THE JEWISH HOME
FEBRUARY 26, 2015
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THE GREATER LOS ANGELES COMMITTEE FOR CHINUCH ATZMAI welcomes
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Pat & Errol Fine Tiferet Award Recipients
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THE JEWISH HOME FEBRUARY 26, 2015
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
CONTENTS COMMUNITY Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
JEWISH THOUGHT The Light Of Purim. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Afilu Behatzlachah: The Song of Purim. . . . . . . . . . 24 Making Sense of the Madness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Esther’s Hidden Strength. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Chernobyl - A Dynasty Of Majesty And Wonder . 30 The Chofetz Chaim!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
COVER STORY Denmark’s Jews: Why They Refuse to Leave. . . . . 38
HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT The Disorganized Kitchen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Uncle Moishy Fun Page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
LIFESTYLES Book Review: Lashon Hakodesh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Travel Guide: Louisiana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
EDUCATION Matanas L’evyonim. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Why holding on to your Airline Miles and Credit Card Points are a Bad Idea and Bad Investment!. 44 The Importance Of Uninsured Motorist Coverage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Learn How to Perform CPR on an Adult and Save a Life! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
What would we do? What would we do if the Mordechai of our generation advised us not to go to the kosher banquet held by the King in the capital of the world? Many Yidden did not listen and attended the King’s feast. What would we do if we were Esther and were faced with becoming the queen? Esther, a most modest woman agreed to marry a wicked fool because she thought this was what Hashem wanted of her. What would we if the second most powerful person ordered all to bow before him? Mordechai refused to bow. What would we do if we were one of the Yidden who at first attended the party but now regretted our ways? All the Yidden at that time did Teshuvah. What would we do if we’re an otherwise “assimilated Jew” and we could save ourselves from the decree by converting? We’re told that not one Jew even considered it. What would we do if we were Esther and we were being asked to put our life in danger and approach the king? Esther asked that the Yidden fast along with her and her maidservants, notwithstanding the obvious effect it would have on her physical appearance. What would we do if we had to defend ourselves against our enemies? Would we find a reason not to? The Yidden removed their sworn enemy when they had the opportunity so that they don’t have to face them down the line and under different circumstances… Cause after all it’s all about the bottom line. Take Charvonah for example. Although originally a friend of Haman’s we remem-
ber him as being good as it was him who got Achashveirosh to hang Haman. The beauty of the Megillah is that although it took around 10 years between the first banquet and the miracle of Purim, we highlight the key parts to the story which, when woven together, combine for a marvelous plot. We are history. The decisions we make every day create the Megillah which is our lives. Are we courageous when faced with temptation? Are we a positive influence to those around us? Do we listen to what others have to say? Sometimes our story will be “up” and sometimes “down” but in the end it will reflect what we’ve chosen to do in each situation Divine Providence has put before us. It says in the Megillah, “And its remembrance will not leave from their descendants,” from which we learn that of all the Yomim Tovim Purim will be unique even when Moshiach comes. There’s something about Purim which taps into the essence of the Jew within us and encompasses the seriousness of Taanis Esther, the laughter of children having fun in their costumes and everything in between. For the physical and the spiritual, the mundane and the holy were created for us to connect to Hashem. We seem to be nearing the final challenge of our exile. Let us face this challenge head on and finish the job carried out by generations of Jews before us, so that we will have the right answer when asked: What did you do? May we have a most Joyous Shabbos and a festive Purim!
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The keynote speaker was R’ Avi Leibovic, founder of Aish Tamid and the source of inspiration for the formation of Kesher Torah. Rabbi Leibovic spoke with heart
Top left: Yoni Greenberg, Jack Frid, Eli Trainer, Ari Berman, Yossi Berman.” Bottom left: Avi Hendeles, R’ Nachi Klein, Paul Greenberg, Seth Merewitz.”
Ari Berman (retired), and Elisheva Berman, who enable parents to bring their children to Shul with complete peace of mind, knowing they are being well nourished, physically and spiritually. Dr. Berlin used Parshas Mishpatim to convey how parents trust the Youth Program Directors like shomrim and how fortunate we are to have such meaningful youth programs full of Torah for our youth ages 3 and older.
Service of Hashem through Shira, Ruach, and with an unbreakable Kesher are the special qualities which prompt community leaders and educators to refer to Kes-
about a set of peculiar encounters in Israel that illustrated the shared connection all of Klal Yisrael have, and the need to chart one’s own path in developing a connection with Hashem. Of the many miracles that transpired at the Yam Suf, each Jew had his own “row.” At the same time, each and every one of Klal Yisrael was able to see their neighbor and draw inspiration as the “rows” of the Yam Suf were transparent.
her Torah as the warmest Minyan in town. Come join us for an inspiring Carlbach Friday night davening, a Shabbos morning davening with Divrei Machshava from R’ Pinchas Gruman, followed by a hot Kiddush or a soul stirring, lights out Shalosh Seudos with a rich assortment of fascinating guest speakers. Kesher Torah is located in the Aish Tamid Building, 5909 W. 3rd Street. For info contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Power of an Hour Rampant anti-Semitism in the streets. Jewish community facing existential threat. Our enemies in positions of governmental power. Is this the world in 2015? Or was this during the time of Mordechai HaTzaddik and Queen Esther? With the fate of the Jews in Achashveirosh’ kingdom hanging in the balance, Mordechai knew just where to turn: to the Tinnokos shel Bais Rabban. On the wings of their pure, powerful learning and prayer, the Jewish people were zocheh to have the decree overturned. Purim 5775. Once again, the world is in a precarious position. Once again, we are in need of yeshuos. Once again, we can harness the power of Tinnokos shel Beis Rabban. If you have a boy between the ages of seven and fourteen, then you’re likely a part of it: Yeshivas Mordechai HaTzaddik. A beloved part of the Purim routine, started sixteen years ago by Rav Naftali Meir Falk, son of Rav Falk of Gateshead, who had recently joined the administration of the Avos U’Banim organization in Israel. At Purim time, he noticed there was a problem outside. “Children looked forward to Purim as a day of wildness,” explained Rav Falk.
“I realized our approach to Purim had to change.” The idea of a father-son learning pro-
year in a shul in the Ezras Torah neighborhood of Yerushalayim, he was widely ridiculed. Rav Falk remembers the words,
gram on Purim morning was first implemented by Rav Falk’s uncle, Rav Matisyahu Solomon. Mindful of his uncle’s experience, Rav. Falk decided to start Yeshivas Mordechai HaTzaddik in Eretz Yisrael. “It’s become the cherry on the pie of our programming. Yeshivas Mordechai HaTzaddik generates such excitement that many start coming to the weekly Avos U’Banim afterwards. Think of it: Thousands upon thousands of hours of Torah learning, on the day that used to be bereft of Torah! A deep irony, certainly, for the anniversary of “kiymu v’kiblu”, our loving reacceptance of the Torah.” Yet, when Rav Solomon announced his intention to organize the program that first
“You’re crazy! No boy is going to give up his Purim to come out and learn in a Beis Medrash!” But this wasn’t so. On Purim day, 400 boys packed the Ezras Torah shul. The second year, the program jumped from 400 to 14,000 boys. And today? Sixteen years after the program first began, YMH attracts upwards of 60,000 boys! Imagine how the Heavens shake from the voices of 60,000 children united in learning – together with their fathers, over 100,000 in all! Walk into any one of the more than 1000 branches in Israel, from Kiryat Shemoneh to Eilat, and the excitement is palpable. Boys drag their fathers to the Beis Medrash, and, in recent years, women have joined in as well – coming to recite Tehillim in the Ezras Nashim, at
such an auspicious time. Now, an integral component to the success of the program is the prizes. A closely-guarded secret, the valuable prizes are carefully selected early in the year, and distributed around Rosh Chodesh Nissan, after the exact numbers of attendees are tallied. The budget for these prizes is $4.20 per child. Multiply that by upwards of 60,000, and it becomes an expensive undertaking. Expensive – yet highly profitable! Both for Klal Yisrael as a whole, and for individual donors. While Rav Falk is quick to note that miracles are not guaranteed, stories abound of people who experienced long-awaited yeshuos after donating to YMH. “There’s a koach of V’Nahafoch Hu on this day, for every person who needs it,” he added. “Even for those who can’t afford to donate thousands, many like to give $600 which is one penny per boy, granting them a share in each bit of Torah. But certainly any amount gives the donor a portion in the learning.” 60,000 children. 1,000 centers of learning. 1 day of Purim. We have the power to shake Heaven and Earth but donations are needed! For more information call: 718-3019795 or emaill: email@example.com
Photo credit: Yosef Ober
by a humble acceptance of his award. Dr. Elly Berlin presented additional awards to Kesher Torah’s youth program directors; newly appointed Yoni Greenberg,
FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Kesher Torah hosted its second annual Melave Malka on Motzei Shabbos, February 14. The event was emceed by the very entertaining Jeff Astrof who told the crowd that while he has hosted the event twice previously, his Rabbi had informed him that he would have to check his mezuzahs if he agreed again! The audience unanimously voted Jeff as “EFL”, Emcee for Life. Harav Pinchos Gruman, shlita, was the first speaker. He applauded the honorees, Avi and Malkie Hendeles for their selfless dedication to the Minyan as well as the Hendeles family’s contribution to the Los Angeles community at large. He also noted that the Minyan has celebrated an array of simchos this past year, most notably the wedding of President for Life (PFL) Saul Ackerman to Julia Feldmar. Remarkably, though true to Kesher Torah’s core values, “Kehilla,” “Shira,” and “Ruach,” everyone present at the wedding truly felt like they were the Baal Simcha. President Ackerman proceeded to present the award to Avi and Malkie Hendeles, with the accompaniment of Avi’s favorite song, “V’Zakeini L’Gadel”. Avi Hendeles then spoke movingly and candidly followed
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Kesher Torah Melave Malka Honors Avi and Malkie Hendeles and its Youth Program Directors Jack Frid, Kesher Torah, Bard for Life
Harkham Hillel Banquet Story Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy honored the philanthropic work of the Samson family at the school’s 66th annual banquet. The Feb. 11th event at the Beverly Hilton successfully highlighted the school’s path being so intrinsically linked to the Samson’s, what family patriarch Lee Samson called, “six decades of Samson family involvement in Hillel.” Lee Samson’s son and daughter-inlaw, Dani and Rivkie Samson, were the evening’s honorees. Dani is a 1982 Hillel
graduate whose grandfather, Julius Samson, was a founding Hillel board member. “There is no limit to the success of an observant Jew,” said Dani, now a father of four. A Hillel alumnus and former board vice president, Lee Samson told the Hilton audience that 58 years ago he watched his own parents being honored with the school’s scholarship award and 20 years ago Lee and his wife Anne (zt”l) received the same accolade. Standing next to his son Dani, at the ballroom dais, Lee continued, “And tonight I pass the baton to the fourth generation of Samsons.” On a lighter but poignant familial note, Lee Samson then handed to his son Dani his late mother’s personalized California license plate, which spelled out, “KVELLIN.” The evening included a letter of praise for Dani and Rivkie from the Orthodox Union, where Rivkie sits on the national board of directors, as well as a Certificate of Commendation for them from the Beverly Hills City Council. The banquet’s theme was, “Dare to Dream Big: Empowering Our Children to Reach.” Hillel Head of School Rabbi Boruch Sufrin told the Beverly Hilton audience that the 67-year-old school is, “a school where parent thinks they’re a president.” The audience included Hillel parents and alumni including current YULA Girls High School students and YULA Girls Head of School Rabbi Abraham Lieberman, plus community leaders such as Young Israel of Century City Senior Rabbi Elazar Muskin. Parent Alissa Heller announced the start of the school’s new Gottesman scholarship in honor of Rabbi Menachem Gottesman (zt”l). Gottesman was the longtime Dean of Hillel Harkham and built the school for 42 years before retiring to Jerusalem, where he
died in December at the age of 84. In recognizing the need for financial scholarships, Heller explained her own story. Despite her parents’ struggle to pay tuition for their four children, Heller was merited to attend Hillel along with her three older sisters because of tuition discounts awarded by Gottesman. “My life,” Heller told the audience, “was completely shaped by that kindness.”
The banquet opened with well-received welcoming remarks with Hillel Board president Harry Nelson. It also included a motivational speaker from New York who mixed football metaphors with stories about Esther. Then the entire Hillel eighthgrade class went on stage and sang and the boys formed Hora circles and danced with Dani and Lee Samson and Rabbi Sufrin
joining them. The evening wound down around 9 p.m. with dessert arriving and the small orchestra on stage playing Scott Joplin ragtime tunes.
Photo credit: David Finnigan
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
derstood how the upstate NY moderate Republican was able to beat his predecessor Mario Cuomo, the heavily favored Democrat who by all rights, had the re-election all but “sewn up” but had been defeated by Pataki in his fourth reelection attempt in
cern over how many of those lessons were tragically being ignored by the current administration. During the “open forum”, the Governor fielded questions on a wide range of topics and issues, and in the process, made many
of more personal meetings. Pataki’s visit helped the LA community better understand what made Former Governor George Pataki one of the most well-regarded governors New York ever had. He was and still remains a strong friend to Israel and to Jew-
duce the retired Governor to communities and individuals that share his vision for both America and the world. Pataki is known for his trademark “genuniness” and it took just a short time for the guests to feel the truth in this. The members of the LA community, who joined the wonderful “parlor meeting” event, un-
1984. Pataki went on to serve three terms as the New York Governor. Pataki’s soft-spoken but compelling, “pull no punches” style quickly resonated with the crowd, especially when he shared lessons that he and other state and federal officials learned from 9-11 –which happened during his 3rd term—and his con-
attendees hope that the rumors of a White House Presidential run in 2016 were more than hyperbole. In January, Pataki told the Boston Globe that he would “seriously consider” a run for US President in 2016. The two day trip to LA was headed by Mr. Joel Bess who together with others scheduled the event, as well as a series
ish communities both here and abroad. In fact, Pataki’s wife, Libby Pataki, works at the pro-Israel organization, One Jerusalem. The organization’s mission statement is to “maintain a united Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.”
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Steven and Helena Usdan graciously hosted former New York Governor George Pataki on Wednesday February 11th at their home. The evening included remarks by Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, the Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh. The event was created to intro-
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George Pataki Visits Los Angeles While Considering a Presidential Run
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Learn More About a Special Lone Soldier Program A little over 5 years ago, an 18 year old boy left his family in Canada to go to Israel and volunteer in the IDF. He joined more than four thousand young men and women, with a deep and abiding love for the land and people of Israel, who came to do the same thing, Mordy Botnick became a combat soldier and protected the Jewish nation and the Jewish land. During his service he lived through the difficulties of the life of a ‘lone soldier’, a soldier who is without family in Israel. Weekends were especially challenging, so Mordy started organizing Shabbos meals
for his fellow lone soldiers and a family was born. Mordy knew he could change the experience of future lone soldiers, and this he did. It was just a few short years later that Mordy and his wife, Malka Esther, together with the Abramowitz family, set up four homes in the center of Jerusalem for Lone Soldiers. They called the program Chayel el Chayel. Their goal was to make sure that all ‘lone soldiers’ know that they are not alone and that they have family in Israel. From these homes they offer Shabbos and Holiday meals for over 80 soldiers on a
weekly basis as well as lodging, laundry, trips and hikes, Shabbatons, Birthday parties, moral support, attendance at military ceremonies, spiritual guidance and much more. Hundreds of lone soldiers have come through the doors of Chayal el Chayal and have found a place to rest and recharge spiritually, emotionally and physically. As the Lone Soldier program grows in size and stature, boys and girls from California and the rest of the U.S. continue to participate and benefit from the important work in which Chayal el Chayal engage. On March 2nd, Mordy and Malka Es-
ther Botnick will be visiting Los Angeles and showing a presentation of their programs and events at an event which will be hosted by Marty and Hadassah Weiss, grateful parents of a current lone soldier. Please come! Chayel el Chayel Event, March 2, 2015 at 7:30 PM. Address: 179 S. McCadden Pl Los Angeles, 90004. Or Contact: Mumzeee@gmail.com chayalelchayal.org lonesoldierhome.com
11 THE JEWISH HOME
The Gathering of the
FEBRUARY 26, 2015
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Los Angeles Hatzolah, Always Ready in an Emergency Hatzolah dispatchers answer more than a thousand calls in Los Angeles every year, an average of two to five calls each day. The problem might be minor trauma or a more serious life threatening emergency. Whatever the need, dispatchers are available every hour of night and day in the Pico/Roberson, Hancock Park and Valley Village/North Hollywood neigborhoods. Jewish families can sleep a little better knowing that Hatzolah is just a phone call away. In the event of a dispatch three members will typically respond. In the event of a life threatening injury five members are dispatched. 11 year veteran dispatcher, Tali Merewitz explains the importance of her role at Hatzolah, “Staying calm in the midst of an emergency is a crucial part of my job. If I lose it, everyone loses. You can’t get emotional”. I know this firsthand because my baby once had breathing problems and I called Hatzolah because I needed to know if we should call an ambulance. The calm and speedy response of the medical personnel that appeared at my front door was the greatest thing ever!” “Hatzolah, What is the address of your emergency?” The average response time is less than 90 seconds because the Hatzolah volunteers are responding from within the community and are coming
from close proximity. Time and again, disaster has been averted. Hatzolah does not replace the need of the ambulance service but it is a life- saving bridge that fills the crucial minutes until 911 services arrive on the scene.
York, Canada, the UK, South Africa, Argentina, much of Europe and more. With any emergency health issue, the Hatzolah dispatcher will advise the caller to contact 911, and Hatzolah will also place a 911 call to be sure that emergency
People are rarely thinking clearly when they dial for help; fear and anxiety have a way of clouding our judgment. It is the dispatcher’s calm, collected, and confident voice on the other end of the phone that can turn hysteria into practicality. This saves lives and minimizes hospital visits. Perhaps only 15% of the calls made to Hatzolah are life threatening events, but in any medical incident, families have unlimited benefits from calling a competent medical professional. Los Angeles joins the Hatzolah communities of Israel, New
care reaches the scene. The limitation of the 911 service is that it can sometimes take up to 10 minutes to reach an operator and more than 15 minutes from the call being placed to the time that 911 help arrives. If the event is a choking or a heart attack, Chas vashalom, the delay can lead to an unnecessary fatality. Hatzolah medics are certified by the Los Angeles County EMS Agency as Emergency Medical Technicians. All Hatzolah members are equipped with life-saving equipment including oxygen,
airway management devices, trauma management accessories and Automatic External Defibrillators. It was well-trained Hatzolah members who were among the first responders to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. There are more than 100 Hatzolah personnel in Los Angeles and they donate their time knowing this chessed will help ensure the well-being and safety of the communities that Hatzolah serves. Although the staff are volunteers, there is no charge for a Hatzolah call, so fundraising is an important element of the organization. On March 10th at 6.30pm, Hatzolah will be hosting a tribute dinner, honoring Dr. and Dr. Alan Dauer and Mr and Mrs Yoey Schochet. Rabbi Benjamin Geiger is Executive Director of Hatzolah of Los Angeles and explained, “This year, Hatzolah is in need of more than 100 radio upgrades and funds are limited. Hatzolah also needs funding for new emergency equipment. The better our equipment, the better is our ability to help. This is one of the goals of our tribute dinner.” FOR INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A RESERVATION CALL 323-937-0980. If you are interested in supporting or joining Hatzolah, email: info@hatzolahofla. org or visit www.hatzolahofla.org.
Brachos Out Loud Comes to Los Angeles February 8th saw the 10th launch of the annual Brachos Out Loud contest. The event had been limited to the New York area, but this year Los Angeles and Chicago Elementary and Middle school children are able to participate. Nochum Feintuch and Ari Munk designed the program with easy participation rules. Kids must fill in an Out Loud Brachos color brochure and mark the check boxes, each time they remember to say a bracha out loud, with another person saying, “Amen!” From February 8th, the participants have to track their brachos and excellent rewards await the diligent. Different weekly prizes include a gratifying ice cream treat from Los Angeles Ice Cream Store, Toppings. Jeff’s Gourmet and Elite Cuisine are contributing a scrumptious hot dog and the following week Schwartz’s Bakery is giving a steaming cup of hot chocolate, sponsored by Kemach Foods, along with 2 freshly baked cookies from the bakery. La Brea Supermarket is giving a $2 voucher for anything in the store, and Pizza Station and Pizza World are handing winners the ultimate slice of Pizza, along with a toy. At the end of the contest there are thirty $10 prize raffle for bracha that have been recited from the “Less Frequent Brachos List.” This raises the stakes as there are
few chances to see lightning or hear thunder and Feintuch hopes that no-one experiences an Earthquake, chas v’shalom, although it warrants a special prayer. Re-
ries that lays the ground for enriching your life. Feintuch explained that, “The book was really inspiring and I wanted to bottle that enthusiasm and make a difference.”
membering to say the bracha before taking a journey sets you up for a prize, along with those who find a happy occasion where they can recite Hallel, or remembering the bracha for wearing special new clothes. The program was started after Feintuch read Esther Stern’s book, Just One Word, Amen. The book is a collection of 72 sto-
This he has done. In the first stage of the program, Feintuch and Munk purchased 8,000 copies of Just One Word, Amen and distributed them freely, on the condition that recipients would read the book in two months and send their reaction to the email firstname.lastname@example.org . The response was overwhelming, so Feintuch and Munck
decided to move onto the next stage. In 2005 they established the Brachos Out Loud contest, which runs for a month each year. A similar program existed in Baltimore, but their program was introduced in Monsey, Queens and other New York communities, and now to the communities of Los Angeles and Chicago. More than 50 schools have participated and more than 20,000 children are now involved! For older kids there is a program called Meah Brachos which awards giftcards for completed pamphlets that show the teenager completed 100 brachos in one day. The Meah Brachos program provides an online site to track the 100 brachos made daily: www.MeahBrachos.com. Meanwhile, the brochures remind youngsters of the reason for saying 100 brachos every day, “During the reign of Dovid HaMelech, a terrible plague rages, killing 100 people a day from unnatural causes. It was revealed through Ruach Hakodesh that if the people would take care to recite 100 brachos a day, the plagues would be mitigated. Since then we have followed the Halacha to say this minimum each and every day. We hope that in this merit, we will again be saved from the ravages which afflict our people today…”
THE JEWISH HOME FEBRUARY 26, 2015
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Anticipation Mounts for Largest Dirshu Shabbos Convention Siyum Marking Completion of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha on Motzoei Shabbos Chaim Gold
“The Dirshu convention is really special. It is a convention that is purely and solely designed to celebrate limud haTorah achievements. It is exhilarating to be together with so many like-minded lomdei Torah.” Those were the words of one distinguished Dirshu member who echoed the feelings of so many others in understanding that the Dirshu convention is special. Indeed, this year’s Dirshu convention that will be held over the weekend of Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel-Pekudei March 1315 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stamford Connecticut, is slated to be a premiere demonstration of kavod haTorah and kavod for lomdei Torah. The convention is being held in conjunction with the siyum of the machzor rishon of the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program, Dirshu’s increasingly popular daily halacha and mussar program that has taken Klal Yisrael by storm. Hailing the Accomplishments of Lomdei Dirshu and their Wives What makes the Dirshu Convention so unique and special is that everyone present has shown deep dedication to limud haTorah by taking monthly tests in one of Dirshu’s programs over a protracted amount of time. Every Dirshu wife has displayed mesiras nefesh for her husband’s learning and spiritual ascent by enabling him to devote a tremendous amount of time to learning the daily material required and then repeatedly reviewing this material so that he will know the material sufficiently to earn an exemplary mark on the test. This often does not come easily. It frequently means sacrificing the help of a husband in the most hectic of times, such as the morning rush to school or the evening bedtime crunch. That is why Dirshu siyumim and Shabbos conventions always have an important place for Dirshu wives who are true partners in the Torah success of their husbands. Grand Motzoei Shabbos, Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Siyum Open to General Public Rabbi Ahron Gobioff, Dirshu’s American Director relates, “Ever since the news of our upcoming convention, the phone lines in our offices have been ringing off the hook with thousands expressing an interest in coming. Even though we took one of the largest hotels in the tri-State area for the Convention, we still cannot keep up with the demand! We have been forced to primarily accept requests from Dirshu members who have continuously taken the monthly tests, displaying great dedication and a deep sense of responsibility in achieving their Torah goals. We have, however, arranged a way for the
many who will not be there for Shabbos, to participate. The Grand Siyum on the entire Mishnah Berurah will be taking place on Motzoei Shabbos at the main ballroom
As in all of Dirshu’s events, this year’s Convention will be addressed by numerous Gedolei Yisrael, Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Chassidim and Lithu-
of the Crowne Plaza. There will be busses from many of the main centers in the TriState area to enable all who so desire to participate in the Grand Siyum, hear the words of some of the Gedolei Hador and celebrate a momentous moment in Torah history.”
anian, including members of Dirshu’s Nesius of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. Numerous Gedolim to Deliver Addresses There will be addresses from luminaries such as HaGaon HaRav Reuvein Fein-
stein, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Staten Island, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Feldman, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Ner Yisrael of Baltimore, HaGaon HaRav Yehoshua Fuhrer, shlita, Rav and Rosh Kollel Bobov of Toronto, HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Zalman Gipps, shlita, Rosh Kollel Tiferes Yaakov Yosef of Spink, HaGaon HaRav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, HaGaon HaRav Moshe Mordechai Lowy, shlita, Rav of Agudas Yisroel of Toronto, HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Miller, shlita, Rosh Kollel Avreichim of Toronto and Av Beis Din Bais Horaah fo Lakewood, HaGaon HaRav Yeruchim Olshin, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Choeuka, shlita, Rav, Congregation Ohel Simcha, Deal, NJ, HaGaon HaRav Zev Smith, shlita, Maggid Shiur Daf Hayomi B’Halacha, HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Telz Cleveland and Mesivta of Lakewood, and HaGaon HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, shlita, Dayan of Kehal Toldos Yaakov Yosef of Skver, Boro Park. The excited anticipation among lomdei Dirshu for this Shabbos is indescribable. It is a time when multitudes of talmidei chachamim come and meet like-minded counterparts as they talk about their learning and exchange tips on how to enhance yedias haTorah and retention of the vast amounts of Torah. The chizuk they derive from realizing that they are a significant part of a massive global movement of yedias haTorah cannot be quantified. In addition, the wives of lomdei Dirshu walk away from Shabbos on a high note. Not only are they deeply inspired by the special women’s programing but perhaps even more so, from meeting other distinguished wives and mothers who truly understand what it means to be a Dirshu wife; with the inherent thrilling feeling of witnessing the hatzlacha of their husband after a test, upon completion of a masechta and recognizing how through Dirshu the entire family has become elevated and closer to Hashem. As Dirshu gears up for the American Convention as well as the Shabbos Convention in England the next week, its siyum in France a day later and then in Eretz Yisroel at the Yad Eliyahu stadium, people from all over the world are joining Daf HaYomi B’Halacha to participate in the Second Machzor. If you have not yet joined, now is the time. It will change your life. To learn more about the program call, 1888-5Dirshu, or e-mail, Info@KollelDirshu.com
described its humble beginnings. Then Mrs. Fogelman and her daughter Chayala spoke of their more recent experience at MBBA. The dinner was followed by a shiur on the Kabbalistic insights into women’s hair covering. Rebbetzin Siegelbaum explained that in kabbalah, hair strands, shaped like the letter vav, are described as conduits of light from the brain outwards. Uncovered hair allows a person’s innermost feelings to be perceived by others. Women’s hair in particular is associated with judgment, which is necessary for the world to function properly, but can also make a woman vulnerable to the other side. Rebbetzin Siegelbaum said that women were created with perfect energy balance, as we attest in the morning blessings. Our task is to maintain that balance, making sure that our hair conduits are not depleting us from the energy we need. When a woman’s hair is covered her energy stays inside. Rebbetzin Siegelbaum also explained that a single woman does not need to cover her hair because her task is to learn and receive from her environment. Once a
Purim Concert at Bais Naftoli Congregation Bais Naftoli announced this week that internationally renowned musician, Joseph Alpert, a.k.a. “Mr. Shabbos,” will be coming to Congregation Bais Naftoli on Wednesday, March 4, at 6:45 p.m. He has been entertaining audiences of all ages for over a decade. Mr. Shabbos plays a unique mix of well-known Kumzitz style music with Celtic, Bluegrass and Rockabilly all mixed in. Attorney Andrew Friedman, along with his wife Chanie, are hosting the festivities
at Bais Naftoli, after Megillah services. They are delighted to announce the event. Friedman explained, “Mr. Shabbos” has been inspiring audiences from across the globe with meaningful, interactive and high spirited songs for so many years that we are certain that a toe tappin’ good Purim time awaits all!” For more information contact Congregation Bais Naftoli 323-931-2476
woman gets married she becomes a giver, and that’s when she needs to preserve her energy within her family. A lively discussion ensued on different types of head coverings. Rebbetzin Siegel-
baum explained that once hair is detached from a head it no longer acts as a conduit. Therefore, wearing a wig presents no problem, according to Kabbalah. Covering hair inside one’s home was also debated, and Rebbetzin Siegelbaum addressed the opinions and issues involved. The attendees found the shiur inspiring and empowering. “It’s good to know why we do what we do,” said Mrs. Cherman, “and to understand our power as Jewish women.” On Monday, Rebbetzin Siegelbaum gave a shiur in the Pico-Robertson home of Geula Dickerman. Rebbetzin Siegelbaum described the healing power of Shema Yisrael to bring ultimate unity and ultimate rectification of good and evil. Rebbetzin Siegelbaum then invited Los Angeles women to visit her school. Information about Midreshet Be’erot Bat Ayin and more of the Rebbetzin’s unique Torah teachings, can be found at http:// www.berotbatayin.org/. The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel, With Their Mystical and Medicinal Properties is published by Menorah Books.
FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Last week, Los Angeles Jewish women had an opportunity to experience a special flavor of Torah learning, brought from Eretz Yisrael by Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum, director of Midreshet Be’erot Bat Ayin (MBBA), a holistic women’s seminary. At MBBA, traditional Torah learning is combined with creative spiritual expression, including art, music, and gardening. The students are able to develop a personal relationship with Hashem utilizing their unique talents within a solid Torah framework. Rebbetzin Siegelbaum’s annual visit to Los Angeles began on Sunday, February 15th, with a healthy homemade gourmet dinner where some of the dishes were prepared according to the recipes from Rebbetzin Siegelbaum’s new book, The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel, With Their Mystical and Medicinal Properties. The dinner took place in the La Brea area, at the home of Shterny Fogelman, the mother of an alumna. The guests enjoyed the delicious dishes while they listened to the recollections of one of the seminary’s first students, Rachelle Fayga Cherman, who
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Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum’s Visit to Los Angeles
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Mesamche Lev matanos l’evyonim to Bring Purim Joy to Almonos, Divorcees 576 widows in Eretz Yisroel and the United States, as well as a large number of divorcees, are looking forward to receiving matanos l’evyonim from Mesamche Lev this Purim. The matanos l’evyonim will brighten an otherwise-challenging holiday. The women will have to lead the Purim seudos, take their children to hear the megillah, and create a joyous atmosphere; despite the grief and darkness in their hearts. Mesamche Lev’s generous matanos l’evyonim will ease their plight and bring them joy. Ever since Harav Zalman Ashkenazi, zatzal, founded the organization over forty years ago, the Purim campaign has focused on almonos and yesomim. Harav
Ashkenazi, zatzal, had a special place in his heart for widows and orphans. He felt their loneliness and pain, understood their
challenges, and dedicated his life to relieving their burden. Mesamche Lev’s generous matanos l’evyonim continues to bring families relief and joy today. In recent years, Mesamche Lev ex-
panded its matanos l’evyonim to include American widows, and then to assist divorcees. Divorcess are a long-neglected demographic but they share many of the challenges faced by widows and there are many examples where Mesamche Lev’s assistance makes a significant difference in their lives. Mesamche Lev will deliver matanos l’evyonim directly to fatherless families, bo b’yom, on the day of Purim; allowing donors to fulfill their halachic obligations in the best possible manner. The matanos l’evyonim will be sent along with beautiful platters of meat, fish, fruit, or vegetables. At a time when we are all so busy with mishloach manos, costumes, and the Pu-
rim meal, it is wise to consider the words of the Rambam, who ruled that one should spend more on matanos l’evyonim than on the Purim seudah or mishloach manos. The Rambam says, “There is no greater or more beautiful simcha than to bring joy to the hearts of aniyim, yesomim, and almonos. (Megilah 82)” The organization will distribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in assistance this Purim. The many rabbonim who endorse Mesamche Lev, bestow their blessings upon all who participate. Please visit www.mesamchelev.org to help 50,000 individuals from over 11,000 families in Israel; and close to 500 single parent families in the United States.
The Yavneh App: Bringing the Yavneh experience to Parents on the Go Yavneh is moving with the times; this week saw the launch of a new Yavneh Mobile App. The school knew they had to launch an app for their parent body who access school information, events, reports and homework assignments through the Yavneh website. Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, Dean of Yeshi-
vat Yavneh, explained, “The Yavneh parent is on the go. 75% of our parents are accessing our emails, videos and web content from mobile devices. Our new app is a natural extension of the Yavneh experience. We are very proud to have the Yavneh Mobile App. This is the new norm.” This app allows users to access the
school calendar and watch the latest videos of Yavneh News and “Question of the Week.” Many parents work long hours but will now be able to watch the Shiurim and adult lectures. The Yavneh app is available without charge from the iTunes store and Google Play.
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“Max made the ultimate sacrifice and we are forever indebted to him,” said Consul General Siegel. “His memory is a blessing for our people and continues to serve as an inspiration for all of Israel. Ben-Gurion University’s commitment to awarding scholarships to Israel’s most brave defenders is a deeply special way to honor the young men and women who commit their lives to defending the people and State of Israel.” During Operation Protective Edge, more than 2,000 Ben-Gurion University students were called to military service. Recently, BGU was given an award by Israel’s Defense Ministry for its extraordinary services and assistance provided to student-soldiers. BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi added, “The Steinberg family is memori-
Max’s story – his determination to join one of Israel’s elite army units, and his love for Israel is an inspiration to us all. Equally moving is the commitment by his parents and siblings to create a living legacy in his name at Ben-Gurion University,” said Sillins. The Steinberg’s will be part of the decision process to ensure that the receiving students mirror Max’s values and vision. “We are delighted to know that Max’s legacy will be connected to a university and scholarship program that grants opportunity and promise to the soldiers that have put their lives in harm’s way for the people of Israel,” said Max’s father, Stuart Steinberg. “We know that Max cared deeply for his fellow soldiers and that he would be whole-heartedly supportive of a program that allows soldiers to pursue their passions and create a great future.”
alizing Max in a way that will celebrate his life and his choices in perpetuity and will impact a widening circle of young people – an act that is truly worthy of admiration. Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare, but they have turned this personal tragedy into an opportunity to do a greater good.” “It takes $75,000 to provide a scholarship to one undergraduate student annually in perpetuity,” explained Ruth Flinkman-Marandy, an AABGU vice president and the campaign chair for the Southwest Region. “We hope to raise millions of dollars to enable multiple Max Steinberg scholarship recipients each year.” Contributions to the Max Steinberg Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund can be made at www.aabgu.org/maxsteinberg.
FEBRUARY 26, 2015
On February 15th the American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) launched the Max Steinberg Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund. The program will provide scholarships to combat reservists and especially to lone soldiers who are studying at the University. The fund was conceived by the parents and siblings of Max Steinberg, a lone soldier from Woodland Hills who lost his life during Operation Protective Edge, while serving in the elite Golani 13 brigade. He was 24. The Max Steinberg Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund was launched by AABGU Vice President Jessica Sillins at the Times of Israel Gala in New York City. The Steinberg family was one of three “Families of the Fallen” to be recognized during the event. “I am deeply touched by
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Max Steinberg Memorial Fund to Provide Annual Scholarships in Perpetuity
2015 Kosher Food and Wine Experience is a Sellout On February 11, Hollywood’s W Hotel was packed for the 2015 Kosher Food and Wine Experience. The afternoon presentation was designed for trade buyers who visited so they could experience new wines for their restaurants and stores. From 6pm the pre-ticketed public were allowed to join the tasting experience. It was a sellout event, as predicted by David Whittemore, Director of Marketing for Herzog Wine cellars. “Now, in its eighth year, we anticipated a strong response. We believe the event offered the best selection of kosher food and wine in the world! The unique offerings come from Herzog’s vast portfolio as well as many other winemakers and quality wineries. In addition we included mouth-watering inspired dishes by the chefs who work at the hottest kosher restaurants in Los Angeles.” Wines were available from the State of California, Washington and Oregon. There were 10 Israeli wineries offering a large selection of wines from many grape varieties. Other tastings were presented by New Zealand, Australia, France and Spain. There was even a pedigree Port from Portugal. The wines, champagnes and port that were presented were not for sale at the event, but online sales were pursued after the market. Alongside the alcohol, there were sample dishes from a variety of Los Angeles restaurants and for the first time ever, the chef’s cooked all their recipes with premium grassfed beef. This made for a difference in taste and flavor while the dishes were healthier. Nir Weinblut, owner of La Gondola restaurant in Beverly Hills, said he would like to offer free range premium grassfed beef as an option because guests know that it is healthier. The Tierra Sur waiters and chefs were equally as enthusiastic, explaining that the essence of free range grassfed meat is that, “You have to cook it more slowly because it lacks the marbling or fat that regular American meat is known for. It’s not any more difficult to cook, but you must cook it slowly to retain the natural succulent juices.” Grassfed beef is far more common in Europe than in the US. It is impossible that America could feed the population entirely with eco-friendly grassfed meat where each animal needs to have access to land the size of a football field, but new options are becoming increasingly available and popular. Ten years ago, it is estimated that just 50 grassfed cattle operations were active in the States, yet there are now thousands of producers and a strong import market. The premium grassfed beef at KFWE was provided by Tevya’s Ranch, a sponsor of the KFWE. The American Grassfed Association defines grassfed products as those food products that come from animals that, “have eaten nothing but their mother’s milk and fresh grass or grass-type hay from birth to harvest – all their lives. They are also raised
with no confinement and no antibiotics or hormones. Virtually any air-breathing food animal can be raised partially or entirely on grass.” There are four advantages to eating meat from free ranging grassfed animals. Firstly it is a leaner product with a higher percentage of beneficial antioxidant vitamins and minerals and with a higher amount of Omega 3’s and CLA which are the good fats. Secondly, the animals that are raised
on grass are living as G-d intended. The infiltration of grains in the diet of mass-produced beef creates an acidic digestive environment which increases the use of antibiotics. Grassfed animals are eco-friendly as the pastures used to feed them restores natural ecosystems and wildlife habitat while the soil is rejuvenated with organic matter and there is less need of petrochemicals and their by-products. Finally, small farms are the producers of grassfed animals and
they provide rural communities with strong economies which creates sustainable businesses for entire families. David Whittemore is now busy planning the location for the 2016 event. “We are looking at venues with more space as we will have a greater number of attendees and we’d like to include some of the newest award-winning kosher wineries in 2016.”
Photos: David Miller Photography
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
NAFISI GUESTS OF HONOR
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20 ARE YOU MOVING TO
LASHON HAKODESH HISTROY, HOLINESS & HEBREW
SE RV IC E S
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edly textbook, the information is simple to grasp. At times original, interesting but factual, the reader is left with a comprehensive understanding of the history of our ancient languages and their mystical magical nature as interpreted and debated by wise Rabbis of old. Did Adam speak in Lashon HaKodesh from his creation, did he speak it after eating the forbidden fruit, did he speak it in Gan Eden, did he speak other languages as well? Is Lashon HaKodesh the language that angels understand because it is the supreme language that was created by G-d Himself? Have we stopped conversing in prayer book Hebrew because we are not so holy? Have our negative traits necessitated an alternative collection of languages? Rabbi Klein discusses these questions and presents several answers but withholds from passing judgment. As a result, the book moves us to understand how and why the rabbinical debate is ongoing. Lashon HaKodesh is the purest language that Jews have had available from the very start of creation, when Adam could actually speak directly with Hashem. As we have fallen further from the lofty heights of our ancestors, the language has been destined to prayer, where we can still
aspire. Modern Hebrew by contrast, with its adoption of Yiddish, German and Arabic sounds, is the language of our mundane lives. Rabbi Klein leads us to believe this is all for the best. Other languages have been taken up by generations before us and these are all a melting pot of many words so that Modern Hebrew, Yiddish and Aramaic, as well as Arabic, Greek and other ancient dialects, frequent word structure which is an amalgamation of Lashon HaKodesh with the additional language. In fact, Rabbi Klein provides a delightful presentation that reminds us of the history of words with trilateral and quadrilateral syllables and sounds. Even the Torah uses foreign words to express to the reader the possibility of interpretation and explanation. The book works its way to an analysis of Aramaic, a language which is essentially a collection of Semitic languages. Although there is still dispute about the origin and importance of Aramaic, the language comprises a vast collection of dialects which evolved so long ago, as far back as Abraham, and even further to the Torah. Aramaicisms are found in the Torah, it is the language universally accepted for a kosher Get, and it is still spoken in an estimated 19 varieties by pockets of Jews around the world, yet it is undoubtedly dying out, spoken by few. While this linguistic history is not part of the book, the material that is presented encourages the reader to consider these facts and the history of our languages in more depth. The practical ramifications of understanding the interconnection between the earliest Jewish languages are few. Does this matter? Rabbi Klein’s book allows us to learn a little more on the subject so we can be conscious and cautious of the languages which are our ancestor’s legacy for us. Rabbi Klein is a fellow at the Kollel of Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem and received rabbinic ordination in Jerusalem, but his routes lie in Valley Village where he was schooled at Emek Hebrew Academy and Yeshivah Gedolah of Los Angeles. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com and at Mosaica Press’s
This Is How v Hagaon Moreinu Hara
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is Answers In H iting Own HandwrAsk: To All Who
And So Ruled My Father-In-Law Harav Eliyashiv Zt"l
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Vaad Harabanim is Matanos L'Evyonim In The Best Possible Manner
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Hatzolah of Los Angeles Tribute Dinner Tuesday, March 10, 2015
6:30 p.m. | Program 7:30 p.m. Universal Hilton Hotel 555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, California For more information about the dinner, please call 323-937-0980, email email@example.com, or visit www.hatzolahofla.org.
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February 15, 2015
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to say opportunity and the duty community will have the ual our in ann ne its ryo ds eve hol it 5, as 201 On March 10, zolah of Los Angeles trate our support for Hat thank you and to demons Hilton. fundraiser at the Universal h of Los ly quite simple -- Hatzola should be needed. It's real calls upon eal it n app whe ded it han on vyks hea bac no our Frankly, and neither can we turn aid our to e com to s fail Angeles never help us! us to support its efforts to drop literally dedicated volunteers who bably know many of the w a child or family pro kno you ly me, bab pro like are you you me, If ncy calls. If you are like rge comforting eme and to led ond skil r resp to thei e, everything their emergency respons from ed efit ben who son or elderly per thing voices. ntly from their familiar soo hands and most importa go for training, raised that evening will hbor. dinner, most of the monies neig the or of t ily cos fam r the you , from de you Asi help one day may be used to that ent ipm equ and s supplie , the Istrins and the Blonders, the Friedmans s r dinner, along with the of Los Angeles never turn h zola Hat I have agreed to chair thei me. ed ask zolah of Los Angeles Lents, simply because Hat its? at e of need so how could I any of us down at our tim
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23 THE JEWISH HOME
THE LIGHT OF PURIM By Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, Rav and Dean at Yeshivat Yavneh
II It starts in the home (9:28) "והימים האלה נזכרים ונעשים בכל דור "–ודור משפחה ומשפחה מדינה ומדינה ועיר ועיר And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city. The bold proclamation made clear in this verse is seemingly flawed. Shouldn’t the order of how Purim is going to be remembered go from generation, province, city and THEN family? The Sadiger Rebbe (Rav Avraham Yaakov, p.103 inAbir Yaakov) reads this verse with a twist. “And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation” – Pause – how is that most effectively done? The family. It all starts with the family unit. What we teach our children at home, the values we present at the dinner table those teachings are what ensures that Purim and the Jewish faith remain alive and are passed on. III Seeing the full Picture The song that is traditionally sung at the end of the Megilah Reading is called Shoshanas Yaakov. The opening phrase is: The rose of Jacob thrilled with joy and exulted when they beheld Mordechai garbed in royal blue. Why, of all the colors on Mordechai’s cloak, is blue singled out? The Midrash
(Bamidbar 15) says that whomever fulfills the mitzvah of tzitzis it is considered as though they have received the Shechinah. For the blue string of the tzitzis is similar to the ocean and the ocean is similar to the sky and the sky is reminiscent of the Chair of Glory upon which G-d sits. We always talk about the Ocean Blue but pick up this water in your hand and you won’t find any blue. Take a lot of water in your hand, no blue. But stand at a distance and look at the whole picture and you’ll see the most brilliant blue.Take some sky in your hands – it’s not blue – but stand back – look at the world and you’ll see the blue. תכלתbegins with תand ends with and in the middle –כלeverything. Mordechai was the only individual who saw the whole picture. When the Jewish people saw Mordechai wearing blue, the blue of his tzitzis they realized that while we are a Shoshanah – a rose among thorns we can be “thrilled with joy and exulted”. IV Unity – A Taste of Tomorrow (3:8) “ – ”ישנו עם אחד מפוזר ומפורדThere is one nation scattered and dispersed. The mystic, Rav Kook, points out that while we may have been physically scattered we were עם אחד, one nation. Without realizing, Haman was relating to unity which has always been our transcendent marker. The great Chassidic teacher Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (Likutei Halachot, Yo”d, )הלכות סימני בהמה וחיהdiscusses the nature of G-d hardening Pharaoh’s heart. He says that we are essentially incapable of going against G-d’s Will because in doing so we would be destroying the world the G-d has placed here. His words in Hebrew: "הוא פוגם ח"ו בכל העולמות ומחריב ומקלקל "הרבה. But still at times Hashem will harden a heart so that apparent evil can continue to sin because this magnifies G-d’s Name in the end. Evidence of that is precisely in this case of Pharoah which crescendo’s into G-d’s glory in full brilliance at the splitting sea. There is more that this forced hardening achieved. What happens when we are distressed? We pull together. Achdut. The Arizal writes that on Pesach night we achieve the level of Gadlut HaMochin (the expansive mind, where we are surrounded by thoughts of G-d). This is only achieved by unity. We could only leave when we were united because we got into this whole mess by selling our brother Joseph into slavery. That is symbolized
by the Karpas on Seder Night. Rashi categories Karpas as one of the colors of Joseph’s coat. The Ishbitzer Rebbe in his Mei Shiloach (p.170, Massei) notes that it doesn’t say ""נשיאby Yehudah, Shimon, and Benyamin because each of those 3 tribes had internal unity. Their particular leaders never felt comfortable calling themselves “leader”. This is further evidence that unity has the power to change the normal –מציאותor process of how Hashem runs the world. Maimonides in The Laws of Kings (11:1) rules that longing for the Moshiach is a requirement and one who doesn’t engage in such longing is כפר בעיקרand this denies an essential component of Judaism. I understand that a lack of belief in the coming of the Moshiach may be a denial of an essential component, but not longing for the Moshiach is also an essential component? The Pittsburger Rebbe (Pitgamei Orytta, p.316) answers that after the sin of Adam and Eve, the real vitality of a Jew comes from their inner connection to Olam HaBaah, a more perfect world that could have been. What is a defining element of Olam HaBaah? Perfection and Unity. When we are united on this earth we transcend the limited mundane experience and connect to a state best represented in a future world. Alternatively, Rabbi Yitzchok Etshalom in his commentary to the Book of Shemot (p.75) boldly argues that when at time the Torah deviates from its proper order and takes an item which occurred chronologically at a later point and injects it into the present narrative, it does so to clarify the present. This would present us with a new answer to why the Rambam feels that a lack of longing for the Moshiach is a denial of a basic component of our faith. Without an eye to the future, the present will remain meaningless. If for example, I know that one the good will have their reward, then I can understand the present injustice. V Removing the Dirt I’ve always been fascinated with the extensive treatment that the Megilah gives in dealing with the removal of Haman and his children. Why should we be concerned with such a lowly subject akin to garbage removal? According to the Shulchan Aruch (307), the Rema allows one to talk about things that they enjoy on Shabbos just as they would on any other day of the week. Does this ruling not go against the Talmud Shab-
bos 113a which teaches us that the topics of discussion on Shabbos should be different than the week? The Baal Shem Tov defended the ruling of the Rema by relaying a parable of a King who on one occasion commanded that all his subjects be given whatever they want. One person requested manure. If that’s what they want, then that’s what they want. This is similar to the Torah portion Ba’aloscha (11:5) – זכרנו את הדגה- אשר נאכל במצרים חנם. We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt freely. The Israelites had everything with the manna, yet they requested to go back to the lousy Egyptian piece of fish! Rav Yaakov Meir Schachter (Osef Amarim, Purim, p.255) cites the Zohar which says that the students of Rebbe Shimon would call him Shabbos. What was the reason for this nickname? The loftiness of Shabbos is like the angelic quality of a righteous individual. The Tzadik is a mobile Shabbos. Shabbos is at such a high level that not only should we not spend our time asking for manure but we don’t even ask for Tefilin! So the question returns: how do we have permission to talk about mundane matters on Shabbos, or in the words of the Baal Shem Tov - request manure? The Arizal (Sefer Likutim, Toldos) – writes that “within Esav there was hidden many holy souls” That’s why, his father, Yitzchak kept him close. He was hoping to bring out these buried holy sparks. Within the mundane there must be some sparks of holiness or else the world could not be sustained. The great Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Hutner was once spending time with the Sabbah of Slobodka who had his students around him. The Sabbah said ."הנשמה גדולה ממלאכים גדול גילוי זה מגי־, שאם יש לאדם גילוי בעצמו,נמצא "“ –לוי אליהוThe soul is greater than that of angels. It then follows, that if a person has a revelation about themselves it is greater than a giluy Eliyahu.” [A giluy Eliyahu is considered a form of prophetic revelation signifying an extremely high level.] Within our mundane selves there is a part of us that is so profound if we would only take the time to discover it. We just need to scrape away the manure to get there. Haman and his lot were a dark force casting their dimming shadow upon the beauty of the Megilah. Once contended with and removed – the light of Purim is able to burst forth in the most radiating way.
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I Reach out your hand The Tikkunei Zohar (21) notes that Purim is linguistically related to the Day of Atonement, Yom Ki-Purim. The implication of that connection is that Purim is greater than Yom Kippur because Yom Kippur is referred to as a day “like” Purim – Ki-Purim. While that inference is noted by many scholars, few explain why that is the case. The enigmatic Chassidic Rebbe, Rav Yisrael of Rizhin suggests the greatness of Purim is tied into its potency for G-d’s grace. According to the Talmud in Shavuos 13a, Yom Kippur atones for those who are shavim – return. Purim’s power is that our relationship with G-d is established whether we return or not. On Purim we have a rule: Kol HaPoshet Yad Nosnim Lo – All those who put out their hand we give (Yerushalmi Megilah 1:4). This literally refers to the poor. On Purim if they stick out their hand in need we can’t refuse. The Rizhiner understands this as a metaphor for our connection with G-d. Even if we don’t return repair our distance from G-d, on Purim all we need to do is reach out our hand and we are already there.
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The Song of Purim
I was recently sitting with some people and, as has happened so often in recent months, someone started singing the very popular niggun, Ve’afilu Behastarah. The moving words and tune never fail to soften the heart, providing a jolt of chizuk and emunah, a reminder that Hashem is always in control. A learned Yerushalmi Yid, the sort who seems to be equipped with a perpetual supply of joyful comments and uplifting remarks, was among those sitting there. He took issue with the words. “Farvoss nisht ve’afilu sheloi behastarah?” He asked, “Why are people singing that Hashem is found even in the hidden? Sing that He is ever-present! Even when things are going good, remember that it is a gift from Hashem!” The Chassidic song seeks to reinforce the reality that even in times of darkness and concealment, Hashem is with us. It seeks to remind us that each nisayon is ordained for us and that nothing occurs by happenstance. Even when our situation is critical, we are not to forsake hope and faith, because what we are seeing is not the whole story. As people of faith, we believe that the times of darkness are an illusion. Struggles present a false image. There is a story behind the story. Everything transpires for a greater purpose. Things are rarely as they appear to be. At times, Hashem is in a position of hester, hidden from our view, but we need to know that even when He is hidden, He is present. The hester is itself a hester, a mask covering a mask.
As Purim is upon us, I remembered the man’s comment, because, essentially, the song of Ve’afilu Behastarah and its message are the song and message of Purim. On the first Purim after emerging from the abyss of suffering that consumed most of his family, community and Chassidus, the Satmar Rebbe, Rav Yoel Teitelbaum zt”l, called out, “It was worth enduring the pain of the war in order to be able to experience one more Purim, one more krias megillah.” The Rebbe’s inspiring comment begs explanation. Why was Purim and Megillas Esther singled out? What about the other mitzvos? Did meriting to perform every daily, weekly, Shabbos and Yom Tov-related mitzvah one more time not make life worth living? Perhaps we can understand that the Rebbe selected this mitzvah in order to make a point. We live in a world of hester, to be sure. But hester isn’t the reality. Imagine when a blackout strikes. Your home is plunged into darkness, electronic appliances sit useless, and light is provided by a few small candles and fading flashlights.
ment he is experiencing. On Purim, we see events stripped down to their core and we contemplate that under the challenge lies the posuk of “Ahavti eschem omar Hashem,” which fuels the whole creation. Through the avodah and limudim of Purim, we are mamtik the dinim, so that by the end of Purim - as we manage one more lechayim with the strains of music quieting down in the background, and as the table is covered with the remnants of a festive seudah and the tablecloth is stained with purple wine in our minds there are no more dinim. It can be the struggle of a lifetime. Small people see only “hastarah” and are unable to get past that. Great people see the “ohr.” The rest of us fall somewhere in between, feeling pain and wondering where the blessing is hidden. The megillah states that following the miraculous turn of events, “LaYehudim hoysah orah vesimcha vesasson vikor - The Jews had light, joy and splendor.” Chazal teach that the posuk is hinting at something deeper that the Jews won in the battle: “orah zu Torah, simcha zu Yom Tov, sasson zu milah, yikor zeh tefillin.”
HASHEM IS THE OHEIV AMO YISROEL. HE LOVES US. During the summer, there is no relief from the heat, and during the winter, there is no relief from the cold. However, while experiencing a blackout, no one panics or worries about the future, because they know that the power company is aware of the problem and, sooner or later, power will be restored. In fact, some might even enjoy the power outage. With the flashlights and candles for light, the extra blankets and sweatshirts for warmth, and crackers and cheese for supper, it can become an adventure. There is a Kabbalistic term, “hamtokas hadinim beshorosham,” which relates our ability to contemplate the source from where punishment comes and, through that, to behold its inherent sweetness. The ability to reach this level enables a person to negotiate the harshness of the punish-
If the posuk is hinting to Torah, Yom Tov, milah and tefillin, why doesn’t it state that directly and say, “LaYehudim hoysah Torah, Yom Tov, milah utefillin”? Perhaps we can answer that after experiencing the miracles of Purim, the Jews appreciated the depth of the mitzvos and saw the light in Torah, the joy in Yom Tov and milah, and the splendor of tefillin. Those were no longer esoteric concepts, but were deeply felt by all. [See Sefas Emes year 648] Rav Mordechai Pogramansky zt”l was a tremendous source of chizuk to talmidim of the olam haTorah during the Second World War. He once posed a question. Dovid Hamelech asks in Tehillim (139:7), “Ana eileich meiruchecha ve’ana miponecha evrach - Where shall I go from Your spirit and where shall I flee from Your
presence?” Rav Pogramansky wondered, “Hut Dovid Hamelech gezucht antloiffen fun Basheffer? Was Dovid Hamelech seeking to escape from Hakadosh Boruch Hu, as the posuk seems to indicate?” He explained that people who live in times of difficulty and travail merit experiencing a different type of emunah, one that is deeper than yediah. Dovid Hamelech’s belief was such that he greeted good news and disturbing news with the same reaction, “Kos yeshuos esa uvesheim Hashem ekra.” He praised the pains and travails he experienced just as he praised the salvations Hashem granted him, as the posuk says, “Tzorah veyagon emtza uvesheim Hashem ekra.” Amazingly, both thanksgiving and mourning led him to the same place. And so, Dovid Hamelech longed to experience this dimension of faith, but it was simply too bright in front of him, and he couldn’t locate the darkness from which he would live with emunah. So he wondered, “Ana eileich, where can I flee from His presence? Where is the realm where my yediah will be replaced by emunah?” Rav Pogramansky turned to his talmidim and urged them to take advantage of the historic darkness they were experiencing and to grasp onto emunah and never let go. The Vilna Gaon famously says that every posuk in Megillas Esther contributes to the greatness of the neis. The first part of the megillah details the increasing wealth, power and prestige of Achashveirosh, which all contributed to the creation of more hester. The further they seemed to be from geulah and the more the escape from golus seemed to be distant from the Jews in that period, the more the opportunity for emunah increased. The success of Achashveirosh in effect produced the neis, because it created the climate in which emunah could bring about a yeshuah. In Mordechai’s confident cry to Esther, “Revach vehatzolah ya’amod laYehudim mimakom achier,” of his conviction that everything they were experiencing was a mask, from which those who are baalei emunah hear the eternal cry of Knesses Yisroel. Mordechai had the conviction to tell
about you. He doesn’t only care for the nation as whole, but for each individual.” Rav Miller looked around the table and
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the truth. In our comfortable world, we take so much for granted, and that itself creates a wall that makes it difficult to feel joy. They expected nothing and took pleasure in each small bit of Divine favor. They knew that whatever Hashem gives us is a gift. They rejoiced with what they had - good health, family, friends and life itself - and thus merited appreciating what they received. We can also reach that level of seeing, perceiving and feeling His blessings. We can be besimcha. It’s a deeper avodah than simply cranking up loud music, but it’s much more meaningful and long-lasting. This might be what the Satmar Rebbe meant. All the hardships and pain he had suffered, hester behind hester, had been worth it for Purim, meaning that in the face of the revelation of the ultimate light, it became clear that it was never dark. On Purim, we don’t say, “Es vet zein gut. It will be good.” We say, “It was always good.” LaYehudim hoysah orah. They were flooded with a light, a powerful beacon revealing that all along it had been nothing but good. At a Purim seudah one year, Rav Avigdor Miller zt”l commented on the words of the song being sung, “Ah gantz yohr freilach zol men zein.” He wondered what would be left after Purim. How would they be able to bottle up the emotion they were feeling at that moment and keep a supply handy for use in time of need? He explained that on Purim, through contemplation, simcha, yayin and the story of the neis, one develops recognition for a fundamental truth: Hashem is the oheiv amo Yisroel. He loves us. “That’s the second yesod in the Torah,” Rav Miller stated. “The first is that Hashem made the world and the second is that He loves His people. The happiness comes when you realize that Hashem is thinking
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Esther with absolute clarity, that they were going to be saved. The only question was whether Esther would play a role in that salvation. He was the epitome of a baal bitachon and despite the evident hester, Mordechai knew that Hashem was there, afilu b’hastarah. Generations of Yidden left this world with the posuk of yichud Hashem and perfect faith on their lips. Shema Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad. That is our national mantra. We cover our eyes when we say it to hint at the fact that we can’t yet see this reality, but we already feel it. Rav Mordechai Schwab zt”l arrived in America after years on the run, escaping dangerous Europe, enduring the perilous trip to Shanghai, and rising above the obstacles of establishing a young family in that inhospitable climate. Finally, as “the tzaddik sought to settle in peace,” his three-year-old son, Boruch Ber, named for Rav Schwab’s rebbi, was tragically killed in a car accident. The levayah was held on Erev Shabbos. A few war survivors gathered to provide comfort. Just before the aron was lowered into the ground, Rav Schwab leaned over and addressed the niftar, his beloved son. “Boruch Ber’l,” he said, “Go before the Kisei Hakavod and tell them what I taught you. Show them what you learned while you were here, Shema Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad.” Rav Schwab was proclaiming yichud Hashem in the darkest time. He was proclaiming that the Oneness that defines happy and joyful times is the same Oneness of difficult times. He seized a moment of total darkness, with his eyes covered as never before, to proclaim emunah. In a time of hester, he tore away the mask. Our forefathers toiled in hardship and privation, working under conditions and in situations we couldn’t even fathom, yet they remained besimcha. They focused on
pointed to a man on his right and another on his left. “You see these men here? Think about them for a moment. Each one is a tzelem Elokim. Hashem is saying, ‘Those are my sons!’ He loves us more than any mother loves her child. That’s the happiness in life. There is no greater joy. It’s true all year round, but today we see it clearly. Now we internalize this truth and then we can be freilach ah gantz yohr.” It’s the song that follows Ve’afilu Behastarah, which is for before Purim. After spending the day experiencing the Yom Tov and its mitzvos and re-immersing ourselves in the story of Megillas Esther and its lessons, and after a day spent singing Shoshanas Yaakov and LaYehudim hoysah orah, we appreciate that “Afilu behatzlachah bevadai gam shom nimtza Hashem Yisborach.” By the time the sun sets this Purim, we will, with Hashem’s help, be singing a new song, that of Ah Gantz Yohr Freilach, for we will see Hashem even where there is hastarah. A freilichen Purim.
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Making Sense of the Madness Rabbi Sholom Kesselman
Purim is a day of extreme joy, easily one of the most joyous days in the Jewish calendar. But it’s not just the joy that is extreme; during Purim, events seem to take an exaggerated form. The four major Mitzvot of Purim are: reading the Megillah (Scroll of Esther), giving gifts to the poor, sending Mishloach Manot, and feasting. In essence, these are things we do on every Jewish holiday--we read the portions of the Torah that deal with that holiday, we give charity before the holiday to help the poor with their holiday expenses, and we eat festive meals. What is unique on Pu-
rim is the way we amplify and dramatize these mitzvot. On any other yom tov, we read the Torah once during the day. On Purim we read the Megillah twice: once at night and once again during the day. Before a regular yom tov we give charity to the poor, but on Purim we give gifts to everyone. The Mishloach Manot is sent to friends and family whether rich or poor. Even charity to the poor is more intense on Purim. The Shulchan Aruch states: “[On Purim] whoever extends his hand, give him.” Purim is a day when we give charity in abundance and unconditional-
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ly, far beyond our usual comfort level. On all other holidays we celebrate and sanctify the day with wine in moderate amounts. On Purim, however, we actually have an obligation to drink more than our normal intake. What is it about Purim that makes everything so dramatic? Why do we seem to “go crazy” with the mitzvahs of Purim? Can we make any sense of this madness? The Talmud (Shabbat 88a) relates the following: [The Torah states regarding the revelation at Sinai] “...and they stood in the bottom of the mountain.” Rav Avidmi said: This teaches us that the Holy One, Blessed is He, covered them with the mountain as though it were an [upturned] vat, and He said to them: “If you accept the Torah, fine; if not, your burial will be there.” Rav Acha bar Yakov said: “From here [stem strong grounds for] a claim of coercion [regarding the acceptance] of the Torah.” Rava said: “Nevertheless, they accepted the Torah again in the days of Achashverosh, as it is written: “The Jews established and accepted.” [Meaning] they established [in the days of Achashverosh] that which they had already accepted [in the days of Moshe].” This small passage sheds an entirely new light on what Purim is all about. It was the time when the Jews finally accepted the Torah willingly and wholeheartedly, thereby radically changing and upgrading the dynamic of our relationship with Hashem. In essence, Purim is another Shavuot, but there’s more to it than that. The Jews in the time of Achashverosh did not experience an open revelation. Nevertheless, they recognized Hashem’s hand behind the events of the Purim story, and they rededicated themselves to Torah of their own free will. Shavuot is the festival of the giving of the Torah – zeman matan torateinu—whereas Purim is the festival of the receiving of the Torah. On Shavuot the focus is on Hash-
em as the Giver. In His infinite kindness He gave and gives anew each year His priceless and precious gift, without regard to how we feel about it. We are overwhelmed by the divine revelation, symbolized by the mountain looming over our heads. On Purim however, we celebrate the receiving the Torah. The focus is on us and our acceptance; we strive to accept it lovingly, to absorb its teachings and really connect with it in a deep and meaningful way. We have an entirely different attitude towards something that is foisted upon us than towards something we believe choose and really want. When something is forced on us we do only the very minimum. We do that which we are required to and nothing more. But when we choose to do something because we believe in it, want it, and love it, there is no limit to how far we’ll go. If we feel coerced to fulfill the mitzvot, we will only do that which is required of us. But when we see the mitzvot as our G-dy mission in this world, when we embrace Hashem’s will as our own, we will go way beyond the call of duty. This is what Purim is all about. On Purim we accept the Torah as our own. We buy into it, and it becomes our life and true love. It’s no wonder, then, that we “go crazy” over it. We fall so in love with the Torah and its mitzvot that we become irrational. We don’t just want to read the Megillah once; we want to do it twice. We don’t just want to give charity to the poor; we want to give unconditionally and in abundance to all who stretch out their hands. We don’t just want to eat and drink; we want to feast to the point of oblivion. This is the message of Purim. It is the day when we fall madly in love with Hashem and Torah and go the very extreme for His sake. It is the time to make the Torah our own. (Originally published on Chabad. org, the Judaism website. Reprinted with permission)
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Esther’s Hidden Strength by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
he holiday of Purim represents the best of times. It emerged, however, from the worst of times. We were never closer to obliteration, both spiritually and physically. The hedonism of the prevailing Persian culture was part of the air that we breathed. It dulled our senses to the point that when King Achashverosh appeared in the garments of the High Priest of Jerusalem, presenting the treasure that had been robbed from the Holy Temple with the detachment of a museum curator, there was no protest. We too had reached the point of being able to say, “How beautiful, how fascinating,” when we once said, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand be forgotten.” We were desensitized to ourselves and to G-d. G-d is the hidden character of the Book of Esther. His name is never mentioned. As the events were played out in real time, few were able to see His hidden presence. One of the few was Esther. Somehow she had escaped the desensitization. From Loneliness to Strength Let us look at Esther in order to find the place within ourselves that can help us always see – like she did – beyond the exterior facade that calls itself “reality.” Her father had died while her mother was still pregnant with Esther; her mother died at her birth. Thus, she came into this world with the gaping wound of belonging to no one. Her uncle, Mordechai, who later became her spiritual guide and ultimately her husband, took her in. The Maharal of Prague (16th century) tells us that the circumstances of her birth were no coincidence. Alienation and loneliness are tools like any others and are given to us to enable us to become who we can be. It was from that place of emptiness that Esther’s profound attachment to G-d blossomed. The root of the Hebrew word ester is saiter, meaning “concealment.” Her name articulated her very essence – the ability to pierce the walls of concealment and find G-d where others could not. We often are deceived by the opaque nature of our interactions with G-d. He seemingly does not react when we go off the path. We are not stricken down by lightning when we make bad choices. Similarly, we do not find ourselves suddenly richer or necessarily in better physical health when we choose to open our vistas to what is profound and eternal within ourselves. The wicked seem to prosper and the righteous seems to exist with the same constraints as all the rest. This is how it seems, of course, if we don’t commit ourselves to penetrating the surface. Esther was a master at breaking through the walls that surround
us. This was her weapon that she had taught herself in her years of solitude and yearning. Esther had learned to see G-d wherever she looked. She saw Him as her only parent and she let His presence be her guide. We all have our empty places. Rather than allowing them to lead us towards embitterment, let us use them as a ladder. Like a Myrtle Esther had an additional name – Hadassah. The Hebrew word Hadassah means “myrtle,” and it is one of the four species that we use on Succot. The etrog (citron) is shaped like and symbolizes the heart, the lulav (palm branch), the spine, the aravah (willow), the lips, and the hadassah are the eyes. Esther’s eyes could see inner reality as clearly as our eyes see external reality. Her name was not random, but rather it was the ultimate description of her strongest quality. Let us look into the nature of the hadassah more
It was from that place of emptiness that Esther’s profound attachment to G-d blossomed. closely to gain insight into Esther’s nature, and ultimately into our own. The leaves of the myrtle are uniform and green. If I were to name a child after a plant (which is highly unlikely), I would gravitate more to Rose, Lily – or at worst, Daisy – long before I would call anyone Myrtle or Hadassah. It is almost a command to aspire to inconspicuous mediocrity! But the Maharal points out that her modest image embodied an internal strength. The image that Esther projected was one in which the superficial separations that polarize us played no part. The greater our focus on the uniqueness of our external identities (age, appearance, culture) the more separate we are from the unity and commonality of
our internal identities (the need to love, the yearning for meaning and genuine achievement, fear of rejection and inner chaos). We become the children of one Father when we let ourselves see beyond the façade of superficial identity. It is our quiet commonality that bonds our hearts and minds. The Talmud gives us a concrete example: Esther was given seven maidservants, as was the court-custom. In order to remember when it was Shabbat she named them after the days of the week. In a society as stratified as ancient Persia, she could have easily dehumanized them by calling them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. Nothing could be a greater insult to their human value. So, instead, she named them after G-d’s order of creation. One was Light, the other Transcendence, etc. They all ultimately converted to Judaism, even though that was far from Esther’s intent. By becoming more aware of whom they really were, they were able to set their sights towards who they wanted to be. She succeeded in bringing them to a genuine awareness of their inner essence. Coolness and Warmth The Talmud rather cryptically tells us that Esther, like the Hadassah, was “green.” This does not mean that one would mistake her for Robin Hood or Lyle the Crocodile. Rather, her essence was symbolized by the color green. Green is a color that is made up of two primary components – blue and yellow. Blue symbolizes coolness and yellow symbolizes warmth. Esther’s inner light was a composite of two forces as well – fiery sun-like passion and the cooling nurture of water. Because she had developed her own spiritual nature so completely, she could reach out to anyone and find within her the capacity to connect. Her “greenness” was the spiritual symbol of humility, responsiveness and sensitivity. When we are able to peel away the layers of nonsense and glitz that are today’s remnants of Achashverosh’s palace, we will find the part of us that – like Esther – can pierce through any armor, even our own. And then we will see G-d where we never believed He could be found – in our hearts, in those of others, in the day-to-day events that form the tapestry of our lives. Reprinted with permission from aish.com.
to 567 widows and 3,233 orphans with your Matanos L’evyonim.
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!מתנות לאביונים בו ביום
FEBRUARY 26, 2015
This Purim paint a
on the face
of a widow and an orphan.
You. Yes, you!
קבר מרדכי ואסתר
A minyan of yerei shamayim will pray for you on Purim at the Kever of Mordechai V’Esther.
Be mezakeh your entire family. per name
drop off your mesamche lev matanos l'evyonim at kosher wineries on purim: Flatbush:
Pomegranate - Coney Island & Ave L Till 5 p.m. on Purim
The Winery - 4616 18th Ave. Till 2 p.m. on Purim
Shomer Shabbos Shul - 13th & 53rd St
Hagefen - 4123 13th Ave.
The Wine Socher - 1507 41st St.
The Kiddush Kup - 5105 16 Ave.
Till 5 p.m. on Purim Till 3 p.m. on Purim
Till 3 p.m. on Purim
L'Chaim - 348 Roebling St. Till 2 p.m. on Purim
Donath - 119 Lee Ave. Till 5 p.m. on Purim
Till 3 p.m. on Purim
Donate today and your Matonos L'Evyonim will be distributed on Purim- Bo B'Yom.
FAX: 718.838.3310 MAIL: 1364 53rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219 ONLINE: www.mesamchelev.org
All Contributions are tax deductible
A Dynasty Of Majesty And Wonder
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Life is not perfect. And that can be a good thing. In truth, the events in our life develop in absolute perfection, directly in sync with the Heavenly plan, but it is a perfection defined by G-d; something that is not easy to grasp by our mortal selves. We tend to see the ‘here and now’, and desperately seek a way out from the challenges we face. Understandably so. And then we visit the generation’s greatest scholars to be inspired by their presence and granted their personal blessing. Indeed, those who have encountered the Grand Rabbi of Chernobyl, in Bnei Brak, have found a fulfillment to their search. His blessing and prayers on their behalf have proven to produce miraculous results, infusing hope and faith into the gloomiest of situations. Visitors are introduced to the huge institution that the renowned Grand Rabbi
of Chernobyl has established. The diverse flock of his disciples are proud to belong, each playing an important role with their daily schedules of learning and prayer, held within premises around the Holy Land, including Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and Elad. Among their general studies which delve into the depths of our glorious heritage, hundreds of men, young and old, are also taught about the significance of a Jew’s proper decorum and integrity among their peers. These lectures, delivered by both the Rabbi and other cultured individuals, go a long way in preparing them for their future, as righteous husbands, fathers and businessmen, and polishing the personalities of those who have already been fortunate to reach this stage. International guests who observe this amazing blend of tradition and contemporary learning, quickly become friends of the institution, partnering with its financial responsibilities and knowing their donation will ensure a promising future for the budding young scholars. In this way, although they return to their homes and businesses across the globe, they carry with them the crowning glory associated with the supporting of Torah studies. Besides the greatness of financing the Chernobyler following, these donors are relieving the Rabbi of his gargantuan single-handed financial obligation, so he can devote more time to serve the many needy individuals who come his way in search of a salvation. The Rabbi does not take the nobility of these donors lightly. He extends a boundless gratitude to those who support his valuable establishment, especially since he invests his heart and soul towards its spiritual success. YOU DID FOR MINE – I WILL
DO FOR YOU One of the Rabbi’s ardent followers, Moshe* was blessed with a large family. He applied for permission to extend his small apartment, but due to neighbour’s opposition, the application was declined. One neighbor, a childless couple, was empathetic towards Moshe’s dilemma, and offered to help, with the thought that, at least if they did not merit their own family, they could ensure another’s comfort. Indeed, they supported a new planning claim, helped secure funding, and before long, Moshe was the proud owner of extended accommodation. Enormously grateful to his neighbor and in his effort to repay their kindness, Moshe urged the childless man to accompany him to his mentor, the Chernobyler Rabbi, who might bless him with a child. Unmoved, yet curious nonetheless, the neighbor paid a visit. The Rabbi ushered the pair inside, and upon hearing about the neighbor’s devotion to Moshe, the Rabbi raised his hands in recognition. He motioned to his attendant to bring him the two pomegranates that were hanging in the sukkah, which he then presented to the
visitor as a gift. Entranced, the neighbor left the room, grasping the pair of fruit as though he had already reaped his reward. The Rabbi then turned to Moshe and uttered, “I can’t understand why the couple are discouraged; there is still hope…” Less than a year later, the couple became the proud parents of twins! They realized how the Rabbi had intervened for them in Heaven, in a double repayment for their supporting one of his close followers, in his housing quandary, and they were overjoyed. For the Rabbi, every follower is as dear to him as his own son, and those who help the Rabbi’s “children” receive his Heavenly blessings. Likewise, those who assist the Rabbi in sustaining the Chernobyler institutions are taking upon themselves a guarantee of blessing from a saintly individual who has demonstrated an otherworldly ability countless times. A SMILE BRINGS SALVATION One of Chernobyl’s American donors phoned the Rabbi’s attendant on behalf of his unmarried niece, an older single who
‘BANK’ING ON GOOD DEEDS On another occasion, a disciple longed to support his beloved affiliates of Chernobyl in some way, but he was not financially able to do so at the time. That day, he happened to join a group applying to the bank for compensation for hefty banking fees over the years. All the past requests were rejected but, oddly enough, on this occasion the bank called this individual to confirm that he would receive the compensation requested – this amounted to the exact sum which he originally wanted to donate to the Chernobyl institutions! ‘FROM HIS MOUTH TO G-D’S EARS’ A family affiliated with Chernobyl had arranged for an au-pair to care for their handicapped father at home. Unfortunately, Vera, the new employee, was arrested at the airport because there she had no work permit. Vera had to wait for an
received permission from Heaven.” A very tense two days passed, until a smiling Vera stood at their front door bursting about her good fortune. She had undergone an exhaustive interrogation but, since she answered wisely, the police had to release her on the pretext of ‘lack of evidence’. Surprised, the family asked her why indeed she did not give their names to the authorities, which could have helped her situation. She explained that she felt some mysterious Heavenly force preventing her
from revealing these facts. To her it was mysterious, but the family knew exactly Who was behind it. *** All of us need miracles. Let us use the opportunity of the Grand Rabbi of Chernobyl who can beseech to G-d on our behalf and help those miracles to happen!
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GIVE AND GET A close disciple of the Rabbi attended a fundraising dinner for Chernobyl. He approached the dais to greet the Rabbi, after which the Rabbi offered, “May Hashem help that the amount you give tonight is only a tenth of your income!” Exultant and confident with this blessing, the jeweler pulled out his check book and scribbled an even larger amount than planned. Unbelievably, the following day, a great deal was struck in his business, a profit which was quickly calculated to total ten times the donation he had made the night before! In his sixty years, he had never chanced upon such luck and he credited the Divine fortune to his charitable act of helping the Chernobyler institutions.
investigation, so the authorities could discover who had employed her etc. Nervous of their fate, which can sometimes end in imprisonment, the Jewish family called the Rabbi in a panic. “G-d puts words in the mouth, even in the mouths of the nonJews,” was the Rabbi’s calming reply. “So let us pray to Him.” The family cried that they needed an urgent blessing that the au-pair should answer wisely. The Rabbi repeated his words of encouragement, saying, “No one, neither a Jew nor a nonJew, can utter a single word unless he has
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was distraught about her situation, especially compounded by the fact that she still had an older, unmarried brother and in their circles, it was not customary for the younger sibling to marry first. On hearing the girl’s problem, the Rabbi replied in a clear voice: “You have to be happy. Happiness is the best remedy - be happy!” The donor listened as the Rabbi repeated his first reply, “She should be content and everything will work out.” Puzzled, the girl took this to heart, as hard as it seemed. She looked to find the sunshine in her life and make the effort to recognize everything as goodness. In a short time, she realized that she had what she really needed to be content and grateful, and this feeling seeped into her character, transforming her into a happier person. Soon after, her brother became engaged, and within the year she herself became engaged and married! Was it a blessing in disguise, telling a miserable girl to be happy? Or was the sage advice from a revered personality a full-fledged blessing in itself?
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THE JEWISH HOME FEBRUARY 26, 2015
THE JEWISH HOME
FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Magazine recipes are all the same. You have a gorgeous picture of how the food is supposed to look but never actually does when you’re finished making it, and they post a cooking time that is totally not realistic, especially since, about 20 minutes into putting the recipe together, you’re going to realize you don’t have eggs. Recipes are designed for a perfect world where nothing burns and everything looks like the pictures, and the writer “made it for the family, and they absolutely loved it, and didn’t get sick a few hours later.” This recipe, on the other hand, is set in the real world. I can explain further, but let’s be honest: none of you are reading this far. Who reads the introduction to a recipe? The only people who have that kind of time are people who have no intention of making the recipe at all – the kind of people who read recipes like they do science fiction: They get to the end and they go, “Well, THAT’S not going to happen.”
Realistic Hamantashen PREPARATION TIME: 1 day YIELD: approx. 40 cookies SERVES: 1 person
DOUGH 3 eggs, bought from store 1 cup sugar ½ cup oil (or a cup in which ½ of it doesn’t have oil) Juice from 1 naval orange (or any military-grade orange). (Alternatively, you can use a ½ cup orange juice. Drink the other half; we don’t care.) Juice from one lemon (even a civilian lemon) or 1-3 tbsp. of lemon juice 5 cups flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt (We don’t know why either.) JELLY Jelly of some sort (strawberry jelly, prune jelly, petroleum jelly, etc.) There is also a version of this recipe that has you making the jelly out of fruit, sugar, and boiling water. But who are we kidding? INSTRUCTIONS 1. In a noisy kitchen, preheat oven to 375o. 2. Fahrenheit. 3. Wonder what that smell is. 4. Suddenly remember that you left some Tupperware in the
oven after the meal on Shabbos so the guests wouldn’t see it. 5. Turn off the oven and scrape out the melted plastic. 6. Mix the first three ingredients, then the fifth, and then the fourth. 7. Tell your children that it’s not time to lick the bowl yet. 8. Spend twenty minutes rummaging through the drawers, looking for the spatula. 9. In a separate bowl that somehow still fits your stand mixer, mix the sixth and eighth ingredients, and then fold it into the first bowl. 10. Using a third bowl that you borrowed from a neighbor, mix the seventh ingredient with itself and fold that in as well. Or just say, “Forget it,” and dump everything into one bowl in the first place. Ingredients are ingredients, we believe. 11. Weaving around the multiple stepstools that your kids set up to watch you, put the mixture in the fridge and allow to chill at 38o. 12. Tell your children that it’s not time to lick the bowl yet. 13. Whenever you remember (allow 6-8 days), take mixture out of the fridge and say, “How long has this been here? Oh, that’s right.” 14. With floured hands, on a floured surface, while standing on a floured floor, and just generally surrounded by mounds and mounds of flour, roll out mixture into small amounts ¼ inch thick. 15. Using a relatively clean drinking glass cut dough into neat circles. 16. Apply jelly to the center of each circle with a spoon or a turkey baster. You can be as cheap as you like with the jelly, but people will know. 17. Pinch the edges of the dough into triangles, bearing in mind that most of them will pop open. 18. Using an oven mitt place cookies in the oven. 19. On a cookie sheet, genius! 20. Cookies are ready when the smoke alarm goes off. (at least 20-25 minutes, assuming you remembered to turn the oven back on) (EDITOR’S NOTE: If you make it past the jokes, this is actually a very good recipe. And I haven’t gotten sick. Yet.)
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015 THE JEWISH HOME
105 Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits
uring the days and weeks before Purim the mail is full of letters requesting matanas l’evyonim. To whom are we obligated to give, how much should be given, and when should we give matanas l’evyonim? Let’s explore this mitzvah together. The Source The posuk in the Megilah is the source of the mitzvah to give matanas l’evyonim on Purim. This means that one has to give “matanas” to two people, which in essence means that one has to give one matana to each of two poor people. The more that one gives to poor people on Purim the more fortunate he is. One should give more money to the poor on Purim than he spends for mishloach manos or the seuda. One who gladdens the hearts of these unfortunate people is comparable to the shechina’s presence. One of the basic reasons for the mitzvah of giving matanas l’evyonim is in order to make poor people happy on this day when everyone else is happy. Giving Generously Aside from the minimum requirement of the mitzvah of matanas l’evyonim, one should go a step further and give to anyone who sticks out a hand on Purim. However, it should be pointed out that this only refers to poor people who are collecting for themselves and not to groups or people who are collecting for other people. The poskim say that one may even give to a non-Jew because of darchei shalom, although others say that the custom is not to give to non-Jews, but one who has the custom to do so may continue with it.
What’s Considered Money? Check- The poskim maintain that giving a check to a poor person fulfills the mitzvah of matanas l’evyonim. Some say one should make sure that either the bank is opened or he can get something with the check, i.e. food. Others say that there is no reason for the bank to be opened in order to fulfill
the mitzvah, but he should be able to buy something. Some poskim say that one is permitted to give a post-dated
obligated to give matanas l’evyonim from the money which he receives. Children- A child should be
One has to give one matana to each of two poor people. check as well. However, the custom is not to give a post-dated check for the mitzvah of matanas l’evyonim. Some poskim say the same would apply to one who gives a check but does not have the funds to cover the check. However, if one will have funds when the poor person cashes the check, then it is permitted. One may use a credit card for matanas l’evyonim if it will be processed by Purim. Money which cannot be spent in the country it is given in cannot be used for the mitzvah of matanas l’evyonim. Food- The opinion of many poskim is that one does not have to give money in order to fulfill the mitzvah of matanas l’evyonim, and one is permitted to give anything which the poor person will benefit from.
Switching Meals One who gives a seuda to his friend and his friend gives a seuda to his friend then they were both yotzei matanas l’evyonim.
Who Are Obligated? Women - Women are obligated in this mitzvah. Although some say a married woman is yotzei the obligation when her husband gives, one should not rely on this, and instead she should ask her husband for money and give on her own. A man can give to a poor woman and a woman can give to a poor man. Additionally when giving money for one’s wife a man should tell the gabbai to be koneh the money for his wife and give it for her. Poor Person- A poor person is
trained in this mitzvah and his father should either give him money to give to the poor or the father should tell the child that he is giving on his behalf.
How Much to Give The opinion of the Ritva is that one may give a pruta (a minimal amount) for matanas l’evyonim. Others say that one should give the amount that the poor person will be able to buy a seuda with. Others say it should be a chashuva amount. The opinion of Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l is that one should give one dollar. However, this opinion was expressed many years ago, and today one cannot buy much with that amount. One should give the amount of money that one can buy a bagel with cream cheese and a coffee. Horav Elyashiv zt”l is quoted as saying that one can give fifty shekalim (in Eretz Yisroel). It is praiseworthy to give small amounts of money to many poor people instead of a lot of money to fewer people.
From Masser Money Since the mitzvah of giving matanas l’evyonim is an obligation, one may not give the ikkur obligation of matanas l’evyonim from one’s masser money. However, if one will be giving to more than one poor person then
he may use his masser money for the other recipients. Eating Before Sending Matanas L’evyonim There are some poskim that say one should not eat (a substantial amount of food, tasting is permitted) before performing the mitzvah of matanas l’evyonim. However, most poskim say that one is permitted to eat before the mitzvah is performed. The reason for this leniency is because one will not forget to send the matanas l’evyonim. Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l said one can give matanas l’evyonim before the reading of the megillah (by day). Others give it before davening.
Mishloach Manos First or Matanas L’evyonim? Many say that one should give matanas l’evyonim before giving mishloach manos. Others maintain
that mishloach manos should be given before matanas l’evyonim since mishloach manos is stated first in the posuk. One who does not have enough money for both mitzvahs should give matanas l’evyonim.
Sending before Purim Many times one sends a check in the mail before Purim and it reaches the poor person after Purim. The poskim say that in order for one to fulfill the mitzvah properly one should make sure that the poor person receives the money on Purim because of a concern that the poor person will Continued on page 106
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37 use the money before Purim. One who will be sending to many poor people can send the money even if it reaches the poor person before Purim. If the poor person has the money, one was yotzei and there is no difference if the poor person actually used the money for the seuda or not.
Using a Messenger There is no need for one to hand the money to the poor person by himself, rather he may use a messenger for this purpose. The Aruch Ha’shulchan says one can appoint a messenger before Purim to give for him on Purim. Giving Money to Poor People in Eretz Yisroel Recently it has become the custom to give to poor people in Eretz Yisroel. What happens is that whatever pledges are given in America someone in Eretz Yisroel lays out the money until he is reimbursed. According to the view of the Aruch Ha’shulchan mentioned above, it would seem that one is not yotzei since the messenger was not made on Purim. Nonetheless, the custom is to be lenient. Money to Rabbeim The Aruch Ha’shulchan maintains that one should give money on Purim to all people who are involved in klei
kodesh. When giving money to Rabbeim one is not yotzei the mitzvah of matanas l’evyonim. One can use masser money for this purpose. Day or Night The main time to give matanas l’evyonim is on the day of Purim and not the night before, although one who gave it at night was yotzei according to some poskim. If one will be giving to more than one person then one may give the matanas l’evyonim at night as well. When groups come collecting at night after the Purim seudah there is no mitzvah of matanas l’evyonim at that time. Giving to them is still a mitzvah of tzedaka. One should give the matanas l’evyonim before shekiah on Purim day. Different Time Zones When money is distributed by people in America for poor people in Eretz Yisroel, it is very often done when it is early morning in Eretz Yisroel and at night in America. It is unclear why this is permitted. It could be that the permissibility of this would depend on the question if one is allowed to give matanas l’evyonim before Purim. If an American who ob-
serves Purim on the fourteenth gives money to a Jew in Eretz Yisroel who observes Purim on the fifteenth, he has fulfilled his obligation if the poor person still has the money in his possession on the fifteenth. Forgiving a Debt If a poor person owes money, one is not yotzei the mitzvah of matanas l’evyonim if he is mochel the debt and does not give him other money for Purim. Knowing Who Gave the Money In many cases when one gives money to a poor person on Purim it is done through the mail. The poskim address the question if the poor person has to know who sent him the money. The opinion of the poskim is that the poor person does not need to know who is giving the money and the giver is yotzei in any case. Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits is a former chaver kollel of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath and a musmach of Harav Yisroel Belsky shlita. Rabbi Lebovits currently works as the Rabbinical Administrator for the KOF-K Kosher Supervision.
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Classifying a Poor Person The opinion of some is that an “evyon” is different than a poor person and one only has an obligation to give an “evyon” on Purim. A poor person is someone who is embarrassed to ask for money and an “evyon” does not have any embarrassment. The accepted opinion is that any poor person may be given money on Purim. Some say a poor person in this regard means one who does not have a steady salary and cannot support his family. Others say that since it is not common to find a person who does not have money for a seudha, one can give for hachnasas kallah, health, etc. A son who is being supported by his parents is not a poor person and one cannot give him matanas l’evyonim. There is a discussion in the poskim whether a husband and wife can qualify as two separate people in regards to matanas l’evyonim. If the poor person says that he
is mochel the money, the giver was not yotzei the mitzvah of matanas l’evyonim.
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THE JEWISH HOME FEBRUARY 19, 2015
Denmark’s Jews: Why They Refuse to Leave Aaron Feigenbaum
The recent deadly attack on the Great Synagogue in Copenhagen has brought to light Denmark’s increasing anti-Semitism, an especially troubling trend in a country with a centuries-old, prosperous Jewish community and some of the world’s best
In 1622, the king sent out invitations to Jews in Amsterdam and Hamburg to settle in his country. A limited number of Jews accepted the offer, and many of them set up successful trading and manufacturing businesses. Jews also served as financiers
Danish jews arrive in Sweden October 6, 1943
and jewelers to the royal court. Benjamin Mussafia, author of Talmudic reference guide Musaf Ha-Arukh, became the king’s physician in 1646, and his son-in-law became governor of the Danish West Indies in 1684. Also in 1684, the first Jewish congregation was founded in the capital of Copenhagen under the leadership of court jeweler Israel David and his partner Meyer Goldschmidt, both originally from Hamburg. Abraham Salomon of Moravia was nominated as the first rabbi of Copenhagen in 1687, but services were restricted to private homes until the establishment of the city’s first shul in 1795. The next century saw a continued influx of Jews into Denmark, though their number was limited by the need to obtain royal permission before entering the coun-
socioeconomic indicators. Yet the Jews of Denmark, unlike their counterparts in France, have largely ignored Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s invitation to relocate to the Holy Land. As Danish Chief Rabbi Jair Melchior put it, “Terror is not a reason to move to Israel.” While this position may seem puzzling or even reckless to some, the shul attack should be looked at in the context of Denmark’s long history of tolerance towards its Jews. That history began with Danish King Christian IV in 1618, when he nominated a Sephardic Jew from Hamburg, Samuel Yakhiya, to be mintmaster of the new mint in Glückstadt (now in northern Germany). The king, pleased by Yakhiya’s work, accepted the mintmaster’s suggestion to invite more Jews into Denmark.
try. By 1782, there were just under 2,000 Jews living in Denmark. Danish Jews were granted civic equality and full citizenship in 1814 and 1849 respectively. In the mid-19th century, the Jewish community thrived and more than doubled in size to 4,200, but later shrank to 3,500 due to intermarriage and a falling birth rate. Zionism found a home in Denmark when the country’s first Zionist organization, Dansk Zionistforening, was established in 1902. The World Zionist Congress made Copenhagen its temporary headquarters during World War I. Jews in Denmark at this time were well integrated into Danish society. Some of the most famous among them include finance minister Edvard Brandes, parliamentarian Herman Trier, and physicist Niels Bohr. Just before the start of World War II, there were around 6,000 Jews in Denmark, with another 1,000 Jewish refugees arriving from Germany in 1940. Though Denmark fell under Nazi control in April 1940, Danes from virtually every segment of society resisted orders to persecute their Jewish neighbors. The Nazis decided to wait until a more opportune time to press the issue. However, with increased Danish resistance in August 1943, the Nazis retaliated by cancelling the Danish-German agreement that protected Jews from deportation and guaranteed non-interference in internal Danish affairs. Martial law was declared and the Nazi representative in Denmark, Werner Best, openly called for deportation of the Jews to concentration camps. The response from Danish society was overwhelming. According to Danish histo-
rian Bo Lidegaard, everyone from church leaders to politicians to simple fishermen helped the Jews escape. King Christian X wrote in his diary that he considered “our
King Christian IV of Denmark
own Jews to be Danish citizens, and the Germans could not touch them.” One person in particular was crucial to the rescue of Denmark’s Jews: Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz. A local Nazi shipping official, Duckwitz travelled to Germany to persuade his government to annul the deportation order. When he was turned down, he flew to Sweden and received the promise of Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson to take in Danish-Jewish refugees. Duckwitz later returned to Denmark and tipped off a politician Hans Hedtoft, later to become prime minister, about the timing and location of the soon-to-come Nazi deportation. Hedtoft warned the Jewish communi-
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Gilleleje harbour where one fifth of Denmark’s Jews escaped from
39 THE JEWISH HOME
pressure on the Germans to free the Jews they had captured. An estimated 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews found refuge in Sweden thanks to the heroic efforts of their countrymen, as well as Duckwitz (one of the very few Nazis to be counted among the Righteous Among the Nations). Villagers in seaside
Occupied Denmark Nov 17, 1940
2005, saying it was “a stain on Denmark’s otherwise good reputation.” An estimated 2% of Danish Jewry was lost in the Holocaust, mainly in Thereienstadt, though many more would have been lost were it not for the Danish government’s intense
King Christian X
towns hid Jews while feigning ignorance when questioned by the Germans. Though some fishermen charged exorbitant rates to ferry Jews across the Baltic Sea, many were happy to help even the poorest of Jews gain their freedom. As Lidegaard says, “Danish democracy mobilized itself to protect the values on which it was based.” For most Danes, helping Jews was merely a matter of fulfilling one’s basic duties as a citizen. Even in the charming seaside town of Gilleleje, which was the escape route for a full one fifth of Danish Jews, the local museum speaks humbly about the town’s heroic efforts, placing them between displays about the region’s Ice Age and Viking histories. By 1968, the Jewish community had bounced back to its prewar levels, and the positive relationship has, notwithstanding recent events, remained largely intact to this day. Denmark recognized Israel shortly after its creation in 1948 and has mostly supported it in the U.N. The two countries have a strong trade and tourism relationship. Many public spaces in Israel are named after Denmark and Danish leaders
in honor of their actions in WWII. Yet, as seen with the tragic shul shooting on February 14, Denmark has a growing anti-Semitism problem, mainly deriving from extremists within the Danish Muslim immigrant population. And recent government actions such as banning shechita and vehemently criticizing Israeli policies haven’t made Denmark’s 6,4008,000 Jews feel any safer. In response to the shooting, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said “The Jewish community have been in this country for centuries. They are at home in Denmark, they are part of the Danish community.” While there have been relatively few anti-Semitic incidents, especially compared to France, the fact remains that Denmark, along with almost every other European country, faces a wave of anti-Semitism not seen since the Holocaust. For now though, Danish Jews are mostly
remaining loyal to Denmark. “Denmark has a very good history of taking care of the Jewish community going back to the Second World War, when the Danish experience stands out on a European scale,” said Dan Asmussen, chairman of the Danish Jewish Committee. And as Rabbi Jair Melchior bluntly explained, “I’m not frightened to be a Jew in Denmark.” Indeed, given Denmark’s exemplary, centuries-old tolerance shown towards its Jews, the Jewish community’s desire to give their country another chance is understandable. However, they may just take Netanyahu up on his offer if Islamic extremism continues to spread. As Shakespeare wrote in his play Othello, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” (Sources: Haaretz, Reuters, The Guardian, Countrymen by Bo Lidegaard)
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ty and a rescue organization was quickly set up. Nazi persecution officially came to Denmark on Rosh Hashana (October 1), 1943 when around 500 Jews were rounded up and sent to Theresienstadt, including 19 that were sent willingly by the Danish government. Former Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen apologized for this action in
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
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Travel Guide: Louisiana Aaron Feigenbaum
Louisiana is one of America’s most interesting cultural destinations. The state’s unique blend of Afro-Caribbean and Cajun influences coalesces in New Orleans’ vibrant French Quarter where the sounds of jazz and zydeco wind their way from the clubs of Bourbon Street to the historic Jackson Square. Beyond the sights and sounds of the The Big Easy lie the state’s swamps and bayous where alli-
Boats on the Mississippi
gators lurk in the water and pre-Civil War plantation houses stand in elegant repose. Whether partying on Mardi Gras, touring the scenic wetlands, or sailing into the sunset on a Mississippi River steamboat, Louisiana is an ideal place to unwind and have a blast. As the state’s motto goes: laissez les bons temps rouler, (Let the good times roll!) History: Prior to European exploration, Louisiana had been home to many Native American tribes such as the Natchez and Taensa. The first European contact came in 1528 when Spanish explorer Panfilo de Narvaez found the opening of the Mississippi River. Spanish attempts at settling the region were halted by attacks from hostile tribes. Over a century later, the French successfully established settlements in Louisiana and extended their North American territory all the way up to Canada. Louisiana was given its name by Robert Cavalier de la Salle in 1682 in honor of King Louis XIV. The first permanent settlement in French Louisiana, Natchitoches, was founded in 1714. The first slave ships from West Africa came to Louisiana in 1719 and thousands more slaves were brought there by the French in the following decades to work the plantations. France’s territory was greatly reduced after the Seven Years War with England and most of Louisiana then came under Spanish control. But despite France’s loss, many Canadian French-speakers were able to flee British-controlled Canada for Louisiana. These refugees came to be called Cajuns and they developed their own dialect and culture - one that has had a profound effect on modern Louisiana.
Napoleon realized that the dream of French conquest in North America had been a failure, so he decided to sell all of France’s North American colonies to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803-04. In 1812, the Territory of Orleans was officially renamed Louisiana. The rise of the South and the emergence of Louisiana as a shipping and trading hub in the early 19th century led to the state,
and especially New Orleans, becoming the nation’s economic powerhouse. But this wealth was built on the fact that Louisiana had one of the nation’s largest slave markets, leading wealthy white landowners to secede from the Union in 1861 when they felt their economic self-interest was threatened by the North. However, the state was quickly defeated when Union forces captured New Orleans in 1862. Despite reconstruction after the Civil War, Louisiana was plagued by racism and scarce economic opportunities for decades. The state saw some revitalization during the Great Depression when controversial leader Huey Long enacted far-reaching, New Deal-like programs, but this ended when he was assassinated in 1935. African-Americans in Louisiana, along with their counterparts in other Southern states, were finally enfranchised to vote in 1965. New Orleans and other low-lying parts of the state were devastated 10 years ago when Hurricane Katrina struck. In typical Louisiana fashion, New Orleans has since bounced back and is letting the good times roll once more. Attractions: New Orleans: One of the South’s most visited and most famous cities, New Orleans has a culture and atmosphere that is unique. The biggest event of the year is Mardi Gras which attracts millions of people from around the world. Though the festival has Catholic origins, it is enjoyed by people of all backgrounds, even Jews. Another popular time to visit is during the Jazz and Heritage Festival held every May. This huge party pays tribute to Louisiana’s musical heritage, covering everything from the blended sounds of zydeco, to jazz and
Latin. The heart of the city is the French Quarter, New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood. Here you will find Bourbon Street, which is also party central during Mardi Gras. Though the street has some particularly seedy businesses, there are still plenty of places to enjoy the traditional New Orleans jazz experience. Free street performances in this neighborhood are a great option for
Tank in the World War Two Museum
visitors who don’t want the club scene. Besides the music and food, one of the main draws of the French Quarter is its beautiful architecture. Some of these vintage 19th century French homes such as the Gallier House and 1850 House (aka the Louisiana State Museum) can be toured for a fee. Jackson Square is another focal point of the French Quarter. It was built in memorial to President Andrew Jackson who won the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, the last battle against the British in the War of 1812. There is often live music, carriage rides, street painters and more. An interesting sight here is Cabildo, once the French colonial city hall and now a museum. It is where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. Just on the other side of Cabildo is the Presbytere which houses an excellent Mardi Gras museum. Right near Jackson Square is the Old U.S. Mint. It produced hundreds of millions of coins until it stopped operating over a century ago. Guides explain how coins were minted back then, and the mint has a live music schedule as well. Speaking of music, jazz is such an iconic part of the New Orleans experience that an entire facility, Preservation Hall, was built to house it. The Hall has been presenting intimate, acoustic jazz concerts almost every night of the year since 1961. A particularly fascinating and exotic place in New Orleans is the Pharmacy Museum. Paying homage to the odd medical practices of the early 20th and late 19th centuries, some of the museum’s wacky exhibits include opium, “voodoo potions” and leeches. Nature-lovers will want to head to the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, containing countless amazing speci-
mens, the best of which can be found in the Hall of Fame Gallery. Outside the French Quarter, one of the best attractions is the National WWII Museum. This focuses mainly on the Battle of Normandy and the D-Day landings. Highlights include D-Day landing craft, warplanes, tanks, an interactive submarine experience, a piece of the Atlantic Wall and an Enigma Machine.
Old Louisina State Capitol
For the more relaxed, off-the-beatenpath side of New Orleans, take the Saint Charles streetcar through the Garden District where walking tours take visitors through gorgeous Victorian homes. To experience the famed swamps of Louisiana, Jean LaFitte Swamp Tours, located in nearby Jean LaFitte Nature Preserve, is an easy day trip out of New Orleans. Cajun guides take passengers on an approximately two hour alligator-filled ride while narrating the history and ecology of the area. End your day with a picturesque cruise down the Mississippi on a steamboat. The Mississippi Aquarium-Zoo Cruise is a great way to enjoy 3 attractions in one. Baton Rouge: Louisiana’s capital and second-largest city may not have as much excitement as New Orleans, but there is still enough charm and historical attractions to warrant a visit. The Old State Capitol is a great place to learn about Louisiana’s political history. This imposing neogothic building once housed the state legislature and has been restored to its circa-1850’s condition. Inside the building’s Museum of Political History, you can find an interesting exhibit about the autocratic governor Huey Long as well as a 4D theater which tells the story of Sarah Morgan, a Civil War-era enthusiast of the building. Then head to the current State Capitol building, a beautiful art deco masterpiece that is the site of Huey Long’s assassination. Head through the luxurious gold elevators and ascend to the observation deck for a spectacular view of the city. For a more intimate look at Louisiana politics, check out the Old Governor’s Mansion, once home to nine Louisi-
43 THE JEWISH HOME FEBRUARY 26, 2015
ana governors. Each governor had his own room built in this huge White House-esque building, and you can see artifacts belonging to each of them. The USS Kidd sits on the bank of the Mississippi River and it saw action in the Pacific Theater of WWII, as well as in Korea until it was retired in 1964. Visitors can tour the ship and sit inside the gunners’ seat, imagining what it was like for servicemen in the line of fire. Finally, the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center lets you explore a swamp without the need of a boat. Though alligators do roam around here, the staff ensures guests’ safety, and the environment is quite relaxing. Other wildlife includes bobcats, foxes and turtles. Lafayette: As the center of Acadiana (Cajun Country), Lafayette is one of the few places where one can hear Louisiana French being spoken. The village of Vermilionville is a journey back in time to the Acadian settler period of the late 18th century. Immerse yourself in Cajun culture here with recreated period homes, costumed staff demonstrating traditional crafts, and a uniquely Cajun version of Mardi Gras. For a more condensed history of the Cajun people, check out the Acadian Cultural Center where you can learn everything about this little-known culture from its clothing, music, food, and the impact it has had on Louisiana’s history. And if you happen to be in Lafayette at the end of April, the Festival Internationale de Louisiane is a welcome alternative to the expensive and often overcrowded New Orleans Jazz Festival. Other attractions: One of Louisiana’s best sites outside of its major cities is Avery Island. Home to the Tabasco hot sauce bottling plant, the island has been churning out this internationally popular condiment since the 1860’s. After a tour of the bottling plant, visitors are led into the gift shop, which sells everything Tabasco from sweatshirts to cookbooks to candy and more. Outside the Tabasco factory, Avery Island is an exotic bird and plant refuge. The two sanctuaries, Jungle Gardens and Bird City, are open to the public. And no trip to Louisiana would be complete without a visit to at least one plantation. One of the most interesting
plantations is Destrehan, the oldest of its kind in the Lower Mississippi Valley area. This beautiful antebellum mansion has an original document signed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It is also where the trial for the 1811 Slave Revolt took place. The Union Army later seized the mansion and turned it into a trade school for newly freed slaves. Today, visitors can not only tour the interior, but can also see daily period craft demonstrations including indigo dyeing, 18th century carpenting, and sugar cane processing. One of Louisiana’s most photographed sights is the breathtaking Oak Alley Plantation. Featured in many films, Oak Alley has been a popular venue not only for tourism, but also for weddings and parties. Against the backdrop of Oak Alley’s stunning opulence lie the slave quarters, a reminder of the fact that the mansion and the surrounding sugar plantation were built and maintained by nearly 200 enslaved people. A permanent exhibit telling the story of the Oak Alley slaves was established two years ago. One of the most fascinating Louisiana plantations is Laura, located just down the road from Oak Alley in the town of Vacherie on the Mississippi River. Built in the Creole style and inhabited for seven generations by a Creole family along with their slaves, Laura tells the unfiltered story of life on a sugar plantation. Thousands of documents from the French National Archives were used to create a 70-minute tour showing what life was like for the women, children, slaves, and plantation owners who once lived here. Laura Plantation’s most well-known contribution to popular culture is the West African folk songs sung by former slaves “Brer Rabbit” and “Brer Fox.” These songs were recorded in the 1870’s by Professor Alcee Fortier, a folklorist who lived near Laura. Daven and Eat: Chabad Lubavitch of Louisiana is located at 7037 Freret Street, New Orleans, (see chabad-nola.org or 504-866-5164.) Another Chabad center is located in the Metairie suburb of New Orleans at 4141 W Esplanade Ave N, (see jewishlouisiana. com or call 504-454-2910.) Also in Metairie is Beth Israel Congregation, a Modern Orthodox shul. They are located at 4004 W Esplanade Ave., (see
bethisraelnola.com or call 504-454-5080.) Finally, there is Congregation Anshe Sfard in New Orleans at 2230 Carondelet Street in the Garden District, (see anshesfard.org or call 504-522-4714,) Besides Chabad-sponsored catering and kosher food at local supermarkets, there are several kosher restaurants including Kosher Cajun Deli & Grocery in Metairie (koshercajun.com), the Moroccan/ Middle Eastern Casablanca Restaurant in Metairie (kosherneworleans.com), and the Chalav Yisrael Waffles on Maple (facebook.com/270538836455427).
For kashrus details, contact the Louisiana Kashrus Committee at 504-454-2910 or firstname.lastname@example.org Getting There: Roundtrip flights from LAX to New Orleans cost from $300 to $600 per person. Roundtrip Amtrak tickets start at around $320 per person while Greyhound is in the $400 range. (Sources: Wikitravel, Lonely Planet)
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Why holding on to your Airline Miles and Credit Card Points are a Bad Idea and Bad Investment! Eli Schreiber
In our last article we highlighted 5 Things NOT TO DO with your Credit Card Miles & Points and included the aspect of not holding on to your credit card miles for too long. Before we explain why you shouldn’t do this, it’s important to understand the relationship between airline miles and credit card points. Equally important is understanding that the rewards industry is becoming increasingly more competitive, bringing with it new opportunities to make money and travel the world (whatever your preference for earning miles and points) but also bringing with it new challenges as well. We will first explain the relationship between the credit card points like American Express, and Airline Miles like American Airlines Advantage Miles, and the association between the two. The airlines offer frequent flyers the opportunity to earn miles based on the number of miles flown or the price of the airline ticket. They also sell these miles to partners like credit card companies, e-commerce sites, florists and rental car companies amongst others. Credit card companies in turn, buy these miles from the airlines so that they can incentivize the public to use their specific credit card. And as we know, credit card companies make money by charging vendors a percentage of every sale. Why this is relevant is understanding that the airlines who sell miles are also the ones who control how the public uses their miles (and in turn how many credit card points are needed for tickets), which makes the rewards industry a very profitable en-
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STEPS FROM THE KOTEL terprise for them. Imagine if you were in the manufacturing business and your product was manufacturing shoes, and not only do you manufacture shoes and sell them to retail shoe vendors (in our example the credit card companies) and individuals (in our example frequent flyers) but as part of your terms and conditions when selling your shoes, you leave yourself the ability to determine what the shoes could be used for, and when they could be used. And that if later down the road you decide you hadn’t made enough money when you sold the shoes originally, you can change the price of the shoes so that it affects people retroactively, (in our case, changing how many miles are required for a certain tickets, after people have already accrued those miles). If this isn’t a sweet business model, we don’t know what is. In fact, a study by IdeaWorks, a company that analyzes the airline industry, estimates that more than %55 of airlines revenues results from the sale of frequent flyer miles. So the airlines make the bulk of their money just from selling the miles and make even more money by restricting how they cans be used, including limiting how many seats can be purchased with miles, leaving themselves blackout dates for using miles, and charging fees for mileage tickets. Additionally, what this
means for the consumer is that since it’s in the best interest to control and limit the value value frequent flyer holders receive when they redeem their airline miles, the redemption process the airlines make you go through to redeem miles for travel is quite difficult for the average consumer, thereby eliminating a large percentage of people who would otherwise use their miles for flights. Let’s take some examples, including one that hits close to home. ELAL Airlines had two great partnerships that the Jewish consumers enjoyed. One was their partnership with the HAS Advantage credit card, so that cardholders could earn points for tickets on ELAL. Additionally, customers who wished to fly ELAL could do so using AA miles. In October of last year, the partnership with AA ended suddenly. And due to a dispute with HAS, for a certain time period, customers who earned HAS points for the sole purpose of transferring them into flights on ELAL were left unable to do so. That dispute has since been resolved, but just last week, ELAL increased the number of miles and points needed for tickets, in some cases requiring %30 more points to book tickets from NY and Toronto to Tel Aviv (besides for the $350 in fuel charges they charge as well). Another example is British Airways (BA) partnership with
other airlines, which offered consumers the option travel in the domestic US using BA miles, and which required far less miles than other airlines. And BA offered a credit card with a bonus promotion of 50,000 miles which many people were happy to take advantage of. But on January 28th, 2015, BA made drastic changes to the new British Airways program, increasing mileage ticket prices by as much as 150% on flights from New York to Los Angeles and London, with tickets from Miami and Berlin increasing significantly as well. And if you think all of the above is unfair and unethical and perhaps illegal, a FL congressman agrees with you, and has placed the airlines habit of devaluing miles under investigation. This leads us to our final point, eloquently summarized by one savvy travel blogger. Whichever kind of card you have, “redeem early and redeem often…at least once a year.” “Minimize the amount of miles you have sitting around.” Because holding on to your airline miles and credit card points are a bad idea and bad investment! Eli Schreiber is a partner and director of marketing at Get PEYD and PEYD Travel llc.
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Compiled by Nate Davis Compiled by Nate Davis
“Say“Say What?” What?” President Obama spent Monday playing a round of golf in sunny California, and then flew back to Washington on Air Force One. And 10,000 people stranded at Boston’s Logan Airport just became Republicans. - Jimmy Fallon
There’s a new device that allows airline passengers to completely isolate themselves from their row mates. The device is called a baby. – Conan O’Brien
They had men’s underwear on for half price and I bought a bunch that was clearly too small for me. I find it difficult to sit for any length of time. - Canadian legislator Pat Martin explaining why he hurriedly ran out of the House of Commons during a vote last week Unless Congress acts one week from now, more than 100,000 DHS employees, border patrol, port inspectors, TSA agents will show up to work without getting paid. They all work in your states. These are folks who if they don’t have a paycheck, they are not going to be able to spend that money in your states and it will have a direct impact on your economy. - President Obama speaking to the National Governors Association about the upcoming congressional vote on whether to continue funding the Department of Homeland Security
It’s a foolish thing to do and you could kill yourself, so I’m asking people to stop their nonsense right now. These are adults jumping out windows. - Boston Mayor Marty Walsh at a news conference asking people to stop leaping off roofs, porches, and out of windows into mounds of snow
I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make, but I am my own man. – Jeb Bush during a foreign policy speech in Chicago last week
The person who spent four hours digging out of this parking spot is an Iraq veteran. Do I have PTSD? Steal this space and find out! - A sign posted near an empty parking spot in Boston after its most recent storm
Gallup, the polling company, released its annual wellbeing index where they rank the health and happiness of residents of each of the 50 states. Alaska finished first and Hawaii was No. 2. It’s interesting that the top two happiest states are the ones that are farthest away from the rest of us. – Jimmy Kimmel Last night during a speech, Chris Christie said, “There’s only one Chris Christie, and this is it.” I don’t know. It still looks like at least two. – Seth Myers
Yesterday a federal judge suspended President Obama’s executive order on immigration. When asked if he’s mad about being overruled, Obama said, “You know I’ve been married for 23 years, right?” – Jimmy Fallon
Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe. But unlike Hillary Clinton, I know that flying is an activity, not an accomplishment. - Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who is flirting with a Republican presidential bid in 2016
Little Caesars is about to deliver a bacon-wrapped deep dish pizza. It’s a pizza with three and a half feet of bacon wrapped around it… We will not stop until we’ve created a pizza that leaps out of the box and pulls our hearts directly out of our chests. – Jimmy Kimmel
Do you know what Kayla Mueller … and my 343 firefighters who died on September 11, and my 2,700 citizens, innocent people who died on September 11, and the soldiers at Fort Hood who died with a man yelling Allah Akbar, or the Jewish people who were just sitting there being shot and killed just a few weeks ago in France because they’re Jewish, you know what they all have in common? They have in common a movement the president of the United States will not recognize. They have been murdered, they have been slaughtered…they have been tortured, they have been beheaded, they have been burned by a movement that the president of the United States will not recognize. What is wrong with him? … Just the other day he called the slaughter of those Jewish people in France a random act. Mr. President, wake up! Come off the golf course. Come back to earth. - Rudy Giuliani at the Iranian-American Community symposium
Do Jews themselves bear any responsibility for the rising anti-Semitism we are witnessing here? - Radio interview question posed to Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman after the shooting at a synagogue in neighboring Denmark I reject the question entirely. - Ambassador Bachman in response
Yesterday during a speech on national security, Jeb Bush mispronounced Boko Haram and got confused between Iran and Iraq. When reached for comment, his brother, George W., said, “He sure sounds presidentiary to me.” – Conan O’Brien
I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country. - Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani at a private dinner in Manhattan that featured Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a possible presidential contender No one should have the illusion that they can gain military superiority over Russia, put any kind of pressure on it. We will always have an adequate answer for any such adventures. - Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at a ceremony in honor of World War II veterans
Of the 20 new measles cases reported this afternoon, 18 are linked to Disneyland. Wow. Small world. – Seth Myers
We don’t want anything from you, Obama. Now the people of Egypt know that you are the man of ISIS and Hamas… You told us “assalamu alaykum” [peace be upon you] in Cairo and we believed you, but now we know that you were playing and the reality is that you wanted to divide us. Obama, your trick is now clear. - Lyrics of a new song released by popular Egyptian singer Shaaban Abdel Rahim
The restaurant chain Salad Works has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Analysts attribute the failure to it being a salad restaurant located in America. – Conan O’Brien Are you happy not to shower for up to a month, live in close proximity to three people and 2,000 smelly penguins for five months? - From a job posting seeking applicants to run the museum and gift shop at Port Lockroy, located on Goudier Island off the Antarctic Peninsula
To be personally delivered to Obama. - Message written on a missile in a Russian Army parade held this week
Starbucks has launched a home delivery service. It’s perfect for anyone too lazy to walk one block in any direction. – Conan O’Brien A new Dr. Seuss book is coming out in July. It has been over 20 years since he passed away. I’m not saying it’s a bit spooky, but the book is called, “The Ghost Who Wrote the Most.” – Jimmy Fallon A recent poll shows that New Jersey residents feel Hillary Clinton has the “right look” to be president, while Chris Christie does not. Then today, Christie was spotted at JCPenney trying on pantsuits. – Seth Myers
– Michelle Malkin As a liberal Democrat who twice campaigned for President Barack Obama…I certainly would never vote for or support a member of Congress who walked out on Israel’s prime minister. - Alan Dershowitz, Wall Street Journal
There’s a rumor that the San Diego Chargers might move to Los Angeles. The Chargers could be here for the 2016 season or the 2017 season, depending on traffic. – Conan O’Brien
FEBRUARY 26, 2015
The notion that radical Islam isn’t at war with the West is an ugly lie. - Tweet by Senator John McCain, R-Ariz.
At the White House Summit on Extremism-ThatShall-RemainUnspecifiedBecause-ViolentFollowersBelonging-ToUnnamed-ExtremistMovement-MightTake-ExtremeOffense-And-ActExtremely, the feds are touting a groundbreaking new strategy to fight terrorists. Just kidding. It’s actually the same old futile strategy that big-government liberals use to cure everything: mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money.
THE JEWISH HOME
This week Wal-Mart announced that it will increase its employees’ hourly wages by 40 percent. Workers are pretty excited because they’ll finally make enough money to shop at Target. – Jimmy Fallon
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Her Honor, the Mayor
Turkey Runs Rescue Mission in Syria Hundreds of Turkish troops backed by tanks took part in an overnight operation in Syria to evacuate dozens of trapped soldiers guarding an Ottoman tomb and to remove the remains entombed there amid fears the shrine was threatened by Islamic
Syria’s Foreign Ministry denounced the Turkish operation, calling it a “flagrant aggression.” In a statement carried by the state news agency, it also declared that the mission demonstrated “the depth of ties” between Turkey and the Islamic State group. Syria routinely accuses Turkey of supporting the extremist group. The ministry said Ankara informed the Syrian Consulate in Istanbul ahead of the operation but did not wait for approval from Damascus. “We got permission from no one; we conducted it with our own initiative,” an official said. The tomb in question housed the remains of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire. The site along the Euphrates River is revered by Turkey, a strongly nationalist country whose rights there stem from a 1921 treaty with France, then the colonial power in Syria. The Ottoman Empire collapsed in the early 20th century after World War I.
Denouncing AntiSemitism in France French President François Hollande announced a reinforcement of measures against expressions of racial or anti-Semitic hatred during the annual dinner of the
The Burning of the Books It was a symbol of the dichotomy found in the world. While many were watching the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday night in the comfort of their homes, the people of Mosul were forced to watch a different show. Flames flickered high as ISIS members burned the contents of the Mosul Public Library. Among the many thousands of books it housed, more than 8,000 rare old books and manuscripts were burned as well.
“ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library. They used improvised explosive devices,” said Ghanim al-Ta’an, the director of the library. Notables in Mosul tried to persuade ISIS members to spare the library, but they failed. The former assistant director of the library Qusai All Faraj said that the Mosul Public Library was established in 1921, the same year that saw the birth of the mod-
ern Iraq. Among its lost collections were manuscripts from the eighteenth century, Syriac books printed in Iraq’s first printing house in the nineteenth century, books from the Ottoman era, Iraqi newspapers from the early twentieth century and some old antiques like an astrolabe and sand glass used by ancient Arabs. The library had hosted the personal libraries of more than 100 notable families from Mosul over the last century. During the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the library was looted and destroyed by mobs. However, the people living nearby managed to save most of its collections and rich families bought back the stolen books and they were returned to the library, All Faraj related. “900 years ago, the books of the Arab philosopher Averroes were collected before his eyes...and burned. One of his students started crying while witnessing the burning. Averroes told him... the ideas have wings...but I cry today over our situation,” said Rayan al-Hadidi, an activist and a blogger from Mosul. Al-Hadidi related that a state of anger and sorrow are now dominating Mosul. Burning books didn’t satisfy ISIS members’ thirst for destruction. On the same day the library was destroyed, ISIS abolished another old church in Mosul. The Mosul University Theater was burned as well, according to eyewitnesses. In al-Anbar province, Western Iraq, the ISIS campaign of burning books had managed to destroy 100,000 titles, according to local officials. Last December, ISIS burned Mosul University’s central library. Iraq, what was once the cradle of civilization, the birthplace of agriculture and writing and the home of the Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Arab civilizations, had never witnessed such an assault on its rich cultural heritage since the Mongol era in the Middle Ages. Last week, a debate in Washington and Baghdad became heated over when, how and who will liberate Mosul. A plan was announced to liberate the city in April or May by more than 20,000 US trained Iraqi soldiers. At that point, supposing ISIS will be defeated, it’s doubtful if Mosul would have any sign of its rich history left standing.
Tunnel Discovered Near Torontonian Sporting Venue On Monday it was reported that a sophisticated tunnel was discovered near a major sporting venue and a university in Toronto. A municipal worker was walking through the woods near York University and the Rexall Center last month when he spotted a piece of corrugated metal on the
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For the first time, a woman has assumed the role of the mayor of Baghdad. Zekra Alwach, a civil engineer and director general of the ministry of higher education, becomes the first female to be given such a post in Iraq. International rights groups have condemned women’s rights abuses in the country for a long time and some are seeing this as step forward. The mayor is the most important administrative position in the capital. Alwach will now deal directly with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and has the same power as a cabinet minister. “Abadi sacked the [former] mayor Naim Aboub and named Dr. Zekra Alwach to replace him,” government spokesman Rafed Juburi said. Aboub’s removal was not designed as a punishment, although he was regularly accused by Baghdad residents as incompetent, the spokesman added. He made headlines in March 2014 when he described his city, beset by brutal sectarian violence and rife with corruption, as “more beautiful than New York and Dubai.” Alwach’s appointment is a breakthrough for gender equality in Iraq, where rights groups say discrimination and violence against women is widespread. According to a UN report last year, at least a quarter of Iraqi women over the age of 12 are illiterate and just 14 percent enter the working world. Baghdad is currently plagued by car bombings and bigoted killings. Militants from the Islamic State group also menace the capital city and have seized much of Anbar province to the west.
French Representative Council of Jewish Institutions (CRIF) this week. Representatives of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) boycotted the dinner in reaction to some controversial remarks by the CRIF’s Chairman Roger Cukierman. Cukierman had sparked debate by saying that with regards to anti-Semitism, “every act of violence today is committed by young Muslims.” “There is no ordinary anti-Semitism,” Hollande declared, saying it was a “leprosy” that “is still there 70 years after the Shoah,” and that “France will strongly fight against it.” The president also said Prime Minister Manuel Valls would present a “wide-ranging and concrete” plan of action in the following days. “Faster and more effective sanctions” will be taken, he promised. Hollande also said he wished that “any expression of hatred, racism, or anti-Semitism should come under criminal law instead of press freedom law.” Hollande added that the government would strengthen the legal tools against people tempted to join jihadi groups. The president also insisted on the importance of the fight against terrorism at a European level and welcomed the implementation “by the end of the year” of the Passenger Name Record (PNR), the passenger flight data-sharing scheme.
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State militants. Last week’s mission to save the Turkish soldiers stuck for months at the tomb of the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire was the first such major military incursion by Turkey since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said nearly 600 Turkish soldiers on some 100 tanks and armored personnel carriers crossed into Syria near the border town of Kobani, as drones and airplanes flew reconnaissance missions overhead. One group traveled to the tomb, some 35 kilometers from Turkey on the banks of the Euphrates River in Syria’s embattled Aleppo province, he said. Another group seized an area only 200 meters from the Turkish border in Syria’s Ashma region to be the new home for the tomb, according to a statement from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office. Turkish media later showed nationalistic images of three Turkish soldiers raising the country’s flag at the new site.
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ground, lifted it up and found a passageway. This was no children’s hideout. The tunnel was about seven meters long and 2.5 meters tall and was lit by an electric generator. The walls and ceilings had been reinforced and tools had been left inside. The discovery of the tunnel set off some concerns. Toronto is hosting the Pan American Games in July and the Rexall Center is one of the venues. The facility also hosts major tennis events. Authorities have now filled the tunnel but police were tight-lipped about what its purpose might have been. Canadian authorities are on alert following two Islamist-influenced attacks last year that resulted in the deaths of two unarmed soldiers in Ottawa and Montreal.
Israel Four-Year-Old Terror Victim Dies
The funeral of 4-year-old Adele Bitton was attended by hundreds of people last week. Bitton, who was tragically injured in a 2013 rock-throwing attack, died of complications of pneumonia on February 17. The funeral took place in the West Bank settlement of Yakir, near the site of the attack that left Adele Bitton with severe brain damage. Her mother, Adva Bitton, was driving in the West Bank when the car was hit by rocks, causing her to veer out of her lane and into a truck. Adele suffered severe injuries, leaving her handicapped for the past two years. Five suspects were arrested in connection with the attack. “When you were a baby, you didn’t like to sleep,” Adva Bitton eulogized at the funeral. “‘No sleep, Ima,’ you would wake
up at night and cry, ‘Abba, Ima, pacifier, bottle, no sleep.’ Now I understand that you had to get things done. You managed to get a lot done in this short life.” Mrs. Bitton referred to the stone-throwing attack as “the day your body was murdered by the evil people, but your soul continued to pulsate. You didn’t give up, my warrior. The terrorists didn’t manage to take away your beauty. My beauty, my heart is breaking,” she said. Adele died after being admitted to the hospital days earlier with a lung infection. The infection was related to a neurological condition developed as a result of the attack, hospital officials said.
Treasure Found off Israel’s Coast Scuba divers off Israel’s Mediterranean coast were seeing gold this week when they discovered a huge trove of sunken coins. The treasure includes about 2,000 golden pieces dating back more than 1,000 years, the country’s antiquities authority said. “The largest treasure of gold coins discovered in Israel was found in recent weeks on the seabed in the ancient harbor in Caesarea,” the authority said in a statement.
It was by pure chance that members of a diving club in the Roman-era port had come across the coins, which weighed nine kilograms but are described as “priceless.” “At first they thought they had spotted a toy coin from a game and it was only after they understood the coin was the real thing that they collected several coins and quickly returned to the shore in order to inform the director of the dive club about their find,” the statement read. Experts from the authority called to the site uncovered “almost 2,000 gold coins in
different denominations” circulated by the Fatimid Caliphate, which ruled much of the Middle East and North Africa from 909 to 1171. Kobi Sharvit, director of the marine archaeology unit at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said excavations would be carried out in the hopes of shedding more light on the origin of the treasure. The Israeli Antiquities Authority declined to put a cash value on the coins, which it said had been exposed as a result of winter storms. The find was “so valuable that it’s priceless,” spokeswoman Yoli Schwartz said, adding the haul was now the property of the state, and that there was no finder’s fee.
Jerusalem Mayor Subdues Stabber in Safra Square
A 27-year-old Chareidi father of four was stabbed by an Arab teenager in Jerusalem on Sunday evening in a terror attack. The incident took place in Safra Square in central Jerusalem. Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, witnessed the stabbing and, along with his bodyguard, subdued the terrorist until police arrived. The victim, Avraham Goldstein, sustained moderate wounds and was taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. “I felt a sharp blow in my stomach. I began shouting that there was a stabbing and that they should move away. Then he came to stab me again and I blocked him with my tefillin,” Goldstein recalled. Police forces and MADA paramedics were called to the scene, where the latter
administered first aid. The police say that Barkat and his bodyguard witnessed the event, prompting the guard to overtake the stabber and hold him until forces arrived. The stabber was an 18-year-old Palestinian teen from Ramallah. “I was traveling in a car next to the IDF Square [Safra Square] when my team suddenly saw a terrorist with a knife right next to us. I immediately jumped out of the car together with my team, [my bodyguard] pulled out his gun and together we held the terrorist until security forces arrived; we also attempted to treat the victim,” Mayor Barkat related. Barkat visited Goldstein in the hospital, earning accolades from officials and on social media, where he became an instant celebrity. There has been a big rise in terror attacks in Jerusalem in recent months, mostly carried out by so-called “lone wolf” perpetrators and targeting individuals. Many of the attacks centered on public transport hubs in the capital, including several attacks in which terrorists plowed into crowds waiting at light rail stops. The last terror attack in Jerusalem took place six weeks ago when a 21-year-old Jewish man was stabbed with a man wielding a screwdriver in Jerusalem’s Old City. A 15-year-old Arab from East Jerusalem was arrested in connection with the attack the following day. Last month a Palestinian youth armed with a knife stabbed a 12 people on a busy rush hour bus in central Tel Aviv. The terrorist fled and was hunted down by security officials who were in the area.
Israel Wards off Cyber-Attacks According to top cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, Israel has managed to dodge a number of massive cyber-attacks in recent months. The Russian-based firm’s Global Research and Analysis Team reported a major cross-border hacking attack called the Equation Group, which Kaspersky said was worse than any attack ever encountered. A spokesperson for Kaspersky Israel said the malware operation missed Israel, particularly its banks, but hit nearly every other country in the Middle East.
“Those involved in the attacks still receive salaries from the Palestinian Authority and still get promoted in rank while in jail,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Israel-based Shurat HaDin Law Center, a lawyer who is representing the victims’ families, pointed out. Defense lawyer Mark Rochon argued that the PA and PLO did not have any prior knowledge of the attacks before they actually occurred and therefore the organization should not be held liable. He claims that the suicide bombers and gunmen acted alone. Initially, the victims had requested more than $218.5 million. The U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act will allow for the fine to be tripled. On Monday, Netanyahu’s office released a statement after the decision, saying Israel expected the wider international community “to continue to punish those who support terrorism just as the U.S. federal court has done and to back the countries that are fighting terrorism.” Despite the victory, there is “no justice that can console” the families of those who lost their loved ones in the attacks. The Palestinian leadership has vowed to appeal the decision.
Shin Bet Dissolves Terror Cell in Hebron
Wood Grilled Rib Eye
US Court: PLO to Pay for Terrorism According to the U.S. legal system, the Palestinian Authority owes victims of terror attacks a lot of money. A U.S. court in New York concluded on Monday that the Palestinian Authority is liable to repay for damages in six terror attacks in Israel over a decade ago. During the second Palestinian intifada between 2002 and 2004, 33 people were killed and hundreds were wounded in the attacks in and around Jerusalem. The jury awarded victims of the attacks more than $218 million. Some of the victims were American citizens, therefore the lawsuit was filed in a U.S. court, although the PLO and PA are adamant that it shouldn’t have been tried here. The Palestinian groups expressed apprehension at the decision and promised they would appeal. A joint statement by the PLO and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) described the charges as “baseless” and said they were disappointed by the ruling. However, the victims’ families and their legal teams allege that internal documents prove that the attacks were approved by the Palestinian authorities.
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The group of viruses has been infecting systems for over a decade, according to the research team. Among the tools used by the Equation Group is malware that can rewrite a hard drive’s operating system using a flash drive and a complex rewriting system. Since 2001, the Equation Group has been infecting thousands, or perhaps even tens of thousands, of victims in more than 30 countries worldwide. They have targeted government and diplomatic institutions, as well as such sectors as telecommunications, aerospace, energy, nuclear research, oil and gas, finance, military and nanotechnology. Among the most infected by the Equation Group are Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Russia and China, while most Arab countries are listed with a “moderate” infection rate. The U.S. has a low infection rate; Israel, along with most European countries, Canada and Australia, is listed as having avoided any attacks by the malware. Isaac Ben-Israel, head of the Tel Aviv University’s Yuval Neeman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security, said that Israeli government’s agencies and institutions alone are victims of hacking attempts between 100,000 and a million times a day. The numbers depend usually on current events with higher volume occurring during times of increased tension, such as last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. “We’ve shown we can stand up to attacks,” said Ben-Israel. “As a cybersecurity power, Israel has been able to develop effective defenses against attacks of all kinds.”
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mustard demi | fried yukon gold potatoes sous vide abalone mushrooms | roasted pearl onions Eleven ruthless terrorists were arrested last month after a joint Shin Bet-IDF operation busted a Hamas cell in Hebron that had been plotting an attack inside Israel. At first the discovery wasn’t announced but on Monday the gag order was lifted and the Shin Bet revealed the operation. Saheib Maamun Saltan, 20, a Hamas activist from Hebron, and his cousin, 28-year-old Salam Abbas Saltan, were named as the key figures in the cell. The suspects admitted during questioning in early December that they had tried to carry out a terror attack in the Tel Rumeida settlement in the Hebron area. According to the plot, they intended to use a small bomb to attract IDF troops into an area and then once the soldiers gathered, they planned to detonate a much larger explosive device. Thankfully, the plan never came to fruition due to technical problems. The two suspects collected data on the movements of Israeli civilians in Hebron
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and Jerusalem, and according to their leaders, some of the cell members had agreed to carry out suicide bombings. As part of the investigation, the suspects handed over explosives devices and two weapons that were earmarked for use in the attacks. “The cell’s activities show the real threat of Hamas in Hebron, in particular from military operatives who had been detained in the past and who had returned to the cycle of terror,” the Shin Bet said on Monday.
is the fourth individual in the position. Saperstein was ushered into the Obama administration at a ceremony attended by roughly 300 people at the State Department where U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised him as President Barack Obama’s “chief adviser on religious liberty.” “Either David Saperstein was created with the job of ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom in mind, or the job was created with him in mind,” Kerry quipped.
National New US Ambassador for Religious Freedom is Jewish David Saperstein has been sworn in as U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, the first Jew to hold the post. He
Saperstein was a member of Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith- Based and Neighborhood Partnerships from 2010 to
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2011. He also was a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1999 to 2001. For four decades, Saperstein served as director of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. He also sat on the boards of the NAACP and the National Religious Partnership on the Environment. “During my career, my mandate has indeed covered a wide range of issues, but there are few that have been as central to my heart as that of religious freedom for, like most Jews, I know all too well that over the centuries the Jewish people have been a quintessential victim of religious persecution, ethnic cleansing, and demonization,” Saperstein said. “Through too many tragedies,” he continued, “we have learned firsthand the cost to universal rights, security and well-being of religious communities when good people remain silent in the face of persecution.” Although he was “humbled” and prepared to accept his duties, he acknowledged the challenges that lay ahead. “Even in Western Europe,” Saperstein added, “we are witnessing a steady increase in anti-Muslim acts and rhetoric and anti-Semitic discourse and acts of desecration and violence against Jewish individuals, synagogues and institutions and communities that we thought we would never, never see again after World War II.”
“You look at Portland. We’ve got about 70 breweries in the metropolitan area,” says Mark Jockers, spokesperson for Clean Water Services. “The thing that they’re intrigued with, from an experimentation standpoint, is that this high-purity water is a blank slate.” Apparently people don’t mind where their water that’s turned into beer comes from. All those who testified at a hearing to allow recycled water to be used for beer by homebrewers were in favor of the plan. Once the Environmental Quality Commission concurs, it’s a done deal.
“We’re trying to advance the nature of the conversation about water. There’s a public perception that water that comes out of the tap doesn’t have any history,” Jockers says. “You can’t look at its history, you’ve got to look at its quality.” Well, Mr. Jockers, when I’m drinking something, I think that looking at its history is a safe thing to do.
Bankers Clear out the Bank
Sewage Brewage Think your beer smells a little funny? Well, you may want to check out where it’s from. Some homebrewers in Portland, Oregon, will soon start to use Clean Water Services for the high-purity water that it produces. Homebrewers are very particular about the water they use when they practice their art. The water coming from Clean Water Services is so crystal clear and so pure that even healthy minerals are stripped away. And so are some other stuff. You see, water produced by Clean Water Services originated in the sewer—or maybe your toilet. This summer, those homebrewers may get their chance. The Portland-area utility is close to receiving approval to provide homebrewers with recycled, purified wastewater—an ingredient so agile, it’ll have the brewmasters in Burton-upon-Trent raising a glass.
Hey, bankers, need some money? Well, you know just where to find it. Recently staff at a branch of Afghanistan’s central bank in southern Kandahar province stole the show when they ran away with 81 million Afghanis ($1.4 million) from their own bank, clearing out the bank’s vault. “Yesterday we could only open one of the treasury’s doors. We hope to open the next one today,” the central bank director for Afghanistan’s southwestern region, Fazel Ahmad Azimi, said about the investigation. Confidence in Afghanistan’s banking system is extremely weak and this incident further decreases citizens’ belief in the sys-
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tem. The Kandahar raid is believed to have been carried out by a senior official at the bank, an employee of nine years, with the help of his son and brother-in-law who were also on staff. It is said they are now on their way to Pakistan, where, for their safety, I suggest they don’t flash their newfound cash.
wearing a long blue dress and is known to burst into song ‘Let it Go!’” the notice on Facebook reads. “As you can see by the weather she is very dangerous. Do not attempt to apprehend her alone.” According to the film, the “Snow Queen” can control the weather and conjure snow and ice at will.
queen’s mad spell.” Brrr.
Monkey Inherits All
A Stone Cold Suspect It’s hard for your children to believe you when you tell them that Disney characters are not real when members of the police department are looking to arrest them. The people of Harlan, Kentucky, are so fed up with winter that their police department issued an APB for Queen Elsa of Ardendelle (of Frozen fame), seeking to arrest her on charges of creating dangerously cold weather. The suspect is slippery and has a cold demeanor. “Suspect is a blonde female last seen
If she’s real, Elsa has been hitting Kentucky hard. The state experienced a severe cold snap last week with wind chills as low as 30 degrees below zero. Residents were advised by police to “take the precautions you need to keep you, your friends, family, neighbors and pets safe during the snow
Chunmun has been a cherished son to Brajesh and Shabista Srivastava. He is playful, cute and maybe a tad too hairy. Now, the Srivastavas have said that they will be leaving all their wealth to Chunmun and have set up a trust to ensure he will be well taken care of after their demise. Chunmun, though, doesn’t have much to say about his future inheritance because Chunmun doesn’t say much at all. He is, in fact, a monkey and the couple has said
that their lives have become enriched and more prosperous after they adopted him. They have no (human) children. “People might say we are mad, they might even ridicule us. But we know how valuable Chunmun is to us,” said Shabista, 45. “We are childless and Chunmun is a son to me. We want to ensure that even when we are not alive, Chunmun’s life is not affected and he continues to live the way he does.” The monkey is the only relative the two have since they were cast out by their families when they married against their families’ wishes. Although they started out poor, since they adopted the primate Brajesh and Shabista have prospered; they now own a house and have land and savings. Shabista is a successful lawyer and her 48-year-old husband owns several businesses including a cable TV network and a flour mill – all named after Chunmun. Chunmum does not live a life in the jungle. He has his own air-conditioned room in the couple’s house, which he shares with his “wife” – a female simian named Bitti who the couple have also tak-
A Hasty Exit Looking for a job? Well, if you’re in good shape, can carry heavy boxes over slippery rocks and slushy snow and have no problem skipping showers for a month, then have I got a job for you! The U.K. Antarctic Heritage Trust is looking for assistants to help run its post office museum and gift shop at Port Lockroy, located on Goudier Island off the Antarctic Peninsula. If you think you’ll miss your friends while you’re working down, down under, don’t worry—you’ll make more. There probably are around three other people working down there as well and thousands of penguins loitering nearby during the five months of summer that you’ll be working. With no showers, heat, or hot water, we’re sure you’ll make friends fast. Each summer (November through March) around 18,000 people visit the remote outpost by boat twice a day. Around 70,000 pieces of mail are processed every year. Some of the requirements for the job are highly unusual. Those applying should be confident and coordinated—“can you carry a big heavy box over slippery rocks and slushy snow whilst dodging penguins?” They should have the “ability to get on with it—can you identify what needs doing and get on and do it without having to be asked, whether it be washing up, sweeping the
When Canadian legislator Pat Martin ran out of the House of Commons during a vote last week, some thought maybe he had an emergency. Others thought he had to urgently speak to someone. Still others didn’t know what to think until Martin unveiled the reason for his hasty departure: a tight pair of underwear. Martin, who belongs to the official opposition New Democrats, bolted as members of Parliament began to rise one by one to vote. He later blamed his departure on an unwise purchase at a local store. “They had men’s underwear on for half price and I bought a bunch that was clearly too small for me. I find it difficult to sit for any length of time,” he told the chamber to guffaws and applause from fellow legislators. Martin, one of the more colorful Canadian members of Parliament, did return in time to cast his vote.
Question: I was in a car accident, and the other driver did not have auto insurance. Isn’t this illegal, and how should one handle a situation like this? Answer: Your question illustrates a key problem facing drivers in California. According to the Insurance Research Council, California leads the nation in uninsured drivers, with over 4 million people driving in the state without auto insurance. If you are in an accident, ch’v, there is a 20% chance that the other driver will be uninsured. These are staggering numbers. To answer your question, it is illegal to drive without insurance, but as you can tell, millions of people do it every day on our roads. To help combat the epidemic of uninsured drivers, California requires insurance carriers to offer uninsured motorist coverage to their policyholders. California’s financial responsibility laws only require drivers to maintain a minimum of $15,000 in insurance coverage for each car. Many people wisely choose to maintain more than this amount, because $15,000 is usually not enough to adequately cover property damage or injuries suffered in an accident. Uninsured motorist coverage is unique. In a regular scenario when two insured vehicles are in an accident, the insurance carrier for the driver at fault will pay for damages caused by its insured driver, within the policy limits. What happens if an uninsured driver causes a collision with an insured vehicle, as happened to you? If you have uninsured motorist coverage, that coverage will allow you to recover damages from your own insurance policy. This is unique, because in this situation, your insurance carrier takes the place of the uninsured driver who hit you. Many times clients are confused by how this works. They are not comfortable “suing” their own insurance carrier, and they are also concerned that seeking to recover damages from their own insurance company will cause a dramatic increase in their monthly insurance rates. This concern is understandable, but it is incorrect. An insurance company cannot penalize you for accessing your own uninsured motorist coverage. If you have this type of coverage, it is something you pay for every month. In fact, if you review your auto insurance policy, you will see that a portion of each premium payment you make is segregated by the carrier to cover the costs of an uninsured motorist. An insurance company would be breaching its contractual duties to you if it raised your rates in response to your lawful right to access coverage for an accident in which you were not deemed responsible. Uninsured motorist coverage also serves as an important protection against drivers who maintain low insurance cover-
age. For example, what if car A is insured for $15,000, but causes $50,000 in damages to the driver of car B? In this example, the driver of car B would seek to recover the $15,000 policy limits against car A. Then, assuming that car B has adequate uninsured motorist coverage, the driver of car B would seek to recover the remaining $35,000 from his own insurance carrier under the uninsured motorist provision of the policy. Uninsured motorist coverage also serves as a shield against hit-and-runs, whether you are in your car, walking on the sidewalk, or riding your bicycle. Hit-andruns are a tragedy that happen every day in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Police Department estimates that there are over 20,000 cases every year. If you are injured, ch’v, in a hit-and-run accident, your uninsured motorist coverage will cover your injuries in any of the above situations, provided that the offending vehicle made physical contact with you, your car, or your bicycle. Clients often ask if there are consequences for uninsured drivers. The answer is that there are legal, and financial consequences. If an uninsured driver causes an accident, the DMV will be notified. If the at-fault driver cannot provide the DMV with proof of insurance, the DMV will suspend that driver’s license. There can also be serious financial consequences. If an uninsured driver causes an accident, injures someone, and the injured person uses his or her uninsured motorist coverage, the insurance company will sue the uninsured driver for reimbursement. If the uninsured driver cannot reimburse the insurance company, which is a likely scenario, the uninsured driver might have to file bankruptcy. This happens very often. One caveat of uninsured motorist cases is that they must be arbitrated before a private judge, known as an arbitrator. They cannot be litigated in court. Most uninsured motorist cases settle before actual arbitration, unless the insurance company disputes the value of the case. Uninsured motorist cases require unique skill and should be handled by an attorney familiar with the unique procedural requirements associated with these cases. How much uninsured motorist coverage should you purchase? The answer depends on many factors. You should contact an attorney, financial planner, or your insurance agent to help determine how much coverage is adequate for your situation. I strongly recommend that all my clients purchase this vital insurance coverage. Michael Rubinstein is a Los Angeles based accident attorney. Visit his website at www.mrubinsteinlaw.com, or contact him at Michael@mrubinsteinlaw.com, or by calling 213-293-6075.
FEBRUARY 26, 2015
The Postman Comes Knocking in Antarctica
floor or digging snow?” And they should have “adaptability to different situations – are you happy not to shower for up to a month, live in close proximity to three people and 2,000 smelly penguins for five months?” Plus, applicants need to be happy about doing all of that. “Can you enthuse to visitors when it is -5C° and blowing a blizzard as well as cook supper cheerfully after a long cold day and very little sleep?” Prospective staffers must also be “prepared to be on call and smiling for all waking hours, seven days a week.” There are plenty of waking hours on the island. During the summer, there is almost 24 hours of sunlight down there. Those interested in applying should know that the position pays about $1,250 a month. But we all know that despite the pay, thousands will be throwing their hat into the ring for a chance to hang out with the penguins and enjoy the smelly odor of their co-workers for a few months a year.
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en in. I guess that their daughter-in-law. The adorable couple likes to eat Chinese food and drink tea and mango juice, according to Shabista, who even hosts an annual “wedding anniversary” party for the pair, inviting hundreds of friends to celebrate. Chunmun is now only ten years old and may well outlive the couple as monkeys can live for between 35 and 40 years. After his death, the money will go towards ensuring the welfare of monkeys in India, where the animals are frequently abused.
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Learn How to Perform CPR on an Adult and Save a Life!
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Yosef Traube - NREMT-P You are shopping for Shabbat at your local grocery store when you hear someone shouting “Help! Help!” You sprint as fast as you can across the store and then you see him. He is a middle aged man, a member of your shul. He is lying unconscious on the floor.
now know that you would respond if you WERE AWARE that someone did that to you.
fine motor skills, such as feeling for a pulse. Now that alone might not be a good enough reason not to check for a pulse, however, the science tells us that a person who is not breathing will not be able to maintain an adequate pulse for long. We initiate CPR so we can keep the blood flowing to the vital organs. (brain, heart, lungs)
If you ever find yourself in this situation, this is what you have to do: Disclaimer* I am only outlining the steps of Hands-only CPR for Adults (>55lbs.) The following information when utilized properly could save a life. However, this article is not intended to serve in place of a CPR class. By attending a CPR class, you will have the ability to practice on a mannequin and have any questions or concerns addressed immediately by a Certified CPR Instructor. Step 1 Make sure the area is safe from anything that could harm you or any bystanders. Check responsiveness/Consciousness: Verbal and Painful Verbal: Call the person loudly by their name Painful: Forcefully pinch their trapezius muscle between your index finger and thumb and twist. (If you grew up with older siblings, you are painfully aware that it is the pressure point between your neck and shoulder. See picture.) You could also flick their face, right under their cheekbone using your index finger. Try it now, it’s quite painful. Sorry, but at least you
If, after trying to assess their consciousness, you don’t get any response, you have some more work to do...move it!
CPR is done consistently for 2 minutes and then you switch with someone else who is trained in CPR. You will alternate back and forth every two minutes to prevent fatigue. You will continue to deliver chest compressions until one of 3 things happens:
Step 2 Activate Emergency Response & Get an AED (Defibrillator) Call Hatzolah (Hatzolah Ph. # 1-800613-1911) and 911 Call from a landline if possible If help is around, send someone to get an AED (automated external defibrillator) Step 3 Check for Breathing Expose the chest Look at the chest for at least 5 seconds, but no more than 10. If the person isn’t responding and the chest is NOT moving, you MUST START CPR! DO NOT HESITATE! Step 4 So, How Do We Perform CPR?
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Locate the sternum (breast bone). Place the palm of your hand on the lower half of the sternum, right in the center of the chest. Place your free hand on top of the first hand Straighten your arms, lock your elbows and place your chest directly above their chest. Push down, hard and fast, at least 2 inches, and at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute [You can sing the song “Stayin’ Alive” (in your head please) or any other song that is 100 bpm] Do this for 2 minutes and then switch with your partner.* *If you are alone and find yourself doing CPR, I have one thing to say to you. There probably hasn’t been and won’t be anyone in the world that is relying on you more than this person in cardiac arrest. DON’T STOP COMPRESSIONS! But What About Checking for a Pulse? Why Don’t We Do That?
According to many studies, people aren’t very good at accurately checking for a pulse. Due to the high-stress nature of the situation you may be feeling your own pulse. Other times during extreme stress you may lose the ability to use your
An AED (Defibrillator) arrives. The first step is to TURN IT ON and follow directions. They are fool-proof. All you need to do is listen and do exactly what it tells you to do. Hatzolah, EMS, Fire Dept., show up and ask you to stop so they can take over. Don’t be surprised if they let you continue CPR for the first few minutes. (If they do, it means you’re doing a good job!) The person begins to respond/breath. CPR has evolved from a once complicated procedure, performed almost exclusively by physicians and healthcare professionals. Today, it is a lifesaving skill that is simple enough for anyone to learn. However, research has shown that bystanders fail to take action because they fear they will perform CPR incorrectly, they fear liability or they fear infection from performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In 2010 the AHA simplified CPR for lay-rescuers, so that more people will perform CPR and won’t have to fear any of the above fears. What you just learnt today is called Hands-Only CPR and can be summarized like this: “If you find someone Unresponsive and NOT Breathing, do the following: Call for Help and an AED and Start Compressions.” For training and more information contact Yosef Traube - NRMET-Paramedic, AHA Instructor, BH Medical Training. Email : info@bhmedicaltraining. com Website:bhmedicaltraining.com
THE JEWISH HOME FEBRUARY 26, 2015
By RaBBi Pinchos LiPschutz
By RaBBi Pinchos LiPschutz It was the rage of the Jewish world on Monday. From out of nowhere it seemed, everyone was emailing each other an old film clip taken at the first Knessiah Gedolah of Agudas Yisroel in Vienna in 1923. For the first time in our lives, we were able to see the Chofetz Chaim walk for a few seconds.
It brought joy to everyone who saw it. People couldn’t exactly put their finger on why, but a warm feeling came over everyone who watched it.
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FEBRUARY 26, 2015
The film is not clear and the Chofetz Chaim doesn’t look up as he is seen walking; but it is fascinating, nonetheless. The Chofetz Chaim! Did you hear that there is a video of the Chofetz Chaim? The Chofetz Chaim! We saw him walk. He was real. We all study his seforim. He is the rebbi of Klal Yisroel. We have been hearing stories about him for as long as we can remember. The Chofetz Chaim!
The Chofetz Chaim!
We have seen pictures of him, we have read books about him. We had never seen him move and now we did. Oh, wow! The Chofetz Chaim! The Kohein Gadol. The malach. The kadosh. The tzaddik. The talmid chochom. The Chofetz Chaim! We look at him and our hearts melt. Our neshamos are touched. We have a hirhur teshuvah. The Chofetz Chaim! Did you see the clip of the Chofetz Chaim? I am changed. I saw the Chofetz Chaim. I became closer to him. I felt him. He walked among us. On this earth. His feet touched the ground much as ours do, but rosho magia hashomaymah. Short and demure, he was a skyscraper. The Chofetz Chaim! What wouldn’t we do to see him? What wouldn’t we do to become like him? What wouldn’t we do to support him? The Chofetz Chaim! The reverence we have for him. The love. The warmth. The Chofetz Chaim!
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