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3 The Jewish Home May 23, 2013
2ND ANNUAL RODEO &
KOBE BURGER EATING CONTEST
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Contents Community A Home Like No Other - Etta in Action . . . . . . . . . . 22
Jewish Thought Understanding the “Other” By Rabbi Avi Shafran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Riding the High Tides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Parsha Bahaloscha - The Traveling Flame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
OPED Op-Ed A Plea for Victims of Child Abuse by Rabbi Avrohom Stulberger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Humor & Entertainment Centerfold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Quotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
But after living here, I’ve come to realize that the opposite is actually true. A friend told me a while back that in his experience, people from California are more spiritual than their counterparts on the East Coast, and after living here and becoming part of the community, I really agree with him. In a certain sense, there’s less pressure here to conform or follow the path, so people end up becoming who they are and choosing their commitment to Jewish observance and life from a very real place deep inside. Besides the spirituality and thriving Jewish learning and connection here, many would agree that LA’s Jewish community has been greatly enhanced by the presence of Coffee Bean, the only fully kosher coffee chain in America. We’re proud to feature in this issue an exclusive interview with Debbie Sassoon, who was instrumental in getting the Sassoon family to purchase The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the late 90’s. Also in this issue you can read about the Slavin Children’s Library closure, a much-loved haven for many families in the community to get Jewish books and learning materials, as well as comprehensive coverage on the changes happening at Etta Israel, a fantastic organization that does so much to help adults with special needs in our community.
Serial Novel – Moon Cap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Plus you can read the usual thought-provoking columns and find out about the many great events which take place week in and week out in our community.
We’re also proud to unveil our new website: www.JewishHomeLA.com, where you can view current and past issues, and even sign up to receive a link to the paper before it gets distributed!
Global News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 National News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Odd-but-True Stories. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
As always, we love to hear your feedback, so please drop me a line anytime at editor@ JewishHomeLA.com.
Israel Israel news. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
Best wishes for a beautiful Shabbos,
people Exclusive Interview with Debbie Sassoon, Director of Product Innovation for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Forgotten Heroes – Rabbi Chaplain Herschel Schacter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Lifestyles Travel: New York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
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Shabbos Z’manim Friday, May 24 Parshas beha’aloscha Candle lighting 7:36 Shabbos Ends 8:39 Rabbeinu Tam 9:08
Friday, May 31 Parshas Shelach Candle lighting 7:41 Shabbos Ends 8:44 Rabbeinu Tam 9:12
The Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not necessarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The Jewish Home contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly.
May 23, 2013
The Twentieth of Sivan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
It’s a funny thing. When I first moved to LA a half a year ago, I was told to expect the level of commitment to be lacking here, and to sooner or later adapt to just doing what’s convenient and easy, rather than growing in Yiddishkeit.
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Community Happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
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Over 400 come out to Celebrate 10th anniversary of the Friendship Circle of Los Angeles On Wednesday May 1, 2013 over four hundred supporters, parents and volunteers gathered at Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Friendship Circle of Los Angeles (FCLA). This organization runs innovative programs for Jewish children who have special needs with the help of teen volunteers. After partaking in the delicious buffet, generously catered by Abba’s, viewing the enticing auction prizes, and having fun being photographed in front of the Grafitti Wall, everyone was ready for the exciting program, painstakingly planned by Gail Rollman, Director of Development at FCLA. Rabbi Michy Rav-Noy, Executive Director of FCLA, excitedly shared the organization’s phenomenal growth over these past 10 years. He walked the crowd through the timeline reminiscing about the humble beginnings of FCLA. From a converted garage with a handful of volunteers and the first dinner attended by 60 people in the Rav-Noy’s backyard FCLA has blossomed into an organization of 1,000 volunteers, hailing from 58 schools, sharing hundreds of thousands of hours of love and friendship with numerous families who have children with special needs.
Mrs. Nettie Lerner, Chairman of the Board excitedly informed everyone that she had just received the great news from the architect that the permits for their new state of the art handicap accessible playground had been approved! We could look forward to the imminent groundbreaking and continued growth for the FCLA. Chanie Lazaroff, mother of Tani and a beloved teacher at the FCLA Hebrew School gave a moving speech describing the highs and lows of raising a special son, the immense impact FCLA has made in the life of her family, and her delight in being part of the amazing Hebrew School team. Samantha Simon, a senior at Milken Community High School was invited to the podium to receive her “Leader of Tomorrow” award. She so vividly described her life-altering experience as a FCLA volunteer and thanked her special friend for teaching her what life is REALLY all about. In the presence of an overflow crowd, the guests of honor, Dr. Zev and Mrs. Varda Rav-Noy, distinguished philanthropists, and supporters of the FCLA were presented with their well deserved award. Amidst thundering applause the
Elspas Family accepted the “Family of the Year” award. Mrs. Rachel Elspas humbly pointed out that the more one gives the more one becomes. Inspired by her motto “Families that volunteer together stay together” she urged parents and their children to get involved as families and give their time and hearts to better themselves and their community. This electrifying evening culminated with the distribution of Fellowship Awards to a select group of outstanding volunteers. In her trademark heartwarming speech, Program Director, Miriam Rav-Noy highlighted the 10 things she learned from the children in her 10 years at FCLA and that when we focus on the abilities, not the disabilities, there is no reason to cry. Ten Lessons Over the 10 years: #1) If you see the ability and not the disability when you meet a special child you will have no reason to cry #2) There are no phonies amongst them. Every smile, tear and expression is real #3) The most important things in life aren’t things
#4) The more you give, the more you become #5) Everyone comes with baggage. Be a friend and help someone unpack #6) Every child is capable of things that no one can predict #7) Ups trucks, goldfish crackers and trader joes popcorn can make someone’s day #8) Life isn’t about waitng for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to jump in the puddles and dance in the rain #9) Talk little and do much And finally, lesson…. #10) Every child has a song. If you listen closely you can hear it. If you dare you can dance it too!
For more information on how you can volunteer or learning how a child which special needs can benefit from the organization, please call Gail at 310.280.0955 or visit www.fcla.org or email email@example.com
Throughout Tuesday night, the entire YULA beit midrash was filled with the sounds of over 150 students, along with current 8th graders, YULA alumni, and many fathers, learning intensely and sharing in the communal learning experience. The night also included shiurim by Rabbi Wilk and Rabbi Mahler of Maimonides Academy, and 20 chaburot offered by YULA rebbeim,
alumni, and YU students. Sophomore Noah Kest said, “It was a great event for students – not only to bond with our classmates, but also to be inspired by rebbeim.” There was a buzz and excitement that permeated throughout the entire evening and kept everyone awake, even at 3:00 AM. Mr. David Weiss, father of freshman Sam Weiss, shared his thoughts on the experience. “For me, it was a great opportunity to review the beginners Gemara learning that I started with my son and Rabbi Morgan. Sam has gone on to learn with his YULA classmates and Rebbeim, but the all-night program allows me to continue my beginners work while still getting a taste of what my son is doing. Having missed the richness of a proper Jewish education in my youth, learning
Yachad LA World Tour As the end of the year approaches, the last month of the “Yachad LA World Tour” is flying. “Hungry Hungarian May” is jam-packed with events all based around food. With Pizza Making, Candy Gardening: Shavuot Style, and much more, everyone who comes to the events will certainly walk away very satisfied. Our Crazy Hat and Tea Party was a smashing success. With Tea Parties taking place at the Yachad office in the city as well as Shaarey Zedek in the valley, 45 participants enjoyed sipping tea, snacking on biscuits, making teatime sandwiches, and reading poetry.
The crazy hats that people came with were incredible, and the winners earned gift cards to Coffee Bean and TOPpings Yogurt, staying true to the Tea and Hat elements of the party. The inclusive and fun programming that Yachad provides on a weekly basis continues at the 3rd Annual Yachad Oscars being held on Sunday, June 2nd, at B’nai David Judea. The entire community is invited and encouraged to participate in this end of the year banquet and awards ceremony. For more information, please contact Ian Lurie at Luriei@ou.org or 310-9488307.
amidst the energy of all these brilliant boys, amped up by the amazing YU guys (and perhaps too much sugar), is one of the highlights of my year. It just goes to show, it’s never too late -- or too late at night -- to receive the Torah.” YULA concluded the chag by leading an inspirational Neilat Hachag at Young Israel of Century, which was filled with beautiful singing and dancing, as well as a d’var Torah by Micah Hyman. Thank you to Rabbi Muskin and Rabbi Goldberg for partnering with us to create a memorable community program.
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The YULA Shavuot experience this year truly lived up to and exceeded all the hype! The learning kicked off on Monday morning in school, when four Yeshiva University students led chaburot with the 9th grade classes. The YU students also spent the first night of chag eating with different YULA rebbeim and the students from their shiur.
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Shavuot Learning at YULA
Slavin Children’s Library Closure Leaves Void By Rachel Wizenfeld Dozens of local Jewish families are mourning the closure of the Slavin Family Children’s Library, the city’s only public Jewish children’s library and a familiar fixture at the LA Federation building on Wilshire Boulevard for the past 12 and a half years. Beginning in July, the space will become the new “Slavin Children’s Center” to be used by the Zimmer Children’s Museum, also located in the Federation building, for classes, performances and more. At a closing event this past Sunday, well over 200 parents, children and friends turned out to pay tribute to the library’s impact and to its librarian since its inception, Amy Muscoplat. Known for her knack in choosing just the right book for each child and for recalling the names and details of everyone who visited the library, Muscoplat thanked a teary-eyed audience for being dedicated to Jewish literacy and for making her a part of their lives. Along with refreshments and free Jewish books, Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels gave a “Peanuts, Elephants, Starfish & You" concert to close the afternoon. In addition to a 10,000-piece collection of books, CDs, DVDs, toys and computer games, the library offered regular programming including concerts, puppet shows, presentations by firemen, reading events with dogs, and more. “It was such a valuable resource for the community,” said Brenda Goldstein, a Pico-Robertson mom of two kids who visited the library occasionally. Her older son, now 10, used to watch a computer game that featured a frum boy saying his brochos. “There’s nothing else like it in LA.” Goldstein added that she had many friends, including homeschooling families, who would go on a weekly basis to get
books and materials to supplement their curriculum. The library was threatened with closure two and a half years earlier, but community support convinced Federation officials to keep the facility open. Now, according to a Federation statement, with the Zimmer Museum serving over 70,000 visitors annually, “its space has become inadequate to meet the very welcome, yet escalating demand for its programs…In the face of the tremendous demand, The Jewish
opportunities, etc. Officials will be looking at which institution can make them most available to the most people. The library was primarily supported by a Federation grant to the BJE of about $70,000 a year, which covered programming and operating costs as well as the librarian, according to Graff. Graff said it never ceased to amaze him how Muscoplat, the librarian, clearly knew many of the families, whether they were regular or occasional visitors. “She served an important role – she was not
Federation will make available its entire first floor children’s programming space to the Zimmer Children’s Museum, effective summer 2013.” At this time officials were still unsure of what would become of the Slavin Library’s collection. According to Gil Graff, director of the Builders of Jewish Education (BJE) which operated the library at the behest of Federation, 12-14 local institutions have expressed interest in all or some of the books, and each request will be evaluated on the institution’s resources, ability to make the books available to the community, whether or not they have a librarian on staff, programming
just a person who ordered books and shelved them, but really connecting with the families and understanding what they were looking for.” Muscoplat said in an email: “I have truly enjoyed my time at the Slavin Family Children's Library… getting to know the various families and individuals who throughout the years have been dedicated and loyal supporters and fans of the library, and who have often become friends in the process.” The library had tremendous impact on its community of users, said Graff. “First of all, it served a couple of generations of families of young children…someone who is 15 today used it at four, and there’s a
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different four year old using it today.” Sunday programs often drew more than 100 people, and storytelling times were significant experiences for children. It was a “safe and comfortable place to develop a love of books.” And beyond those who came to the library, there were teachers who augmented what they had available in classrooms and schools by checking out books, expanding the library’s influence to many children who never even entered its doors, Graff said. “Although this particular space will not be a children's library, I hope there will continue to be, in one or more locations, an opportunity for families and children to access books and enjoy programming,” Graff concluded. Julee Brooks, director of the Zimmer Museum, said that the expanded space will give them the ability to offer more community programming, much of the same that was offered by the library like puppetry and storytelling and concerts, as well as a multi-purpose space for camps, early childhood programs, and art and drama classes, especially on Sundays when the Zimmer is at its busiest. In addition, the Zimmer hosts many schools on field trips, and having a space to utilize as a classroom presents the opportunity to get other schools through their door. “We know that the library has been near and dear to many families; we know that it has been so special and that its closure can be difficult,” said Brooks. “Slavin was a lot about the other programs…and we’re excited to offer a lot of the programs that the library offered, like sing-alongs and puppet shows.” The Slavin Children’s Center is slated to open this July.
US Representatives Royce and Engel Speak at Release of Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 2013 Digital Terrorism and Hate Report Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member, spoke at this morning’s release of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 2013 Digital Terrorism and Hate Report. At today’s briefing, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and one of the leading experts in the analysis of cyberspace extremism, detailed the report’s key finding: “The proliferation
of terrorism tutorials, and the abuse of social media and online forums by extremists, portend that future Lone Wolf attacks here and abroad are inevitable.” Now in its 15th year, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Digital Terrorism and Hate Project is currently tracking more than 20,000 hate and terror-related sites, social network pages, forums – up 30% from 15,000 last year. The report also identifies key portals of digital hate and terror and assigns letter grades to key online providers.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).
lenge themselves while trying many new outdoor activities. The boys and girls from third through eighth grade enjoyed separate overnight camping programs for two days of outdoor fun. Both programs included rock climbing, hiking, archery, swimming
and zip lining across the beautiful scenery. Night time activities included grand camp fires, hot dogs, marshmallow, songs and stories. What a great way for the boys to spend time with their Rabbanim and for the girls to be with their Morot while they were “off duty”! Believe
it or not, some even managed to get a few hours of sleep. Memories of a lifetime were created with the Tashbar Torat Hayim camping trip.
8th Grader at Hillel Comes in 3rd in Chidon Hatanach National Competition The 54th annual U.S. National Bible Contest, held at Yeshiva University in Manhattan, New York, included 112 participants from throughout the United States, all in sixth through eleventh grade, selected from 240 students who took preliminary exams in their schools. Students competed in four divisions — English middle school, English high school, Hebrew middle school, and Hebrew high school. 15 students from Los Angeles, of which 14 are students at Hillel Hebrew Academy, qualified for this competition. The competition began with a 2 hour written exam covering the books of Devarim, Yehoshua, Iyov, Daniel and Ruth. “The exams have not gotten any easier” says Rabbi Ezra Frazier, the Chidon Hatanach coordinator for North America. “This year’s exam had 124 questions” — four more than last year — “including questions like whether a specific two-word phrase does or does not appear in a particular narrative. The average middle school finalist answered about 50 percent of the questions correctly….The only way to answer every last question of that type is to commit entire books of the Bible to memory.” It is exactly that level of rigor and
commitment that has driven these students to master these respective sifrei Tanach. At the conclusion of the first stage of testing, the top 5 finalists in every division are called up for a final round of video guided questioning. Miriam Waghalter, an 8th grade student at Hillel, placed 3rd in the competition. Just as impressive, 4 other Hillel students were named on the Top 20 list published last week. The students all expressed a great sense of pride in their accomplishments. Most notably, they expressed their gratitude for the newfound connection and love they have for learning Tanach. They have already begun preparing for next year.
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Who says school can’t be fun?? The kids at Tashbar Torat Hayim recently enjoyed a “mini sleep away camp” in the beautiful VT Ranch in Castaic Lake, which boasts the largest ropes course in Santa Clarita. All fear of heights was left behind in the city as the students were encouraged to chal-
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Torat Hayim Camping Trip
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May 23, 2013
West Coast NCSY recently completed the second year of its highly successful leadership program, the Teen Philanthropy Movement. The Teen Philanthropy Movement teaches students about the Jewish perspective on charity and offers them a detailed look at the philanthropic process. Students are divided up into seven groups and are required to study Jewish sources on charity and research various nonprofit organizations. This year, thanks to the vision of its chairperson, Esther Feder, the Teen Philanthropy Movement added a new mentorship component. Each of the seven teams of students was paired with a philanthropic mentor to guide them in their non-profit research. It was an exciting new element that will definitely play a significant role in the growth of the program moving forward. On April 11, Shalhevet High School of Los Angeles hosted the final round of the contest. Four judges heard presentations from the students and decided which two organizations would split the $10,000 prize. “We’re teaching kids to be more sophisticated and strategic in the way they care about others and how they approach the concept of charity,” explained Solly Hess, regional director
of West Coast NCSY. The winning teams represented School on Wheels, an organization devoted to providing educational opportunities to homeless children in California, and Tikvot, an Israeli program that aids victims of terror, including Israeli soldiers, through sports therapy. “The Teen Philanthropy Movement is a great opportunity to find out about how people are giving back to the community and making a difference,” explained Sinead Chilton, team leader for School on Wheels. “The $5,000 goes directly to our programs to provide educational opportunities to homeless children — kindergarten through twelfth grade.” Anne Schneider, a senior at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, who represented School on Wheels said she felt the project made her grow as a person. “I feel like I have made a difference in the world and it is an amazing feeling,” she said. “I have learned the real meaning of tzedakah.” The Tikvot team (l-r): Yarden Harel, Nicole Feder and Ari Zwiren.
West Coast NCSY Regional Director Solly Hess, center, with the four judges (l-r): Joel Levine, Frank Lee, Leslie Kessler and Susan Baum
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Cheder Menachem Honors Students Participating in Mishnayot Baal Peh Learning By Robert Cordas Over 500 people attended the Cheder Menchachem Boys School Mishnayos Be’al Peh program awards ceremony. The event was conducted under a large tent on the playground of Crescent Heights Elementary 1 block east of the Chedar Menachem campus. Over $15,000 worth of sforim were awarded as prizes to boys in 1st through 8th grade for their learning in honor of Yud Aleph Nissan, the date of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's birthday. Yankel Greenburg sponsored the cost of
the sforim in honor of his father Reuvan Dov Greenburg. “Whenever asked the Rebbe would say that anyone who wanted to give him a gift on his birthday should increase their study of Torah. The mishnayos learning school wide was instituted as a way of honoring the Rebbe’s wishes,” explained Rabbi Mendy Greenbaum, the school’s principal. 9,040 Mishnayos, were recited Be’al Peh by the 256 students who participated, which included 153 complete Masechtos and
Mr Frank Menlo carrying the Sefer Torah under the Chupah
1,104 Perakim. 76 Perakim of Tanya totaling 13,040 lines of Tanya were also recited Be’al Peh as part of the learning. This was the 13th year of the Mishnayos Be’al Peh program at Cheder Menachem. All boys who participated received prizes at the ceremony, ranging from small Tehillim books to an entire set of Shaas. The crowd also celebrated the donation of a new Sefer Torah donated by the Menlo family with an Hachnasas Sefer Torah ceremony. The new Sefer Torah
was escorted with dancing and singing down the block from Crescent Heights Elementary School to the Shul in the Cheder Menachem Building. “Seeing the smiles on all the boys faces made all the effort in putting the event together worth it,” said Rabbi Sholom Heizingsfeld, the Rebbe who coordinated the Mishnayos Be’al Peh program and the ceremony.
Shmuel Wolowik, 6th grade - learned Masechtos Megilah, Moed katan, Sukkah, Kinnim, Rosh Hashana, Taanis, Brochos, Chagigah & Tanya perek alef
The Cheder Menachem Marching Band leading the Sefer Torah procession
Rabbi Munitz’s Kitah Alef dancing in honor of the Hachnosas Sefer Torah
Yossi Raeburn, 6th grade - learned all 12 Masechtos of Seder Moed, Masechta Berachos and Avos as well as 2 Perakim of Tanya. Pictured with his father Rabbi Yechezkel Raeburn and Rabbi Sholom Heidingsfeld.
Levi Greenbaum, 8th grade - learned 25 Masechtos Baal Peh including the entire Seder Moed, Seder Kodshim. Also learned a total of 38 Perakim Tanya = 2,000 lines in honor of the 200th Yahrtzeit of the Baal Hatanya. pictured left to right. Reb Yankel Ginsburg, the Zeide Rabbi Yaakov Greenbaum, father Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum, Levi Greenbaum & Rabbi Sholom Heidingsfeld
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Exclusive Interview with Debbie Sassoon, Director of Product Innovation for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf By Rachel Wizenfeld to enjoy a certain lifestyle.
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Why did you choose to make all Coffee Beans products kosher originally?
Debbie Sassoon, who oversees product innovation and maintains responsibility for overall product integrity at every Jewish Angeleno’s favorite coffee shop, gives the scoop on her favorite Coffee Bean products and the real reason for making Coffee Bean products kosher. What sort of impact do you think Coffee Bean has had on the Jewish community here in Los Angeles? I have heard from many customers over the years that the Coffee Bean has provided a wonderful service by allowing them to enjoy kosher food and beverages in a pleasant setting in many parts of the city where one would not normally find kosher food. In that sense, it makes life much easier and allows for the kosher consumer
are certified kosher in all our stores in the Los Angeles and surrounding areas by KoLA, Kosher Overseers of Los Angeles (KosherLA.org).
We decided to make the Coffee Bean products kosher so that all our customers, including Orthodox Jews, could enjoy our products wherever they travel. Our products can be enjoyed all around the world today from China to India, to the Middle East and even Europe, and of course in North America.
Can you describe your personal Jewish affiliation and your involvement with the Jewish community in LA?
What are some of the challenges that arise when running a multi-million dollar business that is also kosher? Are there challenges with kosher certification, issues with being open on Shabbat, having to decline potentially popular products because of kashrut, etc.?
What was the impetus for opening a Coffee Bean in Jerusalem? Do you plan on opening more Coffee Bean locations in Israel or in other strongly Jewish communities?
Well, there are sometimes challenges in sourcing product that is an acceptable standard of kosher. Occasionally we have to contend with limited choices, and smaller margins can also be an issue. Overall though, the selection of kosher product offerings have improved tremendously in recent years and we have been able to source most products with relative ease. As for being open on Shabbat and holidays, there are halachic ways to manage around the issue, which we have done with the advice of certain Rabbis who have experience in these matters. We also
We are very much involved in the Jewish community of LA. We frequent several synagogues in the area and are involved with many institutions and schools.
It was always a dream to have a location in Jerusalem. It’s so nice to see all those young kids hang out there; it has the feeling of being a home away from home. We are always enthusiastic about opening stores in strongly Jewish communities should the opportunity arise, and we very much appreciate the support and patronage of our Jewish communities. Thank G-d the Coffee Bean locations in Jerusalem and NYC are doing very well. What are the top sellers - both drinks and baked goods - at Coffee Bean? Ice Blended beverages have always been a top seller for us. We have really “simply the best” product in the category and are
the innovator of this beverage. I think that it is our high quality and delicious ingredients that set us apart from our competition. We offer a variety of flavors that are unique to us. My favorite Ice Blended is the ultimate vanilla with an extra shot of espresso thrown on top. This is basically a vanilla Ice Blended with chocolate-covered espresso beans and an extra shot of espresso for added intensity of coffee flavor. As for baked goods, we do very well across the board as our bakery delivers fresh, handmade products using the finest ingredients, daily. One of our good old staples is our blueberry muffin; another is our Whole Grain Breakfast Bar for the more health-conscious consumer. My favorite items, though, are our freshly-made steel cut oatmeal and yogurt parfaits. These are available at select locations. What is your personal favorite Coffee Bean product? I’m a big tea drinker. I start my morning with a cup of tea and end my day with it before turning in at night. I love all types of tea, but my favorites are Scottish breakfast in the morning – it helps me jumpstart my day – and Chai Rooibos before bed. I also love our Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Perl green tea in the afternoon. It’s perfect when you just need that little pick-me-up.
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16 May 23, 2013
Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn
How to Slip into Darkness – Riding the High Tides
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Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn
unfulfilled promises, and bankrupt acceptances we realize that we missed the fall but we sure are in darkness. . Allow darkness to be a metaphor for whatever speaks to you – sadness, depression, addiction, sin, etc. The mystical sources teach us that there is a metaphysical reality to this place of darkness – in one variation it is called challal hapanuy (the empty void). G-d, when creating the world, needed to make space for people to be and exist. In order for that to happen, G-d had to create pockets of emptiness – dark spots, black holes. These empty voids, due to their recessive nature, are places of tremendous impurity and apparent godlessness. Perhaps our low moods and the mountain tops that we fall off of take us into this empty void. So much has been written on avoiding depression. We struggle so hard and long to keep holding on to the edge of the cliff. We fear falling because we know that the empty void turns us into somebody that is unpredictable. Perhaps there is another way to deal with this fear. Moses is the only known righteous individual to consciously enter into the empty void. He went there to confront Pharaoh, the epitome of darkness. Moses was initially reluctant but he could not refuse G-d.
Moses, as future savior of the people needed to enter the darkest realm. As
You are not alone. You are not in a place devoid of redemption. It can’t be, because you feel the unflinching unavoidable presence of G-d. I know it seems lonely there. I know it seems like the state that you are in is unbreakable, and maybe for now it is. But presence demands that for at least a moment we accept where we are, we acknowledge what it’s doing and then breathe. Feel your space filling with Divine energy. These dark emotional states are not necessarily bad. In one classic Hassidic interpretation, the line “bakol mikol kol”, G-d blessed us “with entirely everything”, which is said in the Jewish Grace, is meant to be a reference to the notion that the entire landscape of emotions that pass through us are also with value. The highs in life cannot be experienced without the lows. The success cannot be cherished without the failure. We are not faulted for slipping into low moods. Our test is how we choose to deal with them. Do we acknowledge that things we say or do in these states may have repercussions after we come back out to safe station? Do we acknowledge that the things we’re saying and feeling while in these states are impaired by our circumstances? Life changing decisions and public proclamations should be held to a minimum while we are experiencing the darkness. The empty void is a state of being. It is not a time for our colorful creativity. It is a time to hold. It is a time to pause. Grip on to G-d, tightly, and let the emotion pass.
the view is breathtaking and the air is pure
Close your eyes and let us meditate for a moment. Imagine that you are standing at the edge of a mountain top. The view is breathtaking and the air is pure. A cool breeze sweeps through and for a moment you are in the most uplifting spot on Earth. Then, by accident, you trip on a stray branch. You lose your footing. You slip and fall right off the edge. With the luckiest maneuver you find a rock that lets you hold onto the edge. Wow. For a few seconds you are safe. You look down. What a mistake. Down is dark, down is cloudy, down is unknown and never ending. You are trying with all your might to keep your hold, but it’s slipping and you know it. You dig your fingers in the bluff as best as possible but the future in inevitable. And there it goes – your last hold breaks and you fall….. We all slip into darkness. Some of us lose our footing often. Some of us lose our footing infrequently but when we do fall it takes us months to come back into the light. And some of us never think we fall but after years of broken relationships,
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Conrad puts it – “the unseen presence of victorious corruption, the darkness of an impenetrable night.” How was Moses able to enter the court of Pharaoh and come out alive? The Torah teaches us that G-d’s command to Moses came in the form “Bo el Paroh” – the loose translation is “Go to Pharaoh.” The literal translation, however, is “Come to Pharaoh.” Doesn’t G-d mean “go”? Why choose “come”? My son, Yisrael, shared the following insight: the lesson here is that G-d was telling Moses that you may in fact be entering a dark world, a world in which while there you may feel as though there is no coming out, a world where you might not even be able to recall life not in that world but I want you to know Moses – come – I am there too. You are not alone. I stand with you, wherever you are. Come. I will walk with you. The most fearful part of entering into a low mood or a state of depression, or a plain old funk is that we are, without control, penetrating a state that is so lonely and so isolating. But know, that in this chalal hapanuy – this empty void – G-d is there too. Back to our meditation: You are trying with all your might to keep your hold, but it’s slipping and you know it. You dig your fingers in the bluff as best as possible but the future in inevitable. And there it goes – your last hold breaks and you fall. You fall and fall and fall, deeper into darkness. The eerie silence is deafening. But you stop for a moment, and you breathe. Breathe in and breathe out. And there it is, you can feel it. What you feel is remarkable.
Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn is the Rav & Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh in Los Angeles. He is the creator of WINGS; a synagogue consulting group for the Orhodox Union. He is also the author of 3 sefarim. For any comments, thoughts, or observations email the Rabbi at email@example.com
The Jewish Home May 23, 2013
The Jewish Home
May 23, 2013
Rabbi Reuven Wolf
The Traveling Flame This week’s Parsha, Beha’aloscha, begins with the Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah in the Mishkan (and then in the Beis HaMikdash), and that is followed by several sections that is climaxed by the Parshas Masa’os—the section dealing with the order and procedure of the traveling of the Nation of Israel through the desert. We have been taught by the Sages that, “ayn mukdam u’me-uchar ba-Torah”—There is no necessarily chronological order in the Torah—but that does not mean there is no order at all, that subjects and episodes are presented at random. The sequence of subjects is itself something meaningful and enlightening. In truth, one might well have expected the Mitzvah of lighting the Menorah to have been placed earlier, amid the section that deal with the service of the Kohanim. The placement of that Mitzvah here gives it a ring of importance—a climactic part of the Mishkan Service that places it on a special plane. But placing it in front of the account of the Travels of Israel may also make the lighting of the Menorah a fitting introduction and meaningful prelude to the account of the travels We can see this also from the simple fact that, while the other services of the Mishkan and Holy Temple have been suspended while we await the rebuilding of the Temple in the Messianic Days, lighting the Menorah has survived and has been performed by the Jewish people continually from the days of the Temple right to today. True, it is a Rabbinic Mitzvah that is a commemoration of the miracle and victory of Chanukah, but it’s still a menorah that looks very much like the Menorah that was in the Temple. While other Temple practices and services have replacement and substitute practices (as we say, “Prayer stands in place of the Temple Services”), lighting the Menorah is the only one that retains the form of the Mitzvah. One may say that the Mitzvah of lighting the menorah has an emblematic—a defining characteristic in Judaism: it embodies the essence of Judaism and the mission of the Jewish People in the world. For what is that mission? It is to fill the spiritually darkened world in which we live with light, the radiance of G-dliness and His Torah. This has been the mission of Israel from its very beginnings: the Patriarch Abraham spread the knowledge of the existence of a Creator and of His caring, loving relationship with His Creation
and with Humankind to many thousands, and this became the mission of all his descendants, of all of the Jewish People. This is symbolized by the Menorah— and also by a curious architectural detail of the Temple. For the Midrash tells us that the windows of the Temple were con-
some by pursuing justice, and so on—and all are necessary and legitimate ways of fulfilling the sacred mission of the Jewish People. The wicks of the three branches of the Menorah on each side were placed so that the flame of the six branches on the side would always be pointing toward the
each jewish soul is a traveling flame, spreading torah values structed unlike ordinary windows, where the frame of the window widens from outside to inside, so that more light should enter the room. The windows of the Temple widened as they went to the outside, because the objective was to allow the light of the Menorah (and the “light” of Torah and Holiness) to radiate more strongly to an outside world that desperately needed it. In a sense, every Jew is a Menorah—a lamp—that is charged with the mission of spreading the light of Torah and the knowledge of Hashem to the world. Ner Hashem, we read (Proverbs 20:27), nishmas adam—“The human soul (particularly of the Jewish People, but to some degree of every human being) is G-d’s lamp…” to the world. We further read (Proverbs 6:23) how we go about spreading this light to the world: “Ner Mitzvah Torah Ohr”—“The flame of a Mitzvah is the Torah’s beacon of light (to the world).” Thus when we do a Mitzvah, we are spreading the light to the world: the light of the Existence of a Creator; the light of the love that exists between Hashem and all of Creation; and the light of the values of Torah. This is why there is a Halachah that one must stand when one is in the presence of someone performing a Mitzvah. The performance of a Mitzvah is a concrete instance of the light of Torah and of G-dly Holiness radiating to the world—and that demands and deserves respect, which standing indicates. Given this very important and profound symbolism that is served by the Menorah, one might ask, Why does the Menorah consist of a multiplicity of lamps, of flames? Why are there seven flames, and not just one large flame? The commentaries explain, to show that there are different ways and roads of serving this mission— some by charity, some by knowledge,
central flame in the middle. This was to show that all the different ways that people serve Hashem and further the Sacred Mission of Israel is directed at one central goal: to spread G-dliness and awareness throughout the world of the Creator and His relationship with us and with all of Creation. We also learn a great lesson about this mission from the identity of the one who is charged with lighting the Menorah in the Mishkan, namely, Aharon, and after him, his descendants, the Kohanim Gedolim, the High Priests. For Aharon was the very personification of loving kindness and love—love of G-d and love of the Jewish People. When Aharon led his fellow Kohanim in blessing the Jewish People with the Priestly Blessing, the blessing he recited before performing the Mitzvah of blessing his fellow Jews was: …vetzivanu le-vareich es amo Ysiroel Be-ahavah— “…who commanded us to bless his nation of Israel with love.” Finally, the manner in which the Menorah’s wicks were lit also provides us with a lesson about our mission. The commentaries point out that the word used in the Torah is unusual: it uses “Be-ha’aloscha” which means, “When you shall raise up [the flame]”; and not, “Be-hadlokoscha”, which means “When you shall kindle.” Why this unusual and indirect terminology? To teach us, the sages tell us, that when the Kohein Gadol lit the Menorah, he should not light it the way a lamp is ordinarily lit. We ordinarily touch a kindling flame to a wick until it starts to burn, and then we go on to the next wick while the first one burns and drew from the wax or the oil in the bowl beneath. But flames like that sometimes go out if the oil isn’t fueling the flame sufficiently. The Kohein is instructed to keep the flame on the wick
until it becomes a shalhevet ha-oleh meieile’hah—“a flame that can exist and burn on its own,” that is drawing from a source of fuel that will keep it alive even when the kindling flame is removed and goes on to the next wick. This must be the way we have to light the lamp of Torah, to spread the light of Mitzvah: We have to do it with a sustained effort and a dedication that will create a flame that radiates and lights the world wherever we go and whatever we do. In the modern world, we have the ability to compartmentalize our lives so that we can observe Mitzvos and learn Torah in a world that is separate from the world in which we earn a living and conduct the mundane elements of our lives. This is not a “flame that stands on its own”—a flame that burns continually and always, lighting the world as we travel through it. The sages say we must acknowledge Hashem not just when we are in the synagogue at services or observing a Shabbos or yom tov meal at our tables. B’chol d’ra-che-cha da-eihu—“In all thy ways acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:6)”—not just when you are engaged in clearly religious observances, but in the mundane activities of the workaday world—in your comings and goings—that’s when we must be mindful of our mission and our task, our gift. Each Jewish soul is not only a flame that is bringing light to the world, but a traveling flame, spreading the teachings and values of Torah in the world in all one’s comings and goings, in all the activities of one’s mundane workaday world. Just as the Israelites followed the Anan—the Divine Presence in the Cloud—in all the 42 times they packed up, traveled, and then encamped again, so must we today recognize that as we make our way through our world, we are itinerant sources of light in all the “wildernesses” in which we travel. Rabbi Reuven Wolf is a world renowned educator and lecturer who has devoted his life to reaching out and rekindling the spirit of Judaism in his fellow Jews. He was raised in the Ropshetz Chassidic dynasty, educated in the Belz and Bluzhev Yeshivos, and later, in the famous Lithuanian schools of Slabodkea and Mir. He is profoundly influenced by Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah, and particularly Chabad Chassidic philosophy. Since 1995, Rabbi Wolf has been teaching students of all ages, from elementary school children to adults, and has lectured across North America. Maayon Yisroel was founded in 2006 by Rabbi Wolf and Haki Abhesera, as a center to fulfill the vision of spreading the profound mystical teachings of Chassidic Judaism.
The Jewish Home May 23, 2013
May 23, 2013
The Jewish Home
A Plea for Victims of Child Abuse
The recent guilty plea of an Orthodox Rabbi to molestation charges in New Jersey as well as the District Attorney’s expressed hope that this case will encourage other parents of abused children from the Orthodox community to come forward to report crimes, beg the questions that have bothered me for years : Why is there such a reticence on the part of Orthodox Jews to put these perpetrators behind bars? Why are threats of retribution aimed at the victims and their families if they report these crimes, when logic dictates that our wrath
should be aimed at the abuser and not at the abused? I recently read an article in the L.A. Times about Phil Jackson’s new book, and what he says in it about Kobe Bryant. Jackson writes that he harbored a deep underlying hatred for Bryant the year that he was accused of sexual assault, because Jackson’s daughter was a victim of a similar assault years earlier. That episode, therefore, hit Jackson close to home. It struck me clearly that the mere fact that Jackson had a daughter wasn’t enough to affect him deeply. The basic feelings of empathy and compassion that dictate revulsion at the mere mention of such a heinous crime were apparently beyond even Phil Jackson’s capabilities. I am not here to criticize Jackson, but could it be that we the chosen people, are mired in the same place? Do we hear the words “abuse” and “molestation,” shake our heads and move on? Do we, Heaven forbid, have to feel the pain personally before we react the way a parent of a victim would? Let me make a suggestion: let us rename these people “murderers”
instead of molesters. From a religious point of view , that is exactly what they are. Killing one’s souls, in Jewish law, is at least as destructive as killing one physically. In addition when a Rabbi or other religious authority figure invades a child’s world with abuse, he shatters the positive association with Torah that so significantly contributes to the child’s spirituality. When we compound the tragedy with intimation and cover-up, we bear the guilt of both pushing the knife into the hearts of the victims, and becoming accessories to the future murders of innocent neshamos. I am not being overly dramatic. Listen to the mental health professionals and hear how much of a struggle it is to rebuild theses victims’ selfesteem and trust. Can a Jew come to love Torah when its representative has so ravaged his inner peace and selfworth? The Torah commands us not to stand by idly as our fellow Jew’s blood is being spilled. This Halacha clearly encompasses more than actual blood: one’s mental and spiritual health are within its purview as well.
by Rabbi Avrohom Stulberger Factoring in the intimacy issues that abuse raises later in life, the damage caused is incalculable. Arguably, there is no greater single threat to a chid’s emerging Ruchnius than suffering the pain of sexual abuse. So let’s stop focusing on the sterling reputations of perpetrators and their family members, who inevitably rally to the molester’s side. Let’s stop nonsensically pretending that we are turning innocent people over to the KGB or the Gestapo. Let’s stop listening to the empty promises that it won’t happen again. Instead, let’s start looking into these children’s hearts and let us cry at the agony that we see. Let’s look honestly at the fact that today as an Orthodox community we cannot manage our own house, and cannot promise that there will be no more victims. We don’t have the power. We don’t have the authority. And sadly, I fear that we don’t have the empathy. Rabbi Avrohom Stulberger has been dean of Valley Torah high school for 27 years. Serves as the president of the Yeshiva Principals council of LA and has served on the Halachic Advisory Board of Aleinu Jewish Family Services for over a decade.
preserve the oneness of Jewish people in the Jewish state. Really. We really believe that the peaceful spirit of Jewish unity that the Western Wall has evidenced for more than 40 years is threatened by those who want to change the mode of public worship there. Really. We really believe that traditional Jewish modesty is not misogynistic or prudish but as deeply Jewish an ideal as providing for the poor or caring for the sick. Really. Do any or all of those beliefs, I asked my listeners, strike you as bizarre? “Of course they do!” I answered on the audience’s behalf. (I read minds.) “But you know what?” I went on. “The non-charedi takes on security, pluralism, the Kotel and standards of dress are no less bizarre to us.” The discussion that followed, primed by questions from the moderator
and the audience, was an exercise in civility and intellectual give-and-take, particularly noteworthy considering the attempts of late by various parties in the media to bring a host of simmering issues to a boil. At one point I mused how odd it is that political conservatives tend to listen almost exclusively to Rush Limbaugh, and liberals, just as religiously, to NPR. It really, I suggested, should be just the opposite. After all, if you’re not listening to your adversary, you’re just listening to yourself. © 2013 Rabbi Avi Shafran This essay and others, plus occasional musings of mine, can be read at rabbiavishafran.com.
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May 23, 2013
It’s a story I tell a lot, since, well, its point comes up a lot. Blessedly, my audience, at least judging from its response, hadn’t heard it before. The psychiatrist asks the new patient what the problem is. “I’m dead,” he confides earnestly, “but my family won’t believe me.” The doctor raises an eyebrow, thinks a moment, and asks the patient what he knows about dead people. After listing a few things – they don’t breathe, their hearts don’t beat – the patient adds, “and they don’t bleed very much.” At which point the psychiatrist pulls out a blade and runs it against patient’s arm, which begins to bleed, profusely. The patient is aghast and puzzled. He looks up from his wound at the slyly smiling doctor and concedes, “I guess I was wrong.” “Dead people,” he continues, “do bleed.” I interrupted the laughter with the sobering suggestion that it’s not only the emotionally compromised victims of delusions, however, who see the world through their own particular lenses. Most of us do, at least if we have strong convictions. And the yields of those sometimes very different lenses are the stuff of conflict. My brief presentation took place on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, as part of an April 23 panel discussion hosted by the 92nd St. Y and Gesher (in partnership with “Israel Talks,” a JCRC-NY initiative). It featured former New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner, Gesher CEO Ilan Geal-Dor and me; the discussion was moderated by Professor Ari Goldman of Colum-
bia University. The topic: “Resolving Conflict with Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Community.” The point I sought to make with my little story and postscript was that a secular Jew and a religious Jew live in different universes, each providing its own perspective on reality. The first step toward lessening the interpersonal tensions born of those alternate perspectives, I suggested, is simply recognizing that fact. And the second is seeking – if you’re standing, you might want to sit down here – to occupy, if only for a few moments, the mind of the “other.” That suggestion won’t sit well with those who imagine that all less-observant or non-observant Israelis are hateful, evil people, or with those who look down at the charedi community as a hopelessly backward and useless bunch. But it’s a vital one for them, and everyone in both communities, to consider. We charedim need to understand that many other Jews have never experienced a truly Jewish life and as a result have come to regard Jewish observance as a mere cultural heritage, and Torah-study as an unproductive vocation. No, not to accept those contentions, G-d forbid, but to understand them, to perceive the roots of the secular disdain for Torah and for those who live and study it – giving us the tools to, at least where it can be done, change misperceptions. Conversely, though, I continued, non-charedim, like most of the people I was addressing (though I greatly appreciated the presence of a handful of attendees who resembled my wife and me), do themselves a disservice if they don’t “try on” the perspective yielded by charedi convictions. Again, not to succumb to the charedi mindset, just to better understand it. And so, I touched on several issues. We charedim really believe, I confided, that Torah – its observance and its study – protects the Jewish people. Really. We really believe, I continued, that what some call an “Orthodox monopoly” in religious matters in Israel is nothing other than an authentically Jewish standard – the only one that can
The Jewish Home
Understanding the “Other” By Rabbi Avi Shafran
The Jewish Home
May 23, 2013
A Home Like No Other - Etta in Action By Rachel Wizenfeld At 4pm on a Monday afternoon, in a spic and span house in the heart of Valley Village, Avremel is jamming on his guitar, Mark is relaxing while watching TV, and Tamir is displaying his artwork and chatting about manning his day program’s grocery canteen. The six male residents of the house know that dinner will be served shortly, and each can point to his chore chart posted on the wall with a description of his responsibility to keep the place clean and functioning. It’s an idyllic scene, and one there’s an urgent need for more of in Los Angeles. Currently the Etta Israel Center is the only provider of Jewish group homes for adults with special needs in the LA area, but with their fourth home opened last summer, they still have only 24 slots, and over 100 people on their waiting list. Why are group homes so vital? “It’s an incredible model,” says
Josh Taff, director of outreach and Jewish life for Etta. The level of support for residents and families, along with a strong connection to the community, helps residents thrive and grow, he says. One such resident is Avremel Mayer, 28, who grew up in PicoRobertson and frequents the Chabad of Beverlywood on his visits home. When Taff started working at the home as resident director four years ago, Mayer would often say how he wanted to go to college. With support from Taff and his parents, Mayer began taking courses with support at Los Angeles Valley College. Taff says he can still recall the smile on Mayer’s face every morning when he was getting ready for class. Mayer also learned to take public transportation by himself and, after applying for various local jobs, was recently accepted to be assistant
program director at a nearby assisted living facility opening in June. It’s stories like this that make his work so meaningful, says Taff. In addition to growing their independence, residents – who must be clients of the Regional Center and have developmental disabilities like Down Syndrom, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and mental retardation to qualify for a home - also cultivate a strong sense of community, within and outside of their homes. “The key is the idea that support is in place, in terms of establishing connection to Jewish community,” says Taff. Each Shabbos, residents at the Valley homes are placed for meals at nearby families and often go to synagogue. “There’s the feeling that – we matter,” says Taff, which he doesn’t see in other residences, which can often have a feeling of isolation.
One such host is Sharon Levine, co-president of the new Etta/OHEL board who lives in Valley Village and frequently hosts residents for Shabbos and holiday meals. 36-year-old Tamir Appel says he likes going to people’s houses for Shabbat, although “it’s a long walk.” Appel, who spends his day at a nearby day program called PathPoint, has also advanced to taking public transportation by himself – thanks to transportation training from Etta and Regional Center. Both Appel and Mayer exhibit pride and happiness when talking about their accomplishments, making the group home model speak for itself. But because opening a new home is so expensive – houses have to be bought outright with philanthropic dollars – Etta is exploring other models, like an apartment community in which residents would pay rent and
The Jewish Home May 23, 2013
Big Changes at Etta
The Jewish Home
May 23, 2013
Merger with OHEL Means More Opportunities for Jewish Adults with Special Needs in LA A Q&A with Dr. Michael Held, founder and executive director of the Etta Israel Center receive auxiliary services and support onsite, which would be covered by both the state and Etta. Operating expenses for group homes are partially paid for by the state, but aren’t nearly enough for a decent quality of life, according to Taff. And going to a non-Jewish home is just a hard option – one mother he knows is forced to deliver kosher food every single day to her son – not a convenient situation. Etta has also recently become vendored by the Regional Center to help clients gain independent living skills like personal hygiene, money management, transportation and more. For adults living on their own or with families, the weekly support and skills enhancement is invaluable, Taff says, and offering these services helps them reach more families even if there aren’t housing slots available. Parents themselves need support through the transition to independent living, something else that Etta provides counseling and support for. Though there is some measure of relief that their child is out of the house and in a secure and supportive environment, Taff often sees parents hesitating because they’ve put so much dedication into that child, and it’s hard for them to fathom that child ever leaving home and living independently. “That’s where we provide support,” he says. “It takes time; we teach them about looking to the future.” Etta recently started two new programs for residents– the B’lev Ari learning program, where male residents are invited to learning and pizza at Shaarei Torah synagogue in Hancock Park (they plan to create a women’s chavruta learning program as well), and a partnership with
Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters to do get-togethers, bowling events, outings with residents and more. While housing for special-needs adults is currently the main focus at Etta, it wasn’t always this way. When the organization started nearly 20 years ago, they focused more on children’s needs, says Taff. Partly due to their clients growing up, as well as the existence of other organizations like Friendship Circle, which Etta works closely with, Etta is able to focus more on housing and adult independent living skills. There are two educational programs through Etta– one for middle school boys at Toras Emes and one for high school girls at Bais Yaakov, which are self-contained classrooms for Jewish children with special needs or learning challenges. And each summer, Taff helps direct Summer@Etta, a five-week day program for special needs teens and adults ages 14 and up featuring life skills development, as well as music, art and trips to Knottsbury Farm. But housing remains front and center. And while real estate is cheaper in the Valley, opening homes in the city is a priority as well so that adults already living in PicoRobertson can stay connected to the community. Turnaround at homes is basically nonexistent. When Etta accepts a client, it’s accepted that it’s for life. “I started out at 18 working in Tikvah in Camp Ramah (a special needs camp program), and we would talk about what happens when our campers grow up,” recalls Taff. “Because transition occurs, and need to take care of everyone in our community.”
How did the merger with OHEL - which took place this past October - come to be? Who approached whom?
Etta approached OHEL because we were facing a significant demographic change - an increase in the number of people with special needs, fueled by an increase primarily in the number of people with autism. Etta is the only Jewish organization in California that offers residential support and group homes for Jewish adults with developmental disabilities, and because of the number of people on our waiting list, and families approaching us over and over again for housing support, we wanted to grow. We currently have four homes (for which we worked very hard), but OHEL is the largest Jewish provider in the country. It’s strategic. OHEL is going to help Etta to grow bigger and faster and help more people. 425 (OHEL’s adult housing portfolio) is a lot bigger than 24 people, and there are a lot of other aspects of working with lifetime care, lifetime support, how people change and age over their lifespan, and agencies like Etta are responsible for understanding a client’s needs at 30 and at 50 and at 70. Merging with OHEL gives Etta - and the LA community - the opportunity to be part of an agency that will help us all grow.
What did OHEL see to make the merger attractive?
Part of the appeal to OHEL is that Etta has a great reputation for almost 20 years. We have a lot of support in the LA community, and we’re a thriving, functioning organization. OHEL had established a strategic plan to expand nationally, to share their expertise outside of NY and elevate a message of support for Jews with different types of challenges: developmental disability, mental illness and more. They were looking for an opportunity, and we spent a year in conversations exploring the possibility, concerns, risks, and benefits. All parties, the two boards, myself, and the CEO of OHEL, David Mandel, felt like it was a perfect fit. Etta and OHEL are two organizations that share the philosophy of serving the entire family and including and integrating people with disabilities.
Can you give me specifics on how Etta Israel and OHEL are collaborating on the West Coast?
We’re talking (Etta and OHEL senior staff) every day about new ideas, new directions, and how to reach out, whether in fundraising and philanthropy, program operations, grant writing or government relations. They’ve strengthened our outreach efforts to become a service provider in areas that we already operate in. The state government provides services through the Westside Regional Center, and there are many, many services that an agency can get vendored for. Vendoring is crucial because it shifts the burden of cost of away from the families. We became an approved vendor in January to provide independent living skills (ILS) and supportive living services (SLS). Partnering with Ohel accelerated the work. This is in addition to our four group homes, each of which is vendored by the Regional Center. Another sign of our collaboration is our new office in Pico-Robertson. We wanted to be more visible and offer more services to access more easily than coming to the Valley.
Where is most of your funding from? Has your budget expanded due to the OHEL merger?
Our current budget is 2.7 million dollars annually and a good portion is governmentfunded. The ratio of government funding and philanthropy is about 40/60. We have other initiatives underway for expanded fundraising – OHEL has expertise in this and has some very successful fundraising techniques – but fundraising is very individual to each city and community – you can’t just translate from one city to another. The merger also strengthens Etta when applying to foundations. We also get funding from the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, which provides critical support for the operations of our residential programs and our annual summer camp. (While OHEL provides fundraising expertise and assistance, they do not provide actual funding.)
What are your plans for expansion of Etta Israel’s programs and services? What services (and for what demographic, age and disability type) are most in need in the LA Jewish community?
We’re finalizing a plan to significantly expand -- through apartment buildings and additional group homes -- creating many more housing spaces in the coming years. We have over 100 people on our waiting list; that’s a significant number of Jewish adults who don’t know where to turn when their child with a disability becomes a young adult. Because of the California economy, there are no non-profit housing providers adding slots. For the most part, adults with disabilities are living with their families for a longer period of time. Moving out is an individual decision, client by client, family by family, but our experience is a person with a disability generally wants to do what his or her peers are doing. People in their 20’s move out, begin a career, and we generally advise families that by the age of 30 it’s a good idea to help their adult children transition to independent supported housing. We’re also focusing on all the wraparound services that go with housing: employment, job coaching and finding supportive employment opportunities in the community, whether working at a market or a Starbucks. For a level of functioning that requires more support, we plan to establish a site-based day program so there is a place to go to work on a daily basis, that is safe, professional and supportive of Jewish identity. It’s not just the housing that’s meaningful to an adult life, it’s what an individual is doing during the day. We’re planning to develop and grow a significant program for job coaching, employment and day programming in the next 12-24 months.
Why the focus on adults with special needs? Are other ages less important?
Needs are equally important along the entire age spectrum. Some would argue that early intervention is possibly the most important of special needs services, but there are other service providers providing these. Also, a family’s sense of energy and purpose is strong when their children are young, but parents find it harder to meet the needs of their disabled children as they reach the age of young adulthood. Helping a 25- or 30-year-old-adult with disabilities find the balance of independence and support is a task that is larger than the family unit itself. And then there are so many families and young adults looking for housing right now.
The Jewish Home May 23, 2013
2013 TThThe e JJeJewish w i s h hHome o m e nn May m ay23, 2013 HE EWISH HOME MAY 2243, , 2012
Jewish History Larry Domnitch
The Twentieth of Sivan
A Day Commemorating the Tragedies of Eastern and Western Europe
he 20th of day of the month of Sivan (chof Sivan) has been designated by sages in two different eras to be a day of fasting and commemoration. There are certainly other days devoted to Jewish remembrance. The ninth of Av commemorates many tragedies that befell the Jews—the destruction of the two Temples of Jerusalem and the fall of the Judean commonwealth to Rome. In modern times, the twenty-seventh day of Nissan has been designated as Yom HaShoah to commemorate the victims of the Nazi Holocaust. The 20th of Sivan commemorates tragedies that befell the Jews of Western and Eastern Europe in different eras. In 1171, tragedy struck the Jewish community of Blois, France. Horrific blood libel accusations which had been leveled on several occasions in England had made its way to France. A local Christian claimed that he saw a Jew throw the corpse of a child into the river Loire. The corpse was never found, but the testimony was accepted. The town’s approximately forty Jews were arrested, and offered the choice of accepting baptism or death. Despite threats and torture, they did not yield. On the 20th of Sivan, thirty-two Jews, seventeen of them women, were burnt at the stake. Rabbi Ephraim Ben Yaakov of Bonn wrote that the 20th of Sivan was decreed by the greatest Torah sage of that era, Rabbi Yaakov son of Meir Tam (Rabbeinu Tam), as a fast day for Jews living in France, the Rhineland, (Western Germany), and England. Rabbeinu Tam wrote letters to Jewish communities declaring that day to be one of “atonement.” The decree of Rabbeinu Tam was foreboding. Many more such tragic events followed causing immense suffering and torment to Jewish communities throughout Europe. Many Jews fled to Eastern Europe where they continued to observe that fast day. Tragically, blood libels eventually made their way to that region as well. The Jews of Eastern Europe would also be compelled to observe this date of remembrance for other tragedies in their own region. In 1648, the Ukrainian Cossack leader Bogdan Chmielnizki incited a rebellion against Poland. Chmielnitzki’s forces combined with Tartar allies of Mongolia routing the Polish army at Yellow River on May 19, 1648, and Hard Plank on May 26. The Polish defeat was a disaster for the Jews of the Ukraine. During the revolt, Chmielnitzki’s Cossacks unleashed their fury against the Jews of the Ukraine and surrounding areas. In the ensuing pogroms, many Jewish communities were wiped out. Hundreds of thousands were murdered, severely wounded, or refugees facing
starvation and disease. Rabbi Nathan Neta Hanover , a contemporary chronicler of the events of this era known as Tach VeTat, an acronym for the years (1648-1649), reported that the first attack against a large Jewish community was in the city of Nemirov. Jews from surrounding villages had gathered there from smaller villages for refuge. Just days earlier on Shabbos, the head of the city’s Yeshiva, Rabbi Yechiel Michael son of Rabbi Eliezer, told the community that if the enemy should arrive, the people must defy them if they demand baptism— even at the cost of their lives. As Cossacks troops were nearing Nemirov, its Jews trembled in fear as they locked themselves within the city walls. As the soldiers drew nearer, they unfurled Polish flags to give the impression that they
ta” massacres of 1767-1768, in which the Jewish community lost tens of thousands in and around the city of Uman. In 1881, and in 1903-1905, pogroms were again unleashed in which Ukrainian nationalists participated. During the First World War, Ukrainian Cossacks initiated pogroms against Jewish communities in Poland and Galitzia causing massive devastation. In 1919, a civil war positioned Ukrainians in pursuit of independence, and Russian nationalists, against the revolutionary Red Army. Again Ukrainian Jewry was caught in the middle, and forced to suffer horrific massacres. Hundreds of thousands of the over one million Jews of the Ukraine were again devastated by massacres, starvation, disease, and homelessness. Again, in 1941/1942, Ukrainian Nationalists assisted the Nazis in conducting horrific “aktions” against the Jews.
During the First World War, Ukrainian Cossacks initiated pogroms against Jewish communities in Poland and Galitzia causing massive devastation.
were Polish troops coming to their rescue. The Poles within the city were notified of this ruse and collaborated with the Cossacks in order to save their own lives. They falsely informed the Jews guarding the gates that the approaching soldiers were indeed Polish and that they should open the gates. As the Cossacks entered the city with drawn swords, slaughter ensued. Over six-thousand Jews were martyred on that day. From Nemirov, the Cossacks attacked the cities of Tulshin, Polannoe, and then Ostrog and Zaslow. At each city, horrors followed. After less than two years, the Tartar allies withdrew from the conflict, forcing Chmielnitzki into a truce which lasted for eighteen months followed by more violence which continued intermittently until his death in 1657. In the winter of 1650, Rabbinic and lay leaders known as the “Council of the Four Lands” gathered in Lublin and declared, the twentieth of Sivan, the day the city of Nemerov was attacked, as a day of fasting and commemoration for the many martyrs of the Chmielnizki pogroms. The massacres by Ukrainian nationalists did not end with Chmielnitzki’s death. There were a series of attacks in the eighteenth century, including the “Gon-
Most Ukrainians did not take part in these many attacks. There were also Ukrainians who saved Jewish lives, sometimes at great personal risk, but those who did participate caused untold suffering. The tragic events between France and the Ukraine are five hundred years apart, but famed Rabbinic scholar Rabbi Yom Tov Lipmann Heller also known by his pen name, “Tosafot Yom Tov,” the name for his commentary on the Mishnah, ordained that those selichot prayers composed in commemoration of the victims in France in the twelfth century be recited also for the victims of the Chmielnitzki massacres. Today, there are some prayer books that contain those memorial prayers for recitation on the Twentieth of Sivan. Rabbi Lipmann stated in the context of the tragedies encountered by European Jewry: “What has occurred now is similar to days of old. All that happened to the forefathers happened to their descendants.” Although the 20th of Sivan is not observed on a wide scale and the memory of the many victims may have diminished somewhat due to the passage of time. This commemorative day is an opportunity to pay homage to those who died al Kiddush Hashem during two critical eras in European Jewish history.
27 by Shiffy Friedman ©
Chapter Five Recap: When Tuvia awakens and tells Davie not to ask any questions, Davie realizes that Tuvia had messed with his drugs. Rifka offers Lisa the coveted position as the director of the teens’ division of The Place on the condition that she first wins a competition to heal an abused family. The offer puts Lisa into high spirits, until she sees her mother’s text message when she gets into the car.
Lisa Stein Marcus The steering wheel is slippery but not from the heavy rain descending in torrents outside the window. I tighten my grip lest the clammy palms drive me back home in defeat. She’s earned this, the naughty sister of mine, and the heart that cries for our broken mother will not let her get away with a crime so malicious. “When do we meet next?” Mom asked me in her innocent text message. To me, the silence of these words screamed. They begged to be heard by the only person who still listened. As the nut-brown bricks transform from a speck in the distance into the towering structure I’ve come to loathe, a sudden rush of tension saps the bravery out of my being. I stare at the window, its dusty curtains now drawn, and I’m sucked into the life from which I’ve run so far there’s no way back. Despicable sounds start to reverberate in my ears, sounds that bring me back to the days when we all lived under one roof-- before the fateful separation that ultimately dubbed Mom a piteous divorcee. I’m sick to my stomach. “Stop that hideous noise right now!” he bellows. The hideous noise is so faint only his sharp ears can discern it but, like a hungry dog, he searches ceaselessly for his prey. When the slurping continues, albeit much quieter, his wrath surges. “A useless piece of dirt you are! Get out of here!” From behind the curtain, I see a young girl running to her room, her eyes darting, her heart breaking. I see a mother withering further into her shattered self, clearing the dinner plates on tip toes as she ducks out of fury’s way. In my mind’s eye, I follow the woman back and forth, from table to counter, first with
the soup bowls, then with the croutons. Her breaths are so quiet she’s practically breathless.
“Okay, then. See you, dear.”
welcome mat, I’d brace myself for the worst. That’s what it was-- almost always, at least.
He hangs up with a sigh before I get a chance to play with my doubts, to start murmuring some clues as to my unusual whereabouts.
Later, only many hours later when he finally decides to call it a day, does she slip the plate of forlorn chicken nuggets into the microwave. She squirts a pretty rose of ketchup onto the edge and heaves her gaunt self up the stairs.
The squeaking of my now drenched shoes is a lone sound in the night. I stand at the door, hoping to make it quick. I want to drop my line and go, to say it like it was-- the naked truth, stripped of all niceties, and scurry back into my cozy life.
“Here,” she says to a drained Becca. “Eat, my dear. You must be very hungry.”
The hour is late and Nathan is waiting for me at home.
She doesn’t sit down on the bed to hold the girl’s hand. She’s too afraid herself. But the light that sparks in her daughter’s eye as she chews is enough for her, enough to keep her going for another while.
“Just a short errand,” I told him. “I won’t be gone for long.”
Bile tastes so bitter I want to spit on the dashboard. When I finally find the courage to leave my car, I’m exhausted, but I’m too angry to stay inside. I slam the door shut and walk up the path. Until today, I’ve cradled in my heart a secret. I kept it hidden deep inside, a pact between my sister and me. Now, I’ve come to let it free, to unbind the kind knots that have kept it fastened all these years, to let it crash into the open world, to let it bite and poison those who don’t deserve compassion. Here I come, Dad. I’m coming to shatter your world, to let you know that the loving daughter who’s decided to embrace you in adulthood had betrayed you in the worst of ways. I’ve carried her secret for only so long. The time has come to crack the shell. I walk without an umbrella. The raindrops patter onto my head, into my hands, their tapping rhythm filling me with the courage to forge on. I’ve walked this path countless times before, often tense, rarely not, never knowing what I’d witness when I’d enter the doors ahead. I always wished there would be a radar or even just a tiny window so I could catch a peek to know when to linger outside until the storm subsided. But the doors were made of solid wood and every time I’d come to this place, ironically graced with a
Now, as I stand on the wet mat, I find myself shivering inside. I long to be under the covers but I cannot turn back just yet. The ringing of my phone suddenly breaks the heavy silence. It startles me at first but when I look at the screen and see that it’s Nathan, I feel warm. “Lisa,” he says as soon as I answer, sounding relieved. “Where are you?”
I feel a sudden urge to hurry home but my finger takes on a life of its own as it rings the doorbell. I hear the sound go off inside, a hollow din echoing through the vacant hall. I don’t wait for an answer before I try again. If I wait too long I might be gone too soon. Please G-d, make this easy for me. I’m doing it for my mother! My knees jerk impatiently, willing me to take refuge on the dry ground of the car. I ring the doorbell one more time. And then one more time. Finally, I catch a sound. My heart beats so fast it feels like one long beat-beat-beat with no pause. I gasp for air as I try to sort my words. How will I say it? Should I drop it all at once or crack it into tiny pieces, one grain of wounding salt at a time?
“I hear you,” he says slowly. I hope he doesn’t suspect anything. It’s not often that I leave him wondering like this.
I hear him clear his throat from somewhere at the other end of the house, the way he characteristically did before breaking into never-ending barrages that shook the walls of this home. The mere sound of it makes me shrivel up inside and I find myself bending over, feeling very small. One last time. I ring again.
“I’m almost home,” I tell him, praying that these words come true.
This time, long, heavy footsteps alert me of his approach.
“It’s just a short errand, I told you.” I’m afraid my words came out in a whisper.
מוהל מומחה ומוסמך
Traditional Ritual Circumcision Rabbi Sholom D. Langsam CM, NREMT
(216) FOR-BRIS 367-2747 firstname.lastname@example.org www.certifiedmohel.com 434 N Alta Vista Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036
May 23, 2013
The Jewish Home
Shiffy Friedman is a Jerusalem-based freelance writer. Her works have been published widely, primarily in Ami Magazine. She would love to hear feedback on her writing. Feel free to contact her at email@example.com.
28 May 23,2013 2013 TThHE e JJThe eEWISH w iJewish s h hHOME o mHome e nn MAY m ay 2 24 3, ,2012
You Gotta be
Harry tells his doctor that he is very concerned that his wife Sadie is losing her hearing. “I’ll have my nurse make an appointment for her, but in the meantime, there’s a simple, informal test you can run to give us an idea how bad the problem is,” his doctor says. “Here’s what you do: start out about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal, conversational, speaking tone say something and see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response.” That evening, Sadie is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and Harry is in the living room. In a normal tone, Harry asks, “Honey, what’s for supper?” No response. So Harry moves to the other end of the room and repeats, “Honey, what’s for supper?” Still no response. Next he moves into the dining room. “Honey, what’s for supper? Sadie, do you hear me?” No response, so he walks up to the kitchen door. “What’s for supper?” Again there is no response, so he walks right up behind her. “Honey, what’s for supper?” To which Sadie responds: “For the fifth time, Harry, MEATBALLS!”
Riddle Ms. Greatmom bought each of her four children two candies at a Memorial Day fair. Yosef had an orange candy. The child who had a red candy also had a blue one. No child had two candies of the same color. The child who had a green candy also had a red one. Aviva didn’t have a red candy and Dovid had a green one. Miri didn’t have an orange one and Yosef had no blue candy. Knowing that there were two candies of each color, can you tell the colors of the sweets each child had? Answers on next page
“M A NNI NG” TH E BA R BEQUE (And Why Mom May Not Be on Board)
1. Wife goes to the supermarket to buy the food. 2. Wife makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert. 3. Wife prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to Husband who is lounging beside the grill. 4. HUSBAND PLACES THE MEAT ON THE GRILL. 5. Wife goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery. 6. Wife comes out to tell Husband that the meat is burning. He thanks her and says, “This is some serious work!” after taking a sip of his iced tea. 7. HUSBAND TAKES SOME OF THE MEAT OFF THE GRILL AND HANDS IT TO WIFE.
8. Wife prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces and brings them to the table. 9. HUSBAND WIPES HIS FORWHEAD WITH THE DISH TOWEL SHOVED IN HIS WASTEBAND... KNOCKS DOWN A HOTDOG IN THREE BITES, WHILE POURING HIMSELF A CUP OF FRESCA AND HYSTERICALLY SHAKING HIS HEAD FROM SIDE TO SIDE IN ADMIRATION OF HIS OWN BARBEQUEING SKILLS. 10. Wife entertains the guests. 11. Everyone at barbeque showers man with praise. “Nobody knows how to BBQ like you,” they say (knowing that if they don’t say that, they won’t be invited back for another barbeque next year). 12. HUSBAND ASKS WIFE HOW SHE ENJOYED HER NIGHT OFF.
29 79 69
2. Who did the U.S. fight in the War of 1812? a. Mexico b. Spain c. France d. Britain 3. On June 6th, 1944, American troops invaded the beaches of Normandy during World War II. What country is Normandy in? a. France b. Japan c. Italy d. Poland Answers: 1. C- In 1964, as the Civil War raged and thousands of soldiers were dying, the Union government needed a cemetery to bury its dead. The Union occupied Arlington and the Arlington Estate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was the most suitable property in the area. The property was high and free from floods, it had a view of the District of Columbia, and it was aesthetically pleasing. Denying Robert E. Lee use of his home after the war was also a valuable political consideration. 2. D- The War of 1812 is often considered to be the “forgotten war.” Some facts that were not forgotten: The White House and Capitol were burned to the ground during the invasion of Washington, DC. First Lady Dolly Madison garnered fame for saving a portrait of George Washington before flames engulfed the president’s home. In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” while watching the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor.
4. What was Woodrow Wilson’s campaign slogan when he ran for re-election in 1916? a. Peace, Progress, Prosperity b. Secure Our Homeland First c. Don’t Swap Horses in the Middle of the Stream d. He Kept Us out of War 5. Which U.S. soldier was the highest ranking officer captured by North Korean troops in the Korean War? a. Major General William F. Dean b. Lt. General Levon D. Smeth c. Lt. General Jean McArthur d. Sergeant John McCain 6. In which war did the U.S. suffer the most deaths? a. World War II b. Vietnam War c. Civil War d. World War I 3. A 4. D 5. A- On July 20, 1950, Major General Dean became separated from his men during battle. He hid alone in the woods around the countryside during the day and traveled at night for over a month. On August 25, 1950, after a hand-to-hand struggle with fifteen North Koreans, he was captured. General Dean had no contact with the outside world until he was interviewed on December 18, 1951 by an Australian, Wilfred Burchett, who was a correspondent for Le Soir, a French left-wing newspaper. This was the first time that anyone had any idea that General Dean was alive since being reported missing in action. He was released in 1953 and showered with military and civilian honors. General Dean, however, insisted he was no hero but “just a dogface soldier.” 6. C- 625,000 soldiers died in the Civil War, amounting to 1.988% of the total population of 32,000,000 American citizens. The second deadliest war was World
GOT FUNNY? Let the Commissioner decide. Send your stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org
7. In World War II, who was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces who directed the D-Day invasion and announced its start by saying, “OK, we’ll go”? a. Dwight D. Eisenhower b. George S. Patton c. Matthew B. Ridgway d. Douglas Macarthur 8. Which of the following was the U.S.’s longest war? a. Vietnam War b. World War II c. Revolutionary War d. War in Afghanistan
War II, in which we lost 405,399 soldiers, amounting to .307% of the total population. 7. A-Plans were delayed for a couple days because of bad weather, until Gen. Eisenhower finally gave the order. 8. A-The Vietnam conflict between the communist government of North Vietnam and its allies in South Vietnam, known as the Viet Cong, against the government of South and its principal ally, the United States, lasted from 1954 through 1975. America’s direct military involvement was from 1965 to 1973. The second longest is the Afghanistan War, which started in 2001 and is still being fought. Wisdom key: 6-8 correct: You are a war buff! 3-5 correct: You are wishy washy. You probably think the “Cold War” has something to do with a beer commercial. 3-5 correct: You dodged the intelligence draft.
Answer to riddle: Yosef had an orange and a green candy. Aviva had orange and a blue candies. Miri had a red and a blue candy. Dovid had a green and a red one.
1. What was the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery before it became a cemetery? a. It was Thomas Jefferson’s farm b. It was an army base c. It was Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s plantation d. It was a hunting grounds
23, TTThe HE EWISH HOME MAY 2 42,2013 h e JJJewish e w i s hHome h o m e nn May m ay 32012 , 2013
Memorial Day TRIVIA
30 TThHE e JJeEWISH w i s h hHOME o m e nn MAY m ay2243, ,2012 2013 The Jewish Home May 23, 2013
Compiled by Nate Davis
“Say What?” We needed a bill that was going to confiscate, confiscate, confiscate. - From a secret recording of a New Jersey state senator discussing gun legislation with a colleague My thinking was when we beat them in 2012 that might break the fever, and it’s not quite broken yet. I genuinely believe there are Republicans out there who would like to work with us but they’re fearful of their base and they’re concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them. And as a consequence we get the kind of gridlock that makes people cynical about government. - President Obama at a recent Manhattan fundraiser I don’t want to compare this in any way to Watergate … but I have to tell you, that is exactly the approach the Nixon administration took. You’re taking exactly the same line. - CBS newsman Bob Schieffer to White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, after he said that the president would not get bogged down by the IRS and other scandals It’s a big mess, obviously. I know there have been these comparisons to Watergate. I would say not yet. - Bob Woodward on MSNBC, discussing the IRS scandal
One popular way to describe this generation is to say you’re connected. Some refer to you as “Generation C,” but others say you’re increasingly disconnected from the things that matter – that instead of collecting friends, you spend time collecting friend requests. - Melinda Gates at Duke University graduation ceremony
I want to wish Hillary a Happy Mother’s Day. She has her child. I don’t have mine because of her. - Pat Smith, who lost her son in the Benghazi attack
I really like your idea. If we had guns that shot chocolate, not only would our country be safer, it would be happier. People love chocolate. You are a good boy. - Vice President Joe Biden responding to 7-year-old Myles Nelson’s letter to him suggesting that the world would be safer if bullets were made of chocolate
A new report just came out. It says someone close to the president knew about the IRS scandal and kept his mouth shut. In other words, we can rule out Joe Biden. - Conan O’Brien
I’m not going to cry in my beer. - Former MA Senator Scott Brown discussing his recent defeat
Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in thirteen U.S. states. - From a 1975 Newsweek article titled “The Cooling World,” which discussed the devastating effects of cooling world temperatures This is climate change. We were warned about extreme weather. Not just hot weather. But extreme weather. When I had my hearings ... the scientists all agreed that what we’d start to see was extreme weather. And people looked at one another and said, “What do you mean? It’s gonna get hot?” Yeah, it’s gonna get hot. But you’re also going to see snow in the summer in some places. You’re gonna have terrible storms. You’re going to have tornados and all the rest. We need to protect our people. That’s our number one obligation and we have to deal with this threat that is upon us and that is gonna get worse and worse though the years. - Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the day after the Oklahoma tornado Why do you care? Why do you, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, care if we Republicans run off the climate cliff like a bunch of proverbial lemmings and disgrace ourselves? I’ll tell you why. We’re stuck in this together. We are stuck in this together. When cyclones tear up Oklahoma and hurricanes swamp Alabama and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover. And the damage that your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas. It hits Rhode Island with floods and storms. It hits Oregon with acidified seas, it hits Montana with dying forests. So, like it or not, we’re in this together. - Senate floor tirade by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the day after the tornado
It is odd that nothing changed on my tax return and I was never audited until I publicly criticized Obamacare. - Dr. Hal Scherz, a Georgia physician in an interview with ABC News, discussing his recent IRS audit They came within one minute. They were fast— three policemen and a sergeant. - A clerk at a 7-11 recalling what happened after he called police to report someone stealing doughnuts from his store
I wouldn’t let Mark Sanchez throw me a paper bag sandwich. - Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith on WFNZ Sports Radio
Lamborghini is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Lamborghini is so freaked out by turning 50, it just bought itself a Lamborghini. - Conan O’Brien
I know a lot of people in this room thought I was done. - Tiger Woods, after winning the Players Championship
WALLACE: Let’s turn to Benghazi. [President Obama] had a meeting with [Sec. of Defense] Panetta in the afternoon...the next time he shows up, Hillary Clinton says she spoke to him at around 10:00 that night after the attack at the consulate, not the next, but the night the attack at the consulate had ended. Question, what did the president do the rest of that night to pursue Benghazi? PFEIFFER: The president was kept up to date throughout the entire night, from the moment it started till the end. This is a horrible tragedy, people that he sent abroad whose lives are at risk, people who work for him. I recognize that there’s a series of conspiracy theories the Republicans are spinning about this since the night it happened, but there’s been an independent review of this, Congress has held hearings; we provided 250,000 pages of … 250,000 pages of documents up there. There’s been 11 hearings, 20 staff briefings. Everyone has found the same thing. This is a tragedy. The question is not what happened that night. The question is what are we going to do to move forward and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Congress should act on what the president called for earlier this week, to pass legislation to actually allow us to implement the recommendations of the accountability review board. When we send diplomats off into far-flung places, there’sinherent risk. We need to mitigate that risk. WALLACE: With all due respect, you didn’t answer my question. What did the president do that night? PFEIFFER: Kept up to date with the events as they were happening. WALLACE: He didn’t talk to the Secretary of State except for the one time when the first attack was over. He didn’t talk to the Secretary of Defense. He didn’t talk to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Who was he talking to? PFEIFFER: His national security staff, his national security council. WALLACE: Was he in the Situation Room? PFEIFFER: He was kept up to date throughout the day. WALLACE: Do you know whether he was in the Situation Room? PFEIFFER: I don’t know what room he was in that night. That’s a largely irrelevant fact. WALLCE: Here’s the point, though. The ambassador goes missing; the first ambassador in more than 30 years is killed. Four Americans, including the ambassador, are killed. Dozens of Americans are in jeopardy. The president at 4:00 in the afternoon says to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to deploy forces. No forces are deployed. Where is he while all this is going on? PFEIFFER: The suggestion of your question that somehow the president -WALLACE: I just want to know the answer. PFEIFFER: The assertions from Republicans that the president didn’t take action is offensive. There’s no evidence to support it. WALLACE: I’m simply asking a question. Where was he? What did he do? How did he respond and who told him you can’t deploy forces and what was his response? PFEIFFER: The president was in the White House that day, kept up to date by his national security team, spoke to the Joint Chiefs of Staff earlier, Secretary of State, and as events unfolded, he was kept up to date.
A lot of critics are now comparing President Obama to President Nixon. The good news for Obama? At least he’s no longer being compared to President Carter. - Jay Leno The Philadelphia Eagles new coach, Chip Kelly, recently got rid of the team’s longrunning tradition of having fast-food Fridays. He says that he wants his players to live healthier lives. Then he sends them out to hit other people with their heads. - Jimmy Fallon
I’m offended by a government that convenes a hearing to bully one of America’s greatest success stories. If anyone should be on trial here, it should be Congress. - Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) during a Senate committee hearing convened to discuss Apple’s tax practices, despite the fact that the company paid $7 billion in taxes last year
There’s no there, there. - President Obama deflecting the Benghazi scandal during a press conference
It has not been a good week for President Obama. You’ve got Benghazi, the IRS scandal, this AP records scandal, and, worst of all, his Chicago Bulls got eliminated by the Miami Heat. Do you know what that means? LeBron James is going to get audited by the IRS. - Jay Leno How long has Obama known about this tornado? This tornado is in Oklahoma so clearly it has been ordered to only target Conservatives. - Sarcastic tweet sent out by liberal journalist Lisa Winstead shortly after the Oklahoma tornado
In a new interview, Joe Biden says he spends four or five hours every day with President Obama. In response, Obama said hiring that Obama impersonator was the best decision he’s ever made. - Conan O’Brien
These White House scandals are not going away any time soon. I’ll tell you how bad it’s looking for President Obama: people in Kenya are now saying he’s 100 percent American. - Jay Leno President Obama is in a lot of hot water lately. Despite the scandals, 53 percent of Americans say they approve of the job he’s doing. The other 47 percent are being audited. - Conan O’Brien
No, No. That’s what you do. I’m not going to stop talking now... That is inappropriate and is too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of Congress. It’s unacceptable, and it’s shameful. - Attorney General Holder to Congressman Darrel Issa when Issa attempted cut him off while he was talking at a hearing
During a fundraiser yesterday, President Obama said there is a shortage of common sense right now in Washington. At which point the people who paid $5,000 a plate for their dinner applauded in agreement. - Jimmy Fallon
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Exchange between Fox New host Chris Wallace and Senior White House Advisor Dan Pfeiffer regarding the night of the Benghazi attack:
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Rabbi Chaplain Herschel Schacter 1917-2013
Healer of the Broken Spirits of the Jews of Buchenwald
any soldiers that are sent into Herschel attended YU and graduated He was directed to a battle are actually behind the in 1938 and three years later received barracks in a smaller lines. smicha from enclosed area that was During WWII, Rav Yosef Dov jammed with Jews who only one in sevS o l o v e i t c h i k . were barely alive. As he en American He joined the stood there trying to figservicemen and army and having ure out what these Jews women actually the proper cre- had gone through, he fought. The ones dentials (an ad- shouted, “Shalom alethat were sent to vanced Talmudic ichem, Yidden, yir zent the front lines degree, smicha), frey (you are free)!” The were trained and was appointed Yidden still couldn’t behad first-rate as a chaplain in lieve that their gehenweapons. (This the VIII Corps in nom on earth was finally is generally true, General Patton’s over, and kept on asking Children and youths being led by American soldiers to a hospital although AmerThird Army. him if the Nazis were after liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp ican weapons The Allies really gone. He repeated during WWII is a invaded France “yir zent frey” throughout the camp unWalking through the mound of story for another in June 1944 til many people were walking behind corpses, the chaplain saw movement Rabbi Chaplain Herschel Schacter time.) However, and were soon him savoring their first taste of free- and approached a little boy. The boy there were two types of men (women pushing forward towards Germany. dom in many years. Another survivor was afraid because he had never seen weren’t allowed on the front) that were The Nazis made one last offensive in recounts seeing an American tank driv- an American in uniform before and sent to the front but had no weapons thought it was another man who was training and weren’t armed. These going to inflict a new type of torture. were the medics and chaplains of the Schacter picked up the little boy and army. Medics were despised during asked him his name. “Lulek” was the “i haven’t lauGheD in a lonG time, training but were universally praised reply. anD i Don’t even cry anymore. so which one during battle where they displayed Schacter then asked him age. Luamazing bravery and heroism trying to lek replied, “What difference does it of us is olDer?” lulek answereD. save the lives of their fellow soldiers. make? I am older than you.” (He was Chaplains were there to provide relieight-years-old.) gious services to the dead and dying “Why do you think that you are and to provide hope and comfort to older?” There were tears in the rabbi’s men who were wounded or just need- December 1944 called the Battle of the ing around the camp, and the voice of eyes. ed to hear a consoling voice. They also Bulge. With the defeat of his best forc- Rabbi Schacter was heard saying, “Yid“Because you cry and laugh like showed amazing amounts of bravery es and the Russians coming in a venge- den kim aheim” (Yidden come home). a child,” Lulek answered. “I haven’t in battle, like the chaplain on D-Day ful force from the east, Hitler ym”sh (June 6, 1944) who dodged bullets to and his armies were shattered. The bring medical supplies for the criti- dictator committed suicide on April 30, cally wounded and helped the medics 1945, and the German army signed the in every way. Chaplain Alexander D. unconditional surrender documents on Goode drowned when he gave his life May 7, 1945. vest to another sailor. Rabbi Chaplain The war was over but the Allies Herschel Schacter (not to be confused were just starting to uncover the tragwith the current Rosh Yeshiva of Ye- edy and horrors of the Holocaust. On shiva University) was one of the first April 11, the Third Army entered Buto liberate Buchenwald and stayed to chenwald located near Weimar, Gerprovide all types of services for fellow many, and Rabbi Schacter was the first Yidden who had suffered terrible trag- chaplain to accompany the troops into edies during the Holocaust. the camp. He arrived about an hour afRabbi Schacter was born in 1917 in ter liberation. Brownsville, New York, as the youngAs Schacter entered the camp, he est of ten children, and his father was saw no sign of life and asked an army Rabbi Schacter leading Shavuos davening in Buchenwald in 1945 a seventh generation shochet. Young officer if any Jews were still alive.
el to become the Ashkenazi chief rabbi. Rabbi Schacter stayed in Buchenwald for two months helping the Yidden put their lives back together. April 27, 1945 was Pesach Sheini, and since the prisoners couldn’t celebrate Pesach a month earlier, Schacter distributed matzah to the survivors. He started delivering a speech that he prepared when of the prisoners became visibly upset. He said how dare anyone stand up there and say, “We know what you have gone through” when he himself didn’t suffer through the atrocities. Schacter then moved his fist to his chest and said, “Chatosi, uvisi, poshati… Please may have I your forgiveness?” The man ran up to him and hugged him for a while. After that everyone made the brocha of achilas matzah for the first time in years. As a chaplain in the army, he was expected to tend to the spiritual needs of American servicemen, but during those two months in Buchenwald it was about helping the suffering Yidden in any way possible. There is a photo (presumably taken by a non-Jewish American soldier) of Schacter leading the Shavuos davening in the camp. Schacter was instrumental in helping thousands of Yidden relocate from war-torn Europe (it was very hard for many of them because it was the only home they had even known). Most of the Jews were sent to Eretz Yisrael or to the United States. In June 1945, he accompanied a group of children from Buchenwald to Switzerland. The Swiss government said that only 350 children under the age of 16 would be allowed in but Rabbi Schacter only found 250 children in Buchenwald. With the help of another chaplain, more children were found and the train left with 279 chil-
dren but another 171 Jewish children including older teenagers found their way as stowaways with the chaplain’s help. About of 100 were left in France (Schacter made sure that they were cared for properly), and the train entered Switzerland with 348 passengers. Initially they were detained because there were teens above sixteen-yearsold onboard but eventually they were let into the country. (The heroic efforts of other American Jewish chaplains is a topic for another time.) The American response to the horrors of the death and concentration camps was that of shock and disbelief. General Patton wasn’t known for his
great love for the Jews but when he saw Buchenwald, he ordered all the citizens of Weimar to march through the camp and see for themselves what their “great” leader had done for humanity just a short distance from their own homes. (The citizens claimed that they never knew it was a concentration camp.) After helping the Yidden in postwar Europe as much as he was able to, Herschel Schacter left the army with the rank of captain. He returned to the Bronx in 1947 and was the rav of the Mosholu Jewish Center until its closing in 1999. Even though he was out of the
army, Rabbi Schacter still was helping Jews worldwide. In 1956, he went to the USSR to lead a rabbinic delegation and came back to the US with a group of Hungarian refugees from Austria. He was niftar on March 21, 2013 at the age of 95. Herschel Schacter will always be remembered for his kind and loving demeanor that was so badly needed by the survivors of Buchenwald in 1945. Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to The Jewish Home. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.for future columns and can be reached at aviheiligman@ gmail.com.
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Lulek, was liberated at the age of eight from Buchenwald
799 Reg. $1299
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laughed in a long time, and I don’t even cry anymore. So which one of us is older?” Lulek’s real name was Yisrael Meir Lau, and he later moved to Eretz Yisra-
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Global Bill Gates Reclaims Title of World’s Richest
Move over, Carlos Slim! U.S. billionaire Bill Gates has reclaimed his title as the world’s richest person. In 2007, Gates gave up the title of world’s richest person to Mexican businessman Carlos Slim but as of 4 p.m. New York time on Thursday, May 16, Gates’ fortune was valued at $72.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making him the wealthiest person on the planet. His fortune is worth more than $550 million ahead of Carlos Slim, who has a $72.1 billion net worth. The co-founder of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp. has seen his fortune increase about $10 billion this year. The software maker’s shares hit a five-year high on Thursday, and have advanced 28% year-to-date. Slim’s fortune has dropped more than $2 billion this year as Mexico’s Congress passed a bill to quash the market dominance of the 73-year-old billionaire’s America Movil SAB. Don’t agonize Mr. Slim, you will be alright! “When they’re talking about reform in a country that’s generally poor, and the guy shows up No. 1 on the list – not a good thing,” said Greg Lesko, managing director at New York-based Deltec Asset Management LLC, which oversees $750 million and has an “underweight” position in Slim’s flagship company. “He’s had a pretty good monopoly situation in Mexico, and the Mexican cellphone user has been paying more than he should. We applaud it for the country.” Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway is the world’s third richest person, with an estimated fortune of $59.7 billion, up 24.6% over a year ago.
No Toilet Paper in Venezuela Venezuela has been suffering from shortages recently. At first, citizens found that there was a scarcity of milk. Then it
was butter and coffee and then cornmeal. Now the country seems to be suffering from a lack of toilet paper. The government is desperately trying to import 50 million rolls of toilet paper to prevent most supermarket shelves from running out of stock. These items are staples in countries across the world, but in this nation in South America even the most basic necessities have become luxuries. Some economists say the shortages of these essential products are the result of the socialist government’s price control policies. But President Nicolas Maduro, who was selected by the dying Hugo Chavez to carry on his “Bolivarian revolution,” insists that the shortages come from a conspiracy campaign directed by the opposition and rich sectors of society to destabilize the country. Venezuelans are not happy with their governments’ efforts that may be coming to late. “This is the last straw,” said Manuel Fagundes, a shopper searching for tissue paper in downtown Caracas. “I’m 71-years-old and this is the first time I’ve seen this.”
Many supermarkets are completely out of toilet tissue. When new shipments arrive, stores quickly become jammed with customers grabbing the scarce commodity. “I’ve been looking for it for two weeks,” said Cristina Ramos. “I was told that they had some here and now I’m in line.” Economists say Venezuela’s shortages stem from price controls meant to make basic goods available to the poorest parts of society and the government’s controls on foreign currency. “State-controlled prices — prices that are set below market-clearing price — always result in shortages. The shortage problem will only get worse, as it did over the years in the Soviet Union,” said Steve Hanke, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University. The government also announced recently it would import 760,000 tons of food.
Women’s Rights Resisted in Afghanistan Conservative religious lawmakers obstructed legislation that was intended to strengthen provisions for women’s freedoms in Afghanistan. The group argued that parts of the legislation violate Islam-
ic principles and encourage disobedience. The aggressive opposition illustrates just how fragile women’s rights are, even over a decade after the Taliban regime was ousted. While Taliban was in power, Afghan women were basically prisoners of their own homes. They were forced to wear burqas, not allowed to wear high heels and the windows on the first floor of their homes were painted so no one would be able to see the women inside. Even the word “women” was not able to be seen in public, as names like “women’s garden” were changed to “spring garden.” A woman had to be escorted everywhere by their male companions. But even now, after the Taliban is not officially in power, they are not afforded the basic rights women worldwide are afforded. Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada, a conservative lawmaker for Herat province, said the legislation was withdrawn shortly after being introduced in parliament because of an uproar by religious parties who said parts of the law are un-Islamic. “Whatever is against Islamic law, we don’t even need to speak about it,” Shaheedzada said. The Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women has been in effect since 2009, but only by presidential decree. It is being brought before parliament now because lawmaker Fawzia Kofi, a women’s rights activist, wants to make it permanent with a parliamentary vote to prevent its potential reversal by any future president who might be tempted to repeal it to accommodate religious parties.
The law criminalizes, among other things, child marriage and forced marriage, and bans “baad,” the traditional practice of exchanging girls and women to settle disputes. It makes domestic violence a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. Kofi, who plans to run for president in next year’s elections, said she was disappointed because among those who oppose upgrading the law from presidential decree to legislation passed by parliament are women. Afghanistan’s parliament has more than 60 female lawmakers, mostly due to constitutional provisions reserving certain seats for women. Lawmaker Shaheedzada feels that the
law can potentially encourage disobedience among girls and women, saying it reflected Western values not applicable in Afghanistan. “Even now in Afghanistan, women are running from their husbands. Girls are running from home,” Shaheedzada said. “Such laws give them these ideas.” Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, women’s freedoms have improved vastly, but Afghanistan remains a deeply conservative culture. Lawmaker Rahmani, who said President Hamid Karzai should never have issued the decree, wants it changed, if not repealed. “We cannot have an Islamic country with basically Western laws,” he said.
Kerry Appoints Anti-Semitism Envoy A new State Department report warned about anti-Semitic incidents increasing across the globe, particularly in Venezuela, Egypt and Iran. The report said the increase was “of great concern.” On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry named Ira Forman as special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism around the world. Forman was the long-time of the National Jewish Democratic Council. “When political leaders condoned anti-Semitism, it set the tone for its persistence and growth in countries around the world,” the report said. “Of great concern were expressions of anti-Semitism by government officials, by religious leaders and by the media, particularly in Venezuela, Egypt and Iran. At times, such statements led to desecration and violence.” In Venezuela, the report said state-controlled media published numerous anti-Semitic statements, in particular aimed at opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, a devout Catholic who has Jewish ancestors. The politician was narrowly defeated by President Nicolas Maduro in the April 19 election and is contesting the result in the nation’s top court. His maternal grandparents fled anti-Semitism in Poland.
The report said anti-Semitic sentiment in the media was widespread and cited anti-Semitic comments by Egyptian
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President Mohamed Mursi and officials from the Muslim Brotherhood. In Iran, the government regularly vilified Judaism, the report said. Vandals desecrated several Holocaust memorials in Ukraine, and in May, vandals painted swastika on a St Petersburg synagogue’s fence and on a synagogue in Irkutsk, Russia. In addition, the report also singled out China, North Korea, Vietnam, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and Syria for undermining or attacking religious freedom. Kerry said the annual report was an attempt to make progress in the fight for more religious freedom around the world “even though we know that it may cause some discomfort.” “When countries undermine or attack religious freedom, they not only unjustly threaten those whom they target; they also threaten their country’s own stability,” he added.
Christie’s Sets New Record
Although the economy has been suffering as of late, there still seems to be money out there for art. A Jean-Michel Basquiat painting entitled “Dustheads” has set a new auction record for the graffiti artist at a sale of postwar and contemporary art in New York. Christie’s says the painting sold for $48.8 million on Wednesday. Basquiat’s “Untitled,” a painting of a black fisherman, held the previous record when it sold for $26.4 million last November. Also breaking world auction prices for artists were works by Roy Lichtenstein and Jackson Pollock. Lichtenstein’s “Woman With Flowered Hat” fetched $56 million. A classic example of pop art, the 1963 painting is based on Pablo Picasso’s portrait of his lover Dora Maar. An important drip painting by Pollock, “Number 19,” realized a record $58.3 million. Christie’s says Wednesday’s auction brought in $495 million, the highest total at any art auction. Got any little artists in your family? Encourage them to cash in.
N. Korean Traffic Cop Mysteriously Receives Hero Award When you win North Korea’s “Hero
of the Republic” award, you’ve probably helped the entire state during wartime, or helped it conduct a nuclear test, or satisfied the Supreme Leader in some major way.
A few weeks ago, an emotional young female traffic officer named Ri-Kyong Sim was honored at a military ceremony with the North Korean equivalent of the Medal of Valor. Sim was named “Hero of the Republic” for allegedly saving Kim Jong-un’s life. Although the exact deed was not revealed and remains a mystery, the Korean Central News Agency reported that Ri dedicated herself to ensuring the traffic order in the capital city and displayed the heroic self-sacrificing spirit of safeguarding the security of the headquarters of the revolution in an unexpected circumstance. The “Hero of the Republic” award is usually reserved for heroic acts during wartime, although it is also given to individuals who have made a major contribution to the country’s advancement. Recently, a large number were given to scientists and technicians involved in the North’s longrange rocket launch in December’s and February’s nuclear test. Well, assuming this woman is not a secret nuclear rocket scientist hiding out in a police uniform, what could she have done to be honored for such an outstanding life during wartime? (It’s pretty much always considered wartime in North Korea.) Many suspect she heroically prevented the assassination of the country’s leader. Her traffic cop boss said, “Comrade Ri’s action was not made possible by pure accident, but made possible because she had always harbored this longing for the respected leader day and night.”
Mubarak (Possibly) Speaks Out In his first comments to the media since he was detained more than two years ago, Egypt’s ousted leader Hosni Mubarak said he is dismayed at the country’s state of affairs and particularly the plight of the poor. The remarks were published on Sunday in the Al-Watan newspaper.
The 85-year-old said it’s too premature to judge his elected successor, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, because he has a heavy burden to deal with. Mubarak also warned against a much-negotiated loan from the International Monetary Fund, saying it would make life harder for the poor in Egypt, where over 40% of the population lives on less than $2 a day. (That’s probably less than your morning coffee.) The authenticity of the interview was questioned and could not be immediately verified. Calls by The Associated Press to Mubarak’s lawyer Farid ElDeeb went unanswered, but he was quoted as telling Ahram Online, the electronic version of the state-owned Al-Ahram, that the interview was a “fabrication.”
Al-Watan’s reporter, Mohammed elSheik, took photos of himself near and inside Mubarak’s medical helicopter, without the ex-leader inside. El-Sheik said he conducted the interview after sneaking into a waiting area where Mubarak was held during his trial Saturday, apparently before the hearing began. He claimed that he couldn’t record the interview because he had to avoid Mubarak’s tight security. You can decide for yourself if this really happened…
Wagner Opera Shocks Audiences, Imposing Ban The audience at the opening of the Wagner opera Tannhauser at a German opera house in Düsseldorf had an intense reaction to the performance depicting Nazi Germany. The show showed all the gory incidents of the Holocaust, causing viewers to literally go into shock. The Deutsche Oper am Rhein, a leading German opera house that performs in Düsseldorf, said it could not justify artistic work with such an “extreme impact.” The opera house said it had asked director Burkhard Kosminski to tone down scenes but he had refused. Forcing the performance to be revised by the opera house itself, from Thursday onwards, the opera will be performed solely as a piece of music, without the staging, the opera house said. The production was booed by audiences at the premiere.
Michael Szentei-Heise, head of the Jewish community in Düsseldorf, told the Associated Press the production was “tasteless and not legitimate.” He said: “This opera has nothing to do with the Holocaust. However, I think the audience has made this very clear to the opera and the producer.” In a statement, the opera house management said it was aware that the production would “arouse controversy.” The statement read: “We are responding to the fact that some scenes, especially the shooting scene depicted very realistically, have caused such physical and psychological stress that some audience members have had to receive medical treatment. After considering all the arguments we have come to the conclusion that we cannot justify our artistic work having such an extreme impact. In intensive discussions with the director Burkhard C. Kosminski we have considered the possibility of changing individual scenes. This he refuses to do for artistic reasons. Of course, we have to respect the director’s artistic freedom.” Richard Wagner, who died in 1883, is associated with Nazism because he was one of Hitler’s favorite composers. He is also regarded as an anti-Semite, and while some of his works have been broadcast and performed in Israel, his operas have never been staged there.
Pakistani Doctor Who Helped U.S. with Bin Laden Mission Seeks Asylum The doctor who aided the U.S. in capturing Osama bin Laden was convicted by a tribal court on false charges, according to a classified Pakistani government report. Portions of the voluminous 357-page Abbottobad Commission Report, which has not been made public yet, were obtained exclusively by Fox News. The report acknowledges Dr. Shakil Afridi’s conviction last year by a government-sponsored Jirga has undermined Pakistan’s credibility. The report calls for Afridi to be given a new trial. The report also claims Afridi joined the CIA search for Bin Laden five years ago, while he was staying in the U.S. with a cousin. According to the report, Afridi applied for asylum after a terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Islam, stepped up its operations in Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt. The doctor was reportedly kidnapped by the group in 2008 and released after his family paid a $10,000 ransom. After helping the CIA
The commission report acknowledges Afridi was subjected to harsh treatment in prison, and moved several times to various undisclosed locations by Pakistan’s spy agency. His Pakistani handlers also note his incarceration for a year without judicial process was unfair. In a telephone interview with Fox News last year, Afridi recounted his ordeal in prison. “My clothes were removed and I was forced by a major to wear old dirty torn rags of an army conductor,” Afridi said. “It was difficult to eat food. I had to bend down on my knees to eat with only my mouth, like a dog. I sat on the floor.” He said he was blindfolded for eight months, and handcuffed with his hands behind his back for a year. For a short time in 2009, Afridi lived in San Francisco. “He came to meet my brother and mother, who was not well at that time,” Afridi’s first cousin, a Californian resident and student based in Los Angeles, related. “He is my cousin and I love him but I don’t know what I can do to help.” During that time, Afridi agreed to work for the CIA, the report said. The deal helped lead to Bin Laden’s death in 2011, and netted Afridi a mere $13,000, according to his statement documented in the report. Afridi is currently serving a 33-year jail term and is appealing his conviction. The U.S. has called for Afridi’s release, but his supporters say the Obama administration has not done enough to press for his freedom. “Dr. Afridi is showing us, in a courageous way, that quiet diplomacy isn’t working,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., Afridi’s most vocal supporter in Congress. Let’s hope that sometime soon the United States will come to the assistance of the one who helped execute the mastermind of global terror and our number one enemy.
China Gets Involved with Mideast Peace Talks An official visit to Beijing by Israeli and Palestinian leaders last week has prompted speculation that China may finally be ready to claim its place as a world power by trying to negotiate an end to one of world’s most caustic conflicts. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Reportedly, the two Middle Eastern leaders arrived in the country within a few hours of each other. “China’s hosting of the two emphasized its active involvement in Mideast affairs and highlighted its role as a responsible power,” reported an editorial by China’s state news agency, Xinhua.
A more active role in Middle East diplomacy would be a dramatic break from China’s long-held policy of non-intervention. With controversial business partners like Sudan, Libya and Iran, China has consistently ducked the political and regional strife of others to focus on natural resource extraction and trade.
KFC Smuggled into Gaza It seems that Palestinians miss Colonel Sanders. For six years, Rafat Shororo longed for the taste of a KFC sandwich he had been privileged to taste in Egypt. This week, he finally got his wish at home in the Gaza Strip after a local delivery company managed to smuggle it from Egypt through underground tunnels. “It has been a dream, and this company has made my dream come true,” says Mr. Shororo, an accountant.
all. “After getting the orders, we call our partner in al-Arish and ask him to make the orders, after getting the meals, he goes to a specific tunnel and asks smugglers to transfer them into the other side of the tunnel; this may take a few minutes,” says al-Madani. For the tunnel owner who smuggles the KFC food, moving the meals is a bit strange. Smuggler Abu Iyad says the tunnels are meant to bring in basic food stuffs, construction materials, and sometimes people. “This is the first time to smuggle such goods,” he says. He added that since his business is suffering due to Israel’s relaxed embargo, he will take whatever he can get. “This is why I accept to smuggle anything except weapons and drugs,” Abu Iyad said. “I wonder why people pay a lot of money to buy a small meal of chicken,” asks Abu Iyad mockingly. “I can buy four chickens for the price of one meal.” It’s unbelievable that these tunnels are being used in such a mundane manner. They are not even embarrassed to be smuggling goods into the country!
Netanyahu Splurges on Custom-made Aircraft Bed “All you need to have any KFC product is a short phone call and a few hours, then you can enjoy the great taste of fried chickens,” says Shororo. He says he doesn’t care how much it costs, “I just want it.” KFC is part of Israeli restrictions on imports to the Hamas-run territory. Ironically, one of the reasons smugglers agreed to start dealing with KFC is because Israel’s easing of restrictions on trade since the November cease-fire with Hamas has dealt a serious blow to the tunnel business. The KFC delivery service in Gaza started with a desire rather than a business plan. Mohammed al-Madani, financial manager of al-Yamama company, says the employees of the company decided to order some meals for themselves from the KFC restaurant in the neighboring Egyptian city of al-Arish. Someone from the company contacted a friend in al-Arish, asking him to make the order and then bring it through the tunnels; the whole process just took three hours. “Then we asked ourselves, ‘Why don’t we provide this service for Gazans?’” says Mr. al-Madani. The company got more than 20 orders a few hours after a short advertisement was posted on their Facebook fan page. Those who order are well-to-do people and don’t care much about the price of the food compared to the original price at the restaurant. “Most of those who order are people who are accustomed to travel and eat KFC food around the world,” says Madani. Al-Madani says the process of smuggling the food into Gaza is not difficult at
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is getting a lot of flak from the public for a recent splurge. The Israeli leader requested that a customized bed be installed on a recent flight to London. Reportedly, he spent $127,000 in public funds to arrange the sleeping cabin for the 5-hour journey to attend Margaret Thatcher’s funeral last month.
Netanyahu’s office initially defended the decision, saying the prime minister had a busy schedule ahead of the flight and needed to rest for important meetings in Britain. Some officials close to Netanyahu claim that he had been unaware of the high cost, and once informed, he ordered the bed be canceled on all future flights. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
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The al-Yamama company advertises its unorthodox new fast-food smuggling service on Facebook. It gets tens of orders a week for KFC meals despite having to triple the price to 100 shekels ($30) to cover transportation and smuggling fees. The deliveries go from the fryers at the Al-Arish KFC joint 35 miles away to customers’ doorsteps in about three hours. The fact that the tunnels operate quickly and cheaply enough for the Colonel’s secret recipe to be enjoyed in the tightly controlled Gaza Strip shows just how much of a filter the Egypt-Gaza border has become.
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pinpoint the location of the terror mastermind just prior to the 2011 raid in which Navy SEALs killed Bin laden, Afridi was arrested and convicted by the tribal court of colluding with Lashkar-e-Islam. The State Department declined to comment on the report’s claims that Afridi had applied for asylum while staying in the
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May 23, 2013
The Israeli prime minister’s office does not have its own plane, such as the U.S. presidential aircraft Air Force One. Instead, Israeli leaders must charter a plane when traveling abroad. Some commentators claim it would be cheaper in the long run to purchase and maintain a special plane reserved for official travel of the prime minister and other officials. The uproar comes at a delicate time. Netanyahu’s government is in the process of drawing up a budget expected to include painful austerity measures and tax increases due to a widening deficit. On Saturday night, several thousand people took to the streets in Tel Aviv and other cities to protest the expected budget cuts. Netanyahu was meeting Sunday with top officials to discuss likely cutbacks in the defense budget. Micky Rosenthal of the opposition Labor Party called for an inquiry into the prime minister’s “scandalous behavior.” “We thought that nothing could surprise us anymore when it came to the Netanyahu’s personal behavior. Well, we thought wrong,” wrote Sima Kadmon, a political commentator. “It is unbelievable that not a single person in the prime minister’s inner circle saw how reprehensible this was. Not a single person showed a tiny bit of common sense. There was no one who anticipated just how angry people would be when they learned about this,” Kadmon said about the custom-made bed. Responding to the criticism over this, Netanyahu’s attorney, Yossi Cohen, said, “This is an exaggeration and an inaccuracy. The reason the plane cost about half a million shekels more is not because of the bed. We need to understand that the prime minister was busy with ceremonies before he took off for London. The bed on the plane was nothing more than plywood with a rubber mat.” Earlier this year, Netanyahu stopped buying ice cream from his favorite Jerusalem parlor after an Israeli newspaper discovered his office was spending $2,700 a year for the treat. C’mon, give the guy a break.
Netanyahu’s Attorney Defends his Living Expenses Even if the Israeli public would be OK with their leader’s fancy bed on international flights, they still are upset about his lifestyle when at home. Recently, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s attorney claimed that Israel’s prime minister and his wife live a modest lifestyle. This was in response to concerns by the public regarding the increase in expense in the Prime Minister’s Residence. The attorney’s comments came in response to public anger over figures released last week that revealed that the budget of the prime minister’s residence has increased by 80% over a period of four years. “The Netanyahus do not live an extravagant life,” the attorney, Yossi Cohen, insisted. “Come to the prime minister’s home and see the modesty and the rust,” he added. “This house is no ordinary house,” he added. “In fact, much of this house serves as an office and as a place to receive guests. There is a lot of activity going on in this house. More than once I was there at 10:00 p.m. and saw the prime minister coming into the office and sitting and working until 11:00.” The figures published claim the budget was 3 million shekels in 2009, but increased to 5.4 million shekels by 2012. The numbers show an increase of tens of percentages in expenses in areas such as official hosting and food, cleaning and household, and purchases of furnishings and housewares, among others. Explaining the rise, Cohen said, “First of all, the work being done at the Prime Minister’s Residence has grown immensely. This is the most difficult job in the world. Heads of the Mossad, defense officials, ministers, presidents and prime ministers are constantly visiting this house.”
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When questioned about the cleaning budget, which was 553,000 shekels in 2009 but rose by 118% and is now 1.2 million shekels, Cohen explained that the numbers do not include only cleaning expenses. “The so-called cleaning expenses include the expenses of all the employees and the food at the Prime Minister’s Residence,” he said. “There was a time period when there was no cook and food had to be ordered from outside. Due to this, there was an increase in amounts incurred.” “Our prime minister, unlike any ordinary person, never stops working,” said the lawyer. “When he comes to his private home in Caesarea on the weekends, he continues to work all the time.” “The Netanyahu family lives a modest life,” he stressed. MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) has sent a letter to State Comptroller Yosef Shapira, asking him to investigate the enormous increase in the spending budget of the Prime Minister’s official residence. “At this time, when harsh economic measures are being imposed on the Israeli public, the fact that the Prime Minister is conducting himself as if he is in a parallel universe and totally divorced from reality is particularly striking,” wrote Cabel in the letter to Shapira. “At a time when the Prime Minister is signing off on a budget that hurts almost every home in Israel and asking the people to tighten their belts, we expect him to set a personal example and reduce spending that is funded by tax payers,” he added. “Unfortunately, the data show that he chose the opposite way and brought about a disproportionate and ostentatious rise in the management of his residence.”
World’s Longest Shabbos Table in Bnei Brak Bnei Brak is home the world’s longest Shabbos table. The table is197 feet long and comfortably seats more than 300 people. It is embellished with all the classic Shabbos items: a white tablecloth, challah, goblets, and candlesticks. The project is expected to set a new Guinness record as the longest Shabbos table in the world. Hundreds of people, including public figures and journalists were invited to sit at the endless table and enjoy a Shabbos meal. The meal was held on Friday and not on Shabbos in order to accommodate the media. The idea to set up the record-breaking table is the fruit of cooperation between the Coca-Cola company in Israel, which is based in Bnei Brak, and haredi advertising agency Meimad. “The haredi public as a consumer sector could not identify with the company’s regular messages, like sports, beach or music, which do not match its world of values,” notes haredi advertiser Menucha Stern. “Our decision
in the past seven years is to change our approach and come from a spiritual place.” “It’s a big public and there are different styles,” says Stern, “but in general the mainstream is definitely familiar with it.”
The table was dismantled after the event due to lack of space, but company officials are not ruling out the possibility that in the future visitors and customers will be invited for a Shabbos meal at the record-breaking table sometime in the future. I can’t imagine making knedlach for so many guests. Who will do the dishes?
Many Jews Make the “Rich List” of the Sunday Times Each year, the Sunday Times publishes its own “rich list,” with many Jews making the coveted list. This year, Alisher Usmanov, who hails from Uzbekistan, leads the way with a fortune of £13.3 billion (about $20.7 billion). Usmanov holds 30% of shares of the Arsenal Football Club. Britain’s wealthiest man is married to a Jewish lady, Irina Viner, who is the Russian national team gymnastics coach.
Russia-born Jewish businessman Len Blavatnik, who owns Warner Music, came in second place on the rich list with £11 billion ($17 billion). Blavatnik, who now lives in the United States, sponsors a food bank for the poor in Israel. Usmanov’s rival, owner Roman
National Tornado Rips through Oklahoma Town, Killing at Least 24 On Monday, one of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history blasted through Oklahoma City and its suburbs killing at least 24 people, including nine children. The twister may have only been on the ground for a few minutes, but the width and strength of its winds ravaged the city and ripped up miles of homes and roads. The cyclone tore down a hospital and ravaged two elementary schools in the area. The winds were measured at 200mph; it is amazing that anyone was able to survive its ferocity.
Initially, among the confusion, it was confirmed that the death toll was 51. After another count, the death toll was lowered to 24, although authorities caution that that number could unfortunately rise again. Seven children drowned in a pool of water at the Plaza Towers Elementary School. One child was killed at Briarwood Elementary School. At least 237 people were injured. In Moore, 19 people were killed; entire blocks were flattened and cars were shredded. Piles of woods, clothes, glass and
New Dog Laws Unleashed
Dogs can be man’s best friend, but sometimes they can be dangerous. Royal Oak, Michigan, has released new laws for dog owners that may have them getting collared if they don’t comply. Owners must comply with seven pages worth of other requirements to keep their pets in the city. The new rules require owners of “dangerous dogs” to carry $1 million in liability insurance, post signs, complete an obedience class with the dog, and keep the dog in a locked, fenced-in area. Officials say a dog is deemed dangerous if it bites or attacks a person, or causes serious injury to another domestic animal. Exceptions include dogs protecting an owner or a homeowner’s property. City leaders say they created the ordinance after receiving 32 reports of dog bites and attacks during 2012 in Royal Oak. Royal Oak resident John Scott said the ordinance is a good move for the city, putting the responsibility on the owners instead of the dogs. “If you’re a dog owner, you know that dogs are protective of their territory. There’s an old saying that there’s no bad dogs, just bad owners,” he said. Lori Wosnicki, who has a Bernese Mountain Dog, says she understands the reason for the new ordinance, but still thinks that it goes too far. “Look at this dog, who goes to schools and has kids lay all over him. I have a really hard time with
[the ordinance] because how do you decide what’s dangerous,” she said. Violation of the dog ordinance is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine up to $500 and 90 days in jail.
Wheelchairs for Hire at Disney
Disabled and out of work? Some of Manhattan’s wealthiest mothers have a job offer for you! Deep-pocketed New York City moms have been hiring a motorized scooter-bound guide to pose as a family member so they and their kids can jump to the front of the lines at Disney World. It was recently reported that families can book tours through an outfit called Dream Tours in Florida, which on its website claims to provide “quality-based, memorable, and affordable vacations, to people with special needs.” The Disney guide charges $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day. “You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge,’’ a proud mommy told a reporter last week. “This is how the 1 percent does Disney.” The mom said that a guide using a motorized scooter escorted her, her husband and their two sons around the theme park; because of their disabled “family member” they were able to immediately go onto rides while others waited for hours. Disney allows each guest who needs a wheelchair or motorized scooter to bring up to six guests to a “more convenient entrance.” What a terrible way to take advantage of someone’s misfortune.
Madoff Interviewed From Jail
Bernard Madoff once had billions of dollars and hundreds of employees. Now he is employed by the federal government and makes $40 a month doing menial prison labor. The former businessman was interviewed over the phone last week from a federal prison in North Carolina. His prison phone account didn’t have any money in it, so he had to call collect in order to be interviewed.
It’s a far cry from his former life. Once head of his own finance firm, Madoff is now identified as inmate #62727-054 at Butner Federal Correctional Complex. He’s serving a 150-year sentence after pleading guilty, in 2009, to siphoning $17.5 billion from thousands of investors, wiping them out in a long-running, pyramid-style deception. He said he only works “a few hours” a day, which leaves him plenty of time to ponder his undoing. “I’m usually up at 4:30 in the morning because I can’t sleep,” said Madoff, 75, who is scheduled for released in 2139. Certainly his surroundings in a medium-security prison are a lot less comfortable. When his massive Ponzi scheme unraveled in 2008, Madoff had to give up his $7 million Manhattan penthouse, a beach house in Montauk, N.Y, his homes in Florida and France, as well as a yacht named “The Bull.” Madoff took great pains to insulate his family from his financial wrongdoings, but it didn’t work. He’s especially haunted by the 2010 suicide of his oldest son, Mark, who hanged himself on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest. “I was responsible for my son Mark’s death and that’s very, very difficult,” he said. “I live with that. I live with the remorse, the pain I caused everybody, certainly my family, and the victims.” His younger brother, Peter, 67, is serving a 10-year sentence at a medium-security federal prison in South Carolina, after pleading guilty to covering up the financial wrongdoing. “Obviously, the main concern that I have is being away from my family,” he said. “Married for 50 years, I had a very close family.” Madoff said that his deception began after the Black Monday crash of 1987, a massive stock market sell-off from which he never truly recovered. He said that’s when he turned his investors into victims, but he insists that his crime was never supposed to go on for so long. “It was certainly never my intention for this to happen,” said Madoff. “I thought I could work myself out of a temporary situation but it kept getting worse and worse and I didn’t have the courage to admit what I had done. It created a major problem.” From all the pain that he caused, he doesn’t seem regretful enough.
Horrific Train Crash in Connecticut
A two-train collision in Connecticut injured dozens of people and halted rail traffic from New York to Boston this week. Officials are searching for exactly what events lead up to the devastating accident. Area hospitals reported seeing 70 people after the rush-hour collision. Two re-
May 23, 2013
Jewish Bahamas-based Tottenham Hotspur FC owner Joe Lewis is also featured at sitting in 20th place with an estimated wealth of £3.2 billion ($5 billion).
metal stood where homes used to be. The school was flattened by the forceful winds. Because whole blocks were gone, rescuers were having trouble figuring out what they were looking at. They used thermal technology to sift through rubble for survivors. Volunteers walked along streets calling out and listening for signs of life. Children from the Plaza Towers school related that they heard sirens and ran to the hallway for cover. One teacher said that one of her students “kept saying, ‘I love you, I love you, please don’t die with me, please don’t die with me.’ But we’re OK,” she told reporters. “And we made it out, and it finally stopped.” Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett called the twister “the storm of all storms.” It was a mile wide at its base and kicked up debris perhaps two miles wide. It was initially categorized as an EF4, the second-strongest type, with winds 166-200 mph.
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Abramovich from Russia, is fifth on the list, after dropping two places from last year’s ranking. Abramovich’s net worth is estimated to be £9.3 billion ($14.5 billion). He owns the world’s largest yacht, the Eclipse, which is reportedly worth around £1 billion ($1.56 billion).
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May 23, 2013
main in critical condition. “The damage is absolutely staggering,” Senator Richard Blumenthal told reporters after a tour of the scene. “Ribbons on the sides of cars are torn away like ribbons of clothes. Tons of metal tossed around like toy things. The insides of cars are shattered. We are fortunate that even more injuries were not the result of this very tragic and unfortunate accident.” An eastbound Metro-North train derailed at 6:10 p.m. and was struck by a westbound train between the Bridgeport and Fairfield stations, National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener reported. Investigators planned to spend between seven to ten days on scene, and will conduct interviews with the train’s crewmembers, passengers, and witnesses. “We will not be determining the probable cause of the accident while we’re here on the scene, nor will we speculate on what may have caused the accident,” Weener said. Later, investigators said they had zeroed in on a fractured part of the rail line as being of particular interest. It has not been determined whether that fracture happened before or as a result of the accident, they said. St. Vincent Hospital in Bridgeport, Conn. said on that it saw a total of 44 patients, six of whom were admitted for
treatment. All those patients remained in the hospital for at least a short while and were reported to be in stable condition. Bridgeport Hospital saw a total of 26 patients and admitted three. Two of those patients were in critical condition a day after the accident, and a third was being held for further treatment.
er passengers evacuate the train despite herself sustaining back injuries, authorities said at a press conference late Saturday afternoon. Metro-North, which runs between New York City and its northern suburbs in New York and Connecticut, is one of the busiest commuter rail services in the U.S. There are four tracks on that segment of the New Haven Line, an MTA statement said, but two are out of service for replacement of overhead wires. There was “extensive damage” to the track and the wire from the collision. The train cars will remain in place until the investigation is completed.
California, dressed up in battlegear while he asked his audience, “Who’s willing? If you are willing, stand up and show me you are willing to fight for the city!”
Message Found with Boston Bomber
Passengers who were on the two trains described the rending collision in vivid terms. Passenger Alex Cohen, a Canadian who was riding the westbound train toward New York, recalled, “Coming to a sudden halt, we were jerked—there was smoke. People were screaming, people were really nervous. We were pretty shaken up. They had to smash a window to get us out.” A heroic female conductor helped oth-
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It has been discovered that accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was found hiding in a boat days after the blasts, left a handwritten message found where he was uncovered. The note described the attack as retribution for U.S. wars in Muslim countries. Tsarnaev used a pen to write the message on an interior wall of the boat, where police found him bleeding from gunshot wounds four days after the April 15 bombing. The note concluded with the words, “When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims.” It also described Dzhokhar’s older brother and fellow suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died in a gun battle with police, as “a martyr.” “Basically, the note says ... the bombings were retribution for the U.S. crimes against Muslims in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and that the victims of the Boston bombing were ‘collateral damage,’ the same way innocent victims have been collateral damage in U.S. wars around the world,” said news reporter John Miller, who is a former spokesman for the FBI. The bombings at the finish line of the world-famous marathon killed three people and injured 264 others. The FBI identified the ethnic Chechen brothers as suspects from video and pictures at the scene. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested in Watertown, Massachusetts, on April 19 after a daylong manhunt and lockdown of much of the Boston area. He is being held in a prison hospital west of Boston and faces charges that could carry the death penalty if he is convicted. Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been on a U.S. government database of potential terrorism suspects and the United States had twice been warned by Russia that he might be an Islamic militant, according to U.S. security officials.
This Mayor’s Ready for Battle
It was definitely one of the more creative “State of the City” addresses ever given. Mayor Anthony Silva of Stockton,
The theme of the address was “Leave your ego at the door.” After his almost hour-long speech, Silva pulled out armor with a helmet and battle mace while asking the crowd to go to war for the broke and crime-ridden city. It was a dramatic finish to the new mayor’s first ever State of the City address. “I have a question for you. Did all of you leave your egos at the door or did some of you sneak them in?” said Silva. I have a feeling he definitely left his ego at the door…
California and New York Show Huge Layoffs
California and New York had more mass layoffs in the first quarter of 2013 than other states. Despite the massive layoffs in these coastal states, the middle of the country is seeing numbers that are definitely going in the right direction. In the first quarter of 2013, the U.S. saw 914 mass layoff events in the private sector, costing 154,374 workers their jobs. Those might sound like daunting stats, but this is actually good news on the labor front. Given the depth and duration of the Great Recession, these results are considered a big rebound from previous years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of layoff actions fell
Barbara Walters to Retire
But for the next year, Walters, 83, assured her View colleagues, “I’m not walking into the sunset!” She will continue to anchor and report for ABC News and appear on The View and in specials throughout the year, including a “20 Years of 10 Most Fascinating People” special in December. Walters has interviewed every U.S. president and first lady since Richard and Pat Nixon through Barack and Michelle Obama. “I did not sleep last night,” she said of announcing her plans to retire. “I thought, ‘Am I doing it now? Should I do it later?’ But then I thought it was better to go when people are saying, ‘Why is she leaving?’ than, ‘Thank goodness she’s leaving!’” Walters added that if the decision had been left to her daughter, Jacqueline, she would have quit a long time ago. “For 25 years, she wanted me to do this,” she said. “She keeps me sane, she keeps me grounded. Children do that. My daughter’s in her forties and I’m very proud of her. I think a lot of working women struggle with the job and being home and there’s never a right answer. Whatever you do is wrong, but whatever you do will turn out eventually to be OK.” Hope she’s been saving for retirement all these years…that’s really a joke. She’s worth an estimated $150 million.
Decades before Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz became household names, there was Joyce Brothers. The popular psychologist pioneered the television advice show in the 1950s, opening the airwaves to discussions of marriage and parenting, as well as other topics. For almost four decades, Brothers was a columnist for Good Housekeeping. She also wrote a daily syndicated advice column that appeared in more than 350 newspapers. Dr. Brothers wrote numerous advice books, including “Ten Days To A Successful Memory” (1964), “Positive Plus: The Practical Plan for Liking Yourself Better” (1995) and “Widowed” (1992), a guide to dealing with grief written after the death of her husband in 1990.
Last Monday, Brothers died at the age of 85 from respiratory failure at her home in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Her television career started in 1955 when she won the television quiz show, The $64,000 Question. She became the second person and the only women to ever done so. Amazingly, the questions were all about boxing and she studied for weeks to learn every bit of knowledge there was on the subject. She also won a spinoff on the show called, The $64,000 Challenge, also on the topic of boxing. After appearing on numerous shows and dispensing advice to thousands, she became one of America’s most admired women. Viewers loved her advice and ideas. There were times that she dissuaded callers from committing suicide with her reassuring advice and demeanor. Dr. Phil McGraw called Brothers “a pioneer in the field of mental health.” “Decades before I came along, Dr. Joyce was able to get people talking about their emotional issues and problems. In her own gentle and caring way she let people know it was OK to discuss their feelings and emotions. She had a great sense of humor and gave very sound advice in her column and whenever she appeared on TV. I owe
Bloomberg’s Cupcake Nemesis Mayor Bloomberg is not a fan of The House of Cupcakes, the Greenwich Village bakery that mocked his fight against obesity campaign. But in his honor, the bakery recently revealed its “Mayor Bloomberg cupcake.” The confection is hardly low-fat or sugar-free. “It’s got over 12 pounds of sugar, five pounds of butter, four pounds of flour, six cups of cocoa powder, 24 eggs, two cups of milk,” owner and cupcake creator Ron Bzdewk bragged. With an edible photo of the Mayor on top, the sweet treat boasts 36,000 calories.
The intention was to get a few laughs but the health-conscious politician couldn’t find the humor. “This is one of the dumbest things people have done, but if they can get some publicity…” Bloomberg commented. He added that it’s not a joking matter that obesity kills. But baker Bzdewk admits that it was all in good fun. “It’s just all in fun, it’s not like we’re trying to, you know, go against him, it’s just a fun thing, like I said I’m a big guy, I do big things,” Bzdewk said. He also said that he sent smaller, sugar free cupcakes to City Hall. Those were met with a positive reaction. I guess money can’t buy you a sense of humor, but Bzdewk sure had me laughing!
This Job Makes You Fat It has long been said that Americans are gaining weight at a fast clip. But did you know that the type of job you’re in can contribute to your weight gain? It turns out that transportation workers have a 36-percent obesity rate, the highest rate
May 23, 2013
The rumors are true, Barbara Walters is retiring. The broadcast journalist, author, and television personality announced her retirement on The View, a morning show she has been co-hosting since 1997 on Monday. She will be retiring after 37 years with ABC network. She plans to retire next summer and she openly admitted that she’s not exactly sure how she will fill her time. “I heard my daughter when she was a little girl saying on the phone, ‘My mommy doesn’t drive, my mommy burns the meatloaf, my mommy can’t do anything but television,’” she said. “I want to find out if there’s something I can do besides television.”
Dr. Joyce Brothers, Psychologist for the Masses, Dies at 85
her a great deal for what she did for the mental health profession and society owes her a big thank you.” Brothers is survived by sister Elaine Goldsmith, daughter Dr. Lisa Brothers Arbisser, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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29% from the same three-month period last year, and dropped 56% from the last quarter of 2012 when there were 2,123 mass layoffs in the private sector. The total number of jobs lost is off 37% from a year ago when it totaled 246,958, and down 64% from 424,492 in the fourth quarter of 2012. These are the lowest first-quarter layoff and job loss levels since 1996. The BLS defines a mass layoff event as a filing of 50 or more initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits from an employer during a 5-week period. In order to exclude temporary furloughs, separation had to exceed 30 days to qualify. The average size of a layoff was 169 workers during the first quarter of 2013, however, events were largely concentrated at the lower end of the spectrum, with 71% involving fewer than 150 workers. Only 4% of the mass layoffs last quarter involved 500 or more people. As it turns out, more than half the first-quarter layoffs were a function of workers completing a contract or seasonality. Other common reasons: reorganization or restructuring of a company, cost cutting, and bankruptcy. Among the industries that took the biggest hits, construction had 178 extended mass layoff events resulting in 20,071 job losses, largely due to contract completion. The administrative and waste services sector reported 143 layoff events and 23,284 separations for the three-month period. In California, the most populous state in the U.S., 254 mass layoffs in the private sector affected 58,304 people. This represents 28% of the total major layoffs. Hewlett-Packard employees were among those affected by mass layoffs in California. A year ago the Palo Alto-based company announced plans to reduce its workforce by about 27,000 people. As of March, the tech giant had 15,000 layoffs to go. Shockingly, The Golden State is home to five of the 10 metro areas with the largest number of layoffs in the first quarter. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif. area ranks as the No. 1 ‘Pink Slip Capital’ with 27,042 initial claimants. The New York metro area—which includes New York City, Northern New Jersey, and Long Island—ranks second with 8,693 initial claimants as it continues to struggle with job losses in the financial services industry. Earlier this year, BlackRock and Morgan Stanley, for example, announced plans to cut 300 and 1,600 workers, respectively. This was a 3% staff reduction for both firms. Other places with large job loss numbers include Chicago and San Francisco.
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May 23, 2013
among 14 occupation groups measured by a Gallup survey conducted among 139,000 Americans last year. Manufacturing and production workers suffer from a 30-percent obesity rate and installation or repair workers face obesity at a 28-percent rate. Office workers follow close behind with a 26-percent obesity rate. On the slimmer side of the scale, only 14 percent of physicians are considered obese; 20 percent of business owners and 21 percent of teachers suffer from obesity.
The obvious culprits for the high levels of worker obesity are to blame. Lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits, a history of depression and skipping annual dental visits top the list. Ed Watt is now the Director of Health and Safety for the Transport Workers Union of America. For 20 years, Mr. Watt drove a bus in Brooklyn, a job that can lead to a greater risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and lung disease. “First the sedentary nature of the work, sitting much of the day with the inability to move around, even for bathroom breaks,” Watt wrote in an email. “The second is the mobile nature of the job leaves poor food choices. So fast food rules.” “The other factor is that these jobs are highly stressful,” he added. “The stress of the jobs results from high demand and low control over the work. Traffic, people and schedule are all big items that are beyond your control as a driver. As a result of the stress, many are inclined to mal-adaptive coping mechanism.” Now Watt is in charge of looking for solutions to American workers’ obesity problems. Let’s hope he can put the pedal to the metal in finding the right solutions.
Californians Find it Hard to Breathe In that last several years, awareness about pollution has grown tremendously as well as stricter legislation and improved technology, improving our air and water quality significantly. In fact, the nation’s overall air quality is much cleaner than it was in some of the worst-affected areas, according to a recent report by the Amer-
ican Lung Association. Air emissions that contribute to pollutants have fallen since 1970 thanks to the Clean Air Act. Yet, it is still a serious issue across the country (especially in California). A shocking statistic reveals that 4 in 10 Americans live where pollution levels are often dangerous to breathe. The ALA’s 2013 “State of the Air” report measures cities based on low-lying ozone pollution, as well as both short- and long-term particle pollution.
Here are America’s most polluted cit-
Cincinnati, Ohio; Middletown, Kentucky; and Wilmington, Indiana, tied for tenth worst polluted cities. Out of a population of 2,179,965, about 215,984 reported that they suffer from asthma. El Centro, California, ranked ninth worst city with 14,253 residents with asthma out of 177,057. At number eight is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and New Castle, Pennsylvania. There, 224,567 residents reported asthma out of a population of 2,450,281. Visalia and Porterville, California, came in at number seven. Residents with asthma came out at 35,957 out of 449,253. At number six is Modesto, California, with 41,791 suffering from asthma from a population of 518,522. Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Riverside, California, all tied for the fifth worst polluted cities. A staggering 1,464,217 residents reported asthma, from a population of 18,081,569. Wow, California is seriously hogging this list. At number four is Hanford and Corcoran, California, where 12,388 residents have asthma from a population of 153,765. The third worst polluted cities are Fresno and Madera, California. Out of a population of 1,095,829 more than 88,000 have asthma. Merced, California, ranked second to worst for pollution. In Merced, residents with asthma total 20,837 with its population at 259,898. And now for the worst of the worst: Bakersfield and Delano, California! Out of a population of 851,710, a confounding 68,419 reported asthma. Well, Californians, you can’t have it all.
That’s Odd World’s Most Durable Bat Boy Stan Bronson Jr. spent more than half a century on the diamond at the University of Memphis. At the Tiger’s end of the season last week, they saluted Bronson for being more than just a batboy, but an institution on their team. You see, Bronson is concluding his 55th year as the team’s batboy. He currently holds a Guinness World Record for “most durable bat boy” and his jersey is retired on the outfield wall. Eddie Cantler, who has been Memphis’ athletic trainer for 35 years, said that Bronson is an “icon of the institution.” “Stan is everything that is innocent and pure,” Cantler said. “And that’s what he is. From the president on down, everybody knows that Stan is one of us.” Bronson originally scored the job at Memphis after getting fired from a position in the athletic department at Rhodes College. Now Bronson, 84, is making headlines.
Bronson recalls when his mom brought him to meet Memphis’ football coach, Billy “Spook” Murphy in 1958. Bob Winn, an associate athletic director at Memphis, remembers when Bronson met the storied coach. “Coach Murphy said, ‘Well, son, I’m sorry but I don’t have money in my budget to pay for anybody else.’” Winn said. “And Stan said, ‘Don’t need money. Need a job.’” From that moment on, Bronson became a staple at every Memphis baseball game. He spent decades chasing foul balls and fetched bats, but now he spends most of his time in a steel cage next to the dugout which was constructed especially for him. It’s called “Bronson’s Bungalow.” At the end of the seventh inning of every game, Bronson comes out to home plate, tips his hat to the crowd and takes a bow. Some fans stay through the seventh inning just to see Bronson salute the crowd.
The university has become a family for Bronson, who has no living close relatives. The school unofficially oversees his care, and he has a lifetime pass to the dining halls. “I remember his mother telling us one time, that when Stan was a very young child, that the family physician told her that Stan’s life expectancy would be eight or nine years,” Winn said. “We think, really, quite frankly, that athletics has kept Stan alive and going.”
The Worst Room in NYC While searching for a decent place to live, Ryan Nethery stumbled across many apartments—but those were places he knew he did not want to hang his hat. Apparently, New York City may be home to some of the most expensive abodes, but there are also myriad small, cramped, decrepit and expensive places that some may call home. “This is a blog created for me to share the Craigslist postings I sift through on a daily basis trying to find decent, affordable housing in New York City,” were Ryan Nethery’s opening words on his Tumblr account. The blog, The Worst Room, was dedicated to unaffordable housing in New York City. Manhattan is the most expensive city in the U.S.; the cost of living is double the national average. Nethery was simply expressing his frustrations but got a lot more attention than he intended. His housing blog quickly went viral. He posted photos of living spaces and what you can expect on a modest budget. For many New Yorkers, it wasn’t that shocking because it is a reality, but for many other Americans and foreigners, it was quite surprising.
One of his posts showcases a small, windowless apartment in Park Slope with the caption, “Almost a studio.” The asking price for this abode? $800 a month. Nethery awarded his worst room on his blog to a listing for a small room in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The space offers a cheap-looking bunk bed and the listing reads: “Top bunk is $500 per month, bottom bunk is $600 per month.” Nethery writes, “The only thing more ridiculous than asking someone to pay $500 per month to share a bed is asking someone else to pay $600 per month to share the same bed. Would you
This is every little girl’s dream. Two weeks ago, Target built a life-size Cape Cod-style dollhouse in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal. The home is decked out with furniture and showcases more than 3,000 items from its real-life Threshold collection. On May 6 delighted girls and young-at-heart adults were able to view the dollhouse for two days. About 40,000 people acting as the “dolls” visited the dollhouse. Visitors were free to roam around and purchase items displayed in the house from their mobile devices.
Now you’re thinking what makes this a doll house as opposed to just a house, right? The home has some optical illusions and obvious omissions. The most prominent faux pas is the fourth wall. The fake hinges imply that the house opens and closes. The second floor is inaccessible. And to prevent misunderstandings amongst visitors, there is no toilet in the bathroom. The makers’ goal was to meld fantasy and reality, according to Daniel Chu, executive vice president-experiential creative director at Deutsch LA, the agency that came up with the installation. He said, “Target is about the balance of the thrill of expecting more, and the reality of paying less. We wanted to take these two brands, Grand Central and Target, and look at them as connectors of fantasy and reality.” It took a crew of 50 people 54 hours to assemble the 1,600-square-foot house made of 4-by-8 interlocking panels.
Back in the late ‘90s, Don Juan and his friend went out for dinner at an upscale restaurant. Upon receiving the check, Juan realized he was $40 short. The teenager respectfully spoke with the restaurant’s owner and chef, Claus Hjortkjaer, explaining his situation. Chef Claus was compassionate and gave the teenage boy $40 from his own pocket to pay his tab. “Don’t worry about paying me back. If you’re in the position to pay me back, pay me back, but don’t worry about it,” the chef said. Juan gratefully accepted the money, left Le Café Miche with a simple thank you and never returned until last week. Hjortkjaer recently reopened his restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A mysterious gentleman asked to speak with the chef. Juan then explained who he was and handed Hjortkjaer a $100 bill to pay off his debt including interest. “I didn’t remember him until he told me the story,” Hjortkjaer said. “But people change in their looks after 16 years.” “Sometimes it pays off to be a nice guy,” Hjortkjaer said. “It made me feel good. I went and bought myself a bouquet of flowers,” the chef added. He then said that Juan is welcome back to his restaurant for a glass of wine, on the house. It’s nice to see the circle of kindness going round and round.
Cicadas for Dinner and Maybe for Snack Too
Millions Found in a Cookie Jar
While the East Coast is frantically preparing for the invasion of cicadas, one resourceful Connecticut chef is looking forward to the attack of the insects and exploring his culinary creativity. For Bun Lai, a 2013 James Beard Award nominee and owner of Miya Sushi in New Haven, eating bugs is gourmet and delicious. He promises that all his foods are sustainable but his menu includes ingredients such as foraged wild mushrooms and soup made from seaweed he hand harvests. His sushi contains “trash fish,” species that are perfectly tasty and edible but not commercially popular and, therefore, are not over-fished. He also supplies the restaurant from his own hundred-acre shellfish bed.
You know what they say, “Hey, you never know!” But Richard Cerezo really did not know that he had won the lottery. He was doing a little spring cleaning and going through old lotto tickets which were stacked in a cookie jar. He decided to double check and brought the bunch to his local 7-11 in Geneva, Illinois, to see if he had any winning tickets. . Well, this time there was more than just cookies in the cookie jar. Cerezo discovered that one of the tickets he found was worth more than $600 and he needed to file a claim. But that’s all he was told. When he returned home, he checked the number online and discovered that he had won $4.8M Cerezo said, “As each number kept matching, the smile kept going higher and
“I’ve been dreaming about putting cicadas on the menu for a long time,” Lai revealed recently. “There are billions that are going to [emerge] and they are going to be dying anyway. It’s not with joy that I kill any animal, but I’m definitely not a vegetarian.” Lai has served insects at his restaurant before, and in 2011, he hosted a popular family event at the Peabody Museum that included a cooking demonstration and tasting for kids. He extols the flavor of bugs as well as their small carbon footprint. “If people were less skittish about eating insects, farmers could use a lot less pesticide on their crops,” he says.
Lai has scientific evidence that insects may very well be edible protein. A recent report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says that harvesting more insects for consumption could help improve nutrition worldwide and reduce the environmental impact of farming other types of animals. According to the report, “Insects are everywhere and they reproduce quickly, and they have high growth and feed conversion rates and a low environmental footprint.” For a Mexican-style snack, Lai plans on dehydrating the cicadas and preserving them in jars. “I would also boil them Maryland crab boil-style, but with Ethiopian spices. Maybe I’d throw in some baby corn. A big pile of spiced cicadas with baby corn would be a beautiful presentation.” Lai was born in Hong Kong to a Japanese mother and Chinese father. “To tip my hat to my own culture,” he says, “I’d cook cicadas yakitori style. I’d make a nice teriyaki marinade with local mugwort [a bitter tasting plant used in Eastern cuisine and traditional medicine] and maple syrup and then skewer and grill them.” Umm, eww.
Pint-Sized Politician Bobby Tufts is the honorary mayor of Dorset, Minnesota. He has enjoyed his success and the benefits of political power even at the age of 4. Tufts was given the gift of an oak plaque symbolizing the key to the city. The tot gets lots of extras because of his title. “His biggest perks are that he gets to give hugs and gets lots of free ice cream,’’ his mother, Emma Tufts, said proudly.
Bobby became the mayor of Dorset in August of 2012 when he was only 3-yearsold after his name was picked out of a hat at the annual “Taste of Dorset’’ festival. In the seasonal town of 26 residents, candidates pay the $1 ballot fee to literally throw their names in a hat during the yearly mayoral election at the festival. The position is only symbolic since the town is actually run by a group of five local business owners. “He ran an actual campaign,” Tufts’
May 23, 2013
Grand Central Terminal Finds a Home
Man Pays Restaurant Check Over a Decade Later
higher. And when I realized we had all six numbers, it was that shocking moment of, ‘Whoa, can this really be?’” he said. “Fast forward to the next day, Monday: Called in sick ... went down into Chicago. It’s one of feelings where it’s okay if they fire me.” Cerezo spoke to lottery officials, who told him the ticket was worth $4.85 million. Cerezo told reporters that he purchased the ticket in February, which meant he’d been sitting on the fortune for months without realizing it, all this while stressing over his house going into foreclosure. “It couldn’t have happened at a better time,” Cerezo said. “I just thought, this is how G-d works.” Cerezo said his main priority is paying off his home although I am sure he can now fill his cookie jar with some cookies.
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live there?” he asked. Umm, no thanks. Nethery is a 25-year-old freelance cinematographer originally from Kentucky. He has lived in the city for five years and he currently declares himself homeless. His belongings are stuffed into a car given to him by his grandmother and he’s crashed on his friend’s floors and couches. (That’s what I call a freeloader.) He said, “I am still looking for a decent place to live. If you have a room opening up in your house, or an apartment that is available, please feel free to e-mail me.” Hey, I was looking for a roommate…
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May 23, 2013
mother said. “All the waitresses at the Dorset House and some at Campaneros were wearing buttons with his campaign picture that said, ‘Vote for Bobby!’ and we had posters all over town. I don’t know how many votes he had in the hat, but a lot of the customers were voting him in.” “He’s pretty much a celebrity around town when he walks into Dorset House and other places, because he knows all the waitresses,’’ Emma Tufts said. “He’s very charming. For him, it’s just another day. He thinks it’s just part of being mayor. Even before all the publicity, the local people really knew who he was.” Bobby’s mother joked that he may have a rival vying for his spot sometime soon. “He has a 15-month-old brother,” Emma Tufts said. “Maybe he’ll run next year.” Next time for Bobby: The White House.
Photographer Uses Neighbors as Subjects, Without Their Consent Residents at a luxury Manhattan apart-
ment block are livid after finding out that one of their fellow neighbors has been photographing them without their knowledge. The photographer who calls himself an artist is now displaying the images in a gallery and they are for sale. Artist Arne Svenson openly admits to photographing his neighbors without their permission at the exclusive 475 Greenwich Street apartment block in TriBeCa. Except, he insists that he did nothing wrong or illegal. His photographs deliberately don’t completely show anyone’s face but they do show residents engaged in personal activities including cleaning, taking a nap, watching television and carrying their sleeping children to bed. The photographs are currently on display at the Julie Saul Gallery in Manhattan as part of an exhibition called “The Neighbors” which opened on Saturday. Prints are available to buy for up to $7,500 and in sizes up to 5 feet by 2 feet. Penthouses in the Greenwich Street building sell for up to $6 million and residents are flaming mad. They are calling it a complete invasion of privacy and say they are deeply concerned for the safety of their children. “A grown man should not be able to photograph kids in their rooms with a telephoto lens,” resident Clifford Finn proclaimed. “You can argue artistic license all
you want, but that’s really the issue here. I’m sorry, but I’m really bothered by this.” A number of residents who are featured in the exhibition are considering legal action. Svenson, 60, who lives on the second floor of the nearby 125 Watt St building, is unapologetic. “For my subjects, there is no question of privacy,” he said in a statement accompanying the exhibit. “They are performing behind a transparent scrim on a stage of their own creation with the curtain raised high. The neighbors don’t know they are being photographed; I carefully shoot from the shadows of my home into theirs. I am not unlike the birder, quietly waiting for hours, watching for the flutter of a hand or a movement of a curtain as an indication that there is life within.” Creepy or creeeepy?
Women Finds her Stolen Car…at McDonalds Virginia Maiden’s Toyota SUV was stolen from her apartment complex on Tuesday morning. After filing a police report, she was shocked to spot her vehicle at a McDonald’s drive-thru where she worked in Kennewick, Washington. After Maiden spotted her car, she quickly phoned the local police who responded to the scene as the thief, Katherine York, was pulling out of the drive-thru. York and a male passenger were detained, but the unidentified man was later released. Kennewick authorities say that 22-yearold Katherine York was driving Virginia Maiden’s stolen Toyota SUV while going through the McDonald’s drive-thru on Tuesday. Police also discovered stolen clothes from Sears and JC Penney in the vehicle. Who can blame her? After all that stealing, York must have gotten hungry.
To Italy and Beyond Name: Address:
Credit Card Processing Made
Account Number: Routing Number:
Sometimes I want to be a waitress. Well, not really, but this story makes me cheer for the hardworking waiters and waitresses across the country. Recently, a woman posted a receipt on her blog highlighting a huge tip that her mother, also a waitress, received from a very generous customer.
Ari Markowitz 424-256-7251 x103
Ari@bmswestcoast.com Social Security Number: ------www.bmswestcoast.com Copy Of Void Check
Better Service. Better Rates. Better Business.
The user who posted the receipt goes by the name “Casual Cynic.” But this story made her a little less cynical (we hope). It seems that Casual Cynic’s mother was chat-
ting with a customer about her dream to visit Italy, where her ancestors hail from. The generous patron gave the hardworking server a $1,000 tip for his $60.42 meal. Next to the tip on the receipt he wrote: “Your ticket to Italy. Enjoy!” Casual Cynic ended off the post, saying, “Just when I start to lose faith in humanity…” This uplifting story drew thousands of notes on Tumblr. I am sure that there are many waitresses out there who are hoping that this customer visits their restaurant next.
Flying in the Wrong Direction Sometimes when I’m traveling with my husband, I have a feeling that we are going the wrong way. Because I am a good wife, I generally try to keep my “feeling” to myself, until he realizes on his own that instead of driving to Manhattan, we are suddenly ending up in Staten Island. At that point, he utters many choice words before turning around and heading in the right direction. Well, a couple had this terrible feeling of misdirection while traveling to their native country in Africa from Los Angeles. This time, they ended up hundreds of miles away, thanks to a computerized airport error. Sandy Valdivieso and her husband, Triet Vo, had planned to fly home to their country of Senegal in Africa. They received their boarding passes and noted that they were flying from Los Angeles (LAX) to DAC through Istanbul. They assumed that their final destination would be Dakar, Senegal. They were wrong. You see, the code DAC actually refers to Dhaka, Bangladesh. They should have been heading to DKR, in Senegal. But, as Valdivieso, pointed out, most travelers don’t know the airport initials for their destination. “You just assume that everything is correct,” she said. On the plane, they heard the flight attendant announce the destination as Dhaka but assumed that they just pronounced “Dakar” with an interesting accent. Hours later, when Valdivieso woke up, she knew something was wrong when she spotted the plane on the travel map on the screen in front of her hovering over the Middle East—nowhere near Africa! After nine hours of convincing the airline that a mistake like this came from the airline and not the vacationing couple, they were finally put on a plane headed to Senegal. “From now on, I’ll triple-check everything,” Valdivieso said. That’s good advice, unless you want to end up in Timbuktu on your next vacation.
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Leisure & Travel
From Sea to Shining Sea: New York
hen Ol’ Blue Eyes sang about “New York, New York,” you knew you wanted to be part of the action. Although I may be biased since I have lived in the Empire State all my life, New York is the unofficial capital of the world. Here, cultures and people from different nations and countries clash and collide and then merge into a fun, exciting melting pot. Nobody said New Yorkers have time for tourists, but they humor them with their large cameras and floppy hats. (Here’s a tip: if you don’t want to seem like a tourist, leave the large water bottle at the hotel and stop gawking at the tall buildings. There will be many to see on your trip here.) Things You Won’t Want to Miss The Crossroads of the World Did you know that New York State is not just about New York City? But, if you’re going to write about the Big Apple, you might as well include its most famous— and busiest—borough: New York City. When visiting the City, spend time in Times Square, visiting the shops, taking a ride on the huge Ferris wheel in Toys R Us, drinking a cold soda from a street cart and perhaps getting tickets to a matinee Broadway show at TKTS. The Great White Way hosts almost a million people each year on New Year’s Eve. I prefer to go when there’s less people and it’s a little warmer…but that’s just me. While you’re here, don’t forget about the shopping. Fifth Avenue is home to many luxurious stores where the clothes are probably worth way more than you’re interested in spending…unless you stop into Zara. Looking for some green in NYC? Central Park is the perfect place to relax, read a book or take a bike ride. There’s so much to do in this oasis in the city—you can spend days here strolling its roads. niagara Falls No matter how many times one visits the falls, the beauty and grandeur of the falls is breathtaking. Approximately 150,000 gallons of water crashes down below every second, although the amount varies depending on the time of year. The best time to go is during the summer months. The weather is warm and the flow of the water is greatest at that point. Make sure to take a Maid of the Mist voyage while you’re here; you can’t fathom the majesty of the falls without getting close to them. Numerous daredevils have tried to conquer the falls, some without success. In 1901, Annie Taylor was the first person to survive the falls in a barrel. She thought it would
bring her fame and fortune; she died penniless. In 1911, Bobby Leach broke both kneecaps and his jaw during his plunge over the falls in a steel barrel. Years later, he slipped on an orange peel and died from gangrene. In 2003, Kirk Jones became the first stunter to survive the falls with only the clothes on his back. Unfortunately, he and his friends were so drunk when he performed the stunt that they couldn’t figure out how to work the video camera, and his stunt was never recorded. Take Me Out to the Ballgame If you love baseball and just can’t get enough of the game, make sure to head over to Cooperstown. Here you’ll get more than enough info about the game and its famous players. Marvel at the 135,000 baseball cards with major players and spend time in its National Baseball Hall of Fame. There’s even a wax museum with over 30 of your favorite players ready for their photo ops. While you’re spending time with Joe DiMaggio and the Babe, your kids will have a ball at the Sandlot Kids’ Clubhouse. There’s more than just baseball in Cooperstown. You can enjoy the butterflies at the butterfly conservatory in town and go back in history at the Farmers’ Museum. Just make sure to pack some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. The Great Adirondacks With six million acres, Adirondack Park mixes the spirit of the wild with the charming atmosphere of quaint Adirondack towns and villages. Spring comes slowly to the region, shaking off winter white for emerald meadows, blue skies and brilliant flowers. Rafting and rock climbing are popular activities in the region. During the winter, the snowcapped mountains offer challenges to those on sleds and skis. Lake Placid and Lake George offer visitors sparkling lakes with a small-town feel. There is nothing that says “America” more than eating hot dogs while watching fireworks over a lake on July 4th.
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In the Kitchen Chef Shaul Silverstein
n a very short notice right before Shavuos, I was told that I was to prepare dinner for a family who had a member in the hospital. Even if you were to serve cardboard to a person in need, you will almost always get a call in return, thanking you for the wonderful food you sent. So I could not judge by that. However, when a family member accused me of making better food for strangers, that hit home, and I repeated the same recipe (with minor variations) for my family. The salmon speaks for itself, well, actually it did not speak, but if you like the sweet and sour Asian profile this may be up your alley. I like the contrast with the orzo primavera as it is not so bold in flavors, yet it is a beautiful translation of
Asian Styled Sweet and Sour Salmon Ingredients 4 salmon fillets ½ cup ketchup 4 minced garlic cloves ¼ cup orange juice concentrate 1/3 cup soy sauce 2-3 scallions 1-inch fresh ginger root, shredded 3 tablespoons brown sugar ¼ cup chopped roasted unsalted cashews Preparation Preheat oven to 400°. Mix all ingredients besides salmon, scallions, and cashews and then place in a pot on the stove. Simmer until slightly bubbling and all ingredients are blended well. Wash and discard scales from salmon. Coat the fish with the simmered mixture and reserve the remainder, taking caution not to bring sauce in contact with raw fish. In the event that the sauce did come in contact with the raw fish, bring sauce to 140 degrees for 15 seconds. Place salmon in pan or casserole dish and bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Salmon is done when slightly brown on outside, slightly opaque inside and flakes easily. When done, glaze fillets with remaining mixture. Cut scallions on diagonal in quarter inch slices. Serve salmon on bed of orzo primavera and garnished with cashews and scallions.
Orzo Primavera Ingredients
1 pound package of orzo 1/3 cup of canola oil 1 large Spanish onion 6 cloves garlic, minced 1 large carrot, julienned or shredded 2 green zucchini squash, julienned (1/8”x1/8”x2”) 24 ounce package of broccoli florets (if frozen – defrost) Few dill sprigs Optional: good quality extra virgin olive oil, to finish Salt and pepper to taste Preparation Prepare orzo according to package directions. (Because this is a salad, I suggest cooking it al dente, as it will pair better with the vegetables.)
spring (primavera means spring in Italian) and the sweet potato pie matches the salmon nicely. If you would like to drink wine with this meal, if it is a casual meal I would suggest a rose wine. For a more formal meal, I would suggest a prosecco. I particularly like these wines as they usually contain nice citrus notes, which match this meal beautifully. Note: If you are serving the salmon as an entrée, be certain that the entree does not overpower the main course. Flavors should become more bold as the courses advance. Coat bottom of pan with canola oil. Finely dice onion to 1/4-inch pieces (or smallest possible). Sweat onions over medium high heat until transparent add garlic and stir quickly so that it only sweats and does not burn. Lower heat to medium; add carrots. Once carrots are soft, add broccoli and cover for additional 4-5 minutes. (Broccoli becomes very bright when done.) Add zucchini to pan for 1-2 minutes until it is slightly cooked but not mushy. Strain vegetable juices. Mix with orzo and add salt and pepper to taste. Optionally add a few drops of extra virgin olive oil to finish and mix well. Garnish with dill.
Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole or Pie Ingredients 10-12 sweet potatoes, or as many as can fit in the pan 1 package of candied pecans 5 eggs 1/3 cup orange juice concentrate 1/3 cup of flour (if mixture feels very watery, I usually add an additional 1/3 cup flour to get a better consistency) 1/3 cup brown sugar If sweet potatoes are not sweet, consider adding additional sweetener of choice (like ½ cup Splenda, sugar or 1/3 cup honey) Preparation The following is the way I prepare the casserole: Fill to heap one 9x13 pan with sweet potatoes. Cover each sweet potato with aluminum foil. Place in 350° oven until tender. Once potatoes are cooked, smash them and then mix all above ingredients with the potatoes besides the pecans. Place in 9x13 pan. Place pecans on top of the pie approximately at a distance of 1.5” apart. Bake for approximately 45 minutes at 375° until top starts browning. Variation: For more formal presentation, place mixture in pie crust to bake. If using crust, pre-bake according to directions. If you don’t pre-bake the pie shell, it will absorb the moisture of the sweet potato mixture which will not allow the shell to form proper crust during baking.
Enjoy! Sh a u l Ch e f
I encourage you to send me any or all suggestions to email@example.com. Also please notify me if there is any recipe or idea that you would like to see in this column. Bon appetit!
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