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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Dear Readers, over the years. It helps them envision that they are part of a long chain stretching many years back; it gives them extra pride in their history and in their people.  As I write this there is still a few days left before Pesach, and there is so much that still needs to get done. When I think of all that is left on my list, I keep my teachers words in mind: “We all sit down to the Seder at the same time”. She’s right – we’ll all be hearing the Ma Nishtana on Pesach night, sitting with our families, friends, neighbors and guests elegantly sharing in our nation’s history. Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Passover & Chag Kasher v’Sameach, Dina

Pesach is full of tradition. There are so many Pesach customs that we can’t question or explain. Some people eat rice and green beans, some don’t eat sugar, others don’t eat chicken, some don’t eat fish, and there are others who only eat peeled fruits and vegetables. Every family has their own way of making sure it’s a “Chag Kasher v’Sameach” according to their family’s traditions.  Pesach is also a Yom Tov of “telling your children” what happened in Egypt. It is our responsibility to teach our children about our history, what happened in Egypt, the miracle of our Exodus, and our special relationship with the Almighty.  But, besides for relating our history as a nation, it is also the perfect time to tell our children about their family -- their grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents -- and how they celebrated Yom Tov and kept their Jewish traditions alive throughout the generations. Children love stories. And although may nod and say “I already know this and this happened in Egypt...” they never tire from hearing anecdotes from their family tree

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The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

The Week In News

Pakistani Sentenced for Spying for Iran On Tuesday, a German court sentenced Haider Syed Mustafa, a 31-year-old Pakistani, to four years and three months in prison for spying for Iran by seeking out possible Jewish and Israeli-related targets for attacks in Germany and France. Mustafa was convicted by a Berlin court for collecting extensive material on the former head of the German-Israeli Association and on a French-Israeli professor from an economic university in Paris for the elite Quds Force unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Thankfully, no attacks were carried out. The terrorist came to Germany in 2012 to study for an engineering degree at the University of Bremen. He received more than 2,000 euro for his spying activities, which included taking hundreds of photos and creating presentations on the potential targets. He refused to testify during the trial.

Largest Sierra Leone Diamond Found

When a team of diamond miners in Sierra Leone found the orange-speckled, lumpy rock they almost tossed it aside. It didn’t look like the traditional jewel found in the mines of Sierra Leone. Generally, the country is the source of some of the highest quality and most transparent diamonds in the world. However, this rock didn’t meet that description, but its unusualness prompted the group to reach out to a local diamond dealer for an assessment. “The look on his face when he saw the rock made me believe that we discovered something extraordinary,” said the

Rev. Emmanuel Momoh, a pastor who runs the team of diggers who discovered the rock. Momoh, a preacher in a small church, sells peanuts as a side business. He also owns a mining license for a small diamond field and has been running a crew of miners for the past six years. Turns out the lumpy rock was actually a diamond, the largest ever discovered in Sierra Leone. The jewel is estimated to weigh 706 carats; valued at as much as $50 million. Momoh decided to entrust his government with the sale, a colossal mistake. He was mandated to turn over the rock to the government since the law allows miners to sell diamonds up to a certain size. However, once they exceed a certain size, the government controls the sale. In theory the proceeds of the sale are distributed amongst the ones who found them and an unspecified government tax. The other option is to sell the diamond in the black market, and that would deprive the government of sorely needed revenue. Common practice in most diamond-mining communities is that the owners of the land where gems are buried are forced to obtain a government-issued license to mine them. However, mining licenses are cumbersome to attain and can be expensive, so landowners and chiefs often work with entrepreneurs such as Mr. Momoh to buy the licenses. The entrepreneurs have almost total ownership of whatever is mined, paying a negotiated percentage of the take to the landowners. Miners and license holders do not get paid well for their hard work; they get the raw end of the deal. Miners work under harsh conditions, using heavy machinery to dig out sacks of dirt to create large pits that often collapse, causing deaths or severe injuries. When they discover valuable rocks they are often so desperate for money that they settle on a price far less than valued just to sustain themselves. During a recent news segment in Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma appeared on television flaunting the gem. He promised to act in the best interests of everyone involved. “I believe a diamond like this should be publicly sold in the country so that we know the value of it, what is due to the government and what is due to the people so that everyone can have their share,” Koroma declared. Despite Koroma’s assertions, Momoh is concerned that he will be shorted in the deal. “I want to contribute in the development of my community, but at the same time I don’t want to be a beggar in about 10 or 15 years from now,” he said.

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Brexit Beginning The Brexit is officially on its way. On Wednesday Prime Minister Theresa May officially invoked Article 50, which allows for any of the current 28 member



MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

scheduled a vote on British independence in 2016 and then went on to campaign against it very heavily. On June 23, 2016, the UK was changed forever when 51.9 percent of British voters chose to leave the EU. Cameron stepped down in defeat and May took over the Prime Minister’s office. Although she opposed the Brexit, she is now faced with leading the historic breakaway. Now that Article 50 has been invoked, the UK has two years to negotiate its exit from the European Union. Much is unknown and many have reported feeling remorse for voting for to break-off. The new term “regrexit” has been coined – time will tell if the regret is justified. At the end of April, 27 leaders of the EU – without the UK – will meet to give the European Commission a mandate to negotiate with the UK. In May, the European Commission will publish negotiating guidelines based on the mandate the EU leaders

states to voluntarily withdraw from the European Union by formally informing the European Council of their intention to pull out. Britain is the first member in history to leave the Union’s political and economic partnership. The departure came just a few days after the EU celebrated the bloc’s 60th anniversary in Rome last weekend. At the anniversary celebration, which May did not attend, the group reaffirmed their commitment to be “undivided and indivisible” in unity. The departure from the EU came about in a very unusual manner. In a gamble to prolong his career, former Prime Minister David Cameron proposed an independence referendum. After the European Debt Crisis in 2013, Cameron promised that if his Conservative Party was re-elected, he would renegotiate Britain’s terms of membership with the EU. Cameron won and spent many months negotiating with Union leaders. Eventually he reluctantly

give it. In August, the UK government is expected to introduce legislation to leave the EU and put all existing EU laws into British law, called the Great Repeal Bill. The UK hopes to formally withdraw from the EU in March 2019, although that date can be extended if needed.

Iran’s Sanctions Retaliation Iran has retaliated against the United States and has sanctioned 15 U.S.-based companies. Tehran alleges that these companies support terrorism, repression and Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. The wide-ranging list includes an American real estate company and a major arms manufacturer. The list seems more symbolic than anything else, as the firms on the list are not known to do business • • • Thursday, March 9, 2017 Page 7B

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Hamas Military Leader Assassinated

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Congress to Fine Org. Supporting BDS

Leaders from both sides of the aisle in Congress have brought forth legislation that would penalize international government organizations that support the BDS movement and sanction Israel for the way it deals with Palestinians. The bill seeks to amend the Export Administration Act of 1979 to include boycotts against “allies of the United States” that support the boycott, divest and sanction movement. The bill would also have the United States Export-Import Bank fight boycotts against Israel. “The United States should bring its foreign policy and its economic institutions, its relationships, and its leverage to bear to combat boycott, divestment and

sanctions actions against Israel,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) in a statement. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who introduced the bill with Cardin, asserted, “We should not stand idle when foreign countries or international governmental organizations use BDS tactics to isolate one of our key allies. We cannot allow these attempts to bypass direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to go unchecked.” He added, “This bipartisan legislation sends a clear message that politically motivated boycotts of Israel are unacceptable to the United States. I’m pleased to introduce this bill that says the United States stands against illegitimate attempts to isolate our ally Israel or impose policy solutions to issues that can only be resolved through direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.” The bill also mentions the recent resolution that was passed on March 2, 2016 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. It outlines how the resolution “urges countries to pressure their own companies to divest from, or break contracts with, Israel, and calls for the creation of a ‘blacklist’ of companies that either operate, or have business relations with, entities that operate beyond Israel’s 1949 armistice lines, including east Jerusalem.” The new legislation seeks to fine violators in accordance with the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Most Common Cause of Cancer is Random

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., accounting for more than a half a million deaths every year. While there has been much research done into the causes of cancer, there is still a lot of unknown. Recently researchers discovered that about two-thirds of cancers are caused by random typos in DNA that occur as normal cells make copies of themselves. This explains why healthy, fit, young people who don’t smoke, avoid the sun, and do all the right things can unfortunately still get sick. “These cancers will occur no matter

how perfect the environment,” explains Dr. Bert Vogelstein, a cancer geneticist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore whose study was published in the journal Science. The scientists studied genetic sequencing and cancer patterns from 69 countries. This revelation challenges the commonly believed idea that most cancers are caused by avoidable lifestyle and environmental factors or inherited genetic defects. The source of the issue is when random mistakes occur each time a normal cell divides and copies its DNA into two new cells, Tomasetti said. Such mistakes are “a potent source of cancer mutations that historically have been scientifically undervalued.” Although there was variation within specific cancers, this cause is common for 32 different types of cancers. Overall, the researchers estimated that 66% of mutations in these cancers resulted from copying errors, 29% were caused by lifestyle and environmental factors, and the remaining 5% were inherited. The sad reality is that this cause is not one that can be prevented. The research team stressed that early detection and immediate treatment can prevent many cancer deaths, regardless of the cause.


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Bomb Threat Suspect Arrested

In a surprising turn of events, an Israeli-American teenager was arrested on Thursday for being responsible for many of the bomb threats made to JCCs and other Jewish institutions around the country. Until recently, the suspect, whose name has not been released yet, was strategic and smart about covering up his tracks but authorities say they were able to track him down after an online slip-up. The teen used sophisticated technologies, including Google Voice and spoofing technology, to mask his IP when making the threats and remained untraceable for a considerable amount of time. However, on at least one occasion he failed to route his internet connection through a proxy, leaving behind a real IP address which authorities were able to trace. The location was traced through a nearby Wi-Fi access point that the suspect was reaching via a large antenna sticking out of his window. Israeli police said the hacker suspect is an 18-year-old resident of Ashkelon. They say the investigation has been in the works for a few months and was a joint effort on part of the cyber unit of the Lahav 433 major crimes division and the FBI. The suspect will remain in custody until at least March 30, perhaps longer. During the arrest raid, authorities said he tried to grab an officer’s gun but another officer interceded. At least five computers, a number of network interface controllers, a satellite and antenna equipment were discovered during the arrest raid. The suspect’s father was also detained, apparently because of the equipment. Late Thursday, police said the father’s detention had been extended by eight days. The hacker’s lawyer, Galit Besh, claims her client has a “very serious medical condition” that might have influenced his behavior. She said her client’s condition had stopped him from going to elementary school, high school, or enlisting in the IDF. “That’s why the medical condition can actually affect the investigation,” she said. “This is one of the things the judge told the police to check, to talk to his doctors, to get more documents and to investigate him in light of his medical situation.” The FBI confirmed the arrest of the chief suspect in the bomb threats. Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the suspect allegedly made tens of threatening phone calls to public venues, syn-

agogues and community buildings in the US, New Zealand and Australia. He also made two bomb threats to Delta flights, which caused both flights to land prematurely. “He’s the guy who was behind the JCC threats,” Rosenfeld confirmed. Since January, close to 150 bomb threats were received by JCCs, Jewish day schools and other Jewish institutions. The scares caused the evacuation of hundreds and evoked fear amongst many. Authorities say that the suspect is responsible for over 1,000 threats within the past two years.

Ryancare Misses the Vote The Obamacare repeal bill was dramatically pulled from the floor by House Speaker Paul Ryan when it became apparent that Republicans did not have enough votes to pass the healthcare reform legislation last Friday. According to President Trump, the margin was very tight but in the end, there were just not enough votes to pass the measure. Ryan met with reporters the next day.


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“We came up short,” he admitted. “We are going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” He also told reporters that they are “moving on” from health care for now and would begin focusing on tax reform. The writers of the bill were unable to narrow the gap between the Freedom Caucus conservatives, who feel the bill does not do away with enough of Obamacare, and the moderates, who feel they will lose votes if their electorates lose their healthcare coverage. The proposed GOP health care bill was to eliminate many of the taxes that do away with the individual mandate that


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was imposed by Obamacare. In place of the Obamacare subsidies which are tied to income and premiums, the proposed bill was to give Americans refundable tax credits based on age to purchase health insurance. The bill kept many of the most popular pieces of Obamacare, including letting children stay on their parent’s plan until the age of 26 and providing protection for people with pre-existing conditions. It would have ended the requirement that policies cover maternity, drugs, mental health, and substance abuse. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) issued this statement that summed up the sentiment of many of the House Republicans: “Today, the American Health Care Act, which would have finally repealed ObamaCare as we know it, was pulled from consideration. I am convinced of the good work that has gone into the bill and the policies that would have repealed Obamacare. This legislation was not perfect, but given the limitations of the reconciliation process, it was an important step forward in keeping our promise to the American people to repeal Obamacare and replace it with better, conservative health care

reforms. I look forward to casting a vote to repeal Obamacare at every opportunity. I am confident President Trump and Republicans will deliver a plan than can achieve our goals.”

Kushner to Take on New Role

President Trump has created a new office in the White House and has tapped his son-in-law to head it. The White House



Office of American Innovation will be run by Jared Kushner, who is currently a senior advisor to the president. The goal of the White House Office of American Innovation is to bring ideas from the private sector into the federal government. “This office will bring together the best ideas from government, the private sector and other thought leaders to ensure that America is ready to solve tomorrow’s most intractable problems, and is positioned to meet tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities,” Trump said in a presidential memorandum. “The office will focus on implementing policies and scaling proven private-sector models to spur job creation and innovation.” Officials with private sector experience will join Kushner in the new office. Former Goldman Sachs executives Gary Cohn, who is directing the National Economic Council, and Dina Habib Powell, who is the senior counsel to the President for economic initiative, will both take a role in the new office. The group has already been meeting a couple of times a week to discuss and promote ideas of innovation. They have met with big names in the private sector including Tim Cook of Apple, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of Tesla. Among the goals they hope to tackle are improving workforce development, targeting opioid addiction, and overhauling Veteran Affairs. “As some of its first priorities, the office will focus on modernizing the technology of every federal department, identifying transformational infrastructure projects and re-imagining the VA system so they can better serve our nation’s heroes,” press secretary Sean Spicer said. “There are certain practices that we can put in place that can help us deliver a better product and better service to the American people in some of these key areas.”

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Pancakes Stop Traffic When traffic was snarled in Lakeland, Florida, last week it was all because of pancakes. Yes, the situation got quite sticky when Kiaron Thomas, 21, decided to set up a table in middle of a busy intersection for his breakfast. The feast included a stack of pancakes and a huge jug of syrup. Thomas was filmed eating the pancakes as cars were stalled all around him.

Thankfully, police were called in to remove Thomas and his pancakes from the scene. Thomas lives just about 100 yards from the spot of his pancake prank. He has been charged with placing an obstruction in the roadway and disrupting the free flow of traffic. Perhaps he should keep in mind that good pancakes are a little hard to come by in prison.

Still Winning at 94

Ervin Smolinski has the best daughterin-law. The 94-year-old received a lottery ticket from her as a gift on his 94th birthday. Well, this wasn’t just any ticket. It was a golden ticket – netting the nonagenarian a whopping $300,000. It turns out that that a ticket-gift is nothing new in the Smolinksi home. “Every month, I buy some instant tickets and send them as gifts to family members who have birthdays that month,” Ervin told the Michigan state lottery. “It’s turned into a bit of a tradition, and now everyone sends me scratch offs and chocolate for my birthday.” Smolinski said he received four Double Bonus Cashword tickets and won the prize after scratching off the first one, but managed to keep his cool. “I’ve seen a lot in my time, and I don’t get worked up too easily. I think my son-in-law was more worked up than I was,” he quipped. The lucky World War II veteran claimed his prize at the lottery office last week, but he spent the days after his birthday fearing he might lose track of the lucky ticket. “I wanted to keep the ticket safe, so I kept it in my pocket,” he said. “I got a little nervous about that, because a lot of time I’ll toss the paper I accumulate in my pocket into my wood burner. Luckily that didn’t happen with my ticket.” Smolinski said he’s “pretty frugal” despite the windfall and said he plans to spend the money to invest, buy a new shed, and buy a newer used car. “The only thing that will change is I won’t have as much stress in my life worrying about money,” he said. We can’t think of a better gift.

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

Lottery Luck Speaking of lotteries, here’s a story that highlights that no good deed goes unrewarded – and yes, we know the “real” saying... This week, Merry Thomas brought her friend Julie to a store in Virginia. She wanted to show Julie how to play the lottery. When she showed her friend how to work the self-service lottery machine and then scanned the ticket to see if she was a winner, she was ecstatic. You see, Julie’s ticket won $12. And Merry’s ticket netted her $1 million. “Right in front of my eyes I saw this woman turn into a puddle,” Julie said. “I’ve been freaking out since then!” Merry exulted as she claimed her big check. She took the lump sum of $630K. And that just made her extra merry.

The Message Bar

In an effort to get people home safe after a few hours in its bar, The Emmet Ray in Toronto has begun serving patrons on special coasters. The metal coasters are made especially for Emmet Ray and are produced from the wreckage of cars that were involved in drunken driving accidents. The phrase, “This coaster used to be a car that never made it home,” is emblazoned on each coaster and some even appear to feature scratches, chipping paint or tiny dents caused by car collisions. The message? Have a drink but don’t go overboard. The bar’s coaster design is the brainchild of Arrive Alive, an organization that works to raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving. According to the group’s program director, Michael Stewart, Arrive Alive obtains the metal for each coaster from a body shop in Vancouver, B.C. The coasters are then shaped using a hydraulic-press before being laser-etched with the aforementioned phrase. Each piece is also etched with the address of Arrive Alive’s website, which contains download links for public transit and taxi apps. “Impaired driving remains one of the leading criminal causes of death in Canada,” said Stewart in a statement on the organization’s site. “We wanted to remind people ... that there are consequences to driving drunk – and remind them to use a designated driver, take transit or download The Ride App for a safe ride home.” He added, “If you want to have a good time, you totally can,” Stewart said. “Just

take the few seconds to plan a safe ride home.”

Brain Researcher at 17

Feel like you can do more? Perhaps you’d like to learn about Indrani Das, who at 17 is already advising patients on brain surgery. Last week, Das was awarded the top prize and $250,000 at the Regeneron Science Talent Search for her research project which explores the role of brain cells called astrocytes in the death of neurons. Das is a senior at the Academy for Medical Science Technology in Hackensack, N.J. and says that if she and other researchers could better understand how brain damage occurs, perhaps they could figure out how to slow or reverse the process. “My work centers on repairing the behavior of supporting cells to prevent neuron injury and death,” Das said. “It was really that shock of what it can do to a person that pushed me to work” on research involving brain injuries. Her recent win at the Talent Search was impressive; she bested thousands of other high school scientists from around the country. During the process, she had to travel to Washington, DC, where a selection committee grilled her and other finalists on their work and put them through the ringer, testing their grasp of scientific concepts and their ability to solve problems. The Science Talent Search, previously sponsored by Intel, is one of the bestknown and among the most competitive science fairs for young researchers. This year, the talent search gave out $1.8 million to 40 finalists, much of which will go to cover college tuition for the budding researchers. Das, who hails from Orendell, N.J., recently became a certified emergency medical technician and is already working with patients, helping to transport them to hospitals. While she is deeply fascinated by research, she also hopes to become a practicing physician so she can work with patients. “I would say my happiest time is when I’m with my patients,” Das said. “I love connecting with people and understanding how I can help them. It keeps me human.” She plans to use the prize money to help pay for college and medical school.



MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

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Community Young Israel of Sunny Isles Beach Gala Dinner at the Acqualina Resort South Florida’s vibrant and dynamic shul, the Young Israel of Sunny Isles Beach, held its Gala Dinner last week at the Acqualina Resort, honoring its spiritual leader Rabbi Meir Moshe Haber upon his decade of dedicated leadership, Mr Chaim Singer for his contribution of a new Sefer Torah, and the city’s mayor Bud Scholl for his great friendship and support of the Jewish community. The dinner followed day-long festivities welcoming the new Sefer Torah into the synagogue attended by dignitaries, residents, and guests from many different states and countries. (R to L) Chaim Singer, Mayor and Mrs. Bud Scholl, Rabbi Meir M. Haber, and his mother Mrs. Miriam Haber

Welcoming the new Sefer Torah into the Synagogue

KHDS Students Premier Names, Not Numbers Holocaust Documentary Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton (KHDS) premiered the Holocaust documentary, Names, Not Numbers©, an interactive, multi-media project, on Monday evening, March 20, at Temple Beth Shalom in Century Village.  The program was dedicated in blessed memory of Mr. Harry Wanderer, z”l.   The program, supported by the Legacy Heritage Fund, and partially sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Alex Folkman,

Head of School, Rabbi Adam Englanders, invites Boris Chartan, a survivor featured in the film, to speak to the audience during his remarks.

chronicled the lives of nine Holocaust survivors as well as the personal experiences of the KHDS 8th grade class, who worked for months on this project. This program transforms the traditional study of the Holocaust into an interactive program that involves survivors who lived through the history.  The KHDS 8th grade students, under the direction of Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Smolarcik, Faculty Coordinator, engaged in

Program creator Tova Fish-Rosenberg and KHDS faculty coordinator Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Smolarcik.

serious, meaningful dialogue with the survivors and forged relationships with them. In addition, throughout the program, the students learned interviewing techniques, documentary film tools, and editing skills while working with professionals--journalists, newspaper editors, filmmakers, and Holocaust scholars.  We acknowledge  Mrs. Tova Fish-Rosenberg, creator of Names, Not Numbers©, and film-maker Michael Puro,

Survivor and KHDS grandparent Anna Freedman poses with the 8th grade group who worked on her personal story.

who worked with the students throughout the project. And we are forever grateful to the nine survivors who shared their touching stories: Harry Aftel, Sigi Bessler, Renia Chadajo, Boris Chartan, Anna Freedman, Marc Goldsmith, Michael Marder, Hilda Mirwis and Baruch Strauch.  We shall never forget! To request a copy of the DVD contact Katz Hillel Day School at 561-470-5000.

Over 500 community members attended the premiere of Names, Not Numbers©.

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

Yeshiva Toras Chaim Toras Emes In conjunction with Young Israel of Greater Miami &Kehillas Ahavas Shalom (KAS)


A Night of Jewish Music A Community Event for the Entire Family

with Shua Lehrfield Motzai Yom Tov, Wednesday, April 12 at 9:30 PM Yeshiva Toras Chaim Toras Emes Ballroom 1051 North Miami Beach Blvd. North Miami Beach, FL

FREE ADMISSION Reserved Seating for Sponsors (starting at $100.) . Separate Seating and Family Seating Available.

For More Information Contact Moshe Lehrfield at

or 305-389-6687



MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

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600 South Florida Holocaust Survivors living in Destitute South Florida is home to approximately 2,000 survivors, 600 of whom are in desperate need of assistance. 1 in 3 survivors live below poverty line. That's where JCS, the Jewish Community Services [a 501(c)(3) organization] steps in. JCS assists 600 of our local survivors with real daily needs such as home health aides, housekeeping, counseling, food, care management, and financial assistance to name a few. Their goal is to provide a Holocaust survivor with the ability to live at home in security and with dignity after experiencing unimaginable horrors just because they are Jewish. In collaboration with JCS and The Shul of Bal Harbour, we are

hosting a SHOAH Holocaust 5K Family Run/Walk on Sunday, April 23, Holocaust Memorial Day, at Oleta State Park (3400 NE 163st in North Miami Beach, FL).  Registration begins at 8am. A fun run dash for the kids is scheduled for 8:45am and the race is due to start precisely at 9am. The purpose of this 5K Run is to honor the courageous 6 million Jews that perished in the Holocaust and to pay tribute to the remaining local survivors. Following the race, there will be raffles, a post-race award ceremony, speakers who survived the Holocaust, food, and obstacle courses for the kids.  It is always inevitable that the enormity of the Holocaust would recede in public awareness.

The human mind is built to forget. However what makes the Holocaust so grotesquely, terrifyingly unique is the unexampled virulence of AntiSemitism coupled with the exhaustive extremes to eradicate an entire nation. The unfortunate rise of hate crimes should remind us of how morally imperative it is that we Never Forget. I hope that we can count on your support for this very important and worthy cause. Our local survivors deserve to know that they have a community that stands behind them, supports them, and cares about them. For more information, please visit our website at shoah5K or email Lior at info@

ATTENTION: all holocaust survivors and their families stop waiting and START COLLECTING! SURVIVORS • WIDOW(ERS)• HEIRS/CHILDREN (ESPECIALLY CANADIAN) OPPORTUNITIES FOR: • Polish victims of Nazi or Soviet persecution or former Polish Property Owners. • Survivors (or their widow(ers) of ANY European Ghetto including: Transnistria, Slovakia, Shanghai, etc. • New opportunities also exist for survivors from the Czech Republic and France.

We have the Knowledge and Experience to Successfully Resolve Your Claims! EVEN IF… • You have already filed/applied but have not been paid. • Your spouse has been deceased for many years. • Your claim was previously denied. • You already receive a German Ghetto Pension (you may be owed additional funds).


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Visit our website at • Email- • Fax: (646) 564-9084 4400 N Federal Highway, Suite 121, Boca Raton, Florida 33431 (Affiliated offices in Berlin and Warsaw)

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

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Chabad Israeli Center of Miami Announces Its Annual Pesach Program, Providing Aid for Hundreds of South Florida Jewish Families Rabbi Mendy  Cheruty of Chabad Israeli Center of Miami -Miami Kosher Food Bank, have made it their mis‫־‬ sion to help Jewish families in need of food for Shabbat and the holidays on a regular basis. An initiative that began in 2012, Rabbi Cheruty and his team of volunteers help more than 100 families weekly by packaging and donating meals and food supplies for Shabbat. “We have

never turned a family down.” Said Rabbi Cheruty “Whoever asks, gets. That is our philosophy.” This Pesach, our goal is to raise the funds and support needed to help twice the amount of Hundreds families as last year. Rabbi Cheruty also has a non-for-profit Kosher supermarket located at 1622 NE 205th Street. The supermarket offers shoppers affordable prices on Kosher foods, where

everything is sold at cost. Rabbi Cheruty and the Chabad Israeli Center of Miami have made it possible and obtainable for many Jewish families to observe the laws of Kashrut; families that couldn’t afford to do so otherwise. Pesach is the perfect opportunity to make donations, both of time and monetary funds. Rabbi Cheruty will be hosting a complimentary Pesach Seder at the Chabad Israeli Center of

Miami. Pesach food donations will be delivered on Wednesday, April 5th. For more information and to get involved, please contact www.ChabadIsraeli.Info or call Rabbi Cheruty directly at 305-2193353. A special thank to Mr’ Moshe & Yaffa Popak YMP Foundation they Took initiative to do the matching campaign for the Food distributing  to all the people who have assisted thus far.

Moot Beit Din - A Terrific Experience for Katz Yeshiva High School  In mid-March, students from the Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida joined 36 teams of students from Jewish day schools and supplementary schools from across North America to compete in the 2017/5777 Prizmah Moot Beit Din competition in Houston, Texas. Moot Beit Din challenges Jewish high school students to examine the ethical and moral dimensions of Jewish law through creative engagement with contemporary situations. Each team of students prepared a written decision and presented an oral argument before a panel of rabbis, scholars, and lawyers, in response to a case. This year’s case asked students to consider the legal liability and responsibility for the actions of a self-driving car through the lens of Jewish law. Students also put forth an opinion on how self-driving cars should be programmed to meet the highest Jewish ethical standards. The KYHS delegation consisted of seniors Miriam Gammerman and Lana Rosenthal and junior Ty Kay and was supported by advisor Rabbi Benjy Horowitz. The team earned the the second place prize in the Abella division of the competition, the division that requires teams to find their own argument sources. For months leading up to the compe-

tition, Gammerman, Rosenthal and Kay, with the help of Rabbi Horowitz, analyzed the case and searched for Talmudic sources in order to develop a coherent position. After much research, they drafted a ten page paper detailing their ruling on the case, submitted it, and began formulating their oral presentation. While this was the third year that Katz Yeshiva High School has participated in the competition, each of the students on the team was new to the competition. Rabbi Horowitz, who guided the students through the research and writing process, said, “My students who participate in Moot Beit Din are motivated to carefully analyze Jewish texts and make connections between the laws and their own lives. Each year I see how this program excites my students and gives them a fresh understanding of Jewish law.” Upon arrival on Thursday afternoon, the students split into groups to focus on the theme of the competition, the increasing role of technology in our lives. They discussed the benefits and distractions of cellphones, computers, and even self-driving cars, the focus of the Moot Beit Din case, and the ways we can employ technology to enhance our world. During Thursday evening’s program, “Shark

Tank: Rejewvenating Tech” teams of students pitched ideas for technology products inspired by Jewish values that bring meaning and purpose to people’s lives. On Friday, participants visited the Johnson Space Center, where they toured model shuttle Independence and shuttle carrier aircraft 747 and learned about efforts to land on Mars. Gammerman remarked, “Visiting NASA was one of my favorite parts of the weekend because we were able to explore the theme of the case in a different way. Between analyzing spaceships and self-driving cars, we got a sense of how technology’s impact on our lives is only just beginning. It was an especially meaningful experience because I was able to share it with students from incredibly diverse backgrounds. Whether exploring exhibits together or buying trinkets at the gift shop or spending time with one another throughout the weekend, I realized that we are as similar as we are different. ” Such feelings of comradery defined the weekend. Leading up the competition, students spent Shabbat together as a community, participating in text-study sessions, prayer services, and meals. By sharing in these experiences and the competition, they formed a vibrant network of committed and intellectually curious

Jewish teenagers that will extend beyond the weekend. Rosenthal recalled, “I sat with kids from a pluralistic California high school for dinner and ate lunch with girls from a Kentucky public school. Each person at the competition had a different background and relationship to Judaism, but we all came together over our devotion to Jewish Law.” On Sunday morning, after each team had presented their oral arguments and undergone a round of critical questions, judges praised the students for their excellent analyses, sincerity, and commitment. When KYHS was announced as second place winner in the Abella division, team members were ecstatic. Kay stated, “I was incredibly proud of the work we did to create a coherent ruling free of contradictions. We spent hours researching, thinking, and writing, debating back and forth over different positions, addressing sources that did not fit with our rulings. When we finally finished our paper, it was so gratifying to know that I had contributed to that ten-page decision of complicated Jewish law. Winning second place made the experience even more rewarding.”



MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Project Witness to Screen “Once Upon a Family” in Deerfield Beach Project Witness and the Young Israel of Deerfield Beach are proud to present ”Once Upon a Family,” a spellbinding Project Witness documentary that will be screened on Thursday, Chol Hamoed Pesach, April 13, 2017, at 8:00 P.M at the Young Israel of Deerfield Beach, 202 Century Blvd, Deerfield Beach, Florida. Admission is free and all are welcome “Once Upon a Family” was created

in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of liberation. It assembles the shards of remembrance of a broad spectrum of Polish survivors. In the documentary, survivors share their childhood memories of life in Poland with future generations and take viewers on a fascinating and absorbing journey into their hearts and minds. “Once Upon a Family” represents a fitting memorial to the shining glory and

the brutal destruction of 3, 250,000 Polish souls, innocent members of the largest Jewish center in pre-war Europe. Now, we have the opportunity to discover what really happened first hand. Now, we will be able to learn of the splendor and magnitude of a lost world and the viciousness and the evil that overwhelmed it. This memorable documentary will live in viewers’ hearts and minds long after the

advertorial last images have faded from the screen. We urge those who live in the Deerfield Beach area to take advantage of this rare opportunity and join friends and neighbors in remembering the heroes of yesteryear. For further information, please contact Project Witness at 718-305-5221.

Jewish Community Services of South Florida Since 1920, Jewish Community Services of South Florida has provided social services through compassionate and comprehensive programs that help people stay healthy and productive. JCS continues to be a beacon of help, healing and hope as it addresses the current needs of our community. Our services are designed to reach and support children and youth, adults and seniors. Our Children & Youth Services have been tailored to the unique needs of children, adolescents and young adults. Adults and families of all incomes are served through our programs with the ultimate goal of strengthening individuals, marriages and families. Our Senior Support Services for members of our community over 60 are served daily with programs that meets the needs of today’s senior population. All of our services are supported by experienced professionals on a mission to make a difference by building healthy, engaged and self-sustaining communities. For more information please visit As the challenges of our community have changed JCS has adapted to serve those in need. Responding to the most recent waves of immigration by South American Jews to Miami, JCS created a Latin Committee. The committee’s purpose is to raise awareness of the needs of this community and provide information about JCS services, while supporting its social and fundraising efforts. Throughout history, the Jewish people have had to immigrate to other countries due to unforeseen situations. The Latin Committee has stepped up to the challenge, helping these new members thrive in our community while preserving their unique blend of Jewish identity and the culture of the country they have called “home”. Each year the committee will select and focus on a different program to engage this unique community. This year’s priority will be the JCS Kosher Food Bank, as it is expanding and requires immediate funds. In order to help in this expansion the JCS Latin Committee is holding a variety of events. The first of these events will be held on April 27th.  The event will be an exclusive fashion show photoshoot featuring the eclectic jewelry of Vivian Guenoun, whose jewelry has been worn by many celebrities in the Latin world. To attend this event or support this cause RSVP at: esalm@

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017



MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Around the Community

RASG Hebrew Academy Warriors are Headed to The Boardroom for 2nd Year in National NCSY JUMP Competition For the second year in a row, our high school NCSY JUMP Team has been selected as a finalist and invited to the Goldman Sachs Board Room in New York City for a chance to win nationally! Our team of eight hardworking students have dedicated the last few months in creating social campaigns and meaningful programs in the community. They are now 1 of 5 teams, and the only school in Florida, who were invited to the famous board room of Goldman Sachs on April 4th where a panel of guest judges will hear their presentations and the impacts their campaigns have had on their school and community. The four other schools are Ulpana, DRS, Shalhevet, and Central High Queens.    The topics our students focused on were “How to improve Prayer” and “Savvy Seniors” (teaching technology to senior citizens). All of this, as part of a national program initiated and coordinated by the New York region of NCSY, JUMP offers leadership training to select Jewish teens as well as the opportunity to use that training to create and execute projects and programs in their schools and communities across the country. The team which is led by two senior captains - Aliza Posner and Malka Suster, includes Ariella Wolfson, Hadassah Bixon, Jonathan Malove, Ofir Abramov, Eden Grosz, and Elisheva Adouth and the staff adviser Mrs. Amy Zuckerman. “This competition is all about finding a void in your community and trying to fill that hole,” said Malka Suster, Senior

Hebrew Academy NCSY JUMP Team Left to right: Jonathan Malove, Eden Grosz, Ariella Wolfson, Hadassah Bixon, Aliza Posner, Elisheva Adouth, Malka Suster

and Team Co-Captain. “We realized there was this digital divide between the elderly and kids. We started a program called Savvy Seniors where we taught seniors how to use their cell phones and how to go on the internet. We partnered with Jewish Community Services of South Florida and soon found out how challenging this would be,” said Aliza Posner, Senior and Team Co-Captain. “For instance, some of the elderly can’t use their fingers well, so touching their phone screens proved difficult. But, I think they really appreciated

our help.” The team also focused their efforts on improving the image of tefilah or prayer around campus. They created a “Yom Iyun,” or day of learning, where students were able to participate in a schoolwide debate and voice their concerns. As it turns out, tefilah was the least popular topic chosen by schools nationwide. “This campaign which the JUMP team is working on, is a topic that every Jewish school has their eye on - Prayer, and how to make it more meaningful,” said Rabbi Aharon

Assaraf, High School Principal. “What impresses me most is that the team told me that this topic of “Prayer” was the least popular topic selected by other schools and they felt it is exactly what would drive them. They are thriving on the fact that this challenge is real, they too want real results! I am so proud of them!” The year-long competition kicked off in the fall, when teams from high schools and NCSY chapters throughout the country came together for a two-day conference focusing on problem solving and communications skills needed for leadership and project management. In the long run, our team captains feel this experience will help them as they enter the next phase of their life beyond the Hebrew Academy .“This taught me a lot of leadership skills and opened my eyes to so many different issues in the community. I also realized how much I enjoy communal activism and hope to continue with it in the future,” said Posner. The team will be traveling to NYC on April 4th for their presentations. Through the light of Torah and academic excellence, Hebrew Academy inspires each and every student to improve the world. Hebrew Academy is a Modern Orthodox Jewish college and yeshiva preparatory school serving students from birth through grade 12. For more information, please visit

500+ Attend SPBC Jewish Federation’s THE EVENT 2.0 As soon as the lights went down, the energy spiked way up – and that’s where it stayed throughout the night at Boca West Country Club on March 1. THE EVENT 2.0 may have been called Federation Unplugged, but the night ran on the spirit and power of the more than 500 adults of all ages who came together to celebrate our remarkable Jewish community’s commitment and generosity. For a fifth year, THE EVENT 2.0 brought Federation supporters together from across South Palm Beach County’s vibrant diversity, for one shared purpose: to celebrate all the good we do together and get inspired to do even more for those who depend on us. Once again, they cried and cheered as they heard compelling stories from people whose lives have been changed through their compassion and generosity. They heard from the evening’s co-chairs Kathy & Ken Green and Mara & Michael

Shapiro, and from Campaign Chair Larry Feldman. And this year the audience was thrilled to welcome back home and to the stage Brett Ratner, a Miami Beach native, who

is also a very successful director. With his mother, his rabbi and his longtime mentor in the audience, Ratner fully lived up to his reputation for mesmerizing and inspiring audiences with his haimish journey from

Miami dreamer to Hollywood mogul and action-packed, comedic delivery - as well as for his commitment to Jewish history, culture, values, security and philanthropy.

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

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Comedy for Koby Passover: The Power of Story There is a power in telling a story. The best example of this is the Passover Seder when the Jewish People gather together to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. Every year we reenact the journey from slavery to freedom. Moreover, we are enjoined to tell the story as if we were personally there: to empathize with the suffering of the people and to experience the joy of freedom. Of course, each of us has our own story, and when we tell our stories, we want others to empathize with our hardships and to understand our joy. We want them to understand the power and meaning of our stories. Some stories are difficult to retell, as well as difficult for others to hear and understand. Our 13- year- old son Koby Mandell was murdered in 2001. He and his friend Yosef Ish Ran were hiking near our home in Israel when terrorists trapped them in a small cave and stoned them to death. Our lives were shattered--divided between before and after our son’s murder. We entered an area of suffering that alienated us from everyday life. Worse, our kids were suffering and we saw that neither the schools, the social service system, or their friends could help them. After loss, in families like ours, children often become silent victims because they are reluctant to share their pain with family members. They see their parents’ or parent’s pain and don’t want to add to it. (Or in the worst cases, there is no parent who survives.) We decided to create a place where at least for a few weeks each year, children like ours would be understood, would be with friends who would “get” them. The kids would receive therapeutic support in an informal environment where they could trust each other and the specially trained

staff. The kids would know that they were not alone. We decided to make a camp for bereaved children, Camp Koby and Yosef, the first of its kind in Israel. Modelled on an American sleep away camp, Camp Koby and Yosef creates an environment where kids can have experiences that change and enlarge their stories. One summer day at Camp Koby and Yosef, a seventeen-year-old counselor, told us about Tomer, a ten-year-old camper. Tomer had become unusually agitated when a fellow camper was injured. Tomer’s father had died of cancer, and the look on the face of his friend lying unconscious on the ground reminded him of the look on his father’s face when he was in a coma at the end of his life. The counselor told us: “I didn’t know what to say, I felt so bad. But then I thought of something I’d learned in the counselor training. I said to him:”Can you tell me about your father?” What did your father like to do?” He answered, “He liked sailing He would take me sailing. He liked soccer, we would watch soccer together. And he liked basketball. He taught me how to play basketball.” I asked him: “Do you want to go play basketball with me, right now?” We went to the basketball court and started to play. Tomer said: “My father said that you put your hands on the ball like this.” He was teaching me what his father had taught him. You dribble like this he said. You shoot like this.” After that we went to the basketball court every night together, with Tomer coaching me the way his father had taught him.” The counselor not only gave Tomer a positive way to remember his father, he also empowered Tomer to embody his father. Tomer was able to transmit his fa-


ther’s teachings, his voice. Tomer’s pain may well now be surrounded with loving memories, both of his father and of his counselor. Another example of our own experience: After we shared a story with a group of elementary school girls at Camp Koby we were surrounded by 5 eight year old girls who wanted to tell us their stories. One little girl said: “My father died when I was four.” She spoke softly. “But I didn’t know that dying meant that I

wouldn’t see him again.” She described how confusing it was for her the day he died, how she didn’t know he had died and she came home and all these people were in her house and her mother took her into a room and told her the awful news. “And I didn’t go to the funeral,” she said.  “They gave me a choice and I chose to go to my cousin’s house.” Kids need to tell their stories. We all need a place where we feel safe to share our stories. In fact, researchers have found that children who know their family stories are more resilient than others who don’t. The Jewish people share a family story. And we recount that story over and over, especially during Passover when we recount our liberation from slavery. The kids at Camp Koby also get to tell their stories and in the process often move from being enslaved by the pain of their loss to being freed of the unbearable burden of grief. When we first started Camp Koby 15 years ago, we were not sure if the kids would want to tell their stories. We have learned that kids do want to talk, but they will only speak where they feel safe and protected. Once a story is shared, the child is changed. Sharing with someone who understands lightens the burden of bereavement. Telling our national story is one of the keys to the national resilience of the Jewish people. At Camp Koby, kids build personal resilience by telling their personal stories to others who understand. The Koby Mandell Foundation will be running two comedy shows in South Florida.  For information please contact comedyforkobyusa@kobymandell. org, or visit

DKJA Hosts Celebrity Chef Jet Tila for Educational & Entertaining Day of Culinary Learning Nationally celebrated chef Jet Tila, who has appeared on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and Cutthroat Kitchen and Chopped, spent the day at Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton, on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Chef Jet engaged with a variety of

audiences at the K-12 independent Jewish Day School, starting off the day greeting school administrators, then finalizing food production and recipes for a unique Modern Asian Kosher lunch menu served to students and staff/faculty. He also visited with students in both their classroom

and in the school’s onsite garden, picking herbs that were used in food preparation, and, as a grand finale, presented an interactive live cooking demonstration for the school community. The presentation invited audience members to participate, taste test and learn the art of food preparation.

He prepared fried rice served in a half of a pineapple, explaining proper culinary techniques for presentation and success in the kitchen.



MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

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APRIL 20, 2016 | The Jewish Home OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

In The K


Sushi n’ Dips By Naomi Nachman

Sushi for Pesach Who doesn’t want to eat sushi all the time, right? For the last 20 years sushi has become a staple at every Jewish simcha and kiddush. Everyone seems to flock around the sushi station and fill up their plates. But for Pesach, we feel the loss of not eating sushi for 8 days because rice is not permitted for those that don’t eat kitniyot (grains and legumes such as rice, corn, soy beans, string beans, peas, lentils, mustard, sesame seeds and poppy seeds). When the Orthodox Union certified quinoa for Passover last year, many people were so very excited to eat a this new food group during Pesach after 2,000 years. This answered some questions about what to use as the “rice” for sushi and opened up a possible avenue for kosher for Pesach sushi. However, not everyone uses quinoa due to different minhagim (customs). I wanted to develop a sushi recipe for everyone to use on Pesach. I came up with the idea of using cauliflower. People have been making cauliflower pizza, so I thought, why not use it as the “rice” for the sushi? Once I got to the testing, I was very impressed with the carb-free results. Now my family doesn’t have to be deprived of sushi for 8 days! This makes a great appetizer, side dish or serve it as a main meal and watch your popularity soar.

Sushi Cauliflower “Rice” Ingredients 2 large packages frozen Bodek (checked) cauliflower 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp Passover soy sauce 1 tsp Passover vinegar

Preparation Grate the frozen checked cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles small crumbs. Place the cauliflower crumbs on a clean dish towel. Since there is a lot of cauliflower, you can split it in half and use two dish towels. Tightly wrap the cauliflower in a bundle and squeeze it dry. If it’s still cold from being frozen, let it sit out for another 20 minutes and squeeze again. Make sure the cauliflower is very dry. Place the cauliflower in a bowl and add the sugar, Passover soy sauce and Passover vinegar. Mix well and then use it as rice for sushi.

Filling There are different filling options, which should all be cut into julienne strips (long and thin). You can use avocado, carrot, cucumber, salmon – cooked or raw, tuna, spicy tuna, grilled chicken, or sliced steak.

Basic Steps to Make Sushi Rolls • Prepare cauliflower “rice” as directed above. • Put a nori sheet on top of a bamboo mat. • Spread the “rice” on top of the nori sheet. • Place the filling lengthwise across the rice. • Roll up the bamboo mat, pressing forward to shape the sushi into a cylinder. • Press the bamboo mat firmly and remove it from the sushi. • Cut the rolled sushi into bite-sized pieces. You can cut the sushi better if you wipe the knife with a wet cloth before you slice it. Here are some ideas for sushi fillings combinations. Use your imagination and go wild.

Charoset roll (dessert roll) Apples, ground almonds, dash of cinnamon.

Chicken Caesar roll Chicken, romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing

Grilled steak Avocado, sliced steak and red onion

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

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


221 Regent Drive Lakewood, NJ 08701

Tax ID# 37-1456890

Fax: 1877-KVITTEL (1877-584-8835)

1888-36-36-248 international toll-free number

In Canada: 5831 Esplanade Montreal Quebec Canada h2t3a2

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




MARCH 23, 2017 | The Jewish Home MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Blueberry Cobbler pareve – freezer friendly yields 8 servings in 1 (9-inch) round pan or 8-10 ramekins This warm dessert is perfect comfort food any time of the year, from a summer afternoon to a winter evening. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a little extra indulgence.

INGREDIENTS Blueberry Base 3 pints (6 cups) blueberries ½ cup sugar ½ Tablespoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons potato starch juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tablespoons)

Crumbs 2½ cups potato starch 1 cup sugar 1 egg

1 cup oil 2 cups ground almonds or nut of your choice



Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 1 (9-inch) round pan or 8-10 ramekins.


Prepare the blueberry base: Combine blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, potato starch, and lemon juice in a bowl. Toss to coat evenly. Place mixture into prepared round pan or divide among prepared ramekins. Set aside.


Prepare the crumbs: Combine all crumb ingredients; mix with a fork until coarse crumbs form. Spread the mixture over fruit base in prepared pan or ramekins. To prevent spillage, don’t overfill pan(s).


Bake for 60 minutes for 9-inch pan and 45 minutes for ramekins, until the tops are golden brown and crisp.

Cook’s Tip

To take advantage of seasonal fruits, substitute 6 cups of fruit(s) of your choice, such as apples, peaches, nectarines, pears, plums, etc. in place of the blueberries.

Recipe reproduced from

PERFECT FOR PESACH by Naomi Nachman with permission from the copyright holders ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, LTD.

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017


The Miami Marlins to Host Pesach at the Park Featuring 8th Day & the New York Mets A Fun and Family-Filled Passover Celebration Comes to the Miami Marlins Game Against the New York Mets When it comes to South Florida Jews coming together, it’s refreshing when there’s an opportunity to do so outside of Shul or political rallies and instead to have fun. Given the importance of families in Jewish culture, it’s equally nice when activities center around not only feeding and entertaining them, but celebrating the community’s rich religious and cultural heritage as well. At this special time of the year when families are off either from school or work to celebrate the Pesach holiday, Passover at the Park, coming to Miami Marlin’s Park again this year on April 13, 2017, allows attendees an opportunity to enjoy kosher food, live music, a baseball game, and plenty of giveaways, all themed “Pesach”. Passover at the Park, (http://www., a co-production of Avenue J, The Rok Shul and Chabad of Florida in partnership with the Miami Marlins, makes its much-awaited return to Miami Marlin’s Park again this year on Thursday, April 13, 2017 starting at 4:00 p.m. On this year’s itinerary prior to the start of the evening with the New York Mets, there’s a Kosher for Pesach BBQ certified by Chabad, a concert by the band 8th Day, as well as many giveaways. One of the favorite giveaways from previous year’s events has been a special edition Miami Marlins t-shirts with all wording printed exclusively in Hebrew. And in previous years, a Chabad Rabbi will throw out the first pitch and 8th Day will return for an encore performance during the 7th year stretch. This unique relationship between the Miami Marlins and the Chabad community South Florida’s Jewish community is longstanding. The Marlins hosted a Lag BaOmer parade several years back and Passover at the Park in past years have seen upwards of 4,000 attendees that have flocked to the park for the day’s festivities, some from as far away as New Jersey, all with the goal of spending time with family, enjoying live entertainment, and just having a good time. It’s also well attended by local community leaders and well as government representatives from Israel as well. Last year, Consul General from Israel to both Florida and Puerto Rico, Chaim Shacham attended as well. “Pesach at the Park is one of a few events that has gained traction in the past few years as a way to bring South Florida’s Jewish community together for a community-wide celebration of our rich Jewish heritage. At the event, families are able to come together and be entertained in a fun-filled setting around at an important time of the year, Passover. At a time of

the year when many families are free from obligations and have more time to refocus their energies on strengthening their core familial relationships, Passover at the Park fits right into that!” -Rabbi Eli Lipskar

About Passover at the Park: In just a few years, Passover at the Park has grown to be one of the South Florida Jewish Community’s preeminent events aimed at bringing families together and celebrating our shared religious and cultural heritage. This year’s event includes kosher BBQ,

live music from 8th Day, as well as free giveaways. To learn more about Passover at the Park, the event’s itinerary and to purchase tickets, visit the event’s website at

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APRIL 20, 2016 | The Jewish Home OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home



Centerfold ?

You gotta be


Yankel and Moshe meet at a local coffee shop to shmooze. As they sit there, Yankel turns to Moshe and says, “Do you know what I think, Moshe?” “No,” replies Moshe, “what is it that you think, Yankel?” “I think,” says Yankel, “that life is just like a cup of coffee.” “Why do you think that?” asks Moshe. “How should I know,” replies Yankel. “Am I a philosopher?”

Did You Know? When three-letter airport codes became standard, airports that had been using two letters simply added an X.

A normal, relaxed blinking rate is 6–8 blinks per minute, and the eyes are closed for about 1/10th of a second. If you start counting at one and spell out the numbers as you go, you won’t use the letter “A” until you reach 1,000.

There are more than 50,000 characters in the Chinese language. You’ll need to know about 2,000 to read a newspaper.

Riddle me this?

You are given a 5 gallon barrel and a 3 gallon barrel. You are told to go to the sink and fill the 5 gallon barrel with 4 gallons of water. You don’t have any measuring devices. What do you do to make sure the 5 gallon barrel has 4 gallons using your two items? See answer on next page

Rhode Island is the smallest state but has the longest name. The official name, used on all state documents, is “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”

Diet Coke was only invented in 1982.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word “set” has the most definitions, with 464. The word “run” runs a distant second, with 396 definitions.

If you have 3 quarters, 4 dimes, and 4 pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.

Alaska is the only state that you can type out its name using only one line of a keyboard.

There are 10 human body parts that are only 3 letters long (eye, hip, arm, leg, ear, toe, jaw, rib, lip, gum).

The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.

No word in the English language rhymes with month.

The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called “aglets.”

The Jewish Home | APRIL 20, 2016 The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015 The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017


Intelligence Test

1. Do they have a 4th of July in England? a. Yes b. No 2. How many birthdays does the average man have? a. 1 b. 7 c. 72 3. Some months have 31 days; how many have 28? a. 2 b. 12 4. How many outs are there in an inning? a. 1 b. 3 c. 6 d. 9 5. Is it legal for a man in California to marry his widow’s sister? a. Yes b. No 6. Divide 30 by 1/2 and add 10. What is the answer? a. 20 b. 25 c. 70 7. If there are 3 apples and you take

away 2, how many do you have? a. 1 b. 2 c. 3 8. A doctor gives you three pills telling you to take one every half hour. How many minutes would the pills last? a. 60 b. 90 c. 120 9. A farmer has 17 sheep, and all but 9 die. How many are left? a. 8 b. 9 c. 17 10. How many two cent stamps are there in a dozen? a. 2 b. 6 c. 9 d. 12 Answers 1. A- In England, much like America, July 4th comes after July 3rd. Everything else about the place is backwards, though. 2. A- Every person has 1 birthday…duuhh. 3. C- Last I checked each month

has at least 28 days, although we wish August had 60 and January had 2. 4. C- A full inning has 6 outs, 3 for each team. 5. B- It would be pretty hard for a dead person to get married. 6. C-70 (30 divided by 1/2 equals 60. Then you add 10) 7. B- Unless someone stole one of the apples from you, you have the 2 that you took. 8. A-60  - Start with the first pill, 30 minutes later take the second, 30 minutes after that, take the third. 9. B- Why don’t you think about this one a little more? Maybe read the question again. 10. D- There are twelve 2 cent stamps in a dozen. Wisdom Key 8-10 Correct: You are probably the smartest person sitting around your yom tov table (which also makes you the most annoying person to sit near). 4-7 Correct: You are intelligent. But you shoot from the hip a bit too much. 1-3 Correct: Too much matzah is known to kill brain cells. Slow down on the chomping and try this quiz again later.

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Answer to riddle: You fill the 5 gallon barrel up and pour it into the 3 gallon barrel. Then dump the 3 gallon barrel out and pour what was left in the 5 gallon barrel into the 3 gallon barrel so that you have 2 gallons in the 3 gallon barrel. Then fill the 5 gallon barrel up and pour it into the 3 gallon barrel to fill it up. Now you have 4 gallons in the 5 gallon barrel.


MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home


OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

A Match Made in China

25 Years of the China-Israel Alliance By Susan Schwamm


srael’s population is a mere 8 million; China is home to almost 1.4 billion people. Despite the disparities in number of people who call these countries home, Israel and China have steadily been working on growing their relationship. Just this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in China to discuss technological cooperation between the two nations. “We have signed many agreements,” Netanyahu said, “but I think that your decision to announce a comprehensive innovation partnership between China and Israel is a tremendously important decision, certainly for us in Israel, and I believe through our cooperation, for China as well.” This is not the first time the prime minister visited the Chinese and is 25 years since the dawn of an initiative aimed at fostering trade between the two nations. Netanyahu continued, “We admire China’s capabilities, its position on the world stage and in history. We have always believed, as we dis-

cussed on my previous visit, that Israel can be a partner, a junior partner, but a perfect partner for China in the development of a variety of

peoples, but also I think for humanity as a whole.” He concluded, “I want to thank you, not only for the friendship you

“I believe this is a marriage made in heaven,” Netanyahu said at the beginning of the meeting. technologies that change the way we live, how long we live, how healthy we live, the water we drink, the food we eat, the milk that we drink – in every area.” Israel, which has been called the Startup Nation, is known for its strides in technology. “There are vast and rapid changes in technology, which Israel excels in that we believe that we could cooperate in,” Netanyahu explained. “We know that you have great scientists, great industrialists, great capabilities, and we think that by working together we can make the future better for our

have shown Israel, but for the important strides we are making to make the world a better place for all of us.” Netanyahu began his three day trip to China this week on Sunday, bringing along with him a group of businessmen and government leaders to sign deals during the visit. While meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in the Great Hall of People in Beijing, the two leaders agreed to accelerate negotiations regarding the establishment of a Free Trade Zone and the work of the special economic cooperation committee. The

two leaders also discussed a “fast track” for Israeli and Chinese investors to streamline the way to joint agreements and a direct air link between Shanghai and Tel Aviv. “We think there are only two such concentrations of technology in the world for the moment… We are eager to work with you. We’re going to sign with the government in the coming days a series of agreements on how we can pursue this cooperation, how we can help China in its plans and how China, of course, can enable us to participate in its great projects. But I believe this is a marriage made in heaven,” Netanyahu said at the beginning of the meeting.


oday, there are approximately 2,500 Jews living in China – the majority of them, around 2,000, live in Beijing. Historians have noted that Jews first came to China sometime during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). At that time, during the Silk Road, Jews were well-suited to become involved in international trade. For one, many Jews were already merchants in their

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Jewish children in the Shanghai ghetto in 1944


Lighting the menorah at the Great Wall of China

Jews of Kaifeng, late 19th century, early 20th century

hometowns. Additionally, because Jews speak a common language – Hebrew – Jews from Europe, Persia, India and the Middle East were able to converse and trade amongst themselves despite the language barriers that non-Jews faced. If Jews were trading within Europe and India at the time, China would be the next country with which to trade. A significant group of Jews – around 70 families – settled in the city of Kaifeng during the Song Dynasty. It is not known why they left their hometown or why they settled in China. The group was welcomed by the Song Emperor and was allowed to freely practice their faith. For at least eight or nine generations, they only gave their children Jewish names. They would only eat meat slaughtered by Jews and wouldn’t eat blood, pork and other non-kosher animals. During the Ming Dynasty, many Kaifeng Jews were given roles in the government. As their status grew, though, many of them turned to study Chinese texts and some of their Jewish learning was diminished. When the Yellow River dams flooded in 1642, the Golden Age of Kaifeng Jewry abruptly ended, as many lost their lives in the rushing waters. The community gradually lost itself within China as many of its members intermarried. In the 19th century, they no longer knew Hebrew and didn’t even know when Shabbos was. At one point the Kaifeng Jews sadly posted their holy seforim in the

city square and offered a reward for someone to translate them. No one could. In 1914, the site of their shul – where they had prayed for 700 years – was sold to a bishop. The history of the Jews of Shanghai is a bit more recent. As the port city of Shanghai opened to foreign trade in 1842, many Jews fleeing repression in Eastern Europe and particularly those escaping the Russian Tsar stumbled into Shanghai. The Ohel Moishe Synagogue was built in Shanghai in 1907. At the time, the population of Shanghai Jews grew

city grew to a population of approximately 25,000 – around 18,000 of those were Jewish refugees who came to the city from 1933 to 1941. When Japan captured Shanghai in 1937, the Jews suffered terribly and eventually migrated to the United States, Britain, Australia, and Israel after the war. Now, there are only a few Jews living in Shanghai. The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum reminds visitors of the city’s Jewish past. Beijing, the capital of China, is now home to around 2,000 Jews – in

China is Israel’s largest trading partner in Asia, with bilateral trade volume surpassing a whopping $11 billion.

to 700. The majority of those Jews – 400 of them – were Sephardim, hailing from Baghdad, Bombay and Cairo, including the wealthy Sassoon, Kadoorie, Hardoon, Ezra, Shamoon, and Baroukh families. The community in Shanghai grew as the Russian Revolution in 1917 pushed more Jews towards China. And then, in the 1930s and 1940s, as Jews raced to escape Hitler’s evil minions, some fled to Shanghai, a port city which did not require visas. Students of Mir Yeshiva and Slabodka found refuge in Shanghai and the

a city of 21.5 million. For the past few decades Jews from all over the world have been traveling to China to engage in commerce and pursue economic development. Judaism is not a state-recognized religion in China and freestanding religious buildings are not allowed. The Chabad shaliach, Rabbi Shimon Freundlich, came to Beijing in 2001. The shul is officially held in his home. There is a mikveh in Beijing and a Montessori school run by Rebbetzin Freundlich. Beijing’s first kosher restaurant, Dini’s, opened in March 2007.


here is little anti-Semitism in China. Some, like Professor James Ross, who teaches journalism at Northeastern University in Boston and was a Fulbright lecturer at Nanjing University, say that the Chinese are more ignorant or apathetic about Jews than anti-Semitic as many of them don’t have any contact with the Chosen Nation. Despite that, the Chinese seem to see Jews as being a smart people, a trait that they admire and wish to aspire to. In an interview with The Forward in 2016, Ross relates about his time spent in China: “I was taken aback by people’s admiration for me because I was Jewish. And their assumption that I was rich and smart because I am a Jew. I found that really awkward.” He added, “Now that everything is focused on getting rich and attaining power, there is not much to believe in, and the interest in Jewish people involves what Jews believe in, even though the Chinese cannot study what Jews believe in. So it is still a mystery to them. They feel that they want to be like Jews, but have no idea what Jews believe in.” The Chinese want to know the secret to Jews’ supposed success and are willing to look for it. Books that line Chinese bookstore shelves include ones with titles like The Secret of the Talmud: The Jewish Code of Wealth, The Eight Most Valuable Business Secrets of the Jewish, and Jewish People and Business: The Bible of How to Live Their Lives. These books aren’t necessarily written by


The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Jews or even spout Jewish tradition and wisdom. But the Chinese view the Jews as being successful and smart, two traits that they value, and books about Jewish wisdom fly off the shelves.


erhaps it is this stereotype that propels the Israel-China alliance to continue to grow. Israel sees China as another resource for expanding business relations, and the Chinese respect Israel’s great advances in numerous fields. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion saw the opportunity in China years ago. In a 1953 essay on international relations titled, “Israel Among the Nations,” Ben-Gurion predicted that the United States and Russia would struggle over world leadership. He urged Israel to turn towards the Far East. “Once again,” he wrote, “two great and ancient nations – India and China – stride out into independence. Their weight in the scales of humanity is increasing and is likely to tip those scales more yet hereafter.” Ben-Gurion pointed out that Israel sits on the edge of Asia, a perfect spot to embrace both the East and West. Despite Ben-Gurion’s foresight in China becoming a world power, he never saw a relationship come to fruition. Communist China did not invite outside alliances under Chairman Mao, although Israel was the first Middle East country to extend diplomatic recognition to China in 1950. But then, when China aligned itself with the Muslim world at the UN in 1956, Ben-Gurion realized there was no practical reason to reach out to Beijing. In 1978 Deng Xiaoping ascended China’s leadership. He encouraged foreign investment and market reforms, steering the country away from Mao’s strict ideology. In 1979, Israeli-based business tycoon Shaul Eisenberg endeavored to take advantage of the opening of China’s shore to foreigners – the first forging of a relationship between Israel and China. (Eisenberg actually fled to Shanghai from Nazi Germany during the war.) He arranged for leaders of Israel’s defense industry to hold a meeting with their Chinese counterparts, leading to a number of lucrative arms deals. Not wanting to aggravate China’s Arab allies, the two nations kept the meeting and re-

President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

lationship under wraps. The United States, though, supported the fledging partnership, hoping to diminish Soviet power. It was President George H. W. Bush who brought Sino-Israel relations to the fore. In 1991, with the Soviets no longer sponsoring Arab states, the president convened the Madrid Peace Conference between Israel and the Arab world. When China saw that sitting down with the Israelis was condoned even by the Arabs, it brought its relationship with Israel out into the open. Diplomatic relations were formally established in 1992. Israel subsequently instituted a series of economic reforms in the 1990s that allowed bilateral trade to increase, and Chinese President Jiang Zemin eventually visited Israel in 2000. The fall of the Soviet Union was a boon and a hindrance for Sino-Israel relations. On the one hand, Israel no longer had to hide its interest in China. But on the other hand, the United States saw itself faced with the threat not of the Soviet Union but of China. Indeed, in 2000, the United States forced the Israeli government to cancel a $1 billion deal to sell China four Phalcon warning and surveillance systems. Diplomatic relations cooled for a while between Beijing and Tel Aviv but the Chinese are practical and pragmatic. They knew a relationship with Israel is too good to throw away over one bad deal. In fact, because of advances in the high-tech industry in Israel, the Sino-Israel alliance tightened and from 2000-2005 trade between Israel and China tripled. The financial crisis of 2008 brought economies around the globe to their knees. But with disaster comes opportunity, and China, in

2010, officially announced that it would be making innovation the new engine of its economy. Who better to partner with than the Startup Nation?


hinese companies began investing in Israeli companies and infrastructure. In 2008, a Chinese company was awarded the contract for digging the Carmel Tunnel in Haifa as well as part of the Red Line on Tel Aviv’s light rail project. Another Chinese company also won the tender to supply bridge cranes to the Haifa port. In 2013, following Netanyahu’s second diplomatic visit to Beijing in which he oversaw the signing of a $400 million trade agreement that was officially penned and signed by Israeli Finance Ministry Accountant-General Michal Abadi-Boiangiu and officials from China’s Finance Ministry, H.E. Gao Yanping, China’s Ambassador to Israel, wrote: “With the interdependence between countries deepening in the globalized world, China and Israel have a shared destiny. The closer our cooperation is, the more benefits will accrue for both our peoples, and the more contributions we will be able to make to regional stability, world peace and global prosperity.” In 2014, for the first time, Israel imported more goods from China than it did from the United States – $8.1 billion and $7.4 billion, respectively. In 2015, then-Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Israel has made a strategic decision to diversify its commerce, so we’re moving to the East. I’m talking about China, Japan, India … and it’s working.” Today, 25 years after establishing formal relations with China, China is Israel’s largest trading partner

in Asia, with bilateral trade volume surpassing a whopping $11 billion. It’s not always about economic collaboration between the two countries. Back in 2011, SIGNAL – Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership, an institute dedicated to strengthening ties between the two nations – hosted the first-ever China-Israel Strategy and Security Symposium at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. In 2011-12, SIGNAL established five Israel Studies programs at Chinese universities; even more exist today. And in 2013, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology announced that it will launch a campus at Shantou University in Guangdong, China’s most populous province. Hundreds of scholarships have been set aside in Israel for Chinese undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students in the hope that more Chinese will study in Israel. Three years ago, Chinese magnate Li Ka-Shing, among China’s richest businessmen, donated $130 million to Technion Institute of Technology as part of a joint venture with Shantou University that will establish the Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology. The gift marked the first time a school from any other country was invited to establish an entirely new college based in China. Ground was broken on the project in China in December 2015. Economic alliances and academic collaboration are parts of a strong Sino-Israel relationship. Take a visit to the Holy Land and you will see that Chinese citizens are taking advantage of the friendly atmosphere between China and Israel. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, 76,400 Chinese tourists visited Israel between January 2016 and November 2016 – a massive 60 percent increase from 2015 – making China its biggest growth market.


ho would have thought that a nation in which there are barely Jews would be one of Israel’s biggest trade partners? The Jews of Kaifeng, when they journeyed to China almost 2,000 years ago, could never have imagined that generations later Jews would once again be doing brisk business with the Chinese. But, as Netanyahu said this week, “This is a marriage made in heaven.”



MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Health & F tness

Eating Healthy on Pesach; Fighting the Battle By Cindy Weinberger MS, RD, CDN


esach is a challenging time for dieting. With back-to-back meals and the overabundance of matzah and potatoes, the pounds seem to be attracted to us. Hopefully going into Pesach with the right mindset will help you make healthful food choices and give you the strength and self-control to combat the diet challenges. As we previously discussed, matzah should not be “dietarily” restricted on the seder night; however, throughout the rest of Pesach, try to substitute matzah for healthier options whenever possible. On Chol Hamoed, try to avoid the matzah sandwiches and go for a healthier meal: • Salad with tuna fish • Salad with egg salad • Salad with cottage cheese • Omelet with fresh vegetables • Spanish omelet • Salmon with vegetables • Grilled chicken cutlets with vegetables • Broiled chicken with vegetables There are many choices in terms of lean proteins with vegetables side dishes. The problem on Pesach tends

to be the starch. That’s where the potatoes come in. Potatoes are a great side dish for Pesach since they are non-chometz, cheap, easy to prepare and versatile. Potatoes can be served as mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, potato kugel, French fries, potato salad, or even latkes! Potatoes are rich in iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium,

mission of nerve impulses, aids in the absorption of fat, and reduces chronic inflammation. Potatoes also contain folate which plays a role in DNA synthesis and thus can help prevent the forming of cancerous tumors. Potatoes definitely have a lot of nutrients to offer, however, let’s not forget that they are considered a starchy vegetable and should be consumed in mod-

Eat balanced meals and avoid snacking and overeating.

and zinc, which all contribute to the building and maintaining of bone structure. Additionally, potatoes’ fiber, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B-6 content, together with their lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. Another beneficial nutrient found in potatoes is choline. Choline helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps maintain the structure of cellular membranes, assists in the trans-

eration. Over Pesach, try to limit the potatoes to only once a day. An even better healthier option would be to substitute regular potatoes with sweet potatoes. A baked sweet potato makes a filling side dish. Stuff it with cheese and/or vegetables, or eat some cottage cheese on the side, and you got yourself a great meal. Another suggestion is to slice up a sweet potato or cut into cubes and roast it. You can season it

sweet, salty or even spicy for the Cajun effect. You can cut up a sweet potato into thin strips for French fries or mash up cooked sweet potatoes for mashed potatoes. The options are endless and the benefits are great. Over Pesach be mindful of what goes into your mouth. Eat balanced meals and avoid snacking and overeating. Pay attention to portion sizes. Eat fruits and vegetables as much as possible instead of starchy kugels, cakes, macaroons, lady fingers, chocolate, and anything else that may tempt you. Skip desserts. Drink plenty of water and get as much exercise as you can. Now that your house is clean from chometz, use this opportunity to rid your body of “chometz” too.

Cindy Weinberger MS, RD, CDN, is a Master’s level Registered Dietitian and Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist. She graduated CUNY Brooklyn College receiving a Bachelor’s in Science and Master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences. She is currently a dietitian at Boro Park Center and a private nutrition consultant. She can be reached at

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

Parsha Perceptions

Parshas Vayikra


he Torah emphasizes in the opening words of this week’s Torah reading that G-d, so to speak, called out to Moshe to instruct him in the laws and strictures of sacrifices in the Temple service. What is the significance of “calling out” – which always implies doing so by name, such as by parents naming their child – instead of the usual verses beginning that G-d, so to speak, “spoke” or “addressed” Moshe? The answer lies in the exclusive nature of the word “vayikra.” It denotes a personal message, a sense of privacy and intimacy between the caller and the one who is being called. One notices that this is the same word used in describing the Heavenly voice that called out to Moshe from the burning bush at the beginning of his eternal mission. It connotes a relationship between the parties, a sense of personal uniqueness, with the absence of any possibility of randomness in the encounter between the two. Closeness to Heaven, a relationship to G-d and eternity, lies at the

heart of Jewish tradition. It is what makes one feel special about being a Jew, the elusive spiritual component that we all wish to capture and experience. We are reminded that simple faith is not so simple after all. To hear the Heavenly call, other noises in our lives have to

By Rabbi Berel Wein

ited and found in the entity of the family. The relationship in a marriage, of raising children, of honoring and caring for parents and others all entail substantial personal sacrifice. For a person to feel noble and blessed in performing these sacrifices – as most are required on a constant and

To hear the Heavenly call, other noises in our lives have to be diminished.

be diminished. Heaven speaks to us in a small, still voice, in the sound of our parents’ and ancestors’ voices, in the intimacy of family and purpose. The idea of sacrifice is primarily exhib-

even grinding basis – one needs to feel a personal calling. Love for another human being is such a calling. It enables us to perform immense sacrifices without a whimper of complaint.

Love is really the calling out of one person to another person. It is the reflection of the constant echo of G-d, so to speak, calling out to us in our earthly lives. That calling transcends time and space, physical presence and material goods. If left to our own base, selfish nature we can never get to the point of hearing and acting on our calling. We are left to be influenced by the thunderous noises that permeate our society and social environment. We must always strain to hear the still, small voice that speaks to us individually and personally. Rashi points out that the voice that Moshe heard could only be heard in the holy place of the Tabernacle, the Mishkan. Only in striving to create a holy place in our home, our workplace, our family and our society will we be privileged to realize that Heaven is calling to us. Shabbat shalom.





MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home


we are grateful to have TAKEN YOU OUT from the difficulty of navigating the various rewards programs; we have SAVED YOU from misusing your rewards; we have REDEEMED YOUR miles and points for top dollar; and we have BROUGHT YOU to the land of milk and honey (and many other lands as well) without having to break the bank... So this Pesach, the entire PEYD Team says thank you, for another milestone year.

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The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

Psychology Today

Pro Choice Dr. Yaakov Siegel Pesach is the holiday of Freedom. Freedom from slavery, freedom from oppression and the freedom to choose right from wrong. It is a celebration and reminder of our free will. Psychologists have been debating the concept of free choice for nearly a century. There are two basic schools of thought: determinism and agency. Determinists believe that human being have little control over themselves and that their behavior is dependent on outside factors like environment, genetics or destiny. One famous proponent of determinism is the 91-year old Stanford University professor, Dr. Albert Bandura, who argues that behavior is a product of uncontrollable circumstances that cause us to perform and relate in predetermined ways. He once wrote that witnessing violence in childhood causes violent acting-out in later life. To Bandura, social exposure and contact with others are responsible for most behaviors, not personal choice or free will. Another leading Determinist was John Bowlby (19071990) who said that early life experience, innate traits and biological drives are mostly responsible for our behavior. Bowlby generally dismissed the idea of self-control and argued that humans are subservient to their wants, desires

and needs. Perhaps the most extreme example of determinist thought is reflected in the work of Dr. Burrhus Frederic (B.F.) Skinner who once wrote that people are “tricked” into believing that they have free choice over themselves. Skinner saw behavior as a response to reward and punishment and argued that we live under an “illusion of free will.” Determinist Theory falls short of explaining why human behavior remains unpredictable. If behavior was predestined and a product of our environment, reward or punishment, parental influence or modeling, we should be able to accurately predict how humans will act. But this is not the case. The physical sciences have a high degree of predictability - two chemicals will react the same way each and every time they meet. But when it comes to human behavior, this is not so. Human beings remain hard to predict. There are an endless amount of permutations and possible outcomes and the science of shaping and manipulating human behavior is unreliable, at best. This is probably because our actions are a product of free will, planning, strategy and choice. Interestingly, two of the most influential proponents of free choice, Drs. Erich Fromm and Abraham Maslow, were raised in Ortho-

dox Jewish homes. Fromm, born to religious parents in Frankfurt in 1900, believed that an individual can call upon internal strength to choose between good and evil. Abraham Harold Maslow belonged to a frum family in New York and he went on to influence the world of psychology with his theory of self-actualization that is built in the ideas of individual strength and the ability to overcome obstacles to achieve moral and behavioral success. Perhaps the strongest advocate of freedom of choice was Dr. Sigmund Freud. Freud is well known for his work on innate drives and their influence on development. Lesser known is the way that Frued saw psychotherapy as a means of overriding innate drives to exercise free will. To Dr. Freud, therapy is successful when the patient regains control over his or her self and exercises their freedom to choose. Pesach is Zman Cherusinu, the time that we, as a nation and a community, champion the idea of free will. Just as we are no longer slaves to Pharoah in Egypt, we are not enslaved by our wants, needs, drives or reputation. Each one of us has the freedom to learn, to grow and to persevere; to chart our own course and exercise our free will and mastery over our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Dr. Siegel is a licensed psychologist in private practice. He has held positions in Federal and State institutions providing clinical services and psychological assessment.  He also served as clinical coordinator at an addiction center where he supervised and trained staff.   Dr. Siegel can be reached at 732-806-1513 or

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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

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The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

More Than Matzah:

Pesach Associations From All Around The World Jews everywhere celebrate Pesach with the same familiar traditions. But you’d be surprised how many regional traditions there are. While we are joined by a common heritage, no one Jewish community is the same. Israel is the ultimate Jewish melting pot with Olim from around the world bringing their local customs with them. Though you may be familiar with Pesach in your hometown, isn’t it interesting how Pesach is celebrated differently all around the world? We decided to learn more about global Pesach traditions by turning to Naale Elite Academy in Israel, a high school program for that brings Jewish teens from around the world to study in Israel on a full scholarship. We asked 10 of their students, each from a different locale, one simple question: “When you think of Pesach in ___________ (your hometown), what do you associate it with?” Liel Egdes; Johannesburg,  South Africa: “I think of Geshmurta matzah in abundance. It’s like cheesecake batter baked onto matzah with cinnamon and sugar on top. It’s the perfect encapsulation of Pesach in South Africa!” Ariella Dobin; Texas, USA: “Usually the Rodeo comes to town before Pesach

starts, but if it’s still going on during Chol Hamoed it’s a popular outing activity. If the rodeo is not in town, Texans will drive 4 hours to go to the beach in South Padres Island, on the Gulf of Mexico. And jala-

French-Moroccan dish we make every year: lamb cooked with prunes –it’s always finished as soon as it gets to the table… especially by me!” Elana Frisch; Boca Raton, Florida:

peños. Since many people in my Lubavitch community in Houston use their own seasonings, they use jalapenos to spice up the food. Jalapeños are popular here; people even grow them in their backyards. And I also think of our Mashiach Seuda, which happens on the last day of Pesach.” Raphael Slama; Paris, France: “I always remember a special Pesach

“The extreme humidity and the heat. As soon as I get off the plane, I’m immediately hit by a wave of humidity. And I associate Pesach with lots of New Yorkers, the hotel scene, a lot of tourists. The beaches are always crowded with Jews bringing their own picnics!” Shira Abargel; Montreal, Canada: “When I think of Montreal, I think of

the Chabad. They invite people to their homes for Leil Haseder and are constantly spreading the Pesach energy before and during Pesach.” Keren Gawendo; Sao Paulo, Brazil: “Lots of Brazilians are from Sepharad, so we have lots of dancing and singing at our sedarim. I also associate Pesach with specific foods we make in our community: rice-filled grape leaves and Batata assada -- a dish with potatoes and cheese, to dip the matzah in, which every Brazilian grandma makes!” Georgiy Balura; Dresden, Germany: “I associate Pesach with our central synagogue, which is one of the few synagogues in Germany. And because the German community is very Christian, I unfortunately always associate Pesach with Easter-related paraphernalia all around the town!” While these teens have chosen to complete their high school education in Israel, most will be traveling home for Pesach, and they’ll be experiencing the familiar sights, sounds, and – perhaps most importantly – unique regional tastes of Pesach.

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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Good Hum r

Matzah Madness By Jon Kranz


tudents can cut class, business partners can cut ties, and Kevin Bacon can cut loose (footloose, kick off your Shabbat shoes!). Jews, however, cannot cut matzah, at least not without making a crumby mess or an edible jigsaw puzzle. Like a fragile octogenarian seeking plastic surgery, matzah is far too brittle to go under the knife. Yes, eating matzah certainly is easier than Egyptian slavery, but it still is no day at the beach. Actually, on second thought, matzah is like a day at the beach because matzah and sand (like unwelcomed guests) have the same tendency to annoyingly linger no matter how often you brush them away.   Of course, matzah is not supposed to be easy, which is why we traditionally refer to it as the “Bread of Affliction.”  The question is: despite being the “Bread of Affliction,” what are matzah’s positive qualities? Forensically speaking, matzah is a detective’s dream. Imagine arriving at a crime scene and finding a trail of matzah crumbs conveniently leading you to the perpetrator.  In fact, if everyone ate matzah all of the time, no crime would go unsolved.  Then again, if everyone ate matzah all of the time, every game of hide-and-go-seek and Marco Polo would be ruined.  The loud crunching sound of matzah is one reason movie theatres and Broadway shows do not offer matzah as a refreshment.  In addition, if you eat matzah in a library, you undoubtedly will incur librarian wrath.

(The only thing that makes librarians angrier is gratuitously trashing the Dewey Decimal system.) Matzah, like a house built on an active fault line, will inevitably crum-

lar story explains how granola bars turned into granola and how chocolate bars turned into chocolate chips.) Matzah is easy to store and it has a relatively long shelf-life.  In the event

If your child brings home a report card that is inexcusably filled with subpar grades, you have every right to scream, “Matzah!”

ble. Such crumbling, however, is a blessing when you are eating soup and desire some floating texture. In that connection, I’ve always wondered how the first box of matzah farfel (matzah broken into small pieces) was made. I imagine a klutzy employee working at a matzah factory and accidentally dropping a stack of matzah on the factory floor, causing it to shatter into thousands of pieces. As the bumbling employee apologizes profusely, the factory owner bends down, runs his hands through the edible shards and exclaims: “Stop apologizing. You’re a genius! We can sell the broken pieces and make a killing. We’ll call it Matzah Farfel! And the lazy people out there will actually pay for this stuff instead of just crumbling matzah themselves.” (I’m pretty sure a simi-

of a nuclear event, you should be able to sit in your bomb shelter and munch on matzah until the radioactivity has sufficiently subsided. Plus, when help arrives, they’ll be able to find you rather easily by simply following the cacophony of crunching. Matzah, of course, was supposed to be bread, but the Hebrews leaving Egypt were in too much of a hurry to let it bake to perfection. Thus, matzah is inherently something that has been rushed. As a result, the word “matzah” can serve as an effective one-word admonition. Imagine a sales team pitching an idea to their CEO but it’s obvious they have acted too hastily and have not thought the concept through. Instead of the CEO taking the time to explain how halfbaked the idea sounds, the CEO can

simply yell: “This is matzah! Total matzah. Next!” Matzah, an almost-bread, also is something that has not fully risen to the occasion and thus has fallen short. So, if your stockbroker recommends a stock but it underperforms, you should complain that the investment is “Matzah!”  If your child brings home a report card that is inexcusably filled with subpar grades, you have every right to scream, “Matzah!”  If a seven-foot tall professional basketball player goes up for a dunk but gets insufficient lift and is rejected by the front of the rim, everyone in the stadium should chant, “Matzah, matzah, matzah” until the player is benched. Comparatively speaking, when it comes to commemorating the Exodus, there are worse things that Jews could be forced to do than eat matzah.  For example, imagine if throughout Passover, Jews had to make bricks. (Then again, I’ve been served some pretty hefty matzah balls that could have doubled as bricks.)  Bottom line:  On Passover, serving matzah ball soup makes perfect sense but to celebrate the miracle of the Exodus, you should consider serving “Split Sea” Soup. Happy crunching.

Jon Kranz is an attorney living in Englewood, New Jersey. Send any comments, questions or insults to

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Torah Thought The Essence of Dayeinu Rabbi Efrem Goldberg

It is almost impossible to imagine the Seder night without the singing of dayeinu.  Young children to octogenarians can be found humming the addictive melody to dayeinu.  Interestingly, the Rambam does not have dayeinu in his Hagaddah and even Rav Saadia Gaon whose Hagaddah serves essentially as the basis for ours, only has dayeinu as an addendum at the end of the Haggadah among those songs that only those who can hold their wine sing. Yet for us, dayeinu is central, a centerpiece of the hagaddah and a highlight of Seder experience.  The tune is catchy, but the words and theme are frankly bizarre.  Had you taken us from Egypt but not split the sea, dayenu.  Really, would it have been enough?  If you had taken us to Har Sinai but not given us the Torah, dayenu, it would have been enough.  Really, don’t we talk about how the Torah is the air that we breathe, indispensable to our lives and to our very existence?   Had He given us the Torah but not brought us into Israel it would have been enough.  Really?  Wasn’t Israel created before the world because it, the Jewish people and Torah and the three pillars upon which the world is built? Every commentator and every Hagadda asks the same question:  What do you mean dayenu, it would have been enough?   Most of the discussions of dayeinu, center around an analysis of individual and particular stanzas.  However, I want to share with you an insight that will give you an entirely new way to understand dayeinu. Understanding what dayeinu is really all about and why it is a centerpiece of our Seder requires us to zoom out the lens and instead of investigating specific lines, to look at the poem as a whole.   What do the 15 stanzas have in common?  Why were these events or experiences chosen? Rabbi Nachman Cohen in his Historical Haggada offers a fantastic insight.   If you look at the Chumash and in Tehillim, chapter 106 in particular you will notice that every stanza of dayeinu corresponds with an incredibly gracious act God did for us and our absolute ungrateful response. Here are a few examples: We say “had God just taken us out of Egypt it would have been enough.” However, if you look in Deuteronomy 1:27 it wasn’t enough. “Because God hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.” Another example: we say, “If you just fed us the manna it would have been enough.” But it wasn’t enough. We said, “our soul loathes this

bread.” We say, “If You just brought us into Israel dayeinu, it would have been enough,” but it wasn’t. It says in Numbers, “[Israel is ] the land that eats up its inhabitants.” Explains Rabbi Nachman Cohen, dayeinu is our reflecting on our history and repairing the lack of gratitude we exhibited in the past. Seder night we look back on our national history, we review our story and we identify those moments, those gifts from God that we failed to say thank you for. We rectify and repair our ingratitude and thanklessness through the years by saying dayeinu now. In truth, dayeinu, each of these things was enough to be exceedingly grateful for. Freedom demands gratitude.   If you have been set free, but fail to acknowledge how you attained that freedom, you in fact remain enslaved to your ego and your self-

benefits come to kids who literally count their blessings. Gratitude works like a muscle. Take time to recognize good fortune, and feelings of appreciation can increase.” The mere act of giving thanks has tangible benefits, research suggests. A 2008 study of 221 kids published in the Journal of School Psychology analyzed sixth- and seventh-graders assigned to list five things they were grateful for every day for two weeks. It found they had a better outlook on school and greater life satisfaction three weeks later, compared with kids assigned to list five hassles. “The old adage that virtues are caught, not taught, applies here,” says University of California, Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons.  Parents need to model this behavior to build their children’s gratitude muscle. “It’s not what parents want to hear, but you cannot give your kids something that you yourselves do not have,” Dr. Emmons says. Everyday actions may be even more important than big efforts, researchers say. “Express gratitude to your spouse. Thank your kids,” Hofstra’s Dr. Froh says. “Parents say, ‘Why should I thank them for doing something they should do, like clean their room?’ By reinforcing this, kids will internalize the idea, and do it on their own.” Seder night is an incredible opportunity to model gratitude for our children, grandchildren and all gathered.  During dayeinu,

“If you have been set free, but fail to acknowledge how you attained that freedom, you in fact remain enslaved to your ego and selfishness.”

ishness.   If you can’t recognize what has been done for you and that you could not have done it yourself, you are not freed from your narrow, self-absorbed way of life.  Gratitude is a byproduct of true freedom. The Midrash describes – “He who has no gratitude is like one who negates the existence of God.”  If you are so insensitive to those who benefit and sustain you, certainly you will never recognize the blessings which God provides. Ingratitude is a fatal character flaw individually and nationally.  On the night of Pesach, when we relive the experience of becoming a people and celebrate our national birth we repair the ingratitude of our past with the recognition that we are unworthy and dayeinu, all that God did for us was beyond what we deserved. Instilling Gratitude in the Home: A couple of years ago the Wall Street Journal had an article entitled, Raising Children With an Attitude of Gratitude, Research Finds Real Benefits for Kids Who Say ‘Thank You’.  The author, Dianna Kapp writes: “A field of research on gratitude in kids is emerging, and early findings indicate parents’ instincts to elevate the topic are spot-on. Concrete

pause to be appreciative, not only to Hashem for what He has done for our people and for each of us. Be thankful to those who worked so hard to make Pesach happen.  Someone or someones had to work hard to earn the money to pay for pesach.  Someone had to shop, cook, clean, prepare, set up, clean up, etc.  Don’t just thank your spouse or your parents, but as the article says, thank your children for what they did to pitch in. Dayeinu teaches that Pesach is not just a time to learn the attitude of gratitude and how to say thank you for the present.  Pesach reminds us that to set ourselves free we need to look back at our lives and identify those who made all the difference and whom we neglected to thank.  Pesach pushes us to make a tikkun, to repair the ingratitude and reach out to say thank you. Who Packed Your Parachute?: Charles Plum, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a jet fighter pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands.   He was captured and spent six years in a Communist prison.  He survived that ordeal and one day,

when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam and you were shot down!” “How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.   “I packed your parachute,” the man replied, “I guess it worked!” That night, Plumb couldn’t sleep while thinking about that man.  He kept wondering what this man might have looked like in a sailor uniform.  He wondered how many times he might have passed him on the ship and never acknowledged him.  How many times he never said hello, good morning or how are you.   You see, Plumb was a fighter pilot, respected and revered, while this man was just a ordinary, lowly sailor.    Now it grated on his conscious.  Plumb thought of the many lonely hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship carefully weaving the fabric together, making sure the parachute was just right and going to great lengths to make it as precise as can be, knowing that somebody’s life depended on it.  Only now, does Plumb have a full appreciation for what this anonymous man did and he now goes around the world as a motivational speaker asking people to recognize, who’s packing your parachute. I have a friend who set up a couple 20 years ago.  He told me something incredible.  Every single year on their anniversary, this couple not only get one another gifts but they get my friend, their shadchan, matchmaker, a gift as well.  For their big anniversary they got him a big gift recognizing that the happiness they have together would never have happened without his bothering to set them up. I know someone who received scholarships from the schools he attended growing up from elementary school through graduate school.  When he became financially successful, the first thing he did was write a beautiful thank you note and make donations to each of the schools that helped give him a chance. Have we thanked those who contributed to the lives we are blessed to live?  Imagine if our kindergarten teacher got a note from us thanking her for nurturing us with love.  Imagine if our high school principal, our childhood pediatrician, our housekeeper growing up who cleaned our room, out of the blue got a gesture of gratitude showing that we cared enough to track them down and say thank you after all of these years.   Did we ever properly thank the teacher who was patient with us, the orthodontist who straightened out our teeth, the bus driver who drove us?  Did we express enough appreciation to the person who set us up with our spouse, gave us our first job, safely delivered our children? We all have family, friends, mentors and neighbors, whose efforts are responsible for who we are today.  Freedom means knowing that we didn’t get here on our own.  This Pesach, let’s sing our own personal dayeinu and repair our ingratitude by saying thank you to those who packed our parachutes. Rabbi Goldberg is the Senior Rabbi of Boca Raton Synagogue.

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

Abarbanel Is Back With Solid and Affordable Wines in Time For Passover Joshua London As Passover rolls in, we find ourselves planning many large meals and Sederim and needing plenty of wine to accompany them. As a fan of Abarbanel’s small portfolio of wines, I was pleased to hear that they’ve released three new wines for the holiday. For those not already familiar, Howard Abarbanel retired from the wine business back in 2010. Although he maintained the Abarbanel brand itself, it was being licensed and run by Admiral Imports until Admiral’s bankruptcy and collapse a couple of years back. So Howard Abarbanel decided to jump back into the driver’s seat, and has been tirelessly rebuilding his brand, which is now imported and distributed by Faropian Spirits, Ltd. Since his return, Abarbanel has released one solid wine after another at the well-made, enjoyable, and reasonably priced segment of the kosher wine market. Part of his long-term mission has been to help foster a culture of general wine appreciation and healthy wine consumption in the American kosher consumer world. Now in its twenty-fifth year, the Abarbanel brand of kosher wines seems to be doing a very fine job of bringing to market enjoyable kosher wines that are distinguishing enough to attract and hold interest. These latest releases are the 2015 vintage of his single vineyard Pays d’Oc unoaked chardonnay, a cabernet sauvignon, and a return of his Alsatian Gewürztraminer. Many might not recall that Abarbanel was the first to import kosher Alsatian wines to the United States back in 1995. There are now, thankfully, a variety of kosher

Alsatian wines available in the US, and from multiple producers. It was Abarbanel, however, who singlehandedly created the US market for kosher Alsatian wines with his Gewurztraminer, Cremant d’Alsace, and Riesling imports. The Alsatian Riesling is also back on the market. This new Abarbanel Alsatian Gewurztraminer was hand-harvested from 40-year-old vines in the Haut-Rhin region of Alsace, in the low slopes of the Vosges Mountains. On the production side, the wine is being produced by the same team that had been running the kosher production of the Abarbanel wines since the early 1990s: winemaker Guillaume Motzek, now Maitre de Chai at La Cave du Vieil Armand and Gaby Dzialoszynski, the kashrut supervisor with the Grand Rabbinat de Strasbourg. This latest Abarbanel Gewurz comes with a new label called “Lemminade”; a friendly appeal to the under 40 set and is now vinified as semi-dry and non-mevushal. Without further ado: Abarbanel, Lemminade, Gewurztraminer, Vin D’alsace, Old-Vine, 2015 ($21; non-mevushal): this is a beautiful, bright, vibrant, somewhat rounded yet refreshing and very slightly sweet Gewurz with tingly acidity, and wonderful aromas and flavors of white peach, lychee, and wild flowers, with notes of ginger and cloves. Serve only slightly chilled with poultry, Asian cuisine, Cajun cooking. Abarbanel, Batch 30, Unoaked Chardonnay, Pays d’Oc, 2015 ($14; mevushal): an enjoyable, straightforward Chardonnay sourced from the Les Chemins de Fa-

varelle single vineyard in the Aude River Valley of the Languedoc, with clean and inviting notes of citrus and pear, some lovely spice, nice balancing acidity, and an agreeably creamy mouth-feel. Refreshing. Abarbanel, Batch 22, Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon, Pays d’Oc, 2015 ($14; mevushal): This is an inviting, food friendly light-to-medium bodied cab, sourced from the Les Dolmens Rouges, a single vineyard near Ouveillan in the Aude River Valley (Languedoc); offering clean currant, dark berry, and herbal notes, with slightly rustic tannins, this is a simple yet very engaging quaffer, and a solid choice for a basic red.

Abarbanel Kosher Wines can be purchased at your local supermarket or online where fine kosher wines are carried.



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Where are You and Your Matzos From? Talk to your Children By Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky


n this town where I was born, when I was growing up, Pesach was called Passover – a loose translation of the Hebrew word. But I believe that the yom tov it is not only about passing over, it is about passing down. You see, many, if not most, of the sacred rituals of Judaism that involve some sort of speech – davening, learning, and reciting blessings – are all very personal verbal exercises, rituals that are performed and words that are spoken by us to our Creator. Indeed most of them are sent in one direction –heavenward. Maybe a Jewish male with no sons to teach or a female who technically does not have to teach Torah can lead a Torah life by fulfilling almost every mitzvah in verbal solitude, without discussion, without interaction. Without passing something on to someone else. Pesach, though, is different. We must talk to each other. Parent to child. Child to parent. Scholar to layman. Layman to scholar. Rabbi to student. And vice versa. We ask. And we answer.

We communicate. We impart. When I was a young yeshiva bochur (now I am just an older yeshiva bochur), I was one of the few Americans in Ponevezh Yeshiva, back in the latter part of the 1970s. The first day in yeshiva, I made sure to be up at the crack of dawn and daven every word in my new environs, trying to whisper my reish that somehow never had the same guttural sound as my Isrrraeli (sic) compatriots. Davening was indeed an experience. It was a weekday, but I felt like it was Aseres Yemai Teshuva. But that is not the part that I remember. I remember what occurred after davening more vividly than what happened during davening. The magnificent bais medrash was divided into three or four sections. Facing the magnificently gold-gilded aron kodesh, midway down the section that was to the right of the aron, stood a short bushy bearded man who was gesticulating excitedly. He looked like he was from a different era. His large horn-rimmed glasses showed prominently on

his face, and his clothes, though extremely neat, exemplified the essence of kach hee darkoh shel Torah. There was a crowd gathered around him. All types of talmidim. Old, young, Europeans, Americans, and, of course, the ubiquitous Israelis. He was darshening and they stood spellbound. I figured he was repeating shiurim from the great Roshei Yeshiva, Rav Shach or Reb Shmuel Rozovsky, perhaps he was giving them insights into a difficult sugya or a shverrer Rambam. But as I drew closer, I became puzzled. He was telling a story. And not a story with a fascinating ending that came as a surprise to the listeners. He was telling a story that everyone knew and every one of the readers of this column knows. The storyteller was a holy Jew named Rav Chaim Berman. And the story he was telling, which he continues to tell daily to the devoted listeners who gather around him to immerse themselves in a mitzvas asei, was an old story. It was the tale of Yetzias Mitzrayim, the Exodus from Egypt. Reb Chaim would be animated as he narrated the

story, to fulfill the mitzvah of remembering Yetzias Mitzrayim every day. He would take the Jews out of Mitzrayim; he would leave the wailing Egyptians. He would blundjah in the desert. He would fear Mitzrayim chasing him and the rest of the fleeing Jews. And then the sea would miraculously part for him and everyone else standing there. No gematriyos. No roshei taivos. The amazing “meat and potatoes” story of Yetzias Mitzrayim. Every day. Day in and day out. When I visited Ponevezh 30 years later, he was still there. Same seat. Same enthusiasm. Even some of the same listeners. Gevalt! Yetzias Mitzrayim! Again and again. Every day! The same story. With the same enthusiasm as 30 years prior.

And maybe with the same enthusiasm as 3,324 years prior! Recently I thought about all the projects and divrei Torah that our children bring home. Everything is wonderful, every shtikel Torah is beautiful. Every gematria and roshei taivos and pilpul is astounding. But I do not think that any of it comes close to experiencing the true story according to our Sages and the way that the baal haggadah outlines it for us. What happened. The wonders and the miracles. The simple faith that was planted and whose long branches bore the fruits that sustained us in our darkest hours. It is those miracles and the emunah that we root in our children that will get them through the nisyanos

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of their generation. It is our jobs to at least one night a year mesmerize our families with our faith as we relate to them the stories of our founding. I sometimes wonder if all the problems we have today and all of those that began with the haskalah happened because someone down the line did not, or was not able to, tell the story with the same zest, enthusiasm, clarity, and confidence as it was told to him. Maybe when the mesorah is muddled and murky then we are left with rusty links in a chain that eventually snap. It is shocking how simple Jews can be so detached from the reality of their history and the events that forged their essence. My grandfather, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky of blessed memory, once told me a horrific story that a colleague of his related to him back in Lithuania. This friend was the rabbi of a small shtetl where there lived a very ignorant laborer who somehow fell into some money. Though he was the same boor as he was before, money can do wonders for a person’s self-image. And so, before the holiday of Pesach, this laborer called his rabbi to a corner and said he would like to discuss a very important yet private matter with him. When the rabbi agreed, the man whispered to him, “This year, I would like to get some of the special matzos.” The rabbi looked at him bewildered. “All our matzos are special. I supervise the entire process from the harvesting of the wheat until they come out of the oven. What kind of matzos are you talking about?” Again, the man was

cryptic. In an even more desperate voice, he reiterated his plea. “This year I have given much more charity. I am even sitting near the mizrach vant (the Eastern Wall) of the synagogue. I truly think that I can finally get some of the special matzos.” Stupefied, the rabbi shook his head in wonder. “Can you be more specific?” This time the man mo-

bar mitzvah. I did not go to buy a suit. I came to thank the proprietor, Mr. Nathan Borlam, for the tremendous chessed he did in supplying quite a number of needy families in our community with yom tov clothing. I walked out with much more than a “You’re welcome.” I had the opportunity to shmooze with a man from a different world and to hear the stories of his

oif zeiner forder-ahrmer…” Look at him! He goes with a yarmulke but he has tattoos on his arms. Frankly, I could not believe it. I could not believe that there were people alive today, Jewish, religious people, that did not know what those tattoo marks were. It sounded as naïve and delusional as little Bruno the character in John Boyne’s book, “The Boy in

When I visited Ponevezh 30 years later, he was still there. Same seat. Same enthusiasm. Even some of the same listeners. Gevalt! Yetzias Mitzrayim! Again and again. Every day!

tioned to the rabbi to draw closer. He looked around furtively. When he saw that they were not being watched, he whispered in the rabbi’s ear. “I want the matzos with the blood.” My grandfather’s friend recoiled in horror. He described to my grandfather how it took him a tremendous amount of time to convince this Jewish man that there never was, and never will be a matzah with one of the most forbidden consumables in the Torah –blood. Imagine, for years upon years we were trying to fight the blood libel. And yet it came to the point that we had to fight those horrific notions within our own community. I tell this story because I am frightened by the erosion of mesorah [tradition], which seems to be treated as an anachronism. I recently had the opportunity to enter a store I have not entered since one of my married children was

own enslavement in a Mitzrayim called Auschwitz. I sat mesmerized while his son kept feeding the New York City meter and his own miraculous defiance in the face of his oppressors. And I sat in awe as he told me the story of how he and a group of holy prisoners traded away precious jewels in order to bake matzos in Auschwitz. And it could not have come at a more poignant time. Just a week before that, a dear friend, Dr. Charles Mitgang, had told me a horrific story. His father, Reb Zalman Yisrael, was walking this winter in Miami Beach on the boardwalk, wearing a short sleeve shirt. There were two young mothers pushing a stroller and they noticed the old man, a large black yarmulke on his head, walking toward them. In Yiddish they said to each other in a tone loud enough for the elder Mr. Mitgang to hear, “Kik! Er gait a kapalutsh, ober er hut ois shtrechiner tattoos

the Striped Pajamas,” who thought that Shmuel a little Jewish child in Auschwitz was in a fun place and was wearing striped pajamas and not a concentration camp uniform. No. Mr. Zalman Mitgang did not have an anchor tattooed on his arm. He did not have an arrow piercing through a heart on his arm either. He had numbers and letters tattooed on his arms. Time and even the relative calm of America did not let them fade. But time and the relative calm of America has let it fade from some of our minds. I say some of our minds. There are still some who see those tattooed numbers and run to ask Mr. Mitgang for a bracha. It is sadly shocking, but, similar to the man who asked for blood matzah, there are young women who speak Yiddish to each other but don’t know the story behind those numbers. It is very scary. The seder night is the

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time for every Jew to join his hands across the sea of time and let his fingers grasp the soul of forebears who were actually there. Because if the chain of truth is snapped, and the mesorah is just a relic of the past, then we have lost a generation. What is left are simple Jews turning a curious ear to the naysayers, their self-esteem and national pride converted into a murky cloud of meaningless customs. And they eventually nod their heads to Holocaust deniers, and blood libelers and deniers of a Jew’s connection to Eretz Yisrael. If we are not clear among ourselves who we are, where we come from, and where we are supposed to be heading, then our enemies will do it for us. And the ramifications are frightening. Perhaps the lesson of the seder must be renewed for all of us. If we do not tell our children what our parents were supposed to tell us, what will our children tell themselves when faced with an unprecedented barrage of falsehoods and slurs about themselves and their heritage? So when your child asks the four questions this year, make sure you really do know the answers. And if you do not, then make sure you have the right person to ask as well. It may be not only a discussion that forges your relationship; it may be the discussion that ensures our future.

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Toras Chaim at South Shore. This article was adapted with permission from Ami Magazine, where Rabbi Kamenetzky is a weekly columnist.



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Let My People Go, So They May... Sing Nursery-Rhymes?


eder means order. Order means reading the Haggadah in a certain chronology. But if you flip through the wine-stained pages of your free Maxwell House version in search of a coherent structure you will be disappointed. Since this is a night of questions, one may be forgiven for asking, “Ma haseder shebaseder?” “What order is there in the Seder?” Ironically, there is none. The Haggada is not a book in the typical sense but rather a mosaic of passages and images collected from different sources; “a great and mighty Divine poem” is how Rabbi Avraham Isaac Kook, the mystical first

chief Ashkenaz rabbi of Palestine, described its extracts from Tanach, interwoven with sayings from the Midrash and Mishna, stirred with diverse blessings and prayers that somehow all come together in a perfect union. On the surface Haggadah means “thanks,” but it is more than that, much more. It is a symphony of gratitude, a chorus of appreciation, composed from the verse, “I acknowledge [higgadeti] today to G-d.” This is a salute to the Mishna’s aggadeta, a compilation of Midrashic sayings and homiletic stories designed to fulfill a direct Torah command: “You

shall tell [vehiggadeta] your son on that day.” Since then, the “son” has expanded to the entire extended family and guests. As head of the household you have to be prepared for nearly any type of question. Why we ask questions on Pesach and not on Yom Kippur is an easy one to answer: seeing a Jew sad and anxious raises no eyebrows; seeing Jews happy does! The fact is, at Pesach we are even allowed a klotz kasher every now and then. Here’s mine. What if we read the seder backwards? Would that create the opposite of order – “disorder”? It would certainly create a serious im-

balance in the mesorah but it would start the seder tisch in plenty of song and humor. I speak of my childhood favorite Had Gadya, one of the Haggada’s ending four songs – the other three are Ki Lo Na’eh, Ki Lo Ya’eh, Adir Hu, and Echad Mi Yode’a – that are all for der kinderlach. How do we know? They’re repetitive. In the music industry this is known as a “snowballing song”; i.e.: a song whose lyrics swell as each new stanza is added. Here’s a trivia questions: How many times does the word dayenu appear in Dayenu? 180! In one breath: Had Gadya – repeat after me: The goat that is swal-

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lowed by a cat that is consumed by a dog that is hammered by a stick that is scorched by a fire that is doused by water that is drunk by an ox who gets shechted by a slaughterer who meets his demise at the hands of the malach hamaves – who is sent by G-d. A half-a-century ago, Alan Mills and Rose Bonne, folksinger composer and lyricist, must have been invited to a seder. How else to explain where they got the inspiration to write their popular ditty about the little old Lady? The first thing she does is swallow a fly. By the end of her perilous gastronomical journey, the little old lady has swallowed a cow to catch the goat she swallowed to catch the dog she swallowed to catch the cat she swallowed to catch the bird she swallowed to catch the spider that wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her. Why did she swallow the spider? To catch the fly. It ends with a mystery. “I wonder why she swallowed that fly? Perhaps she’ll die.” And she does, after swallowing a horse, of course, of course! According to R’ Elijah Zalman, the 18th century Vilna Gaon, Had Gadya, whose author still prefers to remain anonymous, is more than just a light-hearted nursery rhyme. The greatest Ashkenaz scholar since Rashi saw Had Gadya as a profound piece of poetry with serious philosophical undertones. He finds deep meanings in the sequence of animals and different folk trying to chastise others who in turn get punished for the crimes they commit in their pursuit of rebuke. This, he explains, is a metaphor of warning in Aramaic and Hebrew of the vengeance that G-d will one day levy over the long line of Jewish history’s enemies. When? At the end of days. And G-d’s final act before Messiah times? Slaying the Angel of Death whose employment He terminates because in the idyllic state it is no longer needed. Rabbi Jacob Emden, a contemporary of the Vilna Gaon and one of the outstanding scholars of his generation, was less interested in Had Gadya as an historical allegory of the Yiddishe folk and more fascinated by how much the father pays for the goat (two zuzim) and the fact that the price is repeated in each stanza.

The zuz was introduced into the Judaic monetary system by Bar Kochba during his struggle against the Roman Empire c. 132-136 CE. It was an act of insurrection. Jews would stamp their zuz on top of the silver Roman coinage that displayed the images of Vespasian, Titus, Hadrian. Noting that two zuzim equals half a shekel, Rav Emden saw each purchase as an escalating tax on the soul. The Yiddishists in Central and Eastern Europe would use “chad gadya” as a slang euphemism for prison in that one sits “all alone.” In a pamphlet published in Leipzig, Germany, in 1731, the members of the anti-Semitic Hall of Fame

don’t sing! Slaves don’t indulge in humorous lyrics and rhymes. It is only after we tell the story of our freedom that the universal language of song becomes appropriate. Especially for the children around which the seder tisch unfolds for the presence of a child is essential to the yom tov because only they have the heightened sense of curiosity and questioning. Fast backwards to the beginning. Although many children say the Ma nishtana in a melodic verse, there is an interesting custom behind its repetition from Hebrew to Yiddish in the same sing-song genre going back to our first years in cheder and through beis medrash. It wasn’t enough to say

Q: Why do we have a Haggadah at Passover? A: So we can Seder right words and Shame were identified. The Usual Suspects were Assyria (the cat), Babylon (the dog) Persia (the stick), Macedonia (the fire), Roman Empire (the water), Saracens (the ox), Crusaders (the slaughterer), and the Turks (the Angel of Death). One of the enemies that the author of the pamphlet forgot to mention was himself. Philip Nicodemus Lebrecht abandoned his Judaism and became a baptized Jew, a betrayer of Jewish destiny from within. By the time Cecil Roth, the great 20th century British Jewish historian, brought out his Haggadah, the slaughterer had been replaced from the Christian Crusaders to the Muslim Empire. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for mystic subtlety you won’t find it in Echad Mi Yode’a which was penned long before Had Gadya. This children’s song is overtly educational: “Who Knows One?” (G-d) to who knows two (luchos), three (avos), and so on, all the way through to thirteen (principles of faith). Unlike Had Gadya we used to sing Echad Mi Yode’a, originally composed in German in the 15-16th century, in Yiddish. If we start the seder backwards we miss the essence of Pesach. Slaves

a posuk in the Chumash in Hebrew. We had to repeat it in song in Yiddish to make sure we understood the Hebrew. This was the custom in preWar Europe when the language in the home was Yiddish, not Hebrew. (There was no English Haggadah until 1770.) By making the Jewish child adopt the Talmud Torah chinuch melody from the beis medrash and sing, not speak, the Four Questions, verse-byverse, to his/her father, it immediately set the scene for the rest of the seder: a learning session. And here’s where it gets interesting. Yiddish for “questions” is she’elos. But that’s not the term used. The child does not sing, “Tatte, ich hob gefregen arba ha-she’elot” but “Tatte, ich hob gefregen fir kashes.” Kashes? A kasha is not technically a question; it is derived from kasheh, “a difficulty.” In other words, in Yiddish it reads, “Father, I have asked you about four difficulties [that I am having with the seder involving matzah and bitter herbs and double-dipping and reclining].” This is the brilliance of the Yiddish language. Asking a question could result in one quick “answer”; exposing a “difficulty” opens up the discussion and interaction, the give-

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and-take between the talmid (child of Ma Nishtanas) and his Rebbe (father at the head of the seder tisch), a process that remains embedded for life in the earliest memories of a Jewish child. This is the explicit Biblical duty for parents. To engage in a creative dialogue with their children. When your child asks, “What is this?” the reply must be long. Why? Because “the more a person dwells on the Exodus, the more praiseworthy it is.” Even the word ‘Pesach’ offers a clue to the importance of this once-a-year pedagogical narrative: in Hebrew pe means “mouth,” sach means to “converse.” And more! “If the other does not know how to ask,” states the Haggadah, “ask for him!” Why? “Because the finest quality of Man is asking questions, since his wit is judged better by his questions than by his answers.” The saga of the magical story of the Israelites’ redemption from slavery and exodus from Egypt is not the “remembering” part of the mitzvah, of which we do every day of the year as a private act during davening, but the “telling” part which by its very nature must be public, sharing, and involve interaction with others. This response can go a whole night as Rabbi Akiva and his chaverim experienced when they had to be reminded the sun was rising above Bnei Brak. So there is order in the disorder! The Haggadah is laid out in a manner that is meant to encourage the questioning of the customs as they unfold. By the end of the night, the kashya (difficulty) has finally been explained – and it’s time for song! A kosher un freiliche Pesach to all!

Joe Bobker, alumnus of Yeshivas HaRav Kook in Jerusalem, is the former publisher and editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Jewish Times, author of the popular Torah With a Twist of Humor and the 18-volume “Historiography of Orthodox Jews and the Holocaust,” the first of which, “War Against the Rabbis: Hitler’s Assault Against Judaism,” will be published this year around Shavuos. Mr. Bobker can be reached at jbobker@



MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Dating Dialogue

What Would You Do If… Moderated by Jennifer Mann, LCSW of The Navidaters

Dear Navidaters,

My daughter has been going out with a young man for about a month. We were all very impressed with him from the first time he walked into the house – extremely polite, warm and friendly. Our daughter Shira seems to be smitten! However, the last time they went out, he shared with her the fact that he has juvenile diabetes. It seems he’s suffered with this illness most of his life and that it’s a serious aspect to his life. We, thankfully, have never been exposed to this illness and knew next to nothing about it. Since he shared this information (and frankly, we’re quite surprised that we weren’t told about it before the shidduch took place), we’ve done a bit of research into what it means. Apparently, it’s a very big deal. We hear that it could be hereditary and that it can lead to all sorts of serious illnesses down the road. Shira is young, romantic and just focused on how she is falling in love with this young man. When we try to explain to her what her life could look like – being married to someone with such a serious condition – she assumes the role of a martyr who is willing to deal with anything for love. I almost think she sees this challenge as an opportunity to show how altruistic she is and how mature and kind she is. We don’t think she is being realistic. And we don’t think she really has a clue regarding what could be in store for her. Are we being overly protective by getting in the way of this shidduch or should we trust that a young, 21-year-old girl actually knows the score and isn’t making a big mistake? He is a lovely young man and certainly deserves to get married and be happy. We just worry that maybe our sheltered daughter is clueless and will someday regret her choice. Any thoughts on this dilemma?

Disclaimer: This column is not intended to diagnose or otherwise conclude resolutions to any questions. Our intention is not to offer any definitive conclusions to any particular question, rather offer areas of exploration for the author and reader. Due to the nature of the column receiving only a short snapshot of an issue, without the benefit of an actual discussion, the panel’s role is to offer a range of possibilities. We hope to open up meaningful dialogue and individual exploration.

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Going the extra mile!





MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

The Panel The Rebbetzin Rebbetzin Faigie Horowitz, M.S.


uvenile diabetes is a health issue that is known. And the young man has brought it up early in the relationship, which is the responsible thing to do. Most rabbis advise people to disclose medical information after a relationship has begun but before deep emotional connections have been made. That being said, this is the time to explore the ramifications of the medical issues with your daughter. She needs to learn about it from him, from his doctors, from support groups for family members, and from people she trusts, not just from you and the Internet. She will need to “own” the diabetes, not just him, and she has to be willing to do so based on knowledge, not just caring and kindness. Obviously the courtship needs to be a long one that will give all of you time to explore feelings, information and discussion of the implications. But even before you let your daughter explore this relationship, health conditions and its ramifications, there is a pivotal question to be asked. Has the young man been responsible about his illness in the past? Does he have a record of taking care of testing himself, administering what he needs, and seeing his doctor? What about when he was in yeshiva? In Israel? In camp? Has he had professional support to help him deal with his challenge? Most young people with diabetes learn to be responsible and consistent early on. But don’t assume anything. You must find out for sure. Another matter to explore is his relationship with his parents. How have they handled is medical condition? Did they deal with it together or did one spouse go to all the medical appointments? Is everyone healthy about the situation? Are the parents overprotective? If he has not been responsible, I would seek help from her mentors to show her so and to dissuade her from committing to an immature person. If he does not take care of himself,

why should she consider a lifetime relationship with someone who places himself in danger? If you find out that he has been mature, responsible and reliable about his medical needs, get her counseling and support as she explores the relationship and its ramifications. She may not be as romantic and immature as you think she is. Don’t be overprotective but don’t be irresponsible either. At some point, she may want to take a break from the courtship and just see what happens. Be logical with her, but don’t be the bad guys. Get her mentors involved and maintain an open relationship with your daughter. You need to maintain trust in each other as this unfolds.

partner (e.g. a loving, giving, responsible individual); and 2) he is not defined by his diabetes. Specifically, is he a great guy who happens to be diabetic or a diabetic who is consumed with his illness and self-pity? Now that his condition is out in the open, your daughter can speak frankly to him about the limitations of his disease and how it will affect their marriage. Advise her to speak to his doctor, or ask to speak to him yourself, regarding your concerns. You may discover that, contrary to what you’ve heard, diabetics who take meticulous control of their condition lead active, full and healthy lives.

The Shadchan The Mother Sarah Schwartz Schreiber, P.A.


efore I proceed to answer your question, Mom, I assure you that your apprehension is natural, derived from a mother’s protective instinct. There is an old Yiddish proverb which speaks to your concern: “Laig zich nit mit a gezunter kop in a kranken bet.” Loosely translated: Don’t place your healthy head in a sick bed. Seems your young, healthy, romantic daughter is heading, with her eyes wide open, into married life with a guy struggling with a serious condition. You say she is naïve. But she may be smarter (certainly more optimistic) than you think. As you know, Mom, there are no guarantees in life – or in marriage. We’ve all heard the stories of young people getting fateful diagnoses soon after marriage. Young women who become diabetic or hypertensive after pregnancy; young people who are left incapacitated after an accident. Even in the prime of life, the stresses of marriage can trigger a host of diseases from gastric ulcers to panic attacks. One never knows. This may be an excellent shidduch for your daughter as long as: 1) he has the qualities she is looking for in a life

Michelle Mond – This week’s questions is being answers by her husband, Dr. Yehuda Mond


hank you to my wife, master shadchanit Michelle Mond, for allowing me this opportunity of answering a Navidaters’ question! It sound like this excellent young man has type-1 diabetes, which used to be known as juvenile diabetes (for brevity sake, I’ll refer to type-1 diabetes as TIDM). TIDM manifests as improper function of the pancreas, leading to decreased insulin levels. Since insulin is necessary for the body to absorb sugar, the reduced insulin leads to increased amounts of sugar in the blood, which is the hallmark of diabetes. While not comprehensive on the topic of TIDM, I will answer your question by dividing it into two aspects: 1) your fear of genetic inheritance, and 2) long term outcome (a.k.a. prognosis). Note: This answer does not constitute medical advice and you should consult your doctor for a specific medical scenarios. Also note that this answer applies only if his diabetes is well-controlled. If it isn’t, then the following answer can only be determined upon discussion between you, the young man and perhaps his doctor if he is agreeable. • Hereditary factors. Surprisingly, while TIDM might be he-

If someone goes into a marriage with an absolutely clean slate, no obvious illness present, who can say what tomorrow will bring? reditary, the chance of his children having TIDM is only 3-8%. Statistically speaking, 1 out of 13 to 33 of his children will have TIDM. Not very high statistics. • Prognosis. The management of diabetes has exploded in terms of its ease of treatment and comprehensive monitoring. Since he’s had diabetes since he was much younger, TIDM has become part of his life the same way eating, drinking and sleeping is part of our lives. He self-injects insulin a few times a day (with a simple-to-use injecting “pen”) or wears an insulin pump, measures his blood sugars (with numbers that can be uploaded to a phone app), watches what he eats more closely than most others, exercises, doesn’t smoke, and sees his doctor(s) and maybe even a nutritionist regularly to make sure the disease is under control from all aspects. Therefore, the prognosis for properly-controlled diabetes is excellent – especially when there is a loving spouse who looks out for the affected person! Yes, there might be times when he has sugar levels which are too low or high, but he and his loved ones can recognize and treat those signs easily. Here’s a bonus point to consider: TIDM is not a self-inflicted disease brought upon through poor lifestyle choices. Rather it is a disease caused mainly by gene mutations. Therefore, his TIDM has taught him tremendous measures of self-control through the years. He is a better master of his self-indulging inclinations, solely by virtue of him controlling what and how he eats with a proverbial measuring stick. As we say in Hebrew, let’s get down to “tachlis” – here is what you

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

daughter needs to expect: If he and your daughter marry, she should be prepared to learn the basics of diabetes and what it affects, learn to inject insulin and measure blood glucose levels (very simple), learn about the diabetic diet, and look out for signs of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and diabetic ketoacidosis (throughthe-roof blood sugar). These are tasks that hundreds of thousands of Americans (including poorly-educated individuals) deal with on a regular basis. Presuming that your daughter has a healthy Jewish “kop,” these tasks should be a piece of low-carbohydrate cake. Given that the young man is a capable and otherwise healthy adult, she really won’t have to do that much. Remember this: Although many young people have no chronic illness when they get married, genetic factors and lifestyle choices can lead to significant morbidity later on in life. This young man with TIDM, through habit and awareness, has learned to be ahead of the game in terms of nutrition and self-care. When properly managed, he can easily live a healthy

lifestyle – no different than his peers. So bottom line: If the young man and your daughter are ready to marry and she is capable of being his sidekick in his diabetes treatment, then there should be nothing – again, nothing – holding them back from getting married. Much hatzlacha!

The Single Tova Wein


think the last paragraph of your question answered your question – as far as I am concerned. You wrote that “he is a lovely young man and certainly deserves to get married and be happy.” Touché to that! Surely, you no doubt believe that in your heart but are you suggesting that in practical terms, your daughter deserves only someone who is absolutely perfect? Let’s face it – most people are not perfect. People suffer from all sorts of physical and emotional illnesses. Some are more subtle,

Pulling It All Together The Navidaters Dating and Relationship Coaches and Therapists


hank you to all the panelists for doing such an excellent job with their responses. And a special thank you to Mrs. Mond for bringing Dr. Mond aboard this week. Thank you Dr. Mond for your medical expertise. Just perfect! I have absolutely nothing to add to the opinions of the panelists. They covered it all. The answer to your question is to allow your daughter to go for it, with a clear head…and some education and preparation. Upon reading the panelists’ answers, I felt a wave of freedom and peace washing over me. I was reminded that no one is perfect. We’ve all got something. Whether it is juvenile diabetes, or depression, alcoholism or anxiety, a learning dis-

ability or an embarrassing family member…we’ve all got something. All of us. No exceptions to this rule. Your perfect neighbors, impossibly gorgeous sister, wealthy friend all have something. We don’t know what our something will be, or when our something will happen. The goal of life is not to be perfect or to spend our time and energy avoiding messiness or imperfection. I think the goal is to learn how to be OK (truly OK) in the imperfection. I think it is to learn acceptance. Aaaah, as I write the word “acceptance” I notice myself (right now) taking deeper, cleansing breaths. I

like bad allergies, to more serious, like diabetes. Plenty of people have to deal with anxiety, depression and other emotional challenges. And if someone goes into a marriage with an absolutely clean slate, no obvious illness present, who can say what tomorrow will bring? We get older and either because we are genetically prone to develop certain illnesses along the way, or G-d forbid, due to an accident, perfection doesn’t last forever. Sometimes it doesn’t last very long at all. So I think rather than focusing on this wonderful young man’s challenge, you should focus more on whether your daughter is realistic about what her life will become, being married to someone with diabetes. I suggest that she ask him to set up an appointment with his doctor so that the two of them can sit down with him and allow the doctor to answer all questions and clarify any uncertainties that you daughter may have regarding what would be in store for her. She needs to get a clear vision of what the implications are and then realistically decide whether she is up

am slowing down. I think your work right now is to fully accept that your daughter has feelings for this person who happens to have juvenile diabetes. I like that he was upfront with her. And I like how she is reacting. Some of her peers are looking for a charming 6-foot guy with gorgeous blue eyes and a wealthy father. What a remarkable young woman you have raised. You asked if your 21-year-old can be trusted to make such a decision. I think that speaks to a broader issue and not to Shira in her specific circumstance. Can any 21-year-old be trusted to make such a decision about entering any marriage? Some will say yes and others will say no. As everyone recommended, keep the communication open between you and Shira, make sure she understands what her role will be with regard to his condition and whether or not he has it under control and takes

He is a better master of his self-indulging inclinations, solely by virtue of him controlling what and how he eats with a proverbial measuring stick.

for this particular type of challenge. Assuming he is as wonderful as you’ve described, and assuming that Shira is the giving individual that you are alluding to, I would imagine that you should applaud her for her ability to act in such a mature and generous way. Marriage shouldn’t only work when all the pieces are perfectly lined up and there are no challenges. Good marriages are comprised of people who are able to go the extra mile for one another despite difficulties because they know how to be loving, compassionate and kind.

care of himself. Though a mother’s work is never done (my mother tells me she worries about me and my kids), try to envision yourself moving out of the driver’s seat and into the passenger seat. You can offer directions or pull out a map, but ultimately Shira is behind the wheel and driving the car. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Sincerely, Jennifer

Esther Mann, LCSW and Jennifer Mann, LCSW are licensed psychotherapists and dating and relationship coaches working with individuals, couples and families in private practice in Hewlett, NY. To set up a consultation or to ask questions, please call 516.224.7779. Press 1 for Esther, 2 for Jennifer. Visit for more information. If you would like to submit a dating or relationship question to the panel anonymously, please email thenavidaters@ You can follow The Navidaters on FB and Instagram for dating and relationship advice.



MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Between the Lines

True Freedom Lies Within The first Global Index on Slavery, published in 2013, estimated that 29 million people worldwide are living in slavery. The highest number of people enslaved was in India, with approximately 14 million. Unfortunately, since 2013 the number of people considered enslaved has increased dramatically. The 2016 global slavery index indicates that 45.8 million people are suffering under some form of slavery. The highest number of people enslaved is again in India, with over 18 million. Surprisingly, the United States ranks 52nd out of 167 countries for slavery prevalence with 57,700. Apparently, some people in the land of the free and home of the brave have not received the memo that slavery is illegal. Most alarming, though, is that 26 percent of those enslaved are children under age 18, according to freetheslaves. net. There are a number of reasons for modern day slavery but the fact that $150 billion is generated by traffickers each year may have something to do with it. Slavery, as defined by, is being forced to work without pay, under the threat of violence, and being unable to walk away. Throughout history just about all forms of races and religions have been subjected to slavery at some point. Of course, Jews are no exception. We are reminded in the Passover Haggadah that “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt.” We remember that our ancestors were oppressed for 210 years while the Egyptians imposed hard labor upon them. Clearly, this was a time of tremendous suffering. As a result, our ancestors cried out to G-d and fortunately the Almighty responded by imposing the ten plagues upon the Egyptians. At some point, Moses approached Pharaoh and said “Let my people go”. This demand remains to this day as the well-known clarion call for freedom. Yet, far less well known is the fact that the passage, in which the L-rd tells Moses that the long promised redemption is finally near at hand, actually calls for the people of Israel to serve G-d. The entire passage reads “Hashem said to Moses, Come to Pharaoh and say to him, So said Hashem: Send out my people so they may serve me.” Essentially, when liberated from Egypt we traded being servants to Pharaoh for being servants to G-d. Our sages, though, teach that serving G-d through meaningful observance of His commandments is in fact the ultimate freedom. Rabbi Yehosua ben Levi said “...for you can have no freer man than one who engages in the study of the Torah”. This appears in stark contrast to the concept of freedom of religion in America granted under Amendment I of the Bill of Rights which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” The notion of practicing or not practicing religion is considered a basic right and not an obligation. Rational people recognize that freedom without rules results in chaos. So, along with the Bill of Rights, the United States, as well as other countries, draft statutes and other regulations setting forth the parameters of certain liberties to guarantee that those liberties will not infringe upon the safety of others within the society. For example, we may have the freedom to practice religion but we do not have the right to place others in danger by doing so in the middle of the highway during rush hour traffic. Nonetheless, there seems to be a common feeling that freedom is the right to choose one’s own actions, i.e. to act, speak or think without

outside control or limit. Alternatively, people consider themselves free if they are not at work or school – that freedom is synonymous with leisure or relaxation. In contrast, freedom in the Torah, does not involve being physically or mentally subjected by another person. The Torah permits a form of rehabilitative servitude, under extremely humane conditions, in the example of a convicted thief who has no means to repay, for a period limited to six years. Thereafter, in the seventh year the thief-turned-servant shall go free. A servant who

By Scott Bugay

desires to stay with his master after the sixth year shall be brought to the door or the doorpost and the master pierces his ear with an awl. Commentators explain that this servant is pierced through the ear because of failure to listen to G-d’s call to be voluntarily subservient to no person but rather only to G-d. It is consistent with Judaism that people should be free from those persons or governments which seek to enslave them against their will. Although, Judaism, in contrast with Western culture, does not afford each individual to pick

and choose to observe or ignore at will biblical or rabbinic obligations. Jewish freedom arises from faithful, consistent observance of the full system of G-d’s commandments. We refer to Passover as zman cheruteinu - the time of our freedom- the time we remember our exodus from Egypt. At a prescribed time we engage in a seder and adhere to a number of commandments including telling the story to our children, eating matzah and bitter herbs as well as reclining. We remember and celebrate that we no longer serve a harsh dictator but rather the Almighty. Some people may claim that G-d’s commandments do not render us completely free -- however, approximately 45.8 million people worldwide would clearly welcome such ‘servitude.’

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

Notable Quotes “Say What?!”

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

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

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

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

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

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




MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Passengers on foreign airlines traveling to the U.S. from 10 airports in Muslimmajority countries have been barred from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone. Seems extreme, but it’s worth it if it stops even one tourist from taking pictures with an iPad. – Seth Myers

I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job. My wife told me I’m supposed to do this… My wife convinced me. She was right. I’m supposed to do this. – Sec. of State Rex Tillerson to the Independent Journal Review in an interview during his recent trip to East Asia

When he asked me at the end of that conversation to be Secretary of State, I was stunned. – Ibid., recalling what happened after he met with thenPresident-elect Trump for what he thought was a general discussion about the state of the world

Write a paper that gives a historical account of 9/11 from the perspective of the terrorist network. In other words, how might Al-Qaeda or a non-Western historian describe what happened. - Instructions for an essay in an International Studies class at

At this point, it appears the Republican healthcare plan is going to die on the floor of the House. Coincidentally, dying on the floor of the House happens to be the Republican healthcare plan. – Conan O’Brien

Every month, I buy some instant tickets and send them as gifts to family members who have birthdays that month. It’s turned into a bit of a tradition, and now everyone sends me scratch-offs and chocolate for my birthday. - World War II vet Ervin Smolinski, of Michigan, who won $300,000 from a scratch-off that his daughter-in-law gave him for his 94th birthday

I’m pretty frugal, I always shop sales and take care of my money and that won’t change. - Ibid

Iowa State University

There’s some members of the Freedom Caucus, they’d vote no against the Ten Commandments if it came up for a vote. - Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who resigned Sunday from the conservative House Freedom Caucus after they refused to support the GOP healthcare bill

Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted. - The one sentence Obamacare repeal bill filed in the House of Representatives by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville

A woman was arrested yesterday morning for trying to scale a White House fence for the second time in a week. The Secret Service said, “We wish you were living here, too, Mrs. Clinton, but you can’t keep doing that.” – Jimmy Fallon

I had planned on running for president and although it would have been a very difficult primary, I think I could have won. I don’t know, maybe not. But I thought I could have won. I had a lot of data and I was fairly confident that if I were the Democratic Party’s nominee, I had a better than even chance of being president… So do I regret not being president? Yes. I was the best qualified. - Joe Biden during a speech at Colgate University


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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

I guess one of @realDonaldTrump’s sons is expecting a new baby. Just what we need. Another person with those jeans. Let’s hope for a girl. – Tweet by a Hollywood actress after Eric Trump announced that his wife is expecting

Jeans? Really? - One of the many response tweets

I oppose this president. I do not honor this president. I do not respect this president… When we fight against this president, and we point out how dangerous he is for this society and for this country, we’re fighting for the democracy. We’re fighting for America…We’re saying to those who say they’re patriotic but they’ve turned a blind eye to the destruction that he’s about to cause this country, “You’re not nearly as patriotic as we are.” - Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who spent eight years accusing anyone who ever remotely criticized Obama of being a racist, talking about President Trump on the House floor

Today, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was grilled about his stance on torture. And after just five minutes of questioning, Gorsuch broke down and told them everything. – Conan O’Brien

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

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

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



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MARCH 30, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home

Political Crossfire

American Democracy: Not so Decadent After All By Charles Krauthammer


nder the dark gray cloud, amid the general gloom, allow me to offer a ray of sunshine. The last two months have brought a pleasant surprise: Turns out the much feared, much predicted withering of our democratic institutions has been grossly exaggerated. The system lives. Let me explain. Donald Trump’s triumph last year was based on a frontal attack on the Washington “establishment,” that all-powerful, all-seeing, supremely cynical, bipartisan “cartel” (as Ted Cruz would have it) that allegedly runs everything. Yet the establishment proved to be Potemkin empty. In 2016, it folded pitifully, surrendering with barely a fight to a lightweight outsider. At which point, fear of the vaunted behemoth turned to contempt for its now-exposed lassitude and decadence. Compounding the confusion were Trump’s intimations of authoritarianism. He declared, “I alone can fix it” and “I am your voice,” the classic tropes of the demagogue. He unabashedly expressed admiration for strongmen (most notably, Vladimir Putin). Trump had just cut through the grandees like a hot knife through butter. Who would now prevent him from trampling, caudillo-like, over a Washington grown weak and decadent? A Washington, moreover, that had declined markedly in public esteem, as confidence in our traditional institutions – from the political parties to Congress – fell to new lows. The strongman cometh, it was feared. Who and what would stop him?

Two months into the Trumpian era, we have our answer. Our checks and balances have turned out to be quite vibrant. Consider: 1. The courts. Trump rolls out not one but two immigration bans and is stopped dead in his tracks by the courts. However you feel about the merits of the policy itself (in my view, execrable and useless but legal) or the merits of the constitutional reasoning of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (embarrassingly

the more egregious trespasses of his Environmental Protection Agency. And beyond working through the courts, state governors – Republicans, no less – have been exerting pressure on members of Congress to oppose a Republican president’s signature health care reform. Institutional exigency still trumps party loyalty. 3. Congress. The Republican-controlled Congress (House and Senate) is putting up epic resistance to a

It is deeply encouraging that the sinews of institutional resistance to a potentially threatening executive remain quite resilient.

weak, transparently political), the fact remains: The president proposed and the courts disposed. Trump’s pushback? A plaintive tweet or two complaining about the judges – that his own Supreme Court nominee denounced (if obliquely) as “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” 2. The states. Federalism lives. The first immigration challenge to Trump was brought by the attorneys general of two states (Washington and Minnesota) picking up on a trend begun during the Barack Obama years when state attorneys general banded together to kill his immigration overreach and

Republican administration’s health care reform. True, that’s because of ideological and tactical disagreements rather than any particular desire to hem in Trump. But it does demonstrate that Congress is no rubber stamp. And its independence extends beyond the perennially divisive health care conundrums. Trump’s budget, for example, was instantly declared dead on arrival in Congress, as it almost invariably is regardless of which party is in power. 4. The media. Trump is right. It is the opposition party. Indeed, furiously so, often

indulging in appalling overkill. It’s sometimes embarrassing to read the front pages of the major newspapers, festooned as they are with anti-Trump editorializing masquerading as news. Nonetheless, if you take the view from 30,000 feet, better this than a press acquiescing on bended knee, where it spent most of the Obama years in a slavish Pravda-like thrall. Every democracy needs an opposition press. We [sure] have one now. Taken together – and suspending judgment on which side is right on any particular issue – it is deeply encouraging that the sinews of institutional resistance to a potentially threatening executive remain quite resilient. Madison’s genius was to understand that the best bulwark against tyranny was not virtue – virtue helps, but should never be relied upon – but ambition counteracting ambition, faction counteracting faction. You see it even in the confirmation process for Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s supremely qualified and measured Supreme Court nominee. He’s a slamdunk, yet some factions have scraped together a campaign to block him. Their ads are plaintive and pathetic. Yet I find them warmly reassuring. What a country – where even the vacuous have a voice.     The anti-Trump opposition flatters itself as “the resistance.” As if this is Vichy France. It’s not. It’s 21stcentury America. And the good news is that the checks and balances are working just fine.

(c) 2017, The Washington Post Writers Group

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 30, 2017

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The Florida Jewish Home Pesach Ed. 3- 29-17  
The Florida Jewish Home Pesach Ed. 3- 29-17