THE JEWISH HOME
JULY 2, 2015
Yeshiva Ketana of Los angeLes would like to wish
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Shlomo Yehuda & Tamar Rechnitz upon the engagement of their daughter
Zevi Goldstein May they be vfuz to build a
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THE JEWISH HOME JULY 2, 2015
JULY 2, 2015
Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
JEWISH THOUGHT Dream Masters: From Yosef to Balaam to Freud. . 17 Oases of Holiness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
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The Halachos of the Three Weeks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 The Jarring Episode Of Shabbetai Tzvi . . . . . . . . . . 22
COVER STORY Learning to Live With the California Drought. . . . 26
HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Uncle Moishy Fun Page. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
LIFESTYLES Travel Guide: The Bahamas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Crackdown on Credit Card Churning. . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Ask the Attorney. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Dear Readers, Following last week’s Supreme Court’s decision we’ve been bombarded in the media with the issue of equality as if there can’t be a different conclusion by those sharing this value. The main question remains, how does this issue warrant overnight change, including the zany event of the White House being lit up in celebratory rainbow colors? At times it feels like something more sinister is at play. Well, it seems that after delaying the deadline for an agreement yet another time, we are almost at our historic and very possibly infamous deal enabling Iran to cheat and ultimately possess a nuclear weapon. It has been written about so many times that the meaning of those words tends to get lost, but the reality remains that according to all military experts, should Iran get ahold of a nuclear weapon it would irreversibly change the Middle East from a troubled area to an explosive one, (think suicide bomber with nuclear capabilities.) The difference between now and the 1930’s is that in the Twitter age we cannot claim that we don’t know what’s going on. Yes, one can still stick their head in the sand, but they will be guilty of knowingly doing so.
Chazal say that Hashem wanted to pick chizkiyahu hamelech as the Moshiach but didn’t because he hadn’t sang shira in recognition of the miracles which had occurred. There are miracles happening all around us, both in the land of Israel and in the Diaspora. Let us not make the mistake of overlooking these events and let us give praise and thank Hashem yisbarach for his continued protection. The shaloh hakadosh points out that chizkiyahu had indeed sang Hashem’s praise but it was after the miracles had occurred, not before. He should have been certain that G-d would perform miracles and started singing right away. This is our current task. We need to recognize the seriousness in the current state of world affairs, pray and do good deeds that we stay safe. And most importantly have complete faith and know that our father in heaven will surely protect his children, and that this time instead of watching the world crumble into utter chaos we will witness miracles the likes of which will dwarf our exodus from Egypt. We believe it. We know it. Let us celebrate it. May we have a most joyous 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
spired the campaign, “I see people swerving in and out of lanes only to see that they are texting and driving, so I’m always worried about his safety when he’s out riding. My firm belief is if you’re texting, you’re not driving. You can’t do both. I had to do something!” The campaign will mail free window paint markers, so drivers can handwrite their “No texting and driving” message on rear car windows. By doing this, the driver is transforming their car into a mobile billboard reminding drivers behind them to stop texting while driving. Research recently commissioned by AT&T found that 70% of smartphone users are on their phones while driving. Of those users, 40% are checking in with (or posting to) social media, 30% are doing web searches, and 10% video chat. The study, conducted by Braun Research,
polled 2,067 U.S. residents ages 16-65 who use their smartphone and drive once or more per day.
A US Department of Transportation 2011 report showed that women under the age of 21 are the highest abusers of cell phones while driving and approximately 20% of car accidents which involve an adult under the age of 21 are due to the
misuse of the cell phone. A UK study showed that drivers, “who read or wrote texts while driving, fare worse than drunken and even drugged drivers in terms of alertness - reaction times deteriorated by 37% due to mobile texting/reading as against the 13% induced by alcohol.” So far, there are more than 200 cars in California and the rest of the US already carrying the “Don’t Text and Drive” message. Numbers are set to rise. Drivers in other countries, including Canada, Israel, and South Africa have now joined the movement. Grabie confirmed, “I’m swamped with marker requests which means we’re raising awareness!” To join the campaign, visit www. DriveEasy.com
Beth Jacob Welcomes Dovid Efune This month, Beth Jacob’s Young Professionals Friday Night Dinner Program welcomed Dovid Efune, the Editor-in-Chief of The Algemeiner Journal. After davening, a crowd of nearly 200 moved into the adjoining hall for kiddush and a dvar Torah by Rabbi Adir Posy followed by dinner and the keynote speech. Efune briefly introduced The Algemeiner, a newspaper covering Jewish interest and news stories around the world. He explained its model, a democratized content approach similar to that of The Huffington Post, and noted that CNBC called it, “the fastest growing Jewish newspaper in the United States.” He opened his speech, which focused on media bias regarding Israel and what we can do about it, with a joke: An American journalist, a British journalist, and an Israeli soldier were captured by ISIS. The terrorists told them that they would grant each of them one last request before they were beheaded. The American asked for
McDonalds, and a terrorist was sent out to bring him some. The Brit said that he was at his core a journalist and asked to
interview the leader. The leader granted a 15-minute interview. When the Israeli was asked for his request, he said, “I want you to kick me.” They were happy to oblige,
and kicked him. The soldier rolled forward, pulled out a hidden gun, shot the terrorists, grabbed the other journalists, stole a vehicle, and escaped. As they drove away, the other journalists said, “That was amazing, but why you ask them to kick you first?” The Israeli responded, “What, and have you two report that I was the aggressor?!” Efune spoke about the tremendous media bias he sees surrounding Israel. He said that he thinks we are currently losing the PR war, but also that he believes there is hope. He gave several examples of Algemeiner reporting, and the social media sharing of that reporting, where standing up to the established story—or reporting on a story no one else was reporting on— managed to turn the tide. In one example, he explained that controversial comments by an Egyptian president had been completely ignored by the general media. However, one journalist at another major publication, supported by Algemeiner reporting, managed to make the story a
trending topic. Pretty soon, most major news outlets were reporting on the event for fear of missing out. He closed with a call to action, asking everyone to share articles and expose their network to ideas that they might not be seeing in the media at large. He noted that with the number of friends the average social media user has today, just one share can spread a story to hundreds of people, and hundreds of shares could potentially open a story to millions of viewers who might not have seen it otherwise. In this way, we can individually have a significant impact on how Israel is portrayed and perceived. The Friday Night Dinner program is a monthly project of the Young Professionals minyan at Beth Jacob, and aims to bring together singles and families from across the community. For information on the next dinner, visit bethjacob.org.
Table for 8, Please!
Adas Torah Singles’ Friday Night Dinner and Oneg On Friday night, June 19th, the second Tfor8 program by Adas Torah took place with enormous success. Tfor8, or Table for Eight, is a shidduchim model lifted from Australia in which singles are appropriately placed together at meals in order to have the opportunity to meet their potential soulmate. The lovely evening was planned by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Revah, Ariella Te-
ichman and Yossi Parry. Groups of eight singles - four men and four women - between the ages of 20 and 35, enjoyed a Friday night dinner together at the homes of seven Adas Torah families. Later there was a beautiful neighborhood Oneg, where there were more chances to meet other singles and network with Shadchanim over the dessert buffet. The
Oneg brought together over 80 participants and 15 married facilitators including Rochelle Frankel, a successful Shadchan and wedding planner from LA. The turnout was unprecedented. Now, the facilitators have been busy following up on ideas that were generated from the evening and are energetically planning new events over the course of the
next months. The response and interest in such events has been enormous and all look forward to more to come. Listen out for future events in your neighborhood! To get involved as a facilitator or participant and to find out about the next event, please email: Tfor8AdasTorah@ gmail.com.
JULY 2, 2015
In time for summer vacation, Margot Grabie has created a new program that is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. Working from her Hancock Park home, she has many followers who recognize the danger of this modern-day-hazard. With a presence on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, Grabie is successfully sharing her concern about distracted driving. “My campaign may not have a traditional solution, but this isn’t a traditional problem. People have a fatal attraction to their phone, even when driving and innocent lives should not pay the price for it. My goal is to raise awareness and make our community safer for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and most importantly our family,” she said. Grabie’s husband, Ezra, is an avid cyclist and is now in training for the August Bike4Chai charity ride. This is what in-
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Don’t text, Just Drive
Photos: Arye D. Gordon
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JULY 2, 2015
Mayor of Netanya Thanks Los Angeles for Supporting Laniado Hospital When you hear warning sirens in Netanya, you have 90 seconds to reach a shelter. The threat of rocket attack is scary enough in these surroundings but in a hos-
when the siren goes off?’ He told me, ‘We pray.’” The current dialysis center is on the top floor of the original Laniado Hospital
$500,000 toward the cost of the new center. Major General Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, former commander of Israeli Air Force, was
pital it becomes even more complicated. “A dialysis patient is attached to a dialysis machine for about four hours. Detaching a person from one of these machines takes a minimum of five minutes,” explained Urie Lieberman, Director of West Coast Friends of Laniado Hospital. So what does the hospital staff do when the sirens go off? “The Ministry of Health guidelines state that the staff must seek immediate shelter, and leave the patients behind. These are the guidelines for any above-ground dialysis center in Israel. We have no choice; we have to have a staff that is able to function, that is able to help. I once asked one of the patients, ‘What do you do in that situation,
building. “This is an ongoing nightmare that the staff in the dialysis center are going through on a daily basis,” explained Meital Israel, Head Nurse of the dialysis center. This is why West Coast Friends of Laniado Hospital, a Los Angeles based organization, held several events last week to fundraise for a new underground and missile safe dialysis center. “There is an urgent need for it,” Lieberman emphasized. Events included a breakfast held at home of Mikey and Iris Dardashti and Feridoun and Paridoukht Dardashti. Sol Goldner, Co-Chairman of the Board of WCF of Laniado, was the MC. The goal of the event was to raise
one of the guest speakers. Along with 38 years in the Israeli air force, he has special expertise in ballistic missile systems. He spoke about the challenges of the missile threat, explaining that despite the effectiveness of Iron Dome, no system is foolproof. It is therefore necessary to have certain facilities underground. He also stated in no uncertain terms that the hospital relies on the support of the Los Angles community. The second guest speaker was Miriam Fierberg-Ikar, Mayor of Netanya. She spoke about Laniado Hospital, explaining that it serves 350,000 residents of Netanya and another 150,000 residents from the
surrounding areas—half a million people altogether. She pointed out that it is a strategically important hospital. The reality is that also amassed special expertise in mass casualty events during the Intifada. She gave her thanks to the LA community for all of the support they have given in the past to other major projects, including an MRI center and an enlargement of the cardiology department. She also presented the Ryzman family with a special citation for their establishment of the Zvi and Betty Ryzman Family Invasive Cardiology Center. The event included a special presentation by cantors Netanel Baram and Arik Wolheim, who sang three moving melodies, and a recitation of tehillim by Dr. David Wald on behalf of the welfare of the State of Israel. The breakfast was a success on more than one level. “It was a very warm and lively atmosphere, very special,” said Lieberman. And the fundraising was well supported, Lieberman concluded, “We were quite happy.” Apart from the services Laniado provides in Israel, the hospital is also involved in cutting-edge medical research, and representatives of the hospital travel the world to teach disaster preparedness and mass casualty response.
Ben Shapiro Speaks Out: Are we American Jews or Jewish Americans? This past Shabbat (June 26-June 27), Congregation Shaarei Tefila hosted Ben Shapiro, syndicated columnist, Breitbart News senior editor-at-large, bestselling author, and KRLA 870 morning radio host. Ben delivered several mind-opening lectures to the Shaarei Tefila congregation throughout the weekend. It all began with a sold out Friday night dinner, complete with delicious cuisine and beautiful décor, setting the ambience for an exciting evening. Drawing a crowd of more than 150 people on Friday night,
Shapiro delivered an hour-long lecture on three topics: whether Jews in America are American Jews or Jewish Americans; whether Islamic fundamentalism is more dangerous than American leftism; and how conservatives in California can make a difference. Shapiro opined that Jews in America were American Jews – in other words, they were Jewish before American, should the two come into conflict, but that the two are not in conflict thanks to America’s founding Judeo-Christian values. Shapiro said
that those values include the basic notion that mankind is capable of both good and evil, that personal rights adhere from G-d and not government, and that individual responsibility is a prerequisite for civiliza-
tion, but these are now under assault from the American left. Shapiro added that this movement makes the American left far more of a challenge to the future of America than Islamic fundamentalism. Any external threat to the United States must be seen in the light of the internal threat that substantially weakens the United States and challenges America’s power. The American left, which prizes equality over justice and multiculturalism over strength, poses a
threat to our future. Finally, Shapiro recognized that conservatives in California are outnumbered, and recommended that they organize for action outside the state while recruiting new members through social situations and teaching opportunities inside the state. Rabbi Moshe Kesselman of Shaarei Tefila expressed, “I want to publicly thank Ben Shapiro for spending Shabbos with us at Shaarei Tefila. Ben is a brilliant philosopher and a fierce warrior on behalf of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Ben has the uncanny ability to cut to the heart of an issue with electric speed; and he delivers his analysis without compromise or hesitation.” Sholom Feigelstock, president of Shaarei Tefila and organizer of the event, stated, “It was an honor to have Ben Shapiro, along with his remarkable family, join us for Shabbos. Ben Shapiro really gets you thinking about the status quo in America today; and that each and every one of us needs to take a stand to make change happen. It was a very informative and stimulating Shabbos!”
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JULY 2, 2015
Hungarian Ambassador Honored at Bais Naftoli Annual Breakfast Congregation Bais Naftoli was established 23 years ago in memory of Holocaust survivor, Naftoli Friedman. Today, his nephew, attorney Andrew Friedman, is President of the shul and organizes the Annual Breakfast where honorees are chosen for their remarkable contribution to Jewish life. On Sunday, June 28th, this year’s honorees included Hungarian ambassador Mrs. Reka Szemerkenyi and Rabbi Shaul Spira Spira serves as youth director of the Bais Naftoli Congregation, and was recognized for his dedicated service and contributions to the youth of the Jewish community. Each Shabbat, Rabbi Spira’s Omen Club brings enthusiasm to the children of the shul. They must participate with a hearty “Amen!” during the reciting of Musaf and prizes are
subsequently awarded for the most enthusiastic contributor. The rabbi also teaches at Cheder Los Angeles. The breakfast event also honored Mrs. Reka Szemerkenyi who became Hungarian Ambassador to the United States back in February. After a long career in politics, she is proud to currently represent the government of Hungary in America. Under this government, Jewish life has been experiencing a renaissance. More than 100,000 Jews still live in Hungary and there is new funding for Jewish education as well as social and cultural programs. 600 cemeteries are being refurbished and shuls are being rebuilt. Szemerkenyi was venerated as she continues to establish peace and harmony between all Hungarians, irrespective of race,
color or religion. Cantor Moti Boyer came from the East Coast to support the event. In a melodious voice he sang the memorial prayer, Kel Moleh Rachamin, in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. Many dignitaries attended including Congressman Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.,) Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, 5th District, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, City Controller Ron Galperin, U.S. Marshal David Singer, Los Angeles Fire Chief RalphTerrazas, Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala, Hungarian Consul Oliver Pinter, German Consul Stefan Biederman and representatives of the FBI, DEA and
CHP. Congressman Royce spoke of his efforts in support of Israel. He spoke of a meaningful letter that he recently authored, a letter which was signed by 90% of Congress, telling President Obama that Congress would seriously monitor the nuclear deal with Iran. He also said that he knew Israel took every precaution to protect lives in the recent Gaza War. He said he had personally visited the caves that were built by Hamas with the specific goal of causing casualties, taking hostages and staging acts of terrorism. Congregation Bais Naftoli is now starting on the search for the 2016 honorees. With a Sefardic and Ashkenazi congregation, the shul is located at 221 S. La Brea Ave. For information call (323) 931-2476.
into world Jewry after the decimation of the holocaust. The highlight of the evening was the keynote address delivered by Dr. Ira Weiss - The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Cardiologist. Participants were truly captivated as Dr. Weiss shared rare insights into his unique encounter heading up the team of physicians treating the Rebbe after his heart attack in 1977. Rabbi Mayer Greene Chabad’s Director of Adult Education, introduced a truly moving video entitled “The Rebbe is Gezunt” which featured the talk given by the Rebbe on Motzei Simchas Torah 5378 just two days after he had suffered a massive heart attack. Led by Rabbi Yochanon Baitelman the Shliach to Chabad of Porter Ranch, the crowd joined together in the reciting of Te-
hilim for the safety and security for Eretz Yisroel and a speedy recovery for those in need of a refuah shleima, Then, the sweet voice of Yossi Loloyan uplifted everyone as sung a Chassidic niggunim. After the conclusion of the formal program the farbrengen continued late into the night with more niggunim and words of inspiration by Rabbis Moshe Weiss and Mendel Lipskier of Chabad of Sherman Oaks. The event was coordinated by the rabbis and staff of Chabad of the Valley along with volunteers from the Chabad community. “Farbrengen” was once again generously funded by a grant from of the Finder Family Educational Center and speakers acknowledged and extended special thanks to Gary and Rochelle Finder.
The Rebbe is Healthy Hundreds turned out at Chabad of the Valley Headquarters in Tarzana on Thursday evening, June 18th, to observe the 21st Yahrzeit of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZY”A. Over the past two decades, Chabad of the Valley’s yearly Farbrengen, which includes a full course dinner, has been an important
landmark event in the greater Los Angeles area that recognizes the incredible leadership of the Rebbe. Associate Director of Chabad of the Valley, Rabbi Mordechai Einbinder opened the evening with greetings and words of inspiration describing the Rebbe’s global vision that breathed new life
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After reading about all the amazing yeshuos people experienced with Kollel Chatzos, I wanted to be a part of it. Knowing that my partnership money supports kollel members who learn during the night, at a time that I can’t, seems very worthwhile and special to me.
EVERY MIDNIGHT the distinguished talmidei chachomim of Kollel Chatzos gather in locations across the globe.
I decided that I would give Kollel Chatzos my maaser. I like to know that it’s taken care of right away, so I made an arrangement to donate on a weekly basis. At the KOLLEL end of every week, I calculate the maaser I owe and let Kollel Chatzos know how much to CHATZOS IS A charge.
During the darkest hours, when the rest of the world sleeps, they immerse themselves in vibrant Torah learning, bringing zechusim and yeshuos to klal yisroel.
SHMIRA FOR ME
For the past couple of weeks, things have ON A DAY TO been very hectic and I didn’t get a chance to DAY BASIS! donate. Last week, R’ Chaim Tauber, Administrator of the kollel, called to check in. And then it hit me! During the weeks that I did not give my maaser to Kollel Chatzos, I got two tickets -- which cost me the same amount as my donation!
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Valley Night Kollel Celebrates Its First Year! On Sunday night, June 21st, the Valley Night Kollel held a BBQ and Kumzits to celebrate its first year and express hakaros hatov to Hashem and those people who have made the Kollel possible. The event was hosted by the Mintz family, and featured inspiring music and stories by Michael Storch. The BBQ was a culinary masterpiece featuring two-inch steaks and gourmet sausages. A deep frying station produced freshly made beer battered onion rings. Gashmiush aside, the highlights of the evening were all ruchniyous. Rabbi Moshe Tropper began with dvray brochah, and recounted a story about a yeshiva bocher who had an easy time the first day of the zman. “If it wasn’t difficult, then you didn’t really start!” he concluded. The Kollel has started, overcoming all the typical obstacles to create a vibrant place of Torah. Rabbi Dovid Morris highlighted the unique, warm atmosphere in the Kollel. He shared a dvar Torah and imparted, “Torah is not just a subject to be learned. It must be a part of a person, an extension of
who he is. He must take a pleasure in his learning in the same way he loves seeing his children play.” What exactly is the Valley Night Kollel? It started with an idea that Rabbi Yisrael Majeski had: to create a centralized place of learning in North Hollywood that would be infused with warmth and a love of learning Torah. One year later, this dream has become a reality. Every night of the week, Sunday through Thursday, the
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VNK is packed with learners of all levels and backgrounds. There are 12 VNK avreichim ranging from verteran mechanich Rabbi Avraham Berman to the young rising star Rabbi Yechile Levine. The avreichim have a seder focusing on in-depth Gemara learning from 8:00 pm to 8:45pm, reminiscent of yeshivah days. After Ma’ariv, the avreichim learn with members of the community. There are chavuras and small
groups learning halacha, Gemara, parsha, and hashkafa. Every night offers at least one shuir given by an avreich. Additionally, there are special guest Rabbanim which have included Rabbis Krauss and Tauber. Community members who have benefited from the Kollel can’t stop raving about the impact it has had on their families. “What I love about the VNK is that Sefardim, Ashkenasim, Chasidim – everybody comes together!” “This is the first time I have had a consistent seder.” Many wives vowed to send their husbands to learn even more after being inspired by the VNK video. This is just the beginning, bezras Hashem, of the Kollel. Rabbi Majeski plans on expanding the programming and reach of the Kollel. Although the normal Kollel schedule resumes in August, there will be a special summer learning program. To learn more about the VNK, contact Rabbi Majeski at email@example.com.
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JULY 2, 2015
The Gift of Rabanit Sara Yosef The room was filled with wonderful Jewish women from so many different Los Angeles communities. Everyone was in a very joyous mood, Rosh Chodesh was in the air and there was a feeling of anticipation for something great to come! To our great merit, Rabanit Sara Yosef’s two hour workshop exceeded everyone’s expectations. On Tuesday, June 16th, over 150 Jewish women attended the event at Torat Hayim. Rabanit Sara Yosef is a powerful speaker and teacher, “If you think I was born in a family and everything was assured and I grew in a positive way, it’s completely not true. I became who I am today at a relatively older age and I ask myself why I spent so many years of my life in negative thoughts”. As she faced her audience she told them how Los Angeles, in her mind, was the end of the world, and she had been teaching in New York and Miami, which kept her plenty busy, but, “It seems that Ha Kadosh Baruchu had a different plan and probably I have a mission to be here.” What a good mission this has been, because all the women were profoundly affected that night. “I read her book and studied it, but I didn’t understand how to utilize it until I heard the Rabanit tonight,” said Tal Haredim The Rabanit started with a story that happened in Jerusalem many years ago in the neighborhood of Mea Shearim. There was a Rabbi there who used to walk on the street and he saw a young child, two years old, who fell on his hand, which was bleeding heavily. The Rabbi picked up the child and ran with him to get aid. The grandmother was watching from the
Pesa Chaya Fauman
balcony and saw the Rabbi running with the baby, but initially she didn’t know it was her grandson because the Rabbi was farther away. The grandmother called out from upstairs, “Rabbi, Don’t worry! Until
the wedding he will be fine, don’t be hysterical!” The Rabbi said to himself, “I’m curious to know what she would say if it was her grandson.” Then, he came closer and she started to scream, now realizing this was indeed her grandchild. The Rabbi saw how things had changed and replied back to the grandmother, “Don’t worry, until the wedding he will be fine!” The Rabanit explained, “The depth of this story describes to us that we have a deep belief and faith until we have to cope with our own tests and challenges.” The question is, “How can we can cope with a test?” We believe that Hashem helps, but are we sure? Do we fully trust? The Rabanit took the audience on a journey to re-connect with G-d by bringing a new understanding to Emunah (Faith) and Bitachon (Trust). Bringing to mind various sources from Bereshit and Gemaras, she helped everyone understand that when you want something in your life and you are not getting it and you say to yourself - not even verbalizing it but to your inner self – “Maybe I don’t deserve it,” we are limiting our potential. What we really
need to understand is that when a person says this he is closing the gates of Heaven. He is closing up the pipeline of abundance with this negative thinking. So, where do we learn to request what we need from Hashem? When Moshe was in heaven for 40 days and 40 nights, Hashem opened the whole world for him and showed him how much abundance and gifts and presents are given to humanity for the mitzvot that the individual fulfills. Hashem showed Moshe a world of abundance, and infinite success, and Moshe asked the Ribono Shel Olam, “What do people need to do to deserve these gifts?” Hashem said to him, “You don’t have to do anything. Anyone who has trust, bitachon, in me, that’s a special treasured place. For those who trust me, I give out for free, but only when there is trust - not 99% but 100% certainty. Trust is a vessel to receive abundance. If a person has this, he can receive anything he dreams in his life. How can I rest assured that I will receive what I ask for? This is one of the points that the Rebettzin focused on and she gave great tools to help develop this level of trust. The Rabanit brought many insights on the power of positive and negative thinking, and the power of using our imagination. “Each one of us has a spark, a part of Hashem. And such as Hashem created the world from a thought, He said light should come up. Look in Bereshit, everything that was created is by Hashem’s words. He thought and the world came into existence. That’s why each and every one of us can create the changes in own life with the spiritual power of positive thinking.” The Rebbetzin also shared the idea that living in fear might bring the actual event to pass,
even though Hashem didn’t decree it! Terry Levin shared her experience after the workshop, “Rabanit Yosef wakes a person up to the myriad of negative thoughts both in our minds and in our surrounding environment. Since studying her book, and taking her workshop and listening nightly to her CD I am more conscious of my own negative self-talk and perceptions. The powerful tools she emphasizes create a step by step blueprint for positivity and flow of Hashem’s bracha.“ Gila Yakovi was also inspired, “I will start a brand new life after this workshop,” she said. Two nights later, Sara Yosef spoke again at Adat Yeshurun in the Valley for an equally captivating second workshop called, “Forgiveness, Anger and Relationships. Making peace/Distance Yourself from Negative People” Attendeee Leah Gold shared her feelings after the event, saying, “She gave me the tools I never received from anyone else!” Part of the success of both evenings was the brilliant translation by Rabbi David Toledano who was able to transmit the essence of the Rabanit’s message with a precise and charming simultaneous translation. Both evenings were videotaped and will soon be available in English and in Hebrew for purchase. To order the videos of the Workshops either in Hebrew or English, or to buy Rabanit Sara Yosef’s book “It’s All In Your Mind” and to get more information on the Rabanit Sara Yosef 10 week Positive Thinking Workshop, please contact Pesa Chaya Fauman at Pesa613@Hotmail.com or call 818-720-5118. Website is http:// sarayosefworkshops.com
explore the question of the Torah’s view on the differences between men and women, emphasizing traditional sources in Jewish philosophy. Rav Dovid Cohen, shlita, of Kehillas Gvul Ya’avitz and renowned posek, will deliver a shiur on these topics, as well. Professor Michael Avi Helfand, associate professor of law at Pepperdine University and an expert on religious law and religious liberty who taught at last year’s program will be returning this year. He will lead in-depth discussions addressing the growing tensions surrounding freedom of religion, recently augmented by the rise of same-sex marriage the United States. Mrs. Kosman and Professor Helfand will lead a university-style seminar discussion. The program will also feature presentations by prominent accomplished women in public life. Mona Charen, a nationally syndicated political columnist and
communications staff member in the Reagan White House, will deliver a talk about the role of women in contemporary American society based on her career in national politics and cultural analysis. Finally, a special evening program will feature several accomplished frum women from a variety of professional backgrounds in a panel discussion on prioritizing marriage and family amid personal, spiritual and professional commitments. The institute will take place August 23-25 in New York City, and is geared toward religiously observant Jewish women between the ages of 20 and 40. The Tikvah Fund fully subsidizes all participation costs, including tuition, travel expenses, and a modest stipend. Applications are due July 17. For more information or to apply, visit www.tikvahinstitute.org.
Women, Men and the Future of Marriage The Tikvah Fund will host its second Institute for Women later this summer. The three-day program is entitled, “Women, Men and the Future of Marriage” and will address male and female roles and the institution of marriage as seen through the lenses of Torah sources, philosophical
texts and the legal debate surrounding religious liberty in America. Among the faculty at this year’s institute is Miriam Kosman, the Bnei Brak teacher and author of the recently published book, Circle, Arrow, Spiral: Exploring Gender in Judaism. Mrs. Kosman will
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JULY 2, 2015
OU Celebrates West Coast Banquet
It was a gala evening at the Sephardic Temple in Westwood on June 18th, as West Coast OU held its annual banquet with a record turnout. Over 300 people came to celebrate and support the OU and the night’s three honorees.
of Communications at Ralphs, “but we wanted to make sure of two things: One, that we did it right; and two, that we did it with a lot of respect. There’s no way we would have been able to do what we have done without the slow patience of everyone involved.”
stores for training to community members, especially pre-Pesach,” added Rabbi Adir Posy, Assistant Director of OU West Coast. “They’ve really gone out of their way to try to meet the needs of the kosher consumer. That’s what we’re recognizing tonight.” This
Honorees included two couples in the community: Nati and Carmit Baram received the Community Leadership Award, while Rabbi Yitz and Stefanie Etshalom were honored with the Chinuch Leadership Award. The third honoree of the evening was given to an organization: Ralphs Grocery Company was presented with the Kashrut Leadership Award. Ralphs has been a partner with the OU for a number of years. Beyond the wide number of kosher products that appear on its shelves, some Ralph’s stores now feature Kosher Experience counters, which offer a variety of prepared foods and a full deli. “We knew we wanted to bring the Kosher Experience to the Jewish community,” said Kendra Doyel, VP
And what they’ve done is pretty impressive. The first Kosher Experience was so popular it drew people from other cities. “We started the first store in the San Diego area, and we heard from people in the Los Angeles area who would say, ‘I’m driving down to your store in San Diego!’ So we said, ‘Let us help you with that.’” Ralphs now has three Kosher Experience counters in the LA area, as well as the original location in La Jolla. That’s not all. “Ralphs’ philanthropic foundation has long supported many OU programs, and we feel fortunate that they have been such a great partner in our community,” said Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, Director of OU West Coast. “They, through the OU, provide training to their store directors, and open the
is the first time that OU West Coast has given the Kashrut Leadership Award. Ms. Doyel accepted the award. “On behalf of the 22,000 associates at Ralphs, and honestly, the 340,000 associates in the Kroger family, we are humbled and grateful for tonight’s honor.” After thanking Rabbi Kalinsky, his team, and others, she went on to say that she believed this was only the beginning of their journey together and then made a presentation of her own: a check to the OU for $30,000. Next was the Community Leadership Award. Chazzan Baram is not only cantor at Beverly Hills Synagogue/Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, he and Carmit serve as an inspiration to many in the community.
As Rabbi Kalinsky said, “They not only enhance the prayer and synagogue experience of their congregants through beautiful music, but they also make everyone around them feel joy in avodat Hashem.” Of the regular musical events that the Barams organize for the LA Jewish community, Rabbi Posy said, “[Their] going around to different areas of the community and showcasing passion for avodas Hashem and tefilah… is something that we see as really great role modeling.” “Beverly Hills Synagogue of North Beverly Hills, I’m proud of you,” said Nati, as he accepted the award. “I’m proud to be the shaliach tzibur. You deserve the honor.” This humble statement was followed by a beautiful concert, with Nati singing and Carmit playing several instruments. It received an enthusiastic standing ovation. The Chinuch awardees inspired the audience as well. “Rabbi Etshalom is a consummate educator, with an innovative approach to educating across both formal and informal settings,” said Rabbi Posy. “He is a teacher at YULA, but also teaches daily Daf Yomi at Young Israel of Century City, and travels around the world as scholar in residence due to his masterful expertise in Tanach and a variety of subjects.” And he’s not the only educator in the family; Mrs. Etshalom is the renowned Youth Leader at Young Israel of Century City. In his acceptance speech, Rabbi Etshalom demonstrated elegantly why he was receiving this award. “I learned much from my teachers, more from my colleagues; from my students I’ve learned most of all,” he began. “The simple understanding of this passage in the Talmud is that the student teaches because the student challenges the teacher. But there may be another angle of understanding what that statement means: From my students I have understood more than anyone else how much I have learned from my teachers.” He went on to speak about his education, the teachers who impacted him, and to thank several people and organizations, including NCSY and the Muskins. “Every one of us has to be a teacher. Because I’ll tell you a secret: Every one of us is always a teacher. … We have all benefited from great teachers. The best thing we can do to honor them is pay it forward.”
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Dream Masters: From Yosef to Balaam to Freud Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, Rav and Dean at Yeshivat Yavneh
Now let’s turn to one of the most famous dreams in history. Jacob lays his head down and has a dream of a tall ladder and there are magical angels descending and ascending. Rambam understands the dream of Jacob’s ladder as a form of prophecy. It is an allegory that needs to be interpreted. Rambam, in his Mishnah Torah (Yesodei HaTorah 3:7) explains that the prophecy is a reference to the various nations that will oppress the Jewish people. The rungs of the ladder represent the passage of time. Why do we need to know what our future will hold? How differently will we live with this information? Perhaps, the knowledge will neutralize impending pain. If we know what is coming, if I can begin to wrap my mind around the process, control is possible. Once I understand that our struggles are part of an impressive destiny, I will see the particulars are less painful. The Talmud, in Brachos 55b, records a prayer: “Master of the World! My dreams belong to You. If the dreams are good – solidify them like the dreams of Yosef. And if they need to be remedied – fix them like the bitter waters that Moshe sweetened. Just as you transformed wicked Balaam’s curses into blessings, so too, make all of my dreams for the best.” Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook explains that sometimes the particulars of a dream or a piece of terrible news is indeed bad and yet events can still transfigure themselves to create a good result. Just think back to Yosef’s dreams. And then there is a higher level of miracle, when the bad tidings themselves are turned into something positive and here, Balaam is the perfect example. This is our request in Gemara Brachos. In this prayer, we ask G-d to make the darker parts of the journey brighter moments. What we really want is the wonders of reversal, as explained by Freud. Dreams attempt to process difficult moments in our lives, thus aiding in wish fulfillment. This entire discussion necessitates that we ask ourselves whether dreams have credibility. According to the Talmud in Brachos 57b, a dream is 1/60th of prophecy. According to the Talmud in Nedarim 8a, we are told that one who dreams he has been excommunicated requires a minyan to release him. These two sources along with many others would seem to im-
ply that dreams certainly have an element of realism. On the other hand, the Talmud in Brachos 55b says that dreams speak falsehood. The Talmud in Sanhedrin30a reports that the contents of dreams do not add or subtract. How do we partner these two sets of sources? There are several approaches: 1. The Spanish 15th century posek and philosopher known as the Tashbeitz (II, 125) answers that it depends if the subject of the dream is the dreamer himself or somebody else. If one is dreaming about themselves, then that particular dream is significant. 2. Rav Yitzchak ben Avraham Latif, 13th Century student of the Rambam, (Rov Poalim II, 32) pragmatically suggests that the sources may resonate with each other if we assume that dreams are partially true and partially false. 3. The Klausenberger Rebbe (Resp. Divrei Yatziv, Y.D. 121) hypothesizes that the accuracy of a dream is based on the righteousness of the dreamer. 4. Others have suggested that references to the future should be taken seriously while the past not so much. Based upon the idea we have been developing, a fifth approach may be proffered. Dreams are real and they are not real. They are visionary and they are madness. They represent a deeper need to fulfill our wishes, calm our stimuli and enable our bodies to deal with the world. Does every component of a dream speak of a deeper message? Not necessarily. It’s simply our inner world trying its best to cope, to process, to move forward. The portion of Balaam is replete with an endless array of textual problems and challenges. It’s an extremely mystical Torah portion. From the encounter with the donkey all the way to Balaam’s attempt at cursing the Jewish people and instead blessing them, we witness the story of a man gifted with magnificent capabilities, yet at the same time suffering under the weight of endless inner demons and loneliness. The Talmud in Sanhedrin 105a says that the etymology of his name is B’lo Am which means, “without a people.” His dreams reflect reversal, an attempt at wish fulfillment, and stimuli uncomforted.
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How does a donkey talk? How can an animal recognize angels while a powerful prophet like Balaam does not? These questions, along with 23 others, animate the Portuguese scholar, Don Isaac Abaranel’s commentary on Parshas Balak. The Torah portion of Balak speaks about the evil prophet Balaam who was employed by King Balak to curse the Jews. Abarbanel’s questions about the story are many, but they fall away when we understand the meaning of the narrative. The first step is to recognize that the event mostly takes place in a dream sequence. Now, in dreams there are no rules. If the story is a dream what are we, observers of the dream, to learn? Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, titled his landmark work, The Interpretation of Dreams. He asserted that every dream is the fulfillment of a wish. Imagine, for example, one who is sleeping, but who becomes thirsty. The sleep pattern will be disturbed by thirst. A subsequent dream will likely involve liquids in an attempt to get rid of the disturbance. Only when the dream fails, will you wake and visit the kitchen. This was Freud’s philosophy until the First World War. Suddenly, large numbers of traumatized men returned from the front. The reports of their sleep states were enough to undo his entire theory. Many of them would wake, night after night, trembling and bathed in sweat as a result of dreams in which they saw explosions and shredded corpses. This led Freud to emerge with a daring conclusion in his more mature work, Beyond the Pleasure
Principle. Now, he recognized that dreams that repeatedly hallucinate a traumatic experience, are an expression of the wish to be preserved from fright. His thesis has not been undone! Our sleeping self knows how to process wish fulfillment. When a victim dreams of their trauma and pain, the crippling effects of the event should eventually be neutralized. Christoph Turcke (1948–2014) was an acclaimed professor of philosophy and religion at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig and he built on Freud’s understanding of dreams. In his work, Philosophy of Dreams, he argues that the dream, as “wish fulfilment,” explains how society, religion and culture have all developed. Our dreams express our deepest urges and our wakeful moments see us responding to these feelings in an attempt to normalize or diminish the painful stimuli. Turcke argues that ritual slaughter was developed as an exchange for our wish to make the pain felt after death and killing of innocents, more manageable. This interpretation when applied to korbanos, would not be heretical in light of the position of the Rambam. The Rambam (Moreh Nevuchim 3:46) posited that sacrifices were introduced to wean our people away from pagan practice and culture. (Note: the Ramban to Vayikra 1:9 argued vehemently against this theory.) What is immensely troubling about the position of the Rambam is that if Korbanos is pagan in origin, why did it ever become part of our tradition? Furthermore, the Rambam, in his Mishneh Torah, does not seem to reiterate his theory behind animal sacrifice. Did the Rambam change his mind? This takes us back to Turcke whose philosophy might be correct. If sacrifice emerged as we attempt toward wish fulfillment, we used the event to sublimate our killing urge and it allows us to deal with the pain of primitive trauma. So successful is the sacrificial event in performing this task, that it was also a pagan cult. The Rambam understood that Jewish practice doesn’t need to act pagan, but we are wise enough to adopt a practice that helps us evolve into better people. The korbanos may have started as wish fulfilment, but ultimately, once channeled to the realm of kedusha and the Temple, we found a way to move to a place that is world’s away from pagan rite.
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JULY 2, 2015
Oases of Holiness
Throughout the long golus, our people have had homes in many countries. Regardless of the backdrop and climate, we’ve always stood out. Our nation has always been marked by tznius and purity, testimony to the fact that the Creator whose name is interwoven with our own is “sonei zima,” loathing of immorality. In this week’s parsha, we are confronted with a daunting challenge to the standards we always maintained. After seeing his efforts at cursing the Bnei Yisroel stymied, Bilam developed a plan to entice them. “Vayachel ha’am liznos” (Bamidbar 25:1). Rashi quotes the Gemara (Sanhedrin 106) which delineates his scheme. Our nation had previously been confronted with depravity and spiritual contamination. However, this was the first time that we faced a strategy specifically designed to change the moral climate and pull us into sin. It worked. Bilam was crafty, cunning and successful. And he has progeny following his ways. His diabolical ruse has endured, inspiring various other organized crusades of debauchery throughout the years. We don’t have to look past the news headlines to find examples of what thorough and clever campaigning can achieve. In the United States, the president’s signature legislation, written with great craftiness, specifies that only those states that set up health exchanges would receive the subsidies that are a cornerstone of the savings promised under Obamacare. It is clear that Congress set it up this way so that governors would be forced to establish the exchanges or risk losing millions
of dollars for their citizens. This was confirmed publically by Jonathan Gruber, the primary architect of the law. The chief justice said that if that were the case, the entire program would be in chaos, because you can’t have some people getting subsidies and some not. So he ignored the intent of Congress, and the wording of the law, and he saved the sloppily written and conceived Obamacare law from itself. And just like that, victory was declared. The left won, again demonstrating an uncanny knack for pulling victories out of a hat and moving society over to their point of view. The same chief justice who previously ruled that a penalty isn’t a penalty, because if it would be a penalty it can’t be imposed, and Obamacare would not be able to be foisted on the people if they aren’t penalized for not buying in to it. Thus he found that the penalty is really a tax, which the commerce clause permits. Despite everything stacked against them, the left manages to outsmart and outfox their opposition. Just look at the societal changes they have brought about in this country over the past decade. They have effectively broadened the classification of the rights inherent in what used to be a sacred union. They redefined mar-
flag was flying proudly - as it has been since the Civil War - across the southern part of this country. A white lunatic went on a rampage in a black church and, within a matter of days, the flag was blamed for the crime and all across the south, people began pulling it down. Though nothing about the flag had changed, the die was cast and the plan was put in motion. The media did their job and politicians of all stripes responded, running to microphones to declare that the flag had fluttered for the last time. Stores pulled anything with a confederate symbol from their shelves. Manufacturers stopped their productions mid-run. And before anyone realized what was happening, the flag was gone and the liberals had won yet another round. This column is not about defending that flag, although it was no more offensive today that it was yesterday, when Democrats, including the Clintons, supported it. What changed was that it became a target of the left. When that happened, everyone climbed on board and it was gone. Things reached a head last Friday, a day referred to by Kadmonim as ominous (Magein Avrohom, Orach Chaim 580). Many people have the minhag of fasting on this day, Erev Shabbos of the week when we read Zos Chukas HaTorah, which
WE CAN DO IT. WE HAVE TO DO IT. HASHEM DOESN’T GIVE US TRIALS WE CANNOT OVERCOME. riage from the way it has been understood and practiced since the beginning of time. They have also foisted upon an unwilling majority, entitlements and differing social norms, amending America’s relationship with historical allies and weakening the country’s courage and confidence to lead on the world stage. They marginalize all opponents, paint them as radicals, and then move the goal posts once again as they set up to battle for the next cause on their agenda. Just two weeks ago, the confederate
the Targum Onkoles interprets as Dah Gezeira D’Oraysa. It’s a day when twenty-five wagonloads of Gemaros were burnt in France and it’s a day when the modest values of our holy Torah were burnt by the United States Supreme Court. The men and women of the highest court in the US forced a way of life upon citizens who have voted against it, reminding us, once again, that traditional values and religion in general are under attack. Things taken for granted for millennia are shoved away by powerful groups and
interests. People depended upon to maintain justice and equilibrium are shown to be tools of the progressive agenda. There is no place for refuge, no escape from the cultural changes that are overtaking this country and the world. The kochos of tumah are on the ascent. In order to fight back, we must increase kedushah in the world. We must invest more into proper chinuch and we must be intelligent about it. We will not be able to shield ourselves and our world from it, by simply closing our eyes to what is taking place. Ignoring the revolutionary changes that are taking place around us is wrong. It is a grave mistake to think that by blocking ourselves from the impact of new realities they will not affect us. We are seriously impacted by what takes place around us. The increase of tumah affects the air we breathe and the underpinnings of the country in which we live in many spiritual ways, and it also trickles down to our cloistered world. We are not immune to anything, unless we immunize ourselves. Hundreds of years ago, the Kotzker Rebbe closeted himself in his room. He famously commented to a chossid who opened the window to the room, “Der velt shtinked. Farmach dem fenster. Close the window and don’t allow the stench of the world into this room.” How can we effectively close the windows to our homes, rooms and offices? How are we to respond? Before the 1992 presidential election that pitted Governor Bill Clinton against incumbent George Bush, a talmid went to visit Rav Shimon Schwab zt”l. The mainstream Orthodox position seemed to be to support the Democrat, since the Bush administration was seen as particularly harsh to Israel. Rav Schwab felt otherwise and he explained his thinking to his visitor. “What will be with Eretz Yisroel is Hashem’s business. The posuk says, ‘Lev melochim vesorim beyad Hashem. He guides and directs leaders the way He sees fit. We are mandated to be a mamleches kohanim vegoy kadosh, to bring about and spread holiness in the world.” Rav Schwab added, “I believe that a Yid has to vote for the candidate who will keep the atmosphere as refined as possi-
wishes, especially after he was plied with fame and fortune in return for his work. Things didn’t go as planned and Bilam ended up blessing the Jews. The brachos, placed in his mouth by Hashem, bear eternal messages. “Mah tovu ohalecha Yaakov,” he proclaimed. The greatness, beauty, nobility and modesty of the Jewish home are hallmarks that have defined Torah Jews throughout the
alay sheker zeidim, ani bechol lev etzor pikudecha.” The more falsehood he was attacked with, the deeper Dovid Hamelech connected himself to the Torah. The more we cleave to Torah, the stronger we are. Shlomo Hamelech writes in Mishlei, “Bechol eis yihyu begodecha leveinim,” we must always endeavor to keep ourselves clean. Should we find a spot, we must immediately cleanse it before it sets in. In times such as these, we should Scotchguard ourselves against stains through the study of Torah and mussar and seforim which lead to increased kedusha and tahara, emunah and bitachon. In this week’s parsha, we read how the Midyanite king feared the ascent of the Bnei Yisroel and sought out the services of the spiritual leader of the gentile nations to curse the Jews before they would swallow him. Bilam attempted to fulfill the king’s
millennia. “Hein am levodod yishkon.” No matter what was going on around us, irrespective of the outside cultures, we always attempted to maintain our homes as oases of holiness. Bilam was characterized by his “ayin ra’ah,” his bad eye, haughty manner and conceited demeanor, while we are defined as talmidim of Avrohom, possessing an “ayin tovah,” a good eye and humility. We are defined by our unfailing love for each other, which leads to kindness, concern, caring and a humble existence, as we walk in the shadow of Hashem, come what may. When Bilam saw that he wasn’t able to curse the blessed, beloved nation, he led them to temptation and caused them to fall prey to immorality. He perceived that the way to cause their extermination was by lowering them to the levels of the decadent people who surrounded them. Yet,
while they maintained their kedushah and taharah, they could not fall nor be defeated. The posuk states, “Kedoshim tihiyu ki kadosh ani” (Vayikra 19:2), which the Ramban explains to mean that if we are holy, we can remain connected to Hashem. All through the ages, there have been attempts to tempt us to veer from the path of eternal truth. As long as we remained loyal to the Torah’s teachings and morals, we were successful in remaining untouched. When we succumbed to the enticements and left the path of Torah, the nations attacked us and drew blood. We are entering a period in which we will be pressured by many well-meaning people to get with the program and accept where society has led the surrounding culture. We will be painted as an old-fashioned, bigoted, spiteful, hateful, phobic tribe. It will require spiritual, mental and intellectual strength to withstand the onslaught. On a visit to Bnei Brak, Rav Yitzchok Hutner zt”l walked down the central street, Rechov Chazon Ish. From every window, it seemed, came forth the sound of children learning Torah. Every second building was a kollel. The city is dominated by massive, world-famous yeshivos. Many Chassidic centers have established themselves there as well. Rav Hutner paused and reflected. “The Gemara says, ‘Kol halomeid Torah beseiser, if one learns Torah in seclusion, machrizin alav begolui, it eventually becomes announced in public.’ Before there were all these mosdos, the Chazon Ish sat in seclusion, in a humble room, and poured his lifeblood into Torah. Now, the city of Bnei Brak and all the Torah in it is the public announcement of his toil.” Every individual can create kedushah and chase away tumah. Although we do not have the abilities of the Chazon Ish, by maximizing our dedication to Torah in our hearts and homes, we create buffers from tumah and increase goodness and holiness in the world. Little by little, ehrliche Yid by ehrliche Yid, we bring light into places of darkness, until the entire world becomes aflame with kedushah and taharah, on physical and spiritual levels, seen and unseen, perceived and hidden. We can do it. We have to do it. We must use the gifts of the am chochom venavon and the heritage of ohalim tovim and middos tovos transmitted to us since our founding. Hashem doesn’t give us trials we cannot overcome. With Torah wisdom, accompanied by strength, humility and ayin tovah, we will be zocheh to continue our growth besiyata diShmaya.
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We can and should invest more in proper chinuch, using intelligence and proper planning to achieve and accomplish. Our rallying cry must be the words of the Rambam, who says, “Kamah hayah Dovid Hamelech mitzta’er,” Dovid Hamelech persevered by attaching himself to Torah and growing more elevated and exalted. The Rambam closes by quoting the posuk in Tehillim (119:69) which states, “Toflu
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ble.” We, charged with ensuring that the moral climate remain clean and holy, have our work cut out for us. The Rambam at the end of Hilchos Me’ilah (perek 7) tells us how to respond: “How much did Dovid Hamelech suffer from the scoffers and heretics who would challenge him regarding the meaning and purpose of the chukim? And the more they antagonized him...the more he would increase his devotion to the Torah.” Like Dovid Hamelech in his time, we are constantly being attacked. Secular permissiveness is licking at our shores, as we are mocked by those who insist on appending the appellation “Orthodox” to their name. They vilify many of our traditions and teachings, move the bar on many topics and customs, and act contrary to halachah, yet continue to make inroads, taking over shuls and schools across the country and being welcomed into an increasing number of Orthodox botei knesses. Nobody wants to be perceived as negative, old-fashioned or anti-progress, so what started out as something far-out has become increasingly accepted. Once it’s in vogue, it’s harder to resist. Weak leaders capitulate to the demands of congregants and organization members. More shuls and Orthodox people fall under their spell. As we see in our personal lives, most people are fickle. They don’t have the stamina to fight for the truth, stand up to bullies, or defend their beliefs. Most allow their innate desire to be lowered to dictate their conduct. Similar to the chief justice, who ruled with an eye on the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post, people act in the manner they consider most prudent, neither making waves nor fighting them. With this latest Supreme Court ruling, it will become easier for those with contempt for our values to marginalize us and label us as racist, bigoted, and irrational extremists if we do not respond cleverly and act responsibly. Strong leadership, strong principles, courage and conviction are the only answers in times like these, as redefinitions will be taking place, affecting religious freedom and things we have become accustomed to taking for granted. We can succeed. People used to view the US Supreme Court as the fount of justice. If ever a jurisdiction, or court, or prosecutor, or politician were out of control, they felt that there was a group of people to whom they could turn for final redress. There was a place that cared about the truth, the law, and what was right. Well, those thoughts have now been dashed with a trio of rulings that left many scratching their heads, others in mourning, and leftists and liberals dancing in the streets. Our grandparents persevered when liberties were limited. The nisayon at the present time is to persevere when the liberties are - if we may say so - too great. The flood that threatens us is no less intimidating than those that our forefathers faced in the ghettos and pogroms, though today’s flood may be less physically painful. Against all odds they won, and so can we.
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JULY 2, 2015
Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits
The Halachos of the Three Weeks
he time of the Three Weeks is a time when we avoid many activities. Why do we refrain from such activities? What are included in these activities? Below we will discuss the halachos of the Three Weeks. Introduction We live in a world today where it is very hard to realize what we are missing by not having the Bais Hamikdosh. We have gotten too comfortable with our houses, etc. and are not really waiting for the day that Moshiach will come. The Gemara tells us that one who mourns over the Bais Hamikdosh will merit seeing it rebuilt. The Shulchan Aruch tells us that a G-d fearing person should worry about the churban Bais Hamikdosh every day of his life. Five tragic occurrences happened
on Shiva Asar B’Tamuz: 1. Moshe Rabbeinu broke the luchos when he came down from Har Sinai and saw the ei-
gel 2. The karbon tamid was no longer brought in the first Bais Hamikdosh. 3. The destruction of the second Bais Hamikdosh started. 4. Apostumos burnt
the Torah 5. A tzelem was placed in the heichel. On Tisha B’Av the following trage-
dies happened: 1. Klal Yisroel were told they were not going into Eretz Yisroel because they wept in vain after hearing the evil report of the meraglim. 2. The first and second Bais Hamikdosh were destroyed. 3. Beitar, which was home to thousands of Jews, was captured by the Romans. 4. Turnisrupos surrounded the heichel. Because of the above tragedies, the custom is to refrain from many activities during the days between Shiva Asar B’Tamuz and Tisha B’Av, which are commonly known as “Ben Hametzarim.” Source It would seem that the time for aveilus is either from Rosh Chodesh Av or during the week of Tisha B’Av. However, many poskim, among them the Rama, bring down that the time of aveilus starts from Shiva Asar B’Tamuz. Night Before or in the Morning There is a discussion among the poskim if one has to refrain from the actions which are not done during the Three Weeks from the morning of Shiva Asar B’Tamuz or even the night before. Most poskim say that one should refrain from doing these activities even from the night before, from tzeis. In a pressing situation one can be lenient (i.e. wedding on Motzei Shabbos.) Some are of the opinion that during ben hashmoshes one can be lenient with the actions which are customarily refrained from during the Three Weeks (i.e. haircut).
There is a minority view that holds that some have the custom not to eat meat from Shiva Asar B’Tamuz until after Tisha B’Av, (except for Shabbos), but the custom is not like this. Some have the custom to fast each day from Shiva Asar B’Tamuz until after Tisha B’Av, but the custom is not like this, especially for one who teaches Torah and is concerned it will affect his learning. Mourning Mid-day Many poskim mention that after the mid-day point of every day during the Three Weeks one should take some time out to mourn over the destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh. Nonetheless, this should not be done on Erev Shabbos, Erev Rosh Chodesh Av, Rosh Chodesh and Erev Tisha B’Av. Restricted Activities There are basically four main activities which are customarily restricted during the Three Weeks. 1. Joy, such as a wedding, dancing or music. 2. Haircuts. 3. Reciting a shehechiyanu. 4. Dangerous situations. We will now begin to discuss these activities in the order in which they appear in the Shulchan Aruch. Weddings The custom of Ashkenazim is to refrain from making weddings from the night of Shiva Asar B’Tamuz until after Tisha B’Av. This is even if one has not fulfilled the mitzvah of having children. One is permitted to get engaged (vort) or write a tenayim during the Three Weeks but only without a seuda or dancing). One is permitted to make a seuda for a bris milah or pidyon haben during the Three Weeks. Some say that at a sheva brochos which takes during the Three Weeks, one may not have dancing or music. Others permit dancing but no music, and others permit both dancing and music. Music Just as dancing is not done during the Three Weeks, it is customary to refrain from listening to music as well. This applies to tapes, radios, CDs or DVDs. Some poskim are lenient and
Singing Singing with one’s mouth is permitted during the Three Weeks. Some say singing songs which brings joy should not be done. According to some poskim listening to a CD of chazanus without music is permitted even if one finds it enjoyable. Haircuts The custom of Ashkenazim is not to get haircuts from Shiva Asar B’Tamuz until after Tisha B’Av. This applies to both men and women. The reason for this is since one does not take a haircut so often, if we were allowed to take haircuts until Rosh Chodesh Av it would not be recognizable that we let our hair grow after Rosh Chodesh, therefore, the custom is to refrain from haircuts for the entire three week period. This stands true even for the honor of Shabbos. One is permitted to comb his hair even if some hair may fall out. Some say an Ashkenazi can give
to cut his nail in order to perform a bris more efficiently.
haircut, since one should teach his children about the churban, however, if it is for the need of the child then doing so is permitted until the week of Tisha B’Av. One should avoid performing an upsherin of a child during the Three Weeks. The haircut which is forbidden refers to the head and beard (shaving). If one’s mustache is getting long and in the way of eating, it may be shaven. One who works in a place that if he does not shave or take a haircut he will lose his job, may shave or take a haircut during the Three Weeks, except for the week of Tisha B’Av. A woman whose hair grows long enough that it starts coming out of her head covering may shave it. The same is true if the shaving is done for tzinius reasons. Going for electrolysis is permitted for a woman. A woman is permitted to tweeze her eyebrows during the Three Weeks. A sheitel which needs to be fixed or cut is permitted until Rosh Chodesh Av. A girl who is involved with dating can shave before she goes on a date. Some say if one’s hair is so long that it is a chatzitzah for hilchos tefillin then one is permitted to take a haircut. It is permitted for the one who is making a bris (father of the child), the mohel, and sandek to shave for the bris, until the week of Tisha B ’Av. A chosson during his sheva brochos is permitted to shave since it is like a yom tov for him. The opinion of some poskim is to be lenient for a bar mitzvah boy to take a haircut if the bar mitzvah is before the week that Tisha B’Av falls out, but others say this should not be done, and this is the custom of many.
garment that requires a shehechiyanu to be recited according to halacha. In addition this discussion is not referring to the Nine Days where the halachos are more stringent.) Some say the custom is only to refrain from a shehechiyanu from the Nine Days but not before. The reason for the custom is since this time is a time of “unpleasant occurrences” it is not the time to say the bracha of shehechiyanu where we mention being brought to this time. A woman who is expecting is allowed to eat a fruit even if she will have to make a shehechiyanu on it since if she wants a food and does not have it there can be a danger. From the fact that one should not recite a shehechiyanu during these days, we learn that one should also not buy any clothing which would require him to recite a shehechiyanu. Some say if one mistakenly recited a bracha rishona on a fruit which requires a shehechiyanu, they should recite a shehechiyanu on it before eating it. According to the above, one would be permitted to buy a chashuv item during the Three Weeks as long as no shehechiyanu is recited on its purchase. Some still say that something which is “chashuv” should not be bought during this time. A sefer that one does not recite a shehechiyanu on (not chashuv, or according to those poskim that no shehechiyanu is recited on seforim) is permitted to be bought until Rosh Chodesh Av. Some say if avoiding the purchase of an item will cause a loss, one should just give a down payment for it and pay the rest after the Three Weeks; others are more lenient. Some say an item which one does not wear when he buys it (i.e. clothing which requires alternation) and he would recite a shehechiyanu when wearing it, would
Cutting Nails One is permitted to cut nails during the Three Weeks. A mohel is permitted
Reciting a Shehechiyanu and Buying New Items It is a good practice to refrain from reciting a shehechiyanu on a fruit or garment during the three weeks (until the tenth of Av). (Please note the below discussion only pertains to a fruit or
be permitted to buy during the Three Weeks in order to wear it after Tisha B’Av. A new garment which one bought before the Three Weeks and recited a shehechiyanu on it (according to those who say a shehechiyanu is not recited at the time of wearing but at the time of the purchase) at that time is permitted to wear it for the first time until Rosh Chodesh Av. One is permitted to recite a shehechiyanu on a mitzvah such as a pidyon haben or a bris. In addition, one is permitted to recite hatov v’hameitiv during the entire Three Weeks. For example, one is permitted to buy a car until Rosh Chodesh Av if it will be used for his family. One who gives birth to a girl may recite a shehechiyanyu, even if the girl is born during the Three Weeks. Some have the custom that one should refrain from moving into a new home during the Three Weeks. Gifts Some say one is permitted to give a gift to someone during the entire Three Weeks if it is something which one does not recite a shehechiyanu on. Avoiding Danger The poskim mention a few actions to refrain from the entire Three Weeks period because of danger involved. One should be careful not to walk by himself outside of the city between the beginning of the fourth hour until the end of the ninth hour of the day (in the summer it is approx. from 11:00am – 2:00 pm). In addition any place where people frequent it is permitted. One should not walk between the sun and the shade during the Three Weeks, but this is only for a long period of time. The whole concern is in the same place, but to walk from sun to shade is permitted. Some say one should be careful not to sit or sleep in the shade of the sun during this time. One should avoid having surgery during the Three Weeks if pushing it off until after the Three Weeks is possible. Swimming - Three Weeks (not including Nine Days) Some have the custom to refrain from swimming during the Three Weeks. However, the custom is to go swimming until Rosh Chodesh Av. Nonetheless, one should avoid swimming in dangerous places. Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits is a former chaver kollel of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath and a musmach of Harav Yisroel Belsky shlita. Rabbi Lebovits currently works as the Rabbinical Administrator for the KOF-K Kosher Supervision.
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Newest Fad Many say singing without music is not permitted. Therefore, the newest fad to have music which simulates instrumental music (a capella) is not a viable loophole during the Three Weeks. Such singing defeats the whole purpose of the issur because the musical experience is what is really ossur, which a capella singing provides in full. If there is singing without music then it may be permitted. In addition, some say even if one sings into a CD without beats it is considered music and forbidden.
a Sefardi a haircut since the Sefardi is permitted to have a haircut until the week of Tisha B’Av, but l’halacha one should not do so. Others say if a Sefardi (who is permitted to take a haircut until the week of Tisha B’Av) wishes he can be stringent and not give haircuts to Ashkenazim, but according to the letter of the law doing so is permitted. An adult may not give a child a
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permit even live music at a seudas mitzvah. One who wishes to listen to music while exercising or in a waiting room is permitted to do so. One does not have to shut off a musical ringer on his cell phone during the Three Weeks. If one is driving and is scared of falling asleep, listening to music is permitted. One is permitted to listen to music if he is suffering from depression and the music will lift his spirits. Children below the age of chinuch are permitted to listen to music. This applies to adults who are listening to the children’s music as well (i.e. while driving in the car). In addition, a teacher in a playgroup may play music for her students who are under the age of chinuch during the Three Weeks. There is a discussion in the poskim if playing a musical instrument for one’s livelihood is permitted during the Three Weeks. The consensus of the poskim is that doing so is permitted, although some say only until Rosh Chodesh Av. It is proper not to have music lessons during the Three Weeks.
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JULY 2, 2015
The Jarring Episode Of Shabbetai Tzvi Infamous Messianic Deceiver Rabbi Pini Dunner, Rav of Young Israel North Beverly Hills
PART ONE Three hundred and fifty years ago this year, in 1665, a young Sephardic rabbi called Shabbetai Tzvi claimed that he was the long awaited Messiah, redeemer of the Jews. The announcement bounced around the Jewish world and was widely welcomed. It was not too long before he was exposed as a fraud, although - sadly - not in time to prevent hundreds of Jewish communities from being thrown into turmoil. Who was this Messianic pretender? How was he ever taken seriously? And how is it possible that even his conversion to Islam failed to convince people that he was a charlatan? To understand this jarring episode one must understand its origins in Kabbalah, or the Jewish mystical tradition. For centuries Kabbalah did not have a history of being interested in Messianism or in the process of Jewish redemption from exile. Rather, it had mainly focused on the mystical and symbolic view of the universe and its creation, on understanding G-d and on how one could connect to G-d through the performance of His commandments. To the early Kabbalists, who were small and secretive groups of Jewish mystics, the concept of Messiah and the redemption process was seen in the same way as non-Kabbalists: a firm belief in an ultimate moment when a Messiah chosen by G-d would lead the Jews back to the Holy Land, and the Temple would be rebuilt. It was very much part of the belief system, but neither urgent nor particularly mystical. After the dramatic expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, this paradigm shifted. The upheaval of the Spanish expulsion, and the Inquisition that followed in its wake, shook the Jewish world to its foundations, probably more than any other event since the destruction of the Jerusalem temple by Titus 1,400 years earlier. During the sixteenth century Tzfat emerged as the spiritual and Kabbalistic headquarters of Judaism. Its emergence proved to be pivotal, particularly as the Kabbalah espoused by the Kabbalists of Tzfat, was mainly eschatological in theme and content. Eschatology is the branch of theology concerned with the end of time.
Some of Judaism’s greatest minds and souls found their home in Tzfat, and to this day some of the most studied mystical and legal texts of Judaism can be traced to sixteenth century Tzfat. The greatest of the Kabbalists of Tzfat, and the one with the most far-reaching influence, was Rabbi Isaac Luria Ashkenazi (1534-1572), known as ‘The Arizal’ or ‘The Ari.’ The Arizal had a close circle of disciples who recorded all his teachings. He wrote nothing himself, and everything we know of him and his teachings emanates from these disciples, principally a man called Rabbi Chaim Vital. The Arizal’s Kabbalistic system – known as Lurianic Kabbalah – revolved almost exclusively around this previously overlooked topic of exile and redemption. In the most basic of terms, it posited that the whole of creation was directly tied into the exile and redemption process of the Jewish nation. In summary, G-d can only allow for the
existence of a physical world through an act of withdrawal. The calibration of ‘withdrawal’ and ‘G-d’ within creation is the balance between spiritual and unspiritual, or physical, in the universe. The sin of Adam and Eve created a state of imbalance, in need of tikkun, or correction. The exile of the Jewish people in the physical world is a reflection of this imbalance. If the Jewish nation achieves ultimate perfection, as reflected through Messianic redemption, then all of creation can at last be in balance, and G-d will have realized His original purpose for creation. It is noteworthy that the Arizal did not devote much attention the Messiah himself. Who he would be, or what he might do or say, and how he might reveal himself, seemed of little relevance. Among the few scattered references within Lurianic mysticism that discuss the Messiah figure, one is worth noting. The Arizal
predicted that he would possess an ‘Evil Side’, and in the course of his activities the Messiah would perform actions or be involved in events that might seem antithetical to his Messianic mission. One fascinating example of this idea can be found in a text from the 1550’s, by an anonymous author of the Tzfat school. He discusses the frequency of Biblical heroes who were somehow connected with ‘inappropriate’ women: Yehudah and Tamar, Yosef and the wife of Potiphar, Mohe and Tzipporah, Shimshon and Delilah, Boaz and Ruth, Yehoshua and Rahab. The text offers a number of explanations and interpretations, for example the necessity for G-d’s chosen hero to have a relationship with those who G-d needs to vanquish; or another one: the need for a male – representing good – to effect ‘tikkun’ on a female – representing evil; or another one: by uniting two disparate elements from opposite ends of the spectrum G-d can realize the purpose of creation. In time these ideas would be used by Shabbetai Tzvi’s apologists as justification for his peculiar behavior and public desecration of Jewish law. Lurianic Kabbalah’s interest in the redemption created a Messianic excitement and expectation in the Jewish world that had not been seen since Bar Kochba’s devastating defeat by the Romans at Betar in 135 C.E. Groups devoted to bringing about the redemption proliferated, and between 1630 and 1660 the sense of an imminent redemption was heightened, promoted and discussed in many communities. Let us turn now to the protagonist himself: the Messianic pretender, Shabbetai Tzvi. Shabbetai Tzvi’s biography is unsurprisingly full of contradictions. Glorified by acolytes, and vilified by detractors, the truth about him is hard to pin down. But some of the facts are incontrovertible. He was born on August 1, 1626, which that year was also the 9th of Av - Tisha B’Av, when we fast, and mourn the distruction of the two Jerusalem temples. But there was no fast that day, as it was a Shabbat. Mystical literature is insistent that the Messiah will be born on Tisha B’Av, which will mean that redemption emerges out of the ashes. It was in honor of the day of his birth that his parents named their baby son Shabbetai. Shabbetai Tzvi was born in Izmir, Turkey, known in those days as Smyrna. His family was originally from Greece, but his father, Mordechai, had moved his family to the coastal city to more easily and profitably conduct his trading business. It is possible that the family were originally Ashkenazi – Tzvi is not a typical Sephardic family name. Mordechai was a trading agent, acting on behalf of English traders living in Izmir. This was a common arrangement: Western European traders would hire Jews to act for them, as they spoke many languages and were extremely well connected. Shabbetai was the second of three sons, and his family was wealthy, prosperous and prominent. Both his parents died before the
Messiah saga – his father in 1663, and his mother many years earlier. Shabbetai’s main teacher was a man called Rabbi Yosef Escapa, author of the halachic work ‘Rosh Yosef’. As a student, Shabbetai was earnest and competent, and he mastered Talmud and Jewish law at an early age. Aged just 18, he received his rabbinic ordination. No one knows when he started studying Kabbalah, but it was certainly at a young age. Crucially, he studied it on his own – a practice that was highly unusual. Aspiring Kabbalists were expected to master their subject only with guidance from a mentor – hence the term ‘kabbalah’, or ‘received’ teachings. At 20, Shabbetai Tzvi married for the first time, but the marriage was never consummated and a few months after the wedding, following a complaint to the local rabbis by his wife’s father, the young couple divorced. Almost immediately he married again, but again the marriage was not consummated and ended in divorce. At around the time of his marriages it became evident that his behavior was erratic and unpredictable. Many of the accounts written about this period were written much later, and mostly by his detractors, but even those written by his supporters and defenders reveal an extremely strange young man. At times Shabbetai Tzvi was enthusiastically joyful, exuberant and ecstatic; at other times he was depressed, anxious, paranoid and passive. Today we recognize these symptoms as those of someone suffering from acute manic depression, or bi-polar syndrome. In the 1600’s such symptoms were interpreted somewhat differently. To his enemies his behavior demonstrated that he was an evil madman. To his supporters and devotees his behavior proved that he was special, divine and holy. He claimed to experience visions, and he was able to stay awake for days at a time without food. Or he would disappear for days, or even weeks. His supporters claimed he needed time alone so that he could atone for the world’s sins. One of the most unusual aspects of his manic episodes was his transformation from a meticulously observant orthodox Jew into a flagrant violator of Jewish law. His supporters would later refer to these antinomian acts as ‘Maasim Zarim’ – strange or paradoxical acts. His weird behavior eventually grabbed the attention of the senior Jewish leadership in Izmir, and they decided to expel him from the city before his malign influence could cause problems for the insular and fairly unsophisticated Jewish community. NEXT TIME: Shabbetai Tzvi’s nomadic travels as he battles detractors and descends into ever stranger behavior, and his fateful meeting with a brilliant rabbinic scholar in Gaza called Nathan Azati that changed his life, and began his journey towards Messianic revelation.
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JULY 2, 2015
Building Water Independence in California Ruth Judah
“As an issue of national security, Israel has successfully made itself water independent,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources, John Laird. Now, California is working to reach the same goal. It was back in 2013 that Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the sharing of water technology and the enhancing of economic interests between California and Israel. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is home to The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research and its Director Professor Eilon Adar. Professor Adar is an expert in arid zones hydrology and Middle East water issues. He conducts cutting-edge research on groundwater flow systems and arid basins. As the relationship between Israeli and Californian hydrologists has deepened, Professor Adar has built ties with our hydrologists, water policy makers, farmers and municipal authorities. With frequent visits to the Golden State, he has been willing to share his knowledge of water management, technology and his experience working in arid and semi-arid regions with scarce water resources. Laird is pleased with the relationship, “With a similar climate, California is poised to benefit greatly from Professor Adar and researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev as we plan for ways to better manage water, particularly in times of severe drought.” Two weeks ago, Professor Adar was again back in California. After meeting with policy makers in Sacramento, he met with farmers in the Bay area. “California is a huge state with different water-related problems,” Adar said. “It is not that there is a lack of water-- there is enough -- but it just isn’t managed well enough at the moment. For several generations, local and municipal water utilities and farmers enjoyed senior and later junior water rights. In addition, utilization of groundwater and other water resources have been poorly coordinated - if at all. “We barely understand this natural resource, how it rejuvenates and how it flows. Yet we need to come to terms with the fact that it is a gift from nature. Water does not recognize farm’s boundaries, water utility or municipal boundaries and it will flow without honoring fences or districts, it will absorb pollutants without our control.” Adar believes that, just because Californians pay for water, they still don’t think of it as a commodity. In California, farmers have
their own water rights, and they deal with the precious liquid however they choose, without much concern for the environment or the down-stream repercussions, unless they are obliged by law. Many farmers were granted individual water rights back in the forties and many even much earlier before 1914. Californian farmers have never before considered this issue to be a statewide crisis. “I just met with farmers who responded, “This is my water!” Adar explained. “Now, these farmers have commercial cash crops, but due to the drought, barely sufficient water supply for their huge farms. Also, the quality of the water is perpetually deteriorating. For instance, on one farm that I toured I could see that the surface was healthy, but the groundwater situation has already deteriorated. I had to explain to the farmer that his water had deteriorated because the cities and farms that are located up-stream to his ranch are polluting the water that flows under his property.
A water desalination plant in Israel
tag and therefore is tradable.” “Treated greywater” and “reclaimed sewage water” are words we should expect to see in high frequency in the foreseeable future.
Inside a water desalination in Hadera, Israel
This can be changed if farmers understand the logistics and work together. “The American economy allows for independent businesses to thrive, but in the case of water, this approach is not so successful. If you want to maintain the availability of water the utility companies have to work together. There must be an overseeing water authority for the entire region and its water basin, not just advisory boards. Water utilization must be at least coordinated among all stakeholders in a holistic approach” Each community, world region and country manages its water differently. Adar explained that in Israel, water is treated as a national commodity. This has been the case since before the British Mandate. Available water is controlled and distributed by need. “California dumps treated water after its first use and this is impractical,” Adar explained. “The ocean can wait! It is possible to incentivize farmers to trade their clean water for treated reclaimed water as long each type of water has a price
This is a good thing. Greywater is any lightly used household wastewater. Typically, 50-80 percent of household wastewater is greywa-
Assemblyman Marc Levine - Chair of Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, Professor Eilon Adar and Eyal Naor - Deputy Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest
ter from kitchen sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, bathroom sinks, tubs and showers. The Greywater Action Group is an educational group that teaches
more about this, “Greywater may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products. It is a safe and even beneficial source of irrigation water in a yard. “If greywater is released into rivers, lakes, or estuaries, its nutrients become pollutants, but to plants, they are valuable fertilizer. Aside from the obvious benefits of saving water (and money on your water bill), reusing your greywater keeps it out of the sewer or septic system. Reusing greywater for irrigation reconnects urban residents and our backyard gardens to the natural water cycle.” And blackwater? As far away as Australia, Boat Owners Associations are warning members, “Blackwater is any waste from a toilet or urinal. It contains disease causing organisms that can result in human illness by direct contact or by consumption of affected fish and shellfish. It also contributes to the build-up of unwanted nutrients in ecosystems. Under no circumstances are blackwater discharges into a river permitted.” Given the pollutants in blackwater, it is generally discarded as worthless, but treatments are now translating blackwater into a usable effluent which can be safely used in flushing toilets and building cooling systems. In American, there are a variety of ways that reclaimed sewage water is being reengineered. Mostly it is through bioreactors, but there are also successful systems that filter the water through engineered wetlands. Is California facing a water challenge? It is. Fortunately an abundance of new approaches are being implemented and publicized. It is just possible that water independence will become a reality, not a dream. But this is no easy task. It will take statewide coordination and a revised management system that will have to adopt the holistic water utilization and treatment approach.
An Q&A with Rabbi Kalman Topp, Senior Rabbi of Beth Jacob
The Jewish Home: From a Jewish perspective, what should be our response to the drought? Rabbi Topp: Judaism teaches us to feel responsible for our surroundings and we should be deeply concerned about the current drought. The simple fact is that California is running out of water. With regards to our response, throughout life and certainly during times of crisis, the Torah teaches us to take a dual approach. Firstly, there is the important element of human initiative where we are each required to take pragmatic steps to improve a challenging situation. These steps require
a combination of hard work, wisdom, creativity and, as necessary, seeking out the advice from those with specialized expertise. Secondly, we believe in the power and effectiveness of prayer. Sometimes the answer is no, but we need to remember to turn to G-d in times of crisis and sincerely request for his assistance. Regarding the California drought we should employ this dual approach. Every person needs to do his or her part. Our elected officials should continue to address the crisis by taking necessary steps, including, as appropriate, water conservation, water re-use, drip irrigation and even seawater desalination. There is much that we can learn from Israel in this regard. Then, the other element that we must remember, as religious people, is that we should turn to G-d and sincerely pray for rain. TJH: Is the lack of rain a consequence from G-d for the behavior of man? RT: This is hard to say. We don’t fully understand the way G-d runs the world and His system of reward and punishment. What we do know is the more we take action, and the more we pray and connect with Hashem, the better off we’ll be. TJH: What kinds of prayers should we be saying for rain? RT: From the last day of Sukkot until Pesach we praise G-d by saying that He causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall.
From December 4 until Pesach, we go further and request rain by adding the words “v’ten tal umattar livracha”- please give us dew and rains of blessing. Traditionally these prayers for rain are not expressed during the summer months. However, with the current situation, I think it is appropriate and a good idea to include the prayer of “v’ten tal umattar livracha” in the concluding elokai netzor paragraph of the Amidah. We can and should also say Psalms. This morning at the Beth Jacob minyan, I brought these suggestions to people’s attention and we said a chapter of Psalms together as a plea to G-d to provide for us and the State of California. TJH: Are there any other lessons one can learn from the drought? One might suggest that the silver lining is that the lack of water is bringing a sensitivity to our communities about this precious natural resource and reminds us to not take water for granted. Before we drink a glass of water, we recite the bracha of shehakol—that everything
was created through the word of G-d. Why do we thank G-d for everything? Rabbi Yisroel Salanter suggested that when we take a sip of water, we thank Him not just for the water. We are inspired to take a moment to also express our gratitude for the oceans, streams, the mountains and the
ambience of creation—for Shehakol- for all parts of creation. Let us remember to thank G-d for all we have and may G-d bless the State of California, the U.S, Israel and the world with rain and prosperity.
JULY 2, 2015
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The Jewish Response to the Californian Drought
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JULY 2, 2015
An Update on California’s Water Shortage Bracha Turner Summer is upon us and water is in high demand, but reservoirs are low and summer storms are far from the parched state of California. It’s been a crippling four-year drought and again there are record-low levels of snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which accounts for a third of California’s total water supply. Meanwhile, new homes and swimming pools put an even greater demand on the dwindling supply of water. Now is the time to welcome drought measures and water preservation plans that are being encouraged and enforced as part of a statewide conservation strategy. Governor Jerry Brown firmly responded to concerns that households are not meeting the proposed 20% cut in water usage, and are reaching only half that requirement. He explained the facts, “We’re in a historic drought and that demands unprecedented action.” In April, he issued an Executive Order mandating that urban populations across California must reduce water usage by 25%. This reduction is to be implemented by the State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB). This is the first time there have been mandatory water restrictions. Individual cities and communities are facing mandatory reductions from 4% up to 36%, based on their water usage in 2013 but the order was revised to accommodate complaints from cities where residents were already reporting lower per capita water use. The percent of reduction in each city was revised to reflect water usage from July, August and September of last year, where water consumption is typically at its highest. Beverly Hills was listed among the highest water users and therefore faces mandatory water reductions in the highest tier of 36%. Los Angeles and Long Beach must cut back by 16%. In fact, 80% of California’s water supply is used in commercial farming, but it is only residential use being targeted in these new regulations. This does not mean that commercial farming has it easy. The California Farm Bureau reported that in 2014 there were 500,000 acres of farmland forced out of
production due to water shortages. This year, that number will double. Droughts in California’s recent history have exceeded seven years and the decision to end the
drought is, of course, not in our hands. Texas and Oklahoma are also suffering and it is anticipated that the drought will spread to other states. Until the rivers flow, water con-
servation at every level, both indoors and outdoors, is the key to sustainable living. How can water agencies and state agencies implement water cuts? Water use is greatest in outdoor irrigation so water-wise landscaping is essential and outdoor watering is the principal target. If the goals are not implemented properly by water agencies, the state could impose fines of up to $10,000 a day. To meet statewide water restrictions and to curb your water usage, you need to remember the following: 1. Instead of washing down sidewalks and driveways, which is prohibited, use a broom and a bucket of (recycled) water if necessary. Sweep, don’t hose. 2. Fix your broken sprinklers and sprinklers that leak onto the sidewalk instead of onto your lawn. Excess runoff is prohibited. 3. If your car is dirty, you may only use a hose with a shutoff nozzle to spray it clean. Otherwise, hosing your car down is prohibited. Better yet, visit a retail car wash facility that recycles water. (Tip: the earlier in the day you go, the cleaner is the water.) 4. Permanently turn off fountains and decorative water features that don’t recirculate water. 5. Learn how to turn off your sprinkler system for 48 hours following measurable rainfall. And in case you haven’t noticed, the following actions have been put in place and are reported on the LA County Waterworks Districts and SWRCB websites: Restaurants can only serve water to customers on request. Operators of hotels and motels must provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily and prominently display notice of this option. Newly constructed homes and buildings can only irrigate outdoors with drip or microspray systems (It would help if all homeowners replaced their sprinkler systems with drip systems.) Public street medians that are merely ornamental should not be watered. Does Los Angeles provide any rebates or incentives for reducing water? The turf replacement program was very popular, but recently in Los Angeles, the
29 THE JEWISH HOME JULY 2, 2015
Metropolitan Water District (MWD) has had to reassess whether to continue offering these incentives. It says that due to an overwhelming number of applications, it has already exceeded the $100 million budget allotted for cash-for-grass programs. The Water District board is considering allotting an additional $150 million towards the program in a meeting this month. In Los Angeles, the rebates were previously set at over $2 per square foot with an additional $1.75 offered by the DWP (Department of Water and Power) and applications filled in quickly, especially after the mandatory cuts were announced on April 1st. (If the program continues, there will likely be limits in place for lawns exceeding 1500 square feet, reducing the cash rebate per square foot to $1 per square foot for every additional foot.) You can check on the MWD website (https://mwdturf. conservationrebates.com/) whether you qualify for the rebate. Be aware that most rebates are offered for the replacement of green lawns—not lawns that are already dry. The rebate process typically takes up to 10 weeks and in addition to the application itself, residents need to submit 5 photos of their lawns and a recent water bill. Will the State Water Board implement a tiered rate structure to try to minimize water usage? Most water districts in California already
implement a tiered rate structure for water usage. According to the L.A. Times, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power also employs a tiered rate structure, but it has only two tiers separated by less than $2 in price. In other counties, that rate is significantly disparate with the highest tier measuring almost $7 more per unit of water. Such was the case with a recent appellate court ruling in San Juan Capistrano, where residents successfully
challenged the outrageously higher tiered rates. This ruling was based on Proposition 218 which Californians voted on in 1996. It mandated that water providers cannot charge more than the cost of delivering the service. While the governor, water agencies, and even environmentalists would like to see tiered rate structures to maximize
conservation, the court ruling’s final decision begs the question of whether it’s legally permissible to do so. The case could provide legal precedence for other districts to be sued for similar tiered structures. What more can I do? Visit http://www.Wateruseitwisely. com for 100+ tips on how you can help conserve water at home. Take tests and read tips on how to reduce water usage indoors and outdoors.
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Natural Colors and Flavors
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• TJH CENTERFOLD
• TJH CENTERFOLD
You Gotta be
This year’s July 4th parade has a marching band, pairs of dancers, a float of jugglers, a dozen circus clowns, a veterans’ troop, a Boy Scout troop, and a championship football team. Read the description of each group carefully and decide how many are in each group and in what order they marched in the parade. • The marching band was not the leader, but their 6 rows of 4 musicians in each row were near the front, just ahead of the veterans’ troop. • The football team had 2 fewer marchers than the veterans’ troop, and took their time signing autographs as they marched at the end. • The veterans’ troop and the Boy Scouts were separated by the 3 groups of 4 jugglers on the jugglers’ float. • The 3 pairs of dancers were between the Boy Scouts and the football team. • The Boy Scouts had 5 rows of 3 marchers and the veterans’ troop had twice as many. See answer on next page
Towards the end of his citizenship test, Yankel was asked to spell “cultivate.” He spelled it correctly. He was then asked to use the word in a sentence. He thought about it for a moment and then said, “Last vinter on a very cold day, I vas vaiting for de bus, but it vas too cultivate, so I took the subvay home.”
Bald Eagle Facts
By the Numbers
Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson served on the committee that picked the eagle for the national seal. (Franklin wanted the turkey.)
(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
Places with “eagle” in their names. The most populous one is Eagle Pass, Texas (26,248).
Places with “liberty” in their names. The most populous place is Liberty, Mo. (population 29,149). Iowa, with four, has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.
Places with “independence” in their names. The most populous one is Independence, Mo. (116,830). Places with “freedom” in their names. The most populous one is New Freedom, Pa. (4,464). Places with “America” in their names. The most populous is American Fork, Utah (26,263).
Place with “patriot” in the name. Patriot, Ind. (209).
Bald eagles have few natural enemies and live only in North America. Bald eagles get their white head and tail feathers about 4/5 years of age. Bald eagles are not, and never were, bald. The term comes from when “bald” meant “white-headed.” Their maximum speed: 40 mph or over 100 mph while in a dive. They can lift roughly half their body weight. The bald eagle is no longer considered endangered, only threatened. The only other kind of eagle in North America is the golden eagle. Bald eagles mate for life, but if one dies, the survivor will accept a new mate. It is a felony to shoot an eagle.
• TJH CENTERFOLD
• TJH CENTERFOLD
2. Life, liberty and _______? a. Big government. b. The pursuit of taxes. c. Freedom for all. d. The pursuit of happiness. 3. In which other country is there a July 4th? a. France b. Britain c. Australia d. Canada 4. “The Midnight Ride” is the story of: a. Going to Seasons Express in the middle of the night for kugel … just because. b. Paul Revere warning that the British were coming. c. The Continental Army led by George Washington sneaking up on British forces in October 1775. d. Washington and his troops stealthily crossing the Delaware and capturing nearly 1,000 enemy soldiers at the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776. 5. What is the official name of the July 4th holiday? a. Fireworks Day b. Independence Day c. Barbeque Day d. Freedom Day
6. In what year was the Declaration of Independence signed? a. 1492 b. 1969 c. 1772 d. 1776 Answers: 1. C- The bell cracked slightly on its first ringing. However, the large crack apparent today seems to have occurred on a later day. According to some, the large crack happened when the bell was rung to celebrate George Washington’s birthday in 1846. 2. D- “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is one of the most famous phrases in the United States Declaration of Independence and considered by some as part of one of the most well-crafted, influential sentences in the history of the English language. 3. A, B, C, D- duh… 4. B 5. B 6. D- It’s interesting to know that historians have long disputed whether Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed. Wisdom Key: 5-6 correct: You are a step ahead of our politicians in Washington, who seem to have forgotten about the Constitution. 3-4 correct: Not bad, just continue your summer school classes and you will be alright. 0-2 correct: When your friends tell you to stand over the fireworks while lighting them, don’t listen! Let t
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1. How did the Liberty Bell get its crack? a. It was built with the crack as a symbol that all cracks in freedom must be patched together. b. Some lady was singing the National Anthem and the bell and all surrounding windows in the area cracked. c. It just happened the first time the bell was rung (rang, ringed, whichever is correct) d. A kid was visiting on a Chol Hamoed trip and although the guard told him not to touch the bell, he just couldn’t help himself.
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"Happy B-Day America" Trivia
ANSWER TO RIDDLE: The groups are listed in the order that they marched, from first to last: 12 circus clowns; 24 musicians in the marching band; 30 veterans; 12 jugglers; 15 Boy Scouts; 6 dancers; 28 football players
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Compiled by Nate Davis
“Say“Say What?” What?” With Greece on the brink of defaulting on its bailouts, it’s rumored that it may consider asking Vladimir Putin for a loan. Even the Devil said, “Don’t do it! Don’t mess with that guy.” - Jimmy Fallon
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is running for president. This is historic. He’s a 44-year-old IndianAmerican whose real first name is Piyush. After hearing about it, President Obama said, “A young, non-white guy with a crazy name? Good luck with that.” – Conan O’Brien
The Affordable Care act is here to stay. - President Obama’s declaration after the Supreme Court upheld a key provision of Obamacare We should start calling this law SCOTUScare. - From United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent to the majority’s ruling, which upheld Obamacare last week
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he’s running for president, which makes him the 13th Republican to enter the race so far. Yeah, 13 Republican candidates — or as that’s also called, “A Banker’s Dozen.” – Jimmy Fallon
Good Humor is bringing back its ice cream trucks this summer after almost 40 years. So I guess that makes two things Chris Christie will be running for this summer. – Jimmy Fallon
Our local store made a mistake. – A Walmart spokesman apologizing after one its stores refused to make a cake with the Confederate flag on it for a customer but they readily made him one with an ISIS flag (which he used to point out their hypocrisy)
Congrats to 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, who won golf’s U.S. Open yesterday. You can tell he’s young because he’s never heard of any of the products they advertise during golf tournaments. - Jimmy Fallon
Compiled by Nate Davis
My life was wasted and spent foolishly, brought shame and suffering on my parents and siblings and will end soon… Advice is a cheap commodity. Some seek it from me about crime. I know only one thing for sure — if you want to make crime pay, go to law school. - Former Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger responding to three high school girls who wrote to him for a history project
My mother. - Donald Trump, when asked which woman should go on the $10 bill
Amazon announced it’s discontinuing products with the Confederate flag. They won’t sell it. So now Amazon no longer has to use the phrase, “You may also like slavery.” – Conan O’Brien Welcome to Israel! It appears you’ve made a mistake along the way. Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere not far from here — Syria. There, Assad’s regime is massacring his own people every day with the help of the murderous Iranian regime. In contrast, here in Israel, we are dealing with a situation where terrorist organizations such as Hamas are trying to harm innocent civilians. In the face of these attempts, we are protecting the citizens of Israel in accordance with international law. – Letters handed out when the Israeli Navy intercepted a Gazabound flotilla on Sunday evening
Can you just hear it now? I can hear it now: The United States flag has flown over slavery and symbolized racism, discrimination, bigotry…for hundreds of years; the Confederate flag flew only four years, and we’re getting rid of the Confederate flag. Mark my words. - Rush Limbaugh on June 23, warning that the American flag will come under attack much like the Confederate flag is We need to put the American flag down because we caught as much [heck] under that as the Confederate flag. - Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan preaching in Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan AME Church on June 24
Chevrolet put out a press release about its newest car written only in emojis. Ford did the same. Unfortunately the emojis were a lemon and a tow truck. – Conan O’Brien
Now that President Obama has 19 months left, media outlets are speculating about what his legacy will be. Some think it could be healthcare or the trade deal. “Yeah, what could it be?” said the first black president, Barack Obama. – Jimmy Fallon
They used to boo me because I’m the one standing up for equal rights for women and free speech and respect for minorities, free and fair elections. It’s not my fault that these are qualities that are more lacking in the Muslim world than any other culture. But liberals saw this for years as an attack on a minority. But the irony is that they were so tolerant, they were tolerating intolerance. - HBO’s Bill Maher talking to Jerry Seinfeld about the great irony of the politically correct left On Saturday, The Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer pitched a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He said it was his Father’s Day gift to his dad. Then his brother said, “Uh, can you put my name on that too? I got him a mug.” – Jimmy Fallon
I have great respect for [the Shabbat traditions], and I see Ivanka during Saturday, and from Friday evening on through Saturday night, she won’t take phone calls and they live a very interesting life. And it’s actually a beautiful thing to watch, with Jared and Ivanka. In a very hectic life, it really becomes a very peaceful time. So there’s something very nice about it. - Donald Trump in an interview with JNS.org When people remember you, they will remember only the evil you have done. No one will remember that your teachers were fond of you, that you were funny, a good athlete. What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people. - Judge George O’Toole addressing Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, before sentencing him to death by lethal injection There was nothing about this crime that was Islam associated. - U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz at a press conference after Tsarnaev’s sentencing
He makes it almost impossible for him to achieve success. - An unnamed senior Cuomo official talking to the New York Daily News about Mayor de Blasio’s inability to work with Albany I started a year and a half ago with a hope of a very strong partnership. I have been disappointed at every turn. – New York Mayor de Blasio discussing his relationship with Gov. Cuomo at a press conference What I found was he engaged in his own sense of strategies, his own political machinations and what we’ve often seen is if someone disagrees with him openly, some kind of revenge or vendetta follows. … And I want to hasten to say there was some interesting backand-forth last week and some unnamed sources well-placed in the Cuomo administration had a few things to say. I’m here in front of you on record saying what I believe. – Ibid.
JULY 2, 2015
Hey. Listen. You’re in my house… You know what? It’s not respectful when you get invited to somebody. You’re not going to get a good response from me by interrupting me like this. I’m sorry. I’m sorry … Shame on you, you shouldn’t be doing this… As a general rule I am just fine with a few hecklers. But not when I’m up here in the house. - President Obama when interrupted by a heckler during a White House event
First, brava! This is a historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it. When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation house. You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment. The most important phrase is “successful strategy.” - A recently disclosed email sent to Hillary Clinton on August 22, 2011 by her friend/advisor, Sidney Blumenthal
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In an interview yesterday, Donald Trump called Jeb Bush a reluctant warrior and said he thinks Jeb is an unhappy person. Which is interesting coming from a guy who always looks like he just ate a lemon. - Jimmy Fallon
THE JEWISH HOME JULY 2, 2015 36
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Travel Guide: The Bahamas Aaron Feigenbaum
Located less than an hour away from Miami by plane, the Bahamas are the perfect place to unwind and have fun. There are more than 700 islands that comprise the Bahamas archipelago and they offer no shortage of interesting attractions and dramatic adventures. Whether you’re interested in snorkeling, surfing, wreck diving, exploring shipwrecks, fishing or anything in between, the Bahamas will cater to your desires. With nearly year-round perfect weather, pristine beaches, some of
ures including Blackbeard and Calico Jack terrorized French and Spanish ships in the War of the Spanish Succession. Order was reestablished by the King in 1718, and most pirates surrendered to the authorities. The Bahamas were briefly held by the Spanish during the American War of Independence but were reclaimed by Britain as a refuge for Loyalists fleeing America. In the Civil War, Union forces blockaded Southern ports, thus preventing British supplies from reaching Rebel soldiers. As
and wonderful scenery. It’s the most populous city in the Bahamas and is located on New Providence Island. Start your tour at the Pirates Museum. Visitors can board a replica pirate ship and get a feel for what the pirate’s life was like. If you’ve seen any Pirates of the Caribbean movies or have a general interest in pirate history, this is a must-see. Ardastra is the only zoo in the Bahamas. While it’s a bit small, the marching flamingos exhibit makes it worth your
Lucayan National Park
the world’s best resorts and easy accessibility from the U.S., a trip to the Bahamas will make for an unforgettable summer vacation. History The first inhabitants of the Bahamas, the Lucayans, arrived from Cuba as early as the 4th or 5th century B.C.E. The Bahamas became the first link between Europe and the New World when Christopher Columbus is thought to have landed at San Salvador Island in 1492. Despite Columbus’ positive impression of the Lucayans who he called “sweet and gentle,” the Spanish forcibly relocated them to other Bahamian islands, where they were forced to mine for gold. The Spanish lost interest in the Bahamas after no gold was found, and the Lucayans were essentially wiped out only 25 years after Columbus’ arrival, due to disease. In 1649, a group of English Puritans known as the Eleutheran Adventurers made landfall in the Bahamas in search of religious freedom. This they found, but they faced severe food shortage. The leader of the group, Captain William Sayles, made his way to the Massachussetts Bay Colony where he found desperately needed provisions and it was then smooth sailing for the fledgling English colony. Fishing, hunting, timber and trade all helped the colony achieve greater stability. The late 1600’s and early 1700’s mark the Bahamas’ most famous era: the Golden Age of Piracy. The lawless city of Nassau became the world’s pirate capital as fig-
For something a little more adventurous, Stuart’s Cove is one of the many Bahamian underwater exploration companies. They’ll teach you the basics of scuba diving or snorkeling and take you to the incredible coral reefs and shipwrecks that have made the Bahamas one of the diving centers of the world. If you don’t want to get wet, Stuart’s Cove has personal submarines. The truly brave can get in a shark cage to get up and close with the ocean’s most fearsome predators.
a result, the Bahamas became a vital trading port for the Confederacy. The Bahamas prospered again during the Prohibition years as Americans flocked to the islands
time. You can also feed beautiful Lori parrots and take a stroll through the well-manicured gardens. Fort Fincastle was once a British artil-
Stuart Cove’s Dive
to buy alcohol. When Prohibition was repealed in 1934, the Bahamian economy collapsed. Since independence in 1973, the Bahamas have thrived on tourism and finance. It is now one of the best tropical tourist destinations in the world. Attractions Nassau: Once Blackbeard’s “Privateers Republic,” Nassau is a vibrant city full of colorful buildings, great historical sights
lery station and then a lighthouse. Today, visitors can climb to the top of this stone ship-shaped fort and get a phenomenal view of Nassau and the Atlantic Ocean. Blue Lagoon Island is just off the coast of Nassau and is one of the area’s best attractions. The island is privately owned and is home to a huge dolphin sanctuary. You can get meet a dolphin, play water sports, watch sea lions or just relax in a hammock sipping a tropical drink.
Atlantis Resort: No trip to the Bahamas would be complete without a visit to Atlantis Resort. Located on Paradise Island, just a short drive from Nassau, Atlantis is a combination mega-resort and waterpark, and it’s almost a city unto itself. One of Atlantis’ most impressive sights is The Dig, an imagining of the underwater ruins of the lost city of Atlantis. Besides the amazing underwater architecture, the exotic wildlife includes eels, jellyfish, sharks, piranhas and venomous lionfish. If you want to actually get in the water, Atlantis has plenty of great options. Scuba diving, snorkeling in the ruins of Atlantis, shark cages, swimming with dolphins, petting stingrays - the list of fun activities is long. Both kids and adults can enjoy the gigantic, tropical-themed water park featuring a mile-long river ride, a 60 foot near-vertical drop on a water slide, and 11 beautiful, relaxing swimming pools. Don’t think that Atlantis is all about having fun in the water. For a more traditional resort experience, there’s worldclass luxury shopping, a movie theater, fitness room, tennis courts, spa, concerts, casino, golf, yacht and fishing charters, and much more. Note that it is only guests who have access to Atlantis’ attractions. Grand Bahama Island: This stunning island is home to one of the Bahamas’ most unique natural wonders: the Lucayan National Park. While this park is most famous for the idyllic Gold Rock Beach, a filming site for several Pirates of the Caribbean films, what really makes Lucayan special
39 THE JEWISH HOME JULY 2, 2015
Blue Lagoon island
is its extensive underwater cave system, one of the largest in the world. Several companies offer paddling tours that take you through the tranquil, sunlit caves. The island’s largest city Freeport is a tourist magnet with excellent souvenir shops and live entertainment. Xanadu and Lucaya are the most popular of Freeport’s beaches but Fortune Beach is a less crowded option. Be sure not to miss the lush, tropical paradise of the Garden of the Groves. The Garden has thick tree groves, waterfalls and an interesting limestone labyrinth. Castaway Cay: Located in the Abacos Islands is the Disney-owned Castaway Cay. Hop on the Disney Magic or Disney Dream cruise ship and head to the sparkling white sand and deep blue waters of this tropical paradise. Vacationers can snorkel, bike ride, feed stingrays, relax on the beach and more. Bimini: As the closest Bahamian island to Florida, Bimini is one of the Bahamas’ most popular tourist destinations. Bimini is renowned for its fishing, coral reefs and its association with author Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway lived on the island from 1935 to 1937 and it was in Bimini that he allegedly caught the marlin that inspired him to write The Old Man and the Sea. Bimini also has some of the Bahamas’ most interesting shipwrecks including the S.S. Sapona, a WWI-era cargo steamer built by Henry Ford, and the Piquet Rocks, the site of a huge Spanish galleon complete with cannonballs. Located off the coast of Bimini is one of the world’s most enigmatic archaeological sites, the Bimini Road. Some have speculated that this underwater rock structure is the ruins of the fabled Lost City of Atlantis, but there is a debate whether this is actually a manmade structure or truly a geological feature. Several companies offer scuba diving trips to this fascinating attraction.
Exuma Islands: For an off-the-beatenpath experience in the Bahamas, the Exumas are one of your best options. They’re part of the Out Islands, the islands that aren’t New Providence or Grand Bahama, and are renowned for having some of the Bahamas’ cleanest beaches and most crystal-clear water. Divers will appreciate the stunning beauty of Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, which has reefs, blue holes, underwater caves and incredible sea life such as the rare pillar coral. The park also has scenic hiking trails and bird watching sites. Take a stroll along the dock of Compass Cay and watch nurse sharks swim through the crystal clear water. Don’t worry, they’re mostly harmless. For a bit of history, check out the Hermitage Plantation. Built by the Loyalist Ferguson family in the late 1700’s, this is the last surviving example of a cotton plantation in the Bahamas. You can see the family tombs, kitchen and slave quarters. Wild cotton still grows around the property, a reminder of its former life. The Thunderball Grotto is what the Exumas are best known for. Scenes from the James Bond films Thunderball and Never Say Never Again were filmed here in this exotic, shimmering marine cave. Daven and Eat Chabad of the Bahamas is located in Nassau just 10-15 minutes from Atlantis. For more information, visit jewishbahamas.com For kosher food and the perfect Bahamas experience, the best option is Kosherica. They provide kosher accommodations at Atlantis Resort and have dates available for Sukkos 2015, winter break 2015 and Pesach 2016. Additionally, the Super Value Supermarket at Cable Beach and Super Value on Mackey Street both carry a decent kosher selection. Most cruises to the Bahamas offer ko-
sher food at an extra cost. Getting There Cruises to the Bahamas leave from various cities in Florida and currently start at $130 per night. If you’re in a hurry or if
cruises just aren’t your thing, you can always fly to Nassau’s Lynden Pindling Airport. Flights currently start around $660 per person round trip.
Crackdown on Credit Card Churning If you are like me, you are the kind of person who has a hobby, and if you want to know what mine is, it’s credit card churning. It’s totally legal and there are great rewards. Credit card churning is the ‘art’ of applying for and receiving multiple credit card approvals for their hefty sign-up bonuses for the purpose of earning miles and points towards upcoming personal, business or family vacations and trips. Say for example credit card X offers you an initial signup bonus of 50,000 airline miles when you spend $2,000 within three months, and credit card Y offers you 30,000 hotel points
when you spend $1,000 within the first three months, a churner would sign up for the first card, spend the necessary money to earn the bonus miles, put aside or cancel that first credit card, and then move on to the next card with the hotel points bonus offer. Some background; many financial institutions and banks offer credit cards that come with significant signup bonuses. They do so in order to encourage the public to use their credit card and thereby generate ongoing revenue due to its continuous usage. Churning credit cards is the method of using credit cards specifically for
the signup bonuses and once those bonuses are earned, moving on to the next offer and bonus, and essentially discarding the card for later use. Credit card churning is so popular that there are a number of educational forums, blogs and even a Frequent Traveler University that are geared towards helping people understand how to churn credit cards towards specific travel goals. I attended one in Washington DC last year, and I can personally tell you there was close to a thousand people in attendance at the two-day event. In fact, during this past year alone, due to
MILEAGE REDEMPTION Unsure how to use your miles? We can redeem them for cash, book a mileage ticket for you, or even use your miles to pay for a regular airline ticket.
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JULY 2, 2015
A I R L I N E R E S E R VAT I O N S • B U S I N E S S T R AV E L T R AV E L C O N C I E R G E • C R E D I T C A R D A D V I S O R Y M I L E A G E R E D E M P T I O N • MILEAGE BARTER P AY W I T H P O I N T S • L U X U R Y V A C A T I O N V I L L A S B U S I N E S S & P E R S O N A L R E WA R D S M A N A G E M E N T
C A L L N O W F O R A C O N S U LTAT I O N • 6 4 6 . 8 0 1 . 7 3 9 3 • W W W. G E T P E Y D . C O M
my churning habits, I have flown to Florida on more than 20 occasions and each time did not have to pay out of pocket for my flights and hotel stays, using the miles and points I generated to cover the cost of my trips. And in addition to covering the cost of my Florida trips this past year, I took an anniversary trip with my wife and traveled to Las Vegas, and due to unfortunate family circumstances, flew as well with my extended family to Los Angeles, and on both occasions did not pay for my airfare and hotel stay. The banks are pretty lenient when it comes to allowing consumers to apply for multiple credit cards and don’t restrict the bonus offers on the continuous usage of the credit card. However, very recently, Chase bank has decided to do otherwise. In June, Chase issued a new approval policy, and you’d be surprised to learn their policy revision does not address one’s credit score, debt-to-income ratio or length of credit history. Chase’s policy change dealt specifically with consumers who had opened five or more credit card accounts across all banks (not just Chase credit cards!) over the past two years, stating that anyone who applied for multiple cards during this team period would be denied for specific Chase credit cards, namely Chase cards that qualify for Chase Ultimate Rewards points. A popular blogger with more than twenty thousand followers verified this new policy with a Chase representative who stated, “If you’ve opened 5 or more new credit card accounts with any bank over the past 24 months you will NOT be approved for a Chase branded card.” So it looks like for the time being, consumers like me will no longer be allowed to churn, earn and burn Chase Ultimate Reward credit card offers. The cards included in this new policy are: I expected Chase to start cracking down on bonus offer freebies, as Chase is known for their strict financial policies, and individuals and business have reported having their personal and business bank accounts shut down due to internal regulating policies that Chase representatives ultimately never discloses. So it’s no secret that Chase is taking the lead in restricting consumers from opening cards purely for the sake of earning credit card bonuses, which ultimately cost Chase money. I guess the $25 billion bailout of taxpayer funds during the financial crisis and the approximately $3.1 billion returned to shareholders in the first quarter of 2015 wasn’t and isn’t enough money for executives and shareholders at the financial behemoth. The good news is that as of yet, Chase hasn’t restricted the policy to co-branded credit cards, which are cards with specific mileage or point programs, that are backed by Chase Bank. So for the time being, this policy change does not seem to apply to other Chase cards. Sadly, however, the reality seems to be that Chase (and others) will eventually look to eliminate all churning opportunities that don’t benefit in their exclusive financial gain. When and if that happens, I’ll be looking for a new hobby. But I highly doubt the one I find to replace credit card churning will come close to being as lucrative….
Elliot Schreiber is the Director of Marketing at PEYD.
Michael Rubinstein Esq. (United States Consumer Product Safety Commission). Maximize Visibility Many collisions between bikes and cars occur because of visibility issues. Bicycle riders should make every effort to increase the chances that motorists will see them. One way to stand out is to wear bright or neon-colored clothing, as well as reflector vests for nighttime riding. The key is to make yourself stand out and catch the attention of an otherwise distracted driver. Riders must also use their bicycle lights when riding at night, even if it’s for a short ride. Often when I’m walking to shul for mincha maariv, I see yeshiva students riding their bicycles without using their lights. This is an extremely dangerous habit that can have tragic consequences. Do not assume a car will see you at night without your lights on! Turn on your lights whenever lighting conditions are dark, and make sure your lights are always in good working order. The lights must be visible from 300 feet ahead, and 500 feet behind. Do not be afraid to use your bicycle’s bell to alert nearby drivers and pedestrians of your presence. Sidewalk Riding The legality of sidewalk riding changes from city to city. As it stands now, sidewalk riding is permitted in Los Angeles as long as the rider is not riding in wanton disregard for the safety of others. I have personally witnessed yeshiva students racing each other on some of the area
sidewalks. What would happen if someone steps out of shul or La Brea market unexpectedly? The bicycle rider, or more accurately his parents’ homeowner’s insurance policy, might be on the hook in this scenario. For the yeshiva students who are reading this article - do your parents a favor, and don’t race on the sidewalk! Many accidents occur when drivers do not anticipate bicyclists will be riding on the sidewalk. This is especially the case near driveway or parking lot entrances. Riders should exercise special caution near these locations, as well as when crossing an intersection. Drivers should always check the crosswalk and surrounding area before beginning to turn. A recent case inquiry involved a yeshiva student who was riding his bike across a crosswalk, and was hit by a car turning left at a major intersection. The driver began negotiating his turn once vehicle traffic cleared, but he didn’t check the crosswalk to make sure it was clear. The driver was at fault in this scenario, so drivers should always check the crosswalk for bicyclists and pedestrians before beginning to turn. Riding Against Traffic Bicyclists should not ride against traffic because this is another frequent cause of accidents. Drivers turning right out of parking lot driveways are usually looking to their left to prepare to merge into traffic, not their right. If a bicyclist is riding against traffic, the turning driver will not see him. Riding in the same direction as traffic can help avoid this hazardous scenario.
Stop Signs Surprise! Bicycle riders are required to stop at stop signs, red lights, and obey all traffic laws. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen yeshiva students and adults blow right through stop signs. Whether you’re riding your bike or a scooter, you are required to stop at the stop sign. If a police officer sees you violate this rule, he will give you a ticket. It might disrupt your rhythm to stop at every stop sign, but your life is more important. Follow the rules to keep safe. Lastly, drivers should remember the new three-foot rule - it’s illegal to pass a bicyclist unless there is a minimum of three feet of clearance. Enjoy the summer months and the health benefits of bicycling, and keep in mind the pasuk, “Venishmartem me’od l’nafshosaychem.” Better yet, taking the proactive measures discussed above can help avoid accidents and keep you safe.
For a free bicycle safety handout, send an email to Michael@rabbilawyer.com, or call 213-293-6075. You can find more information by visiting www.rabbilawyer. com. Michael Rubinstein is a Los Angeles based personal injury and accident attorney.
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JULY 2, 2015
Longer days and even warmer weather have arrived! With the advent of long summer days, bicyclists are heading outdoors more frequently for leisurely rides. Now is the time to review some key bicycle safety tips; remember that prevention is always the best medicine and following these tips can help both the experienced and novice rider stay out of harm’s way. Helmet Laws California requires everyone under the age of eighteen to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle and a scooter. Many are surprised to learn that children riding scooters must also don helmets. This is the law, and for good reason. Statistics show that the head is the most likely area of the body to sustain an impact in an accident, ch’v. The California Legislature recently considered extending this law to mandate helmet wearing for adults too, but this proposal did not pass. Nevertheless, even though adults are not required to wear helmets, doing so is still a good idea. A recent case inquiry involved a bicyclist injured in a hit-and-run. He was thrown off his bicycle and suffered broken ribs, among other injuries R’L. His helmet was shattered, but thankfully, this individual is alive today because of his helmet. Even if you’re just going for a short ride to the store or back home from yeshiva, don’t get on your bike or scooter without your helmet. Your life could depend on it! Please make sure your helmet fits properly and is certified by the Snell Foundation, the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), or CPSC
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Bicycle Safety Tips for Safer Summer Riding
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JULY 2, 2015
Global Iceland: Safest Country in the World
When asked which countries are not safe to visit, most people would surely be able to offer a quick response. But how about the safest places in the world to visit on your next vacation? It turns out that Iceland is the safest country to visit. Aside from being extremely safe, tourists can enjoy its blue lagoons and stunning views. The Institute of Economics and Peace recently revealed the Global Peace Index, which is a report that ranks 162 countries around the world in terms of safety and peacefulness. In order to gather results, the Institute analyzed 23 characteristics in each
country including violent crime levels, political terror, weapons import and export, and prison population. After a careful review, the country is assigned a score ranging from one to five, one being the highest based on its other statistics. Iceland received a 1.148, followed by Denmark with a score of 1.150, and then Austria, which came in at 1.198. On the other side of the list was Syria, the world’s most dangerous country with a score of 3.645. The U.S. only came in at 94 with a surprisingly low score of 2.038. As of 2008, 313,000 people lived in Iceland, whose nickname is the Land of Fire and Ice. It is known for its soothing hot springs, waterfalls, volcanoes, blue lagoons and mud pools. When traveling there, you’ll be welcomed by the friendly locals. Icelandic is a Nordic language which is similar to Norwegian, but most people speak English as a second language.
Saudi Arabia Prison Seeks to De-Radicalize Extremists The Saudi Arabian government has an interesting approach to dealing with convicted terrorists. Instead of sending them
away to prison to serve harsh punishments, they are treating them with kid gloves in an effort to sway them from radicalized views. Some inmates in Saudi Arabian jails have opportunities to participate in art therapy, play soccer, swim in an Olympic-sized pool, and relax in the sauna. This rehab center, though, is exclusively for convicted extremists. They are well-fed and their laundry is handled in the complex on the outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The system is intended to be a “de-radicalization” program. The goal is to get the inmates to think differently about Islam.
“What is the secret? It is that the ideas we carry cannot be cured by weapons only. It also requires an ideological cure,” Badr al-Enezi, 30, says of the facility, which in many ways serves as the center-piece of Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism strategy. As domestic threats from the Islamic State continue to increase, the complex is prep-
ping with qualified personnel including psychologists. . The prison was founded in 2007 by Saudi Arabia’s powerful interior minister, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, whose name it bears. He himself was the target of several assassination attempts. With hundreds of militants filling up the kingdom’s prisons, the center’s focus was on trying to prevent those who had served their sentences from taking up arms again. It has treated some 3,000 men convicted of terrorism-related crimes, including all those released to Saudi custody from Guantanamo Bay, and claims a success rate of 87 percent. Of the 13 percent, or roughly 390, who returned to militancy, half have been rearrested.
Smugglers in China Caught Selling Meat from 1970s Authorities in China have seized almost half a billion dollars’ worth of smuggled frozen meat in the latest food scandal to hit the region. Reportedly, some of the 100,000 tons (110, 231 tons) frozen product is more than 40 years old. According to the Jewish Link Designs 323.965.1544
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state-run China Daily, it included chicken wings, beef, and pork.
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JULY 2, 2015
Members of gangs were arrested across 14 Chinese provinces attempting to sell the contraband. “It was smelly. There was a whole truck of it. I nearly threw up when I opened the door,” Zhang Tao, an official who helped with the operation in Hunan province, said. Some of the meat had begun to thaw and rot, and some of it was stamped with packaging dates as far back as the 1970s, officials said. Consumers are unaware of the age of meat when they purchase it frozen. However the meat can be harmful as it is transported in non-refrigerated trucks and cars and very often repeatedly thawed and refrozen.
In Hong Kong, imported meat is subject to surveillance but not usually tested if it is for re-export, government officials said. Oddly enough, the Chinese public’s growing concern about food safety has driven up demand for foreign meat. Shoppers prefer products from Europe, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand over locally raised animals. The high demand, plus heavy regulations, has create a black market for meat sales. In just the past year, Chinese officials have arrested smugglers transporting meat from the U.S., Brazil, and Finland. In March, officials arrested smugglers attempting to transport $33 million worth of beef from the United States into the country. Last November, another group was detained for smuggling in 300 tons of Brazilian beef.
The Silent Secrets of Japan’s Imperial Navy Headquarters
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Japan’s secret Imperial Navy headquarters during the final months of World War II is now a public tourist attraction. The entrance can almost go unnoticed; it sits on a hillside near a high school’s field. But at one point in time it was a busy and important place. Leaders of Japan’s combined fleet command made plans for the fiercest battles, including those of Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima and Okinawa from late 1944 to the war’s end in August 1945 in this tunnel. This is the place where they cried when they monitored cables from officers aboard the famed battleship Yamato as it came under heavy U.S. fire and sank off southern Japan. This is where they learned that kamikaze pilots crashed to their deaths when signals from their planes stopped.
Now the inverted U-shaped tunnels are barren, just concrete tunnel walls and silence. It is only filled with life when it is occasionally visited by guided tours for the students from the high school or nearby university. The school opened the headquarters to the media for the first time this week to raise public awareness of the site and the tragic history it represents in the 70th anniversary year of the end of World War II. “It’s a negative heritage that humans made. It’s the perpetrators’ legacy,” said Takeshi Akuzawa, assistant headmaster of Keio Senior High School, who escorted the media tour last week. “Just imagine the massive number of people who had to die in the final year of the war because of their operations.” The site was leased to the navy in 1944 by a top Japanese university after thousands of teachers, staff and students were drafted and sent to the battlefield, leaving the campus with empty facilities. Aboveground, the navy commanded from a dormitory, rushing to the underground command center whenever U.S. B-29 bombers flew over. Keio’s Hiyoshi campus, south of Tokyo in Yokohama, was chosen because of its relative proximity to both Yokosuka naval base and command headquarters in Tokyo. It represents a tough time when students and many others were sent to war—many to their deaths—under commands that ironically originated from this bunker beneath a school.
Jewish Population Approaching PreHolocaust Numbers Before World War II, the global Jewish population was 16.6 million. Today, the Jewish population is reaching pre-Holocaust numbers. A new report by an independent Jerusalem-based think tank, The Jewish People Policy Institute, shows that there are 14.2 million Jews worldwide as of early 2015. When counting various “subgroups” (such as immigrants to Israel and American “partial Jews”), the number approaches 16 million. After Israel, which is home to 6,103,200 Jews, the United States has the second-highest Jewish population at 5,700,000.
The JPPI report reveals that the last decade (2005-2015) has seen an eight percent increase in the Jewish population, or the biggest increase since the end of World War II. The JPPI based these numbers on “halacha criteria for those living in Israel and self-identification for those living outside of Israel.” Here is a list of countries and regions with the highest Jewish populations: Israel – 6,103,200 United States – 5,700,000 France – 475,000 Canada – 85,300 Latin America – 383,500 Britain – 290,000 Russia – 186,000 Germany – 118,000 Australia – 112,500 Africa – 74,700 South Africa – 70,000 Ukraine – 63,000 Hungary – 47,900 Iran – 20,000 Asia – 19,700 Romania – 9,400 New Zealand – 7,600 Morocco – 2,400
Dennis “Lee” Lafferty was a pioneer of the north Queensland tourism industry, running a crocodile cruise company for 28 years until he died in a car accident in late May. As friends in the area mourned his death, the Tampa Bay Times ran a headline: “Traffic accident in Australia ends 40-yearold mystery in Florida.” According to the paper, Lafferty was in fact Raymond Grady Stansel, Jr., who had been presumed dead in the U.S. for 40 years. Stansel was arrested in 1974 for smuggling more than 12 tons of marijuana into Florida. He posted bail and surrendered his U.S. passport to await trial. But the
ISIS Claims Ramadan Attacks A series of attacks in Europe on Friday seem to show ISIS’s growing menace and capability. In France, a decapitated body covered in Arabic writing was found after an attacker rammed his car into a gas container, triggering an explosion. In Kuwait, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a packed Shi’ite mosque during prayers, killing two dozen. And in Tunisia, a gunman opened fire at a popular tourist hotel, killing at least 38 people. There is no evidence the three attacks were deliberately coordinated. But coming so close together on the same day in three countries on three different continents, they underscored the far-reaching and fast-growing influence of Islamist group Islamic State, western politicians point out. The ultra-radical group, which has claimed direct responsibility for the Kuwait attack, clearly now poses a threat far beyond its heartland in Syria and Iraq. The terrorist organization urged its followers this week to escalate attacks against Christians, as well as Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims fighting with a U.S.-led coalition. On June 23, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani urged jihadists to turn the month of Ramadan into a time of “calamity for the infidels ... Shi’ites and apostate Muslims.” “Be keen to conquer in this holy month and to become exposed to martyrdom,” he urged. Even if they were not coordinated, two sources familiar with the thinking of U.S. intelligence agencies said they were likely to have been inspired by Islamic State’s call to jihad or, possibly, to coincide with the one year anniversary of the group’s declaration of an Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization based in London, said it was unlikely the attacks were directly coordinated. “I don’t think that they talked to each other, knew of each other, or that there was a central command that told them to do that,” he said. “There is zero evidence that they were coordinated.”
Shekel: World’s Worst Currency
Bloomberg Business was not happy with the shekel last week. The financial reporting giant dubbed the shekel as the “World’s Worst Currency” following a week of sharp ups and downs that saw it climb 2.1% and then drop 0.8% in value. The shekel fell to 3.7754 on the USD, leading it to become the most depreciated currency of the 30 major world currencies Bloomberg experts track across the world. The Bank of Israel purchased roughly $200 million to quell the increase in the shekel’s value, but the intervention raised doubts about the currency’s value in the market. “It’s the Bank of Israel against the market,” Yariv Shalev, a currency specialist at Mercantile Discount Bank in Tel Aviv, told Bloomberg. “The central bank will continue to buy but we don’t see the dollar/ shekel coming back to levels we’ve seen in the last week. The market does not believe in the interventions, and it knows the Bank of Israel is very limited.” According to the report, the central bank requires foreign-exchange purchases to control the shekel’s strength after comments made by BOI chief Karnit Flug, who recently cited concerns around a lack of export growth.
Hamas Ramping Up Presence in Gaza
More and more armed Hamas troops have been spotted recently on the move just a short distance from the Israel-Gaza
Man Dies after Shooting Attack in West Bank
On Monday night, Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld was critically hurt in a shooting attack in the West Bank. On Tuesday, sadly, he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead in Shaare Zedek hospital, a day after the car he was traveling in was shot at by a Palestinian assailant near the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel, north of Ramallah. His three friends, with him in the car, were also wounded in the attack. His family, unfortunately, has known sadness. Rosenfeld is the brother of an Israeli Air Force pilot who died after getting caught in a flash flood near the Tzeelim River in 2002. Eliezer Rosenfeld, his father, lost his brother some years ago in a car accident in the army. Earlier Tuesday, Eliezer Rosenfeld urged the public to pray for his son’s recovery, telling the press outside of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, “We are in a
JULY 2, 2015
It’s been five years since Kenneth Rodman, an American tourist, vanished off the coast of northern Australia. He was last seen by a friend back in 2010 as he headed towards the beach. His kayak was found submerged a month later in waters several kilometers south of where he launched it. Rodman, then 55, was never heard from again. But on Saturday, Rodman was found by police who were investigating another matter. “On Saturday night, officers investigating a matter stumbled across the now 60-year-old man where he allegedly confessed to police that he had been listed as a missing person,” police say. He is believed to have been hiding out mostly in tropical far north Queensland but it is not known if he had help or why he staged his disappearance. “The matter was never closed as a missing person case but inquiries led police to believe he was avoiding contact with authorities to stay in Australia, despite his visa expiring,” Inspector Glenn Horan added. Rodman is now being deported back to the United States. The discovery comes just weeks after another American in the same area reportedly turned out not to be who he said he was.
border fence. While it is unclear what their goals are, some of the Hamas forces appear to be carrying out ongoing security tasks. Others are training in camps very close to the border, such as the one established on the ruins of Dugit, a Jewish settlement evacuated in 2005. Whatever the purpose may be, it is clear that Hamas has been training its troops recently for more than launching rockets or carrying out commando attacks from the sea, as they did during last summer’s war. Hamas’s military wing has been conducting infantry and urban warfare exercises at different levels. The training in urban warfare that its troops are undergoing — throwing grenades into buildings, then shooting — is similar to the exercises of Israel’s own infantry troops. . Hamas has also reportedly been working diligently on other exercises to plan for a future war: commando raids, massive production of short-range mortar shells (including ones with larger warheads), and its tunnels project. While the purpose of all these activities is to deter Israel, another goal may be to score a significant, landmark success for Hamas in the next conflict with the Israeli army after what Gaza residents see as a defeat in last summer’s 50-day conflict.
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Missing for Five Years, Found Alive
trial never went ahead, with his lawyer announcing his client disappeared while scuba diving in early 1975, never to be seen again. The mystery was only solved with his death, thousands of miles away.
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difficult hour. The entire nation of Israel is in a difficult hour.” The four men in the car, all of whom live in the West Bank Settlement of Kochav Hashahar, had been driving near Route 60, the main north-south artery running through the West Bank, when they were attacked. “We were four friends coming back from a basketball game,” Yair Hoffer, who was shot in both legs, said. “All in all, we played basketball, we had a good time; we joked around on our way back. We were just trying to get home.” The friends turned onto the interchange near Shvut Rachel, where the car was hit by gunfire. “I saw the car pull up and that seems to be the moment that they started firing,” Hoffer said. “They fired the full magazine at us, it seems,” he told Army Radio. “We tried to duck, to cover our heads at least. We were screaming in pain from our injuries and we started yelling at the driver, ‘Go! Go! Go!’” But the gunshots had damaged the car and it came to a stop. Luckily, the terrorists’ car kept going. Friends nearby came to their aid. Monday night’s attack was the sixth in the past two weeks. The IDF is on particularly high alert due to Ramadan, which usually ushers in a spike in violent incidents.
Israelis May be Poor, but They’re Mostly Happy According to new survey, 39 percent of Israelis cannot cover their monthly expenses. Women tended to have more financial problems than men, according to the numbers published by the Central Bureau of Statistics. One of the positive findings of the report, though, showed that Israelis feel a general level of satisfaction in life, with some 86% of respondents indicating they are satisfied with life. Of those, some 31% were “very satisfied” and 55% were “satisfied.” Satisfaction in life was one of the only areas in which there was no discernible difference between responses from men and women. The survey showed a decline in satisfaction as the ages progressed, with some 91% of 20 to 24 year olds responding that they are satisfied with life, compared to only 79% of those 75 and above. Some 14% of respondents, representing approximately 700,000 citizens, responded that they are not very satisfied or not satisfied at all with their lives. In terms of satisfaction with financial situations, levels are much lower. Only 53% of Israelis are satisfied with their financial situation. Not unsurprisingly, the satisfaction rates with regard to finances correlates
with income levels. Only 34% of those with monthly income below NIS 2000 are satisfied with their financial situation, compared to 46% of those with income between NIS 2001 to NIS 4000, and compared to 70% of those with income over NIS 4000. Arabs were less satisfied with their financial situation than Jews (49% dissatisfied compared with 45%), and women were less satisfied with their financial situation than men (49% dissatisfied compared with 45%). Another key finding of the survey showed that one in every seven respondents reported feeling “poor” over the past year, translating to approximately 725,300 Israelis. Young respondents between the ages of 20 to 44 were more likely to feel poor than those aged 45 and over. One of the disturbing findings of the survey showed that some 16% of respondents, representing approximately 822,200 Israelis, reported that they had foregone food due to financial difficulties. 11% gave up a warm meal at least once every two days because of financial difficulties. Some 41% of respondents, representing approximately 2,100,000 Israelis, gave up on heat or cooling of their houses because of financial difficulties. Others reported giving up on medication, paying bills, fixing things around the house, dental treatment, buying clothes, and more. On a positive note, over a third of those who felt poor were optimistic about their future finances, with some 36% stating they believe their financial situation will change in the near future.
New Tunnel Unveiled By Hamas
Members of Hamas have announced that the terror group has built a new fortified tunnel that reaches into Israeli territory. The attack tunnel is said to be 3.5 kilometers long and will be used in the “next round” of violence with Israel, masked Hamas operatives told Al-Alam, Iran’s Arabic-language channel. From the footage aired, it was not clear if the tunnel was in fact new or if the segment inside the tunnel was filmed before the 50day conflict last summer and repackaged. Israel destroyed at least two dozen tunnels
used by Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups during the operation. Some were used to devastating effect to ambush and kill IDF soldiers in the course of the war.
National National GDP Increases
Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Colorado — all expanded at more than twice the overall rate and all these states boast mining industries. Interestingly, mining is not credited with national growth. In fact, five of the nation’s slowest growing economies also have mining industries. The professional, scientific, and technical services sector was the largest contributor to U.S. economic growth last year, and seven of the ten fastest growing economies boast growing markets in those fields: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Utah, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Tennessee.
SpaceX Rocket Explodes
The economy is growing; in 2014, the U.S. economy grew 2.2%. As with most things, though, growth varied across the nation—all but three states saw growth. According to a recent release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), 16 states reported growth rates of less than 1%. Virginia’s economy remained status quo, and Mississippi and Alaska’s GDP fell last year. Which states are growing the fastest, in terms of GDP? North Dakota: GDP growth: 6.3% 2014 GDP: $48.2 billion (5th smallest) Texas GDP growth: 5.2% 2014 GDP: $1.5 billion (2nd largest) West Virginia GDP growth: 5.1% 2014 GDP: $68.0 billion (12th smallest) Wyoming GDP growth: 5.1% 2014 GDP: $37.6 billion (2nd smallest) Colorado GDP growth: 4.7% 2014 GDP: $279.7 billion (18th largest) Oregon GDP growth: 3.6% 2014 GDP: $203.8 billion (25th largest) Utah GDP growth: 3.1% 2014 GDP: $128.2 billion (19th smallest) Washington GDP growth: 3.0% 2014 GDP: $390.5 billion (14th largest) California GDP growth: 2.8% 2014 GDP: $2.1 trillion (the largest) Oklahoma GDP growth: 2.8% 2014 GDP: $162.4 billion (22nd largest) Five state economies expanded at more than twice the national rate. The mining industries in each of these states — North
On Sunday, witnesses recalled seeing a “major fireball in the sky” moments after SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral. The explosion was seen in a live webcast of the launch carried by NASA TV. “We appear to have had a launch vehicle failure,” NASA TV commentator George Diller said as the rocket crumbled to bits above Florida’s Atlantic coastline. No details have been revealed yet as to what caused the failure. Witnesses claim the explosion could be seen as far as 50 miles away in Sebastian, Florida. The launch was supposed to be a routine cargo mission to the International Space Station, part of SpaceX’s agreement with NASA to launch resupply missions to ISS. This is the third attempt by the company to make history. Since January, SpaceX has been trying to safely land the Falcon 9 rocket on a free-floating barge — a feat the company says would be revolutionary, since most space rockets burn up or are largely destroyed during takeoff, making such launches an expensive proposition. The first two tries ended similar to Sunday’s. NASA says it isn’t too concerned about the failed resupply launches; the space station claims to have more than enough supplies to last through 2015.
Boston Marathon Bombing Hearings Conclude, Tsarnaev
The Granny Grandmaster
JULY 2, 2015
New York Prison Fugitives Finally Caught
This burger will have you seeing red. In Japan, fast-food goers will have the rosy opportunity to chow down on an Aka Samurai Burger, an all-red bun with a slice of red tomato along with bright-red cheese. In case you haven’t figured it out, “aka” means red in Japanese. And if you need more red on your burger, it’s decorated with a spicy sauce that the chain describes as an “angry” sauce. Don’t know what it’s angry about. Maybe it doesn’t like the color red.
Good Luck Glasses It was a case of good luck that didn’t seem too good at first. Bob Sabo of Easton, Connecticut, couldn’t wait in line to buy a lottery ticket this week, so he headed to the vending machine to purchase his lucky numbers. But Sabo wears glasses and this time he left them at home. Just his luck: instead of buying two $20 tickets, he bought a $30 ticket. When he got home, though, he realized that he was a winner—the glasses-less man is now $30,000 wealthier because of his spectacles snafu. You know, Bob, it’s all good. Sometimes, though, you just have to look a little deeper.
She’s 87-years-old, but don’t let that fool you. On Sunday, Brigitta Sinka clinched a world record for playing the most games of simultaneous chess when she replaced 1920s Cuban grandmaster Jose Raul Capablanca for the title. Almost 60 years since her first simultaneous games, on six boards side-by-side at a Chess Olympiad in 1957, Brigitta Sinka overtook the magic 13,545 number attributed to Capablanca (1888-1942), one of the world’s best-ever players. “I wanted to stop for a moment so everyone could reflect in memory of Capablanca,” Sinka, a former top amateur, related. “There were so many people waiting for me to move my pieces however, so I simply carried on,” she added. By late-Sunday, she was already well over 13,600 games – clocking up over the week the final few hundred games needed to beat the old record – before calling it a day. “We feel privileged to have been one of the many thousands,” said Jozsef Csabi, 37, who brought along his teenage son to play Sinka, or Auntie Bici (pronounced “Bitzi”) as she is widely known. Since the 1950s, Sinka clocked up thousands of simultaneous games around Hungary playing at summer camps for schoolchildren hosted by her employer for many decades, a communist-era metal recycling firm.
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For the very first time, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has addressed the public. The terrorist has been mostly silent since his arrest and during the trial he declined to testify on his own behalf. On Wednesday, though, Tsarnaev took the opportunity to speak and at his sentencing hearing he addressed a crowded courtroom. The 21-year-old apologized for his role in the terror attack that left three people dead and injured nearly 300. “If there is any lingering doubt, I did it, along with my brother,” the 21-year-old said of the terror attack that left three people dead and injured nearly 300. His audience was comprised of family members and survivors who sat shaken two years after his cruel actions left many maimed and injured. “I pray to Allah to bestow his mercy on you,” Tsarnaev said. “I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your strength.” Earlier in the hearing, bombing survivors and family members of those killed or injured in the bombings delivered victim impact statements, directly addressing Tsarnaev about the suffering and loss he caused. “I don’t know what to say to you,” Patricia Campbell, mother of bombing victim Krystle Campbell, told Tsarnaev. “What you did to my daughter was disgusting.’’ In conclusion to the session, before handing down a sentence of death by lethal injection Judge George O’Toole spoke to Tsarnaev. “When people remember you, they will remember only the evil you have done,” O’Toole said. “No one will remember that your teachers were fond of you, that you were funny, a good athlete. What will be remembered is that you murdered and maimed innocent people.” Tsarnaev was then cuffed and led out of the courtroom by U.S. Marshals; he didn’t look back.
New Yorkers in upstate New York can finally stop holding their breath and sleeping with one eye open. The two dangerous prison escapees have finally been caught. After eluding authorities for three weeks, Richard W. Matt and David Sweat have been found—one dead and one alive. After Matt and Sweat’s original plan to catch a ride to Mexico with a prison employee fell through, the two murderers wandered through the thick woods upstate heading for Canada. The two men spent their days resting and gearing up and mostly traveled at night. They stole food and supplies from unoccupied hunting cabins along the way. By Saturday, Mr. Matt had been found and was killed by a federal agent. Just three days later, Mr. Sweat was taken into custody alive but in serious condition after being shot twice by a state trooper. Sweat left his older accomplice, Matt, behind five days before his capture because he felt he was slowing him down. Until the end of last week, authorities had few leads but when Matt fired a shot at a moving camper trailer in an attempt to steal it, the driver reported the incident and investigators blanketed the woods. When authorities heard the escapee cough, they were able to pinpoint his location. He was shot three times and ultimately killed by a federal agent. Later that day, investigators found a chocolate wrapper in an area off Webster Street in Malone, north of where Matt was killed, that they later determined had traces of Sweat’s DNA. Early on Sunday morning, a group of teenagers in Constable, N.Y., reported meeting a man roaming in a ditch who hid his face from them when they asked if he needed help. Officers rushed to the area, and late Sunday afternoon, Sgt. Jay Cook of the New York State Police noticed Sweat running north along a roadway, just several miles from Canada. He chased him across a hayfield and shot Sweat twice in the torso, ending the long, historic manhunt. After the 23-day manhunt, it was revealed that neither convict made it more than 40 miles from the Clinton Correctional Facility, from which they escaped. On Sunday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reassured residents. “The nightmare is finally over. We wish it didn’t happen in the first place. But if you have to have it happen, this is how you want it to end.”
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In 2010, with her total around 9,000 games, a chess historian told her that he had spotted Capablanca’s total in a biography of the Cuban great. “I was unaware of it before then, so I thought I’d have a go at beating it,” she said. Around a century ago Capablanca played high-speed simultaneous exhibition chess for money but his games, despite being counted, were undocumented. Sinka, on the other hand, has meticulously recorded in scrapbooks every game she has played – where, when, opponent, and result – each signed off by a witness. She hopes the Guinness Records adjudicators will acknowledge her feat as an official world record. Despite her age and three heart operations in recent years, the chess master doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. “I will keep going, as long as my health permits,” she said, adding that she has already committed to playing in several school camps throughout the summer. She’s the super-gran grandmaster.
The 12,000th Ride
He’s 73 and he’s lovin’ it. On Monday, Gary Coleman took his 12,000th ride on his favorite roller coaster at Kings Island amusement park in Ohio. The milestone ride was taken in the front row of the Diamondback coaster, which features 10 drops and a top speed of 80 mph. The retired minister has made 493 trips to the theme park outside of Cincinnati since 2009, when the 230-foot steel roller coaster opened. It’s the tallest and fastest roller coaster at Kings Island. The elderly daredevil says he’s loved coasters since he was a child. As long as he remains healthy, he says, he’ll be strapped into that seat, enjoying the ride and the ups and downs that Diamondback has to offer.
Grilled Cheese: Coming to a Mailbox Near You Love grilled cheese? Well, now you
can have your sandwich while sitting in your pajamas. Cheese Posties is a subscription-based service that sends all the ingredients for a perfect grilled cheese straight to your door. According to their Kickstarter, their bread comes from “local artisan bread makers” and their cheeses are “world class.” For just £3.99 per week, grilled cheese-lovers will be able to make the best grilled cheese possible. They’ll be shipped the traditional cheese, bread, and butter, along with Nutella, bacon, or even berries. It also comes with a special bag that you can toast it in.
In trying to fund their startup, Cheese Posties has some interesting incentives for contributors. A £5 contribution gets participants one Cheese Postie to eat and one to share with a friend. Larger contributions come with Cheese Posties-themed merchandise (or even a toaster). Creators promise that anyone willing to donate £5000 will “be lowered into a vat of melted cheese, rolled in breadcrumbs and dipped in marinara sauce before being taken to a WestEnd musical of your choice and spending the night at the prestigious Dorchester Hotel.” (A firm handshake is also an option.) The Cheese Posties Kickstarter has been live for only a few days and is already more than halfway funded. There’s still more than three weeks to join in, so you too can have a grilled cheese in your letterbox by August. Unfortunately, in order to get this interesting snack delivered via FedEx or UPS, you’ll have to move to the United Kingdom. As of now, it seems, Americans don’t need help making their own grilled cheese at home.
You Laugh, You Learn
Want to learn something? Perhaps you should laugh about it. Anew study published in the journal Cognition and Emotion suggests laughter helps children learn new tasks. Researchers in Paris wanted to test
how well babies learn a new task, and whether or not their learning capabilities improve when there’s laughter involved. They worked with 53 babies, all around 18 months old, which is roughly the age children develop a sense of humor. It’s not easy making children laugh, but of those who laughed during the testing, 94 percent of them were able to successfully mimic the task shown to them. In contrast, only 19 percent of the kids who didn’t laugh at the joke were able to mimic the task and only 25 percent of the kids in the control group. This doesn’t just apply to babies. College students can better memorize a lecture if their professor inserts jokes. “Wellplanned, appropriate, contextual humor can help students ingrain information,” explains psychologist Randy Garner, a professor of behavioral sciences at Sam Houston State University. Scientists don’t know exactly why this works, although there are some theories. Perhaps laughter gets our learning juices flowing by altering chemicals in our brain. Humor also decreases stress levels, which can help with better memory. In any case, you know what they say, learning is just a barrel of laughs.
A Baby and a Ball
He wins the title of most talented multi-tasking dad. Cubs fan Keith Hartley was enjoying last Tuesday’s game at Wrigley Field while feeding his 7-month-old son a bottle. As he was sitting in a box seat down the first baseline during the second inning, Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel hit a pop fly right to Hartley and baby Isaac. Paternal instinct kicked in. “I’m just trying to protect him first,” Hartley said. “We have the seating configuration so my two friends were closer to the ball if a sharp foul ball came. We’d all kind of stand up and make a wall. “This one was a little easier, a pop fly. Just kind of a reaction. It just came to me.” Gonzalez had a play on the ball, but Hartley nabbed it before Gonzalez could attempt a catch.
“He didn’t say anything,” Hartley said. “I think I turned around too quickly for him to interact with me. Hopefully he’s not too angry. He is on my fantasy team.” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly protested and asked for a replay review. Fan interference was ruled after the replay, ending the Cubs’ inning. Hartley, who works for a financial firm, said his Twitter was “going insane” and he had 15 emails in the first 10 minutes after the catch. He never caught a ball before during a game. Isaac, donning a Blackhawks cap, had no comment because he doesn’t talk yet. He did, though, enjoy his bottle and was wondering when this game would ever end.
The Cutest Quinoa
Isn’t Quinoa the cutest ever? No, I’m not taking about your side dish. I’m talking about my son. Yes, someone—who really likes to eat out—is going to be naming their child Quinoa. BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse recently announced that it will be giving away a $10,000 gift card to their casual dining restaurant to the person who names their newborn baby after the high-protein grain in celebration of its new quinoa bowl dishes. “We are so excited to introduce these amazing new Quinoa Bowls that we wanted to do something big, maybe even a little crazy,” Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Maye said in a statement. If you’re trying to win, you better hurry and have that baby soon. The official contest rules dictate that there will only be one winner, and that person is whoever names his or her baby Quinoa first during the contest period, which began at 12:00 a.m. PDT on June 22. No, middle names and nicknames don’t count, and you have to back it up with a birth certificate. So yes, even if you named your little one Quinoa and then raced to the store, if someone is crazier and quicker than you, you lose the prize and your child is doomed to a life of a grain name. Perhaps we can all be spared and you can just buy yourself a bowl of quinoa. It doesn’t taste that great anyway.
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r o f n e p O r e m m u S NAMES BARON HERZOG CHENIN BLANC
A G LO B A L VA LU E
“World Values,” Wine Spectator, October 15, 2013
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