THE JEWISH HOME FEBRUARY 12, 2015 2
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FEBRUARY 12, 2015
THE JEWISH HOME
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
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CONTENTS Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Rabbi Raichik’s Heroic Life Journey . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
JEWISH THOUGHT The Secret of the “Four Watchmen”. . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
COVER STORY Kicking the Bomb Down the Road with Iran. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Uncle Moishy Fun Page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
LIFESTYLES Book Review: Two Treats for Tweens. . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Travel Guide: Arizona. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
EDUCATION Speed and the Pink Ladies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 New Exhibition in Jerusalem Presents 2,500 Year Old Tablets from Ancient Babylonia. . . . . . . . 24 Criminalizing Israel’s Right to Exist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Real Estate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
of his imagination and were simply not true. This might be a different situation if he was a dentist or had some other occupation, but the essential crisis is that his job was to inform people the truth about current world events. We also have a presidential candidate, and probable upcoming president who has been caught changing, explaining and making up stories as if she doesn’t know the difference anymore between fact and fiction. She is looking to replace Mr. Explanations himself, who seems to spend too much time every day explaining what he meant by his statements in the previous one. So does reality matter? Isn’t a lie stronger than the truth? Anyone can repeat the truth. Isn’t the strength of mankind our ability to decide things on our own and toss up some sophisticated jargon to make our reality comfortable so that we can keep our ostrich heads in the ground? No. “The seal of Hashem is truth,” and that’s the way the world was created. And while there are many layers to every story the reality remains that no matter how many spins are added in the end, the truth of what happened and is happening now will come out, the only question is how and when this occurs. As usual it boils down to how we run our personal lives. Do we look to spin reality so that it fits our agenda, or do we accept it even when it’s not popular? Is the point to twist reality for personal gain, or should our efforts be focused on building a better world upon the reality which was given to us? Our souls believes in truth. Knows the truth. And yearns to see the truth. May it be revealed in our days, ubichessed ubirachamim. May we enjoy the deeper reality called Shabbos,
T H E P R E M I E R J E W I S H N E W S PA P E R H I G H L I G H T I N G L A’ S O R T H O D OX C O M M U N I T Y The Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not necessarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The Jewish Home contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly. FOR HOME DELIVERY, OR TO HAVE THE LATEST ISSUE EMAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, SEND A MESSAGE TO EDITOR@JEWISHHOMELA.COM
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
A People of Truth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Dear Readers, I remember it like yesterday. About 15 years ago I overheard an argument between two fellow yeshiva students about whether it was permissible or perhaps it was even a good idea to make up a story with a positive lesson in order to inspire children. One person held that the goal is to inspire and uplift and any method which can help can, and should be used. The other held that it’s not only technically wrong to mislead a child but fundamentally wrong as the child will understand a different message; that it’s not truth which is on the highest plateau but rather a pre-determined message , leaving the child with a crooked foundation upon which he or she will “stack” all the rest of their education. Let’s analyze this for a moment. What difference does it really make if it’s true? I mean, if the goal is achieved, who cares how we got there? But, it does make a difference how you get there, at least if you want to end up at the right destination. We don’t believe in a creator who has requests on how we run our life because it feels good, seems right, brings us to a happy ending or adds fulfillment in our lives. We believe in One Creator because there is One. In fact, true belief connects us to our reality in a way that asserts itself with a certainty greater that something which is physically tangible. Avrohom Avinu found the creator through searching for truth. Yitzchok Avinu was born into the truth and into a covenant with Hakadosh Baruch Hu from eight days old and Yaakov Avinu created the Jewish nation which ultimately had the Torah “carved into our souls” at Har Sinai. Which brings us to current events. We now know that a well respected and admired individual told a story, repeated the story, accepted congratulations for the story and had always found that this worked out well… except that it turns out parts of his stories were a figment
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A Social Group That Offers More than Bagels In January, several EU ministers received a petition from Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the European Jewish Association. He requested that in the wake of the Paris terrorism, it would be sensible for, “people in the Jewish communities and institutions to own weapons to protect against anti-Semitism, racism, and intolerance.” In fact, many in the American Jewish community have no experience or familiarity with firearms but there exists, in Orange County, a social club that wants to change this. Bullets and Bagels is a social club that trains people in the Jewish community to use firearms while at the same time offering great noshing, interesting guest speakers, a unique venue to network and form great camaraderie with like-minded Jews.
reality of handling a gun. In contrast, Bullets and Bagels are not a dogmatic or militant gun-rights advocacy group. This is not an “angry” group of right-wing conservatives with a political agenda. Political action is non-existent. Instead, this is a social club with a warm and friendly atmosphere, but firearms are discussed and used. This is a group for people who are interested in either sport or defensive firearm training and who have previously been intimidated to delve into the world of firearms. Dr. Fred Kogen, a longtime resident from Orange County, invests hours of time and effort in Bullets and Bagels. He brings attendees together so they can learn how to conquer a fear of firearms, learn the fundamental concepts to safely handle guns and
There are many people that join gun organizations and shooting ranges because they want to be proactive in their self-defense. 4.5 million Americans are members of the NRA and for them, there is a sense of honor in knowing how to handle a gun. The reality is that we live in a country which has a gun culture that runs alongside misinformation and confusion as to gun laws, the right to self-defense and the
ammunition, shoot a gun, know the safety rules of handling bullets, and equally important, enjoy a social event besides. “We want to be comfortable and safety is our number one concern. Here is a group that supports and encourages this. There are so many people who have pre-conceived ideas and incorrect notions. I want to bring knowledge to the table and as you know, some like to nosh and golf, we like to nosh and shoot”.”
Ruth Judah This year, Kogen is actively looking to increase membership. More than 300 men and women have attended meetings at some time. This year, Bullets and Bagels are offering paid membership and nearly 50 have joined. The average age of the members is 40 or maybe older. About 10% of the shooters are women and this number is climbing. There is a 90-something Holocaust survivor and his balabusta wife who are vibrant participants with mesmerizing stories they share at ease. The club is comprised of lawyers, doctors, accountants and business folk, and there are Rabbi’s, law enforcement members and community members too. Some are liberal, and not everyone is Jewish, but everyone is Jewish affiliated in some way, perhaps through a family member or through the work environment Every other month, Bullets and Bagels meet at a local shooting range on a Sunday morning. Bullets and Bagels have met at the shooting range at LAX, and in Orange County, handling small handguns because they are cost-effective, light in weight and the easiest to use. Perhaps half the group is highly competent shooters, but many have never fired a gun before and just want to experience in a safe, controlled and supportive environment, surrounded by fellow Yiddin. To start with, brunch plates are piled high with the delectable offerings of a glatt kosher bagel bar and a guest lecturer educates the group on a chosen subject. Then participants are shown how to use a gun by an experienced instructor who first teaches safety. At the last meeting, the instructor was Sgt. Richard Garcia, a well-built 9 year experienced Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who was a most popular and successful teacher. Guest lecturers have transfixed the attendees. Rabbi Aba Peremulter from the Shul by the Shore in Long Beach presented a powerful lecture on the halachah of self-defense from a Torah perspective. A Vietnam War veteran, awarded the presti-
gious Bronze Star for valor in the 1970’s, also came to speak. Chuck Michel’s legal firm, Michel and Associates, sent a senior partner to explain the California State and Federal law as it relates to guns; the Michel law firm is a nationally recognized leader in the gun-rights advocacy movement. In case you wondered, this is by no means the only Jewish shooting club. There are others throughout the country, sporting equally poignant names. JewsCanShoot is an LA self-defense group that promises to teach the basics of gun usage and safety in just five hours and for a minimal fee. Glock and Bagels is a group out of Houston, New Jersey has a frum shooting club. There is also the longstanding pressure group, Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership. How competent do the members become in shooting and handling a gun? It’s impossible to tell as there is no examination, nor practical application of the skills learned. Kogen explains that after performing 8,000 circumcisions he certainly knows the amount of hours needed to become competent at his job, but he explains, “Shooting is a different scene entirely. I don’t promise any level of competence will be achieved and I don’t think the shooting skills of this social group is intended as an answer to today’s terrorist attacks. On the other hand, I don’t think we should sit on our high and mighty chair either. Gun violence against Jews worldwide is a problem. It is our problem. In my opinion, Jews should be comfortable and competent with firearms. What would have happened if someone in the Paris Kosher supermarket had kept a small firearm behind the counter? Four innocent Jewish lives may have been spared. A modicum of rational reasonableness would be a good step for us to take. Security issues should be our concern.” For more information email: info@ BulletsandBagels.com. Website: http:// bullets-bagels.com
Rabbi Nissim Tagger Delivers Shiur At LINK Kollel, Los Angeles Rabbi Nissim Tagger, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Bircas HaTorah in the Old City of Yerushalayim, was a special guest at the LINK Kollel in Los Angeles on February 2nd. Rabbi Tagger is himself an alumnus of the yeshiva, having studied under its founding Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Shimon Green, for many years. The yeshiva is renowned for teaching the methodology of the Ramchal of how to learn Gemara, primarily to Baalei Teshuva who are mostly mature professionals. Rabbi Tagger, in his inimitably warm and humorous manner, proceeded to convey the most salient ideas of the Ramchal’s Talmudic methodology of logical
syllogisms. He first employed several secular examples of critical examination of somewhat ambiguous statements, augmented with this methodology, and then
transposed them to a classic sugya in Shas. He then unconverted a gold mine of machshava from the sugya of the last moments of Rav Yochanan Ben Zakai’s life, as he addressed his students in the Gemara in Brachos. Rabbi Tagger was the first of several Talmidei Chachomim from Eretz Yisrael that spoke and more teachers will be speaking at LINK over the next few weeks. On Shabbos Parshas Yisro, Rabbi Mordechai Burg, Menahel Ruchani of Yeshiva Mevasseret Tzion, delivered several inspiring talks on personal growth, through the lens of Chassidus. On Sunday night, February 8th, Rav Zev Leff, Rav of Moshav Mat-
tisyahu, a well-known expositor of Torah thought, spoke on the Torah approach to understanding and growing form suffering. On Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim, Rabbi Pinchos Lebovic, Rosh Yeshiva of Tehilas Shlomo, will lead a Shabbaton focusing on how we can live spiritually in a materialistic world. And on the following Shabbos, Rabbi Shaya Karlinsky, Rosh Yeshiva of Darchei Noam/Shapells will give several shiurim on various topics. For more information contact Eli Stern, Director of Outreach, LINK, 1453 S Robertson Blvd. Phone: (310) 441-5289. Email: email@example.com Website: www. linkla.org
Photos: Yosef Ober
THE JEWISH HOME
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
THE JEWISH HOME FEBRUARY 12, 2015
THE JEWISH HOME
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
Miracles and Wonders; the new Tiveria Retirement Community in Tiberias Dr. Tzvi Wilbur is currently an East Coast pediatrician. When his observant parents started discussing their plans for retirement he thought they were perfectly simple; they wanted to retire in Israel. The problem was that few retirement communities have ever been built. The opportunities for frum couples, with $300,000 or so to spend on a retirement home, have been non-existent. Wilbur went to work and started talks with the mayor of Tiberias as well as politicians, the housing authorities
daily study programs with many choices of learning. This new community will be able to enjoy a vibrant study schedule. In addition to the local community, the Retirement Community will offer its own Torah study programs that will enable the residents to grow in Torah knowledge and appreciation. There will be daily minyanim and an eclectic choice of classes for the frum retirees to enjoy. Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s son, Rabbi Avraham Auerbach, is the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of
Kinneret, the Golan Heights and Mount Arbel; this is arguably one of the most attractive views you will find anywhere in the world. The land is named Mul Arbel due to its close proximity to Mount Arbel. Mount Arbel was an important strategic location during the Hasmonean Period. During this period Nittai HaArbeli lived there. Opponents of the Roman rule in 38 BCE hid in caves of Mount Arbel during the campaign of conquest of Herod in the Galil. Bibli-
development of Wilbur’s retirement community as the new residents will create much-needed job opportunities. The Jewish agency is promising advertising funds for the new Tiveria Orthodox Retirement Community and the Israeli Government is investing in the infrastructure of the location. Meanwhile, Wilbur is working with banks in Tiberias to see if mortgages can be made available for less than the 40% down-payment that is common in Israel. Given the initial positive response to
and even Nefesh b’Nefesh. After three years of effort, he secured the backing of the Municipality of Tiberias for a piece of land, on the northern part of the west shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Kinneret is the perfect backdrop for a new development that is now underway, serving the frum Anglo retirement community. Named with the Hebrew form of Tiberias, the community is called the Tiveria Orthodox Retirement Community Project. With a perfect climate, Tiberias is not even 2 hours from Jerusalem and offers healthy living with excellent community hospitals. Yet the program is focusing on something unique as well; Tiberias is a town with a frum community that enjoy
Tiveria and he is a strong supporter of the project as well. The goal is to have 2,000 affordable homes but the first phase requires just 40 apartments which will be pre-sold. The residences are on average 1,000 square feet and purchasers will be able to chose a smaller apartment if they wish. Standard size will include two bedrooms and two bathrooms but an additional study or office and an additional bedroom are possible. The community will also include a swimming pool and gym while the location is close to the ancient synagogues and cemetery of Tiberias where spiritual pilgrimages are enjoyed. Additionally, the homes will have panoramic views of the
cal personalities buried on this mountain include Sheish the son of Adam, Reuven, Shimon and Levi the sons of Jacob our Forefather, Dinah the daughter of Jacob and Rabbi Zeirah. Biblical Jethro, known as Islamic prophet Shuaib, is believed to be buried in a religious shrine near Kfar Zeitim adjacent to Mount Arbel. The Druze have held religious festivals there for centuries, every April. Given that Tiberias survives on its tourist industry, there is heavy development of hotels along the main roads into the city. The economy of Tiberias is weak, however, and a large percentage of the 45,000 residents have to travel elsewhere for work. In fact, this is what triggered the
the Tiveria Orthodox Retirement Community, Wilbur anticipates that the subsequent phases will include homes for younger families with children. The developers are pleased to adapt the program per the needs and requests of the new residents. Israeli retirement could now become a realistic option for American retirees. For more information about this project visit the website: http://tiveriaorc.wix. com/tiveriaorc. Facebook Page: Tiveria Orthodox Retirement Community. Dr. Tzvi Wilbur can be reached at tiveriaorc@ gmail.com or 917-636-9433.
Statement On Vaccinations From The Orthodox Union And Rabbinical Council Of America
Orthodox Jewish parents, like responsible parents across the United States, overwhelmingly vaccinate their children against measles, mumps, rubella, polio and the other childhood diseases for which inoculations are now almost miraculously commonplace. As in many communities, a small minority of parents chooses not to do so. The ongoing measles outbreak demonstrates how this could bear very serious
consequences, not only for their own children but others’ too, especially those medically unable to be vaccinated. The Orthodox Union (OU) and the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) strongly urge all parents to vaccinate their healthy children on the timetable recommended by their pediatrician. Parents who choose to not vaccinate often cite a medical study that purported to link autism and the MMR vaccine. The study was discovered to be fraudulent and
was withdrawn; its lead author was found to have acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly,” and his license to practice medicine in Britain was revoked. Judaism places the highest value on preserving human life. It is well known that those facing even a potential life or death situation are instructed to set aside the Sabbath and other key tenets of halachic (Jewish law) observance until the emergency has passed. Prayers for good health and for the complete and perfect healing of the ill are an ages-old aspect of Jewish tradition. But prayers must go hand-in-hand with availing oneself of medical science, including vaccination.
There are halachic obligations to care for one’s own health as well as to take measures to prevent harm and illness to others, and Jewish law defers to the consensus of medical experts in determining and prescribing appropriate medical responses to illness and prevention. Therefore, the consensus of major poskim (halachic decisors) supports the vaccination of children to protect them from disease, to eradicate illness from the larger community through so-called herd immunity, and thus to protect others who may be vulnerable. The vaccination of children who can medically be vaccinated is absolutely the only responsible course of action.
who was racing his bicycle on the sidewalk and hit an elderly gentleman, resulting in significant injuries. Riders should resist the urge to speed on the sidewalk and remember that a pedestrian may walk out of a storefront unexpectedly, especially in the shops and businesses located throughout our community. Riding Against Traffic Bicycle riders cannot ride against traffic, and this is a frequent cause of accidents R’L. Drivers turning right out of parking lot driveways are usually looking to their left to prepare to merge into traffic, not
their right. If a bicyclist is riding against traffic, the turning driver will not see him. Ride in the same direction as traffic to avoid this scenario. Stop Signs Bicycle riders must stop at stop signs, red lights, and obey all traffic laws. Just like it’s illegal for a car to run a stop sign, it’s also illegal for a bicycle to do so. Many accidents occur when drivers see a clear intersection, begin to proceed through it, and then collide with a bicyclist that didn’t stop. A police officer can issue a citation for not stopping at the stop sign, so riders
should obey this important rule. Lastly, drivers should remember the new three-foot rule—it’s illegal to pass a bicyclist unless there is a minimum of three feet of clearance. Attorney Michael Rubinstein would like to thank the following individuals for allowing the presentations to take place: Rabbi Krauss; Mr. George Mann; Rabbi Greenbaum; Rabbi Farkash; and Rabbi Thaler. For a free bicycle safety handout, send an email to Michael@mrubinsteinlaw.com, or visit www.bikelawyerla.com.
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FEBRUARY 12, 2015
“Bicycle accidents are on the rise, and when it’s car versus bike, car always wins”, says local personal injury attorney Michael Rubinstein. Believing that proper bicycle safety awareness is the best prevention, Attorney Michael Rubinstein visited several schools over the past few weeks and made a presentation to the students discussing bicycle safety. Some of the schools visited include Toras Emes; Cheder Menachem; and Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad, and more are planned in the coming weeks. Los Angeles streets are notoriously unfriendly to bicycle riders. Avid cyclists often find riding in the city to be a dangerous proposition, so it’s no surprise that less-experienced riders also face close calls on a daily basis. Many students commute to and from school on their bicycles, and even more ride for recreation when they are not in school. As such, it’s crucial for students and riders to be aware of the various rules designed to protect bicycle riders. Some of the rules discussed at the presentations include: Helmet Laws Everyone under the age of eighteen must wear a helmet when riding. This rule also applies to riding a scooter, which many students were surprised to learn. Statistics show that the head is the most likely area of the body to sustain an impact in a bicycle accident, R’L. Attorney Rubinstein discussed a recent case inquiry involving a bicyclist who was hit by a car, thrown to the pavement, and had his helmet shattered. His helmet saved his life. Always make sure your helmet fits properly and is certified by the Snell Foundation, the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), or CPSC (United States Consumer Product Safety Commission). Maximize Visibility Many collisions between bicycles and cars occur because drivers do not see bicyclists. Bicycle riders should make every effort to increase their visibility. One way to increase visibility is to wear bright, neon colors. It’s a good idea to wear a neon sweatshirt or bicycle vest for riding during the day, and reflective clothing for riding at night. Neon clothing or reflective vests can be purchased online or at any bicycle shop or home improvement store, such as OSH. Riders must also use their bicycle lights whenever riding at night, even if it’s for a short ride. Sidewalk Riding The legality of riding on the sidewalk changes from city to city. In West Hollywood it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk if there is an adjacent bicycle lane. In Los Angeles, it is legal to ride on the sidewalk, provided that the rider is riding safely and poses no safety risk to others. A recent case inquiry involved a yeshiva student
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Community Lawyer Makes Bicycle Safety Presentations
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FEBRUARY 12, 2015
Build a Heart Builds Happy Friendships Under the direction of Chanie Lazaroff, Friendship Circle of Los Angeles’ (FCLA) inclusion specialist, an innovative project has been underway the last few months. Toras Emes has hosted a new program between FCLA and the Build a Heart Project. Both organizations joined forces to create an inclusion program where Torah Emes’ seventh grade volunteers buddied up with Friendship Circle kids. While Friendship Circle is known for supporting special needs children, and their families, Build a Heart, is a project of Chasdei Avigail, a program created in lov-
ing memory of Avigail Rechnitz, who was a paragon of chesed in the Jewish Community. Chaya Ullmann, the coordinator of this program, explained, “We wanted to create a program where our students would be introduced to different populations, learn about different needs and abilities, and use their talents, strength, and time to give back to the community. We call it Build A Heart, because Heart is our acronym for Humility, Empathy, Altruism, Responsibility, and Thankfulness, which are the five essentials of a giver.” In preparation, the girls participated in
a sensitivity and awareness workshop led by Friendship Circle. The students were directed to perform certain activities with earplugs and glasses with blinding prescriptions. Ultimately, the kids admitted they had not realized how frustrating it must be to live with these impairments on a regular basis. Ullmann remarked, “This collaboration with Friendship Circle was done with the hope of raising awareness and comfort levels for our students when meeting kids with special needs.” Once the workshops were complete, it was time to begin the inclusion program.
The FCLA children were warmly welcomed by the entire Toras Emes staff, who provided school uniforms so that the kids would feel they fit in. After the kids were matched with a student volunteer, they worked together on Jewish themed arts & crafts. Next, everyone participated in group davening. This was particularly meaningful for the kids, as they are not given the chance to do this as part of their regular routine in the public schools they attend. Each child then transitioned into classrooms. Some participated in circle time and aleph bais instruction, while others worked on parsha crafts and participated in group activities. The kids also interacted with peers during recess. On the first day, there
was dance, music and gross motor skill activities. The second day included a story hour and the third day included a creative dance program. Throughout the days, it became apparent how incredible the volunteers were while interacting with the children. They were attentive, intuitive and warm, and the children loved coming each day and participating. The program came to an exciting end with the seventh graders putting on a play for the FCLA children and other students
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to enjoy. One FCLA girl wanted to be part of the play and she grabbed a costume and sat on stage through several scenes. It was great to see how the girls were able to seamlessly work around the new addition to the play and they even changed their lines to make Shira feel included. It was a very special moment and Shira was noticeably thrilled to be apart of it. The beauty behind this extraordinary program was that the FCLA kids enjoyed a memorable event where they could connect with their Jewish roots while developing new friendships. The Toras Emes students were able to understand that kids with special needs are not so different from themselves. To learn more about FCLA please call 310.280.0955
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Chabad Russian Remembers Rabbi Jacob Shechet
Rabbi Jacob Shechet passed away this February 2nd. His name might not be one that you recognize, but he was instrumentally involved in one of the most exceptional stories in LA’s Jewish history. Rabbi Naftali Estulin, from the Chabad Russian Immigrant Program & Synagogue, has memories of Rabbi Shechet going back 40 years. In fact, he was the first person to give the young Rabbi Shechet, a new mohel at the time, a job. It turned out to be quite a job. The 1970s was a booming time for the Russian Jewish population of Los Angeles. As wave
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FEBRUARY 12, 2015
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3 Generations of Brissim
Rabbi Gruman Rabbi Malkiel Kotler and Rabbi Estulin at one of the Brissim
made impossible in the USSR. But the fact that some of the boys were circumcised and most were not, had them wondering and Rabbi Estulin realized it was time to take action. This was the beginning of one of Chabad Russian’s most monumental undertakings: the Adult Circumcision Program. “Adult” in this case meant anyone over infant – from toddlers to grandfathers. In fact, there were days when a grandfather, father, and son would all undergo circumcision on the same day. Initially, the mohel they worked with was Rabbi Isaac Weiss. However, an adult circumcision is more complex than that of an infant, especially when children are involved. Babies are easy to handle, and adults can understand and cope with the effects of the procedure, but children require sedation and
after wave of Russian Jews arrived in LA, Rabbi Estulin worked hard to help them settle and provide them with whatever they needed. One of the things they needed was a summer camp, but the financial constraints facing new immigrants made this difficult, so in 1975, he started a camp for them. With hundreds of participating kids, the camp was a Rabbi Estulin Lyle Weisman And Rabbi Shechet at a Bris success – but it presented a new problem. The boys coming out of Russia were uncircumcised; that requires hospital involvement. It unsurprising, as circumcision had been was around this time that Rabbi Estulin hired Rabbi Shechet, who introduced them to Dr. Barton Tanenbaum at Temple Hospital. There were 10 young boys in the first group; within three days they had completed 30 brissim. And that was just the beginning. Even with the establishment of hospital support, the project Rabbi Shimon Raichik and Rabbi Shechet at one of the Brissim
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and people from all over the world have traveled to see such an amazing Kiddush Hashem. Rabbi Shechet’s legacy wasn’t only about the numbers, but in the way he did his job. “He was devoted and honest; he cared about the kids,” explained Rabbi Estulin. “He Rabbi Shechet & Rabbi Estulin with Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen used to go and check on every was not running smoothly. Firstly, it child and this was when he’d cost $200 per child, and this was in the be making 26 or 30 circumcisions in 1970s, when the Chabad Russian pro- three days. Day and night he was rungram was just getting started. “I didn’t have a penny,” recalls Rabbi Estulin, “but I said OK.” They began using the vans they already owned to take large groups of children and parents to hospitals throughout the area, 50 or 60 people at a time. The hospital fees weren’t the only expenditure. Rabbi Estulin felt it was important that the boys were excited Rabbi Shechet and Rabbi Douek and happy about their connection to Judaism, so be bought each of them ning to the kids. I used to pay him a a present after their bris. We’re not salary, but he went beyond the salary. talking stickers either. Initially the He loved and believed in his work. He prize was a stereo which was expen- visited the kids wherever they were, sive at the time, even when purchased sometimes bringing presents to them. And he would fly anywhere a mohel was needed.” These days, most of the circumcisions that Chabad Russian organizes are for infants, but the program is still ongoing for anyone who requests it. Meanwhile, 40 years of this program have racked up a huge debt that is Rabbi Hecht Rabbi Pil and Rabbi still being paid off but Rabbi Estulin Shechet at one of the Brissim is undaunted. “The Midrash says that wholesale, and then later a bicycle. the angel of Yishmael complains that As the number of children requir- Israel belongs to them, because Yishing circumcision began to run out, the program transitioned again, this time from hospitals to doctors’ offices. Dr. Benzion Heyman offered his offices to them. “When someone opens a door for a Russian, he comes!” Rabbi Mendel Duchman and Rabbi Shechet at one of the Brissim said Rabbi Estulin with a smile. They made so many brissim mael was circumcised at 13 years, in those offices that there were days not 8 days… The Lubavitcher Rebbe when they left no room for other pa- said we fixed this already, because so tients. From there, they began moving many of these Russian Jews were three the brissim back to the shul, except in times, four times, FIVE times 13! I special cases where they returned to had someone circumcised at 78. I want Dr. Tanenbaum. to explain how important this was; it Over the course of 40 years, there wasn’t just to do a mitzvah. This was have been around 10,000 brissim something very special and significant through this program. Numbers like for the freedom of the Jews and the that have a way of attracting attention, freedom of the whole world.”
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FEBRUARY 12, 2015
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TWO TREATS FOR TWEENS Bina Lobell’s Super Secret Diary by Ruchama Feuerman (Judaica Press 2014) Not for Sale by Bracha Rosman (Israel Bookshop 2014) Reviewed by Rebecca Klempner When I first spotted Ruchama Feuerman’s new book, Bina Lobell’s Super Secret Diary, I knew I had to read it. Sporting a hot pink cover that mimics the diary of the title, the book comes complete with a “locking” strap and fake stickers. Yes, it’s a flashback to fourth grade. The plot of this middle-grade novel is straightforward: 9 year-old Bina Lobell attends a Montessori school in a private home. Her parents chose the homeschooling environment both because Mrs. Lobell’s best friend runs the school and because Bina is highly allergic to peanuts. Only four other students attend Bina’s school, and she longs to branch out socially, particularly when the only other fourth grader in the school turns against her. Feuerman has built her reputation writing literary fiction for mainstream, adult audiences. Despite the difference both in genre and audience, it’s the same abilities that won her accolades in those previous books – Seven Blessings and In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist – that really make Bina Lobell… shine. I really got to know Bina’s world as she described herself, her classmates, relatives, and teachers, and I laughed along with her self-deprecating humor. The relationships between these characters are surprisingly complex, yet flexible over the course of the novel. When things really start going badly for Bina, it hit me – an adult! – surprisingly hard. Feuerman includes scenes of bullying so evocative, I gasped and cringed. The solution to the bullying isn’t tidy or perfect but it’s realistic. Although the novel primarily addresses girls, both in their inner lives and in a social context, the strength of the characterization and the adroit handling of bullying may appeal to some boys. In my favorite moment in the book, Bina wishes there were a “friend gemach” in which to find companionship. I laughed and teared up at the same time as she described in detail what the friend gemach would look like and how it would operate. Hasn’t everyone wished for such a thing at some time in their life? Bina learns about middos development – character growth – throughout the book,
but this is handled without heavy-handed, didactic messages. As a parent, watching Bina and the other girls grow into the “tzedekeses in training” that their teachers wanted, touched me greatly. These hopes reflect my aspirations for my own children. To help readers unfamiliar with Jewish vocabulary, the publisher provided a glossary at the end. Other nice touches: Inside the book, the font imitates girlish handwriting on journal pages. The adorable and comical illustrations interpret the text well. * Do you have a kid who immediately grabs each issue of your favorite frum magazine the moment it arrives in your house so they can keep up with their favorite serial? Good news: the following book is for that kid. L.A. resident Bracha Rosman has been writing for the Orthodox world for years, both in magazines and in books like Where There’s a Will, Never Too Late, and Out of Sight. She knows this audience well and her latest novel, Not for Sale, is a plot-driven thriller for the upper elementary set. The novel follows the Rosen family’s quest to transform a property they inherited from a long-lost relative into a new Jewish Community Center. When misadventure after misadventure hits the Rosen clan and their project, the kids begin to suspect foul play – but by whom? And why have they been targeted? And can they stop the criminals before disaster strikes? The book delivers just enough danger and suspense to keep young readers riveted, yet contains no major concerns for even Hareidi parents. Our family is reading, Not for Sale, aloud at bedtime, and my 9 year old son is perfectly entertained. Israel Bookshop produced the book with an attractive, comic-like cover that will appeal to the target audience, and their designer chose a nice, large font that will help out those readers who are just getting used to reading full-length novels. Not for Sale makes an entertaining read for kids 8 – 11 years old who prefer adventure and suspense.
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The Secret of the “Four Watchmen” Rabbi Sholom Kesselman
self or any personal gain. The law concerning such a watchman is that he is not liable for any damages unless they occurred as a result of negligence. In the spiritual sense, this means that a Jew who serves G-d in this way is not held responsible for any transgressions that he does unless they are done intentionally. At the other end of the spectrum is the borrower; the lowest and least ideal of them all. He enjoys all the benefits of the article while paying nothing to its owner. This is analogous of the Jew who enjoys all the pleasures and benefits of this world without giving anything back to G-d in terms of Divine service. The law concerning such a watchman is that he is liable for all damages, even those that were beyond his control. In the spiritual sense, this means that such a Jew is held responsible for all of his transgressions even those that were completely unintentional and unavoidable. In the middle we have the renter and the paid watchman. The common denominator between them is that there is something in it for both the owner and the watchman. In the case of the renter, he gets to use the article while the owner gets paid and in the case of the paid watchman, he gets paid while the owner gets his article safeguarded. They are both therefore analogous of the Jew who serves G-d and fulfills His Mitzvot, but at the same time expects and wishes for some reward in return. The law concerning these watchmen is that they are liable for all damages unless they were beyond the control of the watchmen. In the spiritual sense, this means that a Jew who serves G-d in this way is held responsible for his transgressions or sins but not for those that are truly unavoidable. What seems to emerge from this discourse of the “Shnei Luchos Habris” is that the “borrower” in this analogy has no positive redeeming factor and has no place among the observant and G-d fearing. He doesn’t serve G-d at all and thinks only of himself. The Lubavitcher Rebbe however, in a talk on Shabos Parshas Vayishlach 1986, referenced this discourse of the Shalo”h and proceeded to offer a dramatically different perspective on the “borrower”; one that casts him in a more positive light and includes him among those who do G-d’s will. The borrower, said the Rebbe, is still referred to as a watchman and thus he too
safeguards the article entrusted to him. In the spiritual sense this means that such a Jew does indeed keep all the Mitzvot and doesn’t do anything against the will of G-d. The problem however is that the borrower is not safeguarding it as a service to the owner, rather for himself. His intention is twofold: so that he can continue to use it and so that he won’t have to reimburse the owner when something goes wrong. On the spiritual side this means that the Jew is doing the Mitzvot but not as a service to G-d. He does them primarily for himself; so that he will be able to continue to enjoy the benefits of the world and so that he won’t be punished. While this is still a low level of observance, it is at least within the spectrum of Divine service and is a legitimate path in Torah.
The four watchmen thus form a scale for measuring one’s service and commitment to G-d, ranging from the lowest level to the highest. The bottom rung is the borrower; he keeps the Mitzvot only out of fear of punishment. One step higher is the renter and paid watchman; they keep the Mitzvot both for the sake of serving G-d and in order to receive a reward. The highest rung is the unpaid watchman; he keeps the Mitzvot purely for the sake of serving G-d and expects nothing in return. The message here is that we must always work to grow and improve. Whatever type of watchman one may be, he should strive to move up to the next level until he becomes the truly selfless unpaid watchman.
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
Among the many laws detailed in Parshat Mishpatim are the laws of the Arba’ah Shomrim or “four watchmen.” Here is the presentation of these laws as they appear in the Rambam’s Mishneh Torah (Hilchos Sechirus). “The Torah mentions four types of watchmen: an unpaid watchman, a borrower, a paid watchman and a renter. When an entrusted article is stolen from or lost by an unpaid watchman and needless to say, when the entrusted article is destroyed by forces beyond the watchman’s control - e.g., it was an animal and it died or was taken captive -the watchman must take an oath that he guarded the article in a manner appropriate for a watchman, and then he is freed of liability. A borrower must make restitution in all instances, whether the borrowed object was lost, stolen, or destroyed by factors beyond his control - e.g., a borrowed animal died, was injured or taken captive. A paid watchman and a renter are governed by the same laws. If the article that was rented or was entrusted for a fee was lost or stolen, they must make restitution. If the article is lost by forces beyond the watchman’s control - e.g., an animal died, was injured, was taken captive or was attacked by a wild animal - the watchman is required to take an oath, and then he is freed of liability.” Rabbi Yishai’a Halevi Hurwitz (Prague, 1565 –1630) in his very famous work “Shnei Luchos Habris” has a fascinating insight on the idea of the “four watchmen” and their subsequent laws. He explains how in addition to their literal interpretation, they also serve as a metaphor for the relationship between G-d and man. In this metaphor, G-d is the owner, man is the watchman and the entrusted article is the world. It is man’s task to safeguard the world and ensure that it remains a holy and G-dly world, infused with the light of Torah and Mitzvot. Man can approach his duty of safekeeping the world in one of four ways: as an unpaid watchman, as a borrower, as a paid watchman or as a renter. The highest and most ideal approach is that of the unpaid watchman. He guards the article on behalf of its owner and receives nothing in return. This is analogous of the Jew who serves G-d and observes His Mitzvot without expecting or wanting any reward in return. He serves G-d for the sake of G-d and doesn’t think about him-
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A People of Truth
In the alma deshikra in which we live, truth is a rare commodity. Fiction, deviation, misinformation and half-truths are pervasive in our world. The only way to have a connection to the truth is by following the Torah. Mishpotim, the laws that govern finances, which we study this week, must have a basis in the Torah in order for them to be truthful and just. In focusing on last week’s parshas Yisro, which teaches us about mattan Torah, and Mishpotim, the parsha that follows, a theme emerges. The drama and glory of Maamad Har Sinai were an introduction to the laws governing how we deal with each other. The depth of the connection between the two parshiyos is revealed by the Sefas Emes, who explains that “Ve’eileh hamishpotim asher tosim lifneihem” is the natural consequence of “Anochi Hashem Elokecha.” The posuk states, “…asher tosim lifneihem,” teaching us that even though these laws appear to be rational, Jews are forbidden to adjudicate their disputes in secular courts. Even if the secular laws seem to be the same as those that appear in the Torah, we must know that they are not. There are truths and then there is the Torah’s truth, composed and transmitted by the One whose seal is truth. We don’t live our lives in accordance with social mores and customs of the world around us. We live with His truth only. A rov was delivering a Gemara shiur to a group of intelligent and accomplished professionals who had no Torah background. Among them were judges, law-
yers and professors. They were studying Maseches Bava Kama, when a judge interrupted the shiur. “Look,” he said, “this is very nice and clear, but I don’t know what makes this stuff more special or unique than anything I’ve studied. I guarantee you that if you present to me a dilemma, I can come up with the same answer as your rabbis. Pardon me, but this is logical thought. I can’t detect anything Divine about it.” “Tell me please,” responded the rov, “what you would do if you came home from work and heard that your eleven-year old son had been playing baseball and mistakenly threw the ball through the neighbor’s window, shattering it? Your neighbor welcomes you by shouting that your dog kicked over a lantern and made a small fire, burning his rose-bush. Everyone is angry at you. How would you resolve it and make things right?” The judge pondered the question for several minutes. The listeners were eager to hear his well-reasoned response. Finally, he spoke up. “I would apologize to the neighbor about his rose-bush, but an animal is just an animal and I am not culpable. My son, however, is my problem and
where chochmas haTorah is ignored. The world runs on a form of fiction, a lie that is compelling and enticing and bears all the similarities to the truth. But it is still a lie. The system of justice presents itself as honorific and precise, but all too often we find that the people who administer justice are lacking in fidelity to a just code. From outside appearances, it seems that the laws are similar, but they are not. There are some things that you think you can accept at face value, but even those are often fiction. The yeitzer hora tempts us with different guises. Some are transparent and obvious enticements, while others are more cleverly devised to fool and entrap us. Societal mores are presented as truths, and those who don’t accept them are made to feel that they are out-of-fashion and irrelevant vestiges from a different time. America is reeling now. The very face of network news - and nothing is more hallowed than that - has been proven to be a liar who fabricated personal experiences in order to promote himself. One of America’s most trusted journalists simply made up stories and has been telling them for years. Paid $10 million annually to read
WE NEED SHALOM, BUT WE HAVE TO EQUALLY VALUE EMES. I would offer to pay for the broken window.” The rov smiled. “Excellent. But the Torah says exactly the opposite. Your child is a minor, a kotton hamazik, and thus you are exempt from financial responsibility for his actions. But you are responsible for your animal. You are liable for its actions because you are obligated to watch it well. You thus have to pay nezek, depending on the situation.” The attendees at the shiur burst into spontaneous applause, thrilled by this demonstration that the truth that governs creations is not governed by logic. They sensed that there is a Divine chochmah that guides us. At times, it may be logical. At other times it isn’t. But it certainly is never defined by logic. This is true outside of the bais medrash,
the news, because of his abilities to present it in a way Americans trust, he was caught in a lie he has been telling since 2003. Everything about this icon of reliability and truth was perfect. His stories were interesting, his passion real, his expression appropriate - except, well, that what he was saying wasn’t true. Everyone on his team knew he was lying, as did people involved in the incident, but nobody cared, because he fit the part he was promoted as: Mr. Truth. His network celebrated his first decade of service by posting a grandiloquent retrospect stating, “You build it slowly over time. And what you build, if you work hard enough, if you respect, is a powerful thing called trust.” He was finally called out for lying about his Iraq experience. The pressure became too much to bear and the man of
truth was forced to issue an apology. Last Wednesday night, the proud peacock strutted into the chair from which he addresses millions nightly and tried to fine tune an apology, blaming his lies on “the fog of war.” He explained that he had “conflated” two stories to praise the heroism and valor of enlisted men. He might have survived in the old days, but in the internet age, by week’s end, he had to “temporarily” go off the air. Still trying to keep his façade going, he wrote, “Upon my return, I will continue my career-long effort to be worthy of the trust of those who place their trust in us.” His bosses had no comment. It’s all a game. Some people play baseball, some play football, and some play the truth. In our world, everything is sheker. There is no truth outside of the Torah. Leadership is about acting, about feigning sincerity and compassion, intelligence and presence. Facts and numbers are stubborn things, but they are either ignored or spun by those in power to create and foster the narrative necessary to promote their agenda. The president trumpeted in his State of the Union message that “Our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis.” What he didn’t say was that the percent of full time jobs as a percent of the adult population is at a 30 year low. The official government numbers don’t count anyone as unemployed if they haven’t looked for a job over the past four weeks. Thirty million Americans are out of work, even more are suffering in low paying or part time jobs, but the big lie persists that the economy is picking up and unemployment is dropping. The woman running for president, though she still lies about her intentions, was caught in a similar falsity to that of the trusted news anchor when she spoke about her braveness under fire in Bosnia. When video appeared showing that there was no attack, the vaunted secretary of state said that she “misspoke.” She “misspoke” about the attack in Benghazi as well, but, in her words, “what difference
ships and friendships, they must be based on honesty and fidelity to the truth. If we are evasive or deceptive, as charming as we try to be and as hard as we try to mask our differences, we will ultimately fail. Armed with strength and truth, and guided by Torah, we can build bridges to make the world a better place and prepare it for the coming of Moshiach. By being honest, facing up to our differences and surmounting them, we can reach accommodations that last over time. Parents of a particularly stubborn child brought him to the rebbe of Piaseczna, Rav Klonymous Kalman Shapiro zt”l, one of the greatest mechanchim in pre-war Poland. The parents described to the rebbe how their son refuses to listen to their instructions. “Did you try making him see things your way?” the rebbe asked. “Yes,” they replied. “Have you tried cajoling or bribing him?” he continued. “Yes, but to no avail.” “Well, then,” the rebbe smiled, “you have a young man of truth and tenacity on
your hands, and you have the potential to raise the next Chasam Sofer. See to it that you use his firmness well. Fill his world and mind with truth, so that when he wages battles, they will be for the truth.” We need shalom, but we have to equally value emes. We need great men to embrace others and draw them close, but we also need great leaders who will chart a course of truth and tradition, telling us when battles cannot be settled through compromise. Just as life has no meaning without Torah, so is the order of creation interrupted by a lack of mishpot. Last week, when the baal kriah read the Aseres Hadibros, our heartbeat quickened, as we sensed that we were hearing the song of life itself. This week is no different. Mishpotim is the second half. It is the flip side of last week’s coin and just as critical. Hashem Elokeichem emes. His seal is emes. May we, the People of Truth, act in a way that will allow us to stand proud when the time of truth arrives.
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
feel they are treated as second-class citizens by an ultra-Orthodox rabbinate, they all have friends and family back at home who hear about it and that discontent and disconnect spreads. “And the second linked part, which is what got me involved, is national security. While Israel and America do not see eye to eye on every issue, on national security, they are two democracies that do see things essentially the same way. If you alienate one pillar of American support, you’ve lost them,” warns Zakheim from the pages of the Times. Even though the fact remains that Israelis don’t care about this and accept that halachah and Torah are the ultimate guide of the Jewish people, the experts who warn Israel to accept their deviations from tradition lest they suffer dire financial consequences don’t seem to care. “We know the election is going to be fought on other grounds - foreign policy, economics, the relationship with the U.S.,” Steven Bayme, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Koppelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Relations, tells the Times. “But the voices of American Jews need to be heard, even on what appears to be an Israeli issue that hasn’t caught fire with Israelis. We’ve got to be a consciousness-raising effort with a lobbying arm.” So, the Israelis don’t care, and thus the issue is bogus, but no matter, they will still insist that people follow their liberal agenda and berate the prime minster and rabbis until their agenda is adopted. Someone should explain to them that the Torah is eternally true and relevant. We are not affected by today’s trends and fads, for we know that they will not stand the test of time. To compromise on truths is to engage in a fictitious momentary pursuit. To water down what we are and what we stand for to appeal to the likes of the Times and NBC is a foolish endeavor. The transparent attempts to betray the life-giving vision and mission of the Torah are to untether our vital links in exchange for temporal and fleeting societal standards which are in constant flux. Alma deshikra means that everything around us is a lie. It’s all sheker. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can have a connection to the truth of Torah. When we recognize that the world is basically fabricated of lies covered by a veneer of honesty, we learn a valuable lesson in how to navigate its roads and avoid its pitfalls. We live in an era when much is made about diplomacy and bridge-building. Certainly, we need to strive for peace and do what we can to work harmoniously with others. But in paying homage to the ideals of shalom, we cannot forget the value of emes. The Torah that we follow is comprised of emes and its paths lead to true peace. In order to achieve proper lasting relation-
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does it make?” It’s a game and everyone plays along. Her husband was impeached and is a known liar, yet he is the most popular politician in this country. The current president misspeaks all the time, yet it has become acceptable, because that’s the way the game is played. It’s all a game. When he speaks the truth, as he did last week in a most undiplomatic and impolitic way about the murderous Christian Crusades and Inquisition, he was widely condemned for speaking the truth about Edom. He says that he can’t meet Israeli Prime Minister Binyomin Netanyahu when he comes to Washington next month, because the administration cannot appear to take sides in the upcoming Israeli election. Yet, that didn’t prevent Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry from meeting with his strongest challenger, Buzi Herzog, over the weekend in Europe. This is the same vice president who says that he won’t be able to attend the Israeli prime minister’s address to Congress about the dangers of capitulating to Iran, because he will be traveling abroad. He doesn’t yet know where he will be traveling, however. But, remember, he is Israel’s best friend, ever. The same Buzi Herzog, who seeks to become Israel’s next prime minister condemned Netanyahu at the international conference he was attending. Whether Netanyahu’s decision to snub the American president was unwise or not, it is an entirely different story to minimize the Iranian threat in order to gain media and Democrat favor. Herzog said in his speech, “As leaders, we must put the interests of our country and our citizens far ahead of our own political survival.” He then proceeded to do exactly the opposite. The New York Times, in a religion article over the weekend, warned Israel that “Mr. Netanyahu’s apparent alignment with Republicans will erode the support of [the] majority of American Jews who reliably vote Democratic, because they lean liberal on most social and economic issues.” The media cares deeply about Israel and thus feels an obligation to warn its leaders how to behave and which causes to adopt. The Times article informs that there is a new advocacy group, recently formed to pressure the Israeli chief rabbinate to approve non-halachic religious ceremonies. So what does one thing have to do with the other? The Jewish Religious Equality Coalition, a new group comprised of Reform and Conservative clergy, as well as Rabbis Asher Lopatin and other neo-Orthodox renegades, is chaired by Dov S. Zakheim, a former Defense Department official. Somehow, that qualifies him to tell Jews how to be Jewish. “There are two fundamentally linked issues,” says Zakheim. “When you have American Jews who move to Israel and
Deb Hirschhorn, Ph.D.
Speed and the Pink Ladies The History of Antidepressants lifecycles. Two-thirds of white, middleclass women were opiate addicts by the 1860s. By 1900, a higher percentage of the American population was addicted to opiates than there were heroin addicts in the 1990s. Already by the 1880s, doctors were starting to get concerned. Meanwhile, in Germany, a dye maker Friedrich Bayer created a synthetic that could be used to wean addicts off of morphine. This drug seemed heroic, so he called it heroin. He marketed it well and
Law enforcement noticed that it made for a good “truth serum.” These “goofballs” were given to World War II veterans and came with innocent names like yellow jackets, blue angels, pink ladies and reds. In New York City from 1957 to 1963, there were 1,165 deaths from these barbiturates. Those who survived were addicted: 250,000 by 1962. Amphetamines, also called speed, came next. The manufacturer, Smith,
it took off here in the U.S. Unfortunately, it proved even more addictive than what it was replacing. Bayer stopped production in 1913 but by then had invented acetylsalicylic acid – aspirin. Coke was the next big thing, promoted by Freud himself. He liked the “exhilaration” it gave, and besides, it might do well with asthma. He wrote to his fiancée that he takes it himself for depression. Its manufacturer, Parke, Davis & Co, sent him samples and eventually paid him to promote it which he gladly did. By 1914, the Harrison Act made these drugs illegal because it became apparent that they created hallucinations and people could become violent while on them. The next wave introduced barbiturates and amphetamines. The former, made by Merck Bayer in 1911, called Luminal and Veronal, “were used to relieve surgical and obstetric pain, control seizures and convulsions, ease alcohol withdrawal symptoms, soothe ulcers and migraines, suppress asthmatic wheezing, and reduce the irritability accompanying hyperthyroidism.” Therapists got on board this one, recommending Amytal for “manic-depressive psychosis” and relaxed fears, anxieties, and inhibitions in their clients. It promised quick cures.
Kline and French, sent out samples to doctors in order to figure out what the drug would be good for. Benzedrine Sulfate seemed to lift people’s spirits while calming rowdy children. After it came out in 1937, one doctor, Abraham Myerson, tried it on himself – apparently doctors thought the honorable thing to do before prescribing drugs was to try them – liked how it felt and helped promote it. Students loved it for cramming but some worried that it was poisonous. Mainly, it was marketed as a decongestant but used for the high. The United States military dispensed it to soldiers during the Vietnam War. This was not new; both the U.S. and Britain had given it out to troops during World War II. It’s just that this time, the military distributed more than both countries combined had previously. In the ‘40s, Smith Kline and French realized that they would do well to suggest that not only are amphetamines good for weight loss but that it is depression that leads to weight gain – and amphetamines are good for that, too. This was, indeed, the jackpot because by 1954, Dexedrine, made as a time-release, earned $11 million. Combining Dexedrine and Amytal was another stroke of
genius because the jitters from the speed would be calmed by the downer, so Dexamyl was hot. The cycle we’ve seen so far repeated itself again: the side effects were scary and addiction was rampant. (Withdrawal symptoms for example included “panic, nightmares, seizures, severe depression, hypersomnia and psychotic features.”) You should know that when, in 1971, the FDA classified amphetamines and methamphetamines as Schedule II drugs, Big Pharma objected. In 2006, meth was considered by the UN to be “the most abused drug on Earth.” Next came the tranquilizers – Miltown, Equanil, Librium, Valium – the benzodiazepines. Later on there were Klonipan, Xanax and others. Eventually, the same cycle hit the market and interest waned. You know the end of the story: The SSRIs, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors with Prozac leading the pack in the ‘80s. It would seem that the world would get smart: Hashem has provided us with a difficult, challenging, often painful world. Would it not be better to learn to carve out a little happiness within our nisayonos without resorting to chemical fix-its? As I mentioned in my talk at Food For Thought, commentators suggest that perhaps all the suffering that Shaul HaMelech endured was to create a test for Dovid. And perhaps Dovid’s suffering was to give us Tehillim. There is no way to know why we suffer, so there is no point in trying to figure it out. But something tells me that the suffering was meant to a positive end. I think we’re supposed to figure out how to cope rather than to blot out our feelings. Dr. Deb Hirschhorn, a Marriage & Family Therapist best-selling of The Dr. Deb and Hirschorn is a author marriage & Healing Is Mutual: Marriage Empowerment family therapist and best selling author Tools Rebuild Trust and Respect—Toof Theto Healing Is Mutual: Marriage gether, is proud to announce that readers Empowerment Tools to Rebuild Trust of TheRespect. Jewish Home willvisit receive a $50 disand Please www.drdeb. count on further every visit to her Woodmere office. com for info. Attend the Food For Thought lectures at Traditions Restaurant in Lawrence on Tuesdays at 12:30 PM. (There is a lovely optional lunch menu for $12 cash.) Any questions, call 646-54-DRDEB or check out her website at http://drdeb.com. All stories in Dr. Deb’s articles are fabricated.
FEBRUARY 5, 2015
just took my monthly turn at Food For Thought. This time, I was speaking about What is Normal? – Therapy and Torah: Is It Sick or Evil? I won’t give away the answer but I can assure you it is not what you think. If you didn’t make it, G-d willing I don’t mess up the technological aspect of it, you will be able to access it on Torah Anytime. I want to branch out into a complementary topic, one which deserves some airing beyond the therapy community. I will take no credit for it; I am going to give a summary of an article that appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of the Psychotherapy Networker, a magazine for therapists. The article, by gifted writer Mary Sykes Wylie, is called, “Falling In Love Again: A Brief History of Our Infatuation with Psychoactive Drugs.” The efforts to treat depression, other than davening, probably began when Shaul HaMelech asked Dovid to play the harp to sooth the king’s nerves. I myself recall my first job in Des Moines, when I wanted to support myself in grad school, as an aide on the psychiatric unit of a mental hospital. My job description? Holding down the legs of patients who were being given Electric Shock Therapy. Do I need to tell you that I did not like that job? Before that, around 3400 BCE, the Sumarians cultivated the opium poppy which they called the joy plant. They passed this good news on to the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians. In ancient Greece, Hypocrites recognized its usefulness as a narcotic. In the U.S., opium reached market saturation by the 1880s because, as the Networker article says, “It was as widely, freely, and indiscriminately used for just about every ailment as Tylenol or Advil are today.” Prescriptions were not needed for this over-the-counter for what was then called “neurasthenia,” what today we say is anxiety. Morphine, derived from opium and injected, was stronger and thought to be a cure for opium addiction. Not only did war veterans take it for what we think of today as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but it was normal for mothers to give it to their colicky babies. Doctors thought that opium and morphine were appropriate remedies for women’s problems through their
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New Exhibition in Jerusalem Presents 2,500 Year Old Tablets from Ancient Babylonia Aaron Feigenbaum Iraq today is a battle-scarred land that is being torn apart by religious and tribal sectarianism. The fact that the region was once the epicenter of Jewish life and the cradle of global civilization is often forgotten. Babylonia, as southern Iraq was once called, was controlled by the Assyrians, a people originating from the area that is
Most went to northern Israel but about 1,500 Judeans made the dangerous trek to Babylonia. They found great success in their new home, gaining prominent positions in business and government, but they also wept with longing to return to the Holy Land (Tehillim 137:1). After the Babylonians were defeated by the Persians in 539 B.C.E., a group of exiles returned
to Jerusalem under the leadership of Ezra
Akkadian victory Stele, Louvre
Image of Nebuchadrezzar, at the Palazzo Ducale in Venice
present-day Syria. The Babylonian Empire started out as a single city called Babylon. Babylon, now a heap of ruins in Hillah, Iraq, was home to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It wasn’t until Hammurabi (of Hammurabi Code fame,) came to power in 1700 B.C.E. that the Empire grew and started expanding to the west. After Hammurabi’s death, Babylonia went through a turbulent period of succession struggles but managed to reach stability after it fell into Akkadian and then Assyrian hands. The Assyrians made many scientific and mathematical accomplishments, including being the first to divide a circle into 360 degrees. In 620 B.C.E. Nabopolassar finally put the Babylonian Empire back under native Babylonian control in what is referred to as the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After Nabopolassar died, his son Nebuchadnezzar II made the Empire a world power and built the Hanging Gardens. It was also Nebuchadnezzar II that sacked Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. and destroyed the First Temple, as recounted in the Books of Yirmiyahu and Daniel. Thousands of Jews were exiled as a result of the Babylonian conquest of Judea.
and Nehemiah. On February 2nd, a new exhibition at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, is showing more than 100 clay cuneiform tablets and is shedding some light on what life was like in the Babylonian Exile. The small tablets were dug up in Iraq
in the 1970’s and acquired some time ago by London-based Israeli collector David Sofer. However, it wasn’t until two years ago that archaeologists were given their first chance to look at them when Mr. Sofer loaned part of the collection to the Bible Lands Museum. In the words of Filip Vukosavovic, ancient Babylonian history expert and current curator of the museum’s tablet exhibition, “It was like hitting the jackpot.” The tablet collection is made up mainly of Akkadian administrative certificates such as sales bonds, contracts and addresses. The tablets are marked with dates ranging from 572-477 B.C.E. with the oldest one having been written in a small script, just 15 years after the destruction of the First Temple. They speak of a bloc of Jewish settlements between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Babylonia. One village is called Al-Yahadu, the Babylonian term for Jerusalem. Names of the residents there include Gedalyahu, Hanan, Dana, Shaltiel, and Netanyahu. The tablets also match up with the passage in the Book of Yechezkel in which the prophet writes, “as I was among the captives by the River Chebar.” Mention of the “River Chebar” appears several times in the tablets. The tablets keep a meticulous record of various business transactions, leasing
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Being exiled from Yerushalayim
pears in ancient Hebrew. According to Prof. Wayne Horowitz, an archaeologist studying the tablets, “These are the most ancient Hebraic letters from Babylonian exile.” Vukosavovic says that the tablets complete a “2,500-year-old puzzle.” They
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
agreements, debts, taxes etc. For example, Certificate 31 describes a deal between Yirpa Ben Dohah and Ahikam Ben Refa’iyahu in which a “trained, five-year-old bull” is traded for a “gray jennet.” In another tablet, a man named Neriayu Ben Ahikam rents his house for “10 silver shekels ...
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Photo of the Babylonian Talmud, copied by Solomon ben Samson, France, 1342 (Diaspora Museum, Tel Aviv)
half given at the beginning of the year and the rest in the middle of the year” with the condition that the tenant would pay for any damages done to the structure. The tablets also chronicle a family in the Judean Kingdom over the course of four generations beginning with the father, Samak-Yama, his son, grandson, and five great-grandchildren, all with biblical Hebrew names still in use today. Even the inheritances for each generation are detailed. Some tablets have ancient Hebrew writing next to the Akkadian cuneiform. This is assumed by researchers to be for the purpose of cataloging and tracing. For example, in Certificate 10, dealing with a barley bond, the name Shalemiyahu ap-
also represent yet another confirmation of the Biblical text’s historical accuracy. Many Jews returned to Eretz Yisrael after it was conquered by the Persian Empire under Cyrus the Great. However, many others stayed in Babylonia and formed one of the oldest exile communities in the world, thriving for over 2,500 years until the 1950’s when most Jews from the Arab world moved to the newly formed state of Israel. The single most important contribution of the Babylonian Jews was undoubtedly Talmud Bavli, a text still in use to this day.
Wood Grilled Rib Eye mustard demi | fried yukon gold potatoes sous vide abalone mushrooms | roasted pearl onions
(Sources: Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Daily Mail)
Emblem of Asshur
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Kicking the Bomb Down the Road with Iran BY NACHUM SOROKA
hear Barack Obama tell it back in July, by now the U.S. and Iran should be sitting lock-armed around a peaceful, nuclear-powered bonfire in Tehran singing the Arabic equivalent of “Kumbaya” and roasting lamb kebabs. Back then, Iran and the West had been already involved in discussions regarding the rogue state’s said peaceful nuclear program for close to six months, and the White House (along with many Democrats) was sticking to its original position that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was not, in fact, a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”—to quote Benyamin Netanyahu—but an authentic vanguard of a new, post-Ayatollah Iran. The American president had even made history ten months before when he had a phone conversation with Rouhani, the first such dialogue between the two states in over 30 years. “It is clear to me we’ve made real progress in several areas, and that we have a credible way forward,” said Obama. Now, more than a year after the Obama administration began calling for easing trade sanctions against the country, Washington is more torn than ever over the reality of the Islamist country with nuclear capabilities. Last month, in his State of the Union address, the president claimed that his administration has been successful in halting Iran’s nuclear program and reducing its nuclear stockpile. Any sanctions that the U.S. will choose to place on the country would only lead to war, was the president’s threat to his Republican counterparts in Congress. But many in Congress seem to be nonplussed. A recent bill proposed in part by Illinois Senator Mark Kirk and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, himself a Democrat, intends to impose increased sanctions on Iran if the negotiations fail to “dismantle—not just stall—Iran’s illicit nuclear program and prevent Iran from ever becoming a threshold nuclear weapons state.” But Obama may be forging ahead with his idea of a strategy regardless of
what the other branches of government think. Just a year ago, it was reported that Benjamin Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communication and a key member of Obama’s close circle, shared some private information with a group of Democrat activists. He said that the November 2013 nuclear agreement between Tehran and the “P5+1”—the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany—represented not only “the best opportunity we’ve had to resolve the Iranian [nuclear] issue,” but “probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy.” This conversation was private and Rhodes was unaware that his words were being caught on tape. “We’re already kind of thinking through, how do we structure a deal so we don’t necessarily require legislative action right away,” an effort to keep Congress in the dark. While Obama’s representations about the achievements of the West’s talks with Iran may be somewhat murky, what is clear is that the West has allowed the Iranians to practice the game of kicking the can down the road for close to a year already. Negotiations were originally not supposed to go past July 20, after which sanctions on Iran were to be tightened to their original severity, but Iran has so far been successful in allowing that deadline—along with a subsequent November deadline—to lapse without suffering any consequences, and the Obama administration seems to be content with them playing that game. Menendez’s bill, “The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act,” is a direct response to the White House’s passivity. The sanctions posed in the bill would kick in should Iran fail “to reach a final agreement in a discernible timeframe.” And while the president has wielded the power of his veto to strike down any restriction proposed on Iran that would possibly derail negotiations, the Menendez bill has bipartisan backing in Congress, making it a tough veto target.
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if a nuclear Iran is not enough cause for tension, the recent jockeying over the negotiations has created much political conflagration. The New York Times reported recently that Senator Menendez and the president wound up in a heated exchange at the Senate Democratic Issues Conference a few weeks ago. The senator stood up to face the president while he was at the speaker’s podium and announced that he took “personal offense” at Obama’s suggestion at the time that Menendez’s hawkish stance came from his desire for short-term political gain and not from a more long-term view. Not one to miss out on the political melee, House Speaker John Boehner has found a very willing confederate in rousing the Republican opposition in Benyamin Netanyahu. Last month, Boehner invited the Israeli prime minister to address a joint session in Congress in March. Boehner’s offer, which was extended without any White House involvement, has been called by the White House a “breach of protocol” and draws a glaring line between where the administration and Congress stand on Middle East policy. “Prime Minister Netanyahu is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people,” Boehner said in a statement. “In this time of challenge, I am asking the prime minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.” Netanyahu, as Israeli prime minister, has much to gain politically from this visit; addressing Congress is considered to be an honor for any world leader and Netanyahu is suffering in Israel from an image of having difficult
Obama may be forging ahead with his idea of a strategy regardless of what the other branches of government think. relations with the U.S. Despite the president’s assertions to the contrary, feelings between the two leaders can be described as icy. According to Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East negotiator, “Obama thinks Netanyahu is a modern-day snake oil salesman conning him on Middle East peace and disrespecting U.S. interests.” And Netanyahu is of the opinion that Obama is a mistaken intellectual who could use a strong dose of realpolitik. But Netanyahu will be addressing Congress despite the breach of accepted protocol because of his profound concern over the Iranian threat. Essentially, it’s principle over protocol for him. The president has said that he will not be meeting with Netanyahu when he comes to address Congress, citing a policy of not meeting foreign leaders in close proximity to their election; the Israeli election is scheduled for March 17. It’s hard to believe that this is considered policy when just a few years ago then-President Bill Clinton met with Prime Minister Shimon Peres in the White House on April 30, less than a month before the elections that year. (Peres ended up losing that election to Netanyahu.) Senator Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chastised Netanyahu for accepting the invite, saying, “I don’t think that’s appropriate for any country—that the head of state would come here within two weeks of his own election in his own country.” Last Thursday, Pelosi proclaimed that there was no organized boycott of the prime minister’s speech, although some lawmakers may be too “busy” to make time to attend the speech. “I don’t think anybody should use the word ‘boycott,’” she said in her weekly press conference. “When these heads of state come, people are here doing their work, they’re
trying to pass legislation, they’re meeting with their constituents and the rest. It’s not a high-priority item for them.” At least two Democrats have made public their intentions to skip the speech.
exactly is the president’s rationale in allowing the West to be humiliated by Iran’s stalling tactics? What was he even thinking to begin with over a year ago when the countries agreed to sit down and talk? It could be argued that the Iranians never had any ulterior motives in their pursuit of nuclear capabilities. In 2012, a CIA report concluded that while Iran is pursuing research that could enable it to build a nuclear weapon of mass destruction, it was not attempting to do so at that time. The main issue with the country, however, has been its consistent lack of transparency when it comes to its nuclear capabilities and ambitions. Between 2006 and 2010 the UN Security Council adopted six resolutions requiring Iran to stop enriching uranium, all a result of Iran’s failure to comply with the international inspections. In the past year and a half and in his recent State of the Union address, the president laid out his plan as the only possible route to ensure peace with an inexorably nuclear Iran. In 2013, the president said of his plan that it “opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure — a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.” Recently, the president has been even more explicit about his belief that not settling with Iran will only lead the U.S. and the West into war with them. In fact, the White House has referred to the Kirk-Menendez bill as a “march into war.” But one would hope that after so much time spent at the negotiation table and so little concessions made on the Iranians’ part, the president would have learned a bit more about his counterparty and the ability to reach any agreement with them. Does Iran have a concrete plan a nuclear weapon in the near future? Who knows. Will it have the ability to do so in the near future? Certainly. The country has already developed the capacity to enrich uranium and separate plutonium to weapon-grade form. And it already has ballistic missiles with the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead to the country’s targets. In February, Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan boasted that Iran’s new, laser-guided, ballistic missile has the ability to avoid anti-missile defense systems. John Kerry said last year that it could possibly take only two months for Iran to build a nuclear weapon if it decides to do so. But Kerry also said in December that allowing Iran to go full steam ahead with its program, without any concessions to the international community or Western oversight, would be “the height of irresponsibility, it would be against our own interests and those of our closest partners, to walk away from a table when and if a peaceful resolution might really be within reach.” If negotiations succeed, he claimed, “The entire world — including Israel — will be safer for it.”
philosopher George Santayana is credited for the most wellknown and oft-repeated summation of the importance of learning from history: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Is Barack Obama the 21st century’s Neville Chamberlain? In 1938, Chamberlain said of his negotiation with Adolf Hitler that it “achieved peace in our time.” That time, however, turned out to be quite short. The real hero of World War II politics turned out to be Chamberlain’s successor, Winston Churchill, whose resolute stance against international aggression helped return stability to Europe. Is the administration’s insistence in dealing with a rogue nation diplomatically a grave ignorance of history’s lessons? Or is it really a response to the lessons taught to us by the last decade’s deadly operations in Iraq and Afghanistan? No one knows. What would be helpful, though, is if our politicians actually recognize how little they do know.
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Criminalizing Israel’s Right to Exist What the ICC Probe Means to the Jewish State BY SHIRA DIAMOND
n January 16, the Palestinians were finally given some sort of standing. On that day, the International Criminal Court opened an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories, bringing one of the world’s most chronic, heated conflicts into its courtroom. Prosecutors have said they would examine “in full independence and impartiality” crimes that may have occurred since June 13 last year, although many are doubting the neutrality of the court. In fact, it was the Palestinians that have accused Israel of committing war crimes and have recently applied for membership status in the ICC. When the announcement was made on that Friday a few weeks ago, Nabil Abuznaid, head of the Palestinian delegation in The Hague, smugly said, “The case is now in the hands of the court. It is a legal
“It is a tragic irony that Israel,
The focus will be on Netanyahu – and he will be blamed
based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.” That is, only those who commit the most heinous crimes on humanity are meant to pass through the ICC’s chambers. Contrary to what many may think, the ICC is not part of the United Nations; it is a completely independent body. However, in 2004, the ICC and the UN signed a relationship agreement defining their affiliation and the Security Council has referred cases to the ICC. In fact, Ban Ki Moon gave his approval to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for going to the ICC. It would be safe to say that the UN is a definite supporter of the Palestinians going to the International Criminal Court and filing charges against Israel. How does the ICC define war crimes? Ironically, World War II helped shape the definition of war crimes, especially the Nuremberg trials which prosecuted Nazi criminals and the Tokyo trials which prosecuted the Japanese for war crimes committed in several Asian countries during World War II. The goal of the court is to hold people who commit war crimes accountable, and although the ICC charges people with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression, in Is-
which has withstood thousands of
terrorist rockets fired at its civilians
and its neighborhoods, is now being scrutinized by the ICC.” matter now and we have faith in the court system.” Israel, on the other hand, responded with outrage. “The court, which after more than 200,000 killed in Syria did not see fit to intervene ... finds it necessary to ‘examine’ the most moral army in the world,” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement. Interestingly, Lieberman is correct: The court has only completed three cases in its first decade and was only able to secure two convictions. It has been criticized for mainly focusing on Africa, ignoring some of the bloodiest conflicts and heinous acts in the rest of the world. A WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL According to the court itself, the ICC, “governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty
rael’s case, the Palestinians are accusing them of war crimes. According to the ICC, war crimes include violations of the Geneva Convention and other rules of armed conflict. Some prohibited acts under war crimes include murder, mutilation, cruel treatment or torture, taking of hostages, intentionally directing attacks toward buildings of religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historical monuments or hospitals among other things. Israel is also being accused of crimes of aggression, which includes among other things military occupation and annexation by use of force. On July 17, 1988, 120 states agreed to adopt the Roman Statute which became the legal basis for establishing the ICC. The court itself sits in The Hague in the Netherlands, but is funded by the member states. It’s interesting to note that the court also accepts donations from governments, international organizations, even corporations and individuals. To date, two more countries have joined the ICC, bringing the total up to 122. Of that number, 25 states are from Western Europe and North America, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 18 from Eastern Europe, 34 from Africa and 18 from Asia-Pacific. The court does not try countries, but rather individuals for war crimes. Therefore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be accused in the ICC of war crimes, as well as other Israeli officials. ISRAEL UNDER SCRUTINY Despite dire warnings from the United States as well as from Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Palestinians went ahead with their plan and appealed to the ICC. On January 16, the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced the court will open a preliminary examination into Israeli actions beginning in June 2014. This period of time covers Operation Protective Edge, as well as the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers that occurred this past summer, and Israel’s response to it. Although this may sound frightening to many, it is important to keep in mind that that this is not an investigation; it is an examination to determine whether or not they should open up an investigation. And these prelimi-
33 113 to steer Netanyahu away from this seemingly reckless approach, suggesting it may be better to refrain from attacking the ICC and its prosecutor which may
SHOULD ISRAEL CARE? There are several ways that countries react to the announcement that they are being investigated by the ICC. Most countries that have little to fear aren’t too bothered by the examination. Will the ICC see that Hamas is the entity that should be investigated for war crimes? For example, the ICC opened a preliminary examination into the U.S. military use of enhanced interrogation only further isolate Israel. They are suggesting that techniques in Afghanistan. Instead of reacting with Israel cooperate somewhat, handing over evidence of bluster, the U.S. simply stated that its policy is that Hamas war crimes and proving Israel has and is cathe court does not have jurisdiction over its citizens. pable of investigating alleged crimes against soldiers British officials were a little more disturbed when in the IDF. Obviously, Netanyahu disagrees, and the the ICC opening a preliminary investigation against success or failure of this campaign remains to be seen. their soldiers’ actions in Iraq, but they did not put What happens if the ICC does open up an investidown the court and provided them with sufficient gation? And what happens if Israel is proven guilty? evidence that soldiers who behaved wrongly were Well, in that case, the likely answer will be nothing. punished. Although it will be more ammunition for Israel-haters Israel, on the other hand, has gone into defense to bash the State, the ICC does not have its own police mode and has started a campaign to get others to force. It also doesn’t have the power to execute warstop supporting the court. Some question the effec- rants of arrest. Therefore, the court relies on the countiveness of this method, as besmirching the ICC may tries to uphold its ruling and hold the people it places make them more willing to open an investigation. judgments on responsible. This is especially difficult However, Israel is always an exception to the rule. if not impossible when it comes to Israel, since it’s not a member of the ICC. Therefore it stands to reason that the main goal of the Palestinian Authority in going to the ICC is to make Israel more isolated globally than it already is, as well as have the ruling “in the bag” when it tries to get world players to bypass Israel and declare Palestine a state.
Does Israel even stand a chance against the world’s bias?
It is speculated that the harsh response is due to the Israeli government’s belief that institutions like the ICC are so biased against Israel from the outset that they will inevitably be targeted despite what evidence may show. The government plans to release ads attacking the ICC as well as Fatou Bensouda, its chief prosecutor. Some in Israel’s government have tried
nother chapter in Israel’s fight for survival is being written in a book with more chapters than any other country in history. The Palestinians are using the International Criminal Court as a pawn in its agenda to bypass the peace process and avoid making painful concessions, hoping to inch closer to obtaining a Palestinian state and pushing Israel into its watery borders. But as Jews we see now more than ever how important it is to have a Jewish State in the sea of nations where antiSemitism is metastasizing and many Jews no longer feel safe. And so, just like Israel has witnessed incredible pain but has picked up the pieces and moved on, this chapter will also be written, and the pages will turn. And Israel will still stand strong.
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
the “situation in Palestine” could include the Palestinian Authority and Hamas’ actions as well. America’s strong condemnation against the Palestinian move to have the ICC investigate Israel was heard by Israel supporters everywhere. Congress also took action to discipline Palestinians for ignoring U.S. warnings about going to the court. On the first day of the new Congress, Senator Rand Paul introduced litigation closing loopholes in a previous law that would cut off the $500 million in aid the U.S. gives the Palestinian Authority each year. Several European countries, most notably Germany and the UK, made statements to the effect that this move by the Palestinians will only hinder peace. Israel is lashing out in her own way for this audacious move by the Palestinians. Besides rejecting the jurisdiction of the court (the U.S. is also not a member of the court), it has cut off significant monies from reaching the Palestinians, namely $125 million a month in tax transfers. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is also trying his hand at the political realm of influence, by lobbying countries that support the ICC such as Canada, Australia, Japan and Germany to end funding the court. The chances of success are yet to be seen, but it’s speculated he will meet with little achievement in this area, especially with Germany who was involved in the establishment of the ICC. The U.S. administration has had surprisingly
strong words regarding the investigation in the ICC. In a statement from the state department, they said, “As we have said repeatedly, we do not believe that Palestine is a state and therefore we do not believe that it is eligible to join the ICC… It is a tragic irony that Israel, which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets fired at its civilians and its neighborhoods, is now being scrutinized by the ICC.” But as expected, they had some criticism for Israel as well, opposing the withholding of transfer taxes from the Palestinians.
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nary examinations can take an extremely long time. In Columbia, for example, this examination has been ongoing for more than a decade already. The court has yet to open a formal investigation, still wanting to give Columbia a chance to address the charges domestically. The court is also known to close preliminary examinations without moving onto an investigation. Most people are unaware that the court closed an examination in 2009 after the war in Gaza mainly because Palestine did not have statehood status. This would not be grounds to close the case now, though, because the ICC has said that the U.N. General Assembly recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state as well as the Palestinian accession to the ICC treaty means the ICC can investigate crimes committed in its territory. This gets complicated though, because what exactly Palestinian territory is, is not defined. This investigation could also backfire on the Palestinians and bring charges against them for war crimes, as the open-ended language from the prosecutor about
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Compiled by Nate Davis
“Say What?” “Say What?” Exchange between Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) and Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas) at a hearing on Obamacare: Rep. Hastings: I don’t know about in your state, which I think is a
crazy state to begin with — and I mean that just as I said it.
Rep. Burgess: The gentleman made a very defamatory statement
about my state, and I will not stand here and listen to it!
Rep. Hastings: Well, fine, you don’t have to listen. You can leave if
you choose. I told you what I think about Texas. I wouldn’t live there for all the tea in China, and that’s how I feel.
Compiled by Nate Davis
Welcome To Conoy Township: This Is Not A Gun-Free Zone.
Ew, I start this … job tomorrow. - Tweet by a girl who was about to start a job at a pizza shop in Texas
- A sign posted by Pennsylvania’s Conoy Township at the entrance to the town
No you won’t start that … job today! I just fired you! Good luck with your no money, no job life! - Pizza shop owner’s tweet in response the following morning
I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it. - From a letter written by ISIS hostage Kayla Jean Mueller to her family sometime before she was killed by the terrorist group
OK, let’s stop whining. OK, let’s stop whining. It’s hard to understand you. - A Maryland 911 operator to a 13-year-old girl who was calling about a car accident that just killed her father
And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of [Yushka]. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of [Yushka]. Michelle and I returned from India – an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity – but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs – acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhi, the person who helped to liberate that nation. So this is not unique to one group or one religion. – President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast addressing the rising tide of radical Islam
President Obama unveiled a $4 trillion budget for 2016 that would increase taxes on the wealthy and spend more money on education. He also made a snowball and put it in the oven, just to see which would last longer, his budget or the snowball.
The inventor of the soy sauce dispenser bottle has passed away. He actually died months ago but was just found in the back of the fridge. – Conan O’Brien
I have a message for the president with all due respect to him and to the office: Mr. President, if you don’t want to give terrorists a recruitment tool, instead of closing Guantanamo Bay, frankly sir, you ought to close your mouth. Because you just gave them a gigantic propaganda tool. They called us “crusaders” and you just confirmed it… Mr. President, we’re not on our “high horse.” What we are is on high alert. And the American people would like for once, to know that you are willing to defend Christianity and defend America instead of defending Islam. - Bishop E. W. Jackson on Fox News
– Jimmy Fallon Scientists have discovered that a 5,000-year-old mummy is covered with at least 60 tattoos. Scientists are calling him the earliest known member of the NBA. – Conan O’Brien
I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago. - Brian Williams apologizing on air after he was busted for lying about being in a helicopter that was shot down over Iraq
I am in the camp that is concerned about superintelligence. First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be superintelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though, the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned. - Bill Gates, discussing artificial intelligence in a Reddit interview The Americans are begging us for a deal on the negotiation table. - Mohammad Reza Naghdi, a top Iranian army commander, in recent comments to the Iranian state media
– Jimmy Fallon Brian Williams of NBC News has admitted he embellished a story about being in a helicopter that was shot at in Iraq. Williams says the helicopter part was true but it was a coin-operated helicopter outside of a Chuck E. Cheese. And it was in a bad part of Connecticut. – Conan O’Brien
Lance Armstrong and his girlfriend were out at a party and he accidentally banged into two parked cars. So then he told the cops that his girlfriend was driving. That’s the kind of thing that can hurt the man’s image. – David Letterman
At today’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama and the Dalai Lama avoided a direct meeting. Uh-oh, sounds like there may be some Obama-Lama drama. – Seth Myers Did they only come for lice and petloleum [sic]? – A tweet by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, while visiting China to negotiate a loan after meeting with a group of Chinese businessmen Sorry, the levels of ridiculousness and absurdity are so high they can only be digested with humor. – Ibid., shortly after sending out her first tweet
Staples has agreed to buy Office Depot for $6 billion. The funny thing is they just popped in there to buy envelopes and then they just got carried away. – Conan O’Brien Staples has reached a deal to buy Office Depot for $6.3 billion. While RadioShack has reached a deal to buy an old futon on Craigslist. – Seth Myers
– Jimmy Fallon Congress is threatening to walk out on Bibi…I am not only bewildered, I feel betrayed. If Bibi did make a mistake, which is debatable now because we have learned he did tell the White House before he accepted. But, even if it weren’t, imagine that a friend of yours is in fear for his life, he comes to your door to beg you and to tell you what the situation is and you say, “Gee, you didn’t knock. No, there wasn’t proper courtesy. You failed in the etiquette of entering my home.” - Professor at Yeshiva University Rabbi Benjamin Blech on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel
Harper Lee to publish second book 55 years after To Kill a Mockingbird, and you thought you had writer’s block? - Michael Goodwin, New York Post
Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, is publishing her second novel after a 55-year hiatus. This one is called Mock 2: Mock Harder. – Conan O’Brien Harper Lee announced today that she will release a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, which was published in 1960. Apparently she releases a new book every time the measles comes back. – Seth Myers
I think that the number that comes out of BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] and the Department of Labor is very, very accurate. I need to make that very, very clear so that I don’t suddenly disappear. I need to make it home tonight. - Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, joking on CNBC after he released an article calling into question the government’s new unemployment figures
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
According to a recent survey, 12 percent of Americans say that it’s fine to cheat a little on your taxes. While the other 88 percent know not to talk to a guy with a clipboard asking them if they cheat on their taxes.
During an interview last weekend, President Obama was talking about the next race for president and refused to choose between Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, saying quote, “Love ‘em both.” Which was nice until he said he’d support the nominee, regardless of who she is. – Jimmy Fallon
The CDC announced that there are currently 102 measles cases in the U.S. Some say it’s because people aren’t vaccinating their children. You can tell things are getting bad. Today Disneyland opened a new ride called “It’s a Smallpox World.”
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You are a sad person. Why would anybody write such a hateful letter? I am just guessing but I’ll bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess. What have you done that anyone would consider positive or nice? I am betting nothing. In fact, I’ll bet you are negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you. You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe. I just celebrated my 21 year anniversary of sobriety. You should try it. Maybe it will help you become a person that folks would like to have around. In the meanwhile start rooting for the Nets because the Knicks don’t want you. - Excerpt from an email by Knicks owner James Dolan in response to a testy email he received from a Knicks fan
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FEBRUARY 12, 2015
You Gotta be
You approach two magic talking doors. One door leads to the City of Truth, while the other door leads to the City of Liars. You do not know which door is which. You are able to ask only one question to determine which door is which. The door that leads to the City of Liars always speaks lies, while the door that leads to the City of Truth always speaks the truth. You want to go to the City of Truth. What question should you ask to determine which door leads to the City of Truth? Answer on next page
Cinderella, Superman and Pinocchio die and go to heaven. On their way, they talk. Cinderella: “I want to be remembered as the most amazing girl in the world.” Superman: “I want to be remembered as the strongest person in the world.” Pinocchio: “I want to be remembered as the greatest liar in the world.” It’s Cinderella’s turn. She goes into the room and comes out smiling, saying, “It’s done. I’m the most amazing girl in the world!” Then goes Superman. He goes into the room and comes out happy, saying, “It’s done. I’m the strongest person in the world!” Finally Pinocchio goes into the room. He storms out two minutes later and angrily says, “Gosh! Who’s this Brian Williams guy?!”
s e c a l P e Oh! Th n e e B s a H s m a i l l i Brian W
37 THE JEWISH HOME
News Anchor Trivia
2. On “60 Minutes” in 2004, this news anchor went public with a series of documents concerning President George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service record, which purported to show that Bush was unfit for flight. However, it turns out that the news anchor knew the documents were false. Who was he? a. Dan Rather b. Peter Jennings c. Ted Koppell d. Tom Brokaw 3. Her reported $15 million yearly salary made her the highest-paid news host in history. Who is she? a. Barbara Walters b. Katie Couric c. Diane Sawyer d. Liz Cho 4. How many times was Larry King (who changed his name from Lawrence Harvey Zeiger) married? a. 1 b. 2 c. 3 d. 4 e. 5 f. 6 g. 7 h. 8 5. He was host of Monday Night Football for 14 years. Despite his nasal, Brooklyn-infused staccato style of speech, he was arguably the biggest sportscaster in America in the 1970s and 1980s. He once said about himself, “Arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose, a showoff—I have been called all of these. Of course, I am.” His original name was Howard William Cohen. Who is he? a. Marv Albert
b. Chris Schenkel c. Howard Cosell d. Mel Allen 6. Who said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America”? a. President Nixon after Walter Cronkite commented on the evening news that “something is fishy” b. The president of CBS News after Cronkite switched to ABC after a failed contract extension c. Barry Goldwater, when Cronkite criticized his campaign d. President Lyndon B Johnson, after Cronkite started criticizing the Vietnam War 7. This radio broadcaster mastered the art of reading commercials during his shows. He once explained, “Without advertising in this country, my goodness, we’d still be in this country what Russia mostly still is: a nation of bearded bicyclists with B.O.” He was famous for ending his monologues by saying, “And now… you know…the rest of the story.” Who was he? a. Mike Wallace b. Paul Harvey c. Elmer Davis d. Edward R Murrow Answers 1. 1/B, 2/C, 3/D 4/A 2. A 3. B 4. H 5. C 6. D 7. B Wisdom Key 6-7 correct: You really know a lot about news anchors. How is the AARP treating you? 3-5 correct: You knew something about news anchors before, but “now…you know…the rest of the story.” 0-2 correct: Perhaps you are suffering from memory loss… Comm Let the caused by your chopper being ission er dec shot down over Iraq.
G OT FU N N Y?
your s t
to fivetow centerfold@ nsjewis hhome. com
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
1. Match the anchor with their sign off phrases: 1. Walter Cronkite A. “ Good night and good luck” 2. Edward R Murrow B. “And that’s the way it is” 3. Charles Osgood C. “Good day” 4. Paul Harvey D. “See you on the radio”
ANSWER TO RIDDLE: You should ask a door, “If I were to ask the other door which door leads to the City of Truth, what would it say?” Then pick the opposite door of what it tells you.
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FEBRUARY 12, 2015
Travel Guide: Arizona By Aaron Feigenbaum
Arizona is synonymous with the Grand Canyon - an almost 300-mile long gash in the earth formed by the Colorado River. Howev-
Hohokam Pihouse replica, Pueblo Grande Museum
er, there’s so much more to see in this land of incredible scenery and cultures. From iconic saguaro cacti to the historic city of Tombstone to the crimson cliffs of Sedona’s Red Rock Country, Arizona embodies the spirit of the Old West. True to that spirit, you can see cowboy saloons and the sets of Western movies as well as Native American pueblos and the remnants of long-gone civilizations. If relaxation is the aim of your visit, check out some of the many kosher resort vacations that are avail-
able during Pesach time. Arizona’s majestic Sonoran Desert, endless skies, and glittering oasis cities are sure to awe even the most expe-
rienced of travelers. Whether you’re there for fun and adventure or for some well-deserved R&R, SoCal’s next-door neighbor has something for everyone. History: Prior to the Spanish conquest, Arizona was inhabited by a large number of Native American tribes, of which the Navajo Nation is currently the most populous. The first European to reach the area that is now Arizona, was most likely the Spanish explorer, Cabeza de Vaca,
around 1536. Other Spaniards followed, some in search of fabled cities of gold, but the region was largely ignored in favor of better oppor-
tunities in neighboring New Mexico. A few scattered missions were established to convert Native Americans but the Spanish Empire had minimal control over Arizona’s affairs. The region came under the control of Mexico after it won independence from Spain in 1821. After it was ceded to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848, Arizona began to attract a moderate amount of American mining prospectors. Interestingly, Arizona played a small part in the Civil War when a group of Confederate supporters held off Union cavalry near Tucson, in 1861. Arizona became a separate territory in 1863 with its capital at Fort Whipple and later Prescott. The American government’s hold on Arizona wasn’t firmly established until the end of the Apache War in 1866. A series of government measures such as the Homestead Act of 1862, as well as a mining boom in the 1870’s, led to greatly increased settlement. It was during this time that Arizona gained its claim to Old West fame with the infamous shootout at Tombstone’s O.K. Corral in 1881. The opening of the Roosevelt Dam in 1911 led the way to huge irrigation projects that transformed large swathes of the parched territory into viable farmland. President Taft officially made Arizona a state on February 12, 1912. Arizona played a key role in WWII as home to the defense industry, huge military bases, and POW camps. Veterans returning from the war built Phoenix into what is now the most populous city in the Southwest. Arizona today often makes headlines for its controversial politics, but what really counts in the Grand Canyon State are the warm people, vibrant cities, abundant sunshine, and breathtaking landscapes. Attractions: Grand Canyon National Park: Praised by Teddy Roosevelt as, “the one great sight which every American should see,” the Grand Canyon is easily one of the most recognizable natural features in the world. The most popular and accessible way to see it is to go to the South Rim. In addition to a spectacular view of the canyon itself, you can see the original Railway Depot which has ferried millions of tourists to and from the Grand Canyon for over 100 years. There’s also an excellent geological museum and the majestic Desert View Watchtower which provides some of the best views possible of the Canyon and surrounding desert.
About 240 miles away from the South Rim lies the Grand Canyon Skywalk, commissioned and owned by the Hualapai tribe. While the
A Ferruginous Hawk at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Desert view watchtower
Skywalk would probably not suit those with a fear of heights and while the prices are rather steep, there are few other experiences comparable to looking straight down into one of the world’s largest canyons. Phoenix: Arizona’s capital has been a vacation magnet for over 60 years. Millions of tourists flock annually to this desert outpost to bask in the warm climate, take a dip in the city’s world-class spas, and explore the Valley of the Sun’s diverse array of cultural and natural exhibits. Phoenix is intimately linked to its natural surroundings as seen in the Desert Botanical Garden, located just a short drive from the airport. The 20,000+ specimens contained here represent some of the most impressive flora and fauna the Sonoran Desert has to offer, including monarch butterflies, cacti, and desert rabbits. Another must-see is the world-famous Heard Museum, a vast and quite impressive collection of Native American art. A highlight is the museum’s beautiful collection of Hopi Kachina dolls. For something a bit more hands-on, check out the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, an ongoing dig site centered on an ancient Hohokam settlement. One of Phoenix’s most popular and worthwhile attractions is the Musical Instrument Museum. The museum houses thousands of instruments from almost every culture on the planet. Visitors can hear what each instrument sounds like and how it fits into the particular culture it comes from. There is also a special room where both kids and adults can try out instruments such as guitars and drums. One could literally spend hours at this museum and still not see all it has to offer. The Arizona Science Center has fascinating and quirky exhibits for kids such as a weather simulator, ear bridge and an interactive nanoscience station. Then visit the Phoenix Art Museum, one of the best of its kind in the Southwest. The museum has over 18,000 pieces from all around the world as well as a sculpture garden and interactive kids’ space. And be sure to stop off at the State Capitol Building where you can not only learn about how Arizonan state politics work, but also see some artifacts from the USS Arizona which sunk in the attack on Pearl Harbor. If you happen to be in the Phoenix suburb
39 THE JEWISH HOME FEBRUARY 12, 2015
of Mesa, check out the Commemorative Air Force Museum. The WWII aircraft on display here are in pristine condition and most are flight-worthy. In fact, you can even charter a flight for an extra cost. For local outdoors activities, head to South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the world. It’s a popular area for hiking, biking and horseback riding. It’s also a perfect place to snap some photos of the beautiful desert landscape. For something off the beaten path, consider scheduling a trip with Arizona Hummer Tours. They offer an adventure through the Sonoran Desert with views of ghost towns and Native American ruins, while a guide narrates about the history and natural features of the area. They even have night vision tours to let you see desert wildlife after dark. Wrap up your trip to Phoenix with a climb to the top of either Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain. The hikes for both are rather strenuous, but the incredible view of Pheonix and the surrounding areas at the top make it more than worth your while. (Note: If you’re going in the summer, use extreme caution as Phoenix is one of the hottest cities in America.) Tucson: The weather in Arizona’s second-largest city is a little cooler than in Phoenix and there’s just as much to see. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum shows off Arizona’s wild side with black bears, coyotes, tarantulas being just some of the interesting creatures on display. The Museum connects with Saguaro National Park where the iconic saguaro cactus is found in abundance. The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the largest of its kind in the world. There are almost 300 aircraft there including the SR-71 Blackbird, B-29 Superfortress, as well as a nuclear bomb replica. Be sure to also check out the Titan Missile Museum just 20 miles outside Tucson, where visitors can step inside a real Cold War-era missile silo containing the largest land-based nuclear missile ever used by the U.S. military. Western movie buffs should head to Old Tucson Studios. Originally built as the set for the 1939 film Arizona, this authentic replica of 1860’s-era Tucson has since been used for the filming of hundreds of movies and T.V. shows including classics such as 3:10 to Yuma and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Kartchner Caverns State Park just outside Tucson is a spectacular limestone cave system with rock formations that date back thousands of years. Note that it’s not open to visitors in the summer as that’s when the caves’ 1000+
bats come back to roost. Finally, the Jewish History Museum, located in Arizona’s oldest shul, contains many fascinating documents and artifacts attesting to the state’s long and rich Jewish past. A recently opened exhibit tells the story of the many Holocaust survivors who settled in Tucson after the war. Flagstaff: For those seeking winter fun, Flagstaff is the place to visit. Located in the nearby San Francisco Mountains, the Arizona Snowbowl is a high-elevation ski-resort that’s one of the oldest in the country. Off-season visitors can access a trail which leads to Humphreys Peak, the highest mountain in Arizona. Wupatki National Monument near Flagstaff is one of the best preserved Native American pueblos in the country. This complex rock dwelling could be considered the world’s first apartment building. For an amazing educational experience, head to Lowell Observatory where many landmark discoveries were made such as the existence of Pluto. The powerful telescope allows nighttime visitors to see Jupiter, Mars, moon craters and more. Sedona: This is perhaps the best place in Arizona for outdoor exploration. The breathtaking Red Rock State Park, located just out of town, is Arizona at its most picturesque. Driving through the area on the Red Rock Scenic Byway is the easiest way to see the park’s colorful rocks. However, to get the most out of your visit, companies such as CenterFocus Experiences and Hydros Adventures Tours offer biking, hiking, climbing, rafting, and backpacking trips in the area. Tombstone: No trip to Arizona would be complete without a visit to Tombstone, site of some of the Old West’s most legendary and defining moments. The main attraction is, of course, the O.K. Corral where the infamous 30-second shootout between lawmen and outlaw cowboys occurred in 1881. Reenactments of the battle are carried out daily. Tombstone is also home to the Birdcage Theater, a former theater/gambling parlor/saloon that’s now a historical museum. Notable visitors to the theater include Doc Holliday, George Hearst, and Bat Masterson. Daven and Eat: Arizona has a large number of Orthodox shuls. Shuls in Phoenix include Chabad Lubavitch of Arizona and Shaarei Tzion Ohel Bracha. Tucson options include Chabad of Tucson, Young Israel of Tucson and Chabad on River. For listings in other cities, check out maven.co.il. There are many great kosher restaurants
in Arizona such as Scottsdale Kosher Market/ Kitchen, Manhattan Pizza (Phoenix), Imperial Kosher Restaurant/Market (Phoenix), Cafe @ the J (Tucson), and lots more. Companies such as Passover Vacations and Reserve Kosher offer excellent glatt kosher vacation packages in the Scottsdale area and elsewhere. Getting There: Phoenix and Tucson both have their own airports. Current rates from LAX start at around $170 per person round trip for either city. Driving from L.A. to Phoenix takes about 5.5 hours while the drive to Tucson is about 7
hours long. Those wishing to go to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim can do the 7.5 hour drive or fly directly to the Grand Canyon Airport, located about 7 miles from the South Rim. Amtrak and Greyhound both offer service from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon. The drive from L.A. to the Grand Canyon Skywalk takes about 6 hours. (Sources: Wikitravel, Lonely Planet, Tripadvisor)
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FEBRUARY 12, 2015
Global HSBC in Hot Water After a “SwissLeaks” cache of secret files emerged online, HSBC faced damaging claims on Monday that its Swiss division helped wealthy customers evade millions of dollars in taxes. The documents that were released over the weekend claim the bank helped clients in more than 200 countries evade taxes on accounts containing $119 billion. The huge cache of files, which were stolen by an IT worker in 2007 and passed to French authorities, has sparked criminal probes in several countries and attempts to claw back the cash. Israel was ranked sixth on the list of countries with the most money in the hidden Swiss accounts, with an estimated $10 billion overall. The funds were distributed among over six thousands clients in Israel—although only about half of them are Israeli citizens—and 9,769 accounts. The documents showed that HSBC provided accounts to international criminals, businessmen, politicians and celebrities, according to the ICIJ.
The revelations are likely to stoke calls for a crackdown on sophisticated tax avoidance by the wealthy and by multinational companies, a key political issue across Europe. Tax avoidance is legal, but tax evasion is not. “HSBC profited from doing business with arms dealers who channeled mortar bombs to child soldiers in Africa, bag men for Third World dictators, traffickers in blood diamonds and other international outlaws,” ICIJ reported. A range of former and current politicians from Russia, India and a range of African countries, as well as Saudi, Bahraini, Jordanian and Moroccan royalty, and the late Australian press magnate Kerry Pack-
er were named in the files. HSBC’s Swiss banking arm has insisted it has since undergone a “radical transformation.” “HSBC’s Swiss Private Bank began a radical transformation in 2008 to prevent its services from being used to evade taxes or launder money,” Franco Morra, the head of HSBC’s Swiss unit, told AFP in an email. He said the bank had closed “the accounts of clients who did not meet our high standards and ensuring we have strong compliance controls in place.” “We have no appetite for business with clients or potential clients who do not meet our financial crime compliance standards. These disclosures about historical business practices are a reminder that the old business model of Swiss private banking is no longer acceptable,” he added.
mained relatively calm amid a rampage in northern and western Iraq by the al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State group. Recent bombings have frequently targeted Shiite-majority areas in the capital, but the violence has been considerably subdued from the countries darkest days in 2006 and 2007. Iraqi officials have repeatedly assured citizens that the capital is secure, despite the occasional targeting of Baghdad’s Shiite-majority neighborhoods by the Sunni militant group.
How’s the Holocaust Taught in India?
Dozens Killed in Baghdad Bombs
Just hours before Baghdad’s longtime curfew was to end, a series of bombings in the Iraqi capital killed more than three dozen people last week. The deadliest attack happened in the New Baghdad section of the city. Police officials said a suicide bomber targeted a street filled with hardware stores, killing 22 people and wounding at least 45. The second attack took place shortly afterward. Police said two devices detonated 25 meters apart from one another, killing at least 11 people and wounding 26. Another four people were also killed and 15 wounded when a bomb detonated outside an outdoor food market. The incidents came ahead of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s decision to lift Iraq’s longtime curfew. Baghdad has re-
A new study looks at how Indian schoolbooks present the Holocaust in their history class curriculum. Sadly, it was found that Indian school history textbooks don’t even use the word “holocaust” while teaching world history and the Second World War. In one instance, where a government-prescribed textbook was published during the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) previous reign, even the details of the mass genocide are completely glossed over. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the George Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research ran the study called “International Status of Education About the Holocaust.” They aimed to compare how the Holocaust is taught in countries around the world and find out whether the dissemination of information about the Holocaust is fragmented or distorted in any way to serve political ends. In surveying five prescribed textbooks
in India, the study found that none of them makes a mention of the term “Holocaust” or its Hebrew equivalent “Shoah.” It is only mentioned as part of several events that occurred during the war. The five textbooks, published between 1995 and 2006, greatly differed in their descriptions of the Holocaust and the treatment of the Second World War Most of the lessons in these textbooks attempt to relate the events of the war to local happenings in India. Some refer to Mahatma Gandhi’s letters to Adolf Hitler appealing for peace while others suggest comparisons between the German persecutions of people of color with colonialism in India. One textbook published in 2002 when the BJP government was in power totally disregards the Holocaust. This, the study’s authors said, “may be ascribed to the fact that its authors appear to sympathize with the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and with its radical nationalism and the goal of territorial unity akin to that of the National Socialists [in Germany].” The study found that textbooks in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bhutan all make only oblique references to the Holocaust, with the attention on this period in world history falling on the events of the war. Schoolbooks in Nepal were to found to simply ignore the Holocaust completely.
Paper Money? Soon a Thing of the Past in Ecuador
Money in Ecuador will soon not be worth the paper it’s written on. In 2000, Ecuador moved to ditch its stumbling currency for the U.S. dollar. Now, more than 15 years later, the South American country is revamping its monetary system again— using digital currencies. Ecuador’s electronic money system kicked off in December by allowing qualifying users to set up accounts, and it will begin acting as a real means of transaction this month. Once the government flips the switch, the South American nation of 16 million will host the first-ever state-run electronic payment system. (Other countries, such as Sweden, use digital currencies widely, but they’re not state-sponsored.) But the Ecuadorean government says the arrangement
Key ISIS Militant Killed
Saddam Rope to Go for Millions It seems that many people are happy to see Saddam Hussein dead. So happy, that they’re willing to pay millions of dollars to own the instrument of his death. Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a former Iraqi politician and current civil rights campaigner, has put the rope used in the 2006 execution of the former dictator up for sale. The bid reportedly stands at $7 million, but he’s asking for more. According to Middle East Eye, a hefty bidding war for the item reportedly includes an Israeli family, a religious Iranian organization, and a pair of Kuwaiti businessmen. Rubaie had put the item up for sale after an image of him standing in front of a bronze bust of Iraq’s former leader with a portion of the rope tied around the its neck surfaced. The statue reportedly once belonged in Hussein’s palace in Rihab. Now, it is a fixture in the foyer of Rubaie’s Baghdad home. But not everyone is happy with the impending sale. Iraqi activists are who demanding that the proceeds from the auction go into public finances. Iraqi activist Ahmed Saeed reportedly said the rope was “appropriated” by Rubaie after Hussein’s “much-criticized execution,” and that any profits were “not his [to keep],” Middle East Eye notes. Video footage of Saddam’s execution had been leaked to the public after what Rubaie described as “ill-educated security guards” recorded the incident on their cell phones. Rubaie said the leak was “extremely damaging on all fronts.” After 23 years of dictatorial rule, Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging when the Iraqi Special Tribunal found him guilty of crimes against humanity. The Kurdish Judge Raouf Abdul Rahman was reportedly kidnapped and executed by ISIS militants last year in retaliation for ordering Saddam Hussein’s execution.
Jordan Lashes Back at ISIS
In response to the capture and killing of one of its air force pilots, Jordan announced it has carried out dozens of airstrikes on the Islamic State group. Jordanian air force chief Major General Mansour al-Jobour said the kingdom had launched 56 air raids in three days as part of an international assault against ISIS that Washington says is beginning to bite. “On the first day of the campaign to avenge our airman Maaz al-Kassasbeh, 19 targets were destroyed, including training camps and equipment,” Jobour told reporters. John Allen, the U.S. coordinator for the anti-IS coalition of Western and Arab countries, said that Iraqi troops would begin a major ground offensive against the jihadists “in the weeks ahead.” “When the Iraqi forces begin the ground campaign to take back Iraq, the coalition will provide major firepower associated with that,” he told a Jordanian news agency, stressing that the Iraqis would lead the offensive. The air force chief said airstrikes had destroyed dozens of targets, including barracks, training camps, ammunition and fuel depots, and residential centers. “So far, the campaign has destroyed 20 percent of the fighting capabilities of Daesh,” Jobour said, using another name for ISIS. Jobour said more than 7,000 ISIS militants had been killed since Jordan began participating in coalition airstrikes.
German Judge: Anti-Zionism is AntiSemitism
Last summer saw a huge increase in anti-Semitism across Europe. Many used Operation Protective Edge as an excuse to allow their simmering hatred for Jews to come to a boil. This week, an unprecedented case was heard half a year after violent anti-Israel demonstrations erupted in Germany. Judge Gauri Sastry convicted -24year-old Taylan Can for incitement against an ethnic minority for events at a July 18, 2014 anti-Israel demonstration in the town. Eyewitness accounts report hostile anti-Israel chants and stones thrown from the anti-Israel camp to the smaller group of Israel supporters. According to the Anti-Defamation League, a breakaway group headed toward a local synagogue, intending to attack it. A YouTube video of the demonstration shows fields of Palestinian flags and Turkish flags, and a motley group of young men running and chanting “Adolf Hitler” and “Death to the Jews.” In the video, popular Muslim rapper Sinan-G speaks to the camera explaining this is a counter-demonstration against the Jews. ”The Jews insulted us, man, this is crazy stuff,” he said. Despite the large police presence, the crowd was clearly out of control. While police originally arrested 49 protesters, forty-five
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A missile-firing drone has killed at least six in Afghanistan including a veteran militant believed to have defected to Islamic State from the Taliban, Afghan officials said. The senior militant, former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mullah Abdul Rauf, was killed in violence-plagued southern province of Helmand. Other casualties included his brother-in-law and four Pakistanis. While Helmand officials said six people had been killed, the U.S. Army said coalition forces used a “precision, guided munition” to kill eight people who were considered a threat. “We are working to confirm the identities of those killed in the strike,” said a U.S. Army spokesman, Colonel Brian Tribus. He declined to say if a drone launched the missile. Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), said in a statement Rauf was in charge of ISIS in southwestern Afghanistan and he was killed just after mid-day in “a successful military operation.” Rauf has been influential in Afghanistan’s jihadi movement for well over a de-
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cade. Media reports last month said he had begun recruiting for Islamic State, part of a push by the movement to gain traction beyond its stronghold in Iraq and Syria. Last month, Islamic State announced it was expanding into Khorasan, a term Islamists use to describe a region encompassing Afghanistan and Pakistan, and declared a former commander from the Pakistani wing of the Taliban “governor” of the region. Although there is little evidence of operational ties between IS and the Taliban, a number of militants have pledged allegiance to ISIS, apparently drawn by its successes in the Middle East.
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is designed to support its dollar-based monetary system, not replace it. “Electronic money is designed to operate and support the monetary scheme of dollarization,” wrote economist Diego Martinez, a delegate of the President of the Republic to the Board of Regulation and Monetary and Financial Policy. Martinez said that Ecuadorian law expressly states that economic transactions are conducted in U.S. dollars. Electronic money will not only help the poor, he added, but will act as a cost-saving mechanism for the government: Ecuador spends more than $3 million every year to exchange deteriorating old notes for new dollars, Martinez pointed out. There would presumably be less wear and tear on the currency if much of it were stored at the central bank while citizens relied on mobile payments. A digital currency would, in theory, allow Ecuador’s central bank to issue new money that isn’t directly tied to its U.S. dollar reserves. But Ecuadorean officials have repeatedly denied that there are any such plans.
PUNCTUAL COURTEOUS RELIABLE HAIMISHE
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cases were dismissed in December. Born in Germany to a Turkish family, Can is well known for his anti-Israel activism. Recently, at a Copenhagen protest, Can shouted virulent anti-Israel slogans into a borrowed police megaphone. Elsewhere, at a demonstration he organized in his German hometown, anti-Israel protesters shouted, “Hamas, Hamas—Jews to the gas chamber.” At his hearing this winter, Can was prosecuted for his use of the term “Zionist” as incitement against a minority. During the hearing, Can claimed he was not an anti-Semite and had nothing against the Jewish people but only against the Zionist state. In response, Judge Sastry pointed out, “‘Zionist’ is the language of anti-Semites, the code for ‘Jew.’” Sastry’s judgment, which does not form a binding precedent in German law, semantically equates anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Can was sentenced to three months’ probation and a fine of 200 euros. He has one week to appeal. Nathan Norman Gelbart, the head of Germany’s Keren Hayesod (United Jewish Appeal), is not confident the verdict will be upheld on appeal. “It’s a very brave verdict… The court has said clearly what our political scientists have known for decades,” said Gelbart. “It will cause a lot of attention, especially among those who claim they’re not against Jews, but only against Zionists,” he said. Gelbart, who is a lawyer, explained there are many politicians from across the political spectrum, including parties in the German parliament, who use the word “Zionist” to express hatred against Jews while avoiding prosecution. He doubts the case will stand on appeal since the defendant can be acquitted if there is even a shadow of doubt that he did not intend to incite against the Jewish minority. “We have an anti-Zionist industry across Europe who are living off this legitimacy to spread hatred through using the word ‘Zionist,’” said Gelbart.
Bombers: The More They Kill, the More They Get Paid It has come to light that the Palestinian Authority has been issuing monthly payouts between $3-7 million as salaries
and other financial rewards to specific terrorists and their families. The money was channeled, in part, through the Ministry of Prisoners pursuant to the Law of the Prisoner. But not every terrorist receives the same compensation. The law sets forth a graduated scale, pegging monthly salaries to the length of Israeli jail sentences, which generally reflects the severity of the crime and the number of people killed and/ or injured.
tively back to July 1, 2002. At the time of his arrest, Barghouti was a sergeant in the Palestinian Police. As a reward, while in an Israeli prison, Barghouti’s annual salary of 12,953 Israeli shekels was sustained and gradually escalated when he was promoted to Warrant Officer (even though he was behind bars at the time). All payments were recorded and are shown to have been given to his beneficiaries. The Barghouti case is just one of hundreds of terrorists who are rewarded for their actions — not in a blind, faceless program, but in a meticulous, exacting official process that can remain in place for years. The money is represented to donor countries as “government salaries.”
Turkey Backs Out of Security Summit Reporter Edwin Black has obtained and published thousands of documents that demonstrate that these payouts are not blind automated payments. Rather, senior Palestinian Authority officials as high as President Mahmoud Abbas scrutinize the details of each case, the specific carnage caused, and the personal details of each terrorist act before approving salaries and awarding honorary ranks in either the PA government or the military. The PA is dependent upon foreign donor countries to supply much of its budget, which now exceeds $4.2 billion annually. About ten percent of the PA budget—more than $400 million—is contributed annually by United States foreign aid. The U.S. and many other countries have enacted laws forbidding any payments when the monies directly or indirectly support or encourage terrorism. One of the many prominent examples of salaries being paid in proportion to severity of the crime involved Ahmad Talab Mustafa Barghouti, who personally coordinated numerous terrorist acts. These included a January 2002 shooting spree on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, killing two and wounding 37; a March 2002 shooting spree at a Tel Aviv restaurant, killing three and wounding 31; and finally a March 27, 2002 attempt to smuggle an explosive suicide belt in an ambulance. Eventually he was arrested by the IDF. On July 30, 2002, a military court concluded that he was responsible for murdering 12 Israelis, and he was sentenced to 13 life sentences. According to ongoing internal Palestinian Authority security reviews dated February 3, 2009 and July 6, 2009, Barghouti’s special compensation began retroac-
The relationship between Israel and Turkey reached a new low this week. Ankara is willing to compromise on international security rather than be in the same room as Israelis. After Israel was invited to participate in a major international security conference in Germany, Turkey decided not to attend. “We have decided not to participate in the Munich Security Conference because they have subsequently invited Israeli representatives to the Middle East session,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters at a press conference.
Heads of state as well as other top diplomatic and military officials attend the annual Munich Security Conference. Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is attending the conference along with Labor party leader Isaac Herzog, said Israel will attend every important international conference “whether Turkey likes it or not.” “Israel wishes to express its astonishment over the Turkish decision,” Steinitz said. “As was planned well in advance, I intend on representing Israel with pride before such an important panel. … Turkey’s boycott is essentially Ankara’s expression of sympathy for radical Islam and terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.” Turkey’s disdain for the Jewish State is nothing new. Turkish Prime Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu recently compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the perpetrators of last month’s Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris, saying Netanyahu committed “crimes against humanity” during last summer’s Gaza war. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, accused Netanyahu of carrying out “state terrorism.”
PM Set to “Go to Washington’ This week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “determined to go to Washington” despite many people opposed to his address in front of Congress next month. Speaking at a Likud conference for Russian immigrants, the prime minister’s comments came following a news report that said Netanyahu was looking for ways to pull out from his intention to address Congress.
Netanyahu’s accepting an invitation from House Speaker John Boehner was perceived by many in the U.S. as an attempt to sidestep the White House. Netanyahu’s words, however, were carefully chosen, since he is also scheduled to address AIPAC and would need to be in Washington anyway at that time. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, President Obama was holding a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel dedicated mostly to the crisis in east Ukraine. Obama did answer a question on Netanyahu’s invitation to the U.S., and facetiously said that as much as he “loves Angela,” he would not meet her “two weeks from an election.” Obama also mentioned “substantive differences” with Netanyahu on Iran, even as he stressed their frequent conversations and “ongoing coordination.”
Highest Court Orders Homes Demolished
Israel’s Supreme Court has ordered the government to demolish nine homes
Taxing our Bagels
It’s different strokes for different folks when it comes to paying taxes. Depending on where you live, Uncle Sam manages to reach into your pockets for different reasons. For those living in Maryland, flushing your toilet is going to cost you. There is a $60 “flush tax” that the state uses to update treatment plants and protect the Chesapeake Bay, which has experienced a decline in water quality. The tax was implemented in 2004 and was then doubled in 2012. New York is the home of the best bagels, but eating those chewy breakfast items will cost you. There is a “bagel tax” in New York—about 8 cents a bagel—unless you purchase it to go, unsliced, unheated or in the same way you’d find it in a supermarket or grocery store. If you opt for a shmear, Uncle Sam is going to enjoy that bagel along with you. Sporting legends better beware. Around 20 states—including Arizona and New Jersey, tax the revenue of professional athletes who come and play in their
that contain no more than 54 cards. Maybe the song should be changed to “Alabama Hold ‘Em”—your taxes, that is. Ever see a cowboy wearing a rope around his waist? Well, it could that he comes from Texas, where belt buckles— not ordinary belts—are taxed. Texans can choose to go belt buckle-free until the sales tax holiday week, which takes place every August. Bodybuilders across the nation, listen up. The cost of your body oil is tax deductible. It’s considered a business expense since they use it to prepare for and pump up before competitions, according to a 2004 tax court case. How about their
vitamin shakes or wheatgrass shots? No such luck there.
Oldest USS Arizona Survivor Dies
After living for 100 years, the oldest living crewmember of the battleship USS Arizona to survive the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has died in Northern California. Retired Navy Lt. Commander Joseph Langdell left this world on February 4 at a nursing home in Yuba City, Calif., accord-
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jurisdiction. Dubbed the jock tax, it was started by California in the early 1990s when the Chicago Bulls visited. In Maine, a tax on wild blueberries may have you singing the blues. It’s about $1.50 per 100 lbs. on those fruits processed in the state or unprocessed but shipped outside the state. The state is using the money to conserve and promote the wild blueberry industry. It produces 99 percent of all the wild blueberries in the U.S. Playing cards in Alabama? Make sure it has the revenue stamp on it showing the tax on it has been paid. If it doesn’t, you’re playing with contraband goods. Alabama imposes a tax on decks of playing cards
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in Judea-Samaria that were allegedly built on private Palestinian land. According to the ruling, the authorities have until 2017 to carry out the demolitions in Ofra, north of Jerusalem. “Given the difficulty in implementing the demolitions, where families live in most of the buildings and to allow them to find alternative accommodation, I propose that the demolition orders be carried out within two years of this judgment,” judge Asher Grunis wrote. It was a long-awaited response to a petition filed in 2008 by five Palestinian landowners and leftist NGO Yesh Din. “The petition before us relates to buildings about which there is no disputing the fact that they were constructed illegally,” the court said.
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ing to his son, Ted Langdell. A tally maintained by the USS Arizona Reunion Association, for which Langdell had served as president, identified him as not only the oldest Arizona survivor, but the last surviving officer from the naval ship that lost 1,177 men — nearly fourfifths of its crew — when it was bombed on December 7, 1941. Langdell was an ensign on an assignment that had him sleeping on a military base adjacent to the ship in Honolulu on the morning Pearl Harbor was attacked. He spent the following hours and days trying to rescue shipmates from the burning water, preparing for another possible air assault and leading the survivors tasked with removing the remains of the dead from the partially sunken ship.
The New Hampshire native spent another four years in the Navy before going to work as an auctioneer, a furniture manufacturer’s representative, and eventually, the long-time owner of a Yuba City furniture store. Ted Langdell said his father did not talk about Pearl Harbor during his childhood and returned there for the first time since the war in 1976, when his older son was in the Navy. After that, Langdell took comfort in meeting with fellow survivors and expressed pride in always wearing a USS Arizona hat. Per his wishes, Langdell’s ashes will be put aboard the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, mostly likely next December 7. The reunion association said there are now only eight remaining survivors of the Pearl Harbor attacks.
6 Bosnian Immigrants Indicted for Funding Terrorism
A federal indictment has charged six Bosnian immigrants for sending money
and military equipment to extremist groups in Syria using Facebook, PayPal and other readily available websites. All are charged with conspiring to provide and providing material support to groups designated by the U.S. as foreign terrorist organizations. The groups include the Islamic State and an al Qaeda-affiliated rebel group known as the Nusra Front. The indictment alleges they plotted by phone, Facebook and email; shared videos and photos related to their plans on social media sites; sent money via PayPal and Western Union; and shipped boxes of military gear through the U.S. Postal Service. The defendants are accused of donating money themselves and, in some cases, collecting funds from others in the U.S. and sending the donations overseas. Two of the defendants, a husband and wife in St. Louis, used some of the money to buy U.S. military uniforms, firearms accessories, tactical gear and other equipment from local businesses and ship it to intermediaries in Turkey and Saudi Arabia who forwarded the supplies to fighters in Syria and Iraq. One of the suspects, Mediha Medy Salkicevic, is a 34-year-old mother of four from the Chicago suburb of Schiller Park. If convicted, she could face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 on each charge. The case will be tried in Missouri, where several other defendants were arrested. All six people who are charged are natives of Bosnia who were living in the U.S. legally. Three are naturalized citizens; the other three had either refugee or legal resident status, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
A tremendous amount of growth, more than half can be specifically accredited to airlines in emerging markets, including Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. “Robust travel on low fare airlines as well as airlines registered in Turkey offset economic weakness and risks in the region,” IATA explained. The strongest overall growth was recorded by carriers in the Middle East (13 percent), followed by the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America, with 5.8 percent each. Europe, meanwhile, saw its market swell 5.7 percent, marking a clear hike from the 3.8-percent growth seen in 2013. North America saw demand rise 3.1 percent in 2014, compared to just 2.3 percent a year earlier and boasted the highest load factor of all regions at 81.7 percent. African airlines experienced the slowest annual growth of just 0.9 percent, after rising 5.2 percent in 2013. Many may assume that a slowdown in the African airline industry is solely attributed to the Ebola epidemic, however experts believe that Ebola was only a factor in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the countries at the epicenter of the devastating epidemic of the virus that has killed nearly 9,000 people in just over a year. IATA blamed the slump on “negative economic developments in parts of the continent including Nigeria, which is highly reliant on oil revenues.” Global airline capacity rose by 5.6 percent, while the average load factor, or percentage of seats occupied, was 79.7 percent, a 0.2 point increase over 2013.
Our Taxing Tax Burden
Steelworkers Strike Nationwide
More and More Flying the Friendly Skies
“Flight attendants, get ready for takeoff,” was heard by a record 3.3 billion passengers this year, creating a new record. In 2014, 170 million more passengers flew than in 2012, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). “Demand for the passenger business did well in 2014. With a 5.9-percent expansion of demand, the industry out-performed the 10-year average growth rate,” IATA chief Tony Tyler said in a statement released on Thursday.
varies widely between states. According to “Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States,” a report released by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Washington has by far the most regressive tax system nationwide. Based on the index score, a ratio calculated from a range of factors to measure income inequality before and after taxes, these are the states with the most unfair tax systems for the average American. In seven out of 10 of these “worst” states, the poorest 20% of individuals paid at least 12% of their total incomes in state and local taxes. The wealthiest 1% of residents, on the other hand, paid no more than 3% in state and local taxes as a share of income in six of the 10 states. The middle class is highly affected, too. Average income earners carried a heavier tax burden compared to the richest residents. The middle 60% of earners in all of the 10 states paid at least three times what the wealthiest 1% paid, as a share of income, in state and local taxes. So where do you not want to be living on April 15? Here are the ten states that have the worst taxes for the average American: 1. Washington 2. Florida 3. Texas 4. South Dakota 5. Illinois 6. Pennsylvania 7. Tennessee 8. Arizona 9. Kansas 10. Indiana
In case we needed more proof that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer….As of 2013, the wealthiest 20% of Americans had more total income than the bottom 80% combined. State and local governments are largely responsible for redistributing income amongst people. The nationwide average effective tax rate for the poorest 20% of Americans was 10.9%, roughly double the 5.4% rate for the top 1%. When looking at taxes paid as a share of the income earned, all states have a regressive tax system, which means poorer residents are taxed at higher percentage than their wealthy neighbors. The actual difference in effective tax rates is between income groups, however,
The United Steelworkers Union has notified BP Plc. that workers at refineries in Ohio and Indiana will strike late Saturday night, joining a walkout that began this week at nine other refineries. Since 1980, there hasn’t been a nationwide strike at U.S. oil refineries. On February 1, about 3,800 steelworkers began to strike at refineries across the
Lyin’ Brian Disappoints Viewers This week, Brian Williams announced that he is taking a leave absence as NBC’s Nightly News Managing Editor and anchorman. The leave comes after it was revealed that Williams fabricated a story about being under fire. He is admitting that the scrutiny and criticism from viewers has become a distraction for the network and therefore will step aside for several days.
Kerry Least Effective Diplomat In a recent story published by Stars and Stripes, Williams was accused of making false statements about an encounter while covering the war in Iraq in 2003. He claimed he was in a helicopter with his team and was hit by rocket-propelled grenades. Witnesses, however, disprove his story. The traveling in front of the crew was the aircraft that was ac-
Was Saudi Arabia Involved in the 9/11 Attacks?
Recently, an unsubstantiated court testimony by Zacharias Moussaoui, a former al Qaeda affiliate serving life in federal prison, has reintroduced the suspicion that classified documents contain very relevant
ry Kissinger was chosen by 32.32% of respondents as the most effective secretary of state in the last half-century. Kerry only garnered 0.31% of the votes. Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright, both netted 8.7% of the vote. Since Kerry has held the position, the U.S. has dealt with the rise of ISIS, the crisis in Ukraine, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and of course, the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Respondents were also asked to name the most urgent foreign policy issues. Armed conflict in the Middle East came in at number two with 26.81% of the vote, with climate change leading the pack (40.96%) and global terrorism at number 5 (21.23%).
Contrary to what John Kerry may think, a survey of U.S. international relations scholars has ranked the Secretary of State the least effective politician to fill that role in the last 50 years. Every year, the Ivory Tower survey conducted by Foreign Policy magazine polls over 1,600 scholars from 1,375 colleges nationwide to gather statistics regarding the best schools and study programs in their field and on political issues. This year, in their most recent survey, Hen-
tually hit. Williams, 55, officially apologized on air on Wednesday but that didn’t satisfy the public—many are demanding a resignation from the reporter who is tasked to tell the news and not exaggerate or misconstrue events. He said that his “faulty memory” was due to the terror of being in a warzone. “It was like landing on the surface of the moon,” he told Stars and Stripes. “And I’m going to have a far different recollection than the professionals.”
In the aftermath of this scandal many are beginning to question William’s overall credibility. Questions have been raised about his claim that he saw a body or bodies in the Hurricane Katrina floodwaters that hit New Orleans. In an internal memo released Friday, NBC News President Deborah Turness said that the network has assigned the head of its own investigative unit to look into Williams’ statements. The investigation will be led by Richard Esposito, the head of NBC’s investigative unit. In December, the network extended Mr. Williams’s contract. The terms were reported to be as much as $10 million per year for five years, and some are claiming his salary may even be as much as $13 million. According to estimates Williams has a net worth of $40 million.
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and shocking information regarding Saudi Arabia’s involvement with al Qaeda and the September 11 attacks. Moussaoui testified that significant members of the Saudi royal family continued to fund al Qaeda in the late 1990s, even after the organization had declared war on the House of Saud. He also described plotting with an employee of the Saudi Embassy in Washington to shoot down Air Force One. Supposedly this information was excluded from the public version of the report released, under the strict orders of President George W. Bush who felt that divulging intelligence sources and methods could pose a potential threat. Officials on both sides of the debate acknowledge that protecting the delicate U.S.-Saudi relationship also played a role. “We owe the families a full accounting,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, a Democrat who claims to have read the 28 page classified document written in 2002. Lynch claims that the FBI-generated investigations “are consistent” with Moussaoui’s testimony. “There are specifics, there are transactions, there are names,” Lynch said. The current relationship between the U.S. and Saudi remains fragile. Saudi Arabia’s new king is pro-American and the Middle Eastern country has agreed to join with the U.S. to confront the Islamic State, the turmoil in Yemen, and Iran’s nuclear aspirations. However, many activists and many politicians continue to admonish Saudi Arabia over human rights abuses, such as the recent flogging of a blogger. 15 of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia.
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nation including California and Kentucky. The workers are claiming that negotiations with Shell Oil Co. have broken down. Shell is negotiating the national contract for other oil companies. In response, a BP spokesman said that the company expects to continue operating with replacement workers and doesn’t expect a significant effect on production, meaning you shouldn’t feel the sting at the pump. “BP is disappointed that USW leadership decided to call a strike at both the Whiting Refinery and BP-Husky Toledo Refinery,” said BP spokesman Scott Dean by email. He said BP remained at the negotiating table and wanted a deal that “provides good wages while giving management the flexibility it needs” to remain competitive in the industry. Union spokeswoman Lynne Hancock said the workers are seeking better health care benefits and limits on the use of contractors to replace union members in maintenance jobs. She said wages are not an issue. In the last 35 years, factories have become more automated and machine-run. Additionally, management has been able to use nonunion workers and contractors to keep the refineries running. “Generally production is not impacted by these work stoppages, but prices can go up because of the perception” of an interruption, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. “We’re seeing that on the West Coast.” Wholesale gasoline prices on the West Coast have increased about 65 cents per gallon since hitting a low in mid-January. Kloza said he also attributes the decrease partially to maintenance shutdowns and usual seasonal trends in gasoline prices; the peak driving season is right around the corner.
Measles Cases on the Rise In 2000, the United States declared victory over the measles virus after decades of intensive childhood vaccine efforts. But last year, the country saw its highest number of measles cases in two decades. Recently it was reported that a total of 107 cases of measles have been confirmed in California, 39 of them linked to an outbreak that began in Disneyland in late December with a person who visited the park from outside the U.S. More than three dozen additional cases of the highly infectious disease have been reported in 19 other states and in Mexico, including three new cases diagnosed in Cook County, Illinois. Seven of the eight cases so far found in Cook County are associated with a daycare center.
And it continues to spread to other states. Georgia health officials reported that an infant arriving in Atlanta from outside the United States was confirmed to have measles, marking the state’s first reported case of the disease since 2012. It is unrelated to the cases in California. The measles outbreak has renewed a debate over the so-called anti-vaccination movement in which fears about
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potential side effects of vaccines, fueled by now-debunked research suggesting a link to autism, have led a small minority of parents to refuse to allow their children to be inoculated. Some parents also opt not to have their children vaccinated for religious or other reasons. In some cases, measles can be fatal.
Krave for $300 million. Sales of protein supplements for use beyond sports also grew 21 percent in 2014 to $487 million in the U.S., according to data from Euromonitor.
Americans Can’t Get Enough Socks Despite lower gas prices, American consumers haven’t changed their spending habits drastically. Even so, it’s interesting to note that last year shoppers spent a lot of money on three different items: protein, socks and scents. Americans seem to want to add more protein to their diets. That doesn’t mean they want to be healthier: Hershey, a company known for its chocolate and candy, noticed that consumers were purchasing more and more beef jerky and recently purchased the upscale meat snack maker
“The protein craze is so powerful, in fact, that it has moved well beyond reason and into something more emotional,” NPD Group noted in the recent report on spending. “For example, consumers say they want more protein in their diet, but some 71 percent of them also say they don’t know what the recommended daily amount of protein is.” After eating all that protein, shoppers
may just want to sit around the house. And so they keep on buying socks. Yes, sales in that category grew 2 percent to $5.6 billion in the 12 months ending in August, outpacing the overall apparel market. Women preferred athletic socks—I guess they want to burn off that extra protein—while men were buying dressy socks. But plain, old socks wouldn’t do it for them. Men are seeking trendier and more colorful dress socks, driving a busier market in that industry. “Guys are spending more on pairs of socks than women are, as previously unglamorous foot covering becomes a fashion statement for the image-conscious men,” NPD noted. We all know that after wearing socks for a while, they may begin to smell. So Americans have also been busy buying scents. U.S. sales of prestige fragrances grew 10 percent in the12 months ending February 2014 to $285 million, and the positive trend continued for the remainder of the year, according to NDP. Everyone loves to smell nice: Nine out of every 10 American women use a scented personal product, according to NDP, while eight out of 10 men do the same. What’s driving the uptick in perfumes and colognes? It seems that it’s older millennial men. Those between 25 and 34 constitute about 21 percent of all men who buy and use fragrances. They also are three times more likely than younger guys to pick a fragrance set that includes shaving or skincare products as well.
Most Giving Americans Americans are a giving nation but some are more giving than others. A list released this week by The Chronicle of Philanthropy lays out the donations made by the 50 most generous Americans in 2015. Who’s the most philanthropic American? Our favorite couple, Bill and Melinda Gates, who gave at least $1.5 billion worth of Microsoft stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust in November 2014. The trust manages the foundation’s endowment. According to Gates Foundation spokeswoman Amy Enright, the foundation hasn’t yet put together a total for the Gates’ giving in 2014, which will be greater than $1.5 billion. The foundation works on reducing poverty and advancing health worldwide and expanding educational opportunities
in the U.S. Even after all of his donations to the foundation, Gates is still the richest person in the world, worth $78.7 billion according to Forbes’ calculations. He and Warren Buffett formed the Giving Pledge in 2010, inviting other philanthropists to join them in promising to give away more than half of their fortunes during their lifetimes. So far, 128 people have joined the pledge.
This year’s Chronicle list shows that an unprecedented number of people in the technology field are following the Gates’ lead. Eleven of 2014’s top 50 made their fortunes in technology. Young tech entrepreneurs are stepping up, with three donors who are under 40. In 2013 there was only one under-40 tech donor couple, Mark Zuckerberg, now 30, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, 29. WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, 38, was the most generous of 2014’s young donors, with a gift of $556 million to the SVCF, putting him in fourth place on the list. Koum grew up in Ukraine and came to the U.S. as a teenager in 1992, dropped out of San Jose State while working at Yahoo and then founded smartphone instant messaging application WhatsApp in 2009. He and partner Brian Acton became billionaires last February when they sold their company to Facebook for $19 billion. Koum is worth some $7.2 billion, according to Forbes. He earned his spot on the Chronicle’s list after the Chronicle uncovered his donation; he made no public announcement of the gift. Napster founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker, 35, was the next-most-generous after Koum. He gave $550 million to his own foundation and to a donor advised fund he set up through the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. A sufferer of severe allergies, including a dangerous peanut allergy that has repeatedly landed him in the hospital, in December he announced that he made a $24 million grant to establish the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford. He is worth $2.9 billion according to Forbes’ latest estimate. After Gates, the second-largest gifts is a $1 billion posthumous bequest from the late owner of the Buffalo Bills, Ralph Wilson Jr., who died in March at 95. In third
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That’s Odd A Gem of a Ride Want to buy your wife something sparkly? Well, this can’t fit on her finger, but it is sure to turn heads as she drives down Central Avenue. Jennings Ford in northeast England will hand-apply a special coating of more than a million diamonds and Swarovski crystals to your choice of a Ford vehicle. But don’t worry about not being able to afford this pricey sparkler on wheels. Buyers just have to plunk down a mere $152,000 upfront and then make $33,494 monthly payments over the next five years.
“Who says Fords aren’t glamorous?” says the dealer in his online pitch. “Bringing more glitz to the North East has always been an ambition of mine, and with this ultra-glamorous optional extra, now I can.”
may be getting a good buy. He didn’t realize how much of a good buy it really was. After purchasing the timepiece, Norris contacted San Francisco watch specialist Eric Ku for his advice and expertise. Norris was shocked—and delighted—when Ku offered $35,000 for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm—and even added an Omega Speedster Professional to sweeten the offer.
more than 60 years, but was sold after Mr. Steachelin apparently fell out with the institution, withdrawing all his works. “We are painfully reminded that permanent loans are still loans,” the Basel museum said. Mr. Staechelin said that he made the sale to diversify his family trust’s investments, which are largely tied up in a collection of 26 valuable Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works amassed of by his grandfather.
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place is Ted Stanley, 83, who amassed a fortune selling sports collectibles. His $652.4 million gift broke new ground in medical research philanthropy. He is supporting the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard’s efforts to study the genetics of psychiatric disorders. In 2007 he gave $100 million to create the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the institute. Later, he gave another $50 million. His 2014 gift vaults the center’s research forward at a time when drug companies have pulled back on funding for psychiatric research. Stanley has a personal stake in the cause. His son Jonathan responded to treatment for bipolar disorder and became a successful lawyer. Of the 50 people on the Chronicle’s list, 22 appeared on the latest Forbes 400. That group gave a total of $4.6 billion. America’s other biggest private giver along with Gates, Warren Buffett, is absent from the list. That’s because of the Chronicle’s methodology. It does not count pledges made in previous years, even if the money didn’t flow until 2014. Buffett would be No. 1 for 2014, ahead of Gates, had the magazine counted the $2.8 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stock he gave last year in accordance with previous pledges. Forbes estimates that even after his charitable contributions Buffett is the second wealthiest person in the world, with a fortune worth $73.9 billion. Michael Bloomberg was the seventh most giving person last year, giving away $462 million. Sergey Brin, founder of Google, gave away $382.8 million—the ninth largest gift last year.
The diamonds are applied by hand using a specialized “diamond paint job” that’s designed to neither rust nor tarnish, which takes about two months. For those of you who have ample cash in the bank, the moving bling costs around $1,520,870— although I don’t suggest parking it on the street.
Big Expectations Surprise—you’re pregnant! Surprise—your baby is huge! When Maxxzandra Ford delivered her son last week, she had a few surprises. The Florida mom didn’t even know she was pregnant until her third trimester— and then she gave birth to an unusually large baby—14.1 pounds.
“[The watch] was made in 1959,” Ku explained to FOX 10. “There were about 1,000 pieces made by the manufacturer called LeCoultre, and it’s a diving watch with an alarm function in it, which is quite unusual.” Unfortunately for watch enthusiasts, Ku is going to be keeping this piece at hand. “I’m a sucker for a good story, and this is certainly a really great story,” Ku said. “I think this is something that will be in my collection for a long time.” Now that’s what I call a good buy.
Most Expensive Piece of Art Ever When she was rapidly gaining weight last fall, doctors confirmed she was expecting. She was already eight months along. Avery, the newborn, was the heaviest baby born at the St. Joseph Women’s Hospital in Tampa—and the largest-ever born in the whole state. The average baby weight at birth is 7.5 pounds. His father said he is a linebacker in the making.
Purchase of a Lifetime Sometimes things are not what they seem. When Zach Norris purchased a watch from Goodwill for just $6, he thought he
A Paul Gauguin painting of two Tahitian girls has smashed the record for the world’s most expensive single work of art, after Qatar bought the canvas from a Swiss collector for almost $300 million. The 1892 oil painting by the French post-impressionist called Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) was sold by the private collector Rudolf Staechelin, a retired Sotheby’s executive from Basel, reported the New York Times. Mr. Staechelin, 62, declined to name the buyer but it was thought to be the state-financed Qatar Museums. The Gulf nation had set the previous record in 2011 when it paid $259 million for The Card Players by Paul Cezanne, and has spent millions more on Western modern art in recent years. The painting had been hanging in Basel’s Kunstmuseum (art museum) on loan
Nafea Faa Ipoipo depicts two young women in bright colors before a landscape – one in native dress, the other in a colonial, missionary style dress – symbolizing European convention and Polynesian custom. Gauguin painted the work during his first visit to Tahiti, aged 43-44, where he travelled to escape “everything that is artificial and conventional” in Europe.
Walking Man Gets a Free Ride
A few weeks ago, James Robertson made headlines when it was revealed that he walks 21 miles every day to work. People around the country were fascinated by the dedicated worker and many were rubbing their feet at they read about the
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FEBRUARY 12, 2015
Liberty and Justice for all,
(except if you live in a HPOZ!) by Aaron Revere
56-year-old’s daily trek. Since 2005, when his car broke down, Robertson had been making the 42-mile round-trip trudge through some of the roughest neighborhoods in Detroit to his manufacturing job in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He makes $10.55 an hour. People then took action. An online fundraising effort raised nearly $320,000 in only five days for Robertson. And that’s not all—Robertson was even more shocked when he walked into Suburban Ford dealership in Sterling Heights, Mich., on Friday to look for a vehicle and was handed the keys to a brand new car. But despite the hubbub, Robertson is still humble. He will sit behind the wheel of a new Ford Taurus—a car of his choosing—because “it’s simple on the outside and strong on the inside — like me.” And as for that $320K? Robertson will be working with a financial advisor who he befriended last year on his way to work to make sure he’ll be managing it right. Sounds like a walk in the right direction.
wanted to confess and ask you to forgive me, but I have not been able to summon up the courage, so I just eat my pizza and leave,” he wrote inside the typed letter. But his confession is not all that was enclosed in the envelope. The letter writer enclosed a money order for $54.39, which includes 8 percent interest compounded since 2002 on the assumed $20 food bill. The pizza parlor owner posted the letter on Reddit, commenting, “I’m speechless.” “I feel bad for the poor guy,” he added. “I probably forgot about him when I wrote the check off as a loss and never gave him another thought. This poor dude has been dwelling on this for over a decade. If I find out who he is I’m going to have a beer with him—I’m buying.” “The guy didn’t have to do anything, this is a big showing of his character. To include interest was really generous,” the storeowner added. The photo of the letter inspired others. One commenter noted that the story of after-the-fact honesty made the day better: “Thank you for sharing this, it added a real spring to my step today. I like being reminded that really good people truly exist. Some days it’s a tough thing to hang onto.” It’s always nice to see a slice of integrity shining through.
13 years ago, a hungry patron paid for his pizza with a bad check. The guilt over his lack of payment has been eating up his insides for 13 years—and now, the customer sent the pizza parlor owner a letter with an apology and the amount he owed for his meal. The anonymous letter writer claimed poverty and a hungry child at home as context for the deed — but also shared something else: “I think of this often and I am incredibly ashamed and embarrassed at my behavior. I have visited your store several times in the last few years and have always
Want your friend to know how much you think of them? Name a roach after them and you’ll be sure to get to the top of their mishloach manos list. The Name-a-Roach program was first launched at the Bronx Zoo in 2011. Apparently people are still coming out of the woodwork to participate. The zoo said on Monday that many are still taking advantage of the creepy-crawly deal—it’s only $10 for each name! Each lucky recipient is emailed a colorful certificate. The money goes to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Roaches are truly resilient. They can live for one month without food and can hold their breath for 40 minutes. What better creature to name after your loved one? Apparently the zoo doesn’t take their roach-naming program too seriously. The headline? “Seal it with a Hiss.
If you drive a car with a custom paint job that displays your passion for your favorite sports team, that is your democratic right. If you wear clothes that have a proclamation of your dislike for republicans or democrats, that is also your right because you are exercising your freedom of speech. On the other hand, if you want to paint your home chalk white instead of eggshell, you may have to reconsider because, if you live in a HPOZ, (Historic Preservation Overlay Zone,) it may be decided that you are ruining the character of the neighborhood. I don’t like or dislike HPOZ’s, but I find it interesting that in the United States of America, the land of the free, you may have to debate a council over the width of your walkway or your choice of windows. The idea is that by preserving the original character of the neighborhood, the community will benefit from a cohesive charm that will be appealing and retain strong home values for properties in that neighborhood. The fact is that if you live in an HPOZ they have the right to tell you and even impose a fine, if you do not adhere to their guidelines. If you have been following local policy, you will no doubt know that Paul Koretz of council district 5, which includes the La Brea area, Bel Air, Beverly Grove, Beverlywood, and Westwood, among others, has planned a building moratorium for his district that was supposed to take effect on January 15th 2015. There is still no word on when it will actually take effect. Whenever the moratorium kicks in, it will likely freeze all ground-up construction for 18 months while a committee decides on new guidelines for home construction. This is in response to many residents in non-HPOZ areas being furious with developers creating “modern boxes” in the neighborhoods. Beverly Grove residents have been especially vocal about their disdain for the modern homes appearing in their neighborhood. The complaints mostly stem from a dislike of the new
homes which are out of character for the neighborhood, eclipsing the smaller original Spanish bungalows, as well as there being construction noise from morning to evening. Other neighborhoods are reacting like Beverly Grove and are considering the creation of their own HPOZ’s so they can stop developers from creating more “modern boxes” in their neighborhood. Now, if you bought a property in a HPOZ and decided that you wanted to build a new home based on the design of the Egyptian pyramids, I would say its a good thing there is an HPOZ to stop you. But do the modern homes being built around Los Angeles cause such a problem? I agree that they are not coherent with the historical nature of these neighborhoods, but are they such a bad choice? There are homebuyers who want to consider architectural variations that are more varied than those which were offered to their grandparents. However you feel about the matter one thing is clear. In contrast to the statements of Beverly Grove residents who believe that modern homes will hurt their home prices, the truth is that the homes that have been replaced were not going to be featured on Home and Garden Television. They were decrepit, small homes that pulled developers into bidding wars because of their potential. Only time will tell if there is any saving grace for the remaining tattered houses, now that property developers cannot rebuild. Would you feel like buying a 1,300 square foot Spanish house in a HPOZ neighborhood, when it has not been updated, or cleaned since 1966? I digress. The real question is how is it constitutional for a street to become HPOZ and subsequently prevent me from painting my house in the color of my choice… unless, that is, I’m lucky enough to find the HPOZ folks like my palette? What happened to protecting the American homeowners? I hardly believe that my color choice will affect the home values of my neighbor, unless I paint a tie-dye effect on the whole property. The numbers back this up. I can’t see how we’ve allowed the land of the free to become, as far as real estate goes, the land of the HPOZ. For more information contact Aaron Revere, Realtor. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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