Volume XII No. 12
COMMUNITY Tishrei 5774 September 2013
"Who is Going to be Me?" Rabbi Eli J Mansour The Alarm has Sounded! Wake up! Rabbi Dovid Sapirman The Moment Before Creation Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
Meet JACK D. HIDARY He is Driven, he is passionate, and he is running for Mayor of NYC!
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“Who is Going to be Me?”
The High Holidays are the time to think carefully about our personal potential…and how to maximize it. Rabbi Eli J. Mansour
The brilliant design of how the Venus Fly Trap attracts, traps and consumes insects. Tuvia Cohen
From Floodwaters To Bureaucratic Nightmare
The owners of one New Jersey warehouse struggling with millions of dollars of damage from Hurricane Sandy have hit a brick wall of bureaucratic inefficiency. Dave Gordon
Meet Jack D. Hidary
He is driven, he is passionate, and he is running for Mayor of New York City! Kelly Massry
Beit Naomi – Saving the Lives of Jewish Girls
Founded by Rabbi Yair Nahari, gabbai of Hacham Ovadia Yosef, Beit Naomi is home to observant girls in Israel with nowhere else to turn. Rabbi Eli Haber
Bike4Chai – The World’s Greatest Finish Line…
Chai Lifeline’s Fifth Annual Bike-A-Thon raises over $2.7 million dollars for Camp Simcha. Read the story of one incredible bike ride for Chai Lifeline. Albert Gindi
Marvels of Creation
A brief exploration of the wonders of the natural world, the miracles that take place each fraction of a second within our bodies and all around us. Rabbi Adi Cohen and Rabbi Zamir Cohen
Shaare Torah Girls Create “Our Caring Community” Model First graders at Shaare Torah Girls dazzle visitors with a magnificent model displaying the Flatbush community.
Alumni Support Yeshivat Shaare Torah’s First Annual Basketball Tournament
Fun, suspense, fierce competition and camaraderie combined to make Yeshivat Shaare Torah’s Alumni Basketball Tournament a spectacular success.
The Dishes that Make the Meal
Leah and Victoria team up again to make your menu planning simple with Starters and Sides Made Easy. Victoria Dwek
The Moment Before Creation
From nothing, Hashem brings forth matter, the building blocks of creation, to create everything. Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
No Casino will be Built on Coney Island!
A behind-the-scenes look at how a united community successfully stopped a casino from coming to Coney Island.
Tishrei 5774 September 2013 Volume XII Number 12
Departments 14 54 56 60 64
Letters Sportsman Of The Month From The Files of The Bet Din
The Mystery of the Missing Cash, Rabbi Max Sutton
Top 10 Rabbi Daniel Levy Dollars and Sense Rabbi Max Anteby
69 High Holiday Reflections 70
The Alarm Has Sounded! Wake up!
What We Achieve On Rosh Hashanah Words of Rabbi Avigdor Miller The Pomegranate – Not Your Average Fruit - Beautiful, delicious,
74 76 78 80
86 88 90 92 94 96 98 100 104 110 112 114 116 120
Rabbi Dovid Sapirman
nutritious, and cancer killer
Love, Marriage, and Hakafot
Men discuss marriage over a cup of coffee
When One Saves a Thousand Ben Zahav
Shaatra Does It – Yom Kippur Frances Haddad
Exploring the Wild World of Animals Ask Sito Sage Advice Professor Noe Ital Mabrouk The Chic Kitchen To Your Health Dental
Avoiding the CPAP mask
Community Chest Incredible Stats & Facts The Lighter Side Riddles Life in the Big City Classifieds
Community Magazine is published monthly by Bnei Aram Soba, 1616 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11223. Periodicals postage paid at Brooklyn, NY, USPS Number 0021-802 (ISSN 1552-809X). Copyright 2013 Bnei Aram Soba. Subscriptions $18 or $3 when included in membership dues. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Community Magazine, 1616 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11223. Advertising and sponsorship proceeds are used exclusively for charitable purposes. Advertisements do not necessarily carry the endorsement of the Publisher. Readers should verify kashrut status independently. Ads for Internet and related services are intended for those who have a heter for use of such services. Printed in Canada.
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Volume XII No. 12
COMMUNITY Tishrei 5774 September 2013
"Who is Going to be Me?" Rabbi Eli J Mansour The Alarm has Sounded! Wake up! Rabbi Dovid Sapirman The Moment Before Creation Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
Meet JACK D. HIDARY He is Driven, he is passionate, and he is running for Mayor of NYC!
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I found the article [about the halachic issues relevant to cosmetic surgery] interesting, but the comment, “Whether it is the torture of feeling unattractive or the feeling of hopelessness of a single friend who is losing hope that he/she will ever have a wife/husband and family, we must always look for ways to ease their pain” was off the mark. Singles who have plastic surgery to “ease their pain” will be sorely disappointed if they are using such alterations as a magic pill for finding a mate. One only needs to look around at the abundance of beautiful, intelligent, successful and caring singles to realize that less than picture-perfect looks are hardly responsible for our singles crisis.
Raymond G. Considering the difficulty, expense, and the amount of years of intense studying that are required to get into medical school and to succeed – I feel that it is a waste of talent for these trained bright men and women to use their medical expertise to enhance the physical looks of patients simply for the sake of vanity. Is that the best use for all that training? I think the risks are unnecessary and the value negligible. It is a big waste and shame, and shows how we lack true values. I agree that there are many instances where plastic surgery is needed, as enumerated in the article, but more often it is not. I do not understand how intelligent men and women have been so bamboozled, and I think doctors should be doing more important work.
Sylvia T. 14
I hope that every parent read the article titled “Back to School Sanity” in last month’s issue. The point that every child should be taught according to his own way cannot be stressed enough. Unfortunately, when I was a young student, my parents pressured me by insisting that I study the subjects that interested them and mattered most to them. They did not seem to care that my interests and strengths were different than theirs. Don’t get me wrong – my parents are good people who tried their best with what they knew, but their goal from the time I was in elementary school was for me to go to college and become a top lawyer or doctor. I had different interests than my parents, and my strengths were not suited for either profession, yet they kept insisting that this was the “only” way to be considered successful. I became so frustrated that I was not permitted to study the subjects that most interested me, that I stopped caring about my test scores and ended up with below average grades – making sure that there was no possible way for me to get into a prestigious college. Now that I’m a parent, I will make sure not to repeat the same mistakes. I will be encouraging my children to utilize their unique talents and individual strengths – even if they are different than mine.
DOLLARS AND SENSE
Your new column, Dollars and Sense, by Rabbi Max Anteby is a welcome addition to your fine publication. The events of the past few years have made it clear that what our community and society need in order to establish a secure and stable market is a strong financial education. The reason why so many families are experiencing financial difficulties is poor financial decisions and lack of planning. Not being able to properly manage finances and obligations generally leads people to huge debt and a bad credit rating. It is critical to build a strong foundation within every person from early on to allow them to make wise financial decisions throughout their adult lives which will not only benefit them personally, but will also help our community as a whole. Kudos to Rabbi Anteby and the Mesila organization for dedicating their resources and energies to educating people about being financially responsible.
Let Us STRE
Av - Elul
5773 Augu st 2013
NG OURSE THEN LVES! Our ge neration 's guidanc e and ins leading sage unforg s offer piration ettable at Dirsh gatherin u's g in Je rusalem
and Rescue Mission Rabbi Eli J Mansou Judaism r and Cosmet ic Surger y Daniel Eise nberg, MD Teaches Sephardic Hazzanut Pnina Sou Back to Sc id ho
I was deeply disturbed by the August article, “The Distant Stars: Learn why life on earth would be impossible without the billions of stars in the universe.” This article and its title imply that life was created through interstellar activity, not that it was created over a two-day period. While it is true that supernova release carbon, that is not how humanity and animal life appeared. It is what the evolutionists use to explain how life could form on its own, and any application of supernova explosions to life on earth is completely out of line. (As to the question of how the stars benefit humanity, each star represents a Jewish soul, born and unborn, and of all humanity.)
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“Who is Going to be Me?” What distinguishes people from all other creatures is our potential. Now is the time to reﬂect and ask ourselves: Are we doing the best with what we have? Are we meeting the expectations of somebody with our talents?
oon after the world’s creation, Adam, the first human being, assigned names to all the animals, using his keen intuition and understanding of their essence. He looked at the donkey and immediately noted its lack of intelligence, that it had only physical strength without any wisdom, and thus named it hamor, which relates to the word homriyut (physicality). He saw the dog and recognized that it is “man’s best friend,” its heart is devoted to its master, and thus called it kelev, from the word lev (heart). But for one reason or another, Adam could not name himself. He could not figure at his own essence, the fundamental quality that defines his species. So he turned to Gd, who named him, as we all know, Adam. Where does this name come from? Why was the first human given this name? Because Adam was made “min ha’adamah” – from the ground, from the earth. The name “Adam” is actually a shortened version of the word “adamah.” Pardon me for being blunt, but basically, Hashem named the first human being Mr. Dirt. Mr. Dirt? Of all the things that characterized Adam, this is what he is named for – the fact that he originated from the ground? Our sages teach that Adam’s heel radiated a light brighter than the sun. He was
RABBI ELI MANSOUR able to see from one end of the world to the other. The angels served him. He was brilliant, majestic and holy. But when the time came to give him a name that would reflect his fundamental essence, he was named after the filthy ground from which he was formed and upon which we tread. Shouldn’t Adam have been insulted? And shouldn’t we, who are called “bene Adam – the children of Adam,” also be insulted? Is this all we are – mounds of dirt? The Greatness of Dirt As often happens when we study Torah, a bit of slow, careful analysis clarifies even the most baffling enigma. If we think about it for just a few moments, we will recognize that there is no more ideally suited name for the human being than Adam. Most things in the world remain pretty much the same. A star is always a star, a cow is always a cow, and a tree is always a tree. Yes, a cow can be killed and a tree can be chopped, but as long as it exists, it remains essentially the same kind of object. The glaring and drastic exception to this rule is the earth. Not only does earth change, it has endless possibilities. It might be no exaggeration to say that it is the
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From this perspective, nothing in the world could serve as a more accurate and poignant symbol of the human being than adamah, than dirt. What distinguishes people from all other creatures on earth is our potential. We need to just open our eyes and look around us to see the vastness of human potential. Every building, every piece of technology, every work of scholarship, every invention, is a living testament to the potential of the human being. People are truly like dirt – we have endless potential to create, produce, contribute and innovate. And just as there are countless species that grow from the earth, there are countless different ways in which people can contribute.
Betraying Our Humanity Many of the ills that plague contemporary society can be attributed to a failure to recognize this essence of the human being. When the human being is seen as nothing more than a sophisticated animal, then we lose our dignity, COME WHIT THIS AD AND our restraint, and our motivation to achieve. Animals have no aspirations or vision. They act upon naturally ingrained instincts which lead them toward nothing more than survival. OVER 200 BRAND NAME Their ambition extends no further DESIGNERS. than remaining in existence. And thus when people see themselves as fundamentally the same as animals, they, too, harbor no ambitions 904 avenue u, Brooklyn, NY 11230 for greatness. Rather than work Tel.: 718-513-3708 Store hours : Sunday 11-6 • Monday to Friday 10-7 •Saturday close diligently to achieve, they will allow themselves to be controlled by their natural impulses, leading to reckless indulgence, vanity and worse. most versatile entity in all of nature. It can produce tomatoes, oak Losing this sense of human distinctiveness can also lead people trees, watermelons, gardenias, banana trees, roses, lemon trees and toward addictions and other self-destructive behaviors. When a thousands upon thousands of other things. Nobody likes dirt in its person feels that he has no potential to achieve, that he will never present form, but we cannot deny that it produces an astonishingly become anything more than he already is, he is prone to falling wide array of precious commodities. We enjoy “dirt” countless times into despair and depression. And it is then natural to look for an each and every day in our lives, whether it’s a salad, tea, coffee, fresh escape and artificial means of satisfaction. A person with nothing bread or pastries, spices, or fragrant flowers. to achieve has nothing to lose. And he therefore has no motivation Indeed, nothing is greater than dirt. Its potential is endless. There to care for himself, to exert effort, to exercise restraint, or to lead a is so much it can produce and accomplish. Its contributions to the disciplined, civilized, dignified life. world are literally life-sustaining. Its potential spans such an enormous This unfortunate phenomenon is already alluded to in Tehillim, range of different products. And it never stops. No matter how much it where the pasuk states, “Adam biykar velo yavin nimshal kabehemot has produced, it can always continue producing even more. nidmu – Mankind is precious, but they do not understand, and they
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expectations of our community, without extending beyond that to maximize their personal potential. They forget that they are bene adam, that they are like the earth, endowed with unlimited potential. They resign themselves to remaining where they are, without looking to produce and achieve. They feel satisfied doing the basics, without driving themselves to accomplish all they are capable of accomplishing. And this might very well be the most serious sin of all, for it betrays the very essence of the human being. When Gd called us “Adam,” He informed us that our defining characteristic is growth and production. We were brought into the world specifically not to remain stagnant and complacent. We are the ones who are here to create and innovate, to achieve and produce. And thus when we stop achieving, when we resign ourselves to being who we are, wasting the enormous potential latent within us and denying the world the contributions we are capable of making, we betray our humanity.
are thus compared to, and resemble, animals.” When people fail to recognize their unique stature, the limitless potential with which they are endowed, then they see themselves as mere animals, with no hope for advancement, achievement, or meaningful existence. It must be emphasized that this is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon. Even those of us who, thankfully, have not resorted to addictions or other dangerous habits might still very well be guilty of failing to recognize our potential. And, unfortunately, I am afraid that this is the case with many of us. Too many people have fallen into the trap of seeing themselves as creatures that are what they are and will always remain that way. There are generally fine, upstanding people who are content to just “go with the flow,” to meet the basic
A Different Kind of Doctor’s Ofﬁce The Gemara in Masechet Taanit tells of a number of different righteous people who were privileged to receive a personal “greeting” from the heavens on various occasions. There were some great rabbis who received these greetings once a year or once a week, but there was one man, a physician named Abba Umana, who received a heavenly greeting each day. What did he do to deserve such an honor? The Gemara explains that he ran his practice a bit differently than most doctors. He put up a mehitzah in the waiting room to avoid inappropriate mingling. Rather than hand each patient a bill, he had a box outside the office where patients would pay on an honor system, and those who were unable to pay the full fee could pay whatever they could afford. And when a poor person came for treatment Abba did not charge him, and instead gave him money to buy food. Additionally, he designed a special type of garment for his female patients which allowed them to receive treatment while being dressed appropriately. Abba was not a rabbi or scholar. He was just an ordinary Jew who was not content doing ordinary things. He decided that if he was a
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There is a local gas station that distributes CD’s with Torah lectures. The owner thought to himself, “Why should I feel content just selling gasoline like other gas stations? If I can bring the business to a higher level, I should do it!” Why be small if we can be big? Why resign ourselves to mediocrity if we can achieve greatness? Note that these people are not great scholars who have committed the Talmud to memory. They are otherwise “normal” community members who realized that they are capable of more. They understood the message of “adamah,” that there is a huge range of different contributions that can be made, and they found their niche to fill. There are so many examples for us to look to for inspiration. So many successful organizations and institutions began when one person or group of people had an idea and decided to go with it, when a person or group of people recognized their potential to do something significant. We can all be Abba Umana, utilizing our unique talents and circumstances to accomplish something special.
An Approach to Teshuvah I believe that for us, this should be the focal point of our teshuvah during this High Holiday season. If we start listing in our minds all our mistakes and misdeeds, we will most likely find the process too depressing, or too daunting to even begin, and we will thus naturally drop the entire enterprise. Too many people go through the High Holidays without serious introspection and change simply because they intuitively sense that the process is too much for them. I therefore propose a different approach, one which we will find encouraging and energizing, rather than overwhelming. Let us focus our attention not on our failures, but on our potential. Let us think of the gifts, capabilities and talents Gd has granted us. And I am not referring to the rare gifts of brilliance, great wealth, or a particular expertise. The man who opens a bet midrash in his office is not necessarily more intellectually or financially gifted than the rest of us. We each have a set of skills and abilities that enable us to accomplish. If we are alive, it means that Gd wants us to achieve something and equipped with the necessary tools. And this is what we should be thinking about during this season of teshuvah.
This might very well be the reason why the Sukkot holiday follows on the heels of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. At first glance, we might find it strange how the Jewish calendar is so imbalanced, with so many holidays bunched together in Tishri. But the truth is that we need Sukkot right after Yom Kippur in order to channel the energy and zeal that we experience as a result of the teshuvah process. After spending this period contemplating how great we are, how much we can achieve, and how far we can advance, and after reminding ourselves that Gd created each and every one of us with a unique set of talents and capabilities for us to utilize, we feel inspired and motivated. We are filled with ambition
and a desire to grow. And so right away we are thrust into the holiday of Sukkot, with plenty of mitzvot to fulfill in order to put our newfound fervor into action. There was a famous Hassidic master named Reb Zushe of Anipoli. His students asked him, “Rabbi, if you had the opportunity to become Avraham Avinu, would you accept the offer?” “Absolutely not,” he replied, much to his students’ amazement. “Why not?” they asked in bewilderment. “How could you give up an opportunity to be as righteous as Avraham Avinu?” “Because if I am Avraham,” Reb Zushe explained, “then who is going to be me?” This remark is exactly what teshuvah is all about. We are wasting this special time of repentance if we spend these days criticizing ourselves because we are not as saintly as the Hafetz Haim, or because we do not know as much Torah as Hacham Ovadia Yosef. That is not genuine teshuvah. It is fake teshuvah. A person who thinks this way takes the easy route, as he knows that there is no expectation that he reach these levels, and so by “lamenting” his failure to achieve that standard he easily excuses himself of the need to change. The challenge of genuine teshuvah is to ask the simple but profound question posed by Reb Zushe: “Who is going to be me?” Are we doing the best with what we have? Are we meeting the expectations of somebody with our set of talents? Are we maximizing our potential and our opportunities to achieve? Gd gave us a spouse to love and care for. Are we doing the best job we can? He gave us children to raise. Are we giving them all the time, love and care that we can? Are we contributing to our community and our fellow Jews as much as we can? Are we studying Torah at the highest level we can? Teshuvah means taking an honest look at ourselves and comparing the expectations and the reality. It is meant not to depress us, but to motivate and excite us. Yom Kippur is described as one of the most joyous days of the year. The more we contemplate our potential, the most driven we will be to work, to grow, to contribute and to raise the bar just a bit higher. This is the great joy of teshuvah, the joy I hope each and every one of us will be able to experience this year, by considering the unique capabilities that Gd has given us and how eagerly He waits for us to use them.
Imagine for a moment that you are an insect. You are flying on your lawful business, in search of food and rest. Suddenly, out of the green, you notice two leaves, rather unusual in shape to be sure, but inviting nevertheless. The two leaves are hinged in the center, and spread out as they are, they appear to offer a safe landing place. The temptation to land is enhanced by the promise of food, in the form of nectar. So why not rest, eat your fill and relax for a while? Suddenly, a voice shouts out, “Venus’s flytrap - keep away!” If you are sensible, and listen to warnings, you will indeed fly off and be grateful for a new lease on life. If, however, you insist on landing, be prepared for the following.
On the upper surface of the leaf, there are large bristles, which act as triggers. When the insect settles on the leaf, and brushes against the bristles, the “triggers” are fired, and the leaf springs into action with lightning speed. Within one second, the helpless victim finds itself trapped as the two halves of the leaf snap shut. But wait – why does the Venus’s flytrap not snap shut every time a drop of rain falls on it, touching one of the bristles? The answer is that this plant is endowed with an ingenious device. If just one bristle is touched – by a raindrop, for example – the trap remains open. It is only if two or more bristles are touched in quick succession, as they would be by an insect, that the trap shuts to catch its victim. Would you like to know how the hinged leaf actually snaps shut? In the center of the hinged leaf there are special cells called “motor cells,” which are filled with liquid. As soon as the triggers are fired, a chemical message is flashed to those cells, and the liquid rushes out of them, making the cells collapse, thus causing the trap to spring shut. All this takes place in just onefifth of a second from the time that the insect lands on the leaf. Poor little insect, it either has not noticed the movement of the trap, or is reacting too slowly. 26
After about one-fifth of a second, the sides of the trap are rapidly approaching. At the top of the two hinged leaves are spikes, called “marginal teeth,” which are arranged alternatively so that they do not crash into each other as the trap closes. Because they point inwards, they mesh together like interlocking fingers, ensuring that the insect does not fall out. Even if the insect had sensed danger, it is now too late for it to make its escape. Meanwhile, as the two sides of the trap draw inexorably closer, the trigger-bristles inside the trap fold back. This guarantees that they are not damaged, and will be able to work again when the trap reopens for business. The wonders have not yet ended. Now that the insect is trapped, the Venus’s flytrap is free to act as it sees fit. Using sensory glands on the surface of its twin leaves, the plant tests its victim. If it contains protein, the trap closes fully, and digestion begins. Specially designed glands inside the trap secrete acid and substances called enzymes, which slowly digest all the soft parts of the insect’s body, absorbing it into its own system. It will take about two weeks for the insect to be fully digested, and for the trap to be ready for another meal. When the trap reopens, the insect’s hard external skeleton, which includes the wings, will blow away.
A Dietary Supplement
The amazing thing is that this insect-eating Venus’s flytrap could really be a vegetarian, like its many floral cousins. After all, it has all the necessary equipment, primarily green leaves, which contain chlorophyll, the miracle molecule which enables the leaf to convert sunshine into energy. Why, then, does it have a taste for insects? The answer is deceptively simple. The insects it catches are simply used as a dietary supplement, the plant’s equivalent of vitamin tablets. Many plants need this extra source of food because they grow in waterlogged ground where the soil is deficient in nitrates and other essential nutrients. It is important to understand the significance of this statement. To those who espouse theories of development, we have here a little problem. According to them, the Venus’s flytrap began life in a waterlogged environment as a harmless vegetarian plant, deficient in nitrates, and not too healthy. Understanding that a few juicy insects would be just the thing to enable it to survive, it spent the next 20 million years developing the phenomenal chemical-mechanical wonders described above, completely by accident. How did it manage to survive during that time? And by the way, have you ever seen fishermen, the sons of fishermen, grow fishing nets from their knees? Or hunters, the sons of hunters, develop rifles from their heads? Why not? It would be no less logical than a plant which develops the mechanism to catch insects from its leaves!
Insects in a Sticky Situation
Predator plants come in other varieties, as well, which demonstrate no less evidence of design. There is a plant called the sundew, whose leaves are covered with tiny hairs which produce droplets of sticky glue. When an insect lands on one of the leaves, it sticks to the hairs and cannot escape. “Fine,” you will say, “an efficient fly catcher,” and indeed the leaves of the Portuguese sundew are so sticky that they are hung up indoors to catch flies. But that is not the end of the story. The edges of the leaf gradually curl inwards and the insect is digested. How does the plant know the exact strength of glue to produce that will keep the insect attached? How do you produce superglue from earth, sunshine and raindrops? How do you ensure that the glue remains in tiny droplets at the top of the tiny hairs (the only place where they will be effective), and not ooze to the bottom of the hairs in a sticky, ineffective mess? How does the leaf become aware of the presence of a trapped insect, so that it knows to curl up in its digestive embrace? It’s something to think about. And so is this: There is a plant which grows in Southeast Asia called a pitcher plant, which also enjoys an insect-rich diet. Its trap is shaped like a jug, complete with a lid to keep out the rain, which would dilute the gastric juices. Insects are lured to the pitcher by its bright color and by the nectar which is produced around the rim. The surface of the rim is slippery, so when insects try to settle on it, they lose their footing. Down they fall, drowning in the fluid at the bottom. And there they are digested. You need more brains than brawn to trap an insect. The sophistication employed by plants to trap their dinner makes the man with a glass and a piece of cardboard look like a wild native with a club by comparison. Evidence of intelligence? Brilliant design? What a brilliant Designer! How great are Your deeds, Hashem!
Tuvia Cohen is a humorist, scientist, and an accomplished author. His works include Designer World, Our Amazing World, and Our Wondrous World.
The Venus Flytrap is a carnivorous plant that catches and digests animal prey – mostly insects and arachnids. Its trapping structure is formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant’s leaves and is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces.
When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves of the Venus Flytrap contacts a hair, the trap closes if a different hair is contacted within 20 seconds of the first strike. The requirement of redundant triggering in this mechanism serves as a safeguard against a waste of energy in trapping objects with no nutritional value.
Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants whose prey-trapping mechanism features a deep cavity filled with liquid known as a “pitfall trap.”
The Sundew comprises one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants, with at least 188 species. It is able to lure, capture, and digest insects using its stalked mucilaginous glands that cover its leaf surface. TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
to Bureaucratic Nightmare
Local store owners still coping with Hurricane Sandy fallout
Nearly a year ago, one of the deadliest and most destructive hurricanes of the past century exacted a toll of $68 billion in damages and nearly 300 lives when it struck the East Coast. The devastation caused last autumn by Superstorm Sandy was second only to that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
alf of the US’s 50 states were affected, with strong winds spanning some 1,100 miles. Already three days before Sandy’s onslaught, as forecasters foresaw the impending deluge that was about to clobber New York and New Jersey, evacuation procedures were underway with officials declaring a statewide emergency. By October 29, New York’s streets and homes were flooded, along with scores of tunnels and subway lines, and more than six million people across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut found themselves without electricity. The National Guard and US Air Force were on high alert, placing 45,000 personnel at the ready to help citizens whose lives were thrown into havoc by the historic storm. Now, nearly a year later, much of the storm cleanup has been completed, many of the businesses are back in full swing, and most people are back on their feet. However, one New Jersey store owner is still reeling from the devastation wrought on October 29, when his 65,000 sq ft warehouse was flooded in a way he never would have imagined. He’s been struggling to recover ever since, without success.
Two Million Gallons of Water, Seven Million Dollars of Merchandise
“Devastation beyond belief,” was how Joe Levy, president of Thunderball Marketing, a distributor dealing in electronics, described Sandy’s impact on his warehouse, adding that an estimated 40 inches of water covered the facility wall to wall.
“The water ruined everything on site,” said Administrator of Thunderball Marketing Alan Henslovitz. “Everything fell off the palettes, drenched, everything was toppled and turned upside down.” Henslovitz estimated that some two million gallons of water gushed through the facility over the course of six hours. The company heeded safety warnings and evacuated the building ahead of the tempest. When they returned to the facility after Sandy’s departure and saw the wreckage, Levy initially thought that the storm could not have possibly caused all the damage. “It looked like someone had ransacked the entire building,” he said. “Nothing was spared – computers, desks, equipment… We never could believe in anyone’s wildest dreams that such devastation could tear through our building. Every segment of the building; furniture overturned, fridge overturned, prayer books got destroyed. We thought we could anticipate what could happen, but never in our lives thought that our whole store would be ruined.” According to Henslovitz, $7 million in merchandise had been ruined, while employees made a desperate attempt to salvage what they could by wheeling the inventory into the parking lot to dry. “Millions upon millions of dollars just sitting there, drenched.” “Zero Assistance.” Four days later, desperate to get business moving again, Thunderball filled whatever orders they could in an attempt to recover some finances and not let down their customers.
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Unfortunately, however, the building still had no power. The public service office informed them that all the electrical lines in the building needed to be replaced due to safety concerns. Wiring had been corroded by the literal tons of salt water, leaving the building without power for three weeks. Their security system, too, required replacing as a result of the damaged wiring. Frustration continued to mount, as desperately-needed support and assistance from government was not exactly forthcoming. “We’ve received very minimum assistance from [Governor] Chris Christie’s administration,” said Henslovitz. “Actually, zero assistance.” Levy says he must have spent dozens of hours leaving message after message with the Governor’s office, but has received no return calls and no responses. Such was the case with other departments, too. Last December, the federal government guaranteed $60 billion in relief to states affected by Sandy, which included New Jersey, and the Small Business Association undertook to offer emergency loans. Inexplicably, Thunderball couldn’t get through to either agency. Adding insult to injury, Thunderball’s insurance broker had decided to remove their flood insurance before the storm, deeming them outside the flood zone, according to Henslovitz. “Sure, we had $11 million in insurance coverage, but what we heard was ‘we’re sorry but we don’t have to give you a dime,’” he said, adding that several mediation meetings took place between the insurance company, state representatives and Thunderball, which generally proved fruitless. For one particular claim, for example, the insurance company only offered to pay $100,000 for computer damage – under a quarter of the value of the computers in the whole warehouse. This, despite a $100,000 premium paid over the course of 38 years, which Henslovitz reckons was all for naught. Henslovitz added that an official from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) who had experience from Hurricane Katrina paid a brief visit three days after the catastrophe. According to Henslovitz, the official said off-handedly, “never was there anything like this during Katrina.” Regrettably, there was nothing that could be done from FEMA’s end. “FEMA turned down the loan because they thought it was ‘financially questionable.’ How hysterically funny is that, how the government decides this?” he said.
Struggle for Survival
Meanwhile, the company has filed complaints with several legislators and taken their message to the media. “Our goal is to explain how it’s necessary to offer assistance, and we’ve yet to achieve that.” After contacting the late-Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s office, the company received an apology for not being able to do much, said Henslovitz. They also contacted the Department of Public Works and the Middlesex County office of emergency management, which explained that that a 20-foot storm surge at Arthur Kill – two miles from the warehouse - hit a drainage backup. 30
“Had the sewage system been properly maintained all those years it would not have been so severe,” said Henslovitz. “Sure enough there were two crews of people who came to clean up the sewage system blockage.” Now, almost a year later, the silver lining for Thunderball is that their clientele has been sympathetic to the situation, allowing for leeway in delays. Almost all their customers have stayed on, including big name suppliers such as Peavey, Yamaha, Roland, and Boss. It will likely be a long road to recovery, however, as sales currently hover at the $6 million mark – a tenth of what it was preSandy. “We’ve been in a struggle for survival,” said Henslovitz. “It was an enormous loss, and we’ve been in recovery mode since the flood. The best thing that could have been done in retrospect is file bankruptcy, but the people who own this company did not want to do that. They wanted to see what they could do to fight this, and see what we could do ever since.” While other Tri-State Area residents managed to pick themselves up after Sandy’s devastation, Thunderball was thrown from a freak superstorm into a stone wall of inefficient government bureaucracy. They continue to struggle to pick up the pieces and rebuild the company, courageously displaying firm determination and resolve to defeat the one-two punch of nature and red tape, and to bring their business back to its previous heights of success, and well beyond.
was a geek.” This is how mayoral candidate Jack Hidary describes his childhood growing up on Avenue S in Brooklyn, and attending computer camp during the summers. He would spend the entire day coding, and photograph stints of “fake softball” to convince his parents that he was having fun. “There is no camp that’s nerdier than the camp I went to,” he quips. But this “nerdy” experience equipped young Jack with a thorough understanding of technology, and gave him the impetus to launch his first enterprise, Earthweb, in 1995, together with brother, Murray. “I started my first company with a very basic insight,” he says. “Techies were building stuff for everybody else, but no one was building stuff for us! I decided to create a company dedicated to the needs of techies and developers. We led the company from its inception, through three rounds of investment, and its eventual IPO on the NASDAQ.” The acquisition of a second website, Dice.com, took the venture further, connecting IT pros with jobs and enabling them to climb higher in their careers. Dice.com became the largest jobsite in America for techies and engineers. Eventually, Hidary handed off management of the company and became active in public service. He now has 15 years of civic-minded duty behind him, and an impressive resume to show for it. He has served as a trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission, and on the steering committee of the Association for a Better New York. He has been a board member of Trickle Up, which helps thousands of budding entrepreneurs each year, and served in an advisory capacity for the National Renewable Energy Lab, Google X Labs and the X Prize foundation. He has been an associate partner at Partnership for NYC and a member of The Young Presidents Organization. For his efforts, he has been honored by the World Economic Forum and the National Committee of US-China Relations. 32
Jack’s foray into politics can be traced back to his involvement in the Clinton Global Initiative, of which he was a founding member. Established by former president Bill Clinton in 1995, CGI melds government, the private sector and nonprofit organizations to create a think tank aimed at solving the big problems of our day. Jack, a committed citizen and innovative thinker, got a taste of what it felt like to brainstorm and trigger nationwide change. He has since been very active in discussing public policy and engaging candidates in the best interests of New York City. Now, he has launched his own campaign, a bid for NYC mayor, marking a historic moment for our community. Jack is running as an independent and had to make a huge push for funds just to get on the general election ballot. Still, he is enthusiastic about his vision and firm in the belief that his background is essential to the improvement of New York City. “I’m running because I love this city,” he said in a recent closing keynote address. “I’m running because I want New York to have a choice – a choice of someone like myself who has experience on the business side and the social services side.” Indeed, Jack’s two areas of expertise – business and public service – have formed the basis of his platform: economic stimulus, expansion and opportunity. Also high on his list of priorities are fostering community, enhancing public safety, reforming education, and improving the environment in the Big Apple. Small business is very important to Jack, himself an entrepreneur many times over. Jack believes in the potential of every individual to fuel something new, to get started in a venture that previously seemed farfetched and impossible. “Why is New York City the greatest city on earth?” he asks. “Because anyone can come here and realize an opportunity or a dream. But for too many it’s too difficult. Let’s lower that barrier. Let’s make it less difficult.” Jack champions co-working spaces, which he calls “fantastic accelerators” in that they allow entrepreneurs without experience, a big security deposit or a long-term lease to come into a space and get started immediately. Co-working spaces have cropped up in Central Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn, but are not available in all parts of the city. “How about Jamaica, Queens? How about the Bronx?” he says to Reuter columnist Zachary Karabell. Making these shared workspaces more widely available will be a tremendous equalizer for city residents, he maintains. As will his intention to make micro-finance options available so people with no credit can start their own business. “Expanding opportunity to everyone is an essential cornerstone of my plan,” he says. In addition to small-business incubators, Jack would like to have more food incubators in New York City – commercial kitchens that buyers from all the major marketplaces can visit. “Let’s shorten the cycle” for people who have started a food-related business, he says.
“Let’s have the buyers come hear the pitches of entrepreneurs.” In regards to job creation, Jack has not forgotten the unemployed and underemployed – those who want to enter into businesses, not necessarily start one themselves. He feels strongly that the city does not offer enough adult training programs to close the skills gap. “There are not enough people in New York City with problem solving skills, technology skills, team-based skills,” he says. He wants to get these “boot camps,” as he calls such programs, “out to the edges,” and outfit participants with the skills they need to enter the job market anew, some already with a guaranteed job and salary in hand. “My vision is really a five-borough strategy to get everyone involved in the economic upside,” Jack pledges, “either to start a company or join a company with a new set of skills.” He continues on NYTrue.com, “I want to make sure every worker has a roadmap to engage in the global economy and secure for themselves increased pay.” Citing our city’s $110 billion debt, Jack advocates economic stimulus programs and fiscally sound policies. He also believes strongly in the necessity of Foreign Direct Investment. “The job of New York City is not just to run [well], it’s to be the chief attractor of capital,” he firmly asserts. “I can tell you that to grow a $540 billion economy we will absolutely need to bring in capital from the outside” – places like Silicon Valley, Asia and Europe. He points to China, Brazil and Ireland as examples of economies that saw exponential growth in the last decade because of foreign investment. He also notes the precedent of Google, which, after opening up offices in NYC, created 3,000 new jobs in Chelsea. “Let’s attract 50 more companies from Silicon Valley,” he enthuses. “Let’s go to Europe and attract the offices of those companies to open up in NYC. I believe we can create 200,000 - 300,000 new jobs over a five-year period that way.” Jack, whose own parents came to Ellis Island as immigrants to settle on the Lower East Side, believes in the potential of the immigrant population. He calls them “the lifeblood of economic expansion in the US” and promises to lobby for immigration reform as mayor. Rather than kicking them out of our city, he believes we must attract immigrants to our universities so that they can get educated and participate in his anticipated economic boom. In general, Jack believes in enticing creative individuals to our city wherever they may come from and tapping into their talent to the benefit of all New Yorkers.
AUTHORIZED & PAID FOR BY JACK FOR MAYOR TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
Jack is a big supporter of experiential, blended learning – more progressive teaching methods than the current textbook-based education our children our receiving. Too often, he feels, teachers teach to the test and necessitate robotic memorization. Jack wants to see teachers think beyond the classroom walls and encourage students to work together to solve challenges. As it is, K-12 education is a mismatch with the job market, Jack says. If we were to get children accustomed early to team-based learning, they’d be better prepared for the working world, where people stop and start multiple times in their quest for success. Rather than rote learners, we must turn our students into broad-minded, critical, innovative thinkers. To that end, Jack would ensure that every school has access to high-speed broadband internet service, and make computer science a given in the daily curriculum. Digitalized learning is becoming a cornerstone of the new global economy, and upping the technology in our schools is an absolute necessity. Jack is a diehard supporter of cleaner, greener, more energyefficient living. One of the civic initiatives he’s most proud of is fighting alongside former Councilman David Yassky for the use of high-mileage, hybrid taxicabs. “We don’t normally think of it this way,” says Jack, “but most taxicabs are small businesses owned and operated by drivers.” By using high-mpg cars, drivers save thousands of dollars every year while simultaneously improving the air. Phasing out oil-burning facilities and encouraging bike sharing, carpooling and cleaner taxies would also improve air quality. As mayor, Jack would encourage all these environmental measures. Jack is an advocate of solar and LED lighting, which has become more affordable in recent years. He encourages all New Yorkers to “go solar” and retrofit their homes accordingly. Jack’s vision extends beyond residences, and he observes that many city buildings are not up-to-date in terms of energy efficiency. He promises to use web technology to facilitate the process of getting permits and rebate approvals for these installations. Launching online and offline marketing campaigns to raise awareness, Jack will work tirelessly to help our environment, reduce energy consumption and save residents money. In the wake of last autumn’s catastrophic hurricane, Jack wants to better prepare the city for the onset of floodwater. “I want to ensure that storm water management continues to improve by incentivizing green-roofs and installing bioswales and absorbent pavement,” he says. “I want buildings’ core functions to remain active after storms, power failures and other disasters.” Solar power systems that operate independent of the electronic grid – so that they are islands in and of themselves – can go very far here. So can the use of energy storage systems – which would amp up not only buildings, but also traffic signals and street lights. Jack’s vision for New York City extends to other areas, as well, including: improved water quality for home and schools, the development of more parks so that no resident lives further than a 10-minute walk from one, and healthier diets for schoolchildren. “I am a huge believer in expanding access to healthy, local food options and reducing the cost of obtaining high-nutrition foods,” Jacks assures. He talks energetically about green garden beds, places in which students can grow their own produce and then bring it home with them. Kids come home motivated to eat healthier, feeling tremendously accomplished. “It’s a win-win,” Jack says. “Parents have an easier time getting their children to eat well and children will actually learn to prefer healthy food over junk food.”
Jack at the Arts, Culture and Education Mayoral Forum at Columbia University.
Jack speaks with both gratitude and admiration of the city’s remarkable success in reducing crime over the last 10 years. He pledges to continue this encouraging trend, and sees technology as the secret to a safer city. “We need to embrace technology to improve policing methods, making them smarter, more efficient and less costly,” he says. As an example, he cites ShotSpotter, a network of microphones placed on the tops of tall buildings, which picks up on and sends the location of gunshots to police in milliseconds. He wants to see NYPD officers receiving the very best training and technology available to protect New Yorkers, emphasizing that improved public safety is of course vital not only for the wellbeing of our residents, but also for businesses and tourism. Coming from our strong, supportive community, Jack would love to give the entire city this kind of infrastructure. He talks openly about the impact of the Sephardic Community Center, how beneficial it’s been for small businesses, who flock there for mentorship and advice, and for immigrants, who go there for English classes and job training. “We need to expand these centers out to all the communities in all five boroughs,” Jack says. “I want everyone to have the opportunities that our community is blessed with.” It is perhaps because of his value-laden foundation that our community rabbis have lent Jack their support. Hacham Shaul Kassin, Rabbi Eli Mansour and Rabbi Isaac Farhi have all endorsed Jack, most recently at a benefit at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Cayre. “This is a tremendous milestone for our community,” Rabbi Mansour remarked. “As a childhood friend of Jack’s, I can attest to the fact that he is honest, bright and very qualified. It is our communal obligation to support one of our own.” Rabbi Farhi, who presides over Hathaway Shul and the JSOR, added his thoughts: “As the community stands behind Jack, we hope that he is strong in his run for mayor. We pray that the tefilot of the rabbis and all the community members should make him successful.” Jack wants the community to know that he will have the best interests of the community at heart as he plans for and dreams of a better New York City. Jack is urging all fellow community members to go to the polls and vote for him this November.
AUTHORIZED & PAID FOR BY JACK FOR MAYOR 34
WE CAN COUNT ON JACK. Jack Hidary is one of us and will fight for our community as NYC Mayor. Join us today in Contribute supporting his bid. to the campaign Sign the petition at these and help take locations by August 9 to get JackYork on the ballot: New forward! - 10 W. 33rd St 9th Fl, NY, NY - 45 Deal Esplanade, Deal, NJ
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BEIT NAOMI – SAVING THE LIVES OF JEWISH GIRLS
Hacham Ovadia Yosef and Rabbi Yair Nahari
RABBI ELI HABER
It all began on a wintry Friday night in 2005, on Hakablan St. in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood. Prayers had ended at the synagogue of HaGaon Hacham Ovadia Yosef, shelit”a, and the hacham and all the congregants had already gone home. As the sage’s faithful gabbai, Rabbi Yair Nahari, was about to lock the synagogue, a young woman, about 18 years old, walked in and asked to speak with Hacham Ovadia. Rabbi Nahari explained that the hacham had already gone home and was eating the Shabbat meal with his family. The girl, however, insisted that she must speak to the rabbi immediately, and refused to leave the synagogue.
abbi Nahari asked her why she so urgently needed to speak to the great sage, and she said simply, “I can’t tell you. It’s very personal.” He tried to reason with her, but the girl would not budge. Rabbi Nahari had been Hacham Ovadia’s gabbai for close to 20 years, and he had never experienced anything like this before. Realizing that he had to do something, Rabbi Nahari asked the girl to wait and went to speak with Rabbanit Yehudit Yosef, Hacham Ovadia’s daughter-in-law. The rabbanit came downstairs and spoke with the young lady for a few minutes, and then returned to the gabbai and said, “This is a very serious situation. We need to take her to the rabbi.” She brought the girl straight up to Hacham Ovadia’s apartment. As soon as she saw the hacham, she fell to the floor, sobbing uncontrollably and grabbing at his coat. The hacham listened to her for a few moments, gave her a blessing, and escorted her out of the room, crying together with her. Hacham Ovadia then approached Rabbi Nahari, with tears in his eyes and his voice breaking with emotion, and implored him to find the girl a family to stay with for Shabbat. “We must help her…” he said. The next morning in the synagogue, the rabbi went over to 36
Rabbi Nahari, again with tears in his eyes, and asked about the girl. Did they find her a place to stay? Was she alright? After Shabbat, Rabbi Nahari arranged for a social worker to meet with the girl and make sure that her problem (to this day, he doesn’t know what it was) was being handled professionally. But Hacham Ovadia’s tears continued to haunt him. “NOBODY WANTED TO GET INVOLVED” Several years later, Rabbi Nahari was sitting at a Shabbat table with his brother, Knesset Member Meshulam Nahari, discussing the problem of girls from religious families who run away from home and wind up on the street. Meshulam noted that whereas boys in such situations have places to go, such as special yeshivot and other frameworks designed to help them, there was no parallel framework for troubled girls. Their options were either entering a state-run institution (which would usually be co-ed and not under religious auspices) or living on the streets. “With girls, it is much more complicated,” Rabbi Nahari explains, recalling how at the time, “nobody wanted to get involved.” But then he remembered Hacham Ovadia’s tears. “I have to do something,” he said to himself.
In 2009, Beit Naomi (named for Yair and Meshulam Nahari’s late mother) opened its doors. Located on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Beit Naomi is literally a home – a warm, caring, loving environment for 16 girls at any given time. All the young women – generally between the ages of 15-18 – have left their homes and have been living on the streets. It provides the girls with a Shabbat-observant place to live, warm meals, Torah classes, clubs and workshops. The house is run by a full-time female director and a professional staff including a psychologist, educational consultant, social worker and counselors. Together, they help the girls improve their self-esteem, return to educational frameworks and succeed in their studies. FROM THE POLICE STATION TO THE HUPA Rahel*, a girl from one of Jerusalem’s well-known haredi families, saw her life begin falling apart when her father left, moved to Europe and married a non-Jewish woman. Her mother was left alone to care for Rahel and her two younger brothers, and was broken emotionally. The burden fell on young Rahel’s shoulders, and she couldn’t take it, either. She turned to the streets, sleeping in warehouses and on park benches. One night she returned home after having too much to drink. Her mother refused to allow her into the house. Rahel continued knocking on the door noisily, until her mother called the police, who came and arrested Rahel for disturbing the peace. The police brought Rahel to the station, but didn’t know what to do. They had on their hands a drunk teenager, but they knew she wasn’t a criminal; just a sweet and holy bat Yisrael who needed a loving and supportive home. So they picked up the phone and called Beit Naomi, who took her in. Three months ago, Rahel got married. Like all brides from Beit Naomi, she and her hatan received a personal blessing from Hacham Ovadia Yosef on their wedding day. “BEIT NAOMI IS MY HOME” Odelia* also lives at Beit Naomi. Here’s her story, in her own words: When I slammed the door of my apartment…it was clear what it meant: I am leaving, and not coming back. I left my house for the confusing street, to the spiritual emptiness, materialism and desolation, as I shed all of the morals and values upon which I was raised…dissolving and sinking deep and fast in a dizzying and uncontrolled downward spiral... I remember days and nights of bone-chilling cold, suffering, roaming the city looking for a morsel to eat to settle my empty rumbling stomach... After a lengthy period, one day I randomly bumped into a friend from high school… She barely recognized me. Her gaze was long and penetrating – she looked at me in disbelief, trying to say something but not quite managing – the words simply getting stuck in her throat. I smiled a confused smile – “Yes, you’re not mistaken, it’s me, Odelia…” Suddenly she embraced me, hugging me tightly, kissing me and bursting into sobs and tears filled with mercy. I couldn’t believe she was crying for me; I had long since stopped crying for myself. After a few moments of shock and tears, she pulled away and gazed into my eyes with a look of love and trust. “I want you to come to me for Shabbat,” she said. “We’ll have a chance to relax and catch up.” I thought about it. What did I have to lose? “OK, I answered. I’ll come.”
At the end of a wonderful Shabbat, my friend tried to convince me to stay in touch with her. “Who knows?” she said, “Maybe some time you’ll need help. I will always be here for you, any day at any hour.” Tired and weary from previous disappointments, I mumbled a response: “We’ll see…I hope…” I gently avoided any commitment. After Shabbat we parted with a hug and I was on my way to the regular meeting spot for the Saturday night party. I walked slowly down the sidewalk, thinking about the Shabbat I had just experienced, the incredible hospitality, the delicious food and the warm reception I was given by my friend and her family. These were things I missed so deeply. I arrived at the party, which as usual was filled with alcohol used to escape reality. But this time I let myself go with no control… Suddenly I felt dizzy; I turned around and passed out. I remember nothing else from that evening. I awoke the next day in the hospital, bruised and wounded from my fall to the ground. I didn’t know what to do with myself – the pain, the shame. I asked myself, “How low have I sunk?” That moment was the dramatic turning point in my life. I suddenly remembered the words my friend had spoken just hours before. “Maybe some time you’ll need help. I’ll always be here for you.” I gathered all the emotional strength I could find and called her. In a voice choked with tears, I told her about the horrible ordeal I’d been through. “Relax; I’m on my way,” she responded, and a short time later we were walking out of the hospital together. …We sat and chatted just like in the old days. This time I opened up and told her everything I had been through since leaving home... “Don’t you think, after so long, it’s time to go home?” she asked. I shook my head. In my current state, it’s not the right time. She thought for a few minutes and said, “OK, give me a few hours…” Two hours later, after a quick telephone call a meeting was set up that very day with the staff of Beit Naomi. I was greeted with a caring look and a warm smile. From that moment on, Beit Naomi is my home. THE HEARTBREAKING TEARS As a private institution, Beit Naomi is not entitled to any government funding. Every penny is provided from private donations. “Our biggest difficulty,” says Rabbi Nahari, who does not take a salary for his work, “is to face the heartbreaking tears of girls asking for help, and due to lack of space and budgets, to have to leave them exposed to the terrible dangers of the street.” In a video posted on the home page of Beit Naomi’s website (www.beitnaomi.org), Hacham Ovadia Yosef describes Beit Naomi as “a holy and pure institution that saves lives.” Indeed, Rabbi Nahari and his staff at Beit Naomi have been saving lives for the last several years, and they now invite the broader community to take part in this sacred endeavor. Rabbi Nahari is working to form a board of American women to organize activities to assist the holy work of Beit Naomi, and allow it to offer its life-saving services to each and every girl who needs them. Anyone interested in helping this organization or volunteering is asked to contact Rabbi Nahari at Beitnaomi@yahoo.com. *Names have been changed to protect privacy. TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
Bike Chai – The World’s Greatest Finish Line…
Bikers prepare to leave on their two-day Bike-A-Thon to Camp Simcha in Glen Spey, N.Y., at the departure point 175 miles away at the Berkeley Hotel in Asbury Park, N.J.
Chai Lifeline’s Fifth Annual Bike- A-Thon raises over $2.7 million dollars for Camp Simcha
s I walked into the Berkeley Hotel on Tuesday evening, July 30th, my heart pounded with excitement. I couldn’t believe it. After all those months of training and raising money, I was finally here. This year’s Bike-A-Thon reached new heights, with an astonishing 292 riders raising over $2.7 million for Chai Lifeline, an organization that helps critically ill children. Over the course of two days, we would bike 175 miles from the Berkeley Hotel in Asbury Park, New Jersey to Camp Simcha in the Catskills. As I registered and made my way down to dinner, I suddenly felt a little nervous. I was really going to do it! At that point it became a reality. A few months ago, when I made the crazy decision to join Bike4Chai, I didn’t really think about it too much. But once I walked into the hall, I was able to definitively say that this was the best decision I ever made. My fellow bikers and I loaded up our plates with everything in the room, trying to eat as much carbs and protein as we could for the ride the next morning. As we sat down to eat, Samara, our honorary captain, got up to speak. Samara is a seven-year-old girl with cancer and a prosthetic leg, who attends Camp Simcha. Everyone in the room was overcome by emotion as she described her experiences with Chai Lifeline. When she finished her speech, Samara received a standing ovation. We then finished up and headed to bed to get some much-needed rest for the next day. Before I knew it, my alarm clock rang and I jumped out of bed. In just two hours we would start our trek to Camp Simcha. How could anybody say they weren’t excited? We prayed and quickly ate breakfast, and I could see the eager anticipation in my fellow riders’ eyes as each wished the other the best of luck. The seconds got shorter, and our hearts were beating faster. Finally, the clock hit 7:30am, and Samara cut the red ribbon, signaling the start of the ride of a lifetime. We rolled down Ocean Avenue in Deal as friends and family stood on the sidelines, cheering us on. The day wore on and we kept pedaling and focusing on our common goal. We passed the most beautiful sights as we made our way to New York. At times I felt like I wouldn’t finish, but each time I felt like I would collapse, I saw the “C” with an arrow pointing out our route and it reminded me of what I was doing. I remembered that whatever pain I was in didn’t compare 38
Bikers rolling into camp.
to what the children were feeling, and that there was no telling how excited they would be when we rolled into camp. At mile 57, all the riders stopped for lunch and enjoyed a concert as we rested up. But as soon as we were done, we were off once again. We kept rolling onward, and when I finally reached the Crowne Plaza Hotel, our last overnight stop before Camp Simcha, I was greeted by cheering fans and music. Nothing could wipe the smile off my face. The last of the riders came in, and, famished from a grueling day of biking, we went to eat dinner, filling up for tomorrow. The next morning, we walked outside and felt a little skeptical about the ride into Camp Simcha. The clouds looked foreboding, and it took time to decide if we should continue to ride. But continue we did! Nothing could stop us! We started riding and the rain began to pour, coming down in buckets. As I became soaked with rain, my breaks stopped working from all the water, and I prayed to Hashem that I would make it safe and sound. Up the mountains we went, climbing hills eight miles tall. I struggled to keep my eyes on the road and keep moving. As I got to the last stop, I heard the great news. I was finished! We waited for the rest of the riders to arrive and then we all went together into Camp Simcha. As we rolled in, we were greeted with a roaring celebration. “CAMP SIMCHA WELCOMES BIKE4CHAI!!!” We danced with the campers as they watched us with awe, admiring us for what we had just done. We were exhausted as ever, but we all became filled with energy as we saw the campers’ beaming faces. I couldn’t believe I was finished, and I will be eagerly waiting to bike again next year. I Bike4Chai… do you? Albert Gindi was not only a participant in this event – he finished tied for the best time. He is the first 16-year old to hold this distinction. Registration for 2014 will be open in February at www.bike4chai.com.
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When you contemplate the stupendous colors of the sunset, you cannot help but be deeply moved by the majesty of nature. At those moments, your spirit is filled with a strong desire to reveal the secret of the universe and its purpose, from the most miniscule particles and creatures to the galaxies and clusters in the unlimited expanses of outer space... Rabbi Akiva and the Heretic A heretic once approached Rabbi Akiva and asked, “Who created the world?” “The Holy One,” Rabbi Akiva answered. The heretic challenged Rabbi Akiva: “Show me proof.” Rabbi Akiva asked him to return the next day. When he did, Rabbi Akiva began by asking, “What are you wearing?” “A piece of clothing,” the heretic replied. ‘And who made it?” Rabbi Akiva continued. “A weaver,” he replied. “Show me proof!” Rabbi Akiva demanded. “What should I show you? Can’t you see that a weaver made it?” Rabbi Akiva retorted, “And can’t you see that the Holy One created the world?”
The heretic left. Then Rabbi Akiva spoke to his students: “Just as a garment testifies to a weaver, a door testifies to a carpenter, a house testifies to a builder, so does the world testify that the Holy One created it.” This Midrash describes an encounter between someone who believed our entire complex existence came about by accident, and one of our great rabbis, Rabbi Akiva, who represented the belief that all of existence was fashioned by the Creator. Rabbi Akiva first led the heretic to acknowledge that it is selfevident that the garment he was wearing was made by a weaver. Then Rabbi Akiva pointed out that just as a complex, purposeful item such as a garment testifies that some agent designed it, similarly, the entire universe, which exhibits far greater purposefulness and complexity of design, must have been made by a Designer and Creator. Let us, then, examine a number of the world’s natural systems, and observe their profundity, intricacy and brilliance. These examples will show how every natural phenomenon displays magnificent order and design, and cannot possibly be the product of mere coincidence.
consecutive days and l e s o K e th t a h a ll fi te f o nights
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The Environmentâ€™s Department of Sanitation How amazed would we be if we were to hear of a state in which tiny aircraft working on behalf of the local Sanitation Department flies all over the country, using special sensors to detect and identify all the trash in public areas? After detection, the tiny aircraft swoops down, grabs the trash off the ground and flies back into the skies, where an inbuilt system crushes and then dissolves the trash. And as trash must also be collected in forests and national parks, where it is often concealed by the trees and branches, the Department of Sanitation has established a special unit equipped with tiny mobile jeeps to clean up those areas. Like the tiny aircraft, the rough terrain vehicles have no pilot or driver on board, but they still manage to locate the trash, load it on board, and dissolve it. What happens when the trash is a dead bug or beetle? Will it stay there forever? To deal with this problem, the Department of Sanitation developed the mass production of millions of even smaller rough terrain vehicles â€“ half a centimeter or less in length. These vehicles reach every corner of the state, digging into the soil and creating large colonies underground. This means that those walking in the park will suffer the minimum inconvenience as the work continues. The vehicles leave the colony on foraging missions, only for the purpose of finding trash, which they drag back to their underground burrows, where it is properly treated. Incidentally, the genetic code hardwired into the most important vehicle in the colony ensures that it can continue the manufacture and duplication of additional vehicles ad infinitum! With so much work to do, it is still possible that some of the trash will not be found and treated in time. In anticipation of this possibility, every product manufactured in the country is wrapped in a layer of bacteria, which is able to break down the trash. This process begins automatically after a predetermined length of time. Interestingly, while the product is still in use, these bacteria are not activated, even though very long periods have passed. The bacteria begin their work only after the product has ended its useful life and, having no further use, has been thrown away. Then the bacterial system comes to life to break down the refuse so the earth stay clean. This is certainly a country with an outstanding quality of life! Are we just as amazed at the work of sharp-eyed birds, which patrol the skies in search of carcasses of dead animals and clean them up? How much do we appreciate the work done by the hordes of hyenas, wolves and jackals, which reach the places where the predator birds cannot see, and work to keep the environment clean? Have we ever noticed the regiments of hard-working jeeps that we call ants, which accord proper treatment to the dead body of every bug and beetle? What about the billions of bacteria, which break down all that lies undiscovered by the other cleaning units? Perhaps the most amazing thing of all is that the bacteria do not begin their work as long as the organism is alive, but only upon its death, for the good of the environment as a whole. Mere chance? 42
Natureâ€™s own Department of Sanitation Sharp-eyed birds, such as the eagle, patrol the skies in search of carcasses of dead animals and clean them up. Packs of predatory animals, such as hyenas, reach the places where the predator birds cannot see. Ants clean up the environment by removing dead bugs, leaves, and food items left behind by humans and animals.
Mysterious Migrations by Land, by Sea, and by Air
Wildebeests in Africa Over one million wildebeests migrate from the Serengeti plains in Tanzania to the Masai Mara plains in Kenya and return, making a round trip of 250 miles.
Farthest Sea Migration The migration of humpback whales from Antarctic waters to the equator off Colombia and Costa Rica, a journey of over 5,000 miles one-way, is the longest documented migration by a mammal.
Cross Country Travel – Without a Map or GPS
Birds, butterflies, whales, turtles, and other animals travel each year along trails thousands of miles long. It seems that they rely on the stars in order to chart their path, or on the magnetic field of the Earth, or on the topography of the area above which they are flying or swimming, or on the course of the sun. But the way in which the data is processed into a flight path or swimming path has remained an unsolved mystery. One such example is the Arctic Seagull, a bird that travels a route between the North and South Poles without rest twice a year, a total distance of 15,000 miles. Its aerodynamic perfection, its ability to store fat and transform it into energy for the flight, and the state-of-the-art navigational system with which it is equipped, enable it to perform this extraordinary biannual migration and reach its destination with amazing accuracy. The seagull’s remarkable journey presents researchers with an unsolved problem. Do these creatures have some sort of “automatic pilot” system? And will we ever know how that system functions? How awesome is the “Engineer” who built this sophisticated system?!
Why are We Not Crushed?
It is common knowledge that a layer of air surrounds the Earth, held in place by the planet’s gravity. What many people do not know, however, is that each cubic meter of air weighs about 2.7 pounds. Therefore, if the atmosphere is about 366 miles high, the air pressure exerted upon each one of us is simply enormous. This is true even if we take into account the thinner upper layers in the atmosphere, and merely measure the weight pressing down upon us from the lower layers. Why are our fragile human bodies not crushed by the force of this immense weight? How can we live under these conditions? How can we sit, stand, lie down, or even walk without feeling any of the pressure around us? 44
Butterfly Migration Millions of monarch butterflies migrate 3,000 miles each year, from Canada to Mexico. During the longdistance migration, four generations of butterflies will be born and die.
Clearly, “someone” has constructed our bodies with their own internal pressure, finely tuned to be in precise counter-balance to the pressure of the atmosphere. Thus, we can walk along the street completely relaxed, without feeling or knowing anything whatsoever about the “pressure wars” going on around us and within us. Coincidence?
Right Where We Need to Be
If we look at the distance between our planet Earth and the sun, we see a space of some 93 million miles – a relatively short distance in outer space terms. It is frightening to think that if our planet were any closer to the sun, all humans, animals, and plants would instantly become burning splinters in a giant furnace. On the other hand, if we were any further away, we would all be ice cubes in a gigantic freezer. In our current reality, with the distance between Earth and the sun exactly as it is, the sun’s rays reach us at the precisely appropriate intensity, such that it keeps the world warm without burning it. In fact, this precise level of intensity is vital for the survival man, beast, and all growing things, and is what makes our existence possible. Who organized this wonderfully convenient cosmic order? Did our planet just happen to end up precisely 93 million miles away from the sun so we can all survive?
The Wonders of the Human Body
The human body is often compared to a machine. However, closer examination reveals that no machine built by man is even remotely comparable. As research continues to uncover the body’s complexity and the sophistication of its numerous systems, it is becoming increasingly clear that the body is not a simple machine, but an entire universe unto itself.
The Anthropic Principle If our planet were any closer to the sun, all humans, animals, and plants would become burning splinters in a giant furnace. On the other hand, if we were any further away, we would all be ice cubes in a gigantic freezer. The exact distance between the Earth and the sun is vital for man, beast and all growing things – it is what makes our existence possible.
The Immune System Our body is constantly bombarded by millions of bacteria and viruses, some lethal and some less dangerous. Usually, the attack is blocked instantaneously, thanks to the fantastic immune system that defends our body. Great wisdom is revealed in the operation of the immune system’s ingenious strategic battles against the ruthless invaders of our bodies.
The Machine That Builds Itself
formation of covalent cross links, which convert fibrin to a dense aggregation of fibers. Platelets and red blood cells become caught in this mesh of fiber, thus forming a blood clot, which stops the bleeding of the injured blood vessel. 4. The clot attracts and stimulates the growth of fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells within the vessel wall, and begins the repair process, which ultimately results in the dissolution of the clot. These are only the main stages of the process of arresting the bleeding and blood coagulation. One who examines the complete picture will see that it entails dozens of more chemical reactions operating in a complicated cascade of activity. How can all the factors and participants in the process of stopping the bleeding and blood coagulation always be ready to appear at the right moment, in the right place, and in the right amount? How do they know when to get to work, and how do they know to cease their activity and break up the blood clot after the break in the blood vessel’s wall is sealed? We know that just to bake a cake, putting together far simpler ingredients, the baker needs to constantly supervise the baking and use all his skills. It would be impossible for it to happen all by itself. And yet, the human body goes right to work to heal a wound all on its own, without any outside intervention or supervision!
The human body builds itself and repairs itself; it provides all its own needs and supervises its own functions – all automatically. It is the most wondrous machine in all of existence! There are 1024 atoms in the human body. For the sake of perspective, scientists estimate that the entire universe has about 1021 stars. Each year, 90 percent of the body’s atoms are exchanged, and no atom remains in the body for more than five years. How many machines supply their own replacement parts?
When a person’s skin is cut and bleeding, as long as the wound is not deep and there is no damage to a major blood vessel, the bleeding stops within four minutes, and the wound begins to heal. In just a few days, the site of the cut is completely healed, and only a scar remains that reminds us of what happened. Blood coagulation, in conjunction with other healing mechanisms in the body, is a part of the automatic process (called hemostasis) of returning the bodily system to balance and full functioning. The process of recovery begins immediately after any damage to the blood vessels, and includes several different stages: 1. The platelets (thrombocytes) are activated by means of a chemical signal excreted by the damaged blood vessels into the bloodstream. They gather around the location of the cut, where they aggregate to form a hemostatic plug of the blood flow. 2. The platelets excrete serotonin into the bloodstream, which causes the stricken blood vessels to constrict (vasoconstriction) to limit the blood flow. They also release more chemical signals that attract more platelets to the area, and promote the formation of a platelet plug. 3. Other messages are sent to convert the body’s prothrombin protein to thrombin, which converts fibrinogen to fibrin. The fibrin initially forms a loose mesh, but then factor XIII causes the
Our body is constantly bombarded by millions of bacteria and viruses, some lethal and some less dangerous. Usually, the attack is blocked instantaneously, thanks to the fantastic immune system that defends our body. Great wisdom is revealed in the operation of the immune system’s ingenious strategic battles against the ruthless invaders of our bodies. However, the greatest wonder of them all is its capability to distinguish between what are the body’s tissues and what are not the body’s tissues, and destroying only what is foreign. TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
When a foreign antigen, such as bacteria, penetrates the body, the first things that it encounters are the white blood cells called phagocytes (macrophages and neutrophils), that swallow invaders. They can swallow and decompose any antigen that penetrates into the body, whether it is a biological cell, such as bacteria, or a chemical substance. They are also responsible for removing remnants of invading cells and decomposing cancerous cells. The phagocytes are a vital part of the immune system, and the first that go into action when an invasion occurs. The second line of defense is the “acquired immune system,” which is the work of white blood cells called lymphocytes, which require a longer time to take effect and have the remarkable capacity to learn and remember the antigens that attack the body. They do this with the help of a series of special proteins located on the surface of the membrane of each person’s bodily cells, which is called the Major Histocompatibility Complex, or MHC. The lymphocytes travel through the bloodstream, and when they encounter a foreign body, they read and interpret the molecular code on the membrane of its cells. Each lymphocyte cell can identify one specific antigen, and no more. This is how it distinguishes between friend and foe. When it identifies the enemy cell, it returns to the lymphatic node and “reports” on its discovery. As a result, the killer lymphocytes (killer T cells) are activated. They attack the invader, pierce holes in its membrane, and inject poisonous substances that destroy it. The main expertise of these lymphocytes is their ability to make targeted attacks on invading organisms that conceal themselves inside the body’s cells and are not found in the bloodstream. At the same time, other lymphocytes (activated B cells) manufacture millions of molecules of antibodies that are released into the bloodstream and attach themselves to the invading cells. This identifies them for the killer lymphocytes, enabling them to destroy them. Each antibody identifies one particular antigen, and cannot identify any other. The lymphocytes manufacture about 100 million different antibodies. Although the human genome is limited to 25,000 genes, it is capable of containing information to encode the data of 100 million different antibodies. This is accomplished through a process in which some of the lymphocytes’ genes break up into sections and reconnect in temporary combinations to manufacture a huge variety of antibodies. The components of the immune system and its almost unlimited capability to destroy foreign pathogens are astounding. How do the scout cells know their role? How do they know to “report” to the lymph nodes after discovering a foreign invader in the body? How does the lymphatic system know to respond by sending the killer T cells? How do the lymphocytes know to respond by manufacturing specific antibodies against each antigen?
In contrast to the tail of a lizard, which can regenerate itself after it has been cut off, most limbs and organs of the human body cannot regenerate. Heart cells, for example, do not regenerate. Therefore, after a heart attack resulting from an obstruction in one of the coronary arteries, the dead cells in the heart tissue in the affected area are not replaced with new cells. The same is true of the eye, which becomes turbid with age, and also of brain cells, which do not regenerate after they die. The cells of the liver, however, indeed regenerate when part of the liver has been removed in the course of an operation. Some sort of 46
Unsolved Riddle of Biology The lizard can regenerate its tail after it is cut off. In the human body, however, only some limbs are able to regenerate. Scientists have been unable to identify the factor that supervises the regeneration of certain limbs and the non-regeneration of others.
signal commands the cells of the liver to start dividing until the liver returns to its original size. This power of regeneration can also be found in the cells of the skin, blood, and bones. What is the factor that supervises the regeneration of certain limbs and the non-regeneration of others?
How Does the Body Know When to Stop Growing?
One of the amazing wonders of the human being is the process of differentiation, in which every embryonic cell accepts upon itself a specific role, a process which occurs during the formation of a new baby. No less wondrous and inexplicable on the molecular level is the way cells stop growing. How do the cells in both legs know that they have to stop growing at exactly the same time, so that they will both be the same length? How do the cells that are building the thorax know how to grow to exactly the right size that is necessary to contain the heart that formed inside it? How do the cells that are located at the tip of the finger know they should multiply at a faster rate than the cells that are located in the middle, so that the finger will lengthen to the desirable size and remain as a useless piece of flesh? Where is the mechanism that supervises these processes? Even if one day such a mechanism were to be found, there question would still need be asked: Who is supervising the mechanism itself? Who can deny the fact that the human body is the most wondrous machine in all of existence!
All natural phenomena, from the workings of microscopic cells to the behavior of the largest creatures and celestial bodies, exhibit design and purpose, which indicates the existence of an Intelligent Entity that created them all and that still continues to recreate to ensure the ongoing existence of the natural world. Explore our universe, study its enormity and complexity, observe its harmonious systems working seamlessly together in perfect balance, and you will then see the greatness of our Creator.
Adapted from the writings of Rabbi Adi Cohen and Rabbi Zamir Cohen. Rabbi Adi Cohen is the head of Maagley Yosher educational institutions who has educated hundreds of students over the years. Rabbi Adi Cohen is now available to give lectures. He can be reached at: 972 548 466 692. Rabbi Zamir Cohen is the founder of the Hidabroot organization and has written several books on the topics of Jewish thought and law.
SCF LEADERSHIP RECEIVES SUPPORT OF LEADING SEPHARDIC RABBIS REGARDING ENDORSEMENTS IN PRIMARY The leaders of the Sephardic Community Federation (SCF), President Sam Sutton and Co-Chairman Ronald Tawil, met privately with a number of leading Rabbis in the community in regard to the upcoming election. Those Rabbis gave their support and blessings to the SCF specifically with regard to allowing them to support a candidate for public office based on the criteria outlined in the letter below.
Approved letter from leading Sephardic Rabbis in our Community The Sephardic Community Federation (SCF) was formed to serve as the umbrella public policy and political advocacy arm of our Community. The primary goal of the SCF is to ensure that our community receives its fair share from government and that we have a seat at the table on all major policy issues in New York. This includes obtaining services for all of our Community’s social service organizations as well as securing funding for our schools. Baruch Hashem, they have succeeded in this area. For decades, individual Sephardic leaders had quietly made connections with elected officials at all levels of government, but it wasn’t until the founding of the SCF that these efforts became organized and coordinated. Through the SCF our community leaders seek to go beyond individual relationships with elected officials and candidates by promoting our community’s influence as a key voting bloc. When it comes to supporting a candidate for public office, sometimes they need to endorse people even when they do not agree with their values. Unfortunately, there are many politicians who have been involved in personal matters that are contrary to the Torah and commandments, however the SCF agrees to endorse them if they feel that their policies and programs will be of benefit to our community. Over the past few years many organizations have benefited from SCF’s leadership: the Sephardic Community Center, Sephardic BikurHolim, IMAGINE Academy, Reach for the Stars, SAFE, Angel Fund, as well many other worthy social service organizations in our community. Our Yeshivot have also benefited and many of them have received increased funding due to SCF’s efforts. To be able to continue helping our community’s organizations and Yeshivot, the SCF must continue endorsing candidates based on practical realities, as opposed to making endorsement about candidate’s personal values. Every day quality-of-life issues, such as safety, security, taxes, funding for our schools, blocking drug treatment facilities that are proposed for our neighborhood, and blocking the placement of gambling establishments in Coney Island, to name just a few, are far more relevant to our lives than protesting issues that do not directly affect us. Nor can we aspire to be effective in changing the overall trends of society. That is why the SCF needs to be practical when it comes to supporting candidates who can be of assistance to our community. Your support of SCF’s activities on behalf of our community is praiseworthy.
Shaare Torah Girls Create
“Our Caring Community” Model
“This was truly a first at Shaare Torah Girls Elementary, and it will leave an unforgettable memory on all who saw it.” This is how Mr. Shelia Feinstein, English Principal at Shaare Torah Girls Elementary school, described the remarkable “Our Caring Community” fair produced by the school’s first graders on Thursday, May 29, 2013. Using their wide range of creative skills developed over the course of the 5753 academic year, and under the devoted guidance of their teacher, Mrs. Charlotte Grunspan, and her assistant, Ms. Esti Dabah, the students worked tirelessly for many weeks building an impressive, large-scale model of their Brooklyn community. The model was made out of boxes and sponge blocks, with each item carefully labeled. It covered the area from Church Ave. to Avenue V, and accurately depicted stop signs, bike routes, traffic lights, cars, buses, and trains. Ocean Parkway was prominently displayed on the grid and was lined with trees and benches. The model also 48
included synagogues, yeshivot, stores, and restaurants which can be found in this part of Brooklyn. Each girl participated in the fair and took part in this enriching educational experience. The parents who attended this gala event marveled at the complex, detailed model prepared by their first graders. The fair also included a display of 13 tri-boards exhibiting the students’ work throughout the year in various areas, including reading, writing, computers, math, and science. The parents walked around the auditorium viewing the vast array of displays and were dazzled by the girls’ reading and writing abilities. Rabbi Hillel Haber, shlit”a, dean of Shaare Torah Schools, proudly reflected on the students’ achievements. “The fair exceeded all expectations of what first graders can do.” The girls’ stellar middot (character traits) and ahdut (unity) shone throughout the project, and are a great source of pride to their parents and the school. This was a memory that will stay with them throughout their lives, and they will always take pride both in their work and in the beautiful community which they so beautifully depicted, and of which they are such an important part.
מדוע פתחה התורה ?במעשה בראשית Why does the Torah which means “teachings of the Law,” begin with the history of creation?
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TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
WHY THE SEPHARDIC COMMUNITY ENDORSING CHRISTINE QUINN AND
The Sephardic Community Federation (SCF) is the umbrella public policy and political advocacy arm of our Community. The primary goal of the SCF is to ensure that our community receives its fair share from government and that we have a seat at the table on all major policy issues in New York. So far, we have had great success. We at SCF support candidates who we believe will serve New York City’s best interests while being the best on important issues to our community including public safety, anti-terrorism, lower taxes, support for business and education.
WE SUPPORT SPEAKER QUINN IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY AND JOE LHOTA IN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY FOR MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY:
EXPERIENCE Christine Quinn Speaker Quinn was elected to serve as Speaker of the city council in 2006, New York City’s second most powerful elected official, behind the mayor. Speaker Quinn has successfully balanced every single New York City budget since she has been elected. She has refused to raise taxes and is a strong supporter of the NYPD.
Joe Lhota Mr. Lhota most recently served as Chairman and CEO of the MTA. He was widely lauded for getting the trains & buses up and running immediately after Super storm Sandy. Joe’s experience in running New York City is vast. He served under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as Deputy Mayor for Operations as well as New York City’s Budget Director and Commissioner of Finance.
PUBLIC SAFETY Christine Quinn We all know that crime is down and many people attribute that to Police Commissioner Kelly. Speaker Quinn is the only Democratic candidate who has pledged to keep Ray Kelly as Police Commissioner. Speaker Quinn has prevented the closure of 20 fire companies in New York City. She has also pledged to increase the number of police officers on our city streets. Simply put, she has the best record of any Democratic candidate of keeping New Yorkers safe.
Joe Lhota As the Deputy Mayor during 9/11 Joe Lhota knows the importance of security and safety. Joe has pledged to develop new strategies and approaches to maintain and enhance the reduction of crime and continue to keep our City the safest large city in the United States. Joe has also pledged to keep Ray Kelly as Police Commissioner. 50
STOP, QUESTION & FRISK Christine Quinn When a NYPD officer reasonably suspects
a person is about to commit a crime they can stop, question and if appropriate, frisk that person. Speaker Quinn is the only Democratic candidate for Mayor who within constitutional limits would keep this important crime-fighting tool.
Joe Lhota Mr. Lhota has stated repeatedly that he would never “handcuff” the Police Department by altering, reducing or stopping this police tactic. SUPPORTING BUSINESS Christine Quinn As Mayor, Speaker Quinn plans to create a new pool of city capital that would act as a backstop for community lenders, empowering them to make bigger loans to new and growing businesses. For every $2 million the city puts up, there would be a guarantee of as much as $5 million in small business lending. Speaker Quinn is the most business friendly of the Democratic candidates for Mayor.
Joe Lhota Mr. Lhota has publicly condemned constant visits by various inspectors to small businesses. He considers it to be harassment and done strictly for revenue driven purposes. He wants to create a climate that will encourage and sustain job growth, including reducing burdensome regulations and taxes that will stifle private sector growth. QUESTIONS
Christine Quinn TAXES
What is your position on taxes?
Will not raise taxes
Would you end Stop Question and Frisk when used within constitutional limits?
Are you in favor of continuing NY’s counter-terrorism strategy?
Would you keep Ray Kelly as Police Commissioner?
JOE LHOTA EDUCATION Christine Quinn
Speaker Quinn supports funding for security, nursing and other programs at non-public schools. She has pledged to overhaul the city’s onerous way of dealing with special ed students to a way that would simplify the process and benefit the affected child. Speaker Quinn supports charter schools.
Joe Lhota SCF President Sam Sutton has had a close working relationship with Joe Lhota throughout the years. They served together as trustees of the Board of The City University of New York (CUNY). Joe is a very public supporter of charter schools and school vouchers. ISRAEL/WEST BANK Christine Quinn Speaker Quinn’s is a strong supporter of Israel and even shares that same position on the West Bank as the Israeli Government. Christine Quinn has visited Israel three times as Speaker and has worked to help Israeli companies who are doing business in New York City. She also supported a bid by Israel’s TECHNION to build a campus with Cornell in New York City.
While Joe has never visited Israel he is an outspoken supporter of the State of Israel and intends on working hard to promote the US-Israel relationship.
DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES Bill Thompson
Bill de Blasio
Will not raise taxes
Will raise taxes
Will raise taxes
Will raise taxes
Charles J. Hynes for District Attorney (D/C-Brooklyn) Perhaps the most important race that no one is focused on is the race for District Attorney. Charles “Joe” Hynes is a 20 year incumbent who was gone out of his way to work with the Jewish community. He has incredibly close relationships with our community’s leadership and his fairness has been his hallmark. Mr. Hynes works closely with SAFE, for example. When a community member is arrested for possession of drugs, Mr. Hynes works to get that community member treatment rather than prison. It’s no coincidence that Brooklyn is the safest borough in America. It’s the leadership of Joe Hynes that keeps our community safe. This is one election that WILL be decide in the Democratic Primary, so please make sure to vote to reelect Charles J. Hynes on Tuesday, September 10th. CITY COUNCIL RACES Most people don’t realized how important their local City Council Members are. These are the folks who literally solve all of your local problems from streets to taxes to funding for nonprofits. These are our picks for the community’s three seats in the New York City Council. They are the 44th, 47th and 48th Council Districts respectively. Councilman David Greenfield (D/C-44) David is the best friend the Sephardic & Jewish communities have in City Hall. In the 3.5 years that he has served he has done more for our communities than anyone else. He has invested nearly $15 million in every single park in his district including Ocean Parkway Malls, Friends Field on Avenue L and Colonel Marcus Park on Avenue P. Greenfield has passed laws that make life easier and more affordable. He passed the law giving us a 5 minute grace period at muni-meters, shutting down meters that don’t have receipts and making receipts portable. His office is open 45 hours a week making him the hardest working person in local government. He surely deserves to be re-elected. Teacher Mark Treyger (D-47) Our very dear friend Councilman Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. can not run for re-election and is instead running for Congress. It won’t be easy to fill his shoes but we have the right guy for the job. Mark Treyger is a high-school civics teacher who has spent the last 10 years working as a political aide to a local Assemblyman. Treyger has a close working relationship with the Sephardic community. He has a proven track record of supporting the NYPD, opposing higher taxes and supporting yeshivot. We believe he will be a great member of the New York City Council and urge you to vote for him. Community Board Chair Theresa Scavo (D-48) Mike Nelson is not running for re-election due to term limits. To replace him, we support Theresa Scavo. Simply put, she has the most experience in the race as the current chair of Community Board 15. In that role she has worked hand-inhand with our community leaders on important issues such a changing the zoning to accommodate our community’s needs, public safety and education. Theresa is a product of religious schools. She sent her children to religious schools, as well. Theresa is a big supporter of increasing funding for religious education in New York City. She would be a great member of the New York City Council. TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
Yeshivat Shaare Torah’s
First Annual Basketball Tournament
Over 300 people came out for Shooting Stars 2K13, the first Annual Shaare Torah Alumni Basketball Tournament, held on Sunday, August 4 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Haber. The tournament was open to all Shaare Torah alumni and their children, starting with the first class of 1986, which graduated 27 years ago. In all, 100 participants took part in the competition.
he participants were divided into 25 teams of four that played against each other (full court) on six courts throughout Deal, eventually assembling at the Haber court for the semifinals and finals. Rabbi Hillel Haber attended and addressed the crowd before the finals. The winning team was comprised of David Hindy, Ezra Sultan, Shlomo Antebi, Joseph Chehebar, with Joseph Chehebar earning MVP honors. The Tournament Committee consisted of Gary Beyda, Brigitte Beyda, Ezra Sultan, Ore Nachum, Jack “Gernie” Ashkenazi and Alex Mizrahi. All the courts were fully “equipped” with Gatorade and snacks, and a full lunch with drinks and snacks was served at the main court. 52
The tournament was sponsored by the sponsor of the day, First Class Leasing, Inc. and Beverly Hills Collision, and by alumni sponsors, including Mr. and Mrs. David Salem, Mr. Jack Ashkenazi, Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Sultan, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Sued, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Beda, Mr. and Mrs. Marc Franco, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Barsono, Mr. and Mrs. Marc Chrem, Mr. and Mrs. Benny Tebele, Mr. and Mrs. Jackie Cohen, Mr. and Mrs. Abe Sayegh, Mr. Ike Chazanof and Sakkar International. The event also featured a mini Chinese auction. Plans are underway to expand the tournament next year to include tennis, backgammon and volleyball competitions. Mr. Gary Beyda of the Tournament Committee expressed satisfaction over the large turnout and the event’s resounding success. “It was beautiful to see all alumni and their children uniting for a day of fun with their past classmates, teachers, and our esteemed Rosh Yeshivah.”
TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
THE B.A.C., LLP
Sportsman of the Month
This month’s B.A.C., LLP Sportsman of the Month is…
Dr. Jeff Elbaum It was a perfect day for golf, as the sun shone brilliantly on the beautiful Trump National Golf Club course in Colts Neck, NJ for the 10th annual Hatzalah Golf Classic. This year’s tournament featured 56 of our community’s top golfers, and was graced by the presence of former golf professional Charlie Rymer, host of TV’s Golf Channel. Charlie made everyone feel very comfortable with his humor and wit while taking the time to meet and talk with every player and oﬀer strategic golf tips. Unlike the previous tournaments, this year’s event was played using the fourman Scramble Format, whereby teams of four players compete against one another. In this format, each team’s players hit from the tee, and the team members then choose the best of the four shots for the next shot. All team members then play the second shot from that location, and again choose the best shot. Play continues in this manner until the hole is completed. The team records its score and maintains that format for all 18 holes. This new (L-R) Dr. Jeff Elbaum, Eli Dweck, Golf Pro Charlie Rymer, Elliot Braha, and Steve Haber.
format was embraced by all the players and it made for a very competitive and exciting tournament. Our Sportsman of the Month honoree Dr. Jeﬀ Elbaum led his team to a two-stroke victory as he and his squad combined for an impressive score of 64 (8 strokes better than Par). Jeﬀ and teammates Elliot Braha, Eli Dweck and Steve Haber showed true grit and composure under pressure as they eked out a hard-fought victory to earn this year’s Hatzalah Golf Classic Title. This was truly a classic example of team eﬀort. Other Contest Winners included: Robert (Bobby) Dweck (putting contest); David Abadi (closest to the pin); and Morris Matalon (straightest drive). Dr. Elbaum is known as one of the top golfers in the community, but far more impressive than his golﬁng skills is his long list of achievements oﬀ the golf course. Besides serving on the board of Hatzalah, Jeﬀ is very involved in various community charitable organizations which he supports with his time, knowledge,
advice, and generosity. Despite his busy schedule, he and his family work tirelessly for our community with genuine concern, commitment, and devotion. Fellow Hatzalah member Mitchell Gemal had this to say about Dr. Elbaum: “Jeﬀ is a unique individual. Every Board of Directors should have at least one Jeﬀ Elbaum on its committee. His ideas, helpful criticisms, foresight, and easy manner make him a leader. We at Hatzalah are very privileged to have him on our board.” We as a community are very fortunate to have Dr. Elbaum on our “team,” and we are proud to name Dr. Jeﬀ Elbaum as our Sportsman of the Month. Congratulations Jeﬀ! If you, or your league, would like to nominate a candidate who displays skill, sportsmanship, and community values that warrants recognition, simply send in the athlete’s name along with a photo and a brief summary, including statistics and accomplishments, to Sports@CommunityM.com. Athletes involved in any of our community’s sports leagues, events, tournaments, or other organized play are eligible. Please note that this honor is not necessarily awarded to the highest scorer or to the top rated player, but rather to the best all-around sportsman. A true sportsman is not interested in winning at all costs, but rather plays the game while demonstrating good values, teamwork, courteousness, self-discipline, and respect for all players.
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TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
Bet Din THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING CASH
The Case Steven sent his worker, Albert, to bring a sealed envelope with $1000 to Jack, to whom he owed the money. When Albert arrived at Jack’s home, he discovered that Jack and his wife were out for dinner. Albert decided to deliver the envelope to Jack’s niece, who was residing in their home for the summer. Later that evening, after arriving home, Jack counted the cash and found the payment to be short $300. He contacted Steven to inform him of the missing funds, explaining that the envelope he received was most definitely opened and resealed. Steven responded that he sent the complete $1000 payment in a sealed envelope with Albert, a loyal and honest worker, and that Jack’s niece must have tampered with the envelope. Jack rejected Steven’s allegations and defended his niece, insisting that if in fact $1000 was sent, the missing $300 must have been stolen by Albert.
Who is liable for the missing cash? Is Jack’s niece responsible, since she received the envelope? Or perhaps Albert is the culprit and is required to pay? On the other hand, maybe they are both exempt from payment, and Steven is required to pay Jack $300. Or perhaps Jack is lying, and did, indeed, receive the full sum of $1000. How should the Bet Din rule?
Rabbi Max Sutton,
Rosh Bet Din Aram Soba, Jerusalem, Israel
According to the ruling of the Shulhan Aruch, one who is entrusted with an item to safeguard may transfer the item to any adult family members residing at his home. The rationale behind this ruling is that the person depositing the item understands that the custodian will be relying on the assistance of his family members to help safeguard the item. It is fully understood that it is nearly impossible for a custodian to avoid leaving the item with his adult family members, even for short periods of time, and the depositor thus had given over his item for safekeeping with that in mind. However, this ruling applies only to items deposited for safeguarding, as opposed to items given to a messenger for the purpose of delivering it to an intended recipient. By Torah law, one who receives cash or any item to deliver to another party is responsible to carry out his mission correctly. Leading halachic authorities rule that a messenger, as part of his assignment, may only give cash to the person to whom he was appointed to deliver it. Should he deviate from his instructions, and choose to deliver the cash to anyone else, it is legally considered negligence, even if he delivered the money to the adult children of the intended recipient. Since the money was not entrusted with the messenger to safeguard, but rather to be promptly and accurately delivered, he may not give it to anyone but the intended recipient himself. (If the messenger delivered the cash to the wife of the intended recipient, then, according Sources:
photo by: Abraham Amzalak
FROM THE FILES OF THE
Baba Metzia 36a Shulhan Aruch, Hoshen Mishpat 291:21
to most halachic authorities, he is not considered to have acted negligently, as long as this sum of money is commonly entrusted to a wife.) By rule of the Shulhan Aruch, although a messenger is liable for negligence, he may nevertheless contest that he was unaware of the amount entrusted with him. Unless the messenger agrees to the exact sum received, or the sender can prove the amount he handed over for delivery, a very complicated procedure of testimonial oaths is required to determine the sum that was deposited for which the messenger is held responsible. It is important to note that although it may be evident that one of the parties involved is guilty of theft, a Bet Din will not resort to the use of a liedetector test to incriminate a suspect. The accuracy of polygraph testing has been long controversial, and the civil court system has repeatedly rejected its use due to its inherent unreliability. According to the American Psychological Association, most scientists agree that there is little evidence that a polygraph test can actually detect lies. A Bet Din confronted with an unknown suspect will follow the conventional route of cross examination and keen halachic analysis before determining liability. It should be noted that the information presented here represents the general consensus among the halachic authorities; there is a minority view which disputes the rulings presented here.
Teshuvat Maharashdam, Hoshen Mishpat 132 Shulhan Aruch, Hoshen Mishpat 298:1, Ibid 90:10 Semah 298:19; Shach 298:1
Verdict: HASTE MAKES WASTE The Bet Din ruled that Albert is liable to pay Steven for the $300 that was allegedly missing from the envelope, so Steven can complete his payment to Jack. As Albert was appointed by Steven to deliver the envelope to Jack, he deviated from his assigned mission by giving the envelope to a third party. While the Bet Din was by no means convicting Albert of theft, as there was no proof that he stole the money, he is nevertheless liable for negligence due to his hasty decision to give the envelope to Jack’s niece without Steven’s authorization. This ruling was contingent on the premise that Albert acknowledged that there was $1000 in the envelope. Indeed, Steven had counted the sum in front of him before putting it in the envelope. As discussed, a Bet Din will not resort to the use of a lie-detector test to determine who actually tampered with the envelope and stole the money. While Albert is responsible to first pay Steven the $300, he may thereafter pursue collecting the money from Jack’s niece, or challenge Jack and claim that he indeed received the complete sum.
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JUDGE! CEASE AND DESIST
An affluent Jewish congregation in the Tri-State area entered into a contractual agreement with Harold to construct a community center in the heart of their neighborhood. The edifice was to include a synagogue, social hall, mikveh, and sports arena, and Harold hired out subcontractors for each of the different features of the project. The mikveh complex was subcontracted to Maurice, who was entrusted with the project based on his impressive résumé. But after the mikveh was completed, a bitter monetary dispute raged between Harold and Maurice with regard to total cost of the project. The two appeared in Bet Din to resolve the complicated matter, in which Maurice, claimed he was owed a substantial amount of money and thus requested a “cease and desist” order, preventing usage of the mikveh by the public until he was paid in full. He pointed out that the mikveh was built using his raw material and his workers, and until he received the full payment, it should be forbidden to use. Maurice further noted that forbidding the use of the mikveh could also be beneficial to Harold in giving him leverage to recoup some of the additional expenses he had incurred from the congregation which hired him. Additionally, he claimed that since the local neighborhood maintained an operating mikveh in the area, preventing usage of the new mikveh did not prevent people from observing this important mitzvah. Harold responded that while it is likely that he owed Maurice a minimal amount, he was by no means willing to make any further payments until their dispute was resolved. In addition, Harold felt it would be preposterous to punish the congregation until he makes payment, given the small amount entailed.
HOW SHOULD THE BET DIN RULE? DOES MAURICE HAVE A VALID CLAIM? SHOULD THE BET DIN PREVENT THE OPENING OF THE MIKVEH UNTIL THE MATTER IS RESOLVED?
YOUandBE THE JUDGE send your response to YouJudge@CommunityM.com
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The Top 10 Questions & Answers on custom and laws of
WHY DO WE BEGIN THE YOM KIPPUR EVE PRAYER SERVICE WITH KOL NIDREI?
Kol Nidrei is a prayer which we recite to annul vows and promises which we have made. The concept of annulling vows closely relates to the primary theme of Yom Kippur – teshuvah (repentance), which enables us to erase the transgressions we have committed. The Rabbis instituted that we begin the Yom Kippur prayer service with Kol Nidrei to remind us of this remarkable concept – the ability to erase past misdeeds.
A) B) C)
E) F) G)
WHAT SPECIAL CUSTOMS ARE OBSERVED ON EREV YOM KIPPUR?
It is considered a mitzvah to eat heartily on Erev Yom Kippur (Shulhan Aruch, Orah Haim 604:1). Tahanun is omitted. There is a custom to perform kaparot, symbolically transferring one’s sins onto a chicken or money corresponding to the value of a chicken. One takes a live chicken, or the monetary value of one chicken, and circles it around his head three times while saying a prayer that this chicken or money should serve as a means of atonement. The chicken or money is then given to a needy person. One must repent during Minhah on Erev Yom Kippur, before the final meal (Shulhan Aruch, Orah Haim 607:1). It is therefore customary to recite the long vidui (confessional prayer) during Minhah. The reason for this halachah, as the Mishnah Berurah (1) explains, is to ensure that one repents before the meal in case he chokes on his food and will thus leave this world without repenting. Our community’s custom is to wear tefillin during Minhah on Erev Yom Kippur to accumulate extra merit before the judgment of Yom Kippur. It is similarly customary to give extra charity on Erev Yom Kippur in order to increase our merit. It is customary to immerse in a mikveh on Erev Yom Kippur so we enter this sacred day in a state of purity (Shulhan Aruch Orah Haim 606:4).
WHICH FORMS OF SELF-DENIAL ARE REQUIRED ON YOM KIPPUR?
Throughout Yom Kippur, one must abstain from: 1) eating & drinking; 2) bathing; 3) applying creams or oils; 4) wearing leather shoes; 5) marital relations. When one wakes up in the morning, he may wash netilat yadayim only until the knuckles. Leather belts may be worn on Yom Kippur.
RABBI DANIEL D. LEVY
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HASHEM’S 13 ATTRIBUTES OF MERCY WHICH WE RECITE NUMEROUS TIMES OVER THE COURSE OF THE YOM KIPPUR SERVICE?
The Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (17b) states that when the Jewish people sin, they should recite the 13 Attributes of Mercy before Hashem in order to arouse His compassion, and He will then forgive them. Hashem demonstrated to Moshe how thus should be done by appearing as a prayer leader, in order to teach us that reciting the attributes is effective only if the prayer leader himself emulates Hashem’s merciful traits (Iyun Yaakov). The congregation, too, while reading the 13 attributes, should commit themselves to emulate these qualities of mercy and kindness in their own interpersonal relationships (Alshich). Rabbenu Bahye, in his work Kad Hakemah, adds that in the absence of the Bet Hamikdash, when we do not offer sacrifices, it is essential for us to mention 13 Attributes of Mercy to achieve atonement. The custom among Syrian Jews is to recite the 13 middot a total of 26 times on Yom Kippur, corresponding to the numerical value of the divine Name that expresses Gd’s quality of compassion. Within the 13 attributes, we recite Hashem’s name twice, alluding to the fact that He is merciful both before and after one sins.
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE REFRAIN FROM WEARING GOLD JEWELRY ON YOM KIPPUR?
Gold reminds us of the sin of the golden calf. As we do not wish to bring to mind the memory of this sin on the day when we aim to rid ourselves of all sins, some people follow the custom of refraining from wearing gold jewelry on Kippur.
WHY DO PEOPLE ASK EACH OTHER FOR FORGIVENESS BEFORE YOM KIPPUR, AND HOW SHOULD THIS BE DONE?
The Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 606:1) states that the Yom Kippur observance does not provide atonement for sins committed against one’s fellow unless he asks the victim for forgiveness. When one asks his fellow for forgiveness, the victim should forgive. If he refuses, the offender should repeat his request a second time, and then a third time if necessary, each time in a different manner, time and place. He is advised to approach the victim with three other people, as this might help persuade him to forgive. One must specify the precise offense committed, unless he knows that this would cause his friend embarrassment. Forgiveness must be requested directly, either in person or by phone, as the purpose is to repair the strained relationship. Texting a request for forgiveness is not acceptable according to many authorities.
Dedicated in loving memory of Hacham Nissim ben Mazal a.h 60
Dr. Inna Verzub, DPM
WHAT IS THE TORAH READING AND HAFTARAH READING FOR YOM KIPPUR MORNING AND AFTERNOON?
On Yom Kippur morning, we take two Torah scrolls from the aron (Shulhan Aruch Orah haim 621:1), and we read six aliyot from the first – unless it is Shabbat, as it is this year, in which case we make seven aliyot – and the maftir from the second. From the first Torah, we read the first section of Parashat Ahare-Mot, which outlines the special rituals performed in the Bet Hamikdash on Yom Kippur. For maftir, we read the verses in Parashat Pinhas which describe the musaf sacrifice that was offered on Yom Kippur. The haftarah reading is taken from the Book of Yeshayahu. At Minhah, we read three aliyot from the latter part of Parashat Ahare-Mot, which deals with the topic of arayot (illicit relationships). The Mishnah Berurah (622:7) explains that this portion is read due to the strength of the desire toward this particular area of sin, and Yom Kippur is an appropriate time to repent for all wrongdoing involving this area. We also read a haftarah at Minhah – the entire Book of Yonah, which deals with the subject of repentance and also conveys the message that one can never “run away” from Hashem.
WHY DO WE RECITE BIRKAT KOHANIM DURING THE LATE-AFTERNOON NEILAH PRAYER ON YOM KIPPUR?
Generally, we do not recite birkat kohanim at Minhah because many people would drink wine during their afternoon meal, and one who has drunk more than a revi’it (approximately 3 oz) of wine may not perform birkat kohanim. (Shalhun Aruch, Halachot Ta’anit Siman (567-8)) On fast days, when we do not drink, this reason is not applicable, and we therefore recite birkat kohanim at Minhah on fast days. However, the Rabbis enacted a provision not to recite birkat kohanim early in the afternoon, even on fast days, and thus birkat kohanim is recited on fast days only when Minhah is recited late in the afternoon. On Yom Kippur, then, birkat kohanim is recited during Neilah, which is recited late in the day, and not during Minhah.
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WHY DO WE PROSTRATE OURSELVES ON THE GROUND DURING THE AVODAH SECTION IN MUSAF ON YOM KIPPUR?
The Mishna in Yoma mentions in the time of the Bet Hamikdash, the people in the Temple courtyard would prostrate themselves on the ground when they heard the kohen gadol say Hashem’s holy Name on Yom Kippur. In commemoration, we bow on the ground when we recite the passages describing the Yom Kippur service in the Bet Hamikdash.
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WHY DO WE BLOW THE SHOFAR AT THE END OF NEILAH?
When the Shechinah (Divine Presence) left Har Sinai after Matan Torah, the shofar was blown as a sign of the departing Shechinah. Similarly, after having the Shechinah so close to us during Yom Kippur, the Shechinah departs and ascends to the heavens with the conclusion of Neilah, and we therefore blow the shofar to signify its departure.
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DOLLAR AND SENSE High Holiday Message The 40 days of selihot, which we began this year on August 8th, officially end at the conclusion of Yom Kippur with the prayer of Neilah, which follows closely on the heels of the famous story of the prophet Yonah and Nineveh’s teshuvah (repentance). In certain respects, the teshuvah of Nineveh was the ideal form of repentance. The people did not merely fast and cry out to Hashem, but also, and far more significantly, they took concrete action, returning that which did not belong to them (Yonah 3:8), or, to borrow the term used in the text of Neilah, they “withdrew their hands from oshek.” Oshek (literally, “oppression”) means refusal to pay someone to whom one owes money, whether it is a lender or someone who is owed for merchandise or services.
If a person borrows without knowing how he will repay... that is gezel. We spend a great deal of time during the Yamim Noraim (High Holidays) reciting prayers for mercy and forgiveness, including selihot, vidui, and Avinu Malkenu. But in order for our prayers and repentance to be effective, they must be accompanied by concrete action, both in the realm of ben adam lamakom (between man and Gd) as well as the realm of ben adam lahavero (between man and his fellow man). As a community, we occasionally rally to strengthen our tzeniut (modesty), our shemirat halashon (avoiding negative speech about other people), and our Shabbat observance. But what about oshek? Oshek comes in many forms, several of which, sadly, is not at all uncommon in our community. It includes refusing to pay even very small sums of money, such as the price of a telephone call. It includes refusing to pay rent, return a deposit, or pay back a loan (“My landlord refused to put in new windows, so I’ll just put them in myself and take the price off the rent”). And it includes refusing to pay a worker’s wages (“My contractor did a lousy job, so I’m not paying him”). There is also another crime of which many are guilty without realizing it – gezel (theft).
RABBI MAX ANTEBY
What?! Theft?! Us? Never! Recently, Hagaon Harav Aharon Leib Shteinman, shelita, made the following comment to the leaders of Mesila, an organization which offers guidance and counseling for household budgeting: The idea of teaching people to live with a budget is very important, because a person who lives without a budget [eventually] comes to gezel… How is it possible for a person to live without a budget? A person has to make a budget, in order to know how much he earns and to make sure that he spends accordingly. If a person borrows without knowing how he will repay, but thinks that when the time to repay arrives, he will borrow from a different source to repay the first loan, that is gezel. Indeed, many of us are guilty of gezel, recklessly spending money that we don’t have without knowing how we will pay our debts. Mesila’s mission is to promote financial responsibility, which, for a Jew, begins with adherence to the numerous mitzvot and halachot governing money, and extends to a commitment to refraining from even the subtlest forms of gezel and oshek. Additionally, Mesila seeks to bring us back to the basic spirit of Torah law, whereby spiritual achievements are to be prioritized over material acquisition, a value which must be followed by all of us, and not merely those studying in kollel. Our sages teach us that on Rosh Hashanah, our income for the entire year is determined. At this time, besides praying for a large income, we must also decide how we plan to use that income, and ensure that our financial habits reflect our priorities and values. These values are precisely the values which Mesila promotes – controlled consumption, living within a budget, financial independence, and careful management of finances to avoid incurring debts that one cannot repay. Learning and internalizing these values will help us find not only the path to financial stability, but the path to complete and genuine teshuvah, as well. Mesila is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families and businesses in Israel, the US, Canada, and England achieve financial stability and independence. For further information please contact us at email@example.com.
The Dishes That Make the Meal Leah and Victoria team up again to make your menu planning simple with Starters and Sides Made Easy. RECIPES BY LEAH SCHAPIRA AND VICTORIA DWEK
love to give readers sneak peeks into how our books are created. During the first two weeks of July, I spent every single day for two consecutive weeks (minus Shabbat) cooking in Leah’s kitchen, preparing the dishes featured in our latest cookbook, Starters and Sides Made Easy, and our upcoming book, Kids Cooking Made Easy. In order to get everything photographed during our two week long shoot, we had to prepare at least 15 dishes a day. Even though a lot of our recipes are freezer-friendly, most food looks best when it’s fresh, right out of the pan. We had gone shopping during the weeks prior to the photo shoot and turned Leah’s dining room into a prop room. The table, the buffet, and the floor were covered with over a hundred different dishes plus other accessories like stemware, napkins, and cutlery. Every 20 or 30 minutes, another dish would be ready. It would be matched up with the right props before it went under the photographer’s lights. Even though there’s only a little bit of food needed for each photograph (See the 3 raviolis in the photo? I made the full batch of thirty-six), we still always prepare the entire recipe. There are a few reasons: A) It gives us an opportunity to test the recipe another time. B) We like to have plenty of options so we can choose the prettiest ones to photograph. C) There are lots of hungry people around. When they hear there is a photo shoot going on, they come over, expecting good food. And we like to please. At the end of the day, Leah’s dinette table would be lined up with full 9 x 13-inch pans. These Winter Squash Ravioli didn’t stay there for long. It’s one of my favorite because it transforms one of our traditional favorites – calsones - into a modern, flavorful, and pareve pasta dish. Plus, it’s freezer-friendly. I love when I can prepare something in advance and knock it off my list. Enjoy. - Victoria Dwek
Winter Squash Ravioli Ingredients • 1 (2½ pound) narrow butternut squash • 1 large sweet onion, diced • 1 tablespoon salt • 36 (3-inch) ravioli rounds • oil, for toasting
• 1/4 cup olive oil • ¼ cup minced garlic cloves (10-12 cloves) • 2 teaspoons thyme • 2 teaspoons parsley ﬂakes
1. Prepare the ravioli: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place butternut squash into a baking pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time (a thick squash may need more time). Squash should be completely soft throughout. Let cool completely. Discard peel and seeds and add the butternut squash flesh to a medium bowl. 2. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté until caramelized , about 20 minutes. 3. Add onions and salt to the butternut squash. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until completely smooth. 4. Place a teaspoon of squash onto each ravioli round. Fold in half and seal tightly closed, then pinch the two edges together (see photo). Reserve any remaining squash purée. 5. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add ravioli in batches and cook until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Set aside. 6. Prepare the herb sauce: Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic, thyme, and parsley. Cook until garlic is golden, 1-2 minutes. Toss with raviolis. 7. To serve, spoon some of the reserved purée onto each dish and top with raviolis. Garnish with fresh thyme and parsley (optional).
’m usually very partial to homemade dough. But not when it comes to ravioli. Then, I am very happy to grab the package of pre-made ravioli dough rounds from the freezer section, and my calsones is ready in as long as it takes a pot of water to boil. Those reliable ravioli rounds, though, are ready for an upgrade with this dreamy pareve butternut squash version. The house smells so good when I’m preparing it … and it just may be my family’s new favorite ravioli dish. - Victoria
Raviolis are the perfect freezer-friendly pasta. Freeze them after step 5. When ready to serve, pull some out of the freezer, let thaw, and complete steps 5-7 for a quick gourmet pasta dish. If you don’t want to wait for them to thaw, you can also boil the raviolis first before browning.
To make curly scallions for a garnish, soak thin strips of scallions in ice water. TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
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High Holiday Reflections FEATURES The Alarm has Sounded! Wake up! Rabbi Dovid Sapirman
What We Achieve On Rosh Hashanah Words of Rabbi Avigdor Miller
The Pomegranate – Not Your Average Fruit Beautiful, Delicious, Nutritious, and Cancer Killer
Love, Marriage, and Hakafot Men discuss marriage over a cup of coffee
When One Saves a Thousand Ben Zahav
Shaatra Does It – Yom Kippur The Holiest day of the Year
TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
The Alarm Has Sounded!
e k Wa
! p U RABBI DOVID SAPIRMAN
This year, the Yamim Noraim (High Holidays) came upon us right in the midst of summer. It’s not so easy to jump from summer vacation into the intensity of Elul, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but what choice do we have but to prepare ourselves properly for these most important days?
ot only are we about to go through a very serious, life-anddeath judgment, but we will also have the opportunity to get closer to Hashem than we can at any other time of the year. It was on Rosh Hashanah when Adam Harishon, the first human being, was created, and on that same day he sinned and was judged. After his sin, the Shechinah (Divine Presence) came to Gan Eden to be close to him and inspire him to repent. And on that same day each and every year, the Shechinah comes to us and remains with us until the blowing of the shofar after the Neilah prayer at the end of Yom Kippur. The Almighty actually comes to us to help us perform teshuvah and connect with Him. What an amazing opportunity we have to bask in that radiance and draw closer to Hashem! Arousing the Emotions When the Bet Hamikdash stood, there was a mitzvah to sound hatzotzerot (trumpets) while bringing the special sacrifices on Rosh Hodesh and festivals, as well as during times of war or any other type of public distress, such as a drought or a famine. The Sefer Hahinuch offers an enlightening explanation for this mitzvah: When bringing a korban ... and, especially, at a time of crisis, a person needs to concentrate intently when he pleads before his Creator to have mercy on him and save him from his 70
distress. Since a human being is physical, he very much needs to be [emotionally] awakened to these things, for without being awakened, he will naturally remain as if asleep. And nothing arouses [the emotions] like the power of music. All year long, we – hopefully – try our best to serve our Creator by fulfilling His commandments and observing halachah. But although we go through all the right motions, this can easily become habitual, performed entirely or mostly by rote. As the Sefer Hachinuch teaches us, too many people “sleep away” their lives. They need to be awakened and aroused to focus on reality. The Rambam explains the mitzvah of blowing shofar on Rosh Hashanah in a similar fashion: Even though the blowing of the shofar is a Divine decree, it also contains an allusion, as if to say, “Wake up, O sleepy ones, from your sleep, and slumbering ones from your deep slumber! Search through your deeds, do teshuvah and remember your Creator. You, who have forgotten the truth amid the pettiness of the times, and waste all your years with foolishness and emptiness, which will not help or save (you), take a good look at yourselves! Improve your ways and deeds. Let each one of you abandon his evil way and improper thoughts.
The Immigrant Who Forgot to Learn English What does it mean to be “awake” and in touch with reality? It means living with an awareness of the Creator, and knowing that we are constantly in His presence. It also means realizing that we have in our possession a letter written to us by our Creator and given to us on Mount Sinai – His holy Torah. When we develop this awareness, we realize that our soul was sent here for only a (relatively) short stay in order to earn an eternity of ecstasy, basking in the radiance of the Shechinah. Living with reality means to sense that we have been entrusted with a noble and lofty mission, to be “a kingdom of nobles and a holy people” (Shemot 19:6). When we live with this awareness, everything in our lives takes on a whole new perspective. Rav Yosef Leib Bloch, zt”l, the venerated Rosh Yeshivah of Telshe, Lithuania, drew an analogy to a person who decided to emigrate from Europe to America. He was told that the boat would stop in four ports before crossing the Atlantic – in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal – and he naturally began wondering what he would do when the boat docked. All the passengers would go out sightseeing and purchasing things from the local merchants. He, however, knew not a word of the languages spoken in those countries. How would he communicate? He wouldn’t even be able to understand the street signs. Being an industrious fellow, he hired four tutors, one for each language. After learning a little Italian, a
little French, and a bit of Spanish and Portuguese, he would be able to get by wherever the boat would stop. Sure enough, at each of these ports he was able to understand enough of each language to enjoy himself. The only thing that he had forgotten to do was…to learn English, the language of his permanent destination, America. All too often, we do the same thing. We are so preoccupied with our efforts to get by in and enjoy this world that we forget that this life is only a temporary stop, and that our permanent destination is Olam Haba, the World to Come. This is what the Rambam meant when he wrote about the people “who forget the truth because they are involved with the pettiness of the times.” Let us all try to focus on the reality of life, on the ultimate purpose for which our soul was sent here, and we will then be well prepared to earn a good year filled with health, happiness and prosperity, amen.
Too many people “sleep away” their lives. They need to be awakened and aroused to focus on reality.
Rabbi Dovid Sapirman, a former talmid of the Philadelphia, Ponivez, and Lakewood Yeshivot, has taught and lectured both in the yeshiva and kiruv world for over four decades. Feeling the deﬁciency in emunah which prevails among religious youth, Rabbi Sapirman founded the Ani Maamin Foundation dedicated to reinforcing emunah among religious Jews everywhere – youth, parents, and educators alike. For more information please visit www.animaamin.org
TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
What we achieve
Rosh Hashanah is a day of judgment and a day of danger. One more mitzvah or one less sin could tip the scales in our favor. This is the day when we hope to be “written and sealed immediately” for a successful year.
ON ROSH HASHANAH
n the Torah, the day of Rosh Hashanah is described as “Yom teru’ah – a day of blowing the shofar.” That is all we are told. Elsewhere, the Torah says in reference to Rosh Hashanah, “Zichron teru’ah – you will be remembered by your teru’ah.” When we blow the shofar, Hashem will have us in mind to give us His blessing. In other words, the shofar serves to remind Him about us. Needless to say, Hashem doesn’t need any reminders. So what kind of procedure is this? He is thinking about us at all times; that is a basic principle of our emunah, belief. We have to believe, understand, and always think that Hashem is looking at every one of us. Hashem looks everywhere all the time; not for a moment does He remove His thoughts from us. So of what are we going to remind Him by sounding the shofar?
Why Do We Pray?
Let us discuss our general relationship with Hashem. Why do we ask Hashem in our prayers for the things that we desire? Prayer seems entirely superfluous. Is that the way to get Hashem to give us what we need? If it is necessary, He will give it to us anyway. And if He decides that He doesn’t want to give it to us, why should our prayers change that?
Praying Means Thinking
The word lehitpalel, to pray, means to make us think. Teﬁllah means to think. When we think of Hashem, then He will think of us. We have to know that Hashem is the One Who gives, and therefore He will give to us in order to encourage us to continue advancing in our understanding of this truth. Hashem wants us to accomplish something in this world. He wants us to gain a mind that is truly human. He wants us to understand that He is in charge of our fate. Therefore, by asking, “Heal us Hashem,” we will make it happen that He will heal us. It is not that we have to remind Him, but that we have to remind ourselves. The purpose of teﬁllah is to gain in our minds all those ideas for which Hashem rewards us. And He encourages us to accomplish that by doing what we ask Him to do. 72
WORDS OF RABBI AVIGDOR MILLER A”H
Hashem is Listening
The foundation of teﬁllah is, first and foremost, to understand what you are saying, then to believe it and then to convince yourself as much as possible that Hashem is listening. Keep on saying it to yourself and thinking about it. After a while you will come to have that attitude. Hashem says: “If you think I am listening, then I am listening. I am listening all the time, but when you say, ‘Hashem is listening’ and you actually believe it, then I will listen and do what you want.”
Changing Ourselves, Not Gd
The function of teﬁllah is not to “twist Hashem’s arm,” to influence Him to change His “emotions,” or to “have pity on us,” as a poor man appeals to a rich man’s compassionate feeling. The purpose is to change ourselves. As much as we change ourselves, that is how much we deserve that Hashem should answer our teﬁllot, in order to encourage us to continue in this process.
Changing Our Minds
Rosh Hashanah is the day of changing our minds. Before we do teshuvah for the thousands of things that we may have done wrong – who doesn’t do wrong things in his life? – we must first do teshuvah for what is lacking in our minds. We have to build up the concepts in our minds, and Hashem is the first thing to think about. We must keep in mind that Hashem is in control of the entire universe. Reinforcing these beliefs in our minds is the first step to teshuvah.
A Day of Remembrance
Rosh Hashanah is a day of remembering everything connected with Hashem, the way He conducted our history and the way He conducts the affairs of our everyday lives. We must remember it all. We are to think over and over again about all the things we are given in our lives. Even 100 times is not enough. Little by little, we are to get ourselves to think of these great ideals, and that is what Rosh Hashanah is made for. Zichron – it is a day for remembering.
Adapted from ‘The Jewish World of Wonders’.
Wishing the community a
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The Pomegranate – Beautiful, Delicious, Nutritious, and Cancer killer MALKI SILVERMAN
The ancient fruit Punica granatum, better known as the pomegranate, is thought to have ﬁrst been cultivated in the Middle East nearly 5,000 years ago. Archeologists have been able to place its origin in southwestern Asia, 3000-2000 BCE, as fragments of pomegranate have been recovered in the caves of the Judean Deserts and in the valleys near Ein Gedi.
hroughout the Biblical period (1200-445 BCE), the pomegranate was seen as a symbol of the Jews. Besides being recognized as a symbol of fertility, due to its large number of seeds, the pomegranate is mentioned numerous times throughout Tanach and is seen as a special fruit, symbolizing health and beauty. Images of pomegranates were placed as decorations on the clothes of the kohanim (Shemot 39:24-26) and as ornaments for the pillars of the Bet Hamikdash (Melachim I 7:18). The pomegranate was also among the fruits that the spies brought back from Israel (Bamidbar 13:23), symbolizing the land’s exceptional quality. In Shir Hashirim (6:7), the pomegranate is mentioned as an icon of beauty, as it is written, “Your temples are like a piece of pomegranate…” Pomegranates are also among the fruits liable for the agricultural mitzvot of pe’ah – leaving a corner of one’s field for the poor (Mishnah, Peah 1:5) – and ma’aser – tithes (Mishnah, Ma’asarot 1:2). The fruit is also subject to the restrictions of orlah and shemittah (Mishnah, Shevi’it 7:3). Most importantly, in Devarim (8:8), the pomegranate is listed as one of the shivat haminim, the seven special species of the Land of Israel. This designation seems to have been given because of its beauty, as the pomegranate was not an integral part of people’s diet at the time like the other six species. As one of the shivat haminim, pomegranates were brought to the Temple as one of the first fruit offerings (bikkurim), and eating a pomegranate requires the special berachah aharonah of Me’en Shalosh (“Al ha’etz ve’al peri ha’etz”). The pomegranate has several unique properties and was used for a variety of purposes. In ancient Egypt, pomegranates were thought to have health benefits: the fruit’s rind was used as a remedy for tapeworm and other intestinal illnesses. The peels, meanwhile, were commonly used to form dyes. This method was utilized by our ancestors as well, as evidenced in the Mishnah (Shabbat 9:5), which teaches that one who carries pomegranate peels in a public domain on Shabbat is liable for Shabbat desecration only if he carried “enough to dye with them a small garment in a headdress.” The pomegranate is an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional form of Indian medicine, where it is used for stomach illnesses as well as a treatment for leprosy. With the advent of new technology and advanced research, scientists have recently begun revealing more of the pomegranate’s medical benefits. Pomegranates contain many different chemical compounds such as aldehydes, linear-hydrocarbons, and alcohols, which offer numerous health benefits. It has been discovered that due to their high content of polyphenols, pomegranates have high antioxidant activity, a factor which can reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Pomegranate juice has also been shown to reduce the progression of atherosclerosis. 74
Recent in vitro studies administering pomegranate extract at different concentrations to normal and cancerous cells have shown The Rind - The rind of the an additional chemical property fruit was used as a remedy of the pomegranate, namely, its for tapeworm and other ability to act as a prooxidant. The intestinal illnesses. anliproliferative mechanisms of The Seeds - Punicic acid, pomegranate extract is also caused the main constituent of the by the induction of oxidative pomegranate seed, has the stress through the generation of ability to induce apoptosis hydrogen peroxide. This behavior and inhibit cell growth in marks pomegranate extract as an cancer cells. important prooxidant as well as an antioxidant, in regards to its Pomegranate Juice – The actions towards cancer cells. A pomegranate has been unique aspect of the prooxidant proven to be an exceptional behavior of pomegranate extract nutraceutical, a food that is nutritious and that can be is that it preferentially targets used medicinally. Clinical and kills the cancer cells. Cancer tests were registered with cells, because of their deficient the National Institutes of antioxidant defense systems, are Health to examine the effects hypersensitive to oxidative stress, of pomegranate extracts or whereas healthy cells, with their juice consumption in patients fine-tuned antioxidant defense suffering from diseases such systems, are left unharmed. These as prostate cancer, diabetes, properties make the pomegranate lymphoma, atherosclerosis, an exceptional nutraceutical, a coronary artery disease, food that is nutritious and can be and infant brain injury, used medicinally. and in those undergoing The chemicals found in hemodialysis for kidney pomegranates responsible for disease. the medical processes mentioned above can also be found in green and black teas, as well as other types of plant-derived foods. Studies of nutraceuticals have shown them to be a fascinating and potentially inexpensive way of preventing harmful diseases. It is certainly intriguing that one of the first fruits to be examined for these unique health benefits is also one of our shivat haminim. Even as we pray to Gd for good health, we still understand the importance of putting in our own hishtadlut, our own efforts. The secrets of the pomegranate demonstrate that the Torah is an excellent Adapted from ‘The Jewish World of Wonders’ first step in our research.
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Love, Marriage, and Hakafot Men don’t usually sit over coffee talking about their marriages. That’s why a particular conversation I once had with two other men really sticks out in my mind.
he three of us were sitting and discussing the joys of wedded life. “I love my wife,” Benny said. “That’s why I do everything she asks me to do. She says, ‘Benny, please take out the garbage,’ and right away, I take out the garbage.” We all agreed that Benny loves his wife. Not to be outdone, I said, “I also do everything my wife asks me to do. In fact, she doesn’t even have to spell out what she wants. It’s enough that she says, ‘Whew! That garbage bag is sure smelling up the kitchen!’ for me to understand that she wants me to take out the garbage. Which I do, of course.” We all agreed that I love my wife even more than Benny loves his. But in the end, it turned out that Steven’s marriage was the most loving of all. Steven’s wife doesn’t have to ask him to do things for her. She doesn’t even have to drop hints. “I wake up in the morning,” Steven explained, “and I just know that she wants me to take out the garbage. Or buy her a gift like a piece of jewelry. She doesn’t have to crinkle her nose or mention the ring her cousin Sarah got for her birthday. I just know what she wants me to do for her, and I do it.”
Showing Love for Gd – “Steven Style”
The month of Tishre is replete with mitzvot, full of opportunities for carrying out Gd’s will. For more than three weeks, our days are filled with praying, repenting, fasting, feasting, dancing, building a sukkah, acquiring a set of a lulav and an etrog, or a bundle of hoshaanot, and dozens of other mitzvot, customs and observances. The observances of Tishre fall under three general categories. There are Biblical precepts that are explicitly commanded in the Torah, such as sounding the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, fasting on Yom Kippur and eating in the sukkah on Sukkot. There are also a number of rabbinical mitzvot – observances instituted by the prophets and the sages by the authority vested in them by the Torah. For example, the five prayer services held on Yom Kippur 76
and the taking of the arba’ah minim (four species) on all but the first day of Sukkot are rabbinical institutions. Finally, the month of Tishre has many minhagim, customs which are not formally required by the Torah or by the sages. These include eating an apple dipped in honey on the first night of Rosh Hashanah and conducting the kaparot ritual in the wee hours of the morning on the day before Yom Kippur. The minhagim are not mandated by Biblical or rabbinical law, but by force of custom. These are practices that we Jews have initiated ourselves as ways to enhance our service of our Creator.
…Steven’s marriage was the most loving of all. “I just know what she wants me to do for her, and I do it.” Most amazingly, the climax of the month of Tishre – the point at which our celebration of our bond with Gd reaches the greatest heights of joy – is during the hakafot on Simhat Torah, when we take the Torah scrolls in our arms and dance with them around the reading table in the synagogue – a practice that is neither a Biblical nor a rabbinical precept, but merely a custom. For it is specifically through our observance of the minhagim that we express the depth of our love for Gd. The Biblical commandments might be compared to the explicitly expressed desires between two people bound in marriage. The rabbinical mitzvot, which Gd did not directly command but nevertheless constitute expressions of the Divine will, resemble the implied requests between spouses. But the minhagim represent those areas in which we intuitively sense how we might bring Gd pleasure, and in these lies our greatest joy. Written by Yanki Tauber. Yanki Tauber is an editor and an accomplished author. This article was adapted from ‘The Jewish World of Wonders’.
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TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
We are all destined from above to experience certain setbacks and disappointments over the course of our lives, but these experiences relieve us of other, sometimes greater, problems.
here is a certain sofer (scribe) – we’ll call him Solomon – who has taken it upon himself to set aside a portion of his work hours every month to voluntarily teach two young men the art of his trade. He teaches them all the intricate details of this holy work without taking a penny in return. His colleagues say he’s foolish to spend long hours teaching others, giving up valuable time that could be spent writing and making money. And, in fact, he finds it difficult to make ends meet each month. But Solomon has a different way of thinking: “I have no doubt that what I take upon myself to do during these hours that I set aside out of my own free time will release me of other burdens that I otherwise would have been forced to bear.” He is confident that he does not lose any time by volunteering, as the time he loses through this charitable work would have been lost anyway for less pleasant reasons. “What would you say,” he asks friends, who never fail to express their astonishment at what he’s doing, “if instead of sitting and writing I would be forced to wait with my son at the dentist for long hours? Isn’t that a waste of valuable time? Isn’t that a waste of money? 78
“My reasoning is that it’s part of life that sometimes a person is forced to be busy with things that take him away from his work. And if so, if I am destined to lose a number of writing hours every month, then why should it be at the expense of my poor son’s aching teeth? Why should I have to spend these hours in places I would much rather not be? That’s why I willingly undertake to lose a certain amount of time and money, letting fellow Jews benefit from this... I am confident that these hours are anyhow lost time.” Another sofer, who works alongside Solomon, came up with a plan to test his remarkable colleague’s theory. He reported the events as follows: “One month, after I saw him devote six hours of voluntary work and once again heard his explanation that this burden relieves him of others, I decided to find out if it was really true. I asked him to keep track of all the times he is interrupted from his work during the coming month, and to record all the hours he loses from his writing time. I, too, would record precisely how many hours of time I lose from occasional interruptions that pop up for various reasons. At the end of the month, we would tally our hours and compare results.
“Both of us work about eight hours a day. Taking into account the absolutely essential interruptions, the total hours of remaining work time is about 130 hours a month. During that month, I recorded the time I missed from work every day. My month looked something like this: One day I came to work a little late because of a wedding that had ended very late the previous night. Another day I was delayed because of a family berit. On most days, the loss of working time was attributed to having to fix or sharpen my quill. And then there were times when a little shopping here and there, or other errands, caused me to leave work early.
IF I AM DESTINED TO LOSE A NUMBER OF WRITING HOURS EVERY MONTH, WHY SHOULD IT BE AT THE EXPENSE OF MY POOR SON’S ACHING TEETH? “Like every sofer, I had many ‘dark days’ where everything that could go wrong did: one day some ink spilled, and on another I had no patience to continue. Another time, some letters were printed incorrectly, and once an unusual amount of halachic questions regarding my writing arose. In short, my writing hours that month totaled only 95. This wasn’t a month where I had been interrupted more than usual; it was a regular month, and it was more or less illustrative of the way things tend to go. “With my number of hours in hand, I approached my colleague, the volunteer tutor who wrote at the same table. I presented him with my monthly tally and asked him to show me his. Solomon withdrew a notebook from his pocket and calculated the total amount of hours he had missed from his work, which he, too, had carefully recorded. “Like me, he had missed time here and there for various reasons. That month his father had been hospitalized with a heart attack, and this took a large chunk of time from his working hours. He had also devoted one full day’s work of eight hours to his volunteer tutoring, which naturally had reduced his total number of working hours. “But I jumped when I heard him say that the total amount of his work hours that month was 115. I was astonished to discover that even with his volunteer tutoring, he had worked more hours than I, though our writing ability is about the same. I wanted to understand this phenomenon, so the next month we again recorded our hours. It seemed very odd that although I missed time for the usual reasons, Solomon didn’t miss more time than I did, despite his volunteer tutoring and tending to his ailing father. “The next month, I was again faced with the startling reality that the time Solomon lost in volunteer work, I lost because of various other reasons. Even his father’s illness didn’t cause Solomon to miss extra time. The implication was clear: what is destined to be lost, one anyhow loses, but there are people who wisely utilize this loss of time for mitzvot. Moreover, with his acts of kindness for others, Solomon saved additional hours he might have lost in other ways.” Every step a person takes to help another saves him from having to take a thousand on his own behalf. It’s a fact: one saves a thousand. And who wouldn’t want to sign on to such a lucrative deal?” Ben Zahav, also known as Baruch Lev, is a best-selling writer and author. Adapted from The Jewish World of Wonders.
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Yom Kippur – The Holiest Day of the Year It’s a time of prayer and repentance, when Jews around the world spend almost the entire day in the synagogue, engulfed in a palpable aura of solemnity. They pour out their hearts, beseeching Hashem for a sweet year. The men sway to and fro, their melodious prayers reaching the heavens, as they beg Hashem to overturn any harsh decrees that had been issued. The women stand behind the mehitzah, tears streaming down their cheeks, their heads burrowed in the pages of the mahzor. Everyone is fasting and trying to utilize every moment of this sacred day to draw closer to our Father in Heaven.
There is, however, one group of people who stay at home on Yom Kippur, doing for the most part the same things they do on other days: mothers with young children! If you are part of this club, be thankful for the sacred and magnificent role Hashem has given you of raising the next generation of Jews. But even if you indeed feel privileged, you might find it virtually impossible to capture the sanctity of the day when you’re sitting on your couch, attempting to entertain your brood while also getting in a few rushed prayers. But with some effort and advance preparation, you can make Yom Kippur an uplifting and meaningful day for both you and your children.
The 10 days from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur are called the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah (Ten Days of Repentance), and they are
ick out your children’s clothing in advance, so you don’t have to spend time looking for matching tops and bottoms the day of. Remember to pick out non-leather shoes for everyone!
ou don’t want to make food when you’re fasting, so prepare it prior to Yom Kippur. Make a big orzo salad and some sandwiches the day before, so they are in the fridge ready for your children to eat!
an auspicious time for change and growth. Yes, it is possible for you as a mother of young children to use these days as an opportunity to introspect and reflect. Ask yourself, what character traits can you improve? Do you need to be more patient with your children? Express gratitude and count your blessings more often? Each of us is a work in progress, and therefore this is a great time to take one tiny step towards improvement. Remember, Hashem cherishes every inch of our growth! Even if you cannot leave home to get motivated, Torah tapes and books work wonders. You can ask one of your friends to partner up and learn halachot of shemirat halashon (proper speech) or Shabbat. Online Torah lectures are also a great option. Visit LearnTorah.com, TorahAnytime.com and Aish.com for loads of inspiration!
Organization is Key
Remember, you will be fasting on Yom Kippur, and therefore it is probably not the time to start rummaging for missing pieces of games in order to keep your kids busy. While kids who are bar mitzvah age or older should be in shul, younger children need books and games to keep them engaged. So, take your kids to the local Dollar Store a week in advance, and let them pick out a few non-muktzeh items (call your rabbi to find out what’s okay for your children to play with). When you get home, put your purchases away until Yom Kippur arrives, so your children have what to look forward to. Hopefully, the toys that they choose will keep them occupied for a good few hours.
Bring Shul Home
Don’t excuse your children altogether from the Yom Kippur experience just because they are not old enough to sit and pray in shul. Have them sit in a circle, and teach them some of the tunes that are sung in shul on Yom Kippur. Pray out loud together with them, and show them the beauty of the prayers. Before you know it, you will have a mini-shul in your home! You can also give each child a chance to choose two things to thank Hashem for (with you demonstrating first of course!), and if they are a little older, to name one thing that they would like to work on. This will get everyone into the mode of gratitude and growth.
Try arranging a rotation with your friend, neighbor or sister so you can spend some time at shul. Your kids will probably enjoy the interaction with other children, and you not only get a well-deserved break from the rigors of parenthood, but also gain an opportunity for some meaningful prayer. Remember, as mothers, it is our responsibility to stay home with our children. We are fortunate to have such a special job! With preparation, Yom Kippur at home can be transformational and extraordinary!
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The Moment Before Creation RABBI BEN TZION SHAFIER
When my daughter was six years old and we were discussing the story of Creation, there was one issue that she couldn’t come to terms with. “Abba,” she said, “I understand that before Hashem created the world there was nothing, not even light and dark, but what color was it?”
e are so accustomed to the world in its current form different preservatives and flavorings that are used. He wouldn’t be that the concept of before Creation is hard to imagine. able to explain the difference between radiant and convection heat, or their effect on the crispness of the The idea of the absence of cookie. He certainly isn’t capable anything – before there was a world, Along comes man with a shovel and axe, moves of creating the intricate system of before there was even matter, space, things around, and claims that he created conveyer belts, mixers, and feeder or any substance to hold it in – is something new. Yet all he did was rearrange chain ovens needed to produce that difficult for us to fathom. cookie. His job is to flip the switch. The But let’s try for a moment to things that had already been created. machine does the rest. envision a vast empty nothingness. There is no space, no matter. There isn’t even time, because time only exists in a physical world. And Creation begins. It begins out of Creative in Name, but Not in Principle nothing, because there is nothing. It begins from nowhere, because This is true of any creative act that a human being engages in – there is no place. At this absolute first moment in time, Hashem whether it is a couple having a child, a farmer growing corn, or an brings forth matter, the very building blocks of creation. Then come entrepreneur creating an industry. We take preexisting elements, use darkness and light, not even separated, but intermingled – a patch preformed systems, turn a switch – and then take credit for the result. of light here, a flash of darkness there. Next come the heavens and In our mind’s eye, it is our effort that brought forth the product, but the earth, then the planets and the stars, the fish in the sea, the birds in reality, all we did was use the machinery that was already in place. in the sky, and all the animals of the earth. And on the final day, at Hashem alone is the Creator. From nothing, He brought forth almost the last moment of Creation, comes man. everything. And He alone conceived of, designed and formed it all. Every element had to be thought out; there were no givens. There Ex Nihilo Creation was no imitating or accepting the status quo, because before Creation, This is unlike anything in our experience, and a point which is there was nothing to imitate or use as a model. often overlooked. When human beings build a house, they might claim to have made something new, but in reality, they created nothing. The wood was already in existence. The rocks were already there. Along comes man with a shovel and axe, moves things around, and claims that he created something new. Yet all he did was rearrange things that had already been created. An analogy to this would be: Fred the cookie baker. Every day, when Fred leaves work, he brings home freshly baked cookies for his kids. His children love to brag about the delicious cookies their father makes. Fred’s kids are the envy of the entire first grade. Naturally, when the class was planning a bake sale, whom did they ask for help with the recipes? Fred! Unfortunately, Fred doesn’t know that much about recipes or There is a big difference between manufacturing and creating an item from nothing. baking cookies. You see, Fred works in a factory. Every morning, The factory worker in a cookie factory may take credit for making the cookies, at exactly 4:20am, Fred turns the switch that starts the machine, and and he may think that he has made something new – yet, in reality, he created exactly 35 minutes later, out rolls the first batch of chocolate cookies. nothing. The ingredients used to bake the cookies and the machinery used to Fred didn’t create the process; he doesn’t even know which mass produce the cookies were already in existence. All the factory worker did was press a button! ingredients go into the dough. He wouldn’t be able to tell you the 82
When we take this huge leap of understanding, we begin to recognize the wonders that are all around us, and the wisdom that is manifest throughout Creation. Most importantly, we gain a glimpse of Hashem. For the house itself attests to its Creator. “And if this is the Creation, what does it tell me about my Creator?” From this perspective, nature, science, and the world itself is a source of constant inspiration. The more I understand the wisdom of the world, the more I perceive the greatness of its Creator. By focusing on this, I see Hashem with greater clarity every day.
Where is Hashem?
Imagine you are seated in a concert hall. Suddenly, the house lights dim. The stage is dark. Slowly, the curtains lift, and a train of musicians take their places behind the 81 instruments arranged on the stage. On cue, the symphony begins. First the wind instruments, then the brass; slowly the strings join in, and then the percussion. The music is heavenly. The unity of it all, the perfect symmetry, is breathtaking. Your reverie is interrupted by the fellow sitting next to you, as he says, “It’s amazing that they play so well without a conductor.” “What do you mean?” you respond. “I mean, no conductor. There’s no one leading them. They’re just playing.” “What makes you say that?” “Simple, I looked on stage,” he responds. “I don’t see a conductor. So obviously, there is none.” Just because this fellow’s view is blocked, doesn’t mean the conductor isn’t there. Someone wrote the music. Someone hired the musicians. They didn’t just all show up one day, randomly start playing, and before you know it, there it is – Mozart’s fifth concerto!
Just as the perfect harmony, precision, and synchrony of a symphony orchestra is proof of the existence of a conductor, the many wonders of the universe testify to the existence of a Creator.
The harmony, the precision, the synchrony – they all demonstrate the conductor’s existence. Yet, astonishingly, people stare at the wonders of Creation and mouth the words, “I guess it just happened.” And sometimes you just have to wonder: are these people serious when they say things like that? Do they really mean it? You might even be tempted to ask them straight out, “Do you really believe this – that it all just happened by itself?” Nothing in the human experience just happens. Buildings don’t just materialize – they require teams of architects, planners, and builders to erect them. Corporations don’t just evolve – they demand coordinated teams of employees, salespeople, accounting personnel, and managers to maintain them. Yet, you expect me to believe that something so many times more sophisticated than anything that man has ever designed, just randomly occurred. No wisdom, no forethought, no one guiding it – on its own, it just evolved! Kind of makes you wonder…
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The Snake Snakes belong to the animal group called reptiles. Snakes have long, thin bodies; no arms or legs; no eyelids; and no ears; and are covered with back-folded skin sections called scales. There are around 3,000 known species of snakes worldwide. Snakes are found on land and in water on every continent except in the polar regions, where it is too cold for them. Snakes usually kill their prey in one of two ways: by delivering a poisonous bite to it, or by wrapping themselves around their prey in order to constrict it.
There are more than thirty species of rattlesnakes, ranging in sizes of one foot to eight feet in length. All rattlesnakes are poisonous and can be recognized by their distinct sound of…the rattle! The rattle, which is made up of a series of hollow, bony segments of keratin, is located at the tip of the rattlesnake’s tail and is used to warn predators to keep away. The famous rattle noise is created by the contraction of special “shaker” muscles in the tail, which cause these bony segments to vibrate against one another. Rattlesnakes are also called pit vipers. Their triangular heads contain a hollow spot between their eyes and nostrils called a pit, which is actually a heat-sensitive sensory organ that helps the rattlesnake locate its prey (such as a rabbit or a mouse) in darkness, by detecting the prey’s body heat. This enables the snake to actually “see” a heat image of its prey - even in complete darkness! Rattlesnakes are also able to detect movement of their prey by sensing their vibrations on the ground. Rattlesnakes kill their prey with a poisonous bite, rather than by constricting it. When the rattlesnake bites its prey, it injects venom from its fangs into it. The venom, which contains powerful digestive enzymes, starts digesting the prey from the inside before the snake even swallows the animal.
Pythons are among the largest snakes in the world. There are over thirty species of pythons. The python is not poisonous; however, it can attack and cause severe injuries with its long, sharp teeth. Like most snakes, pythons don’t chase after their prey; instead, they use their senses of sight and smell to track down, and then ambush, their victims. A hungry python will taste the air with its tongue to sense if prey is nearby. Special temperature sensing pits on its face also tell the python if a warm-blooded animal is in the area. When its prey is close enough, the python captures it with its teeth, then swiftly wraps its body around the victim and squeezes. The python doesn’t crush its prey or break its bones; rather, it tightens its coils until its prey, unable to breathe, dies of suffocation. Incredibly, the python swallows its prey whole! It is able to unhinge its jaw and stretch its mouth wide enough to do this. Depending on the size of the python, it can swallow rodents, birds, lizards, and even large mammals such as monkeys, pigs, and antelope.
The snake is an amazing example of how each creature possesses the tools that are needed for its individual trade. Take a look at the boa constrictor. Like so many snakes, the boa can swallow animals thicker than its own body because of its amazing jaw - the two halves move right apart at the hinge, and are joined only by muscle. How does the snake manage to breathe while its mouth is engaged in the time-consuming task of swallowing a whole animal? The answer is the same specialized equipment that divers use. The boa constrictor is equipped with a snorkel-like windpipe, which it can extend to the edge of its mouth, and in this way it can breathe while swallowing its meal. Another illustration of the snake’s possessing “specialized equipment” is the viper. This poisonous snake has specially designed fangs that act as hypodermic syringes with which the snake injects poison into its victim. These fangs are so long that, when not in use, they hinge back against the roof of the viper’s mouth! One more example is the baby cobra. Baby cobras can bite and kill as soon as they hatch from their eggs, and just one tablespoon of their dried poison could kill over 160,000 mice!
Did You Know? After a big meal, a boa constrictor does not need to eat again for weeks. •
One of the python’s hunting techniques is to lie underwater in a stream, with only its head above water, and wait for a small animal to come close enough for it to attack. •
Some cobra species may pretend they are dead by convulsing and then lying completely still until the danger has passed. (Most predators are not interested in dead prey.) •
Ophidiophobia refers to the fear of snakes. •
Snakes are unable to chew with their teeth because their teeth are pointing backward, but they sure are able to bite with them! •
About 70 percent of all snakes lay eggs, while the rest give birth to live young. •
Synthetic cobra venom is used in pain relievers and arthritis medication.
And Hashem said to him, “What is in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” And He said, “Cast it to the ground,” and he cast it to the ground and it became a snake. And Moshe ran away from it (Shemot 4:2-3). The midrash relates the following incident (Shemot Rabbah 3): A Roman matron said to R’ Yossi, “My god is greater than your Gd.” He asked her why. She explained, “At the moment that your Gd revealed Himself to Moshe in the bush, Moshe covered his face [but did not move]. But when he saw the snake, which is my god, immediately, Moshe ran away from it!” “You do not understand,” R’ Yossi responded. “When our Gd was revealed in the bush, there was no place where Moshe could run. Where would he run – to the heavens, the sea, or to dry land? What does it say concerning our Gd? Behold, I ﬁll the heavens and the earth… With the snake, which is your god, if a person merely runs two or three steps away, he can escape and save himself, and this is why it says, Moshe ran away from it.”
The following are excerpts from Exploring the Wild World of Animals by Efraim Harari, published by Israel Bookshop Publications. Now in its second printing, and available online and in all Judaica stores.
Q : A boa tie. A
: What did the snake wear to his wedding?
TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
Si•to (sĭtō) Grandmother[Arabic]
Dear Sito, I often do things on impulse, out of curiosity, despite knowing the teaching in Pirke Avot, “Who is wise? He who sees the outcome [of one’s actions].” Knowing that many of us have fallen into the trap of impulsive behavior, which often leads to unpleasant consequences, I wanted to ask, is there a way to combat it? I have found that curiosity fuels this trait, creating a doubleedged sword. Another part of the problem is that we are always taught to be diligent and do things quickly, so where do you draw the line between impulsive behavior and diligence?
Dear Impulsive, You speak of several different behaviors and character traits – curiosity, impulsivity, diligence and getting things done quickly. Each quality and behavior has the potential to enhance our lives and make us more productive, but can also lead to unpleasant consequences, depending on the degree of the behavior in question and its appropriateness in any given context. Let us look at each behavior and quality you mentioned to determine how they can be used to make our lives better, without them making our lives worse. Impulsivity means reckless, irresponsible behavior that is done on the spur of the moment, without much thought about the consequences. Diligence, on the other hand, is just the opposite, referring to careful and conscientious behavior. When we speak of “due diligence,” we describe the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property, or the appropriate research that should be done before entering into a business transaction. Thus, impulsivity and diligence are opposites, and it is important to understand the sharp contrast between the two. Impulsive behavior can never be diligent because there is no forethought, and diligent behavior can never be impulsive because it is not spontaneous. You also asked about curiosity, which is defined as the natural desire to know about something that is unfamiliar. Is curiosity good
or bad? Well, we can say that curiosity killed the cat, or that only the curious learn. Young children are generally brimming with curiosity. They want to know what happens when you let go of a cup, and so they do just that. Although they break the cup, they also learn about gravity. They want to know what happens when they pull on the cat’s tail, so they do, and they learn that it is not such a good idea. As adults, we, hopefully, have more common sense and more experience with the world around us. We are not curious about what will happen if we don’t pay the electric bill – we know they will shut off the lights. And yet, some of the greatest inventions of modern civilization came to be as a result of curiosity. Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin and the Wright Brothers, to name just a few, were curious individuals whose fierce desire to explore led to wonderful discoveries. So, as you say, curiosity can be a double-edged sword. If you exercise curiosity impulsively, without giving thought to the potential outcome, then you stand a good chance of suffering negative consequences. But if your curiosity is tempered by diligent examination, then you may be rewarded with the next crucial contribution to society – or at the very least, have a very gratifying experience.
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TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
Sa g e a E D C I V A D V I CE Dear Rabbi, Every year, we go to my in-laws’ house for the holidays. They are nice, but they are very formal, while my family is more laid back, and so I sometimes feel a little uncomfortable when I go there. Also, I have a lot of younger siblings that still live at home and my husband complains that they are loud and messy. On the other hand, I want a turn to go to my parents’ house this year. I don’t want to start an argument with my husband, but what can I say to him?
Stuck Between Two Sides 90
Dear Stuck Between Two Sides, Your situation is surely one which many of us end up grappling with, but keep in mind that those who preplan and proceed cautiously have the greatest chance of overcoming this challenge successfully. In many circles, young couples follow a rotation system of sorts, alternating between one set of parents and the other for the holidays. Understandably, in situations where no fixed arrangement exists, problems can arise. As with all delicate family dilemmas, it is impossible, and counterproductive, to lay down a one-size-fits-all rule. We can, however, offer a few ideas that should be kept in mind during the decision process. Toward the beginning of the Book of Devarim (6:18), the Torah gives us a general and somewhat vague command: “Ve’asita hayashar vehatov – You shall do that which is straightforwardness and good.” Our sages interpret this verse as referring to “compromise, and extending beyond the letter of the law” (see Ramban’s commentary to this verse). Thus, the Torah here establishes a requirement to compromise and show flexibility in our relations with other people. The importance of peaceful compromise is further emphasized by the prophet Zechariah (8:19), who concludes his statement foretelling the joy of the final of redemption by instructing, “And you shall love the truth and the peace.” We can understand from the words of the prophet that the joy and blessings of the final redemption are drawn closer by conducting our affairs with ourselves honesty and peace, and by expending efforts and making sacrifices for the sake of avoiding conflict. Of course, there are various overriding factors that need to be considered. For example, sometimes either the husband or wife, or one of the two sets of parents going through a difficult time, requiring that the pattern be adjusted one way or the other. At times there are needs of the children which must be met and demand some change as well.
Additionally, personal preferences should be reevaluated to determine the prospects of flexibility. Perhaps you and your husband can have a candid discussion bringing up your discomfort with his parents’ formality and his dislike for your siblings’ rowdiness, so you can come to terms with the less-than-ideal settings and reach a mutually acceptable compromise. My impression is that you can both agree that neither holiday arrangement is perfect, and that you both acknowledge that many things in life are not perfect. By speaking out your preferences and concerns, you will both be in a better position to put things in their proper perspective, setting the stage for a workable compromise. But my most important piece of advice to couples embroiled in a disagreement is for each to convey the message that he/she is taking the needs and concerns of the other party into serious consideration. Show your husband that you are not simply out to get your way, rather you seek to work together with him to find a solution that addresses both your needs and his. Emphasize that as concerned as you are about your reasons for wanting to spend the holidays with your parents, it is also important to you that he enjoys this special time of year. Naturally, if you have tried working things out together and failed to find a solution, you can often benefit by consulting with a wise and caring third party whose opinion you both respect. Yet as previously explained, the most important thing is that you tackle this problem together as a team, and as long as you are both sensitive and attending to each other’s feelings, you can rest assured that you will both enjoy a festive holiday atmosphere regardless of where you spend it, and you both will then have come out as winners.
With warm wishes and Torah blessings, Rabbi Yechiel Elbaz
TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
Professor Noe Ital has the answers to ALL your questions... Ever won de r how bird s fly? What exactly is the funny bone? Why is can dy ba d for yo ur teeth? Why is the sky blue? Ho w does a fax machin e work? Why is the mo on so metim es o ut durin g the day? Well, y o u no longe r nee d to ask Jeeve s or text Ch a Cha. We are excit e d to anno un ce that Professor N oe Ital has jo ine d o ur staff an d he is avail able to answer ALL o f yo ur questio ns. If you have a question for the professor, send it to: 1616 Ocean Parkway Brooklyn, NY 11223 ATT: Professor Noe Ital Ask@CommunityM.com 718-645-4460
Professor Noe Ital [AKA: Know-it-all]
QUESTION OF THE MONTH:
This monthâ€™s question was submitted by Marilyn from Brooklyn, NY
How does a hot-air balloon rise in the air? 92
What is a satellite?
h outer t that travels throug A satellite is an objec ch mu circles another, and space and continually vels tra e ute that the satellit larger, object. The ro . For bit or r object is called its as it circles the large d an rth a satellite of the ea example, the moon is ich wh , es llit planets have sate orbits around it. Many nd ou ar bit nets and which or are actually smaller pla Human a circle or an ellipse. the larger planets in which we es construct satellit , beings have learned to at are th ts . These are objec call artiﬁcial satellites which d an e with immense forc shot into outer space eir Th . rth , the sun, or the ea orbit around the moon job is to carry out observations in outer space, to convey telephone conversations from one end of our planet to the other, and to do all sorts of other tasks.
What is “laughing gas”?
ous oxide (N2O). What we call “laughing gas” is nitr es, laughing gas gives When administered in small dos causes ﬁts of a feeling of mild intoxication and an anesthetic and hysterical laughter. It is used as hing gas because a pain killer. Dentists employ laug cavities and carry ll it makes it easier for them to ﬁ out other forms of dental treatment, which people – especially children – generally do not like to go through. Laughing gas was discovered by an English scientist, Joseph Priestley, in the late 1700‛s.
How does water extinguish ﬁre?
Why do people breathe heavily after running?
When we jog or run, we breathe more quickly than we do normally because our body requires a greater amount of oxygen in order to adjust its activities to the fast pace of our running. When we stop running, our heart and lungs are still operating at a faster pace than normal, although the other parts of our body have already started to rest. That is why we then are more aware of our heavy breathing, to which we did not pay much attention when our entire body was moving quickly. Try to imagine how we would feel if our breathing were quick all the time, as if we had just ﬁnished running. Thanks to Hashem‛s mercy, the pace of our breathing becomes normal again after a few minutes have passed.
Fire needs the oxygen in the air in order to continue to burn. That is the reason why, when you cover a burning candle with a glass or some other vessel, the candle will be extinguished very quickly – because the oxygen in the air will be used up in a matter of a few seconds, and without oxygen, the candle will be unable to burn. When we pour water on a ﬁre, the heat of the ﬂames converts the water to steam (vapor). The hot steam, which has a greater volume than the water, is repelled from the object on which we poured the water, and drives the oxygen in the air from the burning object. Since the ﬁre needs that oxygen in order to continue to burn, the ﬁre is extinguished.
Dear Marilyn, Hot-air balloons are able to rise into the air because they are filled with hot air, which is lighter than the cold air outside. When we warm the air inside the balloon, the balloon rises just like a ball filled with air will rise to the surface of the water in a swimming pool and will then float on the water’s surface. TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
s Engagement & Rena Netanel
Births – Baby Boy
Rabbi Yehuda Charles & Judy Madeb Rabbi Eliezer & Yvette Zeytouneh Aaron & Sondra Franco Joey & Tanya Dushey Rabbi Michael & Marissa Mansour Isaac Mortob & Danielle Sitt Isaac & Adele Saka Rabbi Moshe & Tzippy Abboud Rabbi Eliyahu & Mazal Abady Shelomo (Momo) Eldanav to Jaclyn Ben-Haim
Rabbi Morris & Deborah Franco Rabbi Mordechai and Sara Semah
aby Girl Births –B & Rena Netanel
Rabbi Yehuda Charles & Judy Madeb Rabbi Eliezer & Yvette Zeytouneh Aaron & Sondra Franco Joey & Tanya Dushey Rabbi Michael & Marissa Mansour Isaac Mortob & Danielle Sitt Isaac & Adele Saka Rabbi Moshe & Tzippy Abboud Rabbi Eliyahu & Mazal Abady
David, son of Rabbi Joey & Simi Mizrahi Sammy Isaac, son of Gregg & Darlene Salzman Moshe, son of Rabbi Yoel & Ruthie Zafrani Bobby, son of Yigal & Stephanie Carme
Eliyahu Farhi to Joyce Kishk Isaac Schweky to Tova Alfie Sami Kohen to Ruthie Levy Isaac Pardes to Mazal Massry Yosef Erani to Rachel Wadiche Benny Rishtey to Batya Kohen Baruch Ben Haim to Sarah Laniado email: firstname.lastname@example.org online: www.communitym.com
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TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
TH CHIC KITCHEN Who says
easy can't be fabulous?
Esther Deutsch, author of CHIC Made Simple shares her philosophy: If your food looks irresistible - it tastes as such. Her recipes are designed to look – and taste – like gourmet cuisine. Yet the recipes are so easy, they take just minutes.
Striped Sesame Teriyaki Salmon
The idea of striping the salmon with black and white sesame seeds came from Batsheva, who has a knack for upgrading a recipe’s wow factor. You can also achieve this look with individual salmon slices. As for the salmon, this is not just any teriyaki salmon. It’s by far the best version of teriyaki salmon I’ve tasted.
1 large (36 oz.) salmon fillet 2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce ¼ cup soy sauce ½ cup Dijon mustard ½ cup honey 1 lemon, juiced 5 cloves garlic, minced Black and white sesame seeds
1. Place the salmon in an oversized, sealable plastic bag. Combine the teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, mustard, honey, lemon juice, and garlic and pour over the salmon. Turn the salmon to coat. Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours. 2. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place on the baking sheet. 3. Sprinkle the salmon with the black and white sesame seeds in diagonal stripes, alternating with the black and white seeds. Use the dull side of a large knife to help keep the lines even. 4. Bake for 50 minutes for a large fillet or 35–40 minutes for individual slices. Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6 people.
Ginger Carrot Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting CALLING ALL carrot pastry lovers AND cynics: meet the reincarnated carrot cake. I’m very particular about carrot cakes, and even the ones I’ve tasted in restaurants have proved disappointing. This cake is moist and not cloyingly sweet. The spices are subtle, and the silky crown of the pareve cream cheese frosting makes the yumminess complete.
2 cups carrot, finely grated 1 cup all-purpose fl our 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp. baking soda ½ tsp. salt ½ cup oil ¼ tsp. ginger 1 tsp. cinnamon
There are two ways you can serve this cake. The simpler way is to bake it in a 9-inch round pan and serve in slices. Or you can double the recipe, bake it in a 9x13-inch foil pan, and cut out individual servings of round cakes with a stainless-steel ring mold. This recipe was given to me by Dini R., who serves this as a sweet side dish to accompany her main dishes.
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the grated carrot, flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, salt, oil, ginger, and cinnamon. 2. Pour the batter into a baking pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Allow to cool. 3. Prepare the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the pareve cream cheese, lime juice, vanilla extract, and confectioners’ sugar. Spread over the cake and refrigerate until set. Spread a thin layer of orange sauce on top, if desired. Serve at room temperature. Serves 8
FROSTING 6 oz. (¾ of a container) Tofutti cream cheese 1 tsp. lime juice ¼ tsp. vanilla extract ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
OPTIONAL GARNISH Store-bought orange sauce
Featured recipes are excerpts from CHIC Made Simple by Esther Deutsch. CHIC Made Simple is published by Feldheim and is available online and Judaica stores everywhere.
TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
To • KIDS’ FOOTBALL INJURIES ON THE RISE
While sports injuries among children have generally declined over the last decade, football injuries among kids have increased 22 percent, according to a new study. Dr. Shital Parikh, Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the study’s lead author, said he was surprised by the findings. Based on his and his colleagues’ experiences in their practice, he remarked, he had expected to find a large increase in children’s sports injuries, but the study found an 11.3 percent decrease in the overall number of activity injuries among kids aged 5 to 14. The researchers looked at data from bicycle, basketball, football, roller sports, playground equipment, baseball/softball, soccer, and trampoline injuries. Recreational activities – such as bicycles, trampolines and roller sports – saw the largest decrease at 24.9 percent, whereas injuries from ball sports showed a slight uptick of 5.5 percent, with football leading the way. The overall decrease in injuries could be attributed to the overall decrease in kids’ physical activity and the increase in childhood obesity, Dr. Parikh said. Sports may also be safer than they were 10 years ago, thanks to continuing education and preventive programs. Dr. Parikh stressed that sports are never going to be 100 percent injury-free for kids, noting, “These are accidents and there is no way you can prevent accidents.” But parents can do their part to keep children as safe as possible, he adds. Dr. Parikh recommends discussing a child’s athletic activities with a primary care physician to make sure the sport – and the frequency of the child’s involvement – does not place excessive strain on his or her body. Parents should also provide the proper protective gear, such as helmets, shin guards and athletic shoes, he said.
“INTELLIGENT” SURGICAL KNIFE CAN SNIFF OUT CANCER TISSUE
Scientists have created an “intelligent” surgical knife that can detect in seconds whether the tissue it cuts is cancerous, which could pave the way for more effective and accurate surgery for cancer. The technology, effectively merging an electrosurgical knife that cuts through tissue using heat with a mass spectrometer for chemical analysis, has also been shown to be able to distinguish beef from horsemeat. Surgeons often find it impossible to tell by sight where tumors end and healthy tissue begins, so some cancer cells are often left behind.
• Health In fact, one-fifth of breast cancer patients who undergo lumpectomy surgery require a second operation. The new “iKnife” is designed to get around the problem by instantly sampling the smoke given off as tissue is cut through using an electric current to see if it is cancerous. In the first study to test the device on patients, the iKnife diagnosed tissue samples from 91 patients with 100 percent accuracy, researchers at Imperial College London reported. Currently, removed tissue can be sent for laboratory analysis while the patient remains under general anesthetic, but each test takes around half an hour, while the iKnife provides feedback in less than three seconds. Zoltan Takats of Imperial College, who invented the device, said he plans to test it on some 1,000 - 1,500 patients with various types of cancers, a process that will likely take two or three years. Afterward, the iKnife will be submitted for regulatory approval, paving the way for its commercialization.
CARBOHYDRATES TRIGGER FOOD CRAVINGS
A new study suggests that not all calories are created equal. Sugary foods and drinks, white bread and other processed carbohydrates that are known to cause abrupt spikes and falls in blood sugar appear to stimulate parts of the brain involved in hunger, craving and reward, the new research shows. The findings, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that these so-called high-glycemic foods influence the brain in a way that might drive some people to overeat. For those who are particularly susceptible to these effects, avoiding refined carbohydrates might reduce urges and potentially help control weight, said Dr. David Ludwig, the lead author of the study and the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. “This results of the study suggest that based on their effects on brain metabolism, all calories are not alike,” he said. “Not everybody who eats processed carbohydrates develops uncontrollable food cravings. But for the person who has been struggling with weight in our modern food environment and unable to control their cravings, limiting refined carbohydrates may be a logical first step.” Previous research suggests that when blood sugar levels plummet, people have a tendency to seek out foods that can restore it quickly, and this may set up a cycle of overeating driven by high-glycemic foods, Dr. Ludwig said. “It makes sense that the brain would direct us to foods that would rescue blood sugar,” he said. “That’s a normal protective mechanism.” It is clear that the conventional approach of the past few decades is not effective. A more helpful message than “eat less,” may be “eat less refined carbohydrates and more whole foods.”
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TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
Avoiding the CPAP Mask...
Comfort is King DR. JACQUES DOUECK
s a dentist with special training in the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea, I receive many patients who come to me because they want to avoid the conventional treatment methods – CPAP mask, headgear, and straps. For 80 percent of those patients, an oral appliance (dental mouthpiece) is effective in treating their snoring and getting them maximum medical improvement for their sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is caused by the tongue and soft palate blocking the patient’s airway, and results in numerous medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, acid reflux, excessive daytime fatigue, auto accidents, stroke, and more. Because oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear, patients are very compliant (85-95 percent) and use them every night, all night. If the patient can get maximum medical improvement with an oral appliance alone, this is ideal, and it is not surprising that many patients ask for and readily accept this approach. Success is determined by a post-treatment sleep study. Oral appliance therapy (OAT) consists of a device that goes into the mouth and attaches to the teeth in order to bring the jaw forward at night. When the jaw is brought forward, the tongue, which is attached to the jaw, also comes forward, thereby opening the back of the throat. The base of the tongue collapsing against the airway is the cause of the obstruction in sleep apnea patients, and thus bringing the jaw forward to open the airway makes it easier to breathe and cures the condition. The success of these appliances is well documented, and, as mentioned, most patients adapt to them very well.
Combination therapy. For 20 percent of patients, oral appliance therapy (OAT) is not enough to treat their snoring and sleep apnea. In the past, the only option for these patients was a stock off the shelf CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) mask secured to the face with straps and head gear. Recently, however, Dr. Keith Thornton of Airway Management in Dallas invented and developed the Custom Mask (TAP-PAP CM), and Dr. Ronald Prehn, a dentist from Woodlands, Texas, published studies on the effectiveness of this device, which most every patient describes as the “most comfortable design ever.” The stock CPAP masks have a rejection rate of nearly 50 percent, even among patients who need it most. The main reasons for rejection of the stock CPAP mask are leakage of the mask, pressure on the face, and the discomfort of the straps around the head. The Custom Mask, by contrast, has no straps, no head gear and absolutely no leakage at any pressure. These combination devices are very comfortable because the mask is secured to the dental device. The CPAP machine connects directly to the oral appliance, thus avoiding the need for the straps and headgear, while also bringing the jaw forward to open the airway, greatly reducing the air pressure needed. Just as importantly, a mold is taken of the face, so the mask fits the patient’s face perfectly, offering maximum comfort. It’s like the difference between wearing drugstore insoles and custom orthotics inside your shoes – there is no comparison. Only a dentist trained in how to take the facial mold and prepare the dental device (TAP-PAP CM) is licensed to provide this care. Dr. Prehn and Dr. Thornton are working together on a training program for dentists interested in offering this treatment. When I show the custom mask combination (TAP-PAP CM) to medical sleep specialists and technicians, the reaction is always the same: “This makes sense – this is what patients need. I have many patients that have stopped using their CPAP mask – they will definitely like this.” If you know someone that could benefit from “the most comfortable mask ever,” then show them this article.
Will Be Built On Coney Island!
A behind-the-scenes look at how a united community successfully stopped a casino from coming to Coney Island.
ver the past year, “Stop The Coney Island Casino,” a broad coalition established by the Sephardic Community Federation (SCF), has worked tirelessly to ensure that the safety and security of Coney Island, and the surrounding communities where we live, would not be compromised by the planned construction of a casino on Coney Island. The group led an extensive public outreach and education campaign about the dangers of a Coney Island casino. Speeches were made at important gatherings, advertisements were placed in numerous newspapers, and informational mailers were sent to tens of thousands of households. But a grassroots campaign was just the beginning. The SCF understood that it was also vitally important to secure the support of our elected officials. And so after the groundwork had been put into place, the leadership of the SCF held key meetings with strategic players, including all the assembly representatives in Southern Brooklyn, as well as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Councilman David Greenfield provided the coalition with invaluable assistance throughout the year with his sound advice and encouragement. After holding meetings with numerous legislators and elected officials to prove to them how strongly the community felt about this issue, Sam Sutton, President of SCF, along with Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz ( the first Assemblyman who offered to help), called an emergency meeting and invited other Assembly members in the area to attend. The purpose of the meeting was to strategize and make sure we were all in agreement regarding how “Stop The Coney Island Casino” coalition should proceed. It was determined that it was of the utmost importance to make sure that Governor Andrew Cuomo heard our concerns. To that end, a letter to the Governor was drafted in early June and signed by the five legislators: Assemblyman Cymbrowitz (45th A.D.), Assemblyman Peter Abbate (49th A.D.), Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (41st A.D.), Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (42nd A.D.) and Assemblyman William Colton (47th A.D.). These Assembly members were chosen because their districts were closest to the site of the proposed Coney Island casino. Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny also offered his support to the coalition. Thankfully, the Governor heard our concerns and answered the letter in July advising that “the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act of 2013 made certain that casino gambling will not be coming to Coney Island.” This newly passed legislation ensures that no casinos can be built in our community over the next seven years. After seven years have passed, no casino can be built without legislative approval, all but ensuring that no casino will be placed in our community. The Governor stressed that this new piece of legislation “made it clear that casino gambling is not authorized in Coney Island.”
We would like to thank the Governor as well as Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skelos for responding to the concerns of our community. The community should also thank and applaud those five Assembly members for agreeing to sign the letter to the governor. They worked with the SCF and stood with the community by offering real support. We thank them for sharing the concerns of our community. SCF and “Stop The Coney Island Casino” could not have accomplished this important goal without the support of the community as well as all our elected officials. This is a huge victory for our community and (L-R) Sam Sutton, NYS Assembly Speaker demonstrates how well Sheldon Silver, Ronald Tawil. (Photo by Morris Gindi Photography) the political process can work when we elect officials who are supportive of the community’s interests. The long-lasting relationships that the SCF has maintained over the years with our elected officials (L-R) Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, played a crucial role Sam Sutton, Councilman David Greenfield. in preventing a casino (Photo by Morris Gindi Photography) from being built in Coney Island. Politicians have learned that when the SCF approaches them with concerns or issues, they are speaking on behalf of the community. “One Community, One Voice.” The SCF has become a powerful lobby that advocates for our community and educational issues by shaping policy and by generating legislation and funding. The single most important thing that you can do to help the community is to vote. Voting is how our community raises its collective voice to make ourselves heard on the issues that matter most. By voting in large numbers, we can help those elected officials who support and protect our community’s interests, including our yeshivot and social service institutions. Please don’t forget to vote on Primary Day, Tuesday, September 10th. Together, we can continue to prove to our elected officials that our community is a major force to be reckoned with.
Hatzalah of the Jersey Shore Hosts First Ever Kids Carnival
Jack Kishk, Director of Financial Development JS74, reported that the community’s generous support has helped Hatzalah of the Jersey Shore raise its level of preparedness for medical emergencies. “B”H the community has been so supportive this year, we have been able to outfit most of the members with lifesaving defibrillators and equipment.” The organization hopes to expand on this success next year with an even bigger event for all to enjoy.
Bonei Olam Evening To Remember
Steven Sitt, Jack Kishk, Stan Cohen, “Jimmy,” Morris Rahmey, Ezra Dayan and Charles Cohen.
The sun was shining and the food was delicious at the first Hatzalah of the Jersey Shore Carnival held in Long Branch on August 11th. A crowd of over 2000 community children and adults, looking to share in a day of fun, food, games and prizes, attended the spectacular event and received a free orange reflective night safety vest, sponsored by Hatzalah. The carnival was run by a dynamic team of over 200 volunteers, arranged by Charles Cohen. All the proceeds from the carnival went to Jersey Shore Hatzalah, which responds to medical emergency calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in Deal, New Jersey and the surrounding towns and areas. The carnival included a Chinese auction and a grand raffle with fantastic prizes, arranged by Lew Esses and Carmella Cohen, as well as a one-of-a-kind outdoor skating rink which was brought in specially from South Carolina just for the carnival so children and adults could enjoy outdoor ice skating on a picturesque August day. Another feature of the day was the “Tour the Ambulance” and “Become a Junior EMT” program. Children were invited to climb onto Hatzalah’s newest ambulance, donated by the Pardo-Missry family, meet the volunteers, learn the names of basic equipment and ask questions. “Early education leads to future success, and Jersey Shore Hatzalah Members have been out in full force throughout the summer demonstrating ways to help in emergencies,” says Coordinator Avi Aboud JS-6. The aromas of barbecued food that Stan Cohen helped arrange with Kings Highway Glatt, popcorn, cotton candy and Italian ices filled the warm summer air, and the enticing treats were enjoyed by all. Young visitors enjoyed a petting zoo and numerous rides and games, including a “dunk the dispatcher” booth where players could throw baseballs at a target to get a chance at dunking Hatzalah volunteers in a waiting vat of water below. Reflecting on the success of the event, Carnival Chairperson Ezra Dayan said, “We had the most dedicated committee anyone could ask for.” Hatzalah of the Jersey Shore was founded in 2002 and has a fleet of four state-of-the-art ambulances that respond to emergency calls. Most of the calls it receives are made during the summer months, as the population expands with summer vacationers and beach goers frequenting the ocean side towns. 104
The annual Bonei Olam fundraiser was held on Thursday August 15th at the home of Edmond and Terri Harary. Bonei Olam is an organization dedicated to assisting couples struggling with problems related to fertility, and has Rabbi Joey Haber and Rabbi Shlomo Bochner. helped thousands photo credit: Arlene Mizrahi of couples realize their dream of having a child. Hundreds of donors and benefactors enjoyed a wonderful evening that was both inspirational and constructive. Attendees marveled at the photographic portfolio of acclaimed photographer Susan Menash, featured throughout the Harary home, and were moved by Rabbi Joey Haber’s inspiring address. Rabbi Haber described the beautiful work being done by Bonei Olam for world Jewry, and for the Syrian community in particular. He asked the crowd to imagine, if only for a moment, what it would be like to not be able to rejoice in their child’s successes, and to try to feel the pain of watching other couples enjoying their children, watching them play, laugh and cry, and then return to an empty home. There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd. Rabbi Haber emphasized the importance of ensuring that every couple, no matter their background or financial state, should be able to have a child of their own and experience the unparalleled enjoyment that it brings. Rabbi Shlomo Bochner, the founder and director of Bonei Olam, explained that as a childless parent himself, he was driven to create an organization that would eradicate the kind of pain he experienced. He proudly reported to the emotional audience that over 4,300 babies have been born through Bonei Olam’s intervention. The impact of both rabbis’ words was resounding, as the crowd generously pledged to support this vital endeavor. Bonei Olam expresses its gratitude to all those who came out to support this great cause, as well as Rabbi Joey Haber and Edmond and Terri Harary. The entire evening was captured by photographer Arlene Mizrahi, who donated her time and expertise toward making this an evening to remember.
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TAG Urges Internet Safety Measures
It’s hard to believe, but the internet is still in its infancy stages. Ubiquitous names like Facebook and Twitter were barely known as recently as 2007. The speed at which technology changes and evolves is truly staggering. Trying to stay abreast of new technology is exceedingly difficult. And with all of the promise of technology, all the convenience it brings, there is also a darker side, with which virtually everyone has encountered at one point or another. The danger posed by this dark side is especially grave when it comes to our young, innocent children. No parent would willingly expose their children to danger, but for some reason, the internet is widely viewed as just a simple, harmless tool. At every moment a child sits in front of the computer, he is just one click away from the most explicit, dangerous, and damaging media. This is not just a simple tool. Every dangerous tool needs safety gear before being used. The same is true for the internet. TAG, the Technology Awareness Group, was founded to specifically address this issue. TAG’s trained technicians keep up to date with the latest in technology, ranging from computers to smartphones and handheld game consoles. Additionally, and even more importantly, they keep apprised of the latest safety solutions to make the internet experience as safe as possible for children and adults alike. The service is free, and the benefits are priceless. For more information, please call 718-717-TAG1 or visit the group’s office at 523 Kings Highway.
Acheinu’s “Yeshivat Summer Vacation” Brings Hundreds of Baalei Teshuva to Yeshivah
Few sights are more inspiring that the sight of dozens of Israeli teenagers from non-religious homes sitting in a bet midrash involved in heated discussions about the Gemara. This remarkable sight was seen this past summer in over 15 learning centers in Israel where youths were invited to have a taste of Torah. And those who accepted the invitation are not just saying, “I like it,” but rather, “I love it!” The catalyst for this quiet summer vacation revolution was Acheinu, the outreach arm of the world Torah organization, Dirshu. Rabbi Chaim Goldberg of Modiin Illit, one of Acheinu’s most capable leaders, relates, “The state schools here in Israel have a full two-month vacation. So many young people, especially those from less affluent families, spend their time at home, bored and looking for something to do. In stepped Acheinu, opening learning centers in cities throughout Israel. It must be said, however, that Acheinu’s work starts long before the summer. Throughout the year, Acheinu activists get to know these boys, and spark an interest in the Yiddishkeit [Judaism] that rests within their neshamot [souls]. The summer simply serves as the proverbial ‘clincher’ because there is time to expose them to serious Torah study. “Not only do these young men come to learn at night during their summer vacation – that in and of itself is a hiddush [novelty]! –but 106
an even greater wonder is the manner in which these boys have been exposed to real yeshivah-style learning. We have taken some of the most complex sugyot [topics] and broken them down… and the boys are hooked. To watch them ‘fighting in learning,’ to watch their faces light up when a sevara [rationale] from Rav Chaim Brisker breaks down the previously complicated sugya and resolves the difficulty, is to watch pure simhat haTorah [joy of Torah].” “To us…this has also served as a profound lesson in emunat hahamim [faith in the rabbis]. A few years ago, we went to the generation’s leading posek [halachic authority], HaGaon HaRav Elyashiv, zt”l, and asked him what we should focus on in our kiruv [outreach] efforts. He replied, ‘The main thing you should do is learn Gemara with them. The Gemara will bring them back!’” The resounding success of this unique summer program will be felt during the coming year, and well beyond, as a significant number of these boys have enrolled in yeshivot and are well on their way to becoming outstanding bnei Torah. - Chaim Gold.
What Teens Would Like Parents to Know
If you have a teenage son or daughter, here are 7 things that he or she wants to tell you: • Please don’t compare us to others. It hurts. It makes us feel bad about ourselves and tells us that you would like us to be more like someone else. • Understand that we experience social rejection and are subject to hurtful comments pretty often, and it can be very painful. Help us to find great friends and to balance our social time with family, work, and alone time. • Try to find out what worries us the most. • Please don’t think that how it was in “your day” is how it is today. While we are dealing with many of the same issues as you dealt with when you were this age, we want you to recognize how things are different. For example, colleges are more competitive, and social media adds new layers of complication to our relationships. • Many of us lead two lives: our physical existence and that which we present on our social media pages. We are very busy balancing our two reputations. • Our identity is tied to that of our peers. This is why we have a need to stay very closely tied to our friends – to what they are doing, wearing and thinking. This is partially what feeds our fear of missing out and what leads us to feel passionately about resisting curfews, certain values, and the like. • Since research shows that the teen brain is prone to taking risks, try to encourage us to take healthy risks, such as getting involved in extreme sports or running for student office. If you or someone you know needs help, please call the SAFE Foundation’s confidential, toll-free hotline, 24/7 at 1-866-569-SAFE (1-866-569-7233). This article is based on an article titled, “The Top 10 Things Teens Wish Their Parents Knew” by Vanessa Van Petten. She is the founder of RadicalParenting. com, a website that gives voice to teenagers in the hope of building greater communication between teens and parents.
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Archie, a Dexter bull from Northern Ireland, measured 30 inches from his hoof to his shoulders when he was 16 months old, making him the world’s shortest bull.
The world’s largest sukkah was built in Moscow under the watch of Rabbi Berel Lazer, the Chief Rabbi of Russia. Its record dimensions were 131 x 131 feet!
A sheep named Lamborghini has won 165 out of 179 races at Odds Farm Park in the United Kingdom. The race track is about 820 feet long and it consists of hurdles and hairpin bends.
INCREDIBLE Largest Consumer of Apples
Israel is the world leader in per capita apple consumption. Israelis eat two million apples per day at the height of the apple season. During the month of Tishre, in preparation for Rosh Hashanah, Israelis consume over 14,000 tons of apples!
The world’s largest sandwich, consisting of meat, mayonnaise, and lettuce, was made in April 2004, in Mexico City, Mexico. The sandwich weighed 7,006 pounds – large enough to feed nearly 32,000 children!
Khufu’s pyramid at Giza, Egypt, also known as the Great Pyramid, is the world’s tallest pyramid. When it was originally built over 4,000 years ago, it was over 481 feet high. However, due to erosion, it is now just over 451 feet high.
The Neot Kedumim nature reserve in Israel claims that it grew the largest etrog in the world. The etrog weighed almost 9 pounds and was 15 inches long and 6.7 inches wide.
The Belz Beit HaMidrash HaGadol is the largest synagogue in the world. It was built by the Belz Hasidic community with financial help from its supporters and admirers around the world. The synagogue’s structure is a replica of the synagogue that once stood in Belz, Galicia, and it took ten years to build.
Largest Shofar Ensemble
On October 04, 2011, 1406 students, staff members and friends of Associated Hebrew Schools in Toronto, Canada gathered in the parking lot of its Kamin campus and blew their handmade shofars simultaneously – setting the new world record for the largest shofar ensemble.
Most Expensive Wine The most expensive commercially sold wine is the French white wine Chateau d’ Yquem which was made in 1787. The price of one bottle fluctuates between $56,000 and $64,000!
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SAGE ADVICE Patient: Doctor, I have ringing in my ears. Doctor: Don’t Answer! Jack V. Grazi LECTURE LOST The rabbi of a small synagogue got up to give his normal lecture on Shabbat morning. When he sat down after only 10 minutes, the congregants were surprised. To explain his short sermon, the rabbi jokingly said, “My dog ate the second half of my speech.” A visitor to the shul, upon hearing this, jumped out of his seat and shouted, “If that dog has any pups, give them to my rabbi!” Y.D. IDENTIFY YOURSELF During basic training, our drill sergeant asked all Jewish personnel to make themselves known. Six of us tentatively raised our hands. Much to our relief, we were given the day off for Rosh Hashanah. A few days later, in anticipation of Yom Kippur, the sergeant again asked for all Jewish personnel to identify themselves. This time, every soldier raised his hand. “Only those who were Jewish last week can be Jewish this week,” the sergeant declared. Abe Cohen
COLLECTING MONEY Two people were collecting money at a shul, an Arab and a Jew. Naturally, everyone was giving to the Jew. Finally, someone asked the Arab, “Why don’t you go to a mosque?” “Don’t you get it?” the Arab replied. “He’s showing me how to make a business.” Shmuel Dror
WHEN IT RAINS Two old men went out for a walk, when suddenly it began to rain. “Quick,” one of them said to the other, “open your umbrella.” “It won’t help,” said his friend. “My umbrella is full of holes.” “Then why did you bring it?” “I didn’t think it would rain!” Steven Sutton
IF THE SHOE FITS David walked into a shoe store and asked for a pair of shoes, size 8. The salesman said, “Are you sure, sir? You look like a size 12 to me.” “Just bring me a size 8.” So the salesman got a pair of size 8 shoes and David squeezed his feet into them with obvious discomfort. He slowly started walking around the store and explained, “Listen, I can’t afford my kids’ school tuition, I don’t have enough money and I’ve gained 50 pounds. The only pleasure I have left is to come home at night and take off my shoes!” Eddie Cohen
A HOUSE ON THE ROOF Mike built a sukkah on the roof of his apartment building before Sukkot. After the holiday began, the landlord demanded that it be removed immediately, claiming it was dangerous. Mike refused, telling the landlord that since this was a religious observance, he had the right to build the sukkah there. The landlord disagreed and took the case to court. In court, the landlord argued that the sukkah was unsightly and posed a fire hazard, while Mike argued his case on the grounds of religious rights. The judge, who was Jewish, listened patiently and then offered his verdict. “I agree with the landlord in this case, and I therefore rule that you have 10 days from today to take down your hut.” R. Esses
EXAGGERATION Jack tells Joe, “I told you a million times to stop exaggerating!” Siporah Sassoon
ASK YOUR AGE When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, “I’m not sure.” “Look in your t-shirt, Grandpa,” he advised. “Mine says I’m 4.” Eddie Gindi STOP REDUNDANCY T he Committee for the Reduction of Redundancy and the Antiproliferation of Repetition has decided not to meet until they have their first meeting, and thus will not be meeting until the first time. Their Pre-meeting Statement wanted to make this clear before they had their first meeting, so that it would not be confusing. So their first meeting will actually be their first meeting and they will not have a meeting before the first meeting. This should avoid having people show up for their first meeting before it is held, since to do so would be confusing to those who did so and this is what they want to avoid by reducing the confusion and lessening the repetition. Yitzy D.
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THE SOUND OF SILENCE Mr. and Mrs. Cohen were very concerned because their eight-year-old daughter, Sarah, was very quiet and rarely spoke. Then one day after lunch, Sarah turned to her mother and said, “Soup’s cold.” Mrs. Cohen hugged her and exclaimed, “Sarah, your father and I have been worried sick. Why have you never talked in all these years?” Sarah said, “Up until now, everything’s been okay.” Shlomo Schwekey GOOD MANNERS Little Jacob was walking to the bus stop with his mother, Rachel. They stopped by the ice cream store to get some ice cream, and they then continued walking until Jacob dropped his ice cream on the floor. He bent down to pick it up, but his mother said, “Never pick up something that falls on the floor.” As they were walking on the bus, a dollar fell out of Jacob’s pocket. Jacob sat down as if nothing happened. The bus driver said, “Aren’t you going to pick that up?” Jacob replied, “Mommy told me to never pick up something that fell on the floor.” Alan Mograby TEAM WORK There was a rowing team that kept losing race after race. They practiced for hours every day, but never managed to come in any better than dead last. The head of the team finally decided to send someone to spy on their top competition. So the boy went off and hid in the bushes to carefully watch the other team as they practiced. The boy later returned to his team and announced, “I figured out their secret. They have eight guys rowing and only one guy shouting.” Yitzchak Shalam
A NEW STORE Two businessmen in New York were standing around and taking a break in their soon-to-be new store. The store wasn’t ready, and didn’t even have the shelves set up. One said to the other, “I bet any minute now some old man is going to walk by, put his face to the window, and ask what we’re selling.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth when, sure enough, a curious man walked up to the window, had a peek, and in a soft voice asked, “What are you selling here?” One of the men replied sarcastically, “We’re selling dummies.” Without skipping a beat, the man said, “Must be doing well, only two left.” A.C. DRIVING One evening I was driving my eight-year-old daughter to her grandparents’ home for an overnight stay. It was late, there was very little traffic, and we were enjoying a peaceful ride. It was a far cry from the usual chaos surrounding us when I drive her to various activities during rush hour. My daughter seemed deep in thought when she said, “I have a question.” “What do you want to know?” I responded. “When you’re driving,” she asked, “are you ever the slow poke?” Renda Bawabeh THE BROOM One day, Rebecca asked me, “Why was the broom so late?” So I answered, “Because he overswept.” Dorna D
Riddle: : Building Blocks SUBMITTED BY: F. Mizrahi Joshua has 5 blocks which are lettered A, B, C, D, and E. He has to put these blocks in a specific order while making sure to stick with the following rules: • A can’t be next to B, B can’t be next to A • B can’t be next to C, C can’t be next to B • C can’t be next to D, D can’t be next to C • D can’t be next to E, E can’t be next to D • A can’t be next to E, E can’t be next to A • A can’t be first, or last • E can’t be first, or last.
Last Month’s Riddle: At the Races
You have 32 horses and need to find the 3 fastest. You can race at most 4 at a time. What is the fewest number of races needed?
Round 1: 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16, 17-20, 21-24, 25-28, 29-32 8 races = 8 winners 8 losers 16 possible. Round 2: winners of round one 2 races = 2 winners 2 losers 20 possible. Round 3: 1 race = race 9 winner, race 10 winner, race 9 second race 10 second – winner is fastest Round 4: race 11 second, race 11 third 12 races
Solved by: Victor Grazi.
Junior Riddle: Flowers SUBMITTED BY: S. Dweck How many flowers do I have if all of them are roses except two, all of them are tulips except two, and all of them are daisies except two?
Last Month’s Riddle: Canaries
If Sam puts in one canary per cage, he has one bird too many. If he puts two canaries per cage, he has one cage too many. How many cages and canaries does Sam have?
Solution: 4 canaries and 3 cages Solved by: Steven Grazi, Jack Blum, Tsivia R., Sol Wahba,
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Big City New 911 System Plagued with Problems
New York City’s new 911 system has been plagued with problems, including outages when it was first launched in June and throughout July, NBC New York reported. The 911 system is in the process of being upgraded at a total cost of $2 billion. The upgrade includes a new backup center. New York City is planning to hire another 150 staffers to answer 911 calls and dispatch NYPD radio cars. The newly hired call-takers will be civilian employees of the NYPD, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. The NYPD was already in the process of hiring additional staff before the recent problems with the 911 and EMS systems, but officials are now attempting to accelerate the process to avoid further disruptions. Approximately 1,100 people currently work in the centers. A recent failure was attributed to a system from the 1980s called EMS Dispatch that is scheduled for an upgrade in 2015. There have also been glitches in other, newer parts of the system that have drawn criticism. The emergency call system failed several times during the week of July 22, forcing call takers and dispatchers to use paper and pencil to take down information.
Solar Phone Charging Stations Built Across NYC Solar panel phone charging stations were recently erected across New York City’s five boroughs with the support of the office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, AT&T and other organizations, ABC News reported. Some of the first locations, including stations in Riverside Park and Fort Greene Park,were built in June. Collectively called Street Charges, all 25 charging stations were erected during the summer. Designed by Brooklyn design agency Pensa, each structure has six USB ports, including three built-in tips for a range of phones, as well as three female ports to plug in USB power cords. A full phone charge should take two hours using solar power, according to AT&T,
although it expects most people to charge their phones just enough to get to their next location. Each of the Street Charges is positioned to collect the most amount of sunshine. The stations also take in solar power during cloudy conditions. Power is stored in lithium batteries to allow for charging at any time, even at night. In case of a storm, the units are mobile and can be relocated with 24 hours’ notice.
Proposed Building Upgrades to Protect NYC after Hurricane Sandy New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a major upgrade to building codes in June to prepare New York City for future storms, Forbes reported. “We have to be able to withstand and recover quickly from all hazards posed by climate change,” Bloomberg stated. “The specific recommendations cover important ways to make every kind of building in the city safer from future storms.” The plan includes several drastic measures, such as eliminating basements and equipping large buildings with an elevated door to allow access during flooding. While the plan does not require buildings to be raised above the Design Flood Elevation, above street level, it suggests that subsidies be made available to those who take on the task.
The report also suggests rewriting building codes to require positioning all heavy machinery on the second floor or higher, including fuel tanks, electrical, mechanical and HVAC systems, and all informationtechnology equipment. Critics state that the new codes could leave some homes and businesses below the Design Flood Elevation and others above, which may leave design gaps and create uneven street levels throughout the city.
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TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
Classifieds / Real Estate East 8th/L & M, 3 bdrms + 1 bdrm in basement, 2 1/2 baths, large deck, modern kitchen, Prime location, $3200. 347-792-1111
RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE For sale by owner - 1 family house between Ave S and T on Coney Island Ave. No brokers - 917-309-1171 BROOKLYN RENTALS
MISCELLANEOUS Mothers of Multiples Twin Gemach. Baby clothing for twins needed. If you have clothing for twins in excellent condition, that you no longer need,and would like to share them with another family, Please call Leah at:718-4362466. Sizes NB to size 4
SEVEN MOD ROOMS, E. 4th and Ave O vic. Rent cut! Incl. heat! Move in cond! Parks, parking & perks! xtra appliances! EIK! W/W carpeting, 1 flight up. Great for older families & newlyweds. 718-645-6813
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Tifereth Chana Gemach: We lend shawls and capes for the bride, and wedding party.If anyone has a shawl for a wedding gown, and would like to donate it to the gemach it would be greatly appreciated. Please call 917 679 8809,Thanks and Tizku Lemitzvot DONATE YOUR CAR, TRUCK OR BOAT TO HERITAGE FOR THE BLIND. Free 3 Day Vacation, Tax Deductible, Free Towing, All Paperwork Taken Care Of. 866-981-3670
HELP WANTED PT position available 9 AM-1 PM M-F, data entry and computer work. 718-627-9861 Young Orthodox mom earning a 6 figure income is looking for ambitious stay-at-home moms to build a home based business. Excellent training. Call Sarah Stauber 646-2220265 TUTORING Tutoring - P3 Provider, certified teacher, Judaic studies, call 917-535-4638
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Gravesend/W. 1 St-Beautiful 1 Family, Detached, 3 Bedroom duplex, Custom Kitchen & Baths, full finished basement, large backyard, parking. Gravesend/W. 3 St-2 Family Det. w/1 car garage on a quiet residential block, movein-condition, full finished basement. Near All. Homecrest/E. 9 St-Prime location. Exclusive, unique Det. 2 Family on 60x100 lot, Built 24 wide with full basement. Spacious apartments, plenty of sunlight, high ceilings, parquet floors. Many updates such as: Anderson Windows, roof, boiler, HWH, pavement, landscaped side yard, 3 car garage & private drive for 6+ cars. Walking distance to Shopping, Transportation & House of Worship. R5 Zone. Madison/E.26 St-Beautiful super sunny legal 2 Fam. on 60x100 lot, located on a quiet block. Spacious house with 6 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, oakwood floors thru-out, finished basement, back & front yards, detached 2 car garage. Must See!!! Madison/E. 28 St-Great opportunity. 1 family on 40 x 100, 2.5 floors plus basement, 5 Bedrooms, many updates. Midwood/Ave O-1 Family, detached, 2.5 levels, 4 Bedrooms, 2.5 baths, full finished basement, Formal Livingroom with woodburning fireplace, Eat-in-Kitchen, hardwood floors and tiles, and some nice original details. Private parking and landscaped backyard. • •
• • •
STORES FOR LEASE & MIXED USE BUILDINGS FOR SALE • • • • • • •
5th Ave/55 St-2,000 sq.ft. Corner Austin St/Forest Hills – 1,400 sq.ft. Flatbush/Church – 1,800 sq.ft. Fulton/Nostrand – 5,000 sq.ft. Kings Hwy/Coney Island Ave – 1,600 sq.ft. Livingston St – 750 sq.ft. McDonald Ave/Ave I – 3,000 sq.ft. •
North Broadway/Yonkers – 2,300 sq.ft. Nostrand Ave – 1,600 sq.ft. Corner Pitkin Ave – 2,000 sq.ft. For Sale – Gravesend/E. 7 St-6 Family, Detached, excellent condition, great income. Near All. For Sale – Church Ave/Corner E. 43 St-2 Mixed Use Buildings - $879K
916 Kings Highway, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11223
Phone:718-998-5700 • Fax: 718-998-5804
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Ave I/J East 19th St. Corner property 60x100. 2 Family. Huge apartments, full finished bsmt. Prvt drive/ garage. Much more! Ave J/Low East 30’s Attached brick 1 Family. 6 ½ room duplex. Fin bsmt. Fully renovated from top to bottom. Hi $600K. Must see! Excellent starter home! Ave P/ East 20’s Detached 1 Family on 40x100 lot, 7 room duplex. Finished bsmt. Prvt drv, asking low $800K. Will not last! Madison/East 20’s Det brick 1 Family C/H large 6 room duplex. Fin bsmt with 2 bdrms and 2 baths. Prvt drv/ garage. Mint MIC. Priced right. Ave T/Hi teens Det 2 family 40x100 lot. R-5 zoning. Prvt drv. Delivered vacant. Can build a mansion! Mill Basin, Mayfair Drive South Estate Young corner det 2 Family Hi Ranch on 43x100 lot. Huge modern 6 room duplex w/ 4 room rental. C/A and separate heating. Prvt drv. R-5 zoning. Excellent value. Must see!
MANY MORE - CALL US! FOR APARTMENTS AND HOUSES FOR RENT CALL RIVKA – 917-699-2365 Ave I/Low East 20’s For rent or for sale. One bdrm, ultra mod co-op. All utilities included. Low Maintenance. Ave O/Ocean Pkwy 1 bdrm, newly renovated, low floor. A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO ALL!
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TISHREI 5774 SEPTEMBER 2013
Wishing you a Shana Tova