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SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

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Sunday September 20, 2015 Rancho PaRk • 2551 MotoR avenue La, 90064 Walk4FriendshipLA benefits programs for children with special needs and their families.

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SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


Begin the Year With its Blessings.


JEWISH THOUGHT Book Review and Interview - Judaism Alive . . . . . 18 A Life of Choices. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 7 Times Every 19 Years, the Leap Year of 5776 . . . 22


All Things Honey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

HUMOR & ENTERTAINMENT Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

LIFESTYLES Travel Guide: New Mexico. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 JWI Cookbook – A Sampling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

NEWS Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Israel News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 That’s Odd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

With wishes for a most wonderful Shabbos,


T H E P R E M I E R J E W I S H N E W S PA P E R H I G H L I G H T I N G L A’ S O R T H O D OX C O M M U N I T Y The Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not neces­sarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The Jewish Home contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly. FOR HOME DELIVERY, OR TO HAVE THE LATEST ISSUE EMAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, SEND A MESSAGE TO EDITOR@JEWISHHOMELA.COM


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

The Infamous Case Of The ‘Get Of Cleves’. . . . . . . . 32

Our first reaction when looking back at a year departed is often a time of regret at missed opportunities. This leads us to question if we have accomplished anything worthwhile during the previous months. Yet this is only a general, superficial accounting. If we look at the individual actions which make up the many days and weeks we will find a beautiful tapestry. A tapestry woven together from the small and large decisions we constantly make. There’s the time we decided we wouldn’t answer back when we had a really good come back, the time we helped someone we dislike, or the time we took a half hour out of our schedule and focused on Torah study. No matter which mitzvah, these are the bright spots through which we imperfect human beings bring the creator into our lives. Our ever-active animal soul then promotes some doubtful thoughts; true there was a lot of good, but you made all those mistakes! How can you be a vessel for G-dliness when you…? Maybe that’s why we read the Parshiyot of Sefer Devarim leading up to Rosh Hashanah, in order to remind us that each one of us is special, unique and, at the core, full of perfect goodness which simply needs to be brought out to the fore. “Uvikashtem Misham Es Hashem Elokeichem,” we must search for Hashem there, we must revisit the times we have erred and realize that “Gam bishaas Hachet Haysa B’amna Ito,” even while doing wrong our soul was completely faithful and connected to Hashem and from its perspective the failures were only there for us to get a strong bounce and return to G-d with even more energy than before. Ultimately the teshuvah of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur isn’t about discovering how many faults we have, that too, but the main fo-

cus is about who we really are, our acceptance of Hashem as Father and King, leading up to our being likened to angels on the holiest day of the year. Perhaps this attitude should shape our worldview as well. Initially, our planet looks like a jungle where “the stronger animal wins.” But when separating the details we find a story, a process in which the world is constantly developing. Societies trying to break free of the shackles of oppression. Individuals throughout the world who choose peace even if it pits them against their own. We are indeed troubled that otherwise rational people can agree to legitimize a regime which has terrorized both its own population and peoples abroad. We are shocked at how fast society can crumble and become indifferent to the plight of the oppressed and we are witnessing once again what happens when society is devoid of belief in a creator to whom we must answer. Still, we are sure that as darkness is pushed aside by light, so too, at the time only known to the creator, the hidden G-dly energy currently concealed within creation will become revealed, casting aside all pretension, feel-good attitudes and falsehood, forever. At the end of the previous Yom Kippur we said “Lishana Haba’a Biyerushalyim,” (by) next year in Jerusalem. Let us pray it is indeed so. The Jewish Home thanks our readers for a fantastic year together, looking forward to an even better 5776. May we all, amongst the rest of the Jewish people and the world at large, have a happy healthy and sweet year!


Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Dear Readers,


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


Rachela Silber Perutz Etz Jacob Hebrew Academy Individualizes Education for Every Child Yehudis Litvak The motto of the Rachela Silber Perutz Etz Jacob Hebrew Academy is, “where no Jewish child is left behind.” The teachers and staff at Etz Jacob get to know the child, determine their strengths and weaknesses, and use their unique talents to their advantage. “We channel the child’s difficulties to utilize their potential to the fullest,” says Rabbi Harrosh. The school has many successful stories as evidenced by the praise showered upon the school by the grateful parents. “It’s been a wonderful experience,” says Chana Bemel. “Smaller classes enable the school to tailor educational curriculum to address my daughter’s needs and to nurture her artistic and creative side.” The school strives to give each child individual attention, providing extra tutoring for children who are either above or below their grade level. Chana Bemel says that when her daughter felt she wasn’t adequately challenged the teachers would take her out of class and work with her individually. “She was learning, but she thought she was having fun,” says Bemel. Children with some challenges are given the support they need in order to

succeed at school. Danielle M.’s son has a medical condition that causes him to use the bathroom frequently and urgently. Danielle brought a letter from his doctor to

a frum environment. “He had an amazing teacher,” she says, “who understood him and knew how to deal with him. He learned how to read, both Hebrew and En-

his previous school, asking them to accommodate her child. The previous school was unable to handle the situation, and her son was stressed and anxious. Danielle felt she had no choice but to take him out of that school. When she approached Rabbi Harrosh with the doctor’s letter his immediate response was, “To alleviate his anxiety we will give him his own restroom” He suggested that the boy decorate the bathroom the way he likes and keep his things there so he’d feel at home. “I had tears in my eyes,” says Danielle. “He healed my child. It was exactly what the doctor prescribed.” The mother of an autistic child says that they had no expectations from Etz Jacob other than providing their son with

glish. Every day she spent at least an hour with him one on one. He loved her.” The teachers at Etz Jacob are experienced and very dedicated. “They go above and beyond the call of duty,” says Rabbi Harrosh. “It takes a lot of work. It’s avodat kodesh.” Bemel adds, “I am impressed with how they do so much with so little resources.” The school is known for its inclusive and warm atmosphere. “Rabbi Harrosh sees every Jew as a Jew, period,” says Danielle. “There is no division. He treats every neshama with love and tremendous compassion.” Never one to rest on its laurels, Etz Jacob seeks to provide even more to its

students. This year, the school hired a new Resource Room Director, Michele A. Bennett, who has thirty five years of experience working with students with different learning styles. In the beginning of the year, Ms. Bennett tested every single child in the school to determine their strengths and weaknesses and to put together an individualized educational plan for every student. Ms. Bennett explains that while the curriculum at Etz Jacob is based on the Common Core standards, there are many ways to teach the same material that address various learning styles. Ms. Bennet is also trained in the latest educational techniques based on the principles of plasticity of the brain. She explains that sometimes, due to their circumstances, a child is not able to acquire the foundation necessary for learning in their early years. With the newest techniques, Ms. Bennett helps the child fill the holes by developing new neural pathways in the brain. “When we repair the foundation we build a taller wall, a much more ornate building,” says Ms. Bennett.

Want to Live in Spain? Opportunity for the Sephardic Right of Return Begins October 1st Bracha Turner If you ever wanted to live, work, and travel in the European Union and you happen to be of Sephardic descent, consider Spain’s new law which allows you to claim dual citizenship. Self-proclaimed descendants of Jews of the Spanish expulsion can become Spanish citizens even without living in Spain and without paying any taxes to Spain. Attorney Luis Portero, an emissary of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, spoke on August 27th at the Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, addressing a crowd of over 50 people. Following Portugal’s right of return for descendants of those expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492, Spain has followed suit. This law was enacted to provide reconciliation and close the wounds for the damage caused by the Spanish Inquisition and the subsequent expulsion of a Jewish population of an estimated 50,000 to 180,000 people. There are currently 40,000 Jews across twenty Jewish communities and 30 synagogues in Spain. Spanish Jews are fully integrated in Spanish society, but they also have established their own primary and secondary schools. Portero affirmed that Spain has a strong stance against instances of anti-Semitism, with special laws that

prosecute acts as crimes, but small breakouts of anti-Semitism exist. In August, singer Matisyahu was notified that his invitation to perform at a Spanish music festival was cancelled because he refused to sign a statement that he supports a state of Palestine. He refused and the invitation was subsequently reversed. The law allows Jews to reclaim Spanish citizenship following a three part application process. First, each applicant must submit a letter from a rabbi and/or president of a Sephardic synagogue certifying that the applicant has Sephardic heritage (both are recommended). If requested, the Federation of Jewish communities of Spain can also write up a similar document certifying this heritage. Moreover, it is not necessary to belong to a Sephardic organization in order to acquire this document. The second document must show a special connection to Spain. This is the most flexible part of the law which is subject to interpretation. For instance, if one owns shares of a Spanish company, or owns property in Spain, or has involvement in a Sephardic organization preserving Spanish heritage, you would be able to demonstrate a special connection to Spain. It doesn’t matter if you studied Spanish in college,

but if you have, ask your professor to write you a letter stating this along with the dates when you studied there. Perhaps your child studied a semester abroad in Spain or you

made a donation to a Spanish NGO; all economic, social and cultural activity can be used as evidence. The third requirement is to acquire an official document from the Institute of Cervantes stating that the applicant understands basic Spanish. Applicants are not required to be fluent in Spanish. All three pieces of evidence submitted

in the application must attach a translation by an official Spanish translator, which can be found online on the Spanish consulate’s website. After submitting all the official documents, the applicant has six months in which they must travel to Spain to have one’s identity officially notarized by a royally certified Spanish notary. The required documents for this include the applicant’s birth certificate, criminal record, if any, and civil certificate of marriage. Once submitted, the application process takes no more than 12 months and all applications which receive no response are to be presumed to be rejected. The application fee is only $100 but estimated personal expenses can reach up to $5000, considering travel and accommodation and the cost of hiring a translator. Portero acknowledges that the law has flaws which the Spanish Federation is seeking to amend. Currently, spouses who are not of the same status of Spanish ancestry, need to file a different application and likely need to reside in Spain for two years to be naturalized. The applicant’s children, however, can be included in the application.



We all say it on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur Many of our neighbors, friends & relatives say it every day!

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

There are hundreds of families, widows, orphans and sick people right here in our community, people you would never guess, who are literally going hungry. These Aniyei Ircho have no money for food, clothing or rent. They are people you might know very well -- or at least think you know very well ...

... They could be in your Daf Yomi shiur ... They could be your tenant, your neighbor, your cousin, or your brother. They put up a brave front. They act as if everything is normal. They are too proud or too frightened to reach out for help. Ezras Yisroel has only one purpose - to identify these people and give them the help they need.

Right now we all strive to do 100% Teshuvah and Tefilah.

Through Ezras Yisroel you will be doing


Tzedakah too.

1.800.601.4644 Tax-deductible contributions payable to "EZRAS YISROEL"


"‫"אבינו מלכינו נא אל תשיבנו ריקם מלפניך‬


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


New Kosher Wines for the New Jewish Year 5776 is almost here. And so is a bevy of new wines from around the world. When it comes to wine, tastes vary greatly—so we’ve expanded our selection of new arrivals. This coming New Year brings a fresh array of wines, giving wine lovers an opportunity to not only enjoy the latest vintage of their tried and true favorites, but to also to discover something new. Washington is the second largest wine producing state after California. Washington wines are known for their bright fruit flavors and crisp acidity, as well as for the unique terroir of its vineyards. Terroir is a French wine term which very loosely translates as “a sense of place” and refers to the sum of the interactive effects on the final wine of its unique local growing conditions—everything from the soil, micro-climate, and weather, to the vineyard management and methods of production. Climates of individual Washington wine regions differ dramatically, and are cut across from north to south by the Cascade Mountains, resulting in some wonderful diversity. In general, Washington wine regions rely upon drip irrigation, enjoy consistent temperatures and benefit from an extra 2 hours of daylight over California during the growing season. All this helps contribute to amazingly vibrant grapes. With more than a dozen different wine regions in Washington, some find this diversity confusing, but the terroir shines through and lends itself to exceptional, rull, rich, sometimes wonderfully subtle and complex wine. New from Pacifica, the sister winery to Goose Bay located in New Zealand and the first all Kosher winery in the Pacific Northwest, is the Columbia Gorge Rose. Made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Merlot and a touch of Zinfandel grapes all grown along the Columbia River on Underwood Mountain, this fabulous rose is a luscious, higher acid Rose made in a dry style with just a touch of sweetness, crisp and flavorful. France is perhaps the most prestigious and well know growing region, and while its history dates back many centuries, it is not actually the oldest wine producing region. (That honor properly goes to Israel, where wine grape cultivation originated, but more about that later!). It is said that Rashi grew grapes and produced wine in France, and some of the most prestigious French vineyards can trace their wine growing lineage back more than 500 years. This rich history and heritage of wine production gives France much of its wine prestige, not to mention that France continues to produce long-lived, world class wines. Today Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, among other classic grape varieties, are predominantly grown in around the Bordeaux area; Burgundy and Southern France grow primarily Pi-

Jay Buchsbaum

not Noir and Chardonnay; and the Rhone Valley grows varieties such as Mouvedre, Grenache and other varieties that have been ideally matched to the local regional terroir over the centuries. One particu-

lar new and notable wine from France is the Château Tertre Daugay – Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Class which is made from 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc. The grapes were grown in complex soils that feature slate and red dense clay, and were manually harvested, and fermented in stainless temperature-controled stainless steel tanks, and then aged for 14 months oak, of which 50% were new barrels, for a wine that features black fruit, blackberries, pepper that is full bodied and lush on the palate. Established in the mid19th century, wines from Château Tertre Daugay are some of the most sought after in Saint-Émilion, with this one in particular receiving a 91 rating (out of 100) from Stephen Tanzer in his prestigious bimonthly International Wine Cellar. Israel, which started popping up on the radars of many wine connoisseurs only recently, is arguably the oldest wine producing region in the world! The varied terroir—with cooler weather and volcanic soil in the north and generally warmer weather and red, clay and loam soils in the central and south part of the country—allow for a wide variety of flavors and tastes in wine. Couple the diverse growing conditions with the most up to date winemaking techniques and Israeli ingenuity (for example, drip irrigation was pioneered in Israel), and you have a recipe for some of the finest wines available today. Some exciting new releases for the holiday season from Tabor Winery are Tabor Gewurztraminer— an off dry white wine, perfect for a Rosh Hashanah lunch or a warm day in the Sukkah. Another new release is Tabor 562, a delightful sparkling wine made with fine early harvested Chardonnay for rich-

ness and French Colombard for structure and lively fruit flavors; perfect for celebrating the Jewish New Year. From the Tulip Winery comes Tulip Espero. Espero comes from the interna-

tional auxiliary language of Esperanto, and means “hope”, it is homage to the winery’s special relationship with Kfar Tikvah (Village of hope), a unique community that

is home to emotionally and developmentally disabled adults. The Tulip winery is not only located in Kfar Tikvah, but also employs many of the residents. Blended from Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, Tulip Espero is at once complex but inviting, round, soft and flavorful. It is limited production, so try it before it is too late! Italy’s tradition of winemaking dates back centuries, and is influenced by its long and varied coastline, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. Of the hundreds of different grape varieties for which Italy is justly famous, its real claim to fame, and the pride of Tuscany, is Sangiovese. The Terra di Seta winery, Italy’s only all kosher winery, offers a delicious twist with its new Meshi Toscana Rose (Meshi is modern Hebrew for “silk). This delightful boutique wine is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes, the same as the great Chiantis of Tuscany, and as its name indicates, it is silky smooth and balanced by intense berries and fresh, lively acidity. Unlike classic Chianti, which Terra di Seta also produces a fabulous example of, the Terra Di Seta Meshi Toscana Rose is off dry and perfect for Shabbos lunch or a Yom Tov afternoon meal.


Be Included In the


‫״יהי רצון״‬ Of Maran Hagaon

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

Harav Chaim Kanievsky Maran Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a, will pray on behalf of contributors to Kupat Ha’ir in the Yehi Ratzon prayer recited upon completing sefer Tehillim, daily throughout the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah including Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

That they merit a

‫שנה טובה ומתוקה‬ Maranan Harav Karelitz, Harav Steinman, and Harav Kanievsky, shlit"a, in a unique and historic letter:

"The greatest zechus one can do with one's money in anticipation of the Yom Hadin is

Tzedakah to Kupat Ha'ir" CALL OUR 24 HOUR TZEDAKAH HOT LINE




2 8



Donations can be sent to: American Friends of Kupat Ha'ir, 4415 14th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11219


‫קו‬ ‫העפת‬ ‫יר‬



SEPTEMBER 10, 2015



NOEY JACOBSON ROSH HASHANA  SEPT 13-15 YOM KIPPUR  SEPT 22-23 Mincha Erev Chag Yom Tov Both Days Shofar (Approx.) Mincha 1st Day Mincha 2nd Day

6:50 PM 8:00 AM 10:45 AM 6:15 PM 6:35 PM

Kol Nidre Shacharit Yizkor Mincha Neilah

6:30 PM 8:30 AM 10:45 AM 4:45 PM 6:00 PM


9717 West Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90035




SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


Evening of Appreciation for the Women of Kollel Chatzos Strengthening the Torah of Kollel Chatzos and bringing zechusim and bracha to Klal Yisroel are the ultimate objectives for the administrators of Kollel Chatzos. It is for this reason that the women of Kollel Chatzos were recently lauded with a well deserved evening of appreciation held in their honor. Rabbi Nechemya Hoffman, Founder and Director of Kollel Chatzos, a nighttime Kollel with locations in Brooklyn, Monsey, Monroe and Meron, understands that a successful Kollel is dependent upon the

support and chizuk of the Kollel members’ wives. Rabbi Hoffman explained that, “In order for the women to be mechazek their husbands, they themselves need chizuk. This is where the idea of this event came in.” The wives from the three New York locations gathered at picturesque Blueberry Manor a bucolic outdoor venue located on the water, just outside Monroe. As the sun set, sixty women arrived to a setting with elegantly set tables, torch lighting, flowing fountains and a waterfall. The tranquil at-

Shoshana Bernstein

mosphere set the tone for several amazing hours of chizuk and entertainment and the chance to recharge and connect with other women supporting their husbands in this exceptional life of Torah learning. The program, meant to inspire and invigorate, did just that. Rebbetzin Bluming, Menaheles of Bobov, Monsey spoke about the chashivus of supporting one’s husband in his Torah, quoting Rabbi Akiva who said about his wife, “My Torah is her Torah.” Mrs. Friedman, wife of the Monsey Rosh Kollel, shared her ideas and thoughts

of chizuk, made stronger by her personal experience. Following a delectable dessert and a meet and mingle, Mrs. Weig inspired everyone as she recounted her life’s journey through illness. The evening ended on a high note as the women formed their chairs into a circle and joined together for a rousing kumzitz. Accompanied by Mrs. Weig on the guitar, they poured their hearts out in song, a chorus of women proud to be unified in their commitment to living a very special life of Torah. The organizers of the event said the feedback was beyond their expectations and call after call was received with appreciation for the chizuk it provided. “Being part of something so unique can sometimes be isolating,” explained one caller. “Getting to meet the other women and seeing that they are normal just like me was so important!” In fact, two weeks later, during a dinner held for the men, the

At an event held honoring the wives of the Kollel members

(310) 837-2185 or 877-4SUKKAH • ronsieger@yahoo.com

women took the initiative to keep each other company on a conference call, proving that the event had accomplished what it set out to do - provide an opportunity for connection and support. The evening marked the end of summer and as everyone faced the realities of the back to school season and the approaching Yomim Noraim, the Kollel Chatzos office was busy fielding incoming calls for people seeking zechusim for themselves and their families. Administrator Avrochom Chaim Goldman, explained the increased interest in Kollel Chatzos partnerships stating, “There is something very comforting about knowing that your family is under the shemira and bracha of a talmid chochom who is learning and being mispallel on your behalf. This is true throughout the year, but especially so during Elul.” As the hundreds of Kollel Chatzos partners daven for a good, healthy year, they know that the tefillos and Torah of the illustrious Kollel members are accompanying them. May the entire Klal Yisroel be zoche to a year filled with bracha and a kesiva vachasima tova. To become a Kollel Chatzos partner in time for Yom Kippur, call today! 1-855-Chatzos (242-8967) Email: Mail@ kollelchatzos.com. www.1855chatzos.org


This summer, Rabbi Steven Burg was appointed Director General (Mankal) of Aish HaTorah Jerusalem and Aish HaTorah globally. In this role, Rabbi Burg will be responsible for setting the vision and direction of Aish HaTorah worldwide and crafting new strategies to reach out and inspire world Jewry. Over the Shabbos weekend of Parshas Ki Tatze, August 28th, Rabbi Burg spoke at Aish LA, about his career choice and about his plans for the future. The lectures were called, “Why I Chose Aish” and “How Aish is Poised to Become One of the Greatest Forces in the Jewish World”. “It is a great privilege to assume the leadership of the historic organization that is Aish HaTorah, an organization which is dedicated to bringing Torah and passionate Judaism to the broader Jewish community,” said Rabbi Burg. “In a generation where so many are searching for inspiration and meaning, Aish offers innovates programs and initiatives that empower both rabbinic and lay leaders to take responsibility to solve the spiritual and physical challenges facing the Jewish people,” the Rabbi added. In his Shabbos drasha at Aish LA, Burg highlighted certain reasons why he wanted to be part of the organization. “Rabbi Noach Weinberg ZTL, founder of Aish International, showed us how to communicate Torah in a way that is relevant and meaningful to Jews of this generation.” As one example of Aish’s effective approach. Burg cited the fact that the Israeli Rabbanut has recently asked Aish Tel Aviv to provide compulsory marriage education to couples before their wedding Additionally, on any given day at the Aish World Center, situated in a prominent location opposite the Western Wall, there is a wonderful and diverse crowd hailing from Bais Yaakov seminaries, world travelers, soldiers in the IDF and people from the Meah Shearim neighborhood. They all come to participate in Aish’s innovative approach to teaching eternal wisdom. Aish was founded in 1974 by Rabbi Noah Weinberg. Today it operates in 17 countries and has 26 branches which offer learning programs, retreats, trips to Israel and social opportunities. More than 100,000 people pass through their doors annually, while 4,500 students study at Aish Jerusalem each year and the online site has now published more than 10,000 articles on subjects of Jewish interest.. More than 100,000 people pass through their doors annually, while 4,500 students study at Aish Jerusalem each year and the online site has now published more than 10,000 articles on subjects

spent the next years restructuring the organization. Under his leadership, NCSY grew to serve tens of thousands of Jewish teens around the world and they sent over 2,000 adolescents to Israel every summer. Rabbi Burg was additionally the founder of the Jewish Student Union (JSU), a network of hundreds of public high School clubs that teaches unaffiliated Jewish teens about their heritage. Rabbi Burg also started the Anne Samson Jerusalem Journey (TJJ), an Israel experience for unaffiliated Jewish teens, and he is considered an authority on teen spirituality and development.

Rabbi Burg later served as the Managing Director of the OU and Eastern Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the global Jewish human rights organization that confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism, promotes human rights and dignity, stands with Israel, and defends the safety of Jews worldwide.

Aish LA’s mission is to inspire every Jew to begin their own spiritual journey by connecting them to Judaism and each other. Aish works to revitalize the Jewish people by providing opportunities for Jews of all backgrounds to discover their heritage in an atmosphere of open inquiry and mutual respect. For more information visit info@aishla.com.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

of Jewish interest. “I wouldn’t call Aish a movement or a fringe group,” said Burg, “Aish is Judaism. Avraham Avinu reached out to teach anyone who would listen about the oneness of G-d. Judaism has always been about opening our doors and finding ways to engage the wider Jewish community. This is what Aish likes to do best!” Before assuming his position at Aish, Rabbi Burg enjoyed a lengthy 22-year career at the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU). In 2005, Rabbi Burg also became the youngest International Director of NCSY, the youth movement of the OU, and


Newly Appointed Rabbi Steven Burg speaks in Los Angeles, “Why I Chose Aish”


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


Chai Lifeline Young Leaders Gather For End Of Sumer Soirée Nearly 100 members of Chai Lifeline’s Young Leaders Initiative gathered under a starlit sky for an extraordinary evening of fun and inspiration at the home of Marilyn and Jaime Sohacheski in Beverly Hills.

“Coffee, that’s what I needed more than anything,” Stefanie recalled. Like a genie, Chai Lifeline’s case manager was there with a hot, steaming cup. Since then, Chai Lifeline has been part of the family, a fa-

Young Leaders enjoying liquid nitrogen chilled cocktails

Daniel Nagel, Annie Nagel, Jenny Buchman, Moshe Buchman (the Buchmans are Young Leader Co-Chairs)

The annual End of Summer Soirée brings together couples and individuals in their 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s who seek to further Chai Lifeline’s ability to enhance the lives of children and families living with pediatric illness or loss in their homes. The evening featured specially designed cocktails made with liquid nitrogen and fire and an exceptional dinner in the relaxed atmosphere of the Sohacheski’s beautiful garden. But the real attraction was Stephanie Diamond, who talked about how Chai Lifeline’s professionals and volunteers changed the life of her 15-year-old son, Benjamin. Ms. Diamond recalled Benjamin’s hospitalization for complications of cystic fibrosis. In her words, she felt her world falling apart even as she tried to hold it together for Benjamin.

miliar presence when Benjamin was hospitalized and throughout the year. The Young Leaders, many who have visited Benjamin over the years, were visibly moved by their appreciation for their volunteer efforts. Moshe Buchman, who served as the master of ceremonies for the evening, spoke personally about his experiences as a Young Leader. In addition to visiting sick children, he has brought his children to Chai Lifeline family events so they can see firsthand the impact of volunteer involvement. Ryan Hyman, Chai Lifeline’s West Coast Director of Development, discussed the growth of the Initiative since its inception a year ago both on the Leaders and Chai Lifeline’s families. The evening was capped off with a delicious dessert; many of the Young Leaders stayed to relax and socialize into the night.


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SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

Extended Holiday Hours


Arba Minim, Sukkahs, Decorations, Judaica, Silver, Gifts.


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


Tee off for Tomchei, Free Tea at Tomchei The numbers are in: Tomchei Shabbos is excited to announce the tremendous success of its First Annual Tomchei LA Golf Classic. On a sunny morning on July 27th, hundreds of Tomchei Shabbos supporters were greeted by the blended aromas of freshly brewed coffee and freshly manicured fairways. The crowd had arrived at the exclusive Mountain Gate Country Club, located high in the hills above the 405, not far from the Getty Museum and Brentwood. After an elaborate breakfast, catered by La Gondola, the putting contest and final tournament preparations were well underway. By 11am, a sold out crowd of more than 140 golfers was sent out to tee off for Tomchei. Golfers included PGA pros and celebrities, but players of all levels were able to enjoy the game and the giveaways-- caps, jackets, polo’s, mugs, cigars, colognes, towels, and more, along with delicious appetizers and freshly BBQ’d food that awaited everyone at each hole. There were also contests including, the Hole-inone, long drive, closest to pin, shot-of-alifetime and an array of on-course fun, accompanied by high end spirits, wine and

beer. Later in the afternoon, Title sponsor Yosef Manela, founder & CEO of Manela & Co, was lifted from the fairway by a helicopter in front of 250 enthralled guests. From high above the crowd, Manela dropped 600 golf balls and a few of the attendees were the lucky winners who split the pot with a chance to win up to $10,000. A wave of 150 additional guests arrived for the evening event that featured cocktails, hand rolled cigars, a raffle, a wine tasting by Herzog wine cellars, live music, and a lavish buffet awards dinner, during which the winners were announced: Anthony Behrstock, Rodney Fingelson, Robin Israel and Benjy Israel. “I’m gratified and thrilled that this event was a stellar sell out,” said Manela. “Tomchei Shabbos is a special organization that distinguishes itself in so many ways. The average American believes that a charity should spend no more than 23 percent on annual overhead. Our overhead rate averages BELOW FIVE percent. In terms of efficiency, Tomchei Shabbos ranks in the top half percent of nonprofit organizations in the United States!” Jewish Link Designs 323.965.1544

Simcha hall available for up to 100 people


fine catering

gourmet to go

Lou Cvelbar, Rabbi Yonah Landau and Ushi Silverman enjoying some hand rolled cigars at the 11th Hole Shimmy Lautman Photography

Daniel Samson, Rabbi Yonah Landau and Joseph Herzog enjoy wine from the Barrel from Herzog Wine cellars Shimmy Lautman Photography

Rabbi Yonah Landau, Steve Berger & Schneur Braunstein presenting the Title Sponsor Yosef Manela with an Award Shimmy Lautman Photography

availab le for all your caterin g needS

eat in

let uS cater your high holiday mealS rosh hashanah

pre-yom Kippur


We have a large Sukkah in the back for your dining pleasure.

This year 385 families--approximately 2,600 individuals--will benefit from a wide range of items including household supplies, food, and other services. Through an arrangement that Tomchei Shabbos has developed with clothing manufacturers, that families will be able to purchase outfits at deeply discounted prices when they attend the Tomchei Shabbos Clothing event. With the help of Tomchei Shabbos, many Jewish families in Los Angeles are able to maintain their dignity while dealing with the high expenses of living in this city. With rising costs, the number of those needing help has increased annually by approximately 10%, revealed Tomchei Shabbos Administrator Schneur Braunstein in a conversation with The Jewish Home. “As the newly-wedded expand their family and their needs, we help by getting the best pricing on items essential to a Jewish home. Sixty-five per cent of our Tomchei recipients are families with young children. We also work with hardworking, struggling singles. Sadly, there is now a waiting list for our services. With our budget, we can support only so many people. Fortunately, we are blessed with a vibrant volunteer community that allows us to use our budget for food and home supplies, not labor costs. Believe me, we get the most out of every dollar in our $2.5million annual account.” What’s the best part of Tomei Shabbos? Braunstein is undecided. “I’m proud of the essentials we provide day in and day out—food, diapers, furniture, new clothing, employment support, resume writing, toys and financial assistance. And once in a while you get to spread a little magic. Twice a year on Chol Hamoed Pesach and Succos we distribute 1,000 Knott’s Berry Farm tickets, thanks to one of our wonderful anonymous donors. Events like that create happy memories for life, especially for those struggling to make ends meet. This Rosh Hashanah and Succos, we plan to distribute over 8,000 lbs. of chicken and meat and close to 10,000 pounds of fresh produce along with thousands of fresh challahs, cakes and wine and a variety of dry goods. In addition, special for Rosh Hashanah, we will give out over 1,000 pounds of fresh fruit, hundreds of jars of honey, and probably 400 pomegranates. Over the course of the upcoming holidays we will give out close to $100,000 in store credit. Tomchei solely relies on its donors to help us in helping those who have nowhere else to turn”. To make a donation, to volunteer, or to apply for help, contact info@tomcheila. org, visit the website www.tomcheila.org or call 323.851.1000

Tel: 323-658-7730 | Fax: 323-658-1084 | email: abbasonlabrea12@gmail.com 129 N La Brea ave., La, 90036

Making food packages


The Jewish Home Speaks with Mayor Julian Gold Beverly Hills coffers are meaningfully supported by tourism spending, but Mayor Gold and his City Council colleagues spend considerable time deliberating as to how to balance between tourism, the needs of residents, and the business community. Halfway through his term, Mayor Gold was successful in partnering the city with the State of Israel. The unique partnership is an exciting event with many positive repercussions expected for everyone.

The memorable official ceremony for the partnership with the State of Israel will take place at the Beverly Hills arts destination, The Wallis Annenberg Theater for the Performing Arts. Located in prime Beverly Hills and occupying a substantial 70,000 sq. ft. space, Mayor Gold will embellish the event with a presentation to Consul General of Israel David Siegel and to conductor, Zubin Mehta, who will receive a Proclamation on behalf of the city of Beverly Hills in honor of his contribution to classical music. Mayor Gold explained that Beverly Hills has something unique it can offer to Israel. In past years, the City embraced Herzyliya as a sister City, and fostered youth and cultural exchanges. Now, the city will highlight the fact that they stand strong with the values, culture and politics that makes Israel so successful. Former Mayor MeraLee Goldman worked diligently in developing the relationship back in 1998 and today the new alliance is the result of many years of bonding. Mayor Gold added, “The City of Beverly Hills will reaffirm to the world that we cherish the state of Israel and everything it stands for. Four years ago, I visited Israel with my wife and it wasn’t my first trip, but I was reminded of something; how amazing are the Israelis! It is very hard to describe the unique nature of the country until you arrive and experience the emotion you find there, which is different from the vibe you feel in other countries. Israel, the birthplace of humanity, is a spiritual place and you remember the feeling long

after you return home. I think it’s import- is holding a crucial meeting on the immiant that we make a statement of support grant situation on Rosh Hashanah which is for that spirit. a most auspicious day. If they do this right The partnership will flow both ways and in an orderly fashion, it might not disas Israel has expertise, arts, technology, rupt the host countries and maybe that is and business prospects to collaborate on a truly positive event we can hope for in through joint ventures. The Mayor em- 2016. Perhaps Mayor Gold will make an phasized that, “Israel has led the way in official visit to Israel in his role as Mayor. water preservation and we want to learn “That’s a wonderful idea which we have from them in this regard. Beyond that, we discussed but it will take further planning have the wonderful new Wallis Theater to make it possible and meaningful. At and we want to work symbiotically with least I wouldn’t need to borrow the gowns Israeli arts and music. We shall also en- from the Mayor of Westminster!” courage Israeli businesses to join forces Finally, Mayor Gold shared his with our unique business community, and thoughts on the coming haggim, “As we we’d love to become the headquarters of approach Rosh Hashanah I think we must businesses who can thrive in our city. Fi- look at our complicated world and see that nally, we want to encourage tourThe Beverly Hills City Council has adopted a joint declaism from Israel. ration establishing a formal partnership between the City of We already have Beverly Hills and the State of Israel. The partnership, adopted huge numbers of at the September 1st meeting, will include an exchange of ideas global visitors and and resources on a broad array of areas including water conserwe want to attract vation and management, technology and cyber security, public as many as poshealth, emergency services, disaster preparedness, public safesible. This is not ty, counter terrorism, art and culture. a religious state “This partnership will allow us to further strengthen our ment. We have a commitment to Israel,” said Mayor Julian Gold.   “Beverly diverse population Hills will greatly benefit from Israel’s leadership in many arand we are proud eas that are of great concern and interest to our community.” to be inclusive of David Siegel, Consul General of Israel, spoke on behalf many communiof the State of Israel, saying, “We look forward to working ties. Beverly Hills with the City of Beverly Hills to share best practices, ideas and is a version of the solutions aimed at increasing water conservation and innovaworld where peotion as we face California’s drought as well as Israel’s water ple can get along challenges.” just fine. You can Through this partnership, the City of Beverly Hills and the walk through our State of Israel will hold discussions and information exchangstreets and you es and promote initiatives related to areas of mutual interest.  will find people of The Joint Declaration promotes cooperation, understanding all faiths and that’s and friendship by encouraging task forces, trade delegations how it should be.” and professional exchanges.  The Joint Declaration also enAs a city courages the collaboration between educational and cultural whose residents institutions, and encourages the strengthening of the Beverly have experienced Hills Herzliya sister city program. immigration themPrevious cooperative exchanges with Israel have included selves, the Mayor the renaming of a street in Beverly Hills near Temple Emanuel is following the to Herzl Way in honor of the revered Zionist Theodor Herzl; global immigraparticipation of children from Herzliya in the City’s Centention crisis with nial art contest; and the hosting of a free lecture series called, concern. It is difBeverly Hills Forum which included authors from Israel. ficult to know how Beverly Hills can help. He explained, “You wonder what the impact challenging times are exactly what makes will be of the enormous number of immi- for a new opportunity. We must aspire to grants who have left a devastating place make next year a better one. Year after year that was once their home. Jews know this after year we need to make the world a betfeeling of homelessness and it is impres- ter place and more joyous. Let’s make the sive that Germany has been altruistic in next twelve months into a story that will their response and has recently taken far make us proud of the way we have acted. more refugees than other European cities. It is with this important thought that I wish Now, they urgently need to develop how Jewish Home readers a very sweet new this will work. The European Community year.”

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

The mayor is the elected head of a city. Our idea of a mayor likely evokes images of the Lord Mayor of London, first elected in 1189 and still an icon of formality and pomp. The Lord Mayor of London is still an important figure and he presents himself in a style of court dress that makes that point. Long abandoned by global officials, he wears a black velvet coat with elegant vest and knee breeches, crisp white shirt with lace cuffs, a black or crimson silk robe trimmed with gold lace and a black beaver three cornered hat. The Lord Mayor of Westminster visited Beverly Hills in March, where he officially delivered an invitation to The Beverly Hills High School Band, asking them to return to perform at the 2016 London New Year’s Day parade. This Lord Mayor was dressed in a magnificent version of the traditional costume and the attending politicians felt a little under dressed. But then, this is not the way American mayors have to present themselves. Beverly Hills Mayor Julian Gold remembers the visit with a chuckle, “I was proud to greet the Lord Mayor but I felt somewhat under dressed in my suit. I have many roles to fulfill in this position, but cloaks and gowns are a thing of the past!” Mayor Gold, MD is a Doctor of Anesthesiology at Cedars Sinai Hospital. With many years’ experience in government, he brings a deep knowledge and understanding of the needs and goals of the City of Beverly Hills. And how far it has changed since its earliest days. For one thing, in 1907, residents were prohibited from selling homes to Jewish buyers. Now it is the home of approximately 35,000 people, of which approximately 26% are Jewish. Many are Persian, and there is a substantial orthodox community, as well. There are 88 municipalities in Los Angeles County and Mayor Gold noted, “There have been numerous other Jewish mayors in Beverly Hills and throughout our region, but I was honored to join that roster on March 24th as the City Council elected me to the prestigious and important role.” Mayor Gold proudly told The Jewish Home, “My great grandparents came from Eastern Europe but both my grandparents were born in America!” A key role of the Mayor is to balance the city budget. A study conducted by MBIA in 2004 was unequivocal in confirming, “There is little doubt that Beverly Hills is one of the wealthiest and most successful cities in the nation: The Beverly Hills economy is close to $20 billion annually. The City’s historical success in attracting and maintaining a large, lucrative economic and tax base distinguishes it.”

Ruth Judah


City of Beverly Hills Partners with the State of Israel

Book review and interview Judaism Alive by Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn (Gefen Publishing House 2015)


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, the Dean and Rabbi of Yavneh Hebrew Academy here in Los Angeles, has just published his first book. Judaism Alive invites readers to use Torah-based concepts to live up to their potential. Lively and insightful, it offers something for readers at many different stages of life and at different levels of sophistication. The book is accompanied by a CD, also entitled Judaism Alive. In the introduction, Rabbi Einhorn relates a personal story of his harrowing escape from a mob. That event caused him to make a choice to live a life in which “every day is filled with a sense of purpose.” (p. xi) Since the Zohar explains that G-d created the entire universe with the Torah as its blueprint, Rabbi Einhorn concluded, “[t]he Torah must be the most effective manual for empowering us to lead a life of meaning and achievement.” (p. xii) Thus, he looks into Torah sources for guidance on living a life of fulfillment. Judaism Alive is divided into three sections, each organized around a major figure in the Torah – Abraham, Joseph, or Moses – who epitomizes certain concepts that Rabbi Einhorn would like to focus on in that section. Referencing Philip K. Dick along with Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Marianne Williamson along with Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner, Rabbi Einhorn weaves together a truly diverse array of sources into an integrated plan of action with Torah at its core. His handling of both Jewish and secular sources impressed me greatly. Because I wanted to complete the book in time for the review, I read Judaism Alive straight through, but I would recommend that readers pace themselves more slowly and read a single chapter at the time, stopping between them in order to digest the material. Moreover, each chapter concludes with two to three concrete strategies with to help them apply the concepts within that particular chapter. At the beginning of the book, I found myself comparing Judaism Alive to the

works of Stephen Covey or Malcolm Gladwell – both quoted in the book – but as it progressed, I became increasingly aware of ways that its genuine Jewish perspective set it apart from other self-improvement books. As a matter of fact, in a few key areas, it veers clearly away from competing books, which sometimes put human effort and desire at the center of success rather than G-d. My favorite parts of the book were the most personal touches, stories that happened to Rabbi Einhorn himself, and places where his deep love of learning Torah and sense of wonder at the universe peeped through. The book does have a few shortcomings: I would have appreciated it if each section – not just each chapter – finished with a summary. I also would have liked some guidance on how to choose one’s life’s mission and to identify one’s strengths, in specific terms. How does one decide they want to write a book vs. start a company, for example? Finally, I think that while the book contains material that certainly applies to the lives of women as much as men, connecting some of the idea of “mission,” “potential,” and “success” to the unique experiences of women’s lives might have enhanced the reading experience for me. The timing of Judaism Alive’s release could not be more perfect. Not only does the topic lend itself well to the introspection and planning many of us do around the High Holidays, but the end of the book contains a section entitled “Seasonal Wisdom to Inspire,” which contains inspiration and anecdotes perfect to share at this time of year. I’ve already had an opportunity to share several of the divrei chizzuk contained there this Elul. Recently, I got the opportunity to chat with Rabbi Einhorn via email about Judaism Alive. Rebecca Klempner: Please tell me about your journey to the rabbinate. Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn: I always knew I wanted to be a Rabbi. I enjoyed leadership roles from a young age, the opportunity to impact lives through creativity. There was a moment in time when I flirted with becoming a lawyer, but my wife’s parents sat me down and asked me, “Where is your passion?” I knew right away: a life of Torah leadership RK: How do you envision “Torah leadership,” as opposed to simply “being a rabbi?” SE: Torah leadership means using the message of Torah, its stated principles, and its subtext to influence a generation to live

better. RK: While Judaism Alive is full of Torah thoughts, its over-arching focus is more on success and self-actualization. How did you select this topic? SE: Self-actualization and personal mastery are necessary components of proper shemiras hamitzvos. If my life is not in balance, how can I hope to accomplish anything? My kavana is lacking if my life is in shambles.  RK: I like that response! The book’s style is accessible both to

those who already life an observant lifestyle and those who don’t. Are you targeting observant readers, secular ones, or both? SE: My target is anybody looking for a “pick me up,” a recharge. I know that I broke rule #1, but when I wrote I tried not to have anybody specific in mind. Just write. RK: Late in the book, you state that Modern Orthodoxy should not represent a middle road so much as “living with Hashem fully in everything we do.” Do you feel that the mindset you are suggesting…is related to how you read so many different genres and authors, and yet also continually tie them to your Torah worldview? SE: Yes. RK: While your book certainly fits in with the “self-improvement” genre, I got the sense that your definition of success is somewhat different than how someone like Tony Robbins or Zig Ziglar or even Eckhart Tolle would define it. Can you summarize your definition of success? SE: I would define success very much

Rebecca Klempner

in line with the Vilna Gaon in Even Sheleimah: either you’re moving up up, or you’re moving down down. Success is not about a destination. Rather, it’s about moving in the right direction. Are we growing in the way we help others live a better life? Are we improving our ability to study Torah? Etc. Success is a constant avodah of moving in the right direction. RK: I love the story you tell of your meeting with the Kaliver Rebbe as a high-school senior. Knowing what you know now about self-improvement and Torah, what advice would you have given an 18 year-old you? SE: Oh, there’s so much. There are so many distinctions I have learned at this point in my life that I do sometimes wonder what would have been had I started with those mindsets in high school. But you know what? Sometimes it’s important for our growth not to know those things too soon. It’s important for us to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. It’s important for us not to stumble on something life-changing too early because when you hear information too early that you’re not ready for, you run the risk of ignoring it later on. RK: Why did you decide to release your CD at the same time as the book?  SE: Because I really felt the two were tied together. RK: How do you perceive the connection between the album  Judaism Alive and the book? SE: The music on the CD is really a partial result of living Judaism Alive. The book speaks to expressing your spirituality in all of its colors. I felt that I had some music to share with the world that was of a growth-minded nature – so I went for it. The song “Mishmar,” for example, is a fun song that attempts to capture the simplicity and ecstasy of a group coming together to celebrate Torah. On the other hand, “Hold On,” is a meditation on sustaining emunah in the face of tragedy. This is what Judaism Alive means to me. You can find Judaism Alive at Jewish bookstores nationwide and online via Amazon.com.





SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

A Life of Choices

The Rambam’s Yad Hachazokah is classic and timeless. Written beautifully with clarity and depth, he presents the laws and principles of the Torah for all forthcoming generations. His seforim are a foundation of our lives and studies. As we go through Elul and approach the Yomim Noraim, engaging in teshuvah, it stands to reason that one of the guides illuminating our path to help us mend our ways should be Hilchos Teshuvah of the Rambam. After delineating the obligation and path of teshuvah over several chapters, the Rambam seems to digress in perek 5. He writes in halachah 1, “Permission is granted to every person. If he wishes to turn himself to the correct path and be a righteous person, he can do so. However, if a person wishes to act improperly and be wicked, he can do so as well… Man is the only creature that differentiates between good and bad and has the ability to do whatever he pleases, good or bad…” One immediately senses that the Rambam is veering from his standard path of precision in halachah, addressing what appears to be a theological issue and not one related to the act of teshuvah. We wonder what the point is of engaging in this discussion in his halachic compendium. In halachah 2, he continues, “Let it not enter your mind that unwise gentiles and most unwise Jews say that Hashem decrees upon a person at birth whether he will be righteous or wicked. It is not so. Every person can be as righteous as Moshe Rabbeinu or as wicked as Yerovom. He can be intelligent or dim, compassionate or cruel… Nobody can force him or decree

upon him or drag him to either path, for it is a person’s own choice which way to go.” He writes, “Therefore, if a person sins, he has hurt himself, and it is proper that he cry and bemoan what he has done to his soul… Because of our own volition, we have done these bad acts. We should do teshuvah and leave our sins behind, for it is up to us.” In halachah 4, he continues, “If Hashem were to decree that an individual be righteous or wicked, or that he would be born with a characteristic that would draw him to a certain way of conduct, attitude or deed - as fools who believe in astrology claim - then how could Hashem command us, through His nevi’im, to do specific actions and desist from others... if it has already been decreed on man that he behave in a particular fashion? And finally, in halachah 5, he writes, “Because Hakadosh Boruch Hu is already aware of what will happen even before it occurs... if Hashem knows that man will be righteous, it will then be impossible for man to be wicked. For if it were possible for man to defy what Hashem knows, then it would mean that His knowledge is lacking...

ulehovin badovor hazeh she’ani omeir.” He begs us, “Please know and understand deeply what I am saying.” After explaining the difficulty in properly understanding the concepts of yediah and bechirah, the Rambam concludes, “This is certain: Man’s actions are in his own hands, and the Holy One, blessed be He, does not lead him in a specific direction.” And then he says something peculiar: “This fact is not verified only through religious tracts, but is proven without a doubt from divrei chochmah.” As I studied these words, I wondered why the Rambam goes to such great lengths to explain to us and convince us of the principles of bechirah. Why is it so important? And why is it so basic to hilchos teshuvah to know that it is a person’s choice what type of individual to be? Why is that so integral to performing teshuvah? In fact, the Raavad (ibid., halachah 5) comments that he doesn’t understand why the Rambam goes into a lengthy discussion of these topics. In fact, he states that the Rambam opened up a conversation and did not sustain it. Finally, why does the Rambam con-

WE EACH HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME, ESPECIALLY AT THIS TIME OF YEAR. “Know that this area is, ‘longer than the earth and wider than the sea,’ with deep and fundamental principles and lofty concepts dependent upon it... Human knowledge cannot grasp this concept in its entirety, for just as it is beyond the potential of man to comprehend and conceive the essential nature of the Creator...so, too, it is beyond man’s capacity to comprehend and conceive Hashem’s knowledge.” That being said, the Rambam personally addresses the reader. As you read his words, you can imagine the learned teacher of every observant Jew lovingly reaching out through the ages. With much compassion, we imagine the Rambam’s smile as he says, “Aval tzorich atah leida

clude by stating that this is a proven fact and has nothing to do with religion? Let us try to understand the connection between teshuvah and bechirah and suggest what the Rambam’s message might be. In our generation, the age of entitlement and blame, the most common reaction and defense when a person does something wrong is to look for someone upon whom to place the blame. Everyone claims to be a victim of some type or another. People don’t blame themselves for acting improperly; that would necessitate owning up to their actions and doing something about it. Instead, people - and society at large - search for outside factors

upon which to blame improper behavior. If a person fails, he says that it is because his parents were too authoritarian or too permissive. His mother showed too much love; his father didn’t show enough. They blame the behavior on the school - it was too big, too small, too intimidating, too free. A person’s behavior is blamed on the family he was born into. They were poor; what do you expect? They were rich; he was spoiled. Or on the neighbors. They were unruly, or domineering, or didn’t ever give him a turn in their games. The Gemara in Maseches Avodah Zarah (17a) tells the story of Rabi Elozor ben Durdaya. A most immoral person, he was inspired to do teshuvah. Overcome with shame and regret for his actions, he fled for the hills, determined to do teshuvah. He beseeched the mountains and hills to plead his case with Hashem. They refused to intercede on his behalf, telling him that he had to argue his case himself. He turned to the heavens and earth to intercede, but they also turned him down. He looked to the sun and moon for help, but was similarly rejected. Finally, he collapsed, his head in his hands, crying from the depths of his being. Eventually, he stood up and proclaimed, “Ein hadovor talui elah bi. It all depends on me. It’s my responsibility.” Finally accepting that what he had done was his own responsibility and no one but he could make it right, he collapsed in tears and died. As his soul left him, a bas kol announced that Rabbi Elozor ben Durdaya’s teshuvah was accepted and he was destined for Olam Haba. Darshonim cite that Gemara as a portrayal of the teshuvah process a person must undergo. They explain that when the Gemara states that Rabi Elozor ben Dordaya turned to the “horim,” the mountains, and asked them to pray for him, this is to be understood allegorically. The darshonim would say, “Al tikri horim, ela hoyrim.” He wasn’t referring to the mountains and asking them to pray for him. He was blaming his situation on his parents. Perhaps they had spoiled him or deprived him or hadn’t given him enough love, in contemporary parlance. He tried blaming them, but it didn’t work. So he searched

He was shaken by the fact that we are ever-blessed with Hashem’s kindness and have embarrassingly little to show for all the opportunities in our lives. For the rest of his life, Rav Yisroel Isser would pray for the opportunity to recapture the tremendous emotion of that year, to feel what he had felt in that tiny village. The Leshem, master of hidden and revealed Torah, retold this story with great feeling, as it is central to the avodah of these days. During this period, we are tasked with a dual avodah: appreciating what we have, so that we may be blessed in the future, and also realizing the missed opportunities and doing teshuvah. One Shabbos, Rav Chaim Leib Auerbach and his young son, Shlomo Zalman, walked from the Shaarei Chesed neighborhood of Yerushalayim to Meah Shearim to participate in a Kiddush. As the two were walking, something caught Rav Chaim Leib’s attention. To his astonishment, he saw a man dressed in pajamas standing on his porch smoking a cigarette. Rav Chaim Leib turned to his son and said to him in Yiddish, “Close your eyes. Don’t look at that sheigetz.” The sheigetz spoke Yiddish and overheard the conversation. He became very upset and called down to Rav Auerbach in Yiddish, “Are you calling me a sheigetz? How can you call me a sheigetz when I personally had a discussion with Hakadosh Boruch Hu?” He continued: “You heard correctly. I asked Hashem a question and He answered me. I’m no sheigetz.” He put down his cigarette and shared his story. “I was born in Russia to Jewish parents. My father died when I was very young. I grew up with goyim, went to school with them, and was eventually drafted into the Russian army. One night, we were fiercely attacked. Everyone around me was killed. I looked out at the battlefield and was shaking with fear. I was the only survivor. I began to wonder why I was chosen to live. “I crawled into a foxhole and began to talk to Hashem. I said, ‘I don’t know if You exist. I was orphaned as a young child. I grew up with goyim. I was never in a shul. I don’t know anything. But if You are really out there, please show me a sign. I will stick my hand out of the bunker, and if a bomb or bullet comes and shoots off one of my fingers, I will know that You exist. I will begin going to shul, studying your Torah, and living the life of a proper Jew.’ “And that is what happened. I stuck up my hand, a bullet whizzed by, and it blew off my finger.” He held up his hand and said, “Take a look. You’ll see that I am

missing a finger.” “Do you hear what I’m telling you? How do you call me a sheigetz? I am a Yid who Hashem has spoken to.” After asking him mechilah, Rav Chaim Leib posed to the man the obvious question: “So tell me, how is it that you are smoking on your porch on Shabbos in Yerushalayim ihr hakodesh? What happened to you that you ended up like this?” “I’ll tell you,” the man answered. “For months, I looked for a shul and couldn’t find one. Then the army discharged me and I went to live with my mother. I felt bad for her and stayed with her. There was no shul in her town. And so it was, until I forgot about fulfilling my vow.” Rav Shlomo Zalman would repeat the story and say that he remembered it his whole life. He would add that in life, there are times of great inspiration, and when they come, we must immediately act upon them. “That man must have had a great neshomah for such a story to happen to him. Had he immediately run to a shul to daven and learn, he would have become a great man,” Rav Shlomo Zalman said. Instead, the man procrastinated and kept finding excuses not to do teshuvah. Every day, he pushed it off to the next, until the inspiration to improve was totally gone and forgotten. We must ensure that we are not like that man, chas veshalom. During this period, when Hashem is close to us and awaits our return, we must rid ourselves of the common excuses and accept that what we have become was totally up to us. Even if we have sinned, even if we have fallen in with a bad group, even if until now things have not gone well for us, we should not give up on ourselves and view ourselves as doomed. We each have the ability to change at any time, especially at this time of year. Let us open our eyes and see how endless the possibilities are and how much tzedakah Hashem has bestowed upon us. How many of us took up the suggestion of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach offered here a few weeks ago to jot down daily the kindnesses Hashem has granted us? Were we to ponder Hashem’s goodness to us on a regular basis, we would become better Yidden and better people, as we would feel the boshes ponim, the humility, that will lead us to correct our ways, choose life and take control of our destiny. May we all merit finding the wisdom, strength and resolve to choose wisely and receive Divine favor to be granted a year of blessed life. Kesivah vachasimah tovah. Ah gut gebentcht yohr.


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

of crime, just as wealthy children are not guaranteed a blessed life. Every person can become great or small, good or bad. We have to shake our attitude of entitlement or the belief that we are victims of circumstances, and instead realize just how blessed we are, with everything in place for us to soar but a person who has strayed from the path may not be prepared to hear religious teachings. What a person makes of his life is not preordained, but is wholly dependent upon the choices he makes and the way he deals with challenges. Man cannot blame his situation on anyone but himself. Man is never so far gone to declare that he cannot return to the path of the good and just. “It’s a fact, it’s up to you. You must own up to it. Man up and repent.” Every person is unique. Every person has different abilities and challenges. Every person has a distinctive mission. He has been gifted with the ability to realize that mission and to succeed in living a happy and blessed life, but he has to accept his role, believe in himself, and withstand the challenges life throws his way. Should he stray and falter, he can always get back on track. The Yomim Noraim are a period for us to conduct an honest assessment of how we are doing. Understanding bechirah leads us to teshuvah and being included in the Sefer Hachaim. Those who live lives of Torah and mitzvos are the most alive beings in creation. Rav Yisroel Isser of Ponovezh was a hidden tzaddik who worked as a peddler, traveling from town to town selling his wares. Recently, his sefer Menuchah Ukedushah was reprinted. Rav Yisroel Isser was a prime student of Rav Chaim Volozhiner and himself a rebbi to many talmidim, as well as a primary source of teachings and stories from and about the Vilna Gaon and Rav Chaim. Among his talmidim was the famed Rav Shlomo Elyashiv, known as the Leshem because of the Kabbalistic work with that title that he authored. A story that Rav Aryeh Levin heard from the Leshem is recounted in the introduction to the new edition of the sefer Menuchah Ukedushah. One year, Rav Yisroel Isser found himself in a tiny village on Motzoei Shabbos of Selichos. Rav Yisroel Isser took a Selichos in hand and began to recite it. As the chazzan called out the opening words of the posuk, “Lecha Hashem hatzedakah velonu boshes haponim,” he was so overcome by emotion as the power and truth of the message struck him that he was unable to raise his head.


for others to blame. When the Gemara says that he reached out to heaven and earth, it represents his attempt to blame the environment - his schools, teachers and friends. He tried blaming them. They influenced me. Everyone else was also doing it. They picked on me. The teachers were lousy. It’s their fault. That tact also didn’t absolve him of responsibility for his sins. So he tried blaming the sun and moon, meaning his financial situation. He was too rich. Mah yaaseh haben shelo yecheta? He was too poor. What can be expected of him? When that also didn’t accomplish anything, he tried blaming the mazalos for his conduct. This is perhaps a hint to the foolish belief cited by the Rambam that astrology influences man’s behavior. Rabi Elozor tried arguing that it wasn’t his fault that he was such an immoral person, for this was his nature; the weakness was inborn. The Heavenly Court rejected this defense as well. Finally, with all his excuses refuted, Rabi Elozor ben Durdaya concluded that “Ein hadovor talui elah bi.” What he did with his life was his fault, not anyone else’s. He became consumed by that thought and overwhelmed by the weight of the inherent responsibility he had now perceived for the first time. Broken by that realization, he died performing teshuvah. The Nesivos Shalom observes that Chazal added the appellation of rebbi to his name, because through his act and understanding, Rabi Elozor ben Durdaya became a teacher to all shovim, returnees, demonstrating the attitude and mindset that lead people to take responsibility for their actions and experience genuine change. When he comprehended the Rambam’s teaching about bechirah, he was able to enter the realm of teshuvah. What a person makes of his life is his own choice. Some have it easier and others have it harder. Irrespective of a person’s background or situation, Hashem has granted him the ability to overcome it all and become as great as Moshe Rabbeinu, if he so chooses. However, as long as a person feels comfortable blaming his present on his past and on things beyond his control, he will not engage in teshuvah and all of hilchos teshuvah will be theoretical to him. The Rambam expends much effort in this perek in addressing people with that mindset. He says to them, “What you are and what you make of your life is your own choice. No one can force you to be evil. No one can force you to sin. If you sin, it is because you let your yeitzer hora get the better of you. There are many people who had those same experiences as you, yet they are righteous, outstanding individuals. They triumphed over their circumstances, and so can you.” There are many poor people who rose from their situation and became great talmidei chachomim. In fact, Chazal say, “Hizharu bivnei aniyim ki meihem teitzei Torah.” Poverty is not an excuse for a life


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


7 Times Every 19 Years, the Leap Year of 5776 This coming year, 5776, will be a leap year, with an extra month of Adar. A leap year occurs every two to three years in order to ensure that Pesach always falls in the spring, as the Torah commands. Originally, there was no fixed calendar, and the leap years were declared by the Beis Din. According to the Rambam, the Beis Din would take three factors into consideration when determining if the year should be a leap year: 1) the vernal equinox, 2) the ripening of the barley crops, and 3) the blooming of the fruit trees. Spring or vernal equinox is the day when, because of the central position of the sun, day and night are approximately of equal length. When the vernal equinox would fall on the 16th of Nissan or later, the Beis Din would add another Adar, so that Pesach would take place after the equinox. In that case, other factors didn’t need to be considered. When the equinox would fall before the 16th of Nissan, the Beis Din could still declare a leap year if both the barley crops were late in sprouting and the fruit trees were late in blooming. The reason for that is that barley needs to be ripe by the second day of Pesach in order to bring the korban omer and the fruit trees need to bloom in the month of Nissan. Sometimes a leap year was declared even in the absence of those factors, such as when the roads were not suitable for travel due to the rainy season, which would prevent people from coming to Yerushalayim for Pesach on aliya l’regel. Another reason for adding an extra Adar was when the Jews living outside of Eretz Yisrael had left their homes but hadn’t been able to reach Yerushalayim in time for Pesach. The announcement declaring a leap year would be made in the beginning of the month of Adar, stating that the following month was going to be another Adar, before the month of Nissan.

The ability to determine when to declare a leap year was called “sod ha’ibur” – the secret of the leap year. According to Pirkei d’Rabi Eliezer (chapter 8), Hashem revealed this secret to Adam Harishon, who passed it on to Chanoch, who passed it on to Noach, who passed it on to Shem, who passed it on to Avraham, who passed it on to Yitzchak, who passed it on to Yaakov, who vpassed it on to Yosef. During the Egyptian slavery the secret was lost, but Hashem revealed it to Moshe and Aharon before they left Egypt. Since then, and until the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdash, the leap year was declared by the Beis Din, usually the Sanhedrin, whose judges had received semicha – ordination through an unbroken chain of rabbis going back to Moshe Rabbeinu. The Beis Din would then send a letter to all the Jewish communities, informing them of the reasons for the declaration. During the Babylonian exile the sages of Bavel were given permission to declare a leap year. After Ezra Hasofer returned to Eretz Yisrael, the navi Yechezkel, who remained in Bavel, wanted to declare a leap year, but Hashem informed him through prophecy that the secret of the leap year had been taken away from Bavel and returned to the Jews of Eretz Yisrael. During the period of the second Beis Hamikdash the Sanhedrin again took charge of declaring leap years. After its destruction, however, the Jews were persecuted by the Romans, and there were prolonged intervals of time when no Beis Din was able to meet and no leap years were declared. For that reason, Rabbi Akiva declared three leap years in a row while he was imprisoned by the Romans. For three more centuries, leap years were determined by the Beis Din. However, this procedure was in danger. The Romans prohibited the rabbis from conferring semicha, under the threat of death.

Yehudis Litvak

Blessing the new moon

Sample 19 year calendar

Hillel II, the Nasi who lived in 4th century CE, foresaw that soon there would be no one left who had the authority to declare a leap year. Hillel took action. He convened a Beis Din, composed of rabbis with semicha, and together they calculated a fixed calendar for all future generations.

Hillel’s calendar is based on a nineteen-year cycle, where the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th years are leap years. This calendar is still in use today, and this coming year, 5776, is the 19th year in the cycle.


The Gedolei Hador Will Unite At The Kosel Hamaaravi To Daven For The Donors of Vaad Harabanim For A Good And Sweet New Year

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SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


As the curtain closes on ‫ תשע“ה‬we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the illustrious talmidei chachomim of Kollel Chatzos. Throughout the year, night after night, they brought bracha, shmira and yeshuos to Klal Yisroel through their intense Torah learning and tefillos as the rest of the world slept. May their efforts stand us in good stead.


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Our Choshever Roshei Kollel, Esteemed Kollel Members And Their Families And To Our Thousands Of Kollel Chatzos Partners Across The Globe Who Have The Tremendous Zechus Of Sustaining Nighttime Learning.

As a member of the Orthodox community, I am pleased to have joined the Mount Sinai family as an Advance Planning Representative.

May the entire Klal Yisroelbe Zoche to a year filled with Bracha and Yeshuos.

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SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


Jews are blessed with unique traditions, but at this time of year we relish the sticky sentiment we share with honey. And what a paradox is this sweetest of delights! For one thing, honey comes from a non-kosher insect. For another, dissolved honey, like yeast, causes fermentation which also symbolizes the willful way we can boil over with pride, conceit and arrogance. Honey is tricky to harvest and everyone knows that a teensy bee can bring fear to our heart because of its fearsome

ability to sting with a fiery pain. And still! Every Rosh Hashanah we fall in love with honey once again and enthusiastically ask for a Shanah Tovah U’mituka, a good and sweet year. Quite soon after sharing the blessing, we sink a slice of newly harvested apple into good raw honey and the deal is sealed. Traditionally, it is proper to serve honey with every major meal from Rosh Hashanah until after Sukkot. Lekach or Honey cake is often the answer to this tradition as lit-

Dvorat Hatavor beekeeper in a sunflower field at the foot of mount Tabor

tle is more delicious than a honey-sweetened cake. Of course the balabusta will use a fair amount of eggs, oil, salt, and baking powder but ancient recipes abound for a traditional honey cake to be baked with an equal weight of white rye flour and dark honey, strong coffee, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and maybe some golden raisins, slivered almonds decorating the top. The practice of honey collection and beekeeping dates to Torah times and is also evidenced by cave paintings. Rabbinical interpretation of the Torah’s honey is that it comes from the fig or date. However, in Judges (14:9) the mighty Samson discovers the carcass of a lion with a swarm of bees and honey inside. Clearly, in this instance, the honey is understood to be comb honey. The Mishnah states, “that which comes from something which is not kosher is not kosher, and that which comes from something which is kosher is kosher.” But honey is produced by the non-kosher bee and is still a kosher food because it is not produced by the digestion of a bee; it is created by the enzymes in the bee and the honey is “cooked” in the comb, not inside the insect. Thank goodness. More than 80% (81.2% to be exact) of honey is sugars and starches and the consumption of a teaspoon of the golden liquid will immediately convert itself into energy. Glorious honey is second to none in food value. One pound of the stuff contains a whopping 1,475 calories and 17 grams of sugar. Incredibly, there are over 25,000 species of bee worldwide but still, there is only one variety that produces honey that is the apis, otherwise known as the honeybee. Honey is first mentioned in the Torah as one of the gifts sent by Jacob with his sons when they went down to Egypt to seek food during the famine. Thereafter, it is written that manna, the daily food which the Israelites survived on for their forty

years’ wandering to the Promised Land, tasted like, “wafers made with honey” (Exodus. 16:31). Little wonder that biblical references to Israel repeatedly brand the Promised Land as the land of “milk and honey.” We have an essential need for bees to


The tragedy of our times is that bees have been dying in remarkable numbers since 2005. There is now an understanding that this is because of mites, viruses and insecticides. The epidemic, known

Agency. The cost to replace all of those dead hives is approximately $2 billion and this will have to be paid by the beekeepers. A single hive costs at least $200 and there is concern that beekeepers will choose an-

as “colony collapse disorder,” has caused U.S. bee keepers to lose approximately one-third of their colonies in 2014 alone. Researchers believe a main culprit is a relatively new class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which makes it difficult for the insects to use their sense of scent to find food. The numbers are truly shocking. More than 10 million beehives have been lost at a cost of $200 a hive, since 2006, according to a report on honey bee health from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection

other business as a result of the problems. “Imagine you were a dairy farmer and lost 30% of your cows every year — how long would you stay in business?” asks Carlen Jupe, secretary and treasurer of the California State Beekeepers Association. “You can’t lose that percentage of livestock and stay in business.” The American Beekeeping Federation acts on behalf of the beekeeping industry on issues affecting the interests and the economic viability of the various sectors of the industry. If you would like to learn more about beekeeping, don’t miss

the online sessions that they hold. On August 26, 2015 Tim Tucker, ABF President, will be holding the first of three sessions and will share exquisite information about honey bees and honey. ““Bee educated about honey bees and how you — yes, you — can help reverse their population decline. Join the American Beekeeping Federation for a free, public three-part webinar series about the basics of beekeeping and honey bees. Tim Tucker shares an overview of honey bee biology and an explanation of how and why we keep them the way we do today.” Help is also at hand from our President. In May 2014, President Obama issued a new Strategy announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Pollinator Health Task Force. It proposes additional restrictions on the use of acutely toxic pesticides during times when bees are most likely to be present. “… Applications of acutely toxic pesticides would be prohibited when flowers are in bloom and when bees are brought to farms for pollination services. The proposed restrictions focus on managed bees but the EPA believes these measures will also protect native bees.” Meanwhile, on September 2nd, Los Angeles City Council voted to have the City Attorney create an ordinance that would allow for backyard beekeeping in our neighborhoods. Beekeepers would have to take extra effort to keep the bees in the hive area but now there is a real possibility that old and new beekeepers will successfully rejuvenate the industry. A verse in Birkat Hamazon, praises Israel’s “Seven Species” of fruit and grain. This includes, last but not least, honey, whose sweetness and essential value is easily overlooked, but still unique and powerful; just like us.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

pollinate our fruit and vegetables. Onethird of the food we eat depends on insect pollination, mostly by honey bees. It has been said that the world would be better off if everyone kept them! Paradoxically, the American food chain is interconnected with bees even though they are not native to America. Earliest data shows that honey bee colonies were shipped to the Virginia Colony from England in 1622. Since then, they have survived just fine when farmed in an apiary. (Remember that word; it works well in Scrabble.) In case you wondered, a bee costs approximately 50 cents and a Queen bee costs around $20 because she is entirely in charge of producing eggs for the three years of her little life. A colony consists of a single queen and several thousand sterile worker bees. Each hive will collect 66 lbs. of pollen each year, which is a pretty big achievement. Honey bees represent a highly organized society, with various bees having very specific roles during their lifetime: e.g., nurses, guards, grocers, housekeepers, construction workers, royal attendants, undertakers, foragers, etc. Most estimates show the time it takes a beekeeper to tend to one single colony of bees is between 15–30 hours a year, less than 10 minutes a day!  There are many types, colors and flavors of honey, depending upon its nectar source. The bees make honey from the nectar they collect from flowering trees and plants. To make a statement of originality, look for more unusual flavors this year. Perhaps Carob Honey from Morocco or Tawari honey from New Zealand. Alternatively, enjoy a locally produced variety which will build your immune system to local flowers. Honey is an easily digestible, pure food. It is hygroscopic, meaning it holds water, and it has antibacterial qualities, even fending off allergies.

The Infamous Case Of The ‘Get Of Cleves’ part 1 Rabbi Pini Dunner, Rav of Young Israel North Beverly Hills


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


In the late eighteenth century, a seemingly innocuous divorce in a provincial German town evolved into one of the most bitterly fought Jewish legal controversies of the era, involving the most famous rabbis of the day. The story of the ‘Get of Cleves’ is an extraordinary tale of intrigue, ego and hubris. At the center of it all was a young couple whose personal lives were humiliatingly discussed and debated, as one of Europe’s most distinguished rabbinic courts refused to reverse their ruling that the husband had been legally insane at the time of the divorce, a ruling which had invalidated the divorce, leaving the couple still married. Rabbis everywhere erupted in indignation at this intransigence. But what is the ‘Get of Cleves’ backstory? How was it possible that the esteemed rabbis of Frankfurt, who had never met the young man in question, felt compelled to deliver a retroactive ruling of insanity against him? In a three-part article we will delve into the tragic events leading up to and surrounding this titanic legal battle. Many years ago I was involved in a tragic situation, trying to help an estranged wife obtain her Get* from her recalcitrant husband. He had been very abusive towards her during their time together, and the marriage had irretrievably broken down. The husband was now trying to extort a large sum of money from the wife’s family in exchange for the Get, and the wife’s family were simply not able to come up with the exorbitant sums that were being demanded by the husband. Even if they were able to come up with the money, I felt it would be outrageous to give in to his demands. After consulting with the distinguished Dayanim of the

London Beth Din, I let the husband and his family know that I would be conducting a public campaign against him, and anyone associated with him – his family, his business associates, his supporters – until he gave his wife her Get and ceased his unreasonable demands. We would organize demonstrations outside homes and businesses, publish adverts in the newspapers, and write to every synagogue and institution he was associated with to explain how he was a “mesaref le-dinna”, the Jewish legal phrase for someone who is in contempt of court. I was quite confident with this strategy, as I knew that the family was terrified of negative publicity, and would certainly not want such a situation to erupt around them. Then, out of the blue I got a phone call from a close friend of the husband’s family. He informed me that a few years earlier the husband had been diagnosed with a chronic mental condition, and if I went through with my threatened action, the family would use his history of mental

I put the phone down and sat for a while in contemplation, not sure what to do. Before receiving that phone call it had all seemed so simple. I had been convinced that the matter would be resolved quickly. Now it appeared as if I had been outsmarted by this devilish plan. I decided to call my late mother’s brother, a humble man whose knowledge in Talmud and halacha is unsurpassed, and whose devoted attention to my Torah studies as my rebbe had been the incredible springboard that had ensured my enthusiasm for Torah knowledge – and in fact, all knowledge. I explained what had happened, and asked him if I should call it a day. After chastising me for my hubristic overconfidence, and for being so adversarial, he asked me if I had ever heard of the ‘Get of Cleves’. “No,” I said, “although I have heard of Anne of Cleves,” the name of one of Henry VIII’s unfortunate wives. “Did Henry VIII give her a Get when they divorced?” My uncle chuckled. “Just look into the story of the ‘Get of Cleves’ and you will

18th century wedding

problems as proof that he was legally incompetent, which would mean he would not be able to give the Get. The man on the phone was well versed in halacha, and quoted me numerous sources to unequivocally prove that someone who is insane or legally incompetent cannot give his wife a Get.

*A ‘Get’ is the official legal document that records the divorce between a man and his wife, and it is crucial that it is executed correctly, as the consequences of an invalid Get would be a disaster. If the non-divorced wife remarries, she and her new husband are guilty of adultery, while any children would be considered ‘mamzerim’ – halachic bastards. For this reason great care is taken by rabbis who preside over a Get, and the Talmud is extremely critical of those who retroactively question the validity of a Get.

see how this threat to thwart the Get by claiming that the man is insane and legally incompetent is an empty threat. These people have no idea what they are talking about, and have no concept of the halachot surrounding insanity and incompetence when it comes to giving a Get. After the ‘Get of Cleves’ case, being insane enough so that you would not be able to give a Get became pretty difficult.” Modern secular law defines insanity as “mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct his or her affairs

due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.” Insanity is normally used as a defense in criminal cases. The most common variation is cognitive insanity, which means that the alleged criminal was so impaired by insanity when committing a crime that he or she did not know that the crime committed was wrong. Another form of the insanity is volitional insanity, or ‘irresistible impulse’, which refers to someone who is able to distinguish right from wrong, but has a temporary mental breakdown making them incapable of controlling their actions. This defense is commonly used in crimes of vengeance. There is another condition that can affect a legal transaction, called ‘incompetency’. Civil law requires a person to be legally competent in order to enter into a contract, or sign a will, or make any type of binding legal commitment. In contract law a person who agrees to a transaction becomes liable for duties under the contract unless they are legally incompetent at the time the contract was entered into. If someone does not comprehend the nature and consequences of a contract, they are regarded as having mental incapacity. But how does Jewish law define insanity and incompetence, and what are the implications of an act carried out, or a contract entered into, by an insane or incompetent individual? The ‘Get of Cleves’ saga was a watershed divorce case that brought all these issues into sharp focus. In the late Spring or early Summer of 1766, a young man called Isaac Neiberg from Mannheim, Germany, became engaged to Leah Gunzhausen of Bonn, which is also in Germany. During the engagement period Isaac visited his fiancée, and appeared to all to be perfectly normal and happy. On Friday, August 8, 1766, Leah and her parents arrived in Mannheim to join the groom and his family in anticipation of the wedding that was taking place the following Tuesday. Among the friends and family who joined them was their cousin, a rabbinic scholar called Rabbi Aron Shimon Copenhagen, who would later be crucial in providing the details of the strange story that unfolded over the next couple of weeks. That Friday night passed without incident, but on Shabbat morning something was up. Without explanation Isaac became agitated and anxious. He paced up and down and muttered to himself, and no one seemed to be able to calm him down. His demeanor was so strange that Leah’s parents began to worry about his mental


was their choice to make, but meanwhile his bags were packed and he was ready to leave for London, where he felt he would be safe. After an intense family conference everyone concluded it was best to just go ahead with the divorce and be done with

Frankfurt Jewish Ghetto

fore Shabbat. The following morning Isaac attended prayers and was called up to say the blessing over the Torah. Notwithstanding the outburst in Mainz his demeanor throughout Shabbat was serene and relaxed. But beneath the surface it seems that Isaac was in total turmoil. On Saturday night straight after Shabbat he sent for Rabbi Copenhagen and begged for his help to arrange a divorce. Rabbi Copenhagen was totally dumbstruck. “What are you talking about? Why do you want to divorce Leah?” he inquired incredulously. Isaac responded that he felt Leah disliked him, and he couldn’t live with someone who didn’t like him. He also claimed that his life was in grave danger, and he need to leave Germany immediately. This meant Leah would be unable to remarry, particularly if his enemies caught up with him and killed him without anyone knowing. He therefore wanted to divorce her while he still could, rather than cause her and her family the anguish associated with a missing husband unable to write a Get. Rabbi Copenhagen was a wise and worldly man, and he told Isaac to sleep on it while he conferred with the family. The rabbi ran to Leah’s father to report the conversation he had had with Isaac, and the two of them agonized all night trying to figure out what to do. The following morning Rabbi Copenhagen told Isaac that he had no solution to suggest as yet, but was happy to continue discussing options and ideas. Isaac responded that he was not interested in any solution, as he had decided overnight to divorce Leah without delay so that he could run for his life. He added that if Leah or her family would not agree, that

it. Isaac was itching to leave, which meant that they could not execute the divorce in Bonn, so the family decided to accompany him on the first part of his journey and arrange for the Get to be given in Cleves, a small town on the German side of the border with Holland. The rabbi of Cleves was a respected scholar called Rabbi Yisrael Lipschuetz, whom everyone was satisfied would be helpful and correct in these unusual circumstances. So, on Sunday morning, Isaac, Leah, Rabbi Copenhagen, Leah’s brother, and another cousin, all left Bonn and headed towards Cleves. The 100-mile journey took them a couple of days, and they arrived there on Tuesday, August 26 – exactly two weeks after the couple had got married. Rabbi Lipschuetz was rather surprised when this unexpected delegation arrived at his door, particularly when he heard what they wanted. Isaac explained what had happened and why he wanted the divorce, although he did not mention his weird Shabbat disappearance with the money. He was lucid and composed, and articulated perfectly why he felt the need to end his marriage. The rabbi explained the divorce process to him, and he seemed to completely understand every aspect, as well as the implications of the detailed asset separation that was hammered out between him and Leah’s relatives. Isaac insisted that they press ahead with the divorce as quickly as possible. He also asked for the divorce not be publicized in Cleves, as he had heard that there were people there from Mannheim, and he did not want them to hear about it and for his parents to find out. As the divorce document was being written, Rabbi Lipschuetz

took Isaac aside to tell him that he found what was happening extremely upsetting, and puzzling, and he added that he was quite concerned that Isaac’s parents would be worried and upset when they found out what he had done. Isaac replied that it was dangerous for him to go back to Mannheim, and if he returned there he would be executed on the spot, although he refused to elaborate. The divorce proceedings went ahead and the Get was given to Leah in front of witnesses, as required by Jewish law. The following day Isaac and Leah parted ways. She returned to Bonn with her family, and he left for London. It was only a matter of time before Isaac’s parents discovered what had happened, and when they did they were livid, believing that Leah’s family had taken advantage of their vulnerable son. They were also upset that the asset separation had been decided very heavily in Leah’s favor. Isaac’s father arranged an emergency meeting with his local rabbi in Mannheim, Rabbi Tevele Hess - who knew Isaac well and had attended the wedding – and he insisted the rabbi find a way to annul the divorce. Although Rabbi Hess was a distinguished rabbinic scholar in his own right, he did not feel himself to be sufficiently qualified to perform an annulment. So he did something that would prove to be a game-changer. He wrote a detailed letter that was co-signed by nine other rabbis to one of the most famous rabbinic courts in Europe – the illustrious Beit Din of Frankfurt. The Frankfurt beit din was headed by Rabbi Avraham Abish Feld, author of the authoritative halachic work Birkat Avraham. Rabbi Abish, as he was known, was one of the most eminent rabbinic authorities in Germany at that time, not only renowned as a massive expert in Jewish law, but also known for his piety and gentleness. The letter from Rabbi Hess ended with a simple request – on the basis that Isaac had not been competent at the time of the divorce, Rabbi Abish and his colleagues should annul the Get of Cleves, which would mean that Isaac and Leah were still married. This request was nothing short of a bombshell, and the response of the Frankfurt beit din would reverberate around the Jewish world in a controversy that embroiled rabbis far and wide. In Part Two discover how the Get of Cleves story escalated into an international scandal involving the leading rabbis of the era. What could have been sorted out in a single afternoon arbitration became a scandal that turned into a major debacle for everyone involved.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

in Isaac freaking out and becoming completely hysterical. The family eventually calmed him down, but once again his strange behavior had become cause for concern. The journey towards Bonn continued, and the family arrived on Friday just be-


state. They sat him down with Leah, and asked him why he was so stressed out. After some prompting Isaac explained that he was upset over a new apartment his father had promised him for after the wedding, which his father had suddenly decided to give to his sister and her new husband instead. Although another apartment had been set aside for him, he claimed to be concerned that this smaller accommodation would not be sufficient for him and Leah once they were married and had children. Leah’s parents were satisfied that this explained Isaac’s strange behavior, and immediately went to confront Isaac’s father, who, after a short negotiation, agreed to honor the original promise and allow Isaac and Leah to move into the larger accommodation. With everything seemingly settled, the wedding took place as planned on the following Tuesday. Isaac addressed the wedding banquet, and acted in a composed and dignified way. But the following Shabbat morning – sheva brachot Shabbat – Isaac was nowhere to be found. After a comprehensive search involving the local gentile authorities, it was discovered that not only had he disappeared, but he had absconded with a large sum of money. To put it mildly, this was highly unorthodox behavior for an orthodox Jew on Shabbat, and particularly strange behavior for someone in the midst of his own sheva brachot celebrations. Both families went into full panic mode and hired a search party to look for him in the surrounding villages. Isaac was eventually discovered hiding under some hay in a farmhouse belonging to a non-Jew, about four hours journey from Mannheim. He was brought back to Mannheim, but was very agitated, and kept on repeating that he needed to run away to escape government agents who were intent on killing him. Simultaneously, and perhaps as a result of what was going on, the two families began to bicker over financial support for the couple. A mediator was called in and the dispute settled. As part of the settlement it was agreed that the couple would not stay in Mannheim as originally planned, but would instead move to Bonn with Leah’s family, at least for the immediate future. Everyone was happy with the new arrangement, especially Isaac, who was delighted to be leaving. On 19 August 1766, exactly one week after the wedding, the young couple left Mannheim and began their journey to Bonn, together with Leah’s family and the friends from Bonn who had attended the celebrations. The following night, at a Jewish inn near Mainz, an innocent conversation involving the innkeeper that touched on the story of the groom who had run away the previous Shabbat resulted



SEPTEMBER 10, 2015



Notable Quotes


Compiled by Nate Davis Compiled by Nate Davis

“Say“Say What?” What?” I saw that during a town hall in Miami this week, Jeb Bush attacked Donald Trump in both Spanish and English. And later that night, Donald Trump responded in both English and much, much louder English. – Jimmy Fallon

In an interview with CNN, former Vice President Dick Cheney said that he has no plans to endorse Donald Trump. When asked if he’d have a change of heart, Cheney was like, “Yes, every week.” - Jimmy Fallon

Trump really signed the pledge with his own name, but take a look at this. He signed it in a Sharpie. Even when he writes, he still goes with the loudest pen possible. – Ibid

Even Tom Brady is glad he belongs to a union. They had his back. And if Brady needs a union, we definitely need unions. – President Obama at a union rally in Boston You know, a broken clock is right once a day. - 2016 GOP candidate Rick Perry during an interview on Fox News

While he was in Alaska, President Obama stopped at a cafe and bought out all of their cinnamon rolls for his staff. The staff was like, “Thanks, Obama.” And the guy behind him in line was like, “Yeah, thanks Obama.” - Jimmy Fallon

According to a new poll, Hillary Clinton has lost a third of her supporters in Iowa since May. There’s still debate as to whether she lost them or just deleted them from her database. – Jimmy Fallon

El hombre no es conservador. - GOP presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, using Spanish in a Florida campaign stop to claim that rival Donald Trump is not a true conservative

You will not see the next 25 years. - Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, talking about Israel during a speech, after President Obama obtained enough Congressional votes to pass their nuclear agreement

A judge overturned Tom Brady’s four-game suspension and will let him play in next week’s opening game. The judge said, “After careful consideration of the evidence from both parties, I rule in favor of my fantasy football team.” – Jimmy Fallon

President Obama is taking over the White House’s official Instagram account this week to post pictures of his trip to Alaska. Or to put it another way, President Obama is now your annoying friend on vacation. – Jimmy Fallon I’m hot! I acknowledge that. I’m mad! I’m angry! - VP Joe Biden sounding like “candidate” Joe Biden during a speech in Pittsburgh

Take that, Bibi! - Tweet by a PBS News anchor after President Obama secured enough votes to pass the Iran deal

I like Jeb. He’s a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States. - Donald Trump, responding to Bush’s Spanish comments about him




The president of Guatemala, Otto Perez Molina, resigned yesterday after a judge ruled to jail him because of a fraud scandal. But today, another judge overruled it, which means that next week Molina will be starting for the New England Patriots. – Jimmy Fallon

Today Donald Trump signed a loyalty pledge to the Republican Party saying that he would endorse for president whoever wins the Republican nomination and would not run as a thirdparty candidate as he has threatened to in the past. And I’ll tell you something. When Donald Trump makes a vow, he keeps it. Ask any of his wives, they will tell you. – Jimmy Kimmel

What I did was allowed. - Hillary Clinton’s response, last Monday, when asked by AP whether she wants to apologize for using a personal email server while Secretary of State What I had done was allowed, it was aboveboard. But in retrospect, as I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts—one for personal, one for workrelated emails. That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility. - Hillary Clinton, when asked about the emails in an interview with ABC News, last Tuesday, in a 180 degree change in strategy I wanted you to hear this directly from me: Yes, I should have used two email addresses ... Not doing so was a mistake. I’m sorry about it, and I take full responsibility. ... I know this is a complex story. I could have – and should have – done a better job answering questions earlier. I’m grateful for your support, and I’m not taking anything for granted. – Email blast sent out by Hillary Clinton as the interview aired Just this week, it took three different interviews in four days for her to beg the puniest of pardons. By any objective measure, the Democratic presidential frontrunner has responded to her email scandal with deflection and deception, shredding her credibility while giving a skeptical public another reason not to trust the institutions of politics and government. An apology doesn’t fix that. An apology also doesn’t answer the scandal’s most important questions. – Liberal columnist Ron Fournier, National Journal

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says that he thinks only 12 states will decide the presidential election. And if Trump wins, those 12 states will include shock, confusion, outrage, despair, denial, anger, bargaining and finally acceptance. – Jimmy Fallon

I have not taken a shower in over 12 years. No one did clinical trials on people taking showers every day. So what’s the basis for assuming that that is a healthy practice? - MIT graduate and chemical engineer David Whitlock, who is part of a research group to determine the benefits of bacteria on the skin

When you’re here, let’s speak American. I mean, let’s speak English. – Sarah Palin on CNN, when asked about Jeb Bush addressing Hispanics in Spanish Hire someone to murder him. - A Boston radio host’s response when asked by his co-host how to get Roger Goodell out of his job as NFL Commissioner

NBC just announced that President Obama will appear on an episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” later this year. Yeah, I guess the episode features Obama roughing it on a golf course that hasn’t been mowed for a couple of days. – Jimmy Fallon A lot of people are upset that our president is appearing on a reality show. A little over a year from now, we might have a president who hosted a reality show. So get used to it! – Jimmy Kimmel The State Department just released another batch of Hillary’s e-mails from when she was Secretary of State. In the e-mails, Hillary asked an aide what time “The Good Wife” was on, how to charge her iPad, and how to get WiFi. Hillary sounds less like the Secretary of State and more like my mom at a hotel. – Jimmy Fallon


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

There will be no more flip jokes about her private email server. There will be no rope lines to wall off crowds, which added to an impression of aloofness. And there will be new efforts to bring spontaneity to a candidacy that sometimes seems wooden and overly cautious. - Leaked portion of Hillary Clinton campaign memo, obtained by the New York Times, indicating that Hillary “plans” on being more “spontaneous” on the campaign trail

Trump is doing pretty well in the polls right now, and he’s pretty confident. Which may be why he’s said he doesn’t plan on running campaign ads that attack the other candidates. When asked who the ads would attack instead, he said, “Their mothers! It’s their fault those losers are here to begin with!” – Jimmy Fallon


Donald Trump is facing criticism for refusing to name his favorite Bible verse. In Trump’s defense, it’s hard to be a fan of the Bible when three out of the seven deadly sins helped him get to where he is today. “Pride, greed and wrath have served me very well.” – Jimmy Fallon


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


Travel Guide: New Mexico Aaron Feigenbaum

New Mexico, also known as the Land of Enchantment, offers some of America’s most exotic cultural and scenic experiences. Many parts of New Mexico look as if they’re stuck in a time warp. Chief among these is the traditional Native American pueblo of Taos, one of the state’s most well-known cultural landmarks. Many New Mexico adobe communities such as Taos have existed for thousands of years before Columbus’ voyage to the New World. In fact, traces of the state’s Native American culture are present in almost every aspect of New Mexico’s cultural life from its art to its cuisine. So too is cowboy culture, as reflected in the state’s reenactments, rodeos and the iconic town of Cimarron a.k.a. the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” But while New Mexico fully embraces its past, it’s also embracing the future as seen with Spaceport America (the world’s first commercial spaceport). And if you’re looking to get away from it all and explore the outdoors, then New Mexico is rife with exciting opportunities. Luxurious ski resorts, idyllic outdoor spas, vast desert plains and one of the world’s most impressive cave systems are just some of what this fascinating land has to offer. If you’re willing to spend the time and money, New Mexico will handsomely reward you with its serene natural beauty, down-to-earth people and vibrant culture. History Before colonization New Mexico was inhabited by tribes such as the Anasazi, Navajo and Pueblo. Many of them engineered farms as well as apartment-like structures known as pueblos. The first European to explore New Mexico was the Spaniard Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who hoped to discover the legendary Seven Cities of Gold. He arrived in 1540 and was followed in 1598 by Don Juan de Onate, who established the settlement of San Gabriel in 1610. For the next two centuries, more and more Spaniards immigrated to this sleepy colony far from their homeland. They built up homes, towns, ranches and farms mainly in the upper Rio Grande Valley. Spanish control of New Mexico was briefly interrupted in 1680 when the Pueblo Revolt, led by a Pueblo religious leader called Pop’ay drove the settlers out. The Spanish managed to reconquer the land twelve years later. Although the Pueblo people lost most of their land, the Spanish decided not to further impose their culture and religion on them as they had before, as well as to grant them land rights and legal representation. Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821 and took over New Mexico for a 25 year period. Mexican rule proved highly unpopular, and U.S. forces rode into the capital of Santa Fe unopposed in 1846. The end of the Mexican-American War in 1848 made New Mexico an official U.S. territory.

New Mexico then became embroiled in land disputes between Native Americans and Anglos. The state became a casualty of the Civil War when a Confederate force briefly occupied Santa Fe. New Mexico began to thrive in the 1920’s with the discovery of large oil deposits and potash salt reserves. The state’s tourism industry also began to blossom. In 1945 New Mexico made international headlines as the location of the first atomic bomb testing and has continued its tradition of scientific innovation since then. The state again made headlines in 1947 with the Roswell UFO incident, an event that has since bolstered its tourism industry. New Mexico today has a welcoming and relaxed

vides an in-depth, interactive look at the Land of Enchantment’s history stretching from the earliest Native American inhabitants to Spanish colonization up to the present. Right next door is the Governor’s Palace, which originally served as the seat of Spanish power in New Mexico and has since come to house Mexican governors, a Confederate general, the U.S. army and New Mexico’s territorial governors. Also in the vicinity is the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library, which contains original documents not only covering New Mexico’s history, but also that of the American West in general. The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture displays the best art New Mexico’s diverse

Chaco Culture National Historic Park

Alburquerque Baloon Fiesta


atmosphere, and takes great pride in its ancient traditions and spectacular scenery. Attractions Santa Fe: At 7,000 feet and over 400 years old, Santa Fe is a truly unique and captivating city. The slow pace of life and tranquil landscape have attracted scores of tourists and retirees from across the country. Santa Fe’s Spanish and Native American past are preserved in its cozy adobe structures. Santa Fe is one of America’s hidden gems as it’s chock full of interesting cultural landmarks, world-class museums, spas, and has easy access to the nearby mountains for skiing, hiking and more. The Museum of International Folk Art shows off over 135,000 artifacts representing over 100 different cultures. From toys to paintings to costumes and more, this museum is a fitting tribute to the unique ways in which folk culture has shaped the modern world. Canyon Road is the cultural heart of Santa Fe. It’s here that many artists have set up their studios. Although the artwork can be pricy, it’s worth taking a stroll down this charming street to get a sense of how the local culture is reflected through art. The New Mexico History Museum pro-

indigenous groups have to offer. Current exhibits include a highlight of the museum’s turquoise jewelry collection and the vivid paintings of Native American artist David Bradley. The New Mexico State Capitol sets itself apart from its peers in other states by its unique blend of neoclassical and Spanish influences, as well as by its beautiful contemporary art collection. Tours are free. Finally, no cultural tour of Santa Fe would be complete without a visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. The artist lived most of her life in Santa Fe, and this museum attests to the enormous impact she had on the city’s cultural life. Many of her most iconic works are on display. Albuquerque: The state’s largest city, Albuquerque is a more bustling and modern place than Santa Fe although it still has deep connections with the state’s history. The most popular area is Old Town, which is where the city was founded in 1706. Quaint adobe shops wind their way through the narrow brick paths, and live music and lit candles are constant features. Old Town is home to several of Albuquerque’s best museums. One of these is the Museum of History and Art, which has a

real set of conquistador armor. The International Rattlesnake Museum claims to have the world’s largest collection of live rattlesnakes. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science has a special exhibit on dinosaurs as well as a planetarium and an exhibit about Microsoft (which was founded in Albuquerque) and the history of the personal computer. The Explora Science Center is somewhat similar to the Museum of Natural History and Art but geared more towards children. The Albuquerque Biological Park is a huge complex which includes an aquarium, zoo, botanical garden and Tingley Beach recreational area. The aquarium focuses on marine life from the Gulf of Mexico and Rio Grande River including sharks and sea turtles. The botanical garden highlights New Mexico’s desert plants as well as offering a petting zoo, Japanese garden and indoor butterfly garden. The zoo has all the popular animals you’d expect to see at major metropolitan zoo such as polar bears, lions, gorillas etc. One of Albuquerque’s most unique museums is the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum. It’s dedicated to the history and science of ballooning. The reason for Albuquerque having this museum is that, in early October, the city hosts the International Balloon Fiesta, the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. The festival is one of the city’s largest tourist attractions and for good reason: the sight of so many colorful balloons in the sky is simply breathtaking and something kids are bound to get a thrill out of. For Native American culture, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center holds thousands of artifacts belonging to the 19 different subgroups of the Pueblo tribe. The center hosts traditional dances and artist demonstrations on Sundays. The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History not only pays tribute to New Mexico’s crucial role in the development of the atomic bomb but also features exhibits on the Cold War and the science behind nuclear technology. Some highlights of the museum’s artifacts include replicas of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an actual WE. 177 British nuclear bomb from the Cold War era and an extensive collection of military aircraft. Petroglyph National Monument, located on the west side of town, contains about 24,000 rock carvings by ancient Pueblo peoples and by Spanish settlers. To finish off your Albuquerque trip in style, take the aerial tramway to Sandia Peak (North America’s longest tramway) and soak in the panoramic view of the city and Sandia Mountains. At the top you can also go hiking or, in the winter, skiing and snowboarding. Taos: Located not far from the Colorado border and set in against a mountainous backdrop, the sleepy town of Taos


White Sands National Monument

has an almost otherworldly quality about it that has endeared it to tourists for decades. The main attraction is Taos Pueblo, located a few miles north of the city center. The iconic adobe buildings of the Pueblo are reportedly some of North America’s most photographed buildings. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Pueblo is also one of North America’s oldest continuously inhabited settlements. Taos is also home to another one of New Mexico’s most scenic spots: the Rio Grande Bridge. From one of the highest bridges in the country, you can see down into the Rio Grande Canyon and the river. River rafting tours are available. Like Santa Fe, Taos is not only known for its history and scenery but also for its art. That’s where the Millicent Rogers Museum comes in with over 5,000 pieces of Native American and Hispanic American art including pottery, weaving, furniture, jewelry, paintings and more. Another must-see in Taos is Kit Carson’s house. Carson was one of America’s most famous cowboys, and his tiny adobe house displays his firearms, clothing and memorabilia along with other interesting items. To get an in-depth look at the Taos area scenery, go on the Enchanted Circle Drive. The route goes through the mountains and stops by picturesque villages such as Eagle’s Nest and Red River. Not far outside Taos is the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa. New Mexico is known for its wonderful outdoor spas and this one is arguably one of the best. Unlike at any other hot springs, visitors get their choice of where to take a dip, whether it be in the iron, lithia, arsenic or soda pools. There are also mud pools and plain water pools for traditionalists. Roswell: This once little-known town is now the prime gathering spot for UFOlogists and people generally interested in extraterrestrials. Even if you don’t believe that aliens visited Roswell, it’s still worth it to take a peek in the International UFO Museum and Research Center. This eccentric museum contains a UFO diorama and

an “alien autopsy” specimen. For something more serious, check out the Roswell Museum and Art Center. Its exhibits range from decorative arts and historical artifacts to space flight and rocket science. Robert H. Goddard, inventor of the first liquid-fueled rocket, spent much of his time in Roswell, and the planetarium in the museum is named after him. Outdoor activities: Bandelier National Monument was inhabited by the Anasazi people (ancestors of the Pueblo) who built impressive cliff dwellings but later abandoned the area for unknown reasons. Visitors can climb ladders into these dwellings. The park also has copious hiking trails and camping/picnic areas. Chaco Culture National Historical Park consists of the ruins of ancient pueblos that were inhabited by the predecessors of the Native American groups living in New Mexico today. The biggest of the pueblos is Bonita, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Chaco is also one of the top-rated sites in the country for stargazing. White Sands National Monument is one of the world’s most unique deserts. Its 275 square miles of pristine white sands constitute the largest gypsum desert in the world. Popular activities include the annual White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational and, of course, dune-sledding. Last but not least, New Mexico is known worldwide as the location of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. There are about 120 total caves within the park but the most famous is Carlsbad. The main part of the cave system is the Big Room, one of the world’s longest cave chambers. The Big Room is noted for its massive stalactites and Mexican free-tailed bats. In fact, just near the entrance is an amphitheater set up so visitors can watch massive hordes bats fly in and out of the cave. For a more offthe-beaten-path adventure, consider going to one of the other cave systems such as Spider Cave (not recommended for those with claustrophobia!) or Slaughter Canyon Cave, a moderately strenuous trek. Daven and Eat Chabad of New Mexico is located in

Albuquerque at 4000 San Pedro Dr. NE (chabadnm.org) Chabad of Las Cruces is located at 2907 E. Idaho Ave. (chabadlc.org) Chabad of Santa Fe is located at 230 W. Manhattan Ave. (chabadsantafe.com) New Mexico has no kosher restaurants. Kosher food can be obtained through the Chabad centers or through local supermar-

kets such as Ralph’s and Trader Joe’s. Getting There Flights from LAX to Albuquerque currently run at around $180 per person roundtrip while a flight to Santa Fe is a steeper $380 per person. Driving to Santa Fe is about a 12 hour trip on the I-40 E while a road trip to Albuquerque take around 11 hours.


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


Global What the Iran Deal Means to Iran Iranian leaders view the nuclear deal signed by western powers as a “surrender” to Iran and as cementing the Islamic Republic’s status as a “superpower.” An analysis by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) recent-

ly revealed the reaction of Iran’s leaders. Among the comments translated by MEMRI was a statement made by Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan at an armed forces general command ceremony on August 30, in which he bragged that Iran had forced the “surrender” of the world’s superpowers, led by the U.S. “Today, Iran has attained such status that the superpowers have surrendered to it, because of its majesty, its steadfastness, its resistance, and its unity. Despite their great pride, the regime of the arrogance [the West, led by the U.S.] sat humbly be-

hind the negotiating table and obeyed the rights of the Iranian nation,” he said. Just a week earlier, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s official website published an ad welcoming the dominance of Iran as a regional hegemon. The poster, “The Iron Fist,” is meant to evoke a sense of Iran’s might and stubbornness following negotiations which grants Iran sanctions relief in exchange for only limited curbs on its nuclear program. The text accompanying the poster reads: “Those who leveled sanctions against us yesterday are dying today,

because Iran has become the region’s foremost military power. The Islamic Republic of Iran has proven that it works diligently to defend itself. The entire nation unites as a solid fist, standing fast against the aggressors who lack all reason.”

WE’VE REDEEMED The “fist” on the poster is comprised of military equipment, including missiles, jet, ships and tanks. Neighboring countries are preparing for a flood in terrorism sponsored by a now-emboldened and cash-flush Tehran.



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Europe’s worst refugee crisis since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s is straining the European Union’s asylum system to its breaking point, dividing its 28 nations and feeding the rise of right-wing populists. Hundreds of thousands of refugees from wars in the Middle East, along with economic migrants fleeing poverty in Africa and Asia, have crossed the Mediterranean Sea and land routes across the Balkans to reach the European Union.


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Nearly all first reach the EU’s southern and eastern edges before pressing on for richer and more generous countries further north and west, above all Germany, which has emphasized its moral duty to accept those fleeing genuine peril. Accusing some European countries of failing to “assume



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SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


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The remains of several Holocaust victims were finally buried this week, seven decades later. A French medical school has kept jars and test tubes of the victims’ remains locked away for the past seventy years. Several hundred people gathered this week for a somber ceremony near the eastern French city of Strasbourg to pay respect

to the victims, throwing earth on a single coffin holding the collective remains.

Strasbourg Chief Rabbi Rene Gutman led the ceremony which was attended by Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries. The event at the Cronenbourg cemetery was aimed at closing a troubling chapter in the region’s history. The remains, such as skin samples, belonged to a few people. Only one has been definitively identified: Menachem Taffem, a Polish Jew deported to Auschwitz and gassed to death. They were among 86 people whose corpses were sent to the anatomy institute at the University of Strasbourg during World War II for the experiments of August Hirt, a notorious Nazi anatomy researcher. Some remains were buried after the war, but a few were saved and even put on display, kept for legal and scientific purposes, according to French media reports. The origin of the remains were apparently forgotten until researcher Raphael Toledano, who has studied Strasbourg’s Nazi past, discovered a 1952 letter mentioning samples taken from the bodies of Holocaust victims and detailing how they were stored. Last July, he and the institute’s director found a remaining jar and test tubes behind a glass cupboard in a locked room.

Years Later, French Agent Apologizes for Sinking Ship

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

Holocaust Victims Finally Buried


their moral burdens,” French President Francois Hollande said he had agreed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on “a permanent and obligatory mechanism” to allocate refugees across the bloc. Politicians across the continent acknowledged the impact this week of images of a 3-year-old boy in a red T-shirt facedown in the surf of a Turkish beach, which gave a haunting human face to the tragedy of thousands dead at sea. The boy’s 5-yearold brother and 35-year-old mother were also among 12 people who died when two boats carrying 23 capsized while trying to reach a Greek island. The major EU states have taken sharply opposing positions on how far to open their doors, symbolized most prominently by Germany and Britain. Germany, led strongly on the issue by Merkel, plans to receive 800,000 refugees this year and has budgeted billions in additional welfare spending for them. Britain, by contrast, has set up a program to allow in vulnerable Syrians that has admitted just 216. It has also granted asylum to around 5,000 Syrians who managed to reach British shores since the war began four years ago, but Prime Minister David Cameron has opposed mandatory EU refugee quotas. Austria’s foreign minister, whose country is also a popular destination for the refugees, backed the quota system idea and called for a greater sense of urgency over the crisis. “It’s unfathomable that during the financial crisis it was possible to meet all the time and find a common solution, and with this refugee crisis nothing is happening for weeks or months,” Sebastian Kurz said. Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban described the crisis as a problem for Germany – which had offered to admit the refugees – not for Europe as a whole. Europeans were “full of fear because they see that the European leaders ... are not able to control the situation,” he added. Lawmakers in Budapest were debating a host of amendments to Hungary’s migration laws that the ruling party said would cut illegal border crossings to “zero.” They provide for holding zones on the country’s southern border with Serbia, where construction crews are completing a 3.5-meter-high fence.

The future is in your hands. Meet Lee Sahar, a current student at Yeshiva University. Pursuing degrees in Accounting and Finance, this summer Lee interned at the New York accounting firm Cohn-Reznick. A member of YU’s Business Leadership and Finance clubs, Lee also enjoys tutoring fellow students, and participates in a mentorship program through Deloitte. Career preparation is very important to Lee. She chose Yeshiva University because it enables her to balance academic goals with her religious commitment, offering her the dual curriculum in Jewish and General studies. This is the essence of Torah U’Madda and what sets YU apart.

Thirty years ago Jean-Luc Kister did something that still haunts him to this day. The French secret service agent attached several mines which sank the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand. This week, on Sunday, he apologized in an interview with investigative website Mediapart. Kister surprisingly spoke with his face revealed in the hour-long video interview. He expressed his feeling that now he felt it was the right time to apologize to the fam-

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SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


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ily of Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira, who was killed in the explosion, to Greenpeace, and to the people of New Zealand. “Thirty years after the event, now that emotions have subsided and also with the distance I now have from my professional life, I thought it was the right time for me to express both my deepest regret and my apologies,” Kister said. On July 10, 1985, the Rainbow Warrior was docked in Auckland on its way to protest against French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll, about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Tahiti. At the time, Kister was working for France’s spy agency, the DGSE, which carried out an unprecedented mission to stop Greenpeace by bombing a peaceful protest ship without warning in the waters of a friendly nation. He himself was a member of the so-called “third team,” whose mission was to attach two large limpet mines to the hull of the converted trawler. “I have the blood of an innocent man on my conscience, and that weighs on me,” a visibly emotional Kister said in the interview. “We are not cold-blooded killers. My conscience led me to apologize and explain myself.” He explained that the 12-strong unit was ordered by then-French defense minister Charles Hernu to carry out this specific action. He claimed that any proposal of less violent ways of damaging the ship were rejected by the government. “There was a willingness at a high level to say: this has to end once and for all, we need to take radical measures. We were told we had to sink it. Well, it’s simple to sink a boat, you have to put a hole in it.” Shortly after the incident, Kister’s name was leaked to the media, an act that till this day he says was an act of “high treason”. Just two days after the bombing, two of the agents who participated, Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur, were arrested by New Zealand police and their identities revealed. Hernu, the defense minister, was forced to resign two months later. Mafart and Prieur were charged with murder, eventually pleading guilty to manslaughter and receiving 10-year jail terms, but they were freed within months under a deal. In the last few decades, France has made an official apology for the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior and paid damages.

sorry” and has since cancelled the card and apologized. The Israeli advocacy group Hallelu published a photo of the credit card on Facebook this week. The DNB card, belonging to Alexander Joseph Beckett, shows an ugly, large-nosed Jew wearing a black coat and a talis and smiling at a background of gold coins. “We looked at the case immediately, and found out that this was produced due to a system we have where clients can upload their own pictures and get them printed on their card,” explained Even Westerveld, the bank’s executive vice president for communications, in a letter to Hallelu made public by the organization.

Westerveld acknowledged the bank failed to spot the problematic imagery when the customer uploaded it. “We have, however, strict guidelines for what kind of pictures are allowed, and this control is manual. Unfortunately, our manual control has failed in this particular case, and we are deeply sorry for that. This card should never have been printed.” He promised the bank would “contact the client, block the card and issue a new neutral card to the customer,” adding, “Please note that this is not a mass produced card, and the picture has been deleted from our system.”

N. and S. Korean Families to Reunite Six decades ago their families were torn apart by fighting. Now families separated by the Korean War will be able to reunite briefly near the heavily fortified border of North and South Korea under a deal reached between the two sides on Tuesday. The agreement to hold reunions, which would be the first since 170 families embraced in emotional scenes in February last year, follows the negotiated end to a recent armed confrontation across the border.

Anti-Semitic Bank Card Issued 28



A major Norwegian bank has taken a lot of heat on social media this week for issuing a credit card decorated with an anti-Semitic caricature on the front. DNB, which bills itself as “Norway’s largest financial services group,” said it was “very

“The South and the North shared the view that we will work to fundamentally


The rich of India have been getting away with a lot over the last few years but that is all about to end. About a year ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to shut down tax evasion and return millions of dollars of illicit money that the upper class have hidden abroad. Modi’s cabinet has introduced a series of harsh new measures in recent months designed to track black money. There is no exact number as to how much black money is hidden in India and overseas, but estimates range from $400 billion to over $1 trillion. As a result, India’s wealthy population has gone into a panic. The stress increased as the government recently introduced a government-imposed tax payment deadline for those who have their cash stored in foreign accounts. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India recently issued a statement denouncing the new law for creating “fear and panic” among industry leaders and trading professionals. “People are uneasy and worried. The penalty and term of imprisonment are disproportionately high,” said Nishith Desai, a corporate lawyer in Mumbai. Instead of solving the problem, industry experts are saying that the rich are simply coming up with other ways to avoid the law. “The super-rich are becoming much more inhibited in their behavior now. They are no longer posting pictures of their brand-new fancy watch or luxury car or expensive holiday on Facebook as

readily as they did before,” Dilip Cherian, who heads the image consultancy Perfect Relations, pointed out. “They are either buying with credit cards or buying luxury products in foreign countries.” The Indian economy is notorious for being plagued with corruption. The country’s rich is known to habitually hoard cash, jewelry and expensive artwork or parking it in tax havens abroad. A World Bank estimate in 2010 said India’s “shadow economy” accounts for over 20 percent of its economic output. Only 3 percent of the country pays income taxes.

Last month, police raided a government official’s home in West Bengal and found $3 million in cash stuffed under the mattresses, sofa, washing machine, refrigerator, television, false ceilings and toilet floor tiles. It took policemen 21 hours to count the money. The government is attempting to stifle India’s black money culture with measures that include mandatory tax number declarations for people shopping with large sums, linking biometric identity to every bank account, opening new payment gateways and promoting credit card use. “The process of formalizing the informal economy is underway in India,” said Rajeev Chandrasekhar, an independent member of parliament. “A lot of people who are used to an old model of doing business in India are uncomfortable today about the new scrutiny.” “The big fish must not get away,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proclaimed when the black money law passed in May.

Israel PM Urges Importance of Border Fence Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the southern Arava region this week to oversee the start of construction of Israel’s eastern border security fence. The leader struck an urgent tone, calling for the speedy construction of the fence—preferably ahead of schedule— promising that he would be back at the site in three months’ time to check up on the progress of construction.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

The Upper Class will No Longer Have the Upper Hand in India


resolve humanitarian issues,” the South’s Unification Ministry said, quoting from the agreement which followed almost 24 hours of talks between Red Cross officials from both sides at the border village of Panmunjom. The reunions will be held from October 20 to 26 at Mount Kumgang resort just north of the border, where previous reunions have been held, with 100 participants from each country. Nearly 130,000 South Koreans looking for family members in the North have registered with the government in Seoul since 1988, but only about 66,000 are still alive, with most aged 70 or more. Some critics say the reunion program works too slowly and involves too few families. Many elderly people on both sides die before they can reconnect with loved ones. South Korea seeks the reunions as a top priority, but the North has been reluctant.

The future is now. Visit today. Women’s Open House and Israel Fair Sunday, November 15, 2015 Stern College for Women Sy Syms School of Business Beren Campus Men’s Open House and Israel Fair Sunday, November 22, 2015 Yeshiva College Sy Syms School of Business Wilf Campus RSVP at www.yu.edu/open-house

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SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


The first section of fence being built will stretch 30 kilometers, from Eilat to the Holot Samar area, north of Timna. “We are starting today the construction of the security fence on our eastern border, which is a continuation of the security fences that we built along the fence with Egypt, and which will eventually connect with the security fence that we built in the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu announced. “We are seeing today what happens to states that lose control of their borders,” he said, in a clear allusion

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to the influx of refugees and migrants into Europe. Netanyahu hinted that the fence was being built with ISIS and other Islamist groups in mind. “The combination of very cruel terror that is spreading along our borders,” he said, “with work infiltrators and smugglers, as well as the loss of control in the face of a human tragedy that is taking place almost 360 degrees around us, means that we must bring back Israel’s control over its borders.” 280 million shekel have been allotted for the first section of the fence, which will also protect the new airport at Timna. “We are doing all this without infringing upon the sovereignty of Jordan,” Netanyahu pointed out, “which we respect and see as a partner for protecting the border of peace.”

Israeli Radar Detector New and Improved The Israeli Defense Forces has come up with a new radar system to detect incoming mortar fire. The new radar was successfully tested recently and will improve the alert warning time for incoming projectiles by 7-8 seconds.

IDF Southern Command and security firms have already stationed the systems, which will probably start operating by the middle of next month. Residents of communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip previously only had five seconds to find safe shelter when the mortar alert siren sounded. The new system gives people 12-13 seconds to run to a protected area.   During last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, the very short time period that the warning system gave people to seek cover resulted in the death of dozens of soldiers and civilians.  Apart from the improved mortar alert system, Israel is also advancing an “obstacle program” around Gaza, part of which is a sophisticated fence surrounding the territory.


Mr. Abu Hamdiyeh, the Arab man who saved them, told Israeli news outlets that he and his family had ushered the five frightened victims into their home and quickly closed the doors. He said he gave them water and tried to calm them down and assured them they were safe, “though none of them spoke Arabic.” Mr. Abu Hamdiyeh said his family sheltered the five for about 40 minutes until the Israeli forces arrived. Then, he said, both the tourists and the Israeli forces thanked him for what he termed a “humanitarian act.” “That’s how everybody should behave,” he said. “We don’t have problems with the Israelis and we don’t want problems.”

Finland’s Israeli Island When I think of four Israelis getting together to buy a piece of property, I imagine there must be a new shwarma place opening up in Queens. But meet these four friends who after becoming wealthy inde-

The purchase is the brainchild Aviad Scheibitz, 39, married and a father of two from Hararit, who came to Finland for the first time with his wife on their honeymoon. “We have both traveled a lot, so we were looking for a place neither of us visited before,” he says. “We fell in love with the country and stayed here for a month. When we went back to Israel, I bought us an 80-dunam peninsula for a little over 200,000 euro, up north.” Scheibitz says he made his money, millions in this case, by staring. “I find a spot at home and stare for hours, and then come up with some patent, mostly in the field of plastics,” he explains with a smile. This is how he invented a patent for air-conditioners in cars, selling no less than 7.5 million units of them both in Israel and abroad. He recently sold his latest development to an international company for NIS 3.5 million. “I can’t say what it is because of copyright issues, but everyone uses it every day,” he reveals. Amir Weil, 26, a bachelor from Tel Aviv who made an exit when he sold a startup of a search engine for social media, was not quite thinking about Finland, but he did have a dream about a quiet place. A dream, he says, that was born after doctors found a cancerous tumor in his body at the age of 21. “Before I got sick, I had a very intensive lifestyle: I was working in high-tech, created a very successful startup, and barely slept. But the Al-mighty sent me signs and I decided to switch from high-tech to real estate,” he says, and tells that alongside his work in real estate he also funds and directs the Et Laasot (A Time for Action), a non-profit that helps 250 children with disabilities. Shared friends introduced Weil, who

35% More Olim Came to the Holy Land this Year On the eve of the New Year, the population of the Jewish State numbers 8,412,000, according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday. Since last year, Israel’s population has increased by about 158,000 people – a 1.9 percent increase, similar to previous years. The Jewish population numbers at about 6.3 million people (74.9 percent), Arabs number about 1,746,000 (20.7 percent), and there are about 366,000 (4.4 percent) people who are non-Arab Christians and people who have

no religion listed in the civil registry.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

An extremely scary and potentially fatal wrong turn landed five American yeshiva students in the Arab-controlled section of Chevron last week. The five young men were attacked by a mob that threw firebombs and rocks at them. Thankfully, a local Arab took them into his home, where they awaited rescue by the IDF. Forces from the Chevron District police and Judea and Samaria police, assisted by an IDF force, entered the neighborhood and rescued the boys. Two of the young men are in moderate to light condition after they were sent to the hospital for a complete evaluation. Photos from the scene show a pair of tefillin lying on the road, belonging to one of the victims who escaped during the attack.  According to reports from emergency service ZAKA in Chevron/ Kiryat Arba, a firebomb was hurled at their vehicle, which went up in flames.

could not shake off that dream of a quiet pastoral place, to Scheibitz, and they each brought in their business partners: Scheibitz brought in his attorney Assaf Giller, 36, married and a father of three from Beit Eliezer, while Weil brought in Moti Shemtovi, 38, who resides in Miami and is Weil’s real estate business partner. Getting to the Island is half the fun. In the winter, the frozen lake is crossed by snowmobile; in the summer, arrival at the island is only possible with a boat, and in the fall and spring – hovercrafts.


Chevron Arab Saves Yeshiva Students after Wrong Turn

pendently came together to buy an island in Finland. The price they paid? 450,000 euros. The goal? To build an Israeli colony on the island. While property in the Holy Land is very scarce and very expensive, Finland has more than enough to go around. Aviad Scheibitz, Amir Weil, Moti Shemtovi and Asaf Giller hopped on the deal and now are starting their own “Israeli colony.” Finland has more than 100,000 lakes and no less than 188,000 islands. There is a little over 5 million inhabitants who live comfortably in Finland on less than 340,000 square kilometers, with a huge supply of land and islands that one can buy for as little as 150,000 euros.

During the year of 5775, about 168,000 babies were born in Israel, and about 42,000 people died. About 32,000 immigrated to Israel, 28,000 of which are new olim. This is a 35 percent increase from the previous year. Most of the olim came from Ukraine (about 26 percent), France (25 percent), Russia (about 21 percent) and the United States (about nine percent). The Central Bureau of Statistics forecasts that in 2025-2030, Israel’s population will surpass 10 million.



SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


Keeping Those Inheritance Dollars

Many lucky Americans inherit more than just their father’s nose or their mother’s cooking skills; each year millions of Americans receive a monetary inheritance from their parents or a close relative. Experts predict that over the next few decades there will be over a trillion dollars being passed down to the next generation. However, a recent study indicates that the offspring is not really ready to handle all the inheritance that will come their way. Research seems to indicate that many recipients quickly dispense or spend their payout. One study found that one third of people who received an inheritance had negative savings within two years of the event. “The vast majority of people blew through it quickly,” said Jay Zagorsky, an economist and research scientist at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and author of the study, which was based on survey data from the Federal Reserve and a National Longitudinal Survey funded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately, many inheritors view this influx of money as “monopoly dollars” and struggle with budgeting and how to use their money wisely. Susan Bradley, a certified financial planner and founder of the Sudden Money Institute in Palm Beach Gardens, Fl., recommends allowing a grieving period and a “decision-free zone” after the inheritance to avoid making any rushed or impulsive decisions. For each person this time period is different—for some it may be a year and others a few weeks. Great Aunt Sally bequeathed you a fortune? The next piece of advice for you is to make a list of priorities. Experts strongly advise recipients to use their gift to secure a retirement account being that Americans need as much $1 million in retirement to live comfortably. Another productive use for inheritance is to pay off any lingering debt. If you have the cash, it is never worth paying the interest fees on money borrowed from credit card companies.

Smoking Rates Hit Record Low

Congratulations to adults all across the U.S.—we have become a healthier nation. The national smoking rate has hit an alltime low. New survey data, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week, suggests that just 15.2% of American adults are now using cigarettes on a regular basis, almost 2% less than in 2014.  The basis for the findings are responses to the National Health Interview Survey, which the Census Bureau operates on behalf of the CDC. It is one of the most reliable tools the government has for measuring health habits and status. The data is not definitive yet, since it’s only based on January through March and technically the smoking rate can rise before the end of the year. It is important to note that it is common for people to quit in January, after making a New Year’s resolution, and then resume a few months later. “This result is absolutely exciting and maybe even astonishing, if this decrease holds up when we see data for the full year,” Kenneth Warner, a professor of health policy and management at the University of Michigan, related. Warner, who is among the nation’s leading experts on tobacco and anti-smoking policy, explained: “With smoking responsible for 500,000 American deaths every year – one-fifth of all deaths – every decrease in smoking prevalence of this magnitude will ultimately translate into many thousands of premature deaths being avoided. This is a great development for public health.” Experts believe that the downward trend is partially due to raising taxes on cigarettes, spreading awareness regarding smoking’s related health risks, and encouraging the entertainment community to stop making smoking seem glamorous.

The Link between Alzheimer’s and Weight Gain Enough research has been done to prove that being overweight poses several health risks at all ages. A recent study adds another health risk to the list of negative side effects of obesity. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health claim that a person’s weight in middle age can affect if and when they develop Alzheimer’s disease. The report, released last Tuesday, stated that being overweight or obese at age 50 can affect the onset of Alzheimer’s, even if it is not until years later. Among those who eventually got sick, more midlife pounds meant an earlier onset of disease. “Maintaining a healthy BMI at midlife is likely to have long-lasting protective effects,” said Dr. Madhav Thambisetty of NIH’s National Institute on Aging, who led the study reported in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. No study has been done yet in order to determine if in fact staying fit and healthy can delay Alzheimer’s. In the U.S. alone, approximately 5 million suffer from Alzheimer’s, a number medical experts expect to more than double by 2050. Generally, Alzheimer’s starts damaging the brain more than a decade before symptoms appear. To explore obesity’s effects, Thambisetty’s team turned to the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, one of the longest-running projects to track what happens to healthy people as they get older. They checked the records of nearly 1,400 participants who had undergone regular cognitive testing every year or two for about 14 years; 142 of them developed Alzheimer’s. The researchers studied how much those Alzheimer’s patients weighed when they were 50 and still cognitively healthy. They tracked BMI—every step up on the BMI chart predicted that when Alzheimer’s eventually struck, it would be 6 ½ months sooner. Among this group of Alzheimer’s patients, someone who had been obese – a BMI of 30 (the threshold for being overweight is a BMI of 25) – during middle age on average had their dementia strike about a year earlier than someone whose midlife BMI was 28, in the overweight range, Thambisetty explained. “What’s good for your heart is good for your brain,” Heather Snyder of the Alzheimer’s Association noted.

That’s Odd A Couple of Crime

This couple is perfectly in synch—in synch committing crimes, that is. Officers received a tip that Joshua Watford was in a pawn shop last week. He had been convicted of driving under the influence but had failed to attend court-ordered classes. After he was placed in a squad car by officers, the police car was stolen—by his wife. When a passing motorist began speaking to the officer, Amber Watford got behind the wheel and took off. The squad launched a massive search for the lawbreaking duo, including a helicopter and a K-9, but the search was eventually called off. A tip helped cops find the couple—and the car, which had everything in it, including the handcuffs that were used on Joshua. Amber and Joshua will now be sharing a new home—the county jail.

A Wasteful Café

This is real junk food. Gabby Holmes and Natalie Crean are fed up with waste. The two women recently opened up the Real Junk Food Project in Liverpool. So what’s on the menu? It depends. Waste food supplies are donated from grocers, caterers and supermarkets. They then work in a “Ready Steady Cook” creative


The shearing process was traumatic for Chris, as many of us can understand since we’re traumatized by just a trim of several inches. He was shorn under anesthetic because he was stressed by human company and because of the potential pain from the heavy fleece tearing skin as it fell away. Without the new haircut, though, Chris could have died from the cold and from infections that were trapped under the heavy fleece. Champion shearer Ian Elkins said the sheep appeared to be in good condition after being separated from his huge fleece under anesthetic. “I don’t reckon he’s been shorn before and I reckon he’d be 5 or 6 years old,” he noted. The fleece, though, was too long to be sold commercially. Elkins hopes it will end up in a museum. Australian merinos are bred for wool and are shorn annually, with fleeces averaging about 5 kilograms (11 pounds). Hey Five Towners, I have the perfect diet for you—and don’t worry I’m not fleecing you out of any of your hard-earned money with this new plan!

“We practice sun-gazing as a substitute for eating. Some of us who have finished the therapy now eat less, and others don’t have to eat at all!” one sun dieter said. Each dieter takes their time adjusting to the sun’s rays. Beginners look at the sun for just 10 seconds on the first day and add 10 seconds every day, reaching 44 minutes by the ninth month. Although these women claim to lose weight, they may be losing something even more precious. Doctors warn that with the sub-tropical location of Hong Kong and the sea water bouncing back the sun’s rays, these people’s eyes and skin are at risk for cancer, cataracts and other diseases. Anyone ever heard of Weight Watchers?

Margie and Nicki to Zara and Zack 12. Mandel’s stepson is named as trustee and he’ll be caring for lots of animals in the luxurious “ark.” The fund will also take care of a cat named Kiki and a rescue dog named Frosty. Mandel ran a fundraising firm and amassed a $5.3 million fortune. She died in June at age 69. She was not the only (eccentric) millionaire to leave major money to her furry and feathery friends. In 2007, hotel magnate Leona Helmsley left $12 million to her dog, Trouble. A judge trimmed the bequest to $2 million. Yes, the world is truly going to the (birds and the) dogs.

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style, deciding what to cook depending on what type of produce they’ve received for the day. Homemade hearty and healthy stews, soups, puddings, such as lemon curd, are often on the menu for which people pay what they feel, or what they can afford. Don’t have cash? Creative donations are accepted as well. “I realized how much food rich economies waste after travelling round Asia and seeing how resourceful they were. It’s absurd that millions of people are starving and millions of food items end up in the bin,” Gabby said. She hopes, though, that the café will be forced to close when food is no longer wasted and the restaurant won’t have donations pouring in. Until then, “so long as there’s waste, we’re trying to achieve some good out of the daily waste.” The café is also a social hub for people to get together and enjoy each other’s company. That’s a good thing—unless they’re just lounging about wasting time.

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Trimming off the Pounds The Sun-sational Diet



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A good shave can make all the difference. In fact, it can actually make you lose weight. Last week, a lost, overgrown sheep was found in Australia and was shorn for perhaps the first time, yielding 89 pounds (40 kilograms) of wool—and shedding almost half his body weight. Chris, who was rescued by Canberra RSPCA, may just take home the Guinness World Records for the most wool sheared from a sheep in a single shearing. Currently, the record is held by Big Ben, a New Zealand merino, who yielded 28.9 kilograms worth of wool last year. “He’s looking really good, he looks like a new man,” Tammy Ven Dange, chief executive of the Canberra RSPCA, said, as the now 44-kilogram (97-pound) sheep recovered at the Canberra animal refuge. “For one thing, he’s only half the weight he used to be.”

Speaking of diets, if trimming your hair isn’t working for you, perhaps the sun is the answer. A new trend in Hong Kong has women cutting calories just by staring at the sun. The sun dieters are not just looking into the sky’s brightest star for a few minutes. These women are dedicated to their diets—they are gazing at the glaring rays for 44 minutes on a beach in Sam Ka Village. Supposedly, those who take part say looking into the light suppresses their appetites and their need for a normal diet. In fact, some individuals say they can go a whole day without eating – probably because they are suffering from heatstroke and temporary blindness which can make anyone lose their appetites. The group of women arrive in the morning or early evening. They take off their shoes, put on sunglasses and set a timer on their phones. Standing in a line, they start their ritual of absorbing the sun, believing solar energy can replace calories.

This summer $100,000 was bequeathed to a couple of birdbrains. And we mean real birdbrains. 32 pet cockatiels received the windfall when Leslie Ann Mandel, a New York City millionaire, asked in her will to have the small parrots continue to live in an aviary in her $4 million East Hampton home. To make sure there was no confusion, Mandel made sure to list every bird by name: from

Just because we shower every day doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Or is it? David Whitlock has been questioning our society’s daily showering routine and has not showered for 12 years. Lest you think the elevator isn’t reaching all the way to the top, Mr. Whitlock is actually a MIT graduate and chemical engineer. He is part of a research group to determine the benefits of bacteria on the skin, which he says is compromised by the use of everyday moisturizers or body cleansers. “No one did clinical trials on people






SEPTEMBER 10, 2015


taking showers every day. So what’s the basis for assuming that that is a healthy practice?” Whitlock asks. He is working with a company called AOBiome, which uses natural bacteria found in the soil that eliminates odors and also creates benefits for the skin. They launched a product line of mists, shampoos and cleaners in July. Jasmina Aganovic, AOBiome general manager of consumer products, said that while Whitlock’s personal hygiene philosophy is definitely interesting and “he does not smell,” the company is not recommending people skip showers altogether. The company’s “Mother Dirt” line contain live Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria that cleans and eliminates odor without harming the beneficial bacteria of the skin, she said. The products contain microorganisms found in soil, which consume the irritating components of sweat and transform them into benefits for the skin, she added.

Whitlock discovered the benefits of the bacteria and is working with the company’s research team to help develop the products that will give the best benefits for the skin, Aganovic said. And in the meantime, he won’t be showering. And I hope he won’t be in my shul this Rosh Hashana.

Barbie: the Best Car for College Think Barbies are only for the very young? Tara Monroe is still playing with Barbies every day—and she’s in college. After Tara was caught driving drunk in March, her dad took away the keys to her car and left her a bike to ride around cam-

pus. Undeterred, Tara managed to procure other wheels for herself—although they’re slightly smaller and much pinker. The industrial engineering junior industriously bought herself a pink Barbie Jeep for $60 off Craigslist. The previous owner? A toddler by the name of Charlene. Now Tara has a new set of wheels, which she named Charlene in honor of the former driver of the jeep.

“When we drove up to buy it, Charlene asked where the little one was to test drive it, to which I replied, ‘I am the little one,’” the twenty-year-old said. Tara’s newest car runs on a 12-volt battery with a maximum speed of 5mph. She’s not bothered by its snail’s pace. Buying the jeep “was the best decision I’ve made in college, yet.” It’s earned her celebrity status at her alma mater and at the University of Texas in Austin. “This is the best way I could have gotten my 15 minutes of fame.” What about giving her friends rides? For now, it’s just Tara and her cherry coupe. “I usually make them [her friends] walk behind me like parents taking their kid out to play,” she related.   I thought college was supposed to prepare you for the real world.

Dear Hillary: Excerpts Of 3 Letters From Sidney Blumenthal, Long Time Adviser To Hillary Clinton From the batch of emails recently released by the State Department


YULA mourns the loss of its beloved former Principal and Teacher

Rabbi Dovid Landesman zt"l

Please join us for a Shloshim Memorial program at YULA Boys High School 9760 West Pico Blvd. Thursday, Sept 17 at 8:30 PM Memories and stories about Rabbi Landesman zt"l can be sent to RDLmemories@gmail.com

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

Principal of YULA Boys High School and Torah Teacher at YULA Girls High School 1998-2007





the 8


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

e m i t s ’ it t n a l p e to r

israel’s farmers still need your help. the struggle of shmitah continues. For 2000 years we prayed to return to Israel, to cultivate the land and keep

mitzvot hatluyot ba’aretz. The vanguard of our shared vision, Israel’s farmers

feed the nation and preserve its pioneering spirit. By observing Shmitah, they sacrifice their very livelihood to fulfill our collective religious obligation.

With Rosh Hashanah 5776, many think Shmitah is over. But the farmer’s struggle

, r e m r a f help a e today Donat n d .o r g it a m h .s w w w


continues throughout the 8th year. Loans taken for land and equipment lease

must be repaid, infrastructure repaired, and seed purchased – all without a crop to harvest and sell.

This is where The Shmitah Fund comes in. With your help, we give Israel’s

farmers the resources they need to get back on their feet and bring forth, b’ezrat Hashem, the bounty of Eretz Yisrael.



The Shmitah Fund is a 501(c)3 charity organization.

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