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The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home



WON'T BE JUST HISTORY! ‫לזכר נשמת תוספות יו״ט‬


Stop the Talking in Shul!

A zechus for parnasah, shiduchim, refuos & yeshuos

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AUGUST 28, 2017 • ‫יום היארצייט ו׳ אלול תשע״ז‬



Stop the Talking in Shul!

A zechus for parnasah, shiduchim, refuos & yeshuos

A CITICOM! EVENT 718.692.0999

A Citicom! Event


SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News



The Week In News


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

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Dear readers, All this talk about Hashem being a king and us being his subjects can leave us feeling distanced from Him. Wouldn’t we be better off stressing a different type of relationship? Perhaps an old tale would help. Back in Berditchev of old, a poritz and Rabbi Levi

JEWISH THOUGHT Exploring Roots in a Bygone World . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 I Know a Great Dry Cleaner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Please Don’t Give Charity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Chana as a Paradigm for Prayer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 The Weekly Daf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Yitzchak were having a conversation. At some point the poritz says, “Meh – I don’t believe there’s a G-d.” Rabbi Levi Yitzchak responded, “The G-d you don’t believe in, I don’t believe in that G-d either!” Same is true in regards to a king and his subjects. The kings we are familiar with are – in many cases – unworthy individuals who were born into the position. Who among us

FEATURE Hurricane Irma Pummels the Caribbean and the U.S.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28


has experienced a benevolent king who is dedicated to the betterment of society and who carefully considers how he could enhance the lives of those living in his kingdom? Same thing can be said about Moshiach. The Moshiach not everyone believes in will never come, and the Moshiach that will, everyone will believe in.

Simanim Mania. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Proactive Parenting: Ready or Not?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Ask the Attorney. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Like we read in this week’s parshah “...then, the Lord, your G-d, will bring back your exiles, and He will have mercy upon you. He will once again gather you from all the nations, where the Lord, your God, had dispersed you.” Wishing you and your families, amongst the rest of the Jewish people, ksiva v’chasimah tovah, and l’shanah tovah u’metukah.


Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39





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SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News


Rabbi Yissachar Frand September 15 15--16, 2017 24 24--25 Elul 5777 Parshat Nitzavim-Vayelech Friday Night D’var Torah Shabbat Morning Drasha Shabbat Afternoon Halacha Shiur 5:30 P.M. Motzei Shabbat Pre-Selichot Teshuva Drasha 9:00 P.M. Nagel Gymnasium For more information please contact Yeshivat Yavneh at (323) 931-5808



TheHappenings Week In News

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Eden-LA Program Aims to Improve and Transform Women’s Experiences Over the past year, mikvah attendants, rebbetzins, and other female leaders of the greater Los Angeles area had the opportunity to participate in a unique program run under the expert guidance of The Eden

Paid for by attorney Andrew Friedman

Center of Jerusalem. The program – called “The Eden-LA Prevention and Intervention Training Program” – focused on dealing with the mikvah, women’s health, and intimacy.

With the initial support of Rabbi Gershon Bess, Rabbi Yosef Shusterman, Rabbi David Zargari, Rabbi Eliezer Muskin, and Rabbi Kalman Topp, women in the community took charge to make this

course happen. The Eden Center, Jerusalem worked with eight fabulous local facilitators – Debbie Fox, Chaya Sauer, Shirley Lebovics, Raizel Rubin, Jill Kapenstein, Batya Nourparvar, Debbie Summers and Sima Semmel. They led an all-star cast of speakers during the program’s 12 sessions. The topics under discussion included OCD, domestic violence, sexual abuse, communication, breast health, ​postpartum depression, intimacy, infertility, and​sensitivity and respect to all women coming to the mikvah. Devorah Weider, one of L.A.’s beloved and seasoned mikvah attendants, shared her excitement and appreciation for the program. “I loved all the presentations and the group process and felt it is so helpful and important.” She appreciated the role playing and the interplay between facilitators and the group, and she felt that “seeing the techniques in action was very helpful, and is grateful for the concept and the execution of the program.” Likewise, another participant appreciated the relevance the sessions had for the women she is “involved” with, much more than she had expected. “When I think back to the first classes, I see that from Professor Fox I understood how to be sensitive to women who suffer from OCD and not try to minimize their pain. From Gabrielle Kaufman I learned about dealing with the pain and isolation of postpartum depression. There were so many outstanding presenters. I am so grateful for this opportunity and the knowledge it has given me!” Founder and Director of The Eden Center, Jerusalem, Dr. Naomi Marmon Grumet created the Eden Center after 20 years of research in which she interviewed hundreds of women about their experiences with mikvah and taharas hamishpachah. She explains, “Seven years ago The Eden Center was founded with the goal of enhancing the mikvah experience and connecting it to women’s health and intimacy education. Eden is working to infuse mikvah with relevance to the lives and challenges of couples today, and to connect women to resources for health and support within the larger Jewish community, not just our Jerusalem-based home. I am proud that The Eden Center has become an organization playing a pivotal role in elevating the mikvah experience in L.A. and worldwide.” Dr. Marmon Grumet continues, “Thus far, we have trained over 250 mikvah attendants in thirteen cities in Israel, who reach over 70,000 women. In Los Angeles, between 45 and 60 women attended each week of the 12 session course.” The Eden Center tailored their course

TheHappenings Week In News

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

to the needs of women here in L.A. “Los Angeles was a unique and wonderful community for us to work with because, in contrast to Israel, where we work with cities, L.A. really defines ‘community.’ While there are diverse populations with different cultural expectations, we worked together well, highlighted and defined the different needs, but joined together to elevate the mikvah experience. This program represented the unifying force the mikvah can bring to the community. The success would not have been possible without the strong leadership in L.A. that encouraged the program and the unifying elements

that our program represented. It was truly an honor for me to get to know all the different leaders and agencies that work tirelessly to make sure that all women using the mikvah in L.A. are cared for and appreciated.” After the success of the initial course, the local team of Jill Kapenstein, Shelly Fenig, and Emily Jacobson created a separate non-profit organization called EdenLA to continue exploring issues related to the family and intimacy. Though not directly connected to The Eden Center in Jerusalem, their inspiration came from the success of the program.

Cantor Shimmy Miller to Lead Tefillos at Bais Naftoli Over the Yamim Noraim

World-renowned cantor, Shimmy Miller, son of Cantor Benzion Miller, will be officiating for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkos at Congregation Bais Naftoli. The congregation was established 25 years ago under the leadership of its president, Andrew Friedman. The current spiritual leader of Bais Naftoli is Rabbi Yoel Gold. The congregation welcomes the community, regardless of whether they identify as Ashkenazim or Sefardim, Chassidim or Misnagdim. Tickets are available, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Special program will be provided for children under the leadership of Rabbi Shaul Spira. Correction: In the 9/7 edition of TJH it had the wrong picture accompanying the book review. This is the correct one.

SOMETIMES LAUGHTER REALLY IS THE BEST MEDICINE. Send in the clowns. Because when a child faces an uncomfortable or painful procedure, a smiling face or a silly joke is just what the doctor ordered. A recent study by Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem found that when our Dream Doctor medical clowns engage and distract patients, the children report feeling less pain. And this holds true even for subsequent treatments when clowns are not present. For more than a century, Shaare Zedek has been known as the Hospital with a Heart, helping patients heal through compassionate care — thanks to the most advanced medical treatments and the most incredible staff, including some with red noses. | | 310.229.0915



TheHappenings Week In News

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Yeshivas Bais Toras Menachem Embarks on Its Tenth Year   Yehudis Litvak As Yeshivas Bais Toras Menachem (BTM) enters its tenth year, it celebrates the success of its recent partnership with Testing and Training Incorporated (TTI), a program that facilitates obtaining a college degree through a program of self-study and testing. Through TTI, students get college credit for limmudei kodesh subjects, such as Chu-

mash with Rashi, Hilchos Shabbos, Gemara, and Jewish History. No GED is required to enroll in the program. The courses consist of structured self-study and proficiency-based exams. Students that have previous knowledge of a subject or who quickly grasp the subject can take their exam as soon as they are ready. “Using proficiency-based exams

enables us at BTM to accommodate our varied students, who have differing aptitudes with different subjects,” says Mrs. Katz. “Partnering with TTI was a huge success our first pioneer year,” says Rivky Katz, who founded the program together with her husband, Rabbi Mordechai Katz. “A handful of boys are almost halfway towards their degree. Some students came barely knowing how to multiply and divide, but they were streamlined and even started algebra and geometry. Some studied subjects like biology and psychology.” Mrs. Katz was very impressed with the dedication of last year’s BTM students. “You would have to see it to believe it how motivated the bachurim are; they stay overtime to learn!” she says. The college courses are a welcome addition to the BTM smichah program, which has catered to close to 200 students up to date. The smichah program is structured differently than in other yeshivos, allowing the students a more relaxed schedule and more engaging shiurim. One of the students, who enrolled in BTM last year, says, “It was the best year of my life in terms of yeshiva. BTM’s environment allowed me to accomplish a lot.” He recommends it highly to anyone who “is not looking to do away with yeshiva, but has trouble learning full day and is looking for something out of the box.” Mrs. Katz adds, “Every bachur has his own set of strengths, and each one deserves to shine!” Besides academics, BTM provides volunteer opportunities for its students. They travel to nearby small Chabad communities and help out the shluchim, whether with a minyan on a regular Shabbos or with holiday programming, such as menorah lightings for Chanukah. They are offered opportunities to do hashgachah work or to entertain. “One bachur is extremely talented in juggling and was allowed time to pursue this skill and perform,” says Mrs. Katz. “Another was a professional chef, and was allowed time to work locally for part of the day to gain experience. We believe in working with each student on a one on one basis.” The success of this approach is apparent. “Before my eyes I’ve seen how students really blossom when they utilize their individual talents. It’s a miracle waiting to unfold!” says Mrs. Katz. BTM also offers sessions with a Certified Life Coach, financial planning, and shidduch preparation, providing the students with skills that are essential for their future. The new zman begins on Monday, October 23rd. For more information about the program, see, or call Mrs. Katz at 323-495-3010.

The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Los Angeles

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The Shabbos Project-Los Angeles



TheHappenings Week In News

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Pictures of the Siyum Sefer Torah in Honor of Reb Avrohom and Rechil Rappaport

September 11 Memorial ceremony in Beverly Hills

Etz Jacob Congregation Celebrates 85 Years This coming Jewish year, 5778, marks 85 years since the founding of Congregation Etz Jacob on Beverly Boulevard. With the catchy slogan of “re-Jew-venate,” Etz Jacob is celebrating in style by offering free seats for the upcoming high holidays. From its very humble beginnings back in 1933, Etz Jacob grew to become one of the pillars and leading centers of the Jewish community, especially in and around the Fairfax area. In its prime, it boasted programs for men, women, and children and a multitude of minyanim and daily classes. Its talmud Torah educated many a Jewish child and many of its graduates now lead beautiful Torah observant lives. The shul was started by Rabbi Jacob Bauman in his home and when the crowd became too large, Jacob Tanenbaum (whom the shul was eventually named after) helped them lease a store front on Beverly Boulevard. With time, this too became too small, and a new store front was purchased. From one store front, the shul grew to two stores and then three – and then four! It was remodeled to include a beautiful sanctuary, beis medrash, social hall, and school. For decades the shul’s men’s club, sisterhood, and NCSY were the pride and joy of Etz Jacob and the talk of

the town. What is perhaps most unique and admirable about this particular shul is the diversity of Jewish groups it interacted with. Walk in there on any given Shabbos, and you will find a Ashkenazi minyan, a Persian minyan, a Sefardic minyan and – at one time – a Yemenite minyan. The shul currently hosts the Ohel Chana girls high school (Chabad) and in the past has hosted the Bnos Esther and Bnos Devorah girls’ high schools. In the late ‘70s, when there was a wave of Russian immigration to the United States, Etz Jacob realized that there was not enough being done for the Russian Community. It teamed up with Jewish Vocational Services (Jewish Federation) and developed a program to educate Russian immigrants. They brought them into the shul and taught them English, a trade, and – of course – Torah. Of particular note, was the shul’s commitment and effort to train and ready these Russian boys for their bar mitzvahs. For many it meant beginning with aleph-bet, but by the time his bar mitzvah came around each boy could recite the brachot on the Torah, some even reading the maftir and sharing a beautiful d’var Torah in their bar mitzvah speeches. Over a span of two years, the shul readied

over 50 boys for their bar mitzvahs. In the ‘80s, when thousands of Iranian Jews arrived in California, it was once again Etz Jacob that realized the need for education and programming and got to work. A Jewish day school was started, at first with only 17 students, but within two years the numbers grew to over 150 students. Within a short period of time, Etz Jacob was a flourishing Jewish school with Jewish students from many different diverse backgrounds. Leading this tremendous effort of Jewish outreach and the Rabbi behind this dynamic and flourishing Jewish center was Rabbi Rubin Huttler (1970 – present). Originally from New York, Rabbi Huttler married Miriam Adler of Los Angeles, and on the urging of his father in law entered the rabbinate. A talmid of Torah V’daas and of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Huttler poured his life and soul into the shul and his efforts soon paid off. It was under his leadership that the shul enjoyed its most successful years at the forefront of Jewish life and activity in Los Angeles. Etz Jacob is planning a big celebration for its 85th anniversary some time in 2018.

The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home


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Living with In theNews Times The Week

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

Here I am, last Wednesday afternoon, at Newark Airport, waiting at the gate for a plane. What, you ask, is the big deal? I am waiting for a Lufthansa flight. I have never flown on the German airline and I am generally averse to all things German. But I’m flying to Lithuania, and that’s the way the arrangements were made. I have never been to Lita. Until now, it has been a mythical place, something from the past, often referred to with reverence and varying degrees of holiness. I’ve been hearing about Lita for as long as I can remember. I am a first-generation American. My mother was born there. Although my father was born in Massachusetts, he always viewed himself as hailing from Kovno. And here I am, finally about to connect to my roots and breathe Lithuanian air. I am not foolish enough to ignore the reality of the number of Jews slaughtered by Lithuanians during the war and during the 700 years that Jews lived in that country. Although there were far fewer pogroms and anti-Semitic crimes and atrocities there compared to elsewhere, I have no illusions about the country and its people. Despite that, Lita has a calling for me. Think about how much the lives of today’s yeshiva people are influenced by Lita. We are all about tradition and mesorah. Much of our mesorah can be traced to there. The Vilna Gaon, hailed by the Chazon Ish as a Rishon, has influenced our views on many things, especially the way we learn, pasken, and conduct ourselves. Rav Chaim Volozhiner, his prime talmid, founded the first yeshiva as we know it and authored Nefesh Hachaim, a blueprint of Jewish thought. Rav Yitzchok Elchonon Spector, the towering giant who was the rov of Kovno, was viewed in his time as the leader of all Torah Jews. His Talmudic brilliance earned him universal respect and his kindness won him everyone’s love. Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky was the king of Litvishe bnei Torah and the Jew-

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Exploring Roots in a Bygone World ish people. Nothing happened without his involvement. His home was the central address for difficult halachic queries, Talmudic discussions, charitable endeavors, and everything else on the Jewish agenda. The rabbonim in the shtetlach were giants, one a bigger gaon than the next. They lived in financial poverty, but amidst spiritual richness. Infused with a love for Torah from a young age, the townspeople spent much time in the local shul, davening and studying to whatever degree they were able. My mother’s father was a rov in a small shtetel named Vashki, a position he

our nation and raised talmidim who led our way in uncharted waters. Lita… Where would we be without you? ••••• I find my seat and take out the seforim and books I brought along for the trip. First one I read is Rav Elchonon Wasserman’s Ikvisa D’Moshicha. Rabbi Ephraim Oshry’s Annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry is too sad to read. I usually take it out on Tisha B’Av. I brought it along for the trip and begin to read about the cities and towns of Lita and how thousands met their end across the country. And I wonder:

The Vilna Gaon walked on these same stones. inherited from his father-in-law, a talmid of Volozhin. The people and rabbonim were known to be unfailingly humble, oftentimes serious, and basically good. Many went on to earn much fame, as word of their brilliance spread, by word of mouth and by virtue of the seforim and divrei Torah that they published. So much of the Torah that was replanted after the war can be traced to the yeshivos of Lita, such as Slabodka, Kletzk, Ponovezh, Mir and Telz. So much of the Torah we study is from Brisk and its great talmidim. So many of the stories we grew up with were about gedolei Lita. Brisk, Kletzk, Ponovezh, Radin, Vilna, and Kovno are names known to every school child. The Chofetz Chaim and Rav Elchonon, the Bais Halevi and Rav Chaim, Rav Meir Simcha, Rav Shimon, the Alter of Slabodka, the Alter of Kelm, Rav Doniel and Rav Yeruchom, Rav Boruch Ber and Rav Naftoli… So many giants of that world guided

Why am I going? Why in the world would I go to the place where so many were butchered to death for no reason other than being Jewish? But I read on. I read of what was and how it ended. I want to grasp on to what was. I want to walk on those streets our ancestors walked on. I want to be where Jews once scurried about, buying food for Shabbos. I want to stand in front of the shuls and imagine little Yiddelach running to daven and to learn Ein Yaakov. I want to stand at the corner where Torah went forth to all of Klal Yisroel. I want to paint in my mind’s eye the majestic Slabodka Yeshiva that stood on that spot until its students were ripped out and killed 76 years ago last month. I want to be in Kovno and feel the golden and sometimes acidic pen of my great-grandfather, Rav Yaakov Lipschutz, and be inspired never to quit or compromise. I want to find the secret of his genius.

I want to tap into the gadlus of Rav Yitzchok Elchonon and the greats of the ages. I want to feel it. I want it to impact me. I will be staying in Kovno and I hope it will. I have another book with me. My friend gave it to me when he drove me to the airport. It’s for tourists. The book is enlightening, but also depressing. It contains a brief history of each town. They all end the same way. A kever achim. Every town has a kever achim, where the townspeople were buried when the Nazis marched in. Lithuania was overrun by Germany in the early stages of the war, before the death machines were put in place in the concentration camps. The Jews were taken to the outskirts of the town, shot, and thrown into a pit. They were the lucky ones. At least they were buried. People come every once in a while and take pictures of the monument, shake their heads, shed some tears, and move on to the next town, where they do the same. How tragic. I put away the books, learn the Daf Yomi, read something on the parsha, and try to sleep. Who can sleep on a trip like this? ••••• After an uneventful flight, we land in Frankfurt and wait for the connecting flight to Vilna. The anticipation increases. Flying to Vilna? Do planes actually land there? Is it a real place with an airport and not just the mythical subject of much lore? We walk through the hot airport, which is teeming with people. I look in their eyes, trying to determine which ones are Germans and which ones are just passing through. Many don’t seem bad at all, and I’m sure that the vast majority are fine people. People say much time has passed and things have changed. They buy and enjoy luxury German vehicles. After having been there, I can safely say I’d never purchase one. Call me a golus Jew if you will, but after a few minutes, I begin identifying the Aryans - blond, serious, no smiles, with a certain smugness and self confidence. Yes, they are the perfect race and they know it. They stare at me. What are you doing alive and in my country? How dare you? I stare back just to make them feel uncomfortable. They stare back at me with a menacing look and I thank Hashem that our encounter is taking place in a public

Living withIn theNews Times The Week

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

place and not on an empty street of some picturesque small town. They give me that look again and again. It haunts me. No, they are not all that way. Most are not. But I look at those who are and want to ask them if they would join the SS, and if their father and grandfather did. I think the better of it and move on to my gate, where I wait for my flight to mythical Vilna and a taxi ride to Kovno, where my grandparents lived and fought many battles for Torah. ••••• Our flight is announced. We get on a bus for a ride to the plane. I take a window seat opposite the door to the rear of the empty bus. I watch the bus fill up. The seat next to me remains vacant. People get on the bus, look at the seat, look at me and say to themselves, “No way.” The seat remains empty. Elderly people get on. They look longingly at the seat and shake their heads. They’d rather stand than sit next to me. And so it goes. Right before the bus leaves the gate, an elderly couple hobbles on. The husband motions with his steely blue eyes to the wife to sit down. She shakes her head. Nein. But she can barely stand. He tells her to sit and she does. I smile and say hi. And that was the end of the conversation. (When I took the bus on my return route after the flight from Vilna landed in Frankfurt, I tried the little test once more. This time, as packed as the bus was from the plane to the terminal, every person who got on looked at me, with hate and spite, and decided that they’d rather stand than sit next to the Jew.) I look around and try to pick out the Lithuanians from the Germans. The Lithuanians have a Jewish appearance. Just put a yarmulka on them and they would be counted for a minyan wherever they go. The bus arrives at the plane taking us to Vilna. I climb up the steps and I am greeted by a smiling stewardess. “So, you must be Mr. Lipschutz,” she says with a smirk. I smile and say, “How did you guess?” I make my way to my seat and sit down. It is near the front. People walk by as they search for their seats. They look at me, some stare, and move on. I want to ask them what they are staring at. I know the answer, so I don’t. I stare back. I know how it feels to be black. ••••• I had come with my brother-in-law, Rav Meir Gelley, to participate in the chanukas habayis of the first mikvah in Kovno since the horrible events of the war. Mr. Zev Stern from London does business in Kovno and noticed that many Israeli students come to the city to attend its medical school. He established a moadon community center, where the students would be able to fraternize with Jews. There would be outreach, kosher food,

Shabbos and Yom Tov celebrations, and hopefully, one day, Torah classes. His dream was realized. The center is run by Rav Moshe Schonfeld, a talmid of Rav Moshe Shapiro, and his wife. The mikvah is an indication of the success of their efforts. At a location just one block away from the house of Rav Yitzchok Elchonon Spector, a property was purchased and renovated, with a gorgeous mikvah inside. It was dedicated partly in memory of my mother a”h, who personified the holiness and purity of Litvishe women. She was born in a Lithuanian shtetel where her father served as rov and carried its memory with dignity. It is an emotional occasion as I quietly think about her and the renaissance the mikvah represents on a road my great-grandfather had definitely spent much time. Later, there is a festive dinner, with what seems like 150 Israeli guests, plus a few locals and some tables of people who have come to mark the historic occasion. The Stern family is there to celebrate with their parents, as are Mr. and Mrs. Leiby Levinson, who dedicated the mikvah in memory of Mrs. Levinson’s father. Dayan Broide from Bnei Brak delivers a fiery drosha and the students hang on to his every word. A concert follows. I leave. Tomorrow is another day. ••••• On Friday, we visited sights of Kovno and Slabodka. It was a moving, emotional, heartrending experience. It was also spiritually fulfilling in a strange sense. We started at the kever of Rav Yitzchok Elchonon, whose remains were moved to the cemetery of the city of Alexot from Kovno, when the large historic cemetery there was threatened. Due to my family’s connection to Rav Yitzchok Elchonon, being at his kever was, in a certain sense, coming full circle for me. Here I was, “meeting him” for the first time, asking On High that we be blessed in the merit of his Torah and many activities on behalf of the Jewish people, which were aided by my great-grandfather. The setting is serene. You glance around and see the memorial erected on a seemingly empty site. It is only upon getting closer that you see the words on the memorial and learn that untold numbers of victims of the cruelty that transpired in the Kovno Ghetto, who, as the monument says, “zeinen gepainikt un gebrent, who were tortured and burned,” are buried in that area. We have all heard stories of the Holocaust and of the millions who were killed. This burial place of Kovno’s finest citizens was the first “kever achim” I was at. It is hard to describe the experience. That awful period was always real, but now it is more

real than ever. “Kol demei achicha tzo’akim min ho’adama.” The cries of the innocent victims still ring out, reaching Heaven. All I hear is a still silence. All I feel is a still silence. The stillness is overwhelming and deafening. We move on to the kever of Rav Boruch Horowitz, whose son was ripped out of the Slabodka Yeshiva and murdered. More sadness. The enormity of the tragedy is overwhelming. Nearby is the kever of the D’var Avrohom, Rav Avrohom Duber Kahane Shapiro, last rov of Kovno before the war. He led his people through the period of the ghetto until he succumbed to illness there at the age of 73. He is buried in the Alexot cemetery. Every cemetery is a sad place. This one seems to carry more grief than is possible to grasp. And then you come upon another opening, another kever achim. This one contains the remains of the Jews of another locale. A marker memorializes them and indicates that on one side lie those who were killed, and on the other are those who died of natural causes and had been laid to rest in the town’s cemetery. They were all brought here. May they be awakened soon at techiyas hameisim. We then visit the Greeneh Barg Bais Olam, where Rav Yitzchok Elchonon was originally buried. The cemetery is huge and the communists were going to destroy it. When Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, he aborted that plan and Kovno’s dead Jews were spared. A large, sprawling site, it is not well-maintained. Matzeivos are knocked over and even those still standing are hard or impossible to read. We located the remains of the ohel that had stood atop Rav Yitzchok Elchonon’s kever. Around it are members of his family, including his wife, his son Binyomin, and his daughter-in-law. The son who succeeded him as rov was moved with him to Alexot. I know that my great-grandfather was also buried near him, but I cannot locate his grave. We say some kappitlach of Tehillim and leave for our next stop. We approach the Ninth Fort, where thousands of our brethren were shot to death in front of open graves, most famous among them Rav Elchonon Wasserman, the towering student of the Chofetz Chaim. At the grassy knoll of that infamous fort, I heard the voice of Rav Elchonon as he spoke to the Jews who were about to be killed. He told them that they were being offered as korbanos on behalf of the Jews of America. “In the merit of your sacrifice, they will be spared and will flourish.” So many years later, if you listen care-

fully in the awful, bitter, stillness, you can hear him. Then you hear the voices of the korbanos calling out from the ground. They beg the American Jews for their korbanos not to have been in vain. “Don’t let go. Don’t fall prey to temptation. Don’t forget who you are and where you are from. We died for you. Please don’t ever forget that.” Thousands met their end right where I now stand. Rabbonim, roshei yeshiva, shopkeepers, shoemakers, yeshiva bochurim, older women, young girls, mothers and fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers. They were brought here and shot. If you listen carefully, you can hear echoes of gunshots and cries of Shema Yisroel. Only a heart of stone is not moved here. You begin to wrap your mind around the fact that this country is literally saturated with Jewish blood. The Jewish presence is marked throughout the country. All in the past. This town’s Jews were wiped out here. A cemetery stood here. There was once a shul here, a house, a yeshiva. Now? It’s all in the past, gone for all time. From there, we go to a large house. It occupies a corner and has two addressees, Karnevas 12 and Panera 9. The basement served as the office of the Slabodka Yeshiva. On the main floor resided Rav Avrohom Grodzensky, who was later killed by the Nazis. Rav Elchonon Wasserman sought refuge here when Baranovitch was overrun. Someone sneers at me from an upper floor window. For all I know, it was in that very room that Rav Elchonon stayed. I snap his picture and ignore him. I head for the back of the house. It was from here that the martyred giant was taken by Lithuanian devils. He was learning with several bochurim when he was snatched and brought to the Ninth Fort. I look at the flowers growing there now as if to cover up the awful crime that was committed. Once again, I am overwhelmed by the silence. I gaze again at the flowers and find them dark and ugly, nourished by the sitra acher. I stand by that house and feel attached to it. I don’t want to leave. It calls out to me and says, “Stay! Stand here and give witness to the sins of humanity perpetrated at this site.” It says, “This is a place of holiness. Don’t be fooled.” We cross the street and continue walking down Karnevas or, as it was known until the war, Yeshiva Gass. From nowhere, a dog begins to bark. I look up and see a large, ferocious canine on the steps of the house going wild as it watches us march down the street. Other hounds echo the first, and before we know it, from all sides, dogs are barking. It was the first and last



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time I heard dogs bark in that country. We approach the end of the block and the spot where the famed Slabodka Yeshiva stood before it was burnt to the ground by its evil neighbors. I was frozen at that corner. I felt a magnetic pull as I never felt before. I belonged there. My neshomah has roots at that corner, not only because my grandfather learned there and my dear father-in-law grew up in its shadow. It was a gravitational pull, a sense that I had been there before, that we had all been there before. It is from that location that Torah and mussar went out to the world. I sensed hundreds of bochurim rushing to and fro, and imagined them coming to the bais medrash from their nearby stanzias. Was I hallucinating or are their spirits still there, kidshom leshaatom vekidshom le’osid lavo? The Torah studied there and the mesirus nefesh exhibited on this spot will be there forever, benefitting us and providing for us sources of merit as we go about our daily battles.

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defaced and destroyed several times, and the one that stands there now is not the original. Kind local authorities look after the hallowed spot and ensure that it remains a respectful area. We return to perfectly clean, neat, quiet Kovno and rush to get ready for Shabbos. More people have joined us now. Mr. Aron Wolfson, a leading supporter of the endeavor, has come to share in the nachas, as has Rav Yosef Chevroni of the Chevron Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, and others. The Friday night Shabbos seudah was attended by many dozens of students. We were all one happy family, celebrating the gifts of Shabbos and Torah in a way that the city has not seen since the churban. What a beautiful site. Shabbos morning, the crowd is sadly much smaller, as there are university classes to attend. Several students have become Shabbos observant and, at great risk to their grades, come to daven rather than going to school. Their mesirus nefesh is duly noted and appreciated.

I felt a magnetic pull as I never felt before. I belonged there. “Let’s go,” they tell me. “The time is late. Shabbos is coming. We must go.” I think to myself, “The time is late. The golus is long. Too long. The world is dark. Too dark. We must go. The time for Moshiach to arrive will soon be here. We must ready ourselves. Let’s go and prepare.” We walk back down that street and the many dogs that have been barking the entire time are finally satisfied. They tell each other that we are leaving and the street is silent once again. We drive to the formerly Jewish town of Zezmer to see an old wooden shul. It is now undergoing renovation. We step inside and are awed by its former majesty. We get back into the car and make a sharp turn into a forest. We drive on a pockmarked earthen path through the trees and come to a clearing. Neat grass covers the site of a massacre. We read the monument erected there: “The Nazis and their helpers tortured and then buried half alive 2,200 Jewish men from the neighboring towns at this location.” Women and children were liquidated at a similar spot nearby. We learn that the monument has been

I am called to the Torah for Levi. We are back. The first aliyah for a member of my family in this city since the liquidation of the Kovno Ghetto. Bittersweet, yes, but sweet nevertheless. Shabbos was amazing, no doubt the largest, most festive meals and tefillos held here since the war. On Sunday, we leave Kovno and head to Vilna. There is no time to stop at every significant place, but as we move through the bustling metropolis of Vilna, we are told that here Jews were killed, here was a shul, and here was something else of Jewish significance. Here was a Jewish neighborhood. Here is the apartment where Rav Chaim Ozer lived. You just sit there alone in your thoughts, imagining the people on line out the door for an audience with the rabbon shel kol bnei hagolah. Chassanim and kallos seeking brachos, a broken almanah looking for moral and financial support, a rov from out-of-town with a serious dilemma, local askonim and some from far away seeking direction, yeshiva bochurim

waiting to talk in learning with the father of all bnei Torah, and refugees looking for a place to rest their weary bodies. A bird’seye view of Klal Yisroel lined up on this Vilna street. How can you not be moved? You stand at the kever of the Vilna Gaon and contemplate how this special neshamah learned all of Torah. Everything. And it sinks in that it is something that is possible for a human to accomplish. Frightened by the holiness of the place, you say some kappitlach of Tehillim and pray for yourself and your loved ones, feeling sure that your pleas will be answered. Right nearby is the kever containing the ashes of the Ger Tzedek, whose story comes alive in your head. Mesirus nefesh for Yiddishkeit. Again, the heights that man can reach overwhelms you and the niggun he sang on the way to his death plays in your head. Vilna, the Yerushalayim of Lita, is now a bais hakevaros, comprised of a few empty buildings and markers, and a disturbing bust of the great Gaon where his house stood until it was demolished by the communists. The kever of Rav Chaim Ozer is nearby, as is the gravesite of Rav Itzele Ponovezher. They were moved here ahead of the destruction of the old bais olam by the Russians. We said kappitlach of Tehillim, asking to be aided in the merit of the great men who lie there. I merited to publish some of Reb Itzel’s Torah and asked that it be a zechus for me and my family. We drive to the old cemetery, where so many are buried. The vast area was bulldozed by the communists to erase any memory of the Jews who were laid to rest there. The kever of the rebbi of bnei Torah everywhere, Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, was located a few years ago and a matzeivah was erected. We daven there. It is the only grave in the cemetery that is marked. Oy, meh haya lonu. I wonder again why I am here. Why did I come to visit such an awful place? ••••• Vilna is quite unlike Kovno. While Kovno is quiet and muted, a large city that feels as if it has had its air taken out of it and lost its spirit, Vilna is full of energy and people. There was a large marathon when we visited, and people were out cheering and strolling. While the people in Kovno seemed reserved and respectful, those in Vilna looked bigger and stronger, many with a menacing look as they gazed at us. They were louder and more boisterous. The city has life and spirit. Kovno-ites look down on them and say that they are like Russians. Far be it from me to weigh in on this, but there does seem to be a stronger Russian influence in the

At the Kever of Rav Yitzchok Elchonon Spector

At the Kever of Reb Chaim Ozer

At the Kever of the Vilna Gaon

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capital city. There is a large church at the entrance of the old city of Vilna that seems to have major religious significance to the locals. As we passed it, the tour guide became quite apprehensive and asked me to please remove my hat. I refused. She said that it was quite dangerous to go with a hat there as a Jew. I told her that enough Jewish blood was spilled in that small area, and if they are offended that I walk as a proud Jew in a place they had thought was Judenrein, then tough luck on them. Let them spit at me, I said. I can handle it. She said that it was right here that the Ger Tzedek was stoned while he was yet a Christian, for he committed the crime of helping a Jewish girl. I am not one of those people who insist on parading through places of obvious danger to make a point, but I felt different about it here. They tried wiping us out. Let them see that netzach Yisroel lo yeshaker. Besides, I felt that her fear was something that was inbred but was misplaced. No doubt, if a movement would rise there against Jews for some reason, some people would join, but at no time did I feel any real sense of danger. Golus is not meant to be comfortable. Vilna reminded me of that. We continued our walk through the old city, passing by where the entrance to the Jewish ghetto was in medieval times and in the modern period. We found a small kosher coffee shop in the Old City, where we had coffee and some “lekach,” honey cake, and “imberlach,” a sweet Litvishe treat I had never heard of. You’re not missing much, by the way. It was from there that we came upon the location of the Vilna Gaon’s house. Chills go down your spine as you imagine the holiness that was there. The Gaon! Like a Rishon, a spiritual father for all generations. He lived here. He learned Torah here. He had ruach hakodesh right here. He wrote his notes on Gemara and Shulchan Aruch at the spot on which I stand. How small I feel. I walk the same street he walked, tracing his footsteps to the small kloiz where he davened. Rather than davening in the big shul, he chose this small place, because there was much less of a chance of hearing lashon hora here. I am lost in my thoughts. The Gaon! The Vilna Gaon walked on these same stones to escape lashon hora. How small I am. ••••• The walk ends and it’s time to head to the airport. We walk to an area where taxis wait for passengers. The guide advises us to stand back while she finds one. “You stay here,” she says. “When I find one, I’ll motion to you.” We are reminded yet again, as if we needed another reminder.

We fetch our belongings and continue to the airport, gratified that we had come, but happy to soon be gone. We head back across the Atlantic on a Lufthansa plane. The service is impeccable. The staff goes out of their way to make us feel at home. I admit that I feel some comfort in that.

It felt good to take leave of the European continent and head back to the United States. This was my second time staying more than a few hours in Europe. When I am able to get away, I’d much rather go to Eretz Yisroel than anywhere else. That is our home and base. That land holds our connection to the essence of life and To-

rah. Kovno and Slabodka are a distant second, but I hope to return to Lita, visit those places once again, see the town where my mother was born, and perhaps even find out why I want to go there. May we all merit a safe and healthy year as we await the call of Moshiach.



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I Know a Great Dry Cleaner Sarah Pachter

One of my biggest pet peeves is when a favorite article of clothing gets large, noticeable stain. You know the kind I’m referring to. It could be the skirt that matches with everything, or the blouse that is just so flattering. You send it into the dry cleaners with the hopes that they will return it to you with this obvious stain removed – but alas, no luck. They’re sent back with that dreaded note: Sorry, we tried and tried, but just could not remove that stain… Oh, the frustration! G-d bestows to each of us a precious, priceless soul that our body “wears.” We spend our days as imperfect humans. We make mistakes – even messes! – which slowly soil our souls with iniquity. Yet every morning after slumber, He returns that soul to us in pristine condition. This sentiment is found in the prayer “Modeh Ani” that we recite upon awakening every morning: I thank You, living and enduring King, for You have graciously returned my soul within me. Great is Your faithfulness. No stain is too tough for Hashem, for His dry-cleaning skills are out of this world! For the really tough stains on our souls, there is a special time of year for deep cleaning: the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. To celebrate the secular New Year, most of the world throws parties. Yet, the Jewish New Year is a time of repentance and renewal. The time period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is a particularly auspicious time as we are cleansed from our iniquities. When G-d “dry cleans” our souls, they come back even nicer than they were when we first received them. “The place where a baal teshuvah (someone who repents) stands, no tzaddik ever stood.” (Gemara Berachot 34B, Sanhedrin 99A) I always wondered how that was possible. It was one afternoon while I was receiving a haircut down in Atlanta, Georgia, that I finally understood. As an observant, married woman, I cover my hair, and therefore asked the salon if they could accommodate me with a private room. In their sweet, Southern twang, they agreed. When we headed into a back room, the hairdresser expressed to me that she had never met a Jewish person before. She appeared to be very intrigued by all the laws and details that accompanied Orthodox Ju-

daism. In her Southern accent, she asked, “So…what happens when you sin?” I looked at her somewhat confused and responded, “I’m not sure what you mean?” “You know, like what happens when you commit a sin? Does lightning strike, or something?” I was shocked by her question, but was happy to answer it. I said, “Judaism doesn’t view G-d as a Big Bad Wolf-type figure looking to punish us whenever we sin.” I continued to explain that nothing physical happens, and that it’s always the person’s choice as to whether or not he wants to follow G-d’s command. The deeper meaning hit home as I watched her style my hair. I watched as my hair was cut off from the source of growth – the root. So too, when we do an aveira, we distance ourselves from Hashem, severing our natural relationship. When a person does teshuvah, or repents, she reconnects, or re-ties that relationship back up. Using different imagery, it is similar to a rope hanging from the sky. When we sin, we cut the rope; when we do teshuvah, we tie the rope together. Once tied, the rope might be bumpy and might not be perfectly smooth, but it’s shorter. In other words, the bottom of the rope is closer to the source in the sky than it was before. As baalei teshuvah, our road to closeness with G-d may not be perfectly smooth. It may be bumpy like the rope, but after mending our relationship we are closer to our Source than we were before. In a certain sense, then, someone who repents is on a “higher” or closer level to

G-d. Every one of us is truly a baal teshuvah, since each day we make mistakes. Hashem does not want or expect us to be angels – He created us as humans. Rather, He wants us to recognize our imperfections, and desires for us to try to strive for a closer connection to Him each day. A parable explains this in a deeper way. There once was a king who had three bottles of vintage wine. This wine had been passed from generation to generation and was counted amongst his most prized possessions. The king was leaving town for a week and wanted to guard his precious wine. Therefore, he entrusted one bottle to each of his three best friends. While the king was away, the first friend could not contain himself and opened the bottle. After smelling the wine, he took a sip, and enjoyed it immensely. After tasting a wine so delicate, he was overcome and chugged the rest down. Horrified by his own actions, the bottle was left completely empty. The second friend was curious as well, but had such a deep love for the king that he did anything possible not to open the wine. He gave it to his wife and asked her to hide it from him so that he would not even be tempted to open it. The third friend lived alone and was overcome with desire to taste the wine. He opened it up and took one sip. Although he was smitten with the wine and wanted more, he forced himself to close it up and never took another sip. When the king returned, he was furious with his first “friend” and sentenced him to death. He then gave ten thousand dollars to his second friend as reward for not even

tasting the wine. With the third friend, he did something surprising: He gave him one million dollars as reward. The second friend approached the king and said, “I don’t understand! I didn’t have any of the wine. He sipped it! Why didn’t you punish him, let alone reward him with so much more than me?” The king responded, “Ah, my friend, you are good to me. Your love for me is strong. You never tasted the wine or experienced how sweet it was. Yet this man tasted the wine. He knew just how good it was, but still managed to stop himself because of his love for me. That wine was simply irresistible – anyone who could stop themselves after tasting it is truly expressing great devotion. That is why he earned such a reward.” As baalei teshuvah, we have all experienced the taste of “sin.” When we are still able to walk away, that is a higher level of devotion to Hashem than someone who has never experienced sin at all. We culminate this time period with the holiday of Yom Kippur. It says that on Yom Kippur, we wear the tallit (prayer shawl) of Hashem, and therefore we wear white to signify the day (from a midrash mentioned in Talmud Rosh Hashanah 17b). What is the deeper lesson of this prayer shawl analogy?   Imagine seeing a young toddler who is covered in dirt and filth. Food is smeared in his hair and ears. His nose is filled with mucus. Most adults would pass him by with their noses in the air, all while silently judging his mother. But how does the mother react when seeing her child? She gently picks him up, places him in the bath, and carefully cleans his smooth skin. Then she lifts him from the tub using a fresh, white towel. She wraps him in the towel, while only his little face peeks through. On Yom Kippur, each of us is that baby, scooped up lovingly in G-d’s arms. We have dirtied ourselves and are covered in stains, but G-d, our parent, scoops us up in our white garb and holds us closely. Anyone else would judge at our sins, perhaps with disgust, but Hashem loves us, picks us up, and cleanses us. After the days of awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we are clean, and left stain-free. A much better job than my dry cleaner could ever accomplish.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

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Please Don’t Give Charity Rabbi Sholom Kesselman

“U’nesaneh Tokef” is one of Rosh Hashanah’s most solemn and arousing prayers. It describes how all must pass before G-d in judgment. He decides who will live and who will die, who will be healthy and who sick, who will prosper and who not, and so forth. The prayer culminates

with the famous declaration: “And teshuvah, and tefillah and tzedakah, can remove any and all evil decree.” We have become used to translating this as: “And repentance, and prayer, and charity can remove any and all evil decree.” This translation, however, not only




doesn’t do justice to these three important Hebrew words; it is entirely inaccurate. Teshuvah: “Repentance” means “to regret one’s past and start anew.” It is about becoming someone different than who you were in the past. Teshuvah means “to return.” It

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implies going back to some previous situation. They are thus opposing ideas; starting anew and returning to the old. A Jew is inherently good. His essence is his G-dly soul, which is forever bound and united with the deepest essence of G-d. When he sins then, he is being untrue to himself. He is acting not in accordance with who he really is. Teshuvah is not about becoming someone new; it is about going back to the real you. There is no need to reinvent yourself and become someone new; only to return to the true self that you are and have been all along. Tefillah: “Prayer” means “to ask for and beseech.” It is about asking another to provide that which you are lacking. Tefillah means “to join or connect.” It is man seeking to come close to and connect with G-d. Again, these are opposing ideas; asking G-d to reach out to you versus you reaching out to G-d. Davening is not supposed to be us showing up to G-d with a list of demands and requests. It is an opportunity to connect to Him and be close. It is not about focusing on our physical needs only, such as health, livelihood, etc., but a time of spiritual elevation and of reaching for higher. Tzedakah: “Charity” means “free, undeserved giving.” It is about giving to someone else when that person hasn’t done anything to deserve it, simply out of your good will. On the other hand, tzedakah means “justice.” It implies giving because that is the just and right thing to do. These are yet another pair of opposite ideas: undeserved giving and just giving. When we give money to the poor, we are not doing it as a favor, simply out of our own goodness; we are giving them what they rightfully deserve. G-d is the source of all sustenance, and He sees to it to provide for all. Sometimes He sends the money directly to the person its intended for and sometimes He sends it to someone else intending for that person to pass it on to the one it was truly intended for. If G-d has blessed us with means, we should not view it as simply belonging to us and if we’re kind we’ll give some charity. We must see it as G-d has given us some of what really should go to someone else, and it is our duty to pass it on and make sure others get what they too truly deserve. This Rosh Hashanah, let’s not repent, pray and give charity. Let us instead return to our true G-dly and holy selves. Let us reach out to and bond with G-d, and let us give to others what is really justly theirs. “For teshuvah, tefillah and tzedakah remove any and all evil decree.”

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Chana as a Paradigm for Prayer Dr. Leila Bronner Many articles about Chana (Hannah) begin by describing her as an unhappy woman pouring out her heart and soul over her barrenness. However, despite her sadness, the rabbis depict her as a unique woman and her behavior as a paradigm of prayer. Our first glimpse of Chana (1Samuel1: 10-11) shows a woman distraught over her childlessness. When she travels with her family to sacrifice at the shrine of Shiloh – a detail that provides scriptural evidence that woman did attend places of worship during Biblical times – Chana cries and declines to eat the sacrificial meal. She goes to the sanctuary, weeping all the way. In her wretchedness, Hannah prays to Hashem. She makes this vow: “O Lord of hosts, you will look upon the suffering of your maidservant and remember me… and grant me a son, I will dedicate him to Hashem for all the days of his life.” Chana continues to pray fervently, her lips moving but silent. The priest Eli thinks she is drunk and demands that she “sober up” in the sanctuary. Chana denies that she has drunk any wine. “But I have been pouring out my heart to G-d, do not take me for a worthless woman; I have only been speaking about my great distress be-

ing childless.” (1Samuel 1: 11) Eli blesses Chana, assuring her that Hashem will accept her prayer. Following the birth of a son, she utters another prayer. Sefer Shmuel provides the text of the prayer, which praises G-d’s power and ability to reverse human fortune. So particular, yet so universal, are her words, that the rabbis call this prayer “The Song of Chana” and decreed that it become the Haftarah reading on Rosh Hashanah. The fact that Chana is depicted in Tanach twice as praying made a deep impression on Chazal, for no other individual female is ever clearly seen praying by herself anywhere in Tanach. Her prayer became a model for us and evidence that G-d answers heartfelt prayers. In fact, the rabbis of the Talmud and authors of midrashim learn many important halachot from Chana’s behavior. The Jerusalem Talmud says, “One learns to pray from Chana. One might think that one must raise the voice and pray. On the contrary, it was stated concerning Chana, ‘Hannah was speaking in her heart.’ One might think that one may meditate [in one’s head] during prayer, [but] scripture states, ‘Only her lips moved.’ What does that mean? That she spoke with her lips.”

The Babylonian Talmud likewise celebrates Chana’s aptitude for prayer. After stating the same lessons listed above, it introduces a further one. From Eli’s words, “How long will you be drunk?” (1 Samuel 1:10) the rabbis deduce that one is obligated to rebuke a neighbor observed behaving in an incorrect manner. Furthermore, the Babylonian Talmud notes that the word “handmaid” occurs three times in Chana’s story. These three references refer to three religious obligations which are the particular responsibilities of the Jewish woman: the laws of family purity, separating the tithe from the bread dough, and kindling the Sabbath lights. Chana implores, “Oh Lord, I have observed these laws meticulously, so give me my request.” She becomes a petitioner par excellence, debating and pleading with G-d. Her assertive style of prayer can be compared to great prophets like Moses and Elijah. All of them, including Chana, were judged to be justified in their arguments and tone. The sages enumerate seven biblical prophetesses and include Chana among them. Targum – and much later the Zohar – also attribute to Chana the power of prophecy. Why? Her song foretold the

fall of the house of Saul and the rise of the house of David. The rabbis attribute to Chana the quality of grace – the root of her name, chein, actually alludes to graciousness. This is mentioned in many of the midrashim the rabbis have woven about her. For example, she is willing to forgive her rival – Elkanah’s other wife, Peninah – for teasing her about her childlessness, and even prays for Peninah’s children to survive. Chana’s prayers are not the formal congregational ones we see today. The rabbis appreciate sincere, heartfelt worship wherever it is performed, whether in the home or in the house of study. They consider all such prayer equally acceptable to G-d. Prayer that is private, direct – but sincere – communication is desirable by Hashem. When the rabbis limited women’s participation in certain aspects of public worship, it was not because women are less capable of prayer than men, but rather resulted from their desire to promote modesty and prevent the mingling of the sexes. Dr Leila Bronner is a scholar of Tanach and Jewish history, formerly Professor of Hebrew Studies at the University of Witwatersrand

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The Weekly Daf

How do we scare the witnesses from bearing false testimony? Rabbi Shmuel Wise, Maggid Shiur of

Which commandments applied to Adam? The gemara on 56b discussed this in the context of the overarching discussion of the “Seven Commandments for All Descendants of Noah.” The gemara there brings the list of the tanna’im of Menasheh’s Academy and then presents an opinion that Adam was given three commandments: 1) Don’t do idolatry, 2) Don’t blaspheme G-d, and 3) Establish a civil court system. These are derived from the verse that relates G-d’s command to Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge (Bereishis 2:16-17):

is beyond the scope of this column. The gemara explains how we derive these three commandments from the aforementioned verse. For the first two commandments it’s pretty straightforward: the opening words of the verse can be understood to mean, “And Hashem commanded Adam about His G-dliness.” It’s readily understandable how this reading teaches the first two commandments. For the obligation to recognize G-d surely dictates against serving idols or blaspheming G-d. But the beraisa says that we can even derive the obligation to establish a proper court system from this verse. Somehow

“And Hashem, G-d, commanded Adam saying: from all the trees of the Garden you may eat, but not from the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil…” You may have wondered why the Tree of Knowledge commandment itself isn’t part of this list. Tosafos there explains that the gemara is only listing those commandments that were given for all generations. Hence the Tree of Knowledge mitzvah, which was only for Adam, isn’t counted. But wait – what if Adam never ate from the Tree of Knowledge? Presumably mankind would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And presumably the Tree of Knowledge prohibition would have continued for all generations. So what does Tosafos mean when he says that this mitzvah only applied to Adam? This would appear to suggest that really the mitzvah was never given to post-Adam generations because G-d of course knew from the beginning that Adam would sin and thereby bring the Tree of Knowledge commandment to an end. This would bring us to the ageold difficulty of reconciling the concept of Free Will with the fact that G-d knows everything that will be – a complex issue that

the obligation to fear G-d dictates that humankind establish courts. To explain this connection, the beraisa mentions that judging fairly requires fear of G-d, but the question remains: how does fear of G-d actually imply a mitzvah to set up a court system to begin with? Perhaps the answer is that having true fear of G-d results in a desire to emulate G-d – the ultimate way of coming close to Him. And G-d of course is the Judge of all judges, who reviews the deeds of man at all times and especially on Rosh Hashanah. So the derivation from the verse is clear: if you have fear of G-d, you will want to emulate Him and help others by arbitrating their disputes in a fair, merciful, and objective manner. So a command to fear G-d amounts to a command to administer justice in the world. What is considered idol worship? The mishnah on 60b taught us that if someone worships an idol with an act that is normally done to worship the idol in question, then that would definitely constitute idol worship that is punishable with the death penalty. There are also certain acts of worship that are always considered

idol worship – even if they are not how this particular idol is normally worshiped. The mishnah lists the acts of worship that we are supposed to do when bringing a sacrifice in the Beis Hamikdash as examples of activities that will always be liable if done for an idol (e.g. slaughtering an offering, burning an offering, or bringing libations for the idol). The mishnah also adds “bowing” to this list. However, the mishnah excludes other acts like kissing or dressing the idol; these would only make a person liable if that was how the idol is commonly worshipped. The gemara identifies the source for these rules. The Torah singles out the example of slaughtering for an idol and teaches that slaughtering for an idol would always earn the transgressor the death penalty – even if it wasn’t the proscribed way to serve this idol. But what about other acts of worship? For this the gemara applies the rule which says: When the Torah singles out an example from a category and teaches some law about it, assume that the law was intended for the entire category. Thus, this isn’t a teaching about slaughtering per se, rather, it is teaching that anything like slaughtering (i.e. any other act of worship that we do during a sacrifice) will make the person liable even where it is not the normal mode of serving this idol. This however does not cover the act of bowing which isn’t part of the sacrificial service. For this, the gemara cites a different verse that singles out bowing and teaches that it too will always be considered idol worship. But wait – what happened to the above rule which says that whenever the Torah singles out an example we say that it wants to teach through the example a law for the entire category – which here would teach us that any (respectful) act for an idol is always liable – even if that’s not the way this idol is served? The gemara replies: though it’s not ideal, we must say that in this instance the teaching about bowing to an idol stands by itself – since we already learned from the slaughtering example that only acts similar to slaughtering (i.e. that are part of sacrificial worship) are on this list. The gemara is still not satisfied with this because – why not say that the bowing example is the true model case? How was it decided to make slaughtering the model case instead? And if you’ll retort, “We

can’t say that because then the slaughtering teaching would be redundant (because if the Torah says you’re liable for even non-sacrificial acts like bowing, it goes without saying that slaughtering would be liable)!” that’s no problem, for the slaughtering teaching could be teaching us a whole new form of idolatry: where the idolatrous intent at the time of the slaughter was not to slaughter for this idol, but about some planned future act of idol worship, for example, to sprinkle the blood of the animal for the idol later. To bolster the need for such a teaching the gemara cites the opinion of Reish Lakish who says that in this very scenario (where he slaughters with in mind to sprinkle the blood later for the idol), the animal does not become forbidden as an idol sacrifice. Accordingly, it seems reasonable that we would need our verse to teach that although the animal does not become forbidden, the person’s act is still an act of idol worship that makes him liable. In the end, the gemara rejects this proposal, arguing that the above animal/ person distinction is so obvious that we wouldn’t require any special Scriptural teaching for it. The gemara likens our case to the halachah that if someone worships a mountain – the mountain doesn’t become prohibited (since things attached to the ground are excluded from becoming prohibited as a worshipped entity), nevertheless, the worshipper is surely liable for idolatry. Similarly here: although the animal does not become forbidden being that it wasn’t actually sacrificed for this idol, surely the person with the idolatrous intent is considered to have worshipped this idol, being that the act of slaughtering is a prerequisite for his intended act to then sprinkle for the idol. This argument is so obvious that we don’t need the slaughtering verse to teach it to us. Therefore we are compelled to say that the slaughtering verse is here in order to explain the general law of idolatry (namely, that a sacrificial act for an idol is liable even when that’s not the way people worship this idol), and the bowing verse is teaching an exception to the rule (i.e. even though bowing is not a sacrificial service, it is always makes one liable for idolatry).

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Simanim Mania Rebecca Klempner When I was growing up – not yet frum, but pretty traditional – my grandparents served round challos, apples and honey, and honey cake for Rosh Hashanah. We ate smoked whitefish if Grandpa remembered to pick some up at the market. We consumed no beets, no squash, and if we ate a carrot, it was incidental. It’s a wonder that most years turned out disaster-free: everyone was more or less healthy and happy, and there were no pogroms. As an adult, I refuse to take that kind of risk. If it’s on a list of auspicious foods, we eat it on Rosh Hashanah. (But not fish heads. My husband claims the eyeballs stare at him accusingly from the serving tray. Gummy fish are much better. Besides, there’s something cathartic about biting their artificially-colored heads off first.) Eating the simanim in Rosh Hashanah has three side benefits: 1. I can justify hours of flipping through cookbooks, mesmerized by glossy photos of perfectly plated comestibles. (Perfectly plated food fascinates me. Ev-

erything I cook undergoes the “cholent effect:” it tastes great but looks like something Mr. Zuckerman would pour into Wilbur’s feeding trough.) 2. I get to watch my family members ingest foods they normally would never eat but which contain more nutrients than Total brand breakfast cereal…or at least a generic multivitamin. (Such nachas!) 3. The simanim totally legitimize our family’s love of truly eye-roll-worthy puns. (See below.) A few years into my simanim mania, we started experimenting with some modern additions. Perhaps asparagus – purchased expensively out of season – would encourage Hashem to “spare us” from a harsh decree. And maybe banana cake – “banana” sounds an awful lot like bon an in French – would lead to a “good year” for the Klempners. Thus far, this approach seems to be working – at least everyone is bli ayin hara more or less healthy and happy and we remain pogrom-free – but I’ve given up on one siman: the raisin-celery. Maybe my

husband got a miniscule “raise,” but my “salary” has gone down for the last two years, and our expenses continue to rise. So this year, instead, I’ll be adding mushrooms to our long list of simanim. With four kids, including one over six feet tall, we need a “much room”-ier home than our current 850 square foot apartment. (My husband suggests that since we need much, much more room, we’d better serve Portobello mushrooms and not the white button variety.) By the time we sit down at the yom tov table, I will surely be exhausted from cooking. You might argue that my time on erev yom tov would have been better spent having awkward conversations with people about the ways I’ve wronged them in the last year or studying the machzor or reviewing the halachos of Rosh Hashanah. Everyone will eat a spoonful or two of each dish I slaved over and move onto the sweet and sour meatballs. But it’ll be worth it. I’ll pack the leftovers away knowing that I have done my part to assure us a new year full of bra-

chah. The rest is in Hashem’s hands. P.S. – I already owe my first apology. When quoting my husband last week (“Do teshuvah early, avoid the holiday rush.”), I didn’t realize that he was quoting his teacher and friend Rabbi Usher Klein. Apologies and a shout-out go to my wise neighbor.

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t took only 24 hours for Hurricane Irma to develop into a Category 2 hurricane near the Cape Verde Islands on August 30. And then, days later, on September 5, Irma turned into a Category 5 monster, barreling on a course of destruction. It reached a peak intensity with 185 mph winds and a minimum pressure of 914 mbar, making it the strongest tropical cyclone worldwide so far this year. For the rest of its lifetime, Irma vacillated between a Category 3 and 4 hurricane, until eventually weakening below major hurricane status. And wherever Irma went, it caused destruction and death. When Irma crashed into the Caribbean it pummeled the islands with Category 5 winds and rains. On Wednesday, Irma’s first stop was the twin-island state of Antigua and Barbuda; the island of Barbuda suffered total devastation and was almost completely flattened by the forceful storm. One person was killed. In St. Martin/St. Maarten, at least four people were killed. Major destruction was caused by its crushing winds and pummeling rains. The island of Anguilla received Irma’s “full blast”; one person died in the storm. The storm continued. In St. Kitts and Nevis, Irma left flattened homes and caused power outages. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, four people were left dead in Irma’s wake; four others lost their lives as it crashed into the

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

British Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico was not directly hit by the hurricane, and still, three people were killed and fierce winds damaged power lines. The next day, Irma continued on to the Dominican Republic. At least 2,000 houses were damaged by the storm. Haiti was hit as well, although it didn’t suffer damage as extensive as in other countries. One person died as a result of the storm there. Turks and Caicos sustained quite a

at pictures from his once-bucolic hometown, he lamented, “I think it’s going to take a long time for Barbuda to get back on its foot. Everything is completely destroyed.” “Most of the people left with just the clothes on their backs... It’s sinking in, you’re feeling the impact of the hurricane. After a day or two you realize you have lost everything.” This week, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda warned that the cost of rebuilding could come out

"It’s sinking in, you’re feeling the impact of the hurricane. After a day or two you realize you have lost everything.”

bit of damage from the storm's winds and rains. In preparation for Irma to blast through on Friday, six islands from the Bahamas were evacuated. In Cuba, ten people lost their lives when it burst through. Strong winds and seismic waters caused major flooding. And then, on Sunday, Irma barged into Florida.


lvis Burton, 57, lives in Barbuda but was evacuated to Antigua for the storm. As he looked

to around $250-$300 million. “The extent of the damage is beyond the means of these islands,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said. “Global human cooperation is an absolute necessity.” As a coral island just a few feet above sea level, Barbuda had few natural barriers to break the impact of the winds. As a result, some 95% of the structures on the island about the size of Nantucket were either damaged or destroyed. Its infrastructure is in pieces. Its 1,800 residents are homeless, scattered among

shelters and friends’ homes across Antigua, which, thankfully, escaped most of Irma’s wrath. Rebuilding homes and infrastructure, officials say, could take at least six months. Out of all of the Caribbean territories hit by Irma, Antigua and Barbuda is the only one that stands as an independent state with no parent country to aid in its rebuilding. Even so, the ambassador of the island nation, Ronald Sanders, has said that they will soldier on: “At the end of the day, it is our country, we have to try our best to keep it going as best we can,” he said stoically. Photos taken from the air after the hurricane show that Barbuda looked like a “winter scene without snow,” Sanders said. “There was no grass anywhere, no leaves on the trees, trees without branches.” Ninety-five percent of the structures on the islands were flattened or heavily damaged by Irma’s waters and winds. Browne focused some of the blame of Irma on climate change and urged nations to form a plan to assist the Caribbean countries ravaged by Irma since they are contributors to global warming and pollution. “This is not a situation in which Caribbean islands are going cap in hand or with a begging bowl to wealthy countries. They have an obligation to assist [small developing islands] especially as heavy polluters. They have to help us because they are contributing to

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

Feature The Week In News

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

the issue as heavy polluters.” He added that the United States has an obligation to help like they assist those hurt by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma stateside. “My message is: just as Trump is helping other U.S. states, like Florida and Texas, just remember that there are some countries in the Caribbean that got damaged and the U.S. can do more,” he said. “They ought to do more. You cannot be the biggest and most powerful country in the world and have small islands right on your doorstep on the socalled third border.”


t. Martin/St. Maarten suffered extensive damage under Irma. Nearly onethird of its buildings in the Dutch-ruled section of St. Martin were destroyed. More than 90 percent of its structures were damaged in the storm. Cars were tossed on their sides, and large boats were stranded sideways on dry land after Irma left. St. Martin is an island that was divided in the 17 th century into the French territory of Saint-Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten. It has a population of around 40,000. This week, Dutch King Willem-Alexander visited his country’s part of the island and said the scenes of devastation he witnessed were the worst he’d ever seen. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before and I’ve seen a lot of natural disasters in my life,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of war zones in my life, but I’ve never seen anything like this.” On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Caribbe-

an. Speaking in Guadeloupe, Macron promised to rebuild the French territories flattened by Irma, namely St. Martin and St. Barts. “I am here to talk about reconstruction,” he said. “When such a thing happens, life is never the same again. I want to rebuild not just a new life but also a better life.” The French interior ministry said that after emergency needs are dealt with, reconstruction will begin. Among its priorities, it intends to distribute one million liters of drinking water, secure private property, and get the telecommunications systems running again. In a Facebook Live video on Wednesday after the storm ravaged her town in St. Martin, Stacy-Ann Taylor cried, “We survived, we survived.” She added that they were in need of basic necessities – food, water, security. She and her family were fearful of looters and lawlessness. Around the island, there were reports of men with knives and machetes threatening residents. Some were waiting on piers to steal the bounty of boats and ships carrying much-needed supplies to the devastated community. Residents, fearful for their lives, were hiding in their homes at night. On Front Street, a popular shopping destination for thousands of tourists, looters broke into a customs office and stole weapons. In addition to the devastation caused by Irma, the lawlessness is perhaps a more urgent concern right now. French and Dutch police have sent additional officers and military personnel to the island to contain the looters.

Currently 1,500 French troops, police and emergency workers are in St. Martin. An additional 500 others are to come. Just days after Irma left, Hurricane Jose came though the region. Although the islands weren’t hit directly, its presence nearby halted a lot of relief and rescue operations. On Sunday, American officials rescued at least 1,200 U.S. residents from St. Martin, bringing them to Puerto Rico for shelter.

Downed trees in Miami Beach


ritain received criticism from some in regards to its response – or lack of it – to Irma in its territories in the region, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. But this week, Alan Duncan, secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, spoke in the UK Parliament and explained, “I am rather dismayed by the sweeping criticism ... they are unsupported by the facts. For instance, the French don’t deploy in advance specifically for hurricanes; what they do is have troops permanently based there because the nature of French overseas territories’ government is different from ours. Our overseas territories are self-governing. The French govern directly. And therefore they have soldiers there all the time,” Duncan said. The UK has had a naval vessel, Mounts Bay, preloaded with disaster relief supplies in the Caribbean since July, and within a couple of days had restored electricity at Anguilla’s hospital and cleared the airport runway before repositioning to the British Virgin Islands. Another Royal Navy ship, HMS Ocean, Britain’s largest,

Destruction on the British island of Anguilla

Dutch King Willem-Alexander in St. Maarten

Downed power lines in the U.S. Virgin Islands




OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home 40 The Week Feature In News

was sent to the region and will be there next week. It will be carrying eight more helicopters. Residents of Anguilla, though, were not mollified by the UK’s explanation. “All over the island, Anguillans are saying that the response has been really sorely lacking. We are feeling very much like the stepchild,” Josephine Gumbs-Connor, an Anguillan lawyer, grumbled.


hose who have vacationed in the U.S. Virgin Islands will see a very different territory than before the storm. The famous Asolare restaurant is gone from its perch on the cliff; multi-dollar homes and aluminum shanties are strewn along the streets. Some homes are left with just two walls; others have disappeared. Most residents are stuck without power or cell service. Irma hit the island with its full intensity. The island of St. John is now the site of Irma’s worst destruction on American soil. This week, military helicopters brought supplies, and a Navy aircraft carrier was anchored off the coast. The National Guard was patrolling the streets. The Coast Guard was ushering the last of St. John’s tourists onto large cruise ships headed for Miami and San Juan. Some locals, depressed from the destruction, were

leaving too. “Hurricanes? We’ve been through hurricanes — lots of them. But nothing, nothing, like this,” said Jerry O’Connell, a Maryland native who is now a developer in St. John. For days, the porch on Ronnie’s Pizza parlor was the only spot on St. John where anyone could get enough service to make calls. Like in other territories, lawlessness was a problem. Some people slept in shifts, so someone would always be up to keep guard. ATMs were stolen, ripped from their walls. Store windows were smashed. Gas stations were robbed. But it wasn’t just the bad apples who took advantage of the situation. Do-gooders made the most of the chaos and helped to ferry the old and infirm off of St. John. Nils Erickson, a 42-year-old Gaithersburg, Md., native and part-time St. John resident, rushed down to help. Erickson began running supply missions and evacuations. Since Friday – three days before large-scale official efforts – they managed to get 600 people off the island. So many boats came to help that the locals began to call it the “Puerto Rican Navy.” “It was our own Dunkirk,” said Sgt. Richard Dominguez of the Virgin Islands Police Department. “They took their own boats before official means were available. They didn’t wait.”

An aerial view of the Florida Keys on September 11

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Stories of people handing out free food and water abound. So do instances of people assisting others, as much as they could. Kenneth Mapp, governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, said it may take “months, months, months” before full power is restored to the island. He added that the National Guard was not able to come earlier due to the harbor being filled with overturned boats. He only managed to get to the island via helicopter.


uthorities in Havana, Cuba, cut power as a precaution before the storm hit. Residents awoke on Sunday after a night in the dark to a land of fallen trees, twisted lampposts and smashed water tanks. Havana was spared, in comparison to the rest of the island. Although the destruction was not as dense, seven people – in Havana alone – lost their lives as buildings collapsed. Ten people were killed in Cuba by the storm. Just 60 miles east of Havana, in the coastal city of Matanzas, one-story houses were completely underwater, and damage to Cayo Romano and Cayo Coco, popular tourist islands, was severe. Hotel roofs caved in, mounds of concrete and coils of steels filled lobbies. The government immediately took action, deploying trucks filled with food and equipment to remove the mounds of debris.

Collapsed buildings in St. Martin

On the other side of the island, U.S. military and their families at Guantanamo Bay breathed a sigh of relief after Irma left the island. Thankfully, all were spared.


y midday on Tuesday, Florida Power & Light Co. had restored power to 2.3 million customers in Florida who were stranded without lights or electricity since Irma smashed through. Still, at least 4.7 million people in the Sunshine State were left without power. The company said that those on the east coast of the state should expect full power back by September 17; those on the west side will have to wait until around September 22. Irma, the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Florida since 2004, left mounds of debris in her wake. The Florida Keys was the first strip of U.S. land to bear the hurricane’s brunt. At least one person died there, although there was a mandatory evacuation there during the storm. Officials say that about 10,000 people stayed in the Keys throughout the storm. On Tuesday, officials opened entry into the Upper Keys for residents in Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamorada, up to mile marker 73, allowing residents to return home and see the damage for themselves. Residents of the Keys, desperate to see their homes, lined

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up throughout the night along U.S. 1 in their parked cars. As they head back home, chances are residents will be met with devastation. Around 25 percent of homes in the Keys were completed destroyed; 65 percent sustained major damage. “Basically every house in the Keys was impacted,” Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long said this week. Although the Keys are known for their grandiose mansions, around 13 percent of the area’s 70,000 residents live in poverty. They’re the people who work in the groceries, the gas stations, the restaurants. Clean up and restoration for them may prove to be devastating. Much needs to be done to restore the Keys back to its beauty and security. Drinking water and power are cut off; all three of the area’s hospitals are closed. The government sent an aircraft carrier to help in

the search and rescue efforts. And workers endeavored to repair two washed-out, 300-foot sections of U.S. 1, the only highway from the mainland, and check the safety of the 42 bridges linking the islands. As of Tuesday, the Lower Keys – including the chain’s most distant and most populous island, Key West, with 27,000 people – were still off-limits, with a roadblock in place where the highway was washed out. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but everybody’s going to come together,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said. “We’re going to get this state rebuilt.” 12 people in Florida lost their lives in the storm. One person was killed when he lost control of a truck that carried a generator. Two people – a sheriff’s deputy and a corrections officer – died from a two-car crash in the rain in Hardee County, which is about 60 miles inland from Sarasota. In Winter Park, near Orlando, a man was electrocuted by a downed power

line on Monday morning. Another person died from carbon monoxide poisoning from improper use of a generator in Miami-Dade County. Still another was killed while cutting fallen tree branches.


arco Island was also struggling with its cleanup efforts this week. The small island was hit right after the Keys. As of Monday, Fire Rescue Chief Mike Murphy said, the island still didn’t have water or electricity. He urged residents not to return, if they had a choice. Irma arrived on Marco Island – which measures about 24 square miles and is located in the southwestern part of Florida – Sunday afternoon with howling wind gusts measuring up to 130 mph, according to the National Weather Service. The force knocked down cell towers, damaged roofs and uprooted trees. Even so, the island didn’t suffer from



a gigantic storm surge, despite predictions. It was hit with a surge of just 3 to 4 feet, a relief after what they were expecting. “We were the little engine that did it,” Murphy told reporters. Authorities haven’t reported any fatalities, and Murphy says there are a few “very minor injuries.” About 16,500 permanent residents live in the affluent enclave of Marco Island; they were told to evacuate. Even so, officials estimate that 3,000 to 5,000 people chose to stay during the hurricane. One person who stayed related that as the hurricane descended and the area’s barometric pressure dropped dramatically, they could feel a popping sensation in their ears similar to when a plane descends during landing. Now the focus is on clearing roads, providing food to those in need, and – literally – picking up the pieces.

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Cleanup began in Miami as well. Although it was spared much of the hurricane’s wrath, many streets were covered in sand and fallen trees littered roads. Street signs and other debris blew in the wind. Thousands were left without power. Resident Joe Kiener said he has endured multiple hurricanes in the Caribbean but had never experienced a storm as brutal as Irma. “I’ve been in Miami Beach for two years, which is prone to flooding, but this is completely out of the norm,” Kiener told ABC News. Kiener boarded up his house and stayed at a high-rise hotel in Miami. But he had to move down to the lobby after his hotel room windows took a beating from the strong winds. “The windows started cracking, and these are massive-impact windows. They were exposed to 12 hours of continuous heavy winds. At one point in time, one of them started splintering and that’s when I lost my nerve and said, ‘I’m leaving,’” he said. “It psyches you out; it’s just the endless hallowing and pounding of the wind.”


esidents in Jacksonville were still standing in floods of water on Tuesday as the rest of the state commenced their cleanup. Driven by tidal flow, an already saturated inland waterway system and Irma’s powerful winds and rains, the swollen and fast-rushing St. Johns

River crashed over sea walls and sandbags and left much of the area underwater. Officials called the flooding “epic” and “historic,” with the river through this city of nearly 900,000 hitting levels not seen since 1846 — a year after Florida became a state. On Tuesday the city started to recover, but meteorologists warned that some flooding is likely to return as storm-generated waters rush south from the Carolinas toward the Atlantic Ocean. The St. Johns — 315 miles long and three miles wide at points — is expected to continue threatening communities in northeast Florida because the huge volumes of water the river is holding have no place to go, according to Angie Enyedi, an incident meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Hundreds of residents had to be rescued from the rising waters in Jacksonville and nearby communities after they chose not to heed pleas from local and state officials to flee the area ahead of Irma. “We hope the 356 people who had their lives saved yesterday will take evacuation orders more seriously in the future,” the Jacksonville sheriff’s office chided in a tweet on Tuesday. The evacuation order was lifted on Tuesday. Business owners returned to riverfront shops and restaurants to find sea grass, tree limbs and an inch of mud covering streets and

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

some sidewalks. By midday, the mud started to give off a strong odor as it baked in the hot sun. The area was hit by Hurricane Matthew last year but the results were different. Although the city was flooded by Matthew, with Irma the waters are just barely receding.


y Monday, Irma was no longer Hurricane Irma; it was downgraded to tropical storm status as it rumbled over the Florida-Georgia line and into the Deep South. As it entered Georgia it cut power lines, leaving more than 340,000 customers with no electricity, Georgia Power said. A state of emergency was declared and many school systems shut down for the day. Heavy winds and rain pummeled the region. Flooding and downed trees ravaged the state. At least three people died in Georgia by Irma’s wrath. One man died while lying in bed after a large tree broke and fell on his home. A woman was killed when a downed tree struck her vehicle. In South Carolina, waters were so high in some areas that it freed a famous local landmark – a boat that had been deposited along a road by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and which had become a popular canvas for graffiti art, at Folly Beach. It came to rest against a dock whose owner managed to tie a line to it. “At its height, the storm generat-

ed a nearly 10-foot tide,” the Post and Courier reported about the Charleston area. “That was 4 feet more than normal and among the worst tidal surges in 80 years after Hugo in 1989 and a storm in 1940. It was about 8 inches higher than last year’s Hurricane Matthew.” Before the storm, state government offices were closed, and authorities circulated a guide on how to prepare for the deluge. Almost 52,000 people lost power. At least two people died in South Carolina: a 57-year-old man was killed after a tree limb fell on him and a 21-year-old died in a car crash. Meteorologists predicted that Wednesday would see heavy rain accumulations in parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi and North Carolina from the residue of Irma. Tornadoes were also possibly expected.


y the end of the week, as the sun finally starts to shine and the waters hopefully recede, many will be left facing wreckage. They will be forced to clear the destruction and work together on rebuilding after the devastation brought by Irma. How long will it take? How much effort and resources will be needed? Time will only tell as they take a deep breath and begin the long, intense process of building anew.

Parenting The Week In News

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Proactive Parenting: Ready or Not? Sara Teichman, Psy D

My daughter is a first-grader and is doing well. I find, though, that she doesn’t like to go beyond her comfort zone (and her teacher mentioned it to me, too). When she’s being taught a new skill or concept that she finds challenging, she sort of shuts down and/or is very reluctant to do it. For example, she’s learning how to read and is reading very nicely, b”H. When she reads aloud, though, she likes to stick to those books that she’s very comfortable with, even though she’s really ready to proceed to the next level. How can I teach her to go beyond her comfort zone? Thank you, Miriam Dear Miriam, Before developing any strategies to help your daughter along, we need to know what is going on with her. Is she shy, anxious, or merely slow to warm up? Understanding what is going on with your daughter is half the solution. Think of it this way: When dealing with a medical problem, like a headache, you ask yourself, “Is my child over-tired, stressed, or sick?” Once you figure out the cause of the problem, you are ready to proceed with an early bedtime, Tylenol, or a visit to the doctor. Similarly, with emotional or behavioral states, our response hinges on the nature of the situation. Before I begin, I want to compliment you on your question. Though obviously this issue is in the “minor league” category, the gold-star parent supports her child her child so he can be all he can be. Though your daughter does not seem to be in any pain here, you want her to do the best she can for herself. So, is your daughter by nature reticent, or has she learned to be this way? Is it nature or nurture? Or, more than likely, a bit of both? People’s behavior is the result of internal factors (temperament) and external (environmental) ones. We are all born with a particular temperament: qualities like persistence, intensity, and distractibility are present at birth. So are qualities like overall mood (relaxed or anxious) and adaptability (slow or quick-to-warm-up to people, places, and activities). However, it is entirely possible that this

behavior is not natural to her but, rather, learned. The way our environment reacts to us teaches us how to be. A warm enthusiastic response reinforces behavior: our smiles and nods tell our child “nice job” and encourages repetition. But a critical attitude – in word, look, or body language – discourages behavior and may eliminate it totally. Think of your typical ten-year-old who speaks her mind and has definite ideas

about house rules, school policies, etc. In a home where independent thought is supported, this child will continue to express her mind. However, in a home where such ideas are considered chutzpah, many a child will remain silent and keep her ideas to herself. So, let’s go back to your daughter. Was she always kind of fearful – of new people, toys, or environments? Or, possibly, is she slow to warm up to new experiences, but once she gets used to them, she’s fine? A child with this profile would need some

time and experience of success before she can move out of her comfort zone. Or maybe this is newer behavior for your daughter. You remember that as an infant and baby she was relaxed and eager for new experiences. Her hesitancy now seems out of character for her, and you are curious what it’s all about. You want to help her become more comfortable and self-confident and wonder at the shift in her behavior. Coming to some kind of understanding of your daughter’s behavior will help determine how you will address it. Though there is no one-size-fits-all, here are some ideas. • Know and believe that development is a process, not a contest. If your daughter is comfortable with where she is at, consider letting her progress unfold at its own pace. • Go slow. Rushing adds pressure. Once you remove the pressure of time, much of the tension dissipates. The idea is to master the skill – not to be first or on some schedule. • Use encouragement to motivate and reinforce. Pair the desired activity

with something pleasant so that there is a positive association. Keep compliments, prizes, and treats at the ready for immediate reinforcement. • Role-play or practice any new/ uncomfortable situations with your daughter – preferably before she gets stuck in her way. So, you might try reading aloud the book on the next level and then asking her if she wants to read it back to you. • Monitor your responses to your daughter’s reading. Are you showing impatience, anxiety, or applying pressure

in any way, shape, or form? The added pressure of your response makes it harder for your daughter to get comfortable and move on. • Do check with the school and verify that there is no undue pressure there as well. Some teachers, in their effort to motivate students, set up a competitive system that is paralyzing to some of them. • Look into the peer group in school. Is there any teasing, snickering, or bullying when students make mistakes? Is your daughter being picked on by one or more girls? Five-year-old Suri loves birthday parties – until she gets there. She clings to her mom and won’t stay on her own, but she also does not want to leave with Mom. Mom feels frustrated: She’s embarrassed that Suri is such a “baby” and resents the wasted effort of getting Suri there only to schlep her home. On Suri’s morah’s advice, she decides to prepare Suri for her environment (party) and do some role-playing. She begins by talking to Suri, who is adamant that she does want to go to her friend’s party next Sunday. Early in the week, Suri chooses her party outfit and puts it on. She and her mom then enact a birthday party using menchies and play dishes. They practice “going” to the party and Mom leaving. They eat some nosh and play a few games. Hopefully after a few trial experiences, Suri can be eased into going to friends’ parties on her own. Wanting to see our children develop and grow is a parent’s hope and dream. How to get them there is our challenge and life work. The Book Nook: Worry by Edward Hallowell, M.D. provides the reader with hope and help for a common condition. This reassuring book is the perfect antidote to fear, nervousness, and feelings of anxiety. Sara Teichman, Psy D. is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles and Clinical Director of ETTA, L.A.’s largest Jewish agency for adults with special needs. To submit a question or comment, email



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Earthquake Rocks Mexico

While the U.S. was busy dealing with its own natural disasters, Mexico suffered a powerful earthquake last week that left at least 96 people dead. Measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale, it is regarded as the area’s most powerful earthquake in the last 80 years. The crushing force tore through buildings and caused devastating damage.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

The effects of the quake are expected to be felt as far away as Southeast Asia. The areas mostly affected were poor southern states, Oaxaca and Chiapas. The tremor was felt strongly in Guatemala and El Salvador as well, but Mexico City’s Oaxacan town of Juchitan bore the brunt of the disaster. The town was reduced to rubble when parts of the town hall, a hotel, a church, a bar and many other buildings collapsed. Homes were severely damaged, killing homeowners inside. Dalia Vasquez, a 55-year old cook, whose home was badly damaged, said that in the days following the quake residents were frightened by the possibility of aftershocks and slept in the streets and at the local park. “We have nothing now. We don’t have any savings,” she said. In the aftermath, President Enrique Pena Nieto visited the region to oversee rescue efforts. The town’s mayor, Gloria Sanchez, called it “the most terrible moment” in Juchitan’s history. The earthquake hit just after midnight, causing thousands to run into the streets. All the deaths were in three neighboring states clustered near the epicenter that is located about 40 miles off the coast. At least 45 people died in Oaxaca, many of them in Juchitan, while in Chiapas the count reached 12 and in Tabasco four people lost their lives, according to federal and state officials. There were many injured and endless damage. Mexico is hop-

ing that they will receive a payout from a World Bank-backed catastrophe bond, Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade said on Friday. Meade said the bond’s coverage could reach $150 million, depending on magnitude and location. John Bellini, a geophysicist at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado, said it was the strongest quake since an 8.1 earthquake struck the western state of Jalisco in 1932. Across the Pacific, both the Philippines and New Zealand were on alert for possible tsunamis. Authorities reported dozens of aftershocks, and President Pena Nieto said the quake was felt by around 50 million of Mexico’s roughly 120 million population.

French Jews Beaten in Home

On Thursday night, the house of Roger Pinto, in a suburb northeast of Paris, was a scene of terror when he, his wife, and son were kidnapped, brutally beaten and robbed. Pinto is the president of the Siona group representing Sephardic Jews. According to the National Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), three black men broke into the Pinto home by cutting through the home’s window bars. They then cut off the electricity in the house, tied up Pinto’s son, and held and beat his wife. It was only on Friday morning, several hours later, that Pinto managed to discreetly contact police, causing the intruders to flee. The villains ran off with jewelry, cash and credit cards. According to the BNVCA report, the unidentified attackers told their victims, “You are Jewish, you have money.” The BNVCA called the attack “manifestly anti-Semitic” and “premeditated,” and said the family was “threatened with death” and “violently beaten.” In a statement on Sunday, CRIF, the umbrella body of French Jewish organizations, said it “powerfully condemns the very violent and anti-Semitic aggression.” “This odious act is proof, if we needed any, that the Jews of France are especially threatened in the street, and even more disturbingly, within their very homes,” CRIF President Francis Kalifat said. “After the atrocious murder of Sarah Halimi in her home, this new attack must bring the authorities in our country to a heightened

vigilance and deterrence-inducing steps,” he added. Halimi, a 65-year-old Orthodox Jew, was killed by her Muslim neighbor in April in Paris. Prosecutors dropped the anti-Semitic accusation from his indictment, drawing fierce condemnation from the Jewish community. The terror against the Pintos is one of several cases in France in recent years in which criminals singled out Jews out of the belief that they have money. In 2014, three men broke into the home of a Jewish family in Creteil near Paris. One of them assaulted a young woman there while another guarded her boyfriend, whom they took prisoner, and a third went with the couple’s credit card to extract cash from an ATM machine. They too allegedly said they targeted the couple because the victims were Jewish. Occurring amid a major increase in anti-Semitic violence in France accompanying Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza that year, the Creteil incident echoed for many the traumatic murder and torture in 2006 of Ilan Halimi, a Jewish phone salesman who was abducted by a gang led by a career criminal with a history of targeting mostly Jewish victims. Some French Jews regard the 2006 Halimi murder as the turning point in the emergence of a wave of violence against Jews in France and Belgium, in which more than 12 people have died since 2012 in at least three jihadist attacks on Jewish targets.

A Female Viking Warrior

When we learn about the Vikings in third – or is it fourth? – grade, we picture big, burly men roaming the seas. But this week, scientists confirmed that they found the remains of a Viking female in a prominent Viking warrior grave in Sweden. The remains were discovered long ago – in the 1880s – but it is only recently that the bones were confirmed to be female, according to the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. They were entombed in a “well-furnished” grave in the Viking-age town of Birka. Interestingly, scientists have determined that not only was this Viking a warrior, she was a high-ranking warrior in her community. Along with her remains, archaeologists found a sword, an ax, a spear, armor-piercing arrows, a bottle knife, two

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shields and two horses – the complete equipment of a professional warrior. Furthermore, a full set of gaming pieces with the remains implied she had knowledge of tactics and strategy and confirmed her role as a high-ranking officer, the findings state. “Aside from the complete warrior equipment buried along with her... she had a board game in her lap, or more of a war-planning game used to try out battle tactics and strategies, which indicates she was a powerful military leader. She most likely had planned, led and taken part in battles,” Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, an archaeologist at Uppsala University, explained. The remains have long been assumed to have been those of a man because of the armor found with them. However, Anna Kjellstrom, an osteologist at Stockholm University, began studying them in 2016 and noticed feminine qualities, such as thinner cheekbones and “typically feminine” hips. “This image of the male warrior in a patriarchal society was reinforced by research traditions and contemporary preconceptions. Hence, the biological sex of the individual was taken for granted,” Hedenstierna-Jonson, Kjellstrom and the eight other researchers behind the study wrote in their report. Hedenstierna-Jonson said it was uncommon for women to hold high roles in the Viking military, and the woman would have needed to have battle experience to get there. Although there had been stories of female warriors, the finding marks the first confirmation. Hedenstierna-Jonson added that this was a “fantastic find,” but “unlikely to completely up-end historians’ view of the Viking society as being patriarchal, mainly constituting of male warriors.”

ing members of the 1972 Israeli Olympics team and the families of the victims. The ceremony was held on the 45th anniversary of the terror attack in which the Arab terror group Black September kidnapped and murdered 11 Israelis that were competing in the 1972 Munich Olympics. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer, and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach were all in attendance. Steinmeier said that it should not have taken 45 years to build a memorial. “It is high time and we owe it firstly to you, the relatives,” Steinmeier said. “The Olympic village became a place of Palestinian terrorists, a stage for their boundless hatred for Israel. It should never have happened.” The widow of weightlifter Joseph Romano, who was murdered in the massacre, spoke at the opening. Ilana Romano said that the families of the victims “wanted this memorial. In the years after, we heard voices that us, Israelis, brought war to Germany and the terrorists were hailed as freedom fighters. That hurt so much but we did not give up. We knew our way was the right one ... for the future of our children and the next generations.” President Rivlin called out Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party for glorifying the violence that occurred.  “Just last year, Fatah marked the massacre of the ‘sportsmen’ as an ‘act of heroism,’” he said. He then called on the international community to condemn all acts of terrorism, including those against Israel.

Height & Health Links

Munich Massacre Victims Remembered

A memorial has been built in Munich for the victims of the 1972 Olympic Games massacre. The memorial was opened with a ceremony that was attended by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as well as surviv-

Your height may have a lot to do with your health risks, according to a new study done at Lund University and Malmö University Hospital in Sweden. Height can be an independent risk factor for developing blood clots and other dangerous medical conditions. The risk of developing a blood clot is significantly lower among the shortest men and women and appears to increase as the subjects of the study get taller. “Height is not something we can do anything about,” lead study author Dr. Bengt Zöller pointed out. “However, the height in the population has increased,

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SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

and continues increasing, which could be contributing to the fact that the incidence of thrombosis has increased,” he said. “I think we should start to include height in risk assessment just as overweight, although formal studies are needed to determine exactly how height interacts with inherited blood disorders and other conditions.” According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, blood clots are responsible for an estimated 60,000100,000 people each year in the United States. In Europe, an additional 500,000 will die from them this year, according to a review paper in the journal Thrombosis Research. The study collected data on more than 1.6 million Swedish men who enlisted in the military between 1951 and 1992 and more than 1 million Swedish women who had their first pregnancy between 1982 and 2012. Researchers found that the risk of blood clots was 69% lower for women shorter than 5-foot-1 than for those over 6 feet tall. The risk for men dropped 63% for those under 5-foot-3 compared to those over 6-foot-2. In addition to an increased risk of blood clots, the risks for cancer, heart problems, and gestational diabetes all increase as a person gets taller, according to the study.

Tensions between Turkey and Germany

The relationship between Turkey and Germany has grown more stressed in the past few months. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s push for his country to be admitted to the European Union has been met with increased opposition by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in response to Turkey having detained 12 German citizens in the past year. There are now at least 56 German citizens held in Turkish prisons. Turkey has said at least 12 of them are there for “political reasons.” Among those in custody for political reasons are Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel and human rights activist Peter Steudtner. Both face charges related to “terrorism.” Turkish officials have told Germany to “mind its own business” over arrested

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German nationals. Yücel has been held in captivity for over 200 days. Many of the arrested individuals have not been charged with any crimes.  “We must react decisively,” Merkel said when asked about Turkey being an E.U. member.  “Given the latest events, perhaps it is necessary to rethink them even further.” Over the weekend, two German citizens of Turkish origin were arrested in Istanbul, the German Foreign Ministry said on Monday. One of the two was released, although they were barred from leaving Turkey. Turkey has not yet commented on the arrests. There are also Americans being held in Turkey. U.S. officials are more and more concerned about the lack of access to American prisoners held there. Pastor Andrew Brunson was detained in Turkey last October and was charged with “membership in an armed terrorist organization” and espionage two months later. Many politicians have tried to get Brunson out of Turkey. “State Department officials have and will continue to raise cases of U.S. citizen detentions directly with Turkish government officials at all levels, as appropriate,” said a State Department official. “Since Mr. Brunson’s arrest,” continued the official, “consular officers have visited him regularly, including our last visit on August 24 ... We ask that Turkish officials consider releasing Mr. Brunson from custody subject to whatever judicial conditions or controls may be appropriate while his legal case is resolved, as it has done with other individuals under investigation.” Turkey has accused Germany of harboring people that are allegedly tied to last year’s failed coup attempt against Erdogan and for hiding Kurdish militant groups.

Catalonia Independence Controversy Continues

Spain is divided over becoming divided. The northeastern region of Catalonia has been planning to vote for independence from Spain, although Spanish officials say such a vote would be illegal and not recognized by the state.

The country’s state prosecutor said that he will present criminal charges to the members of the Catalan parliament that voted to hold the independence referendum. The prosecutor is referring to the approval of a vote that is to take place next month. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the referendum illegal and said it poses an attack against Spain’s institutional order. He called it an “intolerable act of disobedience,” saying it is “something that the government and the courts can’t allow.” He went on to explain that “there won’t be a self-determination referendum because that would be taking away from other Spaniards the right to decide their future.” State Prosecutor Jose Manuel Maza said that he had assigned security forces to investigate any preparations being made to hold the referendum in October. Two lawsuits are being prepared by Maza: one to punish those that allowed the debate to go ahead and voted on the ballot approval, and one against those that officially called the vote. The Spanish constitutional court had previously ruled that referendums can be called with the approval of the central authority. The court is being called upon to decide officially whether the referendum is legal or not.

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Going the extra mile!

Kosovo Fighter for PM?

One man’s hero and another’s most-wanted, Ramush Haradinaj is considered a war criminal by Belgrade. But in Kosovo he is considered a hero and is on his way to becoming the prime minister after fighting extradition to Serbia several times. If all goes as planned and he is appointed, Haradinaj will be responsible for crucial negotiations with Serbian adversaries although peace talks between Belgrade and Pristina negotiated by the European Union have been frozen over the last several months. Haradinaj has opposed the dialogue, calling for Belgrade to recognize Kosovo’s independence before negotiations proceed. Haradinaj, nicknamed “Rambo” by his comrades, was involved in the 1998-1999 Kosovo conflict, an atrocity Belgrade still wants justice for. He was a commander of ethnic Albanian guerrillas fighting




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Belgrade’s security forces. Haradinaj was Kosovo’s prime minister in 2004 but resigned shortly after to deal with a trial involving his war crimes. During the case, brought by the UN, prosecutor Carla Del Ponte described him as a “gangster in uniform.” However, he was acquitted in 2008, the same year Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. He was re-tried in 2012 after allegations of witness intimidation in the first case and was acquitted again. But Serbia continues to pursue him. In January of this year, Haradinaj was arrested at a French airport by police acting on an international arrest warrant from Serbia. This warrant was for brand new charges of torture and murder of civilians in Kosovo in 1999. For political reasons, France was forced to hold him for several months before rejecting Serbia’s demand and freeing him in June. He was greeted in Kosovo by thousands of supporters and received as a hero. From there, he kicked off his campaign for June’s election. Kosovo has a population of almost 2 million and is the newest country in the world. Most of the population is moderately Muslim, however they consider themselves pro-American and friends of Israel.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

More Sanctions for N Korea

On Monday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution to impose new sanctions on North Korea – just one week after the rogue nation carried out its sixth and largest nuclear test. The resolution is designed to accomplish six major goals: cap North Korea’s oil imports, ban textile exports, end additional overseas laborer contracts, suppress smuggling efforts, stop joint ventures with other nations and sanction designated North Korean government entities, according to a U.S. official familiar with negotiations. “Today, we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear armed North Korea, and today the Security Council is saying

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that if the North Korean regime does not halt its nuclear program, we will act to stop it ourselves,” U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said following the vote on Monday. “We are done trying to prod the regime to do the right thing, we are now trying to stop it from having the ability to do the wrong thing,” she added. Specifically, this resolution will result in a 30% decrease in total oil imports by cutting off over 55% of refined petroleum products going to North Korea. “Oil is the life blood of North Korea’s effort to build and fund a nuclear weapon,” Haley said. It will also ban the export of all textiles, the official said, noting that in 2016, the North Korean regime earned $760 million through those sales – making it the largest economic sector that UN Security Council had not yet touched. Additionally, the new measures will prevent overseas workers from earning wages that finance the North Korean regime – over $500 million each year – in addition to cutting off foreign investments, technology transfers and other economic cooperation, according to a statement from the U.S. mission to the UN. Although the new sanctions are the

harshest yet, they could have been a lot tougher. A full oil import ban and sanctions on Kim Jong Un himself were dropped at the last minute, in a possible attempt by the U.S. to gain the support of Russia and China. The news came as South Korea conducted its latest live fire drills with the U.S. military on Tuesday, in a display of military might featuring tanks and helicopters. Ahead of the vote, North Korea warned the United States that it would pay a “due price” if harsh sanctions were passed by the Security Council. The sanctions were welcomed by Japan, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying on Tuesday that they impose “an unprecedented high level of pressure on North Korea.” “It is up to the international community to see that these resolutions are implemented,” he warned. In the wake of the sanctions’ passage, Peru’s foreign ministry said it had ordered North Korea’s ambassador to leave the country within five days, joining Mexico in ejecting Pyongyang’s representatives in recent weeks.

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SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home












The State Department will be giving back the Iraqi Jewish Archive, which has been in the U.S. since 2003, when the current four-year extension expires in September 2018. Jewish groups have been lobbying to keep the trove of artifacts in the U.S. for many years. State Department spokesman Pablo Rodriguez has said that the government is “keenly aware of the interest in the status.” Rodriguez then went on to say that “maintaining the archive outside of Iraq is possible,” he said, “but would require a new agreement between the Government of Iraq and a temporary host institution or government.” Under the original agreement, the archive was to be returned in 2014. However, as the deadline was approaching, the Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. said that the collection’s stay in the U.S. was being extended for four years. Now, Iraq and proponents of returning the archive say the collection will be used as an educational tool for Iraqis, showing the history of the Jews in their native country. The artifacts were restored, digitalized, and exhibited by the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Many are concerned with how the items will be treated upon their return to Iraq. Rodriguez assured, “State Department will urge the Iraqi government to take the proper steps necessary to preserve the archive and to make it available to members of the public to enjoy.” Gina Waldman, founder and president of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, is one of many who have been vocal about keeping the collection stateside. “There is no justification in sending the Jewish archives back to Iraq, a country that has virtually no Jews and no accessibility to Jewish scholars or the descendants of Iraqi Jews,” she asserted. “The U.S. government must ensure that the Iraqi archives are returned to its rightful owners, the exiled Iraqi Jewish com-



Syria accused Israel of “repeated aggressions” against Damascus and of “systematic behavior with the aim of protecting Jabhat al-Nusra [the Nusra Front] and ISIS [Islamic State] terrorists” in two letters to the UN Security Council and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The Assad regime accused Israel of acting on behalf of “terrorist groups which are carrying out its aggressive agenda and in response to the great achievements made by the Syrian Arab army and its allies in their war against terrorism.”  The letters went on to say that the attacks against any Syrian target “forms a direct support to terrorism, taking into account that the Syrian Arab army is fighting terrorism on behalf of the entire world.” After the strike, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would take “whatever measures were needed” to prevent Iran from establishing a Shiite-controlled stretch of land from Tehran to Damascus. While Lieberman said that Israel is not looking to intervene in the Syrian conflict, he did indicate that the Israeli Air Force would continue to attack any Iranbacked Hezbollah military targets the IDF deems necessary.

A huge collection of Iraqi Jewish artifacts is being returned to Iraq by the United States government next year. The collection contains tens of thousands of items, including books, religious texts, photographs and personal documents, which were seized from the basement of the Iraqi secret services headquarters in Baghdad in 2003.


The Syrian Foreign Ministry has filed complaints against the State of Israel in the United Nations. The complaints came in response to the allegations that Israeli warplanes struck a facility in Syria that is said to have been stockpiling chemical weapons and missiles. The attack was carried out in northwestern Syria in the Hama region. The target was apparently a Scientific Studies and Research Center (CERS) facility. CERS is a Syrian government agency that Western officials have associated with the production of chemical weapons for a long time. The Syrian Army released a statement saying that “Israeli warplanes fired several rockets from the Lebanese airspace targeting one of the Syrian military posts near Masyaf, killing two army personnel and causing material damage to the site.”




Iraqi Jewish Artifacts to Go Back to Baghdad Syria Accuses Israel of “Supporting ISIS”
















t 20, Breindy was not so old to still be single. Some would consider her quite young but… the situation was starting to get serious. Breindy was beginning to test her boundaries, dabbling in unacceptable behavior and dress. And I was worried about her. I didn’t know how to help her but I hoped that finding a good shidduch, a kind husband and starting to build a home might get her to settle down. And so, I signed her up for Tehillim Kollel, asking them to daven for my Breindy, both for her neshama and that she should find a shidduch soon. A shidduch came up almost immediately. I was so excited, everything seemed wonderful… and then, someone gave bad information about our family and it fell apart. I was devastated. I called up Tehillim Kollel to share our heartbreak and ask for more help. I was so woundedwhy would someone do this and hurt us in this way? A few months later, all was clear. My daughter was engaged- to a wonderful, ehrlich boy, a boy who was so much better for my daughter than the first shidduch! I had been in such a rush to get her engaged and settled with that first boy, that I didn’t pay attention to every detail. But B”H, the Tefillos protected my daughter and ensured that the first shidduch did not go through. Through the Zchus of the Tehillim of Dovid Hamelech recited by a minyan of men, my daughter is about to build her Bayis Neeman with her true zivug, a zivug that will help her maintain her connection to Yiddishkeit. I am so very grateful.




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The Week In News munity.” Stanley Urman, executive vice president for Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, feels the same way. “This is Jewish communal property. Iraq stole it and kept it hidden away in a basement. Now that we’ve managed to reclaim it, it would be like returning stolen goods back to the thief,” Urman said.

Taylor Force Act Approved Legislation to cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority has been attached to the 2018 Foreign Operations budget. The Taylor Force Act, which was approved last week, is meant to discontinue sending aid to the Palestinian Authority until they end their policy of compensating murderers, which pays over $300 million to terrorists and their families every year. The bill is named for Taylor Force, a former U.S. Army officer who was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist while walking on the Jaffa boardwalk in 2016. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the act with bipartisan support. The bill

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home

was sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Recent reports have found that more than half of the Palestinian Authority’s yearly budget goes to supporting terrorists and their families. In the last four years, over $1 billion has been allocated for such payments. Although the United States has pressured PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas to cease such payments, he recently told the U.S. that he has no intention of doing so. “I do not intend to cease paying salaries to the families of prisoners and martyrs, even if it means I lose my position. I will continue paying their salaries until my dying day,” he said. These could be his famous last words.

IDF Runs Massive Exercise near Lebanon The largest IDF military exercise in almost 20 years is taking place in Israel. The two-week drill, which is called “The Light of Grain,” is taking place in the north

of the country amid a rise in tension between the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group and Israel. The drill includes tens of thousands of soldiers from all branches of the IDF, including air force, navy, ground units, intelligence, and cyber command.

An IDF source told Israeli press outlets that the drill will simulate “scenarios we’ll be facing in the next confrontation with Hezbollah.” In response, senior Hezbollah leader Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek, who is head of Hezbollah’s governing Sharia Council, dismissed the operation. “The maneuvers that [Israel] is conducting on the border are part of coercions after the triumphs that [Hezbollah] has made against terrorism,” he said. The last time Lebanon and Israel were at war was in 2006. Up until the last few

months, the border has been relatively peaceful and Hezbollah has not been a major concern for Israel. However, recently tensions have begun to rise due to Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war. Israel has made it a priority to block the transfer of any weapons to Hezbollah from inside Syria. To that end, many Hezbollah units have been targeted inside Syria over the past months. “Now that the [Syrian] war has moved into a new phase with the impending defeat of ISIS, the Israelis are concerned that the Iranians and Hezbollah will exploit the subsequent vacuum,” said Robert Danin, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former senior State Department official. According to Danin, the IDF drills send a clear message to Hezbollah, Iran, and the Syrian government. “Given that Israel has historically communicated with Syria and various Lebanese parties through the language of deterrence and military signaling, I see it in that context,” Danin said. On Tuesday Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman issued a stern warning to Hezbollah that a future conflict would “end with a decisive victory for the IDF and the State of Israel.”

Ask the Attorney

Medical Emergencies While Driving in California Michael Rubinstein, Esq.

What happens if a driver experiences a sudden emergency, medical or otherwise, and then causes a crash? Sadly, medical emergencies behind the wheel are not necessarily hypothetical. My office recently received a call with the following scenario: A few couples went out to dinner together, and they carpooled to the restaurant in the same car. After dinner, they all got back into the same car to drive home. The driver then suffered a stroke while driving. Because of the stroke, she was unable to control the vehicle, which drifted into the next lane and crashed into several other cars on the freeway. Several passengers were hurt, as were the occupants of the other cars involved in the crash. California law in this area involves what is known as the “sudden emergency doctrine.” As a Los Angeles attorney who’s handled many different accident scenarios, I can report that the sudden emergency doctrine is complicated and highly fact-intensive. The elements of a sudden emergency defense are found in the civil jury instructions. The sudden emergency doctrine is a defense to a negligence claim, and one who asserts it must prove: 1. That there was a sudden and unexpected emergency situation in which

someone was in actual or apparent danger of immediate injury; 2. That Defendant did not cause the emergency; and 3. That Defendant acted as a reasonably careful person would have acted in similar circumstances, even if it appears later that a different course of action would have been safer. The sudden emergency doctrine is only applicable where an unexpected physical danger is so suddenly presented as to deprive the Defendant of his power of using reasonable judgment. [Sadoian v. Modesto Refrigerating Co. (1958) 157 Cal.App.2d 266.] The doctrine does not apply to a person whose conduct causes or contributes to the imminent peril. [Pittman v. Boiven (1967) 249 Cal.App.2d 207.] Essentially, the doctrine employs the argument that the driver should not be held responsible for causing a crash if that person was unable to control his/her actions as a result of a true medical emergency. This defense, though, will be scrutinized during trial. Was the sudden emergency truly unforeseeable? Did the person who suffered the emergency experience symptoms of the attack prior to getting behind the wheel? Was the driver taking medication for a known medical condition? Has he or she suffered similar emergencies in

the past? No two cases are similar when the sudden emergency doctrine is at play. Depending on the facts of the case, some insurance companies might deny liability for such claims, while others might accept liability even when it was a true medical emergency. An attorney should be consulted for questions about your particular situation. Sidewalks Are Now the Responsibility of Property Owners We’ve all seen, and many have experienced first-hand, the sad state of our sidewalks here in Los Angeles. What many don’t know is that the City Council recently amended the Municipal Code to shift responsibility for future repairs onto adjacent property owners. A new version of Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 62.104 became effective in January 2017. Previously the Code was written in a way to place repairs for dangerous sidewalks caused by City tree roots onto the City. This exception was removed from the new Code, and future repairs must now be performed by property owners. The City is still accepting requests for repairs through its 311 system. If a dangerous sidewalk is identified, the City will still place asphalt patches to minimize tripping hazards. City employees have been instructed to refer highly damaged

sidewalks to the Bureau of Engineering for consideration for complete sidewalk replacement under last year’s class action settlement. In that case, the City was ordered to spend $30 million per year for 30 years to install new sidewalks throughout the Los Angeles. An example of this is the newly-installed sidewalk at the intersection of Highland and Beverly in Hancock Park. Once the City installs a new sidewalk, the adjacent property owner will bear the responsibility of future repairs in that location if they are needed. Asphalt patches only serve as a temporary fix. Tree roots keep growing, and eventually the patch becomes obsolete. In the event of future trip and fall cases involving injuries on a Los Angeles sidewalk, homeowners could face liability under the new Municipal Code. Talk to an attorney for questions about your case, and make sure your homeowner’s insurance premiums are paid! Wishing everyone in our community a k’siva v’chasima tova and healthy and prosperous new year! Michael Rubinstein is a Los Angeles based personal injury and accident attorney. He may be reached by visiting www., or by calling 213-2936075.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home



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VOICEMAILS THE SECRET TO (FINALLY) GETTING MARRIED WITHOUT REALLY TRYING My sister was waiting for her shidduch for so long, I was desperate enough to try anything… even spending money on a Kollel Partnership… Forty days later to the day (!) my sister got engaged. A miracle? Hardly. Your deliverance is in the hands of Hashem - and the key that opens the doors of Rachamim are the prayers of Torah scholars - especially ones who study all night long. Y. Krauss, Lakewood NJ

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42 34

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Notable Quotes “Say What?!”

To clarify, DO NOT shoot weapons @ #Irma. You won’t make it turn around & it will have very dangerous side effects. - Tweet by the Pasco County, Fla. Sheriff department

This was not an exercise in bipartisanship. - Trump critic Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on CNN, criticizing the deal President Trump struck with Democrats to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling

Bush managed to ride off into the sunset after destroying this country by socially engineering people that 9/11 was perpetrated by outsiders when it was an inside job by the American government.

You know, every life has to end one way or another.

- From a typo-riddled, America-hating article on Huffington Post on September 11

Well guys, it is official – football has begun! I saw that the Patriots will play a game in Mexico this November. And once they’re down there, the rest of the league will say, “OK, build the wall! Quick – we have a chance!”

As far as the Congressman and other irresponsible members of Congress are concerned, they have the luxury of saying what they want as they do nothing and have almost no responsibility. They can call people liars but it would be inappropriate for me to say the same thing back at them. As my blessed mother used to say, “Empty barrels make the most noise.” – President Trump’s Chief of Staff General Kelly responding to Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) saying that he is “a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear” for serving in the Trump White House, which announced an end to an unconstitutional immigration program implemented by President Obama

- Ibid., commenting on his aggressive illness

– Jimmy Fallon

It is time to get in the Winnebago and visit all the diners on Route 66, or whatever older white people do. - HBO’s Bill Maher talking about Hillary Clinton

Going to prison over a pair of sneakers is a fairly bad life choice. Stay home and look after your loved ones and be thankful they are all safe. - Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione warning people, before Hurricane Irma, not to loot

It was the closest thing to getting to heaven. - Marine Cpl. Kionte Storey, who is a right foot amputee, talking about reaching the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak


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