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The Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Religious Zionists of America

Yom Yerushalayim Honor Roll ‫ברוך שהחיינו וקיימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה‬

Yom Yerushalayim 2017 will take place on Wednesday, May 24th.The entire Jewish community is invited to join the Religious Zionists of America and more than 200 synagogues and schools around the country that will be organizing t’fillot and festivities to mark this historic 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.

Fifty years ago, through the miracle of the Six Day War, the holy city of Jerusalem was reunited. As the soul-stirring cry of “Har Habayit b’yadeinu” rang out, Israel’s courageous young soldiers fulfilled the hopes and dreams of countless generations. At long last, the destroyed synagogues of the Old City would be rebuilt; the desecrated graves on the Mount of Olives would be restored; and the Kotel would resume its rightful place at the center of the Jewish universe. Yom Yerushalayim both commemorates that incredible moment in time and symbolizes the joining of G-d, Torah, and the Land of Israel, now and forever. On this 50th anniversary of the reunification of the eternal capital of the Jewish people, we renew our commitment to protecting the safety and sanctity of united Jerusalem. CALIFORNIA Beverley Hills

Miami Beach

Hebrew Academy (RASG) Rabbi Zvi Kahn

Beth Jacob Cong Rabbi Kalman Topp

GEORGIA Atlanta

Irvine

Young Israel of Orange County Rabbi Dov Fischer

Los Angeles

Cong B’nai David-Judea Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky Gindi Maimonides Academy Rabbi Aharon Wilk Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy Rabbi Yahel Tsaidi Shalhevet High School Rabbi Ari Segal Yeshivat Yavneh Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn Young Israel of Century City Rabbi Elazar Muskin YULA Boys High School Rabbi Dov Emerson YULA Girls High School Rabbi Abraham Lieberman

Sunnyvale

South Peninsula Hebrew Day School Rabbi Shaye Guttenberg

Atlanta Jewish Academy Rabbi Ari Leubitz Congregation Beth Jacob Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman Young Israel of Toco Hills Rabbi Adam Starr

ILLINOIS Chicago

Cong Adas Yeshurun Rabbi Zev Cohen Cong Anshe Motele Rabbi Alan Abramson Kehillah Jacob Beth Samuel Rabbi Aaron Leibtag Cong KINS Rabbi Leonard Matanky Cong Or Menorah Rabbi Doug Zelden Park Plaza Synagogue Rabbi Mordechai Cohen Young Israel of West Rogers Park Rabbi Elisha Prero

Lincolnwood

Valley Village

Shaarey Yerushalayim Rabbi David Adatto Shaarey Zedek Cong Rabbi Jonathan Rosenberg

COLORADO Denver

Denver Academy of Torah Ms. Naomi Lev DAT Minyan Rabbi Joseph Friedman

CONNETICUT New Haven

Westville Synagogue Rabbi Fred Hyman

Stamford

Cong Agudath Sholom Rabbi Daniel Cohen

West Hartford

Beth David Synagogue Rabbi Yitzchok Adler Hebrew High School of New England Rabbi Jeremy Bruce Young Israel of West Hartford Rabbi Tuvia Brander

Cong Yehuda Moshe Rabbi Joel Gutstein

Skokie

Arie Crown Hebrew Day School Rabbi Eli Samber Cong Or Torah Rabbi Zvi Engel Hebrew Theological College Rabbi A. Friedman, Rabbi S. Schuman Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School Rabbi Menachem Linzer Ida Crown Academy Rabbi Leonard Matanky Kehilat Chovevei Tzion Rabbi Shaanan Gelman Young Israel of Skokie Rabbi Gershon Schaffel

KANSAS Overland Park

Cong BIAV Rabbi Daniel Rockoff

MARYLAND Baltimore

Beth Tfiloh Cong Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg

FLORIDA Boca Raton

Boca Jewish Center Rabbi Yaakov Gibber Boca Raton Synagogue Rabbi Efrem Goldberg Cong Torah Ohr Rabbi Benjamin Yasgur Katz Yeshiva High School Rabbi Jonathan Kroll

Rockville

Rockville Jewish Outreach Center Rabbi Yaacov Benamou

Silver Spring

Delray Beach

Kemp Mill Synagogue Rabbi Brahm Weinberg Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy Dr. Joshua Levisohn

Hollywood

MASSACHUSETTS Brighton

Boynton Beach

Anshei Chesed Cong Rabbi Avi Billet Anshei Emuna Cong Rabbi Jack Engel Young Israel of Hollywood Rabbi Yosef Weinstock

Cong Kadimah-Toras Moshe Rabbi Jason Strauss

Brookline

Linden

Maimonides Kehillah Rabbi Yaakov Jaffe

Cong Anshe Chesed Rabbi Joshua Hess

Cong Beth El-Atereth Israel Rabbi Gershon Segal Cong Shaarei Tefillah Rabbi Benjamin J. Samuels

Cong Etz Chaim Rabbi E. Samuel Klibanoff Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy & Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School Rabbi Eliezer Rubin Suburban Torah Rabbi Elie Mischel

Newton

Sharon

Young Israel of Sharon Rabbi Noah Cheses

MICHIGAN Oak Park

Young Israel of Oak Park Rabbi Michael Cohen

Southfield

Farber Hebrew Day School - Yeshivat Akiva Rabbi Scot Berman Young Israel of Southfield Rabbi Yechiel Morris

MISSOURI St. Louis

Epstein Hebrew Academy Rabbi Yaakov Green Nusach Hari B’nai Zion Cong Rabbi Ze’ev Smason Yeshivat Kadimah High School Rabbi Naftali Rothstein Young Israel of St. Louis Rabbi Moshe Shulman

NEW JERSEY Bergenfield

Bais Medrash of Bergenfield Rabbi Moshe Stavsky Cong Beth Abraham Rabbi Ya’akov Neuberger Cong Ohr HaTorah Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky

Cherry Hill

Cong Sons of Israel Rabbi Ephraim Epstein Politz Day School Rabbi Avraham Glustein

Deal

Yeshiva at the Jersey Shore Rabbi Elie Tuchman

Edison

Ohr Torah Cong Rabbi Yaakov Luban Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva Rabbi Daniel Loew

Englewood

Cong Ahavath Torah Rabbi Shmuel Goldin Cong Shomrei Emunah Rabbi Menachem Genack East Hill Synagogue Rabbi Zev Reichman The Moriah School Rabbi Daniel Alter

Fair Lawn

Cong Darchei Noam Rabbi Jeremy Donath Shomrei Torah Rabbi Benjamin Yudin Young Israel of Fairlawn Rabbi Eli Belizon

Fort Lee

Young Israel of Fort Lee Rabbi Zev Goldberg

Highland Park

Cong Ahavas Achim Rabbi Steven Miodownik

Livingston

Long Branch

Cong Brothers of Israel Rabbi Nasanayl Braun

Ocean

Hillel Yeshiva Dr. Ruth Katz

Paramus

Ben Porat Yosef Dr. Steven Lorch National Council of Young Israel Rabbi Marc Volk Yavneh Academy Rabbi Jonathan Knapp Yeshivat Noam Rabbi Chaim Hagler

Passaic

Cong Adas Israel Rabbi Dr. Solomon F. Rybak Young Israel of Passaic Clifton Rabbi Yaakov Glasser

River Edge

Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey Rabbi Daniel Price

Springfield

Cong Israel Rabbi Chaim Marcus

Teaneck

Cong Pri Eitz Chaim Rabbi Melvin I Burg Cong Talmud Torah of Flatbush Magen David Yeshiva High School Rabbi Saul Zucker Merkaz Yisrael of Marine Park Rabbi Elisha Weiss Shulamith School of Brooklyn Rabbi Shmuel Klammer Yeshiva of Flatbush Rabbi Raymond Harari Young Israel of Flatbush Rabbi Kenneth Auman

Bronx

SAR Academy Rabbi Binyamin Krauss Young Israel Ohab Zedek of North Riverdale & Yonkers Rabbi Shmuel Hain

Cedarhurst

Midreshet Shalhevet High School Esther Eisenman

The White Shul Rabbi Eytan Feiner

Young Israel of Oceanside Rabbi Jonathan Muskat

Far Rockaway Great Neck

Lawrence

Monsey

Brooklyn

Avenue N Jewish Center Rabbi Doniel Eisenbach Cong Ahavath Achim Rabbi Ari Kagan Cong Beth Torah Rabbi Ari Azancot Cong Bnei Yitzhak Rabbi Joseph Beyda

Cong Shaaray Tefilah Rabbi Uri Orlian Rambam Mesivta Rabbi Zev Friedman Cong Beth Sholom Rabbi Kenneth Hain HAFTR Rabbi Gedaliah Oppen

Long Beach

Mamaroneck

Westchester Day School Rabbi Joshua Lookstein Westchester Hebrew High School Rabbi Jeffery Beer

Merrick

Cong Ohav Sholom Rabbi Ira Ebbin Young Israel of Merrick Rabbi Marc Volk Community Synagogue of Monsey Rabbi Moshe Tendler Young Israel of Monsey and Wesley Hills Rabbi Ari Jacobson

Rochester

Cong Beth Shalom Rabbi Avi Kilimnick

Scarsdale

Magen David Sephardic Cong Rabbi Mitchell Serels Young Israel of Scarsdale Rabbi Jonathan Morgenstern

Syracuse

New Hyde Park

Shaarai Torah Orthodox Cong Rabbi Evan Shore

New York City

Congregation Ahavat Yisrael Rabbi Asher Bush

Young Israel of New Hyde Park Rabbi Lawrence Teitelman Bialystoker Synagogue Rabbi Zvi Romm Cong Adereth El Rabbi Gideon Shloush

Wesley Hills

Houston

United Orthodox Synagogues Rabbi Barry Gelman

The Hampton Synagogue Rabbi Avraham Bronstein

VIRGINIA Richmond

White Plains

Hebrew Institute of White Plains Rabbi Chaim Marder

Knesset Beth Israel Rabbi Dovid Asher

Woodmere

WASHINGTON Seattle

DRS Yeshiva High School for Boys Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky Hebrew Academy of Long Beach Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky Young Israel of Woodmere Rabbi Hershel Billet

Seattle Hebrew Academy Rivy Poupko Kletenik

WISCONSIN Milwaukee

Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah Rabbi Wes Kalmar

NEVADA Las Vegas

ALBERTA Edmonton

Young Israel of Las Vegas Rabbi Yitzchak Wyne

Beth Israel Synagogue Rabbi Daniel Friedman

OHIO Columbus

Green Road Synagogue Rabbi Binyamin Blau

Queens

Cong Shaare Tefilla Rabbi Ariel Rackovsky

Westhampton Beach

Plainview

Congregation Etz Chaim of Kew Gardens Hills Rabbi Moshe Rosenberg Havurat Yisrael Rabbi David Algaze Utopia Jewish Center Rabbi Yonoson Hirtz Young Israel of Forest Hills Rabbi Michael Weingarten Young Israel of Hillcrest Rabbi Richard Weiss Young Israel of Jamaica Estates Rabbi Shlomo Hochberg Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld Young Israel of Queens Valley Rabbi Shmuel Marcus YU High School for Girls Central Mrs. Chaya Batya Neugroschl

TEXAS Dallas

Cong Eitz Chayim Rabbi Dov Greer Young Israel of West Hempstead Rabbi Yehuda Kelemer

Cong Torat Emet Rabbi Howard Zack

Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky Young Israel of Hewlett Rabbi Heshy Blumstein

Hewlett

West Hempstead

Oceanside

Young Israel of Plainview Rabbi Elie Weissman

Cong AABJ&D Rabbi Eliezer Zwickler

The Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach Rabbi Ari Perl

North Woodmere

Great Neck Synagogue Rabbi Dale Polakoff

Young Israel of Long Beach Rabbi Chaim Wakslak

NEW YORK Atlantic Beach

New Rochelle

Young Israel of New Rochelle Rabbi Reuven Fink

Shulamith High School for Girls Ms. Rena Zerykier Young Israel of LawrenceCedarhurst Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum

Beth Aaron Congregation Rabbi Larry Rothwachs Cong Bnai Yeshurun Rabbi Steven Pruzansky Cong Keter Torah Rabbi Shalom Baum Cong Rinat Israel Rabbi Yosef Adler Cong Shaarei Orah Rabbi Haim Jachter Ma’aynot Yeshiva High School for Girls Mrs. Rivka Kahan Torah Academy of Bergen County Rabbi Asher Yablok Yeshivat He’atid Rabbi Tomer Ronen Yeshivat Heichal Hatorah Rabbi Aryeh Stechler Young Israel of Teaneck Rabbi Binyamin Krohn

West Orange

Cong Kehilath Jeshurun Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz Cong Ohab Zedek Rabbi Allen Schwartz Cong Ramath Orah Rabbi Moshe Grussgott Cong Shearith Israel Rabbi Meir Soloveichik Lincoln Square Synagogue Rabbi Shaul Robinson Manhattan Day School Rabbi Mordechai Besser Manhattan Jewish Experience Rabbi Mark Wildes The Jewish Center Rabbi Yosie Levine The Ramaz School Rabbi Eric Grossman Yeshiva University Richard M. Joel YU High School for Boys Rabbi Joshua Kahn

BRITISH COLUMBIA Vancouver

Schara Tzedeck Rabbi Andrew Rosenblatt

Cleveland

QUEBEC Cote St. Luc

OREGON Portland

Beth Israel Beth Aaron Cong Rabbi Reuben J. Poupko

Cong Ahavath Achim Rabbi Michael Kaplan

PENNSYLVANIA Harrisburg

Kesher Isarel Cong Rabbi Elisha Friedman

Philadelphia

Cong Beth Hamedrosh Rabbi Yonah Gross Cong Mikveh Israel Rabbi Albert Gabbai Kohelet Yeshiva High School Rabbi Gil Perl Lower Merion Synagogue Rabbi Avraham Shmidman

Montreal

Cong. Beth Tikvah Ahavat Shalom Rabbi Mark Fishman Cong. Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Rabbi Yechezkel Freundlich Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue Rabbi Schacher Orenstein

ONTARIO Hamilton

Adas Israel Congregation Rabbi Daniel Green

Ottawa

Pittsburgh

Cong Machzikei Hadas Rabbi Idan Scher

Congregation Poale Zedeck Rabbi Daniel Yolkut

RHODE ISLAND Newport

Thornhill

Zichron Yisroel Rabbi Charles Grysman

Toronto

Anshei Sphard Cong Rabbi Joel Finkelstein Baron Hirsch Cong Rabbi Binyamin Lehrfield Margolin Hebrew Academy Rabbi Benjy Owen

Beth Avraham Yoseph Cong Rabbi Daniel Korobkin Bnei Akiva Schools Rabbi Dr. Seth Grauer Netivot HaTorah Day School Rabbi J. Rothman Shaarei Shomayim Cong Rabbi Chaim Strauchler Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto Rabbi Lee Buckman

Cong Sherith Israel Rabbi Saul Strosberg

ISRAEL Jerusalem

Touro Synagogue Rabbi Marc Mandel

TENNESSEE Memphis

Nashville

Kollel Agudath Achim Rabbi Aharon Ziegler

This ad is sponsored by Dr. Harold and Magda Katz and family.

The Religious Zionists of America is the US affiliate of the 115 year old World Mizrachi movement. The goal of the RZAMizrachi is to instill in the American Jewish community a commitment to religious Zionism, the preservation of Jewish political freedom, the enhancement of Jewish religious life in the land of Israel, and the promotion of aliyah. For more information, visit: www.rza.org

RZA joined by the leadership of 25 major Jewish organizations is proud to have initiated the passing of a Resolution in Congress in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. Washington DC • May 2017


The Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

CONTENTS

COMMUNITY

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

JEWISH THOUGHT It’s About Concentration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Locked in a Vault. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

FEATURE An Israeli Journey: A Profile of David Azari . . . . . . 14 50 Years After Six-Day War, How the Kotel Became Synonymous With Tefillin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

LIFESTYLES Proactive Parenting: Homework Woes . . . . . . . . . . 17

NEWS

Global. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 National. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

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NORTH HOLLYWOOD PALM SPRINGS PACIFIC PALASADES PASADENA REDONDO BEACH SHERMAN OAKS SIMI VALLEY STUDIO CITY TEMECULA THOUSAND OAKS TORRANCE VALENCIA VAN NUYS WOODLAND HILLS

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Dear Readers, At the end of the laws pertaining to the red heifer, the Rambam writes, “Nine red heifers were offered from the time that they were commanded to fulfill this mitzvah until the time when the Temple was destroyed a second time. The first was brought by Moses our teacher. The second was brought by Ezra. Seven others were offered until the destruction of the Second Temple. And the tenth will be brought by the king Moshiach; may he speedily be revealed. Amein, so may it be Gd’s will.” At first glance, this comment seems out of place. The sefer is a book of laws, not prayers, yet here, and only here, the Rambam – in what seems to be uncontrolled emotion – offers a prayer for the coming redemption? In the laws of kings the Rambam writes that it isn’t enough to believe that Moshiach will come one day, one must anticipate his arrival. Perhaps then here in the laws of the red heifer, the Rambam wanted to show us the halachic guidelines of this anticipation. It is such that when one mentions or hears of the future redemption it brings forth a longing and a prayer that it be personally experienced. 50 years ago a miraculous victory was accomplished in the Holy Land. It was clear to all the nations of the world that “Hiney lo yonum, v’lo yishan, shomer Yisrael – the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.” What began as a defensive war turned into a gift from above consisting of additional portions of our land being returned to descendants of its original inhabitants. It created an awakening in Jews throughout the globe, the effects of which are still felt throughout the world over. We salute the fighters who fought, were injured, or gave up their lives to give us this victory, and we hope we honor them in the way we run our daily lives. Specific mention should of course be made regarding the old city of Yerushalayim. Banned from davening there throughout the Jordanian occupation, modern Jewry was at last reunited with a remnant of the Har Habayis and a time of spiritual greatness. We are humbled and give thanks for the great miracles that happened then, yet our focus and prayers are for the future. A future when there shall be no more hunger, sadness, or pain. When no nation shall lift a sword against another. And when all the nations of the world will live in peace. May it happen speedily and in our days. 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

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Great wine doesn’t need to cost a bunch.

In 1925, Yankel Hirsh Segal and his family emigrated to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv. Brothers Elhanan and Yehezkel established Israel’s first distillery in the German colony Sharona in Tel Aviv. Their experience and reputation led them, in the 1930s, to be asked by the French rulers to set up distilleries in Beirut and Damascus. In 1954, the family decided to concentrate on wine production. The winery moved to Ramla, and was called the Zvi Vineyard. The name was later changed to Segal Wines. All the winery’s bottles bear the Segal wine logo, reproduced in Zvi Hirsh’s own handwriting.

MEMBER

Making wine differently.

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TheHappenings Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Religious Zionism on the Rise Rabbi Gideon Shloush

The Religious Zionists of America has embarked on a program to strengthen their base and spread its message to the American Jewish community. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem, RZA has created a National Honor Roll of schools and synagogues committed to celebrating this historic milestone. Proudly, more than 220 communities across North America

have signed the RZA honor roll. Signing means that the organization has committed to initiate programming in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Yom Yerushalayim. Communities are organizing creative programs such as lectures, movie nights, concerts, picnics, and – of course – festive prayers. Additionally, thanks to the efforts and support of RZA co-President Martin

Oliner, RZA has organized a mission to Washington, DC, where the leadership of 25 Jewish organizations – representing the spectrum of the Jewish community – will meet at the U.S. Capitol with members of Congress (from both sides of the aisle) to pass a Resolution in Congress in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem. RZA has also initiated a National Children’s Art Contest, as well as a Yom Yerushalayim button campaign whose theme is “United with Jerusalem.” Furthermore, RZA has arranged for hundreds of individuals from communities across North America to participate in the International Mizrachi Mission to Israel.

These representatives of the American Jewish community will be gathering in Israel where they will be joined by fellow Jews from across the globe for a four day, once in a lifetime, world-Jewry celebration in Jerusalem. In November, RZA held its National Convention featuring presentations by RIETS Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Hershel Schachter, World Mizrachi CEO Rav Doron Perez and former Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens. In December RZA went to Teaneck, New Jersey, for a special program with Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter. In January RZA’s Chicago chapter held a sold-out “Beit Café” and RZA Los Angeles chapter organized a shabbaton, featuring myself, Rabbi Shaul Robinson of the Lincoln Square Synagogue, and Rabbi Marvin Hier, Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who had just returned from speaking at the inauguration in Washington, DC. In February, RZA held two events in Boca Raton, Florida and last week Professor Alan Dershowitz addressed a crowd of more than 400 people in Scarsdale, New York. But the crown jewel of the RZA, no doubt, is the Aryeh Fellowship. This past winter-break RZA sponsored missions-to-Israel for 40 college students from around the country. These students became RZA “Aryeh Fellows” and have committed to pursue Manhigut (leadership) projects designed to bring the message of Religious Zionism back to communities across the United States. The students are working in thirteen different groups, each focused on a different Religious Zionist initiative. As an example, one initiative was the first ever national collegiate Chidon HaTanach (Bible contest) which was held a few weeks ago in Midtown Manhattan. A second group is organizing kumzitz style get-togethers on college campuses across the country. A third group launched a “Humans of Israel” social media campaign shedding light on the lives of recent olim and highlighting their Aliyah experience. Yet another group is translating into English, divrei Torah from Roshei Yeshiva of Yeshivot Hesder in Israel which appear in RZA’s weekly emails. Essentially, the Aryeh Fellowship has enabled RZA to organize a cadre of student leaders who are rooted in Torah knowledge and are passionate about activism both on the college campus and beyond. For more than 100 years, Religious Zionists of America-Mizrachi has been at the forefront of world Jewry, advancing through educational, political and social programs, an everlasting commitment to “the Land of Israel, for the People of Israel, according to the Torah of Israel.” I invite you to join me (gshloush@rza.org) in strengthening the umbrella organization whose primary objective is to invigorate communities across America with the message of Religious Zionism. Rabbi Gideon Shloush is National Director of the Religious Zionists of America.


The Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

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TheHappenings Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Thousands of Jews Come Together to Celebrate Lag B’Omer on Pico Blvd Yehudis Litvak

Photos: Michoel D. Freeman

The Lag B’Omer Parade and Fair, held last Sunday on Pico Blvd, was one of the largest public displays in Los Angeles. It surpassed all expectations of the organizers and the attendees. “It went beyond our wildest dreams,” says Rabbi Mendel Duchman, parade director. At the outset, the organizers had promised a “bigger and better” event, and bigger and better it was. About 6000 people, of all ages and all walks of life, gathered on Pico Blvd last Sunday. The attendees came from many shuls and schools throughout California. The Lag B’Omer spirit permeated the air. After the opening remarks by Rab-

bi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, Chabad’s head shaliach of the West Coast, the parade began with a smoke-filled fly over of a squadron of three vintage jets. It was followed by intricately designed floats, a horse-drawn buggy, marching bands, and procession consisting of students of many of the Jewish schools in the area, who carried hand-made posters highlighting Torah mitzvos. The young and the old were mesmerized by the parade. Afterwards, the children enjoyed rides and carnival games. Uncle Moishy won the hearts of even the youngest of the attendees. Eli Marcus’s concert was also very popular, as well as

the breathtaking BMX bicycle stunts. The Los Angeles police, fire, and sanitation departments participated in the event, educating the curious children about their work. Despite the myriads of details that went into such a large-scale event, everything went smoothly. “Organization was phenomenal from A to Z,” says Esther Davidoff, Co-Founder and Director of Simxa Organization, who directed the construction of one of the floats, jointly with the BTM smicha program and Rochel Guidry, the float designer. Mrs. Davidoff explains that she received a detailed email with clear instructions a month before the event

which guided her team in constructing their float. “We were very impressed with the parade itself,” she adds. “There were no mishaps. Everyone was happy.” “There was joy in the street,” says Rabbi Duchman. “It was a day of joy for the young and old.” He added that an attendee expressed his amazement, saying, “You brought the spirit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai to Los Angeles.” Other attendees were inspired by the event, calling it a tremendous kiddush Hashem. The memories of this Lag B’Omer will remain with the attendees for years to come.


Photos: Yossi Percia

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

TheHappenings Week In News

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TheHappenings Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Talking about Addiction Prevention in Los Angeles Yehudis Litvak The YULA Girls auditorium quickly filled to standing-room only as about 300 community members gathered together to address and prevent addiction and substance abuse among teenagers in the Los Angeles Jewish community. Eleven speakers, several video presentations, and a panel discussion addressed the questions that came from the audience. All the participants left the event inspired to help struggling teens and armed with

the information and tools for more effective parenting and with resources to turn to when additional help is needed. The event was organized by Project Tikvah, a branch of Aleph Institute and a recipient of a cutting edge grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, in partnership with MASK (Mothers and Fathers Aligned Saving Kids International) and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The goal of the event was “to start a conversation in the community with parents, schools, rabbis,” says Leah Perl, co-director of Project Tikvah. “So that if they see a problem they can pick up the phone and call.” Mrs. Perl emphasized the importance of early intervention. “Don’t wait,” she urges parents and other concerned individuals. “Try to catch it early. You can save a kid.” The attendees learned about drug overdose and how to recognize it. They also learned about a life-saving medication, Narcon, that acts as an antidote to drug overdose. Project Tikvah is currently training community members in administering Narcon. The common theme of the evening was that addiction and other mental health conditions are chronic diseases just like any other, and not the fault of the sufferer. Anyone struggling with addiction or a mental health issue cannot be blamed for their condition. They need and deserve our help and support. Ruchama Bistrizky-Clapman, Founder and Director of MASK, introduced the program, and Rabbi Abraham Lieberman, Head of YULA Girls’ High School, made opening remarks. Jimmy Delshad, former mayor of Beverly Hills and current Vice President of Aleph Institute, spoke passionately about the important work of Aleph Institute, urging the participants to bring the difficult topics into the open. Dr. Ron Nagel, a beloved pediatrician serving our community since 1986, spoke about the importance of role modeling, especially in the parents’ own responsible use of technology, as well as alcohol and prescription medications. He demonstrated how little it takes to overdose on drugs, explaining that children don’t know that a small difference in dosage can be fatal. Ari Stark, Vice President of Destinations, a teen treatment program, said that in order to address the issues our community needs to “open the conversation, get it out of the shadows.” Addiction and mental illness, he explained, is a problem in the United States as a whole, and the Jewish community is not immune to it. “As a community, we shield ourselves from what is going on,” he said. “This results in higher rates of substance abuse and suicide.” He explained that in most cases, suffering


TheHappenings Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

teens show clear signs of distress, and as parents and community members, we have the responsibility to “never turn away,” to provide suffering teens with the support and help they need. Asher Gottesman, Founder and CEO of Transcend Recovery, spoke about creating an environment of unconditional love that allows teenagers to talk freely to their parents about their struggles. “None of us are at fault, yet all of us are at fault,” he said, explaining that there is no direct correlation between pain felt and pain inflicted. The same trauma can trigger addiction in one teen and yet leave another teen unscathed. As pain is subjective, it is important to listen to the person in pain without any judgment. A recovering addict who received help and support from Project Tikvah shared her experience with the audience. “The stigma makes it very hard to seek help,” she said. “This is a disease, not a morality issue. Please don’t put off getting help. Addicts who do not get help end up incar-

cerated, institutionalized, or dead.” Bob Shapiro, Esq., internationally renowned litigator and senior partner at Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP, and founder of the Brent Shapiro Foundation, spoke about losing his son to a drug overdose. The tragedy spurred Mr. Shapiro to work tirelessly on prevention of overdose-related deaths, and of substance addiction in general. “Be aware – it’s everywhere,” he said. “If there is a problem, talk about it. Face it head on, don’t run away from it. If there is no problem, do everything you can to prevent it.” Addressing the subject of prevention, Donna Miller, LMFT, Director of Chabad Treatment Center, spoke about vulnerability to addiction. She advised parents of children who are experiencing any kind of crisis, “As long as you are addressing the problem and there is progress, you significantly decrease vulnerability.” Ms. Miller emphasized the importance of communication with children. Rabbi Zvi Boyarsky, Director of Aleph

Institute’s West Coast Branch, stressed our communal responsibility to help those among us who are struggling. “If we collectively keep our radar on the max, we can together save lives,” he said. Rabbi Yekusiel Kalmanson, Executive Director of Sanctuary Treatment Center and Renewal Recovery Center, spoke about the danger of drugs. “Young people are more vulnerable to risks because their brains have not yet matured,” he said. Ruchama Bistrizky-Clapman moderated the panel discussion that concluded the event. The participants of the panel were Asher Gottesman, Dr. Sharon Dunas and Dr. Debbie Juster of NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Health – an organization dedicated to supporting families dealing with mental illness), Tzvi Heber of YY House, Donna Miller, Ari Stark, Alana Yakovlev, Esq., and two representatives of the LAPD. The organizers feel that the event was successful. Rabbi Boyarsky says, “There’s always more to be accomplished but, B”H,

we got very positive feedback from participants.” Aleph Institute was founded by Rabbi Sholom Lipskar at the directive of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Its motto is, “No one alone. No one forgotten.” Project Tikvah’s mission is to provide “hope and intervention for struggling youth” – young adults who find themselves in jail or facing trial due to mental health and/or addiction issues. MASK, founded in 1997, with headquarters in New York, strives to “ensure that all parents/caregivers in the Jewish community receive the resources necessary to help them raise emotionally healthy families.” MASK operates a confidential helpline, support groups, and prevention and awareness programs. For more information, or for Narcon training, Project Tikvah can be contacted at tikvah@aleph-institute.org or 310 598 2142, and MASK can be contacted at 718758-0400.

The Life Saving Work of Shaarei Chesed Tova Abady The cover story in last week’s issue of The Jewish Home focused on anxiety young children experience based on social and other issues, and offered some possible solutions. This week in Los Angeles, a special Lag B’Omer breakfast was held in the home of the Mandelbaum family to raise funds for Shaarei Chesed, an organization based in Yerushalayim that provides counseling for a variety of psychological problems, including anxiety, for bochurim, girls, families, and couples both in Israel and in Los Angeles. Shaarei Chesed’s team is comprised of four prominent psychologists in Israel. In conversation prior to the event, its director, Rav Yitzchok Cook, shlita, explained that although their team serves the population 15

years and above, there are more and more reports of OCD and other problems in children as young as eight years old. He stated that no one knows when these illnesses became so widespread. Rav Cook agreed that it is likely a sign of the difficult times we are living in. According to their website (www.shaareichesed.co.il), Shaarei Chesed was originally founded in 1987 to give moral and financial support to families stricken with severe illnesses and death, including orphans. Realizing that many psychological problems affect teenagers and adults, they launched Operation S.H.A.R.E. (Speak out your Heart and Receive Encouragement) in 1999. Rabbi Cook explained when young bochurim come on their own to seek help, they have no way

to pay, and are welcomed with open arms. This vital organization has to find a way to pay rent and expenses. Years ago, when Rav Cook came to L.A. seeking donations, he was approached by many people asking him if he could help their friends or relatives locally, and Shaarei Chesed began the same program in Los Angeles. Rav Cook’s visits to L.A. coincide with the Pittsburgher Rav’s, and they collaborate on many of the local cases. Upon being asked if there are any common threads in the issues that present themselves among adults and children, Rav Cook said: insecurity. “The insecurity often begins at home. If parents don’t have self-esteem themselves, they can’t give it to their

children. This is not to say that these are not good homes. On the contrary, they are good parents, good people and honest people. The problem is that when parents cannot get along or come to agreements there is a moment when the child realizes they cannot rely on their parents. In Hebrew the word is mishenet.” The child learns not to trust himself. Rabbi Cook says when someone comes to him 30 years old or above, he obviously cannot turn back the clock, but he can help by building that person up, showing love and support. The Pittsburgher Rav spoke at the breakfast and said it is a huge mitzvah to give financial assistance to Shaarei Chesed, mamash mesirus nefesh.

Memorial Day for Ethiopian Jewry Yehudis Litvak On the 28th of Iyar, which falls on May 24th this year, the State of Israel and the Ethiopian Jewish community commemorate a Memorial Day for the 4000 Ethiopian Jews that perished on their journey from Ethiopia to Israel during the mass aliyah in the 1980s and 1990s. Currently, there are over 100,000 Ethiopian Jews living in Israel. Some Ethiopian Jewish families made their way to America and Canada. Three of those families live in Los Angeles. Every year, they commemorate the Memorial Day on the same day as the community in Israel. The Memorial Day is held on the same date as Yom Yerushalayim, the day of reunification of Jerusalem after the Six Day War. Habtnesh Ezra, a Los Angeles repre-

sentative of the Ethiopian Jewish community, explains that generations of Ethiopian Jews had been yearning for Jerusalem. Parents would tell their children about the Holy Land. Throughout the centuries, some individuals managed to escape to Eretz Yisrael, but most remained in Ethiopia until the 1980s, when the State of Israel conducted the rescue operations that allowed thousands of Ethiopian Jews to immigrate to Israel through Sudan. The refugees had to travel from Ethiopia to Sudan on foot. The journey, which lasted several weeks, was fraught with peril. They had to cross the desert, facing lack of water, wild animals, and bandits. Many of the travelers did not survive the journey. Habtnesh tells of a family of 50 that undertook the dif-

ficult journey. Only three of them were able to reach the refugee camps in Sudan safely. Even once they crossed the desert, the Ethiopian Jews faced many hardships in the Sudanese refugee camps. They lacked basic supplies, and many people died of hunger, thirst, or disease. “The stories are heartbreaking,” says Habtnesh. “Parents were losing children in their arms.” Despite the suffering they went through, the Ethiopian Jews who made it to Israel reestablished their community there. “The community is extremely grateful for the freedom of practice which we didn’t have in Ethiopia,” says Habtnesh. While the Ethiopian Jews celebrate their accomplishments and growth, they remember the high price they paid. “The sacrifices

are quite overwhelming,” says Habtnesh. “They had to leave everything behind to get to Jerusalem. A lot of people lost family members. Some don’t want to talk about it because it’s too painful. But their sacrifice has to be known and appreciated.” The Ethiopian Jews that perished had yearned to make aliyah to Israel. “It is really sad that their dream wasn’t realized,” says Habtnesh. She explains that it is especially important for the younger generation to be aware of the tremendous sacrifices their ancestors went through in order to bring them out of Ethiopia, where they could practice Judaism freely.

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Living with In theNews Times The Week

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman In today’s fast-moving and changing world, attention spans are shrinking more rapidly than the polar cap under global warming. We are adopting the failures of society and failing to concentrate on what is important for more than a few seconds. We skim instead of read, and we surmise without bothering to educate ourselves. With little thought, we forward news, hock and jokes at supersonic speeds. We act irresponsibly, either because we don’t realize the impact of our actions, or we think we won’t get caught. Our illiteracy and lack of knowledge lead us to desecrate our own names, as well as those of our people and, most importantly, Hashem. Everything, including our learning, our words, our honesty, our diligence and our interpersonal relationships, becomes superficial. As we prepare for Shavuos, it would behoove us to slow down and think about what we are doing and whether it helps or hinders us. We are meant to act with determination and be disciplined in seeking and pursuing excellence. Parshas Behar begins by stating that Hashem spoke to Moshe on Har Sinai. The parsha then immediately turns to the laws of Shmittah. Rashi asks the classic question invoked when two matters seemingly unconnected are linked together: “Mah inyan Shmittah eitzel Har Sinai?” loosely translated as, “What does Shmittah have to do with Har Sinai?” Rashi answers that the Torah juxtaposes the two pesukim to teach that just as all the minutia of the laws of Shmittah were expounded at Har Sinai, the myriad details of all the mitzvos were likewise taught at that time. The Torah discusses the laws of Shmittah and then guarantees the blessings reserved for those who honor these laws, allowing their land to lie fallow every seventh year as a testament to their belief in Hashem. Perhaps another reason for the linkage of Shmittah and Har Sinai might be to teach us that a person who seeks the brachos promised to shomrei Shevi’is should not delude himself into thinking

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

It’s About Concentration that those blessings come for observing only one component of the mitzvos of Har Sinai. “Mah inyan Shmittah eitzel Har Sinai” teaches us that in order to merit the rewards of keeping Shmittah, a Jew must do far more than observe the laws of Shmittah. He must follow all the halachos and dinim that were handed down at Sinai. This approach might explain an inconsistency at the end of the parsha. The last posuk of Parshas Behar states, “Es shabbsosai tishmoru umikdoshi tira’u, ani Hashem.” The Baal Haturim points out that in this posuk, the word “tishmoru” comes after the word “Shabbos,” whereas in Devorim, the command of shamor pre-

ducts himself with aidelkeit and ehrlichkeit, not only on Shabbos, but throughout the week as well. A shomer Shabbos Jew adds to the holiness of Shabbos by sanctifying the days before Shabbos and the days after it. A shomer Shabbos Jew spreads kedushas Shabbos to everything he does from Shabbos to Shabbos. He anticipates and plans for Shabbos from Sunday onwards, as he specifies each day in relation to Shabbos, saying, “Hayom yom rishon b’Shabbos, Hayom yom sheini b’Shabbos, etc.” And so it is with a shomer Shmittah. It is very difficult for a person who lives off of the land to wake up one day and decide

We have to take pride in our mission, so that we can succeed in being good Jews and good people. cedes the word “Shabbos” in the posuk of “Shamor es yom haShabbos.” The Baal Haturim quotes the Mechilta to explain that this is to teach that Shabbos requires shemirah both before and after the exact time of the holy day. That is, one must extend the day at the beginning and at the end, transforming chol to kodesh. Perhaps we can explain that the posuk is implying that for one to be a shomer Torah umitzvos, it is not sufficient to only observe the 24-hour period that comprises Shabbos. One must also observe the many commandments governing life during the rest of the week. The kedusha of Shabbos demands shemirah lefonov ule’acharov. It is common to describe a frum Jew as a shomer Shabbos. This is because in order to be considered a shomer Shabbos, you must also observe the other commandments. A shomer Shabbos Jew dresses differently, speaks differently, and eats differently, not only on Shabbos, but during the entire week. A shomer Shabbos Jew con-

that although he has been lax in his observance of the other mitzvos, he will observe Shmittah. It is only the person who, after faithfully observing all the halachos during the other six years, can meet the great test of faith and leave his ground untouched during the seventh year. The person who is fastidious about his observance of maaser and terumah, and leket, shikchah and pe’ah, observes Shmittah with complete faith. The one who ensures that his animals do not run wild and damage other people’s property, and the one who makes sure that there are no michsholim on the paths that cut through his property, will be scrupulous with the dinim given on Har Sinai. The person who conducts his business with emunah and bitachon and does not resort to chicanery and thievery to make his living is one who has the strength to let go when Shmittah arrives and depend upon Hakadosh Boruch Hu to sustain him. A shomer Shabbos knows that life is

not all fun and games. There are halachos and traditions to follow. He knows that his actions are viewed by others and he cannot engage in conduct that causes chillul Hashem. He knows that what the world considers cool and chic is not always all it’s cracked up to be. “Vetzivisi es birchasi lochem.” Hashem promises His blessings to those who observe Shmittah, because those people are the ones who observe the laws handed down on Har Sinai daily and not only on isolated occasions. At the beginning of Parshas Bechukosai, Rashi quotes the Toras Kohanim to explain the posuk of “Im bechukosai teileichu.” Rashi says that it means “shetihiyu ameilim baTorah.” The way to achieve holiness and perfection is by expending much energy to study and understand the Torah. The way to show that we are serious about following the path of Hashem and observing His mitzvos is by delving deeply and persistently into the difficult passages of the Torah. The Rambam in Hilchos Talmud Torah writes that the Torah does not make a permanent impact on one who takes a lackadaisical approach to its study, nor on one who learns while indulging in earthly excess, or while satiated by food and drink. The Torah belongs to the one who knocks himself out, so to speak, working to understand it and refraining from sleep in order to learn and understand the word of Hashem. That is why a rebbi is obligated to teach the same passage to his student several times until the student understands it. The rebbi is not permitted to become angered, but has to patiently explain it until its meaning is grasped. Torah is for all, and a lack of comprehension necessitates added effort and deeper concentration, for that is the way Torah is acquired. Therefore as well, a student should not be uncomfortable when he doesn’t understand the Torah that is being taught. There is no embarrassment in asking to have it explained and repeatedly until he understands it. Greatness in Torah requires total dedication and much effort. One who is consumed by ambition for spiritual greatness forgoes much to grow in Torah. Greatness is not inbred. It doesn’t come from learning once a week. It isn’t accomplished overnight. It takes years of persistence and perseverance. Sometimes it takes a lifetime of growth to reach the pinnacle. The world around us is in turmoil. We must do all we can to produce a new generation of leaders and giants to deal with the complex issues facing us. They must be respectful, responsible and decent. They


Living with In theNews Times The Week

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

have to engage in activities that bring achdus and love between Jews, not those that cause us to be divided. Everything they do should bring others to respect our people, as Chazal say, “sheyihei sheim Shomayim misaheiv al yodcha.” Our ambition and drive must be to excel in Torah and avodah. We have to value excellence and appreciate it in others. We should demand the best of ourselves when it comes to spiritual matters and not easily compromise when it comes to what is really important in life. We must become ameilim baTorah in a literal sense. Our chinuch system must teach our children to appreciate the gift of Torah they have been given. They need to realize that they are the Chosen People, selected to live a life of kedusha and tahara, of simcha and sasson, and that these are not mutually exclusive concepts. Torah breathes life into those who follow its ways. A Torah life is a blessing. One who understands that, will happily dedicate his life to ameilus baTorah. Children who appreciate the full picture of Yiddishkeit and know that ehrlichkeit and middos tovos are an integral part of their being, understand that fidelity to a value system is their birthright. Jews who are reminded from a young age onward that shemiras Shabbos involves more than observing the lamed tes melachos live on a higher level the whole week and recognize that by doing so they are among the luckiest people alive. Despite all the temptations thrown at them by society, and no matter what pressures and inducements they face, they will remain steadfast, focused, honest and upstanding. They will bring us all much nachas. The Torah promises that if we are ameilim baTorah, if we work according to the Torah and concentrate our main efforts on Torah study and observance, we will be blessed and successful in all we do. The Torah is what gives us our identity and what defines us. As we stand in the Sefirah period, we commemorate that we were freed from Mitzrayim so that we could accept the Torah on Har Sinai. We count towards Shavuos, the day that marks our receiving of the Torah, to demonstrate that we are striving and reaching upward. Each day of the count, we seek to improve ourselves so that we better appreciate the gift that is the Torah. We don’t count the way one would normally count down to an anticipated date. We count upward. We are each saying, “I am not the same person I was yesterday. I am better. I have progressed yet another day and have taken another step towards my goal. I am on the way to realizing that the most important thing I can do is accept the Torah, study it, and follow it with devotion.” If we want to excel in our lives as Torah Jews, we have to realize what those successful people described above realize.

The key to success, both spiritual and material, is to be devoted to the task with all our strength and talent. Rav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein zt”l was just such a person. His life was Torah and his talmidim. There was nothing else. He labored in the study of Torah since his youth and emerged as a brilliant talmid chochom who was viewed as a gadol b’Yisroel and a leader of our people. His soul departed this world this past Motzoei Shabbos, leaving a huge vacuum. Rav Shmuel Yaakov represented the purity and majesty of Torah. He personified the

gentility and stateliness of one who has climbed the ladder of Torah greatness. His shiurim were enlightening and his seforim contain brilliant insights. Those who met him saw the kindliness and character fostered by spending days and nights, for decades, immersed in the Yam Hatalmud. Rav Shmuel Yaakov was relatively young, passing away at the age of 71. The Torah world viewed Rav Shmuel Yaakov as a leading rosh yeshiva who would continue to guide bnei Torah for years to come. We are left bereft, though inspired to follow in his ways and emulate his to-

tal devotion to limud haTorah and avodas Hashem. We have to take ourselves and our responsibilities seriously. We have to take pride in our mission, so that we can succeed in being good Jews and good people. It won’t happen with a haphazard, lackadaisical approach, or by going through the motions perfunctorily. It demands a lifetime of ameilus coupled with discipline and determination. Let us devote ourselves to our task and merit the brachos that the parsha reserves for those who are ameil in Torah.

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Feature The Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

An Israeli Journey: A Profile of David Azari Shalom Rubashkin and Alisa Brooks When we were welcomed into David Azari’s home on a cool L.A. night, Prigat and a bowl of nuts were waiting for us on the kitchen table. Azari has called Los Angeles his home for 40 years, but his story doesn’t begin here. It starts, generations back, in Israel. David himself was actually born in Egypt, a blip on his family’s otherwise un-

broken Israeli line. When asked how many generations his family had been in Israel before his grandmother moved to Egypt, he says, “Since we left Egypt with Moshe Rabbeinu.” They were as Israeli as it gets: “My grandma, before she went to Egypt, when she was young, she was going to school with Ben-Gurion.” His family had never known anything but Israel; tragedy

took them away. His great-grandfather made deliveries by camel. One day, in the early part of the 20th century, the camel lashed out and killed him. His great-grandmother remarried an Egyptian man and took his grandmother with her to Egypt. David’s father and David himself were both born there. And, for a while, life was fine.

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“It was okay. Jews, Arabs – everybody was living peacefully,” he explains. “And then the Muslim Brotherhood started to kill the Jews there.” That’s when his father decided it was time to go – and there was only one place he wanted to go. He went to a government officer to try to get a secret visa, but was warned against it. Instead, the officer told him to get visas for France. “‘Say you are going just for a vacation in Europe.’ So [my father] went with his mother and his brother and me and my two brothers. I was three years old. And we went from there to France and from France to Israel. In 1949 we arrived [in] Israel.” The family started out – or started again – in Be’er Ya’akov, in a tent camp. Because they had to sneak out of Egypt, they left as though they were just taking a vacation. “In 1947, my grandfather had four stores, like in Rodeo Drive. Clothing and cosmetics, perfume….” They left it all behind, along with their home and most of their belongings. His grandfather did bring one bottle of perfume essence, but that broke on the journey. “For years we’ve been smelling that from the clothes,” he adds with a laugh. But though they left most of their life behind, they didn’t exactly come empty-handed. “[My father] went to a carpenter, to make him a chair. Inside the legs, big legs, he put coins of gold.” His grandmother came with them, so they pretended she was disabled and the chair was necessary for her. “They went to the boat to go to France, and the captain told them, ‘No, you don’t need this, throw it away, we don’t have room.’” They convinced the captain, and when they arrived in Israel those coins enabled David’s father to open a grocery store. That didn’t mean life was easy. “He was fighting just to bring parnassah. We suffered there a lot. It was no food, no nothing. It was very hard to live.” Eventually the family made it to Lod, where they still have a house today. David’s wife, Rachel, also has deep roots in Eretz Yisrael. She is the fourth generation of her family to be born in Jerusalem. In fact, when her mother was a child, she used to make money by playing guide to tourists visiting the Old City. Rachel herself was just a baby when Jerusalem was under siege in 1948. Hard to live describes her family’s situation at that time too; her mother traded ration eggs for bread in order to have enough to feed all the children. When the siege ended, her family moved to Tel-Aviv. During the Six Day War, David’s military service also took him to the Old City… and to a unique experience. Like most Israelis, David served in the IDF. He started out in the Air Force,


Feature The Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Clearing what's now the plaza at the Western Wall

but he was then moved to a small, special anti-tank unit. If you’re picturing an imposing tank, think again. They faced down tanks with missiles, sure – missiles fired from the backs of Jeeps! “You have to see the tank, to knock it down,” David explains. “And, if not, then you have to run away. Run for your lives!” A speedy escape was essential because to knock out a tank they had to get within two miles of it, while the enemy tanks had a range of three or four miles. It was not a job for the faint of heart. And this unit would often be on the front lines: They would go ahead to clear away opposing tanks before the other soldiers moved in. When the Six Day War began, David had no idea where he would be sent. Though they could have gone to Egypt, Jordan, or the Golan Heights, his unit was sent to Yerushalayim, to support the tzanchanim (paratroopers). They were there to clear their path of tanks ahead of the tzanchanim, but as it turned out there were no tanks. So they waited. He remembers that time vividly. “From Givat Hatachmoshet we went to Augusta Victoria. We stayed there around three hours, and then they told us to go down. We were sitting on the street. Lines and lines of soldiers, waiting for orders to go in. All the neighbors came with coffee, cake, food…everything they were giving us, like one big family.” Eventually, around noon, they were given orders to go in. The main fighting was over, but there were still snipers shooting from within homes. “They told us, ‘You have to find snipers.’” So he and the other soldiers in his unit went looking. “We went, about four people, to a house. I knocked on the door. And I saw an old woman. She was blind, she didn’t see nothing. I told her in Arabic, ‘Do you have anybody hiding here?’ She said, ‘You are Egyptian!’ I said, ‘Yeah, I am Egyptian.’ She said, ‘I am not Muslim, I am Christian.’ I said, ‘I don’t care who you are, but do you have any children at home?’ She said, ‘No, I have nobody there.’ “We went inside, and we were looking around. One of the soldiers tells me, ‘They have a door there, I don’t know what this door is.’ I told him, ‘No, you stay out, and I will go inside and see who is there.’” The door wouldn’t open, so he kicked it in. In front of him was a narrow staircase,

In pilot school

leading to…garbage. “A lot of garbage it was there. It was like a small alley [between the houses], but it was full of garbage. I told him, ‘Let me go under the bridge and we’ll see if anybody is hiding there.’ So they were protecting me from behind. I went down. “As soon as my feet touched the floor, my whole body was shaking. I was in a makom kadosh, but I didn’t know; I didn’t know where I was standing. This whole area was full of houses. I was hearing soldiers from the other side. Then all of a sudden I was hearing, ‘Chevrei, we are in the Kotel! The Kotel! The Beit Hamikdash!’ “I said, ‘What Kotel? Where is the Kotel? I don’t see the Kotel.’ Then I saw those big stones. You know, by the ezrat nashim, there it used to be stairs. I went down through those stairs. I’m the first one was there,” he adds proudly. “So then I went up to the soldiers, and I said, ‘Baruch Hashem, we are in Yerushalayim, and this is our Kotel.’ We said ‘Shema Yisrael,’ and all the soldiers were very happy. We told our captain that we already were in the Kotel. We didn’t find any snipers.” They were then sent to Shechem, to liberate the city. From Shechem they were sent to the Golan Heights, but the war was over before they were needed there. The next time he visited the Kotel, it was with his new wife. “I promised her that if I come back alive we’re going to get married,” he says with a smile. They’ve been back many times since then. “The last time we were joking with the guide, [I said] ‘Somebody stole the stairs from here!’ And he said, ‘You were the first one, huh?’” Those stairs were one of the first things to be cleared out of the Old City. His memories of the Yom Kippur War do not bring back the same smiles. His unit was sent to Ramat Hagolan, where they took heavy fire from Katyusha rockets. “It was maybe thousands of Katyusha. We fell down, and we have to cover our head. All the stone was exploding on the mountain, and coming on our backs and burning our backs from the heat. It was so hot there.” Air support came to the rescue, but while he remembers the battle in the air (“It was exactly like in the movies.”), that’s all he remembers. “I opened my eyes in the hospital. I was in shock.”

David in pre military training

Soldiers celebrating the liberation of the Kosel

That’s what brought him to California. “It was very, very tough. After I finished this war, I went back to work, but I couldn’t stay there. In 1976 I came to the U.S. just to relax a little bit. I came here with a lot of pills, valium, and stuff for relaxing. And I throw everything to the garbage because I didn’t hear news, and I didn’t know English, and baruch Hashem, nothing bothered me! And that’s it.” 40 years later, they’ve made a beautiful life in L.A. Their three children grew up here, and their grandkids are currently attending Yavneh, YULA, UCLA. While David could never bring himself to go back to the Golan Heights, they visit Israel regularly, and they always stop in Yerushalayim. Though the Israel of today

is very different from the one they left. “I was a driver in the army; I couldn’t even drive in Israel today. Everything is new roads, new everything.” They feel that the attitudes are changing faster these days, too. While he’s proud of his service, he’s also very happy to live where they do. “Over there you had to build the road to build the houses to build the country. Stone by stone,” he says. His wife looks thoughtful, wistful. “My heart every day is there,” she adds. “Of course,” he says without hesitation. “Every time we go, we go to Yerushalayim.”

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Torah Musings The Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Locked in a Vault Sarah Pachter

A few days ago, I was discussing the article I was working on with my neighbor while we took our morning jog. The subject was how Hashem’s hand is in everything that happens to us, even if the timing seems terrible. She turned to me and said, “Well, do I have a story for you! You have to use this for your article.” My ears perked up at her sudden change in tone. Her story at first seemed disheartening. My neighbor’s husband is a successful Hollywood screenwriter, director, and producer. His films have started careers for well-known actors and actresses, and have gone on to be box office hits. Although wildly successful today, he started as an eager writer with a dream. At

the age of 25, he sent his first script off to Miramax in the hopes of it turning into a movie. The script had tremendous potential, and the company bought the rights for the screenplay almost immediately. Unfortunately, just after Miramax bought it, the production company entered into litigation. The court ordered every script locked into a secret vault until the case was settled. My neighbor’s husband’s script was one of the thousands in that vault. Additionally, while the script was stagnant in the vault, he couldn’t send it elsewhere. That script was locked up for 12 years. That’s right – twelve years! It would remain untouched, unread, and completely unappreciated for all of that time. While most would have lost hope, and

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maybe even thrown in the towel altogether, my neighbor’s husband decided to accept the screenplay’s fate and move on. In the meantime, he started a new one, which did, in fact, make it to the big screen. And later, he went on to write several other scripts, many of which became box office hits. It had been such a long time since his script had been locked inside a vault that he forgot about it. Although it took him a long time to write it (as scripts can take years to write) he “wrote it off” (pun intended) and figured it just wasn’t meant to be. However, after approximately 4380 days, the vault was opened. Scouts scoured through the various scripts. They noticed some of the scripts had been asterisked and others hadn’t. The scouts were told to toss aside any scripts that weren’t starred. My neighbor’s husband’s script was one of the scripts that had been asterisked. They took another look at it, and just like that, offered him a contract! In a conversation with this writer and his wife, they noted all of the positive things that occurred precisely because the script had been locked up for so many years. This time, 12 years later, not only did the studio use my neighbor’s husband as the writer, but they offered him the opportunity to direct the project as well. This is something that probably never would have occurred if they had found the script earlier. Only after having years of experience writing and directing under his belt, did they feel he was capable to direct it as well. Additionally, he now had a growing family, and was able to use the proceeds from the movie to provide for them. Had he made his profit at 25, he admitted that the money might have been squandered on meaningless pursuits. My neighbor felt tremendous gratitude for G-d’s detailed and orchestrated plan. Indeed, their story was kind of like the movies (another pun intended!). My neighbor even admitted that her instagram hashtags for the film premiere became #pinchme and #sothisisreallyhappening. Whenever my husband and I compliment his work, his reply always shies away from his personal talents, and instead, he turns the outcome upwards saying, “I feel very blessed.” Their testimony is a perfect example of never losing hope in G-d’s master plan. What can we do when we are waiting for some sort of redemption that seems to be stagnant or “locked in a vault?” The an-

swer is to take action. One of the most important lessons that I took from this story is that my neighbor’s husband kept moving forward. He didn’t idly wait around for the vault to open. He kept developing his writing talents. He didn’t stay paralyzed or depressed because all his hard work was locked inside a vault. He never said, “Oh, forget it! I’ll never write a movie again!” He took those 12 years to grow exponentially, so that by the time the vault was open, much more happened than what he could have ever dreamed. Every morning we say the following prayer: Baruch Atah Hashem Elokeinu Melech ha’olam matir asurim. “Blessed are you, Hashem – our G-d, King of the universe – Who releases the bound.” This sentence might seem odd since most readers are not tied up, behind bars, or bound by any physical means. Instead, it is referring to our experiences that might make us feel locked in or tied up. We recognize on a daily basis that Hashem has the power to release that which is bound. Whether the reader is looking to have children, increase opportunity for sustenance, or release their movie script, these words can be relevant to everyone. We can always pray to G-d to unlock opportunities in our life. Hashem is precise, and knows exactly what He’s doing. Sometimes delays seem negative, but really these delays are gifts that Hashem offers to us to unwrap at the precise moment we are ready. Redemption comes at the perfect time. Sometimes we wait impatiently, or we give up, deciding that it’s been too long and whatever it is that we want is impossible. However, Hashem can make anything happen, no matter how late it may seem. Hashem doesn’t always answer us when we want Him to. However, everything happens for a reason, and in the blink of an eye – not a moment before or a moment too late – redemption comes. Our hopes and dreams might appear to be locked up for some time, but with hope and faith, Hashem will release them at the perfect time. After I finished my jog with my neighbor, I left with more than just endorphins flowing. I was reminded to keep trekking, to keep praying, and to never give up hope, for nothing is impossible with G-d’s help.


The Parenting Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Proactive Parenting:

Homework Woes Sara Teichman, Psy D

Dear Dr. T., We are girls from different high schools around town. Now before we tell you what our problem is, you need to know that we are the good kids – what you adults like to call “top girls.” We’re not looking to make trouble; we just want to say our piece. And, please do not tell us to talk to our parents – a lot of whom agree with us – or the school. Been there, done that. But hey, we know that lots of the adults read your column, so we hope you publish our letter and plead our case. Homework – Need we say more? Yeah, yeah, we heard all the stuff about responsibility and learning. (Remember, we’re the top girls.) You know, we’re not even going to argue those points with you. But, that’s not the whole picture; there’s more to life than that. But, we are so burdened by our homework that we’ll never know it. Now, please don’t write us off as “too young to understand” or chutzpadik. We’re looking to put this out there and are hoping (wishing?) for some sympathy – and a platform. Of course, some change would be nice, if that’s not too much to ask. We know it’s the end of the school year, but there’s always next year. Miri, Esti, and Rina Dear Miri, Esti, and Rina, I get it. And, believe it or not, I have heard from more parents than I care to admit that homework is the very bane of their existence. And, though it is you who actually bear the brunt of this problem, the tension and distress caused by the homework battles impacts on your whole family and sometimes even damages the parent-child relationship. Though I would imagine that some of my (adult) readers may find my opening statement over the top, let me point out that the homework debate is alive and well all over the world. Does homework actually further students’ learning? Does it have other – less positive – effects as well? Does homework foster responsibility, or foment tension and discord in the family? Do the benefits of homework – achievement and learning – outweigh the disadvantages: burnout, lack of leisure time, and parent /child conflict (as in, “Do your homework NOW!”) Your feelings have merit and can no longer be easily discounted, especially because Rav Matisyahu Salomon, shlita, strongly advocates a no homework policy. In his widely acclaimed book With Hearts Full of Love, he explains his view and says, “School should be the place to learn, and the home should be

a place of refuge and time with the family.” On the other hand, there may be both reason and rationale for the more traditional position, as evidenced by a century of common practice. This is not a simply black or white, right or wrong matter. Rather, as with any subject of such significance and import, there are many gradations and shades of grey. Yes, moderate amounts of homework can facilitate the learning process, but the relevant question is, “At what cost?” To answer this question, some of the issues to be considered are age of student, length of school day (including travelling), and philosophy of the school. Though all these issues are critical factors to bear in mind, I want to focus on something else entirely – the role of the school in the overall development of the child. Schools are institutions of learning. They teach facts and ideas and open students’ minds to further learning by introducing them to the world out there. But, you know the old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” When a school is successful in inculcating a love of learning and curiosity in its students, it creates life-long learners. Learning how to learn and wanting to continue doing

so – that’s the very best education that school can offer. The ways to instill a love of learning and the ability to do so are too numerous to mention here, but I think we can all agree that doing homework just isn’t one of them. Perhaps the fault lays in the nature of kids today, but it’s hard to deny that most students resent homework. They perceive it as an unwanted burden and an obstacle to their real lives. Much as we may criticize and bemoan that mindset, honestly, how many of us would want to do homework after a full day at work? Childhood is also the time when our children develop – emotionally, socially, and physically – and establish the values and attitudes of a lifetime. They need time and space to figure themselves out and practice negotiating relationships with family and friends. Being under constant pressure does not allow their personhood to unfold in a healthy way. In addition, some students are chronically overtired because of the demands of their workload, which impacts on their health and makes them irritable and cranky. You mention that many of your parents agree with you, and indeed, I have found that to be the case. There is a lot going on in our homes at night. What with dinner, baths, “special time” to connect with each child, and social and school related obligations, many a parent feels overwhelmed by the added pressure of homework.

Homework also causes a great deal of friction in the home. Getting the child to do it, helping multiple children with it, and remembering to sign – all before carpool – is really challenging. And that’s talking about the typical kid. But, consider the more difficult child, the one with ADHD, learning challenges, and/or emotional issues. Not only does daily homework become that proverbial straw, but all too often the child begins to see his parent as united with his teacher against him. Change comes slowly, and I doubt there will be a substantial policy shift during your school career. But, we – school, parents, and students – do need to start a conversation about this, if not for your sake, then the sake of others who follow you. For now, I invite my readers to chime in with your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. We want to know what you think. The Book Nook: The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing by Alfie Kohn, a noted educator and parenting expert, goes through all the reasons that homework is a negative force in the lives of children and their families. Sara Teichman, Psy D. is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles and Clinical Director of ETTA, L.A.’s largest Jewish agency for adults with special needs. To submit a question or comment, email DrT@jewishhomela.com.

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Feature The Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

50 Years After Six-Day War, How the Kotel Became Synonymous With Tefillin An Overwhelming Response To A Worldwide Call By The Lubavitcher Rebbe In 1967 Has Lasted A Half-Century Dovid Margolin

The Chabad-Lubavitch tefillin stand at the Western Wall in Jerusalem opened on June 15, 1967. Millions of Jews have since put on tefillin there, transforming emotions felt at one of Judaism’s holiest sites into action. (Photo: Mark Neyman/Israel Government Press Office)

It was the morning of June 7, 1967, the third day of the Six-Day War. After a long night of battle on the streets of Jerusalem, an eerie quiet enveloped the ancient city. With fresh orders to take the Old City, Israeli paratroopers blew open the great wooden doors of Lion’s Gate and entered, making their way through the narrow alleys to the Temple Mount, site of the First and Second Temples. Despite the Temple Mount’s holiness, it was not the Jewish soldiers’ true destination. They sought the Kotel Hamaaravi, the Western Wall, where Jews had prayed for 2,000 years, but where no Jew has been allowed during the past two decades of Jordanian rule. Finding a path, they descended a small staircase to the wall below. The alley in front of the Western Wall was barely 15 feet wide, but was soon flooded with Israeli paratroopers—religious and non-religious,  kipah-wearers and kibbutzniks. Photos and film of that day depicted battle-hardened men breaking down in tears as they encountered the Kotel, burying their faces in the enormous Herodian stones. A shofar was blown. Soldiers prayed, even those not used to doing so. One of the paratroopers, the late Knesset member and activist Hanan Porat, remembered a non-religious kibbutznik asking him what prayer to recite. “Say Shema,” Porat answered him, recounting the moment in the 2007 PBS documentary “Six Days in June.” “I do not know how to say it,” the young kibbutznik responded. “I told him to repeat after me, and I said ‘Shema!’ and he shouted ‘Shema!’ recalled Porat. “Believe me, I do not know if

I ever heard a Shema like that in my life.” Less than a week later, on Shavuot, the Western Wall plaza opened to the public, allowing Jews to approach the remnants of the Temple Mount’s retaining wall unimpeded for the first time in two millennia. The first morning after Shavuot, four Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidim stationed themselves at the wall with tefillin, offering throngs of Jews the opportunity to transform their raw emotions into concrete action. The men were on the front lines of  Chabad’s newly-launched  tefillin campaign, which the Rebbe— Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—had initiated just days before war started.

the city’s Western, formerly known as the ‘Wailing’ Wall.”

A Lubavitcher Chassid puts tefillin on with a visitor to the newly-opened Western Wall plaza on July 2, 1967. The Rebbe had sent a telegram to Chabad activists in Israel a few days earlier, instructing them to open a permanent tefillin booth at the Kotel and receive all the proper permits. (Photo: Fritz Cohen/ Israel Government Press Office)

The late Rabbi Aharon Eliezer Ceitlin, left, wraps tefillin with an Israeli soldier at his post on the country’s northern border in the winter of 1976. (Photo: Yaacov Sa’ar/Israel Government Press Office)

Israeli paratroopers enter the Old City of Jerusalem through Lion’s Gate on June 7, 1967, reuniting it after 19 years of Jordanian occupation and placing it under Jewish control for the first time in two millenia. (Photo: Ilan Bruner/Israel Government Press Office)

The Tefillin Campaign

It had been on Saturday, June 3— the Shabbat prior to the Six-Day War— that the Rebbe first directed his followers to put on tefillin with Jewish men around the world, placing special emphasis on soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces. In calling on soldiers to perform the mitzvah, the Rebbe quoted the verse “the nations of the world shall see that the name of Gd is upon you, and they will fear you,” adding that the Talmud explains this “refers to tefillin.” With the war over and the Kotel liberated, hundreds of men lined up to don the black boxes, wrap their forearms in the soft leather straps, and connect their hearts and minds in the service of Gd, and themselves, with their ancestors before them. By the end of November 1967, The Boston Globe reported that “more than 400,000 members of the Jewish faith are estimated to have observed the commandment to wear Phylacteries—tefillin in Hebrew—at

regularly in documentaries, television programs and other video footage on Israel.

Rabbi Tuvia Blau, a senior Chabad rabbi in Jerusalem, was one of the original four men at the wall. “The whole Jewish world was coming there,” he recalls. “A Jew would come, he’d put on a yarmulke and write a letter, but it was the tefillin that connected him to the place. The Shema Yisroel he said. We saw that.” Rabbi Yosef Gopin, a 16-year-old boy at the time, spent the war in Jerusalem helping his older sister while his brother-in-law was at the front. Like Blau, Gopin came to the Western Wall for the first time on the day after Shavuot. “I saw a Lubavitcher approach a group of high-ranking officers and offer them to put on tefillin. The most senior one put them on and suddenly ran to the Kotel and started crying. Then he came back and gave an order to the officers with him to put on tefillin and pray as well.” Much has changed in the 50 years since Israel miraculously won the Six-Day War and liberated Jerusalem, but the Chabad tefillin booth at the Kotel remains much the same, offering hundreds of thousands of Jews a year—millions over the years—the chance to pray in tefillin at the holiest site in Judaism, many for the first time. That the wall and  tefillin go hand in hand is a given today—experienced by Jewish soldiers, celebrities, locals, tourists—and the stand itself appears

The Holiness of the Holy Land and the Western Wall

The Jewish people’s surprise victory in the face of overwhelming odds stunned the world. At the same time, Jews everywhere were elated—a feeling heightened and given expression to by the poignant images of Israeli paratroopers weeping at the Western Wall, staring at it in awe and wonder. The holiday of Shavuot was the first time that anyone could visit the Kotel, with thousands of Jewish pedestrians making their way through the Old City via a road built by Israeli army engineers from Mount Zion. Only two days after the ceasefire, Israeli patrols spent their holiday in search of remaining Arab snipers shooting sporadically from positions within the Old City. Although Jews had received various degrees of access to the Western Wall prior to 1948, all of its rulers—from the Romans to the Mamluks to the Ottomans to the British—had placed strictures on what Jews could and could not do at their holy site. Benches and tables were mostly banned; the British forbade the blowing of the shofar and tore down the traditional mechitzabarrier that divides men and women at prayer. Now, after centuries of foreign occupation, the Kotel was in Jewish hands. Even before the war was over, Israel began clearing the area in front of it for a plaza. “I remember powerful but conflicting emotions converging. Not only sitting with my father in anguish about the possibili-


Feature The Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

ty of another Holocaust [before the war], but also standing at the Western Wall and seeing him become a religious Jew again,” author Yossi Klein Halevi recently told the Israeli publication Fathom. Klein Halevi’s father was a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who carried the experience with him and grappled with his relationship with Gd, “yet at the Western Wall my father made his peace with God, and became a devout Jew. What happened to my father also played out in the Jewish people.”

Israel constructed the Western Wall plaza immediately after the Old City’s capture, even before the Six-Day War had ended, allowing Jews unimpeded access to the site for the first time in 2,000 years. This photo shows the area in 1967. (Photo: David Eldan/ Israel Government Press Office)

In New York, the Rebbe spoke directly to the emotional images being broadcast

from Jerusalem. The Jewish people are visibly united as one nation under Gd, the Rebbe stated; how else to explain the moving tears of such a cross-spectrum of Jews when encountering the Kotel? “One would think, the Kosel Hamaaravi is an old, devastated wall; there are buildings far more beautiful and more strategic than the Western Wall,” he exclaimed. “It should have been that those who pray should go to the wall, and those who wish to see old buildings” go elsewhere. “But we see that for them too is apparent the holiness of the Holy Land at the Western Wall, and they forget about all else. Because if not there would be no reason to go this place and shed tears there, certainly not to cry in so public a manner, to the point where if one would try to separate him from the Kosel Hamaaravi, he would not let!” The response to  tefillin was overwhelming. Two weeks after the work had begun, Lubavitch Youth Organization in Kfar Chabad, which was responsible for the new tefillin campaign nationwide, received a letter from the Rebbe’s secretariat containing his specific

instructions for the Kotel. “The Rebbe suggests that if possible a permanent booth be arranged at the Kotel for the putting on of tefillin, of course with permission from the appropriate authorities,” the letter reads. It continues to state that papers containing the blessings for tefillin and the Shema prayer be printed in a small format, and that tefillin be offered for sale and checked at a discounted price.

Israeli Gen. Ariel Sharon, seen donning tefillin at the Kotel in 1967, became a hero as a result of his victories during the war. Months later, his young son died in a tragic accident. In a condolence letter to him, the Rebbe noted “the tremendous inspiration that you aroused in the hearts of many of our Jewish brethren when you put on tefillin at the Western Wall, an act which merited great publicity and echoed powerfully and positively into the various strata of our nation . . . ” (Photo: Challenge)

came a short time later from the first rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Meir Yehuda Getz, who arranged that Chabad’s presence there be formally recognized. For decades, the tefillin stand was run by the late Rabbi Moshe Weber. Fifty years later, the booth remains in operation, with several full-time staff fluent in a number of languages stationed there literally from sunrise to sunset. “It’s nice that the rabbis there are not insistent, not intrusive, but are there to assist anyone who wants to go further than just putting a message in the wall,” says Silicon Valley venture capitalist and philanthropist Irwin Federman. “I enjoyed putting the tefillin on there. It’s something I don’t do very often, but it reacquainted me with the services of my youth.” “We meet people every day who would not put on tefillin anywhere, but will do it here at the wall,” attests Rabbi Shmulie Weiss, an Englishman who has greeted English speakers at the Kotel tefillin booth for the last 10 years. “It’s the holiest place in the world.” Copyright by Chabad.org, reprinted with permission of Chabad.org/News

According to Blau, official permission

No less than six individuals speaking a variety of different languages work with Halperin. (Photo Chabad of the Western Wall)

Congressman Elliot Engel

During the long summer days, as many as 1,000 Jewish men and boys over the age of 13 put on tefillin. (Photo Chabad of the Western Wall) Discovering Jewish roots at the Kosel

Ezer Weizman, left, wraps tefillin at the Kotel; he would become president of Israel in 1993 and 1998 IDF soldiers putting on Tefillin near the Kosel, 1967

Rabbi Yossi Halperin directs one of the busiest Chabad-Lubavitch centers in the world, the one at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe speaking at a Lag Baomer parade assuring that there would be a great victory, 1967

Michael Bolton

Wrapping tefillin in Old City Jerusalem, with Jewish access renewed as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War.

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WannaCrypt Made Millions Cry On Friday, the world experienced the wrath of a well-coordinated ransomware

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

attack known as WannaCrypt. The attack caused Britain’s NHS to cancel surgeries, a wide array of Russian and Chinese private and public institutions to be crippled most of the day, and the rest of the world to recoil in shock. The ransomware spread quickly, worming its way from machine to machine by exploiting a vulnerability that Microsoft actually patched back in February. At the time, Microsoft updated their Windows system to ensure that a virus wouldn’t be able to spread. But not all users update their systems, those using pirated versions have no way to update their systems, and in some companies, updates aren’t installed for a very long time. When users clicked on the link that

came from the virus on Friday, their computers froze and a message came up demanding bitcoin currency – between $300$600 – for their machine’s freedom. Thankfully, a British researcher – known as MalwareTech – located the kill switch on the ransomware and managed to implement it relatively quickly. In short, he located the domain name that was programed to be the kill switch and then bought the name for a mere $10.69. Incredibly, that domain name stopped the virus. Interestingly, the NSA knew about this vulnerability at Microsoft. In April, the malware stored by the NSA for WannaCrypt was stolen. A breach of this kind,

says Microsoft president Brad Smith, was like “the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen.” The company is placing a lot of the blame for this malware attack on the NSA, although many are saying the virus came from North Korea.

China Kicks Off Global Initiative

Putting his money where his mouth is, President Xi Jinping of China pledged more than $100 billion while promoting his Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at closer cooperation between Asian and European nations. Xi wishes to bring together 65 countries in a wide array of areas including anti-terrorism, port and railway construction, and far-reaching economic investment. While many countries welcomed China’s initiative, others, including Russia, India, and the United States, expressed their unease at China’s increase in political stature brought on by the global movement. Addressing those concerns while speaking in front of representatives of 29 countries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Xi said that China has “no desire to impose our will on others.” He called for “economic integration” and cooperation on financial regulation, security, and anti-terrorism.  “We should foster a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security,” said Xi. The Belt and Road Initiative is Xi’s foreign policy legacy. The two-day meeting was largely used as a platform to promote him as a global force behind free trade. As the world’s second largest economy and number one trader, China is a powerhouse in the global economic arena. No major Western nations had leaders in attendance, although Britain, France and Germany all sent top finance ministers as representatives.

Bin Laden’s Son Just Like His Father The son of Osama bin Laden was groomed by his father to be a leader in the al-Qaeda terror organization. According to personal letters that were seized during the raid in which bin Laden was killed, Hamza bin Laden is a 28-year-old who adores his father and wishes to carry on his murderous ways.


The Week In News

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Ali Soufan, the former FBI agent who led the investigation into al-Qaeda after the 9/11 terror attacks, recently gave an interview in which he disclosed details that have remained hidden concerning bin Laden’s son. In a letter Hamza had written to his father, he says that he remembers “every look…every smile you gave me, every word you told me. I consider myself to be forged in steel. The path of jihad for the sake of G-d is what we live.”   When he was still a child, Hamza was used in propaganda videos to support al-Qaeda. “He was a poster kid for the al-Qaeda…and for members of al-Qaeda, who were indoctrinated with these propaganda videos, he means a lot to them,” Soufan explains. Hamza has been named a “specially designated global terrorist,” as his father had before him. Soufan says that in Hamza’s recently released messages, “he delivered the speech as if it’s his father…using sentences, terminology that was used by Osama bin Laden.” This week, al-Qaeda released a video featuring Hamza. In it, he encouraged Muslims to launch lone-wolf attacks against the West. For ten minutes he urged followers to go on suicide missions and go for the “jugular of the enemy.” Footage of those who launched attacks against the West was shown as Hamza preached. The 28-year-old terrorist continued, “Be perfect in your choice of targets, so that you may damage your enemies more. If you are able to pick a firearm, well and good; if not, the options are many,” adding, “Take lead in inflicting losses, attacking the jugular of the enemy and hitting its joints.” Al-Qaeda has a strong presence in about a dozen countries. In Syria alone, the movement is estimated to have 20,000 followers. “Al-Qaeda is stronger than ever. I don’t believe even bin Laden in his wildest dreams thought that he will have followers who command armies, troops…lands…,” Soufan says.

Record Growth for New Zealand

New Zealand is seeing a historic surge in population growth. The small South Pacific nation saw a bump of 2.1 percent from January 1 to March 31 of this year. The last time New Zealand saw growth this high Richard Nixon had just resigned the White House and the world was reeling from an oil crisis. New Zealand is often seen as relatively safe and politically stable. Its natural beauty and isolation make it an attractive

destination for migrants, who are responsible for most of the recent increase. Record immigration added 71,900 people to New Zealand’s population, along with a natural population growth of 28,300. “New Zealand is an island of calm in troubled waters,” Shamubeel Eaqub, an independent economist and author at Sense Partners in Auckland, points out. “You’ve got uncertainty with Trump, with Brexit, the rise of the far right in Europe, pollution in Asia. There’s a whole bunch of different drivers that set New Zealand up as a great place to be.” New Zealand also boasts a strong economy. For the past five years, it has seen an

average economic growth of 3 percent. Steady growth has kept New Zealanders from looking elsewhere for jobs.

Denmark Imam Calls for Muslim Uprising An imam in Copenhagen has called for the murder of Danish Jews, sparking outrage and fear in Denmark’s Jewish community. Imam Mundhir Abdallah preaches in a

working class suburb of Copenhagen called Norrebro at the Masjid Al-Faruq mosque, which has been previously linked to radical Islam. He has been citing a Koranic narrative in his sermons that calls for Muslims to lead an uprising against Jews. “Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,” begins Abdallah’s address in footage on YouTube. The original Arabic has been translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a U.S.-based organization. Dan Rosenberg Asmussen, the head of the Denmark Jewish community, has called on law enforcement agencies to investigate

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The Week In News the remarks and possibly charge the imam for incitement to racial hatred. “We fear that weak and easily-influenced persons could interpret this kind of preaching as an appeal to visit acts of violence or terror on Jews,” Asmussen said.

Inger Stojberg, the Minister of Immigration and Integration, has described the imam’s words as “horrible, anti-democratic and abominable.” According to local Danish news outlets, Omar al-Hussein, who was responsible for a series of shootings in Copenhagen in 2015 which killed two people, had visited the Masjid Al-Faruq mosque the day before going on his killing spree.

Are Jews Considered Citizens? A new study has been released by the Pew Research Center which shows that 10 percent of Central and Eastern Europeans

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

refuse to accept Jews as citizens of their countries. The study surveyed residents of 18 countries and found that 80 percent of participants would accept Jews as fellow citizens and the remaining 10 percent were either not sure or declined to answer the question. The conductors of the study interviewed between 1,500 and 2,500 residents in each of the 18 countries they were evaluating. When asked if they would accept a Jew as a family member, less that 50 percent said yes and less than 75 percent would have a Jew as a neighbor. Jews were, however, more accepted than Muslims. Roughly two-thirds of those polled would accept Muslims as citizens and only 27 percent would accept them into their family. Interestingly, countries with higher levels of education were more likely to accept Jews as family, neighbors, and citizens.

Nazi Stance amongst German Soldiers The German military police are investigating 275 cases of far-right extremism inside of their army ranks. Nazi-era memorabilia has been found among the property of many soldiers over the past six years and are only now being investigated, according to the Defense Ministry.

Half of the cases stem from 2016 and another 20 percent come from this year alone, which suggests an increase of pro-Nazism in the German army. “In the past, individual cases were always examined, but it wasn’t seen or understood that these cases are not isolated, but there are networks and connections to extremists on the outside of the armed forces,” said Christine Buchholz, a member of Parliament from the opposition Left party.  “Now it is glaringly obvious to everyone that this problem has existed for a long time and poses an immediate threat to people,” she added.

The newly outed extremism is in addition to the very far right extremist views that have been gaining popularity since the German government accepted over 1 million refugees in 2015. The scandal has raised concerns once again over the country’s shift to a volunteer force that was established in 2011. The move, critics have pointed out, could allow for young, pro-Nazi youths to gain free training and access to guns and ammunition. Germany otherwise has very strict gun-control laws. In response, the government has established that all applicants that wish to join the military will have to undergo additional security checks to weed out those with extreme views. That still does not deal with those that are pro-Nazi and are already in uniform. The Inspector General has ordered a search of all barracks and the removal of all souvenirs or images that glorify Nazism. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said last week that “the German military has an attitude problem, and it appears there are weaknesses in the leadership we must address systematically.”

Macron Picks “Right” Partner This week, Emmanuel Macron, the new president of France, appointed a conservative prime minister in order to broaden his appeal before legislative elections take place in June. Macron has chosen Edouard Philippe, the 46-year-old mayor of the port city of Le Havre, to serve as his PM. Philippe is a member of the moderate wing of the main center-right Republicans party.

The 39-year-old Macron has taken upon himself to mend the severely divided government that has plagued the French nation for decades. He hopes that his startup centrist Republican on the Move (REM) party will gain wide support and become an effective catalyst of change. His party is only a year old. The appointment of a prime minister from outside of the president’s political party marks the first time in modern history that a French president has done so without having been forced by a defeat in parliamentary elections. Despite Macron winning the presidency soundly, many were concerned about those who came out in support of his opponent, Marine Le Pen. Macron is hoping to gather support from her voters by partnering with someone more right than himself.

Seoul and Beijing Look to Repair Tense Relationship

China and South Korea are taking steps to strengthen their relationship after it was strained by the deployment of an American missile-defense system in South Korea. Newly appointed South Korean President Moon Jae-in told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he is planning to send a delegation to Beijing to resolve their dispute over the missile system. China views the defense system as a threat to its security. “I am well aware of the concern and fear of the Chinese about the Thaad deployment,” Mr. Moon told Mr. Xi, according to Yoon Young-chan, the South Korean leader’s spokesman. “I hope both countries can understand each other better on this and will soon open a channel of communication.” The new South Korean president has been critical of the system which was agreed upon by his predecessor. He has been under pressure to take down the system, although that would risk his relationship with the United States and appear


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The Week In News as if he is caving into Chinese pressure. Experts on the region are predicting that Moon will attempt to persuade China that the system will help curb North Korea’s aggression until both South Korea and the U.S. are willing to say that the system is no longer necessary. Moon spoke with President Trump last week and praised their countries’ alliance calling it the “foundation of our diplomacy and national security.” The critics of the anti-missile shield say that the United States forced South Korea to put up the system in order to deal with growing suspicions of Chinese missile aggression. The Chinese have responded to the system by boycotting many South Korean exports. China is by far South Korea’s largest trading partner.

“Western Wall Not Yours”? It was David Berns, political counselor at the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, who sniped at his Israeli counterparts and said that the Western Wall, the holiest place for Jews to pray, is not part of Israel and not

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

Israel’s responsibility. A second U.S. official, the consulate’s economic counselor Jonathan Shrier, was also involved in the bitter diplomatic incident, which deteriorated into an angry shouting match. On Monday, when Israel asked for Prime Minister Netanyahu to join President Trump at the Western Wall during his visit to Israel next wek, snippets of the scathing remarks by Berns were made public. The prime minster’s office was shocked and sought clarification from the White House. Shortly afterwards, the White House told The Times of Israel, “The comments about the Western Wall were not authorized communication and they do not represent the position of the United States and certainly not of the president.” It’s possible that Berns’ job is now on the line. The Western Wall, part of the retaining walls of the Second Temple compound, is the closest point to the site of the Temple itself where Jews can pray. It was captured along with the rest of the Old City and East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, and annexed by Israel as part of its united capital — a move not recognized internationally. No serving U.S. president has ever visited the Western Wall, because U.S. policy has been that the final status of Jerusalem has yet to be resolved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The U.S. officials reportedly rejected the request for Netanyahu to join the visit to the Wall, saying it would be “a private visit” by the president and that he would

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go on his own. The Israelis then asked whether a TV crew providing live coverage of the Trump visit could at least continue to film here there. At this point a senior American official – Berns – rudely responded: “What are you talking about? It’s none of your business. It’s not even part of your responsibility. It’s not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.” Ironically, the angry exchanges were reported soon after Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, arrived in the country and went immediately to the Western Wall, where he said he prayed for the president and for the success of next week’s visit. “We’re a bit tired, but we wanted to come straight to the holiest place in the entire Jewish world, the ‘Kotel Hama’aravi,’ the Western Wall, so we straight came here,” Friedman said in a filmed statement provided by the U.S. Embassy, flanked by his wife Tammy and his daughter Talia. “I had the opportunity to say some prayers,” Friedman said, for the health of his family — and for Donald Trump. “I prayed for the president, and I wished him success, especially on his upcoming trip. I hope we all wish him success. We hope it’s going to be an amazing trip.” Friedman handed his letter of credence to President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday morning in Jerusalem, officially taking up the post of U.S. ambassador to Israel. He then met with Netanyahu, who welcomed him to “Jerusalem, our eternal capital,” and said he appreciated that Friedman, upon landing in Israel, had gone straight to the Western Wall. “There was no other place to go,” replied Friedman. Netanyahu then thanked him again for the “strong gesture of solidarity.”

host of other security offenses. He was arrested in February 2015 and the indictment was filed three months later. Al-Maqat’s lawyer, Kamil Faraj, said they are considering appealing the verdict.

Hamas Finds Assassin Despite accusations against Israel, Hamas, the Gaza-based terror organization, has announced that they have caught the person responsible for the assassination of one of their top military commanders. Mazen Faqha was shot dead near his home in Tel el-Hawa, a neighborhood in southwestern Gaza City, seven weeks ago. Faqha was given a life sentence in 2002 for organizing a suicide bombing that killed nine people in Jerusalem. He was subsequently released, along with 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners, in exchange for Gilad Shalit. No details have been provided about the suspect’s identity by Hamas. The terror group had previously suggested that Israel was behind the assassination, along with Arab collaborators. “We announce that the killer and criminal that carried out the orders of the officers of the Zionist security services is in the hands of the (Hamas) security services,” Ismail Haniya, head of Hamas, told journalists in the Gaza Strip. “He has confessed to the crime.”

Killer to Lead Council

14 Years for Syrian Spy On Tuesday, Sudki al-Maqat, a Druze man from the Golan Heights, was sentenced by the Nazareth District Court to 14 years in prison for supplying information about the IDF to Syrian intelligence forces. According to the reports, Sudki al-Maqat, from Majdal Shams, was convicted of cooperating with a foreign agent and transferring information to the Syrian regime. Prison is almost a second home to al-Maqat. The 50-year-old spent 27 years in prison for spying for Syria prior to this latest conviction. He was released in August 2012 and resumed his activities shortly after his release. According to information contained in his indictment, it appears that al-Maqat documented IDF activity on the IsraeliSyrian border and transferred the information to the Syrians by uploading it to various media outlets on the internet and Facebook. Al-Maqat was charged with espionage, assistance to the enemy during wartime, support of a terrorist organization, contact with a foreign agent and a

West Bank Palestinians held municipal elections this week and voted a convicted murderer to head Chevron’s municipal council. Tayseer Abu Sneineh was selected by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party to head the party’s list in Chevron on Election Day. Although the party only won 7 of the 15 seats in the West Bank’s largest city, Abu Sneineh will be leading the council. Abu Sneineh was sentenced to life in prison after he and three other terrorists attacked a group of Jews in a Chevron alley with guns and grenades on May 2, 1980. He was released in a prisoner swap a few years later. Six Jews were killed in the attack including U.S. citizens Tzvi Glatt and Eli


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HaZe’ev, Canadian Shmuel Marmelstein and Israelis Hanan Krauthammer, Gershon Klein and Ya’akov Zimmerman. Another 20 people were injured. Likud Minister Ayoub Kara denounced the Abu Sneineh victory on social media. That a terrorist was “elected mayor of Hebron is a clear message from the Palestinians [in favor] of terrorist attacks against Israel,” he tweeted. Kara then called on Abbas to cancel the results and to vote in a new candidate.

Slain DNC Staffer: WikiLeaks Source?

On July 10, 2016, Seth Rich was walking near his Washington, D.C. home before dawn when two men walked up behind him and shot him in the back of the head. The murder was treated by Washington police as a robbery, but, strangely, nothing at all was taken from Seth, not his watch, his wallet or any money. The perpetrators were never found.  But there is more to the story.  At the time, Seth, 27, was a staffer at the Democrat National Committee. Speculation quickly spread that this was a professional hit as Seth, who had access to sensitive to DNC information, may have been a WikiLeaks source.  Although he did not confirm that at the time, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange offered a $20,000 award for information leading to the suspects’ arrests and stated, “We treat threats towards any suspected WikiLeaks sources with extreme gravity.” Fox News is now reporting that a FBI forensic report of Rich’s computer showed that he made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time.  Fox reports that a federal investigator, who requested anonymity, disclosed that 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between Democratic National Committee officials were transferred from Rich to MacFadyen. The time period of those emails spans the primary campaign season.  Just 12 days after Rich was killed, WikiLeaks published internal DNC emails

that appeared to show top party officials favored Hillary Clinton over Senator Bernie Sanders and conspired to prevent Sanders from winning the Democratic primaries. David Baldacci, are you taking scripts?

A Look at Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein

A memo was written by Rod Rosenstein recently that put into motion the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Rosenstein, a 27-year veteran of the Justice Department with a no-nonsense reputation, inserted himself into the already muddy waters of Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation and made a few more ripples in the pool. “Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives,” Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein wrote in the memo to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.” Here is a bit of background on Rosenstein. The Harvard Law grad was the Maryland U.S. Attorney for 12 years prior to being nominated by President Donald Trump for the position of Deputy Attorney general. He was appointed to his previous position by George W. Bush in 2005 and is the only U.S. Attorney to hold onto his post throughout the entire Obama administration, serving during both Republican and Democrat presidencies. “Rod is what you want in a professional prosecutor. He’s intelligent, thoughtful and is dedicated to doing what he feels is right by the law, regardless of what anyone says,” said St. Louis lawyer Jan Paul Miller, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland who worked with Rosenstein. “He goes about his decisions in a methodical way, by finding facts and gathering evidence,” Miller said. “He’s a straight shooter and is not known to take his decisions lightly.” Rosenstein was confirmed to the position of Deputy Attorney General in January by a vote of 94-6. He is the rare politician that has support from both sides of the aisle. When being considered for the Deputy Attorney General job Rosenstein laid out

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The Week In News his philosophy in a written statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee. It reads: “Political affiliation is irrelevant to my work. Effective law enforcement requires us to work cooperatively with all local, state and federal partners, and with private sector stakeholders. The public may sometimes judge us only by whether we secure a conviction. But we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Justice is our name, and justice is our mission.” Despite the almost unanimous decision from both Republicans and Democrats for Rosenstein’s nomination to Deputy Attorney General, since Comey’s firing some Democrats have been attempting to tarnish Rosenstein’s reputation as well.

Cracking Joints Linked to Arthritis How loud can you pop? New research suggests that grating, cracking or popping sounds around joints may predict future arthritis, particularly in the knees. The study analyzed data from 3,495 participants ranging in age from about 50 to 70. Researchers followed subjects, all who reported no knee pain for three years. They found that about 25% had noisy knees – and they were three quarters of the cases of symptomatic knee arthritis that emerged by the end of the

MAY 18, 2017 | The Jewish Home

study period. “Many people who have signs of osteoarthritis on X-rays do not necessarily complain about pain. Presently, there are no known strategies for preventing the development of pain in this group,” said lead study author Grace Lo of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Lo explained that when people have joint space loss or other arthritis-related changes visible on X-rays having noisy knees can be considered a sign of higher risk for developing pain within the next year. More than 30 million adults in the U.S. are affected by osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. Lo and colleagues write that symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, which means X-ray evidence of arthritis plus pain or stiffness, affects about 16% of adults older than 60. Researchers defined pain by any descriptions of stiffness and “crepitus,” or noises and scraping feelings in their knees. During clinic visits, people were asked questions like, “Do you feel grinding, hear clicking or any other type of noise when your right knee moves?” and “During the past 12 months, have you had pain, aching or stiffness in or around your right knee on most days for at least one month?” The patients were evaluated at the beginning of the study and again at 12, 24 and 36 months. X-rays were also taken once a year. Interestingly, men with crepitus were more likely than women with noisy knees

to go on to develop arthritis. “Differences across genders is interesting and unexplained. This may tell us about differences in symptom reporting or the biology of osteoarthritis,” said Daniel Solomon, the chair of arthritis and population health at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “Not all noises coming from a knee are a bad sign,” Lo assures. “It might be helpful to ask your doctor for an X-ray to see if you have evidence of osteoarthritis and then take precautions from there.”

Major Raid Sweeps up Gangs in Texas

Authorities cracked down on a massive gang in Texas, arresting 1,378 people in one colossal sweep this week. Of the group, 445 were foreign nationals from 21 different countries including Guatemala, Kazakhstan, and Mauritania. The remaining 993 are U.S. citizens. Nearly

1,100 were known gang members and affiliates – including 137 Bloods, 118 Sureños, 104 MS-13 gang-members and 104 Crips. Official also seized 238 firearms, 500 pounds of marijuana, 50 pounds of cocaine, 35 pounds of methamphetamine, seven pounds of heroin and a small amount of fentanyl, along with nearly $500,000 in U.S. currency in the enormous raid. “We targeted problem areas that are specific areas known to have gang-related crime and violence, specifically in Houston and Corpus and surrounding counties,” said Sean McElroy, Deputy Special Agent-in-Charge of the Houston office of Homeland Security Investigations, which covers 53 counties in southeast Texas ranging from Houston to Laredo. “We’re looking at transnational gangs, but if one of our partners comes up with a specific target, why wouldn’t we go after that person if it’s going to help with public safety?” McElroy asked. Several months ago, two Houston police officers were shot by a gang member of the 52 Hoover Crips, spurring the crackdown and drawing attention to the issue both by city and state leaders. Gang members are a growing population in Houston in the last half decade or so. According to a recent report by the Houston Police Department’s Gang Division, approximately 20,000 gang members from 350 gangs live in and around the city.


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