APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
Dear Readers, survived and each person who perished is a person who had a full life, and then the Nazis took them, put numbers on their arms and shoved them into mass graves, trying to take away their humanity, their individuality. And now seventy-two years later we need to remember the Six Million who were murdered and the others who survived, and we need to give them back their humanity. We need to retell their stories and remember their lives -- and by remembering each one of we will be remembering what they lived for and not only what they sacrificed their lives for. All the Best, Dina
It’s befitting that on the heels of the Holiday of Freedom (Passover), we recognize and remember the atrocities of the Holocaust, because as a Jews – today more than ever- we’re far from feeling free of anti-Semitism. Acknowledging Yom HaShoah and subsequently Yom Hazikaron, enables us, our families and the next generations to continue our promise to Never Forget the holy souls that have perished. It’s been 72 years since the Allies liberated the camps; 72 years since they gasped at the horror of seeing human skeletons walking towards them and piles of bones with skin stretched thin heaped high; 72 years since they were assaulted by the charred, acrid smell of burnt flesh and the deformed bodies that Mengele, used in his twisted experiments. Today, there are less than 100,000 survivors still alive, and close to 5,000 living in Florida alone. Like we said in the Passover Haggadah, it’s not enough to just remember – we must re-live the experiences as if they are happening today similar to how our parents, grandparents and great grandparents lived it. We have to remember what it’s like to properly ensure it will never happen again. We must remember how the Nazis tried to strip us of our humanity. And when we hear about what they did, we have to remember that each one of these people who was humiliated is not just a piece of history. Each person who
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The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
The Week In News
Macron vs. Le Pen
Sunday was an important day for France as the first round of presidential voting took place. The long list of candidates has now been narrowed down to only two: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Macron took 24% of the vote and Le Pen received 21.3%. According to the French voting system, the two will now square off in a one-on-one race in just two short weeks. The run-off election will take place on May 7 to determine who the next president will be in a country with a suffering economy and an increasingly troubling terrorism problem. The two candidates cannot be more different. Le Pen is an extremely conservative candidate. The leader of the far right is outspokenly anti-EU and has proposed France pulling out of the European Union altogether. She has also been open about her ties to Russia. After the results came in, demonstrators took to the streets to protest her advance. The protests turned violent with cars being burned and police getting pulled into the fighting. Le Pen is vocal about her stance against immigration, vowing to expel foreigners who are being monitored by intelligence agencies. She has pushed for a return to closed borders and would limit immigration to 10,000 people a year. Macron, on the other hand, does not believe in closed borders. He has praised Angela Merkel’s stance on accepting refugees in Germany and believes that France should do more. Last week, in the aftermath of the terror attack in Paris, Le Pen called for the closure of all “Islamist mosques” in France. She also said that the country needs “the resources to make sure we can combat ... Islamist terrorism.” In response to the recent stabbing, Macron urged citizens, “All of this makes me only too well aware that we are being attacked in the heart of our nation. We are under threat. I want to make sure we are protected. We must not give into fear, and we must not give in to their trap. It is not a moment to doubt the EU.” He added, “Do not to give into fear, do not to give into division, do not to give into intimidation.” World markets surged on the news that many of the other anti-EU candidates were knocked out of the race and that Emmanuel Macron took first place. The centrist Macron is seen as pro-business and wishes
for investors to have much more faith in the strength of the European Union. He is also pro-immigration and a strong supporter of the European Union. He has never held public office. Many are projecting that Macron will win the election by a landslide but Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton last year has restored the belief that quite anything is possible, especially when it comes to politics.
N. Korea, China and the U.S.
It’s a triangle of tensions between North Korea, the U.S. and China. On Tuesday, the Hermit Kingdom conducted a large-scale, live-fire military drill in yet another show of force. It was part of celebrations marking the 85th anniversary of the founding of the country’s military. While the North fired weapons near the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. and South Korea conducted drills off the west coast. Meanwhile, the USS Carl Vinson naval strike group was making its way to the divided peninsula. On Monday President Trump told the media that Kim Jong Un isn’t as strong as he claims to be, although he also blamed the international community for not reining him in. The “status quo” on North Korea is “unacceptable,” Mr. Trump told members of the United Nations Security Council at the White House. He scolded the other members of the council for falling short in their dealings with North Korea. “The council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions,” he said. The deployment of a U.S. Navy strike group – which will be joined by two Japanese destroyers and South Korean ships – to the Korean Peninsula is a show of force and a clear warning to North Korea. The USS Michigan, a nuclear powered submarine, also arrived in the South Korean port city of Busan on Tuesday. In response to the United States’ bluster, North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric too, unveiling new weapons and lashing out as adversaries. Its media warned the U.S. to “consider carefully any catastrophic consequence.” On Saturday, North Korea detained Korean-American Tony Kim at the Pyongyang airport, bringing the total number of Americans held in North Korea to three.
No one wants a war and to avoid that, the Trump administration is ramping up diplomatic efforts to put pressure on North Korea. Mr. Trump has spoken by phone to the leaders of China and Japan. On Wednesday, U.S. senators will get a rare briefing on the issue at the White House, and on Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will chair a special meeting on North Korea at the United Nations. Beijing is increasingly becoming the monkey in the middle. At least two-thirds of North Korea’s trade is with China, which means that China is the player with the most leverage when it comes to the regime. Beijing has been urging the United States to take less aggressive action against North Korea. Even so, China has used its influence in North Korea in recent months. After a North Korean missile test in February, Chinese authorities suspended coal imports from the state for the rest of the year. Media reports citing Chinese academics and opinion pieces in the Beijing-backed Global Times have raised the prospect of cutting oil exports to North Korea. Such action would severely hurt the small, North Korean economy and indicate China’s seriousness on curbing the pariah state, analysts said. “I think China is signaling to both sides, to the U.S. that China is doing more, that China is acting in good faith to head off a crisis in North Korea,” Michael Hirson, Asia director at consulting firm Eurasia Group, said. “Primarily they’re telling the U.S. that ultimately China feels the only solution in North Korea is one that involves diplomacy and getting North Korea to the table.” As a candidate, Trump said he would be prepared to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and talk things out “over a hamburger.” Since then, though, Trump seems to be playing a more intense game with the North Koreans. A few weeks ago, Vice President Mike Pence said during a visit to South Korea that “the era of strategic patience is over” with North Korea.
ily accessible by airplane and has a solid infrastructure for tourists.
Tourism in general is on the incline. According to the report, 10% of the world’s jobs are in the tourism industry. Additionally, 10% of the world’s GDP is generated by travel – that’s $7.6 trillion. The World Economic Forum’s purpose is to keep the industry flourishing. In that vein they made recommendations for regions that didn’t boast as much success in tourism. “North America should enhance its price competitiveness, environmental sustainability and infrastructure,” the report detailed. It continued on to make suggestions for the Asia-Pacific region: “Regional visa policies could further enhance travel and tourism.” The top five most tourist-friendly countries are all in Europe. Experts believe this is a result of curbed travel to the Middle East due to security concerns. Although Mexico and India didn’t make it to the top ten, they both made significant progress since the last report, jumping eight and 12 places, respectively. Mexico came in at 22, while India ranked 40th. The most tourist friendly countries are: 1. Spain 2. France 3. Germany 4. Japan 5. United Kingdom 6. United States 7. Australia 8. Italy 9. Canada 10. Switzerland Bon voyage!
Europe: Most Tourist Friendly Continent
Ahmadinejad Won’t be President
Looking for the perfect vacation? According to the World Economic Forum, Spain is the place for you. Every other year a list of the world’s most travel-friendly destinations is released and this year – just like last – Spain came in at number one. Health and hygiene, safety and security, infrastructure, and natural resources in 136 counties are all considered when ranking tourist spots. Spain’s spectacular architecture, sprawling beaches, and glamourous nightlife attract millions of tourists each year. It ranked high for both cultural and natural qualities. It is also eas-
Next month, Iran will hold presidential elections. The Guardian Council, the clerical body in charge of vetting candidates, has disqualified former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from running. Last week Ahmadinejad submitted his
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name for the election, shocking Iranians. The council is required to assess all submissions. Ahmadinejad served as president from 2005 to 2013. He was infamous for his aggressive attitude towards Israel and the U.S. A notorious anti-Semite, he questioned the scale of the Holocaust publicly. He also supported Iran’s nuclear program and devoted efforts to ramp it up. Throughout his presidency he showed a disregard for human rights against women and other minorities. The Guardian Council has confirmed that they compiled a final list of six candidates and former President Ahmadinejad did not make the cut. Current President Hassan Rouhani is on the list; he has served since 2013. Rouhani’s first vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri, and former Minister of Mining and Industry Mostafa Hashemi-Taba are two other moderate Reformist candidates whose candidacies were approved. Among the conservatives approved by the Guardian Council were Ebrahim Raisi, the custodian of the holy shrine of the eighth Shiite Imam; Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf; and former Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mostafa Mir-Salim. The elections are scheduled for May 19.
Not-So-Handy Manny Know how to change a lightbulb? Boil an egg? Well, you can pat yourself on the back since one in five people aren’t as skilled as you. A recent survey in the United Kingdom found that around 20 percent of people did not know how to change a lightbulb or boil an egg. In their annual Home Report the British insurance company Aviva asked respondents about how people do work around the house.
In addition to just one in five not being able to change a lightbulb or boil an egg, the survey found that nearly a third of the participants couldn’t cook any meal on the fly. And if someone were to spill a portion of their meal on their clothes or on the floor, only 59 percent would know how to get rid of the resulting stain. Only 37 percent could change a flat tire. The findings were even surprising to the folks behind the study. “As a nation we tend to take pride in our ability to do things ourselves in and
around the home, so it’s a surprise to see there could be a skills gap in places,” says Aviva Propositions Director Adam Beckett. Interestingly, while 50 percent of those surveyed said they learned how to do a home task on their by trial and error, plenty of people are turning to the internet for help, especially millennials. The study found four in 10 people aged 25 and under prefer learning do-it-yourself chores online. That’s more than twice the number in the age group who turn to an actual book for help. According to the survey, 66% of people were able to read a map; 65% of people were able to sew a button; 57% of people were able to change a baby’s diaper; 39% of people were able to put up wallpaper; and 37% of people were able to change a flat tire. Seems like schools need to add another class or two to get these people into the real world.
A Degree for Jews Expelled in WWII The Vilnius University has awarded bachelor’s degrees to hundreds of Jewish students who were kicked out of the university during World War II. The university issued the diplomas after Israeli Professor Moshe Lapidot spearheaded a campaign to see recognition given to the students who were unfairly expelled, many of whom were later killed by the Nazis. Lapidot was in Lithuania tracing his family heritage when he contacted Prof. Artūras Žukauskas, the rector of Vilnius University. He also involved Amir Maimon, Israel’s ambassador to Lithuania, and requested that the university recognize his uncle’s academic studies. Lapidot’s uncle was killed by the Nazis after being expelled from the school. The rector granted his request and decided to grant degrees to all of the Jewish lecturers and students who were forced out of the Vilnius by Nazi decree. The university even went so far as to launch a program to track down the Jewish students who were dismissed. A ceremony was held last week to grant the diplomas. Ambassador Maimon described the ceremony as “unprecedented.” He added, “We intend to encourage the applications of the relatives and descendants of those Jewish students and lecturers whom the university was not able to locate.”
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Memorial Held
The Jewish community of Warsaw recognized the 74th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising by burying the remains of old and damaged Torah scrolls. The ceremony was described as a symbolic celebration of life for a Jewish community that was almost destroyed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Before the War, Warsaw was home to 330,000 Jews. Today the Jewish community numbers less than 1,000. “These scrolls were burned and destroyed, many of them. But the spirit of them wasn’t defeated,” said Rabbi Moshe Bloom, a leader of Warsaw’s Jewish community. “Some people’s intention was to stop the Torah learning of the Jewish nation,” Bloom said. “And here we say ‘no.’ Torah and the Jewish nation are stronger than all of these enemies.” The tattered remains were housed in large clay vessels. Fragments from dozens of Torahs were buried next to the remains of some of the fighters in the uprising. It is the first time such a burial has been recorded since the Holocaust. Anna Chipczynska, the head of the Warsaw Jewish community, said the event marked “a return to a tradition that had been forgotten in our community for at least 70 years.” The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all Jewish ghettos during Nazi times. It was established in 1940, with over 400,000 Jews imprisoned in an area of around 1.3 square miles. From there, Jews were deported to death camps and mass-killing centers. In the summer of 1942 alone, at least 254,000 ghetto residents were sent to Treblinka under the guise of “resettlement in the East.” On April 19, 1943 around 750 brave Jews with barely any ammunition and no military experience rose up against the Nazis in an effort to prevent the last remnants of the ghetto from being sent to the death camps. Sadly, the uprising was crushed the next month and the ghetto was razed to the ground, with most of its residents murdered.
Historian: Allies Knew about Jewish Genocide Newly discovered UN documents show that the western Allies were well aware of the Jewish genocide that was taking place during the Holocaust – as early as 1942.
Dan Plesch, a historian who has just published a book titled Human Rights After Hitler, has examined documents that prove that the upper echelon of British officials knew that Hitler was on a mission to kill Jews, that 2 million Jews had already been killed, and that 5 million more were in mortal danger. Although the Allies knew about the genocide, they made no policy decisions to counter the mass murders. Plesch has shown that Viscount Cranborne, a minister in Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s war cabinet, said that Jews could not be considered a special case because England had already taken in too many refugees to grant sanctuary to Europe’s Jews. Plesch also shows that the documents, which have never been revealed before, indicate that the Allies had “already begun drawing up war crimes charges based on witness testimony smuggled from the camps and from the resistance movements in various countries occupied by the Nazis.” England is not the only country to have ignored the proof. The book shows that evidence of the Final Solution was dismissed by anti-Semites in the U.S. State Department as well.
Holocaust Property Yet to be Returned
A large scale study was recently conducted on the property that was stolen by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The findings of the study show that a very significant amount of property has yet to be returned to its rightful owners, despite legislation in place to ensure property return. The report examined the 46 countries that signed the 2009 Terezin Declaration which calls for the restoration of Jewish property stolen during WWII. While most of the western European states have followed through on their commitments, many eastern European countries, especially Poland and Bosnia, have yet to do so. The Terezin Declaration formalized the widely held principle that no state should profit from property without heirs. It also recognizes that needy Holocaust survivors should be provided for from the income derived from the stolen properties. There are an estimated quarter of a million Holocaust survivors alive today. Sadly, as time passes, these survivors slowly pass away.
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
The amount of unclaimed property is staggering. In most European countries, the property that was left without explicit ownership claims was transferred to the state and not returned. In countries such as Croatia, Lithuania, Macedonia and Slovenia, you have to be a citizen of the country to make a claim. In Poland, only half of the 5,550 communal property claims filed under the 1997 Law of Restitution were accepted. Furthermore, a dozen countries in Europe have not passed any legislation concerning heirless property, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Lat-
via, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Slovenia and Poland. In Romania there is a law, but it has never been implemented. Gideon Taylor, chairman of the operations committee of the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), praised the recent report pointing out that it “sheds light on the failure of certain countries to address the past and to restore what was taken away. In recent years there has been progress in recovering and compensating for looted property, but as the survivors pass away, Europe must ensure that all countries comply with their international obligations,” he urged.
Cancer Treatment Cover for Smuggling Explosives
Taking advantage of a medical entry permit, two Palestinian sisters recently attempted to smuggle explosives into Israel from Gaza inside tubes labeled as medication. The woman whose name was on the prescription bottles was traveling to Israel to seek treatment for cancer. Shin Bet security services stopped the entry of the explosives. The two women are being accused of aiding terror activity on behalf of Hamas. Shin Bet released a statement in which they said the explosives were “sent by Hamas and it is believed that they were meant to be used to carry out attacks in Israel in the near future.” They say that the materials were going to be used to manufacture improvised explosive devices. “Unfortunately, this is more proof that terror groups in Gaza are continuing to take advantage of humanitarian channels to export terror into Israel’s heartland,” Defense Ministry Crossing Points Authority head Kamil Abu Rokan said in a statement. “The security checks at the crossing worked exactly as we expect and with notable professionalism.” Tens of thousands of Palestinians are allowed to come into Israel each year for medical attention. In March, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan claimed that Hamas was using Gazan cancer victims as mules to smuggle money and gold into Israel to finance terror operations. His comment was in response to questions about why the number of cancer patients being given entry permission has been decreased.
Hamas Taunts Parents of Fallen Soldiers
The military wing of the Hamas terror group has released a video in which they taunt the parents of two Israeli soldiers that have been presumed dead since 2014, claiming they are still alive. The group, which has never offered any proof that the two soldiers are alive, uses a disgusting music video which shows multiple pictures of Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin and plays a song that taunts,
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“Mother, Mother I’m here. Why are they saying that I’m dead?” Although the bodies of soldiers Shaul and Goldin were never found, the IDF has established that Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin were killed before their bodies were captured by Hamas in the summer of 2014 war between Hamas and Israel. A similar video was released last year in which Hamas hinted that the soldiers may be alive. Leah Goldin, mother of Hadar Goldin, blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week for trying to turn the Goldin and Shaul families into the “enemy of the people” for wanting to retrieve their sons’ remains. Netanyahu has insinuated that Israel’s security needs are more important and that the families should not pursue their children’s remains at any cost. “Operation Protective Edge isn’t over,” she pleaded. “Hamas wanted to kidnap soldiers and it still has two of them.” Israel has been trying to retrieve the remains of the two kidnapped soldiers along with two – possibly three – Israelis who had crossed into the Gaza Strip by them-
selves and have not been seen since. Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed have not been seen since they entered Gaza. It is still unconfirmed if uma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima, who has also been missing, is in Gaza as well.
NYT Blasted for Whitewashing Palestinian Terrorist Liz Spayd, the public editor of The New York Times, has come out criticizing the paper for running an op-ed that failed to list the terror crimes that Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti committed to earn his five life sentences. Spayd blasted the writers and editors of the op-ed that was under Barghouti’s name, saying that such information is left out repeatedly and it discredits the entire newspaper.
The piece was written by Barghouti himself. It defended the mass hunger strike that was initiated in Palestinian security prisons last week. The op-ed’s description line called Barghouti a “parliamentarian and leader” but did not mention that he was convicted of multiple terror crimes. “I see no reason to skimp on this, while failing to do so risks the credibility of the author and the Op-Ed pages,” Spayd wrote in a piece titled “An Op-Ed Author Omits His Crimes, and The Times Does Too.”
“This isn’t a new issue for the Opinion section,” Spayd wrote. “I have written before on the need to more fully identify the biography and credentials of authors, especially details that help people make judgments about the opinions they’re reading. Do the authors of the pieces have any conflicts of interest that could challenge their credibility? Are they who they say they are, and can editors vouch for their fidelity?” Many Israeli officials responded to the op-ed in the Times with outrage. Benjamin Netanyahu said that referring to Barghouti as only a politician was like referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad as “a pediatrician.” Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, accused The New York Times of “intentional deception” of its readers by omitting any mention of Barghouti’s past. In response to the heavy blowback, the Times issued a clarification online. “This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist or-
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
ganization,” the paper wrote. “Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy.” Barghouti is the former leader of the armed wing of Fatah and is the founder of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Fatah terror group. He was convicted in an Israeli civilian court on five counts of murder and one attempted murder. He was also implicated in, and held responsible for, four other terror attacks. He is serving five life sentences and an additional 40 years in prison.
List of Indictments for JCC Bomb Hoaxer
Headlines were made in the past few months about bomb threats that were made against Jewish community centers around the United States. The culprit, it turns out, is an Israel-American teen from Ashkelon. The huge list of charges he is facing includes thousands of counts of extortion, publishing false information that caused panic, computer offenses and money laundering. Allegedly he has caused a lot of panic and confusion around the globe, including directly causing fighter jets to scramble, commercial airline emergency landings, and school evacuations. The 18-year-old hacker, whose identity has not been released because many of his crimes were committed when he was underage, was charged in the Tel Aviv District Court. According to the indictment, he targeted hundreds of airlines, airports, malls, schools, and police stations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia. He also tried to extort Republican State Senator Ernesto Lopez from Delaware and offered extortion services online in exchange for bitcoins. The court said that the teenager’s motive was to cause public alarm, which he did. The range of his crimes is far wider and against a much larger range of targets than previously reported. The court alleges that the teen called American Airlines, Virgin Australia and El Al with imminent bomb threats. A call in July of 2016 caused French and Swiss fighter jets to scramble and escort the plane due to fears of a potential hijacking. He caused a Virgin Australia plane to dump eight tons of fuel over the ocean prior to landing as a precaution. He threatened a plane carrying the Boston Celtics
basketball team as well. The menace’s internet account has over $240,000 worth of bitcoin currency as he charged fees up to $500 for a bomb threat against an airplane. “The accused even asked customers to contact him if they had special requests for threats against other targets and to receive a customized quote,” the indictment reads. When threatening Jewish and Israeli institutions over the past few months, he used advanced camouflaging technology. When his home was raided, police found satellite equipment and advanced antenna tech. Israel has refused a United States’ request to extradite the teen so they can try him in Israel. His lawyer has claimed that the teen is on the autism spectrum and has a brain tumor that has caused him to act erratically. His parents have apologized for his behavior and have requested that he be considered unfit to stand trial due to his mental illness.
NYC to Offer Free College
As our country falls deeper into debt, New York’s Governor Cuomo is proposing a plan to offer free tuition for college students. Cuomo announced his plans for “the nation’s first tuition-free college program for middle class families.” There are programs for low-income communities but never before for the middle class. The law was approved on April 9th and just three short days later Cuomo signed the bill in the presence of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state and New York senator praised the effort saying, “It’s the fastest way to give working and middle class families a raise.” The “Excelsior Scholarship” was included in the state’s budget. New York households with a combined income of up to $125,000 a year qualify for the program. According to census data for 2015, the average household income in New York was $59,269. Despite the cheers from some, many are protesting the new plan claiming that the expenses of these students’ college education will now be shifted to taxpayers. Upper middle income families are disappointed that their hardearned tax dollars seem to never be used
for their benefit. Instead, the tax money is passed onto lower middle income families and low-income families for more free programs. Eligible students will be able to attend the City University of New York and the State University of New York System. Students are required to graduate within the traditional two or four year timeline. There is no stipend for room, board, textbooks, or other campus fees. Another condition of the program is that upon graduation students must live and work in New York for the same number of years they accepted the funds. If students fail to comply with the terms then the grant turns into a loan.
Cherokee Nation Sues Opioid Distributors There has been much discussion about the growing opioid epidemic that is sweeping through the nation. Many are blaming pharmaceutical companies for not enforcing tighter restrictions on prescription medication. The most recent noise regarding this matter came from the Cherokee Nation, the largest of three Cherokee federally recognized tribes in the U.S. On Thursday the tribe filed a suit against retailers of opioid medications. They are claiming that the companies have knowingly contributed to “an epidemic of prescription opioid abuse” within the tribe. They are arguing that the companies could have and should have attempted to stop tribal members from acquiring illegally prescribed opioid painkillers. The suit focuses on six distribution and pharmacy companies that have created conditions in which “vast amounts of opioids have flowed freely from manufacturers to abusers and drug dealers” across the 14 northeastern Oklahoma counties that comprise the Cherokee Nation. The lawsuit, filed in the Cherokee Nation District Court, names as defendants distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp., and pharmacies CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The Cherokees are claiming the companies regularly choose to turn a “blind eye” on the rapidly growing and devastating epidemic. The suit alleges that the companies gain from these sales in tons of profit. In the last several years, hundreds of Cherokee citizens have overdosed from prescription medicine and it has cost the tribe hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs.
“Defendants have created an environment in which drug diversion can flourish,” the lawsuit states. Richard Fields, an attorney for the tribe in Washington, D.C. said that the
goal of the lawsuit is to enforce more accountability amongst the companies. “We’re hoping that this case and others like it will put a focus on the supply that is too great,” Fields said. In defense, AmerisourceBergen spokesman Gabriel Weissman released a statement saying the company stops the shipment of orders it believes are suspicious. “The issue of opioid abuse is a complex one that spans the full health care spectrum, including manufacturers, wholesalers, insurers, prescribers, pharmacists and regulatory and enforcement agencies,” Weissman said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
Billionaires Row The world is home to 1,810 billionaires who reside across 67 different countries. Recently, Forbes.com compiled a list of the cities that are home to the most billionaires. Of course billionaires tend to own multiple homes and travel often – the list was based on primary residences.
New York! New York! Start spreading the news! The Big Apple is the city with the most billionaires in the world and boasts 79 billionaires as residents, holding a combined $364.6 billion in wealth. Who tops the list? Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is New York City’s richest resident. The continent with the most billionaires is Asia, with 14 appearances on the top 25 cities. The U.S. and Europe each had six cities on the top 25 list. Here are top 10 cities for billionaires to reside: 1. New York 2. Hong Kong 3. Moscow 4. Beijing 5. London 6. Mumbai, India 7. Shanghai 8. Seoul, South Korea (Tie) 9. Shenzhen, China (Tie) 10. San Francisco
Stroke, Dementia & Diet Soda Artificially flavored sodas may be the perfect solution for cutting calories, but
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there are other risks associated with diet drinks. A new study suggests that artificially sweetened drinks are linked to a higher risk of stroke and dementia.
The study, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke on Thurs-
day, does not detail an actual cause-andeffect relationship between the two. The link was discovered for diet sodas exclusively and not with sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit juice and fruit drinks. “We have little data on the health effects of diet drinks and this is problematic because diet drinks are popular amongst the general population,” said Matthew Pase, a senior research fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and lead author of the new study. “More research is needed to study the health effects of diet drinks so that consumers can make informed choices concerning their health,” he concluded. Individuals who consumed one artificially sweetened beverage a day were almost three times as likely to suffer a stroke. Researchers believe the stroke is
caused by blocked blood vessels. They also found that those who drank one diet drink a day were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia. “So, it was not surprising to see that diet soda intake was associated with stroke and dementia. I was surprised that sugary beverage intake was not associated with either the risks of stroke or dementia because sugary beverages are known to be unhealthy,” Pase said. In response, Lauren Kane, a spokeswoman for the American Beverage Association, issued a statement from the group that said low-calorie sweeteners found in beverages have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities. “The FDA, World Health Organization, European Food Safety Authority and others have extensively reviewed low-calorie sweeteners and have all reached the same conclusion – they are safe for consumption,” the statement said. “While we respect the mission of these organizations to help prevent conditions like stroke and dementia, the authors of this study acknowledge that their conclusions do not – and cannot – prove cause and effect. And according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), many risk factors can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing stroke and dementia including age, hypertension, diabetes and genetics. NIH does not mention zero calorie sweeteners as a risk factor,” the statement said. “America’s beverage companies sup-
port and encourage balanced lifestyles by providing people with a range of beverage choices — with and without calories and sugar — so they can choose the beverage that is right for them.”
We All Scream for Ice Cream
tomers’ delight and had tipped each employee at Sweet Sammies $100. According to Kory Close, the owner of Sweet Sammies in Fort Worth, Texas, Gary came in around 7:30 on Saturday night – the busiest night of the week – and offered to pay for $300 worth of ice cream. But as the night went on, and he socialized with customers, Gary kept on upping the amount he was sponsoring. “Every time someone came up to the register pulling out their money they were told [by employees] to put it away, this is on somebody else,” Close said. “He seemed very excited about how much business we had done while he was there.” Eventually, Gary gave 300 customers a frozen confection to enjoy on his tab. At the end of the night he racked up a 7-foot bill of $1,000 and then proceeded to tip each employee $100 each. “It was amazing,” Close said.
Town for Sale
Last week, patrons at an ice cream store were treated to frozen goodness for free – thanks to the sweetness of a man only known as Mr. Gary. By the end of the night, Gary had forked over $1,000 to cus-
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
. . . i n
h i s
OWN WORDS Every week, we share a sliver of many of the appreciative messages we receive. This week, we share with you the story in its entirety, per protagonist’s request – so that the impact of his yeshua can inspire others. Read on, and hear his story in his own words…
Hi. It was only last week that I called in my request to Kollel Chatzos, and I'm already a 'geholfener'. It was about a week ago that I gave up my office job for several reasons, including certain ruchniyus problems. Although I was confident in my decision to leave the job because I felt it is the ratzon haBorei, I also called up the Kollel Chatzos office that very day and was menadev a substantial donation l’zchus that I should find a good 'ehrliche' job.
It was only two days afterwards that that someone called me up and offered me a great position in a very busy office. It was a wellpaying business and a very ehrliche environment as well. So, I would like to ask you to please publicize my story, so that people should know the koach of supporting a talmid chacham learning in the holy hours of fartugs.
Z. G., Boro Park
Boro Park Williamsburg Monsey Monroe Meron
Tiller, Oregon, was once a bustling logging outpost that sprang up deep in the Umpqua National Forest. Its post office opened in 1902, and miners, loggers, ranchers and farmers flocked to the community along a pristine river. But then, nearly three decades ago, due to environmental regulations, the timber mill closed and families moved away. One resident began to buy up pieces of the town and when he died his children inherited almost the whole downtown. Now, they are looking to pass the ownership of Tiller along. For the low price of $3.5 million, you can own a whole town tucked into the woods. The sale includes its six houses, the shuttered general store and gas station, the land under the post office, undeveloped parcels, water rights and infrastructure that includes sidewalks, fire hydrants and a working power station. Tiller Elementary School, a six-classroom building that closed in 2014, is for sale separately for $350,000. About 235 people still live in the unincorporated area around Tiller and have long relied on the buildings now for sale along historic Highway 227 as a gathering spot and one of the only places to shop for groceries for miles. “Between the dying economy and the dying owners, Tiller became a new opportunity that had never been available before,” said Richard Caswell, executor of the estate. “I started getting inquiries from all over the world, essentially, ‘What was it? And what could you do with it?’ It’s the buyer and their imagination that’s going to determine what Tiller can become.” Tiller is the perfect place to go back to your roots. Bears wander onto people’s porches; cell phone reception is spotty. Residents gather at the church for coffee and cinnamon rolls on Fridays and collect their mail at the one-room post office – when it’s open. Some have a sense of humor: A small, weathered sign affixed to the defunct market reads, “Last one out of Tiller turn out the light.”
Another Declaration of Independence
להצלחת דוד משה בן שיינדל 'וכל משפ
The original Declaration of Independence resides in the National Archives in Washington. But this week Harvard researchers discovered another original Declaration of Independence – something no one knew was even around. Researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen were the duo who discovered the rare manuscript at the West Sussex Records Office in Chichester, England. The Sussex archive listed the document as “manuscript copy, on parchment, of the Declaration in Congress of the thirteen United States of America,” in its online
catalog. “I’d found vague descriptions of other copies of the Declaration that turned out to be 19th-century reproductions of the signed parchment in the National Archives, so that was what I was expecting,” Sneff told the Harvard Gazette. “What struck me as significant was that it said manuscript on parchment.” Sneff was sent a disc with photos of the document. “When I looked at it closely, I started to see details, like names that weren’t in the right order – John Hancock isn’t listed first, there’s a mark at the top that looks like an erasure, the text has very little punctuation in it – and it’s in a handwriting I hadn’t seen before,” she said. “As those details started adding up, I brought it to Danielle’s attention and we realized this was different from any other copy we had seen.” The researchers said the signers on the Sussex version are not broken down by state, something that distinguishes it from the copy in the National Archives. The two dated the document to the 1780s and said that it originally belonged to a Duke of Richmond known as the “Radical Duke” for his support of Americans during the Revolutionary War.
Like those iconic Ikea bags that you can buy from the megastore for 99 cents? Well, if you can’t get to Ikea anytime soon, Balenciaga has been selling a look-alike bag. The price? $2,145. A steal! The Balenciaga Arena Extra-Large Shopping Tote, listed for $2,145 on the website of high-end store Barney’s, raised eyebrows online when social media users pointed out its striking similarity in appearance to the iconic blue Frakta bags at Ikea, which sells its version of the tote for less than a dollar. “We are deeply flattered that the Balenciaga tote bag resembles the Ikea iconic sustainable blue bag for 99 cents. Nothing beats the versatility of a great big blue bag!” Ikea said in a statement. The Balenciaga bag differs from the Ikea bag in at least one significant way: It’s “constructed of blue wrinkled, glazed leather.” Oh yes, and the price is also a little different. $2,144 dollars’ worth of difference.
The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
Community Warriors Take Home First Place In National NCSY JUMP Competition The Hebrew Academy (RASG) Fana Holtz High School NCSY JUMP Team took home first place nationally after presenting their yearlong efforts at the Goldman Sachs Board Room on April 4th in New York City! This is the third time the Warriors have presented at Goldman Sachs and the second time they took home the trophy. The team of eight hardworking students have dedicated the last year in creating social campaigns and meaningful programs in the community. They were 1 of 5 teams, and the only school in Florida, who were invited to the famous board room of Goldman Sachs where a panel of guest judges heard their presentations and the impacts their campaigns have had on their school and community. The four other schools were Ulpana, DRS Yeshiva High School, Shalhevet, and Central High Queens. The topics students focused on were “How to improve Prayer” and “Savvy Seniors” (teaching technology to senior citizens). All of this, as part of a national program initiated and coordinated by the New York region of NCSY, JUMP offers leadership training to select Jewish teens as well as the opportunity to use that training to create and execute projects and programs in their schools and communities across the country. The team which is led by two senior captains - Aliza Posner and Malka Suster, includes Ariella Wolfson, Hadassah Bixon, Jonathan Malove, Ofir Abramov, Eden Grosz, and Elisheva Adouth, and the staff adviser Mrs. Amy Zuckerman. “This competition is all about finding a void in your community and trying to fill that hole,” said Malka Suster, Senior and Team Co-Captain. “We realized there was this digital divide between the elderly and kids. We started a program called Savvy Seniors where we taught seniors how to use their cell phones and how to go on the internet.” “We partnered with Jewish Community Services of South Florida and soon found out how challenging this would be,” said Aliza Posner, Senior and Team Co-Captain. “For instance, some of the elderly can’t use their fingers well, so touching their phone screens proved difficult. But, I think they really appreciated our help.” The team also focused their efforts on improving the image of tefilah or prayer
different issues in the community. I also realized how much I enjoy communal activism and hope to continue with it in the future,” said Posner. ABOUT THE HEBREW ACADEMY Through the light of Torah and academic excellence, Hebrew Academy in-
spires each and every student to improve the world. Hebrew Academy is a Modern Orthodox Jewish college and yeshiva preparatory school serving students from birth through grade 12. For more information, please visit www.hebrewacademymiami.org.
Apply Your Yeshiva/ Seminary Credits or Your Rabbinic/ Secular Degree Toward: An Accredited BACHELORS DEGREE around campus. They created a “Yom Iyun,” or day of learning, where students were able to participate in a schoolwide debate and voice their concerns. As it turns out, tefilah was not chosen by the other schools participating. “This campaign which the JUMP team is working on is a topic that every Jewish school has their eye on - Prayer, and how to make it more meaningful,” said Rabbi Aharon Assaraf, High School Principal. “What impresses me most is that the team told me that this topic of “Prayer” was the least popular topic selected by other schools and they felt it is exactly what would drive them. They are thriving on the fact that this challenge is real, they too want real results! I am so proud of them!” The year-long competition kicked off in the fall, when teams from high schools and NCSY chapters throughout the country came together for a two-day conference focusing on problem solving and communications skills needed for leadership and project management. In the long run, the team captains feel this experience will help them as they enter the next phase of their life beyond the Hebrew Academy. “This taught me a lot of leadership skills and opened my eyes to so many
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APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
Around the Community
Miami Gets Serious About The Mitzvah of Tefillin The big news in Miami last week had nothing to do with the beautiful weather and the bright sunshine. It was about a unique and exceptional program called the Tefillin Awareness Project (Hachana K’halacha) that was presented to the community to guide them in the proper halachos of hanochas tefillin. The Tefillin Awareness Project (TAP) was developed by amFlatbush askan to raise awareness of the proper way to perform this precious and almost-daily mitzvah. On designated mornings, qualified sofrim visit shuls to check and adjust the tefillin of the morning mispallelim. They adjust the placement of the Rosh, the Yad, both Kesharim, and they inspect the blackness, the width and the condition of the retzuos, the tefiros, the re’buah, and more. The program has already effectively assisted tens of thousands of people in hundreds of shuls around the New York area. But this is the first time that TAP had travelled to Miami. And it all happened as a result of a chance meeting between TAP Director R’Avrohom (Bumie) Schachter and Bobby (Yerachmiel) Rosenberg. “I met Bumie at an Agra D’Pirka shiur,’ Bobby remembers. “And when he described the program to me, I was intrigued.” The two decided to bring TAP to South Florida, and Bobby enthusiastically offered to sponsor it himself l’iluy nishmas his parents, Gedalia ben Sholom Halevi, O’H, and Tova Feiga bas Zelig, O’H. “The truth is,” says Bobby, “I didn’t know exactly what we were getting into, but it sounded too good to pass up.” He consulted with Rav Yaakov Gross, Rosh Kollel of the Miami Community Kollel, who encouraged him to pursue it. Three expert sofrim, Rabbi Shimon Zeide, Rabbi Moshe Lieb Lebowitz, and Rabbi Yosef Holtzer, arrived from New York on Motzei Shabbos. They began inspecting tefillin early on Sunday morning at Congregation Beth Israel, one of Miami’s oldest shuls. The shul’s Rov, Rabbi Bixon, was delighted to set an example for his mispallelim and was among the first in line to have his tefillin checked. The morning turned out to be a huge success. For Bobby, it was especially meaningful. “This is where I was bar mitzvah’d,” he says. “I sat in this shul next to my fa-
ther for twenty years and the memories were powerful. It was a special zechus to be sponsoring the program here in his memory.” As a result of several local events, some prominent community leaders were in Miami at the time, and were happy to join the program. Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel, Rabbi Doniel Neustadt, Rabbi Mordechai Hershkowitz, and Rabbi Ari Hoberman all participated in the tefillin program. On Monday morning, the sofrim set up shop at Tower 41, inspecting tefillin at both the building’s minyanim. Among the many who had their tefillin adjusted was Holocaust survivor Reb Yitzchok, who was overwhelmed by the morning’s events. “I just want to tell you,” he said, “that what you did here today is one of the greatest things you could have done. You were mezakeh so many people in putting on tefillin the way it should be worn. This,” he said, “is gaonus!” The sofrim spent Tuesday morning checking tefillin at both Carriage Club buildings, North and South. One youngster, recently bar mitzvah’d, joined the many others who had their tefillin adjusted. The next day he told his father, “I don’t know what they did to my tefillin. But I just feel a lot better than I did yesterday!” That afternoon, the Mechina of South Florida at the Talmudic University, under the leadership of its Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yochanan Zweig, was privileged to host the Tefillin program. Hundreds, including talmidim, Kollel members, and Rebbeim, waited patiently on line. “At one point,” says Bobby, “one of the bochurim started singing ‘Hashevaynu Hashem Elecha,’ and soon everybody joined in. Then they started dancing. It was an unforgettable moment!” On Wednesday, the sofrim were stationed at the Miami Beach Community Kollel, where the program was welcomed both by kollel members and balabatim who participate in the Kollel Boker at that location. At one point Bobby looked around and was amazed to see the long line of mispallelim that had formed. “These people really want to do the mitzvah in the proper way,” says Bobby. “I cannot begin to describe the nachas I felt.” At each location, Bumie delivered a
five minute pitch explaining the significance of the program. “I point out,” he says, “how we’re all so busy choosing a kosher esrog before Sukkos and the most mehudar matzohs for pesach. But the mitzvah of tefillin is a d’oraisa that is performed 300 days a year! Too many of us are simply not placing our tefillin properly or are wearing tefillin that are stretched out, discolored, or otherwise unfit.” The overall response from Miami’s many residents, its winter ‘snowbirds’, and its occasional tourists, was overwhelming. All told, says Bumie, hundreds in the area had their tefillin checked, with many needing significant adjustments and improvements. But the greatest aspect of the entire project was the awareness that was created through this initiative. During their visit, the sofrim were also available to check mezuzahs, offering a golden opportunity for vacationers who own condos in Miami and haven’t had their mezuzahs properly checked in years. According to Bumie, “By the end of the week, 25 of the 350 mezuzahs that were checked turned out to be posul.” As for Bobby, he is still reeling from the impact this has had on the community. “I’m on such a high,” he says. “People are still approaching me, telling me how unbelievable it was, how they never expected to get their tefillin checked so easily for free. It’s the talk of the town and I’m so happy to have had the zechus to be a part of it.” Local Rabbomin from various shuls
have already approached Bumie to bring the program back to South Florida so that nearby Hollywood, Aventura, and other areas can benefit as well. “We’re not finished here,” he comments. “Iy’H we’ll be back.” The hashgacha pratis last week, says Bobby, was powerful. He tells the story of a 90 year old man living in Tower 41 who somehow missed the opportunity to have his tefillin checked on Monday morning. He was disappointed, but what could be done? By the time Bobby found out, it was Wednesday evening and the sofrim were scheduled to leave the area. But the Ribono Shel Olam works in mysterious ways. “That night,” says Bobby, “a snowstorm in New York resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights. Our sofrim were stranded in Miami for another day. I brought this gentleman to see the sofrim and boruch Hashem, his tefillin were checked.” As it turned out that elderly man’s tefillin needed some major adjustments. “We think a snowstorm in New York City is a nuisance,” Bobby observes. “Little do we know that it can also create an opportunity for a 90 year old to do a mitzvah properly. One never knows how things play themselves out up in Shomayim.” For more information about the Tefillin Awareness Project, contact shelrosh@ comcast.net, or call 718 377 6735.
The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
Around the Community
The Chesed Fund Breaks 4 Million Dollars Raised in One Year After launching just over a year ago, The Chesed Fund has just passed the milestone of 4 million dollars raised for charity. The platform’s founder, Avi Kehat, says he never expected the platform to grow so quickly. “I’m just a coder, holding down a full time job. I devote whatever time I can find each day to programming the site, but this level of success really caught me by surprise.” The Chesed Fund was created to help charitable causes raise funds from the public without charging the fees commonly associated with types of platforms. If the average crowdfunding platform charges 5% of the funds raised, then the Chesed Fund has, in effect, saved the causes that used the platform a collective $200,000 in fees. One of the The Chesed Fund’s biggest clients is Kupat Ha’ir,which uses the plat-
form to raise millions of dollars for chesed cases in Eretz Yisrael. Avi Kohen, who oversees the organization’s marketing, explained that the platform’s unique appeal. “When you are raising as much funds as we are, even a small percentage point adds up to a significant amount. We are now able to use those additional funds to further assist the families in need.” If The Chesed Fund collects no fees, how does it sustain itself? With the help of donations, explains Kehat. “It’s heartwarming to think that so many people have contributed to The Chesed Fund’s continued success. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, because it effectively saves thousands of dollars to all the other campaigns that run on the platform.” Although The Chesed Fund does not charge any fees for running a campaign, it does offer some premium features. One, ‘Verified Campaigns’,involves a staff
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member reaching out to community leaders to make sure the contributions are going to a legitimate cause. “Many people use The Chesed Fund to contribute to causes halfway around the world, because they are touched by the story,” explains Donni Lurman, who runs the account verification program for The Chesed Fund. “At the same time, they want to know that their money is going to a good cause. We use multiple methods to research the validity of a campaign before giving it “verified” status.”
According to Lurman, methods include phoning local rabbis,asking for haskamos and supporting medical documents, and more. Several campaigns have been rejected after research conducted into the details of the cause. Despite its overwhelming success, Avi Kehat believes that this is only the beginning. “My vision is to create a centralized platform where everyone can go to give Tzedakah. It would be a place that aggregates all the causes under one roof and allows people to easily contribute to the causes that are closest to their hearts.” Based on its current track record, this dream could very soon become a reality.
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
Around the Community
Scheck Hillel Community School’s 2017 Annual Event Promotes Happiness, Gratitude To Benefit Scholarship Fund More than 400 school supporters attended Scheck Hillel Community School’s 2017 Annual Event March 21 to benefit the school’s Kulanu Scholarship Fund. This year’s keynote speaker and inspiration of the “Choosing Happiness” theme was Tal Ben-Shahar: the author, lecturer and former professor of Harvard University’s most popular course, “Positive Psychology.” The event was led by co-chairs Jassi (Lekach) and Joseph Antebi, Silvia and Miguel Assor, Lia and George Brod, JoAnn and Jimmy Froimzon, and Ivette and Joseph Woldenberg. Event sponsors included Mia Cucina, Saponznik Insurance, Rok Acquisitions, Safra Bank, BB&T, Bank Leumi, New Wave Loans, Northwestern Mutual, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Center - Dr. Jeremy White, Accesso Partners, Action Public Adjusters, Activest Wealth Management, Berger Singerman, Kleen 1 and Sol
Scheck Hillel Community School 2017 Annual Event
Capital Management. The school considered Dr. Ben-Shahar’s important messages an element of college preparation, so he also led a student forum exclusively for Scheck Hillel’s Grade 9-12 students. “Tonight was meaningful in every way. We came together for our Kulanu Scholarship Fund and were inspired by the remarkable Tal Ben-Shahar,” said Dr. Ezra Levy, Scheck Hillel’s Head of School.
Dr. Ezra Levi and Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar with Annual Event Co-Chairs
L to R- Dr. Carlos Brener (Chair- Board of Governors), Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar (Keynote Speaker), Dr. Ezra Levi (Head of School)
“Reflecting his message and the event’s theme, at Scheck Hillel we choose happiness. Take one step onto campus and you feel the spirit, enthusiasm and Lion Pride among students, parents, faculty and staff. Together, as generations of community, we are ensuring a bright future for our children.” One in every five Scheck Hillel students receives tuition assistance from the school’s Kulanu Scholarship Fund. Helping these nearly 200 students each year is at the heart of Scheck Hillel’s identity as a Jewish community school. “Through Kulanu, we enrich the future of our community and the future of the Jewish People,” said Carlos Berner, Scheck Hillel’s Chair of the Board of Governors. For information about or to contribute to Kulanu or Momentum, please visit eHillel.org/give or call 305.931.2831 x279.
Pesach Activities at Scheck Hillel Community School
The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
Around the Community
Foreign-Policy Analyst And Military Historian Max Boot To Speak At Lecture He has been called one of the “world’s leading authorities on armed conflict” by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The New York Times has called him, “A master historian,” and The Wall Street Journal has referred to him as, “A penetrating writer and thinker.” Senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Max Boot will speak on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 4:00pm in the Abess Sanctuary at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th Street, Miami, Florida, 33132. The topic of his lecture will be Israel’s Search for Security: From 1948 to Today. This free lecture is part of the Dr. Bernard & Jeanette Gordon Halperin Memorial Lecture Series which was created and underwritten by the Halperin families as a way to honor and remember their parents Dr. Bernard Halperin and Jeanette Gordon Halperin who were long-time temple members. The inaugural lecture held in 2016 focused on Jewish humor with Professor Joseph Epstein. “I have vivid memories of their passionate discussions about, among other things, Jewish culture, politics, movies, and books. Quite often, the most compelling lessons my parents taught me were sugar-coated with laughter,” said New
York attorney Keith Halperin. “After the inaugural lecture’s success, we were tempted to continue with the happy chord and devote the entire lecture series to lighter cultural fare. However, we decided this would be a disservice to our parents. They loved to laugh, but they never wanted -- and never wanted us -- to shirk away from life’s more complicated challenges.” “In that spirit, for the second season of lectures honoring Jeanie & Bernie Halperin, we could think of no better challenge to address than the Jewish state of Israel, a nation whose very existence continued to amaze my parents, and whose evolution never ceased to delight and to confound them.” This year, each of three anticipated lectures will look at the modern state of Israel through a distinct lens -- and shall consider Israel’s accomplishments and its challenges. Born in Moscow, he grew up in Los Angeles. Boot holds a bachelor’s degree in history, with high honors, from the University of California, Berkeley (1991), and a master’s degree in history from Yale University (1992). In 2004, he was named by the World Affairs Councils of America as one of “the 500 most influential people in the United States in the field of foreign policy.” In
2007, he won the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism, given annually to a writer who exhibits “love of country and its democratic institutions” and “bears witness to the evils of totalitarianism.” His latest book, The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam, is due out in early 2018 from Norton/Liveright. His previous books include The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (2002), War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today (2006), and, most recently, the New York Times
best-seller Invisible Armies: The Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present (2013). His books have been assigned reading by the military services. Max Boot was a senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain in 2007-2008, a defense policy adviser to Mitt Romney in 2011-2012, and a foreign policy adviser to Marco Rubio in 2015-2016. Max Boot has advised military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he recently served as a foreign policy adviser to Senator Rubio’s 2016 campaign. Previously, Mr. Boot advised Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney. He is currently a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, USA Today, and The Los Angeles Times, a blogger for Commentary, and a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and many other publications. A frequent guest on MSNBC, Max Boot is often called upon to advise national leaders on defense and foreign policy matters. The lecture is free and open to the public. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis. For more information, contact Isabel Montoto at 305-573-5900 or visit http:// www.templeisrael.net/.
KYHS Earth Day-themed Rube Goldberg Machine wins international Technion engineering competition This article is republished with permission by the American Technion Society. Some Earth Day events involve volunteer clean-ups, planting flower beds or unplugging your gadgets for a day. The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, however, challenged high school students worldwide to build an Earth Daythemed Rube Goldberg Machine—and three schools came through with flying colors (all shades of green, of course). For the uninitiated, a Rube Goldberg Machine is a wacky contraption that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task by setting off a comical chain reaction. Katz Yeshiva High School of South Florida (whose team of students ranged from 9th through 11th grades), placed first in this fun but difficult challenge, winning a oneyear full scholarship to the Technion. “When I saw our school’s name appear on the screen, I was overcome with emotions of comradery and school spirit. Tens of hours of hard work had finally paid off,” said student Tani Loskove. Teammate Ty Kay added: “As a high schooler pursuing dreams of becoming an engineer, Technion’s Rube Goldberg Earth Day Challenge was a great
stepping stone for me. It was my first real engineering project.” “It taught me values like teamwork, collaboration and communication, and as the only girl on the team,” said Michal Amar, “it showed me the importance, and sometime difficulties, of making your voice heard.” Other students on the team include: Noah and Joshua Bernten and Max Davis. Working out of a student’s garage, the winning team concocted a nearly one-minute chain reaction in which Coca Colabottles activated a toy car, sent a ball down a winding slide worthy of a Water Park, releasing liquid gallium to complete a circuit, which eventually set off a stream of water that spun a home-built Ferris wheel, knocked down popcorn boxes that activated a fan—illustrating recycling (plastic, metal and paper) and alternative energy sources (hydro, solar and
wind power). Some 24 high school teams around the world participated in the challenge. A team of judges led by Prof. Alon Wolf, Director of the Biorobotics and Biomechanics Lab at the Technion’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, selected the winners based both on their creative renditions of Earth Day themes and the complexity of the energy transfers from one action to the next. Le Hong Phong High School for the Gifted in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam placed second, while the International Bilingual School at Hsinchu-Science-Park in Taiwan came in third. “It’s very exciting for us,” says Dr. Yosef Wolf, who heads up Katz Yeshiva’s STEM courses and started a robotics club at the school (no relation to Prof. Wolf). “It’s the first engineering contest that we have ever entered, and we came in first place! We’ve been growing our engineering opportunities recently and we have plans to further expand our STEM offerings next year. This result has further helped to increase our students’ excitement of the upcoming initiatives.” Note: the contest is not over yet! May 1st is the deadline for the Most Popular Clip
Contest. Winners will be announced May 3rd. 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. The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a vital component of Cornell NYC Tech, and a model for graduate applied science education that is expected to transform New York City’s economy. American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion — more than $2 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its supporters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
Around the Community
Good Deeds Mitzvah Day At Temple Beth El On April 2, more than 200 volunteers gathered at Temple Beth El to “Do Good Together” on Good Deeds Mitzvah Day. The event was part of the global Good Deeds Day which began in Israel in 2007 and now draws participation in 93 countries. The idea is that everyone can do something to help others and elicit a positive change in the world. To that end, Temple Beth El members turned out in force one Sunday morning to make their mark doing mitzvoth. Says Temple Board member and Good Deeds Day coordinator Cheryl Goldstein, “The beauty of this event was that we had a range of activities that brought everyone together. Seniors were working with BET Youth members. Parents got to enjoy their kids doing something constructive and I think that’s what was so great about this day. You got to see yourselves and others in a whole new light.” Overall there were six mitzvah stations in which congregants worked together to make 300 sandwiches for the Jubilee Center in Hollywood, 20 birthday boxes for children in foster care, and 20 cozy baby blankets for patients in Joe DiMaggio
Children’s Hospital. They collected over 500 books to start a new library for the Sterling Assisted Living Center and made 75 flower vases to decorate the rooms of the senior residents there. They created
about 450 inspirational rocks to sprinkle in gardens throughout our community and collected 10 boxes full of food for Jewish Family Services. B’nai Mitzvah Students showcased their mitzvah projects and
we raised an additional $1000 for other worthwhile organizations in South Florida. A good day in deed! For more information about Temple Beth El call 954-920-8225
JEWISH EDUCATION HAS ALWAYS BEEN YOUR PRIORITY.
WHY STOP NOW?
The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
Around the Community
DKJA’s Moot Beit Din Jewish Mock Trial Team Places 1st in National Competition Teams of Jewish High School Students from 29 Schools Debate Self-Driving Cars and Jewish Law in Prizmah’s 2017 Moot Beit Din Students from Donna Klein Jewish Academy recently joined 36 teams of students from Jewish day schools and supplementary schools from across North America to compete in the 2017/5777 Prizmah Moot Beit Din competition in Houston, Texas and placed first in the nationally recognized debate challenge. Rosenblatt High School’s Moot Beit Din (Jewish Mock Trial) Team was comprised of Dana Lipson, Macayla Gritz, Abe Waserstein and Yaffa Englander, with advisors Rabbi Baruch Plotkin and Lydia Zafrir. This year was the first time that DKJA placed first in the competition. Moot Beit Din challenges Jewish high school students to examine the ethical and
moral dimensions of Jewish law through creative engagement with contemporary situations. Each team of students prepared a written decision and presented an oral argument before a panel of rabbis, scholars, and lawyers, in response to a case. This year’s case asked students to consider the legal liability and responsibility for the actions of a self-driving car through the lens of Jewish law. Students also put forth an opinion on how self-driving cars should be programmed to meet the highest Jewish ethical standards. Leading up the competition, participants and their school advisors spent Shabbat together as a community, participating in text-study sessions, prayer services, and interactive programs on the role of technology in our lives. The program also included a “Shark Tank: Rejewvenating Tech” component, at which teams
of students pitched ideas for technology products inspired by Jewish values that bring meaning and purpose to people’s lives. By sharing in these experiences and the competition, students formed a vibrant
network of committed and intellectually curious Jewish teenagers that will extend beyond the weekend of learning.
“ We knew YU was the place our
children could accomplish everything they wanted in a fully Jewish environment.
“Having attended YU and benefited from its education and religious culture we felt confident that it would provide those same opportunities for our children. With its balance of Limudei Kodesh and challenging academics, we knew YU would provide our children with the preparation needed for their careers as professionals, as well as reinforce the religious ideals that they will take with them in all that they do. The same values that permeated the walls of YU when we attended 35 years ago are the very values that we chose to inculcate in our children. Today, our daughter is a sophomore at Yeshiva University. We are thrilled with the education she is receiving and her growth in Torah. She couldn’t be happier.”
Michele & Jody Bardash YU Parents
LEARN MORE! yu.edu/enroll www.yu.edu | 646.592.4440 | firstname.lastname@example.org
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
Around the Community
A New Kind of BDS Movement The Men’s Club of Congregation Torah Ohr, in Boca Raton, Florida, the fastest growing Orthodox synagogue in the US has created quite a stir with its recent announcement of its support for the BDS Movement. According to David Love, President of the Men’s Club “We are looking to turn the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) Movement on its head.” No longer does it stand for Boycott, Divest and Sanction, it now stands for ‘BUY,
DISPLAY and SUPPORT’. We are doing this to encourage the purchase of ISRAELI PRODUCTS.” Towards this end the Men’s Club is partnering with ACHI (American Communities Helping Israel) a grass roots organization which encourages the purchase of ISRAELI PRODUCTS. Members of ACHI will be present at the synagogue, which is located in Century Village, Boca Raton to make their presentation and conduct a workshop.
According to Rochelle Zupnick, of Boynton Beach, one of the founders of the organization, “This is a win-win situation it boosts the sale of Israeli Products and the economy in Israel and it encourages retailers to stock and display Israeli products, thereby disrupting the BDS Movement.” The participants will be instructed in how to identify Israeli products and encourage their display at the retail level. Some of the local retailers who have indicated a willingness to cooperate are
The Grove in Boca Raton (formerly Kosher Marketplace), Glick’s in Delray, Kosher Market & Deli in Deerfield Beach, Winn-Dixie Supermarkets and Publix in Boca. For more information about this important initiative, please contact David Love at 917-903-1163 or by email at email@example.com
Jewish Women’s Foundation of SPBC Announced $100,000 in Grant Awards at Reception
Gina Lohmann, Ellen Brazer, Hinda Bramnick, Alice Kemper April Leavy, Joy Binkovitz Some of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of South Palm Beach County Trustees
The Jewish Women’s Foundation (JWF) of South Palm Beach County announced their 2017 grant awards at their annual Granting Wishes Cocktail Reception on March 15, 2017 at Boca Rio Golf Club. More than 100 guests from throughout the Jewish community gathered for the announcement of $100,000 in this year’s grants, heard stories of those whose lives have been changed through JWF support, and shared an evening with award-winning author, Ellen Brazer. The evening also included an abundant array of hors d’oeuvres, food stations, desserts and wine amid an elegant yet informal atmosphere. Granting Wishes CoChairs Hinda Bramnick, who also serves as Grants Chair, and Gina Lohmann, emceed the program. “Over its fourteen years, our local JWF has now awarded nearly $1.2 million to fund programs that increase Jewish women’s and children’s abilities, education and independence locally and globally, in categories including education and leadership development, health and abuse prevention, economic security and legal reform,” said Bramnick. “For 2017, we have granted a total of $100,000 to eleven programs based locally, domestically and in Israel.” (see complete list of 2017 grant-
ees below) Recapping the year’s grant cycle and outlining the progress and accomplishments of the 2016 recipient organizations, local JWF Chair Alice Kemper explained that the dollars JWF allocates are all donations from the more than 50 JWF donors, called Trustees. Each trustee contributes a minimum of $2,000 per year for at least five years, and 100% of these contributions are passed directly to the grantees. Then, JWF Trustees determine their grantees together, through a collaborative process, reviewing approximately 70 requests each year in a highly selective eight-month period. Calling the Trustees “hands-on philanthropists,” Kemper explained, “What makes JWF different from other organizations, and the main reason our Trustees are so passionate, is because JWF gives each of us a voice and a vote with our philanthropic dollars. We know transformation requires action and we feel more connected to our community and Israel when we help to decide and select specifically where our charitable dollars will go.” Introduced by Gina Lohmann, Ellen Brazer engaged the audience with her presentation and question/answer session. A recipient of Hadassah’s prestigious Myrtle
Janet Sahr, Alice Kemper, Hinda Bramnick Barbara Glazer, Rani Garfinkle
Gabrielle Solomon and Kara Donvito, Boca Raton Regional Hospital
Wreath Award – an award previously won by the late Maya Angelou, Brazer discussed her newest book, The Wondering Jew, My Journey into Judaism and shared insights into her personal journey as a writer and a Jewish woman. The guests were delighted to each receive a copy of the book as a gift for attending, and to
Roxane Lipton, Madeline Wolfson
have it personalized by the author. For more information about the Jewish Women’s Foundation, please visit jewishboca.org/jwf or contact Lisbeth Rock Cauff at 561.852.3188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
Torah Thought Remembering to Never Forget: The Importance of Showing Honor to our Beloved Survivors Rabbi Efrem Goldberg
How many people do you know who fast on the 20th of Sivan? The likely answer is zero. It is not one of the minor fast days, and obviously not Tisha B’av or Yom Kippur, so why would anyone fast? Twice in our history, the 20th of Sivan was designated as a permanent fast day to commemorate massacres against our people. The first time was by Rabbeinu Tam, Rashi’s grandson in 1171, after 31 Torah scholars were executed as a result of a blood libel in France. Rabbeinu Tam declared the 20th of Sivan as a day of fasting “greater than Tzom Gedalya, like Yom Kippur,” and instituted special selichos to be recited. Shortly after, the Crusades expanded and for the next 150 years would bring great devastation of Jewish communities. It overshadowed the incident of the blood libel and the fast ceased being observed. Almost 500 years later, from 16481649, Polish Anti-Semite Chmielnicki launched a series of pogroms that led do the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews and the loss of hundreds of Jewish communities. The Shach, Rav Shabbsai Ha’Kohen, instituted the 20th of Sivan as a private fast day for his family to commemorate their great loss. Soon after, the Council of the Four Lands, the rabbinic authority of Eastern Europe, adopted the fast for all Polish Jewry in commemoration of the tragedies of what became known as Tach V’Tat. Twice the 20th of Sivan was designated as a day commemorating Jewish tragedies, and twice the observance faded until it is now entirely obsolete. Learning about the 20th of Sivan, one can’t help but wonder – what will become
of Yom Ha’Shoah? Will it continue to be observed 20 years from now? Will gatherings, commemorations, ceremonies, and school assemblies be held, or as time passes will Holocaust Remembrance Day fade into oblivion? Sadly, the likelihood is that Yom Ha’Shoah will go the way of the 20th of Sivan. While the Holocaust was a defin-
Our survivors have lived through the greatest atrocities and most horrific circumstances in the history of the world. They endured unimaginable suffering, inconceivable loss, and profound pain. They rebuilt their lives with deep faith, amazing and inspiring optimism, and in most cases little to no expectation that the world owes them anything in return for what they have been through.
“Sadly, the likelihood is that Yom Ha’Shoah will go the way of the 20th of Sivan.”
ing event and experience for the last two generations, evidence shows that young people today want to “move on,” put it “behind us,” and come “out from under its shadow.” The younger generation is rapidly seeing the Holocaust in the context of the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Expulsion from Spain: events that are part of our past, rather than as something that happened to our parents and grandparents, a very real piece of our personal lives. I don’t know what will happen with Yom Ha’Shoah in the future. What I do know, is that as long as we are blessed to have our precious and holy survivors, Yom Ha’Shoah is not just about commemorating an event of Jewish history and memorializing the kedoshim, the 6 million who were murdered in our past. For who knows how much longer, Yom Ha’Shoah is about the present and the opportunity to honor and express our awe at the extraordinary survivors in our midst.
With the Holocaust survivors whom I have been privileged to know, I have found that there is one request they have of us, one wish and hope: they are desperate for us not to forget what they went through. They reawaken their darkest memories and become traumatized each time they share their horrendous stories. More than one survivor has told me that for days after telling their story, they cannot sleep, eat, or find a peaceful moment. Nevertheless, they open themselves up to great pain continue to tell their story with the hope and expectation that we are listening, that we will remember, and that we will continue to tell it long after they are gone. In his Hagaddah, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks writes: There is a profound difference between history and memory. History is his story – an event that happened sometime else to someone else. Memory is my story
– something that happened to me and is part of who I am. History is information. Memory, by contrast, is part of identity. I can study the history of other peoples, cultures and civilizations. They deepen my knowledge and broaden my horizons. But they do not make a claim on me. They are the past as part. Memory is the past as present, as it lives on in me. Without memory, there can be no identity. Our survivors tell their story and give personal testimony because more than anything they don’t want the Holocaust to be relegated to history; they desperately want it to remain part of our collective memory. In his article, “Holocaust Commemoration and Tish’a Be-Av: The Debate Over “Yom Ha-Sho’a” published in Tradition 41:2, Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter traces the origins of Yom Ha’Shoah and examines the great debate surrounding its observance. Whether you feel Yom Ha’Shoah should have been established or you believe Holocaust remembrance should be incorporated into our day of national mourning, Tisha B’av, is academic at this point. The reality is that the Jewish calendar marks Yom Ha’Shoah and failure to participate in remembering is essentially a slap in the face of our beloved survivors who yearn to know that we have not forgotten their loss and suffering. With all the pressures on our time and the endless list of things that we must get done, I simply can’t imagine a more important task, with your children at your side, than honoring the holy survivors of our community – ensuring that we will truly NEVER FORGET. Rabbi Goldberg is the Senior Rabbi of Boca Raton Synagogue.
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015
Israel at 69 By Rabbi Berel Wein
he State of Israel celebrates its sixty-ninth Independence Day. Those of us who were alive in 1947 when the state came into being cannot help but be amazed and impressed by our feisty little country and its achievements. Israel has never been as secure and strong as it is today. It has also, at the very same time, never been so vulnerable, demonized and beset with vicious uncompromising enemies as it is today. So again we find ourselves in the best of times and in very difficult times at one and the very same time. But, I believe that by any measure, our glass is more than half full, especially in comparison with where we were sixty-nine years ago. And it is in this respect that Israel is and remains the absolute miracle of our time, if not even of the ages. The impact that the existence of the State of Israel has had on the Jewish world over the past sixty-nine years has been incalculable. This includes all of the different groupings and factions that constitute the Jewish people today. Even the naysayers and the misguided BDSers amongst us cannot help but admit that they too are affected by the existence of the Jewish state. Israel has pricked the Jewish conscience everywhere and that has caused discomfort to some, exultation to others and challenges to all. It has shattered all previous illusions amongst Jews about their place in the world, broken previously cherished and warmly held dreams and
created the necessity to dream again, but now differently than we did before. This truth lies in the ancient verse in Psalms that “that when the L-rd returned the exiles of Israel to their home we will be but dreamers once more.” The State of Israel has evolved in an unexpected and unpredicted manner. And it is still certainly but a work in progress. Its founders envisioned a rigidly secular – almost an-
who actually built it. Truly, we are but dreamers. The country possesses an inner dynamism that raises it beyond predictability and ordinary patterns of growth and development. Its rate of absorption of new immigrants and its ability to blend them into the fabric of the country within a generation or two is testimony to the accuracy of what was said by the prophets of old. It is stated that after the time of the return of the Jewish people, the
Out of the babel of different languages and differing cultures, a cohesive, whole nation, diverse and fractious as it is, has nevertheless emerged and prospered. ti-religious nation – very left-leaning in politics and diplomacy and committed to doctrinaire socialist if not even Marxist economic and social programs and ideologies. Sixty-nine years later the country is more traditionally religious than ideologically secular, more robustly capitalist in its economy than socialist and a bastion of Western democratic government – with all of the wranglings and inefficiencies that this system inevitably entails – and less of a completely state controlled society than previously envisioned. It has surprised everyone, even those
great and lengthy exile would finally begin to end. Out of the babel of different languages and differing cultures, a cohesive, whole nation, diverse and fractious as it is, has nevertheless emerged and prospered. Those ancient prophets predicted it, in the long of night of exile and persecution, Jews continued to believe in it and at great cost and sacrifice, our generations have lived to see it become real and vital. What hath G-d wrought! Israel has produced Nobel Prize winners and scientists and profes-
sors of worldwide acclaim. It has pioneered medical research, technological innovation, and industrial and agricultural advancements and creativity. Almost every computer-like device in the world – and there are billions of such products in daily and constant use – have a piece of Israel inside of it. This fact alone confounds all of the nefarious evil of the Jew-hating Israel boycotters that still abound. G-d’s promise to our father Avraham, that the whole world would benefit and be blessed through the achievements of the generations of his descendants, has been vindicated time and again by the accomplishments of the State of Israel. And, most important of all, Israel has remained true to its mission of supporting Jewish values and Torah study as an integral part of its society and the fabric of the state. There has been no single greater supporter of Torah study in all of its diverse and holy forms than the State of Israel. That fact alone should draw forth gratitude and loyalty from the community most directly benefiting from this policy. Old prejudices and theories, disproved by the realities of history, should finally be abandoned and a joint effort by all Jews to continue to build the Jewish future through a strong and secure Israel should be encouraged and executed. Shabbat shalom.
The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
69th Israel Independence Day Celebrations Tempered by Solemn Remembrances Ken Stephens During the next month, Israel will be enveloped by a flurry of observances ranging from the solemn Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) ceremonies to the festive 69th Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) and 50th anniversary of the Six Day War/Reunification of Jerusalem celebrations. For the widows of Israel’s fallen soldiers, who paid the ultimate price so that Jews all over the world could revel in the modern day rebirth of the Jewish State, these anniversaries stir a torrent of varying emotions. At 94 years old, Devorah Arkin Roth is one of the country’s oldest living war widows. Her husband, Mordechai Arkin was killed while defending Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem just weeks before the official outbreak of the War of Independence in May 1948. She still clings to the fond memories of her husband, as she stares at the photo album of their wedding and the newborn pictures of their first child. “He was a very talented man who wanted to go to Columbia University in New York to study physics,” Devorah recalled. “But the deteriorating security situation in the country wouldn’t permit him to leave. He worked at Hadassah Hospital and doubled as a guard when he was killed. At the time of his death, I was already pregnant with our second child.” Though Devorah remarried and been privileged to be a mother, grandmother and
great-grandmother, she still gets the jitters each time one of her grandchildren go into the army. “It’s difficult to see your grandchildren being drafted into the IDF after what I had to endure and even more so because one of my grandchildren was injured as well in battle,” she recollected. Flash forward 19 years…The Six Dar War was as an astounding military accomplishment of Biblical proportions, as the IDF smashed the massive armed forces of Egypt, Syria and Jordan. But, 776 IDF soldiers lost their lives in the midst of liberating Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria. Private Yossi Mori was killed on the first day of the Six Day Way (June 5) after his unit was shelled in a minefield. His widow, Dania recalled, “We had a great group of friends and to this day, we meet every Memorial Day at his grave. During these years, you keep going, building your home, raising children and grandchildren. You don’t just sit all day thinking about your loss, because then your life would stop.” First Lieutenant, Yehuda Ram, died while liberating the Golan Heights on the last and sixth day of the war (June 10). “Yehuda died when he was 23 years old and we had only been married for a year. It was young love, an innocent one,” his widow, Shoshana fondly remembered. “I actually came back from the
war filled with guilt. Why did I survive and he didn’t? Those feelings disappeared with the years because you can’t keep living like that.” Even in between wars, when IDF soldiers constantly train in order to be ready for the next conflagration, there are inherent dangers, which can exact a toll. Like a thunderbolt out of the blue, Sara Omer’s world was nearly destroyed in 2008, when her husband Reuven was killed in the midst of a training exercise as part of his IDF reserve duty. Sara had to face life alone with her three young boys, twins, Nadav & Yotam who were six years old and Guy, then two years old. Sara, armed with typical British optimism and steely resolve, refused to let her world come apart at the seams. “The unexpected loss of my husband was indeed shocking and when Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) comes around every year, it is a difficult day for all of the widows but my children, who are now teenagers, attend a special ceremony at the Knesset, which is both uplifting and inspiring,” she said. For the soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the State of Israel, those who they left behind have suffered the most. But the widows of the IDF never stand alone. While the entire Jewish people hold them in their hearts, the widows themselves band together to give each other mutual support both emotional and phys-
ical. Run for widows and orphans by widows and orphans, the IDFWO (IDF Widows and Orphans Organization) creates a support network to help them through difficult times. The organization provides services that touch every aspect of their lives, from to a touching communal Bar/Bat mitzvah service at the Kotel, to professional training courses for widows. One of the most important aspects of the IDFWO activities is the power to bring together people with common experiences for mutual support. Regular retreats give widows a welcome break and a chance to benefit from mutual understanding. The IDFWO Otzma Camps also give orphans the same opportunity. “Once a war widow, always a war widow, even if you remarry and love your second husband. The IDFWO gatherings and activities are very important for a very specific reason,” one of the widows explained. “We might not always agree with each other’s opinions about different things, but we ALL speak the same language and understand each other, as widows. Since we have all experienced the same loss and trauma, we can speak to each other in our language and help each other when we need to, especially on Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day), when we all could use a hug and a smile.” Even as the official mourning of Yom Hazikaron ends, and the rest of the country moves to the happiness of Yom Ha’atmaut, these women will find comfort in each other to face their common struggles. To learn more about the IDFWO and show your support for the IDF fallen see www.idfwo.org/eng.
NOWHERE BUT HERE Yeshiva University’s commitment to ensuring that all students can enjoy an uplifting Torah education and a fulfilling college experience includes distributing $42 million in scholarships and financial assistance, benefiting 80% of students. Unlike most universities, YU’s financial aid office considers parents’ obligations to pay yeshiva tuition for siblings. Achieving their academic and spiritual goals is why YU students meet with outstanding success. Applying to graduate programs and entering their chosen careers, 94% (44 students) were admitted to medical school, 96% (27 students) to dental school and 100% (60 students) to law school in the past year.
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APRIL 27, 2017 JewishHome Home OCTOBER 29,| The 2015Florida | The Jewish
A Penny A Jew By Assemblyman Dov Hikind
nfortunately, if we set aside a day for every tragedy in Jewish history, the calendar would be full. But the scope, circumstances and impact of the Holocaust are so immense that a special day of remembrance was deemed appropriate. I never discussed the day itself with my parents – both survivors, both in Heaven now – but I suspect they would have agreed. My mother, z”l, warned against getting comfortable with the memory. As a child of survivors, and as a student of history, I have sought to understand as much as I can about what occurred during those tragic years. It’s not a morbid fascination; it’s a thirst for knowledge that might somehow be useful in dealing with today’s issues that endanger the Jewish people…and help prevent future tragedies. No one can deny that a generation has not passed where many people – not just an isolated madman – have expressed their eagerness to finish what Hitler started. Did my mother have these fears as a child in pre-war Czechoslovakia? I doubt it. Her memories of life before Germany invaded were happy ones; the Jewish community got along fine with their Czech neighbors, she recalled. Then the Nazis came and the town’s Jews were rounded up. My mother’s most vivid memory of that day was how the non-Jewish neighbors came out
to watch. And no one said a word. “Do you know about antiSemitism?” I asked my 14-year-old granddaughter. She was sitting with me as I prepared to speak on the subject over the holidays. “Yes,” she said. “We saw a video about it.” The video presented other young teens being asked about their perceptions of Jews. “They’re all rich,” said one. “They have all the power,” said
In France. While in the Middle East there are Muslim leaders who have openly stated their desire to see all Jews return to Israel as soon as possible, so they can kill them all at once. You would think that Muslim leaders in the Middle East would be most concerned with their people’s quality of life, but killing Jews is a higher priority. Despite all my years
Remembering our loved ones, these six million innocent souls, brings a sense of them back to life. That’s the least we can do. another. Nearly a century later and nothing has changed. Except for one thing: now, there is a State of Israel. So the chants of “Jews, go back to Palestine,” have ended, and the existence of a Jewish State has joined the list of “reasons” to call for Jewish extermination. I repeat: it’s not morbid fascination. It’s a matter of paying attention. A single day does not pass without an incident or a threat. If you follow international headlines, this is not news to you. There are a half million Jews in France who no longer feel safe looking like Jews.
of reading, I never understood how the Germans could concentrate their efforts on anything but saving their own soldiers once the Allied invasion proved that their march to world domination had come to an end. But killing Jews was such a high priority to the Nazis that they studied its efficacy like a science. In The Holocaust, a new 500-page study by Laurence Rees, we learn how the Nazis were able to reduce the cost of murdering Jews to about two German pfennings a person. Less than one U.S. cent. Another new historical study by Peter Hayes
entitled Why demonstrates how the Nazi regime used just two trains per day from 1942-44 to move three million people to the death camps. In 1944, as the Allies closed in, three trains per day deported 440,000 Hungarian Jews in eight weeks. Priorities. My mother recalled standing on Mengele’s infamous life-ordeath line. Trains had arrived from everywhere. Elderly men, pregnant women, children, the sick, the hungry… Her three-year-old nephew stood with the family and asked his mother, “M’geit ins hargenen?” Are they going to kill us? One sister whispered to my mother, “M’ken nisht lozen Mommy alein.” We can’t let Mommy go alone. So she went to the gas chamber with her mother. Why recall all this? Because we must. Because remembering our loved ones, these six million innocent souls, brings a sense of them back to life. That’s the least we can do. But more, we remember for us. We remember because we live in a volatile world and it’s critical to be honest about anti-Semitism, to call it out and to stand up to it. Even when things simmer down and look fine, it can grow dark very quickly. And if you don’t believe me, just ask my mother.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind represents the 48th District in New York.
The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
On the Streets of
Yom HaShoah in Israel By Elana Dure
ax Privler was elevenyears-old when he lost his father, mother and baby brother to the Nazis. A small boy from Poland, Max tasted German hatred in a harsh and bitter way. It all started when the Nazis told him and his father to stand in front of a mass grave alongside dozens of other Jewish men. As the Nazis began to shoot, Max’s father pushed him into the grave and shielded his body, granting Max lone survivorship of the massacre. Days later, once he determined it was safe, Max decided to return home to his mother and brother, only to find them harassed by German soldiers. Trying to protect her younger son, Max’s mother pushed a soldier to the ground. This ultimately led to the demise of both her and her child. Max’s mother was hanged; her son dismembered. As an eleven-year-old boy witnessing these atrocities, Max could only think of one thing: revenge. He went on to join the resistance and helped save many others from such a terrible fate. Now, 86-year-old Max lights
a torch to commemorate both the martyrs and heroes of the Holocaust. Along with five other survivors, he tells his story to Israel in the hopes of passing on the message to never forget. I, along with hundreds of others,
hu addressed the audience and introduced the six torch lighters. Each with his or her unique story; each with his or her own memories to bear. Unlike in the United States, Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel
Six torch lighters. Each with his or her unique story; each with his or her own memories to bear.
sit in the audience and watch in awe as Max shares his story. I knew the ceremony would be moving, I just didn’t anticipate how much. Every year, the State of Israel welcomes Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day with an official ceremony at the state’s Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem. President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanya-
is celebrated by everyone. All schools host assemblies and at 10 a.m. a national siren is sound. At my school, the assembly coincided with the siren blast. Immediately, all students and staff bowed their heads in silence. We all thought of our grandparents or friends’ grandparents who survived the Shoah. We all remembered the children and adults who
perished under Nazi rule. We all celebrated the partisans who fought for Jewish freedom. We all recognized the importance of ensuring this doesn’t happen again. At the national ceremony, Netanyahu said, “The strong survive, the weak are erased.” He explained that “the existence of the weak is in doubt.” In order to stay strong and survive, we must not doubt our purpose. We must stay loyal to our background and heritage. To witness the strength of the Jewish people on a day that commemorates the Holocaust – an era in which the Nazis tried to erase the Jewish nation – is not only inspiring. It leaves me with a sense of pride to be part of a thriving people and to volunteer in a country built by Jews for Jews. Am Yisrael chai. The nation of Israel continues to live. Elana Dure is a resident of Woodmere and recent graduate of the University of Maryland. She is currently teaching English in Petach Tikva through Masa’s Israel Teaching Fellows program.
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
Notable Quotes “Say What?!”
I like to stay happy. I can’t stand an old grouch, so I sing to myself. – Eugene Ruf, in an interview with MSN, on his 108th birthday, talking about his keys to a long life
You’ll hardly ever hear him say anything negative. It’s always positive. - Eugene Ruf’s daughter, 61, talking about her father, who was orphaned at 12 in 1921 after his parents and a younger brother died of the Spanish flu in a matter of days, and who fought in WWII and the Korean War
I thought it was important that people on the other side of the DMZ see our resolve in my face.
I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power. - Attorney General Jeff Sessions talking about a judge in Hawaii preventing Trump’s immigration order from taking effect
Nobody has a sense of humor anymore. - Ibid., on ABC’s “This Week,” when asked about his referring to Hawaii as “an island in the Pacific”
A New Jersey man recently admitted to stealing $20,000 worth of ginger ale from a grocery store. He said he wasn’t planning on stealing so much, he just got Schwepped up in it.
- Vice President Mike Pence, in an interview with the Washington Post, explaining why he went to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the border of North and South Korea during a visit to South Korea last week
Time Magazine today released its annual list of the “100 Most-Influential People in the World.” Making the list this year, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, Pope Francis, James Comey, and, of course, Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton did not make the list. Which is really crazy. Hillary Clinton influenced a whole half of a country to vote for Donald Trump for president. You’d think that would be worth something. – Jimmy Kimmel
This weekend, Bill Clinton tweeted that he was in Houston visiting former President George H.W. Bush. However, he ended the tweet with #Alibi.
A recent security purge by Facebook has unintentionally gotten rid of millions of “likes.” Just think...all those wasted hours, wasted.
- Conan O’Brien
– Conan O’Brien
– Seth Myers
The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
All the other companies offered me money, but they [Nike] couldn’t offer me money because they just started. So he said something about stocks: “I’m gonna give you a lot of stocks.” I didn’t know nothing about stocks. Boy, did I make a mistake. I’m still kicking myself. Every time I’m in a Nike store I get mad. – Magic Johnson, in a recent interview, discussing his biggest regret
I don’t think I ever heard of him until he surfaced with the Trump campaign and I had no idea that he was profiting from the work of industrious Jews! – Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, upon learning that Trump advisor Steven Bannon (who the alt-left media claims is an antiSemite) was an early investor in Seinfeld and has made millions off of the show
During his daily briefing Sporty Spice, as he is known, made an absolutely incredible statement about Syrian President Assad, that if it wasn’t so disturbing, would have been Hitlarious. He said, even someone as despicable as Hitler didn’t sink to using chemical weapons, which of course is very wrong. Sean Spicer might be the only press secretary who needs a press secretary. - Jimmy Kimmel
If the powers in 1942 had acted against the death camps — and all that was needed was repeated bombing of the camps — had they acted then, they could have saved four million Jews and millions of other people. -Prime Minister Netanyahu at a Yom HaShoah ceremony at Yad Vashem
That the missiles are called tomahawks must enrage a lot of Native Americans. - Tweet by Clara Jeffery, editor of Mother Jones media, after Trump struck Syria with Tomahawk Missiles
UPS announced yesterday that it will begin delivering packages on Saturdays. Unless, of course, you plan on being home on Saturday. - Seth Myers
You guys all collectively lived through Trump knocking off the Republicans, Trump knocking off Hillary, being wrong about all of it at every stage, and you turn around and play the same old conventional wisdom. If your universe is right, Hillary Clinton’s president. If our universe is right, Donald Trump is president. – Newt Gingrich on ABC’s “This Week,” talking about the mainstream media
OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
You gotta be kidding A helicopter carrying passengers suddenly loses engine powe r and the aircraft begins to descend. The pilot safely performs an emergency landing in water and tells the passengers to rema in seated and to keep the doors closed, stating that in emergenc y situations, the aircraft is designed to stay afloat for 30 minutes, giving rescuers time to get to them. Just then a man gets out if his seat and runs over to open the door. The pilots screa ms at him, “Didn’t you hear what I said? The aircraft is designed to stay afloat as long as the doors remain closed?!” “Of course I heard you,” the man replied, “but it’s also designed to fly, and look how good that one worked out!”
Soaring Slogans “Bring a bathing suit.”
“Join our frequent near-miss program.” “On flights, every section is a smoking section.”
We can’t do that.” Moishele replied: “Nonsense. That is what you did last time I flew with you.”
With airlines taking a beating over the past few weeks, if you see the following slogans, you probably should stay away from the respective airline:
“We’re Amtrak with wings.”
“You think it’s so easy, get your own plane!”
Moishele walks up to the airline counter and tells the rep, “I’d like this bag to go to Berlin, this one to California, and this one to London.” The rep says, “I’m sorry, sir.
“Complimentary champagne during free-fall.”
“The kids will love our inflatable slides.”
“Which will fall faster, our stock price or our planes?” “A real man lands where he wants to.”
“We may be landing on your street.”
“Are our jet engines too noisy? Don’t worry. We’ll turn them off.”
“Don’t worry, terrorists are afraid to fly with us.”
“Ask about our outof-court settlements.”
The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015 The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
What is the oldest airline still operating under its original name? a. Deutsche Lufthansa b. KLM c. Northwest Airlines d. Qantas
2. In 1987, American Airlines famously saved $40,000 by doing the following: a. They removed 1 olive from each salad served in first class b. They made their pilots pay for their own dry cleaning c. They stopped serving chocolate bars to passengers in coach d. They stopped turning the AC on before takeoff 3. What is the longest non-stop flight in the world? a. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas, to Sydney, Australia b. Johannesburg, South Africa, to Atlanta, Georgia c. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas, to Hong Kong, China d. Doha, Qatar, to Auckland, New Zealand 4. How many people fly per day in the U.S.? a. 700,000 b. 1.2 million c. 2 million d. 7 million 5.
What is the typical cruising air speed for long-distance commercial passenger flights? a. 370-410 MPH
b. 546–575 MPH c. 670-700 MPH d. 801- 830 MPH 6. How many people can an Airbus A380 carry officially? a. 490 b. 638 c. 853 d. 985
off their shoes and smell up the plane d. They are only cleaned every 5 to 30 days
Which airline is the world’s largest (by fleet size and revenue)? a. American Airlines b. Lufthansa Airlines c. Qatar Airways d. Air France
8. What did a 2007 investigation by The Wall Street Journal reveal about airline blankets? a. Airplanes only carry enough blankets for 37% of passengers b. They are sometimes used as towels when the crew runs out of towels on long flights c. Their size is purposely small so that they don’t cover passenger’s toes because if they did cover toes it would encourage passengers to take
4. 5. 6. 7.
B- KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) has been in existence since 1919. Qantas is the world’s second oldest airline, established in 1920. A D- Qatar’s flight 921 is the longest flight in the world, traveling 9,032 miles. On average, it takes an average of 16 hours and 10 minutes for this whopper of a flight. C B C A- American Airlines’ average yearly revenue is $40 billion. The five largest airlines in the world, by fleet size, are 1) American Airlines; 2) Delta Air Lines; 3) United Airways; 4) Southwest Airlines; 5) FedEx Express (in that order) D (Sorry, did I just kill your inflight chill?)
Wisdom Key 7-8 correct: You are a real frequent flier…enjoy the blanket! 3-6 correct: Not bad, you are coach class…middle seat! 0-2 correct: You have airplane amnesia…maybe it was that 16-hourplus flight that you took from Qatar to New Zealand, while stuck in the middle seat between Bobuwee and Mustafa!
A new traffic control officer was in charge of a runway that could only fit one jet plane at a time. He accidentally had one jet take off and one jet land at 11:48 pm on the same runway. Thankfully, though, the planes didn’t crash and the traffic control officer was not fired. Why didn’t the planes crash? Answer to riddle: The two planes took off and landed on different days
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
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The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
A Mashgiach, a Father and a Friend A Tribute to HaRav Dovid Sharfman zt”l Authored By Rabbi and Mrs. Yaakov Kier The week before Pesach is perhaps the busiest week for Jewish households across the globe as families scramble to prepare for Yom Tov. And yet, this year, in the South Florida community, as well as among many others across the globe, time seemed to stand still as hundreds upon hundreds of people stopped everything they were doing that week to beseech the Rofeh Cholim, the Healer of the Sick, to heal the beloved and revered mashgiach of Yeshiva Toras Chaim Toras Emes (YTCTE), HaRav Dovid Sharfman. When the news first spread that Rabbi Sharfman was hospitalized, following the wedding of his son, the initial reaction of shock quickly turned into a desire to help. Everyone desperately wanted to do something for a man who did everything for everyone. Tehillim was said around the clock with the entire sefer collectively completed well over 100 times both locally and around the world. Numerous sedarim during bein hazmanim were learned in his zechus (merit). Daily asifos (gatherings) were arranged in the Yeshiva, the NMB Kollel and Bais Yaakov of Miami. Thousands of dollars were donated to various tzedaka organizations. Numerous shiurim and days of learningq were sponsored. A community-wide Tinokos Shel Bais Rabban Asifa in the Kollel was overcrowded as the young boys added their tefillos to the hundreds of others storming the shaarei shomayim, the gates of heaven. Talmidim, students both past and present, organized three straight nights of roundthe-clock learning. Many of his talmidim recalled how Rabbi Sharfman encouraged them to make even small resolutions to enable growth, and they challenged people to accept upon themselves kabbalos as a zechus for a refuah shelaima for Harav Dovid Sharfman. The response was overwhelming. Many committed to increase their daily learning. A machsom l’fi (a commitment to guard one’s speech) was quickly organized. Some courageously discarded their smartphones while others said they would refrain from looking at their phones during davening. Someone began to put on tzitzis regularly, and one woman even began to cover her hair. And there were many more. An observer from outside the community was so inspired that she remarked, “I don’t know if it’s the amazing community you live in, the connection everyone feels to
the yeshiva, or the closeness and greatness of Rabbi Sharfman, but this is mamish unreal, what all these hundreds of people are doing in his zechus...never has there ever been such an outpour[ing]...It’s absolutely amazing...such a special community.” However, on Erev Shabbos Hagadol, the eleventh of Nissan, the special neshama of HaRav Dovid Sharfman zt”l was returned to his Maker, leaving his family, his yeshiva, the South Florida community and indeed all of Klal Yisroel orphaned. As we approach the shloshim of HaRav Baruch Dovid Aryeh zt”l Ben Rav Nosson Dov ybl”t, let us explore what in fact it was about Rabbi Sharfman that caused such an unprecedented outpouring of support, and who this great man was whose loss has been felt so acutely by so many people, in so many places, of so many ages. His Earlier Years Rabbi Sharfman was born in 1962, to Rabbi Benjamin sheyichyeh, and Rebbitzen Hilda a”h (nee Weitzman) Sharfman in Brooklyn, New York. As a ben zekunim, born twelve years after the youngest of his three older sisters, young Dovid’s birth was greeted with much joy. He was named after his two grandfathers, one a Rav and the other a shochet. His father, Rabbi Benjamin, a wellknown rav of over forty years, was raised in Newark, NJ, where his father served as the shochet. He attended public school and would go to his father’s slaughterhouse every day to learn. He was subsequently accepted to Mesivta Torah Vodaas for high school. Eventually, he followed his revered rebbe, HaRav Dovid Leibowitz zt”l, when he opened his own Yeshiva, Chofetz Chaim, as one of the founding talmidim. He learned there for many years until receiving semicha and entering the rabbanus. His first position was the rabbi of Ridgewood, Queens. He then moved to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn serving as rav there for over thirty years until he retired. During his tenure, he fixed the community mikva, which was in disrepair, and was an active member of the Rabbinical Council of America. Now retired and living in Flatbush, he always credited his success to his late wife, Rebbitzen Hilda Sharfman, whose stability as a public school teacher enabled her husband to pursue his dream in the rabbanus.
Growing up in a family of rabbanim and klei kodesh, from a young age, R’ Duvie, as he was affectionately known, appreciated the importance of being marbitz Torah, of teaching and spreading Hashem’s Torah, and would eagerly await his turn to do so as well. In fact, as a young boy, R’ Duvie’s leadership abilities, as well as his tremendous care for each individual, was already apparent, earning him the respect of his family, his friends, and his teachers. He was well-liked by all and was a model student in Yeshiva Toras Emes of Kaminetz in Brooklyn. His long-time classmate and dear friend, Mr. Michael Schick, fondly recalls how R’ Duvie did not have a single mean bone in his body. His sisters cannot recall his parents ever needing to reprimand him. He always seemed to know what the right thing was in every situation. His natural leadership skills made him a popular leader in high school, and contributed to his many successful years in Camp Munk. In addition, his brilliance was already recognized as President of the Honor Society, Arista. Tragically, at the young age of eleven, he lost his mother. Two of his sisters were already married at the time, and his third sister married shortly after, leaving him without any mother figure in his home until his father remarried three years later. Yet, even this tragedy did not get him down. His simchas hachaim and positivity helped him pull through a very trying situation, and he never complained or questioned Hashem’s ways. Every year, on his mother’s yartzheit during the nine days, he would make a siyum in her memory in Camp Munk. Following high school, R’ Duvie learned in Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim (CC) in Yerushalayim for a year. He then advanced to its main branch then in Forest Hills and under the guidance of Rav Henach Leibowitz zt”l, R’ Duvie learned and grew, preparing himself to answer his life’s calling and become a teacher of Torah. It was during this time that he, along with his long-time chaver and current Rosh HaYeshiva of YTCTE, Rabbi Mordechai Palgon, joined the first group of bachurim to “branch” in the fledgling YTCTE of Miami to help strengthen the yeshiva and the community. HaRav Akiva Grunblatt shlita, who was the Rosh HaYeshiva there at that time, remembers how these outstanding bachurim really put
the yeshiva on the local map, earning the respect of numerous families who were then motivated to add their support to the still young yeshiva. One such baal habaas was so impressed with these boys who helped him make a minyan when he was sitting shiva that he called Rabbi Grunblatt to express his gratitude. He exclaimed that if you are producing boys like these, you must be doing something right, and I want to be involved! He subsequently made the initial introduction between Mr. and Mrs. Sam Klurman and the yeshiva, which now bears the Klurman name on their north campus as well as their elementary school. After returning to Queens, R’ Sharfman’s reputation as a baal sechel and baal havana, a man of high intellect and great understanding, continued to spread. A chaver of his, gratefully remembers the numerous times that R’ Duvie took the time to patiently and thoroughly explain what they were learning. “He was a prince: always generous, gracious and giving of his time and insight...with sterling middos and a healthy sense of humor.” In 1988, he married his wife Shifra (nee Kamin) who shared his dreams and aspirations. Together they began to build a home of Torah in Queens, New York. At the end of his years in kollel, he began teaching in Mesivta Chofetz Chaim of Queens and subsequently in Yeshiva Tiferes Yisroel of Brooklyn. Already at this early stage of his career in chinuch he began to earn a reputation as a caring and devoted rebbe who easily connected with his students. Answering His Life’s Calling In 1996, the Sharfmans made the big move to North Miami Beach where Rabbi Sharfman became a high school rebbe in YTCTE. The Sharfmans were very family-oriented, and leaving their entire family up North to help build the South Florida community was not an easy task. However, they must have known that this was their chance to truly make a difference.
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
Over twenty years later, Rav Grunblatt still remembers an incident from Rabbi Sharfman’s first year in Miami that perfectly illustrates Rabbi Sharfman’s true essence. There was a boy in Rabbi Sharfman’s class who did not behave. He made every teacher miserable, and certainly gave Rabbi Sharfman a run for his money. It came to a point where the administration felt that they could no longer service this student and convened a meeting to discuss the possibility of expelling him. Much to everyone’s surprise, Rabbi Sharfman stood up and defended the boy, begging the administration to give him another chance and let him stay. Rav Grunblatt was baffled. This boy was giving Rabbi Sharfman such daily heartache, and yet here he was defending the unruly talmid? His job would be so much easier if this one boy left! Yet, Rabbi Sharfman’s tremendous mesiras nefesh, coupled with his true love for every talmid, would not allow him to give up on this student as he worried about the boy’s future at all costs! After a few short years, upon the advice of Rav Henach, Rabbi Sharfman was asked to join the bais medrash division as its mashgiach ruchani and its first-level maggid shiur. Rav Henach felt that a bais medrash needs a rebbe who would give his whole life to the yeshiva, with utmost
mesiras nefesh and complete dedication. It was in the Bais Medrash Zichron Ezra that Rabbi Sharfman continued to shine. Under his leadership, the bais medrash really grew, attracting talmidim from far and wide. At the same time, his dedicated Eshes Chayil opened up her own speech and language pathology practice, filling a much-needed void for the children in the community. Her reputation as a skilled and highly caring therapist spread as people rapidly sought her expertise and guidance. Together, the Sharfmans quickly became an integral part of the growing North Miami Beach community.
After four years of this shiur, Rabbi Sharfman was asked to begin a Sunday morning class for the community in North Miami Beach. His Rise and Learn shiur, organized by Mr. Harvey Lichtman over the past nine years, was a popular well-organized, informative and exciting shiur on a halacha derived from that week’s parsha. For this one shiur, his father-in-law, Rabbi Moshe Kamin, stated that Rabbi Sharfman would prepare for ten hours each week. One attendee, echoing the sentiments of many, said, “There was nobody else like him in our community. I could have sat and listened to him for hours.”
As the South Florida Jewish community continued to expand, Rabbi Sharfman was extremely proud of his community. Yet, he never took any of the credit despite his tremendous involvement. Although his position as Mashgiach Ruchani was more than a full-time job, he felt obligated to be give to the community as well and began giving a weekly Chumash class in the young Jewish community in Aventura. One South American attendee recalled how, regardless of where his personal business travels would take him, he would always make sure to fly back by Tuesday night to attend Rabbi Sharfman’s invigorating shiur.
Another facet of his involvement was a Navi shiur that he gave to a group of Sephardi women for several years. During this time, he would ask his daughters to confirm with their friends how to pronounce certain words in havara sephardit to make sure that the women in his shiur would understand and feel comfortable. His Beautiful Home Despite his busy life in the Yeshiva and his involvement in the community, his family knew that they were alway his first priority. Whether it meant going to parent teacher conferences in the evening, playing ball with his sons, or organizing a family trip, Rabbi Sharfman’s finger was always on the pulse of his family. He knew how to talk to each child, guide each one and make them all feel special. Family time was important to him, and he would not take any phone call during dinner and neither did the rest of the family. The Sharfman Shabbos table was always a special place. Rabbi Sharfman would prepare for each seudah and looked forward to engaging his family and guests in lively, thought provoking, discussions. He encouraged everyone to contribute and challenged them to think. As deep as his lessons often were, he knew how to explain them to people on all levels, without ever talking down to them. He loved singing zemiros and knew all the classic as well as new niggunim (tunes). Often his children’s friends would hurry to join the lively Sharfman seudah after their own had finished, and he would make sure to include each guest and make everyone, young and old, feel comfortable and welcomed. Also obvious at each seudah was his tremendous respect and appreciation for his eshes chayil, his partner in all his life’s accomplishments, always waiting for her to finish serving before he enjoyed the festive spread. On a similar note, she always waited until he came home, however late, to serve dinner in the evening His Shabbos seudos were but a glimpse into his yom tov tables. Shloshim yom kodem l’chag, thirty days before each yom tov, the sefarim would begin to emerge and he would spend endless hours learning and preparing for each chag. In fact, he purchased a small table for Pesach to put
in his dining room just to be able to have all the necessary sefarim in reach as he led his seder in his inimitable style. His sonin-law, Rabbi Yaakov Skolnick, remembers Rabbi Sharfman asking him to buy a specific sefer on Masechtas Pesach before he led his first seder, to better prepare for the big moment. He loved yom tov and never complained about the hecticness of Pesach or the heat of the Miami sukka. And at the end of each yom tov he would encourage his family to make sure to carry the lessons learned beyond that one week and make them last. Rabbi Sharfman often stressed to his family the importance of derech eretz, of treating everyone with utmost respect. He urged them not to judge others who may have been struggling and realize that we often do not know the full picture. To him this seemed natural, and he instilled this midda in his family by example. He had a kind word for everyone, and gave his utmost attention to everyone. When his sons-in-law would visit, he would always take the time to inquire about their learning, chaburos, and hashkafos, all with a genuine interest and a desire to know. It was therefore no surprise that everyone gravitated towards him whether at home, at a family simcha, or on a family trip. Yet he enjoyed those events just as much. He loved preparing for chol hamoed family trips and actively participated in each activity. His great sense of humor always added an extra dimension to the fun. Even long car rides from Miami to New York turned into an adventure with Rabbi Sharfman. And after any trip, he rushed to print the pictures to relive the special experience. In fact, his children remembers that on one occasion when printing pictures, he noticed there was one of his children’s good friend and made sure to print a second copy for the friend as well. His nine year old son, Avraham Mordechai, smiled when remembering all the extra nosh his father would buy him for camp to make sure that he had enough to share with all his friends. He always thought of everyone. His family emphasized Rabbi Sharfman’s great humility. He ran away from kavod and did his best to shun the limelight. He would refuse offers to sit up front in shuls and kept a low profile whenever he could. When visiting his children in Minneapolis, he spoke at their kollel on the last day of yom tov. The mispallelim were amazed by the depth and breadth of his words and shocked that they did not realize what a gem they had in their midst the whole time. He utilized each moment to its fullest. When walking home from shul on Yom Kippur, he would discuss with his family how fortunate they all were to have the opportunity to do teshuva. When he realized
The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
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APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
that while driving his daughters’ carpool to school, he would often have to wait at some houses, he brought along a sefer to catch a few extra minutes of learning. Eventually, he was even able to make a siyum on his carpool seder. His love for learning and thirst for knowledge were endless, and no family trip would be complete without him stopping at the local sefarim store and making a purchase. Buying sefarim was the most worthwhile way to spend his money. His sefarim library was extensive, and yet he learned and knew every sefer as evidenced in his personal notes found in each one. He corresponded with Rav Mattisyahu Solomon after reading his sefer on Megilas Esther. He would talk in learning with Rav Aharon Schechter on Rav Hutner’s Torah and was close to many of the Gedolei Eretz Yisroel, always ready to discuss Torah thoughts with them when given the opportunity. In fact, when his daughter visited Rav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, the Rav excitedly remembered his encounter with Rabbi Sharfman years before and remarked how he was such a special and important man. Rabbi Sharfman would try to give over his love of learning to young Bar Mitzvah boys when giving them a sefer as a gift. With a twinkle in his eyes, he would tell each boy that their gift came with a warranty. If they wore out the sefer, they could come bring it back for a replacement at any time. Rabbi Sharfman had a tremendous love and appreciation for Eretz Yisroel which he shared with his family and students. His knowledge of its history, mekomos kedoshim and kivrei tzaddikim rivaled the most experienced of tour guides. When his family had the opportunity to visit Eretz Yisroel, he jumped at the chance to daven kabbalas Shabbos at the Kosel and not because it was the “thing” to do. He simply wanted to truly feel the experience of living in Eretz Yisroel, davening at the holiest of sites, and walking home through the streets of Yerushalayim. He took his children to the various gedolim, many with whom he shared personal relationships, to receive brachos and chizuk. These were memories he and his family cherished long after their trip concluded. Looking back, his family fondly remembers him as the perfect son, caring brother, devoted husband and loving father of eight, who in-turn was loved and respected by all. His brothers-in-law loved him like a brother, and his in-laws viewed him as their own pride and joy. Everyone had a special relationship with him, including his extended family of nieces and nephews, each feeling their own personal
loss upon his petira. Rabbi Sharfman was a unique talmid chacham who had the ability to be a mentor, a role model, an advisor, and a friend to so many people. But to his beloved talmidim, he was all that and so much more. He was their father, their confidant, and their inspiration. His ahavas haTorah and ahavas Yisroel (love for Torah and love for fellow Jews), coupled with his charisma and ehrlechkeit (honesty/refinement) endeared him to his family, his friends, and his colleagues. He never demanded respect but earned it nonetheless. All who had the privilege to know him are now charged with the task of learning from his stellar example and spreading his ways; “chaval al d’avdin v’lo mishtakchin. Woe on our loss, and let it not be forgotten.” His Gadlus/Greatness in Torah Rabbi Sharfman was a huge talmid chacham; while his position in the yeshiva may have thrust him into the spotlight, his simplicity and normalcy masked his erudition. However, if you watched his actions closely, you saw a man who was a walking Shulchan Aruch. He knew Mishna Berurah backwards and forwards; he possessed a clear understanding of so many areas in halacha. When one listened to his Sunday morning halacha shiur, a novice as well as a scholar would find his command of the topic fascinating. His shiurim were on all four chalakim (sections) of the Shulchan Aruch. His topics included both classic and contemporary halachic areas including topics ranging from kiddish b’makom seudah to cosmetic surgery, from the kashrus of fish to magicians and so much more. This was all on top of his mastery of the yeshivishe mesechtas, the meforshei Tanach and sifrei mussar. Any time he gave a shiur people assumed that the specific topic addressed must be his area of expertise. But how could one person alone be an expert in Gemarah, Chumash, mussar, halacha, history, and so much more? His loss is a loss to the community and the entire Torah world as a whole. His Sensitivity Many talmidim testified that even though Rabbi Sharfman had the tough task as mashgiach of reprimanding those who were not living up to the yeshiva standards, he did so with extreme sensitivity. He would weigh the words he would use with each talmid as well as the timing of the message. Many talmidim said that he changed their lives when he had to reprimand them, because he did so in such a loving and caring way and always with a smile. One talmid said, “He simply wanted what’s good for the talmid, nothing else.” Another talmid concurred, saying that it
never came off as an attack but rather from a place of genuine care and concern. One talmid, Rabbi Ezra Kier, still recalls an incident over ten years ago after a terrorist attack in Eretz Yisroel. Rabbi Sharfman spoke to his students about the need to have our brethren in Israel in mind during our tefillos. The talmidim later discovered a list on his shtender of the names of those injured in the terrorist attack. Rabbi Sharfman was so pained by the tragedy that he had to find out the names of the individual victims to daven for each of them. His Warmth Chazal say that talmidim are called children of their teacher. With Rabbi Sharfman this was the reality. The way he embraced each one, with not just a handshake, but a hug, was like a father connecting with a child. He would revel at the delight of hosting talmidim at his house, and they all felt comfortable in this welcoming environment. Together with his Rebbetzin, they would cater to the needs of these talmidim. Rebbitzen Sharfman, who shares his passion and commitment, always sought ways to enhance his talmidim’s experience. Despite the hecticness of Purim, she would leave her house in the middle of the day to set up the Yeshiva’s seudah to ensure it looked festive and inviting, buying special paper goods and centerpieces for the occasion. When they joined the bachurim in Yeshiva for a Shabbos seudah, she never came empty handed, ensuring that they always had a homemade delicacy to enjoy. Her legendary cholent and potato kugel on Purim and elaborate Chanukah chagigos were all part of their combined efforts to make each talmid feel special. One talmid who grew up in South Florida years ago commented that the Sharfman house was his home away from home. It was the address in the young North Miami Beach community to go to to see what a normal, Torah-true home looks like. This talmid declared that only under Rabbi Sharfman’s care did he develop into a Ben Torah. Today, this successful marbitz Torah endeavours to pass on that same warmth to his own talmidim. Rabbi Sharfman would do anything to express his feelings and nachas for each talmid and his accomplishments. He would take them out to restaurants. He would go with them to buy donuts. He would bring them little chocolates. He would even watch their late night basketball games in camp. All this was done with the wisdom of a rebbe and the love of a father. One talmid fondly remembers his relationship with his rebbe of six years: “If there was one rebbe that was the most influential...
it was Rabbi Sharfman zt”l...He took me under his wing inviting me for Shabbos week in and week out. He pushed me to learn, get a geshmak from halacha and develop an appreciation for daas Torah… Because of his influence, I’m a better person, husband and father. My last day in yeshiva...Rebbe brought me into his office and told me...he will miss a true chaver.” After hearing this story, another long-time talmid, Mr. Pinny Ackerman, so poignantly exclaimed, “That could be any one of us. We ALL had that kesher with him!” ity
His Sense of Achrayus/Responsibil-
A very central middah of Rabbi Sharfman was his sense of achrayus. He took on every job and task that came his way with the utmost dedication. Rabbi Mordechai Palgon revealed that Rabbi Sharfman once told him upon becoming mashgiach in the bais medrash that he went through the mussar shmuessim of all of the famed mashgichim of the yeshivos of yesteryear. Even though he was already empowered with the shmuessim and insights from his own rebbe, Rav Henach, nevertheless, he wanted to find a new insight that could perhaps pay dividends down the road with some talmid. Anytime a talmid was in need, he would run to his side to assist him. It did not matter if it was in the middle of the night or right before Shabbos, Rabbi Sharfman was there for them. One talmid, Mr. Avrohom Eliezer Friedman, simply suggested that this was part of the underlying secret behind the outpouring of support that his talmidim showed when he was sick. How could they not drop everything for Rabbi Sharfman? They knew quite well that he would do the same if they were ever in need. His Belief in Every Student From his earliest days in Miami, as extolled earlier by Rav Grunblatt, Rabbi Sharfman had a knack for seeing the far-reaching potential in his talmidim. A talmid testified that “Rebbe had a tremendous amount of respect for each and every talmid...and it pulled them to want to be close. He would often say how each and every talmid adds a different component to the yeshiva...You were helping keep the yeshiva going!” He understood the power of Torah and how it had the ability to transform a talmid’s life. Rabbi Sharfman remarked that he saw this midda in his own rebbe, Rav Henach. There were talmidim who Rav Henach kept in yeshiva even though they were not the most successful in their learning, yet their lengthened exposure in yeshiva made them into true bnei Torah. These talmidim went on
The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
to live productive Torah lives, and many their own children developed into metzuyanim (outstanding Torah students). This same long-viewed perspective gave Rabbi Sharfman the ability to see that sometimes the effects of his efforts may pay dividends generations later. His Strength of Spirit Rabbi Sharfman was a towering figure and not simply because of his 6’4” frame, nor was it just his great Torah knowledge. What made Rabbi Sharfman most imposing was his strength of spirit to stand up for what was right and not back down in the face of opposition. Talmidim remembered during one of the Yeshiva’s summer zmanim in Eretz Yisroel, Rabbi Sharfman, together with some of his talmidim, attended one one of the popular weekly halacha shiurim in Yerushalayim. The maggid shiur spoke against a certain practice of some communities based on his interpretation of halacha. Rabbi Sharfman stood up to defend the practice of the community. He brought significant sources to challenge this posek’s conclusion. The talmidim took pride in their Rebbe’s strength. Another episode found Rabbi Sharfman challenging a new presentation that was making the rounds in the frum world. The fact that the presenter was popular in all circles did not matter to Rabbi Sharfman. His scale was pristinely set to authentic standards of Torah halacha and hashkafa. Anything that did not measure up was subject to his challenge. When he would speak, his talmidim recalled how sincere he was: “you felt the ‘devarim hayotzim min halev’ words spoken from the heart, and they were nichnasim el halev’ words that entered the heart.” Perhaps this stemmed from his deep pursuit of emes. He was a man of complete truth. He lived what he preached and detested anything that had even a trace of sheker, dishonesty. “He was living the Mesilas Yesharim,” said one talmid. “Woe to the one that stood in the way of emes!” recalled another. This strength of character was another dimension of this great Torah leader. His Acts of Kindness The Alter of Slabodka has many shmuessim in his sefer Ohr Hatzafon on the midda of chessed.The Alter describes that the thoughts of care and concern that a person has when performing a kind deed lift the chessed to another plateau. Rabbi Sharfman was fond of quoting the Alter, but it was his actions that brought these ideas to life. During the shiva, the family received a beautiful letter from a woman in the
community. A number of years ago, she and her husband had moved to town in the middle of the summer and came with their young family to the home they were renting and found it bare. The landlord had only a few cots for the whole family. Exhausted from their travels, they did not sleep much that first night. The next morning, the husband went to shacharis and the first person to greet him was Rabbi Sharfman. After Rabbi Sharfman graciously introduced himself and inquired if they needed anything, the shy head of household blurted out that they could use a few mattresses. That is all he had to say. The next thing he knew Rabbi Sharfman was knocking on his door with mattresses from his own home for the family to use in the interim. The family was amazed that a stranger cared enough to introduce himself and so selflessly follow up on his introduction. Another story that came to light describes when a talmid chacham who wrote seforim came to the Yeshiva to sell his wares. Rabbi Sharfman immediately went over to buy his seforim.This action was an immediate endorsement for the entire Yeshiva. Rabbi Sharfman treated the mechaber with much respect, so much so that the author even brought his family to the Yeshiva to experience the nachas of how much he was appreciated by Rabbi Sharfman. His Tremendous Appreciation of Others Despite being someone who constantly did for others, Rabbi Sharfman never felt that others owed him. In fact, he would be extremely grateful to anyone who did something for him whether big or small. Mr. Avrohom Eliezer Friedman told a story of how as bachurim, he, together with Rabbi Chesky Schwartz, built the Sharfmans a frame for their sukkah. Rabbi Sharfman would always go out of his way every sukkos, even years later, to mention how thankful he was for their handiwork. He would even joke about how his sukkah was so strong that it was the only one on his block to withstand a hurricane. Rabbi Meir Shnidman remarked how Rabbi Sharfman would constantly thank him for teaching his son Mishnayos; learning with his young son was no small thing for this big person, and he was forever grateful. The Day of His Levaya It was 1:45 AM Friday morning, the Eleventh of Nissan, April 7, as the last of the talmidim slowly left the sacred walls of the Bais Medrash, the paroches was pulled aside as the community prepared to show the proper kavod acharon to a man who forever changed their lives. A heavy
silence permeated the room. What was there to say? What could be said about someone who accomplished so much and influenced so many in just 55 years? Words would not be enough. As Rabbi Hershel Welcher, Rav of Congregation Ahavas Yisroel of Kew Gardens Hills, explained at the levaya, Chazal say “Ein osim nefashos latzadikkim, divreihem hein hein zichronam.” We don’t make memorials for tzaddikim, their words and actions are their memorial. And just a few short hours later, as the Bais Medrash in Miami began to fill up in preparation for the live video feed to the levaya, and the Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim of Queens, where the levaya took place, was bursting to capacity, the words of chazal rang true, loud and clear. The hundreds upon hundreds of people at the levaya, as well as the many who watched and listened from afar, were testament to the profound and far-reaching impact Rabbi Sharfman zt”l had made on so many lives. No words were actually needed. HaRav Henach Lebowitz zt”l, his rebbe muvhak, whose levaya was on the same day, in the
same Bais Medrash, nine years earlier, would often quote Rabbi Akiva Eiger zt”l with regards to a levaya. Going to a levaya is considered a big zechus, a merit for all those who attend. “Megalgalin zechus al yidei zachai.” Hashem makes zechuyos come about through those that are truly deserving. A large levaya is thus indicative of the righteousness of the nifter. All those that attended Rabbi Sharfman’s levaya, as well as all those who davened, learned, gave tzedaka, and accepted kabbalos the previous week, were testament to the true merits of HaRav Dovid Sharfman. The fact that so many zechuyos were created is proof alone of his pure and righteous ways. And therefore, no words are really needed. Instead, each of us is tasked with the tremendous responsibility to carry on the lessons we have learned, and thereby perpetuate the rich legacy of the irreplaceable, highly respected, and much loved HaRav Dovid Sharfman zt”l. Yehi zichro baruch.
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
When The Going Gets Tough Dr. Yaakov Siegel When it comes to literature, one of my personal favorite genres is Biography. Besides being fascinated by people, their struggles and stories – there is something uniquely fascinating and encouraging about reading the narrative of life. Most printed biographies are about the life and times of extraordinary people. My library includes the life stories of giants like Reb Moshe, Rav Yaakov, Rav Nosson Tzvi, Mike Tress, Shloime Gross and other Gedolei Torah V”Yirah. Lhavdil, there is a fascinating book about General Norman Shwartzkopf, one about Jackie Robinson, Charles Dickens and others who rose to the top of their fields and achieved success. What is encouraging though, is how they all – every single one of them – faced great adversity and endured periods of frustration and failure. Rav Moshe Feinstein had to flee Russia and along the way lost his most prized and irreplaceable earthly possession: whole manuscripts of chidushei Torah. He mourned this tragedy for the rest of his days. He eventually arrived in America, a strange land, with no job and not sure what the future held. Rav Yaakov’s story is even more intense. He was turned down for a Rabbanus in a small European shtetl and eventually settled for a position in the town of Tzitevian, where he lived in abject poverty. He traveled to
America alone, hoping to earn money for his wife and children abroad. Out of necessity, he crossed the country by rail from the East Coast to West, spending Shabbos in a decidedly unJewish town, in pursuit of temporary employment in Seattle, Washington. A short time later he was on the move again, landing in Toronto, where he was finally able to bring over the rest of his family. These trying events happened over a period of years and Rabbi Kaminetsky had absolutely no way of knowing that, 11 years after reaching these shores, Rav Shraga Feivel would offer him a job and he would rise to fame as the Rosh Yeshiva at Torah VDaas and become recognized as a Gadol HaDor. As far as he could tell, those decades of struggle were as good as it would get. Yet, he was undeterred. Such experiences are not unique to Rav Moshe or Reb Yaakov; they appear consistently throughout all biographical works. In one way or another, people endure great challenges - nobody rises to success overnight and no one gets there without struggle. The Baal Hatanya sat in a Russian Prison, The Steipler served in the Russian Army and The Satmar Rav experienced the camps. It seems insignificant now - knowing how their lives turned out and how their story ends – but
imagine how overwhelming and insurmountable things might have seemed at the time? Certainly no less challenging than whatever we are going through right now! When the going gets tough it is helpful to step back, change perspective and think “what will this period look like in my biography?” A difficult job may last for 6-months, a year or ten. But in the end, it will be reduced to a paragraph or a page; a chapter if it is really significant. Nisht geferlach – no reason to panic. We never know what is around the bend or what Hashem has in store. Our Gedolim and role models show us that, when facing adversity, our charge is to remain faithful and to focus on doing what we know to be right. To avoid being impressed by the times or discouraged by the odds. Nothing last forever and there is no room for self-pity or despair. The rest is still unwritten. Dr. Siegel is a licensed psychologist in private practice. He has held positions in Federal and State institutions providing clinical services and psychological assessment. He also served as clinical coordinator at an addiction center where he supervised and trained staff. Dr. Siegel can be reached at 732-806-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Health & F tness Yes, Your Well Child Still Needs to Come to the Doctor By Hylton I Lightman, MD, DCH, FAAP
e pediatricians know that parents keep a close eye on their sick children and bring them in to see us when something is out of the ordinary. However, it can be harder to stick to the routine of scheduling well exams – also known as physical or annual checkup – for your children. These well exams are just as important to your child’s health – if not more so. The annual physical exam is an important aspect of staying healthy. The goal here is prevention. By seeing your child every year, we ensure that he or she is growing and developing normally and gets the appropriate immunizations (https://w w w.vaccines.gov/who_and_ when/infants_to_teens/) to prevent illness. Of course, we will physically examine your child head-to-toe. Height and weight changed since last visit? We track physical, mental and social development changes. We ask lots of questions to ensure we
don’t miss any detail about your child. This is a critical opportunity to detect any possible developmental delay or disability: by diagnosing early, we can often intervene to lessen the future impact on both the child and family. We will talk about nutrition. Safety at home, safety at school. We’ll discuss your child’s milestones, social behaviors and learning. Parents should prepare for the visit by writing down any important questions. Even a young child may have topics they want to discuss, like worries or school issues. My job as your doctor is to partner with you, your child and your whole family to understand how to make healthy lifestyle choices including good nutrition, exercise and safety measures. It’s especially important to engage older children during the exam so that they grow to become responsible for their health and wellbeing. We know teens can be tough! Because we have developed a relationship with your kids over many years, they feel very
comfortable with us, even during this dynamic stage of human development. Teens are going through dramatic physical, cognitive, social, and emotional change. They may be facing the temptations of smoking, drinks and drugs for the first time. This can be the time that many physical and mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and health risk behaviors can first emerge. And peer pressure – enough said. These well visits let us keep the doors of communication open so we can identify and help manage any dangerous trends that can have a serious impact into adulthood. A typical adolescent exam includes a review of the medical history. The patient and/or parents often raise concerns in a safe, comfortable and confidential environment. We’ll examine eyes, ears, nose, throat, mouth, abdomen, back, legs, arms, and thyroid gland. We’ll do an assessment of growth and evaluate pubertal changes. Screening for hypertension, scoliosis, and obesity may be
performed. Scoliosis is when there is a lateral (toward the side) curvature in the normally straight vertical line of the spine. Identified and treated early, it is a “curable” condition that improves the quality of a person’s life. Kyphosis, a forward curving of the back, is also treatable, especially when diagnosed early. Parents of teenage boys – Prepare your sons to expect a genital exam by a doctor. An exam “down there” is typically less than one minute and can yield important information that affects his future wellbeing. Expect your teen to complete a depression screening of about 7-9 questions to help us identify if your teen is depressed or at risk so we can handle it. Physical. Wellness exam. Annual checkup. Call it what you want. Just call your doctor get it done for all of your children!
The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home
What Would You Do If… Moderated by Jennifer Mann, LCSW of The Navidaters
Our daughter Gitty got engaged to Michael close to two months ago. Since that time, we’ve spent some significant amount of time with the two of them and have been able to observe them as a couple and see how they interact with one another.
We know that the engagement period is a stressful time, but we’re shocked to see the two of them fighting so much. We don’t actually see the fights, but it’s clear that often they are not talking to one another and there is obvious strain between them. When they are not “fighting,” they seem to be so in love. Our daughter looks to Michael with such admiration and love and he responds accordingly. But they seem to be very volatile. It’s very hot or very cold between them. Gitty has always had a temper and I wouldn’t be surprised if she were to blame for some or even most of the tension between them. But despite who is responsible, I’m worried about them getting married. If they fight this much now, what is their marriage going to look like? I’ve suggested to them that they should see a couple therapist NOW, before they actually marry, to make sure that they are well suited for one another. They refuse. My husband feels that unless they agree to go for help, he’s going to literally pull the plug on the wedding. Though we’ve already booked a hall and scheduled everything else, he’s ready to cut our losses. He claims a broken engagement is a lot less serious than a broken marriage. Though I agree in theory, it seems too drastic to me. I’m afraid if we cancel the wedding, Gitty will never forgive us. And knowing her, I wouldn’t be surprised if they somehow ran off and eloped! Do you think my husband has the right idea and that we should suspend the wedding until they’ve worked with a therapist and figured out how to get along?
Disclaimer: This column is not intended to diagnose or otherwise conclude resolutions to any questions. Our intention is not to offer any definitive conclusions to any particular question, rather offer areas of exploration for the author and reader. Due to the nature of the column receiving only a short snapshot of an issue, without the benefit of an actual discussion, the panel’s role is to offer a range of possibilities. We hope to open up meaningful dialogue and individual exploration.
The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
The Panel The Rebbetzin Rebbetzin Faigie Horowitz, M.S.
he bad news is that the two of you have boxed yourselves into a corner. Your husband wants to pull the plug on the wedding. Gitty and Michael have refused your suggestion to go for couple’s therapy. And they clearly have very alarming communication issues that they need to work on. It seems to me that they may not be the only couple with communication issues. You and your husband have neither worked as a team nor have been able to communicate and intervene successfully to get them to take steps to help themselves in the short and long term. The good news is that you can get others to help you and them. At this stage of the game, you need someone neutral, central to all stakeholders, and with authority. The two of you need to confide in your rabbi who will be involved halachically in the actual wedding. Be open with him about your own communication issues and the immediate subject at hand. He will certainly send the two of you for couple’s therapy. But he can also get the kallah teacher, the chosson teacher and the young people’s mentors involved in bringing up the need for communication skills improvement and conflict resolution training. They need to work as a team with this couple. They can all suggest that the couple enroll in the Shalom Workshops offered by the Shalom Taskforce, which is a nationally acclaimed evidence-based healthy marriage training customized for the observant Jewish community. They can have private sessions with a trained facilitator, not merely participate as part of a group series. And the rabbi will probably make this and other conditions critical to the performance of the marriage. He will probably conduct some counseling sessions with them as well as urge a waiting period, if he supports the going ahead with the marriage, and he will also mandate counseling for the first year of marriage at a minimum besides
other precautions. Follow the leadership of the rabbi and your couple’s therapist. This is no longer in your hands. These workshops have become standard among today’s young couples and it will not be a big deal for Michael and Gitty to enroll and participate. Everyone finds the Shalom Workshop training beneficial – engaged couples as well as long married partners. But sometimes engaged couples learn enough about themselves and each other to realize that they are not well suited and break off their engagement as a result. Whether or not this happens, the kids need to acquire and practice these skills. Pray, work with your rabbi, and work on your own relationship. It’s going to have to improve and be resilient enough to handle what happens next with Gitty and Michael.
The Mother Sarah Schwartz Schreiber, P.A.
ou are a lucky mom. You don’t need a crystal ball or an Ouija board to foretell the fate of Gitty’s marriage to Michael. You have seen the fighting, the volatility, the hot and cold shoulders, and the silent treatment played out in your living room during the engagement period. Yes, I agree with your husband. Put public opinion aside and do not proceed with the wedding arrangements unless and until Gitty goes for pre-marital counseling (either alone or with Michael). You admit that Gitty has always been temperamental – perhaps, impulsive and immature. What’s worse, she has you wrapped around her beringed finger; you shudder to think she’ll elope if she doesn’t get her way. She may balk, she may scream, but without your financial and emotional support, there will be no wedding. Discuss your change of plan with the mechutanim who share an equal stake in their son’s happiness. If they are at all astute, they may be
as concerned as you. With both families on the same page, enlist the help of a trusted third party; your rabbi, her kallah teacher, Michael’s rebbe, even Michael (who may be more than happy to cooperate) to convince Gitty about the benefits of therapy. Best case scenario, the couple will acquire the tools needed to make their marriage succeed; alternatively, the couple may discover their temperaments are not compatible and reconsider their future.
Another Shadchan Tzipporah Feldman
s we all know, these days parents of young men and women, who are beginning the journey of being set up and going out, are enormously involved in setting the stage for the first date. Phone calls go back and forth, references are checked out, notebooks quickly become filled up with names and numbers, and some parents actually consider this process a full time job. Whether or not all of this research is necessary is debatable. But these days – this is how it typically is. Most parents do whatever they can to ensure the happiness of their children. However, once the deed is done and the ring is on the appropriate finger, occasionally the heretofore overly involved parents sometimes believe their work is done and they
Just because a couple gets engaged doesn’t mean that everything is alright.
can now take a vacation to Florida and exhale. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because a couple gets engaged doesn’t mean that everything is alright. Often couples need and certainly benefit enormously from participating in some sort of pre-marital couple therapy. That’s when and where the real important work is done. I think your husband is spot on. There is no doubt that there is trouble in paradise. For now, you still hold some power over your daughter. Once she’s married, that power will dwindle or possibly even completely fade away. At this moment in time, it’s important for you to seize your power and use the wedding as a bargaining chip to force them into therapy. Sounds like Gitty could use some personal therapy and the two of them could definitely use some serious couple therapy. Don’t let your fear of her reaction hold you hostage. It’s never wise to cave into threats. I doubt that Gitty and Michael will elope. But worst case scenario they do – you’ll know in your heart that you weren’t party to this really
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OCTOBER 29, 2015 | The Jewish Home The Florida Jewish Home | APRIL 27, 2017
bad idea of the two of them marrying and hey, think of the thousands of dollars you’ll save!
The Single Tova Wein
ou’re right – the engagement period is often a very stressful period. People are nervous and there is so much pressure to plan, accomplish and think about. But that doesn’t mean that a couple should behave in such a dysfunctional way
that they don’t even talk to one another. And to behave this way in public, in front of you and your husband, says a lot about their inability to stay on top of their emotions and behave in a mature way. I agree with your husband – they most certainly need professional help and they need it now, before they get married. Because once they are married, it will only get worse. Probably far worse. I think you need to think about what’s stopping you from joining your husband’s mindset. Are you afraid of what people will say? Next week they’ll have something new to talk about. Are you afraid of your
Pulling It All Together The Navidaters Dating and Relationship Coaches and Therapists
very normal parent wants the love and approval of a child. I understand your hesitation to go along with your husband’s seemingly drastic plan of pulling the plan on this wedding. What if Gitty never forgives you or never speaks to you again? What if this makes her wild with anger, and she and Michael elope? All options are scary and preferably avoidable. However, enabling Gitty and Michael to get married by paying for this wedding, at a time when their relationship is so utterly dysfunctional and destructive, will only harm your daughter. Imagine you, Gitty, and your husband are walking through the forest. And you see a bear approaching. You immediately tell Gitty, “Gitty, stand very still. Do not run, do not make a move.” Gitty responds, “No Mom, I think we should make a run for it. I’m telling you! Let’s go! Mom, come on! If you don’t run with me, I’m going without you and I’ll never forgive you! I hate you!” You know that when a bear approaches you are supposed to initially remain utterly still. Your husband gently reminds you, “Do not move. Hold Gitty’s hand and tell her
again. Do not move. Tell her we are staying put.” Though the urge to run with your daughter is understandable, I think the parental thing to do is to stand firm with your husband and set the example of the appropriate response…and hope that Gitty follows. You mentioned that Gitty has always had a temper. I am wondering if this is not the first time you have felt a strong pull to help Gitty out of a bad situation from her own making by “fixing” everything around her. Gitty makes a mess or creates drama and chaos and because you love her (and fear her response) you come to the rescue. You manipulate her environment, changing the consequences of her behavior. You feel better momentarily because you have avoided the wrath of Gitty and you have Gitty’s love and approval but Gitty never learns. And so the message is Gitty can do whatever she wants and Mom will allow it. Dad’s opinion doesn’t even matter. I also wonder if Gitty’s sense of entitlement is playing a role in her relationship
daughter being angry at you? She’ll get over it and someday realize that you protected her in a very brave way. Are you afraid of the loss of deposits? That will look like pittance compared to the money you’ll waste making an actual wedding. Are you afraid of Gitty and Michael eloping? Sounds like a stretch, but if they choose that route, they are even more immature than you know. It would probably be helpful to have a conversation with Michael’s parents and see if you can encourage them to join forces with you in your quest to convince the young couple to get into couple therapy ASAP. Four voices are better than
with Michael. This isn’t easy. An adult child who is still up to these antics is terribly draining. You already spoke with Gitty and Michael and to no avail. What’s next? Step One: Approach your husband and tell him you are on board with his game plan. Apologize to him and explain what has been holding you back from taking a firm stance. (By the way, being firm does not mean you don’t love Gitty or that you have to be strict or distant from her. The opposite! You are doing this from love and you can act extra loving to her if desired.) Step Two: As a couple, approach Michael’s parents. Explain the scary dynamic you have noticed and get their input. Come up with a plan that the four of you agree upon and work together. Ultimately, this wedding should not happen until you see drastic changes in the kids’ relationship. Step Three: The four parents will sit down with Gitty and Michael and tell them something along the lines of “We know the two of you love each other and want this marriage to happen. And so do we! We want your happiness. We all have noticed the volatility of the relationship [get specific!] and we know that this needs to get worked out now before the wedding. We will gladly pay for the wedding after you have taken the nec-
You can’t stop someone from doing something rash and ridiculous; but you don’t have to enable it.
two and there’s power in numbers. Regardless, I think you need to stay strong, follow your intuition, and do what’s right for the long term.
essary steps to work on and correct the hurtful way you treat each other. [Premarital counseling!]” If Gitty and/or Michael cannot accept this game plan, then they are absolutely not ready for marriage – not to each other, or anyone else. And if they hem and haw, or do something drastic such as elope and/or not speak to you, then there is your proof that will have done the right thing by acting as a unit with your husband and putting a stop to their impetuous, volatile relationship. You can’t stop someone from doing something rash and ridiculous, but you don’t have to enable it. And, at the very least, you will have improved your marriage by supporting your husband (which is actually the very best). It’s time to be strong. Sincerely, Jennifer
Esther Mann, LCSW and Jennifer Mann, LCSW are licensed psychotherapists and dating and relationship coaches working with individuals, couples and families in private practice in Hewlett, NY. To set up a consultation or to ask questions, please call 516.224.7779. Press 1 for Esther, 2 for Jennifer. Visit www.thenavidaters.com for more information. If you would like to submit a dating or relationship question to the panel anonymously, please email thenavidaters@ gmail.com. You can follow The Navidaters on FB and Instagram for dating and relationship advice.
APRIL 27, 2017 | The Florida Jewish Home
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With North Korea, We do have Cards to Play By Charles Krauthammer
he crisis with North Korea may appear trumped up. It’s not. Given that Pyongyang has had nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles for more than a decade, why the panic now? Because North Korea is headed for a nuclear breakout. The regime has openly declared that it is racing to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the United States – and thus destroy an American city at a Kim Jong Un push of a button. The North Koreans are not bluffing. They’ve made significant progress with solid-fuel rockets, which are more quickly deployable and thus more easily hidden and less subject to detection and pre-emption. At the same time, Pyongyang has been steadily adding to its supply of nuclear weapons. Today it has an estimated 10 to 16. By 2020, it could very well have a hundred. (For context: the British are thought to have about 200.) Hence the crisis. We simply cannot concede to Kim Jong Un the capacity to annihilate American cities. Some will argue for deterrence. If it held off the Russians and the Chinese for all these years, why not the North Koreans? First, because deterrence, even with a rational adversary like the old Soviet Union, is never a sure thing. We came pretty close to nuclear war in October 1962. And second, because North Korea’s regime is bizarre in the extreme, a hermit kingdom run by a weird, utterly ruthless and highly
erratic god-king. You can’t count on Caligula. The regime is savage and cult-like; its people, robotic. Karen Elliott House once noted that while Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a prison, North Korea was an ant colony. Ant colonies do not have good checks and balances. If not deterrence, then prevention. But how? The best hope is for China to exercise its influence and induce North Korea to give up its programs. For years, the Chinese made gestures, but never did anything
of war is rising. They know that the ICBM threat is totally unacceptable to the Americans. And that the current administration appears particularly committed to enforcing this undeclared red line. — Chinese interests are being significantly damaged by the erection of regional missile defenses to counteract North Korea’s nukes. South Korea is racing to install a THAAD anti-missile system. Japan may follow. THAAD’s mission is to track and shoot down incoming rockets from North Korea but, like any mis-
Karen Elliott House once noted that while Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a prison, North Korea was an ant colony.
remotely decisive. They have their reasons. It’s not just that they fear a massive influx of refugees if the Kim regime disintegrates. It’s also that Pyongyang is a perpetual thorn in the side of the Americans, whereas regime collapse brings South Korea (and thus America) right up to the Yalu River. So why would the Chinese do our bidding now? For a variety of reasons. — They don’t mind tension but they don’t want war. And the risk
sile shield, it necessarily reduces the power and penetration of the Chinese nuclear arsenal. — For China to do nothing risks the return of the American tactical nukes in South Korea, withdrawn in 1991. — If the crisis deepens, the possibility arises of South Korea and, most importantly, Japan going nuclear themselves. The latter is the ultimate Chinese nightmare. These are major cards America can play. Our objective should be
clear. At a minimum, a testing freeze. At the maximum, regime change. Because Beijing has such a strong interest in the current regime, we could sweeten the latter offer by abjuring Korean reunification. This would not be Germany, where the communist state was absorbed into the West. We would accept an independent, but Finlandized, North. During the Cold War, Finland was, by agreement, independent but always pro-Russian in foreign policy. Here we would guarantee that a new North Korea would be independent but always oriented toward China. For example, the new regime would forswear ever joining any hostile alliance. There are deals to be made. They may have to be underpinned by demonstrations of American resolve. A pre-emptive attack on North Korea’s nuclear facilities and missile sites would be too dangerous, as it would almost surely precipitate an invasion of South Korea with untold millions of casualties. We might, however, try to shoot down a North Korean missile in mid-flight to demonstrate both our capacity to defend ourselves and the futility of a North Korean missile force that can be neutralized technologically. The Korea crisis is real and growing. But we are not helpless. We have choices. We have assets. It’s time to deploy them.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post Writers Group
ROYAL OAKS TOWNHOMES 3200 STIRLING ROAD | HOLLYWOOD, FL 33024
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