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The Week In News

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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

3/27/17 2:10 PM


The Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

#6

IN A SERIES

“ IF ONE PERSON MAKES A HOLE IN A SHIP, EVERYONE IN THE SHIP GOES DOWN. IF SOMEONE TALKS DURING DAVENING, IT BRINGS EVERYONES TEFILLAH DOWN ” ~ Rav Gamliel Rabinovich, Shlita CITICOM! 718.692.0999

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The Week In News

CONTENTS

COMMUNITY

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

JEWISH THOUGHT The Power of a Thank You Note. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Be Real!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

FEATURE AIPAC 2017. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 A Link to the Past: Recently Found 400-year-old Manuscript Highlights Little-Known Period in Jewish History . . . . . . . . . . 26 Menachem Begin Israel’s Sixth Prime Minister. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

LIFESTYLES Notable Quotes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

NEWS

Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers,

If you were to go back in time 50 years and describe to someone our current political reality, both here and abroad, relating to Israel and the Jewish people in general, they would insist you were referring to the beginning of the Messianic times. We have an Orthodox ambassador and envoy to Israel. The U.S. has sent a staunch defender of the Jewish people to be its Ambassador to the UN, and she has gone so far as to boycott the UN Human Rights Council for its bias against the Jewish state. Many countries that had severed ties with Israel have now reconnected with her – Nicaragua being the most recent one – each one looking to gain from her success. Many enemies who wish us harm are eliminating each other while we live in relative peace. And the list goes on. Yet, many of us don’t feel that way. At most, we recognize that something supernatural is taking place, but we can’t seem to lift ourselves above the daily grind. Zman cheiruseinu, the time of our freedom. But what is freedom? Freedom from the Egyptians? From the Nazis? Then what does it mean for us today in Los Angeles, California? It’s said, “You can take the Jew out of exile, but you can’t take exile out of the Jew.” Dictators big and small are in our past, but are we really free? Perhaps the promise of plenty has replaced a fierce taskmaster as an agent of our enslavement. Pharaoh might not be forcing us to think of work the whole day, but the lust for money is doing a pretty good job. The stress of a coming pogrom isn’t causing tension in the home, but the selfish pursuit of physical objects might be. We are not scarred mentally from emotional anguish but there are plenty of conditions and addictions brought about by our dependence on physical pleasure... One might say it is us who are the ones who can really go free. Our freedom won’t come about from removing an enemy or something outside us. Our freedom will come from within, by drawing out pure life from within our infinite and G-dly soul – that part of us which is not tainted or clouded by physicality. So, is it a general redemption we are waiting for, or a personal one? The truth is we can’t have one without the other. General redemption is brought about by a personal one, the triumph of our spiritual side over the physical. And personal redemption is possible when we contemplate its ultimate expression in the world at large. Surely we have accumulated enough Torah and mitzvos to be deserving of the eternal redemption both on a personal level and for all nations of the world. “In Nissan we were redeemed, and in Nissan we will be redeemed in the future.” Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos!

Shalom

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


The Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

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TheHappenings Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Rabbi Yosef Wallis in Los Angeles Yehudis Litvak Last week, Rabbi Yosef Wallis – CEO of the international kiruv organization, Arachim – visited Los Angeles and brought his unique inspiration to the local Jewish community. Rabbi Wallis’s life story was featured in Rabbi Nachman Seltzer’s book Incredible! From the Bronx to Bnei Brak: The amazing true story of Rabbi Yossi Wallis. During his visit, Rabbi Wallis shared more details of his fascinating life story

with his eager audience. On Monday, March 20, Rabbi Wallis spoke at Congregation Etz Chaim of Hancock Park. He told the story of his quest for information about the fate of his ancestor, Rafael Vallis, and the surprising consequence of his discoveries. Rabbi Wallis first heard about Rafael Vallis from his father, who told him about an old sefer passed from generation to gen-

eration in his family. Inside, an ancestor had listed the names of previous ancestors, and at the top of the list was the name of Rafael Vallis of Majorca, Spain. Rafael Vallis lived as a secret Jew in the times of the Inquisition. Unfortunately, he was caught, tortured, and burned at the stake. The Inquisition had maintained detailed records of the interrogations and tortures, which are still kept in the archives

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at a university in Madrid. In 1992, the Spanish government opened up the archives to researchers. Several Israeli professors went to Madrid to study the archives, and their findings were reported in the newspapers. Rabbi Wallis’s son was reading a newspaper article when he spotted a familiar name – Rafael Vallis was mentioned as the last Jew burned at the stake in Majorca, Spain. Rabbi Wallis’s son mentioned the article to his father, who contacted the researchers in order to find out more about his ancestor. With the help of newspaper reporters who spoke Spanish, Rabbi Wallis got hold of the file on Rafael Vallis. It was a 1000page long document detailing Rafael’s life, “crime,” and the horrible tortures he was subjected to. Rabbi Wallis found out that the last name Vallis was given to his ancestors by the church when they were forcibly converted to Christianity. Rabbi Wallis decided to visit Majorca and look for other descendants of hidden Jews. Amazingly enough, the first Jew he met there also had the last name Vallis, and was also a direct descendant of Rafael. Both Rabbi Wallis and his newfound cousin were delighted to meet each other, although the Majorcan cousin did not consider himself Jewish. Moreover, Rabbi Wallis discovered that the “new Christians,” as the converted Jews were called, were never allowed to integrate into the Christian community. For many generations, they married only among themselves. After consulting the highest halachic authorities it was determined that all of the 20,000 descendants of hidden Jews currently living in Majorca were fully halachically Jewish and could resume the Jewish lifestyle without going through a conversion. Drawing on his Arachim resources, Rabbi Wallis organized kiruv seminars in Majorca, teaching the Majorcan Jews about yiddishkeit from scratch. Thus, as a result of Rabbi Wallis’s personal quest, many Jews were able to return to their heritage. While in Los Angeles, Rabbi Wallis also spoke in schools, mesmerizing the students with his amazing stories.


TheHappenings Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Los Angeles Community Comes Out In Force for the 2nd Annual Matzo Ball Run/Walk at Dockweiler Beach Sunday, March 26 , close to 250 participants of all ages and backgrounds ran together in support of education and for the benefit of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy in Beverly Hills, spearheaded this initiative on behalf of the extended community for the second consecutive year.   Event Chairman, Jason Gruenbaum, said “It was our goal to spread the message of community, wellness and caring for others.  Seeing all those smiling faces – children, adults, old friends and new ones – all coming together to share this same ideal, was extremely rewarding.  We are fortunate and thankful to be part of a wonderful institution in Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy and working with a miraculous organization in Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; all with the generous support of our sponsors and greater community.  The th

Second Annual Matzo Ball Run was bigger and better than the First, and we look forward to continuing the trend with the Third!” In a sea of neon yellow, the energy was contagious as the starting runners zoomed through the 5K oceanfront course. Pre-run warm ups for adults and children…. And then the runners were off. The first five to

cross the finish line: Daniel Wintner, Steven Huemann, Angel Jaramillo Jr., Phillip Wintner and Greg Debrecourt were greeted by cheering crowds! Kids Zone was abuzz with Matzo Beach Balls bouncing through the air, child-friendly obstacle courses, face painting and hula hooping followed by a Kids Fun Run. This run was an opportunity to empower our children to engage in a

healthy, fun event while simultaneously supporting a valuable cause. Special thanks to our event sponsors; Greentree Capital Group, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Georgette Westerman Interiors, Prero Orthodontics, Jonathan & Rachel Kessler and the Katz Bick Family. We look forward to this event growing each year and welcome the participation of additional schools and organizations

for next year’s Matzo Ball Run/Walk! To check out pictures from this year’s event, please visit https:// www.facebook.com/harkhamhillelhebrewacademy/

“B”H”

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The Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

May the Sea Split Again Communicated

The Talmidim mentioning the names at the most Auspicious time, Chatzos Halaylah

The shidduchim parshah – it’s a difficult parshah. As difficult as kriyas yam suf, Chazal tell us. And those of us who know the pain of an older single understand the analogy well. For shidduchim is like a stormy sea, with crashing waves and engulfing waters. As the yom tov of kriyas Yam Suf approaches, we hurt… and we hope. We hurt with pain… another year of waiting has passed. And we hope that this year will be the year in which the sea will split, and we will merit our personal miracle. That’s why Kollel Chatzos presents a special opportunity this year; the “Bein Hazemanim Amuka Shidduchim Campaign,” with chatzos tefillos in Amuka, the well-known makom tefillah for shidduchim, every day of bein hazemanim (with tefillos Shabbos

and yom tov on Motzei Shabbos and yom tov.) While kollel representatives daven at Amuka year-round, this special campaign will climax with a special “Maamad Bakashas Rachamim Rabim,” in which the esteemed kollel talmidei chachamim will enumerate out the names of hundreds of yidden throughout the world who are waiting to find their zivugim and arouse rachamei shamayim on their behalf. Chatzos is a particularly special time for these tefillos. The sea split at chatzos halayla. In the merit of the kollel’s earnest tefillos, the shaarei shamayim will also split, and Hashem will answer the tefillos. May this month of Nissan, the auspicious month of redemption, bring simchos of simchah to klal yisrael.


The Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Protection For You All Year Moreinu HaRav Hagaon Chaim Kanievsky shlita praying on behalf of all Vaad Harabanim’s donors after reading “Iggeres HaKodesh”

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All donations are tax deductible. Please make checks payable to Vaad Harabbanim In accordance with U.S. tax law requirements regarding deductibility of contributions, VAAD HARABBANIM L'INYANEI TZEDUKA INC. shall have full dominion, control and discretion over this gift. All contributions subject to final board approval.

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Torah Musings The Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

The Power of a Thank You Note Sarah Pachter

I must admit, I’m a bit old-school when it comes to gratitude. I often do the “handwritten-note-thing,” despite how nerdy it seems. Any reader who has received a note from me knows what I’m talking about, that at times it comes across as a bit antiquated. But, despite the fact that technology keeps moving at an ever rapid pace, I continue to handwrite them, and I’d like to tell you why.    When I lived in New York, my sweet husband would shovel the driveway and walkway every morning before I awoke. I never thanked him for it, but inside, I felt tremendous gratitude. A whole year went by like this, until one night I said to him, “You know what? I never told you how much I appreciate that you shovel the driveway. It means a lot to me.” My comment was met with a blank expression. “I don’t shovel the driveway,” my modest husband replied. “Come on, just admit it!” I laughed. He just shook his head. “No, it really wasn’t me. I thought it was you!” What’s going on here? we wondered together. Who’s shoveling for us? It turns out, it was our 60-something year old neighbor! This kind man was secretly shoveling our driveway every single morning. I used to say hello to him daily, and not once did he mention his actions. He simply performed an unrecognized act of kindness for us. Once we realized it was him, we wrote a thank you note, bought a gift, and baked challos to give to him. I was simply amazed by his anonymous act of kindness. In my thank you card, I shared that I decided to speak publicly about him, using his act as an example to help define true righteousness.     Years later, I heard through the grapevine that our neighbor keeps my handwritten note with him in his wallet. I was shocked. I had no idea that my card made such an impact – enough for him to keep it with him at all times. It was heartwarming to hear. Obviously, it meant a lot to our

neighbor, yet that note, to my surprise, would do much more for me. When I started my writing career, it was… a little rocky, and I couldn’t understand why. The feedback I got from my speaking engagements was very positive, but my writing wasn’t working. I would write how I speak, but learned

quickly what works as a public speaker, does not always work in written text. They are in fact, diametrically opposite skill sets. Speaking requires repetition, enthusiasm, and doing anything you can to keep your audience engaged. Writing requires that you get in and out as quickly as possible without wasting a morsel of the reader’s time.     After experiencing repetitive rejection, the only thing that gave me strength and resolve to continue submitting was knowing that my neighbor kept my handwritten note. If my written word could affect a person to the point of keeping a note in their wallet at all times, then surely my written words could have the power to impact others. Therefore, I kept writing. In this way, gratitude was something I gave over to my neighbor. But that act of gratitude, in return, helped me much more than I had realized. It turns out, I am not the only one whose hand-written note transformed their career.

Hand-written thank you notes had a major impact on the Campbell Soup Company as well. Doug Conant came to work at Campbell’s Soup in 2001 as the company was struggling. Not only was the company in bad financial straits, the work environment was toxic, as well.   Conant wanted to move away from the standard business model, so he began looking for the positive actions of the company rather than the negative. Conant and a staff member began scouting for positive news within the company, and every time they saw something admirable – boom! – they sent a handwritten thank you note. Conant did not just thank the people at the top of the corporate ladder, he thanked the people at every level. Each was given a handwritten thank you note. Custodians, water boys, and interns were dumbfounded that he even knew their name, much less took the time to write a personal note accentuating a very specific task they had performed well. This gratitude alone was one of the cornerstones of how Conant picked up Campbell’s by the bootstraps and brought them back to extraordinary success. Conant’s business style is now quoted in Harvard Business School Case studies. His thank you notes not only helped his company succeed, but helped him on a personal level as well. In 2009, Conant was in a near fatal car accident. While recovering at the trauma center, get well cards began flooding in from around the world – many of them mentioning his past thoughtfulness in writing to them, and the personal connection they felt to him because of it. Many said they keep his notes on their bulletin board or refrigerators at home. It seems that what goes around comes around – tenfold. After reading about this Harvard Case study, and after my experience with our kind neighbor, I wanted to somehow apply this theory to my family, but it was only when I read a piece called  “Awesome Jars” that I tried it out. Each member of our family received a personalized mason jar, and throughout the week we would all write little notes expressing positive ac-

tions. Seeing the jars on the counter was a reminder to look out for positive actions – like Conant’s Campbell soup operation. After a full week of collecting notes, my family read them out loud at the Shabbat table. My son even came up with the idea of creating a raffle: whoever’s note gets picked wins a small prize!   Our kids love this little ritual, and it certainly makes our Friday nights more enjoyable. I noticed that writing down our positive actions and expressing gratitude towards one another has helped us become significantly more positive. According to a survey conducted by The John Templeton Foundation, it turns out that 94 percent of people admit they believe gratitude could make them live happier lives. Yet less than half of people actually express gratitude on a consistent basis. An article in The Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that more than any other trait, gratitude may have the highest impact on mental health and happiness. It also seems to have the greatest impact on a person’s ability to experience happiness and even decrease internal stress. So why don’t we practice it more often? Perhaps because the concept “be more grateful” is too daunting. A thank you note, however is more manageable. It is easy for us to forget to be grateful on a consistent basis, but we can all take a moment to write a personal note of gratitude. Surely we will find something or someone specific to thank. Receiving a handwritten note of gratitude can certainly warm the heart of the reader. However, I would argue that this form of expression has an even greater impact on the writer. When we take the time to write a well-thought-out note, it creates an awareness that this didn’t happen by itself. Someone cares for me! Although there is something special about a handwritten note, even an email can achieve the same effect when we take the time to write it in a personal and sincere way. Whether handwritten, or via email, the effort you put in is what the reader will notice and appreciate. And you never know how writing those words, might impact the writer herself. As the saying goes, ‘tis better to give than to receive – a thank you note that is.


MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

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give your glass a raise.

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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

Haddar All-Natural Panko Crumbs will transform your Pesach cooking. Coating your chicken in these delectable Japanese style bread crumbs will take your schnitzel to a whole new level. Available in Original, Barbecue and Onion & Garlic varieties.

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Living with In theNews Times The Week

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Be Real!

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman

It is that time of the year again. Piles grow taller, and then decisions are made: What are we keeping and what are we tossing? What stays and what goes? Old papers and books, pens and picture frames, things that once shone with freshness and promise, trinkets, memorabilia and so many other items from good times past find their way to the trash heap as faded relics. What once meant so much is no longer important. At the root of this painful mass cleaning is the search for chometz, which is likened by Chazal to the perpetual struggle of the oveid Hashem in the battle with the yeitzer hora. It would seem natural that the “purge” that is currently taking place in Jewish homes around the world would lead us to a place of similar reckonings, namely a moment to contemplate the piles that fill our hearts: Which ideas go and which stay? Which attitudes once seemed promising, but have been exposed as false? What is worth keeping? What needs fixing and what has to go? It is often challenging to part with an old book or gift, and it is so much harder to discard an idea. Now is a most appropriate time. Rav Shlomo Elyashiv, author of Leshem Shevo V’achlama (writing in Sefer Hadeiah, drush 5, anaf 2, se’if 11), says that the first ten days of Nissan are comparable to the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah. Shabbos Hagadol corresponds to Yom Kippur, while the four days preceding Pesach, when the korban was taken and inspected, reflect the holiness of the four days between Yom Kippur and Sukkos, which the Vilna Gaon revealed as being especially auspicious. These days are ones of reflection. We hold up things to the light to see their real worth. We hold up our possessions and examine them to determine whether they are worth keeping. When we look inward, we take stock and decide which middos to keep and which have to be broken. A housewife in the midst of cleaning for Pesach will lift a food item and check its expiration date to see if it is still use-

able. She will study a scratched disc and decide if it can still give forth music. She’ll determine whether that book is missing too many pages to justify occupying room on the shelf. In our personal search, how do we decide what has value? The prime criteria for that which stays should be the truth, for truth has a kiyum, as the posuk says, “Sefas emes tikon la’ad” (Mishlei 12:19). As the people who possess the truth and are guided by it, veering from the truth ought to be sacrilegious; the truest form of chometz. The Torah is Toras Emes. It is all about

never stopped moving, because we have always fought for the truth, believed in the truth, and lived for its demands. Nissan is the month of hischadshus, rebirth, and more reflective than many other exemplars, it expresses one of the primary strengths of our people. Rashi (Bereishis 1:1) discusses that the Torah should have begun from the parsha (Shemos 12:1) of “Hachodesh hazeh lochem rosh chodoshim,” which discusses the matters of Rosh Chodesh, the new moon, and the month of Nissan. Not only does that parsha contain the first mitzvah given to us as a people,

Always elusive, truth has never been harder to find than today.

the ultimate truth. The truth is – as the Torah says - that Hashem created the world. It is folly to think that the world and everything in it came into being by itself. It is a lie created and adopted by people in order to be able to ignore the Creator’s wish that human life that conforms to the reasons for which the world was created as set forth in Torah. Our very lives are testimony to our belief in Hashem. What we do every day and on Shabbos attests that Hashem created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. All through the ages, people who were not beholden to the truth battled us in every way imaginable to man. Still, the truth endures. Our enemies were often quite strong, and more times than not, they felt that they had defeated us for all time, yet we persevered. They fell and we were able to rise from the ashes as many times as our homes, businesses and bodies were burnt. Sefas emes tikon la’ad. Our lips have

which is significant in itself, but there is added significance in that it pertains to the monthly rebirth of the moon, for that represents our identity and strength. There are times when people feel we are in a descending phase, necessitating that we adopt tools of fiction to guarantee our survival and to forge ahead. People begin rationalizing their actions in the belief that they will lead to a positive state. They justify those actions as congruous with the methods of those who surround us. People who are irresponsible neglect to reflect on the outcomes of their actions. They ignore their responsibility to the greater good. The truth no longer motivates them. Rather, they are driven by the momentary good feelings brought on by what they have done. People think that through glad handing and clever communication, they can promote themselves and their agendas, with the public no wiser. However, if truth ceases to be your

guide, then you end up being dishonest not only with others, but with yourself as well. You forget who you are and the purpose of life. Everything becomes superficial and false, and eventually, the alternative universe you have created craters under the weight of deception and faithlessness. As we begin Sefer Vayikra and the study of korbanos, the first lesson pertains to the importance of honesty. The parsha begins (Vayikra 1:2), “Adam ki yakriv mikem korban laShem - When a person brings an offering to Hashem,” and enumerates the many laws pertaining to korbanos. Rashi (ibid.) cites the Medrash which explains that the Torah referred to a person who brings a korban as an “adam,” and did not use the more common term of “ish,” to teach that just as Adam Harishon did not bring a korban from something that didn’t belong to him, because everything was his at that point in time, so too we must ensure that what we bring to Hashem is rightfully ours. It goes to the heart of who we are that the first lesson we are taught about korbanos is to be faithfully honest. Even when engaging in an act as holy as offering a sacrifice to Hashem, people may be so ingrained with acting not-exactly-truthfully that they will use perfidious proceeds to procure the korban. As a person brings a korban and stands lifnei Hashem, he is overcome by thoughts and hopes that he will remain on an exalted level. At that moment of teshuvah and vidui, he is enveloped by holiness and truth. Always elusive, truth has never been harder to find than today. Our world is all about perceptions, buzzwords, impressions, cajoling, patronizing, manipulating and creating narratives that are appealing. The truth is a secondary consideration, if even that. Kotzker chassidim would tell the story of a talmid of the Kotzker Rebbe who married a very wealthy girl. The young man spent his first Shabbos after sheva brachos at the home of his in-laws, and watched as his father-in-law, at the head of the table, presided over the lavish seudah. As the fish arrived in a large, elaborate platter, the head of the family sat up straight, with his mouth watering in anticipation. When the platter was delivered to him, he grasped it with both hands, closed his eyes and intoned, “Lechavod Shabbos kodesh. All that I eat is for the honor of Shabbos.” He then helped himself and passed the plate to the new son-in-law, who lifted it


Living with In theNews Times The Week

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

high and said, with the same solemnity, “Hineni ochel rak l’hano’as bitni. All that I eat is for the sake of my stomach’s enjoyment.” The father-in-law was incensed. “Nu, Shabbos!” he roared. The son-in-law shrugged. “Emes,” he retorted. We need to stop fooling ourselves, buying into ideas parroted by others and going along just because. Look inward. Be real. Speak to other people. Get out of your bubble. Ensure that you are not fooling yourself. Emes, not vacuousness and faux righteousness, should be your guide. We need to examine our questions, our value system, to ensure that we are not just making ourselves feel good, but that our actions really are truly good. A young man came in to Chacham Ovadiah Yosef with a halachic query. His wife was experiencing a difficult pregnancy and he wanted to know if she should fast on Yom Kippur. Rav Ovadia answered his question, then called the young man back. “You know, a pregnant woman with your wife’s condition is often in bed and unable to do very much around the house,” Chacham Ovadia said, as he proceeded to suggest different ways that the husband could be helpful and encouraging to his wife during that period. The man repeated the encounter and said, “I understood that Maran was telling me to be honest with myself, to be really frum, to care not just about the black and white halacha but the halacha of living like a ben Torah. He answered the questions I didn’t ask and told me what I really needed to hear.” Our mouths can cause cosmic change. Taking a simple animal and saying, “Harei zu olah,” we can transform it into a Divine gift. Through saying, “Lesheim matzas mitzvah,” we can elevate a lump of dough into the holiest bread we have. Let us make sure that our words mean something. Let us see the crumbs of chometz in platitudes and sound bites and get rid of them. Let us search our hearts by the light of candles and make sure that they are truly pure. Doing so represents real Pesach cleaning and is far from easy, but it can be transformative and allow us to celebrate Yom Tov newly pure, not just in our homes, but in our hearts as well. B’Nissan nigalu ub’Nissan asidin lehigo’el. We can make it happen. Let’s get real.

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Feature The Week In News

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fter eight years of an adversarial U.S. administration which used the AIPAC Conference as an opportunity to perform the political jujitsu of chastising Israel while claiming to be its friend, the 18,000 supporters of Israel who gathered from Sunday night to Tuesday night at the Washington Convention Center were treated to a new and more positive tone. Platitudes and Washington go together like coffee and crumb cake, and they were still present at this week’s convention. But now, after the platitudes – “my family and I so much enjoyed our recent trip to Israel” – came commitment to Israel’s security, rather than the usual criticism of Israel for not ceding large swaths of land to an enemy which refuses to recognize its existence.

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peaking at the opening session of the conference, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer declared, “When it comes to the great challenges facing Israel and

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

the United States, for the first time in many years, perhaps in many decades, there is no daylight between our two governments.” And those who spoke on behalf of the Trump administration confirmed his point. Vice President Mike Pence delivered the keynote address on Sunday

Trump is interested in finding “an equitable and just solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and “while there will undoubtedly have to be compromises, I can assure you all President Trump will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish State of Israel.” Mr. Pence declared, “Under Pres-

“America stands with Israel... Her cause is our cause. Her values are our values. And her fight is our fight.”

night and asserted, “Under President Donald Trump, if the world knows nothing else, the world will know this: America stands with Israel... Her cause is our cause. Her values are our values. And her fight is our fight.” He noted that President

ident Trump, America has a leader who will call our enemies by their name.” He added, America “will hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source so it can no longer threaten our people, our allies or our most cherished ally, Israel.”

In a strong contrast with the last administration which struck a disastrous nuclear deal with Iran and defended it on every occasion, Pence noted that Iran was “put on notice” and that America “will no longer tolerate Iran’s efforts to destabilize the region and jeopardize Israel’s security.” He pointed out, “The Ayatollahs in Tehran openly admit their desire to wipe Israel off the map and drive its people into the sea… So let me be clear. Under President Donald Trump, the United States of America will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. This is our solemn promise to you, to Israel and to the world. History attests that enmity toward the Jewish people often turns from evil thought to evil action.” On Monday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, perhaps the star of the conference, forcefully declared, “There is a new sheriff in town” and that “the days of Israel-bashing are over.” She spoke about the rotten anti-Israel culture at the UN and said, “I knew they said


Feature The Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

it was bad, but until you hear it, and you see it, you just can’t comprehend how ridiculous it is.” She quipped, “I wear heels, it’s not for a fashion statement; it’s because if I see something wrong we’re gonna kick ‘em every time.” Ambassador Haley promised that the Trump administration will not allow a repeat of last year’s United Nations Security Council Resolution condemning Israel for its settlements. Haley told the crowd, “Everyone at the United Nations is scared to talk to me about Resolution 2334. And I wanted them to know that, look, that happened, but it will never happen again,” she vowed. She promised that “until the Palestinian Authority comes to the table, until the UN responds the way they’re supposed to, there are no freebies for the Palestinian Authority anymore.” Ambassador Haley, who received several rock star ovations from the AIPAC crowd, drew parallels between the Jewish nation and her upbringing as an Indian-American Sikh. “We’re very close knit. We love our families. We have a strong work ethic. We believe in professionalism and philanthropy and giving back,” she said. And then she teasingly added, “So that’s all the good things,” before continuing, with her very – at that point – obvious parallel, “We’re aggressive. We’re stubborn. And we don’t back down from a fight!” The crowd swelled with applause at that point, drowning out the last few words of her sentence. Numerous members of Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also addressed the convention. Paul Ryan expressed how things would be different now than over the past eight years. “I want to speak candidly for a second. These past eight years have been tough; our friendship has been tested.” He noted, “No single political spat or public disagreement can sever our historic alliance with Israel but it can erode

trust, and I think the actions of the past administration eroded that trust. But now we have a new president,” he said to rounding applause. “Let me assure you right here and right now that President Donald Trump’s commitment to Israel is sacrosanct. Congress’ commitment to Israel is sacrosanct. We don’t take Israel for granted. We know that this special relationship is central to our national security and believe me that our words will always be backed up by concrete actions.” Mr. Ryan spoke extensively about the dangers of BDS. “Make no mis-

thirst, as in Africa, Israel is there with technologies that help feed the world’s hungry and literally create water out of thin air. Where hackers threaten the critical networks of our lives – our banks, our transportation and power plants – Israel is there, with incredible cyber capabilities to help protect all of us. Where natural disasters strike around the world, Israel is there too, with rescue and medical services second to none,” he lauded the tiny but resilient nation. Netanyahu also touted Israel’s ingenuity. “Last week, Intel Corporation bought an Israeli company, Mo-

“President Donald Trump’s commitment to Israel is sacrosanct. Congress’ commitment to Israel is sacrosanct.”

ed States’ commitment to provide aid to Israel, despite cuts in foreign aid to other nations. Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz displayed a practical application of the ingenuity that Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about. He showed the 18,000 people in attendance a machine created by Israeli company Water Gen which is able to pull water from the air and purify it. The device can produce 15-20 liters of drinkable water a day without the environmental costs of bottled water. Dershowitz declared, “There is no weapon more powerful in the fight against BDS than for Israel to develop technologies that the world cannot live without. You cannot boycott products that you can’t live without,” he added, demonstrating to the crowd that by creating products that are indispensable to the world, Israel will effectively be defeating the BDS movement. Can people live without air, without water?

S take – and I want to be very clear about this – the BDS movement is nothing short of another incarnation of anti-Semitism. So do not be fooled by those who tell you this is about peace. This has never been about peace. In fact, it only makes a lasting agreement between Israelis and Palestinians more unlikely. No, this is about one thing and one thing only: Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish, democratic state.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the conference via live satellite from Jerusalem on Monday. He repeated his oft-stated promise to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and to defeat ISIS, but devoted a large portion of his address on Israel’s outsized contributions to the world. “Where terrorism threatens innocent people, Israel is there, with unmatched intelligence and counterterrorism capabilities. Where people are suffering from hunger and

bileye,” he told the audience. “This is a company that produces driverless car technology, the technology of the future. Now, Intel not only paid this Israeli company 15 billion dollars, it also did something else. It gave them the keys. It said, ‘You, Mobileye, in Israel, in Jerusalem’ – not far from my office – ‘you manage and direct all our driverless car companies around the world.’ Because, you see, as this example shows, and as you can see from many, many, many other cases, Israel is fast becoming a global, technological power and we’re very, very proud of this.” Mr. Netanyahu acknowledged that “Israel wouldn’t be the country it is today without the steadfast support of the United States of America” and that the Trump administration is not just issuing warm words towards Israel, but is “showing its commitment to Israel by turning those words into policies.” Netanyahu gratefully acknowledged the Unit-

ince 1948, when President Truman recognized the State of Israel, the United States and the Israel have shared a special bond. The Jewish State, the only true democracy in the Middle East, has benefited tremendously from its friendship with the United States. This week, at the AIPAC conference, the speakers soundly affirmed the unique alliance between the two nations. Time and time again, convention-goers applauded and cheered when it was shown that the United States and the Trump administration stands with Israel. On Monday, when Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed convention-goers, he declared, “I am confident that the United States and Israel will stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to ensure that light triumphs over darkness and hope triumphs over despair.” With a new administration in place, that sentiment will hopefully be brought to action over the next few years. Together, the United States and Israel will work to bring stability and peace to the Middle East and the world.

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The Week In News

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Bonus Feature The Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

A Link to the Past: Recently Found 400-year-old Manuscript Highlights Little-Known Period in Jewish History Aaron Feigenbaum

him to the Spanish Inquisition. According to the New York Historical Society, he was put on trial for hiding his true faith and denounced 120 other secretly-practicing Jews for the same “crime.” The “Memorias” manuscript includes Carvajal’s memoirs, a collection of prayers, and a book of psalms and com-

tually killed in 1596. The manuscript was loaned to the New York Historical Society by the Mexican government after it resurfaced on the auction circuit in 2015. Thanks to the work of prominent Judaica collector Leonard Milberg, the document will be returned to Mexico later this month. The Mexican Consul

Photo: Government of Mexico

After more than 75 years, one of the oldest and most significant documents relating to Jewish life in the New World has been found and will be returned to its rightful home in Mexico. The document, which was stolen from Mexico’s National Archives in 1932, is an autobiography of a high-ranking 16th-century converso

1590s in Mexico City – the same wave which ultimately took the life of Carvajal and those of his family. In total, it’s estimated that at least 50 people were killed in the Mexican Inquisition, 29 of which were so-called “Judaizers” (those who practiced Judaism in secret). Another one of the most famous Mex-

Translation, in front of this place was the quamadero (burning place) of the inquisition, 1596-1771 Carvajal manuscript

named Luis de Carvajal. Born in Portugal, Carvajal became the governor of the present-day Mexican province of Nuevo Leon. His enemies learned of his secret Jewish identity and reported

Inquisition hearing. Engraving by artist Constantino Escalante

mandments. Carvajal wrote under a pseudonym when describing his Jewish faith. After his imprisonment, a fellow prisoner found his manuscript and alerted the authorities. Carvajal was tortured and even-

General Diego Gomez Pickering lauded the “cultural and historical significance” that the document represents for Mexico and for Jewish history in the Americas. To better understand this significance, it’s worth taking a brief look at how the first Jews came to settle in the Americas, the kind of culture they developed, and the important role they played in developing the New World’s society and economy. The Jewish history of the New World begins with the infamous Alhambra Decree of 1492, which ordered the Jews of Spain to either convert or be expelled. This single act prompted the migration of thousands of Jews to places like Holland, the Ottoman Empire, North Africa, and Portugal (which also expelled its Jews several years later). A further impetus to leave Spain was the dreaded Inquisition, which was established in 1478 to persecute crypto-Jews. Jews began migrating to the Spanish colonies of the New World in the 1500s. Many of them believed that they would find freedom from religious persecution, as well as better economic opportunities. However, in 1571, King Philip II ordered the establishment of the Inquisition in Mexico. On November 4th that year, everyone in Mexico City of age 12 and over was forced to congregate in the cathedral square to hear the first “Edict of Faith,” which threatened severe punishment for those suspected of “Judaizing.” In the weeks following, over 400 denunciations were reported to the Inquisition, which led to the opening of over 120 investigations. Anyone convicted of heresy, whether it be “Judaizing”, gambling, or witchcraft, was subject to the loss of their property, imprisonment, and even burning at the stake. Things turned from bad to worse when a wave of persecutions broke out in the

ican Inquisition cases was that of Dona Teresa, a highly educated woman born in Italy to the governor of Cartagena (in present-day Colombia). She was married to the Spanish governor of New Mexico, Don Bernardo Lopez de Mendizabal. Mendizabal had frequent disputes with the local church over their interference in state affairs. Rumors were spread that his wife was secretly a practicing Jew. At the end of Mendizabal’s term, the incoming governor took the side of Mendizabal’s opponent, Father Alonso de Posada, and in 1662 had the former governor and his wife arrested on the charge that she was secretly Jewish. Dona Teresa gave a vigorous defense against the Inquisition, even to the point of firing her defense attorneys and writing her own defense documents. She was released two years later, having been found neither guilty nor innocent. She was unsuccessful in retrieving her confiscated property and clearing her family’s name. Stories like these are what motivated the 85-year-old Milberg to invest thousands of dollars in securing the Carvajal manuscript from the auction house (Swann’s) that was planning to sell it. In Milberg’s words, “I wanted to show that Jews were part of the fabric of life in the New World. This book was written before the Pilgrims arrived.” Milberg has also arranged for digital copies of the manuscript to be sent to Princeton and the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue of Manhattan. Despite the Inquisition’s attempts at rooting out Judaism from the New World, the recent exhibit at the New York Historical Society showcases the enormous contributions Jews made to the New World in the areas of religion, art, culture, politics, and economics. With the rediscovery of the oldest Jewish document of the New World, it’s time for these contributions to be given some long overdue recognition.


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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

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Bonus Feature Feature The Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Menachem Begin Israel’s Sixth Prime Minister Elliott Michaels shaped much of Begin’s worldview and outlook.

thousands of Polish prisoners under an agreement reached with the Polish government in exile. Begin was among those freed prisoners, and he promptly joined the Polish Free Army to fight the Germans alongside the British. As Divine Providence would have it, Begin and his comrades were stationed in Eretz Yisrael, then known as Palestine, and a part of the British Empire. Begin served in the Polish Army until December 1942, when he was discharged so that he could join the Irgun. Begin had achieved his lifelong dream of making aliyah to Eretz Yisrael, but the next few years would be among the most challenging of his life.

Irgun Years: 1942-1948

Menachem Begin

This year marks the 25th yahrtzeit of Menachem Begin. Begin was an extraordinary Jewish leader, one who devoted his life tirelessly to the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. He was part of the founding generation of the modern State of Israel, and he later led Israel through tragedy and triumph. He kept his focus on the safety and security of the Jewish people, and he maintained an unapologetic view of the Jewish people’s biblical right to Eretz Yisrael.

Early Life

Menachem Begin was born to Ze’ev and Chasia Begin on August 16, 1913 (13th day of Av) in Brest-Litovsk, Belarus, also known as Brisk. Throughout his life, he maintained a unique appreciation for Torah scholarship, especially Tanach and biblical studies. This appreciation was cultivated in his hometown, a town that Begin always referred to as “ir v’eim b’yisrael” (“a city and mother in Israel”). In Brisk, Begin’s family was close with Ariel Sharon’s family, who at that time were known as Scheinerman. Ariel Sharon’s grandmother was the midwife who delivered Menachem Begin. Zionism offered a sense of purpose and community for many Jews of that time period, and the Begin family was no different. As a child, Menachem Begin’s father exposed his children to Zionist clubs, first with the Hashomer Hatzair, and then later with Beitar. Beitar was the “revisionist” Zionism group led by Ze’ev Jabotinksy, which advocated a more militaristic approach to returning to the Land of Israel. Jabotinsky took Begin under his wing, and Jabotinsky’s tutelage in those early years

Begin in his youth

In 1935, Begin graduated with a law degree from Warsaw University. He chose not to practice law, and instead devoted himself full time to Beitar and the Zionist cause. His oratory skills and leadership qualities were apparent, and he assumed the leadership of Beitar Poland in 1938. In this role, he traveled throughout Europe, advocating Beitar’s philosophy that the Jewish people were entitled to a homeland on both sides of the Jordan River, as promised by the Torah. During his travels, he met a young woman named Aliza, and they were married shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Menachem and Aliza would eventually have three children.

Begin joined the ranks of the Irgun, also known as Etzel (Irgun Tzvai Le’umi). In those years, there were several factions in Eretz Yisrael representing the olim and protecting the Jewish inhabitants from Arab attacks, the most dominant of which was the Haganah. Begin disagreed with the Haganah’s approach to Jewish matters and statehood, arguing that a stronger approach was needed to achieve this important goal. His previous experience leading Beitar contributed to his philosophy that appeasing the British would not result in a Jewish state. Begin’s disagreement with the secular approach of the Haganah would resurface time and again throughout his life and political career.

World War II

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

Wanted poster including Menachem Begin

Menachem Begin with his wife and son, posing undercover as the Sassovers, 1946

Begin assumed command of the Irgun in 1943. He broadcasted radio addresses calling on all Jews to stand up and resist the British, whom he believed were direct-

ly responsible for the tragic fate of European Jewry being murdered by Hitler. By restricting immigration into Palestine, the British virtually sealed Eretz Yisrael from the outside world. This, Begin argued, was the greatest crime of all. In response to Begin’s advocacy of armed resistance, the British government issued a reward for his capture, and he was forced to go into hiding. He remained hidden from 1944 through 1948. During this period, he assumed several false identities, including that of Rabbi Sassover, under whose alias he gave shiurim in shul to maintain this false identity. Begin continued to oversee the Irgun’s operations while in hiding. The Irgun heeded Begin’s call to arms, and a period of unrest settled across the land as these warriors targeted the British and symbols of its powerful empire in Eretz Yisrael. The most notable of these sabotage operations was the 1946 bombing of the King David hotel in Jerusalem. The British continued to implement a heavy-handed policy against these Jewish warriors, and Begin was outraged. These hostilities led to an event that Begin would later call the most difficult decision of his life. In response to the British execution of an Irgun fighter, Begin ordered the execution of two captured British sergeants. England was shocked, but never again did they execute another Jew in Eretz Yisrael. In 1948, when the British vacated Eretz Yisrael, the Arabs declared war, and Begin was finally able to emerge and lead his troops openly. However, Begin’s approach continued to displease members of the Haganah, whose leadership was responsible for declaring the new State of Israel. Sadly, owing to these disagreements, Begin was not even invited to the Declaration of Independence ceremony. These disagreements nearly led to civil war between the newly created Israel Defense Force, which was comprised mostly of Haganah soldiers, and members of the Irgun. These tensions boiled over when the Alta Lena, a ship purchased by the Irgun, attempted to transport weapons into Eretz Yisroel for the newly created army. The ship was brought in without Begin’s knowledge, and when Begin appeared to greet the ship, Ben Gurion and other former Haganah leaders were incensed at what they believed was the Irgun’s efforts to undermine the authority of the newly created army. Ben Gurion’s men opened fire on the ship, but Begin ordered his men to stand down. As the bullets whizzed by, Begin fervently ordered his men not to return fire. In the thick of this confrontation,


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Begin was determined to see to it that Jews not shoot at other Jews.

Political Opposition: 1949-1977

After the successful War of Independence, Begin formed a political party called Cherut. Although the left-wing Socialist parties dominated Israeli politics in those years, Begin voiced his opposition to matters he thought were contrary to Jewish ideals. When Israel was considering whether to receive German war reparations in 1951-1952, Begin led heated debates in the Knesset arguing that this was blood money and should not be accepted. More than once, he was escorted out of the Knesset for his vocal opposition. He argued that no amount of money could “repair” the crimes the German people committed against am yisrael during the Holocaust. Years later, in 1967, war with Egypt became inevitable when Egypt blockaded the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. The mood in Israel was gloomy and tense, as everyone expected an Egyptian invasion that would result in thousands of deaths. The public was not particularly confident with Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s leadership, and in response, Begin undertook a diplomatic mission to visit Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Begin cast aside his personal opinions, and reached out to his former nemesis in a bid to convince Israel’s founding father to assume the leadership once more and quell the nation’s fears. Ben Gurion declined, but was impressed by the respect Begin showed him. Ben Gurion’s impression of Begin would forever be changed as a result of this gesture. Begin joined the unity government immediately before the Six Day War, and for the first time, he was a member of the Israeli cabinet. When Israel liberated the Temple Mount in the closing days of the war, it was Begin who suggested to Chief Rabbi Goren to blow the shofar at the Kotel. Begin felt this was reminiscent of the Biblical conquest of Jericho, and this became a powerful image of Israel’s success in the reunification of the holy city of Jerusalem. Begin resigned from the cabinet a few years later, and considered retiring from politics and to focus on improving his health. Nevertheless, he decided to run for one more election in 1977, and the world was surprised with the results.

as the “Mahapach,” or the upheaval. It signaled a shift in Israeli politics that had been dominated for three decades by the secular left-wing parties. Begin was a new kind of prime minister, one with a conscious awareness that he represented the Jewish people. After the election results were announced, a reporter asked Begin what would be his first act as prime minister. Begin responded by removing a kippah from his pocket, placing it upon his head, and reciting the Shehechiyanu blessing. Shortly after Begin’s election, he invited Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem. This was the first time an Arab head of state visited Israel, and the goal of achieving peace between Israel and Egypt became more attainable. Following up from this historic visit, both Begin and Sadat were invited by President Carter to discuss peace at Camp David.

The Camp David Accords, which were finalized in 1978, saw Israel give the Sinai to Egypt in response for recognition and peace. Many in Begin’s Likud party were disappointed that Begin acquiesced, and Begin himself voiced disappointment at what he saw was a lose-lose situation for Israel. He believed that returning the Sinai was a mistake militarily and economically, but was in Israel’s best political interests. For this sacrifice, Begin received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978. When he accepted the prize, Begin told the audience that it belonged to his people, am yisrael, not him. The Prize included a $1 million award, which Begin refused to accept.

Final Years: 1983-1992

Forced evacuation of Yamit. Years later Begin would regret authorizing this

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

Begin arrived in the United States in the summer of 1977. Before heading to Washington, he first sought the blessings of prominent rabbanim before he undertook the difficult task of negotiating with Presidents Carter and Sadat. His first stop was at the headquarters of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, where he and the Rebbe had a private audience for several hours. The Rebbe and Begin shared a warm relationship, and Begin called the Rebbe “a great man in Israel.” Begin then visited Rav Moshe Feinstein at his Lower East Side apartment, as well as Rav Soloveitchik at the Waldorf Hotel. Begin and the Rav also maintained a warm relationship over the years, as the two shared a common Brisker heritage.

defend themselves by all possible means from any existential threats. In 1982, Begin authorized another military mission, Operation Peace for the Galilee. Arab terrorists had been attacking northern Israel from Lebanon for months, and Begin authorized a limited invasion of Lebanon to eliminate the threat. This became known as the Lebanon War, and would eventually become a political liability for Begin. A tragic consequence caused by the fog of war was when Lebanese Christian soldiers raided two Muslim refugee camps, known as Sabra and Shintilla. The world accused Israel and Defense Minister Ariel Sharon of war crimes for allowing this massacre to occur. Begin lamented to his aide that when goyim kill goyim, the world still blamed the Jews.

Begin’s first major military decision as prime minister was when he authorized the secret Israeli mission to bomb an Iraqi nuclear reactor in June 1981. Israel had intelligence that Saddam Hussein was developing a nuclear arsenal, and Hussein made it clear that he intended to wipe Israel off the map. Begin argued that when an enemy of the Jewish people espouses such hateful and violent sentiments, our history demands that we take him seriously. Former Ambassadar Yehuda Avner relates that Begin paced his office reciting Tehillim during the mission, and only stopped when he was told that the pilots accomplished their mission and landed safely in Israel. Despite the outcry and Israel’s universal world condemnation, Begin proudly announced that Israel had nothing to apologize for, and the Jewish people would

Begin’s political strength began to fade in late 1982. His wife Aliza died in November, and he fell into a deep sadness. The Lebanon War was losing the public’s support, and it became apparent that Israel would remain in Lebanon for many long months, even after the terrorists had been expelled. Begin was in poor health, and he resigned as prime minister in late 1983. Begin spent the last decade of his life in seclusion. He left his apartment only to visit the grave of his wife Aliza and for family celebrations. Although as prime minister he was entitled to be buried on Mount Hertzl, he chose instead to be buried on Mount Olives, in a humble grave adjacent to his wife and two Lechi fighters who died in British captivity. Menachem Begin died on the 2nd day of Adar Sheini 5752 (March 9, 1992) at the age of 79. He reminded the Jewish people of its conscience and its biblical right to the Land of Israel. May his memory be a blessing. Sources: Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul, Daniel Gordis; Jewish Virtual Library; The Prime Ministers, Yehuda Avner.

Prime Minister: 1977-1983

Nobody expected Menachem Begin’s Likud party to win the election in 1977. His election was such a surprise, that it has become known in Israeli political history

Visiting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe at 770 Eastern Parkway, 1977

The Raid on the Osirak Nuclear Reactor

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Hong Kong’s New Leader

Hong Kong’s fourth Chief Executive was officially “elected” on Sunday. Carrie Lam, a Beijing-backed candidate, was chosen by a 1,200 person “election committee” which is stacked with pro-Beijing and pro-establishment loyalists. Most of the China-ruled city’s 7.3 million people had no say as to who their leader would be. Lam won the appointment with 777 votes. “Hong Kong, our home, is suffering from quite a serious divisiveness,” Lam said in a victory speech. “My priority will be to heal the divide and to ease the frustration, and to unite our society to move forward.” She also promised to deliver on campaign promises of lowering taxes and lowering the cost of land. Activists within the city staged protests outside of polling areas, as they do not agree with Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong’s political affairs. Several protesters held signs that read, “Lies, coercion, whitewash.” They feel that democracy should truly be established and that the candidate with the highest amount of popular votes should be appointed. Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and since then, Beijing has gradually begun to exercise more and more control. The Chinese had previously promised to not interfere too much and to allow autonomy to exist in Hong Kong. Lam had represented the Chinese government during the Umbrella Movement, in which Hong Kong protesters demanded fair elections. At the time she chastised protesters: “Hong Kong is not an independent entity ... and cannot decide on its own its political development,” she said. “I hope you have the courage and wisdom to think of a way out of the current situation.” Two weeks later, she told those in the streets they were going to be arrested if they did not pack up and

go home. Hong Kong has for a long time been a global financial hub. The local population, for the large part, feels that China’s stability-obsessed Communist Party leaders are not good for the city’s social or economic wellbeing. There have been many violent protests and times of unrest over the past decade.

Terror in London Five people are dead and 50 are suffering from injuries after a terror attack in London last Wednesday at the Houses of Parliament. The terrorist, Khalid Masood, 52, mowed down four pedestrians by ramming his car into a pedestrian-only area. He arrived at the Westminster Bridge at about 2:40pm and began to carry out his vicious attack. Masood crashed his rented Hyundai SUV into the railings in front of Parliament Yard. He proceeded to jump out of his vehicle and burst through the gate to the Palace of Westminster, brandishing two large knives. That’s when he encountered unarmed police officer Keith Palmer, 48, who he fatally stabbed. A few short moments later the bodyguard of Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon arrived at the scene and fatally shot the terrorist. The entire attack unfolded in less than two minutes. The area went into immediate lockdown as authorities scrambled to make sense of the situation. MPs were forced to remain in the House of Commons for over four hours until the area was given the all clear.  Prime Minister Theresa May had just voted and was standing in members’ lobby with other MPs. She was seen being whisked away from the scene. One of the victims was a mother of two, Aysha Frade from London. An American tourist, Kurt Cochran, from Utah was also killed. Leslie Rhodes, 75, from south London, was also murdered by Masood. The injured were of 12 different nationalities: 12 Britons, three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, two Greeks, and one from Germany, Poland, Ireland, China, Italy and the United States. Westminster Bridge is a major tourist destination. The terrorist was a native of Britain and the father of three. He had an extensive criminal history dating back to 1983 through 2003. After many years of criminality he converted to Islam. He had not previously been convicted of any terrorism offences. Masood was not the subject of any current investigations, and there was “no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack,” Scotland Yard said on Thursday. Several years ago he was investigated by MI5 over concerns of violent extremism but was no longer deemed to be a threat. Investigators are saying he


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was undoubtedly influenced by ISIS. Prime Minister May told the House of Commons the following day, “We will never waver in the face of terrorism.” She paid tribute to police officer Keith Palmer saying, “He was every inch a hero and his actions will never be forgotten.” She added that the British people have shown terrorists they “will not defeat us” and urged residents to continue to go about their normal lives.

Pakistani Sentenced for Spying for Iran On Tuesday, a German court sentenced Haider Syed Mustafa, a 31-year-old Pakistani, to four years and three months in prison for spying for Iran by seeking out possible Jewish and Israeli-related targets for attacks in Germany and France. Mustafa was convicted by a Berlin court for collecting extensive material on the former head of the German-Israeli Association and on a French-Israeli professor from an economic university in Paris for the elite Quds Force unit of Iran’s Revolu-

tionary Guard. Thankfully, no attacks were carried out. The terrorist came to Germany in 2012 to study for an engineering degree at the University of Bremen. He received more than 2,000 euro for his spying activities, which included taking hundreds of photos and creating presentations on the potential targets. He refused to testify during the trial.

Largest Sierra Leone Diamond Found

When a team of diamond miners in Sierra Leone found the orange-speckled, lumpy rock they almost tossed it aside. It didn’t look like the traditional jewel found in the mines of Sierra Leone. Generally,

the country is the source of some of the highest quality and most transparent diamonds in the world. However, this rock didn’t meet that description, but its unusualness prompted the group to reach out to a local diamond dealer for an assessment. “The look on his face when he saw the rock made me believe that we discovered something extraordinary,” said the Rev. Emmanuel Momoh, a pastor who runs the team of diggers who discovered the rock. Momoh, a preacher in a small church, sells peanuts as a side business. He also owns a mining license for a small diamond field and has been running a crew of miners for the past six years. Turns out the lumpy rock was actually a diamond, the largest ever discovered in Sierra Leone. The jewel is estimated to weigh 706 carats; valued at as much as $50 million. Momoh decided to entrust his government with the sale, a colossal mistake. He was mandated to turn over the rock to the government since the law allows miners to sell diamonds up to a certain size. However, once they exceed a certain size, the government controls the sale. In theory the proceeds of the sale are distributed amongst the ones who found them and an unspecified government tax. The other option is to sell the diamond in the black market, and that would deprive the gov-

ernment of sorely needed revenue. Common practice in most diamond-mining communities is that the owners of the land where gems are buried are forced to obtain a government-issued license to mine them. However, mining licenses are cumbersome to attain and can be expensive, so landowners and chiefs often work with entrepreneurs such as Mr. Momoh to buy the licenses. The entrepreneurs have almost total ownership of whatever is mined, paying a negotiated percentage of the take to the landowners. Miners and license holders do not get paid well for their hard work; they get the raw end of the deal. Miners work under harsh conditions, using heavy machinery to dig out sacks of dirt to create large pits that often collapse, causing deaths or severe injuries. When they discover valuable rocks they are often so desperate for money that they settle on a price far less than valued just to sustain themselves. During a recent news segment in Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma appeared on television flaunting the gem. He promised to act in the best interests of everyone involved. “I believe a diamond like this should be publicly sold in the country so that we know the value of it, what is due to the government and what is due to the people so that everyone can have their share,”

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Koroma declared. Despite Koroma’s assertions, Momoh is concerned that he will be shorted in the deal. “I want to contribute in the development of my community, but at the same time I don’t want to be a beggar in about 10 or 15 years from now,” he said.

the European Commission a mandate to negotiate with the UK. In May, the European Commission will publish negotiating guidelines based on the mandate the EU leaders give it. In August, the UK government is expected to introduce legislation to leave the EU and put all existing EU laws into British law, called the Great Repeal Bill. The UK hopes to formally withdraw from the EU in March 2019, although that date can be extended if needed.

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The Brexit is officially on its way. On Wednesday Prime Minister Theresa May officially invoked Article 50, which allows for any of the current 28 member states to voluntarily withdraw from the European Union by formally informing the European Council of their intention to pull out. Britain is the first member in history to leave the Union’s political and economic partnership. The departure came just a few days after the EU celebrated the bloc’s 60th anniversary in Rome last weekend. At the anniversary celebration, which May did not attend, the group reaffirmed their commitment to be “undivided and indivisible” in unity. The departure from the EU came about in a very unusual manner. In a gamble to prolong his career, former Prime Minister David Cameron proposed an independence referendum. After the European Debt Crisis in 2013, Cameron promised that if his Conservative Party was re-elected, he would renegotiate Britain’s terms of membership with the EU. Cameron won and spent many months negotiating with Union leaders. Eventually he reluctantly scheduled a vote on British independence in 2016 and then went on to campaign against it very heavily. On June 23, 2016, the UK was changed forever when 51.9 percent of British voters chose to leave the EU. Cameron stepped down in defeat and May took over the Prime Minister’s office. Although she opposed the Brexit, she is now faced with leading the historic breakaway. Now that Article 50 has been invoked, the UK has two years to negotiate its exit from the European Union. Much is unknown and many have reported feeling remorse for voting for to break-off. The new term “regrexit” has been coined – time will tell if the regret is justified. At the end of April, 27 leaders of the EU – without the UK – will meet to give

A decades-long fight against river pollution in India has been given a much needed boost. India has been battling severe river pollution. Last Monday, a court in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand declared the Yamuna and Ganges rivers “living entities.” The rivers were rapidly “losing their very existence” and the situation required “extraordinary measures to be taken to preserve and conserve the Rivers Ganga and Yamuna,” an alternative name for the Ganges. This is the law’s attempt to preserve the bodies of water. The rivers are considered sacred to Hindus, providing both “physical and spiritual sustenance” to locals. Suresh Kumar Rohilla, an expert on urban water management at Indian NGO the Center for Science and Environment, said it was unclear how the court’s decision would get translated on the ground. “Any efforts to strengthen water quality [in the Ganges] are appreciated,” he admited. “Policy level efforts earlier hadn’t brought results.” Just last week, New Zealand’s Whanganui River became the first river in the world to be granted human status. Under the Whanganui River Claims Settlement Bill, two people will act on behalf of the river and will work to promote and protect its wellbeing. Experts believe that this new ruling in India will be carried out similarly and government officials will be appointed as “legal guardians” of the rivers. Rohilla warned that it would not be a simple fix. “Ultimately courts can’t clean


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rivers,” he said, adding that people and government need to take joint responsibility for protecting the waters.

Iran’s Sanctions Retaliation

Iran has retaliated against the United States and has sanctioned 15 U.S.-based companies. Tehran alleges that these companies support terrorism, repression and Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. The wide-ranging list includes an American real estate company and a major arms manufacturer. The list seems more symbolic than anything else, as the firms on the list are not known to do business within the Islamic Republic of Iran. Still, a Foreign Ministry statement announced that the companies are barred from any agreements with Iranian firms, and direc-

tors – current and former – are not allowed to procure visas to Iran. “The sanctioned companies have, directly and/or indirectly, been involved in the brutal atrocities committed by the Zionist regime in the occupied Palestinian territories, or they have supported the regime’s terrorist activities and Israel’s development of Zionist settlements on the Palestinian soil,” the IRNA report charged. The report refers to the sanctions as a “reciprocal act.” The sanctions come just weeks after the Trump administration sanctioned more than two dozen Iranian companies and people in retaliation for a ballistic missile test. The companies listed by Iran include ITT Corp., missile-maker Raytheon Co. and United Technologies Corp. Denver’s Re/Max Holdings Inc., a real estate company, also made the list. Truck maker Oshkosh was sanctioned as well. Oshkosh has supplied Israel with many trucks in the past, and the country is reportedly looking to buy another 200 trucks this year. Tehran and Washington have had no official diplomatic ties since the 1979 storming of the U.S. Embassy in Iran which led to a 444 day hostage crisis.

entered the country in 1995 and applied for citizenship in 2004. She has become quite popular in the feminist speaking circuit across the country and was planning to speak at the upcoming Jewish Voice for Peace conference. Jewish Voice for Peace is a group that backs the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Odeh was sentenced to life in prison in Israel for her role in a 1969 Jerusalem bombing that killed two and injured nine. She had confessed to planting the bomb that detonated on a busy street. She was released in 1980 in a high-profile prisoner exchange. She has been living the life of a free woman in the United States.

Terrorist to be Deported

Last week, a plea bargain was struck with Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian terrorist who did not reveal to U.S. immigration officials that she had spent a decade in the Israeli prison system. The 69-year-old Palestinian murderer was originally sentenced to 18 months in prison for lying on her application, but that sentence was overturned. In her plea agreement, Odeh does not need to go to a U.S. jail, but does lose her U.S. citizenship and will be deported. She

Hamas Military Leader Assassinated The IDF has placed its soldiers near the Gaza Strip on high alert in fear of a retaliation over the assassination of one of Hamas’ top military leaders, Mazen Faqha, last Friday night. He was killed with a handgun that had a silencer attached to it in his home in the Tel Hawa

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neighborhood of Gaza City. The job was apparently done by a “professional,” according to media reports. Though Israel has not claimed responsibility for the killing of the 38-year-old terrorist, who was a prisoner released in the Gilad Shalit exchange in 2011, Hamas leaders have lined up to blame the assassination on the Jewish State. The terrorist was serving multiple life sentences for orchestrating the death of nine Israelis in a 2002 suicide bombing. Khalil al-Haya, the new leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has already sworn to retaliate. “If the enemy thinks that this assassination will change the power balance, then it should know the minds of [Hamas] will be able to retaliate in kind,” he said. There is, however, no firm evidence that Israel was behind the killing. Until now, many of Hamas’s top leaders have traveled throughout Gaza without security details. Many speculate that the message behind the killing is that “no one is safe.” Faqha’s murder will be a warning to all other Hamas leaders that they can be stopped at any time and they must tread very carefully. Faqha was killed with a gun with a silencer as he entered his parking garage on Friday night. The assassins knew his schedule and his home address and were waiting for him. His death was discovered a few hours later.

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intelligence. According to the report, the Mossad had tried to develop relationships with French spies “to the point of crossing the line of turning them into double agents.” According to Le Monde, the exchange occurred when French secret services and the Israeli agency collaborated to combat the Syrian regime’s plans of developing chemical weapons during the joint operation, which was dubbed “Ratafia.” According to the publication, the suspected ties between the Mossad agents and the French spies were originally exposed by another French espionage agency in charge of information security, which had kept tabs on the agents and documented their meetings with Mossad agents. The Mossad agents involved were identified by their real names. France filed a formal complaint against them. Since then two Israeli agents who are suspected of involvement in the case have left their positions.

Trump Israel Ambassador Confirmed

Did Israel Attempt to Recruit French Spies? According the French media, Israel attempted to spy on their country, an ally. French daily Le Monde alleges that in 2010 and 2011 the Mossad tried to swipe French intelligence personnel and convert them into Israeli double agents in order to obtain information about Syria’s chemical weapons. This is a heavy accusation since France and Israel are on rather positive terms and consider themselves allies. In response to the gossip, a top former Israeli defense source told The Jerusalem Post, “Recruiting allies as spies would cross a red line.” The anonymous source said he did not personally know whether the report was true but strongly implied that he is skeptical. The source said that there’s a big difference between electronic spying, which both countries have been guilty of, and trying to co-opt allied intelligence agents. The former agent claims that during his time in service, such a thing was never done. There was no official government response. Le Monde backed its claims by attaching excerpts it had obtained from an internal report it said was written by French

President Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a tight vote last week. David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer from the Five Towns, was confirmed by a vote of 52 to 46. The vote went almost exactly along party lines with the exception of only two Democrats who backed the nominee, Senators Robert Menendez and Joe Manchin. The amount of opposition to an ambassador position is quite unusual. Most commonly, nominees are approved without objection by unanimous consent of open voice votes. Friedman does not have diplomatic experience. He is a longtime friend of President Trump and has worked as a bankruptcy lawyer for Trump for many years. Friedman has promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a gesture that angers Palestinians. The choice of Friedman in this position shows that Trump is honoring his campaign commitments to treat Israel much differently than Barack Obama did.


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REACH OUT TO US YUADMIT@YU.EDU | 646.592.4440

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Quotes The Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Notable Quotes “Say What?!”

They are a highly-respected couple, and Schumer made a scene, yelling, “She voted for Trump!” The Califanos left the restaurant, but Schumer followed them outside. On the sidewalk, Schumer carried on with his fantastical filibuster: “How could you vote for Trump? He’s a liar!” He kept repeating, “He’s a liar!” – A witness telling The New York Post what she witnessed at a swanky Manhattan restaurant when New York Senator Charles Schumer had an argument with Manhattanites who voted for President Trump

Today is the 11th birthday of Twitter. That’s right folks, 11 years ago, Donald Trump was just writing crazy things on Post-It notes. - Conan O’Brien

That’s the story. Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly because I’m president, and you’re not. – President Trump, at the end of an interview with a Time magazine reporter

According to a new poll, Muslims are the religious group most satisfied with life in America. When asked why, Muslims said, “That travel ban totally kept our in-laws from visiting.” – Conan O’Brien

If this was any other business, it would be a prosecutable offense. - Jeff Van Gundy, when the Cleveland Cavaliers sat LeBron James and their other star players in a nationally televised game in order to give them rest

Israel’s 1.5 million Arabs, whatever challenges they face, enjoy full rights to vote and to be elected in the Knesset, they work as doctors and lawyers, they serve on the Supreme Court. Now I’d like to ask the members of that commission, that commissioned that report, the Arab states from which we just heard. Egypt, Iraq, and the others: How many Jews live in your countries? How many Jews lived in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco? Once upon a time, the Middle East was full of Jews. Algeria had 140,000 Jews. Algeria, where are your Jews? Egypt used to have 75,000 Jews. Where are your Jews? Syria, you had tens of thousands of Jews. Where are your Jews? Iraq, you had over 135,000 Jews. Where are your Jews? -UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, after numerous Muslim nations took turns bashing Israel as an “apartheid state” in a recent UN session

MORE QUOTES


MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

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Prices Effective through April 11, 2017. No Rain Checks. Items not available in all stores. AVAILABILITY: Each of these advertised items is readily available for sale at or below the advertised price at most Vons/Pavilions stores while supplies last. Some items may not be available at all stores. We reserve the right to limit quantities. No Sales to Dealers. Savings may vary. Check price tag for details. Prices for limited hour or limited day sales are effective in-store only and are not available for online shopping. 2017_Vons_Pavilions_PassoverROP_10x6.4

Honoring Our Traditions As a member of the Orthodox community, I am pleased to have joined the Mount Sinai family as an Advance Planning Representative. Mount Sinai is committed to respecting the Halachic needs of our community; and I look forward to working with you. Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills 5950 Forest Lawn Drive Los Angeles, CA 90069

Mount Sinai Simi Valley 6150 Mount Sinai Drive Simi Valley, CA 93063

Our parks are open Sunday through Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily except Saturday in observance of the Sabbath.

MY DIRECT CONTACT INFORMATION: Naomi Silbermintz 323-769-1374 nsilbermintz@ mountsinaiparks.org

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Quotes The Week In News

MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable. I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana so people can trade one lifewrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life. - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, during remarks to law enforcement officials in Virginia

Would [you] rather fight 100 ducksized horses or one horse-sized duck? - A senator, asking the really tough policy Qs at Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing

It’s starting to look like the reason the Democrats are so upset about this alleged Russian interference in the election is because they think they are the only ones who should be able to fix elections. - Ann Coulter on Fox News


MARCH 30, 2017 | The Jewish Home

The Week In News

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