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Far or near, with our 24/7 emergency hotline VitalOne is always there.
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VitalOne provides the #1 air medical transport service.
In time of medical crisis, whether you are close at hand or across the globe, VitalOne ensures your air medical transport needs will be professionally performed with the highest level of expertise and compassion. Dr. Yaron Naveh
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The first time that I heard about VitalOne was when I took a baby with a very severe liver disease to New York City. What makes Vital One unique is Isaac himself. I have his cellular number and he has mine and we work one-to-one in each case. With VitalOne I know that although the patient is in an airplane, helicopter, or ambulance, the treatment and management won’t deteriorate. That is key.
Dr. Efraim Sadot
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Dr Amiram Lev
Director of PICU | Emek Medical Center
Medicine during transport is different from medicine inside the hospital, or the ICU. The patient is prone to a lot of problems, like extubation or losing an IV line. You have to be an expert in order not to cause any more damage. I know that when I get patients who were transported by VitalOne, they arrive in the best medical condition possible.
Dr. Shai Tejman-Yarden
Pediatric Cardiologist | Sheba Medical Center
VitalOne was waiting for us when we landed in New York, smiling and very helpful from beginning to end. Most of VitalOne’s team are Orthodox and they spoke Yiddish to the parents who were also Orthodox. It made the family very comfortable to have familiar people supporting them and communicating with them.
When we landed in New York, VitalOne was waiting. They were prepared for everything and knew exactly what they needed; from the medical equipment to the people in immigration and customs. I did not have to worry about waiting in lines, negotiating and discussing arrangements. When I need to transport a child from Israel to the States, VitalOne is the company I use.
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Dr. Philippe Biderman
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I’ve been involved in air ambulance operations for 40 years. It requires proper education,training, and pre-planning. Besides for the medical knowledge and equipment, you must know the aviation and ground transport environment, the legalities of flying across borders and be able to clear a critically ill patient through customs. VitalOne has this expertise. I’ll continue using them for every air ambulance request to and from the United States.
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Dr. Ami Mayo Director of Surgical Critical Care General & Trauma Surgery Rambam Health Care Campus Major (Res) Special Operation Flight Surgeon Israel Air Force Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669
I met VitalOne for the first time when I had a patient with severe liver failure who needed an emergency liver transplant in the United States. Isaac Leider understands that for these complex and intricate missions to be successful, every part must fit together meticulously. I have Isaac on speed dial and he is always available for emergencies 24/7. VitalOne is the only air ambulance operation I trust.
APRIL 1, 2015
COMMUNITY Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
JEWISH THOUGHT Dirshu World Siyum - Special Coverage. . . . . . . . . 13 Values and Meanings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
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Children Wait for Freedom at the Seder. . . . . . . . . 20 What to Bring to the Seder. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Hope Of The Marror. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Chosen, Blessed & Free. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Barrels of Beer on the Riverbank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
LIFESTYLES Consider Awesome Arboretum’s this Chol Hamoed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Don’t Know Much About Horseradish?. . . . . . . . . . 32 How Israel Helps the Palestinians: Cooperation in the Midst of Conflict. . . . . . . . . . . . 34 “It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know!” Power-Bubbe Shirley Friedman IS Civic Pride. . . . 36 Travel Guide: New Hampshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
EDUCATION Ask the Attorney. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Dear Readers, I imagine that sooner or later in each century, there came a time when we were reminded that although we might carry full citizenship of a given country, our destiny would lie elsewhere. As of this writing, Jewish leaders in Berlin have advised against wearing a Kippah in public, the Jews in the banlieues just outside Paris, France were advised to remove their Mezuzahs from the front door and the Chabad Shliach to the largest city in Sweden has said that his wife and four young children rarely leave their home because of security concerns. Bringing this closer to home, Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg just reported that during this past Rosh Hashanah, Vice President Joe Biden told a group of Jewish leaders that, “You understand in your bones that no matter how hospitable, no matter how consequential, no matter how engaged, no matter how deeply involved you are in the United States... there’s only one guarantee… There is really only one absolute guarantee, and that’s the State of Israel.” Reading these words with anti-Semitism on the rise, on the rise in every country, should send shivers down our spine. Separating the Jewish people from the rest of a country’s citizens is language we have unfortunately heard before. Are current attitudes pushing the envelope in this direction again? While we are a world apart from the terror that our grandparents had to face
when they woke up to the new reality of their neighbors viewing them as untouchables, eternal outsiders, these current events remind us that ultimately this is not our home. Pesach is the festival of our liberation. Liberation from captivity. Liberation to be free. Each generation of Jews is instructed to view themselves as having left Egypt, for every generation has its physical challenges as well as spiritual ones from outside constraints and from within. Our job is to burst free. “A captive cannot free himself for he needs someone on the outside.” Pesach is a time when G-d reveals a deeper dimension of himself bringing out a deeper level in us. What we viewed as being free last Pesach, was revealed as another layer, another shell over our neshama. Yet ultimate freedom isn’t only the negation of outside forces; freedom is when our souls are feeling alive throughout the day. It’s when we don’t have to struggle to keep ourselves from growing insensitive and coarse as we go about our lives. It’s when we will see purity in the other without having to “dig deeper.” It’s been a few thousand years that we’ve been breaking free from our barriers. It’s time they be removed for eternity. L’shana hab’ah b’yerushalayim; by next year we should be in Jerusalem. May we experience true freedom in all areas of our lives,
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
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MayiM Bialik The Art and Life of David Labkovski
RaBBi ShaRon BRouS, ikaR Remarks by
Return to Wielopole: The Teitelbaum Family Journey
Mayor Eric GarcEtti consul GEnEral of israEl DaviD siEGEl Holocaust survivor Eva BrEttlEr Programs to follow Jewish World Watch Walk to End Genocide in Pan Pacific Park
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APRIL 1, 2015
Sunday, april 19, 2015
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yom HaSHoaH Day of Holocaust coMMeMoration
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APRIL 1, 2015
The Rebbe’s Birthday, the Birth of Education Day USA Ruth Judah
11 Nissan 5775 is the anniversary of the birth of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory. This year will be 113 years since the Rebbe’s birth in 1902. It is also 100 years since his bar mitzvah. The Rebbe’s teachings and influence are no less influential today than they were during his life, yet many people are unaware of the Rebbe’s belief in the importance of celebrating birthdays the Jewish way. The Rebbe taught that birthdays should be celebrated in two ways to be sure you had grown spiritually from the event. Firstly, your birthday should be the celebration of when your soul came down to this world to fulfill a certain mission. As you reach the anniversary of the day
The Rebbe’s Birthday -President Ronald Reagan signs the proclamation for Education Day U.S.A. on April 9, 1987. Photo Chabad.org
of your birth, you must plan to achieve something meaningful with the renewed blessing of another year in your life. The day is recognized as a poignant and special time when someone’s mazal or luck, is stronger, so you have the ability to meaningfully bless other people with growth for their mazal over the coming year. The Rebbe wrote, as recorded in HaYom Yom, that the best way to experience the energy of your birthday is to set aside time to be with alone and to meditate and take a look at your life and achievements, your character and your path and consider what you have achieved over the previous year. This should guide you into forming new goals for the coming year.
At the same time, the Rebbe believed in group celebrations and fabrengens. He knew that people often don’t celebrate their birthdays in a Jewish way and he wanted to encourage this and fabrengens were well suited for this. At the same time, he would only ask for a spiritual gift from his supporters. In 1976, Jimmy Carter, then the US President, called the Rebbe on his birthday and told him that he was making the Rebbe’s English birthday, April 8th, into Education Day USA, in honor of the Rebbe’s campaign to increase the moral and ethical education of American children. To this day, the acting president has followed this tradition and designated the anniversary of the Rebbe’s birth as a day dedicated to educational awareness.
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During the weeks before Pesach the 4th grade boys at Cheder Menachem worked together to raise monies for Maos Chitin. Organized before Pesach, the event has been held for each of the past fifteen years but this time the total money raised was a substantial $481.00. Rabbi Simcha Frankel, 4th grade teacher, said the wonderful success of the event was due to the student’s enthusiasm and the creativity of this years’ class.
“The boys created carnival booths with homemade activities and games. They did this without help and there were no complaints. They had to work hard to be sure they were well prepared because the event ran for 2 ½ hours and there were lines at each booth throughout the afternoon. Tickets were 25 cents and the fourth graders made certain that each game was well worth the ticket price. We had a Licorice Race, Sponge Toss, Guess the Chocolate Chips in the Marshmallow Fluff and more.” The Maos Chitin monies are a financial obligation for all Jews but it is not a tax or a charitable donation. Instead, the fund is a financial mitzvah that is raised on behalf of low income households who have an additional financial burden as they prepare for Pesach. The class donated the entire amount to Rabbi Shimon HaLevi Raichik of Congregation Levi Yitzchak who is distributing the dollars to local families. Rabbi Frankel was pleased with the achievement of the kids and is already thinking of ways to innovate for next year’s Maos Chitin program.
spiringly about how important it is to learn halacha l’maaseh every day. He explained how the Chofetz Chaim says in a number of places that this is the most important Torah we should be learning, and we are not fulfilling the mitzvah of Talmud Torah if we don’t incorporate a daily component of halacha l’maaseh. He also explained how learning Mishna Berura changes a person’s life as he becomes more aware of how his every move is a means of fulfilling Hashem’s will.
The attendees were moved by his words and a number of them decided to join in with the learning of a daily amud of Mishna Berura, others joined Rabbi Trainer’s shiur and others learned with a chavrusa. The Dirshu cycle has just begun anew from the beginning of Orach Chaim. Rabbi Trainer’s dynamic and informative shiur takes place at 8:15pm, Sunday through Thursday, in the Los Angeles Kollel, 7216 Beverly Blvd. For more information call 323 549 0279.
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APRIL 1, 2015
Fourth Grade Boys at Cheder Menachem Raise Money for Maos Chitin
the Los Angeles Kollel. Rabbi Chaim Trainer celebrated the completion of the entire Mishna Berura. “It’s hard to believe that it’s already seven years since I began learning the Mishna Berura with the Dirshu cycle,” admitted the Rabbi. Two years ago, Rabbi Trainer, who is a Rebbe in Yeshiva Toras Emes, took on the additional challenge of delivering a shiur five days a week, covering the Mishna Berura of that day. At this siyum, Rabbi Trainer spoke in-
A unique siyum took place on March 21 at a well-attended Melaveh Malka at
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Siyum on Mishna Berura in Los Angeles
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APRIL 1, 2015
Open Bottle, Pour Wine, Drink Wine, Repeat! “Passover at Herzog wines is like the holiday season at Amazon!” said Kim Roberts, Herzog Wine Club Manager. No wonder this is so, give that everybody who attends the two Seders is commanded to drink four glasses of wine at each. The Seder host will likely prepare a bottle of wine for every four adults. What better proof do we have of our freedom? It is rare that we drink 8 glasses of wine across two consecutive evenings. Meanwhile, wine sales at Pesach are impacted by the gift giving of wine as a token of appreciation for the Seder hosts. So it’s no wonder that the wine industry expands at this time of year. The numbers are impressive; wine sales make up a substantial part of the $2.5 billion “Kosher for Passover” marketplace in America. Consumers can be stifled by the choice. The Herzog family is the major producer of American kosher wines and now sells 52 unique bottles of wine with prices ranging from under $10 to $250 a bottle. Flavors range from the sweet Riesling to the rich Cabernet, the lush Syrah, a classic Californian Chardonnay or the floral Chenin Blanc. And there are more. Every year there are new blends on the market and this year, Herzog has introduced the Variations line which is a blend of Califor-
nian Cabernet Sauvignons from different appellations and costs $25 a bottle. The wine industry has come a long
are as likely to purchase them. Not only does Israel produce a broad selection, but many options exist in America and from
gion of Northern France. He was known to have been a successful vintner who grew, manufactured and sold wine. His
way from the days of our grandparent’s kosher wines which were syrupy and heavy. Kosher wines are now of such a high quality that non-kosher wine drinkers
less famous vineyards in Argentina, Italy, New Zealand, and Australia and so on. Throughout the year, Herzog only produces Kosher for Passover wine, which is common for Kosher wine producers. Wine that is kosher for Passover uses yeast for fermentation from a culture that has not been grown on bread. For Passover purchases, it is normal to look for low alcohol wines. These often have a lower level of sugar at harvest. Yeast ferments sugar into alcohol, therefore the more ripe the grape, the higher the potential alcohol. In order to increase the sweetness, grape juice may be added; think Manischewitz. Otherwise you can choose a naturally sweet wine like White Zinfandel or Moscato. Traditionally the wine used at the Seder is red, not white and many prefer wine that costs under $20 a bottle, which is simpler to enjoy and takes a less sophisticated palate and budget. The price of wine is dependent on the source of the grapes. Napa Valley grapes are the most expensive compared to grapes from other California regions. Some highend wines are fermented in French Oak casks, which substantially influences the final flavor. From tangy and zesty to fruity or spicy, the experience varies broadly. Grapes for wine making are picked only once a year, in the fall. Kosher vines have to be at least four years old and, in Israel, they are not harvested on the seventh year. In fact, the haggim usually fall in the middle of the wine harvest which creates its own complications. The Jewish connection to winemaking goes back to the earliest days and Rashi, born in 1040, lived in the French city of Troyes which is in the wine-growing re-
commentaries show he had, among other things, an immense knowledge of botany and agriculture.
Today, the white wines are bottled before the red wines. This is because many red wine age in oak barrels before being bottled. Certain white wines are also left to flavor in oak barrels and this adds a toasty vanilla flavor. The biggest variant in the taste, however, is due to the variety of grape, the amount of sun and the texture of the earth that grows the fruit, A master sommelier can tell all of this from a sip of the finished wine but even the least experienced drinker can tell whether they like the wine or not. The problem with wine reviews and wine selections is that our selectivity on wine is often as varied as our recipes for charoseth. If you are hosting your Seder, it is crucial that you try the wine before the holiday begins. Alicia Wilbur, Enologist at Herzog Wine Cellars, is quick to remind us, “This is still the ultimate test; do you like it?”
dox Jews and explains the importance of this vote. “Slowly but surely we are going to have our values and opinions eroded if we fail to vote. We have to take a stand. There is so much money at stake that we cannot let liberal Jewish values be the benefactors
of this large sum. We have to get people to go online and vote to protect the religious integrity of Israel! ” The World Zionist Organization is sometimes referred to as the “parliament of the Jewish people.” It was originally convened by Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland, for the purpose of uniting Jewish people around the world. At the 36th Zionist Congress, on 15 June 2010, Natan Sharansky was elected as the head of the Jewish Agency and Avraham Duvdevani, an orthodox Jew, was elected as the Chairman of the WZO.
Any Jew who is over age 18 and has signed the pro-Zionist “Jerusalem Program” may vote for delegates from today until April 30. The election is being supervised by the American Zionist Movement, which charges a $5 fee for persons under age 30, and $10 for those over age 30 who vote. For more information watch: http:// www.votetorah.org/ and to vote, visit the VOTETORAH.org site: Rabbi Lerner can be reached by email at: email@example.com
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Carne Asada Thin sliced beef marinated in chimichurri sauce (garlic parsley jalapenos)
Grilled Chicken Mojo marinated (onions sweet orange cinnamon paprika)
Birria Lamb and beef braised overnight in dry chiles
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Side Dishes Pan roasted red potatoes Roasted Pumpkin Sauteed zucchini
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APRIL 1, 2015
The 37th World Zionist Congress (WZC) is planned for October, 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel. The meetings occur only once every five years, making this an event of real importance. Many Jewish organizations will be funded and organized for the next five years as a result of the decisions made at the Congress. This includes the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) Keren Hayesod (KH) Keren Kayemet L’Yisroel (KKL) and others who will elect their leadership and determine policies that will affect their dissemination of Torah education, Jewish identity, conversion rules, expansion of communities in Judea and Samaria, the Settlement Division, and the religious affiliation of shlichim who are sent to small Jewish communities in South America, South Africa, the former Soviet Union, Europe and North America. The Torah community and the Yeshiva communities that make up the American orthodox community are slow to organize themselves politically and yet without their vote, the vast budget of the WZC will not be allocated to orthodox programs, institutions and causes but to Liberal Jewish agendas which are often anti-Torah. The annual budget is estimated to be an astronomical one billion dollars, created by Israeli government contributions as well as the funding raised by the participating Zionist groups. It is simple to vote. Go to https://myvoteourisrael.com/ where you can register and immediately vote for the only orthodox party, the “Religious Zionist Slate: Vote Torah for the Soul of Israel.” The voting period ends on April 30, 2015 and voters must have registered and voted prior to the deadline. The goal is for 50,000 orthodox votes to be cast from America, although there is no reason that the number of voters won’t exceed this. The only orthodox option, option 10, is named Vote Torah, which is a partnership of many orthodox organizations. These organizations recognized the importance of unifying to create a meaningful impact on the distribution of the substantial WZC funds. Headed by Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University. The slate includes local community leaders from Orthodox institutions and communities throughout the United States. There will be 525 Jewish delegates at the Congress. These elected delegates serve as the parliament of the Jewish people so their religious affiliation is of crucial importance for the continuation and advancement of traditional values. With 145 of the delegates coming from the United States, there is serious concern that non-religious pressure groups could secure large numbers of voters. In contrast the orthodox population is less politically active and this could underserve orthodox opinions with a dour outcome. Rabbi Pesach Lerner is Executive Vice President Emeritus of the National Council of Young Israel and Co-Chairman of American Friends of the (IYIM). He is concerned by the lack of political influence by ortho-
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Vote at the World Zionist Congress. We Must Take a Stand!
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APRIL 1, 2015
Kollel Chatzos; Where Torah is Being Learned 24 Hours a Day Shoshana Bernstein
Rabbi Nechemye Hoffman is the founder and Director of Kollel Chatzos. A young father of three, he started the first kollel in Beitar Illit, Israel in 2011. He had just 14 members and a dream. Four years later there are four locations and the power and zechus of supporting limud hatorah, especially at chatzos, is reverberating across the globe. Rabbi Hoffman explained more about the program. What is Kollel Chatzos? Kollel Chatzos is program that supports all night Torah study to support Am Yisroel. Every night at a little past midnight, close to 100 young talmidei chachomim in Brooklyn, Monsey, Monroe and Meron, leave home to learn in Kollel throughout the night. People are shocked when they see the yungerleit running in to shul at that time, with tallis and tefillin in hand. It’s inspiring to see such excitement for learning when everyone else is going to sleep! Recently, a wealthy man happened to be standing outside the shul when one of the cars pulled up. He wondered out loud what they were doing and was so moved, he gave $50 to each kollel member right then and there. What differentiates Kollel Chatzos from other organizations of the same name? We are the only kollel in Eretz Yisroel with regular, young kollel members learning the standard range of Torah. Walk in to any of our locations at 3 am and you’ll think you stepped in to a normal, vibrant day kollel. In America we are the only Kollel Chatzos and the only kollel learning throughout the night. Describe a night in Kollel Chatzos. The members are picked up (since it is the middle of the night, we provide transportation) and Kollel begins promptly at 12:45 with Maariv. Then they settle in to learn. Some chazer what they learned during the day, some learn b’chavrusa. Others participate in Dirshu; Maggidei Shiur prepare and there is a Dayan who reviews shailos and learns Shulchan Oruch. Many say tikun chatzos. Each member has a list of names specific to their kollel to keep in mind while they learn. At some point he takes out the paper and recites the names with sincerity. We keep the lists relatively small and these exemplary talmidei chachomim develop a strong spiritual connection to the names they daven for; if a name is taken off the list, they notice. They learn until daybreak and daven Shacharis at netz. There is something very special about a davening that comes after an entire night of being immersed in Torah! Then the members head home to eat breakfast and help with the family and
sleep for a couple of hours. By ten o’clock in the morning they are back in their regular day kollel. So they learn day and night?! Yes. They get home from day kollel, eat supper and help with the kids, go to sleep at about 8:30 pm for four hours and then wake up and head to Kollel Chatzos for the night. It is an intense way of life, but the kollel members who commit to it can’t imagine anything else. In fact, there’s a huge waiting list in each city. What type of person signs up for Kollel Chatzos? Yungerleit ages 25-30; deeply committed to learning Torah; they must be learning during the day as well. When someone applies we meet with him and ask, ‘What
very inspiring. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai states over and over that chatzos halaila is such a special time to learn, so I decided to try. I davened Maariv in the first minyan in yeshiva, went to sleep and woke up at 12 am. I had the key to a Bais Medrash in Meah Shearim; I let myself in and learned, alone, the whole night. Then I got married and settled in Monroe, with a regular day kollel schedule, but I really missed the chatzos halaila learning and always talked about it. About a year and a half after I got married, my wife urged me to use our chasunah savings to open a kollel. I went to various Gedolim for haskama and put a small ad in the classifieds. I started two weeks later with 14 people.
zechus of supporting the kollel, and the yeshuos it brings, they realize that there is definitely a koach to supporting Torah being learned b’chatzos halailah. There have always been those who feel a deep connection to segulos and yeshuos. Now people across the board are recognizing the tremendous zechus in helping ensure there is never a moment without Torah being learned, especially during the night. When you consider the time difference between the Kollel Chatzos locations in America and Eretz Yisroel, it means that in essence Torah is being learned non-stop from 6 pm to 6 am. Add this torah learning to the rest of Torah being learned during the day throughout the world and Torah is being learned 24 hours a day.
is your plan for learning and what is your plan for your home life? When will you sleep?” They must be able to sleep for four hours before they come. When someone is accepted, he is committed for one zman. For most kollel members, there is an adjustment period, but then it becomes a way of life. What about the wives? The application actually requires the wife’s signature stating that she agrees and supports this decision, just like for Hatzolah members. Some wives even add that it is a zechus and an honor. During the year we plan support groups for the women, and inspirational speakers; before Pesach we give out bonus coupons, and before Shavuos we give a bag filled with milchig items and a beautiful letter thanking the wives. How did the Kollel get started? When I was a bochur learning in the Mir, I was zoche to get to know a tremendous talmid chochom and mechaber seforim who shared with me that it is a life changing experience to learn the Zohar. I went to Meron for Lag b’Omer and bought myself a small set of Zohar and found it
How did one small kollel grow into four locations and a world renowned source for the zechusim of limud hatorah? The kollel started after Pesach and by the summer, I was running out of money. I happened to mention the kollel to a new father and he reached into his wallet and gave me $30. He told me, “I can’t stay up the whole night before the bris to learn. Please have the kollel learn in zechus of my baby.” The Rashash brings an incredible chiddush: if someone cannot stay up to learn the night of his baby’s vachnacht, he can ask someone else to learn on his behalf and it is as if he himself learned for his baby the entire night. I realized that this was a potential way to help support the kollel while providing new fathers with an avenue to have a shmira and a zechus for their baby. We started advertising and more people signed up for the zechus of having the kollel learn throughout the night. It grew from there. What do you think appeals to people most? When people hear the power and
You give people the opportunity to become a partner with Kollel Chatzos by making donations. What do you use the donations for? The money goes exclusively to the kollel members and it pays administrative costs that are needed as we raise funds for the kollelim. Without this financing, we would not be able to pay the kollel members and the families would not have the ability to live this elevated and exceptional life of Torah. The more money raised, the more I can give to each kollel member and the more locations I can open. What is your vision for the future? I would like a Kollel Chatzos in every city with enough money to include as many kollel members as possible. And ultimately, that each kollel chatzos should be a full day kollel as well. For more information contact Kollel Chatzos at 855-242-8967 (chatzos) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 46 Main St. #104, Monsey NY, 10952 and on the web at www.1855chatzos.org
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Tragedies Make Us Learn and Grow; Fire Safety Symposiums in LA On Sunday March 29th, the LA Jewish community was invited to a fire safety fair at two locations. In the morning, Emek Hebrew Academy hosted an event that lasted from 11 until 2pm. Then at 4pm, B’nei David Judea hosted a symposium at the shul on Pico. The event were conceived by realtor Michelle Hirsch who explained why she
can’t close without these. Yet 90% of the homes she sells and buys are missing these life-saving items. “People wait until they are selling their homes to have these items checked and replaced but that is the wrong time to do it!” Michelle Hirsch single handedly financially sponsored the Safety Fair. “I could not have put this vital program together
L-R Hatzolah member Mendy Bukiet, Rabbi Mordechai Shifman Emek Head of School, Battalion Chief Zipperman, Michelle Hirsch event sponsor, Eric C. Bauman L.A. Democratic Party Chair, Commissioner Shirley Friedman, Cameron Barrett Director at MySafeLA.org
put the event together. “No family should ever have to go through the horrific tragedy that just occurred in Brooklyn. Shame on us, if we don’t take a moment to stop, learn, and grow both in a physical way and in a spiritual way. I had to make this happen, I made it my mission. I made one phone call to Shirley Friedman, and in less than a week this is what we pulled together. It has been a fantastic outcome.” Fire safety starts with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Hirsch is all too aware that real estate transactions
without Commissioner Shirley Friedman, Chair of L.A. City Democratic party Eric C. Bauman, and Rabbi Mordechai Shifman, Head of School at Emek.” Both programs were put together in conjunction and with assistance by Council Members, L.A. City Fire Department, and Hatzolah. The free symposiums were well attended with fire education projects and refreshments besides. Smoke detectors were freely distributed and there were live demonstrations of the proper and correct use of a hand fire extinguisher. Kids also
need to learn fire safety and this was a key theme at the Valley event. All attendees learned that a fire extinguisher is the second line of defense but the first preventive item is a smoke alarm which must be in good working order. Change the batteries each year! Although everyone is familiar with small red fire extinguishers, we rarely have a cause to use one and this is problematic because a fire can double in size every 60 seconds. Fire extinguishers that you find in schools and public spaces are the same as the ones at home. They are classified as Class ABC extinguishers, because they are able to put out a fire that comes from wood or paper, flammable liquid and electrical sources. You can purchase these on Amazon from $16, so there is no excuse for any home to be without one. Where should you keep your home fire extinguisher? In the place that is most eas-
ily accessible, probably the closet by the doorway to the kitchen. Local firefighters explained that you cannot fight a fire with a handheld extinguisher if the flames are taller than you are. In this situation, G-d forbid, call 911 and leave the premises. Otherwise, you must pull the pin, aim the nozzle, squeeze the trigger and sweep the flames from side to side. All the families that attended the events on March 29th were pleased with the information they received. Michelle Andron said her kids had a blast and added that she is, “delighted to get the Fire Department to come to my house for an appointment. They are going to replace all the alarms for free. We’ve lived in the same home for 10 years so I think we are a little behind the times and our smoke alarms could be out of date. Now that I have a home full of kids, it’s important to be responsible”
Pesach Leil Iyun On March 25th, LINK held its annual pre-Pesach Leil Iyun. The first part of the program consisted of four simultaneous informal shiurim: Rabbi Asher Brander (LINK’s Founder and Rav,) discussed the halachic and hashkafic ideas behind the Afikomen, Rabbi Eli Stern (LINK’s Outreach Director) offered a quick review of the laws of Bedikas and Biur chometz, Rabbi Gavriel Heimowitz delineated the manifold meanings of Matzah being called “Lechem Oni,” and Rabbi Daniel Weinstock reviewed, with commentary, the seminal verses that define the Exodus in Chumash. In the second half of the evening, LINK was privileged to hear a masterful shiur by HaRav Nachum Sauer, Rosh Kollel of The Yeshiva of Los Angeles, on the deeper meaning behind the four cups of wine of the Seder night. The audience listened in rapt attention as Rabbi Sauer first
offered a brief halachic analysis (based on the famous distinction of the Brisker Rav on the two aspects of the mitzvah,) and then proceeded to a fascinating hashkafic overview. Rav Sauer delineated five different paradigms of understanding of the concept of “four” in the number of cups, drawing from classic commentaries from the Rishonim until contemporary times. Briefly, the four cups can be compared to: The four types of people who are obligated to give thanks, the four stages of growth that the Jews underwent in Egypt, the four things the Jews did not change in Egypt despite their assimilation, the four Imahos, and the four languages
in Shir HaShirim describing Hashem’s relationship to us as His Beloved. He also addressed the perplexing Chazal that ties in the four cups of wine with the four times the word “kos” is mentioned in the butler’s dream that he related to Yosef. Putting it succinctly, Rabbi Sauer stressed the need to show gratitude to Hashem for our entry into Galus as much as for our deliverance from it. Without the “Iron Furnace” of Egypt to refine our character and to inculcate within us the concept of being a servant (which we then transposed to serving Hashem), we would not have become the great nation that we are. As the “Seder” of the Hagaddah itself indicates, we begin with the story of the degradation and we end with the praise of Hashem for our newly exalted status. Without the former, there could not have been the latter.
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The Secret of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha: The Secret of Dirshu It happened when the venerated senior Rosh Yeshiva of the generation, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, walked into the stadium. The lump in the throat felt like a bowling ball, the tears welled up, the moment was a life-altering, world-changing occurrence. As the Rosh Yeshiva - a manifestation of kulo neshamah - entered and slowly approached the podium, the realization hit. On 3 Nissan, 5775, Klal Yisrael changed. We all became a bit more neshamadig. We, en masse, made a decision to bring Hashem into our lives in an unprecedented fashion; to live with the cognizance of His presence every day from when we wake up until we go to sleep, weekdays, Shabbos, Yom Tov, always! I had a unique vantage point which I would like to share with you, my dear readers. I had the zechus to attend many of the major siyumim around the globe. Each siyum was a remarkable, singular spiritual experience, with its own distinct atmosphere and flavor. Each one left thousands strengthened in avodas Hashem. Most importantly, in the wake of the siyumim, tens of thousands of Yidden have begun the new machzor of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. The massive siyumim in the Yad Eliyahu and Binyanei Haumah stadiums in Eretz Yisrael raised the attendees to new heights… but the undercurrent was so much more. The rippling emotions were felt in each venue. The attendees of the siyumim in France, South Africa and South America were overwhelmed and uplifted by the experience. They had never experienced such events in unity with their brethren around the world. In England, the Shabbos had a transformative effect topped off by the sight of an electrified crowd jostling at 2:00 a.m. - the culmination of the melave malka siyum to buy Dirshu Mishnah Berurahs so they could start the next day!
Dais view left to right, HaRav Shragi Kallus, HaRav Yissocher Frand, HaRav Dovid Hofstedter, The Modzhitzer Rebbe, The Rav of Antwerp, Dayan Binyomin Eckstein
(L to R) HaRav Dovid Hofstedter, Modzhitzer Rebbe, Rav of Antwerp
Festive Dancing upon completing the first Machzor of Daf Yomi B’Halacha
Partial view of the crowd at the UK Dirshu Siyum
And in America at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Stamford, it became clear that Dirshu is a family affair. Not just the men, but the wives and children are equally involved, homes are being transformed as people begin to gain a better knowledge and understanding of halacha.
But what is the sod, the secret of Dirshu? What prompted the Gedolei Yisrael – many old, frail and weak – to take the time to celebrate the siyum and be mechazek Yidden? Why have the senior Gedolim formed together a nesius of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha encouraging people to learn halacha?
The answer is that Dirshu is pure Torah, pure ruchniyus. Dirshu’s main raison d’etre is to be mezakeh Klal Yisrael with limud haTorah, to enrich their learning and prevent Yidden from inadvertently transgressing issurim due to lack of halachic knowledge. Dirshu does not ask anything back from Klal Yisrael. Its greatest nachas is to see more people learning and growing in Torah and avodas Hashem. A yungerman at the Shabbos table in England explained it beautifully, saying, “Dirshu changed my life. After I left kollel, I couldn’t find satisfaction in learning. Certainly I had a chavrusah for an hour but it was just learning without heart. Then I discovered Dirshu. Now I am learning an average of 6 hours a day Gemara and I am planning on adding Daf HaYomi B’Halacha.” Rav Yissocher Frand, inimitably and succinctly exclaimed, “Dirshu has taught us not only that you have to learn, but that you have to know!” As these words are being written, tens of thousands have undertaken to learn halacha and to know halacha! That is why Rav Shteinman and the Gedolim came. That is why Dirshu’s siyumim-the ultimate manifestation of achdus- were collective simchos for all of Klal Yisrael. More than just the simcha of a siyum, the Dirshu siyumim were the simcha of a haschala! The beginning of a mass movement of yedias halacha! Rav Meir Shapiro proposed the Daf HaYomi at the Knessiah Gedolah in 1923, but the first celebration of Daf HaYomi, when Klal Yisrael embraced it, publically gave thanks for it and joined en masse was 7 years later in Lublin. The Daf HaYomi B’Halacha began 7 years ago at Dirshu’s 10th anniversary celebration in Eretz Yisrael, but it was truly embraced by all shevatim of Klal Yisrael on 3 Nissan 5775. Ashreichem Yisrael! Ashreichem Dirshu!
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Dirshu Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Siyum in Eretz Yisrael Culmination of Siyumim in Five Countries
Senior Gedolei Yisrael Urge Klal Yisrael to Learn Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Chaim Gold “If our mouths were as full of song as the sea is full of water and our tongues as full of joy as the multitudes of the waves…” we would not be able to properly encapsulate the depth of feeling, joy, celebration, phenomenal achdus and inspiration at the Dirshu World Siyumim celebrating the completion of the Machzor Rishon of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. Certainly it was a celebration of accomplishment, seven years of yegiah, toiling in halacha as thousands completed the first cycle, but as much as it was a celebration over the past it was a demonstration of resolve for the future! Rivevos alpehei Yisrael, tens of thousands of Yidden from literally across the world, Eretz Yisrael, North America, Europe, South Africa, South America, Australia, all accepted upon themselves k’ish echad b’lev echad with a Kabbalas HaTorah-like achdus, to bring daily halacha and mussar into their lives. Last week, thousands of new shiurim began Siman Aleph, Se’iph Aleph in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim with Mishnah Berurah, tens of thousands of individual learners began the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha seder. A United Kinnus Tzaddikim The worldwide siyumim were essentially the inauguration of a new Daf HaYomi in Klal Yisrael that will enhance halachic observance throughout Klal Yisrael thereby saving multitudes from millions of issurim, transgressions that they heretofore did not know existed! Perhaps that is why the centenarian senior Gadol Hador, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita, troubled himself to come and speak with such feeling in his short words of bracha. Rav Shteinman said that a gathering such as the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is a ‘kinnus tzaddikim’ that is good for Klal Yisrael, that enriches Klal Yisrael and gives tremendous nachas ruach to Hashem!” What Will We Answer After 120 Years? The event in Tel Aviv’s Yad Eliyahu stadium opened with Dirshu’s indefatigable director of Public Affairs, Rabbi Shlomo Rozenstein, calling upon HaGaon HaRav
Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita, son-in-law of Rav Elyashiv, zt”l, and Rav of Ramat Elchanan, to deliver opening remarks. Rav Zilberstein related that when the Netziv, Rosh Yeshiva of Volozhin, completed writing his magnum opus sefer on the She’iltos of Rav Achai Gaon he made a celebration.
this, the Netziv resolved that he wanted to learn Torah. He applied himself with superhuman hasmadah until he became a gadol hador, a Rosh Yeshiva and author of some of the most important sefarim. The Netziv exclaimed, “Imagine if I would have become a shoemaker! After 120
(l tor) HaRav Yechezkel Auerbach, HaRav Dovid Hofstedter, Dayan ABraham, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein
Chief Rabbi of South Africa Warren Goldstein
The Kaliver Rebbe speaking in Binyanei Hauma, HaRav Dovid Hofstedter seated to his right
The speech he made reverberated throughout the world. He explained that when he was a young boy he overheard his parents discussing his future. They said, “He is not that bright. We should apprentice him by a shoemaker and in this way he will be able to sustain himself…” Upon hearing
years I would go up to shamayim thinking I had lived as G-d fearing shoemaker and they would demand from me, ‘Where is your sefer on the She’iltos of Rav Achai Gaon?!’” Rav Zilberstein, thundered, “Today, because of Dirshu, countless talmidim
have completed and been tested on the entire Mishnah Berurah, thousands have completed and been tested on the entire Shas! If not for Dirshu these learners would have come to shamayim and been asked, ‘Where is my Shas? Where is my Shulchan Aruch?!’ How much thanks do we owe Dirshu for enabling Klal Yisrael to reach its potential in Torah learning?!” Addressing the siyum on Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, Rav Zilberstein related in the name of his illustrious father-in-law, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt”l, that there is no greater kiddush Hashem than learning halacha! The Entrance of Seventy Gedolim Rav Zilberstein’s address was followed by one of the highlights of the evening, the entrance of more than seventy Gedolei Yisrael, Roshei Yeshiva, Admorim, and Poskim representing the entire cross-section of Klal Yisrael. Only several select senior gedolim did not come at that time, because they would arrive individually a bit later in the evening. Rav Rozenstein then introduced HaGaon HaRav Yisrael Menachem Alter, shlita, the son of the Gerer Rebbe, shlita, and explained that the Rebbe, who was participating in the simultaneous siyum at the Binyanei Haumah Convention Center in Yerushalayim for a protracted period of time, sent his son to deliver his words of bracha and guidance. With great yiras hakavod Rav Alter gave over the exact wording of his father, in Yiddish and then Hebrew. What follows is a free translation. “Learning Mishnah Berurah is daily learning for the purpose of implementing what one learns. The underlying foundation of halacha is to fulfill Hashem’s mitzvos. A person needs knowledge of halacha in every step of his life. That is the only way he can live like a Jew in all areas of life. Chazal teach that Hashem loves the gates of halacha more than shuls and battei midrash. If one engages in what Hashem loves, he will certainly merit all the brachos in ruchniyus and gashmiyus!” Moving Niggunim and Ruach
Binyanei Haumah Graced by Live Drashos from Gedolei Yisrael Meanwhile in Yerushalayim’s Binyanei Haumah Convention Center thou-
Rav Dovid Hofstedter: “Hashem’s Will is Daily Halacha and Mussar The next major address at Yad Eliyahu was given by the Nasi of Dirshu, Rav Dovid Hofstedter. Based on the Gemara in Pesachim and the Maharsha and Alshich, Rav Hofstedter showed that Am Yisrael’s power of achdus has the ability to bring even simple people to the level of bnei neviyim. “I recently had the zechus of davening at the kevarim of the Chofetz Chaim in Radin and of Rav Chaim of Volozhin. We went with Rabbanim representing every shevet in Klal Yisrael. We davened on behalf of all lomdei Daf HaYomi B’halacha present and future. The achdus permeating this siyum and the other Daf HaYomi B’Halacha siyumim has been phenomenal in nature. All of Klal Yisrael has come together for a single purpose – to demonstrate the value of learning halachah. The Derishah makes a famous statement cited by the Mishnah Berurah: If a person sets aside time for the study of Gemara and its commentaries, he has not fulfilled the requirement of kevius ittim l’Torah – having a set time for Torah study. A person must also designate a time for the study of practical halachah, for the Derishah explains, “That is the root and essence of our Torah.” “The Mishnah Berurah also rules that a person must have a daily set time for the study of mussar for, “The greater a person is, the greater is his yetzer hara and the antidote for the yetzer hara is the admonitions and teachings of Chazal. It is thus clear that it is literally the will of Hashem Himself for every individual to set aside a period of time each day for the study of halachah and mussar. Let us all accept upon ourselves to join Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, to participate in the tests. In this zechus may we merit the ultimate
simcha and achdus with the coming of Mashiach.” Rav Badani: The Antidote to Tzaros is Perhaps Learning Halacha HaGaon HaRav Shimon Baadani, shlita, member of the Nesius of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, said, “One who learns halacha every day is assured a place in Olam Habaah as it says, ‘Halichos olam Lo [the ways of the world are His]’ - do not read the word halichos, but rather halachos.” Rav Baadani explained how the passuk, ‘Halichos olam Lo’ is mentioned in Sefer Chabakuk where the Navi discusses terrible punishments. The preceding words are, ‘Everlasting mountains were smashed, eternal hills were laid low, for the ways of the world are His.’ “How,” Rav Baadani asked, “do the words of ‘halichos olam Lo’ come into this description of Hashem’s judgment?” He answered, “Perhaps we can say that Chazal derived from this passuk that one who learns halacha every day is assured a place in Olam Habaah to teach that even when we are plagued by great tzaros, great travail and suffering, maybe the antidote is to learn halacha every day.” Rav Edelstein: “Learning Halacha can Transform One’s Spiritual Life” The venerated elder Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovezh, HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, emotionally addressed the assembled, “Every one of the Chofetz Chaim’s sefarim was written to enrich Klal Yisrael and enhance their observance. Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is doing exactly that.” Rav Edelstein related that halacha can transform one’s spiritual life. “I have had talmidim who were not succeeding in learning and once they started learning halacha they blossomed in other areas of learning as well!” Rav Shteinman’s Entrance, A High Point Words cannot describe what transpired after Rav Edelstein’s address. Rabbi Rozenstein asked the crowd to welcome the senior Rosh Yeshiva of our time, Maran HaGaon HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shlita. As the diminutive gadol slowly headed towards his seat at the head, the crowd of lomdei Torah could not contain their excitement. The eruption of simcha and ecstasy defies description as all craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the Rosh Yeshiva’s holy countenance. There was a hush as Rav Shteinman, in
his soft voice, cited the Gemara that, “A gathering of tzaddikim is good for them and good for the world. A gathering of Reshaim is bad for them and bad for the world.” Rav Shteinman said forcefully, “It is good to make gatherings like this! They strengthen us all, especially in [difficult times] like this. In this zechus may all of us merit kol tuv!” HaGaon HaRav Shalom Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef and Nasi of the Shas Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah, spoke about the unique quality of the Mishnah Berurah. “When one learns Mishnah Berurah, one can truly understand the underlying premise of the halachah. I always tell my talmidim that although we Sefardim do not rule like the Mishnah Berurah, they should first learn the Mishnah Berurah and then learn the final outcome of the Sefardic poskim. After all, the Mishnah Berurah teaches you how to understand the halacha, not just what the halacha is. Therefore it is wonderful that Dirshu has instituted the learning of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, daily learning of Mishnah Berurah. The Sanzer Rebbe gave a comprehensive address pointing out that although they learned Torah in the time of the churban habayis, they did not trouble themselves to reach halachic conclusions and that brought to the churban. He went on to praise Dirshu for enriching Klal Yisrael with halacha. “Rav Dovid Hofstedter has many zechuyos, but the bringing of halachic observance to the masses on such a scale is a particularly unique zechus!” Following the Sanzer Rebbe, a letter of bracha from Belzer Rebbe who could not attend due to health considerations was read by the Belzer Dayan, HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Friedman, shlita. The final address was given by the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, a member of the Nesius of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha, who hailed the importance of learning practical halacha and urged all to join. He said that when a person accepts upon himself to learn and fulfill his halachic obligations he is empowered to beg Hashem for Torah knowledge and dveikus. Together Harmoniously Following the Vizhnitzer Rebbe’s speech there was a beautiful musical interlude. Capitalizing on the remarkable, palpable achdus as all the shivtei Yisrael coalesced under the banner of Torah symbolized by Dirshu, a beautiful sheves achim was held. Moving niggunim and dancing by Rav Dovid together with other
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Rav Chaim Kanievsky Dancing in Celebration Undoubtedly, what brought the crowd to its feet in passionate chizuk was the entrance of the senior Gedolei Yisrael at intervals throughout the next part of the program, beginning with the entrance of the sar haTorah, HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita. It is impossible to describe the electric atmosphere as Rav Chaim slowly made his way to the middle of the arena, to the head of the table of the Gedolim. One participant said, “I thought the roof would blow open!” With Rav Chaim wearing a radiant smile, the Modzhitzer Rebbe, shlita, was called upon to complete chelek vav of Mishnah Berurah. The Rebbe cited the famed words of Tana D’vei Eliyahu that, “He who learns halacha daily is assured a place in Olam Habaah.” The Rebbe said, “If a person wants to live a life of Olam Habaah in this world, then he needs to live a life of halachos, a life al pi halacha.” After reciting the hadran in the presence of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Kaddish was recited. Immediately thereafter the music started playing and Rav Chaim painstakingly stood up and began to dance in his place, holding hands with Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi Dirshu, on one side and HaGaon HaRav Berel Povarsky, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh, on the other. The crowd danced ecstatically, watching Rav Chaim dancing. It was a true manifestation of simchas haTorah! The dancing was seamlessly followed by the venerated nonagenarian Rosh Yeshiva of Kamenitz, HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Scheiner, shlita, who began chelek aleph of Mishnah Berurah, enjoining all to follow the words of the Shulchan Aruch, “To strengthen themselves like a lion in the service of Hashem!”
sands gathered to participate in their own siyum and hook-up to the live proceedings in Yad Eliyahu. The Kaliver Rebbe, shlita, was honored with making the siyum. The emotional symbolism as this survivor of Nazi atrocities tearfully recited the Kaddish was not lost on anyone. HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Ezrachi, shlita, R”M, Mir Yerushalayim, began the new machzor in Binyanei Haumah. He was followed by Rav Dovid Hofstedter who spoke live in Binyanei Haumah and then rushed to join the siyum in Tel Aviv. HaGaon HaRav Dovid Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Chevron, also addressed the large crowd in Yerushalayim before joining the event in Tel Aviv.
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Throughout the evening, the drashos and appearances of Gedolei Yisrael were interspersed with heartwarming niggunim of hisorerus and simcha sung live by some of the greatest baalei menagnim such as R’ Issac Honig, R’ Shloime Cohen, R’ Arele Samet among others, accompanied by a world class orchestra of some 100 musicians. In addition, moving video presentations including Dirshu’s recent visit to the kever of the Chofetz Chaim were shown.
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Gedolim and prominent members of Dirshu’s hanhala were sung as the enthusiastic crowd of more than 13,000 lomdei Dirshu sang and danced along. Rav Hofstedter: “Now is a Golden Opportunity!” At the sheves achim, Rav Dovid took the microphone and gave a personal, impassioned address, speaking as one brother would speak to another. He said, “The Gemara makes a curious statement concerning the background for the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdash. Why was the Land lost?’ Hashem Himself explained, ‘For they abandoned My Torah that I placed before them.’ Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav: [This means that] they did not recite the brachos before Torah study.” The Acharonim are puzzled by the Gemara’s statement: Why was there any doubt as to why Eretz Yisrael was lost? Elsewhere, the Gemara states clearly that the reasons for the Churban were well known, “Why was the first Beis Hamikdash destroyed? Because of three things that took place: avodah zarah, immorality, and murder.” The Gemara cites a number of pesukim substantiating that contention. The second Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam. “The Toras Chaim explains that the chachamim and neviim of the day were certainly well aware that the exile and destruction were caused by those cardinal sins. While they knew this, however, they were also plagued by a question they could not answer: The Jewish People in that generation were involved in Torah learning, and the Torah is the antidote to the yetzer hara. Why didn’t the Torah protect them?” Rav Hofstedter showed that a lack of yiras shamayim was the reason that the Torah they learned did not protect them. “It is not enough to learn. The Bartenura says that the purpose of learning is yiras Hashem. The second bay-
Celebrating the Siyum of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha in South Africa
(l to r) HaGaon HaRav Binyamin Finkel, HaGaon HaRav Dovid Lau
major Torah event of such magnitude in the history of France! Thousands gathered at Les Docks Des Paris at a siyum headed by HaGaon HaRav Shalom Cohen, shlita, Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef and Nasi of the Shas Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah. The enthusiasm of the crowd at the sight of luminaries such as Rav Cohen and the Kaliver Rebbe, shlita, of Williamsburg was heartwarming. The fact that Dirshu had come to France to enhance the Torah learning of French Jewry was clearly appreciated. The major event was preceded by a meeting with over 50 of France’s prominent Rabbanim and Maggidei Shiur led by Rav Shalom Cohen and Rav Dovid Hofstedter. Rav Cohen and Rav Hofstedter ardently called on France’s spiritual leadership to impart the importance of learning halacha to their congregants and deliver and facilitate shiurim in daily halacha.
is was destroyed because of sinas chinam. That terrible aveirah is also rooted in a ‘yirah deficiency’. “Morai V’Rabbosai,” passionately exclaimed Rav Dovid, “Hashem is waiting for us to connect with Him through yiras chet. Now is the ultimate opportunity. The new cycle of the Daf Yomi B’Halachah program is beginning. We all have a golden opportunity to rise to the level at which fear of sin is the purpose and ultimate goal of our learning. The daily learning of the Mishnah Berurah with the relevant supplementary materials will cause our learning to have a practical aim while the study of the other works of the Chofetz Chaim will help us increase our dedication to the mitzvah of v’ahavta l’reiacha kamocha. “Every one of us can recognize for himself that there is truly no other way to achieve this ideal. The only way for us to learn Torah in order to apply it to our actions is to learn halachah so that we will know what we are required to do. And the only way to learn in order to increase our fear of sin is to learn what constitutes a sin. “Right now, we all have an opportunity to set up a learning schedule that revolves around the goal of increasing our fear of sin and our observance of the mitzvos, thus achieving a true connection to the wisdom and kedushah of the Torah and the Master of the Universe Himself. “My friends, this is the time to make that commitment. This is the time to capitalize on the sense of kedushah and joy at this awesome occasion and to join the ranks of those who follow the Daf Yomi B’Halachah program throughout the world, to create a kiddush Hashem through the study and practice of halachah.”
Keeping Together One Halacha at a Time At the major event, the well-known Maggid, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, spoke very movingly weaving stories with words of inspiration. He picked up the Dirshu Mishnah Berurah, delineated the sefer’s unique qualities and urged every person who had not yet undertaken to learn Daf HaYomi B’Halacha to join a shiur and transform their spiritual lives for the better! Rabbi Krohn related a powerful story how once at the Pesach Seder, just before vihe she’amdah, his three-year old grandchild asked if he could sit on his lap. “Of course, I answered affirmatively. When my grandson, with his cherubic voice, joined us in reciting vihe she’amdah, I couldn’t hold back my tears. So many nations have tried to destroy us! We have lost so many! When will it end?” I thought. “But if we unify, as echad, as one, they will not succeed.” Rabbi Krohn, his voice cracking with emotion continued, “The best way to keep together is to learn halacha, keep halachos together and join together as one in the wonderful program, that will enrich Klal Yisrael, Daf HaYomi B’Halacha.”
A Week of Siyumim The siyumim in Eretz Yisrael were the culmination of a week of spectacular siyumim worldwide. One of the truly unique siyumim was the one held in Downtown Paris on Sunday. This was the first
France’s Leading Rabbanim Address Event Rav Naftali Levy, Director of Dirshu France, then called upon Rav Yosef Sitruk, former Chief Rabbi of France, who has previously spoken at the Dirshu world siyum and seen Dirshu’s impact from close.
Creating an Iron Dome of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha The events in Eretz Yisrael and France followed major siyumim in the United States, England and South Africa. In America, the siyum, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel of Stamford, Connecticut, was a memorable event. In addition to the more than 1,000 Lomdei Dirshu who were there for Shabbos, hundreds more joined the siyum on motzaei Shabbos. The Hadran was made by the Skverer Dayan, HaGaon HaRav Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, shlita. HaGaon HaRav Aharon Feldman, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisrael Baltimore was honored with saying the Kaddish after which the entire assemblage broke out into an ecstatic rikkud. Following the dancing, HaGaon HaRav Reuven Feinstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Staten Island, was asked to start the second machzor of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha. Rav Dovid Hofstedter then rose and with great feeling proposed the charge of the evening, “Morai v’rabbosai, let us all come together to create a new Iron Dome! A shield of chizuk and shemirah to fulfill the ratzon Hashem, an Iron Dome that will protect us from the invasion of the surrounding culture! We must come together k’ish echad b’lev echad and create a new Daf Yomi in Klal Yisrael, a Daf Yomi B’Halacha!” Learning Halacha Impacts One’s Halicha Another major address was delivered by HaGaon HaRav Malkiel Kotler, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood who came special on motzaei Shabbos to participate in Dirshu’s sim-
chas haTorah. In his heartfelt remarks, Rav Malkiel said, “The Gemara tells us that, ‘everyone who learns daily halacha is assured a place in Olam Habaah, as the passuk states, halichos olam...’” The Rosh Yeshiva expounded, “When a person learns halacha daily, his every halicha, his every step throughout the day is done in accordance with the Torah. This is what assures him Olam Habaah.” On Shabbos, important words of chizuk were delivered by HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe and Mesivta of Lakewood and Hagaon Harav Shea Fuhrer, shlita, Rosh Kollel Bobov Toronto. An in-depth shiur was given by HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Miller, shlita, Rosh Kollel Avreichim of Toronto and Av Bais Din Bais Horaah of Lakewood. Shalosh Seudos was a profound spiritual experience with powerful messages given by the gedolim who spoke: HaGaon HaRav Aharon Feldman, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisrael of Baltimore, HaGaon HaRav Yeruchem Olshin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Choueka, shlita, Rav of Congregation Ohel Simha in Deal, New Jersey, and HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Zalman Gips, shlita, Rav of Kehal Birchas Avraham, Rosh Yeshivas Yeshiva Nehardaah and Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Maggid Shiur. South Africa’s ‘Next Stage’ The next major siyum was held in South Africa. Chief Rabbi, Warren Goldstein said, “The Dirshu Siyum haschala of the machzor sheini of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha was the “next stage” in the maturing of the South African frum community.” Dayan Yonasson Abrahams, Dayan on the London Beis Din, said, “There is a famous aphorism, ‘The devil is in the details.’ We say, ‘The Divine is in the details!’ The kedusha of halacha is in the details of halachic observance.” Rav Dovid Hofstedter said, “For a Jew, learning and observing practical halachah is part and parcel of revealing the truth. This is how every Jew can discover his own connection to the Master of the Universe. Now is the time to commit to undertaking Daf HaYomi B’Halacha!” Europe’s Finest Hour Europe had never experienced a Shabbos and Motzaei Shabbos like Shabbos
Parshas Vayikra. Held at the Horwood House Hotel, just over an hour from London, the participants were enriched with presence of the Modzhitzer Rebbe, shlita, HaGaon HaRav Yissocher Frand, shlita, R”M at Yeshiva Ner Yisrael of Baltimore, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Schiff, shlita, Rav of Antwerp and Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Nasi of Dirshu. The Motzaei Shabbos Siyum was especially inspiring with some 500 guests joining the 500 who spent the entire Shabbos together. The Modzhitzer Rebbe, shlita, was honored with making the haschalah of the new machzor that many thousands across the world recently joined. In his remarks, the Rebbe cited the well-known Tanah Dvei Eliyahu stating, “‘He who learns halacha every day is assured a place in Olam Habaah.’ Eliyahu Hanavi,” said the Rebbe, “has promised Olam Habaah to he who learns halacha, but Dirshu has enabled every individual to access that bracha by providing a framework to learn halacha daily and know and retain what one learns.” Rav Dovid Hofstedter told an emotional story about his mother during the Holocaust that showed how adhering to halacha can bring great yeshuah. He ended his words with an appeal to the thousand attendees, “Let us join together to build a new Daf Yomi, a Daf HaYomi of shemiras halacha and ahavas Yisrael that will bring shemira, geulah and yeshua and overturn the tide of sinah to ahava and ultimately lead to the bi’as goel.” The Rav of Antwerp, HaGaon HaRav Aharon Schiff, shlita, related that he was asked, “Couldn’t Dirshu have found a better time to make a siyum other than just before Pesach when everyone is so busy?” Rav Schiff answered, “That is exactly the message and secret of Dirshu! Dirshu enables one to find time to learn even when one doesn’t have time! Dirshu has taught people how to steal time that they didn’t know existed. Friday afternoons, motzaei Shabbos, early mornings…” For the British community hearing Rav Yissocher Frand was a rare treat and Rav Frand did not disappoint. His brilliant address encompassed the takeaway message to Klal Yisrael from all of the siyumim. “Tomorrow morning, open up the Mishnah Berurah and start Siman Aleph Se’iph Aleph. Don’t wait! Do It!”
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Bringing the Geulah by Doing His Will Rav Dovid Hofstedter was then called to speak. The crowd sat riveted as Rav Hofstedter spoke in Hebrew interspersed with French. Rav Hofstedter said, “The fact that such a large crowd has gathered to celebrate the learning of halacha is a manifestation of Mi Keamcha Yisrael. Referring to the terrorist attacks on Jews earlier in the winter, Rav Dovid asked, “What is Hashem asking of us? Perhaps what we can do to invoke His rachamim and bring the geulah is to do His Will. The Ramban says that the geulah will come when Klal Yisrael does His Will. By conducting our lives in accordance with halacha we can bring the geulah.” Rav Dovid concluded, “My dear French Jews, I am so happy to be with you here today! Let us come together as one man with one heart and accept upon ourselves to learn the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha!” The son of the Kaliver Rebbe, shlita then gave over a message in the name of his father and he was followed by the major address of HaGaon HaRav Shalom Cohen, shlita. When Rav Cohen stood up the crowd erupted in song, giving tremendous kavod to this senior Gaon and Rosh Yeshiva.
Rav Shalom Cohen: “Dirshu are Sheluchim of Hashem” Rav Cohen said, “Morai V’Rabotai, the siyum of Shas ends with the words, ‘He who learns halachos every day is assured a place in Olam Habaah. From here we see that learning Gemara every day is insufficient. A person must learn halacha every day! If not, how will he know how to conduct himself?!” Rav Cohen, with a strength that belied his age, ended, “Dirshu, by making this program and all of its programs are the sheluchim of Hashem to increase love of Torah and knowledge of Torah!”
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Rav Sitruk welcomed Dirshu’s presence in France and called upon French Jewry to access the unique bracha of being part of Dirshu. One milestone was the siyum HaMishnah Berurah made by HaGaon HaRav Mordechai Rottenberg, shlita, one of Paris’s most prominent Rabbanim. Rav Rottenberg hailed the extraordinary nature of Dirshu, an organization whose entire purpose is to be mezakeh es harabbim. He praised Rav Hofstedter for revolutionizing limud haTorah in Eretz Yisrael, America, England and now France! After the siyum the entire assemblage broke out in song. To watch the venerated Rav Shalom Cohen holding Rav Dovid Hofstedter’s hand, the Kaliver Rebbe, who suffers from a debilitating illness that limits his movements, clearly exerting himself, holding hands in celebration of the simchas haTorah was a sight that left an indelible impression! HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Katz, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva and Rosh Mosdos Yad Mordechai, was honored with beginning the new machzor.
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APRIL 1, 2015
As Reported in the Non-Charedi Press… Rabbi Nachman Seltzer
“Some 12,000 Charedi men crammed into the Menorah Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv this week to celebrate the completion of the first seven-year cycle of a study project established by the Dirshu organization, with several thousand more celebrating at a parallel event in Jerusalem.” The Jerusalem Post, 3/26/15
might, to paint the non-religious public of Israel as anti Torah and Jewish tradition, the reality is not that way. The fact is that the average Israeli respects Torah learning and in many cases, is willing to learn Torah with a religious chavrusa/study partner when offered the chance. I quote again, “The rabbis, who entered at different stages, were greeted rapturously with joyful music and the 12,000-strong crowd jumping to their feet, clapping and singing the traditional song for greeting a Torah sage ‘may the days of the king be increased,’ a prayer for his long life.” The achdus of the participants spoke to us all, coming across in every picture and written word at the sight of 12,000 people in one room. 12,000 people devoted to
Sounds like the event of the year, but let’s go back in time to gain some perspective. It has been a difficult two years for the Charedi population of Eretz Yisroel. With their political representation seated in the opposition. Many factions in the coalition have been openly vocal regarding their plans for the ultra Orthodox segment in
Rav Aharon Feldman reciting special kaddish (r to l) HaGaon HaRav Berel Dov Provarsky, HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, HaRav Dovid Hofstedter
their midst. The Chareidim of Israel have bowed their collective heads and waited for the winds of evil to pass. And they have. (Hopefully.) There is hope in every heart for a fresh start and a general turnaround on the ground. What better way to mark the good news then with another groundbreaking Dirshu siyum, which arrived at precisely the perfect time? Rav Dovid Hofstedter’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha initiative was finally completed after a seven year period and Klal Yisroel gathered at venues around the world, culminating in last week’s major celebrations at both Tel Aviv’s premier sports arena and Yerushalayim’s Binyanei Hauma convention center – with a combined number of participants totaling more than fifteen thousand. It was time to put the events of the past three election month behind us, time to reignite the Achdus within our hearts and to
define the sense of brotherhood that unites us. The Dirshu organization has managed to unite so many streams of Jews under the banner of Torah. But in this case, it wasn’t only the overall Orthodox community that recognized the magnitude of what has occurred here. The secular press also picked up on the uniqueness of the global events. It is meaningful to quote from the secular press, “Like the Talmud version of the
program, those studying in the Daf Yomi B’Halacha initiative complete their study program every seven years. Dirshu states that at least 10,000 people have signed up to the program worldwide.” It is heartwarming to note that even the secular press considers the fact that ten thousand religious men have signed up to study a page of halacha a day, as something worth reporting. I can’t help but point out that, try as the average left wing media
the daily study of Hashem’s code of law. 12,000 people ready and willing to follow the directives handed them by their leaders. Such awesome power cannot be missed, even by those who do not feel particularly interested in reporting the positive points of religious society. Some things speak for themselves. And these events did just that. It has been an amazing couple of days. From South Africa, to England, to France, to the United States and Eretz Yisroel - a multitude of Jews gathered together to proclaim their allegiance to Hashem and His Torah. And in every one of those gatherings, people walked away impressed and thoughtful and it didn’t matter if they were religious or not. The palpable feelings of achdus and accomplishment was in the air at the arena, it was something everyone was able to relate to, no matter who they were or where they came from. It was a great night for the Jews. All Jews.
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Values and Meanings Kiddush is Unique The Talmud, in Shabbos 69b, tells of an individual lost in the desert. This fellow has lost all track of time, so much so that they don’t even know when it will be Shabbos. What would be the correct protocol? In this situation, one should minimize the amount of forbidden labor that needs to be done every day and limit ones labor to the survival necessities. What about making Kiddush and Havdallah? In order to make Kiddush, the Talmud recommends picking one day of the week and that’s when you make Kiddush. One day, of your choice and that will be your Shabbos. Why is this the correct protocol? The normative principle is safek deoryssa lechumra – when something is from the Torah our responsibility is to “play it safe”. If that is the case why not recite Kiddush every single day? The Steipler Gaon answers beautifully. His answer comes based on another statement from another famous work entitled Dvar Avraham. The D’var Avraham says that if one is unsure about the exact day of the Sefiras Ha’Omer you can’t count every day in a state of uncertainty because counting, by its very nature, has to be something which is clear, defined, and certain. Saying that today is either day four or day six is not a count. The Steipler explains that this is also true of Kiddush. At its core, Kiddush is sanctification. Sanctification is distinction. By making Kiddush we note the unique identity of this day versus all of the others. If one is going to make a Kiddush every day there would be no distinction and that would not be Kiddush. Paying for Hope According to Jewish Law, buying Chanukah candles and paying for the four cups of wine on Pesach, are the only mitzvos that would require a poor person to sell their clothes, if need be, in order to acquire them. Why only these two items? Rav Wozner explains that at the root of this law is the notion that every poor person must know that even in the middle of their darkest hour and their darkest exile, G-d brings light. The promise of Chanukah and the hope of the four cups, both which celebrate pirsumei nisah, the publicizing of the miracle, underscore the point that at the moment when you’re holding the red wine, which on some level symbolizes blood - in the moment when things are most difficult in our lives, we are going to find that salvation for ourself. This message is critical for the destitute. They may feel that all their hope is lost, but they
will learn that when you think you have hit rock bottom that’s when your salvation, yushua, will come. In the Kiddush, we say that, “The beginning of the holy callings are a commemoration to the Exodus from Egypt.” What does this line mean? The bodyguard of the Seer of Lublin, the Ropshitzer shares his view which is that the amazing power of the Exodus from Egypt is imbedded with the ability to help us transcend above levels that we couldn’t ordinarily reach. This is precisely what the text is saying; that the beginning of a great and triumphant renewal starts within the darkness. The darkness of the moments when we were in Egypt and we thought all hope was lost. Right at that moment G-d says to hold out your hand and He will help us move to places we never dreamed possible. The holy calling begins from within the Exodus. A Holy Effort Why does wine have its own distinct blessing? We don’t make a separate blessing on the meat or the chicken that’s going to be brought out later. Why the wine? We know that wine has a certain status in Judaism. Usually, when we have a fruit, the blessing is Ho’etz and when liquefied it becomes Shehakol, but with the grape turned into wine it becomes Hagafen which is an elevated status. Why? Rashi in commentary to the Talmud Brachos says, “It’s so precious that it has its own blessing”. Why? What is so ritualistically significant about it? Rav Zeitchik says that it’s not because of its precious value. I’m sure that we could find a rare food that has a higher dollar amount, perhaps caviar. You know what’s precious about it? Dvar mitzvah habaah mitoch yagiyah chashoov. Something that comes through the process of work, is more important and much more powerful. That’s why bread becomes Hamotzi; it went through a process to bring it out. Hagafen is special because it took work to create it. You took grapes, you
have to wait for fermentation, you have to press them out and bring this to the state of wine. Something is much greater when you get it through effort. It is for this same reason that the beautiful stones the priests wore in the temple are mentioned last out of all of his clothing. Why? According to the tradition of the Talmud, these stones came to us via the clouds. In other words, it was a freebie. We didn’t work to get them and therefore they are less precious to us. Only things that come through work take on that higher level. Similarly, we find this concept mentioned by Rav Pam. When we light Havdalah candles after a holiday, we don’t smell the spices because we are not saying goodbye to the extra soul that we received on Yom Tov. On Shabbos we do say goodbye to the extra soul, so we need the spices as a way to console our inner world. Why does the extra soul not leave after Yom Tov? It doesn’t leave after a holiday because we work to make the Yom Tov holy. According to the Torah, the sanctification of a Jewish holiday is different than Shabbos. The sanctity of Shabbos comes from G-d, it is inherent already in creation. However, the sanctity of Yom Tov comes at the work of humans, harking back to a time when the High Court would declare the new month. On Yom Tov it stays with us because that which has been worked on is of much greater value. Four Cups for Four Mothers The Alshich says that the four cups are the four mothers: Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah. What is this link? The first cup is the Kiddush. Sarah was there at the beginning of our nations’ formation, the peoplehood, she was the first to reach out to the world. She was the mother. She’s where Judaism in a sense started. Sarah and her husband Abraham birthed the nation. They set themselves apart. The second cup is Rebecca. We begin to pour that second cup when the Haggadah focuses on the negative. Rebecca was born in dark-
ness. She came from Laban and idolatry. Her lesson is one of learning how to transcend our past and that’s what we try to do with the second cup. Rachel’s cup is the cup that appears during the Birkas HaMazon. Why? Because with Rachel, her prodigal son is Joseph. He supported the world with food. The idea of the Grace after Meals is about appreciating the bounty that comes to the world. The fourth cup at the end of the Seder is Leah. She thanked G-d and she recited Hallel when Yehudah was born. She’s famous for placing, front and center, the centrality of gratitude. Those final songs at the end of the Seder, which celebrate G-d and the miracles that we’re thankful for in our lives, connect us to Leah who always appreciated what she had in her life. A Roman Custom At specifically placed times throughout the Seder we recline by leaning to the left. Why do we recline to the left? The Talmud mentions a pragmatic reason; it’s so that we shouldn’t choke. The rabbinic tradition favored another reason which is that reclining is a symbol of our freedom. Rabbi Norman Lam asks a great question: why did we adopt a symbol of freedom that was synonymous with the Romans? There are so many beautiful Jewish customs and cultural idiosyncrasies, why did we take on the Roman one? Look around. Our Seder is incomplete. We are missing the korban Pesach, the Passover Offering – which was the highlight of Passover in the Temple. We are missing so much because the Romans laid waste to our Divine abode. We went into exile because the Romans sent us into exile. Ironically we recline to display a great remembrance, a zecher l’mikdash. We remember our temple while those who ravaged it are no longer here. We recline in memory of our Temple while those who sacked it are no longer around.
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Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn
Children Wait for Freedom at the Seder Rabbi Y. Boruch Sufrin, Head of School at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy
An interesting observation that our rabbis make, regarding the Hagaddah that we read on the Seder night, is that Moshe, the hero of the Exodus story, is missing from the narrative. Omitting his name from such an important annual commemoration cannot be an accident. There has to be a pointed message that those who crafted the Hagaddah wished to convey. Everything that happens on the night of the Seder is symbolic. There may be differences of opinion as to what each item at the Seder table represents but nevertheless, each part of the Seder has a purpose. The charoset used as a dip for the maror (bitter herbs,) symbolizes, to some, the suffering and sour times the Jews experienced in Egypt; to others, it symbolizes freedom. Even the individual ingredients for the charoset each has its own unique meanings. Customs vary, ingredients vary, still, the relevance and symbolism of the Seder’s traditions are deeply felt across cultures. This poignant symbolism applies not only to the food and activities at the Seder, but also to the Hagaddah itself. All its contents are designed with a focused
intention. Tractate Pesachim teaches us that the Hagaddah is compiled with matchil bigenut umesayem bishevach, “it begins with the shame (and negative) and concludes with praise (and positive).” So, we return to our original question: if the Hagaddah is written with specific messages in mind, then why leave Moshe out of the narrative? As everything at the Seder is intended to be viewed from a child’s eyes, the Seder opens with actions that intrigue the child and inspire the asking of questions. It is also why the narrative begins with the four questions that a child would ask, based on their observations of the proceedings at the Seder table. There is, however, one question that is not explicitly asked, which must surely be bothering the child and yet the answer to this implicit question repeats itself throughout the Hagaddah narrative. The question is: “Why do we celebrate freedom tonight, when we are not yet fully free?” Imagine a Jewish child at a Seder during times of persecution. Imagine a Jewish child under Nazi occupation,
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• Kimcha D’Pischa • Cleaning for Pesach • Proper chometz removal • Hagalas keilim • The mitzvos of matzah, maror, arba kosos and the Seder
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night. We celebrate the fact that the exodus from Egypt brought with it the idea that we can and will be free one day to serve G-d and no one else. This freedom began as the Jews left Egypt and continues to develop through history. This freedom will lead us to the ultimate redemption. This is also why Moshe is not mentioned in the narrative of the Hagaddah. Moshe, as a person, is only a part of the Passover story, albeit a central part. By contrast, Moshe as a leader, who exhibits humility, firmness and G-dliness, exists as a spark that is a part of everyone’s soul. Everyone can be that Moshe - every child, with their keen questions and innate curiosity, has the potential to be leaders. Everyone has the ability to continue the redemption story, to lead himself and everyone around him toward the final stage of redemption. The Hagaddah encourages everyone to find the “Moshe spark” and become energized from the first story of redemption. Each of our children at the Seder table has the opportunity to see the role they can play in the final geulah.
With Pesach fast approaching, this sefer with its comprehensive index, will help you properly prepare and experience the joyous Yom Tov of Pesach.
during Stalinist cruelty, or during the Spanish Inquisition. Those children must wonder why, on the night of the Seder, we celebrate freedom while feeling all the pain and suffering that is in existence at that very moment. Even a child who is blessed to celebrate Pesach in a free country, such as the United States, may wonder, “If we are truly free, then why are we still asking for more freedom and for Mashiach? Are we not celebrating full liberty and freedom tonight?” Throughout the Hagaddah, we repeatedly learn the answer to these perplexing questions, beginning with the very first paragraph of the maggid section. When describing the matza as bread of affliction, and when inviting guests to participate in the Seder, we end the opening paragraph with the prayer that next year we will be free. The question in the child’s mind actually answers itself. Tonight we indeed celebrate freedom, but this freedom is not the last step of the redemption we are celebrating. Complete redemption, as the child can clearly see, is not yet here. Rather, we celebrate the concept of freedom on Seder
This new English Sefer, KITZUR HALACHOS: PESACH, delves into the complex halachos of Pesach – based on the Mishnah Berurah. Authored by Rav Zev Hofstedter, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivas Acheinu L’Tzeirim, hundreds of common and practical halachos are made clear.
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APRIL 1, 2015
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What to Bring to the Seder
Rabbi Harold Rabinowitz, Director of Jewish Studies at Touro Los Angeles
Many of us will be going to other people’s homes for the Seder - visiting family or going to the home of a friend. This year, I’m in the second group; I’ll be observing the Seder with my son, daughter-in-law and my two grandchildren in the Bronx. Even though it’s my family, I am under the influence of my mother, ob”m, who would always impress upon me: “Never go to anyone’s home - not even for a cup of coffee - without bringing something. Something!” And so I’ll bring something to my son’s Seder table, even though he and Suzy will tell me, “You really didn’t have to.” Sometimes people say that when I bring a bottle of wine or a cake, and they mean it. This is the same for my son and his family, they’re really happy to have me visit so they earnestly insist that I really didn’t have to bring anything. I sometimes reply to that, “Actually, I didn’t bring anything. My mother brought that to you. All I did was deliver it.”
Now the Seder presents its own problem. You certainly don’t want to bring something cooked; that might compromise the kashruth of your host’s home. So you bring something well sealed, perhaps a bottle of wine or something so carefully packed that there’s no possibility the hechsher, the Kosher-for-Passover certification on the label, has been blemished. So that’s what I’ll do: I’ll take some wine with me to New York and hope it’s a wine my children will enjoy. Yet, it seems to me that there is a gift one might say it’s the perfect gift - which one can bring to a Seder. And ironically, it’s staring us in the face right from the outset of the evening’s proceedings. That gift is: Questions, or at least one question. We start the Magid portion of the Seder with the recitation of the Mah Nishtanah and we ask, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” We not only start with questions, but there is, in fact a custom, some feel it’s a requirement, that the
person leading the Seder do something bizarre before the Mah Nishtanah, like removing the Seder Plate from the table, or placing it on his head like a hat, so that someone will ask, “Why in the world are you doing that?” Then the Magid portion can be said in response to the question. In fact we encounter question-asking guests soon enough. These are the four sons and oh! Do they have questions! Even the one who doesn’t know what to ask seems to be looking at everything that is happening with a puzzled, furrowed brow, inviting someone to “open the discussion,” and answer the questions he can’t articulate. I’ll pour through my Haggadah’s looking for a sharp question and a sharp answer to say at the Seder, and sometimes, the question might be better than the answer. Don’t the Talmudic sages tell us, Sh’eilat chacham chatzi tshuvah which means that a wise person’s question is half an answer? I know there are questions I have been asking and grappling with for years, decades in fact, and only now am I beginning to sense an answer in the offing. Well, here’s a question a student asked me this year. He’s a good student; quiet, yet engaged in the lesson. He has taken several of my classes and I have come to expect good tests and good term papers from him, although few questions. This year, however, he asked me a question that knocked my proverbial socks off. We were discussing what Jewish thought says about the relationship between the physical world and the spiritual world. In antiquity, people believed there were two worlds, the physical and the spiritual, and they interacted, but most of the interaction was in one direction: the spiritual world impacted the physical world a great deal. This led to belief in demons, multiple deities and superstitions about magic. In the other direction, it was believed that the impact of the physical world was weaker on the spiritual world. People put statues and talismans around their homes to ward off evil spirits because people wondered how a flesh-and-blood creature could impact the world of spirit. And then the Greeks came along and taught that, while there may be two such worlds, they don’t interact. Every physical event, the Greeks said, has a physical cause and nothing can explain a physical event except another physical event. The world of spirit, which is thoughts, desires, wills, emotions and so forth, can drive people to do things, although this can’t make things fall down or float or roll down a hill. This is the premise behind all of science,
and that includes the science behind medicine. If we were honest with ourselves, we would admit that when we go to a doctor, we want advice from a well-trained and knowledgeable specialist who knows about the physical connection between a medication and an ailment. I don’t know anyone who goes to a doctor for a bracha, even if he goes to a Rebbe for one. Judaism teaches that there is a stronger connection between these two worlds. Utter a bracha, a blessing; pray with kavannah, concentration; do a mitzvah, a precept, and you affect things in the spiritual world. We may not understand the nature of this interaction, but we believe as a matter of faith that it’s there. Do a mitzvah, and the world is a better place. So this student of mine asked, “All right. So tell me: how does my eating matzah at the Seder make the world a better place?” Wow! That’s a tough one. He went on, “I understand that doing a Mitzvah is good for me. It strengthens my connection to the Jewish people and to our history and legacy. It strengthens my connection to my family and to the Community of Faith that is the Jewish people. But how does it make the world better?” Notice that there was a word missing in the second iteration of the question: “place.” “Place” is a way of locating things in the physical world, and the world we’re asking about is more than that; it’s the one that consists of two realms—the physical and the spiritual. But that’s only a beginning. So here’s what I’ll do: I’ll bring this question to both Seders I’ll be attending this year, and I’ll try to understand the spirituality I am feeling in my kavannah and in my effort to feel as if I am going out of Egypt. I’ll try and sense the feeling of being a new ben chorin, a free person who is feeling the supernal spiritual world that I believe is there. We’ll talk about it at the table, maybe long after the kids are sleeping. We’ll look at some of the commentaries and see if we can gain a glimmer of an insight here. I don’t expect to come away with a totally satisfying answer, any more than I was able to in several classes’ worth of discussion where we tried to provide a satisfactory answer to my student’s beautiful question. Still, I’ll see what people say. Of course, I’ll probably ask it after Kiddush—once I see how the bottle of wine I brought went over. Ah Zissen Pesach to everyone.
23 THE JEWISH HOME
The Hope Of The Marror
Rabbi Hershy Z. Ten, President of Bikur Cholim – with contributions by L. Quaytman
APRIL 1, 2015
In our home, it is my role to prepare the Seder ka’arah, a role I greatly relish. Every year, while roasting the beitza and zeroah, washing and checking the romaine lettuce, chopping my charoses, and slicing and grinding the marror, my eyes fill with tears as I remember a particular experience that I can never forget. Many years ago, after all the preparations and late nights, the first night of Pesach finally arrived. At the end of a beautiful davening in shul, the air was thick with anticipation while everyone was extending a “gut yom tov” to one another as they filed out of shul to head home. As my friend and I walked to the doorway, I noticed he seemed distracted, more quiet than usual. I slowed my pace to match his and as he stopped to wait for his father-in-law he turned to me and asked, “Why should my father-in-law have to eat marror tonight? He is not well; he endured the concentration camps and knew slavery firsthand. Why does he have to be reminded of the bitterness of Mitzrayim when he lived through his own?” There was no time to discuss it further as his father-in-law caught up with us, wished me, “gut yom tov” and they slowly walked away together, but I was left pondering my friend’s question. That evening, my family and I were sitting around the table for the Seder. We started with kadesh and urchatz, then set upon the order of the night; singing the entire Haggadah while complementing it with divrei Torah and lively conversation. We came upon the motzei matzah and we all made sure to eat the kezayis. Then, while I was handing out each person’s portion of the sliced and ground marror, my friend’s question returned to my mind. I paused when it came to serving myself and my hand holding the marror slowly fell to rest on the table. My family, like countless others, has suffered through the trials of unfathomable pain and loss. I too asked myself, why should anyone who endured the Holocaust have to eat marror tonight? Why should anyone living through chemotherapy and its terrible nisyonos, anyone who is suffering from deep yesurim; why
should they have to eat marror tonight? Don’t they experience pain and bitterness every day? I began to wonder if perhaps the bitter herb should only be eaten by people who have a charmed life, leaving those who have suffered tragedy and illness to be exempt. It was at this moment that I heard the sounds of my son in the next room whimpering in pain. For many years my son suffered from an unrelenting lung disease which rendered him in need of 24/7 nursing care. It was extremely difficult for him to breathe, but equally heartbreaking was that he couldn’t cry, because he didn’t have the breath to do so. As I listened, knowing I didn’t have the power to ease his pain, I again asked why I should I eat marror at the Seder. Every day I felt the pain of my son, watching his agony as he fought to take a breath. I should be exempt; for the pain never goes away, and I need no reminder of bitter times. I was still struggling with this question when I was struck by my experience during a recent hospital visit to see the parents of a 22 year-old who had been in a terrible motorcycle accident. The young man was unconscious in the ICU and the family never left his side. In meetings with his doctors, the parents were given the devastating news that he
would most likely suffer permanent paralysis and never walk again. Every day the doctor would enter the hospital room, take a sharp needle, and stroke the base of the young man’s foot, sometimes pressing it in to see if there was any reaction, but there never was. With every day that passed, the fear of this stark future became more of a reality. After several days of the same routine, I was standing by the bedside with the family when the doctor came in once more and performed the same test. Unbelievably, on this day, when he stuck the needle into the boy’s foot, the monitors started spiking, his heart rate went up, his blood pressure climbed; and then there it was, a slight jerk of the leg. The doctor turned to the family and said, “Thank G-d I am causing your son pain!” The mother was aghast and snapped, “Why is that something to be thankful for?” Without hesitation the doctor smiled and replied, “Every day that I touched and prodded your son’s foot with the needle and he didn’t react, I wasn’t sure if he could feel anything; and if he couldn’t feel anything, I was concerned that the nerve damage was so severe that he would never walk again. But today when I stuck him with the needle, he felt it, which means his nerves are not dead; they’re bruised
and traumatized, but still alive, and he will get through this – it will take time, but he will survive and walk again.” And so it was, as at this Seder from so many years ago, I became clear why I, my family, my friend’s father-in-law, and all those who suffer pain and loss must eat the marror. We do not eat the herb only to remind us of the bitterness that our forefathers experienced in Mitzrayim, as this is something of which we never need to be reminded. We eat the marror to make sure that we can taste the bitterness; to reaffirm that life’s challenges have not left us numb and that we are still able to feel. Far too often, the overwhelming emotions from tragedy and illness reduces people to a shell of their former selves, disconnected from the beauty of life. On this special night however, Hashem assures us that if you are able to taste the bitterness of the marror, then you are not dead inside; that one day soon you will be able to taste life with joy and happiness. My bracha for all who are suffering this year is that I wish the marror will remind us that we are, B”H, still able to feel, and that we will be zocheh to enjoy simcha in our lives again and see the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash.
Chosen, Blessed & Free
THE JEWISH HOME
APRIL 1, 2015
As we approach one of the many peaks of the Seder, we raise the matzah and recite Ha Lachma Anya, opening the Maggid section. Speaking in unfamiliar Aramaic, we begin by stating that the matzah that we are about to eat at the Seder is the very same matzah that our forefathers ate in Mitzrayim. We continue with a seemingly unconnected invitation to any and all poor people to come join our meal. Anyone who needs a place to eat should come and share the Korban Pesach with us. We conclude with the declaration that this year we are here, in golus, but next year we will be in Eretz Yisroel. Now we are enslaved, but in the coming year we will be free. Why does this series of statements open the discussion about Yetzias Mitzrayim? What is the connection between the different sentences of the paragraph? Why do we hold up the matzah? Repeatedly, the Torah refers to the Yom Tov of Pesach as Chag Hamatzos. In davening and Kiddush, we refer to the Yom Tov as Yom Chag Hamatzos. Matzah is the symbol of Pesach. It encompasses all the messages of the Seder. As we consider and contemplate the exalted moment when our forefathers left Mitzrayim, we eat the very same matzah, unchanged in formula and taste, at the very moment they did, on the same night, year after year, century after century, going back all the way to the day our nation was founded. With this bread, we became a nation. We left the shibud Mitzrayim and emerged as bnei chorin.
The Gemara in Maseches Brachos (17a) relates that Klal Yisroel tells Hashem, “Galui veyodua lefonecha sheretzoneinu laasos es retzonecha, umi m’akeiv, se’or shebe’isa. We wish to fulfill Your will, but the se’or shebe’isa prevents us.” Rashi explains that se’or shebe’isa is the yeitzer hara, which is machmitz to us as yeast is to dough. We can suggest that matzah is referred to as lechem geulim not only because we ate it as we were leaving Mitzrayim, but because man wants to be good, but the se’or shebe’isa causes him to sin and veer off course. Matzah is lechem geulim because it is baked without chimutz, without se’or. One who subjugates his yeitzer hara is a ga’ul; he is redeemed and free. Thus, Chazal state, “Ein lecha ben chorin ela mi she’oseik baTorah.” The free man is one who is occupied with Torah. The original matzah didn’t rise because, as we say in the Haggadah, “Lo hispik lehachmitz ad sheniglah aleihem Melech Malchei Hamelochim uge’olom.” Hashem redeemed the Jewish people from Mitzrayim suddenly, before the dough they were in the middle of baking for their
in fact - is about the matzah, the food of freedom. The first phrase tells us that it was “eaten when we left Mitzrayim,” in reference to our being rushed out. It was baked without the se’or shebe’isah. We then address the poor, turning to those who are lacking in life and service to Hashem. We proclaim to such people that they should join us in eating the matzah and deriving the lessons it contains. “Join us!” we say. “Eat and learn from the matzah, and you will also be blessed and free along with us and all those who enjoy the blessings of Pesach. You will be impoverished no more.” We continue by acknowledging that while we are now unable to bring the Korban Pesach, if we have indeed internalized the message of the matzah, we will be able to offer Pesochim and Zevochim next year in Eretz Yisroel. Finally, we acknowledge that now we are still enslaved. The se’or shebe’isah still interferes with our lives. We have been unable to expel it from our souls. We affirm our commitment to examining the message, studying the lessons of “Ha Lachma Anya.” Even though we are now
IN MY HEAD, I STILL HEAR HIS VOICE, AND IN MY HEART, I’M STILL GETTING THOSE BRACHOS.” trip was able to rise, and thus they were left with matzah. Matzah symbolizes freedom, because it came into existence amidst the great urgency with which Hashem hurried His people out of Mitzrayim. The cause - Jewish nationhood - didn’t allow for the bread to reach completion; it didn’t allow for se’or and chimutz. Bread of freedom and a life of freedom are both brought about by the same process, removal of se’or and chimutz. A person cleanses his soul of sin by being preoccupied with serving Hashem and studying Torah, and he thus earns his freedom from the shackles life places upon him. We open our Seder with the statement that the whole night - the entire Yom Tov,
captive to the yeitzer hara, we resolve that by next year we will be free of his domination over us. Simple, unconstrained, and as free as the matzah. The Klausenberger Rebbe shared an experience from the concentration camps. He was placed in a barracks with forty-two other inmates. Within a day of his arrival, forty of the men had died of illness, famine or despair. There were two survivors, the rebbe and a Budapest banker. They got to talking through the long, cold, lonely night. Who could sleep in the valley of death? The rebbe asked the Hungarian if he was Jewish. “Of course I am. How else would have
I ended up here?” The rebbe inquired what he did for a living. The banker spoke about his exceptional accomplishments, describing how he started as a clerk and rose to the post of bank president. He was then appointed chairman of all the banks in Hungary. “Have you not heard about how I stabilized the pengo? I was featured in every newspaper, hailed as a savior.” The rebbe admitted that he had not. “Are you sure you are Jewish?” the rebbe asked again. “No, I’m not Jewish,” the banker answered. He explained that he had been born Jewish, but he made the decision to convert in order to further his career. He told the rebbe that he didn’t regret the decision for a moment. “Besides achieving great things in my work, saving the economy of my country, I married a wonderful woman from a noble family.” “Were you happily married?” asked the rebbe. “What a question! We were blissfully married for thirty years. We had a beautiful home and went on grand vacations. I bought her jewelry and gifts every few weeks.” “So where is she?” the rebbe wondered. “She isn’t Jewish. Why should she have to endure this nightmare too?” “Wouldn’t you agree that a good wife always accompanies her husband and doesn’t leave him alone to face problems?” the rebbe probed. The man turned the conversation to his accomplished and wealthy children. One was a lawyer, one a general, and the third a professor. “Are they here with you?” the rebbe continued to ask. “No, of course not. They are busy with their careers.” “How can they abandon their father at such a time?” asked the rebbe. The conversation continued in this vein throughout the bitter night. The following night, it was just the two men again, and the conversation resumed, the rebbe pointing out that the man’s career
ways with faith in Hashem and our future. Always with the knowledge that come what may, we are the am hanivchor, chosen, blessed and free. A friend told me about his friend who assumed a rabbonus in a small shul in a New York suburb. He arrived shortly before Yom Tov and noticed that as the kohanim would ascend the steps in front of the aron kodesh for Birkas Kohanim, a particular mispallel would leave his seat and step outside. He saw the scene repeat itself each day of Yom Tov. On the last day, he asked the man why he left shul for duchening. Listen to the man’s answer. Like so many others, he had been torn away from his home and family by the Nazis and thrown into a cattle car. He arrived at the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp and was exposed to a new reality. The smell of death was everywhere. As Pesach approached, he heard whispered conversations. He observed gaunt faces flush with excitement at the idea of having a Seder right there in the barracks. He recounted to the rabbi that although they realized the dangers, they couldn’t bear the thought of not at least having a semblance of a Seder, as desperate as their situation was. They had neither matzah nor wine or a Haggadah. Maror was in plentiful supply. They sat in their barracks, late at night, and recited what they could from memory. They then began singing some of the familiar Seder songs. Their spirits defied their dark surroundings, the mitzvah of sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim lifting them above the reality of danger and fear, taking them to a place of faith and joy. Their raised voices were overheard by a chasidishe rebbe who was in the camp. He had been heading to his own barracks when he heard the muffled sounds of a Seder. He entered and sat down with the other walking skeletons and joined the chorus.
APRIL 1, 2015
nia, Poland, Hungary or Syria. When you go from room to room with the candle in your hand, think of the strength of the Jewish chain and remember that it is you who makes it strong. It is the faith-imbued traditions that you pass on to your children that will guarantee you the merit to welcome Eliyohu Hanovi when he arrives with his joyous, long-awaited message. When you sit surrounded by family at the Seder, know that Jews have been doing this exact same thing for thousands of years. You are a link in a golden chain, giving voice to our faith and traditions as so many others before us have done. The same tastes, smells, sounds and incantations have been filling the world ever since our people left Mitzrayim. When we sing Vehi She’omdah, we hear our parents, grandparents and forefathers all the way back to the Yam Suf. Is there anything more comforting? Is there any sound stronger than that? I recently held in my hands a classic Haggadah printed in the year 1629. While for collectors it represents a fascinating prize, for it is one of the earliest Haggados printed with pictures, I was fascinated by it for another reason. I was thinking of the astounding trip this wine-stained Haggadah must have taken over the past 400 years. Printed in the ghetto of Venice, it could have seen Jews in their most prosperous times and during pogroms. It was around in times of a comfortable golus and in times of bitter fright. The Haggadah includes the most beautiful sight of children reciting the Mah Nishtanah the same way, century after century, always with shyness but with pride and cherubic beauty for admiring parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters. Is there anything more breathtaking? It is the future sitting alongside the present, delving into the past. The Haggadah has seen us in times of strength and apparent weakness, but al-
Shortly thereafter, their celebration was interrupted by stomping boots, barking dogs, and shouted curses. The feared sadistic monster, S.S. Commander Amon Goeth, stormed in. He was aghast that such a scene was taking place in his barracks. “Who put this together?” he barked. Fearing for their lives, each man looked at the others. Nobody responded. They knew that the culprit would be killed. “I will kill all of you if the ringleader doesn’t accept responsibility for his crime. I will not stand for this disobedience,” Goeth shouted. “The rebbe stood up,” the man recounted. “He said that he had hatched the idea and put it together.” “Sleep well tonight,” the Nazi said, “for tomorrow I will show you Jews what happens to those who disobey me.” “On the first day of Yom Tov,” the man tearfully recounted, “the rebbe was led to the gallows, which were visible to the entire camp. We were all forced to line up and watch the awful spectacle. “They stood the rebbe on a chair and fastened a noose around his neck. The rebbe then addressed his Nazi captor. ‘Every human being knows that a man condemned to death is given his last wish. I want a moment to address the people. I am a kohein. I bless my flock on the holidays. Today is a holiday. Please let me bless them one last time.” His wish was granted. “The kohein started to recite the timeless brachos. “Yevorechecha... “Ignoring the noose around his neck and the place he was in, the rebbe sang out the first word. “The incensed Nazi shot him. The chair was pulled out from under him. The rebbe had duchened for the last time.” The man finished his tale. “Decades have passed since then, but every year, on the first day of Pesach, I remember the rebbe and his Birkas Kohanim. I go out because I don’t ever want to forget that ‘Yevorechecha.’ “When I look in the siddur and see the word ‘Yevorechecha,’ I want to hear the rebbe’s voice. In my head, I still hear his voice, and in my heart, I’m still getting those brachos.” Just as that man clinged to the fragment of memory of the Rebbe’s duchening, so must we cherish the taste of matzah. If we manage to hold on, keeping it safe and treasured, living with its message that we are geulim at heart, capable of transcending limitations imposed by the se’or shebe’isah and the challenges of golus, then we will remain bnei chorin. Leshanah haba’ah bnei chorin be’ara d’Yisroel. Wishing you a kosheren and freilichen Yom Tov.
THE JEWISH HOME
and family weren’t enough to help him. Finally, the financier cried out, “What are you trying to do to me? Don’t you see how shattered I am? Why do you persist in crushing my spirit even more?” The rebbe appeared unmoved, reiterating his points. “Your family, prestige, high-rolling colleagues and accomplishments can’t do anything for you here, as you lay hungry and cold.” Late that night, the banker broke. He wept and wept, barely able to speak. Finally, he said, “It was all a mistake. I wanted to succeed and I turned my back on the way of my fathers and grandfathers. I have nothing, absolutely nothing, to show for it...” He sobbed and sobbed. With dawn’s first light, the banker from Budapest breathed his last, his soul joining the procession of souls that rose heavenward from that dreadful place. The rebbe would retell the painful story. “I felt such satisfaction, difficult as it was to hurt him that way. His soul was slowly being cleansed, purified in a fire of truth, layers being stripped off his neshamah as the spark came alive. That man died having experienced genuine teshuvah and returned his soul to his Maker the way it had come down, a neshamah tehorah.” The rebbe understood the secret of matzah. It was all just se’or shebe’isah. The rebbe took off the crust, the airy mounds of dough, and revealed the simple matzah, a Jew’s essence, when all the distractions and diversions are peeled away. Fortunate is he who doesn’t require suffering or challenges to be reminded of his essence, but is able to see it clearly in good times as well. Back to the Seder. With this deeper insight into matzah and its message, we can begin to celebrate, beginning with genus and marching our way on to geulah, a journey from Ha Lachma Anya through Afikoman. After partaking of the Afikoman matzah, we are forbidden to eat anything, for we must keep that message fresh on our palates. We must not forget what we have learned and experienced on this night. The Ritva posits that if a person ate matzah before chatzos, as is the obligation, as long as the taste of matzah remains in his mouth, it is as if matzah umaror munachim lefonov and he fulfills the mitzvah of Maggid as he discusses Yetzias Mitzrayim. The Ritva opens our eyes to what the taste of matzah really means. It is not only a gastronomic phenomenon, but a spiritual one. Ta’am matzah is the experience of being connected to what matzah represents. And how delicious that taste is! On Erev Pesach, when you grate the horseradish and tears flow down your cheeks, think of your grandparents performing the same task, the same way, in some little town in Eretz Yisroel, Lithua-
Barrels of Beer on the Riverbank
THE JEWISH HOME
APRIL 1, 2015
FROM THE CHASSIDIC MASTERS
One of the central figures in the history of Chassidism was the famed “Seer of Lublin,” Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Horowitz (1745-1815), who presided over the spread of Chassidism in Poland and Galicia; many of the great Chassidic masters of the time were his disciples. This story, however, is not about the “Seer” but about his maternal grandfather, Rabbi Kopel of Likova; in fact, it happened many years before the Seer’s birth.
eb Kopel earned a living by purchasing barrels of vodka and beer from the local distillers and selling his wares to the taverns in and around his native village of Likova. It was not an easy life, with the heavy taxes exerted by the government and the hostile environment facing a Jew in 18th-century Europe. Yet his faith and optimism never faltered. Each year, on the morning before Passover, Reb Kopel would sell his chametz to one of his gentile neighbors. Chametz is “leaven” – a category that most famously includes bread but also all food or drink made with fermented grain. The Torah commands the Jews that absolutely “no leaven shall be found in your possession” for the duration of the Passover festival in commemoration of the leaven-free Exodus from Egypt. In the weeks before the festival, the Jewish home is emptied and scrubbed clean of chametz; on the night before Passover, a solemn candle-lit search is conducted for every last breadcrumb hiding between the floorboards. By the next morning, all remaining household chametz is eaten, burned or otherwise disposed of. What about someone like Reb Kopel who deals in leavened foods and has a warehouse full of chametz? For such cases (and for anyone who has chametz they don’t want to dispose of) the rabbis instituted the practice of selling one’s chametz to a non-Jew. Reb Kopel’s neighbors were familiar with the annual ritual. The Jewish liquor dealer would draw up a legally-binding contract with one of them, in which he sells all the contents of his warehouse for a sum equal to their true value. Only a small part of the sum actually changed hands; the balance was written up as an I.O.U. from the purchaser to the seller. After Passover, Reb Kopel would be back, this time to buy back the chametz and return the I.O.U. The purchaser got a tip for his trouble – usually in the form of a generous sampling of the merchandise that had been legally his for eight days and a few hours.
ne year, someone in Likova came up with a novel idea: what if they all refused to buy the Jew’s vodka? In that case he would have to get
rid of it. Why suffice with a bottle or two when they could have it all? When Reb Kopel knocked on a neighbor’s door on the morning of Passover eve, Ivan politely declined to conduct the familiar transaction. Puzzled, he tried another cottage further down the road. It did not take long for him to realize the trap that his gentile neighbors had laid for him. The deadline for getting rid of chametz – an hour before midday – was quickly approaching. There was no time to travel to the next village to find a non-Jewish purchaser. Reb Kopel did not hesitate for a minute. Quickly he emptied the wooden shack behind his house that served as his warehouse. Loading his barrels of chametz on his wagon, he headed down to the river. As his neighbors watched gleefully from a distance, he set them on the riverbank. In a loud voice he announced: “I hereby renounce any claim I have on this property! I proclaim these barrels ownerless, free for the talking for all!” He then rode back home to prepare for the festival. That night, Reb Kopel sat down to the Seder with a joyous heart. When he recited from his Haggadah, “Why do we eat this unleavened bread? Because the dough of our fathers did not have time to become leavened before G-d revealed Himself to them and redeemed them,” he savored the taste of each word in his mouth. All his capital had been invested in those barrels of vodka and beer; indeed, much of it had been bought on credit. He was now penniless, and the future held only the prospect of many years of crushing debt. But his heart was as light and bright as a songbird. He had not a drop of chametz in his possession! For once in his life, he had been given the opportunity to truly demonstrate his love and loyalty to G-d. He had removed all leaven from his possession, as G-d had commanded him. Of course, he had fulfilled many mitzvot in his lifetime,
but never at such a cost – none as precious – as this one! The eight days of Passover passed for Reb Kopel in a state of ecstatic joy. Then the festival was over, and it was time to return to the real world. With thoughtful steps he headed to his warehouse to look through his papers and try to devise some plan to start his business anew. Clustered in the doorway he found a group of extremely disappointed gentiles. “Hey, Kopel!” one of them called, “I thought you were supposed to get rid of your vodka. What’s the point of announcing that it’s ‘free for the taking for all’ if you put those watchdogs there to guard it!” They all began speaking at once, so it took a while for Kopel to learn the details. For the entire duration of the festival, night and day round the clock, the barrels and casks on the riverbank were ringed by a pack of ferocious dogs who allowed no one to approach. Reb Kopel rode to the riverbank. There the barrels stood, untouched.
But he made no move to load them on his wagon. “If I take them back,” he said to himself, “how will I ever know that I had indeed fully and sincerely relinquished my ownership over them before Passover? How could I ever be sure that I had truly fulfilled the mitzvah of removing chametz from my possession? No! I won’t give up my mitzvah, or even allow the slightest shadow of a doubt to fall over it!” One by one, he rolled the barrels down the riverbank until they stood at the very brink of the water. He pulled out the stops in their spigots and waited until every last drop of vodka and beer had merged with the river. Only then did he head back home. Reprinted with permission from Chabad.org.
u o Y h t i W s y a t It S
27 THE JEWISH HOME
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Once-A-Year Eis Ratzon
Erev Pesach For the promise written by Hagaon Hamekubal Harav Shimshon of Ostropoli zt”l
All year long from all misfortune and unusual death and all evil
Moreinu HaRav Hagaon Chaim Kanievsky shlita praying on behalf of all Vaad Harabanim’s donors after reading “Igeres HaKodesh”
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This Pesach, as you sing the ancient song of nighttime nissim, know that in our days too, miracles still happen.
Every midnight The nearly 100 distinguished talmidei chachomim of Kollel Chatzos gather in locations across the globe.
תאיר כאור יום חשכת לילה During the darkest hours, when the rest of the world sleeps, they immerse themselves in vibrant torah learning, enlightening klal yisroel with tremendous zechusim and yeshuos.
שומרים הפקד לעירך כל היום וכל הלילה You can bring shmira and yeshuos to your loved ones by sustaining the continuous torah and teﬁllah of Kollel Chatzos.
BECOME A CHATZOS PARTNER TODAY and experience the zechus of sustaining Torah learning throughout the night.
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Los Angeles County Arboretum and Garden
Oak Forest at the Descanso Gardens
Japanese Garden at The Huntington Botanical Garden
The Japanes Garden
est Camellia collection you will find in North America, Native Plants and a Lilac Garden. If you visit but still feel you are a slave to your schedule, you need to stay a little longer. Perhaps you need a trip on the Enchanted Railroad? At $3 a ride, the train is delightful and runs on Tuesday and Friday between 10am and noon. Admission to the gardens is the same pricing as for the County Arboretum. Another idea worth considering is a trip to San Marino, near Pasadena, where you can wander through the iconic Huntington Botanical Gardens. A new Visitor Center opened this month and there is more to see than can be managed in one day. There is also a lecture on Thursday, April 9th at 2.30pm which will introduce you to artisanal vegetables that can be grown and eaten but you don’t have to bother yourself with such plans and timings. Huntington is a place where you can walk off the matza brei by losing yourself in the variety of gardens, art exhibits, libraries, Chinese gardens, a kid’s garden with water play, desert garden and so much more. It costs $23 for an adult to enter on a weekday but children are free. As a final suggestion, you might take your family for a simple trip to the Japanese Gardens in the Sepulveda Basin. The garden is irrigated by the adjacent water reclamation plant and the 6 ½ acre garden, “creates for the visitor a world of meditative calm where it is possible to focus on the simple and beautiful things in nature and in our lives.” This is a delightful place with small paths, giant choy, interesting walkways, Japanese-styled structures and elegant trees. The cost to enter is just $3 although the smells from the reclamation plant cannot be altogether ignored and might just remind you of the maror. For more information visit the websites: http://www.arboretum.org/ https:// www.descansogardens.org/ http://www. huntington.org/ http://www.thejapanesegarden.com/
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As you plan your Chol Hamoed activities, you might want to consider the parks and gardens that are local, beautiful, cost-effective and a perfect place to picnic and recite Birkat Ha-Ilan. Los Angeles is blessed to have two arboretums and several impressive and inspiring gardens. Traditionally, we recite Birkat HaIlan, the blessing of the tree, at the start of Nisan. We have now reached the time of renewal, the time of Pesach, the time when the weather heats up and the withered trees and dark evenings fade away. King Solomon articulated it best when he wrote, in Shir HaShirim, “The times of the rain are passed, the time of the songbird has arrived, the blossoms of the trees are seen throughout the land.” So where can you visit with your Pesach picnic? As it happens, potato chips, hard boiled eggs, Bisli and chocolate have never tasted better when eaten at The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Garden. This is a picturesque garden with 128 acres of plants, flowers, wildlife, historical buildings and trees. Located in Arcadia, there are landscaping ideas and events which will intrigue all ages. Don’t forget your camera. During Chol Hamoed, at 10am on April 8th, there is a talk by a tomato guru who will discuss everything tomato and you can purchase plants afterwards. Meanwhile, don’t forget to enjoy the peacocks and the waterfall. The arboretum is free for kids under 5 and is $4 for kids up to 12. Adults are $9. Don’t forget the matzah; the picnic area and lawn outside the Arboretum are a great spot to eat al fresco. If you haven’t found your songbird at the LA County Arboretum, you should visit the memorable Descanso Gardens which are about 20 minutes from Downtown, located in La Canada Flintridge. A peaceful and beautiful outing is all but guaranteed with plenty of birdsong besides. The Oak Woodland Garden has now reopened with 30,000 new plants, there is a memorable Japanese Garden, 3,000 rose bushes in the Rose Garden, Nature’s Garden which is planted with seasonal fruits and vegetables, the larg-
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Consider Awesome Arboretum’s this Chol Hamoed
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Don’t Know Much About Horseradish?
Every Seder plate needs maror, bitter herbs, because the bitterness connects us to the harsh life of our forefathers in Egypt. How do we represent the bitter herb? The most common root vegetable used on the Seder dish is horseradish. And what do we know about this eye watering, breath taking, tear-jerking pungent root? Actually, quite a lot. First of all, horseradish has nothing to do with horses and it is not a radish. Secondly, the small, pretty, white, perennial horseradish flower is poisonous to horses. The horseradish root is a member of the mustard family. In case you wondered, the scientific name is armoracia rusticana and it is part of the brassicaceae family. From where does the name derive? Some say it comes from the English word “horse” which, back in the 16th century, meant strong, large or coarse. The radish is a spicy vegetable with similarity in taste to the horseradish. Other opinions consider the name to be an adaptation from the German word, “meerrettich,” or “sea radish.” The German word “meer” sounds like a “mare” in English so it is assumed that the name “mareradish” was anglicized until it became, “horseradish.” Either way, the word “horseradish” first appeared in print in 1597 in John Gerarde’s English herbal on medicinal plants but references go back to Greek and Roman times. Pliny’s work, Natural History, is the largest work to survive from the Roman Empire, AD 77 and the horseradish is mentioned under a different name in Chapter 13, “known by some as “Persicon napy,” it has broad leaves and large roots, and is also very useful as an injection for sciatica.” Horseradish comes from Russia or perhaps somewhere else in Eastern Europe, but by all accounts it was known as chren. The root is harvested in the spring and fall, mostly by hand with an estimated 24 million pounds of horseradish roots processed annually. It was brought to, of all places, Illinois, USA, in the mid nineteenth century by an entrepreneur who thought he could market the plant and indeed this came to be when, in 1860 it was put for sale in clear jars. This was a highly progressive style of selling and was a boost to the jam jar industry. To this day, in May, the good people of Colinsville, Illinois celebrate the horse-
radish at the International Horseradish Festival. Really! The event lasts three whole days in the “Horseradish Capital of the World!” “Events include a root toss, a horseradish-eating contest and a horserad-
ish recipe contest. Since 1988, the festival was designed to create national awareness for the herb in the area where most of the world’s supply is grown. Collinsville and the surrounding area is post glacial land
so the soil is rich in potash, a nutrient on which the horseradish thrives. The Illinois area grows 60 percent of the world’s supply. The area’s cold winters provide the required root dormancy and the long summers provide excellent growing conditions.” What makes the hotness? Once the roots are crushed, grated or ground, they release the impossible to pronounce, isothiocyanate. Horseradish has only two calories a teaspoon, is low in sodium and provides dietary fiber although no-one has yet designed a horseradish weight loss diet. On the other hand, there are hundreds of excellent recipes available online, so you can happily use up your leftover Seder portions. As you can imagine, a herb of such mesmerizing flavor, has medicinal properties both untested and proven. It is said to protect from cancers, inflammation and infections. The plant is thought to be anti-inflammatory, a diuretic and nerve soothing. It is full of Vitamin C, it is an anti-oxidant and is also a gastric stimulant. Perhaps this is why we are so hungry for the Seder meal? Jeannie Milewski from The Horseradish Information Council – oh yes, there is one – helpfully confirmed that sales of horseradish increase during Passover, although prices are fairly stable. When you purchase your horseradish, you should choose a, “stony hard root that is devoid of sprouts, mold, or soft spots. Avoid greentinged roots, as they are very bitter.” You will be delighted to hear that you can store the leftovers in the fridge for most of the following year. Alternatively, there are commercially prepared horseradish products which let you avoid the goggle wearing outfit that is the choice uniform for home horseradish preparation. If, however, your teenager is brave enough to prepare your Seder horseradish from scratch, be sure to have them clean the root, wash it in cold water and then dry it before grating. The goggles are really a good idea as the processed horseradish can cause intense irritation to the eyes, skin, mucus membranes of the nose and throat. The pungency is not permanent however; if left dry, uncovered and unrefrigerated, the fragrance and flavor is lost. And that takes us back to the real value of the maror; don’t we want to lose the feeling of being lost?
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How Israel Helps the Palestinians: Cooperation in the Midst of Conflict Aaron Feigenbaum
When the media, policymakers and international organizations discuss the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they often do so in just those terms: as a conflict. What is lost in the sensationalist, ratings-oriented media and in the speeches of vote-oriented politicians is the enormous degree of peaceful cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians. The fact is that Palestinians benefit enormously from Israel, with the Jewish state providing valuable goods, services and opportunities to Palestinians that otherwise would not be available in the impoverished, underdeveloped Palestinian territories or in neighboring Arab countries. Perhaps the strongest area of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation is economics. From tourism to agriculture to entrepreneurship, the Palestinian economy is inextricably tied up with Israel. For example, over 450 Israeli companies are involved in building the new Palestinian city of Rawabi in the West Bank at an estimated cost of $1 billion and an annual revenue of $100 million for the Israeli economy. The project employs 5,000 Palestinians, and the most of the building resources are coming via Israeli roads and ports. Israel is also helping the people of Gaza set up their first Coca Cola factory, a modest yet desperately needed attempt at revitalizing an economy that’s been run into the ground by Hamas. And Palestinian farmers recently came to Israel to learn more techniques for growing strawberries. Economic cooperation also extends to the exciting world of tech startups. Mr. Hani Alami, a telecommunications tycoon and owner of Ramallah-based internet service provider CoolNet, stated in an interview with Times of Israel that. “There is plenty of blame to go around for the political situation. There are no men of vision on either side. But economically, there is no reason the two sides cannot cooperate, and in fact that would benefit both the Israelis and Palestinians.” Alami’s company has partnered with several Israeli firms and he has close personal ties in the Israeli tech world. Additionally, the Israeli branch of multinational networking company Cisco, with whom Alami’s firm works,
has invested $15 million in Palestinian tech startups and training programs. The words of a Palestinian entrepreneur trained by Cisco-Israel are astute. The goal of the joint program, he explained, is “not to make friends, but the outcome of the program, indirectly, is making friendships.” In one of the most well-known examples of Israeli-Palestinian economic partnership, the Israeli company Sodastream (maker of a home water carbonation machine) had, until recently, its main factory in Mishor Adumim in the West Bank, where it employed hundreds
of Palestinians at a substantially higher wage than the Palestinian Authority’s minimum wage. The company has been the focus of intense international scrutiny, with the governments of Norway, Sweden and Finland banning their products. Most notably, the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement led the charge to cripple Sodastream. Facing declining profits due to the decrease in the consumption of sugary drinks and the impact of the BDS movement, the company recently moved its operations to Israel. As demonstrated by statistics, BDS’
insistence that everything Israeli be boycotted would do nothing to help Palestinians and do everything to hurt them. Consider that in 2012, Palestinian exports to Israel accounted for a whopping 81% of total Palestinian exports and that Palestinian purchases from Israel made up two-thirds of total Palestinian imports. Israel employs an estimated 110,000 Palestinian workers and has built 16 industrial parks in the West Bank where Jews and Arabs work side by side. Even the virulently anti-Israel Arab media praises Israeli companies for treating their Palestinian workers much better than they would be treated working for a Palestinian company. In fact, Israel is the only country with any serious level of investment in the Palestinian economy. Breaking this relationship, as BDS suggests, could potentially send the already impoverished Palestinian territories into an economic depression, ruin the intimate business and personal ties the two sides have forged over the years, and even spark another major conflict. The good news is that while BDS makes the headlines, their actual economic impact on Israeli trade has been negligible according to Moody’s Investors Service. But don’t think that cooperation between the two sides is limited to dollars and cents. Countless Palestinians are the recipients of Israeli medical aid and humanitarian aid every day. In one touching story, an IDF medical team was able to save the life of a six month old Palestinian baby who had a heart attack. In another example, doctors at Haifa’s state-of-the-art Rambam hospital helped a Gaza woman with a severe blood clot deliver twins. The same hospital also delivered the baby of a Gaza woman with Rh incompatibility and then treated the baby’s congenital heart condition. During the intense fighting during last year’s Gaza war, the IDF and Magen David Adom were at the ready to treat wounded Gazans by setting up a field hospital near the border and evacuating to Israel those Gazans who had been prevented by Hamas from travelling to Turkey for medical treatment. Even the sister and mother-in-law of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh were granted treatment at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital.
35 THE JEWISH HOME ugee organization) and delivered only $107 million. Nor do the Arab League or U.N. discuss the plight of Palestinians in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon where they’re kept in refugee camps and treated as second-class citizens. And it would certainly be too much to expect Palestinians to rely on their own government for assistance. The hopelessly corrupt Palestinian Authority refused last year to take millions of dollars in medical aid from the Israeli Ministry of Health. In another disturbing example, EU investigators in 2013 found that the P.A. had wasted $2.7 billion of aid, some of which likely went to paying convicted terrorists and their families. The recent decision by President Mahmoud Abbas to end security cooperation with Israel puts the jobs and lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians at risk. Abbas had just last year called security ties with Israel “sacred” and promised that they would persist despite disagreements with the Israeli government. If these ties are not restored soon, the burden of preventing Hamas attacks might be placed solely on Israel’s shoulders. In the words of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, “If the Palestinian Authority ceases or were to cease, security cooperation – or even decide to disband as a result of their economic predicament, and that could happen in the near future if they don’t receive additional revenues – then we would be faced with yet another crisis that could also greatly impact the security of both Palestinians and Israelis, which would have the potential of serious ripple effects elsewhere in the region.” Robert Serry, U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East, warns that this could be the “final nail in the coffin of the Oslo Accords.” For now, despite such foolhardy and counterproductive measures, Israeli-Palestinian relations outside the political realm are healthy and constantly expanding. While this may not lead to a political solution, it can at least lead to increased understanding and respect between the two sides. (Sources: Times of Israel, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, Good News From Israel, Forbes) Aid trucks enter Gaza vi Kerem Shalom crossing
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One incredibly generous Israeli group, the Peres Center for Peace, provides hospital care in Israel, without charge, for Palestinian children with heart conditions. Meanwhile, due to the abysmal state of Palestinian healthcare, the Israeli government hands out thousands of humanitarian entry permits to Palestinians every year so they can receive care, and the Palestinian Authority itself often funds patients’ treatment at Israeli hospitals. Humanitarian aid is another one of Israel’s strong suits. Even as the rockets rained down on Israel in 2014, the IDF’s humanitarian relief efforts were in full swing, bringing fuel, food, electricity, water, clothing, medicine, agricultural materials and more to the people of Gaza. Israeli engineers came into Gaza to perform repairs of the roads, electrical systems, water supply, sewage plants and communication lines. However, Hamas’ incessant rocket attacks and use of human shields created a dangerous situation for the Israeli teams, thus severely limiting the amount of aid that could reach Gazans. In all, Israel sends over a million tons of aid into Gaza every year. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved a plan last month to further lift the restrictions on Gaza, meaning that Gazan trade, agriculture and home reconstruction will increase significantly. Contrast Israeli aid to the Palestinians with that pledged by the Arab countries. A 2011 article in Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily noted that “Arab countries have cut aid to Palestinians substantially, despite their rhetoric of supporting Palestinian rights. Arab donors provided less than $80 million in the first half of 2011, compared to $231 million in 2010, $462 million in 2009 and $446 million in 2008. Arab countries have committed to billions in aid in past years that never materialized. One reason could be that the Arab world has become fed up with the Palestinian problem. Even the Arab League and U.N., not exactly Israel’s allies, have rebuked oil-rich Arab countries for failing to live up to their promises. For example, Arab countries pledged $999 million in 2004 to the budget of UNRWA (the U.N.’s Palestinian Ref-
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“It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know!” Power-Bubbe Shirley Friedman IS Civic Pride Rachel Wizenfeld
After hearing of last week’s tragic fire in Brooklyn which nearly wiped out an entire family, Shirley Zucker Friedman received a call from her friend Michelle Hirsch. Hirsch, a realtor, was enthusiastic to organize a fire safety awareness day in Los Angeles. Friedman was instantly on the case. After all, this is what she does best. “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” Friedman explained. “I find that people call me all the time because they need something and they don’t know who else to call.” Friedman is a 60-something grandmother with an extensive rolodex of political friends and quality connections to people who can help. So, when there’s an issue in the Jewish community, she often receives a call. She caught the political activist “bug” lobbying for Israel over 25 years ago and she’s never looked back. She left for D.C. the same morning she met her husband-tobe, Morris ‘Fritz’ Friedman – and she got him to drive her to the airport. That trip was to meet vice president Dan Quayle, but over the years she has also met presidents Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama, and has lobbied numerous senators and congressmen to support Israel. Notwithstanding Friedman’s success in Washington, where she really shines is local politics. She’s worked on many campaigns, including Richard Riordan’s mayoral run, for which she was the liaison to the Jewish community. She also participated in Antonio Villaraigosa’s numerous mayoral campaigns. In 2013, Friedman was asked to serve on City Attorney Mike
With Senator Joseph Lieberman
L-R Chairman of the California Democratic Party, Eric Bauman, Speaker Emeritus John Perez, Shirely Friedman and M”Fritz” Friedman
Feuer’s transition team, which she calls, “a really high honor.” Friedman has served on many prestigious Committees and served numerous Mayors as a commissioner on the Relocations Appeals Board. She now holds a state commissionership with the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision as well. Friedman counts LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Controller Ron Galperin, Sheriff Jim McDonnell as personal friends. Eric Bauman, vice chair of the California Democratic Party and chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, is proud to call her his sister. The
speaker emeritus of the California State Assembly, John A. Perez, refers to her as his “Tante Shirley,” and gave her a heartfelt shout-out during his inauguration speech on the floor of the assembly. He called her one of four women who have always been there for him. “It’s a big zechus, not many people can claim that,” Friedman admitted. The Friedmans’ have had Congresspersons including Brad Sherman and Karen Bass as well as Howard Berman and Diane Watson at their home. Israel Counsel for the Western US David Siegel and family are frequent guests. City Attorney Mike Feuer, Councilman Bob Blumen-
field and former Sheriff Lee Baca have all graced the Friedman Succah. Each year their Pesach Seder includes an interesting, eclectic mix of people that range from frum friends and family to elected officials, including former Controller and Councilwoman Wendy Gruel, whose son fell asleep before he could negotiate a prize for the afikomon. John Perez has long made their Seder an annual tradition, and his commentaries are often the most insightful of the night. Because Friedman’s husband is a member of the Democratic State Central Committee, each year they go to the Democratic State Convention, which runs over Shabbos. When word got out that Friedman was bringing homemade food for Shabbos dinner, numerous members of the state legislature asked to join the meal. “Now it’s a tradition – every Democratic state convention, me, the Republican, feeds the Democrats!” she laughed. Friedman has even hosted Shabbos dinner for 40 in California’s State Capitol building, which was preceded by a first-ever Kabbalat Shabbat service just off the rotunda. It was at that dinner that Speaker Perez bestowed upon her the honorary title of “Official California State Balabusta.” A native Angeleno, Friedman is mother to one son and two step-daughters, and is the proud grandmother of eight grandchildren. Three live locally and attend Emek Hebrew Academy as well as Shalhevet High School. “Just make your voice heard,” she says. “Being Jewish means being open-minded. My main issue, even with local politics, is Israel – as a Jew and as an American.” Though a lifelong Republican, when Democratic candidates share her values, she supports them, “That’s being a true bipartisan,” she says. “My ‘go-to’ people are elected officials who are, first and foremost, eager to serve their public,” Friedman acknowledges. “And the more frum people get involved in civic issues, the more the go-to people that can get things done will do for our community.”
Compiled by Nate Davis Compiled by Nate Davis
The President of the United States is lashing out at Israel just like Haman lashed out at the Jews. – Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat, speaking at Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue
Maybe we can get a freedom fighter to come in and do a training camp for students. - An undercover journalist for conservative activist James O’Keefe, talking to Cornell University’s dean of student affairs Joseph Scaffido about opportunities to promote ISIS on campus
Blackberry and Samsung are working together on a new project to build a high-security tablet. The way it works is this: It says “Blackberry” on the back and nobody wants to steal it. - Seth Myers Every doctor I see says they’ll kill you, but they die and I don’t. So there must be a mistake somewhere. - 114-year-old Elizabeth Sullivan on her 40 year habit of drinking three Dr. Peppers a day Only in a life or death scenario can you have mental clearness to know that you cannot feel guilty for surviving. Had I had a fraction of a thought that I could have done something differently, acted differently, so that both of us would have survived, then I would have a heavier weight on my shoulders. - George Zimmerman, in a newly released video, discussing the Trayvon Martin shooting
Ted Cruz said today that if elected president, he’ll tell the truth and do what he said he’d do. And guys, I know we’ve been burned 44 times on this, but I have a good feeling about this guy. – Seth Myers
You would be allowed to do something like that. –Scaffido’s response I think we are just going to see the ongoing attempt to investigate Hillary Clinton, be it her hair or her emails. - Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi
It took 11 years for NASA’s Mars Rover to go 26 miles. Or as my grandma calls that, “driving.” - Jimmy Fallon
I need you to draw me a contract. Don’t spend a lot of time on it. Draft it and send it to me and David so we can review your work. I need the contract to be for me to sell my soul to the devil. - An assignment Google’s Sergey Brin gave to a lawyer interviewing for Google, according to a new book about the company (The attorney wrote the contract and got the job) It’s rumored that Obama recently purchased a house in Hawaii that was featured on the show “Magnum P.I.” Not to be outdone, Biden is moving into SpongeBob’s Pineapple. - Jimmy Fallon
Allies have differences, but when allies like Israel, when you have a difference with them and it is public, it emboldens their enemies to launch more rockets out of southern Lebanon and Gaza, to launch more terrorist attacks, to go to international forums and delegitimize Israel’s right to exist. This is outrageous, it is irresponsible, it is dangerous, and it betrays the commitment this nation has made to the right of a Jewish state to exist in peace. If America doesn’t stand with Israel, who would we stand with? - Senator Marco Rubio blasting President Obama’s recent treatment of Israel Ted Cruz says he used to like rock music but after 9/11, he prefers country [music]. Upon hearing this, al Qaeda said, “That was the plan.” - Conan O’Brien
According to a new poll, exactly 50 percent of Americans view President Obama’s presidency as a success. While the other half of Americans are actually candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. - Jimmy Fallon The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families. - Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who is considering running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, on ABC If you press a spring too hard, it will recoil. - Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying Western pressure pushed his nation to act in Ukraine
APRIL 1, 2015
“Say“Say What?” What?”
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I’m sorry, we’re talking about energy. It’s a great story. So, hopefully you’ll focus on it… This is a really important story. - President Obama to a reporter who tried to ask him about the Iran negotiations while he was promoting a new energy regulation And there are often more than one at a time, sir. - The reporter’s response
Ted Cruz is the first official candidate for the 2016 presidential election. As history has shown, the first declared candidate always goes on to win the election — except in 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996, 1992, 1988, 1984, 1980, 1976, 1972, 1968, 1964, 1960, 1956 . . . – David Letterman
When the Supreme Leader of Iran is continuing – in the middle of these negotiations – is continuing to make statements like “death to America,” how is that not problematic for you? How is that not something – why are you just willing to let that – let it slide, basically, and you are holding the prime minister of Israel to comments that he made and has since changed? - Reporter Matt Lee questioning State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki about the Obama administration’s naiveté regarding Iran
If we build these devices to take care of everything for us, eventually they’ll think faster than us and they’ll get rid of the slow humans to run companies more efficiently. - Apple co-founder and programming whiz Steve Wozniak discussing computer robots
I did not believe it was appropriate to go speak to J Street, a group that basically has anti-Israeli sentiments, but I have a vast array of people advising me, and I’m honored that Jim Baker is doing so. The fact that I have people that I might not agree with me on every subject advising me shows leadership, frankly. I don’t think we need monolithic thinking here. - Jeb Bush’s statement about James Baker’s rant against Israel at the J Street Convention
ISIL is direct outgrowth of al Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion, which is an example of unintended consequences — which is why we should generally aim before we shoot. – President Obama in an interview earlier this week with VICE News
During a recent interview, President Obama revealed that he doesn’t always get enough sleep. And I think I speak for everyone when I say, “Good! We pay you to worry about stuff so we can sleep. That’s why you are the president. “ - Jimmy Fallon
To me that’s absurd, because he’s been president for six years. ISIS didn’t even start in Iraq; it started in Syria. - House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
President Obama was photographed wearing a fitness tracker that features a GPS, heart monitor, and step counter. Not to be outdone, Joe Biden was photographed wearing a necklace with his name, address, and allergies in case he gets lost. – Jimmy Fallon
You know, I came up with things like health care — it turned out OK. It started off with some prototypes. - President Obama talking to children at the White House science fair
President Obama admitted that he doesn’t get enough sleep. But doctors said he should find little tricks to doze off, like counting intruders jumping over the White House fence. – Ibid
I am all about new beginnings—a new grandchild, another new hairstyle, a new e-mail account. Why not a new relationship with the press? So here it goes: no more secrecy. No more zone of privacy. After all, what good did that do me? - Hillary Clinton joking at a recent Washington event for journalists (during which she took no questions)
President Obama has decided that he wants his presidential library to be in Chicago, not Hawaii. Today Hawaii’s governor said, “Great, who’s going to want to come to Hawaii now?” – Conan O’Brien
Why do we have to wait until I’m dead to get together? -Richard Povah, 95, of England, who had his family throw him a wake even though he is still alive
All I want is a slushie. - 4-year-old Annabelle, who wandered out of her house at 3AM and got on a Philadelphia city bus, to the bus driver, who promptly called police to locate her parents
The order was incorrect. - Why a Grand Rapids, Mich., woman fired her Glock pistol into a McDonald’s drivethrough window; police said the restaurant forgot to put bacon on her cheeseburger
Prince Charles visited President Obama at the White House yesterday. They each had a good laugh and then shook ears. – Jimmy Fallon
Remember when South Africa was misbehaving? We organized a boycott of South Africa. We should be boycotting Saudi Arabia and not taking money from Saudi Arabia’s government. – Senator Rand Paul
Hillary Clinton was actually inducted into the Irish American Hall of Fame yesterday. Hillary said she’s very proud of her Irish heritage or her Italian heritage or her Asian heritage. Whatever it takes to seal the deal with you guys. I’ve got to get into that Oval Office. – Jimmy Fallon
Dick Cheney said in a … interview this week that Barack Obama is the worst president of his lifetime. Come on, you can’t tell me Obama is worse than Martin Van Buren. - Seth Myers
39 THE JEWISH HOME APRIL 1, 2015
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APRIL 1, 2015
Travel Guide: New Hampshire Aaron Feigenbaum
Situated between Maine and Vermont, New Hampshire has everything New England is best known for: dazzling fall foliage, lush forested mountains, picturesque lakes, charming Colonial-style villages, and fiercely independent yet hospitable people. The Granite State is perfect for outdoor activities, no matter the season. Skiing on the slopes of Mt. Washington, the highest American mountain east of the Mississippi, is one of the state’s most thrilling adrenaline rushes, while picking berries and swimming in crisp mountain streams are favorites for the spring and summer. New Hampshire’s motto is, “Live Free or Die,” and this attitude is reflected in the state’s lack of sales or income tax, an especially attractive incentive for potential tourists and residents alike. Whether you’re taking a scenic railway ride or fishing for salmon in serene Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire’s incredible natural beauty and countless adventures are sure to leave an indelible impression on even the most seasoned travelers. History Algonquian tribes inhabited the area
now known as New Hampshire prior to European exploration. Europeans, including Samuel de Champlain, (the “Father of New France”) who first came there
Major John Mason was assigned control over the area between the Piscataqua and Merrimack Rivers, naming it New Hampshire. In 1641, the fledgling colony became embroiled in a turf dispute with Massachusetts. It wasn’t until 1739 that the two colonies finally agreed on their eastern and southern borders. The first governor of New Hampshire, Benning Wentworth, was appointed by the Crown in 1741.
Arethusa Falls. Photo by Miles Scanlon via Wikimedia Commons
between 1600 and 1605. In 1620, English settlers formed the Council of New England to distribute land. English Army
enjoy the Granite State’s scenic wonders. Attractions Manchester: A former mill town, Manchester is now the urban heart of New Hampshire. It has a vibrant culture and economy, and is one of the cheapest and safest places in America to live in or visit One of the most popular spots in Manchester is the Currier Museum of Art. Inside this beautifully minimalistic modern building lie works by Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Escher and other leading artists. Nearby is the Zimmerman House designed by one of America’s most famous architects, Frank Lloyd Wright. Tours of the museum and house are free. The Millyard Museum takes a look at Manchester’s industrial past. Learn how raw cotton was made into cloth during the early Industrial Revolution and learn how the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company made Manchester the largest planned city in New England. Through original artifacts, documents, and interactive displays, the museum shows what life was like for
Old Man of the Mountain
After the French were dislodged from North America in the Seven Years War, a land rush into inner New Hampshire began. Lumber camps and sawmills popped up along streams, and Scots-Irish immigrants jump started the textile industry. In 1774, New Hampshire was the first colony to declare its independence from Great Britain and set up its own government. The state’s northern border was fixed in 1842 with the ratification of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty between the U.S. and Canada. New Hampshire was an ardent supporter of the Union and the antislavery movement in the Civil War. It sent many troops to fight on the Union’s behalf. After the war, the state’s economy was boosted by the production of wool and cotton products as well as by shoe manufacturing. However, this industrial boom was unregulated and led to the overexploitation of large swathes of New Hampshire’s forests and rivers. A series of conservation bills have ensured state and federal protection of vulnerable areas of the state. As a result, New Hampshire today is the most forested state in America. Tourism is now the leading industry in New Hampshire with hundreds of thousands of people coming in every year to
Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse. Photo by Scott Ray
the mill workers and the industrialists who built Manchester from the ground up. A favorite outdoor pastime in Manchester is going sailing, fishing and kayaking on Lake Massabesic. Trails surrounding the lake provide spectacular views of the lake itself and the nearby town of Auburn. Note that swimming is not allowed as the lake is the source of Manchester’s drinking water. McIntyre Ski Area, located within city limits, is well-suited for beginners and features training lessons for both kids and adults. Portsmouth: New Hampshire’s tiny 13-mile coastline holds one of its greatest treasures. Located two miles inland from the coast along the Piscataqua River, Portsmouth is one of America’s oldest cities and has a proud naval tradition. This historic city was once home to John Paul Jones, founder of the U.S. Navy. Portsmouth’s shipyards have operated from the 1600’s when they built ships for the Brit-
43 THE JEWISH HOME APRIL 1, 2015
the White Mountains
ish Navy up to the present where they now service America’s nuclear submarines. It’s also where Paul Revere made his famous horseback ride warning of British warships coming to conquer the port city. One of the city’s best attractions is the Strawbery Banke Museum, a collection of 42 buildings that have been preserved as they were in the 17th and 18th centuries. Sitting right near the bay that marks the border between New Hampshire and Maine, these beautiful buildings could not be in a more idyllic setting. Costumed guides demonstrate what life was like for the early settlers in the region. In winter, the museum sets up an ice skating rink for visitors’ enjoyment. The USS Albacore is one of New England’s most unique exhibits. This submarine served from 1953 to 1973 as an experimental model meant to improve the submarine fleet’s stealth capabilities against the Soviets. Visitors can now tour the sub’s interior and get a glimpse of what it was like to live under the ocean for months on end. Prescott Park is a tranquil oasis amidst Portsmouth’s hustle and bustle. The gorgeous gardens, music and dance shows, and views of the harbor make this a mustsee. Local cruise companies take adventurers on a 45 minute trip to Portsmouth Harbor’s islands. On Star Island you can hear about the island’s connection with the pirates Blackbeard and Captain Kidd, and see a replica of Gosport Village, a 17th century fishing village. Another cruise through the harbor itself reveals the history of German U-boat espionage in WWII and passes by lighthouses, a naval shipyard, colonial architecture, and sometimes an active fast attack submarine. North Conway/White Mountains: North Conway, a picturesque city full of old-fashioned wooden antique and general stores is the gateway to New Hampshire’s breathtaking White Mountains. The White Mountains are most famous for the Old
Man, a stunning rock formation that once stuck out the side of Cannon Mountain. It is featured on the state’s quarter coin. The White Mountains’ main draw is its outdoors activities. There’s hiking, biking, rafting, skiing, fishing - the list goes on. You can ride a gondola to either Wildcat or Loon Mountain, or soar above the Pemigewasset River on a zipline. Take a trip through the mountains on the Conway Scenic Railroad. The spectacular Lost River Gorge takes visitors across a suspension bridge situated right above a waterfall and lets kids explore caves and pan for gemstones and fossils. For a truly authentic journey to the wild, camp out or stay in one of the numerous alpine huts scattered throughout the mountain range. One of the best ways to get to the highest peak, Mt. Washington, is to take the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Be warned that the road does not have railings! Despite the danger, the panoramic views of the valley below and surrounding mountains make the drive absolutely worth it. Another option is to ride to the top aboard the Mt. Washington Cog Railway. The train ride includes free admission to the Mt. Washington Observatory located at the summit. Another can’t-miss drive in the area is Kancamagus Highway. This road is considered one of the most scenic in America, and for good reason. In autumn, the leaves light up in brilliant oranges, red and yellows against the backdrop of the snowcapped White Mountains. There are plenty of opportunities to photo ops and several streams and falls to play in along the way. Daven and Eat There are two Orthodox shuls in New Hampshire: One is Chabad Lubavitch of New Hampshire at 7 Camelot Place, Manchester (603-647-0204 or lubavitchnh. com). The other is Chabad of Dartmouth College in Hanover at 22a School St. (603277-9149 or dartmouthchabad.com.) There are no kosher restaurants in New Hampshire. Chabad of New Hampshire
provides Shabbos takeout. A full list of markets that carry kosher products can be found at http://www.jewishnh.org/resources/kosher-food.html Getting There Depending on when you decide to go, the cheapest round-trip flights from LAX
to Manchester cost about $340 per person. Round-trip tickets for both Greyhound and Amtrak to Manchester start at around $340. Driving from L.A. to Manchester takes about 44 hours on a 3,000+ mile long trip.
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APRIL 1, 2015
Global Original Auschwitz Document Discovered at High School
A typewritten page, stained and with its edges burnt, was discovered last month inside a 1923 Polish book on the history of warfare during a library stock-taking at the 2nd Lyceum in Lodz, about 120 miles from Auschwitz. The page contained a list of Auschwitz prisoners and their inmate numbers. “We have no idea how or when it came to be in this book,” school director Jadwiga Ochocka confessed. Auschwitz museum spokesman Pawel Sawicki told the AP on Wednesday that historians are certain that it is authentic, but they will still test it in order to confirm its authenticity. “The burn marks suggest it was there to the end and was planned for burning,” Sawicki said. The list is dated May 21, 1941 and has the names of 15 inmates brought to Auschwitz that day from Lodz, Poznan and Katowice. The same names are on a longer list of 28 inmates brought in that day, which is held in the museum’s archives. According to historians, eight of the inmates on the list were murdered in Auschwitz. Two Poles – Czeslaw Fratczak and Boleslaw Kita – survived the war but have since died. The fate of the other five on the list, including a Polish Jew and a German remain a mystery.
high of 63.5°F on Tuesday. Remember what it felt like in New York? I’ll remind you: mid-30s. Yup. Antarctica has been heating up in recent years. The region’s temperature has risen an average of about 5°F in the last half century, according to the British Antarctic Survey. Studies have also documented melting ice along Antarctica’s coasts. Tuesday’s record is all the more impressive considering that it was set just one day after Antarctica had reached a new high of 63.3°F on Monday. Prior to those two record-setting days, the hottest the continent had ever gotten was 62.8°F on April 24, 1961. But the record is not yet official. The reading was logged on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, which may not be considered part of the continent in weather record keeping. The World Meteorological Organization is expected to examine whether the area was indeed in Antarctica or whether it is technically located in Argentina. Maybe you should try to vacation somewhere else. I heard Alaska is getting warmer…
tion was mostly organized by an Algerian jihadist named Lokmane Abou Sakhr, one of the leaders of the al-Qaeda-linked Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade, the main Tunisian armed group active along the border with Algeria. Officials called into question the claim of responsibility for the attack from al-Qaeda’s jihadist rival, the Islamic State group. “Islamic State praised this attack for propaganda and publicity. But on the ground it was Okba Ibn Nafaa which belongs to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb that organized and committed this crime,” interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui said. Okba Ibn Nafaa has not responded since IS claimed responsibility for the attack. Tunisian authorities have blamed Okba Ibn Nafaa for a series of ambushes and attacks against security forces that have left some 60 dead since the end of 2012.
Cuba’s Freed Prisoners Share Mixed Feelings toward Obama
4 Decades of Working as a Man to Provide for her Museum Massacre Family Suspects Arrested It’s been over 40 years since Sisa Abu Daooh literally put on the pants in the family to provide for her family. The Egyptian mother dressed as a man—in a traditional male robe and turban—and took up jobs in brickmaking and shoe shining to avoid being harassed in Egypt. Abu Daooh’s husband passed away in the 1970s when she was pregnant was her daughter. Few jobs were available at that time for illiterate women in the traditional society, and she found that by altering her appearance she was able to provide for her family.
It’s Getting Hot over There Looking for a new vacation spot? Why not try Antarctica? Sure, there aren’t any restaurants and the only people there are actually penguins, but the coldest continent recorded a record-breaking
and worked alongside them in other villages where no one knows me,” she recently told the media. Last week, the 65-year-old was awarded the “woman breadwinner” award by authorities in her hometown of Luxor and was congratulated in person by the Egyptian president. She was celebrated on Sunday in a ceremony at the Egyptian presidential palace, where she met President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi and received a prize of about $6,500. Wearing a traditional male robe and turban while receiving the award, Abu Daooh was praised by the president as “an exemplary working woman.“ Despite her age and her many years of work, Abu Daooh is still not retiring. Her son-in-law is unable to work and so she helps to contribute to the family’s income. “My mom is the one who still provides for the family,” Abu Dooah’s daughter said, according to Al Arabiya. “She wakes up every day at 6 a.m. to start polishing shoes at the station in Luxor. I carry the work kits for her as she now advanced in age.” Abu Dooah told The Guardian that she has gotten used to her men’s clothes, and intends to spend the rest of her life in them. “I have decided to die in these clothes. I’ve got used to it. It’s my whole life and I can’t leave it now,” she related.
“As to protect myself from men and the harshness of their looks and being targeted by them due to traditions, I decided to be a man … and dressed in their clothes
Twenty three suspects in Tunisia have been put in jail for their connection with the recent jihadist massacre at the country’s national museum. On March 18, 21 people were gunned down by two men wearing masks at the Bardo museum in Tunis. Of those killed, 20 were foreign tourists. The arrested men are believed to be a part of a single terror cell. They were all Tunisians, and they accounted for “80 percent of this cell,” Interior Minister Najem Gharsalli revealed. Another Tunisian, two Moroccans and an Algerian suspected of being members of the cell are still on the run. The Tunisian fugitive, Maher Ben Mouldi Kaidi, is alleged to have provided the automatic weapons to the two gunmen. The head of the cell was among those arrested and identified as Mohamed Emine Guebli. The minister said the opera-
In December, the international community was surprised by the Obama administration’s deal with Raúl Castro. Most of the focus was on the headline prisoner exchange that started an era of new relations with Cuba. American Alan Gross, jailed for distributing satellite phones paid for by the U.S. government, was set free, and three Cuban spies in the U.S. were returned to Cuba. Making less headlines was a group of 53 prisoners who were supposed to be let out of Cuban jails later as a confidence-building measure. Some doubted whether Raúl Castro would comply, but on January 8, all men and women on the list that were still imprisoned were released. While the prisoners are obviously happy to be out of jail, many have mixed emotions towards Obama. As released prisoner Robereto Hernandez Barrios told a reporter: “Obama is part of a change here, but any
Nusra Front quietly rises in Syria as Islamic State targeted Associated Press Syrian rebels seize ancient town near Jordanian border Associated Press Syrian government shells kill 18 in south, activists say Associated Press Qaeda seizes ‘majority’ of Syria’s Idlib: monitor AFP Idlib, a major urban center with a pop-
Turkey, throughout the conflict. On Saturday, Islamic fighters jubilantly swept in, taking over key buildings and tearing down posters of Assad. Videos posted online by activists and the Nusra Front showed a group of heavily armed fighters kneeling down in prayer in the city’s sprawling Hanana square as others fired their guns in celebration. “Allahu Akbar!” — God is great — they shouted. The fighters then took down a Syrian flag flying in the center of the
square and set it on fire to the backdrop of incessant shooting. The video appeared genuine and consistent with AP reporting on Idlib’s takeover Saturday. In this image posted on the Twitter page of Syria’s al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front on Friday, March … The Nusra Front is leading a group of ultra-conservative rebels in a major offensive that began earlier this week to take Idlib. They include the hardline Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa groups and a
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Syria’s Al Qaeda Branch Pushes Regime Out Of Major City Huffington Post
ulation of around 165,000 people, is the second provincial capital to fall into opposition hands after Raqqa, now a stronghold of the Islamic State group. Its capture by the Nusra Front underscores the growing power of extremist groups in Syria who now control about half the country. Opposition fighters including Nusra have controlled the countryside and towns across Idlib province since 2012, but Assad’s forces have managed to maintain their grip on Idlib city, near the border with
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opening to the Castros will benefit the Castros, not the Cuban people.” When asked what Obama should demand from the Castros, Barrios immediately replied, “The liberation of all political prisoners, and free elections,” two perfectly fair demands that would nonetheless torpedo negotiations with the Castros immediately. Interviews with a handful of the ex-prisoners show that they feel the U.S. should give no ground to Raúl Castro and that no opening to Cuba is worth compromising the value of human rights, elections or economic embargoes — not even to free prisoners like themselves. While Obama’s opening has raised expectations among ordinary Cubans, the Havana government has barely seemed to acknowledge that half a century of open hostility has ended. Economic reforms have created some movement in Cuba, but that sense of change seems absent in official propaganda. Raúl Castro spoke for only three minutes when he announced the restoration of diplomatic ties last December. Fidel Castro took months to acknowledge the changes, warning Cubans to beware of U.S. intentions. Barrios was sentenced to five years in jail simply for distributing copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a U.N. charter that guarantees free speech, free association and political rights. Jail was “a horrible experience,” he said, “locked up with murderers, drug dealers and thieves. … It was a beautiful thing Obama did, for me, for Cuba.” A tattoo on his shoulder reads “Abaja Fidel,” “down with Fidel.” Don’t trust the Castros, he urges Obama. Islamic fighters led by al-Qaida’s branch in Syria seized almost full control of the northwestern city of Idlib on Saturday, taking over major roundabouts and government buildings in a powerful blow to President Bashar Assad whose forces rapidly collapsed after four days of heavy fighting, opposition activists and the extremist group said.
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APRIL 1, 2015
few smaller groups loosely affiliated with the Free Syrian Army. With the takeover of Idlib, an island of government territory in the midst of mostly opposition terrain, the Nusra Front further cements its hold over an impressive stretch of land it controls from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria. With the world’s attention focused on the Islamic State group, the Nusra Front has quietly consolidated its power in Syria in recent months, crushing moderate rebel groups the West may try to work with while increasingly enforcing its own brutal version of Islamic law. Idlib, besides being a major population city, is located near the main highway linking the capital Damascus with Aleppo. The main Western-backed Syrian National Coalition opposition group said the wresting of Idlib from government control is an “important victory on the road to the full liberation of Syrian soil from the Assad regime and its allies.” However, it said more “decisive” assistance to Syrian rebels was needed for that to happen. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel fighters seized control of Idlib in a push Friday evening and early Saturday after rapidly collapsing government forces withdrew. The group, which relies on an extensive network of activists across Syria, said some fighting continued Saturday amid heavy artillery shelling from both sides. The Local Coordination Committees, another opposition activist collective in Syria, also reported the “almost complete” capture of Idlib by rebels. An unnamed Syrian military official quoted by state-run news agency SANA said army forces were fighting “fierce battles” against “armed terrorist groups” to regain control in Idlib. The government claimed earlier this week that “thousands of terrorists” streamed in from Turkey to attack Idlib and its suburbs. Turkey is one of the main backers of the rebels. The humiliating losses in Idlib mark the second blow to government forces this week, after rebels, also led by Nusra, captured the ancient and strategic town of Busra Sham in southern Syria. Also Saturday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was angry and shamed by the failure of the world to stop Syria’s raging civil war. He promised to step up diplomatic efforts in comments at a summit of Arab leaders in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. More than 220,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which began with popular protests amid Arab Spring uprisings in March 2011 and turned into an insurgency following a brutal military crackdown.
Amanda Knox Exonerated After eight years of tension, Amanda Knox finally received relief last week when she and her former friend celebrated their shock acquittal in the murder case of Meredith Kercher. Eight years ago Kercher was found dead, and American Amanda Knox and Italian Raffaele Sollecito were convicted, then acquitted and then convicted again for her murder. Finally, on Friday, Italy’s top court threw the case out, ending the lengthy legal saga. Ivory Coast drifter Rudy Guede is now the only person doing time for Kercher’s 2007 murder. But judges have ruled that he did not act alone and there is still someone out there responsible for her murder. In her summing up, Sollecito’s lawyer Giulia Bongiorno told the court the case should be dismissed because of a “cascade of errors” committed by both police and previous judges, including DNA contamination and a 40 day delay in collecting a key piece of evidence which had been kicked across the room. None of Amanda Knox’s DNA was found in the room. Lawyers have said they would immediately request compensation for the four years the pair wrongly spent behind bars.
India Vows to Improve Orphan Adoption Process There are more than 30 million orphans living in India, yet only about 2,500 were adopted last year, down from 5,700 four years ago. It’s not because perspective parents aren’t looking to adopt; complicated rules, endless delays, overcautious bureaucracy and illegal trafficking are stymying the process. Now, officials like Maneka Gandhi, the minister for women and child welfare, want to change that. “People have to wait for three to four years to adopt. That is inexcusable,” Gandhi said recently. “I want to overhaul the system so it takes not more than four months to adopt.”
Gandhi’s team is now simplifying the rules, setting an online application tracking system, shedding excessive bureaucratic caution and launching a new foster-care program. But reform may not come easy, particularly with foreign adoptions. The number of adoptions by foreigners fell from 628 to 271 in the past four years because the government’s priority is to find Indian parents first. India also wants to limit foreign adoptions to less than 20 percent of the total. Earlier this month, a Parliament panel killed a government proposal to boost foreign adoption, saying that option must be explored only when there is a problem finding suitable parents within India. Additionally, observers say that there are fewer children coming into licensed adoption agencies because of a thriving illegal market that siphons off abandoned infants from hospitals directly to couples. Those who try to adopt legally face long, frustrating waits. Some lose patience and give up. And others may bribe an official or call a VIP to jump the line. “A large number of children go missing every year in India, and the number of infants is huge” said Bhuwan Ribhu, a child rights activist with the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which teamed up with police in New Delhi last year to bust illegal children’s homes. Some children even disappear from hospitals with the help of nurses and doctors. “It shows that there is a big illegal adoption market.” Surveillance camera footage installed at hospitals and crowded train stations have in the past three years shown images of infants being stolen in big cities like New Delhi and Mumbai.
Saudi Arabia Strikes at Yemen Rebels
A united military force is being put together by Arab nations to fight the forces raging in Yemen, according to the Arab League’s Secretary General. The agreement came after warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck Shi’ite Muslim rebels fighting to oust Yemen’s president last week. The strike was a major gamble by the world’s top oil exporter to check Iranian influence in its backyard without direct military backing from
Washington. “We will do whatever it takes in order to protect the legitimate government of Yemen from falling,” Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, told a news conference in Washington. In a day of attacks, warplanes struck Houthi fighters near Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabia. There was also heavy street fighting in Houta, north of Aden, in which five pro-Houthi fighters and four militiamen were killed. “The task of the force will be rapid military intervention to deal with security threats to Arab nations,” Nabil Elaraby told reporters after the meeting in the resort of Sharm El-Sheik. He said that within a month more details would be made available to the public. Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi left his refuge in Aden under Saudi protection and arrived in Saudi Arabia as Houthi rebels battled with forces still loyal to him on the outskirts of the southern port city. The Houthis have taken over much of the country in their campaign to oust Hadi. The Saudi-led military intervention marked a major escalation of the Yemen crisis in which Iran supports the Houthis, and Sunni Muslim monarchies in the Gulf back Hadi and his fellow Sunni loyalists in Yemen’s south. Iran denounced the surprise assault on the Houthis and demanded an immediate halt to Saudi-led military operations. A widening Yemen conflict could pose risks for global oil supplies, and oil prices have seen a surge of several percent since the strikes. Yemen has closed its main ports. The U.S. military has pledged that it will help ensure the Bab el-Mandeb strait at the tip of the Red Sea remains open.
Planning a Vacation? Head to Morocco
Just in time for summer trip planning, TripAdvisor released its annual Travelers’ Choice Awards. Millions of restaurants, hotels, and attractions reviews and ratings submitted by users in the last 12 months were analyzed. Marrakesh, Morocco, was the top-rated destination in the world, with New York City claiming No. 1 in the U.S. Coming in second was Siem Reap, Cambodia, which
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Germanwings Pilot Suffered Psychological Illness
Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot believed to have intentionally crashed a jet into the French Alps, is said to have been suffering from a psychosomatic illness. He was being treated by several neurologists and psychiatrists for his sickness, according to a source close with the investigation. Police have started questioning those close to the first officer on the flight to try and understand what may have caused him to deliberately steer the plane into a mountainside. Investigators are focusing on the 27-year-old’s mental health after they found a doctor’s note among torn-up medical documents certifying him unfit for work on the day of the crash. Authorities said he hadn’t told Germanwings about his medical condition. According to the New York Times, Lubitz sought treatment for vision problems that may have put an end to his career as a pilot. Authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the sight problem may have been psychosomatic. Psychosomatic disorders are physical diseases that
day when police searched Lubitz’s Dusseldorf apartment and his parents’ house about 140 kilometers away. According to prosecutors, there was no evidence of a political or religious motive for his actions. Germanwings and Lufthansa ran fullpage advertisements in the largest German newspapers, mourning the 150 deceased, expressing their condolences to relatives and friends of those who died, and thanking people who are counseling
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are thought to have mental causes such as stress and anxiety. Prosecutors believe, based on their initial findings from the cockpit voice recorder, that Lubitz was alone in the cockpit and barred the captain from re-entering as he crashed the Airbus A320, killing himself and 149 passengers and crew. It’s the worst air disaster for Germanwings parent Deutsche Lufthansa AG since the carrier’s refounding in 1955. No suicide note was found on Thurs-
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increased seven spots from last year’s list. Last year the top-rated destination was Istanbul, Turkey, which fell two spots to No. 3 this year. “Winners change from year to year based on feedback from the community of millions,” TripAdvisor spokeswoman Julie Cassetina said of the two fast-risers. “These fantastic destinations offer a myriad of places to discover— from cultural sights, to renowned eateries, and highly rated hotels.” Where should you head to on your next vacation? Consider these ten cities that were winners of this year’s Travelers’ Choice Awards 1. Marrakesh, Morocco 2. Siem Reap, Cambodia 3. Istanbul, Turkey 4. Hanoi, Vietnam 5. Prague, Czech Republic 6. London, England 7. Rome, Italy 8. Buenos Aires, Argentina 9. Paris, France 10. Cape Town, South Africa
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apartments, allowing privacy.” Isrotel, which own 17 other hotels in the country, bought the property in 2011 for NIS 127.7 million ($32.4 million).
Released Syrian Prisoner Caught Spying Though some people are having a really tough time affording an apartment in Jerusalem, this guy clearly isn’t. An anonymous Jew from Switzerland bought the most expensive apartment per square meter ever sold in Jerusalem last week, shelling out a cool 17.7 million shekels ($4.49 million) for the yet-to-be built property. While not the most expensive apartment in the country (that honor goes to a NIS 81 million apartment on Tel Aviv’s shoreline), at NIS 84,000 ($21,285) per square meter, it clocks in as the capital’s priciest apartment by area. The 212-square-meter apartment (2,281 square feet) is part of the new luxury Isrotel complex under construction in Jerusalem’s tony German Colony neighborhood. The hotel and apartment complex is slated to open in 2016. The complex has 11 apartments, which average NIS 70,000 per square meter. Two 19th-century German Templer structures are being incorporated into the project. “This is the first time in the company’s history that we’re selling apartments,” Isrotel CEO Lior Yaniv told the Globes business news outlet in 2014. “The apartments, which the buyers will fully own, are completely separate from the hotel building. The residents will have the option of using the hotel’s services, including the spa, fitness room, and swimming pool, but they will have a completely separate building, which includes underground parking with direct access to the
Siddqui Al Maqt, 48, was recently let out of an Israeli prison. Now, he has been arrested again following a lengthy investigation by police and the Shin Bet. He is being held on charges of espionage after he allegedly passed photocopied materials, reports and observations on IDF activity in the Golan Heights to Syrian intelligence sources. He stands accused of espionage, abetting an enemy during wartime, supporting a terror organization, having contact with a foreign agent and other security offenses. Al Maqt was released from an Israeli prison two and a half years after serving a 27-year sentence. He was first imprisoned in 1985 on charges of terrorist activity and was released in August 2012. Police said that he returned to nationalist activity immediately after his release. “He began to spread incitement and promote nationalistic activities in the Golan Heights and the Palestinian Authority,” said the chief of the police investigation team, Superintendent Eli Fuchs. ”He supports Hezbollah, Iran and Bashar Assad. He believes the Golan Heights belongs to Syria and that it must be returned to Syr-
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According to police sources, Al Maqt admitted to the charges during questioning and also confessed to contacting Medhat Saleh, a Syrian government member known for ties to Syrian intelligence. ”He cooperated and confessed to most of the charges against him,” said police. “He speaks to us from an ideological standpoint; he considers himself a Syrian citizen serving his country and believes wholeheartedly that he was doing good.” They added that the large-scale investigation began months before the arrest that included police detectives, police intelligences, the Shin Bet and the IDF.
Anti-Anti-Israel Bill Introduced
New legislation is being sponsored to prevent the boycott of Israel and its exports. Republican Congressmen Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Ron DeSantis of Florida have written the Boycott Our Enemies, Not Israel Act. Under the act, prospective contractors with the U.S. government would be required to certify that they are not participating in any boycotts against Israel. The bill also includes penalties for false certification, including permanently banning a company from doing business with the government. “Our government business practices should not play any role in harming our greatest ally in the Middle East,” Lamborn said in a statement, adding that the bill was introduced to “thwart efforts by Palestinian organizations to pressure different corporations, companies and educational institutions to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel.” “The BDS movement represents a disgraceful attempt to single out Israel for punitive treatment,” the congressman said.
that have made it into the books. Here are some of the oddest food laws from around the country. In Gainesville, Georgia, you have to eat fried chicken with your hands. The chief of police even arrested a 91-yearold lady for using a fork in 2009… before swiftly pardoning her and dubbing her an “Honorary Georgia Poultry Princess.” And, unless you get special permission, it is illegal to convert oysters or oyster shells into lime, chicken meal, or road construction materials. The sale of plastic water bottles is not allowed in Concord, Massachusetts. In San Francisco, another spot that passed similar legislation, it’s only illegal on city-owned property. The ban was pushed by local environmentalists who are committed to conserving fossil fuels and keeping people drinking from the tap. Gulp. Taking waste kitchen grease is an offense in North Carolina, and you could be in real trouble depending on how much you swipe. If the grease is valued at $1,000 or lower (by local grease appraisers, of course) you’ve committed a Class 1 misdemeanor. But if that grease is worth over $1,000, you’ve just committed a felony. Fish have to be caught in a barrel in Wyoming, where people are prohibited from taking, hurting, or obliterating a fish with a gun. And if you work in a cheese factory in Tennessee, be careful to take regular coffee breaks, as it’s illegal to fall asleep in any room of a “bakeshop, kitchen, dining room, confectionery, creamery, cheese factory, or place where food is prepared for sale, served, or sold.” Wisconsin believes no one should be subjected to margarine, not even incarcerated criminals. Under their regulations, butter substitutes may not be served to “students, patients, or inmates of any state institution” unless a physician orders it for their health. San Francisco is serious about its open-container laws, especially when it comes to baked goods. Carrying any breads or pastries in a basket or “exposed” container could earn you a hefty fine — though at least San Francisco bakers can turn their containers into road construction materials whenever they please.
Senate Minority Leader Reid to Retire
National Funny Food Felonies
There are some laws that almost all Americans are familiar with. “Don’t Speed” is well-known, and Jaywalking has had plenty of press. But less well-known are some of the USA’s strange food laws
On Friday, Senate Minority Leader
A 22-year-old Army National Guard specialist was arrested by FBI agents on Wednesday while on his way overseas to join the Islamic State, federal authorities announced on Thursday. Authorities say the man and his cousin, who was also arrested on Thursday, had been planning an attack on a U.S. military installation. Hasan Edmonds, 22, was arrested by FBI agents on Wednesday after being accused of attempting to leave the country to join the Islamic State military. Edmonds was an Army National Guard specialist. Authorities revealed that they suspect Edmonds and his cousin, Jonas Edmonds, 29, both U.S. citizens, were in the process of planning an attack to be carried out on a U.S. military installation. Jonas Edmonds, 29, was arrested in his home in Chicago. The two men have been charged with conspiring to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization and will make their initial appearances in federal
court documents. On Wednesday afternoon the two relatives were seen leaving their home in a minivan to drive to the airport. But they never made it to their intended destination. Hasan Edmonds was taken into custody after he went through security, while his cousin was arrested at home.
A Soda Nation
Coke or Pepsi? Or neither? Much to former NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s dismay, Americans are still chugging sugary drinks. An annual report by the industry tracker Beverage Digest found that while the overall soda volume slipped 0.9 percent last year, the biggest decrease was in diet soda drinkers and less of a fall in sugary soda drinkers. This is the tenth consecutive year (2014) that there has been a decline; in 2013 there was a 3% decline in overall soda consumption. Since 2004, there have been campaigns across the nation to spread awareness of the negative consequences of excessive sugary drink consumption, like weight gain. Diet sodas aren’t the answers. They contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame that have been labeled as unhealthy. The American Beverage Association, which represents Coke, Pepsi and others, is trying to address the shift away from diet sodas in part by funding studies showing the benefits of the drinks. After Diet Coke hijacked the number two spot from Pepsi in 2010, this year, Diet Coke suffered the steepest drop and Mr. Pepsi was able to regain his spot at number two. Coke remained the most popular soda in the U.S., sold close to twice as much as Pepsi (No. 2). John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, attributed the moderation in soda’s decline in 2014 to the continued growth of energy drinks. He also noted that Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group have improved marketing for their soda brands. Regardless of the continuing decline of soda volume, the broader
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National Guard Specialist Attempted to Join ISIS
court on Thursday afternoon. The Justice Department said on Thursday that Hasan Edmonds first came to the FBI’s attention in late 2014. According to court documents, by early 2015 he was communicating with an undercover agent working for the FBI. The agent requested Hasan Edmond as a friend on Facebook and the two began communicating. Hasan Edmonds and the agent allegedly discussed avoiding detection by law enforcement, as well as potential places to attack. “It would be hard to pull off a lager (sic) scale attack on the government but police stations and courts are pretty easy and it’s been done before,” Hasan allegedly wrote in one message in late January. Initially all their contact was through Facebook or email but it was eventually moved to a platform that the FBI said are accessible on cellphones. Sooner or later they planned to have Jonas Edmonds carry out a terrorist attack after his cousin had left the country. Then in February, Hasan’s cousin was introduced to another undercover FBI agent by a confidential law enforcement source. Court documents indicate that Jonas Edmonds told the agent that he was still dealing with the fallout of an arrest from when he was younger. His prior conviction, Jonas Edmonds reportedly said, prevented him from traveling outside the U.S., so he had to plan his attack in the country. He also told the agent that they would use his cousin’s army uniforms to carry out the plan. At some point last month, when communicating with the undercover agent, Hasan Edmonds purportedly said, “Honestly, we would love to do something like the brother in Paris did,” an apparent reference to the attack on the Paris office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January. The two cousins met with the agent on Tuesday to discuss the details of their plan. According to court documents, Jonas Edmonds said the attack on the military installation could result in a “body count” of 100 to 150 people, while his cousin estimated it would be closer to 120. At the meeting, they also discussed buying weapons and how to carry out the attack. On Tuesday, the two cousins and the agent allegedly drove to the site they were planning to attack. The target, federal authorities said, was the U.S. military facility where Hasan Edmonds had been training. The exact location, name of the military base, or date of the planned attack was not indicated in
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Harry Reid announced he will not seek re-election for another term. Reid, 75, who was first elected to the Senate in 1986, issued a statement saying that his sole desire is to ensure that Democrats regain control of the Senate next year. He wrote in the statement that it would be “inappropriate for me to soak up all those resources when I could be devoting those resources to the caucus, and that’s what I intend to do.” Reid also revealed that an exercising accident earlier this year left him severely bruised and that he is still struggling to recover full sight in his right eye. He explained that the accident had allowed him time to contemplate and he concluded that his primary concern should be the country, the Senate, and the state of Nevada. His term will be complete in 2016 and he plans to retire at that time.
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U.S. beverage industry performed better than 2013 with a growth of 1.7 percent, according to Beverage Digest. That increase includes bottle water sales which is credited for driving the increase for those companies.
Where do the Hardest Working Americans Live?
6. Jersey City, New Jersey (tie) Average work hours per week: 39.5 Labor force participation: 75 percent 8. San Francisco, California Average work hours per week: 39.6 Labor force participation: 79.1 percent 9. Denver, Colorado Average work hours per week: 38.9 Labor force participation: 78.5 percent 10. Chesapeake, Virginia Average work hours per week: 39.3 Labor force participation: 75 percent
Do we Spend Enough Time with Our Children?
Overworked? Probably most of you are shouting, “YES!” in your minds but there is actually real, hard proof as to which cities are home to America’s hardest workers. Recently, WalletHub examined the 116 most populated cities in the country to see who’s working the hardest. Rankings were based on average weekly hours worked, labor force participation rate, and number of workers with multiple jobs. The truth is, Americans work too much overall. The average American worker is a shocking 400 percent more productive than the average worker in 1950, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regionally, the northwestern section of the U.S. has the highest labor force participation, with states like Washington, Montana and the Dakotas leading the way. Texans worked the longest hours but people in Alaska had some of the highest rates of labor force participation, along with the longest workweeks. These states are home to the hardest working Americans. Tell them to take a vacation. 1. Anchorage, Alaska Average work hours per week: 40.7 Labor force participation: 79.2 percent 2. Virginia Beach, Virginia Average work hours per week: 40.1 Labor force participation: 77.8 percent 3. Plano, Texas Average work hours per week: 40.6 Labor force participation: 78.7 percent 4. Cheyenne, Wyoming Average work hours per week: 39.8 Labor force participation: 78.1 percent 5. Irving, Texas Average work hours per week: 40.1 Labor force participation: 78.5 percent 6. Garland, Texas (tie) Average work hours per week: 39.5 Labor force participation: 78.25 percent
Pesach is a time for family, a time when we spend hours around the Seder and yom tov table talking, eating and enjoying our children. But are we spending enough time with our children? Well, a new study, published in April in the Journal of Marriage and Family, has revealed that we spend more than enough time with our kids. In fact, it appears the amount of time parents spend with their kids between the ages of 3 and 11 has virtually no relationship on how their children turn out, and a minimal effect on adolescents. “I could literally show you 20 charts, and 19 of them would show no relationship between the amount of parents’ time and children’s outcomes. . . . Nada. Zippo,” said Melissa Milkie, a sociologist at the University of Toronto and one of the report’s authors. When parents, especially mothers, are stressed, sleep-deprived, guilty or anxious, time spent with their children can actually affect their children detrimentally. “Mothers’ stress, especially when mothers are stressed because of the juggling with work and trying to find time with kids, that may actually be affecting their kids poorly,” said co-author Kei Nomaguchi, a sociologist at Bowling Green State University. Before you send your kids alone on their Pesach trips, despite this study’s results, remember that this is just one report; plenty of studies have shown links between quality parent time — such as reading to a child, sharing meals, talking with them or otherwise engaging with them one-on-one — and positive outcomes for kids. The same is true for parents’ warmth and sensitivity toward their children. But this study says that it’s not the quantity of time that matters. It’s the quality. “In an ideal world, this study would alleviate parents’ guilt about the amount of time they spend,” Milkie said, “and show instead what’s really important for kids.” But if Milkie’s study makes clear that quality, not quantity, counts, then how much quality time is enough? Milkie’s
study doesn’t say. “I’m not aware of any rich and telling literature on whether there’s a ‘sweet spot’ of the right amount of time to spend with kids,” said Matthew Biel, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Georgetown University Medical Center. The amount of time mothers and fathers spend with their children has been climbing since the 1970s. Fathers’ time has nearly tripled from 2.6 hours a week spent with kids in 1965 to 7.2 in 2010. Mothers’ time with children rose from 10.5 hours a week in 1965 to 13.7 in 2010. Interestingly, working mothers today, an earlier groundbreaking study of Milkie’s found, are spending as much time with their children as at-home mothers did in the early 1970s. “I was really surprised,” she said. “And we don’t find mothers’ work hours matter much at all.” With adolescents, though, the study shows, the more time a teen spends with their mother, the fewer instances of delinquent behavior. And the more time teens spend with both their parents together in family time, such as during meals, the less likely they are to abuse drugs and alcohol and engage in other risky or illegal behavior. They also achieve higher math scores. Building relationships, seizing quality moments of connection, not quantity, Milkie said, is what emerging research is showing to be most important for both parent and child well-being. “The amount of time doesn’t matter, but these little pieces of time do,” she said. Her advice to parents? “Just don’t worry so much about time.”
Bergdahl Describes Life as Taliban Prisoner
U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been charged by the U.S. Army for desertion and misbehavior in the face of the enemy in connection with his capture. In the early morning hours of June 30, 2009, Bergdahl, 28, vanished from Combat Outpost Mest-Lalak in Paktika Province in eastern Afghanistan after pulling early morning guard duty. His weapon, ammunition, and body armor were all left behind. The U.S. searched for him for five years until he was released from Taliban
custody in a controversial prisoner swap last summer. On Wednesday, a statement was released by his attorney, Eugene Fidell, with a firsthand account of his suffering as a Taliban prisoner. Bergdahl claims he attempted to escape his captors many times The sergeant said his first escape attempt was within hours of his kidnapping, when he was left alone by for a few minutes in a village after being interrogated and beaten for dodging questions. “After a while, they put the blindfold back on and threw the blanket over my head. Some moments after that I believed I had a chance to run for it and did,” Bergdahl said. However, according to Bergdahl, he didn’t make it far before he was tackled to the ground at the edge of the village and beaten by a group of men. He described being pummeled by fists and knocked in the head with a rifle. His second attempt to escape was later that week when he managed to elude his captors for close to 15 minutes in a populated area. He was found and beaten with a rubber hose. “After my first two escape attempts, for about three months I was chained to a bed spread-eagle and blindfolded,” he recalled. “The blindfold was only taken off a few times a day to allow me to eat and use the latrine.” When his muscles began to weaken and it was difficult for him to walk, his captors unchained one of his hands from above his head and tied it to his side so that he could sit up in bed. He developed sores from the chafing of the chains and they became infected, with the infection spreading to his face and other parts of his body. After those first three months he was never fully chained to a bed again, but he was forced to remain in chains attached to unmovable objects. His imprisoners fed him noodles or rice along with two bottles of water a day. He was beaten often with a copper cable. In one instance, about a year into his captivity, Bergdahl was free for a full nine days until he was found by his captors and beaten brutally. He escaped the building where he was being held. “Without food and only putrid water to drink, my body failed on top of a short mountain close to evening,” he wrote. “After I came to in the dying gray light of the evening, I was found by a large Taliban searching group.” “This is the time that my body reached the worst point of condition and for approximately the next year and a half I would not recover from it,” he recalled. If convicted, the former sergeant can face a lifetime in prison. Additionally, he could also be reduced in rank to private, forfeit all salary, and receive a dishonorable discharge.
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The House is finally getting some work done… On Thursday, a bill was passed to fund Medicare. The $214 billion package will extend healthcare for children of poor families. In an unusual moment of bipartisanship for Congress, the bill was passed with a landslide 392-37 vote. “If someone came down from Mars today into this chamber, they’d be shocked at this camaraderie,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.). “This is great. You’ve got to admit, this is a good feeling.” “This has been an incredible week,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “First, Ted Cruz signs up for Obamacare.
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To most of us, the upcoming spring season conjures pleasant feelings (or hopes) of lighter jackets and open windows. But with the pleasantness comes tornado season for many regions in the U.S. Tornado season usually begin in March but due to cold weather patterns, the regions were deprived of warm, moist air which fuels big storms. After a late start this year, the season started with a fierce bang on Wednesday evening when tornadoes hit Tulsa,
Congress Approves Bipartisan Medicare Package
Now we have this bipartisan compromise on the doc fix, it reauthorizes CHIP and provides money to our community health centers. Who knows? If this is contagious, maybe next week we’ll deal with climate change.” “I would say to the American people, don’t look now but we are actually governing,” said Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.). “Imagine where we’ll be in a year from today, when we’re not trying to come up with another $1 billion Band-Aid.” The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 appeals to all parties. It amends the “doc fix” which until now has been cutting the rates doctors get paid by Medicare. The new proposal will offer gradual increases to doctors. Democrats approve of the bill’s plan to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program for two years. Republicans like its $70 billion offset, which stems from structural changes to Medicare, like requiring high-income seniors to pay more and reducing spending on Medigap plans. The plan has been approved by the president and the last hurdle is Senate. But they don’t have very long to think about it being that the current “doc fix” expires
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Tornado Season Begins in the Midwest
Oklahoma, just during rush hour. There was one fatality, more than a dozen injuries, and a whole lot of damage when the tornado rushed in. Tulsa County Sheriff’s Capt. Billy McKelvey said an individual was killed in a mobile home park near suburban Sand Springs. The park that could host about 50 trailers was almost completely destroyed during the storm but it is unknown yet whether the park was directly hit by the tornado or if it was residual winds that crushed the trees there. Tornadoes were spotted on the radar in other parts of Oklahoma and in Arkansas, but thankfully no injuries or severe damage was reported. A small scale tornado passed through Moore, Oklahoma, a suburb in which 24 people lost their lives in a deadly tornado in 2013. This series of storms broke a hiatus of over a month without tornadoes in the nation. Until this week’s storms, there were only about 24 twisters recorded when normally there is an average of 120. According to statistics from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, the last time there were no twisters in March was almost 50 years ago.
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on March 31, which means doctors will start being hit with a 20 percent payment cut from Medicare if the Senate doesn’t act fast. Many doctors have informed patients that they will no longer accept their Medicare plans as of April 1. It doesn’t help that most of Congress will be sunning themselves on an exotic beach somewhere far away, as they begin two week recess this Friday. This leaves the Senate with two choices: unanimously agree to pass the House bill late or wait till mid-April to re-hash out the details. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hinted onThursday that she expected the Senate to pass the bill before leaving town. “I believe this will move,” she told reporters. However, there have already been some signs of resistance. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said that he’s not thrilled that the bill contributes to the country’s deficit. He feels there should be time to make changes since the bill adds $141 billion to the deficit over 10 years, though the Congressional Budget Office says it costs less than keeping the current system in place and increasingly saves money after 10 years. Nevertheless, if even one senator opposes the passing of the bill it can be delayed since it requires unanimous consent.
Distracted Driving Leads to Deaths
most common forms of distraction were talking or otherwise engaging with passengers and using a cellphone, including talking, texting and reviewing messages. Other forms of distraction observed in the videos included drivers looking away from the road at something inside the vehicle: 10 percent; looking at something outside the vehicle other than the road ahead: 9 percent; singing or moving to music: 8 percent; grooming: 6 percent; and reaching for an object: 6 percent. Teen drivers have the highest crash rate of any age group. About 963,000 drivers age 16 to 19 were involved in police-reported crashes in the U.S. in 2013, the most recent year for available data. These crashes resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths. “The findings of the AAA Report confirm what safety groups have suspected for a long time — distraction is more severe and more common in teen driver crashes than previously found in government data,” said Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. Previously, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that all kinds of distraction is a factor in only 14 percent of all teen driver crashes but according to this study in reality it is a factor in 58 percent of accidents. This information should be a wakeup call to all drivers. Be safe, be aware of your surroundings, and don’t be distracted when you drive.
That’s Odd Texting and driving is gaining traction as one of the leading causes of automotive death every year, many resulting in fatalities. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed nearly 1,700 videos that show the actions of teen drivers in the moments before a crash. They concluded that in 6 out of 10 crashes, distractions were the major contributing factor. This rate is far greater than previous estimates based on police reports. Researchers don’t usually have access to crash videos that show what drivers were doing in the seconds leading up to the impact as well as a partial view of the road. But the foundation received the videos from Lytx Inc., which offers programs that use video to coach drivers in improving their behavior and reducing collisions. The presence of distraction was particularly high in accidents involving rear end collisions and off the road crashes. The
The Clothing Confection
This dress is just delicious! Recently, Sarah Bryan from Ossett, West Yorkshire, created a dress that was good enough to eat. Yes, the dress is made out of colored sprinkles—700,000 of them—and it took
the 26-year-old 30 hours gluing the candle onto the fabric of a two piece outfit. 18 pounds of candy adorn the sugary dress— that’s a lot of nosh to haul around. Most of the dress is multi-hued, but Sarah wanted to add a pink heart. She spent three hours sorting through the sprinkles for the pink ones so she could use them to make the heart. “I think the dress looks fantastic, although the sweets made a terrible mess in the house while I was making it. They ended up all over the place,” Sarah related. She first sewed a crop top and constructed a long hooped skirt stiffened with wire. Then she squirted glue on the fabric and delicately placed the sugar strands with a make-up brush. “Loads of them ended up all over the floor and I was always having to vacuum them up. They were all over the house. I am now lacquering the dress to make them completely secure,” she said. It’s good she’s not cleaning for Pesach. The mother of two is planning to auction off the dress for charity—one sweet thing leads to another. And she’s not new to the sugary clothing thing. She made a dress out of the 14,000 Skittles last year which was shipped to Florida where it was to be displayed at Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. Believe it or not, it was damaged in transit. “After making one dress out of sweets I got hooked and decided to make another. People think I am mad but I think they look great.” And they taste great too. “I think the dress is well worth the trouble. The dress looks great although admittedly you can’t go out in the rain as the colors would run,” she confessed. Think she can make a dress out of macaroons?
It’s 3am; Do you Know Where Your Children Are? A little girl hopped on a bus in middle of the night in search for a midnight snack. The four-year-old, garbed in a purple raincoat, slipped out of her house in Philadelphia at 3am and hopped a bus four blocks from her house to calm her craving. The kind bus driver, Harlan Jenifer, says Anabelle swung her legs in a seat as she chanted, “All I want is a slushie.” Authorities say Anabelle’s family didn’t know she had awoken and unlocked the backdoor to start her trek during a downpour early Friday. The little girl—and her family—were lucky. The bus driver is a father of three. He says he was scared for the girl but found her adventure humorous and says he knew she was in good hands. He called the police, who took her
to the hospital and reunited her with her mother. Note to the four-year-old adventurer: Anabelle, the slushie store is a great place to go—with your mom.
Right Time, Wrong Place Chicago Cubs Edwin Jackson doesn’t seem to be finding his way too well this year. Last year, the player took the mound in the second inning and was ravaged by the Oakland Athletics when he gave up nine hits and eight runs in less than two innings. But that’s not the only wrong turn he took that day. The 31-year-old pitcher showed up late to spring training that day. Why? Well, he just couldn’t find the place. You see, according to Jackson, as he headed out in the morning, he turned to Google Maps for guidance—and ended up at Phoenix Municipal Stadium—the Athletics’ old spring training digs. “I actually put it in Google Maps and typed in ‘Oakland Athletics spring training complex,’” Jackson said. “It took me to the old one. I know, it’s crazy, but, yeah, that pretty much sums it up.” Finally, after getting his bearings, Jackson made it to Oakland’s new facility, Hohokam Stadium—ten miles away—25 minutes before the game’s first pitch. Relief pitcher Blake Parker pitched through the first inning, filling in as Jackson went through his preparations. “I think I still would have been ready to go,” Jackson said. “But they didn’t want to rush it.” Apparently, though, he wasn’t truly ready, as can be seen from his performance in the second inning. Oakland won the game, 14-2. The warm-up did little to help, and the ensuing carnage from his eight-run second inning fed into a 14-2 blowout in Oakland’s favor. “A crazy, crazy way to start a day,” Jackson said. Time for Mr. Jackson to recalculate.
Get Well and Live Well
After recovering from surgery, Joseph
Le Palais Ideal (The Ideal Palace) draws about 150,000 visitors a year. The tourist attraction in Hauterives is made out of stone—stones, that is, found by 19th century postal carrier Ferdinand Cheval, who would walk 18 miles each day delivering mail in the southeastern France village for 30 years. One day, he came upon an interesting-looking rock and decided to build a castle. Cheval started in 1879 and for the next 33 years he collected more and more rocks on his route. Eventually, he had to bring a wheelbarrow along with him to haul his stash. At night, Cheval would work by an oil lamp to mix the stones he’d found during the day with lime and concrete. What made his project even more amazing is that Cheval had no training in carpentry, masonry or architecture. The result of the patient postman’s 30-year DIY project: an intricately designed palace that was more than 30 feet high and 85 feet long. The palace was finished in 1912. Cheval died 12 years later at 88. Now, the Ideal Palace is a French Historical
A Rockin’ Record
Ashima Shiraishi has just shattered two world records—and she did it in just 10 minutes over her spring break. Breaking rock climbing records for both her age and gender, Shiraishi is thought to the youngest person and the only woman to have ever mastered one of the most technically challenging climbs in the world. The 13-year-old went to Spain this week to tackle Open Your Mind Direct, a 140-foot climb that is considered one of the toughest rock faces to master. Shiraishi has had her eye on the feat for the past year. “I really wanted to try it last year when I was in Spain, but I had to get back to school and didn’t have time,” she said. So this year she came with the goal in mind. She worked on the climb for three days, falling occasionally, but getting to understand the complexities of the rock face. It paid off very quickly. “On my fourth day I did it,” she says. So how did she feel when she finished? “I was surprised. I was relieved. I was really stoked!” The young climber got her start when she was just six-years old by scaling rocks in Central Park. By age eight, she had persuaded her parents to enter her in competitions. She quickly proved to both her family and the climbing community that this wasn’t just a hobby. “I won the whole female category instead of just the youth category,” she recalls about her first competition. Since then she practices five days a week at Brooklyn Boulders and The Cliffs in Long Island City. Despite her bravery, Shiraishi admits to occasionally getting nervous. “I think in climbing everyone gets a little bit scared,” she says. “If there is a hard section, I can feel like I’m going to fall off.” But she has found that it’s not just practicing climbing that helps her succeed, but mental preparation as well. “When I am climbing I try to not think about anything, if I think I start to doubt myself,” she explains. “It’s a mental battle to tell yourself to have the confidence that you can actually do it.” So what’s next? Trying to master a 9b climb, a huge challenge. But Shiraishi is pretty nonchalant about the idea. “Maybe I’ll do it over summer vacation.” This kid’s rock solid.
How Much Time Do I Have To Settle My Case? Question: I was in an accident about a year ago. I didn’t think my injuries were too significant, and the insurance company pressured me to settle with them early. They told me that my claim would expire if I didn’t agree to settle with them immediately, so I accepted their low offer. Can you explain the time limits associated with accident claims? Answer: The insurance company was probably referring to the statute of limitations, a term you may have heard before. The statute of limitations refers to the timeline one has to file a lawsuit in court. The law provides for an “expiration date”, if you will, for different types of cases. California’s statute of limitations is found in the Code of Civil Procedure. Section 335.1 says that one who is injured through the wrongful act or negligence of another has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This is the rule that applies to most vehicle accidents. The statute of limitations for accidents is different when dealing with a government defendant. For example, if you are ch’v in an accident with a City bus or other vehicle, you will have one year to sue the City instead of two. There are also strict procedures involved when suing a city or other public entity that are not applicable when suing a private party. We hope to discuss these rules in a future article. It sounds like the insurance company pressured you to settle your case early by threatening you with the statute of limitations. Unfortunately, this tactic works when a party is unaware of the statute of limitations and does not have an attorney representing him or her. Your case also demonstrates another benefit of hiring an attorney to handle your claim, rather than trying to handle it yourself. As discussed in a previous article, insurance companies have a strong interest in settling your case early. An insurance company’s goal is to maximize profits by keeping expenses low, just like
any other business. If an insurance company can convince you to settle your case for $5,000 when it is really worth close to $20,000, it will likely jump at the opportunity to avoid $15,000 in excess liability exposure. In my practice, I have seen cases where unrepresented parties were pressured into settling with the insurance company at an early stage, only to regret it later on. Usually this is because the injuries became worse over time, and the person was unaware of the longterm effects of the injuries when he or she signed a settlement release with the insurance company. When you are hurt or in an accident, even if you think it’s a small case or you don’t think it’s worth the attorney’s time, there is no harm in asking an attorney for basic advice about the case, and most personal injury attorneys will offer a free initial phone or office consultation. You might be pleasantly surprised. Many attorneys, myself included, will treat smaller cases with the same amount of attention and respect that you might expect for a multimillion-dollar case. Those kinds of cases are rare, and your typical accident or fender-bender do not typically yield those sums. But that doesn’t mean your case should be ignored, especially if you are in pain and your quality of life has been impacted by a careless driver. The bottom line is that if you were in an accident with another driver, you have two years to settle or sue that driver. There is no rush to settle your case, so do not let the insurance company pressure you into settling before the full value of your case is realized. Call an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure you are protected and you are not signing away your rights. And don’t let the insurance company ‘passover’ your claim! Michael Rubinstein is a Los Angeles based accident attorney. Visit his website at www.mrubinsteinlaw. com, or contact him at Michael@ mrubinsteinlaw.com, or by calling 213-293-6075.
APRIL 1, 2015
A Home Made of Stone(s)
Monument — and a living reminder to Do-ItYourselfers everywhere that a dream, patience, a lot of sweat and tons of stones can yield amazing results.
THE JEWISH HOME
Amorese of Easton, Pennsylvania received a get well card from his dad. The card cheered him up a bit, but what he found inside the card made him (almost) jump for joy. Enclosed in the card was a scratch off ticket. When Amorese scratched off the boxes, magic numbers appeared. “I scratched the ticket and it was a good thing I was already sitting down because I was shocked. I was and still am in complete disbelief,” Amorese, 46, said. He immediately called his dad to verify that he was seeing it right. “I sent him a picture of the ticket and he said, ‘Yup, you won $7,000,000!’” He also called his wife, Jodi, a social worker. “I said, ‘Honey, I think we won $7,000,000.’ And there was silence on the other end for a long time. She was too stunned to talk.” Amorese’s father is retired and loves to play the lottery. When he sends cards—usually for holidays and birthdays—he generally includes a ticket. “Do I usually include a ticket? Yeah,” Amorese’s father said with a laugh. “I’m retired and I have time on my hands. You know, you want them to get something but if they get $100, they’ll be happy. Most of us don’t usually think you’re going to hit the jackpot.” Winning the lottery—that’s a great way to feel better.
THE JEWISH HOME APRIL 1, 2015 54
APRIL 1, 2015
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THE JEWISH HOME
Kaspare Cohn Hospital, Angelino Heights, 1902
The generation of Jews who left Egypt gained their freedom. Jewish physicians in our generation did the same. Cedars-Sinai dates back to a tiny house in Angelino Heights over 100 years ago where it cared for the sick and needy in our Jewish community. It grew because of the community’s need—and because Jewish physicians weren’t allowed to practice at most of the city’s other hospitals. This same prejudice resulted in the creation of Jewish medical centers across the country. With messages of equality, compassion, and excellence, a limited number still exist today. And while the fight for Jewish physicians to practice their medicine freely has been won, new battles have emerged against diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and brain tumors—the modern day plagues against which we fight to free the world. This Passover, Cedars-Sinai wishes you a happy, healthy, and meaningful celebration of what it means to be free.
Jewish Home LA - 4-1-15