson Celebrates Innovation with 900 Birthright Participants On Monday night, 900 Taglit-Birthright participants celebrated Jewish and Israeli entrepreneurship at “Innovation Nation” along with Jewish-American casino mogul and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson at a Tel Aviv event.

After snow blanketed Israel last week, the icy crystals made headlines around the world. The Wall Street Journal featured the back of a snowboarder navigating the snowy slopes with his tzitzis flying in the wind. So who is this frum, fearless sports-

man? It turns out that Yochanan Katz, an American who is now living in Jerusalem with his wife and two children, graced the December 16 cover. “Lots of people are very proud of me. They’re surprised to see a religious Jew streaming through the air on a snowboard; it’s kind of an oddity,” Katz says. In an interview with JTA, Katz admitted that he knew he was being photographed. “There were about 4 or 5 photographers out there. Afterwards, I gave them all my email address and asked them to send me their photos, and I didn’t get one photo,” he says. Growing up in Minnesota, Katz would snowboard in a “trash dump that they converted into a ski hill. It had a 100 ft. vertical, and my friends and I went night skiing on the ice. After high school, I went to Colorado State University, one of the reasons being to be closer to the mountains.” Apparently, he didn’t outgrow his love of snow. “After university, I worked in Vail as a ‘liftee,’ one of guys running the ski lift. There were a lot of big jumps at the biggest resort in North America,” Katz recalls. But moving to Israel meant that snowboarding would not be in abundance in the Holy Land. “My wife had never seen me snowboard before; I kind of wanted to show off for my wife and my 3-yearold boy [Yaakov Meir] and 1-year-old girl [Shayna Malka]. Wanted to take advantage of the once in a century snowstorm,” Katz admits. After his parents saw The Wall Street Journal cover, Katz says, “My parents are happy to still see me connected to snow and lots of things I grew up with.” Katz didn’t grow up religious and came to Israel on a Birthright trip in January 2005. It was the first time he ever met a religious Jew. Now he lives in Nachlaot with his family and is on the Israel Lacrosse Team. He hopes to play in the World Championships in July.

Elie Wiesel Warns about Iran’s Threat

Nobel Peace Prize winner and renowned author Elie Wiesel has weighed in on the nuclear status of Iran. In a full page ad in The New York Times, Wiesel demanded that Congress stop talks with Iran until Tehran agrees to stop threatening Israel and takes apart its nuclear program. Millionaire Michael Steinhardt, one of the founders of the Birthright program, paid

for the ad. Wiesel said that there is no doubt as to Iran’s true ambitions. “The words and actions of the leadership of Iran leave no doubt as to their intentions,” he wrote, and warned that the U.S. and Western countries must not be fooled into believing otherwise. “I appeal to President Obama and Congress to demand, as a condition of continued talks, the total dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and the regime’s public and complete repudiation of all genocidal intent against Israel,” Wiesel wrote. “And I appeal to the leaders of the United States Senate to go forward with their vote to strengthen sanctions against Iran until these conditions have been met.” Wiesel is the author of 57 books, many of which described his experiences as a youth in Romania and Hungary before and during the Holocaust. He was imprisoned in three concentration and death camps – Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald – and in 1986 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the “powerful message of peace, atonement and human dignity” that he brought to all people through his writing and his “practical work in the cause of peace.”

Iranian Threat Very Real Although the international community seems to be blind to Iran’s plan for Israel, a Syrian news report seems to be seeing the situation very clearly. A former Iranian government official confirmed last week that Israel was right to take seriously the Islamic Republic’s threats to wipe the Jewish State off the map. Speaking on Syrian News TV, former presidential advisor Mohammad Sadeq Al-Hosseini suggested that the main motivator behind the recent Iran nuclear deal was President Obama’s desire to forestall the destruction of Israel. “Obama had to make a great retreat,” said Al-Hosseini in an interview translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). “[Obama] was forced to accept a handshake from President Rouhani…so that the day would not come when he would be forced to kiss the hands of Hassan Nasrallah and [Ayatollah] Khamenei, so that they would hold their fire in the great war that was prepared to annihilate Israel.” Israel has been widely criticized for making too big a deal of the Iranian nuclear threat and for opposing the bargain struck between the West and Iran in Geneva last month. The deal leaves the Islamic Republic perfectly capable of assembling nuclear weapons in the future.

El Al Going Back to Turkey After a hiatus of five years, Israel will soon once again have nonstop flights between Tel Aviv and Turkey. Israeli airlines

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On Sunday, a bomb exploded on a bus near Tel Aviv, but thankfully there were no injuries or fatalities as passengers were evacuated before the explosion. A vigilant passenger alerted the bus driver to a suspicious black bag on the No. 240 bus. The driver parked his vehicle and all twelve passengers disembarked in Bat Yam before the police bomb square arrived. Ten minutes later, while investigating, the bomb exploded, shattering all the windows and charring the sides of the bus. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the blast. “One of the passengers told me that there is a suspicious bag on the bus,” bus driver Michael Yuger said, recounting the moments leading up to the blast, “I asked, ‘Whose [bag]?’ and was told ‘No one’s.’ I arrived at the bus stop and got the passengers to disembark. Most of the passengers went on to catch other buses to get where they needed to go, and I stayed [by my bus] with another two people. Then a police car arrived and cleared people from the area. Ten minutes later, the bus exploded.”

With an estimated worth of $26.1 billion, Adelson is chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation and owns the Israeli newspaper Yisrael Hayom. He has donated $140 million to Birthright since 2007. Prior to the event, he told The Jerusalem Post that his Zionism had influenced his success, which he intends to share through Birthright with upcoming generations of Jews. “To be a good entrepreneur, you have to be passionate about something,” he said. “You have to have the courage of your own convictions. I have the courage and conviction of a Zionist. That’s how it translates into Birthright.”


Bus Bomb Explodes Near Tel Aviv


DECEMBER 26, 2013

44 halted scheduled and charter flights to Turkey more than five years ago due to disputes over security arrangements at the airports in which the Israeli carriers landed.

Civil Aviation Authority Director-General Giora Romm and his Turkish counterpart Bilal Ekşi signed an agreement in Ankara allowing for the renewal of flights by Israeli carriers to Turkey. This announcement follows months of discussion between the two countries’ aviation authorities. “This is important news for the Israeli airlines that, until now, have been unable to land in Turkey due to security problems, and can now compete on equal terms with the Turkish airlines,” Transportation Minister Israel Katz said. The signing of the flight renewal document was made possible after the Turkish authorities agreed to the Israeli security demands, and after Israel received satisfactory answers and solutions to all the security issues that it raised over the course of the talks. The agreement will allow the Israeli airlines to operate unlimited scheduled and charter flights to Turkey. Turkish airlines operate more than 60 flights per week to Israel and have carried more than a million travelers between the two countries this year.

National Snowden: “Mission Accomplished” In an interview with The Washington Post published on Monday, Edward Snowden said that he accomplished what he set out to do. “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won.” He is satisfied because the media has been able to tell the story of government’s bulk internet and phone records. “As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated.” Snowden added, “Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.” On Friday, President Obama hinted that he would like to make changes to the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. His comments came on the heels of a federal judge’s declaration that the NSA’s collection program probably was unconstitutional. A presidential ad-

visory panel has suggested 46 changes to NSA operations. The interview was conducted by Post reporter Barton Gellman over two days in Moscow six months after Snowden first leaked the classified information. Gellman described Snowden as relaxed and animated, eating burgers, pasta, ice cream and Russian pastries. In June, the Justice Department charged Snowden, a former NSA contractor, with espionage and felony theft of government property. Russia granted him temporary asylum five months ago. Snowden, now 30, said he is not being disloyal to the U.S. or to his former employer. Perhaps delusionary, he says, “I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA. I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”

Seeing Eye Dog to the Rescue     This dog was certainly Cecil Williams’s best friend! Williams is blind and owes his life to his black Labrador after saving him from being hit by a subway train. 61-year-old Williams lost consciousness while waiting at the 125th Street station in Upper Manhattan.  That’s when he and his guide dog, Orlando, fell onto the tracks. Speaking from his hospital bed, Williams told reporters that he was on his way to see the dentist around 9:30 a.m. when he began to feel faint. Williams said Orlando tried to hold him up but couldn’t keep him from falling onto the tracks. An A Train was not yet into the station when people on the platform said Williams and his dog fell backward onto the tracks.  Williams credited Orlando, who is trained to keep his owner safe in busy areas, with saving him. “The dog saved my life,” Williams said.

One witness recounted, “The dog was trying to pull him away from the southbound edge of the platform, but his feet were on the edge; he was wobbling, and the dog was barking,” she said. After he fell, the dog jumped down onto the tracks with Williams. “But there was nothing he could do once he was down there. He just sat there with the man. He just licked the man’s face trying to get him to move,” she said. As the train approached, the conductor slammed on the brakes in an effort to keep

from hitting the man and the dog. Witnesses said that a flagman urged both to move toward the middle of the tracks where the ground is deeper. According to authorities, one and a half cars passed over Williams and Orlando before coming to a stop. Capt. Daniel O’Sullivan of the FDNY spoke about looking under the train and seeing the man and dog. “He was not trapped; he was just in between the rails,” he said. Sullivan said the whole thing was “definitely is a miracle,” according to reports. After being rescued, Williams reportedly asked about the condition of his dog, 11, who will be retiring from guide duties soon. Williams suffered a cut on his head. Orlando was unhurt.

Tiffany Exec Admits to Stealing $2.1 Million in Jewelry When you think of Tiffany & Co, you think of elegance and class. But former Tiffany & Co executive Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun is anything but refinement. The former vice president of product development was sentenced to a year in prison on Monday after admitting to stealing more than $2.1 million of jewelry from the high-end store. “I can’t express my remorse enough,” Lederhaas-Okun said as she broke down in tears. The judged ordered her to be incarcerated for a year and a day followed by one year of supervised release. Additionally, she was ordered to forfeit more than $2.11 million to the government and pay $2.24 million in restitution. Lederhaas-Okun engaged in the first of many thefts in 2005, taking a pendant from Tiffany, where she worked since 1991. In the following years, the wily thief would steal jewelry and sell it, pocketing the funds. She sold bracelets, earrings and pendants made of diamonds, platinum and gold. So how did she stay so long under the radar? Her position enabled her to take jewelry from the store and write it off as inventory. Tiffany only came to realize that something was amiss after terminating Lederhaas-Okun in a mass layoff in February. Interestingly, it may not have been greed that led her to a life of crime. Lederhaas-Okun earned $360,000 a year at Tiffany from 2010 to 2012. She and husband had a reported income of at least $700,000 during those years, and they owned a home valued at $4.4 million. Her lawyer tried to explain that the thefts were motivated as a way to compensate for the pain and depression she experienced for her life failures in her marriage and work. “For reasons that can only be explained by a psychiatric illness, Ingrid took huge risks with her life and her freedom each time she stole,” her attorney wrote. “The risk did not pay off.”

Obama’s Jewish Half-Brother Tells a Different Story Two brothers, one father, two different stories to tell.

Mark Obama Ndesandjo is now publishing another book featuring his family. Mark is President Obama’s half-brother. Both the president and Mark share the same father; Mark is the son of a white American mother, Ruth Ndesandjo, a Jewish woman who was Barack Obama Sr.’s third wife. But despite their common roots, Ndesandjo has a very different story to tell readers than what they have read in Obama’s bestselling 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father. This is Ndesandjo’s second book. In his first novel, Nairobi to Shenzhen: A Novel of Love in the East, Ndesandjo used his family’s story to highlight and raise awareness of domestic abuse. His second book, Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery, will be released in February. There he paints his father as an abusive man who hurt his mother during drunken stupors. He recounts one incident in which his father held a knife to his mother’s throat because she took out a restraining order against him. This portrayal is very different from the man Obama describes in Dreams From My Father. When asked how he would describe his relationship with his brother, Ndesandjo said, “Right now it’s cold and I think part of the reason is because of my writing. My writing has alienated some people in my family.” But even so, Ndesandjo continued, “I hope that my brother and I can really hug each other after he’s president and we can be a family again.” Ndesandjo, 48, is currently living in Shenzen, China, and is married to a Chinese woman. He speaks Chinese and gives volunteers piano lessons at an orphanage in the neighborhood. Ndesandjo’s parents met when Obama Sr. was a graduate student at Harvard University and moved in 1964 to Kenya, where Mark and his brother David were born. David later died in a motorcycle accident. Obama Sr. had earlier divorced President Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, after Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. President Obama and Ndesandjo


Memphis is generally known for good barbeque, great music and the King. But now Memphis is claiming another title: this year, women in Memphis have nabbed the spot for being the nation’s heaviest drinkers. Men in Knoxville were ranked as the number one drinkers in the country. The survey was conducted from Sharecare and some of the results are surprising. It identified ten cities where residents “imbibe too much, as well as the ten that have mastered moderation.” The list was also divided by gender. “Folks in Tennessee may be partying a bit too much. When it comes to alcohol abuse, women from Memphis and men from Knoxville top our list,” the report says. “Both cities are in the top 10 for strong social networks, and drinking tends to be a social activity. ‘We use alcohol socially because it tends to break down inhibitions and makes it easier for people to open up and have a good time,’ says [Dr. Keith] Roach. The iconic, club-lined Beale Street in Memphis and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville add plenty of opportunities for residents to get their drink on.” Interestingly, it doesn’t work for everyone as men from Memphis were actually ranked number eight for drinking alcohol in moderation.

Fewest People Deported in Six Years According to new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data, the Obama administration probably deported the fewest people in the last year than in its six-year history. The downward deportation trend for this fiscal year is a harsh reversal for the administration. Up until this year, removals have increased significantly to record-breaking levels. According to the ICE data first reported in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 343,020 people were deported between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 7, 2013. If deportations continued at this pace until Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, that would mark a six-year low for removals. (The numbers are deportations between Sept. 7 and Sept. 30 have not been officially counted yet.) During the fiscal year ending in 2012, the administration removed 409,900 people. President Obama is currently under pressure from insiders in his party and immigration activists to issue an executive order halting deportations for immigrants who have not committed felonies until an immigration reform bill has passed. The House, controlled mainly by Republicans, has stymied the Senate bill that offers citizenship to millions of immigrants who crossed the border illegally or are here on expired visas. Last year, Obama announced a “deferred action” program for young unauthorized immigrants who came to the country as children, have no criminal record, and finished high school. About half a million young people are now immune from deportation and can apply for a two-year work permit under the program. Earlier this month, nearly 30 House Democrats sent a letter to Obama demand-

ing that he increase his deferred action program to millions more who would be eligible for citizenship under immigration reform. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a Telemundo interview over the weekend that it’s “wrong” to deport someone for not having legal immigration status. “Our view of the law is, if somebody is here without sufficient documentation, that is not reason for deportation,” Pelosi said. “If someone has broken the law or committed a felony or something, that is a different story.” However, the low deportation numbers are not appeasing reform advocates, who continue to protest. “The Obama administration is still deporting hundreds of thousands of people each year that would qualify for a path to citizenship under legislation the administration supports,” said Frank Sharry, the head of America’s Voice, an immigration reform advocacy group. “That is outrageous. If they fully implemented their existing policies on the use of discretion on keeping the focus on bad actors, they would be reducing deportations much more significantly.”

How Hackers Targeted Target Shoppers at Target retail stores were the latest target of hackers. Customers who made purchases at Target stores between November 27 (Black Friday) and December 15 could be one of the 40 million consumers whose data could have been stolen. Security researcher Brian Krebs first reported the hacking on his blog on Wednesday; Target confirmed the security breach in an official statement on Thursday.  

“I don’t know how they did it,” James Wester, research director of IDC Financial Insights, told NBC News. Generally, hackers attack databases where credit card and debit card information is stored. However, in this case, it seems hackers broke into Target’s point-of-sale (POS) system. Customer information could have been sent directly from the store’s cash registers to the hackers, probably due to malicious software. “That is what is kind of mystifying at this point,” Wester said. “It seems like from a security standpoint, Target was doing all of the right things, and somehow this code was put on the POS system, which isn’t a normal access point for hackers.”

Through this method hackers obtain “track data,” which is transmitted every time a card’s magnetic strip is swiped. That information includes a cardholder’s name, a service code used to identify international transactions, and the credit card’s number and expiration date. Target has not commented on how they learned of the breach or if hackers did in fact infiltrate its POS system. “I can’t comment on the specifics, but can share that payment data that could have been exposed could include a person’s name, CVV, account number and expiration date,” Molly Snyder, a Target spokesperson, said in an email, adding only that the company knew of the breach “as of Dec. 15.” Security experts have been pushing for adoption of EMV standards, which require cards that generate a different code each time they are used to avoid these types of incidents. The U.S. government is pushing for businesses to start installing EMV terminals by 2015, although adoption of the standard is voluntary. In the 12 months leading up to June 2013, after Australia implemented EMV standards, fraudulent charges from counterfeit cards dropped by 29 percent, according to a report from the Australia Payments Clearing Association. 

“Knockout Games” Suspect Arrested

An arrest has been made in connection with the violent “knockout games” attacks in Brooklyn, New York. The suspect has been identified as 20 year-old Darryl Mitchell from Long Island. He will face charges over the assault of seven men in what is being called random acts of violence dating back to April 2012. Authorities are also investigating the suspect’s involvement with several other similar attacks. The “knockout game” involves attackers randomly punching innocent bystanders in an attempt to knock them out with a single strike. Some accused attackers of specifically singling out Jews, adding an anti-Semitic twist to the sick “game.” Last week, TJH reported that a councilwoman suggested that perhaps African American youth were targeting Jewish victims because of jealousy of Jewish success in NYC, a comment she was strongly criticized for. However, authorities say that Mitchell’s alleged attacks took place “sponta-

DECEMBER 26, 2013

Memphis Women are Nation’s Biggest Drinkers

Men of Buffalo, NY, ranked at the top for lightest drinking. Chicago; Hartford, CT; San Diego; San Francisco; Virginia Beach, VA; Denver; Memphis; Philadelphia and Miami garnered the next slots on the list. Minneapolis ranked at the top of cities with the lightest-drinking women. Boston; Milwaukee; Rochester, NY; Buffalo; Pittsburgh; Providence; New York; Philadelphia and Chicago rounded out the top ten. In terms of drinking way too much alcohol, after women in Memphis took the top slot, Salt Lake City; Jacksonville, FL; Knoxville; Columbus; Greenville, SC; Louisville; Raleigh, NC; Cincinnati and Oklahoma City rounded out the top ten. For men who imbibe way too much alcohol, following Knoxville, Louisville, Greenville, Oklahoma City, Portland, Greensboro, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Cincinnati and Nashville completed the list. Time to join Alcoholics Anonymous.


did not grow up together, and even when they met for the first time in Kenya in 1988, Ndesandjo recounts that it was not a pleasant meeting. “Barack thought I was too white and I thought he was too black,” Ndesandjo said. “He was an American searching for his African roots. I was a Kenyan, I’m an American but I was living in Kenya, searching for my white roots.” In addition to the recollections about his family, Ndesandjo also included an appendix to his book which lists a number of alleged factual errors in Obama’s 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father, such as quotes incorrectly attributed to Ndesandjo’s mother. “It’s a correction. A lot of the stuff that Barack wrote is wrong in that book and I can understand that because to me for him the book was a tool for fashioning an identity and he was using composites,” Ndesandjo pointed out. “I wanted to bring it up because first of all I wanted the record to be straight. I wanted to tell my own story, not let people tell it for me.”


DECEMBER 26, 2013


neously and in broad daylight” and were not targeted at any specific ethnicity or religious group. Mitchell was arrested on December 4 and has already pleaded not guilty to four counts of assault.

Disney Named Finance Company of the Year

Edgar Bronfman Sr. Dies

On Saturday, Edgar M. Bronfman Sr., the billionaire businessman and longtime president of the World Jewish Congress, which lobbied the Soviets to allow Jews to emigrate and helped spearhead the search for hidden Nazi loot, died at the age of 84. Bronfman made his fortune with his family’s Seagram’s liquor empire, taking over as chairman and CEO in 1971 and continuing the work of his father, Samuel. Under Bronfman’s leadership, Seagram expanded its offerings and was eventually acquired by French media and telecom group Vivendi Universal in 2000. But Bronfman’s wealth, combined with his role in the World Jewish Congress, an umbrella group of Jewish organizations in some 80 countries that he led for more than a quarter century, allowed him to be a tireless advocate for his fellow Jews. In 1999, President Bill Clinton awarded Bronfman the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. In the citation, Bronfman was heralded for working “to ensure basic rights for Jews around the world.” In a 1986 Associated Press profile, he said his position and money helped him have access to world leaders. “It’s a combination of the two,” Bronfman said. “In the end, it doesn’t really matter why that access is available, as long as it is there.” The year before, he had become the first congress president to meet with Soviet officials in Moscow, bringing his case for human rights and taking a little time to promote Seagram’s interests. He visited again in 1988, by which time Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union, a key goal of the congress, had begun to rise under the reforming leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev. During the 1980s and 1990s, the congress also helped lead the effort to gain $11 billion in restitution for heirs of Holocaust victims. Among the initiatives Bronfman supported were the Jewish college organization Hillel, a major scholarship program for young Jews from Israel and North America called the Bronfman Youth Fellowships, and the educational website MyJewishLearning.com.

Disney (DIS) is a company beloved by many, especially its shareholders, and especially in 2013. Its interactive Disney Animated program was Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) “2013 App of the Year” for the iPad. But that wasn’t the only honorary title the cartoon giant earned during 2013; it was also named Yahoo’s Finance Company of the Year. Editors and writers at Yahoo used quantitative and subjective standards to select a company that’s financial performance, shareholder friendliness, strategic focus, employee relations and customer loyalty stood out. Disney did not have the highest numbers in stock performance. In fact other big companies showed greater gains, for example, Netflix (NFLX), and Facebook Inc. (FB). But it was recognized for its consistency in its products, as well as its production of balanced growth with global reach, and it’s sharing of more cash with investors. For the third year in a row, Disney shares gained 38% in revenue and profit. In addition, the company earned $4 billion in box-office ticket sales from new films released. And to top it all off, the company’s theme parks in California, Florida, Tokyo, and Hong Kong reported record attendance. Someone’s dreams are definitely coming true…

That’s Odd

somewhere to spend it, the Jewel Suite may be your place. The 5,000-square-foot suite, designed by celebrity jeweler Martin Katz, comes with a custom $2,500 diamond ring as a party favor. What else do you get for your $25,000 besides a shiny souvenir? According to the hotel’s press release, the suite takes up three floors, is 53 floors up, and includes a “20-foot ‘diamond waterfall’ chandelier and ‘floating’ crystal jewel boxes encasing distinctive jewelry creations by Martin Katz.” Other extravagant pluses include views of the city from a private spa on a rooftop terrace and an indoor wood-burning fireplace. Travelers who stay at the suite can also arrange to meet with the Beverly Hills jeweler for private showings, consultations, and custom jewelry designs. If staying at this lap of luxury isn’t enough, guests can also spring for the Ultimate Proposal Package, which includes a stay in the Jewel Suite, a private consultation with the designer on a custom-made engagement ring or wedding band, and a private meal for two served on the rooftop terrace. Rates for the package begin at a whopping $50,000 per night, based on the choice of custom jewelry.  

where his money is going,” Barrett said. Barrett said Lexie found his calling working at the hospital and donating to the Free Care Fund after being inspired by the fund telethon he saw on the news over 30 years ago. Coming full circle, Barrett said Lexie will present this year’s donation at the 2013 Free Care Fund Telethon. Lexie began his shoeshine career about 40 years ago, when he built a shoeshine box in shop class. In addition to his work at the hospital, Lexie also shines shoes in the business districts of the Mid-Mon Valley and elsewhere in the Pittsburgh area. The Caring Institute has inducted Lexie into the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans in 2006. The generous man was recognized by People magazine, in collaboration with the Major League Baseball organization, as one of the “All-Stars Among Us” in 2010. The Children’s Hospital published a book inspired by Albert’s generosity titled Albert’s Kids: The Heroic Work of Shining Shoes for Sick Children. It was written by a physician at the hospital to tell the story of Albert and to give that story to all children, said Barrett. Lexie is not just a shiner of shoes; he polishes “souls” of all kinds.

This Man Really Shines

Cheapest Picasso for Lucky Winner

Since 1981, shoe-shiner Albert Lexie, 71, has worked every Tuesday and Thursday at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. No matter the weather, Lexie would rise at 3:30am and take two buses from his home to work, arriving by 7:30. With his schedule precise, he would make the rounds covering the complete geography of the hospital. His efforts paid off. He charged $5 for a shoeshine and donated every penny of that to the Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. The fund was created to ensure that all Children Hospital’s patients receive the medical care they need regardless of their families’ ability to pay.

A Diamond Ring with your Non-Smoking Room

The economy must be in a recovery if people can actually stay at this brand new suite in the New York Palace Hotel. If you have 25 grand lying around and need

“He raised $750 his first year and he is now up to $10,000 to $15,000 a year in tips,” said Greg Barrett, president of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. Barrett estimates that Lexie has donated anywhere from a quarter to a third of his lifetime salary to Children’s Hospital. “One of things that nourishes Albert is he gets a chance to talk to families and see

It is a lifelong dream of many art collectors to own a work by Picasso. One lucky man from Pennsylvania has come to own one at the tender age of 25. And he only paid $135 for it! In a new avenue of charity raffles, a piece of artwork by Pablo Picasso was bought by an anonymous donor from a New York gallery and then given to a charity working to save the ancient city of Tyre in southern Lebanon. The charity issued 50,000 tickets at 100 euros each for the tombola at Sotheby’s in Paris, hoping to raise $5 million. It wants the money to develop a traditional handicraft village giving young people, women and the disabled jobs in Tyre and to set up an institute for Phoenician studies in Beirut. The lucky winner of the signed L’Homme au Gibus or Man in the Opera Hat, painted in 1914, was Jeffrey Gonano, who works for a fire protection company.


Tis’ the season to be frugal…and then donate your savings to the poor. A teenager in England has figured out the couponing game to perfection. Jordon Cox, 16, spent the past few months tearing through newspapers and magazines, collecting hundreds of food coupons. He then bought over $1,000 worth of groceries for only six dollars!

The irritating word has dominated the annoying word chart for five years in a row, although last year only 32% of surveyors found it bothersome. “The word can be very dismissive and rude,” said Mary Griffith, media director for Marist. “It’s a put-down to some extent and it can signal to the other person that what they are saying is not important.” Another word that ranked high on the annoying list was “like” at 22%. At 18% was “just sayin’”which is heard more in the Southern part of the nation. “Obviously” came in at 6% and about 2% of respondents


Roadster Made of Lego

Cox purchased the groceries and then donated them to Doorstep, a charity that gives food to disadvantaged families. “I read an article that said a thousandth of the UK population are unable to eat this [holiday] because they don’t have any money,” he said.  ”I decided I wanted to help as many people as I can, and to also show that it’s possible to shop very cheaply, if you know how.” Cox’s grocery store checkout took an hour and included unpacking 200 packets of biscuits and 60 packs of butter from his shopping cart. The teen began collecting coupons last year after his mother was struggling to buy groceries with her small salary.  Cox estimated that he has saved more than $3,200 this year and has hundreds of groceries stocked in their home.  He is planning to launch his own coupon-hunting website next year to help others save while shopping.  I guess we can call him world’s most frugal philanthropist.

Here’s to every little boy’s dream…. A life-sized hot rod made of Lego will be hitting the streets. Steve Sommarito, Australian entrepreneur and Romanian builder, spearheaded the Super Awesome Micro Project. He fundraised from 40 donors to fund the project and hired Raul Oaida, 20, to direct the building of the vehicle. The car uses compressed air to turn 256 pistons in four rotary engines, all made of Legos. The total construction time was logged at 18 months and the cost was an estimated $40,000. Although most of vehicle is made of Lego pieces, of course some of the parts required rubber and other materials. The tires, gauges, and tanks were made from appropriate materials. Watch out for little bumps in the road.\

Lotto Giveaway

Whatever Can Drive You Crazy Hands down, no word grates on Americans more than “whatever.” According to a public opinion survey, the casual “whatever” was rated the most annoying word by 38% of 1,173 adults surveyed in early December.

weren’t exactly sure which word bothers them most. In the same survey, Marist pollsters wanted to gather information on which political word or term Americans would like to see disappear in 2014. Yep you guessed it: it was “Obamacare.” The majority of respondents (41%) said they would be happy not to have to hear that word again next year. Additionally, many respondents would be glad to eliminate the Washington terms “shutdown” and “gridlock” from our vocabulary. Like, whatever, obviously Obamacare is whatever; it should be shutdown.

When asked, “why do you need a resume” the most common and often only response I receive from clients is “to find a job”. Although job search is a very important reason to have a solid and up-to-date resume there are many equally important uses for a resume. Below, I enumerate the top four uses of a resume and tips to help you utilize each one appropriately. 1. Job Search Resume: The most well know use for a resume is job search. The job search resume should be clear, concise and relevant. As discussed in the Resume Do’s and Don’ts articles, a job seeker needs to have a unique resume for each job that they apply for, even within the same field. Each of these resumes should highlight the job seekers specific skills and accomplishments relevant to the respective job description. 2. Networking Resume: A networking resume is similar to a job search resume but has more wiggle room both in length and style. Networking resumes are often posted to social networking sights like LinkedIn. They can also be used as a powerful marketing tool to distribute in-person or electronically during day-to-day networking opportunities. 3. The Curriculum Vitae: The curricu-

lum vitae (CV) is used primarily in higher education and is a unique beast onto itself. Depending on the program (particularly in academia and medicine) the CV replaces a standard resume as a more comprehensive and lengthy document outlining, in great detail, ones education, publications, and other achievements. 4. The Brag Sheet: A “Brag Sheet” is a document created for professors and employers when asking them to give you a recommendation for a specific job or program. Similar to the Networking Resume, the Brag Sheet does not have strict limits on space or style although it should be clear, conscience and relevant to the task at hand. Whichever resume best suites you particular needs, remember that your resume is a sales brochure. As such, it needs to be; catchy, easy to read, and 100% free of spelling and grammar mistakes. Good luck! Jessica Yuz, MBA is the Founder of Yuz Career Advisers, dedicated to helping individuals identify their interests and set realistic goals so they can take control of their future. With over a decade of experience in higher education, Jessica works with high school, undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of career exploration, resume writing, interview skills, job search and placement, goal setting, time and stress management, and related fields. Jessica also specializes in assisting professionals of all ages’ transition between employment, find fulfillment in their work and achieve life-work balance.   You can contact Yuz Career Advisers at (323) 989-4341 or ycadvisers@gmail.com

DECEMBER 26, 2013

Crazy Charity Couponing

Everyone has their list of good things that they would do if they won a big lotto jackpot. Some would provide for their families first, give a nice amount to charity, and then live a nice life of ease for at least a little while. But some, like Tom Crist of Calgary, Canada, have other plans on how to spend their recent win of $40 million. It was the largest jackpot in Calgary’s lottery history. Crist plays the game by subscription, which allows him to opt-in to the lotto for an entire year. But crazy as it sounds, Crist told reporters that he plans to give away all the prize money to different charities and organizations. “I just retired at the end of September so I was fortunate enough in my career to set myself up and my kids anyway, and there was no doubt in my mind where that money was going to go, it was going to go to charity,” Crist said. But Crist did say that he has four kids who will help him decide where the money goes. “I wasn’t even sure which game I’d won on, or what the numbers were,” he said. “I’ve paid for the subscription when I get the renewal notice every year, and then I just file it.”


The International Association to Save Tyre says it is the first time that a top-level piece of art has ever been raffled. Their publicity drive began in Paris, moved to London and finished in New York. The website functioned in Arabic, English, French and Russian to widen the net of potential buyers. Hundreds went online for a chance to own this cherished piece of art. And to the winner, went the spoils!


DECEMBER 26, 2013



Planning for Your Out-of-Town Guests By Tali Merewitz, Events Enchanted

At the beginning of the Torah portion Vayera, we learn about the mitzvah of Hachnasas Orchim (welcoming guests). We see how Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imenu welcomed guests whom unexpectedly arrived at their tent. The couple warmly welcomed the visitors, made them comfortable, and fed them generously. As the world gets smaller and travel gets easier, more and more friends and family are able to participate in an out-oftown simcha. Providing for guests makes any life cycle event more special, but can also add pressure on the host family. As the host family you are really “putting on” two events, your simcha and providing for the out-of-town guests.

modate guest needs such as sleeping for children, distance to meals for people who have a hard time walking etc. Communicating arrival times and access details to both the guest and the host is crucial. Los Angeles is known as a particularly hospitable town, and we are really set up for guests. People really try to be helpful and are excited to participate. After the simcha (or at the same time as welcome bags are delivered), a hostess gift is appropriate for those taking in your guests. One can’t rely on the guest themselves bringing something for the host family.

Hotel Accommodations and a Hospitality Room If you have a number of people coming during the week for a wedding you will need to consider arranging rates at a hotel for those who do not want to stay at private homes. If enough people stay in one hotel, hospitality and meals may need to be considered at high traffic times, certainly the day of the wedding and the morning after. If you have a large group in a hotel consider setting a time for davening so men can have a minyan to join, including

“As the host family you are really “putting on” two events, your simcha and providing for the out-oftown guests.” Making a wedding, bar mitzvah, or other simcha with an out-of-town family also means taking care of their friends and families as well as your own. Likewise, if you are making a simcha in a different city, you also need to make sure anyone who comes to join with you is also taken care of. How do you do that? A few tips: Share Date and Place Information Early As soon as you’ve decided on a date and place for the simcha, it is important to share as much information with those coming from out of town. People like to make travel plans and make personal arrangements for being away, time off work, childcare, etc. If you have enough time you can send a save the date in any form, standard email or post card or something a little more creative. Think About Lodging in Private Homes Guests will either need to be placed in homes within the community or in a hotel. For private home accommodation, the number of people in each party should be matched up with a host that can accom-

Prepare for the Guest’s “Arrival Experience” Guests really appreciate arriving to a waiting welcome package with a schedule of events. Timing and directions for the wedding with estimated driving times is really thoughtful so people know how and when to make their way.

“Guests really appreciate arriving to a waiting welcome package with a schedule of events.” A welcome bag is always so appreciated, particularly if it includes a schedule and directions. Local services information and attractions can really make it easy for people to vacation while in a different city. Snacks and goodies are forever appreciated.

all of those needs (e.g. sefer Torah). Space for both hospitality and davening needs to be arranged for with the hotel. For a wedding, if there are people coming in just for the day or a short time and will be getting ready at the location of the simcha, a hospitality room may be necessary. Refreshments or a meal, a place to rest and recharge is a really caring gesture. Before the simcha as the anticipation builds, its really fun to be together and share in the excitement. Hospitality rooms allow for an enjoyable and special time for families and guests. The morning after a wedding it’s so nice to sit and recap the night and all of the special moments. Some say those are the most enjoyable times of the simcha as an out of town guest.

not be going back to their hometown. What about when YOU are an Outof-Town Host? When you are the one making a simcha somewhere else, being a guest at your own simcha can be somewhat isolating and a bit intimidating. With travel as easy as it is today, you can also enjoy the company of so many friends and family who will make the trip with you and share in the simcha. As the hostess to all of these guests elsewhere, you have to think of a number of the same items as when you are in having an event in your own hometown. Communicating your guests’ special needs to your mechutanim or someone in your host city is important.

“Communicating your guests’ special needs to your mechutanim or someone in your host city is important.” Some cities may not be as easy to coordinate as in Los Angeles, especially if you are not there and don’t know everyone. This just means more time and effort is required for the planning of this simcha. Local resources can be identified to assist with this effort. A Final Note:

And then the Sheva Bruchas… Mazel Tov!

Wherever your simcha, whatever the arrangements, the focus should always be on being present at your simcha, enjoying the moments of life’s special times. It can take a lot of work ahead of time, but being prepared ready allows you to be in the moment and appreciate what is happening around you and your family ay your special simcha.

After the wedding, if many people are staying in town, then they will need to be considered for Sheva Brachos. On Shabbos or during the week, you need to have an accurate count and make sure the location can accommodate everyone. Often, the other side will host a Sheva Brachos in Los Angeles, especially if they have a lot of company and the bride and groom with

Tali Merewitz is the owner of Events Enchanted and has been involved in Jewish and corporate events since 1999. Events Enchanted is involved in all aspects of event planning for 2-15,000 people, vendor selection and negotiations, decision-making and event coordination. Tali can be reached at Tali@EventsEnchanted. com or www.EventsEnchanted.com


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In the Kitchen Naomi Nachman

Crazy for Quinoa A couple of years ago I got introduced to quinoa (pronounced keen-wah or keenoh-uh) by my cousin, Shelley Serber of West Hempstead (formerly Sydney, Australia). Shelley has intolerance for wheat and is always looking for great gluten-free recipes. She made this delicious Quinoa Tabouli Salad which I had to add to my repertoire. My mother also used to make tabouli and used the traditional grain of bulgar wheat. I now use quinoa every week in my tabouli on Friday night. Shabbat just isn’t Shabbat in our house without tabouli and chicken soup. They are both our family favorites and staples. Nutrition-wise quinoa is also known as a super grain. It is a tall crop plant of

Quinoa Tabouli

the goosefoot family, cultivated in Peru and Chile for its small, ivory-colored seed, and is used as a food staple. It is not really a grain but the seed of a leafy plant that’s distantly related to spinach. Quinoa is loaded with a protein which is not missing the amino acid lysine; the World Health Organization has rated the quality of protein in quinoa at least equivalent to that in milk. It has more iron than other grains and contains high levels of vitamins and minerals and folic acid, too. Besides all the wonderful nutrition and taste quinoa tabouli has to offer, it also very good for our digestive tract. Quinoa has a light, delicate taste and can be substituted for almost any other grain. Here is a recipe for quinoa tabouli which I like.

Chicken Cutlets with Quinoa and Mushrooms

Ingredients 2 cups cooked quinoa (follow directions on package) 5 plum tomatoes, chopped 1 red onion, chopped 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste) or white wine vinegar 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil 1 TBS kosher salt White pepper (to taste)

Ingredients 1 package chicken breasts 1 large onion, cubed 3 cloves crushed garlic 1-½ cup cooked quinoa 1 package cremini mushrooms, about 10oz, sliced 1 TBS dried dill Salt and pepper

Preparation Mix quinoa, tomato, red onion and parsley together. Add lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. NOTE: If you like a more lemony flavor, you can add more lemon juice.

Preparation Sauté onion until brown and add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes on a low heat. Add quinoa, dill, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes on low flame. Thin the cutlets (tendons removed) and place two tablespoons of the quinoa mixture onto cutlets. Roll up and place seam down in a baking dish. For the sauce: Fry onion until soft and add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling, simmer on low for five minutes uncovered. Pour over chicken and cook at 350° covered for 25 minutes, then 15 minutes uncovered.

Sauce 1 large onion, cubed 2 cloves garlic, crushed ¾ cup ketchup ¾ cup brown sugar 1 cup water

Naomi Nachman, the owner of The Aussie Gourmet, caters weekly and Shabbat/ Yom Tov meals for families and individuals within The Five Towns and neighboring communities, with a specialty in Pesach catering. Naomi is a contributing editor to this paper and also produces and hosts her own weekly radio show on the Nachum Segal Network stream called “A Table for Two with Naomi Nachman.” Naomi gives cooking presentations for organizations and private groups throughout the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area. In addition, Naomi has been a guest host on the QVC TV network and has been featured in cookbooks, magazines as well as other media covering topics related to cuisine preparation and personal chefs. To obtain additional recipes, join The Aussie Gourmet on Facebook or visit Naomi’s blog. Naomi can be reached through her website,www.theaussiegourmet.com or at (516) 295-9669.



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DECEMBER 26, 2013




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