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The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home







FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

MR. & MRS.


‫כותלי‬ ‫בית המדרש‬ ‫יוכיחו‬








MR. & MRS.






The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home


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

JEWISH THOUGHT Hineini, You Can Count On Me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

FEATURE “Strength in Humility” - The Life and Legacy of Rabbi Yehoshua Binyomin Gordon, Shliach of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

LIFESTYLES Ask Dr. T.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Op-Ed: Israel Advocates Should Play to Win. . . . . 26 6 Questions for Rabbi Manis Friedman. . . . . . . . . . 27 Travel Guide: Auckland, New Zealand. . . . . . . . . . . 32 Amulets, Accusations & Controversy: The Devastating Polemic Between Rabbi Yaakov Emden And Rabbi Yonason Eybeschutz. . . . . . . . . 38

NEWS That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34




Dear Readers, “To read the news or not to read the news”? Good question. Those against will say, “What’s the point on focusing on the negative? You can’t do much about it anyway. Your job is to focus on being a kind and upstanding human being.” Others might argue, “What do you mean ignore the news? This is my family we’re talking about! If my sister was going through a challenge, I would want to know! If Jews are in trouble somewhere in the world I want to know about it.” They both have a point. Sticking our head in the ground like an ostrich can lead to indifference. We are supposed to get worked up about the attacks in Israel, and it’s not the end of the world if our sleep gets a little disturbed when recalling the fear Jews face in many parts of Europe while simply walking down the street. Fine. But should we share the news with our kids or let them keep their innocence for as long as G-d allows? Boy, do I wish we could remain innocent till 120…but childhood is the time for education, allowing us to nurture the young till they blossom into

mature adults with a sense of purpose. If we live in a fractured world, and there are children on the other side of it for whom a bowl of cereal would be a feast, then our children should be aware of this and feel responsible to do their part in adding light and life to what seems to be very dark world. It’s said that in the early 1940s, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak Schneersohn requested that children refrain from eating candy while the war is going on in Europe. This type of education instills in our children empathy and a sense of responsibility. To be aware, to feel, and to do what we can to help others facing challenges big or small. Surely this will bring joy to our Father in Heaven, and the current ruptures taking place on all levels of society will turn out merely to be furrows where we can sow seeds of light, joy and splendor which sprout and bloom with the coming of Moshiach – now. May we have a relaxing Shabbos filled with ahavas yisroel,


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



TheHappenings Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Historic Stem Cell Collaboration Signed between Israel and CIRM Devorah Talia Gordon

On February 8, representatives of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and the Israeli Ministry of Science signed a historic research agreement at Cedars-Sinai. When Dr. Julian Gold rose to speak at the ceremony, he explained the most important reason for his presence. It was not because he is chairman of the department of anesthesiology at Cedars-Sinai, nor because he is the mayor of Beverly Hills. Rather, Gold said, “Nine-plus years ago I actually got a stem cell transplant…I was diagnosed with leukemia, and went through the entire thing. I am standing here today as evidence of the benefit of stem cells.” The applause that followed Gold’s words not only celebrated his recovery, but acknowledged the import of what they had just witnessed: the signing of a major collaborative agreement that will partner Israel with California in the dynamic field of stem cell research. It was signed by Israel’s Ministry of Science, Ofir Akunis, and Dr. Jonathan Thomas, chairman of CIRM. Shlomo Melmed, MD, Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Medical Faculty of Cedars-Sinai, explained that Cedars was a fitting venue for signing this agreement, as the hospital has made a major contributions to stem cell research. “[O]ur scientists have shown that stem cell research can reverse the damage from heart attacks, macular degeneration (which can lead to blindness), and is about to embark on very exciting and promising early clinical trials for treating ALS.” Melmed said that these encouraging possibilities make it crucial to collaborate globally on new research. There isn’t a better choice for collab-

L-R standing: David Siegel, Consul General of Israel to the Southwest United States; Julian A. Gold; Mayor of Beverly Hills; Adam Milstein, National Chairman of the Israeli-American Council; from L-R sitting: Dr. Jonathan Thomas, Chairman of CIRM’s Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee; Ofir Akunis, Israel’s Minister of Science, Technology, and Space

oration in this field than Israel. As Consul General David Siegel described, “With other countries there have been stops and starts, but with Israel it has been consistent. They are global pioneers in stem cell research, and are very well positioned for long-term research, to achieve breakthroughs.” However, in order to move quickly on these cutting-edge therapies, funding needs to be in place. With this agreement between CIRM and Israel, there will be funding provided by both entities. “The main goal is to have access to the U.S. market, which is an enormous market, and an opening to the rest of the world,” said Siegel. “Through these partnerships you

have quick FDA approval, as well.” This is the second agreement between Israel and CIRM. The first, signed in 2014, was between CIRM and Israel’s Industrial Center for R&D, which is now supporting joint stem cell research and regenerative medicine projects. This new partnership addresses the academic angle; scientists from both California and Israel can work together in two ways. Dr. Jonathan Thomas said that first, if there are scientists in Israel and California working on the same project, they can jointly apply to CIRM for funding. Second, under a new program called CIRM 2.0, “We are no longer just waiting, but hunting the best in class projects all around

the world to encourage them to develop a California nexus to what they are doing.” Dr. Thomas was initially inspired by the work of stem cell scientists from Israel at a City of Hope event a number of years ago. “I saw the incredible resource and pool of talent you have and thought this is something we have to make happen.” CIRM has funded over two billion dollars of research and over 70 entities for research institutions, biotech companies and the like. Their research covers over 40 currently incurable conditions. While Thomas saw the import of getting Israeli scientists on the California side, Israel can benefit not only from the professional aspect of this agreement, but by creating a presence in the U.S. Minister Akunis commented, “Israel has been dealing with the BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement) over the last five to six years, and it is very strong. I think this is the answer. You know they can speak and speak, and they are very loud as you know…The beauty of Israel is the high-tech innovation…not only with U.S. and Europe, but with places like China, Japan, South Korea, India – this is worldwide.” Consul General David Siegel expressed the same sentiment, “Five years ago, UC Irvine was the worst campus for Israel. Now it has over twelve agreements with Israel, they go back and forth all the time. We don’t know much about that many bad incidents now. The BDS folks are still there, they are just marginalized. That’s the vision. Let’s do that on every campus.”

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

TheHappenings Week In News

12 Tribes Wins 7th Softball Championship Devorah Talia Gordon Did you know that a frum softball team won a Los Angeles City League softball championship in January? 12 Tribes is a frum team with Jewish players from all over L.A. Founded ten years ago by Yitzy Katz, it is currently managed by Ari Shandling. The participants come together every week to play softball against non-Jewish teams in a Los Angeles City League. The winners of seven championships (out of about 14 opportunities over ten years), Katz acknowledged that, “We have been on top, and the other teams know who we are. They respect us, and we play them year after year. And yes, they do want to beat us.” Surely, playing in a non-Jewish league must have its challenges, and Katz explained that scheduling issues do come up, with games falling on Pesach, Sukkos, and other yamim tovim. “But we have the credibility now, it’s been long enough. They work around us, that’s the biggest challenge. If you miss a game, it does hurt your standing.” The guys used to be in the Sunday morning league, but with a group of married men, various events (like brisim) made it challenging to make the games. They then joined the Monday night league. The team plays most of their games at Rancho Park/Cheviot Hills, but they have played games in parks all over Los Angeles. 12 Tribes is the only team that gets fans at their games. Shandling’s parents,

for example, have been to more games than any player. “Even if Ari can’t make it, his parents do. That’s very rare! We have family and friends that come and to cheer us on, everyone sees that…” The commissioner, grounds crew and umpires also know the players by name and love to watch them play. Everyone also witnesses how the 12 Tribes respond when a game gets tense. “Things get heated…we are there to have a good time but we also want to win. Let’s say there is a throw at home, or some sort of collision… as a team, we remind ourselves and say out loud to each other, ‘b’tzelem Elokim,’ and we calm ourselves down.” Although 12 Tribes is respected by the other teams in the league, and is now considered “on top,” this wasn’t always the case. “Our first game in 2006 was against a team of 50-60 year olds. We thought we would crush them. Well…they mercied us – beat us by so many [points] that the umpire called the game midway. We came from playing baseball, so high-pitch softball was hard to switch to. It took time, but we figured it out.”

Not only did they figure it out, but the core group of six players has stuck together for a decade, with a waiting list of guys itching to fill an open spot. “We have a sub list, so if someone has to miss a game we have a guy to fill in. Unlike some teams, we have never had a missing guy, but always fill the spot.” The guys range from age 26 to almost 40. Katz started the team to fill the void of sports activity and boost camaraderie in the community. “We have guys in Hancock Park, guys in the Valley, guys in Pico. It’s an L.A. community team. We live in different areas, go to different shuls – including YICC, BJ, Mogen David, Yavneh, YIHP, Rabbi Rubin’s shul and Shaarei Tzedek – but we come together for this community team.” What’s next for the 12 Tribes, after such a successful decade? Katz suggested, “There was an L.A. shul league, which would be great to revive and compete in.” Then he joked, “If that doesn’t happen, we have our eyes set on the Rio Olympics.”

If There’s Room in the Heart, There’s Room for a Home David Perl Jerusalem, Israel Have you ever watched a family of children enter their new home? Recently, over 200 orphans poured into their new home-away-from-home, Project Boneinu’s Orphan Center. As they went from room to room, they smiled from ear to ear. They inspected the new lobby, study, session rooms, balcony, kitchen and other amenities, then celebrated the opening of their house with a lively meal and music. Project Boneinu is a division of Tov V’chesed and was established to give orphaned boys a safe haven where they can speak to their mentor, eat a warm meal, and spend time among peers who understand their pain. During a recent Charidy. com campaign, Tov V’chesed succeeded in fundraising a staggering 1.2 million

dollars in 24 hours. Parts of those funds were used to complete the construction of the Boneinu House, allowing another two hundred orphans to benefit from Boneinu’s services. Rabbi Shimon Galai, Rosh Beis Din of R’ Nissim Karelitz’s beis din, addressed the orphans saying, “I thought I’m coming to be mechazek brokenhearted children. But here as I stand before you, 200 children of the Eibishter, who are happy despite your situation. You are mechazek me! You are giving me and all the askanim involved in Boneinu, the strength we need to continue!” He then held the children’s hands and began to dance with them like a young man. R’ Dovid Levy, the advisory rav of Boneinu, assured the children that they shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for anything they need because everyone in Boneinu

will do whatever it takes to keep the smiles One 14 year-old bochur told Rabbi Shisha, on their faces. “The old Boneinu house was right next to Then R’ Yaakov Eliezer Shisha, found- my yeshiva, but I didn’t come that often. er of Tov V’Chesed, thanked all the gen- This House is quite far from my yeshiva, erous donors and all the devoted staff but I will be here every day!” members who put so much heart into every child, every day. He finished by promising that every orphan will have a sheva brachos made for him in the Boneinu House when he gets married. R’ Meir Aker, the menahel of Project Boneinu then made a shecheyanu with unbridled emotion. The crowd, once again, erupted in song and dance. At midnight, the event drew to a close. Staff members ensured that the children got home safely and quickly so that they don’t show R’ Yaakov Meir Schechter affixing a mezuzah in the new Boneinu House up late to cheder the next morning.



TheHappenings Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Embarks on Hilchos Tefillah Chaim Gold

“My father, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Wosner, zt”l, was completely immersed in learning all areas of Torah in great depth. At the same time, he never neglected to deliver a daily shiur in simple halacha! At the root of the word halacha is the word holech, ‘walking.’ Halacha must ‘walk with’ – must accompany – every Jew, wherever he goes, every day. No one can know what his obligations to Hashem are without learning halacha!” HaGaon HaRav Chaim Wosner, shlita, Rav of Zichron Meir and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, delivered those powerful words at a historic gathering of over 450 Dirshu Daf HaYomi B’Halacha maggidei shiur from across Eretz Yisrael. Held on Motzoei Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim in Bnei Brak, the event was also addressed by HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita, Rav of Ramat Elchanan, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Samet, shlita, Dayan in the Eidah Hacharedis, HaGaon HaRav Sariel Rosenberg, shlita, Dayan in the Beis Din of Rav Nissim Karelitz and Daf HaYomi B’Halacha maggid shiur and Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita, Nasi of Dirshu. The event for maggidei shiur was part of a whirlwind week of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha events throughout Eretz Yisrael, England, and America, marking the completion of the complex halachos of Kriyas Shema and the beginning of hilchos tefillah. This begins the final stretch toward the completion of Chelek Aleph of the Mishnah Berurah. Dirshu expects to celebrate a siyum on the first Chelek of Mishnah Berurah in locales across the globe after Pesach of this year. United by a Common Undertaking The kinnus for maggidei shiur was truly a unique event. According to Rabbi Avigdor Bernstein, a senior member of Dirshu’s hanhala in Eretz Yisrael, “Just observing the 450 talmidei chachomim who deliver shiurim across Eretz Yisroel was fascinating. Most of them did not know one another, but as the evening went on and they began to converse they found so much common ground it was almost as if they were old friends. By the end of the kinnus, when spontaneous dancing broke out, the enthusiasm and ahava with which they danced together was a testament to the fusion of the hearts and minds of these unique talmidei chachomim who collectively teach daily halacha to many tens of thousands of lomdei Daf HaYomi B’Halacha.” Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein: The Power of Publically Teaching Torah At the kinnus for maggidei shiur in Bnei Brak, there was a hush in the hall as HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita, was called to the podium.

Rav Dovid Hofstedter greeting Harav Chaim Wosner

Rav Zilberstein said, “The Dirshu Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is now embarking on hilchos tefillah. I would like to cite a halacha in hilchos tefillah that offers insight into the profound importance of teaching halacha to others as you maggidei shiur do. The Shulchan Aruch tells us that it is not permitted to engage in learning once the zeman tefillah arrives. The only exception he says is someone who is teaching Torah to the public. Rabbeinu Yonah in Masechta Brachos explains that the zechus of a person who teaches others is so great that if we don’t allow him to teach at all times, those whom he is teaching may not learn at all!” Rav Zilberstein concluded, “This zechus of teaching Torah publically that you have, has the power to save you and all of us from so many tzaros!” A Unique Level of Hashgacha In his powerful and poignant remarks, Rav Dovid Hofstedter spoke with wonder about the tremendous siyatta diShmaya that Daf HaYomi B’Halacha has seen. “It is clear that there is a special Divine hashgacha accompanying the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. How else can one explain how, in such a short time, a plethora of daily shiurim have sprouted throughout Eretz Yisrael and the Diaspora. Yes, we have extremely gifted maggidei shiur, who are moser nefesh to give shiurim every day.

Nevertheless, the extraordinary success that the program has had and the way it has transformed the lives of those who learn it, attest to a unique hashgacha that the program has.” Worldwide Events Commemorate Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Milestones On that same Motzoei Shabbos, Dirshu maggidei shiur from across England gathered in London for their own maggidei shiur evening. The American Torah community is also looking forward with great anticipation to the gala siyum on Chelek Aleph of the Mishnah Berurah that will be held this coming 24 Nissan/May 2 in Passaic, New Jersey. The participants will be addressed by HaGaon HaRav Yeruchim Olshin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood, and HaRav Yissocher Frand, shlita, R”M at Yeshiva Ner Yisroel of Baltimore. “Dirshu has been deeply gratified at the unprecedented response to its Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program in North America,” said Rav Ahron Gobioff, Dirshu’s North American Director. “Numerous new shiurim keep opening in communities across North America and the response has been remarkable. Dirshu will celebrate this tremendous kiddush Hashem as we complete Chelek Aleph and look towards the beginning of Chelek Bais.”

Another important gathering celebrating this milestone was held in Kiryat Gat this past Sunday, 28 Shevat/February 7. The special guest speaker at the event was the well-known mashpia, HaRav Tzvi Meir Zilberberg, shlita. At a similar event in Ashdod, the well-known maggid and mashpia, HaRav Elimelech Biderman, addressed the crowd. An Underlying Theme of Learning and Changing At a gathering held at the Vizhnitz Monsey Beis Medrash in Beit Shemesh. The rav of the kehillah, HaGaon HaRav Boruch Shimshon Hager, shlita, son of the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Monsey, related, “Since we embarked on the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha with the beginning of Chelek Aleph last Nissan, we have noticed a marked change in our kehillah. The atmosphere is different, even the small talk is different! Learning daily halacha has brought with it a tremendous chiyus in our Yiddishkeit. The fact that so many of us are engaged in learning the same thing has created a tremendous feeling of achdus among us. All of this just from devoting a half-hour per day to learning halachos that are pertinent every single day of the year!”

The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home






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TheHappenings Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

YULA Student Selected as Finalist in Intel Science Talent Search Anna Glatt For over 60 years, the Intel Science Talent Search has been recognized as the nation’s most prestigious pre-college science competition. It provides a national stage for the country’s brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists. With over 1750 applicants, 300

semifinalists selected, and only 40 finalists chosen, YULA Boys High School is proud to announce that YULA Senior Asher Willner was selected as a finalist in this year’s competition. Asher is the only student from a Jewish high school to be recognized by the selection committee. He will receive an $8,500 award from the Intel

Foundation and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in March to compete for top honors in the competition. Asher performed his research with graduate students in his father’s Optical Communications Laboratory at USC. With crucial help from his PhD student mentors, Asher embarked on a research project in


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During their five-year immersion in Shas and Poskim, the Avreichim in the program Are tested repeatedly on over 900 daf gemara Receive shimush and guidance in darchei psak from Rav Asher Weiss, ‫ שליט"א‬and Rav Efraim Kirshenbaum, ‫שליט"א‬ Take smicha examinations in Issur V'Heter, Hilchos Shabbos, and Hilchos Tahara from prestigious poskim and batei din in Eretz Yisroel, as well as from the Israeli Rabbanut Do limud b’iyun in Nefesh HaChayim, Daas Tevunos, Kisvei Rav Yisroel Salanter v’Talmidav, Maamrei Rav Yerucham Levovitz of Mir and Kisvei Rav Shlomo Wolbe Participate in a classical mussar vaad Give regular shiurim in Chumash and Mussar Participate in year-long courses in Chinuch and Sholom Bayis Participate in several seminars in psychological interventions and support systems.

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Asher at work in the Optical Communications Laboratory at USC

the field of electrical engineering. Focusing on optical communication systems, he encoded digital data by rapidly changing the “twisted” shape of a laser beam, such that one shape represented certain data bits and a different shape represented another data bit sequence. By using many different possible beam shapes, Asher was able to transmit 20 billion bits of data in one second using a laser beam, which increased the system data capacity. According to Willner, being selected as the only Jewish student in the entire competition was “a wonderful feeling,” especially “if my actions can serve as a kiddush Hashem.” After graduation in June, Asher will be attending yeshiva in Israel, followed by the Columbia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Once at Columbia, he plans to continue his engineering studies. Willner credits YULA with piquing his interest in the field. “One of my inspirations to perform the research came from the YULA CIJE Engineering courses I took as a sophomore and junior. Learning essential engineering skills in those classes helped me tremendously for my research. Specifically, I learned to solder in class, a skill I used in the lab…when putting together various electronic equipment. Also, I had a lot of fun in those classes, spurring my interest to pursue more engineering based projects.” Willner has benefited from the last three and a half years at YULA. As he explained, “My time at YULA I will always cherish. YULA’s educational rigor, the demand for excellence, and the teachers’ foundational support in both limudei kodesh and general studies have well-prepared me for my upcoming years in yeshiva and college. Relationships with my rebbeim, who are always there to help and guide me, and with my awesome friends, are ones that I desire to continue and keep close long after graduation.” YULA Boys High School Head of School Rabbi Dov Emerson congratulated Asher in remarks to the student body. “We are so proud of Asher for this incredible achievement, which is a testimony to his hard work and dedication. More importantly, Asher represents a role model for all of us to look up to. Just as Asher is dedicated to his research, he is also dedicated to his middot tovot, to his limmud hatorah, and to achieving excellence in all that he does. I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of this honor.” Yashar koach Asher!

The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Bikur Cholim Matriarch Luncheon at YULA Girls


In 2013, Bikur Cholim launched its Eishes Chayil program with their first “Matriarch Luncheon” chaired and hosted by Elimor Ryzman in Hancock Park. The initial goal of this program was to connect younger married women with the senior women of the Los Angeles Jewish community. Since then, these Luncheons have grown into amazingly beautiful gatherings where women young and old come together from Pico/Robertson to Beverly/ Fairfax to enjoy a spectacular lunch and spirited conversation in the company of new and old friends while working on special chesed projects for patients battling illness. As part of this program, Bikur Cholim calls upward of 100 elderly women every Friday afternoon to wish them a Gut Shabbos and see how they are doing. The im-

pact of this gesture has been amazing; as it reminds these women that they are valued and lets them know that Bikur Cholim cares about their well-being. Due to the ever-growing guest-list from various neighborhoods, in addition to the Hancock Park site, Bikur Cholim has added YULA Girls High School as the destination for its upcoming Luncheon next Thursday (2/25/16). For senior women who would like to attend this luncheon there is no charge and you may RSVP to (323) 852-1900 or visit. Additional information about Bikur Cholim programs and services can be found at



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The Week In News P R E P A R A T I O N

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home










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FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News


ny years of looking for a shidduch, 30-year ky was terribly despondent and at the verge up all hope. As a diligent yeshiva bochur, he h to offer but the right shidduch seemed to 14 TheHappenings Week In News m. best friend at yeshiva felt his pain and ly wanted to help. One day the friend was ride from someone who had told him about ting yeshua that a relative of his had ed when he established a partnership with Devorah Talia Gordon atzos. friend had exhausted every option possible hezky a shidduch, he decided he had nothing July 2010, AngelenoforNorman Deroy contacting KollelInChatzos to arrange van and his wife, actualized their chochomim to learn at Chatzos asWendy, a zechus lifelong dream of moving to Eretz Yisroel. y. “We agreed we wanted to go, er Rosh Chodesh Shvat, Kollel Chatzos even when we werefriend dating,” Derovan. It took a a call from the ecstatic whosaid informed good thirty years, but now they, and their t Chezky had finally got engaged. fourwith children, live in Israel. ning partnership KollelallChatzos had On a recent business trip backweinlearned L.A., Derovan reday remaining in the cycle when flected on aliyah, living the West Bank, about Chezky's engagement," recalledinthe and, as wife Wendy says, having a “front is truly amazing to see what can happen in row seat in history.” rt time," he added. “I went to Israel in a1972, before it oint, the friend immediately signedback up as was the thing to do during the ‘gap’ year.” rtner to support Torah learning in order to Already, Derovan’s heart was bringing about yeshuas and brochos into in Israel, but hisallparents of his friend and of Klall wanted Yisroel. him to go to college.

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

“A Front Row Seat in History”

Derovan earned his degree, then entered the building industry. He owned his own company for a few years before becoming a stockbroker and working for EF Hutton for 28 years. But a strong Jewish identity, and a passion for Israel, were part and parcel of the Derovan family. Derovan’s father served as president of the Religious Zionists (RZA) of Beverly Hills, and as president of the West Coast OU (in the 1970s).

Derovan attended both Hillel and Rambam, and his mother headed up the PTA for both schools. As an adult, Derovan was the ba’al tokeya at Beth Jacob for 21 years. Meanwhile, Derovan’s brother, fine artist Daniel (Dvir), a”h, had already made aliyah in 1970. (Angelenos might be familiar with Dvir’s work – his murals line the walls of Yavneh Hebrew Academy.) A second brother, David Derovan, made aliyah back in 1983. He works in chinuch. When it was their turn, the Derovans settled in Mitzpei Nevo, a religious neighborhood in the city of Ma’ale Adumim. Why did they select this community, in “the dreaded West Bank” (as Derovan puts it) as opposed to such popular spots for English-speaking olim such as Ramat Beit Shemesh? “We picked it because the hesder yeshiva our son attended ,Yeshivat Birkat Moshe, is the cornerstone of neighborhood.” After attending yeshiva, their son did his army stint, and is currently studying at Machon Lev. The community also boasted an excellent school for their

the zechus of torah


It had been a harrowing week for Rivka, a widow with three children. The previous Sunday, her landlord called to say he was evicting her from the house that she lived in and loved for many years. She had no family and there were no apartments available in the vicinity that she could afford. Both she and her children adored the neighborhood, as well as they all made wonderful friends. For the entire week, Rivka was a bundle of nerves. She was simply unable to function; she could not go to work and just cried both day and night.

When I heard the incredible news, I cried tears of joy.

While perusing the classifieds for an apartment, Rivka noticed an ad for Kollel Chatzos. A er giving it some thought, she decided to contact them to establish a partnership. Rivka's friends had told her that the learning at this very special kollel took place a er Chatzos, and it was a propitious time for a segulah. The following Thursday, Rivka received a call from her landlord saying that she and her family could stay. "When I heard the incredible news, I cried tears of joy. I am definitely extending the partnership with Kollel Chatzos. I can't even begin to thank them enough for learning on my behalf," she said. Every midnight our talmidei chachamim illuminate the world with Torah.



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A view from their home facing the infamous E-1 police station

youngest daughter, Judy, who had just graduated from Yavneh. Another daughter, Elisheva, preceded her parents to Israel and was married three weeks after the Derovans’ aliyah. Oldest daughter Ronit stayed behind in L.A., but after unsuccessfully finding work and a suitable match in L.A., her father said, “Come to Israel and you will find both.” Ronit made aliyah in January 2012, found a job, and is now both wife and mother. Her Brazilian-born husband, Daniel, is a veterinarian and works with horses. Since Ma’ale Adumim is a desert community, the Derovans live in view of a Bedouin encampment on the barren landscape, where horses, camels, and “an Arab kid leading a flock of sheep” are the norm. Juxtaposed to this typical Middle Eastern scene is the Mishor Industrial Area – with warehouses and factories. (This is where Soda Stream used to operate before moving to Beersheva last year.) Mr. Derovan’s combined experience with building and investing have led him to his current occupation as business development manager for American Israel Construction and Development, specialists in TAMA38 Projects. TAMA38 is a relatively new government program to retrofit old apartment buildings for earthquake preparedness. The buildings also receive other improvements, including mamad (bomb shelter) rooms and new apartments above the original ones. Derovan is hopeful that his company’s efforts will put a “little dent” in a huge problem: a lack of affordable housing for young couples. “All of the super-expensive apartments being built in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are not for Israelis, but for the tourists…it is all empty except for Pesach and Sukkos. People don’t have where to live.” How is day-to-day life in Israel, especially for olim? “Everyone [in the family] is very happy to be there, and none of the kids plan to come back. Friends here [in L.A.] are saying how hard it is to buy a house, to live here, as young professionals. Education is much cheaper in Israel, and our daughter Elisheva (who has two children) is relieved to be there.” Elisheva’s husband works at Mobileye as an electrical engineer, as part of the team developing the driverless car. The family lives up the street from the Derovans.

Their son, YULA graduate, Mordy serving in the Kfir brigade

“Moving wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be. Everything is kosher. We did go from four cars in L.A. to one little car in Israel that all three of us share… I love Israelis; it is a different culture. The people don’t push as much as they used to. Now, in banks you take a number. I think Israel attracts the best of the best. To be able to live there is a big z’chut for myself and my family.” How does Mr. Derovan and his family deal with the matzav? “Because of the current ‘knife intifada,’ my son – and quite a few people in shul – has his gun on him all the time, though it’s hard to get one, and once you have it, it’s hard to use. A complete psychological work-up is mandatory for gun ownership, and every bullet issued must be accounted for.” Despite the unease, Derovan said people are leaving their houses, going to restaurants, and the like, but tourists aren’t coming. Consequently, there is less traffic. But on the positive side, Derovan has observed how the tenuous political situation brings out the best in Israelis. “When we have these terrible tragedies, it shows the fantastic people who live in Israel. Mrs. Meir [Dafna Meir, Hy’d, who was stabbed to death in January outside of her home] was a phenomenal person, had her own kids and foster kids, and you don’t hear about these individuals until they’re killed.” Derovan also emphasized the enormous kiddush Hashem made by Sarah Tehiya and Ariel Littman, three months ago, when they invited the entire country to their wedding just after the kallah’s father and brother were murdered by Arab terrorists. Derovan wrote (in a newsletter he sends to friends and family), “The genius here is what they did with their newfound notoriety. By deciding to invite the entire country…they united the Jewish people in a very special way…it was their way of shouting to the world that Israel and the Jewish people will not be destroyed…” On the contrary, wrote Derovan, “We continue living here in Israel. We will not be forced out again as we were in 70 AD by the Romans. We were here before the so-called Palestinians, before Muhammad, before the Greeks… Am Yisrael Chai… The Nation of Israel Lives.”

The Week In News


FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home


PROJECT WITNESS proudly presents the SCREENING of an original full-length documentary commemorating the destruction of Polish Jewry



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TheHappenings Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

World of Belz Friends and Benefactors Banquet in Beverly Hills Bracha Ebriani On Sunday, February 7th, the World of Belz Friends and Benefactors Banquet filled the Starlight Ballroom in the Mr. C Hotel in Beverly Hills with over 100 supporters of Belz’s Torah and chessed projects. Although followers of Belz are few in Los Angeles, the event was well-attended and the room bustled with a diverse crowd. Many guests had close relatives who were Belzer chassidim. The event was spectacular from start to finish, from the musical performances and guest speakers to the catering by Tierra Sur. From the moment participants stepped out of the elevator, they were greeted with a 360 degree view of Los Angeles. The beautiful, green hills of Los Angeles, the towers of Century City, and the beaches of Santa Monica made an unparalleled sight. Shloime Daskal began the evening by singing “Shomer Yisroel” to show appreciation of Hashem and as a plea for the safety of our brethren in Israel. The crowd was clearly moved by the soulful performance. Many guests closed their eyes in deep meditation. Rabbi Shlomo Klein of Congregation

Ohr Hachayim read a message of blessings from the Belzer Rebbe, shlita, conveying gratitude as well as reminding the audience of the role of Torah study in protecting Jews in the land of Israel. He explained that the goal of Belz is not to create more Belz Chassidim but to perform kindness to all Jews. Rabbi Klein identified prominent examples of individuals who were products of Belz yeshivos throughout Israel and the world. Although Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn of Yeshivat Yavneh was unable to attend the evening, he appeared in a digitally broadcast message explaining the importance of supporting the Belz Yeshiva and all that they do in the land of Israel. He provided an in-depth assessment of whether local charities truly do take preference in the mitzvah of tzedakah in communal and private philanthropy, conveying an interesting halachic exposition of all the various opinions. He also offered his own unique twist – because of the rapid pace of global travel and instantaneous opportunities for international charitable support, perhaps there is room to say that even in Los Ange-

les we are now obligated to serve a global community. Subsequently, Isaac Honig and the Shira Orchestra from NYC performed an entertaining musical interlude. Rabbi Pinches Friedman, chevrusa of the Belzer Rebbe, shlita, and Rosh Kollel of Belz in Israel, expounded on the “Shvilei Pinches,” a popular weekly written drasha that he authors which is available to the public online. Parshas Terumah, which coincided with the event, contains within it a glimpse at the necessity of both the Torah

scholar and the Jew who works to make a living. Much can be achieved when both parties support and love each other. Both have an essential role in this world and both are treasured by Hashem in sanctifying His creation, Rabbi Friedman attested. At the end of the evening, Chassidic history specialist Rabbi Pini Dunner introduced the “World of Belz” video presentation. The video provided an intimate portrayal of the Belz institutions, both internally and in the form of outreach. The program summoned donors to support thousands of Torah students in an initiative called “My Kollel.” It portrayed what it meant to support Torah study in the 29 Belzer Yeshivot and 50 Kollelim. The video presentation also highlighted the kindness that the Belzer Rebbe and Rebbetzin coordinate on a daily basis – helping needy families, widows, orphans, people who have illnesses, performing outreach for the unaffiliated, and creating schools for those with special educational needs.

Parenting The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Proactive Parenting Sara Teichman, Psy D.

My six-year-old daughter – a bright, friendly first-grader – goes crazy for nosh. From the minute she wakes up till the second she goes to sleep, she begs for junk. Although we are quite liberal and generous with snacks, and always make sure that she has what other kids her age have, she badgers us relentlessly when there is a possibility of more – i.e. a kiddush, “goody-bags,” or yom tov. No matter what the “deal” or promise made, she always finds a way to wheedle and nudge us. May I point out that in school, she is super-bright, popular, and well behaved? However, at home we feel that she is learning to be manipulative, developing atrocious eating habits, and engaging in an endless power struggle with us. Any ideas? Marci, Valley Village Dear Marci, With the proliferation of every kind of nosh imaginable – and the myriad venues (school, supermarket, eateries) where the nosh is omnipresent – it has to be difficult for a vulnerable child (or adult!) to resist temptation. Although many children are indifferent or unaffected by the riches around them, your child is not. A typical six year old has not yet mastered the art of managing her wants and needs – in your daughter’s case, her desire for nosh. Her youthful inability to control herself makes her persistent and relentless. The fact that the nosh is visible further spurs her resolve to get it: hence, the endless begging and bargaining. In short, although this issue rightfully troubles you, this is not a troubled child. Her school performance provides evidence to that effect. In fact, I would guess that lots of my readers share this same concern. So, here’s a tip: We cannot change children, so we must change their environment. We all know this basic principle of human behavior: we cannot change other people, only they can choose to change themselves. Because at this time your daughter simply lacks the ability to change her behavior, you must change the environment for her so that she is not constantly challenged by a force greater than she is – the call of the nosh. Modifying the environment is basic to all behavior change. As adults, we do this all the time. We don’t walk into a bakery when we are dieting. Environment matters – particularly to an impressionable child.

Creating a healthy environment is a wonderful step towards being a proactive parent. Rather than permit an environment that stimulates poor behavior and our negative reaction (noshing and punishing), be proactive and structure the environment so that the behavior does not happen (eliminate the temptation). It is always easier to prevent behavior than to let it happen and then have to deal with it. Here are some suggestions for developing an environment where nosh plays less of a role: Make available – and serve – healthy food. Even though there is no way to force a child to eat it, having health food onhand may eventually tempt her to fill up on healthy stuff so she will have less need for junk. Be patient – we are talking years here. Limit junk food in the home. Avoid the most unhealthy (candy) and mega-size bags that invite seconds. Buy the exact amount of individual snack bags for lunches – no extras. Once your daughter gets used to the fact that there are no treats lying around, she will ask for them less often. Be consistent. When sometimes you allow junk food and sometimes you don’t, your child will learn to beg for the “good times.” If this means hoarding your private stash in some undisclosed location, so be it. Avoid environments that are a tease or difficult for your daughter to negotiate. These often include markets, toy stores with nosh bags displayed in the checkout aisle, or eateries that have gumball machines with small candies. It is unfair take a child into an environment that she clearly cannot handle and then expect her to behave. That would be similar to offering an alcoholic one drink from a full bottle. If you must take your daughter with you to a tempting venue like a market, make a very clear deal with her beforehand. (“You may have one bag of chips.”) As you walk into the store, ask your daughter to reiterate the deal. (“Remind me, Rochel. What is our deal?”) If your daughter violates the deal, leave the store ASAP. Although leaving makes your life difficult, your daughter needs to learn that you mean business. Only then will she stop pestering you. When going away for a shabbos or yom tov, engage your hosts’ co-operation. Explain how lots of nosh presents a problem and that you would appreciate their help in monitoring and/or limiting its availability. Another basic principle in chinuch is ignoring: what you don’t see, you don’t need to address. We cannot pester our

children without some pushback (disobedience, rebellion, chutzpah). The astute parent always picks his battles, rather than picking endlessly at the child’s minor infractions. Thus, we avoid negative interactions.

seem trivial. However, it is in these small battlefields that we play out our family conflicts and learn to resolve issues. The wise parent remembers that when there is a power struggle with a child, we always lose – because when we lose, we lose, but

In the spirit of “choosing our battles,” decide that once the parameters are set and you have organized an environment geared to your child’s success, you will look away from any infractions in a different environment – one not of your making. For example, when you attend a kiddush or family simcha and nosh is everywhere, simply avoid noticing or commenting on the amount of junk your daughter grabs. Ditto for school functions and the ubiquitous “goody bag.” Because these environments are hefker and you do not have input or control, treat these situations as a non-issue. Decide that you are not “giving up control” but rather making a healthy choice to avoid a power struggle that would be detrimental to your relationship. To the uninitiated, this situation may

when we win, we have a defeated child. So, hatzlocha to you in the Potato Chip Wars. In the Battle of the Nosh may you and your daughter both emerge as winners. The Book Nook: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Read this groundbreaking work and see why EQ trumps IQ. Check out his subsequent works, most notably Social Intelligence. Sara Teichman, Psy D. is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles and Clinical Director of ETTA, LA’s largest Jewish agency for adults with special needs. To submit a question or comment, email



Living with In theNews Times The Week

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

The seeds of all Jewish construction campaigns throughout the millennia were planted in the final five parshiyos of Sefer Shemos. You can find the roots of every shul, yeshiva, and mekom haTorah from Israel to Spain, Egypt, Morocco, Poland, Lithuania, Russia, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and everywhere else in those Torah portions. The first campaign was for the mishkan, as we learned last week in Parshas Terumah. Philanthropic Jews contributed more than enough of the supplies required to construct the home for the Shechinah in this world. In this week’s parsha, the opening appeal was for shemen zayis zoch; the first drop of oil squeezed from olives, collections of which were used to fuel the menorah. Moshe Rabbeinu is told (27:20), “Ve’atah tetzaveh, you shall command the people to bring donations of virgin olive oil.” Hashem told Moshe to forcefully command them to bring this donation, using the word “tzav.” Moshe had been forced to plea and cajole them to offer olive oil, since preparing oil as required for the menorah is a cumbersome and time-consuming task. A simple appeal wouldn’t suffice. A few pesukim later (28:3), Moshe is told, “Ve’atah tedaber el kol chachmei lev asher mileisiv ruach chochmah – You shall speak to the wise of heart whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom,” and discuss with them the obligation to fashion the special clothing the kohanim wore as they performed the avodah in the mishkan. In this instance, Hashem didn’t tell Moshe to command these “wise” people to create the priestly garments. Rather, He directed Moshe simply to tell them what was needed. This is because when addressing perceptive, insightful people, implicit speech is sufficient. They get it. They immediately perceive the opportunity to contribute and appreciate the role they can play in the house of Hashem. They don’t have to be cajoled and persuaded. Throughout our long history, any time a need arose, there have been two reactions. There were people who had to be forced to participate, prodded, and embarrassed into contributing. Then there were those who were smart enough to be generous, kind, and giving. When the Moshe Rabbeinu of the generation asked for something, they came forward. It is thanks to the goodhearted, smart people that we have been able to survive through the ages and thrive in times such as today, when, thankfully, we are blessed

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Hineini, You Can Count On Me with people who understand their role in sustaining others and creating the proper infrastructure for the mikdashos me’at that we merit to have among us. Moshe Hesitated The theme of recognizing our obligations resonates throughout the parsha. The reason that Moshe Rabbeinu’s name does not appear in this week’s parsha, though he took a very active role in everything described there, is connected with this theme. Hashem charged Moshe with leadership when he stopped to gaze at the phenomenon of the burning bush (Shemos 4:14). Instead of seizing the mandate to lead the Jewish people out of Mitzrayim, Moshe hesitated and Hashem became angry with him. The posuk states, “Vayichar af Hashem,” Hashem’s anger burned against Moshe, but the posuk doesn’t expound on the effect of the anger.

serve as kohein gadol as well. When he demurred, although well-intentioned, he caused charon af to enter the world and his malchus was weakened. The opportunity for serving Hashem via kehunah was taken from him. There is a well-known medical askan who spends most of his time shuttling between doctors and hospitals, trying to help people. A friend of mine asked him what keeps him going and how he is able to find energy for each new case. “It’s simple,” this tzaddik replied. “I think to myself that if I don’t do it, Hakadosh Boruch Hu will find someone else to do what I do. He has no shortage of soldiers, and I don’t want him to find someone else. I want Him to use me.” Either Rise to the Occasion or Slither Away That is the lesson taught by Rabi Shimon bar Yochai, who espouses the opin-

MAYBE YOUR THICK SKIN WAS GIVEN TO YOU SO THAT YOU CAN FIGHT DESTRUCTIVE PEOPLE AND THEIR AGENDAS Rabi Shimon bar Yochai (Zevochim 102a) suggests that Moshe was in line to receive kehunah as well as malchus. He forfeited the opportunity for kehunah when he objected to Hashem’s request that he lead his enslaved brethren into freedom. As a result of that “charon af,” divine anger, Moshe lost the kehunah that was to be entrusted to him. His family was replaced by Aharon and his sons to serve as kohanim, whose task was to serve in the mishkan and create harmony between Hashem and his nation. The Baal Haturim explains that the Torah was sensitive to Moshe’s feelings and therefore omitted his name from the parsha that details the particulars and measurements of the bigdei kehunah. He was hurt by the loss of the position that required the special clothing prescribed in the parsha. In a show of sympathy and not to cause him more aggravation, his name is not mentioned as these halachos are transmitted. Tetzaveh reinforces the timeless truth that we are all expected to fulfill a mission. When the orders come our way, we must seize them. Otherwise, we risk losing everything. Moshe was a melech meant to

ion that kol Yisroel bnei melochim heim. Inside every one of us, there is a measure of royalty, malchus. We all have within us the ability to make a difference, to take responsibility and master a mission. We all know what we should be doing. We all know that there are people who desperately need help. Some need a shoulder to cry on and some need a listening ear, a friendly message and brotherly warmth. We can do it. We can be the soldier who performs that task. Or we can shirk the responsibility, make believe we didn’t notice, and be too busy and too involved with ourselves to bother with others. We can either rise to the occasion or slither away. It can be difficult and time-consuming, but often we can be lifesavers just by showing up. It can be trying and we might get condemned and mocked for doing the right thing, but we must do it anyway. Those who show strength and determination in the face of bullies and bloggers earn eternal blessings and gratitude. Those who are scared away by lesser people are themselves minimized. Those who stand up to scoffers and leitzim are rewarded with the bris of shalom. The ones who seek peace for themselves by apathetically ignoring

the evil doers and those who spread vindictiveness, hatred and machlokes in our world are just as guilty as the perpetrators. Rise up and take a stand and you will awaken the malchus within you. Sit on the side and chuckle as you catch up on the latest blogged meshugaas and your internal ben melech shrinks. Pay attention during krias haTorah this week and you can hear a harbinger of the upcoming season and the defining question of the Megillah: Umi yodeia, who knows, im lo’eis kazos higa’at lamalchus. Esther Hamalkah feared approaching the king to ask him to save her people. Mordechai admonished her (Esther 4:14), saying, “Who knows if the reason you were put in the position of queen was to save the Jews at this very moment?” Every one of us has moments when we hear this posuk, when we know that we can really make a difference. Yet, we find excuses and shrug off the responsibility. If we want to maintain our stature of malchus and don’t want the Ribbono Shel Olam to find another candidate to carry out the job, we have to say, “Hineini, I am ready. Hineini, I know I can do it. Hineini, you can count on me.” Don’t Wait for Others to Step Forward The Baal Shem Tov taught a deep lesson about how every word a Jew hears and every scene he witnesses has relevance to him. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be exposed to it. Rav Yaakov Yosef Polnoye disagreed that actions and words that swirl around a Jew have any connection to him and his avodah, and he told his rebbi as much. “I can’t accept what you are saying,” he said. The Baal Shem Tov looked at him and said, “Yes, you can, but you don’t want to.” As Rav Yaakov Yosef was walking home following the discussion, a peasant laborer stopped him. His cart was weighed down with bushels of wheat and was too heavy for the man to move by himself. “Can you help me push this?” he asked. Rav Yaakov Yosef, who wished to quickly reach his destination, shook his head. “I’m sorry, but I can’t,” he said. “Yes, you can,” the laborer retorted, “but you don’t want to.” Rav Yaakov Yosef stopped in shock. The peasant had echoed the rebbi’s words, reinforcing their truth. Hashgochah protis means that everything we hear has personal significance and meaning. And in his case, the message was about not making excuses. You can, but you don’t want to.

Living with In theNews Times The Week

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

How often do those words apply to us, if we’re being honest? How many times each day are we faced with situations when we know what’s right, but we sit back, waiting for others to step forward and do the heavy lifting? Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach zt”l would recall the hanochas even hapinah of the yeshiva in Kletzk, where he served as a maggid shiur. The rosh yeshiva, Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l, delivered an impassioned droshah about the centrality of Torah and the great merit of hosting a yeshiva. When he finished speaking, gabbaim brought out two huge barrels and placed them on the site where the future yeshiva would be constructed. The townspeople, who a moment ago stood enraptured as Rav Aharon spoke about the yeshiva that would be erected at this site, hurried home. The men came rushing back holding money in their outstretched hands. The women came bearing jewelry and silver. Like their ancestors in the midbar, after the call of Moshe, with tears of joy running down their faces, they threw their valuables into the barrels, ecstatic about the merit to build Torah in their town. When the barrels were overflowing, the people returned home. But almost as soon as they had left, they returned with shovels. They began to dig, eager to create the hole where the yeshiva would establish its home. Might that outpouring of love, achrayus, and enthusiasm be the secret of Kletzk – and the yeshivos it spawned – and the reason that legacy flourishes so gloriously? Binyan hamishkan called for a leadership that was different than what substitutes for it today. Too often, leaders are people who deliver rousing speeches from behind a microphone, but never get off the platform and take a shovel in hand to get the job done. A leader must possess the ability to size up the situation and find solutions to problems, rising up to the challenges, confronting them, and surmounting them. The Jews of Kletzk who emptied their cookie jars and ran with their jewelry and shovels were leaders. They were royalty. They may not have been brilliant speakers or seasoned activists, but they were chachmei lev. They built Torah for eternity. The media is enjoying the current election cycle, as readers and viewers are sending ratings spiking, closely following an epic struggle for the nominations. Many see the frontrunner as a buffoon, an outspoken megalomaniac and a money-loving self-promoter. They wonder how it can be that people fall for him and his rants. They don’t get why people are besotted by him. They look on in amazement, as the entire election centers on his ideas. He

drives the discussion, he leads the polls, and people are in awe of him. How can it be? The people are hungry. And angry. Americans placed their hopes upon a man who promised hope and change. They bought into the media’s narrative that the Democrat candidate was a master communicator who delivered soaring rhetoric and would bring a fresh approach to governing. They have since been let down by his lack of courage and conviction and failing at every juncture in his presidency. He led them to a budget and security precipice and the tough-talking Republicans who promised to keep the country safe and curb Obama’s enthusiasm for big government and deep deficits did nothing to block him as he marched to his own drummer, steadily losing domestic support and international respect. Jobs are evaporating, health care is spiraling out of control, the country’s enemies have been strengthened, and friends have been spurned. The country is weak and in constant danger. Everything costs more than when he became president, and we are worse off as a nation. The Republican leadership allowed it to happen, opting to make backroom deals and contenting themselves with tough talk. Donald Trump feeds into the rage over being ignored. His success is an indication of just how unrepresented the rank and file feel. They see his flaws. They see his political inexperience, but they consider it an asset. They see him as a man who has accomplished much in his business life and think he will bring fewer excuses, less double-talk, and more action. The lessons of this election, which sometimes appears to be more satire than reality, are very relevant to us in our world as well. People are fed up with speeches that appear to be serious and meaningful, but are essentially fiction. People seeking direction and help are fed ambiguities. They turn to people they thought were paradigms of responsibility, only to be rebuffed and ignored. Mainstream is outstream, while establishments are viewed as redundant vestiges of bygone eras searching for relevancy. People are fed up, they

want real leadership, real leaders, real people who relate to them and are honest and forthright. Good Thoughts Are Not Enough This week’s parsha teaches us that everyone can be a chacham lev. Everyone can rise to the occasion. We don’t need to be forced. We don’t need to be challenged. We don’t need to be embarrassed to do what is right. We hear the voice of Hashem call out to us as we learn Torah and mussar. We are reminded by our parents and rabbeim of what is important and what is

folly. Those lessons are there, waiting for us to accept them and act upon them. Every time we are presented with an issue, we must say to ourselves, “Umi yodeia im lo’eis kazos higata.” Maybe the reason Hashem blessed you with what you have is so that you can help out this rosh yeshiva or rav who is in need of assistance, or the hardworking professional who can’t make ends meet, or the lonely person you encounter. Maybe He gave you strength so that you will rip off the veil from a sheker that ensnares people and causes rifts. Maybe you should use your charm and ability to make sales to raise money for good causes. Maybe your thick skin was given to you so that you can fight destructive people and their agendas without letting their attacks affect you. Most of us know that we could be doing so much more, but good thoughts are not enough. Remember the Mishkan, remember the bigdei kehunah, remember the peasant at the side of the road. Know that you can, and that you must want to.



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Op-Ed The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Op-Ed: Israel Advocates Should Play to Win Jeff Ballabon & Bruce Abramson

The final year of the Obama Presidency has not begun well for Israel. Arab assassins earn greater international sympathy than do their Jewish victims. Iran gleefully violates even the modest obligations that Secretary Kerry negotiated, and receives $100 billion or so to fund terrorism. The BDS movements scores labeling victories in the EU and the Obama Administration reinforces them. The UN Secretary General unleashes slanderous anti-Israel bile into a receptive global public. Meanwhile, with America’s focus on the election, the country’s leading pro-Israel activists again boast of unshakeable bipartisan support in Congress. Never mind that a sizable majority of Israel’s Democratic “friends” just agreed to fund Iran’s ability to exterminate the Jewish State. The pro-Israel establishment insists that their hard work keeps the “pro-Israel” position a rare point of consensus in a partisan town. Decades of polling tell a different story. The difference between Democratic and Republican views of Israel is stark, longstanding, and growing. Almost 85% of Republicans express consistent warm support for Israel. Democrats’ more tepid pro-Israel sentiment routinely polls below 50% – and even that support skews old. Young Democrats overwhelmingly take pride in their anti-Israel politics, exacerbating the dire situation on college campuses. Astoundingly, many American Jews who know from personal experience that full-throated support for Israel has become contentious accept the absurd fiction that Israel’s position in Washington remains secure no matter who is in charge. Even skeptics of the “bipartisan consensus” silliness have been persuaded that vast millions should be squandered on supporting Israel’s enemies’ campaigns because they might gain power (thus actually helping Israel’s enemies gain power) as though, despite all evidence to the contrary, such contributions somehow make them Israel’s friends rather than reward bad behavior. This denial of the obvious has been killing Israel slowly. Israel’s alleged supporters in Washington claim exemption from the most basic rule of politics: While it is nice to have friends on both sides of the aisle, control of Congress and the White House is critical. Planned Parenthood, the NRA, the Sierra Club, and the Chamber of Commerce all know it. Each of these groups champions an agenda, fights for their beliefs, rewards proven friends, and punishes enemies. America’s “pro-Israel” establishment stands apart; its neurotic need to claim as many “friends” and as few “enemies”

as possible earns public lip service but private contempt. As last year’s vote on the Obama-Iran deal showed, Congress overflows with politicians eager to court wealthy Jews, spout pro-Israel platitudes, and cast easy votes. The moment that Israel requires a vote of conviction rather than convenience, however, they politely express regret and an intention to return as soon as the easy money resumes – because it always does. Israel’s American supporters have confused themselves with the Israeli government. Israel is a small state surrounded by enemies seeking her destruction and the genocide of her citizens. Because Israel plays with razor-thin margins of error, risk aversion can be highly rational. The significant risks that Israel has incurred have almost all focused on securing friends and allies, rather than on securing victory. As a foreign government dependent on the United States, Israeli diplomacy compels conciliatory statements about U.S. policy and the American leadership. American activists are under no compulsion to believe such statements. To the contrary, American supporters add maximum value when championing the tough truths that diplomacy puts beyond Israel’s reach. Yet rather than pushing to expand Israel’s political playing field, Israel’s leading advocates in Washington have instead become similarly risk averse, at times even allowing their own neuroses and extraneous political priorities to further constrain Israel’s options. The system is broken and must change. Israel deserves advocates who are fully committed to the cause, not ones who use it to advance their other interests. And pro-Israel activists should behave more like the lobbyists for American interests they are, and less like supplicants for an embattled state. Israel remains popular with Americans; Iran and the Palestinian Authority do not. A pro-Israel lobby that played to win would articulate basic, immutable principles for which it would fight. It would pressure Israel’s neighbors to work with Israel, while removing pressure on Israel to take risks that compromise its security. It would stop pushing Washington and Jerusalem to reward Arab incitement and terror with a PLO-led state, and instead work overtime to ensure that anti-Jewish terror works against Arab interests. It would innovate on policy and narrative, promoting truths and ideas that run counter to conventional wisdom, even if such innovations remain minority positions for the years that lobbyists often need to assemble winning coalitions. Israel’s enemies understand this strategic imperative. Temple Denial sounded

crazy when Arafat first floated the idea in 2000. By 2015, the New York Times detailed the “controversy” surrounding Jewish “claims” to the Temple Mount, and UNESCO tried to declare the Western Wall a Muslim holy site. BDS began with a coalition of radical fringe NGOs in 2005. By 2015, allegations of Israeli apartheid and genocide dominated discourse among American academics and European parliamentarians. Pro-Israel activists may boast about state legislatures adopting anti-BDS legislation, but the anti-Israel forces framed the conversation. When the debate concerns singling out Israel as the subject of an international boycott, Israel has already lost. Not too long ago, acceptance of a Palestinian state appeared radical and anathema to America’s interests and the pursuit of peace. Jimmy Carter – hardly a pro-Israel advocate – opposed it when he was President, arguing of the destabilization such a state would cause. Yitzchak Rabin, martyred in 1995 for his dovish politics, never wavered from his opposition to a Palestinian state. In 1998, five years into the Oslo process, Hillary Clinton spoke with tentative approval of a Palestinian state triggering a furious backlash; her husband’s White House issued a very blunt official repudiation. Yet over the past fifteen years, much of the world – including many Jews claiming to advocate for Israel – has severed this “solution” from the considerations of peace, security, Arab behavior, or Arab preparedness that were supposed to have justified it. By 2011, ex-President Clinton had adopted his wife’s views; he publicly blamed Israel for the lack of peace and supported the Obama Administration’s attempts to reward Arab intransigence and distance the U.S. from Israel. With foresight and boldness, nimble anti-Israel forces have solidified the “Palestinian” claim while rendering contingent Israel’s legitimacy; Israel’s sluggish advocates lament that “the ship has sailed” while it is their own hands on the tiller. On any other issue, Washington lobbyists would have sounded alarm bells, informing their members and supporters of the animosity emanating from the White House. For the pro-Israel establishment, however, mobilizing push-back is of far lesser importance than maintaining “access” to legislators who take meetings and attend parties but evaporate when needed. Looking ahead, France has threatened to become the 137th country to recognize a State of Palestine. Might the Obama Administration follow suit? If the ship has sailed, why delay? If pro-Israel activists

living in the safety of Washington do not stridently oppose the emergence of this new Jew-hating terror state, who will? If America’s Jewish leadership fails to insist that the U.S. oppose anti-Jewish terror as resolutely as it does terror in general, why shouldn’t American politicians join the global chorus labeling Jew-killing regrettable, but understandable? Israel is losing on many fronts, and those claiming to be its greatest American advocates remain stuck playing defense. Yet the success of Yasser Arafat’s delegitimization of Jewish Jerusalem, Hillary Clinton’s implicit Palestinian State, and Barack Obama’s nuclear Iran prove that drastic shifts in both the terms of debate and U.S. policy are achievable – but only to those who think strategically, risk criticism, and act fearlessly. As Winston Churchill observed, the only way to avoid making enemies is to stand for nothing. To fight for Israel is to risk the enmity of Israel’s enemies, not to wish it away. Israel’s friends do not need money to remain friendly, and Jewish money will never buy Israel the friendship of those who wish it ill. The absence of policy innovation within the pro-Israel establishment is palpable. When Mahmoud Abbas proclaimed that the Oslo Accords no longer bind the PA, a strategic thinker might have suggested that Israel and the U.S are similarly unshackled – setting off a debate about two decades of rewards for Arab incitement and violence. The creation of a new Arab state, the limitations on Jewish life in Judea and Samaria, and even the PA itself would all come under a microscope. Ships deemed to have sailed would reenter port. The U.S. would pursue American interests with no sense of obligation to a terrorist organization. For once, Israel’s friends would frame the discussion. Just as Israel cannot win a debate about BDS, Israel cannot lose a debate about PA incitement. The only downside would be increased risk of criticism and condemnation from those who believe that supporting Israel should be easy, comfortable, and remunerative. Such costs are hardly negatives when exchanged for greater benefits. A willingness to forego the illusion of lockstep bipartisanship in the name of strategic policy innovation would ignite a new era of pro-Israel activism. It would educate voters for whom Israel is a priority about the real differences between the parties, helping to empower the Republican leadership necessary to turn pro-Israel innovations into American policies, while reminding Democratic politicians that only those who truly support Israel deserve to reap the benefits of Israel’s support. The time has come for a new strategy. The time has come for Israel to play to win. Jeff Ballabon is Chairman and Bruce Abramson is Director of Policy of the Iron Dome Alliance (www.IronDomeAlliance. com), the pro-Israel super PAC

Questions The 6Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

6 Questions for Rabbi Manis Friedman Rebecca Klempner 6 Questions for Rabbi Manis Friedman, dean of the Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies, popular Torah teacher of international repute and author of the successful series “It’s Good to Know.” Rabbi Friedman was in town for several speaking engagements during which we were able to get in a few questions.

1) Now that we are in Adar Alef, what do you think are the best ways to create extra simcha? Simcha increases ahava. When you’re really happy, you want even your enemies to be happy. And the reverse is true – love

increases happiness. That’s the idea of Purim: we’re sharing food, giving to the poor. When we show love to other people, we become happy. I’ll tell you a secret: when the people around you look good, they seem good in your eyes, you must be happy. 2) We’re entering the part of the Jewish year when we speak of geulah, yet current events make many of us nervous. Redemption seems far away. What is the number one thing in your opinion that a Jew can do in order to hasten the geula? The same thing we always do. There are no gimmicks or shortcuts. Increase mitzvos, one at a time, ahavas yisroel, and Jewish pride. Unfortunately, Jewish pride is really lacking right now. We’re afraid to be different from those around us. There’s no reason to be afraid. And we should always remember that it’s all happening for our benefit. I know that sounds mysterious, but it’s true. 2) You’ve spent a lot of your career teaching Jewish women. How do you feel a Jewish woman can maximize her



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potential? Woman have a great influence on the world as a whole. The standards women set will determine where men rise to. If they keep their standards low, men will not lift themselves up. A little more dignity, a little more eidelkeit – these raise the level for everyone. We should all also keep our eye on the goal: to make the world a holier place. Our goal should not be fame, not making money…Increase good and turn away from the bad. Women’s goals and ambitions should be cosmic, not personal. They should consider how they can make the world a holier place. 4) You spoke a little earlier about ahavas yisroel. Many years ago, you spoke at Aish here in L.A. on that topic. What concrete steps do you feel Orthodox Jews can take towards that goal? We should know that we are totally interdependent. What happens to Jews elsewhere in the world affects us here. There are no private citizens. When we see a Jew, we should always say an encouraging word, something meaningful. Move people up a step a little higher from where they were a moment ago. After 2000 years of galus, it’s natural to be discouraged. Lots of Jews are discouraged. We need to support each other. We’ve got to get to the tipping point were kedusha outweighs tumah.

5) Years ago, when I was a new baalos teshuvah, I read your book Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore? Given the state of popular culture today, do you feel your message made a difference? It made a difference for those who read it – but not enough people read it. We must rediscover intimacy. We have no choice but to rediscover the kedusha of marital intimacy. We have to get rid of pornography…it’s a scourge, and it’s entered even the nicest of homes. What’s going on in Jewish homes never used to even enter the minds of most people. That’s why I decided to make my film that just came out. [Referring to his recent movie, “The Lost Key,” in which Rabbi Friedman teaches kabbalistic insights into marital intimacy.] 6) I was just going to ask about that. What led you to publicly tackle a topic that is normally private? All the years of not talking have backfired…It’s an emergency condition we’re in, and we have to do something unusual to remedy it. What has the response to the movie been like? Pretty much as I expected. Many people were shaken by it. It is different. Generally speaking, the people who have seen it were inspired and felt changed by it. It is a little revolutionary [but people are ready for it.] Some people are shocked by where we are today. They want their lives back.




OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home


Centerfold ?

You gotta be


What do you call someone in the White House who is honest, ethical, intellectual, law abiding, and sincere? A tourist.

Riddle me this?

What was the president of the United States’ name in 1984? See answer on opposite page

Memorable Campaign Slogans Grover Cleveland “Reannexation of Texas and reoccupation of Oregon”

“Who is James K. Polk?”

Henry Clay

James K. Polk

Abraham Lincoln

John C. Fremont

“Vote Yourself a Farm”

“Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Speech, Free Men, and Fremont”

“Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, The Continental Liar from the State of Maine” William McKinley “A Full Dinner Pail”

Herbert Hoover “Keep Cool with Coolidge” “The Stakes are too High for You to Stay at Home” Lyndon B. Johnson

Calvin Coolidge

“A Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage”

Dwight Eisenhower

“I Like Ike”

Barry Goldwater “In your Heart you Know he’s Right”

Ralph Nader

“Government of, by, and for the People...Not the Monied Interests”

“He’s Making Us Proud Again” Gerald Ford

Jimmy Carter “Not Just Peanuts”

“Reformer with Results”

George W. Bush

Bill Clinton “Putting People First”

“Kinder, Gentler Nation” Ross Perot

George Bush “Ross for Boss”

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The “Weirder Side” of Presidents Trivia

1. After President Bush Sr. did something in the presence of the Japanese prime minister, a new word, Bushusuru, entered the Japanese language. The word reflects what Bush did. What does the word mean? a. To bow to someone for 90 seconds or more b. To trip while walking alongside someone c. To vomit publicly d. To fall asleep while someone else is giving a speech 2. What is one of the jobs that Grover Cleveland held before becoming president? a. Banker b. Doctor c. Train conductor d. Hangman 3. JFK is lauded for his famous inaugural line, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Was that an original line or did he borrow it from another president? a. Original b. Not original 4. Which president claimed to have seen a UFO? a. Jimmy Carter b. James Monroe c. Franklin Pierce d. Chester Arthur 5. When Martin Van Buren wrote his autobiography after serving as president from 1837-1841, who did he fail to mention in his book even once? a. His vice president b. His secretary of state c. The senate d. His wife

6. George Washington made the shortest inauguration speech on record – 133 words and less than two minutes long. He went on to become the most iconic president. William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) holds the record for the longest inauguration speech in history at 8,578 words long and one hour and 40 minutes. What happened to him afterwards? a. He was impeached b. He was voted as the worse president ever c. He died one month later d. An earplug company changed their slogan to “Make sure you have these when Harrison comes to town.” 7. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to ever be photographed at his inauguration. Who else is seen in the photograph? a. Jefferson Davis, future Confederate president b. John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s eventual assassin c. Robert E. Lee, Confederate general d. Larry King 8. William Howard Taft (1857-1930) once needed emergency personnel to come to his rescue in the White House for what reason? a. His Secretary of Labor beat him up b. He choked on a pretzel c. He got stuck in the bathtub d. He fainted when his budget office showed him the deficit for that year Answers: 1. C-On January 8, 1992, Bush Sr. fainted after vomiting at a banquet hosted by then-Prime Minister of Japan, Kiichi Miyazawa. I guess he didn’t like the sushi. 2. D-Grover Cleveland was the only

president in history to hold the job of a hangman. He was once the sheriff of Erie County, New York, and twice had to spring the trap at a hanging. 3. B-It was a borrowed line. President Warren G. Harding told the 1916 Republican convention: “We must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it, and more anxious about what it can do for the nation.” 4. A-Jimmy Carter reported seeing an unidentified flying object while he was governor of Georgia. He filed a report of the sighting with the International UFO Bureau in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 5. D 6. C-Harrison gave the speech during bad weather and a month later, he was dead from pneumonia, making his the shortest presidency on record. 7. B-John Wilkes Booth is seen in the inauguration photo. It was not the only time before the assassination that he was in close proximity to Lincoln. 8. C-At 325 pounds, William Howard Taft (1857-1930), who was dubbed “Big Bill,” was the largest president in American history. He once got stuck in the White House bathtub and people came to his rescue to pull him out. Wisdom Key: 6-8 correct: You are really smart; you could probably be president. But, then again, Carter was president, too. See any UFOs lately? 3-5 correct: You are right in the middle – a hanging chad. 0-2 correct: You just Bushusurud all over the TJH Centerfold

Answer to riddle: Barack Obama (Want to know who was the president of the U.S. in 1984? Ronald Reagan)





Feature The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

“Strength in Humility”

The Life and Legacy of Rabbi Yehoshua Binyomin Gordon, Shliach of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Yehudis Litvak On February 8th, the Greater Los Angeles Jewish community lost a unique leader, Rabbi Joshua (Yehoshua Binyomin) Gordon, z”l. Rabbi Gordon was the executive director of Chabad of the Valley and a Torah teacher at He impacted thousands of people, both locally and throughout the world. Rabbi Gordon was born in 1949 to Rabbi Sholom Ber and Rebbetzin Miriam Gordon of Newark, New Jersey. His father

ers in Rabbi Gordon’s community, remembers his first visit to Chabad of Encino in 1979. At the time, Dr. Rosenthal and his family belonged to a Conservative synagogue where he was a member of the choir. They drove to shul, parking a block away out of respect. Rabbi Gordon surprised Dr. Rosenthal as soon as he walked into the shul by giving him an aliyah. “In my experience, only wealthy people got an aliyah,” says Dr. Rosenthal. “We had a great time.

At a recent gathering of the Chabad Shluchim to the Valley

was the rabbi of Congregation Ahavath Zion, a Torah teacher, and a hospital chaplain. In addition to raising a large family, Rabbi Gordon’s mother taught Hebrew school, led a local Chabad women’s organization, and maintained an open home where every Jew from any background felt comfortable. As a young man, Rabbi Gordon studied in Chabad yeshivos in France and MontreaI. In 1972, he married Deborah Posepoff. From the start, the couple was committed to spreading Torah learning and mitzvah observance according to the directives of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, ztz”l. At first, they settled in Detroit and participated in the work of Chabad there. In 1973, the head Chabad shaliach in Los Angeles, Rabbi Shlomo Cunin, recruited the Gordons to establish a Chabad center in the San Fernando Valley. They were among the first Chabad shluchim in Southern California. Under Rabbi Gordon’s leadership, the Chabad center he began in a small private house grew to a network of 26 Chabad houses throughout the Valley, as well as schools, summer camps, and other community institutions. Starting from scratch, the Gordons built up their community by showing genuine interest in their congregants and building warm and lasting relationships. Dr. Les Rosenthal, one of the old-tim-

had asked the real estate broker to show her a house in Sherman Oaks, and instead the broker showed her a house in Encino. They bought that house and found themselves in Rabbi Gordon’s community. When Mr. Weisman told the story to Rabbi Gordon, he replied, “You didn’t choose where you live, but what you do when you get here is up to you.” At the time, the Weismans weren’t fully observant. “It was quite a transformation that [Rabbi Gordon]

Early years at the office in Encino

And next time, I got an aliyah again. And the third time, the rabbi invited us to come to his house for lunch. It was a wonderful experience. After the meal, he invited

maximizing and galvanizing the talents of his shluchim than Rabbi Josh Gordon! From the day I first came out here as that ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ 20-year-old kid, Rabbi Gordon made it abundantly clear to me how much he believed in me, how much he trusted me, and how far he felt I could move Chabad of the Conejo along in the years to come…More than that, he inspired and empowered me to believe in myself that way.” Rabbi Gordon provided not only inspiration, but also practical guidance. “He was there with me and for me every step of the way,” recalls Rabbi Bryski. “Yes, he did give me the leeway and latitude to do things in my own style, but at the same time, he would constantly check in on me – not as an ‘overseeing shaliach,’ as much as a caring mentor and friend.” Rabbi Gordon was a “people person” who was able to relate to everyone he encountered. He was often called upon to resolve conflicts among the shluchim working under him, as well as outside of

Giving his now famous live class featured on

took us on,” Mr. Weisman muses. As the Valley community grew, so did Rabbi Gordon’s various responsibilities. He recruited other Chabad rabbis to run

his community. “He did not like conflict,” says Rabbi Abend. Rabbi Gordon’s input was often more humane than halachic, explains Rabbi Abend. Rabbi Bryski adds,

One of the morning Shiurim broadcasted live to his classroom without borders

us to stay and take a nap. My wife and I rested while our kids played with the Gordon kids.” This was the beginning of the Rosenthals’ journey towards full mitzvah observance and eventual move to Encino. Mr. Lyle Weisman is another longtime congregant. “I spent nearly 17 years with Rabbi Gordon on an almost daily basis,” he says. The Weismans moved to Encino “by mistake,” recalls Mr. Weisman. His wife

the newly emerging Chabad centers, becoming a mentor to these younger men. “[Rabbi Gordon] hired me about thirty four years ago,” says Rabbi Aaron Abend of Chabad of North Hollywood. “He molded [me] and many other Chabad rabbis. His strength was in recognizing other people’s strengths.” Rabbi Moshe Bryski of Chabad of Conejo agrees. “There’s nobody – nobody – better at assessing, nurturing,

“On many, many occasions, [Rabbi Gordon] would drive out to the Conejo Valley and play a hands-on role in facilitating our growth and resolving various thorny issues we were contending with.” At the same time, Rabbi Gordon was a very pragmatic person who was personally involved in all the practical aspects of running each of the Valley’s Chabad houses, from fundraising to banking to zoning reg-

Feature The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

ulations. Rabbi Bryski recalls, “I remember how devastated I was back in 1993 when we lost our lease on the facility we were so glad and proud to be occupying of at the corner of Kanan and Sunnycrest in Agoura Hills…I remember thinking at the time how that forfeiture was going to set us back who knows how many years…That’s when Rabbi Gordon got on the horn and assured me that it was not going to set us back at all; in fact, it was going to propel us to new and unprecedented heights!... That was not just feel-good lip-service he was paying me…He actually spent many hours of many days thereafter driving the area to help us find a new place…Not only did he find our new location for us, he utilized his masterful skills to negotiate terms with the seller and landowner, enabling us to acquire the site that would put us on the map in a whole new way!” Despite his many communal responsibilities, Rabbi Gordon found the time to teach daily Torah classes. What began as a

Rabbi and Rebbetzin Gordon receiving a blessing and a dollar for charity fom the Lubavitcher Rebbe

local class for his own community transformed in 2009 into an online class with a worldwide reach at Rabbi Gordon taught the daily portion of the Torah, the Tanya, and the Rambam, as encouraged by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Thousands of listeners from all over the world, from all walks of life, learned with Rabbi Gordon daily, even though they had never met him in person. Just in the past year, Rabbi Gordon’s classes were downloaded 1.86 million times. Dr. Shimshon Blicblum of Brandon, FL, has been listening to Rabbi Gordon’s online classes every day during his commute to and from work for the past three years. “Rabbi Gordon takes dry, tedious material and makes it entertaining. In addition to his incredible knowledge of Torah, he brings in current events, movies, TV shows. He was awfully fluent in everything he taught. He could keep you interested no matter what level you were at. For me, the material was mostly new, and he made it understandable.” Dr. Blicblum never met Rabbi Gordon, though he had emailed him to say thank you. Within a few days of the announcement of Rabbi Gordon’s passing at, over four hundred people left comments and condolences on the website. The messages came from all over the world: United States, Canada, Israel, Holland,

With current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Rabbi Gordon is second from left

Italy, England, Austria, Germany, Russia, Latvia, Gibraltar, France, Sweden, Portugal, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Pakistan, Singapore, China, and even Saudi Arabia. Some of Rabbi Gordon’s online fans are not even Jewish. Sondra from Maryland wrote, “I began watching you on the Chabad site about 6 years ago and as a non-Jew (I am neither Christian) you gave me a sense of community in your teach-

from Brooklyn wrote, “I am a recovering drug addict…Four months ago [I] began listening to the Rabbi’s daily Tanya portions. Everyday his humor and explanations of Torah opened the spark of love for HaShem to blossom and grow by leaps and bounds.” Jews of all ages and all over the religious spectrum credit Rabbi Gordon’s online classes for their spiritual growth. Denise Curry wrote, “We have been listening to Rabbi Gordon for the past three months and his delightful way of teaching has given us a new perspective of the Torah. We have embraced his teachings and have now begun to follow the commandments that G-d gave to Moshe on Mt. Sinai.” “[W]hat really made him so special is somehow he made you feel that he knew you. And that is why I cry. It felt like a personal loss,” wrote Gitel Chana Levin. Such profound influence required a tremendous commitment on Rabbi Gordon’s part, says Rabbi Mordechai Einbinder, As-

Rabbi Gordon giving Bar Mitzvah lessons in the early years

ings. You helped me believe that I still matter and that G-d and Torah is a light for me to follow until I find my path. You were, and still are, a blessing given to this world.” A comment signed by B’nei Noach says, “As a Noahide family, our primary source of Torah teaching comes from the Internet via Chabad, Breslov, etc. We have been, and will remain, eternally grateful for Rabbi Gordon’s knowledge, wit, and sincerity which permeates every [shiur].” Other listeners are Jews living far away from Jewish communities. Rubertha Blackman wrote, “As [a] convert with no [r]abbi in the community I currently live in, I was happy to learn about Rabbi Gordon. I listen daily and would often discuss what he thought with other[s]. My Torah knowledge was limited but with the excellence of Rabbi Gordon teaching, I understood more and was a happy student for it.” Another comment from Massachusetts says, “Thanks to Rabbi Gordon’s classes I can study and feel connection to the community when I [live] in isolation (because of my husband’s disability needs). I am really thankful.” Still others discovered Rabbi Gordon when confronted with personal challenges. David Parvey wrote, “Rabbi Gordon was a companion through difficult times in my spiritual journey. He brought me to highs and lifted me from lows.” Sandra

and the rabbis spent two hours stopping every single bus going in that direction and searching for the recalcitrant husband. Dr. Rosenthal adds another personal anecdote. Several months after the birth of their youngest child, Mrs. Rosenthal had major surgery. Rabbi Gordon called her a few days later to ask how she was feeling. Mrs. Rosenthal cried to him that she didn’t even have the strength to change her baby’s diaper. Rabbi Gordon immediately came over and changed the diaper. Many such stories are emerging during shiva, as masses of people crowd the Gordons’ home, each one with their own story of gratitude towards the rabbi. Rabbi Einbinder described a mother and grandmother of a large Chabad family. As a teenager, she was interested in Judaism, but her family was staunchly anti-religious. At the time, there were no Jewish schools in the Valley, where she lived. Rabbi Gordon not only helped her enroll in the Bais Yaakov high school in the city, but

The Chabad House in Tarzana

sociate Director of Chabad of the Valley, who worked closely with Rabbi Gordon for many years. Incredibly busy with his community work, Rabbi Gordon nevertheless took the time to prepare his daily lessons. “Once he undertook a commitment nothing could stand in his way,” says Rabbi Einbinder. He explains that Rabbi Gordon was a very humble person who was much more comfortable in the background than in the limelight. Yet, when duty called, he was ready to push himself beyond his comfort zone and spread Torah teachings to a previously unheard of extent. “In Judaism, strength comes from humility,” says Rabbi Einbinder. “Rabbi Gordon was a humble servant. He never asked, ‘What’s in it for me?’ He only asked, ‘What is demanded of me?’ He could go against his intrinsic nature because that is what was needed.” Even though Rabbi Gordon accomplished much in his public role, his true greatness lay in his quiet, private interactions with community members in need. Rabbi Einbinder has many stories to share – of the time Rabbi Gordon got involved with helping a homeless family and managed to get them housing, clothing, and jobs, even though he himself complained that they were “making him crazy,” or of the time Rabbi Gordon enlisted Rabbi Einbinder’s help in searching for a man who had left his wife without giving her a get. The man was spotted boarding a city bus,

drove her to school and back every single day, despite his busy schedule. Thanks to Rabbi Gordon’s dedication, this woman’s children and grandchildren are all connected to Torah and mitzvos, and are teaching Torah to others. Rabbi Einbinder relates that at the shiva, Rebbetzin Gordon said, “I didn’t know that the mourning would be so great, that I would have to comfort the visitors.” Mr. Weisman adds, “Rabbi Gordon taught me so much. He even taught me how to leave this world in a positive way. He was pushing to do good up until two weeks before his passing. Even when he was in a lot of pain his question was, ‘What can I do for you?’” Mr. Weisman explains that Rabbi Gordon always had faith that everything was for the best, even when things looked very dim. Rabbi Einbinder relates that Rabbi Gordon was told by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to approach problems with positivity: “Think good, and it will be good.” Rabbi Gordon took it to heart. “He had a certain positivity even in the face of insurmountable obstacles,” Rabbi Einbinder says. “It was the guiding light of his life.”



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Travel Guide: Auckland, New Zealand Aaron Feigenbaum

Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium

Auckland may be New Zealand’s largest and most populous city, yet it is also deeply connected to its Maori roots and natural surroundings. Sitting on a narrow isthmus between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, life in Auckland (AKA the City of Sails), revolves around the water: 1 in 4 residents owns a boat, and there are over 100 beaches within an hour’s drive. The love of nature is reflected in Auckland’s calm atmosphere and easygoing residents. The laid-back Maori lifestyle is a key part of Auckland’s culture and is seen through art, music, war dances and the beautiful flow of the Maori language heard throughout the city streets. Auckland’s many fine museums, proximity to natural getaways, and high-quality infra-

One Tree Hill

structure have helped it be listed among the Top 10 Most Livable Cities in the world. Perhaps the most astonishing thing about Auckland is that one can travel not even an hour outside of the city and be met with dense rainforest, vineyards, and wildlife reserves. Overall, Auckland is a perfect getaway for those who want to see unique sights in a relaxed environment. History Auckland, known by the native Maoris as Tamaki Makaurau (“isthmus of many lovers”), was first settled in the 14th century. They were attracted to the area’s strategic position between two bodies of water and by the land’s rich soil. The first European to arrive in New Zealand was the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who initially named the land “Staten Landt” before

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Waitomo Caves

changing it to New Zealand. The British eventually replaced the Dutch. As in other places, the British brought with them missionaries, as well as diseases to which the local population had no immunity. Britain officially annexed New Zealand in 1840 and declared Auckland the capital in 1841. However, the city of Wellington on New Zealand’s South Island soon trumped Auckland economically, and the latter lost its capital status in 1865. Auckland eventually became New Zealand’s main center of commerce and one of the busiest ports in the Pacific. A huge influx of European immigrants led to overcrowding, expansion of the city, and the development of transportation infrastructure. Auckland came to boast one of the highest car ownership rates in the world, and to this day Auckland’s roads have helped define the city’s culture and geography. Since the 1980s, Auckland has developed as New Zealand’s economic and tourism powerhouse. Auckland’s population is highly diverse, with immigrants from Eastern Asia and India in particular forming distinct subcultures within the city. Attractions Auckland Museum: One of the city’s star attractions, the Auckland Museum, is both a memorial to the New Zealanders who fought and died for their country, as well as a repository of artifacts and documents relating to New Zealand’s history and culture. The Maori galleries have a large collection of taonga (treasures) that connect Maoris to their culture and ancestors. These include centuries-old war canoes, intricate carvings, hunting and fishing instruments, woven cloaks, and more. A separate section of the Maori galleries provides an in-depth look at traditional Maori stories and beliefs, including their scientific knowledge. There are also live Maori cultural events that visitors are encouraged to take videos and pictures of. Ground floor exhibits integrate the story of the Maoris with that of the Europeans who settled in New Zealand, as well as that of the wider Pacific realm. The museum’s first floor focuses on New Zealand’s natural history. It also includes Asian and ancient Greco-Roman artifacts, as well as a fun kids’ science discovery center. The museum’s top floor is dedicated to the country’s military past and also contains a Holocaust Gallery, which was developed with the help of Jewish Holocaust refugees in Auckland. Photos, artifacts, recordings, and in-person lectures are used to tell the stories of these survivors and how they’ve adapted to their new lives in Auckland. The bricks used in the gallery were taken from the Warsaw Ghetto. The museum’s current special exhibits include the history of Air New Zealand and pho-

Waiheke Island

tos and art that commemorate the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which established British dominion over New Zealand. Sky Tower: If there’s one defining feature of the Auckland skyline, it is the Sky Tower. Standing at almost 1,100 feet, it’s the tallest building in New Zealand and the tallest manmade structure in the Southern Hemisphere. The tower also serves to broadcast a variety of local TV and radio stations. Near the top is an observation deck that provides breathtaking views of the city and harbors. For the fearless, there is a Sky Jump ride that drops riders 650 feet down from the observation deck at speeds up to 53 mph. Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium: Located in the Orakei suburb of Auckland, this huge aquarium is jam-packed with thousands of sea creatures including sharks, penguins, rays, and much more. One of the most popular exhibits is the Antarctic Ice Adventure, which recreates an Antarctic environment for the aquarium’s penguins and then has visitors pass through a replica of Antarctic explorer Robert Scott’s hut used in his 1912 South Pole expedition. Those who are feeling adventurous can take a dive in a shark cage and come face to face with those fascinating yet deadly creatures. One Tree Hill: Providing excellent view of the city and harbors, this park serves as a memorial place for both Maoris and New Zealanders of European descent. One Tree Hill includes a giant stone obelisk that was conceived of by Sir John Campbell as a “memorial to the Maoris,” whom Campbell believed would eventually disappear from New Zealand. Since that, thankfully, hasn’t happened, the obelisk is today treated as a war memorial to the fallen. Also located on the grounds of the park is the Stardome Observatory. The observatory has engaging planetarium shows, telescope viewing, and galleries exploring the universe’s history and most intriguing mysteries. Museum of Transport and Technology: As the name suggests, this museum is, in part, dedicated to New Zealand’s role as a transportation innovator. The vast collections of the museum include 1930s and 1940s aircraft, late 1800s-early 1900s locomotives, vintage trams and buses, and more. The technology side of the museum is much more eclectic than its transportation counterpart. Its exhibits include how sound works, how the modern electronic devices we use were developed, the story of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1956-58, and a highly unusual display series that looks at the intersection between art and neuroscience. New Zealand Maritime Museum: This museum tells the story of New Zealand’s seafaring history from Polynesian explorers to British warships to modern times. See the wide

Travel The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Thermal Wonderland

range of canoes used to colonize the Pacific Islands. Learn about the story of the Golden Age of European Exploration. Discover how New Zealand’s coastal trade developed to make the country what it is today. There are also exhibits about the history of New Zealand whaling, famous shipwrecks, as well as three fully working heritage vessels that, on some days, visitors can board to ride through Waitemata Harbor. Day trips: Located just 35 minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland, Waiheke Island is a perfect rustic getaway. Voted in 2016 as one of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Best Regions to Visit, Waiheke is the kind of place to relax, sit back, and go for a stroll on the beach or just sit back and admire the view. The island is dotted with beautiful vineyards and sandy beaches. Activities include surfing, snorkeling, archery, and zip lining. At the tip of the island is Stony Batter, a WWII-era gun emplacement with its own tunnel system. For nature at its most unspoiled, head to Great Barrier Island. There, you’ll discover pristine beaches, secluded hot springs and waterfalls, and a highly diverse population of animals and plants. From kayaking to sailing to shipwreck diving to exploring beautiful oldgrowth forests, Great Barrier Island is another excellent place to slow down and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Rangitoto Island is a staple of the Auckland landscape, with its distinctive shield volcano serving as a beautiful backdrop. The first thing you’ll probably want to do when you get there is hike to the top of the summit trail (or take a guided 4-wheel drive tour) and get an incredible view of Auckland and the other nearby islands. Popular activities include exploring the lava caves and hopping across the causeway to nearby Motutapu Island to visit the extensive coastal battery system. For one of New Zealand’s best scenic drives, head down the Awhitu Peninsula where you’ll see lush tropical rainforests and idyllic beaches. At the tip of the peninsula sits the small yet picturesque Manukau Heads Lighthouse. You can climb to the balcony and get an unforgettable view of the harbor. The Waitomo Caves, a 2.5 hour drive from Auckland, are an absolute must-see. These

caves are filled with glow worms that emit a beautiful and exotic blue aura. Visitors can take a guided boat ride through the caves and be mesmerized by these amazing bioluminescent creatures while learning about the caves’ geology and history. The lowest level of the caves, the Cathedral, has such good acoustics that a number of famous singers and choirs have performed there. More adventurous cave explorers have the option to take a 5-hour rappel journey down into Ruakuri Cave to get a better appreciation of the cave’s intricate limestone formations and see subterranean waterfalls up close. There is also a guided walking tour accessible via the cave’s spiral pathway. If you don’t mind insects, then be sure to hop over to the Aranui cave system just 5 minutes away from Waitomo. Here, you’ll be met by the unique New Zealand cave weta, a cousin of the world’s largest and heaviest known insect: the giant weta. Lastly, the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is – like its American counterpart, Yellowstone – a surreal place. The park, located in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, contains steaming hot pools of vividly colored mineral water that result from intense underground geothermal activity. Also like Yellowstone, the park has a geyser, named Lady Knox, that erupts on a regular basis. Its plume can reach a height of almost 70 feet. Be sure to also see the park’s mud pool, located on the former site of a mud volcano that was destroyed through erosion in the 1920s. Daven and Eat Auckland’s Hebrew Congregation is conveniently located to major attractions in downtown. It has two shuls and its own kosher cafe and store called Grey’s Deli. If you happen to be in the eastern part of Auckland, you can visit The Stiebel shul which is under the auspices of the Hebrew Congregation. For more info, check out There is also a Chabad house located a bit south of central downtown. Visit For a full list of kosher food options, head over to Getting There Round-trip flights from LAX to Auckland currently start in the $1100 dollar range per person, but these fall as low as the $800 range in

August and September. Once there, Auckland has plenty of convenient and affordable public transportation. Some of the best ways to see Auckland and its surroundings are by helicop-

ter or by taking a seaplane to a nearby island and landing right next to the beach. You can even ride in a vintage jet fighter.



The Week In News

Barber Needed, ASAP They’re desperate and they only need one. It’s been two years since the isolated town of Northern Wells in Canada has

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

had a barber and residents are flipping their bangs in consternation. With a population of 800, a hairdresser can do really well, although he or she will have to withstand temperatures as low as -50°F and weed through two years of amateur trims and styling. “It’s been a long struggle for us,” said Nicky Richards, the economic development officer leading the recruitment effort for this town that sits near the southern edge of the Arctic Circle. “We just don’t have anyone. It’s something that people down south don’t even ever think about

because they don’t have to worry about it.” Residents have had to make do with their family members, friends or even themselves cutting their locks. “We’re trying to figure out ways to maintain ourselves,” said Richards, who regularly gives the same buzz cut to her husband, a friend and her boss. “I’m not a hairdresser by any set of means, but I do have a set of clippers and that’s what I use.” When it comes to her tresses, Richards schedules out-of-town hair appointments, although making the 17-hour drive or fourhour daily flight to Edmonton in Alberta

makes a haircut a bit of an expense. Flights go for more than $550. Add that to the price of a cut and a tip and you have a really costly cut. One resident, Ryan Spurrell, related, “I was in desperate need of a haircut so we just did it … in the front yard there, down by the parking lot, with a pair of sheep shears and some scissors.” A barber determined to style the town will be set up well. Other hairdressers have come and gone, leaving behind a wonderful workspace available for lease. And others from surrounding areas will be utilizing their services, as they find themselves barber-less in their towns as well. Since Richards began spreading the word, the town has heard from a few interested people. But she makes sure they know what living in a small town means. “It’s a beautiful town, everybody knows everybody,” she said. “But it has its challenges.”

Most items must be flown in – think C$8 for two liters of milk – and sometimes planes don’t make it with what’s needed. And it’s cold. “It’s only hit 40 below [zero] about three times this winter,” pointed out Richards, calling it one of the warmest winters in recent memory. “Sometimes we will have a good 40 or 50 below spell for a week or two at a time. So you’re either going to love it or hate it, I suppose.” Seems like they have their work cut out for them.


Playing Hooky – for 6 Years

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For six years Joaquin Garcia, 69, supervised the construction of a waste water treatment plant in Cadiz, Spain. But he was never there. In 2004, Garcia stopped showing up for work. His boss never noticed until 2010, when he became eligible for a plaque honoring him for his 20 years of service. “I called him up and asked him, ‘What did you do yesterday? The month before, the month before that?’ He didn’t know what to say,’” deputy mayor Jorge Blas

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

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Fernández related. Over those six years, Garcia earned an annual salary of $42,000. Now, a Spanish court has ordered Garcia to pay a fine of $30,000, small change compared to his free-loading scheme. Garcia, though, insists that officials aren’t seeing the full story. He claimed that he was bullied in a previous position, switched assignments and then discovered there was nothing for him to do at the waste water company. Instead of reporting his superfluous-ness, he kept his bosses in the dark for fear of not being able to find another job at his age. Since the incident, Garcia has officially retired, although he is probably doing the same thing he’s been doing all those years. The Guardian reports he became “an avid reader of philosophy and an expert on the works of Spinoza” during his years “on the job.” (Spinoza was a Spanish mayor who made taking an afternoon nap the law.) In fact, his attorney reported that he has gone into hiding because of the media “lynching.” Yes, it’s hard to work so hard.

The Costly Condiment Don’t know what’s in the sauce, but I do know that it can’t be worth this much money. Recently, the UK division of McDonald’s offered off a bottle of its Big Mac sauce on eBay for charity and the winning bid clocked in at a whopping £65,900.00 (approximately $95,000) for 740 milliliters of sauce. Seems like this person has a classy wallet with a lowbrow palate.

If the win is legitimate, the sauce comes out to nearly $130 a gram, making the sauce worth more than gold (which costs around $40 per gram).

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FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

So what’s in the gloop? It’s a mixture of mayo, mustard, and relish and can’t be much too different than what’s on other burgers in the world. Nonetheless, there are others who shelled out way too much money for the liquid gold. Last year, McDonald’s Australia auctioned off a bottle for nearly $15,000. Puts a new spin on those Golden Arches.

The Rabbit or the Duck?

It’s more than a 100 years old since it’s been sketched but it’s still delighting viewers around the world. When you see it, are you looking at a rabbit or duck? Some see one, some see both. But what you see – and how fast you can see it – can indicate just how fast your brain is and how creative you are. The duck-rabbit drawing was first used by American psychologist Joseph Jastrow in 1899 to make the point that perception is not only what one sees but is also a mental activity. The image was first published anonymously in a German magazine called Fliegende Blätter, with the caption “Which animals are most like each other?” Jastrow’s research was based on how quickly one can see the second animal and how fast participants could change their perception of the drawing to switch between the two animals. The faster you can do this, the quicker your brain works and the more creative you are, the research suggested. But interestingly, your views can change depending on the time of year. During the springtime, people are more likely to see the rabbit first. Around October, the duck stands out more. So if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it may just be a rabbit.

Potato in the Post Never underestimate the power of a potato posting. Mystery Potato, based in Renton, Washington, is mailing person-

to,’” Kelly said. Hmmm, sounds original. On the other hand, “‘Nerd’ in the biggest letters possible seems to be a popular message for some reason.” Yes, I would say that if you’re sending a message to someone on a potato in the mail anonymously, nerd would be a good way to

alized potatoes anonymously to specified recipients. The potato-grams start at $7.99 per tuber. “We actually have about 10 contractors here in the United States,” Jeff Kelly of Mystery Potato said. “We have 10 contractors internationally who create potatoes for us and ship them all over the world.”

describe yourself – and your friend. So what’s the good word? “We send a lot of potatoes that say, ‘You’re a hot pota-



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

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Jewish History

Amulets, Accusations & Controversy: The Devastating Polemic Between Rabbi Yaakov Emden And Rabbi Yonason Eybeschutz Part IV THE STORY SO FAR: Despite the conversion to Islam of false messiah Shabbetai Tzvi in 1666, and his death in 1676, secret societies of Sabbatians who still believed in his messianic mission thrived in communities across Europe, and continued to be active well into the eighteenth century. One prominent rabbi who fell under suspicion early in his career was R. Yonason Eybeschutz, whose name emerged during a campaign to root out Sabbatians in 1725. R. Yonason successfully dismissed the allegations and signed his name on a toughly worded ban against Sabbatianism and its adherents. But when he was appointed Chief Rabbi of the illustrious triple-community Hamburg-Altona-Wandsbeck twenty-five years later the accusations resurfaced. Kabbalistic amulets he had given pregnant women for their protection were opened up, and one of them was brought to R. Yaakov Emden for his evaluation by a concerned group of local community members. At first R. Yaakov refused to look at it, but after being reassured that his name would not be mentioned, he reluctantly agreed to examine the amulet. He quickly spotted a coded reference to Shabbetai Tzvi and showed it to his visitors. The scene was now set for an explosive showdown between the Chief Rabbi and his detractors. Despite R. Yaakov’s request that his name be kept out of the matter, his involvement soon became an open secret. It seemed as if everyone in the community had expected his negative verdict on the amulet, and notwithstanding his reluctance to be associated with the investigation, particularly because he felt that his opinion would be immediately dismissed as biased, the talk in the triple-community was that R. Yaakov had uncovered R. Yonason’s darkest secret and was ready to go public with what he knew. It was only a matter of time before R. Yonason himself was informed of the rumors, and after discussing strategy with his closest advisors, he decided to send a messenger to R. Yaakov in an attempt to try and put a lid on the matter before it spiraled out of control. The messenger arrived at R. Yaakov’s home bearing a

friendly letter asking R. Yaakov to disclose his views on the amulet, so that R. Yonason could offer an explanation. A rather surprised R. Yaakov told the messenger that he was not quite sure why the Chief Rabbi was approaching him, as he had never expressed any opinion as to who the author of the amulet was, and had certainly never suggested that it was the Chief Rabbi who had written it. He had simply expressed his view that the formulation of the amulet was Sabbatian in origin, and whoever had written it was a dangerous heretic. When this message came back to R. Yonason, he immediately called a meeting at his home of the community’s most prominent lay-leaders and informed them of the behind-the-scenes dialogue with R. Yaakov, and his insistence that the amulet contained Sabbatian heresy. The gathered dignitaries listened as R. Yonason recalled how he had battled accusations of Sabbatianism in the past, without anyone ever presenting a shred of evidence to prove anything against him. And now, once again, he was in the frame. R. Yonason’s voice quivered with emotion as he passionately denied that his amulets were Sabbatian or heretical in any way, and he requested for the community board to intervene in order to prevent his authority from being compromised by R. Yaakov and others who were spreading rumors across the community. The following morning there was a knock at R. Yaakov’s door. It was Tuesday, February 2nd, 1751. When R. Yaakov came a came to the door he was shocked to find a full-sized horse-drawn carriage standing on the street outside his house. The man at the door informed him that he worked for the Jewish community, and was there to bring R. Yaakov to the community’s headquarters for an emergency meeting. R. Yaakov was astonished. This was no ordinary invitation, and he realized this was not going to be an ordinary meeting. He asked the community employee if the Chief Rabbi was expected to be there, but was informed that only the executive committee of the lay leadership would be in attendance. R. Yaakov arrived at the meeting fearing the worst, but his apprehension was quickly dispelled. The three members of the executive committee – all personal friends for many years – were extremely respectful, and the atmosphere was amiable and benign. He sat at the head of the

table and they explained apologetically how circumstances had forced them to act in this abrupt manner, but only because of the sensitivity of the matter at hand. After all, one of them said, it is not every day that the Chief Rabbi is accused of being a heinous heretic by another senior rabbi in the community. They all laughed heartily. But R. Yaakov didn’t even smile. “Let me make one thing very clear,” he began, “I have never made any public pronouncement suggesting that R. Yonason Eybeschutz is a heretic and nor do I want to. On the contrary, I have made it abundantly clear to the handful of people

a part of that crisis, whatever you say.” R. Yaakov eyed him intently. The president gulped, and continued: “The Chief Rabbi is flatly denying the accusations of heresy, and yet we have heard from a number of people that you believe the author of the amulet – allegedly his amulet - is a heretic who believes in Shabbetai Tzvi. The entire community is in a total frenzy. You can’t just walk away from this! We need to know why you said the amulet is heretical. And if you believe it is a Sabbatian amulet, you need to explain why we should be concerned. Rabbi, if we don’t know the answers to these questions how do you expect us to deal with this matter adequately

A manuscript that sold last month in auction containing R. Yonason Eybeschutz’s Torah teachings as recorded by a devoted student in Metz. R. Yonason’s students fiercely defended their beloved teacher when he was accused of Sabbatian heresy

I have spoken to that I want to stay completely out of this matter, and not be involved in any way whatsoever. Frankly, I have no interest in getting into a fight with the Chief Rabbi and his supporters, nor do I wish to involve myself with sordid communal politics. In fact, as you well know, I despise community politics. So, unless you can give me a good reason to be here, I would like to leave immediately.” The atmosphere in the room shifted; suddenly no one was smiling. R. Yaakov gazed at each member of the executive committee individually, looking to each one for a response, but they were all silent. So he reached for his hat and coat and began to leave. “Hold on, hold on.” It was the president of the community speaking. “R. Yaakov, hold on, I’m begging you, please don’t leave. We are in a crisis, and you are

As the controversy gathered pace, the gentile population began to take an interest, particularly as the fight revolved around kabbalistic amulets. In this contemporary German publication they even included an illustration depicting rabbis battling over amulets

and properly? At the very least, we need you to help us navigate this emergency situation. After all, this is your community as much as it is ours. Who else besides for you can we turn to? Surely you do not want to see our community destroyed?” R. Yaakov slowly sat down. The president’s plea had made a strong impact. It suddenly dawned on R. Yaakov that he was in too deep to walk away. But at the same time he realized that whatever he said there would be terrible repercussions for him. If he belittled the Sabbatian nature of the amulet, and then at a later date R. Yonason would be exposed as an insid-

Jewish Quotes History The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

ious Sabbatian infiltrator with a mission to theologically destroy Judaism, how would he ever live that down? How would he forgive himself for having missed the opportunity to stop him in his tracks? The alternative was no less scary. Everyone knew that R. Yonason had countless defenders who would never believe anything remotely bad about their hero. For them R. Yonason was the paradigmatic rabbi – learned, pious, and charismatic; a brilliant teacher, a gifted orator, a decisive halachist, and a source of wisdom and advice. If R. Yaakov went public with what he believed to be true, or his name became associated with an attack on R. Yonason’s credibility, all hell would break loose. R. Yaakov made one last attempt to avoid the inevitable storm. “Gentlemen,” he said, “you are making a big mistake. I am not the appropriate person to offer guidance. This problem needs to be brought to the attention of the greatest rabbis of our generation. Go and show them the amulets, and let them decide what to do. You know me - I want to lead a private, undisturbed life. That is why I chose to leave the rabbinate. Please leave me out of this, and use the appropriate channels to sort it out.” The president of the community looked at his colleagues, and then back at R. Yaakov. “Rabbi, if only it was so simple. Unfortunately your name is already associated with the exposition of the amulet. You can’t avoid that reality, and you cannot ignore our plea for help. We desperately need to understand why you believe the amulet to be Sabbatian so that we can take things further. And we really need to know from you how bad the amulet is.” R. Yaakov looked at them, sighed, and reached into his pocket. He took out the letter received from R. Yonason only days earlier and passed it to the president, who immediately began to read it. R. Yaakov then took out the amulet he had been shown. The amulet - now covered with R. Yaakov’s handwritten notes - was passed around in complete silence. After a few minutes R. Yaakov spoke softly to the three lay-leaders. “My friends - I wish it wasn’t true, but as you can from my notes, this amulet is a sick and twisted example of Sabbatian heresy. Before I received the Chief Rabbi’s letter I never told anyone the amulet was his, only that it was Sabbatian. So why did he write to me? What is he so nervous about? Draw your own conclusions, but one thing I can tell you for certain: the author of this amulet, and any amulets like it, is a highly dangerous man, a heretic of the worst kind. If it is R. Yonason, then his powerful influence over so many people across the Jewish world, not just in our community, presents the gravest danger to our faith since Shabbetai Tzvi himself, and maybe worse.” “But,” said R. Yaakov, “I don’t expect you to believe me . . . go to other experts, as many as you like, and check it out for yourselves. You need to, so that this controversy does not become framed as a personal battle between me and him.”

The president stood up, shook R. Yaakov’s hand, and thanked him for coming. “Perhaps we can meet again on Thursday once we have discussed this with the whole community board.” R. Yaakov smiled and nodded, and the meeting was over. The following morning the three members of the executive committee called the rest of the board for a full emergency meeting. Without embellishment they repeated what they had heard from R. Yaakov and passed around the amulet and R. Yonason’s letter. A discussion began, but there was no consensus. Several members of the board simply dismissed R. Yaakov as a troublemaker, jealous of R. Yonason for having taken the rabbinic position he felt belonged to him. Others were furious that anyone was accusing their spiritual leader of being a heretic. And then there were those who felt that the mere hint of suspicion against the Chief Rabbi was a disgrace to their community, and the Chief Rabbi would have to go. The meeting descended into a screaming match, and despite hours of heated debate nothing was agreed or resolved. Meanwhile R. Yonason was informed of the secret meeting between R. Yaakov and the executive committee and the emergency board meeting, and others whispered to him that there were plans afoot to see him deposed from his post. In a panic, he called an urgent meeting of his closest supporters, to form a strategy to defend himself against the emerging storm. His supporters promised him a phased strategy to deal with the threat. First they would deal with R. Yaakov. He would have to be neutralized. Then they would deal with the executive committee and the board. It wasn’t going to be easy, but he had nothing to fear. The meeting ended with every one of R. Yonason’s devotees pledging their full and unwavering support, and an assurance that they would work tirelessly and ceaselessly to ensure his name was not tarnished by this witch-hunt. That evening, as maariv services began at R. Yaakov’s private synagogue, Shmuel Hecksher, a longstanding friend of R. Yaakov, rushed in, breathless and pale, and ran up to the rabbi. “It’s all over town,” he gasped, “they are planning to come and kill you.” R. Yaakov pulled him outside. “Shmuel, what are you talking about? What’s going on?” “It’s true, absolutely true. R. Yonason’s supporters have let it be known that you are a ‘rodef’, intent on destroying the Chief Rabbi’s reputation by spreading malicious rumors. It is a sin punishable by death, they claim, and they are therefore permitted to kill you.” Now it was R. Yaakov’s turn to go pale. Hecksher continued to talk, the words tumbling out of him in a torrent. “These guys are very powerful. They have friends among the gentiles. You will be murdered, money will change hands, and no one will be arrested.” Tears were flowing down his cheeks. “Rabbi, I’m begging you, run away while you still can. This whole thing

is way out of control.” A crowd had gathered at the door of the synagogue. R. Yaakov spoke, his voice shaky but resolute. “I’m not running anywhere. I was born here and have lived here for the past eighteen years. My home is here. My family is here. My friends are here. My library is here. My life is here. I have done nothing wrong, and everyone knows I am a man of integrity.” He turned to Shmuel Hecksher, and put a hand on his shoulder. “Thank you, Shmuel, for your concern. But don’t worry, I am at peace. G-d will protect me, and all of us, from all those who wish us any harm.” That night R. Yaakov was unable to sleep, his mind at work weighing up his options. He still had the scheduled meeting with the executive committee the following day. Perhaps they would protect him, even though R. Yonason’s supporters seemed to have the upper hand. Maybe he could work out a compromise solution with them. There had to be a way to avoid a full-scale communal war - especially if his life was in danger. But suddenly R. Yaakov say bolt upright in his bed. What was he thinking? This wasn’t about him! What was his own paltry life worth compared with the thousands of spiritual lives snuffed out as a result of some disreputable compromise? There was a Sabbatian heretic loose in the community! This was no time to worry about himself! The discussion needed to refocus on the amulet, and the dangers its’ author posed, a danger made infinitely greater if the author was in fact the Chief Rabbi. Hadn’t his own father, Chacham Tzvi Ashkenazi, sacrificed everything in the battle with Nechemia Chayyun? Now it was his turn to do the same. He would show them all how he was his father’s true son, ready to risk everything to expose a Sabbatian infiltrator. At shacharit the following morning, R. Yaakov’s private synagogue was packed with people. Everyone had heard about the incident the previous evening, and people were there from across the community, to show their support and to find out what R. Yaakov intended to do. There were also supporters of R. Yonason there, including the messenger who had only recently brought the Chief Rabbi’s letter. The service concluded and R. Yaakov walked up to the bimah. He raised his hand for everyone to be silent, and everyone stopped what they were doing to hear him speak. Usually at this point R. Yaakov would share some Torah thoughts, but not today. “Last night,” he began, “I was informed that my life is in danger. But rather then run away, as I was advised to do, I have decided to let you know what has been going on behind closed doors for the past few weeks. It had not been my intention to do this, but I feel I am left with no choice.” “Some time ago I was approached by a group of people who asked me to examine an amulet, and to give my assessment of its contents. After studying it carefully I confirmed that the amulet contained Sabbatian heresy. However, neither then nor

since have I ever suggested that the author of the amulet was our community’s Chief Rabbi, R. Yonason Eybeschutz. Just to be clear, I am not currently in a fight with R. Yonason, nor have I ever fought with him. The person I have a fight with is the author of the amulet, whoever he may be.” “And let me state for the record, so that no one can be in any doubt: the amulet that was shown to me, and that I was asked about, is entirely heretical, and the person who wrote it and gave it out for the purposes of healing, is without question a heretic. Yes, you heard correctly, and I will say it again. There is not an iota of doubt in my mind that the man who wrote the amulet is an Apikoros, and has no share in the world to come. If that person or any person can prove me wrong, I am ready to be proven wrong.” “I have one last thing to say, and this is very important. Although I have no idea if it was R. Yonason who wrote the amulet, many people believe that he was the one who wrote it. That being the case I think he is obligated to vindicate himself, and to save himself from suspicion. He has my word that if he explains himself properly, I will personally be his first defender. I will battle relentlessly to counteract the false rumors, and I will shut the mouths of those who are attacking him. What is more I will go to the Great Synagogue and - in front of the whole community - publicly beg for his forgiveness, even though I never meant him harm. Truthfully, I wish things had been different. I wish R. Yonason would have immediately and publicly explained the contents of all his amulets when this saga began. But that is now in the past. The facts are as they are, and we are where we are. All that matters now is that I am ready, with all my heart, to put this behind us if it is proven that I have made a terrible mistake. But for that to happen R. Yonason needs to do what he needs to do.” With that R. Yaakov stepped down from the bimah and disappeared into his house. The synagogue was quiet for a moment and then erupted in heated conversation as the magnitude of what had just happened came into focus. Without saying it explicitly, R. Yaakov Emden had accused the Chief Rabbi of being a Sabbatian heretic. The genie was out of the bottle, and what had until then been an unofficial rumor now had the backing of none other than R. Yaakov Emden. NEXT TIME: R. Yaakov Emden’s public statement meant that the community leaders had to react. But how would they react? Would they side with R. Yaakov, and challenge their Chief Rabbi to come clean? Or would they stand by R. Yonason, whose honor was at stake, and dismiss R. Yaakov’s accusation out of hand? The Emden-Eybeschutz controversy was about to enter its most contentious stage, and the lives of both protagonists was about to be thrown into complete turmoil.




OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Quotes The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

Notable Quotes “Say What?!”

It’s been reported that infamous drug lord El Chapo will stand trial in Brooklyn. Though I’m not sure it’s a good idea to try him in a place that already has, like, five tunnels. – Seth Myers

Bernie Sanders is the first Jewish person ever to win a presidential primary. Which is why he celebrated his victory by telling the crowd, “It could be worse!” – Conan O’Brien

Congratulations to Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump on winning their parties’ New Hampshire primaries last night! In his speech, Bernie said he couldn’t have done it without the support of millions of Americans. While Trump was like, “This was all me! You losers did nothing!” - Jimmy Fallon

In related news, Chris Christie just dropped out of the race and endorsed Bernie Sandwich. – Ibid.

This campaign of Hillary Clinton’s…it’s terrible, it’s badly run, it hasn’t even been thought through. There is no focus to it. When you ask her why you’re running, you don’t get a good answer, and there’s no joy. There’s no Clinton fun. It’s totally missing a soul. And if you have a campaign without a soul, you’ve got a real problem, no matter where you’re running. – MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who was one of the Obama campaign’s main enthusiasts, not sharing that sentiment for the Clinton campaign

It’s a difficult thing. I don’t care who you are, or how long you’ve been doing it. I’ve been doing it a long time, so you know you get yourself into the rhythm your whole life is – your calendar of your life is – based on football, about the seasons, whether it’s in season or out of season. You have a schedule that you follow. So, there’s some adjusting for me to make. - Former Giants coach Tom Coughlin on Fox, discussing his adjustment to being retired

A new report suggests that soon, gasoline will be cheaper than water. And in Flint, Michigan, it will be healthier than water. – Conan O’Brien


FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



Quotes The Week In News

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015


FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home

“Self-defense” is the expression the Israelis use in order to justify any extra-judiciary executions as well as their control over others’ lives. However, there can be no justification for killing, nor for oppression. The occupier does not have the right to self-defense. We, the occupied, have the full and only right to fight it. - Haneen Zoabi, who is member of the Israeli Knesset for the Arab Joint List bloc, in a Newsweek op-ed, arguing that Israel should not be allowed to shoot Palestinians while they are carrying out terrorist attacks

The aging and raging ex-president, meanwhile, speaking to a half-filled gym in a New Hampshire school, ranted about Sanders’s “hypocrisy” in condemning his wife’s paid speeches. Sanders, too, has given paid speeches, Bill Clinton claimed. He’s got a point. In 2013, for example, Sanders made all of $1,500, which he donated to charity as required by federal law. In 2014, he raked in $1,850 for paid speeches. By contrast, Clinton made, and kept, over $21 million during the same time period. Sanders was only reimbursed for coach class airfare, while Clinton demanded private jets. Sanders’ hosts were the TV show “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Avalon Publishing and a machinists union. Clinton’s were Goldman Sachs, the big banks and the pharmaceutical and energy industries. What hypocrisy for Sanders to use that as an issue! – Dick Morris

Today, the state of Delaware issued a formal apology for slavery. Delaware also tweeted to Native Americans “#mybad.”

Well, the job, first and foremost, is for the president to nominate and for the Senate to hold hearings and go through the process… This kind of obstructionism isn’t going to last. And you know, we Democrats didn’t do this. – Sen. Chuck Schumer on ABC’s This Week decrying the Republicans' plan to filibuster any judicial nominee nominated by Barack Obama in his final months in office

With respect to the Supreme Court at least, I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court except in extraordinary circumstances… I will do everything in my power to prevent one more ideological ally from joining Roberts and Alito on the court. – Ibid., in 2007, when then-President George W. Bush had two years left in office

I will be supporting the filibuster because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values… We need a court that is independent and is going to provide some check on the executive branch. - Then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2007, on ABC’s This Week, disclosing that he would join a filibuster to prevent then-President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee from being able to have a confirmation hearing

Marco, si quiere dícelo ah-ah-ahorrrra mismo dícelo ahora si quieres. En español, si quieres. - Sen. Ted Cruz, at the Republican debate when Sen. Marco Rubio said that Cruz does not speak Spanish. (Translation: Marco, if you want say it right now, say it now if you want. In Spanish, if you want.)

– Conan O’Brien


The Week In News

FEBRUARY 18, 2016 | The Jewish Home


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