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APRIL 23, 2015


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

JEWISH THOUGHT Memories on Yom HaShoah. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Op-Ed: The Time Is Now, Vote Today!. . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Tools of Healing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

COVER STORY The Might of the Pen: The Tale of Three Heroic Diplomats in the Holocaust. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Uncle Moishy Fun Page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

LIFESTYLES Book Review - The Secret Art Of Talking To G-D. . 15 The Endless Demands of the LA Eruv Crew. . . . . . 29 Travel Guide: Florida Keys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Forgotten Heroes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38


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


APRIL 23, 2015

An Obituary, G-D’s Miracles And Brachot. . . . . . . . 17

Ahh Pesach. Truly a spiritual time. When all of us regular folks get a taste of the spiritual and for eight days connect to a world beyond our own. Even the physical seems to look different. We suddenly relate to miracles in a more natural way. The sea split? Why of course! Our enemies were prevented from tormenting us? Naturally! By the time it comes to the seventh day, spirituality and miracles seem inevitable and the mundane life is just the outer shell. Indeed during Pesach, the coming of Moshiach seems to be the natural conclusion to the story of the Jewish nation which began at Yetzias Mitzrayim and Matan Torah. Can it be that this is the year? And then comes the day after Pesach. Back to the regular routine of paying bills, school, worrying about bills and school… But was the spiritual feeling of Pesach just a temporary feeling, or did it reveal a deeper dimension of ourselves? Is it a one week experience? Perhaps it’s a gift from above; every year beginning on the 14th of Nissan we are “swept away” from our seemingly mundane lives and put onto a spiritual plateau. Our job then, is to retain that taste of freedom. That sense of G-d. And breathe new life into our regular “Mondays and Tuesdays”. We don’t simply go back to the pre Pesach reality, rather our post Pesach reality is made up of our Pesach one. We realize that success in business really does depend on the one above. Praying that the sick be healed is indeed the responsible thing to do. And above all we’re infused with the knowl-

edge and conviction that all that happens comes from Hashem and ultimately we’ll see that it’s for the good. Our belief and persistence in yearning for the coming Moshiach, deepens as well. It isn’t abstract, something that as Jews we believe will happen “one day”. It becomes a reality we try to connect with in the “middle of the week”. Saying an extra kind word? Sure, that’s more Moshiachdik. Not insulting someone, of course! How else to perfect our world? The Torah describes the times back in the desert, when people who were impure and could not bring the Korban Pesach approached Moshe Rabeinu with a heartfelt plea, “Why should we lose out? We want a second chance!” Moshe then asks G-d who in turn establishes Pesach Sheni as a holiday for those who were not able to bring the Korban at its proper time. We didn’t merit world peace on Pesach, but perhaps we need to have the same request; why should we not have complete freedom? Why have we not experienced the complete yetzias mitzrayim and ultimate redemption?! Pesach showed us we are believers, now it’s up to us to believe while paying the electric bill. As we read in the Haftorah on the final day of Pesach, “They will neither injure nor destroy in all of My sacred mountain; for the earth will be as filled with knowledge of Hashem as water covering the sea bed.” May we experience a Shabbos of redemption,



Dear Readers,


APRIL 23, 2015


Beth Jacob Awards Banquet is a Sellout Beth Jacob Congregation hosted their Tiferet Award Banquet on a recent Sunday evening at Sinai Temple. The event was packed with more than 550 people who came out on March 22 for a memorable evening. The banquet paid tribute to the dedication and service to the community of honorees, including Tiferet Award recipients, Pat and Errol Fine; Keter Shem Tov Award recipient Alice Schoenfeld; and Dor Chadash Awardees, Ariela and Ari Shandling. Guests were treated to a sumptuous

dinner catered by Pat’s and a humorous video by Chris Bremner, Rafael Marmor, David Feldman and David Schlussel, that poked fun at the community and leadership. There was also music by Robby Helperin of the Simcha Orchestra. The event brought new and old friends together under the leadership of emcee, Dr. Steven Weinstock, and came together thanks to the efforts of banquet co-chairs Shelley and Dr. Steven Weinstock and Ilana and Dr. Shlomo Melmed. Beth Jacob members enjoy the festivities. From left: Barry Poltorak, Jess Dolgin, Scott Arnold and Ari Miller

Beth Jacob Shul President Jack (left) and Carrol Fenigstein

Alice Schoenfeld receives the Keter Shem Tov Award from Beth Jacob Senior Rabbi Kalman Topp

Errol and Pat Fine receive the Tiferet Award from Rabbi Kalman Topp


Jews Unite to Honor Israel’s Fallen Soldiers & Victims of Terror

APRIL 23, 2015

Beneath The Helmet is a powerful documentary that screened for the first on Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day, April 22nd. The documentary interviews five Israeli teenagers who have graduated high school and are following the required path and joining the army. Directed by writer, editor, director, Wayne Kopping, this is Kopping’s fifth documentary on the subject of culture in Israel and the surrounding area. The screening was hosted by Temple of the Arts (TOTA) Steve Tisch Cinema Center at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills and was sponsored by Dr. Philip and Adi Werthman in loving memory of Samuel Werthman, Z’L. The event brought together two of the premier organizations supporting Israeli soldiers, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces and Thank Israeli Soldiers. Additionally, 35 partner Jewish organizations


Show of Jewish Unity for Yom HaZikaron Event

from the greater Los Angeles area promoted the event to their members and followers. TOTA’s Rabbi David Baron, explained that, “In these challenging times for Israel and the IDF, the sheer number and diversity of Jewish groups who came together for this Yom HaZikaron event emphasizes

the urgency for unity in the Jewish world. This was an exceptional and memorable evening honoring those who make the ultimate sacrifice for the Jewish nation.” Created by award-winning Jerusalem U Productions, the Internet Movie Database summarizes the film, “Beneath the Helmet illustrates how these young men

and women are protecting not only their homes, but the shared values of peace, equality, opportunity, democracy, religious tolerance and women’s rights. The lessons they learn along the way, are lessons that can be adapted, understood and appreciated by everyone.”


APRIL 23, 2015


Tens of Thousands Worldwide Begin New Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Cycle

Bachurim from Across North America Participate in Special Bein Hazemanim Daily Halacha Program Chaim Gold

Hashem has to be smiling! No, I am not a navi nor am I privy to what is transpiring in the celestial worlds. Certainly, I cannot and would not ascribe any emotions, keviyachol to Hashem, but this is a no-brainer. The Gemara teaches us that from the day that the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, Hashem has only the 4 amos of halacha. The Gemara also teaches that he who learns halacha daily is assured that he is a ben Olam Habaah. This month, the month of Nissan, 5775 (2015), tens upon tens of thousands of Yidden have begun to learn daily halacha in Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program. The legions of new Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learners are not limited to any particular geographical location. They span the entire world! Certainly the major centers of Yiddishkeit such as Brooklyn, Lakewood, Monsey and of course Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak have seen not just an increase in Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learners but rather a remarkable, revolutionary transformation. Just as one can walk into virtually every shul and see a Daf Yomi Gemara shiur or sets of chavrusas learning Daf HaYomi Gemara, today one can see the same thing with Daf HaYomi B’Halacha in many shuls! Daily shiurim morning and night, chavrusah learning, Daf HaYomi B’Halacha chaburos are everywhere, not only in the large major centers of Yiddishkeit, but in smaller communities as well. From Providence, Rhode Island to Pinsk, Ukraine, from Portland, Oregon to Johannesburg, South Africa, from Buenos-Aires, Argentina to Strasbourg, France, from Cleveland, Ohio to Detroit, Michigan and Montreal, Canada and hundreds of other locales worldwide. Just walk into any local shul and you will undoubtedly find a Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiur learning through the halachos of waking up in the morning and netilas yadayim. The New Machzor In this healing month of Iyar, Yidden have made a conscious decision to set aside time for practical halacha and one can see the change everywhere. One talmid chochom related, “I didn’t realize how many halachos were involved in the simple act of washing negel vasser every morning until I started learning hilchos netilas yadayim with the second machzor of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha.” Rabbi Ahron Gobioff, Dirshu’s American Director, related, “New shiurim have opened at an unprecedented pace. We know of hundreds of new Daf HaYomi B’Halacha shiurim that have opened over

the course of the month, but that is just a drop in the bucket. Shiurim have spontaneously sprung up all over the country and truth be told, Dirshu’s offices don’t even know about all of them. It is an organization’s dream! Imagine having a program that is so successful that it becomes virtually impossible to track its success! That is what is happening with Daf HaYomi B’Halacha,” explained Rabbi Gobioff.

Eliezer Ginsburg, shlita, Rav of Agudas Yisrael Zichron Shmuel and Rosh Kollel in the Mir Yeshiva of Flatbush. The shiur in the Five Towns was held in the Agudas Yisrael of W. Lawrence and was addressed by HaRav Yaakov Bender, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah. The Toldos Yaakov Yosef Bais Medrash of Skver in Montreal, Canada hosted the event for bachurim with HaRav Yochanon

HaRav Yaakov Bender, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah

Daf HaYomi B’Halacha L’Bachurim all Over the Country Another facet of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha that has enjoyed remarkable success this month is Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha L’Bachurim Bein Hazemanim Program. The Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Bein Hazemanim program is a special program designed for bachurim in both high school-aged mesivtas and yeshiva gedolos. It offers a daily program of halacha that accomplishes two important goals. It provides structure to bein hazemanim while simultaneously bringing bachurim into the world of practical and accountable limud halacha. Thousands of bachurim have joined and are learning the laws of how one conducts oneself in the morning as well as the laws of netilas yadayim. At the beginning of the bein hazemani, important and riveting pesicha shiurim and divrei chizuk were delivered at more than fifteen locations across North America. In Flatbush, at the Agudas Yisrael Bais Binyonim, the inaugural halacha shiur for bachurim was delivered by HaRav

Wosner, shlita, Raavad D’Chassidei Skver delivering a shiur in Yiddish. In Passaic, New Jersey, the pesicha shiur delivered by HaRav Asher Dovid May, shlita, Rosh Kollel of Yeshiva Gedolah of Passaic, took place in Bais Torah U’Tefilah. Kehal Birchas Avrohom was the site for HaRav Yitzchok Zalman Gipps, shlita, to address the bachurim in Boro Park. Other locations included Khal Shearis Adas Yisrael in Lakewood where HaRav Zev Smith, shlita, delivered the shiur; Minyan Avreichim Zichron Boruch in Montreal, Canada where HaRav Yoel Chanan Wenger, shlita, Mara D’Asra Kehal Eitz Chaim addressed the bachurim in English; Kollel Institute of Greater Detroit in Detroit, Michigan where the maggid shiur was HaRav Aharon Sorscher, shlita, Rosh Mesivta of Mesivta Yagdil Torah; Bais Medrash Kehal Adas Yereim in Williamsburg where HaRav Yisrael Dovid Harfenes, shlita, Rav of Kehal Yisrael V’Hazemanim delivered the shiur; Agudas Yisrael of Cleveland, was addressed by HaRav Boruch Hirschfeld, shlita, Rav of Kehillas Ahavas Yisrael and

Rosh Kollel of Kollel Ateres Boruch; Bais Medrash Hagadol of Shikun Skver where the maggid shiur was the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha maggid shiur, HaRav Ephraim Greenbaum; Chicago Center for Torah and Chesed where HaRav Avrohom Lipschutz, shlita, Mashgiach of the Telshe Yeshiva of Chicago, addressed the bachurim; Kollel of Los Angeles where the maggid shiur was HaRav Nochum Sauer, shlita, Rosh Kollel D’Yula; Kehillas Kol Torah in Baltimore addressed by HaRav Yosef Berger, shlita, Rav D’Kehillas Kol Torah; and Bais Dovid in Monsey addressed by HaRav Yosef Veiner, shlita, Rov D’Kehillas Shaar Shomayim. Picking up a Mishnah Berurah is Picking up Dvar Hashem! Rav Zev Smith, who spoke in the Lakewood location, gave a fascinating shiur on many of the important practical halachos set forth. When he spoke about the first siman in the entire Shulchan Aruch, he in essence gave the bachurim a shiur on what halacha is, why it is important, what they are accomplishing and how they are connecting to Hashem through the learning of halacha. The Gemara tells us that Hashem has nothing in this world except for the 4 amos of halacha. Hashem’s world - the real world, is the 4 amos of halacha! The Gemara says, “Dvar Hashem zu halacha”. A person who thinks deeply into this should be overwhelmed by the magnitude of what he is doing. When he picks up a Mishnah Berurah he is picking up Dvar Hashem! Halacha is Hiluch, Travels Through Life… “Why does the Gemara call learning the laws, “halacha”? Wouldn’t “dinim” be a more accurate term? The answer,” said Rav Smith, “is that halacha is much more than the dry learning of dinim. It is “hiluch”. It is the way one “walks” through life. He is traveling through life with Hashem’s word being the foremost thing in his mind! When we learn how to tie our shoes, how to wash our hands in the morning, even how to use the bathroom, this is not just laws, it is walking with Hashem.” Indeed, as we approach the test for the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha l’Bachurim and the first test in the new machzor of Daf HaYomi B’Halacha where tens of thousands are scheduled to be tested, it is truly a time for Klal Yisrael to celebrate - to celebrate untold numbers connecting with the Dvar Hashem!

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APRIL 23, 2015

Surviving an Insane World


4th Annual Yom Iyun


On April 19th the first annual Woman of Valor Awards was launched with a flower-filled High Tea at the Villa in Woodland Hills. Approximately, 100 Jewish women from all around the city attended the meaningful event. The first ever honoree was Lisa Kodimer. Kodimer had owned a boutique for 17 years, but when she sold it, she found her real purpose…giving back! A recipient of the 2011 JWRP and JWI scholarship, she has gone on to create multiple chesed programs. Champions is one of the organizations that was inspired by her son’s Bar Mitzvah

Project, which was to create a special needs baseball program. After many years of hard

work, the program has now blossomed and includes over 40 special needs kids, over 80 volunteers and involves numerous families within the community. Kodimer’s mentoring has created a ripple effect and has changed the lives of many young people. Another organization that Kodimer created is called Cupcakes and Wishes. This group raises funds and delivers birthday fun to patients at Children’s Hospital, all funded by the sale of cupcakes. Kodimer oversees the program which has now raised $1,500 that was donated this month to Children’s

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Hospital Los Angeles. Kodimer explained that, “With One Cupcake at a Time we can make a difference in the life of a hospitalized child.” Finally there is Good Deeds in Motion, another local based company that creates and executes Mitzvah projects for teens. “We custom create each project based on the interests and passion that our clients have. We believe that if you are passionate and believe in something, you are more likely to continue doing it long-term, rather than one time out of obligation. We tie in an idea to an interest, for example: Jake’s Dream Team came from an idea of a young boy who loves baseball who wanted to make a difference. Good Deeds in Motion created an opportunity for Jake to raise funds through his passion, baseball. Jake raised over $12,500 for an eight year old autistic boy who desperately needs a therapy dog.” Kodimer inspires so many people who are lucky enough to meet her. Her organizations are creative and successful and have established her as an icon of community support. Lisa is a proud member of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, JWRP and the local Jewish Women’s Institute, JWI and continues to help these organizations grow. She also inspires Valley moms to apply for their Momentum® journey to Israel. Raised in Woodland Hills, Kodimer has lived in the Valley most of her life. She married the boy-next-door who she knew from the age of two, and is now the proud parent of two beautiful boys who keep her husband and herself very busy. She graduated from Cal State Northridge with a degree in Child Development with an emphasis in Special Education. The Woman of Valor Awards in a non-profit organization founded in 2015 by Sheri Levy and Lauren Dromy to recognize and celebrate outstanding Los Angeles women who tirelessly give of themselves through charitable efforts for the greater good of our communities. Levy explained that, “Our goal is to celebrate in gratitude the efforts of these exceptional women in hopes of inspiring other women to follow”. The event fully hosts the recipient and her family and is open to approximately 100 community guests to attend. The Woman of Valor Awards is purposely unaffiliated with any specific charity so that the recipient is not “working” the event but instead is being truly spoiled and honored. The Woman of Valor Awards has been established as an annual event and beginning in August 2015 the Awards team will investigate the possibilities for the 2016 award; please send in your suggestions and look to the Jewish Home in August for full details on how you may nominate the next possible Woman of Valor in your community. For more information about the Women of Valor Awards, contact Sheri Levy at sheri@activatemarketing.net. To reach Lisa Kodimer visit the Good Deeds in Motion site, www. gooddeedsinmotion.com

Photography by Woodland Hills based Lifestyle photographer Deborah Kolb www.DeborahKolb.net

Women of Valor Awards; Jewish Women Making a Difference



APRIL 23, 2015



Commemoration To Honor Family Who Hid Jews During WWII

Mary Garasi-Spitz (at center) and Louis Garasi (at right) received Yad Vashem’s “Righteous Among The Nations” honor on behalf of their parents, Louis and Maria Gruber (Garasi) of Budapest, for hiding Luis Spitz (at left) and his family from the Nazis

The story of the Gruber’s is reported by Yad Vashem, the museum whose Righteous Among Nations program acknowledges non-Jews whose, “rescue of Jews took many forms and required varying degrees of involvement and self-sacrifice. The title of the Righteous is reserved for the smaller group of those who actively risked their lives or their liberty for the express purpose of saving Jews from persecution and murder.” Still today, many of the rescuers stories remain unknown. For those who are discovered, the Yad Vashem Law authorizes Yad Vashem “to confer honorary citizenship of the State of Israel upon the Righteous Among the Nations, and commemorative citizenship if they have passed away, in recognition of their actions.” In late October 1944, as thousands of Hungarian Jews were being sent to Auschwitz, the Grubers were a family who chose to save lives. Research by Yad Vashem brought the story to light. The Grubers decided to help their close friends,

the Spitz family, and they took them to a basement factory in their building and created a secret apartment in one of the storage areas. “They were able to hide us in such way that even their children did not we were there,” remembered Luis Spitz, now living outside Chicago. Louis and Maria Gruber were fully aware that hiding the Spitz family meant certain death by the Nazis if they were caught, yet they contin-

ued to keep them safe until the liberation of Budapest. Louis and Maria’s children, now live in Los Angeles, and accepted the award on behalf of their parents. To mark the 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII, the program also included recognition of WWII veterans who fled Nazi Germany and joined the U.S. Armed Forces. This was followed by a ribbon

cutting of the Human Element Project’s “Memory Reconstruction”, an installation created by artist Lori Shocket and 129 Holocaust survivors and their families. Finally, there was a performance by the Jewish Community Children’s Choir under the musical direction of Dr. Michelle Green Willner and featuring Cantor Marcus Feldman.

APRIL 23, 2015

On April 16, 2015, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance held their annual Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemoration. The ceremony took place at the Museum of Tolerance. As part of the program, representatives from Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum bestowed a posthumous Righteous Among Nations Award to Louis and Maria Gruber of Budapest, Hungary. The award was given by the Honorable David Siegel, Consul General of Israel. Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance gave a commemorative address.


Holocaust Remembrance Day At Museum Of Tolerance


APRIL 23, 2015


Mega Challah Baking Around Los Angeles From Beverly Hills to Balboa, this past week saw neighborhoods filled with an unusually strong aroma of homemade challah. Hardly surprising; the first Shabbat following Passover is traditionally the time for challah baking. Many place a key

temples, Persian shuls, Chabad houses and more. On April 16th, Chabad of North Hollywood joined the fun and opened their doors to a manic and magnificent Mega

to join in the tradition of Challah baking that has been at the forefront of Jewish homes since the earliest days. At this Mega Challah Bake, the Rebbetzin’s purchased 500lbs of flour, 380 eggs, oil, yeast

inside the challah as a segulah for parnassah and a merit for good fortune. As a key opens a door, we bury it in our dough so that it will create a small opening, the size of a needle, through which Hashem will be able to pour his blessings. In Yiddish this is known as Shlissel Challah and many women still enjoy the custom with community bakes. Los Angeles has been busy with this tradition and last week saw several packed events at city

Chabad of the Greater Valley

At the Beit Mitzvah Jewish Center

Challah Bake. More than 300 women showed up for a suave lesson in bread making although some did not need much instruction. These experts have been baking best-ever challah since learning the art from their bubbe in their infancy. For others, the secrets and techniques were gleefully received. You could hear the yeast bubble, such was the concentration of these new chefs who were pleased

and sugar to provide the necessary ingredients for the crowd. The recipe of our longago matriarchs was just the same, although it’s unlikely they limited the mess by wearing pink rubber gloves as were provided to the North Hollywood crowd. All the women were pleased to be included in top secret tips, for instance, just a small amount of sugar will get the yeast in action. A good dough is made by using

only your cupped hand, not your fingertips and mix as long as you can before you knead and the bread will come out lighter. Shaping a 6 strand challah is truly tricky but while you’re creating your final braid, don’t forget the few drops of oil that should be placed on the dough to help it rise. As the crowd dispersed, wooden spoons, stylish new aprons and large mixing bowls in their hands, the feeling was unanimous, “I shall start to bake every week with my kids!” “I didn’t know it was so easy!” “This inspires me to be better and more learned,” and other variations of the same optimism were shared with abandon. The event was a partnership of Chabad of North Hollywood, Tarzana, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Studio City, Woodland Hills, Tampa and Lake Encino. The evening was dedicated to the memory of Adina Rozel who was known for her hospitality and her love for the land of Israel. The Eretz Cultural Center in Tarzana also hosted a packed event for 300 on April 16th and along with a shiur and baking, there was high energy singing to help the dough rise. The memorable evening lasted until 11pm. Don’t worry if you missed these events; you can still join Chabad in Valencia who have another event planned for April 23rd.


LAG B’OMER .‫ היא מאירת עינינו‬,‫תורתו מגן לנו‬ ‫ אדונינו בר יוחאי‬,‫הוא ימליץ טוב בעדינו‬ Rabbi Shimon’s Torah teachings shield and enlighten us. He advocates in Heaven on our behalf.

Lag B’Omer marks the Yarzheit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. One of the five surviving talmidim of Rabbi Akiva, his holiness was legendary. He enlightened the world with the fire of torah and the greatness of the Zohar. For countless generations, Jews seeking yeshuos have journeyed to the kever of Rabbi Shimon on Lag B’Omer, to daven and learn. In doing so, they have merited the eternal zechusim of this holy tzadik. On Lag B’Omer night, the Meron division of Kollel Chatzos will gather at their nightly location at Rabbi Shimon’s kever and immerse in torah and tefilla. By supporting their learning on this auspicious night, you have the opportunity to reach the ultimate level of shmira and zechusim.

1.855.CHATZOS 2








HaRav HaTzaddik


Pittsburgher Rebbe

will be visiting the Los Angeles community from

May 1-19 The Rebbe Shlit”a will personally accept visitors for private consultation and to receive his blessing and advice (English/ Hebrew/Yiddish) in the Pico-Robertson, Fairfax, Valley Village, Encino, Tarzana, & Woodland Hills neighborhoods.

For an appointment and more information, call:

or mail to:

1 . 8 5 5 . CHAT ZOS


of Israel

347-989-6821 323-240-3560


718.887.9114 (24 HOURS) mail@kollelchatzos.com www.1855chatzos.org

We are very pleased to announce that the ADMo”R


Friends of the Pittsburgh Institutions 411 N. Citrus Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036. Tel: 323-485-1908


Los Angeles Jewish Students Participate with Memorable Events

Ruth Judah

OHR ELIYAHU ACADEMY SCREENS MEANINGFUL VIDEO On Yom HaShoah, students at Ohr Eliyahu were shown the video V’nikdashti from the B’derachav program of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation. Rabbi Shlomo Goldberg, the Menahel, spoke to the boys and also to the girls. In addition, the school runs an ongoing Holocaust education program for the 8th graders.  VALLEY TORAH GIRLS MEET HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR In honor of Yom HaShoah, the Valley Torah girls were privileged to hear from  Dorothy Greenstein (Devorah Kirszenbaum), a Holocaust survivor. Although the Germans and their collaborators murdered 1.5 million Jewish children

ance over the last weeks. The museum offers an exhaustive education of the Holocaust and the various exhibits focused the students on different aspects of the tragedy. The students met a holocaust survivor and docent, Mrs. Gloria Unger, who spoke with the girls about her experiences in the holocaust, and had her picture taken with them. The new Ann Franks exhibit was an emotional part of the museum as the students related to the trials and tribulations of the Frank family as they hid in the annex. MAIMONEDES ACADEMY Mrs. Gloria Unger visited Maimonedes Academy and spoke with students as part of the 70 days for 70 years program.

Yom Hashoah at Maimonides

Devorah Kirszenbaum as a child

Yom Hashoah at Hillel

Emek students at the Museum of Tolerance

Auschwitz survivor Mrs Hedy Orden speaking at YINBH

during the Holocaust, Devorah was one of the few to survive. She is a volunteer speaker at the Museum of Tolerance and has shared her story with countless individuals, Jews and non-Jews alike. The students were spellbound by her story of suffering and resilience.  Mrs. Greenstein spoke about her tumultuous experience as a young girl fleeing and hiding from the Nazis in war torn Poland. They learned about the hardships and difficulties endured by her family and many

others, and the incredible story of how she ultimately survived. The girls absorbed her poignant story and were honored to have heard it first-hand. It was a powerful way to participate in the remembrance of the Holocaust. EMEK HEBREW ACADEMY VISITS THE MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE The 8th grade boys and girls at Emek have been visiting the Museum of Toler-

BEVERLY HILLS SYNAGOGUE HOSTS SPECIAL EVENT for MAIMONEDES, VALLEY TORAH BOYS, HARKHAM HILLEL, YULA BOYS, YULA GIRLS AND EMEK STUDENTS Last Thursday, Rabbi Pinner’s Beverly Hills Synagogue held an event in the shul to commemorate Yom HaShoah. It was a remarkable and moving event with approximately 80 students attending from six local schools: Emek, YULA Boys, YULA Girls, Harkham Hillel, Valley Torah Boys, and Maimonides. The kids had the opportunity of meeting and hearing personal testimonies from ten concentration camp survivors. Before the formal program began, the survivors mingled with the students and chatted with them. The event began with a personal video message for our community, and for the event, from Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. Then the students heard the detailed and harrowing personal stories from two of the survivors, Mrs. Helen Fixler, and Mrs. Hedy Orden, in addresses that moved everyone to tears. Each student who came received a ‘70 Days for 70 Years’ book, and committed to study the 70 essays in the book each day for 70 days, in memory of the named Holocaust victim on the card insert in their book. More than 20 of those cards contained names of relatives of our members who perished in the death camps. Some of the students even had the privilege of meeting the children of the victims in whose memory they will be studying those essays, which was so meaningful. With profound thanks to Benjamin Thompson, who labored so hard on the day itself to ensure that the event was without a hitch, and since that time has worked diligently to produce a youtube video record, so that a much wider audience can benefit from these testimonies.

APRIL 23, 2015

HARKHAM HILLEL HEBREW ACADEMY CREATES MEMORABLE STUDENT EVENTS At Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, Holocaust Remembrance day was marked with a Yom Hashoah student-led assembly for the Middle School students and parents on the topic of “Building for a Future.” The students focused on the connection between pre-Holocaust life and how current life has revived post destruction. Mr. Yoni Zadok a Hillel alumnus, presented a video interview of his 98- year old grandmother, a Holocaust Survivor. She described her wedding and how she raised her family after surviving the atrocities.  Zadok said that the school choirs’ singing of Hatikva sent chills down his spine as he felt the hopes and dreams of the next generation and knew that Jews will always prevail. The Middle School Students lit six memorial candles in memory of those who died al kiddush Hashem, and then everyone stood for a moment of silence while listening and watching the sirens blast in Israel in commemoration of the Shoah victims.  The ceremony ended with a moving communal singing of Ani Ma’amin. On Wednesday evening the Hillel choir led by Cantor Arik Wolheim and Katherine Simon sang Chana Szenes’ “Eli E-li,” and a rendition of "Shema Yisrael.”  “There was not a dry eye in the house as these songs were led by the Hillel students,” said Rabbi Robbie Tombosky, Director of Advancement at Hillel and a member of the audience at the event.  Rabbi Adir Posy, Associate Rabbi at Beth Jacob Congregation added, “Seeing Jewish children singing the words Shema Yisrael so sweetly and with such pride, is truly the ultimate victory over Hitler ym”s.” 


Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day)


APRIL 23, 2015


Memories on Yom HaShoah Schwartzie

Twenty Five Years is one “generation”. So if I’m pushing 70, then I have lived to see almost three Generations. Now the key question is, where is my “historic” expertise? Well, I am a real “Baby Boomer” because I was born right after the Holocaust in 1945. My actual “personal experience” of the Holocaust isn’t all that far removed from the reality that I experienced through survivors eye-witness accounts which I’ll tell you about later. My father was a cantor in Vienna in 1939 when the Nazis came to power and occupied Austria. He was married to my mother and had three small children. Somehow the Nazis found the home of the president of my Dad’s shul, brought him to the roof of the temple and pushed him off, murdering him, but still making a half-hearted effort to make it look like another suicide of a Jewish leader. Ten minutes after the murder, they knocked on the door of Ober Cantor Moshe Schwartz. That’d be my Dad. By “accident”, he wasn’t there. He came back 10 minutes later, heard the news, then packed up two generations of residence in Vienna and ran for his life with the family and made it to Atlantic City, N.J. where I

was born. My dad was one of eight siblings. After the war, he was left with one brother who had escaped and was living in Israel. All his siblings, with their spouses and children and both his parents were murdered. He never talked about it, or about any of his family. I grew up feeling jealous of all the goyim in my neighborhood. Every birthday they had grandparents and uncles and aunts and many cousins. On my birthday, no one came. We were a very small family. We had no other family because everyone had been killed. Plane travel was fairly uncommon when I was growing up, especially for young people. I first saw my father’s brother, the Hungarian /Israeli uncle, when I was 21 years old. My mother was the youngest of ten siblings. Her mother was 84 years old when she was incinerated in Auschwitz. We have a daughter named after her. Somehow, two of her brothers did survive and went back to live in Vienna and I met them when I was in my twenties. In Vienna, our family would have been categorized as fiercely ultra-orthodox. In Atlantic City we were like kind of conser-

vadox / traditional. There were no kosher restaurants and no Jewish day schools so every Jewish kid attended Public School. Among 8,000 Jews there were only

The Schwartz family in Vienna

Cantor Moshe Schwartz 1939

Schawrtzie in the early days of Jewish outreach

two stores that were closed on Saturday because the owners were Sabbath observant Jews. One was the Vienna Corset Shop. That was my family’s store that lasted in Jersey for almost 40 years. There were also, only two kosher butcher stores. What did all those other Jews eat? The statistic is that there were 300,000 concentration camp survivors. Some came to Atlantic City. They formed the New American’s Club. It was a social club for Jews who were new citizens or wanted

to become new citizens of the U.S. They were proud to have survived, to begin a new life. Many had “lost” their first families, spouses and children, then met in the D. P. (Displaced Persons) Camps after the war and married and some even had another child. Officially the Club did not have any religion or religious practice, even though everyone was Jewish. But since my dad was a Cantor, he kind of officiated at the Purim Party & the Chanuka Party, etc. And his cute little son had a cute little voice, (that’d be me,) and sang solo with his Dad singing back up, on those occasions, including uplifting songs in Yiddish about the haggim. Eventually, my Dad sent me away from home to attend a Jewish Day School out of town. I came home from Yeshiva for Chanuka vacation and went to the Chanuka Party at the New American’s Club, as my dad was now the duly elected president for a fourth term and he wanted to show off with his only son. As a somewhat mature teenager who had been bitten by the fiery enthusiasm of exciting Torah wisdom, I was unpleasantly shocked by the militant atheism of some of the more out spoken and quite brilliant survivors. I went to my Dad to complain about them. He explained that Getzel looked cross eyed because a Nazi poked out his eye in Dachau and made him blind; and Helmut walked with a cane because he actually only had one leg; the other was a prosthetic because of a necessary amputation right after the war; and the very handsome & fun loving Adolf (an assimilated, German Jew, & that was his real name,) the worst most belligerent anti-G-d debater, saw his wife and two kids murdered in front of him, and the list went on and on. So Dad explained how it is impossible to judge anyone if you haven’t had their experience. In their shoes, you could have turned out worse! It could be that this was the impetus for me to have a dozen kids, and so far, our eldest son has nine children, thank G-d, our second child has eight, and so it goes. In conclusion: I admire the Jewish people for surviving and growing despite the Holocaust, despite the losses of the Holocaust. The reason to perpetuate the incredible miracle of Jewish survival isn’t because there are evil racists who want to kill us. That’s all just too negative. We Jews have so much to give to the world. Look at what we’ve contributed so far. That is the miracle of the Jewish people. Schwartzie is otherwise known as Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz and can be found at the Chai Center. For more information on events for singles and couples events, women’s retreats and holiday services, contact www. chaicenter.org.



Published by Holy Sparks, 2015

in a unique, calligraphic style during shiurim offered by rabbis and teachers around the L.A.

area. Some of us might doodle while listening to a lecture, but her sketchbooks contain more than squiggles or caricatures. Her signature “artnotes” allow the viewer to internalize words of Torah on a whole new level. A gifted librarian and teacher as well as artist, Shagalov eventually began to share her artnotes with the world via her website, Holy Sparks, (www.holysparks.com.) She’s now collected some of her work into book form in order to communicate timeless Torah messages with the world. The Secret Art of Talking to G-d guides a reader through 30 days of meditation exercises which aim to improve their connection to the Almighty. This “creative prayer journal” accompanies each day’s exercise with a tool meant to optimize the user’s daily meditational practice. Usually, Shagalov provides a graphic organizer, a chart or other visual tool, but a couple of the more unusual exercises – simultaneously the most silly and yet deeply meaningful – ask readers to make up a song or to dance. Shagalov also injects humor into many of the lessons, such as when she invites readers to kvetch or throw themselves a pity party and then encourages them to turn their thinking around to a more positive tack. While targeted towards newcomers in Jew-

ish meditation, even those who are familiar with a daily dose of hitbodedut will find enjoyment and meaningfulness in using Shagalov’s book for a month. The workbook exercises that The Secret Art of Talking to G-d offers refreshed my daily meditation practice. Even after years of practice, I often struggle to meditate for the lengths of time recommended by many teachers. Adding that extra ingredient – communicating with G-d (and myself) via artistic expression – helped me extend my practice time. That gave me extra insight from each session that I spent in conversation with G-d. Another bonus to using Shagalov’s 30-day meditation manual was that it forced me to consider a focus for each day that was not of my own choosing. That meant that a couple times, I had to confront personal issues I might have preferred to avoid. Frankly, our avoidance of the most troublesome issues in our lives, those that make us most vulnerable, blocks our ability to grow. Being forced to deal with these issues was uncomfortable, but it was worthwhile for me. The lovely color images brought added pleasure to my reading of this book. The sturdy binding and heavy paper stood up well to wearand-tear. Shagalov advises using different color pens in your responses; I’d recommend you

easy. simple. cash.


take her up on that suggestion. Choosing pens provided me with yet another layer of reflection as it forced me sort through my thoughts even more when I selected the right pen for each idea I wanted to record. Readers should be aware that since nearly every day’s exercise involves writing or drawing, they’ll have to modify their use of The Secret Art of Talking to G-d on Shabbos. The first two weeks, I decided to skip the Shabbos lesson, expecting to double-up the next day. Instead, I totally forgot to continue with the manual on Sunday at all. One week, I doubled up on Monday AND Tuesday, but the following week, I just continued on, one lesson at a time, starting Monday. The remainder of the month, I did each Shabbos’s pages without using the graphic organizer. While that meant I didn’t get to benefit from the entire exercise on those days, it meant I no longer found myself forgetting lessons and losing momentum. You won’t want to lose momentum, because completing The Secret Art of Talking to G-d is a wonderful, enriching experience. I’m looking forward to see what creative tools for spiritual growth Shagalov provides us with next. You can find this book on Amazon.com.

APRIL 23, 2015

Like many people, I became aware of Rae Shagalov’s art when I saw her sitting in the back of Torah classes with pens and paper in hand. For the uninitiated, Shagalov takes notes

Reviewed by Rebecca Klempner


APRIL 23, 2015


THE TIME IS NOW, VOTE TODAY! Rabbi Pesach Lerner

It is not every day that we can do something simple and easy that will provide tremendous short and long term benefits for Jews throughout the world. Often, the voice at our dinner-table is lost but today you can actually make a difference by placing your vote. Voting for representatives to the next World Zionist Organization, (WZO) Congress is now in progress and lasts until April 30.  The Israel-based WZO is a vast organization that has a direct impact on the way private donations, Israeli government funding and hundreds of millions of dollars is spent.  Programs include Aliyah support and guidance, the building of new communities throughout greater Israel and the education and support of Jewish communities in Israel and abroad. WZO decisions affect whether the shlichim sent by the Jewish Agency to communities around the world are Torah observant or not, the type of conversion encouraged by representatives of Israel, the nature of Jewish education provided in the former Soviet Union, South America, and small communities in Europe, and many other areas of critical concern. The WZO decisions may even affect what the kotel looks like in the near future. The WZO purports to represent world Jewry, functioning with elected parties that reflect the sizes of different constituencies.  This is similar to the parties in Israel’s Knesset and indeed, the organization has major influence with Knesset rep-

resentatives and government officials. The greater the Orthodox representation in the Congress, the greater our influence will be upon Knesset decisions affecting millions of Jews in Israel and beyond. If the funds and influence are not used to invest in authentic Judaism and in Torah education, these resources will be spent trying to change Jewish tradition and the

definitions? Consider the battle in Israel today for the definition and future of Judaism in the Jewish state and across the Jewish world.  In the words of the Reform movement: “a successful election... is the single most effective way for the Reform movement to influence policy and shape the society of Israel.” 

ceed their efforts. Orthodox Jewry is much younger, expanding rapidly, and our typical family stays active and within Orthodoxy. Now is the time for the Orthodox community to step forward and show our strength and our commitment. If and when the majority of votes in the WZO election’s North American section come from the Ortho-

religious status quo in Israel. Will Orthodox standards be preserved, and funding for Torah endeavors be maintained or increased? Can we allow that critical matters such as conversion, marriage, divorce, Shabbos and Kashrus are watered down to the most liberal of American

Mercaz, representing the American Conservative movement, plans to demand full recognition of conversions, marriages and divorces which fail Halachic requirements.   This is a key moment for Orthodox participation. We can easily match and ex-

dox, this will dramatically change the perception of who is American Jewry. During a recent meeting with Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Rav Dovid Lau, he told me that the Torah community's turnout in this election is extremely important. I encourage you to vote for the Religious Zionist slate (Slate #10) to preserve Torah standards. Every one of us that does not vote gives non-Torah voices greater influence, with repercussions for our brethren in Israel and beyond. Dialogue with your Rabbi and colleagues, with family and friends, and cast your ballot, AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO CAST THEIRS, for the Religious Zionist slate at www.myvoteourisrael.com. Please see  www.voteTorah. org for additional information about this important election. Your voice will not only count today, but will have ramifications in Israel, and around the world, for years to come. Rabbi Pesach Lerner is Executive Vice President Emeritus of the National Council of Young Israel and Co-Chairman of the American Friends of The International Young Israel Movement, Israel region. For more information you can reach him at internationalyoungisrael@gmail.com .


By Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, Rav and Dean at Yeshivat Yavneh

II Rav Aharon on Yom Ha’atzmaut The first piece is based on a verse in Bereishis:

The Ramban explains this verse in the following way: Actualizing things is called ‘saying’and maintaining them is called ‘seeing.’ The point is to teach that they exist by His desire, and if that desire would detach from them for but a moment, they would become nothingness. The Ramban understands the Hebrew word “Vayaar” as meaning that G-d willed into being. It’s not that G-d “saw” but rather Hashem actively ensured that the light brings us blessing. G-d is constantly infusing all creation with the ability to be. Ramban, in general, champions this critical notion of G-d’s active involvement in all of existence. The Ramban’s position stands in contrast with the Rambam who minimized the role of G-d’s constant and active involvement in all parts of existence. In the 17th Century Sir Isaac Newton’s findings easily led to the notion that the world is a well greased machine. This led many philosophers during this period to postulate that that apart from its initial creation, G-d does not intervene in the universe, and that He certainly does not have to constantly create it anew. The Tanya stood firmly with the Ramban in declaring the full implication that “G-d renews his goodness constantly.” See Shaar Yichud V’HaEmunah: For if the letters were to depart for an instant, God forbid, and return to their source, all the heavens would become naught and absolute nothingness, and it would be as though they had never existed at all, exactly as before the utterance, ‘Let there be a firmament.’ And so it is with all created things, in all the upper and lower worlds, and even this physical earth and the realm of the completely inanimate. If the letters of the Ten Utterances by which the earth was created during the Six Days of Creation were to depart from it for an instant, God forbid, it would revert to naught and absolute nothingness, exactly as before the Six Days of Creation. From the foregoing, the answer to the heretics [may be deduced], and there is exposed the root of the error of those who deny individual Divine Providence and the signs and miracles recorded in the Torah.  G-d is constantly working miracles every second of our lives. Rav Chaim Volozhin at the beginning of his Nefesh

HaChaim shares this view as well. In Pirkei Avos (2:1) we notice that there is an “eye that sees” and an “ear that hears”. G-d is constantly involved. The problem, though, is that sometimes the world masks the yad Hashem. The word for “nature” in Hebrew is ‫טבע‬, which is the same root as ‫טובע‬, which means to drown. Nature can possibly drown out G-d’s guiding power. But if we pay close attention we would see it all. The Zohar teaches us that, “G-d looked into the Torah and created the world,” therefore, the entire world must speak of Hashem’s majesty if we listen carefully. The unfortunate tendency that we have to gravitate toward seeing the world as though it runs on auto-pilot is especially true when it comes to the State of Israel. The further and further we are from the miracles of 1948 and 1967 the more leaden we have become to the great miracle of having a home of our own. Unfortunately, it is in our difficult times that we are forced to reawaken our awareness of Hashem’s guiding providence in the destiny of Klal Yisrael. May we merit to appreciate the gift of having Medinat Yisrael through the day to day blessings and not through the pain of suffering. III Lomdus from Rav Aharon Lichtenstein Mishnah in Brachos 35a: “upon vegetables one recites borei p’ri ha’adamah. Rebbi Yehudah says that we ought to say borei minei deshaim.” Gemara (40a) cites Rebbi Zeira who says that the Halacha does not follow Rebbi Yehudah regarding this ruling. What is the reasoning behind Rebbi Yehudah’s position? The Gemara explains that since the Torah says “baruch Hashem yom yom” it indicates that just as one must give each day its own specific blessing to G-d, so too each species of food needs its own distinct blessing. Rav Lichtenstein explained that Rebbi Yehudah’s opinion assumes two points: 1) Blessings need a certain specificity in order to create a relationship between the blessing and the object/time being blessed. 2) The text, “borei p’ri ha’adamah,” is not specific enough when it comes to vegetables. What then is the counter argument of the Sages? There are two possibilities: 1) They entirely disagree with the basic

premise of needing a direct correlation between blessing and item. Or 2) They agree with the concept that there must be a subject relationship but the disagree about the level of specificity needed. Sukkah (46a): “Our Rabbis taught, if one had before them many mitzvos, he or she should say ‘Baruch asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al HamiTvos (plural)’. Rebbi Yehudah says that one should say a separate blessing on each and every one.” The Gemara continues to provide a similar source for Rebbi Yehudah as it did in Brachos (see above). Rav Aharon Lichtenstein asks a profound question. If the passage of the Talmud in Sukkah equates blessings regarding mitzvos with blessings regarding food consumption (ala Brachos) then it would seem to follow according to the Sages who deny the need for specificity one would not need to worry about being specific with mentioning Shabbos or Yom Tov in the particular days’ prayers. Yet, we do find according to all siddurim the need for ‫ ביום טוב מעין יום‬,‫“בשבת מעין שבת‬ ”‫“ טוב‬on Shabbos we mention Shabbos, on Yom Tov we mention Yom Tov.”? Approach: It seems that according to Rebbi Yehudah we always need specificity in order to connect the blessing to the time / object / or action. According to the Sages, though, the need to recognize the time (Shabbos or Yom Tov, for example) is not about specificity but rather its part of the kiyum b’mitzvos hayom – fulfilling the mitzvah of the day. Support for this approach: In Shabbos (24a) the Talmud asks “do we mention Chanukah in the benching; on one hand it’s a rabbinic holiday so therefore no mention, and on the other hand since there is publicization of a miracle we should mention.” From this text we see that the inclusion of al hanissim is not predicated on making sure that our benching has specificity but rather it is about fulfilling the particular mitzvah of the day, which in this case is publicizing a miracle. If this is true for Chanukah then this true for other holidays as well. For example, Tisha B’av obligates us to recite Nachem as part of expressing our longing for the Beis HaMikdash (see Rosh Hashanah 30a). Shabbos and Yom Tov have texts changes as well. Those can be a function of the mitzvah of Kiddush, sanctification of the day or alternatively k’riyat mikrei kodesh. It is because of these mitzvos that we mention the day and NOT because of specificity.

APRIL 23, 2015

I Who was Rav Aharon Lichtenstein? This week the Jewish people have lost one of their great tsaddikim: Rav Aharon Lichteinstein Zt”l. Rav Lichtenstein was born in France in 1933. His family escaped in 1941 to the United States. Upon arriving he studied at Yeshivas Chaim Berlin where he was greatly influenced by Rav Yitzchok Hutner. At the age of 16 he entered Yeshiva College and became close to Rav Aharon Soloveitchik and afterward Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, the Rav. Upon graduating, Rav Lichteinstein received a PhD in English literature at Harvard. He married Tovah Soloveitchik, the Rav’s daughter, in 1960. In 1970 the Lichtensteins made Aliyah where he joined Rav Yehuda Amital as co-Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion in the Gush. All his children have gone on to become great leaders of Torah and education in Klal Yisroel. His stature in Torah learning has been recognized all over the world. In 2013 he won the prestigious Rav Kook Award for original Torah literature and in 2014 he won the coveted Israel Prize in Torah Literature. What marks Rav Aharon Lichteinstein’s person as gadol unique is his combination of Torah + Piety + Engagement of the humanities and secular wisdom. That notwithstanding, the central and ideal religious experience was always through the study of Torah. As Rav Lichtenstein put it, learning Torah, especially Gemara and Halacha, allows one to be, “exposed once again to his Master’s commanding presence.” One brief story, in particular, displays his impeccable middos. Professor Howard Wettstein admits to leaving the world of frumkeit to become a Professor in Philosophy of Language. Rav Lichteinstein helped him return to the Torah derecho. This is what Professor Wettstein relates: Rabbi Aharon Lichteinstein, a Talmudic scholar, Harvard PhD in Literature… invited my family to his home at 7:00am on a Sunday, before he headed out to his yeshiva. When I tried to thank him for all he had done for me…his humility inserted itself; he lowered his head and changed the subject. The contrast with much of academia could not have been more stark.





APRIL 23, 2015

Tools of Healing

Parshas Tazria, as Metzora which follows it, deals with the halachos of a person struck by tzoraas. Though its laws are quite complex, scaring away the young student, we are all familiar with the basic concept. A patch of skin, or clothing, or a home becomes infected with pigment changes. A kohein is called to inspect and render a decision regarding the status of the stain. If he deems it tzoraas, the offender is sealed off for a period of at least a week. While tzoraas is usually described as leprosy or some other disease, in fact it is not a disease at all, but a signal from Hashem to repent and do teshuvah for various sins. On Shevi’i Shel Pesach, we read Parshas Beshalach and the story of Yetzias Mitzrayim. The posuk (Shemos 15:26) states, “Kol hamachalah asher samti beMitzrayim lo asim alecha ki ani Hashem rofecha.” Hashem promises that if we follow His mitzvos, He will not bring upon us any of the diseases He brought upon the Mitzriyim. The ailments and diseases that befell the Mitzriyim were purely Divine punishment for their treatment of the Jews. There was no cure for them. When a person is infected by illness, it is similar to a vaccine. The vaccine works by planting a strain of the illness in the body, weak enough for the body to fight off. The process strengthens and inoculates the person from the disease. The sickness itself is what causes good health. We believe that disease and yissurim are for a higher purpose, sometimes perceived, sometimes obvious, and often times not.

We trust that our Doctor has our best interests in mind. We therefore say, “Ki Ani Hashem rofecha.” If He wishes it so, then we will be healed. The name of the new month, Chodesh Iyar, is comprised of the roshei teivos of that very posuk: Ani Hashem rofecha. Iyar is said to be a month with a heightened power of healing and refuah. It is interesting that in this month of healing, the students of Rabi Akiva died and much tragedy was heaped upon the Jewish people. Healing is not magic. We have to earn it. When we sin, catastrophe ensues. When we repent, recovery is enabled. Talmidei Rabi Akiva were felled during Iyar, but the plague was also stopped during Iyar on Lag Ba’omer. There was much sadness during this month, but also much redemption. We don’t always merit appreciating the cause and effect. Many of the ways of the L-rd are mysterious, and it often takes years of hindsight to perceive what transpired, but we must know that we are overseen by Ani Hashem rofecha, during Iyar and all year around. Herbs, which are at the root of medicine, begin growing, along with the rest of nature, this month. It is often said that physical aspects of creation reflect spiritual realities. Thus, we can say that since Iyar is a time of personal growth and healing for us, the rest of the natural world also experiences growth and regeneration. This serves as a reminder to us of our opportunities and ability to regenerate. The Chazon Ish would say that each generation experiences a new class of diseases for which there is no cure. In generations prior, people would die from typhus, smallpox and measles, and desperate people hoped valiantly for the day that medication would be found to cure them. Once the world was rid of those feared maladies, new diseases were diagnosed and spread, without the ability to cure them. In recent years, we’ve seen illnesses come and go. They include AIDS, E. coli, SARS, foot and mouth disease, and, most recently, Ebola. There is a steady stream of maladies that send everyone into a panic before disappearing. This is to remind us that Hashem is the Rofei cholim. Doctors are His messengers. They do not hold the key to cures unless

the Creator wills it so. In truth, this is explicit in the words of the Rambam (Hilchos Mikvaos 11:12) in his closing remarks on the topic of purification: “Impurity is not filth that can be washed away with water, but, rather, a scriptural decree that calls for intent of focus of the heart. Chazal therefore teach that one who immersed but did not intend to purify himself is considered as not having been toiveled. “Although it is a gezeiras hakasuv, there is an allusion inherent in the act of tevilah. One who focuses his heart on purity is indeed cleansed through immersion, even though there was no noticeable change in his body. Similarly, one who focuses his heart on removing the contamination of the soul - namely, evil thoughts and negative character traits - becomes purified when he resolves within his heart to distance himself from such counsel and immerse his soul in the waters of knowledge.” Thus, it is the sacred role of the kohein to determine whether a person is a metzora or not. The task of the kohein is to bring people closer to Hashem through removing sin, which causes separation between man and his Maker. He helps people purify themselves. Tzora’as is not a medical condition. It arises from cheit, and thus the kohein intercedes to help the victim repent from his chatto’im, which brought about his condition. He then achieves the desired healing. We are familiar with the posuk (Tehillim 34:13) which states, “Mi ha’ish hechofeitz chaim oheiv yomim liros tov. Netzor leshoncha meira usefosecha midabeir mirma.” One who desires life should be careful not to use his mouth for bad purposes and not to speak improperly. We know that tzora’as is a punishment for people who do not follow the admonitions of that posuk and speak ill of others. Those who do not appreciate other people, who are not concerned about the feelings of others, or who cavalierly destroy reputations of fellow Jews, are punished and banished from the camp. For seeking to create separation between the people they gossiped about and their communities, they are placed in isolation.

In the town of Radin, there was a group of progressive Jewish freethinkers called the Poalei Tzion who used mockery and cynicism as a means of undermining the traditions of the yeshiva world, utilizing their writing abilities to pen works that demonized the yeshivos. They prepared a booklet filled with barbs and slurs to vilify the yerei’im ushleimim. Some Radiner bochurim learned of the plan and descended on the Poalei Tzion headquarters. They scooped up the hateful materials and carried the bundles of booklets back to their yeshiva, where they tossed them into the furnace. The next day, Poalei Tzion activists came to work and saw what had happened. They quickly found clues revealing the identity of the perpetrators and headed to the yeshiva. There, in the furnace, they found burnt remnants of their hard work. They announced a war on the bochurim, threatening physical attacks and more. They began their retaliation campaign at the home of the Chofetz Chaim zt”l, where they stormed in to announce their plans. The leader spoke with particular chutzpah, and almost as soon as the brazen words left his mouth, he fell to the ground. His eyes bulged and a random stream of words came out of his mouth. He had lost his mind. His frightened friends led him away and the news soon spread. The young man had gone insane. The story, in today’s parlance, went viral. A few days later, the story reached the preeminent Haskalah newspaper, Heint, based in Warsaw. In a fiery editorial, the paper took issue with the rabbon shel Yisroel. “Is this the Chofetz Chaim, known for the work he authored on the laws of lashon hora?” they asked. “How can someone who preaches love of Jews curse another Jew?” Rav Shalom Schwadron would often retell this story and point out the hypocrisy and duplicity of agenda-driven people. While acknowledging the spiritual greatness and powers of the Chofetz Chaim, they refused to admit that the way of life they so disdained, invested him with his abilities. The Chofetz Chaim took the unusual step of responding to the newspaper. “In response to your report that I cursed

The cause and effect would be plainly evident. And it’s not only tzora’as. It’s all diseases. It’s not only lashon hora. It’s all the aveiros. The Medrash teaches that there

The man responded to the rosh yeshiva, “Are you attempting to give me strength? Are you explaining to me why I shouldn’t give up and just sink into a depression because of my many ailments?

are ten parshiyos of negoim, just as there are ten cardinal mitzvos. If Am Yisroel observes the Aseres Hadibros, then Hashem protects them from negoim. However, if they disobey the Aseres Hadibros, they are plagued. We have to recognize that our tumah, taharah and welfare depend on our actions. The Gemara in Maseches Sotah (20a) teaches, “Torah magna umatzla,” Torah fortifies and protects. We know that “tzedakah tatzil mimovess,” charity saves one from death (Mishlei 10:2). Just as tzedakah has the power to save us from death, tefillah has the power to bring about salvation. Torah surrounds us with armor in the face of punishment. Every act we perform, including the way we think and speak, has the ability to determine the quality of our lives. The posuk (Vayikra 18:5) states, “Ushemartem es chukosai v’es mishpotai asher yaaseh osam ha’adam vochai bohem.” If you will observe My mitzvos, they will give you life. From this posuk we derive that pikuach nefesh is docheh Shabbos. That means that the posuk is not speaking only in an allegorical sense - that mitzvah observance enhances life - but in a very literal sense as well. Observance of the Torah’s chukim and mishpotim is life-inducing. Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer zt”l went to visit a very sick person, Mr. Hutzin. The patient’s life was one of sickness and suffering, with nary a ray of anything good. Rav Isser Zalman sat at the man’s bedside silently, wondering what words of consolation he could offer him. He was thinking that if he couldn’t relieve the man of any of his many illnesses, the least he could do was offer words of encouragement. He began speaking words of chizuk and telling Mr. Hutzin to never give up on receiving Hashem’s salvation.

“If that is your intention, you are wasting your time. I don’t need that type of chizuk. Do you want to hear something? Despite all that I have been through, I have never stopped being happy with my yissurim,” Mr. Hutzin said. “How can that be?” asked Rav Meltzer. “How can you tell me that you are besimchah despite all your yissurim? You have had no break from pain and suffering.” “Let me explain,” said the man as he lay on his sickbed in agony. “Recently, a man was sentenced to jail for two years. You would expect that man to be sad; you’d think he’d have tears pouring down his cheeks after hearing the judge read the sentence. Yet, he was full of joy. Instead of crying, he was smiling. Instead of sadness, there was joy. He even thanked the judge! “As they left the courtroom, a crowd surged to follow the condemned man. ‘Why are you so happy?’ they called out to him as he was led away, ‘Why the smiles?’ “‘Let me explain it to you,’ he said. ‘The crime I was convicted of carries a 25year sentence. I could have been put away for up to 25 years of hard time. Instead, I got two years in minimum security. Of course I’m happy. In two years, I’ll be back home with my family and friends.’ “So too with me,” Mr. Hutzin finished. “The Gemara (Shabbos 55a) says, ‘Ein yissurim belo avon, there is no suffering without sin.’ I have sinned and Hashem is punishing me for what I have done. He could have treated me much worse. He could have saved the punishments for Olam Haba. Instead, He is cleaning me now of my sins, and in Olam Haba I will be free to enjoy. Should I not be happy? I am getting off easy. I don’t need you to console me. I don’t need to hear words of chizuk. I am quite happy, for I know that I deserve a lot worse and am getting off easy.”


APRIL 23, 2015


This story resonates with us intellectually and emotionally. We all recognize the truth and wisdom in the man’s words. And though it may be difficult to live that way, we aim to reach that level. Dovid Hamelech sang, “Shivtecha umishantecha heima yenachamuni - Your rod and staff comfort me.” Baalei mussar teach that the comfort Dovid Hamelech derived from Hashem’s “rod and staff” was similar to the comfort a stray sheep receives from the prodding tap of its master. The wayward sheep had veered from the path and group. It was lost, alone and afraid. Finally, it was found by the shepherd, who hit it with his staff. Along with the blow came a sense of belonging, of being watched over once again, and of being cared for. The stick striking its back stung, but it was comforting nonetheless. At the shivah for Rav Shmuel Halevi Wosner zt”l, his children recounted that their father never raised his voice to rebuke them and never slapped them. One of the children asked him how he understood a posuk that seems to indicate that smacking children is a sign of love: “Choseich shivto sonei beno - One who withholds the stick hates his son” (Mishlei 13:24). Rav Wosner told his son, “The posuk does not mean that a father should hit his son. Rather, the explanation is that a wise father learns to keep a stick nearby to remind his son of its existence. The stick is a tool, but the loving father finds a way not to have to use it.” He uses it by not using it. The threat is ever-present and the child toes the line because of it. We have seen and experienced the Divine staff all too often. Like frightened sheep, we have been prodded back to the flock, influenced to stay on the correct path. We see through the darkness and appreciate the message that after making many mistakes, Hashem still hopes for our return. He hasn’t forgotten us, even for a moment. Ki anu tzonecha, ve’Atah Roeinu. May we all experience true refuah in this new month of Ani Hashem Rofecha. May all individuals suffering from disease be cured, and may all that plagues our community be rectified so that we can speedily merit the ultimate healing. Dovid Hamelech says in the 15th chapter of Tehillim, “Hashem, who merits to inhabit your tent, to live on Your holy mountain? He who walks purely, does justice and speaks truth from his heart. Slander doesn’t appear on his tongue; he doesn’t wrong his friend and doesn’t slur those close to him. He despises contemptible people and honors those who fear Hashem. He keeps his word and oath even when it hurts him. He doesn’t take interest for lending people money and never accepts bribes. Whoever possesses these characteristics will never falter.” In these days of Iyar and Sefirah, as we study the parshiyos of tzora’as, let us begin our march back to good health by reforming how we deal with each other, giving attention to our middos and observance of the mitzvos, chukim and mishpotim. May all those who suffer find relief; may all the ill be healed; all the lonely comforted, and may we all merit the geulah sheleimah bemeheirah.


the young man, chas veshalom, I have never cursed another Jew. In response to your report that he has been stricken with madness, that is indeed true, and that is because mit yeshiva bochurim fangt men nisht uhn, one doesn’t start up with yeshiva bochurim.” The mistake made by the editors of Heint is an error we all risk making. Man creates his own tzora’as. It is not curses or bad luck that cause tzora’as. We no longer merit this precise Divine message. We speak lashon hora at will and think that we won’t suffer any consequence, but a discerning eye sees a different truth. The loving Rofei sends us hints of disapproval. We are beset by aches and pains, and at times ailments. We go to the doctor, fill prescriptions, and seek to be healed. We are lulled into thinking that the sickness or pain is caused and cured by something physical. How wrong we are. Sometimes, we tackle life’s serious issues like children, who try to copy what they have seen others do. They grab their tools and attempt to repair their broken toys. As well-intentioned as they are, and as many tools as there are in their box, they cannot fix what is broken. Since they haven’t been through the vicissitudes of life, there is no way they can succeed on their own. Life is a long learning process. As we grow and learn, we are able to overcome the many challenges we face. If we act maturely and intelligently, we are better able to remain healthy, strong and vivacious. If we seek complete recovery and a pain-free existence, we have to know that every limb and part of the body receives its sustenance from a specific mitzvah. Every ailment is caused by a specific aveirah. Children see everything in a superficial way. They lack the experience, the trial and error that give older people the tools to properly analyze situations. Maturity dictates that we face up to our challenges and concede that they are messages. The Gemara in Maseches Avoda Zara (55a) quotes the words of a posuk that we recite in the tefillah of Nishmas each Shabbos: “chola’im ra’im vene’emonim harsh and faithful diseases.” How can illness be referred to as faithful? The Gemara explains that a challenge is a message to the faithful. a reminder to keep our promises. The challenge has a mission, dispatched from Heaven for a reason, for a specific amount of time. Once that time elapses, it is directed to leave a person’s body. Challenges are faithful to that oath. The truest path to complete recovery and pain-free existence isn’t calling a toll-free number for a free sample of some questionable product with enthusiastic endorsements from people claiming to have been healed. It is from the awareness that every limb and part of the body receives its sustenance from a specific mitzvah and every ailment is caused by a specific aveirah. In our days, we don’t suffer from tzora’as. That is not a blessing. It is a curse. Were tzora’as still prevalent, we would no doubt minimize our speaking of lashon hora. It would disappear from our midst.



APRIL 23, 2015


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APRIL 23, 2015

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APRIL 23, 2015


The Might of the Pen: The Tale of Three Heroic Diplomats in the Holocaust Aaron Feigenbaum

The concept of bravery evokes images of soldiers rushing into battle or doctors tending to the sick in a war-torn country. It is less common to consider office workers as brave. Yet during the Holocaust, there were many incredibly brave diplomats of many different nationalities who, with the stroke of a pen, collectively saved thousands of Jewish lives. Acting against their government’s orders, they risked their careers, social status, property and sometimes even their lives to do what was right. This is the story of three exemplary diplomats who rescued thousands of Jews from certain death. Raoul Wallenberg One of the most well-known heroes of the Holocaust, Raoul Wallenberg came to Budapest, Hungary in July 1944

Hungarian stamp honoring Raul Wallenberg

as part of the Swedish diplomatic corps. Just a few months before his arrival, Hungary had been on the verge of making a pact with the Allies, but the German’s did not want this to happen and it was a time of severe crisis. To prevent the agreement, the Germans occupied Hungary and established a puppet government headed by the ardently pro-Nazi politician Dome Sztojay. The regime enthusiastically rounded up Jews in Budapest to hand over to the Germans, and forced Jews outside Budapest into squalid ghettos. Approximately 440,000 Jews were deported, almost all of whom went to Auschwitz. Two days before Wallenberg’s arrival, Hungary’s King, Miklos Horthy, ordered a halt to the deportations while he attempted to reach an agreement with the Soviets, whose troops were on Hungary’s borders. This lull presented Wallenberg and the Swedish government with the perfect opportunity to help the remaining Jews in Budapest. Almost as

soon as he set up post in Budapest, Wallenberg began issuing certificates of protection to Jews, and set up humanitarian relief projects such as soup kitchens, hospitals and over 30 safe houses, all of which formed the heart of the “international ghetto” of Budapest.

Street in Jerusalem honoring Raul Wallenberg. Photo by Yoninah via Wikimedia Commons

His methods were quite unconventional. Bribes, extortion, empty promises, threats: everything was fair game when it came to saving Jewish lives. These efforts paid off more substantially than he expected. Wallenberg was able to convince the Hungarian Foreign Ministry to issue 4,500 diplomatic passes, three times more than the original quota allowed for. Things took a turn for the worse when the virulently anti-Semitic Arrow Cross party seized power in October 1944. Ferenc Szalasi, leader of Arrow Cross, rescinded Horthy’s orders and restarted the deportations. Arrow Cross gangs terrorized Jews in the Budapest ghetto and forced many of them into harsh labor. In November of that year, the regime relocated nearly 70,000 Budapest Jews into a 0.1 square mile ghetto and marched many others to the Austrian border to be sent to Nazi concentration camps. Wallenberg worked even more fervently to prevent Jews from having to march. He begged and pleaded with the Hungarian authorities to recognize the Jews’ protection papers. At risk of being shot, he went so far as to personally block trains leaving with Jews to concentration camps and hand out passes to the Jews inside. Wallenberg’s greatest act of heroism was in January 1945 when, upon learning of Adolf Eichmann’s plan to kill everyone in the Budapest ghetto, he warned German general August Schmidthuber that he would be tried as a

war criminal and executed if the general carried out his orders. Thanks to Wallenberg’s threat, the massacre was stopped. In all, Wallenberg saved the lives of almost 100,000 Jews. Sadly however, Wallenberg was captured by the Soviets that same month and was never seen or heard from again. A Russian government document asserts that he died in his prison cell on July 17, 1947. To this day, the authenticity of the document is not proven and the circumstances of his death, or even whether he actually is dead, have been the subject of debate for decades. Wallenberg is today remembered in countless ways from street names to stamps to monuments. One of his most famous quotes is, “I will never be able to go back to Sweden without knowing inside myself that I’d done all a man could do to save as many Jews as possible.” Chiune Sugihara It would hardly be expected that a representative of an Axis power would risk his career to save Jewish lives, but Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania, managed to grant safe passage to over 6,000 Jews.

Chiune Sugihara

Sugihara’s task in Kaunas, Lithuania was to provide his government with intelligence on German and Soviet military activities in the Baltic region. This mission changed when a huge crowd of Jewish refugees appeared outside the Japanese consulate in July 1940. They had found out that the Dutch colonies

of Curacao and Dutch Guiana didn’t require entrance visas. They got permission from the Soviets to travel through the USSR, but they still needed to go through Japan to get to the Dutch territories.

One of the visas issued by Chiune Suguhara

Sugihara telegraphed his superiors in Tokyo to get permission to give the refugees visas. He was allowed to issue a limited number of them, but was told that the remaining refugees would have to have enough money for their stay in Japan in order to receive a visa. Many of these refugees were penniless and couldn’t meet this condition. Sugihara and his wife Yukiko decided to follow their conscience and work day and night for almost a month filling out visas for the thousands of refugees who requested his help. They had managed to grant visas to over 2,000 Jews by the time Sugihara was ordered to leave Lithuania for Berlin on September 1, 1940. As his train left the station, he handed out more visas from his window as fast as he could write them and even threw his visa stamp to a refugee who then used it to save even more lives. The Polish and Lithuanian Jewish refugees never made it to Curacao or Dutch Guiana, but over 6,000 of them found safety in the Japanese-controlled Shanghai Ghetto. Sugihara was transferred to Prague and then to Bucharest, where he stayed until the end of the war. Because he defied his government, he was dismissed from diplomatic service in 1945. He became a part-time translator and interpreter, and then worked as a manager at a Moscow-based Japanese export group. After reuniting with the people he saved, Sugihara was honored by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1985, one year before his death. In the words of Susan Bluman, a Sugihara refugee, “I believe he was a very special


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person, a very remarkable human being. To him, human rights were very, very important. He believed that everybody should be able to be free.” Aristides de Sousa Mendes Like Chiune Sugihara, Aristedes de Sousa Mendes was an unexpected hero. Mendes was a devout Portuguese Catholic born to an aristocratic family. He worked as a diplomat in Bordeaux, France at the time of the Nazi invasion. The Portuguese dictator, Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, decided to collaborate with the Nazis and refuse entry to Jews.

Refugee representative and advocate Rabbi Chaim Kruger with Dr. Aristides de Sousa Mendes

Acting on his conscience, Mendes announced to his staff that “Many of you are Jews, and our constitution clearly states that neither the religion nor the political beliefs of foreigners can be used as a pretext for refusing to allow them to stay in Portugal. I’ve decided to be faithful to that principle, but I shan’t resign for all that.” 30,000 refugees, including 10,000 Jews, appeared at the Portuguese consulate in Bordeaux. A group of Jewish refugees, headed by Mendes’ friend Rabbi Haim Kruger, petitioned Mendes for entry visas to Portugal. He eagerly agreed to this request and even gave out the documents for free to those who couldn’t afford them. Mendes and his staff worked to the point of exhaustion in June 1940 to ensure that all 30,000

refugees got visas. Word of Mendes’ insubordination reached the Portuguese government, and

A young woman with Down Syndrome shares her personal story of overcoming the stigma surrounding her disability

Learn how excLusion hurts everyone and how incLusion can make us aLL feeL good   The Sousa Mendes family receiving the Righteus Among the Nations medal at the Israeli Consulate in New York. Left to right: Sebastião Mendes, Luis-Filipe Mendes, Harry Izratty, Moïse Elias, César Mendes, Rabbi Chaim Kruger, Israeli Consul Michael Aron and John Paul Abranches

he was ordered to return to his home country. On the way, Mendes continued to give visas to refugees. In one such instance, he passed the Portuguese consulate in Bayonne, France where a crowd of hundreds stood outside the gates hoping to get visas. Mendes boldly marched into the consulate and ordered the staff to immediately issue visas. He even escorted the refugees personally to the Spanish border to ensure their safety. Once Mendes arrived back in Lisbon, he was declared “mentally unfit” by the Salazar government and stripped of not only his job but also his pension and right to practice law. Even his children were blacklisted from universities and employment opportunities. Left penniless and hated by his government, society and even some of his family members, Mendes lived the life of an outcast in his family home of Passal in central Portugal. Despite all that, Mendes never regretted his actions for a moment, “I could not have acted otherwise, and I therefore accept all that has befallen me with love.” He died in 1954 in poverty at a Franciscan monastery. Mendes was recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1966. His government finally dismissed all charges against him and reinstated his diplomatic position in 1988. The Portuguese government has also announced plans to turn Mendes’ home into a museum of tolerance. When asked to explain why he refused to follow orders, Mendes offered this now-immortal line “I would stand with G-d against man, rather than with man against G-d.” (Sources: Virtual Jewish Library, Yad Vashem, U.S. Holocaust Museum)

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APRIL 23, 2015




APRIL 23, 2015


Notable Notable Quotes


Compiled by Nate Davis

Compiled by Nate Davis

“Say“Say What?” What?” I’m starting to worry that when Hillary Clinton travels, there’s gonna need to be two planes – one for her and her entourage, and one for her baggage. – Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

For the first time, a vegan gluten-free bakery has opened at Disney World. The place is called “It’s a Sad World After All.” - Conan O’Brien

President Obama has reduced the sentences of 22 federal prisoners who were arrested for drug-related crimes — eight of whom were serving life sentences. It marks the first time someone has said “Thanks Obama” but actually meant it. – Jimmy Fallon

Ben & Jerry’s is working with a beer company to develop a “salted caramel brownie brown ale” that will be sold later this summer. It’ll mark the first time you’ll actually feel great after finishing a second pint of Ben & Jerry’s. – Jimmy Fallon

Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. His lawyer plans to appeal. He’s trying to get the sentence reduced down to two seasons with the New York Jets. – Conan O’Brien

Everything comes from above. Everything just comes from above. - Jeralean Talley, 116, of Michigan, who just became the oldest person in the world

It’s something I always wanted to do. And I didn’t have the opportunity to go and now 100 years later, here I am. - At a ceremony for Marie Hunt, 103, who received an honorary high school diploma from River Valley High School in Wisconsin (after 8th grade she started working to support her eight younger siblings) A Wisconsin woman recently got a high school diploma at the age of 103 and says she is now considering going to college. Friends are recommending a two-year college. - Conan O’Brien

We have a giant garbage can called YouTube for usergenerated content. – Jerry Seinfeld during a discussion about comedy and the internet

Hillary’s trying to appear downhome. Earlier today she was sitting on the front porch of a general store whittling a pantsuit. – David Letterman

The only fun thing about filing your tax return is getting a refund. About 80 percent of taxpayers get money back, which is a weird thing to be happy about. That means you’ve been overpaying all year long. It’s like if someone broke into your house and the police recovered the stuff and brought it back and you said, “Oh, presents.” – Jimmy Kimmel

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Shriners Hospital for Children. Also, the family respectfully asks that you do not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. R.I.P. Grandaddy. - Obituary for Larry Upright, an 81-year-old man who passed away in North Carolina last week


– Jimmy Kimmel The ex-governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, said the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families. Jeb Bush said that’s true. It should really just belong to one family. – Conan O’Brien All my grandparents, you know, came over here. – Hillary Clinton talking about immigration during her swing through Iowa (three of her four grandparents were born in the continental U.S.)

I think they’re all losers. - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on MSNBC, when asked about the field of Republicans He comes from a coal state. I don’t mean to be meanspirited, but he is a lump of coal. – Ibid, when asked about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-KY)

Hillary is in Iowa to listen to what the people are saying — because if you want her to speak, that will cost you $200,000. So she’s there listening. – David Letterman Have we all decided who we’re going to vote for president yet? You know you only have 574 days left to figure it out. - Jimmy Kimmel

We do have a plan. We have a plan for my plan. - Hillary Clinton when asked by the Washington Post for details of her campaign plans

If I put together a finance team that will make me financially competitive enough to stay in this thing… I may have the first all-Jewish cabinet in America because of the pro-Israel funding. - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) joking about the fundraising he may have to do if he decides to run for president

Hillary’s roll out was about as spontaneous as open heart surgery. - Fox News Channel host Greg Gutfeld

A 95-year-old man has officially become the world’s oldest pilot. He’s also become the first pilot to fly at 25 miles per hour. - Conan O’Brien

I’m inside a plane, and I feel like it’s moving in the air. Flight 448. Can you please have somebody stop it? – From the 911 call made by a baggage handler who had fallen asleep inside the cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines jet bound for Los Angeles, and woke up when the plane took off (the plane returned to the airport)

Well, that’s got to be a first. - The TV announcer at a San Francisco Giants game when a play was disrupted by a fried chicken finger which fell from a bird’s mouth onto the field

It’s April 15, tax day. The federal tax code is over 74,000 pages long. But stick with it because after page 72,000, it gets really good. - Conan O’Brien

Jeb Bush welcomed his fourth grandchild. The new Bush grandchild is happy, healthy, and will be running for president in 2048. – Conan O’Brien

Hillary Clinton announced she’s running for president. Yesterday in Ohio, Hillary popped into a Chipotle and she ordered a burrito bowl with chips and salsa. And on her way out she said, “That locks down the Hispanic vote.” – Conan O’Brien

The Hillary team is driving around in a van. Sometimes people get those gag bumper stickers put on their van. Hillary has one on her van, and it says, “If this van’s rockin’, I’m deleting emails.” – David Letterman Tomorrow President Obama will host NASCAR racing champion Kevin Harvick at the White House. They both said they look forward to spending an hour or two not having the slightest interest in what the other is saying. – Jimmy Fallon

Hillary Clinton announced that she is running. Then she drove from New York to Iowa in a van. You can’t be president of the United States unless you agree to eat a corn dog in front of a small group of farmers. – Jimmy Kimmel

APRIL 23, 2015

The IRS specifically selected April 15 as tax day. They knew it was going to likely be a beautiful spring day and they wanted to ruin it for us.

What’s a gyrocopter? - Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recalling what his first reaction was when a gyrocopter landed on the Capitol lawn



As long as I have control of the craft, no one was going to get hurt. If I get blown to smithereens, I have no control of the smithereens. - Douglas Hughes, who flew a gyrocopter onto the Capitol lawn, recalling what he was thinking as he was flying through Washington, DC

In her Iowa round tables, she acted as though she were following dating tips from 1950’s advice columnists to women trying to “trap” a husband: listen a lot, nod a lot, widen your eyes, and act fascinated with everything that’s said. – Maureen Dowd, writing in The New York Times about Hillary’s recent swing through Iowa



You Gotta be



Honest Abe Trivia

Jimbo walks into the police station looking for a job. The officer wants to ask him a few questions. Officer: What’s 2+2? Jimbo: Ummmmm...4! Officer: What’s the square of 100? fore his root father’s assassination. before becoming president? 1. What did Lincoln’s killer, John Wilkes Answer on next page Jimbo: Ummmm...10! 5. BAlthough it sounds ria. 1 Booth, do for a living? Officer: Good! Now, who killed Abraham diculously ironic thatLincoln? the Lincoln b. 2 a. He was an actor Jimbo: Ummmm...I dunno. created the Secret Service on c. 3 b. He was a senator Officer: Well, you can go home and think about it. Come back the day he was assassinated, the d. 4 c. He was a general in the Confederate tomorrow. truth is that at that time the See. 5 army Jimbo goes home and up onemission of his friends who asks him if cretcalls Service’s was solely d. He ran a gun range Answers: he got the job. Jimbo answers, “Not only did I related get the job, to investigate crimes to I’m already 1. ABooth was a well2. After shooting Lincoln, Booth jumped the Treasury, such as counterfeitLINCOLN: KENNEDY: working on a murder case!” known actor. In fact, Lincoln from the Presidential Box onto the stage ing. Shortly after the assassination Lincoln was elected to Congress Kennedy was elected to watched Booth perform in and shouted something. What was it? of William McKinley in 1901, in 1846 Congress in 1946 numerous plays, a. The war shall continue! the Secret Service asincluding one b. Sic semper tyrannis! sumed full-time He was elected president in He was elected president in called “The c. Revenge of the South! responsibility 1860 1960 Marble Heart” d. The devil has departed! for protection at Ford’s presi3. of the following is true about The best of Abraham Lincoln’s of witthe and wisdom HisWhich wife lost a child while living His wife lostTheater a child while on living dent. Lincoln? in the White House in the WhiteNovember House 9, 6. E-Lina. He was the first president with a beard. ❝ No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar. ❞ 1863. Accordcoln lost his b. Lincoln invented a device to free ing to the book,with He was directly concerned with He was directly concerned ❝ Better to remain silent and be thought a fool for thanthe to speak out first race steamboats that ran aground and Lincoln’s SanctuCivil Rights Civilonly Rights and remove all doubt. ❞ Illinois General Assempatented it, making him the ary: Abraham Lincoln bly He had president to have a patent. ❝ Give me six hours to chop downina 1832. tree and I willgone spend the first And TheinSoldiers’ Home, shot the back Lincoln was shot in the back of Kennedy was o n to lose a race for the U.S. c. He kept important documents in his four sharpening the axe. ❞ enjoyed ofBooth’s performance so in the presence the head in the presence of his of the head Lincoln Congress, two races for the U.S. Senate, and hat. much he sent a note backstage❝ inviting Whatever you be a good ❞ his wife wife one are, campaign for aone. vice-presidential nomid. He battled depression for much of his him to the White House so they could meet. nation. ❝ If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; life. Lincoln was shot in the Ford Kennedy was shot ainrebel a Lincoln, Booth, sympathizer and Confederate but if this is tea, please bring me some e. All of the above spy, evaded the president’s invitation. Theatre made by Ford Wisdom Key: coffee. ❞ 2. B-Although it was initially unclear 4. John Wilkes Booth’s brother, 5- 6 correct: Four score and seven years ❝ My concernabout is not whether what said, the consensus is that he shoutEdwin, famous actor. What He was was shotalso on aaFriday He was shot on ahe Friday from now they will stillgreat be talking ed, “Sic semper tyrannis!” This is a Latin you haveoffailed, but whether you are interaction did he have with the Lincoln your immense knowledge Lincoln. phrase that means “thus always to tyrants.” content with your failure. ❞ family beforeJohn his brother 3-4 correct: You are right in the middle— The assassin, Lee Harvey The assassin, Wilkes killed the He is also said to have shouted, “The South president? you probably would❝have stayed the It has beenout myof experience that Oswald, was known by three Booth, was known by three is avenged!” in English. Booth managed to a. He saved the president’s son, Robert, Civil War. folks who have no vices have very names, comprised of fifteen names, comprised of fifteen make his way to an alley in back of the thefrom falling off of a moving train one 0-2 correct: Who do you consider few virtues. ❞ to have letters letters ater where a horse was waiting for him and year before Lincoln was assassinated been the 16th president? Jefferson Davis? ❝ I don’t know who my grandfather made his escape. b. He was the official White House enter(Never mind, that probably went right over Booth shot Lincoln in a theater Oswald shot Kennedy from a was; I am much more concerned to 3. E tainment advisor your head…go back to your video games. and fled to a warehouse warehouse and4.fled to a theater A- Edwin Booth saved the life of Linwhat his grandson will be. ❞ c. He was married to Lincoln’s cousin You know, know if Lincoln’s log cabin coln’s eldest son, Robert Lincoln, one year d. He gave drama lessons to the Lincoln only had Playstation ❝ Things may come to those who wait, but Lincoln’s assassination. It happened Boothchildren was killed before being Oswald wasbefore killed before being maybe he would only the things left by those who hustle. ❞ when Robert and Edwin Booth happened to brought to trial brought to trial have made ❝ Robert When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one5. What federal agency did Lincoln board a train at the same station and something There theories that once the train startedthird establish on April 14, 1865, the day he were lost his footing mov-of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to of his life.) There were theories that Booth say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say. ❞ was shot? Oswald wasing. part of a greaterto Robert Lincoln, Edwin According was part of a greater conspiracy Comm Let the a. Internal Revenue Service conspiracy Booth grabbed him by the collar and pulled ❝ If I were two-faced, would I be wearing ❞ issthis ionone? er dec b. Secret Service him back to his feet. Robert Todd Lincoln ideis the nd yinothe world: that Common looking people are theSebest Lincoln’s successor was AndrewAgency Kennedy’s successor was c. Environmental Protection recognized the famous actor and❝thanked ur stu ff to ❞ Johnson, born in 1808 Lyndon Johnson, in 1908He also wrote and reason d. Department of Energy him forborn his efforts. spoke the L-rd makes so many of them. fivetow centerfold@ nsjewis about the incident on several occasions behhome. 6. How many elections did Lincoln lose

(Note: According to legend, this was Lincoln’s favorite riddle) If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?

Lincoln-Kennedy Link

Well Said Mr. Lincoln



ANSWER TO RIDDLE: Four, because calling a tail a leg doesn’t mean it is one.

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The Endless Demands of the LA Eruv Crew Rachel Wizenfeld

were born. Today, the eruv perimeter consists of the concrete walls of the freeway, plus large sections of fencing that the eruv members have erected themselves. There are several sections with strings or wires overhead instead of walls, which are considered “doorways” within the eruv. Altogether, there are 40 miles of perimeter

Putting in a Eruv pole

covering 100 square miles of area. It runs from the 10 freeway on the south, to the 405 freeway on the west, the 101 on the north and Western Blvd on the east. In addition to marking the perimeter, the other necessary component of an eruv is a blending of ownerships, called “socher rishus,” which necessitates getting permission from everyone in the designated area. In Los Angeles County, the sheriff has entry rights to all properties with a warrant, so he is considered to have reshus for the entire county. Representatives of

Left to right: Dovie Brown, Team Leader, Daneil Mayer, VP of Construction and Emile Pesso, Team Leader

the LA eruv have a rented reshus, or permission, from the sheriff, giving them the rights to blend the entire area and validate the eruv. The ultimate hashgacha is provided by the RCC. Each week a three-person crew of rabbis (mostly from the Chassidishe Kollel in Hancock Park) inspects the entirety of the eruv, checking that all fencing, wires and other enclosures are intact. The process usually takes two full days. Another crew, a mix of rabbis and construction workers, is trained to do actual repairs such as pouring concrete, fixing fences and tying knots. If a car takes down a fence, then this crew will work to repair it that week instead of waiting 4-6 weeks for the city to send a construction crew. The eruv team is an approved CalTrans contractor (unpaid by the city) which allows them to do these repairs. About the crew, Witkin said, “You need people who are both handy and have yiras shamayim [fear of G-d]. You need to know that when the guy’s at the top of a 40-foot pole, he’s not going to take a shortcut – he’s going to tie the pole correctly.” The work can be draining, since as much as possible the eruv workers do repairs between midnight and 6:00am Thursday night, when they impose the least amount of burden to traffic and contractors. During the active construction of the 405 freeway, many repairs happened at 2-5:00pm on a Friday afternoon, after the construction workers were finished for the day. The eruv workers have developed friendly ties with the other contractors, who have been known to dismantle and set up enclosures themselves, saving some work for the eruv team. During the 405 construction, the eruv workers were there so often that all the rabbis had Kiewit vests and name badges.

Typical street crossing

All of this costs money, and though the eruv officers are volunteers, the crews have to be paid. “It’s difficult to ask a guy to give you from midnight to 6:00am each week for free,” said Witkin, and this is in addition to insurance and equipment costs. Ongoing costs are about $1,500 a week or $75,000 a year, but can be higher if construction work gets heavy on the freeway. Overall, the LA eruv has become quite a success story. Two rabbis who are in charge of inspecting the Jerusalem eruv came on a tour and said it was the best one in chutz la’aretz, according to Witkin. “If a person is willing to hold by an eruv, they can hold by our eruv. People who say it’s not good don’t understand it,” said Witkin. And other eruvim in the western U.S. have been assisted by the LA team in building and improving their own eruvim, including Phoenix, AZ, Denver, CO, and Irvine and Oakland, CA. Currently Witkin spends an average of five days a month working on eruv operations, but during the big renovations last year he sometimes put in many more. “I don’t know how [G-d] feeds me - it’s a miracle,” he joked. Rabbi Elazar Muskin of Young Israel of Century City agreed that before the current eruv, the community was more divided, which shows the importance of a strong eruv. “It allows all families to really enjoy Shabbos. If you’re a young family in particular and you don’t have an eruv, the mothers are locked in their homes for Shabbos and the elderly lose the ability to come to shul. When you can make Judaism more pleasant for everyone, you have gained in the long run.” A few months ago, an urgent eruv appeal went out to the community with the ominous news that unless $90,000 was raised in two months, the eruv would shut down indefinitely. This was due to a large amount of construction on the 405 and a newly constructed EXPO train line, around which eruv repairs needed to be made before the electricity was turned on. Did the community meet the deadline? “Basically, yes,” said Witkin. Enough money was pledged, and nearly enough was collected to cover the most time-critical repairs. He credited the community’s rabbis for speaking about the situation and encouraging donations. “There were lots of $54 and $100 contributions from hundreds of people,” said Witkin. “Overall the response was very heartwarming and positive.”

APRIL 23, 2015

Twenty years ago, when Howard Witkin’s wife was pregnant with their first child, he began thinking for the first time about the LA eruv. The now 50-year-old insurance broker and liqueur business owner was uncomfortable with the fact that he would use the eruv to push his child in a stroller, but many rabbis and others in his community wouldn’t. At that time, the eruv only covered Pico-Robertson and Beverly Hills and used string to demarcate the eruv boundary. Some rabbis considered string unacceptable for a city with the population size of Los Angeles. On the other hand, making a mechitza or wall-based eruv seemed impossible; how could you build a perimeter of solid walls throughout Pico-Robertson and Beverly Hills? In some ways, the eruv had divided the Orthodox community into two. “There was a lot of acrimony; people would say, “You don’t think I’m good enough since I use it?” and others would say, “Oh! You think I’m too strict since I don’t use it?’” recalled Witkin. He approached the major local rabbis at that time with the idea of using the 405, 10 and 101 freeways as walls for the eruv. They pondered the idea and consulted Rabbi Moshe Heinemann of Baltimore, Rabbi Shlomo Miller of Toronto and other gedolim who all approved of the concept. Rabbi Dovid Feinstein even said that an eruv with solid walls such as the Eruv Committee was proposing would have been acceptable to his father, Rav Moshe Feinstein. Though the idea was sparked when his wife was expecting their first child, it took years to put all the pieces in place but the eruv officially went live seven years later, on Rosh Hashanah of 2002, the same month that Witkin’s youngest twin girls


APRIL 23, 2015


Travel Guide: Florida Keys Aaron Feigenbaum

Stretching out from the Florida mainland far into the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys island archipelago is the perfect place for an escape. As you cross the postcard-worthy Overseas Highway, stretching over 100 miles out into the ocean, from Key Largo to the party city of Key West, you’ll be in awe of the incredible scenery and wildlife that’s visible along the way. With no high-rises, almost no pollution, pristine beaches, coral reefs and yearround sunshine, the Keys are truly America’s premier tropical paradise. Whether you want to go scuba diving, fishing, kayaking, shopping or just soak up the sun, these magnificent islands offer an almost limitless amount of both adventure and relaxation. History First inhabited by the Caloosa Native Americans, the age of European settlement reached the Florida Keys with Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon’s expedition in the early 1500’s. The explorers were looking for the mythical Fountain of Youth but instead found profit in logging the Mahogany trees that grew there. Thus began the Keys’ long history of tourism and economic development. Life for the explorers was tough. The Keys had no fresh water, no dirt in which to grow crops, and too many insects. Many of the original explorers left, but in their wake followed hundreds of Spanish galleons filled with Central American gold on their way back to Spain. Many of these ships were wrecked on the coral reefs of the Florida Straits and lie at the bottom to this day.

tip of Key West, which served as an Army base until the 1940’s when it was handed over to the Navy. After the end of the Civil War, America’s homesteading project was in full swing. Settlers moved to almost every corner of the country including the Keys.

Home of Ernest Hemingway, Key West Florida. Photo by Andreas Lamecker via Wikimedia Commons

Islamorada Florida

Conditions in the Keys in the late 1800’s were incredibly demanding. Of course there was no air conditioning or insecticides, but neither was there running water, farming land, or available wood to build houses. The main system of transportation was small boats, which were used to ferry goods between islands and to the mainland. Things changed in 1905 when Henry

Pigeon Key

After the U.S. won the territory of Florida from Spain in 1821, a number of Brits living in the nearby Bahamas, moved to the Keys. Their first settlement was Cayo Hueso or Bone Island, which is now called Key West, the largest city in the Keys. Two decades after settlement began, the U.S. government began construction on Fort Zachary Taylor, located on the southern

hurricane in U.S. history. It smacked the defenseless Keys with winds of up to 185 mph and killed over 800 people, in addition to causing millions of dollars-worth of property damage. As the area recovered, it benefitted

Flagler, founder of Standard Oil, undertook a massive railroad project to link the Keys with the mainland. After seven years of construction, disease, hurricanes, and worker accidents, the railroad finally opened and Key West suddenly became one of the Caribbean’s major trading ports. Disaster struck in 1935 with the Labor Day Hurricane which was the strongest

The manuvering bridge, Spiegel Grove reck, Key Largo, Florida. Photo by Clark Anderson via Wikimedia Commons

from a pipe that was installed in 1942, to bring fresh water to the Keys from the Florida Everglades. The famous Overseas Highway was built in 1938. Since then, the Florida Keys have welcomed millions of tourists a year, all while maintaining their exotic charm and natural beauty. Attractions Key West: Located just 90 miles from Cuba, Key West is the southernmost locale in the continental U.S. Its 19th-century English architecture, offbeat locals, eclectic culture and highly tolerant mindset make it a prime destination for partygoers, nature enthusiasts and those seeking relief from the pressures of big-city life. It’s common to see chickens roaming the street and people walking outside barefoot. It’s even more common to enjoy year-round sun in the town that claims to have never had a single day of frost. Start your Key West adventure at the Ernest Hemingway House and Museum. The famous author lived here from 1931 to 1939, and the house became a national landmark in 1968. Surrounded by lush gardens and in the shadows of the Key West Lighthouse across the street, it is in this idyllic setting that Hemingway penned some of his best works. A quick 15-minute tour takes visitors through the house. The USCGC Ingham is a former Coast Guard ship and now a floating museum staffed by Navy and Coast Guard veterans.

The ship served in both WWII, where it protected cargo ships from enemy planes and submarines, and Vietnam. It is the most highly decorated Coast Guard ship ever and is preserved just as it was when it last sailed in the 1980’s. Visitors can see what life was like aboard this impressive vessel. For more history, head to the Little White House. President Truman used this house as his vacation home and it has since hosted several other high-profile politicians. The tour gives a glimpse into the history of Harry Truman and his family. The house contains period furniture, photos, videos and various Truman artifacts. A real crowd pleaser is the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy. With dozens of different butterfly species and impeccably maintained grounds, this is a must-see attraction for all ages. Another Key West hotspot is the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, a Civil War-era fort. It is now home to not only some top-notch reenactments, but also to an adjacent beach that’s one of the best in all the Keys. The Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center highlights the region’s biodiversity, with over 6,000 square feet of interactive exhibits including a replica of Aquarius, the only underwater ocean lab in the world. For a taste of Key West shopping, entertainment and culture, Duval Street is the place to go. Here, you can peruse the many charming boutique shops and revel in the New Orleans-esque party atmosphere. From art galleries to oddball street performances to exotic animals to watching the sunset at Mallory Square, Duval Street is

Diver at Florida National Marine Sanctuary

an essential part of the Key West experience. Key West is also famous for its shipwrecks, the most popular of which is the USNS Vandenberg. Originally a WWII troop transport ship and then a missile tracker, the Vandenberg was scuttled by the Navy in 2009 and has since become the second-largest artificial reef in the world


Key Largo

after the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany. Companies such as Lost Reef Adventures offer the opportunity to see this amazing structure firsthand. For an unforgettable day trip, take either a ferry or seaplane to Dry Tortugas National Park, located about 110 miles west of Key West. The park includes Fort Jefferson and the seven Dry Tortugas islands, the most westerly and isolated of the Florida Keys. With an incredible abundance of coral reefs, marine life and birds, these spectacular islands are a nature lover’s paradise. They’re also known for legends about pirates and sunken treasure. The main attraction is Fort Jefferson on Garden Key Island. The impressive brick fort is an unfinished coastal defense station that was abandoned by the military in 1888 due to the difficulties of the tropical climate. Before it was abandoned, it served as home to over 1,000 military personnel and civilian prisoners, some of whom included four men convicted of conspiracy in the Abraham Lincoln assassination. The now tranquil fort is not only great for history buffs, but is also a perfect spot to go swimming or snorkeling in the surrounding waters. Islamorada: Made up of six separate islands, the idyllic village of Islamorada is renowned as one of the best fishing spots in the world. Boat rentals and guided tours are available for fishing, snorkeling and swimming with marine life. Numerous shipwrecks and coral reefs line the nearby ocean floor, making Islamorada a prime spot for recreational diving. For a local version of Sea World (but without hordes of tourists), head to Theater of the Sea and interact with dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, parrots and more. For even more fun, take a ride on the Theater’s bottomless boat ride and see the beauty of the nearby lagoon’s coral reef. The History of Diving Museum is an excellent learning experience for all ages. It has vintage diving suits, undersea treasures, Navy training videos, and the opportunity to get your picture taken in an old diving helmet. Founder’s Park is a great place to unwind and have fun. Walking trails, a large swimming pool, boat races, picnic trails,

are just some of the many great activities to do here. Marathon: Occupying several different islands, Marathon is a family-friendly tropical getaway. The Turtle Hospital is where you can get up and close with injured and sick sea turtles and see their dedicated caretakers in action. If you’re bringing kids, they’re virtually guaranteed to love it! Sombrero Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the Keys. Well-maintained and mostly unspoiled, the soft sand, turquoise water, nearby dolphins and balmy weather make this beach an absolute must-see. Pigeon Key, accessible by ferry, was once home to the workers who built the Overseas Railway. It’s now the site of a museum dedicated to the building of the Railway. The trip to this scenic and historic island is worthwhile, especially as it’s relatively short and low cost. Key Largo: Located just a few minutes away from the mainland, Key Largo is a popular destination for scuba diving and watching marine life. Dolphins Plus is an especially exciting way to get up close with the most beloved marine creature of all. Kids and parents alike can learn about different dolphin species from knowledgeable guides. The dolphins are playful and highly friendly. The price is a bit steep, but the experience is priceless. The John Pennkamp Coral Reef State Park offers an incredible diversity of marine life: Stingrays, blowfish, sharks: the list goes on. An excellent experience for beginning snorkelers. More underwater adventures can be had at the wreck of the USS Spiegel Grove. Formerly a Navy landing ship, the Spiegel Grove was sunk in 2002 to create an artificial reef. Note that the strong currents and fairly deep depth make this dive unsuitable for beginners. Another excellent shipwreck in the area is the USCGC Duane, also intentionally sunk to create an artificial reef. The Duane’s hull is almost completely overgrown with coral, and a huge array of marine life swims through it. If you have the time, money and diving skills, both wrecks are definitely worth visiting.

Eat and Daven There is only one Orthodox shul in the Florida Keys: Chabad at 2800 Flagler Ave. in Key West (305-295-0013/chabadkeys. com) Mom’s Best Food, an Israeli glatt kosher restaurant, is located near the Ernest Hemingway Museum in Key West at 405 Petronia Street (305-896-0923) The Publix supermarket chain carries a limited selection of kosher food. Otherwise, consult with Chabad of Key West for kosher catering and Shabbos take-out options.

Getting There The Keys are accessible from Miami via U.S. Highway 1, also known as the Overseas Highway. The main airports are Key West International and Marathon Key’s seaplane base. Ferries travel from Fort Myers to Key West. Greyhound buses make several stops in the Keys including Key West, Marathon and Big Pine Key. A car trip from L.A. is about 42 hours or about 2,900 miles long. (Sources: Lonely Planet, Wikitravel, Tripadvisor)


APRIL 23, 2015


Global Iran: U.S. Created “Myth” of Nuclear Weapons

A few short weeks ago, Iran and the P5+1 powers, a global group that includes the U.S., reached a framework nuclear agreement. However, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is now singing a very different tune. He says that America is responsible for creating the “myth” of Iran’s nuclear weapons in order to portray the country as a threat. “They created the myth of nuclear weapons so they could say the Islamic

Republic is a source of threat,” Khamenei said in a televised address to Iranian military commanders, Reuters reported. “No, the source of threat is America itself, with its unrestrained, destabilizing interventions. The other side is methodically and shamelessly threatening us militarily. ... Even if they did not make these overt threats, we would have to be prepared,” he added. As part of the agreement, Khamenei demanded that all current sanctions against Iran be lifted immediately. The White House, though, insists on a gradual lifting of sanctions. The deadline for Iran and the world powers to reach a final agreement is June 30.

Greek Leading Political Party on Trial

Leaders of Greece’s third largest political party, the extreme right Golden Dawn, went on trial on Monday on charges of operating as a criminal organization that allegedly carried out a campaign of violence against immigrants and left-wing opponents. Party leader Nikos Michaloliakos, 57, and senior officials are among 69 defendants in the case. Being that the middle class of Greece is still reeling from a financial crisis this case has been followed closely across the country. . The trial is being held inside a maximum security prison near Athens. On Monday, the opening day of the trial, nearby schools and municipal services were closed due to fears that several anti-Golden Dawn demonstrators would protest and potentially be violent. Michaloliakos and 12 other members of parliament could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty. Human rights groups claim there has been a surge of violent attacks since 2010, mostly against dark-skinned immigrants in Athens. Victims have reported that attackers – typically in groups and using brass knuckles and baseball bats – have often identified themselves as Golden Dawn supporters. The party denies any

involvement in the attacks, claiming that political opponents conspired against them after Golden Dawn exceeded 10 percent in opinion polls in 2013. “They decided to put us handcuffs ... but in the face of all the mudslinging, Golden Dawn is the third strongest party in the country whether some people like it or not,” Michaloliakos said after his release from prison last month, having served the maximum 18 months permitted under Greek law in pre-trial detention. Politicians and legal experts are split as to whether convictions could lead to the party being banned in the country.

How do you Fill Your Plate? On any given day can you estimate the amount of calories you consume? According to new estimates, the average person worldwide consumes about 1,860 grams of food a day. But the average American consumes close to 50% more than the global average. The typical international plate is comprised of nine percent meat, 22 percent


The Suffering of Women in Pakistan Continues In Pakistan, despite the year that’s written on the calendar, many people still maintain their country’s traditional values and standards. Shabana Bibi, 25, went to visit her sister. However, before leaving her husband’s house she failed to ask permission from Muhammad Siddique, her husband. In response, the Pakistani man and his father felt it was appropriate to punish Bibi. So they beat her and tried to kill her last week. Bibi suffered severe burns on 80 percent of her body and succumbed to her wounds. She passed away on Saturday.

On Sunday, Siddique and his father were arrested on Sunday for committing the “honor killing.” Bibi had been married to Siddique for three years, during which time she had suffered repeated domestic abuse for the couple’s inability to have children, her brother Muhammad Azam said. “We have arrested the husband and father-in-law of the deceased woman and charged them for murder and terrorism,” district police Chief Rai Zameer-ul-Haq announced. The charge of “terrorism” is regularly applied in such cases so as to expedite the legal process.

Armed Guards Protect Rhino in Kenya Kenya is home the world’s one and only remaining male northern white rhino, Sudan. Due to its one-of-kindness the mammal is being watched by four armed guards at all hours of the day. Intricate and

intense security operations are situated throughout the Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s 3,229-square-foot property. International experts are working closely with the rhinos to facilitate reproduction. The rhino was transported to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya in 2009 from the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic. At the time three other rhinos were acquired: Najin, Fatu, and Suni. In order to facilitate reproduction, the animals were

APRIL 23, 2015

Of all countries, people in China eat the most produce and Indians eat the least meat—only 2 percent of their daily diet since many are vegetarians. In the U.K. residents eat less sugar and fat and more produce. Brazilians eat less food overall.

Sadly, this is not uncommon practice in Pakistan. Each year hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives through domestic violence cases or on the grounds of defending the family’s “honor.” The Aurat Foundation, a campaign group that works to improve the lives of women in Pakistan’s conservative and patriarchal society, says more than 3,000 women have been killed in such attacks since 2008.


grains, 39 percent produce, 15 percent dairy and eggs, and a 15 percent block of sugar, fat, alcohol, and others.   However, in the U.S., we eat twice as much meat as the average global citizen and less grains. Additionally, U.S. citizens eat proportionally more dairy, eggs, sugar, and fat. 


APRIL 23, 2015


moved to Kenya hoping that its more natural conditions would increase the chances of reproduction. “While Kenya has not been a white rhino range state in the last 200 years, evidence from fossils and cave paintings in Kenya and northern Tanzania suggests that the white rhinoceros was widespread and a part of the East African savanna fauna until 3,000 years ago or less,” the IUCN’s Red List of Endangered Species reports on its website.

Among the four acquired, two were males. In December San Diego’s Zoo’s male rhino died and along with one of Kenya’s leaving one male rhino, Sudan, still alive. If Sudan does not reproduce, white

male rhinos will become completely extinct. However, if experts are able to help him reproduce not via natural channels, Sudan will be responsible for keeping his species going.

China to Enforce Good Behavior Abroad

China is concerned about their reputation as tourists. After some rather embarrassing events and stereotypes regarding Chinese tourists, Beijing is beginning to micromanage their citizens’ behavior abroad. In 2013, a Chinese teenager scratched his name on the wall of an ancient temple

in Egypt causing a huge stir on social media. Last December three women on an Air China flight became embroiled in a physical brawl mid-flight because of a crying baby. Most recently, in January, a group of tourists were detained after one of them opened the emergency exit doors as his plane was leaving the terminal in protest of a long delay. China’s tourism agency announced that it will keep records of “uncivilized” behavior by its tourists for up to two years. According to Reuters, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) feels that bad behavior by Chinese tourists have “tarnished” the country’s image and caused the nation to “blush with shame.” The agency feels that the solution is to make sure tourist offenders “learn a lesson.” Any transgressions such as “violating order on public transportation — including flights — damaging public facilities or historical relics, ignoring social customs at tourism destinations” and becoming involved with illegal activity will be recorded by the CNTA. In some cases violators could face arrest. Additionally, China’s Civil Aviation Administration is considering adapting a “no fly list,” but instead of naming terrorists, the list would include any travelers who shamed the country.

Dr. Jingjing Yang, a tourism development lecturer at the UK’s University of Surrey, agrees. “Chinese people are highly concerned about their ‘mianzi’ — their ‘face,’” she says. “Therefore being recorded into the ‘black list’ is absolutely a shame for them.” Roy Graff, an expert on Chinese tourism said, “I would argue that other nationalities’ tourists are also guilty of bad behavior but now the media attention is all on China as it is the largest source of tourists.” Estimates suggest 140 million Chinese people will travel this year.

Train Breaks Speed Record

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We know that the sun, the moon and the stars revolve around North Korea’s leader but now we know that in addition to all his amazing accomplishments, the 32-year-old is an unbelievable mountain climber. State news agency KCNA reported on Saturday that Jong Un “climbed the top” of the nation’s highest mountain. Both The Guardian and The Telegraph were skeptical about the news: he was photographed wearing a long coat without gloves and a hat and wearing shiny shoes. There were also recent reports of health problems with the dictator. Most likely he was dropped off at the summit of the nearly 9,000-foot Mount Paektu, where he was joined by a crowd of North Korean fighter pilots. Kim reportedly made the trip to the “sacred mountain of revolution associated with the soul of the Korean nation” to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of his late father Kim Jong-il being named marshal. While North Korea claims that his father was born on Mount Paektu, historians say the dictator was actually born in a refugee camp in Russia.

Israel Breakthrough Tunnel Detector Developed In the way of the Iron Dome, Israel has once again invented a defense system that is unique, advanced, and very much needed. Haunted by Hamas’ success in infiltrating fighters into Israel through tunnels, Israel

Last summer, during the 50-daylong war, 32 “attack tunnels” built by Hamas were uncovered by Israeli sappers, or combat engineers. All started from built-up areas in Gaza, with most stopping just short of the Israeli border. Some, however, continued under the border fence. On several occasions, Hamas fighters emerged from the tunnels inside Israel wearing Israeli army uniforms and ambushed troops. Some succeeded in escaping back into Gaza. The greatest fear by Israelis was that the terrorists would penetrate nearby civilian settlements. The militants often appeared within a few hundred meters of kibbutzim, but thankfully they were halted before reaching them. Residents of border kibbutzim expressed a measure of relief at the development. “For us, the tunnel threat registered as insoluble,” said Amit Caspi, of Kerem Shalom, the kibbutz most threatened by tunnels, “so if there is a breakthrough here it could really improve personal security, even though we know there is never 100 percent certainty.” Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza succeeded in 2006 in digging an 800-yard-long tunnel under the border near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom and killing two Israeli soldiers and capturing a third, Gilad Shalit. Shalit was brought back to Israel five years later in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Other cross border tunnels were discovered two years ago packed with explosives, apparently to be exploded under Israeli tanks. The Israeli army has been look-

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APRIL 23, 2015

Kim Jong Un Climbs Highest Mt.

has announced the development of the first effective system for detecting tunneling activity at a distance. One of Israel’s leading defense electronics firms, Elbit Systems, said the system it developed in conjunction with the Israeli Defense Ministry is based on a series of sensors. Data that they furnish is analyzed by a control system, using algorithms. Terming the system “the first of its kind in the world,” the firm said the method enables the precise identification of tunnel building “without false alarms.”


day, Japan’s state-of-the-art maglev train clocked a new world speed record in a test run near Mount Fuji, smashing through the 600 kilometer (373 miles) per hour mark, as Tokyo races to sell the technology abroad. The seven-car maglev train – short for “magnetic levitation” – hit a top speed of 603 kilometers an hour, and managed to stay at over 600kph for nearly 11 seconds, operator Central Japan Railway said. The maglev hovers 10 centimeters above the tracks and is propelled by electrically charged magnets. About two hundred train buffs gathered for Tuesday’s record-setting run, with the crowd cheering as the train broke through 600 kph per hour. “It gave me chills. I really want to ride on the train,” an elderly woman related as the carriage rocketed past her. An AFP reporter who previously rode on the super-speed train said the experience was like taking off in a plane, with the feeling of g-force gathering as the speedometer is pushed ever higher. JR Central wants to have a train in service in 2027, hoping to service the 286-km route between Tokyo and the central city of Nagoya. The ride, which would run at a top speed of 500 kph, is expected to connect the two cities in only 40 minutes, less than half the present journey time in Japan’s already speedy bullet trains. The shortened commutes are wonderful but they come at a price. Construction costs for the dedicated lines are astronomical – estimated at nearly $100 billion just for the stretch to Nagoya, with more than 80 percent of the route expected to go through costly tunnels. Japan is looking to sell its shinkansen bullet and maglev train systems overseas, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acting as a travelling salesman in his bid to revive the economy partly through infrastructure exports. He is due in the United States this weekend, where he will be touting the technology for a highspeed rail link between New York and Washington. Last year, Abe took US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy on a test ride. “This technology is something that will bring great benefits to Japan and hopefully the United States one day,” Kennedy said after the ride. The maglev train is a contender for US President Barack Obama’s multi-billion-dollar national highspeed rail project. The proposed 60-kilometer link will represent the



APRIL 23, 2015


ing for a solution to the tunnel threat for a decade and has examined some 700 project proposals, according to a military source. A number of projects were implemented but did not succeed.   The estimated cost of constructing the system is $3.5 million per mile. The intention, said officials, is to build the system along the entire 35-mile land border between Gaza and Israel.

Coalition Close but Not Quite There

from President Reuven Rivlin. After May 6, Rivlin can ask any MK to form a government except for Netanyahu. In recent days, Netanyahu has met personally with all the heads of the parties he intends to bring into the 67 member coalition he is forming. He faced criticism and muscle-flexing from all of them. Netanyahu told Rivlin that coalition talks had advanced, but he would need more time to complete negotiations to build a stable government. Rivlin granted the request because party heads who recommended he form the government had not changed their minds, but he urged the prime minister to complete the task as soon as possible. “The entire nation of Israel wants you to succeed,” Rivlin told Netanyahu.

Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein z”l As the May 6 deadline approaches, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has started getting more personally involved in the effort to form his next government. This week, Netanyahu formally received a two-week extension to form a government

Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, among the most prominent rabbis in Modern Orthodoxy and the Israeli national-religious movement, passed away this week at the age of 81. Rabbi Lichtenstein was a noted

and prolific Jewish legal authority, head of the Har Etzion Yeshiva, and the son-in-law of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik z”l. He received smicha from Rabbi Soloveitchik in 1959 and held a PhD in English literature from Harvard University conducted under the tutelage of literary critic Douglas Bush. Rabbi Lichtenstein was awarded Israel’s highest civilian honor, the Israel Prize, in 2014.

Rabbi Lichtenstein was born in Paris in 1933, the year the Nazi party rose to power in neighboring Germany, but fled Vichy France with his family in 1941 for the United States. The family settled in New York in 1945, where Rabbi Lichtenstein eventually entered Yeshiva University. He was invited to jointly head, with Rabbi Yehuda Amital, the Har Etzion Yeshiva, lo-

cated in the Etzion Bloc in the West Bank south of Jerusalem, in 1971, and had lived in Israel ever since. At the funeral on Tuesday, Rabbi Lichtenstein’s son, R’ Moshe, tearfully recalled, “Your students were your children, and your children were your students.” He added. “You were a scholar and a devoted father. You’ve set up an entire world.” R’ Yitzchak Lichtenstein spoke about his father’s humility. Explaining that his father always taught the dictum of being moderate in all ways – except for humility and anger – R’ Yitzhak added that his father was “never angry in his life.”  “My father always gave a person the benefit of the doubt. He had a good eye,” Rabbi Yitzchak said, adding, “My father did not know what anger was. He never engaged in slander or small talk. He was diligent; he and the Torah were as one, but despite this he never turned anyone away, receiving them hospitably and never letting visitors feel as if they were bothering him.” Another son, Rabbi Meir, related a story about Rabbi Lichtenstein’s love of Torah. “Last summer a team of emergency management team came to Gush Etzion. Father said, ‘Only electricity is considered an emergency? Studying of Torah isn’t


Last week, Khaled Kutina confessed to deliberately ramming his car into two Israelis waiting for the bus in Jerusalem, killing a man and wounding a woman. The information was cleared for the public on Tuesday.    The investigation found that several hours before the attack, Kutina drove his family from ‘Anata to East Jerusalem. At the exit from ‘Anata, the car was held at a checkpoint, which Kutina said made him angry. He decided to commit the attack after dropping off his family.  In his interrogation, 37-year-old Kutina admitted he was driving along Highway 1 looking for Jews to harm as revenge for his “miserable life.” When he stopped at a light at the French Hill junction, he noticed two people who appeared Jewish walking towards a bus station and decided to target them. He veered off the left lane at high speed towards the right lane, drove onto the sidewalk and hit the two, who were waiting at the bus station. Immediately afterwards he drove in reverse and hit a stop light.  He was arrested at the scene. Shalom Yohai Cherki, who was critically wounded, succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. The second victim, Shira Klein, remains in serious condition at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Karem.  Police say Kutina is married and known as a very religious man who worked as a cleaner at a mosque in ‘Anata. He used to send his friends text messages that were religious in nature, praising Prophet Muhammad. The prison psychiatrist said that Kutina seemed lucid and was fit to stand trial. About a year and a half ago, Kutina’s driver’s license should have been suspended pending an examination into his mental

Iranian Spy Sentenced

On Tuesday an Iranian-born Belgian was sentenced by an Israeli court to seven years in prison after he was convicted of spying for Tehran while posing as a businessman. Ali Mansouri was arrested at Ben Gurion airport in 2013 as he attempted to leave the country carrying photographs of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv and other sites, Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security service said. He was sentenced for “aiding an enemy during war” and “espionage” on behalf of Iran’s elite Republican Guard, court documents showed. Mansouri is not expected to appeal the sentence. “It was the Iranian secret services who put pressure on him and his family, and we feel that this verdict was rather fair and reasonable in view of the circumstances,” Defense lawyer Avidgor Feldman said. The Shin Bet said that Mansouri, who acquired Belgian nationality through marriage, had enrolled in a special operations unit of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards after being recruited in 2012. According to the indictment, he was given “an espionage mission aimed at harming Israel’s security,” and visited the country three times. He was to pretend to be “an innocent businessman and establish a company in Israel” that would serve as infrastructure for espionage by another Iranian man who would arrive later.  Mansouri confessed to his ties to Iranian intelligence and said he had been promised $1 million as a reward for his efforts.   Using the alias Alex Mans, Mansouri is accused of entering Israel using his Belgian passport in July 2012, before later briefing his handlers in Iran on his progress and security at Ben Gurion airport. In January 2013 Mansouri again entered Israel and took photographs of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv and an unnamed security installation before another debriefing in Iran. Mansouri arrived again on September 6 for meetings to open a factory and, according to the indictment, “serve Iranian intelligence in the future.” He was arrested

at the airport on September 11, 2013, as he sought to leave Israel.

National Man with a Flight Plan

The letter carrier who caused a fullscale security review in Washington when he violated national airspace by landing his gyrocopter on Capitol Hill last week expressed frustration that his message wasn’t getting through. Doug Hughes had hoped to raise awareness about the influence of big money in politics by deliberately breaking the law to deliver 535 letters, one for each member of Congress. Instead, the

overwhelming focus of news coverage has been about the gaps he exposed in national security. The message he intended to send was overshadowed by security woes. “We’ve got bigger problems in this country than worrying about whether the security around DC is ironclad,” Hughes related. “We need to be worried about the piles of money that are going into Congress.” Hughes, 61, spoke as he returned to his home in Florida to await prosecution on charges of violating national airspace and operating an unregistered aircraft. His house arrest begins next week, and he will wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet until a May 8 court hearing in Washington. Hughes said people weren’t scared when they saw his gyrocopter. He says they waved as he flew in low and slow over the National Mall, over the reflecting pool and onto the Capitol’s West lawn. Hughes spent a night in jail after Capitol Police arrested him. The ultralight aircraft and its cargo — a U.S. Postal Service bin carrying the letters — were seized. “The message was two pages long to Congress that they are going to have to face the issue, OK, of campaign-finance reform and honesty and government so that they work for the people,” Hughes said.

APRIL 23, 2015

Terrorist Admits to Targeting Jews in Attack

state. The suspension may not have taken place because of a miscommunication between the Transportation Ministry and the Health Ministry.    


urgent? You have come to the yeshiva in order to study,’” “You were always a ner tamid,” Rabbi Meir said. “Many wanted to learn from you and hear your Torah words, but you were so humble. You had a big heart.”


APRIL 23, 2015


Hughes’ Russian-born wife, Alena, told reporters that her husband acted out of patriotism for the United States. “I am very proud of my husband. He is a countryman,” she said. Asked if he too thinks he’s a patriot or simply crazy, Hughes said, “Everyone gets to make up their own mind about me, that’s what I’d say.” “But do you consider yourself a patriot?” a reporter asked. “No, I’m a mailman,” he said.

Atlanta Educators Found Guilty of Cheating

The spring is finally here and so is test-taking time. Teachers stress, students sweat, and parents worry about how they will score on the standardized tests that are taken across the nation in April. Perhaps it’s the teachers and educators who worry the most since their students’ scores are used as a report card for their teaching. Teachers spend months and months prepping students for the ELA and math portion of the exam. But some teachers will even go a step further—even it means breaking the law. A group of 10 Atlanta public school educators were recently accused of inflating students’ scores. Of the 10, nine were convicted. The judge called the cheating scandal “the sickest thing that’s ever happened in this town.” A state investigation found that as far back as 2005, educators from the 50,000-student Atlanta school system fed

answers to students or erased and changed answers on tests after they were turned in. Evidence of cheating was found in 44 schools with nearly 180 educators involved, and teachers who tried to report it were threatened with retaliation. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter delayed sentencing by a day and encouraged all the people who stood trial to attempt to negotiate deals with prosecutors. Only two agreed to deals. In both those cases, Baxter followed the state’s recommendations: He gave a former teacher a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew at home for one year and a former testing coordinator six months of weekends spent in jail. They’ll also serve five years on probation. The remaining eight received harsher sentences, ranging from one to seven years in jail. They are expected to appeal and will be free on bond while the appeals are pending. District Attorney Paul Howard told reporters that the harshness of the sentencing is to spread awareness in the community. “We believe the loss that we suffered was a community loss,” Howard said.

Running for the Gold at the Boston Marathon

That’s odd Best Excuse for Jury Duty

It would take far more than just a few rain showers and gusting winds to dent the spirits of Boston and its runners at the Boston Marathon this week. On Monday, Boston hosted its annual marathon, marking two years since the tragic bombing in 2013. Around 30,000 geared up early Monday morning to com-



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pete in one of the world’s most prestigious races; the route covers over 26 miles of Boston’s mountainous landscape. Add in Monday’s rain and 20-mph winds and you’ve got a solid competition. The women’s race featured Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia and Caroline Rotich of Kenya running it out for first place. Rotich made her final winning move with just 500 feet to go, ripping past Dibaba, and winning with a time of 2:24:55, just four seconds ahead of Dibaba. This is Rotich’s first victory at the Boston Marathon. Lelisa Desisa and Yemane Adhane Tsegay, both of Ethiopia, were neck-to-neck heading towards the men’s finish line but during the last mile Desisa surged seven-seconds ahead, winning the race with a time of 2:09:17. Desisa also won the Boston Marathon in 2013 but gave his medal to the city after the tragic attacks at the race. Last year’s winner, Meb Keflezighi, crossed the finish line at 2:12:42. He was the first American to win the race since 1983. His patriotic win was sentimental and emotional to many viewers since it was the first race since the bombings.



Want to get out of jury duty? Well, it shouldn’t be that hard if you’re the chief justice of the United States. Last week, it was reported the Chief Justice John Roberts reported for jury duty as “Jury 49” in Rockville, Maryland. He was being considered for a case relating to a 2013 car crash. The judge asked a group of about 50 potential jurors to identify any potential conflicts of interest. What could have been a conflict for Roberts? He told the judge that his sister is a nurse, but he said her profession would not impair his impartiality in a case involving someone in the medical field. Potential jurors were then asked whether they had friends or acquaintances that dealt with automotive accidents. Roberts responded that his sister’s husband was an Indiana State Police officer but that it

would not keep him from being impartial. Roberts sat alongside potential jurors, not revealing his profession. He did have two security guards accompanying him who stood watch at the door. Ultimately, he was not selected. Too bad: it would have been nice to see him on the other side of the bench.

This Bug’s for You

Looking for something different to serve for dinner? Well, an increasing number of “entopreneurs” are launching businesses to feed a growing appetite for crickets, mealworms and other edible insects. They’re trying to convince Americans to include bugs in their daily diet—a crunchy, yummy staple, they say. The United Nations has been promoting edible insects as a way to improve nutrition, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and create jobs in insect production. At least 2 billion people worldwide already eat insects as part of their diet, according to the 2013 report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. But it could be a hard sell for Westerners who would prefer to swat flies than to eat them. “Insects are viewed as what ruins food — a roach in your soup, a fly in your salad. That’s the biggest obstacle — the ick factor,” admits Daniella Martin, the “Girl Meets Bug” blogger and author of Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet. Inside San Francisco’s La Cocina, a commercial kitchen for food entrepreneurs, Monica Martinez empties hundreds of live mealworms, each about 2 inches long, into a plastic container. She uses chopsticks to pull out dead ones before pouring the squirming critters on a tray and sliding them into an oven. Martinez started Don Bugito PreHispanic Snackeria to entice American consumers with treats inspired by popular snacks in her native Mexico. Among her specialties are spicy superworms and chocolate-covered, salted crickets. “The idea is to offer another type of protein into the food market,” said Martinez, an artist and industrial designer who launched Don Bugito as a street food project in 2011. “The biggest job that we have to do is to try to get more people to try our foods.” Across San Francisco Bay inside at a


Why’d the woman crash her car? Well, the parrot made her do it. State police say that a woman blamed her coffee-drinking pet parrot for distracting her moments before she crashed her car into a guardrail in Pennsylvania. The 35-year-old woman was driving along the road when she noticed the bird pecking at the lid of her coffee cup. She glanced down to see what he was doing and then struck the guardrail. Apparently her bird likes to drink coffee—and needed a caffeine fix. Police found birdseed in a cup holder next to the coffee along with a few feathers nearby. Sure gives a new meaning to the woman eating like a bird.

Sweatworking: the Newest Thing in Business

Want to develop a better rapport with your clients? Why don’t you head out for a yoga or fitness class together? Sweatworking seems to be gaining traction as a business practice, elbowing

Mom Downs 13 Lbs. of Steak

Everything is big in Texas—including their food competitions. On Sunday, Molly Schuyler took home the prize when she devoured 13 pounds of steak, beating out professional wrestlers and college football players. The professional eater chowed down on three 72-ounce steaks in 20 minutes at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo. The feast also included salad, potatoes, shrimp and dinner rolls. The restaurant is home to the 72-ounce steak challenge: if a diner can finish the massive steak and its sides in under an hour, the $72 meal is free. Last year, the California mom of four

devoured the meal in just 4 minutes and 58 seconds, setting a new restaurant record. So for her return, the Big Texan pitted her against four two-person teams and upped the challenge to three massive meals. The teams: Two indoor football players, two professional wrestlers, two former West Texas A&M football players and two randomly selected steak lovers. Each duo was allowed to split the gigantic dinner of 216 ounces of beef, three salads, three baked potatoes, three rolls and three shrimp cocktails. Schuyler, who weighs just 120 pounds, competed solo. She devoured the first 72-ounce meal in 4 minutes and 18 seconds, beating her own previous record. She finished the second at 11 minutes and 47 seconds, and the third was demolished by minute 20. After taking two bites of her fourth steak, she threw in the towel, claiming to be tired of the taste. Last month, Schuyler downed a fivepound pile of bacon in mere minutes. Last July, Schuyler ate 26 hamburgers in ten minutes during a Washington, D.C. competition. It took her half an hour to devour 363 chicken wings last January. Wonder how long it’ll take her to slam down 20 bowls of cholent?

Present Particulars

Don’t know what to buy your one-yearold grandchild on his birthday? Don’t worry, they’ll be sure to tell you. A demanding email regarding presents for a one-year-old has been circulating the web, eliciting giggles, raised eyebrows and snorts of disbelief. Redditor razz32 posted the email

on April 17 with the heading “Most demanding 1st birthday invite ever” after a co-worker, who was one of the original recipients, printed it out and shared it around the office. Here’s how the letter begins: “With [name redacted]’s birthday coming up, we thought we’d ask for 4 items that he will really get a lot of use out of in the coming months. I provided my mom and sister-in-law [name redacted] with a list of 4 other items [baby] would like for his birthday so that they can buy from their list and avoid duplication. We’re asking for gifts only from grandparents and the direct aunt/uncle for [baby]’s birthday party … and would like to restrict it to 2 items total per household.” Not to leave anything to chance, the particular parents list the four specific items, along with links on where to purchase them. But wait, there’s more. If you choose to purchase something that doesn’t appear on the list, “anytime regardless of birthdays or holidays, please be sure to always include a receipt going forward.” Without a receipt, they say, they “only get about 50% of the value” when they return the item (and I’m sure they will). And of course, please don’t buy their little cutie another book, aside from the one listed in the letter. Right now, the young boy has “32 board books on his shelf, and 25 additional books waiting for him in storage once he is 3+ years of age. (And at this point, he hates when we try reading to him.)” Oh, and if you want to personalize any presents, forget it. That could lead to kidnapping, according to these uber-helicopter parents. In conclusion, feel free to reach out to them if you have any questions. Oh, and by the way, “a formal invite from [baby] will be arriving in your mailboxes soon…” Can’t wait to join in the festivities. That’s if they let us smile.

APRIL 23, 2015

The Bird Did It

networking out of bars, restaurants and the golf course. “Sweatworking was born out of a desire to connect with clients on a deeper level that wasn’t so sales-y,” said Sarah Siciliano, 32, an advertising executive who has been entertaining clients with workouts. “A lot of sales jobs revolve around drinking.” Siciliano, who is based in New York City, considers taking her mostly female clients, who range in age from 22 to 52, to yoga, spinning, boot camp and dance studios a great tool to develop relationships. Sweat marks aside, “people like to move along with the trends,” said Siciliano, who organizes her workout events. “I do all the legwork but I exercise everyday anyway so for me it’s a win-win,” she said. “If you can knock out a client event and your workout at the same time, why not?” The newest networking trend is not just used in off-the-path professions. Lawyers and bankers are utilizing this practice as well. Pushups, anyone?


kitchen in Berkeley, Megan Miller and her assistants shape clumps of orange-ginger cookie dough, carefully arrange them up on a tray and slip them in an oven. The key ingredient: flour made from groundup crickets. Miller acknowledges that insects have a “branding problem,” so she’s trying to change people’s minds and palates by mixing them into familiar foods in attractive packaging. Perhaps we can just stick to food—real food—and then we won’t have any branding problems.

82 40

Forgotten Heroes


APRIL 23, 2015

Avi Heiligman

The Jews behind the Resistance in North Africa


ovember 1942: World War Oran and Algiers were all to be invaded a French soldier and army was pivoted II had been raging for three on November 8, 1942 by an amphibious politician, who put against the Geryears. The Americans had force led by General Dwight Eisenhow- them in touch with man Afrika Corps been a belligerent for close to a year but er. The landings in Algiers were helped the Allied high comled by the Desert they hadn’t done anything significant by the resistance network led by Jose mand. Fox, General Erwin to fight the Nazis. They had stopped Aboulker who was assisted by his cousRommel. The Allies needthe Japanese advance in the Pacific and in Roger Carcassonne who founded the ed the cooperation Vichy French still controlled had won some important battles in that resistance movement in Oran. from the resistance Algiers and even theater of operations. However, only The resistance networks played that would start the though the high the beleaguered forces of England and heavily into Allied strategy because no night before Opcommissioner, Russia were fighting the Nazi war ma- one knew the Vichy French’s intentions eration Torch was to General Henri Gichine. British Prime mainly because they launch. This was arraud, cooperated Minister Churchill were still angry with ranged with a secret with the Allies, he understood that it the British for sink- meeting with AmeriAmerican troops landing in North Africa, ordered the arrest of took time to build ing their fleet. As it can General Mark November 1942 Aboulker. Giraud’s the massive army turned out, the French Clark (who was also that America was were surprised by the Jewish). The Americans agreed to sup- predecessor, Admiral Darlan, was ascapable of but Ruslandings and agreed ply the resistance with radios, weapons sassinated, and Giraud had his suspisian Premier Joseph to capitulate. Many and other supplies to the 400 civilian cions set on the resistance. Aboulker Stalin wanted a secof its members later resistance members in the area. In turn, and 26 other members who were also ond front opened imserved with the Free these men and women would occupy arrested were released following the mediately. The U.S. French out of Eng- strategic positions and stop anyone that Casablanca Conference in January 1943 (it was at this conference that the term wasn’t prepared for land and in June was loyal to the Vichy French. a frontal assault on 1944 were among the This turned out well as the resis- “unconditional surrender” became a remainland Europe just Allied troops that re- tance forced the Vichy French to ne- ality for the Allies who would only acyet so they decided captured France. gotiate with the Americans. The Vichy cept a surrender that would end the war Jose Aboulker to attack Axis-held Jose Aboulker were unable to put up much of a battle immediately). In October 1943, Aboulker made his North Africa. The Vichy French con- was from an Algerian Sephardic fam- against the landings because they were trolled many territorial areas in North ily and his father was a prominent doc- busy dealing with Aboulker and his way into German-controlled France to Africa but weren’t expecting a seaborne tor. Jose was in medical school when men. He was able to convince many provide medical services to the underattack. France had capitulated to Ger- WWII broke out, was recruited into the of them to give up their defensive po- ground. He returned to England for the many and many Frenchmen were offi- army and by 1940 was an officer cadet. sitions which were filled by men from invasion and then back to France to help cially fighting for the Axis under the Vi- In September of that year, he formed the resistance. The resistance members establish military commissioners after chy French government. (Free French a resistance network of students at the were poorly armed but set out to occupy the liberation. After the war he went troops were fighting out of England University of Algiers that soon swelled strategic buildings and mess with Vichy back to medical school and became a for the Allies under General Charles de to 800 strong. His cousins, Roger and communications. Many of his men sat professor in neurosurgery in Paris. Carcassonne was also sent back to Gaulle.) These landings, called Opera- Pierre Carcassonne, had done the same in the police headquarters impersonattion Torch, were assisted in a major way thing in Algiers. Their mission was to ing officers while giving misinforma- England to work for the general staff. by underground resistance forces that harass the Germans in any way pos- tion to the Vichy. Algiers surrendered His main job was to prepare agents had several Jewish members prominent sible and with a to the Allies in fif- for special missions in occupied terriamong their ranks. good number of teen hours without tories. Both of these men were highly The situation in North Africa was their members bemuch bloodshed or decorated by France and were awarded American medals, the Medal of Freea bit confusing. Morocco, Algeria and ing Jewish (up to fighting. Tunisia were all under the French but 85% were known In the other dom for Aboulker and Carcassonne resince its capitulation in 1940 were run to have been Jewtwo landing zones ceived the Bronze Star, for their courunder the Vichy French regime, which ish) it was very easy the Vichy French age and daring before and during the in turn was the puppet government of to convince them to gave into the Allies landings. It was these landings that led the Nazis. The Allied high command help the Allies. Anwithin three days in to the German defeat in North Africa was banking on the fact that the Vichy ti-Jewish laws had large part due to the and soon opened the door for the invaFrench didn’t want to fight for the Nazis been decreed by the distractions pro- sion of mainland Europe. Without the and would be willing to lay down their Vichy French, and vided by the resis- Jewish members of the resistance these weapons. The question then arose: who the Jewish populatance. Now Eisen- landings would have taken much longer would command the French forces after tion in North Africa hower was able to with more lives being lost. the landings? After many heated discus- came running to the send forces to link sions, Admiral Darlan was selected. The call to start a moveup with the British Vichy French Navy was another story ment against their Eighth Army who Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to The and the Allies were taking all precau- antagonists. They had been fighting Jewish Home. He welcomes your comments Jose Aboulker – figure 2 – and Roger Carcastions including preparing their troops soon were in contact sonne – figure 1 – received the Cross of Libera- in North Africa and suggestions.for future columns and can to fight the Vichy French. Casablanca, with Henri d’Astier, for two years. This be reached at aviheiligman@gmail.com. tion medal at the end of 1947 for their efforts






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