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THE JEWISH HOME
JULY 24, 2014
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3 THE JEWISH HOME JULY 24, 2014
The Calabasas Shul 24650 Park Miramar 1:15 A & 6:45 B
Beth Jacob Cong. 3900 Michaelson Dr. Continuously throughout the day from 9:00am - 8:15pm
Cong. Adat Yeshurun 8625 La Jolla Scenic Dr. N. 5:15
Adas Torah 1135 S. Beverly Dr. 12:30 A 4:30 B Anshe Emes 1490 S. Robertson Blvd. 3:00 A Ohr HaChaim, TBA Kehillas Yaakov 7211 Beverly Blvd. After Shacharis A After Mincha B
Jewish Learning Exchange 512 North La Brea Ave. 11:15 & 3:00 A 1:00 & 5:30 B Ohr Haemet 1030 South Roberston 4:00 A 5:30 B LINK Kollel 1453 S. Robertson Blvd. 4:00 B 5:30 A Shaarei Tefilah 7269 Beverly Blvd. 2:30 A 5:00 B Torat Chaim Sephardic 1026 S. Robertson Blvd. August 4, after Eicha August 5, 3:30 Westwood Kehilla 10523 S. Monica Blvd. 11:30 A 6:00 B
North Hollywood Adat Yeshurun Cong. 12405 Sylvan St. 2:30
Bais Medrash Ohr Simcha CC 12430 Oxnard N. St. 2:30 Em Habanim Sefardi Congregation 5850 Laurel Canyon Blvd. 2:30 B 4:00 A
Y.I. of Northridge 17511 Devonshire St. 12:00 A 3:30 B
Cong. Emek Bracha 4102 El Camino Real 11:00 A 6:00 B
Beth Jacob Cong. 4855 College Ave. 2:30 A 6:30 B
Adath Israel 1851 Noriega Street 11:00 A & B
Cong. Am Echad 1504 Meridian Ave. 3:30 A 6:00 B
Bar Yochai Minyan 1030 Astoria Dr. 5:45 A & B
Meor HaTorah 10:30 A 5:00 B
Valley Com. Kollel 5552 Reseda Blvd. August 4, 9:00pm A August 5, 5:00pm B
Makor HaChaim 17815 Ventura Blvd TBA
Shaarey Yerushalayim 12435 Chandler Blvd. 4:30 A 6:00 B
Pacific Jewish Center 505 Ocean Front Walk 5:00
Kahal Levy 7527 Fallbrook Ave TBA
Heb. Discovery Ctr. 19819 Ventura Blvd. 4:00 A 5:45 B
THE JEWISH HOME
JULY 24, 2014
CONTENTS COMMUNITY Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
JEWISH THOUGHT A Detailed Walk Through the Beis Hamikdash . . . 12 3 Ways to Relate to Operation Protective Edge. . 16 Parshas Maasei. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Light in the Darkness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
COVER STORY The Sound Of Sirens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Gaza’s Forgotten Jewish Past . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 The Downing of Flight MH17 and its Global Consequences. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
LIFESTYLES Entitlements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
EDUCATION Ask the Attorney. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
NEWS That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
ISRAEL Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
For those who know me, it is true to say that I always look at both sides of a story. When there’s a disagreement or a different point of view, I search for the other side so I can come to some understanding as to what everyone is thinking, even if I believe the other side is totally mistaken. These past few weeks leaves me totally scratching my head. Here we have an elected body who has made it clear that their mission in life is to harass, maim and kill their neighboring State at any cost. They build mile long bunkers to house kidnappers for months at a time, so they can achieve their single objective; to kidnap civilians from another country. They are proud of their human rights violations and advertise their education of their little children in the ways of killing and civil unrest. They prepare thousands of rockets which they are certain, “will rain terror” down on the civilian population next door. Yet, the democratic country on the other side, overcomes their foul behavior. Undiminished, Hamas launches 2,040 (as of 12:30 AM Wednesday morning) missiles in their efforts to annihilate their neighboring country. They are not intimidated by the reality that a little less than half of the missiles are intercepted by this nuisance called the Iron Dome, and the rest seem to stay clear of causing the carnage intended. “Just” one person has been killed, bli ayin hara, no graphic images emerge showing pitiful deaths of the masses or epic destruction. As I try and understand what the other side is saying, the more I realize what the Jews in Israel are fighting against; a small neighboring country that welcomes the behavior of a barbaric terrorist organization that relishes death. The hatred is mind boggling but real; if any one of us were to walk into Gaza for any reason, it’s pretty much certain we would be kidnapped or killed. Yet the biggest wonder is at the response of the world’s elected governments. Don’t they realize that tactics used against the Jews are usually a prelude to what will happen elsewhere? By failing to draw a deep line in the sand that makes clear to Hamas that they will not get away with firing rockets at Israel, with shooting from densely populated areas, with firing from civilian homes, the world’s politicians have put in danger millions of civilians across the Middle East who will soon find themselves in the crossfire of ISIS, Al Qaida, Hezbollah and all the other Jihadist elements in that region competing for martyrdom. The tragedy is that meaningful governments have sent a very clear message to these insidious groups that using civilians as shields not only holds the enemy’s fire, it makes you look like the poor victim. Just curious. How many Jews need to be killed to make this fight morally acceptable? 100, 150? Are we meant to look for volunteer families who will forgo shelter in the bomb shelters so that we can win the PR battle? The question is; can there be a Pearl Harbor moment without a Pearl Harbor? Americans did not want to get caught up in the Second World War even while Poland and France were invaded and London faced bombs on a nightly basis. And then Pearl Harbor was attacked and we had no choice but to face up to the terrible war that was brought to our doorstep. It must be possible to see the eyes of our true enemies without “feeling it at home”. Is there some type of monstrous act of terror which will convince the world that this is a cancer that needs to be removed, or at least held at bay, so that it cannot spread? As this is being written ISIS (Islamist State of Iraq and Syria) is taking over town after town, beheading their fellow Muslims of a less extreme persuasion and expelling Christians with just the clothes on their back. Their brutality is the closest thing to Nazism in the past 70 years. How many people have to be killed for the world to stand up to them? 1,000 a day, 2,000?... The silver lining in this situation, and there’s gotta be a silver
lining, is that it does seem that the “average person on the street” is waking up to the terrible reality that there are some people who refuse to” live and let live”. The more understanding these dogmatists are shown, the deeper grows their conviction that the world is weak. We wish with all our heart it was otherwise, but it’s not. The other night I looked through the pictures of the 27 soldiers who’ve now been killed defending Israel. I couldn’t help but notice the sweet smiles they all had. These were never heartless soldiers who for the sake of their country turned their hearts to stone. These were the finest souls of the human race who would want nothing more than to live their life with their family, in peace and tranquility, working the land, running a business, studying and innovating. As I pulled myself away from the pictures I was left with so much anger. I am angry that the world suggests our soldiers are barbarians. How dare the media portray our soldiers as the tormentors. It is unequivocally our suicidal enemies that are the tormentors. The parents spouses and orphans of our protectors of peace are not left with the knowledge that the free world recognizes that their sons and husbands died on the front lines protecting those who want to live with dignity, from those who do not. Our hearts bleed for them and we must continue to do all that we can to help educate those around us to the justice of our cause. (On Sunday this hit close to home as we found out that Max Steinberg, a native of Woodland Hills and a volunteer in the IDF was killed. The Steinberg family has given the ultimate sacrifice and we pray they are comforted with the rest of the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.) One more thought. Perhaps this last battle is more than good vs. evil. Perhaps the moral question is to whether there is a right and wrong in the first place. If our sense of morality comes from our feelings or what we understand, then there’s always a “but they say” and “they feel otherwise” point of view. If however, morality is rooted in the creator of heaven and earth, then there are absolutely correct ways to respond to a situation and utterly incorrect ways. Mostly the human being is created in such a way that we get the sense of what’s essentially wrong or right even without understanding why this is so. Indeed in this round of the conflict (will there need to be a round four?…) many thinkers are accurately noting that it is the moral obligation of parents to protect their children and husbands to protect their wives. From a religious prospective we are proud that so many assimilated Jews are showing the courage to proclaim their Jewishness and they publicly support their fellow brethern even if it means being ridiculed by the “elites” of society. When pushed to the wall the Jew realizes that they’re a Jew no matter what and what’s right is right. There’s a famous description of a group of Jews declaring the Sh’ma while hiding in the bunkers during the Nazi onslaught of Poland. It describes that at that moment there wasn’t the usual disparate voice of vastly differing religious persuasions. This was one call created by many Jews declaring that at our essence we are one. This is what’s happening now. Jews with seemingly no outer connection are coming together as family, proudly declaring that we are part of this special nation which was tasked with the job of bringing heaven down to earth. To turn darkness into light and together with the other nations, make this world a more just, moral and kind place. We believe in the victorious outcome when there will be no more hate, nor war and all the nations shall live in peace each fulfilling the purpose for which they were created. May we have a peaceful 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
help achieve this by education and advocacy. By informing colleagues, family, teachers and and our children, we can reach different communities. It is this face to face contact that will focus attention productively on the aggression that Israel is facing. “Knowledge is the first step in making an impact. Too many people are ignorant of the current crisis. Support comes from local awareness and a united community voice is crucial. More than ever, Israel is robust in its information campaign. Local communi-
ties need to join the effort.” Up to date information is now available on AIPAC.org, the organization that works to, “strengthen, promote and protect” the Israel / American relationship and dozens of online sites carry up to the minute information. Siegel spoke of the difficulties that this major military campaign will face and the exacting measures that are being implemented. Operation Protective Edge has a clear goal; to restore quiet and security for Israel on a sustainable basis. The Israeli goals are limited and realistic and Israel has been clear that all options are going to be considered so that the danger can be stopped. “Israel did not look for this fight,” added Siegel. So far, support is in place from the United Nations and the quartet as well as major neighbors to Israel who are the major stakeholders in the outcome. Even the Palestinian Authority is putting the onus on Hamas to stop the violence. Various sources are confirming that over the last week the IDF have discovered approximately 60 large underground attack tunnels along the southern border and it’s
estimated that more will be found. Many are so large they can be used as military bunkers and attack sites. As Israel dismantles the tunnels, the conflict continues because Hamas has refused the offer of several cease fires. Last week there was a cease fire that was supposed to enable Israel to bring truckloads of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Hamas violated that cease fire as well. With evidence of human rights violations by the Hamas terrorists becoming increasingly evident, the key powers understand the situation Israel is facing. The terror groups involved, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have no respect for their own people and certainly not for Israel’s people. Schools, mosques and hospitals are being used as launch pads for missile attacks and the complete disregard for human life, including using their own people as human shields, has become painfully obvious with eyewitness accounts and iphone coverage being circulated. Siegel articulated the problem that Israel is facing, “Hamas is brutal in its cowardly tactics.”
JWI Cares The Jewish Women’s Institute, JWI, has launched a program called, JWI CARES in response to the Israel conflict. The new JWI CARES project was born out of a desire to show support for the IDF and our friends and family in ISRAEL during this unbearable time. Please visit our FB page https://www. facebook.com/JWICARES to learn how we are launching a world-wide community handmade bracelet project to show ISRAEL and the IDF our support, as well as raise awareness and funds for “THANK ISRAELI SOLDIERS”. Our ISRAEL bead bracelets are being made by our followers demonstrating support of Israel. When purchasing a bracelet, we send our JWI Dedication card alongside the bracelet in the IDF care packages that we distribute. The first family JWI CARES event was on Wednesday, July 23 in West Hills. More than 46 people (some moms and teens as well as enthusastic fathers) presigned for the fun evening. We succeeded in making 800 bracelets which will be sent in our IDF CARE PACKAGES with our donation to “THANK ISRAELI SOLDIERS”. There will be two more events in the City for Aish and JWI families before we send all the care packages to Israel. The new JWI CARES on Facebook (FB) features a pictorial detailing how to make the beads for community events and
we will soon provide additional tools including YouTube tutorials so new supporters can encourage their communities to post pictures of specific local events. The Jewish Women’s Renaissance
Project jumped at our suggestion of the bead project taking place in their community within minutes of our post on the JWRP FB page. All of these women signed up to replicate the project with their
groups. It goes to show you that mothers do not like standing by idling waiting. May peace prevail and may Hashem keep Israel safe.
JULY 24, 2014
Mr. David Siegel, the Israeli Consul General, has been much in demand these last weeks. Previously Siegel served as Chief of Staff to Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs so he’s experienced in the ways of Israeli self-defense. Siegel has been effectively heightening awareness and understanding of the situation in Israel across seven states, from Hawaii to Colorado. Siegel spoke to The Jewish Home this week, regarding the conflict in Israel. Siegel spoke of the tremendous support he has received, with many letters sent by Members of Congress, Church leaders, Governors including a strong statement from Governor Sandoval from Nevada that said he is “proud to support Israel as it defends its right to a peaceful and safe homeland.” On July 17, Siegel briefed Christian leaders across the country thought Christians United for Israel. The event had over 1500 participants. CUFI has their annual conference in Washington DC this week, where they hope to further influence US policy makers. It is crucial that Israel maximize global understanding as well as American support for Israel. Siegel noted that everyone can
THE JEWISH HOME
“Engage, engage!” says David Siegel, Counsel General
THE JEWISH HOME
JULY 24, 2014
Holocaust Denial Essays Released by Rialto School District In May, a report released by the AntiDefamation League said that 54 percent of people worldwide have heard of the Holocaust, and 32 percent of them believe it’s a myth or greatly exaggerated. Perhaps the Rialto Unified School district would have benefited from reading this report before giving an April essay assignment to approximately 2,000 eighth graders. The teenagers were asked to debate the reality of the Holocaust in an essay and were then provided with pages from a Holocaust denial website as a source. With names redacted, the essays have now been released publicly and, as expected, much of the students’ work is shocking, lacking in knowledge and a pitiful indictment of the educational system. It appears that the claims made in the Holocaust denial handout were not specifically addressed by the other materials provided, apparently leading some students to conclude “The Diary of Anne Frank” was a hoax and that there is no evidence any Jewish people were gassed to death in German concentration camps.
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Compounding the misinformation was the requirement that the students write the essay in their classroom and with no other authentic Holocaust literature or online access; many were unable to learn the truth of the Holocaust. The assignment has been hotly debated and the school district defended itself, claiming that the students knew the details of the Holocaust, but were testing their critical thinking and persuasive writing skills. After an outcry from angry parents, Jewish advocacy groups, scholars and members of the State Legislature, the Rialto school district apologized and said it would not repeat the assignment and it agreed to take the students to visit The Museum of Tolerance. “I believe the event was fake, according to source 2 the event was exaggerated,” one student wrote. His teacher wrote back on the assignment, “You did well using the evidence to support your claim,” and awarded the student 23 points out of 30. “Students got high praise and grades for writing that the Holocaust was a hoax. I’m sick about that, I’m sick about that,”
said Rabbi Singer of Temple Beth El in Riverside. “It’s worse than I thought it was.” The complete archive of the essays was provided to the Los Angeles News Group in the form of 45 PDF files and newsroom staff reported that at least 50 essays denied or doubted the Holocaust. Even students who acknowledged the Holocaust wrote that there were good reasons to believe it was a myth and that elements of the event were actually a deception. “I believe it’s a hoax because the government ran test and found nothing,” another essay excerpt reads, “ball point pens weren’t used when Anne Frank was alive, and it was impossible to kill so many people in that time period.” “What you’d want kids to do would be investigate these statements, especially with Google,” explained Anthony Avina, an associate professor of education at Cal Poly Pomona. “Give them a chance to do some research; don’t just rely on the documents by themselves.” In addition to the Los Angeles News Group, the district released copies of the
student essays to Sen. Marty Block, the Museum of Tolerance and several private individuals. Block, commended the release of the essays and in a written statement explained, “I am glad to learn that the Rialto Unified School District is releasing the essays and cooperating with the public’s requests for information. Release of the information can only shed more light on the incident and assist in preventing a recurrence.” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, added, “Relatively speaking, a small number of students appeared to have drank the Kool-Aid. The rest of them appear to have sechel.” He went on to say, “When you read the assignment, it’s so over the top as to raise the question as to whether anybody in this group had an ideological (intent). There isn’t anyone who’s never made a mistake, but when you have people put in charge of kids, to teach them critical thinking, should they still be able to continue to do this as though nothing happened?”
Stuart Steinberg spoke to reporters on Sunday and explained that, “Although he was American he truly connected. He belonged there.” Max’s father remembered his son explaining, “I’m not here by requirement, I’m here by volunteering and I have a purpose.” After visiting Israel on a Taglit Birthright trip in 2011, Steinberg completed his studies at Pierce College and the following year chose to return to Israel where he joined the IDF as a soldier in the Golani infantry, a prestigious unit that is at the frontlines of conflicts. Max insisted that this was the purpose of his joining the IDF and he was not willing to work at a desk job or in a less risky capacity, despite being offered less dangerous assignments. “So, he went back,” Stuart Steinberg said. “He was completely dedicated and committed to serving the country of Israel. He was focused, he was clear in what the mission was, and he was dedicated to the work he needed to be doing.” Max spent time in Israel improving his Hebrew before becoming a soldier and the Steinberg family anticipated that Max would make aliyah after his service ended. The IDF estimate that approximately 1500 soldiers volunteer for service each year.
JULY 24, 2014
Max Steinberg, a 24 year old sniper in the IDF, was killed on Sunday morning as he entered the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City with his unit. A memorial service was held at Lazy J Ranch Park in West Hills, on Sunday night. Hundreds of friends along with the Steinberg family and members of the community attended. On Monday, July 21st, the Max Steinberg’s parents and his brother and sister, travelled to Israel for the funeral. Shejaiya has been a center for rocket launches and many underground tunnels have been discovered in the area. Given that the tunnels are being used to smuggle weapons, hide explosives and deliver terrorists into Israel, it was inevitable that troops would enter the area as part of the military campaign, Operation Protective Edge. Steinberg knew his unit was likely the first unit that was going into Shejaiya. While driving an APC, an armored personnel carrier, an IED or perhaps a mine exploded. Seven soldiers lost their lives. Steinberg’s parents, brother and sister faced the news in their Woodland Hills apartment while Max Steinberg’s friends stopped by to pay their respects. Less than two days earlier Steinberg had called home and was in good spirits.
THE JEWISH HOME
“He Did What He Wanted To Do” says Mother of Soldier from Woodland Hills
These young men and women come from many countries in the world and the majority remains in Israel afterwards. Stuart Steinberg explained that he had spoken with Max in the early hours of Saturday morning when his son called to say that his armored vehicle had been rear ended by another army vehicle the previous day. There had been some soldiers with broken bones but he was OK. “He said that he was fine, that he’s a little sore, but he’s
ok and that he’s going back in,” recalled his father. “He said, ‘My friends are there and I’m going back in.’” Before he went into Gaza with his brigade on Sunday, Evie Steinberg said, Max’s final phone conversation was with his father. “The last thing he said to my husband was, ‘Tell my mom I love her.’” She went on to explain, “I want him home with me. However, he did what he wanted to do.”
33rd Yahrtzeit of Harav Zvi Halberstam ztl of Los Angeles On Sunday evening July 20, 2014, Harav Avrohom Chaim Halberstam, shlita, invited the community to attend a seuda and siyum commemorating the 33rd Yarhtzeit of his father, Harav Zvi Hirsch Halberstam zt”l of Los Angeles. It was the early 1950’s and the Los Angeles community was growing, changing and expanding into other parts of the city. It was at this time in 1952 that Harav Zvi Halberstam zt”l came to the West Coast. Settling in Los Angeles, Harav Halberstam opened a shul and named it after the “Atzei Chaim,” HaRav Chaim Tzvi Teitelbaum zt”l, Sigheter Rebbe, (1880-1926). Rav Zvi Halberstam was a descendant of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz (1793–1876) and was a nephew of the late Sanz-Klausenburger Rebbe, Harav Yehuda Yekutiel Halberstam zt”l (1905 – 1994) . His Rebbetzin, Rebbetzin Brocha Halberstam shtichye, is the daughter of Harav Chaim Yitzchok Isaac Halberstam ztl, Slutfener Ruv, and a granddaughter of the Atzei Chaim of Sighet. She is also a niece of the late “Divrei Yoel, ” Rav Yoel Teitelbaum zt”l of Satmar (1887 – 1979) and the “Beirach Moshe” Harav Moshe Teitelbaum zt”l of Satmar. Rav Zvi Halberstam ztl was very close to these uncles and through their guidance and
Photo credits: Arye D. Gordon
By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon
urging moved to the West Coast to establish Congregation Atzei Chaim of Los Angeles. The shul became the center of Chassidus and yiddishkeit for many years. The Hachnosas Orchim and chesed of the Halberstams was renowned throughout the world. Many travelers and Rabbonim relied on their open home. Harav Zvi Hirsch Halberstam was one
of the pioneer Rabbonim who transplanted European yiddishkeit to the West Coast and was also one of the founders of the local yeshivas and the Bais Yaakov of Los Angeles. The yahrtzeit seuda and siyum was attended by many local Rabbonim and Baalei Batim of Los Angeles. His son and host of the seuda, Harav Avrohom Chaim Halbers-
tam and his son-in-law Rav Avrohom Friedman of Brooklyn, New York addressed the attendees with divrei Torah and spoke of the many accomplishments of Harav Zvi Halberstam zt”l. The olam also heard from Harav Avrohom Horowitz who related fascinating stories of Harav Zvi Hirsch Halberstam zt”l.
THE JEWISH HOME
JULY 24, 2014
The Flame From The Underground Keeps Burning By A. Lasdun
JEWISH COMMUNITY GREW DESPITE UNBEARABLE REPRESSION The Jewish spark, that the Soviets so desperately and fiendishly attempted to extinguish, has today been fanned into veritable flames in the hearts of Russian Jewry. It was improbable and miraculous but a Russian Ba’al Teshuva movement sprouted among Jews during the darkest moments of the Communist repression. During these times, young Ba’alei Teshuva banded together to learn Torah, constantly de-
ly how this could be accomplished. Nowhere in recent history has the verse in Amos (8:11) become more true than regarding Russian Jewry: “Behold the days will come that I will send a famine in the land; not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the word of Hashem.” SUPPORT FOR RUSSIAN BA’ALEI TESHUVA Despite the incredible Mesiras Nefesh dis-
Rav Salomon giving out Talis and Tefilin to Tbilisi Bar Mitzva boy fying the dreaded intimidation tactics by the barbaric secret police, the KGB, even risking their very lives or lengthy imprisonment in horrific Siberian gulags. What makes this self-sacrifice all the more incredible is that it was displayed by a generation of Jews that was long thought to be spiritually dead and beyond revival. This was the outcome of living in a culture of constant state-induced terror, caused by the ever-present persecution from the KGB and its far-reaching network of informers. Moreover, these Ba’alei Teshuva were spiritually bereft of any Jewish Mesorah bequeathed from earlier generations who were often too intimated to even acknowledge their Jewish identity. Nonetheless, what the Ba’alei Teshuva lacked in knowledge and tradition, they made up in their intense thirst and hunger to build a life of Torah, even if they did not know precise-
played by these teachers and their students, the Ba’al Teshuva movement was in grave danger of being broken by the crushing and fiendish pressure applied by the KGB. They desperately needed reinforcements. Fortuitously, reinforcements did arrive through the hands of Heavenly-sent messengers. The Russian Jews received over 1000 visits from Mechanchim, Rabbonim, Shochtim, Mohalim, Sofrim in nearly 50 cities, as well as life-saving financial aid for the destitute and a generous supply of Seforim, Tashmishei Kedushah, clothes, kosher food etc. The organization which orchestrated this massive life-sustaining infusion of Torah teaching, moral and humanitarian support, was the Vaad L’Hatzolas Nidchei Yisroel whose herculean efforts were initiated and perpetuated by its indefatigable founder, Rabbi Mordechai Neustadt and his Eishes Chayil, Alice. A newly published book, The Underground by Rabbi Neustadt and Yaakov Astor, describes how the Vaad succeeded in fanning the small sparks of the Russian Ba’al Teshuvah movement into a burning flame, some 35 years ago under the very eyes of the KGB. Rabbi Aryeh Katzin, a Russian Ba’al Teshuva who built a school for Russian children in the United States, explained: “It was because of [Rabbi Neustadt’s] efforts that countless families and their children were able to develop spiritually. He managed to create a sense of family and community for them.” Today, thanks to Rabbi Neustadt’s vision, young Russians who were spiritually rescued by the Vaad 25
years ago are now the Rabbonim, Mechanchim and Yungerleit in Kehillos, Yeshivos and Kollelim in the former Soviet Union. LOVING TORAH AND MITZVOS WITH ALL THEIR HEARTS The incredible dedication of the Shlichim was matched by that of the Russian students who desired to learn Torah. “The Russian’s thirst for knowledge was unquenchable,” Rabbi Shapiro related. “Their stamina was limitless.
Boys Davening at Baku They did not even stop to eat … they were willing to stay until two in the morning … it was mind-boggling.” Mrs Ophra Charnas, a Vaad Shliach, related that the student’s “souls were ignited with the fire of Torah. The time was so short and they wanted to learn so much.” Indeed these Jews had been pining secretly for so long to fulfill Mitzvos properly, that when they were finally provided the opportunity through the assistance of the Vaad Shlichim, their zeal, self-sacrifice and Simchah for Torah and Mitzvos knew no bounds. Many poignant stories of this phenomenon are captured in the The Underground. Here are two examples: When Rabbi Ezriel Tauber explained a profound passage from the Maharal’s Sefer Gevuros Hashem at a secret Moscow gathering, the attendees suddenly “all got out of their seats, started jumping up and down and dancing.” They explained that they were so overjoyed that “Hashem sent them a messenger from New York just to teach them the meaning of this passage [that they were struggling to decipher for three days]!” On the first Succos that Rabbi Yosef and Rebbetzin Amsel were in Moscow, they built a small Sukkah in the Shul courtyard, expecting about fifteen people to show up. “Amazingly 150 people came. There was no room to move in the Sukkah … we were singing … there was such a Ruach.” VAAD’S FAR-REACHING INFLUENCE Today, under the leadership of Rav Matisyahu Salomon Shlita and Rav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, the Vaad continues to support Russian brethren, building one Jewish community after another, with all amenities needed to be Shomer Mitzvos in the fullest degree. Throughout the former Soviet Union, networks of boy’s and girl’s Yeshivos, Kollelim, seminaries, Mikvaos and multi-faceted outreach programs have been established and are maintained by the Vaad.
The rebirth of Torah in Georgia, is one shining example. The Georgian capital, Tbilisi, once an utter spiritual wasteland, now is the proud home of Yeshiva Tiferes Zvi for elementary and high school students, Women’s Seminary College, Kollel, Mikvah and outreach programs, all sponsored by the Vaad. The STARS men’s and women’s outreach programs provide intensive Torah learning with additional lectures, trips, Shabbatons, Ruach-inspiring singing and dancing and trips to Israel. Lastly, the Rachamim
charity society provides lifesaving food, medicine and monetary stipends to Tbilisi’s destitute and elderly citizens. STORIES OF VAAD-NURTURED CHILDREN: TOTAL DEVOTION The growth of spiritual fruit of all the above labor, observed in the Russian Jewish youth, has been astounding. The following actual scenes illustrate how far the Russian youth have grown in their love for Hashem and His mitzvos under the Vaad tutelage within the past decade: A teenage boy lies on a stretcher with his forehead furrowed in intense concentration, pain and anxiety, repeatedly and loudly singing “Shemah Yisroel … Hashem Echad”, as he undergoes the supreme sacrifice of a Bris Milah. Adult men break down into tears all around our hero, while he maintains his composure, not ceasing his Shemah recitation despite his face twitching in obvious discomfort. Dovid, a teenage boy, smiles proudly as he carries his Tefillin close to him while walking to Yeshiva in the morning. After putting on his Tefillin, Dovid sways from side to side, his face buried in his Siddur in obvious intense devotion. The feelings expressed by Dovid speak volumes, “I like to come to Yeshiva every day because I want to be closer to Hashem. When I came here and learned Torah, it was so beautiful. I will never forget this.” Dovid’s broad smile, while he listens to his Rebbi teaching Torah, is worth a million dollars! The great Seyatah Dishmayah that accompanied these children, demonstrably enabled them to achieve in a few short years, the spiritual progress made by their overseas counterparts over many years. Rav Salomon proclaimed that “these children are our children and they are our Olam Habboh.” “Our children” look to us to keep the sparks of Torah burning vibrantly in their hearts and minds and to enable them to continue making great spiritual strides. We dare not let them down. After all, they are “our Olam Habboh.”
powerful show of support for Israel,” said IAC board member Adam Milstein. “It was phenomenal to see a huge crowd of Israeli & American flags waving together for Israel in the heart of L.A.” With the Jewish State under fire, Israeli-Americans across the United States are rallying in Israel’s defense. The IAC is helping organize solidarity events in cities nationwide including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, to declare that Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorism. Last week, on July 10, the IAC Las Vegas chapter held a rally in support of Israel at the Adelson Education Campus in Summerlin, NV, which was attended by over 300 people. Speakers at the rally included Dr. Miriam Adelson, Chair of the IAC
Las Vegas chapter; Elliot Karp, head of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas; representatives from the offices of several members of Congress including Senator Harry Reid; and Rabbis from various synagogues led songs and prayers. The IAC is demonstrating this powerful Israeli-American show of support for Israel as the terror group Hamas is targeting the people of Israel with hundreds of rockets daily. Rockets have threatened all of Israel’s six million residents, including in major population centers such as Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. “Red alert” warning sirens have forced people across Israel into shelters dozens of times a day, while Hamas has also attempted to infiltrate Israel by land.
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On Sunday, July 14 over 3,000 pro-Israel supporters gathered at the Federal Building in Los Angeles on Wilshire Boulevard yesterday, packing the busiest intersection in the United States for the largest pro-Israel rally in L.A. history. Waving blue and white Israeli flags side-by-side with American flags, supporters rallied for Israel’s defense amid ongoing attacks on the Jewish State. The rally, “We Stand United with Israel,” was co-sponsored by the Israeli-American Council (IAC) and StandWithUs, with the support of over 100 Jewish and Christian organizations from across Greater L.A. “Thousands of people from across the L.A. community, Christian and Jew, young and old, stood shoulder to shoulder in a
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Thousands Gather For Largest Pro-Israel Demonstration Ever In Los Angeles
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A Detailed Walk Through the Beis Hamikdash By Yehudis Litvak
The Beis Hamikdash was the place where the Jewish people would assemble to serve Hashem and where His presence was accessible in the most direct way possible in this world. Jews from all over Eretz Yisrael, and some outside of it, would converge to the holiest place on earth three times a year. At the holidays of Pesach, Shavuos, and Sukkos, Yerushalayim would be bursting with pilgrims, and still there was room for everyone. All Kohanim and Leviyim that were fit for service would perform the avoda inside the Beis Hamikdash during these special times. At other times of year the Beis Hamikdash was not as crowded, but the avoda took place every day. The Kohanim and Leviyim, as well as selected Yisraelim, would take turns serving in the Beis Hamikdash, one week at a time, twice a year. The Kohanim were divided into twenty four mishmaros, according to their families, by David Hamelech. When the Jews returned to Yerushalayim after the Babylonian exile, only four of the priestly families returned. The Gemara describes how Neviyim arose and conducted a lottery in order to divide those four families into twenty four mishmaros so the same system could continue in the second Beis Hamikdash. The watches would switch on Shabbos day, so that the avoda of the first half of the day was performed by the mishmar of the previous week and the avoda of the second half of the day was performed by the new mishmar. The entire mishmar would perform the avoda on Shabbos. The rest of the week, the head of each mishmar would further divide his group into six batei av, with each beis av performing the avoda on a different day of the week. The Leviyim were also divided into twenty four watches by David Hamelech, and were further divided into batei av, with each beis av serving on its designated day. Some of the Leviyim would be assigned the jobs of guarding the Beis Hamikdash, while others would act as gatekeepers, opening and closing the gates when necessary. Other Leviyim would stand on the duchan, a three-step platform, and either sing or play musical instruments while the sacrifices were being offered. There were at least twelve singers and twelve musicians on the duchan at any given time during the avoda. Along with Kohanim and Leviyim, certain distinguished Yisraelim were also divided into twenty four groups, called maamados, and had tasks assigned to them during their designated weeks. The Mishna explains that communal sacrifices could not be brought in the absence of the community, and therefore Yisraelim had to
be present as community representatives during the avoda that was performed on behalf of the entire Jewish people. Those maamad members that lived in Yerushalayim or its proximity would join the Kohanim and Leviyim of their mishmar in the Beis Hamikdash. Those who lived
itself. Mourners and people who were excommunicated would walk to the left, so that they could be comforted or urged to repent by the other worshippers. Non-Jews and Jews who were tamei meis could also enter the Har Habayis, but they could only walk up to the soreg, a low lattice fence
Nashim, the first courtyard of the Beis Hamikdash. It was a large open area, with a chamber in each corner. One chamber was used for storing wood and checking it for worms, and another chamber was used for storing oil for the menorah and for the mincha offerings. Another chamber
surrounding the more consecrated area. When the Greeks conquered and defiled the Beis Hamikdash in Chanuka times they made thirteen holes in the soreg, protesting the fact that they were not allowed to go further. The Chashmonaim repaired those holes and instituted the practices of bowing when passing by them, in gratitude to Hashem for returning the Beis Hamikdash into Jewish hands. Behind the soreg was an area called cheil that went around the Beis Hamikdash. It contained twelve steps which were covered by an awning and used for sitting. The entrance to the Beis Hamikdash itself was on its eastern side. Through the eastern gate, one would enter the Ezras
was for the Mezorayim who came to purify themselves after they were healed. There, they could immerse in the mikva. And the fourth chamber was for the Nezirim who finished their nezirus. There, they shaved off and burned their hair and cooked their offerings. Ezras Nashim also contained a room where the judges of the lower Sanhedrin, consisting of twenty three members, judged the difficult questions brought to them. Any Jew who was ritually pure could enter the Ezras Nashim. The next courtyard, past the fifteen round steps and through the Gate of Nikanor, was the Ezras Yisrael, where only ritually pure men could enter. It was a much smaller area than the Ezras Nashim, and it contained the Lizkas Hagazis, the Chamber of Hewn Stone, where the Great Sanhendrin of seventy one judges decided the most difficult cases. At the end of the Ezras Yisrael, just before the Azara, was the duchan, a threestep stage from which the Leviyim would play musical instruments and sing songs accompanying the korbanos of the day. The next courtyard, the Azara, contained the large mizbeach and the Heichal, the building. The main avoda in the Beis Hamikdash took place in the Azara and the Heichal, and was performed by Kohanim. Non-Kohanim could go inside the Azara only in order to bring a
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far would gather in their own synagogues. They would fast on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of their week. On each day of their week, they would recite four prayers and read from the Torah twice. The passage they read from the Torah was the account of creation corresponding to the day of the week. The rest of the Jewish people, as well as non-Jews, were able to come to the Beis Hamikdash and offer korbanos on any day of the year. They would enter the Har Habayis through the Chulda gates, on the south. Before entering, they would leave behind their shoes and walking sticks. Most people would then walk to the right, towards the entrance to the Beis Hamikdash
Kohanim would begin their tasks. The overseer would inquire of the watchmen if it was time to slaughter the morning tamid offering. At the first lights of dawn, he would proclaim, “Barkai! The day has dawned.” When the whole eastern horizon, up to the city of Chevron, would light up, the overseer would inform the Kohanim that the time had come to slaughter the sheep for the morning tamid. The Kohanim would bring out the
selected lamb from the Chamber of Lambs located in the Beis Hamokeid, as well as the ninety three silver and gold utensils required for the daily service. After the
Third Beis Hamikdash will be rebuilt and when the Jewish people will once again assemble in the holiest place on earth to serve Hashem. Meanwhile, we can derive inspiration from learning about the Beis Hamikdash. The information in this article is based on Mishnayos Middos, Tamid, and Yoma, the Rambam’s Mishne Torah, Sefer Avoda, as well as the Temple Institute website, www.templeinstitute.org , which contains illustrated tours of the Beis Hamikdash and the daily avoda.
lamb was slaughtered the Kohanim who won the lottery would bring its parts to the ramp of the mizbeach, together with the meal offering accompanying the tamid and with the Kohen Gadol’s daily meal offering, followed by a wine libation. After the tamid was brought and the menorah and the golden mizbeach prepared the Kohanim would assemble in the Lishkas Hagazis and recite the blessings of Kriyas Shema, the passage of the Torah containing the Ten Commandments, the Shema itself, and other accompanying blessings. Then they would conduct the third and fourth lotteries. The third lottery involved bringing the ketores, the incense offering on the golden mizbeach. A kohen could perform this avoda only once in his lifetime, and only Kohanim who had never offered ketores were allowed to participate in this lottery. The fourth lottery selected the Kohanim who would bring the parts of the tamid offering from the ramp to the top of the mizbeach, onto the fire, and pour the accompanying libations. During the wine libation, the trumpets would be sounded and the people in the courtyard would prostrate themselves. After the tasks distributed by the lotteries were performed, the Kohanim would gather on the twelve steps between the Heichal and the mizbeach and, raising their hands high above their heads, bless the Jewish people with the priestly blessing. With that, the morning avoda was concluded. Throughout the day, individuals would come and bring their offerings. Then, towards the end of the day, the afternoon tamid offering would be brought. It was the last offering of the day, with the exception of korban pesach on erev pesach. The procedure was the same as in the morning, with the same Kohanim who won the lottery in the morning performing the same tasks. Eyewitness accounts from the ancient times describe how inspired and uplifted people felt after visiting the Beis Hamikdash. We all await the day when the
The Temple Institute, known as Machon Hamikdash, is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is dedicated to every aspect of the Biblical commandment to build the Beis Hamikdash. Fusing decades of halachik research with modern technology, the Temple Institute has constructed 60 sacred vessels for use in the Third Beis Hamikdash. Built according to the Torah’s exact specifications, they include the half-ton golden menorah, the shulchan hapanim, as well as the Kohen Gadol’s garments including the gem encrusted Choshen Mishpat. For more information please visit, www. templeinstitute.org
THE MIZBEACH, THE MENORAH, THE SHULCHAN, THE GOLDEN MIZBEACH
The main mizbeach was a large structure located in the Azara. The top of the mizbeach was square, 32 * 32 amos (about 53 * 53 feet). It was 10 amos (about 17 feet) tall, and the Kohanim would ascend it through the ramp attached to the mizbeach on its south side. The mizbeach was constructed of unhewn and uncracked stones, never touched by metal, obtained from the valley of Beis Kerem, from a land that was never plowed. There were three fires on top of the mizbeach: the perpetual fire, the fire used to burn the korbanos, and the fire used for the incense offering. The menorah, a seven-lamp candelabra, was located on the south side of the Kodesh, inside the Heichal. It was 18 tefachim (about 5 feet) tall. It was hammered out of one piece of gold. Its design included decorations, such as goblets, bulbs, and flowers. The shulchan was located on the north side of the Kodesh. It was 12 tefachim (about 30 inches) long and 6 tefachim (about 15 inches) wide. It had four gold side frames which held two arrangements of the lechem hapanim. The golden mizbeach was located in the Kodesh, midway between the north and south, towards the outside. Its top was square, 1 * 1 amah (about 20 * 20 inches). It was covered with gold on the outside. It was used for the incense offering.
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Heichal was the Kodesh, which contained the golden mizbeach for incense, as well as the menorah and the shulchan holding the lechem hapanim. Beyond the Kodesh, separated by a curtain, was the Kodesh Hakodashim. In the first Beis Hamikdash it contained the Aron Kodesh , with the keruvim on the cover, standing on the even shesiya, the foundation stone from which the world was created. The Aron Kodesh was hidden by King Yoshiyahu towards the end of the era of the first Beis Hamikdash, and in the second Beis Hamikdash the Kodesh Hakodashim only contained the foundation stone. Only the Kohen Gadol was allowed to enter the Kodesh Hakodashim, and only on Yom Kippur. He would bring a pan of incense and place it on top of the Aron Kodesh in the first Beis Hamikdash, or on top of the even shesiya in the second. On the north side of the Azara was a domed building called Beis Hamokeid, the Chamber of the Hearth, where a fire was constantly burning. Kohanim would sleep there the night before they were scheduled to serve in the Beis Hamikdash. The older Kohanim would sleep on stone slabs protruding from the walls, holding the keys to the courtyards. The younger Kohanim would sleep on their own mattresses, in their own clothes, with the bigdei kehuna, the priestly garments, folded under their heads. In the morning, they would descend a winding staircase located in one of the chambers of the Beis Hamokeid to immerse in the mikva. They would then don their bigdei kehuna and assemble in the Lishkas Hagazis, the room of the Great Sanhedrin, for the first lottery of the day. There were four lotteries held daily in the Beis Hamikdash to determine which kohen would perform certain daily duties. The Kohanim would stand in a circle, and
the lottery overseer would stand in the middle. One of the Kohanim would take off his hat to mark the starting point of the lottery. A number would be picked, much higher than the number of participating Kohanim. Each kohen would hold up one finger. The overseer would begin going around the circle, counting the fingers, starting with the kohen who took off his hat. After going around the circle several times they would reach the chosen number, and that kohen would receive the task. When a lottery involved an avoda requiring more than one kohen, the Kohanim standing just after he chosen kohen along the circle would receive the next tasks. Before dawn, a patrol of Kohanim would split into two and encircle the Azara, making sure that everything was in its place. They would meet in the middle, next to the Chamber of Chavitin Makers, south of the Gate of Nikanor, and inform each other that everything was in order. Some Kohanim would remain in the Chamber of Chavitin Makers and begin preparing the chavitin, the Kohen Gadol’s daily flour offering. The kohen who won the first lottery would be the first one to go up on the mizbeach and perform the mitzvah of terumas hadeshen, removing a portion of ashes leftover from the previous night. Before performing this avoda, as well as any other avoda, the Kohanim would wash their hands and feet with the water from the kiyor, situated in the Azara. After terumas hadeshen, the Kohanim would rearrange the ashes and leftover parts of the sacrifices on the mizbeach, and the kohen who performed terumas hadeshen would add wood to the fire on the mizbeach. Then the second lottery would be conducted to determine who would perform the tasks involved in bringing the daily tamid offering, as well as who would remove the ashes from the incense mizbeach and who would prepare the menorah. Then the gates to the Heichal would be opened, and the selected
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personal offering. Between the mizbeach and the Heichal were the twelve steps where the Kohanim would assemble daily to bless the Jewish people. Only Kohanim were allowed to enter the Heichal, which consisted of three parts. The first was the ulam, a hall where the knives for slaughtering the korbanos were kept and the lechem hapanim was placed during the process of exchanging the old one for the new one. The next part of the
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The Miracle, the Human, and the Soul 3 Ways to Relate to Operation Protective Edge Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn
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All of us here in the diaspora are looking for a way to help our brothers and sisters in Israel. Beyond that, we also look for ways to better empathize with those who live with the threat of missiles day in and day out. This past week I downloaded the Red Alert App on my IPhone. This app lets the citizens of Israel know when a bomb is heading their way. I decided to turn on the app and leave it near my pillow as I went to sleep and even as I gave a shiur the next day. It was more than haunting. The realization that peril can find you, no matter what you are doing and no matter when you are doing it, is chilling to say the least. With this app, I’m well on my way to self-induced PTS, but at least it gives me a fraction of a glimpse of what the citizens of Israel are going through. Empathy with the matzav is the beginning step toward helping the cause. Just last week we read Matos and we heard Moshe’s rebuke of the 2 ½ tribes that decided to stay over the Jordan. “האחיכם יבאו למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה.” “Your brothers go to war and yet you stay here?” After a bit more criticism the tribes concede that they will of course help out in time of war. If the Bnei Gad and Bnei Reuven were always planning on participating in the military, why did they wait until after Moshe’s entire rebuke to note their participation? The Ralbag suggests that Moshe never questioned their obvious sense of volunteerism. Rather he was nervous that without a formal agreement the rest of the nation would sense a lack of support. This Ralbag is ultimately instructing us that the emotional security that our family in Israel feels- that we are totally with them - is actually more powerful than our active involvement. Let us begin to develop our emotional involvement in the current Operation. I’d like to explore our involvement on three levels: The Miraculous, The Human, The Soul. Recognizing the Miraculous Parshas Matos depicts the third desert war. The first desert war was waged against the ambushing nation of Amalek. אשר קרך בדרך. The war is won supernaturally, Moshe raises his hands. They’re support-
ed by Aharon and Chur, and we rebuff the ambush. The 2nd desert war was also supernatural, and Moshe battles these kings on the east bank of the Jordan –Sichon Melech HaEmori and Og Melech HaBashan. We have no mobilization yet we just know that the Jews emerge triumphant. This third war of Matos is a much more human war. Leaders are mobilized, thousands of soldiers are taken to war. The trumpets are employed to sound the battle cry and to serve as a form of prayer. But the Klei HaKodesh, the Holy Vessels were also mobilized. One of them was the Ark – its visit on the battlefield isn’t surprising. What was the second vessel? Rashi says it was the Tzitz – the Headplate. It had a very particular function. Rashi citing the Tanchuma explains that Bilaam the Dark Prophet through black magic elevates these kings and warriors of Midian so they’re flying through the air. What did we do? We held up the Tzitz and the words “Holy to G-d” (these are words written on the Headplate) shone in their faces and the flying enemies fell to the ground. The parallel to current events is irresistible. Over 2,000 rockets fired into Israel and only one death. The terrible possibilities that so many rockets could have created are staggering. We see the clear Hand of G-d in preventing greater carnage. There’s a sense of commonality between our situation and the flying Matos situation. Generally man is grounded and he can face adversaries on such a level. But when you move warfare into the air, the results can be more frightening. Certainly monotheism beat paganism but in the larger sense Hashamayim shamayim L’Hashem, V’Haaretz Nasan Livnei Adam, “The Heaven belongs to Hashem, and the Land was given to Man.” He’s entering the realm of G-d. When evil people bent on destroying Israel use the heavens to create destruction, they are traversing an impenetrable line. May G-d continue to prevent these “air attacks” from reaching their intended marks. Noted mystic, Rav Mazouz of Be’er Sheva, continues our discussion of the miraculous in this Operation when he notes that Iron Dome in Hebrew is called כיפת ברזל. The word " "ברזלstands for , רחל,"בלהה " לאה,זלפה. It is in the merit of these great mothers that our nation stands protected. Tikun HaKlali is a set of 10 Psalms chosen by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. These chapters of Tehilim are recited together as an intense jolt of repair. The Psalm numbers are 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150. The sum total of those Psalm’s is 749. This is the same numerical value of – כיפת ברזל Iron Dome. The miraculous is emerging in
Operation Protective Edge. So many stories have begun to emerge of how missiles were only seconds away and inches away from wreaking irreparable havoc. In Shaar HaNegev, just moments after a group of girls decided to go for a walk, a missile exploded in the classroom they were just using. In Be’er Sheva a rocket landed on a Soccer field just moments after children finished their game. In Rishon L’Tzion a dangerous missile fragment propelled into a gas tank but it did not ignite. There are already hundreds of similar stories and more will come out. Miracles are alive in 2014. The Evolving Human The Miraculous can do amazing things for our faith, our prayers, and our world view but G-d knows that we live in the human realm. We operate within the day to day work that makes us human. The most human of all experiences is learning from the past and because of it being able to change course. The work of the Priest each day in the Mishkan and the Beis Hamikdash begins with the cleaning of the ashes from the altar. These ashes were the remnants of the offerings that had been brought on the previous day. The beginning of the new day was dependent on the work of the previous day. The Meor Einei Yesharim to Massei says that this coming weeks Parsha lists the 42 journeys of Bne’i Yisrael because when we enter the land we need to remember the path that took us there. Before the people enter Israel they need to understand that the capturing and inheriting of Israel was due to the tremendous sacrifices they had made collectively prior to their arrival. G-d gave us a terrific ability to take the past, learn from it, and be molded by it. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that we have learned so much about Hamas since Operation Cast Lead. The past is meant to be an instruction. This time we’re doing things differently. Rabbi Rami Brachyahu, Rav of Talman and Rav of Gilad Shaar was recently invited to speak at the White Shul on Shiva Assar B’Tamuz and he delivered powerful words. Rav Brachyahu said that every calamity carries with it a mission. The leaders of the tribes mentioned in Matos aren’t mentioned by name because they were all about their mission and not about their specific identity. Our people are beginning to awaken. We are restoring our sense of purpose; our mission. Our name “Israel”, means something. Rav Brachyahu spoke at Gilad’s funeral and he told the crowd that when Gi-
lad’s teacher would write his name on the board “Gimmel, Lamed, Ayin, Daled”, Gilad would correct his teacher and instruct him to write “Gimmel, Yud, Lamed, Space, Ayin, Daled” – Gil-Ad – Eternal Joy. This was his life’s mission. This time we are doing things differently. The Koidenover Rebbe, speaking at a tish two weeks ago said that since our enemies are not pinpointing individuals, rather they are attacking Klal Yisrael as a whole, they are entering into an extremely dangerous space. History has never fared well for those who have set their hands on our collective nation. As individuals we may be frail but as a group we are suddenly standing closer and closer together. The bitterness over the Tal Law brouhaha is fading to the backdrop, our differences becoming dimmer. They have awakened the sleeping giant. We stand together. This time we are doing things differently. Rav Moshe Weinberger, Rav of Aish Kodesh in Woodmere and Mashgiach at Yeshiva University, underscores that two mitzvos expect a fiery passion in its observance: Living in Israel and Torah study. The Ramban (Bamidbar 13:2) writes “Because Moshe knew that [the land] was rich and good…, he told them to pay attention so that they would know this, in order that they tell the nation [so that the nation would] rejoice and be reenergized to ascend [to Eretz Yisroel] with joy.” With regard to Torah, the Taz (Yo”d 221:43) writes that if, for example, Reuven vows that Shimon may not derive any benefit from him [Reuven], then Shimon may not study Torah from Reuven’s sefer. He explains that this is because “the Torah certainly gladdens the heart… Therefore this mitzvah [to study Torah] is not comparable to other mitzvos with regard to which we say that they are not given for physical enjoyment. In contrast, this [mitzvah to study Torah] brings a person enjoyment.” In this perilous time, our commitment to Torah study is awakened. We are hungry for more Torah, more knowledge, and more secrets of creation. This time we’re doing things differently. In a recent shmooz, Gaon and Mystic Rav Itcha Meir Morgenstern told his inner group that as the war wages on we are learning how to use our koach hadibbur – our ability to speak - differently. Israel is conquered and inherited through dibbur. The power of Tefilah in holding onto our land is tried and true. Rav Kook spoke frequently of the special reservoir of prayer that flows beneath Israel. Our prayers aren’t the only part of our speech that’s dif-
is precisely when we are scattered in exile among the non-Jews that we can interact and inspire. Our souls need to stay alive and pure with the hope of a better tomorrow. And if along the way, as us interesting people try to run a country parked in the most challenging spot on Earth, any Chilul Hashem is made, we always know that the greatest antidote to Chilul Hashem is Kiddush Hashem. Our rhetoric assumes that everybody hates us and the media is always against us. Times may be changing. I recently stood together in a hospital lobby with 50 other people (mostly non-Jewish) as we watched on CNN, David Regev, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s spokesman, explain how the IDF fights. It was clear this is the most moral army in history. The room swelled with applause. This is the antidote to Chilul Hashem. War is an unfortunate part of life. While it takes place we must remember that the Jewish values of love and compassion still burn in our souls. I would like to close with a touching prayer from “In the Land of Prayer”, which was compiled after the expulsion of the Jewish community in Gush Katif. In it, Eliaz Cohen from Kefar Etzion composed a prayer called “For the Traveler on the Gush Etzion Road:”
May it be Thy will King who hears the humble Who watches over all openings and hiding places To keep me safe from all obstacles along the way Guide me forward to peace Lead my footsteps toward peace Keep me safe from all the forms of the stones The ambushers the throwers the shooters the infiltrators The conspirers of roadblocks, who whisper curses And from all the frenzied, hateful glances that rage into this world (And at the hour of darkness, one may add: and from the intentions of the night) And move me onward to the place of my desire In life. And in joy and in peace And allow me to be born from within the tunnel, to Jerusalem And may You hear the prayer of the wayfarers With mercy
67 Rabbi Berel Wein
here is a trend amongst all biblical commentators in the Jewish world to view the biblical description of past events that occurred to our ancestors from the time of Abraham through the beginning of Second Temple times as being not only a description of past events but to also subtly indicate the course of all events that would befall the Jewish people. This type of idea perhaps helps us to understand why the Torah goes into such detail in the naming all of the way stops of the Jewish people during their forty year sojourn in the Sinai Desert. The Torah indicates to us that the Jewish people were and are a wandering and traveling group. Even though the commentators point out to us that the L-rd favored Israel by allowing it to remain in place at one oasis for thirty-eight years and that all of the many other way station stops listed in this week’s Torah reading took place only over a relatively short period of time of approximately two years, the list
Parshas Maasei THIS PATTERN OF MOVEMENT, STOPS AND STARTS, CONTINUING TRAVEL AND SOCIAL INSTABILITY RECORDED FOR US IN THIS WEEK’S TORAH READING IS REALLY AN ONGOING PATTERN IN ALL OF JEWISH HISTORY. of stops and starts is impressive if not even astounding. Since most of these locations are unknown to us today and have limited meaning to later generations, the broader message encompassed in this travelogue is to be considered and studied. All of the commentators to the Bible have advanced insights and explanations to enlighten us as to the reasons for this detailed accounting of the travels of Israel in the desert of Sinai. Rashi sees it as a type of recollected history of the events, failings and triumphs of the Jewish people on the road from Egyptian slavery to the settling of the Land of Israel. The Torah, in its usual
cryptic style, only records the names of the places and we are to fill in the missing event that should be part of our memory bank. But that requires a certain amount of knowledge, sophistication and national memory. These items are always in short supply in every generation. If one views Jewish history as a whole, then one realizes that this pattern of movement, stops and starts, continuing travel and social instability recorded for us in this week’s Torah reading, is really an ongoing pattern in all of Jewish history. The Jewish people, again as a whole or in its many subdivisions, have literally seen the entire world in their wanderings.
Already in First Temple times the prophet describes Jewish mercantile activity in faraway places of the ancient world. In the long exile and in the farflung diaspora of the Jews, there is no place on our globe that has not seen Jewish settlement or activity. Many commentators saw this phenomenon as a positive thing – the spreading the ideas of monotheism and of Torah values to a pagan and uncaring world. Others have seen it as the source of the angst and punishment of Israel for its betrayal of those very same values and beliefs. Perhaps both approaches are correct and have meaning for us. Nevertheless, we now live in a shrinking Jewish world. Entire ancient Jewish communities no longer exist and the Jewish people are concentrated in a relatively small number of national enclaves, basically in the Western world and the Land of Israel. One would hope that both our travels and travails will soon come to an end. Shabbat shalom.
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The Guarded Soul We discussed discovering the miraculous, we discussed marshalling the human capacity to learn from the past, and now let us turn to our souls. Rav Kook taught: “We must see life in two dimensions, as it is, and as it should be. Absolute righteousness is always rooted in how things should be, but provisional righteousness which touches more on acting in the present, is built on how things actually are… The two are connected, like alternating horizons on a long journey.” (Iggros Ha Reiyah, I94). War is a colossal test for humanity. How do we stay rooted in the ideal world of peace while living with the reality of conflict? Rashi on Matos posited that the men called into battle must be “righteous”. Why is that a prerequisite for battle? Shouldn’t they be men of war? Perhaps the reason is that the Jewish Army must always have leaders who can show us how to maintain our sense of human dignity in the face of a horrific outcome. It is a great danger to the Jewish soul when Jews cease to become sensitive and ashamed of murder. It isn’t merely about 3 crazy Jews that kidnapped an Arab child and burned him alive. There
were outspoken calls for blood and revenge on Facebook pages before it took place. We have to be careful to stay focused and care for humanity even when we are forced to fight for it. Naftali Frankel’s mother went to the house of the Arab child who was taken and killed. Who do you want to associate with – the Jewish kidnappers, or the Jewish Mother? If you want to associate with the Jewish Mother then you must feel pained. I was personally very proud of the organizational Orthodox response. OU, RCA, Agudah all unequivocally condemned the murder of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir. If you don’t feel that ache then the Jewish soul is damaged. We must also never relent and submit to the hatred and just say there will never peace. There will never be a way. We walk around lamenting a perceived existential reality “Esav soneh L’Yaakov”, Esav hated Yaakov. There is no need to take this comment beyond the relationship between the two brothers. Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (Likutei Torah) says it specifically refers to the hatred of Jews at Sinai, not beyond. We don’t need to make this a self-fulfilling prophecy. How can we ever be a light to the nations if the nations are commanded to hate us? It’s a Halacha! Believe that peace is possible. Believe the eternal war is not something we always will have to live with. The Netziv (Bereishis 47:28) says that it
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ferent. We are also speaking to each other with more respect and more care. Let us continue to learn from our past and this time do things differently.
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Light in the Darkness
In essence, “Tashuri meirosh amanah” marks the culmination of “Eileh masei Bnei Yisroel” and the commencement of a new reality.
Faith calls for an ability to see when it is dark and to hear when there is silence. We exist in the darkness of golus, sur-
This week’s parsha of Masei, which begins with the words “Eileh masei Bnei Yisroel,” listing the many stops the Jews made as they traversed the desert on their way to the Promised Land, reflects the eternal ethos of our people. They traveled, set up camp, got comfortable and then packed up and moved on. We would think that the names of the places, where Bnei Yisroel stopped, are of little consequence. Yet, the Torah lists every stop, to teach us that the masaos are essentially a definition of who we are. They collectively form our experience as a people as far back as anyone can remember. Each station and outpost in Klal Yisroel’s journey is mentioned, for each is significant. Every peak and valley we encounter plays a role in leading us to the ultimate geulah. We have good days and not such good days. We had good stops and places that were totally inhospitable to us. They are all stations along the track that forms, molds and creates the eternal people, preparing us for our destiny. The posuk in Shir Hashirim states, “Tashuri meirosh amanah” (4:8). Rashi explains the posuk to mean that a mountaintop known as Amanah is a summit we will encounter at the time of redemption as we are about to enter Eretz Yisroel. As the final act of golus, we will assemble at Amanah, gaze at Eretz Yisroel, and begin to sing a song of thanksgiving and praise. One of the previous Belzer Rebbes explained that upon finally earning the redemption for which our people has waited so long, the euphoric nation will realize as they enter Eretz Yisroel that they have lost the ability of emunoscha baleilos, finding faith in times of darkness. Thus, they will gather at the peak of golus and offer one last expression of thanks from the darkness. A final song will rise from the bunkers of the exile. It will be an ode of thanks for all that transpired throughout the journey and a realization that the darkness led to light.
rounded by ever-present issues and tragedies that test our belief. Throughout our history, we have endured so much, yet remained loyal. We have gone from masa to masa, each place of refuge ending more tragically than the one preceding it. But in darkness, we have seen light, and in tragedy, we have sensed glimmers of hope. We have always known that what we see and feel is only surface deep. We have known that there is incomprehensible depth to our experiences. People of emunah peshutah understood throughout the ages that nothing happens in our world by happenstance. We don’t just happen to be here. We aren’t simply highly intelligent monkeys that have evolved into speaking actors. The world was Divinely created by the Mechadeish bechol yom tomid ma’aseh bereishis, and since every day is a new manifestation of the original creation, whatever transpires is for a higher purpose. Any honest, casual observer of the world would conclude that it could not have come into existence by itself. Since it is wholly obvious that the world - and everything that comprises it - was formed by a Higher Being, it is apparent that it was created for a higher purpose. This knowledge is what enabled us to survive all that we encountered in our masaos and to endure the golus. As we study Parshas Masei this week, we are once again being tested. The nation that simply seeks to live in peace is portrayed as a people who derive special joy from murder. The entire world knows and can prove with pictures and facts that Jews see it as a religious duty to kill babies. Hundreds of millions of people who follow the news are told that Jews undertake massacres and engage in disproportionate military action. All we want is to look to the sky and see fluttering birds instead of rockets, and to hear chirping sounds instead of sirens. We await the day when children can play safely in a park, without fear, in Israel and around the world. We pray for the sound of the shofar to emanate from the holy city, proclaiming a festival and not doom. Yet we are mocked, despised, and driven from place to place. Jews have been living in France since at least the fourth century, yet thousands feel threatened and are running for their lives. The governments in Syria and Iraq have
collapsed. A radical group has taken hold of much of the former. Yet, none of the world’s policemen seem to be concerned. Tens of thousands of men, women and children, including babies, have been killed. Not a serious word of complaint emerges from any direction. Millions have become refugees, overwhelming neighboring countries. Has anyone in a position of power in the West done anything to help the plight of so many people? ISIS just gave Christian residents of an Iraqi city it captured an ultimatum: convert or die. Have any of the Christian nations and groups that counsel restraint to the Jewish state done anything to stem the drive of ISIS? We have serious differences with Israel’s prime minister, but, without a doubt, he is the most eloquent statesman on the world stage, yet his message fails to resonate. A citizen army comprised of sons, brothers, fathers and neighbors goes to battle to protect fellow citizens. They are well-trained and focused on the common goal of acting as morally as possible in a war aimed at eradicating immoral enemies bent on their destruction. The world’s players admonish them for defending their right to live in peace. The recent ground invasion was brought on by an attempt of 13 Hamas terrorists to infiltrate Israel through a tunnel dug under the Gaza-Israel border. Thankfully, they were stopped before they were able to realize their goal of killing innocent Jews. Yet, the world paints the war as one being waged between an evil Jewish Goliath and a poor Arab David. There is little or no reporting on the humanitarian cease-fire by Israel imposed the day the ground invasion began. There is no mention that it was ignored by Hamas and that their very actions led to the necessity of Israel ramping up their action against those dedicated to their destruction. War is awful, but in the world in which we live, war is sometimes necessary. If evil is permitted to fester and become strengthened and emboldened, good people will suffer and be killed. Liberty and democracy are threatened by the growth of radical terror groups. Around the world, anti-Israel demonstrations are held. The United Nations’ diplomatic mouthpiece hurried to the microphone to decry Israel’s advancement and to call upon Israel to exercise more caution so as not to cause civilian deaths. He didn’t issue the same call to Hamas. The ISIS operates with impunity. Dozens are ripped to shreds by bombs in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, yet no one knows or cares about it. Hundreds of girls are kidnapped in Africa. Initially, the world responds with a hash tag and press conferences. Just as quickly, the tragedy is forgotten and removed from the public’s conscience. After all, Israel is at war, fighting once again for its life. Who has time
to examine what is transpiring anywhere else in the world? Thousands of targets were hit by Israel. These include tunnels, rocket factories and storehouses, infrastructure built by wicked people who live to kill. When presented with a plan to end the hostilities, Hamas spurned it. In their eyes, every rocket sent to Israel is a victory and every attempt at infiltration proves their virility. It makes no sense to us, but it does to them. When Israel finally began its ground invasion, it was with the stated goal of simply destroying the many fortified tunnels Hamas built in order to infiltrate Israel. Israel’s spokesmen specifically said that they would not destroy Hamas. The terror group that rules Gaza, thanks to former President George W. Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, in the wake of Arik Sharon’s misguided unilateral abandonment of Gaza for peace, will be permitted to inculcate hatred and jihadism, and rearm, to torment Israel in the future. The entire goal of Hamas, like Yassir Arafat and his followers, is to bring about the destruction of Israel. Their essence is dedicated to reach that result. Unlike so-called “moderate” groups, they make no secret of it. Yet, it is this group that won the election in Gaza and would win on the West Bank if free elections were held there. This band of murderers was delivered a state on a silver platter nine years ago and set about destroying its infrastructure. They returned the favor of the gift they were handed for the sake of peace, by turning the Judenrein land into a base for terror. While the Jews made the desert bloom, they destroyed a flourishing oasis. While the Jews sacrificed to defend their citizens, they spent whatever they had on offense and not a dime on defense. They utilized any building material they smuggled to build rockets, acquire weapons and construct tunnels from which to attack Israeli villages and nothing to create a viable state. The Arabs who refer to themselves as Palestinians and live in the area the world has decided should become a state named Palestine have demonstrated repeatedly that their desire is not to live in peace with the Jews, but to eradicate their existence.
How can anyone fail to recognize the obvious?
We think we will remember the period we are currently experiencing, but, in truth, we will quickly forget. Who remembers the Sbarro bombing or the Café Hillel bombing, when Dr. David Applebaum and his daughter, a kallah, were killed the day before her wedding? Who cries for Ron Arad, Zachary Baumel, Tzvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz?
guerilla gang. After investing tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars, they now have the ability to hold the vaunted Israeli army at bay, while popping out of the ground in Israeli villages to cause serious loss of life. Hashem yishmor. Israel feels that it is winning the war, but even if that is true, they are losing the battle. The world focuses on photographs and, regrettably, Hamas has proved its proficiency in supplying them and crafting the story. Most people, and the media, do not focus on what is really transpiring. They quickly glance at the optics
murdered. There were inevitable questions. Yehuda Wachsman addressed the media and famously commented, “If people wonder why our prayers didn’t merit a response, the answer is that we did get an answer. Sometimes a Father can answer, ‘No.’” Months later, when Rav Avrohom Pam zt”l was asked to write a letter of support for Beit Nachshon, a center founded in memory of the soldier, he described his great appreciation for the Wachsmans. “In the depth of their pain, these parents made a public pronouncement that Hakadosh Boruch Hu does indeed hear and heed the tefillos of the Bnei Yisroel, but a Father is also allowed to sometimes say, ‘No.’ This was a great, great Kiddush Hashem…” It’s a decade later. The storyline hasn’t changed. Our memories are fresh. We’ve seen a nation pray together as one. We’ve heard our Father’s “No” and we lowered our heads in submissive acceptance. Last week, as Friday was turning into Shabbos and the neshomah yeseirah was joining millions of Israelis across the country, the sirens went off again, signaling that cities from Sderot to Bnei Brak were under attack. The yom menuchah would begin with a rush into the shelter instead of shul. We know so little. We are in golus and the mitzvah of emunah envelops us, with opportunities to grasp faith everywhere. In a shmuess to talmidim, Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel commented on the recent eighteen days of prayer on behalf of the three boys kidnapped by Hamas. While it may appear that the prayers were rebuffed, the rosh yeshiva noted that the eighteen days of unity and prayer were followed by a war in which open miracles are being witnessed regularly across the Land. Deadly missiles fall harmlessly. Stories abound of families vacating premises in the nick of time. A relatively new invention, the Iron Dome, acts as Hashem’s messenger, picking rockets out of the sky. Rav Elya Ber said that the eighteen days of intense prayer and growth created an account of zechuyos, creating Divine favor in advance of the sudden war. During this tekufah of Tammuz and Av, we focus on - and long for - Yerushalayim. We wait to stand on the peak of Amanah and sing our song one last time. Until then, we say together and aloud, “Chazak! Chazak! Be strong!” Venischazeik. Indeed, we will be.
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and form superficial opinions. While Netanyahu proficiently articulates Israel’s positions, he is basically the country’s entire PR operation. In a shallow, unfriendly world, leaders unanimously call upon Israel to exercise restraint in rooting out the terror force that threatens its very existence. Hamas is quite adept at playing victim. Hashem has protected us, ensuring relatively few casualties, but that is not for a lack of attempt by Hamas, which has steadily increased its firepower and fighting ability. Under heavy fire, Hamas has managed to send rockets all across the country. The reports of Arab casualties are distributed by Hamas and gleefully accepted by all. They warn their fighters to dress as civilians and to refer to all casualties as “civilian.” Israel gets no credit for its yeoman’s efforts to prevent innocent deaths. After all, if they wanted to end the problem without regard to human life, they could easily bomb at will, as America recently did in Iraq and Afghanistan and has done in countries that had the temerity to bomb American targets. Japan learned that lesson after it bombed American ships in Pearl Harbor.
We ponder these facts and wonder why we are judged differently. Why does the world look at us with a jaundiced eye? How can everyone ignore the obvious? Why? And then we remember that we are in golus in chodesh Tammuz, heading to Av. We think about all that has befallen our people during these months and we are shocked back to the reality of our existence. Shivah Assar B’Tammuz is the dark day on which the Luchos were shattered, smashing our hopes and dreams. It is the fast day declared by Chazal to mark five serious blows our nation experienced. The five include the end of the korban tomid era, the posting of a tzeilem in the Heichal, and the burning of our Torah by Apostomos Harosha. However, the days of Tammuz and Av are dotted with many other tragedies as well. During these months, the attacks on the Jews of Seville transpired, as did the pogrom against the Jews of Yashi, Romania. The pogrom in Kielce, Poland, where the last few surviving Jews returning home from the concentration camps were brutally attacked and murdered, also took place during this period. Throughout the generations, wars began in these days. Our hearts and souls were attacked. The Gemara was burnt by haters and the whisper of sinas Yisroel heard throughout the year always seemed to get louder during these months. So, really, this latest war and the accompanying chorus of condemnation and downright discrimination is nothing new for us. In botei knesses around the world, when the reading of this week’s parsha is concluded, a resounding cry will rise, proclaiming, “Chazak, chazak, venischazeik - Be strong and may we all be strengthened.” We read of the travels from one place to the next, we think about all that transpires in exile on the way to Eretz Yisroel, and our reaction is not one of dejection and gloom. Rather, we accept it with the understanding that these are all necessary passages on the path to redemption. We proclaim that our belief is strong, our resolution is unwavering, and we are tough, stubborn and persistent. We encourage each other to be chazak. And as we tell each other to be strong, a unified roar of strength emanates from the congregation. Some ten years ago, an Israeli soldier, Nachshon Wachsman Hy”d, was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. A country and nation united in faith and prayer, hoping for a miracle. Nachshon’s parents, Yehuda and Esther, were fountains of emunah. Jews everywhere hoped along with them. After six anxious days, he was
THE JEWISH HOME
Who recalls the war two years ago and the one before that? Who mourns the bombing of the number-two bus and the intifada when there were bombs blowing up Jews on busses, in restaurants and simply walking the street almost every day? Who remembers the many rockets that were shot at Israel during the ceasefire that was in effect prior to Mivtza Tzuk Eitan? How many of us ever bothered to travel to Sderot during our visits to Eretz Yisroel to see for ourselves what it is like to live in a border town? We are permitting Palestinian lies to gain credence. Yes, it’s true that the world hates us, but why should their media be permitted to present themselves as being balanced as they report on the murder by Israel of “innocent Arab children,” as if they were targeted? Why are we silent when the secretary of state’s reaction to Israel’s ground invasion to battle terrorists was to admonish Prime Minister Netanyahu to do more to prevent civilian casualties? When he is caught expressing his true feelings in between parroting talking points designed to lull us into thinking the administration has changed its approach toward Israel, the matter is barely pursued. He takes off once again to the Mideast to pressure Israel into taking action that is contrary to its interests. When you recognize the task facing Israel in battling terrorists who surround themselves, in a crowded urban setting, with women and children for protection, storing their weaponry in schools and holding their meetings in hospitals, the fact that more people have not been killed is a testament to Israel’s commitment to the protection of human life - even of their enemies. When we hear of Hamas fighters in Gaza, we think of primitive Arabs on donkeys. We think of Gaza as a refugee camp, teeming with families living in temporary shelter. When they speak of subterranean passageways under the border, we think of the tunnels we tried to dig as children. In fact, Gaza is a built-up urban center, much more akin to a city than a Bedouin encampment. The dozens of tunnels present a serious threat to Israel. They are deep, high, wide and long, with electricity, light and air. As Hamas realized that Israel’s air superiority would doom them in a war and the Iron Dome basically neutralizes the rockets they use to terrorize the Israeli civilian population, they began to seriously expand their tunnel operations. Financed by Qatar, the American ally, and home of the rabid propaganda media group Al-Jazeera, Hamas evolved into a serious military threat and is no longer simply a suicidal
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Cover Story By Brendy J. Soroka
THE SOUND OF SIRENS How Those Living in Israel Live Under Rocket Fire
W “Everywhere you look, everywhere you go, everyone is concerned: do the soldiers have enough?”
ith Hamas rocket fire in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and even Haifa, those living in Israel are living life under fire. This latest ground war can be measured in rockets fired, soldiers deployed, lives lost, and civilians injured. After all, troop movements can be mapped and drone activity can be tracked. But war is also about those who fight and those whose lives are being fought for. We spoke with those living under fire to hear about their reactions to the terror. The bottom line: while Hamas keeps attempting to make “something big” happen, the feeling in Israel is “a bit surreal,” a mix between deep sadness and tension and positivity. Of course, each person is firm about one thing: the yad Hashem is manifest. More than 1,000 rockets have been fired, and Hamas is sending in commandos and drones. But Am Yisrael lives b’chasdei Hashem. “We used to feel nervous for others living under fire, but we thought ‘that’s over there—not here,’” says Rena Siev, a seminary mechaneches and writer from Ramat Beit Shemesh. “We had a
mirage that no one will do anything to us. Now, that image is shattered.” These days, when she hears the sirens, Rena takes her children out of bed and seals the door of the mamad, the sealed room of her home. She has 60 seconds between hearing the sirens and moving her children to safety. Each day, before her elementary school children go off to school, she reviews with them: what do you do in case a siren goes off on your way home from school? “It’s heartbreaking to have to teach three- and four-year-olds about rockets and people trying to hurt us, because they don’t want us to live here,” says Shira Schechter, a former Navi teacher at Frisch in New Jersey, now living in Israel. David Olivestone, former communications director of the Orthodox Union (OU), writes about his experience, “In Jerusalem, since it is not so close to Gaza, we have 90 seconds from when the siren sounds to when we are supposed to be in the mamad or shelter. They tell you to remain there for ten minutes before coming out. We have had only three alarms here, and luckily we were home for all of them. Our son Elisha and his family, who now live in Even Shmuel near Kiryat Gat, have had it harder. Since they are in a rental apartment while they are hoping to build a house, they do not have a mamad room, and have to take their three kids down to their landlord’s apartment downstairs. They are within 40 kilometers of Gaza and are supposed to find shelter within only 30 seconds—fairly impossible under the circumstances. They also hear a lot of booms of Iron Dome interceptions in the distance, which is very unsettling for the boys.”
n school, the children learn a lot about the rocket fire. They have missile drills, so they are prepared about
what they need to do and how to do it. Because of this, most children in central Israel are relatively calm when they hear the sirens and feel empowered by the information. This, in turn, shapes the family culture and approach to the sirens. “My children say, it’s not scary, because we know what to do,” says Rena Siev. “They then stay calm, because we stay calm.” Of course, not all children are calm in the face of the rockets. Some worry about sleeping through the sirens. But Israelis recognize that Hamas wants to disrupt people’s daily routines and their sense of security. Because of this, most people approach the sirens and rocket fire with strength. They go to the parks (although they make sure to be close to bomb shelters). They stand up to Hamas by continuing to live. This overall attitude that we must go on, that we cannot allow the tension to impact daily living, helps parents guide their children through.
The Show Must Go On
Raphael Poch, director of the JTown Playhouse in Jerusalem, tells the story of the second siren that went off in Jerusalem. He remembers it well, because it happened right in the middle of a performance—moments after they called intermission. The theater does not have a bomb shelter: in the event of emergency, theatergoers must move to the stairwell of the first floor. And so, during the performance, the director came onstage and announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, a siren has gone off. We will now lead you all downstairs.” The cast took the lead and brought the audience down to safety. Some children began to cry. But the actors, in costume and makeup, entertained them and kept them calm. When the
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all-clear was finally heard, the cast and audience returned to stage and seats. The play continued; not one audience member left.
“The Iron Dome, boruch Hashem,” relates Rena Siev, “is incredible. It is total hashgacha, and more successful than they believed that it should be. It is out of a nevuah, as if Hashem is putting a protective shield over am Yisrael.” Shira Schechter speaks of the Iron Dome as “miraculous. At 2 a.m. on Wednesday night, the siren went off. We heard the boom of the Iron Dome intercepting the rocket. And I really felt as if Hashem was protecting us.” David Olivestone furthers this. “Simply put, the Iron Dome system is a nes min hashamayim. It is able to identify which rockets are headed for inhabited areas, and which will fall in open spaces. It deals only with those headed for built-up areas, and has had a 90 percent success ….” He continued, “Simply put, this is the reason that people … go about their daily business…. “My brother, who lives in Rechovot and who has lived through all the previous attacks from Gaza, told me how the sirens used to instill real fear in everyone, whereas this time Iron Dome makes it an altogether different experience,” David points out.
ack in June, the extent of the achdus—no matter what communal or religious affiliation—during the heart wrenching and inspiring search for the three kidnapped boys was truly moving. For eighteen days, hundreds and thousands came to rally on the boys’ behalf. But they davened together and yet those three boys didn’t come back home. “One wonders,” said Rav Menashe Siev, RA”M in Yeshiva Lev
Shira Schechter says the boom of the Iron Dome makes her feel as if Hashem is literally protecting us
HaTorah and an editor of the new Koren Talmud, “if we davened a tefilas shav. But tefilah always makes a difference. One wonders if the fact that, boruch Hashem, Hamas has not been successful is because of those tefillos.”
Dealing with the Anxiety
Dr. Jonathan Huppert, professor and director of the Laboratory for the Study and Treatment of Anxiety at Hebrew University, made aliyah from Philadelphia several years ago. In the United States, Dr. Huppert was a professor at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania under Dr. Edna Foa, one of the foremost experts on anxiety and PTSD treatment in the world. Dr. Huppert speaks about the “mix of equanimity” in Israel “because the Iron Dome is working well” and the tension that you “never know when it won’t work.” The overall stress is “more existential than immediate.” “Many people are very torn,” Huppert explains. “They feel little sense of hope about a solution. They acknowledge that a ground war is necessary. But it still leads to a loss of innocent life. This is a very painful, never-ending cycle.” Interestingly, he says, most people are not seeking intervention with therapists now for their stress. “After the storm, if the calm that they expect to come doesn’t come to them, then they will seek help.” On the other hand, Dr. Huppert is involved with people manning the hotlines. The phones, he says, “are ringing off the hook.” There are people who are having panic attacks and feel insecure and hopeless about the situation. While one of his daughters, after experiencing her first siren, needed calming throughout the night, his other has not changed her routine. Most
children, he says, do feel prepared. The fact that they have a “warning time”—a minute and a half to get to a shelter— he says, creates a sense of control that those in the south may not have.
The Other Side of the Story
Unlike the rest of the country, Sderot, located right near Gaza, looks like a ghost town. People continue living there, but no one is on the streets. Over the past years, the government has ensured that each apartment has a mamad room. Communal shelters are ubiquitous. Even the playgrounds include integrated shelters. And so life has continued. The communal shelters are now camps. People have not left their homes. But living under rocket fire for all these years takes its toll. Fourteenyear-olds have been living their whole lives under the threat of fire. Raphael Poch describes the Sderot website that includes a webpage dedicated to the Therapeutic Theater of Sderot, a theater for teenagers and children to express their trauma. Preschoolers learn specific songs that put the process of whatto-do-during-rocket-fire to a nurserylike melody. Children learn to express their anxiety through song and drama. This is new to the rest of the country.
The New Normal
Miriam1 from Gush Etzion, a native of Canada, has one son on active duty and one grandson in basic training. Her son, Avi, acts as a liaison between the army and communities. He ensures that bomb shelters are open, clean, functional, and well supplied. In case of rocket damage to a building, he has been trained to secure the area and help the people living there. Her grandson, while not on active duty, continues performing maneuvers
“We heard the boom of the Iron Dome intercepting the rocket. And I really felt as if Hashem was protecting us.”
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People have just seconds to get to shelter when a siren goes off
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As men are being called up for duty, communities offer chessed and appreciation to them and their families
in areas far from shelters, but close to rocket fire. Miriam quoted Chani Wolf Feldman, a fellow Canadian living in Israel, who describes the feeling of parents in Israel as the “new normal.” Each day, instead of a summer vacation at the beach or on tiyulim, parents need to think about getting through a day with sirens and staying close to bomb shelters. This is the New Reality.
Chessed & Achdus
They stand up to Hamas by continuing to live.
However, Miriam sees this through a positive lens. This new reality comes with tremendous displays of chessed. The army normally provides its soldiers with everything—but with 48,000 men now on active duty, supplies are a bit tight. And so, the entire country has rallied to help the soldiers and bring them support they need. “Everywhere you look, everywhere you go, everyone is concerned: do the soldiers have enough?” says Miriam. Every morning, for example, on the yishuv Neve Daniel in Alon Shvut, people go down to the army base with extra supplies. Those going post notices for the community to bring supplies to their homes for transport to the base. One man takes a trailer with a special cellphone charging station, so soldiers’ phones can be charged, and they can communicate with their families. However, the stress is particularly high for families with brothers, sons, and husbands now on active reserve duty. The community, though, is there for them as well. Those living in Neve Daniel (where 25 fathers are now on duty and away from home) started a Google doc matching families’ needs and volunteers to help with babysitting, suppers, and assistance. “Everyone,” says Miriam, “from Haifa to Eilat is sending things to the army and the soldiers. The whole en-
Rocket fire has unfortunately become the new reality
tire country is involved in this amazing chessed.” Dudu Fischer, for one, went to an army base to sing “Am Yisrael Chai”; soldiers joined him and danced. Miriam watched a group cheering on soldiers on the highway to keep their spirits up and show the people’s solidarity with them. “This is the caliber of the people here,” she says. “We’re stoic. We won’t knuckle under.” A call over the Dapei Katom (the Orange Pages, a website specifically set up to help Israel during this time) for pizza for soldiers raised money within four days. These 1,500 pies came from pizzerias in the Negev, from stores that, during these trying times, do not have active customer traffic. Carmei Chessed, a Chareidi organization based in Beitar, has adopted military units with soldiers from lowincome families. The organization is providing food, furniture, and funding to their families. Sadly, twenty-seven soldiers have been killed, one has been possibly taken by Hamas, and many have been injured. Two of those killed were Americans or lone soldiers. In true chessed shel emes, the Haifa soccer team posted a note to its fans and network asking everyone to attend these soldiers’ funerals because most of the lone soldiers’ friends and family live in the United States.
Bonds vs. Bombs: K’Ish Echad, B’Lev Echad
One of the world’s most powerful forces is achdus. Now, in bomb shelters, neighbors from different walks of life are meeting and becoming closer. These bonds create further achdus within the Jewish community, bonds that will hopefully remain in times of peace.
Of course, the reality of the war is sobering and daunting. The Hamas tunnel network is sophisticated and troubling, with exits close to yishuvim in the Negev. Video footage shows children in Gaza sitting and singing alongside a rocket launcher as it sends a rocket into Israel. And Hamas tells its people—who are forewarned by the Israeli army about bombing (imagine an army telling people to leave so they and their families will be safe!)—to stay in the line of fire in order to influence world public relations.
Americans and Anxiety: Putting Things in Perspective
Those of us in the United States feel deeply about the war in Israel. The distance and the minute-by-minute news stream, coupled with the news from Iran and Russia, can provoke anxiety and uncertainty. But, counsels Dr. Huppert, “it’s never helpful to be anxious.” We need to put things in perspective for ourselves and our children. “Yes, times like these seem like there are changes all around the world. At the same time, there are always ways of looking for optimism.” The present is full of unknowns. But the best thing people can do is figure out what we would tell our children to calm them. These words, says Dr. Huppert, can help adults calm themselves as well. And so, life in Israel continues k’ragil—with this new normal—because of Yad Hashem, Whose Hand guides all these missiles away from the people. “It’s nisim v’niflaot,” concludes Miriam. “Hashem is watching over us. May Hashem continue to watch over us TJH and our soldiers.” 1 Last name withheld for security purposes.
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You Gotta be
The following task involves several steps, but they are out of order. Arrange them so that a person who follows the steps exactly can perform the task. A procedure is needed to change all the red traffic lights in a small town to green, and vice versa. (Luckily there are no yellow lights in this town and also no lights that don’t work). Assume that you have a street map that shows the locations of all the lights. a) If all lights on your map are marked “done,” skip the next six statements. b) If the light is red, skip the next two statements. c) Turn the light red. d) Turn the light green. e) On your map, mark the light you just changed as “done” and go back to the first statement. f ) Find a light that is not marked “done” on your map, and check whether it is red or green. g) Skip the next statement. h) End. Answer on next page
Two tourists were driving through Wisconsin. As they were approaching the town of Oconomowoc, they started arguing about the pronunciation of the town’s name. They argued back and forth until they stopped for lunch. As they stood at the counter, one tourist asked Jimbo, who was proudly standing behind the counter. “Before we order, could you please settle an argument for us? Would you please pronounce where we are...very slowly? Jimbo leaned over the counter and answered, “Burrrrrrgerrrrrr Kiiiing.”
What They Really Do Accountant - Someone who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Auditor - Someone who arrives after the battle and bayonets all the wounded. Banker - A fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain. Economist - An expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.
Statistician - Someone who is good with numbers but lacks the personality to be an accountant. (What personality?) Programmer - Someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand. Lawyer - A person who writes a 10,000 word document and calls it a “brief.” Professor - One who talks in someone else’s sleep. Consultant - Someone who takes the watch off your wrist and tells you the time. Used Car Salesman - Someone who tells you why you should get the LX model but drives to work in his ‘97 Camry...and thinks that he could wear the same green tie from 1987 every day. It’s a classic!
27 69 79
Down 1. Big lights 3. “One small step for man…” 4. First popularly elected president in Russia’s thousand-year history 5. Painted “The Night Watch” 7. Explorer Edmund Hillary was first to climb this mountain 9. Name of the experimental atom bomb set off in 1945 in the New Mexico desert 12. Confection celebrated all month long 14. “What’s up, Doc?” Across 2. Roman emperor who July is named for 6. Second president to be assassinated 8. Most hated government agency; established by President Lincoln. 10. Headed the “26th of July” Movement 11. July’s birthstone 13. The airport from which Israel miraculously rescued its hijacked citizens in July 1976 15. Unincorporated territory of the U.S. 16. Country that celebrates its creation on July 1st Down 1. Fireworks 3. Neil Armstrong 4. Boris Yeltsin 5. Rembrandt 7. Mount Everest 9. Fat Boy 12. Ice Cream 14. Bugs Bunny
Across 2. Julius Caesar 6. James Garfield 8. IRS 10 Fidel Castro 11 Ruby 13. Entebbe 15. Puerto Rico 16. Canada Answer to riddle:
c) Turn the light red.
a) If all lights on your map are marked “done,” skip the next six statements.
g) Skip the next statement.
f ) Find a light that is not marked “done” on your map, and check whether it is red or green.
e) On your map, mark the light you just changed as “done” and go back to the first statement.
b) If the light is red, skip the next two statements.
d) Turn the light green.
G OT FU N N Y?
Comm Let the ission er dec Send your s tuff
to fivetow centerfold@ nsjewis hhome. com
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HOME JULY T HT HE ETHE J JE EWJEWISH LY 24, 2 4 ,2014 2014 WI SI SHHHHOOMME E nn JMUAY 2012
Compiled by Nate Davis
“Say What?” This week Donald Sterling told a Los Angeles judge that to keep control of the Clippers, he will sue the NBA until the day he dies. And by the looks of him, that day was four years ago. - Seth Myers Congrats to LeBron James who just announced that he and his wife are expecting their third child. When asked if he wants a boy or a girl, LeBron said he was currently reviewing his options and would let the media know when he made a decision. - Jimmy Fallon
The truth is that you just keep getting older. You take each stage at a time. If I got to this age it’s because I’ve lived a lot, that’s all. - Jose Aguinelo dos Santos of Brazil who experts believe is 126-years-old based on his recently discovered birth certificate
Today, Lay’s announced that cappuccino is one of the finalists for their new chip flavor contest. And if you think that sounds bad, wait until you try Starbucks’ new Sour Cream and Onion Latte. - Seth Myers
Officially, no. Unofficially? No comment. - The head of the Ukrainian rebels when asked by NBC News whether he was in contact with Russian authorities According to a new study, one in four Americans admits to not exercising at all. As a result, one in four Americans is actually TWO in four Americans. - Seth Myers To avoid being spied on by the NSA, Germany is considering using typewriters now to communicate so we can’t spy on them. Germany says they may even go further back and start using AOL accounts. – Conan O’Brien
Hamas attacks Israel: Not surprising. The New York Times attacks Israel: Also not surprising. Stop skewing facts. Stop the key omissions. Stop the anti-Israeli bias. - Text of a billboard put up opposite the New York Times building
Over the weekend, firefighters in Minnesota rescued a woman who had been stuck in quicksand for over 14 hours. So, not the quickest sand. - Seth Myers
Speaking of Obama, yesterday Congressman Raul Labrador said that impeaching President Obama isn’t a good idea, because, quote, “No one wants President Joe Biden.” And that’s when Biden realized why Obama picked him as a running mate. - Jimmy Fallon
Guns are welcome on premises. Please keep all weapons holstered unless need arises. In such cases, judicious marksmanship is appreciated. – A new sign posted on a Tennessee restaurant which owners say has caused business to spike She hasn’t asked me yet. - Bill Clinton when asked by CNN if Hillary is going to run for president
The fact is that in every fundamental issue of conflict today, the United States is in the center, leading, and trying to find an effort to make peace where peace is very difficult. – Secretary of State John Kerry on Meet the Press
It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. - President Obama speaking at a fundraiser in Delaware a few hours after Malaysia Airline Flight MH17 was shot out of the sky New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in Iowa campaigning at a big cookout because this is what you do if you want to be president. He’s out there all day telling people the hot dog line is closed for a traffic study. - David Letterman If you are attending this campaign cookout in Iowa, please, this is sort of like the running of the bulls in Pamplona. Do not get between the governor and the potato salad. - Ibid
I think Joe would be a superb president. – President Obama discussing Joe Biden in an interview with the New Yorker President Obama was giving an interview recently, and— get this—he said he thought that Joe Biden would be a good president. When asked why, he was like, “Because he’d make me look amazing.” - Jimmy Fallon
Today is the 30th anniversary of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which raised the drinking age to 21. Also turning 30 today: a 16-year-old boy, according to his fake ID. - Seth Myers
I heard that Rob Ford’s nephew is planning to run for a seat on the Toronto City Council. He has an interesting campaign slogan: “I’m adopted!” - Jimmy Fallon
President Obama said that his strategy for foreign policy is to be patient and determined. Which is also his strategy when it comes to Biden’s bedtime. - Jimmy Fallon
Great piece by former colleague Alyssa Mastromonaco who defines smart, savvy and fashionable http://wapo.st/Wlx9sE via @ washingtonpost. - Tweet by State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki about a fashion article, sent out hours after Flight MH17 was shot down
The Chicago Cubs have filed a lawsuit against a man who got into a bar fight while unofficially dressed as the team’s mascot. They could tell he wasn’t affiliated with the Cubs because he won. - Seth Myers
Pay it forward. My birthday present to me! – What a man wrote on his receipt after leaving a $1,000 tip for his waiter when celebrating his birthday with his wife in a restaurant in Albany
Abrupt changes to his schedule can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the American people or creating a false sense of crisis. - White House Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri explaining why President Obama went forward with a series of fundraisers this week while there are numerous foreign policy crises he should be dealing with
This week Dick Cheney called President Obama “the worst president of my lifetime.” Oh, come on, Obama may not be perfect, but there’s no way he’s worse than John Quincy Adams. - Seth Myers
It’s a [heck] of a pinpoint operation, it’s a [heck] of a pinpoint operation. We’ve got to get over there. Thank you John. I think, John, we ought to go tonight. I think it’s crazy to be sitting around. - Secretary of State John Kerry “accidentally” caught on an open mic in Fox’s studio while waiting to go on the air, criticizing Israel in a “private” phone conversation with a deputy
This week, our pal Rob Ford faced off against his four challengers in a debate for Toronto mayor. His opponents were, of course, pretty critical of his performance, but Ford said, “Hey, my record slurs for itself.” - Jimmy Fallon
When this story broke I ran back into the newsroom and saw how we were covering it already and I just knew I had to go… It was the total disregard to the facts. I didn’t want to watch a story like that where people have lost loved ones and we’re handling it like that. I couldn’t do it anymore; we’re lying every single day. Every single day we’re lying and finding [more creative] ways to do it. - A Russian TV anchor explaining why she quit in the aftermath of the Malaysia Airline crash of Flight MH17 I just saw that minor league baseball players have filed a class-action lawsuit to demand better pay — as opposed to the OTHER way they could get better pay: being better at baseball. - Jimmy Fallon
JULY 24, 2014
I had an interpreter, and when he was showing me his office, I said, “It’s amazing what capitalism will do, won’t it? A magnificent office!” And he laughed…I said, “Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul.”…And he looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, “We understand one another.” This is who this guy is. – Joe Biden in an interview with the New Yorker discussing a visit with Russian President Vladimir Putin
A federal judge ruled yesterday that California’s version of the death penalty is unconstitutional. Apparently the difference is California’s version has avocado on it. - Seth Myers
The missiles that are now being launched against Israel, each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets. - Ibrahim Khraishi, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, explaining in a Palestinian Authority TV interview last week why dragging Israel before the International Criminal Court on accusations of war crimes would not work
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There are reports that Amazon is coming out with a new service for the Kindle that will be like a Netflix for books. You can look at a bunch of different books but you don’t have to buy them. Or, as Barnes & Noble calls that, “our business model.” - Jimmy Fallon
President Kennedy said let’s put a man on the moon, and by G-d, 10 years later, we put a man on the moon. Yesterday was the 45th anniversary. Nowadays, a big deal for us is that we combined the croissant and the doughnut to get a cronut. – David Letterman
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Yesterday, Iran asked the U.S. for an extension on disabling their nuclear program. When asked how much time they needed, they said, “10, 9, 8...” - Seth Myers
Gaza’s Forgotten Jewish Past By Dale Rosen
Considering recent headlines, it’s hard to imagine that the Gaza Strip, a coastal region of modern Israel plagued by conflict and Islamic extremism, was not always the Jewish no-man’s land that it is today. In fact, Jews had a significant presence and rich culture in Gaza that dates to Biblical times. Gazan Jews out-lasted many empires throughout the centuries until they were evicted in the Disengagement of 2005 under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. This article will outline the course of Gaza’s Jewish history, providing a glimpse into one of the most under-appreciated and politically relevant chapters of our past. Gaza (called Azza in Hebrew) is first mentioned in the Tanakh by name as one of the five main Philistine cities. The Philistines (also called Kaftorim in the Tanakh) had conquered the land from the Avvites (Devarim 2:23) who had made Gaza an important administrative center. Gaza is best known in the Tanakh as the place where Shimshon performed his heroic feats of strength and where he was later betrayed and killed. Gaza was given to the Israelites and added to the territory of the tribe of Yehuda (see Yehoshua 15:47, Shoftim 1:18 and 2 Melakhim 18:5-8). While the political borders of Gaza have changed since Biblical times, many argue that most, if not all, of modern-day Gaza is indeed part of Biblical Israel. In fact, the renowned authority Rabbi Yaakov Emden wrote “Gaza and its environs are absolutely considered part of the Land of Israel, without a doubt. There is no doubt that it is a mitzvah to live there, as in any part of the Land of Israel.” (Mor U’ketziyah) As for the Philistines, most scholars argue that they are long extinct as a people and thus bear no relation to the modern-day Palestinians. After David’s defeat of Goliath and the subsequent downfall of the Philistines, Gaza entered a long period of political turmoil. The Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, and Ptolemean Greeks all laid claim to Gaza. Notably, Gaza City was the only city that resisted Alexander the Great’s army. Though the land was awarded to the Children of Israel in the time of Yehoshua ben Nun, Gaza didn’t come into the possession of the Jews until centuries later in 145 B.C.E. during the Hasmonean civil war. The conquest of Gaza came at the hands of Judah HaMaccabi’s brother King Yochanan the Hasmonean 22 years after Judah and his warriors claimed victory over the Greek pagan king Antiochus Epiphanies. After the Roman invasion, Em-
peror Augustus gave the town to the infamous King Herod. However, the Roman governor Gabinius made Gaza an exclusively Roman city in 61 C.E. and expelled the Jews. Jewish forces briefly held the
mentions slavery in Gaza in Amos 1:6-7). In the 4th century, Jews returned to Gaza and made it a thriving commercial port and point of entry for Jews coming to the Holy Land.
Jewish community declined until the Ottoman empire took over Gaza, along with the rest of Eretz Yisrael. During the Ottoman period, several notable Jewish figures made Gaza
Later in 635 C.E., the Romans (now called the Byzantines) were defeated by the conquering Arab army and the region was added to the Islamic empire. Gaza was held by the Crusaders in the early 12th century until it fell once again to the Muslims at the hands of Saladin. The
their home. For example, we have Rabbi Yisrael Najara who served as Gaza’s Chief Rabbi and chief of the city’s beis din. He also wrote many beautiful poems and hymns including the famous Zemiros Yisrael and Kah Ribbon Olam which are now key parts of our tefillos. Another import-
THE JEWISH HOME
JULY 24, 2014
Collection of Qassam Rockets fired at Sderot
town in the great revolt of 67-70 C.E. but were finally defeated by Rome. The later defeat of Bar Kokhba’s Second Jewish Revolt in 135 C.E. left the Jewish population in ruins with many sent to the Gazan slave markets (the Tanakh
31 THE JEWISH HOME JULY 24, 2014
ant Gazan was the Moroccan-born Rabbi Avraham Azulai, a famous Kabbalistic author who wrote Chesed le-Avraham. The Jews of Gaza suffered another brief setback when the French, with the help of the local Arab population, invaded in 1799 and set about persecuting the Jewish community. All went well after that until August 1929 when Arab riots killed an estimated 135 Jews. As a result the British administration expelled the small Jewish population from Gaza both for their “pro-
The forced evacuation of Kfar Darom
Menorah engraving, Great Mosque of Gaza
tection” and to appease Arab sentiments. Despite British wishes though, a few Jews returned and established Kfar Darom, the first modern settlement, in 1946. This settlement didn’t last very long as Egyptian forces conquered Gaza City and the newly created Gaza Strip during the War of Independence in 1948. The Egyptian occupation was made offi-
cial as stipulated in the 1949 Armistice Agreement and many Arabs from the rest of Israel moved to Gaza during this period. Egyptian rule in Gaza lasted until the SixDay War of 1967 when it was liberated by Israeli forces. The settlement movement began with the re-establishment of Kfar Darom in 1970 and expanded greatly over the next three decades. Before the 2005 Disengagement, there were a total of 21 Gazan settlements including the huge 17-settlement bloc of Gush Katif on the southern coast. The Oslo Accords of 1993 preceded the Disengagement with Israel handing over control of some parts of Gaza to the PLO.
The settlements sustained heavy rocket fire in the Second Intifada but still persisted. With the Disengagement plan, a total of 1,700 Jewish families were expelled at a cost of almost $900 million. These families included farmers who contributed millions to the Israeli economy every year. Many of the families were forced to live in refugee camps for several years and their lives were greatly disrupted. Meanwhile, Hamas and Palestinian mobs looted settlements and bulldozed shuls with police looking on. A museum in the Mahane Yehuda Market section of Jerusalem commemorates the way of life that was tragically lost in the Disengagement. As of now, there are no Jews living in Gaza and most, if not all, physical ev-
idence of Gaza’s Jewish history has been destroyed. Some of this physical evidence includes a mosaic depicting David written in Hebrew found on the shore of Gaza’s harbor in 1965 by the Egyptian Antiquities Authority. Another notable discovery attesting to the Jews’ millennia-old presence in Gaza is an ancient shul, excavated by an Israeli archaeologist in 1967, that dates back to the 6th century C.E. Ironically, researchers also found a Talmudic-era relief on a pillar of the Great Mosque of Gaza depicting a shofar, menorah, and lulav. Tradition states that this mosque was the original site of the pagan Philistine temple which Shimshon destroyed. In addition to the numerous verses in the Tanakh, these and other archaeological finds provide proof of a Jewish presence in Gaza dating back to at least 1500 B.C.E. (Sources: Jewish Virtual Library, Jewish Encyclopedia, Victor Sharpe writing for American Thinker, Gary Fitleberg writing for Israel National News)
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The Downing of Flight MH17 and its Global Consequences BY SUSAN SCHWAMM
Thursday, disaster struck once again as passengers on a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane, flight MH17, were
the victims of tragedy.
298 people on the jet
were killed over eastern Ukraine as it flew over the region that is controlled by pro-Russia rebels. Initially, the death toll was set at 295. Later it was learned that three infants were on the plane as well. 189 passengers were from the Netherlands. 44 were from Malaysia and 27 were from Australia. The 298 victims were from 10 different nations. WHO SHOT DOWN THE PLANE? When news of the tragedy broke, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of the attack and said Ukraine “bears responsibility” for the crash because the plane was brought down in the country. “This tragedy would not have happened, if there had been peace on that land or in any case if military operations in southeastern Ukraine had not been renewed,” Putin charged. But Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the downing an act of terrorism and called for an international investigation into the crash. He insisted that his forces did not shoot down the plane. The government of Ukraine said in a statement on Thursday afternoon that it has evidence that the Russian military was involved in the crash. On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States also believes that Rus-
sia is involved. “We have a video showing a launcher moving back through a particular area there, out into Russia, with at least one missing missile on it,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union. Ultimately, it seems that although Russia didn’t actually fire the missile that brought down the twinjet, it certainly is behind the attack. Most evidence points to the Russia-backed separatist rebels in Donetsk province as being behind the attack using a Russian-made Buk ground-to-air missile system. The Donetsk People’s Republic has denied their involvement, although recent events make it hard to believe they were not behind the attack. Rebels have shot down multiple planes in the region in the past month. Airlines were warned not to fly over the region because of the conflict. As of last month, separatists in Donetsk received a set of the Buk system, making it possible to shoot down higher-
flying aircraft. When Flight 17 left Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur, it flew over eastern Ukraine, a common route for international carriers. Because of the conflict in the region, Eurocontrol, the agency responsible for coordinating European airspace, said Ukrainian authorities had closed airspace in the region below 32,000 feet, but it was open at the altitude Flight 17 was flying—33,000 feet. After Flight MH17 was shot down, social media posts by pro-Russian insurgents show them reveling in the attack, thinking that they shot down a Ukrainian military plane. The VK social networking page of Igor Strelkov, “defense minister” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, first announced: “We just downed an An-26 near [the town of] Torez.” The An-26 is the aircraft used by the Ukrainian army. The post continued, “And here is a video confirming
Alexander Borodai, the self-proclaimed prime minister of the Donetsk People's Republic
that a ‘bird fell.’” Once the rebels realized that their missile shot down a passenger jet, their Twitter and social media messages were hastily taken down. But they weren’t taken down fast enough. Screenshots of their excited messages were disseminated across the internet. Additionally, the Ukrainska Pravda news site later posted an audio recording of what it claimed were field communications between rebels and a Russian agent. “We just downed a plane,” the rebel purportedly said. Alexander Yurevich Borodai, the self-proclaimed prime minister of Donetsk People’s Republic, is now denying any involvement in the downing of the plane. In an interview with CNN on Monday, Borodai told the reporter, “All information that comes from the internet are all lies” when asked about the deleted tweets and blogs. He also insisted, “We can only crash low flying targets” and refused to acknowledge a relationship with Mother Russia, telling the reporter to talk to the Kremlin regarding their relationship. WHO IS ALEXANDER BORODAI? With the downing of the plane, the Donetsk People’s Republic has been thrust into the international spotlight. Borodai is the face of the pro-Russian separatists who have been fighting for independence from Ukraine in Donetsk, which is located in eastern Ukraine. Borodai has a degree in philosophy from Moscow State University and was appointed to the post by the republic’s Supreme Council on May 16. Not too long ago, he was working as a consultant for an investment fund in Moscow. Now, according to Borodai, he commands hundreds of fighters from Russia. He says he came to Ukraine out of a surge of patriotism and a desire to help Russian-speaking individuals protect their rights in Ukraine. Even so, the 42-year-old insists he is not a government worker. “I’m an ordinary citizen of Russia,” he professes. “A lot of people from Russia are coming to help these people. I am one of them,” he was quoted as saying. When asked by NBC News whether he was in con-
tact with Russian authorities, Borodai replied, “Officially, no.” Unofficially? “No comment,” he said. According to the New York Times, in Russia, Borodai is a known quantity. He comes from a group of ultranationalists who were part of the far-right Zavtra newspaper in the 1990s. Their pan-Slavic ideas, aiming for the unity of Slavic peoples, were considered marginal at the time. But they have now moved into the mainstream, helping formulate the worldview of today’s Kremlin, said Oleg Kashin, a Russian investigative journalist who has written extensively about Borodai. “He’s the Karl Rove of Russian imperialism,” said Irena Chalupa, a fellow at the Atlantic Council. “HUMANITY” The wreckage of Flight MH17 spans several miles, indicative of an in-air explosion. As of Sunday, international workers had not yet been to the site—which is controlled by the rebels—although Borodai insisted that they will be given full access once they come to the site. The leader says that he located the plane’s black boxes but declined to disclose their color on Monday—they’re usually bright orange for easy detection. He said he will hand them over to the International Civil Aviation Organization once they arrive at the region. Ostensibly, Borodai is wary about handing them over to the Ukrainians. “We don’t trust them, as they may tamper with the devices, swap them and prevent investigation.” In the early hours of Tuesday, Borodai eventually handed over two black boxes to Malaysian experts. “Here they are, the black boxes,” Borodai told a room packed with journalists at the headquarters of his selfproclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic as an armed rebel placed the boxes on a desk. Both sides then signed a document, which Borodai said was a protocol to finalize the procedure after lengthy talks with the Malaysians. “I can see that the black boxes are intact, although a bit damaged…in good condition,” Colonel Mohamed Sakri of the Malaysian National Security
Council said in extending his thanks to “His Excellency Mr. Borodai” for passing on the recorders. Besides the black boxes, the rebels also removed the bodies that were found at the crash site. According to Borodai, they did this to be “humane.” But some wonder if humanity is really on the rebels’ minds. There have been reports of rebels stealing bank cards and going through possessions of the deceased. The bodies were left in the sun, and loved ones of those who were killed are wracked with pain as they know that their relatives’ corpses are being stacked in refrigerated train cars. Borodai denied forcing emergency workers by gunpoint to hand over the bodies that were recovered. “We have already refused to wait for the experts and had to start clearing the bodies from the scene of the event, because waiting longer was contradictory to what it means to be humane,” he said. Borodai has said that he wants to hand over the remains to relatives after “experts” examine them. And relatives are anxious to bury their loved ones with the respect they deserve. “I want the bodies,” Selena Fredriksz sobbed at a memorial at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Sunday. Her son, 23-year-old Bryce, was one of the passengers on the plane. “They can have anything, but the bodies have to come back. Take their iPhones, take their money, take everything,” she implored. Despite being unable to give their loved ones proper burials, relatives of those who perished in the crash were shocked when a Sky News reporter was shown on-air rummaging through an open suitcase lying among debris at the crash site. Realizing his faux pas, correspondent Colin Brazier said, “We shouldn’t really be doing this, I suppose.” But despite his halfhearted attempt at an apology for his callousness, the damage had already been done. A barrage of messages on social media highlighted Brazier’s segment as “sickening” and “disrespectful.” Early Tuesday, Borodai said a train carrying the remains of the victims had reached Donetsk. It was on its way to Kharkiv, some 300 kilometers northwest. The Malaysian experts and a Dutch delegation also on
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The bodies of the victims were loaded onto trains for transport by pro-Russia rebels The black boxes are handed over to investigators by members of the Donestk People's Republic
site in Donetsk will travel along with it, he said. Later on Tuesday, the train finally reached its destination at Kharkiv. Despite assurances from Malaysian officials and Ukrainian separatist leaders that 282 bodies and the parts of 16 others were placed onboard the train, a Dutch forensics official in Kharkiv, Jain Tuinder, was quoted by the BBC as saying that only 200 bodies were on the train and that another search for more remains would be required. “We will not leave until every remain has left this country so we will have to go on and bargain again with the people over there,” he was quoted as saying. Ester Naber, a Dutch police spokeswoman, said that the victims’ bodies would be placed in new body bags and then into wooden coffins and will be flown to the Netherlands starting on Wednesday. Once they have been identified, the bodies will be returned to their awaiting relatives, a process that Naber says “could take weeks or even months depending on the state of the bodies.” THE INVESTIGATION When will international investigators gain access to the site? That remains up in the air. On Monday morning, a U.N. Security Council meeting ended with Australia introducing a resolution that called for a swift international investigation. “There’s no doubt that at the moment the site is under the control of the Russian-backed rebels. And given the almost certain culpability of the Russian-backed rebels in the downing of the aircraft, having those people in control of the site is a little like leaving criminals in control of a crime scene,” Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott said. Russia, which has veto power as a permanent member of the council, wanted a modified resolution to the investigation—conveniently leaving out Ukraine from any investigation. Eventually, the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution demanding international access to the site of the plane downed over eastern Ukraine and an end to military activities around the area following intense pressure on a reluctant Russia to support the measure.
The resolution calls for a “full, thorough and independent international investigation” into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. It calls for pro-Russia separatists to allow access to the site of the crash. And it demands that armed groups who control the crash site do not disturb debris, belongings or victims’ remains. In an effort to assuage Russia’s concerns about Ukrainian involvement, the International Civil Aviation Organization will take the lead in the investigation. “I hope that Russia will now feel its responsibility, act on its responsibility. If it doesn’t, it’s going to have an increasingly isolated position in the international world,” said Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, who traveled to New York for the Security Council meeting. On Tuesday, CBC’s Susan Ormiston reported seeing three investigators from Malaysia Airlines combing through the wreckage. “We sometimes forget this is their plane, and this is their accident investigation,” Ormiston said. More aviation experts are expected to arrive in the coming days. There have been major concerns that the site has been comprised, with those saying that rebels have moved or taken pieces of debris. According to Ormiston, who has been reporting from the crash site, many large pieces of debris, including the cockpit, appear to have been cut apart so bits could be removed. “This is a real laboratory of clues and evidence,” she said. But “this is not the crash scene it was last Thursday.” Despite concerns of tampering, experts say that it would take true sophistication on behalf of the rebels to create a scene that would hamper the investigation. “Once you found some evidence like big holes in the side of an airplane, which indicates a rocket has gone off near it, you’re not that interested in finding the timing mechanism of the rocket,” Phil Giles, who worked in Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch and was part of the Lockerbie bombing investigation team, said. Experts hope that by the time they visit the site, enough evidence will be there to piece together the whole story.
THE FUTURE OF MALAYSIAN AIRLINES Flight 17 was shot down just four months after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished in the Indian Ocean with 239 passengers onboard. The aircraft is still missing; most have given up hope for the retrieval of the plane and those who lost their lives. So what will be of Malaysia Airlines? Some don’t think that the airline will be able to survive the tragedies. “The outlook is very dire,” says Mohshin Aziz, an aviation analyst at Kuala Lumpur-based Maybank. The airline, he fears, “won’t be able to survive beyond the year in its current form.” The next months could prove humbling for an airline that had grand ambitions. The Malaysian government had high hopes that its national carrier would be able to compete with the region’s best, and invested much money and emotion into building it. But despite all that was invested in the airline, Malaysia Airlines got badly squeezed in the fiercely contested Asian airline industry. It wasn’t able to compete with budget carrier AirAsia and premier airlines like Singapore Airlines and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific. As a result, the company has been bleeding for years. Management has tried cutting costs and improving service to turn around the airline’s fortune, but such efforts were making only minimal progress. The obvious concern is that passengers will be scared to fly the doomed airline and that management will have to discount tickets to lure flyers—either way, the airline will be losing revenue. That could push the airline’s fragile finances to the breaking point, causing “the ticking time bomb to explode,” says Daniel Tsang, founder of consultancy Aspire Aviation in Hong Kong. There are options for the airline to take to stay solvent, but all are equally unsavory. Mohshin believes that Malaysia Airlines will have to greatly shrink its business, perhaps eradicating most of the international routes it flies, to focus on the more profitable parts of the operations. “It will never get back to the large size it was before,” he says. “The sooner they accept that fact, the better off they will be.” Additionally, Tsang says that bankruptcy proceeding would be a “pretty good option” for Malaysia Airlines.
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Pro-Russia rebels survey the crash site
What happens next ultimately depends on the Malaysian government. A state-controlled investment fund owns a majority of the shares in the carrier’s parent company, and that makes the future of Malaysia Airlines a political issue. If Malaysia Airlines manages to streamline its operations, it may live to fly another day. “The restructuring will be painful for a lot of people,” Tsang points out. “But a phoenix can rise from ashes.” THE FACES OF FLIGHT 17 298 people lost their lives caught in a conflict between two neighboring countries. Each person onboard the flight that fateful day last week was a member of a family and had a mother, a father, cousins and relatives. They each had their own hopes and dreams, their future ahead of them. 189 victims were Dutch citizens. 44 were from Malaysia—including 15 members of the crew and 2 infants. 27 were from Australia; 12 were from Indonesia; 10 were from the United Kingdom, including one dual UK/South African citizen; four were from Germany; four were from Belgium, three were from the Philippines; one was from Canada; and one was from New Zealand. Included in the Dutch toll was the lone American who had dual Dutch-U.S. citizenship. Sanjid Singh Sandu was a flight attendant onboard the flight who switched his flight at the last minute so he could get home early. Sadly, he never made it home. In an ironic twist, Sandu’s wife, Beegeok Tan, also a flight attendant, switched flights and escaped death by not flying on the doomed MH370 flight four months ago. “Fate has played a very unfair hand against us,” Sandu’s father said. Many onboard were on their way to an International AIDS Conference in Australia. Included in that group was Joep Lange who was a pioneer in HIV research and a former president of the International AIDS Society, which organizes the conference. “He was a real hard-core scientist, but on the other hand, he really had the heart of an activist,” said Albert Wu, professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Lange “was one of the first people to advocate
spreading HIV medications to Africa,” Wu said. At the time, the medication wasn’t being delivered because of refrigeration problems. “He said, ‘If Coca-Cola can deliver cold beverages to Africa, why can’t we deliver HIV medication?’ And he helped make it happen,” Wu recalled. Aside for the many individuals who were either flying solo or with a companion, whole families were wiped out as well. The Wals family of the Netherlands was on their way to a summer vacation in Kuala Lumpur but they never made it there. Parents Jeroen and Nicole and their four children, 17-year-old Brett, 15-year-old Jinte, 13-year-old Amel, and 9-year old Solenn, all perished in the attack. Nick Norris and his three grandchildren, Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin, died together on Thursday. “The fact that he was with his grandchildren right to the end, caring for his family, is perhaps a way of looking at the strength that he brought to things,” said his nephew, Matt Jones. Jones said his uncle, who was taking the children to their parents, was a family man, former army officer and owner of a consulting firm. “Nick himself was an inspirational hero to so many people, a storyteller and natural leader,” he said. But the loss of his three grandchildren – Mo, 12, Evie, 10, and Otis, 8 – “is the real heart of this tragedy, a stealing of such innocent life,” Jones said. Cor Schilder and Neeltje Tol were flying together on Flight 17. Ironically, before takeoff, Schilder posted a picture of the plane on his Facebook page with the words: “In case it goes missing, this is what the plane looks like,” referencing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Sadly, those words were prophetic as they both perished in the blast. Bryce Fredriks and Daisy Oehlers were using their vacation as a means to escape and relax. A few months ago, Daisy’s mother passed away. “I paid their tickets to give them four weeks holiday to find their happiness again,” Bryce’s mother, Silena Fredriks, said. She implored the rebels to return their bodies to their native Netherlands. “I want to put my son … and Daisy together again here,” she said. “They have to be
buried together. They died together…They have to be together forever.” “They can have everything, but the bodies have to come back,” the broken mother cried. WHAT WILL BE? Now that the U.N. Security Council has demanded access to the crash site, an investigation into what took place that fateful Thursday will commence. If investigators determine that the plane was shot down by rebels using a Russian-supplied missile – or by the Russians themselves – President Vladimir Putin will have two choices. Neither one is pretty. If Putin rejects the conclusions by investigators and stands by the rebels, he risks becoming a pariah on the international stage. 298 people from 10 different nations lost their lives in this vicious attack. The West might also hit Russia with even tougher economic sanctions, enough to cripple its economy and send it into a recession, says Professor Daniel Treisman. On the other hand, Putin can sever ties with the rebels but that too can present problems for the Russian leader—albeit on a national level. “A relentless barrage of propaganda has convinced many Russians that their co-ethnics in Donetsk and Luhansk are being massacred by troops commanded by a fascist regime in Kiev,” said Treisman, who teaches political science at the University of California and who authored the book, The Return: Russia’s Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev. “For Putin to bow to international pressure and abandon his former charges would look like cowardice.” As someone whose every move appears to be for the purpose of looking tough, Putin may not have the reaction that a more humble spirit would have in this situation. In his eyes, the loss of 298 individuals is likely petty collateral damage in his grand scheme of aggrandizing Russia by annexing portions (or all of) the Ukraine. If history is our teacher, many more lives will be lost in the region for the purpose of manufacturing Russian pride, yet the result will undoubtedly be TJH Russian ruin.
Skiing Cross Country in Antarctica
A Dutch cyclist escaped death twice— by switching his tickets last minute after he was scheduled to fly on both Malaysian Airlines’ doomed flights, MH370 on March 8 and MH17 last Thursday. He tweeted about his fortunate change of plans and since then has been inundated with media requests to speak about his double miracle. Maarten de Jonge, a 29-year-old rider for the Terengganu team in Malaysia, said, “I’m frankly overwhelmed by the number of requests,” de Jonge said. “What has happened is terrible, so many victims, that’s a horrible thing. From reverence for the victims and their families, I do not think it [is] appropriate to tell my story.” Officials say 298 people — 189 of them Dutch citizens — were killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was struck by a surface-to-air missile along the Russia-Ukraine border. While de Jonge said he is “happy” he decided not to take the flight at “the last moment,” his story “is ultimately nothing compared to the misery so many people are [experiencing]. Attention should be paid to the victims and survivors. Wishing everyone affected by this disaster a lot of strength.” The cyclist was planning to travel back to Kuala Lumpur on Flight MH17 on July 17 after competing in last month’s National Championship Road Race in the Netherlands, but he decided to save money by flying through Frankfurt instead. He was also scheduled to take the March 8 MH370 flight from Kuala Lumpur but switched his ticket to avoid a stopover. The flight disappeared from radar and has yet to be found. “I could have taken that one just as easily,” de Jonge pointed out. “It’s inconceivable. I am very sorry for the passengers and their families, yet I am very pleased I’m unharmed.” According to his website, de Jonge, who finished 35th at the Dutch cycling event, was still planning to fly to Malaysia via Frankfurt on Sunday. Ever the optimist, the biker said, “I have been lucky twice. You should try not
Getting across a continent by yourself is never easy. Doing it in bad weather is even worse. Doing it in severe snowstorms in the continent of Antarctica is really almost impossible. But British explorer Felicity Aston was determined to do all by herself— and boy, did she pull it off! Aston got off a plane with only a pair of Nordic skis, a satellite phone, and two heavy sledges filled with food and supplies. In her bid to become the first solo skier to cross Antarctica using only her own muscle power, Aston had to face unrelenting blizzards, fierce windstorms, and her own fears. She made it safely to the other side in just two months. Aston is a pioneer for female athletes and explorers, but facing an unforgiving landscape and extreme isolation also transformed her personally. Aston recently described how the expedition made her reevaluate her confidence. She recalled, “The experience gave me so much more confidence; this whole idea that if you just keep going in life, everything will be OK. If you really believe that you can handle whatever life throws at you, and you will find your way through, it makes you much more confident.”
Pass the Present Around
Hey, it’s my birthday; I’m gonna party, it’s my birthday…And I’m going to be giving out presents. You heard that right. A patron in a diner left a present for his waiter because it was his birthday. The present? A whopping $1,000 tip—on a bill that was just $113! On the receipt, the birthday boy wrote: “Pay it forward. My birthday present to me!” after leaving with his wife in a limousine.
Selfie Seals Suspect’s Fate This new trend of posting countless selfies at all hours of the day is getting to be a little irritating and for some, incriminating as well. Police had been investigating the theft of clothing and jewelry from Mortie’s Boutique, a southern Illinois boutique. But they hadn’t found the culprit until she showed herself wearing the evidence. Danielle Saxton, 27, was arrested after she posted photos of herself wearing an unusual dress that matched the description of the stolen items. She was arrested on misdemeanor theft charges. Authorities confirmed that the distinctive leopard-print dress was among the items stolen July 11 from the shop. The store’s co-owner, Kert Williams, posted news of the stolen items on Face-
book in the hope to track the items. Saxton captioned her incriminating photo “Love my dress,” but she should have captioned it “Love my stolen dress” because followers who saw Williams’ posting and those of Saxton quickly made the connection and tipped off police. The dress ended up being a giveaway for the getaway thief.
Ball Girl Blunder
Ball girls don’t usually get that much attention unless their reactions are so priceless that it becomes newsworthy. The ball girl stationed in the right field of Fenway Park in Boston on Friday night got to be part of the action for a split-second, until she realized that…she ruined the action! Kansas City Royals’ slugger Eric Hosmer hit a ground ball that was fair by the skin of its teeth and then bounced into foul territory. As millions of people watched, the ball girl fielded the ball without realizing that it had crossed over first base in fair territory, interfering with a live play. Big mess up! The kind that makes you want to run away and lock yourself in your room for a few days until the repercussions blow over. But instead, this girl innocently dropped the ball and calmly moved away from the evidence hoping that none of the players, umpires, or 37,743 fans noticed. Of course, that didn’t slide and the girl gave a “I-can’t-believe-that-just-happenedon-national-TV, this-is-so-embarrassing, I’m- going-to-need-to-dye-my-hair-andwear-sunglasses-that-cover-half-my-facefor-the-rest-of-my-life” kind of look. As a result of the blunder, Hosmer was awarded a ground-rule double and Omar Infante, who was running from first base on the play, was only awarded third base, although the umpires had the option of giving him home as well if they felt he could have rounded the bases. Lucky for the ball girl, this small slip-up didn’t really change the outcome of the game since the next two batters followed with singles allowing the two runners to score. Truth be told, it was almost impossible not to feel sorry for the young girl whose 15 seconds of fame quickly went viral. Her endearingly honest reaction is sure to become a favorite in the Hall of Fame for most awkward moments. Perhaps she would be better off selling
JULY 24, 2014
A Double Miracle
The waiter, Michael Shafts, had inquired about a special bottle of wine the birthday couple ordered. “He told me it was a 47-year-old bottle of Amarone and that he was celebrating his 47th birthday,” she said. “I wished him a happy birthday, then it was back to business as usual and I went to chat with a regular outside,” the lucky server recalled. Later, manager Julie Byron noticed the couple leaving in a limousine and bid them farewell. Upon returning inside, she was greeted by a wide-eyed Shafts, who presented his open billfold to her with the $1,000 tip written out. “I did a double-take,” she said. “Everybody was very excited. It’s thrilling and it’s especially unusual for something like that to happen in the capitol district” of Albany. Because of the “pay it forward” message inscribed on the receipt, Byron and Shafts spoke at length about how he would use the money afterward. But his colleagues didn’t have to wait too long to find out. “When he returned to work on Saturday night, he had envelopes of money for all of the staff, both front-of-house and back-ofhouse that had been working with him on Wednesday night,” Byron said. “When all was said and done, he divvied up more than half.” Byron also noted that returning the good deed wasn’t out of character for her employee. “He’s a very hardworking young man,” she said of Shafts, who works full time at Sunmark Federal Credit Union, pulls three part-time shifts a week at The Ginger Man restaurant and has a side business repairing iPhones, according to Byron. “I always tell him that he’s my favorite. He’s honestly a great guy and it couldn’t have happened to a better person,” she said. It’s never too early—or late—to celebrate a birthday!
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to worry too much because then you won’t get anywhere.”
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peanuts and Cracker Jacks than fielding balls.
Police Pizza Prank
cops that after receiving the order, they placed a confirmation call to the number and Harp “answered as Captain Wilson” when he spoke to the Domino’s employee. The Kentuckian, who had originally faced only misdemeanor counts, was hit with additional charges, including felony identity theft and impersonating a police officer.
The Legos Have Landed When’s the worst time to play a prank on police officers? When they already have you locked behind bars. But a Kentucky man forgot that police may have heard of caller ID and is now paying the price for his practical joke. Already in police custody for shoplifting and public intoxication, Michael Harp, 29, thought it would be a good idea to place a prank phone call on his arresting officer. After being collared, Harp asked for permission to use his cellphone, a request that was granted. Shortly after Harp made a call, a Domino’s delivery worker arrived at the precinct with five pepperoni pizzas that had been supposedly ordered by Captain Coy Wilson, the cop who had earlier arrested Harp. Since Wilson was on the phone when the order arrived, patrolman Jeff Hill (who was unaware of the prank) went ahead and paid $40 for the pizzas, according to a criminal citation. But soon the pizza prank was uncovered and officers were not amused. They quickly linked the pizza order to Harp’s phone. A Domino’s worker told
Unbelievably, for the past 17 years, hundreds of Lego pieces have been washing up on the shores of Cornwall, England, to the delight of mystified beachgoers. Interestingly, this is not a new global warming phenomenon. There is a rhyme and reason behind the playthings’ landing on the beach. On Feb. 13, 1997, a shipping container filled with nearly 5 million Lego pieces was thrown into the sea when the ship carrying them, the New York-bound Tokio Express, was struck by a huge wave. In all, 62 containers were lost overboard some 20 miles offshore, the BBC reports. According to Tracey Williams, a
British writer who launched a Facebook page, Lego Lost at Sea, to document the Lego discoveries, most of the 4.8 million pieces were nautical-themed: scuba gear, seagrass and spear guns among the plastic dragons and daisies. Talk about ironic. “These days the holy grail is an octopus or a dragon,” Williams told the BBC. “I only know of three octopuses being found — and one was by me — in a cave in Challaborough, Devon. It’s quite competitive. If you heard that your neighbor had found a green dragon, you’d want to go out and find one yourself.” Williams, who founded a local beach-cleaning group, says shipwrecked Lego bits wash up daily. And her Facebook page is littered with Lego findings. On Monday in Perranporth, a Lego scuba tank washed ashore. According to the cargo manifest, there were 97,500 of them in the container that fell off the Tokio Express. Of the 4.8 million Lego pieces lost overboard, an estimated 3.2 million of them were light enough to have floated to the surface. While confirmed findings from the Lego container have been limited to the U.K. to date, Facebook users around the world have been reporting possible discoveries. Last week, a woman from Australia sent Williams a photo of a Lego flipper found washed ashore in Melbourne “sometime in the last five years.” Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer who’s studied the Tokio Express case, wrote, “It’s possible that after 17 years, a Lego flipper could have made it to Australia.” And while the daily Lego discoveries may be a dream for some beachcombers, they’re a nightmare for environmentalists. “If you look at the washed-up Lego, it looks perfect, like it’s just come out of the box,” Claire Wallerstein, head of a Cornwall beach care group, told the BBC. “Plastic in the sea is not going to just decompose and go away.” Wonder if some Lego pieces will be coming to a shore near you.
World’s Worst Exterminator Set House on Fire
There are a few smart ways to get rid of a spider: a shoe. A rolled up newspaper. A flyswatter. A blowtorch. Wait a minute— that last one doesn’t sound quite right. But it did to a Seattle man with a can of spray paint and a lighter. The spray paint and the lighter were used as a makeshift blowtorch to kill the eight-legged intruder in his laundry room. The results: a blaze that caused $60,000 worth of damage, Seattle fire officials said. Thankfully, the man and his mother got out of the house, and no injuries were reported, although there’s no word on the fate of the spider. “I don’t want to encourage people to do this, but that’s what he did,” Kyle Moore, a spokesman for the Seattle Fire Department, said. “The spider tried to get into the wall. He sprayed flames on the wall, lit the wall on fire, and that extended up to the ceiling.” “There are safer, more effective ways to kill spider than using fire,” Moore said. “Fire is not the method to use to kill a spider.” As for the spider, Moore said, “I’m pretty sure the spider did not survive this fire. The whole wall went.” Wonder if Little Miss Muffet is going to try this.
You’re never too old to play ball. With a single toss at Petco Park on Sunday, Agnes McKee had fans standing in their seats. McKee, who turned 105 years young on Wednesday, became the oldest person to ever throw out a ceremonial first pitch. And she did so in style, donning a San Diego Padres uniform and a furious underhand windup that would make softball ace Jennie Finch proud. Months of practice for Agnes seemed to pay off, as her throw managed to reach catcher Rene Rivera. She held onto her walker as she made the pitch and delighted in her successful throw. Believe it or not, this centenarian is better at ball than most people half her age. Not everyone who’s bestowed the honor of throwing out a first pitch can throw a decent ball. Play ball! (Even when you’re 100!)
Ever had a rude cabbie? Well, the Emerald City may be the place to set things right. Some Seattle-area taxi drivers are trying charm school as a way to improve their customer service and fight off competition from other ride services. About 130 drivers from Yellow Cab sat in a classroom this week to listen to hospitality management instructors from South Seattle College. The four-hour program focused on connecting with customers, leaving a good impression, and dealing with complaints productively. One of the region’s major cab companies, Yellow Cab, asked the college to design the class in response to competition from smartphone app ride services like Uber and Lyft. Cabbie Paul Cheema says he and his fellow drivers want to show customers they’re trying to make a change in the industry. The class costs $60. Plus tip…
World’s Furriest Fan
This is what I call a diamond in the rough. Goodwill is a national thrift store chain that deals mostly with donated secondhand clothes and shoes. Employees at the Goodwill store in Annandale, Virginia, were shocked to discover what one anonymous donor left among the piles of old clothes. The workers discovered a 3-carat diamond ring that was auctioned off this week for more than $11,000. The ring was carefully placed in a Ziploc bag along with some other jewelry. It was a round cut stone on a gold band. The donation was auctioned on Goodwill’s website. Bidding started at $1,499 and by midday was sold for $11,601. That’s what I call a gem of a find.
Flying Solo Around the World at 19
Sorry baseball fans. You are not truly a fan unless your beard says you are. Eric Brooks, a Washington Nationals fan, made his allegiance as plain as the hair on his face when he shaped his lengthy beard into the Nats logo. He describes himself as an “avid beardsman” and seems to subscribe to the art of freestyle bearding. In an Instagram shot of the hairy logo, Brooks wrote that he’s attending Wednesday’s game and that this was a practice attempt at a beard to wear to the game. “(It’s sloppy because I did it very quick),” he added. Looks OK to me. This is not the first time Brooks turned his facial hair into art. He sported a beard in
The youngest person to have flown solo around the world is a cool title to have. And it may just belong to a U.S. teen after he touched down in California this week. Matt Guthmiller, 19, completed the more than 29,000-mile journey in a single-engine airplane. Guthmiller made about two dozen stops in 14 countries during the journey, according to his mother, Shirley, who greeted her son after his 16-hour final leg flight from Hawaii. “Of course he looked tired,” Shirley Guthmiller said. “I’m very relieved he is home, but I wasn’t worried.” The Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineering student was sleeping late the next day, she said. Matt Guthmiller took an early interest
Oldest Person Alive
Jose has no secret for a long life. “The truth is that you just keep getting older. You take each stage at a time. If I got to this age it’s because I’ve lived a lot, that’s all.” Mariana Silva, a psychologist at the Vila Vicentina home, said Jose has no health problems and is so lucid he still amuses other residents by cracking one-liners. “When he’s on his own he likes to sing. None of us know the songs he sings. They’re from a time no-one else remembers.” She also said that Jose has a stubborn streak. “He doesn’t like to take a bath every day and it’s sometimes impossible to get him to the shower. When he puts his foot down, that’s it. No one can get him in there.” Interestingly, Jose only received his birth certificate last month after a team of experts researched his past. The old people’s home now hopes to provide conclusive evidence that he is the world’s oldest man through “Carbon-14” dating. Jose Roberto Pires, the president of the retirement home, said, “We believe the world’s oldest ever person is living here with us, and this is the only way we can really prove it.”
Books About Town
After receiving a birth certificate showing that he turned 126 last week, Jose Aguinelo dos Santos may just be the oldest man alive. The Brazilian man was born on July 7 1888, just two months after slavery was abolished in Brazil – the last country in the Western Hemisphere to outlaw the trade. Jose—known simply as Ze—has never married or had children, still walks without a cane, eats four meals a day and has no health problems – despite smoking a packet of cigarettes a day for the last 50 years. If the birth certificate is genuine, Ze was apparently 26 when the First World War broke out, and was already a pensioner at 65 when Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the British throne. He would have been 52 when Brazil football legend Pele was born – and 62 when Brazil first hosted the World Cup, in 1950. One of five children, Jose was born in a slave compound in the town of Pedra Branca in the state of Ceara, northeast Brazil. He was among hundreds of slave families who continued to live there, even after being granted their freedom. He later travelled south to the state of Sao Paulo, where he spent most of his life working on a coffee plantation in the town of Bauru. Now a resident of an old people’s home in the same town, Jose likes to tell jokes and sing, hates having a bath, and never misses his daily plate of rice and beans. Interestingly, despite his many years,
A good bench and a good book are a classic combo so these new London reading spots are sure to be a hit. 50 open book-shaped benches decorated by prominent artists and illustrators in the style of some of Britain’s most enduring literary characters can be found spread about the city. James Bond, Paddington Bear, Sherlock Holmes, Pip, Peter Pan, and Jeeves are just a few examples of the character-inspired seats. London has been a literary city since Shakespeare lived there. The National Literacy Trust and Wild in Art dreamed up the new project, dubbed “Books about Town,” in an effort to encourage more reading. The benches can be found in four different trails through Bloomsbury, Greenwich, Riverside, and City districts, all areas deeply associated with writers and writing. Take out your books—or Nooks—and head over to those benches before it’s too late. They’re going to be auctioned off mid-September.
JULY 24, 2014
Shiny Donation Found in Thrift Shop
in aviation and was 16 when got his pilot’s license. “As a little kid, he was afraid to go down to the basement,” said his father, Allen Guthmiller. “It’s amazing how kids change. Now he’s not afraid of anything.” Guthmiller’s parents said he’s sending documentation to Guinness World Records, which must confirm that he broke the record. Jamie Antoniou, the senior public relations manager at Guinness, said Guthmiller was approved to try and break the record before he left. The previous record holder is Jack Wiegand, who was 21 years old when he circumnavigated the globe in about two months in 2013. “I’m proud of him and I really wasn’t worried,” his father said. “He had a good plane and a good plan.” And for all you worried parents out there, fear not; Matt kept in daily contact with his parents by satellite telephone. He also routinely posted updates on social media.
THE JEWISH HOME
Taking Manners for a Ride
tribute to Alex Ovechkin at a Capitals-Avalanche game in Denver last season. “Hairs” to you!
In The News
THE JEWISH HOME
JULY 24, 2014
Brendy J. Siev
Antisémitisme en France
Living Under Attack in France
rance, the country with the third largest Jewish population in the world, is home to some 480,000 Jews and 5 million Muslims. Now, with the war in Israel, tensions are running high, and Palestinian demonstrations are turning violent. Most recently, masked Muslims attacked shuls, a Jewish-owned pharmacy, and a grocery store in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, known as “Little Jerusalem,” over the weekend. How are the French Jews feeling? Georges Lippe survived World War II. At the end of a Palestinian demonstration last week near his home in Paris, two shuls were attacked. But he says, “I survived the War. I made it up to now, and so I am not scared. I am concerned.” A decade ago, however, his niece, Natalie Melka, chose to move to America with her husband and children. More recently, Natalie told TJH that one of her cousins was stabbed in the French
All About Dogs . . . Part II Question: A dog bit me. Can this be grounds for a lawsuit against the dog’s owner?
Anti-Israel riots have made the Jewish community in France skittish
to the Jewish one. In light of these attacks, the French government has been banning pro-Palestinian marches, but protesters ignore the bans. They smash cars, rampage through business centers, and even throw makeshift bombs at police. More than 75,000 French Jews were sent to concentration camps during World War II, and one man told the Times of London that today’s protests remind him of 1938. “They were shouting: ‘Death to Jews,’ and ‘Slit Jews’ throats,’” he said. With this, French aliyah has gone up: around 400 French Jews arrived in Israel last week, despite Gaza rocket fire. In fact, many will be moving to cities in the Negev, including Ashkelon and Ashdod. Despite an ancient Jewish presence (the community harkens back to the year 39 CE), since January, 2,600 French Jews arrived in Israel. A total of 5,000 will have immigrated by Despite a government ban, pro-Palestinian rioters the end of the year. These record burned and damaged stores and shuls over the weekend numbers are directly due to the subway, because he was wearing a yar- rising anti-Semitism in France. French mulke. Her in-laws live in Toulouse in Jews say they feel more secure in Israel, southern France. Their rabbi was killed even when under attack. with his three children in 2012. Ruthie Bier, whose mother is Natalie’s sister says, “This is source French, told TJH that she has no more of stress for us. But it’s hard to leave to relatives living in France. “All of them a new country.” have made aliyah. There is no one left,” Any tensions in Israel lead to ten- she said. sions in France. This is a trend for the Jewish com“If you don’t show signs of Judaism, munity in France. “If aliyah predictions you’re okay,” Natalie told TJH. “But if for 2014 are met, one percent of French you affirm your Jewish identity, you’re Jews will have moved to Israel this attacked.” year,” Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Though attacks don’t usually occur Jewish Agency for Israel, said. “Within daily, when they do happen they are dra- a single year, and for the first time in matic and upsetting. Shuls have added history, a Jewish community in the West security systems. Men cannot walk in is sending a full percent of its Jews to the streets with yarmulkes. And the build their lives in the State of Israel. We TJH Arab neighborhood in Paris is adjacent await you in Israel with open arms.”
Answer: The short answer is yes. But, as with many legal questions, a brief discussion is appropriate. Let’s begin with a little background. According to one estimate, approximately one thousand people visit the emergency room every day across the country as a result of dog bites. Those who have been bitten by a dog know that even a small bite can be painful and traumatic, especially for a child. And of course, we have all read news stories where a violent dog inflicted terrible injuries, or worse G-d forbid. Many states have a “one free bite” rule. This means that the owner of the dog is not liable until the dog establishes a pattern of biting. Typically, this means that the owner is “off the hook” the first time the dog bites someone, and is liable every time thereafter. California, however, is different. Civil Code Section 3342 reads: “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’ s knowledge of such viciousness.” This is known as “strict liability”, and it means that California does not abide by the “one free bite rule.” So, a dog owner in California is liable any time the dog bites someone, even if it has never done so before. Being bitten or attacked by a dog is a serious safety hazard, and this article does not provide information on how to defend oneself in this scenario. Please consult a professional or a veterinarian for advice about this situation. Nevertheless, if you are the victim of a dog bite, here is what you can do: • After you have proceeded to safety, assess your injuries. Depending on the severity of your injuries, it might be advisable to call Hatzalah at 1800613-1911. You can also call the police, but don’t be surprised if they are not dispatched to the scene. A dog bite can affect more than meets the eye, so a visit or call to your primary care physician would also be appropriate. The main thing is to make sure you are all right. • Obtain the dog owner’s information. Because California imposes strict liability on the dog owner, it is crucial to identify who the
dog owner is. You can do this by asking to see the dog owner’s identification. Try to at least obtain the owner’s telephone number, name, and address. If there were witnesses, obtain their information too. • Dogs are often walked by professional dog walkers. If this is the case, obtain the dog walker’s information (driver license, telephone number, address) as well. • Don’t be surprised if the dog owner is defiant, declines to give you his personal information, or blames you for the attack. Many times this is because the owner is shocked that his “friendly and gentle” dog instead acted on its animal instinct and bit someone. Without escalating the situation, politely ask the dog owner whether the dog is vaccinated. Ask for the dog’s veterinarian information. If you are unable to obtain the dog owner’s information, do not panic. An attorney might help you obtain this information later. • If you were injured by the dog bite, photograph your injuries. Similarly, if your clothing was torn or damaged, photograph the damage. If you can, photograph the dog as well. • If you obtained the veterinarian information, call the veterinarian to confirm that the dog is properly vaccinated. Ask the veterinarian to fax or email you a copy of the dog’s vaccination record. It may sound ridiculous, but the veterinarian might first require the owner’s consent to disclose the dog’s vaccination history to you. • Consider hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you. The owner may have a renter or homeowner’s insurance policy that covers medical expenses and damage caused by the dog. Some insurance policies exclude certain dog breeds, or the owner may not be insured. An attorney can help you investigate and determine whether there is sufficient coverage to obtain compensation. Often, this can be accomplished without filing a lawsuit. An attorney can also help you report the dog to the proper authorities to insure they are informed about this dog’s violent propensities and take appropriate action. Do you have a general question about legal matters that you’d like answered here in the future? Submit your questions to Michael.E.Rubinstein@gmail.com
Deb Hirschhorn, Ph.D.
o, I’m not talking about food stamps and Social Security. I’m talking about guarantees from Hakadosh Baruch Hu. There are none. Well, let me clarify that. Hakadosh Baruch Hu did say that if we walk in His ways and do His commands we would have goodness in our lives. But that isn’t saying that the goodness would hit each and every one of us in exactly the same way or at the same time. The goodness could come in Olam Haba. Or it might come in our lifetimes. But whatever He decides is what will happen and as far as we are concerned, we aren’t entitled to anything, no matter how good we are ourselves. That’s hard for most of us to swallow. I’m thinking about a woman, Miri, who is deeply hurt. (All stories are made up.) She did her job: she raised her kids – and she raised them well. In fact, she did a spectacular job under the worst of conditions. You could compare her situation to that of someone at war raising kids in a trench. Not only was this nice lady herself at war through most of her marriage, but her husband sucked the children into the wars as well. Now, they are raised and married. She is a savta. Is she entitled to peace, finally? No. No one is entitled to anything. Or at least, we are not the ones to declare that we are. Only Hashem can determine that. The implications of this point are huge and they have come home to me more forcefully with every day that passes during this time of our people’s distress. Implication #1: We Never Have a Right to Be Angry Miri’s husband, Mel, is in decline. Physically, emotionally, and otherwise. Miri can no longer have a normal conversation with him. He says unexpected, illogical, and trying things. He has started strange battles in the family. He is inconsiderate and out of touch. Miri is more than exasperated. When Mel picks on their son in conversation with Miri, it sends her to the moon. She is furious. She has no right to be. And neither do you. Yes, I know your brother is a
nerd. Your father is out of touch. Your wife is a shrew. It doesn’t matter. If the events of the last few weeks have given us any message at all it is simply that G-d in His Infinite Wisdom runs the world. He decides. We don’t. If Gil-Ad, Naftali, and Eyal were not “entitled” to live another day then who are we to make demands? Who are we to say we are entitled to anything? If they were not meant to live then surely, surely we cannot possibly be
But they can and the proof of it is that they are. If they can somehow carry their pekalach, then they are halfway there. The other half is acceptance. Just as the angry people must accept His rule, those who are down must accept it as well. Because, you see, when you accept Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s decisions, there is nothing to be angry – or sad – about. Let me make an important distinc-
YES, I KNOW YOUR BROTHER IS A NERD. YOUR FATHER IS OUT OF TOUCH. YOUR WIFE IS A SHREW. IT DOESN’T MATTER.
entitled to anger. No matter how irritating, aggravating – even abusive – another person is, we are not entitled to act out against that person. Why not? The reason we must seek alternatives to anger is that G-d sent that person into our lives for His reasons. In fact, as I see the stories around me unfold, I suspect that He sent those people specifically so that we can overcome our anger. Maybe He is holding out to see whether we can do that. Refraining from anger is acknowledging that we live by G-d’s Plan, not ours. Moreover, there is a deep bracha hidden in our turmoil: G-d wants us to learn better how to cope. When we cope correctly, we are serving Him correctly. Implication #2: We are Not Entitled to Be Depressed There are those among us who do not lose their tempers. They are evenkeeled tzaddikim who recognize Hashem’s Kingship. They don’t rebel at His decisions; they just don’t like them. They think they cannot cope with the burdens He has given them.
Hashem placed within us the capacity to experience all kinds of feelings. But that doesn’t make all of them good or right. The biggest implication of all this is that if Miri must accept Hashem’s putting Mel in her life, then, as I said above, there is a hidden bracha in it: When she figures out a healthy way to handle the situation, she will have learned something important, something beneficial. So what should she do? How is she supposed to focus on herself? There are two interrelated steps to this: (1) Physiological control of her emotions. Miri should learn to breathe slowly and deeply and focus on her breath so as to clear her head. For some people this simple exercise works like a charm to get calm. For others, there is more needed. The idea is to clear one’s thoughts and regulate one’s emotions through bringing autonomic nervous system responses under control. (2) Attitude shift. It will be important for Miri to focus on the bracha that is inherent in her situation. While quietly breathing, she could think about her appreciation to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for the goodness in her life. She can then take pride in herself for having calm responses. We all have something to learn here in our journey on Earth. Certainly one of them is to be makir tov for the good Hashem bestows and the other is that we are His servants and not the other way around. Anger and depression are not ways of serving G-d.
tion here, the distinction between depression and grief. We are supposed to grieve; that is normal and natural. It represents the sadness at the loss of a tie to someone we loved or a future we expected. We cried at the loss of the Beis Hamikdash. And we cry for every lost precious life. But that is not depression. Depression is endless. Depression is the failure to carve out a tomorrow. Depression is not having energy to get the day going. That, we are not allowed to do. G-d declared that we should always strive to do our job in Dr. Deb Hirschhorn, a Marriage & FamiTherapist and best-selling author of The this world. As it says in Pirkei Avos: lyDr. Deb Hirschorn is a marriage & Healing Is Mutual: Empowerment “You are not required to complete the family therapist andMarriage best selling author Rebuild Trust and Respect—Togethtask, yet you are not free to withdraw of Tools The toHealing Is Mutual: Marriage er, is proud toTools announce that readers The from it” (2:21). Empowerment to Rebuild Trustofand Jewish Home receive a $50 discountfor on Respect. Pleasewill visit www.drdeb.com every info. visit to her Woodmere office. Listen to Implication #3: Focus on Yourself further The question that logically follows her new show called “Kids and Parents” on from all this is: How? How are we sup- Chazaq Radio live from 3-4 on Thursdays. posed to not be angry or sad? What The call in phone number is 718-285-6120 line 101. Attend the Food For Thought lecshould we feel? How should we cope? How, exactly, is Miri supposed to tures at Cravingz Cafe, 410 Central Ave, feel? She is angry at Mel and she is Cedarhurst, on Wednesdays at 10 AM. Any very down at the situation. Angry and questions, call 646-54-DRDEB or check out down. Isn’t that normal? It certainly is. her website at http://drdeb.com.
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