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AUGUST 7, 2014



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AUGUST 7, 2014


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



An Enduring Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 The Courage to Move Forward. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Parshas Maasei. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Light in the Darkness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

COVER STORY World War I and the Jews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Remembering Menachem Begin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 The U.N. and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Legacy of Bias and Failure. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Eating Diamonds for Bread. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

LIFESTYLES JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

EDUCATION Berkshire Giveaway . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Hillel Q&A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 The Horrors of the Holocaust. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Correction: On page 13 of July 24 edition it should have said that the Kohen Gadol puts the ketores in front of the aron kodesh, not on top of it.

Dear Readers,

What is there left to say? Just about every type of evidence that Hamas wants to kill Jews has been presented. At the same time it is overwhelmingly clear that Israel wants to live in peace and will do everything it can to avoid injuring bystanders, even those who knowingly remain in the vicinity of terrorist activity. This brings some to wonder as to whether there is a point to all the advocating on behalf of Israel. Don’t they see what ISIS is doing in the land it captures? There is no reason to believe Hamas would behave any differently. Already we see video clips of Hamas teaching their youngsters the glory of murder; we see Hamas murdering Gaza citizens who they believed are their enemies. Hamas worship death while we worship life. They want to endanger as many civilians as possible, and yet some media still speak of the Genocide in Gaza. What is there left to say? Here are three reasons why we must continue being PR ambassadors for the State of Israel and indeed the entire Jewish people: 1. Even friends and those who “already get it” including our own community, need constant support as to the justice of our cause. Each news video, for example of Hamas beating local Gazans to prevent them from fleeing, focuses our attention on the reality on the ground. 2. Those who are not yet supporting Israel are the people who are constantly bombarded with statements, quotes and images telling the story in a totally different way. A lack of pro-Israel material creates a feeling that there is no other point of view. 3. One never knows which article audio or video clip will resonate with a viewer, including people who might have been anti-Israel but finally realize what we’re up against. We can want the conflict to go away, we can wish it were not here, but it wouldn’t change the reality that Jihadists, the most barbaric movement since the Nazis, seem to think this is the end game and are popping up all over the world to finally get rid of the infidels. Seeing the reality in any different light is simply the flame of apathy which has fueled the human tragedies of previous genocides. The other day there was a discussion about why it was so easy to hate and cringe at just the sight of a Nazi while today’s murderers are almost likeable. Hasan Nasrallah of Hezbollah, Khaled Meshaal of Hamas and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of ISIS present gentler faces than many professionals who head the American army. Besides the difference of the former villains having actually carried out the biggest genocide the world had ever seen and the latter still planning one, I think there is a deeper message on the misleading attributes of emotion. One can be heartless and tough yet carry out a most benevolent act such as surgery, and one can speak of compassion while helping the forces of barbarism inflict unmentionable terror on fellow human beings. Indeed many of the Nazis were known to have very warm feelings toward animals. Perhaps this why many in Hollywood have a hard time condemning Islamic Jihad; in the world of “whatever makes you feel good” it is much easier to relate to a picture of an injured baby than a spokesman saying, “we have a right to live in peace.”

Through emotion one can accomplish great things and indeed feelings are essential in the makeup of a healthy and productive individual but we must always remember that it is a tool which needs to be harnessed via the intellect lest it descend into a reactionary force which acts upon the temporary, the external and the glitz. Here’s a radical idea. Perhaps just as our forefather, Avrohom, looked at the sun and the moon and discovered that there must be a creator which preceded it all, perhaps we need to do the same by looking at everything around us and realize that there must a purpose to which this is all headed. The galaxies, animal kingdom, creatures of the sea, nations of the world are all here for a reason. Once this resonates with us, perhaps we can even share it with others, giving hope and redemption to all the darkness which is enveloping our world. “My merits have become small due to all the acts of kindness and the true fulfillment of all Your promises that You have done for Your servant.” These words said by our forefather Yaakov embody the Jewish attitude following miraculous events experienced by our people. We have all been hearing the many stories which have led to the hugely successful military campaign that has been securing the southern border in Israel. Let us be humbled by these events, taking them to heart so that we become better and gentler individuals in thought, speech and deed. Let us also remember the 64 soldiers and their families who have given the ultimate sacrifice for the protection of our people. We remain eternally indebted to them. As is the custom in the Jewish world, there is always “another angle” and although Tisha B’av is the saddest day on our calendar there are customs we honor which associate the holiday with a Moed, being that it will become one of the greatest Yomim Tovim when Moshiach finally comes. The Talmud also tells us that it is the day Moshiach was born, letting us know that ultimately all the tragedies, trials and experiences of the Jewish nation will morph into comfort, redemption and accomplishment. As read in the Torah on Tisha B’av in the section where Moshe Rabeinu recaps G-d’s message to the Jewish people entering the Promised Land, “I appoint heaven and earth this day to bear witness against you, that you will surely perish quickly from the Land to which you are crossing the Jordan to possess… Hashem will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where Hashem will lead you… From there you will seek Hashem, your G-d, and you will find him, if you search for him with all your heart and all your soul. For Hashem, your G-d, is a merciful G-d, He will not abandon you… and he will not forget the covenant of your forefathers that He swore to them.” We have been through it all. We have experienced the suffering described to our ancestors before they entered the holy land. We have been the mockery and subject of the world’s derision. Let this time be different. Let us, this final time, end up on top; safe, successful and honored for remaining faithful through it all. This will lead to the ultimate comfort of Nachamu nachamu ami. With blessings for a wonderful Shabbos Nachamu,


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


By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon

under attack all over the world.” Rabbi Gruen stepped forward and led everyone in an emotional reciting of tehillim. Rabbi Meyer May then introduced Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Rosh Hayeshiva, Philadelphia Yeshiva, who was in town and extended his stay to address the Los

yisroel, Tefilas hatzibur, united prayer.The Rebono Shel Olam should send us nisim v’niflaos, miracles. May we merit a quick and complete redemption in the immediate future. ” Rabbi May then introduced Harav Avrohom Ausband, the Rosh Hayeshiva of the Yeshiva of Telshe Alumni in Riverdale

and his own purpose in life. Even so, we are unified and united in our belief that Hashem is achud ushimo echad, the One and the only One. The importance in everything we do in life is that we are guided by the understanding and acceptance of Hashem Achad. It is on Yom Kippur, that yom echad b’shana, that special one day in

AUGUST 7, 2014

It was not yet 8:30 pm, the time set for the community gathering, but all seats were filled in Moshe Ganz Hall and many were already standing along the back wall. It was a solemn gathering on Sunday evening July 28, 2014 at the Moshe Ganz Hall on La Brea. Rabbi Meyer May, spokesman for the over 42 different Shuls,


Los Angeles Evening of Tefilah for Am Yisroel

Rabbi Meyer May, Master of Ceremonies, , Harav Avrohom Ausband, Rosh Hayeshiva, Yeshiva of Telshe Alumni, and Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Rosh Hayeshiva , Philadelphia Yeshiva, speakers at Los Angeles gathering

Angeles Community. “Our Tza’ar, our pain, is great. Klal Yisroel has the e’tza, the option of tefilah. How can we not but feel the pain and cry out in tefilah to the rebono shel olam? The Rosh Hayeshiva continued to say, “Without tefilah we cannot get anywhere. Everybody must pray together. We must unite together with one aim and one goal. So that the Rebono Shel Olam should send us refuah. That is the greatest unity in klal

N.Y., who was in Los Angeles for his yearly visit on behalf of his yeshiva. “ When klal yisroel is unified milmata (in our world), then the rebon o shel olam’s name is elevated milmala (in the world above).In his own inimitable manner Rav Ausband offered up a penetrating message to the audience. “Klal Yisroel is made up of many different people with many different goals in their lives. Each has his own destination

the year that we are tuned in and spend the day connected to the Rebono Shel Olam and unite with Hashem Echad and what is our ammunition? Tefilah. Our guns, our plane? Tefilah. When you come under the protection of the rebono shel olam, then, “haporeis sukkas shalom. Shalom aleinu v’al kol amo yisrael v’al Yirushalayim .May we merit the protection of God and may we see together the coming of Mashiach, quickly and in our time.”

Photo credits: Arye D. Gordon

Schools and Jewish Organizations participating in this gathering, made the introductory remarks before the recitation of tehillim. The senario that unfolded with news on June 12th of the missing 3 teenage yeshiva boys, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach, was only the start of a nightmare. What began as an intense search for three abducted teenagers ended on Monday June 30th, when their bodies were found buried under a pile of rocks in an open field. While we were mispalel for their return, safe and sound, it was after 18 days of our pounding on the shaare tefilah and rachmanus, that our hopes were dashed by the devastating news of the murder of these kedoshim. Hashem yinkom damam. We all had so much hope that this story would not end this way. “We are gathered here tonight,” began Rabbi May, “ to remember the kedoshim, Naftali, Gilad, Eyal and the many chayalim, soldiers, shemasru nafsham, who gave their lives for klal yisroel. We are here to be mispalel for a refuah sheleima for the many, many wounded soldiers and civilians injured in this battle.” Rabbi May went on to say, “Not only are we davening for Yisroel, but we are also davening for Acheinu Kol Beis Yisroel bechol Makom Sheheim, for World Jewry. Unfortunately, Jews are in danger and


AUGUST 7, 2014


Despite Rockets and Sirens, Dirshu Tests in Full Swing Across Israel By Shimmy Blum

All of Israel – and the southern region in particular – has in recent weeks lived under the frightening reality of rockets, mortars, sirens and shelters. However, none of that sufficed to dent the dedicated Torah learning of the thousands of participants in the Dirshu program across the country. Last Thursday and Friday, Dirshu’s testing on the Daf HaYomi B’Halacha took place – serving as a refreshing beacon of light amidst the darkness. At testing locations across the country, tests on the revolutionary daily halacha

program took place – on schedule, in every location. Most notably, there was no change in location or schedule in Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod and other areas in the line of the heaviest Hamas fire. Rabbi Avraham Schwartzman, Menahel of the Dirshu Testing Program, admits that even he and other Dirshu organizers were surprised. “Initially, we expected to need to reduce the number of seats at the location, and/or move them to special protected locations,” he says. “When we received scores of phone calls asking whether the tests will be held as per plan,

we realized that would not be the case.” The testing locations were equipped with accessible shelters in case of need, but none were moved to a particular safe zone. Other than the few Dirshu participants who abandoned the city during the turmoil, virtually all Daf HaYomi B’Halacha participants showed up to take the tests – many with their young children in tow – more eager and determined than ever. Dirshu considered all the logistics necessary in order for the tests and proctors to make it to the war torn region in time – and, baruch Hashem, succeeded. Many

had to be sent early. Several locations are not being serviced by regular shipping services, and Dirshu needed to arrange its own special transportation. Watching the yungerleit take the tests in spite of all that’s going on around them was a sight to behold, and an inspiration to all. “At this test, we saw that the true war we are fighting is the milchamta shel Torah,” says Rabbi Schwartzman. “Our response to the rockets and sirens is a strengthening of limud HaTorah – with lots of mesiras nefesh.”

tic teens, aged sixteen and up and keen to learn all they can. And there is something else. These kids face a variety of disabil-

This year’s trips have been relocated to the West coast and are still underway. The two groups have been taken to Las

ities from Down Syndrome to Autism and a few are wheelchair bound as well. All the kids participate in the same activities because the program focuses on inclusion and giving everyone a sense of belonging. This year has been different given the current hostilities in Israel but Yad B”Yad knew just what to do. This year, there were two groups of 90 students and all wanted to enjoy a summer in Israel but it could not happen. Fortunately the group leaders had experience. In 2007 the Lebanon War created such instability that the Y’ad b”Yad summer camp organizers decided to relocate the summer itinerary to the US. Despite the enormous disappointment of the kids at that time, the displaced trip was quickly seen to have been an even greater success as the kids were brought together by the dire political situation and they shared a common passion and concern for Israel. Some of those kids, now 22 thru 24, are proudly volunteering with this year’s 5 week trip having returned to join the fellowship program. And they had much to offer.

Vegas and the Grand Canyon where they have been enjoying programs designed to build leadership skills. “Of course the kids were disappointed. When you’ve spent the whole year waiting and raising finances, it is a shock to find there is a change, but rationally everyone understood and that’s been a good thing,” said Orit Faguet, director of Yachad Los Angeles. The theme of the 2014 trips has been self growth. The students work through programs that show how they can make a difference in the world, and how they can best support Israel. Orit Fauget explained, “I know that this has ultimately been a great success. I know we will know what to do if tensions ever escalate again. But perhaps they will not. Perhaps the kids from Y’ad b”Yad will use their skills to help make a permanent change in Israel!” This year’s trips end with a “Yom Yachad” concert on August 7 and all 180 participants will come together and enjoy a Moshav Band Concert. The event will be at Beth Jacob’s Bayer Hall.

Change of Plan but still a Successful Plan Yachad, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities, runs a vibrant summer trip called Yad B”Yad. The annual summer program takes kids from the States to Israel for an educational and memorable trip. Typically the participants tour Isra-

el for 5 weeks while developing strong leadership skills. The kids in the group are interviewed before being chosen to participate. They have to provide letters of recommendation and raise financing so they are a strong group of enthusias-




AUGUST 7, 2014


The Boys Who Gave Us Life By Leah Henkin

The Temple of the Arts, StandWithUs, and The Israel Institute co-sponsored a soul-searching and emotionally stirring shloshim of “our boys” at the Saban Theatre on July 30, 2014. A large crowd attended wearing kippot of various styles and women’s head coverings to match. Many unaffiliated Jews welcomed the opportunity to put on tefillin and pray. The event was a study in contrasts – aesthetically pleasing and well guarded by community groups and the LAPD. Rabbi Pini Dunner spoke. “As the quest for Jerusalem continues, we mourn Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal, and we mourn Zion and Jerusalem.” Rabbi Dunner continued with uplifting words of Tehillim 30:12: “You have changed for me my lament into dancing; You undid my sackcloth and girded me with gladness” and he continued, “We have exhibited extraordinary unity, even as we mourn. Let us dance with joy as Jews

of every age, every denomination have come together as one for the continuity and safety of Jewish life.” “Not knowing was the hardest thing,” Leehy Shaer, Gilad’s aunt shared as she spoke to the attendees. “And when we heard the news, the sky crushed down.” To paint real-life portraits, Leehy described each of the boys’ chessed activities: humor, courage, talents, and dedication to Torah study. Typically we don’t know why events happen, Leehy said. This time she felt Hashem showed us why: the boys’ abduction and death lead to finding the tunnels. Leehy reminded us that we searched and davened for 18 days and 18 equals chai. “Because of their death, Am Yisrael Chai!” Cantor Arik Wolheim led the stirring Kel Malei Rachamim. Pensive and quiet, we were stirred by Rabbi Hier’s probing questions. “What is there to say about our

modern day Macabees?” Why is it only an emergency when Israel defends itself? Why wasn’t it an emergency five years ago? Why were there no alarms bells creating pressure for Hamas’ funders? … How many countries who are at war with terrorists make phone calls that warn citizens of the enemy that their building will be bombed?” “The saddest thing about the war in Gaza,” Rabbi Hier reminded us, “was that little has changed despite thousands of years; just the names have changed.” In spite of brutal kidnappings

and the tragic deaths of the boys, the nations and world media still do not focus on the story; Israel is judged by a different standard than the rest of the world. “The solution for the people of Gaza,” Rabbi Hier roared, “is no more tunnels, no more rockets, and no more Hamas!” The Counsel General of Israel, David Siegel, reminded us that Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal brought light to the world through their Torah study and gave the Jewish people the light of unity. We have a responsibility to continue their legacy. As a people, we have never abandoned hope; we have always overcome darkness. We’re the people who light Chanukah candles during the dark winter. As Leehy Shaer declared, “In your life you gave us life. In death, you gave us the same. In the merit of these boys, may we no longer know war and sadness—only peace and happiness.”

Retying the Knot, Unchaining the Agunah Yehudis Litvack

unique event will be held for the first time in Los Angeles on September 7th at The Mark, an elegant Los Angeles venue. It is titled Retying the Knot, Unchaining the Agunah, and its purpose is to spread the awareness of the pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements designed to prevent the wife from becoming an agunah in case of divorce. At the event, organized by committee chairs Daria Hoffman, Shuli Steinlauf, and Michele Stone, and presented by Rabbi Gabriel Elias of Mogen David Congregation, Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of B’nai David-Judea Congregation, Rabbi Elazar Muskin of Young Israel of Century

tween a husband and wife that stipulates an amount of reasonable daily support, $150 a day, which both parties undertake to pay each other. As long as they are living together as husband and wife the payments cancel each other out. In the event of separation, if one party calls the other to beit din and the other doesn’t comply, the former party is no longer obligated to make payments, and thus the payments of the latter party accrue until a kosher get is obtained. Thus, it would be in the best interest of the recalcitrant party to achieve resolution as soon as possible. As a legal document, the post-nup is enforceable in

being spearheaded by Esther Macner, Esq of Get Jewish Divorce Justice in consultation with Rabbi Shlomo Weissmann, Esq. director of the Beth Din of America and Rabbi Yona Reiss, Esq. Rabbi Reiss, who is the former director of the Beth Din of America and the current head of the Beth Din of Chicago Rabbinical Council, will be the guest speaker at the Los Angeles event. Rabbi Reiss, a Torah scholar and jurist, is heavily involved in agunah cases nationwide. He says that every single case brought to beit din as a result of either a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement has

strategy available today is to come together as a community and ensure that every married Jewish woman is protected by a pre-nup or a post-nup agreement. To this end, the organizers would like to bring together people of all ages – parents, grandparents, and young couples, to show that the post-nup is truly universal. “These agreements are not shameful, but protective of Jewish women everywhere,” says Ms. Hoffman. “There is no reason for any married couple not to sign one.” Ms. Hoffman says that the agreements are now becoming mainstream. The rabbis participating in the event will not officiate at a

City, Rabbi Kalman Topp of Beth Jacob Congregation, and Esther Macner, Esq. of Get Jewish Divorce Justice. Couples will have the opportunity to sign a post-nuptial agreement in the presence of notaries, throughout the event. Co-sponsors from shuls and schools, Sephardi and Ashkenazi, are invited to join. The post-nup is a legal agreement be-

California civil courts. The post-nup was originally designed by Rabbi Mordechai Willig, a Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University and Segan Av Beit Din of the Beth Din of America. It is endorsed by the Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union. An effort to simplify and standardize the prenup for all states, including California, is

been resolved. He believes that if every Jewish marriage had a pre-nup or a postnup then the agunah problem could be eliminated altogether. Daria Hoffman, a co-chair of the event, says that, unfortunately, too many women are experiencing the painful predicament of an agunah, and this issue needs our immediate attention. The only prevention

wedding unless the couple has signed a pre-nup. Many other rabbis are also very much in favor of such agreements. With each agreement signed, one more woman is protected from ever becoming an agunah. The Mark is at 9320 W Pico Blvd and the event last from from 9:30 a.m. till 12:00 p.m on September 7th.


By Ruth Judah

more than 20,000 active members. The funds he raises for CUFI are used to create grassroots support, to disperse accurate information about Israel, to ensure an online presence for Israeli issues, to educate politicians, to create public events and to pay for traditional advertising in key media, among other things. The organization started in 1996 and is clear in its goals: “We believe that the Jewish people have a right to live in their ancient land of Israel, and that the modern State of Israel is the fulfillment of this historic right. We maintain that there is no excuse for acts of terrorism against Israel and that Israel has the same right as every other nation to defend her citizens from such violent attacks. We pledge to stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel and to speak out on their behalf whenever and wherever necessary until the attacks stop and they are finally living in peace and security with their neighbors.” Many Jews feel uncomfortable with Christian and evangelical support for Israel and it is hard to clarify the political differences that may exist between the organization and Jewish goals. Regardless, the impact of the recent annual CUFI summit was held in Washington DC where every effort was made to involve and influence policy and politicians on the current conflict. Prior to the annual conference, David Siegel, Consul General of Israeli in Los Angeles, spoke with more than a thousand members in a vibrant online telephone conversation. There is no doubt that CUFI is an organization to be taken seriously.

Israel’s Enemies Are Our Enemies. Israel’s Fight is Our Fight. We Stand with Israel! What Does Hamas Want? Hamas seeks to destroy Israel:

Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it. - HAMAS COVENANT , PREAMBLE

Hamas rejects negotiations with Israel:

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. - HAMAS COVENANT, ARTICLE THIRTEEN

Hamas wants to kill all Jews:

The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. - HAMAS COVENANT, ARTICLE SEVEN

These are not just ugly words – this is Hamas’ bloody program of action.

• Hamas terrorists have killed hundreds of Israeli civilians in suicide bombings. • Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas and its allies have fired thousands of missiles at Israeli cities.

• Hamas has dug dozens of multi-million dollar terror tunnels into Israel to attack Israeli civilians.

When we were attacked on 9/11, Hamas leaders cheered. When we killed Bin Laden, Hamas condemned us. When Israel fights Hamas, Israel is defending all of us.

Take Action!

www.CUFI.org/Hamas Sponsored by Christians United for Israel, PO Box 1307, San Antonio, TX 78295 CUFI_New York Times bw ad.indd 1

7/30/14 10:56 AM

AUGUST 7, 2014

On Thursday, July 31 and Friday, August 1, the LA Times was one of 19 US newspapers that ran a full page ad in support of Israel and explaining the nature of Hamas. The ads were paid for by Christians United For Israel (CUFI) and CUFI spoke with The Jewish Home this week. CUFI support for Israel is intense, productive and practical. On August 5, CUFI extended the recent advertising campaign to include other digital media and local papers. Meanwhile an important CUFI solidarity trip is underway in Israel. CUFI funded and organized the current tour for a group of American Pastors who were flown to Israel on August 4th. The 51 pastors come from each state and one from the District of Columbia. During the visit, the group has plans to meet with senior Israeli officials, offer encouragement to Israeli soldiers, and hear from Middle East experts. CUFI is not so well known but its presence is increasingly productive, it is undoubtedly the largest supporter of Israel in the US, and probably across the globe. Membership in Christians United For Israel is fast approaching 2 million Americans and this means that each State has many members who pressure their local politicians with issues regarding support of Israel. The organization is funded and managed by Christians of all persuasions, but 80% are estimated to be evangelical Christians, this being approximately 26% of the electoral vote. Translation? Politicians listen to CUFI and there efforts are making a difference in the perception of the issues facing our embattled country. The financial core of CUFI is through member donations and CUFI raises money from its headquarters at the home of John Hagee in Texas. Hagee also runs a megachurch in Texas where there are


The Power of Christians For Israel


AUGUST 7, 2014


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All the superstars in Jewish music. All proceeds are going to Keren Hashviis. Keren Hashviis strives to ensure that mitzvah of Shmittah is upheld by every Jewish landowner in Eretz Yisrael who is a maamin b’Hashem and adheres to His mitzvos. To that end, Keren Hashviis serves as a central hub providing farmers with financial resources, halachic guidance, and moral support — before, during and after Shmittah.

Yasher Kochachem to all the singers as they sang l’shem the Mitzvah of Shiviis, without accepting any financial compensation. The contents of this CD are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without the written permission of the producers. However, should you decide to copy it illegally, you are permitted to play it on Shabbos and Yom Tov.


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AUGUST 7, 2014



A Lively Day Of Achdus By Sara Tzivia Kamornick


AUGUST 7, 2014


I am a director of a day camp here in Los Angeles. Over the course of the past two summers, I have had many wonderful conversations with my “neighbor”, Simi Raichic, who runs the Chabad camp right

next door. In one of these conversations we debated what we could do to make a difference. Simi suggested a day of Achdus. So that’s exactly what we decided to do.

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Tuesday, July 29th, we decided it was time to participate in a different type of “war”. The war for the existence of Klal Yisroel. In a world that is being shaken upside down, we wanted to find ways that we can all stay upright? When our enemies unite with the common goal of our destruction, the only way to defeat them is by uniting as one nation, one family, and one entity. The answer is Achdus. We have always discussed Ahavas Yisroel and heard inspirational stories, but we need to start practicing it now. We need to start living it meaningfully. Most of all, we need to show the next generation how beautiful it is to live a life where we love one another without judgment and animosity. Our children learn by example and as their greatest supporters we have much to teach. The camps that came together were Camp Kochavim, Camp Shira, Camp Chayalot and Camp Gan Yisroel of Hancock Park while Rabbi Duchman officiated at the event. It was a wonder to look around the gathering and see the girls’ faces. Nearly 200 girls from different camps were sitting together in the same room. It was fascinating to see how our girls were initially shy, looking at the other campers. The program began as a room full of strangers, but after sharing in a day of tehillim, listening to an inspirational story from Rabbi Weiner, enjoying a variety of entertainment, giving tzeddaka, and singing songs like ani maamin and acheinu, there was a sense of closeness. It was an amazing experience; we were a family and a family with 200 girls. From all different camps and walks of life we came together with the single goal of learning to love and accept one another unconditionally. The girls sang “ hinei mah tov u’ mah na’im sheves achim gam yochad” (behold how good and pleasant when brothers sit

together as one) and the directors looked on with tears in their eyes. We felt we were breaking barriers. It was an exquisite, heartwarming, and inspiring moment. What do we want? What do we truly desire from the bottom of our hearts? We all want Moshiach. We want to come home to Eretz Yisroel. We know what we want, and we know what to do to get there. The shining faces of these children said it all. We can let go of grudges and hate. We can look past our differences and love one another. We can come home. Iy”H our next Achdus rally will be in Yerushalayim with the Bais Hamikdash rebuilt. A special “thank you” to Simi Raichik, Chaya Tennenbaum, Sigal Giel, Rabbi Duchman, Rabbi Weiner, and Mendel Goldman for participating in this event and making it a possibility.





AUGUST 7, 2014


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AUGUST 7, 2014

the Chumash


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AUGUST 7, 2014

An Enduring Message

Quite often, to be consoled requires stepping back to properly analyze the situation. By shifting perspective, we can find comfort. This Shabbos, known as Shabbos Nachamu for the two words at the beginning of the haftorah, ushers in weeks of tanchumin, consolation. Many commentators discuss the double incantation of the word nachamu, as prophesized by the novi Yeshayahu in his immortal statements that gladdens the Jewish heart: “Nachamu nachamu ami yomar Elokeichem.” Perhaps we can explain why the word nachamu is repeated by noting that nechomah, the Hebrew word for comfort, also means to reconsider, as seen in the posuk of “Vayinochem Hashem” (Bereishis 6:6), which describes Hashem reconsidering creating the world. This year, we enter the season of nechomah intent on attaining both definitions of nechomah, comfort, brought on through proper perspective and the ability to reconsider. We accomplish this dual, unifying mission through the prism of the parshas hashovua. We achieve consolation, nechomah, by perfecting our perspective, nechomah. Hashem promises to assist us in achieving both definitions: nachamu, nachamu. Once again, the Jewish people approach Shabbos Nachamu in an all-too-familiar place. The nations of the world are aligned against us as we attempt to live decent, honorable, peaceful lives. As we are forced to fight against evil, they chant in their capitals for our deaths. We are the aggressors, they say in Amsterdam, Wash-

ington, New York, London, Rome, Paris, Brussels, and Berlin. It’s painful. It hurts to be victimized by blood libels, time after time, year after year, generation after generation. Make no mistake about it. Those who hate us and demonstrate against us don’t differentiate between Jews with velvet yarmulkas and Jews with knitted yarmulkes. They don’t distinguish between black and white, Zionist and non. They hate us all equally. While most Arab powers quietly support Israel in its current effort, a recent Gallup poll shows that the future does not bode well for Israel. Although the Arab League, with the exception of Syria and Qatar, wants to see Hamas punished and weakened, only 25% of Americans ages 18 to 29 believe that Israel’s actions in Gaza are justified. Among those 30-49, support for Israel is 36%. Older people and Republicans (65%) support Israel on higher levels, while among Democrats, only 31% believe Israel is justified. Independents are a little better, at 36%. And that is in America, Israel’s closest ally and best friend. Support in other countries is much worse than that. The Tolna Rebbe of Yerushalayim recounted a lesson he learned from a simple Poilisher Yid who worked in a factory in Eretz Yisroel. The fellow toiled under a mean manager and worked alongside difficult people, yet he never complained. The Rebbe asked him how he succeeded in maintaining his equanimity and peace of mind, actually getting along with his co-workers, despite their behavior. “Hitler taught me how to look at a Jew,” replied the survivor. “When I saw how much he hated every Jew, without differentiating between external differences, I learned how much I must love a Jew, without making cheshbonos.” They hate us all. We can learn a lesson of ahavas Yisroel from observing the broad paintbrush they use to paint us all one color. Throughout our history, we have encountered this animosity. Although there have been times when the hatred was delicately covered, currently it is becoming more in vogue and acceptable to bash Jews. It has become acceptable for celebri-

ties and icons to express their open hatred. While they couch their rhetoric in words of sympathy for the poor Palestinians, the truth emanates. They hate Jews. Once again, Jews in Europe cower and seek escape routes, a chilling reminder of seventy years ago. Some anti-Semitism is depicted as anti-Zionism, though the folly is obvious. Jews fight for their safety and are condemned. Millions of Jews were driven to their deaths from those very countries in which anti-Semites currently flex their muscles. We read between the lines and it becomes clear that the vaunted Israeli army was not aware of the extent of the tunnels and the danger they represented. When the war began, the defense minister spoke of finishing the mission in “two to three days.” However, Hamas presented a much stronger and better prepared enemy than Israel imagined. Hamas is not some foreign group that took over Gaza. It is the representative of the people and their thinking. It is fully supported by the people who elected it and who use their homes as storage facilities for bombs and their basements as entrances to tunnels from which to attack civilians living on the other side of the fence. More soldiers died and were hurt in this war than in the previous ones that were fought after Israel vacated the territory in a blissful gambit for peace. No one remembers or cares that Israel left Gaza in response to the world’s entreaties that doing so would bring peace to the beleaguered Jewish state. International opinion has turned against Israel, accusing it of wantonly killing innocent civilians, refusing to be confused with the facts of the terror state that Israel is fighting against. Israel’s prime minister is blessed with the gift of communication, but he has not been able to convince the world of Israel’s moral compass. Thankfully as of this writing it appears that another war that was forced on Israel has come to an end. We mourn the loss of life and pray for a peaceful future. We grieve along the widows and orphans of men who died al kiddush Hashem. We daven for those who were wounded and wish them a speedy recovery.

The war united a divided nation. Every rocket that fell pierced the heart of every Jew around the world. Every soldier who gave up his life for his people is recognized as a kadosh, whose blood will be avenged by Hashem. Our hearts bleed for every wounded chayal. We are comforted when soldiers and commanders speak of open miracles on the battlefield. We read and hear how people were miraculously saved and see rachamim in the din. We are

reminded that we are not alone; that nothing happens by chance; and that comforts us.

Sirens went off across the country around the clock, sending millions literally running for their lives, seeking shelter. The enterprise that believed that anti-Semitism would become extinct with the founding of a moral Jewish country was reminded how wrong that hope was. While it withholds fire in a bid to save civilian life, it is condemned as an imperialistic murderer of women and children. The world calls for a cease-fire every time it appears that the Jews are gaining ground in their battle against pure, unadulterated evil. Arabs kill Arabs in Syria, yet there is no call for a cease-fire. In Afghanistan and Iraq, hundreds of thousands are killed, yet the world looks the other way. Every day, people are murdered in Africa by militant Muslims, yet no one has heard a call for a cease-fire. But if Jews are making headway against a terror state that seeks their destruction, the world’s conscience is awakened to the plight of innocent civilians being murdered by a thoughtless, cruel army. Anti-Semitism morphs to fit with the times. The age-old hatred for the Jewish nation adopts different slogans and chants, but at the heart of it all is the same old hatred for Yitzchok by Yishmoel, and Yaakov by Eisov and Lavan. Whether it’s under the guise of blaming the Jews for poisoning the drinking water, spreading the plague, or drinking human blood, as in the days of old, or cloaked in humanitarian vestments as today, hate is hate. Today in Europe, a continent soaked with Jewish blood, it is once again in vogue to bash Jews, demonstrate against them, accuse them of the vilest of crimes,


We have a weapon that no one else has.

And the elderly patient was comforted, for the truth of the comment gave him hope. Has Hashem performed such miracles for any other nation? Has He gone to war for them and inspired awe and terror like He has done for us? (Devorim 4:34). We learn those pesukim and think of the fanciful tales of miracles and salvation we have heard and recognize that we are not fighting this battle alone, but rather with Divine assistance. Hashem enabled the creation and implementation of a missile protection system to neutralize lethal rockets, which nobody believed possible. He brought about the discovery of Hamas’ advanced tunnel infrastructure before they were able to carry out their evil plans. The stories emanating from Eretz Yisroel during the war - of missiles blown to sea by sudden winds, of a field freshly cut

mercy for our very existence. Parshas Va’eschanon and the Aseres Hadibros are always lained on Shabbos Nachamu. This is to remind us that our nechomah arrives when we follow the Aseres Hadibros and the Torah. It is only through fidelity to Torah and Hashem’s word that we merit living peacefully, in Israel and everywhere else. May we prove ourselves worthy of Hashem’s protection in a turbulent, unfriendly world. After studying this week’s pesukim and the promises they contain, how can we feel anything else but “Nachamu, nachamu Ami”? How can we not experience consolation? We are armed with the Torah’s enduring message of where we are going and how to get there. Rav Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev once stood in his bais medrash, quietly observing men preparing for Shacharis. Finally, he opened his mouth in prayer. “Ribbono Shel Olam,” he said, “If, chas veshalom, a pair of tefillin falls, the Jew reacts with alarm. His heart pounds as he throws himself to the ground to lift and kiss them before gently placing them in their holy sack. What does it say in your tefillin Hashem? ‘umi ke’amcha Yisroel goy echod ba’aretz’” (Brachos 6). “And here we lie, fallen, covered in dust. The very nation celebrated in your tefillin lies on the ground. Please lift us, embrace us, and comfort us.” Nachamu, nachamu. Then and now. For the past and into the future. Forever and ever. Amein.

AUGUST 7, 2014

We continue by listening closely to Moshe Rabbeinu’s reminder: “Mi goy gadol asher lo Elokim krovim eilov - Who else has this gift and ability that Hashem listens every time we cry out to Him?” (Devorim 4:7). A friend told me that his grandfather was seated in a crowded waiting room at Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital, awaiting his weekly chemotherapy session, Rachmona litzlan. An unfamiliar chassidishe fellow walked by and indicated the overflowing room, filled with patients fighting for their lives. “Zei hubben nisht vus mir hubben,” said the chossid, who walked on.

of its wheat for use as shmurah matzah suddenly exposed as host to a terrorist tunnel, and of schoolyards suddenly vacated by children just as fragments land there tell us that this truth is eternal and provide comfort for us in this trying time. We return to the parsha and study the Aseres Hadibros, which form the building blocks of our lives as Torah Jews. We recognize that they set us apart from the rest of the world, and by following their precepts, we are placed on a higher, blessed plane. We study the words of “Shema Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echod,” which comprise the bedrock of our faith. We wake up to those words and go to sleep to them in Shacharis, Arvis and Krias Shema Al Hamitah. They form the last physical action by souls ascending to heaven and are the enduring final message of martyrs through the generations. In 6:18, we are taught how to live as ehrliche Yidden: “You should act honorably and be truthful; then Hashem will be good to you and will bring us into the land He swore to our forefathers and will drive away our enemies from confronting us.” If we seek Hashem’s protection and aid in battle, we must affirm our commitment to honesty and to battling corruption - not just listening, but acting. If we tolerate men of ill-will and sometimes even promote them, how can we expect Hashem to fight for us? We read about how He will lead us into the Promised Land, where we will find homes filled with good. It is an attainable goal, assured to us by He who is “ne’eman leshaleim s’char.” If we follow the word of Hashem, as laid out in the pesukim of this week’s parsha, we know that we will merit salvation, prosperity and peace. The founding of Israel and the Six Day War were undeniably turning points in our history, but people became enamored with the power of man and seemed to overlook the Hand of Hashem. We are sent regular reminders that if we forget the Divine role and Hand in our existence, we are doomed to experience tragedy. We merit nechomah when we recognize that we are kechomer beyad hayotzeir, wholly dependent upon Hashem’s


and create an atmosphere reminiscent of the darkest days of Jewry many believed we would never return to. The eis tzorah is palpable in England, where Jews were burned alive; in Paris, where the Talmud was lit up and destroyed; in Germany, home of Kristallnacht and the Holocaust; Poland, home of the crematoria; Austria, birthplace of Hitler; and Washington, where FDR turned a blind eye to pleas to save Jews. How incongruous that Romans gathered to spew anti-Semitism in the shadow of the Coliseum, the ancient building in which Jews were fed to lions. We wonder how it will end. When will justice triumph? When will care and concern about the good and the kind be paramount? We recognize that we suffer persecution and discrimination because we are Jews. The world’s hatred of the Jew is not derived from their concern over human rights violations or political decisions. We are reminded day after day that sinah yordah l’olam, hatred for the Jewish people descended to the world as we gathered at Har Sinai to accept the Torah. Since that time, we have been cast apart from other nations, despised, reviled, stomped and murdered. Miraculously, we endure. Nonetheless, we witness what is transpiring in Eretz Yisroel and around the world and we fret. We worry about our future here, in Europe and in Israel. Our complacency has been shaken, our comfort zone breached. There is a current of unease rippling through our communities, tremors of fear in our hearts. Yet, this Shabbos, we will go to shul and listen as the haftorah proclaims that Hashem calls out to us and says, “Nachamu nachamu Ami. Be comforted, My nation.” We hear those words and wonder if, as next week’s haftorah states, “Vatomer Tzion azovani Hashem vaHashem shecheichoni - Hashem has forgotten about me.” How do we find answers to our questions? By learning this week’s parsha. We read the pesukim of Parshas Va’eschanon and see the answers spelled out for us repeatedly. The pesukim of this week’s parsha form a retrospective reminding us of the very beginnings of our nation and our first footsteps as the Chosen People. We feel along with Moshe Rabbeinu as he pleads for mercy. “Asher mi Keil - Who else is like You, Hashem?” he wonders (Devorim 3:24). Rashi explains that a king of flesh and blood is surrounded by advisors who question his merciful decisions, whereas Hashem can extend mercy without listening to others. There is a spark of nechomah. We read about the essence of life, “V’atem hadveikim baHashem Elokeichem chaim kulchem hayom,” and we feel a surge of hope. Life means connecting to Hashem, a little more intensity in tefillah, and more concentration when we sit by a Gemara (Devorim 4:3).

TTHE h e JJEWISH e w i s hHOME h o m e n AUGUST j u ly 1 7, 7 , 2014 2014

18 68

A Fulfilled Life Rabbi Naphtali Hoff


The Courage to Move Forward

abban Yochanan ben Zakkai is one of the great heroes in Jewish history and the leading sage at the time of churban bayis sheni. As the Jews and Romans were struggling for control of the Holy City, he managed to escape from the capital and engage the Roman commander Vespasian in a conversation which would have lasting effects for the Jewish people. Though his dialogue did not end the long, painful military campaign in which the Jews and Romans were engaged, nor was it successful in preserving autonomous Jewish life in their homeland, it did manage to set the stage for Jewish survival and rebirth in exile, an endurance that has defied all historical odds. Rabban Yochanan opened the discussion with a declaration that the general had been appointed as Roman emperor. His statement was soon confirmed by a Roman courier. Overjoyed at the news, the new emperor granted Rabban Yochanan a unique opportunity to have his

rabban yochanan demonsTraTed ThaT no maTTer hoW bleak The presenT looks, There is alWays TomorroW. wishes satisfied. The sage asked for three things, all relating to Torah and the Jews’ spiritual preservation. “Give me Yavneh and its wise men, the family chain of Rabban Gamliel, and physicians to heal Rabbi Tzadok.” (Gittin 56a) Let us explore each of these appeals a bit further. • Yavneh and its wise men – to preserve the Torah, Rabban Yochanan asked that the Torah academy in Yavneh be spared. • The family chain of Rabban Gamliel – the nesi’im offered strong leadership for this tumultuous time, vital for national survival. • Physicians to heal Rabbi Tzadok

– who had fasted for forty years to avert the destruction and was in ill health. Vespasian granted all of his requests. He even provided a safe escort for the Torah sages as they relocated to Yavneh. Many of Rabban Yochanan’s contemporaries opposed his moving of the Sanhedrin from Yerushalayim. Still, Rabban Yochanan persisted. He understood that the most important decisions in history can also often be the more difficult and pursued his convictions despite the consequences. Once at Yavneh, Rabban Yochanan passed numerous legislations designed to preserve the legacy of the Bais Hamikdash for subsequent generations, so as to keep the connection alive long into the exile period. These became known as “zecher l’mikdash.” Some examples include: • Maror – Eating maror on the first night of Pesach is mandated by the Torah only in conjunction with consumption of the Pesach sacrifice. With the abolition of sacrifices, the biblical obligation ceased. We eat maror today as a zecher l’mikdash. This also applies to korech, the combination of matzah and mrror. • Shofar – During the Temple period, the shofar was sounded on Rosh Hashana that fell on Shabbos only in the Bais Hamikdash, not elsewhere. Rabban Yochanan now ordained that it be sounded on Shabbos in any locale that possessed a bais din. (Rosh Hashana 4:1) • Lulav – Originally, the lulav was taken for all seven days of Succos in the Bais Hamikdash only; those outside of the mikdash only took it for the first day. It was later instituted that the lulav should be taken everywhere for all seven days. (Sukkah 41a) In addition to these legislations, a number of decrees were passed to ensure that the Jewish people would continuously remember the loss of the Bais Hamikdash. These became known as “zecher l’churban,” and include leaving an area near the front entrance of

one’s house unfinished, omitting an item or two when preparing a full-course banquet, and other restraints on joy and beautification. There is much that we can learn from Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai, such as: • See beyond the moment – Rabban Yochanan demonstrated that no matter how bleak the present looks, there is always tomorrow. Not only will the sun rise again on a new day, but we must plan for that eventuality to ensure an optimal outcome. • Have faith in your convictions – It was easy for Rabban Yochanan to stay put in Yerushalayim and passively await his fate. Instead, he courageously orchestrated a risky plan to gain an audience with Vespasian. Later, he chose to pursue his minority agenda of relocating to Yavneh despite opposition from his peers. • Hold on to the positive – Particularly in times of challenge, it is important to remember and draw inspiration from better days. By connecting to the mikdash, Rabban Yochanan sought to keep his nation focused on our days of glory and offer us something towards which to aspire. • Remember what you are missing – Complacency can easily set in when we are satisfied with the status quo. Abstaining from full expressions of joy help to remind us that things are far from perfect and that we have to work diligently to better our situation. Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai of-

fered strong, focused leadership at one of the most difficult times in our nation’s history. Hopefully, we can apply many of the lessons that our great leader taught us in order to live more fulfilling, focused and growth-oriented lives. Rabbi Naphtali Hoff is an executive coach and president of Impactful Coaching and Consulting. He can be reached at 212-470-6139 or at president@impactfulcoaching.com.

19 Allan J. Rolnick, CPA

Question & Answer Education is at the fore of every parent’s mind. Parents and Educators have many questions, concerns and worries.  

QUESTION: I spend every waking moment worrying about the war in Israel. Even as an adult I struggle with all the information coming through all the media. I grapple as well with how to deal with things like this when it comes to talking with my children. What is appropriate to tell them? What is too much? What is too little? When is the right time to speak about it with them? From Praying and Lost

ANSWER: Dear Praying and Lost, This issue is very apropos. This summer is replete with events in Israel and in other parts of the world that leave us all speechless. How to address this with your children is something that we all grapple with. First and foremost never forget that children react differently to events around them. Not all children deal with these types of events the same way. Please do not expose any of your children to these events if he or she is very sensitive and not emotionally ready to address an issue like this. Even when a child is ready to deal with events like these, or in a case where they have been exposed to these events from an outside source, do not overexpose your child. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) lists a number of emotions that you can expect from children when they are exposed to such topics. Identifying these emotions can give you an idea of what to expect and how to approach it. The list includes: Fear; Loss of Control; Anger; Isolation and Confusion. Fear: This may be the predominant reaction. There is a fear for the safety of those in the military or in the field of action. But, there is also a fear for his or her own safety. Loss of Control: These types of events are things over which children--and most adults--have no control. Lack of control can be overwhelming and confusing. Anger: Anger is a common reaction. Unfortunately, anger is often expressed at those to whom children are closest. Isolation: Children who have a family member in Israel or the military, but who don’t live near them, may feel isolated. Confusion: This can occur on two levels. First, children may feel confused about terrorist attacks and war. They wonder what further dangers might arise, and when the violence will stop. Second, children may have trouble understanding the difference between violence as entertainment and violence that is associated with real events taking place on the news. The NASP suggests dealing with children who exhibit some of these emotions by acknowledging the child’s feelings. A parent should make sure that his or her child feels validated. It is okay for a parent to express the fact that he or she is also not comfortable with the situation, but at the same time to reassure the child that despite the fear he

or she is safe. It is always critical at times like these to maintain regular schedules and routines so that the child has a sense of stability and safety. It is always wise to help children maintain a sense of control by having them take some action. When age appropriate, you may want to do a “family” project to support and pray for Israel. Examples may include a family resolution to give daily tzedakah during this period and to use the proceeds for a cause that the family chooses and/or for the family to include one added chapter from Tehillim in daily prayer, such as Psalm 20, 130 or 142. If any of your children are exhibiting behaviors and emotions beyond the norm, please seek professional help. A child therapist or counselor is trained to assist children get through moments like these and to give you specific assistance appropriate for your children. Sticking to routines always helps. Be sure your children understand that the regular rules apply. Some children may have difficulty at bedtime, but try to maintain a regular bedtime routine. Be flexible about nightlights, siblings sharing a room, sleeping with special toys, and sitting with your child as they fall asleep. Once again, please remember that adult issues do not have to be shared with children. Don’t let your children focus too much of their time and energy on this crisis. If your child is exhibiting behaviors that show stress or worry, make sure to coordinate between school or camp and home. Tell your children’s teacher if he or she is having difficulties and what strategies to use that make your child feel better. Create a sense of collective security between home and school or camp. This will help your children feel safe and provide a sense of protection. These are only some ideas and suggestions based on an article prepared by the National Association of School Psychologists entitled “Children and Fear of War and Terrorism.” In addition, some ideas were based on an article prepared during the Iraq War, from Educators for Social Responsibility entitled “Talking with Children about War and Violence in the World”. To continue the dialogue and share other ideas on this topic, emaileducationqandq@ hillelhebrew.org. We want to hear your thoughts. This article was compiled by Rabbi Y. Boruch Sufrin and Rabbi Eli Broner Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy Administration


omeday, the financial wizards who run things on Wall Street will realize there’s “paper to be stacked” opening an Investor Hall of Fame. (Hey, the Rock and Roll Hall makes $40 million a year, and it’s in Cleveland.) And when they do, they’ll have to dedicate an entire wing to Warren Buffett. The so-called “Oracle of Omaha” has become a rock star among money managers. His chart-topping net worth soared by $37 million per day last year. And his annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting attracted 40,000 attendees this spring, making it the Burning Man Festival for the cocktail set. Buffett affects a folksy style, posing for photos with a ukulele and quipping that Wall Street is the only place where people drive Rolls Royces to get advice from people who ride the subway. But he didn’t get to be #2 on the Forbes 400 by being dumb — and this is true with taxes, too. Buffett has made headlines criticizing the carnival of confusion that passes for the “Internal Revenue Code” for taxing his secretary at a higher rate than it taxes him. But his actions show a keen grasp of the power of smart tax planning. Let’s take a look at Buffett’s charitable giving. Now, there’s no doubt that his motives are sincere — he’s pledged to give a whopping 99% of his fortune to charity. But his generosity may have the side benefit of saving him $30 billion or more in tax. So far this year, Buffett has donated $2.8 billion, including $2.1 billion to the Gates Foundation, $215 million to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, and $150 million each to the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation, and the NoVo Foundation. But those gifts didn’t really “cost” him $2.8 billion. That’s because he didn’t give cash — he gave Berkshire Hathaway stock. Donating appreciated stock lets Buffett deduct the fair market value of that stock at the time of the gift, even though his “cost basis” — or actual investment in it — is likely to be far, far less. Giving away appreciated stock also lets him avoid tax on the appreciation in that stock. Let’s say Buffett’s basis in this

AUGUST 7, 2014

If you wish to have your question or issue considered by a team of Educators feel free to email educationqanda@hillelhebrew.org and your topic may be discussed in this column in future weeks. All names will be held confidential.

Berkshire Giveaway


Your Money

year’s gift stock was an even billion dollars. (It’s probably even less, but who’s counting?) If Buffet had sold the stock at a $1.8 billion gain, then given cash, he would have had to pay $712,800,000 in regular tax, plus another $68,400,000 in “net investment income tax.” Giving appreciated stock directly, then letting the charities sell it boosts his largesse by nearly $800 million — money that Buffett evidently thinks his charities can spend better than the folks in Washington. Buffett probably won’t ever “retire” in the go-fishing-in-Florida-andeat-dinner-at-4 sense of the word. But at some point, he’ll get promoted to that great boardroom in the sky. That’s when his charity will really sidestep our friends at the IRS. Buffett could set up his heirs for generations to come. But with a 40% estate tax, leaving his current net worth of $58.5 billion to family would cost $23.4 billion in tax. Leaving his wealth to charity avoids that hit. And it spares the rest of us decades of reality TV about spoiled, dissolute heirs — their gilded lifestyles, their trips to rehab, and their endless shenanigans. We realize you don’t have billions to give like Buffett. But if you’re one of the millions of Americans who admire his business wisdom, take a lesson from his tax wisdom as well. And call us before you make any sort of major gift, to your shul, your college, or your community. We’ll help you structure it to squeeze out the maximum advantage. You can be sure Warren Buffett would approve!

Allan J Rolnick is a CPA who has been in practice for over 30 years in Queens, NY. He welcomes your comments and can be reached at 718-896-8715 or at allanjrcpa@aol.com.


AUGUST 7, 2014


World War I and the Jews By Aaron Feigenbaum World War I is commonly thought of in terms of its epic battles: Verdun, Gallipoli, Somme and so forth. But while the war shook the world to its core in a hitherto unprecedented bloodbath, the Jews of Europe took an especially hard blow - one that would set the scene for the horrors of World War II. After the outbreak of WWI in 1914, many young Jewish men volunteered for military service in their respective countries, especially in anti-Semitic strongholds such as Germany and Russia, in hopes of proving their loyalty. Many more Jews were conscripted as European countries adopted a total war footing. Ironically, German Jews fought and died in greater numbers than any other ethnic or religious group in Germany. According to historian Brian Rygg: “About 10,000 [Jews] volunteered for duty, and over 100,000 out of a total German-Jewish population of 550,000 served during World War One. Some 78% saw front-line duty, 12,000 died in battle, over 30,000 received decorations, and 19,000 were promoted. Approximately 2,000 Jews became military officers and 1,200 became medical officers.” (Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers, pg. 72) Despite these sacrifices, anti-Semites within the German military command began to suspect Jewish soldiers of disloyalty. Thus, in October 1916, the German High Command instituted the Judenzählung or “Jewish census” to “prove” that Jewish soldiers were routinely shying away from frontline duty. Of course, the results proved just the opposite. 78% of Jewish soldiers served on the frontlines, a far higher percentage than that of the general population. Sadly though, the census results were never released to the general public. As the tide of war turned against Germany, anti-Semitism ramped up as many German politicians and military figures were quick to blame their own failures on the Jews’ alleged “stab in the back.” The Russian Revolution of 1917 and subsequent fears of a Jewish-Bolshevik plot, in addition to the economic collapse immediately after the war’s end and the harsh terms of the treaty of Versailles, all contributed to the perfect storm that allowed the Nazis to eventually grab hold of Germany’s reigns and plunge Europe into chaos once again. Yet, even in Nazi Germany the legacy of the Jewish soldiers of WWI lived on. Hugo Gutmann, a German Jew who was Hitler’s commanding officer in the war and who personally awarded him the Iron Cross, serves as an ironic testament to this legacy. Despite their murderous anti-Semitism, the Nazis had just enough decency to guarantee Guttmann’s pension throughout WWII. In another strange turn of events, the Nazis also honored one Hermann Bendheim who was profiled in a recent issue of Haaretz. Bendheim was a Jewish-German soldier who served in France and who was given a badge of honor by Nazi representatives in Jerusalem in 1935. Ironically, Bendheim would later join a unit dedicated to protecting then-Palestine from a potential German invasion in WWII.

The camel corps at Beersheba

British machine gun crew wearing anti gas helmets

A German trench being occupied by the British during the 1916 Battle of the Somme

Russian Infantry

General Allenby entering Jerusalem on foot, 1917

Yet, while German Jewry’s contributions towards the German war effort are one of the most noteworthy aspects of WWI’s Jewish history, especially in light of Germany’s treatment of its Jews in WWII, of even greater note are the profound and tumultuous changes undergone in and shortly after the war by Eastern European Jewry. They experienced anti-Semitism, pogroms, battle casualties, hunger, and population displacement to an unprecedented degree. While anti-Semitism in Germany was not at all insignificant, the level of persecution and hardship Jews faced in Russia and Russian-occupied lands was on a much larger scale. As in Germany, young Russian-Jewish men believed they could earn the respect of their non-Jewish peers by fighting in the Great War to defend the Russian Motherland. Over 600,000 of them served in the Russian army, 80,000 of whom served on the frontlines and about 100,000 of whom were killed. Unlike in Germany where Jews were afforded at least some measure of dignity, the Russian media and politico-military establishment harbored a profound distrust of Russian Jews that manifested itself as early as August 1914 when the authorities intercepted a German message urging Jews to overthrow the Russian government. Furthermore, the German Foreign Ministry employed Jewish leaders to spread anti-Russian propaganda. Zionist leader Max Bodenheimer was particularly outspoken in his support of the German regime and established a Committee for Liberating the Russian Jews whose goal was to create a German-dominated buffer state between Russia and Germany in which Jews would be safe. While this initial support for Germany on the part of Jews would prove to be short-lived, many Jews nevertheless saw a German-controlled Eastern Europe as preferable to the barbarism of Russian anti-Semitism. Indeed, some prayed for Germany to liberate Eastern Europe. Jewish civilians bore the brunt of Czar Nicholas II’s wartime policies. The czarist regime expelled some half a million Jews from the areas of Lithuania and Latvia on suspicion of collaboration with the enemy. Tens of thousands of Jews were displaced by Russian and German troops in other areas such as Galicia and Bucovina bringing the total number of refugees to around 600,000. Some fled to Central Europe, especially Vienna, and others to Warsaw, Vilna, and the Russian interior. The Pale of Settlement which had defined Jewish political life since 1791 had effectively ceased to be. Jewish life in Eastern Europe was almost totally shattered. Not only did Jewish refugees face economic loss, hunger, and disease, but the war also marked the beginning of the end for the shtetl. To deal with this humanitarian and spiritual crisis, Jews organized their own relief committees, some of which were ironically funded by the Russian government. While the refugee crisis was greatest in German-occupied lands of Eastern Europe, the German authorities did allow the Jews to organize themselves politically, a

move which led some to naively believe that the Germans would grant Jews autonomy in these lands. All hopes of favorable treatment by the Germans, much less the czarists, evaporated in the Russian Revolution of 1917. While Jews in Russia suddenly found themselves enjoying unprecedented freedoms, the German government, its puppet leaders in Eastern Europe, and pro-czarist forces all suspected the Jews of orchestrating the revolution and treated Jews in their territories as potential Bolshevik spies. The Russian Civil War of 19181921 wreaked further havoc upon the battered Jewish population of Eastern Europe. Throughout the war, both the czarists and Bolsheviks committed pogroms, mostly in Ukraine, which resulted in the murder of another 50,000 Jews. Jews flocked in droves to the Bolshevik party given that Bolshevik pogroms were statistically less deadly than czarist ones, and that many Jews saw them as infinitely better than the reviled czarist regime. In addition to Bolshevism, Zionism too received a major boost in WWI. As the Ottoman Empire crumbled, the British saw their opportunity to advance their interests in the Middle East by taking control of Palestine. British policymakers saw an alliance with the Zionists as a way of maintaining a foothold in Palestine and encouraging America’s Jewish community to pressure the U.S. to enter the war, something the British badly needed in 1917 as they were stuck in a stalemate with the Germans. Thus, in November 1917, at the behest of future Israeli president Chaim Weizmann, the British government issued the famous Balfour Declaration which supported the Jewish people’s right to a “national home in Palestine.” Just five weeks later, General Allenby captured Jerusalem from the Ottomans and all of Palestine came under British rule less than a year later. Additionally, the legendary Zionist figures Vladimir Jabotinsky and Joseph Trumpeldor first came to prominence in WWI with their establishment of the Jewish Legion, a militia affiliated with the British Army and which fought with the British against the Ottomans in Palestine. The Jewish Legion would eventually serve as the basis for the IDF. As we mark the hundredth anniversary of one of the most cataclysmic events in human history, we should remember that World War One was also one of the most traumatic events for the Jews. Entire communities were displaced, hundreds were killed, and traditional life was destroyed in most of Europe. After the war, Jews left Europe in droves heading for America, Palestine and elsewhere. While WWI has been overshadowed by the far greater horrors of WWII, we as Jews have a responsibility to ensure that those lost in WWI aren’t forgotten and to recognize that WWI affected the course of Jewish history up to this day. (Sources: YIVO Encyclopedia, Jewish Virtual Library, Haaretz)







AUGUST 7, 2014

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AUGUST 7, 2014


Remembering Menachem Begin Israel’s Sixth Prime Minister By Elliott Michaels

The thirteenth day of the month of Av marks the birthday, 101 years ago, of Menachem Begin. Begin was an extraordinary Jewish leader, one who devoted his life tirelessly to Am Yisroel and Eretz Yisroel. He was part of the founding generation of the modern State of Israel, and he later led Israel through tragedy and triumph. He kept his focus on the safety and security of the Jewish people, and he maintained an unapologetic view of the Jewish people’s biblical right to Eretz Yisroel.

shaped much of Begin’s worldview and outlook. In 1935, Begin graduated with a law degree from Warsaw University but he chose not to practice law, and instead devoted himself full time to Betar and the Zionist cause. His oratory skills and leadership qualities were quickly apparent, and he assumed the leadership of Betar Poland

thousands of Polish prisoners under an agreement reached with the Polish government in exile. Begin was among those freed prisoners, and he promptly joined the Polish Free Army to fight the Germans alongside the British. As Divine Providence would have it, Begin and his comrades were stationed in Eretz Yisroel, then known as Palestine, which was a part of the British Empire. Begin served in the

Eretz Yisroel from the outside world. This, Begin argued, was the greatest crime of all. In response to Begin’s advocacy of armed resistance, the British government issued a reward for his capture, and he was forced to go into hiding. He remained hidden from 1944 through 1948. During this period, he assumed several false identities,

Early Life Menachem Begin was born to Ze’ev and Chasia Begin on August 16, 1913, the13th day of Av, in Brest-Litovsk, Belarus. Throughout his life, Menachem maintained a unique appreciation for Torah scholarship, especially Tanach and Biblical studies. This appreciation was cultivated in his hometown, a town that Begin always referred to as “Ir V’eim B’Yisroel, a city and mother in Israel. Begin’s family was close with Ariel Sharon’s family, who at that time were known as Scheinerman. It was Ariel Sharon’s grandmother who was the midwife that delivered Menachem Begin at his birth. Zionism offered a sense of purpose and community for many Jews of that time period, and the Begin family was no different. As a child, Menachem Begin’s father exposed his children to Zionist clubs, first with the Hashomer Hatzaier, and then later with Betar. Betar was the “revisionist”

Greeting Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on his historic visit to the Knesset

in 1938. In this role, he traveled throughout Europe, advocating Betar’s philosophy that the Jewish people were entitled to a homeland on both sides of the Jordan River, as promised by the Torah. During his travels, he met a young woman named Aliza, and they were married shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Menachem and Aliza would eventually have three children. World War II

In his youth

Zionism group led by Ze’ev Jabotinksy, which advocated a more militaristic approach to returning to the Land of Israel. Jabotinsky took Begin under his wing, and Jabotinsky’s tutelage in those early years

With the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Begin and his wife chose to relocate further east to Vilna, to escape the oncoming Nazi onslaught. However, the Begin family did not find much refuge in Vilna as Soviet forces soon invaded and occupied the region. Begin was well known for his Zionist ideals, and he soon aroused the ire of the NKVD while leading a commemoration ceremony for the birthday of Theodore Herzl. Towards the end of 1940, he was arrested by the Soviets and sent to Lukishki Prison for the crime of being a Zionist. Begin proudly “confessed” to this “crime”, and defiantly told his captors that Zionsim was not a crime, but rather an expression of the Biblical right of the Jewish people. Begin later authored a book about his experiences in the Soviet prison, titled White Nights. In May of 1942, the Soviets released

Forced expulsion of Yamit in 1982

Polish Army until December 1942, when he was discharged so that he could join the Irgun. Begin had achieved his lifelong dream of making aliyah to Eretz Yisroel, but the next few years would be among the most challenging of his life. Irgun Years: 1942-1948 Begin joined the ranks of the Irgun, also known as Etzel (Irgun Tzvai Le’umi) upon his discharge from the Polish army in 1942. In those years, there were several factions in Eretz Yisroel representing the Olim and protecting the Jewish inhabitants from Arab attacks, the most dominant of which was the Haganah. Begin disagreed with the Haganah’s approach to Jewish matters and statehood, arguing that a stronger approach was needed to achieve this important goal. His previous experience leading Betar contributed to his philosophy that appeasing the British would not result in a Jewish state. Begin’s disagreement with the secular approach of the Haganah would resurface time and again throughout his life and political career. Begin assumed command of the Irgun in 1943. He broadcasted radio addresses calling on all Jews to stand up and resist the British, whom he believed were directly responsible for the tragic fate of European Jewry who were being murdered by the Nazi’s. By restricting immigration into Palestine, the British effectively sealed

including that of Rabbi Sassover, under whose alias he gave shiurim in shul to maintain this false identity. Begin continued to oversee the Irgun’s operations while in hiding. The Irgun heeded Begin’s call to arms, and a period of unrest settled across the land as these warriors targeted the British and symbols of its powerful empire in Eretz Yisroel. The most notable of these sabotage operations was the 1946 bombing of the King David hotel in Jerusalem. The British continued to implement a heavy-handed policy against these Jewish fighters, and Begin was outraged. These hostilities led to an event that Begin would later call the most difficult decision of his life. In response to the British execution of an Irgun fighter, Begin ordered the execution of two captured British sergeants. England was shocked, but never again did they execute another Jew in Eretz Yisroel. In 1948, when the British vacated Eretz Yisroel, the Arabs declared war, and Begin was finally able to emerge and lead his troops openly. However, Begin’s approach continued to displease members of the Haganah, whose leadership was responsible for declaring the new State of Israel. Because of these disagreements, Begin was not even invited to the Declaration of Independence ceremony. These disagreements nearly led to civil


Political Opposition—1949-1977 After the successful War of Independence, Begin formed a political party called Cherut. Although the left-wing Socialist parties dominated Israeli politics in those years, Begin voiced his opposition to matters he thought were contrary to Jewish ideals. When Israel was considering whether to receive German war reparations in 1951-1952, Begin led heated debates in the Knesset arguing that this was

that would result in thousands of deaths. The public was not confident with Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s leadership, and in response, Begin undertook a diplomatic mission to visit Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Begin cast aside his personal opinions, and reached out to his former nemesis in a bid to convince Israel’s founding father to assume the leadership once more and quell the nation’s fears. Ben Gurion declined, but was impressed by the respect Begin showed him. Ben Gurion’s impression of Begin would forever be changed as a result of this gesture. Begin joined the unity government immediately before the Six Day War, and for the first time, he was a member of the Israeli cabinet. When Israel liberated the Temple Mount in the closing days of the war, it was Begin who suggested to Chief Rabbi Goren to blow the Shofar at the Kotel. Begin felt this was reminiscent of the Biblical conquest of Jericho, and this became a powerful image of Israel’s success in the reunification of the holy city of Jerusalem. Begin resigned from the cabinet a few years later, and considered retiring from politics and to focus on improving his health. Nevertheless, he decided to run for one more election in 1977, and the world was surprised with the results. Prime Minister—1977-1983

With President Reagan

blood money and should not be accepted. More than once, he was escorted out of the Knesset for his vocal opposition. He argued that no amount of money could “repair” the crimes the German people committed against Am Yisroel during the Holocaust. Years later, in 1967, war with Egypt became inevitable when Egypt blockaded the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. The mood in Israel was gloomy and tense, as everyone expected an Egyptian invasion

Nobody expected Menachem Begin’s Likud party to win the election in 1977. His election was such a surprise, that it has become known in Israeli political history as the “Mahapach”, or the upheaval. It signaled a shift in Israeli politics that had been dominated for three decades by the secular left-wing parties. Begin was a new kind of Prime Minister, one with a conscious awareness that he represented the Jewish people. After the election results were announced, a reporter asked Begin what would be his first act as Prime Minister. Begin responded by removing a kippa from his pocket, placing it upon his head, and reciting the Shehechiyanu blessing. Shortly after Begin’s election, he invited Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem. This was the first time an Arab head of state visited Israel, and the goal of achieving peace between Israel and Egypt became more attainable. Following up from this historic visit, both Begin and Sadat were invited by President Carter to discuss peace at Camp David.

Begin arrived in the United States in the summer of 1977. Before heading to Washington, he first sought the blessings of prominent rabbanim before he undertook the difficult task of negotiating with President Carter and Anwar Sadat. His first stop was at the headquarters of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, where he and the Rebbe had a private audience for several hours. The Rebbe and Begin shared a warm relationship, and Begin called the Rebbe “a great man in Israel.” Begin then visited Rav Moshe Feinstein at his lower east side apartment, as well as Rav Soloveitchik at the Waldorf Hotel. Begin and the Rav also maintained a warm relationship over the years, as the two shared a common Brisker heritage. The Camp David Accords, which were finalized in 1978, saw Israel give the Sinai to Egypt in response for recognition and peace. Many in Begin’s Likud party were disappointed that Begin acquiesced, and Begin himself voiced disappointment at what he saw was a lose-lose situation for Israel. He believed that returning the Sinai was a mistake militarily and economically, but was in Israel’s best political interests. For this sacrifice, Begin received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978. When he accepted the Prize, Begin told the audience that it belonged to his people, Am Yisroel, not him. The Prize included a $1 million award, which Begin refused to accept. Begin’s first major military decision as Prime Minister was when he authorized the secret Israeli mission to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor in June 1981. Israel had intelligence that Saddam Hussein was developing a nuclear arsenal, and Hussein made it clear that he intended to wipe Israel off the map. Begin argued that when an enemy of the Jewish people espouses such

hateful and violent sentiments, our history demands that we take him seriously. Former Ambassadar Yehuda Avner relates that Begin paced his office reciting Tehillim during the mission, and only stopped when he was told that the pilots accomplished their mission and landed safely in Israel. Despite the outcry and Israel’s universal world condemnation, Begin proudly announced that Israel had nothing to apologize for, and the Jewish people would defend themselves by all possible means from any existential threats. 1982 saw Begin authorize another military mission, Operation Peace for the Galilee. Arab terrorists had been attacking northern Israel from Lebanon for months, and Begin authorized a limited invasion of Lebanon to eliminate the threat. This became known as the Lebanon War, and would eventually become a political liability for Begin. A tragic consequence caused by the fog of war was when Lebanese Christian soldiers, raided two Muslim refugee camps, known as Sabra and Shintilla. The world accused Israel and Defense Minister Ariel Sharon of war crimes for allowing this massacre to occur. Begin lamented to his aide that when goyim kill goyim, the world still blamed the Jews. Begin’s political strength began to fade in late 1982. His wife Aliza died in November, and he fell into a deep sadness. The Lebanon War was losing the public’s support, and it became apparent that Israel would remain in Lebanon for many long months, even after the terrorists had been expelled. Begin was in poor health, and he resigned as Prime Minister in late 1983. Begin spent the last decade of his life in seclusion. He left his apartment only to visit the grave of his wife Aliza, and for family celebrations. Although as Prime Minister, he was entitled to be buried on Mount Hertzl, he chose instead to be buried on Mount Olives, in a humble grave adjacent to his wife and two Lechi fighters who died in British captivity. Menachem Begin died in 1992 at the age of 79, surrounded by his family. He reminded the Jewish people of its conscience and Biblical right to the Land of Israel. May his memory be a blessing.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe greeting Prime Minister Begin, 1977

Sources: Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul, Daniel Gordis; Jewish Virtual Library; The Prime Ministers, Yehuda Avner.

AUGUST 7, 2014

war between the newly created Israel Defense Force, which was comprised mostly of Haganah soldiers, and members of the Irgun. These tensions boiled over when the Alta Lena, a ship purchased by the Irgun, attempted to transport weapons into Eretz Yisroel for the newly created army. The ship was brought in without Begin’s knowledge, and when Begin appeared to greet the ship, Ben Gurion and other former Haganah leaders were incensed at what they believed was the Irgun’s efforts to undermine the authority of the newly created army. Ben Gurion’s men opened fire on the ship, but Begin ordered his men to stand down. As the bullets whizzed by, Begin fervently ordered his men not to return fire. In the thick of this confrontation, Begin was determined to see to it that Jews not shoot at other Jews.


Mind Stretch

A child playing on the beach had six 1/6 sand piles in one place and three1/3 sand piles in another. If he put them together, how many sand piles would he have?

Change just one letter in the word on either side of the parentheses to form a word that fits the definition within the parentheses. (The letter you use will not necessarily be the same for each word.) For example, the answer to MATCH (month) DAY would be MARCH and MAY.

CALL (toy) BAR

REAR (fruit) REACH



FIRE (tool) PINK






TOWN (garment)RODE


FILE (measure)ITCH


FELL (material)SICK


DITCH (language) CREEK




BENT (coin) DICE

Yankel passes by a pet shop and notices a parrot in the window selling for $1,500. He goes inside and asks why it costs so much. The salesman tells him the parrot speaks five languages. “Five languages!” exclaims Yankel. “Does it speak Yiddish?”  “Sure it does,” says the salesman.  As his mother lives by herself, Yankel decides to buy her the parrot as a present. After all, it’ll keep her company. So he pays the $1,500 and arranges for the shop to deliver the parrot to his mother.  The next day Yankel calls his mother and asks, “Mom, what do you think of the parrot I bought you?”  “Mmm, it was delicious!” she says.  “What do you mean‘delicious’?” Yankel asks. “I made soup out of it; it came out great!” says his mother. “But Mom, the parrot wasn’t for eating. It spoke five languages including Yiddish!” Yankel cries. After a short pause, his mom replies: “So why didn’t it say anything?”



You Gotta be


Answer on next page

THE 2014 T H E JEWISH J E W I S HHOME H O M E nAUGUST 1, ,2012 2014 MJ UAYLY2347,

26 46 78


Your Summer Reading List Think you can’t get through all of these books? Well, it shouldn’t be all that difficult— they are some of the shortest books ever written: •

A Guide to Arab Democracies

A Journey through the Mind of Nancy Pelosi

Career Opportunities for History Majors

Detroit: A Travel Guide

My Allegiances to Israel by John Kerry

French Hospitality

The Popular Lawyers Guide

The Wit and Wisdom of John Boehner

Ethics in Politics by [insert any politicians name here]

Things I Did To Deserve The Nobel Peace Prize by Barack Obama 

• • •

Things I Accomplished before Becoming Mayor by Bill de Blasio Things I Would Not Do To Get Elected President by Hillary Clinton

An Engineer’s Guide to Fashion

Fulfilled Campaign Promises, 423 BCE to 2014 CE

Great British Recipes

How I Keep My Figure by Chris Christie

The Moral High-Ground by Vladimir Putin

To Tell You the Truth by Former President Bill Clinton

The Virtues of Humility by Donald Trump

Being Articulate by George W. Bush

The Hairstyles of Kim Jung Un

Things that I Didn’t Create by Al Gore


Circles or Spirals?

Comm Let the ission er dec Send your s tuff


to fivetow centerfold@ nsjewis hhome. com

Answer to riddle: One big pile!



70 90



Compiled by Nate Davis

“Say What?” The New York Times is reporting that Montana Senator John Walsh actually plagiarized at least twentyfive percent of his master’s thesis in grad school. Walsh totally denies it and said: “I am not a crook” and “Ask not what your country can do for your, ask what you can do for your country.” - Jimmy Fallon According to a new report, millennials view smartphones as more important than deodorant. That makes sense. Nobody ever totals their car because they were staring at their deodorant. - Seth Myers For the record, all the “villains” on Thomas and Friends are the dirty diesel engines. I’d like to think there was a good environmental message in there, but when the good engines pump out white smoke and the bad engines pump out black smoke – and they are all pumping out smoke – it’s not hard to make the leap into the race territory. - Tracy Van Slyke in the UK Guardian writing about how the Thomas and Friends children's cartoon gives a bad environmental and racial message to children

If the US imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival... our troops will fire our nucleararmed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon – the sources of all evil. - Hwang Pyong-So, director of the North Korea military’s General Political Bureau, at a military rally This year’s box-office revenue is down 20 percent from last summer. I’m not sure why that is, but I’ll bet you there’s a documentary on Netflix about it. – Jimmy Fallon

Jon Stewart did a controversial bit last week about how Israel has all the advantages in the conflict… with its warnings via app to its civilians about incoming rockets and its ability to neutralize those rockets with its missile defenses…Yes, how unfair. Israel invested in systems entirely devoted to protecting its civilian population from unprovoked attack. What dastardliness is the Zionist entity capable of next? -Rich Lowry, National Review

Leaked comments from unnamed senior government sources to Army Radio, Channel 2 and other Hebrew outlets have described [Secretary of State Kerry] as amateurish, incompetent, incapable of understanding the material he is dealing with — in short, a blithering fool. But actually, it’s worse than that. What emerges from Kerry’s self-initiated ceasefire mission — Israel had already accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal; and nobody asked him to come out on a trip he prefaced with sneering remarks about Israel’s attempted “pinpoint” strikes on Hamas terror targets — is that Jerusalem now regards him as duplicitous and dangerous. - Times of Israel Op-ed Look at the wreckage that Kerry has done in intervening in the Israeli/Gaza fighting. He decides he has to go, the Israelis did not invite him. The Egyptians didn’t want him. And he said he advanced a peace plan that was sort of building on the Egyptian one. It didn’t at all. It undermined it…Kerry goes over and then he negotiates in Paris with who? Qatar and Turkey and returns essentially as the lawyer for Hamas, hands Israel a proposition that is so outrageous that the cabinet votes 19-0 against it. Israeli cabinets have never voted 19-0 on whether the sun rises in the east. - Charles Krauthammer on Fox News

I have two words for you: Get lost. - Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s Facebook posting after United Nations Human Rights Council voted to investigate possible Israeli violations of international law in Gaza while giving a pass to Hamas When countries like Cuba, Venezuela and the like vote against us, it means we’re doing something right. - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s response to the UN Human Rights Council vote

This summer New Yorkers will be able to order delivery food to sunbathing spots in Central Park. Although if you have to order delivery to the place where you’re sunbathing, you probably shouldn’t be sunbathing. - Seth Myers This crazy weather we’ve been having all over the country — it’s because the polar vortex is back. The polar vortex is causing the Midwest to experience falllike temperatures. I can’t tell if climate change is still a problem or if G-d just put the Earth on “Shuffle.” - Jimmy Fallon

Vegan meals take far less of a toll on the Earth’s resources… It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce just a pound of meat but only about 155 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat. - PETA’s explanation for their offer to pay the water bills of Detroit residents who go vegan

A company in the U.K. is making news for developing a new vegetable called Brussel-Kale, which is a hybrid of Brussels sprouts and kale. They said, “We got the idea from a child’s nightmare.” - Jimmy Fallon

I have to admit I’ve actually met that guy before. It was a couple years ago and he had the same line. He needs to update his material. - President Obama when interrupted by a heckler during a rally in Los Angeles

This is probably the safest airport in the world; safer than any airport we have. - Mike Bloomberg upon landing in Israel on an El Al flight while the FAA ban against American airlines flying to Israel was in place Today the prime minister of Ukraine announced his resignation. He said he wants to spend a little more time fleeing Ukraine. – Seth Myers “The View” will be trying out new co-hosts this week. That’s good news for "The View" and even better news for the company that sells noise-canceling headphones. – Jimmy Fallon

I think your question is to the Indian government. - One of the State Department officials in response I made a mistake in speaking before being fully briefed and I apologize. I’m a quick study, but in this case I shot an air ball. - Congressman Clawson after the hearing

These huge white flags were placed on top of the Brooklyn Bridge. And late this afternoon, word came from the FBI that the New York Mets have surrendered. - Craig Ferguson

Today, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Egypt and had to pass through a metal detector before he could meet with officials. Which is ridiculous. Everyone knows he’s made of wood. - Seth Myers

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing corruption charges. If the charges prove true, then Governor Cuomo will be forced to step down and become the governor of New Jersey. – Conan O’Brien Forgive Us, Netherlands. - Front page headline of antiPutin Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta

As much of world watches Gaza war in horror, members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel. - Tweet sent out by the Associated Press

Comic-Con wrapped up over the weekend in San Diego. If you don’t know, Comic-Con is the world’s largest gathering of people who know the difference between a modem and a router. – Jimmy Kimmel A new rumor has surfaced that the next iPhone will feature an all-glass exterior. Because why should just the front be cracked? – Seth Myers

I saw that Hillary Clinton visited the headquarters of Twitter and Facebook yesterday. Hillary would also have visited LinkedIn, but she already knows what job she wants. – Jimmy Fallon Yeah, yes, indeed. - Hillary Clinton when asked on Fusion TV whether she is worth millions

AUGUST 7, 2014

Maybe that’s why the FCC just announced that it wants to overhaul the Emergency Alert System so President Obama would be able to interrupt any TV broadcast and address the country instantly…They want to make it so the president can instantly interrupt TV broadcasts whenever there’s breaking news. Then Obama said, “And I mean REAL breaking news, not that CNN stuff.” - Jimmy Fallon

North Korea is negotiating to broadcast the Teletubbies. They have to make changes for North Korean TV. For starters, every episode will end with one of the Teletubbies being executed. – Craig Ferguson

I am familiar with your country, I love your country, and I understand the complications of so many languages and so many cultures and so many histories all rolled up in one. Anything I can do to make the relationship with India better, I’m willing and enthusiastic about doing so. Just as your capital is welcome here to produce good-paying jobs in the U.S., I’d like our capital to be welcome there… And I ask cooperation and commitment and priority from your government in so doing. Can I have that? - Congressman Curt Clawson (R-FLA) to two U.S State Department officials who were testifying at a Congressional hearing and had Indian names and looked like they were from India


- David Letterman

Breaking: Dutch military plane carrying bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash lands in Eindhoven. - Awkward phrasing of an AP tweet which was quickly deleted by AP

T HT HE EJ EJ W LY 2341,, 2012 2014 E WI SI SHHH HO OMME Enn JMUAY

Happy birthday to Ed Lowe, the man who invented Kitty Litter. Here’s what I admire about Ed Lowe. Here was a guy who was thinking inside the box.

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AUGUST 7, 2014


The U.N. and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Legacy of Bias and Failure By Aaron Feigenbaum

The United Nations, founded in 1945 with the goal of restoring peace, fairness, and justice to a shattered post-war world, has fallen woefully short of its goals in so many areas. Chief among these goals is solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. U.N. involvement in the conflict dates back almost to the organization’s founding, but its pervasive anti-Israel bias, at times verging on anti-Semitism, pervades almost every facet of the U.N. and has destroyed its credibility as an impartial mediator. Israel is the Middle East’s only democracy and shows much greater respect for human rights and due process than its neighbors, yet Israel is singled out time and time again by the U.N. for criticism, including criticism by those who are themselves serious human rights abusers. The bias extends beyond resolutions passed in the General Assembly; it also includes, among other things, anti-Israel sentiment in the Human Rights Council, UNRWA (the U.N.’s refugee committee), and even UNESCO which is tasked with designating World Heritage Sites. So how did this sad situation come about? How did the organization that played a major role in founding and legitimizing the State of Israel in the first place morph into an anti-Israel kangaroo court? The story of the U.N.’s involvement in the conflict starts with the Partition Plan of 1947. Though it was famously rejected by the Arab League and the vast majority of citizens of Arab countries, it nonetheless set the stage for the U.N.’s official recognition of Israel in 1949. For the next few decades, the U.N’s treatment of Israel continued to be relatively fair and impartial, despite its deplorable silence on the refugee crisis of Jews expelled from Muslim lands. The U.N.’s most pro-Israel resolutions after Israel’s creation were arguably numbers 242 and 338 written in 1967 and 1973 respectively. According to Joshua Muravchik, author of the new book “Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel,” these resolutions “implicitly acknowledged that Israel need not relinquish all of the territory captured in the Six-Day War.” Soon after these resolutions though, the likes of which we would never see in today’s hostile climate, the tide began to turn against Israel at the U.N. According to Muravchik, recently decolonized Arab and non-Arab nations teamed up with their Soviet benefactors to form the Non-Aligned Movement which is now 120 members strong and dominates every branch of the U.N. except the Security Council in which 5 permanent members hold veto power.

Flag of the United Nations

This bloc, mostly made up of dictatorships, can be relied upon to vote consistently against Israel. This anti-Israel cabal made its first big move in 1975 with the passing of the infamous and shameful Resolution 3379 which singled out Zionism as a form of racism. Though it was later revoked in 1991 under intense pressure from the first Bush administration, the fallout from it did irreparable harm to the U.N.’s credibility. (It’s noteworthy that on the same day 3379 was rescinded the U.N. called on Israel to cancel its declaration of Jerusalem as its capital and withdraw from the “occupied territories. Furthermore, the charge that “Zionism = Racism” was repeated at the U.N.’s three Durban Conferences on racism.”) Yet, in terms of the sheer number of anti-Israel resolutions passed 3379 was only a drop in the bucket. The U.N. began to obsess over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, taking such actions as establishing the “Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,” declaring an “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” and issuing resolution after resolution condemning Israel for defending its own citizens. Meanwhile, the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of 1979 came about without

the U.N.’s help, the U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva having failed to produce any results. Likewise, the Oslo Peace Accords of 1993 and Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty of 1994 were both passed without

UN Partition Plan

the U.N.’s involvement. Laughably, on the same day the U.N. voted in 1991 to hold a peace conference it passed yet another anti-Israel measure. However, after the passage of the Oslo Accords there was a significant lull in the number of anti-Israel resolutions passed. For once, a U.N. call for peace in the Middle East issued in 1993 did not criticize Israel. The U.N. condemned terrorism against Israel for the first time and the Human Rights Commission officially listed anti-Semitism as a form of racism (better late than never!) Not surprisingly, this moment of reconciliation between Israel and the U.N. proved to be short lived as the unfair criticism, denial of Israel’s right to defend itself, and general obsession with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ramped up again in the mid-1990‘s. After the Second Intifada, the U.N.’s anti-Israel bias became even more intense and vitriolic. For the most part, the U.N. has completely ignored or even tacitly approved the violent actions of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations. Sounding no different from Hamas propaganda, a 2002 resolution passed by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (now the Human Rights Council) went so far as to declare that the Palestinians have a “legitimate right” to “resist the Israeli occupation in order to free its land and be able to exercise its right of self-determination.” Of course, there was no mention of the right of Israel to defend itself from terrorist attacks. Even when the U.N. appears to be neutral, as when it’s pushing through a ceasefire, these ceasefires almost always benefit Hamas as they cause Israel to lose its upper hand. And even then, Hamas is always the one to violate them. To take another example of U.N. bias, an egregious breach of the spirit of the U.N. Charter occurred in 2005 at an event at U.N. headquarters where a Palestinian exhibition displayed a map of Israel that was not labeled Israel but rather “Palestine.” The West Bank security fence, a lifesaving measure that has virtually stopped all West Bank-based terrorism, is also not immune to the U.N.’s wrath. The wall was declared “illegal” while no such condemnation, much less prolonged discussion, has been leveled against, for example, Morocco’s Wall with Western Sahara which illegally protrudes into the sovereign territory of neighboring Mauritania and has violated human rights. Another shameful chapter in the U.N.’s long history of anti-Israel bias is that of the critically flawed Goldstone Report, issued


in 2009 in response to Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The report claimed that Israel deliberately targeted civilians while Hamas did not. Two years later, Judge Goldstone retracted both those claims. Despite the glaring errors, omissions, and distortions and overall misguided nature of the report, the U.N. and most of its member states unhesitatingly endorsed it as an accurate account. As we see with the Gaza conflict raging right now, the U.N. is still as biased as ever against Israel. The Human Rights Council recently passed Resolution S-21 creating a commission to report on human rights violations in the war. However, this is not a resolution calling for a fair trial that considers the evidence before making an informed decision. With barely a mention of Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket attacks, the resolution automatically assumes that Israel is the guilty party and thus, like the Goldstone Report, relinquishes all pretense of credibility. It is also worth mentioning that in 2007 even U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized the Council’s disproportionate focus and unfair treatment of Israel saying “The Secretary-General is disappointed at the Council’s decision to

single out only one specific regional item, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.” However, the issues go even deeper than anti-Israel bias. It is clear that this bias borders on, if not qualifies as, anti-Semitism but there have also been outright anti-Semitic statements made by national representatives at the U.N. that have gone unchallenged or have even been endorsed by U.N. officials. For example, in 1991 the Syrian Ambassador repeated the medieval blood libel of Jews killing Christian children to use their blood for matzos. This repulsive lie was only challenged months later after U.S. pressure. In 1997 a Palestinian representative accused the Israeli government of infecting hundreds of Palestinian children with HIV. This statement has not been contradicted or challenged on the official U.N. record. In 2005, Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food labeled the Gaza Strip as an “immense concentration camp.” Despite a U.N. spokesman’s rejection of Ziegler’s statement, the U.N. took no punitive action against Ziegler. In 2008, the former president of the General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, openly embraced

Finally, the U.N.’s acceptance of “Palestine” as a member of the General Assembly in 2012 not only did absolutely nothing to further the peace process, but now has the effect of lending Hamas legitimacy on account of the Hamas-Palestinian Authority merger earlier this year. To say that the U.N. is in need of reform is an understatement. It is a broken system where anti-Israel bias is the norm and where discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict takes precedence over such pressing issues as Darfur, Congo, or Syria. However, while it’s tempting to dismiss the U.N. wholesale, we should keep in mind the U.N.’s many positive achievements in the areas of education, peacekeeping, and humanitarian aid.

Israel’s security barrier, credited with putting an end to the terror experienced in the second Intifada

ple, The Book, the Land: The 3,500-year relationship between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.” The reason cited by UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General Eric Fait was that the peace process was “at a delicate stage.”

(Sources: Jewish Virtual Library, UN Watch, Ynet News, New York Post, Times of Israel, L.A. Times, Anti-Defamation League)

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Section of the UN building

former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran right after the latter made a brazenly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic speech. Brockmann also made a speech where he equated Israeli policies with apartheid and called for an international boycott of Israel. One of the saddest moments in the U.N.’s history occurred in 2003 when for the first time a resolution outright condemning anti-Semitism was proposed in the General Assembly but the sponsor of the bill, Ireland, was forced to withdraw it due to lack of support. Then, in one of the U.N.’s most outrageous and insulting acts, UNESCO earlier this year indefinitely postponed an event due to take place in Paris called “The Peo-



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Eating Diamonds for Bread and Taking a Seat at the Heavenly Seder Irene Zisblatt’s Holocaust Story By Brendy J. Siev


This year, Irene Zisblatt, author of the autobiography The Fifth Diamond, shared her Holocaust story with my students. She joined us a week before Pesach, and her final vision accompanied me to my own family’s seder. I called Irene to share her story with us during this trying month of Av. Over the course of two hours, during which I was silent and spellbound, she spoke about her past:

was born in a country town in what was then Hungary. The town consisted of 63 families; a third of those families were Jewish. I thought we had a great relationship with our neighbors. But it was not so. I had two non-Jewish friends. We were very close. They even helped decorate our sukkah. But when I was ten years old, I noticed something different about them. They didn’t like who I was. I didn’t get it. It was anti-Semitism. I spoke to my grandfather. What is it? He told me that they’re still believing that we killed their god. That’s what they were taught. From that point on, I became more careful. When my country became part of Germany, all the latent anti-Semitism came to light. The Jews were very careful, but we were hurt anyway. The local government carried out all German orders. At first, Jews were not allowed in schools. The first day of the edict, the Jewish children arrived at school, and we were gathered by the door. We had to go home, and our teacher, a Ukrainian woman, told us to never come back. I went home crying, and I told the other children, “My father will fix this.” But he couldn’t. And so we were put into full-time Hebrew school—the girls with a teacher, the boys with a cheder rebbe. Eventually, they took the teacher away; she was not allowed to teach us. Then, the businesses were taken away, we had to wear a Jewish star, and Jews had a curfew. We couldn’t understand. We never did anything to them. Without businesses, access to transportation, or community gatherings, we ran out of food and were confined to a dungeon that happened to be our home. In 1944, all the Jews from the region were gathered into the local public school. But my family feared what awaited us and arranged to have ourselves sealed into our home, as if no one lived there. My father and brother built double walls in the attic, a hiding place. A gendarme in the Hungarian government, married to a Jewish woman, asked my father to take his wife in, to hide her. The gendarme then sealed the home to look as if we had left. We planned to escape from a window in the attic at night, if necessary. During the day, we lived in the house; at night, we went up to the attic. At times, I slipped out of the house through a back window. My father sent me through the meadows to the spa he once owned. One worker there, my father’s friend, gave me newspapers and food for the family. One day, my father sent me with a message: “Tell my friend to go to the baker

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and bake a lot of bread, to go to the farmer to get a lot of milk, and to bring it to the school” where the Jews were gathered. When I arrived at the spa, my father’s friend met me. But he would not listen to my message. “Go turn around and run back home. It’s dangerous here. If they’ll see you, they’ll kill you.” I ran home and did not slip out again. On the second day of Pesach, I helped my mother set the table for an early seder. As we set the table, there was banging at the door. The Nazis had come for us. We had minutes to pack and get out. But we were already packed for a quick escape that had not happened. We were taken to the railroad with all the people from the school. Halfway to the Munkacs Ghetto, we disembarked and were marched the rest of the way. The elderly and infirm were taken by truck. The ghetto was full of suffering. But there was no escape: the ghetto bordered a river, and across the river stood a heavily-guarded, medieval fort. Boys and men went out daily to build a railroad. Most returned bloody, hungry, and sick. But the war was not going well for the Germans, and so they began to turn their attention to winning the war against the Jews. At the end of April, those in ghetto were packed into cattle cars. We were told we were going to Tokaj, a place in our own country, Hungary, with vineyards. Everyone was happy to go. At this point, I was 13. I dressed in all my skirts so that we would not have to carry them. And my mother took some diamonds and sewed them into the hem of one of those skirts. “We’re going to the vineyards, and we’re going to work there. We may end up working in separate places. If you are hungry, use the diamonds to get yourself bread.” We boarded the train to go to Tokaj; the vineyard was not so far. A hundred people were pushed into each car with a single empty pail and no water. The Nazis bolted the doors, and the Jews stood in darkness like sardines in a can. We knew something was wrong. My father stood by the wall. He knew the geography of the country well and watched the countryside passing through a crack in the side of the train. But soon he saw that we were far from the vineyard. “They lied to us,” he said. “We’re not going to the vineyard. We just left our country, and we have crossed the border into Poland.” Back in 1939, some Jewish men had escaped Poland through the Tatra Mountains. This mountain range merges with the Carpathian Mountains, and our town was the first town with the most Jews near

Transport trains bringing Hungarian Jews close to the gas chambers

Poland. My father was involved with an underground, helping people get from Poland to Palestine. He helped those arriving in our town get to Munkacz. One night, a man stayed in our home. I overheard him speaking to my father at night, begging him to take his family and come to Palestine. “The Nazis will take your children and kill them,” he told my father. The next day, I asked my father about these haunting words. “Why?” I asked him. “What have the children done?” My father answered, “That man doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Now, in 1944, holding my two-year-old brother in my arms, I heard those haunting words again. My brother was sobbing the whole time on the train and begged me to take him home. I promised to take him home soon. And now I knew what I would do: I promised myself that no one will ever take him again from me. I never saw home again. The crying was so sad in this car. When the train stopped, there was no bathroom, no food, no water. Just S.S. guards and dogs with the hugest teeth I ever saw. The guards shouted, “Get out, you dirty Jews, and make it quick!” The train was high, and the people had to jump off. Older people were pushed off, and many died. The men and women were separated; the children went with their mothers. We were told to leave our belongings. And the women never saw their men or brothers or fathers again. I saw the chimneys and thought, oh, these are the factories where we will work. In the chaos, my mother tried to hold everyone together. She took my baby brother into her arms and instructed me to hold onto my four-year-old sister’s hand tightly. A man came over to my mother. “Give me the child; I’ll help you with the child,” he said. “No!” my mother told him. Then a handsome man pointing a stick, pointed at my mother. “Put the child down.” My mother yelled back at him, “My children will go with me.” He took his baton, and hit my hand, forcing me to let go of my little sister. I had to let go. “Don’t cry,” called my mother. “I’ll come for you later.” Those were her last words to me.

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Later, I learned that that man was Josef M e n g e l e . Mengele conducted many experiments on me. His first involved trying to change my eye color. And that was why Mengele had wanted my mother—because my mother had beautiful blue eyes, the ideal Aryan shade of blue. You saw the reflection of the whole world in her eyes. I was grateful that her mother was spared—through death—those horrific experiments. I ended up with strangers in a big hallway separated by benches. We were instructed to take off our clothes and shoes and put our valuables in a bin. I pulled open my skirt hem and found four of the diamonds. Naked, I put the diamonds in my mouth. But then, as I approached the next section, I saw them opening people’s mouths and pulling out their gold teeth. I had no gold teeth, but I had diamonds in my mouth. Out of fear, I swallowed them. We were tattooed and shaved and lined up in another section, where everyone was instructed to take clothing from a big pile and put it on. I took a man’s pajama top that covered my whole body. And then we were taken to a big mirror and ordered to look at our reflection. And we did not recognize ourselves. We were dehumanized. In rows of five, we were marched into Birkenau, a place of evil. The skies were as gray as the mud under our feet. We were put into wooden barracks, 1,000 women in a barrack. I thought, we’ll never get out of here. The smell was unbearable. And, as my mother did not show up, I decided to look for her—I knew she wouldn’t recognize me. But a kapo saw me and yelled at me. I told her I was going to find my mother. She pointed at one of the chimneys: go back to your bunk. Your mother is there and you’ll be there too if you don’t go back to your bunk. My mother was only 30. At night, I couldn’t sleep. I was squeezed into the top bunk, and I heard cries of children. I looked out of a crack and saw trucks arriving. Two babies fell out of one of the trucks: one was even swaddled, no more than six months old. The SS men picked them up and slammed the babies against the truck, spraying blood and killing them. I started to scream. The girl

Between May 2 and June 9, 1944, more than 430,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz


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ran ahead, looking for food in the mud of a tilled field. I found a small potato, our food to go to heaven. Then we followed the sound of water to a small brook, where we drank and shared the potato. We needed to rest, and so we leaned against the mountain alongside the brook under our blanket. I woke up to the jab of the back of a rifle. Two soldiers stood there. I have chills until today. They wore strange uniforms and boots. They were talking, but I didn’t understand them. I tried all the languages I had learned in school. Then one of the soldiers bent down to help me up and his dog tags slipped out. On the chain was a tiny mezuzah. “Sabka!” I called out to her. “Come out from under the blanket! There’s a man with a mezuzah.” I had thought that we were the last two Jews left in Europe. The soldier helped me up, and I reached out and kissed his mezuzah. Then I looked up to heaven for the first time since I had heard those babies crying, and I said, “Thank you, G-d, for watching us.” Suddenly, it seemed like a whole army came; they all looked the same. They stared at us and brought over one German-speaking soldier. He was shocked and asked me, “Who are you hiding from, and why do you look like this?” I told him, “The Nazis. The Nazis take children and make them look like me. Who are you?” “We are Americans.” I hadn’t known the Americans were in Germany. “Why are you here?” “We came to get Hitler. We’re going to get Hitler.” We had run into Russian territory, and this unit, General Patton’s 3rd Unit, had been given the job to hunt for German snipers in the mountains. The soldier continued, “We know what’s happening here. We’re going to stop the war. We will never let this happen again.” Then he asked me what I wanted to eat. I told him scrambled eggs—Sabka’s favorite food—and a loaf of bread. So 200 men gathered debris for a small fire so they could make scrambled eggs in some helmets. And we ate eggs and crackers. Then they put us into a Red Cross van, and our dream had become our reality. Sabka and I talked a lot that day. We told each other things. We cried ourselves to sleep. We wanted to celebrate—but we had no one to celebrate with. In the morning, Sabka was still sleeping. I tried to wake her, yelling, “Sabka, wake up! Today might

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next to me covered my mouth; if I was heard, we could all be killed. So I yelled at G-d in silence. I fought with Him. How could He do this? He didn’t answer me. With time, I realized that G-d didn’t create the Holocaust: men did. But then, in my childish mind, I thought: He’s helping others. Then, He will come to us. I still had my faith. I retrieved my diamonds during the time we were told to use the latrine. The Nazis did not enter the latrine, and I used a corner of the area. I washed the retrieved diamonds with a bit of water from a puddle and tied them in a corner of my garment. I made sure to tie the other corner as well so no one would suspect I had something hidden there. Whenever I saw danger of my diamonds being found—a selection, an upcoming experiment—I swallowed them again, and retrieved them the same way. Thus I kept them throughout the war. I suffered terribly under Mengele. I met a little girl from Vilna who had come into Auschwitz from the Warsaw Ghetto. She had escaped a mass grave there, because her father pushed her into the grave before she was shot. The grave was uncovered that night and so she was able to escape. She found a small grotto in a rocky hill and lived there for a year, seeking food from farms only at night. One day she emerged during the day and was found and sent to the Warsaw Ghetto, and then to Auschwitz. Mengele conducted experiments on us at times alone, at times in groups of 5, or 2, or 3. We became very close. She told me, “You’re my little sister. I’m your big sister.” We became each other’s silent support. Because of each other, we survived the experiments. Her name was Sabka. One day she was taken, and I was sure she had been killed. The next day, I was selected to be killed. But a nurse came and put me into a tuberculosis room. The Nazis would never go in there for fear of contamination. The nurse said, “You’re going to leave here. Never talk about what happened today, because then

we all will go to the gas chambers.” I was then sent back to my barrack, but then I was selected to go to the gas chambers. As I went into the gas chamber, I tried to get out. I pushed on the door and held it until my fingers bled. When the gas came, they couldn’t close the door, not only because of me but because of the people pushing me from behind. The chamber was too full. Because I was in the way of the door fully closing, they threw me out and closed the door. I ran up the ramp and found a spot under the roof of the gas chamber that was mostly embedded underground. I thought, in a half hour, they’ll find me, but at this moment I have hope. Hope arrived moments later in the form of a young sonderkommando. The sonderkommandos were Jews forced to empty the gas chambers of bodies and dispose of them. Every three or four months, they were killed so that there would be no real witnesses to the wholesale murder of the Jews. This sonderkommando, on his way to empty the gas chamber, pulled me out from my hiding spot. He took off his jacket and covered my unclothed body. He told me about a train to a labor camp and that he would try to put me on it. He walked me onto the train and told me in Hungarian, “I only have three more days to live. If you make it, live a little for me too.” At the labor camp, an ammunitions factory, I met up with Sabka, who had not been murdered, but had been transferred there. We worked together, until a forced death march, as the Allies were closing in on the Nazis. On the death march, with pieces of blanket tied to our feet and a small bit of blanket around my shoulders, I tried to give up. But on the road, Sabka always came up with something to say to fight this feeling. She said to me, “Why wait? We’re going to the library, to read books, to go home, have Shabbos dinner, and sleep in our own bed.” That pushed me forward. And even when I said to her, “We’re going to be shot and killed,” Sabka said, “No, we need to find real food first. We can’t go to heaven on an empty stomach.” At night, we were bombed. We had no ammunition, no flashlight, and so Sabka pushed me into the forest where we escaped the others. We just kept going in the other direction. All night we ran or walked. At daybreak, we reached an abandoned farm. I


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be the day we’ll be free! You must get up.” Then the medic came in, and I asked him to wake her. He gave her an injection, and then he told me, “I can’t wake her up. She is sleeping in a beautiful place. She is no longer sick, and she knows you’re free.” Sabka had had typhus. I guess she waited to make sure that I—her “younger sister”—was free, and then she had let go. We buried her by the brook, and I was transferred to a field hospital full of wounded soldiers. I too had some typhus, perhaps, and other ailments due to malnutrition. When I got stronger, I was sent to a DP camp in Austria. There I joined a group of 40 children destined for transport to Sweden. Before I left, I received a letter from an uncle in the United States, a man I did not know. One of my liberators had put my name on a list with the Joint in New York to be printed in the newspaper. When my uncle saw my name, he wrote to the Joint to find me. I gave up my spot to go to Sweden. It took two years to process the papers to get to the United States, and I arrived here in 1947. Here I saw a free world. My family was good to me. They gave me an education. I went to work for RCA, and RCA sent me to college, to Rutgers, to take courses in engineering. But I didn’t know where I belonged. A cousin introduced me to a Jewish youth organization, and I found myself. I became very active, and also fundraised for the VA hospitals and the Hadassa Hospital. Everything in silence—but I needed to give back. I became who I am. I met my husband, the love of my life. I am blessed with two children, no more than that, because of the experiments Mengele did on me and the chemicals I was exposed to. I have five grandchildren; each has two names for those who died, because I lost more than I got. In 1992, a friend from New York, a leader of March of the Living, came to visit me. She showed me a video of a march and told me that I needed to go on the next march. I told her, “You want me to go back to that hell? What human being wants a child to go back to that horrible past? What can they learn from it?” Eventually, the Broward County (FL) director of the March of the Living compelled me to attend a pre-march meeting with local teenagers who would be going on the march that year. During the meeting, the president showed the students a clip from Schindler’s List. I hadn’t seen it before, and I lost it. But the kids did not. Then I knew that I really had to go. The kids

Hungarian Jews arriving in Auschwitz in the summer of 1944

need someone to show them the truth. My pain is so bad that it is here as long as I live. But my pain is not important: what’s important is that the children would know my pain. I was shaking on the plane between Miami and Warsaw. But I made another decision: to open my mind and heart, to let things happen and not fight them. When we got to Birkenau, I thought, oh, my G-d! They destroyed most of the evidence! They don’t want the world to know what they have done! I was so angry that I wanted to kill someone. I most wanted to yell at Mengele. So I went into a barracks that is still standing, and I yelled, “Look at me! I am alive in spite of your experiments on me and Sabka! I am back with 5,000 healthy Jewish teenagers, and you cannot touch us.” I went back to the gas chamber, now a pile of rubble. I wanted to see where my family died. I went into a hole there, a part of a room there, the one half that is not destroyed. The walls were still blue and green. The smell was still strong. The fear of death embraced me. I sat on the ground. I took out candles that all those on the march carry. I took out all of my candles, and I lit them all. I thought of my family. How they died and suffered. I felt relief that they hadn’t suffered too long. I prayed for the ones who died horrible deaths. As I left, I turned and looked back one more time, and I had a vision. I saw a table set for a seder. My whole family was sitting there. One chair near my sister was empty. I knew it was for me. I wanted to join them. But my mother put out her hand. “Go back. Tell people what happened. And promise me, you’ll stop crying. Promise me, you’ll do what I ask.” She said it as an order. I looked up, and the vision was gone. So I sat down, and I wrote her a letter. I promised her not to cry, to try and do what she asked me. I told her that when I can’t do this anymore, I hope to sit at my chair at the seder and tell them that I’ve done what they asked. Then, I came out and went over to the group of 5,000 teenagers, and I told them my story, like I’ve told you now, not forgetting anything, and for the first time sharing my story. My mother initiated this.

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Since then I have spoken to so many groups and addressed the United States Congress. This is the first generation at a distance from Hitler. Soon no one will meet a survivor. My mission now is to teach the children so they’ll learn and pass it on. I will not to be silent anymore. I tell children that they will be the government one day. It is up to them to keep all people free. And what about my diamonds? They carried so much love and sacrifice. It would have been safer to have thrown them away, but G-d protected them with me. When I came to America, I put them into a safe deposit box. But before my tenth anniversary, my husband, who was everything to me, wanted to give me something meaningful. He brought up the diamonds. We took them out of the vault, and our friend, Michael, a jeweler, set them in the middle of a teardrop-shaped pendant with smaller diamonds around them. I wear them now at times and events when I feel my mother’s presence, times she should be there with us, like a family birthday party or wedding. I wore them to the premiere of the documentary about my life, The Last Days. But I slipped the pendant under my dress. At the premiere, Steven Spielberg, noticing the chain around my neck, asked me if I was wearing my mother’s diamonds. I told him I was. “Can I ask you a personal favor?” he said to me. “Can I please hold them?” He took the diamonds in his hand and kissed them like a mezuzah. “I want to be a part of that history,” he said. “Whenever you speak, wear them. Let the kids touch history.” And so I do. The diamonds will go to the firstborn girl of every generation in our family. They are never to be sold or traded, except, G-d forbid, if the girl is hungry and needs to buy bread. Irene Zisblatt’s whole story, The Fifth Diamond, is available through her publisher on irenezisblatt. com or on Amazon. Her story is also highlighted on TJH Steven Spielberg’s documentary, The Last Days. ” 

The crematorium in Birkenau in 1943


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Cover Story

Rabbi Jacob Jungreis’s Thoughts on the Tragedy of the Shoah BY NACHUM SOROKA


iscomfort is not a welcome feeling to most Americans. Movies and books are many times judged here based on the cushiness of their endings; media programs which broadcast untempered horrible events are called too “edgy”; even the new 9/11 museum at Ground Zero in Manhattan has its most raw exhibits cordoned off from the rest of the galleries lest a person of lesser emotional resilience stumble upon the harsh realities of terror. But to us American Jews, the story of the Holocaust, its causes and effects cannot be softened if we want the lessons taught by the Shoah to be remembered by the current generation. When Rabbi Jacob Jungreis gives over his personal experience and ruminations about the Holocaust to yeshiva students, visitors of the Holocaust Museum in Battery Park and other Jewish and non-Jewish audiences, he makes sure not to mince words. For one, in order for the listener to really understand the horror of the events and how they pertain to him, it is necessary to hear an undiluted account of the story. Rabbi Jungreis also finds that certain audiences, particularly the non-Jewish ones, want to hear what really took place openly and bluntly. Recently, after a lecture he gave at West Point Military College, the rabbi was approached by a number of generals who told him how much they appreciated his candor. Central to one’s grasping of the Shoah is realizing who really is to blame for the murder of six million innocents, according to Rabbi Jungreis. While most people may say that Hitler ym”sh or the German people were at fault, in truth it was all the nations of Europe who spilled all that guiltless blood. Hitler’s role was one of a very competent enabler.

The guilt of the Ukrainian gentiles has been made famous by stories of the Babi Yar massacres and the Ukraine-born death-camp guards who would bury tens of prisoners alive at a time. The ground would tremble for days afterward from the convulsions of the dying Jews. In Hungary, the birthplace of Rabbi Jungreis, the locals would undress Jewish boys, hang them upside down from a tree and douse them with water so that they would freeze to death during the subzero European winter nights. As a boy of five in 1938, well before the 1944 Nazi invasion of Hungary, Rabbi Jungreis remembers the verbal abuse that was hurled at him on the daily three block walk to cheder. “Dirty Jew! You killed our savior!” And, taking a page out of Pharaoh’s playbook from 3,000 years before, “Show us your (uncalloused) hands!”, as if to say that the Jews, who were all educated workers and intellectuals, and not physical laborers (they were not allowed into labor unions), were lazy and parasitical; this would become a rallying cry of the nations throughout the Holocaust. (In fact, the official Nazi party line to explain the mass deportation of Jews to death camps was that they were being sent to a place of “rehabilitation” to learn how to work with their hands and toil physically.)

Nor was the cruelty exhibited during the Holocaust exclusive to the more zealous European nations. The so-called “civil” and “nice” peoples there were none too slow in allowing Hitler to be the enabler of one of the most massive genocides ever. Just recently, the French government entered into negotiations to recompense Holocaust victims for the forced deportation it imposed on 76,000 Jewish French citizens via the French national railroad, Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français, to Buchenwald and Auschwitz. According to the Coalition for Holocaust Railroad Justice, “The train cars were packed as tightly as possible in order to maximize the number of passengers and therefore revenue. Employees forced all passengers, including young children and the elderly, to stand for the trip of several days’ duration, with no food, no drink, and no sanitary facilities – terrible and inhuman conditions.” The Nazis themselves were surprised at the willingness of France, a democracy which was not openly hostile to Jews, in going along with Hitler’s Final Solution. The cordial Dutch are not often brought up in discussions having to do with the mass extermination. But it was in Amsterdam that they cheerfully sent passenger railcars of unsuspecting Jews on “vacation.” Those trains ended up in Auschwitz, and many of the female passengers were sent to the gas chambers still wearing the makeup they applied back in

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The Horrors of the Holocaust



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the Netherlands. “At least they died looking good for G-d,” Rabbi Jungreis says sardonically. The list of grievances against every nation goes on and on, and the extent of their participation may never be fully known; Claude Lanzmann’s 1985 documentary, Shoah, perhaps the best and most comprehensive film made on the Holocaust, is over nine hours long and implicates many nations besides the Germans in the genocide. Rabbi Jungreis’s feelings regarding interactions with European countries are products of his experiences in the Holocaust. While he was interned as part of the Kastner group at Bergen Belsen over Rosh Hashanah 1944, his group had only one machzor among them. The Satmar Rav, their spiritual leader, told the group to say only one piyut, L’vochein Levovos, out loud together, to beseech G-d that on the Day of Judgment He should look into their hearts, the only whole part of themselves that was fitting to be shown. They were also able to obtain, at the high price of 200 cigarettes—the equivalent of 200 days of food rations—a shofar from the Polish camp which was located next door to their quarters. When the minyan reached the part of Mussaf shofar blowing, Rabbi Jungreis, then a boy of eleven, opened the window of the room they were davening in and called out to some camp prisoners who were busy moving heavy loads of bricks meaninglessly in and out of the camp, “Shofar!” The prisoners halted their work and stopped to listen to the Satmar Rav’s tekios. They stood and focused on the tekios even as their Ukrainian taskmasters bludgeoned them until their blood flowed freely. Till this day, Rabbi Jungreis will not buy anything which comes from Ukraine. The wheat that is grown there for matzah may be called shmura, but he believes it is chometz gamur. Only from that experience does Rabbi Jungreis understand the pasuk, “Lo hibit aven


or does Rabbi Jungreis shy away from directness when it comes to discussing Rudolf Kastner, the Hungarian Zionist who organized the transport that saved 1,700 Jews from Nazi-occupied Hungary. Kastner, a Hungarian lawyer and journalist, heroically confronted Adolf Eichmann in his Berlin office and negotiated the release of the Jews for a ransom of close to $5 million, which he mostly raised himself. While Kastner was an irreligious person, he firmly believed that the survival of the Jewish nation depended on having a strong and illustrious rabbinate. He was therefore adamant about saving as many rabbinic families from Hungary as possible, and out of the 1,700 people he saved, 300 were from the rabbinate. His transport included Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rav and his gabbai, Rabbi Yosef Ashkenazi, and the Debreziner Rav. Rabbi Jungreis’s father was the rav of the large Hungarian city of Szeget and one of many rabbis in his family. (Before the war there were 87 Jungreis family members in the rabbinate; over 80 were killed.) Rabbi Jungreis’s aunt, who headed an orphanage, had her offices next to Kastner’s and was able to arrange for the Jungreis family to be on the transport. Kastner’s relationship with the Gestapo has always been controversial. His critics have labeled him a Nazi collaborator and accuse him of failing to warn the Jews of Hungary about what was in store for them out of fear that it would jeopardize his negotiations with the Nazis. Indeed, he lost a libel case he brought against someone in Israeli court, and the Israeli Supreme Court, while it overturned the dismissal of the libel case, agreed that he helped expedite the extermination of masses. The Satmar Rav refused to testify on his savior’s behalf during the trial claiming that, “Hashem saved me, not Kastner.” In 1957, three right wing Israeli extremists murdered Kastner. Even so, Rabbi Jungreis says that there is no question in his mind that Rudolf Kastner was a good person, regardless of his religious beliefs. According to Rabbi Jungreis, that one can have the courage to enter the lair of the people who set out to completely and methodically expunge the memory of his nation and negotiate with them face to face is nothing short of heroic and selfless. Kastner’s transport was the only one of its kind in the entire Holocaust. Rabbi Jungreis likens Kastner’s killers to the hoodlums who recently murdered an Arab teenager

They stood and focused on the tekios even as their Ukrainian taskmasters bludgeoned them until their blood flowed freely.

b’Yaakov….Hashem Elokav amo u’teruas melech bo.” Just as they blew the shofar without noticing the horror surrounding them, so does Hashem watch over Klal Yisroel without noticing their iniquities. Jews vacationing in European destinations is something which bothers Rabbi Jungreis very much. A well-intentioned friend of his sent him once to the Swiss resort town of St. Moritz. While Rabbi Jungreis would never have gone on his own, he felt obliged not to turn down the offer. He recounts walking with another rabbi he met there and being attacked by a local who asked why “your people” felt the need to come there. They ended up at an open field where an orchestra was playing music from a bandstand to a crowd which included 150 or so yeshiva-type people. The song that was being performed then was “Edelweiss,” a German folk song which the Nazis played as they sent Jews to


be gassed. “I don’t understand why Jewish people can’t just vacation in the Catskills or Israel. If you want to stay local, you can go upstate. If you feel the need to travel farther, then go to Israel,” says Rabbi Jungreis.

Rabbi Junreis's papers after the war

in Yerushalayim under the pretext of avenging the slaughter of three yeshiva students.


abbi Jungreis likes to quote the pshat of Rabbi Naftoli of Ropshitz to explain why, when he was on his deathbed, Yaakov Avinu did not reveal the date of the coming of Mashiach, even though the pasuk says he was prepared to. The traditional understanding is that the Shechina left him at that moment; Rabbi Jungreis elaborates on this idea that, after foreseeing the atrocities that would befall the Jews during the Chevlai Mashiach—including the gas chambers at Auschwitz and the gallows at Majdanek—Yaakov Avinu lost his feeling of simcha and the Shechina, by design, left. It is no question, says Rabbi Jungreis, that the events of the past 75 years are the preamble to the ultimate redemption of the Jewish people. At the end of the Tochacha, G-d promises the Jewish nation, “I will remember the Land.” It is almost as if the Torah is telling us that the terrors that shall befall the errant people will naturally lead to its rebirth and reclamation of its heritage. Indeed, within 24 hours after the Allies liberated the Nazi death camps in 1945, there were already immigrants pouring into Palestine, and it didn’t stop until the official declaration of the State of Israel in 1948. In truth, says Rabbi Jungreis, if one were to look back at the past three-quarters of a century, it would be clear as day that we are living in the days of Mashiach. We all are aware of the miracle of our nation literally rising from the ashes of death camp crematoriums to build a powerful state that has disregarded all laws of chance and logic and has become a global hotbed of inspiration and innovation. But if we were to actually try to take in the meaning of it all, we would no doubt realize that these days are truthfully the era of Redemption.


s the Nazis herded Jews onto cattlecars, they would humiliatingly beat them and yell, “Shnell, shnell!” The cars were not made for human passage and their floors were raised a few feet off the ground, thus making the scramble onto them exceedingly difficult. But the ever-efficient Germans did not care: they had a schedule to adhere to and the trains had to arrive in Auschwitz not a second too late; the murder machine mustn’t abate for even a moment. Rabbi Jungreis has just one question for G-d. If Eisav’s Angel, who ran the camps in the Shoah, was so eager, why can’t our Savior learn from his zealousness, and arrive speedily? And may He do so in TJH our times. 

T H E J E W I S H H O M E n J U LY 3 1 , 2014 T H E J E W I S H H O M E n M AY 2 4 , 2012

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