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The Week In News


FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home


‫ויאמר משה אל העם אל תיראו כי לבעבור נסות אתכם בא‬ ‫האלהים ובעבור תהיה יראתו על פניכם לבלתי תחטאו‬ But Moses said to the people, “Fear not, for G-d has come in order to exalt you, and in order that His awe shall be upon your faces, so that you shall not sin.


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~ Rav Aaron Shechter, Shlita

Rosh Yeshiva Yeshivas Chaim Berlin


FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



The Week In News


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


Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The Weekly Daf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20


Humor: No Parking Zone. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Book Review: Small Choices, Big Changes. . . . . . . 22


Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 National. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 That's Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30




FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Dear readers, This week’s parshah is the first one in which Moshe Rabbeinu is not mentioned by name since his arrival on the scene in Parshas Shemos. The reason for this, we’re told, is because while pleading with Hashem on behalf of the Yidden following the sin of serving the Golden Calf, Moshe said, “Forgive them, and if not, erase me from the book (the Torah) you have written.” The words of a tzaddik – even when stated with a condition – have an effect. Even though Hashem did forgive the Yidden in the end, some of the statement had to occur and indeed does in this week’s parshah. Think about it. Moshe Rabbeinu’s whole being and identity was the Torah. It was life itself. Yet, here he was, ready to give it up for Yidden who had just created an idol! The lesson speaks for itself. Caring

for a fellow Yid means exerting oneself even if it takes spiritual mesiras nefesh. In addition to inconvenience, and sometimes going through hardship, to help a fellow Jew, there is also the aspect of giving of one’s own spiritual health so that another may experience it as well. It’s said in the name of the Baal Shem Tov that occasionally a neshamah comes down to this world and lives 7080 years just to do a favor for another physically or spiritually. In the current atmosphere of identity politics and personal attacks, let us recommit to the klal gadol b’torah of v’ahavta l’reiacha kamocha, respecting and caring for each other exactly the way we’d like done to us. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos and a most joyous Purim!


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

The Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home




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TheHappenings Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Art and Rectification: Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum Visits Los Angeles Yehudis Litvak

Creative Jewish women throughout Los Angeles had an opportunity to hear and learn from Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum, an award-winning author and founder and director of Midreshet B’erot

Bat Ayin (MBBA) in Israel. The seminary is unique in its holistic approach to Torah learning and living, and it draws women of all ages who are seeking to integrate their creativity and spirituality with Judaism.

Rebbetzin Siegelbaum visited Los Angeles as part of her annual North America speaking tour. Rebbetzin Siegelbaum’s visit began with an annual dinner in support of MBBA,

held at the home of Shterny Fogelman, mother of a former student of MBBA. During the “healthy and hearty dinner,” where only wholesome food was served, the Rebbetzin shared the latest news from MBBA, including the completed construction and the planned new buildings that would improve the living conditions for the students. After dinner, Rebbetzin Siegelbaum gave a shiur, open to the community, entitled, Dinah – Daughter of Transformation: Rectifying the Shadow-side of Israel. Citing traditional sources, including the Arizal, the Rebbetzin explained that Dinah had the special power to transform evil into good. According to the midrash, Yaakov is criticized for having hidden Dinah from Eisav. If Dinah had married Eisav, she would have been able to reveal the divine spark within him. Yaakov, however, chose to protect Dinah from her mission. “Dinah didn’t get to transform Eisav,” said Rebbetzin Siegelbaum, “but she brought about an even greater transformation.” Even though she was taken to Shechem against her will, she managed to release the sparks of holiness that were trapped within Shechem. “Through the dirtiest, darkest things can come the holiest,” said the Rebbetzin. She explained that according to kabbalah, Dinah was able to rectify the sin of Adam and Chava. “The impurity that the snake put into Chava came back into Shechem,” she said. Dinah emerged from her horrific experience purified, and this purity was passed along to all the Jewish women. Rebbetzin Chana Bracha also met with local women privately during her stay in Los Angeles. She also taught a class entitled Women, Art, and Emuna: Exploring the Inherent Connection between Feminine Art and Emuna in a private home in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. The Rebbetzin spoke about using art as a means to strengthen our emunah and deepen our relationship with Hashem. The Hebrew word for art, “omanut,” has the same root as the word “emunah.” Both emunah and art have always been the strengths of the Jewish women. Women played a central role in the construction of the mishkan, using their talents to serve Hashem. Later in history, art had become corrupted by the Greek and Roman cultures, and Judaism had distanced itself from art. But now, as the time of Mashiach is approaching, it is appropriate to bring art back into Judaism by using it for holy purposes. And when art is produced as a way to serve Hashem, it has the potential to bring other Jews closer to Hashem as well.

TheHappenings Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Learning Circle Rebecca Klempner Special needs children in L.A.’s Jewish community have a new schooling option: The Learning Circle. Currently operating out of the Friendship Circle of Los Angeles’s facility on Robertson, this small learning center is offering a unique program for Jewish kids ages five to seven with moderate to severe special needs Founders Chaya Chazanow and Sarah R’bibo were introduced through friends who expected they’d have a lot in common. Chazanow explains, “My child was 2 or 3 when we met. I was looking for other parents to talk to, and we actually connected at first over the phone. From my perspective, I was finding it very hard to find other frum parents in my position.” Since her child was too young at the time to participate in the Friendship Circle or the like, that wasn’t yet an outlet, and the few special needs parents she had met had children with autism or other conditions which were very different than her own child’s. “Sarah’s child has a different diagnosis [than my child], but there were a lot of similarities, so we had enough in common to connect.” At the end of a two-year battle with the local public school district – just for an appropriate preschool placement – the Chazanows didn’t receive the services their

son needed. “We had zero options. We seriously thought we were going to have to move cross-country.” That was the moment Chazanow hatched the plan for the school. “My personality is if something is not working, you work to change it. It’s not only affecting my son but affects other kids in our community.” Although The Learning Circle is located at Friendship Circle of Los Angeles’s building, they are independent entities. Sharing their facility has been ideal. “It’s helpful that they are designed for kids with challenges,” Chazanow explains. In addition, construction has started already on a sensory room. Following an innovative model, The Learning Circle functions as a learning center; their students are enrolled in an independent study charter school and gather at their location each day. Therapeutic services largely take place on-campus, thus eliminating parents’ need to transport their child from place to place as needed. The school has contracted with occupational therapists, physical therapist, and speech therapists, and offers an adapted PE class. Some students also have ABA therapists working with them one-on-one. Additionally, the children daven each day, exploring the alef-bet, parshah, and

Jewish holidays through a variety of therapeutic and educational media. They throw a Shabbat party weekly. Teacher Doonie Mishulovin – who has a Master’s in Education and 25 years of experiences with special needs students – relates the pleasure she gets with her students at The Learning Circle. “I learn alef bet with [my student] who knew none of the letters at the beginning of the year and now [he] is familiar with almost all of them.” She adds, “Every time we daven together, I thank Hashem that these children have the opportunity to daven in school.” In this initial phase, The Learning Circle has just a couple students. Next year, Chazanow and R’bibo are hoping

to expand. “We would love to have three or four [additional] students join for next year,” says Chazanow. “[I]f we have interest from more parents with children of the appropriate age and level of need, we would try to accommodate that.” Chazanow hopes that planning strategically and pacing the learning center’s growth will ensure long-term quality for its programs.


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FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

L.A. Advanced Women’s Learning Program Takes Off Launched at the start of Elul this year, the L.A. Advanced Women’s Learning Program is a budding learning initiative with the needs of post-high school and post-seminary girls at its core. Every Thursday night from 8:15 to 9:45 p.m., girls gather at Shaarei Tzedek for an evening dedicated to limud haTorah, personal growth, and heartfelt camaraderie. Created and led by Rabbi Nachi Klein of Young Israel of Northridge, the program combines text-based, chavrusa-style learning, along with a traditional lecture format. The program also hosts a variety of guest speakers and provides a social network for girls to stay updated on other shiurim and chessed opportunities offered throughout Los Angeles. “After I started teaching in Valley Torah High School, I noticed that there were a few girls who weren’t going to seminary. And it seemed that even for those girls who did go and came back, there

far has added so much to my life and I am so grateful for it.” Jasmine Kiaei, another student, concurs with Frend’s assessment. “Rabbi Klein is able to balance textual learning with insightful Torah concepts that enable us to achieve greater heights in our spirituality and allow us to live more fulfilling lives as religious Jews. Our learning group allows us to continue our growth even past our formal Jewish education. Getting together with other girls on a weekly basis allows me to create deep, lasting relationships and stay a part of the community even while I am part of a secular school environment.” Devorah Tova Friedman adds, “There aren’t many opportunities for young women to learn in the Valley, and the shiur addresses that need. But it’s not just the location – the content is both practical and inspirational, the text-based approach presents an intellectual challenge, and the

was a lack of formalized programs to help them continue learning and growing,” says Rabbi Klein when asked about the inspiration behind the Advanced Women’s Learning Program. He continues, “I hope this program will fill an important niche and provide an organized framework for young women to engage with halachah and hashkafah in a warm, positive environment.” With approximately 15-20 girls in attendance each week, the L.A. Advanced Women’s Learning Program is a hidden gem in the heart of Valley Village. Its goal is to uplift the young women in the community, providing a place for continued inspiration, engagement, and growth in their avodas Hashem. “The L.A. Advanced Women’s Learning Program is the highlight of my week,” says Dalia Frend, one of the program’s participants. “It allows me to stay connected to Torah and learning as well as to my friends and mentors. I am so appreciative to Rabbi Klein for his devotion to the program. He is not only willing to give shiur every week, but he also goes above and beyond – hosting events on the chaggim at his home and arranging guest speakers for us. Rabbi Klein’s classes are imbued with profound lessons, humor, rich Torah insights and sincerity. The program thus

company is stimulating. In short: learning is fun! Rabbi Klein does an incredible and devoted job of organizing and leading the shiur, and his hard work pays off. I really appreciate having a shiur that allows me to exercise my mind while spending time with friends. I’ve gained a greater understanding of the middos of chessed and tznius and have learned many insights into the parshah and chaggim, as well.”

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News




The Week In News


Alexander Hamilton – A Jewish Founding Father





FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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Hundreds of curious listeners gathered at Beth Jacob Congregation last Wednesday night to find out whether Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers, was Jewish. This standing room-only event was presented by the Yeshiva University’s Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought. The director of the Straus Center, Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveitchik, explored Hamiton’s Jewishness in conversation with Dr. Andrew Porwancher, Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma, an author and historian who has traveled to the Caribbean in order to investigate Hamilton’s roots. Dr. Porwancher’s findings will be published in his upcoming book, The Jewish Founding Father: Alexander Hamilton’s Hidden Life, which is currently under contract with Harvard University Press. Dr. Porwancher went through many official records in Hamilton’s birthplace, Nevis, in the then British West Isles, as well as St. Croix, the town where his mother had lived before Hamilton’s birth and where she had moved when Hamilton was young. The information Dr. Porwancher found led him to believe that Alexander Hamilton was indeed Jewish. Hamilton’s mother, Rachel Faucitt Levine, was married to Johann Michael Levine. The couple lived in St. Croix and had one son, Peter. Rachel’s husband mistreated her, eventually causing her imprisonment. When Rachel was released from prison, she fled from St. Croix to Nevis. There she met James Hamilton and had two sons with him out of wedlock, James Jr. and Alexander, born in 1755. James Hamilton later abandoned Rachel and their two sons. There is no definitive proof that Rachel’s husband, Johann Michael Levine, was Jewish, but there are many pieces of evidence that point in that direction, not least of them being his last name. Moreover, Levine’s son Peter was not baptized. Rachel herself was not born Jewish, but

Dr. Porwancher believes that she had converted to Judaism according to halachah before she married Levine. At the time, according to Danish law, all marriages had to be among people of the same religion, and it is clear that Rachel and Johann were legally married. If this conjecture is true, then all of Rachel’s sons were halachically Jewish, including Alexander. Other evidence from Alexander’s childhood supports the theory that Alexander was part of the then large Jewish community in Nevis. Neither James Jr. nor Alexander were baptized at birth. Alexander attended a Jewish school. While he did not speak much about his childhood, he shared one detail with his children. At the Jewish school, the teacher would stand him on the table, and he would recite the Ten Commandments in Hebrew. While traditional historians believe that Hamilton attended a Jewish school because Christian schools would not accept an illegitimate child, both Rabbi Dr. Soloveitchik and Dr. Porwancher see that as highly unlikely. Dr. Porwancher believes that Hamilton’s Jewish origins and education influenced his outlook and later political career. As a lawyer, he demanded equal treatment in court for Jews and gentiles – an attitude that had been unheard of in the early history of United States. The America that we live in today, where everyone has equal rights, may well be a product of Hamilton’s contributions to its development.

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News


TheHappenings Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Flaum’s Herring Makes A Trendy Comeback Brooklyn, NY – For five generations, the Flaum family has been serving up fresh kosher pickles and herring, fish spreads, dips, and salads that bring the delightful taste of old-world tradition to every table. Once thought to have been discarded into the dustbin of history, herring has emerged as a strong seller in the modern kosher food world, experiencing a 30% spike in sales over the last five years according to food experts. Celebrating its 100th year, the famed Flaum’s brand – which began in an appetizing store on Lee Avenue in Williamsburg – has rolled out a series of herring products that are named after several legendary Eastern European Chasidic and Yeshiva movements such as Kotzk, Volozhin, and Breslev, each known for their respective traits of sharpness, wit, and sweetness with the herring mimicking these virtues. Having built a reputation for being

true to their original recipes whilst being innovative, Flaum’s herring has come a long way. Each product that is introduced is inspired by one of the original recipes, perfecting it so that it remains flavorful, comfortable, and a familiar taste for loyal customers. Today Flaum’s which is run by a fifth-generation family member, sells more than 15 varieties of the herring including Swedish Matjes Herring, Lox Tidbits in Cream, and European Matjes. “Naming our herring products after the legendary movements of Chasidus and the Yeshiva movement puts these foods in a context of continuity and heritage,” said Hershey Grunhut of Flaum’s. Indeed, historians point out that herring was a basic staple in the courtyards of the Chasidic movements in pre-War Europe. Whether it’s a weekday or Shabbos, tens of thousands of people choose Flaum’s Appetizing for their spreads, dips, herring, and oth-




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er delicious Jewish heritage food because of its exceptional taste. It has become the herring of choice at kiddush celebrations all over the country. For immigrants who lived on the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, a trip to Flaum’s was an obligatory stop as a way

of connecting with some of the foods of der alter heim. Today Flaum’s is a leading producer of a full line of salads, Mediterranean delicacies, dips, and fish products. The remarkable growth of so many different kosher foods in the late 1980s and 1990s relegated herring to a back seat, say the experts; but in recent years sales of herring products, particularly the Flaum’s varieties, have soared, making it a leading seller in the kosher market. Herring has once again become a basic staple at the shul kiddush. Served with a variety of different kichels, herring along with vodka, bourbon, schnapps, or other alcoholic beverage, it has completed the traditional kiddush. But herring is no longer a Shabbos food, as it is now on buffet tables at events and even weddings.

The Turning Point: The Night of Purim Because v’nahapoch hu includes your personal salvation too! Purim Same’ach! Behind every mishloach manos label, behind every Purim sign, behind every Purim greeting, we have a wish for a freilichen Purim and a freilichen tamid. As we are surrounded with the costumes and the singing and the joy, we cannot help but think how this entire celebration is a costume. We think about the broken hearts behind the mask, and we wish that the simchah of Purim can spread to our everyday reality. At the Kollel Chatzos headquarters, we hear this wish reverberate over our phonelines as we are inundated with hundreds of callers from cities across the globe, requesting to partake in the tremendous zechus of all-night Torah learning on Purim night. As the callers share their heartbreaking plights and heartfelt yearnings for salvation, we feel their pain and share their hope. After all, ever since the original Purim miracle, the night of Purim is a particularly ripe time for salvation. The Chasam Sofer assures individuals who learn between the two megillah readings that they will merit a year of life, tranquility, and nachas – and a guarantee for Olam Haba. The Me’or v’Shemesh explains that because the entire Purim miracle began with Achashveirosh’s slumber-less night – “b’layla hahu nadeda shnas hamelech,” Purim night is a special eis ratzon for Yidden throughout the generations. And indeed, from the days of Mordechai and Esther until this present day, countless Yidden have merited dramatic

yeshuos in the merit of dedicating Purim night to limud haTorah. The story of the famed gaon, Rav Volf Nachum Borenstein, zt”l, mechaber of Agudas Eizov, is well-known. One fateful Purim, the gaon exerted himself to upkeep his nightly practice of awakening at chatzos to learn Torah. He was informed from Shamayim that his learning coincided with a cataclysmic moment of history, a moment that no one else was learning Torah, but he. It was his midnight Torah learning that upheld the world. As a result, he was rewarded with a child who lit up the world; the great Avnei Nezer, zt”l, whose Torah and tzidkus continue to illuminate Klal Yisroel. All because of limud haTorah on leil Purim. This year, we know that the broken-hearted Yidden who call upon Kollel Chatzos to be their emissaries and poel a yeshua are especially fortunate. Talmidei chachamim will learn on their behalf in Chatzos Kollelim throughout the world. Particularly remarkable, the talmidei chachamim of the distinguished Meron Kollel will learn and daven on their behalf on

Kever of Mordechai and Esther in B’reim.

both Purim nights – 14 and 15 Adar. On 15 Adar, the kollel will be joined by talmidei chachamim of Yerushalayim shel Maaleh, who are in the midst of their Purim celebrations, and come to mark the day by learning in the courtyard of the heilige tanna, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. In addition, on Shushan Purim, Kollel Chatzos delegates will also daven on their behalf at the kever of Mordechai and Esther in the city B’reim. As the emissaries

who brought forth the miracle for Klal Yisroel in the past, it is certain that Mordechai and Esther will evoke rachmei shamayim on behalf of all petitioners today as well. To partner with Kollel Chatzos and share in the merit of Torah learning on Purim night or to hear more about the tremendous segulah of twelve hours of consecutive Torah learning between megillah leinings, call Kollel Chatzos headquarters: (718) 887-9114.

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



TheHappenings Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

KFWE Photos: Pinto Productions

Pictures of his year’s KFWE event, Feb 7 at the Petersen Auto Museum


‫‪The Week In News‬‬

‫‪FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home‬‬

‫!‪The More You Give - The More We Can Help‬‬

‫מה רבו‬ ‫ונפלאו מעשי החסד של‬ ‫קרן החסד‪ ...‬ופעולתם אמת‬ ‫שעוזרים עניים נכבדים ותלמידי‬ ‫חכמים‪...‬לכן נכון שעסקנים‬ ‫יתקבלו בסבר פנים יפות‪,‬‬ ‫ביד פתוחה וברוח נדיבה‪.‬‬

‫‪...‬פתחו‬ ‫לבכם לרחם עליהם‬ ‫בימי עניים ומרודיהם‪,‬‬

‫‪Matanos‬‬ ‫‪L’evyonim‬‬ ‫בהמלצת גדולי ומאורי הדור שליט"א‬


‫הרב משה וואלפסאן‬ ‫שליט"א‬

‫והושיטו שני ידיכם במתנות‬ ‫הגונות שיש בהם ממש ובכך‬ ‫תהיו נמנים לדבר מצוה‪...‬‬

‫כ"ק אדמו"ר‬ ‫מסקולען שליט"א‬

‫‪...‬אין ערוך‬ ‫למצוה רבה זו וחשיבות קרן‬ ‫הצדקה הנ"ל‪ ...‬אשרי חלקו‬

‫של כל אחד הנוטל חלק‬

‫במפעל כביר זו‪...‬ולקיים בזה‬ ‫מצות מתנות לאביונים‪..‬‬ ‫‪...‬כל מקרה‬ ‫ומקרה בפני עצמו זועק‬ ‫ומשווע עד לרקיע‪ ,‬וחלילה‬ ‫לנו להתעלם מהם‪ ...‬לא‬

‫תעמוד על דם רעיך!‬ ‫מקיימים מצות מתנות‬ ‫לאביונים בהידור רב‪...‬‬

‫הרב שמואל‬ ‫קמנצקי שליט"א‬

‫‪will help you fulfill‬‬ ‫‪your obligation to give‬‬

‫מתנות לאביונים‬ ‫לעניי עירך בו ביום!‬

‫להרים תרומות הגונות‪...‬‬

‫‪...‬והתיצבו‬ ‫לימין העסקנים המסורים‪...‬‬ ‫כי עיניהם של עניים נשואות‬ ‫לתרומות הללו‪ ,‬וחלילה‬

‫להתעלם מקול זעקתם‬ ‫הבוקע מתוך לבבם‬ ‫הנשבר‪...‬‬

‫‪Join Us In‬‬ ‫!‪Helping Them‬‬

‫הרב יחזקאל ראטה‬ ‫שליט"א‬

‫‪...‬ויכולים‬ ‫לקיים בזה מצות מתנות‬ ‫לאביונים כהלכתו‪ ...‬באתי‬

‫לבקש לקיים מצות פתוח‬ ‫תפתח את ידך וגו' ולתרום‬ ‫ביד נדיבה סכומים חשובים‬ ‫ולחוס ולרחם על הנצרכים‪...‬‬

‫‪Your Matanos L'evyonim‬‬

‫‪and will save their families‬‬ ‫!‪from utter despair‬‬

‫צדקה‬ ‫נפלא וכביר בשם עזרת‬ ‫ישראל‪ ...‬לזאת אליכם‬ ‫אישים אקרא להיות שותף‬

‫וליטול חלק נכבד עבור‬ ‫אותם משפחות‪ ...‬ונא‬

‫הרב ארי' מלכיאל‬ ‫קוטלר שליט"א‬

‫‪will help bring Happiness‬‬ ‫‪to Thousands of People‬‬

‫כ"ק אדמו"ר‬ ‫מנאוואמינסק שליט"א‬

‫‪...‬חובה‬ ‫גדולה לעמוד לימינם‪..‬‬ ‫להיות להם לעזר ואחיסמך‬ ‫בעושה ובמעשה‪...‬שכן‬ ‫מפעלם מפעל אדיר הוא‪,‬‬

‫והרבה נפשות מישראל‬ ‫צריכים להם‪...‬‬

‫הרב מתתי' סאלאמאן‬ ‫שליט"א‬

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Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Be My Friend

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

Megillas Esther annually reinforces the closeness Jews feel with the Creator and with each other. Unlike many of the famed miraculous redemptions that occurred in Eretz Yisroel, or at a time when the Jewish people were pious, the Purim story took place when the Jews were exiled, divided and, through attending the seudah of Achashveirosh and bowing to his “tzelem,” [see Megillah 12a], demonstrably lacking in spirituality. The Rambam, in Sefer Hamitzvos, writes that the lesson of the Megillah is that it is true, emes hu, that there is no one as close to us as Hashem Elokeinu, who responds to us whenever we turn to Him, just as a loving father, who even when separated from his children, never loses touch with them. Even when they are apart, the father is present somewhere in the background, watching and waiting for progress. Similarly, Hashem showed His enduring love for us in Shushan, even when the mechitzah of golus separated us. And so, this year again, the sounds of Megillas Esther will fill our shuls and homes with happiness and optimism. They will tell us to remain together and hopeful, for nothing really is what it appears to be. There is always a story behind the story and things taking place that no one would fathom. There are plots and sub-plots happening beneath the surface, while we have no clue about any of it. Purim is a time that tells us to recognize that nothing is what it appears to be, and if we have faith in Hashem, we will see salvation. Achashveirosh, says the Medrash, was a superficial chonef, who sought to ingratiate himself with those around him. He killed his wife because his friend told him to, and then he killed his friend to satisfy his wife, the Medrash remarks, referring to the king’s easy acquiescence to Haman’s suggestion that he kill Vashti and his equal willingness to kill that same Haman for Esther’s sake. There was no loyalty, only

convenience and political expediency. He had no core beliefs. There was nothing he really believed in or cared about besides his burning desire to remain in power surrounded by sycophants. Initially, he favored his Jewish citizens. Then he rejected them, because he craved money and power, and his advisor convinced him that he would have more of both if he would rid himself of the Jews. Then he had a change of heart and began favoring the Jews and helping them in every way possible. He was fickle and capricious.

enough to combat Amaleik and his descendants. When we are together, we rise to the greatest heights and are able to achieve the spectacular. When we are divided, we get in trouble. When we battle each other, when we permit people to drive wedges between us, we are all losers. When people try to stir up trouble in our camp and divide brother from brother, we ought to let them know that they are not welcome. We aren’t interested in fighting anymore. We don’t want silly splits and fracases. We’ve had enough. When we are united, there is no force that can stop us.

Everyone is thinking about what the next big thing will be. Let’s try achdus. The posuk (Esther 2:5) describes Mordechai as “Ish Yehudi.” The Medrash (Esther Rabbah 6:2) expounds on the choice of the word Yehudi, which would signify that he was from shevet Yehudah, when, in fact, he hailed from the tribe of Binyomin. The Medrash concludes that the choice of words is to indicate that he was a “yechidi, because he was meyacheid shemo shel Hakadosh Boruch Hu.” The Sefas Emes explains that when Chazal say, “Ve’ohavta lerei’acha kamocha zeh klal gadol baTorah,” it is because at the root of life, all Jews are connected as one. A person who is connected to the “nekudah chiyus hapenimis” loves all Jews, for that is the point of achdus. The pure state of the Jewish people is achieved when they are all together, joined with achdus. It is then that we are strong

We can defeat Amaleik and Haman. We can overturn evil decrees and get our lives back. That is what Mordechai told his people. He gathered them all together. “Leich kenos es kol haYehudim,” he said. He dressed himself in sackcloth and delivered mussar to the Jewish people and Esther. He enforced three days and nights of tefillah, teshuvah and fasting. He committed everyone to achdus, as the posuk states (Esther 9:16), using the singular verb “nikhalu v’amod al nafshom,” signifying that they gathered as one to beseech Hashem. Through his prodding, they did teshuvah, and as a result of their improvement, they were reconnected to the “nekudah chiyus hapenimis” and once again loved each other as Jews are meant to. Thus, they were able to earn Hashem’s

intervention, and the decree that had hung over them for ten years was swept away. They got new life. Their achdus brought them back to where we were as we gathered at Har Sinai to accept the Torah, “k’ish echod belev echod.” The togetherness enabled them to once again accept the Torah and they had much to celebrate. “LaYehudim hoysah orah vesimcha vesasson vikor.” Rav Yeshayahu Pinto, a talmid and mechutan of Rav Chaim Vital, explains that the enormity of the sin of attending the seudah of Achashveirosh’s was because the feast was held to celebrate that according to the king’s calculations the Jews would never be redeemed and the Beis Hamikdosh would never be rebuilt. Since the Beis Hamkidosh was where the Jewish people connected with Hashem, by joining in the celebration the Jews demonstrated that as far as they were concerned that special connection was broken. Without that special relationship, they no longer had a reason to exist. Parshas Vayikra deals with the laws of korbanos. The parsha details the process of one who is makriv himself, his very essence, through a korban. In fact, the word kiruv, meaning to come closer, lies at the root of the word korban, sacrifice, for it brings people closer to Hashem. The Ohr Hachaim (Vayikra 1:2) expounds on the posuk at the beginning of Parshas Vayikra which states, “Adam ki yakriv mikem (korban).” He explains that the desire to become close to Hashem has to come from within the Bnei Yisroel. Sinning creates distance between Hashem and us, as a sinner becomes separated from the Shechinah. Since Hashem wants us to remain close to Him, he commands, “Hochei’ach tochiach es amisecha.” He wishes for us to seek to draw closer to those who have drifted away. This is the reason that Chazal say, “Kol hamezakeh es horabim ein cheit ba al yado” (Avos 5:18). Because Hashem wishes to be reunited with His lost children, he heaps reward upon people who enable that relationship to crystallize. The Bais Hamikdosh was a place of kirva, representing the ultimate closeness attainable in our world between man and his Creator. Referred to as a place of yedidus, the highest level of interpersonal friendship, it was built in the biblical portion of Binyomin, who is referred to in the Torah as “yedid Hashem, the friend of Hashem,” to underscore the closeness of the relationship.

Living withIn theNews Times The Week

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Rav Moshe Shapiro explained that the word yedid means friendship because in every relationship there are ups and downs, times of closeness and times of distance. In every relationship, there is a time to stand apart. There are times defined as yemin mekarev, when the right hand draws close, and periods of s’mol docheh, when the left hand pushes away. Even bein odom laMakom, between man and Hashem, there is a precedent for this type of distance. When Yaakov bowed to Eisov, he was expressing an admission of the fact that in this world, there is an order. The will of Hashem at that time was for Yaakov to subjugate himself to Eisov. Since Binyomin was not present at that encounter between Yaakov and Eisov, he didn’t accept that there are times when right and justice must submit to might. As such, Binyomin was defined as a yedid, which in Hebrew is written as a compound of the word yad twice, yud dalet, yud dalet. Rav Shapiro explains that a yedid possesses only a yemin mekarev, perpetual closeness. Generations later, Mordechai maintained this yedidus. When others insisted that it was necessary, even pikuach nefesh, to conform to the dictates of Haman, Mordechai refused to bow. The Megillah states that Mordechai was “lo kom velo za” (Esther 5:9). Not only did Mordechai refuse to rise before Haman, but he seemed to be unaware of Haman’s existence. He didn’t flinch when Haman passed him. Mordechai was showing his people, and instilling in those who would follow until this very day, that they possess the strength to confront evil without shuddering. He taught not to succumb to the urge to surrender to the prevailing temporal power. Mordechai was a yedid of Hashem, possessing a closeness that didn’t leave room for disloyalty. He was an unfailing yedid of the Jewish people, admonishing them not to compromise, because he loved each of them and wanted to ensure that they would remain yedidim of Hashem. Due to his efforts, they merited being saved from the plots against them and returning once again to be close to Hashem, so much so that they embraced Torah Shebal Peh as their forefathers had accepted Torah Shebiksav at Har Sinai. Their acts of return and devotion were so great that they led to the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdosh. The Jews had been “mefuzar umeforad,” spread apart from each other. Each was in his own sphere, unconcerned about the other. Now they were together once

again, the way we should be. Mordechai, a descendant of Binyomin, was a yedid of Hashem and a cherished friend of every Jew. He fulfilled the mitzvah of hochei’ach tochiach in its most ideal form. When people ignored his halachic ruling forbidding attendance at Achashveirosh’s feast, he bore the burden of their collective suffering after the gezeirah was passed. Like a loving father, he reassured, comforted and led, establishing the mass fast and gathering in Shushan. Though they had sinned, Mordechai loved them and Hashem enabled a salvation to be brought about. Through his mesirus nefesh and yedidus, the Jews merited the Purim miracle. Our enemies have tried, ever since the days of the Shushan miracle, to entrap and ensnare us. But if we care for each other and seek to bring about achdus and yedidus, we can overcome that which is put in our path and merit a return of the Bais Hamikdosh in our day. Throughout the generations, our great leaders have been men such as Mordechai, who cared about each Jew. Genuine giants are unfailingly humble and gentle, accessible and available to every person who needs help, guidance or a warm smile. The closeness of good people with the Ribbono Shel Olam allows them to see the Divine light in every Jew as they are mekarev them with love and devotion, as true yedidim. Their friendship echoes the overriding friendship that gave us the neis of Purim; the yedidus of Binyomin, and the deveikus of Mordechai to Hashem and every Jew. We all have our problems and are upset about various issues that plague our community. We have tuitions to pay, mortgages to worry about, and a pile of bills, but there also has to be room in our hearts to feel the pain of others who are suffering. We need to befriend and help them. Often, people suffer in silence. A person can appear to be very successful, but in his heart, there might be a gaping hole that we can help fill. People who appear to have everything going for them might have issues tormenting them. There is no way to know. If we smile to everyone, we are bound to help cheer up those lonely souls as well. The Megillah (4:6) relates that Mordechai told Esther’s messenger, “Kol asher korahu ve’es parashas hakesef.” Mordechai shared everything that happened to him. While he was in prison, Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin once asked me why the posuk states that Mordechai told him of his own personal experiences. The Jewish

nation was in serious peril, as Haman plotted to kill every Jew. It seems to be a very selfish act for Mordechai to tell Esther’s messenger what had happened to him personally. The answer is that he only told of other peoples’ pain but every Jew’s pain was Mordechai’s very own personal pain. He told the messenger to report to Esther what was going on outside of the palace and how so many people were suffering. He felt their pain as if it was his own. Every Jew’s pain should be our pain. If someone is in trouble, we should rush to help him. If we see people fighting, we should bring them together. We shouldn’t tolerate anything divisive. We have had

enough of golus. If we could only stop the squabbling, we’d be able to end it. Everyone is thinking about what the next big thing will be. Let’s try achdus. Let’s make it happen. Let’s silence the dividers and empower the uniters. Let’s all get together and say that we’ve had enough, once and for all. When we exchange mishloach manos let us show that we can all get along and be friends. Let us reconnect with the nekudas hachiyus and each other. We will then merit rejoicing in the great nahafoch hu with the imminent arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu. Ah freilichen Purim.



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Torah 2017 inMusings Review The Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Prayer Works Sarah Pachter

When I was seven years old, I attended a Jewish day camp in Atlanta, Georgia. Our days were filled with typical activities like swimming and arts and crafts. But one morning, we had an activity that seemed “unusual,” one that I never forgot. The camp counselors gathered our bunk into a circle outside and began teaching us about about Native American tribes, specifically, the prayer service they would use to summon rain from the gods. We watched while sitting on our tree stumps as the counselor stood up then proceeded to jump up and down and backwards, his arms pushing out and inward. It looked like a cross between Billy Blanks’s Tae Bo, and Richard Simmons’s “I’m a Pony,” but on steroids! Rhymes and songs tend to stay with children for a long time, so of course, I remember it word for word: Ongi namongi pongi! Ongi namongi pongi! A digga digga digga! Ooooh Ahhh! Rain! I remember giggling as we watched and then it was our turn to “pray.” We stood up and imitated his dance, moving backwards and chanting the Native American prayer. Then the counselor hushed us and told us to sit as quickly and quietly as possible. A moment passed before we suddenly felt the first rain drop, then another and another. The prayer had worked! As a seven-year old, I was sold on this Ongi namongi chant! I just knew it was my ticket to getting anything I wanted, and I couldn’t wait to use it. When I arrived home, I raced to my bedroom to try out Ongi namongi pongi, but was disappointed – to say the least – when my prayers were not answered with the same immediate result. Little did I realize at the time, the camp lesson was merely an activity to keep the campers busy on a rainy day. Additionally, they probably used the intemperate weather forecast to determining when to teach us the “miracle chant.” As I grew up, and my spiritual maturity developed, I started to realize what prayer is all about. As much as we want it to be, prayer is not merely a gumball machine we can place a quarter inside of and out pops our request. Prayer is about developing a relationship with Hashem, and it’s hard work. Anyone who tells you that prayer with G-d, Whom we cannot see, touch, or feel,

is simple and easy isn’t being honest with you, or with themselves. At another point in my childhood, I remember sitting in synagogue (on the rare occasion that we went), quite bored. It was certainly less exciting than the Ongi namongi dance! Even as adults, how many of us can honestly say we never look to see how many pages are left of the service – especially during high holidays, when the prayers can last for hours on end? It is important for us to remember that prayer is not just about sitting in synagogue but a way to communicate with our Creator. Prayer, according to Rashi in Genesis 30:8, actually means a bond or connection; it’s about communication. But communication is usually not a monologue, rather a two-way street. No one today is a prophet, audibly hearing the word of G-d. Yet, He does, in fact, communicate with us. Imagine you come over to my house for Shabbat dinner. I bring out the fish, and announce, “I am now serving your fish.” Then when it is time for the next course to start, I declare, “Now, I will remove your appetizer plate.” As I continue, I proclaim that soup is being served and so on and so forth. To a guest, this would probably feel uncomfortable and strange. (Plus you would never want to come back to our home!) The announcements are not necessary, and would take away from the experience at large. Whether the host announces what’s coming or not, you will still get your fivecourse meal. Similarly, G-d is constantly doing things for us, yet does not call out the playby-play. Every time we breath in, G-d does not yell down at us, “Now, I am allowing your external and internal intercostals to expand and contract to allow air into your lungs.” When we walk, He does not verbalize which muscles we are moving, and which brain synapses are connecting in order to make that happen. Yet, He is communicating his love to us through gifts that we experience every minute of the day – the gift of breath, and movement. We know that Hashem provides for us constantly, every single moment, yet

sometimes, it is still difficult to connect the way we are meant to. Not only is it challenging to connect with a Being who has no physicality or time constraints, but a lack of time in our busy lives creates another obstacle to our connection. It’s difficult to interrupt our daily grind to to pray to G-d. We become busy with the very gifts that G-d has bestowed upon us, and forget where such things came from. Praying is hard work; it is called, avodah shebalev, work of the heart. According to physics, work has to occur with exertion and force. When hiking, we sweat and exert physical energy. Does this mean we are “working?” Usually, we take time off of work to take a hike. Then the next day, find ourselves sitting at the computer writing a letter for our boss. This doesn›t require much exertion, but are we working? Of course. Writing an email to a friend, whereby the same level of exertion is applied, is however not considered “work.” What, then, is work? Work is colloquially defined as doing something for someone else. Writing an email because our boss requires it? Work. Writing an email because we want to? Not work. Work means giving up what we want to do in order to be of service to someone else. Tefilah, work of the heart, is about submitting your will to Hashem’s. Giving up what you want for what Hashem wants. Giving up time from our busy schedules to connect with Him. Even if we consciously decide we want to start connecting with G-d through prayer, in order to really feel prayer in our heart, we often must “undo” years of lip service. For so long, most of us have been

zipping through the prayers, checking it off our to-do list, and moving on. Gone is the love, the feeling, the fervor in our daily meditation with Hashem. In high school, I was on the basketball team. I had been playing since the sixth grade and felt pretty confident as a player. When I arrived at the new school, I noticed there were several team members who had never played basketball before. The more “experienced” players and myself thought we were at an advantage because of our years of playing. Boy, did we have a rude awakening! The coach informed us that we had terrible shooting form and that we would need to retrain. “You think you are so experienced, eh? Well, it’s easier to teach someone who has never learned to shoot a ball before! First, I’ll have to undo years of muscle memory with you before I can begin to teach you the proper form!” This is a perfect analogy to prayer. We spend years learning to pray as children. It’s adorable to hear my own children singing Modeh Ani and Shema Yisrael, but sometimes when we hit our twenties (if not earlier), the prayers have become so routine that they mean nothing at all. In order to combat prayer-fatigue, we need to look at tefilah through fresh eyes, as someone who has never learned before, and really try to use the experience to connect the way we are meant to. Prayer is hard work. Yet, prayer does work. The reason prayer “works” is not because every time we ask G-d for something He answers us in the affirmative, but because when we pray, we realize who G-d is, and all He has done for us. We expand ourselves and change through the process. Sometimes, that newfound person we create of ourselves is more deserving of the request. At other times, however, we must submit our will and accept G-d’s will for us – true work of the heart. Regardless of the answer we earn, prayer enables us to deepen our love and respect for our Creator, and that is the greatest response we can hope for.


FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home



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Torah The Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Weekly Daf Can we use containers that have been used to store non-kosher wine? Rabbi Shmuel Wise, Maggid Shiur of

Beginning on 33a, the gemara this week discussed this issue extensively. At the heart of all this discussion is the question of whether some of the forbidden wine gets absorbed in the walls of the utensil and later becomes mixed into the kosher wine and contaminates it. We discovered that many factors must be considered in order to make a judgment. For instance, how long was the utensil used for non-kosher wine? Is the utensil made from leather or pottery (the latter is more absorbent)? Does it have a lining of pitch (that would make it even more absorbent)? The important factor of temperature also emerges from the daf this week in a discussion that starts on the bottom of 33b and continues to 34a. Mereimar there is-

sues a lenient ruling on glazed earthenware vessels: the smooth glazed surface repels any substantial absorption and hence a simple rinsing will suffice to permit a

Jew to use them for his wine. The gemara points out that seemingly this ruling contradicts an answer Mereimar gave when he was asked about these glazed vessels in a different context. Mereimar had been asked about using glazed vessels on Pesach that were used year-round with bread products. Mereimar responded that, based on his own observations, these glazed vessels were clearly absorbing some of their contents. And since hagolah (kashering the vessel using boiling water) is not an option by earthenware, the vessels simply cannot be used on Pesach. But (ay!) Mereimar ruled that these glazed vessels DO have the capacity to absorb non-kosher wine! Did Mereimar change his mind on this? The gemara attempts to resolve the question by suggesting that these two prohibitions: 1) non-kosher wine, and 2) chametz on Pesach, are fundamentally different and therefore warrant different standards of stringency. For eating chametz on Pesach is a biblical prohibition whereas the prohibition of non-Jewish wine is only rabbinic. So perhaps the amount of forbidden substance that is absorbed in the glazed vessel is only cause for concern regarding the biblical chametz issue. But the gemara rejects this answer by citing the principle that the rabbis seek to model their enactments after the way the biblical halachah is structured. So, if the Torah regards this absorbed forbidden amount as substantial, then surely the rabbis would recognize it as such when setting down their own law. This response seemed very puzzling to me. Throughout the Talmud we find countless instances where the halachah becomes more lenient based on “biblical vs. rabbinic” distinction. Perhaps the gemara means this: If we consider WHY the rabbis prohibited wine of idolaters then

indeed it becomes difficult to argue for a more lenient standard here. For the rabbis’ concern here was that this wine might actually be an idolatrous libation (which of course would be a biblical problem). Thus, the gemara makes a very strong argument: If the laws of chametz tell us that the Torah regards the absorbed amount in this glazed vessel as significant, then that means that if an idolater kept his wine in the container, there possibly is a significant amount of biblically forbidden wine! So how can we properly reconcile Mereimar’s rulings? The gemara answers by explaining that the chametz case presented to Mereimar involved hot chametz that was placed in the glazed vessels. When there is heat, then indeed the halachah assumes that a significant amount of forbidden flavor gets absorbed by the vessel – even a glazed one – and so in that case Mereimar ruled stringently. The Ritv″a to 33a questions the Gemara’s entire discussion due to this critical factor of temperature. He wonders why the halachah is ever concerned about room-temperature wine that was kept in a vessel: it is established, the Ritv″a points out, that vessels only absorb foods when there is heat! Furthermore, if we accept that for some reason vessels can absorb even cold wine – why would the gemara’s method of leaving cold water in the vessel over a period of three days purge that forbidden flavor in light of other gemaros which clearly indicate that cold water cannot purge a vessel of forbidden flavors? The Ritv″a answers by suggesting a new lower-level instance of transmission of a non-kosher substance into the walls of a vessel. He says that due to the sharp taste of wine, its flavor becomes somewhat absorbed into the walls of the vessel, putting wine somewhere in between a hot food and other typical cold foods in its capacity to transmit flavor to the vessel walls. With this we can understand why the unique kashering method of keeping water in the contaminated vessel for three days works: because we’re not dealing with the classic situation of a significant amount of flavor getting absorbed (i.e. where the food was hot), therefore, this less intense way of purging the forbidden flavor is effective. One thing that’s clear from this week’s daf is, in halachah, not all vessels – or liquids – are created equal.

Humor The Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Humor: No Parking Zone Rebecca Klempner

I returned to my 1996 Corolla last Monday only to find a small white envelope tucked under my windshield wiper. After I shed a few tears, I cheered myself up by looking on the bright side: I’m 42 years old, have spent the last 19 years living in Los Angeles, and yet this was my first experience with the affliction known as the parking ticket. Prior to my fall from grace, I was proud of my parking ticket-free record. In case you are wondering how I stayed parking ticket-free for so long in the land of “I just count parking tickets as a living expense,” I will share my Five Secrets to Avoiding Parking Tickets in L.A. Secret #1: Don’t get your license until age 32. There are many disadvantages to carfree living in Los Angeles, but immunity from tickets is not one of them. LA parking Jewish Home Secret #2: Develop an allergy to park4.8x6.4 ing tickets. It might be tempting to park on the

right shoulder of LaBrea Boulevard during rush hour but doing so will result in having your car towed and receiving a truly enormous fine. Train yourself to view such behavior as completely beyond the pale. Lie down on your bed. Close your eyes. Now, imagine parking on the right shoulder of LaBrea at 8:13 a.m. You pull your key out of the ignition. You place your hand on the door handle… Suddenly, you break out in hives, and your tongue swells so much, it blocks your airway. Picture this a hundred times, and you will no longer be tempted by all those illegal parking spots. If a passenger suggests you park in a no-go zone, tell them, “No, thank you. I’m travelling without my EpiPen today.” Secret #3: Improve your reading comprehension. Get a graduate degree. Better yet, go to law school. It’ll help you make sense of all the complicated and seemingly contradic-

Friends don’t let friends drink irresponsibly on Purim.

/OrthodoxUnion /OrthodoxUnion

Safe Homes. Safe Shuls. Safe Schools.

tory signage. Secret #4: View walking as exercise. You’re about to deliver shalach manos. There are no parking spots open on Doda Elisheva’s block. Do you double park? No, you do not! You park around the corner and walk! Do it enough times while delivering gift baskets on Purim day, and you can count it as your daily workout. Double parking not only could get you a big, fat ticket but will earn you an evil eye from every driver you inconvenience.

Don’t press your luck – leave the double parking to Uber and UPS drivers. Secret #5: 15 minutes is never enough time on a parking meter. Think you can get in and out of Munchies with the kids in 15 minutes? What will you do if your youngest child takes five minutes to pick her ice cream flavor, and then there’s a woman checking out with bags and bags of goodies for the shalom zachor she’s hosting on Friday night? What will you do if you get distracted by all the chocolate? I can tell you what will happen, because it happened to me: You will spend 17 minutes in the store and receive a ticket for parking at an expired meter. Adar is a time for nissim, but we are not allowed to rely on miracles. I’m going to do my hishtadlus and so should you. May we all remain parking ticket-free for many decades to come.



Book Review The Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Book Review: Small Choices, Big Changes by Sarah Pachter (Targum Publishers 2017), 255 pp. Reviewed by Devorah Talia Gordon

In Small Choices, Big Changes, Sarah Pachter explores fundamental facets of Jewish life with clarity and wit. From the seemingly mundane to the more elevated parts of life, Pachter draws rich lessons that the reader can easily integrate into daily living. The book is organized by sections, such as “Happiness,” “Success and Confidence,” “Relationships,” and “Parenting.” The chapters within each section explore the topic from various angles and are not repetitive. If you only have a short amount of reading time, this structure makes it easy to jump right into what interests you, but be warned, like a good dessert, a little bit leaves you desiring more, and it’s hard

to stop at one. I suggest making yourself a good cup of coffee and getting comfortable on the couch with Small Choices, Big Changes. Several themes run through the book, and each one Pachter explores thoroughly. I gleaned the most from “Success and Confidence” and “Parenting,” most likely because those topics are pertinent to me now; however, Pachter has great Torah-based ideas to share about each topic, including dating, happiness, and gratitude. Apropos for Purim, one of the wonderful “small” choices (that is anything but small) appears in “Topsy-Turvy World.” Through a real example that happened with Pachter’s son, she illustrates perfectly

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the concept of nahafoch hu. The tangible example leads to a great takeaway about the interaction of Hashem and man, and it’s well worth reading as we enter Adar. One effective tool Pachter uses in many of the pieces is to take an everyday example and create a metaphor for something else, particularly in Jewish life. For example, in one of my favorite chapters “Boundaries Help Us Break Free,” Sarah begins by writing, “Nearly every female I know has at some point in their lives stood before their closet…and thought, ‘I have nothing to wear.’” Pachter goes on to seamlessly transfer this mundane occurrence to the idea that boundaries (particularly in terms of Torah) allow us greater freedom. These types of mental leaps keep the reader interested and engaged, and I often found myself thinking, What a great analogy, why didn’t I think of that? Pachter moves gracefully among a wide range of topics, from current issues like social media and electronic devices, to the more sublime, such as Divine intervention, private success, and recognizing our own faults. I appreciate her wit and the light tone – almost cheeriness – she brings to serious topics. This makes those topics easier to digest. For example, Pachter writes about parenting, “Even before they leave home, it seems that all too quickly the stage passes when their eyes light up and they race to the front door when Mom or Dad gets home. Before you have time to blink, they’re ‘too cool’ for a hug.” Another aspect I appreciated was Pachter’s presentation of ideas that I had perhaps pondered at one time or another, but never fully grasped, which she articulated in such a clear way that they were concretized for me. For example, Pachter has a chapter on the power of writing handwritten thank you notes; how receiving such notes impacted individuals, including herself, and changed an entire company. What a great reminder of a small choice that can make a profound change. Insights like the

one above, which give practical advice, are replete in the book and well-worth taking to heart. With her upbeat, friendly voice, Pachter’s perspective is relatable. Even though from her biography and testimonials, it’s obvious that she is quite accomplished, Pachter struck me as down-to-earth and easy to get to know through her writing. Her wisdom is for both men and women, and although her lessons are chockfull of Torah-based teachings, her integration of secular writers and studies give this book a wider appeal, one that a non-religious reader would also find enjoyable. A book such as Pachter’s could be a good starting point for one interested in growing in Judaism, as her real-life stories and observations are not at all didactic. My favorite lines in the book are the following: “Who are we when we think no one is looking? That is who we really are, and that is where our true growth can begin.” By articulating her own growth and self-awareness, Sarah Pachter inspires us to better know ourselves, make positive small choices, and become the person we were meant to be.

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New Pres for S. Africa On Thursday, after President Jacob Zuma of South Africa was recalled by the

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

ruling African National Congress party, Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as the nation’s new leader. Zuma had been dodging corruption and nepotism scandals during his nine years in office and was told to resign by his party. On Friday, Ramaphosa gave a stirring state of the nation address, vowing to capitalize on the “digital revolution.” “Our prosperity as a nation depends on our ability to take full advantage of rapid technological change,” he said. Ramaphosa, who was elected president of the ANC in December by a slim majority, has already begun changes to revitalize the South African economy which

has been in decline under Zuma. He was forced this year to finally institute an inquiry into state capture after losing a court

bid against a ruling by South Africa’s graft ombudsman. Along with a focus to grow the econ-

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omy, fix the country’s mining sector, address education, create jobs, especially for the youth, and increase investment, Ramaphosa signaled out the potential of the “digital industrial revolution.” South Africa’s telecoms ministry was bizarrely split into two departments by Zuma, and both competing ministers have spent years feuding over their roles. This has caused unnecessary complications and huge delays, including South Africa missing the June 2015 deadline by the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to switch from analogue television signals to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT). Ramaphosa, 65, was centrally involved in negotiating South Africa’s constitution and was the ANC’s secretary-general when Nelson Mandela was released from jail in 1992. A lawyer by training, Ramaphosa formed the National Union of Mineworkers, then the country’s largest trade union. Ramaphosa, who held Mandela’s microphone at his first public address after 27 years in detention, was the Nobel Laurette’s preferred choice of successor. But he was overruled in favor of Thabo Mbeki, the country’s second democratic president. Ramaphosa went into business and became a billionaire, ironically as a shareholder in mining companies, until he rejoined the ANC as Zuma’s deputy president in both the ANC and government five years ago. Zuma’s corruption- and scandal-tainted rule has seen South Africa’s economy stall, as unemployment and poverty have risen. The popular Ramaphosa is considered as a reformative force, who will restore the country’s fortunes and eradicate widespread corruption. “We have done it before and we will do it again,” Ramaphosa said in Parliament, “bonded by our common love for our country, resolute in our determination to overcome the challenges that lie ahead and convinced that by working together we will build the fair and just and decent society to which Nelson Mandela dedicated his life.”

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The Russians are dominating headlines lately, particularly for cyber-crimes. The U.S. and UK governments have attributed another massive ransomware attack to the Russian military. Last year, the NotPetya attack targeted companies in Ukraine, attacking its government, financial and energy institutions in June. It ended up causing collateral damage to global companies with offices in Ukraine, including Maersk, FedEx, and Merck. The cyber-attack resulted in up to $300 million in lost revenue for Maersk. The Trump administration released a statement on Thursday calling NotPetya the “most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history,” noting that it caused billions of dollars of damage in Europe, Asia

The Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

and the Americas. “The Kremlin has positioned Russia in direct opposition to the West, yet it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK’s foreign office minister for cybersecurity. “We call upon Russia to be the responsible member of the international community it claims to be rather than secretly trying to undermine it.” Ahmad said Russia’s “reckless” attack showed a “continued disregard for Ukrainian sovereignty” and cost organizations across Europe hundreds of millions of pounds. According to the investigation, the Ukraine government discovered evidence directly linking the attack to Russian hackers in July. UK officials also noted that the hackers used ransomware as a disguise for an attack clearly meant to destroy data and cause chaos. “The malware was not designed to be decrypted. This meant that there was no means for victims to recover data once it had been encrypted. Therefore, it is more accurate to describe this attack as destructive than as ransomware,” the UK’s National Cyber Security Center noted. The Russian government “categorically denied the accusations.” “We think they have no basis and no foundation, and this is nothing else but the continuation of the Russophobic campaign,” Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said. The NotPetya ransomware infected computers and locked down their hard drives. It then demanded a $300 ransom to be paid in bitcoin. But even after the ransom was paid, victims were not able to access their files.

1.17M War Crimes in Afghanistan In November, the International Criminal Court began collecting material for a possible war crimes case involving Afghanistan. In just three months, the department has received a whopping 1.17 million statements from Afghans who claim they were victims. The claims include accounts of alleged atrocities by terror groups like the Taliban and the Islamic State. More surprisingly, some of the claims were directed towards Afghan Security Forces and government-affiliated warlords, the U.S.-led coalition, and foreign and domestic spy agencies, said Abdul Wadood Pedram of the Human Rights and Eradication of Violence Organization. The next step is for the ICC judges to conclude whether or not to seek a war crimes investigation, a lengthy and expensive process. The ICC is the world’s first permanent court set up to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. “It is shocking there are so many,” Pedram said, pointing out that many claims involved multiple victims, sometimes entire villages. “It shows how the justice sys-

tem in Afghanistan is not bringing justice for the victims and their families. I have the names of the organizations, but because of the security issues, we don’t want to name them because they will be targeted,” said Pedram, whose group is based in Kabul. Last year the activist received death threats, forcing to Pedram flee Kabul. He now keeps a lower profile, no longer speaking to local media. “The warlords are all here. You have to be very careful,” he said. “In the morning, I kiss my little son goodbye...because I don’t know what will happen to me and when, or if I will see [my family] again.”

Returning Objects Stolen By Nazis In Bad Arolsen, Germany, there is a huge complex of six buildings that house 30 million original documents relating to the fates of 17.5 million victims of the Nazis. The archives are run by International Tracing Service (ITS), an organization that has been working to locate these victims, discover what happened to them, and more recently, to return stolen artifacts to their




descendants. ITS has been returning stolen items to survivors and their family members since the early 1960s. Between 1963 and 2015, roughly 1,500 items were returned either directly to owners or sent through the Red Cross behind the Iron Curtain to be returned there. The organization is now running a #StolenMemory campaign in order to step up their number of returns. The campaign was launched on International Holocaust Remembrance Day this past January with the placement of huge posters around the outside of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Each of the posters

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The Week In News had a picture of a different item stolen by the Nazis and the names of their original owners. The hope is that people passing by will recognize a name and help ITS find the objects’ lost owner. ITS will also be bringing customized versions of the posters to different countries and plans to launch a #StolenMemory website this spring. “We already have requests from Poland and Greece to bring customized versions to those countries, and we are getting significant media exposure in France and other places about the project,” said ITS director Floriane Hohenberg. Of the remaining 3,000 objects that ITS still holds, only a small number belong to Jews because Jews were generally sent to death camps and their belongings were immediately exploited by the Nazis. The

organization was originally set up to trace and reconnect people after World War II.

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Finding the owners of these lost items was not a priority but Hohenberg has changed that. “They burns my hands,” Hohenberg said about the personal effects “There is something wrong for us to have these here. It’s not something we can justify. They have to be returned to the owners.”

Anti-Semitism on the Rise in Poland Anti-Semitism has made its way once again into the mainstream Polish public debate. A diplomatic dispute with Israel over a new Holocaust speech law has brought forth old feelings of hatred and bigotry that many felt would not arise again in Poland after the Holocaust. Before the outbreak of the Second World War, there were 3.3 million Jews in Poland. Of those, less than 10 percent survived, and today only a tiny fraction actually lives in Poland. Recently Law and Justice, a conservative party, won power in Poland, vowing to restore national greatness and also stressing an anti-Muslim, anti-migrant message. After they came to power, Jews became targets of hate in Poland with more frequency. The hate escalated recently when Israeli officials came out strongly against new Polish legislation that criminaliz-

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es blaming Poland as a nation for crimes committed by Nazi Germany. Israelis accuse Polish officials of trying to whitewash history and clean the blood off Polish hands that killed many Jews during the Holocaust. Polish lawmakers deny such accusations and say that they are only trying to protect Poland from being depicted as a collaborator of the Nazis when the country was Adolf Hitler’s first victim and that they resisted the Nazis through nearly six years of war and occupation. During the public debate on the law, many commentators were heard using offensive slurs and one popular talk show host went so far as to make disgusting jokes about Jews and gas chambers. A Catholic priest said on national television that it was “hard to like Jews” and his words were then quoted by the ruling party spokeswoman. An advisor to the president said he thought Israel’s negative reaction to the law stemmed from a “feeling of shame at the passivity of the Jews during the Holocaust.” Jewish community members in Warsaw have noticed a surge of anti-Semitic attacks recently. Agnieszka Ziatek of the Jewish Agency for Israel said she has seen a spike in the number of Polish Jews inquiring about immigrating to Israel.

Abbas Addresses the UN On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the United Nations Security Council, calling for a “multilateral international mechanism” to pave the way for Palestinian statehood, while accusing Israel and the United States of obstructing peace efforts. “To solve the Palestine question, it is essential to establish a multilateral international mechanism emanating from an international conference,” the PA president said, adding that he anticipated a summit by mid-2018. Abbas wants to replace the central role that the United States has played as mediator in the peace process. The Palestinian leader took aim at Washington’s handling of the issue over the past year, namely U.S. President Donald Trump’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “The administration has taken Jerusalem off the table,” Abbas said, quoting the words used by Trump last month to describe the declaration. The Palestinians, Abbas argued, have a historical presence in the territory dating back “5,000 years.”

“We are descendants of the Canaanites that lived in Palestine 5,000 years ago, and have continuously remained there to this day,” the PA president insisted as he began his speech, adding that there are currently 13 million Palestinian refugees in Israel, the West Bank, and abroad. The PA president also panned the U.S. administration’s failure to clarify its position on whether or not it supports a twostate solution to the conflict. He lashed out at Washington’s decision to cut aid from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, “which they helped establish,” and blasted the U.S. threats to close down the offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington. Abbas asserted that the Palestinians “are ready to begin negotiations immediately in order to achieve peace.” But he also conditioned negotiations on the withdrawal of Trump’s Jerusalem recognition and the cessation of Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. He said his proposed “multilateral international mechanism” should lead to full UN membership for the state of Palestine, mutual recognition of Israel and a Palestinian state, and the creation of a new international mechanism to reach a final settlement. Abbas also pledged to “intensify” his efforts to obtain full member state status at the UN, where the Palestinians are currently considered a non-member observer state. Arguing that it undermined peace efforts, Abbas lambasted Israel’s continued settlement construction and “continued occupation of Palestinian lands,” claiming that that the PA had “become an authority without authority.” “We are working for the occupation, we are employees for the occupation, and we say that Israel must be held to its obligations as an occupying power.” However, Abbas asserted that “our problems are not with the Jewish people. Our problem is only with the occupiers of our land.” Both Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special envoy for the peace process, were in the room when Abbas spoke. The United Nations granted Palestine the status of a non-member observer state in 1992, but an upgrade to full membership would require unanimous backing from the Security Council – an unlikely outcome, given the near-certainly of a U.S. veto. In December, the General Assembly voted 128-9, with 35 abstentions, to reject the US decision to recognize Jerusalem. That vote in the 193-nation assembly came after 14 of the 15 council members voted in favor of a similar measure. The United States vetoed that draft resolution.

IDF Returns Terrorist Bodies The bodies of two terrorists were returned to the Palestinian Authority by the

The Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Israeli government last week. Nimer Jamal, who murdered three Israelis in Har Adar in September of last year, and Hamza Zamareh, who tried to stab an Israeli in Gush Etzion’s Karmei Tzur this month, were both returned to the Palestinians for burial. The parents of IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, whose body is being held by Hamas, were very upset with the news. Simcha and Leah Goldin accused the Israeli government of showing “security weakness and betrayal of IDF soldiers.” “We thought the prime minister and the Cabinet members were merely lying to the public in the media, but have now learned they have no qualms about lying to the High Court as well,” the Goldin family said in a statement. “This past Thursday, the state vowed before the court to implement the Cabinet’s decision regarding [terrorists’] bodies in full, but 24 hours later released the terrorists’ bodies for burial,” Hadar Goldin’s enraged parents said. “This government has no respect for its kidnapped soldiers and no shame about lying in court. It’s sad we have come to a point where the government lies to a bereaved family and does not implement its own decisions,” the Goldin family lamented. The court hearing that the Goldin family is referring to is one that deals with a petition they submitted to have the Cabinet make the conditions of incarcerations for Hamas prisoners harsher and to not return terrorists bodies to the PA. “My son was killed in Operation Protective Edge and we are now entering the fourth year of his body being held by Hamas in Gaza,” Simcha Goldin said. “I’m a reserve lieutenant colonel, my children are all officers, and I know soldiers may die in battle. I raised my children that the IDF sends soldiers to battle and the prime minister is also responsible for bringing them back.” The Goldin family is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next month. The Goldin family has been very critical of how Netanyahu’s government has dealt with their son’s missing body. “The government did not forget Hadar; it abandoned and ignored him,” Goldin said.  “Netanyahu knows he left in Gaza and excellent Golani officer and an excellent Givati officer. He knows that. The defense minister and the IDF chief also know that. The question is, what are they doing [about it]? They ignore and abandon, which is a very bad way to begin the 70th anniversary celebrations to the State of Israel.”

diers. In retaliation, the Israeli Air Force attacked six Hamas targets across Gaza, after which Hamas fired rockets from the Strip into nearby Israeli neighborhoods. The army “views with great severity the attempt by the Hamas terror organization to carry out popular and spontaneous demonstrations which are seemingly intended to turn the fence area into a confrontation zone,” an IDF statement said, “and to carry out their terror activities that will undermine stability in Gaza.” Amos, whose wife and three children were home when a rocket landed on his roof, called his family’s survival a “miracle.” “We heard a Code Red alarm, he related. ”We went into our shelter, as we’re used to by now. The moment we entered there was a really loud explosion. The entire house shook. We went outside. My wife went out to our yard, saw the damage and called me. When I returned inside I saw the roof partially caved in. My daughter, who was already traumatized by [Operation] Protective Edge, took it really hard. There was a lot of panicking. My youngest, on the other hand, was asleep in the shelter and didn’t even wake up. The most important thing is no one was hurt. We’ll be sleeping at our neighbors’ tonight until the roof is fixed.” Later in the day, a group of four Palestinians was discovered trying to sneak into Israeli communities south of Gaza through Rafah. The group was shot upon and captured. According to Palestinian news outlets, two of the suspected terrorists were taken to a local hospital after being wounded by tank fire. There has been relative quiet in the region over the past few months. The IDF has noted a growing amount of escalation in the protests that Hamas has organized near the fence. Many of the protesters have been found carrying weapons, including grenades. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu was attending a security conference in Munich when the attacks took place.

Jerusalem, One of the Safest Cities in the World

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Escalating Tensions in Gaza The IDF retaliated against 18 terror targets in the Gaza Strip during escalating attacks and responses over the weekend. Hamas terrorists detonated an explosive device attached to a Palestinian flag near the border fence, injuring four IDF sol-

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There has been a lot of discussion about gun laws around the world in the



The Week In News

days following the tragic Parkland school shooting. This prompted Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat to announce that despite the constant threat of terrorism, Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem, “is one of the safest cities in the world” due to “zero misuse” of guns. Barkat explained that in a city of close to 900,000 people, the murder rate is only one per every 100,000 residents, which is far lower than in most major cities. Barkat noted that “people care very much about one another” and “look out for one another’s well-being” more than many other cities around the world. Additionally, residents of Jerusalem are “extremely alert” and always looking out for anything suspicious and reporting it immediately. Barkat also praised the IDF and police force for being superior in active intelligence capabilities that often prevent terror attacks before they occur. He also pointed out that the response to an attack in the city is swift being that many passerby previously served in the army or underwent other security training. “A terrorist attack is usually over in 60 seconds, because people care and are willing to take charge, even at risk to their own lives,” Barkat explained. “Many times, civilians know how to tackle terrorists better than police. Because we are trained in war.”

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Although civilian handguns are an essential component of Israel’s security apparatus, Barkat notes that “only 3 percent of the population carries guns, and those who have them know how to use them. “This is why I always encourage those with handguns to carry them,” Barkat said.

those who only boycott the settlements. According to sources in the Strategic Affairs Ministry, a new committee is being established by the Finance Ministry to establish the details of the new regulations. The source also reported that the ban will

No More Breaks for BDS Businesses The Israeli government is compiling a list of Israeli supporters of the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement and will be denying them tax breaks and government contracts. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon will soon be approving the new regulations which prevent BDS supporters from the benefits they had taken advantage of until now. The new law will be in line with a law that was passed in March 2017, banning leaders off the BDS from entering the country. The Law of Entry was amended to include organizations that take consistent and significant action against the Jewish State through BDS. The 2017 law includes not only those that advocate for the boycott of Israel but also to those that want a boycott of only the West Bank settlements. It is not clear if the new law will apply to

apply to political activists and members of the blacklisted organizations, not to members of the public that are critical of Israel and personally think it should be boycotted. The Strategic Affairs Ministry published a blacklist last month that covers 20 international groups that are said to be part of the BDS movement. “[Our] work of collecting information and intelligence on them [the activists] is important and significant so that we will be able to justify our actions against them,” an official from the ministry was quoted as saying.

Damascus Gate Watchtower Sparks Outrage Palestinians are voicing their anger over a security watch post that has been installed at the entrance to the Old City. They have said that they will be organizing protests to stand against Israel “changing the Arab and Islamic character” of the city. Palestinians are demanding that the two-story watch post structure be removed from the Damascus Gate, the main entrance into the walled city’s Muslim Quarter. The structure was erected as part of an Israeli plan to improve the overall security in the area. The plan is in response to the high number of stabbing and shooting attacks in the past two years. Two more concrete watch posts are being constructed at the Damascus Gate as well. New police and military activity has historically been a potential spark of unrest in the city as Palestinians see them as an Israeli attempt to solidify its hold on the city. “This is another Israeli assault on Jerusalem and its Arab population,” claimed a senior Fatah official. “Israel is mistaken if it thinks we will allow it to pursue with its plan to Judaize Jerusalem and empty it of its Arab residents.” Yousef Natsheh, a senior official with the Islamic Waqf Department, called the

watch post an “assault on Islamic heritage and an attempt to change our history.” He then went on to accuse Israel of using security measures as an excuse to “distort” Damascus Gate so as to change the Arab and Islamic character of Jerusalem. “What’s happening at Damascus Gate,” he added, “is morally, scientifically, and ethically unacceptable.” So is stabbing and shooting innocent men, women, and children.

Mueller Indicts Russians for Meddling Special counsel Robert Mueller completed his first and perhaps only task as head of the Russian investigation. Thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian entities were accused of meddling in the 2016 presidential election. They are being charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Department of Justice announced last Friday. In addition, three defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft. “The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said. Just last week President Trump tweeted, “Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!” The indictment allows that the Russians’ actions did not affect the outcome of the election. In a statement, the White House said Trump was fully briefed on the indictment and “is glad to see the Special Counsel’s investigation further indicates— that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.” “It is more important than ever before to come together as Americans,” Trump said in the statement. “We cannot allow those seeking to sow confusion, discord, and rancor to be successful. It’s time we stop the outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations, and far-fetched theories, which only serve to further the agendas of bad actors, like Russia, and do nothing to protect the principles of our in-

The Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home


stitutions. We must unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our democracy and our elections.” The indictment claims that the Russian organization Internet Research Agency began its operation to interfere in U.S. elections as early as 2014. Some of the defendants pretended to be American by creating false U.S. personas and operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences. Two of the Russians also allegedly traveled to the United States in 2014 to gather intelligence for their operations. The Internet Research Agency had a “strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system” including the election, according to the indictment. Russians posted “derogatory information about a number of candidates.” They paid for ads and communicated with “unwitting” people connected to the Trump campaign and others to coordinate political activities. The indictment mentions a February 2016 memo to Internet Research Agency staff telling them to post political content on U.S. social media sites and “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them).” Twelve of the 13 defendants charged worked for the Internet Research Agency. Rosenstein assured that no Americans knowingly participated. He said, “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charge conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.” However the indictment does mention communications between unnamed Trump campaign officials and the Russian defendants. The three campaign officials are simply identified as campaign officials 1, 2 and 3. On at least three occasions American personas created by the defendants contacted the campaign officials. The indictment does not say whether the unnamed campaign officials ever responded to the Russian personas.

60 Bad Days a Year

Having a bad day? You’re not alone. According to researchers at Freeletics, a personal fitness and nutrition app, on average Americans have around 60 “bad days” a year, with 80% of these 24-hour periods being made at least partially unpleasant by work-related stress. Lack of sleep produces the largest

source of misery, accounting for 67 percent of an individual’s dissatisfaction on any given day. Illness, financial worries, cancelled plans, and feeling unclean or disheveled also had the ability to ruin someone’s day, the researchers found. In fact, bad hair days were fairly prominent responses. One in four respondents indicated that frustration over uncooperative hair puts a damper on their day. Similarly, another quarter of respondents admitted that having no hot water for their morning shower left them in a day-long bad mood funk. A small percentage – eight percent – said that their day could feel wrecked by their favorite sports team losing a game. What happens when we’re having a bad day? According to their research, respondents were more likely to eat unhealthy foods after a tough day, and 34 percent said that they were more likely to drink alcohol. Exercise seems to be the best way to deal with stress, as it provides both mental and physical benefits. Additionally, workout frequency was positively correlated with one’s ability to cope with stress, the researchers added. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed said that a stressful day could be made less difficult by spending some time at the gym. Half of the respondents indicated that working out gives them more energy at the office, and 44% say exercise simply makes them feel more motivated. Lots of people noted that they have a gym membership but never show up at the gym. If you want to avoid “bad days” the formula is simple: go to sleep, get a good job, take a hot shower and buy yourself a blow-dryer. And if all else fails, head to the gym.

Charcuterie Board (Serves two to four)

Fried Chicken Liver Nuggets | Gribiche Sauce Smoked Veal Ham with Molasses Reduction Beef Cheek and Tongue Terrine | Escabeche House-Made Tapatío | Herb Salad

The “Returns” Merry-Go-Round Many moms have a stack of returns waiting in their trunk to be returned. The skirt just didn’t sit right, the sweater wasn’t the right match, the sneakers aren’t cool enough, and the baseball mitt didn’t have the right fit. We can probably all commiserate – been there, done that too many times. But once you are relieved of an unwanted item and your credit appears on your credit card statement, the item is just beginning its long journey. Retailers are stuck dealing with returned merchandise, especially stores with popular and forgiving return policies. While many returns go back on the shelf to be re-sold at a discount, much of the merchandise is shipped off. Each retailer has their own system. Some offload rejected clothes, appliances and toys for pennies on the dollar through a vast ecosystem of resellers, ranging from outlet stores and online auctions to flea markets and salvage


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The Week In News dealers. For example, last week, on an online auction site, 49 washing machines and dryers that had recently been returned to Best Buy Co. sold at a 68% discount for $13,300. This year, retailing’s secondary market saw a jump in sales, perhaps because of the strongest growth in holiday sales since 2011 and the surge of online shopping. Online purchases are more likely to be returned. In 2016, the total revenue from post-retail sales, including both returns and overstocked items, totaled $554 billion. That figure has steadily been rising by about 7.5% a year, according to Zac Rogers, an operations and supply-chain professor at Colorado State University’s business school. As expected, due to post-holiday clean-up, January and February are the busiest months for resellers. Howard Rosenberg, chief executive of B-Stock Solutions, which runs online liquidation sites for major retailers, including sites of the Best Buy and Sears sales, as well as similar auction sites for Costco Wholesale Corp., Macy’s Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Lowe’s Cos., Home Depot Inc., Walmart Inc. and others said this is what is called reverse supply chain. “It’s just mayhem during this period,” Rosenberg said. This November and December, holiday sales reached nearly $692 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home

About 13%, or $90 billion, is expected to be returned through the end of February, according to a forecast by Optoro Inc., a logistics company that works with major retailers like Target Corp., Staples Inc. and BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. Clothing and apparel is the most commonly returned item, followed by electronics, beauty products, and sports or outdoor gear. Most retailers are proficient at handling returns and they have finessed their processing, handling hundreds of thousands of items a day in some facilities. Many of those processing centers add a second shift this time of year to handle the higher volume. This season may be a good time to look for good deals on clearance shelves or outlets, so happy shopping! And returning, of course.

Worst Commute of the Week Thought your commute to work was bad? Jennifer Tang has it worse than you.

This week, the Riders Alliance awarded the City University librarian its first “Worst Commute of the Week” award. What did Jennifer do? Well, it’s what she wasn’t able to do – head home after work. In general, Tang says her commute home from the city is just a 30 minute train ride. But on January 20, during her last five minutes of her subway ride to Forest Hills her train stalled in a tunnel, resulting in a two-hour wait. If that wasn’t enough, Tang says she had to use the restroom – and every extra minute was agony. She has since learned from her mistake. “Now, before boarding the subway, even if it’s for one stop, I use the bathroom.” The Riders Alliance awards were organized by the advocacy group to urge New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state’s Legislature into enacting a long-term plan to fund and fix the city’s declining subway system. Tang was its first awardee. Winners receive a chocolate replica of a MetroCard. Tang says that her commute on that January 20 day was her personal worst in a lifetime of subway riding: “Even in the ‘70s when I almost got mugged on the subway, I never had such as horrible experience on the train.”

Horse Cure Stuck in the hospital with pneumonia Christine Carbonneau was getting visitors every day. But there was one visitor she never was able to see: her pet horse, Ireland. Carbonneau is set to get married and has been in the hospital for over a month. Her fiancé, Gary Stephens, wanted to cheer her up and so he arranged for Ireland to gallop from their home in Thonotosassa, Florida, to the long-term facility where Carbonneau was staying. “When Christine woke up [from a coma] at the end of January, she wasn’t able to talk and just too tired to write. I could tell she was just a bit down and I thought I would hatch a plan to cheer her up,” Gary said. Christine burst into tears when she was wheeled outside to see the horse. Gary recalled, “It was such an amazing moment and it was special to see Christine smile.” “I’m really grateful to all the staff at the hospital who helped me make it happen,” he added. What’s better than a horse to cheer you up, of course?

The Week In News

FEBRUARY 22, 2018 | The Jewish Home


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