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MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018



MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home











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Dear Readers, ish. And now, we’re very privileged to have dignitaries, the likes of Ambassadors David Friedman and Nikki Haley, who unyieldingly advocate, defend, support, and represent Israel on the international stage. We must not take these auspicious moments for granted. The alliance between Israel, the US and the nations of the world are significant to Israel’s well-being. Israel is our home, our land and it faces many challenges and global threats, making the unique bond between Israel and the US an essential one. May G-d continue to bestow his blessing and protection upon us, upon Israel and upon the US. Wishing you a wonderful week, Dina

The annual AIPAC conference took place this week, March 4-6, Sunday through Tuesday in Washington D.C. The AIPAC conference is the pro-Israel communities’ annual gathering in show of support and advocacy on behalf of US-Israel alliance. This annual event attracts more than 18,000 community and student activists from all over the 50 states, as well as more than half of the US Senate, a third of the House of Representatives, and many other Israeli and American policymakers and leaders. I am personally proud to mention that many students and teachers from various schools throughout our South Florida Community attended the AIPAC conference this week, showing their unbridled support for Israel. We are very fortunate and privileged to witness and be a part of this remarkable chapter in history of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. A few months ago, for the first time ever, a US President recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Even though Jerusalem has always been the capital to us, it is in our best interest for our closest (and most important) ally, the US, to recognize it as well (and possibly move the US embassy there). Just a few short decades ago, Jews from all backgrounds were being beaten, burnt and persecuted for just being Jew-


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The Week In News

Hung Parliament in Italy

This week’s elections in Italy left the country stunned – and speechless. Parliamentary elections delivered victories for populist, euro-skeptic parties but left no clear path forward for a new government. The party or coalition received enough votes to rule alone, and Italy now faces a hung parliament, in what European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker described last month as the “worst-case scenario” for Europe. With nearly all votes counted Monday night, 50% of voters showed support for populist or right-wing parties. The anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) become the largest single party in parliament with roughly 32.7% of the vote, according to Italy’s Interior Ministry, although it will not have enough seats for an outright majority. A right-wing coalition of parties won the most seats of any bloc in parliament with about 37% of the vote. The big winner in that group was the anti-immigrant and xenophobic League – formerly the Northern League – which garnered more votes than the center-right Forza Italia, its potential coalition partner. The swing toward the League, led by Matteo Salvini, looks set to give the party as many as 123 seats in the lower house, up from 22 seats, an almost six-fold increase. Former Prime Minister and Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi stepped down from his role after it suffered a worse than expected performance.

The result will be met with alarm by European leaders who feared that big wins for Italy’s anti-establishment parties would spell further trouble for a continent already struggling to cope with the destabilizing rise of populist and far-right movements in France, Germany and elsewhere. Italy looks set to enter a period of political deadlock – facing weeks, if not months, of negotiations between groups with competing interests to form a government. Salvini, salivating at the unexpected surge for his party, said, “I have always said, I say now and I will always say that the euro is the wrong currency, and that it was a big mistake getting in it,” Salvini announced. “We have it very clear that the common currency is bound to end. And we want to come prepared to that moment.” “We look towards the other European forces, that they call populist. I am and I will stay proudly populist, because the populists listen to the people, unlike the ‘radical chic’ that despise the workers and don’t do their groceries,” Salvini said. Italians have becoming increasingly frustrated after years of unprecedented migration and continued economic woes. Seizing on this dissatisfaction, rightwing parties had touted an anti-immigration agenda, with the League pledging to put “Italians first” and advocating for mass expulsions.

Putin Taunts with New Nuclear Missile

China Bans the Letter “N”

According to Vladimir Putin, Russia has developed a new generation of advanced nuclear weapons including a hypersonic intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The new missile is designed to be able to reach almost anywhere in the world and cannot be shot down by anti-missile systems. Putin made the chill-

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ing claim during his annual presidential address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow. Putin announced that the new hypersonic nuclear-capable ICBM will be called the RS-28 Sarmat. It was developed so that the world will listen to Russia because, as Putin put it, “Countries only listen when we create new weapons systems.” NATO is calling the weapon “Satan 2.” The media has been reporting on the development of the new missile since 2014. Putin’s speech claims that all testing phases are over and that it has already been deployed to the south of Russia. Putin’s showboating comes at a time when Russia is vying heavily for more power, particularly in the Middle East. Putin backed President Bashar al-Assad in Syria after the United States, Britain, and other allies decided not to fully enter the Syrian conflict. Russia has been helping the Syrian government steer the country financially and militarily.  Russia and the United States are the two most heavily armed nuclear powers in the world. The most recent figures show that the U.S. has 652 deployed ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers, while Russia has 527. The U.S. State Department said that the United States possesses 1,350 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers, while Russia has 1,444.

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Try to spell China without the letter “N” and you’re left with chia, a type of seed. But the Chinese weren’t laughing or planting seeds when the government banned the letter last week. After word got out that presidential term limits for President Xi Jinping might be dropped, the government banned the letter “N” as part of a widespread censorship clampdown on its citizens. In addition to the letter ban, terms such as “immortality” and “ascend the throne” were also deemed inappropriate to use on the internet. Victor Mair, a professor of Chinese language and literature at the University of Pennsylvania, said the government likely feared that “N” was referring to the number of terms of office, as in a mathematical equation N > 2. The nixing of “N” was a temporary one. By Monday, use of the letter online was once again permitted, according to China Digital Times.

Winnie the Pooh was under fire as well last week. For years, memes derisively comparing Xi to the honey-loving bear have circulated on the internet, so Pooh is periodically censored, like the character was on Sunday after the term limits announcement. The rest of the world first heard about this ban in 2013 when the Financial Times reported on it and printed a long-circulated picture showing the bear strolling with his tiger friend, Tigger, next to a photo of Xi walking with his then-U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, in 2013. When the image first appeared online, Chinese netizens began posting photos of Xi in, what they considered, similar poses. They juxtaposed a picture of a frosty handshake between Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with the image of Pooh and his gloomy donkey friend, Eeyore. Next to a photo that showed Xi inspecting troops from an open-top vehicle, they included Pooh standing in a tiny green car. The Chinese government was not laughing.

Poland’s Holocaust Law Sees First Case Poland’s controversial new Holocaust law is in full swing after it went live last Friday and activists are moving fast. The first victim of the new law is an Argentinian newspaper, Pagina 12. The new legislation forbids the accusation of the Polish state or nation for war crimes, punishable by up the three years in prison. Essentially it is now forbidden to damage the “good reputation of the Polish solders.” The bill labels anyone who refers to Nazi German death camps as Polish a criminal. This has understandably sparked outrage amongst Jewish groups and Israel, which says it will inhibit free speech when referring to the Holocaust. The United States also strongly opposes the legislation, warning it could hurt Poland’s strategic relations with Israel and the U.S. The first case in connection to the controversial law was brought by the Polish League Against Defamation (RDI), a non-profit, that claims that the Argentinian newspaper used an image of anti-Communist Polish resistance fighters from after World War II in an article about the Jedwabne pogrom, a 1941 massacre of more than 300 Jews by their Polish neighbors during the Nazi occupation. The article was published in December of last year, a month before the new law was voted in by parliament and three months before it took effect. If this case finds the newspaper guilty of the charges it would imply that the law is retroactive. RDI accused the newspaper and its journalist Federico Pavlovsky of “an action intended to harm the Polish nation and the good reputation of Polish soldiers” – endeavoring to silence anyone who refers to Poland’s shameful actions just a few decades ago.

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Poland Seeks Compensation from Germany for WWII There were millions of casualties in World War II. Unfortunately, many of the victims had no surviving relatives to fight for their justice. While some victims did bring lawsuits against the Germans and won compensation, that does not bring back their loved ones, and it requires tremendous emotional effort. Many survivors chose to move on and build a new life for themselves.

million Polish citizens dead along with tremendous material loss. “We are talking about very large, but justified amounts of compensation for war crimes, for destroyed cities, villages and the lost demographic potential of our country,” Mularczyk said on Polsat News, a private broadcaster. No specific number has been presented yet, although the number $850 million has been thrown around by the media. Germany, however, has repeatedly said there is no legal basis for Poland’s reparation claims because the matter was settled in a 1953 agreement. That decision was dictated by Moscow when Poland was a satellite of the Soviet Union, which many argue makes the decision invalid.

Israel Defense Aid Package Sent to House Floor One of the lesser acknowledged victims of World War II is Poland. Last year, Poland’s ruling conservative nationalist Law and Justice Party stated that they are seeking compensation from Germany for the nation’s losses. Leading the team of lawmakers on the mission, Arkadiusz Mularczyk is estimating the amount due to account for the losses during German’s six-year occupation of Poland that left 6

A bill has been introduced in the United States House of Representatives that would codify into law the memorandum of understanding between Israel and the United States that was signed in 2016. The bill would guarantee Israel $38 billion in defense assistance over the next ten years. The bill was written by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the chairwoman of the Middle East subcommittee, and Ted

Deutch (D-FL), its ranking Democrat. Because each of them has senior positions in their respective House caucuses, the bill has a high likelihood of passing. The memorandum grants Israel $3.8 billion a year from 2018 through 2028. After the memorandum was signed, Republican senators said they would like to overturn part of it so Israel could receive even more aid. Senators Lindsey Graham, a leading Republican foreign policy voice, and Chris Coons, a Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said this week that they considered the provision of $38 billion over 10 years “a floor” and that the number should be heavily increased. In June 2017, the House Appropriations Committee and the House and Senate Armed Services Committees advanced $705 million worth of U.S.-Israel missile defense assistance and cooperation in the 2018 defense appropriations and authorizations bills. Those monies were allocated to research and development as well as to provide funding for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow-2 and Arrow – three U.S.-Israel cooperative missile defense systems.

Iran: Counting the Days Until Israel’s Demise Iran is hosting a new festival. Unlike

other festivals that are intended to give participants a good time, this festival has a vicious mission. The Persian nation has inducted an “Hourglass Festival” celebrating the “imminent collapse” of Israel. The idea stems from a secret “plan” by the Islamic Republic, announced in 2015, to destroy the Jewish state within 25 years, according to Iranian media. Anti-Israel art and media productions will be displayed at the festival, symbolizing the country’s upcoming destruction, said Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s former Deputy Foreign Minister and current assistant to parliament speaker Ali Larijani, at a press conference launching the event. Mahdi Qomi, the festival’s executive secretary, said, “The organizers will work with 2,400 anti-Israel NGOs in Europe, North America, Latin America and Eastern Asia to promote the festival across the world.” In 2015, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicted that by 2040 there will no longer be a State of Israel. At a Quds Day rally in Tehran in 2017, the regime unveiled a clock counting down to that proposed date. Amir-Abdollahian only recently reveal the regime’s exact plans of ensuring the destruction. He made it clear that a two-state solution is not an option, saying that the only route is “resistance.” The festival’s official website  called for multimedia submissions on subjects

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including the “Zionist child-killing regime”; the “Quds-occupier regime (Israel) would not survive the next 25 years”; “Israel, a cancerous tumor”; and “Israel, a fake, racist and colonialist regime.” The website also slammed the United States and Saudi Arabia. “The International Hourglass Festival was formed with the aim of collecting and introducing anti-Zionism productions of justice supporters, monotheists and Muslims all over the world in order to disclose the beastly and anti-human rights measures of Zionist occupier regime and its supporters particularly USA and ... Wahhabism,” the website reads. The winner of each section will win $1,800 and the overall winner will receive $2,700, according to the website. The festival is scheduled for April 21, which will be the last date for submissions.

Bezos World’s Richest Jeff Bezos is wearing the world’s most expensive crown, as he was named Forbes’ number one billionaire on its Annual World Billionaires List for the first time, unseating Bill Gates. Centi-billionaire Bezos’ fortune rose

to $112 billion, the biggest single-year gain ever, allowing him to dethrone Gates, worth just $90 billion. Yes, we know, we can barely count that hgh. Gates has been the richest person in the world for 18 of the past 24 years. The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, took the third spot on the list with a net worth of $84 billion. President Trump, worth $3.1 billion, ranked No. 766, falling from No. 544 in 2017. Trump’s fortune has fallen $400 million since last year’s list, due in part to falling values of Midtown Manhattan real estate and declining revenues at several Trump golf properties. More than 2,200 billionaires made the  Forbes list, with a combined net worth is $9.1 trillion. This year, 259 newcomers were added to the list and the number of women rose to 256, up from 227 in 2017.  The United States is home to the greatest number of billionaires, with 585, followed by Greater China (including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) with 476; Germany with 123; India with 119; and Russia with 102. California alone has 144 billionaires, more than any single country besides the U.S. and China. Want to know whose bank accounts are overwhelming? Here’s are the top ten on this year’s Forbes’ Billionaires list: 1. Jeff Bezos: $112 billion 2. Bill Gates: $90 billion 3. Warren Buffett: $84 billion 4. Bernard Arnault & family: $72 billion 5. Mark Zuckerberg: $71 billion

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6. Amancio Ortega: $70 billion 7. Carlos Slim Helu & family: $67.1 billion 8. Charles Koch: $60 billion 9. David Koch: $60 billion 10. Larry Ellison: $58.5 billion

USS Lexington Found

During the Battle of the Coral Sea from May 4-8, 1942, the USS Lexington played a big part. When she was attacked by the Japanese, more than 200 crew members died, more than 2,000 people were rescued, and 35 others went down with the ship. This week, the wreckage of the United States aircraft carrier, was found on the floor of the Coral Sea more than 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia. The carrier was discovered by a team of explorers led by billionaire Paul Allen, the U.S. Navy confirmed on Monday. It was found in surprisingly good condition. “To pay tribute to the USS Lexington and the brave men that served on her is an honor,” Microsoft co-founder Allen said. “As Americans, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who served and who continue to serve our country for their courage, persistence and sacrifice.” USS Lexington, which was one of the first U.S. aircraft carriers ever built, was known as “Lady Lex.” “Lexington was on our priority list because she was one of the capital ships that was lost during WWII,” said Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for Allen. “Based on geography, time of year and other factors, I work with Paul Allen to determine what missions to pursue. We’ve been planning to locate the Lexington for about six months and it came together nicely.” The U.S. Navy considers the aircraft carrier a war grave because it will not be retrieved, reports said. Last year in August, the Allen-led R/V Petrel expedition discovered the wreck of the USS Indianapolis, which sank in July 1945. It was struck by Japanese torpedoes and resulted in the deaths of nearly 900 crew members, while only 316 lived. “As we look back on our Navy throughout its history, we see evidence of an incredible amount of heroism and sacrifice. The actions of sailors from our past inspire us today,” Sam Cox, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command, told editors of Paul Allen’s site at the time. “So many ships, so many battles, so many acts of valor help inform what we do now.” Allen’s team has also found other ves-

sels including a Japanese warship, the Musashi, and an Italian naval vessel, Artigliere — both from the same era.

Florida Updates its Gun Laws A bill banning assault weapons was voted down in the Florida Senate last week. After the bill was thrown out, a moment of silence was held for the victims of the horrific Parkland high school shooting that took place last month. The bill, which was to include a ban on the AR-15 which was used in the school shooting, lost by a 20-to-17 count. Senate President Joe Negron asked senators to take their seats after the vote was over and said that by the proclamation of Gov. Rick Scott there would be a moment of “silence and reflection” for the Parkland victims. “Today marks 17 days after those 17 fellow citizens lost their lives,” said Negron, who voted against the ban. “I would ask us to begin reflecting on their lives and the bravery that was shown on that day.” Although the gun ban failed, other gun restrictions have been passed in Florida since the shooting. Budget committees in the House and Senate signed off on a suite of bills that include raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 and mandating a three-day waiting period for most gun purchases. On Monday, the Florida Senate passed a bill, 20-18, that would allow certain teachers in schools to be armed. The amendment narrowly tailored who qualifies as a classroom teacher – who would be prohibited from carrying firearms – to just those defined in state law as “staff members assigned the professional activity of instructing students in courses in classroom situations, including basic instruction, exceptional student education, career education, and adult education.” Librarians, media specialists, advisers and other school personnel would still be able to carry firearms. Additionally, classroom teachers who don’t teach exclusively — such as teachers who also coach sports — would be allowed to carry. Current service members, current or former law enforcement and teachers in a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program would also be allowed to bring guns to schools. The new program – called the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program after the assistant football coach at Stoneman Douglas who died protecting his students – would remain optional, with both county sheriffs and school district superintendents having to approve the measure and school staff having the option of participating in the new policy. In addition, the bill allocated $400 million in funding for mental health programs, school resource officers, school safety upgrades, and more. With the bill passed in the Senate,

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the House will need to amend its version before passing it to Gov. Rick Scott for signing.

She’s Hair!

Valentina Petrenko may have the best Purim costume ever. The problem is that it’s not a Purim costume – this is Valentina’s real hair and she’s been wearing it like this for forever. Valentina is no ordinary mess of curls. She is someone to take seriously. In fact, the 62-year-old is a senator in the Russian Federation representing the Republic of Khakassia. Valentina’s choice of hairstyle – can we call it that? – has been a source of wonder for many years. Back in 2015, she was asked about it in an interview. “I’m so tired of answering these questions,” she sighed. “I just have curly hair. I lift it upwards with some hair pins, that is all.” Valentina’s political career is long and storied. She was born in Kazakhstan and held senior positions in the Community Party of the Soviet Union and then the Russian Federation. After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, she was elected People’s Deputy Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. In April 2001, she had been appointed as a senator of the Government of the Republic of Khakassia in the Federation Council of the Russian Federation. In 1993 Valentina was awarded the Order for “Personal Courage” for helping to negotiate the release of child hostages. Today, Valentina – who is married and has a daughter – chairs the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy and advocates for Russian mothers. She’s a member of United Russia, Vladimir Putin’s former party. I guess she’s a bigwig with a really big wig.

Spot-on Wedding After a couple gets married and is looking for a place to do their wedding photos, some choose a place that is close to the couple’s hearts or significant to the bride and groom. Michael Delvalle and Isabella Sablan of Miami, Florida, chose a spot that is close to many of our hearts

– Target. When they were engaged and dating, Delvalle and Sablan took many trips to Target together. “We like long walks at Target instead of on the beach,” the bride said. “When we needed something to do on a slow Thursday night, Target was always there with open doors. Even if we didn’t need anything, Target always knew what was best for us and it never failed to send us home without some sort of delicious treat, household good, or one of those beautiful red tag clearance items that now consume our entire home décor,” Michael added. Target seemed to be spot-on for their wedding photos. The two shared a slushie, tried on sunglasses, rode a bicycle, checked out frozen pizzas, and hung out at the bright red shopping carts. “If you ask any of our friends, none of them would be surprised that we chose to do this at Target – that’s how obsessed we are,” Delvalle said. He and Sablan are such Target superfans, they run an Instagram account with a following of almost 4,000 called @cupsoftarget, where they invent silly stories about the abandoned cups they find throughout the stores. In other news, I’ve heard that people are lining up to have their engagement photos taken at Season’s Express.

won the $60 million jackpot. The jackpot was the largest prize awarded in Atlantic Canada. Each winner will take home around $1.9 million.

The winners, who come from the town of Come By Chance in Newfoundland, said they plan to retire, pay off mortgages and invest in education funding for their children and grandchildren. “I made 28 other phone calls to tell the group members individually that we had the winning ticket,” Sherry Moore Hickey said. “They had some choice words for me as they thought I was joking.” Some of the workers who are now millionaires immediately retired from their jobs. Others said they’d continue working until they know that replacements can be lined up for their positions.

Oil Workers Strike Green Last week, a group of 31 oil refinery workers struck green in Canada when they

Yoga After School

World’s Oldest Message in a Bottle

Running Nowhere On the run from the cops? It’s best not to run into the precinct while trying to evade arrest. Two suspects did not get this common sense memo. Last week, Marwan Al Ebadi and Salma Hourieh were approached by police officers at a gas station in Peoria, Arizona. The two took off running as the officers advanced, eventually running toward the front door of the precinct building. A sign with the words “Peoria Police” hangs above the front door of the building. The not-so-sharp suspects then ran along the building and hopped the fence into the secure area of the department, where several officers were in training at that moment. Al Ebadi jumped the fence and ran onto the roadway, where he was arrested. Hourieh was found huddling under a bench on police precinct’s grounds. Police say this incident serves as a reminder for people not to run into a secure parking lot of a police station if they are on the run from the police.

The Illmans took their find to the Western Australian Museum, where assistant curator of maritime archaeology Ross Anderson conducted a series of investigations. Incredibly, researchers were able to match the handwriting on the Illmans’ find to a form that was archived from that same captain. “Extraordinary finds need extraordinary evidence to support them,” Dr. Anderson noted. “Incredibly, there was an entry for June 12, 1886, made by the captain, recording a drift bottle having been thrown overboard...The handwriting is identical in terms of cursive style, slant, font, spacing, stroke emphasis, capitalization and numbering style.” Tracy’s walk on the beach is now record-breaking, as the bottle she found was discovered 132 years after it was tossed overboard – the oldest known message in a bottle in the world.

Tonya Illman was strolling on a beach in West Australia when she noticed something sticking out of the sand. It wasn’t a kid’s toy or a piece of seaweed. “It just looked like a lovely old bottle, so I picked it up thinking it might look good in my bookcase,” she said. She realized that it was far more special when a damp, rolled up piece of paper tied with a string fell out of the bottle. The family took home the bottle and its message and dried out the paper, noticing a printed form with faint German handwriting on it. The form was dated June 12, 1886 and was thrown overboard from a German sailboat. As part of an experiment conducted by the German Naval Observatory, thousands of bottles with forms containing the date, the ship’s coordinates, and details about the route were thrown overboard off German ships between the years 1864 and 1933. On the back, the messages asked the finder to write when and where the bottle had been found and return it, either to the German Naval Observatory in Hamburg or the nearest German Consulate.

Kids in Doull Elementary are really scared when they have to stay after school. No, they’re not afraid of detention and more schoolwork. In Doull Elementary, students who need a bit more discipline will be learning yoga instead of getting detention after school. “Yoga and meditation, they’re not necessarily an easy practice. I would say it’s challenging, but useful,” said Trinidad Heffron. Miss Triny, as the kids call her, teaches yoga and meditation. “What’s more important? Punishing kids for a mistake they made or teaching them some skills that they can actually use in life to not make the same mistakes again,” said school psychologist Carly Graeber. Yoga, she says, can help kids in the long run. “Math and reading and science and social studies are all so important to us here, but also we’re really in the business of teaching kids social and emotional skills that they can use for their lives, so how to solve problems, how to deal with complicated feelings and things like that,” said Graeber. Kids at the school are undoubtedly breathing a sigh of relief. Now, at 3pm, when other children are heading home, unruly kids are practicing breathing techniques and the downward dog. Namaste, they say, this sure beats doing extra math problems.

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018


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Community Huge Purim Carnival Brings 2,000 from Diverse Jewish South PBC Together Every year around the world, joyous, colorful Purim Carnivals are part of this holiday’s lively celebrations. As always, South Palm Beach County has been no exception, with carnivals held by many individual synagogues. But this year, an array of local synagogues and other Jewish organizations joined forces to create something much bigger for everyone! The first CommUNITY-Wide Purim Carnival took place on Sunday, February 25, 2018 from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. Two thousand locals from all across the Jewish community had a spectacular time together on the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County West Boca campus. An array of rides kept the delighted children busy as parents, local rabbis and educators and other community leaders enjoyed meeting friends old and new. Everyone enjoyed treats from popcorn to hotdogs and hamburgers to falafel and, of course, hamentashen! “Purim is such a festive holiday, and children look forward to it all year,” said Rabbi Josh Broide, Director of the Federation’s Deborah & Larry D. Silver Center for Jewish Engagement. “With so many partners - Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Chabad and more - collaborating, sharing resources and ruach (spirit), we were able to plan a huge event that brought us together from all across this vibrant, diverse Jewish community.” The carnival also offered opportunities to learn about Purim and to find out about the local community’s amazing Jewish life. At PJ Library® in South Palm Beach County’s Fun Zone, families enjoyed Purim-themed games, crafts, stories and a special opportunity to give tzedakah for those less fortunate. The crowd also wrote messages of hope and strength on a huge banner that will hang with many others in the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when students return on Wednesday. The CommUNITY-Wide Purim Carnival was presented in partnership with the Adolph & Rose Levis JCC, B’nai Torah Congregation, Boca Jewish Center, Boca

Children and adults wrote messages of strength and hope on a banner for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Rabbi Josh Broide, Director of the Deborah and Larry D. Silver Center for Jewish Engagement, with family

Rabbis Shuey Biston and Josh Broide

Raton Synagogue, Chabad of Central Boca Raton, Chabad of West Boca Raton, Congregation B’nai Israel, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh, Jacobson Jewish Community Foundation, Jewish Association for Residential Care, Jewish Federation of

South Palm Beach County and its Deborah & Larry D. Silver Center for Jewish Engagement, PJ Library in South Palm Beach County, PJ Our Way, and Temple Beth El of Boca Raton.

Rabbis from some of the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Chabad congregations that partnered in the event, with Federation President & CEO

Rabbis Zalman Bukiet and David Baum

South Florida Events was an In-Kind Sponsor of the CommUNITY-Wide Purim Carnival, and The Florida Jewish Home was the Newspaper Sponsor. Smiles by Dr. W. & Dr. R. Orthodontics, and Florida Blue, sponsored the PJ Library Fun Zone.


MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

Around the Community

Donna Klein Jewish Academy Students Host Israelis For Week-Long Partnership Exchange The week of Purim took on an extra special meaning for students at the Claire and Emanuel G. Rosenblatt High School, as members from its Hebrew Honors Society hosted 13 students from Israel. The high school students are all from Boca Raton’s sister city of Zichron Yaakov and the group was in South Florida as part of the Partnership2Gether Leadership Program. The students Skyped with each other in advance of their visit and communicated on social media. Once they met in person, the teens quickly formed strong bonds and made long-lasting memories through various trips to a museum, the Everglades, and even a Miami Heat game. Being in Boca for the holiday also meant the Israelis were able to partake in the school’s vari-

ous Purim activities, including helping to make Mishloach Manot bags in advance of the school’s annual celebration and Purim parade. Their stay culminated with Shabbat dinners at their host families’ homes before attending DKJA’s theatrical production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that weekend. This community-to-community, person-to person-partnership is part of the highly successful Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) Partnership 2Gether (P2G) program which brings Jewish Diaspora and Israeli communities together in meaningful, ongoing connections through unique projects and growing personal relationships.

Amazing Purim Chagiga at KYHS Every Purim, hundreds of KYHS students, faculty, family and friends gather together for the annual chagigah. In past years, we had to rent out space at other venues as we did not have a big-enough place to hold our celebration. This year, our Chagiga was even more special than in the past because for the first time, we had the opportunity to celebrate Purim in our very own Katz Yeshiva HIgh School building on the Federation Campus. There was such a special feeling about celebrating in our own “home.”  And as usual, we are fortunate to be able to thank Merv and Elaine Jacobs for generously sponsoring the Purim festivities. Purim as a big deal at KYHS.  Students begin preparing months in advance, brainstorming costume ideas with their friends. Some costumes this year included a very creepy clown, race-car drivers, hot sauce, aliens, sports players, unicorns and much much more! What makes so many of the costumes extra special, is the decision of big groups of friends to dress up together.  But the fun is not only reserved for the students, teachers also have the opportunity to be creative -- and students are always amazed by, our principal, Mrs. Kanner’s shocking costumes. It is also a fun KYHS tradition for the teachers to coordinate costumes; this year the teachers each chose to represent a different country competing in the Olympics.  Even the Olympic athletes of Russia were represented by our Head of School, Rabbi Jonathan Kroll. Purin night began with maariv and megillah, read proudly by KYHS’s very own students. Following megillah reading there students, faculty and parents enjoyed  a delicious break-fast dinner. Then came the real fun, the dancing, featuring KY-

High school students from Zichron Yaakov visited their sister-city of Boca Raton while staying with DKJA families during the week of Purim

By Adina Hirsch

HS’s very own Chazak Band. Experiencing the ruach and unity displayed through dancing with teachers and students from different grades is unparalleled. Students jumped and danced, ran and flipped, all in the true spirit of Purim fun. Sam Merkin, lead singer, eagerly states, “I am privileged to be part of such an awesome group. Playing for everyone at the Purim chagigah was amazing. I was so happy to see everyone dancing and enjoying themselves. Can’t wait for next year!”

Finally, the night concluded with the epic Purim Shpiel, a hilarious video annually produced by KYHS students who spend countless hours writing, producing and directing this movie. Senior Jordan Landes, this year’s director, exclaims, “Purim shpiel 5778 was such an amazing experience. I had a great team working behind me and the reception has been amazing. People are calling it the best one in years. It was a night in my young filmmaking career I will never forget. The

crowd could not stop laughing.” Sara Deichman (19’) so perfectly sums up the incredible chagigah: “It was a great experience to see everyone so genuinely relaxed and embracing the true simcha of Purim”! Thank you so much to our incredible program directors, Mrs. Englander and Rabbi Wolk for planning and organizing this amazing chagigah that truly enhanced every single attendees Purim!!” We are already looking forward to next year’s Purim celebration!

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018


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DKJA Students Invite Their Peers From Parkland For Assembly Of Support

Max Schachter, father of Stoneman Douglas victim Alex Schachter speaks to students at Donna Klein Jewish Academy as 7-12 grade

Stoneman Douglas students Mackenzie and Megan Hill speak to their counterparts at Donna Klein Jewish Academy and Claire and Em

Just 10 days after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, students at the Claire and Emanuel G. Rosenblatt High School as well as seventh and eighth graders at the Donna Klein Jewish Academy welcomed in around 40 students from Parkland to attend an assembly of healing and support. What started out as a small grass roots effort by a handful of students who wanted to release 17 balloons in honor of the victims of the tragedy, turned into a large gathering that nearly filled the school’s theater, Zinman Hall to capacity. The more than hour-long program featured remarks

from eight Stoneman Douglas students, in addition to grieving father Max Schachter, who lost his son Alex in the attack, followed by U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch. “We decided that here at Donna Klein (Jewish Academy), we needed a way for our classmates to understand first-hand the horrific events that happened,” said senior Robbie Shinder who along with fellow senior Dylan Joseph helped put together the impromptu assembly. “After the event we saw that our classmates are now truly motivated to make a difference in many different ways.” The event was a student led effort,

Rosenblatt High School students Olivia Galel, Michael Sherman, Maddy Ball, and Will Levenson presented their peers at Stoneman

with the help and guidance from faculty and staff at DKJA and Rosenblatt High School. “With the range of emotions in the aftermath of the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas, we felt it was most important to support and mentor our students during this time and help them find meaning in whatever activities they took part in,” said High School principal, Rabbi Marshall Lesack. Students from DKJA presented the Stoneman Douglas kids with a special board of hope, with messages of love and support written on paper butterflies.

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Junior Maddy Ball also recited her cousin’s poem, ‘Life is Like a Roller Coaster’, which was read by his father to a national audience on CNN’s Town Hall just two nights prior. “Considering it had only been a week after the tragedy, it was amazing just to be there,” Shinder explained. “To console them and to let them know that they always have a place to come, meant a lot because Donna Klein in addition to schools across our community and the country are welcoming these students with open arms.”

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MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

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Scheck Hillel Community School’s Valedictorian Named National Merit Finalist Scheck Hillel Community School’s 2018 valedictorian Nathalie Fuhrman has advanced as a Finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program competition, joining the final pool of U.S. high school seniors to be considered for the prestigious scholarship this year. Fellow seniors Keith Bonwitt, Roy Glazer and Max Peicher were named 2018 National Merit Commended Students, placing among the top scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the competition by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). All four seniors were also recognized by the College Board as 2017 AP Scholars with Distinction. In addition, Nathalie is a

The selection of the Merit Scholarship winners is now in progress; the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will begin mailing scholarship offers in March 2018. Scheck Hillel is honored to have graduated a roster of National Merit Scholars, Finalists, Semifinalists and Commended Students, and to carry on the tradition in 2018. Most recently, Jordana Zackon, Class of 2017 valedictorian, was named a 2017 National Merit Commended Student; she is now a freshman at Washington University in St. Louis. Scheck Hillel’s 2016 salutatorian, Ariel Gelrud, was a 2016 National Merit Scholar and attends the University of Pennsylvania.

Jaime and Raquel Gilinski Hillel Ambassador and was nominated for the 2018 Silver Knight Award (Dance/Music), one of the nation’s most highly regarded student award programs. “Nathalie is a phenomenal, well-rounded student and also a stellar individual who is heavily involved in her school and the local community,” said Cecilia Grano de Oro, Co-Director of College Counseling. “I am thrilled that she has been selected as a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program and she is more than worthy of such a high honor: one that celebrates her achievement throughout her years in high school. Her future is certainly bright, and we are all excited about the great opportunities that lie ahead.”

A Country Chanukah DJ and comedy-magician Avi Frier has announced the upcoming production of ChanuKountry, a Jewish country music album scheduled for November 2018 release. “I DJ a lot of Jewish events,” says Frier in his Kickstarter video, “and every year when Chanukah rolls around, I go looking for the latest Chanukah parodies….As a country fan, it’s always bothered me that there are no good Jewish country parodies anymore.” So he decided to do something about it. Frier has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the recording of his first album under his new label, Yidneck Records. His debut music video, a parody

of “That Ain’t Country” by Aaron Lewis, bemoans the lack of Jewish country music and tells listeners, “The time has come for Chanukah songs with a twang.” Frier says he thought being a Jewish fan of country music was some kind of anomaly—until he started slipping in a few country songs while DJing, and noticed more and more people singing along. Avi Frier grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and was influenced by the music of Allan Sherman and Weird Al Yankovic. As a teenager, he listened to Shlock Rock, a band that teaches Judaism using pop and rock music parodies. He later became one of Shlock Rock’s writers and performed with the band. In his Kickstarter descrip-

tion, he writes: “The goal [of Yidneck Records] is to become to country music what Shlock Rock is to pop.” Lenny Solomon, Shlock Rock’s founder and Frier’s longtime friend, will be featured on a song, as will renowned Jewish rapper Etan G. The songs will use country music’s unique style of humor, storytelling, and down-home feeling to teach Jewish country fans about their heritage and foster a sense of Jewish pride. The Kickstarter’s fundraising goal of $12,000 will be spent producing eight to ten tracks and two to three music videos. There will also be a focus on Jewish education: each song will have a corresponding lesson plan available for free

Purim Fun at RASG Hebrew Academy Miami Beach!

download by parents and educators who are seeking creative ways to teach Jewish country fans about Judaism. Fans who support the Kickstarter campaign will receive free downloads, Yidneck swag, VIP admission to the album launch party in the fall, and other gifts. At the higher backing levels, there are opportunities for corporate sponsors to be featured with product placement in music videos and with logo placement on Yidneck swag. For more information, please visit, call Avi Frier at (954) 483-3654, or email

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018


Around the Community

Rustic Elegance: A Vacation to Remember Executive Chef Seth Warshaw of New Jersey’s #1 rated statewide steakhouse, ETC Steakhouse, introduces Rustic Elegance and invites you and your family to a week-long adventure and culinary experience. Traveling to the jaw-dropping landscape and views of Glacier National Park in Montana will create lifelong memories and deliver incredible journeys, adventures and stories. Coupling the daily

voyages with kosher culinary cuisine will create a blissful experience like no other. “It’s time that our community gets to have their cake and eat it too when vacationing in extraordinary locations. I am proud to be a part of Rustic Elegance and create an incredible, week-long experience this Summer” commented Chef Seth. “In addition to the fun-packed itinerary and excursions, we will be offering opportunities to have cooking classes and

photography lessons throughout the week. This will be an experience like no other kosher outdoor adventure–I assure you of that.” Glacier National Park is home to over one million acres of land, two mountain ranges, 130 named lakes, and over 1,000 species of plants and wildlife. Glacier boasts some of the best mountain views in America. Going to the Sun Road, the main park road, has been rated as one

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of the top scenic drives in the world. With only 26 glaciers remaining in the park out of its original 150, come see these majestic wonders before they are gone forever. The program will run from Sunday lunch through Thursday and enables families time to travel home for Shabbos. Itineraries will be catered to each couple or family, based on desired excursions and intensity levels. The staff at Rustic Elegance will work with each attendee to create a build-to-suit itinerary to maximize the experience. Along with scheduled minyanim, a full breakfast buffet will be served daily, gourmet boxed lunches prepared and a complete, 5-Star multi-course dining experience each evening. The experience includes rustic cabin lodging and various upgrade options. In an interview with Rustic Elegance founder, Yitzi Kessock, we asked: Who is the ideal participant on a Rustic Elegance vacation? Anyone who is seeking the opportunity to experience one of the great national parks and its beauty, while enjoying topnotch culinary treats from one of the foremost kosher chefs in the world. What are some of the itinerary options from which to choose? The array of activities available truly range from those who are regular outdoor campers and hikers to those heading out for the first time. Options include hiking, mountain biking, rafting, scenic bus tours, horseback riding, helicopter tours, scenic photography lessons, and cooking lessons from Chef Seth, who will be with us for the entire week. These will be memories that will last a lifetime. What prompted the creation of Rustic Elegance? Chef Seth and I have been friends since our early childhood. Our families used to go on regular outdoor adventure trips together and we share some amazing lifelong memories. While enjoying the most amazing ribs at ETC Steakhouse and reminiscing with Seth about some of those trips, the idea was born and Rustic Elegance was created. We are excited to enable families to create such experiences and memories for themselves. Having the opportunity to disconnect for a week, being outdoors surrounded by some of the most majestic scenery in America, while enjoying a convenient 5-Star kosher cuisine with your closest family and friends is truly an experience of a lifetime. For further information or to register for Rustic Elegance Summer 2018, visit our website or email or call for further details 307-213-9178


MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

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Technion Visitors at KYHS On Wednesday, February 28th, Katz Yeshiva High School students were privileged to hear from two guest speakers from the Technion in Israel: Roana Schiopu and Nathaniel Drellich. After an introduction by the President of the South Palm Beach branch of the American Technion Society and KYHS parent Eric Stein, students learned directly about the research being conducted at the Israel Institute of Technology. Roana was born in Haifa and she has played professional tennis from a young age. After serving in the IDF, she began utilizing her engineering background to advance medicine in hopes to improve the lives of everyday people. For her Masters thesis Roana is currently working on a non-invasive treatment for cancer through injecting medication through the bloodstream using therapeutic ultrasound. Nathaniel grew up in Long Island, New York where he attended Rambam Mesivta. He helped build autonomous soccer and dance robots that captured first

By Adina Hirsch

place at MIT and took prizes in the international RoboCup Jr. competition. When he was 16, Nathaniel joined his family in making Aliyah, and soon after he enlisted as a paratrooper in the IDF. After completing his service, where he earned the rank of staff sergeant, Nathaniel began undergraduate research in aerospace engineering that has primarily focused on network dynamic systems. This new technology allows robots to adjust to their correct formations without a central computer, with eventual application in improving self-driving cars and drones. After earning his bachelor’s degree this May, Nathaniel wishes to either work in industry or continue onto a Master’s degree. KYHS students learned a tremendous amount from these two speakers and they were given the opportunity to ask engaging questions about the Technion. Students learned that the undergraduate years of the Technion serve as boot camp to mold oneself into an engineer. Roana and Nathaniel highlighted the advantage

of receiving a degree in Israel rather than in America since a bachelor’s degree in Israel is usually sufficient enough to open a door in high-paying industries. Ethan Loskove exclaims, “Technion opened my eyes to the technological advances made possible by Israeli innovation. The ability to see STEM in depth in Israel is a unique opportunity only made possible by the Technion.”  KYHS is proud to have at least two current seniors, Michal Amar and Noah Bernten, committing to attend-

ing the Technion for their undergraduate studies. Michal Amar states, “The presentation was both informative and entertaining. Seeing students and graduates that completed their education from the school I will be attending only makes me more excited to begin my studies!” Roana and Nathaniel proved to be amazing role models for our students and KYHS is grateful to the American Technion Society for providing such inspirational speakers.

CIJE’s Journey to the StartUP Nation Over the past decade, the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE), has been committed to improving and enriching the quality of general studies education, with an emphasis on STEM education, in Jewish schools throughout the United States. Currently, CIJE programs are being implemented in 210 schools, in 18 states, addressing the needs of 40,000 students. CIJE-Tech middle and high school programs help prepare our students for the challenges of the work world in the coming decades. On February 15, a delegation comprised of twenty students and five chaperones, representing Jewish schools from New York, New Jersey, and Florida arrived in Israel to embark on the third annual CIJE Journey to the Startup Nation. The “Journey” organized and led by Judy Lebovits, CIJE Vice President and Director, aimed to introduce CIJE-Tech students to engineers, executives, and entrepreneurs and to gain skills in brainstorming, developing and pitching ideas. “CIJE’s Journey to the Startup Nation gave students a unique opportunity to see Israel through a new lens. Israel stands as a world leader in technology and innovation. A chance to participate in activities at university research labs, to visit world renown company headquarters, testing facilities and hospitals using cutting edge technology, all narrated by the people making it happen, makes a lasting impression. Access to the entrepreneurs makes anything seem possible. Their passion was infectious., “remarked Rifkie Silverman, Frisch School, CIJE-Tech Instructor and Adviser.

At Mobileye, in Jerusalem, students were introduced to the technology that will ultimately lead to autonomous vehicles on our highways. The students met with the CEO of Mazor Robotics, in Caesarea, and “participated” in robotic spine surgery (on a mannequin, of course!). Adam Jerozolim, CIJE Engineering Specialist and Mentor, guided the students through a water activity that helped the students better understand the flow of water along the aqueducts in Caesarea. Students were introduced to the many varied uses of drone engineering at Airobotics in Petach Tikva. “A central theme that was pervasive throughout the week was the importance of self-confidence and motivation,” commented Dr. Bracha Erblich, CIJE-Tech Instructor, Adviser at Bruriah High School. The many applications of artificial intelligence were studied at Intelligo, Givat Shmuel. At Rambam Hospital, Haifa, students learned at the most up to date discoveries in biomedical engineering and cures for diseases. They visited the emergency underground hospital at Rambam. A full day of robotics and programming classes at the Technion in Haifa was an amazing experience. Our final speaker, Hillel Fuld, CMO-Tech Blogger and Startup Advisor, who discussed the importance of motivation and believing in yourself, was extremely impressed with our students and praised their knowledge, diligence and enthusiasm. “The experience of meeting with CEO’s of publicly traded tech firms and VP’s of venture capital firms are both experiences that will drive and inspire these students for a lifetime,” remarked Adam Jerozolim.

Our students left Israel with a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment, ready to tackle the completion of their capstone projects and their presentations on CIJE INNOVATION DAY: May 6, 2:00-5:00, at the New York Hilton! SAVE THE DATE!!! Below is a letter written by one of the students immediately following the CIJE “Journey”: Dear Judy, Thank you so much for taking us on what truly was the trip of a lifetime. I could never have accomplished a fraction of what I have in high school without

CIJE. It has provided me with a clear direction for life that I never could have had without CIJE. Each day on this trip I felt like I was being given a glimpse into my own future, I really see myself owning a start up in Israel one day and that’s only possible because of my strong engineering background from CIJE. It was fascinating to see what made each one of the companies successful and find commonalities despite how different their end products were. Also, the business advice they gave us will be invaluable to me- there is no other opportunity that gives this comprehensive a view of the industry before entering the work force. Also, since I’m in 12th grade and want an internship in Israel next year already, all the business cards in my wallet and connections we made will be incredibly useful. The trip to Technion got me so excited for the future- I want nothing more than to be admitted there so thank you so much for talking to them for me! I made amazing friends on this trip, who I know I’ll be friends with and maybe even work with in the future. This trip gave us a leg up that most high school kids will never even come close to. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone and judging at the CIJE competition! Thank you so much for everything, Brocha Silverman (Bruriah High School for Girls) For more info please visit - WWW. THECIJE.ORG or email

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018

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Shushan Purim Is In Full Swing At Torah Academy Of Boca Raton The simcha and cheer radiated from the students at Torah Academy on Shushan Purim! The Early Childhood children enjoyed a special costume parade and magic show, while the elementary students had their annual carnival. The Middle Schools went on trips and enjoyed a special Chagiga. A wonderful and fulfilling time was had by all the students. MS Designs / 732.606.7042

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MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

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MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

At the heart of our Federation are people like YOU. Ours is an exceptional community, filled with business people, professionals, young adults, and neighbors — who share not only interests and concerns, but also a sense that they have an obligation to help others and strengthen Jewish life everywhere. By participating, you can get together and give together with like-minded people, knowing that every moment and dollar you commit will make a greater difference than you could on your own.

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Torah Academy of Boca Raton’s Recent Open House Last month, Torah Academy of Boca Raton held its annual Open House and Family Fun Day, attracting many new families to experience the immersive learning experience their Early Childhood Center offers. “Our interactive Open House provides an accurate taste of our educational philosophy and learning environment,” emphasized Rabbi Reuven Feinberg, dean; “Our students, from the youngest age, are surrounded with open-ended opportunities to explore, in a playful, positive atmosphere that makes learning natural and fun.” True to these words, the event was a panoply of hands-on activities, both inside and outside the school building. Prospective families, laden with welcome bags, joined the throng of current families as they meandered through the numerous activity stations. Inside beautifully dec-

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plained. Mrs. Hecht added, “Through this desire, we can then spark their creativity, develop their thought processes, and use that mental engagement to advance their academic and social skills.” Torah Academy of Boca Raton is an Orthodox Jewish day school ranging from preschool through eighth grade, with over 400 students are enrolled over its three campuses in East Boca Raton. Now in its nineteenth year, the Yeshiva is attracting new students and families both locally and nationally to its Early Childhood (age 2 through kindergarten), Elementary (1st through 5th grade), and Boys Middle School and Girls Middle School (6th through 8th grade). Any interested parties are encouraged to contact the school office at 561-465-2200 or visit for more information.


orated and carefully designed classrooms, children enjoyed projects and games as they interacted with enthusiastic teachers. The outside areas featured the Outdoor Classroom, in which incredulous children could delight themselves with planting, a mud kitchen, giant musical instruments, water and sand tables, and a dramatic area with a stage and puppet show. Multiple tables with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities offered age-appropriate challenges to build structures, mix liquid colors, and create patterns with various art materials. To further showcase a merging of academic concepts with wonder and excitement, the Open House also featured a Mad Science Show. “Our administrators and teachers are continually looking to enhance not only our students’ actual learning, but their positive




*over $49 shipping in USA Limit coupon 1 use/household Not responsible for typographical errors


MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

Around the Community

Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton’s Adar & Purim Festivities

The month of Adar brought many themed days to Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton and concluded with the parade of costumes as students, faculty and staff united in the spirit of Purim. The halls of the Teddy & Linda Struhl Elementary School were decorated by the B’not

Sherut depicting chapters of Megillat Esther. The school also participated in its annual collection for Od Yosef Chai, a pre-Purim campaign to raise funds which are distributed to the poor in Jerusalem on Purim Day.

Katz Hillel Day School of Boca Raton is a modern Orthodox Zionist day school, educating over 500 students from age 2 through 8th grade. For more information call 561-470-5000 or visit the website at

New school In Town: The Jewish Academy’s First Open House Our school, The Jewish Academy formally Masoret Yehudit, has been providing affordable Jewish education to the South Florida community since it began seven years ago. There are many families living in South Florida sending their children to the public school because of

the high cost of tuition. We facilitate and create opportunity for the many who can’t afford the cost of Jewish education. We believe Jewish education is a birthright and must be available to all. Our school has outgrown its current location and is moving to Hollywood.

Our new state of the art campus will have twelve newly renovated classrooms and ample outdoor play areas. With this move we will be centrally located in the heart of Broward County, allowing us to better serve the community. News of our move generated great excitement and interest in our school. Our recent open house on February 25th was attended by over thirty new families who want Jewish education for their children. The open house held at our new facility, featured an expo showcasing the many programs and specialties of The Jewish Academy. All staff were on hand to excitedly share with potential families what they are doing in the classroom. A lot of time, creativity and ingenuity has been put into maintaining a strong Judaics program and staying at the cutting edge of technological advancements. We make use of Tel Am, a computer based program for Jewish studies. It is interactive and make the learning fun. It contains a broad base of knowledge and uses the whole language approach. As technology remains a very important focus of our curriculum, we have a full STEM program

as well as weekly robotics for all classes. The open house was an evening of great camaraderie and energy. In addition to changing location we recently completed a name change. Masoret Yehudit will change its official name to The Jewish Academy. This takes effect immediately although the transition will take to end of the year. The new name underscores the mission of the school and the important opportunity it creates for Jewish education. Registration is open. Visit our website or call the office at 954-457-3899.

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018



MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

Around the Community

Twins From France Dazzle Mega Purim Event

It was a magical Wednesday night Purim in Hallandale Beach as the THE TWINS FROM FRANCE presented the “South Florida Purim Shpiel” to an overflow crowd of hundreds of children and hundreds of adults at the Max and Eve Rubenstein Main Sanctuary at Chabad of South Broward Headquarters in Hallandale Beach. The charming twins bedazzled the festive overflow Purim revelers with incredible acrobatics, juggling, slapstick comedy and pure Purim Simcha, for a fun filled evening that will be remembered for a lifetime. For the 38th consecutive year, Chabad of South Broward distributed Purim gifts to thousands who are less fortunate and sometimes forgotten in nursing homes, retirement homes, hospitals and schools, led by the Chaya Aydel Seminary, Seminary principal Rabbi Yossi Lebovics, and dozens of dedicated volunteers. Over 5,000 people heard the Megillah in dozens of South Broward Chabad Houses, and public facilities, with over 200 Megillah readings. Thousands par-

ticipated in dozens of Chabad organized Purim Feasts throughout South Broward. Special thanks to the Mivtzah Purim Committee that included Meir Cohen, Shui Kastel, Yossi Feiner, Shmuel Dovid Kushner, the Chaya Aydel Seminary and

By Chaim Lehrer

the Shluchim of South Broward, who once again, brought the joy of Purim to thousands of men, women and children. THE TWINS FROM FRANCE, after an hour long jaw dropping, eye opening and mesmerizing performance, dedicated

an extra 45 minutes in judging with joy, humor and creativity, the masquerade contest, and presenting the best costumed characters with valuable prizes.

Men Invited to Insider Israel Briefing with Peter Lerner, Former IDF Spokesperson From all across Jewish South Palm Beach County and of all ages, men who care about premium time together as well as helping the community enjoy connecting through the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County’s Men’s Division. Next, they welcome men to join them on Wednesday, March 28 for an Insider Briefing with Peter Lerner, Former IDF Spokesperson for the Foreign Media. They’ll gather at the Waterstone Resort, 999 East Camino Real in Boca Raton, starting at 7:00 pm, starting with cocktails and dinner (dietary laws observed). Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner was the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson for the foreign media for four years. He led a staff of over 60 that communicated to the world about the IDF. Following a career encompassing twenty-five years in

the Israel Defense Forces, always on the forefront of crisis, controversy, and conflict, Peter provides consultancy services in the fields of crisis communications, strategic communications, social media, and reputation management. “Israel’s security is such a critical concern all across this community,” said Ira Holz, who Co-Chairs the Federation’s Men’s Division with Ken Lebersfeld and Chuck Lichtman. “We are excited to offer this rare opportunity to hear the experiences and insights of a renowned speaker, among our many varied men’s programs.” “We’ve enjoyed evenings with major sports figures, sampled fine spirits, played vintage pinball, learned from global experts on vital Jewish concerns and even explored Cuba together,” said Co-Chair Chuck Lichtman. “Our Men’s Division

times together while being part of something larger than themselves.” “As we bond together over common interests with the best of companions, our men also know they are making lives brighter for our fellow Jews right in our own backyard, in Israel, and across the globe wherever we are needed,” added Co-Chair Ken Lebersfeld.

Lt. Colonel Peter Lerner.jpeg

fills an important niche for guys looking to connect with like-minded men for great

The $65 couvert includes cocktails and dinner with dietary laws observed. An individual men’s minimum gift of $365 to the 2018 UJA/Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County Annual Campaign is required to attend. Online RSVP is available at For more information, contact 561.852.6058 or Francescal@bocafed. org.

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018


Young Israel of Deerfield Beach Welcomes a New Torah Scroll


Gaucher disease type 1 is the most common form of the disease in the United States and Europe, particularly among Jews of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) descent. COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS INCLUDE: } Enlarged liver and/or spleen } Low platelet counts and Anemia } Easy bruising and chronic nosebleeds } Bone pain } Osteopenia and Osteoporosis } Joint pain, arthritis, and joint damage The good news is that Gaucher disease can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. Proactive treatment can prevent or ameliorate signs and symptoms as well as reduce the risk of irreversible tissue and organ damage. Enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) and substrate reduction therapy (SRT) now allow patients to live full and active lives



What a wonderful happening! Last Thursday, the Young Israel of Deerfield Beach invited a new Torah into its home. It was welcomed by the synagogue’s existing Torahs with great fanfare: with music, singing, dancing and much joy accompanied the parade for the new Torah which was donated by our “Pillars of Torah”: Howard Block, Malkie Fendrich, Barbara and Joe Fischer, Anne and Arthur Gober Martin Rothwax, and Roselee Redelheim. The Boys’ Choir of Torah Academy of Boca Raton celebrated the Torah’s entrance with their sweet voices and harmonious song.      The previous evening the Torah was completed by a scribe adding the final letters to the Torah Scroll, The Alhadeff’s, family members of Alyssa Alhadeff, the young girl who was slain in the brutal Parkland shooting were there to add a letter as a permanent memory to Alyssa z”l hy”d. Letters were also added for the other Jewish students who were killed. This Torah was specifically designed to travel. It is to be brought into the homes of those in mourning during the Shiva period so that prayers may be said

without having to leave the house.    A magnificent Aron Kodesh for the new Torah was built by the loving and exacting hands of Emmy and David Hoffer and donated by Tzipporah and David Dash in memory of Tzipporah’s mother Lenore Schelew. Thursday’s festivities culminated at the Young Israel of Deerfield Beach as the 5th Annual Zayan Adar Dinner.    The dinner was attended by over 440 enthusiastic people. Many people contributed their talents to this event, but its great success can be credited to Sylvia and Michael Teplitsky. This terrific twosome did a yeoman’s job in bringing this all about - from the commissioning of the Torah along with our spiritual  leader Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, to coordinating the myriad of tasks needed in bringing this all about, to insuring that everything run smoothly, to working with the caterer ,to emceeing at the signing as well as the dinner and  totally dedicating their whole beings this past year for making it all come to fruition, What can we say, but Todah Rabah- thank you. May they go from strength to strength!

There is an unfortunate misconception that individuals with Gaucher disease who have double (homozygous) N370S mutations will never suffer symptoms or complications of Gaucher disease. This is absolutely NOT TRUE! Expert physicians know that some N370S homozygous patients can have severe disease that requires treatment to avoid not only blood, spleen and liver complications but also potentially disabling bone disease. In accordance with “v’nishmartem meod es nafshoseichem,” every child and adult with Gaucher disease needs to be carefully evaluated and followed by knowledgeable doctors who can advise if and when treatment is necessary. With proper medical supervision and BS”D, all Gaucher patients, regardless of genotype, should be able to live long and healthy lives.

5410 Edson Lane Suite 220 Rockville, MD 20852 1200 51st Street PO BOX 190781 Brooklyn, NY 11219

To learn more, visit: If you suspect you or a loved one has Gaucher disease, please call us at 718-669-4103



MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

BB&T Center

AmericanAirlines Arena

MAR 28 – APR 1

APR 5 – 8

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018


Around the Community

Anshei Emuna Congregation Hosts Technion Leading Researcher - Presents Insights On Progress Being Made On A Cure for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Other Brain Disorders (Delray Beach, FL) In an event held on February 14, 2018, Itamar Kahn, an assistant professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, provided his insights on the progress being made towards finding cures to major brain disorders. A packed sanctuary at Anshei Enuna Congregation in Delray Beach listened intently as Professor Kahn cautioned the crowd that although tremendous progress is being made, there have not been any “breakthroughs”, yet. “We continue to learn and improve the selection methods for clinical trials, and develop methods that will allow us to be more precise in our treatments,” said Professor Kahn. Professor Kahn is the Director of the Brain Systems Organization in Health and Disease Lab at the Faculty of Medicine at Technion. His work has applications for understanding and treating brain disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as neurodevelopmental disorders in children such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Anshei Emuna member and President of the American Technion Society New York Metro Chapter Board, Ken Rubenstein, who along with his wife Randee sponsored the program, stated, “We are proud to have brought the Technion to Anshei Emuna. The Technion is Israel’s leading science and engineering university and it produces the people that that are critical for the growth of the economy in Israel. “ ABOUT ANSHEI EMUNA CONGREGATION: Anshei Emuna Congregation, is a warm, caring and compassionate modern orthodox congregation whose doors are open to all Jews seeking a spiritual connection to Judaism. For additional information about Anshei Emuna, visit, call 561-499-9229 or email ABOUT TECHNION-ISRAEL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli

economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology. ABOUT AMERICAN TECHNION

SOCIETY (ATS) American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion—nearly $2.5 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its network of supporters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.

Scheck Hillel Community School - Annual Event 2018 Scheck Hillel Community School hosted its 2018 Annual Event Sunday, January 21, 2018, featuring keynote speaker Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, international religious leader, philosopher and award-winning author. The event benefited the school’s Kulanu Scholarship Fund. A welcoming celebration of a new Sefer Torah for the community dedicated to the life and legacy of Yuval Miara, z”l, followed the keynote presentation. About Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks An international religious leader, philosopher, award-winning author and respected moral voice, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was awarded the 2016 Templeton Prize in recognition of his “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” Described by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales as “a light unto this nation” and by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as “an intellectual giant,” Rabbi Sacks is a frequent and sought after contributor to radio, television and the press both in Britain and around the world. Since stepping down as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth – a position he served for 22 years between 1991 and 2013 – Rabbi Sacks has held a number of professorships at several academic institutions including Yeshiva University and King’s College London. He currently serves as the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. Rabbi Sacks has been awarded 17

honorary doctorates including a Doctor of Divinity conferred to mark his first ten years in office as Chief Rabbi, by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey. About Yuval Miara, z”l Yuval was Scheck Hillel Community School’s Director of Judaic Studies & Hebrew Language for our Juda and Maria Diener Lower School. He enriched Scheck Hillel’s community with his joy and passion for learning and teaching, and he inspired children and families with a deep commitment to carrying on tradition, instilling values and fostering an enduring love for and connection to Israel. His legacy of vibrant Jewish education is with the school every day on campus.  About Scheck Hillel Community School From early childhood through Grade 12, Scheck Hillel Community School educates and inspires students to become

exemplary global citizens with enduring Jewish identity and values through an individualized college preparatory curriculum highlighted by STEM and design, Capstone, college dual enrollment, arts, athletics and service learning. Its 14 acres include a 115,000-sq.-ft athletic complex

Scheck Hillel Community School’s 2018 Annual Event co-chairs

Dr. Ezra Levy -Head of School

with additional academic expansion plans. Scheck Hillel is one of the world’s largest Jewish community day schools and a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. For information, please visit

Rabbi Lord Jonathan SacksKeynote speaker

Scheck Hillel- Hachnasat Sefer Torah, dedicated to the life and legacy of Yuval Miara,z”l


MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

Health & F tness

Going the extra mile!

Peanut Allergy Prevention By Aliza Beer MS, RD




n allergy to peanuts is among the most common food allergies found in children in the United States. Many schools, including most yeshivas, have declared that they are “nut-free,” meaning that the onetime staple for kids’ lunches, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, is nowhere to be found on school grounds these days. That is because peanuts are one of the food allergens most commonly associated with anaphylaxis, a sudden and potentially deadly condition that requires immediate medical attention and treatment. Peanut allergies effect about 2% of the children in the United States, and the numbers are growing every year. The question is, can we prevent a peanut allergy from developing? A recent study in Israel and the UK suggests yes. In Israel, there is a custom of feeding infants Bamba snacks as soon as they possibly can. Bamba contains 50% peanuts. In Israel the rates of children with a peanut allergy are also extraordinarily low, much lower than Jewish children in the UK. Dr. Gideon Lack, a professor of pediatric allergy at King’s College London, led an international team of researchers in this groundbreaking study based on the idea that Israeli children have lower rates of peanut allergy compared to Jewish children of similar ancestry residing in the United Kingdom. The study tested the hypothesis that the very low rates of peanut allergy in Israeli children were a result of high levels of peanut consumption beginning in infancy. Researchers recruited 640 children who already had an egg allergy or eczema, both indicators of children prone to a peanut allergy. The children, aged 4-11 months, were divided into two groups. The first group of 530 children did not have a peanut allergy in the initial skin-prick allergy test, while the second group of 98 infants had a weakly positive test when the study began. These groups were then divided again into two groups: in one group parents were asked to feed their babies peanut butter or Bamba three times a week until the age of five. The second group was told to keep their children’s diets peanut-free until age five. The children were tested for allergies again when they turned five. Researchers found that exposing infants to peanuts within

their first year helped prevent a peanut allergy by as much as 81%! These children were tested again a year later and all the kids who did not have a peanut at age 5 still did not have a peanut allergy at age 6. This study has helped to change the recommendations on how and when to introduce peanuts to children. Recommendations fall into three categories. The first category includes children who are believed to be most likely to develop a peanut allergy – infants who have severe asthma, egg allergy or both. Parents can introduce these children to peanut-containing food at 4-6 months, or see an allergist to determine if the infant is allergic to peanuts. If not allergic, then parents may follow the recommendation of introducing peanut-containing foods at 4-6 months. However, if the infant is allergic, parents should avoid feeding them peanut-containing foods. The second category includes children with mild to moderate eczema, and therefore, less likely to have an allergy. These infants can be introduced to peanut-containing foods at about 6 months of age. Finally, the third category belongs to children with no eczema or food allergies and no family history of such. These children can either be fed peanut-containing foods or not at any age, based purely on family and cultural preferences. It is now known that the developing immune system samples the environment early in life as part of its training. A question can be asked: will a similar technique prevent other common food allergies, such as milk, eggs or soy? There have been some small studies that suggest this will work for other food allergens, but none as large or rigorous as the peanut study. If your infant is not allergy prone, then discuss with your pediatrician the idea of introducing peanut-containing food like Bamba early on. Always discuss any possible changes in diet with your physician first before implementing them.

Aliza Beer is a registered dietician with a master’s degree in nutrition. She has a private practice in Cedarhurst, NY. Patients’ success has been featured on the Dr. Oz show. Aliza can be reached at


OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018


Political Crossfire

Attacking the NRA is Really Attacking Everyday Americans Stephen Willeford at a vigil for the victims of the massacre

By Marc A. Thiessen


few weeks before the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar (Tex.) invited a special guest to attend the State of the Union address: Stephen Willeford, the hero who just months earlier had stopped a mass shooter at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. An ordinary citizen who heard the shots from his home across the street, Willeford grabbed his weapon, ran to the scene barefoot (knowing every second he delayed could mean another life lost) and exchanged fire with the gunman, wounding him in the leg and torso. When the killer jumped into his vehicle to escape, Willeford stopped a passing vehicle and followed in hot pursuit until the shooter crashed his car and shot himself in the head. Willeford says he’s not a hero. “I’m no brave man. I was terrified,” he said after the shooting. But, he added, “I was there when nobody else was.” Thank God he was. Here’s something else you need to know about Willeford. First, he is a long-time National Rifle Association instructor; it was his NRA training that allowed him to subdue the shooter. Second, the weapon he used to stop the killing spree in Sutherland Springs was an AR-15 – the very weapon gun-control advocates now want to ban. Without an AR-15, he says, he

might not have stopped the killer. “If I had run out of the house with a pistol and faced a bulletproof vest and Kevlar and helmets, it might have been futile,” he said. Because of his weapon, his training and his courage, countless lives were probably saved. They could have used a Stephen Willeford in Parkland.

in self-defense. When companies do this, they are not boycotting lobbyists in Washington; they are boycotting upstanding citizens such as Willeford. He and his fellow gun owners deserve better. The NRA is a grass-roots organization made up of millions of decent, patriotic Americans who believe that

“If I had to run out of the house with a pistol and faced a bulletproof vest and Kevlar and helmets, it might have been futile.”

Keep his story in mind as you watch the current movement to boycott the NRA and ban so-called assault weapons. In the wake of the Parkland shooting at least a dozen companies – including United Airlines, Delta, Best Western and First National Bank of Omaha – have joined the NRA boycott. Chubb Limited insurance even announced it would cancel a program, “NRA Carry Guard,” which provided insurance for NRA members who faced lawsuits for using their weapons

guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens make our country safer, not more dangerous. To suggest that it is responsible for what happened in Parkland is obscene. Police officers were called to shooter Nikolas Cruz’s house on 39 separate occasions since 2010. The FBI was warned about the shooter in January and failed to adhere to its own procedures to follow up. An armed sheriff’s deputy was on the scene at the shooting, but he failed to act. And yet somehow the NRA is at fault? Please.

The NRA is far from perfect. I’ve criticized the NRA leadership’s resistance to legislation banning “bump stocks.” And there is nothing sacrosanct about the age of 18 for buying certain guns (or voting for that matter). But NRA members have done more to prevent gun deaths, and promote firearms safety, than any other citizens’ association in the country. When Democrats respond to shootings like the one in Parkland by demonizing the NRA and calling for a ban on weapons such as the AR-15 that are critical to Americans’ right to self-defense, they send a clear and unmistakable message to millions of gun owners across the country: We don’t respect you or your gun rights. This makes it harder to reach bipartisan agreement on solutions that could improve public safety without threatening the fundamental constitutional right of Americans to keep and bear arms. We all want to keep guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people such as Nikolas Cruz. But we should all want to keep guns in the hands of responsible citizens such as Stephen Willeford. That’s not the case today. Willeford deserves a medal, not a boycott. If corporate America can’t figure that out and continues capitulating to the NRA boycott movement, maybe it is time for gun owners to boycott them. (c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group


MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

Parenting Pearls

Junk Food Self-Esteem Rabbi Elazar Bloom, LMFT


know a creative child. He writes short stories, builds bows and arrows from things he finds on the street, makes pottery and writes poetry.  So, when he asked me: “Rabbi, what should I put in my first YouTube video”? I was surprised. I discovered that he wanted to showcase….something, something that a lot of people will see. He’s just not sure what it is. It was clear from our conversation that this was not about him displaying a specific talent to the broader public, but a quest for fame. At that moment, I realized how different his world is from mine.  Here’s a talented, creative kid whose first thought is not showing off a specific talent or gift (which he clearly has), but rather, what is going to

interest other people. And not others like friends and family, but strangers: “Likes”, “views”, “followers”.  In my childhood, I also wanted to be famous. But I believe the difference lies in that I used to connect fame with a real talent or skill. For example, when I was 12, I wanted to be a star tennis player, but I accepted that to get there would require thousands of hours of practice and training. Fame was the outgrowth, a consequence of doing something I loved. I wanted to be acknowledged on the grandest of scales for a skill that I had worked hard to develop and refine. This child’s question is reminiscent of the American Idol contestants whose auditions are broadcast because they are so horrid and ridiculous. They are laughed at

and ridiculed, but willingly subject themselves to such treatment so that they can enjoy their 15 seconds of embarrassment, I mean, fame. This child, it seems, wants those ’15 seconds’ as well and he doesn’t care if they are connected to a talent that he has or something else that “people want to see”. I don’t think he is unique in this regard. In a world where everything of import seems to happen on the most public of stages, he wants to be important as well. As a father and a therapist, I ask myself: What does this say about self-esteem? What does it say about the self-regard of a generation that is so obsessed with the empty calories of short lived “viral” notoriety that their first thoughts are not: “What am I good at”? but rather, “what do others want to see”? My self-esteem is never generated in relation to others. That leads to arrogance (when I see myself as superior) or diminishment (when I see myself as inferior).  So, how do we help our children develop self-esteem when they seem to value the approval of virtual strangers above all else? Should we try and convince them of how futile that endeavor is? Should we discourage their fame seeking? I don’t think that’s necessary. Human beings need self-esteem like they need food and water. Without it, they start to wither up and die a slow, painful death. The junk food calories of YouTube fame will  never  satiate this real need.  So, we don’t have to worry about it… unless, they don’t get that real need met from a legitimate source. People that have never had a healthy, substantial meal satiate their appetite, will continue to seek out the empty calories of junk food. After all, it tastes good and seems to do the trick, at least temporarily.  In today’s world, because “junk food” calories are so tantalizingly available on every social network and online platform, we need to make sure that we are providing children with healthy, balanced meals.  Nourishment that will fill their need so that they can eventually distinguish between what is real and what simply looks good. Between what provides the substantial feeling that “I matter” and what offers a quick jolt of pleasure and an even faster crash into the void of desperation.  Gratefully, these tools and techniques

are accessible and available. Self-esteem, like anything else important requires time and patience to develop and here are 5 tools to begin: 1. Develop your relationship with your child by being totally present and openly listening to him with full attention. Don’t multitask while doing so and if you can’t give your full attention at that moment, let him know that you want to and will be able to in ____ minutes.   2. Be open and “real” with her. This does NOT mean being childish, but It does mean being “child- like”, in taking off the mask. Try and strip away some of the adult posturing and pretense and be a human being. A relationship can only exist between two authentic selves.    3. Allow him to express his strongest feelings without judging, evaluating or offering solutions. You do not need to “agree” with him and this does not give him a green light to do or say whatever he wants to someone or about someone. Still, as a parent you can acknowledge the depth of his emotional experience.    4. Create opportunities for growth and success. Draw attention to the accomplishment of small steps forward (without evaluating), praise effort and encourage learning and growth from setbacks.      5. Create opportunities for her to impact others. Visit hospitals, teach a skill, prepare food, etc. Allow her to experience the feeling of making a difference in someone else’s life.   As light is inherently more powerful than darkness, real self-esteem is more nourishing than junk food fame. As parents and leaders, it is our job to give children the opportunity to experience it and the empty calories will look a lot less appetizing.

Rabbi Elazar Bloom is an award-winning educator and licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in Hollywood. To learn more about his work, visit: 

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018



MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018


Psychology Today

Validate Feelings, Then Move On Dr. Yaakov Siegel


he Sefer HaTanya writes: “ki mocho brshuso lachshov bo kichol asher yachpotz – a person’s thoughts are in his or her control to think whatever they choose.” We direct our stream of consciousness. And thoughts become feelings. Through our mind, we control our feelings; not the other way around. A simple exercise proves that this is true. If you think “nobody likes me,” you will feel bad. Now tell yourself “I am wellliked” - you feel good. It is as simple as that; the mind is a feeling factory, and our thoughts are in our control to think, and thereby feel, whatever we choose. The truth is that there are several mitzvos in the Torah that are predicated on the ability to control our own feelings. One of the most obvious is the commandment in

Parshas Mishpatim that when one sees the animal of somebody he hates struggling with a burden, he must help relieve the animal’s pain. The Hebrew words are “azov tazov imo – help him.” Targum Onkeles points out that the word “azov” literally means to “abandon”. Onkeles says that the Torah is giving a Positive Commandment to “abandon your feelings [of hate]” toward this individual and help him anyway. The Chinuch adds that this mitzvah applies to both women and men, meaning that although women are typically more emotion-driven than men, they also have the ability – and are expected – to control their feelings. The Torah recognizes that we humans sometimes experience hatred toward others (the commentaries discuss why, in this

case, the hatred is allowed) but, after validating that hatred, It expects us to move past our emotion and act appropriately. The ability to control our feelings is a crucial skill for interpersonal relationships, achievement of long-term goals and for success in life. Emotions have no intelligence and when they are allowed to drive us, we are out of control. Many psychiatric disorders are rooted in a failure to control feelings. Borderline Personality Disorder and Panic Disorder are common examples. Individuals who panic experience worry or fear, and instead of purposefully creating encouraging, helpful thoughts, they wallow in the emotion until it overwhelms them. Marsha Linehan PhD created the popular Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) that is used to treat Borderline Personality Disorder and a range of emotional problems. DBT has several components, many focused on the client’s sensation. Patients typically enjoy having their therapist validate their feelings. This is an important step toward helping them know that they are safe. But validation of emotion is not an end to itself. It is a means toward the ultimate goal of moving past the feelings so that we can do what is right. One prominent Rabbi counsels couples to do whatever they possibly can for their spouse but he draws a red-line, “until you feel like a shmata.” What is the difference

between being kind and flexible (the coveted midda of vatranus) and being a shmata, letting somebody take advantage and mistreat you? The answer is that a shmata is somebody who does not believe that his or her feelings are valid. They dismiss their self interest without ever acknowledging or expressing themselves. A mevater, on the other hand, is well aware of what they want but they persevere past their petty emotion in order to bend for somebody else. Think of this as the difference between a person who is robbed but never knows it (a shmata) and one who gives Tzedaka willingly, out of the goodness of their heart (a mevater).

Talking about feelings with a therapist or trusted friend can be helpful. But once feelings are validated, please move on.

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 732-8061513 or drsiegel@siegelpsychological. com


MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

3 Days, 18,000 Supporters, 1 Powerful Bond By Noa Galon


ith a palpable sense of excitement over the rekindled relationship between Israel and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue now that a friend of Israel presides in the Oval Office, the 2018 AIPAC convention took place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on Sunday through Tuesday of this week. As usual, the annual convention featured a full roster of speakers from both parties. This year, though, there was added hope in the air due to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the recent announcement that the U.S. Embassy will open in Jerusalem when Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary as a nation in May. Vice President Mike Pence, who has strong pro-life convictions, began his keynote address on Monday night with a humorous slip of the tongue, “President Trump is the most pro-life … pro-Israel president,” he declared, to laughs from the

crowd. In what was likely a dig at J Street – a supposed pro-Israel lobbying group which actually advocates many anti-Israel policies – Pence noted that AIPAC is the most “influential” Israel lobby in Washington. “Thanks to the president’s leadership, the alliance between America and Israel has never been stronger. The friendship between our peoples has never been deeper. And I stand before you today on his behalf to convey a simple message: America stands with Israel, today, tomorrow, and always,” declared Mr. Pence to rousing applause. As is common when politicians speak to the pro-Israel conference, Pence sought to gently inform the audience that Israel will be asked in the coming months to make hard sacrifices for peace. “As we gather here, our team – Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, and our great ambassador [David Friedman] – are hard at work crafting

our administration’s vision for peace,” the vice president said. “And while any peace will undoubtedly require compromise, know this: The United States of America will never compromise the safety and security of the Jewish State of Israel.” Furthermore, when Pence mentioned the “twostate solution” which has become American policy over the past two administrations, he shrewdly added a caveat, “if both sides agree, the United States of America will support a two-state solution.” Mr. Pence also acknowledged the efforts of Ambassador David Friedman, of the Five Towns, and stated, “The United States of America was proud to be the first nation in the world to recognize the State of Israel in 1948. And just as Harry Truman made history, President Trump will make history again, when, thanks to the strong efforts of Ambassador Friedman, in May of this year we will open the American Embassy in Jerusalem.”


erhaps the biggest ovation at the convention took place on Monday night when U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who has quickly become perhaps Israel’s greatest advocate throughout the world, ascended the podium. She regaled the audience with her story of growing up in a Southern town and being the child of Indian immigrants and how there were times that she was bullied. This experience led her to starting an anti-bullying program when she was the governor of South Carolina. “It turns out bullying is a common practice in the United Nations,” she noted. “In the real world, Israel is a strong country with a vibrant economy and a first-class military. On the battlefield, Israel does not get bullied. The Iranians and Syrians can vouch for that,” she said to raucous applause. “But the UN is a different story. At the UN and throughout the UN agencies, Israel does get bullied. It gets bullied because the countries that don’t like Israel are used to being able

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018

to get away with it. Well, just like when I was that little girl in South Carolina, that just doesn’t sit well with me.” Ambassador Haley also addressed President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and touched on a finer point which is often missed when addressing that topic. “There’s one more principle I knew before I arrived at the UN. Like most Americans, I knew what the capital of Israel was. To be more clear, I knew that Jerusalem was, is, and will always be the capital of Israel. This is not something that was created by the location of an embassy. This is not something that was created by an American decision. America did not make Jerusalem Israel’s capital,” she reiterated. “What President Trump did, to his great credit, was recognize a reality that American presidents had denied for too long. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel – that’s a fact – and President Trump had the courage to recognize that fact when others would not.” Haley added that she hopes to be present “on the day when we open our brand-new American embassy in Jerusalem.”


rime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the convention on Tuesday morning. Despite his party’s popularity in Israel, the prime minister is in the fight for his political life back at home and very well may have been addressing AIPAC for the last time as Israel’s prime minister. Netanyahu began his speech by once again acknowledging President Trump’s courageous acknowledgment of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. “It’s always good to be here, but as I told President Trump yesterday, it’s especially great to be in America’s capital now that he has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Thank you, President Trump, for that historic decision,” he declared, referencing his meeting with Trump the day before. Netanyahu, comfortable on stage and with his audience, spoke about the “good, the bad, and the beautiful” when it comes to the State of Israel – the good, referring to Israel’s great strides and advancements; the bad when talking about its enemies, particularly Iran; and the beautiful, the strong, eternal alliance between Israel and the United States. He touted Israel’s strength, intelligence capabilities, freedom, and economy. “You know, these companies – Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook – guess what? They all have research centers in Israel!” he declared. He quipped, “This is a terrible sentence, but it’s the confluence of big data, connectivity, and artificial intelligence.” He also spoke about Israel’s innovative irrigation technology. “See that drone in the sky? Connected to a big database there are sensors in the field, in the field drip irrigation, fertilization, and now we can target with this tech the water we give, the fertilizer we give, down to the individual plant that needs it. That’s precision agriculture, that’s Israeli!” Never had an audience at AIPAC been so riveted by drip irrigation. Netanyahu also boasted about Israel’s role in cyber-security. “We’re one tenth of one percent [of the world’s population] and we get a whopping 20 percent of global pri-

vate investment in cyber. We’re punching two hundred times above our weight. Not two times, not 10, but 200 times above our weight. That’s one heck of a punch. Very strong,” he stated, channeling his inner Trump, perhaps. Despite the UN’s continued bias against Israel and a rise in the anti-Israel left, Netanyahu painted a different picture, of Israel gaining acceptance around the world. “We’re coloring the world blue. I’ve been to Africa three times in 18 months; I’ve been to South America, Latin America – can you imagine in the 70 years of the history of Israel, a prime minister of Israel never went south of Texas? I love Texas but yeah, I do.

Hakim Awad, the terrorist who murdered this beautiful family of Ehud and Ruth Fogel and their three children and a 3-monthold baby girl, he pays Hakim Awad this murderer. Over the lifetime of this killer he will be receiving $2 million. I have a message for President Abbas,” Netanyahu said, “stop paying terrorists!”


lthough Prime Minister Netanyahu’s current political crisis was not addressed explicitly, he received the warm endorsement of several speakers. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who was shot and almost killed by a Bernie Sanders supporter while he played baseball last summer,


“But we went to Argentina, we went to Columbia, to Mexico, and they say, come back, we want more. That is changing. All these countries are coming to us – India, China Mongolia, Kazakhstan, all of it, Azerbaijan, Muslim countries. [For the] first time I visited Australia, tremendous, far away, though. So we’re coloring the world blue. Remember when people talked about Israel’s isolation? Pretty soon the countries that don’t have relations with us, they’re going to be isolated.” “There are those who talk about boycotting Israel, we’ll boycott them!” he added. Netanyahu also sought to convey a sense of urgency regarding Iran. “The force behind so much of what is bad is this radical tyranny in Tehran. If I have a message for you today, it’s a very simple one: we must stop Iran.” Using a screen to show Iran’s activities in the region, Netanyahu noted that “darkness is descending on our region” as Iran builds an “aggressive empire, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, more to come.” Bibi also addressed President Trump’s effort to restart the peace process. “We appreciate the effort of Trump’s superb team – Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, David Friedman – thank you all for your hard work for peace. But to get peace, President Abbas has to embrace peace and stop supporting terror. Raise your hands high if you agree with me that President Abbas should stop paying terrorists to murder Jews,” he told the audience of 18,000 people. “You know how much he pays? He pays about $350 million a year to terrorists and their families. Each year. That’s about a little less than 10% of the total Palestinian budget. That’s an incredible number! He pays

recalled receiving a phone call from Netanyahu after he was shot. “By day three I woke up. And my wife was there. My family was there. They started sharing some of the stories of the people that were praying all around the world. And one of the things that stood out, they said, ‘Prime Minister Netanyahu called for you.’ And I said, ‘Prime Minister Netanyahu called for me?’ I know he’s busy. There’s so many threats and problems that he’s dealing with. And they said, ‘He wants you to call him when you’re able to.’ So finally, about another day went by and the fog had kind of lifted and I said, ‘Okay, I’d love to talk to him.’ And so we arranged the call, and we spent just a wonderful conversation on the phone. And he shared with me some of his personal experiences.” Scalise continued, “You all know his brother died in a shooting in his service to the military, but he also shared some other personal stories with me. And it was just such a warm expression of the kind of person he is. The fact that he called told me a number of things about him, but it also said something about our relationship. Why would he call a member of the United States Congress who had been shot when he’s the prime minister of Israel? “You know why? Because our countries love each other. Our countries care about each other. This is a relationship that’s built on this kind of love and respect for what we do.”


mbassador David Friedman also spoke on Tuesday morning. The Woodmere resident, who now resides in Israel, highlighted certain experiences and lessons he learned during


the past year. Although he quipped that what he’s discovered can fill a book and not a speech, he attempted to share some thoughts with the AIPAC audience. When the ambassador speaks to some American visitors, students or politicians he said that, at times, he hears the phrase that they are “pro-Israel and pro-peace.” “Pro-Israel and pro-peace sounds like a completely reasonable position. My friends, it is not,” Friedman said. “Using that phrase plainly implies that there are people who are pro-Israel and anti-peace or even G-d forbid, pro-Israel and prowar. Having served in the country of Israel now for almost a year, I can attest that such people, in anything but the smallest, most minute of numbers, simply do not exist. Pro-Israel and pro-peace is nothing more than a redundancy.” He reiterated, “If you support Israel, then you must, by definition, support it living in peace with its neighbors. Peace is a core Israeli value, it is a core American value, it is the ultimate line of the priestly benediction that kohanim, of which I am one, bestow upon their congregations each and every day in the land of Israel. Yisa Hashem panav eilecha viyasem lecha shalom.” Citing everyday Israelis who yearn for peace – parents sending their children to the army, families living near Gaza, hotel owners – Ambassador Friedman said strongly, “If there is no peace in the Middle East as we speak, and regrettably, there is not, I strongly suggest that we blame someone other than Israel for this predicament.” Addressing his audience Friedman noted that the “ambassador” before his name is written with a capital “A.” “But all of you are ambassadors as well, perhaps just with a ‘lowercase a,’ if you will,” he said. Charging listeners with a mission, Ambassador Friedman exhorted, “As ambassadors, all of you share with me the responsibility for making the case for Israel.” He added, “When, as I know all of you will, you proclaim yourselves to be pro-Israel, please understand that those one and a half simple words without suffix and without apology, you are proclaiming yourselves pro-democracy, pro-religious freedom and perhaps most importantly, pro-American.” Friedman mentioned his father as he concluded his address. “Hashem oz l’amo yitein, Hashem yevarech et amo bashalom, may G-d give strength unto his peace, may G-d bless his people with peace. “My father of blessed memory, a pulpit rabbi for some 50 years, ended every one of his Shabbat morning services with this passage. I often wondered what King David meant. If he was asking for peace, why did he first have to ask for strength? “My friends, in this day and age, we all know the answer,” Friedman concluded. “We all know what King David, the great warrior poet, meant by his request. We will have peace, but first we must be strong.”


MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

Torah Thought Technology – Playing with Fire Rabbi Efrem Goldberg


here is no denying that technology has significantly improved our lives. The proliferation and increasing sophistication of appliances, gadgets, electronics, devices and software provide ever-greater convenience, comfort and enjoyment. And technology has enriched our spiritual lives, as well. Torah learning opportunities have exponentially increased, and access and exposure to Torah personalities have blossomed. Technology has enabled immeasurable advances in the coordination of chesed activities and tzedaka projects, as well as facilitated global prayer efforts. Through technology, friends have been reunited, and family members living across the globe can share and participate not only in each other’s lifecycle events but in daily life, as well. With all of its benefits, however, technology is also replete with dangers, risks and challenges. It is seductive, intoxicating and, for some, addictive. Ideas that are both spiritually and socially destructive are now readily available. Similarly, without much effort and often without even trying, we find lewd images flashing before our eyes, compromising our holiness, as well as the health and integrity of our relationships and our attitudes towards intimacy. The dangers of technology have been well documented. While internet filters and connectivity time regulators are both imperative and invaluable, internet access poses threats in content and risks of excessive use that no filter or program can eliminate. In fact, even the most noble and virtuous use of technology often presents unintended adverse consequences. Rejecting technology entirely, however, is no longer a viable strategy. Such rejection would be as practical as eliminating telephone use because it can be the conduit of gossip or vulgar speech, or swearing off cars and buses because they often transport passengers to inappropriate places. While communal calls for the wholesale rejection of technology may be effective in messaging its dangers, these calls surely cannot be undertaken with an authentic aspiration for success. Moreover, if successful, elimination of the use of technology would deprive the Jewish community of enormous advances in Torah, avodah and gemillus chasadim. The community, thus, confronts a conundrum. The benefits of technology are enormous, but tolerating unbridled and unregulated access by oneself or one’s family is reckless and irresponsible. Car travel is invaluable, but

it would be inconceivable for a responsible society to allow everyone, regardless of age or training, to drive anywhere, at any time and in any manner or speed. Non-regulation would be grossly negligent and most certainly result in injuries and worse. The State of “Absent Presence” Vayomer Hashem el Moshe, “alei eili haharah veheyei sham, v’etna lecha es luchos haeven v’haTorah v’hamitzvah asher kasavti lehorosam.” Hashem said to Moshe, “Ascend to Me to the mountain and be there, and I shall give you the stone tablets and the teaching and the commandment that I have written, to teach them.” Commentators are bothered by the seemingly superfluous phrase in Hashem’s invitation to Moshe. After Moshe is directed to ascend the mountain, it surely was unnecessary for Moshe to also be directed “veheyei sham,” and “be there.” Obviously, once Moshe ascends the mountain he will necessarily be there. Perhaps the pesukim are messaging the following contemporary lesson: Hashem, as it were, summons Moshe up the mountain. “Come Moshe,” says Hashem. “I am the infinite, omnipotent and eternal Being. I seek to share with you the truth and mysteries of the universe.” Moshe climbs the mountain as directed, and Hashem then says “Moshe, I recognize how many congregants, disciples and followers are emailing and texting you. I know how many responsibilities are demanding your immediate attention. However, when you are with Me, I expect you to disconnect entirely and actually be with Me.” Veheyei sham, “be there,” means “be in the present.” Don’t be distracted, interrupted or unfocused. Hashem is telling Moshe that He does not want to compete for attention, even for the most noble of distractions, such as caring for the Jewish people. “Put them aside when you are with Me, and be with Me.” Kenneth J. Gergen, a psychologist and professor at Swarthmore College, has coined the phrase “absent presence,” the experience of being totally absent in spirit, even when physically present in body. The Torah is teaching that absent presence is unacceptable; it is antithetical to healthy relationships. Technology introduces a constant and consistent diversion from living a life of veheyei sham, from being fully, spiritually present in whatever conversation, activity, event, davening or learning we are supposedly engaged in. Unfortunately, people experiencing absent

presence can be observed everywhere: in our homes, in the workplace, on public transportation, at doctors’ offices or when simply walking down the street. Nevertheless, we must consider absent presence to be intolerable. Being in a state of absent presence is essentially a form of cheating on one’s spouse, neglecting one’s children or simply being unfair to one’s co-workers or chavrusa. Most of all, however, one who is absent present is suffering a life devoid of mindfulness, consciousness and presence. We cannot resign ourselves to viewing absent presence as an unavoidable consequence of 21st-century living. It is critical that we always retain the capacity to disconnect from technology at will. Only those who can disconnect at will really own their technology, rather than being owned by it. I once took a tour of the West Wing of the White House. I noticed a container outside of the Situation Room with numerous slots. I asked what the container was for and was told

benefit from a practice of leaving devices in the car, or placing devices in the middle of the table, when a couple is on a shidduch date, or on a married couple’s night out or even talking at day’s end. Commitments of this nature not only eliminate distraction and interruption, but also reflect a deep devotion to the relationship. Ability to Be Alone Science Magazine relates a study in which participants were asked to rate the unpleasantness of receiving an electric shock, and how much money they would pay to avoid repeating the experience. The participants were then asked to sit alone with nothing but their thoughts. While sitting alone, however, the participants were given the opportunity to press a button that would trigger a shock to themselves. Of those prepared to pay to avoid being shocked, 67 percent of men and 25 percent of women eventually pressed the button rather than sit alone with nothing but their thoughts. For many, technology has cultivated a deep discomfort with and aversion to being alone

that everyone, regardless of rank or office, must deposit their devices into the container before entering the Situation Room. What is being addressed in that room is simply too important to risk distractions. The Mikdash Me’at, the Sanctuary of our Shuls, is our spiritual Situation Room. A personal pledge not to bring our cell phone into Shul, let alone ever take it out of our pocket, would yield immediate benefits to our concentration in prayer, to the atmosphere of our minyanim and, most of all, to our creating sacred space in which we truly disconnect from our mundane life and focus on developing our relationships with Hashem. Our family relationships are also invaluable, and also require effort and focus. Often, couples supposedly spend quality time together, but in fact are only physically in close proximity while their minds are on whomever or whatever they are addressing on their devices. Families would do well to introduce an inviolate rule that electronic devices cannot be brought to the family dinner table. In so doing, both parents and children would be much more present. Similarly, relationships would surely

with nothing but their own thoughts. Too many instinctively reach for their phone in the elevator, at a red light, in the waiting room or while waiting for chazaras ha’shatz to begin. The preoccupation with being distracted precludes our ability to reflect, introspect, and ultimately, to grow. Vayivaser Yaakov levado, vayeiaveik ish imo ad alos hashachar (Yaakov was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until morning – Bereishis 32:25). It was only when Yaakov was left alone, when he was by himself, that he wrestled with what many label his alter ego, his yetzer hara, a battle from which he emerged the victor. Only alone, with the noise of life shut out, can we make space for imagination, creativity, breakthrough and personal growth. In addition to our need to disconnect from technology in order to connect with others, we need to do so in order to truly connect with ourselves. It would be worthwhile to schedule five uninterrupted, disconnected minutes a few times a week – time to just sit and think. Actually, put these time slots on your calendar and set reminders to do it. Sit in a room by yourself without any media, cell phone or

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Rav Shlomo Wolbe, zt”l, explains that the root of the Hebrew word savlanut is sovel, which means to carry a heavy load or to bear a burden. For example, in recounting Hashem’s promise to redeem us, the Torah states, “Vhotzeisi eschem mitachas sivlos mitzrayim, I will take you out from under the burdens of Egypt.”  Sivlos, the burdens of Egypt, is based on the same root word as savlanut, patience.  A patient person bears the burden or endures the suffering, and never reacts with impulsiveness or impetuousness. A more literal translation of savlanus is actually suffering. One who is patient can live with discomfort or inconvenience, or even suffering. The ability to cultivate a sense of forbearance and to live with patience, particularly in the face of relatively small challenges or delays, is a critical tool for a life of serenity and inner peace. Tragically, it is at risk of becoming a lost art. It is vital that the instantaneousness of technology not compel us to forfeit our capacity for patience. When a download is taking time or a computer glitch occurs, don’t lose your cool. Getting angry, mad or frustrated will expedite nothing, but will actually make it feel like it is taking longer to resolve, and will likely make achieving a solution harder. Take a deep breath, put the delay in perspective and show forbearance. Connecting, Not Promoting Modesty is a core Torah value, and is intrinsic to the character of a Torah Jew. When the prophet Micha rhetorically challenges us, “Mah Hashem doreish mimecha?” “What does Hashem seek from you?” Micha responds, “… vehatzneia leches im Elokecha, …walk modestly and humbly with your God.” The popularity of social media, and to some extent text messaging and email, are all tapping into the less than attractive human inclination to disseminate personal information. While it is wonderful to use technology to connect with family and friends, that is not at all the same as sharing details of our lives and thoughts with a wide web of friends, including those who are “friends” in cyber-speak only. Not every picture needs to be posted.  Not every financial success needs to be flaunted.  Not every intimate experience or observation needs to be shared, online or offline. Certainly, we can (and perhaps even should) employ the tools of social media to connect in meaningful ways with those around us. However, we must be judicious in determining what we share and why we share it. If we are sharing in an effort to be self promoting, we are violating the fundamental principle of walking modestly before God. Moreover, when we boast or ostentatiously divulge indulgences, when we brag or even just publicly celebrate our successes, we are inviting others to look at us jealously, perhaps wondering whether we truly deserve the good fortune they may be lacking. Rav Eliyahu Dessler (Michtav Mei’eliyahu, Vol. 5, pp. 4-5) explains that when questions are raised in one’s mind regarding someone else’s entitlement to good fortune, such speculation serves as a prayer of some nature. This prayer, whether or not so intended, elicits God to also revisit the other


computer. Be truly alone. Solutions to problems, breakthroughs to emotional barriers, ideas, insights and clarity will suddenly arise in the quiet space you have created for them. You will be amazed by the creativity, innovation and thoughtfulness that emerge in the quiet space that our brain and soul crave, but that we rarely provide. If the thought of shutting down electronics and disconnecting causes you to break out in hives or suffer a spike in blood pressure, you know you have an addiction and an even more urgent need to disconnect.   Most of us have an aversion, actually a borderline allergic reaction, to turning off our phone. We have convinced ourselves that others’ access to us at all times is critical and indispensable. And yet, even doctors, rabbis and others who constantly address emergencies manage to disconnect (at least from cell service) when flying for hours at a time. If this is possible while traveling through the air, it must be equally viable with feet firmly on the ground. If you are going on a date night and are worried about your children or elderly parent, give them or their caregiver the phone number at the restaurant. If there are people that rely on you, let them know in advance that you won’t be reachable for a few hours and arrange alternative coverage. Most often they can wait for the time period to conclude. If we were honest with ourselves we would stop blaming everything around us for our inability to shut down. Change begins by admitting that we are the only ones blocking and preventing ourselves from disconnecting. We are using technology as an excuse to avoid connecting to ourselves, connecting to others and connecting to Hashem. Impose upon yourself the practice of shutting off technology when connecting with others, and eventually disconnecting when appropriate will become second nature. Preserving Patience The instantaneousness of technology is also eroding our capacity for patience. In the words of Dr. Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University, “The newest generations, unlike their older peers, will expect an instant response from everyone they communicate with, and won’t have the patience for anything less. They’ll want their teachers and professors to respond to them immediately, and they will expect instantaneous access to everyone.” People not only expect instantaneous access to others, but also expect instantaneous answers to their questions. In an article in the New York Times, “For Impatient Web Users, an Eye Blink Is Just Too Long to Wait,” Steve Lohr writes, “Remember when you were willing to wait a few seconds for a computer to respond to a click on a Web site or a tap on a keyboard? These days, even 400 milliseconds—literally the blink of an eye—is too long, as Google engineers have discovered. That barely perceptible delay causes people to search less. ‘Subconsciously, you don’t like to wait,’ said Arvind Jain, a Google engineer who is the company’s resident speed maestro. ‘Every millisecond matters.’”












evi was already 2 ½ years old, but you probably couldn’t tell by looking at him. Suffering from severe eczema and other allergies, his precious face was hidden beneath angry rashes and fiery patches. He was consumed by breathing and itching and hadn’t yet learned to walk. We were constantly switching him from medication to medication, but nothing seemed to work and I was so worried about him. Worried for his wellbeing, worried he would never develop as a normal child. My husband, a firm believer in the power of Tefillah, suggested we sign up with Tehillim Kollel. “I have heard so much about them. If anyone can help our son, these ehrliche, devoted men can!” So we signed Zevi up. I am naturally more of a skeptic, but you can’t argue with results! Zevi’s allergies became less and less severe, his asthma is reduced, and he is walking! In only a couple of months, his situation is dramatically improved. And his precious face shines brightly for all to see.




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MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home

person’s good fortune. We have all repeatedly heard of the need to avoid an ayin hara, and may have wondered whether this concern is real or merely an old wives’ tale. The Maharal explains that ayin hara means that God hears the pain of the one who is lacking and is now suffering the added anguish of having another’s good fortune cast in his or her face. Upon hearing this cry of pain, even when silent, God responds by re-examining the good fortune that had been bestowed, and reconsiders whether it was actually deserved. Certainly an ayin hara should be avoided at great cost; after all, who would wish to invite a re-examination of their virtues and entitlements? The Talmud (Bava Metzia 42) cautions us, “Ein haberacha metzuya ela bedavar hasamuy min haayin, Blessing is not found except in something that is hidden from the eye.”  Showing off about a vacation, the brilliance and beauty of our children or grandchildren, our frequent hobnobbing with the rich and famous or our latest luxury purchase invites others to cast jealous glances (and thus prosecuting eyes) upon us. A wise person once offered sage advice regarding sharing information or thoughts through technology. Before pressing send, enter or post, always ask yourself, “Am I sharing this to be a promoter or connector? Will this be productive and valuable, or is this self serving and grandstanding? Will this result in my being closer to others or will it create distance, jealousy and gossip? If I had to print this picture to show it, or if I had to say this out loud to someone in person and in public, would I still share it?” When in doubt, keep it samuy min haayin – hidden from view. “New” Is Not Necessarily Better Change is inevitable. Attitudes and social norms are constantly changing, as are career opportunities and artistic tastes. Perhaps the most perceptible arena of constant change is in the evolution of technology. Through the millennia, enormous advancements in science have revolutionized fields ranging from medicine to warfare, and innovative technological discoveries have dramatically altered normative modes of travel and communications. Each advancement introduces new products, new procedures, new ideas and new opportunities. But never before has “new” occurred at such a frantic and feverish pace, particularly in the arena of technology. New devices, appliances and software are constantly being introduced. We are bombarded with advertisements and social pressures, encouraging us to upgrade every aspect of our lives. “Upgrade your cell phone, upgrade your software, upgrade your apps, upgrade your car.” We are made to feel inadequate if we don’t have the latest, the most recent and the best of everything. In the second paragraph of kriyas shema, we recite the words “vhaya im shamoa tishmeu,” which translates literally as, “and it will be if you listen, you will listen.” Why the double language? Rashi, quoting the medrash, explains: “im shamoa beyashan, tishmeu bechadash. If you listen to the old, you will hear it in the new.” What does that mean?

“Old” often has a derogatory connotation. It implies outdated, antiquated, stale, tired and no longer useful. New, by contrast, implies something fresh, exciting, cutting edge and superior. Such perceptions dominate today’s technology-driven world, where old is obsolete and discontinued, while new is sought after by everyone (and likely already sold out). Alas, this paradigm is flawed. The new is not necessarily an upgrade. Often, the old is superior. Perhaps Rashi is teaching that if we pay attention, and indeed hearken, to the messages, principles, ideals and teachings of the old, namely our Torah, then we will develop the sensitivity to actually hear what’s really new; we will know which of the ‘new’ is authentic, acceptable and worthwhile. Innovation in technology, medicine, social progress and even application of Jewish practices all bring much opportunity and blessing. However, much of the new is simply incompatible with our existing,, timeless and inviolate values, teachings and practices. In religious life, ideas and practices that are presented as upgrades and progress are often, in fact, downgrades and regress. As we develop a technology-induced mindset that innovation is necessarily progress, we must be careful to avoid allowing this attitude to spill over into our views of other spheres of innovation and modernization, particularly when innovation is introduced into Torah hashkafa and Jewish practice. As Torah Jews, it is our  mesorah, the old and ancient wisdom passed down from parent to child, which serves as the guide and determinant of which new opportunities we are to embrace and integrate. We turn to our elders, as the guardians of the tradition, and value their guidance as the entrusted authorities to tell us which of the new is an upgrade and which of the new is actually a step backwards. Arrogance and Overconfidence The Talmud (Sotah 49b) tells us, “As the time for Moshiach approaches, chutzpah will proliferate.” Technology has emerged as a tremendous vehicle and platform for brazenness. The abundance of information available instantaneously at our fingertips is breeding an inflated sense of confidence. A Harvard Business Review article, “The Internet Makes You Think You’re Smarter Than You Are,” quotes the research of Yale doctoral candidate Matthew Fisher and his colleagues who asked people a series of questions that seemed answerable but were actual not. The questions concerned things people assume they know, but actually don’t—such as why there are phases of the moon and how glass is made. Some people were allowed to look up the answers on the Internet, while others were not. Then the researchers asked a second set of questions on unrelated topics. In comparison with the other subjects, the people who had been allowed to do online searches vastly overestimated their ability to answer the new questions correctly. In his recent book, David Weinberger, co-director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and a researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet and Society, addresses the Internet’s impact on how we learn and what

we know. The book’s title succinctly encapsulates his thesis: “Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room.” A false and distorted sense of confidence in our knowledge and, by extension, in the resulting opinions we form, is not benign or insignificant. Technology has enabled and empowered anyone with a keyboard to express his or her opinions, and to do so confidently and with a voice of authority. Credentials, credibility, expertise and peer review are the way of the past. Before an event could possibly be fully absorbed or an issue could be properly researched, pondered or deliberated, countless posts, blogs and online articles appear with the authors having no sense of modesty or humility regarding the correctness of their position. Due to the Internet, the lines between news and opinion, fact and fiction, expert and novice, authority and ignoramus, are increasingly blurred. The impact of this is bad enough when the subject is sports, politics, or entertainment. However, when the topic is a halachic issue or a contemporary hashkafic perspective, this phenomenon is downright dangerous. Halacha and hashkafa adopted by Torah Jewry have never been formulated by analysis of stark information or knowledge alone. Our sacred mesorah (tradition) has always placed great emphasis on the accumulation of experiential knowledge and sensitivities, and placed a premium on guidance from those who have amassed the wisdom of life and serve as loyal conduits of the wisdom of the prior generations. A brilliant scholar who is familiar with vast amounts of Torah but has never been meshameish talmidei chachamim (i.e., “apprenticed” with Torah scholars) is not qualified to issue opinions deserving of communal deference. The Talmud (Berachos 7b) tells us that “Gedola  shimusha  yoser  milimuda, Being mentored by a talmid chacham is even greater than the learning of his Torah.” According to the Mishna in Pirkei Avos, one of the 48 ways that wisdom is acquired is through shimush chachamim. The  ratzon Hashem, the will of the Almighty, on any given issue cannot simply be Googled or searched on the Bar Ilan digital library. In the famous eulogy delivered by Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik for his uncle, the Brisker Rav, the Rav distinguished between those who are betrothed to the Torah (erusin) and those who are married to the Torah (nesuin). An engaged couple shares a familiarity, but complete knowledge of one another has yet to be achieved. Solutions to problems, breakthroughs to emotional barriers, deeply personal ideas and insights about one another can typically be enjoyed only by a married couple– two individuals who have actually lived together and have shared intimacy over time. Married couples can often finish one another’s sentences and may intuit and predict what the other is thinking. The Rav explained that those who study Torah are betrothed to it, but it is only the greatest of our talmidei chachamim who are actually married to the Torah, and on whose intuition and instinct we rely when we seek the Torah position on a given subject that is less

than clear. It is remarkable to observe the humility and modesty of our greatest talmidei chachamim, those married to the Torah, when they approach the  devarim haomdim berumo shel olam, the complicated issues of our day. This is particularly evident when contrasted to the tone of others, who have barely started dating the Torah, who confidently and stridently espouse their positions on what the Torah and Hashem want from us. In strong terms, the Talmud (Sanhedrin 99) cautions us not to be “megaleh panim baTorah,” understood by many as guiding us not to be presumptuous by arrogantly and inappropriately voicing an opinion about Torah when the gravity of the issue exceeds our stature. The Talmud (Shabbos 119b) tells us, “Amar Rebbe Yitzchak, lo chorva Yerushalayim elah bishvil shehushvu kattan vegadol.” Rebbe Yitzchak said: “Jerusalem was destroyed only because the small and the great were made equal.” The Internet has allowed many to equalize the opinions of the small and the great. While in many respects giving voice to the lesser known can be a positive societal development, that is not the case with regard to halacha and hashkafa. In those areas, equating the great and the small results in churban – erosion and destruction. When reading internet content, we must be discerning and we must employ great discipline in restraining ourselves from focusing exclusively on the persuasiveness and attractiveness of the content of an article or blog. When developing a view, we must also consider the qualifications, credentials and competency of the author. Only we, not any program or software, can filter the opinions and positions we consume. The burden is on us not to be ignorant and naive consumers of information and ideas. Moreover, when becoming actual participants in the conversation, we should avoid being lured into thinking that we, too, are smarter than we really are, and before we comment, we should ask ourselves about the accuracy and tone of what we want to say. Conclusion While filters and other software are enormously important and helpful in confronting some of technology’s threats, it is imperative that we remain collectively aware of the many perils presented by connectedness that can be filtered and controlled only by the individual, with no assistance from technology. Whether as educators, parents or simply on our own behalf, we must remain vigilant and mindful of technology’s impact on our lives and we must learn how to employ it judiciously, discriminately and carefully. Furthermore, we have the opportunity to add wisdom to “smartness”—to educate our children and students how to be thoughtful in managing and filtering their own ever-growing use of smart technology. Reprinted with permission from Klal Perspectives Fall 2015 Issue, Rabbi Goldberg is the Senior Rabbi of Boca Raton Synagogue.


The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018

OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Notable Quotes “Say What?!”

I wouldn’t know what to do. – Oprah, in a recent interview, talking about pumping her own gas

I wore it there because I’m proud to be Jewish. I wanted to wear my kippah in the highest office of the land. My Jewish peers in this country need to be proud of being Jewish, and that’s how we can honor Meadow’s memory as a beautiful Jewish girl. - Hunter Pollack, whose sister was killed in the Parkland shooting, telling why he wore a yarmulke during a private meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office recently

I don’t agree. - One of the terms banned on Chinese social media platforms after it was announced that China’s Communist party amended China’s constitution, enabling Chinese President Xi Jinping to be president for life

[Purim] is the same holiday that the people of Europe hated and detested [and because of it] wished that the Jews would leave their countries so they could be saved from their wickedness. This is because the Jews who lived in Europe would always bake a large pastry on the occasion of the holiday, and everyone would eat it. However, this pastry was mixed with the blood of a victim they choose from among those who were not Jews. Most of the time the victim was a little boy. - Former Hamas official, Mustafa al-Lidawi, perpetuating a new type of blood libel in the independent Palestinian Ma’an News Agency, al-Lidawi, claiming that hamantashen are made with a gentile’s blood

He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday. - President Trump sending the media into a tizzy when he joked during a closed-door fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago about China’s President Xi Jinping effectively becoming the permanent president of China



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MARCH 8, 2018 | The Florida Jewish Home OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home

Former first lady Michelle Obama has announced that her memoir, entitled “Becoming,” will be published in November. The book will cover some of the most exciting times in Michelle Obama’s life, like that time she got $65 million to write a memoir! – James Corden

The world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that and so forth. For those heavy into it, that’s their thing, but it ain’t my thing. - Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL), in an interview with the Daily Caller, dismissing concerns about his friendship with Jew-hater and Hitler-lover Louis Farrakhan

We need to ban plastic bags – the time for debate on this is over. They’re bad for the environment, they’re bad for the economy, they’re bad for New York… The state is behind the curve here, it’s time to put our planet first. – Tweet by Mayor Bill de Blasio last Sunday

MORE QUOTES The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015


I want to tell you that the Jewish people have a long memory. So we remember the proclamation of the great King Cyrus the Great, Persian King. Twentyfive hundred years ago, he proclaimed that the Jewish exiles in Babylon can come back and rebuild our temple in Jerusalem. We remember, 100 years ago, Lord Balfour, who issued the Balfour Proclamation that recognized the rights of the Jewish people in our ancestral homeland.

President Trump today endorsed Senator Ted Cruz for re-election ahead of next week’s Republican primary in Texas. And when he heard that, Ted Cruz smiled so big eight babies started crying. – Seth Myers

We remember seventy years ago, President Harry S. Truman was the first leader to recognize the Jewish state. And we remember how a few weeks ago, President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Mr. President, this will be remembered by our people throughout the ages. And as you just said, others talked about it. You did it. So I want to thank you on behalf of the people of Israel. – Prime Minister Netanyahu addressing President Trump at their White House meeting last Monday

The Florida Jewish Home | MARCH 8, 2018


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