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APRIL 3, 2014
BORO PARK • JERUSALEM • SHATZER • MONTREAL
MATZAH DEPOT REGULAR • WHOLE WHEAT • ORGANIC SPELT OAT - GLUTEN FREE • HAND OR MACHINE
GROCERY Gefen Potato Starch Torino Chocolate Bars Sucralis Sweetner (LIKE SPLENDA) 100CT
Passover Coke & Diet Coke Dr Browns 2 LITER SODA’S
ew 99 ea N
2 49 ea 2 69 ea 2 69 ea
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Mehadrin Greek 2 69 ea Yogurt Cheese Snack Mehadrin Greek Yogurt ALL FLAVORS Mehadrin Chocolate Leben
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EXPIRES APRIL 20TH 2014 • NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR TYPOGRAPHIC ERRORS WESTERN KOSHER SPECIALS ARE FOR IN-STORE SHOPPING ONLY & MAY BE SUBJECT TO LIMITED QUANTITIES DEPENDING ON AVAILABLE STOCK
MANY CUSTOM & UNIQUE CUTS OF MEAT AVAILABLE IN-HOUSE
7 99 ea
Bartenura Rosso Tuscano
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Boneless Lamb Shoulder Roast Boneless Turkey Breast Chicken Drumsticks Stuffed Boneless Chicken Whole Roasting Chickens 5LB Chicken Cutlets
Aarons/Shor Habor Classic Franks
Whole Beef Shoulder 10-12LB Pickled 1st Cut Brisket Whole Brisket
Veal Rolled Roast
8 99LB 5 99LB
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GRASS FED - ANTIBIOTIC & HORMONE FREE
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Kedem Concord Grape Wine
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F IN E S T D• Q
L P RE MIU M
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Teal Lake Wines
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Ramon Cordova Rioja
Chuck Pot Roast Bone-In Chuck Eye Roast
ED • FINES
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APRIL 3, 2014
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CONTENTS What’s New in LA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Community Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Moshiach Matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Hearts Opened Wide. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
COVER STORY Get Refusal - the Local Response . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Herzog in History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Why Making Your Children Work Matters. . . . . . . . 36
EDUCATION 3 Avenues to Improve the Shidduch Process. . . . 20 Treasures of the Past: Sarajevo Haggadah. . . . . . . 35 The Crimean Jews: A Complicated History . . . . . . 44 Homeschooling - the Wave of the Future. . . . . . . . 56
HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
LIFESTYLES Restaurant Review Two Dishes at ChickPeas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Travel - Santa Barbara. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
ISRAEL Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
With Adar now behind us, the majestic feeling of the seder is starting to settle in. Sure there’s all the cleaning, scrubbing and nerves, but just beyond the horizon is the feeling of freedom that each of us will feel as we sit by the seder surrounded by family and guests recounting our humble origins, subsequent suffering, and finally, redemption. We will recount in great detail how Hakadosh Baruch Hu took us out of Egypt, made us a nation, and gave us the Torah and mitzvoth. Many of us will probably discuss other parts of our mostly troubled history. The building of the Beit Hamikdash in Jerusalem, its destruction, rebuilding, and destruction again, scattering us across the corners of the globe. All this storytelling really causes our past to come alive. Indeed, beginning the first day of Nisan we remember the presents brought by the heads of the tribes in honor of the building of the Mishkan. Think about it: for thousands of years we have remembered what seems to be a one-time and obscure event, saying a special prayer and connecting with our ancestors back in the desert. In current events, the recent demonstration described on pages 22-23 aptly portrays the constant struggle needed to continue our mesorah and traditions in the face of those who abuse it for personal gain. We are an eternal people with eternal traditions. We will protect our religion and it will protect us. Another happening to check out is on pages 8-9 where one can get a taste of the power of the individual who is interested in making a change. He had no grand dreams or plans. An opportunity arose and led to an idea which led to something else. Each one of us can and should be an ambassador for change, influencing ourselves and those around us to be a better person than we were yesterday. One cannot speak about Pesach without mentioning our origins as one nation. Our source is as one people. Yes there were 12 different tribes, but differences were there to complement each other. Today’s attitude of “Is he one of us?” or “Did you hear what they did?” is a cover up of the Jew inside and the collective soul we all come from. When we see another Yid, we should reach into ourselves and find the point where they become our brother and part of our family. And just as a parent’s deepest joy is when the children are getting along, sharing and happy for each other. So too our Father in Heaven’s greatest pleasure is when we accept each other, respect each other and -- shall I say -- even love each other. We can then turn around to our Creator and ask, beseech and even demand that (as we say in the blessing over the second cup): “King of the universe, who has redeemed us and redeemed our fathers from Egypt, and enabled us to attain this night to eat matzah and maror. So too, G-d, our G-d and G-d of our fathers, enable us to attain other holidays and festivals that will come to us in peace with happiness in the rebuilding of Your city, and with rejoicing in Your service [in the Bet Hamikdash]… and we shall thank You with a new song for our redemption and for the deliverance of our souls. Blessed are You, G-d, who redeemed Israel.” (Interestingly, there are many halachik authorities who are of the opinion that we will recite a similar blessing on the anniversary of our future redemption.) May we merit the fulfilment of the statement in Rosh Hashanah 11a: “In [the month of] Nisan our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt and in [the month of] Nisan we will be redeemed in the future.” With blessings for a happy, healthy and joyous Pesach!
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 3, 2014
Thoughts on the Haggadah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
THE JEWISH HOME
THE JEWISH HOME
APRIL 3, 2014
Let’s get you ready for Pesach! We’ll focus on the cleaning and the shopping and then consider ways of relaxing and enjoying. Carpet Club LA is a new carpet cleaning service that is giving a 10% discount in honor of Pesach. They service both residential and commercial carpets as well as upholstery and area rug cleaning. Call them at 323-828-8123 or email CarpetClubLA@gmail.com to make an appointment. They use pet and child safe cleaners. Stock up on foil pans of all sizes with Yo Pans. Yocheved Remer’s new business sells foil pans and lids for very low prices. One example is her 9 by 13 pans for just $0.70 each when you buy 30. Trust me, you’ll go through thirty pans before the first day of Chol HaMoed. You can call Yocheved any time at 847-815-5562 to order. Also, visit her Facebook page Yo Pans for more details about sizes and prices. If you have a Spanish speaking cleaning person helping you prepare for Pesach, you may want to make your life easier and consider buying my Maid Easier magnets. They are Spanish and English mag-
nets with a cute graphic on them (designed by my friend, graphic designer Rivky Markowitz) that have basic housekeeping instructions, such as “Sweep the Floor”, “Clean the Oven” “Wash the Vegetables”. The Maid Easier magnets are available on Amazon. Search for Maid Easier Magnets and they are sold in Rochel Duchman’s store A Perfect Setting for about $10 for 42 magnets. We’ve sold over 100 sets so far and there are only 100 left on the planet, so order now! If you need baby gear for your littlest guests this Pesach, visit Bright Futures, a brand new baby gear Gemach. The Gemach was recently created by Daniella Plotzher and Naomi Rich in memory of Yehoshua Aron ben Yitzchak Shlomo. If you have new or gently used baby gear to donate please call Daniella at 310-4993421 or Naomi at 310-770-1413. Starting this summer they will open for business and have all kinds of gear to lend, from strollers to baby baths, although they will not be carrying baby clothes. Now, if you want to really celebrate Chag HaAviv in style, Susanna has a new flower business. She offers beautiful, fresh flower arrangements for parties, and
of course to adorn your Seder table and at the fraction of flower shop prices. Her arrangements start at just $25 each. Please call 323-202-9190 or 310-275-4247 to order. If you need an easy pre-Pesach meal, check out a brand new venue that both feeds and entertains your family. Taco Flame is a new Kosher Mexican restaurant with a twist; a full sized indoor kids play area, ball pit and arcade game are all in house. So you can have your taco while your kids go wild. Brilliant! This awesome, kid-friendly restaurant can be found at 5450 W. Pico Blvd in Los Angeles. It is under RCC Hashgacha and open weekdays 11 AM to 10 PM. Call Taco Flame at 323-634-7344. See you there! Another new restaurant that’s getting rave reviews is Grill N’ Pita at 8532 West Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles. Grill N’ Pita features fresh Israeli food. It is under Kehilla Kosher supervision and is getting great reviews. During the last few Shabbatim before Pesach, the last thing you want to do is bake Chametz. Myku’s Kitchen by Raizy Schottenstein is here to help. She makes delicious Babka and Hungarian
style Challah based on her grandmother Myku and mother Lea’s recipes. To order go to www.mykuskitchen.com. Pickup is at 363 N. Mansfield. Gift baskets with Babka, jam, thank you card and optional Challah’s are also available. You can now be the perfect Shabbos guest the week before Pesach, or all year long (except Pesach!). Another interesting business that recently popped up is MendyJuice. You might be due for a cleanse after Pesach so save this information. MendyJuice sells organic, cold-pressed juices and the cool thing is that they deliver for orders of 6 bottles or more. They sell a few types of green juices made from kale and a variety of veggies as well as citrus based juice, beet based juice and fruit based juice. You can order by emailing mendyjuice@ gmail.com I want to wish all a kosher, happy, Pesach. We’ll be continuing this article in May, so please send any new businesses or happenings to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
it grossed $3,700 in the first hour. There was also the creation of an award winning cookbook ‘Try It You’ll Like it” that raised $24,000 for scholarships for the next JWI Moms trip to Israel. It shows how much these women believe in this program. Many women said they never imagined that interacting with Shabbos could be such a special experience. People were also pleased to connect with each other in significant and meaningful ways. The goal of the Shabbos of Unity is to break judgment, separation and divisiveness that can be found in our Jewish world today. Unity needs to be implemented and when you “love your fellow Jew” that includes the fellow Jew who is right next to you. Alongside our differences is
always a remarkable similarity and that is the key to unity for Jewish people, for our families, our neighbors, and other Jewish communities beyond. Remember this old joke? A Jewish man was found on a desert island, and he showed his rescuers the two shuls he had built there. Why two? The first one was the shul he went to. And the other shul was the one he wouldn’t set foot in! The Shabbos of Unity was an important step toward linking ourselves back together. Perhaps you can join us next year! No kidding. Applications for the next JWRP Moms trip to Israel are open at www.jwrp.org . Trip Dates; Oct 27-Nov 5, 2014. Eligibility: Jewish Moms from LA or the Valley with children under age 17. For more info call Sharon 310-9262356.
Shabbos of Unity? – No Joke! By Debbie Hirschmann
What do you get when you put 82 Jewish women from Reconstructionist to Orthodox, in a hotel for a Shabbos weekend? (Wait! Is this some sort of bad joke?) Noit actually happened! Let me explain… It all started with Chana Heller & Sharon Shenker, the fearless leaders of Aish LA’s Jewish Women’s Initiative (JWI), coming up with the inspired idea of a “Shabbos of Unity” for women of all denominations. The Second Annual Shabbos of Unity took place last weekend at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills. Over 80 Jewish Moms came together around the theme of “The Power of Connection”. Nili Couzens from Philadelphia was the disarming and charismatic lead speaker. Over the weekend, many women shared their powerful and personal stories about how much the JWI has impacted their lives by connecting them with tra-
ditional Judaism and like-minded women who share their interest in spiritual connection and growth. It was the joy of connection personified. The weekend had inspirational and practical classes, great food, quality schmoozing, karaoke, dancing, and ice cream sundaes! There was much laughter and tears and a lot of estrogen! The JWI women took upon themselves several new businesses including the creation of a jewelry line which was proudly launched on Motzei Shabbos and
the way most communities do. It wasn’t the result of an influx of a large group of Jews that came out west as an existing community, reestablishing themselves in Los Angeles. Nor was it the accomplishment of one individual Rabbi who came out west and built up a community.” Rabbi Einhorn pointed out that, “LA’s Jewish history started as a collaboration of individuals, consisting of business people, merchants and lay leaders, who came together and established the community and made it grow. In the year 1900 there were about 2,500 Jews in Los Angeles. By 1920 the number grows to 20,000. Although a small group, they were extremely visible. A handful of Jews create a tremendous impact on the world.” It was the creation of Hollywood with the creativity of the 3 Stooges, The Marx brothers, Sam Goldfish (Goldwyn), Adolf Zukor, Laemmle, Fox, Mayer and a slew of Jewish writers, producers and lawyers. They were, says Rabbi Einhorn, “a group of people who wanted to run away from their Orthodox upbringing in Eastern Europe, but they couldn’t entirely escape it.” Rabbi Einhorn relates the fascinating story of Zukor who was influenced by a religious uncle and by a teacher who awakened his imagination with stories from the Torah, its biblical personalities and events that became the source of numerous movies. An interesting side note was the discovery of a bag by
the son of Adolf Zukor among his father’s things. Looking inside, Eugene Zukor discovered a talis and tefillin, kept in the front of his father’s closet, suggesting that it was something used by his father from time to time and not just an item buried in the back, out of sight and mind. Remarkably, members of the Warner Brothers family did not reject their Jewish past completely. Their father, Benjamin, who was religious, maintained a Shabbos table and engaged in Jewish practices, imparting Torah values to his children. While some of his children were positively influenced, others were not. The next session on Monday Evening March 31, 8:30pm at the Bnai David, was, “Boyling Point: Jewish Life in Boyle Heights”. Rabbi Einhorn delved into a part of Los Angeles History that was now getting closer to home. People of that era are alive today and remember it well. Details of that period came to light in the interviews that Rabbi Einhorn had with some of the”old-timers”. The next session at Anshei Emes will not be until April 30, at 8:30 pm, titled, ”3 Rich Jews at Canters Deli: The Shift to Fairfax”. The story of the Fairfax Jewish community is one closer to home for many of us and should be of immense interest. With 11 more sessions to go, it is not too late to spend a number of educational and entertaining evenings learning about L.A.’s past. It is a journey of discovery and one you will not forget. Future sessions will be listed as they occur. For more information, call 323-9315808.
Los Angeles Honors Yeshivat Kerem B’yavneh/ Kerem B’yavneh Honors Los Angeles Los Angeles Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh alumni and friends will celebrate 60 years of achievement at the 60th Anniversary Banquet on May 7, in the Sephardic Temple, 10500 Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles. Since 1953 the Los Angeles community has been in the forefront of support and promotion for the ideals and goals of Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh. The Yeshiva was founded by the first Rosh HaYeshiva, HaRav Chayim Yaakov Goldvicht, zt”l. The Yeshiva will honor the loving memory of Sam Krieger, a”h, an outstanding supporter and friend of the Yeshiva, and his dear wife, Bertie, may she be well, for their continued support and advocacy. In addition, Kerem B’Yavneh recognizes and honors the loving memory of Maurice and Judith Kandel, a”h, for their involve-
ment in strengthening Torah learning and developing young Talmidei Chachamim. Rabbi Joseph and Dr. Leila Bronner will receive the Yavneh V’Chachameha Award for devoting a lifetime to Torah scholarship and learning in Eretz Yisrael, South Africa and the United States. Alan and Lisa Stern are being designated as Parents of the Year for their commitment to Jewish education and the community at large. Rabbi Zev and Dr. Michal Goldberg are being recognized as Rabbinic Alumnus Awardees for their stellar example as true Torah personalities in the Greater Los Angeles community.
APRIL 3, 2014
You know what brought you to Los development. Angeles. The first in the series, “Oy Vey Kabom: Ever wonder how other religious Jews The Wild West”, Rabbi Einhorn laid the made their way out West? groundwork by presenting the first Jews How and when did the Orthodox com- who came out west and wanted to mainmunity become a presence in Los Angeles? tain a connection to their Jewish upbringWho were the movers and shakers? ing, by establishing a synagogue, hiring a What events had a major influence on rabbi and providing many of the trappings the road less travelled “that has made all required to create a true Jewish presence in the difference”? If your interest has been piqued, Rabbi Einhorn’s series of lectures, an overview of the history of orthodox Los Angeles, is a must. On Monday evening March 17th, 2014, Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh, began a repeat of his first-rate 14 part “Series on the History of Orthodox Judaism in Los Angeles”. Originally presented over a 4 month period on Shabbos afternoons before Mincha, the response was so phenomenal Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn Lectures on History of Orthodox LA that Rabbi Einhorn decided to repeat the series on Monday evenings so Los Angeles. This was over 150 years ago. that others can relive or discover the histoThe second in the series covered the ry of their Los Angeles Jewish community. depression era and Hollywood, aptly tiA native of L.A., Rabbi Einhorn be- tled, “From the Depth I Call Out”. These gan the task of researching the history of two events were held at the Young Israel the orthodox communities in Los Angeles of Century City. from its early days to the present as a result In speaking of the series, Rabbi Einof a personal interest. The research devel- horn stated, “I really started this as a small oped and grew and before long it took on a series, but as I began my research and was life of its own. In an effort to add substance given the opportunity to use the UCLA arand interest into the series, Rabbi Einhorn chives, I uncovered far more information interviewed Los Angeles old timers, who than I originally anticipated. I discovered fleshed out many of the attention-grabbing that we have a most remarkable history and events in the last 80 years of LA’s orthodox many of us do not realize it. LA didn’t start
Photo credits: Arye D. Gordon
By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon
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Relive the History of Jewish Los Angeles with Rabbi Einhorn’s Lecture Series
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APRIL 3, 2014
Community Comes Together for Fallen Officer By Alisa Roberts
It was 8:45 a.m. on March 7th when LAPD Chaplain Shmuel Newman got the call. An officer had been killed on duty, could he come as quickly as possible? Newman had been on his way to work so he was soon at the scene. Officer Nicholas Lee and Officer Stephanie Glacia, had been on their way to an “unknown trouble” call when a dump truck coming the other way lost control and careened straight into their car. Officer Lee, a 40-year-old father of two, was killed instantly. “That’s the scene I got to,” says Newman. “You couldn’t even tell it was a police car anymore.” He stayed at the scene, comforting the visibly-shaken officers, until the coroner’s van was ready to leave. “What really amazed me was that originally they wanted all of the Hollywood officers to regroup back at the station. I was standing next to the supervisor and he said, ‘They can take my stripes, but we left the station this morning with Nick, and we’re not going back without him.’ We all stayed there. They did an honor guard on scene when they took him out of the wreck. And then they did something that I don’t know if they’ve ever done before: They had all the units who were there do a formation back to the Hollywood Station with the coroner, and the whole station stood outside and saluted the coroner’s van as it headed toward the coroner’s office.” This particular display of solidarity was new to Newman, but as an experienced LAPD chaplain the feeling behind it did not surprise him. “The camaraderie is unbelievable,” he says. “The police department is truly a family.” Shmuel Newman became a chaplain five years ago. “I had a friend, Buck Mossie, who was a sergeant in the police department. He came to my house for Rosh Hashanah, and after the meal he said, ‘I want to take you out on a ride-along and show you what we do.’” Newman had never been on a ride-along before. “My police ambitions died when I was about 12 after I stopped playing cops and robbers,” he jokes. But whatever he had expected from the experience, the reality was something more. “I went out with him, and I was floored by the amount of responsibility and the pressure. They encountered so many dif-
ferent situations in just a few hours, from helping a little child, where the sergeant had to show compassion and warmth; to chasing a criminal, where he had to be tough; to helping a poor person cross the street and assisting an old lady who had gotten lost. It was an emotional roller coaster. There was no continuity from one scene to the next; it’s not like watching a movie or TV show. When you get a call, you don’t necessarily know what the job is, but you have to get there and be willing to do whatever is required of you.” And that was it for Newman. “It really impressed me. I wanted to be able to give back. So I made a commitment that day that I was going to do something
the station. There were a handful of officers who were breaking down. There were people who had just spoken to him in the morning. And in the minds of the officers, it could have been any one of them who got that call. It wasn’t like there had been an error on his part; any officer who would have been on the way to that call at that particular moment would have been dead. That was really difficult.” Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Eric Garcetti were both present later that Friday. They started by visiting the scene of the collision to pay their respects. They then came to the station and addressed the other officers. “You hear a lot about politicians, you hear people say that everything
Shmuel Newman with several Assistant Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs at a Chanukah Menorah lighting ceremony.
for the department. At the time they were looking for Jewish chaplains. My father is a chaplain for the Long Beach Police Department and my brother was a chaplain for the Santa Monica Police Department, so I said I would do it. I embraced it, and I never looked back.” A chaplain’s work is nearly as varied as a police officer’s. “I’ve been able to help in many different ways – from getting kosher meals for Jewish inmates to helping Jewish officers who have experienced losses or family issues,” Newman explains. Unfortunately, for the past week it wasn’t just the Jewish officers who needed that help. That Friday deeply affected everyone. “When I got back to the station, I started talking to different officers who were visibly very disturbed, trying to cope. Obviously, Officer Lee was very well-liked in
Chaplain Newman as a Maccabee after being flown in by Police chopper and entertaining the students of the Hebrew Academy in Huntington Beach
is politics,” says Newman. “But there were no video cameras in that room. It was just the mayor, the police chief, myself and the officers who were on the scene of the accident. The mayor spoke so beautifully, so heartfelt. He spoke about how, as leader of the city, whenever an officer is injured or hurt it weighs very heavily on him. The chief also spoke beautifully, really connected with the officers. It was absolutely amazing to see that kind of care. It meant the world to the officers; it made them feel important that the mayor and the chief, with everything that was going on that day, took the time to come back to the station and spend time with them. That really impressed me as well.” It wasn’t the only impressive behavior to come out of the aftermath. Officer Glacia had miraculously survived the crash with only minor injuries, and was recuperating with her family. When her fellow officers discovered that her phone had been lost in the accident, they started a fund so they could replace her phone. Newman drove out to Pomona to deliver the new phone and he heard that the Mayor had called her that morning to see how she was feeling. She said, ‘I didn’t get a call from the secretary or someone in his office – the phone rang, and the Mayor was speaking and just wanted to know how I was doing.’” And the outpouring of care didn’t end with the police force and the mayor’s office. That week, Newman got a call from philanthropist Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz. “When he heard what happened, he got in touch and told me that whenever an offi-
cer in California dies in the line of duty, he immediately gives the family $10,000. He wanted me to come get a check and make sure that the Office Lee’s wife got it so that she would have the funds to take care of the most urgent bills. There are many programs in place for the families of officers, who die in the line of duty, but it takes time to receive the money and at the same time events are moving very quickly. Newman continues, “The station wanted to thank Mr. Rechnitz in person. I called him but he said, ‘No, that’s not necessary. I do it because it’s the right thing to do. They sacrifice their lives for the community, this is the least I can do. I don’t need a personal thank you.’” Newman explains the
reverberations of this one act, “When you see situations where people go above and beyond, it really touches a soft spot for everybody. It’s especially meaningful for the police department to see that somebody in the Jewish community wanted to immediately get a check to the Officer’s wife, to make sure that she knew people cared. It’s not just the money. It’s proof that she’s not alone, that her husband didn’t die for nothing. It really helped her deal with her pain.” That kind of support and solidarity is what the Chaplain Corps is all about. Newman was at Officer Lee’s funeral, standing outside the chapel and then at the grave, in support of the officers. “They really appreciated it,” he says. Officer Lee’s death was not only sudden; it was the first on-duty death of an LAPD officer in six years. So what do the chaplains do for the officers when something this awful happens? “For the most part, just having a listening ear or a friendly face to tell you its OK means the world to people who, as part of their job, need to separate themselves from their emotions. They have to be able to keep their emotions in check and be professional to do their job. And it’s hard to switch that off and on. That’s where the chaplains are able to help the officers.” The unexpected is undoubtedly the theme of this work. But most of the time, Newman has the experience to turn events to his advantage. That’s certainly the case with another project he’s working on now. He went on a mission to brighten up the officers’ workday with a treat. “A lot of time when I go by the station I’ll get two
9 officers once or twice a month with a chaplain to the hospital to read books to the sick children there.” As usual, Newman is thinking about the officers as well. “I think it does just as much, if not more, for the officers as it does for the children. To connect and see the smiles on their faces. Some of the kids in the children’s hospitals come from low-income homes and they may only remember police from when they’re arresting someone. They don’t get to see the police sitting and reading to them, helping them with whatever they’re going through. This gives the child an experience and helps them build trust in the police. And the police are more in touch with their own humanity. Because I don’t care how tough you are, when you see a child in critical condition, it melts the heart of anyone.” The Chaplain Corps, which boasts chaplains of nearly every religion, helps get programs like these off the ground. There are over 20 chaplains currently in the department, and Newman serves as the lead chaplain in West Bureau and Air Support. He is just as committed today as he
was on his first night 5 years ago. “I feel that the police department is, in many senses, misunderstood by the community. For many people their only interaction with a police officer is getting a traffic ticket.” Newman summarized his job by adding, “From what I understand, Officer Lee swerved to save Officer Glacia’s life. So he took the brunt of the impact and his partner walked away with scratches and scrapes. The Officer’s last act of living was to save a fellow officer. And that exemplifies what you see every day in the police department: they’re willing to put their lives on the line to protect the people in this city.” It’s not surprising that we are pleased to volunteer our time in any way we can.”
NCSY and the Jewish Student Union Host First Annual 5k Pizza Run In the early hours of a winter Sunday morning, while most were several hours from rolling out of bed, a fervent crowd of community members and teens were lacing up their sneakers to run for Jewish education. Last month, NCSY and the Jewish Student Union hosted the first annual 5k Pizza Run at Woodley Park in Van Nuys, CA. “The event exceeded our every expectation, both in dollars raised for JSU and in community awareness and support,” said Rabbi Effie Goldberg, Executive Director of West Coast NCSY and JSU.
JSU operates in over 200 public and private high school campuses across the country, reaching more than 12,000 teens annually. The JSU clubs provide Jewish teens with programs that strengthen their Jewish identity and connection to Israel by educating in a fun and social atmosphere. Clubs provide a safe place to discuss and debate Israel, life as a Jew, and how to plan life on a college campus- while serving students free kosher pizza. “Our impact extends far beyond the classroom. Students who initially come for the pizza go on
to participate in Jewish activities including retreats, weekly learning seminars, community service projects, Friday night dinners, and other meaningful events,” said Solly Hess, Regional Director of West Coast NCSY and JSU. At the 5k Pizza Run, the vibe from both adults and teens was exuberant, as over 60 students and community members joined in solidarity for JSU. Each runner raised money for his or her JSU club through selling pizza pie sponsorships. The day of the run brought a feeling of unity, camaraderie, and outright fun.
APRIL 3, 2014
a young daughter at Kaiser going through cancer treatment. So I asked if her daughter would appreciate a female officer visiting her in the hospital. The little girl was so happy. The officer showed her all of her equipment and her badge and talked about being a policewoman. It was a surreal scene to see this little bald girl and this female officer, who had walked in so professionally but melted almost as soon as she saw this little girl.” Newman said that he drove back to the station with plans for a new program “I realized that the officer had changed in that room. It really brought her a better understanding of her own humanity and the awareness that we never know what tomorrow brings. And I felt that it was a valuable thing for her in her police work to have had this experience. So I called up the Children’s Hospital in LA. They have a program called Literally Healing, where volunteers read books to sick children. So we will be starting a program soon where once or twice a month an officer will go to the hospital and read books to the sick children.” Though the project is waiting to launch until the end of flu season, it has already spread across the city. “I felt that this was something that speaks to everyone. So I called six different divisions: West LA, Wilshire, Olympic, Northeast, Hollywood, and Air Support. I called each Captain and told them what I was doing and every single one said, ‘Say no more, count us in. Whatever you need, we’ll do it.’ So now I have six divisions who will be sending
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dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, just to bring put a smile on the officers’ faces. I decided to get in touch with the head of Krispy Kreme, to see if he would be willing to donate his day-old donuts to the police department. I figured it was a match made in heaven. He was very supportive, and said he would see what he could do. About two weeks later I got an email they would do it.” But that wasn’t as simple as it sounded. Donating the donuts required a change to the Krispy Kreme daily operation. Rather than throwing the day-old donuts away, they would now be putting them aside and packing them which required a daily collection. “They told me I have to be there once a day to pick them all up, seven days a week. So I thought, OK, I can’t go on Shabbat but I’ll find someone, we’ll figure it out. Next he says – and this threw me for a loop – ‘OK, so we’ll see you every morning between 5:00 and 6:00 to pick up 175 - 200 dozen donuts.’ I said, ‘What?’ I had this image in my head of everyone in the department gaining 40 pounds.” But 2,000 unplanned donuts didn’t derail Newman. “I figured that the offer was good and I had to use it. I called up the LA Mission and I spoke to the woman who handles the food donations. And she was so excited. She said, ‘You know, we just lost our contract, and we feed 1,750 people a day. Having donuts to include with the meals we give to the homeless is a godsend.’” Another project currently in the works also started with a phone call. “I got a call from a woman in the community who had
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Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’ Halacha Presents Pre-Pesach Shiurim by Gedolei Haposkim and Rabbanim in America, Eretz Yisroel and Europe By Chaim Gold “The phenomenal pre-Pesach shiurim transpiring in the United States, Eretz Yisrael and Europe form an integral component in the mission of Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program. Daf HaYomi B’Halacha is all about bringing awareness of halacha into the daily lives of all Jews, wherever they may be,” said Rav Aharon Gobioff, Dirshu’s American Director. “This is why Dirshu has once again been providing timely shiurim in advance of Pesach on hilchos Pesach to enhance the halachic observance and the “geshmak,” the enjoyment of Yom Tov that comes with knowledge of the pertinent halachos,” concluded Rabbi Gobioff. In different communities in the United States shiurim are being given by such halachic luminaries as HaGaon HaRav Reuven Feinstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Staten Island, HaGaon HaRav Yechiel Michel Steinmetz, shlita, Skverer Dayan of Boro Park and HaGaon HaRav Zev Smith, shlita, dynamic Daf HaYomi B’Halacha Maggid shiur and Maggid Shiur for Irgun Shiurei Torah. Among the luminaries in Eretz Yisrael giving pre Pesach shiurim in strategic locations across the country will be HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Kiryas Melech, HaGaon HaRav Moshe Shaul Klein, shlita, a rov in Bnei Brak, a talmid muvhak of the venerated, senior posek, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Wosner, shlita, and a senior member of Rav Wosner’s Bais Din, HaGaon Harav Chaim Tzvi Shapira, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of the Belzer Yeshiva in Tel Aviv and Dayan of the Belzer Community in Bnei Brak. Although the Dirshu Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program is now in Chelek Vav, the final chelek of Mishna Berurah and presently learning the halachos of Tisha B’Av, Dirshu continues to focus on adding new enhancements for its participants and the wider body of Klal Yisrael. Thus, shiurim by prominent poskim preceding a Yom Tov and featuring so many different, complex halachic scenarios is a natural outgrowth of Dirshu’s mission. In fact, in the daily e-mail that Dirshu sends to tens of thousands of participants that outlines that day’s learning and gives a quick chazarah on the previous day’s learning along with a brief preview of the next day’s learning, Dirshu has been adding a special section of pertinent halachos
of Pesach. In that way, important highlights of hilchos Pesach complement the regular learning schedule of hilchos Tisha B’Av. A special section on hilchos Pesach has also been incorporated into Dirshu’s Daf HaYomi B’Halacha’s captivating, glossy monthly bulletin distributed world over that highlights interesting halachos that arose from the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha daily learning program. This truly enables the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha learner to focus on the timely, relevant halachos of Pesach as well as the halachos of Tisha B’Av. HaGaon Rav Reuven Feinstein, Shlita, Inspires Baltimore In the United States, Rav Reuven Feinstein, is slated to deliver an enthralling shiur on the halachos of Pesach on 2 Nissan/ April 2, at Bais Medrash Darchei Tzedek in Baltimore. The shiur encapsulating both halacha and aggadah, will include fascinating stories about the hanhagos, the conduct of his own father, the Posek Hador, HaGaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, that he witnessed throughout his youth. In addition, Rav Feinstein will focus on gaining a better understanding of the final geulah which we are so awaiting, through analyzing the Haggadah Shel Pesach. Rav Reuven will also discuss numerous remarkable halachic rulings from his father. HaGaon Harav Yechiel Michel Steinmetz, Shlita, Answers Fascinating Contemporary Shailos At Bais Hamedrash Birkas Avrohom on 50th Street in Boro Park, the shiur will be given by the Skverer Dayan, Rav Yechiel Michel Steinmetz. Rav Steinmetz always attracts a tremendous following. His wide-ranging depth and knowledge of the entire corpus of halacha combined with his ability to break down the most complex she’eilos into easy-to-understand, practical halacha, is legendary. This year Rav Steinmetz will intertwine many of the common halachos of Pesach with various riveting new contemporary halachic scenarios. In Lakewood, home to one of the largest, most popular Daf HaYomi B’Halacha daily shiurim, the pre-Pesach shiur will be given at Beth Medrash Govoha’s Ateres Bracha Beis Medrash by Rav Zev Smith. Rav Smith’s shiur, which always attracts a huge following, discusses areas of halacha that are very pertinent but often not discussed as frequently in the run up to Pesach. For example, is electronic
writing permitted on Chol Hamoed? May one write on a computer, an ATM machine, take pictures with a digital camera on Chol Hamoed? What about using hot tap water on Yom Tov? Can you buy chometz from a store or company that sold their chometz but continued to sell chometz on Pesach? HaGaonim HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, Shlita, and HaRav Moshe Shaul Klein, Shlita, Attract Huge Crowds in Eretz Yisrael In Eretz Yisrael, shiurim are being held across the country by leading Roshei Yeshiva and Poskim. One of the fascinating shiurim is being given by Rav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Kiryas Melech. Rav Borenstein’s shiur will be given at Beis Medrash Maasas Mordechai in Beit Shemesh and features both contemporary halacha and lomdus on Pesach. In Ashdod, Rav Moshe Shaul Klein, a sought after Posek is giving a shiur where he outlines hundreds of practical halachos that Rabbanim rule upon before Pesach along with numerous, unpublished piskei halacha on Pesach from his Rebbi, Rav Shmuel Wosner. The shiur being held in
one of the central mekomos haTorah in Ashdod, the Beis Medrash of Rav Bunim Schreiber, begins with divrei Torah on Pesach delivered by the Nasi of Dirshu, Rav Dovid Hofstedter, shlita. Another Dirshu shiur on hilchos Pesach is being delivered in Bnei Brak by HaGaon HaRav Yitzchok Mordechai Rubin, shlita, co-author of the renowned sefer, Orchos Shabbos. That shiur will be delivered at the Beis Medrash of the wellknown posek, HaGaon Harav Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita, in the Ramat Elchanan neighborhood. In Haifa the shiur will be delivered by the Belzer Dayan and Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Chaim Tzvi Shapira and in Beitar by HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Eliezer Stern, shlita, a senior posek on the Beis Din of Rav Shmuel Wosner. Series of Three European Shiurim Covering Hilchos Pesach and Yom Tov
Dirshu is also sponsoring a European Shiur held in London. Harav Shraga
Kallus, shlita, an exceptionally popular maggid shiur is delivering a series of three shiurim on areas of Pesach and hilchos Yom Tov. The first shiur focuses on the halachos of kashrus, what needs a hechsher and what does not? The second is an extremely important shiur outlining the foundations of the often little understood halachos of Yom Tov and the third will highlight the halachos of the seder. The shiurim are taking place in Beis Medrash Bais Shmuel, the central Bais Medrash in the Golders Green section of London. Pesach and Tisha B’Av: The Connection Perhaps it is no coincidence that Dirshu’s HaYomi B’Halacha is currently learning the laws of Tisha B’Av simultaneous with bringing world-wide shiurim to the public on hilchos Pesach. The seforim teach us a fascinating connection between Tisha B’Av and Pesach. In the Jewish calendar the seder night and the night of Tisha B’Av that year always come out on the same night of the week. That is one of reasons the Mishna Berurah writes that the minhag is to eat an egg on the seder night, to remind ourselves - even on the most joyous night of geulah - that the Beis Hamikdash has not yet been built and to inject within us a deep longing for the geulah sheleimah. In this way, despite the length of the golus, we will be imbued with the hope that this year will be the year when Moshiach will finally arrive and Tisha B’Av will become a Yom Tov. Certainly, the zechus of learning daily Halacha, the zechus of learning both hilchos Pesach and hilchos Tisha B’av in the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha program will add to that moment of hisorerus so that this year we will merit to eat from the Korban Pesach together with Moshiach. Amein Ken Yehi Ratzon!
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בית מדרש גבוה
Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz Co-Chairman, Board of Governors Duvi Blonder Chaim Freeman David Hager Yehuda Hertz Michael Kest Menachem Klein Chaim Kolodny Frank Menlo Berel Weiss Zevi Wolmark
Reception Committee Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz Reception Chairman Abbott Family Moshe Chopp Zvi Eilat Aaron Dov Friedman Moshe Leib Haberman Avi Hager Dovi Jacobs Avi Mayer Jeff Mendell
BMG Rabbinic Alumni Serving the LA Community in Leadership Positions Rabbi Aryeh Adler Rabbi Gershon Bess Rabbi Yoel Bursztyn Rabbi Gavriel Cohen Rabbi Avrohom Czapnik Rabbi Daniel Danishefsky Rabbi Pini Dunner Rabbi Shmuel Einhorn Rabbi Chaim Zelig Fasman Rabbi Shmuel Fasman Rabbi Moshe Fisher Rabbi Sholom Gershon Ginsberg Rabbi Berish Goldenberg Rabbi Yehoshua Goldenberg Rabbi Boruch Yehuda Gradon Rabbi Aron Tzvi Gross Rabbi Eliezer Gross Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Grossman Rabbi Kalman Pinchos Gruman Rabbi Avraham Yechiel Hirschman Rabbi Boruch Kupfer Rabbi Nechemia Langer Rabbi Menachem Levine Rabbi Chaim Lopian Rabbi Moshe Yosef Moldaver Rabbi Dovid Revah Rabbi Shalom Rubanowitz Rabbi Chaim Boruch Rubin Rabbi Ezra Schochet Rabbi Avraham Schulman Rabbi Elchanan Tauber Rabbi Yakov Yitzchok Vann Rabbi Sholom Weil Rabbi Aryeh Weiner
Annual Community Reception Sunday Evening May 4, 2014 w 8:00pm Moshe Ganz Hall 360 North La Brea Avenue Los Angeles, California
The Abbott Family
Mr. & Mrs. Zvi Eilat
בית מדרש חוג מרא דאתרא
R’ Gershon Bess שליט"א 7211 Beverly Blvd.
HaRav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler שליט"א Rosh HaYeshiva
Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff שליט"א We look forward to greeting you, Family of Dr. Charles Abbott ע"ה Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz ReceptioN cHAiRmAN
'הרה"ג ר' ארי מלכיאל קוטלר שליט"א
שיעור (1 hour Before )מנחה
שיעור (1 hour Before )מנחה
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Young Israel of Hancock Park
R’ Yakov Krause שליט"א 225 S. La Brea Ave.
Young Israel of Hancock Park
R’ Dovid Langer שליט"א 340 N. La Brea Ave.
Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin of Flatbush Brooklyn, NY
R’ Shlomo Einhorn שליט"א 5353 W. 3rd St. Mr. & Mrs. Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz
The Abbott Family
R’ Chaim Fasman שליט"א 7159 Beverly Blvd.
to be announced
R’ Shmuel Einhorn שליט"א
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May 3, 2014 w פרשת אמור HaRav HaRav Aryeh Malkiel Yeruchim Kotler שליט"א Olshin שליט"א
R’ Yakov Krause שליט"א 225 S. La Brea Ave.
pico-Robertson/Beverly Hills community
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Mr. & Mrs. Henry Manoucheri and Mr. & Mrs. Robert Millman in honor of the Roshei Yeshiva Sunday morning, May 4, 2014 w 9:00 am at the Manoucheri home 431 S. Beverwil Drive Beverly Hills, CA
Rabbi Aaron Kotler will visit with the Pico-Robertson/Beverly Hills community as Scholar-in-Residence at Adas torah, 1135 S. Beverly Drive Details to be announced.
APRIL 3, 2014
Board of Governors Honorary Committee
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Holy Outreach, Batman! By Brenda Goldstein
Emek Hebrew Academy has started an innovative campaign through online Jewish fundraising platform Jewcer: Support Emek Kosher Comics for Kids by Kids. Amazon, the world’s largest bookseller, has little in the way of Jewish comics in its vast library. The Kosher Comics project hopes to change that. “Our idea,” explains the Jewcer campaign “is to put children in Jewish schools all over the world in charge of creating comic books that reflect their own Torah values and unique cultural experiences that will generate a large library of Jewish comics
for children on Amazon.” The Kosher Comics would serve as an innovative outreach tool, as well as provide residual income for participating schools. Rae Shagalov, director of Emek’s Finder Family Library and founder of the school’s new Talent Center model of education, helped to get this exciting project off the ground. “There’s this whole, wonderful new world of apps,” she enthused. “So, we’ve trained and we’re training Emek students to use ComicLife. com and Keto comic creator, and we have a wonderful app called ToonCamera: The cam-
era turns the whole world into a cartoon.” Shagalov, author of Amazon #1 Bestseller, The Secret Art of Talking to G-d, also directs the gifted program at Emek. Her Talent Center model of education is designed to transform Jewish education through project-based learning, such as with Kosher Comics. She explained that “Another important part of this project is that we’re reaching out to 100 other Jewish schools around the world.” As a recipient of the Jewish Spark matching grant, the Kosher Comics campaign will receive an additional $1,800 once it raises at least $1,800 from 50 people in 30 days. Jewcer.com, a crowd-funding website has put its support behind the Kosher Comics campaign. Jewcer.com recognizes the value in crowd-funding financing, as witnessed by the
OLOMEINU PESACH! Volume I
public’s participation in platforms like Twitter and American Idol that shows when and where people truly want to support a given initiative. Jewcer co-founder Amir Give’an explained that adult Jews, not all of whom affiliate with synagogues, have a different
connection to Judaism than in olden times. “Our crowd funding says to Jews, ‘We’re not going to create this unless you take part in the process’”. Give’an co-founded Jewcer.com in 2012, with Naomi Leight, in an effort to better connect young Jewish adults to Jewish ideas and causes. Their online fundraising platform works with initiatives from beginning to end, with a more hands-on, mentoring approach than other such platforms. This ensures the best campaign strategy for each project. The Emek students are being encouraged to integrate their own perceptions of Judaism into the comics they are designing, thereby sharing both their passions and knowledge with other Jewish children. “A person can learn about Shabbat from reading my comic book,” commented a 5th grade student. “Imagine the smiles on the faces of our children when they become Amazon best-selling authors,” reads the Jewcer campaign. Shagalov summarized her dream, “We anticipate success with colorful, quick, and
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appealing story lines. Our comics will harness the personal excitement of our forward thinking Jewish Kids and this will create a new interest, curiosity, and connection to Torah, mitzvahs, and Jewish identity for both the creators and receivers.” Shagalov and the Emek students hope to impact approximately 2,500 children and their families in the first year of the Kosher Comics program. They encourage other Jewish educators to contact them, in order to find out how they and their students can participate. The money donated to the campaign will also help the Emek library purchase three-tofive new Ipads for the students to use as they create more comics, and it will allow them to donate comics to unaffiliated friends and family in public school. It will also enable Emek to produce training videos for other Jewish schools, so that they can join in creating a library of Kosher Comics. “It’s really awesome that we can do such a big thing,” said a 4th grade Emek student. To donate to and/or participate in this exciting project, please go to: http://jewcer. com/project/support-emek-kosher-comicsfor-kids-by-kids.
By Rabbi Adir Posy
ated a work of Torah scholarship that is sure to enhance your Pesach Seder. The Beth Jacob Family Haggada has been published by Koren Publishing house and consists of essays, commentary, stories and family traditions from Rabbis and members of the Beth Jacob community. With a foreword by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, this landmark publication will be a cherished book found at community Seder tables for years to come. The Haggada project was completed thanks to the efforts of Beth Jacob editors Aryeh Goldberg, Marcie Meier, Nechama Samson, Rabbi Topp and Paula Van Gelder. A dedicated committee of shul volunteers painstakingly compiled and collected the elements for inclusion in this work of communal Torah. “The notion that every person has a different question, and that every per-
son has a different experience and story to tell, is what makes this Haggada very special,” says Rabbi Topp. “The Haggada shares how members of our larger Beth Jacob family have passed on the national and personal story, and kept it alive from generation to generation. I think you will find this Haggada to be one of scholarship, creative thinking and warmth, exemplifying dedication to Am Yisrael, Torat Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael, all elements that reflect the special nature of Beth Jacob.” The Haggada is dedicated by Sam Samson and family in memory of his wife, Estelle a”h. The Haggada is now available for sale at Beth Jacob, as well as the Mitzvah Store, Brenco and Amazon.com. Rabbi Adir Posy is Associate Rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation.
RIETS at Yeshiva University Celebrates their Largest Class of Musmachim Ever The Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) at Yeshiva University celebrated their largest class of rabbinic students at this year’s March 23rd Chag HaSemikhah Convocation. The record 230 new musmachim from the classes of 20112014 included 10 rabbis originally from Los Angeles. The Chag HaSemikhah ceremony, which welcomed over 3,000 attendees, took place at Yeshiva University in New York. Daniel Korda, one of the new musmachim from LA, made the trip to New York to be there for the event. “It was very nice,” he says. “The newly installed Dean of RIETS, Rabbi Penner, was particularly impressive. He is an authentic individual truly invested in the future of every graduate of RIETS.” Motti Klein took a red eye to New York, went to the ceremony, and then went straight back to the airport for an evening flight back to LA. But it was worth it. “The ceremony itself represented a singularly unique and amazing event in which the musmachim, their families, and the Roshei Yeshiva all shared in their appreciation and celebration of RIETS and the extent to which the musmachim have impacted the greater Jewish community,” he says. “In particular, hearing Rav Gedalia Dov Shwartz reminisce about his time in the original semicha kollel in the 1940s like it was yesterday was moving and heartwarming. In addition, four families were celebrating three sequential generations of YU Rabbanim, an accomplishment that cannot be underscored considering the history of Jews in America.” In addition to the record new grad-
uates, this class also included the largest number of rabbinic alumni to receive yadin yadin, a higher level of ordination. Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Torah Studies at YU, was one of the alumni to receive yadin yadin.
Musmachim from California While Rabbi Kalisky plans on staying in the New York area, he still feels connected to LA. “I continue to connect to the Los Angeles community through my family and through undergraduate students that attend Yeshiva University – I feel a special connection with fellow Angelenos!” For those who were unable to attend in person, there was also an online webcast. One of the 5,000 people who viewed the
ceremony from this webcast was David Berger. “They were kind enough to display the pictures of the graduates not in attendance on the screen in the auditorium and in the video feed, so I felt that I was there in spirit,” he says. “The moment that most
binic alumni who have gone on to build careers both in religious fields and in a variety of other fields. Rabbi Korda will be graduating from the UCLA School of Law in 2016 and plans to work as a Real Estate Lawyer. Rabbi Klein is currently teaching
touched me was when they honored the graduates of the class from 50 years ago, asked them to stand, and made a note of their attendance at the event. Even as part of a graduating class of over 200 other young rabbis, I think it helped provide a greater sense of community, a feeling that we’re the latest link in the long and distinguished tradition of Yeshiva University rabbis.” This class joins more than 3,000 rab-
and tutoring both privately and at LINK Kollel while pursuing his doctorate in clinical psychology at Azusa Pacific University. Rabbi Berger, who lives in Israel, completed a doctorate in clinical psychology at St. John’s University alongside his rabbinic studies at YU and is now focusing on his private psychotherapy practice. Founded in 1896, RIETS is the leading center for education and ordination of Orthodox rabbis in North America.
APRIL 3, 2014
For many communities, a shul represents a place to daven. While Tefilah is among the most important things we do as Jews, shuls have become so much more. They are now hubs of social activity, community activism and of course, Torah study. Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, under the leadership of Rabbi Kalman Topp, has expanded that repertoire with a new initiative to not only study Torah in the shul, but to compile the scholarship and knowledge of our shul members and offer that knowledge to the Jewish people as a whole. Pesach has provided the perfect opportunity to actualize this vision. The Seder is a time when families come together to learn and pass on our precious tradition, and there is a wealth of knowledge to be shared. With this in mind, Beth Jacob has cre-
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Koren Beth Jacob Family Haggada is Result of Collaborative Effort to Bring Pesach Story to Life
YULA Hosts Third Annual YULAMUN What do you get when you combine months of preparation, intense real world crises, and seventy 7th and 8th grade students? YULA’s third YULAMUN, now an established annual event, organized by the YULA High School’s Model United Nation team. Well known for being a force to be reckoned with at Yeshiva University’s Model United Nations, the YULA team decided to bring the Model UN experience back to Los Angeles two years ago, recreating the same intensity and debate that takes place on the high school level for prospective 7th and 8th graders. Hillel, Maimonides, and Emek all sent delegates as part of the day’s activities. Students arrived in their formal attire, ready to argue their points as eloquently and passionately as possible following months of preparation. YULA 9th graders also had the chance to participate and get a feel for the Model UN experience, including training from upper classmen. Students arrived early on Sunday morning, March 23rd, to the YULA Girls School campus, eagerly awaiting the day’s competition. Dr. Paul Soifer, YULA Boys School’s Principal of General Studies and
Model UN Faculty advisors, welcomed the students, after which YULA Junior Eitan Meisels and Olivia Levkowitz, both Model UN participants and Secretary General for YULAMUN, officially opened the conference. Then it was time for the committee sessions, during which students were divided into one of five committees: UNICEF, WHO (World Health Organization), two Security Council committees, and WFP (World Food Program). Students covered issues ranging from Narco-terrorism, Food Insecurity, Syrian Civil War, and Education Post-Crisis. Dr. Soifer presented the conference key-note address on the topic “United Nations on My Mind”, during which he reminisced on the meaning and role of the UN from his perspective as a baby boomer. He encouraged students to stay aware of what was taking place in global politics. After a full day of debate, five students were awarded Best Delegate, and eight were recognized with an Honorable Mention. According to YULA freshman Jack Levkowitz, who also won Best Delegate, “In the end we all had a great time, and I definitely learned a lot from this won-
derful experience.” According to Dr. Soifer, “it was a pleasure hosting students from our feeder schools. They were engaged, interested, and certainly well prepared. The energy in the sessions was palpable, and I am excited to one day welcome a number of these students onto YULA’s Model UN team!”
HaRav Eli Ber Wachtfogel Spends Shabbos in Los Angeles By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon
On Thursday evening March 27, 2014, Harav Eli Ber Wachtfogel, the Rosh Hayeshiva of Yeshiva Gedolah Zichron Moshe of South Fallsburg NY., visited Los Angles together with Rav Meshulem Gorelick and Rav Ephraim Sher, spending Shabbos Parshas Tazria in the Hancock Park Community. The visit was hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz. The Rosh Hayeshiva is always a welcome presence in Los Angeles. Harav Wachtfogel attempted to visit many different shuls and schools in the city. He davened Friday night Kabbolas Shabbos and Maariv in Rav Einhorn’s Shul on Beverly Blvd and spoke as well. Shabbos morning the Rosh Hayeshiva attended davening at Rabbi Bess’s Kehilas Yaakov and shalos seudos at Rabbi Langer’s Shaarei Torah. Rounding out a busy weekend, Harav Wachtfogel delivered a shiur on inyanei Pesach at the Chasiddishe Kollel. He then attended a special Parlor Meeting Reception for his Yeshiva Gedolah, Zichron Moshe, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dovid Levy on Sunday evening. The history of the Yeshiva of South Fallsburg N.Y. goes back to its early beginnings in the Bronx. In 1943 Harav Yeruchem Gorelick zt”l, a noted Talmid Chocham and a student of the renown
Chofetz Chaim and the Brisker Rav, founded the Yeshiva Elementary School and a Bais Yaakov girls school. At one point the two schools boasted an enrollment close to 800 students. In 1969 Harav Gorelick zt”l had the foresight, when the opportunity presented itself, to purchase the Laurel Park Hotel located in the famed Catskill Mountains as the new home for the Yeshiva. Rav Abba Gorelick, son of Rav Yeruchem, led the Yeshiva in its new location and in 1970 he asked Rav Eli Wachtfogel, son of the prominent Lakewood Mashgiach Harav Nosson Tzvi Wachtfogel zt”l, to join the Yeshiva. With the passage of time, the Yeshiva continued to grow and establish firm roots in this new community. In 1982 a separate Beis Medrash and gymnasium were built for the mesivta, then a new dormitory in 1984. In 2002 a new main building, housing the new Bais Medras, was completed and the dining room and kitchen facilities became a reality. As the physical plant continued to grow, more
talmidim, looking for a unique yeshiva environment, flocked to the Catskills to become part of the Fallsburg Yeshiva and community. It is to the exceptional leadership of its
The Rosh Hayeshivah answering questions
Roshei Hayeshiva and Rabbanim that the Yeshiva Gedola Zichron Moshe of South Fallsburg NY has become one of the most sought after Yeshiva’s on the East Coast.
Photo credits: Arye D. Gordon
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APRIL 3, 2014
of the game wound down, dozens of loyal fans were on their feet ready to storm the court. Current students, rabbis, and alumni ran onto the court, embracing the team in their moment of glory. YULA junior Daniel Tzion and senior Menachem Solomon were both awarded 1st Team, while senior Jojo Himmelman took home the coveted role of tournament MVP. Head coach Eli Hami, only the 2nd person in Yeshiva University history to win the championship
both as a player and coach, said “I’ve been with this senior class for four years. I’m very close with the group, and it’s great to see all their hard work and many hours of practice pay off for them as individual players and as a team. They wanted this badly, and it showed on the court.” Mazal tov Panthers!
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Entering Yeshiva University’s Red Sarachek tournament, the YULA Panthers were excited about the prospect of winning back the championship title. Ranked as the number 1 seed for the tournament, the entire team was still flying high from their win in the Cooper Invitational. The Panthers played their hardest and were victorious in their games against MTA, TABC, and finally in the championship game against the Frisch Cougars. As the final seconds
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YULA Panthers Take Home Sarachek Championship for the 8th Time!
Creative Raffle and Concert Inspires Families at the Maayon Center By Ruth Judah
On Saturday night, March 26th, The Maayon Yisrael Center on La Brea, held its Annual Partnership Concert. Benny Friedman performed heartfelt Chassidic melodies to a packed crowd. With not even standing room left, the families who attended were charmed by Friedman’s music and a pulsating band. Rabbi Wolf, head of the Maayon Center, was thrilled by the turnout, “It was a very live energy in the room. I can still feel it.” Freidman performed songs from his new CD, Bnei Heichala, A Shabbos with Benny Friedman (available on mostlymusic.com).
But it was the performance of the ethereal chassidic nigunim that moved the audience the most. Following the concert, tickets were offered for the most creative raffle that was designed by Rabbi Wolf to help fund the Center. The tickets are being sold until 9.30pm Saturday night, April 5th. All prizes are packaged for life-changing activities. Prizes include a week’s rental of an RV including a $500 gas card, or a package of 8 annual passes to Disneyland. There are prepaid home cleaning coupons and another winning ticket that will give
dinner for 2 people in 20 restaurants across the city. At just $26 a ticket, sales were active and are continuing still. At the raffle drawing, Maayon Yisrael Center has organized a drum circle and Pizza for not-tobe-missed family entertainment. Rabbi Wolf gave a rousing lecture after Benny Friedman’s performance. After the noise of the band, it was a dramatic shift which mesmerized the audience. He retold the story of a Chassidic Rabbi who was visited by a married man. The man complained bitterly that he could not earn the money he needed to pay the marriage
fee for his daughter’s wedding. In those days, the authorities demanded the fee before allowing a Jewish wedding to take place. The Rebbe listened to the complaint and decided to take Hashem to court. He wanted to sue Hashem to see if the man was justified. The Rebbe spent hours reading and evaluating the obligation of Jewish people to get married. Finally, he made his decision. Hashem was obligated to help fulfill this mitzvah. If our will to comply is strong enough, Hashem has to enable us to fulfill his will, providing that we are sincere in our outcry for help. And this is how we must pray. This is how we are guaranteed that our needs will be met. Please visit maayon.com/raffle for raffle tickets, or call 323 638 6578. Raffle Prizes, Drum Circle and Pizza Evening is at 9.30pm, Saturday April 5th, 140 N La Brea Ave, LA 90036. See ad in this issue for more details about upcoming raffle.
Emek takes home 4 out 6 awards at Model UN program By Sandra R’bibo
For the second year, Emek Hebrew Academy was proud to enter students into the Model United Nations that was held at YULA High School on Sunday, March 23. 16 students, both boys and girls from Middle School, participated with vibrant debate on hypothetical and actual issues that could face different countries around the world. Awards were given to the best speakers and Emek students swept the stage winning four out of the six awards for their committees. The 7th and 8th grade students invested their time in understanding different political scenarios at the mock United Nations program, which included students from Hillel, Yavneh, and Maimonides. All the Emek students were placed on security councils and debated issues as diverse as Narco-terrorism and the civil war in Syria. 8th grader Jacob G. won the “best delegate” award, while 7th and 8th graders
Rivkah A., Clara S. and Daniel F. took home honorable mentions. The students had been preparing for this event for months, and they were guided to victory by their history teacher Ms. Jessica Jimenez, as well as by experienced model UN YULA students Eitan Meisels and Rachel Loffman. Thank you so much to all of them for their tremendous time and expertise. To view a video of the debates by our students, visit: http://bit.ly/emekmodelUN
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Kenesset Israel Torah Center of Sacramento Holds Informational Meeting “I’m here today because there seems to be an attitude in the Jewish world that there’s Los Angeles, Chicago, New York – and other than that there’s nothing.” So says Rabbi Joel Zeff at the Los Angeles Information Session for Kenesset Israel Torah Center of Sacramento, CA. Held on Sunday at the LA home of Alex & Jen
Altberg, who are themselves making the move north to Sacramento from LA, the event was warm and intimate. Rabbi Zeff described the Sacramento community by noting, “There is achdut and shalom. There’s no fighting.” And there are currently sixty member families. Rabbi Zeff is equally enthusiastic about the city of Sacramento. “Sacramento is a wonderful place,” he said. “You have the
symphony, world-class museums, outdoor sports and recreation. It’s also a beautiful place; they actually call it the city of trees. We live in a very frantic world. But people are friendly there. No one honks at you. The quality of life is beautiful.” The Kenesset Israel community was founded in Sacramanto in1982 and has come a long way since then. They have an eruv, established by Rabbi Adir Posy. They have a close relationship with Chabad of Sacramento, which recently built a new mikvah building. There is plentiful kosher food available, and a highly-rated Kindergarten through 6th Jewish day school. The Shalom School has been in the community for 25 years. While there is no high school yet, no-one is ruling one out. “Everything is a function of the community’s needs,” says Rabbi Zeff. Dale Debber is one of those members. He made the trip down to the LA meeting in support of the growth effort. “We have a wonderful Orthodox community in Sacramento,” he said. “It’s clear that adding to that community will make it more wonderful.” He and his family have been in Sacramento for over 22 years; it’s where his kids grew up. And he isn’t bothered by it being out-of-the way. “Do we have as many restaurants? No. But we have a pioneering spirit, which is very valuable – and very Jewish.” Michael Feldman, another attendee
of Sunday’s meeting, was also enthusiastic about his experiences in Sacramento. ““They have achieved a most remarkable balance between openness and seriousness,” he said. “Knesset Israel is, on the one hand, open, very friendly, and truly inclusive of Jews across and beyond the Orthodox spectrum; yet, it also fosters a truly reverent atmosphere with regard to prayer and Torah study. I’ve never encountered a place that gets it quite as right as Kenesset Israel,” he said. “Having a leader like Rabbi Zeff, as well as the lay-people there, brings the best out of everybody. There’s a palpable spirituality and sense of purpose that is truly unique.” In addition to the warm community and quality of life, Sacramento boasts one other major advantage: affordability. “Not everyone can live in Beverlywood,” says Rabbi Zeff. Alex Altberg also stresses the less expensive cost of living. $200,000 starter homes are widely available alongside a thriving job market which includes
government, health, academic, and high tech jobs. “For people who want to live in a truly affordable Orthodox community while enjoying what California has to offer, Sacramento is the only choice,” he says. Rabbi Zeff agrees. “We want people to know that if you want to live a full Jewish life, in a place with a high quality of life, Sacramento is the most affordable option.” This was the first of a series of events to introduce Kenesset Israel to LA. For more information, contact Rabbi Joel Zeff at email@example.com.
Three Avenues to Improve the Shidduch Process By Rabbi Daniel Schneierson
From my experience as one of the only full-time Presidents of a Non-Profit Shidduch Organization (Besuros Tovos-Bashert.net) I would like to share with you different avenues that will B’ezras Hashem drastically improve the Shidduch Process for our boys and our girls. In truth there is no crisis in Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s eyes (Caviyachol). We just have to use our abilities to change the manmade challenges that we have created. First of all, we encourage our shadchanim to meet all of our members personally if they haven’t already. According to Rabbi Reisman and many other top Rabbanim and Talmidei Chachamim, we must remember that the word shidduch is an Aramaic word that means, “Calm and Gentle”. Here are a few steps we as a Tzibbur, as a community, can take now to restore that calmness to the Shidduch Process. While Bochurim are esteemed for their
desire to learn and to grow, they need not be worshipped because this creates an ego that is hard to work with. Some young men and their families have been shameless in their requests and the family of the young ladies must be clear about this. It is vital not to feed the Gaavah or smug feelings that boys can have. In particular, a young man is not doing a favor in agreeing to meet a particular girl. Secondly, if Shadchanim or a boy’s parents represent that they have a long list to choose from, the young man will feel his is too important and this haughtiness makes the dating process unrealistic. My advice to the girl and her parents is to speak to a boy’s parents or their Shadchan and refuse to agree that every good boy has 20-100 suitable girls to meet! It is definitely not true! Both boy’s parents and girl’s parents have to stop talking about the boys “LIST”. If you keep talking about some-
thing that isn’t true you make it seem believable. I have spoken to many boys and their parents about this and the reality is that no-one has a list of more than 5 or 10 real possibilities. Thirdly, until Klal Yisroel hires thousands of full time Shadchanim, we as Klal Yisoel need to work through one centralized system as much as possible, so we can actually limit each boy or girl to 1020 suggestions. My heart says to me that twenty suggestions are certainly enough. However, even great people can’t do as much with a pen and paper as they can do with a $250,000 piece of software that organizes their clients for them beautifully and uses Smart Technology. To that end our non-profit Besuros Tovos has created a powerful tool for shadchanim, parents of singles or singles themselves. We are living in the times of brilliant algorithmic software solutions. Our tech-
nology organizes the process for families, or they can use bashert.net. Unfortunately, it is now a Chumra Hamayvee Lidei Kulah to operate without the best technology and the technology is just used to save the Shadchanim time and find the best matches for a boy or girl in 10 seconds. Then the Shadchan goes and reads the many profiles suggested for a particular boy or girl, and proceeds the way Shidduchim have been doing for the last one hundred years, and more. As you can imagine, we can now programmatically, (I write this with a hopeful heart,) prevent mistreatment of girls by limiting each boy to a few suggestions at one time. This would make everyone’s life easier. Article Written by Rabbi Daniel Schneierson President of Besuros Tovos and www.bashert.net
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Awaiting His Arrival By Rabbi Sholom Kesselman
“because” fit in here? It sounds like we are asking G-d to send Moshiach just because we hope for him every day, as if the waiting alone is reason enough for him to come? He answers that indeed this is the case. The hoping for Moshiach alone is reason enough for G-d to send Him. And so we ask G-d three times every day to send us Moshiach just because we await and hope for his coming. The Sefas Emes (the Gerer Rebbe, 1847 – 1905) commented: “The redemption will occur in a generation whose only merit is their yearning for Moshiach. It will not matter that they will be inferior to the Jews of prior generations …. ”. In addition to hoping for and eagerly awaiting Moshiach, we are also supposed
writes in his explanation to the Siddur: “It does not suffice to request, we must demand the redemption. One must demand the redemption in the same manner
in which an employee asks for his salary. The halacha is that unless an employee demands his wages there is no obligation on the employer to pay on that same day. We too must demand the redemption, for if we do not then we render it an unimportant matter.”
Rabbi Yosef Yitchak Schnnerson (the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, 1880 – 1950) writes: “If all Jews, young and old were to collectively say “father in heaven, it is enough, have pity on us and send us our Moshiach”, then Moshiach would certainly come.” We eagerly await Moshiach because that is the normal human behavior for when we are excited about an upcoming event. Additionally the waiting and hoping for Moshiach will bring Moshiach. It is the merit that we need in order to deserve to be taken out of exile. And lastly, it is not sufficient to just eagerly await him, we must pray, ask and demand from G-d that he send us Moshiach today. When G-d hears this demand from us, he will surely listen and send us our righteous redeemer.
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Answer: There is actually something profoundly wrong with this question. Asking: “What point is there in eagerly awaiting Moshiach”, is equivalent to asking: “What point is there in eagerly awaiting the arrival of your best friend whom you have not seen in years? You don’t choose to do it because there is something to be gained; it is a natural instinctive reaction. When you know something very special is going to happen, you get excited and you eagerly wait for that moment to arrive. The same is true about Moshiach. To a Jew there is nothing more exciting and amazing than the coming of Moshiach, so naturally we eagerly await it every day. The anticipation of Moshiach’s arrival is not some rational decision we make and decide to do; it is an instinctive emotional reaction to our believing that he will come. So it doesn’t make sense to ask: “What is the point of waiting Moshiach’s coming”; there doesn’t have to be a point, when you truly believe it you automatically await it. In truth however, there is something to be gained by eagerly anticipating Moshiach’s arrival and it is actually extremely vital to the process of bringing Moshiach. Moshiach (redemption) is not something we are supposed to just sit back and wait for; we have to make it happen. It is our job to work and do what is needed to bring Moshiach. Although ultimately G-d will send Moshiach no matter what, we have the ability to bring him a lot sooner than he would otherwise come. In fact it is possible for Moshiach to come on any and every day, as Moshiach himself famously told the sage Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi: “I am coming today (if you will hearken to
to constantly pray and ask G-d to send him. Praying and asking for Moshiach will bring him that much sooner. We find this sentiment expressed in the writings of many Gedolim. Rabbi Yitchak Avuhav (Spain, 1300 – 1500) in his famous work Menorah Hamaor, writes: “By virtue of their actions alone, the Jewish people did not completely merit to be redeemed from Egypt. It was only due to them crying out because of their bondage that they were redeemed.” Rabbi Chaim of Volzhin (1749 – 1821) in his famous Nefesh Hachaim writes: “If we would only concentrate in our prayers about the pain of the Shechina due to the long and bitter exile, we would certainly merit an answer and be redeemed completely. We ourselves are to blame for we do not seriously take to heart the “pain” of the Shechina.” The Chofetz Chaim (1838 – 1933)
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APRIL 3, 2014
Question: I understand that Halacha requires us to eagerly await Moshiach’s arrival every day, but what is the point of it? What is gained by constantly anticipating his arrival? Why shouldn’t we just go on with life and leave it up to G-d to send Moshiach when the time comes?
G-d’s voice). “ All the good deeds that we do help speed up Moshiach’s arrival but there is one specific tool that is extremely powerful and efficient for bringing Moshaich and that is the hoping for and awaiting his coming. The very anticipation of Moshiach itself is what brings Moshiach. When we feel pained by living in exile and truly want Moshiach, we are deserving of his coming. In the Amidah (Shmona Esrei) we say: “Speedily cause the scion of David Your servant to flourish, and increase his power by Your salvation, because we hope for Your salvation all day. Blessed are You L-rd, who causes the power of salvation to flourish.” The Chida (1724 – 1806) in his Midbar Kdemos asks: How does the word
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APRIL 3, 2014
Get Refusal - The Local Response By Alisa Roberts
Get refusal is an issue that the wider world seems to be taking notice of lately. Last November the New York Post printed an article about Gital Dodelson and her three-year battle for a get. This past week the New York Times ran an article about Meir Kin’s wedding and the controversy surrounding it because of his long refusal to give his first wife a get. The discussion of get refusal and agunot is no longer limited to the Jewish community. But what about the discussion within the Jewish community? Los Angeles may not be the center of any of these high-profile agunah cases, but that doesn’t mean we’ve avoided the issue. “A week does not go by without Rabbi Davidi, the RCC’s Mesader Gittin, and myself fielding calls from community members in the throes of divorce seeking guidance on moving a get forward,” says Rabbi Avrohom Union, Rabbinic Administrator for the Rabbinical Council of California. LA is not immune and there is infrastructure in place to help solve the more difficult cases. While most cases of get refusal are the husband refusing to give a get, there are also instances where the wife will refuse to receive a get. The RCC helps in several ways. “We counsel, we offer strategies. When it comes to cases that may need a high degree of intervention, we sometimes refer the case to an outside organization, typically ORA.” ORA is the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot and was founded in 2002. In the past 12 years, they have assisted in the resolution of 214 agunah cases. They get an average of 150 calls per year from women looking for assistance in the Jewish divorce process, and at any given time they are working on about 50 agunah cases. According to Rabbi Jeremy
Stern, ORA’s Executive Director, they are currently involved in several cases in the Los Angeles community. “We work with local communities, rabbis, and Batei Dinim. We are working on several cases with the RCC,” he says. But are these cases, the ones that don’t make the New York Times, really such a problem? Yes, they truly are. Get refusal is not a side effect of an acrimonious split; it is something much darker. “A critical message that we always try to relay,” says Rabbi Stern, “is the fact that the refusal to issue a Jewish divorce is a form of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is defined not by bruises but by a pattern of controlling behavior, and that is exactly what get refusal is.” And just like other forms of abuse, get refusal is a community issue. As Rabbi Stern explains, “A support system that excuses and justifies this behavior, enables and empowers abusers. So what makes a critical difference is when a community stands up and says, ‘We will not tolerate this abuse within our midst.” The LA community recently did just that. Rabbis, community members, and students from Shalhevet High School made the long trip to Las Vegas to participate in a rally in protest of Kin’s wedding. Rabbi Ari Segal, Head of School at Shalhevet, describes the protest: “I would say the most intense moment took place after we had been chanting for a while and a bit of fatigue was starting to set in and there was uncertainty whether we were having an impact. And then suddenly we spotted Mr. Kin and his new “bride” walking out of the wedding hall to a smaller area, and the rally group exploded in intense chanting.” Rabbi Segal’s response to this moment is perhaps more powerful than the moment itself. “At that moment,” he says, “there was a sense among the attendees that we
had accomplished something important: Mr. Kin and his family would know that we will not stand by silently while he abuses Lonna and distorts and perverts Judaism. We will continue to raise our voices until he makes the right decision.” That sentiment is echoed over and over again by community rabbis in LA. Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of B’nai David-Judea, who was also at the rally, speaks of another important moment. “I think one of the most significant moments may have been out of the spotlight altogether when Rabbi Topp and I had the opportunity to talk with one of the local Chabad rabbis about exerting social pressure upon this man to uphold his moral and religious responsibility to divorce his first wife. We’re hoping that they will decide to exclude him from davening with the community, and hopefully even to publicly denounce his actions.” Rabbi Kalman Topp of Beth Jacob noted that these efforts did not stop at the rally. “The community rabbis are following up after the rally and are continuing to put pressure on him,” says Rabbi Topp. “There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes now, trying to solve that situation.” This isn’t the only way our community’s rabbis are combating this issue. Rabbi Kanefsky, Rabbi Topp, and Rabbi Elazar Muskin of Young Israel of Century City have all taken the same stand in an effort to rid our community of this issue and they will no longer officiate at a wedding without a halachic prenuptial agreement. “All of the Modern Orthodox pulpit rabbis in this community are of one mindset, and we will not officiate without a prenup” says Rabbi Muskin. “We’re talking about the prenup authorized by the RCA, written by the Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Willig, with the approval of major halachic authorities throughout the world.”
Rabbi Topp shares how he explains this stance to couples who come to him: “What I tell every couple is that they don’t need this agreement because they’re going to be married in happiness. But they need to sign it to make sure that it’s standardized, so it will help that couple that needs it. I think all rabbis should make it a rule that they only officiate a wedding if there is a halachic prenuptial agreement.” Rabbi Muskin goes a step further: “I think its malpractice today to officiate without it.” Just how effective is this agreement? Rabbi Muskin explained, “I was involved in four cases where, because they had a prenup, it went relatively smoothly and we got the get,” he said. To raise awareness about the halachic prenup and the difference it can make, Rabbis Kanefsky, Muskin, and Topp are planning on collaborating on a post-nuptial event later this year. “We’re going to invite couples from the community who are already married but who never signed a prenup, either because it didn’t exist yet when they were getting married, or because the rabbis did not ask them to do it, to sign a post-nuptial agreement,” says Rabbi Kanefsky. “The signing will be accompanied by a significant lecture from a visiting scholar, and we hope it will be a very high-profile event that will raise awareness about the prenup.” Awareness and use of the prenup is a tremendous weapon in this fight. As Rabbi Stern says, “We can effectively inoculate the Jewish community from the plight of agunot, if everyone were to sign a halachic prenuptial agreement.” While our community rabbis are making important progress, they cannot solve this problem alone. “One of the challenges in Las Vegas up until this rally was the fact that there were community members and rabbis who were not outraged by the fact
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sides, facilitating the Beit Din process, speaking with family friends, colleagues, associates, community members, rabbis, and attorneys of both parties, particularly the recalcitrant party, to convince them to give the get amicably. If and when we’ve exhausted all forms of amicable resolution to a case, then we resort to using all halachically acceptable and civilly legal
ditionally,” says Rabbi Topp. This idea of a community standard is echoed by everyone involved with this issue. Rabbi Muskin does not mince words: “You end your relationship with your wife; you must issue the get. A get is not a document to be used in any way shape or form for any other agenda but divorce. Any other use is unacceptable, intolerable and unethical, and the community is responsible to make sure this doesn’t happen.” The real reluctance that community members face in ostracizing a recalcitrant husband actually comes from a kind place – one of giving the benefit of the doubt. “There is an attitude that there are two sides to every story,” says Rabbi Stern. “How can I condemn a man if I don’t know the full story?” While this attitude stems from compassion, in the case of get refusal that compassion is misplaced. “There may be two sides to the story of what actually happened in the marriage. But once the
marriage is over, there’s never an excuse to refuse to give a get. Get refusal is never justified. It’s never, ever OK to beat your wife. And just as that form of abuse is not OK, so refusing to give a get is never OK.” The other issues involved in the breakup of a marriage are important ones. But we have means of dealing with those issues as well. “If people want to fight out finances or custody, we have a fair legal system that you can go to, and you can address these issues on their own terms,” says Rabbi Stern. “If you want to have a custody battle, go ahead. Make your best arguments in court, or go to Beit Din, or go to a mediator, or go to an arbitrator. There are other fair forums which you can use to resolve outstanding issues. But you cannot negotiate when you have a gun to your head. You can’t come to a fair resolution to any outstanding issues when someone is holding a get over someone else.”
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and Meir is now not welcome in any of the Chabad synagogues in Las Vegas. That’s why these demonstrations are so important: to make the very clear statement that what he is doing is not accepted by the community.” It’s important to note that public demonstrations are never the first effort at resolution. ORA is not usually even involved in a case until there is a stall or a breakdown in the process, and even once they become involved there is a long list of methods they use. “Once we take on the case,” explains Rabbi Stern, “we first try to resolve things amicably by opening lines of communication between the two
forms of pressure.” These can include demonstrations and boycotting of a business, and work to ostracize the individual from the Jewish community, so we create the environment for family and friends to create pressure. What most of these forms of pressure have in common is that they require community support to be effective. A few rabbis and an ORA representative will put a recalcitrant husband in an uncomfortable position but when an entire community turns their backs on him it can create an untenable one. “The standard in the community must be that once a couple has separated irreversibly, the get has to be given uncon-
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that Meir Kin has refused to give Lonna Kin a get for over nine years,” explains Rabbi Stern. “Part of the problem in this case in particular, is that Meir Kin has had the support of his family members, who have been excusing and justifying, aiding and abetting his abusive behavior. It took this additional level of him taking on another wife for the rabbis to come around,
THE JEWISH HOME
APRIL 3, 2014
Hearts Opened Wide
One of the most resonant proclamations made at the Seder is the one recited right at the beginning of Maggid, when we say, “Kol dichfin yeisei veyeichol kol ditzrich yeisei veyifsach.” The sweeping declaration made in homes everywhere invites all those who are hungry to join in the Pesach Seder. By the time we issue this invitation, we are seated comfortably at our tables. Everyone has their seat and the door is firmly shut. Of what use is it to sit in the privacy of our homes and issue a public invitation that we know will go unheard by anyone outside of our immediate vicinity? It may be that the statement is an oblique reference to the activities of the previous few weeks. The baal haseder lets everyone know that even though he sits at the head of a splendid table, feeling every bit the king, he has not forgotten to share the wealth. As he sets out to relive Geulas Mitzrayim, he affirms that he has participated in the call for ma’os chittim and kimcha depischa, and has done what he can so that those less fortunate than him can also sit comfortably with their families at their Sedorim. He begins his Seder by reassuring his family that their rejoicing and celebration are complete because they have shared their bounty with others. They have been selfless and caring and can thus begin to tell the tale of redemption. Around now, our anticipation mounts for the yom tov, when we will celebrate cheirus. On that night, we will not only remember Yetzias Mitzrayim as we do throughout the year, but will celebrate it
with song, wine and food, feeling as if we ourselves were redeemed. We joyously look forward to the Seder’s drama, the family resplendent in their yom tov finery, gathered around the festive table, graced by the ke’arah, the Arba Kosos, and the matzos. A part of our preparation for the evening is the need to ensure that our kol dichfin declaration will be truthful, with meaning and significance. We wish to make certain that it isn’t lip service, but actual service. The opening statement of Maggid, the central part of the Seder, does not pertain to Yetzias Mitzrayim, slavery or redemption per se. Rather, it addresses what makes us Jews and our very fiber as a nation, for how can we experience the Seder properly if we did not meet our obligations to others? How can we celebrate nationhood if we cut ourselves off from the needs of other people? Therefore, as we set out on the grandest trip of the year, we invite anyone who can benefit from our assistance to join. Only after we are content that we have done what we can for our brothers and sisters can we enjoy the Seder: every man a king, every woman a queen, and every child a shining angel. Sometimes, we envision needy people as in a children’s storybook illustration, with tattered clothing and gaunt faces. In truth, all too often, the people who need help making yom tov might well have decent suits and respectable jobs. They are people like you, who work hard all week to make ends meet. They just need a bit more at this time of year. On Shabbos Chol Hamoed, we will read a haftorah that tells how Yechezkel Hanovi brought life to dry bones. By extending ourselves for our friends, neighbors and the community around us, we might well be re-enacting the novi’s miracle, allowing good people to hold their heads high, carrying on with the self-respect and pride denied to them when their cupboards are bare. We all know that the economic reality in 2014 is that it is a challenge to make ends meet even when both parents work. Daily living expenses are so high that families are increasingly crushed and unable
to crawl out from under the mounting piles of unpaid bills. The costs of a mortgage, rent, cars, insurance, tuitions, and electricity, not to mention food, clothing and everything else, are just too much for too many people. Yom tov should be a time that people happily look forward to, awaiting the brachos associated with the chag hageulah. Alas, too many people lay awake at night worrying about how they will be able to afford everything their family needs. We, who are able to, must do what we can to help restore the faith and self-respect of people who suffer silently and daven for a yeshuah so that they can hold their heads above water. Yidden are blessed with heightened instincts. One of them is to give generously and intelligently. One year, on Erev Pesach in the town of Slonim, Reb Yosef Charif received a distressed looking woman in his study. The wife of one of the town’s successful businessmen, Reb Nota Hirsch, was seriously distraught. She confided that her husband had suffered severe financial setbacks and lost all his money. She had waited for things to work out, but here they were, on Erev Pesach, with not a coin in the house. She had nothing to cook. They were going to starve this yom tov. She begged the rov for assistance. The insightful rov was stunned by the revelation of what happened to this proud family. He had nothing to give her. He had already distributed all the moas chittim he had raised and had no money of his own to help the proud family out of their predicament. He sat there deep in thought and then opened his eyes and spoke, assuring the broken woman that he could help her, provided that she would follow his instructions. “Tell your husband that when he wishes me gut Yom Tov after davening tonight in shul, he should whisper in my ear. Something. Anything. But he should bend over and whisper it to me.” The woman returned home and tearfully recounted the conversation to her husband. After davening on leil Pesach, a line of Slonimer Jews, enveloped by the joy and spirit of yom tov, surrounded the rov, wishing him a gut yom tov. Then the prominent Reb Nota Hirsch walked up to
the rov, leaned over and whispered into his ear. Reb Yosef jumped, as if bitten by a snake. “Oy!” he loudly lamented, shaking his head to and fro. “That’s terrible. It is chometz. Everything is chometz. You can’t use any of it. I’m sorry, Reb Nota, but that is the halacha.” The crowd heard the rov’s words and everyone drew the same conclusion. Reb Nota had asked about some accident in his kitchen, and the rov had ruled that everything in the house was forbidden. The people in shul were quick to react. Reb Yankel assured Reb Nota that he had extra matzos and Reb Moshe offered wine. Reb Hershel had plenty of soup and boiled chicken, and Reb Boruch’s wife had made too much kugel. Reb Berel had extra tzimiss. This one had maror to spare, while that one had charoses. That night, from all directions, the good people of Slonim descended on Reb Nota Hirsch’s home bearing boxes, dishes and trays, eager to help a family deprived of yom tov necessities. People came throughout the evening, as word of the mishap spread. Thanks to the rov’s wisdom, Reb Nota and his family would not go hungry that yom tov. This is not only a story about the rov’s wisdom. There is a deeper message. The rov was fully confident that his plan would work. He knew that the people of the town would swiftly and generously react and rush to the aid of the stricken family. Now is a difficult time of year to ask people for money. Purim, when people opened their hearts and wallets to a stream of mosdos and individuals, is not far behind. Pesach is expensive as well. The claim that “We just gave” is easy to make. However, the response to that argument was given by the Ribbono Shel Olam Himself many years ago in the midbar. In Parshas Ki Sisa, Moshe Rabbeinu was instructed to collect a half-shekel from every man for the bedek habayis of the Mishkon. The Medrash states that Moshe had difficulty comprehending the commandment, so Hashem showed him a coin of fire to explain what was needed. Many ask what lesson the Medrash is imparting. Why did Moshe have to see the coin?
were exiled because of poverty.” The Medrash (Eichah 1:28), in one of its explanations, states that the Jews were exiled from Eretz Yisroel because they didn’t help the poor. Therefore, as we begin the Seder, celebrating our original redemption, we proclaim that we will feed the poor and hope that, in that merit, we will be redeemed from the present golus. Is there a better way to expend the effort to make that a reality than by contributing to assist people in celebrating yom tov? We lain Parshas Shekolim as we head into Purim and Pesach to drive home the message. We engage in kimcha depischa campaigns, to help provide food for those who need assistance feeding their families, because Pesach is the holiday of geulah. At this time of year, when geulah is in the air and the potential for redemption is stronger than ever, we put ourselves out by donating charity for the poor, thus accruing added merits to be in ara d’Yisroel next year. Chazal say, “B’Nissan nigalu b’Nissan asidin lehigo’eil” (Rosh Hashanah 11a). Nissan is the month of geulah. This is the month in which Yitzchok was born and the Akeidah took place, almost ending his life. The merit of the Akeidah stands by us until this very day, as we say in the tefillos of Rosh Hashanah, “ve’akeidas Yitzchok hayom berachamim tizkor.” That sanctification of our forefather transpired during the month of Nissan, presaging it as a period of redemption. During Nissan, Yaakov received from Yitzchok the brachos that sustain us until this day. If we sanctify ourselves and work to make ourselves worthy, we can also earn redemption from that which binds us. A primary mode of preparing ourselves to be
APRIL 3, 2014
returning the favor done for him years earlier. The menahel was thrilled by the gracious offer and informed the donor that he had just the boy, a wonderful child from a respectable chinuch family. The donor said he didn’t want to know the recipient, but wanted his Hebrew name and the name of his mother. He explained that if he would be funding the boy’s education, he wanted to daven for him as well, as he did for his own children. The menahel was moved by the request, and the generous benefactor included the boy in his daily tefillos. The arrangement continued for years. The beneficiary progressed nicely in school, moving from grade to grade, while his anonymous sponsor davened for his continued success. Mr. Torgow shared the astonishing conclusion to the story, which he heard from the benefactor. “After so many years of davening for that boy along with my prayers for my children’s success, I felt like he was part of my family,” the man related. And guess what? He now is! A few months ago he married my daughter. Someone redd the shidduch. We had no idea that he was the boy whose tuition I had paid and davened for all these years. Hashem paid us back.” Like a flame; sharing its fire without losing anything. We must share our blessings, secure in the knowledge that we will never lose by doing so. In Ha Lachma Anya, after we invite the poor to join the Seder, we express the hope that next year, we will celebrate as bnei chorin in Eretz Yisroel. What is the connection between these two ideas? The posuk in Eichah (1:3) states, “Golsah Yehudah mei’oni - The Jewish people
25 THE JEWISH HOME
Why was it shown in fire? What was so hard to understand about the mandate to solicit a half-shekel from everyone? Rav Shlomo Heiman explains that the Jews had just generously donated their possessions towards the construction of the Mishkon. Moshe was hesitant to approach them again for a donation. “They just gave,” he protested. “How can I go back to them now and ask for more?” Hashem showed him a coin of fire to signify that just as fire spreads and lights other materials without losing any of its power, so too, when a Jew donates money for a good cause, he never loses by doing so. “Go back and ask them for the money for the Mishkon,” Hashem said, “and let them know that they will only gain by giving.” A candle can ignite other candles, yet the original flame will lack nothing. So too, the Ribbono Shel Olam was teaching, a Yid can give and not worry about it affecting him negatively. He can give and then give again. Giving only enhances our situation. My dear friend, Mr. Gary Torgow, spoke at a Torah Umesorah conference and shared a moving story about a young man from a low-income family. He went to the local yeshiva, but since his parents were unable to pay tuition, the menahel raised the money necessary to keep the boy in school. When the young man graduated, he moved on, eventually marrying and settling elsewhere. He went to work and prospered. He gave tzedokah generously, but there was an old debt he wished to repay. He called his former menahel and asked him to identify a boy who, like him decades prior, came from a family unable to pay tuition. This gentleman would cover the boy’s tuition,
worthy of those blessings is through tzedokah, and a prime means of attaining that ultimate geulah is through tzedokah, as the posuk famously says, “Tziyon bemishpot tipodeh veshoveha b’tzedokah.” Rabi Elozor is quoted in the Gemara in Maseches Sukkah (49b) as stating that one who engages in acts of tzedokah is greater than all the karbonos - “gadol ha’oseh tzedokah mikol hakorbanos.” We don’t have the Bais Hamikdosh. We don’t have the mekor of kedushah. It is so difficult to draw ourselves closer to Hashem and make ourselves worthy of geulah. Tzedokah remains a way for us to achieve that goal. Tzedokah presents an opportunity to tap into the power of geulah. Rich or poor, we can realize it if our hearts are opened wide enough. The final door to redemption will be opened through generosity, charity, concern and dedication to helping others. Perhaps this is the connection between the season of giving that precedes Pesach and the yom tov itself. Before the hashpa’ah of geulah descends from Heaven, we are granted an opportunity to actualize the geulah through increased tzedokah. On Pesach, we celebrate becoming a nation. Being a nation means that we feel responsible for one another. There are so many worthy organizations that will help ensure that your tzedokah dollars reach the right address. We are doing our best to help and would be grateful if you allowed us to be your partners. You can send your generous checks to our Family Aid Fund at 53 Olympia Lane, Monsey, NY, 10952. Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev was once told about a situation in which the local matzoh bakery was employing local orphan girls, working them throughout the long day and into the night under difficult, slave-like conditions. To add insult to injury, the destitute girls were being paid the bare minimum for their impossibly hard work. The rebbe got up in shul and called out, “Throughout the generations, the gentiles have falsely accused us of using the blood of their children in the matzos. We all know that this is a lie! But something even worse is happening here in our town. The blood in the matzos this year will be that of our own Yiddishe techter!” Needless to say, the situation was quickly rectified. We must all do what we can to alleviate the suffering of the good people among us who need some extra help at this time of year. Chazal say that a metzora is choshuv kemeis; although he is alive, he is considered dead. Rav Chaim Shmulevitz famously explains that life means being able to give and benefit others. Since the metzora sits in solitude, he is deprived of the most crucial part of the human experience. He cannot give and is therefore considered dead. Nissan is the month when we were reborn. The signs of life begin with the ability and willingness to give. Let’s join together by extending our hands, helping to usher in an enjoyable yom tov for all, and bring about the geulah sheleimah bekarov.
Thoughts on the Haggadah Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn
THE JEWISH HOME
APRIL 3, 2014
In a failed attempt to curse Israel the evil prophet Bilaam slipped and blessed them by declaring: «מה טבו אהליך יעקב משכנותיך "“ישראלhow good are your tents Yakov and your dwelling places Israel.” What made these tents so good? Our tradition teaches us what was most impressive about these tents is that there was such a sense of modesty that they never had their openings facing each other – לא היו פתחיהן מכוונים זה כנגד (זהliterally translated: their openings were not equal to each other). Through these misaligned doors, Bilaam was impressed about the privacy that the Jewish people upheld. On Pesach night our entrances comport with this tradition of misaligned doors as well. The Talmud in Brachos says that in any personal effort to return to G-d we are supposed to start by making a little hole the size of the eye of a needle and G-d opens for us as a hole as large as the door of an ante-chamber. We make a little hole allowing G-d in, and in turn G-d opens up a huge door. Rav Zev Cheshen Z”L says that this is the same idea that our openings aren’t parallel. We need a small awakening and G-d opens up a giant one. The Sefas Emes takes this idea one step further and says that on Pesach G-d passed over the entrances. G-d skipped over the doors of Israel and spared their lives in Egypt. He skipped over the opening. On Pesach we don’t even need that little hole the size of the eye of a needle. On Pesach G-d initiates by opening the door. Are we ready to welcome the Infinite One into our lives?
On an ordinary Shabbos or at another Yom Tov meal the Kiddush comes before the washing. But Urchatz (the ritual washing that appears only on this night) is not the traditional washing and therefore the placement of Kadesh before Urchatz needs to be questioned. Shouldn’t an act of purification come before sanctification baed upon the principle of sur m’rah v’asey tov – “turn away from the bad and do good”? Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam the Bobover Rebbe says that it’s a great way to introduce the seder. The seder is supposed to begin with us at our lowest, mired in slavery and from that depth we work our way way up. But you
only really appreciate how far you’ve come if for a moment you can stand on a mountaintop and look down, or stand on a rooftop and get a whole perspective of where you’re headed on this evening. This is why we start the night from the kadesh. We start at the top, sanctification, on top of the cliff where from this vantage point we can look and appreciate how far we’ve come. Once we take that that perspective we are ready to begin the sedar and move back to the beginning.
מה נשתנה.... The marquee moment for children at the Seder (who don’t make it until the Afikomen) is the asking of the four questions. When thinking about the four questions – it’s interesting to take notice that many Passover elements are remiss from the questions. We have to ask ourselves why these specific four? Rav Asher Weiss notes that these questions have one common denominator. They all relate to the primary tension of the evening: is this a night to recall – slavery or freedom, שיעבודor גאולה. On one hand we eat reclining, and on the other hand we eat bitter herbs. Similarly, the Matzah reminds us of servitude (poor man’s bread), and on the other hand it’s our food of freedom. Dipping in the Charoses is subject to a debate. According to some opinions it is the blood shed by our ancestors, and according to other opinions the sweetness is a symbol of freedom. With each question highlighting this tension the answer perfectly resolves the tension in but one phrase: (מתחיל בגנות ומסיים בשבחbegin in denigration and conclude in praise). On this evening we remember both extremes, and use the bad as a blackwash by which the freedom is better able to stand up.
2# מה נשתנה
“Mah Nishtana Halayla Hazeh Mikol Haleilot…Shebechol haleilot anu ochlin chametz umatzah, halayla hazeh kulo matzah” “Why is this night different than all other nights? For on all other nights we eat Chametz and Matzah, yet on this night only Matzah? Why are we now asking why we eat matzah; didn’t we already answer this question one paragraph before in the הא לחמא עניאpassage? The הא לחמא עניא follows the (יחץthe breaking of the matzah)– meaning: the paragraph of הא לחמא עניאonly explained why we broke the matzah and used the broken piece but the basic concept itself of matzah that has not been explained. Alternatively, we could answer that the underlying question in the Mah Nishtana is that if the eating is patterned after the Exodus then we should have matzah and chametz for is that not the bread of free people? Therefore we answer that this bread which
we eat – it’s because we didn’t have enough time to let the bread rise until Hashem took us out and therefore the very symbol of servitude serves as the symbol of freedom.
On occasion I have the challenging, yet rewarding, task of working with at-risk teens. In one pre-Pesach class I decided to present a possibly contentious interpretation of the Haggadah. I was curious to see how these students would react. The interpretation is that of the brilliant Rav Yoel Teitelbaum ZT”L, the Satmar Rov. The Satmar Rov was known for his sharp wit and tough talk. He raises the question of why we perform theyachatz (breaking the middle matzah) before beginning themaggid (recounting of the story of the Exodus) portion of the Haggadah. The Satmar Rov answers that in order to properly begin a holy endeavor we must first discard all that is bad from our midst. We must break off and cast aside the wicked, theapikores, those that tend to bring us down with their moral failings and lack of Jewish observance. The moment I shared this thought, I could see the blood of my students reddening. But it was the insight of one student, who we shall call David, that shook my perspective of the Passover Seder. David tends to come off as irreverent, lost, and at times depressed. But at this moment he had reached a level of clarity seldom seen by anyone. He turned to me and with blazing passion in his eyes, he said “I disagree! We do not cast away this broken matzah. In fact, we hide it, protect it, and when the time is right – at the highlight of our Seder – Tzafun, the emergence of the Afikomen, we bring that “discarded” one front and center.” We may need an occasional “time out”, but we are never out of love’s reach.
The same old story every single year. Isn’t it time we wrote the sequel? Or perhaps we did a remake Haggada with modern application? The Baal HeNesivos says that the main point of retelling the very same story each year is to realize that the (חסדkindness) that was done in earlier generations is not divorced from us today. The חסדthat was done back then was not an isolated incident. ""כי לעולם חסדו. The חסדthat was done at the Exodus still affects us today. We are the modern application of that kindness. Based on this thesis of the Nesivos perhaps we could use this to explain why we break the matzah (at Yachatz) and then bring that broken piece back later on. The story of what G-d did for us in Egypt is only part of the story. By the end of the seder we discover that we are the twist in the tale, we are the one’s living off of that same Chesed presented to our forefathers
So many Mitzvos
Are we too caught up in our physical possessions? It is almost self evident that humans are suckers for the external. If something looks beautiful it must be beautiful. There is almost no regard for the actual internal quality of the item we are pursuing. This truism, though, was recently found to run much deeper than we would have imagined. In a study conducted by Antonio Rangel, an associate professor of economics at Caltech, it was found that changes in the stated price of a sampled wine influenced not only how good volunteers thought it tasted, but it also influenced the activity of a brain region that is involved in our experience of pleasure. In other words, external stimuli can actually manipulate our emotional experience. If this is the power that external stimuli have on our emotion then perhaps this weak spot can be used to our advantage. TheSefer HaChinuch made famous the line “ha-adam nifa’al k’fi peulosav” – meaning: our internal system follows our actions. One of the contexts of this statement has to do with the many commandments centered around Passover. Why do we need so many laws that relate to Passover? If we go through the motions, condition our behaviors in a positive area or in an area of spirituality, with enough attentiveness our emotion will soon follow.
וְאֶ ת ַל ֶחצֵנּו -
ְוגַם ָראִיתִ י אֶת ַה ַּלחַץ:ׁשּנֶ ֱאמַר ֶ ְּכמָה ,זֶֹו הַּדְ חַק ֹל ֲחצִים א ֹתָ ם ֲאׁשֶר ִמצ ְַרים. “And our oppression,” this refers to the pressure, as it is said: "I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them." What is this "“ –«דחקpressure”? Rav Yochanan Kirshenbaum, author of thePidyon Shevuyim, cites the verse «ועתה הנה צעקת בני ישראל באה אלי וגם ראיתי את הלחץ "“ –אשר מצרים לוחצים אותםAnd behold the cry of the Jewish people has come to Me, and I have also seen the pressure which the Egyptians press them.” Shouldn’t the pressure be mentioned first, for the crying is a reaction to the pressure? The pressure that was placed upon them was a response to the beginning of the verse. The Jewish people cried out in prayer and the Egyptians tried to make them stop praying. One of the worst things that could be done to a human being is to take away his or her ability to pray. Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn is the Rav & Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh in Los Angeles. He is the creator of WINGS; a synagogue consulting group for the Orhodox Union. He is also the author of 3 sefarim. For any comments, thoughts, or observations email the Rabbi at firstname.lastname@example.org
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THE JEWISH HOME APRIL 3, 2014 28
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72 HOUR NOTICE REQUIRED FOR ORDERS • MENU AVAILABLE THRU CHOL HAMOED ALL ITEMS AND MANY MORE AVAILABLE AT THE DELI COUNTER BEGINNING WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2014 EXPIRES APRIL 20th 2014 • Not responsible for typographic errors • Western Kosher Specials are for in-store shopping only and may be subject to limited quantities depending on available stock
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Herzog in History By Alisa Roberts
Most everyone who knows kosher wine knows the name Baron Herzog. But that doesn’t mean they know the story of how Baron Herzog came to be one of the leading names in kosher wine. While the Baron Herzog label has been in the business since 1985, the Herzog family has been in the wine business longer. A lot longer. The Herzog family started their vineyards with a winery in the town of Vrobove, Slovakia over a century ago. The early Herzog family produced wines for Franz-Josef, Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was Franz-Josef who granted Phillip Herzog the title of Baron, an honor that gave Baron Herzog wines their prestigious name. The winery was seized by the Nazis during World War II. Eugene Herzog, Phillip’s grandson, survived the war in hiding with his family, and was later able to reclaim the winery. Though they had survived the Nazis, the new Communist regime was equally oppressive and the Herzog family decided to leave Europe for America. Arriving in New York in 1948, Eugene found a job in a small storefront winery on the Lower East Side called Royal Wine Company. It was such a poor company that the owner paid his salary with shares in the winery. This worked out well for Eugene and by 1958 he was the majority stockholder. He and his sons took over the company and renamed
it Kedem. Under Herzog leadership the Kedem label blossomed, producing not only some of the first kosher American wines, but the very first – and still most popular – kosher American grape juice. It took another 25 years for the Baron Herzog wine label to come into being. The idea behind the new label was to create incredible wines that were also kosher. The family started the new business in the prime locale for quality grapes; Napa Valley. Fortuitously, the dream was realized and they enjoyed critical success from their very first vintage. In recent years the winery has built a 77,000 square foot space to house its operations alongside the highest-rated kosher restaurant ever reviewed by the ZAGAT Guide: Tierra Sur. Tierra Sur, under the leadership of Head Chef Gabriel Garcia, serves new American dishes cooked with seasonal ingredients that are grown by local farmers. “For me, cooking is an expression of the relationship that I have with the growers, with my team and with the people who enjoy our food,” said Chef Garcia. “I want to honor all the hard work that it takes to grow and produce these ingredients; I want to reflect that care and dedication in the effort that my team and I put into each dish. Our guests have chosen to make special memories in our restaurant and in each bite we want to capture the honor that it brings us. This puts an emotion into the
Herzog Wine Cellars 2014 Herzog Wine Cellars 2014 Passover Passover Recommendations Recommendations Baron Herzog, Chenin Blanc Clarksburg, 2012
Harvested at night when cold and immediately delivered to the winery for pressing. Chilled overnight and racked to fermentor. Retail Inoculated with pure yeast culture. Cold fermentation Price: for six weeks. Racked from $10.00 lees and held only in stainless steel tanks. Lightly fined to a brilliant clarity and bottled wine is 1.6% in residual sweetness. A fresh and round mouth feel with intense fruity notes of nectarine, gooseberry and pine with a bright, clean finish.
Baron Herzog, Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles, 2012
Grapes selected from vineyards in Paso Robles; crushed, destemmed and cold soaked for one day; fermentation in stainless steel at 88° - 92°F. Retail Remontage 2 times per day. Price: Pressed at dryness. $13.00 Elevation in stainless steel and French oak for 12 months. Very approachable Cabernet Sauvignon with blackberry and plum notes accompany a vanilla a spice finish from the oak. Medium red color with balanced acidity and smooth tannins.
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food, a passion that our guests can taste.” Alongside Tierra Sur is the wine making business. “The Herzog family heritage and passion for truly excellent wine making is inspiring to me,” said Joe Hurliman who is the Winemaker at Herzog Wine Cellars. Hurliman, a native of San Francisco, has been making wine for 27 harvests as of 2013. He’s been with Herzog Wine Cellars since 1998. When asked to share stories from his time making wine at Herzog, he recalled the time he brought fourteen tons of Grenache grapes, one of his favorite varietals, to the winery. He had intended to make the best Grenache of the vintage, but in the end, “after many… many tastings,” he decided to mix it with Petite Sirah and he created “GPS” (Grenache Petite Sirah), which went on to achieve a cult following. David Whittemore, Marketing and Public Relations Director at Herzog, explained that the winery is also working on some new ideas.
“Herzog Wine Cellars is working on a new brand concept aptly named ‘Variations’. This series will explore California Cabernet Sauvignon by blending subtle nuances found in one growing region with another, pairing the best complements to create each blend in the series.” He is also excited about plans for changes at Tierra Sur. “For years, Tierra Sur has broken records. But it is not just important to set the bar high – it is about raising it higher and higher! In that spirit, our award-winning restaurant is currently undergoing a complete makeover that will leave our guests newly inspired when they next join us for dinner.” The Herzog family has been making wine for hundreds of years, and has been a household name in Jewish homes for decades. They intend to carry on that tradition. As Whittemore noted, “It is a heritage that is now in its 8th generation!”
Herzog Wine Cellars 2014 Passover Recommendations Herzog Special Reserve, Chardonnay Russian River Valley, 2011
Hand harvested and whole cluster pressed in a diaphragm press. 96% barrel fermented in French Retail and American oak. Price: Completed malolactic in $38.00 barrels and then held sur lie for 15 months. Cool terrior style wine, showing elegant top notes of lime, apple and tropical fruit, enhanced with a bouquet of toasty oak. Rich and lush mouthfeel. Jewish Link Designs 323.965.1544
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events in the Torah including the Creation of the World and the Burning Bush. There are also illuminations detailing the Bais HaMikdash and the inside of a Spanish shul. The text includes the Haggadah itself, as well as piyyutim and the Torah readings for the week of Pesach. The Haggadah remained in Spain until around 1510 where a note tells us that it is in Italy. Another note found in the margins dating to 1609 mentions that the Church has spared the book from burning since it has found nothing objectionable in it. Beyond this note, records regarding the book’s whereabouts and condition during this period are basically non-existent. It wasn’t until 1894 that the Haggadah turned up again, this time in Sarajevo, Bosnia where it was sold to the Sarajevo Museum by a needy member of the Jewish community named Joseph Kohen. Interestingly, the Haggadah was then sent to Vienna, Austria for two years after which it was returned to Sarajevo. No satisfactory explanation has been found for this odd chapter in the tale. Once the Germans and Ustashe fascist militia came barging into Sarajevo in
1941, they almost immediately set their sights on the Haggadah. Dervis Korkut, a custodian at the museum, told the German officer that the Nazis had already taken the book before his arrival. In reality, Mr. Korkut managed to deliver this priceless treasure into the hands of a Muslim cleric in Zenica, not far from Sarajevo. The cleric hid it either under the floorboards of his home or among the Muslim texts in library of the local mosque. Miraculously, the Sarajevo Haggadah survived the war and so did a young Jewish girl named Mira Papo who was rescued by Korkut as was smuggling the Haggadah. (Interestingly, the elder Papo helped save the life of Korkut’s daughter during the Bosnian war.) But the story’s not over yet. Having been returned to the Sarajevo Museum after the end of WWII, the Haggadah was again put in danger by the devastating Bosnian civil war of the 1990‘s. A band of thieves broke into the museum in 1992 but did not take the Haggadah since they did not realize its value. The director of the museum then put the Haggadah in a bank vault for safekeeping. It wasn’t until 1995 that it was returned to the Jewish community of Sarajevo by no less the president of Bosnia himself in an internationally televised event.
Unfortunately, even after all this, the drama of the Sarajevo Haggadah still continues, though the problem this time is not war and violence, but money and politics. In 2012, the Sarajevo Museum that was housing the Haggadah closed down due to lack of funding. To make matters more complicated, the Museum could not loan out the Haggadah to another institution before its closure due to legal hang-ups caused by inadequate provisions in the 1995 peace accords that ended the Bosnian civil war. Simply put, the museum’s legal status is up in the air and the Haggadah remains behind locked doors as of last year. G-d willing, these matters will be resolved and the whole world will be able to see this beautiful masterpiece for themselves. (Adapted from Jewish Virtual Library and Huffington Post) Note: The Foundation for Jewish Culture is sponsoring a musical interpretation of the Haggadah’s story composed by L.A.-based accordionist Merima Ključo. While there are no upcoming L.A. dates, if you happen to be in cities such as Dallas, San Francisco, or D.C. at the right time this year, then I highly recommend seeing it. The full schedule and more can be found at: www.jewishculture.org/music
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The southeast European country of Bosnia is best known to Westerners for the bloody civil war of the 1990‘s, as well as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the streets of the capital Sarajevo a hundred years ago. However, underneath Bosnia’s turbulent past lies the rich history of a prosperous Jewish community that contributed much to world civilization. Chief among these contributions is the exquisitely illustrated Sarajevo Haggadah, one of the most renowned and most beautiful Jewish manuscripts that still survives to this day. And indeed, this treasure of Judaism and Jewish culture has survived quite a few ordeals. The Sarajevo Haggadah’s story begins in Barcelona, Spain around 1350 when it was presented to a young Jewish couple as a wedding gift. Not only is it one of the most antiquated Sephardic Haggadahs in the world, but its illustrations cover the widest range of subjects among its peers. No one knows who created it, but its 109 pages are written on bleached calfskin, illuminated in gold and copper, and contain 34 pages of illustrations depicting not only the seder, but also major
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Why Making Your Children Work Matters How Cleaning for Pesach Can Develop Your Child’s Self-Esteem by Dinah Bucholz
I Children need to feel needed and that they are contributing— just like adults.
don’t believe in self-esteem. That is, I don’t believe in the way the self-esteem movement promotes the idea that parents and educators need to constantly shower praise on their children to make them feel good about themselves. In fact, falsely inflating your child’s selfesteem may hurt more than it helps. In a 1996 issue of Psychological Review, Dr. Roy Baumeister, professor of psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, published the results of a study on self-esteem that showed that violent criminals all share the trait of high selfesteem.1 In 2010, National Review Online reported2 that among students from eight countries, Americans came in last in mathematical ability. But when asked how they rated their mathematical ability, they rated themselves first. Their mathematical skills were abysmal, but they sure had high self-esteem. Instead of telling kids they should feel good about themselves, it’s best to give them opportunities to feel useful, worthwhile and competent. By providing such opportunities, you are giving children the means to accomplish things they can legitimately be proud of. It’s a huge relief for parents to learn that they don’t
have to worry about making their children feel good about themselves by applauding their every move. Just realize that you can only point your child in the right direction and that ultimately, your child must develop self-esteem through feelings of usefulness and competence that can only be obtained through hard work and struggle; there are no shortcuts. Allowing your child to struggle toward self-discipline or mastery of a skill will do more for his feelings of selfworth than hollow, baseless praise. Once he gets there, through hard work and persistence, what he has attained is its own reward. The praise is certainly a nice acknowledgment, but it is mostly icing on the cake. The real reward is the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that one feels when he reaches a goal. My friend’s daughter was determined to teach herself how to knit. Armed with a ball of yarn, two knitting needles and a couple of how-to books and YouTube videos, she persisted. She often grew frustrated, and in such moments would throw down the yarn and needles and stomp around the dining room table yelling in frustration. My friend quietly observed.
dren is preparing them for the real world. One day your child will grow up and leave home. He will have to do chores in his own home, and no one will pay him for them. He must learn that doing a service is essential to being a productive family member—and ultimately a contributing member of society. Do not underestimate your children. One evening, my husband and I left the house at 6:30 to attend a school function. The dinner leftovers were still on the table, along with everyone’s homework. I told the kids I would be home by 9:00, and that I expected the house to be spic-and-span and the youngest child in bed.
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When I came home, the house was gleaming, the dishes were washed and drying on the counter and my youngest was fast asleep. It had been my ten-year-old daughter’s job to clean up, so I made sure to let her know that I appreciated her job well done. The next morning I saw my six-year-old with a lollipop. “Where did you get that?” I asked her. “Sarah gave it to me for doing the dishes for her,” she said. Indeed, Toby had washed all the dishes and,
I now noticed, had used the whole bottle of dishwashing liquid. Those dishes sure were clean—and I learned that I had been underestimating her by not giving her this chore. Pesach cleaning provides a wonderful opportunity for your children to reap all the benefits that come with helping out—and more. You can create happy memories for your children when they sit around the table peeling fruits and vegetables while listening to music and enjoying a spirit of camaraderie. It will also give them a sense of excitement for the impending yom tov. Because I experienced this as a child, Pesach is still my favorite holiday. You will also help to instill in your children a deeper connection to Pesach. Nothing beats the satisfaction a child feels when Pesach arrives and the house is sparkling clean while delicious yom tov aromas fill the air—and she knows that she helped make it happen. So this Pesach, enlist your children’s help. A nineyear-old is perfectly capable of cleaning out his own drawers. A six-year-old can polish silver. A twelveyear-old can do a whole lot more. And they can help with the cooking by peeling fruits and vegetables and so on. Who says you have to do all the work yourself? Once your kids reach a certain age, they should be doing most of the preparation—while you sit on the couch sipping a tea and reading a magazine. After all, it’s zeman cheiruteinu! Notes 1. “Relation of Threatened Egotism to Violence and Aggression: The Dark Side of High SelfEsteem,”Psychological Review 103 (1996): 1. 2. Dennis Prager, “Self-Esteem and Character,” November 2010. Dinah Bucholz is a New York Times best-selling author and certified parenting coach. Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. From the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action Magazine © 2014 All Rights Reserved | Reprinted with permission | ou.org/jewish_action
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One evening, her daughter said through gritted teeth, “I will get this if it kills me!” And by the end of the evening, she was purling, a stitch that is hard for beginning knitters to master. She didn’t need her mother’s praise (“You see how persistence pays off? Good for you!”) because she was glowing with the inner satisfaction of mastering a skill by herself. You can help your kids feel truly competent in many other ways: don’t do their homework for them or have them rely on your help; don’t rush to solve their problems—let them feel frustrated and work through them. “I can’t” really means “it’s hard and I’m frustrated.” My son once told me he couldn’t do his homework; it was too hard. I said, “Really? You’re not ready for fifthgrade work? Should I call the principal and ask her to move you back to fourth grade?” Well, he went back to his room and figured out what to do pretty quickly. Most important, children need to feel needed and that they are contributing—just like adults. The best way to accomplish this is by assigning chores. Through chores, kids not only achieve competence at life tasks such as sorting and folding laundry, setting the table, washing dishes or loading the dishwasher, preparing simple meals and baking cookies (chores can include the fun stuff too!), but they also get the satisfaction of a job well done as well as the feeling of being needed and of contributing something of value to the family. They will also learn to be givers, so by enforcing chores you are helping them avoid the spoiled-brat syndrome that affects so many of today’s children. Assigning chores also helps teach children responsibility. Will your kids grumble? Sure they will. Feeling delighted about doing chores is not essential to achieving the sense of accomplishment and self-worth that accompanies their completion, so don’t worry if they complain. Do not pay your child to do chores. Part of raising chil-
By enforcing chores you are helping them avoid the spoiledbrat syndrome that affects so many of today’s children.
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A man walks into a bar with a dog. The bartender says, “Sorry pal, no pets are allowed here.” “You don’t understand,” says the man. “This is no regular dog; he can talk.” “Listen, pal,” says the bartender. “If that dog can talk, it can stay and you can drink everything for free!” The man puts the dog on a stool, and asks him, “What’s on top of a house?” “Roof!” “Right. And what’s on the outside of a tree?” “Bark!” “And who’s the greatest baseball player of all time?” “Ruth!” “I guess you’ve heard enough,” says the man. “I’ll take the dry martini for a starter.” The bartender is furious. “Listen, liar,” he says, “get out of here before I smack you!” As soon as they’re on the street, the dog turns to the man and says, “Do you think I should have said ‘DiMaggio’?”
Riddle! David, Joe, Sara, Mimi and Mike are playing in a baseball game with some other people. Each friend plays a different position (First base, Pitcher, Shortstop, Catcher, Right field) and gets a different number of hits (1, 2, 3, 4 or 5). From the clues can you figure out who did what? 1) David, the furthest from home base, had exactly twice as many hits as the pitcher. 2) The shortstop was tired after getting her fifth hit. 3) Mike had more hits than all the other infielders except for Sara. 4) Joe wears a mask.
Answer on next page
The Weirder Side of Baseball In 1944, brothers Bob Garbank (who played for the Athletics) and Mike (who played for the Yankees) both ended the season with a .261 batting average.
and sent him to right field in the sixth inning as a defensive replacement for Jerry White. He came up in the seventh and hit a single.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Clarence Blethen had false teeth and used to tuck his false teeth in his back pocket during games, thinking his toothless face would intimidate batters. During a game in 1923, Blethen forgot that he’d stowed his dentures and, when sliding into second base, bit himself on the backside, causing an injury.
In his very first at bat as a 28-year-old rookie pitcher, Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm hit a homerun. His career lasted for 21 more years and 493 plate appearances, but he never hit another homerun.
Towards the end of the 1957 season, the Dodgers and Cubs minor league teams each needed a shake-up. So their front offices made a trade—the whole team. That’s right; they exchanged their entire 25-man rosters. Joel Youngblood recorded a hit for two different teams in two different cities on the same day. On August 4, 1982, Youngblood hit a two-run single for the Mets during a game in Wrigley Field. Before the game ended, manager George Bamberger took him out, told him he was traded to the Expos, and Youngblood set off for Philadelphia, where the Expos were playing that night. He arrived at Veterans Stadium during the sixth inning of the game. His new uniform was there waiting for him, with “Youngblood” already stitched onto the back. Expos manager Jim Fanning met his new player in the dugout,
Talking to reporters about pitcher Gaylord Perry’s inability to hit, San Francisco Giants manager Alvin Dark joked, “They’ll put a man on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run.” On July 20, 1969, Perry hit the first homerun of his career. Twenty minutes earlier, a more significant national event took place: Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. During World War II, the U.S. military designed a grenade to be the size and weight of a baseball, since “any young American man should be able to properly throw it.” In 1999, Mets manager Bobby Valentine was ejected in the 12th inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays for arguing a catcher’s interference call. Instead of watching the rest of the game from the clubhouse, Valentine returned to the dugout with a fake mustache, sunglasses and Mets t-shirt on. The Mets won 4-3, but he was suspended three games by MLB and fined $5,000.
2. What is the call when two runners end up on the same base? a. The lead runner must try to advance to the next base. b. The play is dead and the trailing run is permitted to return to the previous base. c. The lead runner is entitled to the base; the trailing runner must try to go back to the previous base. d. Both are automatically out. 3. A batter who is hit by a pitch without making an effort to get out of the way will not be awarded first base. a. True b. False 4. If in trying to make a catch in front of the outfield wall, the ball bounces off the fielder’s glove over the wall, it is a home run. a. True b. False 5. There is a runner on first when the batter hits the ball deep to right field and it is not caught. The runner who was on first falls down. May the batter, who is now rounding first, assist the runner ahead of him around the bases? a. Yes
b. No 6. There is a runner on first and second when the batter bunts the ball 15 feet in the air. Instead of catching the ball, the pitcher drops it and starts a 1-5-4-3 triple play (if you don’t know what that is, you obviously don’t know much about…soccer). What call should the umpire make? a. Intentional grounding b. Umpire should not make any call c. Infield fly rule d. Double play 7. A team has runners on first and third bases with one out when the batter hits a fly ball near the stands along the third-base line. The third baseman makes a leaping catch and falls into the stands, holding onto the ball. What happens next? a. It is live play and the runners may proceed. The third baseman can try to throw them out. b. Batter is out and runners do not advance bases. c. Automatically the runner on third scores and the runner on first goes to second. d. Ball is considered a foul. 8. With the bases loaded and two outs, the batter hits a grand slam. The runner on first base misses second base as he circles the bases. What happens? a. The hitting team scores three runs and the inning is over b. The hitting team is granted 4 runs and the inning continues (because it was a Grand
Answer to riddle: From clue 1 we know that David is the right fielder and that he got 4 hits and the pitcher got 2 hits. From clue 2 we know that the shortstop is a woman (Mimi or Sara) and that she got 5 hits. From clue 3 we know that Mike had 3 hits and Sara had 5. This means that Sara is the shortstop (see clue 2). From clue 4 we know that Joe is the catcher. Since we already know that Mike had 3 hits and the pitcher had 2, Mike cannot be the
Answers: 1. D 2. C 3. A 4. A 5. A- A runner can assist another runner as long as he did not score yet or was not yet ruled out. 6. B 7. C- When a fielder carries the ball into dead ball territory and controls the ball, he is credited with the catch but all runners are awarded one base on the play. 8. D- No runs can score when an inning ends in a forceout. Scorecard: 6-8 correct: You belong behind the plate wearing an umpire’s mask. (Time to start rounding off that belly of yours.) 4-5 correct: You are good, but prone to mistakes. Good thing we now have instant replay. 0-3 correct: Let’s try this: how many outs in an inning? Ooh, sorry, there are 6, not 3 (there are three in a half inning). But good try!
G OT FU N N Y?
Comm Let the ission er dec Send your s tuff
o fivetow centerfold@ nsjewis hhome. com pitcher. The only position left for him is first base, which leaves Mimi as the pitcher. So, David is the right fielder and he got 4 hits. Joe is the catcher and he got 1 hit. Sara is the shortstop and she got 5 hits. Mimi is the pitcher and she got 2 hits. Mike is the first baseman and he got 3 hits.
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1. Where on a batter’s body is the bottom of the strike zone? a. Just above the knee b. Mid-thigh c. Mid-shin d. Beneath the kneecap
Slam, the player did not have to touch the base). c. The hitting team is awarded two runs (for those that scored before the player did not touch second) and the inning is over. d. The hitting team is not awarded any runs and the inning is over.
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“Say What?” President Obama has convinced the leaders of the world’s biggest economies to move the G-8 summit out of Russia this summer and meet in Brussels instead. Then Vladimir Putin said, “All good. By summer, Brussels will be part of Russia.” - Jimmy Fallon I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an AfricanAmerican. That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re AfricanAmerican. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself. - NBA star Kobe Bryant in a recent interview with the New Yorker, discussing the Trayvon Martin saga
You don’t sleep, you don’t eat...you struggle, you struggle. But I do believe that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. - Governor Christie on ABC discussing what it was like dealing with the Bridge-gate scandal
There are still no death panels. Armageddon has not arrived. Instead, this law is helping millions of Americans. - President Obama touting the milestone of 7 million Americans signing up for Obamacare
There are reports coming out that Chris Christie has lost 100 pounds since having lapband surgery. It’s a pretty big loss — you know, for my monologue. - Jimmy Fallon
Look, polling aside, we’re achieving something today that I know has our critics gnashing their teeth. I know it leaves them with – you know, they need to go back to the drawing board when it comes to other means of trying to attack a law that is providing opportunity and security to millions of Americans. - White House Spokesman Jay Carney discussing the Obamacare milestone
“Unbelievable!” is all I could muster. Once the initial shock passed, I couldn’t sleep for days. - B. Raymond Buxton, who came forward on April 1 to claim the $425 million Powerball jackpot prize in California I’m going to enjoy my new job setting up a charitable foundation focused on the areas of pediatric health, child hunger and education. -Ibid
We stuck to our word and now we’re getting flack for it. But do you really normally get angry at somebody for doing what they said they were going to do? - A DJ at AMP Radio in Canada, after receiving public flack for burning $5,000 cash on air as a publicity stunt
Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance? ... The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. - Ibid.
Michelle Obama is in China. I wonder if while she’s over there she could get them to do something about those leaky cardboard takeout containers. - David Letterman
Customs officials in Europe recently seized a shipment of cocaine that was addressed to the Vatican. Which can only mean that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford just received a giant box of communion wafers. - Jimmy Fallon
The first lady is in China. During her trip, Michelle Obama fed panda bears. Like most people the first lady feeds, the bears politely ate the bamboo and then had a cheeseburger the minute she left. - Conan O’Brien
I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across and just felt personally how extraordinary that was to understand, the military risk that Israel faces every day. - Governor Christie at the Republican Jewish Conference, talking about a helicopter trip over the West Bank
A New Jersey man who was released last week after 15 years in prison for robbing a shoe store was arrested the next day for robbing the exact same store. He learned a valuable lesson. Next time, steal both shoes at the same time. - Seth Myers I didn’t expect to win. I bought three Scratchers, a $5, a $2 and a $1. I saw it said “LIFE” on there so I showed my nephew. I was like, “Paulie, what does it say!?” He said, “I don’t know Uncle Tim. What’s it say?” We were like no, that ain’t real…that ain’t right. But then he read it again and I said, “That’s real! We won. Yahoo!” - Timothy McDaniel, who won $650,000 in a California scratchoff the day after his wife died
Baby, we did it again! - Calvin Spencer to his wife after the couple won their third Virginia state lottery in a single month (they won a total of $2,000,050)
3 murders in 3 days and it’s not even warm yet? This could be a busy year finally. The last few years were slow. - Facebook posting by Joseph Ming Klimmek, a 5-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, which drew public condemnation
Today the U.N. approved a resolution calling Russia’s annexation of Crimea illegal. For those of you who don’t know what a U.N. resolution is, it’s about as powerful as a negative Yelp review. - Seth Myers
March Madness brackets are like children. Nobody wants to hear about yours. - Jimmy Kimmel I don’t care who wins the March Madness polls. I’m definitely out. I’ve never done worse. It’s like I can’t even see the future anymore. - Ibid
There are some accusations that Silicon Valley discriminates against people because of their age. Elderly groups are so furious about this that they plan to send Silicon Valley an angry fax. - Conan O’Brien
They’re considering a new 10-cent fee on grocery bags here in New York. My mom said, “Who’s laughing at the eight thousand bags under the sink NOW?” - Jimmy Fallon
Of course, Pollard should be released, but his release should in no way be connected with the release of murderers and terrorists who are sitting in Israeli prisons for their crimes against innocent men, women and children. History shows that a large percentage of those released will return to commit further acts of terror against innocents. I applaud Jonathan’s courage. I applaud his integrity. Half of his life has been spent in jail and yet he is still willing to remain behind bars rather than let loose those who would murder innocent victims. We can all learn a great lesson from Jonathan Pollard. - NY Assemblyman Dov Hikind responding to reports that in an effort to jumpstart peace talks, the U.S. may release Jonathon Pollard in exchange for Israel releasing Palestinian prisoners
The March Madness Final Four was set last night with Connecticut taking on Florida, and Wisconsin taking on Kentucky. Meanwhile, Duke will be taking on a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. - Jimmy Fallon We have hundreds of thousands of people who tried to sign up who didn’t get through. There are some people who are not like my grandchildren who can handle everything so easily on the Internet, and these people need a little extra time. It’s not — the example they gave us is a 63-year-old woman came into the store and said, “I almost got it. Every time I just about got there, it would cut me off.” We have a lot of people just like this through no fault of the Internet, but because people are not educated on how to use the Internet. - Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid explaining why the controversial employer mandate of Obamacare was recently delayed until after the 2014 mid-term elections
Connecticut beat Michigan State, the team that President Obama had picked to win the whole tournament. It completely busted his bracket. Which explains why today Connecticut got a fruit basket from Vladimir Putin. - Jimmy Fallon
I’m not big into the whole America thing. - Response by one of the twelve students at American University in Washington, D.C., who was unable to name a single senator, when a survey was conducted on campus by the Media Research Center asking students to name at least one senator in the United States today The Secret Service arrested a man today after he tried to scale a fence at the White House. They reportedly said to the man, “Sorry, but you still have two more years, Mr. President.” - Seth Myers
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That is one of the dumbest statements ever uttered by a president. And I don’t mean just the president of this country. I have never heard a statement like that. I was watching and I heard it and it was like – I can’t believe he said it. He just put a big target on Manhattan. - Donald Trump on Fox News discussing President Obama’s recent comment that his biggest concern is a nuclear bomb detonating in Manhattan
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The Crimean Jews: A Complicated History
By Aaron Feigenbaum
Crimea, a region of eastern Europe with a complex history and diverse set of peoples, has long been warred over by empires and is now the subject of the sibling rivalry between Ukraine and Russia. The Jews of Crimea have stood witness to these disputes for centuries
and, indeed, have suffered through their own internal divisions. Beginning in the 1st century C.E., the history of the Crimean Jews is as complicated as it is rich and beautiful. Inscriptions tell us that the first Jews in Crimea were descended from Babylonian and Assyrian settlers, as well as ex-soldiers from Bar Kokhba’s army. Between the 600‘s and 900‘s the legendary Khazar kingdom made Crimea their base of operations. The Khazars (Kuzarim in Hebrew)
were a Turkic people famous for having been converted to Judaism by Rabbi Judah HaLevi, author of the Kuzari. In the Middle Ages, the region came to be known as “Gazaria.” The Khazars were ousted from power in Crimea by another Turkic tribe, the Tatars. Tatar rule gave economic and political advantages to Crimean Jews since it opened up both the trade routes and diplomatic channels to Muscovy (the precursor to the Russian Empire). In fact, the Muscovite representative in Crimea in the late 1400‘s was himself Jewish and certain areas of Crimea underwent a sort of Jewish renaissance. However, this period of resurgence was not to last. The Ottomans stepped in and made Tatar Crimea a dependant state which caused economic decline and mass emigration. We also see around the late 1400‘s and early 1500‘s a clear split within the Jewish community between Karaites (those who reject the Talmud) and Krimchaks (mainstream Crimean Jews). The Karaites rose to prominence under Ottoman-Tatar rulership. As part of the Ottoman empire, they had to pay the jizya (poll-tax) levied on non-Muslims, but otherwise enjoyed few other restrictions or discrimination. However, they, along with their Krimchak neighbors, suffered greatly in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the mid-1600’s, the previously benevolent Tatar rulers betrayed both communities in order to forge an alliance with the notoriously bloodthirsty and anti-Semitic Cossack leader Chmielnicki. The Russian Empire conquered Crimea in the 1700‘s and added most of it to the Pale of Settlement, the area that defined
where Jews in Russia were allowed to live, in 1791. In 1853, the Karaites successfully lobbied the Russian government for an exemption from the draconian czarist legislation. This act once and for all isolated the Karaites from the Krimchaks though the two communities remained in close proximity to each other. Curiously, despite the restrictions placed on Krimchaks, the Russian government starting with Czarina Catherine the Great encouraged Jews of all backgrounds to settle in the region. Tens of thousands of Jews responded to this call and Crimea became a sort of Jewish homeland in the 1800‘s. In fact, many Zionists would perfect their agricultural techniques before moving to the real homeland. Similarly to what Stalin did in the far east in 1934, the Soviet Union briefly considered the idea to establish a Jewish Autonomous Region in Crimea in 1923 but decided against the proposal. Many Krimchaks had already emigrated due to the civil war of 1917-1922 as well as periodic famines. As was the case in so many other parts of Europe, WWII devastated the Crimean Jewish community. The Nazis spared the Karaites since they did not believe them to be racially Jewish, but a significant portion of the Krimchak community was wiped out. After the Red Army had pushed the Germans out in 1944, Jews returned in droves to their former homes and the community was slowly rebuilt. Stalinist rule restricted the Krymchaks’ use of Hebrew. Schools and yeshivas were shut down and many Krymchaks were forced to work in collective farms and factories.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, many Karaites and Krymchaks emigrated to Israel, the U.S., and elsewhere. The Jewish population of Crimea is currently about 15,000 which includes about 800 Karaites. In the wake of the Russian annexation of Crimea this year, the Jewish community is once again divided. Some such as Rabbi Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia, support Putin’s actions as necessary to defend against anti-Semitism on the part of the new Ukrainian government. But many others see Putin as using the Jews as a pawn to legitimize his actions. While there have been a few anti-Semitic incidents in recent weeks, the situation is for the most part stable and life is continuing as before. It’s important to remember that the Jewish community of Crimea has endured much harsher tests than this latest one. With G-d’s help it will stay united and strong. (Adapted from The Jewish Virtual Library and Haaretz)
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Former Saudi Queen Implores Obama to Save Daughters
Alanoud AlFayez, 57, is not an ordinary woman. She used to be married to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. On Thursday, the former queen appealed to U.S. President Obama for help. She claims her four beloved daughters are being held in the royal palace. AlFayez has been living in London since her divorce was finalized in 2003. Her requests preceded Obama’s scheduled visit to the kingdom, during which U.S. lawmakers have urged him to address rights violations in Saudi Arabia. “Since 13 years, my daughters, Sahar, Maha, Hala and Jawaher, are being held captive,” AlFayez told AFP. “They need to be saved and released immediately.” “Mr. Obama should take this opportunity to address these grave violations committed against my daughters,” she added. This will be Obama’s second visit to the region since taking office in 2009. Many members of Congress have insisted Obama bring up the sensitive subject of human rights in Saudi Arabia. AlFayez married the Saudi king when she was only 15 by arranged marriage. Supposedly, the royal women are confined to palace headquarters aside from a bi-monthly allowance to buy food, water, and medicine for themselves and their pets. AlFayez claims even those trips have been prohibited lately. Sahar, 42, the eldest daughter has complained about her situation on the social media website Twitter. “We have no passports or ID, we are under house arrest, with little food left for ourselves and pets,” she told AFP in an email. She did not mention how she had access to the Internet. She also accused the royal family and members of the household of “unlawfully detaining” them and of “physically and psychologically abusing us
for years.” “On their orders, they have been literally starving us since last Wednesday. We are now living on one meal a day, leaving the little remaining meat for our pets and sipping little water in this heat, to save up. Our energy is quite low and we are trying our best to survive.” Diplomats in Saudi Arabia say the princesses are being held in Jeddah and are allowed to travel around the city with bodyguards. Roland Dumas, the lawyer for Alanoud AlFayez and a former French foreign minister, said they had applied to the UN High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva in October regarding the case but had received no response.
Crimea Update: Kiev Calls Soldiers Home
Marines trained by and serving Ukraine piled onto buses this week as they packed out of Crimea. Their departure came as Ukraine’s defense minister stepped down after harsh criticism for authorities’ often-hesitant reaction to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which was formalized following a hastily organized referendum. As of Monday, 131 marines have left Crimea, the defense ministry said. They are going to be stationed temporarily at a military barracks in the town of Genichesk in Ukraine’s southern Kherson province, but their final destination is still unclear. In an address to parliament, Defense Minister Igor Tenyukh denied that he had failed to issue clear instructions to troops but said he reserved the right to resign. The order for Ukrainian troops to withdraw from Crimea was issued one week after many bases had already been stormed and seized by pro-Russian forces. Lawmakers initially refused Tenyukh’s resignation, but later accepted it and voted to appoint Col. Gen. Mykhailo Koval as his replacement. About 4,300 Ukrainian servicemen and 2,200 of their relatives have asked to leave Crimea, Tenyukh. That means about two-
thirds of the 18,800 military personnel and relatives that he said were stationed on the Black Sea peninsula were so far taking their chances in Crimea. It was not clear how many of those troops had joined the Russian army or had simply demobilized. Ukraine’s new government is struggling to consolidate control in Kiev. Much of the struggle is due to signals of discontent from Right Sector, a radical nationalist movement that played a key role in anti-government demonstrations that prompted President Viktor Yanukovych to flee to Russia in February. Still, many in Ukraine downplay Right Sector’s importance and the group officially has no posts in the new government. Officials in Moscow, meanwhile, warned Kiev that the country’s new government might have to pay more for Russian gas, the main bulk of Ukraine’s energy supplies. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said a gas discount that Russia had previously given Ukraine was linked to Russian Black Sea fleet’s lease deal in Crimea. Now that Crimea is part of Russia there’s “no reason for the discount,” Peskov said. The U.S. and the EU have placed sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea, and NATO member Norway has suspended joint activities with Russia’s military. But Russia has so far shrugged off the sanctions, including being tossed out of the elite, twodecade-old coalition known as the Group of Eight developed nations.
Delhi, India: The City of the Apes?
When Americans want to see monkeys up close, they visit their nearest zoo. But residents of Delhi, India, don’t need to travel far to see the apes. “They’re everywhere,” one angry neighborhood resident explains. “My kids can’t even play outside because there’s so many of them.” There are no official numbers, but estimates suggest there are tens of thousands of monkeys roaming Delhi’s streets. The city’s large tree
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canopy and forests offer the perfect natural habitat for the monkeys to live. But in several areas, particularly certain upscale neighborhoods, there are more monkeys than people. Generally, the monkeys are harmless and don’t interact with humans, but in large numbers, they’re now causing serious problems. In Delhi, most houses store drinking water in rooftop water tanks. The monkeys, who climb walls and traverse
from rooftop to rooftop with ease, have learned how to open the tanks. When they drink from the water, it contaminates the entire supply. Other monkeys have grown more bold. Some are entering houses, stealing food and clothing, breaking windows, and terrorizing residents. “They watch us and see what we [humans] do,” one resident explains. “Then they copy it. So if they see us going into a fridge for food, they’ll try
to do the same thing.” Monkey see, monkey do. Some have even learned when humans take their lunch break, routinely following them at specific times of the day to the local market or roti shop, knowing that food will be available. To fight the growing monkey menace, the city has hired what they call professional “Monkey Men.” They are paid to patrol the streets and scare off the mon-
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keys by mimicking the sounds of langurs – bigger, more dangerous monkeys that are natural predators for the smaller monkeys more common in residential areas. They go from neighborhood to neighborhood, grunting and throwing sticks to scare the monkeys off. Despite their efforts, they are not always successful at combatting the monkey problem. “If there’s just one of them, anyone can take a stick and just ‘shoo’ them away,” one of Delhi’s Monkey Men tells us. “But when they’re in a group, they’ll attack.” And when the Monkey Men don’t work, the city calls in its real hired guns – langurs themselves. Secured on a leash with their handlers nearby, the langurs are dispatched after residents call with complaints of monkeys gone wild. With large teeth and roughly twice the size of the smaller monkeys, the mere presence of the langurs keeps the monkeys away. When the smaller monkeys don’t disperse, the langurs are trained to attack – slapping, hitting, and biting the monkeys until they leave. The langurs, of course, aren’t a permanent solution. The smaller monkeys come back, they always do. In the past, residents had resorted to leaving poison-laced bananas on rooftops, but the monkeys have learned to smell the poison and will no longer touch the bananas. There’s also a city bylaw that prevents residents from physically harming the monkeys. So for now, Delhi’s army of Monkey Men and langurs are effectively the only line of defense.
Demonstrators in Taiwan Protest Pact with China On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in the streets around Taiwan’s Parliament to voice their opposition to a trade pact with China, part of a nearly 2-week-old protest that is challenging the president’s policy of moving the democratic island economically closer to China. The numbers of those who were involved are unclear. Lin Fei-fan, a protest organizer, estimated that 500,000 people had turned out in the biggest demonstration since the movement started. An Associated Press estimate put the number at more than 200,000, and a police estimate at more than 100,000. Crowds dressed in black sat on one blocked boulevard, many carrying plastic or real sunflowers, the symbol of the protest movement, and wearing yellow ribbons that read “Fight for democracy, retract the service trade pact.” This is not the first protest of its kind. Several hundred protesters—mainly students—have been occupying Taiwan’s legislature since March 18, supported by thousands outside the building. They are protesting President Ma Ying-jeou’s in-
On Saturday, Saudi authorities arrested three citizens who posted YouTube videos urging the oil-rich kingdom to improve their living standards and criticizing “corruption.” Interestingly, the arrests were made the day U.S. President Barack Obama flew home from Saudi Arabia under fire for not having done more to raise human rights concerns during talks with King Abdullah. In one video, a young man identifying himself as Abdulaziz Mohammed al-Dosari addressed King Abdullah saying he has to survive on a low income, and does not own a house or a car. “We are fed up, and you still blame those who carry out bombings,” the man says, urging the king to give Saudis money to improve their lives.
Othman urged other Saudis to go online and post their comments “so that our voices could reach the king”. In a third video, a man calling himself Saud al-Harbi said many of his compatriots are in need of “housing” and a “decent life.” “Please listen to us. We want housing, we want a decent life,” he said, apparently addressing Saudi authorities. He added: “Do not force people to take to the streets.” Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy where protests are banned. In February, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said that Gulf monarchies, fearful of Arab Spring-inspired unrest, have stepped up efforts to monitor and control the media, particularly online. Saudi Arabia, which is on the group’s “Enemies of the Internet” list, has been particularly aggressive in policing the Internet, including by arresting those who post critical articles or comments. In early March, a Saudi court jailed a Tweeter for 10 years after convicting him of insulting the kingdom’s political and religious leaders and urging anti-regime protests, state media said. Saudis, complaining their salaries are not enough to make ends meet, are increasingly taking to Twitter and other social media to demand better living conditions. Despite its huge oil wealth, Saudi Arabia has a jobless rate of more than 12.5 percent among its native population.
Israel Israel Delays Prisoner Release It seems the Israeli government has decided to not release a fourth batch of 26 Palestinian security prisoners as was
stipulated under the framework deal that led to the renewal of negotiations with Palestinians last July by the deadline previously stated. The five-minister committee chaired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that is empowered to choose which convicted terrorists will be released missed the deadline last Saturday. The names must be made public prior to the prisoners going free in order to allow appeals to the High Court of Justice against the move. No date for convening the committee was publicized. Under the terms of the U.S.-brokered deal that got the sides back to the negotiation table in July, Israel was to release 104 terrorists convicted of crimes before the 1993 Oslo Accords, and the Palestinians were going to delay diplomatic moves in various international organizations to gain statehood status.
On Sunday, speaking at a meeting of Likud ministers, Netanyahu said that Israel would not make a deal to free the prisoners “without a clear benefit for Israel in return.” He acknowledged that negotiations to come to an agreement could potentially “blow up.” Israel said it is willing to release a fourth batch of convicted Palestinian terrorists, but not if the Palestinians say that they will end the negotiations directly after the release, a highly-placed Israeli official said Saturday night. The official added, “Israel wants to see the continuation of the peace talks with the Palestinians, and is willing to implement the fourth release of convicted terrorists. But the Palestinians are making that very difficult when they say that immediately following the release, they will end the talks.” PA officials said that Abbas and Kerry are scheduled to hold another meeting. They said no progress had been achieved during their meeting, where the two men discussed extending peace talks until the end of the year. U.S. officials dubbed the talks “constructive,” however, and said Kerry would “remain engaged” with Abbas and Netanyahu. Kerry and Netanyahu speak on a daily basis, according to Israeli officials. Issa Qaraqi, PA minister for prisoner’s affairs, warned that failure to release the prisoners at the end of this month would lead to unrest inside Israeli prisons. “The prisoners have decided to launch protests if the fourth batch is not freed. Also, we will hold mass rallies in support of the prisoners, and their families will wait for them outside Ofer Prison [near Ramal-
lah],” Qaraqi said, speaking at a Ramallah rally in support of the prisoners.
Adelson to Buy Maariv and Makov Rishon Newspapers for NIS 17M
Although it is still subject to the approval of government anti-trust authorities, Sheldon Adelson’s Israel Hayom Company, which publishes Israel’s most widely read daily newspaper, Israel Hayom, which is distributed for free, is expected to buy both Makor Rishon and NRG, its website. As part of the deal, Israel Hayom will employ 95% of Makor Rishon and NRG workers for at least a year. The price that Adelson has proposed is a whopping NIS 17 million—$4.85 million—and was approved by the Jerusalem District Court on Sunday. Makor Rishon and NRG are currently owned by Israeli businessman Shlomo Ben Tzvi and his family. The Makor Rishon Company, which owns Maariv and the Makor Rishon newspaper, is said to owe creditors, including freelancers and employees, some NIS 3.5 million ($1 million) due to Maariv’s lackluster performance. Earlier this month, Ben Tzvi stated that Maariv owed NIS 50 million ($14.3 million). Ben Tzvi has told courts that his company cannot currently pay its debts. He had reportedly invested some NIS 90 million in the daily over the past year and a half. Several hours before the proposal was authorized, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett attacked the bid, comparing Adelson’s Israel Hayom to Kremlin mouthpiece Pravda and accusing the paper of unfairly siding with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on most issues. “Israel Hayom is Pravda, it’s the mouthpiece of one man – the prime minister,” Bennett said. “At every point where there was a contradiction between the national interest and the prime minister, the paper always preferred the prime minister: on the declaration of a Palestinian state, on the Bar-Ilan speech [in which Netanyahu expressed support for a two-state solution], on the [settlement] freeze, and in the battles against [far-right Likud MK Moshe] Feiglin and against me.” Bennett said he feared that Makor Rishon would leave its conservative Zionist and national-religious values and begin
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Saudis Arrest 3 for YouTube Video Protests
“Give us our money... we do not want to beg... You and your children are playing with this money,” he said about Saudi’s oil wealth in the 30-second video during which he held up his identification card. In another video, a man identifying himself as Abdullah bin Othman charged that “corruption is widespread” in Saudi Arabia while “people are hungry and oppressed.”
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tention to enact a trade deal that would allow Taiwanese and Chinese service sector companies in businesses ranging from banking to beauty parlors to open up branches or shops in the other’s territory. The action was sparked by the decision by a lawmaker from Ma’s ruling Nationalist Party to renege on a promised clauseby-clause review of the trade deal, which was signed by both sides last year but is awaiting ratification by Taiwan’s Parliament. On Saturday, Ma gave into students’ demands to increase scrutiny of future pacts signed with China, but refused to withdraw the pact in question, saying it would deeply harm Taiwan’s interests. “I’m not against free trade, but the government should come up with policies to protect local industries before they open the door,” said a protester, Philip Lihan, 30, a graphic designer in Taipei originally from Chiayi in southern Taiwan. “I’ve been sitting-in near the legislature every day after work until midnight,” said Lihan, who added that he had been working with other artists to create murals in support of the protest. “I just came back from Hong Kong. Everything is getting so expensive there. I’m afraid Taiwan will become like Hong Kong,” one protester admitted. Opponents of the pact say it would cost Taiwan tens of thousands of jobs because small businesses on the island will be unable to compete with cash-rich, mostly state-run Chinese companies intent on investing in Taiwan. They also say it would give a big boost to China’s efforts to bring the island, which split from the mainland 65 years ago, under its control. China’s chief negotiator with Taiwan, Chen Deming, told a forum in Guangzhou on Sunday that he would be “deeply regretful” if the trade pact failed, and that it could boost Taiwan’s economy, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.
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toeing the Netanyahu line along with Israel Hayom. Israel Hayom is a relative newcomer to the Israeli media scene. It was first published in 2007, and now has the highest daily circulation in Israel. Adelson is a staunch supporter of Netanyahu and of American conservative politicians. He has donated heavily to the Republican Party in the US, spending over $92 million helping mostly losing Republican candidates in the 2012 elections.
US Backs Israel Against UN
mocracy, received such treatment,” Schriefer pointed out. “Especially disturbing is this council complacency with the repeated introduction of a resolution focusing on the Golan Heights,” said Schriefer. “To consider such a resolution while the Syrian regime continues to slaughter its own citizens exemplified the absurdity of this agenda item and each of the other resolution on Agenda item 7.” She explained that the United States supported the Palestinian’s right to self-determination but that it did not believe these resolutions helped advance a two state solution or the peaceful resolution of the conflict.
conspiracy.” Abu Ghaith’s defense lawyers argued there was “zero evidence” that he knew about any conspiracies and that the prosecution case was based purely on “ugly words and bad associations.” Abu Ghaith was captured in Jordan last year and brought to the U.S., where he was tried in a federal civilian court. The trial took only three weeks and is seen by some as proof that civilian trials are a more efficient means of bringing terrorists to justice than military trials. Abu Ghaith will be sentenced on September 8th and could face life in prison. The Kuwaiti citizen is the highest-ranking al Qaeda figure to face trial on U.S. soil since the attacks.
Can a 14-Year-Old Save Our Government Millions?
OBL’s Son-in-Law Found Guilty On Friday, the United States issued a scathing attack against the United Nations Human Rights Council for its continued biased treatment of Israel and charged that the council was harming the peace process. It seems that America is our only ally; it was the sole country to vote against five anti-Israel resolutions the UNHRC approved on Friday afternoon as it met in Geneva at the close of its 25th session. Four of the five resolutions attacked Israel’s treatment of Palestinians over the pre1967 lines and were approved 46 to 1. The fifth resolution that dealt with Israel’s continued presence on the Golan Heights, and its treatment of the Syrian population that lives there, passed with the approval of 33 nations. There were 13 abstentions and one vote against it. The U.S. took particular issue with the council’s Agenda Item 7, which mandates that Israel must be debated at every UNHRC session. Israel is the only country with such a standing agenda item. “We are deeply troubled once again to be presented with a slate of one-sided resolutions that undermine efforts to make progress in the negotiations,” said Paula Schriefer, who heads the U.S. Delegation to the UNHRC. She noted in particular that the U.S. remains “deeply troubled by the council’s stand-alone agenda item directed against Israel and by the many repetitive and one sided resolutions under this agenda item.” She continued, “None of the world’s worst human rights violators, some of whom are the objects of resolutions at this session have their own stand-alone agenda item at this council.” “Only Israel, a vibrant and open de-
After five hours of jury deliberation, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, former al Qaeda spokesman and Osama bin Laden’s son-inlaw, was found guilty in a New York City courtroom of conspiring to kill Americans. Ghaith, 48, was also convicted of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and providing support to terrorists. In the months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Abu Ghaith encouraged young Muslims to kill Americans in several video and audio broadcasts, which were played repeatedly throughout the trial. In his own testimony, he denied being a member of al Qaeda, but also testified that Bin Laden had asked him to be the group’s spokesman on the night of the 9/11 attacks. He said that Bin Laden met him in a cave and asked him: “Did you learn what happened? We are the ones who did it.” Videos showing Abu Ghaith threatening America with no end to the “storm of airplanes’’ were shown to jurors, but he argued his role was a purely religious one. During closing arguments, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Cronan said Abu Ghaith was an important figure in post9/11 al Qaeda. “Going to that man was the very first thing Osama Bin Laden did on September 11 after the terror attacks,” he said. “The defendant committed himself to al Qaeda’s conspiracy to kill Americans, and he worked to drive other people to that
determine if the federal government could experience similar savings. So he did — and he got very similar results. “Using the General Services Administration’s estimated annual cost of ink — $467 million — Suvir concluded that if the federal government used Garamond exclusively it could save nearly 30% — or $136 million per year,” the report adds. “An additional $234 million could be saved annually if state governments also jumped on board, he reported. That’s a total savings of $370 million. Though Gary Somerset of the Government Printing Office admits the teen’s work is “remarkable,” he told CNN his office is currently more focused on switching to digital. Anything to help with spending, Mr. Somerset. Let’s just see you make it happen.
Most Counterfeit Items in the U.S. It’s not age or experience that can save our government from its burgeoning debt. It’s a 14-year-old student with a great idea that can save the United States $400 million a year. Suvir Mirchandani was searching for a way to reduce the amount of ink his school uses. After all, he said, “Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume.” That would become the focus of his science fair project — and it turned out to be more successful can he probably imagined. First, the intrepid student charted how often each character was used in four different typefaces: Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans. Then he measured how much ink was used for each letter, using a commercial tool called APFill® Ink Coverage Software. Next Suvir enlarged the letters, printed them and cut them out on cardstock paper to weigh them to verify his findings. He did three trials for each letter, graphing the ink usage for each font. From this analysis, Suvir figured out that by using Garamond with its thinner strokes, his school district could reduce its ink consumption by 24%, and in turn save as much as $21,000 annually. The teenager ended up sending his findings to the Journal for Emerging Investigators (JEI) on the advice from his teacher. JEI co-founder Sarah Fankhauser said Suvir’s project really stood out from other submissions. Because they saw the potential in his work, JEI then asked him to calculate his findings on a larger scale to
According to estimates from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), counterfeit products cost the global economy up to $250 billion each year. Millions of those counterfeit products enter the U.S. but only a fraction of the fake goods are caught. While government agencies do their best to crack down on counterfeit goods, they only manage to catch a fraction of the fake products that enter the United States. Still, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) values that seized goods amounted to $1.7 billion in 2013, an increase of 38.1% from 2012. Based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the authentic versions of the counterfeit goods, some of the most valuable imitations were of handbags and wallets, watches and jewelry, and consumer electronics. Many of the fake products come from China. The country’s extensive range of authentic products, along with its intellectual property rights framework, may contribute to the country’s high levels of counterfeiting. About $1.2 billion of the $1.7 billion worth of imitations picked up by U.S. law enforcement agencies originated in mainland China. More than $400 million worth of seized goods came from Hong Kong specifically. So what are Americans looking to
Burn Money Burn Many Americans think their neighbors in Canada are strange… and that’s without even reading this story! A popular radio station in Canada is under fire for reducing $5,000 in cash to a pile of ashes as part of a publicity stunt. The contest, “Bank It or Burn It” run by 90.3 AMP Radio in Calgary, asked listeners to weigh in through social media on whether the stacks of bills should go to a lucky listener or be set on fire. Morning cohosts Katie Summers and Ryan Lindsay say they were left with no choice but to follow through when 54 percent responded with the hashtag “#BURN” via text. “This city made a conscious decision, and we had to stick with what they said because that’s what we said we were going to do,” Lindsay said. On the air, he scoffed at critics who say the money should have been donated to a charity, saying they wouldn’t have donated the cash anyway had they won it. The contest continues this week for a second and final round, this time with $10,000 on the line. But if the outcry so far is any indication, this vote this time around could go much differently. The station has been called “selfish” and “disgraceful” on many social media outlets. Still, Lindsay notes that the outcome here — publicity — has been achieved, and that the station-provided $5,000 was a drop in the bucket compared with what other stations spend on marketing. As for those who have called the station out for breaking the law, a spokesperson from the nation’s central bank, the Bank of Canada, says that the DJs are in the clear. “It is not illegal to write or make other markings on bank notes because neither the Bank of Canada Act nor the Criminal Code deals with mutilation or defacement of bank notes,” he says in an email. He adds, though, that the bank discourages such activities, as banknotes “are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride.” Canadians sure have a funny sense of humor.
Ostriches Rule the Road in South Africa
Father Protests against Child’s Homework Jeff Severt is an educated man. He cruised his way through college math, but when it came to helping his son complete his math homework
Looking in the rearview and wearing a seatbelt are very standard driving rules in countries worldwide. Here a few of the less obvious driv-
ing rules to be found around the globe. Fasten your seatbelts, folks; it’s going to be a wild ride. Let’s talk about booze—something that definitely shouldn’t mix with driving. In Costa Rica, it’s legal to drink and drive, so long as your blood alcohol level is lower than 0.05% The country also prohibits blasting loud music near churches, hospitals and schools. On the other end of extreme, France requires its drivers to carry a portable Breathalyzer at all times when driving a car. The one-time kit costs around $5, and if you don’t have one the fine is a paltry $15—but the law is seldom enforced. Ever think that Russians are sticklers for cleanliness? If your car is dirty enough to create art on a dusty hood in Moscow it’s liable for a fine of 2000 rubles (about $55). Although enacted in part to prevent muddied and obscured license plates, it’s up to officers to make the call. Worse yet, it’s illegal to wash your car by hand on public property for ecological reasons—forcing you to take it to one of the few car wash facilities. How do you say Mr. Clean in Russian? In South Africa, shepherds have the right of way. Although most probably wouldn’t play chicken with an ostrich crossing anyway, the law explicitly states that “the driver of a vehicle on a public road shall stop such vehicle at the request or on the signal of a person leading or driving any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig or ostrich on such road.” Fines can get as high as $500. The animals rule the rules of the road. Although some countries like Italy restrict driving access to certain zones, Manila, Philippines, takes the cake for the most convoluted traffic law. You can’t drive in some of the busiest districts of Manila, depending on the day of the week and the last digit on your license plate. For example, if your plate ends with 1 or 2, you can be fined if caught driving between 7am and 7pm on a Monday. Word to the wise: it might be best to take out your trusty bicycle in some of these places.
How a Bet Has Made Millions for Spielberg
It was a long time ago, but this deal has continued to reap rewards for filmmaker Steven Spielberg. The subject? A new film called “Star Wars.” In the mid-1970’s science fiction films weren’t too popular. 1968’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” led the way for the genre but made just $56 million at the box office. So when a young director named George Lucas was trying to sell a script called “The Star Wars,” not many studios were eager to make it. Yoda? Jedi Knights? A character called Darth Vader? That definitely wouldn’t appeal to American audiences.
Finally, Lucas took his script to 20th Century Fox and received backing — but even then it was more because of the success of a previous film that Lucas directed. The challenges didn’t stop there. A delayed, over-budget production caused the troubled director to visit a friend shooting his own sci-fi film in Mobile, Ala. That friend was Steven Spielberg and the film was his 1977 classic, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.“ According to an interview with Spielberg for Turner Classics Movies, Lucas came to the set of “Close Encounters” out of sorts after problems with his passion project. Needing to recharge, Lucas spent a couple of days on set. He believed that his new film would completely bomb. “George came back from ‘Star Wars’ a nervous wreck,” Spielberg said. “He didn’t feel ‘Star Wars’ came up to the vision he initially had. He felt he had just made this little kids’ movie.” Even more disheartening for the director was his realization that Spielberg’s “Close Encounters” was going to be so much more successful than “Star Wars.” So much more that he felt like making a bet with Spielberg. Spielberg later recalled: “He said, ‘Oh my G-d, your movie is going to be so much more successful than ‘Star Wars’! This is gonna be the biggest hit of all time. I can’t believe this set. I can’t believe what you’re getting.’ He said, ‘All right, I’ll tell you what. I’ll trade some points with you. You want to trade some points? I’ll give you 2.5 percent of ‘Star Wars’ if you give me 2.5 percent of ‘Close Encounters.’ So I said, ‘Sure, I’ll gamble with that. Great.’” One of the greatest gambles in the film industry? For Spielberg, yes. “Close Encounters” would indeed be a hit, making $303 million at the box office. However, “Star Wars” would go on to become one of the biggest box-office hits of all time. Spielberg stills receives money from the best to this very day. Released May 25, 1977, on a budget of $11 million, “Star Wars” — later retitled “Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope” — went on to make 460$ million in the U.S. alone. Adjusted for inflation, the film has made $1.48 billion at the box office, making it the second-biggest boxoffice hit of all time — only behind “Gone with the Wind.” Essentially, Spielberg’s 2.5 percent could have made him nearly $40 million. “‘Close Encounters’ was just a meager success story. ‘Star Wars’ was a phenomenon,” Spielberg said a few years ago. “Of course I was the happy beneficiary of a couple of net points from that movie, which I am still seeing money on today.” Seems like the Force was really with him years ago.
APRIL 3, 2014
he ended up very frustrated. Recently, Severt’s son came home with a worksheet insisting the student use the elaborate Common Core (CC) formula for solving a math problem. The instructions demanded that the student explain why a fictional kid named “Jack” should be using common core strategies to solve the problem: “Jack used the number line below to solve 427 - 316. Find his error. Then write a letter to Jack telling him what he did right, and what he should do to fix his mistake.” Severt used that sheet of paper to vent… Severt’s encouraging words to his son read, “Dear Jack, Don’t feel bad. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering, which included extensive study in differential equations and other higher math applications. Even I cannot explain the Common Core mathematics approach, nor get the answer correct. In the real world, simplification is valued over complication. Therefore, 427 - 316 = 111. The answer is solved in under 5 seconds — 111. The process used is ridiculous and would result in termination if used. Sincerely, Frustrated Parent.” Then Severt posted a picture of his note on Facebook and got a lot of media attention. By Tuesday, the post had earned 4,400 likes, 4,300 shares, and 700 comments debating the issue. Interestingly, politicians don’t agree with Severt’s reasoning. Just one day before, Indiana became the first state to officially withdraw from the Common Core standards. The Common Core program is an education initiative funded and developed by two Washington, D.C.-based trade organizations, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA). The program is not an official federal mandate. The objective of the initiative is to ensure that all children are prepared equally for the next grade. It dictates exactly what students in kindergarten through 12th grade should know in arts, language, and math. The Common Core’s website states that the program focuses on “developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills students will need to be successful.” The program has been adopted by 45 states but more than 200 bills were introduced in 2014 to slow or stop its implementation. Apparently, common sense is not so common among government officials when it comes to the Common Core.
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get, despite them being fake? It seems that computers and accessories are valued commodities in the black market. Footwear and pharmaceuticals are also coveted items. Obviously, clothing and accessories also sell big in the U.S. Fake Fendi scarves, anyone? Electronics, watches and jewelry come up high on the list. And which counterfeit product was the most trafficked last year in the U.S.? Handbags and wallets, of course. Just take a walk down Broadway in Manhattan, and you’ll see why.
THE JEWISH HOME
APRIL 3, 2014
Homeschooling – The Wave of the Future By Yehudis Litvak When my daughter was five I decided to take her out of school. For a number of reasons I felt that my daughter would do better at home. The school, however, felt otherwise. They told me to ask a shaila. I dutifully called my rabbi, who felt that it was not a matter of a halachic shaila but of getting appropriate advice from an expert. So I called Rebbetzin Rochel Schochet, a”h. An experienced educator known for warm and nurturing relationships with her students, Rebbetzin Schochet said to me, “Sometimes a five year old needs to be with her Mommy.” I got my stamp of approval, but I still felt very much alone. I was going against the accepted community norms, and not everyone in the community was as understanding as Rebbetzin Schochet. I called a friend, Mariela Broome, who homeschools her children in the Valley. She in turn gave me the number of another Valley homeschooler, Sharon Schwartz. It was very encouraging for me to speak with these two mothers. I got the support and advice I needed, and my daughter got playmates. Homeschooling was looking more and more realistic. Then it got even better. That same year, several other Jewish families decided to homeschool their children. Two of them were the Rosenmans and the Silveras. They also felt a lack of support in the Jewish community and they decided to do something about it. This is how LA Jewish Homeschoolers (LAJH) was born. At first it was a small group consisting of about ten families, both in the city and in the Valley, some of them experienced homeschoolers and some of us who were just beginning the journey. The group decided to hold a “park” day twice a month where local Jewish homeschooling families could get together, socialize, and receive support and encouragement. Over the years, the group has grown tremendously, and now includes close to a hundred families. We get together to celebrate Jewish holidays with Torah learning, music, singing, children’s performances, carnivals, and arts and crafts. We have taken countless fun and educational trips together and these days there is a trip scheduled each week so it’s hard to choose which to attend. We have participated in many classes organized by LAJH members, such as hands on chumash, Hebrew language and Jewish history, as well as secular subjects. We have watched our children grow and blossom, both academically and as people. Time has shown that Jewish homeschooling in Los Angeles is indeed a viable option. Even though the idea of homeschooling may seem foreign to today’s Jews it was actually the original method of education prescribed by the Torah. The responsibility to teach our children Torah rests
first and foremost on the father (Devarim 11:19). The Jews that were present when the Torah was given at Mt. Sinai taught it to their children, who in turn taught it to their children. For over a thousand years the Torah was transmitted from father to son. Towards the end of the era of the Second Beis Hamikdash, Rabbinical Judaism came under attack of the Sadducees who not only denied the Oral Torah but also sought to gain political power. Their leaders became the High Priests and members of the Sanhedrin. They made their own laws and controlled the country. The Oral Torah was at risk of being forgotten. Rabbi Berel Wein explains in his book, Echoes of Glory (p. 96), that Rabbi Shimon ben Shetach, the leader of Rabbinical Judaism at the time, came to the rescue of the Oral Torah by appointing teachers in Jerusalem who would teach children Torah, both Written and Oral. However, it was still the father’s responsibility to bring his child to Jerusalem to learn from the appointed teachers. Several decades later, Yehoshua ben Gamla, the High Priest at the time, ordained that teachers of young children should be appointed in each district and each town so that children who had no fathers would also have an opportunity to learn. The Gemara credits him with saving the Torah from being forgotten by the Jewish people (Bava Basra 21a). The school system was established in order to counteract the neglect and denial of the Oral Torah at that time. As they say, desperate times require desperate measures. Even though the responsibility for Torah education rested on the fathers for many centuries, at the time of Yehoshua ben Gamla’s innovation the fathers were either not available or lacking in their own knowledge of and commitment to the Oral Torah. The leaders of Rabbinical Judaism responded to such unfortunate circumstances by creating the school system. Perhaps they meant it as a temporary measure. We will never know. The circumstances did not improve. With the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and the terrible persecution that followed throughout this exile, only very few Jews were able to receive a thorough Jewish education. Most Jews were not knowledgeable enough, or available enough, to educate their children. It wasn’t until very recently that things began to change. And now we find ourselves at an unprecedented point in Jewish history, when Torah learning has become widely accessible. Many Jewish homes today display not only Mishna and Gemara, but many other scholarly works on Jewish law and philosophy. Many of these books are available in English translation, as well as in other languages. And many parents, thank G-d, are proud to devote time and effort to studying these books and teaching them to their
children. Perhaps for the first time in many centuries Jewish parents are now able to educate their children at home, without compromising the quality of their Torah education. When I began homeschooling my daughter I saw how much she was gaining from being home with me. She expressed interest in davening because she watched me daven. She got excited about each Shabbos and Yom Tov because she had the opportunity to be fully involved in the preparations. She was receiving the mesorah not only through book learning but through spending her days in an active Jewish home. Impressed by what we had accomplished that year, and armed with the support of LAJH, as well as the support from Rebbetzin Schochet, I took the plunge again and began homeschooling all of my children. Since then, I have found increasingly better support from Torah authorities. Today, our group even includes Torah teachers and a Rebbetzin of a local shul. The idea that homeschooling is somehow against Torah values is becoming obsolete. In the secular world, homeschooling also had a rocky history, but is now accepted as legal in many countries, including the U.S. While the original laws about compulsory school attendance in America were intended for the children’s benefit, such as preventing child labor and increasing literacy, many original homeschool activists found that the traditional school system caused more problems than it solved. Authors and educators, such as Raymond and Dorothy Moore and John Holt, wrote articles and books about the dangers of compulsory schooling, explaining that a child learns and develops best in a supportive home environment. After many complex court battles homeschooling became legal throughout the country, with each state maintaining its own requirements for homeschooling. Here in California, we homeschoolers have a lot of freedom in choosing our own educational approach and philosophy. The only requirement consists of filling out an affidavit stating that the child(ren) will be taught all the mandatory subjects. As homeschoolers, we are not against schools. Baruch Hashem, Los Angeles is blessed with many wonderful institutions providing a warm environment and an excellent education. We believe, however, that no school, no matter how dedicated the teachers, could possibly provide the limitless possibilities available in the home setting. We are able to give our children the time and space to develop and mature at their own pace. They are able to truly get to know themselves, find their strengths and G-d-given talents, and use them to reach their full potential. Miriam Dayan, an LAJH member, quotes her children as saying, “homeschooling is fun
because you get to decide what you want to learn and when you want to learn it and relax after you are done.” Homeschooled children don’t see learning as a chore, but as an enjoyable activity. As a result, they develop a life-long love of learning. Much statistical data is available on homeschooling in the secular world. Overall, homeschoolers tend to do better than their school educated peers, both academically and socially (see, for example, Research Facts on Homeschooling by Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., available at http://www. nheri.org/research/research-facts-on-homeschooling.html). Homeschooling in the Jewish community hasn’t been as widely researched, but the experiences of LAJH families have been very positive. Mothers find that homeschooling benefits the entire family because the family members spend much of the day in close proximity and are able to develop very close relationships that last throughout life. Leat Silvera says that her first goal was “to bring the family back together again. Juggling the long hours of school, homework, and the children’s social lives left us stressed and out of touch with each other. I wanted to create a year focused on the family and on helping the kids find what they love to do. The city was our classroom, and the nights were pure family time. No homework, no stress.” She recalls her son saying to her a few months into homeschooling that he felt that he got his childhood back. Mariela Broome says that homeschooling enabled her family to spend plenty of time together and they grew closer in a deep way. Sharon Schwartz adds that many people ask how homeschooling mothers can stand to be with their children all day. She explains that it is precisely because we have the opportunity to get to know them and develop close relationships that it becomes a pleasure to be with them and to watch them grow and develop. Many parents also find that homeschooling empowers them as parents. When my children were in school I felt that my parenting role was reduced to that of a drill sergeant: get dressed, eat, go to school, go home, do your homework, eat, brush your teeth, go to bed. There was no time to develop the kind of relationship where the children perceive the mother as an authority figure independently of school. When the children misbehaved at home I would assume that they were too tired because of the long school day and I did not feel that it was right to discipline them. Besides, I wanted to use the precious little time with them for positive interactions. When I began homeschooling the children could no longer use the “too tired from school” excuse and I could be sure that I gave them enough positive attention during the day and could raise my expectations in areas that were important to me. I felt that I
LAJH gave her “a safe place to take the risky plunge of doing something different than that which we were conditioned.” She explains, “Without LAJH already in place, I’m not sure I would have had the guts to start homeschooling. Knowing that there were other observant homeschooled kids that could provide the social outlet my kids needed, provided a great sense of comfort. The moms in LAJH were encouraging, supportive and knowledgeable
were involved in davening in a very personal way, learning the meaning of the words and saying them sincerely. When I first began homeschooling I was concerned that my children would miss out on celebrating their milestones with their friends. I need not have worried. My children had their siddur parties, as well as numerous siyumim, well attended by their friends from LAJH. They were beautiful and meaningful events. We’ve also put on several all-girls plays. The most recent Chanuka play was directed by the girls themselves, with minimal adult involvement. We are currently working on a Purim play, with a fairly large cast of actresses. Several LAJH families with older boys hired a Rebbi to teach their sons limudei kodesh. They learn in a small group for an hour, four days a week and get homework assignments. Even though they spend much less time with their Rebbi than their peers in traditional schools, the mothers find that the boys are covering more material than boys their age who attend local Jewish schools. The boys are very motivated, and the learning is much more meaningful to them. One of the boys undertook to learn more mishnayos on his own, in addition to the Rebbi’s assignments. LAJH has given local Jewish families that vital source of support that made Jewish homeschooling possible. Miriam Dayan says, “My girls have gained some friends who understand their lives as both homeschoolers and Jews.” Yael Resnick, a former LAJH member who made aliyah with her family last year, says that
in the areas of homeschooling. LAJH became not just our homeschool community, but a family to us.” Yael is no longer homeschooling because she felt that her children would integrate into the Israeli society more naturally if they attended school. She says, “I feel that homeschooling gave my kids the tools to cope with future situations that will come their way. They have self confidence in themselves that was developed through years of homeschooling. They possess a maturity in their social interactions and the ability to cope through stressful situations. But best of all, they continue to have desire for learning, fiery creativity and you will never ever hear them say the words, ‘I’m bored.’” Many past members of LAJH also feel that the homeschooling years contributed to their children’s success in their current endeavors. Some families chose to send their children to school as they got older. Many have sent to high school. Some just homeschool through the high school years. The paths open to homeschoolers are as individual as the homeschoolers themselves. Tzippy Rav-Noy, an LAJH member whose children’s ages range from preschool to high school, says that she find homeschooling tremendously beneficial for her sixteen year old son, Avremy. Homeschooling gave Avremy an opportunity to discover his passion for electrical and mechanical engineering. He attended the UCLA Tech Camp in the summer and participated in robotics contests. “Over the years, he’s had some amazing teachers, and went on amazing trips and tours where
he could see robotics at work in real life situations,” says Tzippy. For several years, Avremy has been teaching electrical engineering and prototyping in several after school programs. He earns his own money and has an appreciation for what it means to support himself. He was able to save some money and buy himself a 3D printer to work on his projects. Tzippy says that he can spend hours at a time thinking of a project, implementing it, and getting it to work. Avremy is also taking courses at Santa Monica College and is planning on applying to engineering school. “Unlike many of his peers, he already has goals, knows where he wants to be,” says Tzippy. “Homeschooling allows me to help my kids find their passions so that they will support themselves and their families by doing something they love.” Other families choose to continue their children’s education in a traditional high school. Sivan Wolf, who is currently in 11th grade at Bais Yaakov of Los Angeles, says that homeschooling helped her with choosing a path in life. “It helped define my own identity as a bas yisrael,” she says, “without peer pressure. I was able to grow without limitations in the way I wanted.” After homeschooling, Sivan started 9th grade at a different high school. She says that the skills she gained while homeschooling, such as learning on her own and not relying on others to make decisions for her, helped her see that the school she was in was not the right place for her. She wanted to be with girls who would help her grow, and she transferred to Bais Yaakov. Her sister, Chaya Leemor, a 10th grader at Bais Yaakov, agrees that homeschooling gave her the opportunity to define herself and who she really was. While both girls found it difficult to adjust to the large size of the school and the heavy workload, both are happy with their choices. Yehudit Wolf, Sivan’s and Chaya Leemor’s mother, says that the girls had no trouble getting accepted into local high schools. “They took the tests, just like everyone else,” she says. As of today, formerly homeschooled children have integrated successfully into Toras Emes, Bais Chaya Mushka, Emek Hebrew Academy, Or HaChaim, and Hillel. Others went on to Bais Yaakov, Shalhevet, Bnos Devorah, YULA, Valley Torah, and Bais Chana. Several high school age students are continuing their education at the Santa Monica College. Homeschool “graduates” tend to do very well in school or college and are often noticed by their teachers because of their exceptional maturity, confidence, independence, creativity, and genuine interest in their studies. Homeschooling is truly becoming the wave of the future. As LAJH increases its membership every year it continues to be an invaluable resource for the Jewish homeschoolers of Los Angeles. For more information, please contact Leat Silvera at (310) 435-0578 or visit LAJH’s website, http://lajewishhomeschoolers.com.
APRIL 3, 2014
dren’s social development: we want them to be committed members of the Jewish community. And that’s where LAJH plays a crucial role. LAJH provides all the components of a vibrant child-centered Jewish community, without requiring school attendance. For example, the Rosenmans and the Silveras began a homeschooling davening group, with the fathers taking turns leading the davening. All the families who participated felt that the children
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gained more power as a parent to run the home in the way I saw fit. Homeschooled children receive an individualized education, epitomizing Shlomo Hamelech’s directive of educating each child according to their own way. Miriam Dayan says, “Having three girls who for all intents and purposes had the exact same experiences I saw their natural tendencies to learn differently and focus on different things. I couldn’t imagine sending them to a school where they would all be forced to learn the same things at the same time without any consideration for their personal interests or aptitudes.” No longer tied to a rigid curriculum, a homeschooled child can learn on their own level, whether above their current grade or below. Most children will be ahead of their grade in some subjects and below in others. One of my children, for example, is a grade ahead in math and a grade below in English. At home, I don’t have to worry about her being bored during learning or about comparisons to others her age that would negatively affect her self-esteem. As a result, the children thrive academically. Homeschooling also provides children with the optimal environment for maturation. According to developmental psychologist Gordon Neufeld, maturation is not something that can be taught. It is a natural process that takes place under the right conditions, some of which include strong attachment relationships where a child feels safe to express his or her emotions (Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D. and Gabor Mate, M.D. Hold On to Your Kids. Random House, 2008). While in school both teachers and students have to work hard to create and maintain such relationships, at home they are readily available. Therefore, a homeschooled child is much more likely to develop resilience, which is one of the components of maturation. A resilient child, according to Neufeld, is able to handle adversity and adapt to change. Contrary to the popular belief, children don’t need to encounter bullies early on in life in order to learn to deal with difficult people. The best way to prepare children for dealing with adversity is by creating the optimal conditions for maturation. (For more on why homeschooling works, from the perspective of developmental psychology, see Dr. Neufeld’s presentations at the Global Home Education Conference, available online at http://www. ghec2012.org/cms/content/why-home-education-works-explanations-developmental-science and http://www.ghec2012. org/cms/content/developmental-scientists-perspective-neufeld, as well as the material available on Dr. Neufeld’s website, http://neufeldinstitute.com.) The most frequent myth of homeschooling is that homeschooled children lack socialization. The facts, however, show otherwise. Studies show that homeschooled children measure above average in areas of social, emotional, and psychological development (see Dr. Ray’s article, cited above). As Jews, however, we have an additional requirement for our chil-
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APRIL 3, 2014
It’s been a while since I left a new restaurant with the happy feeling that I must make it back soon. Chickpeas was such a positive experience that I have returned twice since sampling its menu for this article. As soon as you enter the bright white restaurant, you’ll notice a green theme, emphasized by large vegetable motif artwork and the striking cleanliness of the place stands out. The next thing I noticed was the feeling that owner, David Sharabi, wanted my meal to be an amazing experience. He was polite, helpful with explaining the new menu, and generous with the side salads. It is no wonder that I like him and I like this place. Owner David Sharabi and his wife Tammy are a hardworking, salt-of-theearth couple who originally brought us PitaWay, a restaurant with tasty, Israeli food. However, after a year of selling good food at fair prices, they realized that the Kosher market was too saturated with fleishig Israeli style restaurants and they needed to change to compete in La Brea’s complicated restaurant playing field. After brainstorming with both Jewish and non-Jewish health conscious customers, they picked up on the natural, vegetarian vibe of the Melrose area and produced Chickpeas, which takes the best of PitaWay but adds healthier, meatfree options, faux shawarma, salads, and freshly squeezed juices. In my opinion, this is a homerun. I made plans to meet an old friend at Chickpeas and we both appreciated their
simple, healthful food. The first step of the menu requires an easy choice: salad or sandwich. Both items can be vegetarian; vegetables or falafel or vegetarian shawarma and if you choose a sandwich, then you have a choice of whole wheat or white pita. I was delighted to smell the pita which is baked in house. Then you
but that’s it. I also had the falafel salad with extra hardboiled egg and it was fantastic. My friend and I smiled as we heard another customer tell the waiter that, “this is the best falafel I’ve ever had!” It’s understandable; Chickpeas falafel is a tasty thing and to top it off, David
can choose add-ons like avocado, hardboiled egg, and feta cheese which make a flavorful feast. I’ve tried vegetarian shawarma before, since Whole Foods sells kosher tofu and soy “meats” with “Middle East flavorings”. However, I find theirs tastes disgusting and is a waste of $15.99 for a packaged experience. Thankfully Chickpeas gets is so right. When you eat their shawarma in a pita with veggies and sauces, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between their tofu and the real thing. Perhaps turkey shawarma is oilier,
Sharabi has a secret green sauce that he offers for every entrée. Another dish I recommend at Chickpeas is falafel salad with avocado and egg covered and doused with the green sauce. Oh yes, you will polish it off. Not only are their main dishes simple and good, but their starter freebies are noteworthy and in fact, their namesake Chickpea Salad is the last dish I recommend. With your meal you get a little cardboard tray and mini fork and you can choose delicacies from the salad bar. The owner encourages you to go back for
seconds and thirds and heap up the little tray. I liked that! All their salads were very fresh with great flavor. You’ll love the chickpea salad, green cabbage salad, and beet salad. As for drinks, there is a tasty pink lemonade and mint lemonade with a real, earthy tea taste (similar to Coffee Bean’s Swedish Berries iced tea). I returned to the restaurant a second time and just enjoyed the side dishes and that lemonade. Apparently this is a normal thing to do because they offer exactly this as a “Combo- Homemade Drink + Salads” for an inexpensive $3.99. Chickpeas is in PitaWay’s former location and it still has the same phone number and is owned by the same people. There’s street parking and a nice sized lot in the back. I hope Chickpeas does well and that our community supports them. They have fresh, fabulous food and the experience is splendid. They are under Kehilla supervision and located at 7275 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Their phone number is 323-932-0052.
Estee Cohen is a California native and goes out to eat more than is appropriate. She is a kosher food insider, has a patient husband and 3 little kids. She is passionate about restaurants, science education, and collects rooster figurines.
THE JEWISH HOME APRIL 3, 2014
THE JEWISH HOME
APRIL 3, 2014
Travel Guide: Santa Barbara By Aaron Feigenbaum Just an hour and a half’s drive northwest of Los Angeles, on a south-facing section of coastline, between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and alongside the Pacific Ocean, lies the beautiful coastal city of Santa Barbara. Often referred to as the “Riviera of the West,” Santa Barbara features a balmy Mediterranean climate, a rich cultural history, and abundant sightseeing and shopping opportunities. The area now known as Santa Barbara City was originally a collection of Native American Chumash villages until the region was conquered by the Spanish in the 1780‘s and converted into a mission town. The Spanish left in 1822 and the town didn’t rise to prominence until the discovery of oil in the 1890‘s. In the early 20th century Santa Barbara became home to the largest silent film studio, the Loughead Aircraft Company (precursor to Lockheed), and Marine and Navy installations. G.I.s returning from WWII built up
this sleepy backwater of a town into what would become one of California’s most popular and most prosperous cities. What to Do and See: Stearns Wharf: One of Santa Barbara’s most popular attractions, the Wharf features shops, entertainment, and a waterfront shuttle that takes you out to the harbor and back. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous you can take a whale-watching cruise or even charter a private yacht. Santa Barbara Zoo: Consistently ranked as one of the country’s best small zoos, the S.B. Zoo will treat you to the sights and sounds of 600 animals representing over 180 species. Get the opportunity to feed a giraffe, treat your kids to a train which circles the whole zoo, or work as an honorary zookeeper for a day. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for kids. Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens: For $10 per adult and $6-$8 per child, these gardens offer some truly spectacular na-
tive California flowers set in finely landscaped surroundings. There’s also a redwood forest, a canyon, a lush meadow, a small dam, and cliff-tops that give you majestic views of the Channel Islands. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History: Once visited by Albert Einstein, this prestigious museum features a plethora of fascinating exhibits including the story of the California grizzly bear, an aquarium with mini-sized sharks, a planetarium (no extra charge for daytime shows in March and April), and a garden full of over 1,000 butterflies. Adults can get in for $12 while children and teens are $7 and $8 respectively. No charge for infants. Karpeles Museum: This manuscript library museum has locations throughout the country, but the Santa Barbara branch is especially notable because it hosts the world’s largest private collection of important documents. You can lay your eyes on original documents written by such figures as Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, Charles Dickens, and Mozart. One of the most valuable items in the collection is an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. Admission is free! Solvang: About 45 minutes northwest of Santa Barbara lies the Danish-themes village of Solvang. Visit the Elverhoj Museum to get some info on Danish history and culture. Then stop by the museum dedicated to one of Denmark’s most famous sons, Hans Christian Andersen, author of such classic fairy tales as “The Little Mermaid” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” While Solvang is somewhat on the touristy side, it’s still a unique and fun experience that’s great for the whole family. Eat and Daven: There are no kosher restaurants in Santa Barbara. The closest one is Tierra Sur/ Herzog Winery in Oxnard. There are numerous mar-
kets which carry kosher items including Ralph’s, Gelson’s Albertson’s, and Trader Joe’s. Otherwise, you can contact Rabbi Mendel Loschak of Chabad of UCSB at email@example.com and he might be able to arrange to pick something up for you. For frum shuls, there are three options: 1. Chabad at UCSB (805-685-3348) 2. Chabad of Santa Barbara (805-6831544) 3. Young Israel of Santa Barbara (firstname.lastname@example.org) Getting There: By car take the 405 to the 101 until you hit S.B. You can also catch a ride on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner train or take the Santa Barbara Airbus (sbairbus.com). If you’re really in a hurry, Santa Barbara has its own airport. The cheapest round-trip ticket costs around $260. Trivia: -Santa Barbara experienced a devastating 6.8 earthquake in 1925 which destroyed much of the city and cost taxpayers $8 million ($108 million in today’s dollars). -On Feb. 23, 1942 the Japanese submarine I-17 fired 16 shells at the Ellwood Oil Field just 10 miles west of Santa Barbara. It was the first enemy attack on the U.S. mainland since the War of 1812. While it only caused minimal damage, many residents fled and property values sunk.
59 THE JEWISH HOME
Not every grape meets our standards.
APRIL 3, 2014
Don’t settle for the ordinary. Rabbi Mordechai Ungar Shlita
Bottom Line Marketing Group: 718.377.4567
Dalton’s D series – Fume Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petite Shirah, Zinfandel and Rose labels – set the standard for medium-priced wines. Beautifully balanced in red and white varieties, the fruit forward wines are perfect for Pesach or any special occasion.
Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, International Director - Yachad
JUNE 13-15, 2014 visit yachad.org/family
Jewish Home LA 4-3-14