Jewish Home LA - 5-10-18

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The Week In News

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home


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The Week In News

CONTENTS COMMUNITY Happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

JEWISH THOUGHT Living with the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Torah Musings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The Weekly Daf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

FEATURE Trump Withdraws from Iran Nuclear Deal. . . . . . . 18

LIFESTYLES Book Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Emotional Health. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

NEWS Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The Jewish Home is distributed bi-weekly to: ANAHEIM AGOURA HILLS BEVERLY HILLS BURBANK CALABASAS CAMARILLO COSTA MESA ENCINO GLENDALE HUNTINGON BEACH IRVINE LONG BEACH LOS ANGELES -BEVERLY HILLS



MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers, My brother-in-law’s name is Alexander. Some of my wife’s relatives are named Alexander. Many people I know are named Alexander. They carry that name because 2000 years ago, Alexander the Great was kind to the Jewish people. This doesn’t mean he was a noble person. It doesn’t mean he was on a moral level we would have wanted. It does mean that in a world which usually isn’t kind to the Jewish people, we recognize those who behave differently and say thank you. This coming Monday, President Trump will fulfill the promise of all former presidents since the congressional approval in 1995 by inaugurating the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Without getting into the details of its significance, let’s use this time to say thank you. Thank you for being arguably the biggest friend the Jews have had in such high office, ever. The Jewish people have a long memory, and you have entered it along with Alexander the Great and others who have helped our tiny nation along the way. We pray the insatiable #resistance movement be unsuccessful in distracting you from fulfilling the duties you were voted in for. We pray that G-d guide you in leading this nation in a just and fair way. We pray that your efforts in reaching out to our allies in the Middle East bear fruit and that we experience peace in a not so distant future. But most of all, we thank you for treating the Jewish people and country with respect and support. G-d bless President Donald Trump, and G-d bless America. Wishing you wonderful Shabbos,


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

TheHappenings Week In News

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Longest Shiur: Yavneh Hebrew Academy Promotes Torah throughout the World Yehudis Litvak On Lag B’Omer, Yavneh Hebrew Academy hosted a unique event that served both educational and fundraising purposes. Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, Dean of Yavneh, gave “the longest shiur” – he taught Torah for 19 hours straight, beating his own record of 18 hours in 2015. The shiur was live-streamed through a Charidy campaign, raising half a million dollars in scholarship funds for Yavneh students. “The main goal was to promote Torah,” says Rabbi Einhorn, adding that today, one aspect of promoting Torah is helping parents with tuition for Jewish schools. “Torah is more than its words or ideas,” explains Rabbi Einhorn. “Torah is what it represents to our people and our legacy.” The number 19 was chosen because there are 19 books in the Tanach, and each hour was parallel to a book. A month before the campaign, Yavneh Hebrew Academy embarked on a study of the Tanach, engaging the students in fun educational activities. The school produced “Jewish hero cards” – a set of 19 colorful, beautifully illustrated cards. Each card represents a book from the Tanach and features a Jewish hero from that book. The students earned these cards with exemplary behavior and good middos. The cards generated a lot of excitement; children collected and

traded the cards, trying to complete their sets. Yavneh students also had the opportunity to listen to parts of the shiur that took place during school hours, in addition to the special Lag B’Omer program at school. In the last hour of the shiur, students joined Rabbi Einhorn and sang for the listeners. The 19-hour shiur, where the topics switched every hour, began with the importance of Torah learning, and this theme was emphasized throughout the lectures. Among the topics were the mystery of time, great Jewish conspiracies, Daf Yomi, gun control, and the Book of Ruth. The program was interactive, with listeners sending in questions via email, and included appearances by special guests. For example, in the middle of the night, Rabbi Einhorn discussed haunted houses with a guest who works the graveyard shift. For

his lecture on vaccinations in halachah, Rabbi Einhorn invited a doctor, Dr. Ronald Nagel, who brought the medical perspective on vaccinations to the shiur. Another exciting part of the shiur was the “Torah roulette,” where a random page from a random sefer was chosen and studied. One of the random picks turned out to be from a 17th century esoteric mussar sefer. Another was from a sefer by Rav Yoel Schwartz, a contemporary writer who lives in Meah Shearim. Rabbi Einhorn’s favorite lecture was

held in the 18th hour. Entitled Entering the Garden: The Rebbe’s Life Changing Baati Legani Lectures, the lecture was an analysis of a Chassidic discourse “from a YU background,” says Rabbi Einhorn, who enjoys “bringing together different worlds” when it comes to Torah learning. The longest shiur reached all over the world, with 30,000 people listening over the internet and 414 people donating to the campaign. The goal of $500,000 was reached right before the end of the 19 hours. All donations will be doubled by the matching sponsors.

Hundreds Attend Shalom Bayis Lecture Series at Adas Torah Rebecca Klempner Enthusiastic crowds crammed into two recent shalom bayis events at Adas Torah. Approximately 200 women attended a lecture by Jackie Bitton on April 23rd. On the 24th, 150 men attended given by Rabbi Reuven Epstein. The events were spearheaded by Dr. David Stoll, a strong believer in the importance of marriage education. “It’s something that is greatly needed in the community,” he says. “This was confirmed by my conversations with local rabbonim, therapists in the community, and everyday people. “We all know that every day we have to work on our avodas Hashem. We should never be satisfied with the level we are on. So too, every day we need to work on our marriages, and we should never be satisfied with the level we’re on. If our marriage is 5 or 6 stars out of 10, even 7 stars, why not aspire to 10? …Every day, we live a life connecting to Hashem, and every day we live a life connecting with our spous-

es.” Dr. Stoll looked around for stellar speakers on the topic and brought two to L.A. for the lecture series. Rebbetzin Jackie Bitton, who speaks frequently for Ohr Naava, offered an advice-filled lecture punctuated with both tearful moments and laugh-out-loud ones. According to Julie Iskowitz, who attended the event, “[Mrs.] Bitton encouraged each woman to create ‘a happy and positive home,’ to ‘squash the tension before it gets ugly,’ and she instructed each woman to ‘make what is

important to one’s husband important to her.’” The following evening, Rabbi Epstein, who is an accountant by profession, provided real-life examples of how men can show their wives love, back away from confrontation, and see things from her point of view. He followed that with a lively question and answer period. Evey Liebow attended the women’s event and said, “I like that [Mrs. Bitton] had an outline of topics which was super clear and organized, and that she re-

viewed everything at the end. And she was well-spoken, with funny anecdotes that were engaging.” Jamie Kleinman agreed that Mrs. Bitton’s humor made the evening particularly enjoyable. She added, “What was really nice about it was that they had a women’s and a men’s class connected, on back-toback evenings…shalom bayis can be much better with both parties educated.” Her husband, Tomer, attended the following evening’s program with Rabbi Epstein. “There aren’t many shalom bayis programs for men, and I liked having the opportunity to attend.” Dr. Stoll hopes this is the just beginning of this shalom bayis project. “We’ll see what the feedback is from the event, then we’ll plan new programs based on what people say they want and need. We are very encouraged by the great showing we had.” Anyone who would like to assist with future events can contact Dr. Stoll by email at


TheHappenings Week In News


MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

18,000 Attend the Celebrate Israel Festival 2018 in Rancho Park The Israel-American Council held their annual Celebrate Israel Festival on May 6th on a beautiful sunny day at the Cheviot Hills Recreation Center (Rancho Park). The annual Tiger Squadron Flyover; top entertainers from Israel, including Israeli superstars Static and Ben El; a multitude of exhibitors; and delicious kosher food items created an atmosphere of fun and excitement. Children’s activities included the petting zoo with a baby llama, riding on a camel or a pony, making crafts (including jewelry and clay pomegranates), an amusement park ride, and listening to performances on stage. They could also participate in baking challah for Shabbos at the Mega Challah Bake. A diverse group of Jews from all backgrounds sat together in the Shabbos Tent listening to great music of Moshav. Yehuda Solomon performed his band’s greatest hits in the tent and said how honored he was to be part of Israel’s 70th anniversary celebration. Yehuda pointed out that all four corners of the tent were open, giving an opportunity to every Jew to shine a light to the world and celebrate our Jewish

homeland. He also reminded guests in the tent that coming up is the Junity Music and Arts Festival. That event will be held June 3rd in Pershing Square Park. Rebbetzin Rachel Bookstein explained what the Shabbos Tent is all about. The purpose of the tent is to bring Shabbos hospitality to music festivals from either Thursday to Sunday or Friday to Monday when a Shabbos is included. It is a “chill” environment where people can relax and drink water and lemonade. Many people who never had a Shabbos in their lives realize how they can change gears, unplug from their electronics, and plug into community, friendship, and family. Rachel Bookstein also said that hospitality is the origin and basis of Judaism. She, along with her husband Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, are well-known in Los Angeles for their amazing hospitality, delicious meals, and energy at the Pico Shul. Gil Meshulam, a volunteer for IAC, invited visitors inside the Tent of Innovation. There was an area with iPods to explore all the apps developed in Israel, the most popular being the GPS system Waze, Viper (a communication management system),

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Joseph Pal Photography

Tova Abady

and the new, which allows you to integrate animation and augmented reality into personalized ready-to-view video. The founder of, Liat Sade-Sternberg, was onsite to talk to anyone about this fun app. Also in the Tent of Innovation were a photography booth, areas to listen with headsets, and places to read about the latest Israeli advancements including Or Cam. Itay Ozer, originally from Gan Yavne, and Rachel Shiffman – now both students at the University of Arizona – represented Or Cam, an amazing device to help the blind and visually impaired. Or Cam informs users about what is around them based on data gathered from pictures. Rachel mentioned that when students go on Taglit Birthright trips, they have an opportunity to go to the Innovation Center in Israel and do similar exploration of technology. Moore Greenberg, originally from Israel,

showed a demonstration of his invention that will remind people in how many hours they need to take their medication. A 10-minute video ran continuously portraying how important Israel is as a “start-up nation.” Israel, the film pointed out, has the highest density of startups in the world and more listings on NASDAQ than Japan, Korea, and India combined. One invention shown in the film was a bicycle made out of cardboard that cost next to nothing (waterproof, fireproof, and maintenance free), to transport young Kenyan children who normally carry water 10 miles on their back. Shoham Nicolet, Co-Founder and CEO of the IAC, conceived of the idea for the Pomegranate Sculpture Park. Thanks to the Greater Chicago Jewish Festival and Michael M. Lorge, local Los Angeles artists (individuals and schools), decorated many four-foot-tall pomegranates with a variety of themes that were on display at the festival. Naty Saidoff, founder of the original Celebrate Israel Festival, summed the day up for everyone when he said how lucky he was to grow up in a place like Israel “surrounded by our history, our heritage, and our diverse culture.” Nati and his wife Debbie are stalwart supporters of many causes connected to Israel.

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News


TheHappenings Week In News

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Lag B’Omer Unity Concert Brings Together Jewish Children throughout the Greater Los Angeles Yehudis Litvak The spirit of celebration and ahavas Yisrael filled the Saban Theatre this past Thursday, as over 2000 children and their teachers and chaperones gathered for the annual Chabad Youth Program Lag B’Omer Unity Concert. The attendees came from twenty-four schools and organizations, including both Chabad and Modern Orthodox schools throughout the Greater Los Angeles area, as well as the Friendship Circle and Etta Israel, organizations that work with individuals with special needs. This year’s event was produced by Yossi Burston and coordinated by Rabbi Tzemach Cunin of Chabad of Century City and Chabad Youth Programs. Rabbi Mendel Duchman of Kol Yaakov Yehuda Jr. Congregation was sorely missed this year, as he was out of town due to a family simchahh. “The Lubavitcher Rebbe highlights the day of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Lag B’Omer as an important day of Jewish unity,” says Rabbi Tzemach Cunin. “For over 40 years here in Southern California, it has become a tradition to gather children to-

gether and make community events. This year, we put in the effort to get as many schools as possible to come together as one. I have spent the past year working with the principals of the different schools to make it as united as possible. I hope the Rebbe is proud!” The concert opened with a performance by 8th Day, a Southern California Jewish band beloved to local children and adults. The performers were greeted by cheers and applause as they sang, “Celebrate in City Streets.” Then the Master of Ceremonies, Rabbi Mayer Greene, Youth Director of Chabad of Tarzana, welcomed all the schools and organizations in attendance. “Lag B’Omer is a day of unity,” he said, emphasizing Rabbi Akiva’s message of ahavas Yisrael. Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, Executive Director of Chabad of California, also addressed the audience. “Lag B’Omer, the day of the Rashbi, is a day of great simchah,” he said. We can be happy, he explained, “when we do mitzvos with other Yidden.” Tzedakah was collected at the concert

Yossi Percia Photography


in the merit of refuah sheleima for everyone in need, and in particular for Odel Miriam bas Bluma Leah (Rebbetzin Cunin), Yosef Yitzchak ben Bracha (Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz), and Sara Masha bas Esther Leah (a local Chabad shlucha in need of prayers). Benny Friedman, another popular singer, continued the concert, delighting the audience with his songs. “Today, Lag B’Omer, is a special day to get even stronger at the mitzvah of ahavas Yisrael,” he said in between songs. The response to the call for unity was met with much enthusiasm. Children got up from their seats and danced to the music, waving colorful glow sticks. Groups of children formed human trains and danced past the stage, trying to high-five Benny Friedman, and cheering when they succeeded. As Benny performed, the whole theatre came alive in waves of glowsticks, with both children and adults clapping and singing along. All the attendees, young and old, were united in celebration of the mitzvah of ahavas Yisrael. After Benny Friedman’s energetic

and inspiring performance, Rabbi Mendel Cunin of Chabad of Larchmont led the audience in the recitation of Tehillim. Then Rabbi Aron Teleshevsky, director of Chabad Youth, called on representatives of different schools and organizations to recite the 12 pesukim. One of the pesukim was recited by a representative of the Friendship Circle, a young woman with Down Syndrome. Then a juggler, Fantastic Patrick, entertained the audience with his juggling and riding a unicycle. Afterwards, 8th Day came back on stage with more songs that elicited an energetic response from the audience. Introducing the song I got a Little Bit of Moses in Me, Bentzy Marcus of 8th Day said, “Rashbi was the Moshe Rabbeinu of his generation. We each got a little bit of Moshe in us. It is so empowering when we realize it.” After their performance, Rabbi Greene led a game of musical chairs, calling on rabbis from each school and the singers to participate. Rabbi Levi Solomon of Emek Hebrew Academy won the game, receiving 10 free tickets for next year’s Lag B’Omer concert for his school. The concert concluded in the spirit of true unity, with Benny Friedman and 8th Day performing together, with the enthusiastic participation of the audience.

The Week In News

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

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TheHappenings Week In News

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

1.4 Million Raised at the Western Regional FIDF Fundraiser for Nahal Haredi Tova Abady

Many of L.A.’s most ardent Israel supporters gathered at the Peninsula Hotel on Sunday, April 29th to raise funds for Nahal Haredi, also known as the Netzach Yehuda Battalion. This Friends of the IDF (FIDF) event highlighted the challenges and successes of the battalion’s members and honored Chairman Emeritus and Executive Board member, Leo David. Nahal Haredi gives Torah-observant young men who choose to enlist in the army the opportunity to keep mitzvos without any compromises. The soldiers of Nahal Haredi face unique issues. Their families may not approve of their army service. In some cases, they are not welcome home when on leave. FIDF fills in the gap by providing a home and supportive environment. Executive Director Jenna Griffin introduced FIDF Western Region President Tony Rubin, who spoke about one of FIDF supported programs, Impact. Impact provides scholarship funds to soldiers who have completed their service and don’t have the means to go to college. On a recent trip to Israel, Mr. Rubin and his wife Linda visited a soldier who was a recipient of this assistance, and they were both deeply moved by the soldier’s gratitude. In fact, the soldier insisted they accept his certificate of service. Tony Rubin said that experience made them feel better than they ever felt in their lives. Mr. Rubin then introduced his longtime friend, Rabbi Tzvi Klebanow, Co-Founder and Director of Nahal Haredi. Rabbi Klebanow thanked the host and co-chairmen Robert Zarnegin and David Hager. He described Robert as “having a heart of pure gold.” During a recent trip to Israel, Mr. Zarnegin visited the lone soldier facility in Yerushalayim. Upon realizing that this was the place soldiers would call home that had no other place to go, Mr. Zarnegin

Positive Vibes Productions


immediately dedicated the new facility. Subsequently, after witnessing the soldiers preventing an escalation following an altercation, he personally thanked each and every soldier. Executive board member David Hager has been equally dedicated donating his time and money to make Nachal Haredi a success. Rabbi Klebanow also recognized executive board members and generous donors Steve Rosedale, of Cinncinati, and Henry Orlinsky, of Teaneck. Adam Milstein, IAC Chairman of the Board of the IAC, was in attendance. Rabbi Klebanow also thanked CEO Yochanon Danzinger and CFO Norman Blaustein. They both collectively have 80 years of management experience and were described as a source of inspiration to the board and entire staff, each having made a powerful impact on the organization. Amazingly, they are volunteers. Mr. Blaustein’s selfless devotion began the day after his wife Sara and a passenger in their car were murdered by terrorists. He was also injured in the attack. He related that following a previous incident during the intifada, he and his wife Sara had a conversation about what they would do if ever anything happened to them. Isru Chag Shavuot, they were driving to the Kotel when the attack took place. In accor-

dance to their promise to each other, Mr. Blaustein retired the next day and has been doing chessed nonstop ever since. The goals of Nahal Haredi, said Mr. Kebanow, are unity, growth, and success. This success is achieved by assisting soldiers face the transition of going into the IDF, then any challenges throughout their service, and finally their transition back to civilian life and into the work force. Nahal Haredi soldiers do chessed in the community, which creates unity. Before Purim, for example, hundreds of them go into hospitals, old age homes, and the private homes of individuals of the homebound elderly. Hadassah asked Nahal Haredi if the soldiers could possibly come back and visit more patients. “Do you know what it means when a Charedi soldier comes into a hospital full of secular Jews and dances and sings and blesses them for good health?” asked Rabbi Klebanow. He said that anyone could see it in their eyes, an appreciation and love for one another. There are also many heartwarming stories of families that have been reunited thanks to the 17-plus expert mentors who provide all types of support, including bridging the gap between soldiers and their families, who may have a negative impression of military life. Another way Nahal Haredi creates unity is through sharing the burden to protect Israel with non-observant and non-Charedi Israelis. Rabbi Klebanow said that the second goal, growth, is demonstrated when many soldiers who joined the IDF speaking about their own needs leave saying they are happy they served for the benefit of klal Yisrael. Nahal Haredi has already proven itself to be successful over the past 19 years. It has produced 10,000 veterans who are providing for themselves and leading happy, fulfilling lives. A personal story was shared by former platoon commander and current reserve commander, Yaniv Levy, who is one of thousands of success stories.

Yaniv said that he grew up in a Charedi family and was expected to learn his whole life in yeshiva like his father and brother. However, when he was only 12 years old, some of his friends from cheder took him to “the street,” where he ended up in a string of broken relationships, hooked on drugs and alcohol. He wanted to have the “fun” life, but when friends elected to join Nahal Haredi, he joined them. Yaniv soon after received recognition for outstanding service, and he said, “little by little I understood that freedom without responsibility is not freedom at all and that sacrificing for my nation, my land, and my people make me a success in life.” Yaniv met the love of his life and is now living a happy, observant life with two beautiful children. A brief video followed about the incredible story of Leo David. Mr. David, aged 91, grew up in Germany. When the SS came knocking on his door, he saw the danger and immediately left for what was then Palestine and fought in the Haganah. He continues today to be a soldier for Israel. After he came to America and established many successful businesses, including Leo’s Stereos, his success enabled him to support vital organizations in Israel. Saying he too comes from a religious background, David donated $400,000 to Nahal Haredi. Other attendees included Adam Milstein, another donor, and Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Hier related in an interview that he regards Nahal Haredi to be “one of the most important institutions in Israel,” and says Charedi soldiers who are serving in the army are doing a first class kiddush Hashem.” Rabbi Hier said the soldiers’ service is bringing unity to the rest of society to those parents who have had sons and daughters in the IDF for more than half a century. He also praised the soldiers for following in the footsteps of David HaMelech, who was also in the army, and quoted from Tanach, “Al yidei David, Mashiach tzidkecha.”

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



Living with the Times The Week In News

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Eternal Investments

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

Who can remember a week such as the one that just passed? Who can ponder the loss of so many good people and not recognize that they cannot go on living their lives as they have been? On Wednesday, Moshe Reich was in Tzefas preparing for Lag Ba’omer, joyfully hosting many people in his home on a centuries-old narrow cobblestone street, when his soul returned to its Maker. A prominent Klausenberger chosid and close friend of Arye Deri, he was well known for his engaging personality, askanus, and acts of tzedakah v’chesed. Shock spread throughout Israel and around the world. On Thursday, Mendy Klein was in Cleveland, outside of the Hebrew Academy, a major focus of his life and philanthropy. He collapsed and was gone, a giant cut down in his prime. The shock was overwhelming as word spread across the Torah world. The reaction was similar everywhere: “Mendy Klein? What? I can’t believe it.” The energetic, life-giving supporter of Torah, yeshivos, schools, needy people, victims of abuse, and so much else had died. The man who ran away from attention and honor during his lifetime was praised and mourned following his tragic petirah. Rav Shaul Shatzkes, who suffered a stroke a few months ago, never recovered and passed away on Thursday. He was a tremendous talmid chochom, baal kishron and marbitz Torah. He was a sheim dovor in Lakewood, where he lived and dedicated his life to Torah. Rav Nochum Eisenstein, who served as a rov in Detroit and Lakewood, and had also been rosh kollel in the Boston Kollel, succumbed to an illness he had suffered from for years. A unique marbitz Torah, mechaber seforim and posek, he taught,

led and inspired many people. Before his illness, he authored a weekly Torah column in the Yated. A relatively young person, he was also niftar on Thursday. Rabbi Bernard Weinberger was a phenomenal darshan, talmid chochom, and author of multiple seforim. Blessed with an engaging personality, he was also an

and let them know it. A person who knows the meter is running seeks to do good and spread goodness, making the world a better place. There is no time for pettiness; strife, hate and division have no place in the heart and mind of a person who knows that tomorrow he may be described in the past tense, r”l.

Accomplished, successful, and well-known leaders, each one in their own way, left behind legacies of greatness for future generations. intellectual and a leader in the field of rabbonus, serving as the longtime rov of Young Israel of Williamsburg. In his eighties, he passed away last week as well. Accomplished, successful, and wellknown leaders, each one in their own way, they paved a Torah way through the turmoil of golus, leaving behind legacies of greatness for future generations. Their passing sends us a message regarding the fragility of life and a warning to maximize the time we have. Recognizing the value of life helps us overcome temptation, negate frivolity, and realize the important things in life. It reminds us to love our family and friends

We currently find ourselves in the Sefirah period, when we seek to improve ourselves as we ascend daily towards the goal of receiving the Creator’s Torah. Each day, we seek another form of improvement, another way to improve our character and become a better person. An older man had a story to tell: “I came to Eretz Yisroel during the Second World War and brought several gold bars with me. I was looking for a place to invest my gold. “One day, I found myself on a street, known today as Rechov Chazon Ish, at the corner of Rechov Harav Dessler, and I saw the Chazon Ish taking a walk there. Since I

had heard that he gave brachos and advice to people, I approached him and asked him how to invest my gold. “He lifted his cane and pointed towards an empty hill. He said to me, ‘Reb Yaakov Halpern is going to be selling lots there. Take your gold and use it all to buy as many lots as you can afford.’ “I didn’t really know much about him and didn’t know that he was a gadol hador. I was angry at his suggestion. When he said that to me, I thought to myself, ‘What? He’s telling me to throw my gold into the sea? Into an empty desert hill? “Out of respect, I was quiet. I said, ‘Thank you,’ and left. “Halperin sold those lots for pennies. I took my gold and made various investments and never saw much of a return. If only I had listened to that old man, I would have become a multi-millionaire. “Oy, if only I had grabbed those lots.” The man told his story to Rav Nosson Einfeld, of Kollel Chazon Ish, who repeated the tale of woe to the well-known maggid, Rav Reuvein Karelenstein. Shortly thereafter, the maggid addressed a crowd, and this is what he said: The Rambam writes in Hilchos Teshuvah (3:4), “Even though the obligation to blow a shofar on Rosh Hashanah is given in the Torah with no reason, there is a hint, namely the posuk which states, ‘Awake you who sleep from your slumber, and those who doze off from your sleep, search your ways, return with teshuvah and remember your Creator.’ This refers to people who forget the truth and get caught up with the frivolities of the time, stumbling through their lives with silliness and emptiness, which are of no help and bring no salvation.” The man’s story portrays the words of the Rambam. All around us here in this world are properties being sold for pennies, and each one can earn us worlds of payoffs. With a simple nice word, we can earn “shai olamos,” 310 worlds. We can grab worlds at such low prices. Every mitzvah, every word of Torah, every charitable act, yields fortunes. That is the call of the shofar. As the Rambam says, “People forget the truth and get caught up with the frivolities of the time.”

Living with the Times The Week In News

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

At a time like this, when we lost people who didn’t get sidetracked but made eternal investments in this world, we need to follow their example. Think of how many people they influenced, how many they helped, and how they changed this world and made it a much better place. And now think about yourself and what you are doing. Their deaths should wake us from our slumber and shake us from our fantasies of immortality. In this week’s parsha, the Torah commands (Vayikra 25:8-9), “Vesofarta lecha sheva shabbsos shonim… Teisha v’arbo’im shana… veha’avarta shofar teruah… And you shall count for yourself seven shmittos, which are forty-nine years, and the fiftieth year shall be Yovel and you shall blow the shofar in the seventh month.” The Shela explains the connection of various pesukim in the previous and current parshiyos. He says that the seven-year cycle of Shmittah is akin to the seven days of creation. Then comes the fiftieth year and the shofar is blown to awaken and remind a person that his existence in this world is temporary. He cites the posuk of “Ki bayom hazeh yechaper” (Vayikra 16:30) and explains that in years past, the custom was that when there was a death in the community, the shofar was blown, as it is on Yom Kippur. Just as Yom Kippur is a day of forgiveness, so does death cause forgiveness for those who repent. “Veshavtem ish el achuzaso,” and the spirit shall return to Hashem. He concludes that a person must therefore always view himself as a temporary resident of this world, as the posuk (ibid. 25:23) states, “Ki geirim vesoshavim atem imodi.” We should live here as transitory residents so that we shall reside with Hashem in perpetuity. And this is the reason land is not sold in perpetuity, as the posuk says, “Veha’aretz lo simocher l’tzmisus” (ibid.). “We shall not be like the puerile people who are enthralled with their wealth, property and homes. Rather, we should use what Hashem has given us for ruchniyus, and then “viyishavtem al ha’aretz lavetach.” As the Torah discusses in Parshas Bechukosai, “Im bechukosai teileichu, if you follow the commands of Hashem, you will be richly rewarded.” The shock that followed the passing of Mendy Klein z”l should remain with us and not wear off. We should remember our thoughts when we heard the shocking news and perpetuate them through understanding the words of the Shela. Doing so will be a zechus for him and bring us brachos and nitzchiyus. For a giant in charity as he was, comes along infrequently. It takes not only great wealth, but also the understanding that we are but geirim here, with the task of doing what we can to enhance the lives of others and supporting causes of Torah. Mr. Klein excelled in that, and he did it all quietly and behind the scenes. Nobody knew but him, the recipient and Hashem. Now he is in the “olam shekulo tov,” with Hashem, lonetzach.

Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, the Beis Haleivi was married to a woman who hailed from a family of Slonimer chasssidim. Once, when he was living in the home of his in-laws as was common in the time, the rebbe, Rav Moshe of Kobrin came into the room in which Rav Yoseph Dov learned. He was studying the later chapters of Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim. The rebbe asked the young Litvishe gaon, “And what is with the first siman of Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, do you observe that?” The man who would grow up to be the world-famed Beis Haleivi and forebear of the famed Brisker family, responded that he worked on that halacha,

namely of “Shivisi Hashem lenegdi somid,” fifteen times a day. This week I visited the Sadigerrer Rebbe together with Rav Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin, he turned to us and said every generation has its nisyonos which weren’t prevalent in previous generations. In our day, he said, there is a plague in emunah and bitachon, frum people don’t know the basics of belief. “This is what leads to the terrible problem of “noshrim,” people going off the derech. We cannot ignore what is going on. “It is your obligation to appeal to people and educate them what emunah means, what bitachon means, what the mitzvos are

all about and why we observe them,” he told us. At a time like this when people seek zechuyos and sources of merit, let us resolve to study and review Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim as well as seforim such as Chovos Halevavos and the many others which give meaning and value to our lives so that we can become better Jews and better people. Emunah and bitachon makes our lives more wholesome and increases our happiness, self-worth, and ability to get with others, but more importantly, it brings us closer to Hashem and the geulah we all await.


‫ברגשי גיל וכבוד מקבלים תושבי ערינו בברכה את פני האי צדיק נשגב‬ ‫עובד ה' מנעוריו מלהיב לבבות ישראל לאביהם שבשמים‬

‫כ"ק מרן אדמו"ר שליט"א‬

‫בן כ"ק מרן אדמו"ר מקוויאשד זצוק ללה"ה‬ ‫ ארה"ב שליט"א‬- ‫וחתן יבלחט"א כ"ק מרן אדמו"ר מראחמיסטריווקא‬ ,‫אשר אורו זורח בעואב"י מאנסי יצ"ו‬ "‫ובא מהתם להכא למען קיום ושכלול בנין "ביתו החדש‬ ‫והחזקת בית מדרשו והכולל "תורת משה" המתנוסס לשם ולתפארת‬

‫האכסניא יהי' בבית ידידינו הרבני הנכבד‬ ‫הרה"ח ר' בערל ווייס שליט"א‬ 151 S. Mccadden Place

‫כ"ק מרן אדמו"ר שליט"א ישהה אי"ה בעירינו מיום א' במדבר עד יום ד' בערב הבעל"ט‬

With great joy we are honored with the presence of our revered guest the well known ‫ צדיק‬and ‫פועל ישועות‬ THE

SHLITA - of Monsey N.Y.

Son of the Kiviyashder Rebbe ‫זצוקללה”ה‬ And Son-in-low of the Rachmistrivka Rebbe ‫ שליט”א‬of Brooklyn N.Y.

Who will come to spend the weekdays of Parshas Bamidbar in the L.A. community

From Sunday May 13 Thru Wensday May 16

The Rebbe Shlita will be staying at the home of our dear friend

Rebbi Berry Weiss 151 S. Mccadden Place

For appointments please call 845-587-1122 845-659-6914 ‫ ידידיו ומעריציו‬- ‫ויה"ר שתהאי בואו לברכה להרמת קרן התורה וחסידות‬



Torah Musings The Week In News

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Mosquito Tones: Hearing G-d’s Messages Sarah Pachter

Recently, I was shocked to discover that some teens have been downloading a special ringtone for their cellphones in order to dupe their teachers. It’s called the “mosquito tone,” a tone heard only by young adults and entirely inaudible for anyone over the age of 30. The mosquito frequency produces sound at 17kHz, which repels mosquitoes. Students are able to text back and forth during class without the teacher ever knowing. Sounds unbelievable right? I found a Youtube video and decided to check which members of our family could hear it. I pressed play, and wouldn’t you know it? Not only did all of my children hear it, but even I did! (Beware: it’s a rather obnoxious sound.) For a brief moment, I experienced the joy of feeling young again like being carded in the grocery store when you’re buying wine for Shabbos. I felt proud of my youthful ability to hear a tone that only teens were able to hear. But then I thought, Maybe I downloaded the wrong clip. We played it again for my husband, who is four years older than me. He was unable to hear anything. We were shocked! I thought he was joking so I asked in disbelief, “Really, you can’t hear it? Are you sure? Let’s try again.” He replied, “There is no sound coming from the computer. Come on! Stop joking around with me!” I was stumped and decided to keep searching, still convinced I had found the wrong sound somehow. Finally, I was able to find the right ringtone, and to my great disappointment, the sound went completely undetected by me! My ears were not as youthful as I hoped they would be! I was shocked by my inability to hear the noise, while my children heard it perfectly. Apparently, it was an even more disturbing frequency than the first ringtone that I was able to hear. You’re probably wondering where I am going with all of this. Well, I’m taking you back to Har Sinai. When G-d gave us the Torah, His voice was heard by all Jews, young and old. It was a moment so rare that it would never be repeated. “These words that G-d spoke to all

your assembly in the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud and the thick darkness, with a great voice which was not heard again… (v’lo yasaf)”1 Ibn Ezra explains that vlo yasaf means it was a one-time deal. Hashem’s voice ceased, never to be heard again in this manner. This begs the question: If this was a singular occurrence, how are we to connect in general to Hashem, and specifically each year on Shavuot? Onkelus explains the expression v’lo yasaf differently; it does not mean never to be repeated, but rather that G-d’s voice never ended, never ceased. How can we reconcile these two commentaries? The answer lies in the individual. G-d is always communicating with us, but we have the power to choose whether or not we listen. Whenever something odd, distressing, or exciting happens, we must ask ourselves, Am I listening on the right frequency? How can we realistically hear the frequency that Hashem uses to communicate? After all, no one today is a prophet. The answer is found in a Midrash regarding Har Sinai.2 Rabbi Meir said: When the Jews stood before Sinai to receive the Torah, G‑d said to them: “I swear, I will not give you the Torah unless you provide worthy guarantors who will assure that you will observe its laws.” The Jews responded, “Master of the world, our forefathers will be our guarantors!” “Your guarantors themselves require guarantors!” was G‑d’s reply. “Master of the world,” the Jews exclaimed, “our prophets will guarantee our observance of the Torah.” “I have grievances against them, too. ‘The shepherds have rebelled against Me3,’” G‑d replied. “Bring proper guarantors and only then will I give you the Torah.” As a last resort, the Jews declared, “our children will serve as our guarantors!” “They truly are worthy guarantors,” G‑d replied. “Because of them I will give

1 2 3

Deuteronomy 5:19 Midrash Rabba, Song of Songs 1:4 Jeremiah 2:8

the Torah.” Hashem felt that the greatest guarantor of His Torah were the children. When I learned this, it made little sense to me. In the realm of child raising, there are no guarantees. One can do everything right, and yet still the child may not turn out the way we hoped they would. So how could children serve as guarantors that the Torah would be transmitted forever? Rabbi Naftali Silberberg shares beautiful insight. He proposes that if we look at the way children learn, we will constantly find them asking, “Why?” Any mother will admit that she waits anxiously for her infants to speak their first words. As soon as a child’s first words are spoken, the parents are overjoyed. Yet, when that same child starts the “why” stage, parents also secretly wish they never learned how to speak in the first place! Sitting at the dinner table, you might experience your little scientist firing up a million whys at you: Mommy! Why do the bees sting? Mommy! Why is the sky blue? Even when we provide the accurate answers, they follow up with yet another “Why?” Rather than tossing our hands up in frustration, I realized this was an opportunity to learn from these moments. A child is always asking, “Why?” because he or she is inquisitive about how the world around them functions. Rebbetzin Jungreis always taught that the Hebrew word for “why” is lamah. Essentially, that means le mah – “for what.” When a child asks, “Why?” they are asking, “What is _______ for?” By the time we reach adulthood, we

ask very different whys: Hashem, why did you do this to me? Why didn’t you provide me with...? Why is my life so challenging? The pain and suffering may be great, and this can create a callus on our hearts, blocking us from being able to listen to the message of what Hashem wants from us in any given situation. Just as our ears deteriorate as we age and thus leave us unable to hear certain frequencies, our hearts create blocks that prevent us from connecting and hearing G-d’s voice. We have surely all found ourselves asking Hashem a jaded why, especially in times of suffering or hardship. When someone near to us suffers from a serious illness or personal tragedy, it is easy to feel shocked and numb inside, and we can’t help but ask: Why, Hashem? Why have you chosen this person to suffer? This is not a curious why, but one of resentment, disbelief, and sadness. Every Shavuot, Hashem brings us his Torah yet again and reminds us, My dear sheifeleh, don’t ask “Why?” in this manner. Rather, ask the way a child asks why. “Le mah. What for?” What is the message I can learn from this? How can I grow from this pain? Perhaps in this moment of suffering, Hashem wants me to reach out and connect. Maybe I have a tikun to make, or something to learn. In order to receive Hashem’s Torah in completion, we have to connect with our own inner child and reach out to Hashem with an openness. Rather than asking our questions in an entitled way, we can turn to Hashem and say: Hashem, what do you want from me right now. In this moment? Le mah? What is this for, and how can I grow from this? Hopefully, when we ask with humility and with an open heart rather than a calloused one, we will hear the frequency at which Hashem shares his message. Through this merit we can all become guarantors of Hashem’s Torah, paving way for the continuation of our eternal bond. May Hashem bring a speedy recovery to Yehudit Sharon bat Miriam.

Book Review

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Yaakov and the Jewel of Jamaica by Nathaniel Wyckoff

The Week In News

Going the extra mile!

(CreateSpace 2018) Reviewed by Brenda Goldstein Who knew that Jews sailed the seas as pirates – let alone a rabbi? Once again, Nathaniel Wyckoff takes little-known Jewish history and masterfully weaves it into a compelling story for both children and adults. When asked about the inspiration for his latest book in the Peretz Family Adventures Series, Yaakov and the Jewel of Jamaica, Wyckoff says, “It’s a bit of a convoluted story.” A rabbi friend “recommended that I write one [a book] about Rabbi Shmuel Pallache, a.k.a. the ‘Pirate Rabbi.’ To whet my readers’ appetite for the Pirate Rabbi, I introduced him in Yaakov and the Treasures of Timna Valley as a distant relative of Leah Peretz and, consequently, her children.” Set in futuristic 2025 and 2026, the Peretz Family Adventures Series features 12-year-old Yaakov and his family, along with their handy robots. This time around, Yaakov’s mother, Leah, gets invited by her former art teacher to participate in an art show in Jamaica. Never ones to pass up an opportunity for adventure, Yaakov and his siblings realize that this presents the perfect opportunity to search for the burial site of a precious family heirloom on the island, as well as that of Christopher Columbus’s fabled and much sought-after gold mine. Of course, Yaakov and his family encounter no-good thugs who try to stop them, as in any good adventure. Wyckoff again shows his mastery of story-telling, leaving the Peretzes’ ultimate triumph over evil until the very end. As with all the books in the series, we meet a bunch of interesting characters, including quirky, evil villains who contrast starkly with the Peretzes and their strong sense of morality. This time, most of the characters have a distinctly Jamaican feel, and Wyckoff provides constant description of the island’s lush vegetation. Originally from the San Fernando Valley, like the Peretzes, Wyckoff combines his technical knowledge, passion for Jewish history, and storytelling into thrilling, page-turning adventures for all ages. He spent many hours researching his topic. “While working on the third book in the series, Yaakov and the Secret of Acra Fortress, I dug for information on Rabbi Pallache,” Wyckoff says. “My searches led me to a fascinating work by Edward Kritzler, Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean. Although Kritzler’s book discusses Shmuel

Pallache, it turns out that Rabbi Pallache never actually traveled to the Caribbean Sea. Still, my investigations and reading planted a seed.” “Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean gave me a huge amount of food for thought,” says Wyckoff. He explains that the Kritzler book discusses Columbus’s gold mine in great detail, “and the historical accounts in the book are the types of things kids often love,” he says. Although no one actually found the gold mine, according to Kritzler, many searched for it, “including some Jews who were connected to piracy. So…what if my beloved fictional Peretzes went searching for it?” Wyckoff also dedicated time to study how best to write for his prime audience: children. With each book in the Peretz Family Adventures Series, Yaakov and his siblings get a bit older and wiser. We see Rachel develop from a pesky little sister into a firebrand with a talent for solving obscure clues and predicaments. Younger brother Yosef, always the loose cannon, begins to take more of a leadership role in Jamaica. Yaakov becomes more introspective in this book; the author demonstrates his main character’s inner-conflict primarily in relation to his dealings with Yosef. One can find Yaakov and the Jewel of Jamaica, as well as the other three books in the Peretz Family Adventures Series, on, as well as at





Torah The Week In News

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

The Weekly Daf What is the status of a korban that was brought by a tamei person? Rabbi Shmuel Wise, Maggid Shiur of

We discussed this on 22b-22a this week. Our mishnah states that if a tamei person performs one of the essential avodos, sacrificial services, that avodah is invalid. On 22b, the Elders of the South limit this to a case where the kohein contracted impurity from a dead sheretz, one of the creeping animals that the Torah decrees a source of tumah. But if the kohein became tamei from a human corpse and performed an avodah, that avodah would be valid. This sounds counterintuitive; if anything, we would expect corpse-tumah, which entails a lengthier purification process, to be treated as more stringent than sheretz-tumah. The Elders of the South explain their reasoning: specifically, by corpse-tumah, we find a leniency that a communal sacrifice can be brought in a state of impurity. If for example the community was tamei on the 14th of Nissan, they would bring korban Pesach in a state of impurity

rather than postpone the korban until Pesach Sheini. So, the Elders reason, even though a kohein is not supposed to bring an individual’s korban while impure with corpse-tumah, after the fact the korban will be valid. Evidently then, the mishnah’s ruling that a korban brought in impurity is not valid must refer to a different type of tumah that lacks this justification; it must be referring to a kohein who has sheretz-tumah. The gemara critiques the Elders of the South, first pointing out that the Elders must hold the position that a person who has sheretz-tumah on the 14th of Nissan may simply have a korban Pesach brought on his behalf (and when he becomes pure by the night, he will then partake of his offering). For if in their opinion a person with sheretz-tumah on the 14th has no recourse other than bringing his korban on Pesach Sheini, then by definition if the community had sheretz-tumah on the 14th, they would

bring a regular korban Pesach (this is based on the established rule that any tumah that forces an individual to Pesach Sheini does not prevent the community from bringing korban Pesach). And if the community could bring a korban Pesach in a state of sheretz-tumah, the Elders’ logic would dictate that an individual’s korban brought in a state of sheretz-tumah be accepted after the fact which the Elders stated is not true. So, must be, in the Elders’ view, if an individual had sheretz-tumah on the 14th, he is allowed to simply send in his korban Pesach. (If you need to review that a few times until it makes sense, then I’m glad I have company!) The gemara now has what it needs to drop its bomb on the Elders’ reasoning. Ulla makes the observation that if an individual had corpse-tumah on the 14th he does not have the option of just sending in the korban. This is obviously true based on the teaching found in the Torah of bringing korban Pesach on Pesach Sheini. The Torah teaches this law is response to the query of some people who had corpse-tumah and wanted to know how to proceed with respect to their korban Pesach. The Torah instructs them to bring their korban a month later on the 14th of Iyar. Apparently, people with corpse-tumah cannot just send in their korban. If so a kal v’chomer (a fortiori argument) against the Elders’ view on corpse-tumah presents itself: if even sheretz-tumah, which has the option of having someone else bring the korban Pesach, is nevertheless completely invalid where the kohein has sheretz-tumah, then certainly corpse-tumah, where there isn’t even an option of sending it in, should be invalid if the kohein has this type of tumah! The gemara attempts to defend the Elders by making the novel suggestion that although the basic teaching of Pesach Sheini (i.e. that someone with corpse-tu-

mah waits until Pesach Sheini) is the way it is supposed to happen, if someone with corpse-tumah did otherwise and sent in his korban Pesach on the 14th of Nissan, it would be valid after the fact. This would appear to knock out the premise of the kal v’chomer that was made to refute the Elders. However, the gemara later points out that the kal v’chomer is actually still alive and well. For even if we accept the notion that it is possible for a person with corpse-tumah to send in his korban Pesach, it is clear from the Torah that this is not the preferred course of action. As opposed to someone who has sheretz-tumah where it’s perfectly fine to send in the korban Pesach. Hence, we still have a kal v’chomer against the Elders of the South: if even sheretz-tumah, where it’s perfectly fine to have someone else bring the korban Pesach, is nevertheless completely invalid where the kohein has sheretz-tumah, then certainly corpse-tumah, where it’s for sure not ideal to send in one’s korban Pesach, should be invalid if the kohein has this type of tumah! The gemara leaves this as a question on the Elders of the South. What could be said in their defense? Perhaps the Elders of the South would respond that this is not a situation where a kal v’chomer actually dictates the correct course of action. For the Elders can argue that by teaching the acceptability of a communal offering brought in a state of corpse-tumah, the Torah is in effect telling us what the halachah is where the individual’s korban was brought with this type of tumah. That is, since the Elders clearly feel that there is a direct relationship between communal and individual offerings as far as accepting the problem of impurity, it’s as if the Torah is specifically telling us not to go by the above kal v’chomer.

Emotional The WeekHealth In News

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

7 Ways to Become Your Best Self Rabbi Dov Heller, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

The goal of living is to become our best self. There are many counterfeit expressions of what this means, such as power, success, fame, status, popularity, and wealth. Here are seven ways to insure that you are on the path towards becoming your very best self. 1. Be self-aware. A fundamental dimension of selfawareness is being aware of our feelings and having the ability to process them and make sense of them. Feelings are information; they’re windows to self-discovery. Every feeling we experience has a unique meaning attached to it. Someone who is emotionally mature becomes more and more curious about his or her feelings and less afraid of them. The meaning of our feelings arises out of the specific context that we experience them. Perhaps I feel jealous of someone. It would be important to ask, why do I feel jealous at this particular moment, in this particular situation, and about this specific person? Feelings are like emails. I can choose to delete them and ignore the message or open them and read the message. To become the best me, I must know me. And the surest way to self-knowledge is by listening to and learning from our feelings. 2. Be self-accepting. To be my best self, I must accept myself with all my imperfections, limitations, character flaws, weaknesses, bad habits, etc. Self-acceptance frees one to grow and change. Comparing oneself to others, feeling “less than,” deficient, and beating oneself up paralyzes and entraps one in a prison of shame and self-loathing. In such a constricted state, one is unable to initiate any kind of real growth process, wasting precious energy that should and could be used for selfimprovement. Shame is the basis of low selfesteem. Self-acceptance, on the other hand, is the emotional basis of healthy self-esteem. I can never become my best self wishing for a different reality and a different me. The mantra of a self-accepting person is, “I am doing the best I can with what I’ve been given to work with.” 3. Be self-forgiving. When I am unable to forgive myself for making mistakes or failing, I lose vitality. When I am forgiving and compassionate towards myself, I feel alive. In the Bible, Cain is a tragic example of someone who destroyed his life and his brother’s life by not being able to forgive himself for a mistake he made. To become self-forgiving, we must embrace and celebrate our humanity. We must embrace imperfection and our finitude. From Adam to Moses, page after page, the Torah tells us about great people who make big mistakes. How noble and glorious it is that we have the potential to struggle towards the heights even as we fall. King Solomon tells us, “The righteous fall seven times and rise.” Theodore Roosevelt powerfully captures

the nobility of living a self-forgiving life: It is not the critic who counts, not the person who points out how the strong person stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcomings, who knows the great devotion, who spends herself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph and who at worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows her place shall never be with those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat. 4. Be self-defining There will never be another person in all eternity like me. To become my best self, I must become my unique self. Uniqueness is life. Imitation is death. There is no other option and yet it is so hard to do. Dr. Eric Fromm suggested that every real step towards freedom, authentic being and selfhood is filled with anxiety. There are so many voices telling us who we should be and what we should do. The challenge is having the courage to listen to our own voice. I must learn to trust myself and my sense of what’s right for me. Opinions and suggestions of others are certainly important, but in the end, I am alone to choose who I want to become. Imagine the challenge Isaac had to differentiate from such a towering figure as his father, Abraham. Yet, Isaac struck his own path, listened to his own voice, and found his unique place in history. If he had settled for being a wannabe and tried to be a copy of his father, he would have lost his place in history – even worse, he would have lost himself. The world already had one Abraham. What the world needed was an Isaac. An important aspect of becoming differentiated is to find satisfying work that fits one’s temperament, skill set, and unique creativity. There is an ancient Jewish piece of wisdom that says, “Just as each animal was given specific means to gather food, so each person was given unique talents and skills to make their living.” 5. Be self-navigating. There are so many decisions to make in life, big and small, that impact the quality of our life and the lives of others we impact. When does one give? When does one take? When should I speak up and when should hold my tongue? Is it always right to tell the truth? When have I crossed a boundary with a person? What is considered stealing? What is the definition of a good person? How do I find balance in life? In order to make consistently good decisions, we must have a clear and reliable moral compass. We must have a clear sense of what is right and wrong. I can never hope to become my best self if my moral compass is broken.

Where do we find such a compass? On the college campus? On Madison Avenue? In the media? Doing what’s politically correct? Does one turn towards our “leaders” and use them as models of moral clarity and excellence? Or should each person decide for him or herself what’s right and wrong? Or perhaps, the most reliable moral compass may be found in Judaism, our ancient spiritual tradition. How well is your moral compass working? 6. Be self-building. To become our best self, we must constantly be growing, becoming a more refined person who is striving towards greatness. Greatness is not measured by accomplishments, fame, or status. Greatness is defined by how refined our character is. Building character means striving to perfect one character trait at a time. It is necessary to isolate a specific character trait, define it, and work on it daily. The gold medal champion in figure skating achieves a perfect score only through diligent, committed, and disciplined daily practice. We perfect what we practice daily. To perfect our character, we must practice a given character trait daily with specific behavioral and mental exercises. Self-development is about character building. The ultimate work of a human being is to build a human being. 7. Be self-transcending. The great Hillel said, “If I’m not for myself, who will be? And if I’m only for myself, what am I?” The ultimate goal of

self-development is self-transcendence. A life of self-indulgence and self-absorption is a life of emptiness and despair. There is no greater emotional suffering than being a self-absorbed person who is unable to give. And there is no greater pleasure than selftranscendence and being of service to others. On a micro level, self-transcendence means giving rather than taking. Being a giver means taking pleasure in consciously choosing to give people pleasure and not causing pain. A giver sees the world through the eyes of others. On a macro level, selftranscendence means discovering what your gift is and then giving it away to the world. Each of us is here to make a unique contribution. Our unique contribution to humanity is our eternal legacy. A third dimension of self-transcendence is to strive to connect with G-d, the Eternal Source of Being. To lovingly be in service to “the One who spoke and the world came into being” is the ultimate experience of selftranscendence. I hope these seven pathways clarify a truer and more meaningful understanding of what it means to become one’s best self.

Dov Heller is in private practice offering psychotherapy and personal mentoring for individuals and couples. He can be contacted at You may also visit his website at

Honoring Our Traditions As a member of the Orthodox community, I am pleased to have joined the Mount Sinai family as an Advance Planning Representative. Mount Sinai is committed to respecting the Halachic needs of our community; and I look forward to working with you. Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills 5950 Forest Lawn Drive Los Angeles, CA 90069

Mount Sinai Simi Valley 6150 Mount Sinai Drive Simi Valley, CA 93063

Our parks are open Sunday through Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily except Saturday in observance of the Sabbath.

MY DIRECT CONTACT INFORMATION: Naomi Silbermintz 323-769-1374 nsilbermintz@


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29, | The Jewish Home TheOCTOBER Week In2015 News Feature

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Trump Withdraws from Iran Nuclear Deal “America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail”


his week, once again, President Trump showed that he was a man of his word. On Tuesday, he stood before reporters and the world when he announced that the United States will be withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. In addition, the president stated that the U.S. will be preparing to reinstate sanctions that it had waived as part of the agreement. Additional economic penalties will be imposed as well. Trump outlined the danger that the Middle East, and the world, would be in should the Iranian regime be able to produce nuclear weapons. He added that, like with North Korea, the United States is showing Iran that it will no longer be a doormat upon which to tread. He reached out to Iranians in Iran, assuring them that the United

States is on their side and understands that they have been held hostage under a tyrannical dictatorship. Before signing a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating U.S. sanctions on the Iranian regime Trump said his action sends a critical message: “The United States no longer makes empty threats.” This week’s decision unravels the signature foreign policy achievement of his predecessor, President Barack Obama. The Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2015 after two years of negotiations between Iran and a group of world powers known as P5+1 – the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Germany and the European Union. The following is a transcript of the president’s announcement.


y fellow Americans, today, I want to update the world on our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror. It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies and militias such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Over the years, Iran and its proxies have bombed American Embassies and military installations, murdered hundreds of American service members, and kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured American citizens. The Iranian regime has funded its long reign of chaos and terror by plundering the wealth of its own people. No action taken by the regime has

been more dangerous than its pursuit of nuclear weapons – and the means of delivering them. In 2015, the previous administration joined with other nations in a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program. This agreement was known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or J.C.P.O.A. In theory, the so-called “Iran deal” was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime. In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and – over time – reach the brink of a nuclear breakout. The deal lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for very weak limits on the regime’s nuclear activity – and no

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limits at all on its other malign behavior, including its sinister activities in Syria, Yemen, and other places all around the world. In other words, at the point when the United States had maximum leverage, this disastrous deal gave this regime – and it’s a regime of great terror – many billions of dollars, some of it in actual cash – a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States. A constructive deal could easily have been struck at the time, but it wasn’t. At the heart of the Iran deal was a giant fiction: that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy program. Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie. Last week, Israel published intelligence documents – long concealed by Iran – conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons. The fact is, this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made. It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will. In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget has grown by almost 40 percent – while its economy is doing very badly. After the sanctions were lifted, the dictatorship used its new funds to build its nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism, and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond. The agreement was so poorly negotiated that even if Iran fully complies, the regime can still be on the verge of a nuclear breakout in just a short period of time. The deal’s sunset provisions are totally unacceptable. If I allowed this deal to stand, there would soon be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Everyone would want their weapons ready by the time Iran had theirs. Making matters worse, the deal’s inspection provisions lack adequate mechanisms to prevent, detect, and punish cheating and don’t even have the unqualified right to inspect many important locations, including military facilities. Not only does the deal fail to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but it also fails to address the regime’s development of ballistic missiles that could

deliver nuclear warheads. Finally, the deal does nothing to constrain Iran’s destabilizing activities, including its support for terrorism. Since the agreement, Iran’s bloody ambitions have grown only more brazen. In light of these glaring flaws, I announced last October that the Iran

decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement. The Iran deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.

If the regime continues its nuclear aspirations, it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before.

deal must either be renegotiated or terminated. Three months later, on January 12, I repeated these conditions. I made clear that if the deal could not be fixed, the United States would no longer be a party to the agreement. Over the past few months, we have engaged extensively with our allies and partners around the world, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. We have also consulted with our friends from across the Middle East. We are unified in our understanding of the threat and in our conviction that Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon. After these consultations, it is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the

Therefore, I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. In a few moments, I will sign a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating U.S. nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime. We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States. America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. And we will not allow a regime that chants “Death to America” to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth.

Today’s action sends a critical message. The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them. In fact, at this very moment, Secretary Pompeo is on his way to North Korea in preparation for my upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un. Plans are being made, relationships are building. Hopefully, a deal will happen, and with the help of China, South Korea, and Japan, a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone. As we exit the Iran deal, we will be working with our allies to find a real, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear threat. This will include efforts to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program, to stop its terrorist activities worldwide, and to block its menacing activity across the Middle East. In the meantime, powerful sanctions also go into full effect. If the regime continues its nuclear aspirations, it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before. Finally, I want to deliver a message to the long-suffering people of Iran: the people of America stand with you. It has now been almost 40 years since this dictatorship seized power and took a proud nation hostage. Most of Iran’s 80 million citizens have sadly never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world. But the future of Iran belongs to its people. They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land, and they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history and glory to G-d. Iran’s leaders will naturally say that they refuse to negotiate a new deal. They refuse, and that’s fine. I’d probably say the same thing if I was in their position. But the fact is, they are going to want to make a new and lasting deal, one that benefits all of Iran and the Iranian people. When they do, I am ready, willing, and able. Great things can happen for Iran. And great things can happen for the peace and stability that we all want in the Middle East. There has been enough suffering, death, and destruction. Let it end now. Thank you. G-d bless you.


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Japan Needs More Babies

For the 37th year in a row, the number of children in Japan has fallen. The slumping numbers are a sign that the country’s attempts to offset its severely aging population are failing. As of April 1, 2018, there were 15.53 million children under the age of 14 in Japan, down 170,000 from the previous year, continuing a downward slide which started in 1981, according to data released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry. The largest segment was also the oldest, with 3.26 million 12- to 14-year-olds, suggesting the downward trend isn’t going to end any time soon. Despite attempts by the Shinzo Abe government to encourage Japanese to have more children, only Tokyo reported more children compared to the previous year. According to the Japan Times, the government has been aiming to boost Japan’s total fertility rate – the average number of children each woman has in her lifetime – to 1.8 by the end of 2025 from 1.45 in 2015, through one time cash payments and other incentives. Japan’s total population currently stands at 126 million. Children made up

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

just 12.3% of that figure, compared to 18.9% for the U.S., 16.8% for China, and 30.8% for India. Japan has been struggling with low birth rates for decades, but unlike many other industrialized countries which have also seen native populations having fewer children, it has not been able to make the numbers up with immigrants. By 2060, the country’s population is expected to plummet to 86.74 million from its current total of 126.26 million, according to a projection by the Japanese Health Ministry. With fewer workers paying taxes to support a growing silver population in need of pensions and healthcare services, Japan’s economy is facing an unprecedented challenge.

its first military base overseas only a few miles from the U.S. facility. According to the Pentagon, people at the base have been using military-grade lasers to attempt to blind pilots landing at the U.S. base. In one instance, two officers piloting a cargo plane suffered minor eye injuries while landing. “They are very serious incidents. We have formally démarched the Chinese government and we’ve requested the Chinese investigate these incidents,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told reporters. White said the Pentagon was confident that while the intent was unclear, the lasers had been pointed by Chinese nationals. She said that in the past few weeks, around 10 laser incidents had occurred.

U.S. Warns China Over Laser Use

Putin Employing Violent Cossacks

The United States has issued a formal complaint to China over several incidents in which U.S. pilots have been irritated by lasers that were reportedly sent from a Chinese base in Djibouti. The Pentagon has asked China to investigate what a spokeswoman called these “very serious incidents.” Washington went so far as to say that there would be consequences to “China’s militarization of the South China Sea”. Recent media reports have suggested that China has weapons systems stationed on disputed islands in that region. Djibouti is on the Horn of Africa. It is home to a United States military base which has been used for counterterrorism operations in Africa and the Middle East for many years. Recently, China opened



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According to recently released reports, pro-Kremlin Cossack fighters are to patrol the streets of Moscow during the World Cup. Similar fighters were recently seen using leather whips to attack opposition protesters during a rally last weekend. They had joined forces with the National Guard and city police to crack down on protests ahead of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a fourth presidential term.

More than 700 people, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, were detained for organizing an illegal rally. Although they were released, many received summonses to appear in court and face up to 30 days in prison for their “crime.” Protestors also gathered in dozens of cities across Russia. “We’ll do over anyone who makes trouble against Putin,” an unnamed Cossack told reporters on the scene. Cossacks also used sticks to lash out at protesters who had gathered at Moscow’s Pushkin Square. Documents published by the mayor’s office show that Moscow’s administration has paid the Central Cossack Troops (CCT), an organization that has close ties to Russia’s security forces, almost £190,000 to train Cossacks in how to “ensure public safety” at events in the city. The World Cup is set to start on June 14. Over 300 Cossacks are lined up to work with police in Rostov-on-Don, the southern Russian city that will host four World Cup group matches and a round-of-16 game. Cossacks have a long and violent history in Russia. The Kremlin’s human rights

council has called for an emergency session to discuss the authorities’ use of “fascist” Cossack fighters to break up the protests in Moscow.

Ebola in the Congo

This week, Jean Jack Muyembe, head of the national institute for biological research in the Democratic Republic of Congo, confirmed a new outbreak of Ebola in the country. Two cases of the lethal infectious disease have been confirmed and 10 more are suspected, according to Congo’s health ministry. The new cases alarm health officials after an unprecedented outbreak of the disease between 2014 and 2016 killed more than 11,000 people across western Africa. Cases of the disease, a type of viral hemorrhagic fever, were confirmed in Britain, Italy, Spain and the United States, where one person died. The epidemic of 2014 to 2016 was the most widespread outbreak of Ebola in history, plaguing countries such as Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone with death and economic woe. In West Africa, the Ebola outbreak that ended in 2016 killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 as it rolled through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia before finally being contained. In June 2016, the outbreak was officially declared over, but the virus is still present in several African countries. The most recent outbreak of Ebola in Congo was declared contained in July 2017, having killed four out of the eight it infected. People who remain most at risk are those who care for infected people or handle their blood or fluid, such as hospital workers, laboratory workers and family members, according to NHS guidance. Ebola is believed to be spread over long distances by bats, which can host the virus without dying, as it infects other animals it shares trees with such as monkeys. It often spreads to humans via infected bushmeat. Congo’s vast, remote geography gives it an advantage, as outbreaks are often localized and relatively easy to isolate. Initial symptoms associated with Ebola include a fever, sore throat and muscular pain before more serious effects such as Diarrhoea, vomiting, a rash and stomach pain starts to develop. Many victims bleed internally and externally before death if the symptoms aren’t treated immediately. No licensed treatment or vaccine exists for Ebola.

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MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

“Shia Duo” Triumphs in Lebanon Elections

Lebanon held its first election in nine years on Sunday. The voting went smoothly, although turnout was low, as many thought that old party bosses would still dominate the sectarian quota system that underpins Lebanese politics. Christians, Sunnis, Shi’ites, Druze and members of other religions voted for reserved candidates, guaranteeing that much of the legislature remains the same and that patronage systems dominate. This year, though, Hezbollah, which currently has 11 seats in the parliament, will gain one or two seats. Its Shi’ite allies in the Amal movement will maintain

their level of representation, yielding 29 seats of representation for the “Shia duo.” Combined with Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, this alliance may get more than 60 seats in the 128-member parliament. That would be a major victory. In typical legislative sessions, only a simple majority of 65 members is required to vote, something that Hezbollah, Amal and FPM with a few allies can easily obtain. Two-thirds quorum vote is required in crucial matters in the parliament, such as amending the constitution or electing a president. Because Hezbollah may be able to connect with its allies and convince more than a third of the parliament to vote with them, it’s possible they can block the quorum. Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, declared the outcome a “national achievement” in a televised speech on Monday. Saad Hariri’s Future Movement, which had 29 seats in the outgoing parliament, is heading for a disastrous defeat after the elections. Hariri was the center of controversy last year when he flew to Saudi Arabia and resigned as prime minister, only to return to Lebanon and remain in office. His party is estimated to receive only 21 seats. This is a major setback for Saudi Arabia, which is a key ally of Hariri.

Hariri’s father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was murdered in 2005, allegedly by Hezbollah. As the leader of many Lebanese Sunnis, Saad Hariri is seen as one of the only bulwarks against Hezbollah’s influence on the country. He is also seen as pro-Western. Now that his party has been weakened, it is unclear if the veneer of Lebanon being a “Western ally” will remain. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea’s party appears to have nearly doubled its representation in parliament, from nine to 16. Geagea, a former head of a powerful militia during the civil war, was arrested in 1994 and imprisoned for 11 years. He spent many years in solitary confinement but received an amnesty in 2005 following the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon. Since then he has been a main ally of the Hariri-led March 14 Alliance. As such he is a counterweight to President Michel Aoun and Hezbollah’s allies. However, the days when the Lebanese Forces were an armed force like Hezbollah are over and they do not present any real counterweight to Hezbollah’s armed activity in Lebanon. The strengthening of Hezbollah’s allies shows that Lebanese certainly have not embraced a new path forward. This is partly the fault of their sectarian sys-

tem that locks Shi’ites into voting for Shi’ite candidates, Christians for Christian candidates, and so on. The weakening of Hariri and strengthening of Geagea appears to show that the country is more divided than before.

Putin’s Fourth Term As his first act after being sworn in as Russia’s president for the fourth time, Vladimir Putin nominated Dmitry Medvedev to be the country’s prime minister. Medvedev has held the position since 2012. The move signals that Putin plans to keep on the same trajectory which has brought Russia into conflict with the West in the past couple of years. Medvedev’s appointment needs to be confirmed by the lower house of parliament, but the chamber is dominated by Kremlin loyalists so that process is expected to go smoothly. Some thought that Putin may seek to bring in a fresh face to help kick start the country’s slow economic and political status. However, keeping Medvedev in as prime minister shows that the powerful Russian leader is favoring con-



The Week In News tinuity over reform. Many regard Medvedev’s main quality to be his loyalty to his boss. The 65-year-old Putin won his new six-year post after he was backed by more than 70 percent of voters in the March 18 election. His most serious challenger, Alexei Navalny, was not allowed to participate in the election. Navalny was detained this week during a protest that was given the title: “Putin is not our tsar.” Russian law prohibits Putin from seeking a third term in a row. Many are curious and watching for clues for how the transfer of power will take place in 2024. In the past, Putin had Medvedev serve as president after Putin served the maximum two consecutive terms permitted. At that time, Putin held the prime minister position. Medvedev was an obvious puppet serving his master. In fact, during his term, he extended the term of the president from four years to six years. Putin has now been in power for the past eighteen years, serving as the second-longest leader of Russia, right behind Stalin. Istvan Groff (right) Hungarian Consul, Andrew Friedman & Tamas Szeles (left), Hungarian Consul General. They presented Andrew Friedman the letter from Prime Minister Viktor Orban giving his assurance that the Hungarian government will continue it's efforts in supporting the Hungarian Jewish community.

MAY 10, 2018 | The Jewish Home

Traffic Circle Named for U.S./ Trump This week it was announced that a traffic circle adjacent to the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will be named “U.S. Square – in honor of President Donald Trump.” The municipality plans to formally unveil the square in the presence of U.S. officials after the opening on Monday of the embassy, which is currently a U.S. consular building. The square is located on David Flusser Street in the southern Jerusalem neighbor-

hood of Arnona. “President Trump has decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people, to stand on the side of the truth, and to do the right thing,” Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement. “Naming this square in honor of the president is our way of showing our love and respect for the president and the American people, who always stand by the side of Israel.” On Monday, workers put up street signs pointing the way to the new embassy. Small in size, the embassy will initially occupy part of the consular work space pending planning and construction of a purpose-built embassy – ​​a long-term project, according to the U.S . State Department.

Philanthropist Sells Iconic TV Program Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media mogul, has sold the rights to the Power Rangers franchise to Hasbro Inc. for $522 million. The deal also includes the rights to many other brands including My Pet Monster, Popples, Julius Jr., Luna Petunia and Treehouse Detectives. “Twenty-five years after launching Power Rangers, I believe the future for this brand has never been greater,” said Saban, the founder of Saban Brands and creator of Power Rangers. Power Rangers has nearly 900 episodes to date, making it one of the longest running live-action children’s series ever. Currently in its 25th season, the series is seen in 150 markets around the world and has been translated into many languages. Saban was born in Egypt and raised in Tel Aviv. He moved to the United States in 1983. While in a hotel room, Saban discovered the Japanese version of Power Rangers on TV and bought the rights. He sold the show to Fox, and “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” has netted billions of dollars in TV profits and merchandise since its debut in 1993. Saban, 73, is a well-known philanthropist in Los Angeles. He has donated a research clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and sponsors the annual Saban Forum on Israel, which brings political figures from the United States and Israel together to discuss topics related to the Jewish state and the Israeli-American Council.

Abbas Apologizes For Anti-Semitic Speech Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority, issued an apology last week to people who were offended by a speech he gave in which he blamed the Jews’ “social function” for the Holocaust.

“If people were offended by my statement in front of the [Palestinian National Council], especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize to them,” Abbas said in a statement. “I would like to assure everyone that it was not my intention to do so and to reiterate my full respect for the Jewish faith, as well as other monotheistic faiths,” he said. Abbas has long been accused of being a Holocaust denier. He published a doctoral thesis claiming that there were secret ties between the Nazis and Zionists. The dissertation reportedly claimed that the six million figure of Holocaust victims was hugely exaggerated and that Zionist leaders cooperated with the Nazis. During a long speech last Monday during a session of the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah, the 82-year-old PA leader alleged that the Holocaust was not caused by anti-Semitism, but rather by Jews’ “social behavior, [charging] interest and financial matters.” Many have noted that Abbas’ comments were blatantly anti-Semitic. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the speech that “apparently a Holocaust-denier remains a Holocaust-denier,” alluding to Abbas’s doctoral dissertation, and called on the international community to condemn the speech and its expression of an anti-Semitism “whose time has come to disappear off the face of the earth.” Truthfully, though, Abbas has never been known to be a lover of Jews, so why are people surprised?

Tree’s Copy of Dec of Independence

It was seventy years ago when Israel was declared a state. This week, a copy of Israel’s Declaration of Independence was found in a tree sealed in a taxidermy jar, normally used for keeping creatures that have been stuffed. The scroll was originally placed between the roots of a cypress tree on Kibbutz Degania Alef in the Jordan Valley, east of the Sea of Galilee. The tree fell two weeks ago during a storm. This week, two kibbutz members were removing clumps of dirt from its roots before removing the tree. They noticed something round, tall, and thin poking out. Turns out, it was a copy of the declaration. The kibbutz will keep the new find enclosed in its special jar, as it already has a copy of the declaration in its archives.

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