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The Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

That


The Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

A GREAT MIRACLE ALSO HAPPENED HERE. It’s no Temple Mount. But on November 5, 1972, this land was re-dedicated. Over the next four years, Cedars-Sinai was built. Driven by a small band of leaders, this merger of two local hospitals represented something much larger. It was the coming together of community. It was a place to unify the ideals and dreams of a people who wanted to improve the human condition and make the world a better place.

Mount Sinai Hospital site and vicinity, 1972.

As we gather for a Chanukah celebration with our patients, physicians, volunteers, and staff, we will not only remember the great miracle that happened 2,200 years ago when the Maccabees stood together against tyranny, we will also remember the moment when our community stood together in Los Angeles and made a profound statement for unity. Happy Chanukah.

cedars-sinai.edu

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The Week In News

CONTENTS

COMMUNITY

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

JEWISH THOUGHT No More Drama with Mama (In-Law). . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Renewed Resolve. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

FEATURE UN Resolution - How Obama and the UN Sought to Delegitimize Israel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Bibi - “The Sweet Will Yet Come Forth From the Bitter”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

PARENTING Dr. T.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

LIFESTYLES Flag Burning: Is it Legal?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Notable Quotes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

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DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers, “If the Lord will not build a house, its builders have toiled at it in vain; if the Lord will not guard a city, [its] watcher keeps his vigil in vain.” (Tehillim 127) A UN resolution didn’t give the Jewish people the land of Israel, and it won’t take it away. Sure, all fair-minded people need to push back against this last ditch effort of Mr. Obama and Kerry to stack the chips against Israel in future negotiations, if there indeed are any. This is not a partisan issue. Israel is a beautiful example of what a democratic country can look like even in the otherwise jungle called the Middle East. For the US Ambassador to the UN to allow Israel to be singled out and not offering a counter resolution condemning calls for violence by Palestinian leadership is absurd. What’s more, per the behindthe-scenes transcript leaked by Egypt (!), Secretary Kerry and Former Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told Mr. Abbas that he had lived up to all expectations the administration had. Really?! We Jews have a knack for turning lemons into lemonade. I don’t think the masterminds behind this foresaw the backlash it would bring from leaders right and left. Professor Alan Dershowitz called it a stab in the back, Democrat Party Whip Steny Hoyer called the Obama administration out on this, a Bloomberg News editorial called for bi-partisan agreement in moving the embassy to Jerusalem. This step backward will yet strengthen Israel’s position, including establishing Yerushalayim as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. It’s interesting that the part dealing with Yerushalayim is what seems to have evoked the strongest response. Many of the prophesies and midrashim describing the final challenge facing the Jewish people refer to a battle for Jerusalem, the nations of the world ganging up on the Jewish people one last time. A final rabim b’yad m’atim. It’s already happening. Let us be ready for the miracles which are to follow. Like we say in the minchah Amida on Tisha B’av “For you, O Lord, consumed her with fire, and with fire You will rebuild her.” Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos Chanukah,

Shalom

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


TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Israeli Youth on the Periphery Hits Home in L.A.

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, Michal Natan from the Tamir Pre-IDF Preparatory Program in Israel’s Golan Heights, helped the Los Angeles community become aware of an important yet overlooked issue in Israeli society: the unique challenges faced by Israeli youth from at-risk families. Due to generations of neglect, as well as certain domestic factors, youth from these backgrounds often believe their misfortune is pre-determined and an unchangeable product of geography and destiny. Thus, their motivation to serve in the IDF and subsequently strive for higher education in order to break out of poverty has been traditionally low, if it existed at all. Tamir’s IDF preparatory program for high school graduates succeeds in enabling these young men to discover their dormant talents. As a result, they are more likely to achieve in their own personal lives and perhaps even influence society as a whole. At a recent L.A. event honoring these students and the Tamir Program, Mrs. Natan explained to the L.A. community how Tamir’s four-point program succeeds in creating such a transformation in the students (1) by studying texts where they learn about Jewish values which provide inspiration and a spiritual connection as they prepare for the military; (2) by exposing them to physical challenges, such as a grueling 60 km trek across Israel’s width, teaching them to rely on one another through challenging activities and often bringing out previously unknown abilities; (3) by volunteering with children, the elderly, and Holocaust survivors, which impacts their relationship to others; and (4) by acquiring leadership and empowerment skills, such as public speaking, in special seminars provided throughout the year. The most famous of its 550 students in its 14 years in existence is Tamir’s current CEO and graduate of its first class, Sgt. Avichai Yaakov. Avichai was awarded Israel’s highest medal for bravery, the Ittur Ha Oz, for saving his soldiers under fire in the Battle of Bint J’bel in Lebanon. Avichai says that without the values he learned at Tamir, he would not have acted in the way he did that day. The Small family from L.A. heard about the program and decided to come together to financially adopt one of the students – the parents and children all taking part. “Having our family adopt a Tamir soldier who will be serving and protecting the Land of Israel is an honor to our family and an opportunity to connect to a future Israeli soldier,” Freda Small explains. “Our family devotion to the Tamir

Mechina is a heartfelt connection to those who risk their lives to protect the Land of Israel.” L.A. schools and shuls have also come together to help support the mechina. The

cost to support one student for a full year of study is $4000. Sponsoring a student puts you in contact with the supported student to hear about and follow his achievements and successes. If you are interested in find-

ing out more information, please contact Michal Natan at michalnatan1959@gmail. com or call directly at +972-52-5665461

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TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Los Angeles Festivities for the Nineteenth of Kislev Maayon Yisroel celebrated Yud-Tes Kislev at the Nessah synagogue with inspirational words from Rabbi Wolf, Rabbi Weiss, and a musical program by Israeli American superstar Yonatan Razel. This auspicious day, observed as by Chassidim as a yom tov, commemorates the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezerich (the successor to the holy Baal Shem Tov), and the release from prison twenty-six years later of his youngest student Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (also known as the Alter Rebbe who founded Chabad).

In addition to Yonatan Razel holding his first Los Angeles concert, Rabbi Wolf said he wanted to “[c]onnect the evening and elevate it to a different place.” He said that there is a powerful energy on the nineteenth of Kislev and that all of the events around the world serve as a magnet to draw forth the powerful light of redemption. Rabbi Wolf gave a brief overview of the Chassidic movement. Chassidism, he said, “revived the Jewish people at a time when the Jewish people were crushed after a period of sixteen or seventeen hundred

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years of brutal exile and persecution.” He spoke about the holy Baal Shem Tov, who as a young boy learned from his elderly father to believe only in Hashem and love every Jew with all his being. The Baal Shem Tov could look at every Jew and

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see the holy sparks within. In later years, the Baal Shem Tov’s stories and teachings caused a renaissance in the Ukraine and the entire world. The Maggid, who was well-versed in every aspect of Torah as well as a great mystic, learned from the Baal Shem Tov how to achieve a deeper soul connection, and he was the successor when the Baal Shem Tov passed away. There was great opposition to the Chassidic movement at that time. In response, the Maggid created a nucleus of great luminaries to spread the teachings, including Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl, Reb Schmelke of Nikolsburg, Rabbi Pinchas Horowitz of Frankfurt, Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin, Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, Rabbi Zusha of Anapoli, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, Rabbi Zev Wolf of Zotamir, and the youngest Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. Rabbi Shneur Zalman was a genius, a Torah scholar at an early age, learning on his own until he was 16. He then looked for a Rebbe and had a choice to go to either the Vilna or to Mezerich. He chose to go to Mezerich, where he learned from the Maggid. After the Maggid’s death, he became the leader of Chassidism in Lithuania, which was the center of opposition to his teaching. He was accused of creating a new religious sect, which was illegal in Russia, and in 1798, he was thrown into prison in Petersburg. He made a very positive impression on the Czar due to his wisdom and majestic poise, and the Czar, b’chasdei Hashem, ordered him released from prison in 1798. Following Rabbi Wolf’s moving speech, Yonatan Razel gave a magnificent two-hour concert, singing many of his hits including chart topping “Vehi She’amdah” with the stirring verse “V’HaKadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu miyadam. – But the Holy One Blessed Be He saves us from their hand.” This song, he said, was a present from Hashem. He hadn’t wanted to be a songwriter. He said, metaphorically, he would sit with his kids by the piano planting seeds and waiting for the rain to come down, and this song came to mind. Other selections included a pair of Chassidic melodies which he repeated. He said that the test of a great song is that you want to sing it over and over. Razel also sang “Ptach Libcha – Open Your Heart,” which was written by top singers in memory of the three yeshiva students, Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal, hy”d.


DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

TheHappenings Week In News

C OM M U N IC AT E D

Inspired by the Music of Shlomo Carlebach, Cantor Seeks to Unite Diverse Jewish Community for an Evening of Song Upcoming January 15 concert at Wilshire Ebell Theatre gives Carlebach’s best-known melodies a classical touch. Arik Wollheim, Cantor at Beth Jacob Congregation Beverly Hills, remembers the very first concert he ever attended. “I was about three years old, and my parents took me to see Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach perform,” he relates. That experience, along with other encounters with the iconic rabbi, singer, composer, and Jewish storyteller, deeply resonated with him, and helped propel him on his path as a chazzan and ardent student of Jewish liturgy. Now Wollheim is fulfilling a dream of sorts. On January 15, 2017, he – along with well-known singer Shlomo Simcha and Cantor Sol Zim – will be showcasing Carlebach’s music in a new form, at a concert entitled Carlebach Goes Symphonic, to be held at the Wilshire Ebell Theater. Carlebach’s familiar tunes will be set to the music of a full symphony, a 41-player orchestra, giving the traditionally informal songs a classical sound. Wollheim, who frequently leads Beth Jacob’s Modern Orthodox congregation using popular Carlebach melodies, hopes the concert will attract Jews from across the spectrum of Jewish life. “I’ve always admired Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach for his ability to transcend all boundaries and denominations,” he relates. Indeed, Carlebach’s rare aptitude for connecting Jews of all stripes to their tradition is still on display at synagogues across the world, his inspiring liturgical melodies sung by all movements and affiliations.   Carlebach hailed from a traditional yeshivish background, studied in Rav Aharon Kotler’s Beth Medrash Govoha, obtained semicha from Rav Yitzchok Hutner, and went on to inspire religious and secular Jewry alike in unprecedented ways – largely through his unorthodox focus on music, acceptance, and brotherly love. He is credited with bringing many lost, farflung souls across the globe closer to Judaism and spirituality.    Carlebach Goes Symphonic, directed and produced by Dr. Mordechai Sobol and his son Ophir, was first brought to the stage as Carlebach and the Symphony at the Tel Aviv Cultural Center in 2014. The concert, played by the Israel Philharmonic to a sold-out house, was very well received by its mixed secular-religious audience. It is Wollheim’s hope that the show, which melds divergent genres, will generate that same kind of enthusiasm here in L.A., both for its musical value, as well as its unifying power.   “Carlebach’s unique brand of kiruv lives on today though his music,” remarks Wollheim. “I look forward to seeing a diverse audience on January 15, as we celebrate his legacy together.” Beth Jacob is a Modern Orthodox Congregation which has played a pioneering

role in the development of Jewish life in Southern California. Beth Jacob is dedicated to creating a community of engaged, Torah educated, socially conscious, Zionistic, and caring Jews. Beth Jacob strives to provide members of all generations, and the broader Jewish community, a spectrum of

spiritual, educational, social, chessed, and cultural opportunities. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit bethjacob.org, or call 310278-1911.

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TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Invisible Bullet Reappears Rabbi Hershy Z. Ten President of Bikur Cholim

Two years ago I wrote and published an article (Jewish Home LA 1/29/15) regarding the alarming resurgence of measles in the Orthodox Jewish community titled, “The Invisible Bullet” in which I used the hypothetical scenario of a 6 yearold child walking into his class waiving a loaded gun at his classmates as his pregnant teacher acts as though nothing is wrong. I likened this child to an invisible bullet, as his lack of vaccinations rendered him an unknown biological threat. My article was prompted by a measles outbreak in December 2014 traced to Disneyland that spread throughout the region; raising serious concerns by parents and lawmakers in how to implement a mechanism to protect children from being placed at risk for contagious deadly diseases including measles, mumps, and rubella. Months thereafter, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 277 requiring every child entering kindergarten to pro-

vide their school proof of immunization or they would not be allowed to attend. This law designated ongoing student vaccination checkpoints at kindergarten and 7th grade, as well as with new student admissions (i.e. transferring to a new school mid-year, etc.). Most importantly, the Personal Beliefs Exemption for religious or any other reasons would no longer apply in California. A sigh of relief could be heard throughout the medical community and schools, as this new law empowered them to prevent non-vaccinated children from enrolling. However, this sense of relief seems to have been premature, as these invisible bullets have reappeared. This past weekend, on the first day of Chanukah, I received a call from Dr. Franklin Pratt, Medical Director for the Los Angeles Department of Public Health Immunization Program, who advised that just days prior, a measles outbreak was identified in the Los Angeles Orthodox

Jewish community linked through epidemiology, social interaction, and geography. He asked that Bikur Cholim urgently readdress and write about this issue in order to reach as many Jewish communities as quickly as possible. How could this happen? By the year 2000, measles was considered eradicated in the US; however in 2013 – 2014, there were as many as 21% of kindergarten students in some Jewish schools who were not immunized. It is reasonable to conclude that last week’s outbreak was propagated by either non-immunized pre-kindergarten children not yet enrolled, and/ or those enrolled prior to 2016. For those children who were enrolled prior to 2016, there were no immunization checkpoints scheduled for them for at least 6 more years; meaning that those unvaccinated children in the school system before this time were still capable of contracting and spreading measles. Regardless of what or when any regulations were implemented or any parents’ personal belief, no child should be allowed to remain at school or enter a play-group, whether at a home or synagogue, without proof that they’ve been immunized. This year the UC Regents system instituted this policy for all college students enrolled; not due to any legal requirement, but strictly due to their concern for public well-being and protecting their student body and faculty. A fundamental tenet of the Torah is to lead a healthy lifestyle. For the child who contracts measles, even what appears to be a “mild” case, the chance exists for irreparable brain damage that could develop years later, and in severe cases, it is deadly. When an expectant mother is exposed to measles, her unborn child is at risk of premature birth and death. To reiterate from my first article, the efficacy of these vaccines relies on “herd immunity”; meaning that 97% of the population must be immunized to ensure that an infected person has a limited opportunity to spread disease. This is especially vital to the 1% of the population who experience adverse physical reactions to vaccines, thus cannot be vaccinated. And when the herd immunity is compromised, the most contagious diseases are the first to return. We’ve seen

the return of pertussis (whooping cough), mumps, and now measles. To put this danger into perspective, measles carries the distinction of being the world’s most contagious disease. Just one infected child in a crowd can spread measles to every other person present who hasn’t been vaccinated, leading to hospitalization and possible death. Measles can also linger in the environment for up to 2 hours, thereby infecting susceptible people entering that area. The medical community promotes vaccinations, and anti-vaxxer articles and studies have been recanted and debunked as patently false. However, while we all have freedom of choice, that freedom does not entitle one to endanger the lives of others, especially our children. The observant community looks to its Rabbinical and educational leaders for guidance, and there are substantial Halachic sources supporting vaccinations which should be championed on behalf of children and our society. The disappointing fact that this latest outbreak is centered in the Jewish community is alarming, and speaks to the need for our leadership to take a proactive role in ensuring the health and safety of our children and families. Rabbis, school administrators, and physicians need to establish policies that go beyond legislation to ensure that no unvaccinated children are allowed to attend school or synagogue; and if a child is identified as non-immunized, they should be immediately sent home until they have proof of vaccination. If you suspect your child may have been exposed to or is symptomatic of measles, (i.e. fever, rash, cough, watery/itchy eyes, runny nose) or any other highly communicable diseases, please immediately call your pediatrician’s office to discuss how best to proceed. Most importantly, limit your child’s exposure to others, including visits to ERs and urgent care centers until you have received medical advice. With the serious threat of measles returning to our doorstep, I am hopeful that our leadership will continue their efforts to protect and safeguard our children and the public at large. L. Quaytman contributed to this article


The Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

What the World Needs Now is a Little More ETTA Tova Abady

The annual ETTA Gala was held December 13th at the Beverly Hilton. Emmy-nominated Hollywood writer, David Weiss (screenwriter of Shrek 2, Rugrats, plus many other films and TV series) emceed the evening. Mr. Weiss related an interesting story about his miraculous personal connection with ETTA. After asking Mr. Weiss to host, ETTA suggested that Avremel Mayer prepare him for the job. When he met Avremel, Mr. Weiss discovered he’d known Avremel all along. Mr. Weiss occasionally davens in a small shul where he’s always greeted with a smile by a Jewish man who serves coffee and muffins. That man turned out to be Avremel. Community Advocate Award co-winner Portia Iversen (along with husband Jon Shestack) described her experiences in a video presentation. Dov, she said, was their first child. Somewhere between his first and second birthday, he received the diagnosis of autism. They felt alone. “There was no summer camp, no day program, no residential situation, but ETTA has taken on the challenge.” Dov has benefitted greatly from ETTA’s Adult Day program. Portia explained that since Dov started the day program, he has been much more aware of his en-

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vironment. She credited the day program for being more than a day program, with an extremely dedicated staff. She said they never give up on anyone and allow parents of autistic children to breathe a sigh of relief. Marciarose Shestack, a world-renowned broadcast journalist, spoke about her family. Mrs. Shestack is Jon’s mother and proud grandmother of Dov. She said she was thrilled that Jon and Portia were being recognized by ETTA for their achievements. She explained that following Dov’s devastating diagnosis, Jon and Portia decided not to be complacent. In those days, Mrs. Shestack said, there was very little known about autism. There was nowhere for them to turn, so they took action. Jon and Portia (even though they had no real training, being a movie producer and a designer, respectively) organized autism walks all over the country, changed laws, lobbied Congress, and founded CAN (Cure Autism Now Foundation). In 2006, CAN and Autism Speaks merged to become the largest autism foundation in the world. All of their achievements were because of Dov – and then they found ETTA, which has truly been a beacon of light. Jon Shestack said that he was nervous in the morning before the gala, fearing that

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he might embarrass his son, as parents often do. He asked Dov what he wanted him to say. Dov wrote on the letter board they carry everywhere, saying, “I’m not worried. You will speak from the heart.” Jon then told the packed audience, “Some days it’s hard to be Dov. I think he would be the first to tell you. It’s a struggle to communicate, to control your body, but he doesn’t give up, and he teaches us in the most surprising ways.” Jon related the story of Dov’s beautiful bar mitzvah. Portia told Jon that Dov would study like everybody else, and he did. When Jon saw how difficult it was for the boys, at first he thought it was sad to see them struggle, but then he realized how strong the boys’ prayers are, how they were the conduit to bring families together, and how Dov and others with autism are tzelem Elokim (in the image of G-d). Their spirits are perfect. Jon said Dov is cheerful, tenacious, and brave, and if he falls six times, he gets up seven. Jon then stated repeatedly, “What the World Needs Now Is A Little More ETTA.” Next, co-chairmen on the board of directors Jay Kestenbaum and Jaime Sochacheski introduced Cathy and Jim Gott. They are the proud parents of two adults with autism. Cathy said that amazing things had happened just since she walked into the gala. Her friend Larry Stewart, a sportswriter for many years at The L.A. Times, was there with his wife and adult daughter Kelly. Kelly has a disability and was looking for a job. John Popoch, from Councilman Blumenthal’s office, stood up and offered her a job right there. Cathy said that there is no better organization serving adults with disabilities. She stated that in the next few years, there will be an unprecedented influx of children with autism transitioning to adulthood. It is estimated that 50,000 children will turn 18 in 2017. That number will triple in California over the next three years. We are simply not equipped, Cathy said, to offer productive, fulfilled lives to these deserving young adults. This is why it is incumbent on every member of the L.A. community to step up to the plate and support ETTA in any way they can. Cathy introduced her husband Jim Gott, who knows a lot about stepping up to the plate and being part of a team. Jim related that in 1987, he was traded from the San Francisco Giants – first in the division – to the last place Pittsburg Pirates. No one expected this team to go very far, but a young Jimmy Leyland sat them down to talk about goals. There were 35 games remaining in the season, and they won 27. In fact, his teammates included Doug Drabek, who won the Cy Young award; Andy Van Slyke, an All-Star; and Barry Bonds, who became a reknowned homerun champion. Jim learned then about believing in a cause, and today he feels the same passion for the ETTA organization. He brought an

Frank Menlo; Gala Honoree Lynn Menlo and Honorees Portia Iverson and Jon Shestack

Gala coemcess Avremel Mayer and David Weiss

autographed ball from his friend Sandy Koufax, and Cathy gave it as a gift in return for the highest pledged donation. Dr. Michael Held, Executive Director of ETTA, said that while job creation is crucial, donations to ETTA’s general fund are equally important. He suggested that every community member in L.A. could reach out, as did board of directors member, Michael Baruch. Three years ago, Michael Baruch had an opportunity to chat with NY Giants co-owner Steve Tisch and received a generous six-figure sum. Baruch subsequently went back to Tisch, and the donation was duplicated. The recipient of the Community Leadership Award was Lynn Menlo. On video, her family described some of her volunteer work, from feeding the homeless, to helping girls from broken homes in Israel, to baking challah with ETTA residents. Thanks to the Menlo family contributions (Lynn; her husband, Frank; her son, Dr. Sam Ross; son-in law, Avi Heyman; sons Simcha and Gabriel), they have made possible ETTA programs including Summer@ ETTA, the fast growing adult day program, supporting living services, and cutting edge educational programs. Lynn Menlo also credited her in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Menlo, for their generosity and being a beacon to the community. Family and friends described Lynn Menlo as creative, spontaneous, fun to be around, and honest. Her honesty and genuineness came across to everyone when she spoke about her own experiences with a severe stuttering disability that required years of therapy. Lynn Menlo spoke with tremendous emotion, breaking up a few times, relating the pain she suffered because of those who cruelly poked fun at her stuttering. She explained, “I didn’t have ETTA then.”


DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

Chanukah Gelt

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TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Corks and Forks: Fundraiser for the Chabad Elementary School System Yehudis Litvak

Cheder Menachem and Bais Chaya Mushka combined forces and conducted a successful Charidy fundraising campaign, followed by the Corks and Forks celebratory BBQ and Buffet at Cheder Menachem on December 15th. The goal of the campaign was to raise awareness in the community of the need to support its schools. According to the Cheder Young Leadership Committee, tuition is not enough to cover the schools’ budgets and continued reliance on tuition as the primary source of revenue can create challenges that reverberate throughout the community. It is the responsibility of the community to recognize that high tuition bills are an increasing burden, particularly on young growing families. The campaign reached out both to parents in the schools who are already paying tuition but can afford to contribute more, as well as to community members who

do not currently have children in either school. In fact, over 40% of donations came from people who are not parents in the participating schools. Fundraising for both schools simultaneously proved to be successful, raising over a million dollars total. All the contributors were invited to the Corks and Forks BBQ and Buffet. At the event, attended by over 250 people, Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz of North Fulton, GA, spoke about Chabad and its place in the larger Jewish community. He highlighted the unique aspects of Chabad, such as outreach and the willingness to embrace the world for the purpose of spirituality. The attendees enjoyed a unique menu, provided by Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse of New York and Rabbi-Q award-winning Kansas City BBQ Pitmaster, brought to Los Angeles especially for this event.

Joelle Diament Photography

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DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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TheHappenings Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Consul General Visits Emek Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center was honored to welcome Mr. Sam Grundwerg, the Israeli Consul General of Los Angeles. His visit was greatly enriched by the presence of Mr. Sol Teichman, Emek’s patriarch, and his sons, Dubby and Alan Teichman. Emek’s Pre1st and first grade students lined the entryway and the first-floor halls waving Israeli flags and singing “Heveinu Shalom Alecheim.” Emek’s guests of honor were then taken to the third floor auditorium where they addressed Emek’s fifth through eighth grade students. Rabbi Shifman, Emek’s Head of School, was excited to greet the guests, and he was proud to remark pub-

licly that he was Mr. Grundwerg’s 12th grade Rebbe at RASG Hebrew Academy of Miami Beach. Mr. Grundwerg spoke eloquently about the decisions he made throughout his life, including joining the Israeli army, making aliyah, and joining the World Jewish Congress, which led to his being chosen by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s representative in Los Angeles. He also gave a dvar Torah about the miracles of Chanukah and what students can do to help the State of Israel and Jews everywhere. Emek’s staff and student body considered it an extraordinary privilege to host Mr. Grundwerg and the Teichman family. Israel's Council General, Mr. Sam Grundwerg, Emek's Head of School, Rabbi Mordechai Shifman, Mr. Sol Teichman, Mr. Dubby Teichman and Mrs. Carolyn Ben-Natan

C OM M U N IC AT E D

At Kollel Chatzos, Chanukah Symbolized A Heightened Limud Hatorah – Despite The Many Additional Obligations Of These Nights Bais Yaakov eilu hanashim: Preparations for a monumental Evening of Appreciation for Kollel Chatzos wives are in full swing. Hanosein matana lachaveiro: Kollel Chatzos partners received a special gift...

Tefillos were recited upon their behalf by the kever of the Bais Ayin on his yahrtzeit, 12 Kislev. Tziyon shel Chashmonaim: On Zos Chanukah, tefillos will be recited on behalf of all Chanukah supporters by the kev-

Kever of Matisyahu Kohen Gadol

er of the Chashmonaim. “B’koach segulas ner chanukah.” As Klal Yisroel awaits for Chanukah to illuminate their lives with brachah and yeshua, Kollel Chatzos’s legendary hasmada and mesirus nefesh for Torah reaches new heights. “Ashrei ayin ra’asa kol eila…” Enter a Chatzos Kollel Center, take note of the full bais medrash, and marvel how the learning continues throughout these heilige nights – with the same consistency and intensity as every other night. While conflicting Chanukah obligations often infringe on learning schedules, at Kollel Chatzos, the opposite rings true. The elevated talmidei chachamim delve into the ohr haTorah with exceptional dedication and joy. Kollel Chatzos staff members report, “Preparations for the monumental Evening of Appreciation for the Kollel Chatzos Wives are in full swing. We recognize that “Behind every great man stands a

great woman…” The ongoing aliyah of our chashuve kollel yungerleit is only a result of the kollel wives’ self-sacrifice and unswerving commitment. These women deserve credit for the tremendous limud haTorah – and the many yeshuos wrought through this Torah learning. We hope that this year’s evening will present an enriching program to accord these noble women with their due recognition and inspire them with the strength to continue to be there for their husbands.” On 12 Kislev, the yahrtzeit of the holy Bas Ayin, zy”a, kollel yungerleit davened on behalf of all Chatzos Kollel partners at the Bas Ayin’s kever. This was the kollel’s way of expressing appreciation to their partners worldwide. While the tziyon is always renowned as a source of yeshuos, tefilos recited there on the day of the Bas Ayin’s yahrtzeit are particularly potent. May these tefilos ascend heavenward and bring forth a bounty of goodness for all the dedicated kollel partners. In these auspicious Chanukah days, when the Torah ohr warms every yiddishe heart with a longing to come closer to Torah, many individuals are inspired to commit to a partnership with the Torah learning of the esteemed Kollel Chatzos talmidei chachamim for the heilige Chanukah nights. In addition, on the night of Zos Chanukah, the talmidei chachamim will recite special tefilos and segulos, so that these sponsors will merit a lichtige year. This year, the hanhala of the kollel presented a special offer to all Chanukah patrons; tefillos will be recited upon their behalf by the heilige kevarim of the Chashmonaim in Modi’in. May these special tefilos at this special place in this special time be the catalyst for an abundance of yeshuos and brachos.


Torah Musings The Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

No More Drama with Mama (In-Law) Sarah Pachter

I know what you are thinking as you read this title… Let me give you a disclaimer about my own relationship with my mother-in-law: I love my mother-in-law tremendously. I am grateful to her for her constant support of my work in the speaking and writing field. If we didn’t enjoy a mutual relationship of love and respect, it would be impossible for me to write this article. Recently, my mother-in-law shared a fascinating story with me. Her neighbor’s daughter was discussing a recent exchange with her own mother-in-law. “I tried to give my mother-in-law a compliment by saying, ‘Your son is so easy! I just feed him leftovers and he’s happy.’ to which she replied, ‘Well, you know, variety is the spice of life!’ There I was, trying to give her a compliment, and I took it as though she didn’t want me feeding him leftovers.” My mother-in-law had sage words to share with her neighbor’s daughter: “I can understand that it feels frustrating, but maybe it can be looked at differently. Perhaps your mother-in-law wants to have the type of relationship with you like a mother would act towards her real daughter, free and comfortable. Perhaps it was a statement of love.” A few weeks after my mother-in-law shared this story with me, I attended an event for an offshoot of Bikur Cholim, where young mothers come together for an elegant luncheon with elderly widows. To my surprise, a widow confided in me about her strained relationship with her daughter-in-law. According to her description, her daughter-in-law seemed, “a little rough around the edges.” The widow explained that she went to visit her grandchildren and her daughter in-law greeted her and said, “You aren’t welcome here… and your son is useless.” When I heard this, I was shocked by the choice of language and lack of respect – how those words must have devastated and hurt. The widow replied, “It happened a few years ago, but I still hear her words, they still linger. And my son feels stuck between a rock and a hard place.” I was not expecting to hear about mother/daughter-in-law drama at a function like this, however, I found myself feeling grateful for the conversation. I am not yet a mother-in-law, and realize I have only a limited perspective of the side of being a daughter-in-law, and yet, suddenly, it opened my eyes to a very real and raw perspective of what a mother-in-law might experience. Imagine you’re the CEO of an extreme-

ly successful company, one that you created. It has now gone public and is worth millions. Suddenly, the board informs you that you will be demoted – and then they introduce you to your new boss. In walks this pretty whippersnapper, most likely younger than your child, posing as the new CEO. She is half your age and bossing you

by her answer: “The truth is, years have passed, and I have learned to accept her for who she is. This is who my son married. I would tell mother-in-laws around the world to seek out the good. It would have saved me a lot of pain. Even though she does a lot of bad, she does have some good. Life is too short otherwise.”

around like you haven’t been doing this for twenty-something years! This is how it feels for many mothers when their child marries. You carried this person for nine months. You raise this child giving all your heart, blood, sweat, and tears, sleepless nights, hours of prayer, worrying over curfew – all the things a mother experiences…and for what? For some young man or woman to swoop in and take your place!? And what’s worse, you are left feeling muzzled. You don’t dare say a word of opposition! These relationships are tricky for all three parties. The mother-in-law feels trapped with a loss of control, the daughter-in-law feels encroached upon, unable to live her life without fear and criticism, while the son feels stuck in the middle – unable to do much at all. Finally, I took this as an opportunity to ask the widow who spoke to me, “What do you think is the solution in helping this delicate relationship between mother- and daughter-in-law? Do you have any words of wisdom after what you’ve gone through?” I was pleasantly surprised and informed

So far I had learned two things: 1. From my own mother-in-law: change your perspective. 2. From the widow: acceptance. But I was still curious to learn more. After the event, I went on a ravenous hunt for information, surveying hundreds of people that seemed to have very healthy and happy relationships with their in-laws. I asked them what they felt they were doing right (or wrong), and what their in-laws were doing right (or wrong). Despite the differences in the details of the answers, I found a fascinating common thread between them. I also found it in every article, book, and written piece of Jewish wisdom on the topic. Most daughterin-laws expressed a desire for boundaries, while most mother in-laws expressed a desire for inclusion. For example, one daughter-in-law said, “I love when my motherin-law respects that my husband and I need our time together. She never comes over unannounced!” And one mother-in-law said, “I love that my daughter-in-law asked me to be in the labor room when my grandson was born.”

Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman points out that both mother- and daughter-in-law play vital and complementary roles in the development of the “man in their life.” The mother, through great sacrifice and dedication, constructs the inner sphere of her son, preparing him to become the very best man he can be. The wife, with great sensitivity and support, extends this inner potential to the outer sphere, enabling him to go forward in the world as the best man he can be. These two spheres of influence, when respected and appreciated by both mother and wife, can exist simultaneously and harmoniously when the appropriate and necessary boundaries are honored. I found the inner workings of this push-pull relationship to contain boundaries, inclusion, perception, and not taking things personally, and although the above elements tug in a challenging, seesaw-like manner, a happy balance can and should be achieved. For the mother-in-laws: Be aware of boundaries, do not give your opinion unless asked, try to see the good and accentuate it, and try to ignore the negative. Do not try to raise your grandchildren. Do not go over unannounced. The more you move away from trying to keep control, the more control you will be given. For the daughter-in-laws: Give your mother-in-law the feeling of control, and she will loosen her grip. Include her when you can by asking her for advice or even recipes. Make her feel important and useful. The more you include her, the less she will feel the need to encroach. After all, she carried, bore, and raised the man you found worthy to marry. For both mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws: As Rebbetzin Twersky likes to say, “Q-TIP!” Quit taking it personally. By shifting our perspective, we can learn to look at every interaction in a more positive light.   I often teach my students: Who is wise? He who learns from everyone. I want them to recognize that I gain just as much from them as they do from us. We can learn from everyone, even our mother-in-laws. From a broader perspective, your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law is precisely as she “should” be, as is your spouse, or your child, or your grandchild. In the consciousness of releasing our tenacious grip on our own personal story, our script, our point of view, we grow more whole. We become adept at loving all family members for who they are, allowing us to become all we are capable of being.

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Living with In theNews Times The Week

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

Weeks of immersing ourselves in the ma’asei avos, the encounters and stories of our forefathers, as we move through Sefer Bereishis, lead us to the yom tov of Chanukah. Though a mitzvah derabbanon, there are many threads binding it to the Torah, with references and hints that foreshadow Chashmonai uvonov at various points in the Chumash. In the vastness of the Torah we find astonishing connections between seemingly unrelated scenarios. The fascinating parallels between Yaakov Avinu and Chanukah are a prime example. The Arizal revealed that the angel of Eisav struggled to damage Yaakov’s middah of hod. This is based on the chapter from the Zohar referred to as Pasach Eliyahu, which is printed in many Nusach Sefard siddurim to be recited before davening. In that chapter, Eliyahu Hanavi reveals that the thigh corresponds to the middah of hod. It was in that area of the body that the angel tried to hurt Yaakov. It was with this in mind that Chazal established eight days of hoda’ah on Chanukah. We are taught that Yaakov Avinu was niftar on the first day of the yom tov of Sukkos, and we know that Mitzrayim enacted seventy days of mourning for him. Thus, the mourning period ended on the 25th day of Kislev. Let us explore the connection between Yaakov Avinu and Chanukah and Parshas Mikeitz. The passuk (Bereishis 32:11) states that Yaakov thanked Hashem for His blessings. “Katonti mikol hachassadim umikol ha’emes asher osisu es avdecha, ki bemakli ovarti es haYardein hazeh ve’ato hoyisi lishnei machanos – I crossed the Yardein River with my stick and now I have grown to encompass two encampments,” Yaakov declared. What is the significance of the fact that he crossed the Yardein with his stick? Perhaps we can examine the depth concealed in these words. The passuk (Bereishis 28:12) states that when Yaakov awoke from his dream, he consecrated the stone upon which he had slept with oil and called the place Bais El. But didn’t Elifaz, son of Eisav, chase him down and take all his possessions? From where, then, did Yaakov have oil? Pirkei D’Rebbi Eliezer says that oil came down from heaven, and Yaakov used that oil to anoint the stone. Daas Zekeinim MiBaalei Hatosafos, however, answers that Yaakov hollowed out his stick and filled it with oil, so that wherever he would be, he could create some light and learn Torah. He used that oil to consecrate

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Renewed Resolve the stone. This answer of the Daas Zekeinim offers us an understanding of why Yaakov used the words “ki bemakli ovarti es haYardein.” By saying that he crossed the Yardein with his stick, Yaakov was stating that the only thing he had with him was Torah. All he had was the oil, which allowed him to learn Torah. Despite having spent 14 years learning at Yeshivas Sheim V’Eiver and then later in Lavan’s house, scrupulously observing all the mitzvos of the Torah as evidenced by Chazal’s explication of Yaakov’s statement, “Im Lavan garti, vetaryag mitzvos shomarti,” he was not harmed financially. In fact, he was blessed. Chanukah was established to commemorate the miracle that occurred with the small flask of oil that was found with the seal of the kohein gadol and burned eight nights instead of one. Prior to that miracle, the entire am Yisrael was under threat by the mighty forces of the mighty Hellenists. A small band of tzaddikim went to war with them and vanquished the enemy. The much smaller army triumphed and the Jewish people were once again able to study and observe the Torah. Why, then, does our celebration seem to revolve around the miracle of the oil and not the military victory? Wasn’t that a bigger deal than finding a small flask of oil with which to light the menorah? Commentators point out that following the war with the Yevanim, the oil that was required for kindling the menorah did not really need a special seal, because of the rule of tumah hutrah b’tzibbur. It was permitted to use oil without a seal. But when Hakadosh Boruch Hu performed the nes and led the Chashmonaim to a flask of oil, it was one with the seal of the kohein gadol, (see Pnei Yehoshua Shabbos 21b). We commemorate and celebrate that sentiment with a unique halachic feature that foreign to other mitzvos: We have levels in the performance of the mitzvah: a standard level, then a mehadrin level, and, finally, the way the mehadrin min hamehadrin perform the mitzvah. This is because Chanukah celebrates the will of the Jewish people to enhance and upgrade our performance of mitzvos. We observe the mitzvos because that is the will of Hashem. Therefore, we seek to perform them in the best possible way. We were reminded of that in the time of the nes Chanukah and we live with that philosophy until this very day. There are always people who seek to convince us that we don’t have to extend ourselves all the way. “There is no need

to be punctilious in mitzvah observance,” they tell us. “You can observe the mitzvah in a much easier, cheaper fashion. Why go through all the effort of performing the mitzvah the extreme way – like they do in Brisk, for example – when you can be yotzei by simply following the laws?” It’s become acceptable to mock those who embrace hiddur mitzvos, toiling to find perfect hadassim, exerting themselves to bake matzos and rejoicing in the effort, or reciting Krias Shema with punctiliousness and focus. In Lita, it was common for poor bochurim to sleep on shul benches. Once, a group of baalei batim complained to Rav Yisroel Salanter about the yeshiva bochurim who slept in their shul. “Besides the fact that the shul is messy when we come to daven, the bochurim don’t smell all that pleasant. For them to sleep there represents a lack of respect for tefillah,” one of them said. “It is very likely,” Rav Yisroel replied, “that the aroma of ameilus baTorah of the ameilim baTorah is more pleasing in shamayim than the smell of your tefillos.” On Chanukah, we are celebrating the answer, both the thrill of hiddur mitzvah and the strength of ignoring the mockers, scoffers and apologists. We know that what brings honor and joy in shamayim is not always what brings us the best P.R. Nor is it always a feel-good cause or something that appeals to the masses. We don’t have to apologize for being ehrliche yidden. We cherish those who live to do mitzvos in the best possible way and invest their energy in Torah and ameilus baTorah. “You don’t have to learn that much. A little in the morning and a little at night is enough,” our antagonists tease us. “You can be yotzei talmud Torah that way. Hashem doesn’t want you to be engrossed in study. He values everyone – the ignoramus and the world’s greatest talmidei chachamim – equally, so why knock yourself out?” It is interesting that the very people content to just get by when it comes to mitzvah observance want and expect higher standards when it comes to their pursuits of this world. The story is told of a well-meaning businessman who informed his son’s rosh yeshiva that he was removing his son from yeshiva and taking him in to the family business. “Look,” the father said, “I know my son. Even if he sticks around in yeshiva, he will never become the Chazon Ish anyway. So let’s be real.” The rosh yeshiva smiled and respond-

ed, “I also know your son, and I can assure you that if he goes into business, he will never become Rockefeller!” Somehow, excessive toil and concentration in the pursuit of the physical world is considered commendable. Derision is reserved for people who are very diligent and intense when it comes to spiritual pursuits. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach once overheard a fellow in shul boasting about his beautiful esrog. After the people he was showing his esrog to complimented his beautiful choice, he challenged them to guess how much he paid for it. The guesses went higher and higher, but no one got it. Finally, with a big smile, the man proudly related that he had paid a mere twenty-five dollars for the gorgeous cheftzah shel mitzvah. “I know that the demand is highest before Yom Kippur, and as Sukkos approaches, vendors are worried about being stuck with unsold inventory, so I waited until the very last minute, late in the afternoon of Erev Sukkos, to go and purchase my daled minim. My brilliance paid off and I was able to buy this for very cheap.” After davening, Rav Shlomo Zalman sat down with the man and showed him the words of the Gemara in Maseches Beitza (16). He read him the machlokes there between Bais Shammai and Bais Hillel. If Bais Shammai saw a nice cut of meat early in the week, he purchased it for Shabbos, reasoning that he might not find a nicer one. The Gemara states that Hillel was different - “middah acheres hoysa lo” – as he always had faith that he would find what he needed before Shabbos. Why, asked Rav Shlomo Zalman, does Chazal call this a “middah acheres, another way”? It would seem that Hillel had traditional bitachon, which allowed him to believe that things would work out well and he would be able to obtain the best foods for Shabbos. Rav Shlomo Zalman gently explained that Chazal are teaching that Hillel didn’t just use this approach when it came to mitzvos, like honoring Shabbos. It wasn’t a lackadaisical approach. It was a middah acheres. It was Hillel’s personal attribute; he always assumed that Hashem would help. “Someone who lives that way can use the same approach for mitzvos, too. But if you spent time selecting the right suit for your daughter’s wedding and you booked the hall early, or you invested time planning the perfect vacation, then apparently you don’t have that middah, so why for an esrog is it okay to wait for the last min-


Living with the The Week InTimes News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

ute?” On Chanukah, we get our priorities back. We recommit to exerting ourselves to be mehadrin Jews. By holding out for the oil with the seal of the kohein gadol, the Chashmonaim were declaring to the Jewish people not to be apathetic when it comes to tumah, taharah and kiyum hamitzvos. This is why we celebrate the miracle of the shemen more than the military victory. Hard work and military triumphs are nice, but any nation can achieve that. Toiling for a mitzvah and laboring to do it perfectly is our legacy. It is a gift from the Chashmonaim. Yaakov stated that because he traversed the Yardein with only the stick that enabled him to study Torah, and because he fulfilled the 613 mitzvos during the time he was in the home of the villainous Lavan, he was thus blessed with a large family and many possessions. So too, Chazal established the eight days of Chanukah to remind us that loyalty to Torah and its ideals is what is paramount to us. There were many Misyavnim at that time who mocked the people who remained loyal to Torah and mitzvos. The chachamim wanted to establish for all time that more important than winning battles and more important than everything else is dikduk b’mitzvos. Perhaps this is what is meant by those who say that the oil that the Chashmonaim found in the tahor flask was from Yaakov. It was that determination of Yaakov to observe mitzvos in difficult circumstances

that inspired the Chashmonaim to hunt down a pure flask of oil and not rely on leniencies. It was in the merit of that dedication that the lights remained lit for eight days. Yaakov’s diligence in the middah of hod led to the annual celebration of eight days of hoda’ah. Yaakov remained pure and undaunted, courageous in the face of all sorts of attacks. He emerged unscathed from bais Lavan and divested himself from Eisav, all while maintaining his lofty shlichus as the ish tam yosheiv ohalim. What, they no doubt wondered, is he doing for society? Why doesn’t he open a yeshiva, as his father and grandfather did (see Rambam)? Why does he worry so much about his children and their values? Why doesn’t he relax and allow them to be exposed to what was going on around them? What is he worried about? It will all work out well in the end. We know the questions. We are still getting them. After all, we are Yaakov’s people. Chanukah provides us with renewed resolve. The parshah gives us strength to remain loyal to what we learned from Yaakov. We learn in Parshas Mikeitz that Paroh summoned Yosef from jail to interpret his dreams. Yosef informed Paroh that he was not gifted with special dream-interpretation abilities. He said that he was able to understand the meaning of the dreams of Paroh’s ministers strictly because Hashem had enabled him to. L’Elokim pisronam. The solutions come from Him.

Instead of taking credit for himself and portraying himself as the wise man Mitzrayim’s leader thought he was, Yosef was honest about how his power was obtained. He could have accepted the credit for the actions Paroh attributed to him, assuming that if he could impress the king, his legal situation would change and the king would free him from jail so that he may become a royal advisor. However, having been brought up in the home of Yaakov, Yosef would not allow himself to be careless in speech and action. Just as his father was always cognizant of the Source of all power, Yosef lived with that awareness, too. Sheim shamayim was shagur befiv. Yaakov had taken those first few drops of oil and consecrated the space, creating the kedushah of the eventual makom haMikdash. As Yaakov started out, he promised that should he be blessed with wealth, “vechol asher titen li, aser a’asrenu Loch. I know, Hashem, that it is all from You.” As a faithful student, Yosef deflects his abilities to the Source of all. “I can do nothing,” he tells Paroh, “without Hashem helping me.” Yaakov set out to build a nation with a makel in his hand. He had nothing but his faith, Torah and hidden oil. Once, at the annual Chanukah gathering at Yeshivas Mir Yerushalayim, the rosh yeshiva, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, entered. The crowd knew that their rosh yeshiva was weak from illness. They were so enthused that they burst out in song. The scene was surreal. The dancing talmidim shouted themselves hoarse with devotion

to the rosh yeshiva. Rav Nosson Tzvi himself, barely able to speak, exuded such love for the talmidim. A question hung over the room: How? How could a man so limited by illness be able to say shiurim and shmuessen, give chizzuk and advice, and spearhead programs and raise many millions of dollars to keep the yeshiva going? How was he constantly building and expanding? How could he inspire such enthusiasm? Rav Yitzchok Ezrachi took the microphone and answered the question in everyone’s hearts. Looking at the rosh yeshiva, he quoted a passuk from the haftorah read on Shabbos Chanukah. The navi (Zecharyah 4:6) says, “Lo bechayil, velo bekoach, ki im beruchi amar Hashem... Not with strength, nor with might, but with My spirit, Hashem says.” That is the secret of how we accomplish. Yaakov had only a makel. Yosef was in prison, alone, sold into slavery. He had no power, bilodai, he said. It’s up to Hashem. They had nothing, but, nevertheless, Yaakov founded a nation, Yosef ruled over and sustained the world, and the Chashmonaim beat the most advanced army on earth. Ki im beruchi. Chanukah is a time to allow our spirits to soar, courageous and proud to give honor to the mitzvos and the One who commanded us to fulfill them, lemehadrin min hamehadrin.

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Eight Wines with a Long Finish for a Nation with an Ever-lasting Light Gabriel Geller The Jewish people are celebrating a special holiday this week. While each Jewish holiday celebrates or commemorates a different miracle in its own way, Chanukah can be considered as the holiday of miracles. It is the first and one of only two holidays (along with Purim) during which we recite the special prayer of “Al HaNissim,” a tefilah with which we thank G-d for all the great miracles He has made for our nation throughout history. For eight consecutive days and nights, we light candles on the menorah. The story of the maccabim and their victory against the Greek commander Antiochus IV and his army is well-known, as is the interpretation of the lighting of the candles of Chanukah. The candles remind us that the menorah remained lit for eight days despite a quantity of pure olive oil that should have normally sufficed for no more than one day. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, teaches us that this extraordinary and miraculous victory of the weak over the strong, of the few over the many, should always remind us that with faith and yiras shamayim, even a small group of people can change the world for the better by doing the right thing. A tiny candle can light up the world in the darkest of times. No holiday is complete without festive food. A classic dish for Chanukah is latkes. Many, if not most people, do not know which wine pairs best with these oily delicacies. The answer is rather simple: Bubbly! Bubblies are the ultimate celebratory wines, and especially dry sparklers such as Cava or Champagne is the ideal companion. The sharp bubbles and high acidity cut through the fat and balance out the heaviness associated with latkes. This is a “rule” which may be applied and repeated with all deepfried and salty dishes. Two great bubblies are the Drappier Carte Blanche and the Elvi Cava Brut. The Drappier is an authentic French Champagne featuring notes of freshly baked bread and citrus peels. The Elvi Cava showcases the best Spain has to offer with aromas

of orange blossom and baked apples. Speaking of apples, those serving latkes with applesauce should try accompanying them with the Baron Herzog Pinot Grigio; this wine is a true delight, and a tremendous value. It is light in body and refreshing with bright acidity as well as notes of apples, pears, and lemon zest. Latkes are also a great side dish on Shabbos Chanukah with poultry such as roasted or deep-fried chicken. For that, a fuller-bodied and more complex wine such as the Teperberg Essence Chardonnay would work perfectly; the clean texture, the mineral notes, and the slightly toasted nuts flavors enhancing the whole seudah. Rabbi Sacks brings up the fact that many commentators question the first candle of Chanukah, since the jug of oil found by the maccabim should have lasted for only one day. So, what is miraculous about that? Well, the fact that they found that small jug of pure olive oil after all Yerushalayim and the Bais Hamikdash had gone through during the war was a huge miracle on its own. The Jews always maintained their emunah, teaching us that Am Yisrael should remain a ner tamid for the world. We may not

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have a fortress of the Bais Hamikdash today, however we do have wines from impressive French castles, such as Château La Clare and Château Greysac. These Bordeaux wines from the Médoc can highlight our festive meals, providing notes of dark forest berries and earthy notes that marry well with a delicious braised brisket or a savory London broil. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks reminds us that the Greeks created an entire culture and produced some of the most remarkable civilizations in history, with philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, historians like Herodotus and Thucydides, dramatists such as Sophocles and Aeschylus. They also produced art and architecture of a beauty that has never been surpassed. Yet, they corrupted their people and lost all morality. In the end, their entire civilization disappeared. The Jewish people however, have always maintained values and morality. Thanks to the Torah and acts of chessed, we have never ceased to exist despite all the persecutions suffered all over the world throughout the millennia. A bit over 20 years ago, the small Jewish community of Barcelona in Spain did not have access to any good kosher wine for kiddush and havda-

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lah. A local Lubavitcher rabbi then decided to approach a winery, called Celler de Capçanes, in the near-by Monstant region. The rabbi convinced both the winemakers and owners to produce a small batch of kosher wine for the members of his shul. They accepted, and the rest is history. Today Capçanes has a full lineup of six different kosher wines considered among the world’s finest. Some of these wines have collected the highest ratings ever obtained for kosher wines by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, the world’s most influential wine review. It is in fact the popular and critical acclaim of these kosher wines that have made the winery famous and successful among wine aficionados the world. The Capcanes Peraj Petita Dolç is the latest addition to the winery’s family of kosher wine. With its savory notes of blackberry preserves and caramelized pecan nuts, this Port-style blend of Carignan and Grenache, while not as heavy or rich as its Portuguese counterparts such as the Porto Cordovero LBV, makes for a delightful pairing with the hot, jelly-filled doughnuts that crown a Chanukah party. May we enjoy Chanukah in the light of Torah with sumptuous food and amazing wines! L’chaim! A freilichen Chanukah!

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OCTOBER 2015 | The Jewish Home DECEMBER 29, 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Feature The Week In News

UN Resolution How Obama and the UN Sought to Delegitimize Israel BY SUSAN SCHWAMM

In

a dramatic break with forty years of American policy, President Obama enabled the UN Security Council to vote last Friday to condemn Israel’s “flagrant violation” of international law by being an “occupying force” on Palestinian lands. Although the U.S. and President Obama have plausible deniability because the United States didn’t actually vote for the measure but abstained from voting, in the Security Council the U.S. has veto power, which means that if it vetoes a resolution, the resolution fails. The U.S. has, for the past forty years, used this veto power to prevent similar resolutions from passing. Even President Obama in 2011 vetoed a similar resolution and prevented other resolutions from being brought to the floor by threatening a veto. However, in his

waning days in office – perhaps at a time when he is the most reflective about his core values – he not only allowed the measure to pass, but, according to Israeli officials, was the impetus behind the resolution.

Resolution Distorts History The resolution states in part that “establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” The UN’s demand that Israel return to its pre-1967 lines means that it considers neighborhoods such as Ramat Shlomo, Kiryat Sefer, Maale Adumim and the Old City – including the Kosel – to be “occupied” territory. In the past, the Palestinians’ claim to these neighborhoods were not given legitimacy

even amongst international actors who sought to create peace in the region. In fact, the very term “Palestinian territory occupied since 1967” is a blatant fictitious creation and deliberately ignores what took place in the region a mere seventy years ago. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations passed a partition plan which created a Jewish state and an Arab state in the previously British-controlled region. Israel accepted the partition plan; the Arabs rejected it and went to war with Israel. In the course of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Transjordan’s Arab Legion (now Jordan) attempted to capture the entire city of Jerusalem. The western portions of Jerusalem came under Israel’s control and Jordan took control of eastern Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter and the Kosel area.

In 1949, an armistice agreement was signed in which Israel controlled western Jerusalem and Jordan controlled eastern Jerusalem. The city was essentially divided between two armed camps separated by barbed wire, concrete walls, minefields and bunkers. That all changed in 1967, when Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and other Arab nations went to war to try to finally destroy the fledgling State of Israel. However, it did not go as planned, and in six days Israel defeated its enemies – which attacked en masse from all sides— and captured the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan; and the Golan Heights from Syria. At the time of the Six Day War, there was no Palestinian nation and no Palestinian territory. As such, Israel never took

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TheDECEMBER Jewish Home OCTOBER 29, 2015 29,| 2016 | The Jewish Home

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land from that non-existent entity in 1967. But when it comes to Israel, facts don’t necessarily matter as there are no facts that stand in the way of Jew-hatred.

Ramifications of the Resolution The resolution which passed last week will have no immediate practical ramifications for Israel as it does not include any coercive measures or define sanctions for those who violate it. However, it provides a basis for a pending suit brought in the International Criminal Court in the Hague against Israel. The ICC considers UN resolutions when deciding cases. If the ICC rules against Israel, its leaders – such as Prime Minister Netanyahu and any other ministers, IDF personnel or any individual that

lated in Israel and will be unable to travel to most of the world out of fear of being arrested if they are convicted in the ICC. Furthermore, the resolution states that the international community shall “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” Thus, the recent resolution may give credibility to those who seek to isolate Israel economically through boycotts and other measures and will certainly give fresh fodder to the BDS movement. The resolution may have far-reaching diplomatic ramifications as well. Firstly, it establishes a global consensus that the Palestinians have a legitimate claim for a return to the 1967 borders. Secondly,

According to officials in Israel, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko only decided to vote in favor of the resolution after being personally convinced to do so by Obama’s secondin-command, Vice President Joe Biden.

the ICC deems engaged in “criminal” activity — may be convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. Although the ICC does not carry out arrests and has no power to detain people, any of its 120 member nations do have such power. Thus, Israeli officials will essentially be iso-

it bolsters the Palestinians’ strategy of achieving their objectives through the UN rather than through direct negotiations with Israel, in which they would be forced to make their own concessions as well, namely disavowing terrorism and recognizing Israelis’ right to exist. After the resolution passed, a

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Liberating the Kosel in 1967

Kiryat Sefer, “occupied territory?”

source in the Palestinian Authority revealed that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has been collecting hundreds of names and pictures of IDF soldiers in order to bring them before the International Criminal Court in 2017. “In 2017, we are going to The Hague,” declared Nasser Laham, a confidante of Abbas. “We have hundreds of pages of names of IDF officers. Every pilot and every officer and every soldier — we have his photo, we have his name, and we are waiting for him at The Hague.” The editor of Palestinian Ma’an News agency said that “if we are successful with one, just one, it will be a different world.” He added, “I told my people in a live broadcast — in suits and ties we will take the Israelis to The Hague, we will handcuff them,” he said. “Don’t use violence, don’t explode. This is a war without bullets. Just wait, give us another chance.”

Who Pushed the Resolution? According to the former Ambassador to the U.S. and Member of the

Knesset Michael Oren, the Israeli government knew for a year that the Obama administration would use the three month window between the U.S. elections and the president’s departure from office to persuade the UN to take anti-Israel measures. But they did not know exactly how it would take place. Last Wednesday, Israel was caught by surprise when an announcement was made that Egypt had introduced an anti-settlement resolution to the UN, which would be voted on the following day. A flutter of diplomatic activity – including contact between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, with whom Netanyahu has a good working relationship – took place to sway Egypt not to present the resolution. That afternoon, President-elect Donald Trump issued a statement calling for a U.S. veto. “As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by


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OCTOBER 2015 | The Jewish Home DECEMBER 29, 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power speaking at the UN after abstaining from the resolution last week

Lighting the menorah at the Kosel right after the resolution

the United Nations.” By Wednesday evening, Egypt announced that it would not introduce the resolution. But, on Friday, four countries – New Zealand, Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal – brought the resolution up for a vote. When it became apparent that the U.S. would allow the resolution to pass, a great applause erupted. The leading nations of the world could now celebrate the joyous occasion of sticking a dagger in the heart of the Jewish nation. No longer would the U.S. protect Israel from their pitchforks.

Netanyahu Blasts Obama Despite the fact that the resolution was brought up for a vote by four countries, Israeli officials immediately declared with certainty that the real sponsor of the resolution was none other than Barack Obama himself. “President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the UN,” a senior Israeli official told CNN. “The U.S. administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Is-

raeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tailwind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory,” he said. Prime Minister Netanyahu lashed out at Obama and declared that “the Obama administration conducted a shameful anti-Israel ambush at the UN.” He announced to his cabinet on Sunday, “From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed.” “We have rather iron-clad information from sources in both the Arab world and internationally that this was a deliberate push by the United States and in fact they helped create the resolution in the first place,” said Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes on Fox News. According to officials in Israel, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko only decided to vote in favor of the resolution after being personally convinced to do so by Obama’s second-in-command, Vice President

Feature The Week In News

Joe Biden. “Biden lobbied Ukraine and, of course, administration officials are too cowardly to admit it,” a senior pro-Israel official told the Washington Free Beacon. “With everything that’s going on involving Russia, Iran, and Syria, this is how the Obama administration chose to spend its precious diplomatic capital. They decided to twist arms and trade favors for a resolution that cuts off Jews from Jerusalem, a city that is Israel’s capital city according to American law.”

Netanyahu Downgrades Diplomatic Relations with Security Council Nations After the vote, Netanyahu ordered a reduction in the diplomatic relations with 12 of the countries on the Security Council – Britain, France, Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay, Spain, Senegal and New Zealand. The change means that foreign ministers from those countries won’t be received by

the downgrade in relations is mainly a symbolic gesture of Israel’s displeasure. Israel did not take these measures against the U.S., and the other two countries on the Security Council, Venezuela and Malaysia, do not have diplomatic relations with Israel in the first place. Despite the geopolitical setback, Israel remains hopeful that the tide will change when President-elect Trump takes office on January 20th. After the resolution passed, Trump tweeted: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.” Netanyahu echoed Trump’s sentiment and said, “The decision taken at the UN yesterday was part of the swan song of the old world biased against Israel,” Netanyahu said. “We are entering a new era and as the President-elect Trump said yesterday, this is going to happen much quicker than people think. In this new era there is a high price for those trying to harm Israel.” Hopefully Netanyahu’s words

“Every pilot and every officer and every soldier — we have his photo, we have his name, and we are waiting for him at The Hague.”

Israel and business between Israel and those countries’ embassies will be suspended. However, Israel’s ambassadors to those countries will still stay put in their locations, and Israel will continue their trade and security relations with each of them. Thus,

will come true. One thing is certain, though: on January 20, a true adversary of the State of Israel will no longer dictate U.S. policy towards it, when Barack Hussein Obama exits the White House for the final time.

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29, 2015 | The Jewish Home Feature 28 50 The OCTOBER Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Bibi

“The Sweet Will Yet Come Forth From the Bitter”

On the first night of Chanukah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following speech at an event in salute of wounded IDF and security forces veterans and victims of terrorism.

C

itizens of Israel, I would like to reassure you. The resolution that was adopted yesterday at the United Nations is distorted and shameful but we will overcome it. The resolution determines that the Jewish Quarter [in the Old City of Jerusalem] is “occupied territory.” This is delusional. The resolution determines that the Western Wall is “occupied territory.” This too is delusional. There is nothing more absurd than calling the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter occupied territory. There is also an attempt here, which will not succeed, to impose permanent settlement terms

on Israel. You might recall that the last one who tried to do this was Carter, an extremely hostile president to Israel and who just recently said that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. Carter passed sweeping decisions against us at the UN of a similar kind, and this was also unsuccessful. We opposed this and nothing happened. All American presidents since Carter upheld the American commitment not to try to dictate permanent settlement terms to Israel at the Security Council. And yesterday, in complete contradiction of this commitment, including an explicit commitment by President Obama himself in 2011, the Obama administration carried out a shameful anti-Israel ploy at the UN. I would like to tell you that the resolution that was adopted, not only doesn’t bring peace closer, it drives it further away. It hurts justice; it hurts the truth. Think about this absurdity, half a million human beings are being slaughtered in Syria. Tens of thousands are being butchered in Sudan. The entire Middle East is going up in flames and the Obama administra-

tion and the Security Council choose to gang up on the only democracy in the Middle East – the State of Israel. What a disgrace. My friends, I would like to tell you on the first night of Chanukah that this will not avail them. We reject this resolution outright, just as we rejected the UN resolution that determined that Zionism was racism. It took time but that resolution was rescinded; it will take time but this one will also be rescinded. Now I will tell you how it will be rescinded. It will be rescinded not because of our retreats but because of our steadfastness and that of our allies. I remind you that we withdrew from Gaza, uprooted communities and took people out of their graves. Did this help us at all at the UN? Did this improve our relations at the UN? We were hit with thousands of rockets and at the UN we were hit with the Goldstone report! So I will tell you what is clear, I know, to the vast majority of Israeli citizens: We learned this lesson, and we will not go there. But I also want to tell you something else: We are not alone. I spoke last night with many

American leaders. I was pleased to hear from members of the American Congress, from Democrats and Republicans alike, that they will fight an all-out war against this resolution with all the power at their disposal. I heard the exact same things from our friends in the incoming administration, who said that they will fight an all-out war against this resolution. And I heard this from across the spectrum of American public opinion and American politics – Republicans, Democrats, Jews and non-Jews. As I spoke yesterday with leaders in Congress and the incoming American administration, they told me unequivocally: “We are sick of this and it will not continue. We will change this resolution. We will not allow anyone to harm the State of Israel.” They are declaring their intention to pass legislation to punish countries and bodies that try to harm Israel. They say that this will also include the UN itself. I remind you that the UN receives a quarter, 25%, of its budget from the U.S. alone. In my most recent speech to the UN, in September, I said that a storm


The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

Feature The Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

was expected in the UN before it gets better there. We knew that this is possible and we expect that it will come. The resolution that was passed at the UN yesterday is part of the swan song of the old world that is biased against Israel, but, my friends, we are entering a new era. And just as President-elect Trump said yesterday, it will happen much sooner than you think. In the new era there is a much higher price for those who try to harm Israel, and that the price will be exacted not only by the U.S., but by Israel as well. Two countries with which we have diplomatic relations cosponsored the resolution against us at the UN; therefore, I ordered yesterday that our ambassadors be recalled from Senegal and from New Zealand. I have ordered that all Israeli assistance to Senegal be halted, and there’s more to come. Those who work with us will benefit because Israel has much to give to the countries of the world. But those who work

against us will lose – because there will be a diplomatic and economic price for their actions against Israel.

in financing for five UN institutions, five UN bodies that are especially hostile to Israel. I have already or-

"The entire Middle East is going up in flames and the Obama administration and the Security Council choose to gang up on the only democracy in the Middle East – the State of Israel. What a disgrace."

Additionally, I have instructed the Foreign Ministry to complete, within a month, a reassessment of all of our contacts with the UN, including Israeli financing of UN institutions and the presence of UN representatives in the country. But I am not waiting; already now I have ordered to halt approximately NIS 30 million

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dered that this be stopped, and there is more to come. We are on a campaign of improving our relations with the nations of the world. And it will take more time, and I have said this as well, until our improved relations with countries on five continents are also reflected in their decisions in UN in-

stitutions. But I would like to tell you something else, and listen closely to what I’m saying. Contrary to what you might expect, it is very likely that last night’s scandalous resolution will accelerate this process because it is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Last night’s resolution is a call to arms for all of our many friends in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world, friends who are sick of the UN’s hostility toward Israel, and they intend to bring about a fundamental change in the UN. Therefore, this evening I tell you in the language of our sources, the sweet will yet come forth from the bitter and those who come to curse will yet bless. Here, on the first night of Chanukah, I stand next to the Maccabees of our times, IDF soldiers and wounded IDF heroes. I salute you and I say to you clearly: The light will dispel the darkness. The spirit of the Maccabees will overcome. Happy Chanukah.

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Quotes The Week In News

Facebook is testing a new group phone call feature that will let you talk on the phone with up to 50 friends at once. If you want to try it, you go to Facebook, you click on “Features,” and then select “Living Nightmare.” - Jimmy Fallon

So Russia having illegally occupied Crimea and eastern Ukraine votes to condemn Israel for “occupied lands.” We are supposed to be impressed. – Tweet by Newt Gingrich

[T]here were Russian troops on the Iowa-Wisconsin border that kept Hillary Clinton from going in. So, that was one thing. - Bloomberg Politics Managing Editor Mark Halperin mocking the claim that Hillary lost the election because of the Russians

It exposes the true face of the [Obama] administration. Now it’s easier to understand what we dealt with the past eight years. - An Israeli official in an interview with the Times of Israel after the UN vote

MORE QUOTES

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Dirshu The Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

What is Behind the Limud HaTorah and Limud Halachah Renaissance in Klal Yisrael? Yosef Sosnow Rabbonim have a unique perspective and often, as a result of their exposure to yidden from all walks of life both in their kehillos and beyond, are able to notice changing trends in the community before many others. Two prominent rabbonim, HaRav Yitzchok Zalman Gips, shlita, Rav of Beis Medrash Birchas Avrohom of Boro Park and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Nahardaah and HaRav Shlomo Cynamon, shlita, Rav of Kehal Bnei Torah and Rosh Kollel Dirshu of Flatbush, commented on the recent tremendous increase in both in-depth limud haTorah with accountability as well as limud halachah. “A Person Cannot Be a Yid without Limud haTorah!” “Yes, over the past few years, there has been a tremendous increase in limud haTorah in our communities,” Rav Gips comments, “but it is also important to note that we have always been the am haTorah. It is insufficient to dress like a yid or to eat Jewish foods. Without limud haTorah a person cannot be a yid! The yidden and Torah are one. “Historically what has transpired is that after a war, the survivors were so focused on rebuilding yiddishkeit and their own personal lives that they often worked three jobs just to make ends meet! Unfortunately, many of them were left with little time for learning. Today, baruch Hashem we have more discretionary time – yidden have Friday, Shabbos, Sunday and other times during the week to learn. Additionally, virtually all of today’s baalei batim are yeshiva graduates with very solid backgrounds in learning while nearly everyone has children and grandchildren learning full time in kollel. They are so surrounded by Torah, they are supporting Torah and they are now saying, “Why shouldn’t I learn Torah as well?” They therefore join learning programs and become talmidei chachamim in their own right.” Rav Gips points out that another factor is the tremendous increase in kavod haTorah that we see in our times. When we see the large, impressive siyumim such as the Daf HaYomi Siyum and the Dirshu Siyumim it increases the chashivus of Torah. People realize how choshuv Torah is.

In our time we see that lomdei Torah are gaining a tremendous amount of credit and recognition from both men and women for their Torah accomplishments. This spurs them to achieve even greater milestones in learning. How a One-Hour Shiur Whet the Appetite… Rav Shlomo Cynamon, Rav of Kehal Bnei Torah and Kollel Dirshu of Flatbush, points out that, “In our generation we have an erudite, yeshiva-educated public. Even

and how geshmak and they wanted more. A large group therefore asked me to create another seder after davening that evolved into a two-hour seder from 8:30 until 10:30 am where we learn the same limud as before davening but with more depth and greater breadth. I can’t tell you what this learning has done for them. They have experienced the essence of geshmak in learning. When one has a maggid shiur who is able to give over the tzurah of the sugya there is no end to how far one

Dirshu shiur in Boro Park addressed by HaRav Yitzchok Zalman

those who are not zocheh to spend their days ensconced in the koslei beis hamedrash understand the concept of limud haTorah. As time goes on, mature individuals do not suffice with perfunctory sedarim just to ‘be yotzeh’. They want to maximize their time spent learning and have found new ways to learn with lomdus and accountability. This is contributing to the Torah revolution of sorts that we are witnessing.” Rav Cynamon clarifies with something that he observes every day. “I am zocheh to lead the Dirshu Kollel in Flatbush. We get together every morning and learn from 6:30 until 7:30. We learn with a schedule and offer tests. For many of the lomdim however, that one hour of learning just whet their appetite for more. They recognized how broad Torah is, how vast

can go! My experience is that we are living in a generation with an unprecedented cheshek for learning. They don’t necessarily just want to attend a shiur. They want to learn in a chaburah, they want to toil in learning, they want the give and take of in-depth learning that transforms the seder from an obligation into the highlight of their day!” Rav Gips adds that, “Another very significant factor, at least in the Chassidic community, is the fact that virtually every kehillah now has their own Gemara learning program, wherein the entire kehillah picks a masechta and learns it with a schedule, offering tests and a stipend for excellent results. In this case, Dirshu blazed the trail and all of the varied communities saw it as the ultimate successful model to emulate.”

The Focus on Halachah Another pivotal development highlighted by the rabbonim is the marked increase in both learning halachah and practical halachic knowledge. Rav Gips comments, “We currently live in a society where people want to know, ‘What is the bottom line?’ People are ehrlich, they take their mitzvah observance seriously and have therefore become very focused on learning halachah and knowing halachah. Another fascinating insight by Rav Gips is that perhaps the fact that many of the gedolei hador of the previous generation were world renowned poskim and baalei halachah also contributed to this phenomenon. The gedolei hador have a hashpaah on the whole generation and the fact that the great gaonim, Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, zt”l, Rav Shmuel Wosner, zt”l, and Rav Ovadiah Yosef, zt”l, were all great poskim may have had a hashpaah. “Dikduk In Halachah Is Not Born In A Vacuum” Rav Shlomo Cynamon explains that “dikduk in halachah is not born in a vacuum. The fact that the entire generation has become more connected to bnei Torah, to learning Torah with iyun creates a keener perspective when it comes to halachah and yiras shamayim as well. Today, people don’t want to learn halachah by rote. They want to understand its depth. It is amazing to see how the members of the shiur respond to an introduction to a difficult se’if presented by the Mishnah Berurah. When the Mishnah Berurah brilliantly explains the reason behind the halachah, the halachah comes alive!” From V’im Tomar to V’yesh Lomar! Rav Cynamon concludes his remarks with a telling anecdote that perhaps encompasses the depth of the Torah and halachah revolution that we have witnessed over the past two decades. He related, “Rav Yisroel Salanter once overheard a person quickly reviewing one Tosafos after another. The person was saying, ‘V’im tomar’ and then immediately ‘v’yesh lomar’ indicating that he was quickly reviewing the questions and answers posed by Tosafos. Rav Yisroel commented, “If you don’t stop to think between the ‘im tomar’ and the ‘yesh lomar’ where will you get your yiras shamayim?” What Rav Yisroel was saying is that yes, you may be able to rattle off a question and perfunctory answer, but if you don’t stop to think how will you realize the importance of what you are learning? How will you truly respect what you are learning and therefore have the requisite yiras shamayim?” Our generation is one that is stopping between the “im tomar” and the “yesh lomar”!


Bonus The WeekFeature In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Flag Burning: Is it Legal? Michael Rubinstein Esq.

President-elect Donald J. Trump ignited a firestorm with another one of his “tweets” on November 29th. Mr. Trump was upset with news that a college student had burned the American flag during a protest on a college campus. In response, he tweeted: Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail! News outlets and political pundits immediately criticized the President-elect for ignoring the First Amendment. Punditry aside, Mr. Trump’s tweet sheds light on an important Constitutional Law issue: flag burning as a form of expression. Is it legal in the United States, and can the federal government ever penalize an American with loss of citizenship? The First Amendment Ratified in 1791, the First Amendment reads: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances. The First Amendment contains several clauses that list fundamental rights every citizen enjoys. The First Amendment is the beginning of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution that are known as the Bill of Rights. Courts must treat any government law that infringes on the Bill of Rights with what is known as “strict scrutiny.” It is rare for laws that infringe upon fundamental constitutional rights to survive a court’s application of strict scrutiny. The First Amendment is one of the most frequently litigated constitutional rights in our courts. Freedom of religion cases, such as putting up a menorah on public property; a proposed law in San Francisco a few years ago to ban bris milah; and an unsuccessful recent lawsuit here in Los Angeles seeking to ban the ritual of kapparos all involved the First Amendment. While the First Amendment itself does not mention the words “freedom of expression,” the Supreme Court of the United States has developed case law that guarantees freedom of expression under the First Amendment.

Attorney William Kunstler with defendent Gregory Lee Johnson Photo: Joel Seidenstein

Texas v. Johnson – 1989 Texas v. Johnson was a First Amendment case decided by the Supreme Court in 1989. During the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas, Gregory Johnson burned the American flag during a demonstration criticizing President Reagan’s policies. Johnson was arrested and charged under a Texas state law that forbade destroying a “venerated object.” He appealed his conviction, arguing that the Texas law violated his First Amendment right to freely express his opinion that the country’s actions under President Reagan were wrong. Is Flag Burning an “Expression” The Court noted that the First Amendment literally forbids the abridgment only of “speech.” But the Court has long recognized that its protection does not end at the spoken or written word, but also applies to expression or expressive conduct. To that end, conduct may be sufficiently imbued with elements of communication to fall within the scope of the First Amendment if 1) there is an intent to convey a particularized message, and 2) a likelihood that the message would be understood by those who view it. A common example of this, the Court noted, was when college students wore black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. The Court also noted that there are times when the government can pass laws that forbid speech – but as mentioned, these laws must pass strict scrutiny. An example was when, during World War II, newspapers were restricted from publishing the departure schedules of naval ships sailing for Europe. The successful war effort could have been undermined if the press could freely disseminate this sensitive information.

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black

Applied to the Johnson case, the Court ruled that flag burning is expressive conduct. The 5-4 opinion contains a frequently quoted rule that says: “if there is a bedrock principle under the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” The Court ruled that Johnson’s act of burning the flag intended to convey his disagreement with American foreign policy, and those who viewed this activity understood this message. While the Court noted that many people are offended when they see the burning flag, “the way to preserve the flag’s special role is not to punish those who feel differently about these matters – it is to persuade them that they are wrong.” It is interesting to note that in 2006, legislation was proposed to enact a federal law banning flag burning. Senator Hillary Clinton was a co-sponsor of this legislation, which never passed. During a symposium at Brooklyn Law School in 2014, Supreme Court Justice Scalia, who died earlier this year, humorously remarked, “if it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag. But I am not king!” Can the Government Revoke Citizenship? As the above discussion shows, flag burning is a constitutionally protected form of expression. But as to the second part of Donald Trump’s tweet – can the government penalize a citizen with loss of citizenship? It turns out the Supreme Court has ruled on this issue, too. Afroyim v. Rusk Beys Afroyim was a Jewish immigrant born in Poland in 1893. He immigrated to the United States in 1912, and became a

citizen in 1926. Mr. Afroyim moved to Israel in 1950, and voted in the 1951 Israeli elections. When his application to renew his American passport was denied in 1960, under a law that forbade citizens from voting in foreign elections, he sued the United States government for violating his constitutional rights by revoking his American citizenship. The Supreme Court ruled for Mr. Afroyim. The Court noted that the people of this country are sovereign, and the government cannot sever its relationship to the people by revoking their citizenship. The Court analyzed the history of the 14th Amendment (enacted after the Civil War), and noted that Congress made clear that the only way a citizen could lose citizenship was by voluntary renunciation by the citizen himself. Congress has the power to confer citizenship, but not the power to take it away. Since the Afroyim case was decided in 1967, the law protects all American citizens from any attempts to strip them of their citizenship. Conclusion President-elect Trump’s tweet expressing his negative opinion of flag burning leaves no room for interpretation. Millions of Americans agree with him. But as the Court noted in Texas v. Johnson, the flag’s sanctity cannot be forced upon those who wish to express a differing opinion. The government may not compel conduct that would evince respect for the flag, and the government may never strip an American of his or her citizenship. We are all free to express our diverse opinions in this great country. The Constitution protects and encourages us to do so. Sources on the First Amendment; Texas v. Johnson 491 U.S. 397; Afroyim v. Rusk 387 U.S. 253; Wall Street Journal; USCourts.gov.

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The Parenting Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Proactive Parenting:

Chanukah Sara Teichman, Psy.D.

Dear Dr T., I have always loved Chanukah, especially the look on my children’s faces as they receive their gifts. However, the past few years, I have noticed a change. I find that my children get such an overabundance of “stuff” that they lose their appreciation for each individual gift. I catch their eyes darting around looking for the next gift even before the one in their hand is unwrapped. Sometimes they don’t even manage to eke out, “Thanks,” before they turn to their next present. How can I help my children enjoy this special time without their becoming ungrateful, grabby, and whiny? Merav ---------------------------Dear Dr. T, How do we – children and adults – deal with the excesses of Chanukah: too many parties, too much junk food, too many gifts! I find that this holiday is starting to lose its meaning, and that we are hard put to maintain any semblance of perspective or sanity. Your suggestions, please. Shulamis Dear Merav and Shulamis, I certainly share your concerns about the commercialization of this very special holiday. It is reflective of our sorry state of golus that the minhag b’yisrael of Chanukah gelt has been transformed to reflect the December “Holiday Season.” Equally disappointing is that the victory of spirituality (the Torah) over materialism (as represented by the Greeks) has been distorted by the excesses of this period. However, this state of affairs is a topic for some other time. The good news is that as parents, there is quite a bit you can do in the long run – i.e., in your quest to instill sanity and values in your family. The bad news is that – in the short run – you may need to relax your standards and go with the flow. Let’s dispense with the short run – the hard part – first. You probably will not be able to control the number of parties, gifts, or treats your kids receive –without

earning your child’s undying resentment, that is. You may, however, be able to slow things down; perhaps, for instance, by encouraging the child to put some treats or gifts away for later, when he might appreciate them more. Or, by being proactive and discussing each event beforehand with your child, you may gain his co-operation in preparing a sane plan. Such a plan might include the idea of eating a healthy meal before going to the party, or deciding to open only one gift each day of Chanukah. Having the awareness that you are in an unpredictable, uncontrolled situation allows you to accept the inevitable with grace and remind yourself that one week does not a whole childhood make. In the long run, after the gifts are shelved and treats devoured, a wise parent knows that his influence – his words, behavior, and value system – carries the most weight in his child’s mind and develop-

ment. Though a child may exclaim wildly about some fabulous gift or rave about a fun party, the consistent messages his parents send him are what he will remember in the years to come. De-emphasize prices, glitter, comparisons, and size, but emphasize the spiritual meaning of this holiday. Some families make a big deal out of lighting the menorah, singing “Ma’oz Tzur” together, and playing dreidel with their children. Others model chessed – the joy of giving, particularly to those in need. Whether it is including people who are less fortunate than ourselves, or remembering the elderly and infirm, there are many opportunities for chessed right here in our community. Probably most relevant for your concerns is to stress hakaras hatov (recognizing the good) by both showing appreciation for any gifts we receive and remembering our benefactors. Though that sweater from Aunt Gertrude may not quite be what we had in mind as a “perfect gift,” we can still value her giving and the message behind it. As parents, we do have the power to make a difference and give our children a gift that lasts: positive memories of yom tov with the family and a true understanding of Chanukah.

A wise parent gets the drill and realizes that in the moment, it is difficult to compete with excitement and partying. However, we can never underestimate the power of consistent messages we send repeatedly until they are seared in the brain. Though the excesses are challenging, adopting the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude might allow you to get through the week, and perhaps, even enjoy the festivities. In moderation…of course. The Book Nook: Dear Rabbi, Dear Doctor by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, MD, provides straight answers to tough questions. The author, a renowned rabbi and psychiatrist, covers many of the basic issues that concern parents today. In addition to sections on self-esteem and parent-child relationship, he discusses social/ interpersonal issues, character traits (middos), and haskafah issues. Sara Teichman, Psy D. is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles and Clinical Director of ETTA, L.A.’s largest Jewish agency for adults with special needs. To submit a question or comment, email DrT@jewishhomela.com.

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DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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The Week In News

DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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DECEMBER 29, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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